Being part of a team is important

Some of you know that I only started running 3 years ago. I’ve been going out by myself, setting myself goals and achieving them. As with all things in my life, there’s been ups and downs.

Since April when I completed my first public 5km run I’ve had back & leg problems and haven’t run so much. I lost my confidence. As with a lot of things, one small knock and it sets us back a long way. So, I decided to join in the coaching sessions at the local athletic club that the boys go to, Chorley Athletic & Triathlon Club.

Primary team marathon runners

Chorley marathon team runners

I’m loving it! If someone had told me a few months ago that I’d enjoy running up and down steps for fun, I’d have laughed at them! But that’s just it! I’m slower than all the 6 year olds, but it doesn’t matter. Everyone is there to have a good time and get fitter and stronger in their own way. Yes, there are some better athletes who go, and a lot of them compete, but I’ve been welcomed in to enjoy this activity in my own way.

I guess I’ve welcomed being part of a team and having other people encourage me, even my family. They have helped me regain my confidence. I’m still not running as many times a week as I was, but I’m spending time strengthening other parts of my body that have been neglected these past few years.

I still have some goals, but they’re no longer as important as enjoying the Tuesday night coaching sessions. Adults and Juniors train at the same place, and sometimes I join the seniors, sometimes the juniors. I do what I feel able to, whilst still challenging myself. I ache today, but I’m chuffed with my session last night. I know I’ve got people I can ask questions of if I’m unsure about something. A specialist in their field. A coach.

I had a business coach for a short time in my business life, and it was great. It helped me focus and develop areas I wasn’t confident in. I love working with the Bra Lady team as we all support each other to develop our businesses. I love being part of a family unit where we learn and develop together, and share experiences. So why has it taken me so long to get a supportive team around me in my activities? No idea!

We’ve heard a lot recently about TeamGB, and the support Olympic athletes get from being part of a bigger organisation. We wish all our athletes well for London 2012.

Have you selected your support team, or has it just happened? What other support do you need to achieve your goals?


I’m not ready, but not sure I would ever be!

Tomorrow is a big day for me. But I’m not ready for it.

I’ve known about it since January when I set my personal goals for the year. It’s been in my diary since then, and I’ve sort of being preparing for it. But I haven’t done enough.

These last few weeks I’ve been wondering whether to put it off, not do it. What would that

Are we ever ready for the next step?

achieve though? Continue reading


What a difference a week makes

Some of you will know I’ve had a tough week. I’ve stopped hiding when life is tough, but often ask for support from online friends. Thank you for your kind words and thoughts.

This Monday is so different to last week! Last week saw my boys back at school (first day), husband in bed with awful toothache & infection, and me on a treadmill trying to make sure all my jobs, and his jobs were completed. It was very task orientated. The family certainly came first – eating, clothes, activities, and getting hubby well again. The business had to be put on hold. Which isn’t great when you’re a customer facing company!

Today, it’s been a delight. Hard work, and running around in Mum’s taxi tonight to school sportshall competition, then onto their club athletics. But I’ve made it, and feel OK. Tired, but OK.

Our main ‘problem’ this last week has been supporting someone in the family, who lives 100 miles away. The Friday before school started we all dropped what we were doing and took to action stations to support him and his partner. It’s been an emotional roller coaster. We’re not through the worst yet, but this week we’re able to plan our support (and my husband is not in pain, so is able to function within the household).

There’s all sorts of extended family implications with this illness. There’s already been back biting, but hopefully, there’s a plan in place to get through the next few important weeks. Information has been sought, (but not always shared with the right people); plans have been put in place, (but not always seeking help and advice from people who have knowledge or skill); actions are starting to happen. Emotions and tempers amongst close family members have been pushed to the limits.

Even though we should all have seen this coming, whose responsibility is it to check up on someone? Or ask the partner if everything’s OK if you’re concerned about a loved one? Do you check with friends and family about their mental health as well as physical health? How do you ask “do you need professional help?” ? I’d like to know!

I’m sure some of the emergency could have been taken out of our situation with more of the right communication between family members. But I also know that this family is not the best at talking in the right way about the right things. Things have to blow up into a real drama before something is taken seriously, or action is taken. It’s not my way, or the way I’m used to. But it’s A way. I’ve come to understand this is how some people work, even though I can’t affect it, or be effective within this environment.

So, whilst we’re not on red alert right now, we’re probably on amber, waiting for code red to be implemented again. It’s not the easiest state to be in. But, with the right information, right planning and communication of ALL the facts between ALL parties, we’re in a stronger position to help the main parties this week.

A week makes a difference only if you use that time effectively. Depression is a tough illness to deal with and explain to children. Especially at crisis points when code red is what we have to act upon.

Any advice, gratefully received! ;)




Achieving Goals – doesn’t it feel good!

I've done it!

Last week I almost achieved a personal goal I’d set earlier this year. I almost ran the whole 5k Race for Life at Wigan. I think with a flatter course, I’d have achieved the running part of it with the adrenaline of being with over 1000 other women, supporting the same cause.

My goal at the start of the year was to be able to run for 30 minutes without stopping. Quite a big goal for me, as I haven’t really done much exercise since University! I’ve enjoyed my running, and keep it as time out for me, early in the morning when no-one else is up and about.

This goal turned into something else when @thymedeli said, “You should do a 5k run in the summer. That’s about 30 minutes”. Ha! My response was along the lines of, “My goal is for the END of the year, not half way through it!”. Nevertheless, she persuaded me to give it a go.

So, for the first time ever, I entered a race! I’m so pleased I did. Even though I’d only been on one 5km route prior to the raceforlife itself, I knew that if the terrain was flattish, I’d achieve my goal.

Emotionally it was a draining experience. It was the first time in a while I thought “I wish my Mum was alive”, but it was the second anniversary of her funeral. She was with me, and proud of me, I could feel it. I cried with sadness before we started, and I cried with joy at the end. But in the running part I stayed focused on my personal goal.

Unfortunately the course was down a hill, then back up it! Some fun run! I managed just over 3km without walking, then walked and ran the rest of way, and crossed the finish line in just under 40 minutes – which was the time I’d told OH I’d do it in. I was exhilerated, and so delighted that I’d achieved something for me. My 3 boys were very proud of me, and that made it very worthwhile. The feeling is difficult to describe.

I’ve supported my boys in their sports, and am always proud of their achievements & talents. But doing it yourself? I’d forgotten the elation you experience with physical achievements. It was better than walking to the top of a mountain and seeing the view. This was something I’d worked towards, and achieved it. All by myself.

I’m also delighted that I’ve achieved my fundraising target of £200. The money is still coming in, but that was a secondary achievement for me this year.

Thank you to all those who supported me, emotionally, physically and through encouragement and support. @thymedeli has a lot to answer for, but I’m delighted she suggested it. I’ve just got to complete my goal now, which I don’t think will be long. I’ll keep you posted.

Have you done the raceforlife? How did it make you feel?


Guest Blog – Can massage help with PND?

So you have waited 9 expectant months for this to happen, you are sent home from hospital or maybe your baby was born at home.  For the first few days it all seems to pass in a blur, hopefully you’ll have some support from your partner; they will have been allowed to take some time off. You midwife will visit you for the first ten days and then sign you off to a health visitor, then when the dust settles and the flowers start to wilt and the presents stop coming it really hits home that this it, and it’s up to you to feed, clothe and care for this tiny helpless creature.

It’s totally fine to have bad days, we’ve all had days when all you seem to do is feed the baby all day and by the time your partner gets in from work you are still in your pj’s, you haven’t brushed your teeth and there’s a nagging feeling at the back of your mind that if you don’t get away from your little one you may just cry for the rest of the week/month/ year. BUT, and I say but, these feelings come and go. Some days the sun will be shining and you’ll manage to leave the house before lunch, without forgetting nappies, tissues, wipes etc, meet with friends, go to the park or maybe even go to the shops. What is a worry is when you can’t get dressed day in day out, you don’t leave home, you feel unable to confide even with your closest confidant that you really are not coping.  That is when you should be brave and ask for help!

Our society puts huge pressure on Mums to bounce back after giving birth, we have celebs to thank for that, they have cooks, nannies, personal trainers, staff to help them out, but not you and me! We are isolated and often alone. Women quite often go from being in charge of a whole department in their working lives to feeling inadequate and alone as a parent. In India, women are expected to stay in for 40 days after giving birth, they rest and their baby is brought to them for feeding or cuddles. Grandmothers, Aunts, Sisters all live locally and are on hand to help. Here, our families are often scattered and we don’t have that immediate support.If you do have feelings that you are unable to cope it is vital that you seek professional help.  PND is often pushed aside, a taboo subject one that some people are uncomfortable to talk about.

Finding time to do something for your self is very important and could be the first step in feeling better. Research shows that massage is very beneficial for new mums; a study carried out with teenage mums showed that their anxiety levels dropped significantly in the group that was given massage. They were also offered baby massage instruction, this helped with the bonding process and the mums felt more able to connect with their babies, thus relieving feelings of guilt and resentment.

With the added benefit of essential oils used at this time various issues can be addressed, feelings of guilt, anger or total blinding tiredness can be relieved.  By choosing oils that nurture the feminine women can feel more in control with their new found role as a parent.
There is no reason why the baby shouldn’t come with you to a treatment, however if there is someone you can leave the baby with for just an hour then you may benefit even more from the massage.

For more info please visit


When life throws you a curved ball

Is your life turning out how you dreamt it would when you were little?

Life doesn’t always go according to plan for everybody, and when my middle child was born 10 years ago with various disabilities after a straightforward pregnancy and birth, it really threw me.  This outcome was never a possibility, and was not something that I had ever considered.

To make matters worse, 2 of my good friends were also expecting within 2 weeks of me, and I had no idea how to tell them the news without scaring them.  I seemed to be surrounded by other “normal” families, and felt completely isolated.

My turning point was when I read “Welcome to Holland” by Emily Perl Kingsley, ( and after a while, instead of thinking about what I hadn’t got, I could instead appreciate what I was fortunate enough to have.

Now, 10 years on, my life has gone down a completely different path to where it would probably have led me otherwise, in terms of work, house and even friends.

My work is dedicated to supporting other parents who have had a challenging experience of pregnancy, birth or early parenthood by coordinating the NCT Shared Experiences Helpline. The helpline puts callers in touch with a volunteer who has had a similar experience.  (

My little amount of spare time is dedicated to supporting my local Parents Forum – BACPAC – Bolton Area Council for Parents and Carers – Working Together for Disabled Children which run events and campaign for families with disabled children.  ( Through both my paid work and my voluntary work I try to help others who have been thrown a curve ball and may be feeling isolated.

Beyond that though, my friends, house and schools, holidays or car – in fact any big decision is made with disability and my middle child’s needs first and foremost. My circle of friends are all accepting and open minded and see my child like I do – for what she can achieve, not for what she can’t.  And if they don’t, then we tend not to stay friends for long!  We have moved house and had it adapted to accommodate my child’s needs.  We have chosen schools, cars and holidays all to suit the middle child, rather than the other two, which has sometimes caused arguments.

But what I have gained has been immense.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a perfect mum – I still get grumpy and tired just like any other parent who’s woken up at 6.30am each morning by a very lively 5 year old.  But I do appreciate the small things, I do appreciate what we can do, not what we can’t, and I do think that we are put on this earth to have a positive impact on those around us, not to buy the most expensive car!

So, what can I tell you from my 10 years of wisdom?  People have told me that they sometimes feel awkward when they see a disabled child and aren’t sure how they should act so that they don’t hurt their feelings, and my advice would be this:

  • Don’t ignore the person, but don’t stare!
  • Try not to show pity and sympathy – express empathy and smile.
  • Look for commonalities to start a conversation – this child may have more in common with you or your child than you may originally assume.
  • Don’t be nosy and jump in with lots of questions – if you want to know more about their disability then they will tell you when they’re ready.
  • Try not to exclude the child – I know it might take more effort to include them at a party etc, but they will really appreciate it.

I’m not sure that reading an article can alter people’s behaviour as I suspect that it’s a bit like having a near-death experience – I think you probably have to go through this personally.  It’s true that most people can’t appreciate what they don’t have until it’s gone, and most of the time I feel lucky in that I lost everything (or thought I had), and now value everything.

Ali Macleod

If you’ve had a challenging experience of pregnancy, birth or early parenthood, and would like to talk to someone who has had a similar experience then call the NCT Shared Experiences Helpline on 0300 330 0774. (Open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 9am – 3pm, and answer machine available at all other times).


Multi-tasking – is it good for our health?

Is multi-tasking good for us?

I know I  can’t talk, as I’m the world’s worst person for saying ‘no’ to people. I love helping and doing my bit. And I’m fairly organised and get lots done in a hectic family life. But, is it good for me?

I guess it depends what ‘good for me’ means. If it means ‘mentally challenging’, ‘job satisfaction’, ‘stimulating’, then doing all the things I do is fantastic for me – as long as I’m balanced about what I do, and ensure I focus on me a little bit with some time out.

On the other hand, if it means, ‘work yourself to the bone’, ‘wear yourself out’, ‘get colds and be tired & irritable’, ‘get as much done as you can at all costs’, then I think the answer is definitely “no”!

I’ve had a very hectic few weeks, with my business, developing new ideas, and spending time growing & sorting things out. My family have also had a busy time, and I organised my own birthday weekend for 9 families, half-term childcare cover, and all the activity stuff my boys do. And now the main event is over I’m shattered! I’ve tried to take a break today, but it hasn’t worked. I haven’t been disciplined enough to switch my computer off and go for the walk I’d promised myself. I even planned to do some house cleaning whilst the boys are away! Ha!

But all around me I’m seeing other women, mainly, juggling more and more. Women who don’t want to miss what seem like good business opportunities are trying to ‘fit things in’ to their already groaning diaries; women juggling business and half-term child care, from Facebook this afternoon:

“xxx…… totally shattered…..but the wheels of business & family life still have to run somehow….good job im a fantastic multi- tasker :)”;

businesses trying out new things to counteract the recession that has hit them hard. But are we doing it because we want to, have to, or feel we ought to?

Is it part of our bigger picture and long term goal to do all this short-term manic chasing our tails?

I’m going to switch off my computer shortly and have the evening totally free. I’m going to eat with my husband, and probably have a soak in the bath and an early night. I’ll write my lists for tomorrow (I do have a very busy day, that I haven’t yet done all my preparation for!), but I physically can’t do anymore. I’ve got better at recognising it and just stopping, before my body stops me!

Be organised, be focused, and ensure that you allow yourself time to breathe, eat and sleep. Plan in your downtime, family time and planning time. You can multi-task all you like, but if it’s getting you down, it’s certainly no good for your health.

I can honestly say today, I’m doing what I’m suggesting to others! But what about you? What are your thoughts?


Guest post: Hypnoslimmer – too good to be true?

How many times have you been on a diet, lost some weight, felt great, only to find it all creeps back on again a few months later? Maybe you even get a little heavier than you were before?

If you’ve been on every diet under the sun, you probably scream out to know why it doesn’t work for you.You have willpower for a few weeks, you stick to your low fat, low calorie or low carb regime but just can’t keep it going long term.

To put it simply, diets don’t work.  We think of a”diet” as something we do for a few weeks or maybe months to achieve a short term goal.  The original dictionary definition of diet is, in fact, “The usual food and drink of a person or animal.”  Something a little more long-term than our current expectations!

HypnoSlimmer is a 4 week programme that addresses the most common reasons for weight gain.  The focus is different to a normal slimming programme in that it allows you to eat what you want, when you want it!

If this sounds to good to be true, you’re probably wondering what the catch is.  The “catch” is simply that you learn to eat only when you’re hungry, and stop eating when you’re full. Most of us have learned to ignore that signal from our body over years of conditioning.

Hypnotherapy will help you to tune into those signals once again. By allowing yourself to eat what you want, but stopping when you’re full, you remove the sense of deprivation you normally get on a diet, and you begin to see food as something that’s still enjoyable, but just not as important any more. Hypnotherapy can help you to become more conscious of your eating habits and to take control of them, rather than have them control you.

Think about the way babies learn to eat…As babies, we all had our own built in  control mechanism – cry when hungry = get fed = stop when full.  If you’ve ever tried to get a toddler to eat when they just don’t want to, you’ll know how well that control mechanism works for them!  It’s only by overriding these with other thought patterns that we learn to eat when not hungry, often coming to associate food with a treat, and extra comfort for us.Many of our eating habits are established in early childhood by our parents’ attitude towards food …”eat everything on your plate or you won’t get dessert!”

For anyone enrolling in the HypnoSlimmer programme in February, you can take advantage of the current offer of free virtual gastric band surgery if your BMI is 30+. All the benefits of surgery without any of the risks!

The “surgery” is only offered in conjunction with the HypnoSlimmer course. This ensures that your previous eating habits are addressed and replaced with ones that serve you well, making the hypno-surgery so much more effective and likely to succeed. During this session, you lie on a treatment table with a blanket over you. While you are in hypnosis you will hear sounds and smell things that encourage you to believe you really are having an operation, but of course you can get up straightaway and drive home without waiting for the anasthetic to wear off!

You can find your nearest HypnoSlimmer consultant at

*Please note, if there are medical reasons (eg Thyroid) or deep-seated emotional reasons causing you weight issues, then hypnotherapy can still help, however you may be better to request individual sessions more tailored to your situation. On average this would be approximately 6 sessions over a number of months.

Nurturing Life Hypnotherapy

for Fertility, Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond

+44 (0)2921 251 254 / +44 (0)7800 634530
I’m intrigued by this! Anyone been involved with this process? Rethinking your weight is key to many health issues, so if you struggle, I’m sure it’s worth giving this a go. Be pleased to hear your comments though.


Breast Health

Our theme this month is Health. And my expertise is Breast Health. Having had a great evening with @Fired4U on Thursday, raising money for Rosemere Cancer Foundation whilst women painted ceramic pots with their breasts, our Painting by Nipples event, and had a bra check up, I thought it was timely to talk about breast health here.

We all know we should check our breasts after our monthly bleed, but do we? I’m a professional bra fitter, and I’ll be honest, I look, but don’t feel. Not good is it? So what should we do? TLC is the starting point

What makes up our breast

TOUCH your breasts. Can you feel anything unusual?
LOOK for changes. Is there any change in shape and texture?
CHECK anything unusual with your doctor.

What do we look and check for? Anything that isn’t ‘normal’ for you, basically. We all have one breast bigger than the other, but on some women the difference is more marked. The difference is also heightened during pregnancy and breastfeeding. As with most things, you know your body better than anyone. Its up to you (and me), to look after ourselves.

When do we check? We’re advised to do our checks at the same time every month, after our monthly bleed has finished. Before a woman’s bleed, our breasts are usually fuller and some women find them quite uncomfortable, so feeling our breasts at this time is not ‘normal’ for us. Find a time of the month that is right for you, and stick to it. I sometimes get very tender & swollen and sore breasts when coming to my time of the month. I was advised to take Starflower Oil, and this worked well for me. Available at any good Health Food Store.

So, if we check our breasts regularly, exercise, maintain a healthy weight, wear comfy and supportive bras that don’t press on our brest tissue, and are not high risk, then we’re less likely to ‘get’ breast cancer. World Cancer Research Foundation talks about the risk factors involved in getting breast cancer, and how it’s the interplay between genes, environment and chance that are what causes breast cancer.

If you need any advice about how bras should be fitting, contact an experienced bra fitter, like those in the bra lady network, or contact me directly. There’s nothing worse than being uncomfortable, or being worried about how your bras are fitting you.

Do you check your breasts regularly? Anything else we should be doing to ensure our breasts remain healthy?


Guest post – Goal setting: Weight loss

When T-J asked me to write a blog on goal setting I was fresh from the studio of RedShift Radio where I had talked about goal setting and motivation for weight loss, so I jumped at the chance.

First things first, weight loss is from here-on-in is being referred to as weight management. The reason being that we tend to find things that we lose! So let’s think about it in a different way.

Thinking about weight management in a different way is exactly what a new programme that I have designed with a fellow hypnotherapist is all about. Rethink Your Weight is a weight management programme that aims to help you rethink your approach to dieting, eating, your body image, your attitude to exercise etc,  using a number of different techniques including hypnosis and self-hypnosis.

For this blog, I thought I would highlight a few ways in which you can start to change your thinking about weight management right now. If you do these few things you will definitely make positive changes in your life.

Firstly, let go of the concept that a diet is a temporary imposition. It’s not. A diet is what we eat on a daily basis. If you link a goal to a temporary change in diet, once you reach your target weight (or sooner, if you get discouraged along the way!) you will resume your old eating habits and re-discover the weight you thought you’d lost.  If you think of a diet as temporary, the results will be temporary too.

Instead, why not create the perfect diet for you, for life. Let your diet be a lifestyle choice not an event. Think about it now – what does your diet say about you? What would you like it to say about you? In the same way that your clothes are an expression of your personality, so is your diet. You have the choice to define yourself the way you want to be. Why not make the positive choice.

Secondly, I suggest you start to eat consciously. Sit down to eat your meals (well at least one of your daily meals), switch off the tv and don’t read. Concentrate on your food. Look at the plate of food in front of you and anticipate enjoying it with all of your senses – it’s important to enjoy food, otherwise it’s just fuel and where’s the fun in that. Eat one forkful of food at a time, slowly. Enjoy and savour each mouth full. Notice what it feels like, how it tastes, how it makes you feel. Never put more on your fork until you have finished your last mouthful – I would even suggest putting your fork down between each mouthful.

And then, listening to the signals that your body is sending to you, STOP EATING when you are comfortably full. If you eat at a slow enough rate your body will have time to tell you when it’s had enough. And if you aren’t distracted by TV or other activities you will be paying attention to your body.  Don’t feel you have to finish what’s on your plate – no matter what your mum said to you when you were a child.

Next, don’t exercise. Sounds a bit odd, but again it’s just another way of thinking. A lot of people are put off by the idea of exercise (perhaps cross country runs at school have something to do with that!). Instead, develop a more active lifestyle. Choose the activities that are right for you. Don’t join a gym if you are only going to go for 2 weeks – you are setting yourself up for failure. Find things that you enjoy and that will fit into your lifestyle. How about walking to school/shops/work a few times a week instead of driving? Even taking the stairs instead of the lift or escalator can have a profound impact.

Well there’s a few tips for you, I’ve got loads more, I’ll save those for another time, you’ve got enough to be getting on with. Anyway, give them a go and see if you can Rethink Your Weight.

Finally, a word on goals. Goals need commitment. Goals without commitment are just wishes. Saying you are committed to your goal is not actually a commitment unless you take the action required to achieve your goals. So do it. Don’t try. Do.

Tracy Jones
Clinical Hypnotherapist and owner of Cariad Hypnotherapy and Cariad Birthing. You can also find me on Twitter as @CariadTracy.
I am also, so far, 1 stone lighter due to my efforts to manage my own weight