40 Things to Learn, Explore and Master Before You Turn 40

40 Things to Learn, Explore and Master Before You Turn 40

Read times: 10-minute read

1. Establish close friendships

You only need ONE. Someone you can be honest with, seek comfort from, laugh with. You may have one friend for each of your needs, and that is OK too. So long as you can be yourself around your friends, you need this by the time you’re 40

2. Drop shame

Shame is an emotion that is inflicted on us by others – we are shamed for something we say or do, and as a result we decide we are ‘bad’. Seeing a therapist is a great way to explore your shame – whether it is around money, your body, your career, role as a parent, etc – as it will help you unpack. After you have unpacked, start revealing these things to your close friends, and watch your shame melt away.

3. Heal attachment wounds

If you have disordered attachment patterns, meaning you can’t connect well with others without feeling anxious, avoidant or a combination of both, then it’s likely you have an attachment wound. This is something that can be worked through in therapy, and the result will be closer friendships, healthier relationships, and more connection to the people in your life in general. 

4. Psychedelics

I have tried a few, and they were life-changing. I wouldn’t do them on your own, but in a therapeutic setting with qualified professionals that can guide you through the material that comes up for you, absolutely. 

5. Learn to lift weights

Lifting weights strengthens your nervous system, which is the most important system of your mind and body. You only need to go 2-3 times per week to see the benefits so if you haven’t tried it, get to it!  

6. Master a healthy diet

This is a process that can take years, as junk food is so addictive and widely pushed into our lives starting in childhood. Junk food is also a common self-regulation activity, so when uncomfortable emotions come up, we stuff them down with food. Eating more healthfully can improve your overall wellbeing, and help you identify when you are reaching for junk out of nutritional deprivation, or for emotional support. It will also protect you from a large number of lifestyle diseases. 

7. Learn to self-regulate

Self-regulation is about maintaining a healthy equilibrium in the nervous system. If you have mental health issues, it’s likely you don’t self-regulate well. By widening your tolerance over time, you can take in more of what life has to offer, and not live your life dependent on prescription drugs or food, alcohol, exercise etc to self-soothe. 

8. Find a ‘calm’ place

A country, a place in your yard, a small town, whatever. Mine was the South Coast in my 20’s, then Byron Bay, then Ubud in Bali, and now it is Mullumbimbie and Brunswick Heads up in northern NSW. The second I arrive there, it’s ‘me’ time and I am calm. Find this place for you. 

9. Find a ‘calm’ thing, person, outlet

This might be a pet, a friend, partner, painting class, hobby. Something you can just grab that will help you find peace in a short period of time is the goal here. 

10. Identify what you need to feel balanced

This one ties into the above – what things do you need in order to feel well? Is it good food, a partner, your kids, a business, a weekly massage? What makes you feel good, and how often do you need it so you continue to feel good?

11. Work out how much money you need in order to be happy

You don’t need $1million in the bank in order to be happy, $50K/year might not be enough either. Do you need to own a place or are renting ok? Do you need that extra $20k if it costs you your weekends and evenings with your kids? Do you need 6 bedrooms,  or is two enough? Work out what you actually need, and pro tip – the more self-regulated you are, and the healthier you are, the less money will appeal to you as a path of becoming ‘happy’.

12. Write down what you’re afraid of, and free yourself from it

If you have a fear – eg people – that impacts your daily life, work through it. Get a therapist, identify its origins, and work through it. I had a fear of doctors, mainstream medicine, small spaces, the dark, and people. The people one was a problem, so I worked through it. The small spaces though? Not so much ruining my life. 

13. Work out how much time you want to spend working per week

Are you a 30-hour girl, or a 50-hour girl? How many hours are you actually happy to work each week? Once you work that out, you need to come to terms with the kind of lifestyle that allows you to lead, financially and personally. THe key is to find a balance here. 

14. Are you working to live, or living to work?

About that work life balance again. Is your work your number one priority, that makes you happy and sets your soul on fire? Or is your family that for you? You can’t really have both without a lot of hard work, so it’s likely you will need to choose one or the other as the dominant focus. 

15. What area of your life are you happy to take risks?

Taking risks builds character, so finding a few ways where you can push the envelope is great for building self-trust and opening new doorways for yourself. 

16. Love your BODY

You only get one body, and it’s highly likely you were not gifted with the ‘perfect’ one according to modern-day standards if you’re reading this. Come to peace with yours and no matter what it looks like, aim to take good care of it. 

17. Find and experience true safety with another person

Safety is a place you can settle into with a person, without any fear. You should not be anxious when they’re not around, or terrified that they will abandon you. You should not be wondering if what they said yesterday is the truth or not. Safe people are transparent, honest, open, consistent and, well, safe. If you can’t find this, find a therapist and work on your attachment wounds. I did this and it’s paid off big time. 

18. Find authenticity

This is who you are, to a core level, when no one is watching. Who is she, and how can you bring her out into the open safely?

19. AUTONOMY

This is knowing yourself deeply enough that you can say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to people and things without doubting yourself. 

20. Stop watching the news. It’s full of shit

No discussion needed. 

21. List all the things that make you, YOU

All your traits, likes, dislikes, needs, wants, desires, characteristics. Write them down so you can begin to get to know yourself. This one helps with authenticity 

22. Enquire into your mental health issues

Do you have a mental illness? Ask questions. It’s likely it’s caused by your childhood, your food choices, alcohol, chronic dieting, poor relationships, working in a job you hate. I say this from personal experience by the way. Ask questions, as when you do this you can start to free yourself from the traps of your own mind, which can be held in limbo by a drug, but not ‘cured’. 

23. Enquire into your physical health issues

This is the same as mental illness. There are many reasons why you may be riddled with symptoms that lead you to be diagnosed with a health condition. There are also many ways to unravel a health condition. Not all of them, but many of them! Start asking questions – what can I change, what I am suppressing, how am I feeling towards myself? These are great places to start. 

24. Explore the idea that you are more than just your mind

You are an energetic mind with an electrical field that extends over 1 meter outside your body. You are 99% empty space. Your body holds onto everything you have not ‘digested’ throughout your life. You are not just a mind, your mind is merely an interpreter. 

25. Travel somewhere

Get out there and look at new places and cultures. It will open your eyes to how lucky you are. 

26. Live alone, be alone, experience life alone for a little while

If you’re never alone, you can never get to know yourself. If you are afraid of being alone, you have attachment issues, and these can be explored with a therapist

27. Cut back your socials

Social media is a breeding ground for insecurity, anxiety and depression. Studies have proven this to be the case. A fame lottery, where they choose some people to ‘make it’ on the platform is how it drives people to obsessively interact with the platform. Additionally, it hijacks your brain’s reward centre, making it harder for you to concentrate for periods of time or build a life in a way that is aligned with your authentic self. 

28. Stop comparison and competition

This one is most fueled by social media, but it’s important to recognise that you are your own person with unique skills, attributes, features and potential for contribution. Comparison is the thief of joy, and competition is essential to a point, but make sure you’re competing in a way that brings you joy. 

29. Align yourself

Alignment over hustle, every day of the week. Hustle is what they want you to do at the expense of your relationships, personal satisfaction and happiness. Get to know yourself, then align yourself with your dreams and desires, and go from there. The only exception I would add here is, once you’re aligned, it’s OK and sometimes totally natural to hassle your ass off for a while

30. Surrender

Nothing authentic comes from pushing all the time. Surrendering to the natural flow of life will lower your anxiety in the long term, and help you find what is aligned for you much easier

31. Research corporations. They rule the world and it’s time you know this

Most corporations have the same people in their boardrooms. This means, there is no real competition, the money lands in the same hands. Buy local, don’t believe media hype nor the PR stories that are crafted to take your money. Corporations want one thing – your money. If they take your mind, well that’s called neuromarketing, and they’re doing that too. 

32. Take a break from your phone, it’s destroying your ability to concentrate 

Everything on your phone is designed to hijack your brains reward centre. Keep it on silent (ensuring emergency contacts can override), and maintain your brain. You will be thankful when you don’t lose yourself to devices designed to connect you. Choose when you want to connect. Take back your control. 

33. Stop alcohol

Alcohol is a numbing agent. If you need a nightly numbing agent, you probably need to take a good look around you at your life choices. Are they wholesome? Do they light you up? Is your lifestyle making you happy? It’s never a bad idea to ask yourself these bigger questions. 

34. See a somatic therapist

Best. Thing. I’ve. Ever. Done. Research Somatic Therapy, and hire yourself a practitioner. 

35. See a therapist. It’s not shameful 

For almost all people, therapy is helpful. You don’t need to have a mental health diagnosis in order to justify seeing a therapist. They are there to give you an objective view of yourself, in a safe and loving way. If you don’t feel quite aligned, are struggling to manifest what you want in life, or find yourself riddled with uncomfortable feelings, see a therapist. They’re awesome. 

36. Learn to embrace uncertainty

This one is new for me, as I like to be in control. You can’t control other people or most outside circumstances, so surrendering (point #30) and going with the flow makes life much more palatable. 

37. Let go of overthinking

You cannot think yourself out of a problem, and most of the time, your brain is just trying to make sense of things in order to keep you safe. If your childhood was full of sunshine and rainbows, this is fine. If it wasn’t, then it’s likely that your thinking machine has it out for you. DOn’t overthink. Surrender, and if needed, find a therapist. 

38. Start a journal 

Just something to write in. Brain dump, write what you’re grateful for, what your dreams are. Write whatever you want. I have written 400 pages since April last year, it’s been great. 

39. Learn about parts – IFS

Your brain is made up of multiple parts, each with different characteristics, skills and feeling states. Learning about IFS has saved my life in a way, as I had many ‘parts’ that opposed each other – one that desired a loving relationship vs one who was afraid of connection. One that wanted to binge eat vs one who wanted to starve itself. Getting to know them, and bringing them all together has created a coherence in my life that I never knew was possible (I did this with a therapist, by the way!). 

40. Start having honest conversations

Honest conversations are how you connect with people. Release your shameful moments in a safe place. Speak your mind. Ask for what you want. Set boundaries around what you do and don’t want in your life. 

Bonus!

  • Ditch your masculine energy. If you’re a woman you were designed to flow with the waves of life. You are not a structured money making machine!
  • Set boundaries (all of the previous points will help you with those)
I Won a Telstra Best of Business Award for Accelerating Women

I Won a Telstra Best of Business Award for Accelerating Women

Read times: 5-minute read

What a whirlwind that was!

I received an email almost 12 months ago now – ‘you have been nominated for the Telstra Best of Business Awards, click here to enter your business’

In 2017 I had some experience with Telstra’s awards program, and what I remembered most was the clarity I received about my business as I worked through each stage. Despite having no confidence at the time and being selected as a finalist, I was told by one of the judges I was a close second to the overall prize. This boosted my confidence in myself and my business exponentially, and since that day I always intended on doing it again.

So as I received the nomination I clicked through, and began putting my entry together.

The Telstra Awards are a rigorous process, so it’s not something you can breeze through or do in a weekend. There are four stages, each more involved than the one before it. You are notified after each round whether or not you have made it through, and if you do, you continue on to that next level. Each level they want to understand your business on a deeper level than the one that passed.

From the beginning I had the final round in my sights – the pitch pack – and so I put it all out on the table from the beginning.

The process 

The first round is multiple choice, social media links, your website and a short bio on your business purpose and story. If you’re selected to share more about your business you enter stage two, which were 3-minute videos responses on all aspects of your business, including; 

  • Company purpose and solution
  • Culture and team
  • Financials and future 
  • Business story 

They offer specific categories to best suit your business, I chose ‘Accelerating Women’ and ‘Championing Health’. For each category you submit additional answers to explain how you are contributing to Australia in alignment with the criteria of that specific category.

Once I reached the third round, I almost called it! It required 5 x 5 1500 word answers to each aspect of your business. As a solo entrant I struggled to complete it alongside my client load. You also don’t realise how much information there is to share, and how little 1500 words is, when you’re trying to explain what you do to strangers!

With the editing support of a long-term client, I passed through that stage to the interview stage – a 30-minute interview with the judges. They were extremely knowledgeable in their own fields and by this stage knew all there was to know about your business and vision.

From there, I made it through to the awards night as a State Finalist in both my chosen categories. I was SO excited!

The pitch deck was further away than I thought though – I needed to WIN in order to give my pitch. 

I WON the Accelerating Women award!

Dressed up in a gown, hair and makeup done, I attended the awards night with my two favourite people – my bestie and my partner. 

Then came the announcement – ‘I am so proud to announce that the winner is, Wildly Strong’. I was shocked! I took the stage to accept my award and deliver my acceptance speech. I was overwhelmed but also just so happy and proud. 

It was the best thing I have experienced in my business so far. And it’s not for the reason you may think.

I have no formal training in business. I am heart-led and my intuition is what brought me to where I am now. I followed my gut, shared my story and supported women in overcoming the same struggles I have overcome.

So I have no mentorship, and I get no business feedback, but the awards program offers me an opportunity for just that. It asks important questions of you as a business owner, and forces you to get clear on your past, present and future in a way that makes sense to strangers – not one of my strong points!

The National Experience 

So here I am ready to put together a pitch pack – the part I was most excited about. Judges from across Australia were selected for the panel, and you have 10 minutes to pitch your business to them. Aware of the fact that I had no formal training or any clue about corporate lingo, I put together a pitch that I was super proud of. 

They asked me questions around investment, how I was going to ‘challenge the establishment’ and things like this, to which I replied I would have to get a mentor. I hadn’t thought this far ahead, as I don’t have many resources available to me.

They gave me really great advice on what I could do to grow my business with the resources I did have – creating partnerships with other professionals that my work gels well with.

So a night of mingling, a pitch pack presented to judges, a masterclass where we met the CEO of Telstra, and a 6-hour long awards ceremony I was presented with my state finalist award. I didn’t win the national prize, but as a realist I wasn’t expecting I would. It was the experience I was seeking and the clarity around my own business journey that was most important to me.

Overall, it was an amazing experience. I have such clarity around who I serve, the direction I am taking, the story that led me here, and what I need to do next in order to continue accelerating women into the future.

I was offered a speaking opportunity with the Defense Force, an article in the Canberra Weekly, an interview with one of the judges Div Pillay in June, and I made an appearance on Sunrise off the back of this awards program. These are valuable experiences that came off the back of the publicity I received in the awards program.

Where am I going now?

If I am honest, I am resting! The two awards ceremonies were on either side of my PTSD healing sessions in Byron Bay. I didn’t really get a chance or space to process what came up in my session, and I fell behind on client work! I am still catching up.

So, it’s a rest from me, and I have a few exciting things in the pipelines that I can’t tell you about yet – but it’s coming sometime in September.

The Telstra 2024 Best of Business Awards nominations are now open, so if you know of a business that could benefit from this process in the future, be sure to nominate them here!

Lessons From A 25+ Year Health and Fitness Journey

Lessons From A 25+ Year Health and Fitness Journey

Read time: 10-minute read

I’ve been in the health and fitness game for a long time. I’ve made every mistake, and paid for those mistakes time and time again.

It pains me to see everyone making those same mistakes, as there is so much ‘new’ information online, and none of it addresses the root of what it takes to sustain a healthy lifestyle in the long term.

In this post I have reflected on this, so here 10 of my top lessons from my 25 year journey. 

1. Emotional Regulation should be your number one priority

It starts in the mind (which stems from the BODY), so you can’t be healthy if your mind-body isn’t aligned ⁠

This is first because this is KEY. I learned this after many years of perfect eating and training, when I developed chronic fatigue. As I explored the mechanisms behind this illness I learned of how dysregulated my nervous system was, and it was this dysregulation that led to my condition.

I already had depression, anxiety, ADD, and PTSD diagnosis, but because I was so removed from my body, it didn’t click until I was physically unable to function. 

What does this look like?

  • Learning to feel into the body
  • Healing and or facing childhood trauma
  • Asking questions about your uncomfortable emotions
  • Seeing a therapist if you need to
  • Taking time to reassess your job, relationships and life choices. 

These things aren’t easy, they’re a journey, but I can assure you there is freedom (and better results in all life pursuits) if this one is explored in its entirety.

2. It’s a PROCESS. No one masters the habits overnight.

We all fall backward and have to jump back on the wagon again. ⁠

Rome wasn’t built in a day! Along your journey there will be setbacks, as it is impossible to just ‘decide’ to change and have no problems. Think of change like an onion, as you peel back one layer another appears.

So you start eating better, now you have less inflammation and more clarity to see the waves in your emotional state or those things that trigger it. When you’re triggered, you may spiral back to old habits in order to regulate yourself. In noting that, you need to develop a new habit to regulate, rather than leaning on those things you’re trying to quit – cigarettes, alcohol, sugar, etc.

Be patient with yourself and think of it like you’re going on a quest, and on this quest you want to uncover all those things that are holding you back from your dreams, and work through them one by one. As you do this, work to be happy and grateful for what you already have, and this takes the pressure off!.

3. We all have different needs and genetic capabilities – learn yours. 

This is KEY! We all have different muscle shapes, strength capacity, waist size, abdominal shapes, body fat storage limitations, sensitivities, and histories. Your past will influence your present, which is why the first point is so important.

If you’re wanting to change your body, then knowing those who excel in physical endeavors are built differently. They most likely don’t share your story. They most likely have more responsive bodies, lower body fat set-points, a faster metabolism and better levers for lifting. Don’t compare your journey to anyone else but your own. 

4. Nutrition is the number one variable you can control (in a sea of environmental toxicity – so start there)

If you don’t eat well, you really have no chance. There is no other way to say it! We are all impacted by our environment, epigenetic suggests up to 95% of our health outcomes are related to just that. It’s hard to avoid pharmaceuticals, petrol fumes, and some of us have high levels of emotional or psychological stress, but we can all control our diet.

This means; low refined sugar, no seed oils, no fried foods, no trans fats. It’s not that hard to do, but it’s hard to accept as those foods are SO addictive. So, start in the kitchen!

5. Weight training has positive carryover into ALL aspects of life

Weight training is beneficial for; 

  • Bone density
  • Injury prevention
  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Mental health
  • Strength levels
  • Sports performance
  • Hormone function
  • Nutrient uptake

And, it can make your body more resilient. When you train well, the nervous system upregulates and has to return to normal again. The more you do this, the more it can stretch, the more you can take on in your everyday life. 

6. Being lean is NOT where the happiness lies

I have been shredded three times. The first time I was miserable as I had major body image issues and I had hedged all my bets on being lean. When I arrived there, I was more disappointed than I had ever been. The next time it was a little better, and the last time I was well aware that it was for the sport and the enjoyment, and so it was great, but I would never choose to live that lifestyle in order to stay lean, as the sacrifices I had to make were too high. Same goes for you!

7. It’s important to identify what you’re willing to do and how you want to live, and weigh that up against how you want to look.

And then, you want to work on accepting how you look. 

⁠How you look is largely genetic, and most people won’t tell you this. This means you won’t buy their programs or sign up to their weight loss diets. I tell my clients this, they understand what is realistic for them and what it takes to achieve the body they desire to have.

For me personally, this means being around 70-73kg, I have a nice shape, but I have no real visible muscle despite when I am lean looking very muscular. After a lifetime of chronic dieting and stress, I have to accept that this is what my body considers to be safe.

So ask yourself, what about this weight is safe for me? If there are realistic changes you can make to be healthier, then it’s likely you will lose weight as you make those changes. If you’re already living a truly healthy lifestyle, then understanding any further leanness you may achieve will not necessarily stick around.

Keep in mind also, that obesity is never safe for the body. Our bodies carry healthy amounts of body fat, but this is never in excessive amounts.

8. Community is essential – you need to have a safe people in your corner.

No-one can make it on their own!⁠

If you don’t have people in your corner cheering you on, it will be hard to change. I have experienced both sides, where I had friends that were not egging me on at all, in fact behind my back hoping I would fail. This means that when I would change, I would feel disconnected and with that disconnection came me ditching my efforts in an attempt to fit back in again. 

Recognise that good connections are people who; 

  • Support you
  • Listen to you
  • Compromise with you
  • Don’t need to be right all the time
  • Ask you how it’s going
  • Point out positive changes in you

They are not people who criticise, put negative ideas in your head or hold you back.  

9. SAFETY is needed for any lasting change.

Safety for me is something I only learned in 2022 as I heal my childhood trauma. I had no idea I didn’t have safety, and no idea how to recognise it.

SO this what safety is, for anyone who doesn’t know; 

  • It is having non-judgmental people in your corner
  • It’s being able to speak your mind without fear of negative consequences
  • It’s people who have a genuine interest in your life
  • People who can be present for you 

If you feel you lack safety, then this is where I would start! Seek out a therapist as this can be a great way of learning what safety feels like, and I’ll give you a tip, it feels strange but also very right to your nervous system.

You may have heard me talking about this alot of late, particularly as it relates to weight loss. Safety is key for any physical goal, as without safety we have chronic stress, and in chronic stress the body is surviving, not thriving, and you can’t achieve things that your body deems unnecessary when it is simply trying to keep you alive!

10. Your needs will change with each phase of life.

One minute it feels important to be skinny, the next it’s important to be strong, then suddenly we care more for mobility. Ride the waves and don’t judge your earlier choices as you occupy new spaces. ⁠

Changing your preferences is normal, and it’s important to embrace this and not fight against it. I see really often people posting about how they once cared about how they looked, but now they don’t, but rather than sharing in an empowering way, they’re mocking the girl who thought weight loss would make her happy.

Weight loss doesn’t make you happy, but your belief in that was your only hope for safety in that phase of your life. What you did in the past was what you did to survive. There are no right or wrong things to do if they lead you to your best life.

I have done; 

  • Cardio and fun runs
  • Weight training and bodybuilding
  • Powerlifting
  • Strongman
  • Walking only while I had chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Back to bodybuilding
  • Now back to walking only really light training as my body recovers through trauma therapy 

I have resistance every time I can’t weight train, as it is my preference but at the same time i have to ride those waves – if the body doesn’t want to do it, then I need to give it a rest. My point here is, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ exercise routine, food, training style or phase to be in. Do what your body can do at the time.

So those are my top 10 tips for you! I hope you gained some new insight.

There is a video version of this too, if you would like to learn more!

Does losing weight make you happy?

Does losing weight make you happy?

Read time: 5 minute read

Most people get into the body transformation game with one idea in mind – 

“The perfect body will make me happy”. 

Is this true though? NO! And in this post I am going to cover this in detail. 

There are a few things I want to cover on this topic including; 

  • Where does it come from? Let’s look at the media’s role in it, and our own
  • How much this impacts us personally
  • Where does the happiness part lie? and, 
  • What can we do about it?

WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?

I have been a Personal Trainer for 20 years, and a full-time Women’s coach for at least 12. Personally I have always been obsessed with weight loss and body transformation. And most of the women I have trained over the years share the same obsession. 

There are a number of factors behind why we think being skinner will make us happy, but we can narrow this down to two categories; 

  1. The media
  2. Our own personal issues.  

If we go back prior to social media, and particularly up until the last few years, there was zero representation of the averaged-sized women in the media. Every teen magazine or fitness magazine had on the cover – how to lose weight’, and most often it was a 1200 calorie diet with no carbs paired with an excessive exercise routine. 

Let’s start with the Media 

As we started to make traction in the fitness world, learning from our earlier mistakes and teaching women to nourish themselves (I’m talking between 2010-2017ish) I really saw a shift. Women want to eat more, meaning, they want to eat what their bodies require of them. They were sick of the yo-yo diet cycle. 

However, with social media came the introduction of influencers – most often slim women who looked exactly like those we had seen in the media our whole lives, but now there were more of them, and their accounts grew as women everywhere wanted to know what their ‘secret’ was. I can tell you what their secret was – their genetics – but they won’t tell you that themselves. 

They began selling diet products, fitness challenges, getting photo shoots in their underwear and the bikini and fitness model divisions were introduced to competitions to fulfill this need. Now the perfect body can be two things – tall and slender, or lean with large muscles and a perfect set of breast implants. 

So in 2022, we have a new problem, being thousands of genetically elite, self-proclaimed experts who use their own ‘perfect’ bodies to perpetuate diet culture for profit. They don’t coach and have no idea of the impact their behaviour has on young women, nor do they probably care. Furthermore, we see them as ‘experts’ because they look the way we have been programmed to believe ‘healthy’ women should look. 

So just as we were making progress, an even larger force came in and we were moving both forwards and backwards at the same time. The fitness industry which was once a safe place for women to build themselves up was now just as toxic as the mainstream media industry. 

Women turn to fitness to boost their confidence, and are exploited. They achieve great things with their own minds and bodies, but because they aren’t aesthetically extraordinary, or can’t maintain a lean physique, they feel like they have failed. 

So that’s the media aspect of it. 

Then we have the second part, which is our own personal issues

Technically speaking, no ‘health’ organisation inflicts an eating disorder or body image issues onto us. In order for us to be susceptible to the messages, we need to be somewhat vulnerable to them. 

Much like they don’t remove addictive things like alcohol, porn, sugar and certain prescription drugs off the market, they wont ‘ban’ this kind of body from being supported because 1/ this kind of aesthetic-based ‘beauty’ sells, and we live in a corporation driven society, but also because, only some people become addicted. 

Some people are susceptible, and others are not. There is a really great thought leader in the area of trauma and addiction, Dr. Gabor Mate. We will use his words here to illustrate what I am saying; “ask not why the addiction, ask why the pain?”

HOW DO YOU BECOME SUSCEPTIBLE?

There are two ways you may become vulnerable to believing that your body needs to look a certain way in order for you to be happy; 

  1. You need to feel like you’re not good enough as you are, on some level, and
  2. You need to believe that there is something positive at the other end of the transformation – praise, belonging, success, attention, love, etc. Whatever you believe you need in this life to be safe and accepted, this lies at the end of your body transformation journey. 

We have only a few basic human needs – shelter, food and water, and connection. In order to survive, we need to be accepted by the tribe as no one human being can thrive on their own. 

Most corporations prey on our need for connection, as in the western world we have plenty of shelter, food and water to go around (disregarding the quality of that of course which is on a sliding scale). They do this by creating scenarios where it is taken away, for example the ever changing algorithm on Instagram based on what they call the ‘fame lottery’, supplying endless food and drinks that inflame the nervous system, and dating apps where we swipe instead of boldly approaching someone in the real world and asking for their phone number. So things aren’t really working in our favour here. 

Our need for connection is created into cash for large corporations. For those of us who become fixated on our bodies as a place of inadequacy, ‘diet culture’ is the solution. Once we walk down this path due to our own insecurities, there is no shortage of places to land. 

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR BODY-FAT?

When you lose all your body fat, you do not immediately feel happy. To be perfectly honest, you may even feel worse – more vulnerable, more disappointed in learning that this wasn’t the answer. Your friends and family may distance themselves from you because your lifestyle is so restrictive, so you may even feel more left out than when you started. 

Furthermore, if you’re in a loop of thinking there is something inherently wrong with you, you will continue to find things that are wrong with your body. For me I hated the shape of my waist, and my left shoulder was smaller than my right. I’ve had clients get breast implants because they hated the way their leaner bodies came with a smaller bust, or they complain about the tiniest bit of cellulite that remains under their butt crease, which I can’t do anything about because it’s their genetics

Lately, as I have been engaging in therapy, with the trauma being the root cause of my body image issues since childhood, this ‘issue’ has been much more apparent. I noticed I look and feel different multiple times of the day. One day I think I am fat, the next I am old and ugly. I would put on clothing thinking it won’t fit because I’ve gotten so fat, only to find my body hasn’t changed at all. 

So how you see your body is linked directly with issues you have going on within yourself, and although the lifestyle adopted by going on a weight loss journey can be helpful, the weight loss itself won’t change those beliefs you have within your nervous system unless you actively work with those too. 

WHAT PART OF THE JOURNEY DOES CONTRIBUTE TO GREATER HAPPINESS?

Whilst losing fat doesn’t bring about feelings of happiness all on its own, the activities undertaken in a body transformation process absolutely can, such as;

  • Better food choices leading to lower inflammation 
  • Regular exercise increasing lymph flow and blood circulation
  • Lowered stress hormones which lead to improved sleep, gut health and feelings of calm

The truth of nutrition really is that eating a diet full of highly processed food is a problem, causing leaky gut, and neuroinflammation, which directly damages neurotransmitters and makes us feel crap about ourselves. So a healthy diet is key. Once again corporations interfere with your assimilation of this information because it’s unfavourable for their profits. 

Losing weight will not make you happier, but being healthy will

For a healthy weight woman, meaning that your body has the amount of body fat it deems to be necessary for you to create life, forage and protect your young, fat loss will not make you healthier or happier. It is also highly likely that whatever fat loss you achieve will be put back on, as this is the body’s safety mechanism. 

The body decides how much body fat is safe for you personally, and has no care for your body composition goals. So for this person, a dieting process may make you healthier because you’re eating better, sleeping better, and moving more, but you could also achieve this without cutting your calories back and losing body fat. So there is no benefit to losing that body fat specifically. 

If you’re higher in body fat than what your body deems to necessary, then you may experience more feelings of happiness as you lose weight, and with clients this looks like easily fitting into a plane seat, purchasing fashionable clothes, feeling more energised, less mood swings, moving more freely and being able to play with their kids. 

So weight loss for some people does improve quality of life, but it’s important to identify the ways in which your body weight is affecting you. It’s also important to diet in a healthy way, no matter your starting point. 

In summary, if you’re a healthy or unhealthy weight, making healthier food choices and moving more (both of which come with a weight loss goal) will lead to improvements in the following; 

  • Stable blood sugar, thus more stable moods and energy levels
  • Increased energy do to a lower toxic load, 
  • Lowered inflammation which leads to fatigue and depressive symptoms 
  • Improved sleep which lowers stress and food cravings, and
  • Better hormone balance, so your time-of-the-month will be more pleasant, your skin more vibrant and your mood overall more stable. 
  • Less stress leading to more capacity for connection

So those are the reasons why someone seems happier when they lose weight, but it is not specifically because their body fat is lower. 

What can I do to start healing my relationship with my body?

The following is what I recommend to my clients when they come to me wanting to change their bodies; 

  1. Unfollow anyone that triggers you to feel low self-worth. If you contract or feel envious when you see your feed, just remove them. 
  2. Switch your focus from calorie restriction and dieting to start, no matter where you are on your journey or what your end goal is. Eat your maintenance calories and see if you still want to lose weight once you’re feeling more healthy.  
  3. Train to get strong and improve your overall physical capacity, and do exercise that is friendly to your nervous system – weight training, cardiovascular activity, dance, yoga, pilates are examples. Note that competitive powerlifting, crossfit and HIIT training may be too much. 
  4. Start looking within. What do I want this for? Do I need to lose weight or am I just unhappy? If you feel the issue is outside of your capacity to process, hire a qualified professional like psychologist, psychotherapist, or coach who specialises in this area. 

By working on these things you can start to heal the relationship with your body. There is of course the ‘body positive’ movement, but I would be very wary of that as it often does not encourage a healthy relationship with food, which is foundational to good health in the long term. 

Often the best way out of body image challenges and diet culture is through it too, so don’t beat yourself up if you did a competition and felt like you failed. This is all a part of the journey. Now you know that’s not the answer and you can start focusing on those practices that brought about joy throughout the process and build on them instead.

Want to master this topic? Check out my super-affordable mini-course on Body Love

 

5 Scientific Books to Read on the Mind-Body Connection

5 Scientific Books to Read on the Mind-Body Connection

For this post I want to highlight the books I learned the most from regarding the mind-body connection.

Scientifically speaking, they each focus on Epigenetics and psychoneuroimmunology but with their own experience and expertise within their respective fields.

Epigenetics is the study of how the environment impacts DNA expression, and psychoneuroimmunology is the study of how the brain, nervous system, and the immune system impact each other.

We know this as the mind-body connection.

Let’s start with my favourite, Dr. Joe Dispenza. 

1. Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, Dr. Joe Dispenza

I first read You Are the Placebo by Dr. Joe, but then I went back and read his first and I’m covering that one here as it is a better foundational book.

Joe Dispenza is a chiropractor and neuroscientist who specialises in finding ways to break the body’s habitual programming to create a new future for yourself, which is designed by you, aligned with what you actually want. It is not easy work, and his methods heavily rely on meditation, but it is absolutely life changing. Even if you just understand the concepts he speaks on, your life will change.

I was really deep in the spirituality world in the beginning of my transformation journey, which can become really confusing as it’s all conceptual. This was more grounding and helped me to see how it really is backed by science, and in addition to this, there is evidence and case studies behind it.

I have many friends and clients who also follow Dr. Joe and none of them have turned back since. Personally I have been to three of his workshops, and had multiple mystical experiences under his guidance. 

2. Mind over Medicine, Dr. Lissa Rankin

This was actually the first book in my healing journey after seeing her Ted Talk called Scientific Proof we can Heal Ourselves. If you’re interested, you can watch that talk here

Lissa had a nervous breakdown as an overworked physician, and spent her two years leave whilst healing, looking into studies on the placebo effect. She found multiple studies highlighting the power of the mind in healing, many which were also in Dr. Joe Dispenza’s books. 

To give two memorable examples; one man believed he could be cured by a brand new cancer treatment (which was a placebo) and his terminal cancer rapidly disappeared. After seeing in the newspaper that the drug trial had been unsuccessful, his cancer returned and he passed away. Another went in for a hip replacement, he was opened up and stitched back up, not having received the replacement and he walked out of the hospital without any issues.

So it’s all about how powerful your mind is, and how there is a power within the physical body that can overcome any illness.

I ended up doing a workshop with her in 2016 over in America, where I was introduced with many other thought leaders in this area including Bruce Lipton, Alberto Villoldo and Deepak Chopra. It was great! At the course there were many female doctors and surgeons who were defeated by the medical system and found themselves prescribing drugs when they really wanted to be helping people. They were working towards a model of healing where they had longer time with patients and were able to offer holistic care. 

 

3. When the body Says No, Dr. Gabor Mate

Dr Gabor Mate is a world-renowned physician who spent his lifetime studying addiction, trauma, childhood development, the mind-body connection and its relationship to stress and illness. He goes into detail in this book about how certain emotional states can play a role in common disease manifestations.

My favourite saying of his is; “ask not why the addiction, but why the pain?. He understands that unresolved emotional pain underlies all physical ailments and has been a witness to it throughout his 50+ year medical career.

He has so much powerful content on YouTube available for free so check him out if you find it interesting, or read his books, whichever you like best! Dr. Joe is a great one to watch if you prefer video or podcasts over reading as well. 

4. A Mind of Your Own, Kelly Brogan, MD. 

Written by a psychiatrist, this book goes deep into her story of prescribing medications to patients only to see them get worse over time, much like Lissa Rankin and the women in her circle.

Eventually after having depression herself and questioning the need for her to take medication, she looked into natural ways to overcome her feelings. This changed her practice forever, and she is now practising more natural methods with her clients and I believe using medication only where it is absolutely essential.

She speaks on the importance of animal protein in the diet, whole foods, fats (in particular Omega 3’s), and managing blood sugar by watching consumption of sugar and carbohydrates. She goes into gluten and casein in a little detail as well. She goes into great depth on the nutritional front so if you have depression or anxiety, you will find this book really informative.

She then goes on to highlight the importance of sleep, meditation and exercise, sharing scientific studies and case studies to highlight the success of each method she recommends. She has a new book out now which is a little more spiritual in nature, and this is also a great read!

 

5. Mind-to-Matter, Dawson Church. 

‘Science has become the new language of mysticism’ is how Dawson introduces his book. He studies in detail the idea of ‘thoughts becoming things’, which essentially suggests that we attract into our lives those experiences that are a match to our thoughts.

If you go deeper than this, you learn that thoughts are driven by emotions, and emotions are programmed in childhood, so the things we attract in our lives are really just a reflection of what happened to us before the age of 7 – the most programmable time in our lives.

So it’s a scientific perspective into how we create our own realities. The information he shares is quite interlinked with Dr. Joe Dispenza’s, as they both study the electromagnetic field that extends beyond all of our physical bodies.

He shares stories like how they have discovered that cancer patients had cancer in their field before it ever showed up in their physical bodies. I have experienced this myself, working with practitioners who use what we call a CyberScan, a German invention that reads your energy field and acts to balance it out.

So those are my top 5 reads if you’re looking for a scientific perspective pertaining to the mind=body connection. The science is there, and it has the potential to change your life if this is what you want. It’s just not mainstream.

Want to master this topic? Check out my super-affordable mini-course on Mindset Mastery

 

3 Spiritual Philosophies that Inspired my Healing

3 Spiritual Philosophies that Inspired my Healing

Read time: 4 minute read

I thought I would share something a little different here, as I am currently up in Byron Bay working on my own healing. 

It is really easy to get lost in a sea of ‘spirituality’ in this modern day, with gurus everywhere and biohackers teaching us how to ‘overcome our biology’. 

I’ve been there, done that, and been down every rabbit hole, but at the end of the day, the only way to free yourself from your discomfort or dis-ease, is to change your perspective from one that believes that your genes dictate your health and reality, to one that suggests that the human body is powerful, and you have the power to overcome anything. 

Which is a scientific fact, by the way. 

The fastest path to health and healing is a slow one, it requires working through layers of conditioning until you reach the core, and only then will you be completely whole and free. 

So, on my journey, I learned of three philosophies that really landed for me, and steered me away from the new-age clutter and towards a truly liberating healing journey. They are each unique, but ultimately they say the same thing. 

1, You are a diamond stuck in black muck

I learned this one from my homoeopath. Imagine you have a glass, and this glass is full of black muck. Underneath the muck, is a diamond. That diamond can only be revealed if you search through the muck, and the muck is ultimately your ‘stuff’. Your beliefs, huts, pains, conditionings, unhelpful habits and behaviours. 

As you work through each of these layers, the black liquid becomes lighter, and you start to reveal the diamond (your authentic self) underneath. 

  1. It takes 7 years to make a Shaman 

I have always resonated with the concept of a shaman, but did you know it takes 7 years to make one? 

A shaman is the medicine man of the tribe, whose job is to keep everyone healthy, happy, and connected. If someone shows signs of disease, the Shaman will identify the root cause – whether emotional, spiritual, psychological, or physical, and clear that person’s system back to wholeness and health. 

If the shaman tries to do this, but has not worked on his own ‘stuff’, he cannot be a clear vessel or receive a clear message around what this person needs in order to heal. The message will come through, but it will become entangled with the Shamans. 

So a shaman goes through the process of clearing their own trauma, so they can be a clear vessel and transfer healthy messages without attachment or projection from their own field. 

And don’t be fooled by a new-age Shaman who just likes to call themselves one. A real Shaman has undertaken a harrowing journey to become an effective healer. 

  1. Be like bamboo 

I went to a presentation by Eckart Tolle (author of A New Earth, and The Power of Now), and his wife took a yoga class prior to the presentation. Her energy was jaw dropping to me – light, free, almost like a ghost. She was there, and she was powerful, but she was also ‘not there’. 

Kim Eng suggests we need to be like bamboo, which is hollow, and light. She spoke about how we accumulate energy throughout our lives that isn’t properly metabolised, and how it becomes ‘stuck’ within our bodies. It makes us heavy, unhealthy and reactive. 

With all that energy stuck in the body, new life experiences bounce off it, making us confused and tired, not knowing what is ‘ours’ and what is other peoples. So to feel whole, we work through the stuck energy, and become hollow, so that we can be a clear channel for our own lifeforce without any interruption. 

So, three philosophies, all saying the same thing. Free your stuck energy, and you yourself will become free

 

 

 

 

 

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