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Look & Feel...Important or Not?

I recently announced the release of my Life Body Health Wellness Wheel, a diagnostic tool to help pinpoint areas of our lives that most impact our wellbeing. The idea is to help people identify or recognise where small, or larger adjustments can be made for maximal impact. 

Having gone through the short assessment myself, it is clear that a big area for me currently is around Look and Feel......

I’m going to be honest with you all; right now, I’m not in my best shape. I have a wardrobe of wonderful clothes and yet I can’t fit into them. As a lover of dresses, skirts or jeans with a tailored jacket, I’m sad to say that lately I spend more time in my tracksuit bottoms and a baggy jumper. Despite being someone who much prefers in-person meetings, I’ve become grateful for the opportunity to hide behind zoom and not have to worry about what to wear in public. When I go out at weekends, it's always the same outfit. I'm not only bored and frustrated with the lack of fashion options, I’m fed up and bored of feeling generally sub-par.

As a professional coach and wellbeing expert, maybe this is something I should keep to myself. The truth is however that we can all find ourselves in situations of professional and personal challenge, where we don't live up to our own expectations, no matter our level of expertise and experience. A large proportion of my business is helping other women with their professional and personal wellbeing, growth and confidence, but I’m also committed to working hard on my own. 

So what do we do in this situation?

The challenge is that when we find ourselves in a rut, or feeling down about ourselves in some way, it can be hard for us to show up at our best, whether that’s at home or at work. There can be masquerading to hide our true feelings, so whilst it may not be obvious to others, the negativity can manifest itself through comfort eating, drinking, increased self-doubt, excessive exercise, or restricting ourselves in some way. For me, whilst I’ve always been into keeping fit and exercising, my extreme answer in these situations, is often finding a new, faddy fitness obsession.

A few years ago now, on a very cold and wet London February, I was in this very situation. It was miserable outside and I was unhappy inside; I didn’t like how I looked or how my clothes fitted and I knew I wanted to lose a few pounds and feel better. At the time, there was a deal on at Barry’s Bootcamp, which if you don’t know, is a combination of treadmill HIIT class coupled with aggressive functional strength training. It was all about the reps and the pace; there was no space for those who couldn’t keep up (as the instructor would often remind you!).

Every morning for 4 weeks I got up at 5am, travelled 40 minutes into Baker St and did my class. By the time I arrived at work, beetroot red and sweating despite having showered and changed, I was exhausted. My colleagues found it bemusing.

After the month was done, I was left disappointed. I had envisaged a fairy-tale ending where I finished 20 days of bootcamp and skipped off lightly into the sunset with a new enviable body shape, but alas it was not to be.

The reality was that I was physically stronger, sturdier and fitter, but I was also very tired and my clothes felt just as tight, if not tighter. It was more than disappointing, it was demoralising and I quickly reverted back to life as it was before.

I wish I could say that Barry’s was a one off, but it wasn’t. The other fads I tried (Insanity, martial art bootcamp) had better outcomes at first, but ultimately were unsustainable and that’s because the 'excessive' solution doesn’t work for the long term and nor does it make us feel great either. You can't exercise your way out of a bad diet.

So, as I sit here dissatisfied once again with how I look and feel, the good news is that age has brought wisdom and knowledge! I understand sustainable healthy diet and I understand fitness. Rather than sign up for another faddy exercise programme (which btw goes completely against my philosophy on exercise these days), I’ve chosen to lovingly accept my current situation whilst actively putting in a plan to change it for the long-term.

Here are some tips:

  1. The truth is I am much more critical of myself than anyone else is being. In fact few have probably noticed I’ve put on weight so don't beat yourself up.

  2. Quick fixes don’t work. 

  3. Small changes and commitments every day = results. This goes for anything btw. It may take time; be patient, stick to it.

  4. What can I commit to? When will I make time for these small adjustments? Plan in: gym, food, sleep, water.

  5. A healthy diet and a sensible exercise regime together are a great combination. If you can only focus on one on certain days, make it diet.

  6. Determine how important this is currently on a scale of 1-10 and prioritise it accordingly. It's a 10 for me because of the broader impact it has on my overall wellbeing, productivity and how I show up, therefore it has to take priority. 

What's a 10 for you right now and requires your utmost commitment?

For more information you can email me at I’d love to hear from you!

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