The 5 Pro’s and the 5 Cons of weight training

Yo, yo folks.

How’s the quest for fitness going? Swimming in an eternal sea of egg whites and soy-protein-isolate-hold-the-sugar protein powders? In my last post on getting started with this whole weight training caper I touched on what this post would be about. The benefits and downsides of weight training. Namely in direct correlation with this style of training I am doing: online group coaching.

In the interest of being economical with my words, this one will be somewhat short and sweet. Like a good hit of stevia. This is designed to give you a good solid overview [from my first-hand experience]. I’ll outline the reality and journey of taking on board a program like this. Why? To help provide you with key insights into:

a) Planning weight training and meals [including macronutrients]

b) The importance of tracking your work outs and logging your nutritional intake

c) Mindset. How we can be our own worst enemy or best friend.

Gold's Gym. One day.

So like a good hypertrophy set we want to smash out, let’s hit it:

Pro’s

  1. Feel good: Like the new Pharrell song ‘Happy‘ (my friend sent me one of the one hour versions – this is the 4.08 min one), you will feel good. Afterwards. I can not stress that enough. It’s almost like you need to bottle the ‘feeling’ after a good weights workout and measure it out in doses before you go. Why?  Y’know how your mind starts saying things like  “there’s a good show on tv”, “I don’t feel like it, I have so much to do…”, remembering the ‘feel good’ feeling and choosing to have more of it, has immense knock-on effects in your life. Namely: confidence, you start sleeping better, you become stronger (mentally, physically and emotionally) and the big one: you are putting yourself first. That is huge. You’re saying, I’m worth it. I deserve to be happy and this is how I can make that happen.

  2. Money, you can save it: Holler! Did someone say “save money?” Yup, this is true. Although, you need to be clever about this. It costs me $77USD a month for this 16 week challenge. With today’s exchange that’s $88AUD for my Aussie readers. That gets me a full nutritional and training program – specifically designed for my needs (muscle gain), access to John’s brain and his colleague Mike Vacanti on pretty much any question under the sun I have (24/7) and the one worth it’s weight in dumbbells, the online group itself. There are 70 people in my group that I have forged friendships with. Four weeks ago, I knew known of these people. Now, they are a community of fellow lifters who share their ups and downs, recipes, tips and training wins. I totally love it. The program breaks down to three sessions per week, split into four monthly phases. The next step would be to find a good gym based on what your income\needs allow you to spend.
  3. Gymtastic: Speaking of which, you may either have your own gym (that you go to or set up at home), be in the market to join one or I’m not sure what another or would be…maybe where you live there is one in the complex. At the moment I am b) in the market to join one. I have a base that I use on a casual basis (I buy passes), but currently I am trying out gyms. Most gyms will provide you with free one – seven day passes and this is a super way to use the equipment, find out if it works for you either location or purpose wise and if the prices are within your range. Now, why is the gym a pro? (Let’s just include home set ups in this too). Well, firstly it’s you time. It’s a devoted allocation of your resources to achieve an outcome in a set environment (sheesh that sounded very organisational psychology book-ish). Put in other words, this is the place that is going to get you where you need to go. It can be socially interactive, a great chance to check-out and check-in to your health, and meet like minded crew to share the journey.
  4. Planning queen: Man, last year I was one of the most impulsive people around. I had so many things crammed into my week, that my health and fitness was playing quietly in a corner. On someone’s else’s calendar. Now that the word ‘Strong’ is one of my core desired feelings (massive, massive kudos to Danielle La Porte’s ‘The Desire Map’ for this), I create my schedule around this. Big, big shift from last year. I tried every product under the sun to get organised, create schedules and plan – but I find Google calendar works best for me. Simple. I set appointments to go to the gym, make them recurring and even type the work out into the calendar as well. That way I have it on me always (on my phone). I’ve synced my calendars (home and work) so that I know exactly when I need to go or can prepare in advance. This saves you double booking yourself, as the aim is to make it non-negotiable. This does take time. As the ‘feel good’ feeling rises, so does the planning. I completely understand if this seems daunting, hard or ‘another thing’ you have to do. That was my feeling exactly. The reward (you feeling good) is really worth it though, once you set this up – it’s done!
  5. Positive mindset: It feels like a good segue into this. Trust me when I say, your mind will totally be your own worst enemy or best friend. 85% of the time, I am talking myself out of it. Really. I think of every reason not to go. Then, I sit quietly and work out why. Often it’s because I feel like I need to do SO many other things. But then I think about the ‘feel good’ thing and realise – the SO many other things will be done in a better way, because I honoured my health and I’m also strengthening my mental discipline. On the occasions (there have been two since my last post) I couldn’t go – this was genuinely due to travel and meeting commitments, I made the sessions up on another day (this weekend actually!) The interesting thing with this, was that I could’ve gone. If I woke up early and hit the gym. But I didn’t. And…I didn’t beat myself  up for it. I am not an overly morning person, I chose to schedule them in another time. Positive mindset works in a few parts. You’ll start becoming accountable to yourself (and others if you have an accountability buddy or training partner), you’ll also be kind to yourself, understanding your weaker moments and finding ways to improve them. When that dialogue kicks in (as in my case) – it’s pretty empowering to be able to just get up and go. Not feeding the negativity is key. Staying calm and focused is.

For six months of last year – I practised yoga and meditation through an awesome company called Yogaglo. It really helped me to find that inner resolve through all the debris of internal chatter, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and need to be ‘on’. As a sidenote for Yogaglo, they are California based company that provide online yoga and meditation classes for $18USD ($20AUD) per month. It’s unlimited and you can choose from 5 min meditations to 45 minute yoga classes and everything in between. There’s a 15-day free trial on at the moment if you’d like to check it out.

Well, in my quest to stay ‘economical’ with my words, I feel it’s best to leave the post at this point. It’s good to digest all these positive pro’s and work out what your next action steps may be. I’ll put together the 5 Cons in my next one. There I will divulge the a) and b) statements I made at the beginning and how they drove me bonkers at the start, but now I actually enjoy it (weird). They will be:

2013-11-07 09.32.41

  1. Macronutrients. Counting them. All of them damn things.
  2. Logging your work outs (more admin really?).
  3. Keeping up to date with all the online group posts. Argh! It’s hard enough with social media.
  4. DOMS. Pain. Why am I doing this again?
  5. Intermittent Fasting.
Quote

Do or do not. There is no try. Thanks Yoda.

Till then, stay strong and love to hear how you stay positive in your weight training journey.

Changing Habits, Changing Lives – the day the scales stood still Day #44

Okay. Well. It’s been over two weeks since my last post and sheesh a lot has happened in that time.

For starters, just four days ago I lost more weight and got down to 59kg. It was quite something to see that on the scales. It was my primary goal through this challenge and really something to have that sense of achievement at following through.

I actually stood and stared for the longest time, then got off and on about four times. Just in case. Y’know. Like in case a ‘scale’ MacGyver had been in the neighbourhood. Nup. Turns out it was true. So, I did what all good iPhone owners would do and took a photo of it. I actually hit record and started recording it. Strange the things excitement can do to you. The next day I got on again and hello 58kg! This time round I started laughing. I was in total disbelief at the outcome. I never and I mean never, thought I would feel fit and have optimum health again.

As I mentioned two weeks into this challenge, it was always about the follow through for me, and the weight loss is a fantastic by-product. It means I’ve shed so much emotional baggage, toxicity, negative mindsets and fear. It reinforces that the course of action I took was by far the right thing to do and the reward is… I regained my clarity, calm, clear thinking and optimism back 10-fold. It makes me wholeheartedly believe that it is possible for people to take positive control of their health and wellbeing. And that, makes this journey totally worth it.

I’m staying true to my Top 10 shout outs and splitting them into two parts. This post will recognise the Top 5 friends that supported me along the way. I’ve realised you just can’t gain the best outcomes alone. A posse of the ‘right’ people will get you where you need to go. And that, needs commendation. The other Top 5 are my mentors + business support, who also become evident to me in this process.

Health + what you do = directly correlated.

So here goes (in no particular fashion, I mean playing favourites is what Cadbury’s does right?):

  1. My housemate the amazing Nicole.  I have to say living with an easygoing, insightful, kind and pretty freaking funny person, is going to pay dividends when you embark on crazy challenges to change your lifestyle. When you’re turning your world on its head, you need someone to keep the axis spinning at the same pace. I recommend everybody gets themselves a friend like this. It’ll be the difference between success and failure. The difference between relenting and eating bags of potato chips, or staying strong and thinking of the bigger picture. Only a superstar athlete like Nic, knows what that is about. Home is where the heart is, and you need to be happy there when you’re hungry and wanting to raid a bakery at midnight.nic and lee
  2. My food + new career + journey into the unknown friend Becki. Becki moonlights as foodiecure. If you haven’t checked her out, go on now and do it. Here’s the link again in case you don’t want to go back one sentence: foodiecure. Becks and I used to have many a chat in the kitchen (as all good food fanatics do) at our old ‘corporate’ job discussing how we had these grand plans, amazing visions and what we thought were pipe dreams 7 months ago. By fluke we ended up resigning on the same day and tracking a super similar course of prosperity. We both now wake up every day and do what we love, and that has been the best journey ever. I’m so grateful to have a pal that went on that unplanned drive to who knows where. Moral of the story: follow your gut people. Follow your GUT. If it’s hungry – feed it good food and if it is telling you something, listen to it. me and becks
  3. My best friend ever in the whole wide world Jessica. You totally need a person that is so exactly the same as you, but so immensely different, that they encourage (sometimes force or ‘make’ you) do things that you’re really fearful or anxious about. We’ve been best friends for over 16 years. Yup 16 years. That is like almost half my life (well a bit more) and she’s the most adventurous, driven, well-travelled, social, logical and quick witted person I have the utmost pleasure of calling my buddy. Life has only graced us with 1.5 years of ever living in the same city and we’re testament that true friendship runs stronger than seeing each other every other day. It’s about absolute loyalty. If you have a bestie like this, you’ll know what I mean. If you don’t – you can share mine.me and jess
  4. Techno whizz-Terrifically Elegantly Intelligent- Mind Blowing-Best Question asking person ever. My uber cool compadre Terri-Ann has taught me the art of ‘actionable items.’ Espousing less rhetoric and doing more – making extraordinary things happen. She’s also a quintessential minimalist, so I am going to honour that by not banging on and just saying one impactful statement: “Tez takes creative thinking to a whole new utopia of making you feel like you’ve had three of the best espressos of your life and you are gonna be freaking awesome, because she makes you do and not say.” tez the amazing whizz kid
  5. There’s always one person who gets there first. Leah. So it seems poignant that I’m writing this today, as in less than 24 hours my most utterly driven sports-mad friend Leah will be summiting Island Peak. Oh, it’s just part of the Himalayas and you’ve only got to ice-pick  your way up it. Yah, really! So Leah is pretty much of the champion mindset.  This girl will put her mind to it and do it before you’ve even turned around to put your ice-cream wrapper in the bin. We’ve summited Mt Kilimanjaro, trekked part of the Great Wall of China and triathlon trained together – but she’s gone on to do The Ride to Conquer Cancer twice (over 250km), Kokoda, Island Peak and I believe Oxfam next year. Leah  took me to The Wellness Summit and pretty much got the ball rolling for me to turn my health around. Total respect for that. I’m such a grateful friend, that I picked the most flattering photo of her. I mean only some people can pull off a clown outfit? Fit people that’s who. And that rounds up my Top 5. Next post I’ll share my insights of the business savvy women you just can’t do without. If you thought you were productive now, wait till you meet these movers and shakers.me and leah and sammi-jo

Changing Habits, Changing Lives – the hard yards over #Day 28

lentil as anything eggs

You know, it wasn’t so long ago that this was one of my favourite meals (still love the venue, just not the amount of potatoes I was eating!). It seemingly looks harmless and does contain one of my favourite foods – eggs, but unbeknownst to me – the amount and type of food I was eating was not conducive to my overall health. I find it fascinating that we are drawn to food products that ultimately are not the most optimum choice for our wellbeing. On closer thought, you can apply this adage to a number of faculties in life. It’s harder to extricate yourself from that which appears great, to choose that which seems to be hard. But in the long run – becomes so incredibly energising that the misaligned choices (food, people, environments) are no longer in line with your personal health values and you can choose wisely. Great nutrition provides clarity and a clear head.

This is the cornerstone of what I have learned so far in my journey on Changing Habits, Changing Lives. I really got thinking about myself and others that ‘suffer’ from depression, lethargy and sluggish digestive systems. We harnessed the inability to lose weight and refuted the ability to lose it. I just couldn’t be that person anymore. I was tired of myself and of the societal adage’s around depression and nutrition. For me, there had to be an inroad into optimum health and as I much prefer the road less travelled (give me the longest, hardest way to get there and I’ll take it!) taking my health into my own hands appeared to be the most illogical, yet logical choice.

I cleared my 21 days in Phase 2 of this program on Tuesday. It’s been a couple of weeks since I wrote my last post and I honestly felt fantastic. I still do. A few days after I thought, y’know what? I’m going to keep going! I will do longer than 21 days, perhaps I’ll shoot for 37 days, (the longest you do the Phase for is 40 days). I really wish I would’ve written at that point as I was seriously in jubilation mode. I’d gone from 66kg – frumpy, high body fat, bloated and erratic thought processes to a radical change. The picture below shows me in Santorini – tipping the holiday scales. Featured in the photo is my best friend Jess, she brings me great happiness, no matter what though (you need someone like that).

santorini red sea

Now at 60kg, I’m more joyful, clear thinking, focused and productive – totally kicking my own goals (that have been sitting on the back burner on low heat slowly disintegrating). I have to say a massive thanks to my awesome-foodiecure-friend for taking this snap. It was the first time I’d been out of the house (literally) to an event, worn make-up, a new dress and socialised in well over 4-5 months. From hibernation to celebration.

Me - happy at last.

This program of Cyndi’s really does create life-changing shifts in your habits and in turn your health. I had the great fortune of interviewing Cyndi this week for an article I am writing (due for release in December) in Latte Magazine. The topic is on healthy food movements like ‘Paleo’ ‘Raw Food’ ‘Gluten-Free’ and the like. I’ll be sure to post that up once it’s finished. The thing I was so sceptical about I now fully understand. When you are well – it is addictive. You want others to gain better health as the vitality and joy you experience is incredibly gratifying.

In saying that though, I hit Friday this week and decided the extra four days I did in Phase 2 would suffice. The other thing I learned, is not to push yourself to achieve, achieve, achieve. Incremental goals are imperative for future success and now my roadmap is about implementing my new learned behaviours into this healthier lifestyle I’ve created. I mentioned in my last post I wanted to do a shout out to a couple of friends of mine and that’s not the case anymore…

I’ve decided to disband that idea and instead do a massive HOLLER to my Top 10 friends and things that helped me along this journey. As I’m super grateful for their support and infinite wisdom. I’m also going to post some of my favourite ‘food creations’ that kept me sane and surprisingly satiated along the way. It’s incredible how inventive you can get when you need to! A fortuitous and somewhat serendipitous event occurred for me during this as well – I ended up freelance food writing! I’ve posted a number of reviews pre-this program (in case you’re wondering why I was eating strawberry eclairs and pork belly) But I will stand by one thing, I’ll continue to eat great food – now, my decisions are based on how is the produce sourced and made.

new fave salad - fennel

This little number shows one of my new faves…the humble fennel.

Till next time.

Stay well,

Leona xo

Changing Habits, Changing Lives – not even halfway #Day 15

mykonos

 

2.5 months ago, I was sprawled out on a day bed in Ftelia Beach enjoying the serene surrounds of Alemagou. Where and what you ask? Check it out. For those familiar with the North side beaches of Mykonos, this is a seductive heaven. Your own cozy cove complete with beach restaurant and bar to whet your appetite and refresh your palate. Or should that be the other way around? The half empty cocktail is getting me ‘virtually’ drunk.

This paradise provides two things I love – great food and an escape. If you’re getting to know my posts now, you’ll know what this meal represented – three things I loved more than life itself perhaps. Bread, booze and potatoes. I really indulged myself with this meal that day. I felt like this afterwards:

Taz

 

Meet Taz, the owner’s dog and a delightfully friendly fellow. I’m sure if I consumed the delectable dishes you’ll see on the link, I probably would’ve gone into a food coma. A good one, nonetheless. Why am I tormenting myself and you with distant memories of sunny Greek sojourns? To recount a time not so long ago, that I did not think twice about decadence. Cocktail? Great, I’ll have 10. Massive meal whilst laying on the beach doing nothing? Sounds grand. Sure, holidays are made for sedentary pursuits and trying the cuisine, but what about if your lifestyle is already sedentary and your home cooked meals are based on globe-trotting fare? An expanding waistline is the lucky prize.

So fast-forward to now, Day #15 of Changing Habits, Changing Lives and I’ve really started to rethink the 5 W’s.

What I ate?

Why I ate it?

When I ate it?

Where I ate it?

How I ate it?

Thinking long and hard about it, boiled down to one thing: mindless eating. I ate because I could, because it was there and because I was trying to fill the emptiness and not address it. Food carries such strong emotional ties for people. I know with things like depression the tendency to eat carbs skyrockets, food marketing makes us feel like we want it and the big trap that most everyone falls into: reminder, routine, reward. Have a read of this insightful post, it’ll help change any automatic triggers you may fall into when it comes to eating processed (junk) food.

The Changing Habits Facebook fan page is living proof what great nutrition and wholefoods can do. With over 24,800 fans – this community is an upward trajectory. Cyndi has made it her life’s mission to educate people and for that, I am in total admiration. It’s no mean feat to undo years of food marketing ‘brainwashing’. My friend summarised it really well today:

For so long we lived in a techno-food era, where everything was processed: low-fat, no sugar, manufactured and we bought into it because it was all we knew. We’d been educated to believe that by marketers and until recently the swing has gone to the other extreme – natural food. Now, we want to be healthy, because we know exactly what techno-food is doing to us. Not a lot of good that’s for sure.

So, how have I about faced in 15 days? Pretty dramatically to be honest. Sometimes life is a fortuitous blend of serendipitous people and moments, other times it’s you doing the hard yards to create space for these occurrences. I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit for lining up our fortune to be honest.

eggsHere’s my top 5 tips for how I survived the first two weeks:

  1. Made buying vegetables a priority and bypassed the need to add carbs to most meals. One of my favourite meals now is soft-boiled eggs with grilled asparagus. I grow my own herbs and add chopped flat leaf parsley, Cyndi’s all natural seaweed salt, lots of cracked black pepper and bob’s your uncle! I’ve created a few tasty salads I’ll post later and the key is preparation. If you can make enough to last for 2-4 meals it sure is a time-saver and you feel organised and less likely to ‘cheat’. It’s quite incredible how full you do get when you stuff yourself on good produce.
  2. Ate my fruit quota everyday. Papaya, berries and apples are allowed on the protocol. I’m embarrassed to admit, but prior to this I wasn’t eating a lot of fruit. Because I’d heard it was full of ‘sugar’. I didn’t compute it was a whole-food, because it gets such a bad wrap! I now realise how deluded I was and can not wait to start eating the full smorgasbord of nature’s goodness when this finishes. I also ate an orange for the first time in over 6 months last week. Yup. Crazy right?
  3. Created schedules and plans. For everything. Prior to this, I was leaving most things till last minute, operating in a semi-chaotic fashion and not really clear on my commitments to achieve personal and business goals. After about 10 days in – I felt super charged. I had complete visibility and focus on what I needed to do. I listened to a Wellness Guys podcast tonight (#42 + #43 if you wanna check it out) where they interviewed Cyndi and she talked about ‘clarity of mind’. I bolted upright when she said that – it’s how I’ve been feeling and exactly how I describe it to people. A splurge at Kikki K months ago came to fruition, as now I have huge monthly schedules in place for all my projects, freelance writing and study commitments. Who am I? Where did this organised person come from?
  4. Took advice. I credit two friends with this change Leah Nicol and Becki Milani. One is a driven, athletic and wellness advocate, the other an emerging chinese medicine practitioner and nutritionist. I’ll elaborate on them later too, the key thing with both – great minds that are nothing but encouraging and holistic. Challenges like these require people that will support not derail you.
  5. And lastly, me! I’ve believed in myself, kept thinking of the bigger picture and gaining optimal health. It’s not over yet and I can choose to be my own worst enemy or best friend. For the first time in a long time, I chose the latter.

me

Changing Habits, Changing Lives – A fortnight in Day #14

I’ve been dreaming a lot this last week. Namely of glorious junk food-esque type proportions. My subconscious has satiated itself with:

  • cheeseboards,
  • burgers,
  • chips,
  • pies,
  • mashed potato and gravy,
  • lasagna,
  • deep fried anything and
  • oddly enough bread.

Loaves of it. It’s not that my sleeping hours have been spent fervently indulging, it’s the last remnants of awareness that see me line all my little treats up and slowly take a bite here and there. Why? Nights have seen me filled with slight hunger pangs and the desire to perhaps keep the memories of decadence alive.

Until.

I had a breakthrough and I lost something.

I’m not sure where it went, but I am not intending to find it anytime soon.

Weight. Ya-huh. A couple of kilos of it.

martini

I celebrated by having a large martini.

Well, not really – alcohol is off the agenda for a while.  I think for at least another fortnight. But hey, whose counting?

I rejoiced by doing what most would. Finding that ‘thing’ that you kinda fitted into and kinda had a stomach hanging over the top of, but kinda wore a baggy top to hide it? Turns out that was not the case. I felt like it was a miracle! “How the hell did that happen” I asked myself? Prior to this program, I felt like progress was unattainable. Let me provide a brief back story.

I’m not one to be fuelled by the quest of rock hard abs, a ‘flat’ stomach, the need to look ‘ah-mazing’ wearing a dress to go to [insert nightclub, bar, venue of choice] or the desire to have every Tom, Dick and Harry comment on how ‘fah-bulous’ I look. I know people that are like that. I don’t get it. Anyways, my drive came from a few things:

  • My body-fat and weight was getting high, like too high for my frame. I did a body composition analysis and I was really surprised at the results. I was the heaviest, unfittest and unhappiest I’d been. Too many uns for one person.
  • The need to move went out the window. Along with a gym membership, yoga classes, swimming passes, sports groups and a slew of drawn up fitness schedules. You know the ones you do: On Monday I swim, on Tuesday I do weights, on Wednesday I run…etc. Mine turned into Every day I eat rubbish, watch TV and let as 3/4 of my wardrobe sit untouched as hey… let’s just live in a tracksuit.
  • Nutrition. My eating was based on mood, which was based on stress, which was based on an incredibly adrenalised and cortisol cosy environment.

buckwheat pancakes

For a long while, buckwheat pancakes were my saving grace. I mean, how could this toasted-coconut-walnuts-almonds-in-maple-syrup-pancake-fest-sandwiched-together-with-berry-yoghurt-fresh-berries-cocoa-almond-butter-spread not satisfy? The happy marriage of ‘healthy’ products deluded me into thinking that this was a good reward and a way to start converting to more nutritious lifestyle. Um, okay.

I would devour it whilst watching some mind-numbing show, which further propelled me into an abyss of depression and made that ‘get healthy’ goal, just that bit further away. We derive such comfort from supposed gratifying moments. The real gratification comes from the intensity of our commitment, focus and effort to make our lives better. In the lull periods, it’s so hard to recount how that feels, how it improved us and why we did it – becoming a work\home\binge\bed person is all we can muster.

brain food

How the freak did I get out of this rut? It’s taken a super long time. Perhaps on and off for years. The real breakthrough came this year, after I made a concerted effort to put myself first. My health, my body and my mind. Which meant sacrifice, working out what I needed and starting small. A chance holiday to the Greek Islands in August (first time, what a beautiful spot to skip Melbourne winter) enabled me to really reflect on how I was feeling, what I wanted to achieve and how I was going to do it. This meal of fresh grilled fish, rice and salad was kinda like a last supper and a celebratory dinner whilst there. I vowed to come back and make changes – no matter how hard or what it took. Plus grand visions always seem so much more romantic in a paradise like the Isles!

As great European holidays go, I came back stodgy and relaxed – but filled with steely reserve.

After a fortnight of slothing about, I pulled myself together and started to cut back. Sugar, processed wheat and alcohol were my first ports of call. I followed the 80/20 rule and was very kind to myself. Just really concentrated on buying better produce. After four weeks I shifted a few kilos and then decided to do this current protocol to really kick myself into gear.

And that it’s done.

Those extra two kilos I’ve lost in the last fortnight have a lot of meaning. Normally, I never really followed through on things. This time round – I’m committed the whole way. I guess it’s all about patience and persistence. How bad do you want it?

I appreciate you following the journey. Tomorrow I’ll elaborate on the changes I’ve made that have created the difference. In the last 14 days I’ve gone from sceptic to living proof.

Yours in wellness,

Leona

growing things

20 Things you didn’t know about me.

I recently had the great fortune, of being selected into Sarah Prout’s ‘Sprout Mastermind Group’ (say that real fast). It’s a group of 44 amazing women, (including lil’ ol’ me!) all in business, located in different parts of the world – with a common goal, to share knowledge, learn and support each other through our entrepreneurial journeys. Not only was meeting Sarah a fortuitous moment, (I interviewed her for a publication I freelance for – article coming!), but she extended an offer to be a co-author in her series Adventures in Manifesting!

One of our first exciting tasks is to write a blog post about a particular topic. I chose this one, as I love hearing about people – in their own words. It’s such a great insight and trip down memory lane. So here goes:

  1. South Hedland beach, circa 1977.

    South Hedland beach, circa 1977.

    I was born at 5.55am. I am not overly sure what I was thinking. For starters, I’ve not gone on to be a ‘morning’ person. Perhaps I wanted to make the most of my first day into the world. That, I have gone on to do. I sure can cram a lot into a day.

  2. Aung San Suu Kyi's release in November 2010.

    Aung San Suu Kyi’s release in November 2010.

    I cried and cried when Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest. Both my parents were born in Myanmar and I have been very fortunate to visit their home country 7 times. It’s one of my absolute dreams to meet her. My mum hopes by me studying journalism, I may well go on to do that! We actually have a connection with her. My mum went to primary school for years with her little brother.

  3. Blonded by the light, revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night.

    Blonded by the light, revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night.

    I’ve had every hair colour feasible. Near on every length. Fringe, no fringe. I’ve yet to get an undercut or shave my head. I’ve had the start of dreadlocks and also not washed it for days on end. The closest I got to a ‘perm’ in the ’90’s was a number called the ‘hit and miss’ perm. It created waves in your hair and I was chuffed about that. I did hair modelling for a few years and loved that tousled look that only unwashed beach hair can give you.

  4. When, will I, will I be faaaamous?

    When, will I, will I be faaaamous?

    I had the biggest crush on Bros. Namely Matt Goss. I was convinced I was going to marry him and had a sticker of Bros on my desk in primary school. I bought their cassette with all my pocket money (change) – dumped it on the counter of Karratha K-Mart and got home so fast to listen to it. I thought it was the.best.thing.ever. I miss those days. Such fervour about music.

  5. Have feet will travel.

    Have feet will travel.

    I take photos of my feet when I travel. Weird.

  6. Pie-riffic!

    Pie-riffic!

    I love a good pie. This was one of my favourite’s ever. From that famous pie place next to the Blue Hotel in Woolloomooloo. I was not drunk, I was sober and it had so many of the best things on it – mashed potato, gravy, cheese and mushy peas. I mean really? Suffice to say, this is a sometimes food and the memory lives on (4 years later).

  7. Good Vibes, Gold Coast. More like good use of tie-dye.

    Good Vibes, Gold Coast. More like good use of tie-dye.

    I love music festivals. Absolutely. I would love to take a year off and just go to as many as possible and listen to as much awesome music as possible. ‘Music’ was the first proper word I spoke and also my solace when I lived at home. It provided me with company and acted as the siblings I never had.

  8. My amazing mum, Cordelia. Always told me to dress well and 'are you going out with your hair looking like that?'.

    My amazing mum, Cordelia. Always told me to dress well and ‘are you going out with your hair looking like that?’.

    My mum is my best friend. We went through a lot together in the 19 years that I lived at home. Growing up in a violent and abusive house is really, really hard. The memories never leave and the pain likes to visit you at times when you think you are okay. It can masquerade, take your hand and want to dance you into oblivion. Amidst all this, she taught me to learn. That, knowledge is empowering. There hasn’t been a moment in my life I haven’t studied. It’s the one thing that keeps me going.

  9. Mt Kilimanjaro.

    Mt Kilimanjaro.

    Summiting Mt Kilimajaro was the hardest thing physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually I have ever done in my whole life. The view from the top was absolutely worth the painstaking last day.

  10. Triathlon time.

    Triathlon time.

    When I lived in Brisbane I joined a triathlon club and competed in a number of short distance tri’s. I had no idea this was going to happen. I was just looking for a cycle club, fell into it and then decided to give it a whirl. I find this often happens to me in life. I tend to throw myself head first into things, give it 200% and then find the next adventure.

  11. Mini-pavlova's. Too pretty to eat.

    Mini-pavlova’s. Too pretty to eat.

    I’ve got an addiction to taking photos of food. It’s like a compulsion. I’ve been doing it for years as I love the presentation of beautiful food and the aesthetics of it all. I can see why people become cake decorators and the like. I just wouldn’t want to eat the end product.

  12. Ampelmann!

    Ampelmann!

    I went to Europe for the first time last year and fell in love with Ampelmann! I seriously got obsessed with this thing. I have a hoodie that I proudly wear with him emblazoned on the front. Another dream is to go and live in Berlin for at least a year. It’s a pretty cool place and I loved every minute of my time there.

  13. I'm on top of the world.

    I’m on top of the world.

    I remember seeing this dude in Brisbane and thinking holy hell, he is up really high! Heights are exciting to me, the higher the better. The rush and adrenaline from looking down is exhilarating. I was attending a circus school at the time. I did it for 2 years and learnt trapeze, aerials (I sucked at that part), lyra and hoops. I have a tremendous respect for circus artists. They train super, duper hard.

  14. Hyde Park, Mt Lawley.

    Hyde Park, Mt Lawley.

    Hyde Park is my favourite park. It holds so many memories for me. Every time I go back home to Perth I make a point to go for a walk around it at least a couple of times. I’m an incredibly nostalgic person and love reminiscing. It’s so enjoyable how some places can take you back and invoke such fond times.

  15. School of St Jude's.

    School of St Jude’s.

    My friend Leah and I sponsor a child in Tanzania and we also sponsor a dormitory of 8 girls. When we went to visit them all, we noted how beautifully they kept their shared room. I felt so proud! And I love how inventive the blanket folding is. It’s so endearing to see no matter what, having pride and joy in yourself can make a huge, huge difference. Helping these girls get an education is so important to give them the best chance in life. Our sponsor ‘son’ is pretty academic too. I love getting his report cards!

  16. The Great Wall of China.

    The Great Wall of China.

    My friends Leah (she’s my trekking idol!) and Di trekked a part of the Great Wall with me to raise funds for the burns unit of The Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane. At one point, I was standing there and I counted 7 rolling mountain ranges. It was truly breathtaking. During the day it was searing hot, with no shade, no reprieve and continually ascending and descending steep, loose stone wall. I learnt to really trust my inner resolve during that time, as one wrong footstep was precarious.

  17. My best friend Jess.

    My best friend Jess.

    I owe a lot to my best friend Jess.We’ve been best friends for over 15 years and only ever lived in the same city for about 2 years of that whole time. She encouraged me to leave Perth to pursue my career in Melbourne, travel with her to different parts of the world, be brave, confident, adventurous and mostly live and do as much as humanely possible. She’s been there for me through everything and never judged. I love her for that.IMG_0006

  18. Bloody Mary’s are single-handedly the best drink in the world for me. It’s like a meal in a glass. The more tabasco the better.
  19. Diagonal this and that.

    Diagonal this and that.

    I started studying photography last year and this was one of the first shots I took. I’ve got a ‘thing’ about diagonals. I had to take a year off and I am really happy to be taking it back up again in about a month’s time. I went through a lot of ups and downs last year, so I had to put it on the back burner. My iphone was a happy substitute camera in the meantime.

  20. Lunchtime read.

    Lunchtime read.

    I love reading and eating. If I am out at brunch, or at home – I will plonk the plate on the paper or magazine. A book I will juggle in one hand and eat with the other. I know you are not meant to, but I love it. Beats my old habit of smoking and eating. Yes, gross but true. Lucky I quit that one more than 15 years ago.

I hope your little journey reading my post has helped you learn about me. I am still learning about myself every day from when I wake up. Although, you will recall – I do have penchant for sleeping in when I can, so the I am missing a learning curve right there I think!

LD xxx

Day #40 of The Amazing Weight

2 days left to go. 48 hours. Countdown begins. To what exactly? Will there be a momentous gorging of sweet treats and unbridled passion for all things sugary, starchy and stodgy? I think not. When I embarked on this ‘bet’ I was purely thinking of making a quick $600. I’ll admit it. It was going to be a long wait for said money, but I was confident I would not be conceding defeat. So I surreptitiously went to the Adicentre and spent a luxurious sum of $591. My savings. Because I thought I’ve got this in the bag. And I sure did. A heap of exercise gear to wear. Where? To the gym in my dreams?

My brain might be fried, but my eggs are scrambled.

My brain might be fried, but my eggs are scrambled. Thanks to my local cafe ‘Spoonful’ for this great brunch. Scrambled eggs with dukkah. Must remember to order sans bread next time.

From an exercise perspective, I’ve definitely stuck to the quota of 6 sessions a week. I’ve been loving the Cardio Tennis classes I do and walking has now become a favourite pastime. I used to be averse to walking and would much rather jump in the car and go down the street (really). Now with Autumn in full spring(!), it’s a real luxury to walk through explosions of colour. From stacking my diary with a stupendous amount of activities, I’ve stripped it back to doing something every day that I enjoy. It’s a far kinder way to move I find. As a freelance writer, I’ve been immersing myself into the local community to really understand what the demographic is like (of the area I live in). I’ve found a penchant for walking to the local cafes now and then to have a spot of brunch and think. And people watch. Because we all love doing that right?

no burger burger

no burger burger

I mentioned a few posts ago, I also wander north of the river to a great organic store. It’s become my new drop-in for great organic food. Here I’ve discovered great chocolate sans sugar, a plethora of organic cheeses, the most colourful fruit and veg and my new mushroom burgers. I made the burger last week and it was a hit. Jammed with fresh shredded beetroot, carrot, cucumber, cherry black tomatoes, fried egg, onion and japanese mayo – it didn’t disappoint. My days of dropping into McDonalds to grab a burger, chips and nuggets have diminished. As Jamie Oliver advocates in his 15 minute meals – it really doesn’t take long to knock something up.

Quinoa pancakes. A nice little indulgence on a cold night. Go a warm almond milk with pure cacao to top it off.

Quinoa pancakes. A nice little indulgence on a cold night. Go a warm almond milk with pure cacao to top it off.

Experimenting with food has become a real pleasure and almost like putting on a show. There’s no dress rehearsal. It’s improvisation class all the way. I find that has yielded the best results. It’s cooking like my mum. Having a staple repertoire in your mind and expanding, trying and inventing all whilst using beautiful produce. It’s a real treat.

My wrap up comes in a few days. I’m super keen to sit and reflect on the Top 10 things I have learned and really grateful for the comments, support, advice and laughter along the way. My new ‘social experiment’ will be to try the I Quit Sugar e-book by Sarah Wilson I mentioned in a previous post. I’m keen to do a once weekly review and see how that tracks as a conclusion to this.

People’s online media habits are of great fascination to me. Your habits are of great value to me and would love your insights in this super quick 6 question survey on what you love reading (blog wise\social media wise):

http://freeonlinesurveys.com/app/rendersurvey.asp?sid=d2pndyjou3ppgb8260116&refer=www%2Efacebook%2Ecom

Much gratitude! x