The Belief Distillery Melanie Parker Hypnotherapy Uncategorized 3 Reasons why you should exercise today

3 Reasons why you should exercise today

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I know you don’t want to right now, I used to find it so hard to motivate myself to workout too. In fact, I didn’t want to run an hour ago, it’s raining and cold and I have so much to do today – including inspiring you to improve your overall wellbeing – but I did, and I’ve just got back, sat down at my computer and have all the energy and motivation I need to get shit done!

That is actually #1. When you feel lethargic and need a pick-me-up, exercise is a fantastic way to give both your mind an body a boost. I often used to think, “I’m so tired; I don’t have the energy to work out”. My mind would feel sluggish and I would find motivating myself to do anything really hard. The thing is I only needed to motivate myself to do one thing – Run.

Rather than what you would expect, exercise doesn’t deplete our energy levels but actually recharges them more than having a nap would. Exercise increases our endorphins, leading to more energy, improved mood and motivation, making everything else that comes after that much easier.

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As well as the instant “endorphin high” energy boost you have from a workout, in a study published by the Psychological Bulletin shows that regular exercise gives you more energy in general.

“More than 90% of the studies showed the same thing: Sedentary people who completed a regular exercise program reported improved fatigue compared to groups that did not exercise,” according to researcher Patrick O’Connor, PhD. “It’s a very consistent effect.”

Exercise Fights Fatigue, Boosts Energy (

The second reason you should put your phone or tablet down and get active (when you have finished reading this article) is to support your brain function. Before I took this time for myself I was literally staring at a blank screen. It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to say, just my mind was sluggish and I couldn’t find it.

Just like any other muscle and organ in the body, the mind’s performance is improved with the increase in oxygenated blood flowing to it. The mind is sharper, cognitive function is improved by exercise. Just like with our energy, our brain also becomes healthier and works more efficiently with regular exercise.


Dr. Scott McGinnis, an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School talks in this article about the benefits increased exercise have on reducing inflammation in the brain and encouraging new cell growth.

 “Even more exciting is the finding that engaging in a program of regular exercise of moderate intensity over six months or a year is associated with an increase in the volume of selected brain regions,”

Dr. McGinnis.

My 3rd reason for getting off the sofa and into some Lycra is my emotional wellbeing. When I run, when I’m on my yoga mat ( and starting this week I can add a pole to that list) I am taking time for myself when no one is needing a snack, the potty, just me. I am free in that time, there is nothing else to do and a sense of acheivement and accomplishment for just showing up. In it’s own way it is a form of meditation that keeps me in a healthy state of mind.

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Physiologically as well exercise is proven to boost your mental health and wellbeing.

I mentioned that along with the energy you get from the endorphins released during exercise, you actually get a buzz from it. Multiple studies have also shown that exercise has a positive effect on mental health, both indirectly through the improved sleep and physical symptoms that affect our mood, and directly by giving us a sense of accomplishment, community, pride and admiration for ourselves.

If that’s still isn’t enough to get your running shoes on and you need some extra help finding the motivation to get out the door, book FREE a call with me and we can talk about ways to find your get-up-and-go.


Related Post

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Going out, without the scales going upGoing out, without the scales going up

Are you struggling to stick to your diet when you go out? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, a recent study found that 71% of people struggle to stay on track when they eat out. But don’t give up just yet – there are a few things you can do to make sure you don’t fall off the wagon.

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Whether you are going to a children’s party, a high end restaurant or drinking with friends, don’t go hungry.

When we start to feel hungry and the only things available are turkey dinosaurs and cakes, or we feel ‘starving’ by the time the menu shows up when we are out, we are more likely to over-eat and any diet goes out the window. I’m not saying go out for dinner on top of a full meal, but making sure you have had a handful of nuts or a light snack before you leave and you will make it easier to order the food you want and stay away from the buffet table.

If you are eliminating certain things from your diet or just trying to cut down on fat, check the menu in advance and make sure they cater for your diet. Most places will serve sauces on the side or swap a side if you ask, however don’t expect them to completely change a recipe because you don’t want cream in your creamy mushroom pasta!

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You don’t have to eat everything on your plate!

Portion sizes in a lot of ‘family’ restaurants are ridiculous. Too much food makes you feel uncomfortable, bloated and sluggish. Waste food, is waste food. Whether you put it in the bin or store it as fat, it is still waste and sabotaging your diet goals.

You can and will find it empowering to leave food on your plate. If someone else is paying and you don’t want to seem ungrateful, ask for a ‘doggy bag’ and discretely throw it out when you get home or save some for another day.

The same for birthday cakes, sweets and chocolates. You don’t need to feel like you are making someone else feel bad or that you are in any way being rude when there are biscuits in the office, or great-aunt Mildred has baked you a cake. You can tell your friend or family member, “Thank you so much, I’m a little full right now but please can I have it to take home to enjoy later”. Then you haven’t refused or found yourself in an awkward conversation with that one…you know who I mean. The one that says, “go on, it’s only a little bit”.

Finally and most importantly to keep you making the choices that you want to make for your diet, have the body and life you want, is that you need to change your associations with food.

A vegetarian doesn’t feel tempted to eat meat, a vegan doesn’t feel like they are battling with the urge to devour a fry-up. Why?

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The pictures and images they associate in their minds with these foods create a powerful blueprint. Rather than images of a juicy burger and thinking at how yummy it is, they have locked onto an image of a distressed animal. That image is so powerful that they become indifferent to, or even disgusted by things they may once have enjoyed. They no longer link pleasure to eating meat but instead link images of immense suffering and pain.

You can do this with any food, when you think of flour you can conjure images of delicious cakes and memories with grandma, or you can choose to re-wire your mind to see images of making glue in school with flour and water. Wallpaper paste. That disgusting gloopy mess clogging up your insides. You can do this with any food, in either direction, making the things you want to eat more of even more appealing.

If you’re feeling motivated to make some changes but could use a little help, don’t worry. I have plenty of advice and support available here on the blog, as well as my free 30-minute chat service. So book a call with me today! I can’t wait to hear about your adventures in socialising!


Part 2 – Why your depressed and what you can do about itPart 2 – Why your depressed and what you can do about it

There are many reasons we find ourselves depressed or anxious. I covered most of these last week (if you haven’t already, you can read that here), we may have been told we have a hormone imbalance, we may be suffering from inflammation in the brain, reduced serotonin and reduced neuro-plasticity (the brains ability to communicate with itself, let go of old connections and establish new ones). So if all this is going on in our brain, why am I talking to you about your diet?

We have all heard of the importance of serotonin and dopamine in stabilizing and boosting our mood, but what may surprise you to learn is that 95% of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut and over half of our dopamine is synthesised there too.

The gut is referred to as our second brain, it has it’s own functioning ability outside of the brain allowing it to communicate with the brain. According to Professor Felicia Jacka of the Food and Mood centre, 90% of information travelling this superhighway is going from the gut to the brain, and only 10% from the brain to the gut.

So it makes sense that the foods we eat and the health of our gut directly correlates with the health of our brain.

The truth of it is – Your comfort foods are actually making you feel worse.

That’s right, the foods you eat when you feel low, actually contribute to you feeling worse. The below is a list of foods to minimise in your diet and why they are not helping you shake the blues.

  1. Alcohol, tobacco, other drugs

We know typically these are depressants, and yet we still reach for a glass of wine or a joint to have a good time or numb the effects of stressful day, but they affect the nervous system. Alcohol interferers with our sleep, promotes inflammation as, news flash, our body swells and gets aggravated when we poison it. Add to this that it makes your blood sugar go up and down like a yo-yo, it actively reduces serotonin and actually increases production of hormones that increase your levels of stress and anxiety. It’s a quick fix that not only is toxic to our brain, but damages the gut lining and our healthy bacteria.

2. Added sugar (refined sugar)

We have all been to a children’s birthday party where the children are ‘hyped’ up on sugar and then all get tired and short tempered almost as quickly. The link between the ‘sugar high’ and our food is so similar to that of alcohol or drugs we even treat it as such and limit how much we allow our children to have. We know it’s not good and yet we sit there eating entire chocolate oranges in 10 minutes (or was that just me?)

What sugar actually does is promote inflammation, cause fatigue and irritability, and stop us being able to effectively deal with stress. A study cited by Mind over Munch in their video here, stated that people with a high sugar diet were 23% more likely to develop depression or anxiety.

3. Processed Foods & Fast Foods

We know they aren’t good for us, but the trans fats found in processed and fast food correlate with anxiety, aggression and depression among others. Processed meats are often full of salt , sugar and a lot of…

4. Artificial sweeteners and anything else you can’t pronounce in the ingredients

The clue is the in the name, artificial. They aren’t food and our bodies don’t know how to process them as such. Not only can these ingredients lead to weight gain, they are also associated with headaches, dizziness, migraines as well as mood disorders. If it isn’t food, don’t eat it.

5. ‘White’ grains

When they make white flour, white rice etc, they take away everything that is good about the grain and leave behind what is basically a form of dehydrated glue. Simple carbs like those found in white bread, white rice have nothing good for you, but wow are they full of gluey starch, a simple sugar that causes massive irregularity in your blood sugar.

6. Refined oils

We know how amazing Omega 3 is for our brain health, more about that later, but have you heard of it’s arch nemeses, Omega 6? Neither had I before I started this research, but much like a negative cancels out a positive, Omega 6 (found in refined oils) compete with and block out the Omega 3s. Rather than helping our brain function, Omega 6 causes inflammation, impairs brain function and has been shown to worsen depression. Worth noting a lot of the already really bad fast food, is then fried in refined oil.

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I’m not telling you that you can never have a glass of wine after a stressful week (studies have shown small amounts of red wine have a positive effect on our mood and health), or you can never treat the children to McDonalds, but it should be exactly that – a treat. In order to really help lift our spirits, we need to limit these foods that are literally making us depressed (it’s no surprise that the western world has the highest consumption of these foods and the highest rates of common mood disorders) and eat foods that truly make us happy and function well.

  1. Fatty fish

I promised I would come back to this Omega 3, the undisputed ruler of the brain health foods. Our brains are actually made up of 60% fat. Healthy fats in the form of Omega 3 are fuel to our brains. The best source of Omega 3 is in Salmon, but other fatty fish such as sardines, mackerel and tuna are also good for you. Not to mention all their other health benefits. Also, if you really don’t like fish, Omega 3 is one of the only nutrients that still has a positive effect on mood when taken as a supplement.

Fatty fish also contain amino acids, if the nutrients we take in from food were love letters amino acids would be the envelopes. Tryptophan in particular is the envelope of choice for our happy hormone, serotonin.

2. Nuts and seeds

If you are vegetarian / vegan and cannot eat fish, then you will be pleased to know that walnuts, chia, flax and hemp seeds are also really good sources of plant based Omega 3. Walnuts especially have a recognised mood boosting effect. One study measured participants depression scores and found they were 26% lower in people who ate 1/4 cup of walnuts a day. Eating that amount of walnuts (roughly a dozen halves) also lead to greater optimism, energy, hope and concentration. Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of tryptophan.

3. Meat, Poultry, Eggs Dairy AND SOY

All meat, regardless if it is red or white meat is an excellent source of complete proteins and amino acids, although the best sources are chicken and turkey.

Eggs are also a good source of folate and vitamin D, which may have links to our immune health. Folate can also be found in legumes such as beans or chickpeas, as well as nuts and seeds.

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What is folate? Folate is a very clever B9 vitamin who’s job is to help regenerate cells and tissue. Low levels of folate have been linked to increased risk of depression and poor response to antidepressant treatment

4. Vegetables

Of course I’m going to tell you at some point to eat your greens. Vegetables, especially dark leafy greens such as cabbage, spinach and broccoli, are packed full of nutrients and folate. They are also full of antioxidants.

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Why are antioxidants good? Oxidisation of cells in the body, splits them at an atomic level. These atoms have unpaired electrons and zoom around the body looking for another atom to pair up with. Think of it like a pair of magnets stuck together, and then the Oxygen comes in like the flat mate they swear they are just friends with and splits them up leaving one magnet looking desperately for love, and not caring what they wreck in the process. These are what you may have heard referred to as free radicals. They are natural and normal, but like everything, in moderation. If there are two many of them, our body can’t keep up and they can cause diseases and have even been attributed to some cancers. When this happens, the body is in oxidative stress which has also been linked to depression and anxiety.

5. Fruits

A healthy mix of fruits is essential for your diet, but berries are your best choice when choosing mood foods. All berries are some of the most antioxidant rich foods that exist, so much so in blueberries, they are considered a depression food.

Avocado is also great for you, and they are not just for millennials. They are full of healthy fats, folate and also rich in amino acids helping all that good stuff get to where it needs to be.

Keep in mind that any change to your diet in the right direction is going to help you to feel better, you don’t need to become Gillian McKeith overnight to get the benefits, but the more you can eliminate the less helpful foods and eat more of the good stuff, the better you will feel. The catch 22 is, if you are feeling depressed you may not feel worth spending the time and energy to buy and make these foods, but there are really quick, simple and cheap solutions available on line. If you know someone who is depressed, why not make a large batch of something yummy you can take round to a friend (and leave, please don’t put pressure). Something easy to reheat or eat cold they can just grab – Such as a crust-less quiche using yogurt instead of cream and packed full of chicken, red peppers and spinach.

If you would like this quiche recipe, please email me ( and put “Brain Quiche” in the subject.

Please keep in mind, no specific food is a treatment for anxiety or depression, and these recommendations are NOT a substitute for medical or psychiatric advice. Please consult with your physician or mental health professional before making lifestyle changes, especially any changes that involve medication.


How memories can keep you from reaching your weight loss goalsHow memories can keep you from reaching your weight loss goals

I have always loved cakes.

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I remember the smell in my house when grandma was baking them, and how that sweet sugar coated everything around me – the racks of cooling papers on either side as they let out their fragrance to meet me at eye level.

Needing fattening up as my grandmother would say, I entered her care at 6 years old. I had known what it was to be truly hungry at that point and be without food. So my grandma would always make this creamy chicken and tagliatelle dish on a Saturday, I would be encouraged to have seconds and told to clear my plate.

I was given mountains of Beef Stroganoff and I cannot remember an evening that we didn’t have a desert (unless we were being punished).

And the deserts were amazing. If I was sad or needed attention of any kind, there would be a cake, a chocolate bar, a biscuit.

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However, when I was living with my now husband in our twenties, I was getting bigger and bigger. I tried dieting, but I always ended up giving up and planning to start again tomorrow. I had never made the connection between my comfort eating and my learning food was a comfort.

Food, especially rich butter and cream laden dishes or sugary treats became the way I felt closer to my grandma. My type 2 diabetic, highly unhealthy and wonderful grandma. When I realised this, I also realised something else.

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My grandma would be horrified if she had lived to see the damage I had done to my body trying to remember the love and affection I felt when she fed me. She would not want me to make myself as unwell as she was in order to feel close to her. She would be heartbroken if she ever knew that her amazingly well intentioned acts had helped inform the choices I had made time and time again over food.

The amazing thing about knowing this about myself is it has enabled me to recognise these characteristics in myself. I never need to eat cake or chocolate to be comforted as I am able to comfort myself in other ways. I realised that the reason I was unable to diet is that diets aren’t made for people like me, people who have a strong emotional connection to food (which is most of us) and need to understand and overcome those barriers. Once you overcome them, you never need to diet again as your diet naturally changes. You automatically cut down on the foods that are making you unhealthy and unwell because you can unlink those memories to the action of eating.

I can show you how to do this and more in my FREE Webinar. Join me on the 15 February 2022 at 8pm in my Facebook group Radiant Balance to be part of this incredible process.