Tuesday, 3 November 2009

What's your song?

I was watching the rerun of WALL.E with my son the other day and spent the rest of the day singing the songs from Hello Dolly that form the soundtrack to much of the movie.

How many times do you listen to the radio in the car or leave the house in the morning and end up having the last song you heard play over, and over, and over, and over, in your mind.

I have always been interested in music and can map out the events of my life by song. My ipod library is pretty eclectic these days, and I love it that so many songs of my youth have now been released as MP3s.

So, my question to you is? What would the soundtrack to your life be? If you could pick one or two songs that give you the oomph factor, what would they be?

I have three songs running at the moment which I call on at different times to give me the push I need.

When I need extra kick ass confidence, it's always Jennifer Lopez's Ain't It Funny Remix.

Some people find this a strange choice, but it's more to do with her "nobody messes with me" sassy attitude in the vid than to do with the message in the song. That beat in my head makes me walk down the road with my head held high, my shoulders back, looking as if I have a great secret that nobody will ever know but everyone would love to find out.

When I'm in need of inner confidence, it has to be Joe Cocker's You Are So Beautiful. It's a message to myself that I can do and be anything I choose, if I just believe in myself.

And where would I be without Barbra Streisand's "Before The Parade Passes By".  The message in the song and the build up in tempo from the start makes me feel like going out and conquering the world. For too long I held myself back, but not anymore.

So what's your song? What would make you get out of bed in the morning and have a really good day? What would give you drive and determination? What truly inspires you?
Let me know.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Hypnotherapy - one of the secrets of my success

Don't tell anyone, but I have a trick up my sleeve when I'm in a hypnotherapy session.

I use a hypnokit and headphones when talking to you for the hypno bit. The kit allows me to simultaneously channel my voice into your unconscious, play you beautiful music, and cut out background noise for a deeper and more enjoyable relaxation.

I can also record a session which can then be transferred to disc in a couple of minutes.

Clever, or what?

Who would have thought that I, of all people, would become such a techie? Okay, maybe my avid viewing of The Gadget Show each week might give that away, and I am "she who is in charge of updating all ipods in the household", but I still can't read a map without having to turn it in the direction in which we are going (actually that's another story and one that's coming to a blog near you very soon!). Nor can I fix the spacing on my blog when it looks okay on the preview and takes on a life of its own when published (see the word "transferred" above as an example).

So there you are. My hypnokit. Always wanted one of those USP thingies! (I am of course referring to a Unique Selling Point, as opposed to Unbelievably Stupid Person who cannot sort her own blog).

Tuesday's sunset

I was walking through the house on Tuesday afternoon when the sunset caught my eye through the lounge window.

I'd been feeling sorry for myself, having just returned from a week of glorious sunshine in Mallorca, but the sight of that beautiful sunset lifted my spirits and a sensation of peace flooded through me.

Sometimes nature is the best reminder of the good things we have in our lives.

Is there no fun left in this world?

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Why are married women usually heavier than single women?

"Because single women come home, see what's in the fridge and go to bed.

 Married women come home, see what's in the bed and go to the fridge."

Just loving this book "Why Men Want To Have Sex & Women Need Love".

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Wally's Story

This inspirational story was told by Wayne Dyer at the I Can Do It conference in London a couple of weeks ago.

'No one can make you serve customers well. That’s because great service is a choice.'

Harvey Mackay tells a wonderful story about a cab driver that proved this point.

He was waiting in line for a ride at the airport. When a cab pulled up, the first thing Harvey noticed was that the taxi was polished to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in a white shirt, black tie, and freshly pressed black slacks, the cab driver jumped out and rounded the car to open the back passenger door for Harvey .

He handed me a laminated card and said: ‘I’m Wally, your driver. While I’m loading your bags in the trunk I’d like you to read my mission statement.’

Taken aback, Harvey read the card. It said:

Wally’s Mission Statement:
To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment.

This blew Harvey away. Especially when he noticed that the inside of the cab matched the outside. Spotlessly clean!

As he slid behind the wheel, Wally said, ‘Would you like a cup of coffee? I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf.’

Harvey said jokingly, ‘No, I’d prefer a soft drink.’

Wally smiled and said, ‘No problem. I have a cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke, water and orange juice.’

Almost stuttering, Harvey said, ‘I’ll take a Diet Coke.’

Handing him his drink, Wally said, ‘If you’d like something to read, I have The Wall Street Journal, Time, Sports Illustrated and USA Today.’

As they were pulling away, Wally handed me another laminated card. ‘These are the stations I get and the music they play, if you’d like to listen to the radio.’

And as if that weren’t enough, Wally told Harvey that he had the air conditioning on and asked if the temperature was comfortable for him. Then he advised Harvey of the best route to his destination for that time of day. He also let him know that he’d be happy to chat and tell him about some of the sights or, if Harvey preferred, to leave him with his own thoughts.

‘Tell me, Wally,’ Harvey asked the driver, ‘Have you always served customers like this?’

Wally smiled into the rear view mirror. ‘No, not always. In fact, it’s only been in the last two years. My first five years driving, I spent most of my time complaining like all the rest of the cabbies do. Then I heard the personal growth guru, Wayne Dyer, on the radio one day.

He had just written a book called You’ll See It When You Believe It. Dyer said that if you get up in the morning expecting to have a bad day, you’ll rarely disappoint yourself. He said:-

"Stop complaining! Differentiate yourself from your competition. Don’t be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain.Eagles soar above the crowd."

'That hit me right between the eyes,' said Wally. 'Dyer was really talking about me. I was always quacking and complaining, so I decided to change my attitude and become an eagle. I looked around at the other cabs and their drivers. The cabs were dirty, the drivers were unfriendly, and the customers were unhappy. So I decided to make some changes. I put in a few at a time. When my customers responded well, I did more.'

‘I take it that has paid off for you,’ Harvey said.

‘It sure has,’ Wally replied. ‘My first year as an eagle, I doubled my income from the previous year. This year I’ll probably quadruple it. You were lucky to get me today. I don’t sit at cabstands anymore. My customers call me for appointments on my cell phone or leave a message on my answering machine. If I can’t pick them up myself, I get a reliable cabbie friend to do it and I take a piece of the action.’

Wally was phenomenal. He was running a limo service out of a Yellow Cab. I’ve probably told that story to more than fifty cab drivers over the years, and only two took the idea and ran with it. Whenever I go to their cities, I give them a call. The rest of the drivers quacked like ducks and told me all the reasons they couldn’t do any of what I was suggesting.

Wally the Cab Driver made a different choice. He decided to stop quacking like ducks and start soaring like eagles.

I thought this story was truly inspirational.

Ask yourself, what do you choose to be? A duck or an eagle? Do you quack or do you soar?

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Relationship tales

"Shall we try swapping positions tonight?" he smirked.
"Great idea!" she replied.
"You stand by the ironing board and I'll sit on the sofa and fart!"

Extracted from the book Why Men Want Sex and Women Need Love by Allan Pease.

Air On A G-String

I was watching the underwear fashion section on GMTV this morning and it got me thinking that you can tell a lot about a woman from the type of knickers she wears.

Ask yourself, are you a "thong" or a "Bridget Jones Granny Pants" type of gal?

Personally, I think we all have a little naughtiness tucked away in our drawers (chest of drawers, that is) as well as the old grey baggies that are never intended to see the light of day. And our choice of the day depends on which period of our life we are in.

I was once very much in the G-String category. Of the "Does she wear it, or floss with it?" variety! The smaller the better as far as I was concerned. Maybe it was an air hostess thing, flying to all those hot countries, but I certainly liked to feel the breeze (totally understand the boxers v jockeys, guys). Or maybe it all came down to comfort. The lighter the thong, the better.

These days I am more into smoothing the lumps and bumps and a new type of comfort which comes from the knowledge that nothing is getting past these babies! My M&S magic knickers, in a fetching shade of beige, are never far from reach, my security blanket against the world. Would I swap them for a bejewelled all singing, all dancing miniscule thong? Not on my life!

There are obviously a lot of women out there exactly like me, because the range of magic knickers is getting bigger (or should I say more extensive) by the day. In fact they are taking underwear departments by storm. Where once the 'control garments' were tucked away in a quiet corner, these days the store mannequins wear their industrial strength underwear centre stage, standing on their podiums with pride, hand on hip with a "Come and get me, boys - if you dare!" sneer on their lips.

So this morning came the answer to all our dreams. Ladies, I give you the new frontier.

M&S have brought out a new style of magic knicker, with seductive lace panelling down the sides and a sexy zip down the front. It's now called Shapewear.

Bridget Jones, eat your heart out!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Look How Far You've Come

February 2009

We arrive at Geneva Airport and find our transport for the slopes. The minibus pulls out of the airport, crosses the border into France and begins to wind its way up into the mountains.

The driver leans over and switches on the radio. He tunes into a local French station and the haunting strains of Dire Straits drift over me and wrap me in a warm blanket of familiarity.

“These mist covered mountains..."

I gaze out the window at the snow topped mountains, the peaks barely visible for the mist rolling in.

I sit back and daydream.

It’s November 1995. I’m gazing out the window of the Neilson’s Ski Holidays coach that’s taking the reps and ski guides over to the mountains for the winter season. We are all headed for different resorts but for now we are all together, some chatting, some sleeping, some sitting quietly thinking of the months to come.

It’s eight months since I asked for a job whilst on a skiing holiday with friends in Isola 2000. And pure luck that I found myself in a bubble lift face to face with the head man of Neilson’s. Sometimes you have to give life a little push and seize the opportunity – after all, no-one’s going to do it for you.

Someone hands a cassette to the Neilson’s driver. Brothers In Arms – Dire Straits. The haunting melody fills the coach and we all fall silent in awe at our first view of the distant mountains.

“These mist covered mountains...”

Suddenly it was worth the hassle of getting from Edinburgh to Luton (no Easyjet in those days), getting kitted out with uniforms and then piling onto a coach with all our worldly belongings to make a long and uncomfortable journey through the night across the channel and down through France into Switzerland.

It was the start of six magical months as a ski rep. In my case, in Verbier, playground to the rich and famous.
Verbier wasn’t without its challenges. In those days it was up to us to devise our own apr├Ęs ski programme (and make a decent profit for the company). Verbier was rich, standoffish,and not interested in rowdy ski parties. However, little by little I broke down the barriers and the locals let me in on their world (or part of it at least).

I didn’t ski every day. Funny how, when you have it on your doorstep, you can take it or leave it. And with Verbier being a top class resort, I was always aware of just how good a lot of the skiers were. It was made worse by the fact my uniform had “The No 1 Name In Skiing” in very distinctive colours emblazoned across the back, and I always felt I should be tackling an icy mogul field or be waist deep in fresh powder rather than doing a sedate “sort of parallel” descent down an intermediate run.

But bit by bit my skiing improved and in the ensuing years, long after hanging up my rep’s clipboard and microphone, I enjoyed many a ski holiday with friends.

And then one day I got married, had a son, and my skis lay cocooned in their ski bag gathering dust in the rafters of the garage. My boot bag sat in a dusty corner, buried under the junk amassed over what seemed like a lifetime of hoarding.

I was once so proud of my beautiful skis. 190’s.Long, sleek and slender, the length displaying to the world that I knew what I was doing. A badge of honour carried over my shoulder.

I had chosen them carefully during a ski test on an Austrian glacier one May, where I had the pick of the new skis for that season. I had clicked into the bindings and the skis felt light as air, curving, gliding, propelling me down the mountain with a rush of pure adrenaline and elation. They were the proverbial glass slipper, the perfect fit. And colour co-ordinated - my skis, my boots, my poles, my all-in-one ski suits.

For a few brief moments I put my skis aside in favour of snowboarding (in the early 90’s it was super cool to be out there with the hip and trendy boarding set) but I always came back to my skis. I didn’t get the same buzz from boarding. Just massive bruises and knees like footballs.

“Et maintenant.....” The radio announces an old song by Michel Sardou and interrupts my reverie. My eyes focus on the present day. We are arriving in Morzine in the Portes de Soleil region of France.

It’s been fourteen years since my last ski holiday. What will it be like?

We collect our short, fat skis from the hire shop (I was right not to bring my antiquated 190’s. They would have looked totally out of place, and worse still, they no longer matched my new 2 piece outfit ).

We took the bubble to the top of the mountain, emerging into the sunshine beside one of the sun terraces. I tightened my boots, slipped my gloved hands through the straps of the poles and stepped into my bindings. Click. Click. I pushed off and that familiar rush of adrenaline mixed with pure elation washed over me.

I didn’t tackle the icy mogul field. I stayed well clear of the powder. And at times my skis were more snowplough than parallel. But there’s nothing in the world that beats the feeling of satisfaction when you reach the bottom of a run and look back up to see where you’ve come from.

And what a great metaphor for life!

Because you should always take the time to look back and see how far you’ve come. Just as you must always have a clear vision of where you’re going.

After all, if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Hallelujah - Alexandra Made It To No1

Just as Obama last week, Alexandra Burke achieved her dream of winning the X Factor.

She achieved it through hard work, through focus and through knowing what she wanted and where she wanted to be.

The knock back she received three years ago only served to spur her on and make her more determined, and she used that time wisely, honing her skills, working towards the day she knew would come.

We can all learn a lesson from Alexandra. When you get a knockback, you have a choice. You can lie down or you can come back fighting.

Most of the men I admire today came back from nothing. Paul McKenna was down to his last few pennies, Anthony Robbins built a successful business and lost it all, leaving him with less than nothing. Simon Cowell was virtually bankrupt, Victor Mark Hansen was declared bankrupt by the courts. Richard Branson had many failures. Peter Jones hit rock bottom.

In other words, there’s hope for all of us. As the saying goes, “Once you hit rock bottom, there’s only one place to go and that’s up”.

So, if you’re going through hard times, start asking yourself what you really want. Take the time to listen, and you might find the answer surprising.

Then, once you know what you want, TAKE ACTION. Start focusing on the future, and think of how you can get there.

What’s the one thing you can do today that will bring you one step closer to your goal? It doesn’t have to be a big thing. Start with baby steps.

Stu Mittleman, the world record holder for Ultra Distance running, said

“I never ran 1000 miles.
I could never have done that.
I ran one mile 1000 times.”

So start with those baby steps.
But whatever you decide to do, START.

Weight Loss - What's Realistic For You?

Do you, like me, pour over the latest issue of Heat or Hello, wishing you looked like the model on the cover?

Well, guess what, so does the model! They don’t look like that in real life. They’ve been airbrushed to within an inch of their lives. You only have to look at the “Stars Without Makeup” features (or work as an air hostess and carry them on your flight) to know that they are actually human.  Admit it. Who hasn’t looked at Cameron Diaz or VB and secretly felt smug because your skin is so much better than theirs?

Let’s face it. If we “ordinary” people had an entourage of helpers looking after us – personal chef, personal trainer, nanny, stylist, makeup artist, hairdresser and many more to get us out of the house every morning – wouldn’t we look a million dollars?

Have any of you ever had a professional shot taken? I have. I once went to an agency in Glasgow along with a friend and our mums. Of course that was the day I woke up to find the first spot of the decade radiating out at me from the bathroom mirror.

Anyway, we rolled up in our day clothes, no makeup on, looking decidedly average. But within half an hour we were primped and preened, full face on (the cement still drying), hair teased and twisted into some semblance of order. We had no idea what we looked like. There was a distinct lack of mirrors. I took one look at my friend’s face with the makeup laden on by a trowel and my heart sank.

I was whisked away to my studio, where I was given various what can only be described as “things” to wear on my top half (my bottom half in jeans and boots out of range of the viewfinder).

In one shot I’m standing with a black plastic bin bag wrapped around me.

In another, I am wearing a flying jacket pulled seductively off one shoulder, but let me tell you it felt a million miles away from sexy.

We finished the shoot and I headed back to reception to meet the rest of the gang. Sitting in the bright lights of reception, traces of pan makeup still showing as streaks down our necks and lipstick that these days would pass for a permanent tattoo, we began to wonder what we’d done.

An hour passed. We were getting more and more fed up. Another hour passed. We were deliberating whether to get up and walk out, but curiosity got the better of us.

Finally, we were shown into the screening room, and there we were, on the screen, larger than life for all to see.

And we looked amazing!

My black bin bag looked like spun silk, my hair elegant and understated, my makeup perfect, my skin dewy and blemish free.

My mum, with a white feather boa draped around her shoulders, would have given Ava Gardner in her hey day a run for her money.

Of course we bought the photos. Of course they cost a fortune. Of course my husband had a fit at the amount of money I had spent.

Until he saw the photos. And then he took them into work to show off his perfect wife.

I tell this story because when you decide to lose weight, you have to compare yourself to you. No-one else.
Choose a target weight that is realistic for YOU – size 0 is so overrated anyway – and focus on a time when you were really happy in your skin and felt amazing.

The more you visualise yourself as how you want to be, the more your brain will accept the change as reality, and it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

Be the best YOU can be, spots, warts and all.

And on bad days?

Find a friend with Adobe Photoshop.

Fears and Phobias

Chris is 12 years old. He has been terrified of the dentist for as long as he can remember. Or, more specifically, of the needles. As a baby, he needed lots of injections and he has carried the fear and bad memories of those times throughout his childhood and into his early teens.

At her wits end, his mum calls me to see if I can help.
I meet with Chris. He knows what I’m there for, and he wants to change but he’s understandably nervous. I mention the “D” word and he collapses, sobbing uncontrollably and shaking from head to foot.

I take him through an exercise which involves running the pictures in his mind backwards, and changing things about the memories to make them comical. Because memories can’t hurt us. It’s the emotions we attach to the memories that affect us, and when we wipe out the bad emotions, we are left with nothing more than an old black and white photo that we can either choose to file away or delete.

Our mind loves processes, so it stores information in a filing cabinet in the brain. It likes to link similar memories and keep them in the same place. For positive memories, this is a good thing. But for negative memories, it means that bit by bit your mind is storing a whole host of bad memories, piling emotions one on top of the other, and when we finally blow up or break down, we're feeling not just the emotion from a single event but from all the stored emotions at once.

Fears and phobias are only maintained because we continue to focus on the thing we’re afraid of, and the more we think of it, the worse it gets.

Using Neuro Linguistic Programming (a fancy term for learning how to use your brain effectively) we can “play” with our mind and change our programming to realise that the fear is not as bad as we were making it out to be in our mind.

Chris had a dental appointment the next day. He still felt slightly nervous but he walked straight into the room, sat down in the dentist’s chair and opened his mouth, ready for treatment.

The dentist stood open-mouthed himself. He couldn’t believe it was the same boy.

Many of us have fears and phobias, whether they be of needles, the dentist, spiders, snakes, dogs, flying... the list goes on.

Most fears and phobias are either linked to a specific event in the past or are learned behaviour from someone else. The good news is, using NLP and hypnotherapy, like Chris, you can be rid of your fears once and for all and get on with your life.

Because life is for living, not for fearing.

Read more about fears and phobias on my website

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Our Deepest Fear

'Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate,
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It's our light, not our darkness, that mosts frightens us.
We ask ourselves: who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of the universe.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There is nothing enlightening about shrinking,
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are born to make manifest the glory of the universe
that is within us. It's not just in some of us: it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
And as we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.'

Marianne Williamson

Paul McKenna Weight Loss blog

Two and a half years ago, I lost 28lbs with Paul McKenna’s I Can Make You Thin programme. It was the easiest weight loss system I had ever been on and my life seemed to improve almost overnight. Previously, the most I had lost was 18lbs with weightwatchers, but I put it all back on and more.

In the last two and a half years I have maintained my weight to within + or - 7lbs.

Paul has four golden rules:-

1. Eat when you’re hungry
2. Eat consciously
3. Eat what you want and not what you think you should
4. Stop when you’re full.

That’s it! That’s all.

When I tell people this, they look at me in disbelief. How can you lose weight and eat what you want?

Well, I did. At first, I continued to eat what I would normally eat, but I paid more attention to what I was putting in my mouth, and I got the hang of stopping when I thought I was full. I slowed down my eating and I discovered that there were some foods that I just didn’t like any more. I knew things had changed for the better when I stood in the cafe of Frasers department store and ordered soup and a roll for lunch. Until I opened my mouth, I was going to order a scone and a piece of millionaire’s shortbread, so no-one was more surprised than me when I ordered soup. What’s more, it was delicious.

Suddenly, I had the urge to exercise. I live on the outskirts of Edinburgh and am blessed to have some beautiful walks nearby, so I plugged in my ipod and started walking round the reservoir. I bought myself a pedometer and I diligently recorded my steps in a journal every night.

I was still eating chocolate and chips from time to time, but I wasn’t having cravings, and for the first time ever I was able to eat a couple of squares of chocolate and put the rest of the bar back in the cupboard. After all, naturally thin people eat chocolate, and chips, and pizza – they just know when to stop. I didn’t have to think about food, and I didn’t have to avoid food. Life was much easier.

Eating out was more enjoyable. I could eat anything off the menu as long as I stopped when I felt full. But whereas I would have once picked a creamy pasta sauce, I now found myself naturally drawn to a healthier option. And on the days that I wanted the creamy sauce, I had the creamy sauce and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

For the first six months of my weight loss, the weight dropped off at a steady rate. But, as always, the self sabotage started creeping in. I had a few personal challenges and the chocolate and sweet tooth slipped in unnoticed a little at a time. I was busy getting my business up and running and the walks around the reservoir went from being a regular thing, to the occasional treat, to non-existent (there are only so many times you can blame the weather).

How many of you can relate to this?

Interestingly enough, my weight remained constant. I wasn’t losing weight but I wasn’t gaining it either. The changes I had made were obviously on a much deeper level than anything I had done before.

As a coach and therapist, I fully believe that I have to “walk the walk, and talk the talk”. I still have more weight to lose. I’m a size 16/18 and I want to be a size 12. I got complacent because I looked and felt so much better than I did before, and I accepted myself as a size 16/18. But not any longer. I’m ready to deal with what’s holding me back, and I am bringing Paul McKenna back into my everyday life. I know it works for me, and I know it will be easy and effortless. I have some negative emotion that I have to work on, and I will enlist the help of a fellow coach to do that.

Einstein said “You cannot solve a problem in the same consciousness that created it”. I may be a therapist but I still need to ask for help when I need it.

There is a wonderful story about Ghandi .

A woman came to Ghandi and asked him to tell her overweight son to stop eating sugar.

“Madam” he replied. “Come back in three weeks time.”

Surprised at this request, she nevertheless returned with her son three weeks later.

Ghandi looked at the boy and said “Stop eating sugar.”

When the boy had left the room, the mother turned to Ghandi and asked why he hadn’t said this three weeks ago.

Ghandi replied, “Madam, three weeks ago I myself was eating sugar.”

I will keep you posted on my progress. I’m away to dig out my pedometer.