How to be healthy & happy 365 days of the year

I can’t tell you exactly when I started to have beliefs around food that I do today, but I can tell you it has been this way for a very, very long time.

Even before I was the size I am today and have the love and passion for nutrition and fitness that I do today, I always had a healthy MINDSET around food and my body. Habits, no, but mindset, yes.

The Anna you see today, as I have very well documented over the last 5 years since birthing my blog is a vastly different woman to the Anna several years ago, but I can confidently say one thing that has been strongly consistent in my life for a very very long time is how I feel about food and the relationship I have with it.

Back when I was 17kg heavier, and honestly truly believed that as long as I cooked something at home, that it was healthy (regardless if it was an extremely creamy pasta or a massive rice dish or a carb heavy plate smothered in gravy). I thought a home cooked meal was far healthier than say a McDonalds meal, and granted I was still right, but in terms of the nutrients I was getting from carb heavy / naughty home cooked meals I had absolutely no idea they actually weren’t that amazing for me. Morgan and I were guilty as charged as well for at least once or twice a week, crawling in to bed with a big glass of coke (a cola) and a packet of salt and vinegar chips and watching a movie together.

Needless to say it’s no surprise to anyone with a heart beat and some common sense why I was 17kg heavier. But here is the thing…

I was happy – until I wasn’t of course and at that point I set out to change my health and lose the weight and just feel better in general.

But even smashing back the foods and drinks I was, I almost never ever had ‘guilt’ around the food I was eating or hated on myself for it. I enjoyed eating my gravy covered dinners or big glasses of coke, and when I ate anything, I was genuinely hungry (I have never ever ever been an emotional eater) and I would choose things that I felt like and I also thoroughly enjoyed every meal.

I still look back at how I ate back then and how little I exercised (and when I say how little I exercised I mean, I didn’t exercise at ALL) and am shocked I wasn’t kg’s and kg’s and kg’s heavier – as I should have been.

BUT I truly believe I wasn’t, because even being a bigger size, even being un healthier even with such accidental disregard for my health – there was no guilt around food, just enjoyment.

That all changed however when one night, Morgan and I were having a party at the house with a few friends, and I was my usual at the time, weekend warrior, few ecstasy deep self – and I went inside by myself to put bathers on to have a spa with the girls. I remember putting some green bathers on in the bathroom really hurriedly and as I ran back out to go join the party I caught the reflection of myself in the mirror – and honestly didn’t recognise the girl staring back. It was the first time in my life, I didn’t vibe with the body I saw in the mirror.

{ The night I knew that I didn’t love the body I was in anymore and could do better }

That was a Saturday night, and by the following morning, Morgan and I had had a huge chat about our health and weight and decided to go do something about it.

By the Monday, we were attending our first weight watchers meeting to educate ourselves on food, being inspired with some healthy recipes and learning at the very least the basics around what healthy food looked like.

The next year we changed our habits and completely transformed our lives – Morgan loosing 23kg and me loosing 17kg (6kg of which came from major jaw surgery). But that is a story for another time.

That year though, the ONE thing that never changed (because our exercise and food habits absolutely changed) was my mindset around food.

Sure I had started to eat way way way differently and so so so much healthier – but everything I put in my mouth, I still totally honoured, and yet again, there was just no guilt with any food I ate. My body and mind and I had a great relationship with food and food had a great relationship with my body and mind.

Years and years followed, and the 17kg loss was maintained with struggle to be honest through a lot of gym exercise and being pretty strict with what I ate – STILL honouring food regardless though.

A year after that, come March 2013, which was when Isagenix found me and a whole new chapter and journey in my life began. My weight maintenance the last 3 ½ years has been the easiest thing ever but my enjoyment with food has increased tenfold. That 3 ½ year journey again is another story and one you can read snippets of in previous posts on this blog.

That’s not why we’re here today talking though, we are here for the following lesson.

Over the last 3 ½ years as I just mentioned above my enjoyment of food has increased – a lot, but my relationship with food has deepened even more divinely.

You see, I honour food. So.fucking.much.

I know that I know that I KNOW, that loving food and honouring each and every meal or thing I choose to put in my mouth to fuel me makes that food digest with ease and harmony.

Whenever I eat, more than ever today, I am so grateful for the meal in front of me, and I am choosing to eat or fuel my body with nutritious yummy food and never ever have guilt around what I eat.

That probably sounds easy when you know me and you know I fuel my body with a LOT of high quality nutrition and yummy food. It’s like well of course you don’t have guilt Anna you eat really well and have amazing habits (why thank you, yes, I do, and I’m really proud of that).

But here is the kicker.

I live, the most balanced life more than anyone I know.

So yes, I absolutely eat and fuel my body with nutritious healthy food, and have cleanse days and superfood smoothies, but I also don’t have a nickname “Anna hot chips champagne Richards” for no reason.

Not a week goes by that I am not also enjoying delicious cold glasses of French Champagne or hunting down the best hot chips either in my city or around the globe. OR just being SUPER honest, grabbing the odd cheeky chocolate bar from the shops when I run in to grab something.

Then there is the travel I do, and when I travel, I can also be honest and say my eating habits are more around enjoyment and finding gorgeous cafes than a strict food plan.

And yet, my body stays harmonised and toned and healthy and slim year round.

I’m not allergic to anything, I have no intolerances and I have never cut one thing out of my diet nor counted one calorie. Ever.

So how? HOW do I honestly maintain that kind of body amongst the crazy balance of salads but hot chips, water but champagne, cleanse days but non organic chocolate, or food prep but days off with burgers….

Well I believe it’s my RELATIONSHIP that I have with ALL food and how much I HONOUR it and ENJOY it.

I can sit and have a few crazy days where I need to rely on my food prep of rice, chicken and vegetables, then fly to Sydney for 3 days and have champagne most nights, too many hot chips to count and some salt and vinegar chips on the plane (there I said it) … Or I can have a week of perfect eating with my non negotiable cleanse days but then have guests come and spend 5 days celebrating life and success with champagne, lunches and dinners out and a relaxed exercise regime …. But not matter WHAT I DO, and no matter WHAT I EAT and no matter WHAT GOES IN TO MY MOUTH…….

I honour it so damn deeply. I have absolutely ZERO guilt around it. I ENJOY it all SO much and I never eat anything I don’t feel like or won’t absolutely love.

And that is what I TRULY believe keeps my body so harmonised and happy and healthy and toned year round. Because food that goes in to my mouth is eaten with gratitude and love, and digested with ease and harmony as I talk about how much I love it, or how yummy it is.

The other major aspect to this whole theory though is what I SAY about my body also. When I finish a meal, there is no guilt, which means I NEVER say things like…

“God I feel so fat”.

“Why did I just eat that?”

“Next time I go to order chips someone stop me”

“I feel so disgusting I so need to not eat the rest of the day”

… Or any other negative comment associated with my body.

(I do occasionally say I feel a LITTLE bloated if I do, but generally it’s freaking rare I actually do, and if I say I am it’s normally backed up by “but god it’s worth it for how delicious that meal was” – I am just trying to be REALLY honest with you guys so you REALLY get this point).

I always however talk about how delicious a meal was. How yum the hot chips were. How amazing that particular champagne was. How much of a good time I had laughing or talking with friends whilst I ate said meal or drank said champagne.

I truly, deeply, fundamentally believe that our thoughts and words DO shape our reality, and I know SO many others know this to be true also (and that’s because it IS true) and yet we seem to forget that that then extends to every single aspect of our co-creating reality. Including our beautiful body.

If you are going to constantly put your body down, or say you feel fat, or pick on the parts of your body that you hate or feel guilt every time you eat food – what do you honestly think is going to happen? Nothing? Because I can tell you that unfortunately your body is ALWAYS listening and responding. If you call it fat, it thinks its fat and I believe creates fat. If you pick on parts of your body you hate, negative energy is held in those areas only making that part of your body feel worse. If you feel guilt around food when you eat it, be it a big yummy chicken salad or your favourite treat (like hot chips!) then that guilt is held and becomes a stagnant energy in your body.

Point is, anything you say aloud, or even THINK….your body is always listening.

So what do you think happens to your body when you’re in a state of gratitude for all of your food. When you sincerely enjoy all of your food – be it extremely healthy or more of a treat meal. When you honour every meal that goes in to your body. When once youre done, you hold no guilt and only hold on to positive thoughts.

I can tell you;

You digest your food with harmony.

Your food does exactly what it needs to in the body.

Energy circulates through and around your body with ease.

You live in a state of fulfilment and hold on to no guilt.

You love your body and your body responds by loving you right back.

And it’s not just thinking and saying positive things when you’re eating either. No way. Let me assure you with absolute certainty that your body is always, ALWAYS listening.

You have to SHOW your body that you love it. You have to TELL your body that you love it. You have to DRESS your body like you love it. You have to live in to feelings of LOVE for your body.

This is a constant journey I am on still and a journey I know I’ll always be on, but a journey I am honoured to be on and treasure – one of loving and accepting the meat-suit I was so divinely gifted when I chose to come back to this earth this time around.

There are moments where I still have a negative thought about my body (of course) or I wake up after a big night of delicious food and drink with beautiful friends and I feel a little heavier or groggier than usual, and have a negative thought about my food choices or how I’m feeling in my body. But would you like to know what I do in those moments? Honestly? …

I put my hand on my stomach and my heart and I tell my body how beautiful she is, how much I honour her, how grateful for her I am and I just sit or lay in gratitude telling her how beautiful she is again and again and again until I genuinely feel the shift of me believing it – then I can carry on with whatever I was doing.

I tell my body how beautiful she is. I dress my body like I love her. I give my body food and drink (it’s why I love French champagne so much) that she loves. I move, walk and talk like I love my body. And you know what I get in return?

A body that so loves and nourishes me back.

You get to choose.

In every moment in every day, you are either choosing your thoughts that empower or disempower you, and it’s no different for when you are eating for or talking or thinking about your body.

There are no ‘5 steps to’ or ‘3 ways to change’ when it comes to your body + relationship with food. It’s just a conscious decision again, and again, and again and again to choose love. To choose to be grateful for every meal you sit down for. To choose to feel satisfied and happy after a meal. To choose to send your body love when you’re not necessarily feeling it or her. To choose to honour the food that goes in to your mouth.

It’s not always going to be a perfect this journey to self love of food and your body – but it’s a journey that is SO WORTH giving time and energy and a deeper level of commitment to, because you really DO only have one body for your time on earth, and I know so wildly and deeply, that loving and honour ‘her’ (or him) creates a far more beautiful and extraordinary time on planet earth than the opposite.

My wish for you is that you choose love today, is that you choose to honour your food today, and that you choose gratitude for your food today, and in the moments when you don’t you simply start again.

And I promise you – it’s worth it.

Love, Anna xoxoxo

Images: herehere

It’s ok to change

“Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending – to rise strong, recognize our story, and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, Yes. This is what happened. This is my truth. And I will choose how the story ends” – Brene Brown.

Before & After

As all beautiful synchronicities go, as I landed in beautiful Bali on Tuesday night, Morgan and I were laughing and reminiscing over our very first Bali trip back in 2008 and how fast forwarding 7 years, just how much we have both completely transformed our lives.

Remembering the exact girl I was, I had to go back and find the photos from that time – you get to meet her now as the girl in the left of that photo.

I was riddled with anxiety, carrying extra kgs from a toxic lifestyle, and although there are thousands of fond memories from every aspect of my life, even the bad – I can say that the bad feelings I used to feel and the lack of worthiness I shouldered far exceeded the good feelings I had and worthiness I so sought.

The story most know today is I hit my breaking point of knowing something had to change.

So I did.

You know that quote that says: “actually, I just woke up one day and decided that I didn’t want to feel that way anymore or ever again. So I changed….just like that”

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That was me.

I went on my major journey of self discovery and started to work out who I was. Book by book by book. Meditation by meditation by meditaion. Gratitude by gratitude by gratitude by gratitude. Beautiful friend, by beautiful friend, by beautiful friend. Gym session by gym session by gym session.

I discovered, rather profoundly that…

I wasn’t the ecstasy on weekends.

Or the alcohol at parties to give me confidence.

Or saying the wrong thing to the wrong person to fit in.

I wasn’t the bitching or the gossiping or the negativity.

I wasn’t my feelings of hopelessness.

Nor was I the crippling anxiety from suppressing who I WAS.

My soul started to rumble with the truth …. The truth of who I WAS. And I went on my journey to find that out. I know this doesn’t confuse you either – you know exactly what I’m talking about, because you have felt it too. The whisper or loud knocking on your soul to step in to more of the person you truly are and leave behind all the mess and confusion.

The more I tapped in to my true self, the more I allowed my personality to come through, the more I didn’t say the things I didn’t want to and DID say the things I wanted to – finding my voice, the more I surrounded myself with positive people and the more I read books that uplifted my soul – I found my truth.

And the truth was simple.

That I had a spirit that was pure divinity – just like every other beautiful human on the planet.

That I had all the confidence I needed by simply being my (loud) authentic self.

That I could never say the wrong thing to the right person and that the key was surrounding myself with the right people – in every way, every day.

That I was love. That I could give love, receive love, speak love, act in love and be consumed by love.

That my personality was perfect the way it was when I was most being myself and I didn’t have to say or be or do anything that was out of alignment with that to appease anyone else.

The truth was that I was worthy.

The truth was I didn’t need to be validated by anyone else – but me.

And my life changed.

I became the girl you now see in the right of that photo.

Here is what I need people to most get right to their soul however.

It’s that you’re allowed to change.

Your allowed to have gotten so completely lost and off track and done stupid things and said stupid things and want to change.

You can have been the crazy loud fighting girl – and want to become the softer, more loving girl that is inspired by positivity.

You can have always been the quiet reserved one but really had this loud eccentric spirit who is sick of being squashed and ready to bust out. Bust her out I say.

You can have been a wild corporate workaholic (and no doubt be miserable) and actually re birth yourself as the woman who has always been inside who is a hippie loving yogi who wants to run away to Nepal and write a book or become a nude model.

I don’t know your truth. I don’t need to know your truth. I just need YOU to know your truth and I need you to start to un cover it, step in to it and powerfully live it out.

And NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO TELL YOU OTHERWISE. NO ONE can stop you in to becoming the person you were born to be.

No one.

People will try though. Believe me, they will try. They will tell you that “this isn’t you, where has she come from? You are the crazy one remember, you think youre too good for us now do you?” They will say it to your face some days and other days they will tell everyone but you to try to keep you in the box and confines of what they were comfortable with you being.

But don’t let them stop you on your quest for your truth.

You have a spirit inside of you bursting to live authentically. Gently knocking, sometimes loudly nudging….everyday …. I know you feel it and I know you have heard it, because I did too. And I listened.

And don’t think that trying to step in to your truth will be easy or come without growing pains.

I was bullied. Constantly.

I was attacked with words, belitted, cut down and cut out from peoples lives (you know, the ones who still wanted me to be an asshole and feel shit about myself who should never have been in my life to begin with).

But none of that mattered anymore – because I knew who I was and meeting that girl, this woman I am today – the one who has a voice and loves herself and knows exactly who she is – that excited me more than I can ever explain and it kept me hungry on my quest to bring her out.

Find your hunger.

Go on your fucking quest for truth – it doesn’t need to be scary or extreme either. You DO need to begin it though.

Don’t fear this change. Honour and be excited by it.

LISTEN to the gentle calls (or maybe it’s more of a loud knocking) that you have ignored for far too long.

Understand that you were created and you are here to be you, exactly as you are and wildly authentic.

I listened and you can see your journey in colour before your very eyes. I went from not caring about my health at all (I literally thought it was ‘cool’ to love shit food and drink my weekends away) to having health as my absolute #1 priority and having one of my greatest passions as fitness. IMAGINE if I had of listened to even one person when I went on this quest who said “who do you think you are you, you are absolutely not this person” – well no actually, it’s exactly who I am.

Tune in. It’s all I’m asking. You have a truth inside of you that is busting to come out and you can’t be scared of it anymore. IT’s your JOB to live your brightest most authentic life, and your spirit can’t wait a day longer.

And as the beautiful insightful Brene Brown says..

Your job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending – to rise strong, recognize our story, and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, Yes. This is what happened. This is my truth. And I will choose how the story ends”

How will YOU choose your story to end?

I hope it’s bold. I hope its authentic and I hope its in bright colour.