How to do what seems impossible.

Have you ever had a goal or vision for your life that seemed so huge that you had no idea how to even get started?I have definitely had that feeling before, you look at whatu want to achieve and you have no idea how or where to start.

This is one of the most common reasons why people fail to start working on their goals or fail to meet their goal. That feeling of overwhelm, being stuck and not knowing where to begin can be scary however, being scared does not have to stop you and I have my own formula for attacking big or little goals. Most people use or talk about the acronym “SMART” but I find it a bit overused and sometimes unhelpful so this is how I coach my clients. Examine your mindset. Do you believe in yourself? Are you willing to go all the way even if you think people may not get what you are doing? Will you keep going when it gets hard, when no one seems to care and nothing is happening? Preparing yourself to be in it for the long haul is the first step to success

Examine your motivators. Are they mainly extrinsic(external) or intrinsic (internal) factors. E.g. I want to lose weight so I can get a man or so people can like me is extrinsic. I want to lose weight so I can feel good about myself and have better long term health is intrinsic.  Having goals linked to extrinsic factors can work but inherently they are not linked to sustained and long term success. So you might lose weight in the short term but what happens when you lose weight and you don’t find a man? Finding intrinsic factors to power your goal may help you stay in for the long run

In the 3rd part of the process we put together some of the SMART criteria especially ensuring your goals are specific, measurable and achievable. Wanting to lose weight is not specific but wanting to lose 10 kg in 3 months is specific. Also we need to have realistic expectations when we set goals, expecting to lose 20 kg in a month is unrealistic, expecting to lose 4kg in a month is realistic and definitely possible

Once all of the above are in place, the next piece of the puzzle is to take baby steps. Fear of stepping out and failure can really stop us from doing anything but if we design our plan around taking really small steps that move us away from doing nothing and actually get us in the direction of our goals then we are off to a good start. So now you can set about moving towards your goal by having a plan

I talk about a way to do this in my reels from yesterday. (to see my reels, visit my Instagram page @avoda_wellness I had so much fun messing around with that yesterday and using the speeded up voice, it made me laugh! and that brings me to the final bit of my process…..

5. Have fun! Enjoy the process. 

https://www.instagram.com/avoda_wellness/

Why is weight loss so hard?

Let’s talk about losing weight and why so many people struggle to lose weight even with the best intentions.

Having worked in fitness for some time and trained many women, I have had the benefit of being part of many weight loss journeys. What I have learnt from those experiences is that there is only one thing that separates those that succeed and those that fail and you will be surprised to hear what that difference is because when I tell people this they usually are genuinely surprised.

What most people expect me to talk about is how much food people consumed, how much money they spent on coaching or how much exercise they did to attain their weight loss goal. However, the measure of success for weight loss, while it can be impacted greatly by those things is not determined by that.

The most important sign of success at a weight loss goal or any other goal for that matter is consistency.

Consistency is the single most important factor that determines whether you will be able to lose weight and also maintain that weight loss over a long period of time and the reason why weight loss is actually more difficult than if feels it should be is because the act of being consistent at anything is not easy.

When we look at weight loss of itself and when I speak to prospective clients, it is clear most people are aware fundamentally of what they need to do, which is to eat less, make better food choices i.e. choose less processed and healthier meals, and move more. However, despite knowing what they should do, most people struggle to do it.

Usually, we will feel that motivation is what we need, We need to be motivated to eat properly, to do more exercise and so on but motivation in itself is a difficult thing to manage and the truth is that motivation is not always going to show up when we require it to.

Let’s say you’ve decided to lose weight, you work with a trainer or a coach who has given you the information you need. You know how much food you should be eating, what type of food, you have an exercise plan and so on. Therefore in theory, you have everything you need to achieve your goal. All you need to do is to want to do it.

For many of us motivation is not something we can demand on order, it isn’t something that can be called upon when we like and a lot of the time, it doesn’t show up when we need it the most. You may be motivated in the beginning to start the weight loss because you want to look good, be a smaller size or look better in clothes or have more confidence and so on and this may spur you on the first week and even the first month or two.

However, there will come a day when you wake up and you do not feel like getting up early to go and exercise or when you feel like eating a Pizza even though you food plan says you are only allowed a salad. You may be out with friends and your willpower slips, you order one drink, then another and before you know it, you’ve drunk your calories for one day in just one sitting. On these sort of days, what happens is that motivation is lacking or absent and this is a reality for everyone, that motivation is not always going to be there every time we need it. There will be days when you are feeling off, or have had a bad day at work, an argument with a friend or have to take work home and you just will not feel up to sticking to your diet or exercise plan.

It is for this reason, that I always advise clients to remember that motivation will not always be there and this is why the act of consistency and having a routine and sticking to it will serve you better in the long run.

Even though I am a fitness addict and I love exercising, there are days I definitely do not feel like it but because I have a routine, I do not allow myself too much time to think about it. I just override the negative voice and I get on with my routine. A routine will serve you well in the long run. Once you have a routine, stick to it like glue. Yes there will be days when this will be harder than normal, but remember that the roadmap of your success is paved by the act of you showing up day after day, week after week, month after month and for life.

In saying this, I want you to accept that some days you will fail at it and won’t do it, there are days when you feel unwell, mentally or physically or when life throws you other problems that take priority over exercise. If that happens, please do not become discouraged or lose heart, just jump back into it when you are ready. Many clients get thrown off when they have had a few bad days of eating and feel like this will totally ruin everything. Remember just as eating a salad for one day will not make you healthy, eating pizza, cake, biscuits etc etc for one day or more will not make you fat. Even if you fall off the wagon for more than one day, never give up, always keep trying, keep showing up.

This is why weight loss must be viewed as a lifestyle change. It is not something you do for a few months then return to your normal habits. If you do that, you are right back where you started very quickly. You have to make the decision that this goal is something you want to achieve not just in the short term but for the long term too. Once you have this mindset, it is easier to overlook any setbacks especially when you know you are in this for the long run.

So if consistency is the key, how can we improve our consistency?

Here are some ideas below but if you need that additional push then a coach or a trainer might be able to give you the extra kick that you need on those days when you do not feel particularly motivated.

If you need some encouragement or just want to chat, feel free to get in touch.

Tayo xoxo

improving consistency:

-What is your motivation? try to identify a great reason for doing this e.g. being healthier, able to play with my kids, run a marathon etc..


Find activities you enjoy to help you get to your weight loss goal quicker

-Find a weight loss buddy, doing it with someone means you have someone in your corner when the going gets tough

Have a routine and stick to it

-Pay for it, we are more likely to show up when we have invested in something

Have small milestones along the way so you can measure how far you’ve come.


-Regularly check your progress and give yourself a pat on the back and a small reward when you hit milestones

Do you need a social media detox?

Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and so on are all social media platforms that have become increasingly popular in recent years. It is estimated that more than half of the world’s population is now using some form of social media. We can therefore conclude that social media and all its associated technology is here to stay.

Social media has irrevocably changed the way we communicate, work and socialise especially in the last 10 years and particularly in the last year with the worldwide pandemic forcing most people to work from or spend more time at home meaning we have more time to spend on social media. There are those who would say social media has been a force for good while many others would argue that the challenges and negative issues from the long term use of social media far outweigh any positives.

Like many forms of technology, social media requires us to access it via a device such as a phone, laptop, TV, etc. This means that as more and more people spend time using social media, we are spending far more time on these devices. For a long time, I rallied against the use of social media, I was very careful as to how much time I spent on it and would also warn my kids about the dangers. I could see my children spending less time interacting with me and more time interacting with their phones. This used to drive me mad and like many other households up and down the country, resulted in countless arguments over the use of phones. However, with so much of our world and how it works changing I started to realise that whether I liked it or not, technology was here to stay and it was in my best interest and that of my kids, for me to learn how to use social media but also to understand it. So, I decided that in order to better understand the challenges, I needed to become social media savvy. This has come in useful in the last few years as most of the work I do is now being done online.

The way that our children learn and interact has massively changed and a large part of education is now done via devices and with the aid of technology. Dating and meeting people is now largely done over the internet on a variety of dating sites. The way we shop has also changed with more people choosing to shop online now more than ever. The Covid-19 pandemic brought its own challenges and has probably changed the way people work, shop and communicate for ever. With everyone forced to stay at home, companies who had previously been reluctant to embrace home-working raced to provide employees with the resources and support needed to allow them to continue working from home as this was vital to the continued existence and profitability of their businesses. So in essence, all of the important areas of our lives are now firmly embedded in one way or the other in some form of technology.

So where is the problem? Well, there are many who argue that the reliance on technology and devices have created huge problems in how people relate to each other. With many now spending an increasing amount of time on computers, emails, social media and other forms of technology, not to mention TV, Streaming services and other technology based form of entertainment, it becomes more of a challenge to find time for stillness. Also the reliance on social media and technology for communication has somehow resulted in the deconstruction of the fabric of society and resulted in social fragility and emotional issues. We also have the challenges that with social media and technology, everything is now available at the click of a button. This can lead us to become reliant on instant feedback and may play a part in the high demand for instant gratification that many of us now grapple with.

When we interact on social media, it allows us to say things to people that we wouldn’t dream of saying in real life and there is a lot of nastiness and negativity online. In addition, there are added dangers as people can pretend to be anyone they. Technology has enabled a new generation of fraudsters and dishonest people to operate quite easily by pretending to be someone they are not. In addition, our children are exposed to dangers of meeting and building relationships with people online that may not necessarily have good intentions for them. The observation of other people’s lives on such apps as Instagram and Facebook can leave us feeling envious, drained and angry. Yet, in most cases what we see online rarely ever portrays a true reflection of the person.

When it comes to mental health, social media can be an enormous trigger for anxiety and depression as we can fall prey to the idea that everyone else has a good life based on what we see or we are bombarded with images of perfect looking people, homes, bodies that can leave us feeling short and that we are not enough.

I would argue that the issue is not just about Social media but about the way Social media is used. We have to accept that social media is here for the foreseeable future and that is totally out of our control. What we can do is look at what we can control in terms of our use of it. For those of us who also use technology and rely on social media for our work, it is definitely a two edged sword. I do share content on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter which means i sometimes find myself spending too much time on my devices which sometimes leaves me feeling exhausted and mentally drained. So I do ensure that I now have boundaries in place to ensure that I don’t spend too much time on my device. I have time limits and I avoid checking social media apps first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

Withdrawing from social media for some period of time is a good way of reconnecting with oneself and the people around you. I actually love technology and social media but I am keenly aware of its downsides especially when used by children. The potential for bullying and perusing inappropriate or upsetting content is magnified on social media. It can also create a false sense of reality, giving children wrong ideas about body image and appearance which can create issues with self-image and obsessions with one’s body especially with young children who do not yet have a strong sense of self.

A social media detox can be as short or long as we want it to be. The point of the detox is not to do it for the sake of doing it but to enable you to create some distance away from the fakeness and the emotional seesaw of social media. It may even be that instead of a detox, you may look at putting some more safeguards and time limits in place to limit the amount of time you spend on social media as a whole.

As a life coach, I know how important it is to work on improving self-love and self-esteem and this includes limiting activities that may challenge how you feel about yourself. So carefully think about how much time you spend on social media and whether the time could be better used elsewhere. Monitor how much time you spend weekly or monthly and adjust as necessary. Most phones now have an option that allows you to check how much time you spend on the phone and you can also check how much time you spend on individual social media applications as this can help pinpoint become more aware of where you need to make changes.

If someone you follow makes you uncomfortable or leaves you feeling envious, jealous or dissatisfied with your own life, please unfollow them. Remember who you engage with on social media is up to you, you are in control

Social media can be a force for good if it is used properly, follow people who inspire you or who are doing good things in the world.

Uninstall an application if you find yourself unable to stop yourself scrolling, once it is off your phone, it is easier to wean yourself off it.

Have clear boundaries for when you are on the phone and when you switch off.

What you do in the morning can affect the rest of your day, avoid the temptation to scroll first thing in the morning. Even if its just some negative or upsetting news that you catch or a particularly upsetting video or rant, this can upset the balance of your mood at the start of the day which could ultimately affect the rest of your day

Same thing for nighttime, I always remind people that struggle with depression and anxiety in particular, that the images you see and what you hear are particularly important especially if you struggle to sleep. The worst thing you can do is watch something that is scary, violent, upsetting before you go to bed as this can elevate your stress hormones and could leave you awake worrying all night. I used to watch the 10 o’clock news as a habit for many years before I went to bed and soon learnt that this would leave me hyped up or agitated if I heard some particularly negative news and have now stopped doing this. It is also why i muted a lot of the Covid news after a while as the constant drip feeding of negative news can really wreak havoc with your mood.

Finally, remember that ultimately, you have control over how much time you use social media and how you use it. If you start to think it is affecting your mental health and wellbeing then a social media detox may be the best decision you could make. The less time you spend on your phone, the more time you will have to focus on what is actually happening in your life and to enjoy the people around you.

xoxo

Are you a pleasure junkie?

Since the beginning of time, human beings have been in search for happiness or the closest to happiness that they are able to find. There have been countless studies, loads of research and continuing investigations into what happiness truly is and how we can achieve it. What all of these have so far discovered and are in agreement with is that Happiness is a state of mind. There are many different definitions and descriptions for happiness and perhaps that may be because we sometimes find it hard to put into words what it means to be happy.

In my book “Screaming helps” I describe happiness as an experience of joy and positive well being and of course there are other descriptions. In her 2007 book The How of Happiness, positive psychology researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky describes happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”

We know that happiness is widely coveted but yet is actually very difficult to achieve and it is even more difficult to pinpoint how to get to a state of happiness. What has become more apparent is that the pursuit of happiness is one that requires some emotional and mental work, we are learning now that to be happy we need to be more mindful of how we think, the things we focus on, the people we are around and the type of experiences we immerse ourselves in.

Happiness we learn is not something that we can buy or achieve by gaining external things such as money, cars, houses, clothes and so on. In fact, what makes happiness so elusive is that to be truly happy we must learn how to be happy even with the simple things and this means cultivating happiness that comes from within. This is a challenge for many who in the belief that happiness can be purchased spend their lives on acquiring. Whether it is the pursuit of sex, drugs, drinks, a high flying career, possessions and so on or risk taking and taking part in daring activities such as sky diving, bungee jumping, mountain climbing etc., humans are constantly looking for happiness but what they end up with when they do all of the above is a short burst of pleasure which fades as quickly as it came.

This can lead us to confuse pleasure and happiness as being one and the same thing, but they are definitely not. Pleasure in and of itself can be a good thing and in fact pleasure in the right form is a beautiful thing. You can get pleasure from the smallest of things, like a cold drink on a hot day, a kiss with a loved one, an unexpected compliment, reading a good book etc. However, pleasure is extremely short lived and by its very nature doesn’t satisfy for long. So what happens with a lot of us is that we replace the pursuit of happiness with the pursuit of pleasure. Pleasure gives us a quick hit of joy, we feel good for a short while but it soon dissipates and we find that we need to find more of the same things to get that pleasure or find something new to give us more pleasure.

This is where, if we are not careful we start to chase the quick thrill of pleasure and we can then end up as pleasure junkies. We start to thrive from the thrill we get from a repeated behaviour or activity and when it wears off we need something else to replace it. It is how we get addicted to certain behaviours like buying things we don’t need, overeating, drinking or drugs. We have a bit, it makes us feel good, we have a bit more, it makes us feel better but after a while we will need to take twice as much to feel as good as we did in the beginning. It is this process that kickstarts the vicious process of us a constant need for a pleasure hit which has the danger in some cases of leading to extremely destructive and in some cases life threatening behaviour.

The problem with pleasure is that it can never satisfy us in the long run and all it does is make us more likely to become pain avoiders. We become so desperate to feel good, we will go to any lengths to avoid the lows as that is where the pain is. So we are constantly on the look out for more ways to find pleasure but the catch with pleasure seeking is that the goal post is always moving so we find that we are never happy. Unfortunately, the growth is in the pain and by avoiding this, we avoid becoming a better version of ourselves. The moment you change this narrative and start to look inside of yourself and instead of trying to be happy, learn how to be authentic, how to be mindful and grateful, how to choose good people to surround yourself with, how to be content, how to give to others and learning to love yourself, that is where you start to experience happiness in a different way.

Being a pleasure junkie usually means that you are incapable of committing to any actions that may cause you discomfort. For this reason, most pleasure addicts find it difficult to achieve things like weight loss, exercise or fitness goals, career change goals and even behaviour change. You will find that as a pleasure addict you lack the drive or motivation to make changes to your life even when you realise you are in a situation you don’t want to be in because making that change will usually will be accompanied by some discomfort or pain. Pleasure addicts tend to be less resilient and unemotionally intelligent. This is because they fail to see the connection between their thoughts and their feelings.

Being a pleasure junkie is not all bad news and there is a midway point between a pleasure junkie and a pain avoider that is ideal for most of us to be. Of course, sometimes we may veer more to one side than the other but as with everything else in life this is a continuous process of learning and reflection for us to find out where we meet our true equilibrium. Pleasure junkies are already good at knowing what pleases them, they just need to learn not to overdo it and to keep the pleasure seeking to experiences that are meaningful, mindful and ultimately useful for their long term growth.

Tackling Weight Gain during Menopause

Weight gain is one of the unfortunate challenges during perimenopause/menopause. It is particularly baffling for women who have been generally fit and exercising when they find they are gaining weight despite keeping up their normal levels of exercise and eating as they have normally done. I was exactly the same. While I didn’t put on a huge amount of weight, I found that I struggled to get into my jeans and regular clothes and yet, I was training as well and as regularly and pretty much eating the same meals I had always eaten.

What I and countless women had not realised that when perimenopause/menopause hits, the fluctuating hormones, bloating and the slowing down of our metabolism can actually cause most women to gain up to a stone over a period of a year perhaps more, what this means literally is a change in dress size for most women and unfortunately for us, the weight is all in the same area, around the belly, around the thighs or on the face and neck.

While weight gain by itself is not the end all or be all, for most women the weight gain coupled with various other symptoms and alien feelings in one’s body can cause one to feel pretty fed up.

So what can we do? How do we beat this and can it be combated with exercise alone?

First of all, let me say we can definitely work with exercise to help us mitigate the weight gain but we also need another weapon in this fight and that is our diet. Without looking at what you eat and how much you are eating, this fight is going to be so much harder. It is hard to put all of the suggestions in one article, so I am going to list a few pointers down below; Remember this is targeted at those who are tackling weight gain, if you just want to maintain or you want to gain then the points listed below won’t be relevant

Remember your body has slowed down its metabolism and therefore you don’t need the same amount of food that you have been eating. So e.g. if you have been taking in 2000 calories as your daily intake, your body probably needs a little less than that now, you can check your current TDEE (your total daily energy expenditure) on a number of online websites ( e.g. bodybuilding.com) but I have to say these numbers are rarely accurate and generally just good as a guideline as the only way we can measure your body’s metabolic needs is on very expensive machines.

I found that my TDEE dropped by about 400 calories, from 2000 to 1600. Now that may not sound a lot but if I am still eating 2000 calories daily as I used to then of course over time, I will put on weight which is exactly what happened. When I adjusted my calories to around 1600 I stopped gaining but to maintain I also still need to exercise regularly.

Exercise will stoke your metabolism so you need to exercise regularly, I try to do 10,000 steps 5 days a week and have 3 hourly sessions of resistance training,

This combination will help to keep your weight in check. There are also some other points to note;

  • Reduce stress
  • Get good quality sleep
  • Drink enough water, at least 2 litres daily
  • Avoid processed foods and trans fats
  • Reduce your sugar intake
  • Eat plenty of and a mixture of fruits and vegetables