They say you must never judge a book by its cover and there is certainly great truth in that. But do you know what is worse? Judging yourself by a book cover!

This is something I found myself doing whilst working through and having input into the design aspect of my book Tidy The Temple. There’s a lot more to it than just slapping a nice picture on the front and hoping for the best.

It must be eye catching, it must in part ‘tell the story’, it should be aspirational but welcoming and comfortable and in no way off-putting or intimidating or overtly glam! And those are just a few factors! And for anybody who does judge this book by its cover, they must do so favourably!

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After all it’s the cover that initially catches the eye and you know what they say about good and bad first impressions…

Gazing at the covers to all manner of health and fitness tomes I was assailed with perfect smiles, flawless skin, fabulous hair, long legs, angular toned limbs, young, fresh and vital faces. Despite my best efforts it is hard not to suddenly feel eight inches too short and 20 years too old.

Ironically my book is all about glowing from the inside out and attaining your best possible shape. And I know it works (and so do literally 100’s of clients) which is why I spent a painstaking two years converting my knowledge, findings and experience into an attractive and effective book form. Yet there I was fretting about the shallow outer veneers of other people’s photo-shopped images of radiant health!

I’ve always been entirely focussed on content and detail rather than image and wafer thin aesthetics. That has always been my way. But there I was looking at mock ups of my cover and I was worried it looked too shiny, bright and glamorous, then the next time I’m telling myself it’s all a bit conservative and even prudish. And as for sex appeal…should there be any? How much is too much? Do I have any anyway?…Oh dear!

I’d have to up my game if I’m going to elbow in front of others and jump off the bookshelf. Reveal a bit more maybe, drop my natural reserve for once and be happy for the cover to shout “Me, me, me!” I cringed at the thought!

I have chastised myself for internally exhibiting all those insecurities and frustrations I find so shallow and unappealing in others. But I suppose it is a failing within all of us to greater and lesser degrees. A fact supported by something I read recently.

According to recent research by Benenden Healthcare Society 40% of women are more worried about their looks than their health (and seemingly unable to make the inextricable connection between the two).

Joey Bull Great Body_2

Many women questioned were happy to admit they spent money on products that gave the impression of health rather than healthy products delivering actual health. And the research becomes even more alarming – 19% admitted crash dieting and even using laxatives to help them squeeze into the tightest fashions.

And 80% said they would continue with what they knew to be bad habits if they had received a compliment! Rather darkly 20% confessed they would “do anything” if it meant they could fit into size 8 jeans.

Bearing in mind these are admitted figures there is every chance the real truth would see even higher stats.

Maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised as people will generally look for a short cut and the short term cheat.

TV presenter Penny Smith wrote a self-deprecating but piercingly accurate piece about women’s body issues in a national newspaper. She pointed out that a survey had shown 97% of women have at least one “I hate my body” moment every single day. Maybe the real surprise there is that 3% don’t!

Summer is passing and there’s every chance you have gone through heightened periods of introspection and physical self doubt. The summer months tend to do that as we all strive for our warm weather wardrobe body but feel like we fell short.

There are more media images than ever decreeing the look we should achieve and ways in which we can emulate the body shaping achievements of some celebrity (who probably has a live in PT and can rely on the very best photographers, lighting experts, hair stylists and make up artists). It would be totally understandable if, at some stage, you pondered a few quick fixes yourself.

Well I won’t let you cheat and become another depressing statistic! Instead let me simply give you my top tips for body-blasting shape-ups and dietary cleansing.and proven time and time again. They will speed up the process of getting you that sharper, healthier body with very real vim and vitality.

But it will still require some proper input and effort on your behalf which means you’ll not only be left looking great, but you’ll be able to bask in the self satisfied glow of a job well done!

Dietary Tips

– Start the day with warm water and lemon juice. It’s an old fashioned tip but effective. It starts the day with an alkaline step.

– Consider what is vitality filled and what isn’t. What will speed up regeneration and what won’t?

– Keep conscious about an alkaline and acidic balance. Flours, cereals, cooked food, dairy, proteins and sugar based drinks and food are acidic. If you see they outweigh your plate, make up for it in alkaline; fresh and raw salad, vegetables and fruits.

– Proteins release the hormone Leptin which tells the brain it has satisfactorily eaten. Having as small as 10% of protein with every meal and snack will help with cravings. Choose a broad variety of proteins, seeds, nuts, chickpeas, beans and meats for starters.

– Mostly our diet is salty and sweet, widen the spectrum by including foods which are; bitter (greens and herbs) pungent (jalapeños, spices and garlic), astringent (lentils, legumes, raw vegetables), sour (lemon, yoghurt and fermented food). Each taste feeds our mind, body and senses in its own unique way and stimulates tissue, absorption and digestion. So get the full range of these tastes into your meals. This also means there will be no room for cravings!

– Becoming more conscious about your habits and just witnessing your body’s response and reactions to them will, in good time, lead you into automatic healthy habits. This is much more effective than forcing discipline which feels like a bit of a trial and often ends up only bringing short term results.

In Part 2 tomorrow Joey Bull looks at some superb exercises to fire up, tone and trim your body. She also provides a great sequence of easy to follow images to guide you through the circuit. Don’t miss it!

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