What it takes

This morning’s insta post is worth moving to the blog. It stems from hearing those who are not quite ready to commit to their health. Change is a scary thing, even if it’s for the best, so people come up with excuses to justify not undertaking the change to a healthier lifestyle.

But Sarah, I don’t have the time

⏰ It takes 5-10’ for an effective exercise routine.

But Sarah, I don’t have the space, can’t afford a gym, I’m scared of the gym

🕴🏿 It takes a length of your body space if you don’t have a gym. And if you don’t like exercising, any vigorous movement will do the trick really, but as a human, you’ve got to move that body for it to function.

But Sarah, I like sugar, wine, burgers, [insert processed food of choice] too much

🤯 It takes making a priority on proper nutrition.

It takes building habits to feed the right stuff.

That’s the bare minimum. It’s up to you. It’s what you’re happy with and feel you can sacrifice, which is very individual choice.

Next step is choosing your environment (spaces and people), and making the decisions to fight for what you want to keep and let go of what drags you down. That is the big one. But if you can start with the first three, the rest will follow. It’s worth it.

Stop making excuses if you want results. If you want help, let’s talk simple actions and building habits that work.

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Work hard, play hard, fuel right

What do pro athletes and professional parents have in common? Dreams and passion to do well in all they do, and the hard work it takes to show up no matter what. Such dedication can take its toll on our immune system.

What surprises me as a health coach is that while we take it for granted that athletes owe it to themselves to feed right, there seems to be an acceptance that professional working adults don’t take their body as seriously. Yet the demands are so similar… The relentless running around school drop off and/or pick up, clubs, running a house, leading a successful career comes with its share of challenges.

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Athletes testimonials video

The change of seasons are particularly demanding on our immune system, and we see an increase of colds (man flu, because guys do tend to have worse).

Yet there are so many ways to prevent not only the fatigue but also dips in immunity.

Sarah’s 10 tips of the day to keep well

  1. Hydrate, it’s somewhat more difficult when it’s colder or humid outside
  2. Know your limits, and respect them
  3. Move your body, you’re a human, not a sloth
  4. Know your essential macros (natural carbs of the green type, protein of the lean type, fats of the mean type). I fancied a rhyme, just avoid processed crap at least.
  5. Know your essential micros (look for independently verified quality). See here to cover the basic needs whether you’re a sport athlete or a corporate pro parent.
  6. Rest and sleep
  7. Surround yourself with people who lift you up
  8. Follow your dreams, make a difference,
  9. Be “selfish” in your responsibilities, no one is coming to save you, you know what makes you happy, so get on to it.
  10. Be kind to yourself. Remember it’s about progression not perfection. Aim for the above, don’t beat yourself up if you slip up.

My passion is to build a better world and fill it with healthy people. If I can make it easy for you or you want to know more about how holistic health coaching can help, do get in touch.

Let’s talk skincare, shall we?

Sleep, hydrate, exercise, feed, supplement, repeatTips for a healthy glow

Hands up who’s got skin, AND who wants their skin to feel sooo good they don’t even need to think about it anymore.

Gosh do I love wearing little to no make up! I was never super keen on slapping the war paint on, but for the past 20 years i was feeling it was necessary. Except that every morning, as I was putting on the foundation, then the powder, and the blush, and the eye shadows, and the highlighter, and the bronzer… every layer, every brush stroke was reinforcing “I have imperfections I want to hide to the outside world” and it never felt right.

It’s quite a powerfully negative message when you think about it. It spells out “not good enough”. And we all fall for it. The make up industry is built on these insecurities.

Then there’s the whole issue about what we put on our skin, which is the largest absorbing organ in our body. Ever thought about that? A decade or so ago (ok 15+) I noticed how certain cosmetics were better than others for my skin. It was well worth the expense I thought. Rhetorical question, but how many people can afford lugging £500 worth of war paints around, to hide their skin, plus the regular expense in a bid to solve the concerns?

I toyed around with many things, wearing no make up wasn’t really great and pamper sessions are nice. Anyway back in 2016, when my eldest started playing with essential oils, we started making lotions and potions. Fun activities for the kids, brilliant use for mum, here I was making my own skincare (and teaching the children some good life skills!). The improvements were noticeable. That’s due to using natural products from reliable sources. No more rubbish on my skin. Within a few weeks, I had somewhat of a Botox effect, and I finally started going without makeup. It was fab, a good start. My skin tone still wasn’t super even, and my skin could feel raw at times. It just wasn’t ideal, and I’d have to reach for Bobbi’s support every so often. It was progress, but I was still looking to optimise the wellbeing of my skin.

If you know me, then you know that I tend to dig to the core of an issue and I will always look for a holistic solution. That healthy skin glow is the reflection of your total health, therefore achieving the glow starts deeper. It takes care from both inside and out

Tips for a healthy glow from inside:

  1. Sleep – 7 to 8 hours and practice relaxation. One may be able to survive or even function on less, but to thrive and get that healthy glow, that’s non-negotiable.
  2. Hydrate – drink for your bodyweight and activity level. (Papa, I mean water!) Think 2 litres a day for your average human.
  3. Exercise – move about, do something that you enjoy, use that body of yours, it doesn’t have to be in a gym or even sports, but move that bum about.
  4. Eat real food – stick to a human diet preferably, it’s bad enough that our vegetables don’t quite bring all the vitamins they did 50 years ago, please use common sense before depriving your body of nourishment.
  5. Supplement – Food: not that rubbish from so H&B, or worse the supermarket. If you value your health truly, then please use the real stuff that’s pharmaceutical grade, with a guaranteed manufacturing standard. Do your research, do the tests yourself.
  6. Repeat – daily action is required. The cumulative effect of daily action is what yields results.

The finishing touches

That’s not where the story ends. The tips above are simple, but they are not easy for everyone. We need to look at the external care better… In March 2018, something else came along. A skincare that’s not only clean, made with natural ingredients but also boosted with the latest advances in cellular health science. Eeek!!! That’s my boxes ticked straight away. A few of my “health friends” had been trying it out, in particular Joyce, whose cheeks had turned baby-bottom-soft in the space of a few months really made me want to try this regimen out.

Oh the bliss. Here I was, at my sink, and my skin was feeling like I’d spent an hour at the spa. The freshness from the gentle cleanse, the plumpness from the hydration, the overall wow… just that from washing my face, apply a toner, serum and face cream?! At home?! Say whaaat?

Fast forward 4 weeks, the only makeup I’m wearing is mascara and lipstick. The big win is that my husband’s wrinkles are reducing, his rosacea is nowhere to be seen, heck he looks younger! Ok it’s easier to see the difference on him since he’s a smoker and likes a drink. The only thing he changed that month was his skincare regimen. It’s kind of striking.

The difference in my pics is more subtle, in the “I am happy having a selfie taken without makeup now” kind of way. For me it means the world. Sorry Bobbi, I think we’ve just parted, my bank account is happier already (it isn’t, I now spend the money on massage or reiki, it’s awesome!!!

So… who is keen on luscious skin with no makeup?

As I was saying earlier, hands up who’s got skin, and wants it to feel good by making a simple swap in their skincare? If you know anyone fitting the description, send them my way. If they’re in Southampton or London, I’ll happily give them a live demo, let’s have a party!

From A to K: Your Complete Vitamin Guide – Ask The Scientists

Photo by askthescientists.com

An introduction to the basics of vitamins and how they help your health provided by my favourite bunch of PhDs.

Discover more about the vitamins your body needs. The explain everything you need to know — Read on askthescientists.com/qa/vitamins/

The topics covered include:

1 A Crash-Course in Vitamin Basics

2 The Two Main Categories of Vitamins

3 VITAMIN A

4 VITAMIN B1 (THIAMIN)

5 VITAMIN B2 (RIBOFLAVIN)

6 VITAMIN B3 (NIACIN)

7 VITAMIN B5 (PANTOTHENIC ACID)

8 VITAMIN B6

9 VITAMIN B7 (BIOTIN)

10 VITAMIN B9 (FOLATE)

11 VITAMIN B12 (COBALAMIN)

12 VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID)

13 VITAMIN D (CALCIFEROL)

14 VITAMIN E (TOCOPHEROLS and TOCOTRIENOLS)

15 VITAMIN K (PHYLLOQUINONE, MENADIONE)

16 Time to Meet Vitamin’s Nutritional Companion—Minerals

— Read on askthescientists.com/qa/vitamins/

Fast tracking health

You’ve got to love the media and all their false promises when it comes to health and fitness. All the fads, usually sponsored by a manufacturer or other. “Do this one thing”, “eat this one food/juice/smoothie”… seriously, if it’s too good to true, come on! If you haven’t got out of shape overnight, puffer fish style, how do you expect regaining your wellness instantly?

Broscience with its false promises gives a bad name to the fitness industry, the nutrition industry, and even to natural therapies. My personal pet peeve is the attention that some occasional writer, columnist or that dude down the gym get over real pro an other health nerds, just because they spoke louder. Argh… I diverse.

What about “quick fixes”, “superfoods”, and other “magic” potions? Is there not fast track to health?

Well… that depends what you mean by all these. It depends on what you want to believe. The choice is always yours to make. You can either go off yoyo dieting and/or jump from fad to fad, maybe lose a bit of weight for a while, give yourself the impression you’re “doing something” (good for mental health at least). Or you can make a lasting change. The former isn’t a healthy approach and it will eventually leave you miserable or to settle for less than you deserve.

There’s good news.

Picture 1: Google search on “lose we” brings up “lose weight fast”.

You have to reframe, quick doesn’t mean overnight.

There is a relatively quick fix, as in a most effective way to achieve lasting results. You may have to revise your timeline and expectations ratio, and take a dose of reality.

You have to reframe, quick doesn’t mean overnight. It involves being ready, decide and commit to your health, stop faffing with fads, get professional guidance and allow yourself to follow the plan!

The “quickest” fix for results that lasts is a journey of discovery, challenges and learning. It can be tough, particularly as you learn new habits, but the changes on you overall health are oh so worth it.

It takes three weeks to form a habit, and any sound health programme is based around that. It takes a couple of weeks for you to feel results, a month for you to see results and a bit more than that for others to notice. That’s what quick should mean.

Can you imagine a life in which you have the energy to keep up with young children, you are able to cope with whatever is thrown at you, you have such clear skin that you look 10 (or more) years younger, and unwanted weight just drops of you? Can you imagine what reaching that level of health would mean?

Close your eyes for a second and picture it. That’s what a sustainable health programme will bring you.

That’s why I’m all out for optimal health.

As I said in my previous post, I know what it takes to be healthy, I’ve studied various subjects that allows me to bring a holistic approach to my coaching, yet I somehow found myself in a state of less that desirable fitness. What went wrong? A few things. Essentially I stopped respecting myself with the daily tiny actions of self-care that make the difference between the “cuddly” body and the lean one.

The fastest way to return to health that I know, love and never stop sharing is my nutritionist friend Jess Dyer’s programme. Jess has invested an incredible amount of work in automating a framework for the health principles that I apply in my 1:1 coaching, with the added bonus of a virtual community. I’m an ambassador for this programme, and since last week I am starting again as a participant. Personally, my favourite thing (other than Jess’s recipes!) is the community. The support is phenomenal.

This post is for journaling my experience, not for promotion, however if you’d like to do what I’m doing, get in touch and I’ll give you special details.

Picture 2: I can’t wait to see these babies back

Reflection Sunday

Two photos, two years apart.

These would be perfect if they were a before and after. They are, but the one on the left was taken two days ago during holidays. The one on the right was taken two years ago as I was trying on different dresses for a work do.

What’s in it?

An extra 10kg (not muscle!), 5% body-fat or so, 2-3 dress sizes, low grade hangovers, brain fog, lower aerobic performance and general fatigue.

Thank goodness my blood results are still in the ideal range. It could be worse 😱

So… what happened?

I gradually started to put on weight after the photo on the right. My lifestyle did not really change as such, which is interesting. It also goes to show it’s the little things that make the difference. Daily, almost insignificant choices. The compound effect of “little things”.

In my case, the difference can be summed up to:

– eating when I was not hungry

– increasing my portion sizes

– one or two glasses of wine, 3, sometimes 4 times a week

– sleep quality reduced

– taking too much on

My nutrition is clean, balanced and thought through in accordance with my needs. I’m the queen of life hacks when it comes to eat well for your body type and lifestyle, and my exercise routines are ace. Not only that, I have coached others in adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Jokingly I answer that “what happened” question with “hubby came home”. Not only that is not a fair statement, and it’s a poor excuse, but it also shows a lack of ownership and a lack of self respect.

It’s time to act to say the least.

What am I going to do about it?

Own it.

Be responsible and aware of my actions/ non-actions.

Seek help and support where (fortunately I know) I can find it.

Be realistic that the journey back to optimal health will be hard, if not harder for the seasoned wellness pro I am than it would be for a newbie.

Treat myself as I would a coaching client, with the same kindness, care and respect and apply all I know.

It is my intention to blog my journey back to optimal health to inspire others who are “not that bad”, “just a bit cuddly”, “know what to do”, “have just a last few pounds”… but first and foremost to make myself accountable, and feel less alone through the journey to make it sustainable.

Watch this space and wish me luck.