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What Are You Really Craving?

This post was originally published by me a year ago on Facebook, on 12 April 2017. Since it resonated with people so deeply, I’m reposting it here on my blog.

One of the markers you’re truly happy: you’re pulled only to food that’s great for you.

I’ve struggled with eating disorders since the age of 9. For much of that time I’d have irresistible food cravings, and I’d binge on sugar and dairy. For some of that time it was visible externally, but for much it wasn’t, because I’d cover it up with ridiculous amounts of exercise and fat burning supplements.

Now I’m a certified health coach, and for the last year (and for much of the last 4 years), I’ve eaten clean, fresh and often organic food most of the time. But for my first 3 months after returning to London from New York, I was struggling in silence with reverse culture shock, feeling isolated amidst the pressures of entrepreneurship and finding my feet again, and it happened again. Those insatiable urges. You’d think I’d never eaten before. And it finally really hit me.

Not just that positive emotions, relationships, purpose, balance, and time in nature are as much food as real food, but that very specifically, we’re pulled to sugar when we’re searching for emotional sweetness, and dairy for serenity – which is incredibly effective at alleviating anxiety.

Each time I’ve committed to finding ways to get more sweetness, more emotional connection and serenity in my life that don’t involve food, those food cravings have stopped. And as soon as I stop making my emotional needs a priority, they return.

If you’re craving bad food or even giving into it, whether for the first time or whether it’s so normal you barely even question it anymore, whatever you do don’t judge yourself. Look at yourself with the compassion you would show a friend and ask yourself what’s really going on. Go on an emotional treasure hunt. Ask yourself what’s really missing. Because it’s almost certainly not food.

And if it’s sugar, ask yourself how you can experience more sweetness. Ask yourself what you need to do to experience more connection, more love, more intimacy, and quality time with people who make you feel good. If it’s dairy, ask yourself how you can experience more serenity, more self care, bubble baths, candles, meditation, vacation/holiday time, whatever healthy forms of decompression make you feel most contented.

Are You Giving To Your Body, Or Simply Testing It?

“Yoga is something you give your body, not a test you give it or a hoop to make it jump through.”

On hearing these words from my yoga teacher yesterday at The Life Centre, I was reminded how much of the exercise I’ve done in my life has been to punish or to test my body.

To make it jump through hoops to prove itself.

What a way to relate to your forever home.

But for the last three years, it’s been different.

I’ve worked out because it feels good to.

Both mentally and physically.

I move because my body likes to move, to stretch, to feel unleashed and free.

I have come to genuinely love and adore my body.

It’s a continual commitment though, as opposed to a challenge surmounted once and never again.

Sometimes I notice myself talking sh*t to my body, or trying to make her do something she REALLY doesn’t want to do, and I have to catch myself and re-direct my intentions and actions.

Recently my body’s been saying no to a bunch of things, and I noticed myself getting frustrated.

Then I realised, is this helpful?

Is this honouring my body or encouraging her to play ball?

Is this inspiring a kind and mutually beneficial relationship?

If I spoke to a friend this way, would they feel loved and appreciated?

Turns out not. Definitely not to the degree that is in full alignment with the love and appreciation I truly have for my amazing body, my forever home.

So I choose love all over again.

I can’t promise I won’t slip up again, but I promise to notice and correct course quickly.

Not just for me, but for every body, because how we treat ourselves creates an energetic ripple effect in the world and sets the tone for everything else we do too.

So if you catch me saying anything impatient or unloving to my body, please throw tomatoes at me. You have my full permission.

What intention do you choose to set with your body?

Where Are You Putting Yourself In A Box?

One of the most important parts of my work is to constantly notice where my clients are putting themselves in boxes – and then to duly help them crack open those boxes, jump onto of those boxes, collapse those boxes, and then to pop them in the recycling, do a happy dance together and plan for even bigger goals.

So too, to continually notice where *I* am putting myself in any boxes, and to extract myself promptly.

Here are a few of the boxes I’ve put myself in over the years:

*The “employee” box. i.e. I can only be an employee.

* The “single” box. i.e. I can only be single during this time.

* The “unlovable” box i.e. I am only worthy of relationships where people like me, but don’t deeply adore me.

* The “marketing” box. i.e. I can only work in marketing.

* The “I can only work from X” box. i.e. I can only work/be productive from my desk.

* The “I can only eat paleo” box.

* The “I can only be happy in Manhattan” box.

* and so many more

Of course I’ve broken free of each of these self-imposed boxes now, but for the longest time I didn’t even realise they were self-imposed. Their restrictiveness felt so real, so inevitable. So unshake-off-able.

So just a reminder, you are NOT box shaped. You are an infinite human being with your own unique shape and capacity to create an imprint in the world totally individual to you.

Where have you been putting yourself in a box? Be kind to yourself when reflecting on this, we all do it, the key isn’t to never do it, it’s to notice and break free ASAP.

#downwithboxes

Embrace The Onion

There have been many moments in my life where I have had an experience or insight that has lead me to feeling jolted awake, as though awakening for the very first time, and wondering how I ever thought I was anything other than asleep prior.

Each time, I smile to myself wryly and laugh at the infinite layers available in the onion of life. The more we grow, the more we realise just how much more room is still left to grow; infinite space in fact.

I’ve been experiencing these moments in particularly high concentration over the last eight weeks while embarking on a new program with Landmark Education, alongside various other experiences. Each more elucidating than the last, yet in such fast succession that I have wondered at times if I am dreaming.

In pursuit of accelerated impact, I have been seeking out uncomfortable situations and conversations. I have become aware of all the times and places my unspoken goal was the polar opposite; to remain comfortable and safe. And with practice, my habitual resistance to anything else is becoming less and less, and stark realisations keep appearing.

Realisations of all of the stories I’ve ever told myself about why I couldn’t do or say something, why I didn’t want to, why it wasn’t safe or ideal to, or what was going on with someone else. All the times I’ve played small, even the ones I’d pushed deep into my subconscious, right from my early years to the present.

Letting go of remaining concerns about being perfect or imperfect, and instead choosing love, compassion and contribution. Making decisions from there, and becoming more and more open to operating way beyond my comfort zone. Knowing comfort is not the goal, and my passion for mass contribution is far more significant than any residual fear. That the path I’ve chosen is not supposed to be one of comfort.

I feel my world expanding with each choice I make to acknowledge and address each and every remaining cobweb in the realm of my consciousness and existence, and that of humanity, rather than speeding past in ignorance. Each choice to consciously and powerfully forge ahead, rather than being at the effect of any inner voice doubting my readiness.

My message is this. The value in acknowledging these subtleties in consciousness and any and all things that haven’t worked in our past or are blocking our future is not to be underestimated. It’s not just ok to do so, I’ve come to realise it’s absolutely essential if you’re to shed everything you’re not and become an unleashed version of who you truly are.

We all have these things: niggly beliefs that were formed long ago, hidden under the surface and not yet corrected; actions we’ve taken in the past that haven’t aligned with our intentions; areas of life or people we’ve neglected without intending to nor realising.

Former blind spots that from a new vantage point we come to see so clearly and wish to and can make good on. The pursuit of expansion isn’t as simple as improving once and BOOM, never having to do any work on ourselves again. It’s a continuum. One of ever increasing awareness.

The goal isn’t never again having misalignments, not noticing them, or pretending they don’t exist. The goal is simply to *not* leave them untouched, gathering dust or snowballing, but instead to bring them into the light. To welcome them and to work with them. To transform them.

These moments of illumination and clarity are rarely comfortable, but they are truly extraordinary. Both inherently and in what they make available to us both as individuals and communities.

Here’s to choosing to turn the light on. Again, and again, and again.

I’d love to know about your reflections on continuous personal development in the comments. Book a consultation with me to find out how I can help you illuminate your blind spots to become even more brilliant.

7 Morning Rituals To Raise Your Game And Achieve Your Goals

We’ve just passed the midway point of the 2017, and it’s an ideal opportunity to assess how you’re doing against your goals for the year. If you’ve already smashed your annual goals way ahead of target, it’s an opportunity to set more or bigger goals. On the other hand, if there are any you haven’t met yet, it’s time to question what you need to do differently in order to make them happen.

One of the big factors (and game changers) I’ve found both with myself and my clients that determines whether our goals become reality or not, is the state of energy we’re in. When we’re in our optimal energy physically and mentally, everything flows more easily. We bounce out of bed more easily, we face challenges more easily, and our well of patience and compassion is fuller.

There are many components to great energy, and one of the most fast acting changes to implement for enhanced energy is optimising how we start our day. Until around 18 months ago, mornings for me were all about waking up at the last possible moment, jumping straight in the shower and running out the door around 7 minutes later, often without breakfast. For some time, I was eating all three meals in the office Monday to Friday.

One day, I was rushing through Grand Central on the way to my office in midtown Manhattan in New York City, and I decided I didn’t want to start my days like this anymore. I didn’t want to start them frantic and rushing. I wanted to make mornings more intentional and relaxed, to have time to gather my thoughts, to connect with what I really wanted, and to start as I meant to go on.

I started experimenting with a more conscious morning routine.

I had started listening to the popular podcast “The School of Greatness” by Lewis Howes, and had picked up some great pearls of wisdom on starting the day the right way. Including, first and foremost, being sure to always make one’s bed, even if you were the only one to see it.

Following are a few of the morning rituals I’ve found work best for me, and that many other successful people rely on. But I encourage you to experiment with different habits and timings to work out what feels right for you; everyone’s different and there’s no shame in that. An important consideration when planning out or experimenting with your morning ritual is to avoid comparison at all costs.

1. Aim to rise at the same time every day

And get up as soon as your first alarm goes off. Get a vibrating alarm clock if you need to, or one that emulates sunrise and birdsong for a more natural experience. Although if you rise at the same time every day, and you’re getting adequate sleep, you may find that you don’t need an alarm at all.

2. Make your bed immediately, no matter what.

This may seem trivial, particularly if you live alone, but beginning your day with intentionality and attention to detail sets off a powerful ripple effect that permeates your entire day. Take it from a Navy Seal Commander: “It’s good to start off with a simple task that moves you forward.”

3. Drink a glass of water with a slice of fresh lemon in.

Lemon water aids with digestion, detoxification, rejuvenates your skin and body, boosts your energy and mood (without the caffeine crash of coffee), and provides a great vitamin and immune boost. Lemons also contain pectin which helps to stave off cravings and help you feel fuller.

4. Meditate for 5-15 minutes.

The benefits of meditation are numerous, in including relief from stress and anxiety, decreased blood pressure and increased production of anti-aging hormone DHEA(!!). You might decide sitting in silence works best for you, just tuning into your breath and noticing any thoughts come up and letting them drift away, or you might prefer to use an app like Calm or Headspace. I have found 5-15 minutes to be the sweet spot, much longer and I can find myself feeling a little too relaxed, but if you’re particularly stressed longer can be beneficial, and you may prefer to meditate in the evening either instead or in addition.

5. Go to the gym or for an outdoor workout.

Getting exercise done first thing in the morning means you can avoid potential procrastination later, both because there tend to be less distractions earlier in the day, and because we tend to feel more tired as the day goes on. Personally, I’ve also found my mind is more proactive but less noisy first thing in the morning, so all those rational reasons that come up as to why it can wait until later or tomorrow or why it’s less of a priority than other urgencies are much quieter. If Obama could make time to work outwhile serving as President of the USA, we can all make it work. Bonus points if you listen to an inspiring podcast or classical music while working out.

6. Make a green juice.

Feature fresh leafy greens in your juice and eat some high quality proteinsuch as beans, eggs, fish or white meat. This will replenish your system, assist with muscle repair and give you a great energy boost, without the subsequent crash a carbohydrate heavy breakfast can lead to.

7. Eat some frogs.

Mark Twain famously said “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Focusing on your least enjoyable yet high priority tasks first thing in the morning not only makes excellent use of the fresh well discipline you find yourself with at the beginning of a new day, but it can also reap a multiplier effect because the quality of your attention is stronger, and there are fewer distractions trying to pull you in other directions. Decision fatigue also sets in later in the day, so you’re much more likely to find yourself either struggling to make a decision with regards to a challenging task or project, or feeling the urge to delay it until tomorrow.

Developing a consistent and nourishing morning ritual has been a huge game changer for me.

It has amplified my physical and mental wellbeing, productivity, creativity and energy enormously. The key is to be open to experimentation and to paying attention to what works for you TODAY.

If something stops working for you, forget about analyzing why, just stop doing it and try something else. Your routine doesn’t need to be the same forever, and you don’t necessarily need to hit it in the same order or every item every single day, but conscious intentionality is key. Daily consistency also has the added benefit of breeding automatic habits that require less discipline to continue enforcing. Establishing an optimal start to your day is a commitment to yourself, to your productivity, and to those in your life to be your best self.

Other resources that will help you to establish positive habits that work best for you:

The Power Of Habit by Charless Duhigg

Tools Of Titans by Tim Ferris

Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

What does your ideal morning look like? What have you tried, and what are you inspired to try? I’d love to hear in the comments.

Why Everyone Needs A Coach

Check out this Facebook Live I recorded last night on why everyone needs a coach. I’d love to know your thoughts! Have you had a coach? What did you notice?
Ore you thinking about getting a coach? What’s holding you back? Comment below.

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