PCOS, hormones and excessive facial hair

This post isn’t my most glamorous….

But for so many women around the world, including myself, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) has many, many unglamorous downsides – including excessive facial hair.

I know my PCOS is going crazy when my facial hair starts to grow very quickly. It’s typically in the same spots; just under my chin and the sides of my face. I pluck, and wax, but within a couple of days the hair is back; and it’s angry. Even though it can be a lot worse it does make me uncomfortable and at times self conscious.

After many conversations with a friend of mine about hair removal for women with hormone imbalances, I decided to give electrolysis a go. Thankfully for me, she has been my (and our!) guinea pig. She has plucked, waxed, done laser and electrolysis; for her, the only treatment which stopped the areas affected by hormones was due to electrolysis. However, it is painful and expensive.

Thankfully my friend researches everything to an inch of its life and has recommended the Advanced Electrolysis Centre in Sydney.

I called to see when the next available appointment was and as I have luck on my side, they had a cancellation and I am going to visit them today. The next available appointment is in three weeks!

I will let you know how I go…..

A Worthy Video #HereIAm

Over the last few months I have been looking into some interesting opportunities and taking time to learn. I needed to do this so that I can learn about myself and remind myself why I genuinely like who I am. I want to constantly find ways to become more aware and improve myself so that I can focus my time and live a life which fulfils the many, and various dimensions to my personality.

One of the areas I have been focusing on is self worth; or in other words how I view myself. Like anyone I have insecurities but I’ve always had a strong understanding of who I am. I’m grateful to have an ability to say “this is who I am, enjoy me or move on.” I don’t completely understand where this came from, but I do remember making conscious decisions along the way to enjoy my life, especially if others don’t agree. Not surprisingly there have been PLENTY of people who do not agree with my choices; mostly because they struggle with their own.

I recently found an Unworthy video which I wanted to share with you. Several plus size bloggers were interviewed about why the size of ones body, shouldn’t define who they are. A message I wholeheartedly support and have done so since I was 8 years old; way before it was in vogue.

But, this message seems to be focused at the more voluptuous lady (like myself). For me, the message needs to be far further reaching than big girls. I am yet to meet a person who doesn’t have an insecurity lurking deep within their soul – some people just have a better way of dealing with it. And, if more people were comfortable with themselves maybe they would be more accepting of themselves and those around them. So, no matter who you are, I hope you can benefit from this message too. And go live YOUR life!!!

 

 

My journey to & beyond anorexia nervosa

 

Earlier this year I joined a Lulu Lemon Summer Series Yoga class, down at Balmoral Beach in Sydney.

I started chatting with the instructor; a gorgeous, blonde and incredibly sweet Canadian. We started talking about bodies, wellness, confidence, body positivity, fitness and health…we focused on mental health. It was at this stage that Lauren opened up about her struggles with anorexia nervosa (more commonly known as anorexia).

The fascinating thing about humans is everyone, EVERYONE has something they struggle with – but the stories which unfold as a result are even more fascinating. How do people find a way to keep moving forward?

I am proud to say that Lauren agreed to pen her story for A Quaintrelle Life. So this is her story about her journey to and beyond anorexia nervosa…..

 

Thank you for the opportunity to share with you the journey my eating disorder – from the beginning to end and all that happened along the way.

I was 10 years old when I first experienced a deep sense of loss and uprooting in my life. My mum sat down with my sister and I, her arms around each of us, and told us that our Dad has just passed away. From the moment I heard the news, I felt unraveled, afraid, and just not okay.

That year was by far one of the toughest yet, and when I was 11 years old, I was hospitalized with anorexia nervosa. After my Dad passed away, I felt depressed and lost my appetite. I wasn’t trying to diet or to lose weight, but food was one of the only things I felt in control of in my life. I felt worthless, that I was fat, and that I was not enough.

My relationship to food became destructive & soon I was limiting and restricting all food into my body. I lost so much weight that my body was hardly functioning and I ultimately lost complete control.

Eating, or controlling my eating, thus became my way of managing the psychological distress, the grief, and the fear that I was experiencing. I became completely disconnected from my body and overwhelmed by my thoughts, leading to feeling hopeless and lost for such a long time.

Eventually, 3 years later, with the support of physicians, psychologists, social workers, nurses, dieticians and my family and friends, I was discharged from the hospital. However, the negative thoughts I had about my body and the struggle I had with food never really subsided, and every day was a battle against the destructive and distorted perceptions I had of my physical self. As you can imagine this lead me to feel more disconnected to my body than ever.

So what changed? The biggest influence on my recovery was my introduction to yoga. Disordered eating and thoughts of being ‘fat’, worthless or not enough are destructive, and for me, yoga has played a meaningful role in reviving my love for my body and myself just as I am.

Disordered eating is like a war against the body, and for me the practice of yoga played a role in reviving it. I am now able to listen to and respect my body, have confidence in myself, and feel empowered. My relationship with food is positive where I don’t restrict what I eat, diet or let food determine or control my sense of self-worth.

It was a long journey that was full of ups and downs, lots and lots of tears and lots of pain. However through the journey there was a lot of growth, learning and understanding of myself and who I am. Fully recovered now, I have a purpose. I have a purpose and have made a commitment to share yoga with those who are on their own recovery journey.

Don’t ever be too afraid to seek help when it doesn’t feel right. Whether your appreciation for yourself isn’t there or your relationship with food is a struggle. You deserve to live in place of joy with yourself, your body and with food – you’re too important not to.

Lauren is a social worker, yoga teacher & fitness instructor. Lauren is the co-founder of Love Body Yoga, a program in partnership with eating disorder treatment centre BodyMatters Australasia, that introduces yoga as a step on the journey to eating disorder recovery.
Lauren also teaches yoga at Yoga Sivana in Mosman & Heat Studios in Balgowlah and is a fitness instructor at Physicore Sydney.

5 Tips for Chub Rub

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This is not a glamorous post but chub rub, or thigh chafe, is a real and serious issue.

Chub rub happens when skin is irritated between thighs because it’s continually rubbing together – it often occurs during summer when it’s hot and humid.

My whole life I’ve had chubby thighs; lets call it a family trait! So without a doubt I am an expert in this field. I have plenty of memories where I could no longer walk because the skin between my legs had been worn away. Thankfully, I have developed my own techniques to manage the situation – often than not, expensive products are not needed! Clearly this post has not been endorsed 😉

Even though thigh rub is often seen as a ‘big girls problem’, there are plenty of people who suffer due to vigorous exercise. My hints to avoid or reduce the symptoms will help a wide variety of people.

Here are my tips to sooth your inner thighs:

 

Powder

We cover babies michelin bums and thighs with talcum powder to prevent nappy rash, and it’s no different for us! This works a treat as it absorbs extra moisture between the legs; however, if it’s a humid day or you’re walking a lot you’ll need to reapply or use with some of the other listed items.

Keep.It. Cool.

This next step is not sexy so you’ll most likely do it alone – or when you’re married :/. When you get home, put the air con on, lay on the couch or on your bed, spread your legs and …. fan it. Yep! Stay there for as long as possible so ensure the remote, computer and snacks are near by.

Keep.It.Dry.

The moisture between your legs is what helps agitates and aggregates the skin. So when you get out of the shower/ocean/steam room/gym make sure you take some time to dry the skin properly and keep it dry! The extra time is worth not feeling the chub rub pain.

Moisturise

When the skin is dry and less inflamed moisturise the buggery out of it. Help the skin repair by feeding it with the good stuff and you can get back to business faster.

Create a protective barrier for the skin

In summer I will often be seen in shorts because it helps protect the skin on my thighs from rubbing together; they also absorb excess moisture. Shorts also allows me to not worry about flashing the goods in very unlady like positions – but thats another story….

I hope these hints have given you a different perspective on how you can avoid chub rub!

Feel free to comment or message me with any other ideas you have to prevent thigh chafe.

 

 

 

How to Spot an Emotional Grown-Up

Over the last 12 months I have realised that being emotionally aware, and then regulating those emotions, is probably the most important practice in living a fulfilling, successful and peaceful life.

I have been lucky to attract some amazing men in my time, but until recently I’ve not really dated. Relationships yes, but dated no. I also reflect on these relationships and it’s clear one or both of us were not ready – but that’s the beauty of age and (hopefully) wisdom!

Going through the motions of chatting with men, meeting them, exploring their personalities and beginning to understand them, has taught me a lot about myself. Mainly the buck always stops with me. My choices, actions and reactions, are mine and mine alone. I still have a long way to go regarding where I want to be, but I’ve become more attune to identifying an emotional grown up and becoming one myself. The pain of falling for someone who isn’t emotionally available is one I will try to avoid wherever possible. The pain of falling for someone who is more emotionally developed is equally as heart wrenching.

When I read this article on Goop.com, I needed to share it with all of you. I found the advice to be very helpful for all elements of my life.

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How to Spot an Emotional Grown-Up

BY ROBIN BERMAN, M.D. AND SONYA RASMINSKY, M.D.

1. Emotional Grown-ups manage their feelings: They don’t pout, slam doors, or give you the silent treatment.

It’s great to be able to express your feelings, but being able to regulate your emotions is the most important quality of an emotional grown-up. When the skill of controlling your emotional thermostat (and it is a skill) isn’t learned in childhood, you end up with a simple on/off switch: On the one hand, there’s unalloyed joy and passion (the fun part); on the other hand, rage or uncontrolled crying in response to insignificant events. We expect to see toddlers screaming in public; but when a middle-aged man yells obscenities at a stranger for cutting in front of him on the road, we wonder what went wrong during his childhood. One of our biggest jobs as parents is to teach our kids how to self-regulate: how to recognize and name their feelings, how to react proportionally, how to calm themselves down. Emotional grown-ups have learned these skills and can keep themselves in check: They can express their feelings without blowing a gasket, and you don’t have to walk on eggshells or worry that they will lose it with the slightest provocation.

2. Emotional Grown-ups use language thoughtfully.

It couldn’t be further from the truth that “sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.” Because words matter, words can wound; and knowing this, emotional grown-ups choose their words carefully. Everyone has moments when they feel that their partner has let them down, but phrases like “How could you be so stupid?” have no place in an intimate relationship. In managing a conflict, words and tone can mean the difference between a defensive response and willingness to change. Take the following example:

“Early in my marriage my husband had a crucial business dinner meeting. He told me that it was important that we be on time and he wanted to leave at 7. In the throes of multitasking—feeding our baby, drying my hair—I realized that it was 7:15 and braced myself, expecting my husband to yell at me like my father used to. But instead of blaming, he looked at me and said, ‘How can I help you in the future? Being on time is important to me, and it seems that you had so much to do before we left. What can I do to make it easier?’ Instead of putting me on the defensive, his language inspired me to want to try harder to be on time in the future. He may have been thinking, ‘What the f?!&!,’ but he chose his words in a way that I could hear him.”

Language can inflame or inspire, and mindful language is a gift. Taking a moment to edit your thoughts and choose your words goes very far in a partnership.

3. Emotional Grown-ups have empathy for others.

Emotional grown-ups try to see things from the other person’s point of view. Let’s say that your mantra is, “Where’s the party?” and your partner’s ideal night is Netflix and ordering in. And yet you make it work. Having empathy doesn’t mean that you agree. You might not even fully understand where your partner is coming from—but it does mean that you do your best to respect and even celebrate their viewpoint. Take the following example:

Bill likes to socialize, but his partner Steve is an introvert and hates to have people over to their home. This was a significant source of conflict in their relationship, as Bill felt guilty about never reciprocating invitations. Steve felt that Bill was being insensitive; Bill felt that Steve was holding their social life hostage. The breakthrough came when Bill came to understand that for Steve, their partnership was enough to sustain him; from Steve’s point of view, Bill’s insistence on being with lots of people felt like a rejection of their dyad. Trying to see things from Steve’s point of view, Bill was able to make more of a conscious effort to spend time together as a couple. At the same time, Steve was able to see that Bill’s desire to be with others was not a personal affront, but rather his way of recharging his social batteries—something that Steve didn’t really need. They came up with a compromise: No more than one social engagement per weekend, and when they did have people over, Bill would act as primary host.

The spirit of compromise is key to being an emotional grown-up. Here’s the mantra for the partnership that goes the distance: If it’s important to you, it’s important to me. When one partner is a neat freak and the other is messy, the messy one has to learn to tidy up—not because she suddenly cares about being neat, but because it’s important to her partner. Sometimes the annoyance of putting the clothes in the laundry hamper or unloading the dishwasher in the morning is worth the peace of mind that it gives your spouse.

4. Emotional Grown-ups own their stuff.

Owning your stuff is the most underrated sexy quality. The real hero isn’t the man who never makes mistakes; it’s the man who owns his mistakes! When emotional grown-ups mess up, they don’t point fingers, make excuses, or blame the circumstances; they take responsibility for their own actions. There’s nothing more appealing than a man who will thoughtfully say, “You’re right; I messed up. Consider it changed.” rather than retort with “But you…” Take the following example:

Jeff and Anna have been married two years and have a new baby. Sleep deprived and overwhelmed, Anna gets frustrated that Jeff doesn’t spend more time helping out at home. When he comes home late for the umpteenth time, Anna is seething. But when the first words out of his mouth are, “I’m so sorry, I screwed up. Let me get you a glass of wine and take the baby,” it’s hard for her to stay mad—especially if it leads to change in the longer term.

Owning mistakes doesn’t make an emotional grown-up weak; it makes them trustworthy and safe, it diffuses conflict and allows people to move beyond blame toward real change. The capacity to hear and incorporate feedback is a gift to the relationship; it helps both people to become their best selves.

5. Emotional Grown-ups don’t keep score.

All this empathizing and stuff-owning can leave us feeling very pleased with ourselves, but it’s hard work that may leave us wondering what we get in return, and whether our partner has done as much. The biggest gift that you can give your relationship is to throw away the scoreboard. Tit-for-tat is not just petty, it’s emotionally damaging. Relationships are give and take, and a generosity of spirit is essential. Keeping track of minutiae—who did the dishes last, who picked up the socks, who put the baby to bed—is a great way to breed resentment. This doesn’t mean that you should give and give without getting anything back; it means that balance is determined not in individual actions, but over time. As long as both partners give freely to one another, the relationship itself is the reward.

6. Emotional grown-ups love and care for themselves.

Emotional grown-ups take care of themselves as well as taking care of you. This means tending to their physical health—exercising, not using alcohol to self medicate or marijuana to escape, making healthy food choices, getting enough sleep—and also being attuned to their own emotional needs. It feels good to be needed, and having a partner who depends on you may be appealing. But in the end, people need to be responsible for their own well-being.

What’s true for your partner is also true for you. If you expend all of your energy looking after others without recharging your batteries, you’ll burn out. We charge our cell phones every night; why not ourselves? For people who are natural givers, this is a hard lesson to learn. But if your partner is consistently asking you to put aside your own needs for the sake of the relationship, that should be a red flag. Self-care is not selfish; it’s essential.

There’s a Dutch legend about a young boy who goes out walking one night by the canals. A storm comes to the area, and the water begins to rise. The boy notices a hole in the dike, and knows that if the hole is not plugged, the entire area will flood. Instead of returning home, he stops and puts his finger in the dike, spending the whole night outside in the cold, lying on his stomach, keeping the city safe. In the story, a towns person comes by in the morning and summons help, and the boy is a local hero. But what happens if no one comes by, or no one calls for help? Our friend says, “My natural impulse in relationships has always been to put my own needs aside and to think about the other person. I have the image of putting my finger in the dike to keep the floodgates from opening, except I’m putting my whole body in the dike. At first I feel like a hero, and then I realize that I can’t move.”

7. Emotional grown-ups plan and follow through.

We can fantasize about a free-spirited partner who whisks us off to Fiji on the spur of the moment with only a bathing suit and a toothbrush. But the reality is that long-term relationships require long-term planning. Children have the luxury of living exclusively in the here and now; grown-ups have to think about the future. The practical necessities of paying the rent and putting food on the table—not to mention paying for college and retirement—require a certain amount of planning. Emotional grown-ups have a plan and they follow through. If they promise to pick up the kids at a certain time, they’ll be there. If they are running late, they call. Trusting your partner is one key to feeling safe in a relationship. For emotional grown-ups, actions and words align.

8. Emotional grown-ups fight clean, not mean.

All couples disagree. It’s how you argue that makes all the difference in the world. Emotional grown-ups stick to the issue at hand; they call out your behavior rather than generalizing about your character. Instead of “What kind of a person spends $300 on a pair of jeans?” they say, “I really wish that money wasn’t an issue because you look amazing in those jeans, but the truth is I worry about how we’re spending our money.” While it’s tempting to bring up old arguments to prove why you’re right, or to pile old grudges on to the new, statements like “You always…” or “You never…” have no place in a grown-up argument.

Emotional grown-ups express their feelings without name-calling, blaming, shaming, or devaluing the other person. Cheap shots (“And by the way, you DO look fat in those jeans!”) and hitting below the belt (“You’re such a loser, just like your father!”) are not in their repertoire. We all like to win, but when you love someone, staying connected is more important than being right. Reality TV-style conflict makes good TV, but it makes terrible reality.

9. Emotional grown-ups can be flexible.

Emotional grown-ups know that there are multiple ways to get from A to B. Sometimes it’s important to let go of the need to always be right. Mothers are particularly guilty of this one: Wanting Dad to take his turn with baby, and then being upset that he doesn’t feed her the organic veggies, get her to nap at the “right” time, or put all the toys away in their proper place. Sharing responsibility means truly sharing—accepting the idea that if someone else is in charge, they get to make the rules. We all benefit from being exposed to new ways of doing things. Not only do both ways often work, but together they create a richer overall experience. Take the following example:

“We were never allowed to have junk food in the house, but when my mother had late meetings, my father would always take us to the drive-through. I have wonderful memories of open windows, music blasting, and the sweet smell of French fries. Those evenings with my father were truly special—memories of freedom and spontaneity.”

Recognizing that there is more than one way to be right leads to mutual respect—and an appreciation for your partner’s way of seeing things. Sameness is not closeness. The poet Khalil Gibran enjoined us to “fill each other’s cup but do not drink from one cup,” stressing the importance of maintaining your individuality in the context of a relationship. Appreciating your partner not only for the qualities and interests that you share, but also for those that you do not, enriches both of your lives.

10. Emotional grown-ups don’t need to be propped up.

Emotional grown-ups score low on narcissism. Narcissists take up all the air in the room; in order to feel good about themselves, they need others to adore them. When you live with a narcissist, it’s a full-time job attending to their needs—often so much so that you forget that you have needs of your own. It can feel good to bask in the reflected glory of your partner’s success. But here’s the problem: no matter how attentive you are to your narcissistic partner, you can never fill them up. Most of the time, they never get around to taking care of you.

Emotional grown-ups, on the other hand, can come into a room and say “There you are!” instead of “Here I am!” They may not be as flashy or colorful, but they are secure enough in themselves that they don’t need someone else to constantly prop them up. They both give and receive support. They are thrilled with their partner’s success—not as a reflection of them, but on its own merits. The highest form of romance is to be truly seen for who you are—and that requires a partner who can see outside the lens of his own reflection.

So what’s next?

Finding an emotional grown-up applies to both sides of a partnership. Before being with an emotional grown-up, you have to be an emotional grown-up. The movie Jerry McGuire did a head-trip on us with the line, “You complete me.” The phrase suggests that finding the right person will fill an emotional void; that love transforms us out of immaturity. On the contrary, love is the reward for doing the work of transformation! Any psychiatrist worth their salt knows that you don’t get anywhere simply by trying to get other people to change. At the end of the day, the major thing that stops us from finding an emotional grown-up may be that we have some growing up to do ourselves. If we cultivate these virtues in ourselves, they are much easier to spot in others. Now we are at the heart of the real fairy tale.

Robin Berman, MD is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, and the author of, Permission to Parent: How to Raise Your Child With Love and Limits.

Sonya Rasminsky, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at University of California, Irvine. She has a private practice in Newport Beach, specializing in women’s mental health.

Changing The Way We Think About Food

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As you know, I am currently undertaking a radical shift in the way I eat until the end of February; no refined carbohydrates and no dairy (other than the occasional coffee).

When I saw this article on Goop.com, it came at the right time. It’s clear that I am struggling to maintain such a shift in my diet, so articles like the one below have been useful to keep me on track; in addition to keeping keeping my eye on the bigger picture.

However, in a typical situation, with work, family, social life and so on, my best intentions don’t always match what I actually put in my mouth. Below are some new ways to forge new pathways into the brain to change the way we think about food—and about our own ability to eat better.

 

Going Mind-to-Table

I’m going to come right out and say it: The way we’ve been thinking about New Year’s wellness resolutions is deeply flawed. Like clockwork, every January we vow to subsist on salad and protein, to steer clear of sugar and alcohol, and to exercise like maniacs.

But what we’re missing is the real groundwork to make lasting, sustainable changes; to execute new behaviors that become habits; and to keep honoring them after that tropical vacation or much-anticipated social event. I think about this a lot because I’m in the business of helping people make healthy changes for the right reasons. Changes that really stick because, over time, the behaviors take less effort to execute. Eventually, it feels pretty good to keep them up.

Researchers have examined the success rates of New Year’s resolutions and found that people tend to crush it in January, but start dropping off after that. By the next holiday season, we tend to be right back where we started…sometimes a step or two behind. We scold ourselves for lacking self-control, and then, as if the prior year was a fluke, we recommit to the same resolutions all over again.

How can so many of us be so tremendously motivated to lose weight but not follow through? (Hint: It’s not because we’re the worst.) I’d argue we’re actually stacking the odds against ourselves because you can’t change your weight or your lifestyle until you change your mindset.

Knowing What You Need to do Is Not Enough

I realized something career-altering early on in my practice: Most of my clients could immediately rattle off all the things they ought to be doing—limiting added sugar, exercising portion control, making better choices at restaurants, and not self-sabotaging. The biggest problem was not knowing how to make the changes. So, while I still make meal plans and talk portion sizes, a big part of my practice is not just about what to change, but how to change. And not just for a week or a month.

Willpower: A Misunderstood Skill

Have you ever come home after a grueling day with every intention of whipping up a healthy meal, only to find yourself eating cereal over the sink? Or put off a morning workout for “later” only to be burned out at the end of a brutal workday? This phenomenon is called ego-depletion. We all have a self-discipline fuel tank that we use throughout the day—checking off our to-do lists, moderating emotions, making big decisions. Once our tanks are empty, we’re much more likely to make impulsive decisions that aren’t consistent with what we really want. No wonder we throw in the towel on our wellness goals!

Before you get discouraged, I want to clear up a couple of things. For starters, willpower is not a trait some of us are born with and others are not. It’s a skill. In this context, it’s the ability to pause and consider our wellness goals before jumping on an impulse (for instance, choosing berries for dessert instead of a decadent baked good). Yes, it’s hard, but the good news is willpower is like a muscle—it can be built up.

Making Your Mind Fit

Weighing short-term wants (like sugar) against big-picture wellness goals requires a good deal of focus and attention. A lot of this work goes down in the prefrontal cortex area of the brain, which regulates thoughts, emotions, and decision-making. Although this area is the most evolved region of the brain, it’s also the most vulnerable to stress. Even periodic instances of unchecked stress can dramatically impede its functioning. This is why so many office dwellers end up hitting the communal pantry for stale-ish pretzels when their inboxes feel insurmountable. Luckily, it’s possible to adapt our conditioning toward these types of triggers, giving us more flexibility and perspective when the s%&# inevitably hits the fan.

Until 20 years ago, it was assumed that only young brains were able to form new connections between nerve cells. Thankfully, we’re actually much more flexible than that. Our brains undergo constant structural and connective changes throughout life in response to experiences and specific, directed thoughts through a process called neuroplasticity. This means we can develop favorable skills and behaviors (like better self-control, for instance), even if those skills and behaviors don’t come naturally to us.

“Mind-fitness” happens by focusing on skills that make us feel more in charge of our decisions. Skills like self-regulation are especially important for sustained weight loss because they help us remain clear-headed under pressure. This gives us more objectivity when considering short-term wants versus big-picture goals, and better impulse control. You can imagine how helpful this ability is when you’re over-tired or post-breakup at a portion-less dinner.

Slowing down and focusing on moment-to-moment experiences improves self-regulation, which is why you can’t walk five steps without someone talking about the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. But I’ve found that simply telling someone to eat more mindfully is usually eye-roll-inducing at best. People know they should be more present while they’re eating, but many don’t know how. So I started recommending techniques that help remedy that.

Goals, Goals, Goals

Since a significant part of making healthy choices comes down to considering your big-picture wellness goals, it’s crucial to understand what they are.

  1. What is it you want?
  2. What’s motivating you?
  3. Are your goals realistic?

Ask yourself these questions and dig deep. If you want to lose weight because your mother or partner hints that you should, I’d strongly consider re-evaluating. If you want to lose weight because you believe once you do you’ll finally land your dream job or dream partner, I’d urge you to re-evaluate again. But if you’re motivated to make lifestyle changes because you want to feel better, more confident, and to be a leaner, stronger, healthier version of yourself, you’re headed in the right direction.

The next important step is making sure your goals are within reach. Setting realistic goals helps you stick with them, rather than getting discouraged when you can’t follow through. Instead of making blanket declarations like “I’m quitting sugar,” opt for something more reasonable like, “I’m avoiding all added sugar in coffee, salad dressings, nut butters, etc., but I’m still going to have one fruit a day, and portion-controlled complex carbs, like 1/2 cup beans or lentils and 1/2 a sweet potato.”

Once your goals are clear, write them down on a notepad or on your phone, and keep them available to you as a reminder.

Know Your Roadblocks

Understanding and empathizing with your roadblocks is crucial, because it helps identify specific strategies. One of my clients was having a particularly hard time with dinner. She loved cooking, but felt overwhelmed by how many recipes she had pinned and screen-shotted. She felt pressure to constantly try out new recipes, but by the time she got home from work and decided on one, a Postmate was already en route. Also, she used to go to the farmer’s market weekly, but found she only used her produce some of the time, so she stopped altogether because she felt guilty about wasting food. So now there were never any fresh veggies on hand to whip up a healthy dinner.

The solution here was pretty straightforward: structure and self-compassion. Instead of worrying about the self-imposed pressure of whipping up new dishes every week, we sat down and made a list of her favorite dishes to rotate through. She could experiment once a week if she felt inspired, but it wasn’t something she had to do in order to feel successful. Since she knew what she was cooking ahead of time, she could Instacart the ingredients from work. Structure and planning always come up in my sessions because when we provide more structure (like having pre-determined recipes and groceries en-route) we don’t actually need as much discipline. The second part was about letting go of the guilt of wasting food. We can all agree that wasting food is a bummer and we’d rather not if we can avoid it but, in my client’s case, the guilt of potential food waste was preventing her from stocking up on fresh produce. Letting go of that guilt meant setting herself up for the week.

 

Scallops and Chorizo

I typically choose recipes based on taste and ease. I am not a talented cook, so it needs to be easy! I also have a kitchen the size of a shoe box.

As I was scrolling through Instagram, I saw an AMAZINGLY delicious picture of a Nigella Lawson dish – scallops and chorizo. YUM!

Versatility is also really important to me, and this dish is perfect for a quick mid-week meal, albeit a bit extravagant, or a diner party.

As it’s refined carbohydrate and dairy free, I too have been able to enjoy it despite my current dietary requirements.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

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Recipe found: Nigella.com

 

  • 110 grams of chorizo
  • 400 grams small scallops (halve them to make 2 thinner discs if they are very fat)
  • juice of ½ lemon 
  • tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

 

  1. Slice the chorizo into rounds no thicker than 3mm / 1/8 inch.
  2. Heat a heavy-based pan on the hob and, when hot, dry-fry the chorizo round until crisped on either side (the chorizo will give out plenty of its own oil); this should take no more than 2 minutes.
  3. Remove the chorizo to a bowl and fry the scallops in the chorizo-oil for about 1 minute a side.
  4. Return the chorizo to the pan with the scallops, add the lemon juice and let bubble for a few seconds before arranging on a serving plate and sprinkling with lots of parsley.

Additional information – for gluten free most chorizo is gluten free but please check packaging.