Tag Archives: mindset

M = Mindset [what SMART stands for]

Your mindset is the key to success. You will never see any fat loss program through to the end unless your head is in the right place. In fact, being in the wrong frame of mind will often prevent you from getting started altogether. This is, in my opinion, one of the biggest obstacles that a lot of people face in the beginning.

Let’s take my client and friend Lori for example. It’s not unusual for her to work long hours every day of the week doing mostly physical work. It’s a well paid job and she loves it but it takes a toll on her physique and her moods too as she seldom gets to spend quality time with her family in between work, cooking, house chores and sleeping. She is in her mid 40’s and she has been carrying a little bit of extra fat around the middle. Like most women do when they approach peri-menopause.

In the past she joined a weight loss group and lost a lot of weight but eventually gained it back with a little bit of vengeance and is now unhappy with both her weight and shape. Her body type is somewhere in between an ectomorph and a mesomorph and so the spare tyre round the middle is even more prominent as her limbs are long and slim.

Whenever we meet she talks about “going on a diet”. She is not happy about the prospect of dieting as she sees this as a period of time in which she will have to make sacrifices and give up all the foods she loves in order to lose 10Kgs in time for her Summer holidays. Because she hasn’t quite set her mind on a date when the dieting is going to start she is making sure to fill up on large portions of all the comfort foods she can find: fish and chips, pies, mash potatoes, beans, jacket potatoes drowned in butter, sausage rolls, etc. not to mention cakes and chocolates and the occasional glass of wine.

The point here is that this “giving things up” is only meant to be temporary, until she has had her holiday and then she is most likely get back to her old habits. Because in her mind the sacrifices have to end once the reward has been obtained.

My other client Carol has instead rejected the “dieting mindset” altogether. In order to get the results she wanted and keep them over time she accepted that she had to embrace change and create a new way of doing things for the rest of her life. Not radical changes, just a few tweaks to her meals here and there with a view of including all of her favourite foods on a regular basis but in moderation. In fact, over time, she stopped wanting her “favourite” foods which were high in carbs and saturated fats and instead elected more fat loss friendly foods as her new “favourites”.

With regards to exercise she started off wanting to do this 3 times per week but soon discovered that it was hard and stressful to fit 3 workouts around her existing commitments and so she settled on two sessions per week that she could easily find the time for. This allowed her to remain consistent with her efforts thus reaping the rewards in the form of a different shape and the slow but progressive release of fat from the more stubborn areas.

As time went on she was able to sustain her new habits knowing that if she “slipped” from time to time, like she might do at Christmas, she would soon be able to go back to her routine and lose all the festive plumpness in a fairly short time. The compliments started to pour in fairly soon and she became even more inspired to stay the course.

Do you see the difference in the mindset? One client is dreading getting started because of the perceived sacrifices she will have to make whereas the other one was willing to learn how to read her own metabolism and embrace the changes that worked for her. Not what the latest fitness fad says she should do.

Needless to say Lori has been having frequent guilt trips every time she has a slice of cake or an extra portion of chips, whereas Carol can’t really be bothered to have either but if she does she enjoys the cake or the chips knowing that she will be able to use them to her advantage.

How we turned Lori’s story around

Attitude Aptitude Altitude

Lifestyle

The first step was to take a good look at Lori’s weekly schedule to determine just how much walking and lifting she did during the course of her work. The answer was mildly shocking: it turned out that she was on the move all the time and constantly lifting and carrying moderate weights over short distances. This was great news in a way because movement is actually more beneficial than structured exercise for your health and wellbeing BUT too much of it will start causing issues with rising levels of cortisol resulting in increased belly fat. The same goes for adding exercise to a lot of movement.

We decided that we would skip the exercise altogether for the time being and we focused on slowing down the pace a little bit at work by changing from a fast walk to a normal walk. We then tried to create a good sleeping routine as this was an area that she struggled with somewhat. We found a good time to go to bed every night and eliminated any stimulants for up to 3 hours before bed time: no coffee, no wine, no tea, no chocolate, no tablets or electronics.

This worked relatively well but she found that her mind was often racing when she first lay down in bed and this meant a lot of tossing and turning before she could fall asleep. So we went back to the drawing board and found that for her the best thing to do was to have a little bit of wine half an hour prior to bed. Although this wouldn’t be a good policy for some it worked brilliantly for her: not only she could almost fall asleep on command, she would also stay asleep waking up feeling rested and refreshed.

In addition to “fixing” her sleep we tried to find times throughout her day in which she could relax by perhaps adding 5 minutes to her bath or just chilling with her family. She started to benefit from these small changes fairly quickly. Before we even looked at her diet she already lost a little bit of fat all over but especially around her midsection. Nothing dramatic but a good step in the right direction AND she loved it. Most importantly she felt that so far she didn’t give anything up and instead gained in relaxation and downtime. Win.

Diet

Once we established the new routine we started to look at her diet to see where we could introduce changes that would support her fat loss efforts. Her problem was the large amount of foods combining fats and starches that she was consuming on a weekly basis. This was both because she loved them and because they were convenient as she often bought them ready made from the grocery store and only needed reheating.

The first change was to replace some of the starchy foods with fresh non-starchy produce. She was game so for a couple of weeks she made herself bring a salad to work instead of a pastie. We left the option open for her to have starches for dinner but bearing in mind the glass of wine before bedtime (this counts as carbs). After the first two weeks she found that she didn’t really fancy anything other than the meat + salad for lunch as this was keeping her full and feeling better than when she ate convenience foods. Plus she became very creative with the mix of veggies that she used by treating her salad almost like a work of art with lots of different colours and textures. She also learned how to make dressings that were both interesting and flavoursome without adding too many calories from either sugar or fats.

At this point the results really started to show. Her skinny jeans became baggy around her hips and thighs and the muffin tops were soon gone. Most importantly, again, she felt that she gained from the changes instead of losing out. Win.

Exercise

As soon as she abandoned her dieting mentality she was able maintain her new shape and size and to help her get a little bit more toned before her holiday we introduced some exercise. But not all in the form of workouts… because she had very little spare time available we decided to make the most of her work at the warehouse. We agreed that every time she picked something up or drop something on a pallet she would do a squat to get to the right height and then, when possible, she would do a biceps curl to lift the object close to her chest and then reverse the movement.

Squats are a great compound exercise and can strengthen your legs, glutes and core muscles simultaneously. When you learn to do them correctly and to apply them to everyday situations you will find that lifting heavy objects becomes a lot easier and you won’t tire out so quickly. Lori found this change also easy to implement and whereas she managed to do a few squats here and there at first, she was soon able to turn this into her normal way of lifting things.

At this point we introduced workouts at home too but these only consisted of doing a few push-ups and planks a couple of times per week to make sure her upper body also looked a bit more muscular. These exercise sessions would only take up 10 minutes of her time so she found it easy to stick to them. As she got closer to the start of her holiday she was delighted with the results and still surprised that she went through a complete body transformation without dreading the process or feeling like she had to make sacrifices.

As you can see it’s as simple as changing your perspective about nutrition and exercise to make the experience more interesting and certainly not one to fear. Once my clients get over this initial hurdle and make the mental switch they begin to enjoy the process of change knowing that they will achieve and often surpass their initial goals.

If you are stuck and can’t find your way out of the dieting mentality book a 30 min. complimentary breakthrough call and I’ll gladly give you a few pointers.


12 things you need to banish your love handles once and for all

When you take the decision to undertake a Fitness Makeover you have already overcome the first big obstacle in your quest: inertia. Now you have to gather your tools and resources so that you can actually get started and gain the momentum you need to make this task easy peasy. This in turn will help you stay the course and see your body transformation project through to the end.

Below is a list of all the things you need to finally banish those love handles once and for all. By the way, some of the links below point to products for which I will earn a tiny commission if you make a purchase. I am recommending them because both my clients and myself use them all the time and we are all benefiting from them. They are only suggestions and will hopefully give you an idea of what to look for if the items described are not available where you live.

1 – The winning mindset. Without this success will be hard to achieve and perhaps even elusive. In my experience, clients who spent time getting this right breezed through their programs and enjoyed every step of the process. Especially the part where they exceeded their initial goals. I can help you by offering you my FREE mini-course “Sips of Inspiration”: you will receive 8 short emails straight into your inbox every other day that will help you get clear on your reasons and provide you with the inspiration you need to become unstoppable. If you would rather have the short version you can download the infographic from the sidebar on the right.

2 – A preliminary plan. Once your head is in the right place you need to take a good look at your current lifestyle and see where you can fit in the various components of the fitness makeover program you choose to follow. Have a look at this link for an example of what it takes to go through a complete body transformation.

3 – The right gear for the job. Now that you have a good idea of how your fitness makeover project will fit into your life it’s time to find some great and stylish gear that will make you want to get down and dirty just so that you can wear it. Take a look at this post for a collection of the trendiest fitness clothes for ladies in 2016.

4 – A place to exercise. If you don’t want to sign up for a gym or get filthy in the park you can always exercise indoors in your house or flat. You really don’t need a lot of space and you can re-purpose your furniture to act like gym equipment. For most people this will be a perfectly acceptable choice. You can find more ideas here.

5 – Some basic exercise equipment. Although you can achieve amazing results just by doing bodyweight exercises, for even better results I would recommend investing in some basic equipment. You can create your very own home gym that you can store in the broom cupboard with just 3 items: a yoga mat to give you a soft and non-slippery floor surface, a swiss ball to use as a bench as well as an exercise tool and a pair of dumbbells with adjustable weights for when you are ready to give your fat burning moves a boost. If you find the idea of using weights a bit intimidating you could start out with some resistance bands instead. These aren’t as good as dumbbells but will still give you a jolly good workout. Finally, if you want something to do in lieu of traditional core exercises you could get a hula hoop. Depending on how you use it you can also get a cardio workout out of it.

6 – A trusted supplier of good quality produce. I highly recommend signing up for a weekly delivery of organic produce in a box. There are many companies offering this service nowadays and I urge you to give it a try. As well as eating food that tastes like it’s supposed to be you will be supporting your local farmers and encouraging a return to less intensive farming methods that are kinder to the environment and to the animals being part of the food chain. I have been using Abel and Cole for years now and wouldn’t go back to relying on store bought groceries for all my needs. If they happen to deliver in your area and would like to give them a try drop me an email and I will set you up to receive 50% off your 1st and 4th order with them. If they don’t deliver near you check this article for other companies offering a similar service.

7 – A trusted supplier of sports supplements. This is often a tricky subject for many clients. The thing is you don’t need to use any sports supplements at all to achieve your fitness makeover goals. You can do it by eating normal food. However, the task is a damn lot easier (and cheaper) if you use protein powders and other supplements that will help you grow and retain the muscle you are working so hard to build. There are various schools of thought as to how much protein you need to build muscle and lose fat. Some say you need 2g or protein for each Kg of body weight, some say you need a lot less. Regardless of who you choose to agree with, remember that exercising for fat loss is very different from going for a walk and therefore you have to treat your nutritional needs differently. To consume an adequate amount of protein every day you may need to eat large quantities of meat. This is both impractical and expensive whereas by using protein powders that are formulated with the needs of athletes in mind you will be able to meet your targets easily, cheaply and without eating 3 chickens a day. I have been using Bulk Powders for many years now and would highly recommend them. If you want to check them out use this link and if you decide to buy from them you will get 25% off your first order.

8 – A few meal ideas. I hardly ever recommend recipe books to my clients because I’d rather teach them how to construct their meals AFTER we have unlocked the secrets of how their metabolism works. Some people do well on a high fat diet, others do better on a low carb diet, others still are better off eating more starches but staying away from saturated fats. Typically, recipe books don’t do this. However, if you really insist on such a thing take a look at this recipe book for a collection of awesome fat burning dishes. I especially love the desserts section  😉

9 – An intake calories counter. Calories come after nutrients in terms of importance but they are still extremely important and should never be overlooked. At the end of the day if you want to lose fat you need to restrict your calories intake and the best way to ensure you are doing this is to use a calories counter. There are many available for free online, personally I have used My Fitness Pal in the past both for my clients and myself and found it rather useful especially in the beginning to get a reality check as to how many calories we were consuming on a daily basis. Sometimes it was too many, other times it wasn’t enough. The cool thing is the phone app so that you can track your meals on the go. If you used it straight out of the box it might not be very effective but the macronutrients ratios can be customised to suit your metabolism so with a few tweaks here and there it will become a most valuable tool.

10 – An outgoing calories counter. Keeping track of how many calories you burn on a daily basis is equally as important as knowing how many you acquire with your food and drinks. Restricting your intake with a combination of less food and more movement and exercise is hardly ever a good strategy. Exercise is stressful for the body and so sometimes, if we are going to be very busy with everyday physical tasks, it might be better to back off and rest instead of adding to the stress. My Fitness Pal also allows you to take into consideration the outgoing calories when calculating your nutritional needs, however if you want to get an idea of how many calories you burn during everyday activities have a look at this website. You will need to enter your height and weight for a more accurate reading but it’s quick and you don’t have to fiddle with an app on your phone.

11 – A way to measure your progress. It’s no good going through the effort of a fitness makeover if you don’t know if it’s working or not. Here are some recommendations for keeping track of the changes so you can re-assess and adjust if necessary.

12 – Celebrate your success with a style consultation. At the end of your fitness makeover you will most likely look very different and your body will be a different shape (within its natural shape). If you keep on wearing the same clothes as before you started you will keep on looking less than stellar too. That’s why I highly recommend investing in a consultation with a stylist to help you discover the colours that enhance your features and make you look like a rockstar even when you haven’t slept in 3 days. A good stylist will also analyse your natural shape and recommend the best style of garments for you. Although this step won’t necessary help you banish your love handles it will certainly help you camouflage them while you are still working on your transformation. This is a great place to start: the garments are great quality and you can get a few basic items in your best colours that you can add to your existing wardrobe.

So there you have it. If you can tick each item on this list you will be in a great place to start with your fitness makeover or adjust the course with your existing project. If you need help with any of this you can get in touch by calling 020 8144 5531 (please do leave a message if I can’t take the call) or by sending me a message. Best of luck and if you do have any other suggestions please let me know in the comments below!

 

My secret recipe for Fitness Makeover success

Girl on scale

When it comes to fitness and weight loss there is so much information available in the blogosphere that it’s truly hard to know where to start. I suppose it all boils down to what resonates best with you once you find a few reputable sources of information. You could choose between a bodyweight workout plan, exercises that you can do at home without the need for fitness equipment or you could choose a full on gym program to help you lose weight.

Whichever road you choose to follow it’s good to have a map to help you stay the course and ensure you will safely reach your destination in good time, with the minimum amount of detours. And why not enjoy the scenery in the meantime?

Here is my secret recipe that will allow you to achieve your fitness and weight loss goals regardless of whether you choose to work with me or not:

Preparation time

In order to prepare yourself for your transformational journey you need to take some time out and think deeply about the project that you wish to undertake. The way in which you frame this will be key to your chances of success. How long you will need to complete it is entirely up to you and must fit in with your needs and wants but I do urge you to stop and reflect before you take action. Getting clarity on the reasons why you want to do this will help you stay the course until the end.

Cooking time

This also depends entirely on you, where you are starting at and where you want to get to. You may be surprised to learn that it can take different people the same amount of time to shed 10 Kgs of body weight as to lose 2Kgs of body fat. It’s all down to your metabolism, health and determination. Having said this I recommend you give yourself a minimum of three months to see some major results and not be tempted by dubious programs that promise to help you lose weight fast. The human metabolism is an incredibly complicated and exquisitely sophisticated machine, it doesn’t work in a linear manner and when you think nothing’s happening there might be a lot going on in the background that you are not aware of. Consider this an exercise in faith as much as a game of strategy.

Serves: 1

This is for you and only you.

Ingredients

To succeed at a fitness makeover project you will need a few fundamental ingredients:

  • Knowing what you want to achieve. AKA a goal.
  • A good reason for wanting to achieve that goal (your WHY).
  • Letting go of all the stories that have kept you stuck where you are currently at.
  • An open mind.
  • Willingness to do whatever it takes.
  • A hefty does of commitment to yourself.
  • A large serving of integrity with a sprinkling of honesty.
  • A bucket load of self love.
  • Compassion and forgiveness for when you mess up.
  • A pinch of enthusiasm.
  • Nice shoes. You can never get tired of wearing nice trainers.  😉

Always be kind to yourself

You will also need

    • A place to exercise. This could be your front room, your garden, your bedroom, your home gym, your shed, a proper gym… but you will need some place where you can exercise safely and confidently.
    • Suitable clothing. There is nothing worse than having to work out in clothes that aren’t good for the job. Anything that’s tight and unyielding can’t be used for this purpose. Choose garments that will cover up all the bits you don’t like about yourself (yet) so you don’t have to worry about seeing them. Of course if you exercise at home I wholeheartedly recommend doing so in the buff at least once when nobody is watching. It’s just… awesome!

Home gym equipment

  • Fitness equipment. If you choose to exercise in your home all you need are 3 items: a yoga mat (your gym floor), a swiss ball (your bench) and a pair of dumbbells with adjustable weights.
  • Lots of water.
  • A great nutritional plan.
  • An even better supplements plan.
  • A solid exercise plan.
  • A lifestyle overhaul to make sure you change the bits that work against you and enrich those that already work for you.
  • A few good friends to provide moral support and document your progress. Enemies are also good for this purpose: the greener they get when they see you, the better you are doing. Trust me on this.

Directions

On a large piece of paper (A3 at least) draw a map of your current lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be too detailed but you want to include the typical amount of time that you spend asleep at night, the time you spend commuting to and from work, any activities that you do after work, socialising, how much time you spend cooking, eating out, walking the dog, pulling a length of string to entertain your cats, riding your horse, etc. You can do this in the form of a timeline or an agenda. Whatever works for you.

Next grab some index cards or post-it notes and write down the most important elements of your chosen program. For example: say you have green tickets for exercise and your program requires you to do a 30 minutes workout 3 times per week. On three green tickets write down “workout, 30 min”. Look at your lifestyle map and see where you can fit your exercise tickets. Ideally these will go in at the same time Mon-Wed-Fri but of course this has to work for you so put them where you are willing to fit them in.

Do the same for your meals and for any daily activities that are part of your program, like walking for example. Add a few blue tickets to remind you to drink more water throughout the day. When you have finished you can either hang the new and upgraded lifestyle map on the wall OR take a picture and refer to it whenever you need/want to.

Go and execute the plan. And… voila’!

Woman on swiss ball smiling

If you really struggle to find spaces for your tickets you need to make a choice: either find a less demanding program or let go of some activities that don’t suit you at this time. Or maybe, if you find yourself resisting making any such changes, you may want to consider that you are not ready to do this and it would be a good idea to postpone the project to a later time when you will be excited and looking forward to re-organise your schedule.

Sometimes what the head thinks it wants isn’t necessarily what the heart is willing to do. Just let it be and wait for a better moment. It will come.

Summary

Whatever fat loss and exercise program you choose to follow these are the steps you need to take to make sure it fits in with your lifestyle. If you succeed at making a workable plan I can promise you that sticking to it is going to feel like a sweet Summer breeze. The truth is that weight loss and fitness makeovers aren’t that dissimilar from any other project you may undertake in your every day life: whether it’s work, house renovations, a wedding, cooking, a trip, etc. The more thorough your planning is, the easier the execution will be and the greater the chances of success. In fact, make the last one almost a given that you will succeed.

BUT you still have to do the work to make it work. Don’t forget that.

If you need help making an awesome Fitness Makeover plan all you have to do is book a complimentary 30 min breakthrough call and I will gladly give you some pointers to get you started. Don’t hesitate, book your call now!

Image top right by stockimages on FreeDigitalPhotos.net