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The 5 Why's - Find the root cause, solve it and fix it


The ‘5 Why’s was a system originally used by the Toyota Motor Corporation. It's very simple and really cuts to the core of why you actually want something.

The idea is that when you want to accomplish something (or if something goes wrong)... just you ask one why.

"Why do I want to accomplish this?"

With whatever answer you come up, ask yourself why. And continue it on... five times.

Heres an example..

What do you want to accomplish?

I want to lose fat and look better. 

Why do you want to lose fat?

Because I want to fit into a smaller size of jeans.

Why do you want to fit into a smaller size of jeans?

Because when I’m wearing smaller jeans, I think I’ll look better.

Why do you want to look better?

Because when I look good, I feel good about myself.

Why do you want to feel good about yourself?

Because when I feel good about myself, I’m more assertive and confident.

Why do you want to be more assertive and confident?

Because when I’m more assertive and confident, I’m in control and better able to get what I want out of life.

So in the example above you find out losing fat actually means wanting to get more out of life.

And this is just an example. It might be completely different for you. 

Can you see how we're trying to get down to the core here? It goes so beyond a basic goal.


Having the confidence to try it, work through it and admit it to yourself is important.

So ask yourself... why have you signed up to this elite program?


I bet you know this kind of person.. 

She comes into see me and says, “I want to lose 10 pounds.”

Her body fat is in the “athletic” range. She wears a size 4. She’s fit and active. 

I ask her: “Why do you want to lose 10 pounds?” “I need to be leaner,” she says. “I feel like I should be leaner.”

“But why?” 

“I just do” she says. 

“Can you make me leaner.” 

She doesn’t know why. At all. 

Maybe she saw a magazine cover she wanted to emulate. Maybe someone told her she was fat. Maybe she put on a pair of pants that felt a little snug. 

Our bet: If I did work with this client, she won’t get anywhere... even if I do make her leaner. She won’t be satisfied or successful inside her own mind. 


Because her goal has no gravity. 

It’s not meaningful... It’s just something she feels she should do. 

You see, goals without gravity have no weight. Goals without gravity are goals that aren’t aligned with your values. 

Now, we may think they are. For instance, this person probably feels that her identity of “fit person” should lead to the goal of “get super-lean”. 

So she might try to get to super-lean and make herself OCD and stressed out in the process. But even if she gets super-lean -- she still won’t feel satisfied -- because the goal didn’t reflect anything meaningful. 

It was a “should” goal. Either way, accomplishment of a goal without gravity doesn’t feel good. 

There’s no satisfaction or sense of “Yeah buddy!” It’s a whole lot of work with little reward.



Body image: an extreme power.  Poor body image affects most people at some stage in their life but is particularly common within the fitness industry.  The most common body image issue within the population is perceiving your body to be bigger than it actually is (i.e. your shape and weight) though some may obsess over specific aspects such as colour, breast or muscle size and so on. 

The thing is, it’s not actually about your size or shape and manipulating your weight in an attempt to improve upon it can often make things worse. It’s a lot more complex than that, as you’ll see.


Body Image Explained


Simply put, your body image is how you see your body, feel about your body and behave as a result of your body image. For example, those suffering with Anorexia do not see their bodies as thin, feel uncomfortable about this and react by restricting food intake to attempt to feel better about themselves. 


It sounds fairly straight-forward though, right? If you can change how you feel by changing your body, it only makes sense to react like this. The problem is: body image doesn’t really have much to do with your body at all; and trying to control how you feel by controlling your body shape isn’t very effective. Trust me on this. 

Body image is a physical manifestation of how you feel about yourself, your environment and satisfaction in life.


What Impacts Your Body Image?


Most of us instantly blame the media and the pressure it puts on us to look and be a certain way in order to be accepted. This is a form of external validation (looking for other’s approval or praise when you lack your own). Of course the media plays a role by idealizing the “perfect body” at any given time but when you dig a little deeper you’ll find the root of the problem is a lot more complex than the media.  

Body image issues almost always arise from a feeling of inadequacy or dissatisfaction with your life or environment; such as your sense of belonging, where you stand in your career, level of education, marital status and overall sense of self-worth. These are the areas of your life you need fulfilled or satisfied because these are the things that give your life purpose and sense of direction. For example, if you don’t feel valued at work you may try and find value in yourself through other means.  In other words, change your appearance in an attempt to change how you feel. As I’ve mentioned already; this does not work. 

At all.


What Does It Affect?


Poor body image can negatively affect your confidence, self-esteem and the courage to make changes in your life, despite how positive these may be. It can even result in social isolation, self-hatred, self-starvation or binge-eating; which in turn negatively affect your body image. It’s a vicious circle that too many of us orbit.

When Are We Most Vulnerable?


Think about when you felt the most confident about your body. Did you have friends and a social life? Were you praised at work when you did a good job? Did you feel like you belonged to something bigger than yourself? 

You probably did.

Now think about when you felt most self-conscious of your body and ask yourself the same questions above. The answers are different now, aren’t they? 

Personally I felt most self-conscious during times of change in my life; such as puberty, the transition from school to college and when exposed to new and unfamiliar experiences.  I found the transition from school to college quite difficult as everything was brand new; new people, new courses and a brand new societal norm. Nobody likes change because change brings with it uncertainty and the inability to control the outcome of a situation. When faced with such uncertainty and lack of control some resort to controlling something. Something more black and white, or predictable. Something like your body weight. 

The caveat here is the more you fixate on something the more problems you will find.  Your mind is a powerful thing. If you can’t find a problem you will create one - where none exists.

Battling Negative Body Image


As I’ve mentioned: change is difficult whether it be positive or negative. It’s not the change we fear but the unfamiliarity with what’s to come. Despite the fact that this change could in fact be a very positive one (such as pregnancy or changing your body weight to that of a healthier, more sustainable one) the process of change remains difficult.

Instead of focusing on how you might look, think about the positive effects this change will have on your life. If you are overweight, think about how you’re adding longevity to your life. If you are underweight, think about the energy you will have when at a healthier and more sustainable weight. 

With a more positive outlook on the change you are making you will directly improve your confidence and self-esteem by proving to yourself that you can make a change and live to tell the tale. Not all change needs to be bad, or scary, does it? 

You are strong and you have the power to take control of your life even if you’re unsure of how it will all work out. You can make a goal and despite the apprehension and fear associated with it, you can meet this goal.  

Confidence is not measured in a dress size.

Practicing Positive Body Image


As I’ve mentioned; body image is less to do with your BODY and more to do with YOU and your self-esteem. Instead of projecting those feelings onto your body and attempting to change how you feel ask yourself 

“Where else do I see value in myself?”

Are you a good friend, spouse or mentor? Are you dependable or trustworthy? Will being a different shape change your situation or current feelings?

Do it. Ask yourself those questions and remember your answers the next time you start body shaming.  You are valued regardless of what shape you are.

Try to stay positive about the situation and embrace the change – don’t fear it. Instead of saying “I need to lose weight because I’m fat”, say “I would like to be healthier and I am taking action to get there”. Negativity breeds negativity.

Quit the social media comparisons. It’s no secret that social media is laced with fake naturals and “Photo-shopped” images of unhealthy and unsustainable bodies. Trust me: no one has abs all year round.

Take pride in your appearance. Now, I am not promoting narcissism here but taking the time to look after yourself is important because it teaches you to respect your body from the


outside in. I don’t mean wear a ball-gown to work every day but small things such as keeping your skin clean and hair brushed, wearing your favorite outfit, ensuring you are resting and eating enough and so on. It’s these little things that teach you to value and respect yourself and in an ongoing manner – not just when you have hit a particular weight or shape.

Take Home Message


Most of us will suffer with negative body image at some stage in our lives - usually during times of change such as weight gain or loss, pregnancy and transitions from different stages of life. If allowed to fester, negative body image can seriously impact your quality of life.

Taking the steps to improve your body image is a learning process and can take months to overcome but by taking action



Michelle Kickham - @michelle_kickham 


Rituals are powerful things. 

Rituals connect us to a recurring cycle of events. Whether it’s a birthday, a bar mitzvah, or your regular Friday night get-togethers with your buddies, rituals are about the regular rhythms of life.

Rituals connect us to the past and the future. Rituals let us review events that have already occurred (e.g. a year gone by) and look ahead to what’s to come (e.g. a new year ahead of us).

Rituals place us in the present and connect us to our lives right now. By actively participating in rituals we are effectively saying “I’m here, paying attention to what’s happening”.

Rituals can connect us to other people. Most of our rituals are social rituals — holidays, graduations, etc. Rituals give us a chance to check in with others and be part of a collective phenomenon.

Rituals can connect us to ourselves. We can use rituals as a way to “touch base” with ourselves as well as other people. Prayer and meditation, for instance, are rituals that people use to step out of the flow of daily life, and to pause for a few moments of self-engagement and reflection.

Food rituals are much the same. Indeed, most of our rituals involve food:

The cake on our birthday. The buffet at the wedding. The familiar dishes on holidays. The offerings or communion at religious ceremonies. The breakfast we make ourselves every morning, without fail, exactly the same way as yesterday. 

Whether big or small, rituals ground us. They organize us. They’re a chance to “check in”. To refresh, renew, regroup, and rejoice. Which makes them perfect for a planning and proactive coaching strategy.

The Food Prep Ritual


The food prep ritual is a simple idea.

Plan and prepare some healthy food in advance, so that it’s easily available when you want and need it. 

This can include: 

  • shopping (or arranging to have food delivered)

  • menu and meal planning

  • washing and chopping vegetables

  • cooking/preparing protein (e.g. cooking up some chicken breasts)

  • cooking meals in bulk (e.g. casseroles, soups, stews, chili)

  • preparing the dry ingredients for things like super shakes or healthy muffin mix

  • soaking grains/beans beforehand so that they’ll be ready to cook later

  • sorting foods into smaller containers or baggies

  • freezing and refrigerating food for later

  • planning healthy meals that someone else cooks (e.g. using a meal delivery service, deciding in advance what to order at a restaurant, etc.)

  • looking ahead to ensure healthy eating strategies during the next few days, especially during difficult times (e.g. a busy week, traveling, dealing with a family crisis, etc.)

What it looks like from here is up to you. Here are some examples of how to apply the FPR concept.

The Sunday ritual: 1–2 hours 

This doesn’t have to be a Sunday. It can be any day where you have a few hours to shop, cook, and prepare some food in advance. 

On this day, you can do things like:

  • buying groceries for the week (or at least the next several days)

  • stocking up on easy staples such as canned beans, pre-washed veggies, large meals that can be refrigerated or frozen in smaller portions (e.g. chili)

  • cooking lean protein in bulk (e.g. roasting a couple of chickens, putting several meat patties on the grill, boiling several eggs, etc.)

  • creating any sauces or condiments needed, such as a fish oil vinaigrette washing, peeling, and chopping veggies


The evening ritual: 15 minutes 


If you are willing to take an extra 15 minutes in the evening, you can often prep enough food for the following day. 


This can include:

  • making extra dinner so that you have leftovers for lunch the next day

  • putting a bowl of steel-cut oats on the counter to soak overnight in the morning, the oats will cook in no time flat (you can do the same for slow-cooking grains such as wild rice — start soaking them one evening, and they’ll be ready to cook quickly the following evening).

  • doing a little extra veggie chopping or protein prep while dinner is cooking

  • chopping some veggies and meat, putting it in a slow cooker dish, and refrigerating the dish; next morning, you can pull the cooker dish out of the fridge, pop it into the cooker, turn the cooker on, and enjoy coming home that evening to a delicious home-cooked meal



The breakfast ritual: 15 minutes 


This one is for the morning people. If you are willing to take an extra 15 minutes in the morning, you can prep some food for the rest of the day. 

This can include: 

  • making a super shake to bring with you to work (and leave in the work fridge)

  • packing a lunch (e.g. some of your pre-frozen chili or other bulk meal, dinner leftovers, a wrap)

  • doing a little extra veggie chopping or protein prep while breakfast is cooking

  • chopping some veggies and meat, putting it in a slow cooker, and the next morning, turn the cooker on, and enjoy coming home that evening to a delicious home-cooked meal 



The 1-minute ritual 


Even if you feel you can’t spare 15 minutes, you can at least spare one minute. 


One-minute “plan and prep” actions can include: 

  • When you’re already at the store pick up a rotisserie chicken.

  • Pick up pre-washed vegetables or pre-made salads.

  • Think ahead to the food prep sessions and buy in bulk.

  • Grab an apple or bag of baby carrots to snack on as you peruse the aisles, so you don’t make decisions while being insane from hunger.


When you’re out for dinner

  • Check out the restaurant’s menu in advance and decide beforehand what to get.

  • Grab a doggie bag.If you can get a large portion and not eat it all, do so purposely, and then go for the aforementioned doggie bag.


When you’re already cooking

  • chop, wash, or prep one extra item (e.g. peel one more carrot; chop one more pepper; toss one more chicken breast on the grill; wash an apple; etc.).

  • Put away leftovers immediately (so you’re not tempted to snack on them) into a container for later.

  • After dinner, dump leftover meat bits (e.g. chicken or steak bones, ends of cooked meat, etc.), veggies, grains/beans, etc. into the slow cooker. Cover with water, turn the pot on low, and leave it overnight. In the morning you’ll have delicious soup broth that you can then use as the base for quick soups. (Just pick the bones out.)


In general

  • think “one meal ahead” and “one behavior ahead”. In other words, anticipate what you might need, want, and/or feel in 2-4 hours from now.

  • Anticipate hunger levels and food needs; anticipate feelings like “At 3 pm, I know I’ll want to eat ____.”

  • Call or place an internet order with a healthy meal or grocery delivery service — even if that’s just occasionally, when you know you’ll otherwise struggle to find healthy options.


Practiced planning and preparation = proactivity

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Aim is to use the 4-7-8 Breath Work Method: 

In the morning 
Before each meal 
In the evening before bed

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