This morning I had an epiphany. I was in my yoga class, moving gently from one position to another, listening to the teacher and imbibing the gentle music, my movements flowing. A thought entered my head, 'I love this. I love what my body is doing. I love my body.' I hadn't had that thought for a long time.
I've been reading books, having conversations, meditating and in the background has been a dissatisfaction with my body. Why you may ask? I didn't like where my body went during and after chemotherapy nearly 3 years ago. It took a long time to heal. I developed mild lymphodaema in my left arm resulting in sleeves, drainage massage and taking a supplement over the last 2 years. My libido disappeared. I felt I had lost the me I knew.
Ever had that feeling or thought? 'Where did the vital, energised, passionate me go?' I've had it a few times in recent years.
This morning I got that 'I love my body, just how it is.' It's a fabulous body, because it's mine and it looks after me every day. It enables me to do any exercise I want. It gives me the space to meditate every morning. It loves the healthy food I feed it and, if I indulge in eating something unhealthy, it tolerates it, but tells me to keep such indulgences to a minimum. It loves me when I look after it. So what was I doing not loving it?
What are you doing to love your body? Are you nourishing it with exercise? Are you feeding it with delicious fresh, natural, organic foods? Are you easing your mind when it starts to race, giving it a brief holiday to connect with what's important to you?
I get my epiphanies when I take time out of my day, whether it be momentary, taking time to breathe deeply, stop, listen, get present. Or for a little longer with a walk - without my phone or music - listening to nature, or with a 10-minute meditation or easing myself through a yoga class.
I get clarity in my time out - ideas, how to solve problems, what conversations I want to have with people. I love it. My body gives me all of this when I allow it to. As of today I have taken on loving my body moment by moment.
Are you loving your body? Are you interested in learning to love your body more and to get all the answers you need from it and your intuition?
The Vital You Weekends are perfect for connecting or reconnecting with YOU. Find out more about our 2-day retreats in Bundanoon.
Are you time poor? Why not start with a half-day workshop in Sydney on Fermenting, Happy Hormones or Feed Your Skin.
The Vital You took on the WELLNESS CHALLENGE this month. I was inspired by an item in Petrea King's latest newsletter about the Wellness Show being presented by the World Happiness Forum in Sydney in June.
This led me to find their 14 day Wellness Challenge which I took up with alacrity. I was inspired every day by the challenges, with the following being my favourites - #5 Take a toy to work, #6 Just listen, #7 Spend time in nature, #8 Move More, #11 Slow Down, #12 Eat real food, #13 Be more mindful.
Then a friend told me about Mindful in May, which is a month long mindfulness challenge, aimed at creating a clear mind for you and clean water for people in the developing. Two things I am passionate about. So I took on this challenge too, meditating each morning for 10-15 minutes.
DON'T HAVE TIME? I have a busy and full life and the story I often tell myself, when I get caught up in things is, "I don't have time to start or try anything new or change my habits". I thought I'd challenge that story this May.
I added them to a third my doctor gave me last March, "Don't drink alcohol for 3 months". My liver hadn't returned to full health after early breast cancer and chemotherapy 2.5 years ago and he was concerned about the impact on my general health. Given the liver clears toxins from the body, processes food nutrients and is involved in regulating body metabolism, I seriously took his advice and gave up alcohol.
I introduced the challenges as practices into my day, doing my mindful meditation (received by email overnight) first thing each morning and being conscious of the wellness challenge throughout the day. I checked in with myself from time to time to see whether I was taking up the challenge. I found they became cumulative, becoming part of every day subconsciously.
A more conscious me has emerged. I feel peaceful, have found I am able to listen to and hear others more clearly. I feel fit and energised and I've slimmed down around my midriff, tummy and hips. Something I have been trying to do for the last two years. The no-alcohol challenge has resulted in any puffiness in my body disappearing without any dietary change. All brought about by doing what I promised myself - being committed to myself whilst still taking care of others.
I invite you to take up a wellness challenge for yourself and share it on The Vital You Facebook page.
The Vital You can help you keep your wellness challenge alive. We invite you to attend our Sydney workshops on Fermenting (June), Happy Hormones (August) and Feed Your Skin (October). If you want a more in depth experience that you can take back into your daily life, come to The Vital You Weekend in July or November.
Have a joyous June!
Recently I bought a range of magazines – fashion, lifestyle, natural health and beauty. When flicking through them, I found myself constantly attracted to women and men who looked vital, fresh, active and vibrant.
I realised I wanted to look that way, not perfect without a blemish on my skin. Impossible in my 50’s without some assistance from filler, collagen, Botox or possibly even a face lift! Has there been any research on the potential long-term effects of these treatments?
Be Natural. I’ve decided to and advocate growing old gracefully and naturally, whilst preserving what I have with natural products.
We wanted to provide guests at The Vital You Weekend with a special treat. Emma and I threw a few ideas around and she suggested we invite Cindy Luken, an accomplished entrepreneur who is passionate about what is natural, to join us.
We’d like to introduce her and her session to you.
At The Vital You Weekend Cindy will invite us to sit around the table with beautiful fresh foods to create a facemask.
Whilst we enjoy a ‘detox’ green tea, she’ll talk about beauty wellness and the importance of feeding your body inside and out.
She’ll lead us into a skin-delicious conversation on what toxins are in skincare and makeup and the effect they can have on how you look and feel. She’ll cover skin sensitivities, endocrine disrupters and potential carcinogens.
Understanding the powerful connection between what you eat and the healthy glow of your skin, hair and nails is the beginning of being empowered to feel and look naturally beautiful. Her philosophy at luk beautifood is simply to show you the recipe to be a natural beauty. Her makeup look is to highlight your natural beauty, to help women create that healthy naked glow. Just what I like and look for.
I asked Cindy a few questions about her approach.
My philosophy is....
There is beauty in food. Consumers now understand the link between their health and what they eat. I have taken that one step further. I have applied that knowledge to making makeup from skin-healthy food to help women nourish their skin from the outside in.
My best beauty secret is...
Having my signature Go + Glow Green Smoothie each morning! It’s alkalising and anti-inflammatory effect reduces dryness and puffiness. It’s antioxidants help to keep my skin glowing, the essential fatty acids to reduce inflammation and silica gives strong, healthy hair and nails.
My Beauty tip: “Wear confidence like make up”
There is nothing as beautiful as a women who follows her dreams, who wears what she desires, who nourishes her beauty inside and out…. She glows as she knows the true meaning of natural beauty.
I had the pleasure of meeting Emma Ellice-Flint through the Pilates Studio I have been going to for the past 7 years. They're passionate about the whole body, not just keeping you fit and strong.
I was so inspired by Emma's knowledge of food and what makes you well, I decided I wanted to work with her and bring her knowledge and expertise into a more public arena. Hence the birth of The Vital You. I have interviewed Emma for this blog so that you can meet her in advance of our Vital You Weekend on 13-15 March.
What inspired you to become a nutritionist after being a chef?
When I was a chef I was always trying to experiment with healthy practices in the kitchen, specifically by creating new solutions to traditional recipes. I enjoyed it a lot. Also, at the time I was running a catering company, and loved seeing how much of a difference delivering a healthier service made to my clients’ working day. So it just seemed like a natural progression to explore my passion for nutrition further.
What can participants expect to get out of the weekend?
The opportunity to really get hands-on with healthy food in a professional, welcoming environment is unique. My focus is all about creativity, confidence and knowledge in eating. We’re going to be experimenting with a range of wholesome, locally sourced and fresh foods in order to gain greater confidence in the kitchen. There will also be a key focus on living an all-rounded, healthy lifestyle during the weekend - with lots of exciting activities planned!
What excites you about The Vital You Weekend and why did you agree to become involved?
Sharing my knowledge and experience of good, healthy food is a passion of mine. The chance to not only talk to people about health, but also to show them and guide them, is an opportunity I look forward to. It’s one thing to read about health; it’s a whole different experience immersing yourself in practical demonstrations and a community of similarly minded people. The weekend will be a really unique experience, and I’m not sure that it’s even being offered anywhere else in Australia.
Every time I open a magazine, particularly health magazines, or I get an update from some of the sites I subscribe to, their key message or articles are about how to lose weight.
How did we become so preoccupied with weight as a society?
It’s everywhere. Eat less of this, more of that. Don’t eat such and such, eat x every day.
Australian supermarkets have become like American supermarkets were 25 years ago. When food shopping whilst on a skiing holiday in the States, it was almost impossible to find basic foods that did not have something added or removed. All, supposedly, with the intention of making us healthier.
Since that time, America is becoming a nation of obese people, with 2 in 3 adults either overweight or obese (http://win.niddk.nih.gov/statistics - 2010). Australia is going the same way with 3 in 5 adults being overweight or obese (http://www.aihw.gov.au/overweight-and-obesity). We are potentially facing an obesity epidemic.
When searching the shelves in the supermarket, I really have to look for the unadulterated and non-modified standard foods, such as milk, cheese, yoghurt, breads, etc.
We have developed a pre-occupation with fats. So many foods have the fat removed from them. But to make them palatable, they have sugar added. We need healthy fats and we don’t need added sugar. It’s best to eat sugar when it occurs naturally in foods.
It feels like a pre-occupation and paranoia is developing around our weight and magazines are pushing this – giving us images of finely-built, air-brushed models, celebrities who are on the diet roller-coaster, triggering our concerns about our imperfections and ‘the fixes’ we need.
I have to admit, I have struggled with managing my weight all my adult life. Until recently, that is. How did that happen? When I was 16 I went to the Philippines as an exchange student and put on in excess of 10kgs, eating for comfort. This took me over a year to lose and put me on a ‘guilt path’ around food. Further, I have two sisters who have long lean bodies. I am more the athletic type with some roundedness.
Three years ago, I went to see our Nutritionist, Emma Ellice-Flint, to talk about what I was eating. I was working hard and finding I was waking up lethargic each morning, then experiencing an energy drop around 4.00pm. Emma suggested I give up dairy (cows) and reduce my wheat intake, which I did. Within two weeks I was feeling like a new woman.
I consulted her again when I was diagnosed with early breast cancer 2.5 years ago, as I wanted to ensure that what I was eating was supporting my body to return to good health. I found her guidance enormously beneficial in assisting my road to recovery.
Post chemotherapy, I put on weight and was struggling to lose it, so I went to see Emma again. This time we looked at my overall lifestyle. I took on eating at least five vegetables a day and increasing my strength-building exercise. I also attended a workshop she was participating in at the Family Wellness Centre and was inspired by what Clinical Hypnotherapist and Master NLP Practitioner, Linda Funnell-Milner, had to say about attitude to food and how hypnotherapy can assist.
So I had a consultation with her and discovered that I had a deprivation mentality about food and felt guilty if I wasn’t eating for weight reduction. I was waiting until I was ravenous before eating and then eating too much. She did two trance sessions with me and suggested I try a new eating pattern:
1. Eat when you are hungry
2. Eat what you want to eat – (not what you think you should eat)
3. Eat consciously, slowly, enjoy every mouthful
4. Between each mouthful put your knife and fork down
5. When you think you are full, stop eating
It is important to eat when you are between fairly hungry and full.
How will you know if you are hungry? If you feel a bit hungry, but aren’t sure, drink some water (or peppermint tea). If you are still hungry 15 minutes later, have something to eat. If you’re not hungry wait until you are.
I’ve been doing this for the last three months whilst following Emma’s tips on healthy eating. The results? My weight has stopped fluctuating. I have no guilt around food. I am enjoying everything I eat. Have a treat every now and then. I feel great and am told I look really good.
I have taken on accepting my body just the way it is – athletic with a little roundedness.
Learn more about our philosophy and programmes.
Jill Keyte is passionate about health, vitality and making a difference to people who want a natural, quality life where they are well, fit, energised and feel vital. My knowledge comes from my wellness training and and life experience.