All Posts By

Jane

My Lifestyle

My Top 10 Tips on Embracing Loneliness & Loss

May 2016

Since my feline soul mate and best friend passed last month I have found the loneliness on some days to engulf me and take me back to dark places that I would rather not revisit. I have certainly recovered from depression but I have had to be very mindful that I don’t slip backward during this challenging time in my life.  If you haven’t read my tribute to my girl yet click here.

Death is one of the hardest situations to deal with in life and yet we all must at some stage. And its not exactly a life experience that we are given any education on how to handle. We certainly must cry and cry and cry.. but we also must begin to take steps to move past the loss and embrace the loneliness.  Every situation in life is temporary; life is always moving and changing. Life will certainly never be the same but it will be different and it will be happy again.

For those of you who don’t know me, I do live alone and I enjoy my own company probably too much! It has taken me a very long time to get to that place of loving my own space. But that space was always shared with my girl so I could argue that I have never lived alone. Up until now…  20 years is an awfully long time to share your space so intimately with a feline companion.

I went through the first stage of grief, desperately wanting to replace her like yesterday! I didn’t want to open my front door for one more day and be greeted with silence. I felt like my heart was breaking over and over again every day! My apartment feels like an empty shell. And after making a few enquires and even agreeing to take on two rescue cats I found myself back tracking. Knee jerk reactions are not always the best way to handle situations despite our desperate need to suppress negative feelings. Taking on a pet is for life, it is a serious commitment and I knew I wasn’t ready.

So after having many conversations with the urn… and the dozens of photos of her on my bookshelves I decided to wait.  So now I am stuck with sitting with my loneliness. I have decided to use this time to do further work on myself however there are still times where I cant control the tears and I wanted to share with you some tips on how to deal with that ache in your heart and the overwhelming urge to suppress it with food, drugs, alcohol, shopping, staying in bed or whatever is your vice!

“I think it is very healthy to be alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person.”

Oscar Wilde

These tips can be used if you are trying to get over a break up or grief of any kind when being alone is not what you want but it is actually probably what you need!

  1. Clean. I have found myself doing a lot of extra cleaning in the last few weeks… There are the basic set of cleaning chores every week but there are also the additional ones that only need doing once in a while. So when I could feel the tears welling up and taking over out come the rubber gloves! The kitchen/bathroom cupboards, both inside and the outside, the top of and all around the fridge and/or washing machine, under the bed, the fan and filter above the stove, the linen press etc. etc. I get a great feeling of satisfaction when I clean something I haven’t for a while. I keep going back and admiring my work lol!
  2. eBay. This has been through necessity of needing some extra funds also but there are always heaps of things we hang on to and rarely, if ever use, that someone out there will pay good money for. So if tidying up your wardrobe or the garage was a task from tip one that create an eBay pile, take photos, load up and wait for a bit of extra pocket money to hit your account! It is a great feeling to receive unexpected money.
  3. Charity. If what you have tidied up is not worth selling or you feel like doing a good deed, which is yet another rewarding feeling to take yourself out of your loneliness, then load up the car with all the things you no longer need and take it to your local charity. Getting rid of some of the stuff we accumulate over time sends a message to the universe that you are making space for new things to enter your life. Cat, relationship, job, money or whatever it is that you want in your life make some space by putting back into circulation those things that you hoard but never use!
  4. Exercise. This is a no brainer for me, in fact, I have found myself overtraining the last few weeks which has caused some old injuries to flare up but that is another story! But just moving your body and/or getting outside in the sunshine and fresh air does wonders for how you feel about yourself and your life. I know this is a tough one for many, but if you are determined to beat the blues and not succumb to the loneliness then getting outside even for a short walk will lift your mood. You know this one…
  5. Take a bath. Now the weather is getting colder at night a nice warm bath is so relaxing and soothing. Quality me time without any interruptions with the added benefit of detoxing my body with Epsom salts. It helps promote quality sleep too which can be tough when you are missing someone that used to be beside you at night.
  6. Sing & Dance. Put on your favourite music, loud if you can, and make yourself sing and dance. Your alone, who cares! Uptown Funk still gets dragged out when I am fighting the tears. How can you possibly cry when watching Bruno dance and while you are singing “I’m too hot (hot damn). Don’t believe me just watch!” Prince died not long after my girl so I thoroughly enjoyed listening to my old time favourite and reminiscing about how in love I used to be with Prince!
  7. Gratitude. When we are suffering loneliness or loss it is hard to feel grateful so we have to deliberately and purposefully go through the list of all the things we do have rather than focusing on what has gone. Food in the fridge, running clean water, a nice warm bed, electricity; we are so very, very, very privileged to live the lives we do. Take a moment every day to think about, or even write down in your journal, what you are grateful for.
  8. Watch/listen to motivational speakers. Rather than turning to the trash on TV purposely seek out something uplifting. My old favourites come out; Bob Proctor and Abraham-Hicks. The latter was very helpful as they talk about the loss of animals, how their spirit passes over and how they have no fear of death like we do. In fact any challenge we currently face there is a clip on YouTube by Abraham to help you manage your emotions and give you a different perspective to your challenging feelings including loneliness.
  9. Meditate. Yes; I know we think this is a load of hooey…but it really does help whether you can feel it helping at the time or not. There is plenty of scientific evidence that tells us that meditating calms the nervous system, balances our emotions and gives us the clarity and radiance to deal with lifes challenges. Do yourself a favour and just try it for 10 mins a day and I PROMISE you that you will handle those lonely feelings much better.
  10. Affirmations. I have been meditating so long I now have control of my thoughts and I have trained myself to do affirmations whenever I find idle time in my mind. Just like meditation, I too thought this was a load of hooey but if you are constantly telling yourself I am so lonely, I miss _____ (fill in the blank) then how are you going to get past the lonely feelings…?  Isn’t affirming that my life is full of wonderful, loving people, I am blessed to have a loving feline companion or whatever the opposite is of how you feel a more productive way to assist getting over your tears….?

I have not put in a tip here to call a friend or family member to talk to as this is not my default reaction being the introvert that I am.  And while there is tremendous value in connecting with people when the loneliness is engulfing, there is also great benefit in facing these feelings and utilising the time alone to further grow and develop. To move past the grief and to be ready to welcome in the next chapter of your life. If you avoid these feelings they will only keep resurfacing until you do face them! And it will prevent you from letting go and moving forward.

It is also important to remember that there is no time limit on grief. Everyone moves through these painful situations at a different pace and in their own time. But if you do feel that it has been going on too long and the you cant stop the daily crying then please do seek professional assistance.

Spending quality time alone, I believe, is paramount to leading a happy and balanced life. But there is a difference between seeking time alone to replenish your soul and avoiding time alone to escape facing your feelings. I am glad I didn’t make the mistake of getting a new feline companion straight away. It has given me the time to grieve and accept my feelings of loss. To honour my time with the most incredible cat ever and make room in my heart for my new feline companion.

So what do you do when the loneliness engulfs you? Leave me a comment below with any further suggestions on how you overcome the tears and lonely feelings.

Nourish your Mind

Are you Passionate about Health?

May 2016

If you had told me 5 years ago that I would become a fitness model, bodybuilder, health coach, author and be fully recovered from depression I would have thought you were mad! I have spent a life time searching for answers to my unhappiness and I have stumbled across the solution completely by accident. You can read the full story of my journey in my book but I wanted to share with you one of the major components that has got me where I am today. My studies and ongoing affiliation with the Institution of Integrative Nutrition® (IIN).

I have battled depression my entire adult life. I have searched and searched for the answers to a happy life and why it alluded me. I have tried every pill/therapist/book/course/diet etc.  And while my entire life was far from fulfilling in every area, and I was certainly searching on all fronts, I want to talk specifically about my search for a more rewarding career here.

I have never been the academic type. I have always resented the concept of learning via memory. So many subjects at school did not appeal to me so memorising information on these subjects in order to pass an exam I felt was an inappropriate way to learn. As a result, I only scraped through school and I didn’t go to university after I finished year 12 much to my mother’s horror! Society seems to measure intelligence by qualifications so I didn’t think I was very smart. School and society also educate that with or without formal qualifications, in order to earn money you must get a job. I didn’t think there was any other way to get by in life.

I did make numerous attempts over the years to conform to this must have additional formal qualifications mindset. I started two different degrees; one in maths and one in accounting only to drop out. I have also started many other courses through TAFE and various colleges, searching for that fulfilling career, but once again dropping out. The career I had fallen into did not have any official qualifications until recently and coupled with my opinion that I wasn’t smart I just plodded along in the rat race, hating Mondays and spending the week counting down to the weekend or the next holiday.The only course I actually did complete is when my fallen into career began to be more recognised as a profession and in 1997 I became qualified for the first time since leaving school in 1984. I seemed to be good at my job, it paid the bills so I stuck with it for 30 years…

I first heard about health coaching back stage at my first bodybuilding competition, 5 mins before my call out on stage! I decided I needed to connect with my fellow competitors in order to feel more secure while under the spotlight. I actually wanted to pee my pants and run for my life but that’s another story! I can’t believe I even remembered that conversation given the state I was in. But I did and 24 hours later when I had come back down to earth and regained some sense of normality after eating real food again I googled and found the Institute of Integrative Nutrition®.

I was instantly drawn to their health coaching program. I joined a live call to find out more about it, looked at their curriculum, sampled a class, spoke to a recruiter and signed up within a week. After all the dozens of courses I had started and dropped out, after all my searching for over 30 years I was finally being led in the right direction. I graduated from their yearlong course in April 2014.

“I have noticed that as people improve their health, they become empowered to pursue the life of their dreams – the life they came here to live.”

Joshue Rosenthal

What is health coaching? Health coaching extends the life coaching concept to include the health of your body, mind and spirit. You see, it is very difficult to achieve anything in life if you don’t address any health or weight issues and generally these issues are not just about food! Nutritionists/Dieticians will only look at the food component, doctors only give you 15 mins of their time and are not even trained in nutrition, life coaches will help you set and move towards your goals however none of these professions take a holistic approach and appreciate the impact that the health of your body has on every aspect of your life. And certainly none of these professions have come close to reversing the epidemic of obesity and sickness rampant in society today. If we add health coaches to this mix of wellness professionals, I believe that collectively we can have a huge impact on the future health of this planet. For more information on what health coaching is click here.

What is the Institute of Integrative Nutrition® difference? Like I mentioned earlier, I am not an academic and I hate learning via memory. IINs health coaching course is delivered in such a way that you don’t even feel like you are studying. It is like you are on a journey of discovery, surrounded by support, encouraged and motivated, inspired while generating a feeling of belonging to a likeminded community that is part of a very positive global movement. The lecturers are passionate, knowledgeable and well known within the wellness space and you are given the opportunity to not only learn about but are encouraged to try 100 different dietary theories. IIN are very much about bio-individuality, what works for one person may not work for another and you gain an understanding of what this means. Click here for further info.

Health coaching is the upcoming profession of the 21st century. IIN are lobbying congress in the US for support and recognition for the vital role we can play in resolving the global health crisis. We are also lifting the veil on how this crisis has come about and are challenging the social norm.

As a proud graduate and member of this movement it was only natural that I also became an ambassador. I would simply LOVE to be able to inspire more people to do this course and join me on this incredible journey I am on. I can offer you exclusive savings to access this life changing course. Yes; I do receive a commission if you are wondering! But my reward is not just monetary, it is knowing that I have contributed to this growing community and together we are making a difference.

If you would like to have a personal discussion with me regarding the course, IIN, or anything I have just written please click here to contact me or write a comment below. I LOVE talking about my passion in life!

“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together.”

My Lifestyle

Whatever it Takes

April 2016

My beloved Sasha has been by my side for over 20 years.  She has seen me through some of the worst times in my life and has always been there for me, loving me unconditionally.  I have faced many challenges to date; from burying my mother, to competing in bodybuilding competitions, to divorces and heartache, to writing a book.  Nothing compares to the anguish of watching my girls decline and making the ultimate decision for her to leave this world.

Himalayan cats are a cross between Persians and Siamese.  They have a very placid, quiet nature and are a member of what I call the princess breeds.  They loll around the house looking stunning with their big blue eyes and luscious coat, with the least amount of activity possible and conduct themselves with an air of royalty.  They are incredibly loyal; my girl has always been very much my cat and totally in tune with my energy and emotion to the point of uncanny synchronicity.  Not overly affectionate as the thick coat brings heat when cuddling, but still wanting a close connection.  I have fallen asleep with her paw in my hand many times.  Respectful and faithful; a true companion that derives happiness from simply being in your presence without being demanding.

Life expectancy for Himalayans is usually around 16 human years.  My precious girl turned 20 last October!  She has been on my miracle supplement for the past two and half years along with me.  As so often has been the case, when I have had some form of injury or illness she seems to follow.  She tore ligaments in her knee at the same time I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my knees back in 2013.  I have no doubt that Laminine has extended her life and I am so very grateful for the additional time we have shared.

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

Anatole France

Mid-January was when her decline started.  Night howling was the first symptom and only between the hours of 1 and 5am!  Anti-anxiety tablets were prescribed as, once again, she suffers from a similar ailment to me, although I have not had problems with my own anxiety for some time.  She has been on a special renal diet for many years, kidney problems were always going to surface at the end and urinary tract infections emerged.  Once again a condition I have suffered from throughout my adult life.  Like I said, uncanny similarities!

With countless trips to the vet in the early stages as a protocol was established eventually I was supporting her from home as I mastered the art of injecting fluids every second day and administering countless tablets to keep her comfortable.  Mixing up special, tempting food concoctions, rearranging my apartment ensuring she had everything she needed in easy reach, rocking and cradling her to sleep in the wee hours. It has been a 24/7 commitment and responsibility I take very seriously.  And even now looking back I still don’t feel I did enough.

The magic that steroids provide kept her with me for an additional two months.  However, there are consequences for dependence on such a drug as they put additional strain on an already weakened renal system.  I learned to be grateful for each passing day but knew it was only a matter of time.  So hard to know when the right time is; doing it too soon could rob you of some of the last happy days together.  Doing it too late could rob her of dignity as well as enduring pain and suffering.  And I learned that what comes with this emotional roller coaster ride is good days and bad; a glimmer of hope of recovery, only to be dashed with a bad day.  Everyone kept telling me you will know when, she will tell you.  I didn’t believe anyone until it happened..

Pet ownership is a huge responsibility.
  It is a lifetime responsibility and needs to be treated with the same respect as any family member.   It is not just about the joy of welcoming a new puppy or kitten into your home and the following adult years when times are good and life is easy.  It is in the senior years that loyalty must be repaid, stepping up and going the extra mile during the bad times, looking after your pet as you would a dying parent or child, being there until the very end no matter how hard it gets.  I was determined to repay 20 years of loyalty and “whatever it takes” was my motto, as my heart broke on a daily basis.  I surprised myself as to what I actually could do; if you had told me a year ago I would be injecting fluids into my angel I would have said I never could.  We are all capable of heroic actions when circumstances warrant and when our loved ones lives depend on us.  I have compromised my training, my sleep, my job and my finances to nurse her through and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Another important factor in responsible pet ownership, in my opinion, is a long term relationship with your veterinarian.  I have been seeing Dr Steve Anich at Drummoyne Veterinary Hospital for 10 years!  He knows both Sasha and I very well.  I initially made the decision on the 6th of February to put her down.  Steve overrode my decision advising that there were still a number of treatments available, that she was not suffering and I got an additional 2 months!  I have been truly blessed to have the support of the most amazing vet through this ordeal.  A vet I trust explicitly and whose guidance not only allowed me extra time but enabled me to support my girl in ways I didn’t think I was capable of.  It has been a roller coaster beyond belief and I do not know how I would have coped without his and his teams support.  From his in-depth knowledge, to his compassion, understanding and patience.  Thank you just doesn’t seem enough for the enormous role he has played in both mine and Sasha’s life.

My life will never be the same without my princess.  I have been blessed with an angel watching over me for so long.  I know she will continue to and we will be together again soon.  My only consolation is that she is finally at peace.  I hold on to the vision of her final days to try and reassure myself that it was definitely time and I pray that she didn’t suffer as hard as I tried to prevent it.

I have owned a few cats in my time but the connection I had with Sasha I can only describe as to that of a soul mate. Every day when I walk through the door to a silent, empty apartment my heart breaks all over again.  I thought I was prepared after nearly 3 months of watching her every move and anticipating the end.  There is nothing that can prepare you for this excruciating pain.  I hope the daily crying stops soon.

Goodbye my gorgeous girl.  I love you with all my heart and soul.  Thank you so much for your unconditional love for so long.   So many people say how lucky you were to have had a Mum like me, but the truth is that I am the lucky one.  I feel honoured to have shared my life with you.  I miss you so very much.  xoxo

Nourish your Mind

Magic in Your Mind

March 2016

“You were born to do more than just go to work, pay bills and die.”

Part of my journey of awakening over the last few years has opened my eyes to concepts that I had never explored or studied in depth before.  I had been exposed to them in various forms but never really understood them until recently.  The Secret was released 10 years ago this year.  When it first came out I watched it over and over convinced I had found the answer to my misery.  I did a number of the exercises and recommendations only to be disappointed. My life didn’t change; what was I doing wrong? At least I was given the opportunity to watch such a movie; I am not sure that many seek out this type of information as clearly if more people were utilising this power then the world would not be in such a bad place!

Only 3% of the population (who happen to be the rich and successful population) are aware of this power and, believe it or not, we all have this incredible power within our own minds.  We allow ourselves to be exposed to extreme negativity through all media channels and wonder why life is so hard.  We choose to allow ourselves to be influenced and swept along like sheep that will eventually threaten life as we know it.  Climate change is now no longer a fantasy but a fact.

One of the many techniques I use to strengthen my mind, to stay focused and disciplined for my diet and training, and to bring about the life I want is to listen to, watch, read and study a few motivational and inspirational gurus. There were numerous people featured in The Secret, all of who individually preach the same message; some resonate with me more than others.  Equally I go through different phases of focusing on one and then returning to another.  I have learnt to listen to my intuition of which motivational speaker will support me at any given time.

They all have a different way of conveying the same message; of how to use this powerful mind that we have been gifted, of how their journey has led them to incredible success utilising this power.  Sometimes I am learning from a book written a very long time ago on living your dream life.  Or I am listening to already successful people such as Oprah, who understand and have utilised this power so well. Or I am listening to a more spiritual form whereby spirit is actually communicating to us of these universal laws that we have access to within our own minds.

The thing is, this power is available to all of us.  It is not luck that these successful people have such a dream life; they create it!  They deliberately create it and they do it with their mind.  Think about the modern conveniences we have today such as electricity, the car or aeroplane; where do you think the seeds of these history altering inventions started?  They all started out as an idea in a human beings mind.  They all started out with a human being believing, without a shadow of a doubt, that their idea would come to fruition.  Against all odds they believed.  You don’t think Henry Ford was not ridiculed for his idea of developing a motor car…?

I am not suggesting that you are intended to create something to change the way we live life (if you believe you can, you will!) I am just encouraging you to take an interest in this information if your life is not the ideal life you want it to be; if your dream life alludes you.  If you haven’t got the money, the relationship, the career or whatever is lacking in your life.  Open your mind to where anything is possible.  Because anything is actually possible!  We hear of miracles happening all the time; what makes you think it can’t happen to you?  It is your belief in your own mind that prevents this “luck” from appearing in your own life.

It is imperative in order to be successful with these theories to obtain some control over your monkey mind.  This information did not get through to me when I was living the life of a party girl, drinking, socialising, out every weekend and having no appreciation of my own thoughts. That is what I was doing wrong! It is space, silent space, alone space, being present in the moment space, that is when these lessons start to resonate.  That is when ideas are formulated. Not while the mind is busy, busy, busy.

I know what you are thinking; I don’t have the time…  I really don’t have much time in my day either with a full time job, heavy training schedule, food prep, adequate sleep, life admin.  We all have hectic busy lives.  But I make the time to expose myself to this positive influence every day if I can.  I choose to influence my mind with this positivity rather than the constant stream of negativity from the media.   For me this is my commute time.  There is time in your day if you choose to prioritise your time accordingly.  Is Facebook or TV more important than propelling you towards your dream life?

I know what you are thinking next.  This is a load of hooey and it won’t work for me.  It is only for the lucky ones, the intelligent, the gifted, the whatever.  You have heard the rags to riches stories; what makes you think it can’t be you?  You don’t think Anthony Robbins or Oprah were born into their current life…?  There are people that were once homeless who are now hugely rich and successful.  They didn’t win Lotto, they didn’t inherit a large sum of money; they all used the one thing that we all already have.  Their mind.

I am currently going through a Bob Proctor phase.  The way he speaks really resonates with me at the moment.  He is not too spiritual, he shares the information with such passion and in depth knowledge that has you believing 100%, he speaks in a way that is easy to follow and understand.  His teachings are based on a few authors, with some written many years ago.  Napoleon Hill and Earl Nightingale to name a couple.

If you are destined to be in enlightened in this lifetime you will at some point be drawn to this information.  All happy and successful people are.  Even if you are not ready I would still strongly encourage you to click on this link and watch Bob in action. I am also an affiliate and endorse his work.  I don’t do many endorsements; I am a pretty hard marker just quietly… If you undertake any of Bob’s programs I know that it will be a game changer.

There are a few others that I rotate through; Dr Joe VitaleEster & Jerry Hicks and John Assaraf are my regulars.  The number of these influential gurus is growing and I would encourage you to find one that resonates with you.  Watching The Secret is a good place to start.

Life is not meant to be lived in mediocrity.  Why do too many of us settle for an ordinary life?  We were not born to just join the rat race, work the 9 to 5 grind, pay bills and die. I am always astounded at the unhappy faces I see on the bus on their way to a job they hate.  5 out of 7 days of their week they hate; that is around 70% of their life.  This is not living!  I know it seems impossible when the bills are piling up, believe me I have been there!  And while I am not quite there yet I know I am definitely on the road to living a life I LOVE!  And I am doing all I can to get there.

What do you want?  What do you really want?  What are you doing to get it?  What are you doing to improve your life?  To fulfil your dreams?

 “Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and drive through traffic in a car you are still paying for in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.”

Ellen Goodman

Nourish your Body

My Top 10 Pro-Aging Tips

January 2016

“We are all going to age and soften and mellow and transition. All of us. If we are lucky. There are plenty of things to be anti about. Anti-discrimination, anti-drug, anti-oppression, anti-poverty, anti-sickness. Aging shouldn’t be one of them. We need to become pro-aging and embrace the opportunities that aging provides.”

Jamie Lee-Curtis

When I told someone my age the other day the shock horror that pursued had me more than smiling 🙂  They estimated my age as mid-30s, 40 at a push.  Wow!  I turn 50 in 2016!

The fact that I even told someone my age is such a different Jane of years gone by.  I have lied about my age for nearly 3 decades; always wanting to be younger, fighting the aging process and doing everything I could within my financial means to ensure that wrinkles and sun damage were erased.  I have not gone to huge extremes due to cost but I have tried IPL, Fraxel and Thermage but all of these treatments to be effective require ongoing sessions which I could never afford.   I have, however, up until the last 18 months, always included Botox in my budget with quarterly injections.  All these treatments are VERY painful!  And yet you won’t find any of the clinics offering these services that are not running huge profits.   Does it really have to be this hard and costly?

As women we are under constant pressure to not just be slim but we are also supposed to keep our youthful complexion.   With constant bombardment from the media of beautiful, thin, youthful women is it any wonder we have developed these anti-aging complexes that undermine our self-worth.  Gosh I saw a picture of Jennifer Lopez the other day at 46 looking 25!  And we all know that Elle looks amazing still and she is my age 🙂  It is great that these women look so awesome and provided it has been achieved naturally…  then good on them!  But as celebrities with never ending supplies of cash you have to wonder how they have maintained their looks.  How can we possibly compete?  And more importantly, why do we feel we have to?!

For me now as I stare down the barrel at 50 I feel more energetic than I have in years, my skin literally glows, my nails grow so strong and long they not only annoy me they are painful if I don’t get them cut, my hair is nearly back to its youthful length,  I still don’t have any fillings in my teeth,  I stopped having Botox 18 months ago as I swear I have seen wrinkles disappear,  the bottoms of my feet are silky smooth with no hard skin in sight, my eyes are bright and clear, I never get sick and feel incredibly healthy and have so much energy I cant sit still!  I am gaining muscle in the gym and I still have that bikini body I competed with 3 years ago.   And while my motivation is no longer about vanity but about premium health and longevity I now have a passion to maintain this state of being well into my 90s!  Who wouldn’t?!

So how do I defy aging and look nowhere near my biological age?  Yes; I know I don’t have kids…  but it is a lot more than that.  And I am sure if you incorporate even a few of the following tips you would see an improvement in your skin and complexion.  A lot of these tips were on recent blog my top 10 health tips but are worth mentioning again with a pro-aging perspective.

  1. Eat Clean – Yep; you cant get around the fact that if you want glowing, youthful skin it all starts with what goes in your mouth. The food you eat is what your body uses to regenerate itself; the nutrients from your food is the fuel that ends up in every cell of your body including your skin. What is eating clean? If it was recently alive then eat it ie. plant or animal. If it comes in a package, box, jar, bottle, can ie. made by man, don’t! Eating clean is going back to our primal diet of fresh everything. Go organic where ever you can on this one; there are so many additives to conventional food that even if you are eating clean you are still exposing yourself to toxins.
  2. Hydrate  There is no getting around the water factor either. You have heard it many times now from a health, well-being and weight loss perspective but it will also improve your skin tone. Dehydration in the skin shows with dryness and flakiness; dry skin is less resilient and more prone to wrinkling. Water is the very vehicle that delivers nutrients to the skin and with all your clean eating if you are not drinking adequate water then the goodness is not getting to where it is needed. Water is also the vehicle for waste removal; with the incredible amount of toxins our bodies endure flushing out through urine is critical. How much should you drink? 2 litres minimum and more if you are exercising.
  3. Zzzzzzz’s  Lack of sleep is the quickest way for your skin to look older. While we sleep the body repairs damage and rejuvenates.The time when all those nutrients are used to repair your body. It is also the time that growth hormone and melatonin is produced. The latter is claimed to be the anti-aging hormone. Adequate sleep also reduces cortisol, the stress hormone. Stress causes the skin to wrinkle and loose collagen and elasticity. I get 9 hours a night! As it is when my muscles grow but try and aim for 7-8 hours every night.
  4. Sun Avoidance – I used to worship the sun and had a deep, golden tan for 8 months of the year. I never wore sunscreen…. Baby oil was more my style! You would think after 38 years of baking myself I would be a wrinkled prune but thanks to my current lifestyle I am reversing the damage. I now avoid the sunbaking scene and will enjoy the sun for a walk only with a hat and sunscreen. Avoiding the sun is a no brainer for pro-aging!
  5. Sup it Up – Our food supply and the soil we grow our produce in is nowhere near the same quality of only a generation ago. Not to mention all the additives, antibiotics and pesticides. So even if you are eating organic clean, whole food you will still need some sort of supplementation. From a pro-aging perspective these are the sups that work for me. COQ10, fish oil, probiotic, turmeric and Biotin. I also include an antioxidant to assist my body to eliminate toxins with glutathione and green tea extract being the ones I take at the moment.
  6. Super Foods – Although the term super food is a marketing tool rather than a category of food and every nutritionist, dietician, health expert will have a different view of what is included, the term is useful in describing above average nutritional value food. For me, the super foods that I include that contribute to my youthful looks would be bone broth, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and bi-carb soda, coconut oil, green tea, green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach, nuts with an emphasis on walnuts.
  7. Avoid Alcohol – None….I don’t drink at all anymore which is HUGE for me. Alcohol accelerates the aging process due to the dehydration affect, excessive additional toxins and affects the body’s ability to eliminate those toxins, not to mention the effect on your general health. Did you know I am allowed red wine on competition day due to the diuretic effect it has? Alcohol will see you having to drink twice as much water to compensate!
  8. Avoid Smoking – this in an obvious one..but need to mention it. I don’t think I need to go into details on this one…Quickest way to bring on the aging process is to smoke!
  9. Avoid Sugar – sugar has an oxidant affect which is the opposite effect of an antioxidant. Antioxidants help the body eliminate toxins. Sugar therefore increases your toxic load which quickens the aging process.
  10. Beauty Products – it takes 26 seconds for the chemicals in your moisturiser, soap, make up, sunscreen, deodorant, perfume, whatever you put on your skin, to enter your blood stream. Have a read of the ingredients list; would you eat them? So why would you put them on your skin…? Go organic, paraben free, alcohol free, fragrance free, chemical free etc. etc. and stop believing the incredibly clever marketing of the beauty industry. I am astounded at the promises made to eliminate wrinkles simply with a chemically laden, very expensive night cream. It seriously is rubbish.  I use organic rose hip oil at night.
  11. Exercise – many would say this is the number one pro-aging tip. It is no mistake that all athletes look younger than their years. It relieves stress, improves circulation (which improves the skin), improves bone density, strengthens the heart, etc. etc. You know this!
  12. Self Confidence!  I have left this one until last but it is my far the biggest factor to my youthful appearance. I am now comfortable in my own skin, I am no longer trying to hide the real Jane nor lie about my age. Happiness and contentment with where you are in life is the one of the most attractive traits a women can have. Yes I know this is a tough one; it took me 46 years to work it out!

We are all aging, every day, and there is nothing anyone can do about it.  The quicker you can accept that growing older is actually a privilege denied to many, that it brings all sorts of personal rewards, wisdom, peace, enjoyment and satisfaction, the quicker you will slow down the aging process.  I am now so damn proud of my age!  Can you say that…?

“There is a fountain of youth; it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will have truly defeated age.”

Sophia Loren

Nourish your Body

Have you been Doctored?

December 2015

“We have been taught our whole lives to be consumers of modern medicine.”

Dr Andrew Saul

Why is it we believe whatever a doctor says is gospel?  Why is it that doctors are put on a pedestal by society that their opinion is taken as fact?   How often do you seek out a second opinion after you have received a diagnosis?   How often have you blindly accepted the prescription written out for you and just taken the pills because the doctor told you to…?

I am not a fan of the medical profession….   Modern medicine certainly has its place particularly in emergency situations or if surgery is required however most doctors simply treat symptoms (usually with drugs) and rarely do they dig deeper to find the underlying cause (how can they when they give you 15 minutes…)  They also, like all of us, have certain beliefs and views which are based on the particular line of study they have chosen to undertake.

Prior to the marvels of modern medicine what we now call “alternate” medicine was the only way to treat any ailment or illness.  Using herbs and food was all our ancestors had available to resolve health issues and in many cases they did.  There is no doubt that with the advent of modern medicine (which was only some  200 years ago by the way) we have now conquered many fatal diseases however outside fatal there is still very much a firm place for addressing some health issues simply through food and supplementation.  How often do we consider this first?

Some doctors have provided us, and continue to provide us, with truly miraculous cures and back in the 1800s they would have appeared to be gods.  Just imagine 1,000s of people dying of the plague and then a doctor comes along with a cure that stops nearly all deaths!  Perhaps this is the reason that we have elevated all doctors to this god like status.

Recently I had a little medical issue with the women’s only area of the body as all us girls encounter at some time in our life.  I do have a wonderful GP that I have seen for 5 years within a medical practise that I have attended for 10 years.  Yes; despite my view on the medical profession I do believe it is important for my health to have a good doctor that knows me and my medical history.  I rarely visit the doctor’s office but as my health is my number one priority in life when I do need a doctor I want it to be the best possible.

My doctor is not one to try and diagnose outside her capacity as a GP and will refer me on to a specialist immediately without delay if she feels I need a more specialist care.   She also refers me to the best of the best; she is well connected and keeps up to date with her profession to ensure quality referrals and care for her patients.  She also ensures I have all the necessary tests done prior to my specialist’s appointment so bloods, ultrasound etc.  She’s a good doctor!  Of course she is, she is my doctor 🙂

I waited 6 weeks for my gynecologist appointment.   Who looked at my test results asked me a few questions gave me only one option to resolve my issues, which was a hysterectomy, and then proceeded to tell me that as I am a bodybuilder she would not touch me!  She advised that it would seriously damage my pelvic floor which would make lifting heavy very difficult for me.  Really?  This is all in a matter of 15 minutes!

I walked out seriously confused and perplexed.  With the issues I was having there was potential that I would not be able to achieve my fitness goals for 2016 and yet if I take the only option offered to me I would not achieve my goals anyway.

This wasn’t the first time the medical profession had told me that my weight lifting days were over.  Back in 2013 prior to my second competition I was told the same thing.  My knees were causing me so much pain I was having difficulty with every day activities like going to the bathroom….  I went to bed every night with pain killers and ice.  I was having 10 glucose injections in each knee weekly plus physio, baths; I was in serious pain!  I was told I had knees of an 80 year old and the only solution was two knee replacements and that my training would consist of swimming for the rest of my life.  Pfffffft!

Prior to the internet access to alternate treatments, opinions, options could only be obtained by seeking out a second opinion.   We even call it opinion rather than fact and yet we rarely seek it out!  I know googling symptoms is not always a pleasant experience but given we now have access to endless amounts of information on any topic why do we not use it?   Seeing a second specialist can be a serious hassle; obtaining another referral, waiting for the appointment, the cost, etc.  But isn’t our health kinda worth it?

I started asking around a few people both in the fitness and alternate therapy field and was receiving conflicting information.   If you ask enough people about any illness or ailment you will receive conflicting information and this alone should warrant seeking second opinions and further investigation rather than just accepting what the first doctor you see recommends shouldn’t it?  Doctors are no different to all of us, they have their own beliefs and views and really, unless your life is in danger or you need surgery isn’t it worth obtaining an opinion from someone who doesn’t administer drugs for a living? (and often gets paid commission from the drug companies…)

I decided to go back to my GP and ask for another referral.  Lucky for me my doctor knows me well; she knows I am just a tad determined and tenacious when it comes to my training 🙂  And to point, it is always good to have a GP that not only knows your health but knows your character.    So with the knowledge that maybe a hysterectomy is needed she refers me to the Head of Gynaecology at a private hospital.

Yes; more time to wait, yes more expense, as I am a private patient, but I would rather spend the money on the best health care possible than a Prada handbag….  Or the latest iPhone 6…  And for me, I needed to explore all avenues before I was prepared to give up my fitness goals.

So my new gynecologist looked at my ultrasound results, blood tests and gave me two options to resolve my issues…  With a hysterectomy being the last resort!  He explained that just whipping out organs is an old school approach and he would recommend a much smaller, less evasive, less expensive, day surgery procedure prior to making a decision on a hysterectomy.  He also recommended that given my symptoms are escalating rapidly that the procedure be done sooner rather than later.    And on the point of damaging my pelvic floor, for either option, and giving up weight lifting?  He responded professionally but I could see in his facial reaction that he thought the first opinion was complete waffle.   He said your pelvic floor is intact as you have not had children and he could assure me he would be keeping it that way…

Just think of the impact to me, my body and my life if I had accepted the first opinion.  In this case, I could not turn to alternate medicine to resolve my issues however I can still ensure the medical profession is working for my best interests.    If you have not watched the documentary Doctored yet I highly recommend you do.   The truth about the pharmaceutical industry and the influence they have on the medical profession will shock you.  Click here to watch now!

“The medical profession just treat disease. They don’t go back to the primary cause of a lot of things, because they can’t.”

Dr Ian Brighthope from Food Matters

Self Worth

Facebook Free Life

November 2015

Has Facebook become yet another addiction like TV?  Could you go a week without logging in?  Or even longer?  If not, why not…?

If you have read my previous blog on a Media Free Diet you will know that I very rarely watch the news or expose myself to anything in main stream media and the reasons why I have made this choice.  Click here to read.

Recently after yet another major negative event that the media cleverly provoked emotions and a frenzy of opinions I began to realise that Facebook was becoming another platform for this negative influence on me.  I don’t have to watch the news as I only need scroll through my Facebook feed to find out what is going on and worse that we are even more influenced by the media that we now feel the need to voice our opinion on hot topics that the media have chosen to sensationalise to attract viewers.  Aren’t we just regurgitating the opinion of the media?  There are always two sides to every story; do we ever research other aspects of the story before voicing our view?  Or are we just believing that A Current Affair is reporting the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth….? And where does this incredible need to voice our opinion so publicly come from?  Just because we have this forum doesn’t mean we have to wade into the debate of the day?  I think another one of my blogs on why insecurities are so loud would be appropriate to mention here.  Click here to read.

Unlike my divorce from main stream media I made a conscious decision that I would stop voicing my own misguided opinion, stop posting on Facebook,  and I even took it one step further and stopped logging in unless answering private messages.   I grew up in an age with no mobile phones, no Google, no internet and certainly no Facebook.   I used to ride my bike to my friends place to catch up or pick up the phone to actually speak to my friends.   How have we slipped into this virtual relationship with all our friends and family?  Am I just getting old?  Are these old fashioned values gone forever?

“Heavy Facebook use has been known to cause anxiety, depression, narcissism, sleeping problems and even stomach aches” Dr Larry Rosen has done numerous studies and has written extensively on this topic.  More here.

Just like giving up main stream media I had no idea the impact that social media was having on me until I removed it from my life.  And the personal growth and time I have discovered since has truly transformed my life!

Here is what I have learned from my Facebook free life:

  1. Time and Space.  The universe loves space; it creates a vacuum to be filled and depending on where you are in your journey of personal growth you will find inspiration of how to fill in this time.  Hopefully not with TV….  but spend that hour a day you used to spend on Facebook in the real world.  Read a book.  Talk to a friend.  Play with your pet.  Go for a walk.  Bake a cake. Cook a gourmet meal.  Volunteer.  Find a new hobby.  Enrol in a short course.  Study.  Join a Meetup group and make new friends. Make a list of your goals and work towards them.  I realise that many use their commute to log into Facebook but even this time can be used more productively cant it?  Listen to a podcast, listen to an inspirational speaker, read a book?  For me I was led to further my knowledge and education on a subject that I have been ignoring for too long; a whole new world and future has opened up for me and I am so excited!
  2. True Friends. We seem to have created more online friends than real life friends.  Are we all caught up in some virtual game?  Maybe I am showing my age here but surely talking with, meeting up with, seeing in the flesh friends are more valuable than people who only comment on your photo of your breakfast or your latest check in?  Your true friends will make time for you outside Facebook and won’t rely on status updates to find out about your life.  Why do we put these virtual friends before the true friends in our life?
  3. Sense of Self.  Facebook can have a huge impact on your self-esteem if you are reliant on ‘likes’ and comments to your posts.  And worse Facebook only rewards you with more visibility for your posts depending on the number of likes you get!  Did you know that on a business Facebook page hardly any fans see the posts unless there are ‘likes’ and comments?  Otherwise you have to pay for your post to be seen!  So it’s no wonder we base our sense of self or popularity on how many likes we get.  Isn’t this constantly seeking approval from others?  Doesn’t this promote constant competition? And why is it some people keep re-posting their popular photos of themselves so we see it again and they can receive a new round of ‘likes’ and comments; do they need constant re-enforcement from the same photo?   I tell you I am very glad I grew up without Facebook; so much additional pressure for teenagers!  To look good, to have the latest fashion, to be slim….  Give up the need to participate in the self-promotion rat race, focus on yourself and stop comparing yourself to everyone in your news feed.
  4. Sense of Calm.  The quieter you become, the more you can hear…  We spend a tremendous amount of time distracting ourselves from ourselves.  The TV or radio is always on and then we log into Facebook to further distract ourselves.  But aren’t we distracting ourselves from our own life?  Is our own life so boring or not worth our attention that we need to escape into a virtual world?  It is amazing what inspiration comes to mind when you allow silence to become a part of your life.  If you are constantly distracted how will you come up with that great new idea? There is so much noise out there when you choose to limit the amount of influence it has on you and put your peace of mind ahead of keeping updated on what so and so did for the weekend your life will become calmer, more peaceful and less stressful!
  5. Let go of the Past.  Facebook can be a terrific tool to connect with long, lost friends and to stay connected to friends and family all over the world.  However we all have skeletons in the closet; ask yourself what good it does you to say connected to people that have had a negative impact on your or your life.  How do you feel when you see something in your news feed from “that” old boy/girlfriend?  Do we really need to carry around 1,000 odd friends with us for the rest of our lives?  How many people on your friends list do you really want to still be friends with?  I have no problems in defriending those that I don’t feel enrich my life in a positive way.  Life is always changing, we are always changing and growing.  Nothing stands still.  Let go of the past and focus on the present!

There is no doubt that Facebook is a wonderful tool for staying connected and sharing news and photos easily.  And if you are active on pages that provide positive and motivational quotes and inspiration it can certainly be a good influence.  There can be positives however in an age where low self-esteem is rampant and we struggle with time to cook good food and exercise….  Ask yourself if anything I have written in this blog has provoked some emotion in you?  And why that is. Leave me a comment below.

“Do not let another day go by where your dedication to other people’s opinion is greater than your dedication to your own emotions! Journey through your day without attachment to the validation of others.”

Dr Steve Maraboli

Nourish your Body

Health is Wealth

October 2015

“Today, more than 95% of all chronic disease is caused by food choice, toxic food ingrediants, nutritional deficiencies and lack of physical exercise”

Mike Adams – Hungry for Change

Have you factored in additional savings for retirement to cover health care costs? I am serious. You may have planned for a certain level of income when you retire but have you added additional savings for potential health care costs?  Or are you going to rely on the overloaded Medicare system?  Or maybe the aim should be to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible….?

​I grew up in an age where we worshiped the sun.   I was taken to the beach every weekend in the summer where my mother would sun bake and us kids would play.  All day mind you.  Sunscreen was never used, rather we would lather ourselves in baby oil to ensure a deeper, faster tan.    This later morphed into me being an adult obsessed with having a tan and I was a no sunscreen beach bunny for some 38 years.  Being tanned in summer was a must; you were considered unhealthy if you weren’t. 

​Today, although many still seek out a tan, we are warned and educated of the connection between skin cancer and sun exposure.  Government funded as well as businesses promoting sunscreen products are everywhere you turn during the summer months.  Schools now insist on children wearing hats to protect from the sun in the playground.  So where was all this hullabaloo when I was a child?

​Go back to my parents’ generation and they were brought up to believe that smoking was cool.  It projected an image of confidence and charisma; everyone smoked!   Gosh even when I started working in the mid 80’s we all had ash trays on our desks!  Smoking was socially acceptable and once again a part of life.  So where was all the truly disgusting warnings of the dangers of smoking we have today?

​I highlight these two examples to not only show how society has changed but also how heavily influenced we are by marketing, advertising and the media.  The medical community may have been aware of the dangers of excessive sun exposure and smoking but it wasn’t until too many of us starting getting seriously ill and dying that the messages we were being given were forced to change.  I think we are all well aware of the legal issues tobacco companies have faced.

The current wave of misleading messages comes from the food industry and we are now beginning to see the repercussions and serious illness of a poor diet.  Serious repercussions!   The technological age we now live in has seen us demand everything in life faster and faster; this includes food preparation.  We no longer have the time our grandparents did to prepare a healthy, wholesome meal from scratch so we grab a frozen TV dinner or packet noodles or canned whatever or take away on the way home.   But who is policing the ingredients of this fast food?  The business who is trying to profit from your purchase….?  How do you really know there is nothing harmful in this man-made, processed, manufactured, pretend food?   Does the manufacturer even know?  Do you recognise and understand all the substances that are on the ingredient list?

“The problem is we are not eating food anymore, we are eating food like substances.”

Dr Alejandro Junger

​We tend to forget that our bodies are almost identical to our stone age ancestors.  Do you recall seeing supermarkets and packaged food in the history books….?  And while the human race has come a long, long way our bodies have not modified much for thousands of years.   Our poor bodies just don’t know how to digest and process all these foreign substances.   You have to give it to this incredible, miraculous machine we own though; it tries damn hard to process all these toxins, some it does and some it stores until it can figure out how to.  And guess where most of these toxins are stored….?  In your fat cells!  And the body will create more fat cells to store more toxins…  And it is not just toxins in food our bodies are trying to cope with; its chemicals in cosmetics, deodorants, hair dye, cleaning products, air fresheners, air pollution..  the list goes on and on!  If you are not taking supplements to assist, consciously adding detox regimes into your routine and exercising regularly then over time these toxins are now causing these chronic diseases.

​Disseminating this knowledge to the general public however is not yet main stream.  In my opinion there are a few reasons for this.  Doctors are not really educated in nutrition, they are trained to diagnose and cure symptoms and once they have a diagnosis we are then given more toxins aka drugs to try and combat whatever ails us.  And we blindly take whatever pill we are prescribed.    We have been brought up to put our utmost faith in everything a doctor says and prescribes.  Prior to the internet the only way to obtain a second opinion was to actually see another doctor.  Now we have this wonderful tool called Google where we can research and get information from thousands of doctors and studies and also research alternate treatments.  And yet we still choose to believe the one doctor we go to.  Shouldn’t taking drugs be the last resort…?  Unless of course your life is in immediate danger. 

“We have been taught our whole lives to be consumers of modern medicine.”

Dr Andrew Saul

Once again in this age of immediacy we are always looking for a quick fix.  Drugs have provided us with near instant pain relief, soldiering on when we have the cold or flu and so many other magic pills that allow us to continue life because we don’t have time to be sick.  I know I am certainly guilty of indulging in pain killers to ensure I can keep training!  But with the immerging warnings about resistance to antibiotics have we not abused this modern day dare I say luxury?  Maybe if we improved our health through proper nutrition and didn’t get sick we wouldn’t need so many drugs?

Or maybe we are just not ready to hear this information; change is hard!  And lets face it, we have created a life where we are all so time poor that making the effort to eat real, whole food is too difficult.  I spend a couple of hours on a Sunday preparing my food for the week.  I get up very early to not only train but to ensure I cook my breakfast from scratch and cut up my food fresh for the day ahead.  And the dishes….  I seem to spend my life with my hands in rubber gloves!

And then there is the cost… Packaged processed food is cheap!  We have designed our budget around this food and as organic whole food is not yet mainstream (it used to be!) it is more expensive.   Most people are horrified at the amount of money I spend on food and supplements.  But I don’t see food as something I spend money on; I see it as an investment in my body.   It is my insurance policy so I not only don’t have adsorbent health care costs in my senior years but that I have quality of life.  Plus I enjoy premium, illness free health now, as much energy as I had when I was 20 and I seriously don’t look anywhere near 50 if I do say so myself 🙂

​I think another factor is taste.  You would be amazed at how many things I make myself swallow for the sake of my health.  I sometimes gag when I have my apple cider vinegar I hate it so much! But I still have it every single day.  We have become a society where food is only about taste.  I am not saying that good food tastes bad because it certainly doesn’t!  But I hear all the time I don’t eat green vegetables I don’t like them, I hate the taste of _____ fill in the blank.   Is the wide range of food we have so easily available not another modern day luxury?  What if we wound back the clock and you could only grow, catch and kill your own food….?  If your life depended on it would you not eat that brussel sprout?  Sorry to break the news to you but your life kinda does depend on it!

​The momentum is slowly building and the quote attached to this blog is from Food Matters who have created a movement to educate and inform.  But until there is more regulation in the food industry and there are warnings on processed manufactured food as there is for sun exposure and cigarettes we are continually being bombarded with clever, confusing marketing to persuade us to eat more crap.

Please take the time to watch some of the movies from Food Matters.  Hungry for Change and Food Matters are their main movies and are really worth a look. And the founders are Australian!

So next time you decide to spend some of your savings on a Prada handbag or Jimmy Choo shoes or the latest iPhone 6 have a think about your priorities.  Are they for short term satisfaction and entertainment or a long term investment for your future self?   What sort of quality of life do you want in your senior years?  When would be a good time to start preserving your health?  Now while you still are young? Or later when things have already started to break down….?

“Remind yourself that health is wealth. And should you lose yours, NOTHING will be more important than getting it back.”

Robin Sharma

Nourish your Mind

12 Strategies for Dealing with Toxic People

September 2015

Dealing with toxic people is never easy, especially when it can be a close relationship, family member or colleague.  I seem to have been blessed with many in my time; I say blessed as without the challenges I have faced with these difficult relationships I would not have reached the self-awareness I now have of my own short comings and the realisation that I used to be a toxic person myself!

Lets start with what is a toxic person.   We know that being around toxic people has a negative impact on us, and often in subtle ways that we don’t even realise, but what defines a toxic person? I actually don’t think that the person is toxic but more their behaviour is toxic to you and/or their relationship with you.  And they may not be toxic to everyone depending on where others are in their spiritual journey.  More often than not the person is either deeply wounded and/or struggles with a lack of self-worth.  It is important to realise that their behaviour is not about you but about their own internal demons that they have yet to form an awareness of and may never.    And I would hazard a guess that most people don’t even realise that their behaviour is toxic due to this lack of self-awareness.

Typical behaviour can include:

  • Creating drama in their lives or be surrounded by it (this was me!)
  • Trying to manipulate or control others (making you feel guilty)
  • Being needy (constantly needing contact with you)
  • Talking about themselves endlessly (its all about them all of the time)
  • Use others to meet their needs (only contacting you when it suits them or they want something)
  • Overly and openly critical and judgemental of you and others (talks about others behind their backs constantly)
  • Bemoaning their bad luck (which they consistently attract)
  • Moody (one minute nice & cheerful the next minute sullen & rude) (me again!)

They are also usually in poor health and/or get sick often as a negative approach to life does not align with premium health and negativity generally manifests physically.  

It is important to realise that you play a role in toxic interactions Your reaction can either fuel or diffuse the toxicity; if you are self-aware and prepared to take on the challenge you may just be able to either change the behaviour and/or provide support to guide them to a better place in life.   Note I said change the behaviour, actually changing someone is near impossible all you can do is change your reaction to their behaviour.  You only have control of you! 

It is important to recognise the signs, if you cant define the affect it is having on you it is difficult to do anything about it.  Here are is a list of signals you may have a toxic relationship in your life:

  • You find yourself emotionally affected and/or getting involved with their drama
  • You dread or even fear being around them
  • You are exhausted or feel angry while with them or after the interaction
  • You feel bad or ashamed about yourself ie. it is affecting your own self worth
  • You are stuck in a cycle of trying to rescue, fix or care for them
  • When you are with them you feel like you are walking on eggshells
  • You lash out because you feel misunderstood or not listened to and arguments go round in circles
  • You withdraw and find yourself hiding your true self to either please and/or keep the peace. (I have spent my whole life doing this one!)

So what can you do about it?  I have to confess there is no easy way and I seem to take a different approach depending on the behaviour and relationship.   Here are my top 12 strategies for dealing with toxic relationships;

  1. Set Boundaries.  You can’t please everyone in this life and toxic people will have you believing that you can’t please anyone so you end up trying harder, compromising more, working harder to keep the peace; it’s exhausting!  Take the time to clarify exactly what you will and won’t tolerate and why.   Listen to that voice inside of you that tells you when something is not right, it is rarely wrong.  It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of what is right and wrong; trust yourself and own it!  Now you are prepared in advance of what you will and won’t tolerate.
  2. You don’t need to explain. No is a complete sentence and can be a very powerful response on its own. You don’t need to justify yourself, make excuses or try and explain yourself to someone who is committed to misunderstanding you. As soon as you go into explanations you are opening yourself up to an argument. Say no and be done with the conversation.
  3. Self-Control. This comes with self-awareness. You really don’t have to participate in every argument you are invited to. You don’t have to react to every feeling or emotion you have. I call this emotional maturity! Creating conflict is often the only way toxic people know how to connect; it makes them feel noticed and important. Learn self-control, practice tip one and two and save your energy for the people that matter.
  4. Practice self-compassion. Often after or during an interaction we feel bad; irritated or angry, depressed or drained, ashamed or unhappy which in turn raises cortisol which is not good for our health. As an introvert, I need time alone to regain my strength, to detox from the situation and acknowledge my feelings but digging deep to not react to these feelings! Try creating a feeling of love and happiness towards yourself, pat your pet, read an inspirational book or passage, go for a walk, meditate, practice deep breathing, exercise. 
  5. Practice empathy. Be understanding, respectful and compassionate. Realise that their behavior is caused by internal suffering and have empathy for their difficulty. You can reject their behavior and requests in a respectful manner without the smart ass comments! Try and find something positive about the person (there is always something!) and focus on that. Make a list of their positive attributes. Focusing on, dwelling on and talking with others about their negative attributes is not going to help the situation and does not show compassion. (and actually makes you become a little toxic by constantly complaining about them!) Now that I can see how I projected my inner struggles on to others I see nothing but compassion for those who behave this way.
  6. Don’t RSVP to the Pity Party. Toxic people are masters at creating drama and then they wonder why they are always in a crisis. When you get the call for the latest drama don’t ask questions, remain unemotional, indifferent and don’t offer help. I know this can feel bad but remember you are not dealing with a real crisis, in fact you are not dealing with a normal person…
  7. Have an honest chat. If you can reach a place of compassion for the other person (which may take a while!), talk to them. I can appreciate this can be difficult when they are not being compassionate or peaceful towards you but be the better person. Rise above the situation. Try connecting with them, share hard times that you have been through and how you dealt with it. Ask them if they are ok? You might just get them to open up about their struggles. Or try asking them what it is they are passionate about in life, what is their favourite hobby; find something positive in their life and change the subject to that. Or maybe you could try explaining how their behaviour makes you feel in a non-accusing way; avoiding an argument at all costs!
  8. Model the behavior you want to see. Behaving badly just because someone else is behaving badly towards you is hypocritical! Don’t lower yourself to their negative level; again, be the better person, rise above the situation. Reacting negatively only adds fuel to the fire and feeds the toxicity encouraging more. Be an example of how to deal with frustration; calmly and peacefully! Remain positive in all interactions; present a positive solution to all complaints in a calm manner. Misery loves company and if you drown them with positivity it will send them for a loop! Negative people don’t take well to the conversation being abruptly changed to something positive. Put a positive spin on every remark and the next time they are looking for someone to dump their negative energy on they will bypass you!
  9. Limit one on one time. If you must see this person ensure it is in a group setting. This way you are not the only one on the receiving end of the negativity and there are others to help you absorb the negative comments. Also means you may have to avoid actually speaking to them at all!
  10. Surround yourself with positive people. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Whether we like it or not we are heavily influenced by those we allow into our space. We seem to be very selective about our partner in life and don’t use the same strict criteria for friends, family or work colleagues. Once you are friends with someone doesn’t mean you have to be for life. If you think you need to find new friends find a new hobby, be open to new friendships, try the website “Meet Up”. In a work situation my new philosophy is don’t pick the company or even the job, pick the boss and your team! If it is a family member why does blood mean you have to stay connected? It is very, very sad to realise that your family may be having a negative impact on you but it is not uncommon!
  11. Forgive. Yes; forgive them! Forgiveness is not about the other person, it is about your own inner peace. Forgiveness does not mean accepting or approving of the behavior, it simple means you let go of trying to control their behavior and its control over you. Forgiveness is about self-love and inner strength.
  12. Get out the scissors! Cutting people out of your life is harsh but sometimes you need to put your own well-being first. And it doesn’t have to be a ceremonious execution (although sometimes this is warranted!) Just stop initiating contact and be so busy with your own life and goal achieving activities that they just naturally fall away. Life is constantly moving and changing, not everyone is meant to be in your life until the end. I have pretended to be someone I am not all my life largely due to the people around me; I have fought a long and lonely road to gain my self-respect and I now I have no problems protecting it at all costs. Selfish? Damn right! You get one shot at life why waste your time on people and situations that are dragging you down!

You deserve to be happy!  You deserve to be surrounded by people who lift you up and allow you to be the best version of you possible.  Who support and encourage you, who propel you towards your goals in life who accept you just the way you are and who you can be yourself around.  Never settle for less!

“You become the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Choose wisely.”

Jim Rohn

Nourish your Body

My Top 10 Health & Weight Loss Tips

August 2015

Do you find it hard to find the motivation to eat healthy all the time and/or fit some exercise into your schedule?  When you are trying to change a lifetime of food conditioning, when we are constantly bombarded with mixed messages and clever marketing about what is healthy and what’s not, when life is so hectic in this technological age who has time to prepare food from scratch every meal AND go to the gym?! Losing weight and getting healthy just seems too confusing, too hard, too time consuming and too far out of the comfort zone! 

The extremes of my lifestyle to maintain premium health are just that; extreme!  If you do nothing else but add in a few of these things to your life they will make an ENORMOUS difference to your health and weight loss goals.  Just imagine losing weight without changing what you eat or doing any exercise! These are my top ten tips: 

  1. Hydrate!  I am sure this is not news to you..  our bodies need a minimum of 2 litres a day just to function effectively.  And yes, drinking adequate amounts of water will not only improve your health, help you control your stress levels but is scientifically proven to assist with weight loss. Try having a big glass of water before each meal and I guarantee you will eat less.  Have a big glass of water prior to your 3pm snack and see if you still snack on as much.  Too often we are actually thirsty which can come disguised as hunger. Buy a jug for your desk at work and ensure it is all gone before you leave for the day.  Buy a trendy water bottle and add it to your handbag accessories.  This one is crucial!
  2. Warm lemon juice.  Every day I start my day with half a lemon squeezed with a splash of warm water.  Health benefits to this are off the charts; weight loss, improves digestion, regulates bowel movements, cleanses skin, detoxifies the body, alkalises the body (which helps prevent cancer), reduces pain and inflammation in joints, nourishes brain and nerve cells, strengthens the liver, boosts immunity, gives you an energy boost.   You could also add a dash of bi-carb soda to make it a little more palatable as well as increasing the benefits further.   Wait half an hour before eating.
  3. Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother!) Again, health benefits are off the charts.  I dilute this one also as the taste is just a bit too much for me!  Best time to take this one is just before a meal as it will stimulate enzymes to improve digestion.  Further benefits: reduces appetite and cravings, lowers bad cholesterol, weight loss, tones, clarifies and clears the skin, detoxifies the body, alkalises the body (which helps prevent cancer), cleanses the lymph nodes, reduces heart burn, boosts immunity.  This list is exhaustive!
  4. Get more Zzzzz’s!  Not only does sleep deprivation raise cortisol it is the quickest way to grow old!  Our bodies regenerate when we sleep.  I like to get 8-9 hours a night; it is the time my muscles repair from my training and grow!  Raised cortisol is a silent contributor to weight gain and is very hard to measure.  Getting enough sleep is vital to a healthy lifestyle and managing stress.  Benefits include; weight loss, better concentration, better mood, mental clarity, anti-aging and longevity and boosts immunity.
  5. Soak in a bath.  When did taking the time to soak in a bath become a luxury?  It used to be the only way humans could bathe!  Soaking in Epsom salts, bi-carb soda and some essential oils for 20 mins will not only detox your body it will detox your mind!  It aids in weight loss, lowers cortisol and promotes relaxation, eases muscle aches and pains, improves sleep, aids in detoxification, softens and smooths skin. Plus you will get an extra dose of magnesium that we are all deficient in.  Refer tip 10.  Once a week is fine for this one.
  6. Drink Green Tea.  A scientifically proven way to rev up your metabolism, provides anti-oxidants, improves brain function, increases fat burning, may lower risk of cancer, anti-viral and anti-bacterial, anti-aging, improves dental health, lowers the risk of type II diabetes,   Try swapping just one coffee/black tea with a green tea a day and gradually increase.  I also take green tea extract in tablet form prior to a workout to improve performance and enhance fat burning.
  7. Dry skin brush.  Takes all of 3 minutes before you shower and it will stimulate circulation to aid weight loss.  Give the back of your thighs a good scrub to reduce cellulite too.  Our skin, like the rest of our body, works overtime to try and eliminate toxins; giving it a brush aids in this process as well as giving you soft, glowing skin!  Other benefits include stimulating the lymphatic system, exfoliation, increase circulation, improve digestion and kidney function and its invigorating!
  8. Graze! on 5 smaller meals a day.  I am sure you have heard this one before too.  Skipping meals is the fastest way to put on weight.  You would be astonished at how much food I eat but it is always little amounts often to maintain blood sugar levels and keep my metabolism revved. If you allow your body to get into that starving mode your stone age body can only interpret this as a famine is on the way.  It has no clue that the fridge is full or the supermarket shelves are over flowing; it only understands feast or famine.  If your body thinks a famine is on the way it will hold on to and store as fat everything you have just eaten or eat next to last it through until your next kill. (so to speak!)  We tend to forget that our bodies are the same as our stone age ancestors; tap into this primal response and ensure your body is working for your weight loss goals not against you.
  9. Coconut Oil (organic cold pressed) Another one with health benefits off the charts including weight loss, improves digestion, boosts metabolism, boosts immunity, lowers cholesterol, nourishes the skin and hair and improves bone health to name a few.  Try cooking in coconut oil for a change in flavour.  Coconut Oil solidifies most of the year at room temperature; I simply scoop out a teaspoon and eat it straight up.  It tastes like the inside of a Bounty!
  10. Sup it up.  Our food supply and the soil we grow our produce in is nowhere near the same quality as only a generation ago.   Not to mention all the additives and pesticides.  In my opinion, the only way to ensure you are receiving adequate nutrients is to supplement your diet.   I take a wide range of supplements and of course as our bodies are so diverse and different we all have different needs however I do recommend a basic suite of supplements to ensure you are giving your body the best chance to achieve premium health.    Like shopping for a car, handbag or shoes, the higher the price tag the better the quality.  There is no regulation in the supplement industry as there is in the drug industry…  so I would be very wary of off the shelf, commercial brands.  What they say are contained in the tablet is not always the case. And of course, when I hear the complaints of how much supplements cost I would have to respond with how much is your health worth?  What quality of life are you after in your senior years?  Look at it as an insurance policy!  My recommended basic sups for wellbeing and weight loss are: a multi-vitamin, fish oil, probiotic and magnesium. 

If you have noticed a common thread of detoxification through most of these tips good spotting!  Our poor stone age bodies are bombarded daily with foreign chemicals and electromagnetic waves; from air pollution, to cosmetics, to scented toilet paper and soaps, to bleach in tampons, to pesticides, artificial flavours and colours and antibiotics in our food, to mobile phones, to sitting in front of a computer all day and now we have this new fitbit craze!  If our body doesn’t know how to process a foreign substance it is stored in our fat cells until the body can figure out what to do with it…  And guess what? It rarely figures it out!  The majority of your weight gain may have a lot to do with simply the need to detox.

I am not saying that only these things will see you shed all your excess weight as there is no substitute for a healthy diet and regular exercise however incorporating these little things will see your health and energy levels improve and have you feeling so good that you may just find yourself wanting to exercise and eat better!  Just imagine the weight loss potential!  Like anything in life it comes down to habit and for all of these (other than the bath) to be effective it needs to be consistent and daily.  Doing them once a week or once in a while will have little or no effect.   And yes, I do them all and more every single day!

“You will never see a change in your life (or body) until you change something you do daily. The secret to your success is in your daily routine.”

John C. Maxwell