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


Day #31 of The Amazing Weight.

Just over a month ago, it was Easter and I was happily munching away on hot cross buns and sculling deliciously syrupy hot chocolates. Fast forward to ‘May Day’ and I just satisfied my sweet tooth with some slices of crisp green apple and cheese. My, how times have changed. Yes, I near on ate half the wedge of cheese, but at least I am sticking to the no-processed sugar challenge right? Perhaps I need to do a ‘eat less cheese’ experiment next.

Last week I went interstate and celebrated a dear friend’s birthday. We celebrated with a monstrous chocolate cupcake. When it came time for me to celebrate with a ceremonious wedge of chocolate goodness, I put my hand up and said ‘no thanks, I’ll pass’. What happened then was an interesting turn of play that I think entraps most people.



I relented and said “oh okay, just a sliver.” So, I ate said sliver, resigning myself to the fact it would be my cheat meal. What a waste of a good cheat meal! I guess it makes up for the amount of bread I ate on previous occasions. I did not feel that sense of mmmmmmmm, this is hitting the spot. Instead it was sickly sweet, dry and not a good compliment to the Thai food I had consumed.

Very. Interesting.

For the first time in over a month I did not feel satisfied by this ‘indulgence’. Does that mean I’ve changed?


Mohinga. Believed to be the national dish of Burma and the 'reason' of my love of all things savoury.

Mohinga. Believed to be the national dish of Burma and the ‘reason’ for my love of all things savoury.

My mum tells me that part of our heritage (Burmese) is to love all things sour, hot, spicy and bitter. Well. That sure is a polar opposite to the ‘sweet’ challenge. I love how a lot of Asian food seems to stem from medicinal goodness. Bar the oily and salty varieties that have somehow morphed their way into our takeway options. The soup I have pictured is filled with fresh coriander, eggs, fish, banana bark (yes!), garlic, lemon juice, chilli etc. It’s a way that Burmese people start their day. An asian ‘Nutrigrain’ one could say!

I’ve had a great opportunity to learn and evolve during this challenge and especially, awaken myself to better food choices. I’ve noticed that by cutting out ‘sweet’, I craved carbs and starch for sugar. I’ve noticed now I am reducing carbs and starch, I’m craving caffeine for energy. One by one, my body is working it’s way through to find a fuel source.

So, I am going to turn things on it’s head. For the next few months, I’ve decided to eliminate a lot of the stuff I crave and try to eat as unprocessed as I can. I thought this ‘no-processed-sugar’ challenge would wreck me, but instead I’m really keen to see how far I can modify things to gain optimum health.

Frittata me that - Quinoa, fetta, kale and cheese. Chased with a fennel, pea,  cabbage and citrus dressing. Gone in less than 5 minutes.

Frittata me that – Quinoa, fetta, kale and cheese. Chased with a fennel, pea, cabbage and citrus dressing. Gone in less than 5 minutes.

I re-read Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar  e-book again last night, as I’ve been thinking about doing that challenge next. This one will be more involved as you need to kiss fruit goodbye (eek!) and also sugar in general. Two things I read last night, really resonated with me from her e-book:

After I quit sugar I was able to drink coffee again. I’d gone off it for three years because it got me too racy. Now I metabolise it just fine.


I’ve lapsed. Several times.

I love how there is acknowledgement of lapsing and that it is a good moment to see whether you have enjoyed it. Unlike this challenge, which comes with a monetary penalty! But what a great incentive that has been for me.

One of my mum's easy peasey meals. Grilled chicken with haloumi and pan fried kale. Chilli olives and vinegary fresh white anchovies to snack on. YUM!

One of my mum’s easy peasey meals. Grilled chicken with haloumi and pan fried kale. Chilli olives and vinegary fresh white anchovies to snack on. YUM!

And lastly, the meal above shows that even a 70 year old Diabetic 2 woman (my mum!) can make better food choices after more than a decade of being diagnosed with it. Good on ya mum.