How to Leverage a Weight Loss Program, 5 Ways to Turn Yourself Into a Ferocious Health Monster

“Give me a lever long enough and I could move the world.”from Archimedes.

Me: “I would like to do that at some point”.

Response: “When?”

Me: “Ummm… soon?”.

The conversation at hand was of the topic ‘vipasinna’. Where one basically sits in silence for 10 days to quieten the mind. Clearly the words came easily, giving myself the comfort of the idea that I would do it ‘one day’. And for that moment, the idea of ‘one day’ sat well with me. It gave me the sense of gratification that I was going to take action on something at some stage. I felt committed without the commitment. I had happily tricked myself and it was like buying organic chocolate instead of a Mars Bar.

This conversation started to magnify what I was hearing in the gym too.

If only I could find the right weight loss program. I want to lose weight. I want to eat healthier. I want to stop drinking for a month. I want to exercise more. I should do this or I should do that. It’s seems as human beings we easily should all over ourselves. A common theme I was beginning to hear more and more (including my own head).

With many great intentions for a healthier existence or improvement, it is certainly a human trait for a constant tug of war. But as long as we point ourselves in the right direction, even it’s 3 steps forward and two back, we are still moving forward right? Which is better than standing on the spot.

SO ASK YOURSELF HONESTLY

Do you really want to lose weight? Those few extra kilos. Run a charity race? Improve your diet? Get lean this summer? Have that beach look? Run faster? Lift more? Live a healthier lifestyle? Create new habits? A life with more purpose? Be more grateful?

If you had the ultimate weight loss program, would you implement it correctly and follow it through? From my experience, it’s not the weight loss program that’s the problem, it is the person applying it.

All these wants can lead you to a healthier more vibrant self. If you answered yes to all of the above but are struggling to get there, then maybe it’s time for a different approach and get some leverage – emotional leverage, which is working for me every time.

Be careful though, as I have seen this happen quite often – A person stops questioning things too much, they stop thinking, quieten the brain and just start doing the five things I have listed in this post, and before they know it, they’ve turned themselves into a ferocious health monster!

1. CREATE PAIN

Think about this for a moment. As human beings, we tend to move away from pain with more intention, than we do moving towards a more pleasurable experience that we want. We tend to tread water and stay in our comfort zone no mater how murky the water is, as apposed to swimming towards new waters that bring change, but along with change comes a sense of uncertainty. Usually we only start swimming when the pain becomes unbearable, or we do things without real purpose and intention behind it.

i.e. If I asked you to run 100m as fast as you can, the chances are you would do it, but not to your greatest ability. But if I pinned two dozen prime rare steak pieces all over you and let loose a ravenous pit-bull terrier that hadn’t eaten for a week, do you think you would run faster? Of course!

But the pain we have is never short and sharp like the dog chasing, it’s usually slow and gradual. A far off distant drum beat that’s so faint you can hardly hear it. But the pain slowly builds like a pressure cooker and finally one day it explodes. That distant drum beat becomes so loud it feels like someone is beating it on your head and this jolts you into action!

I believe in each and every one of us, there is a tipping point that moves us to greater health (or anything for that matter). That tipping point usually comes from a painful experience. A ‘that would be nice to have’ turns into a ‘must have’ from one decision. The decision only takes a moment to make, but for some, a life time to get there.

Here is the most important point I am going to make – Why wait for the pain to arrive? Create the pain now.

Time and time again I see people who leave their health until it’s a major threshold and that drum is beating so loud they finally want to create change. But by hitting the fast forward button and bringing the circumstances to the forefront, it’s usually just a slap across the face as a posed to a sledge hammer.

So how do we create the pain?

First thing you must do is be brutally honest with yourself and not camouflage the truth. This is probably one of the toughest things you will have to do, but worth it. As humans we have a tendency to justify our actions daily. But ask yourself this: Would you rather be right or happy?

When I was sitting on the fence regarding the detox I underwent, I finally had some tests done to see where I was at. I knew they wouldn’t be great, but as usual, the longer we leave it, the worse it gets. I also knew if I didn’t like the results, it would be the kick-start I needed to get the detox under way, as it was quite a commitment.

So let’s say it is weight loss you want to achieve and you know deep down there is a fair bit to shift. We all know the complications and connotations that being overweight can have on the body over time, and when that time comes how painful could that be?

So time for honesty. Take a full length photograph of yourself in your swimmers or underwear (only has to be for your eyes only), front, side and back. Remember, brutally honest right?

By doing this, it will give you a different perspective of yourself. There’s no hiding now. I know by this point you may rather stick needles in your eyes, but what are the true consequences if you don’t? Smaller pain now or bigger pain later? Which one do you want. The ostrich head burying approach will only work for so long before someone comes along and kicks you up the ass!

Parting with hard earned money is another great motivator. Not a member of a gym? You could pay for a membership for 3 months. If you are a member but you are not utilising the facilities well or just stuck in a rut, hire a personal trainer for 3 months. This money well spent will magnify the pain if you don’t begin to follow through to an outcome deep down you truly want.

2. SET GOALS AND VISUALISE

Goal setting sounds as exciting as reading the NY Times financial review, but when implemented correctly, it has a very powerful effect on one’s self. There are dozen of books written on this topic, so one I’m not going to go into to much detail with.

In the meantime, is there something you can commit to? A weight loss challenge? A fun run? Something with a timeframe. When I did my detox my Naturopath told me I needed to commit for 6 weeks. This instantly gave me a timeframe.

If you need to lose 10kg, how about 1kg a week for 10 weeks? That’s realistic and achievable if you are committed.

Still not convinced? If you want to know what commitment is, you should know the story of my friend Kelli who was diagnosed with a brain tumour and not given much hope. So the next time you catch yourself complaining about it all being to hard, you should put yourself in her shoes. You will soon find that your goal will probably feel very achievable and the excuses you make are futile.

So once you have made pain your friend, you must set an achievable goal with a timeframe.

But not only do you have to set a goal, you have to visualise yourself already achieving it. As you can imagine, there are going to be many hurdles and you will be tested every step of the way to achieving what you want. So when faced with these hurdles we can either look for obstacles or opportunities.

By continually visualising yourself already achieving what you want, you will be training the most powerful resource you have – your subconsciousness. This will then enable you to see opportunities arise when previously all you could see were obstacles.

To help this process, place your goals or images/pics somewhere you will see them constantly. Bedroom mirror, fridge, toilet door. I have even known someone to laminate their goals and hang it up in the shower! Just do whatever works for you, as long it keeps you on track and moving forward. But make sure you follow this process through!

Just remember, if you are sailing to Tasmania in a head on wind, you don’t turn around and go back, you adjust your sails accordingly.

3. REFERENCE POINT

Once you know what you want to achieve, you have to create reference points along the way of your committed timeframe and record as much information as possible. If you don’t do this, how do you know if you are making progress?

By now you should know what you want, but you also have to know where you have come from and also be able to track your progress along the way.

You could have a diary dedicated to your weight loss plan. You have probably jumped on the scales to see what your weight is. But this only tells a small part of the story. Break that weight down. Measure your body fat %. Calculate your muscle mass kg. Measure body girth circumferences. (If you not sure how to do all this, pop into your local gym for them to do it).

See how many push ups or sit ups you can do in a minute. Test yourself once a month.

You have taken a picture of yourself, why not take one once a month to compare any body changes. Nothing will give you more motivation than seeing your body shape changing in front of your very own eyes.

Keep a food diary. Write everything down that goes into your mouth. You could even keep a photo diary. Take pictures of the foods and drinks you have for a couple of weeks and track your progress. If you are not hitting your targets, you can look back at what you have been eating to see if you are sticking to the plan.

You have to make your goals measurable. The more data you collect the better and the more it will help you along the way.

4. PROXIMITY

By this point, if you have followed through with the first three principles wholeheartedly, right now you should be chomping at the bit with all the momentum you are gathering. But for this momentum to last and if you are to go the distance with any weight loss program, ignore this word at your peril: Proximity.

This one can be a slightly delicate topic, and for me, one that took a while in life before the penny really dropped. But once it did, it had a MASSIVE implication on my direction in certain aspects of my life and the environment I put myself in on a daily basis.

Simply put, the people and the environment you surround yourself with will have a major impact on whether you follow through until the end or not.

A fantastic form of leverage is to spend time with someone who has achieved what you want. Someone who will make you raise your standards. We generally shy away from people like this, but it’s a must if you want to achieve a different result.

When I migrated to Australia five years ago, I was fearful of the ocean. Here I was living 500 meters from the beach and not even able to swim a lap of a pool, let alone get amongst the waves! But this was something I wanted to overcome.

I started meeting a mate of mine for swimming, but he was not a very strong swimmer either. Before we knew it, we were talking each other out of it and coming up with great excuses. It all came down to FEAR.

As great as my mate is, he was unable to push me because he was suffering the same problem. Eventually I got so desperate and determined, I walked into the local surf lifesaving club and asked what it took to be one, at this point, this was WAY beyond my wildest thoughts, and the bottom line was, if I was willing to commit, they were willing to commit too. So I went for it.

The next thing I knew, I was surrounded by people who had been involved with beaches and surf rescue for most of their lives. Every time I wanted to back off or didn’t have the belief I could get through my bronze medallion, there was someone there to tell me otherwise. Because of this I passed and it challenged me every step of the way, but it is still one of my greatest personal achievements to this day.

There’s a saying in South America: “burn the ships”, because that’s what the settlers did when they arrived and there was no turning back. And to get what we want, I feel sometimes that’s what we have to do in life to get there. So ask yourself… have you burnt the ships?

Be careful of who you surround yourself with and make no doubt about it.. Proximity is power.

5. THE FINAL PIECE OF THE PUZZLE

The final piece of the puzzle is to go public. By this I don’t mean walking down the high-street with a megaphone or telling your mates how you are to undergo a healthy lifestyle change at a party over some extravagant dessert your eating, but actually putting it out there to the world by any means possible that connects us in today’s society.

Do you have a Facebook profile? You could tell your friends and family what your about to do and then update it every day. If you are shy, not to worry as most people won’t actually give a shit, and the ones who do will support you and give encouragement. I think we can spend so much time thinking what others think, it holds us back. But if everyone is thinking what others think of them, then nobody is really thinking about you are they? Are we really that important to be consumed by other peoples thoughts?? Probably not. If they do judge you, it’s only fleeting at best. So don’t sweat it and just put it out there, because the world will keep turning whether you do or don’t.

You could blog your progress. You can set up a simple blog within 15 minutes these days. When I was about to do my detox, I decided to blog it. This made it VERY REAL. It was the final tipping point and it helped get me through. Not only did it get me through, I had a lot of fun doing it! People got very curious and what surprised me most, there was a lot of support and talk around the topic as others began to look at what they were doing daily too.

The bottom line is, if you are going to do something about it. TELL EVERYONE!

Final Thoughts

If you read this post to the end:

a. You’ve got to much time on your hands

or

b. You actually can relate to the points I have made and know that not only can they be applied to a weight loss program, but any parts of your life for that matter.

If you are struggling with your weight or health. My view is that it’s 80% attitude and 20% applied knowledge. If you find yourself saying mmmmm that’s an interesting post, but do nothing, you have simply learned and not applied that knowledge.

So when in doubt, just do SOMETHING. If you do this, the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place in ways you could have never imagined, and before you know it. You’ve turned yourself into ferocious health monster.

What Are YOU Working on Related to YOUR HEALTH? – Part 1

The other day I was asked by one of my clients, “So, what are you working on?” I took in a deep breath and replied to her, “Me.”

She nodded, then smiled and said knowing who I am, “Of course you are doing that, but what else are you working on?” She wanted to know what sort of project I was working on in my business and then asked again, wanting more information, “Really, now tell me what are you working on!”

And I said again with a broad smile, “Myself, my work is always on myself no matter what project I am involved in.”

I noticed she wanted more but there really wasn’t more to it. Why is it when we are honest with people they seem to be dissatisfied? I think this is why people make things up as the truth sometimes can be bit bland.

As my day progressed I thought more about her question and my answer. Then what came up for me was that most of us are totally ignorant of the opportunities for self-growth that we encounter at work, in our marriages, relationships and most importantly with our health issues. At this point in my life I am creating a business and every day have to make tough decisions and work with people that at times can be challenging and in turn I tend to be the most challenging of them all. This is where I know that every moment is a moment we can be working on our growth and development. With every phone call, meeting, decision and even signing contracts there is a wonderful opportunity being offered to soften the jagged edges that seem to come up all the time in order to show us where the work is needed to be done.

I kept diving deeper into this question “What are you working on” and it brought me back to the doctors office where I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. However they were only 99% sure that is was MS but with a spinal tap they could be 100% sure. Immediately without hesitation, I roared NO to the doctor as if 1% would really make a difference. Just the thought of the needle jammed into my spine and the pain I would experience was not worth 1% of anything. What was I going to gain other then to add to my life another tragic experience which I already had plenty. For me on this day, I was working on finding my power but unaware of it. This was one of my first paradigm shifts as my life was never the same from that day on. Today, I am able to clearly see that by my standing up for myself by saying NO to the spinal tap made more of an impact than the diagnosis by itself.

I will admit that there was some relief in my being diagnosed after months of “symptoms” that soon were going to open the door to my personal growth. Slowly this moment of power slipped to the side and I began to seek out who I could blame outside of myself. I began to point a finger to this or that and then saw that there were three fingers pointing back at me – Ouch! The work had begun and many lessons were about to emerge. The diagnosis of MS was my “wake up call” to see what really had to be worked on – Me!

Action steps:
1. List an area of your life you are having a challenge with. This could be at work, in your marriage, your health, or a relationship.

Are you pointing your fingers outside to blame for this situation wanting to blame someone or something?

2. Now, take a moment to sit quietly with your eyes closed and ask aloud what can I learn from this specific challenge. Say aloud what you answered in the first question.

3. What ever comes up from the second action step write it down and see how you can begin to work on this part of yourself.

Perhaps its patience, self love or forgiveness within this there is a paradigm shift waiting to happen. Trust it!

The 7 Secrets of Health

Great sages, physicians, and masters of all cultures and all times have identified a few simple keys to health: proper breath; nutrition; inner cleansing; moderate exercise; enough rest; a positive, now-focused outlook, and living in harmony with nature. In my practice as a naturopath and energy healer, I am continually drawn back to these basic elements of health, yet I still find that very few people truly understand how vital they are.

As we achieve wellness and balance in any of the seven key areas, the benefits also spread into the other areas, making our task of achieving total wellness that much easier. When each area of our life and health is brought into wellness, we are raised from just feeling ‘well enough’ to a level of unprecedented health and wellbeing. But even making small improvements in these seven are as of health will deliver benefits, helping us feel stronger and healthier in body, mind and spirit.

Correct Breath

When we do not breathe correctly, we seriously affect our physiological and mental health. We deprive our cells of necessary oxygen, and of the life-force (or prana) that is carried within it. Shallow breathing contributes to the release of histamine, a chemical that causes allergic reactions, promotes inflammation, and contributes to asthma. Lactic acid builds up in the brain, affecting our moods and mental acuity; lymphatic fluids are not pumped through the body, which means that cellular waste cannot be properly eliminated.

All this means that poor breathing leads to a build up of toxins and wastes in the body while restricting the body’s supply of healing, balancing, energizing life force or prana. This creates a vicious circle of escalating illness, and affects our psychological wellbeing. Correct breathing and regular deep breathing clears the body of pollutants, and also clears and calms the mind.

Inner cleansing

I consider the major cause of disease in our times to be toxic overload, where the body is struggling under a burden of accumulated toxins, and can no longer safely get rid of them with normal detoxification processes.

We are continually bombarded with toxins in our air, water and soil, our food, and even our homes. When we are healthy, not overly stressed, eat wholesome, fresh foods, and limit our exposure to environmental toxins, our bodies can probably detoxify themselves naturally. Inner cleansing and elimination processes are continuously at work, clearing our bodies of waste and harmful substances that we have eaten, breathed in, or absorbed through our skin.

On the other hand, a body that can no longer effectively clear toxins due to illness, poor immunity, or toxic overload is being slowly poisoned. That body is like a city under siege! It switches from the normal healing mode to a state of emergency. Normal healing and repair processes are brought to a stop, and everyone (all your cells and organs) is preoccupied with defense. Over time, if your body is not cleared of toxins and allowed to recover, your immune system becomes exhausted, and you are prey to a host of health problems. Now, your body needs your help to detoxify.

So what is the solution? Just by choosing natural products and eating more unprocessed foods, we reduce our toxic load. Aim for balance: more clean whole foods; pure water; enough exercise; deep breathing; and less exposure to harmful substances or chemicals. Remember that otherwise healthy athletes who swim in chlorinated pools often develop an allergy to chlorine, and many bakers develop allergies to chemicals in flour, or to wheat, due to constant exposure.

Good Nutrition

We are always being told to eat healthier foods, but not many of us appreciate the enormous role of food in building and growing health of body and mind. Food is your body’s fuel. If the quality or quantity of your food is poor, your body will simply cannot have enough fuel to provide the energy you need, or the fuel will be of poor quality.

Nor will your immune system work properly if your foods lack the fiber, nutrients and enzymes needed to support and build health. A strong immune system is your best ally in the quest for lifelong health and resistance to disease. To build and maintain good immunity, you must take in all the nutrients your body needs to fuels its many metabolic activities, to help detoxify and to heal your body, to draw on when under additional stress, to nourish your nervous system and brain, and to maintain a healthy biochemistry.

Good nutrition also helps maintain the right pH needed for metabolic processes such as digestion, circulation of blood, and release of body chemicals. To maintain the correct balance of biochemicals – enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters etc. – your body requires a more alkaline internal environment. Too much acidity weakens the immune system, promoting infection and inflammation, and upsetting many metabolic processes that are essential to good health.

Fortunately, what you eat has an enormous effect on your body’s acid balance. A diet rich in raw or lightly cooked vegetables and fruit is the best way to alkalinise your body. This in turn supports the body’s natural detoxification processes, and strengthens your immune system.

Moderate exercise

Aerobic exercise (the kind that active kids and adults get when they play) gets the heart pumping blood into the muscles, tissues and organs, and the toxins flushed out. Stretching helps release accumulated tension and free toxins from the joints. Strength building creates stronger muscles and organs.

Exercise not only strengthens our muscles, heart and lungs; it also ensures that more oxygen-rich blood is pumped to all parts of the body so that every cell is bathed in vital nutrients, and stimulates the release of healing, ‘happy’ hormones. Our plump cells are rejuvenated, undoing the effects of aging so that we look and feel younger.

Moreover, wastes and toxins are quickly flushed through the body’s elimination channels, preventing the harmful buildup of sludge and toxins around our cells and in our tissues. Your lymphatic system, which carries cellular waste and toxins away from our cells, cannot push the toxins out unless the body is active. This can cause your body to store weight, since fat is an ideal storage place for toxins. Only one hour of moderate exercise a day can keep your body’s energy, nutrients, and cleansing processes flowing: that can be as little as a brisk daily walk in the fresh air.

Enough rest

When it is at rest, your body repairs and counteracts the normal damage and stress caused by everyday living. Without frequent rest, your body can be quickly pushed too far, stressing the immune system, and making you more susceptible to infection, illness and disease.

Sleep is therefore enormously important to your health, both physiological and psychological. Even 30 minutes of additional sleep at night can make a huge difference to your mood, your ability to think clearly and to learn, and your body’s ability to recover from daily stresses. Recent research showed that starting school even 1 hour later can give school children the sleep they need to significantly improve their school performance.

The amount of sleep needed by any individual can vary, though around 8 hours is usually considered a good average. You can gauge what you need by how you feel. If you are continually feeling stressed, tired, or irritable, or are forgetful and overly anxious, you may not be getting enough sleep. Add another 30 minutes to your sleep time and note the difference.

You also need enough rest in addition to good sleep. How you rest is up to you. Many find deep relaxation exercises very restful and refreshing. A calm stroll along the beach can be restful, as can stopping now and then in a busy day to stretch, or just sitting and breathing in the clean air as you watch the clouds. Qi Gong, Tai Chi and Yoga can be restful as they relax and calm both body and mind, and the smooth motions wash the tired body with fresh energy, oxygen and blood.

Most important is the quality of your rest…and also of your sleep. Built up stress or over-tiredness can cause disturbed, shallow sleep, as can allergies and other health problems. Worrying, negative emotions, feeling overwhelmed, helpless or angry can make it difficult to really rest. You might sit down with a cup of tea, but your distressed mind is not resting, which means that your body is not fully relaxed.

The point is that both your body and mind need breaks through the day, time to let go and relax. If you find this difficult, you may find the sixth health secret especially helpful.

Living in the moment

What do I mean by this? A combination of things that together move us from negativity to a positive attitude and what is often called greater personal effectiveness. When we are present in the moment, we are not tied to the past with its regrets, guilt, and other negative baggage, nor are we distracted by wishful thinking or dreaming about the future. Instead, we are centered in this moment, which enables us to live consciously.

Living in the moment reduces the major causes of stress: worry or fear about the future, or dwelling on past hurts or errors. It frees us to focus more productively on doing what must be done now to get the results we want. It also frees us to appreciate what is already around us, and to give to those around us with a lighter more joyful heart. Our life force flows more freely; our health flourishes; it is easier to balance the different parts of our lives and our emotions and to find calm.

A calm person is at peace with himself and the world. A calm mind is able to be fully in the moment. It is the secret of emotional resilience and a keen intellect. When we are able to maintain calm and to return to calm in times of stress, we become more reflective. We are more able to stop before reacting, and to choose our responses based on our own values and ideals instead of feeling pushed to act in this or that way. A calm mind is an enormous source of inner strength and resilience.

Living in harmony with nature

Really, everything you have just read is part of living in harmony with nature. That’s because what is good for nature is also good for us. We are, like it or not, a part of nature, and our bodies are designed to live and maintain health through continuous beneficial interaction with our environment. If our environment is not conducive to health and wellbeing, we are fighting a constant uphill battle to maintain health and recover from everyday stresses and wear on the body.

Keep in mind that illnesses and allergies are often a product of the interaction between your body-mind and your environment. Your health will depend to a great extent on whether you create and maintain a health-supporting environment.

It can help to see yourself as the energy body that you are, living in a world of energy. In some areas, you are the positive pole, in others, the negative. If you try to be all of one or the other – all giving or all taking – you throw the relationship between you and nature (including those around you) completely out of balance. The result? Blocked or corrupted energy, distress, and poor health.

There is a huge amount of information out there on living a more natural life. Some of it is a bit extreme, but lots of it can be easily applied and adapted to your life.

In the long run, the secret of living in harmony with nature is balance between what you give to the world and what you take from it, between what you take into your body and what you take out of it, and moderation in all things. Balance is the key.