Re-Thinking Your Weight Loss Strategy

re-think your weight loss failuresI’m a serial offender when it comes to dieting; over the years I’ve followed Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Dr Joshi’s Holistic Detox, Carol Vordorman’s Detox Plan, The 8 Hour Diet, CSIRO Total Well Being Plan and Atkins Don’t-Poo-For-A-Week Plan!!

Before I started each and every one of those plans I had heaps of enthusiasm, had done all the reading, inspired friends to join me and set off believing that this would be the one! But once I got started the boredom and monotony of following a routine did my head-in so much that I self sabotaged!

And do you know the most frustrating part about this? Celebrating the success of the friends who I convinced to join me when they reached their 5kg goal, while I was stuck right back where I’d started!

Why were they so successful? What did they have that I didn’t?

Well the answer may lie in how my brain is wired!

Know Yourself

Recently I was lucky enough to attend a Body Transformation Summit at Advanced Fitness, where I was re-introduced to the In8 Model by Veronica Smith. If you’ve never come across the In8model before, you’re not alone! I hadn’t heard of it until last year, when I had a chance to get my profile done.

In a nut-shell the In8 Model provides a way to understand how your brain works and use this awareness to target areas for change and growth.

I was fascinated with the idea that my preferences for using a particular area of my brain was able to explain many of my good (and bad) habits! But it wasn’t until I heard Veronica speak that I had an ‘a-ha’ moment!

The reason that I’m so good at encouraging and motivating others to join me on new diets is because I have a brain preference to connect, inspire and enthuse others. Equally, the reason that I’m so crap at sticking to a plan is because I’m under utilising a part of my brain that delivers the detail, routine and planing!!

It’s likely that the friends who have been successful are better utilising the planning quadrant of their brain, but need someone else to enthuse them into action and give them a kick-up-the-arse (otherwise known as a quadrant 1 preference)!

How Does This Help Me?

How does knowing my brain preferences help me to change? I believe it’s all about self-awareness.  I know that quadrant 2 of the brain focuses on persistence, planning and self-discipline and it’s an area that I have a preference to AVOID at all costs (hence late bill payments, poor time-keeping and zero routine!).

This knowledge helps me to re-focus my energy into this part of my life. By recognising that I avoid routine because it makes me feel restless and bored, I’m also able to see how this preference has sabotaged my previous attempts to stick to a weight loss plan.

I have to ask; is this preference serving my current goals? If the answer is NO, (which it is) then I will target this as an area for change.

Making Planning A Priority

In practical terms, I have prioritised my time and energy into planning and preparing.

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

I wrote a weekly meal planner and stuck it inside the pantry door. I also shopped to the plan, and spent a few hours on Sunday afternoon preparing food for the week ahead.

Today it’s Wednesday, and the preparation has really paid off; I’ve eaten the food on my plan and it’s time to re-stock and cook again ready to nail it for the rest of the week!

If you’d like to check out my weekly meal plan click this link: Food Plan week 1 – 6 Wk Challenge

What are your areas of challenge when trying to change?

Do you believe that knowing your brain preferences would help you to achieve change?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!


Further Information

If you would like to find out more about the body transformation program click here

Four Tips To Create A Power Packed Lunch For Teens!

healthy lunch box choices for teens

Variety is the spice of lunchbox life!

Are lunch boxes causing teenage angst in your household? My boys often complain that everybody else’s lunch boxes are so much better than theirs!

Now I know that I’m all about fresh and nutritious wholefoods, but surely I can’t be the only Mum who isn’t including potato chips, lollies and biscuits in lunches?

When it comes to lunch boxes I want my kids to feel as if they have the same treats as everyone else, so I’m on a mission to find ‘look-a-like treats’!

Or in other words, healthy food disguised as a treat!

Less Transparency

Including look-a-like treats was much easier when my kids were under 10 years old, as they were less savvy about what was going into their food. But, now it’s come to their teens I have to be a bit smarter!

Recently I cooked Glazed Chilli and Beetroot Brownies but, I made the mistake of excitedly telling the boys exactly what was in them! They then approached them with extreme caution and expected them to taste terrible. Had I been a bit more savvy and a bit less transparent I think their whole attitude would have been more positive.

  • Tip Number 1 don’t reveal the secret ingredient!


Frame The Argument

Both of my teens are into their sport in a big way and this provides a perfect opportunity to talk about the impact food has on performance. They are keen to eat food that is linked to high performance, and this just happens to be the sort of nutritious food that I want to feed them!

They are not interested in why I think fibre is good for their digestive system, but they sit up and listen when I tell them that whole grain carbohydrates  build up stores of energy that help optimum performance in soccer! It’s all about framing the argument to suit their needs!

  • Tip Number 2 focus on how healthy foods will work to benefit their interests.


Deal Breakers

If I want my teens to eat the contents of their lunch box then variety is the spice of life! In primary school eating times are usually supervised, but in high school independence and self regulation are the order of the day, which means that unappealing lunches are often dumped, sold or swapped! This makes negotiation the key to avoiding wasted lunches; teens need to have some say over lunch box decisions!

For our family this comes down to a frank discussion about what they want to see in their lunch boxes, what I want to include and what the deal-breakers are! Compromises have included a canteen day (where they can buy what they like), Friday chips and chocolate day or daily ‘treat impersonators’.

  • Tip Number 3 negotiate the deal breakers and be prepared to compromise!


 Think Quantity

Sometimes the boys and I have very different objectives when it comes to lunches! They’re impressed with quantity, and I’m all about quality! But it is important to remember that for teenagers size matters! So the more high quality snacks that I can pack into their lunches the better.

  • Tip Number 4 never under-estimate the importance of quantity!


Next week I’ll be sharing a round-up of the best lunch box recipes out on the web, and giving you our verdict on them! In the meantime, if you want to pick up some great lunchbox tips take at look at Nicole Avery’s Planning With Kids. She has five kids and offers loads of practical advice about making family life simpler by doing a bit of advance planning.

I’d love to hear any of your success stories or tips to negotiate those deal breakers for your kids lunch boxes.

Have you got any lunchbox wisdom to share?

How To Help Your Teen Achieve Revision Success! Part 1

Help your teens to revise

Revision can be a lonely journey without Mum’s support

Many families with teens may well be feeling the strain over the coming weeks as schools begin their examinations.

If you’re anything like me, these are the first exams that my 14 year old has ever sat! They mark the beginning of his next step in education, the path through to the senior years and his future direction.

And they introduce a new word into our family vernacular…REVISION!

What is Revision?

Although there have been numerous emails from teachers and dinner table conversations about revision, none of us have actually asked the million dollar question.

What exactly is revision ?

When I asked Biscuit this question, he was pretty vague, mentioning reading his notes and ‘stuff’!

Now it’s the Stuff of revision that I’m interested in!

Revision often takes place behind closed doors. We encourage our children to find a ‘quiet space’ to revise in, which is great, but that means revision is a hidden, subterfuge activity. When they emerge from revising you may ask how they’ve got on, but the chances of receiving more than a monosyllabic response are slim!

So what are the goals of revision?

  • To Understand – do the concepts make sense?
  • To Synthesise  – can you make links between topics?
  • To Recall – can you remember the information from 1st term?
  • To Consolidate – can you see where you’ve come from and where your going?
  • To Reflect – can you identify the gaps in your learning and plan to fill them?

The Journey

Your child’s experience of revision is like a journey; with good planning and directions they can reach their destination in the time allowed with minimal anxiety.

Unfortunately, many children don’t have this experience!

They often can’t visualise their end destination, have minimal directions on how to get there and no idea how long it will take.

If they don’t know where they’re going how will they know when they’ve arrived?

That’s why talking about the goals of revision is a critical first step.

Print them out, stick them above their desk, keep them in sight.

This is their destination. 

 13 Steps to Successful Revision

So now you and your child are on the same page. Everyone knows where they’re going. Great! Now what?

The 13 next steps are about getting that journey underway.

I’m a great believer in a joint planning phase. This gives you and your child time to build a shared vocabulary, to realistically discuss what can and can’t be achieved, and positions you as a key figure of  support on what can be a lonely road.

Together you need to:

  1. Make a plan – identify the hours available for revision and create an achievable timetable
  2. Know the assessment – know what areas are being covered in the exam so you can focus your revision
  3. Identify priority areas – all subjects are not equal, if you struggle with Science then allocate it more time
  4. Be time specific – allocate set times for revision and use a timer to create accountability
  5. Aim for  20 & 2 – revise for 20 minutes break for 2 minutes then repeat.
  6. Move about – when you have a brain break get out of your seat and move around to get the blood flowing again.
  7. Agree to turn off social media – distractions are death to revision, don’t get tempted.
  8. Include Rewards – treat social media as a reward after completing a session of revision.
  9. Ask questions – identify questions and ask teachers for clarification about exam format/timetable etc
  10. Reduce chores – delegate chores & pull together as a family to support the individual
  11. Include down time – ensure that revision stops at least an hour before bed, busy brain is a sleep drain!
  12. Prioritise sleep – bedtime may need to be adjusted to get enough sleep!
  13. Use a range of strategies -these are the directions to your destination, find out more in Part 2 of this series.

This discussion is about give and take, some of the suggestions may be met with resistance (#7 & #11) but the sweeteners (#8 & #10) often persuade your teen that you are working for their greater good!

Demonstrate that you’re on the same side; your actions will speak louder than words!

Part 2 of this Revision Series will explore the different strategies for revising and discuss which ones will benefit your child most.

Don’t Miss Part 2

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