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Today's Podcast Episode

Hi and welcome to today's podcast episode.

I'm very excited to be here.

I always love our chats.

Always feels like I'm chatting to you because so many of you get in touch with me after these podcast episodes.

So I kind of have a really terrific feeling of who I'm chatting to and it feels even more special.

So big.

Shout out to you whether you're walking in the car, driving, sitting down or cleaning the house, whatever it is that you're doing.


You are so very welcome here.

I must say I had a very fulfilling week.

Last week, I met three people separately, I went for coffee with, um, and I went for a swim and I also, I'm getting a little bit more involved around my neighborhood just chatting to people a little bit more.

And I also have taken up a hobby and I went for a coffee with the people afterwards in a coffee shop.

I just wanted to say to you because in this podcast, even a year ago, I was talking to you about one of my huge goals being that I would have more connection in my life.

It's something that I have definitely struggled with.

Over the past years, I have tended to kind of cut myself off a little bit and I've found it very difficult to open myself up to friendships and meeting people.

And when you are in a bad place and you can never see the light in front, maybe you want to get fit and healthy and you can never imagine a day you're fit and healthy or maybe like me, you want to have more connections in your life and there's days where you feel like it's never going to happen.

I just want to say to you now keep on going.

There is always hope when you don't give up and sometimes it can feel like the most impossible thing but dig deep, keep going and you'll get there this time.

Last year, I had no friends.

And it's tough to admit that to you.

I felt like I had no friends.

I felt that way.

And this year I have lots of friends, more friends.

I've made good solid connections.

I'm being myself, which is still quite a new thing for me to go into a group and be myself and not switch into people pleasing mode.

And I'm making authentic, real connections.

And it's wonderful being from Dublin having moved to Galway, I lost connection with a lot of my childhood friends, all of my childhood friends.

Um And when I came to Galway, there's no family here, Joe is from Louth.

Um So I really isolated and cut myself off the years that the kids were born.

Um And also with the struggles I was going through with alcohol and comfort eating and not feeling very good in myself.

That sounds crazy that I wasn't feeling like I was connections when my job is so connection.

Um But my personal life was struggling an awful lot.

So I just wanted to share that with you.

Um Today, I hope you're having a really nice day.

I got a lot of response from the last podcast.

I just did an awful lot of questions about lifting weights and the power of lifting weights and why lifting weights is so important.

Um So you can go to episode 138 to listen back to why lifting weights is so important.

But it got me thinking about.

So a lot of you wrote to me messaged me about ok, I get it.

Lifting weights is so great.

I'm going to maybe start following your workouts on youtube or I'm going to go purchase a set of weights.

So that's really, really great.

So I thought today we would talk about what being healthy means to you and revisiting the whole avatar idea which I covered in a podcast before.

If you are working at becoming fit and healthy, I want to focus on the ground.

Work on the really good foundational stuff with you today so that you've got a good solid foundation, you know what being healthy means to you.

So what we're going to cover in this, in this podcast episode, by the time this podcast is over, you are going to know what goals you want, what action steps you're going to follow, who's the person you want to become and you're going to know what healthy means to you.


So that's exactly what we're, what you're going to get from this episode.

What I used to think being healthy meant.

So being healthy for me used to mean being as small as I possibly could.

I spent years dieting calorie, counting, weighing myself, weighing my food, pounding the pavements, sporadically, going to the gym.

I have wasted so much money on programs, mostly the programs all geared towards weight loss, um specifically the clubs like Slimming World and Weight Watchers and then also lots of the apps.

I've tried out like my fitness pal.

And I spent years at this years trying to make myself smaller, years obsessing with food.

So what being healthy to me used to just mean being smaller, being smaller and my days would look like this.

So I would drink every single Friday and Saturday night.

I would look forward to it so much that five pm time on a Friday, I would crack open the Rose or the Prosecco or sometimes the champagne.

I actually went through every single drink trying to find the best drink for a while.

It was Aperol Spritz or however you pronounce that.

And I would try at home cocktails and I would go on to the gin trying to search for something that I was never going to get out of alcohol.

But anyway, that's a different story.

So I would get to five pm on a Friday.

And sometimes I would put a little bit of a strawberry on top of my wine glass or my champagne glass and make this occasion like I've arrived.

Now it's time to celebrate all that hard work and I would get drunk.

I would get drunk.

I would have like four glasses of wine or 10 glasses of wine, whatever it was, I would drink it.

Um Friday, Saturday would be the same Saturday.

There would be lots of salty food from the hangover.

Sunday would be hangover.

The dread of Monday.

I used to eat more on a Sunday like I would go to Tesco sometimes and buy the frozen pack of samosas and badies or just eat more food.

Have more snacks, eat more hummus, have more fruit.

Kind of fooling myself sometimes that I wasn't really eating more.

Now, I don't know how I rationalize that.

I actually can't remember.

But I remember thinking, well, I'm not really eating more.

These are only extra snacks.

Um, and that's how I would spend Sunday.

Just kind of bloated, sweaty.

I might get out and move a bit of exercise, but always the dread of Monday was coming along and sometimes I would just go for it and have lots of crisps and chocolate if I was feeling particularly bad.

And other times I would try and control my eating, but like I mentioned, have loads of extra snacks and in hindsight, it's called overeating, but I would never call it that back then.

And then Monday would be lots of restriction, lots of, lots of restriction.

And that's when I would get the big stick and start to beat myself first thing Monday morning.

Oh, hang on.

It's time to beat myself with this big stick.

It's time to call myself fat, ugly, awful, unfit.

It's time to get all those words out.

And I would start the day with a lot of self hatred and a lot of self loathing.

I would resent going to my workout, the workout that I had planned based on the goal of making myself smaller.

So I would turn up to my workouts because I thought I had to, to lose weight and to just be a smaller size of myself, I'd spend all day feeling so low.

You know, that feeling where I used to feel so bad in myself, so bad in myself.

I just felt so low overweight, bloated.

That feeling where your heart drops.

And you think here I go again, back to square one.

All that effort, all that thought, all that work that I put to myself last week is gone.

Here I am bit a few pounds up on the weighing scales.

Or else I used to, you know, I'd be the same.

Here I go again.

What's the point?

And I would just go around like that in circles because no matter how many times I thought what's the point, I still felt bad enough to spur myself on to go and do something about it.

Even though I was coming at it from completely the wrong way.

I would do the same on Tuesday, I would motivate myself through self hatred, calling myself fat overweight.

I could never stay consistent.

I'm always wasting money on these programs and everything to do with my health was a negative thing.

Food was really enjoyable because it was negative.

I always felt like, ok, well, what am I eating today?

And then I'd eat my breakfast like, ok, so what am I going to have for lunch?

And ok, so I'm going to go to Costa for my lunch, so I won't get a sandwich.

I'll have a little mini yogurt.

But oh my God, can I have the granola that's on top, so on and so forth, dinner time trying to reduce my carbs as much as possible.

And then Wednesday would hit and I feel a little bit better only because the toxins of the alcohol actually are gone by Wednesday.

If you're drinking at the weekends, it takes all day, Sunday, all day Monday, all day Tuesday.

And you feel ok on Wednesday and Wednesday would be, would have been like the time that I felt ok and I would still be restricting, but I would start to feel a little bit better.

The self loathing would be gone.

I would start to feel like, ok, I'm back in a little bit of control again.

And so the cycle went around again because every Wednesday I felt like this, then Thursday would hit and I would feel good.

Now Thursday was the day that I found it really hard to not eat loads of crap on the couch at night or not have a drink.

I mean, there was a time there where not drinking on a Thursday night was a big win for me.

But I did get to the point when it was only Friday and Saturday, but either way, whether it was food or alcohol, it would be the first thing I would think of on a Thursday.

So the cycle, the, the negative cycle.

Well, the whole thing is a negative cycle but the, the kind of the, the treats, the food, the alcohol would all kick off again on a Thursday and then so on and so forth.

I felt so bad.

I never got anywhere with my health.

I may have been fit, but I was overweight.

Very unhappy.

I was very anxious.

I was very stressed out.

I had no friends, no connections.

I had no peace and calm in my mind.

I didn't make any time for myself.

I had no boundaries.

I didn't know what my likes or dislikes were.

Every day for me was groundhog day.

I used to put everybody in front of my own needs and myself.

I would put my needs last, anything that I had scheduled for myself, I would always cancel for somebody else.

I answered my phone whenever it rang, I gave away my number easily.

I was put on to all these whatsapp groups that I didn't want to be on.

And that when I look back was, was me thinking I was trying to be healthy?

Now, when I look back on the action steps that I was following that I was doing on a weekly basis, I can see that those action steps were driven by a self loathing, that self loathing and not loving myself, brought about those habits.

The habit of the negative inner critic very strong on a Monday and a Tuesday was an act was a habit because of self loathing.

The turning up to my workouts with the goal of trying to be smaller was a habit from self loathing the drinking as much as I could drink on a Friday and Saturday night was from self loathing the binge eating, the lack of boundaries.

The inconsistency all came from a self loathing mindset.

I didn't like myself.

I wanted to be smaller.

Having that goal of wanting to be smaller and not loving myself, led me to inconsistency and temporary results.

If I did get results, it was for a very short period of time and it was only because I dug my heels in and restricted as much as I could during the week so that my weekends didn't have such a negative knock on effect on my physical body.

And I just got a little bit smaller, very temporary.

And what I want to tell you in this episode today is that if you are being driven by a self loathing towards yourself, and you are looking at your health in terms of trying to make changes on your body and trying to be smaller, trying to change your physical appearance and being healthy to you right now on a subconscious level, maybe is about restricting dieting and working out to lose weight.

Then you are coming at your health from an, from a place of a lack of self love and a huge self loathing and having a goal of wanting to be smaller or wanting to change your shape is only going to leave you inconsistent with your workouts and your healthy eating.

Because a goal of weight loss and being smaller only is a very temporary thing.

It is impossible to continue to drive yourself forward and stay consistent with, with, with working out.

If your only goal is to become smaller, you're coming at it from a negative mindset, from a lack of love to your body right now and it'll only ever be temporary.

The results you have will be temporary.

And if you're wondering now, are you like this now?

Well, look back on your, on your, on your journey with your health so far and ask yourself, how many times have you gone full circle with this?

How many times have you lost weight, gained weight, lost weight only to gain it again?

How many times have you exercised and then stopped and then exercised and then stopped?

And what are the reasons for the stop starts?

And I encourage you to ask yourself?

Is it that you need?

Is it that you have at the minute?

A goal that's, that's not motivating, that's not positive.

That's not from a self love place, but more from a self loathing place.

When I discovered this.

When I discovered this, that the action steps I was taking, what I thought was, were healthy action steps.

It was that I was because I disliked myself.

And I had such a self loathing unto myself that I asked myself, well, what if I just, I went on a journey of learning how to love myself.

And I left the goal of wanting to be smaller.

So I went on a journey of self discovery and I learned how to love myself again.

It took a couple of years, but it was from the, from the, from the beginning that I decided to go and learn how to love myself again, everything started changing for me.

On that day, I didn't have to wait for a couple of years to start changing.

I noticed changes.

The second I started to go on the journey.

And when I decided I was going to learn how to love myself again, when I observed that I wasn't really taking care of myself and loving myself.

And that my actions were driven through a self loathing through a want of being smaller, lighter.

And I went on this journey and I learned how to love myself again.

What health healthy means to me changed.

And the goal of wanting to be smaller naturally stopped.

And when I started to learn how to love myself again, I learned how to self mother.

So instead of turning to others for needs that I wanted that I wasn't getting, I learned how to mother myself so that I didn't have to go to other people for these needs that weren't being met.

I learned how to mother myself, how to be kind and gentle to myself.

I learned how to turn inwards.

So the trigger of wanting to eat or drink alcohol or change my emotional state.

For example, if I was feeling very anxious and stressed out, I would drink alcohol or eat food, both would temporarily give me that soothing feeling.

However, when you go on a journey of learning how to love yourself again, you learn how to turn inwards to yourself and talk yourself down from that anxiety and stress.

So you turn inwards instead of outwards, which I really think is really cool.

And I, I visualize that every day.

Now when I go about my day, I think whoa am I turning outwards?

Am am I trying to change how I'm feeling by eating and drinking or can I bring it inwards and just sit for a moment and talk myself through how I'm feeling and rub my shoulders and tell myself that I love myself and, and really talk to myself nice and gently.

And what happens then when you decide to go on this journey with yourself, you suddenly stop turning to food for comfort.

You stop getting drunk.

It does take a while but you do, you stop binge eating, you stop mass, you stop restricting yourself at the beginning of the week, food wise and you stop restricting and dieting.

You get off the weighing scales and you make room in your life for slowing down.

You, you build boundaries in your life.

You start to be really kind to yourself.

You get fresh air because you want fresh air because you're taking care of yourself.

You want to read books and you make time for reading books.

Your stress and anxiety goes down, you work out because you love yourself and you want to be fit and healthy now and into the future and exercise becomes less about the negative drive and all about wanting a really good quality of life, picturing yourself 5, 1020 years down the line, wanting to be full of energy, shopping bags, easily thrown into the car, pushing and pulling things.

You want to be capable.

I wanted to be capable, fit healthy, strong.

All of a sudden you make room for all this and then you become fit and healthy.

And what being healthy means to me now is being healthy because I learned how to love myself again.

I naturally became healthy.

My goal is to be healthy and healthy for me now means reduced stress and anxiety, peace and calm in my life.

Having boundaries in my life, reading books, having time in my calendar scheduled out for my non negotiables, which are my workouts and my fresh air, not canceling those things for anybody, even if I could.

If somebody said, can I meet you at this time?

Even if I can move it.

I don't move it.

It's very important that you have your non negotiables in your life and all of a sudden healthy is so different now.

It's having fun.

It's a great quality of life.

It's not just letting my work define me.

It's allowing the other parts of me to flourish and grow and to realize that work is one part of me.

It's having connections in my life, good solid connections.

Something I had never had, I had it in school but not since school.

Apart from one or two people can I genuinely say I was having happy fun connections in my life for the past 10 years.

So your whole mindset changes and your whole belief system changes.

So you almost like you embody health as opposed to trying to become smaller and everything being an awful chore the way it is in those awful weight loss clubs.

So what I want to do with you now is I want you, I want to help you create your own avatar, help you create the person you want to become.

And the wonderful thing about creating your own avatar is that it takes all the time pressure off changing and embodying healthy habits.

For example, when I wanted to give up drinking alcohol, I wrote out my avatar and it was the future me who didn't drink alcohol, who had a really great relationship with food, who was having fun and who got lots out of their connections in their life.

Not just a one way thing, a two way thing that I got stuff out of the connections in my life that I had boundaries in my life, et cetera, et cetera.

And in the two years of me trying to give up alcohol and stop comfort eating, stop eating after dinner, which I really struggled with for many, many years when I did drink alcohol, even when I wanted to not.

And when I did eat crap food after dinner, even when I didn't want to that because I had my avatar in place.

It felt ok.

It felt like, well, look, I can see the person I want to become, I'm not quite there yet, but I have it written down on paper.

So I know I'm going to get there and it sounds really basic.

But what happens to a lot of you guys myself included is that you join a new program or you decide you want to get fit and healthy and you're so surprised when things don't work out exactly as planned.

For example, you might start a fitness program and say I'm going to work out three times per week and I'm going to get into walks and you get to the fourth week of you exercising and walking and you don't do any exercise and walk.

You just default that week back to old behavioral patterns.

And for a lot of us we go, oh, my God.

Here I go back to square one.

Typical me.

I can't believe I did that and we stop, we take that to mean we're failures.

We take it as evidence that here we go again.

And I see a real issue with people about, with getting back on track.

I see it so often somebody does really, really well, they get off track and they, they don't get back on track.

Whereas life is always going to happen, you're always going to have shit weeks.

You're always going to have weeks where you don't, where things don't go to plan in the two years that I wanted to stop drinking.

I drank every weekend.


I think I went through one phase where I didn't drink for seven weeks and then I drank again and more.

But I never lost faith in those two years.

And I, I really credit it being down to my avatar that I didn't take those struggles and the time that I drank as well, that means I can't drink then which I think happens so much with people.

Oh Look, I'm not working out, which means I have to stop this program.

Get really unfit again and start when I'm at rock bottom again.

No, you get back on track by getting back on track.

When I get asked that message a lot on Instagram, people message me and say, do you have any advice for getting back on track and can't you see how crazy that is.

That's how I was too.

How do I get back on track?

You just get back on track.

You don't need anybody's permission.

You don't need to be embarrassed about getting back on track.

In fact, getting back on track is what makes consistent people.

It's, it's when you're inconsistent is when you don't get back on track and you leave these massive long gaps because you just don't get back on track consistent.

People have off weeks.

I know loads of members in my program that are so consistent that they're off, they, they mightn't work out for two weeks because just crap happened in their lives.

But they, they're the, I view them as the most consistent people in the program because there's just no doubt they just get back on track when they've fallen off track and it's always the people I see it in my lock, they're off track and they just stay off track and they're waiting for something magic to happen and all you have to do is get back on track.

You don't need to apologize for anything or be embarrassed about anything.

If we can get rid of a little bit of that perfectionist thinking that all or nothing thinking and just lean into the messiness of life sometimes and just get back on track.

But I digress.

So having an avatar is really, really terrific because it'll help you understand the person you want to become and what healthy means to you.

So when you have bad days and you have bad weeks, you still have it written down the person you want to become.

That's it.

This is the person I want to become.

Um So the first things first, I'm just uh want to pull it up here is you imagine, so five steps, imagine who you want to be in 1 to 3 years, just close your eyes and imagine who you want to be.

Imagine who you want to be for me.

That was a non Rinker.

I don't like the word sober that labels me.

That just puts alcohol.

I don't drink, I don't drink alcohol.

I work out, I eat healthy.

I have two treat nights at the weekend.

If I want to have an ice cream randomly during the week, I'll have one.

I drink 2 L of water every day.

I get fresh air because I love it.

I lift weights three times a week for 30 minutes because that gets me really fit and it's really healthy.

If you're a woman over 40 dinner is my last meal.

I take 10 minutes every day to do my thrive time to help, bring me back to myself to become peaceful and calm.

I turn my phone off and put it on airplane mode when I get into bed so I can read my book.

I read a minimum of five pages of a good book every night.

I make time for fun and laughter.

I have nonnegotiable, me, time scheduled into my calendar and so on and so on.

Feel deeply what it would be like to truly be that person, feel it, feel it with your body and your mind.

Next up.

You want to be thinking of the action steps you're going to make to become that person.

You're going to expect everything and attach to nothing.

You're going to measure the gain and not the gap.

You're going to look at how far you've come never at what you haven't yet achieved.

And I want you to use these eight questions as prompts for writing your avatar.

What does your life look like?

What do you look like?

How do you feel?

What does your environment look like?

What's the overall experience you're having?

What's important to you?

Where is your focus to put it simply when you're writing out your avatar, know the person you want to become and know the action steps attached to that person in the future.

So now you know where you want to go and allow for setbacks and challenges along the way, you might decide being healthy.

To me means working out three times a week and walking twice a week, you might not achieve that for six months and then the penny will drop and you'll start to become that person.

But what happens is a lot of people don't allow themselves to have six months of failure.

So they just quit.

They would prefer to not feel the feelings of failure.

It's easier sometimes to quit on yourself than it is to feel feelings of failure.

God, I felt so depressed when I was trying to stop drinking, I felt so bad.

Crack open the wine, pour it into the wine glass and instantly feel like shit like shit.

And it's the same when you're trying to become consistent with your workouts, it really doesn't matter if you don't become consistent with your workouts until you do.

If you just decide you're not giving up on yourself and you will become consistent, you will, you absolutely will.

You'll find a way to become consistent if you don't quit.

Don't be hard on yourself for not having cracked it yet.

I spent 20 years, 20 years in a state of self loathing and having really unhealthy action steps.

And boy, am I so glad I didn't quit on myself?

And if I can say one more thing, I want you to allow yourself to have unhealthy habits alongside your healthy habits.

So when I was exercising three times a week, all that kind of binging and restricting cycle with the food was still ongoing.

I was still going crazy with alcohol at the weekend.

So don't drop your healthy habits because you think, well, not everything is perfect.

So what's the point?

It all starts with exercise?

Everything good comes from exercise.

You can work out and drink alcohol.

You can work out and still have an unhealthy relationship with food.

Like all that stuff, let that stuff come and catch up with the healthy part of you don't drop the healthy part of you because you feel like not everything is in alignment and there'll never be a perfect moment.

You just, you just commit to being healthy, you and embrace the setbacks and challenges along the way.

I hope you have found this episode helpful.

Most importantly, I hope you have found it helpful and I hope, you know, you're not alone that I have gone through this too.

And if you enjoyed this podcast, I would love for you to do me the massive favor of just rating it whatever rate it, whatever star you want to just please rate it on whatever platform you listen to this podcast on and maybe share it with a friend.

If you know of somebody who might get value out of this episode.

Have a wonderful day.

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 IE where you'll find lots of free stuff to get you started on your journey.

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  • 4/11/23 Jessica…’ve just told my story by telling your own…..oh man! The similarities are just unbelievable! Xxx Thank you. I’ll listen to this again! This is pure GOLD! Xx

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    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 and break free from unhealthy habits holding them back. (oh, and also I love playing with my two Miniature Schnauzers, Buster and Ozzy)

    I’ve now supported over 6,779 women over 14 years in my Thrive Coaching Program get fit and break free from unhealthy habits!