Category Archives: balance

Mel Collie | What happened when I stopped eating “Clean”

Mel Collie | What happened when I stopped eating “Clean”

So many diets, so many statistics showing us that obesity is an epidemic, an overburdening NHS with no money and out of date health advice leaves us confused, unsure about what to eat, when, calorie counting, colour counting, weighing, guilt..this confusion leads to overwhelm and overeating, thats why I stopped eating “clean”…sounds like a crazy thing to do when theres an obesity epidemic, but I think that the trend of eating clean/paleo also has its issues that no ones talking about. It can be totally the wrong thing if you are anorexic or have eating disorders as its another way of controlling food.

(What is eating clean? Eating clean means no sugar and a whole lot of fresh food thats not processed.)

Obesity hit the headlines again today about the fact that fat doesn’t make you fat..

Its something that us health and wellness instructors have known a while

Its important to eat fat, avocados are actually good for you, as are nuts and seeds and butter. Whole milk is better than semi or skimmed milk.

If its low fat its not healthy for you, its full of chemicals that your Liver doesn’t know how to break down and use.

Veg and healthy body movement makes a big step towards a healthy future for your body, which means less burden on the NHS and on your heart.

Flora is rubbish..its not good for you..butter is, its a healthy fat as is coconut oil.

However…as good as you are at eating well you will have days when you don’t…and want to eat sugar.

And thats ok!

Its ok to eat in moderation, have chips, cookies, cake, chocolate.

Im sure that you will go out for dinner and have a pudding, and thats ok, as long as at the time you actually enjoy it, without the stress of feeling guilty, thinking it will all make you fat and sick and you’ve fallen off the wagon.

We are doing less activity in our lives, but we are rewarding ourselves more, thats why sitting in front of the TV is a great pastime with a bowl of crisps , we love the reward..but don’t like the task.

And the task is? Working your body, like its supposed to. Stressing the body by moving it.

We are creatures of movement, hunters, gatherers, our brains haven’t changed or evolved to accept or understand modern stress.

We now sit in front of a screen and don’t move for hours. We wonder why we get fat, sick, with painful joints.

We don’t challenge ourselves anymore, we love the comfort zone, nothing we do scares us anymore, unless you make yourself join something that challenges you, do an activity that means you have to soul search for answers.

At the risk of boring you about my time in Snowdonia, thats exactly what I faced.

High mountain climbs, testing myself, abseils, questions, challenges.

Realisation and acceptance is key to living in the here and now.

We lie to ourselves all the time, even when we tell ourselves  we aren’t.

I do believe that eating clean is the only way to have a healthy heart, liver, mind, movement. However, when I started eating things like biscuits and cake again, I started to love food again, love the energy around food, love the places I ate them in. I believe that eating clean can be addictive and controlling, we can beat ourselves up when we don’t, which leads to a hormonal cascade which is just as bad as eating something viewed as a “chemical shit storm” ..

Anyway, I just chose to eat less..

I don’t eat three meals a day, I don’t eat breakfast because I don’t feel hungry before mid day. Doesn’t mean I eat loads later. Sometimes I don’t eat lunch either. I have more energy on the days I don’t eat before dinner.

Ive tried a few diets overtime, Ive listened to how my body reacts, how my energy changes, what happens to me. Not how it works for someone else.

Metabolism is unique and it changes all the time.

Its your job to be true to yourself and eat to suit you.

For me, my diet looks like this

Lemon water in the morning, 5g Vit C and some Ashwaghanda

Lunch, if I feel hungry, (do you know how that really feels?) is a couple of eggs, watercress and ham, sometimes, if we have some, in the house, I also have a couple of slices of Ciabatta or a flat bread , toasted, with the eggs, lush! Sometimes some Kabanossi sausage as well.

Its taken time for me to stop the “breads bad for you, its gluten” thought..however, it is for some people, it isn’t for others. If you find it leaves you bloated and tired, then you have an intolerance, and your gut has trouble digesting it, the same can be said of milk, but its not true for everyone.

Find what works for you.

For dinner then, maybe I will have a curry, with nana bread (shock horror!), or a tuna salad, or fish and salad – my gut isn’t a  huge fan of potatoes, they leave me feeling tired, or a picky tea which is a mixture of cold meats, cheese, beetroot, crackers, pickles..stuff like that, a shepherds pie, pizza, pasta and bolognese sauce…just good old fashioned food. I also love a slice of cheesecake, I also love chocolate peanuts and chocolate buttons, apricots, blueberries..but..in moderation.

 

Knowing that you can have a food, thats its not a sin, its not bad for you, means you are more likely to not binge eat it, because its is plentiful supply, you aren’t denied it, its not going to run out, it will always be there. Its not like Charlie and the Chocolate factory when the chocolate river and the sweets were all such a treat, it seemed they had to to eat it all and extra fast or it would all be taken away from them, so its a knowing that the food you have is plentiful and will always be there. You aren’t going to starve.

I just eat when I feel hungry. I do believe though that many of us truly knows how that feels, to be hungry, the feeling of being lonely, upset, stressed, unworthy, fed up, wanting a cuddle…can all be mistaken for the feelings of being hungry. We can snack in the car on the way home from a bad day at work and eat a bag of sweets before we’ve even left the car park. Empty calories we forget about because we’ve eaten them in a daze and without being conscious of it.

So, I suppose I stop eating at about 8pm, and don’t start until 1pm the next day if I feel like lunch, or 6pm for dinner.Its not an exact science, and its not regimented..sometimes those times change.

Thats a gap of 17 – 22 hours between meals.

The scaremongering stories are that your metabolism will slow down – thats not true, or that you will faint, thats not true, or that your body goes into starvation mode, that also isn’t true. Your body 2- 3 hours after eating,  is in a “fed” state, its still digesting the food you have just eaten, but you could still feel the urge to eat.

This is usually because we’ve been conditioned to feel hungry by the adverts we see, the words we hear, the smells from the supermarket pumping bread and coffee smells..

I’m just eating less.

Its how human used to eat. Sometimes a big kill and lots of meat, sometimes just nuts and berries and fish, sometimes nothing.

However…We are moving less, we don’t need to eat 3 meals a day. We don’t need to snack. We don’t need to graze. We are bombarded more with images of food through marketing of course, reminding us to eat , eat, eat…eating on the train, in the car, as we walk, we just eat mindlessly.

On the days you are doing a whole lot more like hunting tigers and climbing mountains, you may well need more sugar based energy releasing foods.

On days you aren’t, then your body just doesn’t require food as much as you think it does.

Dont diet, still eat the foods you love, but less, its simple really, but as I said in the beginning, its a journey, you will travel, you will stop and get off, you will get back on again, you will discover, you will feel fear, anticipation, wonder and happiness.

Thats the joy of life.

Realisation and acceptance.

Mel Collie

4 weekly woman group from Portreath, Cornwall incorporating exercise, nutrition, self esteem, confidence and acceptance of where you are.

Apply by sending me your name via email to : melcollie@gmail.com and we will send you an application form for when the next group begins. There are only 4 spaces . Let me know if you want to be considered for one of those spaces.

www.melcollie.com

 

 

 

Mel Collie | Effective abdominal exercise you probably aren’t doing…

Mel Collie | Effective abdominal exercise you probably aren’t doing…

Sit ups are popular if you are after an abdominal exercise, and thats ok, as long as your lower back and neck aren’t doing the actual sit up work for you and you are also doing other stuff as well, like rotational exercises for example, power lives in rotation if its a great midsection you are after…however, the most repetitive exercise you do, every day, is breathing, the overlooked muscles, the diaphragm, is a major part of your core, and if your aren’t breathing well, you are using your neck muscles, which means your inner core stabilising system is well and truly on holiday…

How to use your breath effectively

Practice – lie on your front, gently allow the lower belly to press into the floor as you breathe in

This can be very tricky for some of us, as we are told to pull our bellies in all the time to create a look of having a flatter belly, when in fact what this does it to encourage breathing into the neck and chest…I’m guessing they are tight enough from sitting at a computer all day or driving for a living, or watching TV most evenings. Your shoulders don’t need any more tension.

So, when you exhale, the lower belly will come back by its own elasticity.

You may feel light headed and dizzy. The brain may not be used to having as much oxygen as you are now taking in, because you have been a shallow breather for a while. You may also find that your blood pressure and heartbeat come back to a normal range for a human being.

How does that diaphragm move?

When you exhale, it relaxes upwards, like an umbrella, pushing out the used air into the lungs, this is why, an exhalation, when lobber than the inhalation, allows oxygen to be pushed into the blood supple.

When you inhale, the diaphragm contracts, it collapses downwards.

If this is the first time you are practicing this with awareness, its better done lying down, so you don’t also have to consider posture as well. Practice it for one repetition before you get out of bed,and before you go to sleep

Just 1 rep?

Yes…just one – if I ask you to try it for a minute x 4 a day, you might do that for a couple of days, then forget, because life takes over and practicing breathing may not seem so important to you when the kids are screaming and you’ve got the shopping to do , the dinner to cook and the house to clean.

1 rep is doable.

Then it becomes a habit.

You will naturally do a few more when the times right.

The benefits, apart from a healthier heart, better nourishment from your nutrition, reduced anxiety and stress, better abdominal connection which can help pelvic floor and ab tone, reduced back pain and better movement in the ribs…are many..

But you know what..its up to you. I’ve realised that you can’t tell someone to do something, but you can help someone who asks, who wants to change, who changes by trying something out themselves.

Mel

www.melcollie.com

 

Mel Collie | 3 Ways to Reduce Belly Fat

Mel Collie | 3 Ways to Reduce Belly Fat

Firstly though, do you really want to reduce belly fat for yourself, or for someone else, because knowing why you want to achieve something and what it takes to get there are the real reasons you stick at something, show up when you don’t feel like it, realise that you will come across obstacles,life will get in the way and its not as easy as the celebs say on the dvd…

  1. Effort. Yes you need effort, realisation and a passion to really want this, willpower doesn’t work, it will fail you and you will reach for sugar and cancel your training sessions. Motivation , a passion and real reason behind your WHY is your key to sticking to your goal, you need more than “I just want to lose my belly”…peel the onion, peel back the layers and ask yourself why you want to…is it because you want to look great naked with the lights on in the bedroom…if so, why is that, so your other half will still fancy you, do you believe they wont fancy you if you have a belly, do they tell you that, is that thought true, if it is, who made you feel like that? This kind of peeling back the layers can be very painful, and induce tears sometimes, so be prepared to face your real truth, its liberating…but a bumpy ride for many of us as we face reality.
  2. Working in is just as important as working out. Shame really that sex sells…and things like meditation and breathing done make as much money, however, the tide has started to turn and people are seeking some peace and quiet in their lives. Belly fat stores cortisol, released from the arenal glands which sit on top of your kidneys, this means stubborn belly fat wont budge until you calm it down a bit. Working out for longer and every day may not cut it for you, might have done when you were younger, but if you are now stressed, hate your job, have low self esteem, think you aren’t worthy, menopausal and don’t celebrate the fact that you are alive and love your planet, then cortisol just might hanging around for too long. Yes we need that hormone, but not too much of it. Working in means breathing slowly and deeply a few times before you eat, touching your lips stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps with rest and digesting food, taking a 20 minutes walk everyday, loving sex with your other half (if you are single then yes, masturbation also helps reduce stress…it also doesn’t make you blind…)Meditation and mindfulness are the obvious others as well, you’ve heard of them Im sure, but do you bother to practice them. You don’t need to be a Buddhist or chant, or indeed wear Orange robes, but a minute, 4 or 5 times a day, just focus on your breathing, be aware of you, be aware that in those 60 seconds, your thoughts will distract you. Busy brain you have there, as we all do. Clarity comes with practicing mindfulness, meditation, which helps reduce stress and anxiety, but you’ve got to do it. Always a catch…
  3. Perfection. Drop the perfection thing. Waiting to do something until the time is right, until everything perfect, until you are perfect, may take a while. Just start, make errors, make mistakes, its part of the journey, yet no one talks about their errors on social media, just their perfect lives..yet behind that mask they wear are may errors and mistakes. Be prepared to fail, embrace them and move on. You are already at perfection, just as you are. Its everyone else judgements about you that tip you of balance. Awareness of where you are right now is enough, you are enough and doing what you can with the best of your ability, is enough. Stop comparing, and accept you. As you.

Mel

www.melcollie.com

x

 

Mel Collie | Computer Says…

Mel Collie | Computer Says…

Uh Oh…Ive just been completely bored out of my tiny mind by doing one of those Facebook personality tests thats come up in your Facebook feed..

What a waste of time

However, what gets me more is that so many people believe them

Everything we read on the internet has a source

Theres loads of information out there in inter web land

Diets. Exercises. Meditation. Coaching. Stretches. How to do anything …and how to self diagnose

I’m guilty of putting information out there in the past on my blog

But now?

I’ll write about stuff that gets your brain thinking

Wondering

Searching for answers

But I won’t give you the answers, because I don’t know you personally

If you are searching for the perfect stretch of your hip flexors, your quads, your neck…I will post stuff, useful information, things that will get you thinking , but I wont tell you that its the perfect and only answer for you

Because it won’t

You are unique

Your painful hip may not need stretching, it may be pissed off because some other muscle in its group isn’t pulling its weight, its telling you, but you are still stretching the hell out of it, weakening it, and it keeps coming back telling you off.

If it isn’t working, why are you still doing it?

Do you drive down the wrong road every day expecting it to take you to your destination

Do you eat cake and donuts everyday and never exercise but expect to have the perfect body

Do you never drink water because its boring and wonder why your body refuses to work well for you

Do you stretch your hamstrings and wonder why you are always stretching them

Do you believe the results of the Facebook (other social media sites are also available..) personality tests, even though they have never ever met you or even give a monkeys who you really are?

You have way more intelligence than that

If you don’t, you can change that.

Stop doing Facebook tests and spend that time doing stuff that enriches you

I’m not going to tell you what that is, but I will bore you with what that is for me:

…spend time with my beloved other half

…be nice to myself (and that can be along the lines of going to bed earlier, read a book that teaches me something or helps me switch off from the noise of social media, go for a walk, have a relaxing bath, massage my feet and do my nails, have a facial, do a gentle mobility exercise or two – after all, we say we have no time for ourselves…)

..be generous to others by giving more and expecting less

..slow down

After all, we tend to expect so much of ourselves and beat ourselves up when we don’t succeed. expecting more from ourselves by pouring more fuel onto the fire…more on that in my next post on what happened when I got stuck on an easy climb yesterday afternoon..yes, I was rubbish, and what that taught me.

Have fun !

Mel

x

www.melcollie.com

 

 

 

Mel Collie | Fancy A Core Challenge?

Mel Collie | Fancy A Core Challenge?

 

I had a core workout yesterday…Sunday…a day of rest?!

Ha!

I was awake at 4am! Didn’t have to be up though, but I had some anatomical studies I wanted to do before going to Chester for an anatomical therapy study group session.

As we drove to Chester, yep, my lovely other half wanted to come too, we heard on the radio that Sir Terry Wogan has died …I loved that bloke, his chat was always fun to listen to, my personal faves were his Janet & John episodes, some of them were very risqué. If you haven’t heard any of them, check them out, you can probably find them on Google somewhere. Be prepared to laugh your socks off!

So, when I got to Chester, my bloke went off in the car to have a look around, whilst I spent 3 hours talking and testing muscle patterns.

My idea of total joy I can tell you.

Yep, Im a geek! Uh Oh!

I will try not to bore you…

BUT

Turns out my core 5 muscles were totally off…that includes my 6 pack (ha!) and my T.A (Transverses Abs)…oh, and my Psoas, which is a primary hip flexor, so pretty important…

I was wondering how the hell I managed to stay upright…without pain.

Turns out many of us have no core, and many of us have disc issues, we just don’t feel them. There are many studies on this, some of them I have read, some of them heavy going, but fascinating. One of the leaders in this field is Dr Stuart McGill. His book on back pain was the first book I bought when I started my Pilates career. I want to learn from the top bods, those who get results, and he is top of the list. His science lab and testing equipment is fascinating, would love to spend a week or so playing around there.

The other few people I listen to are:

 

Thomas Myers – Anatomy Trains. Brillaint You Tube fascia videos and an awesome Anatomy Trains book.

Lorimar Mosely – www.bodyinmind.org and a publisher of a few books and studies.

David Weinstock – www.neurokinetictherapy.com Great videos on You Tube, and book to run alongside the NKT course – it truly is the missing link.

 

So, if your core isn’t working…what is?

For me, it was my Scalenes. (might not be for you though, one of the other attendees had a pec major issue)

What are your Scalenes? They neck muscles.

(see pic at the bottom of the post)

Mine were both overworked. This can lead to tingling in the hands and fingers.

One side of the neck was “tighter” than the other, the specific testing was to find out which one that was, and so my homework would be specifically to release that one and strengthen the other.

But you have to do some detective work first, or you could be stretching the wrong one, this would cause a bit of an issue…so ..if you are currently stretching your neck muscles because the feel tight, yet they keep on feeling tight and nothing changes, consider an NKT detective to test the “why”.

You don’t keep on eating donuts every day and expect to be healthy…you know that in order to change things you cant expect to do the same things..especially if they DONT work.

I know you aren’t that stupid.

Want to change? Get assessed, its that simple.

Let me tell you though., as soon as my Scalenes were sorted, my diaphragm felt like it was fired up for a full breath, my abs were rocking and my Pilates teaser was holding like a beauty!

No shaking

No neck tension

No hamstring tightness.

 

A fast tracked way, but effective and how it should be way,  to get the most from my Pilates sessions, why would I want to keep on working my neck each time, rather than my core, eventually my neck would have been so tired and pissed off for doing the work of many other muscles it would have complained very loudly indeed. I had been working my neck all this time.

I had a posture assessment a few years ago and was told to stop carrying my bag on my left shoulder…had my Scalenes been doing work for my core all that time? Maybe..

Thats sent me on a mission

To get the nations cores switched on…for life. You just may find that it takes more than one session of therapy to get this to stick, and yes you have home exercises to do, for about 15 mins a day. It also can uncover other compensations , a possible leg or foot tightness, glutes not firing well in relation to hamstrings or hip flexors, rhomboids and quadrates lumborum issues.

Who knows? The fun is finding out!

 

Mel Collie

Pattern Detective!

Did you know that you are a firework at an atomic level, like a little firework display going off…how amazing are you?!

melcollie@gmail.com

Mel Collie | Scalenes