nutrient dense salad

When thinking about trying to “lose weight” it can be really easy to get sucked into the world of restriction and eating “low calorie” or “low fat.”

A healthier way to reframe weight loss is to think about becoming a healthy person rather than an overweight person who “must” lose weight for a holiday or event. To work towards identifying as a healthy person allows for a longer time frame and a longer journey, that will include highs and lows, successes and failures. The final outcome of being a healthy person also allows for the long term sustainable 80/20 way of living your life too.

Becoming a Healthy Person


It is a healthy person who can have a few glasses of wine at the weekend, or eat a pizza or an Indian takeaway a few times a month. A healthy person has a healthy relationship with food, knowing that most of the time they nourish their body with the amazing minerals, vitamins, proteins, fats and carbohydrates that they need to maintain optimal body function and keep them away from the doctor and ideally disease free.

A great way to start working towards being a healthy person is to start learning about the nutrients that are in your food and the function they are necessary for within your body. It might make you stop wasting calories of foods that interrupt and impair the way that your body is supposed to work.

Here is a breakdown of a nutrient dense lunchtime salad. It has over 800 calories because the food within it is full of satiating and filling fats and proteins. This is eaten after a fasted morning as the first meal of the day around 12:00. Later in the day a dinner time meal can be eaten and a further bowl of antioxidant rich fruit can be used as a snack / treat too dependent on the required calorie consumption for the day and whether the need is fat loss or maintenance.

Nutrient Dense Lunchtime Salad:

nutrient dense salad
Nutrient Dense Salad

Essential Amino Acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Your body needs 20 different amino acids to perform its basic functions. The body can make 11 of the amino acids itself – but the other 9 “essential amino acids” have to come from food sources because the body cannot make them. Consuming animal meats and dairy is a very easy ways to provide the body with these “complete proteins.” On a vegan diet it becomes more complicated because the proteins must be combined in order for them to work. In the salad above all 9 essential amino acids are included and you can see below from the list of their function why it is so important to get your daily protein allowance.

Phenylalanine (Essential Amino Acid) 

Needed for creating insulin to regulate blood sugar, production of collagen & elastin to support the skin.  The body uses phenylalanine to produce the neurotransmitter norepinephrine.  Norepinephrine has antidepressant properties, improves memory, reduces hunger pains and helps signals travel between the brain and body’s nerve cells.

Found in SMOKED SALMON, EGGS, organic soya, seaweed & algae, poultry & beef

Tryptophan (Essential Amino Acid)

Maintaining mental function through its conversion to serotonin.  Aiding good sleep.  Producing serotonin and regulating and elevating mood

Found in EGGS & NUTS, bananas, seaweed & algae, poultry & beef 

Lysine (Essential Aino Acid)

Essential for absorbing calcium from food, the integrity of skin and energy production in muscles at cellular level.

Found in EGGS, mung beans, chickpeas, hazelnuts & seaweed & algae, poultry & beef 

Methionine (Essential Amino Acid)

Supports the immune system and helps to prevent allergies.  Essential for the production of serotonin to help regulate mood and relaxation.

Found in AVOCADOS, sunflower seeds, seaweed & algae, poultry & beef

LEUCINE, ISOLEUCINE & VALINE (Essential Amino Acids)

Essential for wound healing and the rebuilding and repair of muscles

Found in ALL NUTS & SEEDS, seaweed & algae, EGGS, poultry & beef

Threonine (Essential Amino Acid)

Essential for Collagen production, controlling inflammation such as eczema, arthritis & IBS.  Supporting the immune system.

Found in:  Meat, SALMON, EGGS, PUMPKIN SEEDS, dairy, cottage cheese, carrots, bananas, sesame seeds

Histidine: (Essential Amino Acid)

Histidine helps make a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) called histamine. Histamine plays an important role in your body’s immune function, digestion, sleep and sexual function.

Found in: Meat, Poultry, Fish – including SALMON, Peas, Oats & Kidney beans.

Other Vitamins & Minerals Found in this Powerhouse Salad:

LEAFY GREENS (watercress, rocket & spinach):

Vitamin A, vitamin C, antioxidants, fibre, folate, vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, iron and potassium

BRAZIL NUTS:  Selenium – Immunity, reproductive function, healing damaged tissue
Magnesium – Bone health & Muscle function
Phosphorus – Bone & teeth health

PUMPKIN SEEDS: Healthy fats, magnesium & antioxidants (selenium & beta carotene)
Zinc – Creation of DNA, growth of cells, healing damaged tissue, immunity
Phosphorus – Works with calcium to build bones, repairs tissue & cells
Manganese – Bone health, powerful antioxidant, energy metabolism

CHIA SEEDS: Quercetin – Good for heart issues, lowering blood pressure, prostate infections, prevention of respiratory infections, allergies
Copper – Healthy bones, blood vessels, nerves & immune function LOW COPPER linked to high blood pressure & high cholesterol
Iron – Energy levels, red blood cell function, mental & physical performance
Also in Chia seeds – Calcium, Manganese, Magnesium, Selenium

OLIVE OIL:  Vitamin E – Protects from free radicals, prevents blood clotting in blood vessels, boosts immunity.
Vitamin K – For blood clotting, bone mineralization & bone metabolism
Healthy fats – decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, decreases LDL cholesterol.

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR:   Reported to help do the following:
Kill harmful bacteria
Lower blood sugar and manage diabetes
Aid weight-loss
Reduce cholesterol
Antioxidant effects

Conclusion:

Changing the narrative around weight loss and becoming more positive can be very helpful. Instead of being a failure because a diet is not adhered to with perfection, the simple reframing of the goal to: “I am working on becoming a healthy person,” allows an individual flexibility and kindness when on a long term journey to change lifelong ingrained habits.

Asking the questions, “would a healthy person eat this?” or “how is this food going to help my body to function?” can really help an individual to rewire automatic habit responses to stress, anxiety and tiredness. Indeed by eating with a nutritional goal: sleep, anxiety and stress will all improve, thereby often removing triggering emotions which lead to habitual poor food choices.

If mental health is suffering, looking at your nutrition is a better first port of call than the doctors surgery and antidepressants. By concentrating on increasing the nutrients needs for superior mental health function alongside a quality daily exercise habit, most antidepressant usage can be avoided.

If you want a little more help with difficult habits and food choices, or taking the first step on your journey to becoming a healthy person, then please get in touch with one of our health coaches today for a FREE 30 minute chat to see if we can help you begin your positive, healthy and happy life.

Send a text to arrange your FREE call on 07775 998053 or email team@teamtraininguk.com

Hyrox sled push

PRESS RELEASE : Global Fitness competition HYROX partner with Team Training UK

Northwich, Cheshire: Team Training UK announce a new partnership with HYROX, the global fitness competition with UK events in Birmingham, London, Manchester & Glasgow.  This partnership will help Cheshire locals thinking of entering HYROX, to have tailored competition training to have them competing at the highest levels in their chosen competition.

Managing Director of Team Training UK, Paul Connor explains, “We have always been passionate about helping our members to compete in sporting events.  We know that competing tends to produce the aesthetic goals our clients are looking for, whilst changing the narrative away from losing weight to getting stronger, fitter and faster.” 

“We were excited to learn about the HYROX fitness competitions because they give the gym community a place to measure fitness across 9 disciplines from event to event.  We have 10 members competing in Birmingham HYROX in 4 weeks and 20 entered into HYROX Manchester in January 2023.  Members range in age from 25 – 59, and all now have the fitness levels needed, thanks to our training programme, to compete in the singles competitions within their age categories.”

Paul Connor continues, “The HYROX competition is about strength, endurance and cardiovascular fitness, which are the pillars around which I based the Team Training Programme when I designed it in 2020.  All of our members, since taking on this new challenge, have achieved a significant new level of fitness, gained confidence and I am so excited to see how the TEAM exceed their expectations of themselves on their first race day in October”

The benefits of training with Team Training UK for a HYROX event include:

  • Official Certified HYROX Trainers
  • Tailored HYROX training across all 8 functional fitness movements including SLED work
  • Group Running Sessions
  • HYROX Race Discounts 
  • HYROX Race Rules Training
  • HYROX Simulation Days
  • HYROX Performance Fitness Test Days

Team Training UK was started in 2020 by Paul Connor from Paul Connor Health & Fitness.  Team Training UK is a private gym facility specialising in small group personal training in an encouraging and friendly environment.  Monthly memberships allow members to attend as many weekly sessions as they want, and give complete flexibility with no advance booking required.  The sessions combine the highest level of strength and muscle building exercises with exceptional cardio vascular training. 

HYROX is a global fitness race for Every Body. Participants from all around the world compete in the exact same format. The race starts with a 1 km run, followed by 1 functional movement, which repeats 8 times, taking place in large indoor venues, creating a unique stadium like atmosphere for all participants.

PRESS RELEASE :

Team Training Gym Northwich, Cheshire.  Team Training UK have launched The Hundred Club, a new twice weekly group personal training initiative aimed specifically at those over 65.  The Hundred Club is designed for those aged 65+ who are in good health and want to continue their independence and quality of life. 

The Hundred Club offers a private Northwich gym setting for groups of 8 – 10 men and women to socialise and meet new friends whilst increasing strength and cardiovascular fitness and having fun.

Paul Connor, Managing Director of Team Training UK and Paul Connor Health and Fitness explained,

“My recent research into health-span and longevity has been staggering.  The evidence that exercising 5 – 6 times per week, and in particular incorporating regular strength training into that routine, will change the health of your last 10 years of life is significant and unquestionable.” 

Paul continued, “My research also proved that it is never too late to start building muscle and strength.  So, I wanted to design a program where the over 65’s could build their strength and resilience to enhance their health-span, whilst getting them together in a fun and social environment.  Loneliness is another huge factor of poor quality of life for the older generation.  The Hundred Club is the perfect place to meet new people and learn new skills whilst keeping your body and mind functioning to its full potential.”

Features and benefits of the training programme at The Hundred Club include.

  • Improved thinking and learning skills
  • Meeting new people and having fun twice per week.
  • Strength training to develop stronger bones and help with fat loss.
  • Gaining better balance and more muscle mass can reduce your risk of falls.

The Hundred Club is available now priced at £95 per month for 2 sessions per week. The sessions take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12pm.  For more information on The Hundred Club, visit https://teamtraininguk.com/the-hundred-club/

Team Training UK was started in 2020 by Paul Connor from Paul Connor Health & Fitness.  Team Training UK is a private gym facility specialising in small group personal training in an encouraging and friendly environment.  Monthly memberships allow members to attend as many weekly sessions as they want, and give complete flexibility with no advance booking required.  The sessions combine the highest level of strength and muscle building exercises with exceptional cardio vascular training.  Team Training UK is also a HYROX affiliated gym

As we start our first ever twice weekly group personal training program for the over 65’s, we wanted to “start with why,” and explain some life changing benefits that we will be working for during this now permanent twice weekly class.

There are many people who find themselves overweight and slipping into old age far too quickly as they hit 65.  Many are happy to sit with the stereotypes that the ageing number label them with, rather than making up their own rules about what they want to be doing in their 70’s and 80’s. 

The truth is that the earlier that you start looking after your body and mind the more choices you are going to have about what you are able to do, and your quality of life in your last 10 years.

If you are healthy weight, with great cardio fitness and lean muscle mass, and eat a healthy nutritionally balanced diet, limit alcohol and sleep great, then rest assured the future is statistically very bright indeed.  

It is however, never too late to start.  This article explores how building muscle, and strength training will improve your quality of life and how even in your 60’s, 70’s and 80’s you can still make great progress and gains to your future life and health span.

Why build muscle?

As we age our muscle mass naturally decreases and unfortunately body fat percentage is likely to increase to replace the lean muscle that you have lost.  By engaging in regular strength training you will help to preserve your lean muscle mass and keep your strength in your 60’s, 70’s and 80’s when you will need it the most.

Strength training has so many benefits at every age but here are some really important ones as you get over 65.

Strength training helps to develop stronger bones:  

6 out of 10 people who break a hip never regain their former level of independence.  Studies have shown that strength training plays a role in slowing bone loss and has even been proven to build bone.  Activities that stress bones can remind bone forming cells to do their job. This form of resistance training targets the bones of the hips, spine and wrists which are often the most likely to fracture with a fall.  Strong muscles lead to strong bones, and strong bones minimise fractures due to osteoporosis.

Strength training helps with fat loss:

Maintaining a healthy body weight is proven to help reduce the risks of Cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and Strokes.  Couple a healthy weight with the unquestionable benefits of exercise on mental health and cognitive function and you will be bouncing into your 80’s.

The doctors advice is to “lose weight.’  But if getting the number on the scales “correct’ means the loss of the majority of your muscle then please remember that being a skinny sack of skin is not going to help you when you fall over. Losing visceral body fat is the really important goal.  This is the hidden fat stored deep inside the belly and even wrapped around your liver and intestines.

By building muscle through training with weights, you will keep your metabolism functioning at the best rate for your age.  This is because your body uses more energy when you are at rest the more muscle that you have.  The more energy you are burning the easier it is to maintain your optimum body weight, whilst still being able to eat plenty of nutritious food.

The holy grail of not storing excess fuel as fat, is to get to grips with eating the exact amount of food needed for your daily expenditure.  If you eat too much it is stored as fat.  The more you move the more you get to eat.  The more muscle you have the more you get to eat. The better your metabolism is working the more you get to eat.  If you want to eat more and not store it as fat then you need to do something about it.

Strength training will enhance your quality of life by:

  • Protecting your joints from injury
  • Giving you better balance which may reduce your risk of falling
  • Giving you more confidence to be independent for longer
  • Reducing signs and symptoms of arthritis, back pain, obesity, heart disease, depression & diabetes.
  • Improving your thinking and learning skills

Can you still build muscle over the age of 65?

Certainly losing muscle mass as we age is well documented.  After the age of 60 lean muscle mass decreases significantly, and the knock on effect of this is huge. The increase in falls, increased insulin resistance, and a loss of bone density is the perfect cocktail for a very poor final chapter of life.  

Why do you lose your muscle in the first place?

The reasons for the decrease of muscle as ageing occurs involves a lack of nutrients, specifically the 9 essential amino acids, and a decrease in physical activity. 

The 9 essential amino acids are involved in so many crucial bodily functions.  From helping to absorb nutrients, fuelling the immune system, growing new tissue, energy production and repairing and rejuvenating your muscles.

Meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, and fish contain all 9 essential amino acids needed for minimising your muscle loss. This means they are ‘complete’ sources of protein. Soy and pea protein are also plant-based complete protein sources.  A food containing all 9 essential amino acids is called a complete protein.

Nuts, seeds, beans, peas, and whole grains are excellent sources of protein but only form a complete protein when they are consumed together. 

Can you get your muscle back if you are over 65?

It would make sense then, to increase muscle building activity, in combination with an increased consumption of the 9 essential amino acids in enough quantity to grow new tissue, and repair and rejuvenate your muscles as you work on them.  But is it that simple as you get older?

Yes it is – you can still build muscle and strength in your 70’s and 80’s:

“Physical activity, especially resistance training, is unequivocally beneficial for elderly patients with regards to enhancing muscle mass and strength (Fiatarone et al., 1990Dibble et al., 2006Peterson et al., 2011Drummond et al., 2012). A recent review found that when progressive resistance training (PRT) is performed 2–3 times a week at a high intensity, it results in improved physical function and strength (Liu and Latham, 2009). The frequency and duration of resistance exercise in elderly are recommended at 2–4 times per week on alternating days and lasting 30–60 min each; 1–3 sets of 8–15 reps at 80% of one-rep maximum strength, with a monthly progressive adjustment (American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand, 1998Law et al., 2016).”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2020.00874/full

Another study comparing master athletes in their 70’s and 80’s, with a group of men of the same ages who had never exercised, showed surprising results.  Both groups performed the same exercises for the same time with the assumption that the master athlete group would have the better capacity to build muscle due to their lifelong exercise habits.  The untrained older men amazingly showed the same muscle gains thereby proving that it is never too late to start strength training to build muscle.

Conclusion:

Building muscle over the age of 65 is still very achievable.  With regular, consistent strength training sessions, combined with the intake of all 9 essential amino acids on a daily basis, it is highly likely that even in the older years muscle will still be grown.  The benefits of increased muscle mass in old age will significantly improve health in numerous ways, many documented above.  Therefore building muscle in your older years is not only still possible – but if you currently have limited muscle mass,  it is going to be one of the biggest factors to helping you maintain your quality of life and continue your independence into your 80’s and beyond.


If you are interested in The Hundred Club – Group Personal Training for over 65’s or Team Training – Group Personal training for under 65’s, then please fill out the contact form below or click below to find out more information, or call or message Paul now for a free session or a chat or to get started: 07833 564139

    healthy relationship with food

    Eating healthy food long term can be a challenge for most people. With this in mind, it’s important not to feel guilty for eating fatty food as this can enable an unhealthy relationship with food. At the other end of the spectrum, restricting yourself too much or not eating enough calories will only push you to binge eat. The ultimate end goal is to create a healthy relationship with food so you can feel good within your everyday life. There are tips you can incorporate which helps you consume a more balanced diet, so you are absorbing the nutrients your body needs.

    Eat the right amount of protein, greens and carbohydrates

    It’s simple. If you don’t eat enough of each food group, you will either feel hungry all the time or sluggish, or a combination of both. This then pushes you to eat even worse. While eating right will help you to create your dream figure, the feeling, energy and health benefits that coincide with this naturally far outweighs “the look”. The balanced plate rule is a concept that dieticians and nutritionists explain as something we should look at when we meal plan or plate up our food. One quarter of your plate should be carbohydrates, one quarter should be lean protein and one half should be non-starchy vegetables. Healthy fats and dairy can also be added to your diet too, such as a blueberry protein smoothie with peanut butter in it, or a pita bread with chicken, salad and edam cheese. 

    Eat multiple small meals throughout the day 

    Starving your body or simply being really busy and not eating enough can be extremely bad for your body. Not eating enough can be just as bad as overeating. Not only can undereating cause fatigue and other health issues, but it can then make your body feel the need to only binge eat carby and fatty food when you get the chance. Due to your body being in starvation mode, it will want to consume anything that will instantly fill them up and cure their craving. It’s instead recommended to have 5-6 meals a day to prevent your metabolism from slowing down. Ensure you also learn the minimum amount of calories your body should be eating and stick to this. 

    Allow exceptions and try find healthy alternatives for your cravings

    The all or nothing approach can have contradictory effects. Because you are trying to cut certain foods and foods you enjoy altogether, it can result in it being extremely difficult to follow a nutritious diet. When the mind constantly thinks of what it can’t have, well, it wants it more. We want what we can’t have – that’s human nature. You should allow yourself to have the foods you enjoy but within a balanced diet. You can also have these meals more frequently but with healthier alternatives. Do you research and find meals that have less calories than the usual treat meals but give you a similar fulfillment. You’d be surprised at what you can find. When you start to have your cravings, incorporate these meals into your plan.

    The Author:

    Olivia Fairhurst is a content manager for The Uniform Centre, an online uniform shop stocking workwear and work clothes in NZ. 

    Next article: How to decide on a personal trainer in the Northwich area?

    N

    Fitness over 40

    We all know that we should be exercising regularly and eating healthy foods, but sometimes it can be hard to find the motivation to do so. In this article, we’ll explore some of the benefits of making fitness a priority over the age of 40. You may be surprised at how much better you feel – both physically and mentally after just a few months of beginning daily exercise.

    Why is your fitness so important as you turn 40?

    Making fitness a priority over the age of 40 has many benefits. It can help improve your overall health, reduce stress levels, and improve your mood.

    Exercise is especially important as you age since it can help prevent conditions such as obesity, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It can also help reduce the risk of falls and fractures.

    Making fitness a priority will require some changes in your lifestyle. You may need to set aside time each day for exercise, and you may need to make changes to your diet. However, these changes are worth it when you consider the many benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

    What should you do if you have never exercised and you want to start at 40?

    Despite what you may have heard, it is never too late to start exercising and reaping the many benefits that come with it. In fact, starting to exercise at age 40 can actually help improve your overall health and quality of life.

    Here are some of the benefits that you can enjoy by making fitness a priority over the age of 40:

    – improved cardiovascular health

    – stronger bones and muscles

    – better joint health

    – increased flexibility

    – improved balance and coordination

    – improved mental health

    – better sleep quality

    If you have never exercised before, starting at age 40 is a great time to begin. You can start by doing simple exercises at home, and walking or swimming. Once you are comfortable with those, you can try more challenging exercises, such as running or weightlifting and working with a personal trainer. It is important to find an exercise routine that works for you and that you can stick with long-term.

    Making fitness a priority in your 40’s can have many benefits. Here are just some of the benefits that you can expect:

    1. Improved Mental Health

    Exercise can improve your mental health and well-being. It has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels, and it can also improve your cognitive function.

    2. Increased Strength and Endurance

    Exercise can increase your strength and endurance. It can also help to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

    3. Increased Flexibility and Mobility

    Exercise can help to increase your flexibility and mobility. This can allow you to participate in activities that you formerly could not do, such as climbing stairs or walking up hills.

    4. Reduced Risk of developing Obesity or Diabetes

    Exercise can help to reduce the risk of developing obesity or diabetes. Exercise has been shown to be an effective way to lose weight, and it has also been shown to lower the risk of developing diabetes.

    Will exercise help me to live longer?

    A study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that people over the age of 40 who exercised had a lower risk of death than those who did not exercise.

    The study looked at data from over 2 million people who were aged 40 to 75 years old. They found that people who exercised had a 20% lower risk of death, regardless of their age, weight, or smoking habits.

    The benefits of exercise go beyond preventing death. Exercise has been shown to improve your mood, reduce inflammation, and increase lifespan.

    Can you begin exercise if you are over 40 and really overweight?

    When it comes to getting fit, people over 40 have a few things going for them. First, they tend to have more time available for exercise. Second, they often have more experience with exercising – they may have been exercising regularly since their younger years! Finally, they’re generally more motivated than younger people to take care of their bodies.

    If you’re over 40 and really overweight, don’t be discouraged! There are still plenty of benefits to be had by making fitness a top priority in your life. Just start small – start by making a commitment to exercise for 30 minutes each day and see how that goes and maybe start with walking or sitting on a stationary bike. You may be surprised at just how good you feel after a month or two of consistent exercise!  When you are feeling stronger mentally then taking the plunge to work in private with a really experienced personal trainer may be the next step in getting back to fitness. Do remember if you are really overweight or have been ill recently to consult your doctor before undertaking a new exercise regime. 

    Conclusion

    As we reach our 40s, it can be easy to let our fitness levels slip as other areas of our lives take centre stage. However, making fitness a priority does not have to mean ditching all else in order for us to get in shape; there are plenty of benefits that come with keeping up regular exercise habits into our late 40s and beyond. Not only will we look and feel better, but we will also reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases down the road. So what are you waiting for? Make fitness your new mantra and see how great you feel on the inside and out! Maybe even come to see us at our kickstart back to fitness course.

    How to build resilience
    personal trainer
    self growth

    The power of impulsivity on progression

    So, we just got through Blue Monday, but January is a long month often sat waiting for the holy grail of payday.  How are you feeling? Are you down and depressed or happy to be through the expense and excess of Christmas?   I wonder if people fall into two camps.  People who love Christmas and get depressed in January, and those who hate the festive season and embrace the new beginnings and clean living of January? I know that I am the latter.  I hate Christmas. The added pressures, the waste, the pointless extravagance, the food, and the drink.  I wonder if because I am controlled, and Christmas is all about being fun, letting go and going crazy, that is why for me, January is up there with my favourite months!

    January sings the blues

    January means that everyone is skint.  No one is going out! There is no pressure to eat cake and stay out past 9pm. For a month or two I am in the majority as the masses descend back to the gym, for this to be the year they finally lose the weight and get happy. Yes, in January most people are living their lives the way I live mine most of the time and that means I am finally normal!

    Is there an argument to say that many who look forward to Christmas enjoy the escapism that can be found in that write off month of the year?  It is funny and seems to have become more and more so over the years, that December has become the invisible month.  The month where you can eat as much, drink and even spend as much, and sleep as little as you want, and it really does not matter in the moment because it’s Christmas! Of course, the issue with this is if the same happens every year.  Each December if you get fatter, more ill, and poorer, then no wonder January continually sings the blues and some.

    So, this January are you excited to be back to normal and gaining back the control of your health and finances or are you down and miserable because you have a huge credit card bill to pay and and an even bigger belly. Are you living in the only pair of jeans that still fit having just joined weight watchers or pure gym to “sort yourself out?

    Reframe January

    January though, in my mind, is not to be feared.  January can be a great time for measurement and seeing how far you have come. Each year it can be a positive exercise to look at what you have achieved in the last 12 months and quite often you will be astounded.  We can all be hard on ourselves and self-critical finding all the reasons why we are failures. However, by just having a quick glance back at where you were this time last year it can be quite powerful to see that you have progressed far more than you thought.

    So, from the first part of this blog, I have probably come across as quite boring, and in the everyday I pretty much am. I eat the same food nearly every day.  I only drink the same drink when I go out….and if I do go out, I like to be home by 8pm.  Bedtime is a beyond boring 9pm and my boyfriend and I even sleep separately in the week to make sure our sleep quality is tip top.

    F*&K it – Let’s do this

    However, what I lack in everyday excitement, I make up for in abundance with my impulsivity over my biggest life decisions. I have left a marriage, had a third baby after a 10-year gap, and quit three jobs all with a determined “f*&k it, let’s do this,” mentality.  Certainly, when I have followed my sixth sense and trusted my gut life has not been dull. In fact, so far life has been a flaming blast.  Full of twists and turns and nothing, “so far so good” that I regret.

    When I look back over where I have come in the last year and indeed the last 5 years since my 20-year marriage, ended there have been many highs and crashing lows, but wow I have grown is so many ways. Highs include visiting Thailand (a childfree holiday for the first time in 18 years), buying my first house and making it a home, and competing in a national sporting competition in London.  Lows are becoming less since I have a committed boyfriend, but certainly the loneliness and anxiety that comes from being single and over 40, have provided some difficult days and nights.

    Out of the darkness comes self belief

    Looking back though from where I was, I am so happy for the dark times because they challenged me, made me grow and have helped to build my self-esteem.  I am still a work in progress but reflecting like this each January really helps me to keep being brave, pushing and challenging myself to do things that scare me and that I don’t enjoy, because I know if I stay inside of my comfort zone that looking back next January will be boring and disappointing.

    In life, business, relationships and especially weight loss, progress can often be a slog. When we have bad habits, self-limiting beliefs, or a critical parents voice firmly implanted in our brains, making long lasting changes can often be an uphill struggle with numerous peaks and troughs.  If long term life changes will involve breaking down all the negativity, sometimes self-loathing, and irrational voices planting hurdles in your mind, then it is important to allow yourself the time to make the full journey.

    Leaving a relationship because you want more, leaving a job to start a business you are passionate about, tackling health issues when you know there is a huge struggle ahead, all take huge courage and can be life changing decisions that are easy to keep putting off year after year.

    Create your own third force

    In these instances, a f*&k it impulsiveness act now and worry about the consequences later can be a blessing.  It can add that third force that facilitates action.

    Force number 1:  I want to leave my job, or I want to lose weight or I want to do the same thing as my friends.

    Force number 2:  I can’t leave my job because I must pay bills, or I can’t lose weight because hate exercise because I am so unfit. I can’t join in with my friends because they are all so much better than me.

    The Third Impulsive Force:

    I handed my notice in now I must raise my game and figure something out.

    I paid upfront for a long-term gym membership – I have attended now, or I will be annoyed I wasted my money.

    I entered an indoor rowing competition with my really fit friends – I have to flaming do this now!

    Committing to something on an impulse can really force you to get out of your comfort zone and rise to the challenge.  When there is only force 1 and force 2 involved, it is easy to stay in limbo year after year knowing you want to make changes but talking yourself out of them because you are scared.

    F*&K It and allow yourself to grow

    If you look back this January and think life has not changed since last winter. If you look back this January and think that you are as miserable this year as you were 5 years ago, then it’s time to do the uncomfortable work and make some radical changes and find your inner “f*&k it.”

    The journey that might mean you getting exactly where you want to may be a long one, but there will be aspects of that journey that you will enjoy when you take the pressure off and commit to the challenge in the long term.

    Don’t fear the pain of change.  Make an impulsive gut driven decision to do something that is important to you, and you will make it work.  The sooner you start that journey, the sooner you’ll get the successes that you long for. You have no idea how high you are going to soar once you start putting yourself in new uncomfortable places with challenges to terrify and excite you.

    Your potential is infinite if you just have the confidence to say, “f*&k it” and let yourself grow.