Look the part

Personally, I have never thought too much about looking the part, or how I am perceived by others. I am usually preoccupied by what I am doing rather than what people think of me. I like to think that I don’t judge or make assumptions based on looks, clothes or the car someone is driving and, I suppose, I have thought that judgements are not being made about me. It has taken too long to realise that I am quite wrong. Firstly, I do make subconscious judgements all the time ( even though I don’t want to) and secondly, I am being judged and categorised by others. Now, I could rebel against this, because It is wrong to make assumptions based on looks, clothes and cars- and haven’t we always been told it’s wrong to stereotype? The truth is that stereotyping is a psychological process that we all use to simplify a very complex social world. We need to be able to quickly categorise people (starting with ‘are they a danger to me?’ ) in order to process and manage the world we live in. It is extremely difficult to disengage this core part of human nature. So yes, I am being judged and I am judging others. With this in mind, it is important to understand what image we are projecting (on a simple visual level). How would I be instantly categorised and is it in line with who I am and how I want to be perceived? It has taken me many years of denial to come to the conclusion that if you want to succeed in our society, if you want others to buy into what you have to offer, then you have to play by the rules and look the part.
So, how do you want to be categorised? Are you still wearing the same clothes that you did five or ten years ago, even though your story has changed? How do you want to be seen today? Artist, entrepreneur, super organised? What would people, with the characteristics you wish to project, look like and can you build a mood board of these looks? The disappointing truth for me was that I looked like a slightly tired, bland, forgettable middle-aged stay-at-home Mum. What I actually want to portray is energetic, successful female entrepreneur. It is quite exciting and refreshing to realise this. I have already started my re-vamp without any guilt about getting new clothes, a new haircut and a manicure. I am now convinced that this is vital for success, not merely a self-indulgence. Here’s to looking the part!

Be Uncompromising

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We all need to compromise, but what I have come to realise is that too much compromise leads to a life of mediocrity- a world of “I would love to” rather than ” I intend to”. I have spent my life (so far) compromising on just about everything: my career, how I spend my time, what I eat…everything. This has led to a being surrounded by a lovely and happy family, but little feeling of personal achievement in terms of career or self-development. Like most women, my main concern is the harmony and happiness of my loved ones and I generally put my own needs towards the bottom of the list. I think there is a lot to be said for not always (or even usually) putting yourself first. Perhaps we are all happier when we are primarily focusing on other people and those I meet who are mainly self-focussed are often not very happy..even though they have freedom to spend all their time on themselves! However, I have now come to the conclusion that in order to have an element of something exceptional in your life, it is important to hand pick a few things (which will change every so often) that you do not compromise on. So, I am under taking a 30 day challenge during which I will not compromise on:-
My career and income aspirations. No more “it will do” thinking…I deserve a career and an income that matches my talent and experience. My career & income has flat-lined for years whilst my children were growing up. Now is the time to get it back on track, make big decisions and move forward. If I cannot find a career move that will satisfy my income goals, then I will create my own business/income. After 30 days I will have decided clear income/career goals and have a specific action plan that will lead to change.
My wellbeing. For the next 30 days I will make time for exercise every day, healthy eating and taking time to look good.

Say no to compromise and mediocrity!

100 Calorie Snacks

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In my new diet plan of 1400 calories per day (weekday) and 1600 calories per day (weekends), I am allowed two 100 calorie snacks a day. So I have been scouring the supermarket shelves for new ideas. These are the ones I am trying at the moment.

Nairns Super Seeded Organic oatcakes with flaxseed, sunflower and chia seeds
These are very tasty with a generous serving of seeds. I love Nairns products- always tasty and nutritious. One oatcake is 44 calories with 1.3g of protein ( 13.4%). Delicious with a little hummus: easy, low calorie hummus coming soon. Available in Waitrose £1.39.

Kettle Bites mozzarella and pesto Lentil Curls. Very tasty and only 97 calories- more like a treat than a diet snack. The good thing about these is that they are made with 41% lentil flour, so have a better protein content than normal crisps. The protein is 12.9% which is 2.8g per 22g pack. Normal potato crisps, such as Walkers, are 6.1% protein (1.5g per 25g pack). Tesco £1.89

Marks and Spencer have a great range of healthy snacks. I haven’t tried them all yet, but their sour cream & chilli lentil curls are good. Again made with lentil flour (43%) giving 3g protein per 22g packet (13.6%). I have just bought a packet of their Pea Snaps (green chilli, lime and coriander), another crisp alternative, but I am not allowed to try these until my snack time tomorrow! They have a good protein content 3.8g per pack (18.1%). About 60p per bag.

Chocolate. I am not prepared to live without chocolate and it was something that had to be built into my programme. The problem is that most chocolate bars are way over the calorie limit. A small Cadbury’s Dairy Milk is 191 calories. So my solution is to buy a big bar of chocolate and break it into portions. This usually works out at 6 portions from 100g bar (about 4 small squares.) I break the bar up and wrap each in some silver foil, so I am not tempted to eat the whole bar. Lindt 70% 100g, £1.89 Waitrose

Aldi has a range of healthier snacks called ‘ The Foodie Market’ nicely packaged in kraft-style cardboard boxes. The “Properly Plump Pumpkin and Cinnamon” fruit and veg bars are good for a sweet snack. I know fruit bars can be a bit joyless-they will never be a chocolate bar- but I am quite enjoying them now when I fancy something sweet. Obviously you need to be a fan of cinnamon to enjoy these, and. Happily I am. Each bar is just 89 calories and they contain apple, pumpkin, oat flakes and hemp seed. However, a bar does not count as one of your 5 per day, unlike Naked Bars (which are sadly over my 100 calorie limit). 2.6g of protein per bar (8.5%) Pack of 5 £1.99 Aldi

I have also bought a box of ‘Gloriously Fruity Flapjacks’ which are 106 calories. They are small and chewy. Not the best flapjack I have tasted, but sweet and comforting. I think children would eat these and they would work well for lunch boxes. Mainly sweetened with honey, they also contain oats, sultanas, apricots, papaya and seeds (sunflower and linseeds). The percentage of fruit is very low. There are no obvious fruit pieces and they are soft and chewy. 2.6g protein per bar (8.5%). The protein content is apparently identical in the two different types of bar. Curious.
Available in Aldi.

So I’ve got the snacks sorted, next thing to work on is the 250 calorie breakfast. Until next time x