Yesterday, I had a bit of an epiphany regarding my struggle with sugary snacks.  I think I found a way to break my mini addiction. Thanks to this breakthrough, I'm about to completely transform how I relate to sugar.

After getting back into the habit of meditating, I'm taking on the role of "the observer" in my daily life.  The observer is simply where instead of doing things automatically (and without thought), you pay attention to your actions and analyze them as if you're on the outside looking in. Most of the time, we're active participants in our foolishness instead of looking at our actions from an objective point of view.

By simply paying attention to my triggers and subsequent actions, I may have finally solved the mystery of why I binge on sweets.  If you apply "the observer method", you could potentially unlock the key to breaking bad habits and replace them with powerful new ones.
Most of the time, we're operating under this cloud (or fog).  We carry out actions without much thought to the behavior or the consequence.  Worst of all, some of the stuff we do is the complete opposite of what we say we want.  By the time we realize what's happened, it's too late.

This is the what I've been dealing with when it comes to eating sugar.  When it's really bad, I can eat several individual snacks in one sitting.  Typically the pattern repeated itself no matter how much I wanted to change it.

Recently, I've become hyperaware of the ill effects of even small amounts of sugar.  Even after eating a couple cookies, I notice my body isn't happy with my decision.   Before, I didn't notice this adverse effect until I had consumed way too much. But meditation (focusing on my breath) has caused me to notice my present state.

So here's what happened.

Typically, in the early afternoon, my body is looking for an energy source to fuel the next couple of hours.  Since I'm busy working, I reach for what's closest & most convenient.  Most times, high sugar snacks look very attractive.  I eat a sweet snack.  Next comes a feeling of euphoria as the sugar hits the tastebuds. I reach for another one.  More sugar stimulation.  Maybe one more. Minutes later, I notice this weird feeling.  My body is actually reacting to the rush of sugar as if it's a bad thing.  More time passes.  Here comes the sugar crash.  Now I feel really sleepy in the middle of my workday.  I wanted the sugar to supply quick fuel but it's doing the exact opposite.

Once I finally became fully aware of this endless cycle, I tried a different approach.

It's early evening and I'm becoming sluggish after a busy day.  I'm looking for a quick pick me up before dinner.  Instead of going for a cookie, I reach for a bottle of green juice.  Time passes.  I get a sudden, small jolt of energy.  More time passes, there's no weird crash or sugar hangover.  Success!  I got exactly what I was looking for but without the negative side effects.

It's common knowledge that veggie juices will fuel the body better than any cookie. So why was I always making the wrong decision even though I already knew better? Simple. I was operating based on past behaviors.  There was a set of instructions already in place based on what I executed so many times before.  Nothing would change that unless I made a conscious choice.

Making a conscious decision is probably one of the hardest things we can do.  There's this thing called decision fatigue and it's real.

 Decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making. It is now understood as one of the causes of irrational trade-offs indecision making.

Decision fatigue make us default to the easy (and non-optimal) choice.  In the case of my sugar cravings. I'm going to make sure to have plenty of green juice (and no sugary snacks) nearby.  It takes will power to choose a green drink over a tasty treat.  I don't want to put myself in that position again.  Will power is a great concept but we tend to have limited supply of it.  Sometimes it's easier to take away the option that can lead to failure than to try to overcome it.

We have to pay close attention to the outcomes that follow our choices then decide if we want to continue to repeat the same scenario over and over again. 

Next up, I need to apply conscious decision making when grocery shopping.  When I come up on those cookies again, my brain will conveniently remember how good they tasted and neglect to remind me of the crazy sugar crash and mild headache that ensued.  I've got to prepare to successfully cross that bridge when I come to it.  Hopefully more time in meditation practicing awareness will help.

This notion of becoming the observer to your behavior is very powerful.  And we can apply it to every area of our lives. We can leverage it to alter our limiting habits or amplify the actions that we take that bring us positive results.  It goes both ways.  What's most important is that we become aware of our behavior so we can chose to live in a way that aligns with what we want.



Friday is finally here.  I have a new tradition where I plan out my weekend on Friday.  For the past couple months, I've dedicated a portion of the weekend towards improving my environment.  This mainly consists of decluttering and organizing.

 It's an annual process that began years ago.  It's a method I utilize to prepare my life for the new year that awaits.  The goal is to create a "new" environment to attract new experiences in my life.  Little did I know that what I was doing was having a real impact on my brain power.
It started when I decided to that corporate America was no longer for me.  I devised a plan to work all year long and request two weeks off at the end of the year.  But instead of traveling off to some foreign land, I stayed home and did the following:

1. Cleaned/decluttered my home.
2. Worked non-stop on my business.
3. Invested time into my personal appearance.
4. Replicate elements of my ideal life. 

This routine wasn't perfect but it was ultra-powerful.  The process ALWAYS began with a focus on improving my environment.  I found that if my environment was right, a burst of motivation followed.  It was a similar experience to Eddie from Limitless. When he took his brain enhancing pill, the first thing noticed was his chaotic environment.  The moment his space was cleared and organized, all of the sudden he had the motivation to finally grind out that book he had been putting off.

Cleaning & organizing my space was good, but I also felt the need to also elevate it.  For me, this meant purchasing high-quality candles and decor that stimulated my soul and made me feel good. I couldn't explain it, but when my house was on point, something was also happening to me internally.

I can recall a few times when someone has stepped into my home, paused, and proclaimed, "wow, you have a nice house."  What they're commenting on is probably my decor.  It's nothing special, just a few notable pieces that add to the feel of the home.  That's what I strive to achieve...an environment that stimulates at deeper level.  There's a reason why wealthy people invest so much into their dwelling.  They utilize their living space to nurture their abundance mindset and lifestyle.
This morning, I discovered that by enriching my home environment, I could have been stimulating the growth of additional neurons in my brain.

There's evidence that "enriching the environments" of rats increases neurogenesis.  Neurogenesis is simply the generation (growth) of neurons in the brain. When they enriched the environment of the mice (by adding running wheels, colored tunnels, other mice) neurons grew and had a greater survival rate!  Growing neurons is healthy for our brain but they don't always have longevity. Especially if we don't actively use certain parts of our brain.

Keep in mind that once we've something new, the subconscious kicks it to turn it into a mindless behavior.  That's how we carry out most of our day.  We drive to/from work and complete our required tasks based on old information stored in the brain.  Operating on autopilot necessary, to some extent, but it inhibits the growth of new neurons.

If we can leverage the power of our environment to help promote a healthier mind, we must do it!

Those of you working to create new outcomes for your life, consider leveraging the power of being in an "enriched environment."  Maybe that means that you dedicate time to improve your home decor. Or perhaps, you work from places that make you feel good. Just like the mice experiment, enriching your environment also includes the people you surround yourself with.

I remember working out of specific coffee shops because I would be surrounded by real entrepreneurs as they discussed business strategies. Often times, I pretended to be working but was really listening to their brainstorming conversation as inspiration.  That was enough to stimulate my brain into action!

There a bunch of other ways to stimulate the growth our brains and we should experiment with all variations.  But, if we must begin somewhere, start with where you spend most of your time.  Enrich it in the way you see fit.  Never stop elevating your environment. 
We're in the last quarter of the year. And, like clockwork, I always dedicate the last 90 days or so towards decluttering and improving my home environment. Last weekend I was inspired by an image of this perfectly organized fridge.  Immediately, I wanted to recreate my own version of this at home.

Do you remember MTV cribs back in the day?  It  featured various celebrities who willingly gave us a glimpse into their opulent homes.  Whenever we got to their kitchen, every one of them opened up their fridge to show us what was inside. Most of the time, their fridges were pretty empty.  Who needs to do any grocery shopping when you have celebrity chefs preparing your meals?  Even though they didn't use their fridge to store food, they almost always kept an organized assortment of various beverages on deck.  

Their fridges didn't look like ours mainly because theirs were super-organized. I'm sure they enlisted the help of some eager assistant to transform their fridge for national tv.  I've always wanted an ultra organized fridge but never took any action towards it.  This weekend, that all changed.
Between now and 2018, I vow to take on small weekend projects that improve my life in one way or another.  This weekend was dedicated towards organizing my fridge.  

Why?

Because I'm on a mission to raise my vibration.  I believe there are legit benefits to be had by organizing our fridge.  Ever stay in a really nice luxury hotel?  One thing you might notice is their ever-so-perfectly stocked fridge.  They do this for two reasons:

1.) So you can indulge in snacks and beverages at insane markups. 
2.) To enhance the feeling of abundance that comes with the high-end experience. 

Don't you want to recreate the feeling of abundance every time you open your fridge?  Well you can. And it's easy to do so.  All it takes are a few tools to help you get your organization project underway.  A few days ago, I visited Amazon and bought a starter set of 3 fridge organizers.  They arrived days later and my weekend project began.    

This small, deliberate action is going to create a slew of benefits.
1. All my food is visible and organized which means less spoilage and waste.  
2. I eat healthier when my fridge is in order. When it's a mess, I tend to go for take out.
3. Every time I open the fridge, I get a tiny jolt of energy. Not literally, but mentally. Subconsciously, every time I see my newly organized fridge, I reaffirm that this was an intention which is now become reality.

It's such a small gesture that makes a world of difference.  Every time I open the fridge, my crazy, monkey mind is filled with a sense of calm.

 Next on the wish list are bins that will proudly display my veggies.  I watched a slew of videos of others who've successfully stylized their fridge and got a ton of ideas.

Check it out. 






Hey guys! Firstly, I am SO sorry for such a long break from posting on my blog. I've had the busiest few weeks (starting a new job being a major part of that which I'll write about in another post) and I've just felt exhausted and uninspired to write blog posts, if I'm completely honest. I hate putting things up on my blog if I'm not 100% happy so I figured taking a break would be the best option until the writers block passed. Well, I'm happy to say that I think it may have finally gone away as I'm bursting with ideas and content I want to share with you guys !

Today I want to talk about fitness and something I never thought I'd hear myself say: my new found love for it. Yep that's right, I've caught the fitness bug and I'm so happy about it! To give you a bit of background - growing up I was always the type of person who never had to watch what they ate. I mean I used to work at Pizza Hut and would eat pizza at least 4 times a week whilst fitting in a size 6-8 with visible abs. Yep, I was living the dream. However, fast forward to the age of 25 when I was put on medication for anxiety and depression and my weight started to creep up. I could no longer eat anything I wanted and I began to notice changes in my body, changes I wasn't happy with. Basically, I didn't like what was staring back at me in the mirror. I'd gained around a stone in a year and although it isn't a huge amount, it was enough for me to notice and enough for me to want to do something about it. When your jeans are so tight the button pops off (yes this actually happened to
me whilst sitting on a bus - mortified x 100) you know it's time to get your act together, even when other people tell you 'don't be silly, you look fine'. It's all well and good other people thinking you look fine but if you don't feel happy in yourself, what anyone else thinks is irrelevant.


With this being said, I decided it was time to start exercising. It's something that's never interested me before as I hate the feeling of being sweaty and out of breath - two of the things that obviously go hand in hand with exercise. However, I'd always aspired to those girls with amazing toned bodies who are into fitness. I knew I was never going to look like them without adding exercise into my lifestyle so I decided to contact a local PT about helping me reach my goals. I was recommended him by the girl who does my nails and I'm so glad I took the plunge and booked some sessions as it's honestly changed my whole outlook on exercise. 

Before starting my sessions I always saw exercise as a chore and something I would dread but that's because I wasn't doing the right things - running on a treadmill for 45 minutes isn't what I'd consider a fun workout. However, I'm now doing what's called 'functional fitness' which is basically a combination of moves using weights or body weight - basically the same as HIIT training. High intensity intervals where you do X amount of reps of an exercise for 3-5 sets which a short rest between each set. It really gets your heart rate up, makes me sweaty as hell and best of all, burns fat and builds muscle which is exactly what I want! It's also much more fun that running on a treadmill - yes it's hard and sometimes I feel like collapsing in a heap on the floor but when I'm finished, I feel 10x better about myself. That feeling of achievement is unbeatable and that's why I'd never go back to a sedentary lifestyle.


I've only been on my 'journey' if that's the right word for 2 and a half months but I already know that this is my lifestyle now and something I'll stick to long term. I've already lost around 8 inches from my body, my clothes fit better and I generally just feel way more confident in my own body! Who wouldn't want to feel like that? I still have a long way to go until I reach my personal goals - I want to build more muscle, look more defined and get my diet much cleaner than it is currently whilst still allowing myself treats here and there. One thing I've learnt since exercising more regularly is that the scales mean absolutely nothing when it comes to tracking progress. Since I started, I've only lost 3 pounds according to the scale but my body has totally changed shape and everything is more firm. My PT told me that because I'm building muscle, I probably won't see a significant drop on the scale as the fat I had is being replaced by muscle which is denser than fat meaning you look smaller whilst still weighing the same. I don't know the exact science behind it but it's been nice to stop stressing about the scales as much and just focus on what I see in the mirror and how my clothes fit which is a much better indication of progress.


Another thing I'm absolutely loving about going to the gym is the outfits - yep, I even think about outfits when going to the gym, haha. I never knew how many amazing gym kits were out there and all of the amazing fitness brands to choose from. My absolute go to brand at the moment has been JD Women's under armour range - I absolutely love the style and fit of their items. They fit like a glove and are really flattering too. The grey set and coral sports bra I have on in these photos are my favourite at the moment - those leggings literally hide a multitude of sins and suck me in at all the right places. I always thought gym wear would be unflattering with it being so skin tight but it's actually the total opposite. I probably feel my most body confident in a gym kit. It gets me feeling like an independent woman ready to take on the world, haha. Anyone else?!

I hope hope you enjoyed this brief insight into what I've been doing at the gym as I've had so many questions about what I've been doing since posting the odd video on Insta stories. I'd love to hear what your favourite gym workouts are or how you got in shape so please leave me a comment below :)

A few weeks ago myself and my best friend Debra went away on a girly weekend! You may have seen our antics on my snapchat (add me @kayljcouture if you don't already follow me on there) and it's safe to say we had a great time enjoying lots of cocktails in the sunshine! We looked around at different hotels and decided we wanted somewhere that was pretty much guaranteed to have good weather so the canary islands was a bit of a no-brainer as they're famous for their all year round sunshine! I'd never visited Lanzarote before but always heard good things about it and Debra had been once but to a different area than the one we were looking at so it seemed like a good option.

We came across the Barcelo Teguise Beach adults only hotel which is situated in Costa Teguise, an area of Lanzarote I've not heard too much about before. However, we wanted a few chilled days and this place looked perfect - bright modern interiors, a gorgeous infinity pool and a spa. The fact it's adults only was also a huge bonus - I have nothing against children (just to clear that up haha) but when you want to totally relax, noisy children running around isn't always ideal.


When we arrived at the hotel, we were really impressed with how clean and modern everything was. As you can see from the photos, the reception area is stunning and - it's bright, white and has a marble floor and pops of colour from the huge velvet sofas. There was also a lovely welcome drink waiting for us of champagne, water or juice. We obviously went for the champagne, haha. After we'd had our drink and checked in, a lovely member of staff showed us to our room which was located on the third floor and was one of their top of the range junior suites. When we walked in to the room, we were so impressed by what we found. Firstly, there was a bottle of fizz and fruit waiting for us - ideal. The room had the most lovely open plan layout with one side of the room having a living room area with sofa, wardrobes and the mini bar and the other side a huge king size bed, large bathroom area with double sinks and a separate wet room style shower and toilet. I'm a big fan of open plan interiors so this style of room was right up my street.



As if the room wasn't good enough, we also had a humongous balcony with views of the sea, a seating area and a hot tub. Yep, a hot tub. For me, hot tubs in hotel rooms are such a novelty and I'm always more inclined to book a room if it has one. The other side of our room overlooked the main pool area which as you can see from the photos, was absolutely beautiful. It was lined with palm trees, had a waterfall feature at the top and also sunken sun loungers so you can sunbathe in the pool. We did try these a couple of times but they weren't the most comfortable, it has to be said. However, there was also amble of sun loungers around the pool and we never struggled to get some, even when we didn't go down to the pool until 10am.

There was also the option to pay extra to get a balinese bed or a four poster bed which we did on two of the days we were there. At first we weren't going to as it cost 40 euros but when we worked it out, to have a prime bed for the whole day which is way comfier than the standard loungers, it made sense to spend 20 euros each. It also included a bottle of bubbly which wasn't available on the all inclusive menu and a fruit platter which the staff came and served to your bed. It was definitely a nice treat and something I'd recommend doing at least once if you're staying at this hotel. We even watched Love Island whilst chilling on the bed as it was a completely private area where you weren't disturbing anyone if you wanted to play your own music or watch things from your phone. Ideal! We even ended up bumping into a girl who follows me whilst chilling on the beds one day which was really cool / surreal.


As well as the pool I've just mentioned, the hotel also has an infinity pool with more sun loungers. We didn't really sit by this pool too much as I felt it didn't have the same atmosphere and because it was on the sea front, it was really windy up there. It was a stunning pool though and nice for a quick dip in throughout the day as it's only a short walk away from the main pool area.

There's a few board options available at the hotel so you can choose exactly what you want. As we were going for a chilled holiday and weren't planning on doing a lot of exploring or eating out, we figured the all inclusive option would be best for us. I find all inclusive to be hit and miss at hotels but I have to say the options available at Barcelo were excellent and it's hands down one of the best all inclusive hotels I've ever stayed at. The meals were buffet style in the main restaurant and there was also two restaurants where you could grab a light bite for lunch and order from a menu. This was a lovely touch as it meant it was never repetitive. They even had a little ice cream truck so you could go and help yourself to ice creams throughout the day.


As you can see from these images, we definitely didn't go for the healthy options throughout our stay but hey, if you can't eat like a pig when you're on holiday, when can you? These photos were taken in the hotels two restaurants where you chose from a menu and were served, as opposed to the buffet (other than the first image which was taken in the buffet). I wish I'd have gotten more photos of the buffet as the options were endless but it was always so busy when we were there and I didn't want to get my big camera out and start snapping while people were trying to get their food. However, they had so many options and different cuisines to choose from including Asian, Indian and Mexican foods.  I was honestly spoilt for choice every night. Breakfast was great too as you could get freshly made omelettes, toasties and pancakes as well as a huge range of fruits, cereal and pastries. Trust me, if you go for the all inclusive option at this hotel, you won't be stuck for choice as there really was something for everyone.


Our absolute favourite part of the all inclusive would have to be the drinks menu as unlike other hotels I've stayed at which only offer basics like wine, beer and soft drinks, Barcelo included a whole cocktail menu, spirits, a large selection of wine and beers and even shots. Yes, we may have had a cheeky jaeger once or twice. Our absolute favourites cocktails were the Strawberry Mojitos and  Daiquiris. Both of these were divine and went down far too easily! They were also presented really nicely which is another rare occurrence in all inclusive hotels. Usually you get standard plastic cups  when having drinks by the pool and although these were in plastic cups (for safety reasons of course) they weren't your bog standard ones and you'd think they were glass if you didn't know otherwise. They were also nicely garnished - Instagram dream right there, haha! In the evening, there was two places you could go for drinks - the sports bar which was really lively and had sports on the big screens during the day and live entertainment at night or the cute cocktail bar which had a more calm and civilised atmosphere. Again, something for everyone. We personally loved the liveliness of the sports bar and spent most nights in there making us of the all inclusive drinks. The entertainment was actually really good too - we loved the Abba tribute haha!


The last thing I want to mention about the hotel is their gym and spa facilities. I know a lot of people don't like to work out while they're away on holiday but for some people who want to indulge without the guilt, it's an important part of booking a hotel - knowing there's somewhere they can work out each day. Barcelo had the most lovely gym - it was a stones throw away from the main pool and had a great open plan style. I didn't personally use it when I was there but Debra did go down one morning and said it was great. As well as the gym, they also have a spa with a huge menu of treatments available so if you fancy a luxurious treat one day, this is a great option to have. We had a full body massage one of the days we were there called the 'lomi lomi' and it was an experience to say the least. They had us laying on a water bed which was quite a strange experience but it was nice to experience!

As well as the extensive facilities available at the hotel itself, Barcelo is also in a really good location and a short walk away from the beach and lots of bars and restaurants. We went out for a meal one of the nights we were there just for a change of scenery and ended up eating in a lovely little Italian place that was on a square full of bars and restaurants. One thing we noticed is that there wasn't many places to 'party' or go clubbing - something young couples or groups of friends might want when on holiday. However, we may not have been looking in the right place as the barman at the hotel told us there was some clubs nearby. Just something to bare in mind if you're looking for a party holiday.

So there we have it, a summary of our stay at Barcelo Teguise Beach. It was honestly such a lovely hotel and I wouldn't hesitate to go back for a few more days of relaxation. They had pretty much everything you could need for a chilled few days in the sunshine!!

Do you like the look of this hotel?! You can see more info and prices here.