Although my book is a weight loss book it is first and foremost about being healthy: eating healthy, developing a healthy relationship with food and a healthy attitude towards weight loss and, most importantly focussing on having a healthy relationship with yourself – learning to respect yourself and to be nice to yourself. If you follow the plan in my book you will lose weight, and it’ll be very easy – I can promise this because this approach worked for me (and is still working). It is the first time that I have ever found weight loss easy, that I haven’t ‘fallen off the wagon’ million times and I know that I will never gain the weight back again in my life.
It’s a cliché that’s hard to believe when you’re struggling with your weight but the day you stop worrying about your weight and stop dieting; the day you stop beating yourself up and hating your body, that is the day you’ll start losing weight without even trying. You will never fall off the wagon again because there is no wagon. The key is learning to accept yourself the way you are today and treat yourself with the respect you deserve. When you love yourself, you want to treat your body well, and once you understand some basic nutrition and in particular the problems with processed foods and sugar, and accept that you have a choice between foods that nourish you and foods that make you sick, the choice is very easy to make – I promise.
When I was first asked to write a weight loss book, I hesitated. While my Slim with Tina courses, which I’d developed together with a nutritionist, Elaine O’Gorman, were really successful and results were great, I still didn’t feel I was the right person to write a book on the subject. Despite my profession, I was still struggling with my own food issues and obviously the prospect of the whole world finding out that I’m not perfect was scary. I knew exactly what I should and shouldn’t be eating; I knew the science behind it, the health reasons, yet I still struggled. I could go on for weeks, even months, being really good and then something would happen, maybe I’d get really stressed or feel down for some reason, and I’d go off the rails and back to square one. Above all, I was felt insecure and unhappy and at least 4 sizes bigger than I was. I was constantly trying to lose another stone ‘and then I’d be happy’. Strange how I had forgotten the time when I was size 6 and still hated my body…
I decided to write the book anyway because I didn’t want to look back one day and realise that I let my fears stop me from doing something. After Elaine and I had finished the nutrition part, I started asking myself why, with all the knowledge I have it still so hard to lose weight? Why do the majority of people fail, time after time? In theory, weight loss really is simple and we all know the benefits of being a healthy weight, so why is it so damn hard?
I realised the part emotions play (I, like many women, was a huge emotional eater) and how unhealthy my relationship with food was. I realised that my happiness was dependant on my weight – I’d be happy if I lost 2 dress sizes, I’m sure people would respect me more if I looked better, I would definitely be better at my job if I was really skinny. I wanted to lose weight because I felt I was not good enough, I hated myself. This is what most of us women do, often without realising. We punish ourselves by going on diets and trying to control our weight because we think we’re not good enough.
As I took some time out to learn to like myself better, I noticed that I also started to lose weight. The more I learnt to accept myself, the less I felt the need to control my diet and the easier it was to make the right choices. Now my choice of healthy foods and my saying no to junk food was an act of self-love and respect, rather than a punishment for not being good enough. My relationship with food finally became healthy. I could even have a chocolate bar without feeling guilty, or without spiralling out of control. I felt free, happy and completely in control. For the first time in my life, I felt that I didn’t have to control my diet because I could finally trust myself.
While writing the book I realised that I was not sleeping enough and that I needed to manage my stress better – both of these are issues that have a huge impact on your health and weight. I was exhausted so I started sleeping more, took time off work when I could and I also took a few weeks off strenuous exercise and slept more instead and, I lost weight!
Now, several months later, I’m able to look in the mirror and say I’m happy with what I see. I never weigh myself. Recently I noticed my clothes where pretty loose on me so I got some new clothes in a size smaller. Of course this makes me very happy but the difference is, my happiness is not dependant on it anymore, I was perfectly happy with myself before and that’s exactly why it was easy to lose the weight and why I know it’ll be easy to keep it off.
So in hindsight, writing this book, as painful as it was at times, was really the best thing I have ever done for myself and I hope that, if you are struggling like I was, you will find this book helpful in getting you started on the right path to lifelong health and happiness.
My book ‘Slim with Tina: The easy way to lose weight and keep it off’ is now available in all bookshops in Ireland and on Amazon.co.uk (check out some of the great reviews on Amazon!)
28 12 2014
Many people wonder why you need a ‘learn to run’ course and I guess I can see why you might think that if you’re a seasoned runner. Sometimes I wonder if there’d be a better term than a learn to run course for Running Made Easy because it is so much more. What people get out of it is not just fitness and learning how to run, in fact, that is not the most important outcome at all, they gain far more.
The majority of our participants are women who feel desperately unfit and unable to do any sports of exercise. They often feel that they are ‘bad’ at physical activities and might have tried many classes but failed to get fit. Many have also had some very negative experiences in various classes or activities. Most are absolutely petrified coming to their first class (but I guarantee they all leave feeling happy and good about themselves). Some of my private clients are so nervous coming to their first session with me that they actually get sick with nerves.
When I first started Run with Tina, I started with the idea of just getting people up and running, getting them to do their first 5k, kind of like the famous couch to 5k programme. This worked really well but quite soon I realized that there was so much more to this. People got SO much more out of it. My approach is different from traditional fitness classes. My main concern is that everyone feels good about themselves, absolutely everyone, must leave the class feeling good about themselves. This is the one thing I, or none of our instructors, would never ever compromise on.
I have joined various classes over the past few years but none come close to being as special as Run with Tina – a Running Made Easy participant‘
I noticed that because of this, through the 8 weeks that people spent with me, the transformation in them was so much bigger than just their fitness. Of course they got fitter in the process but the best thing was that they get more confident, happier, livelier, more positive… I could see they started walking taller, talking about more positive things, they’d get new jobs, dates, opportunities…. Previously stressed and insecure people started radiating happiness and confidence.
I originally wanted to do this course so that I would have a convenient way to lose weight and now I do, but what I never expected was how much it would seep into other areas of my life! I find myself more confident, more focused and definitely much calmer and happier than I was 8 weeks ago. – Heather
As I realised how this course could help people feel better about themselves in so many ways I developed some materials to support this (people get these through weekly emails, talks from their instructors or sometimes handouts). In 2015 it’s my mission to add to these materials as I really believe that this transformation, learning to be a bit happier with yourself, is the best thing you can get out of Running Made Easy, it is what makes our classes so popular and different to others and it is also what makes it easy for you to keep up your new lifestyle. I also believe that this is what women really need right now!
I have suffered from terrible anxiety for a long time. One the 19th August I began Running Made Easy Online. Today I had an MRI. I am terrified of MRIs. But thanks to my confidence that I have found through your programmes, I was able to go through with it. The work you do is fantastic. Not just for women’s physical health but for mental health as well. – Jo
This is why so many of our participants credit us for changing their lives (or starting them on that path) and why our courses are so popular. This is why I want to work hard to reach more and more women because knowing the difference my course makes in the lives of so many women is not only inspirational and motivating for me, but it also makes me feel like I have to keep on doing this, for those women.
Here’s to a good 2015 x
(you can find our 2015 schedule for classes in Dublin, London and online here)
24 10 2014
I’m not big hygiene freak and I make absolutely no effort to avoid bugs and viruses, yet I’m rarely sick *knocks on wood*. If I do catch a cold, I can usually shake it off pretty fast because my immune system is strong and ready to take on most bad guys like some sort of a superhero. However, last winter I did get sick and I couldn’t shake it off without a trip to the doctors. On hindsight, it’s very obvious why – I wasn’t really taking great care of myself; simple as that. So this winter I’m not going to make the same mistake! Here’s what I do to keep myself strong and healthy:
1. Don’t eat crap
This means processed foods and the main culprit – sugar. Sugar absolutely ruins your immune system (in fact, it ruins your health in about million different ways). It is difficult to find processed foods that don’t contain sugar so it’s best to learn to eat clean, go back to basics and cook your own food (without sugar, of course). I also avoid most dairy, especially milk and hard cheeses. I caught a nasty sinus infection for the first time in my life last winter and I found my daily latte made it flare up big time. I have never known pain like sinus pain and I don’t want to experience it again so no milky lattes for me, thank you very much.
2. Drink water
I always try to drink a lot of water, at least 2 litres a day though I aim to get 3 litres. Things like herbal teas and homemade juices also count towards your water intake. Water flushes out toxins, helps with digestion, keeps your eyes and mouth clean, keeps you energised and even helps you sleep better among its many other benefits, all leading to a stronger immune system.
3. Take spirulina
Spirulina is my absolute number one favourite super food. I’ve been taking it on and off for the past ten years – off for the last few and when I started taking it again earlier this year I could feel its benefits instantly. It is not only boosting your immune system thanks to its rich vitamin and mineral content but it also fights infections. I find it really gives me energy almost instantly. I take a teaspoon in a glass of water with lemon every morning and on the days I feel run down or just tired I take another dose in the afternoon.
4. Eat lemons
Okay, I don’t eat eat lemons, rather squeeze the juice of half a lemon in a glass of water every morning (with spirulina) and if I’m feeling a cold coming on, I’ll have another glass in the afternoon – even two or three. Lemon has numerous health benefits, such as it is great for flushing out toxins, alkalises the body and it’s high in vitamin C and many antioxidants. I also find it great for indigestion, bloating and any tummy problems. If lemon water isn’t your thing, an easy way to take it is in a juice or a smoothie.
5. Eat garlic
I would be lost without garlic and it surprises me how many people actually don’t seem to realise that it is full of healing goodness. Garlic is a natural antibiotic and hence great for fighting infections and the great thing is that it’s cheap and easily available. It has numerous other health benefits, such as lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. If I feel my immune system or health in general needs a little boost I take garlic every day. I always start taking it at the first sign of a cold coming on and usually after a day or two it’s gone. Cooking destroys many of its health benefits so it has to be taken raw (and no, it won’t make you smell). I chop up a clove of garlic really small and knock it back with a glass of water just like any other supplements/tablets after dinner (never take raw garlic on an empty stomach). You get used to the taste after a while; I rather put up with the taste than spend days being sick or risk having to take antibiotics (and spend money on doctors)! Garlic is also a great home remedy for ear infections – I stick a clove in my daughter’s ear if she ever has a sore ear and so far there’s been no ear infections *knocks on wood*
6. Eat ginger
I love the taste of ginger so I tend to use it a lot, more or less daily. Ginger has some natural antibiotic properties, it’s anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial, meaning it kills bacteria. It’s absolutely packed with goodness and health benefits so you should try to include it as part of regular diet. You can add it to a stir fry, flavour fish with it or add some to a homemade juice. Ginger tea is also great when you’re feeling unwell.
7. Take vitamin C and D
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin and is absolutely essential for the absorption of iron, helps prevent cardiovascular disease and even wrinkles, among its many other benefits. I know I get plenty from my diet but for best results, I take a supplement to give me an extra boost when I feel I need it and especially this time of year. Vitamin D is vital for your immune system as well as your muscle function, cardiovascular system and respiratory system. We should, in theory, get it from the sun but even when we do see the sun, things like using sunscreen and pollution mean we aren’t getting enough so I like to take a supplement. These are really the only supplements I take regularly, I think everything else I get from Spirulina!
8. Exercise outdoors
Exercise is an essential part of staying healthy and helps boost your immune system – it is a fact that fit people are sick far less than unfit people and when a physically fit person catches a bug, they are able to shake it off faster than an unfit person is. Obviously I don’t exercise just to boost my immune system but it is one of the many reasons why I want to always fit in daily exercise. Exercising outdoors is even better as fresh air is known to boost immunity too, in fact, just being outdoors every day is beneficial, even if it’s just sitting in your garden. Another great thing to do is air out you home (and office) – open the windows, let out all the stale air and let the fresh air in.
The reason why I caught that nasty horrible awful sinus infection last winter was this, together with the next point: I was stressed, overworked and didn’t sleep enough. Obviously I knew sleep was important but I always had a bit of an ‘Sleep is for the weak’ attitude. Only when I was doing research for my book I really started to understand how absolutely vital sleep is and how it, no matter what, should always be our priority (with few exceptions, like when you have newborn!). Getting enough sleep helps you lose weight, reduce stress, function better and it is particularly important for our immune system, so this winter I’m going to make sure I won’t have too many late nights – I admit it, it’s not easy! I actually now think that it takes a lot of strength to go to bed early! Also, at the first sign of a cold, I nowadays head straight to bed to rest, giving my body a chance to focus on fighting off the bad guys.
10. Reduce stress
Busy, stressed people rarely sleep enough, that’s what happened to me. Along with sleep deprivation, stress is another thing that is so extremely bad for our health in many ways and yet, I guess because we are so used to living with it, we rarely do much to prevent it. Stress causes your body to release more cortisol, which in turn prevents your immune cells from doing their job properly, which is why often when you’re stressed you catch a cold (the last thing you need when you have enough on your plate already, right?). I have learnt from my errors and now I make a real effort to try and not get stressed – sleep, exercise and good diet are keys to this!
Here’s to a healthy winter!
**If you want to take any of the above mentioned supplements, please go to a good health food store to get advice on a dosage that’s suitable for you. These are just things I personally take but I’m not qualified to give advice on supplements to others**