What is a TERRAfit Challenge?

Want to lose weight, get fit or both?  Through doTERRA I discovered an amazing health challenge called TERRAfit.  It was such a game changer for my health that I decided to become a coach!

This was me in 2014…

kickboxer

A muay thai LOVING mum at the peak of fitness, about to try my first amateur bout in the ring after a few novice fights.  Then I unexpectedly fell pregnant!  I lived off cheese sandwiches and marmite on toast for 9 months whilst battling debilitating morning sickness and basically felt YUCK.  In total I gained 17 kilos.

I started TERRAfit because I needed HELP to get back to reasonable eating and workout habits.  I was daunted by the idea of kickboxing again and unmotivated about the idea of eating clean.  I don’t like fad diets or extreme exercise programmes and I don’t believe they work in the long-term.  I need to be motivated and I like achieving as part of a team.  The fact I could have both these things to help me lose weight and get fit again was what attracted me to TERRAfit!

TERRAfit provides support across 12 weeks to eat less and better and exercise more, as part of a team supported by a certified TERRA coach.  You eat from a healthy food list, exercise 5 days a week and there are daily challenges to educate and inspire/motivate.  An added bonus is the potential to win cash prizes at the end of the 90 days!

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TERRAfit works on a point system that tracks your nutrition, hydration and exercise.  You have to try and hit 100 points every day.  Points are taken away for skipping exercise, meals and eating unhealthy foods.  You get bonus points for supporting your progress with essential oils and supplements.

The motivation this challenge has given me is almost indescribable.  It couldn’t have come at a better time either.  I was a new mum, struggling the juggle of having 2 children instead of one.  I guess my diet and exercise should have been the last thing on my mind, but as a mum need to be fit and healthy, just as much as you need exercise for the self care that protects mental health! Going to a gym is a lot more difficult though, when you have an entourage of small people! The GREAT thing about TERRAfit is that the workouts are streamed through your laptop/PC/tablet/phone; I do mine whenever I get my hands free and the support the first team I took part with gave me helped me in many more ways than just losing a few pounds of baby weight.  The fact that TERRAfit focuses on nutrition and exercise and the support system provided is definitely its point of difference to all the other diet and exercise programmes out there on the market.  It has also helped me improve my family’s health, as we are all eating better and enjoying real food!

If you’re thinking about joining or wanting to join a Terrafit team here’s what you’ll need:

1. A desire to form healthy lifestyle habits. Show your commitment with a $38.50 registration fee and clear your pantry of unhealthy foods!

2. Be committed to working out 5 times a week for at least 30 minutes a day (with rest days on Wednesdays and Sundays).  Think of a time when you can slot these workouts in before you start.

You can stream the TERRAfit workouts for an additional monthly fee (this is called TERRAfit Advantage and costs $16.50 with your first week free).

You don’t have to do the TERRAfit workouts if you are happy with your existing exercise programme, but I really recommend them for their structure and effectiveness.  Exercises are targeted to lean muscle development and weight loss.  Workouts employ 4×4 high intensity interval training and believe me, it works!  I couldn’t believe the difference in me across just 4 weeks and the essential oils and supplements I used in addition to eating really good, clean food really made me feel great and even improved other things, like my skin!

3. So a willingness to investigate the doTERRA products that can help you in your weightloss/fitness journey is preferable, but there is no obligation!  I can help you discover the products that are right for you and introduce you to a way to purchase them economically across the 12-weeks.  You get 10 extra points a day for using doTERRA products such as Deep Blue for muscle recovery, Slim and Sassy to support your metabolism and curb cravings, Lemon oil to detoxify, and the Life Long Vitality Pack of supplements to provide you with potent levels of essential nutrients and powerful metabolic factors for optimal health, energy, and longevity.

The registration fee, plus TERRAfit Advantage and an Athlete + Starter Kit costs jst $37.50 for the 12 weeks.

So, have I whet your appetite for change?  Are you keen to realise your own transformation?

Check out the progress I made in just 3 weeks of my first challenge at the start of 2016!

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Using the TERRAfit nutrition and fitness system I lost 15kgs, learnt how to eat clean and feed my family to boost their health as well and I got back in the ring as a Muay Thai Fighter.

Experience this amazing transformation yourself over 12 weeks with me and TERRAfit.

Gain access to workouts, products to support your weightloss, health and training, weekly progress calls, a Facebook support group, meal plans, recipes and discounts on coaching.

Carrie Harman, TERRAfit Participant, after 1 month in her first 12-week Challenge:

“I have two ‘exciting’ milestones as such…. 1. I am coping so much better with the exercise regime than I did my previous two sprint challenges… and
2. I am getting fuller easier. I am not finishing a whole plate of when my hubby dishes (bigger than I do), and not feeling that I should either. I am avoiding unwise food choices, and often not even tempted by them a lot of the time. I still have a wee way to go, as if I am not organised I find myself struggling on decent snacks – not ‘bad’ ones just not as energy boosting as they could be.  I’m so excited to keep pushing myself as we head into month two! I still have things I want to improve and work on (mummy tummy, energy levels, fitness for my 10km run) and am glad to be doing this challenge with the three of you!!”

If you are ready to register for the next 12-week challenge to become the best version of you, email me now at nzessentialmum@gmail.com.

Here are my before and after pictures!

front-and-side

best version of you

My Weight Loss Story

Written 3/04/2016

“12 weeks ago I was pretty bewildered as to how to get my body back in shape and my eating back on track after pregnancy.  I was 3 weeks post-partum, unmotivated and recovering from surgery after a third degree tear having my baby.  I had planned to get straight back into my Muay Thai kickboxing training to get my fitness back and work my way back to the ring, but my surgery had obstructed that idea, as I was very limited in my movement!  I felt quite depressed!

From a food point of view, having suffered awful morning sickness when I was pregnant I had gotten into bad habits. I had craved and eaten lots of simple carbs and sugar because for some weird reason it was all my body was asking for.  I had gone off salads, the idea of fish made me want to vomit. In fact all the things I had loved pre-pregnancy turned me green!  A very weird experience, which over 9 months had concreted some awful habits. I am pleased to say I have turned those around now!

My portion sizes follow TERRAfit’s guidelines and I’m satisfied and my snacking is nutritious and energy-boosting.  Instead of reaching for those simple carbs and sugar I am now completely refined-sugar free and craving smoothies and veggie sticks and taking time to plan my snacks, like yummy refined sugar free slices, bliss balls, muffins and biscuits, so that they are on hand during the week.  This has been good for my daughter also, who is also back to eating refined sugar free!  I am eating heaps of veg, when at the start of the challenge I was struggling to get one portion in, let alone 4!  I feel more energised and happier.

One of the big discoveries I made through the challenge was that I really needed to work on my emotions (which were driving some of my eating choices) and I have done this – by using my essential oils, trying to react in different ways and trying to remove the stresses that were rattling my emotions  in the first place and dedicating some time every day to me.

I have got up 5-6 days a week at 5am to do my workouts because I know this is the only time that I will have my hands free from my 16 week old and put my heart and soul into the TERRAfit workouts.  I have got up even when I have been tired and taken a NO EXCUSES attitude!  Regarding my goals, I have lost 7.5 pounds, which I am really pleased about, but I am more excited about the improvements in my strength and fitness!  I set myself this mad challenge along with one of myTERRAfit teammates to achieve a 5-minute plank and I achieved it!  I could only do 30 seconds at the start of my challenge!  I am now doing 38 pushups (up from 20 at the start of my challenge), 56 air squats (up from 38 at the start of my challenge), 82 sit ups (up from 63 at the start of my challenge) and a 2 minute 35 wall sit (also up from 30 seconds at the start of my challenge!!!)  My main goal was to be able to go back to my Muay Thai training and in the first week of month 3 I achieved it!  I am back doing my Muay Thai training once a week.  And I even have my eye on fighting again!

I really feel like a better version of me as my 12-week challenge comes a close. I am lighter, physically and mentally, full of energy and strong.  I am also in the good habit of getting up each morning to exercise and it’s not a chore at all!  My motivation is back!  And I have discovered an amazing way to eat, which nourishes my body in the way it needs.  I have learned so much in 12 weeks!  About clean foods, super foods, what foods work in what way for your body and I know which are the sensible choices!  My promise to myself as I close this challenge is to never take my new-found good health for granted and take what I have learned over the last 12 weeks and make it my permanent lifestyle and continue to share it with others! I am going on to do the 3-week Sprint tomorrow, just to spend time establishing the things that work for me, as I found I didn’t fully understand them until the 3rd month.   My focus for the next 3 weeks is not weight loss now, but muscle gain!  I want to be able to do the month 3 workouts with extra resistance (especially increasing my shoulder and tricep strength) and up the interval training from 30 seconds to 1 minute!

I think that is the final thing I want to say about TERRAfit and I say it with a smile!  In such a strong team of beautiful people with a coach dedicated to your progress you never stop inspiring and you never stop being inspired!”

How Essential Oils Can Boost Your Weight Loss

Today I am chugging away on my Slim & Sassy essential oil blend after food cravings got the better of me yesterday!  It made me wonder if people actually know how helpful essential oils are when it comes to a weight loss/fitness journey, so I thought I’d share some facts!

As you may or may not know, I coach TERRAfit challenges.  I also take part in them when I have my own personal goals to meet.  At the moment I am training towards my next muay thai fight.  My essential oils and doTERRA products are a big part of why/how I succeed. Now I am back into my muay thai training they are making a big difference there too.

Essential oils are a catalyst that can help you reach your goals faster and boost the effectiveness of your efforts.

A key reason for this is digestion.

Digestion is paramount to your health and maintaining a healthy weight. A healthy digestive system allows the proper nutrient absorption needed for overall health. The blend that I am drinking today, Slim & Sassy contains Grapefruit Peel, Lemon Peel, Peppermint Plant, Ginger Root, and Cinnamon Bark essential oils that help promote digestive health, but also healthy metabolism, help manage hunger cravings, calm your stomach and lift your mood!  Slim & Sassy is also a diuretic, stimulant, and is calorie free.

Maintaining healthy insulin and sugar levels is imperative to weight management. Eating healthy, nutritionally dense foods along with using essential oils like cinnamon and grapefruit will increase your chances of maintaining healthy weight loss.

Another thing that I know influences my eating and weight patterns are hormones!  I am in the process of writing a whole blog about essential oils and hormonal balance, but for now let it be said, essential oils can be amazing for healthy hormonal balance!

Hormones assist just about every function in the body. Hormonal imbalances dramatically affect weight management. Essential oils are uniquely intelligent and work with hormones for cellular communication.

Check out this video and blog from Dr Axe about his top 3 essential oils to balance hormones naturally.

The other essential oils that I generally use with my Slim & Sassy are Lemon, Wild Orange and Frankincense.  These detoxify and boost energy levels significantly and the citrus oils and frankincense in particular support healthy adrenal function as well, which is really important for me, as I am currently battling adrenal fatigue. Basil, coriander and geranium are also helpful for adrenal health.

It has been suggested that a major reason we hold onto weight is because of toxicity. Many of the doTERRA products I sell are aimed helping us reduce our “toxic load”.  We encounter toxins daily and the organs that help to filter toxins are overloaded. Toxins accumulate in our fat cells and until we can eliminate the toxins the fat cells are there to stay, so use your lemon oil every day for a period of time, along with clean eating and exercise to detoxify.  You will also get gloriously soft skin.

Next, circulation is important to increasing tone and shedding excess fat.   Essential oils that help with circulation are cypress, basil, rosemary, cinnamon, peppermint, lemongrass and frankincense. You can apply the oils before, during and after workouts.

The final two areas in which essential oils can be really helpful are respiratory function and endurance.  Your muscles need oxygen to repair themselves after exercise.  They will repair faster with essential oils.  Blends like Breathe improve your respiratory function and peppermint oil is being studied with athletes for its effectiveness at increasing endurance levels, with positive results. I have a fellow kickboxer trialing peppermint essential oil at the moment, so watch this space for her feedback!

If you want a one-to-one chat about how essential oils might be able to support your weight loss and/or fitness, drop me an email to nzessentialmum@gmail.com.  I can also share more info about the TERRAfit challenges!  You can buy essential oils and the Slim & Sassy Product Line at my retail shop.  Click here.

slim & sassy range

Much Love until next time x x

Essential Mum

 

I am suffering from adrenal fatigue.  It is something that has plagued me for a few years, which I can’t seem to fully recover from.  It is estimated to affect around 80 percent of people in the world and yet some doctors refuse to believe it exists.  The term ‘adrenal fatigue’  was coined in 1998 by a naturopath called Dr. Wilson, who wanted to distinguish between below optimal adrenal function resulting from stress and adrenal insufficiency caused by Addison’s disease and excess cortisol caused by Cushing’s Syndrome.  He wrote what is now a very celebrated book called Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome and described a condition that he had observed after years of working with stressed-out patients in the 1980s and 1990s.

Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, a neurophysiologist at the private Nightingale Hospital for mental health issues in London and the author of Tired But Wired, has seen a 50 per cent increase in clients showing early signs of adrenal fatigue. “Ten years ago, about two people in a room of 30 would put their hands up. Now a fifth of my clients show signs.”

She describes the key early sign as digestion problems, “as stress takes blood and energy away from the large organs such as the intestine and diverts it to the muscles to prepare for ‘fight or flight’ during stressful situations”. This is a natural response, she explains, but it’s meant to be over quickly so the body can recover. “Today, most people live permanently in this ‘fight or flight’ state, constantly releasing stress hormones and never letting themselves recover.”

I believe my problems started way back in 2009 when I was suffering prolonged, chronic stress; the culmination of which ultimately led me to fall completely over, mentally and physically in 2010 and from that day forward I had to rebuild my life.  What we call a complete burnout, I guess.  Turns out my adrenal glands – two walnut-sized glands that sit just above my kidneys – also burnt out.  It is only recent studies that are corroborating this fact.  A 2013 study, published in the International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, reported that those with burnout were found to have lower levels of cortisol because their relentlessly stressed-out adrenal glands had lost the ability to produce it.

The World Health Organisation recognised adrenal fatigue as a disorder in 2010.

Unsurprisingly, fatigue is one of the most common Adrenal Fatigue symptoms, but there are many other different ways it can present, both physical and mental, and people can present different “packages” of symptoms as well.

After my burnout I found it almost impossible to get out of bed in the morning and I spent most of my day feeling awful and fatigued.  I was also getting constantly sick.  I now know that consistently high levels of cortisol,  which present in the early stages of adrenal fatigue, suppress your immune response and leave you vulnerable to infection. I am now in a much later stage of Adrenal Fatigue, which presents as consistently low levels of cortisol.  This has an array of symptoms, including causing me to have really low blood sugar in the morning, which now does the opposite to before and wakes me up at sparrows because I feel so hungry!

My doctor explained to me that basically my adrenals have become unable to produce enough of the hormones I need, so my cortisol is low, along with neurotransmitters like adrenaline and norepinephrine.  This causes me to have constantly low blood pressure that makes me feel dizzy when I stand up (my midwife commented that if her BP was as low as mine was she’d be dead), decreased enjoyment in life sometimes and a low libido, my memory is foggy and my fuse is dangerously short and I use coffee just to keep going.  I also have other weird symptoms that I can only link to my adrenal fatigue because they are there when my cortisol is at its lowest:  weird dry skin around my finger nails, pain in my lower back, extreme tiredness an hour after I exercise, a constant need to pee and possibly the weirdest is a kind of numbness in my fingers that causes me to have a terrible grip, making me drop things I grasp for.

One of the most upsetting symptoms for me though, due to these hormone imbalances and especially because I am a mum, is the short fuse and my complete inability to handle stress; much more so than the low energy levels throughout the day that I cope with, even though on some days I feel a completely unrelenting tiredness.

It’s bad.  My life is busy and stress is unavoidable.  I have a nearly 3 year old who could contend for an Oscar for the drama she finds in most every day situations and I am working too and juggling that with her and my 3 month old.  For people not affected by adrenal insufficiency, when stress inevitably happens the adrenals release hormones like cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine. These hormones regulate the stress response and increase strength, focus and awareness. What happens to me is more like something out of a horror movie.  I lose it, I shout, I get anxious and then most often I feel deeply depressed about how I have reacted because my loved ones bear the brunt of it.  I used to see these emotions as my enemies and hide from them, dismiss them and pretend they never happened.  I have stopped doing that now in favour of a better way, which I will talk about in a minute, and I have committed to replenishing my adrenal energy, which has already made a massive difference to how I feel each day.

The first thing I did was remove hard-to-digest foods from my diet and toxins/chemicals from my environment.  As you’ll see if you follow Essential Mum I do really well with this latter thing!!  The diet took a bit of a hammering during my pregnancy though, where I slipped back into some really bad habits.  So in January I began doTERRA’s TERRAfit programme and it’s really helped me to get back on track with eating regular, healthy meals, especially nutrient-dense, refined sugar free foods packed with healthy fat, fibre, good quality proteins and as many organic mineral rich vegetables as possible, which is going to help me overcome this adrenal insufficiency.  I have also started using a magnesium spray every day and added himalayan salt to my diet (it has a LOT more minerals than table salt that benefit adrenal glands.)  TERRAfit also provides me with a comprehensive, effective exercise programme, although I have to be careful not to cause more adrenal fatigue by exercising too vigorously.

I am also trying to minimize stress.  Another really amazing thing about TERRAfit is that it motivates you to look at your health from the inside out and work on much more than weight loss.  I have taken time to focus on the things that make me feel stressed and how I can eliminate or minimise them and I have invested in me by identifying where I can dedicate some time every day to self care.  I am not going to deny that I still feel completely overwhelmed some days.  Luckily, I am one of these people whose default is to act like the completely opposite is true when someone asks “how are you”… cue big smile and the word “GREAT!” 😉  Luckily, this is also a journey in progress.

A big part of my journey has been the use of my essential oils.  There are a few that can help with Adrenal Fatigue, that I won’t list here, but instead share what is working for me.  I am using a healing combination of Serenity, Balance and Frankincense to de-stress and calm my nervous system, Wild Orange to stop anxiety in its tracks and perk me up in the afternoons, Bergamot when I feel down and for general immune support, adrenal support and to reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and burnout, Slim & Sassy to regulate my blood sugar and finally, geranium for immune support and as a general overall tonic for stress, anxiety and mild depression.

There are 3 ways you can apply essential oils and timing/location is important.  For example, Frankincense is one I am now using every day.  It increases my ability to focus and grounds me.  I use it every day in the morning.  Serenity helps me sleep, so I use it every evening.

I make Geranium part of my beauty regime.  I use it as a moisturiser mixed with fractionated coconut oils and I rub it over my kidneys, which is where your adrenals are located.

On those days where I do feel completely exhausted I add in Rosemary to my routine.  It is a good strengthening tonic for the whole body.

If you are interested in learning more about how to use essential oils for emotions I am running a course this Thursday night, March 17th, in Bucklands Beach, Auckland, where I will talk in detail about  how to master your emotions using essential oils and we will make your very own action plan to integrate them and other emotional support and therapies, in order to increase your capacity to enjoy life, cope with stress, and focus on important personal priorities.

If you too are suffering from adrenal fatigue there are 10 things that you can do straight away to begin your healing journey, and in my opinion they are things we should do anyway for wellness!

  1. woman sleeping peacefully in bed, alarm clockRest when you feel tired; don’t try and be superman/woman and push through!
  2. Sleep between 8–10 hours a night
  3. Avoid staying up late and stay on a regular sleep cycle — ideally, in bed before 10 p.m
  4. Laugh and do something fun every day
  5. Minimize stress
  6. Eat on a regular food cycle, and reduce your caffeine and sugar addiction
  7. Exercise (even moderate exercise and walking can help)
  8. Avoid negative people and negative self-talk
  9. Take time for yourself (do something relaxing) every day
  10. Seek counsel or support for any traumatic experiences

Numbers 4, 8 and 9 are 3 things we will look at in the Emotions Course!  Thankfully, our bodies are made to heal, but the words we say and the things we do, especially in reaction to stress have a great impact on our body and its ability to heal. Before I said that I used to see my emotions as my enemies and hide from them, dismiss them and pretend they never happen.  Now I acknowledge them and I am kind to myself.  I assess why I reacted the way I did (both the situation that was causing the stress and my emotional state at the time), how I could have reacted differently, how I can react better next time and how I can minimise the stress that caused the reaction in the first place.  This isn’t causing change overnight!  This is a long journey and I am changing habits and healing damage that has taken years to create. So, I am being kind to myself. I am ridding my mind of negative thoughts and choosing to be around positive people and stay positive about myself as well.  And heck, sometimes now I am even able to laugh about those reactions, especially with the help of my little girl!  She really is a little too wise for her own good sometimes.  Her acknowledgement of my reactions, while horrible that she does see this other side of mummy, is a good thing because she is helping me to change me and be a better person and we laugh together.  And as we laugh and have a hug I feel the stress decrease and my whole body relax!  Don’t underestimate the value of laughter and enjoyment as a recuperative tool.

Click here to learn about buying 100% pure, therapeutic essential oils and why I recommend them.

To register for the Emotions course, visit Eventbrite here.  Click into the Facebook event page and select “interested” to learn more about the course and receive updates and offers.

Much love x x