In my previous blog post, I promised I’d come back to how French women act around food and why most of them are so slim.
You do want to know, right?
Because if you look around you in a crowd when you’re in France, it’s very unlikely that you’ll see any obese or even mildly overweight people.
Why is that?
Well, here are 8 of the reasons:
# 1) Food is a lifestyle
In France, food is seen as a pleasure and an art, not just something you eat to avoid hunger and make sure your body gets what it needs every day.
The French have a lifestyle that allows moderation and pleasure to walk hand-in-hand. It’s how they’ve been raised, and it’s how they stay healthy and live life in general.
In fact: No food is off limit for most French women. One reason is that they make sure they get enouogh exercise on a daily basis. They’re constantly on the move, making their daily routine part of their exercise. They walk everywhere, climb the stairs, and so on, - like I wrote in my previous blog post (link).
That’s why going to the gym simply isn’t something they do a lot. If they do, they seldom go more often than twice a week, and definitely not to get ripped. It’s because they’ve found an activity they enjoy, and because they know they’ll feel good afterwards.
Another reason is that deprivation, negative feelings toward food, cutting out entire food groups, or eating factory-made products, just isn’t a French woman’s style. It’s never about deprivation or absolutes. It’s about being smart with choices and quantities, and it’s about eating healthy and also exercising on a regular basis.
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# 2) They get food education from an early age
The French learn from an early age to appreciate fine food and to be proud of their nation’s food traditions. The children learn that meal times are regular, no snacking between meals, and that sweets and sugary cakes are for special occasions only.
This instills healthy eating habits from an early age.
They also learn to eat what the adults eat, and to finish what’s on their plate. This encourages them to try new foods and not be «picky» about what they eat. This is also why you don’t find any «Children’s menu» in French restaurants.
# 3) The Government supports healthy eating
Even in schools, healthy lunches are a priority in France. The French government makes a serious effort to ensure that children are getting proper nutrition. Therefor, three-course, balanced meals are the standard in school canteens, and candy-bars have been removed and replaced with fresh fruits.
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# 4) Three or four meals a day and no snacking between meals
The French normally have 3 meals a day, and generally don’t eat between these fixed meals. The 3 main meals are breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Usually the breakfast is something light, like a croissant or slice of bread with butter and jam, and a bowl of café au lait. It’s also worth noting that bread in France normally have no sugar added and is therefor usually healthier than bread types you get in many other countries.
Lunch is considered the main meal during the day, and can last up to 2 hours. It consists of several courses: Starter, main dish and dessert. Not the kind of dessert you normally think of, though, like a pudding. Dessert to a French woman normally means fresh fruit.
There’s usually no snacking between meals, but kids who arrive from school in the afternoons eat some bread with jam paired with a glass of milk. This afternoon snack is known as le goûter, according to www.talkinfrench.com .
Then there’s dinner in the evening, normally around 7:30 pm. This meal also normally consists of 3-4 courses, but can sometimes be a lighter meal than lunch.
# 5) Fresh produce – no processed food
The French stick to their traditional eating habits, and frankly: There’s a lot to learn from them. Like the fact that they generally …
The climate in France makes it possible for a wide array of high-quality ingredients to be produced. Everything is freshly picked and cooked to perfection.
This means that the French generally eat «real» unprocessed food and less low-fat, sugar-free and fat-free versions (which are often actually full of artificial sweeteners and other ingredients that are not good for you).
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Meat is often the center piece in French meals.
Vegetables – the freshest and the ripest – are carefully picked and prepared. These are then cooked into side dishes or as part of the main course.
Cheese is among the things the French can’t live without. It’s always served as a part of a meal, right after the main course and before the dessert.
Bread is common in most meals, especially breakfast and dinner. There’s a wide variety of breads in France, but the baguette is probably the one most frequently used.
Although there are several supermarkets in France, especially in larger cities, offering many imported varieties of food and ready-made meals, - the farmer’s markets are still popular. Traditional French cuisine relies on fresh fruit, vegetables and meat, and the average French person still sticks to the traditional way of preparing food.
Young people may be more open to Anglo influences and be more frequent users of the American fast-food chains that have invaded France in the last decade or so. But the traditional French eating habits live on, and you’ll probably still find most of the fast-food restaurants more or less empty between the official meal times, even though they’re more likely to have longer opening hours than French restaurants and in that way are more available to the public.
Of course, France is a popular tourist destination, and also have many citizens originating from other parts of the world, so the supermarkets and fast-food chains do serve their purpose and have their regular customers. But the average French person still prefers to do their grocery shopping at the local butcher’s, boulangerie and farmer’s market, where they get fresh food.
# 6) They take time to enjoy the food
Another healthy habit is that French people don’t eat «on the go». They sit down at a table, preferrably with family or friends, and enjoy the before-mentioned 3-course meal.
This doesn’t mean that they eat a lot, though. They generally serve smaller portions of each dish and sit longer at the table. As mentioned earlier, lunch is the most important meal in France, and can typically last up to 2 hours. This is because the French really savor the moment, enjoy the food and the company of friends and family, which naturally allows proper digestion.
They also take plenty of time between each dish, which also ensures that they know when they’re full and therefor don’t over-eat.
Because cooking is considered an art in France, and the ingredients are carefully picked, the dishes are usually full of the right nutrients that satiate hunger and maintain proper metabolism.
Photo by Adrienn from Pexels
# 7) They drink a lot of water
Unlike what you might think, the French often drink water with meals. But of course they do also like some red or white wine, but then they stick to one glass or two small glasses, and not a whole bottle of it. In France, you also rarely see a pint of beer or bottles of soda or other sugary drinks on the table at meals.
# 8) Eating attitude
Unlike people from many other countries, the French actually listen to their bodies when they eat, and will therefor feel when they’re full. They say, “Ca va, je n’ai plus faim” (meaning «I’m good»), and then they stop eating. Many other nationalities would stop eating only when the food is all gone, but as long as there is still food on the plate, they will continue to eat.
Those are the 8 main reasons the French women don’t diet and also generally don’t get fat.
Of course, there are no rules without exceptions, but the French lifestyle is absolutely one we could all learn from. For me, it’s the ultimate thing. Depriving myself of food that I like, or shaming myself for not going to the gym or doing heavy work-outs on a general basis, is not for me.
I’m living the French lifestyle now, and so can YOU.
I want to enjoy my life, and the general attitude of slowing down and savoring each moment, is absolutely something that appeals to me and also seems wise. I’ve had enough stress in my life, and it hasn’t done me any good.
I used to live «the French way» in my twenties, and that was the healthiest I’ve ever been. So when I found my way back to that after many years of living a different lifestyle, - a lifestyle where I was struggling with stress and putting on weight, - it was such a relief!
So how about you?
Are you sick of struggling with weight-loss and diets? Do you feel that strickt work-out regimes haven’t paid off for you? Do you feel that your life is full of stress and that you’re sort of running on a hamster’s wheel and not getting anywhere?
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If so, I really suggest that you consider adopting the French way of living.
Even if you don’t live in France, it’s not difficult at all. It’s a way of living, an attitude towards life, that you can incorporate wherever you are.
Why not start right now?
Here’s how you can do that:
Having a community of likeminded women to support you and share your thoughts with, is absolutely GOLD! And it’s FUN! So join today!
When you join, you’ll also get a downloadable version of The Female Life Designer’s Manifesto, which is a great way of getting into «the French way» of living right away!
And this is just the beginning!
If you really want to learn more about the French lifestyle, I’m on a mission to share everything I know with you and make sure we both live with as much joie de vivre as humanly possible!
We’ll study and go deep into all aspects of «the French way of living», for sure. But slowly, with ease and elegance. Effortlessly! Comme une femme francaise! I’m looking forward to getting to know you!
If you enjoyed this blog post, feel free to leave a comment below and even share this with someone else who might enjoy it, too!
Why is it that French women never seem to get fat? Have you ever wondered how they can be surrounded by all that delicious food and wine and still not put on weight? It doesn't seem fair ...!
Do they exercise like crazy at the gym every week?
Non. Absolument pas! In fact, you don't find many gyms in France compared to other countries. It hasn't been as popular with the French to "sweat out" in a gym, although there has been a certain development in this area in the last 15 years or so.
The French traditionally prefer sports, like football (soccer), tennis and cycling. Among women, I'd say tennis and walking are the more popular activities. If a French woman goes to a gym on a regular basis, she doesn't really talk about it, and she definitly wouldn't be seen on the streets in a gym outfit! Jamais de la vie!
Do they eat only green salads and deprive themselves of cakes and other delicacies?
Nope. In fact, they eat cakes with great pleasure!
So what's the secret!?
If you've ever wondered about this and want to be like those French women, I would think that you're just as eager to find out as I was ....
Well, today is the day to rejoice, because I'm on a mission to tell you everything I know about the French Lifestyle! Not just because I'm a "Francophile" who have had a fascination for everything French since my childhood, - the language, the food, the style ... the "joie de vivre" that the French are so good at ... - but because I truly believe that the French life-style can be life-changing for you, just as it's been for me.
However, telling you everything in one blog post is practically impossible, because there's so much to be said about the French way of living. The best way to really take it all in, is to digest it the way the French digest their food: Slowly, really enjoying the meal, savoring the moment. But I'll go deeper into that in a later blog post, - I promise!
Today, I'll be focusing on telling you how you can become slim and chic like a French woman without even breaking a sweat.
Photo by bruce mars from Pexels
So here's how you can do that:
# 1) Develop a positive body image and stop
following the trends.
This is at the top of my list for a reason. In today's world we hear and read daily about weight-loss and dieting. Magazines show us pictures of what "the perfect body" should look like, what the latest fashion trend is, and why it's a "must" for anybody who wants to be "à la mode" ...
A French woman couldn't care less about this. She knows that her worth as a woman doesn't depend on how much she weighs or whether she follows the latest fashion trends or not. She knows that the most important thing is how you feel about yourself, and that you learn how to "play with what you've got" and wear clothes that look good on YOU, in shape and color. Your clothing should bring out your best features and be of good quality.
So a French woman has a very relaxed body image. She doesn't complain about her body or comment on whether she's thin or fat. She just doesn't give it much thought. Just as the French have a positive attitude toward eating, they have a positive attitude toward the body and fitness.
And remember: less stress is one of the keys to losing weight, or at least to stop gaining more of it.
# 2) Slow down and enjoy every moment.
I won't claim that all French women are completely relaxed and never show any signs of stress. Paris in particular can be very stressful for a working woman, so I guess you may find some examples of stressed women there. But in general, French women have an attitude towards life that is very laid-back and uncomplicated, and they seem to have understood the importance of savoring each moment.
For example, they always sit down to have a meal, - or even if they only intend to have a drink. You wouldn't see a French woman walking on the street with a hamburger in one hand and a bottle of soda in the other. Jamais de la vie! She would go and sit down in a café or restaurant and take her time to really enjoy the food or her cup of coffee, or whatever she's having.
And meal-times at home are holy. You won't see a French family stand at the kitchen counter and eat "on the go". They sit down at the table and enjoy the food. Digest it slowly. Have a relaxed conversation together. And they eat small portions and stop before they're too full. They take their time to feel satisfied by the food.
And it's like that with any activity, really. French women are in the moment and not just rushing through or thinking about what's coming up next. When they're with friends, they sit down and have a real conversation. If they're doing an activity together, they engage in it.
You get the picture. There's so much to gain by adopting the French woman's way of doing things. So from this day forward, I suggest you start savoring every moment of every day. Take notice of your surroundings. Talk to people. Sit down and relax, and just BE.
And what does this have to do with becoming slim and chic?
Remember: Stress can make you gain weight, so slowing down and being more present in the moment will have a great impact on how you digest your food and the effect it will have on your body.
# 3) Incorporate exercise into every aspect of your daily routine.
Exercise is good for you. There's no doubt about that. But you don't have to spend thousands on a membership at the local gym and torture yourself through an hour-long hard work-out routine 3 times a week to get enough of it. In fact: Spending an hour at the gym may do your body more harm than good if it’s not an exercise you like, or you don’t have the right technique.
20-30 minutes of daily exercise can have a far better effect in the long run, and it's also much easier to incorporate and therefor more likely that you'll actually see it through.
So instead of going to the gym, do like the French woman: Make your daily routine an exercise. When you wake up in the morning, stretch your body a little bit. If it appeals to you and you have the time: Go for a brisk walk around the block. And if you don't have the time (because you're going to work), or you simply don't feel like it early in the morning, just incorporate more walking throughout the day.
# 4) Park further away.
If you need your car in order to get you to work on time, at least park further away and make sure you get that quick walk every morning and afternoon. If you go by public transport, get off at a different stop so you get a few minutes longer to walk.
# 5) Walk the stairs.
If you live or work in a building with several floors, walk the stairs instead of using the elevator. If there is no elevator, - so much the better! Then you don't have a choice, and you already have a certain amount of daily exercise in your life. If you don't feel that's enough, you can always walk the stairs an extra time up and down, or run them.
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# 6) Make shopping part of your exercise.
Depending on where you live, you can walk to more than one store to buy your groceries. This is not only good for your legs, but can be good for your arms, too, if you don't carry too much.
If that's what you have a tendency to do and therefor always go by car to do your grocery shopping, do it like a French woman instead: Bring a trolley bag to put the groceries in, plan your shopping beforehand and stick to your list. In this way, you get more exercise AND you prevent unhealthy shopping habits. Two good things in one, that will help you to become slim and chic like a French woman!
If there's a market where you live, buy your food there instead of going to the supermarket. Fresh food is always better, and good quality meals that are prepared from scratch are much to be preferred to ready-made meals that you just heat in the microwave. A French woman would prefer to buy her food at the market, whenever possible.
It's also much more enjoyable to have that personal contact with the vendors. Take your time and chat with them. It will be good for your social networking, your mood, your stress level and maybe even your wallet, if your friendship with a vendor happens to give you the occational discount.
# 7) Explore your neighborhood.
Of course, if you live in a big city, exploring your neighborhood is rather easy. There will always be some place you haven't seen yet. But if you're living in a smaller place, it can be a bit more challenging to find somewhere new to explore. However, it's not impossible.
Try to be creative about it, and really use your eyes when you're out and about. You might find a tiny new shop, or maybe you'll discover a path through the woods that you haven't noticed before.
Make it an adventure. And why not extend what you call your neighborhood a little bit further out of "your zone"?
If you don't normally go to the library, - do that. And walk there, or go on your bike, so you get the intended exercise. I'm sure you can think of more things along the same line.
# 8) Create an active challenge for yourself every day.
Tailor this to your everyday needs. If there's an elevator in your building, challenge yourself to walk the stairs if you normally use the elevator.
Or challenge yourself to walk for at least 10 minutes, even if you don't feel like it.
# 9) Make your household chores into an exercise.
-Do the cleaning yourself, instead of hiring someone. Try speed-cleaning a
a little bit every day to keep your home looking presentable. Give yourself
a time limit, like 10 minutes, and put on some motivational music while
you're doing it. Really go for it. Scrub, push, straighten... whatever it is
you need to get done.
- Dance or make lunges while you do the hoovering.
- Do squats when polishing or dusting legs of chairs and tables.
- Wash the toilet in an energetic way.
- Change the beds more often.
- Use your hands and arms when you prepare food, if possible, instead of
always using kitchen appliances....
... and so on. If you do this, you'll burn calories and keep your house looking great at the same time. Try to make the experience as pleasurable as possible. Put on a lovely apron or some colorful rubber gloves. You get the picture.
Little by little you'll get leaner, stronger and fitter, simply by doing your daily routines.
# 10) Make your leisure time more active.
In today's society it can really be a challenge to stay away from your mobile phone or your computer and not constantly check your social media, play games, etc., - or just lie on the sofa and binge-watch TV-series while eating potato chips or some other "goodies". Because we CAN.
A French woman wouldn't do that. She'd prefer to be active. She'd go out, meet friends, socialize, go for a stroll along the river, visit an art gallery or a museum (where she'd be walking around, of course), go to the library ... that sort of things.
Even socializing at a café, which might sound like a less active way of spending time, is - I can assure you - much better than sitting around the house and just spend time on social media. At least going to a café means that you have to get out of the house and probably walk a certain distance to get there, and you'll be spending time with real people - friends! - which will be ten times better for your overall wellbeing.
But even if you should prefer to stay at home, you'd be doing yourself a favor if you'd spend more of your time either reading a book, working on a creative project (like sewing, arts & crafts, painting...), or having a good conversation with a friend or family member, rather than just checking your social media and eating potato chips.
You don't see the difference? Well, even if all of those activities are being executed sitting down, I do believe that the kind of activities I mentioned will do your heart and soul far more good than getting bombarded with all kinds of news - good or bad - on social media, - some of which aren't even true and might just make you feel bad or inadequate, - and spending your time on more creative activities will also lower your stress level and make you feel more fulfilled.
The French woman has understood this. She'd much prefer taking an active part in something, whether it's reading a book that will stimulate her intellect or her emotions, having a conversation with another human being, or taking part in some physical or creative activity that will do her good in other ways, - rather than sitting passively around, doing nothing.
I'm not saying that "just sitting around" is a thing you should avoid at all cost. Sometimes it's absolutely necessary to relax completely and do nothing.
What I'm saying is that on a general basis, being active in some way will benefit you more, and especially if your aim is to be slim and have a stimulating and happy life together with the people you love. So I suggest that you try to make your leisure time at least a little bit more active, if sitting or lying on the sofa every night is what you tend to do at the moment.
Photo by ELEVATE from Pexels
# 11) Dance!
This is another great way to exercise. You don't need to be a pro, and you can do it in the comfort of your own home, without anybody watching (if that's what you prefer). You can incorporate it into your domestic work, or dedicate 10 minutes to it now and then. It's up to you.
# 12) Do leg-lifts or some other exercise while
Do 12 leg-lifts while watching TV, or do a "90 degrees" challenge against a wall for a certain amount of minutes (If you don't know what that is, it means sitting in a 90 degree angle against a wall. I promise you that you'll feel the burn within a short time!). Or do the plank for 1 minute... or some other exercise.
You get the idea. There are so many things you can do while you're being passively entertained in some way or other. Find something that you find inspiring. Come up with your own unique challenge.
If you incorporate these 12 rules in your daily life, I feel confident that before you know it, you'll be slim & chic like a French woman, without even breaking a sweat!
If you want to have the 12 rules easily at hand, you can download this printable version.
And if you want to learn more about how you can live «the French way», I’ll be more than happy to teach you step by step how you can make it happen! Even if you don’t live in France, it’s not difficult at all. It’s a way of living, an attitude towards life, that you can incorporate wherever you are.
Why not start right now?
#1) Print out the 12 rules of «12 Ways You Can Become Slim & Chic Like A French Woman Without Even Breaking A Sweat», and start with #1 TODAY!
# 2) Join my community of Female Life Designers!
Having a community of likeminded women to support you and share your thoughts with, is absolutely GOLD! So join today!
When you join, you’ll get a downloadable version of The Female Life Designer’s Manifesto, which is a great way of getting into «the French way» of living right away!
You'll also get access to our closed Facebook group where you can get to know other members, share your thoughts and take part in ongoing conversations, and also be a part of the show whenever I do a Facebook live, etc.
And this is just the beginning!
We will study and go deep into all aspects of living «the French lifestyle», for sure. But slowly, with ease and elegance. Effortlessly! Comme une femme francaise!
If you enjoyed this blog post, feel free to leave a comment below and share it with someone else who might enjoy it, too!
I've always been what you may call a "Francophile", which means that I've always been drawn to everything French: The language, the food, the culture, the style ... the "joie de vivre" that the French are so good at.
I don’t really know why I got this fascination to begin with. I guess I just heard the French language and fell in love with it, and then I watched some French TV-series and movies and read more about France in various books, and for some reason the French way of living just appealed to me more than anything else, and I dreamed of living there.
MY INTRODUCTION TO THE FRENCH LIFE-STYLE
And then I got a French friend. I was 14 years old at the time, and a French girl came to my hometown during the summer holidays to visit her father, who was working in Norway at the time. She came with her mother and younger brother, and by chance we met and became friends.
At 14 she already had more style than any Norwegian girl I knew (including myself). Her mother was effortlessly elegant and relaxed, and very down to earth.
They were living examples of all that I wanted to be. They were not trying to live up to anybody's expectations or pretended to be something they were not. They were just confident in their own skin and wanted everything in life to be of good quality, whether it was food, clothing or spare time activities.
I learned a lot from my French friend. I observed her and her mother in their day-to-day activities, - the way they talked, the way they conducted themselves. And I knew I wanted to be more like them.
They only stayed for 2 brief summer months, but we kept in touch through frequent letters, and this contributed greatly to my knowledge of the French language, which I'll be forever grateful for.
My longing for France didn't exactly diminish with this experience. I felt so drawn to the French lifestyle, because it seemed to be the perfect fit for me and my personality.
I waited for many years before I was able to get myself to France to see my dear friend Brigitte again and be able to breathe in the French air at last!
When I was 24, my friend was getting married and invited me to her wedding. Quelle joie! I could tell you a lot about that trip, and I'll come back to that later, but long story short: The 2 weeks I spent there rooted France firmly in my heart forever.
Going back home after that trip felt strange, as if life had just played me a trick. As much as I love my country, I felt like I had finally gotten a glimpse of Heaven, only to be rejected at the gate. The French lifestyle had gotten under my skin, and I knew I’d go back some day.
I guess my friendship with Brigitte and the atmosphere I had sucked in during my visit to her country, influenced me in such a profound way that I had gradually adopted a French attitude to life. At least the "French light" version. It had become a natural part of who I was and the way I lived.
So how exactly did I live «the French lifestyle»?
- I had a very relaxed attitude towards life.
- I had confidence in myself and my own capabilities.
- I had a positive body image.
- I enjoyed good food.
- I exercised without really thinking about it.
- I had a great social life, with lots of friends around me.
- There was plenty of fun and laughter, and social activities
like going to a café, the movies or a concert.
- I engaged in great conversations with my friends.
- I was very active.
- I engaged in activities that stimulated my intelligence (like reading).
- I engaged in creative activities, especially writing and Arts & Crafts.
- I sang in a choir and listened to music a lot.
In short: I really, really enjoyed my life!
And I was slim! Effortlessly. I didn't have to think about it at all! No dieting. No strict exercise regimes. No depriving myself of good food. No stress!
I WAS A SLIM (AND QUITE CHIC) WOMAN
When I was in my twenties, I never had to think twice about what I put into my mouth. I was always slim, n'importe quoi! I enjoyed moving my body and did a lot of walking, running, cycling, skiing, hiking, etc.
In short: I was very active. I had a flat stomach, and I was in the best shape of my life. I had no trouble finding clothes that fit me perfectly, and going shopping was fun and exciting!
I actually had a great style at that time. I knew which colors and shapes looked good on me, and I enjoyed finding clothes that not 9 out of 10 other girls were wearing.
Looking back now, to my life the way it was in my twenties, I can see that I really lived "the French way" back then.
So what happened?
Well, I guess LIFE happened. Somewhere along the way, things slowly changed. After a few wonderful and happy years back in my hometown, our group of friends dissolved. One by one we moved on.
Some went away to start a higher education; some left because they got a new job. Others left because they wanted to go back home.
Soon, I felt that it was time for me to move on, too. I wanted to go to college, like so many others.
This naturally meant a change of environment, and the next year was in many ways quite challenging for me. I went through a period where I felt very lonely and suddenly lost all confidence in myself, and other issues became more pressing than keeping up the French lifestyle.
However, things did improve. I found new friends and had a much better time, but I had in some ways lost myself along the way, and I felt that I had to try and blend in with the people around me.
This feeling got rather rooted in me, and the next years of my life was more about blending in than being true to the person I felt that I was deep inside, and it became harder for me to live the way I really wanted.
I guess I wasn't confident enough to "stand my ground", so to speak. So I blended in and tried not to provoke anyone. The "French lifestyle" sizzled away...
And after college I got a job. Met a man. Got married. Got 2 wonderful kids. In short: I had a good life in many ways, and looking back on it now, I wouldn't have been without those years. They gave me some of the best experiences in my life, first of all giving birth to and raising 2 great children, who to this very day are my pride and joy.
And all these years, I was slim. I even stayed slim after I'd given birth to 2 kids, and of course I was very pleased with that.
But then, just as I turned 40, something happened that made me gain almost 20 kilos of weight.
THE SHIFT FROM SLIM AND CHIC TO THE NOT QUITE SO CHARMING VERSION OF ME.
So what was it that suddenly made me gain this weight?
Well, I had an accident. I got a head injury.
Now, you wouldn't immediately think that an incident like that would make me gain weight. But the fact is that the accident had physical consequences that forced me to be less active for a while, because of heavy migraine, dizziness and other symptoms.
If you want to learn more, I’ve written about it all in my article “Coming Out Of The Closet With PCS. Could You Possibly Have It Too?”
But the biggest consequence was the stress. The stress around not being able to live the way I'd always lived: Physically active and enjoying life.
Slowly, without even noticing it at first, I started putting on weight.
Have you ever experienced that, - how things slowly change over time, without you noticing it?
Well, that happened to me, and after a while, I realized that I had become overweight. Not obese, but I definitly wasn't slim anymore!
It was devastating to me! I suddenly didn't like the woman staring back at me in the mirror anymore. I started to cover myself up in baggy clothes to hide my tummy, and I didn't even realize that it just made me look even bigger.
I didn't like to be photographed anymore. I didn't like to shop for clothes. I didn't enjoy eating the way I did before.
I was constantly thinking about the fact that I had become a version of me that I didn't like. And it really, really stressed me out.
This went on for years, until I realized that I couldn't go on like that. I wanted my life back! That's when I came across several books that helped me shift my thinking.
I realized that I was good enough just the way I was, but I also learned that it was all up to me to make the changes I needed in my life.
I've written and talked quite a lot about mindset and how your thoughts create your reality, so I won't repeat that here right now. Let me just say that I started to make some changes that slowly put me back on track, back to the woman I wanted to be. And the main shift was changing my thoughts.
Many years had passed at this point, and I was no longer consciously thinking about "the French lifestyle". I just knew that I wasn't living in accordance with who I really was, anymore. And that had to change.
FINDING MY WAY BACK
I've spent almost 2 decades sort of fighting my way back to a "normal" life after the head injury. But in so many ways I've been happier this last decade than I was for quite a few years, because I learned how to shift my thinking and understood that I had to start living in accordance with who I really am again.
But for a long time, I wasn’t really sure how I could do that. I felt sort of restless and a little bit "out of place", and I wasn't quite able to establish WHY. I’ve had a vision of what I want, and I've been moving towards that, little by little, but I've been searching for MY way.
And then, suddenly, I had an epiphany:
"I have to go back to living the French lifestyle again!"
Suddenly everything fell back in place for me. My mood instantly got a boost!
I need to go back to living «the French lifestyle» again because that’s the lifestyle that has always felt natural to me and my personality. That’s the way I lived in my twenties, and that’s when I felt good in my skin and was at my healthiest in every way.
So that’s what I’m doing.
Even though I’m not living in France, I’m finding ways to live «the French lifestyle» where I am, and it’s not difficult at all.
And I want to teach other women "the French lifestyle", too. I want to teach YOU how to live "comme une francaise". Because I truly believe it can be life-changing for you, as it has been for me.
I hereby declare:
From this day forward, my focus will be on
sharing with you everything I know about
the French lifestyle,
and make sure we both live with as much "joie de vivre"
as humanly possible!
So if you want to learn more about how you can live «the French way», I’ll be more than happy to teach you step by step how you can make it happen! Even if you don’t live in France, it’s not difficult at all. It’s a way of living, an attitude towards life, that you can incorporate wherever you are.
Why not start right now?
- Sign up for my newsletter so you don't miss out on future blog posts
about the French Lifestyle!
- Make sure you don't miss out on my next blog post: "12 Ways You Can Become Slim & Chic Like A French Woman Without Even Breaking A Sweat»!
- Join my community The Sisterhood of Female Life Designers on Facebook!
Having a community of likeminded women to support you
and share your thoughts with, is absolutely GOLD! So join today!
When you join, you’ll get a downloadable version of The Female Life Designer’s Manifesto, which is a great way of getting into «the French way» of living right away!
And this is just the beginning!
We will study and go deep into all aspects of living «the French lifestyle», for sure. But slowly, with ease and elegance. Effortlessly! Comme une femme francaise!
If you enjoyed this blog post, feel free to leave a comment below and share it with someone else who might enjoy it, too!
Most people don't understand that all power lies within ourselves.
I didn't, either, until about a decade ago.
But now I know. For sure.
Our lives are not just a series of accidental happenings. Our outer circumstances are built directly or indirectly, innocently and usually unknowingly, but nevertheless inevitably, by groups of inner feelings. These inner feelings constitute our moods, and our moods can be controlled by our thoughts. Of course, sometimes we just feel something, and we can't really explain where that feeling comes from, because it doesn't seem to be based in any reason or fact, so you may argue that there was no active thought that caused the feeling to rise. But I believe that what we feel is closely connected to some thought or inner belief that we have on a regular basis, maybe without being aware of it, and that inner belief affects our feelings. At some point, tiny seeds have been planted in our minds, by our parents, our teachers, our religious leaders or other people around us - or by ourselves - and these seeds grow in our subconscious and become beliefs.
Our acts spring from these secret seeds that we have planted or allowed to be planted. Our subconscious mind is - like I've mentioned here on my blog before - like a very powerful cannon. But this cannon is not like a regular cannon. It's constructed on the principle of a boomerang, which means that every "shot" (or thought or word) fired from it, comes back to us. And it doesn't come back alone. It returns filled with results, realities, actual occurences. Whether these realities are destructive or constructive, what you want or what you don't want, depends completely on which direction you keep your "cannon" (your thoughts, your words) directed most of the time. That's why it's so important to be aware of your dominant thoughts and be careful about which words you speak.
Because you give power to the thoughts you keep thinking on a regular basis, and to the words you keep saying over and over again. They affect your mood, your inner feelings, your beliefs. So if your thoughts and words are mostly about worries that you have, I believe that what you will experience in your life will most likely be the things you most worry about. In fact, this is not just something I believe. I have experienced it, over and over and over again in my own life. Until I understood what I was doing, and started to change my thoughts.
Because, just as your anxious or negative thoughts affect your outer circumstances, so do your constructive and positive thoughts. If you build up a constructive mood, your inner forces are directed toward what you want, and if you keep this mood and make sure it becomes your overall feeling, nothing on earth can prevent you from eventually getting what you want or something better.
So control your mind. Be aware of your thoughts. But bear in mind that it's not so much what you say, do or pretend that will get you what you want. It's what you FEEL. Whatever keeps bubbling up in your life on a constant basis is the fruit of the feelings you've entertained in your subconscious over a long period of time.
You are the master of your own life. But you need to recognize this responsibility as your own and stop blaming your circumstances on other people or "life happenings".
If it's difficult for you to see this, that your outer world, your life as a whole and the sum total of your experiences are the massed result of your own moods or feelings - just leave it alone for a while. Let it rest. Let the thought mature on you. And just for the fun of it: Take a look back at your life, or take at look at the life of someone you know, and reflect on what your situation or their situation looks like, and what seems to have been the general attitude in yourself or that other person over a period of time, which may have given the results that you see.
That's all for now. I'll see you soon.
If you liked this blog post, feel free to comment below or share it with someone else. Thank you!
Illustration photo by Flickr.
I've decided that it's time. After more or less 18 years of not talking about it, I need to come out of the closet and say it out loud: I suffer from PCS.
Never heard about it? I'm not surprised. I hadn't heard about it, either, until a doctor diagnosed me with it back in 2002 (I think that's when it was). I'd known for a long time (more than a year) that there was something wrong with me, and I'd been telling my GP (General Practitioner Doctor) my theory about it, but I felt that he didn't believe me. In fact: Many doctors know very little about this, and my GP at the time obviously didn't.
I'm not writing this blog post to bring shame upon anyone, but after my own personal experiences with PCS, I think it's time to shine some light upon this invisible injury, which is more common than you'd think, and which a lot of people suffer from, especially many athletes. But people with PCS often keep silent about their illness because they feel they're not being taken seriously or even believed. That's why I've kept silent about it, too. That doesn't make it go away, though.
So let me tell you my story:
Back in March 2001, I had applied for a vacant job at the local municipality office after having worked from home for 7 years. It was a part-time job (60 %).
Just before I was going to start that job, I had an accident. I hit my head very hard against a bookshelf in my son's room one day, and I had a constant headache for 2 days. I didn't call any doctor, though, because I didn't want to bother anyone or "complain" (guess I'm a typical woman!) and I thought it would pass. So I started that job, despite the headache, because I thought if I started off with a sick-leave, I'd lose the job right away, so I tried to hang in there as best I could.
Only the pain didn't pass. Well, it got better, but I was dizzy and also had other strange symptoms, like feeling completely exhausted just by walking up one flight of stairs, and I had migraine with "aura" almost every day, - so after a couple of days I finally went to see a doctor (not my usual GP). He examined me, but couldn't find anything wrong. He did, however, say that I should probably take it easy for a few days and asked me if I needed a sick note. I was reluctant at first and said "no, thank you", - but it didn't take long before I had to go back to the doctor and ask him to write that sick note anyways, and so I was on sick-leave for 2 weeks.
That was just the beginning.
Let me just cut a long story short and say that I was in and out of that doctor's office more times than I care to remember, and I felt more and more like I was regarded a hypochondriac each time I went there, because the doctor couldn't find any physical evidence of my illness. I felt more and more that he didn't quite believe that there was anything wrong with me at all, even though I'd told him about what happened when I hit my head and I'd described my symptoms and told him over and over again that they had to be connected to my injury, because it all started then and I'd never had any such symptoms in all my life before that.
It wasn't until months later that I finally got diagnosed. My GP had sent me to the local hospital to have some tests done over a couple of days, which meant that I had to be admitted, and during that hospital stay, after having been interviewed by the doctors and told them my story, one of the doctors came to me one day and gave me a Medical Journal with an article that he wanted me to read. "See if this describes what you're going through..." he said, as he handed it over to me.
Post Concussion Syndrome
The article turned out to be about something I'd never heard about before: Post Concussion Syndrome, but which I immediately recognized. (I won't explain in detail here, but you can read all about PCS here). When I read the article, everything fell into place. It was as if it was written about me personally. And the doctor told me that he'd had a similar experience as mine when he was younger. He'd fallen into a river and hit his head on a rock, and he got a severe concussion and suffered from it for many years afterwards. Post Concussion Syndrome really means "long-time effect from a severe concussion", - or to quote the Concussion Legacy Foundation: "Post-Concussion Syndrome, or PCS, is the persistence of concussion symptoms beyond the normal course of recovery" - and there was really no doubt: That was exactly what I was going through.
It was such a relief to finally meet someone who understood what I was struggling with, and who could give me some answers! I asked the doctor if this was something I would have to struggle with for the rest of my life, or if there was anything at all I could do to heal myself. He said there was a chance that I could get well eventually, but that I most likely would have the symptoms for many years to come. He advised me to read more about it on the Internet when I got home from the hospital, and said that I should try to avoid all kinds of stress, mental and physical, and that I would probably need to rest a lot. If I managed to do that, he had good hopes for me, but couldn't make any promises.
It turned out that I was in one of the categories of people who were most likely to develop PCS and have symptoms for a long period of time. I'm a woman, I was in my 40s when I got the injury, and I'd had several head injuries and concussions as a child. For your information, I had at least 3 incidences of concussion in my childhood, - on one occasion I had to stay home from school for a whole week. I also had what they call "petit mal" epilepsy for a few years in my childhood, where I had "black-outs" and didn't know what was going on around me. Luckily, I "grew out of" that, but all these things probably made me especially vulnerable to PCS, and is probably part of the reason why I still have it.
Symptoms of PCS
If you suffer from symptoms that no doctor has managed to diagnose, maybe you have PCS, too. These are some of the symptoms:
Headache / Migraine, often with "aura" (eyesight disturbances)
Flushing of cheeks
Temperature control issues
Visual convergence insufficiency
Shortness of breath
Frequent toilet visits / need to urinate
Increased intolerance with alcohol
I've suffered from most of these symptoms, especially during the first few years. Some still linger on, but I'm better. When I'm allowed to set my own agenda, I can live more or less like normal, but if I have to be in an ordinary job, I seldom last long before I'm back on a sick-leave.
How serious is PCS?
Well, to quote the Concussion Legacy Foundation:
"Post-Concussion Syndrome can be extremely disruptive to a patient’s life. In addition to having to constantly manage concussion symptoms, which can intensify with normal activity, long-term PCS patients often have to restructure their lives to avoid activities and situations that cause symptoms to worsen. For children, this can mean extended absences from school and removal from sports and extra-curricular activities. In severe cases, it may be necessary for a child to repeat a grade. In adults, PCS can seriously impact a patients’ personal and professional life, interfere with family life, as well as the ability to focus, communicate, and be effective at work."
I can confirm that. I've had to restructure my life somewhat significantly after I got PCS, and the fact that this is invisible to everyone else and therefore something other people seem to find hard to accept even exists in my life and is a real problem, - I've learned to keep my mouth shut about it and I just try to live my life as close to normal as possible. The fact that many doctors know so extremely little about it, too, doesn't make it easier. It's hard to convince others to believe in something they can't see. That's why I've sometimes considered buying a pair of crutches or putting a bandage around my head, - like so many other PCS patients. I quote: "PCS is an invisible injury, and many patients often wish they had a more visible injury requiring crutches or a cast so that they would receive more respect" (quoted from the Concussion Legacy Foundation's website).
No specific treatment, but there are options
There's no medical cure for PCS, as you can see if you read more about it (here), and no particular physical treatment. But there are some options, depending on what your exact symptoms are, and there are things you can do to try and keep it from getting worse. I've tried to follow the advise I got from the doctor who diagnosed me. Basically, I've had to try to avoid stress (which has been extremely difficult, since I've had to work, and life has presented a lot of challenges along the way...). One of the symptoms of PCS is fatigue, so there's been a lot of things I always enjoyed doing before, that I just stopped doing for many years because I felt completely exhausted. Dizziness and migraine with "aura" (sight-disturbances) also made me sort of afraid of even going for a walk alone, - something I used to enjoy earlier.
Less physical activity, combined with a lot of stress, resulted in me putting on almost 20 kilos of weight. For a person who's been lean and strong and never heavier than 60 kilos all my life up until that point, putting on that much weight and losing my slim figure was really depressing. I felt less attractive, and the fact that I felt constantly tired and didn't have the energy to do things together with my kids the way I used to, also made me feel like a "bad Mom". The effect PCS had on my relationship with my husband, is also part of the picture. I didn't have the energy I used to have before, neither to be physical intimate nor to go hiking in the mountains with him and that was bad enough, but I even struggled with doing household chores like cleaning floors, because I got so exhausted, so my husband had to do more of these things now. But the most frustrating thing was the feeling of not being taken seriously with my illness and the actual challenges I had because of it. As time went by, I felt that both my husband and other people didn't quite believe that PCS was real, and that I was just making excuses to avoid working or doing things I didn't want to do. It made me really sad and frustrated.
I had to change my life
It came to a point where I just couldn't live like that anymore. I wanted my life back! And I understood more and more that I had to stop putting everybody else first and start living more in alignment with who I am and what I need. I had to start looking after me for a change.
So after years of struggling my lonely battle with PCS, - after being on sick-leave long-term, then going through a rehabilitation period where I managed to get some financial support to educate myself as an interior decorator, then going through a work-practice period, then starting my own creative business which I kept going for 2 years while at the same time working as a substitute teacher.... (!) (you may breathe now!) - yes, I did all of this despite the fact that I knew that I had PCS and really shouldn't be having all that stress in my life. But I was the only one who really understood that, and I felt that nobody believed me. So I kept quiet and kept going. But after some years, I realized that I had to make some big changes in my life. I just couldn't keep going the way I did. I was exhausted, physically and mentally. My marriage wasn't working well. I felt that - apart from the constant love and support from my wonderful kids - I was completely alone with my struggles, and had no support. So what should I do?
To cut a long story short: After some time where I really tried to make the best out of the situation and I made a serious effort to think positive thoughts and try to make everything work (my health, my work situation, my marriage...), I realized I couldn't keep it up. So I made some tough decisions and sort of started my life from scratch again. Without going into any details right here, let me just say that I did what was necessary for me at that point, and part of that was divorcing my husband and moving to a new town.
I struggled for quite a few years financially, with only part-time jobs or vacancies available and also a long period of unemployment, - but I found ways to cope and never gave up on my dreams of a better life for myself. I worked for several years as a coach for unemployed people, and then, 4 years ago, I got a job as a social worker for refugees, which was a permanent job.
I was happy to get that job after quite a few years of only part-time jobs available, because I needed it to get a more balanced economy after the divorce, - but I've always known that being someone's employee was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to be my own boss, and I did everything in my power to make that happen. Why? Because I was struggling with my health, and I knew that having to rely on an employer or maybe even social security to keep my head above water, was not something I could live with much longer. It would only make my PCS worse. I just had to find a better way to support myself.
I'm still struggling with my health, so I really need to make this online business work. It's early days yet, but I believe I'll be fine. I trust in myself and in God (or the Universe)
How can you help someone with PCS?
Again, I'd like to share a quote from the Concussion Legacy Foundation's website:
"Family and friends of a patient suffering from PCS can help by recognizing that PCS is a serious condition, and being understanding and supportive if the patient needs to socialize differently. A person with PCS may no longer be able to handle the noise or crowds of a party, but they still need to spend social time with friends, so offer a movie night or just pay them a visit and talk. Other situations may bring on more severe symptoms, so expect someone with PCS to sometimes remove themselves from a loud, bright, crowded, or otherwise over-stimulating situation. Instead of questioning if their headache is really that bad, a supportive friend will offer encouragement and remind their friend that they’ll be ready to continue their activity when they’re feeling better."
I realize that I probably should've informed work-colleagues and friends earlier about my invisible injury and the challenges I have on a regular basis because of it. But bad experiences when doing so in the past, has kept me from it. I'm tired of being mistrusted, misunderstood and not taken seriously when I talk about what I'm struggling with, like insomnia, fatigue, noise- and light-sensitivity, - among many other things. And I don't really want to focus on it, either. I want to focus on getting my life back to normal and being well. No one wants to listen to someone who always talks about illness and problems, and I don't, either. So I don't want to be that person, and I try to avoid it. But when people notice that I withdraw from social gatherings, at work or in private, they might think that I don't want to spend time with them, so I guess some explanations are in order.
Well, at least I've come out of the closet with this blog post, and I want to contribute to more awareness around this topic, but not in a "problem-focused" way. I'm writing this from a positive perspective, to (hopefully) help others who might suffer from PCS without knowing that that's what it is, and to help them and their immediate circle of people understand better what's going on and maybe find ways to improve their life.
If you suffer from PCS, or suspect that you might do, you're more than welcome to contact me. Leave a comment below or send me a message through my "Contact Me" form, and I'll answer back A.S.A.P. And if you know of someone else who might want to read this blog-post, please share. Thank you for your time!
Honestly: I don't watch much TV. Because I like to watch a programme or a film or a documentary from start till finish without a 5 minutes' commercial break every 10 minutes. But despite this, I've lately become a fan of a few TV-shows that give me enormous joy, and I could watch them for hours if possible, because they're such a great inspiration to me. And I've been asking myself: What is it about these shows that inspire me to a degree that I don't mind spending hours watching them?
From wreck to beauty
The answer is simple: They're all about creating beauty out of a seemingly hopeless "canvas", or from what might be called a "wreck". Whether it's a house that looks like it's ready for condemnation, or a garden that looks like nothing can grow there, or a person who's hiding behind an armor of make-up, false eyelashes, extreme outfits and sometimes even - quite literally - a mask, simply because he or she has lost their self-confidence ...
To watch how they're all lovingly taken care of by these very competent people, - interior designers, architects, contractors, realtors, beauticians, fashion designers, hairdressers, stylists, landscape architects, gardeners ... people who see these various (officially- or self-claimed) "wrecks" for what they really are: Buildings, gardens and people with great potential. They see the natural beauty hidden underneath the seemingly unappealing or unattractive surface, and then lovingly, little by little, make sure the natural features are emphasized in such a way that the owners also learn to appreciate them and don't want to hide them anymore. To watch buildings, properties and people rise as the bird Phoenix from the ashes and - after careful restoration - stand before us in all their new-found confidence and glory ... That's so wonderfully inspiring!
Transformation from within
I believe that TV-shows like the "Fixer Uppers" with Chip and Joanna Gaines and "Property Brothers" with Drew and Jonathan Scott, are really important. Because it's not just about fancy interiors and cosmetic changes. On one hand, Chip and Joanna Gaines, Drew and Jonathan Scott (and other people who have similar TV-shows) are highly professional in their craftmanship and really know what they're doing, and they create truly amazing changes to houses that seem beyond salvation. But more importantly: They're actually transforming people's lives in a significant way.
And shows like "100 % Hotter", where people go through what they call a "make-under", because it's more about "dressing down" or toning down an extreme way of showing up in the world, and helping individuals appreciate and embrace their natural selves... It's the same with them. The team of stylists, beauticians and hairdressers help people find a new confidence and pride in who they are, and help them find a style that emphasizes their natural beauty and make them feel fabulous. How great is that!?
This is important work. This is transformational. If you've ever thought about these TV-shows as superficial and shallow and all about "looks", then think again. It's not about that at all. It's not only about designing a beautiful interior, or about making everyone look like a "super-model". It's about releasing tension, stress and chaos in people's lives. It's about giving them their life back. It's about giving them their self-confidence back. It's about joy, happiness and all good things.
The Female Life Designer
That's the kind of contribution I want to give to the world. It's becoming more and more clear to me. With my education as an interior designer, my skills in arts & crafts, my experience as an entrepreneur and as a coach, combined with my passion for all good things in life, I want to inspire, motivate and empower other women to create a beautiful life for themselves on all levels. To be confident in their own skin. To stand tall and walk with their heads held high. I want to inspire, motivate and empower you to be all that you can be.
Because this is important.
So I'm on a mission to serve you, and at the same time keep designing MY life the way I truly want it. That's why I call myself The Female Life Designer.
I hope you'll keep following me on this journey. I hope you'll join my tribe! Who knows where it might lead us?
If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to leave a comment below or send me a note through the "Contact Me" page, and also share this post with someone you know. And you're of course welcome to check out my Facebook page. See you soon!
Do you feel stuck in your past? Is it sort of "haunting" you and keeping you from doing the things you really want to do? Maybe you're not even aware of how much your past is affecting your decisions. You just feel that things are never going your way, or that you're constantly struggling with certain issues or situations that keep occurring in your life again and again, no matter what you do.
I don't know what your past looks like. Maybe you've experienced neglect or abuse. Maybe you've struggled with poor health or severe illness all your life. Maybe you've always been poor. Maybe you never did well in school and nobody ever believed that you could ever accomplish anything, and maybe they even said it to your face so you lost confidence in yourself and it became a belief deep within you.
Or maybe you did have everything going for you: A good upbringing and a happy childhood with lots of opportunities. Maybe you did well in school and got a good education. Maybe you found a great job and has had a certain amount of success in your life.
And still, you're not happy. You feel that there must be something more, but you feel stuck with what you have and can't really put your finger on what's wrong, either. And you feel bad because you can't make yourself love the way things are, even though everything's "perfect" and other people kind of envy you and think that you've really made a good life for yourself. Complaining isn't your thing, and it wouldn't be proper, because hey, you have a good life, don't you...? Don't you!? So what more do you want!?
Either way, - a past full of struggle or a past full of opportunities: You feel stuck. You feel that your past is the foundation that determines how the rest of your life will look like. Your path has been laid. Your past experiences and conditions have made you into who you are, and there's nothing you can do about it. It's just the way things are. This is what life has given you, and you just have to deal with it and do the best that you can with it.
Well, I'm telling you that's not how it has to be.
You're not your past
Whether you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth or not: You're not your past. Because what you experienced in your past was a result of the programming you were exposed to by your peers: your parents and extended family, your teachers, your religious leaders, the society you were brought up in. They've all programmed you with their own beliefs about life and how things should be, and eventually these beliefs became your own. You've learned rules to follow, you've been told that you should act in this or that way to make sure you fit in with the rest of your community and not upset or provoke anyone by being different. And maybe you've been told that you should be grateful for what you have (no matter how little or how much that is) and not strive for more, because it wouldn't be appropriate. Or maybe they've even told you that you're not worthy of more. Who are you to think that you deserve anything more?
You are worthy and you can have it all
But guess what: You ARE worthy of more! In fact, you're worthy of all good things! And the best of all is that you can have it! You can have it all! It's totally achievable!
I don't know if you believe in God or the Universe or a source energy that's in all of us, - or whatever it is that you believe. And it doesn't really matter. What I want you to know is that whatever you believe, whether you're religious or spiritual or an agnostic: YOU have the power to create your life the way you want it. You and only you.
How is that?
Your mind is like a cannon acting like a boomerang
What you experience in your life is a direct result of what you think about day in and day out. Your thoughts become your reality. You get what you focus on, whether it's positive or negative. Your mind is like a cannon, loaded with thoughts, only it works like a boomerang and sends back to you whatever it is you're projecting out into the universe. So if you want only good things to come to you, you must stop sending out all those negative thoughts and start projecting only positive, happy and prosperous thoughts instead.
I'm telling you: If you really understood the effect your thoughts have on your reality, you'd never want to think a negative thought again!
"Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right."
I'm sure you've heard this quote from Henry Ford. And it really is as simple as that. If you keep thinking that you're not good enough or wise enough or not worthy ... or that you're not good with money or that you're not educated enough to get a better paid job, or that your health is preventing you from living the life you want, or that other circumstances like your family, your kids or society - or whatever it is that you're thinking - are preventing you from fulfilling your dreams ... then that's how it will continue to be. For sure.
Because you simply can't think a negative thought and expect a positive result.
Makes sense, doesn't it?
If you think something's holding you back or keeping you from doing what you want ... well, I'm telling you: It's all in your mind. It's not real.
You can choose what to think
So my advise to you today is this: Start thinking positive thoughts from this moment forward.
And when you do, I promise you that you'll soon start noticing a positive effect in your life. And you're in total control here! Because you can choose to think positive thoughts, no matter what life throws at you. Nobody else can decide what you should think. Only if you let them. And whatever your past has been: It doesn't have to be your tomorrow. It doesn't have to be your TODAY. And today is really all we've got. So make the decision today that you'll start thinking positive thoughts and only focus on what you DO want, and not on what you don't want. I promise you: Your future self will thank you for it!
If you want to hear more about this topic, I suggest you watch the episode I broadcasted on my YouTube channel a while back. You can watch it below.
If you liked this blog post and / or the video, please feel free to leave a comment below or follow my blog.
If you're one of the women who's constantly struggling with money and don't know how to turn your situation around, I want to share with you some practical advise. Because I can really relate to your struggle. I've been there myself, and not that long ago, either. But let me first share with you a little bit about my background:
I grew up as the youngest of 6 children in a small town on the west-coast of Norway in the 1960s and '70s. I lived in what you might call a middle-class family. My father worked for the railway, and my mother was a housewife for most of my childhood and teenage years. My parents were the best parents I could ever get. They were very supportive and kind and I had a great childhood. But they taugth me what they had learned when they grew up, like "You should go to school, get a proper education, and then find a decent job". And I often heard that "money doesn't grow on trees" and that as a good Christian girl I shouldn't strive to get rich, because that was .... well, not good.
So I did what most other girls at that time did: I went to school and worked hard to get good grades. Then I found myself a job and started a family. And I settled for that for quite a few years (more than 20, actually). Because we had a good life, really, - we had a good economy (well, fairly good anyway), and we had our own house and 2 wonderful children... And my husband was a kind man, and everything was OK, really...
But I came to a point in my life where I was feeling more and more that I was living my life on other people's terms. My life wasn't in accordance with who I really am. So I made some tough decisions. I ended up divorcing my husband, and I moved to a new town where there were only part-time jobs or vacancies available when I arrived there. I was even unemployed for a long time.
So I really struggled with money, and when I finally got a job, I wasn't earning enough to cover my monthly expenses. I lived paycheck to paycheck, and I really, really struggled. I ended up using credit-cards to keep my head above water. And after a while I found myself in a situation where I had maxed out all my credit-cards and there was nothing left but debt.
So I felt like I was in a swamp that I couldn't see any way out of. I tried a lot of things to turn the situation around. I applied for lots and lots of jobs. I looked on the Internet to see if there were any solutions there. But for a very long time, I couldn't find anything that could get me out of that situation and move me forward.
Until one day when I came across some really sound advice on the Internet that actually helped me turn my situation around. So I want to share that with you, but first I want to tell you about the 5 biggest mistakes women make that keep them struggling with money and never living the life they truly want. I'll start with Mistake # 5 and finish with the biggest mistake at the end.
Biggest mistake # 5: Emotional spending.
What do I mean by that?
Well, you know when you're feeling sad or angry and that nothing's going the way you want it in your life? You never have enough money to go on a vacation or buy something that costs a little bit more money than what you normally spend ... And you feel so frustrated and you say to yourself: "Damn it! I have to be able to do something to be happy! I should be able to treat myself to something nice now and then!" And then you go out and spend money on some new clothing, maybe some expensive shoes, some flowers, chocholate, a magazine or two ... or three... You know: The whole package, just to make you feel good.
And of course, it does make you feel good, there and then... But the thing is: When you go shopping in that state of mind, when you're either sad or angry, you probably end up spending a lot more money than you should. And you're probably using credit-cards to pay for it. Right? I know, because I've been there. Believe me: I've done a lot of emotional shopping in my life! And, like I said: It probably makes you feel good there and then, but for me - and I think maybe that's the case for you as well, - after a while I regret the spending. And because I used credit-cards to pay for it, I also end up deeper in debt than I was before. Right? So the problem will only escalate.
So my advice to you is this: Never go out shopping when you're feeling emotional, whether you're angry or sad or whatever. Because you will only set yourself up for failure and get even deeper into trouble. So resist that urge to go shopping when you're emotional.
This picture by unknown creator is licenced under CC BY-NC-ND
Biggest mistake # 4: Making financial decisions out of guilt.
Many women have a tendency to feel guilty when other people are in trouble, and they want to help out. They feel that they have to contribute to a difficult financial situation even if they can't afford it. Maybe you're like that, too. It can be a family member or a friend who needs money, and you feel that you just have to give it to them, even if you can't afford it.
I suggest you stop doing that, if that's something you have a tendency to do. Because you'll only risk you own financial success just because you feel guilty. Of course seeing a friend or a family member in dispair is devastating every time, so of course we want to help. But you know when you're on a plane and they go through the safety instructions, they tell you to put your own oxygen-mask on before helping others? Well, that's exactly the same principle you should be following in your financial life. Because you can't help anyone else if you're falling off a cliff yourself financially. That makes sense, don't you think?
So my strong advice to you is this: Don't give or lend out money to anyone else if you can't afford it, and if you can't be absolutely sure to get that money back before you need it yourself. You might never get it back, right? Then what?
Biggest mistake # 3: Trying to keep up with everybody else and surrounding yourself with big spenders.
If you're one of those women who keep comparing yourself to other people, like your colleagues, your neighbors, your friends, - again, you're just setting yourself up for failure. Because if you keep doing that, you'll just constantly feel that you don't have enough. So instead of comparing yourself with a lifestyle that isn't yours, you should be comparing yourself to yourself. Look at how far you actually have come, and think about what it is that you want for yourself in the future.
It's a dangerous trap when you keep comparing yourself to others. Because you don't know how they manage to have that lifestyle. In many cases people live on loans or use credit-cards to support their luxurious lifestyle, and that's not the way to go about it. It only leads to financial disaster. So make sure you stop comparing yourself to others. Focus on what it is that YOU want. And focus on getting out of debt, if you have any and you're struggling with that.
Regarding what I said about big spenders:
Maybe you've heard the saying that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with? So if you're spending a lot of your time with people who are big spenders, and who live on loans and credit-cards to maintain a luxurios lifestyle, then that is something you should do whatever you can to avoid in the future. Stop surrounding yourself with people who make you spend a lot of money too, because that's most likely what happens. There is most likely a certain pressure to fit in, and we mirror other people's behavior whether we realize it or not. So don't fall into that trap. Try to set an example. Try to focus on living within your means.
Of course I'm not saying that you shouldn't strive for a lifestyle where you can afford to buy things without having to think about what they cost. On the contrary: I think you should try to get in a situation where you are that wealthy. But for the moment, when you're not, you should try to focus on setting an example: that this is a kind of spending you're not willing to keep up with. And make sure that you just focus on yourself and not everybody else.
Biggest mistake # 2: Feeling intimidated by personal finance and leaving your finances to someone else.
We've never learned about personal finances in school, or how to deal with money. What many women have been told, however, is that we should leave our personal finances to some man in our life: A father, a brother, or a husband - or some financial adviser at the bank. So if you're one of those women who have done that, - you've relied on some man in your life to take care of your money (and that man has been a husband, most likely): STOP DOING THAT!! Why? Because there's absolutely no guarantee that that man is going to stay in your life forever. Maybe he's already left you, for all I know, and that's why you're struggling. Because you've never been used to taking care of your money yourself. Anyways: If you do have a man in your life right now that you depend on: Stop depending on him! Because he might disappear out of your life in a jiffy.
I'm not trying to scare you or anything, but it's a fact: There's absolutely no guarantee that he'll stay in your life forever. He might disappear all of a sudden, either by death or divorce or imprisonment ... or even by war. So it's a dangerous trap to rely on someone else like that. Stop doing that.
There's also no guarantee that he's capable of taking care of money in a better way than you can, just because he's a man. He might end up ruining you both and you won't know anything about it before it's too late. So what then?
You're perfectly capable of taking care of your own money. In fact: You're the best person to take care of your money! Because you're the one who needs to make ends meet and should be in control of what comes in and what goes out of your bank account. You shouldn't leave that with anyone else. Especially if you're a single woman and don't have anyone else in your life that you share finances with, you should be in full control of your money. Don't leave that to your father or brother or some accountant.
You need to find a way to manage your money in a good way. You just have to learn it. It's not impossible. It's not even difficult! In fact: At the end of this blog post, I will tell you how you can get a system that will help you take control over your money in an easy and good way. But right now, let's move on to the # 1 biggest mistake women make that keep them struggling with money.
Biggest mistake # 1: Thinking that your financial future is out of your control.
This is a huge mistake. Because I'm telling you right now: Your financial future is 100 % in your control! But you have to choose to make your future better. If you're living a mediocre life right now or you're constantly struggling with money, then it's about time that you do something about it. Take responsibility. Decide that you're going to learn how you can manage your money in a good way, and then implement what you learn. And that is key. Because knowledge mean absolutely nothing if you don't implement it. Right? That's really a no-brainer, but I just want to make that perfectly clear.
Let me congratulate you!
Now you know a little bit more about the biggest mistakes women make that keep them struggling with money. You also know a little bit more about how you can avoid doing those mistakes yourself. That's a huge step in the right direction, and you have every possibility to actually start doing something about your financial situation. You can be proud of yourself for actually taking the time to read through this blog post. I know you probably have a lot on your plate, so I'm glad you took the time to read it.
How you can start taking control over your money today.
I strongly suggest that you make that decision now: That you will find a way to take care of your finances. You will learn how to do it, and you will stick with it and make sure you get the results that you want. You will make sure that you get the life that you truly want and deserve.
Because you deserve to have a life of abundance. A life where you don't have to worry about money. And if you're in a situation right now where you're struggling, here's what I want you to do:
# 1: Stop blaming yourself for this situation.
Yes, that's right: Don't blame yourself for having "messed up" or for having made unwise decisions about money in the past. I'm sure you've done your best under the circumstances. And we never learned about this in school, so you can't blame yourself for not knowing what you didn't know, - right?
So stop the blaming, and just decide that you will make a change. Take responsibility for the situation and just decide to do better from now on.
# 2: Get clarity about your financial situation.
What does your financial situation actually look like?
This may seem difficult, but it's really not. You just need to write down what your income is and what your monthly expenses are, and not leave anything out. How much debt do you have? What is your monthly down-payment on that? Do you have any subscriptions or other monthly fees that you pay but have lost control over? And so on...
#3: Learn a system for managing your money, - one that is easy and that you can stick to.
This is where I want to tell you about my Money Managing Program, Fun & Easy Money Managing For Female Life Designers. It's a very easy and accessible program, because I know that if you're in a situation where you're struggling with money, you simply can't afford any expensive programs. So I've made it very affordable for you. It was originally priced at $99, but it's now only $39. In fact, I'll be bold enough to say that if you're struggling with money, you can't afford not to buy this program! It's based on systems that even millionaires use to control their finances. Heck, it's because of this and similar systems that many of them have become millionaires!
But you don't have to be a millionaire to make use of it. Anybody can use this system, because it's easy and yet so powerful. Remember: It's not the amount of money you start out with that decide whether or not you'll be rich. It's the way you manage it that matters. The habits of your day-to-day money management.
That's why I really hope you'll buy this program. It has the potential of becoming a life-changer for you, and you even get a 1 Year Money Back Guarantee should you not (after having implemented what you learn) be happy with the results you get from it.
Here's where you can buy the program Fun & Easy Money Managing For Female Life Designers . The link will take you to the product page where you can read a little bit about what's included in the program before you decide to buy it.
I wish you all the best for your new life, and hope you have found this blog post useful.
I woke up to the most beautiful weather, and the day had every possibility in it of becoming a productive one, but I felt exhausted, even after a night's sleep. So I decided that I wouldn't make any definite plans, - just go with the flow.
Yoga has become my favourite way to start the day
My one determination, though, was to do my Yoga Burn Total Body Challenge routine. I do that every second day now. I'm in my first week, and I find it invigorating and not too hard to commit to, so I actually believe that this is something I will stick with. Unlike any other work-out or exercise routine that I've tried in the past.
The Yoga Burn Total Body Challenge is a 12 weeks' program, and I seriously think I'll be able to see this through. The benefits are obvious: Better over-all physical condition, better health, better ME!
Hopefully, I'll even lose some weight and get a more toned, lean and strong body, which is very high up on my list of short- (and long-) term goals.
It's definitely a part of my Freedom Journey, because to me, freedom is also feeling free in my body. Feeling comfortable in my own skin. Even though I'm quite happy with my body the way it is, I have a strong desire to lose some weight and get a leaner and stronger body, like the one I used to have before.
I was always lean and strong in my younger days, even after 2 child-births, - but 18 years ago I had an accident, - a head injury - which set me back physically and got me into a downward spiral with less exercise and gain of weight.
To make a long story short: It's been a long way to get back to normal. And I still have challenges (like fatigue), which makes it hard for me to motivate myself to do physical exercise, even though I've actually always liked being active. Therefor, feeling exhausted by the tiniest bit of exercise has been rather depressing for me. So I need to do this for myself. I want my life back!
I need to do what's best for me
Since my physical challenges are not visible or obvious to other people, it's not easy to make other people accept the fact that I have problems with working a 9-5 job. This is also a challenge for me, because I need to earn money to be able to support myself.
I'm alone (divorced) and don't have anyone else to share my expenses with, so I just have to find a way to cope. It's been hard, but I'm still here, and I do cope. Better and better, actually.
I still have a day-job, and I do appreciate that, - but I know that if I'm ever to recover fully from my head-injury, I need to reduce all the stress from my life and be free to set my own agenda every day.
That's why I know, without a shadow of doubt, that I need to be my own boss. I need to work with what I love and what makes me want to jump out of bed in the morning. I know that I need to be creative.
I need to be out and about, exploring the world, socializing with people, learning new things. I need to contribute to the world in a positive way, - in my unique way, with my talents and gifts. I want to spread peace, love and understanding, and inspire and motivate others to live the life they want without fear, and without apologizing for being who they are.
But before I can really make a difference in someone else's life, I need to start with myself. I need to start doing what I really want. I need to give myself a kick in the arse and stop procrastinating. And I need to start by exercising more and get "my old self" back.
So I hereby commit to the Yoga Burn Total Body Challenge and to report my results on this blog on a regular basis. You can follow my progress here. You are now my Accountability Partner!
Feel free to cheer me on with a comment below and follow my blog, - and even better: Join my tribe and let's do this together!
I felt so much better after my Yoga Burn routine today, so if you're struggling with motivation to do any sort of exercise, I strongly suggest that you start with Yoga. You can do it at home, and you can start slowly and build yourself up, little by little. It's working for me, and I think it can work for you, too. There are many different programs online, so I'm sure you'll be able to find a program that suits you, but to save you some searching I can hereby recommend the Yoga Burn programs (there are several). Namasté!
If you want to start with the Yoga Burn Total Body Challenge, here's a link to where you can find it. Please note that this is my personal Affiliate link, so I might be rewarded with a small commission if you join through this link.
I’m a time traveler.
I bet you didn’t know that about me… that I’m capable of travelling in time and space and taking on several personalities. In one week I can be in ancient Egypt on Monday, then on Tuesday I can travel on to 1943 to live the life of a resistance agent in the south of France … and on Wednesday I can find myself in 1994 and be a Detective of the New York Police Departement…. and suddenly, on Thursday, I’m back in 2019 and living as a self-made millionaire with my own TV-/public speaker-/author business …
You might think that this must be a rather exhausting way of living, but I assure you: It’s not. It’s invigorating, inspiring, fascinating and wonderful!
I’m so grateful for the day when I discovered that I could do this! It’s been such a journey, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop doing this!
Anyone can do it
So how do I do this? It’s really quite simple. Anyone can do it. You see: I’m a reader. I read books, articles, blogs…. and I watch films… and I listen to music … and they draw me into their worlds and I identify with the characters of the stories… I smell what they smell, sense what they sense, hear the sounds that they describe or create … I see the landscapes, the houses, the interiors, the colors, the people … It’s amazing!
One of my biggest dreams have always been to be able to create such experiences for others, by writing books and making films … by acting and singing … Because the writers, the filmmakers, the singers and the musicians open up new worlds to us all … and I feel richer with every book, every film, every piece of music that I experience.
I bless the day I discovered this wonderful possibility of traveling in time and space. Thank God for the diversity, the creativity, the inventions that have made it possible to access these treasures, through the printed word, the books, the libraries, the cameras, the radios, the microphones, the LP’s, the cassettes, the DVDs, the concert halls, the screens, the movie theaters, the TV, the computer, the Internet …
I wonder where I’ll go tomorrow …. I’m already looking forward to the journey!
(This was first published on my blog "Leylas Journal" over at leylasjournal.tumblr.com)