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Hi. You are so welcome to this latest podcast episode. I'm so excited to chat to you today about my favorite topic, which is healthy habits.

My favorite top healthy habits for a balanced lifestyle. I'm going to share with you my absolute favorite healthy habit, the one that completely changed my life and saved my life. It's funny, Joe always jokes with me, my husband, um that he thinks that I use the word healthy about 20 times a day. I definitely use it a lot and it's, it's now become one of my favorite words, being healthy because to me being healthy it represents a feeling of feeling balanced and good and happy in yourself without all the restriction and negativity that can sometimes be associated with good health, with good fitness, with taking care of yourself, with feeling good in your clothes.

The word healthy to me drops all that and just sums it up for me perfectly how I want to feel every single day. Um I used to be in a really, really bad place and I love sharing with this, this with you guys so much. Um Because I think it's really important to be open with the fact that we all go through struggles and that nothing is easy and we all have our own challenges. Um I used to drink way too much and eat way too much. I used to just eat for all senses um especially how I felt I used to eat when I was happy and sad, stressed out. Um If I was feeling really good, I would be straight away booking a restaurant. If I would feel bad, I would be comfort eating on the couch portion.

Sizes were really important to me. It was really important to me that I had a really big dinner. I just felt such a huge sense of comfort when I did, especially when it came to carbohydrates, rice and pasta and garlic bread, spaghetti bolognaise with garlic bread heaped on top. Um were were very, very important to me back then. And uh planning and thinking of the dinner I would eat and needing to consume large amounts for me to enjoy it. Uh, were, were a big part of my life back then.

Um, and back before that when I was really unhealthy, I was drinking way too much and just going to bed way too late and getting up absolutely knackered in the morning takeaways used to be more frequent in my life. I rarely have a takeaway now. Very, very rarely. But they used to be, uh, in my life at least once a week. Um, and, uh, I used to look forward to wine so much all the time. It would get to Friday and I would be so excited for my first glass of wine at the weekend. Actually, that's not true. I'll probably get to Thursday and start to look forward to my Friday glass of wine.

I used to just drive me throughout the week thinking of that cold glass of rose or whatever it was just thinking of it and going, I just have to get to there, work hard and I just have to get to there. Everything's going to be ok. You're going to be sitting in the garden soon enough with a glass of rose and it's all going to be ok. And that used to be me, that, that used to be me for a very long time. Um, I didn't always be mega unhealthy. I was kind of really unhealthy for a long period of time.

And then I became a little bit better, but I was still unhealthy and the, the knock on effect. So they were all like the habits that I was doing for a very long time. And those habits that I had led me to becoming three stone overweight. Now, I fluctuated with that weight at the highest I was three stone overweight.

And then I kind of lost a stone and gained a stone and then I lost the three and gained the one I always had weight on me. I used to be anxious all of the time, all of the time. Um, very stressed out all of the time. I had really bad low self esteem. I was constantly picking myself apart and, uh, and, and pulling myself down, whether that was looking in the mirror and tearing myself down or just constantly telling myself that I wasn't good enough. I had no clarity or focus, um, in my life because I wasn't calm.

Sure. How could I have been calm with doing all that stuff, drinking, binge, drinking way too much of the weekends. Comfort, eating way too much during the week. I was just constantly chasing my tail. I'd feel really bad on a Sunday, Monday and a Tuesday.

Uh, because I was drinking on a Friday night and a Saturday night, just Sundays. Mondays and Tuesdays were a write off in terms of my mental health. I, you know, I used to say to Joe on a Sunday when I was going to bed. Oh, no, I'm dreading tomorrow. I'm going to feel so bad and I'm not going to feel right again to Wednesday like it was kind of written into my week this uh kind of feeling of this, the certainty that I was going to not feel good again until Wednesday. And I had accepted that.

That was like a part of my life drink on a Friday drink on a Saturday. Get a takeaway on a Sunday. Feel really bad on Monday. Feel really bad on Tuesday. Like toxic feel alright. Wednesday, feel a bit better. Thursday and then look forward to my wine on Friday. That was, that was my life for many, many years before COVID hit. I was just stuck in that loop and that loop made me feel extremely bad in myself. I was always looking at myself um sideways in a mirror or in a reflection just hating myself so much and everything in my life felt difficult. Even the stuff that I know now wasn't difficult was difficult.

Like I had no patience at all. I had no tolerance at all. I had no peace in my mind. Everything was stressful. I I can see it now on other people, you know, when everything just seems stressful like you, you drop your car keys and you're irritated by it or you're stuck in traffic and you're irritated.

The smallest thing that didn't used to go my way, used to just stress me out and they were small things, like the big things I used to have panic attacks over like, actual full blown panic attacks. Unless somebody gets sick or the people that I love, I, I, I, I let it go, you know, I let it go but back then my God, I would hear bad news or, or I'd be going through some struggle with my business or um in my personal life and it would just be like the absolute worst thing ever. My relationships were affected because I was more cranky and irritable, much more affected.

You know, me and Joe are getting on amazing now and just the stress and the crankiness and the, the drama that comes with being cranky, like just the little drama of the irritability you can both feel and then you're both trying not to be irritable. We both used to be like that, you know, on a Monday and a Tuesday after having been so unhealthy all weekend long, we're both trying to bite your tongue and we were, we would both say it to each other. It's ok. We'll feel better on Wednesday. This is just the toxins going through our system. And uh yeah, they were affected so much and I look back now and I realize how painful that all was and it was so exhausting and tiring and feeling bad about myself for so long, it affects every aspect of your life when you're unhealthy, doesn't it?

Do you feel the same? Like, do you have an unhealthy habit now that you're thinking of that, that affects your life? Like, for example, if you're eating too much now, or you're comfort eating on the couch or your portions are too big and your clothes are tight. I'm guessing if you're anything like me, you're, you're, you're thinking about it at least 70% of the day. Little triggers. Like you catch yourself in the mirror or you sit down in a car and your stomach feels really horrible.

Or you see yourself in a photograph and you know what else is a big trigger? And people don't realize this when they've always been healthy. When you go through an unhealthy phase, it's, it's really tiring. You're thinking about it non-stop meal times, you're thinking about what you're eating. Is it going to make you fatter? And if you're not thinking about that, you're thinking about what you're going to have for your next meal. Like food is ruined. You know, you're feeling really good in the moment because you're having a salad, but you're overweight and you're just going to undo all your hard work later on.

 That used to be me. I used to just be so obsessed with food because I was unhealthy and because I was overweight, it's very, very difficult to tell somebody that's overweight not to be obsessed with food. It's, it's almost impossible because when you're feeling so bad in that moment you're desperate, you're absolutely desperate.

And the thoughts of somebody saying to you, well, look, just give yourself like, three months to unravel some of those unhealthy habits work out. Be patient. Be consistent. It's too stressful. It sounds like too much. It's easier to just say, oh, what am I going to have for dinner tonight? I won't have carbs. I'll just have a salad like that. That's easier. However, it doesn't work. And you're just wrapped up in this, you're consumed with food, consumed with it. And then, you know, you might have, I used to have like a salad for lunch and then carb free for dinner and then sit on the couch and eat shit.

Feel like just wanting to fucking, oh, I just hate myself so much. Hate like such a self loathing and then wake up in the morning and try and have a tiny breakfast just to undo my work. And you're thinking so small like that's you, you're in the moment you're thinking so small, you're just thinking of the food you're eating right now and there's no head space, there's no head space.

I was just stressed out, anxious and focused on my food and I couldn't see any bigger picture. And that was it. That was me. That was, that was me on Groundhog day until one day I was in Salt Hill and I had a panic attack and I had a panic attack because it was Sunday and I was really stressed out about the week ahead because when you, when you're unhealthy or you have an unhealthy habit, you can be flying it in other areas of your work. So, you know, I was still trying to hold it all together.

Run a business. Be brilliant at home. Keep the house clean, grow the company and you forget that you forget that, that you can still be excelling in other areas of your life. And you can be an absolute perfectionist. It's just when it comes to your health, this one key area of your life that that helps you feel good. You can be miserably failing at.

And that for some people can bring around a lot of anxiety and panic attacks on a Sunday, especially because your weekend self or your food self or your unhealthy self isn't living up. And it's not the person that you are truly the person that you are, is, is the the hard worker in work hitting deadlines, do doing everything well. And then there's this other side of you that isn't compatible. And for me, that's where a lot of my, one of the reasons where I feel a lot of my panic attacks came from that I was like I had this side of me that ate too much, drank too much was really unhealthy.

 My clothes were tight. I was overweight. Um drinking too much and uh poor, just poor habits, no mental health habits, no self care habits. Uh, as I've mentioned before. Rush, rush rush slapping on the moisturizer, grabbing the brush through my hair, like no, no, no tenderness, no care at all. But then there was a whole other side to me who would be like absorbing all these personal development books, doing courses for work striving to be the best I could be. So there, there can be such a mismatch. And for some people, it's where all the anxiety comes. You're sitting there on a Sunday.

I used to do it anyway and be like, oh my God, I'm such a loser. I am such a failure. I'm an absolute pathetic loser who's just eaten a huge takeaway who's about to have dessert and isn't going to say no, even though I want to say no who? It just feels so fat, so out of control. And I'm gonna supposed to go into work on Monday and be really in control and be really focused and be this, this person, this leader that I want to be and that I am. And the two just stopped matching for me. So it just came to a head in Salt Hill for me one day I was out there and we had been for a walk, a cup of coffee, the usual stuff. And uh I just said, you know what, this has to change and uh it did change and it changed from fitness. Fitness absolutely transformed my life from the inside out. And it is my favorite healthy habit.

And one that I want to share with you today, specifically a style of workout that will transform you from the inside out. And what happened to me when I started exercising this way was that? OK. So like why is exercise the number one healthy habit for you to transform your life? Number one, you, you are, you are factually straight away, more positive after a workout. And what happens when you're more positive, you see things in a more positive light.

So that's a huge win. Number two, you're clear minded. So what happens when you're clear minded? You make better decisions, you're more calm and in control to make better decisions and to see things clearly. I never used to see things clearly, especially not stressful things. I was so absorbed by anything that bad or negative that would happen. I was never able to take a step back. You feel better instantly, exercise releases endorphins. That's an absolute scientific fact.

So you feel better straight away, you always feel better straight away if you don't go too fast. So you're naturally going to want to eat better over time. It is quite difficult to exercise consistently and eat loads of shite that day. So over time and I, and I do understand because this was me that you'll, you'll still have unhealthy habits while you're exercising, however you'll, you'll begin to change, you'll begin to change. You're more naturally tired when you work out, which is really good because you're going to want to go to bed naturally a little bit earlier.

And even though that mightn't happen for you straight away over time, you will start to naturally want to focus on your bedtime routine. You naturally start to get more energetic. You just naturally have more energy and good things come from people for people with good energy, good vibes, good energy you attract, you start to attract the right type of stuff. You're happier as a person exercise releases endorphins which make you feel good. You notice yourself getting that little bit happier, you're stronger, you're fitter, you're more mobile. All of these things factually happen when you work out consistently.

If you work out consistently for three times a week, for 30 minutes and this has been proven over and over and over again by all the studies that people do um that you, that strength training, that lifting weights is extremely empowering, especially for women, forties, fifties, sixties that, that are going through tough challenges and the menopause and all the stuff that midlife brings that lifting weights scientifically really can help empower women and help them feel really capable and really strong and back in control of their life again. And that's exactly what happened to me. I started to exercise, I started to exercise consistently good things started to happen. And there was a period of time, a long period of time where I was exercising, still drinking too much, still comfort eating. However, lots of other healthy habits started to change. For me. For example, my breakfast, lunch and dinner improved.

I started to drink two liters of water every day. I got a great bedtime routine. I got a great morning routine. Loads of really positive things started to happen for me and I learned that I allowed myself to also still have the unhealthy habits of comfort eating and drinking too much of the weekend. So they stayed alongside me for a long time while all my healthy habits improved. During that time, I dropped two stone in weight, started to feel really good and then over time of consistent exercise and feeling good and more calm and more clear and in control when I got to that really good place and I only got to that really good place because of exercise. It was then that I decided I wanted to tackle my alcohol and comfort food issues.

So we kind of had this really cool step by step approach. However, if somebody had said to me, if I had had hired a coach and they said Jessica, you're so unhealthy. I want you to give up alcohol. Don't eat any sugar, drink two of water, work out three times a week. Get your bedtime, get your morning routine. I just wouldn't have done it and I would have gotten really stressed out and knowing me back then I probably would have had a panic attack. So I suppose what I'm trying to say to you is exercise is so transformative and I'm not talking about walking or getting up on a treadmill.

I'm talking about exercise that builds muscle exercise that gets you physically strong that you, that you notice yourself changing, that you, that you notice that you can carry shopping bags or lift somebody up a baby up or your grandkids, that the type of exercise where you get strong, where you get a strong core, you get strong arms, you get strong legs, you get fit when you do that three times a week for 30 minutes and you get physically strong, you will get mentally strong as a side effect. And when you're mentally strong, you will be, you will be wanting naturally to fix the other unhealthy habits.

So a gentle reminder to you, if you're listening to this now and you are feeling unhealthy and you don't know where to start, I promise you it's enough to start with. The exercise. Allow yourself to be super consistent with the workouts and have trust that everything else will come together. I promise you it will, you'll change because of the exercise, you'll get strong, you'll get mentally strong, you'll get great clarity, you'll feel really good and that new person that's inside of you right now. And it's just a little stressed out or anxious or it's just not come out yet. That person that work out works out consistently will naturally be able to focus on their other unhealthy habits. So be really careful to not take on too much stuff.

Be kind to yourself, be compassionate to yourself and keep things nice and steady. And I promise you if you're consistent, if you work out three times a week for one month nonstop, you're going to be itching to start to work on some other healthy habits on top of that.

And I also promise you that weighing yourself is the road to negativity, frustration, de motivation, and a lack of consistency. Equally. Weighing your food, counting calories, tracking your food is just negative and takes you away from enjoying your life and having fun and being healthy health doesn't have to be about restriction and dieting approach. The right way health can make you feel happy content at peace, live in the moment and you'll get such joy from the simple things. Your self love will improve so much, so, go forth and conquer dear listener. And thank you so so much for being here.

I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you could share this episode with one of a friend who you think might really enjoy it, I would really appreciate it. I know when my friends send me links to podcast episodes, I listen to them because I trust their opinion. So, if you could help me get this podcast out, I would appreciate it so much. Thank you so much for listening and all my love. I hope you enjoyed this podcast episode and you must let me know by getting in touch. Don't forget you can head on over to Jessica Cook dot I E where you'll find lots of free stuff to get you started on your journey.

About the author 

Jessica Cooke

I love drinking coffee, and my favourite thing in life (apart from my family) is to help women to get fit, healthy and learn how to love themselves again. (oh, and also I love playing with my two Miniature Schnauzers, Buster and Ozzy)

I’ve coached more than 6,140 women over 14 years get fit, healthy and learn how to love themselves again.

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