What Are You Really Craving?

This post was originally published by me a year ago on Facebook, on 12 April 2017. Since it resonated with people so deeply, I’m reposting it here on my blog.

One of the markers you’re truly happy: you’re pulled only to food that’s great for you.

I’ve struggled with eating disorders since the age of 9. For much of that time I’d have irresistible food cravings, and I’d binge on sugar and dairy. For some of that time it was visible externally, but for much it wasn’t, because I’d cover it up with ridiculous amounts of exercise and fat burning supplements.

Now I’m a certified health coach, and for the last year (and for much of the last 4 years), I’ve eaten clean, fresh and often organic food most of the time. But for my first 3 months after returning to London from New York, I was struggling in silence with reverse culture shock, feeling isolated amidst the pressures of entrepreneurship and finding my feet again, and it happened again. Those insatiable urges. You’d think I’d never eaten before. And it finally really hit me.

Not just that positive emotions, relationships, purpose, balance, and time in nature are as much food as real food, but that very specifically, we’re pulled to sugar when we’re searching for emotional sweetness, and dairy for serenity – which is incredibly effective at alleviating anxiety.

Each time I’ve committed to finding ways to get more sweetness, more emotional connection and serenity in my life that don’t involve food, those food cravings have stopped. And as soon as I stop making my emotional needs a priority, they return.

If you’re craving bad food or even giving into it, whether for the first time or whether it’s so normal you barely even question it anymore, whatever you do don’t judge yourself. Look at yourself with the compassion you would show a friend and ask yourself what’s really going on. Go on an emotional treasure hunt. Ask yourself what’s really missing. Because it’s almost certainly not food.

And if it’s sugar, ask yourself how you can experience more sweetness. Ask yourself what you need to do to experience more connection, more love, more intimacy, and quality time with people who make you feel good. If it’s dairy, ask yourself how you can experience more serenity, more self care, bubble baths, candles, meditation, vacation/holiday time, whatever healthy forms of decompression make you feel most contented.

Are You Giving To Your Body, Or Simply Testing It?

Are You Giving To Your Body, Or Simply Testing It?“Yoga is something you give your body, not a test you give it or a hoop to make it jump through.”

On hearing these words from my yoga teacher yesterday at The Life Centre, I was reminded how much of the exercise I’ve done in my life has been to punish or to test my body.

To make it jump through hoops to prove itself.

What a way to relate to your forever home.

But for the last three years, it’s been different.

I’ve worked out because it feels good to.

Both mentally and physically.

I move because my body likes to move, to stretch, to feel unleashed and free.

I have come to genuinely love and adore my body.

It’s a continual commitment though, as opposed to a challenge surmounted once and never again.

Sometimes I notice myself talking sh*t to my body, or trying to make her do something she REALLY doesn’t want to do, and I have to catch myself and re-direct my intentions and actions.

Recently my body’s been saying no to a bunch of things, and I noticed myself getting frustrated.

Then I realised, is this helpful?

Is this honouring my body or encouraging her to play ball?

Is this inspiring a kind and mutually beneficial relationship?

If I spoke to a friend this way, would they feel loved and appreciated?

Turns out not. Definitely not to the degree that is in full alignment with the love and appreciation I truly have for my amazing body, my forever home.

So I choose love all over again.

I can’t promise I won’t slip up again, but I promise to notice and correct course quickly.

Not just for me, but for every body, because how we treat ourselves creates an energetic ripple effect in the world and sets the tone for everything else we do too.

So if you catch me saying anything impatient or unloving to my body, please throw tomatoes at me. You have my full permission.

What intention do you choose to set with your body?

7 Morning Rituals To Raise Your Game And Achieve Your Goals

We’ve just passed the midway point of the 2017, and it’s an ideal opportunity to assess how you’re doing against your goals for the year. If you’ve already smashed your annual goals way ahead of target, it’s an opportunity to set more or bigger goals. On the other hand, if there are any you haven’t met yet, it’s time to question what you need to do differently in order to make them happen.

One of the big factors (and game changers) I’ve found both with myself and my clients that determines whether our goals become reality or not, is the state of energy we’re in. When we’re in our optimal energy physically and mentally, everything flows more easily. We bounce out of bed more easily, we face challenges more easily, and our well of patience and compassion is fuller.

There are many components to great energy, and one of the most fast acting changes to implement for enhanced energy is optimising how we start our day. Until around 18 months ago, mornings for me were all about waking up at the last possible moment, jumping straight in the shower and running out the door around 7 minutes later, often without breakfast. For some time, I was eating all three meals in the office Monday to Friday.

One day, I was rushing through Grand Central on the way to my office in midtown Manhattan in New York City, and I decided I didn’t want to start my days like this anymore. I didn’t want to start them frantic and rushing. I wanted to make mornings more intentional and relaxed, to have time to gather my thoughts, to connect with what I really wanted, and to start as I meant to go on.

I started experimenting with a more conscious morning routine.

I had started listening to the popular podcast “The School of Greatness” by Lewis Howes, and had picked up some great pearls of wisdom on starting the day the right way. Including, first and foremost, being sure to always make one’s bed, even if you were the only one to see it.

Following are a few of the morning rituals I’ve found work best for me, and that many other successful people rely on. But I encourage you to experiment with different habits and timings to work out what feels right for you; everyone’s different and there’s no shame in that. An important consideration when planning out or experimenting with your morning ritual is to avoid comparison at all costs.

1. Aim to rise at the same time every day

And get up as soon as your first alarm goes off. Get a vibrating alarm clock if you need to, or one that emulates sunrise and birdsong for a more natural experience. Although if you rise at the same time every day, and you’re getting adequate sleep, you may find that you don’t need an alarm at all.

2. Make your bed immediately, no matter what.

This may seem trivial, particularly if you live alone, but beginning your day with intentionality and attention to detail sets off a powerful ripple effect that permeates your entire day. Take it from a Navy Seal Commander: “It’s good to start off with a simple task that moves you forward.”

3. Drink a glass of water with a slice of fresh lemon in.

Lemon water aids with digestion, detoxification, rejuvenates your skin and body, boosts your energy and mood (without the caffeine crash of coffee), and provides a great vitamin and immune boost. Lemons also contain pectin which helps to stave off cravings and help you feel fuller.

4. Meditate for 5-15 minutes.

The benefits of meditation are numerous, in including relief from stress and anxiety, decreased blood pressure and increased production of anti-aging hormone DHEA(!!). You might decide sitting in silence works best for you, just tuning into your breath and noticing any thoughts come up and letting them drift away, or you might prefer to use an app like Calm or Headspace. I have found 5-15 minutes to be the sweet spot, much longer and I can find myself feeling a little too relaxed, but if you’re particularly stressed longer can be beneficial, and you may prefer to meditate in the evening either instead or in addition.

5. Go to the gym or for an outdoor workout.

Getting exercise done first thing in the morning means you can avoid potential procrastination later, both because there tend to be less distractions earlier in the day, and because we tend to feel more tired as the day goes on. Personally, I’ve also found my mind is more proactive but less noisy first thing in the morning, so all those rational reasons that come up as to why it can wait until later or tomorrow or why it’s less of a priority than other urgencies are much quieter. If Obama could make time to work outwhile serving as President of the USA, we can all make it work. Bonus points if you listen to an inspiring podcast or classical music while working out.

6. Make a green juice.

Feature fresh leafy greens in your juice and eat some high quality proteinsuch as beans, eggs, fish or white meat. This will replenish your system, assist with muscle repair and give you a great energy boost, without the subsequent crash a carbohydrate heavy breakfast can lead to.

7. Eat some frogs.

Mark Twain famously said “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Focusing on your least enjoyable yet high priority tasks first thing in the morning not only makes excellent use of the fresh well discipline you find yourself with at the beginning of a new day, but it can also reap a multiplier effect because the quality of your attention is stronger, and there are fewer distractions trying to pull you in other directions. Decision fatigue also sets in later in the day, so you’re much more likely to find yourself either struggling to make a decision with regards to a challenging task or project, or feeling the urge to delay it until tomorrow.

Developing a consistent and nourishing morning ritual has been a huge game changer for me.

It has amplified my physical and mental wellbeing, productivity, creativity and energy enormously. The key is to be open to experimentation and to paying attention to what works for you TODAY.

If something stops working for you, forget about analyzing why, just stop doing it and try something else. Your routine doesn’t need to be the same forever, and you don’t necessarily need to hit it in the same order or every item every single day, but conscious intentionality is key. Daily consistency also has the added benefit of breeding automatic habits that require less discipline to continue enforcing. Establishing an optimal start to your day is a commitment to yourself, to your productivity, and to those in your life to be your best self.

Other resources that will help you to establish positive habits that work best for you:

The Power Of Habit by Charless Duhigg

Tools Of Titans by Tim Ferris

Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

What does your ideal morning look like? What have you tried, and what are you inspired to try? I’d love to hear in the comments.

An ode to discomfort

An ode to discomfortIn the spirit of Thanksgiving, this is a story about being simultaneously thankful and uncomfortable.

I’m thankful with every atom of my being to have had the opportunity to spend a mind blowing two years deeply immersed in what I experienced to be a vibrant, optimistic and forward thinking culture during my two and a bit years in NYC / America. I could go on for pages about everything it taught me, but that’s for another post.

I returned to London via Australia two and a half months ago now, and while I haven’t talked about it very openly because I always prioritise the positive (which there is so much of!), the challenges posed by reverse culture shock upon returning to your original culture after being an expat are very real. And I believe in the value of talking about our challenges openly, of being human and real together, and not just pretending everything is rainbows and butterflies 24/7.

Even a few months on, while I have a deep affection and gratitude for London and all that it offers (and I know with absolute certainty that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be right now!), there are still days when my soul yearns for New York. For ridiculously talented buskers spreading good vibes on the subway; for unparalleled efficiency, conciseness and dedication; for pure, unashamed, unadulterated self-expression and excitement; for strangers who converse openly with one another.

The bewildered:happy ratio when a friendly stranger talks to another stranger feels like it’s roughly 80:20 in favour of bewilderment in London, even for me, though of course those I hold dear are surely amongst the 20, whether I’m around or not! In contrast it felt, as long as you weren’t on the subway during rush hour, more like 20:80 in the opposite direction in New York for me. Nevertheless, I do recognise that it’s possible (as many of my New Yorker friends suspected) that I got special treatment in New York for my English accent, so I’m curious to know what any New Yorkers reading reckon the NYC ratio is, especially any who’ve also been to London!

During my first few weeks back in London, while it was incredible to be back in my own home again after 2 and a half years (and after switching residences almost every night in Australia!!), and there was so much about the extra tranquility and home-ness that was regenerative, the sheer disparity in my environment triggered intense reverse culture shock. There were days I didn’t want to get out of bed I felt so alien. I craved sugar and dairy constantly (which I hadn’t for a long time) and found I needed 9-12 hours sleep most days, physically and emotionally exhausted for no apparent reason.

There were days where just getting up felt like a hike up a mountain. Days where my heart both emotionally and physically ached for the people and energy of NYC. More than a handful of moments where the last thing I wanted was to mingle with what felt like a population consisting of 80% aliens (and NOT by the American definition wherein aliens are tourists and immigrants!) but in the sense that I felt like they just didn’t get life. Didn’t get joy. Didn’t get what was really important (getting shit done, talking to each other, having an amazing life) and what wasn’t (complaining, taking forever to do things, being grumpy and unfriendly).

But each day I reminded myself that these feelings were part of the relocation territory. I experienced a similar sense of fatigue and overwhelm during my first few months in NYC after all. So each day, I hauled my ass out of bed, focused on all that I am blessed with and thankful for and showed up in London in my own quirky third culture way, bridging the gap between English and American, adopting my favourite habits and phrases from each to create my own Engl-ican style.

Much to my amusement, I’m continually confused for Aussie by almost every person I meet in London, English or otherwise. Where my English accent made love with what I call the American “bounce”,  a hybrid was born that somehow turned out to sound a bit Australian, even before I arrived in Australia this summer. This confusion I’m told also stems from my sheer level of confidence and openness as compared to other Londoners, traits that rubbed off on me in New York that are a lot more alien (and in some circles truly frowned upon!) here.

While some judge, most people enjoy this novelty, and each day I hold faith and trust in the power of my own ripple effect and of the increasing numbers of people cultivating these traits worldwide. They are, after all, traits that contribute to a more empowered and aligned existence, which has knock on effects on both physical and psychological wellbeing, or the alternative – malaise. I know I didn’t feel as mentally or physically healthy before I became fully expressed during my time in America.

Meanwhile I’m also more attuned to the many admirable and adorable traits of English culture I took for granted before, because I’d never known anything else. To experience two cultures so deeply is something many do not get to, and I count myself immeasurably fortunate. I also count myself lucky to be continually challenged in so many interesting ways. I am so much more adaptable than I was before I left for New York, precisely because I have been in so many situations that were so far outside my comfort zone and found ways to thrive regardless.

I have a level of serenity I just didn’t have before, and the unshakeable confidence that comes from knowing I can deal with any situation or pressure, no matter how unfamiliar or alien. This is one of the many benefits that practising the art of relocation helps you achieve – indeed the art of travel too.

As the last two months have gone by, I’ve also found it fascinating and compelling finding ways to integrate my newer beliefs, values, and identity into my “old world”, and even, creating a new world in old territory. It’s really quite magical seeing London with such different eyes, and particularly as the culture shock has faded I’ve been able to recognise ever growing quirks and perks and opportunities I never saw when I lived here before. I’ve been seeking out and attending events on a par with those I gravitated to in New York, connecting with people I never would have dreamt of before, and seeing possibilities I never envisaged. And sure enough, each day London has felt less and less different and alien than New York. For the past few weeks, getting up has started feeling a lot more natural again and I’ve felt more and more at home.

Culture shock is real, but it does get easier.

Here are four of the morals I’ve learnt along this journey that I want to share with you:

1) Every culture has its benefits, perks and quirks. The sweet spot lies in questioning what you’ve been conditioned to believe and do, and integrating your favourite bits of each culture you experience to create your own personal stamp. The feeling of freedom this will afford you is incredible. It might make you more likely to feel like a bit of an alien occasionally, but that’s ok, you’re a super-alien!

 

2) If you have the opportunity to live and work in another culture, I recommend seizing it with both hands. It’s terrifying in moments and full of challenges but few things will give you more opportunities, more potential for growth or impact you more. You’ll realise that fear is totally negotiable, and that if you give it a new name, like excitement, you can turn it into a powerful, magical force. This premise alone will blow your mind and expand your entire perception of life. You’ll also notice how much more arbitrary geographical boundaries feel, and become able to appreciate any culture without freaking out, because you no longer see in black and white. OMG look at that beautiful rainbow!

 

3) Whether or not we are aware of another’s turmoil, we’re all working through something. I’ve noticed it’s a lot more common and socially acceptable to talk about struggles openly in New York (it is the home of the phrase “the struggle is real” after all), while there’s more shame attached to doing so in London/England. Wherever you may be in the world, never assume that you are alone, or that you are weak for feeling discomfort or for expressing it. When we talk openly, more often than not our experiences are validated and normalised in powerfully healthy and healing ways. And most likely, the more discomfort you are experiencing, the more you are outside your comfort zone (whether you’ve consciously pursued it, or whether it’s been thrust upon you), which is essential if you want to achieve exponential growth.

 

4) It’s possible to be intensely grateful, thriving and outwardly successful, and really really uncomfortable AT THE SAME TIME, and it’s totally ok. Discomfort is not only ok, but when we start making peace with it, and combining it with positive emotions, rather than having a black and white happy/sad mentality, whatever discomfort we may have been feeling actually starts feel more comfortable. The key is in what we’re telling ourselves mentally about the meaning behind it, what we choose to take away and how we decide to make it part of our growth trajectory. We don’t always get to choose the situation, but we do get to choose the meaning. And we must be kind and patient with ourselves, not just each other, always.

Welcome!

Hello and thank you for visiting the digital home of Definitely Definitely! A place you can come for clarity, serenity, creative inspiration, and to find out more about working with me.

Are you a super motivated, yet overwhelmed type A? Forever rushing from one thing to the next, mentally and physically, in constant pursuit of the next challenge, the next opportunity, the next accomplishment, perfection even?! Thoughts racing, pulse racing, continually in a state of fight or flight? Wondering where the balance went between work and play?

I know how you’re feeling. I’m what I call a “recovering Type A”. Still highly motivated, but at my core, drastically more clear, serene and creative. And guess what, I actually get even MORE done. (And not just because I’m an entrepreneur now!). If you’d told me this back when I was running round like a blue arsed fly, stressing out about everything, obsessing over volume, I’d have laughed. But it’s my reality now, and I want to help it become yours too.

                                  THEN                                                                          NOW

Stress is EVERYWHERE. We can all sense it. On the tube/subway, at the checkout/till, in the office. Colleagues struggling to juggle mounting workloads, consumed with ticking off endless to do lists, seemingly trapped in a hamster wheel. According to 2016 figures, 64% of North American employees report high levels of stress, while in the UK, stress accounts for 37% of all work related ill health cases and 45% of all working days lost due to ill health.

With all this stress, our ability to see clearly and creatively is compromised and the risk of energetic and creative burnout is all too real. How can we keep showing up in our most compelling, inspiring energy and producing amazing ideas and projects if we’re frantic and frazzled?

I set up Definitely Definitely to help Type A executives and entrepreneurs like you go against the stressed out grain, and achieve new heights of clarity, serenity, creativity, and positive energy, so you can have an even more vibrant and sustainable impact in the world. I help people find their zen, their happy place, amidst the intensity of grand ambitions, competing priorities and a seriously stressed out world. I also help them refocus on quality (their Definitely Definitelys!) over quantity when it comes to prioritizing projects, and on birthing epic creative concepts and innovative solutions.

I lead both 1:1 coaching sessions and interactive group corporate workshops on topics including mindset, mindfulness, holistic health and wellbeing, conscious leadership, creative and entrepreneurial thinking and much more to help participants cultivate their Definitely Definitely lives and businesses from a place of abundant energy and unleashed creativity. I also run group and individual hypnotherapy sessions, and often find my clients benefit from a blend of hypnotherapy and coaching.

I help people say no, so they can say yes.

I help them find and sustain their most authentic and vibrant energy.

I help them focus on who they’re being – both as individuals and businesses – over what they’re doing.

These are just a few of the many subtle but intensely powerful mindset shifts I help people make.

And, whether you’re a business leader or an entrepreneur, because your – and your people’s – energy is your biggest (but not your only) asset, I also provide personal and professional brand expertise, helping you and your business articulate your story in the most authentic and emotionally compelling of ways so you can go from being an intellectual “nice to have” to heart-centered indispensable. It’s just a natural follow on from the energetic work I do with people and their teams.

Read more about my philosophy and testimonials from happy clients using the menu above.

Ready to rumble? Click the pink button to book a complimentary 60 minute, obligation free, pitch free call with me. You can also submit any burning questions or comments using the form below – I’ll get back to you personally within 48 hours.


At Definitely Definitely, our mission is simple. We exist to help type A executives and entrepreneurs with aggressive growth targets gain more clarity, serenity and creativity, so they can have an even greater and more sustainable impact in the world, and more fun along the way. We look forward to serving you!