All too often we’re told that to get the body (and life!) of your dreams we need to beat ourselves up doing all sorts of crazy cardio or intense gym workouts and deprive ourselves to within a calorie of our lives. I’m here to tell you that is just not the way the body works. Attaining the body and life of your dreams might seem like a far-fetched fairytale, but I have developed a holistic and joyful approach to health, fitness and well-being that emphasises balance and a holistic approach that really works. It’s based on what I call the 4 Pillars - Move, Nourish, Cleanse and Connect.
Ultimately It comes down to doing mindful exercise, connecting to your inner wisdom, eating consciously while tuning into your rhythm, authentic gifts and aligning your heart, mind, body, beliefs and spirit. I believe that everyone has a beautiful physique and an illuminated energy. It’s just that too often it is buried beneath the layers of stress, tension, neglect and feelings of unworthiness. Embracing this four pillar aligned life method can help you reveal your very own unique strength and beauty.
How do I know this method works? Because I’ve seen it first hand with hundreds of my clients over the last 2 decades - and now I am seeing the results in the tens of thousands of women just like you all over the world who subscribe to my Aligned Life Studio where we use this same approach.
I spent 20 years working one-on-one with people from many walks of life, including many of the world’s top athletes, doctors, business people and celebrities. Over those years I had an amazing opportunity to test, develop and refine my own approach to living well. What I realized is that attaining true well-being requires a holistic approach - and that is where the 4 Pillars come in.
PILLAR 1: MOVE
The Move pillar is simple - it’s basically about getting active and exercising - or as I like to call it, “movement medicine”.
Foam Rolling and Rebounding are my personal go-to workouts. I’m a huge fan of the foam roller because it is an incredible way to heal and restore your body, energy and spirit and my method uses the roller as the basis for a Pilates-style workout that fires up your entire system. Most people see foam rolling as a workout recovery tool (and it can definitely be helpful for that!). But I believe that you can use it for much more than massaging sore muscles.
First, foam rolling can help to repair and tone your fascia, reduce cellulite, and boost circulation. It also jumpstarts your body's natural detoxification process since it helps with lymphatic drainage. Using a foam roller is also a wonderful way to self-massage your body, work out the kinks, and even warm up your body. But more importantly, foam rolling can be used to mimic a total body Pilates-style workout that really targets the intrinsic muscles and helps to build both flexibility and strength. In fact I love rolling so much I wrote a book all about it (Taller Slimmer Younger) If you want to read more about why the roller is such a great tool, please check out Foam Rolling 101 blog and ‘The Real R&R”.
Likewise I love rebounding, which has been proven to not just be a great form of low-impact cardio, but more efficient (and fun) than running for burning fat. If you’d like to learn more about this incredible tool, you can read about rebounding here. But if you don’t have access to a rebounder, don’t worry. Walking is a hugely underrated form of movement medicine and it’s one of my go to’s for getting some cardio if you don’t have a rebounder. Walking might seem slow-paced and low energy compared to other cardio workouts that leave you dripping in sweat and gasping for breath. But the slower pace of walking is actually the power of it: it’s a low-impact workout that burns fat and tones the core, arms, and legs, without excessively straining your joints or impacting your posture.
Walking is effective for burning fat and toning the body, but it can also elevate your energy, detox your body, and boost your mood. Walking - especially in nature - helps you release endorphins that boost your mood, and it can even inspire your creativity and enhance your memory. If you’re going to incorporate walking, then don’t just walk at one pace for the full workout. Switch things up a little! You can start out slow, then speed things up a little to really get your heart rate pumping, then speed up in intervals to keep your body working. Brisk walking is amazing for the body - it helps burn internal belly fat, and is even better for preventing heart disease than running.
As you know my prefered go-to for cardio is the rebounder or walking. But any kind of cardiovascular exercise (running, dancing, swimming, HIIT) stimulates your metabolism and helps you burn calories. So if you prefer, you can always substitute rebounding or walking with whatever cardio workout you love.
The Lo Rox Aligned Life Body Care Collection
I’m such a fan of rolling and rebounding that I actually developed my own rolling and rebounding tools as part of the Lo Rox Aligned Life Body Care Collection. For my method a medium density foam roller is the best. If you have a roller at home, it will probably be fin - but the signature roller I developed is the perfect density for my workouts and you can find it here. I’ve also developed what I like to call the Rolls Royce of rebounders - my Lo Rox x bellicon model. As I mentioned above, you can substitute rebounding with any cardio you like to do - and I know the rebounder is quite an investment. But I promise you, it is worth it - plus it’s fun. You can find my signature rebounder here.
PILLAR 2: NOURISH
I’ve spent years developing an approach to eating that is balanced, satisfying and sustainable and that fires up your metabolism in a healthy way. The aim is to provide you with a way of nourishing yourself that promotes your health and vitality while helping you shed the layers of heaviness and tension and revealing that glow from the inside out. The keys to this are makingconscious decisions around your eating so you are aware of things like your hunger level and serving sizes, plus eating from the earth as locally, organically, and sustainably as we can. It’s also all about eating foods that help heal, replenish, revitalize and beautify your body - especially your skin, organs and connective tissues.
I call these ‘Fascia Foods’ - these are foods that nourish and strengthen your skin and all-important fascia (or connective tissue), which is key to staying supple, flexible, radiant, pain-free and maintaining integrity in our alignment. For more, check out the great article by Sunday Riley on “How “Fascia Foods” Can Decrease Pain and Help You Feel Your Best”.
Fascia Foods help to promote collagen production because they contain vitamins and minerals (like Vitamin C and Zinc) that are essential for your body to make collagen. They can also help keep your gut healthy, which is essential for good and efficient digestion - and is even connected to your mental and emotional “health.” Unlike juice cleanses or extreme detoxes or diets, which leave you feeling weak, “hangry” and exhausted. Fascia Foods are rich in collagen, fiber, and clean proteins that heal your cells and help you feel satisfied and energized.
Related to this is where you source your food. Wherever possible buy local and buy organic - but I realize that this isn’t always possible, depending on where you live and what your budget is. Fortunately most supermarkets now have better organic departments, and if budget is an issuefollowing the Dirty Dozen : Clean 15 guide is a great way to buy organic as cheaply and effectively as possible.
There is another key aspect to the Nourish Pillar that relates more to when you eat than what you eat - and that is Intermittent Fasting.
Lots of people are talking about intermittent fasting these days, and it is a tool that can help you reset and reboot your metabolism as well as having other health benefits. If you’re prone to eating late dinners, or snacking and drinking late at night, intermittent fasting can be a helpful way to reset.
There are a lot of ways to fast but in my experience you don’t have to follow any crazy fasting times or regulations. It can actually be a pretty simple practice. The first thing to try to do is finish dinner by 7pm. Once you finish dinner, try not to snack or drink anything other than herbal tea, broths or water. Ideally go to bed early, and then don’t eat again until 9am. This gives your body a solid 14 hours to reset, reboot, and heal. It also gives your digestive system a much-needed break which lets the other healing functions of your body take center stage.
Keep in mind that you can adjust these time windows to fit your schedule but respect the 14 hour fast, especially if you are looking for weight loss. I recommend that on waking you have your water and coffee, then do a workout and then eat breakfast after that. This is because when you workout while fasting you actually increase human growth hormone and testosterone which helps you burn more fat. If you tend to feel light headed or dizzy, you can eat 3-5 almonds before your workout. Remember, if you have any health conditions, hormone imbalance or blood sugar issues, you may not be able to tolerate intermittent fasting. Before you try it, always talk to a doctor or nutritionist first.
PILLAR 3: CLEANSE
This pillar is not about cleanlinessper se. Rather, this pillar is all about cleansing toxins and stress from your body so that you feel healthy and strong. This doesn’t just include eating ‘clean’ (which I discussed above under the Nourish Pillar). It is also cleansing the ‘clutter’ from your mind so that you can really focus on what it is you want to achieve in your life. I’ve developed some simple tips and daily rituals, such as dry brushing, meditation, breathwork and doing a kitchen detox that will help you start the process of cleansing from the inside out.
Say goodbye to toxins, cellulite, and dull skin with dry brushing! This is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to stimulate your lymphatic system (which serves as the circulatory system’s waste removal system) and to flush toxins, especially from the legs. Doing this also stimulates the connective tissue attached to the capillaries sitting under your skin, which improves circulation through the body.
To brush, I like to use a sisal natural fiber body brush or gloves. Start at the feet and brush your way up your inner and outer legs to your hips, waist, tummy, backs of the arms, chest, back, and shoulders, always moving the brush in the direction of your heart. Avoid brushing your face or other sensitive pink parts, as well as any irritated areas of the body.
Once you’ve brushed your entire body, and after your movement medicine, I recommend taking a shower to rinse the dead skin away with some form of hydrotherapy (using water for its’ curative benefits). Alternate between the hottest and coldest temperatures you can tolerate to stimulate blood circulation and boost metabolism. For more, check out my Dry Brushing blog.
As we cleanse our bodies it's also a great idea to cleanse your space, declutter your home, but also doing a kitchen detox is great where you can.
- Replace plastic storage with glass
- Get rid of highly refined foods with lots of added sugar - if it’s not in your kitchen, you can’t eat it!
- Buy organic products if possible - following the Dirty Dozen : Clean 15 guide is a great way to do this if you are shopping on a budget
- Get a water filter
- Refresh Cooking Oils
- Update to non-toxic cookware, such as Caraway
You've probably heard time and time again how important sleep is for your health. But it's also very important for maintaining a healthy metabolism and to achieve your weight loss goals. No matter how much you exercise, try to detox or do cleanses, they won't help if you're not sleeping. Take some time to inventory how much you're really sleeping and how well. Are you getting at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep? Do you feel rested when you wake up? If not, consider making some changes to your night-time routine.
- Shut off electronics like the TV or scrolling on your phone several hours before bed
- Taking a bath with magnesium salts or lavender essential oil
- Do a gentle foam rolling sequence
- Try adding a magnesium supplement
- Finally, stick to a regular bedtime as consistency is an important part of your sleep hygiene for deeper sleep.
One of my absolute favorite ways to clear the residue of the day, unwind and detoxify physically, mentally, emotionally and energetically is to do a session in my Clearlight infrared sauna. I love infrared saunas because they use infrared panels to heat up the body’s core at a cellular level where the toxins are stored, meaning they are more efficient at mobilizing those toxins so you can sweat them out. But the benefits of the deep penetrating heat that the infrared sauna produces goes well beyond just detoxifying. It boosts circulation, oxygenates the tissues, eases muscle and joint pain and even tightens the skin. Plus, it’s so deeply relaxing that it eases any anxiety and tension and feels so incredibly healing and calming that I’ve never slept better than when I take a sauna before bed.
Sweating it out in the infrared sauna can actually lead to weight loss in more ways than one. According to Heal with Heat, a study from Binghamton University even suggested that the infrared sauna helps us shed body fat - just by sitting in the heat!
Now I realize many of you won’t have an infrared sauna at home. In that case, please feel free to replace a sauna with a hot bath, with some healing bath salts (I recommend Magnesium salts). This is another great way to many of the same benefits the sauna provides.
When you mindfully think about your breathing and you add more effort to your breathing you help your cells receive more oxygen and produce more energy - this in turn increases your metabolism.
Breathing is particularly important while working out not just to prevent you from passing out, but because breathing properly can actually help you lose fat! Studies show that when you lose weight, the fat that you are ‘burning’ is actually mostly turned into carbon dioxide. In other words when you breathe out, you are literally converting and releasing fat!
That being said, you won’t just lose weight by simply breathing in and out. But, when you are breathing deeply and efficiently and using as much of your lung capacity as possible, you will better dispose of fats you might take in by converting it to CO2.
Breathing can also have a major impact on the body when dealing with stress, which can also help you lose belly fat (and keep it off). To get started, try a simple breathing exercise called box breathing where you inhale for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, hold your breath out for a count of four, and repeat. For an added stress release bonus, try exhaling for six to eight counts. Exhaling longer than inhaling can reset your nervous system and add a sense of calm to the body.
The ancient Gua Sha technique is a deep tissue version of the face roller, and an amazing self care tool to smooth and lift the skin while hydrating the tissue, and giving you a facial massage at the same time. This is an invaluable tool to smooth out the skin on the forehead and neck, reduce bags under the eyes and ‘lift’ the skin around the cheekbones, neck and arms. The Gua Sha is your new secret weapon to help you both look and feel younger.
If you want to see how I use my Gua Sha, check out my video in the Aligned Life Studio.
PILLAR 4: CONNECT
Connection is central to who we are as social beings - whether it is getting daily hugs from your family (some research says 5 good hugs a day is optimal - and my family are huge supporters of this) or doing daily affirmations and visualizations to help connect you to your goals and aspirations.
There are two aspects to the Connect Pillar - first is connecting to yourself and the second is connecting to your community.
CONNECT TO YOURSELF
Finding ways to connect to yourself and start awakening the healer within you. As I sometimes say, the most important relationship you’ll ever have is withyourself. So here are some simple tips and techniques that will help you focus and tune inwards to your deeper awareness, your instincts and your gut feelings so that you can truly nurture a state of well-being and true happiness from within.
I’m a huge fan of meditation and try to make some time to do this every day, even if it is just 5 minutes on those busy days. There’s a lot of ways to meditate - but remember it doesn’t have to be over-complicated. Just finding a quiet place for a few moments to focus on your breath can help calm your mind down and help relax your body. Trying one of the many apps that are available now is a great way for beginners to try meditation. Or check out some of my mindfulness meditations within the Aligned Life Studio.
Writing each day is another great way to connect with yourself. Make some time, even if it is just 5 or 10 minutes. As you practice journaling you’ll find you start to clear your mind and so that you can really start to look within. Allow the words to flow and think about answering some of those questions you tend to push to the back of your mind. What do I want to achieve? What makes me truly happy? What is holding me back and what do I need to let go of in my life?
Related to the practice of daily journaling, affirmations are another great way to connect to your inner self and focus on what you really want and need. Like many of these practices, it is really about developing some discipline because the magic comes from the repetition. But even just 2 or 3 minutes of writing or repeating an affirmation when you wake up can help change your state of mind and set you up right for the day ahead. For more check out “Your Path to Positivity: How to Get Started with Daily Affirmations” on my blog.
Do a digital detox
I know - there’s an argument that our digital devices help us connect - and used correctly they can do just that. But most of us have gone down the rabbit hole of spending way too long on social media and falling victim to the FOMO and mindless scrolling. Becoming more disciplined about our social media consumption is key to staying positive - and a great way to do that is just to take a break.
Inspiration is all around us - whether it is taking a walk in nature, reading a great book or listening to some music that inspires you. So take some time this week to do things that get you fired up and inspired. I’m recommending a daily walk in nature. Find a book that inspires you and create a new playlist of music that lights up your soul. You can find playlists within the Aligned Life Studio and new ones are released every month.
CONNECT TO YOUR COMMUNITY
As important as connecting within is, community is also vital. So take time to nurture your relationships with your family and your friends. Call that person you’ve been meaning to call. Make time for a family dinner (and make sure you do what my family does at every family dinner by getting everyone to name 3 things they are grateful for)
There’s also another amazing community I’d like to invite you to become part of. It’s Aligned Life Collective - a group of thousands of incredible women all over the world all of whom (just like you) are interested in improving ourselves and living our lives in true alignment. The Collective is a FREE private online community away from the noise, ads and distractions of social media, where we share tips, cheer our achievements and inspire each other - and we’d love to have you join us.