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It’s okay to want to look your best…

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Yesterday was one of the most exciting days I have ever experienced. I was going to pick up my wedding dress. Since finding my dream dress way back in April, I have been constantly imagining the day I would get to slip it back on. And I’m not a girl who is big on these sorts of things. But there’s something different about wedding dresses. I hope you guys get to experience what I mean.

I have been training my butt off at the gym since purchasing my dress, for two reasons:

  1. I want to feel amazing come my wedding day
  2. I want to look my best

Dot point two has been a struggle for me to come to terms with. Because somewhere along the way of accidentally becoming a body love advocate (never part of the plan!), I lost sight of what that actually meant.

In fact, ego told me time and time again that I wasn’t allowed to lose weight or tone up or appear ‘too attractive’ – because people wouldn’t take me seriously anymore.

What kind of a warped belief is that?!

But it is truly what I was telling myself. That to be relatable, I had to dim my light.

It’s okay for me to post photos of me with my leaky gut and bloated belly, or untoned physique, and claim we should all love ourselves, but Universe-forbid if I share the same message when I have lost 6 kilos and am focused on toning up.

Here’s the thing – I love me either way. Toned muscles or carrying a little extra weight. Right now, my priority is on being in beautiful physical shape – not only for my wedding, but because I know when I am exercising and eating well, my body responds well, and I look my best. It’s more than just how I feel in my clothing – like an inner-glow.

But I wasn’t allowing myself to truly OWN that I wanted to tone up and lose weight because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. I honestly thought if I noticeably lost weight, people would think I had ‘sold out’.

Here’s the thing when it comes to body love – so long as your intentions are from a LOVING place, then that is the goal. If you want to tone up and lose weight, and you are doing it in a gentle, loving and uplifting way, THEN THAT IS OKAY!

It is when we become obsessive – not just in our actions, but in our thoughts and our beliefs, that can become quite damaging.
So I stepped into my dress yesterday feeling totally confident. I have lost 6 kilos since I tried it on last. But, silly Holz had also packed on the muscle. So while the dress slid on beautiful in most places – when it came to my boobs, I had grown 2.5 cm.

To which the woman fitting me laughed: “Girl, so many women pay for this problem!”

I laughed too. Of course it was my boobs that grew (more specifically, my back behind my boobs). So while physically I am in better shape than I have been this year, my dress was a tight squeeze. OF COURSE!

Did I let it get to me?

Not at first. The woman in the shop was so impressed at how much I took it in my stride.

“Gosh most women would have had a melt down!”

Here’s the thing. I didn’t at the time. I didn’t on the excited drive to leave the dress at Mum’s place, or when I posted my picture on my Insty with all the beautiful comments coming through from you all.

But then, I did.

I started worrying:

  • What if I put own weight before the wedding and the dress wouldn’t do up?
  • What if the dress didn’t look as good as I hoped, and people would judge me for it?
  • What if my boobs grew even more and distracted from anything else?
  • What if I had a leaky gut episode the morning of the wedding (or even worse, my period, which has nicely synced to the DAY of our wedding as of last month)?
  • What if I don’t look how everyone else expects me to?

These thoughts ran through my head all at once, suffocating me until it got to the point I had to switch off my phone, have a big cry and release all of the stress I had created myself. Do you see that the initial stress of not fitting into my dress on the big day, actually stemmed from an underlying fear of what other people will think of me? WOAH.

Waking up this morning, I feel so much better. I am happy that I was able to release what had built up – because now I have a fresh perspective.

In journalling on it all this morning, I realised that it actually doesn’t even matter what I look like on the big day. What matters is why I am doing this – to marry the love of my life. I could wear a potato sack and have gained 10 kilos and it would still be the best day of my life. I’m not doing this for ANYONE other than the two of us. It actually doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.

So I have released the fear, for now. I am sure at some stages it will rise again. Because guess what – I am human. As an influencer we can put so much pressure on ourselves to have all the answers, to never break down or appear contradictory. But that totally takes away from being authentic and relatable – two things that really matter to me.

So yes, love your body. Do ALL things for yourself from a place of love. And if that means losing weight, then own that lovingly. It doesn’t make you a bad person for wanting to look a certain way when you are coming at it with loving intentions. Of COURSE we want to look our best – because when we do, we FEEL our best. And when we seek out the feelings instead of focusing on the image, then it all naturally falls into place. Just don’t get so caught up in that journey that you forget to appreciate what you have right now.

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When comparison-itis strikes

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I have a confession to make…recently I have found myself falling victim to the old ‘comparisonitis’.

Yep, the girl who shouts from the rooftops “COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY” and preaches self love, has caught herself out in the nasty spiralling of comparing myself to others. And the kind of uncomfortable part is, I didn’t even realise I was doing it. I had to be called out for it.

It all unfolded the other day when I was chatting to one of my (many) successful, inspiring, beautiful, amazing soul sisters (so grateful to continue to attract all the incredible women in my life).

I was venting…

“I just feel like no matter how hard I work, or how much effort I put in to my business, it is never enough. I look at what you are doing, and what X is doing, and Y is doing, and I wonder why I’m not there alongside you guys. What is holding me back?”

To which she replied:

“Can you shut (the f***) up for a second?”

(Legit she was angry. Get yourself friends who can comfortably get angry at you when you’re being stupid.)

She continued…

“Hollie, I watch what you are doing and I am amazed by it all. You are the definition of killing it. How can you not see that?”

I half-heartedly agreed…mumbled a little thanks…and she continued…

“I want you to think about exactly WHAT these people are doing in their lives, that you think is better than what you are doing. And stop the comparison right now, because it’s boring and you’re better than that.”

She might as well have hit me in the face with a pot plant (I’m going through a plant phase right now).

I honestly had no idea I was comparing. Yet in hindsight, I CLEARLY was. This was all stemming from a fear of not DOING enough, HAVING enough, and BEING enough.

Yet my ego had disguised the fear as “wanting to better myself”. But in wanting to better myself, rather than investing back INTO myself, or taking the space needed to reflect on ‘where to from here’ – I had gotten caught up in the scrolling, the comparing, the frustration of not being enough.

And it was all my own doing.

Here’s the thing. We KNOW comparing isn’t ever beneficial for ourselves. Maybe you compare yourself to your friends – the one who just bought a house, just had a baby or are recently engaged. Or maybe it’s to the strangers online with the chiseled abs and tanned ‘bikini bodies’.

For me, I had fallen victim to comparing my BUSINESS self to other business savvy women in my world – friends of mine, and women I truly look up to. But in admiring them and feeling INSPIRED by them, my ego twisted it to – well, you should really be doing what they are doing. Because they have more followers than you and that means they are more successful than you.

Typing it out sounds so stupid, but that is truly where my mind had gone. And I had missed it entirely.

So what do we do when we find ourselves caught up int he world of comparisonitis?

Well, for starters, I nutted down exactly the story I was telling myself:

X, Y and Z were ‘killing it’ which meant I wasn’t. Which is not true at all. Because here is my personal definition of killing it:

  • My body is healthy and strong and energised and thriving (tick)
  • I am surrounded by loving family and friends (tick and tick)
  • Trent and I are super loved up and planning our dream wedding (alllll the ticks)
  • I work for myself, only doing things that truly light me up and are aligned with my heart and soul (tick x a million)
  • I am operating at a level of abundance that allows me to not have any other jobs outside of working for ME, myself and I – plus being able to invest back in my health and my growth, pay for a wedding, travel whenever I like and move out of home next year (a million ticks)
  • Being an inspiring and authentic influencer in the health and wellness space, helping others to live positive, healthy and happy lives and working with brands I truly believe in (ticks, ticks and more ticks)
  • Booking speaking gigs for incredible brands and being able to spread the ‘wellness word’ (I’m boring you with the ticks now yeah?)
  • Working a flexible lifestyle allowing for sleep ins, gym during the day, travel whenever and afternoon naps if I want it (TICK)

So what the hell was I comparing myself to?

Maybe I haven’t published a book yet, but I am writing it.

Maybe my blog isn’t a leading influence in the wellness community yet, but that’s not why I write it anyway.

Maybe my Instagram followers fluctuate by 50-100 every damn day, but that’s not why I post.

In catching out our ego in its tracks, and rationalising the STORIES we tell ourselves, we can start to uncover what is actually TRUTH and what is FEAR.

My stories about not being enough?

Total fear. No truth to them whatsoever.

Next time you catch yourself comparing – sit with it. Reflect on it. Where has it come from? Is it a truth or a story?

Because remember, you, right now, reading this, are enough. You are enough in every damn moment. No matter what anyone else is doing right now.

Sometimes we just need the reminder.

Try and catch yourself out before you get smashed in the face with a pot plant.

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I’m not lucky, I work bloody hard! (The truth behind creating your reality…) 

 

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This time last week I received a phone call from the Daily Telegraph telling me a photographer was on their way to my house to shoot me for an article they were running on sleep the following day.

Then this morning, I was interviewed by a National news network on the radio discussing the same article.

I have also just sent off final negotiations to host an INCREDIBLE wellness event as their MC for two days in October.

Opportunity after opportunity after opportunity has been knocking at my door, and it is crazy to think that 8 days ago, NONE of these things were on my radar – not even thoughts in the back of my mind.

Now, I’m not sharing this to brag. I’m also not sharing this in the hopes of anyone else feeling inadequate.

But I think it is incredibly important to shed light on this amazing domino effect in my life recently that, yes, I have created. And worked bloody hard at.

Too often, as an outsider, we can view other people’s successes as ‘luck’. You all know the ‘overnight success stories’ that take, on average, 7years of behind the scenes work to achieve.

There is NOTHING lucky about what has happened for me over the last 7 days. All of it has been created BY me, and I want to share this with you all because you can do it too. You truly can. There is nothing that makes me any more worthy of success – be it in my career, my business life, my financial status, my relationships – ANYTHING. But you have to see that, recognise it and own it.

OWN YOUR WORTH. IT IS ONLY THEN THAT YOU WILL TRULY SUCCEED.

And don’t get me wrong, I don’t have this all figured out. FAR from it. In fact, these shifts have only recently taken place after MONTHS and months of investing in my own personal development. You guys don’t really see what takes place behind the scenes when it comes to how hard I work on myself and my business. For me, it never ever stops. But it is VITAL if you truly want to reap life’s rewards. You cannot sit back and wait for luck to land in your lap. It doesn’t happen that way. There is no quick fix or button to push. Which is why it is easier to just give up and become a spectator in your own life, living for holidays or weekends or the ‘gaps’ between actually living. But you are different. You know there is another way. I know you know this, because you have read this far.

So, how did I make these shifts, and how can you follow suit?

Journalling

A daily non-negotiable of mine, and the second part of my morning ritual after meditating. My journalling practice is a non-negotiable. What started as a way for me to clear my head at the beginning of the day has transformed into connecting with my inner most desires and the workings of my soul. Writing things down really clarifies what is fear based and fuelled by ego, and then what is more love and soul. When you can determine what motivator is running the show (love or fear) – then you can make some incredibly powerful changes.

My journalling has told me when to slow down, when to pull my finger out and do the work, and when to stop with the excuses. The lessons aren’t always flowy and loving – there are some harsh truths in there. But as Elizabeth Gilbert says, she has never seen a powerful transformation in a person that hasn’t started with the person in question getting sick of their own bullshit.

That is what journalling does for me. Calls out my fear and slaps me right across the face with what to do next. It is so much more than just a pretty book with nice words.

Channelling

I have some incredibly connected and inspiring friends, and I will spend time on Voxer channeling my feelings with them. Voxer is a wonderful app, as it allows you to communicate with someone without the interruption of talking over one another. I use this as a tool with two of my best friends almost every day – sometimes we can speak for up to 15 minute recordings at a time, because when you allow your mind to flow and the words to spill out, you can really get on a roll and answer questions you didn’t realise you always had within you.

I love to channel while walking in nature. I will stick my headphones in and just talk about how I am feeling. What came up in my journalling that morning? Where am I feeling stuck? What old stories do I want to change about myself? There have been times where we will end up in tears, but just as often in awe of what answers we always had inside us. It is the magic of allowing the space for the knowledge to come. Just being and trusting that you truly KNOW what it is you need to do in any given moment. Because you do. I see it with my clients all the time.

Alongside channeling Voxers, we also share our gratitudes for the day, and also where we need to hold each other to account. Just talking things out with someone on the same page as you can see incredible transformational shifts (hell, it’s why coaching works so well!)

We always have the answers in us – it is creating the space for these magic realisations that matters.

Energy Work 

I regularly see my Body Talk practitioner (and friend Ava) to recalibrate my energy, emotions and physical symptoms, to shift outdated modes of thinking and realign, ground and centre my energy. Body Talk is very similar to kinesiology and has helped me immensely from physical ailments like acne and gut health, to deep-seated emotional challenges and blocks.

I usually see Ava every three weeks or so, however in August my soul was craving more, and I was seeing her weekly for about 5 weeks. Yes, this costs me money, and yes, it can be incredibly challenging to sit and stare at the truth behind some of my blockages, but I care far more about my own personal growth and development than I do anything else. If you can’t invest money in your own health and wellbeing, what the hell is the point of anything, really? Because, #truthbomb, without your health, you have nothing. Simple as that.

The shifts that have been made in my recent sessions have lead me to the point I am at now, where opportunities are knocking at my door, strangers are recognising me in shopping centres (legit a thing now, and so incredibly cool) and people and brands are practically throwing money to work with me. (SO GRATEFUL!)

It hasn’t always been this way and I have had to work SERIOUSLY hard on releasing so many blockages and beliefs around abundance, money, wealth, self worth, shining my full light, being ‘enough’, self sabotage, not wanting to show up. SO MUCH FEAR. It rears its head for me every damn day. But in shifting the energy with a healer, you are able to move through the discomfort, take on the lessons and grow from there.

It is NO coincidence that the themes of my most recent sessions have been to step out and be seen, allow myself to be successful and to stop hiding in the shadows of others.

Follow Your Bliss

This one is simple. Do the stuff that makes you happy and brings you joy. Laugh as often as you can. Follow the high-vibrational energy feels and guess what? That is what you will experience in your life. Pursue opportunities and watch them pursue you. Get out of your comfort zone, and watch people applaud you. Follow your heart rather than your head and watch life unfold perfectly, like a scripted movie. Even BETTER than a movie, because you are actually living it.

This absolutely works in reverse too. If you are working long hours in a job you hate, I bet you aren’t feeling too crash hot, are you? Your health may be suffering, and maybe your relationship? This domino effect can work either way – like attracts like, remember – and everything we think, say and do is energy. This is science. And it is so bloody simple, yet I see time and time again people falling trap into their own low vibrational mindset, wondering why stuff isn’t working out for them.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.

Stop doing stuff that makes you feel like crap. Just stop. Follow your heart – even when it scares you, especially when the resistance is there. Watch the magic unfold for you when you do.

Creating Space

If you are the type of person who jumps from outing to outing, event to work to brunch to night out to second job to other thing – without a space in between for yourself – then sorry to break it to you, but you are really acting as your own worst enemy. You are repelling opportunity by filling your life with ‘stuff’.

In running from free time, rest, relaxation and ‘me time’ – you are also running from the natural flow and surrender that is needed for life to happen FOR you.

By creating conscious space in your daily life (this isn’t only about a free Sunday every few weeks, but about rest and space every single day) – then you are allowing yourself to receive. Because you have given yourself the energetic space to receive! It is as simple as that.

I didn’t have to force or strive or push for ANY of the three major opportunities that landed in my lap this week. THEY CAME TO ME. And I truly believe it was a result of the collective things I did above.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you believe in luck? Or are you creating your own reality?  Share with me in the comments.

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How I learned to love my body – three of my top tips 

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When you look in the mirror, what words run through your head?

Do you smile to yourself? Call yourself beautiful? Or quickly glance away in disgust?

If the latter is more your jam, you are not alone. I have spoken with hundreds of women who do the same. When it comes to facing themselves in the mirror, it is unbearable. The thought of speaking kindly about themselves and their body isn’t even on the radar.

I get it. I’ve been there.

But I have also come out of the other end – a much happier, healthier, calmer and kinder person for it, too.

And I KNOW you want to get there. You wouldn’t have read this far otherwise. But it all seems too hard doesn’t it? When we have grown up in a society conditioning us to de-value our worth, or better yet, market that we are ‘worth it’ – the ‘it’ being makeup, or clothing, or those stupid waist trainers and leggings that “make you appear 3 sizes smaller!”

Get fucked.

The real question here is WHY. As in, why do we WANT to look three sizes smaller? Why do we WANT to train our waist to contort into a shape that isn’t natural for our given body? Why do we WANT to lose those 10 kilos?

What are we trying to prove here?

Now don’t get me wrong, I am ALL for exercise and eating well and living a healthy life because of how it FEELS. Health feels great. Living an energised, vibrant and healthy life is the ultimate goal right? We want to wake up feeling good, going about our day without illness, or panic or any level of mental or physical illness.

The real issue I am seeing though, is the ‘health’ industry pushing not so healthy ways of living. Weighing your food before you eat it is not healthy for your mind. Training every day without rest is not healthy for your body. Weighing yourself once, twice, or more a day (or week) is not healthy for your soul.

And yet we think that if we change the shape of our body, if we lose those last 5 kilos, if we LOOK a different way, then we will FEEL a different way.

Here’s a truth bomb for you my loves – the way we LOOK and the way we FEEL are not one and the same. They are TWO ENTIRELY DIFFERENT THINGS.

Take it from the girl who has had the abs, the thigh gap, lost the weight, had ALL the compliments in the world about how amazing my body was looking, and was left feeling depleted, fatigued, anxious and a total wreck.

Now I have to reiterate – for some people, strict regimented dieting, and training, does not have the same effect on them as it did on me. But this blog IS about me, and it would be wrong of me to not share it.

This week is Love Your Body Week in Australia. In light of this, I wanted to share with you my three top tips to starting to love what you see when you look in the mirror starting NOW – and not when things physically change. (Hot tip: when you start practicing self love, you will find you body relaxes and changes ANYWAY. But you aren’t left with the mental, physical and emotional exhaustion. It’s a freaking win-win!)

Say goodbye to your scales

I don’t weigh myself because I know what that number does to my mind. For some of you, maybe weighing yourself is fine and you aren’t ever attached to the number that shows up, in which case, amazing. But I know for me, I used to place a whole lot of importance on that number. I could have had the #cleanest, #fittest week of my life, but if that little number came back even a FRACTION bigger than the last time I saw it (most likely the day before) then it would send me into overdrive – I wasn’t doing enough, all my hard work was for nothing, I must have looked bigger, blah blah blah.

When I realised the scales were not helping me in any way, I decided I would never weigh myself again. And other than a few doctors visits (where I have told them not to tell me the number) I haven’t. Because I KNOW even after all the work I have done, hearing that number will never do my self worth any favours. I know my mind. And you know yours. Do what is best for it.

(You will KNOW if you are at a healthy weight range by how your clothes fit, how your body FEELS and how often you are exercising/eating well. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to know the pull of your body’s gravitational force to be able to tell if you are healthy or not.)

Start catching your inner dialogue when you look at yourself in the mirror

Next time you look at yourself in the mirror, catch out where your mind goes. What are the stories you are telling yourself about your physical appearance?

Here’s one for you – I used to HATE my legs. I thought they should have been longer, and didn’t like how muscly they were. I would look in the mirror and pinch at my thighs wishing they were smaller. Now, I know that this belief had NOTHING to do with how my legs looked (totally love them now by the way). The story I was telling myself – that my legs were too big – was actually a DEEPER issue about my self worth.

I believed I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t as skinny as some of my friends, so that meant I wasn’t attractive enough. I thought my difference made me unloveable, unlikeable – that boys wouldn’t find me attractive, that in some way the circumference of my legs was a direct correlation to my ability to succeed in life.

Notice what you say when you look in the mirror and then unpick the dialogue. Chances are it is about so much more than your physical appearance. What are your underlying stories, and are they actually true?

Acknowledge the FEELING you are seeking – and then go out and find it NOW!

Close your eyes and imagine you are physically looking however you want to right now. Perhaps you weigh your ‘goal weight’ or just look the way you have always wanted to… Now really imagine how that FEELS. What would you do differently in your life if you looked that way?

Maybe you feel more confident? Sexy? Worthy?

Whatever feelings you are seeking, realise you can feel ANY of these things RIGHT NOW. You don’t have to wait for the perfect body, or to change your looks to feel these things. These feelings come down to practices of self love and personal development – which have nothing to do with our physicality, other than nurturing and honouring and loving the bodies we are given.

When I was training my hardest, weighed my goal weight, had the abs and thigh gap, I was seeking freedom and passion and inspiration. I was sick of working a job that no longer lit me up, but rather than change that, I thought changing my body would make all the difference. It only made things worse. I was sicker and unhappier than ever before.

Really acknowledge WHY you think changing your body will change your life. Chances are there is an underlying issue you are struggling to cope with, and you are using your body as an excuse. Own up to it, and get to work angel.

I would love to hear what practices have helped you fall in love with your body? Please share them with me in the comments below, and let’s start a body-love thread of inspiration! 

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Wellness

My sleep time non-negotiables

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It isn’t a secret how obsessed I am with sleep. When I hit rock bottom in 2015, sleep was the bane of my existence. I was walking around like a zombie, in the crux of a horrible adrenal fatigue, and even though I could feel the tiredness seeping into my limbs (preventing me from training – even yoga or walking was too hard for me) – I just couldn’t get enough sleep.

I would lie awake in bed feeling physically EXHAUSTED counting down the hours it would take me to drift off. And when I finally WAS asleep, it was one of those awful half-awake ones where it felt like I was back awake every hour. I could be lying in bed for 10 hours and get only a couple of hours of real sleep. No wonder I felt like I’d been hit my a bus on waking every day.

During that phase of my life, I weighed everything I ate, avoided gluten and dairy and sugar like the bloody plague, and exercised multiple times a day. I thought I was the epitome of health and yet my health came crashing down from underneath me. Oh the irony.

A big factor in this crumbling of my wellbeing?

Lack of sufficient sleep.

Which is why today I preach more about getting sufficient sleep than I do about exercise and eating well.

Because here’s the thing – we KNOW how to exercise. We also know how to eat healthily. But do we really know how to get sufficient sleep?

My time in practice, coaching hundreds of women in learning how to live their happiest and healthiest lives, tells me we have a LONG way to go when it comes to managing our sleep the same way we manage our health by other means.

Sleep is VITAL when it comes to:

  • Alleviating stress levels
  • Maintaining vital and positive energy
  • A rocking libido
  • Weight loss
  • Preventing disease including heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes
  • Managing mental illness including depression and anxiety

And yet phrases like “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” perpetuate the notion that sleep is for the weak. Actually, it is the opposite – you cannot be strong, physically, mentally or emotionally, without sufficient sleep.

I harp on all about the key facts of sleep here, if you are interested. Like how, we should be aiming for between 7-9 hours of UNINTERRUPTED sleep per night. It should take us 15 minutes to fall asleep at night.

If, like mine were, your eyes are popping out of your head in the realisation your sleep is not at all ‘healthy’ – don’t worry. Below are my top tips for managing your healthiest, best sleep ever. Stick to these tips for the next 30 nights and I guarantee you, you will be sleeping like a boss in no time (take it from the girl who has 9 hours uninterrupted a night – unless there’s a full moon, obviously!)

MAKE FRIENDS WITH MELATONIN

Melatonin is our sleep hormone. In cave man times, when the sun went down, our melatonin levels would rise, telling our bodies it was time for sleep. We would wake with the sun, which would decrease our melatonin levels.

Melatonin MATTERS when it comes to sleep, and is totally determined by LIGHT.

This is why it is so important to be in dim lighting at least an hour before bed time. We forget this, and spend time in bright lights, with back lit devices all the way up to shut eye, and wonder why we can’t switch off and drift to sleep. Because our poor melatonin levels are confused – they think it’s still day time!

Make the effort to transition to dim lighting an hour before bed – be it light dimmers, lamps or candles, and notice the impact this makes as you physically wind down before bed.

Additionally, in the morning, switch on ALL the lights and get yourself in brightness as much as possible! Bye-bye melatonin, hello morning burst of energy!

(Sleep-pro tip: Those people going for walks in the dark before bed? Not actually crazy – they are getting their melatonin hit right before sleep!)

MAGNESIUM OIL – THE GAME CHANGER

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As much as I know all about sleep, there are times when I need an extra push. Enter, magnesium oil. When I was in the holds of my fatigue, I took magnesium supplements to aid my sleep, which really helped me at the time. What I didn’t know, is you can actually use a body OIL that has the exact same effect! SO easy and damn effective!

Introducing SALT LAB. These guys have been a huge game changer for me recently, especially as my heightened adrenaline levels lately have lead to longer time than desired falling asleep.

What I didn’t know is our bodies only absorb 20-50% of oral supplements, and the additional stress this puts on our digestive system and organs is unnecessary when there is a body OIL available that works even more effectively! Our bodies are able to self regulate and absorb what is needed when using an oil, putting no additional stress on our organs and digestive system. PLUS, because the oil is is absorbed through our skin, it travels straight into our blood cells – talk about a quick hit!

After only 3 days of using this spray, my sleep was back to normal. Now I don’t go a night without it. Just spray on your belly – it is literally that simple! (If it tingles it means you may be deficient in magnesium, and can add it to a carrier oil like coconut oil.) You can read all about the effects of magnesium and sleep here: but just know, it has totally worked for me (and Trent too!)

(For your chance to win one of two SALT LAB sprays, jump on my Instagram page stat and check out the most recent post!)

TEMPERATURE MATTERS

There is a reason I am such a fan of baths before bed! Not only are they bloody relaxing, helping you to wind down and get into a relaxed state before dozing off, but the drop in body temperature when you hop out of a hot bath (or shower) signals to your body that it is sleep time.

This is also why some of us like sleeping with the fan on in summer, but a doona over our bodies. We KNOW intrinsically what the right body temperature is for sleep – too hot or too cold and it just won’t cut it. Aim for around 18 degrees.

SO LONG SCROLLING 

I hate to be the bearer of bad news guys, but for a good night’s sleep you really need to get rid of your phones. And laptops. Even your Kindles. Back lit devices totally mess with our melatonin and also, we aren’t allowing our minds to really wind down. If you do everything else, but still scroll, and you have trouble with your sleep – it is time for the phone to go.

Try what I do – stick your phone on flight mode an hour before bed time and dim the lighting right down. That way even if you are tempted to check your phone, you won’t be distracted by anything! Switch up your phone for reading (using a warm lamp by your bedside), or writing down everything you are grateful for that day. We are all after more time in our day – so use this hour for YOU and make it pampering and productive.

LAVENDER OIL ON EVERYTHING

Yes Hollie, I hear you think, we know you love essential oils. Well it’s true, I do. And one of my favourites is Lavender because of its calming properties – not just for anxiety and stress, but for sleep too. We diffuse lavender every night before bed (and while we sleep) as well as two drops on our pillow cases. We travel with it. My partner is the most masculine guy you will come across and whinges like crazy when we run out of lavender oil.

My bestie who was a bit cynical about this whole oils ‘thing’ started using lavender oil when I found out she never dreamed. This told me she most likely wasn’t getting the deep REM stage of sleep needed for full body rest and restoration. Her first night diffusing lavender and guess what? She had a dream. And sleep hasn’t been an issue of her’s since.

Want to know where to get the best quality lavender oil for your sleep? Send me a message and I will send you a sample!

Truth be told, I do a whole lot more in setting myself up for epic sleep – these just scrape the top of the barrel. If you are keen to learn more, I HIGHLY recommend reading Arianna Huffington’s SLEEP REVOLUTION (#girlcrush) – or just watch this space, as I plan my next ebook on all things SLEEP!

How do you ensure you are settled in for an epic sleep? 

BUY your Salt Lab Magnesium Oil here! 

 

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Last week a stranger called me fat…

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It’s true. It went something like “So now that you’re fat you are trying to convince everyone else and yourself that you are healthy…”

The picture he was responding to is the one I have shared above. A before/after of a different kind.

I have become privy to sharing these kinds of images on my social media channels – an attempt to break down the stereotypes we have around what ‘healthy’ looks like. That even though my ‘before’ image looks the picture of health (with my toned body, thigh gap and abs), I was actually extremely unwell. And that while in the after photo I am more curvy (even more so than I am right now given this was taken 2 months into a Europe dream trip where I ate whatever I wanted) – I was far healthier in the second photo – mind, body and soul. Even though I don’t have the abs, and heaven forbid my breasts are bigger.

When I posted this photo I didn’t expect much, because I wasn’t doing it for any kind of ‘exposure’ or external validation. I was sharing it for my clients – the ones suffering anorexia and bulimia, the ones who have attempted suicide and self-harm driven to helplessness because of an obsession with the way that they look. I was posting it for young girls growing up in an era like never before – where ‘fitspo’ and eating disorder encouragement Instagram accounts are easily accessible at the click of a button. Where ‘skinny teas’ are even a thing (why?!) I was posting it for anyone who has ever looked at themselves in the mirror and burst into tears. For anyone who ever fad dieted in an attempt to feel better about themselves, only having the opposite effect, and feeling far worse. I was sharing it for my sister, for my mother, for my family and friends – all of us who have ever felt ashamed by the beautiful bodies we have been given.

So you can imagine my surprise when the post went semi-viral. I had to re-charge my phone 7 times that day, until I eventually gave up and switched it off. More than 5 thousand people liked the post (and for someone who gets excited at 100 likes, you can imagine the overwhelm). I doubled my followers overnight. My message requests went through the roof. Messages like:

I am 18 from Paris, and I want to tell you how inspiring you are. I am struggling with a binge eating disorder. I feel alone. And sad. Seeing your account made me a little less alone and thank you for that. 

Thank you for this post. I am trying to love myself but it is so hard some days. I see a post like your and we have very similar bodies, but one difference – you smile more. I need to learn to love mine and then mine will be beautiful like yours. Thank you for the inspiration. 

Today I am in the first situation – obsessed with my body, my weight, the gym…my goal is to like myself and never feel this culpability again. And when I discovered you, it makes me strong because I know that I will arrive, I have hope, because it is possible. 

Literally hundreds of comments and messages like the above. Beautiful women who are sick of fighting life-long battles with their bodies. Crying out for understanding and love.

So when someone jumps on my post and calls me fat, it infuriates me.

And not for the reasons you might think.

I have done the work on myself enough to know that these comments are empty words – in fact, at first when I saw them, I would smile. You know you’re doing something right when you start pissing people off.

But then I sat with it. And got mad. How DARE these people feel it okay to body shame with absolutely NO idea of my circumstances. It made me angry for my clients, for my followers, and for all the women who had reached out to me offering love and support, crying out for help. These people were not to know if I was battling an eating disorder. If I was self-harming or heaven-forbid had attempted suicide. Do they not understand the power of a phrase like that, especially on a post aimed to inspire and uplift?

It also shocked me the number of men feeling it completely in their right to comment on my breasts. The sexualisation of my body has been something I have been extremely self-conscious of. I am bigger busted naturally, and constantly hide my figure behind baggy clothes, covering my face with my long hair. Truth be told, part of me has never wanted to be ‘seen’. I have been conscious of my body my entire life for this EXACT reason – sexualisation of my body because I have big breasts.

When I made a comment about this on my Instagram stories, again my inbox was flooded with women who feel the same. Incredibly self-conscious of their beautiful feminine shape, because they don’t want to be a ‘target’ for unwanted male attention. It really struck me how big an issue this is. And how I no longer want to hide behind the baggy clothes.

I LOVE my body and I have worked fucking hard to love it. Every single inch of it. But that doesn’t give ANYBODY the right to abuse it, shame it or sexualise it. Ironically (or maybe not) ALL of the shaming was from men. And that upsets me because I love men – my dad, my fiancé, my brother, my best friends. Is this a generalisation I am making or a real issue? And either way, what can we do to stop it?

Truth be told – I have no idea. But I am grateful for my post, and the comments it received, because it opened my eyes to issues far larger than before/after pictures or ‘fitspo’.

And mark my words I will make it my mission to promote body love every single damn day. For me, for you, for our future daughters (and sons). No more baggy clothes for me.

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