Happy, healthy 2022

Reflections on my 2021 – The good, the bad and the ugly

Surprised to see me?

Well, good to see you too!

It has been several months since I have written a post and I am not quite sure if I am writing in this very moment because of the need to do so as it is my preferred form of expression and I enjoy it very much. Or is it because of the sheer feeling that I really should show my face as I feel I will disappear if I don’t. Because so many tell me they notice my absence.

And I have been so absent… this whole year.

So, let’s see give it a go…

If I can summarise the entire 2021 in one word, it would have to be – “stuck”.

To explain it – I must start from the middle of 2021 and then jump straight to an end before I can talk about the beginning(s).

The middle of 2021 is the ugly part.

Financial worry exacerbated by COVID followed by debilitating lower back pain that has been chronic for nearly two decades, since my first childbirth, but it reached its peak end of this year. There were moments I would stand and freeze as if I made any move, I felt my body would snap in two.

It took 4 months of my husband’s persuasion before I finally booked an appointment with a highly recommended specialist whose clients range from anyone regular like myself to Olympians.

So, I went to see Joni last month.

We talked. A lot. All the way from my back pain beginnings nearly two decades ago when my first son was born. She gently examined my movements and, to her disbelief – my back went into a wild spasm right in front of her and I ended on the floor struggling to move. It was painful to breathe. This was the worst back spasm in a long time, if not ever. It took almost an hour to make a 2-minute journey from her office floor to the car.

And she barely even touched me.

But she was about to change my world.

For the first time ever, I was told that the real problem had nothing to do structurally with my spine or back muscles.

Chronic pain is very complex and multifactorial, and, after my first childbirth when lower back pain started – my soft tissues have become very sensitised, and my spine has become very stiff as I learnt to avoid moving the lumbar spine as a form of protection that backfired as the muscles became extremely overactive and in a constant state of contraction.

I was told my lower back was like a plank of wood with no movement and no nutrition getting to it.

I lost my love for exercise months earlier and I blamed pandemic, grief, and state of my mind for the lack of motivation, and I felt guilt for not doing anything. I blamed lack of exercise for my back pain.

But my body knew better.

According to Joni, I did not need any stronger abdomen, I did not need any more strength training and pushing myself. Being hard on myself. My chronic pain came from over sensitive central nervous system, so what I really needed was rest, lots of rest, to relax my back, to relax full stop, to give my back heat, to be gentle with it, to be kind to myself in every possible way, so I can bring balance to my nervous system and so that my back can recover from the current pain and only then we can start the process of restoring its proper function and movement.

So, I started taking baths and longer hot showers, increased my sleep from 5-6 hours a night to nearly 8 hours, doing breathing exercises to calm my anxiety and, only one month later – I am finally pain free. Well, almost completely pain free. But getting there for sure.

If 2021 has thought me anything from this experience is that:

  • Seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but a necessary step to fast forward your results.
  • Without the know-how, doing it yourself is a trap that leads to frustration and prolonged suffering.
  • Even with the most expert help, the real work is done by us, in between the appointments, by following the advice and the plan (of an expert)
  • One truly must have a deep desire for the change to happen and be prepared to do the work, this can not be optional as, otherwise it will not get done
  • Body knows best, listen to it.


The beginning of the year always marks birthdays of both my sons and my husband’s. In between their birthdays is now also an anniversary of my mum’s passing as well as my mum and dad’s birthdays. Six key dates in six weeks make celebrations of all their lives clearly mixed with grief and sense of loss. And I hope I am getting better at breathing through it.

Last Year 2020, the year of pandemic, left me and, I know, so many others rather deflated, so, it was the first year I made a point of not setting any New Year’s resolutions for 2021, but just to try instead to be better each day.

Well, it went worse before it got better.

This roller coaster of emotions at the beginning of the year mixed with the continued effects of the pandemic has made me, once a very focused and authentic health coach of over 17 years, now addicted to certain foods and habits that were going against everything I believed in and was advocating.

Feeling like a fraud, anyone?

I skipped meals, I ate carbs I never used to eat, I gained weight, I slept very poorly, binged on Netflix… Well, I basically lost it. And I just seemed not to be able to turn it around.

This is the first time I am really talking about it.

I am admitting it to myself and coming clean to all those who felt my void.

I knew everything intellectually but failed to show up in action. My mindset was not in the right place.

And You cannot show up for others when you are failing to show up for yourself.

Not if you want to stay honest.

So, I slowly drifted as I lost the clarity of where I was going.

I stayed committed to the existing clients, but I stopped building. And we either build and grow or we go backwards. No such thing as staying still.

This scared me.

However, although I felt stuck, thanks to being solution driven, feeling stuck is not where I wanted to stay at.

I started my own journey of discovery, trying to understand what was going on. I started reading more, learning from different experts on health, nutrition, mindset, mental health, etc.

All was pointing to the fact that, in the light of everything that happened to me in the past, especially last two to three years, I no longer had a grip on my thoughts and emotions. Only recently I realised I lived in a state of chronic stress for some time. At some point even contemplating if my life insurance covered suicide. Only for a split second, but this thought scared me as my glass used to be always full.

When faced with such emotions, some turn to alcohol or some other substance or worse – instead, I was eating my way out of it. When you think negatively, you change the biochemistry of your brain as well as your body.

I was thinking differently than I used to, my mindset was unrecognisable. And this stress and anxiety was showing up as a food/ sugar addiction as I could not resist some trigger foods and was gaining unwanted weight.

Luckily, I was between an early and middle stage when I gained this awareness whilst many people go through it for so long that they completely lose control, which is followed by psychological, social as well as medical effects and consequences. And they are completely unaware of what is going on.

They go from one diet to another, not realising that what they have is an addiction and that most diets are simply not equipped to help them long term as it takes way more than just a meal plan or diet per se to achieve complete food freedom.

Do not even get me tarted on how many meal plans I have seen around are questionable as they fail to provide the right balance of nutrients as well as fail to eliminate ingredients known to feed the addiction.

The silver lining of my research was the realisation that the food addiction is real and is the reason why some of my own clients are struggling.

But I learnt that there are two sides to it.

While I believe I have a great plan for my clients that addresses nutrient balance and food cravings and other issues linked with the substance addiction part, i.e. processed food addiction, helping them feel better physically – I had no tools or even an understanding that that was not enough for at least half of my clients.

It is not enough because for many of them it is the addiction to the process itself of consuming those trigger foods that is the other part of the problem – the addiction to the actual behaviour and what it represents.

This is where the right plan and support will help you also develop peace and freedom around food. When you gain your sanity. When that maddening internal chatter of always wanting more is extinguished.

This was a big insight. “Huge!”, as the Pretty Woman said.

It no longer was just about me.

I felt I was at a start of an exciting journey where I had no option but to dedicate myself to learning all I could about the addiction to the actual behaviour side of overeating and food addiction. It was clear to me that was the main cause of why so many fail or get stuck even after following a great programme that has been personalised for them.

Suddenly, I no longer was looking at my downfall in 2021 as a failure, but the best thing that has happened to me as it led me on a journey that felt like a destiny, it helped me find answers and allowed me to grow from it and, eventually, it will help me make bigger impact in the future.

So, out of frustration and feeling stuck, new, and exciting path opened.

I became a student once again and, over the course of ten months, I qualified as an Advanced Clinical Weight Loss Practitioner, Cognitive Behavioural Technique Coach as well as The Food Addiction Coach. And I gained a few other minor certifications.

The more I learnt, the more I realised how little I knew.

I did all that while I was dealing with the above-mentioned chronic pain and anxiety on a daily basis as well as battling with food cravings and lapsing. Also, daily. Feeling like a fraud. But the excitement kept me going, despite the frustration.

Of course, it is not enough to know things just at an intellectual level.

No change happens at that level. But, the awareness is a great start.

I had to accept and love this new me before I could help myself. Because new me needed to be loved more than ever for things to change. I had to tell myself this often. Especially when I did not like myself at all and doubted everything.

Part of that love was to seek help. Reluctantly, I did.

And it wasn’t until Joni unmasked the source of my problem, my fight and flight response to my circumstances that I now know was the cause of my chronic pain and ultimately my hormonal imbalance and my erratic eating – that is when I finally knew the true meaning of hope. Not just for my chronic lower back pain, but if I mastered my emotions, I could bring balance to everything else.

This is when it all came together for me and I was thankfully, with all these new insights gained in 2021, on the right path to recovery.

Because it is not about the food, but the fact that I ate to feel better, to escape from something or to protect myself. Which, of course, is short lived, but it does not stop us acting irrationally as well as causes the vicious cycle of the same.

Year 2021 was the year when I had to disconnect to find the true connection again. It was a year when I got stuck, but also a year when I found answers and clarity to my path too.

If I am to define 2022 in one word, I want it to be “Reboot”. Reboot to a better version of me, to a transformed me thanks to all the lessons and blessings of this year. Reboot to my lifestyle because lifestyle is truly everything. How we are thinking, sleeping, hydrating, moving, and eating will determine whether our body, brain and mind will function optimally or not.

Also, a reboot to how I show up to my existing and future clients. Not to mention a reboot to how I show up to those I love.

And I must keep up with this burning desire to show up as a better version of myself because the drive must always come from within us. No one else can keep us going. Others can only get us started or keep us in check to a certain extent. But, most of it – we walk alone.

Well, I am excited as I can, once again, be at the giving end. Once my well is full.

So, with a clearer path, it is easier to set goals and resolutions for the New Year 2022 and make them linked to the journey where we wish to see ourselves over the next 10, 20, 30 years.

One single year is only 3% of the future 30 years, so, make it a steppingstone to a greater vision of the future.

Pandemic might have taught us that plans can change out of our control, but we can always be in control of our thoughts, mindset and we can learn to feel different emotions about ourselves, our life, and circumstances.

This will ultimately be the difference between the success and what is only perceived as a failure, but perhaps it is time to finally see failure as an opportunity to learn and grow from it, then to pick ourselves up and start again.

We would not know light if we did not know darkness.

So, always look for silver linings.

My wish for you is a better version of you in 2022, whatever that is for you.

(P.S. BTW, just so you know, I really enjoyed writing this and it was for me as well as for you. 😊)

The cost of DIY

Be aware of the DIY trap!

I remember what feeling stuck felt. Looking back into the mirror and not recognising my body.

I was still me, but, at the same time, person looking back at me did not feel like me. Even energy about me was different.

To make things worse, my actual energy seemed to have abandoned me too, went MIA. There was none at any point of the day. How is that even possible?

For someone who never even thought of weight before and has all her life felt really comfortable in her skin, this was a new territory.

And I wasn’t loving it. Far from it.

This was me, after giving birth to my first son (Yes, the one that is leaving home this month to go to Uni). I was 30 years old at a time.

Of course, having my first child was magical, but I also wanted to feel good in myself and about myself. Extra pounds were not helping my health, my back was the first casualty, and it did nothing for my confidence. Like I had put a body suit on, and I was hot and uncomfortable and very aware of it.

My son was 18 months old when I finally had enough and felt ready to take care of the weight that I accumulated in pregnancy and post birth. It wasn’t much, but it was too much for me.

I have always had such great relationship with food and health, thanks to my mother, who, from my early age, taught me to value health. Because there was a point when I was around eight years old when we almost lost her to breast cancer.

Boy, did she fight! Yes, with chemo, but also with blenders, juicers, plants (and in the 1980s) and, above all, with an unshakable will to live and see me grow up… and beyond.

And she did.

So, having found myself at a place where many women are after giving birth – I was overwhelmed and confused and did not know where to start. However, I was a smart cookie 😉 as research took me to a nutrition coach who helped me start on my journey and, in a few months, with her help, encouragement and a solid plan, I was at my goal weight, getting really educated about nutrition and the science about metabolism, feeling amazing and even training to help others with their weight management.

Because it is hard not to get excited when something important happens and you find a solution to something that you struggled with knowing that you can make a difference.

It is a human in us all. Some recommend a movie they loved, I changed a career path 🙂

That was my apple falling from a tree and hitting me on my head. Eureka! I have found my calling!

That was 17 years ago this September. And well over 2000 happy clients in the process (“well over” as I stopped counting few years back – really no need to count any longer as I have put in my 10 000 hours).

So, this month is my 17th Anniversary and I have nothing less than an immense gratitude for everyone who was and/or still is part of my journey and allowing me to be part of theirs.

It is an honour. Truly.

And, boy, isn’t it a journey!

What I wanted to share with you this week is that the best lesson I learnt from my clients who came to me after years of trying on their own is that “I will figure it out myself!” is a path that can cost you:

  • Being even more hopeless, lost and confused
  • Gaining even more weight, putting further risk on your health
  • Having existing beliefs, patterns, habits even more ingrained & much harder to break
  • Going in circles and feeling frustrated
  • Spending more money on buying clothes in different sizes.

However, the biggest cost is a social isolation when you stay stuck and not fulfill your greater calling, miss out on the opportunities, relationships, etc. due to lack of confidence and joy of life.

Not to mention living in unnecessary pains and poor health.

There is a better way, and you deserve to be the best version of you so that your body can move, feel great, enjoy life!

I was glad I did not fall into the trap thinking I know it best and “I will figure it out!”. Well, I might have figured it out by myself eventually, some do, I have a friend who did it all by himself after suffering a heart attack, but not without trials and errors, and seriously hat off to him, but majority does not.

Because you never know what you don’t know. And staying stuck is costly.

And losing weight is not easy. Because it is so much more than just “eating less”. It is a whole science. If it wasn’t, everyone would be at their ideal weight shortly after they wish for it.

Mainly because of the food addiction that is hard to break without knowledge, help and support. More about it next time. This is the most exciting subject for me.

Going back to DIY – I have truly nothing against the DIY – like to build something you have never built before; you develop a new skill and it can truly be fun. We should do more DIY stuff! It is good for us!

But our biology is complex and DIY-ing your health without skills and sound knowledge can cost us further our health.

That is why crash diets can run havoc to our metabolism and general health.

I sometimes wonder where life would take me if I did not take that leap and got help when I needed it.

Certainly, I would miss out having all my dear clients in my life. So many friendships and connections. Meeting so many people who are so special in my life today and will be for a long time.

And, one thing is true now as it was then – most people struggle to achieve their health and weight loss goals because they do not how to do it safely so they can lose body fat, maintain their lean muscle and metabolism, and achieve energy and shape that makes them feel good about themselves. Not crash diet. Not start, stop, start again, then stop, etc. and off we go in circles, forever on.

If you recognise yourself in this, I encourage you to give yourself a permission to show up for yourself. If you don’t, nobody else will.

Think about reasons why you should start (or continue with your efforts).

It could be so you are able to stay active around your children or grandchildren, or because it is a time you start loving yourself again in the photos (You are beautiful already, but why not also loving who you desire to be?), perhaps because you need a confidence to get back dating or looking for a dream job. All you need is one great reason to start and keep going.

Perhaps you just want to feel good in your skin!

Because now more than ever it is essential to invest in a healthy mind and body.

That includes foods you eat, wellness daily practices, how you feel and talk to yourself and practice self-care – isn’t it a time you look and feel your absolute best?

Because you are worth it.

I would like to invite you to take a leap and book a Discovery Call with me and we can take it from there. It may be just the best thing you did, and I cannot wait to accelerate your success so you can stop going in circles and finally get you losing weight in a healthy, sustainable way.

See you at the other end or, until next time,

Stay safe, healthy and nourished!

Yours in health,


P.S. Choose yourself, always!

You can only pour from a full cup

You can only pour from a full (ish) cup…

I sent this as a newsletter last week and it has all the merits to be recycled as a blog post.

Because it has been also months since I last wrote any article and I hope you are glad to hear from me.

Both my articles and newsletters used to be regular like a clockwork – every Monday Morning, for years, a decade to be exact!

Years ago I was even told by a person on the street how she looks forward to my Monday newsletters. It taught me that people love consistency, so I kept going.

This year, I messed up. But for all the right reasons…

You see, sometimes, when our own cup is not full, we must do everything in our power to fill it back up before we are able to support people around us.

And that is what I did.

I got into some terrible habits during pandemic like going to bed too late, eating stuff I know do not serve me and my body…

Sounds familiar?

Has it ever happened to you that you completely lost your identity and you knew who you wanted to be, but you kept delaying getting back on track because, quite frankly, you had no idea how to get back on track as there were just too many things you had to put right?

Pandemic did not help. Losing my mum, in my case, did not help either as grief is a terrible thing and has no expiration date, you just hope it fades with time, which it did, but it never disappears entirely. I know that many went through financial stress, which can really take its toll eventually and y family was no stranger to that either.

So, I decided to retrieve, reassess, so I can re-emerge stronger and with a clearer purpose.

First thing I had to address was my sleep quality.

I now leave my phone downstairs before going to bed and I go to bed earlier than ever as I am an early riser, so if I wanted to get my 7-8 hours of sleep every single night – going to bed early was the only way.

I used to live on 5 hours of sleep for years, but it got bad during pandemic with some nights with less than 5 hours by going to bed very late (or early, if you look at the time I actually ended in bed), whilst still waking up before 6 am.

Damage that lack of sleep does to our brains will only be felt later on in life, whilst energy levels are felt throughout the day.

Also, did you know that only one single night of less than optimal sleep puts our blood sugar levels and hormones at a level of a diabetic and we can eat up to 500 calories more the next day?

So, no more sacrificing sleep for Netflix!

Feels good at a time, but, boy, it backfires!

Just this little hack helped me tremendously with putting other puzzle pieces together – because I simply had more clarity the next day. And my hormones were not so messed up.

Oh, another thing, I am peri-menopausal. This is definitely playing against me, but I have equipped myself with some amazing sources of new science on peri menopause and how to hack through it without losing your mind.

Ladies, yup, this is possible too! Actually, it is essential as our choices during this second puberty in every women’s life is crucial to our health once we reach menopause. And beyond! Almost all clings to this phase!

More about this later, but if you would like me to point you out to some resources that literally BLEW MY MIND – let me know!

God, I have so much to share, I have spend last whole year doing nothing but self reflecting and learning… to the point of information overload… Good job I am good at organisation as it is a handy task storing this logically in my brain’s filing cabinet.

I really thought long and hard about my identity and how last 18 months have shifted it for worse, so, I am claiming it back! One step at a time.

This has more to do with boundaries I have now set with myself that we all need to have in order to have the health and life we want.

Knowing what we want and how to get there and having these clear boundaries so that we make our promise to ourselves stick.

Then there are boundaries with others.

Building that congruence muscle.

Doing in public what we promised ourselves we want to do privately (and vice versa, which is called integrity).

Because it is important others around you know how to support you.

Finally realising that boundaries are an expression of self-love and self-care.

How are you with your boundaries?

Do you ever say Yes to others even if it means saying No to yourself? Sounds good at a time and then you end up beating yourself about it?

What are YOUR non-negotiables? Things you know and want to get back to knowing they make you feel and look better?

For me, as for many of you who are my clients, those are our breakfast F1 smoothies, having protein in every meal starting with breakfast, drinking water, eating regularly, but, somehow, these are not enough if there are other things in play.

By “other things” I mean habits that do not support our physical, mental and spiritual well being.

So, what needs to stay for you? What needs to go?

Because getting those right leads to more freedom, not less, which is a topic for another day as many mistakenly mean that discipline leads to loss of restriction, when it is completely the opposite.

But, another time about this.

I just wanted to get some of these ideas out and rather than procrastinate getting back to the work I love (that I never left despite being on the quiet side), publishing anything sounds better than one big fat 0. I owe it to myself and even if it is a one single person who will find it of value.

Baby steps forward, but steps forward nevertheless.

Oh, and if you don’t heck know who I am, an introduction may be appropriate, even if it is at the end of this piece:

Hello! I’m Sanela and I am a health & mindset coach and nutrition educator who helps women struggling with their health & weight transform their overwhelm into clarity with my unique wellness coaching method and plan so they can become the best versions of themselves and and have the energy and freedom to live their best life!

Nice to meet you!

If in doubt or struggling with overwhelm, I am here for you to help you figure it out.

I may sound like I am new to all this, but, no, I am not. I know my stuff, but I am also just human, also on a journey, like yourself.

Next 4 Week Challenge starts 13th September, so, if you are up for it, to clear up your diet and start some exercise habits, check it out. You will find that setting goals, committing to plan, establishing accountability and support are all part of the challenge if you decide to dive fully in.

Some only dip in and out and it still works if they just need a few prompts. But those who need more help – I advise you to dive deep in as DIY is a trap! I will talk about this too in one of my next articles!

In the meantime, stay well, my friend and, until next time

Yours in Wellness 4 Life,


Focus 4 Four Week Chllenge Transformations Weight Loss

Our 4 week challengers are feeling Springtacular

This week we saw yet another challenge finish and, as usual, some of the results are off the chart. It never seems to fail to surprise me what can be achieved in a single month! However, it is not the pictures, but the stories behind them that fill my heart with joy.

“I love seeing everyone fantastic results today, brilliant. It was my first focus4 and I have loved every minute of it. The support I have had from my coach and all the other ladies has been amazing. I have lost 19lb and 93cm over the last 28 days which is mind blowing and I look so different. The massive thing for me is that I feel so different both physically and mentally. I cried tears today but not the sad dispearing tears I normally cry when it comes to my weight/body, but happy tears. I sleep better, I have so much energy, my blood pressure is better. I can’t explain what this last month has done for me. I feel so lucky to have found this amazing group of people and look forward to the next challenges thank you all!”, Karina

Then I absolutely loved Helen’s results as well as the fact that she was doing it with three of her friends. In case you have not picked up my article on Eating Patterns and Social Contagion and how who we spend time with can influence our eating behaviors and ultimately how our health shows up. Our chance of becoming obese increases by 57% if our friend is obese, but if the friendship is mutual, the obesity increases by 171%, particularly for the same-sex friendships, so, it works the other way too – by surrounding yourself with community of people who are on the same mission as yourself – even more powerful if you have your own circle of influence joining too.

“Not only my first F4 challenge but also 3 friends joined me and absolutely smashed it. Although not quite ready for personal recognition I can confirm that A.A. lost 62cm and really close to her target weight; L.R.L. lost 15lbs in weight and is getting to grips with the tape measure ready for next time; Z.A., after a really busy month, is yet to add up all totals but delighted with her losses. All of us have loved the process. I’d like to congratulate them on sticking with it and believing in me.” Helen John

“Absolutely proud of myself… I have achieved so much in a month. I’ve pushed myself everyday to get to my goal but there’s a bit more to go yet… It’s been hard going sometimes but I managed to pick myself back up… I feel so much better in myself I think I need a new wardrobe! Anyone can achieve something if they put their mind to it & only yourself can change, no one else can do it for you!”, Tam

“Hi guys, this was my first month of doing this and really happy with the way its gone. 71 cm loss. This month for me was more about getting used to eating better foods and at the right times. And having a structured plan too follow. Not much exercise was carried out, but I do intend the change that for next challenge. I can’t wait for the next challenge now!”, Liam

“If i look back at first pictures from January Focus 4 after I had a few months just before Christmas of eating way too much and not exercising as much, I piled weight on… My problem area is definitely my stomach after having 3 children and I can have trouble with bloating but the change is massive after 2 challenges so I need to give myself pat on the back really and keep going until I’m where I want to be… I want to be lean but I want muscle tone and curves”, Tanya

Absolutely over the moon with my results in just 4 weeks! Massive thank you to my coach and all the team for the support and guidance. It’s been better than I could ever have imagined. So here’s my 4 week results:

💚 25.5 inches off
💚 9lb 2oz weight down
💚 Skin feels amazing and redness of Rosacea reduced HUGELY
💚 Fitness levels improving
💚 Confidence and self-esteem growing day by day

Loads more personal results achieved in the last 4 weeks, we’ve had some tough times in the family during this time but stuck with it and so glad to have that focus actually. Still a way to go but it’s a marathon not a sprint and I’m fully committed to doing the right thing this time rather than quick wins, faddy diets etc. You get out of your body what you put in and I feel great on these products. I can’t wait to start the next Focus4!”, Lia

“Hey guys, these are my results: I lost 21.5cm; Gained 2lb muscle; Body fat down; 1.7 Visceral fat down to 4.5; Water is up; Metabolism has increased; Metabolic age dropped 4 years; I’m happy with that as my goal was to build muscle on this challenge.”, Alicia

It has not all been weight loss as, Kirilee has been working on her body composition really hard over the past year!

Here are my results from focus 4: I’ve been bulking, filling out and growing muscle for my body building competition in July, while shredding body fat slowly using our challenges.

This is the first time I’ve been brave enough to wear a bikini for the challenge photos. As a coach, I’m super super proud of everyone involved and you have all been so amazing its so emotional”, Kirilee

Congratulations are also in order to Susannah who won our Step Challenge, Stacey who won Sleep Challenge by increasing her average sleep by 1 hour as well as to Natalina who is our Bake Off Winner!

Oh, it has been a total fun getting our competitive nature get the very best of us and £1600 was given away in total to all the most remarkable transformations, although, they are all winners in my heart!

While there are too many result to be able to mention them all, here is one that stands out for me. It is our coach Dee:

“Just finished my 6th Focus 4 and the smile on my face says it all. I have managed to shrink to a size 6-8 from an 18. Down to 20% body fat & getting amazing results that always leave me flabbergasted with this plan. Trust the process, set your goals & go for them!”, Dee

Dee’s transformation is remarkable on many levels. She is a customer who turned coach because it is that Transformed People Transform People. She is not in my team (I wish!), but I love the fact that we all work together, we are one team and proud of each other’s achievements. Dee shows the commitment to her progress and health and her progress is a testament of the power of the community and what “one challenge at a time” can do if you just embrace the journey and commit to long term progress! I had to personally congratulate Dee and she responded:

“Sanela, I remember my first Focus 4 watching the welcome videos being so excited. I literally could not wait because I knew how great this was going to be for me & it has truly saved my life!” (Dee).

Indeed, when opportunity presents itself, you must feel it in your gut, trust that feeling, believe in yourself and go for it!

Here are some other of our March 2021 4 Week Challenge results ad congratulations to all the participants:

Our next 4 week challenge starts 5th April 2021. If any of these testimonials and results have inspired you to join, let me know. You can also read more about 4 Week Challenge.

Until next time,

Here is to you & your health!


eating habits and social influence

Social influence on our eating habits is real

Are your eating habits contagious and if they are – how can you use them to your advantage?

I think it may be a stretch for many to accept that one can “catch” eating behaviour and that that we may be susceptible to the influences of others without us even knowing.

In “Stop blaming your will power when making food choices”, I explored and referred to some studies that show that sleep deprivation, exercise, stress levels, hunger levels, food marketing and gender influences all play part in our food decision process.

However, social element is absolutely huge.

Have you ever noticed that you made different food choices when around different people or in order to match someone you know?

Studies around this are numerous and here are some incredible statistics that may shock you as much as they surprised me:

32-year long study by Christakis & Fowler from the University of California:

  • Study on 12,067 people concluded that obesity seems to be “spread” through social networks, including friendships, siblings and spouses
  • Our chance of becoming obese increases by 57% if our friend is obese, but if the friendship is mutual, the obesity increases by 171%, particularly for the same-sex friendships.
  • One sibling’s chance of becoming obese increases by 40% if other sibling is obese, also more true for siblings of the same sex.
  • Amongst married couples, when other half becomes obese, the spouse is 37% more likely to become obese, wives even more so, 44%.

Here are some other results of different studies:

  • Cambridge Study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2012 concluded that “unhealthy eating partner may determine the choice and consumption of healthier low energy dense foods” and that people generally eat more and similar foods in the company of friends and relatives than when alone and that matching food intake is driven by the our integration needs and the desire to be socially acceptable.
  • Another study published in Health Psychology 2014 (Robinson, Fleming, Higgs) suggests that exposure to social norm messages which suggests that other people are eating healthily may be more effective than health messages per se.

In other words – “Don’t tell me what I should do, but what others do!”

  • Results of a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2014 concluded that social identity is a portion of our self-identity that is derived from a sense of belonging to a group we identify with and that can influence what we eat and how much.
  • Study has found that when participants knew about either low-calorie or high-calorie food choices made by others – it significantly increased their likelihood of making similar choices.

So, what this suggests is that eating habits of people we identify with may influence our own eating behaviour as conforming to the eating habits of a social group or community can reinforce our sense of identity.

This, I am sure, may not come as a surprise as our need to belong is a fundamental human motivator!

The same study also suggests that we may sometimes make food choices (either good or bad) when we wish to avoid social association with an undesirable group, which is a very interesting twist!

Team based weight loss is on the rise, especially internet based interventions, groups and challenges.

  • A study in 2012, published in The Journal of Obesity (Leahey, Kumar, Weinberg, Wing, 2012) found that online teammate enhances weight loss outcomes and that those groups with higher team environment show better results.

So, it appears that weight loss success can be socially influenced as well.

Those that work with a support of someone else, like a support group or a coach, or a partner or teammate – tend to be more successful than those who work in isolation and one of the explanations of this could be the social transmission of eating habits and food choices.

Being exposed to the information about the eating behaviours of those around you, particularly those “on the same mission as you” or those you identify with – can influence what and how much you eat.

So, if our food choices can be contagious, we can indeed use it to promote healthy behavioural changes and having the support in the process seems to be the key as it provides the social proof needed to help us make better food decisions.

Studies also show that these social mechanisms that influence our food decisions are ongoing, regardless whether we eat alone or are with others and regardless whether we re aware of it or not.

  • One final study I wish to mention is by Dr Susanne Higgs, Ph.D., published in the Appetite journal in 2015 concluded that eating pattern can indeed be “caught” and is more effective when we learn what others eat (not when we are told what we should and should not be eating) as long as we feel a sense of shared identity with those “others” (and not if we dislike them or do not wish to be associated with them).

I have been running weight loss groups and challenges since 2008 (as well as worked with clients on a 1-2-1 basis) and, in my own experience, I find our online support and challenges with a high element of support and motivation invaluable, especially to those who have struggled in the past to reach their wellness goals:

  • Some clients prefer to work on a 1-2-1 basis and many make incredible and continued progress, however, it is a fact that participants of our online challenges perform better than the same amount of 1-2-1 clients do.
  • 1-2-1 clients who join challenges start making faster progress once they join, which is why I encourage all my clients to join online groups… and to truly immerse themselves in the whole experience.
  • The higher the bond between participants, better the engagement and better results too of each individual.
  • Those individuals who show participation and enthusiasm during the challenges are likely to do well themselves as by “inspiring others” – they feel inspired themselves. They are also likely to continue making progress, one challenge at a time.
  • Those individuals that prefer to stay back and participate less (or not at all) usually make less progress, which make them quit midway or not join the next challenge – unless they are highly motivated and already live in a supportive environment or have some support element in their environment.

So, if you are sat reading this and thinking about your own environment and realising that you need more positive influence in order to change your health habits – this was written with you in mind!

I often wondered what makes some people do well and reach their goals, whilst some continue to struggle even when we eliminate all the physical impediments and balance their blood sugar levels, increase exercise and sleep, eliminate hunger, etc. Of course, mindset and their own belief system plays a huge part and that is where community is able to help.

We are social beings and I have seen with my own eyes many thriving in the right group environment whilst they simply struggled to make progress on their own. And, more they are involved, more they are motivated and better results follow.

Here are some tips on how to use this research to your own benefit:

  • You can not change your family or friends and you should not, however, if you do not have a positive influence around you when it comes to healthy eating habits, those that you look up to and can ask for support – then you need to find a tribe of people, a community, that will help you in that respect, people on the same mission as you.
  • Working with a coach or a group (or both) will increase your chances three fold, so, trying to do the whole thing on your own without the necessary health knowledge and without support & encouragement is not going to work – your environment is going to win each time! So, keep seeking for associations with people who are already walking the walk you wish to walk. And perhaps talk the talk one day too!
  • Follow people you look up to who already have eating habits and behaviours you want to identify with and adopt some of their habits. Do not shy away from connecting with them and asking them for advice or help. People love to help. Sometimes, when we are stuck, we can not see the whole staircase and that is OK, we just need to be pointed in the direction of the next step. Sometimes it can be just asking a health conscious friend to go for a run with you or help you shop.
  • Have patience, Rome was not built in one day, so it may take time to find what works for you. But, you must make your priority surrounding yourself with people who support your healthy, active lifestyle.
  • Work on yourself and your health knowledge as well as your mindset. Involve your family and friends too. Try to cook a healthy meal together. Or go outdoors more and stay active together. Of course, you will need a proper plan to keep with it, however, starting no mater how small is exciting.

Just imagine the effect YOU could have on other people’s eating patterns and behaviours?

I hope this was helpful and, if you would like to reach out, please do, I would love to hear from you. It could be a simple question you may have that I would be more than happy to find answer for you and here is also what I can offer you to explore to help you get started:

Until next time, yours in health,


Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine’s Day

Rethinking Valentine’s Day

I hope you believe me when I tell you that I honestly do not celebrate Valentine’s Day.

It seems to be a big thing in the West and I simply come from the culture where we did not have it. Even three decades of living in the UK did not get me “into it!”, although, one of the reasons for that may be that I married someone who comes from the same part of the world.

Saying all that, I think it is a wonderful thing to celebrate love.

We can only thrive when surrounded by love regardless of age.

They say that everything we do is out of the two basic emotions (and hundreds, if not thousands, of shades of each in between) – Love & Fear. Only those two.

What is also true is that – to be able to accept & give love, we need to first find it within ourselves.

This is very similar to having gratitude for what we already have – for more of the good stuff that we love, appreciate and desire to be able to show up in our world.

Which is why I wish to rethink Valentine’s Day and our quest for love and re-frame it in the context of health.

In my years of working with clients, nearly two decades now, helping them become better versions of themselves, one is for sure:

Being slimmer and appearing healthier does not necessarily mean we are any happier.

It is only when healthier body is achieved through love for themselves that serves a higher purpose – that the results & habits stick and become a sustainable, long term affair a way of life.

Of course, this is easier said than done as it is as complicated issue as it gets, but this kind of quest for love will bring much more fruits in the long run.

It may come as a surprise to you, but when we do not love ourselves, when we think that we are not enough and/ or even hate our bodies and the way we are – science shows us that those emotions send such powerful stress signals to our bodies and the following happens:

  • Stress increases our cortisol levels priming body to store fat,
  • Our body fat & body weight increase,
  • Food digestion & nutrient absorption is compromised
  • Body is not efficient at building or maintaining lean muscle,
  • Our metabolism decreases, and more…

This is the very reason why they say that “diet’s don’t work”!

I would argue and say – every diet works, however, not ever diet is healthy (in a “way of life” concept that I believe our criteria for a diet should be), and no diet, not a single one, will ever work long term until you start working harder on yourself than on your diet.

Furthermore, diets can only create more issues, more stress and anxiety that perpetuate the above metabolic issues, if we leave underlying issues undealt with, unresolved and bottled up.

Whatever the reason or trauma for our relationship with our bodies and food, until we heal those hurts, nothing will improve long term.

So, this Valentines and beyond, go on a path of learning to love yourself first so you can heal and find your first love – YOU – which then allows love to find us…

One of the first steps to take is to notice the language you use to describe yourself and your body – what stands after “I AM…” is what becomes us.

Working on your relationship with yourself is the most important work you will ever do and, if you want to go further – seek support. It is worth the journey!

You re a gift, you are enough and, with a love like that – everything is possible – love, health and happiness…

You are worth it!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Yours in Health,


4 week challenge testimonials

Our January 4 Week Challenge is all the rave right now…

Congratulations to all our 4 week challenge participants

Most people who join transformation challenges do it so they can lose weight and/or get in shape and get support doing it.

Rarely they count on a deeper transformation that is taking place and the sense of belonging to a supportive community that is making big difference, especially to those who lack support in their every day life.

When I look at the participants, most of whom I have never met before and do not know about their lives prior to the challenge, I see lot of moms, many are stay at home moms, many are nurses, teachers and everything else in between who are trying to improve their health so they can feel better and perform better at work and have more energy for their family once they get back home after work. We have many husbands who joined their wives in an effort to get healthier and in a better shape together. Many mum and daughter teams too and those are truly heart warming…

Everyone is excited when they join, with a dose of self doubt as many have not been successful at sorting their health and weight before, so it gives me and all of us coaches such a joy to see the results and testimonials coming through.

The truth is, once someone has done it once, they know they can do it again!

As one participant said: “Rolling back the 2020 Covid belly one Focus 4 challenge at a time!”

What many are not even realising is the impact their weight loss/ fat loss and eating “cleaner”, anti-inflammatory foods have on their overall health. When their energy is up, they do not even know how that energy increase is a combination of excitement, energy in the group as well as their healthier habits and the effect that has on their immune and digestive health that is sending sparks to their eyes.


Here are some of the best testimonials we received…

“I’ve really enjoyed this challenge especially the pre-recorded work out sessions as I was able to do them early in morning before my kids got up, I’ve worked really hard and the results are my reward. Lost 1st 5lbs and 47cm in total. Well done everyone your results are awesome. I’m defo in the next 1 to help push me to my target and and I’m super chuffed I can zip up my favourite jeans again”, Stephanie

“Absolutely loved this challenge 🥰 total loss 52.5cm & 10.6lb and my husband.. 34cm & 12.8lb. Loving our before and after pictures 🥰… so pleased! Well done everyone!! Xxxxx”, Katie

I still can’t believe my results! 56cm off in total! Want to say a special thank you to Lisa Lloyd Davies ⭐️ Thank you for your continued support and for always believing in me.. you really are an inspiration to everyone ⭐️ Looking forward to the next challenge already!”, Hannah

Mine and my amazing mum Julies clothes transformation photos.
I’ve tried squeezing into these jeans for the last 10 years (yes I have kept them for that long) then 28 days with the support from you guys and BOOM!!! This was my mum’s first time ever on the products and I think we can clearly say she smashed it!!! Well done Mum!!!! Huge thanks Kate Russell for putting up with my endless questions!”,
Jacqueline and Julie

“Still awaiting my comparison photos but I’m an epic 34cm smaller and have shifted my mindset massively. Hoping to get on the exercise side of things in the next challenge too. My overall eating habits are much better and now baby is settling into something that may well be a routine one day I’m making the most of cook once eat twice+ philosophy…managed to knock up 4 meal pots for myself last night (4 varieties same base ingredients so glad I won’t be eating the same stuff in a loop) and 3 for hubby. I’ve also managed to batch cook and lamb and veg soup today and feed the kids something decent too… that is most certainly a win! X”, Ce’Nedra Gayle

“Hey everyone! I’ve been seeing everyone’s pictures and it’s incredible how amazing you all look… I just want to share a little of my story and would love to hear yours!

So, 3 years ago, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, at 21 this was life changing for me and a bitter sweet moment! Not only have I now got a life long condition but I finally had answers after years of misery! Before I stumbled upon Focus 4, I was in constant pain everyday, not knowing if it was going to be an alright day or a bad day (never had good days), most days crippled me and was bed bound, off and on medication to try and ease the pain and symptoms. No life for a young person!

Weight always fluctuates because of the horrible steroids I have to go on and thought I can’t live like this anymore. Then I found my feet with Herbalife Nutrition.. and, with such amazing and supportive people a few challenges later… I’m fitter, healthier and most importantly in no where near as much pain as I was just a few months ago!

I never thought I would be able to get through a day without pain, but now I’m having a lot more of them! Thank you, Herbalife Nutrition and you amazing people, specially Gemma Louise Bowen, for your encouragement and a new lease of life I never thought possible!” Charlie

“As everyone else has been brave enough I may as well join in, here are my first focus4 results, 17cm off between my waist and my hips and 8lb lighter, roll on the next one!”, Rowena

“Thank you everyone, without your love and support I wouldn’t be here!!
You all make me proud! 40cm down and working on the rest now until the next challenge. No more fizzy pop just water or tea goes in my mouth! Here’s to the next one!
, Kerry

“1st Focus 4 done! Impressed with my results, 47.5cm lost and a I am amazed by the difference in photos too!”, Alfie

“Took my weight measurement on the scale. Total loss = 8.5 lbs. Took my body measurements. Total loss = 43 cm. Not bad as I couldn’t work out for the last two weeks. Boom ♡!”, Sarah

“My RESULTS are in: My Weight loss – 13.5 pounds. My CM loss – 69.5cm. My Total loss since 14th Nov 2020 (including a Christmas break). My Total Weight loss – 22pounds. My Total CM loss – 100cm. ⭐️ I.am.Absolutely.over the moon!”, ⭐️ Charlotte

“Tomorrow is my final weigh in, measure up and fabulous Herbie photo shoot. In all honesty, with a new baby in tow plus 3 kids and a man child, I’ve not been my most dedicated, but I’ve seen progress none the less. Not only do I look better but I feel better too, physically and mentally. I don’t have the time I’d like to meal prep. With a newborn I typically look at hot food and it seems to be mandatory that I eat it cold and drink cold tea. Having shakes and protein snack on hand ensures I have the nutrients I need not only to nourish myself but to feed my daughter. It means I’m not so starving I devour the contents of the kids junk cupboard. I had so much support that even my wobbles didn’t destabilise my progress. My macros were tailored to my new body and breastfeeding requirements. I learned how to turn shake into healthy yet naughty snack to itch my sweet tooth and my milk production is awesome. It took away my midnight sugar cravings, I’ve gained some awesome quick recipes for my cookbook and I already look better than I did pre-baby. Genuinely looking forward to the next challenge.”, Alley

“It’s been so inspiring to share the journey with everyone and feel the highs and lows together, rooting for each other after fantastic results and supporting each other when things didn’t go quite as we wanted to.”, Isabel

“I’m feeling very proud of myself! I’ve lost 1stone 1.8lbs (have a lot to lose) and 50cm!! I’m so so happy. Thank you all for this group and amazing support xxx”, Amy

“Loving reading all the positive results/mindset from this challenge.
It’s my first time using HL products & taking part in a challenge. I was a little hesitant, now I’ve no idea why! I have loved cooking the recipes & using the products. I too will be sticking to plan. I am buzzing with energy & to top it have lost 16” & 12 lb -it’s a no-brainer! Thank you to you all, especially Caroline Griffiths for the gentle encouragement to give it a go. Will definitely be joining the next challenge! X”
, Layla

“14 and a half inches lost which is 36.83 cm. I’ve eaten so much lovely food, i feel so healthy, my skin is nicer, i have more energy Very thankful i joined this so i can’t wait for the next one and I’m carrying on with this plan until then and until i reach my goal”, Tanya

They are amazing, aren’t they? Wait until you see actual transformations (scrawl below)

If you have been inspired by the testimonials, head over to 4 Week Challenge page to read all what you will get when you join the challenge and you could be a success story at our very next Focus 4 Challenge!

If you have Questions, I have the Answers! Contact me…

And, until next time, stay safe, healthy, nourished and energized!

Yours in Health,


Sanela happy healthy new year

Happy, Healthy New Year 2021

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas holiday and, as the New Year is nearing, I woke up this morning with a couple of insights I really wanted to share with you.

If 2020 has taught us anything it is that things do not exactly work out according to plan. Sometimes. And that we have to remain flexible and focus on our blessings.

Sounds like a cliche, but it does not make it less true.

I was thinking this morning about goals for 2021 and two concepts run through my mind that may fare better than any goal we can set in the current (or any) circumstances:

1. Only Love Gives Great Health.

Instead of setting up health and weight goals for 2021, work on yourself and your personal growth more than you ever worked on your health or your diet. Because healthier mindset will lead you straight to  healthier and happier you.

I hope you enjoy Debbie’s story who did just that in 2020 and look where it got her!

2. Work Is Love Made Visible.

“Work is love made visible.
And if you cannot work with love but only distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.
For if you bake bread with indifference, you make a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger.
And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distills a poison in the wine.
Ad if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man’s ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.”

Kahlil Gibran

My wish for you in going forward into 2021 is to find what makes your love shine through… and to learn to approve and love yourself unconditionally so you can truly achieve your best health and become the very best version of yourself.

Happy, Healthy New Year 2021.

Yours in Health,


Debbie front image weight loss testimonial

Debbie’s Weight Loss Transformation is so much more…

“12 months ago my life was very different… I had been very overweight for 14+ years and recently found myself separated from my husband of over 17 years.  It was time for me to get my life back on track! 

My best friend Hayley introduced me to Herbalife and I had my first consultation with Sanela and weigh in on 4th January 2020. Since this date, all aspects of my life has changed for the better!

I am more outgoing, with positive attitude, healthier, fitter and wake up looking forward to what the day will bring! Other diets worked for a small amount of time but as soon as I fell off the wagon, which always happened, the weight, plus more went straight back on. 

Herbalife Nutrition and its ethics stuck with me.  I understood the changes I needed to make in life and way and, for the first time, my weight was never the figure I focused. Instead, I focused on my health, especially the visceral fat, striving to bring this figure down to bring out the healthier person I knew was hiding deep down inside me.  

A lot has happened in 2020, virus has impacted everyone in one way or another, but I’ve not let this stop me! I am happy to say that I am one of the minority whose weight has gone in the right direction! Life is very good, my journey continues! I look forward to seeing what the next year will bring and know that Herbalife Nutrition will be in my life forever.

I simply cannot see me ever waking up and not having a shake for breakfast!

Love, Debbie”

More about my work with Debbie

I can not express enough how proud I am of Debbie.

During the entire year we worked together, I could see her transforming not only physically, but internal shift that was taking place was astounding.

I know Debbie has big plans for 2021, but let me reflect on her progress in 2020:

  • 25 kg or 55 lbs weight loss (4 Stones)
  • Visceral Fat dropping from dangerous 13.9 to 8.8 – which is around 3 litres of internal visceral fat lost.
  • Body fat went from 51% to 42%, which is still high, but Debbie is getting closer to healthier range.
  • Debbie’s lean muscle went from 46% to 55% of her body. She has not lost ANY lean muscle in the process suggesting that meal plan she is on is fully balanced for her unique body composition to keep her metabolism high.

Statistics aside, I have seen Debbie’s confidence grow with each month passing by, she truly is not only feeling healthier, but noticeably happier, she even bought a new house this year and has completely changed her life in the past 12 months.

Even in lockdown, Debbie and I stayed in touch and kept working on a 1-2-1- basis, but Debbie was also part of our 4 Week Challenge that kept inspiring Debbie to stay daily on track with her nutrition and fitness.

Debbie understood very soon that she did not sign up for a diet, but a Way Of Life, which already sets her apart from anyone just going on a “diet”!

Because she was ready, she was also teachable!

I LOVE what I do for all the people I meet and help and believe me when I say that I do understand that everyone is on a different journey and at a different point of readiness, which can not be rushed.

When we are not ready – there is just too much resistance and self-sabotage is a daily struggle.

Debbie was completely ready when she started 12 months ago, she kept being accountable to me even when we could not see each other during several months of the lock down.

Many used lockdown as an excuse to “take a break”. No judgement here, please. Remember, we are all on a different journey and a different point of readiness to change!

Debbie’s results just gave her more fuel and motivation to keep going and she truly achieved necessary mindset shift in 2020 needed to not only achieve results, but keep those results.

Debbie may as well be my absolute Star Client of 2020, however, I am a proud coach of all my client! Because it is our differences that make us unique in who we are.

I am hoping that Debbie’s story will inspire you to get started on your own journey and make 2021 YOUR BEST YEAR EVER.

Because you CAN and you are worth it!

Do not let circumstances dictate what you can achieve or not! You’ve got this and I’ve got you too!

If you feel you are at the point of readiness, let’s work together! DM me for details!

Until we meet again,

Wishing you a Healthy & Happy New Year 2021!

Yours in Health,


Influences on food choices weight loss weight gain

Stop Blaming Your Will Power when making food choices!

Did you know that we make 227 food decisions each day on average and that 95% of those are sub-conscious?

That is absolutely crazy, right?

What drives our food decisions?

Of course, main reason we eat is to survive! Also, to satisfy our senses of pleasure that eating gives.

However, how comes eating for many goes beyond just feeding the body and satisfying the senses and even the healthiest of us find it difficult to resist certain foods we know are not good for us!

Me too included! And it drives me crazy when it happens!

Because I know that I should know better!

Well, as I found out, I DO know better, but that is sometimes not enough!

So, all perplexed, I dived into understanding this concept more, so I can make sense of what is happening to me as well as learning why so many of my own clients keep lapsing even when they are truly motivated and have all the tools and support to help them stay the course!

What I found is that our brain is absolutely fascinating and is influenced by myriad of things and here is what influences our food intake and how to stay in the flow:

1. Sleep Deprivation is linked with an Increased Appetite

It was only recently that the link between sleep deprivation and the way it effects brain mechanisms responsible for food choices and appetite have been discovered.

As it turns out, numerous studies confirm that sleep deprivation leads to a double whammy of your brain desiring more foot and, at the same time, your brain being completely incapable of evaluating whether you are really hungry.

Sleep deprivation has been shown to effect Cortisol, our stress hormone, that is also known as a “fat storing hormone” and an increase of cortisol increases our desire for high calorie foods.

And, as studies show – the more sleep deprived we are – the worse our choices get!

So, getting enough sleep is essential to getting a grip on our hunger and food choices. But, that is not all…

2. Your Stress Levels lead to an Increased Food Consumption

Numerous research confirms that stress has an effect on both neuronal and physiological effect when it comes to weight gain.

The results of studies show that what happens is similar with sleep deprivation because, usually higher stress is linked with sleep deprivation, which increases cortisol, so the whole cycle repeats of our desire for high fat, high sugar, high calorie foods.

Therefore, taking care of stress and sleep is important, but I wish that was all.

3. Hunger leads to more unhealthy food choices

This is a logical consequence and research also confirms it to be the case – hungry subjects consistently chose more unhealthy foods compared to those who were more satisfied.

This is what you need to make sure:

  • Do not skip your breakfast
  • Do not skip your snacks
  • Combine protein with healthy carbohydrates with every meal and snack
  • Drink enough water as thirst can be perceived as hunger!

Another important tip – do not go grocery shopping when hungry!

4. Exercise decreases our appetite

When we exercise – we burn more calories, therefore, logical thing is to think that we would be more hungry, right?


Research shows that staying active and moving your body makes us less motivated to eat.

So, next time you feel your are spiraling out with unhealthy choices – put your trainers on and go out for a sweat!

5. Food Marketing influences our Food Choices

Visual cues are incredibly influential when it comes to making food choices.

Food companies invest in an insane amount of money on researching on how packaging & advertising can make us consume more. Food marketing, after all, is a multi billion dollar industry.

Sad truth is that most of that marketing is concentrated on promoting unhealthy products, well, 99% of the marketing that is! This is not just packaging, but think about television advertising, especially one directed at our own children.

So, the battle for healthier food choices is real!

Research shows that TV food ads directly increase children’s preferences for those foods.

Good news is – while food advertising can motivate us to make unhealthy choices – research also shows that it can help us make healthier choices too.

Recent study shows that providing nutritional information in the form of food labels have a positive effect on our brain and motivates us towards making healthier choices.

So, educate yourself on food labels and pass it on to your children too (in the simplest possible way) because when you read the labels – health attributes trump taste!

Truly, knowledge becomes king again!

6. You are WHO You eat with!

Yes, not only what we eat that determines our health and, well, our waist size, but also, who we surround ourselves with!

Not only that, but the research shows that we are influenced by who we identify with – and that goes for both how much and how often we eat – even when we eat alone!

7. Gender Differences matter when it comes to food choices

Research on this front shows that the main reason why men seem to be more successful at sticking to weight loss plans is simply — evolution!

Women consistently chose unhealthier foods over men and explanation could be that female ancestors had an added responsibility of nourishing themselves and infants, which predispositioned them for higher food intake to lay down fat stores, which would give them an evolutionary advantage in case of future food shortages.

These are not the only factors that effect our food choices but they surely are main ones and it shows that external factors are very powerful as sometimes we have no control over them.

Here is what we can do:

  • Establishing a sleep routine and making sure we get 7-8 hours of sleep each night
  • Reducing stress will add more quality to our life not only a reduced appetite. Remembering that sleep and stress are related.
  • Keep active as exercise not only helps us burn calories and keeps our appetite under control, but it can also help with stress reduction.
  • Educate yourself about nutrition, nutritional balance of foods, what our bodies need and certainly learn to read labels as better knowledge and engagement with nutritional content of foods does lead to healthier choices.
  • Surround yourself with the community of fit and active people who are a positive influence on your health efforts.
  • Be aware of clever food marketing – awareness can help you in now falling pray to their influence.

It has helped me personally to realise how blessed I am with the community of our 4 Week Challenge and a regular 5 Day Challenge as well as my colleagues health coaches. Being more involved in our community, as much as it goes for our participants, it goes for all the coaches including me – is essential to keep health motivation high.

I have made more commitment to improve my sleep routine as well as to keep active.

I realised that periods when I lacked activity is indeed linked to more food consumption, so, I made commitment to keep and stay active as it is incredibly good for my Mental Health too!

I hope this was helpful and will help you identify areas where you need support so you can stop blaming your will power and focus on areas that can make a profound influence on your food choices.

On top of all the above, ensuring Balanced Nutrition and developing a Healthy, Active Lifestyle are essential in ensuring hormonal balance and staying on top of blood sugar control, reduced cravings and hunger control.

Free Online Wellness Test is a great place to start to evaluate how well you score!

Until next time,

Kindest Regards,


4 Week Challenge Focus 4 28 Day Transformations

Sticking to a Meal Plan does NOT have to be yet another diet!

Warmest Greetings to you and I hope you are OK!

We have all been affected by the second lock down in some form or another and it has left many effected emotionally and mentally by it.

Helping people to live a healthy and active lifestyle is really important to me and I truly believe that no matter how hard it may be to focus on coming out healthier and stronger out of this situation, it is sometimes the only thing we can do – focus on what we CAN change!

Our well being is certainly at the top of the list!

Community that myself and my fellow health coaches created at Focus 4 – our 4 Week Challenge – is a safe and inspiring community with the biggest heart and dedicated to improving everyone’s life and to bring a bit of sparkle to our daily lives knowing we are doing something really good for ourselves and others.

It helps many feel less isolated and the rest to stay on track of their health goals.

What makes Focus 4 special, although support and heart based business make a difference – but it won’t get you results without an absolute commitment to science backed nutritional advice and meal plans.

Yes, following a meal plan can certainly in many cases sound like just another diet (and I know this to be true as I have seen so many I would not touch with a pole!).

However, try to build a house or anything without – a plan!!!

When meal plans are nutritionally sound and created to help establish Healthy, Active Lifestyle habits that can be followed for life and enjoyed by the whole family – this can be a Saving Grace for people who have no routine, no nutritional knowledge or healthy habits and who would benefit from a plan they can follow and stick to, that will not make them hungry, cranky, lower their energy and metabolism.

Also, did you know that very latest research says we have on average 237 thoughts about food each day and people who struggle with weight have over 100 more thoughts about food, so, way over 300 EVERY SINGLE DAY!

When you know exactly what you are doing and why so you can plan your shopping, plan your meals in advance as well as prepare your meals and have them readily available at home, work, in your bag – so you can stay on plan – can you imagine how this will reduce the amount of thoughts of food such as “What shall I have (for lunch, snack, dinner, breakfast…?”, “I am hungry, I don’t know what to have!” (while crisps are calling you from the cupboard!)?

Our participants are seeing an improved wellness in all aspects of their health and that is what counts!

It is not about eliminating food groups, but learning the balance and what makes us feel good!

It is about throwing away the scales and weight loss focus, but focus on Healthy, Active Lifestyle and celebrating our bodies!

Furthermore, our true secret is the safe community that offers our participants support and accountability found to be 3 times more likely to deliver results.

  • F4 Aneta 90 days results
  • Focus 4 Testimonials and Results of a 4 week challenge
  • Focus 4 Testimonials and Results of a 4 week challenge
  • Focus 4 Testimonials and Results of a 4 week challenge
  • Focus 4 - 4 week challenge testimonials
  • Focus 4 - 4 week challenge testimonials
  • Focus 4 - 4 week challenge testimonials

Here is what some of our participants are saying:


“For me it is how much I relied on and ‘needed’ sugar and caffeine to the extent I couldn’t go in a shop without buying chocolate. Only 2 weeks in and my energy is much better and lasts longer now than with the quick fixes”


“For me it’s the amazing recipes, realising I don’t need the amount of carbs I was having before. Having something to follow helps me stay on track so much more! And being part of something helps.”


“Definitely not bloated now and digestion is better”!


“Since starting and revamping my complete food relationship I’ve also found lots of foods that were making me feel so poorly. I constantly had tummy issues which would flare. Since cutting out pasta, rice, bread and most starchy carbs my digestion is 1000% better. It always reacts very quickly now if I eat something which I’m sensitive too. 

I had a few spoonfuls of Wholemeal Rice last night and my digestion was unsettled for a few hours. It does limit me sometimes, I tend to stick to lean protein and veggies and then every now and then I re-introduce something to see what happens. The list is growing of things to cut out but I know I feel so much better so the limitations are definitely worth it!”


“Focus 4 for sure has helped with my digestion, being a shift worker helps massively, and hydration, less standard teas/coffees & realised how happy my body became with simply just having water with fruit infused for flavour. Also, it helped improve my sleep; I normally struggle to get off to sleep, this is no longer an issue – plus it’s quality sleep unbroken.”


“For me it’s the way I eat altogether. It transformed my body for the better and can’t think of having anything else anymore. A while ago we were at friends and dinner was pizza…took me two days to overcome. I quit drinking ages ago and to be honest: the ice cream shop in town is still a major challenge for me!”


“I am definitely not bloated and it makes me think how many carbs i used to eat, I feel better in myself i feel healthy and i love the recipes and support!”


“What a difference in my eating habits since doing focus 4 I’ve tried so many new recipes. Some ingredients I’ve never even tried but would of automatically said I won’t eat it. There’s more healthier food in my shopping every week so it’s also having an impact on the children.”


“Two surprises for me:

1) It’s not about eating less. I never used to have as many snacks – they are just healthier now.

2) As well as feeling less bloated I’ve had no reflux which I did struggle with sometime before.”


“Few things I’ve found in the nearly 3 years of using Herbalife Nutrition and following Focus 4 plan:

1) I used to really suffer with bloating/inflamed tummy and really bad flatulence, but since eating clean this has totally gone! Even if I do eat one or two naughty things I’m now usually ok. I do suffer however if I completely over indulge (not often now) but I know what to do to get back on track! 

2) The amount of food to eat and frequency! I was always having a ‘snack’ as my breakfast so no wonder I was lacking in energy!! I love food and eating so this is fantastic! 

3) Water for energy! This was a revelation for me! How can something plain and zero calorie give you energy?!? But it so does!!! I always drank water and carried it with me but didn’t get to 3 litres a day which I do now! If I’m tired I always think about how much water I have had and usually it’s not much!”


“I have only been on plan for 3 weeks and im loving the programme. The biggest change i have noticed is my mindset. This plan is so easy to follow. Unlike other diets I am not constantly obsessing over food, thinking about my next meal, concerned with what I’m missing, craving the sweet things. On this plan I want to choose the healthier option not only because they are good for me but because they taste good. 

I have gone from drinking 4 cups of coffee a day to a aloe mango drink in the morning and 2lts of water. Water used to make me feel sick. I love the support groups and will always be grateful to my husband for giving us this journey.”


“For me I am so surprised how I have stuck to the plan, I never stick to anything, my excuse has always been how busy I am in work, but this plan helps me be more organised with my snacks and shakes, it’s easy as I can have something healthy in the car on my way to work or when I’m out on the road for work, I always used to grab something quick which is usually something not great for you! 

But, how things have changed! I have not only changed my eating habits, I’m drinking much more water and losing inches. I also was so embarrassed taking my starting photo … now I’m looking forward to talking the end photo! 

I am also really looking forward to the next challenge!”

So, if you are in need of some support, then join us! This is what you can count on:

  • Energy going through the roof
  • Stable blood sugar levels
  • Hormonal Balance
  • Personalised Nutrition
  • Support and accountability within the group
  • Your own health coach that has your back outside of the challenge
  • Better digestive health
  • Less brain fog, more focus and concentration
  • Daily fitness to keep you going
  • Fun & Excitement as we always come up with new incentives, games & competitions

Ask yourself – if you continue with your current lifestyle – will you be healthier and in a better shape in one, two, five years time than you are now?

If you are not happy with your answer to the question – there is a solution! Change is heard, but change is the only thing we must do in order for our life and health to change!

You are worth your best life and health! Go for it!

More about 4 Week Challenge!

Until next time, yours in Health,


P.S. If you did not know about this service before, check out my Free Online Wellness Evaluation Questionnaire to help assess your current lifestyle and give recommendations on how to improve certain aspects of your health so you can reach your wellness goals.

The day her heart stopped beating

I remember it was a cold, yet a sunny day in February 2019.

Tuesday. 11:30 AM.

I have just finished a wellness evaluation with a brand new client. I was upbeat and really happy and, as soon the the client left, the phone rang.

The voice on the other line told me that mum has pulled an emergency cord in her apartment in London and is crying “Help” when they answered the alarm via the inter-phone in her London apartment.

The ambulance was on the way, I was told.

I froze. Cold sweat whizzed through me in an instant.

This has never happened before and, although my mum was just a few days from celebrating her 79th birthday, she has always been in great health, as she always take great care of herself, she has not been in the hospital once since she has been in the UK, she was independent and loved her freedom.

I have not prepared for a phone call like this and, yet, it was here.

The adrenaline soon kicked in and I quickly said I will establish contact with her and keep them updated. Upon calling her, she did answer her mobile phone, but her speech was distorted and uncomprehensible. I could barely make out that she was asking me to “Call Nora”, her neighbour.

I called Nora who was not answering. I called the warden in her building who was elsewhere answering another emergency. She gave me another neighbour’s number to call, which managed to came to my mum’s aid. She later told me my mum dragged herself through the apartment whilst on her stomach to unlock the door for her.

As all that was happening, mum kept me on her phone as I was telling her I love her and that all will be well. I was calling her names she only used to address me with – my heart, my soul, my happiness, my everything…

My heart was pounding, I felt helpless, being 100 miles from her, but grateful someone was with her.

I suspected it was either a heart attack or a stroke.

She was complaining of a shoulder and a neck pain for the past 4-6 months and I finally forced her to see the doctor and check it out. Being away from her and her English not being great – I was expecting a call from the doctor to update me while she was with her.

That was on Friday, only four days earlier. At 3 PM the doctor rang. She though that physio would be good. I disagreed. I do not even know what got into me. I remember clearly mentioning to the doctor that one can clearly see that vein on my mum’s neck, just above the collar bone, is swollen and visibly blue. I was asking if this could be a cardiovascular issue.

I can truly be stubborn, but I did not feel this was my place as the doctor insisted she was following the procedure and that my mum should have come months earlier, when it all started. By this time we would have gotten to the bottom of it, but physio is the thing she can do to “get the ball rolling” and, investigate further in case the treatment does not work and pain in her neck and shoulder persists.

We left it at that.

My mum felt pleased something was being done and that whole weekend she was sending me photos of her meeting friends, having coffee, walking by the river in Kingston as swans swam by in the icy waters of River Thames, she was at Bentley’s Shopping Centre with another friend… Always posing in her red scarf and red beret I got her in Paris just a few months earlier.

She was super cute. She even took a selfie on a train.

On Monday, day before the attack, she even went to John Lewis department store and bought herself a dishwasher.

Tuesday came and her life changed by 180 degrees!

She went out early to get some milk and, before she could make herself coffee upon returning home, she had an attack and ended on the floor for a couple of hours before regaining consciousness and being able to call for help.

I struggle even thinking about it. How scared she must have felt. Being all alone.

By the afternoon, my husband and I managed to get to the hospital, by which time she had a procedure, stent was put in and when we walked into the room, she was weak but happy to see us, talking.

She introduced us to her nurse from Russia called Olivera. Introducing me to Olivera first and then my husband: “My lovely, lovely son-in-law!”, she said.

She was switched on so many machines as they were monitoring her condition, but I felt we were safe to say – she was a survivor.

We hugged, helped her eat and drink, organised food for the following day. Laughed even. Took a few pictures as she said she had never been in the hospital before, not in the UK, not for the last 30 years. “First and last time”, I said.

I still remember her face before we left when visiting hours were over. She was locking eyes with mine, wanted to say something, but didn’t. Her eyes were telling me that she was scared. I was trying to stay brave for her and ensured her all was well, I did not want her to pick up any of my worry.

“See you in the morning, mum! I love you!”, was what I last said to her as we were leaving.

I was exhausted, anxious and relieved all at once.

I came to her apartment and fell asleep in an instance, in my clothes. Her text woke me up around 9PM. “Mama will be well, do not worry at all, I have survived the worst! Just call John Lewis please and reschedule dishwasher delivery for next week. See you in the morning. I love you so much!”

I put the phone on silent and fell asleep again, like a baby, only to be awaken about midnight, realising that I had series of missed calls from an unknown number and my husband. I called him and was advised to call the hospital immediately. They have been trying to reach me for the whole hour. My heart sank.

I called them and was advised to come to the hospital immediately. There was a further development…

I arrived and found the doctor in charge. My heart was pounding. I was sweating with fear.

He was taking me through so many rooms trying to find an empty room to give me an update. I feared the worst, but I was not allowing myself to give it any serious thought.

“I am sorry to tell you, but your mum suffered a stroke earlier, we had to induce a coma and, I am afraid, brain hemorrhage she suffered is irreparable!”

Say what?!

I was numb. I could not think.

What does this mean?

“Can I see her, is she alive?”, I asked.

“She stopped breathing, but her heart is still going.”, said the doctor.

I felt better and was obviously completely in denial with what “not breathing” meant. Heart is still beating. That is good. I did not register the first part of the sentence.

He took me to her and warned me she would look differently. She had tube out of her mouth. Her eyes were sellotaped. Closed.

I kissed her forehead. Her forehead was not cold, body still had some warmth, but colder than usual. Monitor was showing heart was going at 48 beats per minute. I took eyes off it to talk to her. Next minute I looked at the monitor, it was now 44 beats per minute. With each drop in her heart beat, my heart was beating faster.

I just knew it suddenly… my mum was leaving this world as we know it. I was not sure if she has left already, but holding her hand, stroking her arm, feeling the familiar texture of her skin that was still not completely cold gave me comfort.

Having no response back from her was a painful reminder that those were my last moments with her. My throat was closing, I was holding in a loud cry, but could not stop the tears squeezing through, they just kept on rolling down my face as I was talking to her. I was hoping she can hear me, wherever she was.

39 beats per minute.

I called my husband. “She is gone!” I cried to him in as low voice as I could manage. We both cried, silently. He was on his way from Bath already and could not come soon enough. I was desperate for a comforting embrace.

2AM. 25 beats per minute.

2:20AM. The doctor came. Filled in paperwork.

I looked and there were no more beats. Her heart stopped.

I felt like I was floating. Like this was a dream. A bad dream I was ready now to wake up from.

I was told by her nurse how well she was doing that evening after we left, they even moved her to a recovery ward. Then, at around 10PM she asked for a coffee, said she had a headache as she did not have coffee whole day.

When nurse came back with a coffee, my mum was already having a fit that was a stroke, which is common after a heart attack. And that was it. The end game. She never woke up from a coma they had to induce…

Coffee was an important daily ritual for my mum for as long as I have known her. I think sometimes how she never managed coffee that last day.

“What do I do now?”, I asked the nurse. I was totally lost.

“You can leave now!” was the reply, saying they handle everything. She stays at the hospital until funeral arrangements are made. Undertakers handle it from here.

How am I supposed to just leave her? All alone again.

I gave her a final kiss in the forehead that now seemed much colder. I kissed her hand, I stroked her shoulders and her leg. Her feet were last I touched. I was pausing. Detaching from her was hard. Then taking that final look with the distance already between us.

I know it is just the body, but, it is my mum and this was our final separation.

Young nurse was showing me out of the hospital in the middle of the night. I felt like she needed reassurance that I was OK. “I am OK!”, I said. “Of course you are not OK and it is OK not to be OK! You have just lost your mum!” She said.

Those words hurt so much, but I held back my tears.

That first night I did not sleep. Morning post arrived with her Physiotherapy Appointment. I was angry. I am still angry nineteen months later.

Heart disease is a silent disease and yet, a major cause of death in the UK and worldwide. Signs of a heart attack may cause discomfort in the upper body, in particular shoulders and neck.

I still wonder why her doctor did not pick this up, especially as my mum already had high cholesterol. But, there is no point in blaming, it won’t bring her back.

Ten days later, on her 79th birthday, 15th February 2019, my mum was flying back to her home to Bosnia and Herzegovina to her final place of rest, next to her mum and the rest of our family.

In death, this was probably the best gift I could have given her.

Nineteen months later, here I am, still processing the whole thing. For anyone losing a parent and now, having personally lost both of them, all I can say is that pain never goes away, but it does get easier.

It takes time to process everything too. Writing is my way , just in case you are wondering why I am sharing something so intimate.

Although it brings more tears, it also brings clarity and relief. This is for me, it is my therapy. But, it may give someone an insight and I would not want to deny anyone an opportunity for that to happen.

When I woke up today I truly did not know I would write this, but, as Facebook reminded me of yet another memory of my mum few years back, it took me back to that day when the call came and I found myself yet again remembering the events of that day.

Also, October is a National Cholesterol Month and I also wish to raise an awareness of a Heart Disease.

Whatever your age, lifestyle factors play a big part in managing your cholesterol and, heart health, in general.

We all know, more or less, what we should and should not be doing to live healthily. Problem is that unhealthy lifestyle does not kill instantly, otherwise we would be paying more attention.

My mum took a phenomenal care of herself, but here are two things that, beyond her healthy eating, did not serve her well when it came to heart health:

She was under-exercised and lonely.

Exercise plays a small part in us managing weight, but its benefits for our overall health should not be underestimated. And benefits of exercise for our cardiovascular health are undeniable.

My mother is from a generation and a location where that simply was not part of the culture. She was somewhat active, but, most of it did not require any perspiration on her forehead exactly.

Exercise also helps with moods and staying positive, which is also essential for our heart health, among other things. My mum was a kind and loving woman and everyone who knew her remember her exactly as that. However, like all of us, she had a dark side.

I made a mistake of reading some pages of her diaries before I decided to discard them. With the amount of love she had for me – she would have never wanted me to read them and be hurt so much by her words, I am sure of it.

One thing was clear – she was lonely. She had an unprocessed grief and pain herself. Lots of it. Decades of it. And it wasn’t just war in the 90s. And it was all bottled in. And then expressed as the criticism of my own life. My reactions to it made her more isolated and lonely.

I could suddenly understand her. I am grateful as it has allowed me to forgive her too as our relationship has been complicated. Tender and loving, but also complicated at times. She has not been an easy woman at times. But lack of my understanding made me a difficult daughter too.

The point I am trying to make here is – the invisible, unspoken fight that many of us go through is eating us alive and breaking our hearts. As well as effecting our relationships with people we love the most.

We can have family and people around us, however still feel very lonely. It is not about being alone, I certainly enjoy being alone and never feel alone as such, but it is about feeling lonely. Latest science shows that loneliness kills. It is as bad as smoking a large packet of cigarettes a day.

My biggest regret is missing those clues. For reacting rather than responding. For not talking to her more. Being kinder rather than trying to be right. Listening more. Allowing her to open up, to help her process without my judgement of it.

Sometimes, words, actions and emotions people direct at us have nothing to do with us.

Sometimes it is a cry for help and our self-centered reaction can make those same people incredibly lonely around us.

These insights made me a better parent, almost overnight. Better wife, friend, neighbour. It was like something hit me in the face. And for that awareness – I am forever grateful.

I am now first seeking to understand before trying to be understood.

And, sometimes, it is about showing patience and kindness to those on our path.

There was an elderly woman at the cashier in front of me yesterday. I could see her loneliness through her need to connect and share the contents of her day, even if it was with a cashier she has never met before. I did not mind her taking her time, even after she has paid and her bags were all packed. While cashier was getting nervous, I signaled her it is OK and not a problem for me. I was practicing gratitude for the fact my whole morning was filled with moments with family, clients and human connection.

Heart health is literally at the heart of our health. Yes, nourish it with healthy foods and exercise it daily, but do not forget the affairs of your heart.

When the affairs of our heart are in order and when we experience human connection – we naturally gravitate towards being happier and healthier.

Thank you for reading and hope this was of a value to you too as much as it was to me for writing it.

In grief, like in joy, we unite and are all equal.

Who can you connect with today? Who may need your support today?

And, if you are the one currently grieving, my heart goes out to you. Hope you are managing to find your own way of expression in processing it.

My inbox is always open.

Yours in health,


Tips for Coping with Family Stress During the Pandemic

Tips for Coping with Family Stress During the Pandemic

(Guest article by Emma Grace Brown @ emmagracebrown.com)

The pandemic has forced most of us to make changes to our daily routine. For many, this means spending a lot more time at home than normal. While this is a great chance to make memories with your loved ones and bond with the other members of your household, it also heightens the potential for family tension and conflict. Keep reading to learn how you can reduce household stress and ensure that everyone gets along during this strange time.

Prioritize Health and Wellness

Your household is going to have a much easier time getting along if everyone is feeling their best, so try to make health and wellness a priority! Wellness4Life can help you develop a health plan and find ways to bring more wellness to your family’s pandemic routine through diet, exercise, and other healthy habits. For example, regular exercise will have a wide range of benefits on everyone’s mood and energy levels. Whether you prefer to take walks around your neighborhood or follow online workout videos, a good exercise routine will help reduce the negative effects of being confined in the house and keep everyone feeling calm and relaxed.

Keep Everyone Well-Fed

Diet will also play an important role in keeping your household happy and healthy during the pandemic. According to Mental Health First Aid, unhealthy eating habits can have a surprising effect on your emotional wellbeing. Skipping meals, for example, can make your family members feel weak and irritable. Likewise, diets that lack essential vitamins and minerals can lead to moodiness and fatigue which will only fuel family tensions.

Try making some healthy food swaps to mitigate these issues. For example, swap white bread for whole-grain versions to reduce blood sugar spikes and the subsequent energy crash that can make people cranky.

Do Some Deep Cleaning

Our surroundings have a bigger impact on our mood and energy levels than many people realize. Clutter, for example, tends to make us feel anxious and unfocused, which is why you may feel a little less stressed after cleaning up the house. Redfin suggests that clutter can even contribute to bad energy in your home!

This could be a great chance to deep clean your home and instill more calm into your space. Sort through your stuff and say goodbye to unwanted items that are weighing you down. If you want to go a step further, rearrange your furniture, give the walls a fresh coat of paint, and have your carpets professionally cleaned. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to redecorate your house, this is it!

Get Out of the House

Spending days upon days cooped up inside isn’t good for anybody. Cabin fever is bound to lead to a few household arguments! If you’re craving some fresh air, get everyone out of the house for some outdoor time. Nature has the undeniable power to relax and calm the mind, whatever the weather. Assemble your loved ones and take a long bike ride, pack a picnic and head to the park, or go hiking in the woods. There are all kinds of fun activities you can enjoy with your family outdoors during the pandemic!

Make Time for Yourself

The importance of “me time” cannot be understated, especially now. While it may not be easy to find time alone when everyone is working, learning, and playing under the same roof, it’s not impossible! Even parents have found inventive ways to steal some alone time during the pandemic. For example, you could go sit in your car and listen to an audiobook or run a hot bath and lock the door. If you need to distract your kids for a while, set up a fun craft activity, give them a few household chores, or permit yourself to be a little more flexible about screen time limits.

Coping with the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t been easy for anyone. But as time goes on, we’re all learning to live in this new normal. Turn to Wellness4Life for pertinent tips and information, and help the rest of your family adapt to a harmonious life at home so you can all get through this together.

The One About Energy Levels

The One About Energy Levels

Do you find yourself often lacking energy and focus and then reaching for a fix of your choice – coffee, tea or energy drink?

You are not alone! Most people do experience lack of energy from time to time and in this video I explain where our energy comes from and how to improve our energy levels on a daily basis without quick fixes that do not serve us!

I hope you enjoyed the video, let me please know if it resonated with you. Please feel free to reach out if you would like to improve your nutritional intake in a way that is personalised for you, so you can enjoy the benefits of having energy & vitality!

Stay tuned for more videos and, in the mean time, wishing you an abundance of energy!

Kindest regards,


Th One About Meal PLanning

The One About Meal Planning

Do You often find yourself sabotaging your weight loss efforts by being unprepared and then giving in to temptations? Number one rule is – be prepared and here is why meal planning is crucial if you would like to reach your wellness and weight management goals…

I hope this was of a value and, until next time, enjoy the benefits of being prepared so you can reach your wellness goals and enjoy Healthy, Active Lifestyle!

Yours in Health,


the one about metabolism

The One about Metabolism

This is the first video in Health Weight Management series as knowing how to eat to boost your metabolism as well as what to avoid that busts your metabolism is one of the most important healthy weight management know-hows…

Hope it was of a value! Please feel free to share!

Would you like to find out my take on some other aspect of weight management? Let me know!

Until next time,

Yours in health,


The One about My Story

The One About My Story

I am very excited about breathing a breath of fresh air to my blog posts as it has been a while since I posted, mainly as I was focusing on redesigning this site during the lock down.

Now that the site is redesigned, I am excited about pouring more energy into growing this section and this time, instead of regular written articles, I am going to bring you all the knowledge and experience over the past almost two decades via series of videos. Vlogs, they call them. 🙂

I hope you find them of a value and, first things first, here is my story, where it all started almost 40 years ago, and why I do what I do and with such passion.

I hope you find it of a value.

Thank you for watching.

Yours in health,


Herbalife Nutrition Aloe Mango Healthy Hydration

Intermittent Fasting v Balanced Nutrition & Healthy Breakfast

I am being asked about Intermittent Fasting a lot these days.

So, what is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent Fasting is simply taking a break from eating for 14 to 48 hours.

In my experience entirely, interest seems to come primarily from two groups:

  • Teenagers who might see it as a trend and may want to combine it with Veganism that they know very little about in terms of how to incorporate it in a balanced and nutritionally optimal way, although their intention may come from all the right reasons. This all is a worry as certainly in case of Intermittent Fasting, if ever advised, it would be for healthy adults and certainly not recommended for growing teenagers.
  • Adults who wish to implement it as a way of losing weight: less opportunities to eat leads to consuming less calories and, naturally, it will boost your weight loss. Question is, what is that weight loss made of (muscle tissue or actual fat loss) and whether it can ever be considered as a lifestyle?

I find it interesting that same people who might object to the concept of nourishing and science backed meal replacement shakes (taken once or twice a day as part of eating 5-6 times balanced meals each day with at least 1500 calories and optimum amount of all the nutrients) thinking they will “starve”, are more than open to the idea of, well, starving.

Without doubt, the appeal to Intermittent Fasting is real and I had to look into it more closely. It seemed fair to start with an official disclaimer aimed at Intermittent Fasting:

Fasting is not recommended for pregnant/lactating women, diabetics, active athletes and those following a structured training programme, if you are under 18 years of age, persons with an eating disorder or a BMI under 18.5, and anyone with an illness, a medical condition, or following a medical treatment. Also, medical supervision is recommended for any fast over 24 hours.

So, it does leave out quite a large part of the population, suggesting it is not entirely safe, certainly not for those who fall into the above categories. This advice certainly should be followed.

What does the research tell us about Intermittent Fasting?

Some research into Intermittent Fasting shows that when you fast, it causes your insulin levels to decline, that there is a benefit to the human growth hormone as it increases and that your cells also initiate important cellular repair processes and change which genes they express.

So, overall, great great news and, naturally, I want all this for my body too, right?

As a matter of fact, fasting is very common in many religions and customs, it is an ancient and powerful method that can promote healing and regeneration and, if done correctly, can be very good for our health, as even modern science now proves it.

But, fasting once a month or being it an annual practice like it is for Muslims during Ramadan, is slightly different from those who wish to live by it. Hence, the long disclaimer above.

As a believer in having breakfast, I can not just ignore the science and research behind Healthy Breakfast, “breaking the fast” from the moment we wake up as our empty tanks require nutrition to run effectively!

Certainly if you’re diabetic, hypoglycemic or pregnant, breakfast is essential to maintain glucose levels, but, what about these important and well researched benefits for the rest of us:

  • Improved energy levels & metabolism.
  • Provision of essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein and fibre (compared to no breakfast).
  • Stable blood sugar levels, which effects our hormones responsible for weight management, reduces hunger and cravings, reducing our chance of over-consuming high calorie foods later in the day.
  • Improved memory and concentration.

So, if Intermittent Fasting can indeed improve our present health and future longevity and while Healthy Breakfast has already well researched benefits for our metabolism, weight management, concentration, moods, etc – can those two be combined?

I was glad to hear that Dr David Heber, Chief, Clinical Nutrition Director, Nutritional Medicine and Obesity Professor at the UCLA, certainly thinks so:

“In ancient times, humans did not do intermittent fasting as a weight loss diet. They had no choice as there was little or no food available in many environments from cold caves to hot deserts. Today with fast foods and street foods everywhere, many people only stop eating at night and while sleeping.

I am sure many can relate to this is as sometimes we’re not even listening to our body signals because we’re mindlessly stuck in our habits around eating as we are so used to having food around us all the time.

Dr David Heber suggests that “eliminating after dinner binge eating of snacks after 5 PM and not eating for 14 hours until 7 AM qualifies you as an Intermittent Fasting Dieter.”

So, it does not have to be a big deal and there certainly is a safe way for everyone to benefit from Intermittent Fasting during the night when body is generally regenerating and cells are given the space and time to get the DNA debris and waste products out, but without missing out on ever so important Healthy Breakfast, an opportunity to fuel body for the day ahead.

Dr David Heber continues:

Your body goes through a change in metabolism every night while you are sleeping and not eating. These changes are the adaptation to starvation which allows you to survive long periods without food. You lose body protein and muscle during long-term fasting which has to be restored with more protein when you resume eating a healthy diet without high fat/high sugar snack foods.

I don’t recommend fasting for many days as this will lead to losing muscle, lowered metabolism, and weight regain. The body normally adapts to fasting and breaks down fat to spare protein being used to keep blood glucose up while you sleep.

Amino acids from protein account for half of glucose production while you sleep with the other half coming from glycogen breakdown in muscle and liver. Ketone bodies formed from fat in the liver rise while you are sleeping and are used for energy by your cells and organs.

Having a Protein-Rich Shake at breakfast (The most important meal of the day) helps to restore your muscle protein lost during sleep and will lead to healthy weight management in combination with resistance exercise and a Healthy Active Lifestyle!

I share his views that behaviour of Intermittent Fasting as, while it works for some and is seen as a lifestyle choice for many, it is not as good as combining Balanced Nutrition and Healthy Active Lifestyle.

Certainly not as a way of life.

But, if you must try it or if you desire to implement it for the benefits of cell longevity and all other researched benefits of IF – consider taking Dr D. Heber’s advice and building a habit of an early dinner, eliminate snacking after dinner and having your Healthy Breakfast when you wake up, which would allow at least 12 -14 hours for body to fast – giving body a break from food during the evening and night when body is naturally resting and regenerating.

This would also solve mindless snacking in the evening that many have an issue with and certainly make it possible to have the best from both worlds, after all.

Yours in health,


Free Wellness Evaluation

Diana’s Testimonial

Diana’s Testimonial

“I have known Sanela for many years. However hard I try to describe Sanela, I do not think any words would do her justice.

Sanela is great. She is not just a nutritional therapist. She is an amazing human being who has invested her life into in-depth study of human character, meaning of life… And this, combined with her expert knowledge of nutrition, the mechanics of weight loss, and physiology of the human body makes her approach very unique to addressing the issue of weight.

Because it is not actually about weight. It is about health in its entirety. Both physical health and mental health. This cannot be separated in fact.

Sanela’s holistic approach to health enables her clients to embark on a journey where losing weight is not a drag and living healthy becomes a way of life. Not because one has to but because he/she wants to.

Being mindful of what is good for our bodies and choosing healthy options is a powerful way of self-care.

Sanela’s message “Get excited about choosing health & living healthy” is key to a changed mindset which will ultimately lead to weight loss which will be sustained.

I highly recommend Sanela to anyone trying to lose weight or improve their health. I really think she is the best in her field as I continue to work with her on my own journey to wellness.

Diana, Bath (Health Care Professional, Bath)

Herbalife Nutrition success stories and testimonials

Hayley’s Story

Hayley’s Success Story

Hayley is a mum of two young girls here in Bath and came to see me after being referred to me by her mother-in-law, Fran, who has been my client since 2017. We did the Wellness Evaluation with full body composition analysis, had a great chat about her current challenges.

At the end, Hayley was excited to start with our basic Herbalife Nutrition plan and was given a full Nutritional Manual to follow with recipes for her other meals, shopping ideas, meal planning ideas, exercise, etc. I took her through it and, to my surprise, Hayley did not need much to set off on her journey changing her breakfast for our Formula 1, changing balance of her meals, serving sizes, meal frequency and soon started feeling better as well as ending losing 22 lbs to date in total.

Hayley implemented some recipes within both her own and her husband’s lifestyle, which caused her husband to lose some body fat and feel much better too. I do not think we appreciated how much progress Hayley made until she sent me the photo in a blue jumpsuit that she bought herself for their wedding anniversary break. She looks absolutely stunning.

Here is to Hayley’s continued success.

Aubergine, Goats Cheese & Spinach Shakshuka

Aubergine, Goats Cheese & Spinach Shakshuka

There are many versions of Shakshuka and, whichever one you choose, it is a meal or even a hearty snack that will not leave you disappointed.

One of my clients has recently sent me one of Ottolenghi’s recipes that was featured in his column in The Guardian earlier this year.

Firstly, I absolutely love Ottolenghi and his creative and modern twist on Middle Eastern cuisine. Secondly, I had some aubergines and did not want to see go to waste. And, to make it slightly more balanced and adopted for my clients needs, came out a delicious twist on a Shakshuka favourite, inspired by Ottolenghi.

Aubergine, Goats Cheese & Spinach Shakshuka

Aubergine, Goats Cheese & Spinach Shakshuka
Aubergine, Goats Cheese & Spinach Shakshuka


  • 2 Aubergines, peeled & cut into 1 cm round chunks
  • 2 cans of chopped tomato
  • 200 gr of goats cheese cut into 1 cm cubes (alternatively, use same amount of tofu/ tampeh or 3 eggs per person)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil,
  • 4 gloves of garlic, finely chopped,
  • 100 gr of spinach, washed and chopped
  • season with cumin or garama masala, chilli flakes, black pepper, salt
  • garnish with coriander or basil


Heat the oven to its highest setting.

Peel and slice aubergines into 1 cm thick circle chunks, put on a baking tray, spray with olive oil and season with black pepper and little bit of salt. Roast for 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sized, oven proof frying pan on a medium – high heat. Once oil is hot, add garlic and cook stirring occasionally for up to 2 minutes.

Turn down the heat and add tomato, stir for 10 minutes and season with cumin or garama masala, black pepper and salt.

Once the sauce has thickened, stir in spinach and add aubergines. Top with goats cheese and then grill for 10 minutes or until cheese has softened.

Top with some basil or coriander and serve.

Enjoy and feel free to let me know how you found it!

Avocado fruit that just keeps on giving

Avocado – fruit that just keeps on giving… Enjoy these simple recipes

Who would have thought that avocado is “a large berry with a single seed.” It is one of my favourites, although I almost exclusively use it in savoury recipes, unless mixing it into my breakfast Formula 1 smoothie.

Avocados are also a great source of vitamins C, E, K, and B6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, potassium, lutein, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Healthy fats should be 30% of our diet and, well, part of every meal and avocados are a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids – the exact type of healthy fats we should be consuming.

Avocados are also a fabulous source of an all-mighty fibre, essential for healthy digestion, heart health as well as effective weight management. One serving of 1/2 a medium avocado packs around 5 grams of fibre.

Although most of the calories in avocados come from fat, one does not need to shy away from them – those are essential for our health and even weight management, when eaten in moderation.

Enjoy those recipes as a great healthy & balanced snack or even a meal!



  • 2-3 boiled eggs,
  • 1/2 a medium ripe avocado,
  • 1 tablespoon of low fat yoghurt or cottage cheese,
  • 1/2 lemon juice,
  • 2 Rye or Rice cakes
  • parsley or coriander as garnish
  • salt & pepper
  • chilli flakes


Boil eggs, peel and mix in a bowl with yoghurt, avocado flesh, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Serve on ryvita or rice cakes or even one wholemeal toast or even 1/2 medium sweet potato, as an alternative.

Garnish with selected herbs and chilli flakes.

Enjoy as a healthy snack or lunch!

Home Made Guacamole

Home Made Guacamole


  • 1 ripe tomato, chopped and reseeded,
  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1 chopped onion
  • juice from 2 limes
  • chopped coriander
  • salt & pepper
  • chilli flakes


Mix it all up or whizz in a blender and serve with a couple of eggs for a perfect balance of protein with healthy fats.

Serve couple of tablespoons on a wholemeal toast or a couple of rice cakes or ryvitas for a delicious snack or even a light meal

Store remaining Guacamole in an airtight container in the fridge with a stone of one or two avocados that will prevent it from going brown.


These recipes are one of many our clients get as part of their Personalised Meal Plan. If you would like help with reaching your wellness goals, please do not hesitate to reach out…

Healthy Home Made Soup

Soups – not only winter food

Soups really “hit the spot” in cold winter days, however, they could be a great healthy meal or a snack in any season.

They are a great way to pack in more nutrition especially if your children are like mine – have a limited vegetable menu. Soups are a great way to disguise all those veg that they normally would not touch.

So, I am very lucky my boys love home made soups.

Home made soups are a much healthier option compared to canned soups that are usually high in sodium and some in sugar too, like tomato soup, as well as a chemical BPA. They are easy to make and cheaper too than store-bought ones. So, win on all counts.

I usually alternate between either a vegetable soup or a chicken bone broth soup.

Bone broth in particular has been found to have incredible benefits on our health:

Zingy Formula 1 shake with celery juice

Zingy Celery Juice Formula 1 Wellness Shake

If you love green smoothies, you will love this one:


  • 2 scoops Formula 1 vanilla
  • 1-2 scoops PDM – Protein Drink Mix
  • Handful of spinach 🌱
  • 1 kiwi 🥝
  • 1/2 green apple 🍏
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ginger
  • 300 ml cold water or juice of a whole celery

Method and benefits

You would never eat all those vegetables and fruits for breakfast, but in a smoothie you are packing in so much goodness.

Herbalife Nutrition ensures body gets all important complete plant based protein (18-24gr), fibre (5-10gr) and all the essential nutrients on top of benefits of all the added plants – so you can actually call it a MEAL!


Products you will need

Protein Drink Mix – use instead of milk with F1 or as a high protein snack
Overnight Protein Oats with Herbalife24

Overnight Protein Oats with Herbalife24

This is a recipe that everyone loves and I receive so many requests for, so, here it is… Enjoy as a breakfast, or, ideally, after your Formula 1 healthy breakfast – as a mid-morning snack. My husband loves it as an after dinner healthy snack, so, take your pick…

It is perfectly balanced, with fibre coming from oats, protein, vitamins and minerals from our cutting edge Herbalife24 Rebuild Strength shake (20 gr) with a distinctive chocolate flavour and healthy fats from almond or peanut butter…

What You Need

  • 125 ml of Dark Chocolate Almond/ Soya Milk (under 45 calories per 100ml) or Coconut Milk (Under 25 calories per 100 ml),
  • 30 grams of porridge oats (preferably organic, plain),
  • Rebuild Strength/ Protein Drink Mix (PDM) – 2 scoops per serving (10/15 gr protein)
  • 3 almonds or 1 teaspoon of plain almond/ peanut butter (no sugar/ salt).


Blend 125 ml of Dark Chocolate Almond or Soya Milk or Coconut Milk with 2 Scoops of PDM or 2 Scoops of Rebuild Strength (in the USA – 1 Scoop of Rebuild Strength) and pour over 30 grams of Porridge Oats.

Store in the fridge overnight (or make in the morning and allow 2 hours before eating) and serve for Meal 2 with 3 almonds or 1 teaspoon of plain almond or peanut butter.

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