Welkin Blue

Coaching For Confidence, Health and Wellbeing

Month: August 2016

Have you reached your Maximum Natural Potential?

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What is ‘Maximum Natural Potential’?

In a nutshell, reaching your Natural Maximum Potential is about living your life to the very best of your ability. It’s about being the best version of yourself in every area of your life, within the scope of your personal capabilities and available resources.

Why the ‘Natural’ part is so important.

This is the most important part, because it keeps you grounded. It also keeps you healthy, both physically and mentally, because you retain a focus upon yourself and your own achievements without making unrealistic comparisons with others. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important to push your own boundaries, as how else will you fully know what you’re capable of, but you have to be realistic.

Never be tempted to draw comparison with a media-hyped athlete or celebrity. They are portrayed as an ‘ideal’, when the reality of them as a whole is usually less than impressive. That’s not to say you can’t learn from successful people, but bear in mind that their level of skill and opportunity is different than yours.

Keeping it ‘Natural’ means that you get to push yourself as far as you can, but remain able to recognise when you hit your limit, and don’t use artificial means to go beyond it. Many people these days sadly suffer from a range of body image issues, resorting to extreme measures in pursuit of a distorted version of ‘perfection’. Some take an assortment of drugs, to boost performance and build muscle. Others embark upon severe diets and undergo surgical procedures. The physical and psychological impact can be severe.

How to work towards your ‘Max’.

To fully reach your Max, you need to achieve balance in your life. You could have the best job in the world, and neglect personal relationships. A great family life, but no time for yourself. A wonderful social circle, but limited finances. Strive to be as fulfilled as possible in every area of your life. Remember to forget any notions of perfection, and work towards a level that’s right for you. Bear in mind that some areas will be in better shape than others, and some may not be conducive to change until you’ve attended to others first. You’ll soon learn to prioritise.

Aim to be good at many things

Who cares if you never get to be the absolute best at any one thing. Even world champions lose their titles eventually. Instead, aim to be good at many things. Learn to listen to others, and communicate well. Develop patience and understanding, resilience in the face of adversity, strength in the presence of conflict. Embrace knowledge, practice grace under pressure, take up a new sport or hobby; the list is endless. In fact you’ll never know how good you are at something unless you try it, and if you don’t like something….stop.

Step outside your comfort zone

Being the best you can possibly be means having ambition, and the desire to achieve it. This is personal to you, and nothing to do with what anyone else thinks. Perhaps you want financial security, to be the best parent/partner/sibling you can, to express yourself creatively or physically; it doesn’t matter so long as it’s important to you.

There are many ways to reach your goal, and your final path may not be the one you originally embarked upon. In other words your fulfilment in life may not come from anything you once held to be important. Ambition is important, and key to driving you forward; but as long as you take a progressive approach and don’t overreach, then you get to experience all the small successes along the way. Aim high, but don’t rush to get there, as this road leads to disappointment. Continually pushing your own limits and stepping outside of your comfort zone, exposes you many more opportunities and experiences than you’d otherwise have had. This is how we grow, don’t hold yourself back.

How do you know when you’ve reached your full potential.

When this happens, you’ll simply plateau, and maintain the level you’re at. Understand that this happens to everybody. The trick at this point is to diversify, try something new, and push yourself in another area. I guarantee you that the sum total of your achievements will add up to something pretty damn impressive. In effect you’re building a toolbox of skills and resources, that you can draw upon at any time.

Your Personal Max

In all honesty you may never truly realise your own Maximum Potential. Because what tends to happen when you get into this way of thinking, is that you’re always setting new targets, and reaching new heights. Remember, it’s not how good you are in any one area that matters, rather it’s the sum total of all your skills and talents, and how much of yourself you put into them.

When you can honestly say you’ve given everything you’ve got, then you’re living to your Maximum Natural Potential.

6 Reasons To Keep A Food Diary

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1. You have to start somewhere.

Food diaries are a great way to begin your weight management journey. They give you a starting point and a benchmark by which to compare your ongoing consumption. Just the act of logging your daily intake brings into focus your habitual food choices. This is information, data if you like, and we can work with this. If what you’ve been doing so far hasn’t been effective for you, then your food diary will help you to identify unhealthy patterns.

2.  It forces you to be honest with yourself

If you truly want to make some healthy choices then you have to understand where you’re currently going wrong. It’s tempting to ignore the calories contained in that stolen chip, the last few mouthfuls from the kid’s dinner, or the habitual nightcap as you unwind in the evening. But if you consume it, you have to log it and take responsibility. This honesty prompts you to question the decisions you make about your food choices.

3.  It’s information to give to your trainer/dietitian

It’s really difficult to give anyone advice on nutrition and exercise when you don’t have all the information. Accurate food diaries give health professionals a valuable overview which enables them to make smart recommendations early on, and saves them from a certain amount of trial and error.

4.  It gives you choices, and a sense of control

Every item on your food diary is there because of a choice you made. Now you’ve ‘owned’ that choice you’ve brought it into focus and now have an opportunity to question the circumstances around it. Was it an emotional decision, an habitual purchase, an easy option? When you understand why you make your decisions involving food, you create an awareness that enables you to evaluate and challenge those less than ideal choices. As you learn to make better choices, you gain control, which is empowering.

5.  You become an authority on you

You are unique. Oh yes you are! As such, you have an opportunity to be the worlds foremost authority on yourself. I mean, why would you blindly follow the advice of others without seizing the chance to take ultimate control for yourself. A trainer or dietitian can give you a plan to follow, but only you are able to take advantage of the day by day, minute by minute feedback that your body gives you. When you tune into what your body’s telling you, you develop an instinct for what’s working and what isn’t. This also has a positive impact on your ability to make healthy lifestyle choices in a wider sense. This is a massive step towards building confidence and total self-reliance.

6.  Nostalgia

Even after you’ve successfully transformed your life, it’s great to look back and reflect on just how far you’ve come. When something becomes an accepted part of our everyday existence we tend to forget the journey we took in order to achieve it. Looking back at your old food diaries is a reminder of what you’re capable of, and a confidence boost should you need inspiration for any other challenge you may struggle with.

How To Start A Weight Management Journey

 

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This is a massive decision, and not because of a lack of available information.  On the contrary, there is way too much information, advice, opinion, within a few easy taps of the keyboard.  This in itself creates more confusion as dietitians, fitness experts, and food manufacturers often don’t sing from the same hymn sheet.   When you can’t see a clear path ahead, where do you even start?

It’s a difficult choice for sure, but being overwhelmed by mixed messages and a lack of consistent advice can result in you putting off your call to action, and leave you stagnant.  You have to start somewhere, so it’s best to just grasp the nettle and speak to someone with experience in weight management.  In fact I recommend speaking to a few experts and see which one/s best understand your situation and have the relevant experience to help.   This is crucial because what they prescribe has to be achievable, and fit within your capabilities and available resources.

I mean, would you take advice from an overweight health professional who clearly doesn’t follow their own advice?  Or would you listen to someone who may look great, but treats every client exactly the same way and therefore simply rolls the dice with your wellbeing?   Some dietitians or weight loss club organisers, have no clue about how to train.  Whilst many personal trainers have a diploma but very little real world experience.     You also need to be cautious when anyone starts recommending a certain product or a program that requires a financial commitment from the outset.    This should not be their first concern!

The ‘fitness professional’ to listen to will be the one who takes account of you as an individual, takes the time to understand where you’re at, and how your lifestyle is composed.   They won’t force their particular style of diet or exercise on you, and will be happy to make recommendations that give you further choices that don’t make them any money.   They’ll help you to clarify what your end goals are, and suggest a progressive and sensible approach that will allow you to maintain what you achieve long term.   In my view this willingness to help, while clearly putting your needs first, is a good indication you can work together.

Don’t be shy, get out there and interview the people who you may want to work with.    Your journey begins.

Weight Management For Life

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Weight Management can be a complex subject, and everyone has a different relationship with nutrition and exercise, yet the aspect that unifies everyone, is that of ‘choice’.

When you strip everything back to basics, what you have left is a choice whether to carry on as you are, or to make a choice that can potentially change your life.

The greatest illusion here, is that this has to be monumental change, when in fact just the opposite is very often the case.  Sure the long term results can be epic, but everything starts with the same decision making process, the same choice…….do you, or do you not take action?  Once you make that very first choice, you’re on your way and life need never be the same again.

Of course weight management takes commitment, it’d be false to claim anything else.  But nothing good ever comes easy, and a little hard word makes the results all the more satisfying.

There are generally two aspects to weight management.  The first is the emotional connection to food and/or exercise, and what it represents in your life.  This is sometimes the hardest aspect to address, or to uncover (as not everyone will be aware of the origin of their relationship), but it doesn’t preclude instigating work on the second aspect which is the ‘bread and butter’ (sorry, couldn’t help that one) of the equation.

As you soon begin to realise that weight management is simply a matter of making the right choices on a regular basis, it all makes sense.  In fact you’d be amazed at how few choices are actually involved in effective weight management, just keep making the same ones on a regular basis and you’ll never look back.

Of course too much choice isn’t necessarily a good thing either, and this is where you have to be careful who you choose to listen to.  There are thousands of experts within a couple of clicks of your mouse, and deciding on which one is going to be the best one to work with is not easy at all.  Part of this decision may depend upon some of your current lifestyle choices, for example are you a vegetarian or vegan?  Another factor may be how qualified each one appears to be.  Also, certain trainers/experts have a rigid belief system that takes a ‘one size fits all’ approach that may not suit everyone’s capabilities.

As you can see there’s a lot to consider, and I’d hate to think that would put you off, but it still doesn’t change that first fundamental choice…..take action or not!

If you’re finding that first step a little difficult, then get in touch, and maybe I can help.  You certainly don’t have to work with me, but I’d still love to help you make the best possible choices to get you on your way.

 

 

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