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Hashimoto’s reflection prompts for a New Year

By | Health, Mindset

Humans aren’t great at sticking to resolutions because when the reward is too distant in the future or too vague, most of us choose the immediate reward now because the pull of instant gratification is too strong. This has given New Years resolutions a bad rap but are they complete BS? Everyone seems to have an opinion on it. If you are like me and feel contemplative over the New Year then check out my reflection prompts below.

I don’t do New Years resolutions but I do think it’s a fitting time of year to reflect on what was and what may be.

This time of year feels fresh and full of potential, the weather is sweet, the days are long, we’re often holidaying and it’s easier to feel hopeful and excited about the future. So I say, why not harness that feeling for positive action & reflection?!

After working with many women who need to make changes in order to make their Hashimoto’s health dreams a reality I realised that goal setting was THE all important first step. One of the first things you do in The Thrive Method is learn how to craft well formed goals. I teach that we need to reverse engineer our goals by crafting them in a way that they are do-able and can be broken down into chunks that are behaviour based. This means that instead of setting a goal like, ‘I want to get healthier in 2023’ or, ‘lose weight’, you might download an app that tracks how much water you drink each day and commit to a weekly meal planning date with yourself instead.

Just a little reminder, when you create goals, make them do-able and execute them, you are literally retraining your brain and building new neural pathways. It’s a big deal so well done and a pat on the back! However, it does not happen with one big initial decision in the New Year and then relying on motivation and self discipline to see you through to the end. It just doesn’t work like that, you need to make many small and consistent choices throughout your day, week, month and year to find yourself achieving & maintaining your goals long term. And you also need to cut yourself some slack on the days or meals when you don’t act in alignment with your goals and look at the big picture instead. You don’t have to get it perfect every time, 80% or 90% of the time is plenty to reach your goals. When you view it like this you are much less likely to throw in the towel by mid-Feb.

I take a long term view and I use these times in the year – birthdays are another good one – to reflect on what I’m doing well, where I want to be in the future and what habits I need to build into my day and week to get me there. I know I want to grow old with my mental faculties still in tact and I never want to be hospitalised with an illness again. The hidden reason behind these goals is that I want to be the kind of matriarch that has energy, loves to have fun, hold hands with my husband as we travel the world, hang out with kids & grandkids and whose presence feels like a warm hug.

Whoah you might be thinking! Slow down, you’re still only in your thirties! I know, I’ve always been a planner and I believe that when you decide on a destination it sets the path before you. So this year I know I need to work on building muscle to support my skeletal health (severe osteoporosis runs in our family). I’ve researched some ways I can do this and stumbled across something called rucking that builds muscle while you walk (which I already do & love). It’s just walking with a lightly weighted back pack. Perfect! I can do my usual bush walks and optimise the impact with a weight in my back pack. Box ticked!

Last year I committed to growing more of my own food and being grateful for my home and garden – even if we are renting – by creating a vegetable patch and native flower garden for bees. The behaviour I had to implement to make that a reality was keeping most Saturdays free to spend time in the garden and get into the habit of pulling a few weeds during my lunch break. I started identifying as a gardener and learning everything I could. A year later I have more than halved my greengrocer bill during Spring, Summer & Autumn. We are eating organic home grown vegetables most days and boy it feels good! There is zero will power needed now because I look forward to my time in the garden.

Have you had a moment to stop and reflect on 2022 yet?

Here are some questions you can use to prompt reflections through journalling or meditation.

  1. My biggest thyroid health challenge in 2022 was…
  2. What held me back in 2022?
  3. In 2022 I served myself well by doing the following…
  4. What health & wellbeing goals do I hold for the next year?
  5. What daily habits do I need to build to make this happen?

Now, create a plan and stick to it. Studies have shown that on average it takes 66 days for new habits to become effortless. I’ve always got the goods for you so I’ve attached one of my Thrive Method handouts to help you out. You can download it here.

Why you aren’t getting long term results

By | Health, Metabolic Balance, Mindset

I knew about 10 minutes in that I was in trouble.

10km wasn’t far, I had done 5, 6, 7km often. The difference was in the pack I was carrying. It wasn’t until we were loading up at the car that I realised the all important strap that causes your hips to take most of the weight was broken. Add to that our heavy & impractical blow up mattress (many of you will have heard all about THAT saga) and the fact that we had to carry enough water for all four of us for 24 hours in warm QLD conditions while we sweated our way from one end of the Carnarvon Gorge to the other, and I was in struggle town. From behind I looked like a hiking pack with legs, I know this because unbeknownst to me, Theo took a rather unflattering photo of me from behind while I tried in vain to secure the hip strap.

After about 45 minutes I moved ahead of Nick and the boys so I could give myself a little pep talk.
Tessa, this is going to be much harder than you thought, but you can’t give up, the boys are watching, and you want to do more of these hikes in the future, you’ve got to push on.

My knees already felt like they wanted to drop out of my body and slink way to die in the bushes and I was only about a fifth of the way.

In my mind I was chanting encouraging words and recalculating how much further we had to go at every signpost we passed. It wasn’t that unlike childbirth now I think about it.

Every few minutes we would pass hikers coming the other way and while it was nice to have eye contact with strangers (this does not happen in Frankston!) they all had something to say about our clearly under-equipped life choices.

‘Are you camping overnight?!’ They would often ask with a smug smile. These goody-two-shoes had obviously got up at the crack of dawn, hiked there and back and were heading back to the lodge where a glass of shiraz, cheese board and running water was waiting for them.

I passed one elderly couple resting on a bench with walking sticks and felt immensely better, if they could do it surely I could too. By this stage I was determined but so red and puffed out that all I could manage was a nod in their direction.

The leader of the next group of people stopped for a chat, they were impressed and curious about our family and couldn’t believe we were planning to camp at the other end. They asked a few questions, told us we were in for a treat and then wished us luck. I was elated, I had never actually met anyone who had done this hike and hearing about the wonders ahead that we would probably have to explore all to ourselves was spurring me on. This was going to be the experience I had planned for my family for months now. My pack felt lighter, my pace quickened, I could do this! The next 45 minutes was a breeze, I only stopped for a moment to let a family of kangaroos pass in front of me, a joey peeking out from his mothers pouch.

‘You’ve got a long way to go!’, called out a man as we passed, ‘At least another four hours.’
I heard the boys groan behind me. Instantly, my pack felt impossibly heavy, the enchantment of the forest, the gorge walls (which were glowing in the afternoon light) and the river song was broken. The pain in my knees came back 10 fold and a black wave of doubt filled my mind.

I can’t do this, I have weak ankles, I’ll injure myself, we’re too far from help if anything happens, we’ll run out of water, the boys are going to get bitten by a snake and die a painful, slow death, this is irresponsible.

It’s amazing the ways in which your mind can craft falsehoods in an effort to turn you away from discomfort. My thoughts and perceptions about my situation were shaping my physical reality, literally causing me pain.

For many people the war that rages on in their mind daily is with their relationship with food. They may win some small campaigns but ultimately, they always seem to end up defeated with no long term results. We all have a vision for ourselves and values about who we want to be and how we want to interact with food but somehow we never seem to gain victory long term.

The reason you aren’t winning the war is because you aren’t equipped. You need strategies, information about the inner workings of the terrain and a powerful battle cry – ok I’m taking the metaphor a little too far now I know. But you get my point right?

Food Freedom is the solution I created to educate while also challenge and equip you to win this battle, get the results and start living out the values you hold for your future self. It’s part Yoda, part Samwise Gamgee and part Fairy Godmother. It’s also the most cost effective way of working with me if 1:1 is beyond reach at the moment.

Topics I cover include goal setting for powerful habit mastery, emotional eating, hunger & cravings, self sabotage and how exactly your body works and wants to be fed so that is is nourished well and able to release any extra weight with ease. I also go over the basics like portions sizes, what foods should make up most of your daily eating and my helpful meal formula. There’s a lot of value!

If you join The Thrive Method you get access to Food Freedom as a gift (that’s one generous $397 gift) but you can also enrol for Food Freedom now and start today.

Is Self Sabotage robbing you of thyroid healing?

By | Health, Mindset
Let’s get down and dirty with self sabotage

Self sabotage can do a doozy on us when it comes to food & health goals, and thyroid recovery requires a lot of self commitment.

So how can you tackle self sabotage?

I don’t think there is anyone who hasn’t experienced that little voice convincing them to abandon their commitment to their health.

You might find yourself eating the birthday cake at the office party when you’ve committed to not eating gluten for autoimmunity.

Or eating a whole bag of corn chips when all you really needed was a handful.

Maybe you are a chronic Monday-morning-er, forever putting off your own health needs for another day.

Why do we do it to ourselves?

1. Fear of the Unfamiliar
Each one of us have 3 basic needs (once food, water and shelter are taken care of!). They are:

  • Love
  • Safety
  • Belonging.

When our subconscious mind realises that we are making changes, it freaks out and worries that one of these needs will be compromised.

Self-sabotaging behaviours stem from the concern that if you change, one of these needs will no longer be met. It’s the fear of the unfamiliar, which is a very human fear.

2. Food FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)
We fear that we’ll never be able to eat the food that tickle our tastebuds ever again.

I think we all know that this simply isn’t true and in many ways this becomes a scapegoat mask with one of the other two base fears above hiding behind it.

When you apply a balanced approach, you can and will enjoy celebratory foods at special occasions without sabotaging your results.

I’ve said it hundreds of times but I’ll say it again, you do not have to be a food nun to get extraordinary results.

This thinking really stems from a deprivation & dieting approach where food is bland and you have to stick to it forever or you reverse your results (thanks weight watchers!).

You also learn to luxuriate in the flavours that nature provides.

One of my incredible clients was telling me recently how the sweet & sour pork that was always her favourite take away is no longer appealing, her palate has changed.

Another client said this about my Metabolic Balance coaching…

“Everything feels balanced so that when you want to have a treat with your kids or with your friends, you can! I’ve been describing it as the easiest, simplest way that I’ve ever lost weight or improved my health since I was probably 25.”
– Rachael

3. Fear of Success
No, that’s not a typo!

Fear of success is another very real (arguably the most common) reason we sabotage our efforts.

What will you have to face or do differently if you finally succeed? Will your relationships change? Will you have to do that thing you’ve been forever afraid of?

When we up level one area of our life & wellbeing we can feel pressure and fear the consequences in other areas too.

For some, poor health has become a subconscious victim badge they are reluctant to part with.

For others, their weight gain is an unconscious protective mechanism against romantic or sexual attention.

So, what can you do about it?

  • Awareness. Bring a gentle awareness & curiosity when these thoughts pop up.
  • Analyse, what is really going on? With a dose of self awareness you can unmask those fears. Bring them out of the darkness into the light and pull them apart, turn them over, analyse every nook & cranny. Are they really true?
  • Rewrite the story. Once you have teased apart the fears and removed their power you can craft an affirmation to combat them next time they rear their ugly heads.
    Self sabotaging thought: ‘If I regain my energy then I’ll have no excuse to not start that business I’ve been talking about for years & make it a wild success. If that happens I’ll be exhausted and too busy to spend time with my family. I’ll finally be able to afford that dream car and then my friends will think I’m a snob and won’t like me anymore.’
    Your affirmation might be: ‘I am committed to eating in a way that reignites my energy so I can be present for my family, fulfil my dreams and have no regrets’.

If you want to get down and dirty with your self-sabotage then the two books I recommend are The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks & The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Hendricks refers to it as the ‘upper limit problem’ and Pressfield as ‘resistance’, but essentially what they are referring to is self sabotage, holding ourselves back from growth.

Self-sabotage is such an issue with my clients that I have a whole step dedicated to it in Food Freedom.

Did you know that all my Thrive Method clients get Food Freedom as a gift to help them create powerful habit change and long term success? It’s important to me that all the incredible women I work with are equipped with strategies so they can finally get the incredible results they desire for good.

You can book a free health chat here if you want to talk more.

A helpful visual

By | Health, Mindset, Whole food

What does a jar have to do with achieving your health goals?

Have you heard of the jar story?

The jar represents our time, our life or even a representation of our day and the sand, pebbles and rocks inside of it can represent our priorities.

Now if we fill it full of sand first, we are going to have a hard time fitting rocks and pebbles (our priorities) inside of it.

So let’s reverse it.

Add in those rocks and pebbles first.

Now these rocks – our priorities – are all the things that are important to us, and can often represent our family, children, partner, religion, or even career.

We then can fit smaller pebbles into the jar, wedging them between the larger rocks. These smaller pebbles are our hobbies, acquaintances, perhaps our job.

Lastly, the sand we pour in acts as the filler of the gaps between our rocks and pebbles. It fits and molds around these bigger priorities, and automatically shifts and adjusts its position if a rock or pebble is moved.

Now the sand is our time spent in between – often this can mean watching TV, cooking, commuting, moving our bodies.

But what I’ve found is that clients who are committed to themselves and who achieve their health goals long term actually view their meals, the cooking of them and the nourishment of their bodies, as a rock rather than the sand that needs to fit around everything else and is often not given much conscious thought.

Food and nourishment is foundational to not only health goals, but to leading a happy and healthy life.

Are you currently looking at your food as a rock or the sand?

Please share this along to someone who may need to reframe their own jar of priorities.

The 5 foundations of radiant health

By | Health, Mindset

*image by Serkan Bayraktar

Well hello!

I’m coming to you from not-so-sunny Byron Bay. After a weekend of anxiety over the invasion of Ukraine I flew to Byron Bay for a work retreat just in time for the worst floods this region has seen in decades. My distress over Ukraine has been eclipsed somewhat by the tragedy unfolding much closer to home. It reminds me of the time my husband, baby son and I were stuck in Christchurch during the earthquake in 2011 knowing that people were trapped so close to us and there was nothing we could do. Heartbreaking.

I was going to write about something completely different in my blog this week but instead I wanted to share about one of my core beliefs when it comes to health.

I believe our heath is built on a foundation of five factors:

  1. Good nourishing food (no surprises there!)
  2. Clean & purified drinking water as nature intended
  3. A safe and clean environment in which to live
  4. Community & belonging
  5. Spiritual health & purpose.

With so many people suffering so close to where I now sit typing in safety and comfort in the heart of boho chic Byron Bay, I’m reminded once again of these five foundational cornerstones and how much each of these are threatened during times of tragedy as we are seeing in Northern NSW and South East Queensland this week.

Naturally, a sense of community and belonging can be strongest at these times when trials draw us closer to one another. A strong sense of belonging can extend a net of protective grace over the physical, emotional and spiritual health of a person just as much as isolation & loneliness can ravage their sense of wellbeing as we saw during lockdowns. In this way, the community factor is arguably the most influential over our health while probably also being the most underestimated.

After two years of division & isolation it is my hope that we can all reconnect with the power of community as we are witnessing in NSW & QLD right now. You might be seeing images of those using their recreational boats to rescue their neighbours & community from roofs and flood waters. In what ways can you lift anchor? What waters can you traverse to reach your family, friends and community to strengthen or reestablish their sense of belonging and safety? Whether you are affected by the flooding or not. Maybe I’m pushing the metaphor too far but we can’t thrive on an island, the wellbeing of your community is yours also.

If I can do anything to support you, let me know.