I remember the first time I encountered mindless eating.
One day after school I ate a Marks And Spencer cream and jam scone that my Mum had bought.
I was having a really unhappy time, the usual bitchy girls nonsense that happens.
I bit into the scone and then pretty much inhaled it.
I don’t remember enjoying it, I remember it squashing the feeling of unhappiness though.
I consider myself very fortunate. It is not a pattern I repeat often, that day after school has always stayed with me as a reminder of when it doesn’t feel right to just inhale food to shut down my feelings. It is, however, something that has always stayed with me and a big reason I like to try and help others with it.
I am able to recognise when it happens and the strategy I use to deal with it. I would love to help you with it if it has become a habit you identify with.
What is mindless eating?
There are various descriptions of mindless eating out there, I think of mindless eating as eating for reasons other than genuine hunger.
You have just had a delicious dinner, you are full and satisfied.
You then sit down on the sofa and after 30 minutes go to the kitchen and grab snacks to eat as you watch an evening of TV.
Were you hungry for food?
What then? This is mindless eating.
Why do we do it?
The reasons we do it are complex and individual.
I truly believe that mindless eating stems from our formative years.
There is also an element of habit involved.
Let me give you a personal example:
I became aware of potentially heading towards mindless eating a few years ago.
My girlfriend at the time (now my wife!) was away from home working on a show.
I missed her. During the day I was super busy at work and not really thinking about being alone. In the evening I would make dinner and instead of making a big batch and then storing the rest I would keep going back and picking at it. `
So what was going on?
At first, I thought I was bored.
I wasn’t bored. I was lonely.
So we now have a trigger = loneliness. The action = picking at food to avoid feeling lonely.
It’s important that we allow ourselves to sit with a feeling. To just stuff it down causes it to keep bubbling up.
I sat with the feeling and then came up with a solution.
Each day we would have a skype/facetime call. It gave me something to look forward to. In the period between dinner and our call, I worked on a Christmas present project.
If we unpack the behaviour pattern a little more then my childhood unhappiness at school was actually loneliness. I went through a chunk of my school life feeling lonely.
The Mindless Eating Map
Try using the Mindless Eating Map above if you are reading this and want to make a start to eat more mindfully.
Let me know if you are struggling to work out what the trigger is and I will help you!
Here is an example you can follow:
- Identify the trigger – loneliness/anger/sadness/overwhelm/happiness/excitement/nervousness. Beware of lumping something under stress or anxiety – dig deeper into it.
- Recognise that feeling – sit with it for a bit.
- Ask yourself the question: “What is it I REALLY need”. This forms part of your solution. In the example of overwhelm – drill down deeper. Maybe you need a cleaner to tackle the ironing pile, a part-time gardener to deal with the tangled mess of weeds, a pillow and a baseball bat to let the anger out.
- Now pick an alternative strategy to form a new habit when the trigger is pressed. I have found, for example, the mindfulness colouring in books work really well for both nervousness and excitement. Your new habit/solution needs to be something that is easy to put in place.
- Create the association that every time the trigger is set you reach for an alternative solution to mindless eating.
- Practice makes perfect – this new habit association takes time and repetition. It will come though!
Top Tips – from mindless eating to mindful management
Ditch the labels you place on food – there is no good food or bad food, just food. This just adds to the mindless eating problem – we associate certain foods with punishment and reward.
Keep a diary over a week to jot down what you are feeling and what might be triggering it.
Adopt the 5-4-3-2-1 approach. We make decisions on what we think we want in split seconds. I love using the 5-4-3-2-1 approach with people. The moment you feel you want to reach for something instead of sitting with a feeling count down from 5 to 1. Then ask yourself “What is it I REALLY want?” It’s rarely food.
Be mindful of external marketing and the message it sends to us. Fast-food companies don’t want us to be unhealthy, they just want to sell more products. So do healthy food companies. Become your own marketer – market to yourself.
Eat when hungry. This seems like an obvious one but actually, it isn’t. We are hard-wired to eat at set times of the day as that is what is done. If you aren’t hungry, don’t eat. If you are then EAT. Then look at the times you eat when you are not hungry and go back to the map above.
I recently did a couple of ‘What’s Eating You’? workshops at Yoga Fit Ibiza. I will be doing more at the next retreat in April 2018. For details on how to book and come and join me visit here You can use my discount code to get money off your holiday (yay!) Use the code YOGAFITBRIDGET
I am currently designing an online programme for my wonderful friends to follow to put an end to dieting and mindless eating. I hope to be able to share it with you soon.
Please let me know if I can help you in any way.
The harsh, throaty cry of a duck or any similar sound.
Someone who claims to be skilled in a certain area of expertise when in fact, they are not.
Quack remedies or quack cures are medical treatments that you think are unlikely to work because they are not scientific.
One of the reasons I am sharing this blog post as that I have been caught out in the past and even with my science-based radar twitching, I succumbed to fear and pressed go anyway.
When we are hurting, we want someone to take it away…..and fast.
The NHS does an incredible job of helping us get well when the chips are down, particularly in emergency medicine. For various reasons I wasn’t getting to the bottom of my hormone problems so I hit good old GOOGLE.
This is where the promotion of the quack comes into full-force.
On one evening, tucked up in my duvet and in a discussion forum on thyroid and adrenal problems, the same couple of names kept cropping up.
Let’s call them Dr X and Dr Y.
Apparently, I wasn’t alone with my frustration with feeling grim and not getting any answers….
These two doctors were the answer to my problem! I set about trying to book in with one of them.
DR X had been struck off and therefore wasn’t available and the other had a waiting list of over a month (turned out to be false) and so I booked in a month ahead and sat drumming my fingers until my appointment.
The day of my appointment came and I trotted off with a spring in my step ready to have all my questions answered.
I came out of the appointment over £1,000 lighter as I needed lots of tests and supplements.
You can see where this is going, can’t you?
My twitchy radar had gone off but I ignored it. This person was going to find the solution for me, my fears were dampened in a very clever way.
Without boring you with all of the details I am more than happy to share that I followed everything to the letter, I felt about 5% better but I put that down to nothing more than placebo.
When I sat down and picked apart my own problems I came up with the following:
- Unresolved unhappiness.
- Too much stress at work.
- Not enough quality sleep.
- My own self-imposed dogmatic views on what I should be eating.
Time taken: 2 hours. Cost: a new notebook and pen.
The problem with social media motivation
If you feel shit. You feel shit.
The problem with interacting on social media is that we are bombarded with positive messages every day.
I have nothing against a bit of positivity (when in balance with a nice dose of Stoicism).
I have nothing against quotes – both funny and positive but their real use is to connect us to a tribe of like-minded people. We interact and share and bond with each other.
They can be full of quackery though……
Or how about:
No no….. if it hurts, it is a sign something is wrong. End of story.
Preying on the vulnerable
A lot of the advice peddled out on the internet is just plain WRONG.
It seems to be successful because it targets the very people whose fear is so big, they will do anything to feel better.
The three categories that appear to be the most successful?
a) Weight loss and fitness.
If you want someone to really help you get results then ask them to put their money where their mouth is. If you are paying for a service and you do the work required and don’t get the results then you shouldn’t be paying.
Fear as a weapon for both sides of the war
Clever internet marketing doesn’t just work to allay our fears, it uses fear as a weapon to move us away from something.
Fake news is just fuelling this problem and can often be traced back to a whole lot of quackery by internet marketing gurus.
I am troubled by:
Quack concern 1 – The health ‘gurus’
There are quite a few people I could chuck on this list but without mentioning names I am going to share advice from 3 of the health websites with the biggest amount of followers:
- Commercial sunscreens increase the likelihood of skin cancer instead of protecting from it. (This person just happens to sell you an expensive natural alternative).
- HIV may not be the cause of AIDS. He spouts a belief that the manifestations of AIDS (including opportunistic infections and death) could result from “psychological stress” brought on by the belief that HIV is harmful.
- Raw milk dairy products from organically raised pasture-fed cows rank among some of the healthiest foods you can consume. It’s far superior in terms of health benefits compared to pasteurized milk, and if statistics are any indication, it’s safer, too. What??? I have an ice cream business, I know all the risks of the unpasturised product. It isn’t safe.
- Microwaves kill food and remove its nutrients. Also, microwaves change the chemical properties of water. Errrrr….. nope.
- Water, when exposed to the words “Hitler” and “Satan” changes its physical properties. WTF?
I could go on but the one that really got me was a particular individual put a nine-year-old child and his mother on his T.V. show and stated that the child possessed 9 out of the 14 traits typically seen in serial killers.
I recently had to stop a friend of mine following advice from one of them, it was both life-threatening and potentially expensive.
Quack concern 2 – Life Coaching
Hold your horses…. before you shout at me….. I am not slamming all life coaches.
I have had some amazing and truly life-changing coaching.
But I have also heard lots of horror stories.
When clients used to come to me with a problem if it was a problem I knew I couldn’t help with I would send them to someone with expertise in that subject.
Recently I heard about a person with deep-rooted mental illness being told they could be helped by a series of sessions by someone with zero training in mental health.
A friend of mine was advised by someone to jack her job in with no financial backup plan just because she didn’t like marketing.
I could go on.
I feel that the rise in people wanting to go into life coaching has been ignited by the likes of the life-coaching gurus Tony Robbins and Robin Sharma.
The problem is that the business is full of people who haven’t got their own shit together never mind helping someone else with theirs.
The best life coaches I have met get RESULTS. They only take on people they know they can help. Many of them also offer your money back if you are not happy.
(Feel free to message me if you want any recommendations!).
Quack concern 3 – Pyramid Marketing Schemes
“How would you like to look better naked, have more energy, have great skin and hair”? (Back to the fear-bashing again).
When I was younger there was a company called Neways – a friend of mine introduced me to it and got me on board her ‘tribe’.
I used the products that were double the price of the high street alternative and noticed no difference. I didn’t even bother to try selling it to someone else. No amount of supportive marketing material would have helped me. They were shit.
Ever since then my ‘quack radar’ has gone off anytime I see someone try and connect with me on social media who have the words Forever Living/Herbal Life/Arbonne anywhere near their name.
Legal multi-level marketing involves being recruited in order to sell a product or service that actually has some inherent value. As a recruit, you can make a profit from the sales of the product or service, so you don’t necessarily have to recruit more salespeople below you.
While you may be encouraged to recruit other salespeople whose sales would give you more profits, you can stick to just selling the product directly to the consumer if you choose.
A pyramid scheme MLM, however, will most likely sell a product with no independent value. This product could take the form of reports of some kind, for example, or mailing lists. In this kind of pyramid scheme, you would be required to recruit new members into the MLM in order to make a profit and keep the MLM alive. Joining the MLM is the only reason anyone would buy the products sold by this pyramid scheme.
The big concern for me is that they often recruit from groups of people who not only don’t have the money to invest in the initial stock required to start but are deep in debt already.
Watch the eye opening documentary – Betting On Zero on Netflix.
It’s not all bad though.
There are some amazing people out there with the right credentials who can help you. I have a book filled with people who are great in many different areas of expertise. I won’t list them all here, I will mention a few who I have interacted with recently.
A few I recommend and why:
Plant Based Pixie
As some of you know I have followed a plant-based diet for a while now and happy to say that it works really well for me.
There are a lot of quack ‘facts’ in the plant-based/vegan world too though and wading through all the information can be confusing.
Enter Pixie…. Pixie is a scientist, nutritionist, and blogger who, like me, likes debunking the B.S. floating around the internet.
One of her most redeeming qualities is that she believes in balance and doesn’t attach any shame to foods. She follows and plant-based/veggie diet and her website is full of mouth-watering recipes.
You can follow her on Instagram @plantbasedpixie
I have talked about CJ before in this post and without wanting to sound like a crazy super fan I wanted to mention him again.
CJ is the master of ‘practice what you preach’. He is one of the most authentic people out there in cyber space and questions every bit of information he takes in.
He hates the ‘get fit quick’ approach and coaches his clients with encouragement, knowledge and a desire to get them to their goal.
I had a coaching call with Nick a few years ago when I wanted to work on a little side business that I was setting up.
He is the brains behind SideHustleNation – a community of hard-working entrepreneurs setting up side hustles to work them towards financial freedom.
A genuine and informative guy with lots of free stuff on his site to get you one step closer to working successfully on your very own side hustle.
Nick also has a brilliant podcast with interesting guests and always shares the things that didn’t work alongside his successes.
He believes in hard-work and hustle and taking ACTION. Sounds about right to me! A non-quack approach to entrepreneurship.
SBM – Science Based Medicine
Science-Based Medicine is dedicated to evaluating medical treatments and products of interest to the public in a scientific light, and promoting the highest standards and traditions of science in health care.
Online information about alternative medicine is overwhelmingly credulous and uncritical, and even mainstream media and some medical schools have bought into the hype and failed to ask the hard questions.
SBM provides a much needed “alternative” perspective — the scientific perspective.
Be warned…..once you go in and start clicking, you may be horrified by some of the alternative quack remedies out there…….
Remember everything is an experiment of 1
No two people are the same – That diet that worked for your best friend may not work as well for you. You get a diagnosis of a serious health problem, your treatment protocol needs to be specific to your own particular set of criteria.
Find your fear and then examine it….. what is REALLY going on? This may require an expert to help you find it. Shop around. Find someone who will help you get the right results for YOU.
Question everything. Ask yourself is this just quackery or is there concrete evidence behind it?
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!” – Goethe
So…..I am sitting here at my desk, a couple of days after the Cotswold 24 hour race. I am itching to enter another ultra and I will but for the moment I wanted to document how you turn a dream into a reality.
You see, one of the questions I have been asked most in the last couple of days is:
“How on earth do you do it?”
I see running ultra races just the same as any other part of my life…. it is the destination on a map that needs GPS.
It is that simple.
When I was out there on Saturday, trying desperately hard not to be sick (again). I thought a lot about goal setting.
When I set big audacious goals, ones that scare me a little and I put the right action steps in place….they happen.
I don’t buy into the whole social media inspirational stuff that doesn’t require any action to be taken.
Without action, we don’t get anywhere. It is one of the reasons the book The Secret bothers me so much. Just visualising stuff isn’t enough for it to magically appear.
Those that tell you it’s enough to do that, aren’t telling you the whole truth.
Since the racing weekend, I have had a few requests from people asking me to help them get to a goal race. This is exactly what I do with every goal that I have. It works for me every time and it can work for you too, with some action.
This isn’t just for runners either… you can apply these steps to anything that your heart desires!
How to go from dream to result in 7 steps:
Find the ‘why’
I cannot begin to tell you how important this first step is.
Grab a piece of paper and a pen and take your big dream and write it in capitals in the centre of the page.
Then with arrows pointing away from it, write down all the ‘whys’ of why you want it to happen.
Once you have all of your whys written down – take a look at them. If any of them are to please someone else then circle in red.
Let’s take finding a partner as an example:
- To have someone to share memories with.
- To have children with.
- To keep my feet warm on winters nights.
- To have sex with.
- To share problems and triumphs with.
- To split household costs with.
- To travel the world with.
- To please my parents…. (this would be a red circle).
I like to find at least 5 reasons why (preferably 10). The reason I want you to circle the ones that please other people is that they are not enough to make the next action steps stick.
The WHY is what will get you out there and be taking action on your dream.
Pick a deadline
This is important in whichever category your dream falls into. Personally, I like goals that take me less than 6 months to complete. Any longer and I start getting twitchy. These dreams can form a larger set further down the line but for your first dream to reality task, pick something that takes less than 6 months.
Find someone who has already done it
This has always been an important step for me.
In the ultra running world, I have dozens of examples of people who have done what I want to do. A few them are friends of mine now so I am surrounded by example and inspiration.
If it is a job goal, seek out someone who has the job that you dream about and use them as your muse.
Write down some key facts about them that you believe make them successful in that role (these will become some of your action steps in your 15-minute activity).
I will use a real life example of someone who could be a muse for a ‘dream career’ exercise:
Linda (name changed!)
Linda is head of marketing for an international events company. Here are some of her facts:
- Educated to degree level.
- Volunteers for a charity helping with social media.
- Goes to a London networking event, once a month.
- Spends 10 minutes every morning connection with people on LinkedIn.
- She guest blogs for a few key online sites.
- Her Instagram account isn’t full of puppies and food, she uses it as her ideas board.
I could go on…..
This will give you a really good idea of how Linda got to where she wanted to be – she used a roadmap of actions to get her from junior in a small marketing role to a six figure salary simply by changing how she approached her goal.
Work out an ‘if X then Y strategy’
I like to be a little stoical about my big dream, I always look at worse case scenarios!
It is always advisable in this process, to come up with an ‘if the shit hits the fan’ set of rules!
Let me explain….
Let’s take someone who wants to complete the London to Brighton Cycle Challenge.
Here would be part of my X then Y list:
- IF I injure myself in training THEN I will find another non-injury site exercise to do until better.
- IF the weather is terrible one day and stops me cycling outside THEN I will go and take a spinning class.
- IF I get a puncture THEN I will learn how to fix it myself or call a mobile puncture service.
Get these jotted down before you start – my list was about 20 long for my ultra training!
Find something meaningful and put it at stake
It’s no coincidence that companies like DietBet work really well for people in pursuit of weight loss.
The idea is that you put money into a fund with other people and get a pay out if you stick to your goal. Some companies have a ‘biggest loser’ pool so you win a prize if you smash your goal.Financial motivators work
Financial motivators do work well for people – there is a nutritionist that I know who gets her clients to put $1,000 into her account and if they succeed in their goal, they get it back, if they don’t then it gets split between 5 charities….. no one wants to lose $1,000…..
My biggest motivator personally, is accountability. If I have made it public on social media that I am going for a goal, then not reaching it would really disappoint me.
Spend at least 15 minutes a day in pursuit of your dream
This is where the magic happens.
Now depending on your goal, 15 minutes probably isn’t enough (especially if it is sporty).
But 15 minutes really is a magical amount of time – it is achievable for everyone.
Let’s say your dream was to write and self-publish a book then my advice would be to set your alarm 15 minutes earlier every day and after you have made a cup of coffee you sit down at your computer, set a timer and write for 15 minutes.
Or, if you had a dream of being able to complete 50 press-ups without stopping you could spend the time with a quick warm-up and every day add one extra press-up.
You get the idea.
Track Track Track it!
Tracking = end result.
Our brains love quick wins and in pursuit of your dream, the more little wins you have along the journey, the better.
Celebrate those wins. Don’t be British and self-deprecating about it! Buy that new sports top when you have dropped a dress size, buy a smart jacket to go to interviews with.
You NEED to measure your success and celebrate it.
So let me hear your goals, let me help you reach them. I love picking apart the GPS signals required to get you there.
I love the journals from Daily Greatness and highly recommend them.
Fear says “No you can’t”.
Determination says “Yes you can”.
Results say “I told you so”.
I will be holding a ‘Dream Big’ talk at YogaFit Ibiza in October. I would love to see you there, come with your big idea and let’s see how quickly we can get you there.
To get booked in use my Discount Code YOGAFITBRIDGET
40 is officially the new 30. 30 was so last year (ok…two years ago….).
Someone told me the other day that I didn’t ‘look bad’ for a 40-year-old. I think they meant it as a compliment but you never know…
It really got me thinking about being in my 40’s.
You know what?
I am SO MUCH HAPPIER than I was in my 20’s and 30’s.
I am not saying that it is all sunshine and roses as you will read below but I thought I would take a humorous look at life and all its warts when you hit the glorious age of the big 40.
(If you are reading this in your 30’s, print it out and stick it on the wall preferably BEFORE you wake up one day with chin hair….).
Fun at 40 – Facial Hair
You may or may not have facial hair already. Perhaps just on that pesky upper lip.
One day I went to the lovely people at Glow bar for an eyebrow shape and upper lip threading and she uttered the horrific words:
“Would you like me to do your chin too”?
I almost slid down the reclining chair in horror.
That day has now been named ‘chin-gate’.
My dearly beloved Chiara is officially on chin hair watch – the buggers are thick and wiry and seem to grow straight out from my chin with a sheen to them that glints in the sun.
Tip: Find a trusted friend who can be on ‘chin watch’ for you.
Fun at 40 – Periods
Something happens to periods in your 40’s.
Mine have always been a bit dodgy anyway (hormonally challenged bird).
I don’t have one for months and then without any warning whatsoever I get one. A real humdinger of an assault on my lower stomach that gives me acne and even more hot flushes as a bonus.
Mine have been a lot better on a plant-based diet but still, I could do with a warning!
Tip: If you battle with irregular/problematic periods get hormone tests done. Your significant other will thank you 😉
Fun at 40 – Gardening
Suddenly I have become fascinated by gardening. I don’t mean just dabbling with the whole window box thing. I mean full on Pinterest boards, watching gardening programmes and lusting after particular species of clematis.
There is something deeply satisfying and spiritual about watching something grow (that you haven’t managed to kill).
I am actually considering making my Christmas wish-list gardening related and ordering one of those comfy kneel down things to save my knobbly knees.
Tip: Yeah it may not be the coolest thing but get involved – do come and follow my Pinterest board and send me gardening related inspiration. I will love you forever.
Fun at 40 – New Hobbies
My dear friend Alice turned 40 and took up clay pottery. She imagined that she would go along to evening classes and be tutored from behind by an adonis like Patrick Swayze in Ghost. Unfortunately, the instructor was called Babs and had more chin hair than me. Alice is still doing pottery though and says it changed her life.
I was inspired by my lovely friends Matt and Dennis over at Boys and Bunting – they turned a hobby into a thriving business and haven’t looked back. Their crochet is incredible and they are my gay-hobby-icons.
Tip: when you turn 40 you have Carte Blanche to take up whatever hobby your heart desires. Pick one and go for it. Your winter evenings will become so much more enjoyable.
Fun at 40 – Sleep
Insomnia is a bitch. As we get older sleep can become trickier to manage. Lot’s of people tell me that they either don’t get enough sleep or sleep is interrupted.
I have found that since I turned 40, I have a window of opportunity to fall asleep. My sweet spot is between 9:30 pm and 10:30 pm. If I am not in bed by then, all hell breaks loose a.k.a. staying awake until 1:00 am reading/watching Netflix/cursing.
The BBC produced an interesting documentary on sleep, highly recommend watching it.
Tip: Buy the biggest bed you can afford and the comfiest mattress. This is my non-negotiable.
Fun at 40 – Flat arse a.k.a. Phone Book Arse
This needs some explaining.
I used to dance with a lovely guy called Richard Marcel.
One day we were arm in arm gyrating to a Salsa track and he explained ‘phone-book-arse’ to me.
I was in my 20’s at the time and laughed about it.
Now it has become ‘a real thing’.
Something happens to your arse when you turn 40. It slides down a little and becomes flat in profile view. Often it takes on a square appearance rather like a phone book.
If you are 20 and don’t know what a phone book looks like, allow me to show you….
Tip: Follow my gorgeous friend Marianne Zarbock – she is the queen of the squat and inspires me every day to go workout. She wouldn’t know what phone book arse is… hers is a peach!
Fun at 40 – Diet
Forget ‘being on a diet’. Please do me a favour.
A survey by Warburtons found that by the time we reach our 45 the average woman has tried 61 diets.
At the ripe young age of 40, you know by now that too much junk helps you put on weight and by eating sensibly and making some tweaks you will stabilise at your ideal weight and you have all that spare time (and money) to do things that make you happy.
Tip: Make enjoyable fitness a goal and find happiness through the endorphin release and fewer bingo wings. I also recommend the services of my friend Star Monroe – she has an awesome approach to women and body image.
Fun at 40 – Sex
Reading this in your 40’s you are either getting loads of it, none of it or don’t really care about it.
I have issues with my sex-drive. The hormonal therapy didn’t work for me so it’s a work in progress. I am lucky to have the most gorgeous partner in the world and she is very understanding but it still sucks. What I will say is don’t beat yourself up about any of it. Spending your 20’s and 30’s beating yourself up about shit can all stop in your 40’s when you can celebrate the uniqueness of YOU.
For casual liaisons there is always Tinder I suppose, not sure I would recommend it. Far better to take a trip to Ann Summers and start there.
Tip: Don’t believe what others tell you about their sex life and how inadequate yours is. It’s probably bullshit anyway.
Fun at 40 – Irritability
“What do you mean you are moody?? I AM NOT MOODY”.
Does this sound familiar?
I am moody quite a lot.
I quite enjoy being moody from time to time. I actually relish a bit of moody behaviour. Muttering under your breath is also wholly acceptable, ditto telling off people in a loud voice when they jump a queue.
Tip: Moodiness is probably best enjoyed away from loved ones. After a while, it can get a bit boring for them. I recommend supermarkets or rude sales assistants in shops.
Fun at 40 – Love
Love is a word that many of you know I embrace with my whole being. Without we are a shell. I am not talking lust (that old chestnut).
No, I am talking about love from family, friends, pets, the community, and the planet.
It took me until I turned 40 to really understand what it meant. Sometimes it means fighting for something and at other times it means walking away from something.
Tip: If you are single and hating it then start by looking around you for other forms of love and shower the world with your love, it will come back to you in spades. Mr or Mrs Right is just around the corner.
Fun at 40 – Noise
a) I am bothered by noise. I believe most introverts are.
b) I also believe that tolerance for noise decreases as you get older.
c) I used to sort of enjoy going to night clubs but now I can’t think of anything worse – people shouting over loud music, not for me anymore!
d) I also get easily distracted by loud conversations, repetitive humming noises, babies crying and the ice cream van going past the house at 5 pm sharp every day.
Tip: The noise cancelling headphones by BOSE are wonderful (write it down on your Christmas wish list!).
Fun at 40 – Pets
I have always loved animals and grew up with lots of them (thanks, Mum and Dad!).
Now I am planning a whole menagerie of them.
In my 40’s and without kids I want to nurture. I believe this is also common with women my age who get empty nest syndrome.
I say embrace it, it didn’t hurt Brigitte Bardot.
Tip: If you can’t get one of your own, offer to go and walk someone else’s. Spending time with animals is just so enjoyable.
Fun at 40 – Make-up
Without it, I look like a ghost.
With it, I can either look like a better version of me or a drag queen. There is no middle ground.
I have never been good at applying makeup but have learnt a few tricks from Chiara who is incredible.
If you like to go au naturel (big respect to you) then apply a light sunscreen to your face….I didn’t and now have those brown spots that were cutely called freckles in my 20’s and are now just age spots.
Tip: Go to a beauty counter and pay for a professional to give you a day look and an evening look. Take along a friend to video the essentials and buy the products that work for you. Tip the beauty person well and it will be the best present to yourself EVER.
Fun at 40 – Young people
Not long ago one of my members of staff came in dressed in a T-shirt in winter and my first response (after I had rubbed her arms) was:
“Ooooooh aren’t you cold in that?”
I had officially turned into my dearly departed Nana. She used to say it to young people all the time.
Now I am that person.
When I look at people out on a Saturday night in short skirts, no tights and no coat and shiver. I want to look after them/tell them they will get sick.
It is also now the age where the young people I mix with don’t know what a cassette desk was, how we used to record music by pressing record and play at the same time and how we only had 4 TV channels.
Tip: Surround yourself with teenagers and 20 somethings and let them guide you in stuff. In return you can make sure a) they don’t get cold b) have a confident to tell important shit too. Win win.
Fun at 40 – Fashion
I have never been good with fashion. Now I am even worse. If I am not careful I will turn into an old lesbian woman with chin hair, dungarees and ugly sensible shoes.
In fairness, comfortable shoes are a must once you hit 40. It is bang on trend to buy amazing trainers and wear them as normal attire and totally rock them. Ditto any other sports clothing from Sweaty Betty or Lululemon.
Leggings that aren’t sports ones really should be binned as should anything that gives you a muffin top.
Apart from that….. go for it. Find your style and stick with it.
Tip: Read the fabulous book by Marie Kondo – The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up. It is a game-changer and you will end up buying it for all your friends.
Be unapologetically YOU. I cannot recommend this enough. If you don’t know who the real YOU is, find someone to help pull it out of you.
If there are any other topics that you would like added to the list, let me know in the comments.
“Bridget I think you should try a plant-based diet for your high blood pressure”
I sat staring at my doctor not quite taking it in.
You see, I had high blood pressure that was not responding to treatment – they still hadn’t got to the root of the problem and I was in a bad way physically and mentally.
For the last couple of years, I had been following a version of the diet that I created for my book – Six Pack Chick.
My ego was screaming at me ‘You have to stay on YOUR diet, what will people think?’
Could it be that I had caused my own high blood pressure? Possibly.
I saw many benefits of my low carb diet – I was on the slim side, my skin improved, I no longer had kidney infections amongst other benefits.
But like everything in life, things change. It’s no coincidence that I ended up at the doctor’s surgery, with seriously high blood pressure and feeling very unwell.
What also gave me a huge prod was that for the three days after my hypertensive crisis I had the same nightmare each night about visiting an abattoir when I was younger.
At the time it really affected me, I was vegetarian for years and started eating meat again as a teenager.
All the signs were there, I just needed to do what I love most and really research plant-based vegan diets…..
So sitting in the doctor’s surgery and not wanting to ever feel that bad again I agreed to try it out.
What is a plant-based diet?
There are a few schools of thought out there when it comes to a plant-based diet.
People generally fall into two camps – including fat and minimising fat.
I know several people who have minimised it and felt great long-term but I have included it in mine and just minimised oils.
What are the positives?
- Plant foods are much cheaper to produce and kinder to the environment.
- Compared to a high animal protein diet, it is cheaper.
- It is higher in fibre.
- It is higher in essential vitamins and minerals.
- Better sleep (I noticed this within the first week!).
- Lower blood pressure due to the decrease in sodium and the increase in potassium-rich foods.
- You are not supporting animal cruelty.
- It could reverse heart disease. Drs Dean Ornish and Caldwell Esselstyn have had great success with putting patients on a low-fat, plant-based diet with great success.
- It is showing success in preventing Type 2 diabetes. Many patients have reversed their Type 2 diabetes.
- Weight loss. Many people have successfully lost weight and kept it off long-term.
What are the negatives?
- People will constantly ask you “Are you getting enough protein?”.
- Eating out requires some planning. I am very lucky here in London, UK as there are lots of vegan restaurants and plant-based options on a menu.
- If you live in a busy household that includes animal product eaters you will have to accommodate the needs of everyone.
- You will need a B12 supplement. it is the only thing missing from a balanced plant-based diet.
- Weight loss. For some, this is positive but for others, particularly athletes it may be negative. I lost 4 kilos in the first month and wasn’t intending to lose any!
Could it work for you?
I think any change of nutrition lifestyle is easy when it comes out of a health crisis.
There is a lot of evidence to suggest that if you suffer from one of the major chronic diseases (high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes) then this could very well improve your symptoms.
If not then you need to weigh up the pros and cons and then make an informed decision.
Any lifestyle change needs to work for you long-term to improve your health, energy, sleep and happiness. Personally, I have found this way of eating to tick those boxes!
My lovely girlfriend Chiara (soon to be my wife!) switched to a plant-based diet after watching the documentary Earthlings.
I have included it on here in case you want to look at the ethical reasons behind switching to this way of eating.
It is pretty disturbing so please bear that in mind when watching it.
This is freely available on YouTube and here is the link:
Forks Over Knives
I watched this the day after my health crisis after a friend recommended that I watch it.
A lot of the information stuck in this documentary stuck with me.
Forks Over Knives examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us, can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods.
The major storyline in the film traces the personal journeys of medical researchers- Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.
Throughout the film, the cameras follow several patients who have chronic diseases to put the whole food, plant-based diet to the test….. (I won’t spoil it for you by revealing what happens to them!).
This page links to the various places you can watch the film
Eating You Alive
This is a documentary about curing chronic diseases with whole foods, plant-based diet (are you sensing a theme here?!)
It features James and Suzi Cameron and presents a good argument as to the whole food as medicine theory.
You can buy the film here if you choose and here is the trailer to whet your appetite (no pun intended).
What The Health
This film could be called Cowspiracy 2 – It is from the same award-winning creators of the film Cowspiracy (On Netflix if you are interested in watching it).
I prefer this film as it digs deeper into the collusion and corruption in U.S. government and big business that is allegedly contributing to the health crisis.
A truly investigative documentary it will leave you laughing at times and open-mouthed by the time the credits roll.
Thug Kitchen – Eat Like You Give A F*ck
With so many people in the vegan/plant-based world taking themselves too seriously and ranting at each other, these guys have created a wonderful and humorous book.
If you don’t like swearing then it isn’t for you but the recipes are just so good. My favourite cookbook.
The China Study
I first read this book in 2007, quite why I didn’t sit up and take notice at the time is a mystery to me….
T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell give some pretty persuasive evidence in this giant tome of a book.
It is a compelling and life-changing read.
The Engine 2 Diet
This book is highly recommended after you have watched Forks Over Knives (above in recommended documentaries).
Rip Esselstyn is a professional athlete turned firefighter who is the son of Caldwell Esselstyn. They promote a plant-based diet and have a caring approach to wanting people to live a more healthful life.
I love humour when talking about life-changing protocols and Rip seems like a genuinely funny guy!
Eat And Run
This is a great book for runners and non-runners alike. It is so good I have read it numerous times. Scott Jurek is an incredible athlete who powers himself with plants. A wonderful tale of adversity, grit, success and living a better life.
Oh She Glows Cookbook
Angela Liddon created this book and released it in 2015. It is a great first book for those of you who want to start a plant-based diet and want to cook delicious food. I love that she doesn’t use loads of meat substitutes (often full of lots of additives and preservatives). Her recipes are colourful, interesting and will have all your friends asking “How do you make that?”.
The ‘cheesy’ quinoa wrap/tortilla in this book is one of the most delicious things EVER and so filling.
This book is highly recommended and it will inspire to cook delicious food for months!
So what now?
My wonderful friend and athlete CJ Swaby has a great free link to a little ebook he created that I would love to share with you. He is an incredible human being with a strong story behind why he went plant-based, you can access his site here
I don’t want to persuade anyone to do this, I want you to watch some documentaries, read some research and then give it a go to see if it would work for you.
Remember……everyone has individual needs, different likes and dislikes and a different health road map. All I ask is that you stay true to yourself and learn to rock your own world.
I would love to hear from you if you are interested in getting started or are a plant-based eater and have recommendations for my readers.
I shall be adding and updating this blog post as I build my list of recommendations 🙂
As of today 12th April 2017, my blood pressure is completely normal, I am back running again and feel fitter, healthier and happier than I can remember……
The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
Have you ever dreamed big and hit a roadblock?
I was 12 weeks in to my marathon prep for Brighton Marathon and woke up in the middle of the night with the most excruciating pain in my head.
As I lay there doing a quick assessment, I tried to calm my fears by convincing myself that it was a migraine.
Only, it didn’t feel like a migraine.
For the next few hours I tried to sleep, then I got up and paced around, to no avail.
It was hideous.
The next day I got seen by my doctor, my blood pressure was sky-high.
“No running for you Bridget”. he said all grim-faced and quiet.
That was a week ago and I am still no closer to them finding out why.
They have ruled lots out – the usual suspects…. but they now have a question mark over my kidneys, heart and potential blockages somewhere.
Until they find out, I am not allowed to run.
I have cried, got angry (probably not the best thing given my predicament), googled stuff (also not a good idea) and generally felt rather sorry for myself.
BUT…. and it’s a big but…. it has led me to sit, feeling very uncomfortable with my feelings and work out another plan.
You see, I have come to realise that I had become totally out of balance.
I had become so strict with my training plan, so mindful of eating super healthily and sticking to a rigid diet in the hope of 100% health that I had gone against the very golden rainbow that I was seeking.
Health and Happiness.
I wrote an instagram post about it here
When nothing goes right…go left.
I don’t know whether or not I will be able to run this marathon or not next month.
What I do know is right now, my heart is beating and I am ALIVE.
So I have faced a roadblock that I am going to go round in the only way I know how.
- Give love – nurture those around me with love, support my running buddies and continue my random acts of kindness.
- Find something to look forward to – I am mindful that I can’t plan too far ahead at the moment so tonight I am going to cook some delicious seafood.
- I have lowered my expectations – I tend to get very down when I have high expectations so my motto for the near future is to expect nothing and be pleasantly surprised if plans happen.
- Do something – this is explained in the last part of this post.
Are you at a roadblock?
If, like me, you are in a similar position then try the 4 points above. Experience has shown me that when I apply them, life becomes better again.
Whether it is the end of a relationship, a redundancy, an injury or you are stumped for an answer to something…. sit with it for a while and then take out a sheet of paper and do the above,
So what now?
So here I am today, sitting at my computer and if this last week has taught me anything it has given me a massive nudge to speak my truth in the hope that it gives you some strength and help along the way.
I have dabbled with blogging in the past but I have hidden behind a brand.
I have written about the world of dieting for so long, hidden behind my Six Pack Chick company.
I dabbled with my 40ish Me blog.
I have procrastinated and dabbled, edited and photoshopped.
Now I just want to speak from the heart.
I am approached so often by people who are unhappy.
- Overweight and feeling trapped.
- Unfit and wanting to change but not knowing ‘the how’.
- Lacking a partner and feeling lonely.
- Feeling unfulfilled and stuck.
- In a job with Monday morning dread, every Sunday night.
All I know RIGHT now is that I need to get my truth out there, I have a burning desire to write from the heart.
I have had to ditch my perfectionism and face the roadblock, so I am setting this site live and unpolished.
That is the first step in my recovery.
With huge love