diet

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.

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

Beginner’s Guide: Health 101

Words by Frou Williams.

That user manual you mentioned...

Just imagine, how much easier our lives would be if we were born with a 'user manual' or 'owner's guide' where we could unlock the key that tells each of us what we need to eat and how to live a healthy lifestyle.

But you see, each person has their own unique story with food which makes there billions of different complexities that can factor into how we choose to eat and live our lives that go way beyond calories.

So where do we start?

Nowadays we live in an information rich society whist whilst for the most part is something that we are incredibly lucky to have and to be given such an array or opportunities to chose from, but when it comes to the mind field that is the 'diet' or 'nutrition' fuelling our bodies can sometimes be a tad overwhelming and even downright stressful. Generally, we tend to eat out of habit, whether that has been passed down to us or from our own patterns that we've formed over time.

What do we do about it?

Well, firstly we need to listen to our bodies, they are much smarter than us! Secondly, we need to learn how to step out of the rigid and restrictive paradigm which is backed and rallied by the glossies and social media archives of passive aggressive quotes screaming 'abs are made in the kitchen' and where picture after picture of the unattainable perfect body is laid out before our impressionable little eyes. We need to retrain our thoughts to prevent the hammering of mental and physical torture that we put ourselves through and simply, learn how to play again.

To explore our bodies and how good they are capable of feeling. We are designed to move, to flow and to feel free - free of fear whether that be from mind or body. How do we eliminate a fear that is so ingrained and instilled in our society? The most important ingredient of playing is fun. Besides feeling good, you're actually learning when you're having fun so if educate ourselves in order to make conscious food choices and adopt a suitable exercise regime that suits our individual needs and goals then we can explore ways to have fun within these realms.

Playfulness is in our nature, in our roots. Like animals, we're born with an instinct to play. It's the state of mind that defines play, not the activity itself. Even hippopotami do handstands underwater so when did we get so serious and place those shackles around our own wrists, heads and hearts?

 

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation" Plato (427-347 B.C)


By today's standards play is viewed as immature, nonproductive and worse, a waste of time but with the ever increasing pace and stresses of modern life, where we can't be sure of anything anymore, a job or a relationship could be gone tomorrow, it's most important than ever to bring back playful pursuits. We need to help each other. Human beings have always thrived within a community so why not build a community steeped in fundamental knowledge which is explored through playfulness and love in which we can share, collaborate and learn from one another?

Hugs,

Frou xo

Your Essential Guide to Nutrition : 6 Things you Need to Know Today

Words by Frou Williams.

Nutrition 101

We live in an age where we're inundated with information and food readily available, hundreds of different dietary systems, plans and 'quick fixes'.

It's no great shock that we feel confused and overwhelmed.

It's no surprise that we don't know where to start when it comes to nutrition.

1. What's in Nutrition?

Nutrition is not just about the food we eat and the supplements we take. There is no one size fits all. There's no one absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt best diet for everyone. Shall I repeat that? 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. In order to find a nutrition plan that works for you, you need to look at what you want to accomplish, how you live and what's really important to you.

 

2. Why isn't Nutrition Black and White?

Our modern society is burdened with many different eating challenges:

  • Weight

  • Body image

  • Overeating

  • Emotional Eating

  • Binge Eating

  • Endless Dieting

  • Quick Fixes

  • Some of us walk around, day in and day out inside a food prison

As children, we're told not to play with our food. But in doing so, when did we lose the childlike innocence of fun, imagination and play when it comes to our food? How did we become so militant about our food?

 

3. What does the Digital Sphere have to do with Nutrition?

You only have to open Instagram or Facebook to see descriptions and pictures of what people are eating, why we should be eating X and how abs are made in the kitchen. We are bombarded with images of the 'perfect' *ahem* body and quite frankly this can be a little, if not seriously overwhelming. Of course, we are confused, questioning our relationship with food and darn right pissed off. We feel restricted or we punish ourselves instead of celebrating and taking the time to enjoy the party in your mouth that great food can bring to the table.

It's time to say screw you size zero, cardboard tasting dinner and passive aggressive you can do it quotes and bring back the inner child when it comes to our food and exercise. Some of us have never experienced how good our bodies are designed to feel as we suffer poor digestion, lack of concentration, mood swings, chronic fatigue, feeling sluggish and constantly bloated.

 

99% of all people who lose weight through some form of diet or quick win weight loss scheme, gain it back within a year, often with more than what they originally lost. Yes, you read that correctly... 99% of people do not succeed when they put themselves through the rigmarole of a restrictive eating plan.

 

4. What diet actually works?

Solid and consistently good nutrition is great but what we eat is only half the story when it comes to optimum health and nutrition. We need to understand the psyche, heart and soul of the eater. Who we are as eaters is what makes up the rest of the story. Road mapping starts by looking at thoughts, feelings, emotions, stress levels, beliefs, relaxation, how much pleasure you get from food, the amount of nourishment, when you eat those meals, how quickly you  eat, whether you are eating those meals alone, if you're travelling with work all the time and often finding yourself eating fast food just to get something in so you can get on with your day. It looks at what your overall eating rhythm is, how you are currently listening and how tuned in you are to your body.

 

9 out of 10 women are dissatisfied with their bodies

5. What do I need to know?

So much more comes into how we literally and physiologically metabolise a meal. Think of everyone you know, think of the people who want to lose 5 pounds, 10 pounds etc. Think of your own relationship with food. You might have what is considered by most as a 'Hollywood' figure but still have low self esteem. Whatever your individual relationship with food, it may be getting in the way of who you are meant to be.

What about instead of following the next quick fix we find a nutritional path that honours who you are and what you want to be. A path that can help you reach your metabolic potential and understands that everybody is different. That not one size fits all but looks at a sustainable practise which is results driving using specific tools and techniques. If it were a case of simply saying to yourself or others around you 'step away from the donut, get your ass down a gym' the world wouldn't be in an obesity crisis. If the quick fixes worked then they would have worked already. If there wasn't a psychological connection between the brain and what we eat then just saying no to overeating, emotional eating, yoyo dieting or to not eating at all would have worked.

 

6. How is psychology related to eating?

We need to look at the psychology of why we are eating the way we do and analyse those habits; be it the ones inherited from our primary caregivers or from habits we've picked up over time. The more you fight those voices which say, 'you're fat' when you look in the mirror or call yourself 'stupid and pathetic' for binging at night, the more those voices fight back and become even louder.

Ever enjoyed chowing down on a biscuit to then reach for a second, maybe third, whilst in the back of your mind comes a dark and leering voice making jibes such as, 'sure fatty, eat that. That'll make you look good in a bikini.' Only to somehow demolish the entire pack with the voice in the background jumping up and down, practically screaming obscenities at you until the last mouthful when all goes quiet. Then you hear one last insult to injury, 'I told you, you fat cow. You're useless. You can't stick to anything!' Enter feelings of guilt, shame and worthlessness. Sound familiar?

Once we reframe the problem and see it not as an enemy hurling abuse at our every eating decision but as something we invite to the table (pardon the pun). Then we can move on and start to develop the toolkit that we as individuals need to help us put into action and ultimately become a person we're damn proud to be!

Hugs,

Frou x

Why you Should Create your Own Definition of Beauty

Your beauty, Just like the capacity of your life, happiness and success is immeasurable.

Day after day, countless people all over the world get on a scale in search of validation of beauty and social acceptance.

Get off the scale! I have yet to see a scale that can tell you how enchanting your eyes are. I have yet to see a scale that can show you how wonderful your hair looks when the sun shines its glorious rays on it.

I have yet to see a scale that can thank you for your compassion, sense of humour and contagious smile. Get off the scale because I have yet to see one that can admire you for your perseverance when challenged in life.

It's true, the scale, can only give you a numerical reflection of your relationship with gravity. That's it. It cannot, measure beauty, talent, purpose, life force, possibility, strength or love.

Don't give the scale more power than it has earned. Take note of the number, then get off the scale and live your life.

You are beautiful.

Hugs,

Frou xo

Why you Should Never Make New Year's Resolutions...

Words by Frou Williams.

Can we just talk diet, fitness and New Years resolutions for a moment? What feels like you can't look online the last few days for fear of people hating on what they ate over the festive period, already busy scheming getting back on the wagon for 2017 or more bizarrely, if you're not seen to be adding to the pile of resolutions then what the hell's wrong with you? Why don't you want to fix? 

Whilst it's great to set goals (hey I'm the queen of goals and plans 🙈) if those goals don't come from a place of realness and not to mention a realistic place for you then you might find yourself in the line up for some unnecessary New Year heartache, frustration and feelings of failure.

In our perfection perplexed culture it's easy to get waylaid by the constant messages telling us that we need to fix, nip and tuck just about everything and anything that so much as moves and heaven forbid anything wobble. 😱

 Let's say your goal is to loose 'x' amount of weight, to wear and rock 'that' dress on holiday or maybe this is the year you finally say yes to starting that blog or that business idea - all of these goals require healing yourself from the inside out, taking a look at what's really going on instead of just treating the symptoms with diet pills, detox tea and escapism to avoid ourselves. 

Here's a crazy idea...this year, instead of vowing to cut away all the things you DON'T like, how about focusing on all the things that you DO like and letting those shine? ✨

 How do you want to feel about yourself at the end of next year? Because how you feel about you is worth more than a half hearted resolution any day.

Why Chocolate Equals Happiness

Words by Frou Williams.

If like me, with silly season upon us, your Facebook and Instagram feed is filled with health and fitness professionals practically yelling at you to step away from the mulled wine and mince pies because you'll 'regret' it in January then my friend, this post if for you.

There's a famous quote which goes, "Life should not be about a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely, in an attractive, well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming , 'woo-hoo! What a ride!'

Of course, I'm not suggesting eating your body weight in chocolate, roast potatoes or champagne, because, yes come January 1st, chances are, you're going to regret it and those once fitting trousers are going to be somewhat on the tighter side! ;-) BUT, (and I can't stress this 'but' enough) it is important that if you are going to eat or indulge in whatever it is that brings you pleasure over the festive period, or if indeed at any time, then really it is so important that you enjoy EVERY LAST MOUTHFUL.

Why do I hear you ask? Well, let's say for example you reward yourself with a gorgeous piece of chocolate (bar, slab, mountain, yah been there), if you then mentally punish yourself for eating said chocolate - "good one fat ass, now you've done it, you're useless" - sound all too familiar? Firstly I say, blah to your inemy*! The stress that causes your body actually slows down digestion, much the same if we're texting while eating which can a) lead to overeating but most importantly b) when you're body is in 'stress mode' or fight or flight response it's not designed to deal with digestion at the same time - the two simply don't work together.

Studies show that people who have higher levels of cortisol in their bodies (the stress hormone) are more likely to be overweight and find it hard to shift those stubborn extra pounds.

So fuck, who wants to be stressed and fat? You want to have your cake and eat it too right? SO... don't sweat it. It's all about balance. If you do go wild on the chocolate, wine or mince pie front just try and include an extra workout or even if it's just getting yourself outdoors for a walk.

And the main thing?

Enjoy every mouthful! (Oh and send me pics of course) ho ho ho 😉

Hugs,

Frou xo

Why a Picture only Tells Half Story...

Words by Frou Williams.

Not quite your average transformation photo but a dear friend of mine reminded me of an adventure around Southern India we went on 4 years ago today and it served as a wonderful reminder of not only what was a beautiful trip but also how often we focus so much on the end results that we often lose sight of how far we've come. These two photos taken 4 years apart - aside from the obvious of learning how to use a make up brush and obtaining a tan 😂🤔🙋🏼 - there are two totally different humans staring back at that camera. 

I thought if I could learn how to 'fix' myself, figure out how the body worked, how to train it, what to feed it then everything would fall into place and I'd be 'happy'. For as long as I can remember I have always felt uncomfortable in my skin. I remember thinking at the time that I was fat when the photo on the left was taken. Now there is nothing wrong with either photo, I believe in promoting body positive in the female form in whichever light you may deem that - that's simply not the point of this post - but I look at the girl on the left, knowing her sad lost eyes, not quite knowing or trusting herself yet and I think, "man I wish I could give you a hug, a chocolate biscuit and tell you everything is going to be okay. That you are perfect just as you are." 👯🍪🙋🏼 

We often tell ourselves things we would never dream of saying to a friend or loved one. We let our *inemy (inner me often confused with enemy 😬) run wild with imagination, often stopping us from showing up as our best selves or putting ourselves out there in a vulnerable or revealing way in fear of rejection or even being 'seen'. After years of trying to quieten my inemy, instead now I chose to acknowledge when she has something to say, invite her to the table to hear her plea but kindly remind her whilst she's entitled to her opinion she can make herself useful and help me lift this next set. 🏋🏼‍♀️ 

Some days she shouts louder than others, some days I give her pizza and some days I give her kale but on the whole, we're a team these days. Of course I still have days where I feel like a humpback🐋, days where I've eaten an entire packet of biscuits and inhaled my weight in gin (ahh good times 😋) but I try to bring my focus back to my mindset, training and remind myself that I have built a strong, healthy body which supports and enables me to do the things that I love each and every day without me asking anything from it. Now how amazing is that? 

Ive spent the last few years acting as a sponge soaking up as much knowledge as my brain would allow, studying at FIAFitnationBeautiful YouThe Institute for the Psychology of Eating, not to mention a host of incredible mentors along the way, Life in Full Flight - Jenny Orenstein and I can hand on my heart tell you that all those of years of uncertainty, pain and confusion were worth it because without it I wouldn't be me. And without that, I wouldn't be helping women today to feel and look better in their skin or helping them achieve 'girl boss' status in their own lives and to me, that is hands down the best feeling in this world. 

Isn't it amazing how much context often lies beneath a photograph?

Why is Gut Health so Important?

I have something wrong with my inner tube.

The inner tube of life that is the digestive system. A gut dysbiosis, leaky gut, autoimmune and the added paperwork of a cheeky parasite which I've gone on to name Pete the parasite. (I figured as he's been sticking around for some time, the least I could do is give him a name).

My first protocol diet and medication cycle failed and I'm now onto my second whilst waiting for a date for blasto infusion. Right now, Pete the para and his pesky mates are lying on lilos and drinking pina coladas, whilst singing 'what else have you got for me?'

They have to go.

The familiar words of 'medication protocol' ring in my head every moment. Every time the protocol fails it means more meds, more time, energy and more money. I'm not sharing this with you to invoke sympathy but merely to highlight the reality of the situation. Often on social media, it can be all too easy to sugarcoat what is actually going on day to day in our lives and for us to not succumb to the pressure of being an all singing, all dancing, ever positive character of life. Even though we know for the most part, those glossy images tell but a fraction of the story, it can be incredibly hard to dissociate ourselves with that fact and even harder to not feel that you're not good enough / thin enough / pretty enough.  

This is why I choose to post the less than perfect images, the iPhone shots where your dinner looks less than chef quality, the pictures with wrinkles and dodgy hair because whilst I love an arty filter as much as everyone else and posting lovely curated images, I also believe it is also important for us to remember that real life still goes on behind the shutter. Often that real life is bleak, ugly and down right less than sexy. So there you have it, my non sexy medication with an arty filter to make it feel a little less beige!
 

Why is a healthy gut so important?

Did you know that there are more than 200 over the counter remedies for digestive disorders, many of which can actually create additional digestive problems? Or that visits for intestinal disorders are among the most common to primary care physicians? I can't tell you the amount of GPs or specialists I've seen, telling me that it's all in my head and here 'have some anti-depressants'  handing them out as if they were sweeties. No my friend, the only thing in my head when you offer me a snap shot solution to a larger problem is the thought of just how absurd it is that you cannot acknowledge bacterias, yeasts and parasitic fungus in the body as a major cause of inflammation, damage and disease in the body.

Having a healthy gut means more than just being inconvenienced by a little bloating or heartburn. It is central to your entire health. It is connected to everything that happens in your body. Somedays, it's the difference between being able to get out of bed or not.

Why is having a healthy gut so damn important? Well, there are five hundred species and three pounds of bacteria in your gut which essentially make your gut a HUGE chemical factory or powerhouse that helps you digest your food, produces vitamins, helps regulate hormones, excrete toxins and produce healing compounds that keep your gut healthy. So no biggie then?

Your entire immune system is protected from the toxic environment in your the gut by a one cell thick layer (just one cell) and if that gets damaged it creates an overactive immune system, producing inflammation throughout the body. This is what we know to be leaky gut.

And then we all know that quote about our guts being our second brains, right?  In fact, your gut nervous system actually contains more neurotransmitters than your brain. If those messages between brain to gut or gut to brain get messed up or altered in anyway then you're pretty much at central station waiting for them to announce your train platform, they might put a few different gates up but ultimately your train is cancelled and you're never leaving that terminal. It's seriously going to affect your health.

Then, of course, your gut has to get rid of all the toxins produced as a byproduct of your metabolism that your liver dumps in, and if things get backed up, the chances of you becoming toxic are extremely high.

Not only that, but whilst all this is going on quietly in the background, your gut then has to try and breakdown all the things you shove down your gullet. From refined sugars, processed fructose to the genetically engineered foods and pesticides. Your poor gut is literally screaming, 'what the hell is all this crap? Don't make me try and break this down!'

All this work just to keep you healthy. It's no wonder our guts are having enough and letting chaps like Pete the parasite wade on in and set up camp.

If you're keen to find out more on how to heal your gut or maintain gut health, I'll be posting how my progress goes over the coming weeks and months.

Pete the parasite, your eviction notice has been served.

Francesca Elizabeth xo