Today I interview Tim, a Life Coach from Voome about overcoming some of the things that hold us back from achieving our health and wellbeing goals. These include things like critical thoughts about our body, exercising after a ‘bad eating’ day, healthy dessert options, having too much on our plate to find time to exercise; and being overwhelmed by the change required to find our health or lose weight.
How to get past negative body image thoughts
Q: I’ve had times in my life where I’ve thought the only way I’ll lose this weight is if I am hard on myself and really critical of my body. I thought if I was focusing on ‘the bad bits’ I would be more motivated to work harder and create change. Now I try to love and enjoy my body as it is, but sometimes those negative thoughts about my body or my progress creep back in. I know many others also struggle with this. What would your advice be to someone in this position?
A: Let me start by saying that if you’re a human being then you’re going to have negative thoughts at some stage about something. Unfortunately for women it’s all too often about their weight or body shape.
So first of all, don’t stress when negative thoughts creep in. The important thing to do is to recognise them and deal with them before they get out of control.
Once you acknowledge that nasty thought, visualise it being taken downstream on a leaf far away from your conscious mind. Couple this with a few deep breaths and that should help bring you back to inner peace, contentment and acknowledging just how amazing your body truly is.
Secondly, discover what has sparked this negative thought in your head – was it:
- A bad night’s sleep
- A family member or “friend” telling you how to do better
- Watching the Miss Universe pageant or…
- That celebrity continually posting on social media about how quickly they got their pre-baby body back?
Wherever it came from either avoid that situation or ideally, learn why you feel that way and try to dissolve this negative thought at its root. Often it comes back to self-worth. When you have high self-worth you are more immune to other people’s opinions, what the rest of society is doing or a number on the scales.
In short my advice would be to know this: YOU are awesome and loveable regardless of social status, finances, achievements, qualifications and especially your bodyfat percentage! When you realise that you are awesome without this ‘stuff’, this will be the perfect springboard to achieve ALL of your goals.
Getting back to eating well & exercising after a ‘bad day’ of eating
Q: After a day of eating that hasn’t been as we planned (ie. too many helpings of mars bar slice), we often feel sick and bloated. This can lead to thinking exercise isn’t worth it because we’ve ‘failed anyway’ AND we feel gross. I try to get past this by motivating myself with the other positives that come from exercising (eg. endorphins, fresh air, clear head, me time). How else can you motivate yourself in these situations to exercise?
A: Laying on the couch feeling guilty isn’t going to do your body or mind any favours. When I’m in this particular situation I think, “Great! I’ve just fuelled myself for an awesome workout!”. In fact some of the best workouts I’ve ever done have been after coffee and cake!
Before a food coma sets in try and get moving. A fit and healthy body LOVES to move, so if you’ve just dumped a load of sugar and/or fat in your body, tie up your laces and see how quickly you can turn that excess fuel into more fitness, strength and fat-burning muscle with an epic workout!
How to find time to exercise
Q: Some days we just crash out of exhaustion and don’t have the energy to exercise. If this is happening regularly, one reason might be we have too much on our plate. What should we do when we feel like everything we have on we MUST be doing? If we need to drop something, how do we determine which ‘thing’ goes?
A: I always find it interesting to hear peoples “have to” lists. The usual suspects are work, family commitments, social obligations and, in these modern days, scrolling through the endless screens of various social media platforms – Arrrrrgh!
While at the time they may seem like they are all have to’s, it often comes back to self worth and wanting to be liked. If you DON’T go to that function, attend that dinner or ‘like’ that Facebook post, will people still like you and think you’re fun?
In almost all cases people are going to understand that you just didn’t have the time or energy. In fact people will probably admire and be inspired by you for being honest when you assertively say “I just don’t have the energy, but have a wonderful time”.
At 30 weeks pregnant (measuring 34 weeks) with our third child, my partner is only now beginning to say no to social functions out of sheer exhaustion.
Don’t wait until you’re on the brink of a physical or nervous breakdown before you assertively start saying “no thanks” to certain events.
In most cases the person will completely understand and if a person chooses to take offence then that is their issue.
Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of change needed to lose weight
Q: If we feel overwhelmed by the amount of change needed to improve our health or lose weight, what would you suggest? How do we know where to start?
A: Always start from a place of acceptance. Accept where you are – big or small, plan or no plan. Once you accept where you are, you can then move forward from a relaxed and focussed place, rather than feeling overwhelmed and anxious about what “miracle” weight loss fad to follow next.
All too often in the world of weight loss people put dangerous amounts of pressure on themselves by trying to turn black to white literally overnight. As many find out, this cold turkey approach is rarely ever effective.
A much healthier way is to start with something small such as beginning your day with a large glass of water, then building on it. These little victories will not only be physically healthier, they will also build your self-confidence to take on the next challenge, rather than just giving up carbs, which will inevitably lead to a binge and you feeling like a failure.
Although we tend to measure success by the number on the scales, the game of weight loss is largely a psychological one – it just manifests physically. So instead of obsessing about the scales or mirror, aim for mental victories, or as the Japanese say, ‘Kaizens’ – small improvements every day.
Without killing yourself at the gym or depriving yourself you’ll soon notice you’ll have more energy, less cravings and healthier habits. This method probably won’t be as fast as the ‘starve yourself diet’ but the results will last forever.
Healthy Dessert Recipes
Q: If we are putting on dessert for friends but want to make it more nutritious, which 3 healthy dessert recipes would you recommend?
A: Whenever you feel like desserts remember this: There’s always a BETTER option. The better option still satisfies your emotional and physical craving without the energy crash or the guilt.
Here are my top 3 desserts:
- As it’s usually just the idea of dessert and something to top off a meal rather than a whole other course, Chocolate & Herbal tea has been a HUGE after dinner hit at my place for years. The secret? Good quality dark chocolate.
- Strawberry & Passionfruit Pavlova has also been popular, for 3 reasons:
– It is very low in fat
– The egg whites offer good quality protein
– It is a light dessert that won’t leave you feeling bloated, lethargic and stuffed like a Thanksgiving Turkey
- There’s nothing easier, more refreshing and antioxidant rich than Summer Berry Trifle. This classic has thousands of health-enhancing vitamins & minerals mixed, with natural yoghurt to add calcium. It is also light on the stomach, contains some quality protein and very little fat.
All these desserts can be found on Voome, and are delicious low-calorie recipes!
Tim’s Bio + Expertise
Tim has been a trainer and health coach for the past 22 years, his thirst for education continues to keep him passionate in the health & fitness industry. He works mainly in the corrective exercise field prehabbing and rehabbing clients but is also qualified as a Functional Diagnostics Nutritionist and Holistic life coach with the CHEK institute. Tim specialises in empowering clients with knowledge, self-confidence and self-awareness. He has been at 12WBT for over 4 years as the Fitness lead and head fitness writer for Voome since its conception. Most importantly Tim is a proud father of 2 spirited daughters with a boy due early next year.
This post is sponsored by Voome.