body image

In Need of Some Workout Motivation?

In Need of Some Workout Motivation?

Ever find yourself hunting for that desire to go and workout? Searching for a reason to get up early and go for a run? Longing for that kick that will get you into a gym routine? You and 100% of the population feel that way sometimes.  Here I’m going to talk to you about that shiny buzzword known as motivation – the electricity that gets us out of bed and on the pursuit of our goals. How do we get hold of it? How do we use it to our advantage and most importantly, how do we keep it if we find it?

It all starts with you. Your motivation process is going to be completely unique to you. That glorious motivation that you want lies within you already. To find it we need to observe and become aware of what we see and what we hear to reprogramme our thoughts, away from any negative ones, towards positive ones.

SO, LET’S GO LOOKING FOR IT.

The Correlation Between Body Image and Our use of Social Media.

The Correlation Between Body Image and Our use of Social Media.

Body image is something very personal to each and every person. By definition, it is the perception that we have of our physical self and the thoughts and feelings that arise from that perception. These feelings can be positive, negative or both, and are heavily influenced by individual and environmental factors. So, what does that mean? We aren’t born hating our human containers, so, therefore, it’s something that we must inherit, grow and learn over time by messaging that may be subliminal or otherwise, that then go on to shape our reality.

Why It's Not Okay to Body Shame...

Words By Frou Williams.

I want to talk about body shaming. A massive part of what I do with my clients is exploring body image and self esteem, it's something I've studied in extensive detail and something I believe is absolutely crucial to healing, personal growth and to allow ourselves to be truly open to 'love' whether that's love of oneself and/or others. It's something I'm deeply passionate about.

I want to talk about body shaming. A massive part of what I do with my clients is exploring body image and self esteem, it's something I've studied in extensive detail and something I believe is absolutely crucial to healing, personal growth and to allow ourselves to be truly open to 'love' whether that's love of oneself and/or others. It's something I'm deeply passionate about. It's the very reason I created my company Death By Lycra Collective - From the very core of my being I believe in the empowerment of spirit.

By working together as collective we create the space for individual empowerment. That means helping women to feel more at ease in their own skin, embracing and being proud of the bodies they rock regardless of shape or size. By looking past the exterior. Body image and self esteem are incredibly fragile, it can quite literally make or break another being. It's one of the biggest psychological issues we face in our modern society and it's certainly no laughing matter. 

So what is body shaming? The definition of body shaming is the practice of making critical and potentially humiliating comments about a person's body. 

We all know that we live in a culture that is finely tuned at telling us we're not good enough, that we need to fix and make better. It's never been this intense or this relentless. It's exhausting. And that's just the messages from the media, that doesn't even take into account the pressures we put on ourselves or that we receive from other people.

It makes me incredibly sad that other people feel the need to comment or judge other people based on their physical appearance alone when they know nothing of that person's inner struggles or demons they may be facing. They know not who that woman is when she is at home surrounded by family, what she contributes to society, what lights her up and fills her soul, what ailments she might have had or even how much courage it may take just to leave the house on any given day. By not looking past her physical appearance you take that away from her.

There's a series of consequences to this way of thinking, eating disorders for one but it can also lead to an increased risk of depression, anxiety and social isolation.
And whilst that may be largely as a result of what a lot of the intense media focus has done that does not make it okay. We should be building each other up and encouraging each other, not tearing each other apart. 

How we take care of ourselves is our billboard to the world. I'm not just talking about having abs or a tight ass but by being someone who laughs, cries, embraces their flaws, focuses on what they are passionate about, by being a good person, surrounding themselves with people who make them feel good, and by being real. Having a six pack has nothing to do with happiness or self worth. 

Happiness comes in all shapes and sizes. And happiness is what looks good on people, celebrating your body for what it can do, by refusing to comment on others’ physical appearances and by not letting other people bring you down. Because surely the best billboard for 'wellbeing' is contentment in self.

How to Balance Your Energy...

Why do we Stretch?

✖️Stretching helps to increase range of motion and to open the body,
✖️Releasing any tension in the muscles,
✖️Relaxes the mind.

Energy balancing stretching is primarily about embodiment - (Nourishment, Movement, Presence, Sensuality, Nature) and exploring different ways that you can be more “in your body.”

Being in the body, inhabiting it, feeling it, sensing it, knowing it, being curious about it, noticing it, exploring all the sensations of bodily existence, and letting the body speak to you on its own terms.

This last fortnight I've been working with various clients on different ways to address adrenal fatigue. Hormones are imbalanced, the body can suffer from hypoglycemia, a weakened immune system, foggy thinking and quite often depression. In order to overcome adrenal fatigue you need to follow a well thought out recovery exercise programme but the following two stretching exercises are great grounding starting points - put on some relaxing music and try to tune into what feels good when you move in your body.

Legs Up the Wall:

▫️Lie on your back with the edge of your bum touching a wall. 
▫️Feel free to elevate your hips with a pillow if more comfortable. 
▫️Walk your feet up the wall until your legs are fully extended. 
▫️Breathe. 
▫️Try to relax. 
▫️When you notice your mind wandering (it will) try to be an observer of your thoughts. As though you were watching yourself from a distance. Having music helps as you can focus on the beat. No crazy dubstep tunes though please 😬🤔
▫️Stay in this position anywhere from 2-15 minutes.

Beginners Bridge:

▫️Lie on back, bring knees up for 45 degrees.
▫️Push hips up so that your shoulders, hips and knees are in a straight line. Keep shins vertical. 
▫️Slowly drop pelvis back down, as low as you comfortably can and then bring hips back up to ceiling.
▫️10 second hold / 10 second relax.
▫️Don't forget to breathe 👀 this exercise is predominantly about the breathing. 
▫️Aim to do this 10 times. 

Happily Ever After?

I love these images by photographer Dina Goldstein who takes a look at how the lives of our beloved Disney princesses might have turned out, fairy tale luck and charm aside of course ;-)

“I began to imagine Disney’s perfect Princesses juxtaposed with real issues that were affecting women around me, such as illness, addiction and self-image issues"

 

Are These Signs From the Universe?

Human form, the house in which we walk this plane. Our life’s journey is context for understanding our relationship with nutrition, fitness, movement, thoughts, and our wellbeing as a whole. The body whispers messages to us each and every day. Slow down. Don't rush. There's no need to push. Don't hold onto this. Let go of that. There are subtle cues and prompts taking place within and around you all the time. 

But what exactly does that mean? Everything in life is intricately pieced together to weave a web of narrative unfolding a story; your story. And the most important thing in your life, is your life story. 

We can understand a lot about our story when we take the time to consider key pillars and influencers in our lives. Who am I as a person? What is it like to live in these shoes?

Healing goes far deeper than simply changing a diet or a fitness routine. Yes, diet and exercise allows us to build the foundations for a strong house, but it is not the soul solution. We as humans are not wired with an on or off switch in which we are able to show up in a particular way.

Quite often, even we ourselves don't understand why we may be showing up in a particular way - be it dark or light energies we are omitting. There are many layers which make up who we are as beings. So many beautiful and fascinating layers in which to explore and uncover. We call them soul centres and often when we feel a certain way, even when it may not make sense to think or feel that way, it can be a calling for your soul centres to be rebalanced.

There are simple but powerful ways to balance your soul centres. Starting with restful sleep, making time to create a nourishing meal, music, catching up with loved ones and rebounding from the positive energy the interaction brings, grounding yourself with your feet on the earth, feeling the soil, grass or sand beneath you and the big one, being back in Mother Nature.

When we take a moment to pause for breath, we can see how the universe is speaking to us through the body. Through our power house. It's a sign to ask deeper questions and look into our thoughts, feelings, fears and dreams. 

So what question is your body asking today? 

The 101 on Being Comfortable in your Own Lycra.

 

Words by Geraldine Ruffle.

Time off is not a dirty word...

Naturally, as women, our weight fluctuates regularly.

That's just a fact.

But, does anybody else beat themselves up every time we're "not looking quite our best"? Regardless of hormones, stress levels, exercise or diet? Of course you do, we all do. It's nothing new that the media and social pressures affect the way we feel about our bodies but why should that affect our happiness and our health. There's more to it than weight right?

I know what you're thinking, oh look another post telling us that the media is wrong to body shame and everyone is beautiful. But, can there ever really be enough of those? Why should you pay any attention to this one?

It's not about teaching you to believe that all bodies are gorgeous, it's not about convincing you to love however you look. It's about pushing or pretending to love our bodies when we don't. It's about letting go of the need look and feel a certain way.


Some background:

I've done it all, I've gone from daily heavy training and a shiny six pack to rarely moving off the beach for days and going up a dress size (or two). The difference, I've also gone from being stressed, moody, exhausted, burnt out, injured and ill to being relaxed, feeling free, content and downright happy in my own skin. That's what we all need to learn right, that happiness and self confidence doesn't come from 'looking right', right? That 'looking right' comes from having self confidence and being happy.

The fitness industry is a tough career choice for your self confidence. You're inherently programmed to always care about your weight, your diet, your workouts and your body image, and you're judged on those things all day every day. Every social media post, every outfit, every workout, it's definitely a tough industry to be a comfortable person in.

Don't get me wrong, from day one I loved my job! Waking up every day to teach classes and train clients was often a real joy and not a chore. Notice that I said often, it had its moments of course like any job. I am human too ;) 

Adding a physical job into a life of tough competition training for sport and dance was a definite challenge. There were of days when I physically dragged myself out of bed because my body was so stiff and so sore and just so damn exhausted that the thought of getting up on stage to teach a class almost had me in tears, and some days it probably did!

We've all been there right? Days when either mentally or physically or both, you just don't want to get up and get out but you smear that brave face on anyway and plug on until you can next have a day off. This ever repeating maybe weekly or monthly cycle of over exhaustion was just too much.

So what did I do?

I changed tact. I left it all behind and travelled to the other side of the world to take a breather, explore new ways of finding confidence and experience fitness from a different outlook.

An Australian Perspective

When I first landed I was all jittery and stressed because I'd sat on a plane for almost 2 days, had eaten only stodgy aeroplane food and had barely moved a muscle except to shift seat position. I felt awful. I needed to go for a run. As usual when I didn't get enough exercise I was agitated and moody and not the sort of person that would easily make friends on a solo travelling adventure!

After my 6 week Aussie gym tour (catch the whole thing in my Insta. Shameless plug there) I settled down in Byron Bay, well known for its 'slow down, chill out, cheer up' motto. It became so easy to fit in their relaxed, care free lifestyle and I soon found myself comfortable barely training and spending most days laid out on the beach or frolicking in the sea.

I soon admitted to myself that I had put weight on, I had lost strength and fitness. But, for the first time I actually didn't care. Previously when I'd gained weight I would have been moody and depressed and embarked on intense diets and exercise to help get me back to my normal look, convinced that I'd be happier when I lost weight.

This time though, I still felt so great. So relaxed, so calm and still more than happy throwing my bikini on each day. When I'd video call my friends and family from home they would tell me how much healthier I looked and how much happier I seemed. Naturally straight away I just thought, but how can they be telling me I look better when I know I've put on a dress size?

Because happiness looks good on everyone (cheeeese)

Kelly Clarkson (what a queen) is famous for saying that she feels her happiest at her biggest, she's been in the papers at all sizes and unfortunately shamed for being a larger dress size these days. However, she claims in every interview and every magazine that she's never been so happy and was really unhappy thin. We all know that every body is different and no two people will ever look the same way (identical twins aside, let's not get pernickety now).

As soon as I realised how happy I was inside despite being a different body shape, I felt an overwhelming sense of calm and freedom. Removing the stressors and pressures of trying to have my body look a certain way has done wonders for me. Back to exercising regularly and into a training plan designed around fitness rather than aesthetics I enjoy my gym time so much more, I'm so much more confident every day and I'm still a dress size larger than I ever was in England.

So shock horror

My life didn't fall apart just because I took time off training and time off 'looking perfect'! There were no emotional outbursts about my looks, no hiding in baggy clothes for a while and no filling my own head with excuses when I caught myself in the mirror. Seriously, how is that an ok way to be, how is that a healthy mindset. It's scary to look back and think how much pressure I used to put on myself in those competition days.

I look after myself, I train. I just train less, I socialise more, occasionally I eat cake, I go out and enjoy myself and sometimes I even skip the gym to do it (some days I skip the gym and eat cake) but now I worry less, I'm not stressed, I'm not over trained, I'm not exhausted and I'm not injured.

Mostly, my mind just feels so happy and free.

My focuses are entirely different and they centre around keeping that great big smile on my face, that's the type of person I want to be known as, that's the type of person people want to meet while they travel the world, and that's me, just feeling like me.

So why share this with you?

Because you don't need to run off to another country to discover true self confidence, you just need to realise what makes you the happiest version of yourself and the rest comes naturally. It wasn't about trying to be body confident, it wasn't about accepting that my body is beautiful regardless of weight. For me, it was being less stressed out and having the mental capacity to enjoy daily experiences, including my workouts that did it and the rest just fell into place.

We all need to be comfortable in our own skin. Time off was all I needed to discover that I'd been doing the wrong thing all along. Truth be told, now I'm a little more settled into my workouts I have lost weight and I have regained some definition and fitness and I know this trend will continue if I do, but it's not my focus so I don't drive myself crazy if I can't see results straight away.

So go find what it is that makes you happy regardless of looks, go chill out and discover why you should always be comfortable in your own skin (or your own lycra as we like to dress here).

Gebs xo


Are you Suffering Perfection Paralysis?

Are you Suffering Perfection Paralysis?

Have you ever heard of the term perfection paralysis? One of the ultimate quests for millennials is the pursuit of the perfect life. We're all searching for it.

We want do it all, see it all and be it all...like, yesterday. But in our search for the perfect body, the perfect job, the perfect apartment, the perfect partner and the perfect friends are we so afraid of making the wrong choice, of committing, of making a mistake or simply overwhelmed with the vast options presented in front of us that we are merely bystanders on the sidelines of our own lives, only ever dipping our toes into the arena we call life? Are we a generation of commitment-phobes or are just in need of a new approach? 

Is Wellbeing Really so Black and White?

Words by Frou Williams.

Health is multifaceted and it exists in the irreducible complexity of our lives and identities. 

When I feel disconnected from my mind and body, I don’t take care of it. When I embrace and encourage my mind and body, when I take a moment to appreciate all that it does for me, I do. 

Learning not to hate our bodies is a matter of our physical health and emotional survival.

At its core, weight loss is aesthetic. My weight doesn’t tell you what I eat, how much I exercise, how strong I am. It doesn’t tell you where my DNA comes from, my bone density or how healthy I feel. It doesn’t tell you if I’m thinner than I was before, or fatter. It doesn’t tell you how I feel about myself, what I’ve learnt or how I’ve changed. 

It doesn't show you my wellbeing blueprint. 

When we judge someone by the size of their body or appearance, it takes away from and flattens what is a rich, beautiful tapestry woven together by a complex mind, body and soul of an unknown, extraordinary person.

So I’m making a stand to challenge the one size fits all approach when it comes to wellbeing and fitness by helping others to find their own way. A way that doesn't involve passive aggressive memes of abs being made in the kitchen or a #belfie generation. If this approach worked for long term and sustainable wellbeing, it would have worked already. It's time for a new outlook towards looking after yourself - mind, body & soul.

So, are you in?

Can Thoughts Impact your Metabolism?

Words by Frou Williams.

What exactly is eating psychology and why should I care I hear you ask? Well matey, mind body nutrition is a field that advances the practice of clinical nutrition by exploring the psychophysiology of how thoughts, feelings and beliefs impact nutritional metabolism and health.

It goes far beyond classical nutrition by focusing on the connection between brain, body, and behaviour. Simply put, what we eat is only half of the story of good nutrition. The other half is who we are as eaters. 😋🐷 (You with me?)

Mind body nutrition looks at how genetics, history of family health, stress physiology, the relaxation response, lifestyle, breathing, awareness, pleasure, meal timing and even down to how our relationships profoundly influence digestion and calorie burning capabilities. It's then piecing together all the information that makes up you as an eater into practical and results oriented strategies to help you overcome issues such as binge eating, yoyo dieting, poor body image, low confidence and self esteem and to learn how to listen to your body's natural wisdom.

Combine that with personalised classical nutritional analysis and a fitness regime specifically designed for you and that's a whole lot of awesomeness you're about to unleash on the world! 🔥 

DANG!! This my friends is self evolution.

Body Talk...

Words by Frou Williams.

Celebration of the female form. Loving yourself and feeling good about your body are really, REALLY hard things to do. Unfortunately, you can't run away from it and you certainly can't pretend it's not there.

It's kind of a mind, body and soul combo deal we have going on here folks. 🤔 Even in the depths of self loathing and despair, your body is there for you, reminding you, "Hello, sad clown. I am here to both haunt and serve you."

When I'm feeling low or having a day like a beached whale 🐳 (yes all us mere mortals have those days 🙋🏼), I try to take comfort in the humour of that.

Hate it or love it, your body is not going anywhere. The beauty is in enjoying the journey of wellbeing for what it is - a never ending journey and trying to figure out how to coexist peacefully and laugh about it along the way.

Does One Size really Fit All?

Words By Frou Williams.

I don't know about you, but I'm so tired of seeing the one size fits all restrictive diet plans.

You know the ones I mean. The ones where you feel you might as well be eating cardboard for the lack of taste and excitement coming from that suggested meal plan or to the point where you can't even open your Facebook or Instagram without being made to feel guilty about not having thighs that don't touch, about not having an 18 year old metabolism anymore or the fact that you don't have a boyfriend who follows you round with a camera photographing every macro you so much as put near your mouth.

Yeah. That one.

Never before has our society seen pace and movement at the rate in which we are experiencing it today. There is quite literally no off button and this is having detrimental effects on our health and wellbeing. We need to shake off the serious and relearn the childlike ways of enjoying our food and workout time. Nutrition and fitness should be a positive experience in our lives not a hindrance or something that makes us feel shame or guilt. Long-term nutritional habits trump diet plans and 'rules'. Always.

I prefer to use a more (dare I say it) gentle nutritional and fitness progression model which looks at building habits sustainably over time. By taking the time to delve deeper below the surface of current jeans size and looking at psychological change versus asking people to 'follow a diet' (which often means doing a full lifestyle overhaul on day one).

There's no one absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt best diet for everyone. Humans have evolved to do well under all sorts of dietary conditions. That's why I'm happy to help people find the best one for them, no matter their dietary preferences. Of course, this is a big win for my clients: they get in shape doing more of  the things they actually like. And a win for me: I get to help more people.

Let me listen to your needs. What you want to accomplish. How you live. What's really important to you. Then let me help you create the right dietary and fitness approach for you; one that's specific to your goals and your lifestyle.

Because that's what coaching really is.

To help generation selfie and whatever generation comes next, see that health and wellness isn't about torturing yourself to achieve the unachievable. It's about finding balance, being kind to yourself, learning to love yourself (yes I'm going all new age and hippy on your now) because life is tough. It's a battle field out there and it's not only about learning those tools in a single one off school of life but it's about putting those lessons and tools into practice, every, single, day.

Because you will have days where you:

  • Feel crap and don't see the point in anything

  • Feel fat and puffy (yes even Victoria's Secret supermodels have those days you know)

  • Have your heart broken

  • Not feel good enough

  • Fail an exam

  • Not get that promotion

  • Get told off, be it by a boss, a teacher, even the bus driver...People can be mean. It's a sad fact of life.

  • Want to give up healthy eating, going to the gym, on friendships, relationships, heck you'll even have days you want to sell your own family

  • Stay under the covers and hide

  • Call in sick to work

  • Eat ice cream

  • Cry for no reason

  • Eat more ice cream

  • Perhaps days where you want to give up on life itself…

BUT you see, the longer you let all these things be your primary focus you're preventing yourself from being that badass woman we all know and ultimately you know deep down that you're capable of being.

It's about standing up, dusting yourself off and trying a goddamn gain tomorrow!

It's not letting other people eat away at your own self worth or giving them permission to judge your own personal journey. Because people will judge, boy will they judge. You just have to learn the tools and to know yourself well enough to not let someone else's opinion or beliefs derail your own.

It's about accepting who you are and continually learning how to be a better version of yourself than you were the day before (in whatever way you may deem that 'version' to be). It's not about being the best. Sadly, you, nor I, will ever be the best. No matter who you are, there will always be someone better looking, with longer legs, tighter abs, more money, more funny, more intelligent (you get my point). But there is a wonderfully unifying thought for all of woman kind, and that's even Jennifer Anniston has fat days. Yep. I meant to write that.

Seriously, even those women who regularly dominate the world's best looking charts and the women whose Instagram pages we paw over have bad days where they feel out of balance, fat, frumpy, unattractive, lonely, uninspired, you name it. Sadly, it's part of the parcel of being human. At least, we all have that in common, we all ALL imperfectly human.

Thousands of years ago, before the advent of modern conveniences, humans struggled to escape from predators in order to survive. (You're wondering how this is relevant, bear with me). The escapism mechanism our brains used, the fight or flight response, was passed down to subsequent generations because it was a useful tool for survival. Fast forward a couple of millennia and we still have that fight or flight response yet in today's society, unless we're really unfortunate, we don't have to strive for daily survival. Somewhere along our evolutionary path we stopped using this mechanism to fight off danger and instead now use it to fight other humans. I'm not talking physical fights, although of course those do happen, I'm talking in reference to being the best, who has the better job, the most money, most attractive and ultimately who wins this contest in modern warfare is he who has the most power.

We waste our time and energy wishing that we could look like the girl (or guy) we saw walking down the stress, on the TV, in the gym or on that YouTube video. We live in a permanent state of the grass is always greener anywhere other than here in our own backyard and convince ourselves that if only we could be the size of the girl on the front of the magazine or have her hair / her eyes / her make up / her nails (you name it, we want it) that we'll be happy or perhaps more guys and girls will like us. That we'll fit in. We'll belong. Is that really what we scrutinise and punish ourselves for, to fit in? One thing is for certain, we are not alone in our pursuit of this universal ideology.

If you look closely there is wonder and awe to be found in every life and in every direction as far as the eye can see but somewhere along the way generation selfie forgot about community, that sense of togetherness and began to focus on 'I'. We lost our way amongst the filters, the mixed messages from the media telling us what size we needed to be, what colour our hair should be, that unless we fitted a nice mould of what the perfect man or woman was then we were misfits. We became selfish, insecure and started hating not only what was on the outside but what was on the inside too.

We yearn for things we can't have and fill our lives with things that don't ultimately make us happy because we aren't really focussing on what really matters.

We push our minds and bodies to the limit on a daily basis in our pursuit of the perfect life but punish and scold ourselves when we slip up and make mistakes.

We forgot what it was like to look at people as the real flawed and imperfectly wonderful species that we are. We forgot to embrace our individuality and uniqueness.

My mission is dedicated to not only helping you find that inner and outer equilibrium but preserving it too. It's about encouraging people of all ages into a more healthy and happy lifestyle through physical exercise, mental wellness, mindset, achievable goals and listening from the heart.

Hugs,

Frou xo