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I could write you a post about 10 keys to healthy living that include things like exercise 30min every day, eat leafy greens, drink water…. these are all very important and usually, they’re the kind of things I talk about but for some time now I’ve been trying to figure out why do we find it so hard to follow these simple, common sense guidelines. Why do we keep on doing all the wrong things, no matter how well we know what’s good for us and what isn’t?

So I thought back on my own life and realized that figuring out these three things (the first one only in the last few months) is what makes looking after yourself easy and natural – no more will power required!

1. Respect yourself

Love yourself. Accept yourself. Be kind to yourself. And when I say love yourself, I mean really love your true self, right here, right now, the way you are today. Don’t wait until you’re at your target weight or until you are able to stick to your training schedule religiously for 3 months or until you’ve landed your dream job. You need to love yourself unconditionally and treat yourself with respect. You are perfect just the way you are. Once you do, sticking to that healthy eating regime will be easy, you will get to your target weight in no time. Trust me on this one. Once you really respect yourself, you will not want to abuse yourself with junk food, it just won’t make sense any more. You will naturally want to nourish your body, show yourself love by fueling your body and mind with foods that make you healthier and more energetic. Once you really love yourself, it is also easy to be kind to yourself and allow yourself to ‘go off plan’ every now and then and treat yourself to something bad; you won’t even feel guilty for it and you won’t find it hard to control yourself.

2. Stop criticizing others

When people criticize others, they are usually (or always?) hiding their own insecurities. Next time you find yourself criticizing someone (even a celebrity!) for being too skinny, too fat, bad hair, too big a nose, OMG look at her lipstick, too this and too that… stop. Why does it matter to you what someone else looks like? Who decides what is ‘too’ anything? How do you really feel about yourself? I mean REALLY? Be honest. If you are so critical of others, you are also going to be very critical of yourself – this is a fact. So for your own sake, stop. If you really love yourself unconditionally, you are not going to judge yourself based on the size of your backside – you would want others to show you a bit more respect than that, so it’s time you started respecting yourself too.

It’s not an  easy thing to do to stop judging others over silly things because everyone does it all the time, but it is worth it. The first thing you absolutely have to do is stop watching reality TV shows – these are there just to encourage you to criticize others plus, news flash, they’re actually not really reality. Stop reading gossip magazines and for god’s sake get off and other gossip sites. Try to have a week without any of the trashy media and notice the difference. You’ll also find you have far more time to prepare those healthy meals and go out for a run!

3. Think only positive thoughts 

This goes hand in hand with the above. Once you stop judging, start replacing all negative thoughts with a positive. Even the small, simple ones like ‘oh no, I hate Mondays, I don’t want to go to work’ instead, say ‘Yay, another new week full of opportunities. I can’t wait to get started!’ It will feel a bit fake at first but as you do this, you’ll find that soon positive thoughts will come to you automatically. A really good exercise to do is to write a gratitude diary. Every evening, write down good things from that day, things you are grateful for. They can be just little every day things – it is about finding something positive in every day.


I hope this gives you some food for thought. If you have any points to add, please tell me in the comments.

Here’s where to start: start where you’re at!
If you don’t currently do any exercise, start walking 3x week for 30-45mins. Walk fast enough to work up a little sweat and get your heart rate up.
Next, start adding a few running steps in here and there. Start with 30 seconds; run slowly and then walk for 2 minutes (or as long as it takes for you to catch your breath). Repeat this for 20 minutes.
If 30 seconds is too much, just do 20 seconds.
If you don’t want to time yourself, do 30 steps. Or from one lamp post to the next one.
The point is, it doesn’t really matter how little or much you run, as long as you run. First, you will just need to prove to yourself that YOU CAN do it.

believe in yourself

Repeat the same session 3x week and the following week (if you’re ready) add a bit more to your running intervals.

Go slowly and ENJOY yourself! If you can run 30 seconds, or even just 5 steps, that is more than a lot of people stuck on their couches are doing so be proud of yourself

This is a slightly more personal post than I would normally post on this blog but I wanted to share this with you all anyway as I think there are many people out there who can relate to this (especially anyone running a small business)…


When Run with Tina first started, it was a hobby. I wanted to share my passion for running/keeping fit with others and I wanted to show people how anyone could do it; that you didn’t need to be fit or slim and you certainly didn’t need to run a marathon to be called a runner; that you could enjoy the actual process of getting fit and learning to run, not just the end results.

I have always enjoyed helping people so when I realised the massive difference these classes made in people’s lives it was the most rewarding thing I had ever done and I really felt that I had found what I am meant to do in this life. As the word got around, my classes got very busy and I often had a waiting list of up to 20 people, which naturally led me to build Run with Tina as a business. This was much harder than I had envisaged. There was so much more work to be done than just hiring one of the numerous qualified fitness instructors who sent me their CVs and telling them to go off and lead some classes – turned out they couldn’t read my mind and do everything exactly as I had done so far (which was important, not because I’m so great, but because that’s what the company reputation was built on). Most of this, I learnt through the many mistakes I made. For example the reason why I now can tell within few minutes of meeting someone whether or not they’re the right instructor for the job is simply because I hired every wrong instructor possible. I have done the same with office staff and many, many other things! On a more personal level, at some point during all this, I had a baby (I don’t even remember at which point that happened but I know she’s now three), I went through a messy separation and consequently became a single mother. These have nothing to do with Run with Tina but they did take up a huge part of my time and energy and put a lot more financial pressure on me as well!

Some of my first clients after their first ever 5k. A very proud moment for them and for me!

Some of my first clients after their first ever 5k. A very proud moment for them and for me!

One thing I always swore was I would not let Run with Tina lose the personal touch that made it so popular in the beginning. I thought this was simple, I couldn’t let it happen. I would never focus on just filling classes. Yet, here I am, stressing about filling classes in the office every day. The growth in business, unfortunately, means that costs go up as well and that is why I started focusing on filling classes because filling them was the only way I could pay our instructors, admin people, rent etc. It has taken me a long time to realize that this happened but, sadly, it has and I was quite horrified and disappointed in myself to realize this. I’ve turned Run with Tina, my baby, that started out of my passion and empathy for my clients into yet another fitness business trying to fill classes to make ends meet. While there’s nothing wrong with this, we all have to make a living and the fitness industry is not an easy industry (is any industry easy?), what disappointed me was that I always believed in doing what you love, following your passion and not worrying about money because if you do what you love and do it from your heart, money will follow. I truly believe in this but I completely lost focus and stopped practicing it.


In the past month, I have re-discovered my love of running. Now the mornings are brighter, my alarm goes off at 6am and, believe it or not, I can’t wait to get out the door for a run, even though I feel dreadfully unfit. I love the freedom, the fresh air, watching the sunrise, feeling strong, being alone, the silence, saying hello to other early morning runners… Every morning, I find another reason to love running.

Now that I have fallen in love with running all over again, I also realize that I need to re-focus Run with Tina away from paying the bills (they’ll always get paid, anyway, one way or another) to why it started – my desire to help other women fall in love with running/exercise, showing them that they can do this, helping them improve their lives through this, de-stress, feel good about yourself, feel stronger, feel confident… Because doing that, even for just one person, is much more rewarding than filling ten classes.


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