I’m taking the magic with me…

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For as long as I can remember I’ve believed in magic (in some form or another). The Christmas season cemented this belief for me as a child, when year after year Father Christmas would visit our home.  He would eat the mince pies we’d made for him, and drink the sherry, before leaving our stockings and gifts in the living room waiting for us.  I know now how truly lucky and blessed I was to experience this magic, and for that I’m eternally grateful to my Mother.

When I was 8 years old we had a puppy called Monty.  He was 10 months old that Christmas, and he’d already knocked over the Christmas tree!  I crept down stairs on Christmas Eve night to check if “he’d” been; I was so bleary eyed and sleepy that I couldn’t see the gifts and stockings, which had already magically appeared in the living room. As I left the room the puppy must have knocked the door behind me. I darted up the stairs like a bat out of hell.  My heart was pounding as I told my brother that Father Christmas was downstairs!

That incident allowed me to hang on to my belief in Santa (and the magic of Christmas) for another few years, and if I’m honest I think that a part of me still believes that he does  exist (crazy as that may sound) .

Unfortunately, somewhere in the trials and tribulations of our teenage years, and the subsequent growing up that we inevitably all do (kicking and screaming), many of us lose our faith in the magic. I’d like to think that maybe the spirit of father Christmas exists in the magic of the season, as people reach out to others and try to be a little kinder to their fellow man.

I read about a secret Santa trend that happened in the UK this year, where people left bags of food shopping, or gifts, on the doorsteps of those who they knew had been down on their luck this year.  Surely an act of kindness like that might seem like magic to the person receiving it, not because of what the bags contained, or what the gift was, but just because someone had taken the time to show that they cared…

And so, as 2015 draws to a close, and we start to think about the good things that we want to take with us into the next year, I choose to take the magic with me.  After all, why should the magic be confined to just one month a year? I believe that the magic which we feel in the holiday season is always there, but perhaps we aren’t always looking for it.  If we take the time to notice it each day, then maybe we can feel it all through the year.  If you want to make 2016 a magical year, feel that magic, believe in it and make it happen!

Of course there will always, unfortunately, be cynics out there who try to dull your sparkle; as hard as it may seem, we need to try not to let them!

There have certainly been numerous times in my life when I’ve either forgotten about, or lost faith in the magic; but I think that a part of me always knew that it was there (somewhere).  If we look hard enough we’ll find the magic all around us- it’s in the stranger who gave up his seat on the tube, or the person who left the struggling waitress a £100 tip. It’s in the smile that you receive from a person walking down the street for no apparent reason, and in the shop assistant who genuinely wishes you a good day. It’s in every ‘thank you’ that you say and hear.  It’s in every ‘I love you’ that you give and receive.

I think sometimes it seems easier to focus on negative things and as a result we fail to see the little sparks of magic all around us. I intend to take note of those sparks as often as I can.

I think that if you truly believe in something, then you’ll create the magic to make it happen. Don’t lose sight of what you really want, and please don’t let the opinion of others halt you in your tracks!

I am grateful for all of the lessons which I’ve learned and that now, at the tender age of 29 (+5), I can welcome the magic of the Christmas season, and consciously take it with me into the new year.

I wish you all good health, happiness and magic for 2016.  May you use the magic to make all of your dreams come true!

Stand with the World…..

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I had a friend at school called James.  I haven’t seen him for years, but I follow him on Facebook. He’s a Sound Engineer and tours the world with big rock bands.  I love to see his amazing photos which document his travels around the globe. He has a real talent for photography and takes the most interesting images.

Today, James posted a tribute to his friend, Nick Alexander, who was one of the victims shot and killed in the terrorist attack in Paris last Friday.  It had taken him 48 hours to write the post, because he had been in utter shock at what had happened. My heart bled for James, for the untimely death of his tour mate Nick, and for all those who had their lives cut short in the most abhorrent way.

What happened in Paris on Friday was shocking, not because it was more important than the terror and devastation that is rife in numerous parts of the world today; but because Paris is not a war zone, and the people didn’t feel that they were under threat.  These people, who went to a rock concert, or to a restaurant on Friday night, had no idea that they were in any danger. Perhaps it could be argued that given the climate of fear ensuing throughout the world, we are naive to believe that we are safe at any given moment.

Those who lost their lives in Paris on Friday had exercised their liberty, and gone out to have fun, at the beginning of what I’m sure they thought was going to be a great weekend.  It was just another Friday night, in the beautiful French Capital, which turned into a real life horror story and shook the world.

My heart is heavy, not only for those lives stolen in Paris, but for the rest of the souls throughout the world (over the last weeks,months and years), lost in revolting terrorist attacks. I cannot find words strong enough to express the anguish that I feel towards these thieves, who are stealing the lives of innocent people across the globe.

So what are we supposed to do? Bow down to the terrorists? Run and hide? Surely if do that then the terrorists will have stolen all of our lives in some form.

The world is hurting, and I want to help to make it better; I’m not sure how I can do that, but I am willing to try.  From the outpouring on social media it’s clear to see that people all across the World feel for the whole of humanity at this time. And I refuse to believe that the dark will over power the light.

So what do we do? I think that somehow we need to stand together! Maybe we try to be a little kinder to people that we come across. Perhaps we make an effort to smile at a stranger, to help someone with their shopping bags, to hug our loved ones tighter and for longer, whenever we can.  Because it may be that by showing more love to our fellow man, our lights will shine brighter.  There are millions of little things that we can all do to shine our lights in the world and show our solidarity.

The light will win

I took this photo on Saturday and I think it demonstrates that even when darkness surrounds us, and we feel hopeless, the light (goodness) will break through.

As Martin Luther King Jr stated – ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’

So I send my love to all those, across the planet, whose lives have been lost, or irrevocably changed by these hideous acts of terrorism. And I will try to remember that, however wide spread this evil seems to be in the world today, they are still the minority!

Today, I will try to make my light shine a little brighter, and I hope that you will too.  Together we are stronger and I send my love to you all!

Be kind to yourself……

Body friendThroughout my life, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve constantly treated myself badly.  To say that I was simply unkind to myself really is a gross understatement.

I’d read, or hear people talking, about comfort eating and the entire notion left me utterly perplexed; not because I didn’t overeat, I did and still do sometimes, but I saw it as a form of punishment.  I was more than aware of the consequences of overeating, and it was self disdain which motivated me to eat. I also used food as a way of suppressing painful feelings. Thus, far from being comforted by food, I disliked it and the effects it had on my ever-growing body mass, immensely. I literally used food as a weapon in fighting the war I’d waged against myself.

If you’d asked me at the height of my inner battle (which had raged on for decades) if I could think of something which I liked about myself, then I would’ve been embarrassed and evaded the question; knowing deep down that I didn’t have an answer to it. I thought that if I was vile to myself, then anything anyone else said to me would pale in comparison. Only over these last few years, since starting this blog, have I actually started to ease up on myself, just a little bit.

I recently read a quote from the wonderful Louise L Hay, which simply said “You’ve been criticising yourself for years and it hasn’t worked.  Try approving of yourself and see what happens”.  The very notion that I had the power to change the way I treated myself was such an alien concept to me.  I’d thought negatively about myself for such a long time that it seemed embedded in me and I had no idea how to go about really liking myself.

Obviously my issues ran deeper than just my weight problem, but that was how I’d manifested them.  Disliking yourself can occur for many different reasons and it’s possible that the person reading this has their own internal battle going on, for their own personal reasons.

But, as Louise Hay points out, this self-criticism really isn’t getting us anywhere! I’ve said before, we’re all unique and we need to focus on what we can do with our lives and what we have.  You might find that you’re envious of someone else’s seemingly perfect life and you berate yourself for not being more like them.  But I bet if you scratched the surface , you’d find that the perfect individual has their own demons which they fight behind close doors.  And what is perfection? Aren’t we beating ourselves up over a standard that is impossible to achieve? My idea of a perfect life is most likely very different to yours.

So, I made a conscious decision to be kinder to myself and see how that works out for me. Then a good friend of mine posted the quote, which I’ve featured at the top of this post, on Facebook and I was absolutely stunned by it! For me, the idea of waving a white flag and becoming friends with my body, seemed insane, yet totally logical at the same time.  Calling time on the battle with my body is clearly easier said than done; after all, I can’t expect a lifetime of contempt to dissipate in the blink of an eye.  But, equally, I now understand that being kind to myself, on any level, has got to be favourable to the self abhorrence which had been my personal religion for so long. I got to the point where I couldn’t accept compliments or kind words from anyone, because I simply couldn’t see why I deserved them!

So, right this minute, think of something which you’ve criticised yourself for (most likely way too harshly), and really look at it for what it is.  You might not have achieved a particular academic grade, or received the promotion that you coveted so badly; but what exactly did you achieve by beating yourself up about it? What’s done is done, and unless you have a time machine, you can’t go back and change anything. You do, however, have the power to change the here and now. Change the way you think and you can literally change your world!

Why not take a little time today and list a few things that you do like about yourself.  Even I, the former Chairman of the ‘We Hate Lauren’ Society, managed to find (somewhere in the post war ruins) some qualities which I consider to be good or nice in myself.  Liking who you are doesn’t make you a narcissist, it just means that you are more content with being you! Showing yourself some kindness, especially when times are tough, could help you to come through it all with less war wounds.  After all, life will deal you some harsh blows from time to time, why should you rub salt into your own wounds?

I’m finding that the less I criticise myself, the lower my stress levels seem to be and the positive thoughts give me more energy.  I guess waging war on myself was actually physically (as well as mentally) exhausting!

So, be kinder to yourself.  Who knows, cutting yourself some slack might be one of the best things you’ve ever done. It’s your life and you should enjoy it.  Focus on what you can do and cultivate those talents.  To quote Russell Brand – “Be lead by your talent. Not by your self loathing.”

Have a great day folks!

Consistency is the Mother of Greatness….

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consistency before greatness

Do you have a dream about what you want to do, or achieve in your life? When we’re little, we’re fearless; we dream about conquering the world, and nothing seems impossible.  But, as we get older, sometimes, our dreams become more reserved. And if we’re still bold enough to harbour huge dreams, we can become overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the thing (or perhaps the life) that we want to achieve, and we get lost in a sea of hopelessness.  So many times in my life I’ve heard people talk about things that they wanted to achieve in the past, and I’m often left wondering why they gave up on those hopes and wishes.

And if you ask a person why they’ve let their dream sink to the bottom of the ocean, they laugh at you, like you’re the crazy one for daring to think differently, whilst they reel off a list of utterly mundane excuses.

We can all sit there, reciting watery justifications as to why we let our dreams die, or we can start making new choices. Take some time and think about what it is that you really want out of your life, and  then set the date. By setting the date you’re turning that dream into a tangible outcome!  Then work backwards, so that you’re breaking down what you need to do into bite size, more manageable, chunks.  What would you need to do this month to bring about your planned interim result? What do you need to do this week to contribute towards hitting your months target? What do you need to do on a daily basis to work towards your goals deadline?

Of course, goal posts are likely to move slightly, but you’ll have a rough idea about what you need to do, within the time frame that you’ve set, in order to achieve what it is that you want.  And the absolute key to making your dream into reality is, in my opinion, consistency. You work out what it is that needs to be done to achieve your goal and you do it, repeatedly, every single day! Practice, practice, practice!

And yes, even breaking it down into bite sized chunks will still pose a challenge to you; but remember, what doesn’t challenge you, won’t change you!  And if you stumble, go back to basics, remind yourself of your plan and repeat it again.  If you happen fall off a hundred times, before you finally find your rhythm, then so what? It’s your journey, and the only person competing in your race is you!  When you learned to swim or ride a bike, you kept on trying, over and over, until you cracked it- so do the same now! Just keep going!

Make your journey work for you. Perhaps you could start off by just playing out in your mind what it is that you want to do, just set some time aside to do this daily.  Then, if your goal is to achieve a healthier lifestyle (and ultimately lose weight), maybe you could just start with breakfast.  Consciously making an effort, on a daily basis (consistently) to have a healthy breakfast.  Then once you’ve achieved a consistently healthy breakfast regime, step it up and roll out the healthy lunch scheme, and so on, until eventually, you are consistently eating healthily every day!

And if you stumble, remember that it’s just a blip! Don’t think (as I did for many years) that one slip is enough to warrant an entire day being ruined.  Because, if you allow yourself to believe that, then that ruined day can easily turn into a week, and before you know it you’re consistently doing what you’ve always done, and your dreams go back to being just pie in the sky.

Remember to consistently support yourself.  Keep on telling yourself that you can do it! Think about what you would do to support a friend or a loved one on their journey, and apply that same level of support and belief to yourself.

Ultimately, just keep on doing whatever it is that you need to do, and you’ll get there; after all, from tiny acorns mighty Oaks grow! And by applying consistency, eventually, in your own time, and in your own way, you will absolutely achieve greatness!

Have a great day everyone!

Discovering my reason why!

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Every year (and almost every other day), I’ve made promises to myself, which I’ve then duly broken.  I’ve always wanted to lose weight, and I have indeed achieved varying levels of weight loss (sporadically).  Unfortunately, I’ve regained the lost weight (and usually a bit more, just for added salt in the wound). I’d start with what I thought were the best intentions, but the slightest wobble would derail me completely and I’d soon undo all the hard work I’d done (far too quickly).

It took me a long time (despite coming across this answer numerous times along my journey), to realise that I was failing to focus on the reason why I wanted to change.  Steve (my partner) gets so frustrated with me starting and stopping things so frequently (and to be honest I really do annoy myself).  I never see it through (there are various ‘its’, my part written books included).

The other day we were discussing what we wanted to achieve in 2015 and almost at the top of my list was that I wanted to be pregnant with our first child before the end of it. Steve informed me, in no uncertain terms, that until I’m at a healthy and safe weight there will be no pregnancy, because he is not willing to risk me.  To say that this was a light bulb moment for me is probably the biggest understatement I will ever make in my entire life! As I sit here writing this, there are tears rolling down my cheeks, because my reason ‘why’ is so profound.

I want, more than anything, to start our family and that’s the reason ‘why’ I’m going to sort out my weight.  I’m starting a cleanse on 2nd January and it’s onward’s and downwards from there!

If there’s something that you want to achieve over the next year, then take ownership of it like it’s already yours, and most importantly really take time to think about why you want to do it.  Is it because you want to buy a house, get married or maybe have a baby? What’s your ‘why’?

Once you’ve got your why, test it. If your ‘why’ was stuck in a burning building, would you run in to get it without hesitation? You need to want your ‘why’ so much that failure is no longer even an option!

And that’s where I am right now.  For the first time in my life I have a ‘why’ that is so important to me that I have no doubt I will achieve what’s needed to get it.

So, as you all sit down and write your new years resolutions, please just put as much effort into writing your reason why and I bet that will keep you going.

Happy new year everyone, and I genuinely hope that each one of you finds a ‘why’ so powerful that it drives you through 2015, making it an incredible year for you all and turning all of your dreams into reality!

Ditching the manana syndrome…..

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It’s the time of year when everyone is starting to think about their new years resolutions.  We’re all busy making plans and dreaming about what a truly great year next year will be.  We’re all going to get fit, lose weight, find the perfect job; and to start all of these resolutions, we’re going to wait until January 1st.

The waiting period got me thinking, what exactly is it that we’re all waiting for? I’ve spent most of my life waiting for tomorrow, to go to the gym, or to write a chapter of my book.  But the truth is, when you keep putting things off, tomorrow never comes.  We fall deep into the manana syndrome, and our already short lives pass us by in the blink of an eye.

This year has been a bit of a manana moment for me and I have know one to blame but myself.  Tomorrow has been my nemesis, I have planned to do so many things, but I never quite catch it.  Days slip into weeks, as the weeks merge into months and still my books remain, at best, partly written.  I’ve written plans for so many tomorrows, but a plan without action is merely a bunch of words! Taking an action step, however small that step might seem right now, is what breaths life into your dreams, and starts to make them your reality.

So today, I’ve decided that I’m not willing to wait for the illusive tomorrow in order to take action.  Today, I’m going to start some of those resolutions, which I’ve dreamed about so frequently.  I’m not willing to allow myself to waste another moment, because who knows what I will achieve in the last 16 days of 2014, simply by starting right now!

Leaving the manana syndrome in the past isn’t going to be easy, after all it’s a way of life which I’ve courted for over 33 years! I think the difference between the me of today, and the me of yesterday, is that I now feel that I’m worth it.  I’m worth the effort to make lasting and positive changes in my life.  And as long as I believe in me and keep taking those small action steps, then each day will get better and better for me.  I might stumble a bit, and certainly there will be a few wobbles along the way, but I have resolved to make it happen for me.  I have resolved to live and not just exist.

I think one of my issues was that I thought my dreams were too big.  I convinced myself that in order to live my dreams I would have to take these huge strides; and I planned to start taking those strides meticulously, tomorrow! But now I see the beauty of breaking it down and starting right now!

I have a notebook and printed on the cover of it are the words “If you wish to be a Writer, write!” And that’s exactly what I’m going to do.  I heard Tony Robbins talk on one of his audio courses about writing for the bin and who knows what great stuff you might come up with.  So, that’s what I’ll do, I’ll just write, and I’ll keep writing each and every day!

Whatever it is that you’ve been putting off, or dreaming about doing, start it right now! If you want to be fitter, take an hour out for yourself and just do it! If you want to lose weight, but you ate a Big Mac for lunch, so what? Just go to the store, buy some really tasty healthy food and voila, you just started your healthy eating regime! What exactly is it that you are waiting for?  Because if it’s tomorrow, then you could still be waiting for it 8 years down the line and just imagine the phenomenal things you could have achieved in that amount of time!

Prioritise yourself, because you really are worth it! Who you are right now is the product of what you have done so far in your life, if that doesn’t make you happy, or you want to change some parts of who you are, then just draw a line in the sand and do it!

Sit down, write your plan (if you don’t already have one) and put it into action! Even if it’s something as small as reading a chapter of that book that’s been on your night stand for months gathering dust, do it! Small changes will potentially reap massive rewards!

So, let’s start the ball rolling now and get a head start on our resolutions for 2015! Resolve to ditch the manana syndrome once and for all, but taking control of who you are and where you’re going right now!

Have a great day!

Take The First Step……

 

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I was the Queen of finding excuses as to why I couldn’t do something.  I didn’t have the time! It was too hard! It just wasn’t for me!  But the truth is, like so many others, I was just scared.  I was scared that I would fail at whatever it was that I wanted to do, and I let those fears consume me. I doubted myself, and in doing so I set myself up to fail.

We can all sit there and think of a hundred excuses as to why we shouldn’t try something.  I’ve probably spent more time thinking up reasons why I couldn’t do something, than it would actually have taken me to complete the task!

If you want to accomplish something and create positive change in your life, then you’ve got to make the decision to at least try!

A school friend of mine decided last December that she was going to take a leap of faith, and her life has changed remarkably, as a result of taking that first step.  Both she and her husband were Police Officers, and she was pregnant with their first child.  She knew that she wanted to get out of the Police Force, and that she wanted a better lifestyle.  And so, at 31 weeks pregnant, a friend of hers showed her a new business opportunity, and not knowing how she was going to do it, but recognising that this really was a chance for her to change her life, she said yes!

What’s happened to my friend over the last 11 months is nothing short of amazing.  She believed in the business and she really has made it happen! They’ve both been able to leave the Police Force, bought a beautiful new home, 2 new cars and have qualified for 5 star all expenses paid trips abroad.  I am, to say the least, in absolute awe of this lady!

When she walks into a room, the energy seems to bounce off her.  Her work ethic is second to none, and she helps everyone she can to achieve what she has.  She didn’t just step into the unknown, she ran! The sheer grit and determination of this woman is nothing short of inspirational!  She didn’t know for sure that this opportunity would work out for her, but she believed enough to take the chance.

How many times in your life has somebody handed you an opportunity and you’ve turned it down, because you thought it wasn’t for you, or you just couldn’t envisage how it was going to work (even though it had clearly worked for others)?What if you’d said yes instead and taken a chance? Who knows, it might have been the best decision you ever made! Just because you can’t see right now how something is going to work out, doesn’t mean that it won’t!

If you say ‘YES’ to an opportunity, and go into it with a positive frame of mind, and a willingness to step outside of your comfort zone, then who knows what extraordinary things you might achieve!  It’s only by stepping outside of our comfort zones, and being open to change, that we can really start to grow.  Who knows what we’re capable of until we actually try! Let your fear of the unknown drive you forward, instead of crippling you.

So today, take the first step and try something new. It could be the best decision you ever make.  Unless you take the first step, you’ll never be able to see the whole staircase!

Have a great day people!

A million little things……..

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A few weeks ago I was lying on a beach in Ibiza, soaking up the Spanish sun.  It’s a beach that I’ve sat on thousands of times in my life. As I looked out at the gentle waves rolling in and the sky with its smattering of cotton wool clouds, suddenly everything seemed a little brighter!  This was a view that I’d seen every day when I lived on the Island, but I’d never actually taken the time to sit back and appreciate its beauty.  I was always so busy trying to focus on where my life was heading and what I was going to do with it, that I simply forgot to appreciate moments in the present.  And I’m ashamed to say that I wasn’t grateful, and indeed took for granted, the little things.  Things like the view that was in front of me on that beach….

And whilst it’s wonderful to keep pushing ourselves to do better, we need to take note of all of the fabulous little things that happen to us every single day of our lives.  I’ll put my hand up and admit openly that often I’ve been blind to all these little blessings, especially when I was depressed (at that time I couldn’t see anything good).  Now, I make sure that I stop and take a look around every day.  I savour the taste of that really great cup of coffee from that cafe I just stumbled across and I take note of how happy I feel just getting a text from a good friend that I haven’t spoken to in a while.

After all, when you look back, life is made up of a million little things, with just a smattering of big moments.  So why not take a moment today and just smile at the one you love (which could be your dog Debbie 🙂 ).  Be thankful for everything you have right now, and be ready for the new blessings that today will surely bring.

As I sat and scribbled this blog entry in my note pad, it was the 13th Anniversary of the horror that was September 11th, and I was beyond humbled.  I was (and am still) very aware that I have the opportunity to experience more little moments in my life today, and I know how lucky I am to be able to do that.

If you’re fed up, or feeling down, waiting for something big to happen, it’s easy to get into a vicious cycle of focusing on what you don’t have.  But by doing that you really are letting your life pass you by.  So step off the carousel, just for a moment and take stock. Give thanks for the little things, and I promise you big things will happen!

I hope you all have a great day……

Let it go………

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let it go

 

I am far from perfect, but then perfection is a myth.  I’ve always been guilty of holding on to problems, and taking on issues that belong to other people. I just couldn’t grasp the notion that I simply couldn’t change others. And whenever I failed to change someone, I would take it as a personal failure and usually comfort myself with food.

A wise lady once told me that all you can ever do is point someone in the direction which you think is right, but they have to decide for themselves.  Sometimes, when we try to help others, it gets thrown back in our faces.  People all too often take advantage of kindness, and can be so arrogant that they come to take it for granted.

I’m not saying don’t be kind to others, what I’m saying is make sure that you’re kind to yourself! It doesn’t matter how much you want to transform the way somebody else does (or perceives) things, ultimately the buck stops with them. You can put all of your energy into helping them and all that will be achieved is self exhaustion.  Steve always says you need to accept others as they are and if they  are poisonous to your spirit, then as far as possible let them go!

I know that letting go is easier said than done, especially when the person you need to let go of is a relative; So maybe just step back.  Focus on making positive changes in your own life, and if those changes don’t include those negative people then so be it.  It’s your life after all and (at the risk of sounding like a Disney movie) you need to just let it go!

It’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination to turn away, but if you just trust your gut instinct, then you won’t be far wrong.  If something, or someone, is truly vexatious to your soul, then clearly they’re not good for you! Sometimes a person might frustrate you so much that they bring out the worst in you, and that certainly isn’t good for anyone.

All that energy and focus which you’ve been wasting could be utilised far more effectively to make your own life better and creating lasting change for you.  I’ve said before that learning to let go is a tough lesson, and probably one that we will learn over and over again during our lives; But if we can just concentrate some of our efforts on what we can change, instead of what we can’t, then we can potentially do great things.

When I was a teenager I had a poster on my wall of a waterfall and the poem ‘Desiderata’, by American writer Max Ehrmann, was printed on it.  That poem is about living your life in the best way possible for you and having the ability to let go of what is bad for us.  It’s an interesting perspective, so I’ll hand over to Max……

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Those words certainly ring true with me.  

So today I will strive to be happy……… I hope that you will too!

Fail your way to success……

So I’m really getting into this fitness stuff!  I can see my body starting to change in new and positive ways, and it’s really spurring me on.  Yes, I’ve done this before, and yes I’ve failed before; But that doesn’t mean that I’m going to fail this time around!

For me, my weight loss journey is about so much more than fitting into a particular jean size, or obtaining that bikini body.  I’ve realised that it’s more about being healthy, and feeling great about myself (both inside and out). 

In the past, I’ve embodied the epitome of all yo-yo dieters.  I’d start to lose weight, then being human, I’d stumble along the way and console myself with food.  It was a vicious self defeating cycle and I just couldn’t seem to break it.

It’s taken me a long time, but now I realise that I was coming at it from the wrong angle!  I was trying so desperately to lose weight for the benefit of others and I wasn’t truly buying into it myself. Now that I’m finally making it about me it feels great!  I didn’t truly believe that I was worth it, or indeed that I could do it.  It was a self fulfilling prophecy, but boy have I learned some lessons along the way!

So I failed in the past at losing weight, so what!  That failure, and any other failure I may have encountered along the way, doesn’t define me as a person, and isn’t going to stop me from achieving success! I’ve learned to celebrate the small achievements, like every time I go to the gym, I congratulate myself on becoming a stronger and healthier version of me!  I do my very best to focus on the positive, and I know that exercising also helps to put a silver lining around those dark clouds of negativity that sometimes loom above me.

One thing that has really helped me on my journey has been practicing visualisation.  When I picture myself I see a vibrant, fit and healthy person.  I put myself into a mental state of actually feeling what it’s like to be that person, and it helps me to maintain my focus (have a look on youtube there are some great visualisation tutorials on there).  If I have a blip, I no longer beat myself up about it (which always resulted in seeking comfort in food in the past). I just sit down and focus on how great I will look in my mind and I start to feel positive!  For the first time ever I can honestly say that I believe in, and accept myself (it’s only taken 33 years, which is nothing really in the sands of time).  I know that I’ll get there!

Growing up, many of us want nothing more than to fit in and be accepted by our pier group. We’re so consumed by wanting to be like other people, that we forget to be ourselves! I understand now that being myself, and developing a healthy relationship with me, is absolutely vital to my development.

You can be whoever you want to be, just have a little faith in yourself.  We all make mistakes, we all fall down sometimes, but do yourself a favour and look back at just how far you’ve really come.  It might not be a straight path that you can see when you look behind you, mine looks more like a game of snakes and ladders, but I know that (in the great scheme of things) I’m winning, and undoubtedly so are you!

No matter how many times I’ve fallen down, I’ve still managed to somehow get back up.  At first I would struggle on with my head hanging down, now I flick my hair and strut through my life; Because now I understand that I’m in charge of creating the person that I want to be.  It’s hard work, and a lot of tears have gone into it, but no body ever said that the road to success was going to be easy (or smooth), and I know that every step I take on the cross trainer is a step closer to realising who I want to be.  Equally, I now look at food as providing my body with the nutrients it needs to run efficiently (I never thought I’d manage to see food as anything but an emotional crutch, so that can only be a huge bonus). 

You have the ability to change your life today, so aim high and believe it can happen! Don’t be afraid to fail along the way, it’s part of the journey and I’m sure it’ll make the success taste sweeter in the end.  But most importantly, never, ever, give up on yourself!

If I can do it, anyone can!

Have a great day!