7 Tips For Healthier Eating Without Having To Give Anything Up

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Image by Nicole Atkinson

 

1. Eat from pretty plates:

Gone are the days of keeping our best plates for special occasions. Pretty plates make  food look great and encourage us to take a few extra seconds preparing what we eat. Instead of just grabbing a handful of food between tasks we become mindful of what goes onto our plates.

Awareness of our eating habits through mindful eating is very important for creating healthier eating habits. Spending a few extra minutes preparing food causes us to slow down. Slowing down while  eating aids digestion and, as ‘the first bite is with the eye’ it’s a lovely act of self care that doesn’t cost much at all. Charity shops are full of cheap and pretty plates.

2. Avoid the ‘lite’ option and add fat to your meals:

While the supermarket is full of items labeled ‘lite’ or ‘no fat’, I actually make an effort to add fat to my daily diet. When my diet is lacking in fat I start feeling depleted and start reaching for the quick-fix sugary items.

I’m talking about fats like the ones found in avacadoes, oils like olive or coconut, macadamia nuts, wild salmon etc. I find these types of foods keep me feeling nourished and satisfied. I stir coconut oil into my black tea and add avacado to everything.

3. Create a space for nourished eating:

Completely clear your dining room table, or create a clear space that you can eat at. For digestion to be at its best it’s important to relax while eating.  If your eating space is covered in stuff or reminders of the things that you should be doing you can’t relax.

Start each meal with a little ritual that will allow you to switch from  busy to relaxed mode. Light a candle, take ten deep breaths, say thank you, think of one good thing that happened today or find what works for you.

4. Get your greens with pesto:

Pesto would be my favourite way to get in those much talked about greens. It’s easy to make and delicious.  I add to my blender: a bag of spinach or whatever greens are in the fridge,  enough olive oil to get things blending,  about half a cup of whatever nuts or seeds are in the cupboard (I use raw nuts and seeds), lemon juice if I have lemons or a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (the cloudy, unfiltered version, not the processed one.), garlic and some salt  and pepper.

This recipe is completely flexible, it’s about using what you have and adjusting it to your taste, you will soon learn what you like. This pesto can be added to so many things, it tastes delicious with scrambled eggs, slathered on meat or vegetables, my daughter loves it as a sauce with gluten free pasta, on jacket potatoes as a quick and easy meal, in salads etc.

5. Visit a farmers’ market:

Nothing inspires me more to cook with fresh, locally grown produce than visiting my local farmers’ market.  I like eating  seasonal produce  and shopping at the supermarket can make that a little hard, as food is imported and available all year round.  There is also something really nice and natural about shopping for food outside in the fresh air.

6 Follow your instincts:

I spent years trying to figure out the perfect daily meal plan for myself. But what my body wants changes daily. Some days I need a large breakfast of leftovers and other days a few small mouthfalls of fruit and nuts is all I need.  Sometimes I eat a lot of hearty meat-based meals and sometimes I prefer a lighter vegetarian diet.

It’s important to tune in to what works for us as individuals; we are all at such different stages  of our health care journey.

7: If you are going to have it, please enjoy it:

Sometimes we have needs to be met, usually emotional ones and we do it with food.

Of course we would all like to eat that perfect diet of only  foods that nourish us, but sometimes we are going to choose the ‘unhealthy’ option.

When you do, please get the full-fat, good quality option and enjoy it fully.  No guilt, shame or self judgement. Remove all distractions and savour every single bite. Allow yourself the pleasure of this indulgence. You have chosen it, so own it.

Unless your guilt is bad enough to enable a permennt change then it will only keep you stuck in a negative eating pattern.  Your guilt and self-judgement are probably what keep you reaching for the next bar of chocolate or piece of cake.

I hope these seven tips  can help you on your journey to nourished eating. Share your comments and tips in the comment section below.

 

If you’re looking to get back on track after the holidays The Procrastination Solution provides the tools to get unstuck and create the life you are longing for. Read more here or click below to start your journey today. The introductory offer of $19.99 ends soon!

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Should we seek validation?

Short answer. Yes.

If I was more enlightened I would know deep within myself that everything was ok, that I was doing a good .job in life. No, an excellent job.

But I’m not there yet. Still on my path. Back to beginner yoga this week  after hurting my back from doing too much. Still struggling through meditation as my mind wanders. Pushing through self doubt and insecurity.

No matter how much we achieve in life it’s easy to fall back into old patterns of self doubt. In fact the bigger the goals we take on the greater the insecurity can be.

It’s what we do next that counts. Push on or give in to it.

Seek guidance.

Seek the validation you need.

It’s ok to ask. Am I doing ok? Am I doing the right thing? How am I going?

When you are caught up in the process it can seem impossible to judge your results. Forrest for the trees.

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.

Find your tribe. The people who will remind you regularly that you are doing better than you think you are.

Because I promise,  you are.

Are you comfortable asking for validation? Let us know in the comments below

 

 

A Warning For The Simplifying Movement.

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There’s a huge simplifying and decluttering movement at the moment. People are even competing to see who can own the least amount of possessions.

While I advocate making your life simpler so that you can be, do and have more there are a couple of things that need clarifying.

There is a difference between simplifying your life and depleting your life. While I have too been on a simplifying mission for the past few years, my goal was never to remove everything from my life. My goal was to own only the things that enriched my life. It may actually mean that I will eventually own more than when I started.

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Our lives are enriched or depleted by our surroundings. Tangible objects fill us with emotions and memories that are important to our wellbeing.

Simplifying is a process that allows you to discover your own tastes. It isn’t a process for denying these desires.

Never get rid of anything that you aren’t ready to get rid of no matter how much you have been told that it will improve your life. Emotional attachments are real, powerful and should be respected.

The photo of my office defines simplicity to me.

Space to create and function at my optimum level while being surrounded by the things that enrich, inspire and motivate me.

Create your own definition of simplicity and don’t forget to share in the comments below.

Have you tried simplifying or decluttering? What have you struggled with or found to be useful?

 

How To Get Stuff Done

A quick tip on getting stuff done.

On some occasions in my past when I haven’t been able to do much due to being unwell physically or mentally I have felt very disappointed in myself. I have looked at my to do list and felt like a complete failure.

On the really bad days instead of keeping a ‘to do’ list I kept a ‘have done’ list. I added everything, from brushing my teeth, to cooking dinner, putting the rubbish out etc. It helped me so much to build up my confidence by showing that we do so much more than we think we are doing. Just because I didn’t achieve the six items on my to do list didn’t mean that I was failing.

I also found it helped with procrastination because a large part of procrastination is just feeling disappointed in ourselves for not doing what we expect ourselves to be doing.

Sometimes we just need to shift our focus in order to resolve a situation.

I hope this helps. Let us know what things you struggle to get done in the comments below.

Sharing Vulnerability

I’ve wanted to write this post for awhile, but have avoided it because I will need to make myself vulnerable and write about the things that make me feel weak.

Lately I have been contemplating why things aren’t working for people. Why are we becoming unhealthier and more disconnected than ever? We have more access than ever before to information and help but things appear to be getting worse. Never before have we experienced such an epidemic of obesity, diabetes and mental illness.

I believe we are so strongly focused on the ‘how to’ that we are missing the ‘why aren’t we?’ We know what to do, we know what will make us healthier, stronger, happier so why aren’t we doing it? There is always a little voice in the back of our minds that says ‘I shouldn’t eat this…’ or ‘I know walking lifts my mood’ or ‘I should go to bed by 9pm’ At our core, we know what to do. So why aren’t we doing it? It’s easier to focus on the ‘how to’ because focusing on the ‘why aren’t we already doing it?’ is difficult. It will make us vulnerable, it will put a spotlight on our weaknesses.  We will need to deal with shame and unworthiness. It will take work and confronting our fears. We will in fact need to focus on the negative when we are constantly bombarded with affirmations saying we should only focus on the positive.

I am not saying ‘how to’ is a bad thing, we do need advice and guidelines to help.

So on to opening up and making myself feel vulnerable. A few years ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. It made a whole lot of sense to me. Although  I work very hard to practice the ‘how to live an awesome life with Bipolar Disorder by taking extremely good care of myself” I occasionally, perhaps once or twice a year have an episode like I did last week. I become manic in thought, movement etc and it’s terrifying.  Then I crash and have a low where I can’t function at all and just need to hide under the covers for  a couple of days. It’s intense and the rarer it becomes the more of a surprise it is and the harder it is to deal with. I am sharing this because we must start talking about the things that make us feel vulnerable in order to make progress.

The things that we view as our weaknesses make us feel shame and unworthy. These are the things that are stopping us from doing what we know is right for us. By feeling ashamed of my bipolar disorder I am stopping myself from moving forward. I can feel the energy it takes to keep it inside. I feel shame because I teach a course on how to live with Anxiety, so I have this unrealistic expectation on myself to be perfectly mentally healthy. When I think about it logically though, I know how much I have achieved and if I was learning from somebody I would want them to have experienced what I was going through. I wouldn’t want somebody that doesn’t understand first hand.

As hard as this was for me to share I know good will come from it. I hope I can inspire people to open up in their own lives. I hope people can find a way to share their vulnerabilities instead of hiding them, it will create connection. I hope we can stop searching for the ‘how to’ and focus a little on building our self worth in order to actually implement the ‘how to’. Please share your thoughts and comments below. I love your feedback.

6 Steps to increasing your risk tolerance

Throughout my life people have often commented on my risk taking abilities. I have been called brave and tenacious, a high level risk taker. The strange thing is that I don’t feel like a risk taker at all. I often … Continue reading

The Anxiety Solution Program – FAQs

If you have been contemplating enrolling in the Anxiety Solution  Program the following FAQs may be useful.

What do I get?

This course consists of 8 modules. You will receive one module per week. Each module comes with printable worksheets and strategies for overcoming anxiety and building self confidence.

You will also receive personal email support

Is this course only for people with anxiety?

No this course is designed for anyone that wants to take their confidence to the next level, deal with limiting beliefs or wants to overcome resistance.

Will this program cure me of my anxiety/depression/ptsd/low self esteem?

It is one of my beliefs that we are not broken or in need of curing. My goal is to teach you to live a fulfilling and empowered life, while accepting every aspect of yourself.

Are you a doctor?

No, I have lived with various levels of anxiety all of my life. From social anxiety, low self esteem to more severe PTSD and depression. I have found strategies that work for me and want to share them.

Is it ok for me to be taking medication while doing the course?

If medication is helping you along your journey then absolutely. This course is not designed to tell you whether or not you should be taking medication. It is designed to help you realize that taking medication and getting the support you need is a sign of strength not weakness.

Can I do the course at my own pace?

Definitely. The modules and worksheets are designed to be revisited as often as you need. I understand that you can be busy and the course reflects this.

Can I contact you if I have a question?

Please do, I offer personal email support. If you are needing any clarification regarding any aspect of the course please ask. Sometimes it’s nice to have somebody to just chat to that understands and has been through what you are experiencing.

Do you offer refunds?

I have worked very hard on this program, but if you do not feel you are receiving value for money, then yes, money back, no questions.

I’m ready! How much does cost to join the program and how do I pay?

$97. Payments are made through Paypal  here

Please let me know if you have any more questions via the contact form below. I’m always happy to help

Thank you

Nicole

The Power of Rituals and Routines

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The outcome of our lives is determined by the actions we take. These actions are determined by the habits we create for ourselves, both good and bad.

One way to create good habits is by implementing little rituals and routines into our lives.

I resisted the idea of creating routines in my life for years.  I thought that by following routines life would become boring and restricted.

In fact the complete opposite is true. The more routines I create for myself, the more time I have spare to do fun things. The more I follow my routines the more space and time I create.

Rituals and routines can also be comforting in times of stress. They allow our minds to know what is coming next, creating a sense of calm.

I used to spend an entire day doing housework. These days there is no way I could possibly do that. There just isn’t time. So it is important for me to create lots of little routines and rituals that allow me to keep the house clean and tidy to a standard that works for me. It’s far from perfect, but it works.

For example every time I make a cup of tea I have to work on cleaning the kitchen while the kettle is boiling. As I work from home and drink a lot of tea, the kitchen is always clean and I don’t have to worry about finding time to clean it.

Every night before I go to bed I set the washing machine up to start a load of laundry at 4am, ready for me to put out in the morning. It keeps things moving and the washing never seems to pile up.

These are just two of the many simple routines I have  for keeping the house at a level that is suitable for me. I have had a long habit and practice of decluttering too, so that makes things easier to manage.

Attach routines to any goal you are trying to achieve.

I have a problem with a lack of strength in my shoulder due to breaking my collar bone a few years ago.

Whenever I have finished brushing my teeth I work on doing a handstand against the wall outside of our bathroom! This simple habit takes less than 2 minutes a day but is having a huge impact on my health. It’s a fun little routine that is helping me build strength and work towards something that is a little outside of my comfort zone!

The best way to build a routine and a new habit is to keep it simple and attach it to something that you do on a regular basis.

What is your goal?

What is a small action you can take?

How many times a day would you like to do this?

What is something you already do this many times throughout your day?

How can you attach your new step to your old action?

Don’t forget that this is just a simple way to build a new habit and it can take time and practice. This system isn’t designed to give you a new way to feel disappointed in yourself for not doing it right! The goal is never to be perfect. The goal is to build new skills and find what works for you.

Let me know what actions you add to your routine in the comments below

Don’t forget to sign up for the weekly newsletter for more tips and inspiration to help you take action.

 

 

Financial Freedom Friday

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I have always strongly believed that it is not how much you earn it is how you spend it that counts.

No matter how much or little we earn we can often find ourselves buying things we don’t really need or want causing us to sacrifice ever buying the things we truly want and dream about.

Whether it’s a house deposit, travel, a boat, a car, paying off a debt or credit card,  expensive outfit these things can often feel always out of reach.

Here’s a strategy for making those things a reality.

Open a savings account, label it travel account/house deposit account or whatever it is that you would like that seems always out of reach.

Whenever you buy something ask yourself, “do I really want/need this or would I rather put the money in my savings account’

If you decide you do not want to make the purchase, put the money that you would have spent into your savings account. Keep a notebook for all of the decisions you make through the day as they can soon add up.

There are some rules for this strategy –

Never use the money in your dream savings account for bills or anything other than what you intended it for. (if bills are a huge problem, then it might be an idea to focus on your budget before buying things anyway, it can be uncomfortable, but at least the exercise may help you understand where your money is going.)

This strategy is not supposed to leave you feeling deprived – most of the time you will say ‘yes I really do want to buy this thing’ and that is ok. One object of this strategy is to become more conscious of your purchases and where your money goes. There will be many times though that you will think ‘No I would rather buy my dream item”

Do you want the chocolate bar or the holiday?

Do you want to buy the book or read one of the unread books on your bookshelf?

Does your child need that toy or would they be just as happy playing a game with you that you already have?

Do you have anything to sell?

Do you need to buy lunch every day at work or could you take your own on some days?

Do you need to buy peanut butter, or can you buy some peanuts and blend them up at a fraction of the cost? (yes, there are many ways to save money to put towards your dream purchase)

This exercise should be fun and creative – Make sure you do put the money into your savings, you were going to spend it anyway so it won’t be missed.

 

Let me know how it goes for you!