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Choosing Love Over Fear

 

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In every given situation you have a choice to perceive it from a place of LOVE or a place of FEAR.  What this means is that you can be positive or negative and consequently this feeling will effect the journey you have through this particular situation.

I used to live my life out of fear.  I used to work crazy hours out of fear to loose my job. I would hold on to harmful friendships out of fear to be alone. Then one day back in 2003 I went into work and handed in my notice.  This would have spooked me before but my loving feeling set in “I deserve more and all will work out just fine”

Since that day I have looked at situations from the perspective of love.  My dad passed away in 2004, just 5 months after I quit my job. I was heartbroken but I looked at the loving side; I was grateful for spending precious months with him. So in the end quitting my job was a blessing.

More recently, we moved from UK to USA and fear crept in. How will we cope being so many miles away from loved ones? I soon got writing in my diary, and filled it with all the positive and wonderful things we could potentially do while in USA. If we didn’t move, then I wouldn’t have set up a successful business, wrote a book and be THAT mom who shows up to all my kids activities.

You will be faced with many obstacles in our life, some big and others small but its up to you on how you will approach them.  Will you choose to respond from a place of fear or from a place of love?

Your first step into living a magical life is to understand where you are living from a place of fear. Understand your fear based thoughts. This acknowledgement is the starting point to help diffuse your thinking pattern. After acknowledging where you respond out of fear you then need to be willing to change.  Just by being willing will help open your heart to love.

For the next week approach each situation from the place of love and see how your life flows with joy and happiness.

Some examples:

Your boss has just increased your workload.  Fear “How will I cope? I will be working all night long” or Love “My boss must value my work and he trusts me with more projects”

I am getting old.  Fear “I will never meet Mr right’ or Love “In the right time, the right man will appear”

Your at the hospital.  Fear “What if they tell me something really bad” or Love “What ever it is I will get through it”

Enjoy your loving life!

 

 

 

 

Importance of Self Care

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A month ago, while walking with my nearly 10 year old son, he said to me “Mummy you do too much for me and Sami. I am so thankful but you need to look after yourself!” This made my heart melt. He further went on with suggestions of how I can introduce self care into my day.

A few days before “our chat” I had just come back from a week away from my family (first time ever). While away I realized that I was exhausted; both mentally and physically. Years of heartache has taken a toll on me. You see my son was born with a rare liver disease and this journey has been hard. We lived in constant fear as our life was made up of a series of unknowns. Even now 10 years later, we are in and out of hospital and I can finally admit that this had broken me.

I am the type of mum who will never give up and will find a way to make it all right. I would stay up all night researching and I even changed careers to become a nutritionist as I fully believe that food, as well as other alternative care can make a positive difference in Kian’s and our health.

Even though our journey has been hard, I am generally positive and always believe that things will work out.  I do not spend time feeling sorry for myself, but instead spend my time finding a solution and doing all I can to make a difference.

I decided to take my son’s advice and took a few weeks off from “life” I spent many hours reflecting, meditating, sleeping, spending precious time with loved ones and just giving my brain a rest from it all.

Today I can happily say that I feel a sense of peace within and I want to fill this space with loving, kindness and soak up the energy created when I spend time with positive, vibrant people.  My heart feels so light and beaming with brightness.

My life will still consist of regular hospital appointments, and ensuring that my son gets the best care. For many years I have been on auto pilot and dealt with this pain by showing up as a hard person who can take it all.   Today I am scared as this hardness; i.e. protection has disappeared and I feel vulnerable, however I am grateful that I feel human again, with emotions and feelings. I will no longer be treated badly or used as a punching bag. Life including mine is precious.

My son has taught me that self care is so necessary to keep our heads above water and I am grateful for this lesson and I can now see all the beauty that is in front of me.

I have learnt that however unfortunate we think our life is, there is someone worse off than us. I am the mother of Kian and feel sorry for his path, but he is the one who lives with this pain daily. Kian doesn’t spend his days complaining, blaming someone else or being depressed, instead he is happy and excited about what new adventures the day will bring.

I always knew that my children will be my biggest teachers. I am grateful for this recent lesson that has set me free. I am looking forward to enjoying this new space that has been created. I know that through unpredictability, I will create possibility.

Have You Heard of Sisterhood?

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When I was a child, I remember getting together with my extended family most weekends. My beloved grandmother was the pillar of our family and she held us all (around 80 of us) close to her warm heart. Life seemed so easy and sharing our little problems with family, who loved and cared for us unconditionally, was all I knew. We never went through a problem alone.

As we all grew, we began to keep things to ourselves and sharing was not always easy.  Our friends became our family and we shared our secrets and worries with them. There was always someone to hold your hand through the pain.

I have been fortunate to have had great friends through every stage of my life.  I never felt alone. As a child small troubles seemed so big, but as an adult who has experienced heartache, I have learnt that life can throw many curve balls, and we just have to be strong and deal with them.

In 2004 I lost my uncle, grandmother and father all within six weeks of each other. I fell pregnant five months after my father passed away, and I believe I never really healed the loss.  Soon after birth, my son was diagnosed with liver disease and life just got harder and harder.

Friends were great, but they couldn’t help on something they didn’t fully understand. I relied on my husband and learnt to cope with my grief. I dealt with this sadness by suppressing it deep down in my heart.

As years went on, friends and family often saw me as strong as I am always “fighting” to keep my son healthy and alive.  I think any parent in my position would do the same thing.

Through all the ups and downs, I still managed to set up a business, write a book, set up a charity support group for liver families and moved from UK to USA with my little family.  Why would anyone (including myself) think I couldn’t cope? With this outwardly strength, friends and family thought I could handle it all, and felt their help was not needed.

I just spent a week on a retreat with a group of warm hearted women all looking to excel in their business and personal life. These powerful, successful women inspired me in many ways, and I now feel I am ready for the the next stage in my own life.  As Dalai Lama said “The world will be saved by the western woman”, I truly believe I am part of this group.

As the week went on, I soon learnt that our souls and hearts need connection and support.  The feeling of my childhood came back to me; my safe place.  I also recalled all the pain and the hardship I have been through since my father passed away.

During this week, old wounds that I have been holding on to for years opened up. I needed to heal this pain, and never in a million years would I have thought that a group of strangers would be the ones who helped me. I acknowledged my pain and my heartache. I was held in a loving, supportive circle which gave me the space, love and the kindness that I needed.

These women have become my sisters and I can not imagine life without them. Through their support I can finally let go of the hurt I have been carrying around for many years.

I have a choice in who I share my heart with and for the first time ever, I don’t feel guilty for walking away from things and people that do not serve me anymore.

I am blessed to be surrounded by loving sisters, near and far. My old friends and now my new friends will celebrate my wins and hold me close when I feel sad. This is the best gift anyone could give someone.  Sisterhood is so powerful and I have the best sisters ever!

On 21st March, I will be celebrating Global Sisterhood Day. (http://sisterhoodday.com) That feeling of unconditional love, I experienced from my grandmother, has come back ten fold!

For me my recent encounter with sisterhood has given me my old spark back!

 

Would You Turn Back The Clock?

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Every day my friends and family, share how someone they know has recently been diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease, digestive disorders or just being overweight.  This is heart breaking as in many causes (not all)  it could have been avoided.

We live in a world where we have abundance.  We are spoilt with many choices from food, drinks, entertainment and even electronics.  How do we process it all? We need to stay present and listen to our own needs. Centering ourselves and listening to our bodies will help us with the choices we make.

We are all different, and thus some of us can eat fast food every day and outwardly appear unaffected, but we are what we eat and eating poor quality food will eventually be detrimental to our health.  Lets also take stress, some people thrive on stress, however with others it can cause anxiety and be the beginning of a health crisis.

We must pick up the signs that show how “life” is affecting our health.

Life if for living, and we should enjoy every moment of it. However many people live in pain and pop one pill after another to help them deal with this pain.  Let’s look at the cause rather than just treating the symptoms.  In most cases we don’t wake up one day from being healthy to unhealthy. It is a slow process and sometimes the symptoms are the last to show that something is not right.

If you could go back 10, 15 or even 20 years and change the way you ate, drank and dealt with stress would you?  In most case the answer would be yes!

This is why I wrote “Optimize Your Child’s Mind, Body and Soul”  I want to give parents the tools, so they can educate their children from a young age on how to look after themselves, inside and out.

We need to teach our children to listen to their own bodies and give them the tools, so they diffuse any negative feeling. Optimal nutrition is necessary, as this is the building blocks of our physical health. However, ensuring your child is emotionally and spiritually at peace is also important.  When your child is troubled, they will show signs such as biting nails, wetting the bed, or their behavior may change.  It is important to be mindful of any ‘signs’ your child is giving you. Teaching children that it is ok to have an off day and then give them the tools to help them release their emotions is the best gift you can give them.

During the last nine years, I have focused on making better choices on what we feed our children. I have introduced them to the idea of inner guidance, and I have used tools to help them stay emotionally strong.  Like most families, our children do have several bad days; however, with the right tools and support, they are guided back to a happy balanced state.

Optimize Your Child’s Mind, Body and Soul is split into several chapters. It covers:

Food and your child—you will learn how different food groups affect your child’s body and mind, what to feed your child and what to avoid. Each section has Q&A, and a summary to help to implement changes into your child’s life.

It’s all about the gut—in this section, you will learn how the digestive system works and how it is important to ensure that your child’s gut is healthy.  I have also gone into detail about the relationship between the gut and brain, as well as the gut’s connection with the immune system.

Soulful diary—by allowing children to express their feelings and focusing on gratitude, this encourages them to maintain a positive approach to life. There is a diary that your children will write in every morning and evening, which will help them stay in tune with their inner self.

Strike the Yoga Pose—practicing yoga helps maintain a sense of well-being. This chapter explains many yoga poses that your child can practice daily.  Yoga gives your children the ability to help enhance their mind, body and soul.

Meditation—the Dalai Lama once said that, “if every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.”   This chapter explains how to introduce your children to meditation, and it includes several examples you can try with them.  Meditation is a gift, and it helps children relax and approach life from a calm place.

Healthy Meals to excite your taste buds—this section contains nutritional meals broken into breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas. Simple changes in what you feed your children on a daily basis can have a huge positive impact.

Making the change—this chapter brings it all together, and gives you some practical tips to get started.

 

Do not underestimate our children! When they are given the right information, they will make the right choices.

My 9 year old son, has been reading the book and is the first to read the labels when we go food shopping.  He is aware that certain foods cause him tummy ache and he knows when it is time to stop before he is overly tired and becomes grumpy. I have done what I can to ensure my children have the foundations to have a healthy life.

You can buy a copy of my book on Amazon USA, Amazon UK and Barnes and Noble. “Optimize Your Child’s Mind, Body and Soul”

I Don’t Have Enough Time…..

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In my health coaching practice I often hear “I don’t have enough time/ money or even support” These lack of “don’t haves” can often stop people achieving what their heart desires.
Changing your mindset and adding in a few simple techniques can make all the difference you need to step out and feel the freedom you have craved for.

Let’s take time; We all have the same number of hours in the day and we all have commitments and obstacles we feel take over our life. Hence we have no time to go to the gym, or cook a healthy meal or even go out and spend some time with loved ones.

I want you to say to yourself:
-“I have time for me!”
-“I own my day”
-“I choose how I spend my day”

These simple affirmations will shift your perception and you will gradually feel at ease with the constraint YOU have created.

I then want you to answer “how do I want to spend my day?”
Get a piece of paper and on it write down EVERYTHING you need to do. Put a line through everything that has been on your list for over 6 months. If you wanted this, then you would have done it, or at least started on it.

Next group similar things together. For example pay bills, post letters, any other admin and do these jobs together.

For big jobs or when your at work, work in blocks of time and make sure you take a break even if its for 5 minutes to get a cup of tea and have a stretch. I remember working from 8am to 7pm, and missed lunch many days; this is not good and slowly will affect your health.

If you fast forward the day to 10pm and look back at what you did, will you be happy with “I worked all day, came home, had dinner and went to sleep?”

You don’t need to wait till the weekend to ‘Live’. How about meeting a friend for lunch or take a walk. You can do the food shopping during the week, instead of leaving it for the weekend. Maybe have a snuggle with your kids while they are reading their books, or even spend time having a relaxing bath.

I am sure you can swap some “wasted” time on Facebook or checking emails every 20 minutes.

Take 5 minutes now and take a deep breath and witness what you are doing, and thinking. Now take another deep breath and have a stretch. Look at your day; where can you fit in your desires?

Let me know how you get on with creating space to do the things that bring you joy.

Let’s get off sugar!

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In the 1800’s, the average person would have had about 10 pounds of sugar per year, whereas the average American today eats around 150-180 pounds of sugar per year. I believe this increase in sugar has had a negative impact on the nation’s health.

Sugar is made up of 50% glucose and 50% fructose.  When the glucose enters the blood stream, it sends a signal to your pancreas to release a hormone called insulin.  Insulin acts like a key and allows the glucose to enter the cells. When your child’s diet is made up of sugary foods, a lot of glucose enters the blood stream very quickly.  The pancreas works hard to release more insulin to deal with the excess glucose. In some cases, the cells already have enough glucose and they will not let any more in. So, what happens to this extra glucose?

This extra glucose is converted to glycogen, and stored in your liver and muscles.  The liver controls the blood sugar levels in the body.  If the cells use up their glucose (in the form of energy) and blood sugar starts to drop, a signal is sent to the liver to release the stored glycogen. This glycogen will be converted back to glucose and transported to the cells so it can be used to stabilize the blood sugar, and also be used as fuel for further activities.

Just like the cells, you can only store a certain amount of glucose in the form of glycogen in the liver and muscles. What happens to the rest? Any excess glucose that is not used up as energy or stored in the liver will be converted to fat.

When your child eats a lot of sugary food, the chances that a lot of it will be converted to fat is very high.

The other element of sugar is fructose, which the body handles differently from glucose.  When fructose hits the body, it doesn’t send a signal to the pancreas to release insulin, instead the fructose goes straight to the liver where it is known to potently stimulate lipogenesis (the production of fats).

When the fructose hits the liver, the liver is consumed with 100% of the burden to break down this fructose. The fructose is converted to fat and it starts to build up on the liver and other tissues as body fat; typically the abdominal area. If you continue to eat foods high in fructose, especially the worse kind of all—high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), then fructose might promote non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This condition was rarely seen before the 1980’s, and I believe it is not just a coincidence as HFCS was introduced in the United States in 1975.

How to reduce the amount of sugar your child is eating 

►First, focus on blood sugar balance.  Be mindful that your child will need breakfast, lunch, dinner and a couple of snacks in between.  If you ensure that you cover these meals with wholesome foods, then your child’s blood sugar should remain stable and they are less likely to crave something sweet.

►Then, look at each meal and snack, and see where sugar is coming from.  Remember those hidden sources.  By recognizing where the sugar is coming from, you can actually add up to see how much your child is eating.  You may be shocked to discover the answer.

►Once you have highlighted the foods, then make simple gradual changes. For example, switch out that biscuit for a lower sugar alternative. However, be aware of added sweeteners as this will have a worse effect on the body.  Even if you swap out a biscuit that has High Fructose Corn Syrup as an ingredient to one that only has 2gm of sugar, then you are still making a positive change.  After your child adjusts to this change, then you can go for a healthier option.  Sometimes, if we go from bad to good in one swoop, your child may resist the sudden change.

►Be the change.  If you eat less sugary foods and eat more nourishing foods, your children will see this and it may be easier to make the change.  Also, if it is not in your home, then they are not likely to eat it. ‘Out of sight, out of mind.’

It can be very difficult and time-consuming to figure out what is healthy and what is not. Large corporations use clever marketing tactics to fool most people. By implementing the changes now, you can have a positive impact on your child’s future well-being. Giving them the tools and knowledge at a young age is the best gift you can give your children.  This may give them the leverage they need to protect themselves in the future from the many illnesses that adults are faced with today.

[Taken from my book “Optimizing Your Child’s Mind, Body and Soul”]

I Can’t Sleep

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Many people I know find it difficult getting to sleep. Some fall asleep, however when they wake up, they feel groggy and unrested.

Many factors can cause this problem, but trying all or some of the below may help:

Writing; We have zillions of thoughts going around our mind daily and at times we find it hard to switch off, especially at bedtime.
Before you go to sleep, keep a journal near your bed and write down all your worries, to do lists, and any other thoughts that are occupying your mind. This simple exercise will get the thoughts out of your brain and on to paper, creating space in your mind to help you relax.

Belly Focus Breathing; When we are stressed out we tend to breath very fast and from our chest. By breathing and focusing on the belly, it slows down our breathing and helps us relax.
Sit up straight and put your hands on your belly. As you breathe in, your belly goes out into your hands. As you breathe out, your belly goes in. Long, slow breaths help calm the nervous system down. Belly breathing also gives your organs an internal massage, and help relax them too.

Reduce your exposure to blue lights; Blue lights are designed to wake up the mind. They suppress the melatonin, which is what we need to sleep!
About an hour before bedtime, switch off all phones, iPads, tv’s etc.This will help reduce your exposure, and send a signal to your brain that its time to sleep. Stop reading Facebook feeds in bed!!

Self massage with coconut oil; Massaging will help relax muscles and the simple touch itself helps calm us down. You can add a couple of drop of lavender essential oil and rub it to the bottom of your feet. This is very relaxing and helps prepare you for a good nights rest.

Meditation; Meditating helps slow down the mind and empty it from all the thoughts that stop us from relaxing. Starting off with 5 minutes each night can do wonders. You can make it simple by saying “peace” as you breathe in and out.

Let me know how you get on. Here is to a restful nights sleep!

Do you need some self love?

 

 

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Most mother’s tend to put their children’s needs before their own. At first we have this surge of energy and we can cope with everything. We are the super heroes. However as time goes on we soon realize that this energy reserve disappears very quickly. We either do something about it or we fall in this deep dark hole and struggle to get some sort of normal life back. It is therefore very important to consider self love.

What do I mean by self love?

It is giving yourself time and space till you are in a place where you are bursting and overjoyed with love and happiness. You create the best version of “mom” for your children. Remember when on a plane the air steward advices you to put your air mask on before you help your children, this is what I mean. Looking after your self is not selfish. It is a necessary investment you need to make to ensure a happy family life.

 
How can you improve self love?

Firstly implement gratitude into your life and begin to choose love over fear. Then you need to spend time analyzing how you spend your days. Become mindful of the activities that take up your day. How are you spending your precious hours? Are you utilizing your time effectively or are you spending every spare minute on facebook? This simple but powerful exercise will highlight how you spend your time and where you can make changes.

 
Now that you have created space in your week it is time to fill it with “self love”. Make a list of all the fun things you used to love to do before you had children. Now split them into 3 different groups; up to 1 hour, 1-3 hours, half day/full day.
For example coffee with a friend would go into up to 1 hour, lunch with a friend would go into 1-3 hours and a spa day would go into half day/full day.
The fun part is organizing these fun dates. Pick up the phone now and book some “self love” time in. Trust me you will feel energized after spending some time doing fun activities with fun loving people.

How Your Words and Actions Can Affect Your Happiness

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I just celebrated my birthday and it got me thinking on how words and actions can make someone (me) feel special. A simple “Happy Birthday,” a call from a friend or a heart melting present can all make us feel radiant and appreciated. I was over the moon!

Positive words and actions are powerful and can make someone’s day, on the flip side negative words and actions have the influence to make people feel very lonely and sad.

Explaining this concept to my children led me to a wonderful book called Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids By Carol McCloud.

Such a simple but powerful book that contains ways we can teach our children about the affects our words and actions have on others. I actually believe we adults can learn a thing or two from this book.

I wont ruin the enjoyment from reading this book but the main lesson to learn is that we all carry an invisible bucket. Every person we meet during the day also has an invisible bucket. A full bucket bring us joy and an empty bucket makes us miserable.

The concept behind the book is that by filling other people’s bucket, by simply being kind and caring, we fill them with happiness and joy. This indirectly also leads to our bucket being filled up too.
The same principle works when we are being mean and nasty to someone else. It will not only empty their bucket but it will actually empty our bucket too. (Only very cold people will find joy in purposely hurting other people.)

A daily practice of being kind and thoughtful can help fill other people’s bucket. You can actually start the chain of action and if everyone follows your lead, what a wonderful world we would live in.

Achieving daily happiness couldn’t be easy. It’s all about choosing your words and actions.

Here are some ways you can fill someone’s bucket:

-Say good morning to everyone that you meet on the way to work.

-Open the door for a fellow work colleague.

-Pick up the phone and ring your friends and family.

-Send a friend some flowers.

-Spend hours playing and laughing with your kids.

-Help a friend in need and offer to look after their children.

-Send your partner a love letter.

-Send a text just to say “thinking of you”

The list goes on and on….

Enjoy your time today filling people’s invisible buckets and watch how your own bucket also ends up overflowing with joy and happiness.

My post seen in the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nishma-shah/how-your-words-and-action-can-affect-your-happiness_b_6116616.html)

My Approach To Health Coaching

blog1I practice a holistic approach to health and wellness, which means that I look at how all areas of your life are connected. Does stress at your job or in your relationship cause you to overeat? Does lack of sleep or low energy prevent you from exercising? As we work together, we will look at how all parts of your life affect your health as a whole.

My approach is not to dwell on calories, carbs, fats, and proteins. It is not to create lists of restrictions or good and bad foods. Instead, I work with my clients to create a happy, healthy life in a way that is flexible, fun and rewarding.

Together we’ll work to reach your health goals in areas such as achieving optimal weight, reducing food cravings, increasing sleep, and maximizing energy. As we work together, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of the food and lifestyle choices that work best for you and implement lasting changes that will improve your energy, balance and health.

Here are some concepts that we will explore during our work together:

Bio-individuality™: The concept of bio-individuality is that each person has unique food and lifestyle needs. One person’s food is another person’s poison, and that’s why fad diets tend to fail in the long run. Working on the principle of bio-individuality, I’ll support you to make positive changes that are based on your unique needs, lifestyle, preferences, and ancestral background. I use a personalized, holistic approach to ensure that you will have great success!

Primary Food™: It’s easy to overlook all of the things that contribute to our sense of nourishment and fulfillment. It’s not just the food we eat, but all of the other factors present in our daily lives. Healthy relationships, a fulfilling career, regular physical activity and a spiritual awareness are essential forms of nourishment. When these “primary foods” are balanced, what you eat becomes secondary. I will support you in achieving all of your goals, from eating the right foods for your bodyto living an inspired, fulfilling life.

Integrative Nutrition™ Plate: The Integrative Nutrition Plate emphasizes the importance of local and organic produce, whole grains, high-quality proteins, plant-based fats, and water. It shows you how a plate should appear at mealtime and emphasizes the importance of proportions and portion size. To complete the picture, the plate is surrounded with lifestyle factors that create optimal health: relationship, career, physical activity and spirituality. I’ll introduce you to some of the healthiest foods on the planet and teach you how to find what’s healthiest for your unique body!

Are you ready to start feeling better than ever? Schedule an initial consultation with me today!

 

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