Success Mindset

What I’ve Learned in 6 Months of Getting Back to Shit Hot Shape

This year I have focused HARD on getting my ass back in tip-top shape.

I’ve always prided myself on being SUPER fit and hot (and modest, clearly) but the truth is that the latter part of last year saw a downward slide into the DREADED land of being a frumpy Mum who used to be fit.

I basically ate my way around America from November through to end January, culminating in a month of VERY fine living in Soho, NYC, in which I kidded myself that it was just the extra layers of clothing making me look so … well fed.

(and indeed I was!)

I remember the day I faced the truth; I stood naked after my shower and actually LOOKED and what I saw I was NOT happy with. I was bigger than I’d ever been except for directly post pregnancy!

So, I set to work.

And what I found was –

Fuck me.

All that bullshit about it being harder when you’re older was actually TRUE. WAHHHH!

So in the interests of shared learning and truth, here is what I’ve learned over the past 6 months or so of experimenting with getting super lean at 35.

1. Calories DO Count

I bought into this nonsense for a while there as a Personal Trainer back in the day, but the truth behind this statement is that calories count in the sense that QUALITY counts.

Where I got it wrong as a ‘healthy / paleo’ eater and where a lot of people do is I kidded myself that because it’s healthy I can eat more … and more … and more. And so I did.

Over the past 6 months I’ve reduced my total food intake by about 40% and feel so much better for it. I was eating more in a typical meal than a grown man, PLUS I was having snacks and often second helpings. Too much food = extra fat no matter which way you spin it.

2. CARDIO Does Count

This is another thing I bought into for a while as a PT, the idea that it’s ALL about the weight training and you don’t need cardio for fat loss. Something I’ve learned about success – be it fitness or business – is that anytime someone says it’s ALL about ‘x’ then no, it’s not. Not to say ‘x’ can get screwed (necessarily) but it’s never ALL about ONE THING.

I’ve seen over and over again, for over 15 years, that when I want to get in SHIT hot lean shape, I NEED cardio. The “catch” – slow steady state cardio as a day-to-day habit does NOT do it for me (or most people).

I love a big long walk once a week or so, and it’s great for meditative purposes, but for day to day cardio what works for ME and a lot of people who want to strip a few layers is 20-30 minutes of high-intensity interval cardio.

I often use this time to listen to training audios and learn, which is an added bonus.

I DO definitely still train weights – 3-5 days a week; mainly heavy lifting with short rest times. Works for me. When I was fattening up I was just doing the weights and not the cardio.

3. Sugar and Carbs Suck Balls (even though they can be awesome)

Sigh. I REALLY wish there was some way I could believe sugar can be part of my daily diet. Don’t get me wrong … I don’t mean I want to eat crap all day long … but for so long I told myself ‘I can get away with’ eating sweet treats … maybe I COULD when I was a 22-year old obsessive gym bunny who exercised up to 6 hours a day, but no.

I can’t.

Not now.

SOB. Plus, it’s SUCH a spiral; the more I eat the more I just want it and the truth {{{SIGH}}} is I DO feel so much better off it!

Interestingly I notice that when I’m at times out of alignment in my life (or biz) I tend to reach for the sweets more. Someone suggested to me once that it’s when I feel life is not sweet that I want to eat sugar, and I’d say that’s true. So part of my ‘quit sugar’ process is actively living a life I love and doing biz, life and me on my terms … which I actively seek to do anyway, so that’s nice 🙂

What got me stripping the fat off MEGA quickly (in conjunction with #5 below) was cutting ALL sugar Monday – Saturday, then having a (moderate) treat ‘eat anything I want’ day on Sundays.

During the week the only thing even close to sugar was a couple of berries with some (plain) Greek yoghurt late at night. The very cool thing here is that living like this, once I get over the ‘wahhhhhh poor me’ side of things is SO much easier than having all these sneaky energy crashing treats all day and feeling like crap because of it!

4. Most of the Time, You’re Kidding Yourself

This was big for me, and I pretty much covered it above re the sugar and the cardio.

What I had to learn though is that it’s an ONGOING thing for me … I do this in all areas of my life as well; I get results i.e. from dropping the sugar and then I relax and tell myself it’s okay, I can have a little bit now.

Long story short? No. NO NO NO NO NO!!! I don’t mean you have to live some kind of strict monk-like life; it’s not about having all these rules even though I know it sounds like that.

But what it’s actually about is who do you want to BE? You have to just BE a certain way in order to live with certain outcomes.

You can’t do some kind of quick fix short-term thing – in business or in fat loss – then expect that you’ll be able to return to your previous habits and maintain the results!

You can’t cheat the system, so don’t try to. Just change who you are in the first place.

For me, if I’m being honest I don’t WANT to be someone who sneaks sugar all day long. It’s such a hard habit (still) for me to break, but it just doesn’t make me feel good physically or emotionally and so those reasons alone, never mind the weight loss, are SO worth it.

5. Intermittent Fasting ROCKS (and kills sugar cravings)

Okay – this is a BIG one … I remember writing a blog post or two saying Intermittent Fasting (IF) SUCKS and NOBODY SHOULD DO IT, especially women with a background in eating disorders.


Mind you, if it does mess with your head / result in binge eating then DER, don’t do it!

For me I am so freaking in love with this way of eating and don’t see any reason why I’d ever change it. It allows me to still be the big eater I love to be, to eat guilt-free, and I flat out just FEEL better as well as the fact that it’s made staying lean an breeze.

I fast from bedtime (midnight usually) until 3pm the next day.

From waking I have BCAA’s with water (Branch Chain Amino Acids) every hour or so, particularly before and after my workout which usually takes place around 10am. I also have greens powders sometimes through my fasting, and PLENTY of (mostly black) coffee.

The weird thing is .. my energy and mental focus is WAY higher this way. On the odd occasion I do eat breakfast and I do NOT feel better for it. If you are thinking of trying fasting, do your research first and do it properly. There is a great free PDF you can get from Precision Nutrition, on this.

As far as what I do eat: I eat about 6-8 fistfuls of greens (veg and salad) with a fist of protein and a few nuts or cheese at 3pm, similar for dinner, then plain Greek yoghurt with a few berries, or a Paleo ball or some dark chocolate or something late at night. I drink vats of coffee and I drink red wine 360 nights out of 365. Sometimes I have a little leftover meat and nuts as a late night snack as well. I do eat my late night stuff RIGHT before bed. I don’t care about rules saying you shouldn’t, so no need to remind me of ’em 🙂

6. I Am Hot if I Say I’m Hot (and so are you)

Let’s talk less practical strategy now and more internal.

When I was gaining weight and feeling like shit it became a vicious cycle of, well, feeling like shit. And then starting to notice I LOOKED like shit … then focusing on that … losing motivation … downward spiral … etc.

One of the things that makes an UNREASONABLE difference in terms of getting and maintaining results and keeping me ‘in the zone’ is actively choosing to believe I’m hot and fit and that I feel great as well as look great.

Long story short … you’ll believe (and act on / further create) what you perceive!

7. If You’re Happy and You Know It You’ll Eat Less

I mentioned alignment before, and this is critical.

The more you actively choose to live a life you love and say no to shit that does not make your heart sing whether in business or life, the happier and more at peace you’ll be and you will tend to take better care of yourself in all areas.

Of course you might still need to create some habits, discipline, learn some stuff etc, but seriously: alignment and choosing how you spend your life is pretty powerful when it comes to the spin-on effect … which in turn dictates alignment and happiness 🙂

So, do you want your life to be a downward spiral where everything gets worse over time, or an upward one?

You DO get to choose remember!

8. Change Happens Fast. This is Not a Reason to Be a Happy Little Piggy Today

This is another lead on from the kidding myself part. As a PT for 15 years and someone who has got herself ‘super lean’ many times over, I know that change can happen SO FUCKING FAST.

Even now – last week I was off track again (daily sneaky sugar), this week I pulled my finger out and within 2.5 DAYS I had abs again. That’s how quickly sugar free and intermittent fasting works; coupled with some serious sweat sessions and also not to underrate the fact that my body is pretty well conditioned to react fast after all the years of training etc.

The ‘downside’ to having this awareness is that I was letting day after day after day pass by telling myself that if I REALLY wanted to I could ‘fix it’ all in 2 weeks.

Which was partially true for ME (in reality it took about 5-6 weeks this time around for me to shed the 5-6 extra kgs I’d been carrying, and since then I’ve been mostly maintaining, veering a little up or down depending) … but the point was I wasn’t doing it.

So I guess I didn’t really want it, or just hadn’t FULLY COMMITTED.

9. Being an Asshole Motivates Me

In the end I had to admit I wasn’t going to change unless I DID commit FULLY.

For me – and this is true in all areas of my life as well – I realised I had to go total asshole on myself. I stripped down naked and gave myself a good butt-kicking. Not in a hateful way, more ‘enough is a-fucking-nuff’ sort of a way. That is NOT who I wanted to be, and it was time to change, so get your fucking act together bitch and DO THE FUCKING WORK.

Etc. On a day to day basis now, what I find is that when I’m not already in the zone or finding it easy to stay on track it does NOT work for me to be ‘nice’ to myself. It DOES work for me to kick my own butt mentally (and then physically), and really – is it nicer to tell yourself it’s okay, you don’t have to, while you get fatter, lazier and feel like shit? Well, that’s a very personal choice, but for me no – that was NOT being nice to myself to let myself off the hook.

Nice is doing stuff that maybe I don’t feel like at first but that ultimately SERVE A HIGHER PURPOSE and power for me.

10. It Really Does Take Daily Focus and Attention. Here’s How to LOVE That.

You will always end up creating outcomes that are a product of who you are.

As I just said to a client on the phone you’re not going to look back from now and say ‘oh, look how fit / hot I am because of that 6-week magic bullet detox I did’, and in business you’re not going to say your success is because of how you went crazy marketing or selling for a month or whatever, or you did that special program or launch.

It will be because you showed up.

Day after fucking day.

And you did the work.

As always, in the end it will be because of who you BE, not what you do or did.

You know?

For me I had to try and worm my way out of this truth for 6 months or so before I finally hit my enough is enough point and committed to who I needed to BE once more to get back to shit hot shape, and stay there.

So … my question to you today is who do YOU want to be?

In business?

In fitness?

In life?

Whatever you do will ALWAYS be dictated by what goes on inside your head, the choices you make and the way you actively cultivate a discipline and mindset of self-belief and success, or don’t.

You’re either moving forward or you ARE moving backward.