Inspiration

The Secret Of Success (and why ‘to do’ lists DON’T work)

So, it’s getting to that time of year again. There’s magic in the air. Hope for the future. And a looming list of New Year’s resolutions which will no doubt be adhered to for a few days before being disregarded completely. If you’re anything like me your list probably goes something like this. Lose weight. Pay off debt. Save. Stop drinking/smoking/insert your devil here. All of which should be done in conjunction with winning the Nobel Peace Prize whilst writing a best selling novel when singing an aria in Italian with the aroma of homemade cuisine wafting gently through your D.I.Y jobs completed home (learn a new skill.) Sound familiar?
I personally gave up making New Year’s resolutions a few years ago when I realised that I am more of a ‘no time like the present’ kinda gal, and also that I’d had more or less the same list for the whole of my life. I am a lover of organisation though and didn’t leave myself cold turkey – no pun intended and also I’m a vegetarian.
I became a fan of ‘to do’ lists instead. I loved the feeling of satisfaction gained from working through my list and ticking off tasks with a confident sweep of my pen. I soon realised that as a result of this I was either consciously or subconsciously adding minor jobs that would result in more ticks but was actually doing little to get me closer to my life goals. I doubt that Shakespeare did his greatest work nestled between the Sainsburys shop and clearing out the cupboard under the sink.
The sense of achievement from seeing progress was a great motivator however and so I simply reversed the formula. So now, at the END of every day I write down 3 things that I did or which happened during the day which made me HAPPY. Like goes to like and when you finish the day on a positive note you are more likely to start a new day singing from the same sheet. Try it, it really works. Success breeds success and although I originally said when I started the exercise that I would write down 3 things, I often end up exceeding this. Law of Attraction states that the more you give thanks, the more you will have to give thanks for. What we focus on we attract. What we think, we become.
So back to those New Year’s resolutions. After the somewhat hedonistic attitude we all adopt to greater or lesser degrees during the festive season, to take away all of your vices in one go is a recipe for disaster. When you forbid yourself from anything you inevitably succumb at some point and ‘relapse’ and binge. January can be a tough enough month with the Christmas comedown, debt, cold etc. You really don’t need to add to the misery by not sticking to your resolutions. Focusing on your shortcomings will attract more of the same! Ditto your achievements.
Why not try a different approach?Make a list of all of the WONDERFUL things that happened in 2014. Put it somewhere safe. I bet your list has doubled by this time next year…now that’s what I call a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Some Like It Hot! Bikram Yoga 🔥✌️❤️

So what is hot yoga? More traditionally referred to as Bikram yoga (a type of hatha yoga) which is a series of 26 poses or postures (asana) and 2 breathing exercises (Pranayama) performed in a studio heated typically to 40 C (105 F) or over. There are different types of hot yoga classes to choose from. Power yoga is either in a Vinyasa or Ashtanga style and synchronises movement with breath and is more dynamic.
Vin Yin is power yoga followed by Yin yoga postures which are usually performed seated to engage the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system aids digestion allowing the body to replenish and recover and slows the heart rate which reduces stress levels. This is also where a chemical called acetylcholine is produced which is the key to relaxation.
Flow styles demand more stamina and participants learn and use a breathing technique called ‘ujjayi’ breath.
With the ever increasing demands placed upon us by everyday life, never before has it been more important for us to learn how to de stress and relax. The simple art of breathing slowly, deeply and evenly has an instant calming effect on the body and the mind and is a form of meditation in itself.
There is no ego in yoga so you work at your own pace and take rest in ‘child’s pose’ should you need to. Some of the many benefits of hot yoga versus normal yoga are increased deep stretches (though some argue that muscles are artificially and therefore overstretched due to the increased heat, I would say as in all fitness classes, observe your body and don’t overdo it) detoxification through heightened perspiration, increased oxygenated blood to every part of your body and an increased production of white blood cells making the body efficient in fighting infections. Yoga fuses the body and mind and raises awareness on the emotional, physical and psychological levels. It enables a deeper understanding of self. You learn the art of ‘surrender’ and how to be connected in the present moment without the mind racing to the future or the past. We are , after all human ‘beings,’ not human ‘should be doings!’ By giving yourself kindness and permission to relax and just be it becomes easier to extend this quality to others. At least, that’s been one of my many benefits.
Be sure to hydrate yourself before, during and after a class. Electrolytes (vital salts) are lost during hot yoga classes due to excessive sweating so be sure to have a potassium rich post workout meal or snack and include banana, green leafy vegetables, avocados or coconut water.
And breathe…

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Vegetarian

Go Vege ✌️❤️

One of the things clients often say to me is, ‘I’d love to be a vegetarian but I can’t live without meat.’
More and more people are turning their backs on the meat and dairy industries, be it for health or ethical reasons or to make a stand against animal cruelty.
The meat industry is a large contributor to global warming and deforestation which is required to breed the copious amounts of cattle required for their meat and milk. The toxins from gas emissions in excessive animal waste are one of the biggest contributors to diminishing the ozone layer.
Take away the ethical fact for a moment that all living things deserve a life and not a hellish existence, animal meat and produce is often pumped full of steroids and antibiotics. It’s long been known that cutting meat from your diet reduces the risk of cancers, heart problems, diabetes and high cholesterol to name just a few illnesses.
Vegan bodybuilders prove time and time again with their amazing physiques that protein can be readily obtained from fruit, vegetables, legumes and grains, completely dispelling the myth that meat equals muscle.
It’s also cheaper to fill your weekly shopping basket with ‘blood free’ produce where the only thing slashed is your bill!
I appreciate that the thought of jumping from fully fledged carnivore to vegan can be a little daunting at first. Many people transition by first going ‘pescatarian’ (diet excludes meat and poultry but includes fish and dairy) ‘vegetarian’ (no meat or fish, sometimes dairy) and work up to ‘vegan’ (no meat, fish or dairy.) There are many delicious alternatives. Try swapping milk with almond, rice, coconut or soya milk. All of your favourite meat dishes can be made using Quorn (contains egg white and milk protein) which is a good starting point. I have often cooked chilli, ‘sausage’ dishes, ‘chicken’ curries and spaghetti bolognese for my carnivore friends who didn’t even realise that they weren’t eating meat!
As an animal activist I love the fact that being vege saves approximately 95 animals a year. As a wise man once said, ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.’
Here is a chilli with quinoa (high protein grain which is an excellent alternative to rice) ‘chicken’ honey mustard pitta, ‘chicken’ curry with quinoa, and ‘sausage’ sweet potato hotpot.

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Exercise – my drug of choice. Let’s get high!

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The Weight Is Over…

Ok, so your hips don’t lie but the scales do! Check out approximately 5 lbs of fat on the left versus 5 lbs of muscle on the right.
Scales also don’t show you what percentage of the overall weight is fat, muscle, water or skeletal.
Use a tape measure or do a weekly trouser test instead for a more motivating way to track your progress!
For more fitness tips, recipes and workouts get your copy of my fitness book ‘Can’t Fry Me Love’ now at Amazon or Smashwords on the following links:

http://amzn.to/VKcTQj

http://bit.ly/1rwXI9u

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Real Talk

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