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It doesn’t take a genius to make the connection between the eating of crap food and having little money in your purse does it? You only have to think about how you felt as a child with 50pence in your pocket, it was all about how much you could get with your money…what gave you the biggest high for the smallest amount of spend…so bring on 20p panda pops, 10p space raiders and 30p of penny sweets…oh those were the days.

When I look back at my journey with food I can say without a shadow of doubt that I grew up with an overwhelming sense of scarcity. I was one of 6 children and there wasn’t a lot of money around, and although we never went hungry it was always a case of “get in quick before someone else does”. We never had a biscuit tin, and the fruit bowl could be demolished in a matter of days and eating out as a family was a rare occasion often limited to trips to the seaside or family holidays, with regular tantrums about having to share a bag of chips when things were really tight.

I don’t think those feelings of food poverty don’t ever leave, and as soon as I was able to earn my own money food was often a way that I treated myself, especially when I was away at university with nobody looking over my shoulder to see how much veg I was eating.

Often these money issues go much further than this though, and of late its something I have really been thinking about. Because even when I have disposable money I still have the mindset of someone who doesn’t, I still think about frugalness, value for money and waste. In fact I can clearly remember boycotting cucumbers at one point because they had gone up in price…and I love cucumber.

The link between poverty and obesity is discussed widely, but never really in the context of self worth. Assumptions are made about the choices poorer families have to make when it comes to food, but is this a reality or is this the stories we tell ourselves about what we can afford?

A report from the National Statistics office notes:

“Obesity is linked to social class, being more common among those in the routine or semi-routine occupational groups than the managerial and professional groups. The link is stronger among women. In 2001, 30 per cent of women in routine occupations were classified as obese compared with 16 per cent in higher managerial and professional occupations.”

Researchers at the Department of Social Medicine at Bristol University have also concluded that:

“. social origins may have a long term impact on obesity. Whether this operates through the early establishment of behavioural patterns, such as diet and exercise, or through metabolic changes associated with early deprivation, is still to be determined.”

iCA6SI-hRecently I have been doing a coaching programme with a fabulous female entrepreneur called Denise Duffied Thomas, author of Get Rich Lucky Bitch (and richness she says is much more than money…#justsaying)

I have been identifying my self limiting beliefs, looking back into my past to see where some of my money issues came from, and most importantly upgrading my life in tiny little increments so that I begin to start valuing myself properly…buying new underwear for example (TMI??)

When it comes to food, I have noticed because of this programme I have been shopping differently and therefore eating differently too. I am no longer bulk buying, or buying multipacks, I am instead thinking about what foods I really want and which are going to nourish me. Its about telling myself that this is what my body deserves.

Where as before I might wince at the price of gluten free bread (£3) I now remind myself that normal bread makes me feel bloated, and because I freeze the bread and use it sparingly I am actually spending less on bread overall…and more importantly doing what is right for my health and sense of wellbeing.

But its not just food that we are talking about here, there is also the matter of paying for exercise or support to lose weight…or even trips to the physio or for a massage.

I used to tell myself that I couldn’t afford a gym membership or pay for a personal trainer and looking back I realise this was not about how much disposable cash I had, but rather how much I valued my health and the things I would rather spend my money on…think £7 mascaras, £6 magazines, lunches out, partying!!!!

Now I know for many people in the UK, and around the world money is tight. I wouldn’t be as flippant as to say if you really wanted to do something you would find the money, but I think we need to start being honest with ourselves about the situation.

Rather than falling back on the default “I can’t afford it” I think we need to be saying “I am choosing not to at this point in time” or “I am not ready to make that investment yet” and changing that self limiting belief and lack mindset. The same could be said of time, so many women tell me they want to get fit but can’t find the time, yet the same women happily tell me whats going on in Eastenders or that they spent the weekend walking around the shops looking for shoes to match their latest handbag…its all about choice.

So why am I writing about money today?

Because yesterday I had a bit of a bad day. A bad money day. A day where I thought “Shit, how am I going to pay all my bills this month” day. Ultimately, I had one of those days where I said to myself “Is this all worth it?”

Today however I am feeling a bit more upbeat, only a bit mind you.

Here’s a bit of the backstory…

Almost 3 years ago whilst unemployed and with a new baby in tow I decided I was going to try and turn my blog into a business. I decided I was going to focus all of my effort and energy on building programmes, services and products that help women feel better about their bodies, and improve the health of women around the world.

And what a 3 years it has been.

The journey to date has been an incredible one, and I have been very lucky to have gained so much traction and support, especially from the women themselves who support me both financially by buying stuff from me and emotionally, but it is a daily battle (often with myself) to remind myself that this is a business and not a charity.

Every day I am asked to do stuff for free (and often from huge organisations or brands that make millions). Every day I am asked for discounts, or told my products are too expensive or that there are similar programmes available out there that are free. Every day I question what I am doing, question the value I am giving to the world, question the choices I am making for myself and my family.

I now have 25,000 followers across social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linked In, YouTube, Pintrest) yet my customer base…ie the people who actually put there hand in their pockets is closer to 400 or 500 women, or a couple of thousand if you include readers of my books.

Thats OK…because I always said my best content would always be free or very low cost….but I can not continue to run a business where I am subsidising the work, where I am not paying myself properly…because if nothing else this is not a sustainable business model and before long the business, the resource, and ultimately the community will no longer be there.

IMG_8493.JPGIn April this year I will be launching a new and improved version of The Clubhouse, our online running club and there will be a price increase (From £10 per month to £24.99 per month) to bring me in line with well known diet programmes and gym memberships…I will also be bringing in experts to ensure you get even more value by being a member.

There are a whole heap of ways you can support a growing business, here are just a few

  1. Buy something for yourself
  2. Buy something for a loved one
  3. Tell others about what you have bought
  4. Share the free content
  5. Rave about the brand
  6. Leave reviews on Amazon
  7. Leave recommendations on Linked In

SpringRetreatThis post has been on my mind for a while, probably since revealing the details of our upcoming Too Fat to Run health and happiness retreat which is taking place in Rhodes in Greece in May.

It costs £1299 + flights

It is a luxury transformational retreat, not a grotty bootcamp with cold showers and shit food. There are only 12 places (5 remaining) and you seriously get what you pay for. Yet every comment on social media which has said “This is too expensive” or “When I win the lottery maybe” reminds me of why this work is so important.

I know not every can afford this, but many women can but are choosing to tell themselves they can’t because they do not value their health and happiness enough to prioritise it and they are worried about being judged for spending this amount of money on themselves, either with my programme or someone else’s.

Sorry if this seems like a pity party for one kind of blog post, or an attack on my followers who never pay for anything (you know I still loves ya) but I have to value what I do and be honest about the struggles I face, because I don’t know any other way than to share it with you guys.

Spending money on yourself can sometimes feel indulgent or frivolous, but your health and your happiness is crucial, and if you don’t care for yourself, who will? spending money on something also reminds you that it is important and makes you accountable, as nobody wants to waste money right?

So if you have seen the information about the retreat and got all excited but then wrote it off due to finances, take another look here now. Speak to your partner, your friends or your family, and see if they can come up with a solution to get you there. If you are desperate to come drop us a line and see if we can help in any way. Remember though we have just 5 spaces left.

If you would like to find out more about how your money blocks may be holding you back check out this free money blocks course from Denise, or if you are interested in doing some more intensive work via her money bootcamp which I am doing, then check this link out. I have recently become an affiliate so its a win win if any of you guys sign up.

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