Intro Matwork

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Intro level matwork for home-practice.

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Menopause, Running & Bone Health

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The big drop in oestrogen production is the primary cause of many of the symptoms that accompany menopause – all the usual suspects, hot flushes, insomnia, weight gain, urinary incontinence to headaches and anxiety.

The good news is that exercise can help to alleviate some of the symptoms of menopause, so staying active is beneficial.  Runners can reap a lot of those rewards associated with greater activity, including avoiding some weight gain (although as you’ll see in a previous post, sometimes long distance steady state exercise isn’t always the best way to dodge the chub).

BUT running isn’t enough.  Yes, it satisfies the cardiovascular side of things, but resistance or strength training, flexibility and neuromuscular training are all just as important, particularly in relation to bone health.

Most people know that impact is good for increasing bone mineral density, however, bones are quite crafty things.  They get wise to the loads that you’re putting on them.  In other words, you can pound the pavement for hours and hours, but if you’re always pounding the pavement for hours and hours your bones essentially get bored and they don’t adapt.  Bones like novelty.  They’re like the weird little brother you never had who liked to poke an ant’s nest to see what would happen.  Bones adapt to novelty.  If you start jumping up and down when you’re running, climbing over stuff, hopping over a puddle etc. then your bones are more likely to perk up and take notice and, as a result make the decision to grow stronger – increase in density.  If you’re doing the same old same old with them, they just really can’t be arsed.  It’s not so much that they’re lazy, but it’s hard work for the body to create new bone – it needs a really good reason – like you putting extra demands on it and insisting that it creates more.

One of the major issues with oestrogen loss at menopause is the corresponding dip in bone health.  A peri, menopausal and post menopausal runner (and any other female) then, needs to put some serious effort into strengthening them there bones.  I think we’ve all heard the term stress fracture as a female runner – or even experienced it!  Not pleasant.

What to do?

If you’ve read any other posts on this site, you’ll know I’m a big fan of strength training.  Why? Because the muscles that you’re strengthening pull on the bones and this in turn helps to create greater bone density.  Adding it into your training regime a couple of times a week isn’t difficult, it just takes a bit of time to learn the correct form and manage it safely so you’re not overloading your tissues to start with.  It will also help offset the loss of lean muscle mass that occurs during menopause.  Get in touch for strength training and other programmes designed for the menopausal runner to help offset the very real but also very dealable with symptoms of this unique time in a woman’s life.

Just as a p.s. here because I haven’t really touched on it in other posts, Vitamin D is also vital to bone health and it might be a good idea to get your levels checked.  Spend some time outside; without sunscreen, a hat and dark glasses – no, you don’t need to burn yourself to a crisp, but you do need the sunshine for vitamin D and therefore calcium absorption which in turn helps with bone density.

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Managing Menopause Middle Spread

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It’s like you wake up one morning and think, “Shit, what the fuck just happened, why does my body look like a melting candle… everything is heading south.”  What’s going on?  Well, for one thing, as menopause approaches our metabolism slows down.  Okay, so can we blame our pesky hormones?  Well, yes, to an extent, but really, let’s face it, we reached 40, we’re heading to 50 and even though we take care of ourselves, we exercise etc. we might have been a little bit naughty on the weekend more than we should have and we could quite possibly be a tad more sedentary that we know is good for us… BUT “I’m tired,” I hear you say, “I’m busy, life is full of stuff to do…” and so on…

So what’s actually going on?  Our body composition changes – and what does that mean?  As we become more sedentary and as our hormones change our body composition of lean muscle to fat changes.  As we become more sedentary we lose lean muscle and we replace it with fat.  There are plenty of resources for how much fat we pile on in place of our lean muscle tissue, but essentially what this means is that although we might be eating the same, the loss of lean muscles and the consequent lower metabolic rate leaves us feeling like we can’t even look at a cupcake without putting a stone on.  

Panic not, help is at hand, we can prevent the problem in the first place, but if you’re in that place where the problem hasn’t just reared it’s nasty little fat laden head, but appears to have swallowed you whole and spat you out the other end feeling like your middle has a mind of it’s little own and refuses point blank to fit into anything you show it, then consider this…

As we age our bodies get a little bit over-sensitive to the stress hormone, cortisol.  This is the belly fat hormone.  Up your cortisol levels and your belly fat gets excited about increasing too.  It’s why destressing yourself and getting enough rest are top priorities at any age, but particularly as you’re going through the changes of menopause.  What’s most distressing (not destressing), is that our bodies don’t understand that our attempts to exercise our wayward bellies into submission are what we think are good for us.  In fact, our bodies actually experience long workouts, particularly long steady state workouts as quite stressful and, as a result, increase the cortisol floating about which, yep, you guessed it, doesn’t help with the spread of our middle regions.  

If you want me to be specific, long, steady state workouts, such as jogging on the treadmill, hours on that weird machine in the gym where your legs don’t do a circle, but kinda go in a long oblong with your arms doing something with handles, cycling long distances and so on and so forth… yep, all increasing the cortisol floating around your system.  They also tend to be lower body based too, which means that your upper body, the bit that every female that I have ever met bemoans as not being strong enough or shaped right (think bingo wings)… but which every female I have ever met has never focused their attention on, preferring instead to pound away on a treadmill or weird doofer machine or bouncing up and down on a spinning bike… often because they’re convinced that the ‘fat burning zone’ is a thing – news flash, it ISN’T A THING – completing this never ending cycle of physical torture is overuse injuries, sore feet, bad knees, tight hips and a low back pain that won’t shift.

Begrudgingly I hear you ask – “So, smart arse, what do I do?”  And here is where I tell you what you need to do and you panic because you think you’ll get bigger, not smaller, that you’re going to turn into Arnold Schwarzedoofer’s twin sister… so let me start by pre-empting that.  Unless you’re some kind of Amazonian genetic mutation of an individual, you will not get big…

 

Yes, through resistance training, strength training, building lean muscle mass with shorter cardiac bursts.  Does that mean you need to stop running?  You know I love running and that I think it has lots of health benefits, particularly those of being outside with others, BUT it’s also important to intersperse running with other stuff that alleviates some of the repetitive stresses of pounding the pavements.

What can you do?

To start with and for a lot of people, body weight training is plenty – can you do 10 push ups or 5 pull ups?  Well, if not, then you probably don’t want to be running around flinging massive weights about the place.  If you’re already doing some resistance or strength training then it might (MIGHT) be appropriate to increase the intensity.  Working with someone who can guide you appropriately with good form is really important or you’re potentially setting yourself up for injury (particularly if you’re new to this form of training), but once you know what you’re doing, then strength/resistance/body weight training can help you manage the belly fat and also injury-proof your running as well.

Proper Pilates on the large equipment is a good form of resistance training.  There is a strong focus on building strength and integrating the back line of the body – the glutes in particular (but not exclusively – Pilates should work the body as a whole), which are just one (or three) of the muscles around the hips that should power your running. 

 

Combining Pilates as a way of cross-training in a low impact way which focuses on the mind-body connection, helping you to develop better movement patterns and greater strength, balance, flexibility and stamina can be a fantastic step towards improving your running AND preventing the spread.  But coupling running with Pilates that includes higher intensity intervals will work like magic. 

Magic, however, can only be achieved by sorting out what’s in your fridge.  You can’t exercise your way out of poor nutrition (and lack of sleep/rest for that matter), but that’s the subject of another post,

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Menopause and Running – Am I more prone to injury?

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As a movement specialist, Pilates teacher, sports therapist, barefoot/minimal shoe ultra runner and general foot enthusiast, I see a lot of female runners who are starting to experience foot, ankle, knee, hip and low back pain which they attribute to running.  Typically they’re seeking some way of understanding how their bodies are changing and why, seemingly all of a sudden, their body isn’t working quite the way it was.    Most of these women are in the peri-menopause stage, the period (sometimes years and years) prior to actual menopause or menopause stage, when the change finally occurs and periods stop.  Although there is very little research exploring injury risk and menopause there are some changes that occur due to hormone changes worth noting.  Oestrogen levels and the effect of oestrogen all over the body, including its effects on collagen, can impact the elasticity of tendons and ligaments.  Also, the ageing process affects the ability of muscles, tendons and ligaments to heal and repair as efficiently as they once did, making sleep, rest and rejuvenation even more important at this stage of life.

Reducing oestrogen levels and the effect on ligaments can also mean an increased risk of pelvic prolapse, particularly with the increases in intra-abdominal pressure when running.  Pelvic floor strength and associated core stability and control therefore become vital to prevent pelvic floor issues developing or worsening.

Research suggests there is a higher degree of tendon related issues with in peri-menopausal women, particularly in the gluteus medius (the muscle which attaches to the bony bit on the outside of your thigh), and also in the posterior tibial tendon.

What can I do?

Reduce your stress!

Stress affects the way your body heals.  Running is a stress on the body and even though you love it, your body doesn’t really understand the difference between the stress that you’re under at work from the demanding boss, and the demands of running 3, 5 or 10 miles.  If you can reduce the other stressors in your life, then the running stress won’t have such a detrimental impact on your body.

REST!!!!!  SLEEP!!!!!!

This sentence, right here, this one… I hereby give you permission to rest!  Rest, sleep, rejuvenate.  Your body needs a good eight hours of deep, restful, consistent, sleep in order to full heal.  If you’re feeling guilty because you’re not doing all the things that you’ve got on your to do list at 3:30am, then you’re not dedicating that time to healing from the stress of the long run you did the day before.  Do yourself a favour – if you’re a runner and you want to keep running, you need to rest and recover.

Cross Train

Yes, yes, I know you love running and I know you don’t really want to do anything else but run, but your body really wasn’t built to do the same repetitive thing over and over and over… Yes, I know running is a natural movement, you’re right, but it’s not natural to run the same distances, on the same surfaces, in the same ridiculous shoes (yep, ridiculous), and expect your body to handle the stress of that.

This is where Pilates – and not the floaty watered down fitness crap you get at the local gym – PROPER PILATES, can help.  Body weight strengthening through Pilates is a good way to balance the body, develop some better movement patterns and potentially injury-proof your body.  Most people associate Pilates as being good for the ‘core’.  The ‘core’ is a loaded word these days and, in my opinion, not really a thing.  The body works as a whole and that’s why Pilates is so awesome – it works every part of your body in connection with the next part of your body.

I find the female runners (and women in general) that walk into my Pilates studio are desperate to find a solution to their running-related pain because they want to continue running for as long as possible.

Through a programme of Pilates, strength training, lifestyle, alignment and movement habit changes, you can injury proof your body (as much as we can with the lives we live these days), rebalance your muscles, fire up those lazy glutes everyone keeps talking about and extend your running career to the point where you can’t even remember going through the menopause!

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Practice Pilates YOUR Way

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Virtual Pilates classes and individual sessions are a great way to keep on top your Pilates practice. You can practice at home, when you’re travelling, on holiday, at work or whenever and wherever else you find yourself unable to get to the studio.  

I am currently sorting out the technology required and practicing with a few guinea pigs.  I will be adding this option to the services page soon, so keep checking back, or sign up below to receive up updates, news and info. 

 

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Enter your information opposite and I will add you to my mailing list for upcoming events and news.  You can unsubscribe at anytime from the emails I send.

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Heifer to Husk to Healthy(ish)

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Again, in support of Michelle Smith at the Pilates Pod, her E Cup Bad Boys (still jealous) and her Your Body Rocks Campaign, here’s my own weight loss story where I experienced both extremes of the body weight scale and everything in between and how shrinking to half my original size wasn’t all it was cracked up to be!

So someone said I was big… okay.  I didn’t feel big.  I just felt like me.  I was about a size 16.  Here I am… this is about the only picture I have of me whilst I was that size.  Everything else is on the way to huskness.  What’s even more scary is the forward head posture in the header pic ARGH!

A face only a mother could love.

Although the comment really bothered me and it was a big eye opener, I also knew I was really unhealthy.  My diet was appalling, eating processed shite and a lot of sweet stuff and getting up in the middle of the night to stuff my face.  Looking back, I now realise that it was a build up of stress… crappy job, rubbish, not very nice (that’s putting it mildly) boyfriend and generally just being stuck.  So in true KVT style I got stuck into making myself healthy… juices, salads, all healthy food and cutting out the crap.  I started to shrink, which was a great by-product.  Several months go by and I’m around a size 10 and feeling on top of the world…

But how do you stop?  I couldn’t… I had no idea how.  I’d joined the gym and by this point I was doing three hours or so a day – NOT healthy!  Again, I still wasn’t focused on my size.  It was my health I was concerned with – the shrinkage was still just a by-product which until I started to see photographs I hadn’t really realised was happening – that and none of my clothes fit.

So I kept going. I still felt great. I was healthy, right?  Yeppity doo-da if we define healthy as someone who exercises upwards of three hours per day, restricts their food intake to ONLY leafy vegetables and small amounts of lean protein, nuts and seeds, but clearly not in sufficient amounts to stop losing weight, who avoided going out with friends and family for dinner because I didn’t want to eat the ‘unhealthy’ dishes at the restaurant… this list goes on and on.  I was obsessed.  I didn’t know it at the time, but looking back now I recognise it for what it was.  But despite the continued weight loss, the obsessive food control, everybody said how wonderful I looked, how much more healthy, how slim, Christ, they even put me on the front of a magazine!  So I carried on…

Thought I was the dog’s bollocks when I landed this gig – oh, how I cringe now.

Size 6 now.  Hmmmm…. Over the past several years since I started my journey into Pilates and other movement practices, I’ve obviously spent a lot of time studying and understanding diet, nutrition and exercise in more detail.  The human body has a weight that it naturally fluctuates around and will try hard to stay at that weight. It may go up or down (usually up as we overfeed it), but generally it has its happy place where it dearly wants to stay because it’s healthiest there.  I was way beyond the happy place and as a result things started to go a little bit pear-shaped.  This time in my life was definitely the start of the joint pains, the knee, hip, foot issues etc.  I was sitting for extended periods of time (usually at least 12 hours a day) and then punishing myself in the gym for two to three hours at a time without enough food in me to support the repair of the muscle tissue and bone damage I was doing.

So the reason I’ve never posted my before and after pics from that time is because I’m actually not particularly proud of them.  I could have chosen to use them and reframed them as a massive success story and marketing hype – fat bird loses a ton of weight and now looks HOT, come to my studio and you too can do the same!  Not only have I completely shifted my mindset around diet and exercise in the intervening years, I don’t see it as a success to lose half my body weight because in reality and hindsight I know I was doing it all for the wrong reasons.  Someone told me I was too big and I felt very uncomfortable with that observation and it kickstarted a cascade of self-abuse through food and exercise.  However, having read Michelle’s post and seen her bravery I can honestly say that it’s quite liberating to put this out there and hand on heart say that I went from being a bit of a heifer (someone’s else’s perspective) to a husk of a human being (mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually – my perspective), everybody else though thought I looked great and only saw the outside, not the damage on the inside or the low self-esteem and the other stuff I was dealing with… said nasty pasty boyfriend told me I was too fat to sleep with… yep, and guess what – I stayed with the fucker – what the actual fuck was I thinking.  In case you have realised from my posts in the past, when I start to get wound up, I swear more.

Anyway, so back to thinking happy thoughts, because there is a good ending to this.  I got rid of the boyfriend!  I moved to Blackpool.  Looking back now I can remember the absolute panic about finding a gym in Blackpool and I even travelled back to my old gym in Manchester so I didn’t miss my sessions.   SEE!  NOT HEALTHY!!!!  Christ, couldn’t even take a few weeks off to settle into my new home without getting my hours of exercise in.

Things started to change, I eventually found what I thought might be a better boyfriend (nope, turns out that one wasn’t all he cracked himself up to be either), BUT he wasn’t a bad person, we just had different views on life, so I managed to drag myself out of the hole that I was in, became more balanced, began introducing all the stuff that I love eating back into my diet, but which I’d been denying myself all those years.  I learned to cook and that was the turning point because now I have the ability to cook my favourite foods really well – unfortunately, so well that I don’t like going out because restaurants generally can’t compare 😀  But because I wasn’t stuck in a crap job, in a place I didn’t like with someone who didn’t value me at all, I didn’t need to eat a ton of the things that I loved, just what I wanted and then have the ability to stop.  My weight came back up to it’s happy place and my sanity was also restored.

So healthy(ish)… for the most part I eat well.  I don’t stress about it.  I haven’t weighed myself for over ten years.  You will sometimes find me at the studio eating a packet of biscuits – why?  Because I wanted a packet of biscuits.  How often does that happen?  Not very, although one of my clients is apparently a feeder and keeps bringing them in for me, which is bloody brilliant. Beyond that I might not eat a biscuit for six months.  And the exercise?  Well, I stopped exercising about four years ago… I can almost hear your gasps of confusion there, but that’s another post 😀

Back in the day when I had two whole butt cheeks.  Well, four, if you count the second two underneath 😀

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Mess Acceptance & The New Hotness

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Warning, I don’t do short posts… you’re in for the long-haul here, my friend.

My friend, peer and part-time-unaware-that-she-is-my-mentor Mentor at the Pilates Pod, Michelle Smith has started The “Your Body Rocks Campaign” A celebration of our bodies and stand up to body shaming – http://www.thepilatespod.co.uk/about-the-pod/yourbodyrocks/

Michelle details some deeply disturbing body shaming behaviour and downright nastiness on behalf of the Pilates teaching community in her blog post “Am I Worth the Weight?” http://www.thepilatespod.co.uk/uncategorized/am-i-worth-the-weight/

I met Michelle on the classical Pilates training intensive Sarah and I did last summer (2018).  She is a fellow studio owner and like I say, I think enough about her ability to teach and DO Pilates that I have been saving my pennies so I could go to Hitchin and spend few days learning from her.  I am obviously having to rethink that because clearly her ability to mentor me or teach me anything new is beyond her because of the those “E Cup Bad Boys”… I mean she clearly can’t see me over those for one thing, so how can she teach me effectively.  If she can’t fit into a Sweaty Betty outfit then her knowledge of Pilates is sorely lacking and I want a refund 😊  I jest – obvs I’m just jealous of the E Cup Bad Boys because my A Cup Small Girls ensure that I look like a nine-year old boy in the chest department when I lie on my back.  Sweaty Betty would laugh at me for bothering to spend a hundred quid on a shelfy-doofery-top when I clearly have nothing to put in it!

It’s always strange when you find yourself suddenly more and more interested in a subject and you think you’re the only one and then suddenly someone pops up and goes “Me too, me too!”.  Whilst Michelle has been suffering the abuse of other teachers and highlights the problems we have in the Pilates industry, I’ve been contemplating it more widely.  The Your Body Rocks Campaign has helped to focus my mind and to help me write this post in support of Michelle’s.

Whilst I was visiting Michelle I made the mistake of going into Waterstone’s… I say mistake because if I get sucked into that black hole I can only haul myself out by spending a mortgage payment on more books than I can read in this lifetime.  One of them, “Burnout – The Secret to Solving the Stress Cycle – for Every Woman who thinks I am not enough”, called to me.  It’s a good book and as I was reading Michelle’s posts last night, I got to the chapter entitled, “The Bikini Industrial Complex”.  Whilst there’s not a lot that’s particularly new in it (for me at least), it did pull some loose threads together and the statements were on point for this topic.  Essentially this books points out that what Michelle and probably many more women face within the Pilates industry is actually just a smaller segment of what women in the world face full stop.

I know, I know, I can hear you all gasp, cover your eyes, cringing and whispering, “Please tell me she’s not gone all feministic on us,” well, maybe I have.  Maybe I spend all day with women who come to the studio for private sessions, women who tend to be mid forties upwards into their seventies, who come to me day after day, week after week with their own tales of body shaming.  Wait for it though… just wait for it… no, they’re not BEING body shamed by SOMEONE ELSE… no, they’re doing it to themselves.  “I can’t possibly wear a short-sleeved top anymore, I mean look at the state of my arms,” just one example from a couple of days ago.  I could go on and on and on with examples, and each time I hear one my heart breaks and my response is normally along the lines of, “Who gives a flying fuck what your arms look like, wear whatever the fuck you like.”

And just so you know and for the sake of clarity I would like to point out that I am the Pilates teacher that has tattoos and who swears constantly in general and at her students in particular and if a student doesn’t call me a least one nasty name during a session considers herself a failure… oh, and most of my Pilates-wear is second hand!  I’m from Yorkshire, for fuck’s sake, I’m not spending a hundred quid on a pair of leggings… Christ, I can get a couple of hours training with Michelle and her E Cup Bad Boys for that.

Many of my clients are so caught up in the Bikini Industrial Complex they’ll do just about anything to try and squeeze into that mould.

Some of the ‘facts’ in the book… the notes section and references section cites the research for this if you’re interested.  I went through and did a brief check before typing this lot, but if you want the nitty-gritty you’ll have to read it.

  1. “… by age six, about half of girls are worried about being “too fat”. By age 11, it’s up two-thirds, and by full adolescence almost all girls will have engaged in some kind of “weight control” behaviour.  One recent studio of … adolescents found that… (92%) engaged in some kind of weight-control behaviour and almost half… of girls engaged in unhealthy weight-control behaviours.
  2. … In 1994 there was no television on the island of Fiji; there were also no eating disorders. British and American television were brought to the island in 1995.  By 1998 29% of the girls had developed severe eating disorder symptoms.  13% developed these symptoms within one month of the introduction of television.
  3. The body mass index (BMI) chart and its labels – underweight, overweight, obese, etc. – were created by a panel of nine individuals, seven of whom were “employed by weight loss clinics and thus have an economic interest in encouraging the use of their facilities.

And if you haven’t thrown your telly out and burned your weighing scales yet…

  1. … metanalysis… encompassing nearly four million people who never smoked and had no diagnosed medical issues… found that people labelled “obese” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention … have lower health risk than those the CDC categorised as underweight… being overweight… is lower risk than being at the low end of the “healthy” range, as defined by the US federal government and the World Health Organisation.
  2. … even found that people in the BMI category labelled “overweight” may live longer than people in any other category, and the highest predictable mortality rate might be among those labelled “underweight.”
  3. …newest research…doctors warn middle aged and older patients against losing weight, because the increasingly well established dangers of fluctuations in weight outweigh any risk associated with a high but stable weight.

I like the last paragraph in this section…

“And yet weight stigma is so deeply entrenched that even the researchers who study health and weight are prone to “scientific weightism,” the empirically unsound assumption that thin is good and fat is bad.  It leads physicians and scientists to write sentences like “It is well established that weight loss, by any method, is beneficial for individuals with diabetes.”   “By any method”? Tuberculosis? Radiation therapy? Internment camp? Amputation? Come on.  Weight and health.  Not the same thing.””  😀 😀 😀

The book goes on to state that stigma is the health hazard, that by buying into the bullshit that the industries who thrive on our body dissatisfaction peddle we will spend anything, do anything, try anything … those yo-yo diets “ultimately causes changes in brain functioning and [changes in hormones] which leads to actual disease.  Eating disorders have the highest mortality of any mental illness – higher even than depression”.

So having written all that, now comes the caveat… I deeply believe that what someone looks like on the outside is not necessarily a reflection of their whole body health.  However, if you know you are unhealthy, whatever size you are, because you are engaging in unhealthy behaviour then this post is in no way meant to give you a big green light to continue engaging in those behaviours, whether it’s the full cake instead of a slice every day, the two litres of fizzy drink, the half litre of wine, the diet pills, laxatives, purging, the sucking it all in, not having a shit for a week… whatever, you get the idea.  If you know you’re not healthy, then zip up your big girl pants and sort that shit out!  (props for the “zip up your big girl pants” quote goes to one of my favourite clients, Nat).

Also there are plenty of studies out there that will contradict everything I’ve written.  Yep, that’s what studies do.  HOWEVER, I am always interested in who funds the studies… A post for another time.

… so the solution, the strategy outlined in the book and also the title of our Sister Campaign to Your Body Rocks… Mess Acceptance and “THE NEW HOTNESS”.

The writers, Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski say that encouraging you to “(1) practice body acceptance, (2) embrace body diversity, and (3) listen to your body …[it’s] good for you… [and] you should definitely try them.”  It’s also nearly impossible.

“…[instead] practice “mess acceptance”.  Turn toward the mess of noisy, contradictory thoughts and feelings with kindness and compassion” for yourself.  Deep down you know that the size of shape of your body is not a defining factor in who you are and you also know that it’s not necessarily a defining factor in how healthy or fit your body is either.  As an example the Nagoskis say that when you work out do it because you know it’s good for your body, not because someone has told you you need to exercise so many times a week or your electronic device has nudged you into taking more steps, or you need to ‘get in shape’… “… part of you might still actively want to change the shape of your body, and that’s perfectly normal.  Move your body anyway – because it really is good for you.”

The New Hotness Game, a strategy for teaching ourselves to let go of body self-criticism and shift to self-kindness.  “Maybe you don’t look like you used to, or like you used to imagine you should; but how you look today is the new hotness.  Even better than the old hotness”…

Examples:

“Wearing your new leggings today? You are the new hotness.

Saggy belly skin from that baby you birthed? New hotness.”

Wrinkly arm skin on bingo wings? New hotness.

Only half a right butt cheek because you survived cancer. New hotness.

A torso criss-crossed with scars because you came through a surgery that usually kills 70% of other people at nearly 70 year old.  New hotness!

Starting Pilates at 70+ with a body that doesn’t move like it used to. New hotness.

Dragging your aching, tired, 80+ hour overworked, elderly parent caring, older child ferrying, overwhelmed, underpaid, undernourished (in lots of different ways) body to the party of life day after day and still finding time to be generous to yourself and others.  New hotness.

Learning how to look after your body and understand what it needs instead of what everybody else tells you it should need, be, do, look like. New hotness.

Those last six are my own contributions.  And that’s the game we are going to play… it’s easier said than done to redefine beauty… The Nagoskis suggest that reconstructing our own standard of beauty should be with a definition that comes from our own hearts and includes our body as they are right now.  Of course that’s easier said than done.  BUT much like your movement practice, you keep chipping away at it, you keep practice, and you get better at it.  The same with your definition of what’s hot… stop consuming the stuff that keeps you in your place, the magazines, the ads, the TV.  Broaden your definition of what’s beautiful and join the New Hotness game at the studio.

My own weight loss journey coming next…

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Bunions

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Bunion Workshop

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Sunday 10 March 10-1

My next workshop is dedicated to bunions and will be held at Inner Power Pilates at Sunday 10 March 2019 from 10-1.  If you can’t make the workshop book in for an individual session with me instead.

Bunions, and their little toe sisters (bunionettes), whether you have them already, are developing them or wish to avoid them, this Fit Feet Bunion Workshop is for you.

Bunions are a painful and unsightly foot condition that affects a large majority of the population, both young (I’ve seen teenagers with them), and old. Unfortunately we are led to believe that they’re genetic or a normal part of ageing, but this is not the case. Bunions are entirely preventable if you put the work in.

Common foot complaints like over pronation, fallen arches, weak foot, hip and lower leg muscles, muscular imbalances and certain shoes will compromise the alignment of the foot causing various problems including bunions.

In this workshop you will learn how to strengthen the feet, align the foot, leg and hip appropriately and techniques to help improve or prevent bunions and the associated pain.

Come away from this workshop with:

  • A clear understanding of what a bunion is and how it is formed.
  • Lots of easy exercises to strengthen the feet and the toes to prevent a bunion or stop it worsening.
  • A better understanding of how shoes affect the functioning of your feet, legs and hips.
  • How to align your feet and legs to better distribute weight across your feet and prevent pressure on the big toe joint.
  • Added bonus: by strengthening your feet and aligning your feet, legs and hips, you’ll potentially reduce knee, hip, back and neck pain too!

Not sure whether you have a bunion developing?  Take a look at your feet, especially the big toe.  If the big toe follows the angle of its corresponding bone in the foot, then your toes are aligned.  If the toe veers off towards the other toes and/or you have a bony prominence on the joint, then you are potentially developing a bunion.

Below is a YouTube Playlist I’ve put together dedicated to healthy feet and bunions.  Click the top right button on the video to see the full list or visit my YouTube Channel for more.

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Vivo Barefoot Transitioning

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Vivo Barefoot are one of the companies that I recommend as a good starting point for purchasing minimal shoes.  Their YouTube channel offers some great info and exercises for transitioning well to minimal shoes and barefoot adventures.  Below is a playlist for some simple exercises they recommend to help with foot strength and safely moving towards a more minimal shoe.  Click on the button top left on the video to see the full playlist.

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