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Health and Fitness: Why so Many Struggle

The One Mental Shift to Unlock Success!

Tried diet after diet with no long-term results? Maybe you're starving yourself and lose a few pounds just to put it all back on (and sometimes more!) as soon as you resume eating normally? Perhaps you've been focusing on exercising vigorously but the pounds are not shifting? You become frustrated, give up and then the whole cycle resumes with the next hopeful approach to health and fitness.

How different would your life be, if staying healthy and fit just became part of your lifestyle? So much so that you didn't even have to think about it.

We know we need to put the right things in our body and use it in the right way but what stops us from doing this on a consistent basis? I've discovered that your mindset and more specifically your beliefs have a profound impact on your level of health and fitness. You see, what you believe is what you become! Your beliefs are what motivate you and drive your actions. 

In this blog, we'll explore:

  • Health and fitness as a foundational element to a successful lifestyle
  • The difference between empowering and disempowering beliefs when it comes to achieving our health and fitness goals
  • Your specific beliefs and how they support/hinder your success in this area
  • The power of your imagination
  • Action steps you can can take right now to move forward with your health and fitness goals

How to Read This Blog

Just curious?

  • Feel free to skim and take in whatever you like

Looking to improve your health and fitness?

  • You don't want every detail just the 'big picture'
  • Check out the Actions to take right now 

Want to geek out on the detail?

  • Be sure to check out the highlighted 'delve deeper box' 

Not sure where to even start!

  • Pay particular attention to the end where I share how I can personally support you in achieving your desired levels of health and fitness.

Health and Fitness is Foundational

Health and Fitness is a foundational element which impacts every other aspect of your life and wellbeing. Like the foundations of a house, it supports all other structures that are built upon it e.g. career, finance, relationships etc. These life categories all add to your life - more specifically the quality of your life.

House

Because health and fitness is foundational, success in this area often has a positive impact on all other aspects too. It can unlock challenges in a completely different area in ways you may not have imagined. Say you want to improve your finances or get a promotion, improving your health and fitness can give you more energy, better sleep which helps with greater clarity, memory and the ability to effectively manage your emotions and stress.

Spiritual Wellbeing

  • Feeling more connected to self, nature, a higher power

Social Wellbeing

  • Being present with others — especially our most valued relationships

Emotional Wellbeing

  • Better managing emotions
  • Building mental resilience

Physical Wellbeing

  • Greater levels of energy and vitality
  • Improved sleep which is crucial for rejuvenation, memory and disease prevention

Intellectual Wellbeing

  • Ability to think clearly
  • Greater focus
  • Increased productivity
  • Better able to learn

Career Wellbeing

  • Greater energy to exert on the areas you want to focus and improve.  
  • Greater wellbeing at work
  • Building resiliency and resourcefulness
  • Positive impact on work relationships

Environmental Wellbeing

  • Having the energy and resources to create an environment that inspires and rejuvenates you in a way that is sustainable

Why Do We Struggle With Health and Fitness?

A big part of this is our beliefs. What are your beliefs and how much time have you spent reflecting upon them? A belief is something we hold to be true (with or without proof). Many of us haven't spent much time examining our beliefs. For instance, where do they come from exactly? Our beliefs tend to come from our parents, schooling, culture. How do these beliefs serve or hinder us? This questions becomes very important when we want to create a change, especially when it comes to self-improvement or striving to achieve the next level of success in a given area of our lives.

Let’s examine the idea of beliefs more closely in relation to health and fitness. Notice how some of these are empowering beliefs, that help you to achieve your goals of vibrant health and fitness. Others are disempowering beliefs which often can be self-fulfilling prophecies.


“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't – you're right.”
~ Henry Ford

Disempowering Health and Fitness Beliefs

Disempowering or limiting beliefs can turn us into victims - we become 'at effect' or helpless to the things that we deem to be out of our control. If we refuse to take responsibility as creators of our own experiences (or reality), then when a problem inevitably occurs - we have no power to change it. We end up in a place where we feel stuck, frustrated and disempowered.

If you believe you create your own reality, then if you don’t like your circumstances you change them!

We create our reality through both our physical and mental actions. As you think so you become. What you put your focus on you get more of it.  Do any of the following statements look familiar? You may have heard others say these or they could be deeply held beliefs of your own. 

  • I'm big boned!
  • Heart disease and diabetes run in the family
  • Nothing works for me - I've tried it all!

Empowering Health and Fitness Beliefs

Empowering beliefs help you to take back control. Beliefs are like unconscious programmes that run in the background without us consciously being aware of them. This programming influences your decisions, choices and actions. Adopting empowering beliefs and thereby running a new programme, will help you to make the right conscious choices that support your health and fitness desires. Here's some examples of empowering beliefs:

  • I take charge of my physics health and therefore my life
  • I make conscious choices when it comes to what I put into my body and what I do with it
  • My body is intelligent and knows how to heal and rejuvenate itself

Now, it's time to reflect upon (or perhaps discover) your beliefs with the action steps below.

Actions to Take Right Now

Firstly, find a quiet spot to do this exercise. Grab a piece of paper or open a new document on your device. 

  1. FINISH THE FOLLOWING SENTENCE WITH WHATEVER COMES TO MIND: 'I MUST...' Doing this will reveal your deepest held beliefs. 
  2. WRITE IT DOWN AND REPEAT UNTIL YOU HAVE SIX OR SO STATEMENTS
  3. READ ONE OF THE STATEMENTS OUT LOUD AND THEN ASK YOURSELF: 'WHAT would happen IF I DIDN'T?' This is a really important question because it will help determine whether your belief is limiting you or empowering you. Read out loud each statement and then ask yourself the same question:  “What would happen if I didn’t?” Just keep asking the questions and writing up each reply.
  4. Understanding why your beliefs are so important 
    (1). What beliefs do you hold (or could adopt) that are empowering or serving you well and that you want to retain?
    (2). What beliefs do you hold that are limiting or disempowering you?
  5. Write down what you actually want. Knowing what you want on an intellectual level is one thing but actually writing it down is something entirely different. The process of writing down what you want makes it real, tangible and helps you to clarify your desires. 
    What is your vision for your health and fitness? Here are some examples:
    • I plan to live till at least 00 years old and have an amazing quality of life
    • I am a lean, toned, and a flexible size x
    • I get the quantity and quality of deep of sleep I need on a regular basis
  6. Why is what you want so important to you?
    Understanding the reason behind why you want what you want is key to unlocking success because this is what will motivate you. Answer the following two questions:
    (1). What pain are you currently experiencing as a result of where you are now?
    (2). What will you gain by achieving your desired outcomes?

Remember, what you believe today is not necessarily what you believed ten years ago or what you'll believe ten years from now. Beliefs evolve or change as you get more data (new information, experiences etc). Reflecting on why you hold certain beliefs is a useful way of staying open and receptive to new new ideas as you evolve as a human being.

Taking Consistent Action

One of the best ways to positively evolve and grow as a human being is the consistent habit of stretching yourself. The willingness to stretch yourself on a consistent basis will open you to new opportunities to learn and grow. We’re more than what we believe we are as humans. Stretching yourself not only helps you acquire new skills and resources but it positively impacts your beliefs by showing you that you can do things that you perhaps didn’t believe you could do once upon a time - ' If I can do that - what else can I do?' Often, our thinking is what limits us and this is underpinned by our beliefs.

Make a Commitment in the Comments Section 

Make a commitment to do something beyond your present ability. Make a public commitment in the comments section below and share it with someone who will hold you accountable and ask you about it. When it comes to improving your health and fitness, a meal plan and an exercise regime that works for you will be 80-90% of your success! There is a ton of nutritional and exercise information out there - it can be contradictory and overwhelming at times but you can do it! Commit to taking action - begin with one small step and then another and so on! This stacking effect will get you results - each step will build on the one before, creating momentum and ultimately getting you to your desired outcomes. Here's some suggestions, remember to consult your medical doctor where needed. 

  • Speaking to a nutritionist
  • Buying a highly relevant book
  • Researching online

Devise a Strategy

Once you've armoured yourself with the information you need. Decide on what strategy you're going to use to make it happen? It is important to not be disheartened as you may need to try several different strategies before you find what works for you and your body type. Treat it like an experiment, you're getting feedback on what's working and not working, making necessary tweaks along the way. It's who you become along the journey and not just about the destination - so enjoy the journey!

Create a Feedback Loop

The other key ingredient is to have a feedback loop. If there is no way of us knowing whether we're on the right track or making progress, we're likely to give up. So set measurable goals and targets. Remember you're not relying on 'will power' alone but your empowering beliefs, which is you're compelling why/purpose for taking action.

One of the most powerful tools you can use is free and enjoyable. If you want to delve deeper continue reading.

Delve Deeper Box

The Power of Your Imagination

Mentally rehearsing your goals is really motivating because it makes what we desire real and appealing to us. What we imagine, has a real impact on our body. Research shows how athletes improve their performance by mentally rehearsing even without physical practice. 

Being clear about what you want helps you to see opportunities where you might not have otherwise. I talk more about the science behind this i.e. the reticular activation system in the mind chapter of my sleep book which you can download here.

There are so many benefits to mentally rehearsing - you can anticipate potential problems and solve them beforehand. It also makes your outcomes more clear and specific - breaking it down into smaller steps and then turning it into an action plan. This process then encourages you to ask yourself: what resources do I have to achieve my outcome - money, role models, personal skills and talents?

Recognise Your Destination

How will you know when you’ve achieved your desired outcomes? What will you see, hear and feel? How will it impact those around you? What are you doing now that is serving you well that you can continue doing?

Wishing You Health and Fitness Success!

I hope you’ve gained some tangible steps to move forward with your health and fitness goals and desires. However, if you feel completely stuck or don't know where to even begin or just want to be supported through the process - read on! 

Your Health and Fitness Visioning Session

In this 90 mins session, we will:

  • Gain clarity on what a health and fitness lifestyle would look like for you
  • The biggest limiting/disempowering belief stopping you from achieving this vision
  • Leave knowing exactly what you need to do next to bring this vision to life

First, book a free wellbeing call to see if we're a good fit. 

Visioning Session

(90 minutes)

£89.00

Value: £150.00

You Save: £61.00 (40%)

Diary
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© 2018-2019 Pegasus Wellbeing Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Chronic Sleep Deprivation: What’s It Really Costing You?

3 Common Mistakes and the Long-Term 
Consequences We All Want to Avoid

Worried about your lack of sleep? Perhaps you're feeling exhausted throughout the day, can't think straight because of "brain fog" or there's niggling physical health symptoms? Occasional sleep deprivation is normal. However, when it becomes the norm (or chronic), our bodies do warn us. How loud do these warning bells need to ring, before we listen?

How different would your life be, if you experienced deep refreshing sleep night after night?

The kind of quality sleep you experience on your very best days - that gives you mental clarity, physical energy and emotional wellbeing. Sad to say, days like these may feel like a distant memory for some of us. Let's put it right.

In this blog, we'll explore:

  • The difference between sleep deprivation and insomnia
  • 3 common sleep mistakes and their long term impact on your mental and physical health
  • How much sleep do we actually need
  • Sleep quality and sleep cycles
  • Steps you can take right now to super-charge you performance and wellbeing by simply sleeping better

How to Read This Blog

If you're just curious:

  • Feel free to skim and take in whatever you like

If you want to improve the quality of your sleep:

  • You don't want every detail just the 'big picture'
  • Check out the Actions to take right now at the end of each mistake 

If you want to geek out on the detail:

  • Be sure to check out the highlighted 'delve deeper box' which explains the details and theory

If you suffer from chronic insomnia and need practical steps 

  • Pay particular attention to the resources at the end

What's the Difference Between Sleep Deprivation and Insomnia?

There are many types of sleep disorders - over a hundred in fact! We'll focus on some of the most common here.

Sleep Deprivation 

Not giving yourself the opportunity to sleep despite having the ability to sleep.

Acute Insomnia

You experience no sleep or reduced total sleep compared to usual. Typically, this lasts one or two days and the cause may be something obvious like stress, worry or social activity. Most of us will probably experience this from time to time throughout our lives.

Chronic Insomnia

You're unable to get enough sleep either in length or quality despite having the opportunity to sleep. This is more serious because it’s no longer occasional but persists over a long time. 

The Good News - Sleep Deprivation Can Easily Be Fixed

So as we've seen from the sleep explanations above, sleep deprivation is of our own doing. It's a choice we make - not giving ourselves the opportunity to sleep despite being able to sleep.

What's the trade-off we're making in terms of our health and wellbeing? Why would we want to do this to ourselves?

Here's my top 3 common mistakes and their implications.

Fortunately we can easily put these right. Are you willing? Good, let's get started.

Mistake #1 - Not Prioritising Sleep

When you're constantly juggling, trying to carve back time, it's so easy to "dip into" your sleep time.

Say for example, you on average get 5 hours of quality sleep per night - whereas, you know you need about 8 hours quality sleep to feel refreshed and energised. That adds up to 21 hours of sleep debt per week, 84 hours per month and a whopping 1000+ hours per year.

What is the true cost of this sleep debt on your life? Well, the physical health impact includes increased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer and even premature death. 

From a mental health point of view, sleep problems could be the culprit or a contributing factor to anxiety and depression. It can lead to cognitive decline, especially in later years, such as Alzheimer's disease. 

There is also the social and economic impact of chronic sleep deprivation and insomnia. More on this as part of mistakes #2 and #3.

Sleep is about basic survival just like breathing. Yet, our western culture and lifestyles don't always support sleep. I can't tell you the number of times I've heard people boasting about functioning on very little or no sleep. Dare I say lack of sleep is even "encouraged" or even "expected" especially in the corporate world by way of "putting in the hours". It's just not seen as important enough and this needs to change.

It's precisely this kind of short-term thinking (project deadlines etc), that leads to long-term problems (like sick leave due to stress and illness). Many corporate businesses now have Wellbeing programmes and I'm glad employee wellbeing is being recognised as important not least because of the significant impact it has on productivity and performance. Not to sound too cynical but I've seen the "how to manage stress" advice - however well intentioned, it doesn't typically go as far as to look at the underlying causes, including company culture and expectations. This may be in the form of long working hours, socialising after work , especially with alcohol, long commutes or generally travelling a lot as part of your role -  all of which are likely to have  a knock on effect on sleep.

Actions to Take Right Now

  1. Shift your mindset by adopting this belief: Sleep is very important - quality as well as quantity. Ask yourself: how much sleep on average am I getting per night? Score the quality of your sleep (1 = poor and 10 excellent). This doesn't need to be an exact science - go with your gut feel answer. It's a useful baseline to start from and make improvements.
  2. FIGURE OUT WHEN YOU NEED TO GO TO BED to get the quality of sleep you personally need. Do this by waking up at the same time everyday and gradually going to bed slightly earlier each day (10-15 mins). You'll know when you're optimal bedtime when you wake up feeling refreshed and often without the need for an alarm clock!
  3. An hour before bed, turn off all your devices, dim the lights and unwind, getting your mind and body ready for sleep. Hot baths and showers are also recommended.

Mistake #2 - Underestimating the Wider Impact of Chronic Sleep Deprivation & Insomnia

Sleep deprivation and chronic insomnia has the potential to impact every aspect of our lives- this is particularly true for our relationships!

Ever feel like you're merely "going through the motions" - that you can't fully be present in your family and friends lives. 

Feel like you're missing out? You try to find more time but never quite do.

Or you simply lack the energy to spend quality time with loved ones? How can you give to others when you yourself are feeling depleted?

I believe, the most important thing you can do is to address your underlying lack of sleep. This will give you the energy and focus needed for your relationships. Whilst you're doing this, there are some simple yet very effective steps you can take to improve and see noticeable positive effects on your relationships right away.

Actions to Take Right Now

  1. Quality not Quantity - Spending lots of time doesn't necessarily mean better relationships. Carving out quality time on a regular and consistent basis is key here. You're building up the "emotional bank account" as Stephen Covey nicely puts it. This will make your relationships more resilient, supportive and connected.
  2. Set an intention for those relationships. For example: "With my daughter I want to have more fun, be more connected and supportive."
  3. How can you live these intentions more fully in your most important relationships? Start with your core circle and then apply to your wider relationships. Put quality time in the diary, talk about the kind of quality time activities that you'd both like to do and then go do and enjoy!

Mistake #3 - Not Making the Connection Between Deep Refreshing Sleep and High Performance

We're missing a serious trick if we haven't made this connection yet. Sleep multiplies your effectiveness in business and life. Sleep helps with all of the following:

  • Better focus
  • More clarity 
  • Better memory
  • Less mistakes
  • Increased productivity
  • Better able to learn

I'm a strong believer that energy, vitality and general wellbeing are crucial ingredients for creativity, problem-solving, inspiring and leading others.

In may seem counter-intuitive but by improving the quality of your sleep along with getting the quantity of sleep you actually need - your personal effectiveness will be multiplied!

Sleep is one crucial component along with nutrition and exercise.

Actions to Take Right Now

  1. 60-90 mins burst of Productivity - After a good night's sleep, give yourself a chunk of time  - I recommend 60-90 mins to do an important task. Schedule it in your diary, make sure you're uninterrupted, turn off any distractions (notifications/phones) etc. Time yourself if that helps you to build discipline until it becomes a habit. You'll notice how much better your perform - greater clarity, focus and execution . Be sure to take a 5-10 min break doing something relaxing and then get right back to it. You'll be amazed at how simple yet effective this is!
  2. TAKE REGULAR STRETCH BREAKS - At least every hour get up from your desk to stretch your muscles (assuming you sit at a traditional desk as opposed to a standing one). This  alone will have a positive long-term impact on your health including countering the negative effects of sitting for long periods. Musculoskeletal problems (including back pain, neck and upper limb problems) are one of the biggest reasons for workplace sickness.

How Much Sleep Do I Need Anyway?

The latest research shows that most healthy adults need anywhere between 7-9 hours of sleep. Surprised? How much sleep are you getting?

If you want to delve deeper, read the contents in the highlighted box below.

Delve Deeper Box

No Sleep

Is this even possible? For a short period maybe, but not in the long term.

It's more likely that you feel like you haven't slept at all. Stage 1 of sleep (as you'll see next)  is light sleep that may only last a few minutes. If you wake after stage 1, it may feel like you haven't slept at all!

Sleep Cycle

Our bodies have lots of natural cycles, including for sleep, This is called the Circadian rhythm, which is our 24 hour sleep/wake cycle.

Scientists have discovered that whilst we sleep, our brain goes through several phases of activity.

There are 5 stages of sleep with 2 distinct parts: Non-Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep (Stages 1-4) and then the REM cycle (Stage 5).

The first sleep cycle, typically takes about 90 mins to go through all the stages (one complete cycle).  

Sleep cycles after that, average between 100 to 120 minutes. Typically, we’ll go through 4-5 sleep cycles per night.

Short summary of the 5 stages of sleep

Stage 1 - Light sleep where you can easily be woken. Eye and muscle activity slows down. Your brain produces alpha and theta waves. You might feel a sensation of falling followed by your muscles contracting. 

Stage 2 - Your eye movement stops, brain waves slow down with occasional/sudden burst of activity. Your body temperature drops and heart rate slows as your body prepares for deep sleep.

Stage 3 -  The start of deep sleep, brain produces slower delta waves, eye and muscle activity stops.

Stage 4 - Deeper sleep with brain producing more delta waves, body restores itself, growth and repair of muscles and tissues, building up energy and boosting your immune system. Most difficult stage to wake you up from.

Stage 5  - Eyes rapidly move from side to side and remain closed, lots of brain activity, dreaming stage, blood pressure and heart rate increase, shallow and fast breathing.

Rapid Eye Movement (REM) in Stage 5 is an important stage for learning and memory. Your brain consolidates and processes information from the day before to be stored in your long-term memory. It's an important stage for focus and concentration.

Sleep Quality

As we've just seen from the stages of sleep: 

  • Getting that deep refreshing sleep is key to feeling rejuvenated the next day.
  • Quality of sleep is just as important, if not more important, than quantity of sleep

Here's to You Experiencing Refreshing Deep Sleep More Consistently!

Implement the actions steps recommended above and let us know how you get on in the comments section below.

More to Sleep Than You Thought?

For me too -  especially when I first delved into this topic, which was  more out of necessity rather than curiosity. You see, I struggled with chronic insomnia on and off for about 10 years.

After a lot of trial and error, I've discovered and formulated my Deep Sleep Toolkit, which helps me to consistently get the rejuvenating quality and quantity of sleep I need to perform at my best in a sustainable way.

I've taken all that learning, research and experimentation and populated it into my ebook Tired & Tested! Expel the Gremlins Causing Your Chronic Sleep Deprivation and Insomnia, a step by step guide to consistent deep sleep. It is so much more than a sleep ebook - it is about creating the wellbeing lifestyle that propels effectiveness so you can live 'A Life On Purpose.'

Ready to Start Your Journey? Purchase Your Copy Today!

TIRED & TESTED EBOOK
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Disclaimer: This blog is for information purposes only and must not be construed as professional advice.

© 2018-2019 Pegasus Wellbeing Ltd. All Rights Reserved.