Heather Wynn is on a mission to transform the conversation about women and fitness. She knows you can’t hate your body into true health. Instead, through the practices in this book, you’ll learn to make sane and lasting health and physique changes and finally arrive at a place of peace and love - of which you’ve been worthy all along. Heather’s insightful anecdotes from her personal journey as well as her professional work with clients, help us recognize the absurdity of the expectations for our bodies that we allow outside influences to determine for us, and the type of lifestyle we think we need to live in order to be healthy and fit. After reading this book you will feel empowered to step off the diet roller coaster for good, quiet the negative voices, and reclaim your life and health. The best part? Heather will give you the tools to do it! (From the Foreword by Molly Galbraith)
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About the Author
Heather Jayne Wynn is an experienced coach and celebrated body-acceptance advocate. She is an educator, speaker and mentor within the health-and-fitness industry worldwide. She lives in Cheshire, UK.
Read an Excerpt
Finding Happiness Now in a World that Wants to Sell You Perfection Later
By Heather Jayne Wynn
John Hunt Publishing Ltd.Copyright © 2015 Heather Jayne Wynn
All rights reserved.
One summer evening, I found myself on the phone with my good friend Angela. She filled me in on her recent birthday night out.
"So I ordered the chicken. I wasn't sure what it had on it, so I scraped the sauce off and ate it plain. I did eat a spoonful of rice but then felt so awful because I was worrying if I'd had too many carbs. And rice is bad, isn't it? I managed to avoid the spring roll we had for the starter because of the pastry, as I wasn't too sure what it had been cooked in. It might have been vegetable oil and that's really bad, isn't it? I only drank water because alcohol is awful and has carbs and sugar, but everyone else drank the champagne. They all said they'd all had a brilliant night, but to be honest, I didn't really enjoy it that much. But at least I was good. I wasn't naughty; I was good. Wasn't I?"
I've heard people talk a lot about their so-called 'epiphanies.' I wasn't sure if I'd ever had one up until that night, but this conversation signified the first of many to follow. I put the phone down and reflected for a moment. How on earth had it come to this? When had it become the norm that this level of restriction, fear and guilt around food had become a viable way to live?
Although I'd had similar thoughts regarding clients in the past, this was the one that provoked me into taking action. It was probably due to the fact that I was impartial, as Angela was speaking to me as a friend and I had stepped out of my professional bubble. As I started to recall similar conversations with my clients, I realized that these scenarios were no longer as sporadic as they had once been. The type of language that Angela had used about her food choices was becoming much more widespread.
I was appalled. Not only because it became clear that my friend thought that I'd be pleased that she had gone out and had a thoroughly rubbish time, but mainly because she'd been encouraged to behave this way by her current coach.
Okay, so he may not have said the words "Go out and have a thoroughly rubbish time," but the list of rules, guidelines and checklists that he had etched into her mind as being the only 'healthy way to eat' had subsequently impaired her thinking. His teachings had rendered Angela's own instincts and common sense redundant.
Originally, she'd approached her coach for some help in order to feel a little healthier, give her a bit more energy and lose the few extra pounds that had accumulated on a recent holiday. However, within the space of just a few months on the plan that the coach had recommended, she had gone from being a confident woman who was able to cook, eat and take care of herself — with the odd overindulgence every now and then — to what I can only describe as (sorry, Angela) a dithering wreck around food. She'd become completely obsessed about what she was and wasn't allowed to eat and her coach had managed to convince her that she needed to behave this way around food if she wanted to stay healthy.
Straight away I understood what was going on inside her head. I could clearly see that she was on a very slippery slope. She had started off as someone who shared a healthy curiosity for nutrition but was rapidly changing into someone who had an unhealthy and unnecessary fear of food. I knew this to be the case because there had been a point in my life where I had felt this way too. Even as a coach, I had previously been sucked deeply into the new hip and trendy 'clean eating' movement. At one time, I too had started to slide down that same slope towards obsession, leading me to the point where I would spend the whole day feeling anxious if I knew I was going out to eat somewhere new.
If you're reading this book, chances are that you will at some point in your life have felt that if you could just lose some weight, then everything would be better. You may have felt that if you could just be slimmer and look like the women on billboards, then you would finally be able to do all those things you've always wanted to do but never did because you felt too self-conscious. You might have in your mind this picture of a shining thinner version of 'you' whose life is just so much happier than yours, a smaller you who feels cool and confident and can cope with life so much better.
This hope and expectation of what weight loss can give to you can quickly escalate into a cycle of addiction, fear and anxiety. Perhaps you started off on a short-term diet plan 10, 20 or even 50 years ago, and now here you are still searching for that next diet plan promising to bring you all of those things. You're addicted to the quick fixes, the new fad diets, the celebrity-endorsed exercise gadgets, and potentially, subconsciously, you may also be addicted to the coaches who promise you that these things will work.
Having worked within the diet and fitness industry for over 16 years, I've learnt so much about the way the industry works and about the people who buy into it. The truth is, unfortunately, the industry isn't always out to help you. In fact, often, it really doesn't care how you feel; it cares about how much you spend. And what's the best way to get you to spend more? To make you feel worse about yourself, of course, so that it can sell you a new way to make you feel better again!
This statement may make you feel confused and even feel protective about the industry, because the consensus out there is that funky fad plans and exercise gadgets are all about helping people feel healthier, lose weight and become better people. To be told that this isn't always the case may evoke defensive feelings within you because it's been something you have trusted in and believed in for so long.
Way back in my early twenties, when I was on my first-ever personal training qualification course, my tutor said to me, "You are not selling them the diet and you are not selling them an exercise session; you are selling them a dream." Each time you buy into a new diet fad, a coach who promises the earth in 12 weeks or a new extreme exercise trend, you're buying into that dream. The dream being sold is never specified beforehand, because it's personal to you. The dream only exists in your head because it's made from the emotional connection that you bring to the table. The dream is made up from that one thing that you think weight loss will bring to your life, that one thing which you haven't got now.
The diet industry draws you in because it promises to fulfill that dream, our innate desire for self-love, confidence and contentment. You keep buying into new diets simply because the media keeps you convinced that a new diet has what you need to experience these things. Subliminally, the diet industry whispers to you that weight loss holds the key to true fulfillment in your life.
Behind the scenes of this dream-selling business, the widespread use of fitspiration and shaming disguised as motivation continues to break down any confidence you have, crushing whatever self-esteem you had so that it can promise to build you back up again by changing how you look. With enhanced images and deceptive advertising tactics, you are convinced that if you work hard enough to look like this vision of 'ideal' then you too could be happy, confident and feel amazing every day.
Sadly, when it comes to the diet and fitness industry, it seems that we have lost all of our common sense and logical thought processes. If it was so good at what it did and if it actually delivered on the promises that it promotes every day, then the results achieved would last a lifetime and it would effectively eventually bankrupt itself. The truth is, the multibillion-dollar industry thrives on repeat trade.
If there was one real, effective, single-track method towards sustainable long-term weight loss, their so-called promises would be fulfilled and their market share would diminish and eventually crumble.
When you get stuck in the mindset that your weight is the be-all and end-all of your worthiness, you make your whole life about that one-dimensional view of yourself. Whatever plan you may have in your head about what you want to do in life, your weight is made an integral part of that plan. You might be using your weight to bargain with — "I'll go for that new job when I've lost a kilo ..." — or other things you want to do that you justify not doing on the basis that you need to lose weight first. You may seek out similar reasons as to why this belief is true, adding to your own confirmation bias that if you can just "lose this weight" then your entire life will change for the better as a result. I have sat in front of clients who've refused to take a holiday for five years because they haven't lost specific amounts of weight in order to do so. They look upon this physical change as the Holy Grail that will lead them to fulfillment, freedom and ultimate happiness.
Losing weight for the sake of health alone is rare these days. There is nearly always an emotional link to what you feel weight loss will bring to your life as a result. On the surface, you may believe that you want to lose weight to simply become healthier. However, subconsciously, chances are that you will also be buying into the dream that a smaller dress size will have the side effect of making you happier with who you are.
You aren't to blame for wanting to believe that this dream is real. That's why I've written this book, after all: to help you understand how you got to the point of believing that all your worth depends on the number inside your jeans. It will become clear to you just how you've become so caught up and obsessed with the ever-expanding world of diets and weight loss, and how you've got to the point of feeling so resentful about how you look, so guilty about everything you do and so fearful of what you eat that you don't really know who you are anymore.
At some point in your life, you have been sold the dream. Just like thousands of other women out there. Just like I was.
Through the course of this book, I'll take you behind the scenes of the diet industry with a backstage pass! It'll become clear just how you went from being a confident, smiling and self-assured woman to someone so afraid of her own body that intimacy has since become more akin to the How-To Guide for Keeping Your Pajama Bottoms on While Having Sex.
I'll explain to you how the once-simple task of getting fitter and feeling healthier can more often these days leave you feeling the complete opposite of what you signed up for and, more importantly, I'll help you to protect yourself from falling into this trap ever again.
The obsession with weight loss that has led you to the obsession with dieting is not because you have 10 pounds to lose; it's because the industry has convinced you that losing 10 pounds will make you happier. It's also likely managed to convince you that, whoever you are, whatever you do, you are not and never will be enough as you are.
My job over the course of this book is to help you to escape from this limiting and life-controlling mindset, to move your life forward in a positive, confident and empowered way. Over the course of Part One, I will be offering you information designed to open your eyes up to the truth behind the smoke and mirrors of the health and fitness industry. There may be parts that you are shocked by, but I only feel this to be a positive thing. I am going all-out, no holds barred, because I want you to know the whole truth.
I understand that you need more than just information and behind-the-scenes gossip. You also need practical help in order to make this journey count. So, in the second and third parts of this book, we will delve into what it really takes to create long-lasting change within you and how you can achieve real confidence and experience that elusive self-love that you crave without having to put yourself through the trauma of trying to fit in with the gym crowd while pretending that you really love eating kale for breakfast. I will show you how you can start, straight away, to put the wheels in motion towards the life that you want rather than the life that you think you ought to want.
By the time you've turned over the last page of this book, you'll have finally begun to understand that what you are really searching for cannot, and will not, be found in a smaller pair of jeans. Self-love, acceptance and worthiness are already there, waiting to be found within yourself, whether you wear your 'good day' jeans or your 'bad day' jeans.
The power behind everything that is currently holding you down, keeping you hostage as a fully paid-up member of the yo-yo diet club, will be made redundant. You will be able to move forward with your life, safe in the knowledge that never again will you have to buy into that expensive box of magic pills, quick fixes, or gurus in order to feel at peace with who you are.
Before we move on, with a view to helping you get into the mood for what is to come, I would like to share another epiphany moment with you. It was another phone call; this time, however, it was with a client, a woman who I'd just started working with. She was what many people would describe as inspiring because she was tall, toned and had a naturally slim figure, indeed matching up to that ideal that is supported and promoted in our contemporary culture.
On this day, Miss Inspiring was in floods of tears down the phone to me. Having refused to go out that day, she'd informed me that she just wanted to go to bed to "get away from it all." The trigger to this enormous meltdown? Well, she was unable to see her abdominal muscles in the mirror. She had let her family go out without her and, instead, was on the phone crying to me about how terrible this made her feel. The worrying part was that, as time went on, it became obvious that this episode was not a one-off for her. This lack of ab definition was something she worried about on a daily basis. This level of obsession unfortunately isn't unusual, but the overriding point I need to make here is that she had the type of figure that many of my other clients would have listed as their goal 'I want to look like' physique because, in their eyes, having this kind of figure would provide them with undoubted and unwavering confidence. What they don't see is that this desire to be 'more' truly is a never-ending cycle of misery.
There is an element of humor in stories such as these and, yes, you would be forgiven for thinking they are coming from prima donnas who have nothing else in their lives to worry about or from women with pre-existing disorders. Still, I want you to understand that this just isn't the case. The majority of clients that I have worked with who have felt like this have been intelligent, hardworking, sane women with families and responsibilities. The unhealthy relationship with food, the destructive body obsession and the emotional turmoil that I have witnessed in so many women — all of which stems from the incessant pressure to conform to the 'ideal' — isn't reserved for the wealthy and bored among us. Absolutely not. This is a very real scenario for millions of women worldwide.
I feel strongly that it's time things changed, and I know that change is possible ... and right now, right here, that change starts with you.CHAPTER 2
Why I Wrote This Book
As I progressed through my career within the health and fitness industry, it became very evident to me that the majority of the women I came across were living with a chronic and debilitating lack of self-esteem. I spent so much of my time listening to the derogatory language that women use when describing themselves that I really have heard it all. Most women openly speak worse about themselves than they would ever about their worst enemies. Having to watch so many amazing women hide in the shadow of their own lives, because they felt completely unworthy of anything that the world had to offer to them, was just heartbreaking.
Many I spoke to would turn down opportunities and walk away from joyful experiences or activities because they had convinced themselves that they were not good enough to take part, or because they so fiercely feared the criticism and judgment that might come as a result of showing up and 'being seen.' I'd speak to women who'd spent years justifying the decision not to follow their dreams on the basis that this life of self-limitation was them being realistic, when, really, it was all just another way of hiding from the fear of judgment. In their eyes, making an excuse as to why it's not possible for them to achieve something will save them from the perceived danger that they've attached to giving it a go and being criticized.
Excerpted from Enough, Already! by Heather Jayne Wynn. Copyright © 2015 Heather Jayne Wynn. Excerpted by permission of John Hunt Publishing Ltd..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Part 1 1
1 Introduction 2
2 Why I Wrote This Book 10
3 The Facts and Stats 14
4 Missing the Wood for the Trees 16
5 But I Need to Be Slimmer to Be Happy! 19
6 So What Really Leads to Happiness? 25
7 I Should Be So Lucky 26
8 Your First Diet Fix 31
9 It Starts with WHY 35
10 Ready for Change 39
11 My Early Coaching Years 44
12 Fads, Promises and Secrets 46
13 When Healthy Becomes Unhealthy 50
14 The Penny Started to Drop 58
15 Where Is This Obsession Coming From? 60
16 To Thine Own Self Be True 64
17 Gray Isn't Sexy 67
18 Blind Faith 72
19 Slim Doesn't Mean Healthy 78
20 When Inspiration Isn't Inspiring 85
21 Happy People Like Themselves 95
22 Letting Go of the Dream 98
Part 2 103
23 Standing in the Face of Fear 107
24 Who the Hell Are YOU? 116
25 FEEL the Fear 118
26 Self-Limiting Beliefs 122
Part 3 135
27 Self-Worth 136
28 Body Image 140
29 Finding Your Why 144
30 Your Values Are Your Future 147
31 Challenging Your Limiting Beliefs 155
32 Self-Talk 161
33 Setting Boundaries 164
34 The Social Media Cull 168
35 Attitude of Gratitude 171
36 Critical Thinking 173
37 Embracing Your True-Self 178
38 Practicing Good Self-Care 183
39 Putting are Love into Self-Love 188
Values List 190