Five Affirmations for Better Health

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Affirmations are positive mantras that are said to bring change to your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.  In illness and in health, affirmations can be used to create the life you dream of, in absolutely any way, shape or form!  To ‘use’ an affirmation, simply repeat the sentence aloud or in your head over and over again, until you feel like your mind has accepted the new belief.  You may feel some resistance initially (like your mind says ‘yeah right!’) but its important to work through that resistance through simple repetition.

Here’s five affirmations you can use  today to improve your health and happiness.

  1. My body is in perfect health.

Simple, right?  By telling your mind that you are in perfect health, you are creating perfect health.  The power of the mind in healing and repair is so incredibly powerful – this affirmation is not number one for no reason!

  1. My health is improving each and every day.

If you are struggling with health problems, number one may feel a little to far-fetched for you at this stage.  Try this one instead, and each and every day focus on truly believing that your health is improving!

  1. I start each day with enthusiasm and vitality.

Not a morning person? You are now!  By telling your mind and body that you are full of energy in the mornings, you will completely change the way you wake up each day.  I’ve tried and tested this one and it works, trust me!  I’ve always struggled with mornings and one day I had had enough of stumbling out of bed with zero motivation for the day.  Since that day I have told myself and everyone I know that I’m a morning person, and I have so much energy in the mornings these days! It’s all about retraining your brain and your body to function the way you need it to.

  1. My body allows me to do everything I want to do in life.

Is physical or mental pain or dysfunction holding you back from where you want to be in life, and the things you want to do?  It might be as simple as a sore knee that prevents you from running as often as you’d like.  Use this affirmation daily (multiple times per day!) and focus on how good it feels to have a life free from limitations.

  1. I am fit and enjoy physical activity.

Stop telling yourself that you hate going to the gym, or that you can’t be bothered going for a run.  If you tell yourself that you love exercise and you’re a fit person, then it will become true for you!  Having a positive attitude towards exercise and activity is the number one barrier you need to overcome in order to enjoy your workouts and maintain a healthy level of fitness.

Each day, you can choose just one or you can choose all of these affirmations if you wish!  Repeat them often, over and over again, and focus on how the words feel when you truly believe in what you are saying.  Affirmations are a simple, free and effective tool that you can use to change your life and your health.

 

 

P.S.  If you feel like food cravings are holding you back from staying consistent with your eating habits, click here to download my FREE food cravings guide.

P.P.S.  If you’d like to know more about how I help women do all of the above (without guilt, or shame, or blame) you can click here to book a free intro session via phone or video call.

The Problem With Counting Calories

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I’ve been sparked to write this post after an eye-opening conversation with a fellow natural health practitioner who believes that anyone who is overweight is simply eating too much and not exercising.  I honestly cannot believe that in today’s society, with all the research and information we have, there is a holistic practitioner who still adheres to the DISPROVEN theory of energy in and energy out.

The old theory went like this: weight gain is simply a case of consuming more energy (food) than you are using (exercise).  So, to lose weight, people were instructed to simply output more energy (exercise) than the energy they are consuming (food).  Sounds simple, right?  If ONLY it were actually that simple!  I’m positive that if weight loss really was as simple as that, no one would have a weight problem.

So, fast forward a couple of decades, and science has caught up and disproven the old energy in, energy out theory.  Thank goodness for that!  All that theory does is put the blame on the overweight person.  The person who is overweight because they feel inadequate.  The person who eats to numb their feelings.  Yes, that person who is struggling.. let’s place more blame on them, and make them feel even WORSE about themselves! That will help them to lose weight, right?!

I’m sure you can sense my frustration.

I see weight gain as a symptom of a deeper problem.  Sure, the wrong foods in the wrong amounts are involved in weight gain.  And sure, some of us might not be exercising as much as we should be.  But you know that size 4 model on the runway?  She consumed nothing but coffee for 3 days before the show to dehydrate herself to appear thinner.  She exercises for 6 hours per day until she throws up. Do you think that’s healthy?  No way in hell.  Does anyone call her out and BLAME her for being unhealthy?  Nope, they celebrate her slim figure, and tell women that we should all aim to look like that.

So don’t blame someone who is overweight, as if it is all their fault.  Blame the dieting industry for selling products that don’t work.  Blame the media for making us feel like a worthless piece of crap unless we’re the “right size” and wearing the right clothes for the season.  Blame every single person who has ever judged you for gaining weight but didn’t ask you if you were doing okay.  Because I have struggled with my weight, over the years I’ve gone up and down like a yo-yo.  And not once did anyone ask me if I was okay.  And I’m not talking physically okay.  I’m talking about my mental health.

Do you know how it feels to not want to get out of bed in the morning?  Do you know how it feels to have no hope for the future?  Do you know how it feels to be judged for your weight, when all you need is a shoulder to cry on?  Weight problems go SO much deeper than just food and exercise.  For me, I was in a fairly deep state of depression, mixed with a bit of anxiety just for fun, every single time I gained weight.  And this is not a case of the chicken and the egg, I know what came first.  Every time my emotional and mental health spiralled downwards, my weight spiralled upwards.  And the crappy cycle continued until I was able to break free from it.

To tell someone that their weight is THEIR FAULT without delving deeper into the other issues contributing to their weight gain – well that’s just plain ignorant.  Let’s look at some of the reasons why someone might not be living a healthy lifestyle..

A few of the reasons why people eat too much:

  • low energy
  • low mood/depression
  • addiction (yes, you can be addicted to food or even just certain foods or components of food)
  • emotional turmoil (emotional eating)
  • stress and adrenal fatigue
  • habit
  • lack of understanding of health and food
  • unhealthy body image

A few of the reasons why people don’t exercise enough:

  • low energy
  • low mood/depression
  • stress and adrenal fatigue
  • pre-existing medical conditions
  • unhealthy relationship with their bodies

Your energy can be low for a range of reasons – without addressing the CAUSE of that low energy, you can’t expect someone to completely overhaul their food choices and exercise routine without enough energy to sustain it.  Depression can be so debilitating that every day is just a matter of surviving – and you’re going to tell that person to go for a run every day and spend an hour in the kitchen preparing a salad and healthy smoothie?  It’s not addressing what is going on internally!  It’s not going to be sustainable and it’s not going to help them in the long-term.  And in the short term?  It’s only going to give that person one more thing to fail at, one more reason to hate themselves, one more reason to give up and one more reason to suppress their emotional pain through food.

Inflammation.  Toxicity.  Hormonal imbalances.  Hypothyroidism.  Hypo- and hyperglycaemia.  Stress and adrenal fatigue.  These are all reasons for weight gain that are not as simple as what you eat and how much you exercise.

If you are reading this, and struggling with your weight, PLEASE don’t let anyone tell you that it is your fault.  Find a practitioner who will help you address the deeper aspects of your weight and your health.

If you are reading this, and you know someone who is struggling with their weight, PLEASE ask them if they’re okay.  Let them know that you don’t judge them for their size, and that you’re there for them.

And if you’re reading this, and you’re a practitioner or other therapist dealing with overweight persons, PLEASE don’t be as small-minded as to believe it’s just about food and exercise.  Those people need your understanding and your support, or else they will never succeed in losing weight for good.  Don’t be just another person who judges them, lowers their self-worth and makes them feel like a failure.

 

 

P.S.  If you feel like food cravings are holding you back from staying consistent with your eating habits, click here to download my FREE food cravings guide.

P.P.S.  If you’d like to know more about how I help women reconnect with their bodies and heal their relationship with food, you can click here to book a free intro session via phone or video call.

Craving Carbs & Sugar? Here’s why.

Craving High-Carb or Sweet Foods
High-carbohydrate foods such as breads, muffins, cakes and baked goods basically get converted into sugar (glucose) when they’re digested, so cravings for carb-rich (as above) or sweet foods (lollies, ice-cream, chocolate, flavoured milks and yoghurts, sugar icing/frosting, sweet biscuits) can often arise from the same underlying issue.  There are a few possible reasons for craving these types of foods, and just like craving fatty foods, a deficiency in carbs or glucose can cause a craving for carb-rich and sugary foods.  Other reasons are blood sugar imbalances, low energy, and disregulated serotonin production.

Low intake of carbohydrates
There’s really no such thing as a deficiency in sugar, but we can become deficient if we’re not consuming adequate carbohydrates each day.  Carbs have been painted as the devil in many weight loss diets, and while it’s true that over-indulging in carbs and sweet treats has an impact on your waistline, it’s also detrimental to your health and your weight loss efforts if you excessively restrict your carbohydrate intake.  Ideal sources of carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, carrots, beetroot, whole grains, brown rice and fruits provide your body with glucose, which creates energy to get through each day.  Without enough glucose for energy, you might feel lethargic, experience low moods and headaches, and you guessed it – start to crave carb-rich or sugary foods.  Perhaps most importantly, your brain runs on glucose, so without enough carbohydrates (glucose) your brain will go into survival mode and send you a really strong craving for glucose – pretty hard to argue with the most important organ in your body!

Blood sugar imbalances/hypoglycaemia
Hypoglycaemia is a fancy word that means your blood sugar levels are poorly regulated.  This is one of the most common causes of cravings and whilst it may seem complex at first, you’ll probably find that it makes a lot of sense and once you’ve corrected your blood sugar regulation, cravings will drastically reduce.  Since it’s a bit of a large topic, I’ve explained blood sugar balance later in this chapter.  It applies to more than just sugar cravings, but can be a big factor behind wanting sweet or carb-rich foods.

Serotonin deficiency/mood disorders
If you suffer from low mood states, depression, anxiety, high stress levels, emotional-PMS, lack of motivation or just having “the blues”, you may have an issue with serotonin regulation and/or production.  Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (brain chemical) and one of it’s functions is to regulate and control mood – so it’s involved in helping us feel happy or sad.  A boost in serotonin leaves you feeling happy, and a lack of serotonin can leave you feeling down, blue or depressed.  Certain types of anti-depressants work by increasing your brain’s use of serotonin, proving it’s significance in mood regulation.  Carbohydrates contain a few amino acids that are required to produce serotonin, and when we produce insulin (another hormone) in response to carbohydrate intake it improves our body’s ability to use serotonin.  So in combination, carbohydrates can help use to produce serotonin as well as improving our body’s ability to use it.  And as a result, carbohydrates can give us a boost in serotonin, improving our mood and making us feel happier, at least temporarily.  If you suffer from depression, low moods, anxiety or stress it is best to seek professional advice from a psychologist, counsellor, naturopath or GP.  Working with a health professional to ensure your serotonin levels are regulated and adequate (among other factors) may be an important part of improving your mental health, and also reducing your reliance on carb-rich foods as a source of serotonin, therefore reducing or maybe even eliminating your cravings for carbohydrates and/or sugar.

 

 

P.S.  If you feel like food cravings are holding you back from staying consistent with your eating habits, click here to download my FREE food cravings guide.

P.P.S.  If you’d like to know more about how I help women do all of the above (without guilt, or shame, or blame) you can click here to book a free intro session via phone or video call.

Craving Crunchy or Creamy Foods? Here’s why.

Craving Creamy Foods
Mashed potato, yoghurt, soft cheeses, chocolate, custard, ice-cream, cream, thick shakes – craving these types of foods is often linked to the texture that they provide when we eat them.  The gooey, creamy sensation of these foods in your mouth stimulates the pleasure centre in your brain and makes you “feel good”.  For this reason, creamy foods are often a source of comfort, and cravings for them tend to be from an emotional cause.  If you’re craving these foods regularly, you may need to work on some non-food sources of comfort, or change the way you deal with your emotions.

Do you process and acknowledge your emotions, or do you prefer to pretend they don’t exist?  Do you crave creamy foods when you are feeling sad, lonely, rejected, or perhaps even when you feel really happy?  Emotional eating is a way of suppressing our emotions and not dealing with them.

If you suspect that emotions are playing a role in your current eating habits, the next chapter will be really beneficial for you to create change and reduce your cravings.

Craving Crunchy Foods
Psychologists have for a long time believed that as adults, we have our very own ‘inner child’.  Your inner child is the part of you that desires to play, experience joy and feel carefree, just as you did when you were a child.  As adults, we can get so caught up in our achievements and goals and trying to ‘figure it all out’ that we can easily ignore our inner desire for pure joy and happiness.  The ‘crunch’ factor in some foods, like savoury or sweet biscuits, potato crisps, toasted bread, crispy fries, deep-fried foods, and even raw veggies brings us back to our childhood, when we were much more aware of how foods felt in our mouths and the textures they held.  If you’re craving crunchy foods, perhaps your inner child has been a bit neglected.

When was the last time you felt carefree?  When was the last time you experienced true happiness or joy?  When was the last time you played and laughed and felt free to be silly?  Nurturing your inner child and your innate desire to be careless is an important part of your overall health and happiness, and may help to reduce your cravings for crunchy foods.

 

 

P.S.  If you feel like food cravings are holding you back from staying consistent with your eating habits, click here to download my FREE food cravings guide.

P.P.S.  If you’d like to know more about how I help women do all of the above (without guilt, or shame, or blame) you can click here to book a free intro session via phone or video call.

Craving Chocolate or Caffeine? Here’s why.

craving-chocolate-why

Chocolate Cravings
Many of us have heard that chocolate cravings can be a sign of magnesium deficiency.  The cacao bean is a natural source of magnesium but unfortunately by the time it is processed into a milk chocolate block, the amount of magnesium left is minimal, if any.  Still, your body will crave the cacao for it’s magnesium when in a state of deficiency.  And the craving will continue until your magnesium levels are replenished.

Interestingly, many of us women crave chocolate prior to or during our period, a time when muscle cramps are common.  Any guesses as to what nutrient is needed to relax muscle spasms and cramps?  You guessed it – magnesium!  Magnesium is also important during times of stress, so if you’re craving chocolate like crazy, check in on your current stress levels and see if you can reduce those in a healthy, positive way.

Magnesium is naturally high in the following foods: leafy green vegetables, red meat, nuts and seeds, dried seaweed, herbs and spices, beans, legumes and cacao beans (e.g. raw cacao powder and dark chocolate).  Healthy stress management will also help you keep your magnesium levels adequate and prevent chocolate cravings.

Remember:  you may also be craving chocolate due to it’s high fat content, sugar content or caffeine.  It may even be a combination of factors!

Craving Energy Boosters
Coffee, caffeinated soft drinks, energy drinks and sugary foods provide us with a temporary energy boost and can be relied on to “keep us going” each and every day.  If you tend to crave these kinds of foods/drinks, it’s time to check in with yourself and look deeper – what is actually causing your low energy or fatigue?

Are you getting enough sleep each night?  Are you eating enough iron-rich foods or drinking enough water? (A lack of either of these is linked to fatigue and low energy.)  Are you over-worked and stressed?  Are you eating enough calories each day?  Are you over-exercising?

Treating your fatigue and improving your energy from the very cause eliminates the need for temporary energy boosts from foods and drinks.  Instead of just looking at the symptom (tiredness, or craving caffeine etc), look deeper and fix the reason for your fatigue.  That is where long-term health results are found – otherwise you’ll be treating symptoms forever without cure!

 

 

P.S.  If you feel like food cravings are holding you back from staying consistent with your eating habits, click here to download my FREE food cravings guide.

P.P.S.  If you’d like to know more about how I help women do all of the above (without guilt, or shame, or blame) you can click here to book a free intro session via phone or video call.

Craving Salty Foods? Here’s why.

salt-cravings-danni-archer

Hot chips, crisps, flavoured savoury biscuits, salted popcorn, fast food products, savoury baked goods like sausage rolls, sauces and marinades and flavourings, or even just plain old salt itself!

Salty food cravings tend to result from high levels of stress and/or adrenal fatigue.  Your adrenal glands are organs that sit next to your kidneys, and under any kind of stress they produce and release a hormone called cortisol.  Cortisol helps your body to cope with stress and also prepares you for a fight or flight response – i.e. are you going to run away from your stress (flight) or stay and deal with it (fight).  This is said to come from your ancestors where a stressor was generally either being faced with a predator or some kind of famine.

Cortisol is helpful when produced in healthy amounts, but due to high levels of stress in today’s society, many of us are actually overproducing cortisol to keep up with their busy lives, and as a result your adrenal glands are overworked and become a bit sluggish and slow (hence the term adrenal fatigue).  There are various stages of adrenal fatigue before it becomes a debilitating condition.  The reason all that is important is because your adrenal glands need a variety of minerals to function, and to produce cortisol (stress hormone).

So when you are stressed, and your body is producing lots of cortisol to cope with that stress, you can end up quite deficient in minerals and as a result, start to crave salt!  Natural salts contain a wide variety of minerals – even up to or more than 80 in some salts – and so your body knows that when it is mineral-deficient due to stress, salt may help to replace some of those minerals in your body.  The issue is that table salt, iodised salt and chicken salt, the types that are normally used in the salty foods you crave are highly processed and contain little or no nutritional benefit.

That’s why you will keep craving more and more salt to cope with stress, because your mineral stores are not being replenished through the processed salts and your body doesn’t know what else to do.

What are your stress levels like?  Are you living an extremely busy lifestyle, or are you prone to stress regardless of your workload?  Are you allowing yourself time to relax, unwind and recharge your precious adrenal glands?

Here’s a top tip: spending just 20 minutes outside, whether you are moving your body or just sticking your toes in the sand or grass, has a cortisol-lowering effect for 21 hours afterwards.  21 hours benefit, from just 20 minutes!

Lower cortisol = healthier adrenal glands = less salt cravings

 

 

P.S.  If you feel like food cravings are holding you back from staying consistent with your eating habits, click here to download my FREE food cravings guide.

P.P.S.  If you’d like to know more about how I help women do all of the above (without guilt, or shame, or blame) you can click here to book a free intro session via phone or video call.

Getting ‘back on track’ after Easter

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Easter was two weeks ago, and it’s usually a time that my clients struggle to stay consistent with their eating habits.  Chocolate is everywhere you look, and even after Easter is done and dusted – there’s all those supermarket sales making it way too tempting to buy some more chocolate.

Children go on Easter egg hunts, and eat chocolate for breakfast, and eat all day until they have a tummy ache!  But us adults – oh, no – we’re much more restrained than that.  We eat our chocolate late at night, when the kids have gone to sleep and hubby is asleep in front of the tv.  We promise ourselves just a couple of eggs, but as the guilt washes over us after that tiny bit of indulgence, we decide to have just a bit more.  And a bit more.  And a little bit more.  And before we know it, we too have a tummy ache from all that chocolate.

Except no one knows but us.

And we just sit there feeling guilty, and shameful, and asking ourselves why we have no self-control.

If that scenario sounds way too familiar, you’re not alone.  I don’t have children yet, but for many years Easter has been a time when I go completely off the rails and fall into bad habits of eating junk food, and craving sugar, and the list goes on.  As soon as I had a little bit of chocolate, I’d convince myself that I might as well just “go all out” and eat whatever I wanted, because I’d already ruined my “diet”.  I had no idea how to enjoy chocolate in moderation, because I was so consumed by guilt and shame every time I ate it.

And that guilt and shame is what made me continue eating more and more and more.

If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know that I’ve been through my own experiences with weight loss and poor body image and yo-yo dieting.  Well, this Easter just been, I reached another milestone in my journey towards a better relationship with food.

I managed to eat chocolate in moderation, without feeling guilty at all.

And there were a few factors at play here.

Before Easter, I hadn’t been eating a lot of refined sugar, so that definitely helped my taste buds alter.  Your taste buds actually adapt to dietary changes, so when I did have a couple of Lindt milk chocolate eggs on Easter Sunday, they tasted so super sweet and I physically couldn’t eat any more!

Tip #1: When you’re eating a diet high in sugar (or fat, or salt, etc) your body gets used to level of taste response.  When you minimise your intake, your body adapts to that, so when you do have the food again (whether it’s high-sugar, or high-fat, or high-salt) it will be really intense and you won’t want as much of that food as you used to.

I also asked my partner to get me *less* chocolate, but the good kind! So instead of 10 Red Tulip bunnies, I got a large Lindt egg and a bag of solid Lindt eggs.  For me, mindset-wise, it was easier to enjoy Lindt in moderation because it is higher quality.  Eating a cheaper, less satisfying chocolate would have felt completely different, and I probably would have been more likely to feel guilty for it.  It’s like the difference between drinking a $30 glass of red wine versus a whole sack of goon.

Tip #2: Know what works for you and what will work for your mindset.  Plan in advance (like asking your hubby to buy you less chocolate, or only higher quality chocolates) to make it easier for yourself.

And perhaps most importantly, I’ve done a hell of a lot of mindset work.  And it’s ongoing.  I had 25+ years of being programmed to hate my body and hold onto an unhealthy relationship with food, so it’s definitely still a work in progress.  I’m practicing loving and accepting my body just the way it is, right now.  I’m seeing food as fuel and nourishment instead of counting calories or worrying about carbs.  I’m exercising as an act of self-care rather than an act of self-punishment.  Every single day, I am working hard to improve my relationship with my body and with food.  (And every single day, I help my clients do the same thing!)

Tip #3: Accept that these changes aren’t going to happen overnight.  Impatience in the process will only make it harder for you, and it’s important to acknowledge how far you’ve come – rather than constantly looking ahead at how much further you have to go.  Do the work, and little by little, you’ll find yourself changing the way you look at your body and your food.

And one Easter, you’ll be proud of yourself for finding that elusive state of moderation – enjoying chocolate without feeling guilty or shameful or “not strong enough”.

 

 

P.S.  If you feel like food cravings are holding you back from staying consistent with your eating habits, click here to download my FREE food cravings guide.

P.P.S.  If you’d like to know more about how I help women do all of the above (without guilt, or shame, or blame) you can click here to book a free intro session via phone or video call.