In todays article I want to take you through a secret formula;
One that you may not even be aware of!
Something that can hold back ALL your weight loss efforts...
STRESS - and how it can totally STALL your weight loss progress.
But fear not! My easy 5 step method to manage your stress will help you start taking action TODAY to improve your weight loss.
Levels of "the stress hormone," cortisol, rise during tension-filled times.
This can turn your overeating into a habit.
Because increased levels of the hormone also help cause higher insulin levels, your blood sugar drops and you crave sugary, fatty foods.
Most of us think we know what stress is and how it feels:
But another, more subtle kind of stress can lurk beneath the surface...
It’s what happens inside our bodies when we’re continually exposed to the din of construction noise, the uncertainty of a pandemic, the scars of childhood trauma, or the never-ending pressures of parenthood, work, and finances.
These hidden stressors can be so constant that we don’t register them. They’re a part of the backdrop, woven seamlessly into our “normal.”
Over time, however, as they accumulate, hidden stressors can wear us down— leaving us feeling foggy, listless, tired, bloated, and sore.
When we have a Stress Bod, we might not feel rested, even after sleeping more than 8 hours. So we turn to caffeine, sugar, salt, and fat as energy-sustaining (and coping) substances.
And if we ignore our body’s messages to “take it easy” and instead try to power through an intense workout, we’ll likely find that we can’t pump out as many reps or lift as heavy or run as quickly as we used to.
We might even get injured or sick.
If you’ve been beating yourself up for skipping workouts, gulping down boxes of toaster pastries, or mindlessly scrolling social media when you’re supposed to be, a-hem, working, we’ve got four words for you:
Give yourself a break.
You might be in a situation that happens to be incredibly common, especially this year, given the general state of uncertainty and unrest unfolding all around us.
For example, in April 2020, the percentage of people living in the UK who were experiencing significant mental distress rose to 27 percent of people surveyed, up from 19 percent the year before.
You’re not stuck. You can do something about this.
The guys at Precision Nutrition do a great job of illustrating this one:
Do any of these resonate with you?
*Just a side note- allostatic load is NOT just the negative stressors on your life; exercise whilst beneficial is a stressor and has to be managed to get you the results you're looking for. You cannot become your Best Version Yet whilst juggling an overload of stress.
Your GP or Dr can rule out any underlying health concerns such as anemia first and foremost.
That might take the form of;
At the start of your day: Wake time, how you feel, how you slept, heart rate and temperature
During the Day- What you eat/drink, how you feel, exposure to hidden stressors
At the end of your day; How you feel, time you go to sleep
Quality nutrition, sleep and self care can minimise the impact of stress on stalling your weight loss nut like with anything in life, an all or nothing approach is counterproductive!
Focus instead on your health practices like dials; experiment with turning them up a notch at a time:
If you'd like to watch my FREE Webinar on the topic click here: WATCH ME
Love and Light
Firstly what is a morning routine, and whats the big deal when it comes to weight loss?
Lots of my new clients look at me with a quizzical look when i explain to them initially that we're going to take a look at their morning routine;
But WHY Nikki?
How is THAT going to help me lose weight?
Allow me to explain...
It's a set of habits or motions that you go through when you wake up.
It helps to set your day up in the right way and can have some drastic effects on your focus and productivity.
You could do anything from exercising and journaling to reading and meditating.
The morning routine helps us set the tone for the day, better allowing us to control our emotions, schedules and lives rather than our day controlling us.
As we start each day fresh, we can better focus on what is in front of us, where to prioritise our energy, time, and, ultimately, increase our productivity and feeling of fulfilment
The simplest way to think about the benefits it to imagine the...
Are you struggling with your weight?
Waking feeling harassed?
Stressed before you even begin the day?
Irritable from the get go?
These are common complaints from new Coaching clients.
And not being a 'morning' person isnt to blame! Find out why!
Do you wake up every day full to the brim with worries, self doubt, stress, anxiety, busyness?
Your imaginary coffee cup is full, so the smallest thing means you dont feel you have space to deal with it, and its starts to overflow!
Now Imagine, How it would feel to wake with an empty coffee cup every morning....
Micro stress doses (or MSDs) are little hits of stress which can from the growing list of emails that we still need to respond to, notifications about payments due on the energy bill, or guilt we may feel for not checking in with our elderly parents.
These all add to our coffee cup overflowing each morning.
Multiple studies show how stress and lack of sleep can lead to an increase in your cortisol levels.
Increased cortisol and constantly being in a fight/flight or freeze response leads to higher higher levels, less emotional resilience and willpower and ultimately weight gain!
Ok Nikki, so how do i empty the coffee cup?
And by implementing a few of the following tips into your daily life it can dramatically reduce your stress and anxiety levels and lead to a calmer more fulfilled and productive day!
Theres some simple steps to creating a morning routine that will stick!
Decide what you want to acheive....
Before deciding on a highly demanding morning ritual, consider what you need to achieve and work backwards from there. If you have to make it to work on time, clean, well-dressed, and fully caffeinated, start with building a routine that allows you to do that—and then you can add in some weight training or meditation.
On the other hand, if you struggle to get focused in the mornings, maybe a bit of physical activity or mindfulness practice is exactly what you’re after.
Don’t go overboard all at once...
Like with any self-improvement plan, it’s easy to go from zero to 100 and back to zero again with your morning routine.
The easiest way to build new morning habits is to piggyback them onto your existing routines. You can easily use the time you wait for your coffee to cool—which you probably spend scrolling through social media—journaling, if that’s what you want.
If you want to work on meditation, start with five minutes as soon as you get out of bed, or even 10 mindful breaths in the shower.
Morning routines start the night before
Consider the ideal ritual you’re trying to build and look for both trouble points and opportunities to do more the night before. If there’s a way to head off a predictable potential problem with a bit of preparation, take it.
While most of the focus is on what you do after you wake up, what you do before you even go to bed can determine how successful your morning routine will be.
If you want to get to the gym, don’t start your day digging through your laundry—take the time to get your washing done and leave your bag packed and ready before bed
Stick with it
Once the initial flush of excitement fades, sticking with new routines is hard work.
Obviously, everyone will miss a day from time to time, but it’s important to not let skipping your routine become the routine. If life gets in the way, don’t overthink it and just continue where you left off.
Adapt and thrive
There is no perfect morning routine—only the one that’s perfect for you. And it is perfect because it gets what you need done, and therefore, you can stick to it.
If your morning routine still isn’t coming together despite your best intentions, then take a step back and reconsider what you’re doing. Change a few things, iron out any trouble points, and try again
I hope thats given you some insight on how to harness the power of your morning routine for weight loss in 5 simple steps
Your Future Coach
SOS! Scales Fluctuations!
I wanted to explain something to you today that KEEPS COMING UP! I'm sure you can relate to feeling stressed AF over the scales and their fluctuations at some point? I'm going to explain the REASONS behind WHY they fluctuate & why you don't need to FREAK OUT every time they do!
Sometimes the things we enjoy can also cause us stress.
Ever heard the saying, 'Too much of a good thing can be negative"Take scrolling social media for instance It can be entertaining and fun—and help you feel better connected to friends. But as everyone knows…
There’s also a pretty dark side to scrolling on Insta/Tiktok continuously too...And i'm not just talking about all the doom and gloom that comes from negative news in the world. For example, it’s probably not shocking that spending time on Instagram can lead to greater body dissatisfaction, more appearance comparison, and a worse mood and anxiety. But what might be surprising: Scrolling Instagram can have negative effects on mental health in just seven minutes, according to a 2020 study. What’s more, previous research found that women who posted selfies reported feeling more anxious, less confident, and less physically attractive afterward. Thats a HUGE impact on your self confidence and self esteem that i think we can all agree we could do without!
People around us influence how we perceivably value ourselves.social comparison theory.Hello Influencer! haha It’s human nature to compare ourselves to friends, neighbours, and coworkers. There’s even a name for it:
"According to social comparison theory, individuals determine their own social and personal worth based on how they measure up against others. Hence, they make comparisons in terms of wealth, intelligence, and success, for example."In order to gauge our “success” in any given area of life—including our physical appearance—we look to one another for points of reference. And if we don’t feel like we measure up? It can make us hate on ourselves.
Trouble is... we didn't evolve to compare ourselves to the entire world via social media; our ancient brains (which helped us out to figure the pecking order out 2000 years ago) can't keep up with the jones's in the UK... and the USA... and the rest of Europe or Africa for that matter!
So we end up totally confused, despondent and feeling an ever sense of social comparison theory; who knew?!
Comparison really is the thief of joy!
Social media exacerbates all this. ⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️Before the age of the internet, we were limited to comparing ourselves to people in our actual lives—our colleagues, family members, and fellow “villagers.” A smaller social circle meant we were only exposed to people with eight-packs and eight-figure businesses occasionally. Now, with a couple of taps, we’re exposed to hundreds of “peers” who are both models and millionaires—and seemingly winning at relationships, parenting, health, and every other aspect of life.
If you are persistently feeling inadequate—and you are experiencing heightened stress, anxiety, or negative emotions as a result—take a long hard look at your social media use. (or abuse!)While it’s not likely social media is the lone cause of these feelings, it could be “piling on” to other contributors. All of which can worsen your mental and emotional well-being and make healthy nutrition and lifestyle behaviours even harder to maintain. That’s why we often encourage clients to take a two-week social media break
Now i know that can sound… terrifying. 😳🤯
Now... HOW do you do that?!
How to Take a Social Media BreakThe obvious approach here is to log out of social media entirely or better yet, delete the app... But it’s not enough to just take a break. You want to gain awareness and truly notice how the experience affects you and your habits: During the down time you will want to note:
To stay motivated, focus on the potential benefits of this social break. You'll be surprised with what you gain;
If you’ve found life is better without social media, keep in mind: It doesn’t have to be all or nothing remember that.You could implement some new boundaries around social media use (including an audit of who you follow), and leave space for the parts of it that are good for your mental and emotional health. Of course, social media is just one example of the many, many hidden and not-so-hidden stressors that mess with our well-being.
If you want to learn more about how stress impacts everything from eating behaviours, weight loss and sleep watch here:
IB; The team at Precision Nutrition
Why set goals? I this question a lot from my clients. Until quite recently , it didn’t previously occur to me that there is a lot of misunderstanding and confusion about goals and why they're so vital for your progress...
People just don’t know why they set goals and what the benefits are. If they do it, it’s because someone told them it is important. But do you actually know why?
To me, goal setting is a natural thing to do, but even I find a great motivation to “remind” myself why is it important to set goals.
I say it's a "natural' thing for me to do; when i actually thats not entirely true: I've conditioned myself over years of sporting events, or dance shows and bodybuilding competitions to understand innately the benefits to my progress when i have clearly defined goals and a vision set out ahead of me.
Goal setting may seem like an arduous task but without the following you cannot expect yourself to make and continue to keep making life changing choices and decisions.
Goal setting/ Vision Planning helps us align our actions with the things we value most highly and reverse engineer that outcome to happen.
Think of the concept like this:
You jump in your car, pop the Sat-Nav on and start driving... but where to?... why? ... what are you hoping to achieve? Are you going the right way?
Compare that instead to having crystal clear defined goals and outcomes; You jump in your car with a specific destination in mind, you know exactly what route to take, how long it likely to be, any potential hold ups on route and you are clear about where you are going!
Makes it muuuuuuucccccchhhhhh easier to stick with the route. Your goals for your weight loss are no different.
Goal setting helps us by giving us:
Ultimately setting goals, achieving goals and even failing goals helps you learn… learn about yourself, learn about others.
And this helps you learn, change and grow to become your Best Version Yet.
If you'd like more personalised help with your goal setting dont hesitate to reach out!
Id be happy to help!
Love and Light,
How do you guarantee results in a world where everything is designed for immediate validation and at the tips of our fingers?
It’s a difficult question to answer in our modern era: we want business results fast, we wa
nt immediate growth; validation of our efforts instantly, we want weight loss yesterday! and unfortunately the modern world is designed to give us that…
We can order food at a click and have it delivered within 15 mins!
We can order a film online and watch it immediately!
Same day Amazon prime delivery….
We’ve created a society where we expect things instantly. Is there any wonder we expect weight loss to be the same?
This instant gratification therefore rubs off on multiple areas of our personal life : take weight loss or muscle tone for example; after living in a society that glamourises the quick, the fast the hustle; weight loss isn’t sexy or convenient because it… takes…time. Time that we dont feel we have, time we feel we're stripped from with our busy hustle lives, family commitment, children and social circles.
But what if you flipped the script on weight loss and our expectations?
What if you started to embrace the process and find a solution that felt as good as it looks instead of the the next quick fix shake detox?
The truth be told; anything worth having takes time, diligence and consistency. But that doesn’t have to mean it’s arduous and hard.
Truth be told; the only strategy that will work with your health and fitness goals is the one you can stick to consistently.
Its something I teach my clients directly inside Best Version Yet; my online programme to help busy women lose weight, rediscover unstoppable self confidence and build better habits for the rest of their lives by bridging the gap between self- mastery, personal development and cutting edge nutrition coaching.
Check out some of the transformations here
So... tips to create consistency:
1- Create an environment of growth mindset- Things dont have to be 'perfect' straight away. Small manageable steps and chunks to make lasting changes are much more realistic.
2- Expect your results to take longer than you anticipated; This isnt a quick fix, this is a lifestyle change, be compassionate enough to yourself that you change your timeline on your results to become process driven; the outcome will be a natural bi-product of those changes.
3- Get some help; Arguably you've been rattling around not knowing what to do for the best for some time; get some personalised help from a coach or mentor who can look objectively where you are and create a strategised plan to move you forwards.
4- Work on stacking new habits with current ones; want to walk more? Chose to park your car further away at the train station you already drive to every day. Want to eat healthier at lunch, create a portion big enough to take with you when you make dinner the night before.
5- Create a routine which you can stick to! No use telling yourself you have to go to the gym 5 nights per week when you know its likely 3- create an environment for success and you'll feel more inclined to keep doing it- thats what counts in the long term after-all.
Some food for thought… pardon the pun!
Love and Light
As a family, spend some time creating a mind map/lists of things you would like to do over the holidays.
Put these onto post it notes and create a six week calendar. Plan in the bigger, more expensive events.
Things to do at home and free or smaller activities can always been placed on the calendar each week or day.
Extra ideas:-Colour code the type of activity-Add chores onto the calendar-Teach children resilience, responsibility and consequences where they can earn being able to choose the activity to put on the calendar for the day.
Add meals onto the calendar
Sit down for 10 minutes at the start of each week and plan in your daily exercise time.
Stick to it and be consistent.
Get your children involved in your targets.
See if they can come up with challenges for you all to complete to help you achieve them.
Keeping fit challenges
-Creating indoor obstacle course
-Holding a family sports day
-Who can do the most steps in a day?
Geocaching is a very fun, exciting and adventurous activity for all the family
. Download the geocaching app and find hidden treasure trails near you. There are lots of places to explore all over the UK.
Joe Wicks, Go Noodle, Just Dance, Cosmic Kids Yoga –all of these are free online resources which are fun and promote fitness.
You can easily build one of these into part of your day.
Whilst they are aimed at children, there is nothing stopping you joining in as well.
There are two things which are going to ensure this happens –planning and sticking to the plan.
Sit down as a family and come up with meals for the week.
Try and eat at the same time as the children, this will give you quality time and also stop you being tempted to pick at their left overs because you are hungry and haven’t prepared your own food yet.
With advanced meal preparation, your life can be made that little bit easier, especially during the school holiday chaos.
Try to be mindful of your snacking habits. If you find yourself munching just because there’s food around —and not because you’re hungry —think about having snacks in the house available which won’t ruin your hard work.
Have themed meals planned in. Example themes are: countries from around the world, giving the children the chance to plan, prep and cook new food and favourite restaurants or takeaways such as TGI Fridays or Pizza. Children can be involved by creating menus, posters or props etc
Have children in the kitchen helping with cooking at least once a week has lots of benefits. From an educational point of view –it includes maths skills (weighing, counting, timings); teaches responsibility, nutritional information and a really important life skill.
It also helps them understand more where food comes from, it will keep them actively occupied, and also help them to be a part of a healthy eating regime.
Where possible batch cook and freeze for future meals where you need sometime quick. It will mean you are sticking to plan.
The expectation of ‘big days out’ can be overwhelming for parents and become a stressful experience.
It is better to have a few well-planned out days out where you can plan and save funds ahead of time rather than feeling like the entire holiday needs to be full of expensive trips out.
Picnics are easy to stay on track as you plan and prep everything in advance. Using cool boxes means that where ever you are going for your day out,you do not need to worry about your nutritional targets.
Eating out at places you visit also tend to be expensive and there isn’t always many healthy options. Children can be involved in the process of shopping for and prepping the picnic food. There are plenty of free or cheap options for days out. Most of these will enable you to hit your step target for the day.
My go to place for finding places to go and visit is https://miltonkeyneskids.com/I can’t rate this site enough, it covers all areas within an hour of Milton Keynes near where I live. Your own area will have a similar site if you search online.Definitely worth having a look through.
Two more good websites which give you lots of vouchers, discounts and ideas for days out across the UK are :
https://www.kidspass.co.uk/(They are £1 to join as a 30 day trial).
Finally, if you are on Facebook there is a good private group called ‘Mum to Mum Northamptonshire’ which is worth joining to get ideas.
There is nothing wrong with spending the day at home.
PJ days with a home cinema and games is a fantastic day.
Having time each day for all members of the family to have some downtime to relax and choose what they want to do is important.
Whether this is watching something, reading a book, colouring or having a bath –it is important it happens.
It allows the brain and body to recharge, school holidays tend to be an exhausting time.
Boredom isn’t bad. It gives children a chance to be creative, to explore, and to improve using their initiative, imagination and problem solving skills.
They’re also able to choose activities that match their mood. If your child's feeling energetic, they’ll be physically active; if they’re tired, they may find a restful thing to do.
Boredom also promotes resilience, as they learn to get through something that, to a child, can feel tough or stressful.
You sometimes have to think outside of the box with finding things to do at home. There are lots of websites you can look at to get ideas. Google is your friend!
Think about all of the roles you current hold within all the different parts of your life, for example: a mother, a partner, a teacher.
Each one of these is like a ball which we are constantly juggling to keep them up.
When we are in our usual routine it can be hard to keep all the balls in the air so when we then have to adapt to six weeks off schedule it can cause even more stress and anxiety for all.
Particularly in the summer children can be dealing with anxiety around changing of routines, the changes at school and wondering what September will bring.
But there are ways to combat these stresses and worries.
For children, make sure you maintain healthy routines.
Keep them on a reasonable bedtime schedule and eating healthy foods.
If they are having worries, talk about those and come up with an action plan. While it’s tempting to stay out later in the school holidays —and the odd late night for a special occasion is unlikely to cause harm —try to stick to their normal bedtime routine and encourage your child to get enough sleep for their age:
Ages 0to 2: 12 to 14 hours
Ages 3 to 5: 10 to 13 hours
Ages 6 to 13: 9 to 11 hours
Ages 14 to 17: 8 to 10 hours
For adults, try not to overload yourself with pressures at home (and at work).
Schedule in some quiet times, and some time for yourself.
Stressed individuals commonly have high levels of cortisol, a hormone that’s released in response to stress.
Chronically high cortisol levels may causeweight gain.
Additionally, a stressful lifestyle may cause more cravings for junk food. For these reasons, it’s important to keep stress levels under control in general —but especially during the holidays, when you might be busy and surrounded by unhealthy foods.
It is important to schedule in some relaxing time for yourself as taking care of your own wellbeing and mindset.
Being able to have good mental health and a positive mindset is a very valuable tool to stay ahead on your health journey. The majority of this article has been about planning, planning, planning.
It is important to stay flexible however for when things pop up, (which they will –often!) This way you will never be caught off guard which may see you ditching yourhealthy lifestyleentirely. Be kind to yourself, go make some memories and have fun!
I hope Abbis experience and knowledge has helped you get some valuable ideas to survive the summer holidays, keep sane and continue to progress!
Love and Light
First things first, we all have downtime/holidays/events and occasional slip ups where we lose sight of where we need to go and the overall goal.
Its easy to get find the overwhelm kick right in after your return from holiday or even after a little bit of down time; It can leave you feeling uncertain, frustrated and fearful you'll never get back on track!
Breaks, downtime and slip ups are PART of the process Rest is part of work The key to success is found in your daily routine Consistency is born from habit and repetition NOT motivation.
Without a clear vision/goal we are rudderless and none of our actions have meaning or purpose;
“If you kinda sorta have a plan, then you’ll kinda sorta have results,” says Ramsey Bergeron, certified personal trainer and owner of Bergeron Well-Being.
“Have specifics in mind of what you want your weight loss to look like.” Bergeron recommends setting SMART goals to hold yourself accountable.
1️⃣ Focus on having good quality food in the house day 1 ; go shopping/ order online : make it easy and convenient to make better decisions.
2️⃣ NAIL your hydration upon return especially if a little alcohol was consumed : it’ll rehydrate you and remove and water retention.
3️⃣ Focus on hitting your nutrition targets upon return work hard to make them accurate; that’s the easiest way to feel back in control. Yes it takes some conscious thought.
Ok that's day 1 nailed... now what though? Layer it back in over time rather than trying to go from 0-100mph and falling off track.
1️⃣ Layer back in activity- Steps is a good place to start.
2️⃣ Focus on being back in regular routine; wake times, meals and bed times.
3️⃣ If you're training, layer this back in by planning it ahead: plan when you're training and commit to it!
And if you are flexibly dieting(if your not sure what that is, drop me a message and Id be happy to explain!) the big one...
If you've had some intentional down-time or time away, then the key upon return is to get back into 'normal' habits sooner rather than later.
Its easy for 'newer habits to slip as they're not quite habitual or subconsious yet.
Focus back on regualr daily tracking; every 24 hours, which is timely and relevant. The sooner you do the more in control you'll feel.
Some easy top tips to allow you to get back on track without the overwhelm or holiday blues kicking in; lets finish up with a quick recap:
RE ALIGN YOUR VISION AND GOALS
SET REALISTIC GOALS WITHIN THE FIRST FEW DAYS
FOOD SHOP- GOOD QUALITY NUTRIENTS ACCESSIBLE
NAIL YOUR NUTRITION TARGETS
LAYER STEPS BACK IN
LAYER TRAINING BACK IN
RE ESTABLISH ROUTINE
With love and light