Be True to Yourself, Think Positive!

Thinking goes on in your mind! So how can anything that goes on in your mind influence the outer world so much?

Often, we engage in limiting beliefs and  negative thoughts which hold us back; thoughts like

  • “I am not good enough”
  • “I have no time”
  • “They don’t understand me”

… and the list goes on. This influences our outer world for several reasons and the most important is that your mind does not know the difference between what is real and what is only in your mind. When you think negative thoughts, your mind sends negative messages to your body, you act negatively and the problem is that everybody will notice it.

The first thing to do in order to change what goes on in your life is to change what goes on in your mind. Think positive!

Positive thinking and gratitude help you receive more of what you have. In fact, all thoughts are really requests for more of the same, in good and in bad.  This is mainly because of the fact that our mind is not able to process negatives. Here is an example: Try really, really hard not to think of a pink house, don’t think of a pink house. Now, what are you thinking about?  Don’s say a pink house! ;-)

In order for our mind to keep from thinking about something, it needs to think about it first, then decide or remember that it does not want to think about it and either change one or more elements of that something or think  about something else instead. So, what does this say? Well, I wonder what a person who keeps on thinking “I don’t want to fail, I don’t want to stay where I am. I don’t want to feel that way anymore…” focuses on. I wonder what requests he/she is sending out; and what do you think this person is likely to receive?

Thinking positive thoughts means stating what you want as if you have it now. With this I am not suggesting that you need to lie to yourself by saying things that you do not believe in. I don’t want to see things better than they are, I like to see things like they are. Not worse either though!

When you catch negative thoughts, change them right away to the positive versions. Here below you can see a brief diagram showing how to change negative thoughts into positive ones.

This will take practice; negative thoughts will try to come in from all angles and the secret is to persist and reframe each and every thought that you are not entirely happy with and this will eventually become an automatic habit.

Another tool is positive affirmations; start now! Write 5 statements that support what you want to be, have or do. Write statements which remind you of how empowered you are, things which inspire you to take action, things which will fill your mind with inspiration, excitement, enthusiasm and positive thoughts.

Starting today, write positive affirmations on Post-It and place them where you are likely to see them often. Be creative! You can print your most powerful affirmations, frame them and hang them on your walls, you can put them in your wallet, etc.

Every day, take at least three five minute breaks and read these affirmations, possibly out loud in front of a mirror.

Gratitude is another great tool which will enable you to use your mind to reach your goals; the key here is to be grateful for what we do have.

I would suggest you take 10 minutes every night or morning to write all the things you are grateful for, meaning it. Begin from the things that we give more for granted; after all, not everybody has the privilege of waking up in the morning feeling healthy, warm and with food on the table. So be grateful for those things too; don’t live anything out.

Once you have a good list of the things that you do have, for which you are grateful, take that image of what you want to be, have or do, that “You” with that final outcome and notice the difference between that “New You” and You now. What skills does the “New You” have that you do not have now? What resources? Once you have that list of those skills and resources, you will notice that some of these skills are simply behavioural and attitudinal. This means that the “New You” has acquired a different way of thinking, behaving and consequently a different physiology. The others may be skills and things that you need to learn.

It helps to take charge of those things now. You may not have the final outcome yet, nothing however stops you from thinking, behaving and appearing like that “New You” right now; you can easily act as if you are that “New You” now. You could easily imagine what it would feel like being that “New You”, and you can feel those feelings now.

This will amplify your focus on that goal you have, because when you act as if you have it now, you are acting as if you have it, behaving as if you have it, appearing as if you have it and thinking as if you have it.

Do you see what this does? You are focusing entirely on your goal; your thoughts are focused on it, your body is focused on it, your language is focused on it and your behaviour is focused on it.

Now, what is the most important skill in achieving something? That’s right, it’s the FOCUS. And there is no better way to focus than this as this way, without consciously realising it, you are focusing on your goal all day, every day, mind and body.

Also, apart from the already valid benefits above, Positive thinking will help you send a positive outlook of your persona to others. Think about this for a moment: Look at the pictures below; the same person, a different expression, clearly a different emotion and, if you listen to your feelings as you look at those pictures, you will notice that one of them makes you feel ad ease and the other does not.

Who would you buy from? Who would you like to socialise with? Who would you trust?

Although perhaps not so clearly, you are constantly sending out your thoughts with your body and people do feel them. Some people may be able to interpret these messages better than others however, even those with no sensory acuity (body language reading skills) will pick up those messages with feelings; they may say things like “I don’t know what it is but I just feel uncomfortable around Mr Left”.

Think positive and the messages that people receive from your paralanguage will be positive.

Say No to Winter Blues

winter-bluesAutumn is here, and winter is just around the corner ,and that means only one thing to some of us, the dreaded Winter blues. In medical terms its called Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD for short, well it does not have to be that way, I am going to help you feel great about yourself with the wonderful benefits of pure essential oils.

You all must have heard of Aromatherapy. An ancient art combined with the healing value of touch and the therapeutic powers of essential oils in which it promotes good health and a sense of well being, well the subject of Aromatherapy would take me forever to write, as there is so much information to tell about its worth, so I am going to concentrate on the feel good factor of uplifting essential oils that will help you feel emotionally better within yourself through the bleakest of winters. Trust me it works. That little brown bottle of pure essential oils will have you up and running on the darkest and coldest of mornings.

Essential oils are good for your mind and sole. Literally.

I realised the benefits of a few drops of essential oils combined with a carrier oil when I worked as a Therapist at a world famous Spa way back in 2007- by the wonderful feed back from clients.

What is a pure essential oil
These oils are very different from a cooking oil, they are concentrated essences, much lighter than water, they are usually mixed with other ingredients to trap their effectiveness. Because they are so concentrated essential oils are measured in drops.

What is a carrier oil
Carrier oils allow essential oils to permeate the skin, protecting it from irritation.
Grape seed, sweet almond, rose hip, wheat germ and evening primrose. All these oils do not have a strong smell, carrier oils can be added to your essential oil so you will be able to enjoy the pure scent of your favourite oil. It is imperative that you dilute one part essential oil, one part carrier oil (base) because essential oils are plant extracts and extremely powerful and can burn the skin if put on neat. there are only a few essential oil you can put straight onto small areas of the skin and that is pure lavender oil, this has a healing effect on burns and cuts.
Orange Blossom or Neroli essential oils can beat the winter blues – and add carrier oil if you have sensitive skin. After getting up in the morning, while you run your bath add 5/10 drops of orange essential oil to the water, close the door to keep in the vapour, have a soak for about 10 minutes, if you have sensitive skin dilute your essential oil with peach kennel, sweet almond, or apricot carrier oil.

This will also leave your skin wonderfully soft. You will feel uplifted for the day ahead, this oil will also help anxiety and depression. It is great to alleviate the symptoms of pre menstrual tension too.

The next tip works if you get in from work and you have got to go out and you don’t really feel like it. Mix one drop carrier oil, one drop of orange essential oil in a little bowl, get under the running shower and pour the oils onto your wet sponge with your usual shower gel and sponge your whole body over. (you can do this if time is short in the morning)

Drink a glass of orange juice as you go out the door in the morning and you will feel a whole new person.

Basil essential oil
Use the same as Orange essential oil. This oil is a great tonic, lifts fatigue, depression, sluggish skin, and getting the circulation going.

Eucalyptus essential oil
If you have a cold, Eucalyptus oil is a great way of relieving it. Add 1-2 drops into a sink of steaming water, (do not use any more) place a towel over your head , CLOSE YOUR EYES and breath deeply and slowly, this will help clear the sinuses, reduce fever, clear your head. Not recommended for children under seven years old.

Peppermint essential oil
Tired feet -  add 4-5 drops of peppermint oil into a large bowel of warm water and soak feet.
Headaches and colds - to a handkerchief add a 3- 4 drops of oil and inhale to help your cold or headache at work.

A note…
1. Do not take any essential oil internally, (lock them away safe if you have children).

2. When using carrier essential oils with children it is strongly advice to get guidance from a qualified Aromatherapy practitioner before using them as some can be potent to children.

3. Do not apply undiluted essential oils onto skin (they are not fragrances) they can burn and cause irritation to the skin).

4. Not recommended for children under seven.

5. If you’re pregnant ask for guidance first from a local Aromatherapy practitioner before using any pure essential oils.

6. Make sure you store all oils out of the reach of children and store them safely.

There are lots of uplifting essential oils on the market to help beat the winter blues try any of the citrus ones. You can also use your orange essential oil as a room spray to uplift the mood, or get rid of any doggy smells, cigarette smells etc. Just pop in 5 drops of orange or lemon oil into the water, shake your sprayer well, then freshen up the room with this lovely uplifting fresh smell.

What are you waiting for, go to your health store and stock up your bathroom with your little brown bottles and carrier oil, and you can be sure you will have a sunny winter, and get rid of the winter blues once and for all.

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Jodie Marsh – Beauty or Beast?

Standing by Jodie Marsh in matching black bikinis waiting to go on stage is rather intimidating to say the least, with her heavily bronzed tan and lights, Jodie’s body was a far cry from the Page 3 look we are accustomed to seeing in the pages of glossy magazines, but is it a step too far for the price of fame? Where does one draw the line of beauty?

No stranger to fame Jodie has spent 10 years in the public eye and appeared in numerous lads magazines and TV programs, even marrying for attention, but this was different, this time she sculpted her body with heavy weights, an intense and grueling cardio regime and a super strict clean diet of high protein, low complex carbohydrates and good fats for several months, culmination in a few final days where carbohydrates are eaten and water is depleted from the body, resulting in a muscular defined body that earned her fifth place and a trophy at the Natural Physique Association (NPA) Mike Willaims Classic and Pro-Am Bodybuilding  Championships.

Many may say her new body is less attractive than before and rather off putting, but few have seen the hard work and dedication it takes, the weeks of dieting, restricting yourself to certain foods, abstaining form drinking, changing your workouts to keep your body guessing, the early morning cardio sessions, the dehydration the night before, this is no easy way to gain the publics attention.

Surely a muscular toned body displays signs of strength, power, virility and health, and with the shift from size zero models isn’t a healthier look more attractive? Should we really be criticizing her for eating carefully albeit extreme, and for training hard?

With the Olympics looming even non sport related companies such as insurance companies are using athletes and sports models to promote their products, implying that an athletic look is in fact appealing.

As obesity rises in the world and in particular theUK, the latest Health Survey forEnglanddata shows us that nearly 1 in 4 adults, and over 1 in 10 children aged 2-10, are obese. So perhaps instead of sitting on the sofa complaining about someone who has altered their body dramatically, reduced their body fat from 25% to 10% and increased their lean muscle – which is hard enough for a man with a healthy amount of testosterone to do, let alone a vegetarian woman over 30 to do, we should be commending her.

After all, what better role model is there to young anorexically inclined girls who are influenced by celebrity magazines and bombarded with usual pictures of skinny gaunt celebrities, than someone who has changed their life for the better and has the confidence to stand in front of a panel of Pro bodybuilder judges against a number of other elite athletes, to be criticized, scrutinized and pulled apart.

And who’s to say that muscles on a woman are unattractive? Woman often join a gym or hire a trainer because they want to be “more toned” so they take up running or spinning or some other form of cardio, but what they really mean is they want to build a little muscle and lose some body fat as Jodie has done. Most will avoid the “mens” area of the gym, the free weights section, in favor of the recumbent bikes and the stepper or cross trainer, but what Jodie has realized is that it’s the weight training that makes you more toned and sexy without becoming butch or resembling Arnold Schwarzenegger in a dress.

To slate Jodie for the clothes she used to wear on a night out in her hometown Essex, or the TV appearances she made or the men she dated is one thing, but to criticize someone for changing their life, taking a stand and creating a body that they are entirely happy with is unfair. Few women can say they are a 100% happy with their figure, most have some body part they would like to alter or improve, their belly, bingo wings, flabby thighs or less than pert behind, Jodie however has meticulously crafted her body using hard work and sheer determination, if that does not inspire people than what does…

Jodie Marsh: Bodybuilder premieres on DMAX in  January 2012.

Image reproduced from Heat Magazine

Are You “Skinny Fat”?

We all know someone at work or socially, who spends hours each week doing cardio, be it running, cycling or on the cross trainer at the gym, who stays very thin, with long skinny arms and legs and appears to have low body fat.

But look closely and you may see a little fat around the belly area, this is known as “skinny fat”. A derogatory term, it is used to describe people who are usually underweight but hold fat around their midsection or in the case of men, have a small amount of man boobs, or “moobs”.

Though not the desired effect, nor the logical result of hours of cardiovascular training, these people are at a loss to understand how their body becomes this shape. Surely reducing the calories eaten and plodding along for their morning runs and training sessions, the spinning classes and legs, bums and tums would turn their initially soft body into a honed toned body with Kate Moss’s quads, Abby Clancy’s abs and Kylie’s behind.

And the more flab they see in the midsections the more they increase the distance of their runs, or the volume of their training. In doing so they increase the stress on their already over trained bodies and they increase the load on the tendons and joints. Whilst in this state of constant of atrophy, or muscle wastage, they may well be losing weight on the scales, though little of this loss is body fat.

A similar body shape can be achieved with dieting and limited exercise, when unhappy with the fat stored in the belly area, the person will just diet for longer, restrict their eating even further, resulting in even skinnier limbs, and the same amount of fat in the belly area.

This can all be changed with some careful thought. Instead if depleting the glycogen stores in all the muscles, eating slow release complex carbohydrates around training will bring fill the glycogen stores in the muscles, making them look fuller and more defined. Carbohydrates at the optimum time of day will fuel the body when it needs it, and keep energy levels up. Also once the body gets used to having a regular injection of carbohydrate every 2-3 hours, it will allow the fat to be utilised. When the body is in a state of overtraining and under eating, it will go into a type of “starvation mode” and cling onto any fat that it can.

Good natural protein sources eaten regularly throughout the day will help prevent muscle breakdown. These can be seeds, nuts, eggs, cottage cheese or lean meats.

Resting is incredibly important. Sleeping for 7-8 hours a night and having a day off training at least a couple of days per week will enable the muscles to grow, so that each training session can be tougher and more intense than before.

Weight bearing exercise preferably with free-weights, kettle bells, medicine balls, suspension kits and ViPRs will build muscle and tone the body, changing the composition from skinnyfat to lean and toned in a matter of months. All this can be done outside with only a small amount of equipment and a little know-how, without even stepping foot in a sweaty gym or forking out for a monthly membership.

Instead of jogging or cycling at one steady state pace, reduce the volume and the total time spent, and increase the intensity. Add some sprints in to the mix to strip the body fat and retain the muscle.

Everyone has a right to be completely happy with the way they look and shouldn’t have to settle for second best.

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How to Avoid Cellulite

We are all familiar with the term cellulite which has been around since the 20’s, also known as orange peel and cottage cheese skin. We find it often on the thighs and glute areas, mostly in women after puberty, and for many it is the bane of their lives.

The dimpling effect occurs when herniation of subcutaneous fat within fibrous connective tissue, leading to an orange peel–like appearance.

Cellulite is often classified using three grades:-

– Grade 1 classification sees no clinical or visual symptoms, and cellulite is only visible with the help of a microscope to view anatomical changes.
– Grade 2 has the above symptoms plus the skin is pasty, cooler than the rest of the skin and less elastic.
– Grade 3 has the above symptoms and also includes rough orange peel skin.

No matter what size or shape, anyone can have cellulite as it occurs in the layers of fat just under the surface of the skin, when the connective tissue is stretched or pulled, restricted in some way.

Genes can determine your susceptibility to getting cellulite. Race, gender, fat deposits, metabolism and circulation also affect the likelihood of cottage cheese thighs.

Hormones have been thought to greatly influence the chances of having cellulite. The female hormone oestrogen may initiate and aggravate cellulite hence why more women have cellulite and such few men.

Stress can cause the level of catecholamines which are organic compounds linked to the formation of cellulite. Catecholamines are hormones which include adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine among others.

Anti cellulite massages to breakdown the cellulite, deep tissue massages and sports massages are always popular, as are massages that stimulate lymphatic flow, heat therapy, ultrasound, radio frequency therapy, magnetic therapy, radial waves therapy, and electrical stimulation. Foam rollers (self myofascial release) may also help break down the cellulite and push toxins up towards the lymph glands. Sadly however, there is no scientific evidence that these methods are effective.

There are numerous creams and potions available claiming to cure cellulite, most include the ingredients caffeine, green tea and sometimes Ginko biloba. Pharmacists have other options of creams to apply topically, as well as oral and injectable medications, however none have yet to be given scientific approval and as yet there is no known cure.

Loose underwear that does not restrict blood flow to the arteries is essential in staving off cellulite; good options are G strings, thongs, boy shorts and hotpants, as long as the elastic is not tight across the glutes.

Diet is very important. Even a few months of eating junk food and carbonated drinks a couple of times a week can take its toll, changing the appearance of the skin.

Although not viewed as a medical condition by the medical community, it isn’t something we have to settle for, so here are my top tips for avoiding cellulite, and joining the 5% of us who don’t have any.

Tips for avoiding cellulite include:-

1. Dry body brushing with a stiff brush – this is my top tip as it improves circulation and prevents cellulite, it is simple and takes as little as ten minutes per day
2. Avoid eating or drinking toxins – processed food and drinks
3. Avoid fizzy low calorie drinks
4. Eating a healthy balanced clean diet, limit the quantity of fruits, plenty of dark green and colourful vegetables, and fibre
5. Staying hydrated with plenty of fluids, at least 3 litres a day
6. Exercising regularly using weights as opposed to cardio is the way forward to tone the muscles and decrease the body fat and cellulite
7. Keep a healthy weight and body fat percentage
8. Avoid crash diets
9. Avoid smoking
10. Avoid drinking coffee and tea excessively as this causes dehydration which will not help the cellulite
11. Rub ground coffee granules into the thighs and glutes to prevent cellulite. Cindy Crawford is a fan of this method
12. Keep moving – don’t sit or stand in the same place for too long
13. Avoid liposuction, this can actually worsen the effects
14. Avoid eating too much salt

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Salus Wellness Clinics – One Year of Successes

Building a business from scratch can be challenging and, at the same time, very rewarding when results are outstanding.

Salus Wellness Clinics celebrated this week its first anniversary; the complementary health centre is now a well established business that fits well in the local community, offering a rich variety of top quality complementary health services to a broad range of members of the public.

Luca Senatore (in the picture on the right) is the sales director and co-founder, who initially planned this venture. He says, “We spotted a gap in the market and then we found this building with amazing potential and we knew it would have been a success given the innovative approach we had in mind for the clinic”.

The extra value added offered by Salus Wellness is to assist all practitioners with hands-on business coaching, consultancy and training, in areas such as sales, marketing and customer service.

Massimo Gaetani (in the picture on the left), is the marketing director and also co-founder of Salus Wellness. He says, “the majority of practitioners decide to qualify in hypnotherapy, massage or acupuncture because they have a passion for helping people which is very rewarding indeed; many of them do it without any previous experience in running a business and they fail to realise the need of entrepreneurial spirit that is necessary to succeed.”

Massimo continued by saying, “when they start offering their services to the general public, they realise that clients are not queuing outside their door and the phone is not ringing constantly; that’s a normal but de-motivating way of starting”.

People who are not used to run small businesses are simply not ready or trained to deal with the new challenges and many struggle to make a decent living for months or even years. In many occasions they give up and go back to full time occupation which, now more than ever, is not always an easy thing to do.

"cambridge", "complementary health", "salus"Salus Wellness offers, apart from the newly decorated and well maintained therapy rooms and full time reception, a comprehensive range of business development and practice management services for all practitioners working at their premises; this increases the chances for everybody’s success and creates the win-win-win situation which Salus Wellness is known for. For more information visit the Salus Wellness website.

Sugars in Fruit

Many of us who are trying to lose body fat still continue to eat fruit. Whilst fruit has large amounts of vitamins and minerals, it also contains high amounts if sugar, some more than others, and so can hamper your fat loss results considerably.

When we eat sugar (sucrose) it is broken down into glucose and fructose which are absorbed into the blood stream, increasing the blood glucose.

At only 4 calories per gram, the sucrose can cause a variety of health issues from dental cavities to obesity, as any extra glucose that the body is unable to utilise is stored in the liver as glycogen and the fructose part is processed by the liver and stored as fat.

Ever since caveman times, humans have snacked on seasonal fruit and berries containing sugar, in small quantities when they could find these foods. In these limited quantities, humans still gained antioxidants and nutrients, as well as gaining energy for their active lifestyles.

Processed foods containing refined sugars are different. We are not designed to consume large quantities of sugars, and especially not processed sugars. Type 2 diabetes (diabetes mellitus), high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome can result.

When embarking on a fat loss food plan or even when looking to maintain your weight, it is sensible to limit the uptake of sugars including fructose and thus limit fruit to once or twice a day, and preferably with proteins to aid the uptake of protein by the body.

Just looking at the glycaemic index which measures the speed at which glucose is released into the bloodstream, we can see that certain fruits can be very high in sugars, in comparison with vegetables below.

  • Dried fruits        -103
  • Watermelon      -72
  • Pineapple            -66
  • Raisins                  -64
  • Apricots               -57
  • Mangoes             -56
  • fruit cocktail       -55
  • banana                 -53
  • kiwi fruit              -53
  • grapes                  -52
  • canned peaches  –47
  • oranges                 -43
  • peaches                -42
  • blueberries          -40
  •  plums                   -39
  • pears                     -36
  • apples                   -36
  • strawberries        -32
  • raspberries          -32
  • blackberries        -32
  • dried apricots     -30
  • grapefruit            -25
  • cherries                -22

In comparison with vegetables:

  • sweetcorn          – 55
  • green peas          -48
  • carrots,cooked   -39
  • green beans        -15
  • peppers               -15
  • spinach                -15
  • tomatoes            – 15
  • artichoke             -15
  • asparagus            -15
  • broccoli                -15
  • cauliflower          -15
  • celery                    -15
  • cucumber            -15
  • lettuce                  -15

Fresh ripe fruit taste sweeter than under ripe fruits due to having a higher level of sucrose which increases during the ripening period.

Hence greener bananas for example, have less sucrose then blacker ripe bananas. This is due to an enzyme called sucrose phosphate which increases during the ripening period, synthesising sucrose in the fruit.

Dried fruit is more concentrated and contains more sucrose per gram than fresh.

Many fruits contain very low levels of sucrose, either having a low sugar content overall or containing more glucose and fructose as individual sugar molecules rather than linked in the disaccharide.

Ideally low GI fibrous fruits such as apples and pears increase satiety and are very beneficial for health. More sugary fruits high in GI such as grapes are good as a treat. Bananas and dried fruits are great after a hard training session with a scoop of unflavoured natural protein shake as they have plenty of sucrose. Cherries and berries are a good way to perk up a bowl of porridge in the morning, and will help the absorption of the protein if eaten with a handful of nuts and seeds.

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Diet & Fitness Goals

Michael Jordan, the famous American Basketball player, once said “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”

So if you have a goal in mind, go for it but make sure you plan ahead.

To aim for a goal half heartedly will just cause frustration and the end result will be a loss of interest and possibly a waste of a gym membership.

How many of us have flicked though a fitness magazine and tried a few weeks of a workout before becoming bored or giving up because we are not getting the intended results? This look may be completely achievable with some thought and careful planning.

Aiming for one goal at a time is the first step. To aim to lose weight and improve fitness are two separate goals. Cardio may help with both of these but the body can only do one thing at a time.

If your primary goal is to lose weight, ensure you train simply for fat loss with cardio, weights, and a careful balanced diet.

For muscle building, make sure you eat enough carbohydrate and protein at every meal. Protein will only build muscle in the presence of carbohydrate. Keep the cardio low as that will just burn up vital calories and over stress the muscles.

For serious shredding to reduce already low body fat, carefully deplete your carbohydrate but watch your fat intake so that your total calories consumed stay above the Resting metabolic rate. This ensures your body doesn’t go into starvation mode and your metabolism doesn’t slow down.

For a more specific goal such as completing your first marathon, ensure you divide your training program into sections, changing your training every 4-6 weeks. This not only alleviates boredom but allows a change in intensity around the point that your workouts become easier as your body becomes used to them. Also remember that running or indeed any training for over around 45minutes will start to burn up muscle, so increasing your protein intake with each meal will help. Also energy drinks and gels will fuel the body over longer runs, minimising muscle breakdown or catabolism. Runners actually require as much protein as a weightlifter of similar weight.

The problems arise when goals are unclear. For example it is very difficult to build up muscle while partaking in hours of cardio. It’s also almost impossible to build muscle without increasing your calorie intake unless you have a large amount of fat stores to utilise. This is why bodybuilders and athletes tend to have an “off season” around winter, allowing themselves the extra calories and resting from the cardio sessions. The extra calories can then be used to fuel more intense workouts, increasing strength and power.

For serious athletes, triathletes, or anyone doing regular high intensity training sessions a healthy diet rich in sources of high quality protein, complex carbohydrates and super foods will help. Large amounts of exercise will cause free radicals to be released just like the effects of smoking or stress. The effects of overtraining as well as stress to the body can include wrinkles, low immunity, soreness, fatigue and insomnia.

Super foods which are high in antioxidants, plenty of water and strong good quality vitamin supplements will not only aid recovery but also increase your health and vitality.

Goals should also be realistic. We all have specific body types and just because we want to change a rounded body into a thin limbed version of ourselves does not mean the body will allow it. Work with what nature gave you and make the best of it.

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Trans Fats & the Dangers of Low Fat Food

woman shoppingIn the pursuit of health and weight loss, many of us choose low fat or fat free options which we deem to be healthier. Surely a low fat product is better for us than full fat product. A gram of fat is calorie rich and contains 9 calories, more than double the calories in a gram of carbs or a gram of protein. We are constantly told to reduce the fat in our foods and in particular the quantity of saturated fat.

The main issue with this is the quality of the fat in a low fat product after the food processing has taken place to lower the fat content of the food.

During food production, instead of using a full fat saturated ingredient, vegetable oils are used. To make them solid in order to be used as a viable replacement, the vegetable oils have to be hydrogenated.

The hydrogenation process turns polyunsaturated fatty acids into solids. This is done by adding hydrogen atoms to unsaturated fats, eliminating double bonds. This makes them into partially or completely saturated fats which are solid or semi-solid at room temperature.

This also produces transfats which cause ill health, coronary heart disease and raised cholesterol. Many thousands of cardiac deaths each year are directly attributable to transfats. Although transfats are found in small doses naturally in food, much of the low fat products which are readily available to us contain transfats in higher doses.

Many studies have taken place over the years proving that the quantity of transfats in the diet is inextricably linked with the risk of mortality. Whereas polyunsaturated fats have the opposite effect and actually decrease the risk of dying.

Transfats increase the amount of unhealthy LDLs in the body. The level of HDL to LDL is a key factor in determining the risk of coronary issues, and it is vital to keep the ratio of healthy HDL high and the amount of bad LDLs low.

Transfats have been linked to depression and in particular suicide. Eating transfats has a risk of infertility in women. Transfats require different metabolic processes that take place in the liver and so can cause dysfunction of the liver. Aggression is another side effect and most worrying of all, transfats are linked to cancer.

Transfats are linked to Alzheimer’s Disease, however good fats such as fish oils have been found to be beneficial in preventing Alzheimer’s Disease and are recommended for improving brain function.

As transfats are not required to be listed on the label, the easiest way to avoid eating them is to choose the full fat option and have a smaller portion. Labels to avoid include “Light”, “Low fat” “Half fat”.

As well as containing transfats which are harmful to the health, low fat products contain additional high levels of refined sugars and sweeteners to increase the taste and palatability that has been reduced by removing the fat. This is not advisable for a weight loss diet. Eating good fats in small portions won’t make you fat, but eating refined sugar can. Sugar causes spikes in the blood, causing insulin to be released. This reduces insulin sensitivity over time. Over production of insulin also causes fat to remain in the cells and therefore this fat storage is unlikely to be metabolised.

Overeating the sugar can cause obesity, Type 2 diabetes as well as dental problems. Excess sugar will also be stored as fat, mainly in the liver. Transfats also cause obesity, more so than eating a similar quantity of normal fats.

Fat is essential in small amounts in our diet, the quantities depend on our body type. Fat cushions our joints, balances our hormone levels and keeps us warm. Eating good fats allow us to absorb fat soluble vitamins D, A, K, E. Sugars conversely do not contain any vitamins or minerals and are basically empty calories.

Fats containing Omega 3s are especially good for mental health and emotional health. To conclude, a small amount of full fat with a low sugar diet is far healthier than the equivalent quantity of reduced fat. Good sources of unsaturated fat include Extra Virgin Olive oil, flaxseeds, linseeds, and nuts.

8 Ways to Get to the Bottom of Cellulite

How many times do you look in the mirror and pick up on those dimply thighs and that wobbly bottom? Don’t you just hate it and wish it was not there?

There has always been a debate whether or not cellulite exists but if you suffer from the orange peel effect on your bottom, thighs or even your tummy area, you will quickly realise that it does exist.

What causes the lumpy effect is a fat and toxin build up just below the surface of the skin and sometimes genetics have a say in the matter.

There is however something you can do to help break down those stubborn fat and toxin deposits and help reduce the appearance of this somewhat annoying dimply effect.

Here are 8 simple ways to try and get rid this unsightly enemy:-

1. Exercise not only will burn off that excess fat that can cause cellulite, it also increases the blood flow and it plumps up the skin making it less noticeable (you don’t see many athletes with it). To combat it I do jogging /squats and skipping on a spot with a rope – no costly gym memberships involved.

2. Eat a diet rich in fruit and vegetables as these foods are low in toxins.

3. Cut out caffeine, nicotine and alcohol as these are extremely high in toxins

4. Body brush with a spa brush making sure you always brush upward towards the heart. This speeds up the lymphatic system which removes unwanted toxins in the body. You can also use a gritty exfoliator to remove dead skin cells on surface of the skin which in turn will really improve skin tone as well.

5. Massage is a MUST along with body brushing. Use a body moisturiser or massage oil and massage movements upwards towards the heart. With both hands pick up a section of thigh like a pinching effect starting from the outside of the thigh and gently squeeze then slowly roll down with your thumbs. Do this all over the thigh. Using your knuckles in a fist, gently make circular movements making sure you always have enough oil or moisturiser so skin does not dry out. Do this massage as a daily routine but if you find you don’t have the time every day then make sure after your evening bath you massage moisturiser into the skin on legs and thighs. Just by massaging the cream in you’re helping break down fatty deposits without even trying.

6. Always keep skin moisturised around these areas mentioned, it will give your skin a much better appearance and try not to have too hot a bath as heat dehydrates the skin..

7. A salon massage is a great way to expel unwanted toxins from the body and reduces build-up. It is also a fantastic way to promote a feel good factor within yourself – so treat yourself now and again.

8. Invest in a good self tan product as tanned skin will make your dimply bits less noticeable.

We all want to have a great body shape but remember most photos you see of celebs have been airbrushed, tweaked and enhanced so don’t be disheartened. There is never a quick fix to any beauty solution and nobody has the perfect body. Be thankful for what nature has given you but it is down to you to look after yourself so go on and give it all a go, you have nothing to lose except for the dimply bits!

Say Bye Bye To Bread

As a trainer and nutritionist I always start to clean up a client’s diet by removing bread. Reactions to this are often mixed, so I shall summarise my reasons below.

caution-bread-loafBread has for decades been seen to be healthy, appearing in vast portions on the old food pyramid which has been used by dieticians and nutritionists since 1992, based on the earliest food recommendations from 1894.

This is now known to be due to an overproduction of wheat which caused us to be encouraged to consume more wheat and therefore bread in order not to waste the wheat.

Since 2011 this was replaced with a food plate which has fewer grains and doesn’t mention bread at all. In spite of this we are still led to believe bread is part of a healthy diet and are bombarded with health adverts involving bread. Even popular health magazines and TV programs actually advise clients to eat bread.

During the Paleo era prior to farming, before grains and flour production, humans managed to sustain themselves and reproduce without bread, pasta and wheat in their diets until the Neolithic era 8,000 BC. Although farming methods have changed drastically with the cultivation of crops, domestication of animals and mass producing food, our genes are still remarkably similar to that of our Paleo ancestors.

Whilst grains are good for you; oats are especially good for the heart, refined grains cause a sugar spike similar to that of consuming raw sugar, meaning that any excess sugar not used by the body is stored as fat.

Too much glucose in the blood causes the release of free radicals which cause damage to the muscle tissue, wrinkles and premature aging. A diet rich in antioxidants is necessary to combat this.

Along with the sugar spike there is also an insulin spike, which is needed to store the excess sugar. Frequent insulin spikes have been linked to Type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and various other diseases due to the cells becoming resistant to insulin.

Homemade whole meal bread would take a couple of hours to bake. However shop made bread takes around 30 minutes. The yeast is only partially fermented, meaning that it continues the fermentation process in your gut.

The quantity of carbohydrates found in bread is too high for the average sedentary person. A regular exerciser hoping to put on muscle may need to increase the carb intake but a non-exerciser will simply store fat after eating excess carbs. A meal rich in vegetables will be more nutritious, full of vitamins, valuable minerals and antioxidants

Wholegrain shop made bread contains high levels of phytates which make zinc and iron and other macro nutrients un-absorbable. It is therefore impossible to obtain the full benefit of a nutritious meal, and will have to consume more of the foods in order to gain some benefit.

Lectins also are found in whole grains and increase gut permeability. This allows toxins in to the blood and can cause acne and multiple sclerosis.

Most people have heard of endorphins and the good effects they have on the body, but cereal grains and also dairy contain exorphins. This has a negative effect, causing mood changes and addictiveness. They are essentially opoids, proteins produced from the digestion of gluten, and due to their addictiveness can cause obesity.

As food production techniques have become increasingly more advanced, gluten intolerant individuals have increased in numbers. Up to half the population are sensitive to gluten to some degree, with 1% being Coeliacs. Such individuals can have the following symptoms:

Joint aches
Bone pain
Abdominal pain
Low nutrient absorption
Short stature
Premature balding

Even though over 10 years has shown that salt levels have come down by an average of 20%. Approximately 75% of the salt consumed in the UK and other developed countries come from processed foods. In the UK bread forms a large part of our diet and so the high salt levels are a health issue.

Thankfully bread bakers have gradually reduced the levels of salt in their products, preventing 2,400 strokes and heart attack events each year, but more can be done.

Lastly a little known fact, that supermarket bread is often injected with fat to ensure it keeps its shape. The perfectly pliable dough is enhanced with L-Cysteine which is extracted from feathers. Due to relaxed labelling rules, these ingredients do not have to appear on the label, and so often the buyer is unaware.

If giving up bread is too difficult and depressing to contemplate, try baking your own at home, with the best ingredients you can afford. Be sparing with your salt, try a gluten free flour if possible, bake slowly and consume in small amounts, ideally after exercise with a portion of protein.

Alternatively try root or leafy vegetables, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, marrow, broccoli, the list goes on…

Getting Started in Complementary Health

An increasing number of people decide at some point in their life to get the necessary qualifications and become a complementary health practitioner.  The recession and job losses of the recent years have somehow inspired many people to make the big step and, sometimes without other choices, start their own private practice. The challenges which can be found when working in private practice affects both professionals with university degrees like psychotherapists and psychologists, as well as other recognised qualifications.

Starting a complementary health business is similar to opening a shop, an office based service supplier or any other traditional commercial business.  Like in any other business, sales and cash flow are essential to guarantee positive results and so one of the most important things you need to do is to ensure that you  have plenty of clients  to pay your overheads  and  guarantee yourself a decent income.  Depending on the country where the complementary health business is based, it is also necessary to be familiar with legal, professional and business requirements.

What is a Complementary Health Business?

Complementary health treatments include a broad range of disciplines. It is important to learn about the particular form of holistic health practice and  complete the necessary training before committing to opening a practice. . Examples of complementary health businesses include:

  • Hypnotherapy
  • Massage
  • Reflexology
  • Reiki
  • Acupuncture
  • Homeopathy
  • NLP

Setting Up a Private Practice in Complementary Health

Some complementary health practitioners work from home whereas others set up a separate office/studio in which to work from.  There are both advantages and disadvantages in working  from home  as there are in working from a private studio; initial set up for a home practice may be cheaper but there will need to be enough space to work professionally and take into account:

  • equipment/furniture needed
  • health and safety
  • legal requirements
  • scheduling and managing appointments
  • associated costs
  • personal privacy and security

Insurance, Legal and Professional Requirements for a Complementary Health Practice

There are different insurance, legal and professional requirements in the UK. It may be necessary to obtain a business license (even if working from home) from the local authorities and comply with certain local and national laws. In addition, it may be necessary to obtain professional memberships in order to apply for an adequate professional insurance cover; different types of insurance cover may be needed.

Maintaining Tax Records and Banking for a Complementary Health Practice

It is important to keep a record of all purchases and expenses and receipt of income for tax purposes; at the end of the tax year, a complimentary health business will be expected to file a tax return either as a sole trader or an incorporated limited company (partnerships may be applicable if two or more practitioners work together).  Opening a business’ bank account is also essential in order to keep business transactions separate from personal ones.

Marketing a Holistic Health Business

I hope it doesn’t come as a surprise when I say that in the 21st century, every business should have a web presence in addition to other direct and indirect marketing operations.   A complementary health business can be marketed through a combination of web site, blogs, forums and social networking. Depending on the skills level of the holistic health practitioner, it may be necessary to employ someone to both set up and maintain the various web marketing tools required.

Some complementary health practices, both in the UK and abroad , are not tightly regulated, making it simple for almost anyone to set up and call themselves a holistic health practitioner or practice. However, in order to maintain high standards and increase the chances  for success, it is advisable to take all accredited training in the chosen discipline, obtain insurance,  memberships to the relevant governing body and comply with the relevant legal requirements.

Working Within a Professional Health Centre

While working from home can be a simple and cost-effective way to get started, it can limit the opportunities of expansion as well as the amount of money that can be charged.  An effective alternative is to work from a complementary health centre which, among other basic things can offer:

  • good quality therapy rooms that are suitable for your  therapy/discipline
  • a central and easily accessible location reception and phone answering service to ensure that your phone calls are answered and your clients or prospects are well looked after
  • a place where you always feel  safe  when working with clients

The main advantages of working from a professional complementary health centre are:

  • better image
  • possibility of justifying higher fees
  • building up a stronger brand


Getting Started in Complementary Health can be a very rewarding and life changing decision.  When well-managed, it can bring financial accomplishments, the opportunity of making a difference in many people’s lives and achieving a great level of satisfaction.

However, it should be considered for what it really is: a business venture which as such requires accurate planning and adequate business skills in marketing and sales.

Functional Training

Functional training involves exercises which mainly focus on the strengthening of abdominal muscles and back muscles. As core strength increases so does balance and efficiency which reduces injuries.

Functional training involves primal movement patterns and multi-planar ranges of motion. These are movements that children do naturally. This improves coordination by re-training the muscles to work together in more efficient patterns. Instead of using fixed pathway machines in one plane of movement, free weights are used along with other equipment. This stabilizes the joints and allows a far greater range of movement.

Functional training is especially useful in our sedentary lives. We are not designed to sit at desks for up to 10 hours a day nor have we evolved to sit in cars and trains. Neanderthal man would have remained active throughout the day, hunting and gathering food, rarely sitting for any length of time.

This means that our hip flexors fail to develop and the gluteus (Gluteus Maximus Medias and Minimus) are not utilized. Calves tend to shorten from wearing heels and flexibility decreases. This makes anything even walking more difficult as the hip flexors do not properly engage.

Functional training helps to alleviate problems caused by a bad posture,  it prevents injuries later in life and improves back strength enormously. Lifting objects and bending become easier and fitness improves.

Even fit people and regular gym users can get injured if they do not incorporate some functional training in their routine. Training chest and biceps causes a rounded posture and weakened back. Using fixed pathway machines does not use the core which weakens further. Functional training can lead to better muscular balance and joint stability, in turn decreasing your risk of injury as a result.  Lifting heavy weights without having good core strength will make injuries very likely.

Runners often have knee problems due to overload of forces on certain structures in the knee joint or surrounding region –  namely the ilio-tibial band and patella-femoral joint. This is usually caused by problems in the hips.

As with every fitness program, once your body adapts to the program, gains slow down, so challenge yourself by varying the routine every 4-6 weeks.

Expect slow steady progress, an increase in coordination, strength and balance if used on a regular basis. Weightlifters often find it much harder than they would expect at first, using their own body motion to train, improve and extend. It is perfect for anyone no matter how fit, and has its roots in rehabilitation of people with injuries. In fact many of the pieces of equipment used including ViPRs were first used in rehab patients.

There is a large variety of equipment that can be used, all are easily portable and frankly a good deal more fun than fixed pathway machines.

Kettlebells, dumbbells, suspension kits such as TRX’s, gymnastic rings and even cable machines are very effective. It is even possible to do a functional workout in the park without any equipment.

A common myth about functional training is that it leads to an increase in muscle mass. Actually the muscle that is created by functional training is leaner and stronger, the ligaments and tendons are more effective than that created with generic bodybuilder type training regimes.

Another misconception is that functional training leads to a decrease in flexibility. On the contrary, functional workouts increase flexibility and often do not need to involve a stretch at the end of the session. The clean and jerk for example stretches all the major muscles, the overhead squat is great at increasing flexibility in the Lats. The stiff leg deadlift increases flexibility in the hamstrings.

To get started with functional training, carry out some research and locate a good trainer or coach. Once you learn all the basic moves, it’s time to start your new regime for a leaner, fitter stronger body.

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Eat Well – Therapeutic Foods

Currently in the UK, the Food Standards Agency, the Government and NHS guidelines indicate the healthiest way to eat to avoid obesity is to use the “eat well plate”

This is essentially a simple way to ensure that you eat the “right” amount from each food group.

It recommends plenty of fruit and vegetables plenty of bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods – choosing wholegrain varieties when possible, some milk and dairy foods some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein. A small amount of foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar are allowed.

However, although following the above guidelines may ensure that the correct amount of macronutrients are consumed each day, it does little to account for micronutrients, and omits to mention any therapeutic foods whatsoever.

Therapeutic foods are those with high nutrient values and specific health benefits

Currants, raspberries and blackberries are genito-urinary tonics.

Apples and quinces tone up the liver, stomach and bowels. Apricot kernels, on the other hand, open up the lungs in coughing and lung congestion.  Pears moisten and protect the lungs against the dry autumn weather.  Cherries are beneficial in arthritis and rheumatism.

Oranges and orange juices are good at relieving fevers.  Lemons have a sour astringency that stimulates the bile and gastric juices, and aids in the expectoration of phlegm

The fruit and juice of the pomegranate stimulates and moves a sluggish stomach and bowels, whereas the rind can be decocted into a tea which is good for diarrhoea, haemorrhoids and intestinal parasites.

Beetroots are a tonic and detoxifier of the liver and the blood.  Celery root and Parsley root are adaptogens that enhance overall vitality and energy levels and resistance to stress, and are also tonics for the kidneys and the genitourinary system, particularly in the male.  For women, parsnips are great tonics and regulators of the female menstrual cycle.

Pumpkin and squash, especially butternut and acorn squash, help to regulate and lower blood sugar levels in those with diabetes.  Pumpkin seeds are good for the prostate, and are also a vermifuge.

Artichoke and bitter greens like dandelion and endive promoting bile flow and cleanse the liver.  Perhaps the most famous vegetables to cleanse the urinary tract in urinary infections is asparagus

Spicy vegetables(herbs) stimulate the circulation, immunity and digestion, and can play a valuable therapeutic role in the daily diet.  Fresh ginger root stimulates and harmonizes the stomach and digestion when eaten, is boiled as a tea as first aid for colds, increases the resistance of the organism to colds and flu when cooked into one’s food, and purifies the lymphatic system as a tea.   Onions also stimulate the immune system to throw off colds and flu and expel phlegm from the body, as does horseradish.  Garlic not only stimulates the immune system against infection, but also normalizes blood pressure and circulation, and kills off pathogenic bacteria in the intestines, thinning the blood and lowering cholesterol.

Radishes are a spicy vegetable that stimulate the stomach and digestion, eliminate excess phlegm, and stimulates the flow of bile.

Beans can be a problematic food group, as many of them are hard to digest. The easier ones to digest are mung beans, adzuki beans, lentils and black beans.  Nevertheless, many beans do have valuable therapeutic properties.

Drinking the water after boiling mung beans or adzuki beans, cause a mild diuretic effect, and this cleanses and heals the genitourinary tract.  Black beans strengthen the kidneys, and adzuki beans can be therapeutic in diabetes.

To enhance digestibility, beans can be cooked with certain spices; Cumin, Wormseed. Caraway and Tarragon.

Echinacea boosts the immune system and can offer resistance to colds and influenza.

Ginkgo preserves the function of the brain and slows down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

St. John’s Wort works as an antidepressant and has fewer side effects that prescribed anti depressants.

Milk thistle benefits the liver and helps the body eliminate toxins staving off liver disease caused by alcohol.

Calming chamomile can remedy an upset stomach and aid sleep and can also improve the skin if taken topically.

Thyme improves the immune system, promotes perspiration and eases sore throats and coughs. It has mild antiseptic properties.

Sage herb calms the nerves, improves digestion and eases lung congestion and coughs.

Rosemary improves circulation, stimulates the liver into eliminating toxins from the body, eases joint and headache pain and relieves cold symptoms.

Mint and peppermint ease stomach and digestive problems, relax the mind and can ease headaches.

Oats have a high mucilage content, which is very soothing to the stomach and intestines; oats also have the reputation of being a restorative for the nerves and beautifying to the skin.

Buckwheat is the most heating grain, and is the best to eat in winter.  Millet is light and easy to digest, yet very high in protein

To get the maximum amount of goodness from milk which is naturally very cold and phlegm forming, heat it up with the following spices; Cinnamon, Cardamom, Allspice, Ginger Cloves, and Black Pepper.

To neutralize the toxins from red meat and aid in its digestion, cook or eat with hot, pungent spices and condiments like Cloves, Black Pepper, Garlic, Mustard Onions or Horseradish.

To aid digestion, fish can be sprinkled with lemon juice; capers or horseradish are also good.

The benefits of eating essential micronutrients are endless, and all can be purchased from your local supermarket.

Crash Diets & Cravings

Many of us have tried diets in order to shift a few pounds, I myself have tried several over the last decade ranging from the cabbage soup diet, smoothie diets, the green and red diet, low fat, low carb, GI diets, vegan diets, fruitarian diets, various bodybuilder diets to lose fat and retain muscle, and a wide range of diets endorsed by celebs advertised in my favourite magazines. I tried herbal fat loss pills and capsules, differing tonics, eating protein just before bed, not eating after 6pm, having 3 square meals, having 6 small meals, having water with each meal, herbal teas, weighing food, counting calories and counting points all to no avail.

Whilst each diet had a positive effect mentally in the short term and I felt in control of my body seeing the weight steadily decreasing, as soon as I went back to eating normally the weight crept back on and sometimes I gained more than I lost.

The benefits of a very restrictive diet are the feeling that one is on “holiday” from eating, a break from routine. Though this is central to the success of a diet, there is little long term success due to previous eating habits being repeated.

When on a “crash diet” basically eating 20% less calories than usual, the body goes into starvation mode to preserve fat stores from the inevitable famine it assumes is on the way. Water will be released during this storage process so it appears that weight has been lost. This reinforces the belief that the diet is working.

As the starvation continues, the body needs to preserve its energy and muscle uses the largest amount of energy to work. The body reduces muscle mass and preserves energy so more weight is lost. However if the goal is to burn up fat for a more lean toned look, using up muscle will not help. When muscle is depleted, the metabolic rate decreases as it requires less energy to survive. This slows the weight loss so a further decrease in calories is the only way to get any more weight loss.

After the diet is over, and normal eating continues, the new body shape with less muscle will require fewer calories than before. Fat stores start to rise again which is rather depressing, as the result is a marked increase in fat as lean muscle has been depleted. The dieter will be even unhappier with the body composition and will either try a different diet or will come to the conclusion that “dieting makes you fat”.

Another side effect of dieting or restricting oneself is the cravings that ensue. When told a food type is banned, it merely heightens the desire, contributing to the failure of a diet and feelings of guilt and a lack of self-control.

Often we eat when we are not hungry, due to a variety of emotional and physiological factors such as boredom, loneliness, stress, worry and anger. If someone is a “restrained eater” then any of these feelings can cause them to overeat and play havoc with their self-control. It takes practise to distinguish between emotional and true hunger, and to resist eating purely due to emotions.

Sometimes weight maintenance is a more realistic goal and just as important as weight loss. Just preventing further weight gain can bring many health benefits and far outweigh the short-term benefits of a diet. In fact yo-yo dieting can cause health consequences due to the increase and decrease of carbohydrates, in particular sugar, and can affect insulin resistance.

The pleasure we get when eating foods is linked to the hormone dopamine and obese people have fewer dopamine receptors, meaning they require a larger portion of tasty food in order to have the same pleasurable effect. Which means dieting is even more difficult for obese individuals. However recent studies show that overeating can cause further reduction of dopamine receptors.

Cravings and depressed moods are inextricably linked. Generally foods craved are sugary or fatty such as chocolate. Although chocolate does contain a cannabinoid relatively unique to cocoa, the average person would have to consume 25kg of chocolate to receive a noticeable high. More likely, the elevated mood after eating craved foods is due to the “guilty pleasures” feelings associated, and the taste of sugar and fat.

Instead of trying out the latest fad diet, I always recommend cutting out one “bad” food per week, this is far easier to adhere to in the long term. For example, this week try avoiding crisps, next week try abstaining from crisps and cakes, for the following week avoid eating crisps, cake and chocolate and so on.

This will not feel like a diet, it’s a healthy eating plan for life. Allow yourself one cheat meal a week consisting of a “bad” food type such as a piece of cake. Replace the “bad” foods with “good” foods like fruit, veg, nuts, seeds and berries. Before you know it you will be on your way to a healthier life.

Complementary Therapy is Dead

Are you ready for the big change?

The “Complementary therapy” label is about to die and with it many of itspractitioners. This is actually good news because the label is about to die only to make room for a bigger, fresher and more official one; “Therapy” or “Treatment”.

I guess that you may be asking yourself what this means and whether it makes any real difference. In fact, you may be asking yourself whether  you should keep on reading at all. I strongly invite you to  carry on reading as this very article might be the one thing that makes the difference between passion with no money and passion with rewards! This article might give you the opportunity to learn how to ensure that others see you as a professional therapist and that you canbuild a successful business whilst helping others.

In the past, complementary therapy has been criticized,  then acclaimed, then criticized some more, then acclaimed and so on, back and forth. Most of time, complementary therapy rooms were the destination of people with solid spiritual beliefs whilst “professionals”, skeptics and “old fashioned” members of the public would stick to the good old GP prescriptions and nothing else; whether these worked or not.

More and more often today we see people seeking help and advice directly from complementary therapists and GPs themselves are referring more and more clients to alternative therapy professionals. What this does is simple; it kills “complementary” and “alternative” and it makes it more and more official.

Hypnotherapy, EFT, Acupuncture, Reiki and other therapies are becoming more and more popular among the general public and people are getting more and more educated. The main natural consequences of  the above are two which, if ignored, may be the beginning of the end of your therapy business.

1. With the general public being more educated and so you must be more accurate and congruent as the level of awareness raises within the consumers.

2. Having noticed the demand, other people may spot the opportunity to help others whilst making a living and add to your competition.

Whilst some may think that the above are threats, I truly believe that they are a blessing to both therapists and clients. Why? Simple! Clients are safer and better looked after and therapists can make a better living doing a noble profession.

There are two simple things you need to do as therapist in order to make this transformation convenient:

1. Ensure that you are professional in all ways. This includes the way you dress (you must be professional), your knowledge and skills (you must attend CPDs), your premises or the clinic you operate from (which must be clean, well known, located strategically – never work from home unless you have a separate building/detached room), your fees (the lower your fees the lower the perceived value), your website (it must communicate professionally), your business card, your opening times (part timers will struggle) and your marketing knowledge (no marketing = no clients, bad marketing = still no clients and even less money).

2. Your rapport skills. Whatever your profession, you must be able to build rapport with your clients almost instantly. When I first started years ago, the only complaints that I have received (very very few), were not for the results of my therapy/coaching, but because I did not build rapport with my clients. 80% of GPs who did not build rapport with their patients, will receive a complaint. GPs whobuilt rapport with their patients, are less likely to receive complaints even when they do make mistakes.

Being able to build rapport is fundamental if you want to be successful in this business; you work with people not with their problems and many therapists/coaches focus too much in the issues and not enough on clients. They forget that clients are there because they need attention, they do not need attention put on their issues, they need to be directed onto their solutions.

Complementary therapy is dead!

You are all becoming a bigger, more influential and more official group within the healthcare industry.

Live Young and Prosper: The Dauer Way

The global average life expectancy during the early twentieth century was 31 years; today it stands at 67.2 years. The “Big Three”: food, health and hygiene are being hailed as miracle life longevity factors; however improving overall quality of life is far more complex than simply extending it. Without actually slowing down the pace at which we age, all this proposes is potentially a greater number of years spent with age related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. But how much do we truly understand about aging?

35 genes believed to determine lifespan have been unveiled by research at the Louisiana State University Health Centre, coding for a wide range of cellular functions they indicate aging is multifactorial. At least four physiological processes are thought to play a role in aging including metabolic control, resistance to stress, gene deregulation and gene stability. Scientists will persevere in unravelling the mystery of aging and the complexity of the process means it may be one of the hardest nuts we will ever try to crack. The very nature of aging makes it difficult to gather substantial data; long term experimentation on human beings is unfeasible due to the crippling time constraints. Nevertheless, when there is a will there is a way and this is where model organisms step in.

Caenorhabditis elegans

The nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans makes an excellent aging model organism; living 2-3 weeks, the hermaphrodites among them are able to produce around 300 genetically identical offspring, providing the advantage of allele homozygosis and its small 97 megabase genome is fully sequenced. Most importantly, the Caenorhabditis elegans shares 35% similar genes with us, that are used as candidate human longevity genes and the development stages of each somatic cell are known from zygote to adult worm. Going through the complex developmental processes of embryogenesis, morphogenesis and growth, in four stages (L1, L2, L3 and L4) there is plenty to suggest that what we learn from the Caenorhabditis elegans may be directly applicable to us. When placed in harsh conditions, the L1 and L2 larvae become dauer larvae with delayed development and dark intestines produced by storage of fat. When the harsh conditions subside they re-enter the developmental process, carrying on as normal. This may seem insignificant, however these dauer larvae live 10 times the average lifespan of a normal nematode, in human terms that means reaching the age of about 700!

A study carried out by Golden JW and Riddle DL identified pheromone, food and temperature as dauer-inducing factors. The pheromone is a measure of population density, causing dauer formation at L2 and inhibiting recovery based on pheromone dose. Lack of food causes caloric restriction, a method which has also proven to extend lifespan in rodents. The enhancement of the dauer larvae formation needs exposure to high temperature at L1 stage. Two sensory mutants defective in thermotaxis have altered sensitivity to the pheromone but the pheromone response remains temperature dependent. The ways in which the dauer respond to inducing factors was found to be age dependent, with the older larvae having a greater tendency to recover. The dauer larvae seem to able to control the pace at which that metaphorical clock ticks, no doubt the day we learn to apply this in humans will be pivotal to the very nature of science.

To date the oldest age a human being has got to is 122 years, while average lifespan has certainly increased, maximum lifespan is yet to be understood and manipulated. As technology develops, our knowledge will continue to grow and maybe soon birthday cards will go up to 700 years or more.

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3 Reasons Why Therapists and Coaches Fail

And 3 things You Must do if you want to  succeed!

If you are a practitioner or a coach, you will certainly know that over 90%of people starting out will fail within the first 12-18 months. Our estimate is that 3 of the remaining 5% will be forced to shut down within the first 24 months and 1 within 36 meaning that only 1 out of 100 new professionals will succeed.

So what are the reasons behind this and, most importantly, how can you  change today and become one of the successful ones?

Here below you will learn the 3 most important steps to take in order to succeed and escape the “Closed” sign on your door and you will be surprised to find that it really is simple and easy. There is however one condition; one factor which will determine whether you succeed or not even with these new notions; that is Action. You must act on what you learn right away, not next week, not tomorrow and not in one hour but right away; you must take at least one action (the biggest you can given the circumstances) as soon as you have finished this article.

Never leave the scene on a decision without taking action!

Okay here we go… what makes people in your business fail?

1. Lack of business sense
That’s right, you might be a great therapist with skills, passion and love for helping people BUT (and this is a really big BUT), unless you learn to understand that you are in business and behave accordingly, you will not make it; there is no exception!

2. Marketing is not Market Inn
Many of you mistake Marketing with Market Inn, an imaginary hotel chain where people meet and do all sorts of wrong promotional activities.

Marketing is a science, marketing needs to be studied (and I don’t mean at school), understood, tested and, most importantly used.

Most of you do not do any marketing at all, waiting on the dream of referrals. Well, it is now time to wake up before the dream becomes your scariest nightmare. Referrals will come but (and again a big one), with time and even then you will need new clients. New clients are your future and here is why:

  • Referrals will not be passed by all your clients as some of them will forget about you. After all you also would want to forget about a problem you had and with it you will also forget the person who helped you overcome it
  • Your old clients may move town
  • Your clients may not want to share their old issues
  • After you have successfully worked with them, they took no action and regressed back to the old issue and of course, blame you!
  • They cannot find your details anymore

Marketing must be done intelligently and continuously.

3. Professionalism
And please remember that I do not mean anything personal with this but (… a big one again), you mustbe professional not only in what you do and the results that you achieve but also in the way you do it, the way you look and the fees that you charge.

See below for more details and solutions.

So, these are the main three issues which keep many from succeeding in this business, now lets look at what you must do in order to save yourself from being part of that 99% who will never make it; but remember, you must start now!

1. Your therapy work might be your love, your passion but remember that you are in a relationship with your clients and your suppliers (whether that’ s your landlord or other). Whether you like it or not, you are carrying out a business transaction, your passion is also a business and thus you must treat it as such.  This point number 1 is all about teaching you to create and maintain a business attitude when you work. It is up to you to draft the policies as long as you have some.

2. Marketing is not a hotel chain but it is a chain that can either pull you up to success or drag you down to failure. Here is what you can do:

  • Join a clinic which offers you serious marketing support. By this I mean a good Google ranking, good general advertising of the clinic, good presence on their web site and a good Google AdWords campaign management
  • Hire a Marketing Expert
  • Learn Marketing
  • Reframe your expectations (not recommended)

3. Professionalism
You might think that dressing casual puts your clients at ease, you might think that “that’s what you are and either they like it or not, it’s their problem” or you might even not think about your dress code. Well all of the above is wrong.

With this I am not suggesting that you should change who you are or dress with suits or white gowns. All I am saying is that you need to look professional, clean  and tidy. Remember that people are putting their problems in your hands and to be frank, if you cannot keep yourself clean, tidy and presentableyou are not going to even hear about my issues!

The above goes for your clinic too.

Your fees reflect  how good you think you are. If you want to give discounts that’s fine but always send your invoice with your usual fees and then apply the discount so that they know what your fees are.

So what do you need to do now?

Causes of the Obesity Pandemic

In spite of all the modern advances in science and pharmaceutical health in the developed countries, we still face one major health concern which affects our cardiovascular health and wellbeing – obesity. Although there are a multitude of causes, the result is the same for all, almost all obese people have developed some symptoms of chronic disease by the age of 40, and most will need medical intervention by the age of 60. 

Fast foods and processed foods have been blamed for the increase in obesity, due to the high energy content and low nutrient content. Physical activity has also decreased over the years helping the level of obesity rise exponentially in richer and poorer countries alike. In fact, obesity levels are higher in low income families with less education whereas healthier people are the ones who earn more money. 

Labour saving devices in the home and at work mean less activity takes place throughout the day. We drive more and walk less, we have remote controls, power tools, gadgets, etc. Food is more accessible than before, we can eat out, order takeaways, have food delivered, drive through, use the internet to do our supermarket shopping and can supersize on most occasions. 

We are said to be half as active as our parents by about 500-800 calories per day, and our children will be half as active as we are. That’s about the same as running a marathon each week. We all know we need to eat a bit healthier and exercise more, but as no country has yet managed to reverse the trend in the rise in obesity, achieving this would take a lot more than that. 

Famine is still responsible for more human deaths than any single disease; hence the humans who could withstand famine better were more able to survive. Storing more body fat was an evolutionary advantage.  Any strict diet mimicking starvation will set these mechanisms into play. Metabolism will slow down, fat will be stored, and lean mass utilised, hunger pangs will take hold and the mind will be fully occupied with finding food. 

Nutrition plays a big part in being healthy and maintaining a healthy weight, however studies have shown that obese people do understand the importance of healthy eating. 

A vigorous exercise routine whilst burning calories will not help an obese person lose weight if they simply keep eating too much, so exercise in isolation is not the answer. In fact after a lifetime of sedentary behaviours and a general lack of exercise, an obese person will find it hard to start and stick to a program of intensive exercise and may find it uncomfortable. 

Though the environment is often to blame, there still continues to be a number of slim lean people, who live in the same environments as obese people, being subjected to the same adverts, the same peer pressure, the same availability of food and the same surroundings.

So what is it that keeps this declining minority from piling on the pounds?

Although there is evidence of a “fat gene” and animal studies have found various mutations linked to obesity, human obesity is much more complex and there are far more factors to consider then simply genetics. There are certain medical conditions that cause excessive weight gain, including hyperthyroidism, metabolic disorders, sex hormone disorders, polycystic ovaries, brain damage and congenital disorders, however this only accounts for 5% of obesity in the UK.

There are 3 main body types known to exist, namely Ectomorphs with long lean limbs, Mesomorphs with a stockier muscle-bound frame, and Endomorphs with a rounder softer shape. Though most people fall into more than one category, such as an Ecto-mesomorph, this merely accounts for the body shape, not the total quantity of fat we hold.

The early stages of pregnancy determine the quantity of fat cells the offspring will have throughout life, and that this total number usually stays consistent unless severe famine or overeating occurs.

We can diet and shrink the fat cells, but their very presence will cause immense hunger pangs and a burning desire to eat again, bringing us back to the initial weight, as with yo-yo dieting.

Also breast-fed babies generally grow slower than bottle-fed babies, and so are less likely to become obese in later life. Weaning practices also affect obesity in later life, in particular an early adiposity rebound – putting on body fat (normally occurring around 6 years of age) if occurring as early as 3 years of age, causes an excess of fat to be stored and so obesity results in later life. This ties in with a set point theory that we are born with a particular target weight, and despite our best efforts, our body’s homeostatic mechanisms will control this rigidly.

Overeating in childhood causes the existing fat cells to become full. When storage is at an all-time low, additional fat cells are formed and this level stays constant throughout adulthood. Any deviation in the actual size of the fat cell causes changes in behaviour and metabolic rate via hormonal changes, and a resulting return to our body’s “target weight”.

In conclusion, it is not impossible for obese individuals to lose body fat, but it takes a great deal of hard work and requires changing habits of a lifetime. Each pound of fat amounts to 3500 calories, but with the right healthy eating plan and a tailored training regime anything is possible.

How to Lose Weight Without Going on a Diet or to a Gym

The idea of being able to lose weight without going on a diet or to a gym may appear like an elaborate claim. However, having been overweight myself during my former years, navigating myself out of it and witnessing the struggles of hundreds of people with weight issues, I have discovered certain things in my life.

So many people go on extreme diets, losing weight quickly, only to put it back on again. This cycle creates misery, frustration and pain. This can lead to depression, low motivation and even in a lack of will to live. Life for you if you are overweight can be intensely frustrating and feel like an impossible task at times. This is a very common concern and one that I battled with for my entire youth.

I once spent a Summer at an American “Fat Camp.” Here I saw the struggles of hundreds of kids with weight challenges. I couldn’t help but wonder whether it would have benefitted me to attend such a camp during my youth.

Each day the children were made to exercise for several hours, whilst only being given tiny amounts of food. During their dietary lessons they were clearly taught that a healthy diet allowed them to eat anything that they liked, as long as it was part of a balanced eating plan.

Simultaneously, the children were banned from eating sweets and French fries during their stay at the camp. Clearly, this provided a contradiction in what the camp was teaching and what they were doing.

So many diets focus on strict and extreme changes that are unsustainable to most dieters.

All of the children at fat camp lost weight. However, the process was designed to be so difficult and emotionally draining that almost all of them would put the weight back on and return the next year needing to lose weight again. That is the cruel, business-like efficiency of a place that makes money through returning custom. If someone is exercising for 4 hours a day more than they do usually then surely it would be better to allow them to eat at least as much as they were eating before?

By educating people about food groups, balance and the need for exercise it would be possible for attendees to lose weight without going on a diet or to a gym. This would be a friendlier, more sustainable way of losing weight.

There are 2 ways to lose weight sustainably.

If you are currently eating too much then it is possible to lose weight through two different methods. One of them is by going on a diet and staying on it. Re-frame what the word diet means to you. A diet is for life – not just a short-term fix that is a struggle. By slowly introducing changes that add up over time – you can lose weight naturally and sustainably. Keeping a food journal is one way to do this. List everything you eat, what time you eat it and why you think you need to eat it. By having to do this for everything you eat, it is far more likely that you will eat less.

Hunger is often dehydration in disguise.

So often dehydration can lead you to think that you are hungry. By introducing a new rule into your life it is possible to lose weight and improve your health. If ever you feel yourself become hungry in between meals then make a rule to drink a pint (600mls) of water first. If you are still hungry 20 minutes after doing this then you can eat. By doing this the worst case scenario is that you will use your excess eating to keep yourself properly hydrated. You may find that this reduces your hunger significantly and leads to natural weight loss.

The second method is to add balance to your life.

If you are going to eat extra food then you can balance this by adding something that is good for you. For some they may see going to a gym as the answer. If you are like me and do not feel inspired by gyms then you may want to consider something a little less extreme. For this reason, I have created The Active Energy System. This is a way to add balance to your life by harnessing your walking time in a more productive way.

Whether you are walking to work, going shopping, walking your dog, walking around your house or trekking around the globe, you can turn your body into an Active Energy Dynamo, raising your motivation, confidence, focus and general health and wellbeing.

How The Active Energy System can help you to lose weight and keep it off.

By balancing any extra food that you eat with extra walking with The Active Energy System you can bring balance to your life. It’s a simple principle – if you eat more, you walk more. By doing this you can use your eating habits, whatever they are, to feel better, get fitter, more motivated and focused. The Active Energy System can help you to do all of this. So, if you are not ready for extreme dieting or exercise routines then The Active Energy System can be your best friend as you lose weight naturally and sustainably.

The 3×3 Essentials in the Complementary Health Business

Complementary health is first and foremost a business.  Many make the mistake of treating this profession as a passion for which they get paid. It must instead be a profession for which you have passion. The difference is small but critical and it often draws the difference between success and failure.

This article shows the 3 steps to take to ensure that you succeed in complementary health. Follow these steps and your chances to succeed may grow exponentially.

1 – Be professional

  1. Do not work from home. Working from home underlines a lack of professionalism and lack of commitment toward your profession. It is like saying “I cannot be bothered/commit to take an office as this is really something that I do in my spare time”. Even if you only practice on a part-time basis, working from an office tells that you work part-time, working from home tells that you work on your spare time; not the same thing!
  2. Specialise.  Jack of all trades masters of none belong to the past. Today people look for specialised knowledge. At first you may think that specialising in one area, whether that is weight loss, phobias, sport, back pain, or whatever you may specialise in, will reduce the number of enquiries you receive. In reality this is really not an issue. On the contrary you will get more business; there may only be 20,000 people suffering from a phobia in your county against the 5,000,000 seeking help in all areas. 20,000 people is still a lot of people and even if you only got 5% of this, you will need to see 1 client per day for 4 years before you have worked with your 5%. And that is working 5 days a week for 52 weeks of the year – eg no holiday! There are enough clients in any niche.
  3. Do your homework. Make sure that you know your stuff. Don’t improvise and ask for advice from people who have done what you do for longer than you. Ask the question and you may look stupid once, don’t ask and you will always remain stupid.

2 – Be seen

Marketing is important and it is important to get your marketing right. The way you market yourself depends pretty much on what you do. In complementary health however there are a few things that are proven to work. These are:

  • Networking
  • Flyers
  • Competitions
    1. Networking needs no elaboration other than getting out there and talking to people. Let everybody know that you are the expert in whatever it is that you are an expert in. Collect business cards and send them follow up emails after you met. Do not be pushy, something light like: “Hi Greg, it was good to meet you earlier today. Just a quick line to say hi and make sure that you have my contact details. I would like to be included in your newsletter and I would like to include you in mine which I hope you can find useful.”
      You can also go the extra mile and actually ask some of the people you meet at networking events to meet again on a one to one basis to understand more about each other businesses and requirements. There is enough to say about networking for a book to be written; for now, make sure you follow the steps above and a large part of the rest will come naturally.
    2. Flyers are one of those things that some people believe in and some others don’t. The truth is simple: those who believe in flyers understand how to create and use flyers, those who do not believe in them do not know this. Flyers must:
      • Include a head line, sub-headline, photo, call to action, urgency factor, benefit for the client
      • Be delivered to your neighbourhood at least 3 times (eg 3000 flyers to 1000 houses)
      • Be small and essential (not too many words and printed on A6 or A5)
      • Be monitored in terms of results
      • Here is an example of a good flyer

  1. Competitions are the best way known to me to generate traffic to your website and get free press coverage. The way this works is elementary: write to the local press offering to give away a series of treatments to their readers through a competition. The competition will involve that the readers fill out a coupon or enter their details on a webpage and the winner will be given the prize. All those people who did not win can be contacted with an offer such as: “Sorry you did not win! As consolation prize here is a 50% off discount voucher”. This is an excellent way to get targeted traffic and free press coverage.

3 – Business is Business

Business is business and so treat it as such. Here are the 3 main pointers:

  1. Be profitable. Make sure that you are making a profit with every client you see. If you lose 1p every client and you increase the number of clients you see, you will lose more pennies. Analyse your costs including marketing, rent, disposables, taxes, transport and all your other expenses related to the business and make sure that the fees you charge can generate the desired profit for you.
  2. Pricing. Charge what you are worth plus a little more! People associate the fees of a service to the quality of the same. Increasing your prices to the higher end of the scale will not only give you more profits but also more clients and more people will associate more value to your services. Investigate and see what your competitors charge and put yourself at the higher end of that scale.
  3. Plan and forecast. Make sure that you have a business plan so that you have a precise goal and an action plan that backs it up. In short, make sure that you know what you want and what you need to do in order to get it.

This article gives you a good idea of the main points that you must pay attention to when running a complementary health business (or any other small business for that matter). I recommend that you elaborate on every single point and apply these notions to your business as soon as you can.

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Stress Management, Obesity and Hypertension and How They All Relate

Watch a video by Adam Shaw about: Stress Management, Obesity and Hypertension and How They All Relate.

In 19 years as a health and well-being professional there has been one common link in all illness. In this video I explain…

– the link between stress, hypertension and obesity
– how stress works and its effect on your body
– how you can manage your stress more effectively

Dealing with Difficult People is Difficult …

Or should it perhaps be “dealing with people is difficult”? As Neil Donald said in his Conversations With God, relationships are the biggest challenge that life presents us with. It takes time and effort to keep a healthy relationship and sometimes even the best efforts are not enough. Dealing with people equals relating to them which means building a relationship of some sort.

Relationships, like most things in life, are made of respect, responsibility, agreements, considerations etcetera; all of these fall into one big basket called Communication. The level of respect we feel a person is giving us is dictated by their communication, whether that’s verbal or non-verbal, with us. The level of responsibility they take or give to us is suggested by communication. We agree to things through communication and the whole relationship cannot function without communication.

The reason why this is stressed so greatly is simple: dealing with people means dealing with relationships, being in a relationship with someone must happen through communication and thus it would be useless to even attempt to deal with difficult people if we do not deal with the level of communication between them and us.

Often difficult relationships, situations and outcomes are nothing more than the result of poor communication; change the way you communicate and the response that you will receive will change too. This does not mean your words, not only words at least. Paralanguage, or non-verbal communication, represents more than 80% of the message we send across; when my wife looks at me saying “Luca Senatore!!!” after I have let my son eat Nutella, I know she is not just calling my name! Ever heard a friend calling another friend with a rather offensive name which, with a smile and a different tonality, becomes a compliment?

Communication is the most powerful interaction tool we have and yet, many of us do not know how to use it. This is the very core of dealing with difficult people; difficult people do not know how to use communication to express their needs/requirements/preferences. Difficult people are difficult because we do not like, rightly so, their way of communicating; they are only different to us, even if “us” means the rest of the world. Difficult people are not difficult to themselves; most of the times they would not think that they are being difficult which makes the whole thing even more difficult right?

So how can we deal with difficult people?

Easy, through communication! Whilst every situation is unique and needs to be analysed individually, the following tips may reveal themselves magical if you apply them rigorously. You must remember that there are different kinds of difficult people: the grumpy ones, the “I know better” ones, the lazy ones, the rude ones, the nosy ones, the “Everything is bad” ones, the “You have no rights over me” ones and the list goes on and on and on.

Whilst the specific process of dealing with them may vary and there might be several techniques available for you to do so, the core is always the same: Force them to change the way they communicate! That’s right; this is the one key to dealing with different people easily and quickly. If you are dealing with a grumpy person, you must elicit in him or her, a non-grumpy communication. If you are dealing with a lazy one, then you must elicit a non-lazy communication. What this means in practical terms is that you must persuade the person to snap out of the old, unproductive state of mind and get into a more productive one.

So how do you do that? Easy… Ask! That’s right, if you ask questions people must think. When you talk to people often they drift off thinking about something else. The mind can think up to 7000 times faster that our mouth can talk and so whilst you say one think they could be busy processing 7000 other things. When I teach sales techniques I often tell my student to follow the TTT approach. The TTT approach is Tell them what you are going to tell them, Tell them and Told them what you have told them. This is because generally, during a typical 60 minute conversation, people will only take in 40% of what you have said. The rest will be forgotten.

You can alter this by asking questions. When you ask questions people have to think before they can give you an answer and this keeps them hooked and focused on what you are saying. Whilst in sales we want to ask questions to influence the way people feel about our product or service, when dealing with difficult people our aim is that of influencing our “receiver” to think in a different way from their usual negative one. So to a grumpy man who we need to complete a project by the end of the week we may ask: “I have a problem Mr Grumpy: I have a challenging situation and I don’t know if this project can be completed by the end of the week, do you think you might be able help me find a solution?” or “I don’t know whether this can be done by the end of the week, what do you think Mr Grumpy?”. Things like these force us to think. They require rationality, analysis and focus which soften the edge of emotions and also they make the person feel responsible, and therefore capable, worthy and respected, for an evaluation. This might elicit the wish to help, which is a common human need, from Mr Grumpy.

So you have asked Mr Grumpy to give you something proactive and positive, “forcing” him to change they thinking pattern. The same concept can be applied to other “difficult” personality traits, simply ask questions which are specific and can lead the “receiver” to the opposite state of mind.

Whilst there are hundreds of good techniques to deal with difficult people, the above will help you a great deal if applied and so, as I often say and yet not often enough, take Action and use what you know.

On the Way to a Healthier Heart

Adam Shaw talks presents the Healthy Heart Academy. Get in touch directly if you have any heart-related issues or need some advice for your friends.

Welcome to The Healthy Heart Academy – Your Healthier Heart Resource
According to the World Health Organisation heart disease kills at least one person every 4.5 seconds.

Heart Disease is the biggest killer in the world.
This free, content packed Healthy Heart Academy video training series shows you how to identify the early warning symptoms of heart disease in you or your loved ones, giving you exercises that could slow down, stop or even reverse the process.

Avoid being one of these alarming statistics.

Do You Have a Healthy Heart?

Would you like to find out? If so, we can help you.

You can quickly and easily identify who is at risk of heart disease amongst your friends and loved ones and offer them tips and exercises that can really help them. Enter your name and e-mail now on the following page to access this invaluable, free resource now.

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Telesales in Complementary Health

Whilst not specifically designed to gain more one to one clients, telesales can be very effective when selling complementary health packages, seminars or training to companies. It is however very important that you know how to approach a prospect on the telephone as there specific techniques which, if applied correctly, may change your outcomes radically.

Here below I have included an article about telesales and, although it may appear to be addressed  to a corporate environment, the very same techniques can be used to contact companies which may be interested in a complementary health package for their employees.

Telesales does not work for 90% of people who pick up the phone and the truth is that this happens because often we pick up the phone but we forget to pick up ourselves from whatever state we were in. If done correctly, telesales can not only greatly increase our revenue and profits, but also increase productivity and produce extra free time.

There is so much to say about telesales that I could easily write a book about it and add it to the many already written. If applied correctly however, the following techniques will be more than enough to help you immensely to optimise your efforts on the telephone.

In order to carry out a successful telesales campaign here is what you must do:


1. Prepare a document which allows you to make telephone calls systematically – a spreadsheet on which you can insert all the details of the companies you will be contacting including the notes that you will make after the call.

2. Group the calls into categories: “Appointment making”, “Seeking the name of the decision maker” (usually for larger companies), “Confirmations”, “Second visits” etcetera. This means that you will be making calls to companies belonging to the same category for long enough time to get into the momentum and consequently be more productive. This will allow you to pick up the jargon and generally be more familiar with the industry.

3. Have the purpose (goal) of the call clear in mind – know your outcome. Do you want to make a sale, find out the name of the buyer, get an appointment? Be sure as to what you want from that call and ask for it.

4. If you have appointments out of the town where you are based, arrange other visits to maximise the efforts

On the telephone

There are several things you can do to accelerate the process of building rapport both in person and on the telephone. Like attracts like remember; so if you look or sound more like your prospect you have more chances to build rapport quickly – this is called mirroring and/or matching. It is however very important that you do not sound/look obvious or you will not only lose the sale but also look ridiculous. I have seen this happen to many people and it really does not look pretty!

If done subtly, mirroring can be very helpful and by making slight changes to your paralanguage (tone, speed, pitch and sometimes accent) when talking on the telephone, you can see miraculous progress in your rapport building skills. If you think about it for a moment, it is absolutely normal that a person who speaks very slowly might find it easier to talk to people who also speak slowly. People who speak very quietly might find it disturbing to talk to people who shout. For this reason, if the person that picks up the telephone has a soft voice and  with a deep, low voice says “H-e-l-l-o, C-a-m-b-r-i-d-g-e C-e-n-t-r-a-l H-o-t-e-l; H-o-w- c-a-n- I h-e-l-p- y-o-u?” very s-l-o-w-l-y, you ought to slow down as well and perhaps lower your pitch to a deeper level (this is deep for you, do not try and match that of your prospect as matching the voice of an 60 year old Sicilian man would make you look rather ridiculous).

Use your client’s vocabulary; if they tell you that they want something elegant, say that you will give them something elegant – not smart! If they say that they want to see how your pictures willlook on the site, do not tell them that they will fit in well or that it will feel good to have them on there. Tell them that they will look good!

If they talk about colleagues when referring to their competition, call them colleagues, not competitors. You get the point.

Use your body as if you were there in person. People might not see you when you talk to them over the telephone but with your voice you also send other messages. If you smile, they feel it. If you feel insecure they feel it. They might not be able to pin point what it is but they will feel something is not right. So, behave on the telephone as if you were there in person.

Oh yes, I almost forgot… Do NOT make calls in your pajama! You are working and so dress accordingly. I am not even going to get into the reason why this is important, simply follow my advice.

Get used to “talking in questions”

This means that you need to learn to talk to your prospects by asking questions. Look at the examples below and see how you can use questions to lead the conversation you where you need it to go:

Prospect: “I do not have money”
You: “Alright, so if  you can see that this is going to put money into your account,  would you be happy to buy now?” Or “That’s exactly why you need to increase the conversion rate of your website which is what this product will do for you. So, if  you can see that this is going to put money into your account,  would you be happy to buy now?”.

P: “I am not interested”
Y: “What is it that you are not interested in?”

P: “I need to think about it”
Y: “What is that question that I need to answer now which will enable you to see how you can benefit from this right now?”

P: “Our business does not need that”
Y: “I am sure that your business does excellently already and I wonder whether a professional set of photos, which make your website even more elegant than it already is, could help your prospects understand how much you care for your business and thus for your guests?”

P: “I need to see some numbers, some stats”
Y: “Sure, what would seeing the numbers and stats give you?”

These are only a few examples; you need to consider the specific circumstances before you choose what to say. As you know, some of the above might be relevant and appropriate in certain circumstances but not in others.

The purposes of asking questions are 1. To know what drives the prospect and what they are trying to achieve with their objection/statement/question.

For example, in this example

P: “I need to see some numbers, some stats”
Y: “Sure, what would seeing the numbers give you?”

The answer to your question will reveal the need that the person is trying to satisfy. This could be reassurance, analytical personality, something to show to the boss etcetera.

In this example

P: “I need to think about it”
Y: “What is that question that I need to answer now which will enable you to see how you can benefit from this right now?”

There is something that your prospect is not sure about and it is your job to find out what that something is and clear the insecurity. Or maybe, the person needs to speak with somebody else before making the decision because he or she does not have the authority to decide.

And 2. Lead the conversation to where you want it to be – i.e. “So, if I can show you how this can help you increase your sales, you are ready to buy?” moving from the problem to its solution and then to the closing of the deal.

Listen to the real needs

When people object it a good sign; it is a sign that they are interested but are not able to overcome insecurities about your proposition and are asking you to do so. For example, when people say things like “I have no money” there are two possible truths:

1. They have no money – it is unlikely for most business to be in such position when the investment required for your product or service is below £1,000.00. If however you find one of those, my advice is to walk away unless you truly feel that your product/service alone could really change they cash flow issues virtually instantly in which case you can persuade them further. This is however a subject on its own.

2. They feel that they have to pay money; they feel that your product/service is a cost. This means that you failed to illustrate that the value that your proposition would add to their business is way higher than the investment required. What the prospect is telling you here is “I do not believe that I can benefit from your proposition and so I feel that this would be a cost and not an investment. Please help me understand that it is indeed and investment that will bring results”.

Also, when people say things like “I need to think about it” or “Can you send me an email” after you have pitched to them, it usually indicates that there is something that stops them from buying now. This might be that they do not have the authority to buy, they are not “sold” or anything else that stops them from buying now. This is why questions like “What is that question that if I could answer would allow you to buy now?” could be powerful.

Remember however that you need to consider the specific situation as such questions might not be appropriate in certain situations. Experience and common sense will teach you that.

Mastering the techniques

1. Print this and read through it several times until you are totally familiar with the notions included.

2. Write down 5 false options every day – False options are propositions which give the impression that all the power of choice is in the hands of your prospect when it really is in yours. For example: “Would 3pm be suitable or would 4:30 be better?”. In this example, the prospect might feel as if they are deciding and, truthfully, they really are, only they are deciding between 2 options which both suit you. They are deciding between seeing you at 3pm or 4:30pm (or today and tomorrow, Wednesday or Friday etcetera) but they are not deciding between seeing you or not; that’s given for certain. This technique will not work all the time but it will work more often than not.

3. Read the false options twice after you wrote them

4. Write down 5 statements per day which include embedded commands “If I can show you that it is convenient for you to    buy from me now, would you be happy to go ahead?” Embedded commands are commands hiding in a sentence. “Buy from me now” is the embedded command in the sentence above. This will not make the client buy instantly like a puppet but it will enable the client to be more at ease with the idea of doing so. When you then verbalise the sentence, you will include a pause between the word preceeding the embedded command and the command. You may also slightly emphasize the command by changing the tone of voice slightly. Remember subtlety is key.

When I train sales people, I spend a great deal of time and advanced techniques to develop the ability of constructing and using embedded commands and so the above ought to only be a slight introduction to them.

5. Once you have written the 5 statements, read them twice (applying the slight pause necessary to make it effective).

6. Start practicing your mirroring (verbal – not body language for now) with friends/TV/radio.

7. Have that conviction when you talk about your product or service. This means believing firmly that it is beneficial for the client

8. Write down the list of the 5 most important benefits of your product/service and repeat them out loud 10 times each every morning – for at least 2 weeks

Do everything suggested above to the letter and I guarantee you that your telesales skills will improve immensely. If those improve, you will sell more, if you sell more you will have more time and more money – more success. And guess what, I am not even charging you for this!

Stress & Cortisol

We are all accustomed to feeling stressed from time to time, be it work related, general fatigue, linked to a hectic home life or everyday problems.

The effects of stress are wide ranging. Stress hormones trigger back pain, weaken the immune system, increase blood sugar, promote diabetes, increase the chances of developing gum disease, decrease fertility and cause depression. In particular workplace stress can lead to serious ailments such as an increase in rates of heart disease, flu viruses, metabolic syndromes and high blood pressure.

Less than healthy behaviours result from stress, such as over or under eating or drinking more alcohol, which lead to other health problems. Stress also leads to emotional exhaustion, physical fatigue and cognitive weariness. Scientific studies suggest that stress can have a more direct effect, disrupting the body’s ability to process glucose, leading to Type 2 diabetes.

Chronic stress triggers major biochemicals such as cortisol to be released into the blood stream. This causes the digestive system to weaken and inhibits the liver from being alerted that the stomach is full. Cortisol causes an influx in blood sugar and intense carbohydrate cravings. A tongue that is red and bumpy it is a sign of cortisol overload.

Stress can slow down your metabolism by releasing anti-stress (adrenal) hormones, particularly norepinephrine.

Caffeine is one of the worse drinks you can have when stressed. It causes a further release of these anti-stress hormones. Eventually the body’s supply of these hormones is depleted, and the body is left exhausted, fatigued, and irritable.

When stressed or exhausted we often turn to sugary snacks such as chocolate, which contains more sugar than we can use in a week, causing blood-sugar levels to rise. The pancreas overreacts to this, producing an excess of insulin. This flood of insulin depresses your blood sugar severely. In response the adrenal glands release anti-stress hormones, which in turn release the sugar that is stored in the liver for emergencies.

The quick burst of energy increases insulin levels temporarily. The excess sugar is stored bringing your mood crashing down. Lastly your adrenal gland kicks in and you experience feelings of anxiety, including nervousness and sometimes even palpitations. The extreme rise and fall of insulin levels makes you hungry and more likely to choose another sugary snack.

To deal with stress, try hugging friends, family or pets. This signals the brain to release oxytocin, a hormone that boosts feelings of affection and is a buffer against stress and has even been used to treat depression.

One of the best weapons against tension is laughter which lowers levels of the damaging stress hormone cortisol which causes food cravings. Laughter reverses the constriction of blood vessels, helps protect brain cells and helps us get rid of the belly fat that cortisol causes in times of stress. It also strengthens the immune system by raising levels of infection fighting T-cells.

Protein found in beans, chicken, eggs and fish counterattack the cortisol. Also a good night’s sleep helps to eliminate the damaging stress hormone cortisol in your stomach. Lack of sleep can lead to strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, psychiatric problems, weight gain, decreased alertness, impaired memory and cognitive ability and along with the increased stress.

Try to minimise electrical devices in your bedroom especially mobile phones. Turn off the laptop/TV an hour before you intend to go to bed to allow you to unwind naturally. Chamomile tea is calming and relaxing. Warm milk at bedtime is not simply an Old Wives tale.

Avoid alcohol as it depletes your body of B-Vitamins and magnesium. B vitamins are very important especially useful when taken in conjunction with other B vitamins. Molasses, Brewer’s Yeast and wheat germ are rich in B vitamins.

Siberian ginseng helps keep you alert without increasing stress levels further. It helps support the adrenal glands which become depleted during stress.

Vitamin C helps reduce the physical and psychological effects of stress, and even lowered stress-induced high blood pressure as much as 10% when taken regularly. Orange juice lowers levels of cortisol.

Grapefruit, oranges and whey protein contain a stress busting ingredient and will help you stay calm. Whey contains alpha lactalbumin that boosts the body’s level of tryptophan, a building block of the feel-good hormone serotonin by as much as 43%. Serotonin is a brain chemical that reduces hunger and boosts our sense of well being. Low serotonin levels causes food cravings.

Foods high in tryptophan (a natural sedative) are dairy products, beef, turkey meat poultry, barley, brown rice, fish, soybeans, and peanuts.

Valerian is a natural muscle relaxant, so it also is an excellent remedy for stress induced insomnia.

A few drops of orange essential oil will calm and help to improve your mood. Lavender, rose and jasmine oils are all natural stress relievers.

Relaxing also helps you to unlock fat stores caused by the stress hormone cortisol. Chewing gum also relieves muscle tension.

A short walk reduces stress by boosting feel good endorphins in your body. Stress constricts blood vessels and lowers our immune system and ability to fight off disease. Just 30 minutes of any form of exercise, three to four times a week will keep your stress hormones down.

Deep breathing calms the nervous system, lowers blood pressure and heart rate and reduces the level of cortisol.

Magnesium has been shown to become depleted in times of stress. This is exasperated by Type A personalities who have heightened feelings of competition and aggressiveness resulting in heart conditions. This can be helped by eating magnesium rich foods such as tofu, cashews, almonds, turkey, spinach, avocados, Brazil nuts, strawberries and apples.

In our modern society, stressful occasions will inevitably crop up, when they do, take a moment to think about how important the issue is to you, is it worth affecting your health by letting the stress take hold? Will stressing help the situation? If the answers are no then let go and relax.

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