If there was a healthy magical supply of energy that we could reach for whenever we needed a pick me up, we would be grabbing at it with all possible hands, right? Well, then this next read is for you - how to get energised whenever and wherever. Before the gym, in the middle of your workout, in the morning before work, important social occasion after a full day of work? I’ve got you covered.
Words by Frou Williams.
I love looking at what types of food our ancestors ate. Why? Because humans have long evolved and adapted on a variety of different diets and I for one, personally believe there is no one diet that we should all follow.
By and large, humans - especially in the west - have narrowed the range of foods that they willingly consume, compared to what they 'could' consume. Ever seen insects or grubs on the menu in your favourite restaurant? The chances are slim to none. Why? With the advancement of transportation and communication, food cultures have merged and cross-pollinated.
As eaters today, we have the freedom to eat and explore culinary delights quite literally to our hearts content, fuelled by personal preference rather than a need for survival. Simply put, we eat more for pleasure. Of course that doesn't take into account, allergies or intolerances. Which is where the cult of 'healthy eating' as we know it has sprung up. The problem with healthy eating diets is that they are still exactly that; a diet - and any diet sets about convincing its followers, that this is the one and only way for a healthy and prosperous life. Advocating only one way of eating is dangerous as it reinforces rules and creates disordered eating.
If you look at Tudor food, culinary delights would have been considered broth of grasshoppers lung, braised wasp, fly head pie, jellied bat's foot and stewed spleen. Sounds delicious right? 😰
And what we might consider as pesky Seagulls were actually one of the more expensive delicacies in Tudor England so consider that next time you're queuing for your fish and chips on Brighton beach! 🍟🐟
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.
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?
Words by Frou Williams.
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:
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!
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.
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 😉
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 FIAFitnation, Beautiful You, The 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?