How To Stay Upright On The Wobble~Board Of Life!

THBC Blog Wobbleboard

Anyone who has been to a fitness class in the last decade or so has heard the term “core  stability” thrown about as frequently as the ubiquitous kettle~bell 🙂 You may have heard fitness professionals talking about which exercises are particularly good for your physical core – and why core strength is important for sports performance, for long-term health ~ and for the way our bodies look. And I’m not arguing with the validity of all that. It makes perfect sense.

But why stop there? For me, health and well~being goes beyond the physical. The principles of core training can be usefully applied in both the psychological and emotional realms of our lives too.

When life throws a curveball at us, it’s good to know that our physical body can support us. And it’s also good to know that we can rely on our core psychological and emotional stability too. The ability to maintain equilibrium whilst honouring challenging emotions ; the ability to maintain an attitide of loving kindness and compassion towards ourselves and others in difficult times; the ability to maintain hope, to stand up and be who we really are, to hold supportive beliefs about ourselves and the world around us; the ability to engage with life as it really is, rather than as we crave it to be ~ this is true core stability.

True core stability is what keeps us upright on the wobble~board of life! And when you have developed the ability for this kind of stability, you’ll no longer need to rely on food (or any other kind of crutch) to keep you upright ~ you’ll be too busy enjoying the wobbly nature of full-on living 🙂

© Jane Talbot 2013

Feel It To Heal It!

Feel it to heal it!

As “emotional eaters”, we can spend an incredible amount of energy trying to avoid our feelings. Eating is not only a way of numbing our feelings but it also denies us the opportunity of learning from, and accommodating the life-affirming validity of, our feelings. Whilst we cling on to the hope that eating will “make it all better”, it won’t. We all know that.

In fact, eating increases our suffering – it’s an act of “resistance” that prevents us from experiencing life as it is. Our eating behaviour is an attempt to bridge the gap between how things really are and how we’d like them to be. It just doesn’t work.

However, we may reach a point where we find the courage and capacity in ourselves to generate sufficient equilibrium to take bold steps. We can step towards acknowledging our feelings; towards offering ourselves and our emotions compassion; towards meeting the deep unmet needs our emotions are expressing in healthy ways ; towards actually feeling our feelings. Yes, actually feeling feelings 🙂 !!

By being in our body  and present to our emotions, by learning to give welcoming refuge to all parts of ourselves, by offering compassion to our own wounds, we begin to heal. It is through such tender, active feeling that we achieve the deepest, most joyful healing. It is through such feeling that we learn to experience the joy of life AS IT ACTUALLY IS.

Feeling leads to healing 🙂 Oh – and in case you are wondering – as we learn to be with our emotions and with the glorious messy nature of life in this way, most of us experience the added bonus of a naturally emerging, healthy body. As we stop resisting, the weight stops persisting.

Keeping it real,

© Jane Talbot 2013

Be The Terminator!

Are you ready to celebrate how far you've already come?

Are you ready to celebrate how far you’ve already come?

Today’s post is all about exploring the process of change and celebrating how far you’ve already come :).

You may not have found it easy to change your eating or exercise habits  in the past. You may not have found it easy to love and appreciate your body.You may have been on or off diets several times in your life. You may even have bought all the kit to exercise, gone to one class and then not continued. You may not even believe it’s  possible for you to change completely and have the body you want with a healthy lifestyle to go with it. If any of this rings true for you, here’s the good news : in terms of your moving towards a healthy relationship with food and your body, you may be much further along the road of change than you think!

Where Are You In The Process Of Change? Prochaska and Di Clemente (1983) describe a model of change comprising 7 key phases :

  1. Pre-Contemplation.
  2. Contemplation.
  3. Preparation.
  4. Action.
  5. Maintenance.
  6. Relapse.
  7. Termination

Pre-Contemplation In this phase, people are not seriously considering the possibility of change. An example of a person in this stage could be someone who is overweight but does not have any real desire to lose weight, eat healthily, get fit, process their emotions in a healthy way or tackle their inner “Cookie Monster” (actually mine was a Pringles Monster but that’s another story!). You might hear someone in this phase say “So, I’m overweight. That’s just the way I am and I’m kinda used to it. There’s more to life than exercise and mung beans.”

Contemplation During this phase, people become aware , or acknowledge the existence, of a problem. They are seriously considering the possibility of change but need to weigh up whether to take any action or not. In terms of weight loss, many people remain in this stage of contemplation for years! (Sound familiar?!) You might hear someone in this phase saying something like “I know I need to do something but I just don’t know where to start. I’m not sure whether I have the time or whether I’ve left it too late. I’m not sure about paying for a gym membership but I do know that if I don’t do something now, it could have consequences for my life in the future. Can I really change what I eat? Do I really want to eat differently? Is this change really important for me? Is it important enough? Why do I really need to change my relationship with food and my body? Can I go on like this for much longer? What will happen if I don’t change?”

Are you preparing for a change?

Are you preparing for a change?

Preparation As soon as you get to the Preparation phase, things start to look good! Procheska and Di Clemente suggest that if you find yourself at this stage, it’s very likely that you will make a change within the next 3 months. During this key phase, you might find yourself collecting information about what is required to start the change process. You might be Googling about the best way to lose weight, you might be finding out about the cost of membership at a local gym, you might be on Amazon checking out all the diet books, you may be asking about local therapists and weight loss coaches. If you’ve asked for more information about my live Thigh High Boot Camp events or my coaching packages, then you are already at this stage in the change process! (Even reading this blog means that it’s likely that you’re at this stage :))

Action This is the stage when people actually start to make changes. If you have signed up to my upcoming weight loss boot camps or to my coaching programme, then you are at this advanced stage already! If you’ve joined a gym and booked your induction, you’ve arrived at this stage. If you’ve started to read about an approach to weight loss which may work for you – and you’re implementing the recommendations –Woo-Hoo! Go you, Action Adventurer! If you’ve started attending a local weight loss support group, full-on Action Alerts all around!

So you can congratulate yourself already for getting this far – did you realise how far you had already come? As you engage fully with the process of taking action -and start to make sustainable psychological, emotional, spiritual, dietary, exercise and life-style changes- you will move further into this stage.

Maintenance This Maintenance phase is all about your sustaining the progress made during the action phase. For you, this stage might represent the period directly after completing one of my weight loss events or coaching programmes. It could be the stage when the novelty of going to an exercise class or a weight loss support group has worn off and it’s beginning to feel like a regular part of life. It might be the phase where the eating approach you have selected is definitely getting you results and all you need to do is just keep following the approach.

Some people will stay at this stage for a matter of weeks – others for a considerable period of time. During this stage you may not be totally confident about your ability to avoid relapsing into old habits. After the initial “success highs” have worn off, you may become increasingly aware of old unhelpful patterns which may require resolution. This is all good news : it means you are gaining more insight into who you are and how you work. It’s all part of the process of learning to “stay on track naturally” in a way which works for you

Relapse This is the stage when people are not able to keep and maintain new psychological, behavioural and emotional patterns or don’t stick to their plan of action. This can happen for any number of reasons – but if relapses occur, there is still hope! Just because you don’t “stay on the wagon” (and it really is worth challenging what this phrase actually means!) doesn’t mean you can’t get back on! Actually, it might hearten you to know that it is recognised that relapses are vital to any successful change process. Although it is helpful to avoid relapsing into old behaviours, it should be emphasised that you can learn a great deal about how to change your behaviour (on a permanent basis) from your relapses. (It was only when I relapsed that I learned that the emotion driving my eating behaviour was anxiety. That was a really useful insight for me and helped me to shift my focus to resolving my own anxiety so that my hunger was driven by genuine physiological appetite rather than an emotion).

If you become aware of your “triggers” for relapse, you have a much better chance of resolving the trigger-response relationship once and for all!

Be the Terminator!

Be the Terminator!

Termination (doesn’t sound great but it’s the best bit!) At this stage the old psychological, emotional or behavioural response is gone for good – it is the stage we all dream of! When you reach this stage,  your new psychological, emotional ad behavioural responses will happen automatically, unconsciously and naturally. (Termination sounds pretty cool, right?)

Something For You To Chew Over! Even though you might be busy “being good” right now and avoiding popping to the local “Take-Away” restaurant, here’s a healthy “Take Away” for you. Wherever you’re at in this process, you’re in it! Whether you know it consciously or not, you’re on the road to change 🙂  Congratulations!

Useful Resources If you’ve enjoyed this post and would like to learn more about my take on “staying on track” and “relapse”(I call this phase “wiggling”), please check out my 12 Days of Christmas series of posts. These 2 posts will be of particular interest :

https://thighhighbootcamp.com/2012/12/18/welcome-to-the-12-days-of-christmas-project/

https://thighhighbootcamp.com/2013/01/02/act-in-a-response-able-way/

You can also find out more about my live weight loss boot camps (in Northern Ireland, Scotland and England) and my 1-1 and group coaching programmes here http://www.thighhighbootcamp.com

I’ll be back – and, until then, gotta run 🙂 !

JT

© Jane Talbot 2013

Terrier-ist Brokers Peace Deal!

So – back to my Jack Russell Terrier, Sparky 🙂  (Did I mention how much I love my dog?) As I said in my last post, I’m pretty green when it comes to dog ownership and I’m learning new stuff everyday. I’m learning stuff that’s not just about dogs either. I’m learning more and more about me (and my relationship with myself) as a result of building a relationship with him.

I'm a terrier-ist : I'm loaded with love and I know how to use it!

I’m a terrier-ist : I’m loaded with love and I know how to use it!

Before picking Sparky up from the rescue kennels, I did quite a bit of research about JRTs and how to handle them. The first thing I learned was that this breed is a working dog and is really good at sniffing things out and then “dealing” with them (if you know what I mean :)). It is for this very reason that JRTs rarely spend time off their leads outdoors because, if they catch a scent, their whole focus is to get to the end of that trail and then “deal” with whatever they find. No amount of calling or treat-offering will deter them. They are .. um .. like a terrier 🙂   They will not rest until the job is done.

3 months into my relationship with Sparky (did I mention that he’s also very handsome? :)), I realise that he is good at sniffing out all sorts of things – and very skilful at dealing with what he finds at the end of the trail.

What I am learning is that my dog can “smell” an emotion a mile off. If any one of us is not feeling so great, Sparky jumps up for a cuddle and stays until the emotion subsides. It’s incredible how he does it! He seems to use his presence to heal : he exudes love!

As I observed consistent patterns in his behaviour as he constantly monitored the family’s emotions (and attended to them where necessary), I thought I had just about got the hang of his “top skill”. I thought he had shown me his best cards.

No. The best cards so far were laid on the table about a month ago. My partner and I were having a row behind closed doors early in the morning. Not a regular row, of course : it was one of those advanced Clint-Eastward-in-a-poncho versus Lee-Van-Cleef-with-a-steely-glint-in-the-eye rows. A deafeningly silent tumbleweed row. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly music playing in our heads. Hands on holsters. Roll-ups hanging from the corner of our mouths.

That morning there was little time for a shoot-out as there was work to be done and Sparky needed his walk too. Sparky knows the routine by now and as soon as the bedroom door is opened, he wags his tail and turns in circles because he knows he is getting to go for a walk.

But not on this morning. As I stood all wrapped up and ready to go, Sparky refused to get out of his basket. I lifted him out and he climbed straight back in. He was going nowhere.

Sometumes a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do!

Sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do!

My partner then emerged, dressed and ready to go out to sort his van out for a day at the farm. As my partner approached the front door, I deciphered the thought bubble above Sparky’s head as he leapt in front of the door to prevent my partner from leaving. “You ain’t going NOWHERE. Sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.” He definitely had that whole John Wayne thing going on 🙂

Sparky herded us both into the front room and sat between us. First looking at one and then the other. Head on one lap and then the other, until we started to speak (at which point, Sparky left the room to let us get on with making peace.)

All of this taught me that Sparky is not only able to sniff out emotions, he is also present to them (no matter how uncomfortable those feelings may be) and knows how to “deal with”, or attend to, them (he lends his love and he encourages healing for individual members of the family and for relationships within the family).

So,here’s your food for thought. If you want to resolve your emotional relationship with food, if you want to stop swallowing your emotions and start processing them in a healthy way, I wonder if you could consider the following questions within the context of your relationship with your body and with food?

When you experience hunger, are you able to “sniff out” the difference between an emotional signal and a genuine physiological hunger signal? How prepared are you to follow the scent to find what’s really at the end of the trail? As you consider following the “trail”, which (if any) emotions come up? How ready are you to be present to the emotions and associated structures (such as unhelpful beliefs, attitudes, values and identity “labels”) you may discover? How prepared are you to “deal with” what you might find at the end of the trail? How prepared are you to offer love to yourself to encourage healing? How ready are you to re-build your relationship with yourself,with your body, with those around you and with life?

If you can learn to identify an emotion, sit with it (no matter how uncomfortable) and process it in a healthy and respectful way, whilst continuing to hold your full self in unconditional positive regard (Phil Collins would recognise this to be a particularly “groovy kind of love” :)), then you’re well on your way to healing your relationship with both food and your body. And sooner or later, you’ll be doing all this naturally ~ and unconsciously. Just like Sparky.*

(* If this posts resonates with you, and you’re ready to follow the trail, you might really enjoy my 12 Days of Christmas series of blog posts. You can find more out here https://thighhighbootcamp.com/2012/12/18/welcome-to-the-12-days-of-christmas-project/ It’s okay to dip in and out : engage with the parts of the process which draw your attention! Or you may even enjoy coming along to a live weight loss bootcamp event or experiencing 1-1 weight loss coaching. You can find more out here http://www.thighhighbootcamp.com )

Gotta run :)! #DogWithABone #BeATerrier-ist!

JT

© Jane Talbot 2013

Tails Of The Unexpected!

What kind of rhythm are you settling into?

What kind of rhythm are you settling into?

Yo! (That word is probably sooo “yesterday” but I do LOVE the energy of it :))  And have you noticed how the energy is shifting now as the January rhythm begins to assert itself? As things begin to settle back down after the holidays, I thought it would be good for me to settle into a healthy blogging rhythm myself!

So here’s how I’m going to work it. In addition to some of my “endurance” posts, I’m also going to be writing some “sprint” posts. These will be shorter posts : quotes, quick tips and thought-provoking nudges. All “sprints” will be posted in the “Food For Thought” category to help you to find them easily 🙂

So here comes your first thought-provoking nudge 🙂

Sparky!

Sparky!

I’ve never really been that keen on dogs. In fact, up until 3 months ago, I just couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. That was until our eyes met across a crowded rescue kennel. I looked at Sparky (a Jack Russell Terrier) and he looked at me (he even did a light bit of that man-showing-off thing which mostly involved a demonstration of all his best tricks, a LOT of “hey- look- at-me!” barking and the occasional wee in the wrong place). And KERPOW!! That was it : love at first sight!

I decided there and then that I wanted to give Sparky a home but I was a little bit worried about my ability to look after an animal (given that my pet ownership curriculum vitae reads : 1 escaped tortoise and a small collection of very short- lived goldfish).

As all the paperwork was being signed, I nervously asked the kennel owners about caring for Sparky. “Oh, it’s absolutely easy. A dog just needs 4 things : plenty of exercise , the right food , regular worming and, most importantly of all, love. That’s it. That’s all he needs to keep his tail wagging.”

And your food for thought today  is : as you consider your body right now, are you caring for it in the best way for you? Are you exercising it in a way that supports your physical and emotional health? Are you feeding it in a way that supports a health-full way of living? Are you ensuring that the thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and emotions that are getting in the way of your healthy life are being handled in an effective and supportive way (hey – if only there were worming tablets for this kind of stuff!) ? Oh yeah – and that final question. The big one. Do you love it? Do you know how to love your body?

Gotta run 🙂 ! #LoveThatDog #WagThatTail

JT

© Jane Talbot 2013

Personal Training Works Best When It Gets Really Personal!

Today's the day!

Today’s the day!

My Facebook newsfeed is jam-packed with folks declaring that today marks the first day of their 2013 “health kick”. Local gyms are starting fitness and weight loss challenges as I type. Personal trainers in every global nook and cranny are reminding me about their services to support the achievement of our weight loss and fitness goals, so we can (at last) be the proud owner of that “dream body”.

As a fitness professional myself, I think that the fitness industry offers valuable support to those of us who want to lead a healthier life. Being physically active is a really important aspect of our journey towards a healthier relationship with our body and towards achieving (and maintaining) our optimal weight .Being physically active encourages us to spend more time in our bodies and gives us the opportunity to develop exquisite levels of body awareness. Bottom line : exercise definitely supports your getting the “bottom line” you really want :)!(That’s just me being “cheeky” :)! Ooops!)

Are you an active fan yet?

Are you an active fan yet?

If you’re on a weight loss journey, you probably agree with everything I’ve just said. And whilst you might be an “intellectual fan” of exercise (and you could probably give a lecture on everything you “should” be doing to get the body of your dreams – and keep it), chances are you’re not an “active fan” (yet :))! Chances are, you wish you didn’t have to do that whole exercise thing – or that someone else could do it for you! Chances are, you might not find it easy to get motivated to move your body. Chances are you might even sense some resistance every time the word “work-out” is mentioned (and chances are, you’re not even sure why that should be the case .. especially because you intellectually acknowledge that working out can move you in the direction of that dream body!).

What often happens at this point is that people decide to engage the services of a personal trainer. Sounds ideal, right? Well, there are some really useful things to be gained from working with a personal trainer. Firstly, they know stuff about physiology; they know what “good form” and good technique looks like; they know about training frequency, intensity and volume. They know the latest thinking on the best ways to achieve your physical goals. The really good ones also know a thing or two about nutrition. Add to the mix that you’re spending time with people who are just “oozing” vibrant energy, body confidence and health (that’s contagious and you might be at serious risk of catching some of that if you spend enough time in their company!) and it all looks incredibly appealing. And all of this is both valuable and important – and, if you take regular training sessions (and eat what they tell you to), sooner or later you get to see physical changes in your body.

Sounds perfect, right? Or can you see where this might be heading? Does this remind you of anything? Like the diet you really didn’t enjoy but you forced yourself to do it anyway to get the results? Did you manage to stay “on track” for good? What happened when your emotional appetite shouted louder than the diet rules? Did going on a diet resolve your relationship with both food and your body? Did going on a diet resolve your emotional issues once and for all? Did you eventually get to love that strict diet in the end? (I’m guessing it was unsustainable and didn’t work out the way you’d hoped, right?)

Are you plugged into your own motivational power source?

Are you plugged into your own motivational power source?

So what am I trying to say here? Here’s the thing : working with a personal trainer can definitely improve your relationship with your body and bring massive physiological benefits. The personal training process can help you to develop confidence in new ways too. But, what if after weeks or months of personal training you still don’t feel motivated to exercise? What if you rely on the personal trainer to take responsibility for your motivation in the longer term? What would happen if you stopped working with the personal trainer? How will working with the personal trainer have contributed towards your developing a life-long love affair with physical activity?

For some lucky people, resolving their emotions, beliefs, values, attitudes and identity around food and their body can be the piece of the puzzle that transforms everything. For these lucky people, once they have been able to stop emotional eating and to start relating to their body and food in healthy ways, they find it easy to do the whole exercise thing. Things just fall into place. They’re enjoying being in their bodies again, enjoying exercise as an end in itself rather than as a means to an end. Motivation comes easily.

For some of us, however, even when we’ve resolved our emotional eating patterns, the exercise piece still doesn’t fit naturally with us. And this is the crux of it all. Until you’ve worked out why you don’t enjoy working out and why you don’t find it easy to access powerful positive motivational forces , you’ll just have to work out how you’re going to pay your personal training bill in the long term! (The minute you “break-up” with your personal trainer, the divorce courts will let them walk away with all the motivation. After all, it was theirs on the first place).

Personal training can be transformational!

Personal training can be transformational!

My view is this : your personal trainer’s responsibility is to help you to become your own best personal trainer. Their intention shouldn’t be to have you as a client as long as they can! Instead, the relationship should exist for a sufficient time – enough time to get to the a point where you are ready to fly solo (in touch with your own motivation and really enjoying a positive relationship with physical activity). In order to get to that point, your personal trainer needs to be skilful at working out what’s really going on with you. Over and above training your physical body (and teaching you how to do that for yourself), they should also acknowledge the all-important mind-body relationship ~ so that all of you is lined up for “effortless” success within the context of physical fitness. That’s right, I actually said effortless and I meant it! I’ll go one step further. What if you were to break out of the “Exercise is hell” paradigm and break into this one “Exercise is a true reward for both me and my body : it is a joyous communion my deepest natural self.”? Are you shouting “Get real!” at the computer screen? (Get real? I just did :)).

If you are considering the personal training route to help yourself get back into regular physical activity, my advice is to ascertain just how personal the experience is going to be! When interviewing a prospective personal trainer, it’s really worth checking out their philosophy. If you meet one who is capable of helping you to explore how your emotions, attitudes, values, beliefs, identity (and even your life purpose) are impacting on your current relationship with physical activity (and food!) – that’s what I call personal! If you meet one who is qualified to help resolve unwanted emotions – that’s what I call personal! If you meet one who knows how to help you to develop supportive beliefs about yourself and physical activity – that’s what I call personal! If you meet one who knows how to help you to get in touch with your most powerful, positive motivational forces – that’s what I call personal!

If you walk into a personal training studio with a mindset that isn’t totally supportive of your fitness / health journey (or supportive of you as a whole for that matter!) then just make sure that, one day, you’re able to walk out of that studio with a whole lot more than the body of your dreams. Just make sure that you’re able to leave all that no longer serves you (physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually) behind. For good.

Make sure it's more than cosmetic!

Make sure it’s more than cosmetic!

Just like forcing yourself to go on a strict diet does little to heal your relationship with both food and your body, personal training that does not acknowledge your unique psychological, emotional and spiritual make-up is at best only that – make-up : a cosmetic that makes the surface look good for a little while and then wears off.

In my experience of the fitness world, fitness professionals are genuinely committed to helping people to develop, and maintain, healthy lifestyles. If you are hoping that getting a personal trainer will help you to resolve your relationship with food and your body, do satisfy yourself that they can support you in this way. I am really thrilled that more and more personal trainers are becoming qualified in the psychological aspects of weight loss and fitness – I’m a huge fan of the holistic approach. And if you meet a personal trainer who you think can help you achieve your fitness goals but may not be qualified in the emotional and psychological side of things, my advice would be to make sure that you find a way of resolving the emotional/psychological spiritual stuff too. I’d suggest finding a qualified coach or therapist who is fit to work out this side of things with you 🙂 This way, every inch of you is headed in the same direction : your body is taking action and your mind will be wired up to support your success!

Here’s the take-away : Only when personal training seeks to explore the deepest truth of who we are, is personal training personal enough.

 Gotta run :)!

JT

© Jane Talbot 2013

Ready For The Next Epiphany?

You're getting even more enlightened!

You’re getting even more enlightened!

Welcome to the 10th day of the 12 Days of Christmas project! (If you are just joining the project now, you can get the full low-down here : https://thighhighbootcamp.com/2012/12/18/welcome-to-the-12-days-of-christmas-project/  and I really recommend that you start the project at Day 1 to get the full benefit!)

Yesterday’s post was all about learning how to be a pilot 🙂 so that you can be confident that you are heading in the right direction – and be aware when you’re wiggling 🙂  (That word makes me giggle!)

And today? Well, it’s already Day 10 and that means that the 12 Days of Christmas project is nearing its end. I thought that today might be a lovely opportunity to check in with what you’re learning as we did on the 5th day. As you continue to check in, I hope you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the progress you’re making, the changes that are occurring and the insights you are gaining. How much more have you learned since the last “Epiphany” on Day 5?

What are you learning that's of value to you?

What are you learning that’s of value to you?

Activity 1 : Your Second Epiphany! As you look back over the whole project , what are the 3 most significant gifts (in terms of learning, insight and awareness) that engaging with this process has brought to you ?  What is changing as a result of your learning? What have you learned in the last 5 days that’s different to what you learned in the first 5?

Activity 2 : Complete The Following Statements

1.Right now food means __________ to me.

2. I would describe my relationship with my body as ______________

3. I know I’m present in my body when ________________________

4. When I look in the mirror I say to myself _____________________

5. Considering the future, in terms of my relationship with food and with my body, I feel ___________________________________________

6. The thought of processing my emotions without the help of food is ____

7. I could support myself on my weight loss journey by ______________

8. My body is ___________________________________________

9. I am becoming more _____________________________________

10. It’s now time for me to stop __________ and to start _____________

The best way to do this exercise is to be as honest as you can! Let whatever comes up, come out 🙂 And as you consider how you’ve completed each of the statements, what are you noticing? What’s changed? What’s new? What would you like to resolve? Are you heading in the right direction for you? (You may sense more statements coming up naturally : let ’em out and learn!)

If anything comes up that you’re not comfortable with, ask yourself this question: “So, this is how/what I’m feeling/thinking/talking/experiencing right now. How do I want to be different?” (Just a wee nudge – remember to answer this positively. Not how you don’t want to be BUT how you DO want to be!)

Remember to fuel the flames!

Remember to fuel the flames!

As you ask this question, you might want to revisit my post on goal-setting and how to get in the mood for action!  Here’s the link : https://thighhighbootcamp.com/2013/01/01/energising-action/

As soon as you feel the powerful, positive state emerging, just ask yourself what’s the next smallest step I could take to help me to keep heading in the right direction? (Then take it 🙂 and use your pilot’s licence :)).

Please feel free to share your learning :sometimes what you’re learning can be a fabulous gift for others (and can really help pennies to drop!)

So that’s us for Day 10 (oh and if you are playing the Get The Message game, we are already on the 3rd and final word..Just 2 more letters to go – but I’m sure, even with a few letters missing,  you’ve got the complete message already!)

Gotta run :)!

JT

© Jane Talbot 2013

 

Energising Action!

Welcome to the 8th day of the 12 Days of Christmas project! (If you are just joining the project now, you can get the full low-down here: https://thighhighbootcamp.com/2012/12/18/welcome-to-the-12-days-of-christmas-project/  and I really recommend that you start the project at Day 1 to get the full benefit!)

First things first : a very happy New Year to you and I hope this post finds you in fine fettle! Yesterday’s post was all about developing your own nutritional philosophy and today’s post acknowledges what many of us may be doing today : setting intentions for 2013. We’re going to be taking a look at how to set outcomes and take action geared towards achieving your outcomes, geared towards helping you to “stay on track”!

Learn how to fuel the flames of action!

Learn how to fuel the flames of action!

Last night, I spent a wonderful evening in front of a roaring fire. The Christmas tree sparkled in the corner .The dog stretched out in bliss. My partner, Ian and I sat all cosy on the sofa. I felt a deeply satisfying sense of “home”. (If Barry Manilow had been playing on the stereo and my partner had been wearing his Indiana Jones hat, it would have been the icing on the Christmas cake :)).

As you and I have known each other for 7  full days, I feel I can be open with you. Truth be told, last night I was so in the mood. Conditions were perfect 🙂

If you are blushing whilst reading this, relax! I was in the mood for setting an intention, for setting a goal of moving into,and making, a new home in 2013.And the conditions were perfect for setting that intention because I was already experiencing what it would be like to feel completely at home. Let me explain a little more…

Feeling completely “at home” last night was a really big deal for me because it has been a very long time since I have felt at home. I moved from Scotland to Northern Ireland in Summer 2011. I moved from my own home into someone else’s. I thought I would soon feel at home but I didn’t.Even with the prospect of my partner and I moving into a farmhouse that we could renovate and “make our home”, I just couldn’t get excited about it. I couldn’t even talk about it without feeling quite distant and totally disconnected. I didn’t unpack a lot of my belongings (they, like me, just didn’t seem to belong!) and I often thought about Scotland. Ian kept taking me to the farmhouse, asking for layout suggestions, colour schemes and even oven specifications (he knows I love cooking and hoped that would get me interested in the house move). None of it lit any kind of flame at all in me.  So, here we are right now in January 2013 and we are still not moved in. And, until last night, I felt like we were still living in a “stop-gap” house in Limbo, County Antrim. Nothing felt permanent. It didn’t feel like home at all.

Positive energy can be a powerful force!

Positive energy can be a powerful force!

Last night it all changed.  Feeling the intensely satisfying feelings of connection, love, belonging and home, I heard myself set an intention to move into the farmhouse. That’s right – whilst I was feeling all those good feelings, the words just popped out! Ian and I talked the house into life as the embers warmed our imaginations. I could see it right in front of me, I could smell the food from the farmhouse kitchen, I could hear my son playing teenage music in the tree-house nearby and I could feel myself belonging to that place. I could feel myself in the bricks and in the roots of the orchard trees and in the soil which would provide us with food. I was in a state of utter connectedness.

When Ian realised that I had “moved in” right in front of his very eyes, he asked me, “What’s one small step we could take, to get the wheels in motion for our move?”

After I’ve published this post, I’ll be checking out internet coverage. That’s my next small step that will take me closer to my outcome. And guess what state I might want to be in while I’m taking that step? That’s right, I’ll be getting myself into the “feeling at home” state, the feeling of “utter connectedness”. That way, I’ll be feeling really good while I’m taking the action and any following small steps I plan will be pulled along by the positive energy attached to my goal (to make a new home). My focus is clearly set on making Northern Ireland my home, rather than on a wistful ache for Scotland.

So, if you’re sitting there, scratching your head and asking “what’s this got to do with me making a New Year’s resolution about weight loss ?” Well, if you think back to times in the past when you’ve resolved to lose weight once and for all – and then found it an incredible struggle to keep your resolve, chances are that you may not have been in the optimal state for setting your goal / intention or for taking action. And the chances are that when you considered the steps to achieving your goal, it suddenly looked huge and overwhelming because you felt pressure to do it all at once!

Keep your attention and energy heading in the direction pf your outcome!

Keep your attention, energy and action heading in the right direction!

Today, I’m going to share with you a process for setting your intentions for 2013 which helps you to focus on what you do want, rather than what you don’t want. So, I was focused on not feeling at home, feeling disconnected and Scotland ~ rather than focusing on feeling at home, belonging and Northern Ireland. People who want to lose weight often focus on how bad they feel about their body instead of how good they’d like to be feeling about it, for example. Is the penny beginning to drop about what happens when your focus, attention and energy is not fully aligned with your outcome? Achieving your outcome may turn out to be less than easy, right? The process I am about to share with you will also help you to identify and access the powerful positive states attached to your outcome, so that you can use this energy to plan and take the next step. And the invitation is to take small steps : this way change will be evolving gradually and it will feel more manageable as you experience regular small successes that keep you heading in the right direction.

Here’s How To Do It Ask yourself the following questions (I give some example answers just to help clarify the process). Go into the changing room of life and try the questions on fully 🙂

1. What do you want? (State your outcome positively and in the present )

A : I am feeling comfortable, healthy and confident in my body. I am living a healthy for-lifestyle.

2. How will you know that you’ve got what you want? (What are you seeing, hearing, feeling that lets you know you’ve achieved your outcome? Engage all your senses!)

A : I am enjoying shopping for clothes. I am looking in the mirror and recognising myself for the first time in a very long time. My skin feels as though it fits perfectly. I feel like this body is me. I feel at home 🙂 I am taking real pleasure nourishing myself with food that my body enjoys. I am physically active.

3. When do you want it?

A wee tip here, if you’ve struggled with your weight in the past, you’re probably answering this with something like “tomorrow” or “yesterday” 🙂 . I understand that  AND I also know that very short time frames can pile on the pressure. So give this question some consideration, knowing that while you’re losing weight you are probably going to be in a much more positive state this time and you might even enjoy the process of becoming healthy! (And you know what happens when you give yourself permission for pleasure and you take all the pressure off, right?) When I took action to lose weight, I decided that I would achieve my goal at the perfect time for me and I would just concentrate on enjoying the “getting there” bit. I was clear about my outcome, I kept it in mind and I literally took one small step after the other until one day I realised I had “arrived” !

4. Having achieved your outcome, how will you be BEING different as a person? (This is the powerful positive energy that you can ride towards your outcome. The idea here is to actually experience this state of being now. The additional questions I ask help to bring the state of being to life.).

A : Unstoppable

What’s that like? Where do you feel it in your body? Does the feeling have a colour? Is it moving or still? Is it warm or cold? Where does the feeling start in your body?

A : Wow. It’s hot, red and really high-energy. It feels like it’s pulling me along. I can barely contain it. It’s right in my stomach and in my chest.

5. When you feel the positive state of being emerging (so you’re actually feeling the feelings), ask what’s the next smallest step you could take TODAY to move towards achieving your outcome?

A : I’m off for a 15-minute stroll.

(Reminder : evolution requires much less effort than revolution. Small steps soon add up as long as the small steps are heading in the right direction 🙂 )

And that’s all there is to it. We’ll talk more about achieving your outcomes tomorrow. In the meantime, I hope you really enjoy getting into some deliciously positive states that will energise your action! Oh – and do take the next smallest step and share your experiences in the comments box!(I’ll ask you how it went tomorrow :))

All this talk of being unstoppable has brought on a sudden urge! Are you in the mood for a change too?

Gotta run 🙂 !

JT

© Jane Talbot 2013

Nourishing Confidence!

Welcome to the 7th day of the 12 Days of Christmas project! (If you are just joining the project now, you can get the full low-down here: https://thighhighbootcamp.com/2012/12/18/welcome-to-the-12-days-of-christmas-project/  and I really recommend that you start the project at Day 1 to get the full benefit!)

Yesterday was all about your learning how to recognise an emotion by observing it ; how to learn from the emotion; andhow to process the emotion and let it go.

What am I serving up today?

What am I serving up today?

Today, I’m taking a slightly different tack and taking a look at food and the notion of “diets”. If you’ve been taking part in the 12 Days of Christmas project, you may be paying more attention to which foods support your eating pleasure ; you may have changed your mind about what pleasure means for you. You may be reconnecting with your body, with your appetite and with your emotions. You may even be developing confidence in your own ability to pay attention to your natural signals.

And there’s a powerful word : CONFIDENCE. As you’re developing confidence in your own body, as you begin to value and relate to your body in new ways, you might want to feed it in new ways too. How confident are you about making the right food choices for you?

How do you know what’s healthy for you and your body? Well, that’s a really good question. And there are a myriad of answers to be found in a multitude of dietary approaches. And whilst it can be helpful to keep connected to nutritional science’s latest conversation , it’s probably even more helpful to keep connected to your own inner nutritional guru. 

Here are my suggestions to help you find a way of eating that works for both you and your body :

1. It needs to be pleasurable (look good, smell good and feel good in your body).

2. Be fully respectful of the signals and feedback your body offers to you.

3. Experiment until you have designed a way of eating that is tailored to you.

4. Acknowledge that your body is changing all the time (this means that what you eat may need to change over time).

5. Develop a style of eating focused on health / energy / vitality rather than weight loss. (Ask yourself :  what do I want food to give me BEYOND weight loss?)

About Diets  There is a whole heap of information about diet, eating philosophies and nutrition available – in fact, there is so much information around that it’s not always easy to determine what’s going to work for you or be healthy for you. New ideas come and go and researchers are discovering new things all the time. Because nutritional science is in its infancy , this means we have to be courageous enough to make our own choices (we have to evaluate the science and do our homework too!) and we have to be confident enough to experiment and find out what works for our own body and our own mind.

Trust your inner nutritional guru!

Trust your inner nutritional guru!

I’m certainly not going to be prescribing any diets here! Rather, I’m suggesting that it’s all about your learning to make food choices that support your health. I’m suggesting it’s all about your having the confidence to develop a style of eating (your own nutritional philosophy) based on your own body wisdom and on your own assessment of anything new that nutritional science brings to the conversation. Being your own best nutritional guru is not only GREAT for your mind-body but it frees you from being driven exclusively by an external set of rules.

It Really Is Up To You! If I’d been writing this blog post 10 years ago, you would have seen a picture of the UK Healthy Eating Pyramid (with cereals and grains propping up the rest of the diet). That’s how I was trained when I studied nutrition : low fat and whole grain carbs as a basis for a healthy diet.

Since then, lots has changed . When I trained in over 10 years ago, they were just starting to talk about the notion of Glycaemic Indices (the rate at which foods release their sugar into the body and affect blood sugar levels).Now they talk about Glycaemic Load (GL) (ie. they are learning more and more all the time) and diets higher in protein and higher in fat are now being recommended (protein satisfies you and fat doesn’t always make you fat! That’s the latest conversation :))

How do you know if your way of eating is working for you?

How do you know if your way of eating is working for you?

Confused yet? Who wouldn’t be?! I’ve checked out every diet over the years (and tried out most when I was struggling with my weight). In the end, I decided to put my own stake in the ground : I developed an eating approach that works for me based on my own body wisdom and my own views on the science. Here are the guidelines that I developed for myself that help me to make choices about my style of eating / food . As you consider my guidelines, what would yours be? (Write them down, chew them over and them give it a whirl : experiment! You might be thrilled at your growing confidence in the area of nutrition :))

1.Do I believe the science? (With the internet, well-qualified friends and a basic understanding of what constitutes “good research”, you can begin to get a feel for whether an eating approach is worth trying!)

2. Do I feel satisfied eating in this way? (If I am hungry and constantly thinking about food ~ it’s not working for me!)

3. Do I feel energised and healthy?

4. Am I sleeping well?

5. Does my skin and hair look good?

6. Am I achieving / maintaining a healthy weight?

7. Do I enjoy eating this way?

8. Can I find the foods easily?

9. Does it support my lifestyle? (Can I run on this food? Can I compete on this food? Can I eat out with friends on this food?)

10. Is it sustainable in the longer term? (I couldn’t detox, juice-fast or Slimfast “shake it” for the rest of my life ~ and I bet you couldn’t either!)

11. IS THE FOOD “REAL”? (I avoid processed foods whenever possible : my body doesn’t like them!)

All In Good Time! Your body may take time to adapt to a new way of eating. Give your body and mind a chance to digest what you are offering to it.

Be an explorer of food!

Be an explorer of food!

Well, I think I’ve served up quite a healthy portion today, so I’ll leave you to get stuck in. And I’m going to leave you with a smile too 🙂 . This quote from Erma Bombeck always makes me giggle : “I am not a glutton – I am an explorer of food”.  Puts me in mind of Indiana Jones and those Lara Croft boots again 🙂

If Indy (he’s my favourite after Barry Manilow, by the way) were sitting next to me , I’d expect he’d offer the following advice to us all right now :

Go exploring!

Have an adventure!

Have fun!

You may get into some scrapes but you’ll sure learn fast!

Respect the magic : it’s powerful!

You’re more resourceful than you think!

If you find a puzzle, the solution isn’t probably what you expect it to be!

Trap doors aren’t so bad : if you fall down one, enjoy the ride (but remember where the trap door is for the next time)!

There is always treasure : follow the signs and symbols, crack the code and it’s yours :)!

Your enemy often turns out to be a great ally!

Gotta run 🙂 ! Oh – And do have a wonderful slide into 2013 tonight 🙂

JT ( If you are interested in 1-1 coaching or in attending a live Thigh-High Bootcamp event, please feel free to visit my website http://www.thighhighbootcamp.com for more info 🙂 The next live events are taking place in Northern Ireland – Portrush and Belfast in January and February ; and in England – Warrington in February).

© Jane Talbot 2012

Observe, Learn And Let Go!

When the shadow is respected, full beauty emerges.

When the shadow is respected, full beauty emerges.

Welcome to the 6th day of the 12 Days of Christmas project! (If you are just joining the project now, you can get the full low-down here: https://thighhighbootcamp.com/2012/12/18/welcome-to-the-12-days-of-christmas-project/  and I really recommend that you start the project at Day 1 to get the full benefit!)

Yesterday’s post was all about reviewing what you’ve learned so far (and it’s a really good idea to review your learning on a regular basis : you may be pleasantly surprised at how much progress you are making 🙂 )

Today is all about exploring the contents of your 3-day food diary in a little more detail. You may have guessed by this stage that the most useful aspect of this exercise isn’t necessarily the recording of the food you eat .Some of the most useful aspects of keeping such a diary are:

1. It helps you to become consciously aware of some automatic patterns you may be running (which may no longer be serving you).

2. It encourages you to spend time in your body so that you can get connected to physiological signals.

3. It helps you to re-learn the difference between an emotional signal and a physiological hunger signal.

Today, we’re going to focus on emotional signals . We’re going to learn how to recognise an emotion by observing it . We’re going to learn how to learn from the emotion (emotions are very powerful forms of communication : are you getting the message?). And finally, we are going to learn a simple technique to help you to process the emotion and let it go.

The theme of the 12 Days of Christmas project is all about your learning to “stay on track” naturally. One way of staying on track is to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full: sounds so simple, doesn’t it? So why isn’t it that simple for all of us?

Well, it comes right back to being in your body. To be in touch with the signals, you really have to be close enough to the signal to hear it – that means getting back into your body and spending enough time there to know what each signal means. And when you know what each signal means, it’ about responding appropriately. Eat to respect a hunger signal : that seems obvious enough 🙂 But how do you respect an emotional signal?

Well, that’s what today’s activity is all about.

The Set-Up Take a look at your food diary and notice which emotions are present at the point at which you experience “hunger”. Which are your not-so-positive “regular visitors” 🙂 ? Sometimes, we are not sufficiently present in our body (or so out of touch with our emotions) that we are not able to name the emotion. If this sounds like you, check through your food diary for physiological feelings that didn’t feel good. Is there a pattern of physiological feelings that occurs at the point of “hunger”?

When I first got back into my body, I had absolutely no idea what anything meant at all! I experienced a lot of physical agitation and tenseness at the time of feeling “hunger”. I later decoded this message as “anxiety” (but it took me a while!)

A Little Note For Those Of You Who May Not Be Feeling Totally Comfortable Right Now. You are about to spend time with an emotion – and it’s been a while. It’s a bit like going on a date for the first time in a very long time and not even being sure whether you even like your date! You may be feeling nervous , even a little afraid  And you might want to respect those feelings by going gently with this process. You don’t have to dive in : just dip your toe in to start with. You might just want to start with Steps 1. and 2. After doing this several times (and noticing your increasing comfort), you can move further through the process. GO AT YOUR OWN PACE 🙂 And, if don’t feel ready to engage with your emotions on your own (and you have a genuine desire to get re-connected to them),I would suggest a 1-1 session with a professional. *

Step 1 : The next time you experience “hunger” or a desire to eat, check in with your body and see if one of your regular not-so-positive emotional visitors is present. (Or one of your regular physiological feelings that you don’t really enjoy). How do you know it’s there? What are you experiencing that lets you know that there is an “additional guest” at the table?

Step 2 : Once you know it’s present, welcome your guest in a way that is right for you (I know, it’s all very like Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost but it’s important to acknowledge its presence. You may not have acknowledged its presence for some while!)  If you can name the emotion at this stage, do so now. (I do this out loud.). Now invite your guest to leave your body and sit next to you : give the emotion its own place.

Tip : If your guest needs a little help leaving your body, give it a hand! Locate the feeling in your body and imagine pulling it out gently (it’s always good to be kind but sometimes they may need a bit of a tug!) and then place it beside you.

Observe!

Observe!

Step 3 : Observe your guest. Sit at a comfortable distance from the emotion or physiological feeling. How do you know that this feeling isn’t physiological hunger? (That’s important to ask if you were unable to name emotions in your food diary. If you realise that this is actually physiological hunger sitting next to you, thank it for its presence and take action :)). How do you know that this feeling is an emotion? What are you noticing about it? What are you noticing about your own internal responses? What does your guest remind you of? How is it relating to you? How are you relating to it? What are its distinctive qualities? (Answering this question can be really helpful in identifying this as an emotional signal rather than a hunger signal in the future). As time passes, what do you notice about your comfort level? Are you able to move your chair a little closer? What happens if you move it closer? What happens if you move it further away? What is the name of this emotion? Name it now if you were not able to name it at Step 1.

Step 3 : Learn from the emotion. Emotions are a very powerful means of non-verbal communication. After years of experiencing them, we develop skill at decoding the message. Once we get the message, our task then is to take congruent action : that is, respect the message in a way that is supportive of both our mind and our body (and beyond). As we begin to respect the message in this way, our emotions quieten : their job is done.

Sounds easy enough, right? Well, yes, if you’ve been in your body for some time and lived amongst your feelings and emotions (the good and the not so good) – in that case, it is easy. However, for those of us, who have only recently arrived back in our body, it may take a little time to get the message and it may take you a while to get used to the “noise” of emotions 🙂

As you sit next to the emotion, ask the following questions:

1 What message, of value to me, is this emotion communicating?

2.What is the positive intention of this emotion? (How is it trying to help me?)

3.What is there for me to learn from this emotion (of a positive nature), the learning of which would allow this feeling to go?

3.What is something I could do to respect the message, something that I feel aligned and okay with? (Avoid life-changing decisions and big commitments at this stage! Take a small step in the right direction 🙂 Learning to listen to your emotions counts as a step :))

4.Thank the emotion for its communication and for trying to help you. (If the help it is offering is no longer relevant for your life today , still thank it and explain how things have changed. This is a version of congruent action.).

Tip 1: If you get the message but you don’t take congruent action, your emotion is unlikely to quieten 🙂

Tip 2: It may take a short while for the insights to arrive. Be patient 🙂 If no answers come up immediately, just sit next to the emotion and wait. If after a while, nothing has come up, complete the process (the answers may arrive at a later time!)

Let it go!

Let it go!

Step 4 : Let it go. Once you have thanked the emotion, you can invite your guest to leave. I do this by imagining the emotion turning into the wind and blowing through my body. As the wind blows through my body, I feel the feeling and bid it good-bye, by name. You may enjoy a very gentle breeze, you may prefer the wind to blow around your body ,or away from your body, instead of through it (although having the emotion go through your body lets you get used to feeling feelings again – and that can be very helpful :)) or you may even prefer to design your own process for letting go!  

I have to tell you that the first time I tried this, I had a real epiphany moment at this stage. I realised that when it was time to let go of the feeling, I didn’t want to! The emotion I was working through at the time was sadness. As I looked at the sadness and acknowledged everything it had done for me, everything it was trying to tell me, I became incredibly sad myself (I am actually crying as I am typing this). I realised that I had enjoyed spending time with my emotion : it felt sacred and I wanted to keep the connection.I was actually feeling the feeling for the first time in a long time. I wasn’t frightened of it at all. In fact, I was suddenly in awe of the gentleness and dignity with which this emotion had handled itself in its attempt to help. It was an utterly tender experience. It was at this very moment that I decided to start respecting my body. It was at this very moment that I decided to start respecting my emotions : all of them.

In a nutshell 🙂 By learning to recognise an emotion and its purpose, we can begin to respect our body and our emotions in new ways. Just pay attention to what’s happening the next time you experience hunger : are you getting the message in a different way? If you begin to listen to your emotions rather than feeding them, what happens?

I look forward to hearing how this works for you!

Gotta run  🙂 ! JT

Group experiences can be nourishing and nurturing!

Group experiences can be nourishing and nurturing!

*If you would like to discuss the possibility of 1-1 coaching sessions (face-to-face or via Skype) with me, do feel free to call or email. If you think that you might enjoy exploring/ resolving your emotional relationship with food in a group setting (it can be fun, transformational and extremely nurturing to work with a group of peolple who really get where you’re coming from), do consider coming along to a live event! The next live events are in Northern Ireland (in Portrush and in Belfast in January and February) and in the England (Warrington in February). Check out this page to find out more https://thighhighbootcamp.com/dates-venues-price/

© Jane Talbot 2012