january

I’m writing this on 16 January, 2020, so I guess it goes without saying. But life in January does seem to follow some specific themes. Although there are positives, many of these are quite disheartening.

I think if I asked most people in the UK if this is their favourite time of year, not many would punch the air and say yes.

One or two might punch me instead.

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best christmas ever

Some of us spent a lot of time planning and preparing for Christmas. We decided which family members to invite, who to visit, what food to buy, and ofcourse which gifts to get. There are so many things to do and when it gets to the day after Boxing Day, you might be forgiven for wondering if it was all worth it.

I hope you had a very lovely time this year and if you are like me, you still consider it to be Christmas through to Twelfth Night. For most people it never quite works out as planned. Life goes on, in spite of Christmas. You might suddenly find your plans thrown by unexpected illnesses, or car breakdowns or other ‘stuff’. Even if you were lucky enough to escape without the traditional Christmas trip to A&E (I didn’t) you will likely find that some things went better than expected and others went off like a damp cracker.

So here is a crazy thought. Why not, right now, write it all down.

In a journal, or your diary or just in a notebook, write down exactly what happened this Christmas. Make a promise with yourself that next year you will read what you have written and consider planning your holiday period differently.

How to get the best out of Christmas

Here are some suggested things you could ask yourself to get the ideas flowing.

  1. Write down your best moments and experiences. It is really important to do this now, before you forget. It can be so easy for you to choose to remember the bad things better than the good. There are usually lots of great memories at Christmas. From seeing the faces of the children as they open their gifts, to enjoying a laugh in charades. Even that great film you watched or your walk in the morning. These are the real highlights, regardless of how they fitted in to your original intentions. Make sure you record them. Reading over these notes can enable you to relive those pleasures.
  2. Write down the things that you think really mattered to you this Christmas. Was it getting the gift you always wanted, or was it the Turkey, or was it the Church service or the charity work you did. What was really important this Christmas?
  3. What wasn’t important? Did you end up buying lots of chocolates and sweets, only to find that everybody was too stuffed to enjoy them. Perhaps you bought your child a games console and found he spent most of Christmas playing with the yoyo that came in his Christmas cracker at lunch? Maybe you overindulged on wine or rich food to the point where you started to feel uncomfortable and regret it?
  4. What was missing? Who should have been there but wasn’t? What, when you got to the 27th December, made you feel you had missed out?
  5. How would you have done it differently? In an ideal world, what would your Christmas be like? Be really adventurous with this. There is no harm in imagining the Christmas that would be perfect for you. Would it be just you and your partner in front of a log fire? Would you have just cut and run and spent it in the Canaries? What could you change or add to your Christmas plans next year that might take you closer to the Christmas that you really want?
  6. How much did it all cost? The average family spends about £800 each Christmas. Some spend much more and any people take out loans to achieve this too. What did you spend your money on and was it worth it? While there are many unmissables that for some make Christmas complete, I wonder how many presents you will tuck away in a drawer, donate to charity shops or, worst of all possible fates, add to the annual re-gifting circuit? How many left-overs are you still working through or have you had to throw away? What did you buy that will sit in the fridge for a year waiting for you to throw it in the bin on 1 December because it is out of date?

Work through these questions and add any ideas of your own to make a complete review of your Christmas celebrations. Promise yourself that you’ll look at this again near the end of next year and pay attention to what you have learned. It will really help you to focus on a trimmed down (or up-sized) celebration. It could also help with your arguments with others to have a written record of what was good and bad this year.

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Weight-loss at Christmas is something of a nightmare. Someone told me the other day that in order to burn off the calories gained by eating just one mince pie you would have to complete about 25 minutes of Burpees.
Now, if you have ever tried to do a burpee you will know that this is not something you want to spend time on over Christmas.
The thing about a calorie control diet is that it focusses on just that one thing – calories. Our thinking around calories tends to be:

calories in = bad; calories burned = good

If you’re a fan, as I am – the fact that a mince pie is a gorgeous hit of spicy fruity sweetness and we are saying ‘hello’ to a potentially lovely time of year when we have our first one, doesn’t enter into the equation.
In our minds it probably looks more like this:Read more »

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There can be many ways in which we can be uncomfortable about our bodies. The most common, perhaps, is when we become aware that we are not that particular size, or weight that we ‘should’ be.

That ‘should be’ can come from lots of sources. It may be a standard we believe is set by our society, our friends, the media. It could be a measure our parents have handed down to us, unintentionally or intentionally, by trying to manage our food intake – ‘don’t eat too many cakes or you’ll get fat’.

You may be someone who has experienced those patterns of putting on the pounds and then intensively dieting and exercising to lose them again, only to find that a few months later you are back where you started or worse! Alternatively you may have just always been ‘big’ in comparison to others and feel that there is nothing you can do about it.

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Ghost of Christmas PastI know, I know – you’ve probably seen a dozen New Year blogs, New Year products and other activities based around the idea that now is the time to change yourself.

Thing is, it is true. Now is not the only time when you can take hold of your life and really get to grips with the changes, but in many ways it is the best time. Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ is a delightful tale that can be seen as one man’s epiphany through the lessons of the three ghosts. It’s a bit of a stretch but I’ve used these three ghosts to show why, even though it is a cliche, this is certainly the best time to make those big changes in your life.

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A positive meme

Mean memes seem to be the thing of the moment as I write this blog. The disgusting practice of posting pictures of supposedly unattractive people on social media and encouraging ‘tagging’ others as some sort of joke or insult, has thankfully come under fire.

Stories of people such as Lizzie Velasquez, a motivational speaker and author, with a rare congenital disease that prevents her from accumulating body fat, have been covered in the Metro and other papers, have helped to shame some of these bullies. It may be that the practice will decline, or, such is the perversity of our society, it may increase them.

One of the things that strikes me about some of the pictures that I have seen used for this purpose, is that many of those depicted are actually looking pretty happy!  The people who postRead more »

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questions-1151886-640x480 stock exchange freeWhen you first enter my office in Haywards Heath I always ask you two important questions.

Whether you are seeing me for a free appointment, or an intensive one-day breakthrough session, or even if you have begun a series of regular sessions, the first is:

‘Why are you here?’.

It’s not a surprising question in itself, and probably likely to glean more useful information to me as a therapist and coach than ‘What’s your shoe size?’

Usually, though not always, my client will tell me Read more »

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At the time I picked up ‘Awaken the Giant Within’ I had not particularly heard of Tony Robbins. I certainly wasn’t aware of his huge status as a ‘guru’, speaking to thousands at a time, changing lives on the fly and being a coach to some of the most famous people in the world such as Jimmy Carter and Oprah Winfrey.

The great thing about that is that the book serves as a bit of an autobiography as it recounts in quite a personal way how the changes that Tony made through NLP techniques created the life that he now has. Tony Robbins is the classic case of someone going from homeless person to multi-millionaire.  I urge you to catch some of his videos online – maybe his Ted Talk or some of his stuff on ‘Strategic Intervention‘.Read more »

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close-up of surgeon performing gastric band operationPerhaps the most radical approach to weight-loss is the surgical implanting of a Gastric Band (or sometimes a ‘Ballon’) that physically reduces the size of the stomach. This naturally leads to the patient having a reduced appetite and gradually losing weight
The intervention is not without considerable risks.

The risks of gastric band surgery

A television programme on Channel 5 on Wednesday 16 October 2013 highlighted some extreme cases where weightloss surgery had a serious and in some cases, potentially fatal, outcome. To be fair, only one of those cases was a gastric band operation, but it is still a scenario everybody dreads.
The process, which involves surgically installing a Read more »

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One of the most common reasons that people turn to hypnotherapists for help is to lose weight. Celebrities like Lily Allen have made dramatic changes to their appearance through hypnosis. The internet is full of their success stories.
I think people recognise that inevitably, no matter how easy an eating plan is advertised to be, ultimately only motivation and commitment will enable you to stick to it. There are thousands of diets out there for those who are uncomfortable with the way they look. There are the big slimming clubs like Weight Watchers and Slimming World. There are hundreds of book-based diets like Atkins and the G-plan, and there are quirky diets like the ‘cabbage soup’ diet.
If I was being cynical I would begin to wonder if pretty much any diet, whether based on science or otherwise will help some people lose weight.
The wonderful thing about using NLP and Hypnotherapy to help with weight-loss is that:

  • it works with any respectable diet or eating plan
  • it can even work independently of any specific diet
  • It actually makes you feel better about yourself now
  • you can get all the benefit of a surgical intervention without any pain or risk

What exactly does a therapist do?

There are many different approaches and techniques that may be involved in helping somebody lose weight – as many as there are reasons for becoming over-weight in the first place. The longer someone has struggled with their body image, the more complex and deeply embedded the negative associations and habits that lead to weight problems.

Change what you believe about dieting

The therapist may begin by trying to find out if the client has any limiting beliefs around their body. Perhaps they have found their size fluctuate significantly as they shift from diet to diet and they feel they have no control. Perhaps they have developed an unhealthy lifestyle that they believe they cannot change. There are specific and powerful techniques that can change your limiting belief to something more positive. It may seem strange to suggest that you need to love your body now, but if you love your body as it is, aren’t you more likely to try to take better care of it in the future?

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Social pressures

For some of us, friends and relations may not have been our best supporters in our aim to lose weight. Perhaps your parents have been critical of you and made you feel inadequate because of your weight, or perhaps they have been well-meaning but contributed to your problems by a poor understanding of healthy eating while you were younger. Maybe your friends encourage you to drink more or buy you cakes as comfort food? NLP and Hypnotherapy can help release you from these social pressures and even teach you how to respond to people who unwittingly undermine you.

Food fads and obsessions

Do you have a passion for a food or drink that you would rather not have? Do you binge on chocolate or drink too much coke? There are several powerful techniques that can make you stop liking biscuits, or coke or chocolate or whatever your weakness is, often in just one session or part of a session. The reverse is also true, in that you can learn to like something that you previously detested. Think how much of a difference this can make to your weight loss over even a short time.

Healthy eating

Everybody knows that if you consistently eat sensibly, and look after your body properly, you will gradually become the weight you should be. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just do that? Eat the right amounts of fresh fruit and veg, get regular exercise and just generally have a healthy lifestyle. So why don’t we? Bad habits and lack of motivation are often the root of the problem and NLP and hypnotherapy have specific strategies to deal with these issues. Every worthwhile diet should be designed toward living and eating healthily and so getting the psychological support can make all the difference to achieving your goal. It would be great to feel good and enjoy the foods you need to eat.

Interventions

And for those who really want to go to the ultimate lengths to reduce their eating and shed the pounds there is even hynotherapy that can make you feel less hungry, including the currently very popular Gastric band hypnosis which offers clients a simulated experience of the drastic operation without any of the risks or side-effects. Imagine finding that you just physically can’t manage a large meal because your stomach believes that it is only the size of a peach? Not for everyone of course, and there are less dramatic but equally powerful approaches offered by hypnotherapists which enable you to choose more wisely and naturally lose weight.
The most wonderful thing about these therapies is that not only are they safe and effective, but they actually make you feel better. People come away from a session of hypnotherapy reporting that they feel relaxed and rested. You enjoy the sessions and often feel that a load has been lifted from your mind.

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