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SARAH O'NEILL

Personal Training & Nutrition

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By Sarah O'Neill, Apr 12 2019 01:05PM

I’ve been working as a Personal Trainer for 10 years and loved every minute of it. Getting diet and exercise on track is a life changer for people – and it’s such an honour to be part of that journey. So many clients report back that they didn’t have the knowledge or confidence about the best ways to get in shape, and by working with me and my team they’ve gained such valuable skills and feel incredible as a result! This is so exciting for me and I’m determined to help as many people as possible find the healthiest version of themselves.

With that in mind I recently decided to launch a series of online programmes so that I can help people across the country, and beyond. I decided to focus on the bridal market, and so am in the final throws of launching ‘My Wedding PT’ (www.myweddingpt.com) which offers 12 week programmes to get brides into the best shape of their lives for their big days

All my programmes contain bespoke fitness plans, tailored to individual needs, schedules and goals, that can be performed in the gym, home or outdoors. As a Nutritionist my programmes also include tailored nutrition to optimally support the training element, but whilst hitting weight loss goals (where relevant). These plans are simple, healthy and easy to follow and will teach skills for life, so that clients can combat their food demons once and for all! All my clients receive 24/7 access to me, every step of the way, as I guide them through their programmes, plus weekly accountability telephone calls. There’s also the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/weddingpt) which links out to a closed group where brides can journey alongside each other, motivating and celebrating each other every step of the way. Plus the ever important mindset pieces, including relaxation and meditation guides – because so often the mind is the site of many of our battles!

However having decided to focus on brides I suddenly received an influx of enquiries from mums-to-be and new mums, and so based on my studies in ante and post natal training I will am also offering 12 week plans for this audience. This is really exciting for me as I am constantly seeing women fearful of exercising at this life stage due to an awareness that adaptations need to be made, but a lack of clarity of information regarding what exactly IS safe, unsafe or beneficial to perform. This groups of women can really benefit from the 1-2-1 support my programmes offer, and the ability to check-in with me whenever they need.

In reality, my programmes can support women from all walks of life, at all stages in their journeys. I have years of experience in weight loss, dietary control, marathon training, long and short distance training, as well as the niches I spoke about above. If you’ve been trying the same thing for a long time without any success, feel stuck in a rut and unsure how to progress your training and become the healthiest version of you, then please get in touch!

By Sarah O'Neill, Jan 29 2017 05:37PM

I was busy reflecting on the psychology of food choice, and came across an interesting review* that analysed the most prevalent barriers and enablers of healthy eating across 34 research papers. The authors concluded the barriers to be:


- male apathy towards diet; unhealthy diet of friends and family; expected consumption of unhealthy foods in certain situations; relative low cost of unhealthy foods; lack of time to plan, shop, prepare and cook healthy foods; lack of facilities to prepare, cook and store healthy foods; widespread presence of unhealthy foods; lack of knowledge and skills to plan, shop, prepare and cook healthy foods; lack of motivation to eat healthily (including risk-taking behaviour).


Personally I can relate to a number of these triggers. For me there is a strong psycho-social element to my periods of (self confessed) over eating. For example, I would say I'm a 'feeder' and so if I'm entertaining I struggle to release my guests in anything other than a calorie coma. When eating out, I adopt a 'less than three courses is cheating' mentality. With a toddler to care for (who still doesn't buy into all-night sleeping) my motivation to eat healthily has been replaced by an overwhelming desire to eat cake or chocolate at least thrice daily. I have the knowledge and skills to identify which foods are best for my body and the ability to create healthy balanced meals, and yet the desire not to do so often wins out through those inner voices telling me it's a treat not to do so, plus a lack of perceived self efficacy to change this behaviour amidst the tired fog that is motherhood...


I am sure we can all look at the list and identify our own triggers. And perhaps this is the first step on the road to change. But the second stage is also critical - discovering the enablers of success, which the authors identified as:


- female interest in a healthy diet (hurrah, girls!); healthy diet of friends and family; support/encouragement of friends and family to eat healthy; desire for improved health; desire for weight management; desire for improved self-esteem; desire for attractiveness to potential partners and others; possessing autonomous motivation to eat healthy and existence and use of self-regulatory skills.

I think critically we have to really desire to change. It's essential to identity why you want to change and what's stopping you before you embark on a weight loss journey. You may still 'fall off the wagon' but you'll be far more likely to ride the blip and return to those positive lifestyle changes, which is absolutely fundamental to achieving your goals longer term.


Ask yourself (and perhaps write down)...

- WHY you want to change your diet (weight loss? well being? fitness? self image?);

- HOW it looks to eat healthily (taking into account your current knowledge and the advice of your PT or nutritionist); and therefore

- WHAT you're going to change to make positive nutritional choices (e.g. no alcohol, more veggies, less refined carbs, cutting back on sugar...) and

- HOW you will support this with self-regulatory skills (positive mindset, saying 'no', rigorous planning etc).


But if you are currently in a place where you feel your barriers outweigh your motivation to change, then I would suggest doing some work on your mindset in the first instance, ensuring you have a sufficiently positive perception of your ability to achieve your goals, and therefore greater likelihood of long-term success.


* Barriers and enablers of healthy eating among young adults: a missing piece of the obesity puzzle: A scoping review, A. E. Munt, S. R. Partridge and M Allman-Farinelli et al. (2016)


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