Making the Most out of the Christmas and New Year Period

Making the Most out of the Christmas and New Year Period

With Christmas just a few short days away, I wanted to share how I navigate, and encourage my clients to get through the Christmas and New Year period, without derailing all of their hard work.

This is, assuming you have been working hard this year on your health and/or body goals! If not, then maybe you can use this as a strategy for next year, when you are slaying your goals 😉

Let’s start with the first tip; 

1. Try to keep your food ‘cleaner’ in between events

This just means, when not at a Christmas lunch, family dinner or new years eve party, eat as healthy as you can. Keep your carbohydrates and processed foods lower, stick to a high-protein, healthy fat diet with loads of fruit and vegetables.

The reason for this is to compensate, and allow room for indulgent days without ending feeling like a blown-up whale (which I know we all have done in the past!). Resist the urge to graze in between meals and events, but absolutely do allow yourself to enjoy celebratory foods and drinks when the occasion arrives.

2. Do not attempt to stay in a calorie deficit

Most people will tell me that they ‘can totally diet over christmas’, that it’s ‘just one day’ and the rest will be fine. This is fine and all, but unless you have a serious reason to stay on track, like, you’re competing in a bodybuilding competition in March, there is really no chance of navigating this time of year without derailing.

All good diets and health transformation goals require a break here and there, and all transformations require you learning how to adjust to life with events, setbacks, and roadblocks. The best way to approach them is to actively approach one with your awareness in check.

This means, you try to stay on track with maintenance calories, but you do not try to diet. And, you take Christmas day off. And New Years Day, if this is a celebratory event for you.

So get out of the deficit, and take this period of time as a time to learn to accept that some days are going to be out of your control, and that diet breaks are actually really healthy mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Keep exercising as you normally would, or replace your exercise with an equivalent activity such as switching gym sessions for beach walks, or HIIT training for yoga, something along those lines. So you are keeping the body moving, but you aren’t pressuring yourself to do exactly what your usual routine dictates for you to do. 

3. Limit the alcohol

This is one of the main reasons why people feel like rubbish over the Christmas period. Drinking too much is a depressant, can damage the intestinal lining, and disrupts sleep. These are very real downsides of drinking alcohol that overpower it’s ‘antioxidant’ effects.

Feeling the pressure to drink from friends/family? If they’re the kind of people to drink what you consider to be ‘too much’, then my tip is to get a drink when first offered, then just sip on it throughout the night. After a few drinks no one will notice if you’re drinking or not, and the next morning you can wake up and exercise, or make a healthy breakfast, rather than feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck like the rest of your family/friends.

I mean, why is it that we ‘celebrate’ holidays by drinking ourselves silly and binging on junk food? When did ‘celebration’ lead to self-punishment?

4. Change your mindset – think of it as the last chance you have to relax before beginning a brand new, killer year

Do you want to start the new year feeling completely overwhelmed and off track? Chances are that no, you don’t! If over-eating and consuming tonnes of alcohol is how you feel good, then this doesn’t really apply to you, but I don’t remember the last person who said to me that they thoroughly enjoyed the fact that they ate and drank until they felt sick

It’s also hard to get things back on track after a rogue couple of weeks, especially if you started your holiday season on December 1st (I know some of you did! Lol).

So many of us whine all year about being stressed out, overworked, sad about not being able to travel, we have symptoms that we aren’t getting on top of. It makes no sense to get the only break you will have this year and use it to dump junk into an already overworked, over-stressed body right before it goes back into normal life overdrive again.

So, relax, allow your body the time to lower stress levels, physically, emotionally, mentally, so you can recuperate and feel refreshed come the new year!

5. Write down some goals for the holiday period and keep them handy

Keep a list on your phone, or find a quote that represents an ideal holiday period for you. Is it putting your feet up? Set yourself up for an amazing new year? Reading a book? Connecting with your children and extended family? Finding time for meditation, exercise, or hiking? What is it you would ideally like to do for the break?

Setting intentions early on can really start to get the ball rolling here!

6. Implement one of your new year’s resolutions early

This is a hack in a way, to get you out of the mindset of going rogue for two weeks and then trying to reel it in to get the year started right. All you do is, get one of your new year’s resolutions, and action it right away.

For me, I want to reduce my caffeine consumption next year, so I have already, as of the 18th December, started the process of doing that, going from 350mg/day to 250mg/day. I already feel better and by the time the 1st January comes around, I should be up to 0-100mg/day (the maximum I want to be consuming from this point forward).

This is a goal I can maintain over the holiday period and it will also set me up to hit the ground running when January 1st comes around.

So, those are my top tips for making the most out of this christmas/new year period.

Let me know if you plan on trying any of them in particular!

Jen x

Peanut-Butter Pumpkin Savory Oats

Peanut-Butter Pumpkin Savory Oats

Savoury oats are a winner when you want to keep your blood sugar under control, have sustained energy throughout the day, and avoid those sugar cravings.

Also perfect for winter weather in November that just won’t go away! ❄️

I find it funny to see how oats, one of the healthiest foods you can get, has suddenly turned into cake on Instagram. So I am making a healthy contribution 😅 This is my peanut-butter pumpkin savoury oats recipe!

Ingredients;

  • 40-50gm Oats
  • 100gms Pumpkin, cooked/pureed or air-fried
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tbs peanut butter, or 20gm powdered peanut butter (Yum Natural is the brand I used)
  • Himalayan salt & cinnamon

Instructions;

◻ Cook the pumpkin by boiling or air frying, then either use the air-fried cubes or mash the boiled pumpkin.

◻ Cook the oats in a pot with cinnamon and salt

◻ Cook one egg on the frypan

◻ Prepare the peanut butter, either by heating it up or mixing the powdered peanut butter in water to create the desired consistency

◻ Add the oats to a bowl, the fried egg, pumpkin, and drizzle the peanut butter on top.

Delish 🌱🍽

Macros:

  • 318 calories
  • 22gm protein
  • 10gm fat
  • 35gm carbs

You can add more protein via egg whites or vanilla protein powder too if you wish!

Hope you enjoy!

Jen x

5 Keys to Stress-Reduction

5 Keys to Stress-Reduction

Stress, you hear about it all the time, you’re told to reduce it, but what is it??

Stress is an acute response by the body when faced with a threat – be it physical, emotional, chemical, or spiritual. The body responds by activating what is called the sympathetic nervous system. This response prepares you to fight, or flee.

When the danger passes, we return to a parasympathetic state, which is where we rest, digest, heal and rejuvenate. This is the opposite arm of the autonomic nervous system, and this operates below the level of conscious awareness, meaning, you don’t have any control over it. 

When it comes to stress, it can be caused by more obvious things such as a car coming at you, or less obvious things, like your perception, or even your imagination.

Imagined stressors usually stem from early childhood where we formed beliefs, which are now deeply rooted into our nervous system, and those beliefs are now running the show. So for example if you believe deep down that you’re unworthy or unlovable, you may make terrible food choices, or work yourself to the bone in order to ‘rectify’ that wound and ‘prove yourself’ to the world around you.

Most often, this leads to chronic stress, and it can impact our lives greatly.

When in stress mode, we have issues with creativity, rationality, maintaining health, digestion, nutrient assimilation, sleep, relationships/friendships and more. If the body is in stress all the time, then our lives and bodies tend to fall apart.

So, what to do? Here are 5 tips to support a healthy nervous system.

  1.     Learn what a stressor is, and what it feels like

You need to identify what stress is, and like I mentioned earlier, it can be physical, emotional, chemical, or spiritual. If you don’t know what stress is, then you have no hope of rectifying it!

Everyone tells me they’re not stressed, but what we are usually saying is we are not overloaded with stress. The symptoms are still there.

For example, if you have a health condition, this is a stressor, if you have a high-stakes job, then this is a stressor. If you ruminate or experience a lot of negative emotion, then this too, is a stressor.

The first thing to do once you identify where your stress is coming from, is to assess whether these stressors are necessary in your life. Work out if they are coming from you, or if it is coming externally to you. Work out how to navigate it from there. Maybe you need to change your work conditions, set more boundaries, or change your lifestyle. It’s an exploration process that takes time but is 100% worthwhile.

The image below outlines what we call sympathetic dominance, which I posted on my Instagram. You can check that post out here.

Do any of those on the left-hand side resonate for you?

  1.     Intentionally teach the body how to switch back

We need to teach the body how to switch back to parasympathetic ‘mode’, meaning, we need to learn to activate the rest and digest system. Tools for this include eating healthier food, starting the day off with a wholesome breakfast, learning how to meditate, introducing breathing exercises, and finding activities that help you ‘switch off’.

  1.     Correct your circadian rhythm

This is your sleep-wake cycle. We all run on a 24-hour clock, with hormones dictating how we feel and what we do at certain times of day. In the evening, hormone fluctuations make us sleepy, in the morning these very same fluctuations wake us up.

The biggest thing that interferes with this rhythm is light – namely, blue light. Blue light blocking glasses are a great start, and if you wear them after dark, you essentially block the blue rays from signalling to your brain that it is daytime, when it is in fact, night time. Warm lighting for the home and blue-light screen protection or ‘night mode’ functions are helpful too.

  1.     Eat proper food and be intentional about it

Eating a high protein diet is highly protective as when under stress, the body requires more protein to sustain what you are doing. We also require more magnesium, salt, and zinc when we are pushing the limits, even under mild stress.

If your diet is heavily processed, then this is a stressor, both in the inflammatory nature of the food, as well as its lack of nutritional value. The body needs nutrition and if you’re chronically stressed, these nutritional stores will be drained and need to be replenished with a proper diet.

  1.     Take ownership

This one is a tricky one, as it involves you having to accept that it’s your fault you’re highly strung out, even if a lot of what has contributed to this situation was out of your control at the time. It is common to blame other people – husband, kids, job, friends, study, but at the end of the day it’s your life and you decide how that is going to look.

Oftentimes a lack of self-esteem, and lack of boundaries creates toxic relationships that are highly stressful. Learn to set boundaries. If you find yourself constantly ending up in stressful interpersonal situations, seek professional guidance – a councillor, psychologist – anyone who can point out your own behaviour and help you change it.

In conclusion

So those are my top tips, it’s obviously a super complicated subject and everyone has unique stressors and solutions that may work for them.

At this end of the day, you are the only person who can reduce stress in your life, and you need to want to do it. We are often so used to being stressed out that it is an addiction, and when it is low, we often seek it out so we can feel ‘high’ again.

Don’t get me wrong, stress is a great tool to have if you rely on it when it’s really needed, but then return to rest and digest mode after the stressful event – presentation, exam, wedding, awkward conversation with your child, etc – has passed.

If you want to learn more about stress, I’m running a mini course from Monday November 1st. Click here for more information!

Jen x

Jackie

Jackie

 

“I’ve had my ups and downs – I think I’ve learnt that you just have to keep trying, or keep going in order to achieve your goals.”

 

I joined a gym after having my second child. We were admitted to the QEII (Tresillian) for a little help with my Son’s reflux and sleeping and in the process the nurses made me realise I wasn’t doing enough for my ‘self-care’. I always loved being active, but I found many excuses not to exercise because of the time it takes, the weather, needing to shower after a long run or a swim, not having family to look after my kids, finding the time around work – one nurse suggested I join a gym as it was the most efficient way for me to exercise (and they have a crèche). The gym was the perfect solution.

In training with Jen, I felt confident in her knowledge and guidance that I had faith in the process despite not knowing what the destination would be. Consistency really proved to be key. I learnt a lot about nutrition. I found it amazing that I had spent over three and a half decades not knowing what I was eating, or how to eat for optimum performance. I learnt a range of new movements/exercises during the strength training and now I aim to keep lifting until I’m old and grey (or older and greyer).

I’m not where I’d like to be with food yet, but I do now know I have the commitment to follow a plan. I am guilty of letting bad habits sneak back in. I can see however that, this is a lifestyle choice and that once again consistency is key.

I’ve had my ups and downs – I think I’ve learnt that you just have to keep trying, or keep going in order to achieve your goal/s.

I did achieve my comp goal, but I do feel like I got a taste for it and I’d like to give it another go. COVID impacted my peak week (or lack of) and photoshoot, so when it’s time I’d like to try again. For my first comp, I was thrilled to see the results of the comp prep. This was a year and a bit post baby number two – so it was incredibly satisfying to feel so good in my own skin and to be proud of that achievement.

I do believe I benefited from seeing Jen early in my strength training journey. I don’t think I would have had the quality of training with the correct techniques if I had left it to the gym/‘franchise’ trainers. In this regard, I was invested in training effectively and efficiently and Jenifer provided the guidance and expertise to enable this.

I loved seeing myself lean and competition ready. I was amazed to see strength/definition in my shoulders I never thought I had. It was a wonderful feeling. I have always been a bit shy. I was incredibly nervous about competing, in a bikini on stage. Once I got there and I knew I had put in the work, it was an incredibly liberating experience. It’s a great way to showcase your hard work. It is a celebration of health and fitness. I also made new friends in the process which was an unexpected and valued bonus. I would like to compete again in order to have my family at the event to share the achievement with them.

I think Jenifer was most beneficial in helping me to see the importance of consistency. The consistency keeps it all on the rails. When things fall off the rails (as they do in life), Jen then taught me compassion. In my prep, if I over ate my internal monologue of the old/uneducated ways/habits would make me feel like reverting to some disordered eating habits of restricting – which would only make me hungry and lead to more binging. Jen taught me to see the bigger picture and that helped me to get back on track quickly, resulting in more consistency, less ups and downs and ultimately leading to results.

Ash

Ash

 

Training with Jen since: 2015

Goals: Strength, Strong Fit Bod, Gut Health, Stress Management

“I stopped making exercise a priority – as a result my mental health paid the price and I didn’t even realise!”

 

Jen helped to me gain a deeper understanding of myself and helped me rediscover my love of training, health and spiritual connection. Together we discovered that stress is a strong influence over my eating patterns and subsequent bloating. She has also encouraged me to meditate daily to reduce my stress and reengage with my sub conscious.

For the last 15 years, I’ve maintained a consistent gym/exercise routine During my time in the defence force.

After leaving the Army the purpose of my exercise regime was to maintain fitness levels, weight loss, health, and to a lesser extent mental health. I loved being healthy, fit, feeling lean and enjoyed a variety of fitness activities (which always included LOADS of cardio). I loved exercise, the feeling of utter exhaustion after a session was exhilarating and I loved being able to ‘eat more’ as a result. On reflection, I didn’t always have the best relationship with WHY I was exercising; sometimes I would use it as ‘punishment’ for not eating as well as I should have, or to ‘earn’ a big dinner with friends. 

After giving birth to my first child, I didn’t want to do as much cardio so I turned to weight training to achieve my fitness and weight loss goals. I joined a few gyms and worked with numerous trainers, each with their own ideas of how to get ‘comp ready’. These usually entailed an insanely restrictive diet. 

After what ended up being a gruelling experience of getting on stage, I was left feeling completely exhausted, starved and deflated. I devoured everything sugary/carb laden in my path with no ‘off switch’ in sight. I felt completely lost and sad, riding the sugar rollercoaster.

My mental health took a downward spiral and I am certain I developed some disordered eating patterns as a result of this. 

When I started training with Jen a year later, I loved that she knew exactly how I was feeling  and understood my desire to feel empowered and strong along with repairing my metabolism and mental health.

Initially, I wanted to train with Jen because I noticed her clients got amazing strength and weight loss results. I also admired how happy and healthy they all looked leading up to their comps.

I loved having the freedom to choose the foods I could consume and noticed results straight away. I felt leaner, stronger and healthier than I had ever felt before. 

Jen has helped me realise some fundamental truths about my life by, such as:

  • Connection: Everything in our bodies is interconnected.
  • Balance – between work, family, fitness and health takes time.
  • Be kind – Jen’s calm and caring demeanour is a constant reminder that it is ok to not get it right every single time. What is important is that you learn from your mistakes and try to be better/change tomorrow and to not be hard on yourself.
  • Find the love – reconnect with why you wanted to train, be healthy and nourish your body, mind and soul. I had to learn to balance my love of training, exercise and healthy eating with my new teaching career. 
  • Be Organised and Prepared – life throws so many challenges at you every single day. Planning when to train, preparing weekly meals and organising these things to suit your lifestyle will 100% help you to achieve your goals. Trying to short cut any of these only makes the process more difficult for yourself.
  • Reflect – regular meditation and written reflections/downloads will help to reduce stress, improve mental health and achieve my goals. 

Thanks forever Jen xxx

 

Suzie

Suzie

 

“Physically I weigh less, but I have so much more muscle and I LOVE the way my body looks and how it feels. I am definitely more in tune with my body’s needs…”

 

My love affair with health and fitness started at a pretty bad time in my life, as I was struggling with a recent break up and felt a little lost. Deep down I knew I needed to feel better, and BE better, so I started playing sport and joined a gym. The moment I walked in to the gym I fell in love with weights. I loved the way they made me feel and the strength I was developing. It was at that point I wanted more than the gym and sport could give me. I loved what was happening and the way my body was beginning to feel, but I felt like I could be better than I was. I got myself a personal trainer, who spoke to me about the importance of eating the right foods, especially for a women.

At this point, I was introduced to Jen. When I first met Jen, I sat roughly around 76kg and thought I had built some decent muscle. When I look back to who I was in the beginning, there have been drastic changes not only physically, but mentally as well. Physically I weigh less, but I have so much more muscle and I LOVE the way my body looks and how it feels. I am definitely more in tune with my body’s needs (and continue to understand this more and more every day).

Mentally I’m a completely different person. My priorities have flipped, I have a much higher standard across every aspect of my life, in the way I treat others, the way people treat me, and and with food. Since meeting Jen I set myself goals, and achieve them. And the standard at which my goals are set continues to increase with what I’m learning and the way my body continues to develop.

Jen has taught me too much for me to put down in to words. The main thing has been around nutrition and the importance of making sure that I’m fuelling my body right to get the absolute best outcome for me HOLISTICALLY. I understand how fuelling my body with nutrients can affect my entire body positively, not just for weight loss. Nutrients are energy and affect my moods, alertness and general wellbeing. The time she took to educate me is something I won’t be able to say thank you enough for. I understand the importance of focusing on long-term success and not letting anything get in my way.

My favourite part of the whole journey so far has been my success in my new and ever changing body. I have physical memento’s of my competition success, but the mental memento’s are what I’m most proud of. I went from being a footy playing, partying, unhealthy 20-somehting to a natural body builder who competes not only nationally (and places top3) but also competes internationally, within a few short years.

I am more driven and motivated to have a successful future than I have ever been before. I have loved seeing my body change and I’m so driven to continue to change it to be the best I possibly can be, and I know-without any doubt that I can and will achieve that with Jen.

 

 

 

 

 

Transformation is yours for the taking. 

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