How to (sustainably) change your life

Waking up to the alarm sound on a cold Monday morning, the first thought I had was “you know what Anna, you don’t NEED to be up at 5am, just give yourself this one morning of sleep in…”, and almost as soon as I thought it, I caught myself with that negative mind-set and reminded myself I am not here to live mediocrely and be defined by average, I am here to live extraordinarily – so off the covers went and up I got.

The session was like most others, most mornings. I felt good, I had energy, I smashed a PB (personal best) on at least one of the reps on at least one of the exercises, I laughed, I said hello to some of the other regular 5am gym go’ers and I pressed ‘end’ on my workout app by 6:20am.

The usual high-five from the app happened telling me the PB I hit that day and the count of how many workouts I had completed occurred.

Only today, when the number landed on its final count, I smiled ear to ear.

200 work outs with my amazing trainer Lochie who uploads my food plans and work outs in to an app that I use daily.

I went home feeling fulfilled and sore – and that particular morning doing my gratitude’s, I put “my health and commitment to having health & vitality as my #1 value”.

Jumping on FB for the first time that day, I celebrated my 200th work out with a status and checking my notifications I saw the memories notification Facebook has now – something I actually LOVE checking daily to see what I was doing on this day 1, 2, 3, 4 even 5 or 6 years ago.

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Except this time, a status made me stop dead in my tracks, and another smile ear to ear broke out.

It was the exact same day, July 25th 2010 – 6 years ago.

It read….

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From celebrating having such a strong value around health and vitality, around moving my body every day and then honouring it with clean food and natural supplements – to this. Completely not honouring my body, and neglecting it for WEEKS with no exercise or clean / health / nourishing eating only a mere 6 years ago.

6 years to the day and I honestly don’t think I could be a more different woman.

Here is the thing though, something has been swirling in my heart for a while and this was just the slap in the face I needed to put hand to keyboard to write it for you.

That jump, from binge drinking, sleeping in, recreational drug use, no exercise (ever), choosing to skip meals and / or eat crap majority of the week to … rising at 5am daily, moving my body 7 days of the week, eating clean nourishing whole foods, complementing my food plan with natural wholesome incredible supplements …. DID NOT HAPPEN OVER NIGHT.

The other day, I was talking to my girlfriend in the kitchen about the life we get to live now and the advice or statuses that I write coming from that place of health and happiness now, and I said…. “you know what babe, I actually get that some of the stuff I say or write would piss people off, I bet they do sometimes sit there and say ‘what-the fuck-ever” … because they don’t know the story behind the work and sweat and blood and tears and sacrifice its taken for me to get to the place I can write and share like I do.

Point is…. I get it.

That was the moment I knew I wanted to write this piece. Then as fate and my life would have it Facebook put two of the most opposing statuses I have written next to each other on the same day, 6 years apart.

And here I am.

So back to the story of my journey not happening over night.

LONG before I started nutritional cleansing, back when I was the girl who’d sleep in, have a big glass of coke and a packet of kettle salt and vinegar chips in bed (yep, I uhhhh, I really did that) and never ever respected her body with exercise and in turn, getting my body to its heaviest… I knew that I had to change, and so I did.

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Morgan and I went to a food information night 6 years ago, where we started to educate ourselves on food. We learnt how to read the back of packets, we learned the difference between good and bad sugars and good and bad carbs, we learned about portion sizes (hardest lesson of all to learn!) and learned about good wholesome foods.

And oh SO slowly, but most definitely surely …. We started to change our diets and way of life.

I went from eating white carbs (your rice, bread, pasta, white potatoes) from 7 nights of the week, to 5, then to 4 when we felt ready, then to 2…..then to none. That process alone took MONTHS and we never once felt like we were depriving ourselves. All the while dropping grams or kg’s as I went.

Whilst switching out the white carbs (andddd things like packet sauces and gravy of course) we were completely over hauling our diet to a clean healthy one. So lots of fresh veggies, smaller sizes of meat, 2 nights of no meat a week and good carbs like sweet potato or quinoa – so the cutting of food was also replaced by new healthy eating.

Then went the coke (a cola) addiction. I never tried to quit over night. WHY? Because I KNEW if I was going to change my health, I needed to make SUSTAINABLE changes and cutting everything I had been so used to wasn’t going to give me lasting sustainable change.

So with the coke, I went from drinking 600ml – 1L of coke a day, to just ONE 600ml coke zero a day (still bad I know, but less sugar). Then I cut down to 5 days, then 3 days .. then just one over the weekend to …. None.

I never felt deprived and I didn’t struggle as I allowed the change of habit to happen gradually.

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Then came the exercise. If you had of told the Anna & Morgan back then they’d end up LOVING the gym and be in it daily in the years to come, they would have laughed you to another continent.

Instead, we woke up just a LITTLE earlier than 7am – 7:30am and went for a small walk around the block. Pretty soon, we loved doing it, and wanted to wake up even earlier, and increase our exercise .. so we got up just a little earlier again, and went for 2 – 3 blocks now. It got to the point we were up at 6am every morning going for a 5-7km walk before work and loving it. It THEN got to the stage we had both dropped just over 5kg from me, 7-8kg from Morgan, from this new way of life that we felt ready to join a gym … which we did, really close to our house and went and started running on the treadmill with a few little weights.

But again – see how it was gradual, it was slow, it was what was right for us.

I have ALWAYS been open and honest (of course) as well, and shared that amongst these years of change – I had a major jaw surgery which fundamentally changed my life. Top & bottom jaw broken and re aligned to fix a severe underbite. Whilst having my jaw wired shut for close to 4 weeks, I lost another 6kg’s.

Once I was cleared to exercise again, and was able to eat ‘normal food’ (aka not soup and mash potato) – our new habits were our new way of life and I knew I was NEVER going back to how we lived and ate before.

Upp’ing our training / exercise even more and REALLY living a life of clean eating, it’s when I lost my final 6kg taking my total weight loss over almost a 3 year period to 17kg. Which to this day I have maintained (which very long story cut short, the maintenance of that loss AND feeling a million dollars is thanks to nutritional cleansing – I am not going in to the last 3 years journey in this post though but if you want to read about that I have written about it here, here and here

So you see, when I share aspects of my life now, saying things like, you can either have results or excuses, but you can’t have both, or; it’s all just a choice, sleeping in and feeling like crap or getting up and showing up even if you don’t feel like it … understand that it comes from the deepest place of understanding, because I have lived and breathed both lifestyles.

And it has been a long and crazy journey to get to the place I own the advice I now give from a loving place.

The real point to this whole piece though is this ….

START TODAY AND START SMALL.

Change can be scary. I get it.

Change can be hard. I get it.

Change can be overwhelming. I get it.

Change can feel unsustainable. I get it.

But guess what?

It doesn’t have to be any of those things if you find your own rhythm and groove with it.

When I was trying to flip my life quite literally on it’s head I knew I couldn’t do it all at once. I knew the power was going to come from slower change, one step at a time, one day at a time kind of change.

And I am imparting the same wisdom on to you now .. with love.

Start Somewhere, start anywhere, start today … but don’t start it ALL at once.

You want to stop sleeping in so much, start eating healthier, move your body regularly and start an awesome morning routine??

AWESOME…

But where can you start small and start today?

Could it be that instead of skipping breakfast, you start to just get up even TEN minutes earlier and have a healthy smoothie? Does it mean not putting on tv at night until you have also made yourself a yummy / healthy lunch to take to work the next day? Could that just be the ONE first SMALL change you can make?

Could it be that instead of putting off exercise because you’re a bit timid of the gym, you go for a big walk every day instead? Walking is a powerful powerful exercise for the body and an excellent start in building the confidence to eventually get in the gym. Could that just be the ONE first SMALL change you can make?

Could it be that instead of getting out of bed with dread because you had another late night, you hit snooze 5 times, and will be rushed to get to work again, you commit to an earlier bed time NO MATTER WHAT for just one week – and a NO SNOOZE option for JUST one week, and see how that makes you feel? The answer is of course you can, it’s all just a choice and this alone could literally transform your days. So could THIS just be the one first SMALL change you can make?

There is a quote I love and adore by Robin Sharma that says:

“Don’t live the same life 75 times and call it a life”.

And I couldn’t agree more.

That extraordinary health, love, sex, health and happiness you seek (and is your birth right just by the way) is all on the other end of your own habits your cultivating in your life and how you’re creating your world.

I absolutely believe that a healthy body and a healthy mind are connected and to get one the other follows naturally. That was the way for me and I have seen in countless others. And once you have those two major, key, fundamental aspects of your life in order – the rest DOES fall in to place.

So start anywhere. Start somewhere. Start small. But PLEASE start today, and start with ONE THING.

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The coolest thing is, once you have that one thing nailed, the healthy nutritious smoothie for breakfast instead of skipping meals or the earlier bed time and no snoozing, or the walking every single day … you tackle the next area you are keen to change.

And slowly but surely, block by block, day by day, month by month – you start to design a body / mindset and LIFE you LOVE.

I’ll never say the road to making big changes in your life is easy, it’s not, if it was every body would be doing it – but I CAN say that it’s worth it.

The gap for you now, between the life you’re living currently, to the one you want to be living in terms of your health and fitness, is simply the action you choose to get in to from today onwards, or the action you choose NOT to get in to from this day onwards. And THAT is the difference between successful people and unsuccessful ones that stay stuck where they are blaming external influences and environments on where they’re stuck.

If you’re here though, reading this blog, and you have gotten this far – it tells me a lot about you, and it tells me you are one of those successful people wiling to put in the action to make the changes in your life you so desire.

So, start today – you don’t need to wait until Monday to start making incremental changes in your life nor wait for a new season to start a new life … you can start today, right now.

And as always, I will be cheering you on the loudest – and the proudest.

Anna xo

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