words by nerissa

…observations, thoughts and questions

Archive for the tag “inspiration”

Lessons from 2014

It’s amazing how quickly a year goes by.

As I write this, it’s the last day of 2014, but it doesn’t seem that long ago that we were leaving 2013 behind.

Like many people, I have spent the last few days of the year thinking and reflecting upon the year that is almost done.

In short, it’s been a busy and challenging year with lots to look back on. However, the most important things I have taken from this year are things my children have taught me.

They have taught me many things this year, but there are four things that have really stood out.

Don't let fear hold you back

This boy doesn’t let fear hold him back.

Drop the fear and get involved in life

Many of us let fear hold us back. We are afraid to try new things or do what we really want to do because of fear. We may be afraid of what others will think; afraid of not knowing anyone else; afraid that it will be difficult; afraid that it will involve sacrifice or (insert your own fear here).

However, when we listen to our fears and let them rule us, we miss out on so much.

My son, Josh is a great example of ‘getting in and having a go’. If he feels any fear, he doesn’t acknowledge it or even speak of it. He just ‘does’. He’s always up for a challenge and willing to try new things, even if he has never done them before, or doesn’t know anyone else who is doing them. He doesn’t let other people’s opinions prevent him from doing what he wants to do. In short, he doesn’t let fear hold him back. And he is loving life.

Look to the future

The future is something that can excite us or scare us. I think one of the reasons we find the future so scary at times is the fear of the unknown. We don’t know what is in store and we usually focus too much on the negative ‘what ifs’, rather than the positive possibilities.

My son is about to start a new journey at high school. Even though this is a huge change and he doesn’t know many others going to that school, he’s still looking forward to it with anticipation and excitement. He’s looking forward to meeting new people, and learning new things. He’s also looking forward to discovering just what it is he wants to do career-wise when he grows up. To him, his future is an endless sea of possibilities.

Work on your weaknesses

Just as all of us have strengths, we all have weaknesses too. However most of us focus on our strengths — the things we are good at, and avoid our weaknesses — the things we are not so good at.

At the beginning of this year, my daughter, Laura set some goals for the coming year (with the help of her teacher). All the children were asked to identify one thing that they needed to work on. Hers was ‘confidence’. My daughter is a natural-born worrier which can sometimes lead to anxiety and a lack of confidence. However, this year she has worked very hard on becoming more confident.

She has put herself in situations that made her feel very uncomfortable. So much so, that on some nights, it took hours for her to drop off to sleep due to how worried she was. She has taken on challenges that she would normally shy away from, and ended up performing very well. However, the biggest lesson she has learnt from all of this is that things are never as bad as you imagine them to be. By stepping out of her comfort zone, she has learnt that she is capable and that has led to a newfound confidence. So always, always work on your weaknesses.

Follow your own path

This girl is not afraid to follow her own path

Follow you own path

This is a hard thing to do sometimes. Often we have a goal in mind, or something we want to try, yet we get caught up with what everyone else is doing. The primary school my daughter goes to is very big on basketball. About half the school play after-school basketball (my daughter included), and many kids play for domestic teams as well. This year, many of my daughter’s friends were joining domestic basketball teams and a few of her friends asked her if she would join too. We also asked her several times if she wanted to join another team.

Her answer was a steadfast ‘no’. No, because she wanted to keep playing her keyboard and continue with her singing. In fact, she has done so well with her singing this year, she was asked to join the Australian Girls Choir, next year. So while all of her friends are playing basketball, she will be pursuing her love of singing and music. She will be following her own path. Something she is able to do, now she has more confidence in herself.

So as I sit back and think of the coming year and all it will bring, I’m not making resolutions. Instead, I am thinking about how I can make the most of the coming 12 months, just as my children have done in 2014.

In 2015, I aim to:

  • Drop the fear and make the most of all opportunities that come my way
  • Follow my own path, regardless of what others are doing
  • Work on my weaknesses, so they become strengths
  • Look to the future with optimism and hope, rather than worrying about what could go wrong.

In short, I want to be braver than I have been in the past.

This morning while at the gym, I heard the song “Brave” by Sarah Bareillis, and I felt that in some ways, it summed up how I want to approach the coming year.

What are you aiming for in 2015? Are you going to be brave too?

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Give yourself a chance

words by nerissa

Source: VicFit Factory (http://www.vicfitfactory.com/)

If you could do (or have) anything at all, what would it be?

Perhaps you want a new job, a promotion or even a change in your career.

Maybe you really want to travel — see the world and meet new people.

You may even wish to do something daring — like bungee jumping, parachuting or leaving the house without making the bed!

Maybe you are thinking about starting a family, buying a house, selling a house, buying a bigger house?

Perhaps you want to leave a bad relationship or start a new relationship, or deal with something from your past.

Do you have a dream or goal? Or maybe an idea forming in your mind of what your ideal life would be like?

If you do, and you’re not going after it, then what’s stopping you?

The biggest thing that holds people back is FEAR.

What is FEAR?

Fear is a very real feeling. Actually, it is our body’s way of protecting us in the face of life-threatening situations. Fear is a response to a perceived threat — whether it be physical or emotional.

words by nerissaYou may have heard of the ‘fight or flight’ response. This is our body’s inbuilt response mechanism, that prompts us to either fight or flee from perceived harm or threat to us.

The key word in both the above paragraphs is the word ‘perceived’. Perceived doesn’t mean ‘actual’. It means that you have interpreted something as threatening to you.

The trouble is most of us are afraid of things that are not really threats at all. More often than not, the situations that we imagine are more frightening than reality. The situations we imagine are also not likely to happen.

We may be frightened of what people think, of being ‘left out’ or ‘not fitting in’. We might be afraid that we will lose friends.

We may fear losing our money.

We may fear failure and the feeling of disappointment.

Perhaps we are scared about being out of our comfort zone, of feeling uncomfortable in new situations.

Maybe (in the case of bungee jumping), we are fearful of losing our life.

We may worry that the price we need to pay to have what we want will be too great.

We may even fear that when reach our goals, it may still not be enough — we may still feel unsatisfied, unhappy and discontent.

But what we are afraid of is not really the negative outcome — we’re afraid that we won’t be able to deal with it. We don’t trust ourselves enough to say “well, whatever happens, I can handle it’.

Fear is a real feeling, but it’s often based on false evidence.

FEAR can be described as  False Evidence Appearing Real

It can also stand for Face  Everything And Rise.

This week, I was encouraged to give myself a chance. To forget about everything that wasn’t happening, or that may not happen, and instead, focus on steps I need to take, regardless of any outcome.

words by nerissaI was encouraged to give myself a chance.

While we are consumed with fear and worry, we cannot possibly be doing all we can to maximise our chances of success. After all, a head full of fears, has no space to dream.

We have two choices. One, we can either Forget Everything And Run

OR

two, we can Face Everything And Rise.

When was the last time you gave yourself a chance?

Really gave yourself a chance?

cropped-twitterpic.jpgNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

 She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

 

7 secrets to weight loss

scales2If you’re reading this, you probably need to lose weight.

This is not a judgement about you, rather a statement based upon obesity statistics in Australia.

You see, the prevalence of overweight and obesity in Australia has been steadily rising for the past 30 years. The latest statistics from the National Health and Medical Research Council, indicate that around 60 per cent of Australian adults are classified as overweight or obese and more than 25 per cent of these, fall into the obese category.

Did you even know that?

Even more worrying is the obesity rates of our children — our next generation — are increasing too. It is estimated that around one in four children aged 5-17 years, are classified as overweight. Six per cent of these are obese.

However, I believe there is something even sadder than being overweight.

And that is the lengths — at best, ridiculous and at worst, dangerous — that people will do to shed extra kilos.

Now I am no expert in medicine, nutrition, exercise or weight loss. I don’t hold any official qualifications in any of those areas. But there are some secrets surrounding weight loss that you may not know.

Today, I am going to share them with you.

Secret No. 1 — Weight loss is not about weight loss

“What do you mean?” I hear you ask. Just that. Losing weight shouldn’t be about ‘weight loss’. Too many people focus on a number on a scale and think if that number is going down, they have lost weight. Hooray!

But what have they lost? Certainly weight. But is it the kind of weight you want to lose? If we are honest, we want (or need) to lose FAT. But most of us avoid using the word fat, because it has lots of negative connotations. So we use the word ‘weight’. It’s a bit more touchy-feely and less confronting, isn’t it?

But when you focus on losing weight, as opposed to losing fat, then you tend to focus on a number on the scale. A decrease in number on the scale can mean fat loss, but it can also mean fluid loss and muscle loss. This is more so the case, when following a fad diet or a ‘quick-fix’, (more on that later). So change your thinking and focus on ‘fat loss’.

Secret No. 2 — Weight loss is not about the scale

Losing weight (and you know I mean losing fat), should never, ever be about the scale. Sure, your doctor may have recommended you lose 20kg to improve your health. But if you lose 19.7kg have you failed? Will you still be striving, obsessing, doing whatever it takes to lose that extra 300g?

I would argue that if you are fixated on a scale, then yes, you would. Why? Because your focus has been on a number on a scale, rather than the health benefits gained by losing excess fat. Is an extra 300g going to make a HUGE difference to your health? I’m not a physician, but I would hazard a guess and say “no”.

So stop obsessing about the scale and the numbers on it. Instead focus on your health, how you are feeling, how your clothes are fitting and how much more energy you have. These are all much more positive things to think about.

Secret No. 3 — Too much weight is put on a scale (pardon the pun).

When you are on a mission to lose weight, what is your focus? I mean, your main focus? Those darned scales, I bet. You jump on them when you wake up to see how much you weigh. You get on them after breakfast to see how much you ‘gained’. You have a sneaky weigh after going to the toilet. Hooray! You’ve lost half a kilo! You have a final weigh-in before bed to discover, (gasp!) you have gained a kilo since lunchtime! And if you are going to a weight loss meeting, you check your weight all day long and avoid drinking in case it ‘shows on the scales’.

Sound familiar?

How does weighing yourself make you feel? I’ll tell you how you feel. One minute you feel ecstatic, then next concerned, then you are happy again, but that soon turns to feeling overwhelmed, depressed, worthless, angry, frustrated and disgusted with yourself. And then the cycle starts again the next day.

Instead of reveling in and celebrating the fact you are making positive changes for your health in your life, you are instead riding a roller coaster of emotions, all day long. scalesAnd there are usually more downs than ups.

Our personal worth should not be caught up in scales, and nor should the value of making a healthy lifestyle change. Scales don’t congratulate us for drinking more water. They don’t clap when you avoided chocolate all day. They don’t say “well done”, for going for a walk. They certainly don’t reflect all the positive things about you — like what a good mother you are, how kind-hearted you are, what a creative thinker you are, how organised you can be or how your sense of humour makes others feel happy.

So the secret is out — get rid of the scales.

Secret No. 4 — To lose weight, you need to eat…and drink…and move!

“No, no, no!” you say. “You have to cut kilojoules to lose weight!”

Well, yes — and no!

Too many people think that cutting back on their kilojoules, omitting food groups and eating smaller portions is the way to lose weight. Wrong.

It might work in the short-term, but just how long can you avoid bread or potatoes? Are you prepared to eat entrée serves of steamed veggies and rubbery chicken for the rest of your life? Prepared to give up chocolate and ice-cream forever, in the quest of being ‘thin’?

Yes, it’s true you do have to cut back on your kilojoule intake if you want to lose fat. But you shouldn’t be eliminate food groups or reduce your food so much that you barely eat a thing. What this will do (along with leaving you tired, lethargic and cranky) is slow your metabolism down. And when you start eating again (because you will), you will gain anything that you lost and then some — only to start the process over again. Sigh!

Focus on eating whole foods that will nourish you, and get rid of processed foods. And don’t vow to live the rest of your life without the foods you enjoy. Seriously, no fat-free, sugar-free, preservative and chemical-laden food will replace the sensation of eating real chocolate, so eat the chocolate for heaven’s sake, if you really crave it. You’ll be satisfied and less likely to trawl through your pantry munching your way through a multitude of substitutes, only to end up eating the chocolate anyway.

Don’t be afraid of food. Eat it, enjoy it, be creative with it and savour it. Our bodies need REAL food for energy, for nourishment and for enjoyment. Food is your friend if you want to lose fat. And so is water. Don’t be afraid to drink it. After all, it won’t ‘show on the scales’ now you have ditched them!

And don’t forget you need to move. I am not a qualified exercise physiologist or a personal trainer, so won’t be giving advice on exercise. The only thing I will say is our bodies were designed to move. They were not designed to sit in a car, sit at a desk and sit on a couch for the majority of the day.

So seek the advice of a professional as to how to exercise, and then go and do it. The only pre-requisite…you need to enjoy it.

Secret No. 7 — Eating is never about the food

Believe or not, eating is not about food. That’s right. Eating is NOT about food.

Yes, we eat food, but our reasons for eating are purely about our feelings. We eat to celebrate, we eat because we feel hungry, we eat because we feel thirsty, we eat because we are angry, or sad. We eat to mask our loneliness or our boredom. We eat because we feel it’s the ‘right thing to do’ and we don’t want to offend people.

One of the secrets to fat loss is taking the emotion out of the food. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy eating. But instead try to focus on your reason for eating. If you are physically hungry, then eat, ensuring it is something nourishing that will take you closer to your goals. A whole packet of Tim Tams does not fall into this category!

If you want to eat (but aren’t actually hungry), then stop and  identify the real reason you want to eat. If you are bored, find something to do. If you are sad, phone a friend. Doing these things won’t mean you won’t eat . It just means you are more aware (and are consciously choosing whether to eat or not).

Secret No. 6 — Weight loss takes time

You might think you already knew this, but how many ‘quick-fixes’ or fad diets have you done? Be honest! “I’ll just do the shake diet to kick-start my weight loss” or “I’ve got a wedding in three weeks, and I have to fit into my dress. I’ve heard those body wraps give really good results.”

Seriously, get real. No fad, no gimmick and no quick-fix will work. Accept this as fact. Save your money and your sanity and accept that you didn’t gain 15 kilos in 2 weeks, so you’re not going to lose it in that time.

The best thing you can do is accept that it is going to take time to reduce your girth and then put your head down and get on with it.

secret to weight lossSecret No. 6 — Quick-fixes, fad diets and gimmicks don’t work

Now, use a bit of common sense for a minute. If all of these magic pills and potions and shakes and wraps worked, wouldn’t we all be a healthy weight?

Some of those quick-fixes out there are just plain ridiculous. Some are dangerous. For example, I saw a post on Facebook the other day advertising body wraps as a way to lose weight. Firstly, they cost a bomb, secondly they claimed to “go into your pores and attack your fat cells, releasing toxins which you urinate out by drinking lots of water”. Seriously, that doesn’t happen. And there is no medical or scientific evidence to prove it.

But here is the dangerous bit. While ‘wrapping’, you are supposed to drink half your body weight in water. Yes, that’s right — half your body weight. So if you weigh 80kg, then you need to drink 40 litres of water. Firstly, that’s impossible. Secondly, that’s fatal.

Your long-term health is more valuable than fitting into a little black dress, or having a ‘beach-ready body’. If something sounds too good to be true, then it’s not worth the piece of paper it’s written on. Please, please, please say “no” to these fads and gimmicks and put your health first.

Secret No. 7 — Losing weight won’t make you happy

Finally, you need to know that losing weight losing FAT will not make you happy.

“Sure”, you say. “I’ll be happier when I can do my jeans up,” or “I’ll be stoked to be seen on the beach this summer”.

While that may be true, I am willing to bet that if you are not currently happy with your life and happy with whom you are, then having a body like a model will not make you any happier.

Yes, you might slim down and have people stopping you in the street telling you how fabulous you look. But if you don’t already believe that you are fabulous, it won’t mean a thing. You see, the voice in your head that already tells you, you are useless, will be telling you that you’re a fake, that you don’t deserve these comments. And then any results you have achieved will slowly, but surely disappear as you comfort eat your way through a tub of ice-cream and you will still be the same, unhappy person you already were, only you would have gained back all the weight (fat) that you lost.

This is probably the most under-rated secret of them all. I believe you need to love yourself as you are NOW, to be successful in changing your weight.Weight does not dictate your health or your worth

This is probably the hardest thing to do as well, particularly if you have loathed or at the very least, disliked yourself for a while.

If you love yourself, you believe you deserve the best. You believe that you should take care of yourself. You believe you are important. You believe you are unique. You believe you are worth something and can offer something important to the world.

When you really, truly believe all these things, then you will be happy, regardless of what your body is like. No number on the scale, no size tag in your jeans can make you value yourself for the remarkable human being that you are.

 

As we move out of winter and into spring, advertising for weight loss companies will begin in earnest. Distributors will begin spruiking the benefits of their latest, crazy and ridiculous products, “guaranteed to help you lose weight”. Magazines will be filled with menu plans and ‘diets’ that the rich and famous have been on with “remarkable” results. And you will be feeling the pull, the temptation to jump on one of these bandwagons, hoping that it will take you into ‘slim-city’.

My hope in writing this post, is to encourage you (if indeed you need/want to lose fat) to go about it sensibly.

Don’t get caught up in the hype. Don’t invest your time and money in something that won’t work. Don’t get obsessive about your weight. And don’t forget this about being healthy, not thin.

Most importantly, remember you are worth something, no matter what your body shape.

cropped-twitterpic.jpgNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

 She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

 

 

Why dreams don’t belong on the shelf

Do you have goals, dreams or aspirations? Are you working towards them? Do you have a plan?Go get dream

If you do, then nothing should stand in your way right?

Wrong!

You see, I have goals and dreams. Things I am working towards. I even have a plan.

But this week, I have discovered there was a BIG obstacle in front of me. One I never saw coming. One I didn’t even expect.

ME!

All of a sudden, it all seemed too hard.

My goals seemed unattainable.

The work involved loomed in front of me, too huge to overcome.

My belief that I could do it had disappeared.

Small things, which previously were inconveniences, suddenly seemed insurmountable.

My attitude was one of doubt, fear and negativity.

I was dragging my feet, feeling tired and beaten.

So what had happened to cause such a turnaround? After all, I was feeling on top of the world come New Year. And I had experienced great success last year as I worked towards my goals. What had changed?

The truth was, I had stopped protecting my dreams.

I had let ‘life’ get in the way of doing what I needed to do, to make my dreams a reality.

I had let the busyness of the end of the year stop me from focusing on my goals on a daily basis.

I had let ‘holiday’ mode make me complacent.

I had stopped visualising myself achieving my goals.

I had let a lack of routine dampen my enthusiasm.

All in all, I was what happened.

You see, if you have a dream, you need to protect it. You need to protect it from people who want to steal it, or sabotage you or ridicule you, or doubt you.

But most importantly, you need to protect it from your own complacency.

When we dream a dream, or set a goal, we need to look after it. In some ways, it’s a lot like a new-born baby. It needs to be looked after, fed, nurtured, protected, allowed to grow. In the beginning, doing these things is a pleasure, part of the excitement.

But over time, it is easy to become less vigilant.

When our children grow and become more independent, it’s easy to think that they don’t need as much protection as they did in the beginning. This is true, to some extent. However, they still need nurturing on a daily basis. They still need protecting from certain things and they still need to be encouraged to grow.

The same goes for our dreams.

Just because you have set a goal doesn’t mean you can ignore it and still hope to achieve it. Even if you start working towards it, you cannot afford to be complacent about it.

Dreams are precious things. They should be cherished, nourished and looked after. Not placed on a shelf, allowed to gather dust.

For when they are on the shelf, they are open to all kinds of negativity, doubt and fear.

If we don’t give our dream the protection or attention that it needs, it begins to wither and die, until all we have left are remnants of something we wanted to achieve, once upon a time. Distant memories of something we started but never finished. Discarded dreams left upon the shelf, covered in dust.

This week, I almost gave up on myself and my goals — almost.

I was lucky in that I realised what had happened to cause me to feel this way. And instead of shutting the door on my dreams, I have shut the door on the doubt.

I’ve taken my set of goals down off the shelf, dusted them off, and put them in a prominent position where I will see them each day. I will read them, I will visualise them happening, and I will continue to work towards them.

What about you?

Do you have any goals you need to take off the shelf?

cropped-twitterpic.jpg

Nerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

The search for inspiration

So school holidays are over and the kids are back to school. While part of me was a little sad to see the end of pyjama days, sleep-ins and Mario Kart Wii Championships, another part was a little excited.

It meant I could have my coffee in peace. There would be time for me. Time to write! inspire

But as I pulled out the school bags and organised uniforms on Sunday night, I despaired. My inspiration was gone. Just like that. Nowhere to be seen.

Did I leave it somewhere in the movie theatre, amongst all the popcorn on the floor and the seat? Maybe it went to hide in a quiet cupboard during my daughter’s 8th birthday afternoon tea. Or perhaps it disappeared among the mess on my lounge-room floor. Wherever it was, I couldn’t find it.

So I set about looking.

Hmm. Nope. Not in the kids’ school lunch boxes and not in the evening meal.

Maybe I accidentally wrapped it up in my daughter’s birthday presents. Damn. Will have to wait for the morning to find out.

No need to panic. I’m sure after a good night’s sleep, I’ll remember where it was.

I was wrong.

Monday

It wasn’t at the gym and nor was it amongst my daughter’s birthday presents. I didn’t see it at school assembly either and nor did I spy it while getting a few groceries.

It must be here somewhere!!!!

So I roamed about the house looking for my inspiration. It certainly wasn’t in the piles of birthday gifts distributed around the house. It most definitely WAS NOT in the ironing basket.

Think. Think. Where did you leave it?

Aha! Maybe it’s in the pantry. Hmm. Let’s see. There is a lot of stuff in there….

Actually, no. It’s probably not here. I mean, I’m pretty sure it’s not in the container of left-over smarties used to decorate a butterfly cake. And it’s probably not in a piece of that left-over butterfly cake either.

I sighed as I shut the pantry cupboard with empty hands.

I continued that way for most of the day. Searching, searching — looking for my inspiration.

The light faded and night fell. When it was clear that my inspiration was not going to be found in my Monday night fix of MasterChef, I decided that the search party would be disbanded until the morning.

Tuesday

To be honest, I forgot to look for my inspiration when I got up. Normal routine kicked in. Workout, shower, wake kids, breakfast, get organised for school and good-bye kisses at the door.

No time to look now because I’m off to the hairdresser. Perhaps I’ll look later.

And while I was sitting back having my hair shampooed and my scalp massaged, it hit me. My inspiration! It was back!

All of a sudden, I was writing again.

Not with a pen and paper, or a computer screen, but with words rolling around in my head. It was as if dozens of thoughts simultaneously collided with each other and exploded into smaller pieces, creating a myriad of new thoughts and ideas.

It was crazy.

My inspiration had never been in any one particular place. It had been hiding in many things.

The great feeling I had at the end of my workout. The beautiful view out of my kitchen window as the sun was rising. My warm bowl of oats and cappuccino for breakfast. It was there between the pages of my magazine. It was in the beautiful winter sunshine.

It was only when I stopped looking for my inspiration, and went about doing the things that I loved — the things that gave me peace and made me feel relaxed —  that true inspiration came flooding back.

Welcome back little one. I’ve missed you.

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