All Posts By

Jane

My Lifestyle

Are you “doing” life in the right order…?

October 2017
White Picket Fence Dream

Did you go straight to university from school? Then get a great corporate job with a clear career path? Meet your man through your 20s, marry around 30, buy a house and then of course next is having children? All your ducks are in a row by 40 and then we live happily ever after…?

Where are these rules written that life is supposed to turn out this way? Why are we conditioned that there is a pre-set order of adult life? And why do we feel so much pressure to “do” life in this order? Does this order of life suit all of us? And for us women if we don’t there is a chance we will miss out on having children.

I didn’t go to university despite my mother’s horror and claims that I will never make anything of myself if I don’t have a degree. I didn’t do well at school as I don’t have what I would consider academic intelligence, plus I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up, so why would I endure more torture? So I just got a job straight from school and accepted that I was dumb and wouldn’t amount to much career wise.  But that’s ok I thought; I just wanted the white picket fence dream. My man can have the career, I will just (!) be the wife and mother.

I wandered aimlessly through my 20s which is acceptable, but as 30 looms the pressure starts to build. I had been in and out of therapy since 16, after an unhappy childhood, as I always felt something wasn’t quite right with me.  I never felt happy or fulfilled and clung to the belief that the white picket fence life was the answer.  Isn’t that what we women do? Isn’t that what the fairy tales are all about? The man in shining armour, a dream wedding, a lovely home in the suburbs and beautiful kids is what too many of us women grow up believing is what our life will be.

I was depressed for my 30th despite being in Las Vegas for the event.  I had been living with my boyfriend of 3 years and felt that 30 was the time we should marry.  So when the fairy tale proposal was not forth coming I forced the issue.  Never a good idea… but all I cared about was that it was time to settle down so I grabbed the only man around at that age.  I am sure I am not alone in settling for the sake of settling down… tick tock, tick tock; the biological clock starts getting louder when you hit 30.

Needless to say the marriage didn’t last and I find myself back out on single struggle street at the age of 32. The breakdown of my marriage, the loss of my beautiful house and white picket fence dream sees me plummet into depression.  For the first time in my life I am officially diagnosed and labelled as clinically depressed along with the associated medication and therapy.  Despite being miserable at what had past I was not suicidal at this point as, well, I am still slim, blonde and attractive so I will find another man.  I have time..?

As each year of my 30s go by I become more and more desperate and depressed. I did manage a couple of relationships however with men that were over 10 years my junior and certainly not ready for what I was looking for. And of course without a healthy relationship with myself, my depression, emotional and eating disorders as well as various addictions, I was completely ignorant to the fact that I was no chance of finding the relationship I so desperately wanted.

40 is looming… and my drinking and partying is increasing as I try to block out my reality.  But also I just had to be out somewhere, anywhere, to find that man!  I was dumb, single and childless… how could this happen to me? I felt a complete failure despite holding a responsible corporate job (how was this even possible without a degree..?) But I still had my socially glorified appearance; I was still blonde, slim and attractive and felt that was all I had going for me. I also felt additional pressure as looking like I did means a dream life; doesn’t it? So where is my dream life?  There must be something seriously wrong with me… My obsession with my weight and appearance is now at dysfunctional levels and I am doing all I can to maintain and fight the aging process even if that meant going into debt further and abusing my body.

41 comes and goes… and I decide that I can’t wait for the man any longer so I attempt IVF with donor sperm to become a single mother.  I did 3 fresh cycles all of which I fell pregnant but only for a few weeks.  The 4th and final cycle was with frozen embryos and I did not fall pregnant this time.  It was at this point, with hormones being pumped into me at dangerous levels, I decided to end my life.  Dumb, single and now truly childless.  I had an abortion at 27… the regret and hate of myself and my life was too much for me to go on.

There are many factors to my depression over the course of my life but it is this pressure of “doing” life in the right order by the right age that I feel contributed the most to my feelings of pressure and defeat. I hear all the time of parents pressuring their children to go to university or to marry to give them grandchildren, of married women’s judgement of single women and the condescending remarks of why some women can’t find a man as if they have failed, of how the media portrays the “wallflower” or indeed how the media glorifies the white picket fence life.

Some of us are just not meant to fit into that mould. And the ones that don’t but find their passion in life early on and become successful as a result seem to be accepted.  But what about the rest of us? The ones who missed the boat but haven’t found anything in life to replace the “norm”? The ones who haven’t found their passion in life but also don’t have the career, man, house, kids?  Have we failed in life?  Why does society frown on this group as non-achievers? Is this how we measure success? What if the person who doesn’t have the career, man, house, kids is the kindest most generous person you will ever meet?  Doesn’t that count..?

And what about the ones who actually achieve the acceptable order of life but aren’t happy? I know of a number of women who fall into this category. They have fallen into the trap of “doing” life in the right order, giving up on their dreams and are miserable.  And with the responsibility of a mortgage and children it is very difficult to change course.

Well you know the end of my story. I found my passion at the age of 46 and I am not joking when I say that bodybuilding literally saved my life.  My full story here. If my journey has taught me anything it is that we are never too old and it is never too late.  The portrayal of a woman aging is another misconception we hold on what we should be “doing” and looking like at a certain age.  At 50 I am supposed to be fat, frumpy, complaining about menopause and wasting away in front of the TV as I don’t have the energy for anything else. I celebrated my 50th birthday on stage in a bikini and am planning my next photo shoot at 51. I also enjoy no symptoms of menopause despite being well aware that this time of life is upon me.

Our beliefs about aging and what we should be doing at a certain age are seriously all in our mind. We have been influenced and conditioned that our bodies and life should be a certain way and deteriorate after mid-life. And they will if we believe that this is the case.  If we allow the influence of the majority or what we see on TV or what our doctor says or what happened to our parents to determine our story. With the right support anything is possible.  Twice I have been told by misguided doctors that I will never lift again and I need surgery.  I just shop around until I find a doctor who tells me what I want to hear.  Now I have found my passion in life nothing, and I do mean nothing, will stand in my way!

If you have a dream you owe it to yourself, to your life, to chase it!  It doesn’t matter what stage you are at in life if you know what sets your soul on fire incorporating it into your life will change your life.  Life is too short! How will you feel when you wake up at 60 and realise that time is running out?  If you don’t know what your passion is then hire a coach to help you find it! And to help you manage your life to be the best you can be.  Please download my free eBook on how I have come to embrace the aging process, achieve what most would consider impossible and defy the norm on this “doing” life in the right order crap!

Nourish your Body

Detox for Weight Loss

June 2017

Who really enjoys doing a 3/5/7 day green smoothie detox..? The headaches, the disgusting green juices, the hunger pains, the life disruption, the light headedness, the lack of focus, the nausea, the bowel movements… Or you could do it without the deprivation and have a colonic irrigation procedure.. Some people swear by it, some people endure it for their health’s sake, some people have never done one and wont! Seems to be almost fashionable these days. It was part of my protocol when I first started bodybuilding so I have done a few however with my gut issues and the last one I did saw me vomiting on a peak hour bus… I have not revisited doing another one and wont anytime soon. However, I am passionate about detoxing not just for weight loss but for premium health and ensure I incorporate into my daily routine. What? Detoxing without days of green hell?!

Before I share with you my tips I wanted to briefly go into why detoxing is so important. So let’s go back in time, way back in time to cave man days. If we look at our ancestors bodies, relatively little has changed on a biological level to the bodies we own today. Now have a think about the foods they ate and the environment in which they lived. Vastly different to today! There is no doubt that we enjoy incredible benefits of modern day living however there is a price that we pay and most of us are not even aware of it.

 The toxic load that our Stone Age bodies endure every day is enormous. This incredible machine we own works tirelessly to digest and process what in Stone Age terms are space age foreign substances; some it does, clever machine that it is, but some are stored until it can figure out how to process and eliminate. And guess where these toxins are often stored…? In your fat cells! And your body will create more fat cells to store more toxins.. And with continual bombardment of more toxins on a daily basis the number coming in is faster than your body can figure out how to eliminate. And in some cases it never figures it out. So the number of storage units aka fat cells grows along with the number on your scales!

“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison” – Ann Wigmore

So where do all these toxins come from? Here are 10 avenues that chemical substances enter our bodies:

  1. Whole Food – if you are not buying organic produce then every crop is not only sprayed with dangerous levels of pesticides and herbicides but may also be genetically modified to produce a luscious, aesthetically appealing crop. I am old enough to remember when strawberries and tomatoes were not nearly as big as they are today…. We are recreating nature to suit our modern day demands. Farmers are no different to the rest of us trying to make a living and like any business, reacting to supply and demand. If the farmer down the road is producing a crop 10 times bigger and tastier then competition will drive them to seek more and more chemicals & modifications to support a profitable crop. Same goes with non-organic livestock and while pesticides are not directly sprayed on the animal they will be injected with growth hormones and antibiotics as well as consuming produce that have been laced with pesticides. Again with the same profitable goal in mind.
  2. Non sustainable farming practises – sees all the repercussions of the above absorbed by the soil and environment. The impact this has globally is huge (and a major contributor to global warming) but as far as your body is concerned it means that fields are not only continually overused which depletes the mineral resources within the soil but the chemicals continually being sprayed are being absorbed directly into the earth. This results in not only crops absorbing more chemicals but reduced nutrients within the soil and why nearly all of us are deficient in such minerals as magnesium.
  3. Processed/manufactured food – this is any food in a box/packet/bag/container/can and is generally made in a factory rather than grown on a farm. Manmade food is literally laden with chemicals, preservatives and additives. Have a read of the ingredient list; do you recognise anything listed…? It reads more like a chemistry experiment!
  4. Beauty & Personal Care Products – main stream brands are 100% chemicals. This includes deodorants, make up, perfume, soap, aftershave, shaving cream, moisturiser, toothpaste, shampoo; basically anything in your bathroom. Whatever we put on our body is absorbed by our skin and these chemicals enter our blood stream. Again, have a look at the ingredient list; would you eat anything listed….?
  5. Household Cleaning Products – goes without saying that these are chemicals. But have a think about the fumes, the surfaces we spray to clean and then eat from or wash from, the air freshener we spray into the air; we may have gotten rid of the germs and nasty smells but what chemicals have we replaced them with…? This also directly impacts the environment as all these chemicals are washed down the drain and may be recycled back into the water system.
  6. Water – Do you really know where your water comes from and what chemical process it goes through before it comes out of your tap…? Tap water may contain residual chemicals from the so called purification process plus hormones and pesticides from unsustainable farming practices as mentioned. And what about the quality of the pipes that deliver the water to our homes..? How often do you think they are dug up, cleaned and/or replaced…? Fluoride is now identified as toxic and it is added to our water! Bottled water is also not safe as the chemicals in the plastic can leach into the water particularly when left out in the sun.
  7. Air Pollution – cars, buses, trucks, planes, power plants, industrial facilities; at least with this one we can now see the pollution in the air.
  8. Electro-magnetic radiation – Computers, mobile phones, Fitbits, microwave ovens all omit radioactive waves. Think about all the information that is literally flying through the air. Our poor Stone Age bodies don’t have a clue what these are! And yet we are exposed to these radio waves almost 24/7!
  9. Medications – match the pill to the ill. We reach for drugs at the slightest sign of ailment which generally just masks the symptom. Why do we take in more toxins rather than searching for a natural, Stone Age body friendly alternatives first…? Sure the drug may fix our problems but there are always repercussions for drug use.
  10. Smoking/Alcohol – don’t think I need to go further into these two…

Do you recall seeing any of these points in the history books with our cave man ancestors…? And while our bodies are super-efficient machines and we all process these toxins differently there is a growing concern that this overload is the cause of many modern day illnesses some of them fatal.

I know for the majority of my life I just assumed that if all these products were on the shelves to buy they must be safe. Surely there is a government watch dog ensuring we are protected from any nasties that would endanger our health? But the truth is the regulations that do exist are very, very loose. Our society is ruled by business, big business and with the main goal of business to make a profit… and with no one policing the toxic levels of chemicals in these products our health is the price we pay. And we are all getting sicker and fatter…

Once upon a time we were not warned of the dangers of smoking and sunbaking. It wasn’t until science proved that deaths were being caused by these two lifestyle habits that the messages we were being given by main stream media changed. I think we are all aware of the law suits against tobacco companies. Have a think about the ramifications if it is scientifically stated that many of our modern day illness are caused by the above points…? Many scientists already believe this but how do we navigate the structure of society to accommodate? These are all huge political questions that I am not going to go into here! The tide is slowly turning on the food industry and the businesses responsible for all these chemicals. If you haven’t watched Food Matters or Hungry for Change yet I strongly recommend you do!

Back to the purpose of this post which is how do we support our bodies to efficiently eliminate all these toxins to promote weight loss! Without the green smoothies for days or a very uncomfortable procedure. Although you will no doubt feel amazing after enduring one of these, and you will lose weight, if you return to your bad habits then you will wind up right back where you started and having to do another cleanse/procedure in a few months time. Incorporating the below into your everyday routine will support your Stone Age body to process these space age substances.

My top 14 tips to Detox for Weight Loss:

  1. Warm lemon juice – first thing in the morning. Lemon juice helps flush out unwanted materials in part because lemons increase the rate of urination in the body. Therefore toxins are released at a faster rate which helps keep your urinary tract healthy. The citric acid in lemons helps maximize enzyme function, which stimulates the liver and aids in detoxification. Add a dash of bi-carb soda to further enhance these benefits.
  2. Water – filtered water! And lots of it. Our bodies need a minimum of 2 litres a day just to function effectively. Drinking adequate amounts of water will not only improve your overall health but is key to supporting the liver and kidneys to flush out toxins.
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother!) – half an hour before a meal. Cleanses the body and kills nasty bacteria, aids in digestion and cleaning of the intestines.
  4. Breathe Deeply – to allow oxygen to circulate thoroughly throughout your entire system assisting your blood to flush out toxins. Air pollution can often reside within the lungs and taking deep breathes assists in elimination.
  5. Sauna – toxins are also released through the skin via perspiration. A weekly sauna promotes deep cleansing and additional perspiration to eliminate toxins.
  6. Massage – pushes on pressure points where toxins can often build up as lactic acid and cause pain and tightness. A regular massage improves circulation that aids the blood to remove toxins. Drink additional water after a massage to support this process.
  7. Exercise – Physical movement stimulates internal movement of the body assisting in flushing out toxins alongside an increase in perspiration and water intake.
  8. Dry skin brush – just before showering exfoliate to remove dead skin and promote the release of toxins through the skin.
  9. Green tea – loaded with anti-oxidants that actually go after the toxins in your body to support elimination.
  10. Go organic – imagine the toxins you would eliminate from your daily intake from the ten points above if you simply swapped to all natural, organic produce and products..
  11. Sup it Up – there are numerous supplements that will support your body to eliminate toxins. I take glutathione, green tea extract, turmeric and probiotics.
  12. Sleep – sleep is a time when the body rests, rejuvenates and recharges giving your body a break. With no food coming in it allows your body to catch up on elimination and processing of toxins. Aim for 7-8 hours every night.
  13. Eliminate Sugar – sugar increases your toxic load as it has an oxidant affect which has the opposite effect of an antioxidant. It is as addictive as cocaine and many would argue is just as toxic.
  14. Fasting – a controversial one but worth mentioning. Fasting can have many health benefits whether for a day or the evening meal. Gives the body a rest however many would argue that nutrients are needed to aid in detoxification. Do your own research and work out what is best for you.

Recognize any of these from My Top 10 Tips for Health & Weight Loss and My Top 10 Pro-Aging Tips…?

I am sure I would still benefit from a juice cleanse or colonic irrigation procedure but I will pass… My body is the healthiest it has ever been, my last blood test results had my doctor in awe at some of my markers and how efficiently my body runs in particular my liver. And as I believe that stress plays a huge part it in our health; I don’t think I am alone in feeling stressed and anxious at the prospect of a green juice detox for days!

What do you do to detox? Maybe you enjoy the greenness for a few days? If you have any other methods do share below!

Self Worth

What does Low Self Worth Look Like?

May 2017

I am going to put a spot light on this rarely discussed topic. Let’s face it; who wants to admit they have low self-worth? We seem to have structured society in such a way that we all need to look, be, behave in a certain way to be accepted, happy, liked, loved..  I have stumbled through half my adult life in complete ignorance that I had low self-worth.  I didn’t realise this was my issue until it no longer was my issue!  And while there are a rare few who are self-aware enough to realise they lack self confidence too many of us bury our real self, put on a façade to the world, are not really happy but just accept mediocrity as life.

Why don’t we talk about the importance of self-love? Why don’t we diagnose low self-worth as the main contributing factor to depression?  And whose responsibility is it to teach us this invaluable life skill?  Should it come from parents or the school system? Do we even recognise that this is a quality required for a successful, happy life?  And if we can’t articulate what it looks like or its importance how on earth do we teach it?

I grew up with the firm belief that loving yourself was a derogatory term. Those who were judged as loving themselves where labelled “up” themselves and frowned upon so it was something I avoided at all costs! I was not encouraged to be proud of myself for any achievement and praise was limited or even withheld for fear that I would become “up” myself.  And I certainly was not encouraged to look in the mirror and love my body nor was I brought up to nurture and appreciate my unique gifts.  When I did attempt to express myself I was told I was too emotional or over sensitive and I was told this well into my adult years.  So I spent a lot of my childhood desperately trying to just blend in, keep the peace and be like everyone else.

In retrospect I see this “up” themselves mentality as being derived from people who themselves suffered from low self-worth. Of course they need to put down those people who openly displayed pride in themselves!  Anyone who has self-confidence and is at peace with who they are would not feel the need to judge others negatively in the first place…

If we are not provided with role models in parents who radiate self-love and as a result are not supported in feeling good about ourselves we are already on the road to failing in this critical quality without any awareness. And then as girls we are exposed to all forms of media who promote constant comparison with the air brushed parade of perfect female forms.  Coupled with very clever advertisements from the beauty, diet and cosmetic industries who have us looking in the mirror and criticising what we see so we are desperate to buy their products to cover up and change ourselves to be like the models or celebrities promoting the product!  Gees; is it any wonder that low self-worth is so rampant in society today?

But what saddens me more than all of the above is that so many of us don’t even realise that we have low self-worth and we stumble through life without ever achieving true peace and happiness. Now that I have finally got my shit together, after 46 years of suffering, I so clearly see women all around me who suffer from this unspoken issue and what makes it worse is that the negative feelings they have about themselves are too often projected onto all those around them without any self-awareness whatsoever.  I know because that used to be me!

Ever noticed how some people are really easy to be around? They are calm, consistent, peaceful, positive, reliable, happy, quietly confident and they actually make you feel good to interact with. You seek out their company and opinion, you trust their feedback, their energy is positive and inviting, encouraging and supportive. You feel you can be honest and open with them, you feel like you can be yourself around them.  This is what healthy self-worth looks and feels like.

And then we have..

The Loud – “Confidence is Silent. Insecurities are Loud!” The girl who speaks loudly, has an opinion on everything and makes sure everyone hears it.  Is constantly talking (loudly) about herself and steers the conversation back to her all the time.  She might ask you a question but once answered immediately turns the conversation back to herself without hearing what you have said.  She also may ask you the same question the very next day! You find yourself avoiding her and limit interactons to necessity only.

The Eggshell – you never know what mood she will be in.  Sometimes she is so sweet and nice and the next day or even hour is so abrupt and rude!  She will have you questioning yourself and doubting that maybe you have done or said something wrong.  You never know what reaction you are going to get so you are in a constant state of apprehension when dealing with her.

The Overly Confident – knows her stuff, confident in her job and is generally in a more senior position. But she is just plain rude to those beneath her (if she acknowledges them at all) or those that are not in an influential position.  She may even ignore you completely even though you have sat 20 meters from her in the office for 6 months!

The Backstabber – takes every opportunity to talk about others behind their back and then sickly sweet to their face. And trust me, if she is going to gossip to you about others she is gossiping about you to others also.  Thrives on office gossip and will elaborate the truth in order to sensationalise the story and make her look like she is in the know.

The Workaholic – the job is all there is to life. First in and last out at night. Rarely takes leave. No outside interests, hobbies, relationships even.  Or there is a relationship at home that they are trying to avoid!

The Obsessive Mother/Wife – cannot talk about anything else but her children/husband. They are the centre of her universe and nothing else exists. Will tell you in minute detail about whatever stage her children or relationship is at and she will always manage to turn the conversation around to mention her child or partner.

The Yo-Yo Dieter – constantly complaining about her weight, (even if she is not actually overweight) starting a new diet every other week and either barely eating anything or is always the one going for seconds or even thirds at morning tea!

The Make You Feel Bad – condescending… has an definite air of being in a higher class and will subtly put you down on any topic.  Appears to be giving you a compliment but long after the conversation has ended you realise that it was in fact an insult. Subtly critical of everything and takes pride in pointing out what YOUR problem is.

The Martyr – puts everyone else before herself and is walked all over. Is stressed, tired, running herself ragged to please everyone and often overweight and/or unhealthy and always sick.  Constantly apologising.

The Fashion/Beauty Addict – you never see her in the same outfit for weeks on end. Constantly shopping and must have a new outfit for every occasion as you cant possibly be seen in the same dress twice! And usually immaculate with makeup and hair; constantly touching up and checking to ensure all is in place.

The Social Media Addict – portrays the perfect life on social media and constantly posting to gain likes and followers, usually in revealing outfits. Stalking and comparing herself to others is a daily sometimes hourly habit.  Often the life that is portrayed in cyber world is very far from her reality.

The Change Hater – stays in the same job for years and years. Still lives with her parents. Still single perhaps. Still doing nothing to make changes to her life to find herself or happiness.  The smallest upset is devastating as without life experiences of change there is no reference point of past challenges or pain.

The Just Plain Unhappy – has the man, kids, house, money even but is not happy and cant figure out why.

Jane – I was loud, eggshell, make you feel bad, fashion/beauty addict and overly confident. I was a shocker!  I cant believe how badly I have behaved.  I seriously had very little awareness of how I impacted others.  As I disliked myself so much and felt so insignificant I honestly thought no one even noticed me.  Even when I would get feedback during an annual performance review I still didn’t believe it!  Surely no one pays any attention to me?  I had spent a lifetime hiding the real Jane and trying to blend in, I couldn’t comprehend that anything I said or did actually mattered. Depression and low self-worth is a very inward focused view of the world; you are literally blinded by your own issues as you are trying so hard to cover them up!

Many of the above will have a closet issue that is not obvious on the surface. For me this was debilitating depression; no one at work had a clue how bad I was! Very few people knew as I was so busy hiding the real Jane.  Living a façade is just second nature when you have low self-worth.  Other issues may include eating disorders, anxiety or substance abuse all of which I dabbled with over the years.  In addition to addictions to shopping, TV, celebrity stalking, partying (which are more socially acceptable) anything at all to either take me out of myself, not spend time with myself or to obtain the next material fix to attempt to make me happy.

I am sure reading through that list you can instantly recognise people in your life like this. Or maybe you recognised yourself..?  It is sooooooo hard to face!  And trust me, I did not wake up one day and decide self-worth was my issue..  I seriously had no clue this was my issue.  I stumbled across the answers to my misery purely by accident; by chasing further vanity and external satisfaction.  My full journey here.

So if we have the courage to admit we have this issue where did it come from and what do we do about it? It is very clear to me where we learn self-hate and I primarily blame the media and the beauty/fashion industry.  (Please read my blogs on these two topics)  But for me I know it started well before I was old enough to be influenced by the media.  When your parents struggle with their own inner demons it is very hard to instil this in children. With a broken home from an early age and the pursuing conflict fuelled by more insecurities on both sides put together with this whole “up” yourself mentality I seriously was no chance.

Children learn behavioural patterns far more by roll modelling the adults in their lives than anything they will learn at school. I am not sure that self-love needs to be taught but rather influenced and inspired.  Parents can certainly foster a more positive environment to nurture this life skill which I have outlined in my blog about raising empowered girls. However, we cant blame our parents, or anyone, and once we are adults we need to take responsibility for our own life and happiness.  We must take control of our own wellbeing and destiny rather than allowing conditioning by society to dominate our lives or continually blaming events of the past.

So what do we do about it…? Isn’t that the million dollar question…!! There is no quick fix and it does require a lot of self-reflection and inner work. Yep; all that hooey crap that I dismissed and resisted my entire life! We are not taught how to tend to our emotional wellbeing and main stream does little to promote and encourage such practices although I do feel the tide is turning. The answers to all our problems truly are inside us; yeah I didn’t believe that either. But once we reduce the constant noise that surrounds us we can hear the answers. I know because it happened to me!

Self-worth has now become the core of my coaching and mission. It breaks my heart to see so many women blindly suffer as I have.  As others in the office dislike and complain about the behaviour of the women who display the above traits I find myself filled with compassion and sadness.  And desperately trying to find a way to connect with the lost soul that I see as the struggling old me.

If anything I have written makes you feel uncomfortable and you would like to explore further I would love to have a confidential chat with you to see how I can support you. Please leave me a comment or contact me here.

My Lifestyle

My Journey to Stage

September 2016
Jane Curnow

Do you aspire to own a body like this?  Do you set a goal to achieve, start on the diet/exercise and then beat yourself up when you can’t stick to it? Do you constantly feel bad and inadequate about your body as you see so many images in the media of bodies like this or similar?

This photo was taken two days after my recent bodybuilding competition. I want to share with you what I actually go through to achieve the body you see in the photo attached to this blog. The mindset and routine I need to adopt when I am preparing for stage and/or a photo shoot. I am surprised at how many people think I look like this all the time! That hopping into a bikini and strutting around on stage, or in front of a camera, is just like a day at the beach. Only those that see me every day, that have to put up with me every day (!) appreciate the hell I actually go through. And trust me, I am not in this condition for very long, a week, two at most. I hope by sharing my journey it might bring awareness that achieving and sustaining a body like this can not only be unhealthy it is an unrealistic goal that too many women aspire to and then berate themselves for giving up or not achieving and then end up hating the miraculous machine (body) that keeps them alive.

Let’s start with the very core of what I have to battle with to look like this…  How do you feel when you are hungry? I mean really hungry. Not just the oh its dinner time I will have something to eat now hungry.  The kind of hunger that is hours past dinner time and your belly is screaming.  Sometimes you can trick yourself with a distraction of some sort and you can make it go away for a little while.  But you know it is going to return and the growling seems to re-emerge with a vengeance.  And the cravings…  when we reach this stage (or even the previous stage!) the body wants carbs aka sugar; something that enters the blood stream quickly to alleviate the hunger. Our bodies need food for survival and once that hungry sensation kicks in, unless you are flooded with adrenaline such as in an emergency situation etc. the only thing that will make it stop is to eat!

But hunger is not just about the physical aspect is it? What emotions play out for you?  How do you feel on an emotional rather than physical level?  We are all very different and how we deal with hunger can vary for everyone. Do you get anxious? Jittery? Teary? Can’t concentrate? Snappy? Snippy? Downright cranky…?!  And depending on how long it goes on for this can elevate to feeling faint, dizzy, even visual impairment if you try to stand or move suddenly.  (At this point your blood sugar levels have dropped and your brain is literally starved for nutrients)  Whatever it means for you it is not pleasant and as with too many emotions associated with food they are not positive!

Before I start explaining what I go through, I should note here that just like any industry, the fitness industry has many different methods to achieve low body fat.  And just like every industry there are conflicting opinions and points of view. The regime will also depend on what division you are competing in; I have previously competed in the bikini division (which is not as strict) but this comp, with my muscle gain over the last few years, I decided to go up a division and I competed in figure which requires me to be leaner.

Depending on your current BMI statistics (so this is basically fat/muscle ratio) restrictions start from the moment the decision is made to compete.  For some girls this might be 20 weeks out or even more; for my recent competition we started at 12 weeks out which is a little late but still achievable for me.  My body knows how to be lean and although I was sitting on an additional 10kgs of weight, the majority of that was muscle. It is very important to do this slowly, losing weight quickly is not ideal on the metabolism and many can experience serious digestive issues, among other things, post comp if this process is not done carefully. It is also important to gradually peel away the fat to retain my hard earned muscle!

My off comp season diet is very, very clean as you can imagine.. I only eat whole foods and I am also alcohol free, gluten free, sugar free and most of what I eat is organic. Yeah; we know I am obsessed!  But I do have cheat night where I indulge or over indulge..  but this is one meal (not day!) a week.  You don’t get to train to the level I do and maintain a body like this if you don’t have a supreme diet.  Let me say that again… you don’t get to own a body like this unless you are dedicated and disciplined not just in preparation for a comp/shoot but it is full time, ongoing, 24/7 commitment to a healthy lifestyle.  I am sure you have heard that at least 70% of your achievements in the gym are determined in the kitchen and this is very true! But don’t get me wrong there is plenty of enjoyment from food, albeit different to perhaps what you may enjoy, but as I was coming out of a huge bulk (muscle building) phase where my daily calorie intake was between 3,500 – 4,000, and I had gained 10kgs, it was going to be challenging to lean out again. But I am always up for a fitness challenge 🙂

I have done a full “shred” (as we bodybuilders call it) a few times now, I have also studied nutrition and I am very in tune with my body so I am very aware of where I need to cut back. In the early days I was given a strict nutrition plan from my coach, but these days I basically know what I am doing so we do a weekly “pinch” (check BMI manually through skin fold tests) and we decide on the game plan for the week. And so we begin the journey of gradual removal of all enjoyment from food…

We start with cutting back carbs. To build muscle it is not just protein I need but carbs; good carbs. For me this is brown rice or sweet potato. I still keep my oats for breakfast however but the quantity is halved. All other meals are protein, fats and salad/veges.  This is still a healthy diet, calories are around 2,800 and is what I would call my maintenance diet so bearable, enjoyable and although I am noticing an increase in hunger due to the recent drop in calories it is manageable.  I start to lose fat immediately so I retain this regime for a few weeks.

The next thing to be reduced is fat; this is good fat so is very healthy for you on many levels but is particularly good for the brain and supports cognitive function. Good fats for me means nuts, avocado, seeds, olive/coconut oil, greek yogurt (full cream) and bone broth.  First we eliminate the bone broth and greek yogurt, halve the nuts and seeds and olive oil goes from my salad dressing (so just balsamic vinegar) although I am still cooking dinner in a little oil. The hunger is not a constant but is noticeably more.  2,200 odd calories is still manageable for most but I am training with intensity so my body is running at a deficit in order to shed fat. The oats are truly a life saver and I savour them! Temptation is everywhere and I am now drinking more green tea in the office…  If you have read my blog on Resisting Temptation you will know what I usually do to beat temptation but it is getting a tad more challenging now!

I cruise along like this for another few weeks and my fat loss continues at around 1kg a week.  My body is responding perfectly, albeit a little fast, as no significant muscle loss yet. The body remembers and as I have been underweight most of my life I am not surprised at the rate my body responds to the change in conditions.

Cheat night is also toned down through this phase. The chocolate, chips, pizza aka trans-fat need to go. Diary is also removed so with the loss of greek yogurt through the week I also lose cheese and sour cream on cheat night…. Cheat night now becomes clean (er!) with white potato and fruit on the menu in addition to protein. I don’t socialise much anyway but clearly going out anywhere is out of the question now for me; the hunger is beginning to rule my life and I don’t want to be anywhere near anyone that is serving/eating food I am so desperately craving!  Without cheat night I find it far more challenging to stay focused. Usually I really don’t mind missing out through the week as I know I can have what I want on cheat night; but without that to look forward to and with the enjoyment of food decreasing tenfold I need to dig deep. Isolation works best for me!

Next nuts and seeds are removed altogether and the only fat I am left with is half an avocado a day plus a little olive oil to cook with for dinner.  I still have red meat however and as I only eat organic, grass fed this is also considered good fat as well as protein. The weight continues to come down as the hunger is intensifying now.  I am eating 5-6 meals a day (as always) so every few hours however as I am not eating carbs or fats within around 30 mins of eating I am hungry again and must wait another 90-120 mins for my next meal…  with only green tea and water to console me.  I am going to bed earlier and earlier.. sleeping away the hunger works well for me. As every day passes I feel relief that I have managed to get through another day; as food is so central to our lives and existence it is a constant mental challenge to overcome

Red meat is the next to go and is replaced by white meat.  White meat is a lot leaner. I don’t eat fish…  which is a bummer through this phase. So it is poached chicken for every meal…  now I am not a good cook! So getting the chicken nice and tender is a challenge for me plus I am running out of patience to hang around in the kitchen watching a saucepan boil and simmer. As I am eating organic chicken breasts that are not exactly the cheapest item in the poultry section… I have to eat it moist or dry! I still have a variety of salad and veges (steamed only now) to choose from so am thankful for small things because I know what is ahead. Surprisingly I still have my oats for breakfast, due to my steady weight loss, which I am eating with a teaspoon now to make it last longer..  ensures I eat it more slowly and can savour it. After I have finished there is a huge sense of dread as this is the only enjoyment I am getting from food for the entire day.

Hunger is a now almost a constant state while awake.  With the loss of nearly all fats it is also starting to affect my brain, I am very tired and my fuse is very short…  I am still training to a high level, working full time and I have to find the time and energy to practise posing for stage every single day..  The 4.30am starts are becoming very, very hard…  I feel a little out of control at times… like when a colleague eats toast right in front of me…  The smell!  Finding it hard to control myself; I want to scratch her eyes out!  I can feel myself being rude but I just don’t care.

BUT my abs are coming up nicely now which is very exciting! I am beginning to see the muscle that I worked so very hard for during my last bulk phase.  I catch myself in the mirror at the gym or bathroom and I can’t quite believe it is me!  I hold on to that image as I dig deep to find the motivation and discipline to stick to the diet, to ignore the hunger pains, to get control of my emotions, to prepare and swallow this incredibly bland and unenjoyable food and to find the energy to get through my workouts. But the worse is yet to come…

The last week… the entire prep had been easier than on previous occasions so I am actually feeling pretty good about the last week.  It’s only a week right…?  Five (yes that is 5) litres of water a day, sodium loading so lots and lots and lots of salt on every meal, double dosage of a herbal diuretic, poached chicken and either lettuce or steamed green veges only now with a dash of butter for dinner; for 5 meals a day…  no intra or post workout shakes either (so no protein powder).  And thank God I don’t have to do two training sessions a day!  This would be standard for the last two weeks but I have escaped this time due to the rapid fat loss. I am one of the lucky girls… 1,200 calories a day from Sunday to Wednesday… and training every day.. plus dozens of trips to the bathroom… I was beyond grateful to have a boss who was very understanding and allowed me to work from home on and off in previous weeks but this week I just can’t cope with the commute. In fact I can’t cope with people, shops,traffic,life!

Carb load is Thursday so only four days of hell to get through…  Wanting to sleep lots now but am averaging six trips to the bathroom every night… I am only dragging myself out of my apartment now to train.  We are well past the snippy, snappy and cranky stage… I am feeling faint and dizzy on and off…  nails, waxing and hair to organise.. still posing.. and training on most days.. I find myself in a daze a lot of the time just staring off into space.

Not really sure I should be driving… but have no choice. I manage to do some work surprisingly but I need the distraction. Otherwise I just sit on the lounge like a zombie watching crap TV which is VERY unlike me!  (if you haven’t read my blog on a Media Free Diet click here)  Oh and posing..  must get the heels on and practise….  Carb load is 3,600 calories!  I go from a sparrow to an elephant forcing the food down. The carbs go straight to my muscles with the idea that we pump them full of glycogen to give the illusion of fullness.  And then we tighten back up again with only 1,000 calories for the final two days…  no training these days thank God!

To give you an idea of the calorie intake, your body needs around 750-1000 calories simply to lie in bed all day.  This is the minimum required for your body to breathe, heart to pump, digestion etc.  So 1,200 and 1,000 calorie days leaves very little left over!

Water, diuretic and sodium is cut at 12pm on the Saturday so 24 hours before I am on stage.  The water/sodium loading and then eliminating is a scientific bodybuilding technique to purge as much water as possible from the body to highlight muscle definition. Our bodies are 70% water so the more we can drain out before show day the more definition.

I also have laxative tea as my last liquid; its not just water I need to get out of my system….  I had been constipated up until Friday (is it any wonder!) so I also had to use a depository….  And would you believe with all this weight loss my period still arrives like clockwork when due the day before comp. As if I don’t have enough to worry about!  But wait, things do get worse…  after I get the 5 layers of thick bodybuilding tan on Saturday afternoon my bowels decide to explode…  yep; I sure am empty now and I have ruined my tan and my bathroom has brown smears everywhere…   Wow!  And I have to get up on stage tomorrow and look sexy??!!

I do this all with no personal support so comp day arrives and I must leave at 6am to drive to get my hair and makeup done and then to the venue.  After two days of 1,000 calories, following the week from hell, diarrhoea that I could not have any water for my body to recover from, (nor have a shower due to the tan!) needless to say I am beside myself and came very close to a serious car accident on the way.  I sit in the chair while my hair/makeup is being done barely being able to speak and wondering what the hell I am doing!  I want to pull out and go and eat! My savour is carbs; once my coach assesses my condition, I am allowed sugar to pump up the muscles again. Having gone over 4 weeks without sugar at all I am suddenly bouncing off the walls!  Sugar really is a drug which you don’t realise until you eliminate it from your diet.  And so I make it to stage on a sugar high lol!

Not only is this all extremely unhealthy with so many basic necessary nutrients removed, it is also far from glamorous and what many would consider dangerous. How I find the strength and willpower always baffles me after I am through it but at the time I really am just on autopilot. I am well schooled in the food is just fuel theory and the daily battle with hunger and controlling emotions is only for a short period of time in the scheme of life; that’s how I look at it anyway.  And for me it is not just about the rewards I can see in the mirror, it is the empowerment that I feel that truly is the ultimate prize. There is nothing that makes you feel more alive and exhilarated than to overcome what most consider impossible, to have total control over your body and overcome the fear of getting up on stage.  When it is all over the feeling of satisfaction and achievement is hard to describe. It is a life changing journey and only deepens my inner strength and devotion to this bodybuilding lifestyle.

So next time you look enviously at photos of fitness models and wish you had a body like that, ask yourself how much of life are you prepared to give up in order to achieve this media driven obsession? (please read my blog on why we all so desperately want to look like this) What you see on TV or in magazines is a snapshot in time of 1% of the population, this is certainly not what we look like every day and you definitely don’t get to see the (un)happy snaps of what we go through to get to that point in time. I am totally in love with this lifestyle which is why I get the results but it is not for everyone!  And now you know what is involved that it truly is a 24/7 commitment, that it is a unique way to live, that it involves tremendous discipline and focus to achieve and, what most would consider removal of the simple pleasures in life, please be kinder to yourself for not looking like I do!

Self Worth

How I Beat Depression! My Top 6 Tips

August 2016

I have spent a lifetime obsessed with my weight and appearance, a lifetime chasing the white picket fence dream, and a lifetime suffering from depression!

My life has been littered with addictions, heartache, broken relationships, eating disorders, anxiety, depression and insecurities. I have been in and out of therapy since the age of 16. I have had two attempts on my life, been hospitalised three times, on and off medication and I have searched and searched for the answers to my misery in books, therapists, healers, courses, diets, pills, jobs and relationships.  And while I did have periods of, what I thought was happiness, they were always short lived. I had no real clue as to exactly what my issues were despite all the therapy and my happiness was always derived from the external; people, circumstances and material things. 

If you ask any therapist or self-help guru they will tell you that to get over any emotional issues it all starts on the inside.  Happiness is an inside job right…?  I always thought that statement was a load of crap.  Happiness has nothing to do with your body or appearance…?  How can I possibly be happy when I am too old, fat, ugly…? When I don’t have the man, job, kids, house, money…?  Where does this incredible pressure on women come from?!  And gees; I was slim and reasonably attractive so why the hell wasn’t I happy?!

After missing out on having children and plunging to my lowest point to date which was closely followed by the sudden, suspicious death of my mother…  I suffer an injury that sees me having to completely change my gym routine.  One of my many addictions was cardio/aerobic exercise (to ensure I stayed slim) so weight training was not something I had done previously but was now the only exercise left available for me to fuel my dependence on my body and appearance.  Isn’t weight training what fitness models do…? And once again, I find an avenue to reinforce my need to derive happiness from my body and appearance only this time I get to show it off on stage?! Surely then I will be happy…?

Driven by vanity and low self-esteem (that I was completely oblivious to) I took on the ultimate attempt to satisfy the ego by becoming a fitness model and competing on stage at the tender age of 46. It wasn’t until I was well past the point of no return that I realised I had completely over committed myself. What was I thinking?!  With all my issues I was, of course, very shy and introverted despite mastering the art of covering it up. How was I going to get up on stage and fool the world, like I always had, of how broken I really was? Was I crazy?!  It is through this intense journey that I inadvertently stumble across the answers I had been searching for my entire life. Ironic isn’t it? I started down this road for all the wrong reasons and I ended up on my spiritual journey and curing myself of lifelong misery! So here are my top 6 takeaways of how I have managed to beat lifelong, debilitating depression:

  1. Diet. A funny thing happens when you start to feed your body with nutritious, whole, organic food, drink lots of water, take premium supplementation, give up binge drinking/eating, substance abuse and junk food..  All for the sake of vanity and achieving the perfect female form I had to treat my body with respect; like the temple it actually is.  Not abuse it and take it for granted!  After a life time of self-neglect, being under weight and under nourished my body began firing on all cylinders!
  2. Strength Training. Exercise is not a new one as far as elevating depression however having only done cardio I was very fit but not strong.  And quite frankly I didn’t think as a woman I wanted or needed to be physically strong and anyway didn’t lifting weights make you big and bulky?  This is a myth!  As I started to lift heavy weights my body became more defined and shapely, with more muscle I could burn more calories while resting but what affected me most of all was the physical strength.  It is so god damn empowering!
  3. Lifestyle. The bodybuilding lifestyle is extremely disciplined. There is no room for partying, lack of sleep, eating on the run, skipping meals or the general disarray that was my life.  I had to start cooking real food from scratch, take my food with me wherever I went, get up really early and be organised for the day ahead, sleep 8-9 hours a night and follow a routine that was very foreign to me!  To obtain results, consistency is critical not just with the diet and training aspect but with every facet of life.  It truly is a 24/7 commitment.
  4. Mind. After managing to adjust my lifestyle for the training and diet the next, what seemed to be insurmountable, challenge was to find the courage to strut around on stage in a bikini. I was having nightmares about it!  I knew I had to work on my confidence and I knew I had none! I started seeing a hypnotist and then followed my own nightly routine of meditating, affirmations and visualisations.  I started feeding my mind on all levels with positivity, inspiration and nourishment, blocking out the media and anyone or anything that had a negative influence on me.  I had heard about all these self-help practises before and had always thought it was a load of hooey.  But my vanity was surging through my veins; I would try anything!
  5. Mentor v Therapy. I have seen dozens of psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors, therapists, psychoanalysts. All traditional therapy based involving talking about, dissecting and rehashing painful events of the past to establish my misery of today.  Clearly it wasn’t working after 20 odd years of going over the same ground.  And although I had deviated and tried alternate healers it wasn’t until my journey to stage I engaged with professionals that supported me in a way I had never been supported before.  And while the goal was not to cure my depression (they weren’t even aware of how broken I was!) they actually believed in me, respected me, they lifted me higher, they moved me forward in life.  Far more positive!  Having a mentor or coach is a relatively new concept and yet you will not find any successful person in the world who doesn’t have one or even two or three! I now believe this is the best way to change your life if you are stuck.
  6. Passion. While my recovery truly is a combination of many factors if I had to pick one it would be this.  Finding my passion and purpose in life has me jumping out of bed, without hesitation, at 4.30 in the morning, has given me the strength to adhere to the discipline that most can’t fathom, has seen me enduring incredible pain and gives me a feeling of personal empowerment and reward like I have never known.  We are all here for a specific reason and I had searched and searched for mine believing it was hiding behind that allusive picket fence.  But your passion in life has nothing to do with others, has nothing to do with your family or relationship.  It is all about you and the unique gifts that we all have to offer that are just waiting for you to discover.  Life is too short to not live each day with passion and purpose.  I spent 46 years of my life in mediocrity and misery; what a waste!

I now fully understand and appreciate the incredible power of premium health in body, mind and spirit.  And no one should have to go to the extremes I did to work this out!  The lessons I learned and many of the habits I adopted can be easily incorporated into anyone’s life without the extremity.  I have now dedicated my life to supporting women to sparkle with that inner glow that comes from the heart, to find their passion, to reignite that lost mojo that too many of us trade in as we try to fulfil the many roles that society expects of women.  It truly doesn’t have to be so hard!

If you would like more details of my journey and how you can incorporate all I have learned into your own life please click here to purchase my newly published book! Alternatively, please contact me as I would simple LOVE to support you on your own journey of self-discovery. And if you have your own experiences of overcoming emotional issues that I have not covered I would love you to share and leave a comment below.  Lets all help and learn from each other!

Self Worth

8 Tips for Raising Empowered Girls

July 2016

Where do we learn about the importance of self-worth, self-confidence and self-love?  Whose role is it to instill this invaluable quality in our children?  Is it the responsibility of the school system?  Or should it come from parents?  And can anyone even articulate that this is a quality that is so critical to future success and happiness?  And if we can’t articulate it, how do we teach it?!

When I was growing up, loving yourself was a derogatory term; you were said to be “up yourself” so it was a feeling and/or behaviour that I avoided for dear life!  It was frowned upon if you were openly proud of your achievements or portrayed behaviour of feeling good about yourself.  I was not encouraged to love or take pride in my body or celebrate my uniqueness either physically or mentally.  In fact, I spent a lot of my time trying to blend in and be like everyone else.

The school curriculum is still similar to what it was 100 years ago. And while learning to read, write and basic arithmetic is still and always will be critical skills,  I am not sure we have kept up with the incredible fast pace that technology has imposed on us.  We have certainly started teaching the technical skills, I am astounded to see children as young as two using iPads! But it is not just the use of these incredible devices that needs teaching but the associated change in values and behavior that this technology has impacted and the over exposure of what once was private images and topics.

The rate of depression, anxiety, emotional issues, eating disorders, mental illness is at an all-time high.  From 1995 to 2005 the prevalence of eating disorders doubled, 1 in 5 females have an undiagnosed eating disorder, 1 in 100 adolescent girls develop anorexia, 5 in 100 bulimia, emotional issues and depression in teen girls from 2009 to 2014 rose by 55%,  the stats go on and on.  Why is this?  Basically if you look at an average class in school at least 5 girls within that class will have some form of emotional disorder.  What are we doing to vaccinate our children from this suffering?  Childhood is where our belief and value system is installed and with so many of these behaviors in bedded in our subconscious minds it is very difficult to change once we are adults.

I have spent a lifetime trying to work out how to resolve my issues.  I have spent 20 years depressed and miserable; in and out of therapy since the age of 16.  If my parents were more aware of how these issues eventuated in my childhood I am sure they would have done all they could to prevent it.  There is no degree or qualification in being a parent and yet it is one of the most important roles in life and we receive no formal training.  And while we can ensure our children have food, a warm bed and an education how do we know how to raise children to have a strong sense of self?  To foster self-worth in a technological world that bombards us with competition, comparison to others and messages of unworthiness?  If parents suffer from their own self-worth issues it is often passed on but having blindly walked through the majority of my life without realising self-worth was my issue I am not sure that many people/parents actually realise this is the issue!

Unfortunately I missed out on being a mother.  My issues ran so deep that I was not able to sort myself out in time and my biological clock expired.  At the time, it nearly crucified me and I reached an all-time low after numerous failed IVF treatments to become a single mother.  Looking back now, reaching rock bottom was a turning point, as is so often the case, and I can now say that I am at peace with not being a mother.  My children have fur 🙂

So it is from the standpoint of a wounded child, disturbed teenager and then suffering adult, from a woman that has nearly lost her life due to low self-worth. From a woman who is now fully recovered and very self-aware I have concluded the following of where my lack of self-worth originated and what I wish I had been given in my childhood.

​1. Unconditional Love.  Seems to be a throw away term but what does it actually mean? The definition that resonates with me is it means love without any limitations or conditions.  It’s about caring about and making a priority your child’s happiness and well being above all else, and in some cases above your own, and without any thought of what you might get for yourself.  For me this translates to making decisions in life with the welfare of your child in the forefront of your mind, loving and accepting your child no matter what they are good at or not good at, through successes and failures, especially failures, not expecting your child to be anything else but themselves, forgiveness in all and every circumstance and constant encouragement and reinforcement through actions over words that the love of a parent is eternal and will not waiver no matter what happens. Providing security and safety; a place of comfort and an environment where they are able express themselves openly without fear.

​2. Good Health. The basics of nutrition and what our bodies need to achieve premium health is not really taught in school.  Involving children in shopping, preparing and cooking food is a vital life skill and is also a good bonding activity.  Educating children on the differences between manufactured, man-made food and whole food is a lesson that I stumbled across; lucky for me it was not through necessity of physical illness.  Society as a whole falls victim to clever marketing and advertising of the food industry; reading labels, checking what ingredients are in foods that we eat needs to become part of our lives.  Promoting regular exercise and incorporating it as a normal way of living is critical.  Family walks I think are a tremendous way to bond while getting some fresh air and exercise.  I recovered from my depression partly due to achieving premium health; I now believe that to be successful in life, to be strong in mind, a strong, healthy body is key. Learning to nourish your body is learning to respect your body.

3. Relationship Model. 
 One of the reasons I have found it so difficult to find a loving, committed, life-long relationship is due to not having a parental relationship worthy of modelling.  I have no clue what a loving, committed relationship looks or feels like. I have no idea how a man and woman in a loving relationship behave and treat each other.  I feel very strongly that if parents don’t feel they belong together they need to part ways; staying for the sake of children only ensures that they model a dysfunctional relationship and repeat the same pattern in their adult relationships.   
 
4. Self-Care As women, we seem to put the needs of others before our own.  We wind up feeling guilty if we want to indulge in a manicure or go the gym or even just spend some alone time shopping or taking a bath.  And although there is definitely a need to sacrifice for our children there still has to be balance. We can’t give from an empty vessel; we need to fill ourselves up first before we can be there for others. Teaching children to take care of themselves through good health and exercise, making time for their passions and interests, the importance of alone time and balance between activity and quiet time, that looking after yourself is not something to feel guilty about but is a normal part of life.
 
5. Body Love. This is the number one source of anguish for teenage girls.  Teaching girls that the endless parade of perfect bodies on all forms of media is not reality.  Being aware, and protecting where possible, that media, both mainstream and social, is where so many of these messages of competition and comparison are derived. Fostering a love and respect for their bodies as the miraculous machine that keeps them alive and has to last a very long time rather than the source of their self-worth. Treating the vessel that houses their soul with the utmost respect, grooming it, bathing it, nourishing it, exercising it, lovingly appreciating and taking care of every part of it. Celebrating the uniqueness and differences in everyone’s body and instilling a sense of pride of their own personal style even if it is different from your own or their friends.

6. Quality Relationships.  Teaching the difference between genuine friendships and acquaintances and the importance of maintaining the good ones is another skill I wish I had learnt throughout childhood.  Women are notoriously bitchy!  Often driven by low self-worth…  but learning to recognise and foster the sincere relationships, learning how to be a reliable, caring, trusty worthy friend, the importance of having a couple of close confidants over a dozen acquaintances who barely know you, that being popular is not the goal.  Also, respect and loyalty to family; fostering a family unit and placing a priority on family love over romantic love.  Unconditional love is not just for the parent/child relationship but should extend to the sibling relationship. A parent is in the unique position to ensure that sibling love is one of the quality relationships that must be fostered and respected as it has to last and serve as a replacement after parents have passed.

7. Respect Individuality.  This is closely related to unconditional love but I want to be a little more specific. I was a shy, introverted young girl and more so through my teen years after an interstate move at the age of 14. I felt constant pressure to be more sociable, to be outgoing, to talk more, to be what I so clearly wasn’t…  I was told I was too sensitive, too emotional, that I over reacted to everything and I was told this well into my adult years. Pressuring a teen (or anyone) to be a certain way that doesn’t come naturally to them is not going to foster self-worth. The message being sent is that you are not good enough the way you are.  If the temperament is quiet and reserved, encourage interests and passions that are aligned with this kind of personality; reading, writing, individual sport, music, while also encouraging the quality friendship aspect with obviously a one on one rather than group activity.  If sociable, then encourage the group activity concept but also ensuring that the importance of alone time is also understood. Either is ok!

8. Personal Tool Box.  In times of stress, pressure, confusion, sadness, grief or any other negative challenge that is inevitable, a suite of tools that can be utilised to ride through the down times.  We are not taught in school how to deal with the challenges in life such as death, depression, divorce, heartache and while these are usually adult dilemmas I wish that I had been taught through my childhood and teen years the mental and spiritual tools I used to recover from depression.  These could be personal mantras or affirmations, the benefits of meditation or yoga or tai chi, journaling, how to visualise to achieve goals and move forward in life,  the importance of gratitude, the value of having a coach or mentor outside the family unit, the importance of personal development and ongoing learning about oneself. Or any other spiritual tool that resonates.

​I have used the word teach a lot however children learn far more by observation of their parents behaviour and attitude to life.  If a parent is not comfortable with any of these points it is going to be very hard to incorporate them within the family environment.  I now understand why I missed out on having children as I would only have passed on all my negative beliefs and issues to my children.  I naively assumed that having children of my own would correct my own difficult childhood.  And although I would have taken care to not repeat the few traumatic events of my own upbringing it is the lack of self-worth that has plagued my adult years, that I wasn’t even aware of, that would have shone through and affected my children.

I am no expert by any means and these comments are all my personal opinion formed from my own heartaches.  And I can hear many parents saying that discipline is necessary which I am not denying.  If discipline is conducted with respect and with all these suggestions in mind then maybe, just maybe, we can tackle the increasing number of wounded children, teens and therefore adults and empower girls to go out into the world being the best they can be from the outset.  And not waste 46 years like I have!

“A mother who radiates self-love & self-acceptance actually vaccinates her daughter against low self-esteem.”

Naomi Wolf

Self Worth

Why do we use so many Beauty Products?

June 2016

Why do we paint makeup all over our face and eyes? Why do we smother our face at night with cleanser, toner and expensive anti-wrinkle cream? Have a think about all the beauty products and makeup in your bathroom cupboard; why, as women, do we feel we have to use all these chemically laden products?  If you looked in the bathroom cupboard of your great grandmother do you think you would see this wide array of products?

The beauty industry has come a long way in the last century and while women have used makeup since ancient Egypt you have to ask yourself why this industry is worth billions and billions of dollars and grows by around 7% every year.  Even in these tough economic times we all still make sure we have our cosmetic and skin care products. How is it that we have prioritised these products as high on our shopping list as food?

What do you think the aim of the marketing department is at one of these cosmetic giants?  To sell more products, of course, but how do they manage to achieve this incredible growth and influence over our minds and buying dollar to such an extent? The beauty industry is not actually about helping us feel beautiful; let me say that again…  The beauty industry is NOT about helping you feel beautiful; because if you did already feel beautiful, just the way you are, accepting all your flaws and proudly showing them off to the world, then why would you have a need for the growing number of beauty products in your bathroom cupboard..?

The advertisers and marketing executives of the beauty industry’s sole purpose is to make sure you feel inadequate and insecure; so that you look in the mirror and you DON’T like what you see. That you look in the mirror and compare yourself to the photo-shopped, air-brushed, flawless looking skin of the model in their ad and bingo, you buy their product!

“You will never look like the girl in the magazine. The girl in the magazine doesn’t even look like the girl in the magazine.”

The funny thing is we all actually know that the models and celebrities who advertise these products don’t actually look like that in everyday life.  And yet we still feel the need to strive for this unrealistic perfection.  One of the many reasons I no longer watch main stream media is due to the endless parade of flawless women; we are bombarded with these images everywhere we turn.  This alone creates a belief that we all should look like that.  Constantly subscribing to this nonsense and comparing ourselves to this fantasy land creates insecurities and low self-worth, whether you realise it is or not.  If you continually judge yourself and others to a computer generated image you will never stop feeling insecure!  And sadly, this is be design.

So how on earth did our great grandmothers attract their husband without all these beauty products…?  Seems that love, sex and attraction was happening well before we had all these modern day cosmetics…. otherwise we wouldn’t be here! So you have to ask yourself, how did women attract men without all these cosmetics?  Maybe they were more comfortable in their own skin? More authentic with who they really are, and perhaps life was a little more simple back then and there was less comparison to others…?

If we have a look at what main stream media was offering up to women in the 30s, 40s and 50s it was very, very conservative by today’s standards.  Pictures were usually in black and white, if there were pictures at all.  The newspaper was very often the only way they were receiving news and generally this was just news rather than the pages and pages of advertisements we see today. There was certainly no TV, internet and glossy, colour magazines were often only for the wealthy.  This comparison to others that women seem to be so engrossed in was confined to friends, neighbours and family. Viewing celebrities was confined to the movie theatre where they were actually acting and performing in a movie and are not supposed to look like they usually do.

We may look back on these “olden times” and claim how backward and ill-informed they all were.  How little they knew about the world and naïve they now seem.  And while there certainly are many benefits that we all enjoy today with the immediacy of information and the incredible tool we have at our fingertips to research any subject imaginable, do we use it for expanding our knowledge?  Or do we allow ourselves to be influenced and sucked in by the latest fashion, reality drama, clever advertising and who is wearing what on the red carpet?

It is incredibly clear to me that main stream media is the cause and source of women’s issues with body image and the resulting emotional and eating disorders.  The advertisers are all too aware of how to prey on women and make sure they look in the mirror and criticize what they see.  And for an industry that continually grows year on year and with the epidemic of women’s low self-worth now at an all-time high; is it a coincidence?  I don’t think so…

The other thing to note with these products is that they are laden with chemicals.  It takes 26 seconds for these chemicals to pass through your skin and enter your blood stream.  If you wouldn’t eat your beauty products then why would you put these poisons on your skin?  We blindly assume that these chemicals have been tested and someone out there is ensuring these products are safe.  Who is this someone? The company that is trying to make a profit from you? And probably tests on animals…?  And what are the long term effects of use?  Just because you don’t die immediately from these products doesn’t mean there isn’t a risk..

Self-confidence is BY FAR the most attractive quality any woman can own.  If we could bottle and sell that feeling the beauty industry would finally have competition and sales would decline. I have spent my entire adult life hating what I see in the mirror and suffering from low self-esteem; and I didn’t even know it!  The beauty industry has certainly played a huge role in my downfall and the funny thing is now I have finally won the battle with my internal demons I wear less make up today than I ever have before!  I am so opposed to the incredible amount of chemicals in these products that I also now use very simple, organic skin care products too.

Turning off from main stream media has HUGE benefits; you can read more about this on my blog Media Free Diet.  Turning off from the beauty industry is a little harder and I will admit that I will always wear make-up at the appropriate occasion; the important thing is to be aware of how we are influenced, how the advertisers play our emotions and learn to rise above all the rubbish.  I promise you will have more peace, more confidence and more money when you do!  You have so much more to offer this world; be real with yourself and ask yourself some tough questions about your motivation with your beauty products. And if anything I have written has made you feel uncomfortable I would love you to leave a comment below.

My Lifestyle

My Top 10 Tips on Embracing Loneliness & Loss

May 2016

Since my feline soul mate and best friend passed last month I have found the loneliness on some days to engulf me and take me back to dark places that I would rather not revisit. I have certainly recovered from depression but I have had to be very mindful that I don’t slip backward during this challenging time in my life.  If you haven’t read my tribute to my girl yet click here.

Death is one of the hardest situations to deal with in life and yet we all must at some stage. And its not exactly a life experience that we are given any education on how to handle. We certainly must cry and cry and cry.. but we also must begin to take steps to move past the loss and embrace the loneliness.  Every situation in life is temporary; life is always moving and changing. Life will certainly never be the same but it will be different and it will be happy again.

For those of you who don’t me, I do live alone and I enjoy my own company probably too much! It has taken me a very long time to get to that place of loving my own space. But that space was always shared with my girl so I could argue that I have never lived alone. Up until now…  20 years is an awfully long time to share your space so intimately with a feline companion.

I went through the first stage of grief, desperately wanting to replace her like yesterday! I didn’t want to open my front door for one more day and be greeted with silence. I felt like my heart was breaking over and over again every day! My apartment feels like an empty shell. And after making a few enquires and even agreeing to take on two rescue cats I found myself back tracking. Knee jerk reactions are not always the best way to handle situations despite our desperate need to suppress negative feelings. Taking on a pet is for life, it is a serious commitment and I knew I wasn’t ready.

So after having many conversations with the urn… and the dozens of photos of her on my bookshelves I decided to wait.  So now I am stuck with sitting with my loneliness. I have decided to use this time to do further work on myself however there are still times where I cant control the tears and I wanted to share with you some tips on how to deal with that ache in your heart and the overwhelming urge to suppress it with food, drugs, alcohol, shopping, staying in bed or whatever is your vice!

“I think it is very healthy to be alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person.”

Oscar Wilde

These tips can be used if you are trying to get over a break up or grief of any kind when being alone is not what you want but it is actually probably what you need!

  1. Clean. I have found myself doing a lot of extra cleaning in the last few weeks… There are the basic set of cleaning chores every week but there are also the additional ones that only need doing once in a while. So when I could feel the tears welling up and taking over out comes the rubber gloves! The kitchen/bathroom cupboards, both inside and the outside, the top of and all around the fridge and/or washing machine, under the bed, the fan and filter above the stove, the linen press etc. etc. I get a great feeling of satisfaction when I clean something I haven’t for a while. I keep going back and admiring my work lol!
  2. eBay. This has been through necessity of needing some extra funds also but there are always heaps of things we hang on to and rarely, if ever use, that someone out there will pay good money for. So if tidying up your wardrobe or the garage was a task from tip one that create an eBay pile, take photos, load up and wait for a bit of extra pocket money to hit your account! It is a great feeling to receive unexpected money.
  3. Charity. If what you have tidied up is not worth selling or you feel like doing a good deed, which is yet another rewarding feeling to take yourself out of your loneliness, then load up the car with all the things you no longer need and take it to your local charity. Getting rid of some of the stuff we accumulate over time sends a message to the universe that you are making space for new things to enter your life. Cat, relationship, job, money or whatever it is that you want in your life make some space by putting back into circulation those things that you hoard but never use!
  4. Exercise. This is a no brainer for me, in fact, I have found myself overtraining the last few weeks which has caused some old injuries to flare up but that is another story! But just moving your body and/or getting outside in the sunshine and fresh air does wonders for how you feel about yourself and your life. I know this is a tough one for many, but if you are determined to beat the blues and not succumb to the loneliness then getting outside even for a short walk will lift your mood. You know this one…
  5. Take a bath. Now the weather is getting colder at night a nice warm bath is so relaxing and soothing. Quality me time without any interruptions with the added benefit of detoxing my body with Epsom salts. It helps promote quality sleep too which can be tough when you are missing someone that used to be beside you at night.
  6. Sing & Dance. Put on your favourite music, loud if you can, and make yourself sing and dance. Your alone, who cares! Uptown Funk still gets dragged out when I am fighting the tears. How can you possibly cry when watching Bruno dance and while you are singing “I’m too hot (hot damn). Don’t believe me just watch!” Prince died not long after my girl so I thoroughly enjoyed listening to my old time favourite and reminiscing about how in love I used to be with Prince!
  7. Gratitude. When we are suffering loneliness or loss it is hard to feel grateful so we have to deliberately and purposefully go through the list of all the things we do have rather than focusing on what has gone. Food in the fridge, running clean water, a nice warm bed, electricity; we are so very, very, very privileged to live the lives we do. Take a moment every day to think about, or even write down in your journal, what you are grateful for.
  8. Watch/listen to motivational speakers. Rather than turning to the trash on TV purposely seek out something uplifting. My old favourites come out; Bob Proctor and Abraham-Hicks. The latter was very helpful as they talk about the loss of animals, how their spirit passes over and how they have no fear of death like we do. In fact any challenge we currently face there is a clip on YouTube by Abraham to help you manage your emotions and give you a different perspective to your challenging feelings including loneliness.
  9. Meditate. Yes; I know we think this is a load of hooey…but it really does help whether you can feel it helping at the time or not. There is plenty of scientific evidence that tells us that meditating calms the nervous system, balances our emotions and gives us the clarity and radiance to deal with lifes challenges. Do yourself a favour and just try it for 10 mins a day and I PROMISE you that you will handle those lonely feelings much better.
  10. Affirmations. I have been meditating so long I now have control of my thoughts and I have trained myself to do affirmations whenever I find idle time in my mind. Just like meditation, I too thought this was a load of hooey but if you are constantly telling yourself I am so lonely, I miss _____ (fill in the blank) then how are you going to get past the lonely feelings…?  Isn’t affirming that my life is full of wonderful, loving people, I am blessed to have a loving feline companion or whatever the opposite is of how you feel a more productive way to assist getting over your tears….?

I have not put in a tip here to call a friend or family member to talk to as this is not my default reaction being the introvert that I am.  And while there is tremendous value in connecting with people when the loneliness is engulfing, there is also great benefit in facing these feelings and utilising the time alone to further grow and develop. To move past the grief and to be ready to welcome in the next chapter of your life. If you avoid these feelings they will only keep resurfacing until you do face them! And it will prevent you from letting go and moving forward.

It is also important to remember that there is no time limit on grief. Everyone moves through these painful situations at a different pace and in their own time. But if you do feel that it has been going on too long and the you cant stop the daily crying then please do seek professional assistance.

Spending quality time alone, I believe, is paramount to leading a happy and balanced lifeBut there is a difference between seeking time alone to replenish your soul and avoiding time alone to escape facing your feelings. I am glad I didn’t make the mistake of getting a new feline companion straight away. It has given me the time to grieve and accept my feelings of loss. To honour my time with the most incredible cat ever and make room in my heart for my new feline companion.

So what do you do when the loneliness engulfs you? Leave me a comment below with any further suggestions on how you overcome the tears and lonely feelings.

Nourish your Mind

Are you Passionate about Health?

May 2016

If you had told me 5 years ago that I would become a fitness model, bodybuilder, health coach, author and be fully recovered from depression I would have thought you were mad! I have spent a life time searching for answers to my unhappiness and I have stumbled across the solution completely by accident. You can read the full story of my journey in my book but I wanted to share with you one of the major components that has got me where I am today. My studies and ongoing affiliation with the Institution of Integrative Nutrition® (IIN).

I have battled depression my entire adult life. I have searched and searched for the answers to a happy life and why it alluded me. I have tried every pill/therapist/book/course/diet etc.  And while my entire life was far from fulfilling in every area, and I was certainly searching on all fronts, I want to talk specifically about my search for a more rewarding career here.

I have never been the academic type. I have always resented the concept of learning via memory. So many subjects at school did not appeal to me so memorising information on these subjects in order to pass an exam I felt was an inappropriate way to learn. As a result, I only scraped through school and I didn’t go to university after I finished year 12 much to my mother’s horror! Society seems to measure intelligence by qualifications so I didn’t think I was very smart. School and society also educate that with or without formal qualifications, in order to earn money you must get a job. I didn’t think there was any other way to get by in life.

I did make numerous attempts over the years to conform to this must have additional formal qualifications mindset. I started two different degrees; one in maths and one in accounting only to drop out. I have also started many other courses through TAFE and various colleges, searching for that fulfilling career, but once again dropping out. The career I had fallen into did not have any official qualifications until recently and coupled with my opinion that I wasn’t smart I just plodded along in the rat race, hating Mondays and spending the week counting down to the weekend or the next holiday.The only course I actually did complete is when my fallen into career began to be more recognised as a profession and in 1997 I became qualified for the first time since leaving school in 1984. I seemed to be good at my job, it paid the bills so I stuck with it for 30 years…

I first heard about health coaching back stage at my first bodybuilding competition, 5 mins before my call out on stage! I decided I needed to connect with my fellow competitors in order to feel more secure while under the spotlight. I actually wanted to pee my pants and run for my life but that’s another story! I can’t believe I even remembered that conversation given the state I was in. But I did and 24 hours later when I had come back down to earth and regained some sense of normality after eating real food again I googled and found the Institute of Integrative Nutrition®.

I was instantly drawn to their health coaching program. I joined a live call to find out more about it, looked at their curriculum, sampled a class, spoke to a recruiter and signed up within a week. After all the dozens of courses I had started and dropped out, after all my searching for over 30 years I was finally being led in the right direction. I graduated from their yearlong course in April 2014.

“I have noticed that as people improve their health, they become empowered to pursue the life of their dreams – the life they came here to live.”

Joshue Rosenthal

What is health coaching? Health coaching extends the life coaching concept to include the health of your body, mind and spirit. You see, it is very difficult to achieve anything in life if you don’t address any health or weight issues and generally these issues are not just about food! Nutritionists/Dieticians will only look at the food component, doctors only give you 15 mins of their time and are not even trained in nutrition, life coaches will help you set and move towards your goals however none of these professions take a holistic approach and appreciate the impact that the health of your body has on every aspect of your life. And certainly none of these professions have come close to reversing the epidemic of obesity and sickness rampant in society today. If we add health coaches to this mix of wellness professionals, I believe that collectively we can have a huge impact on the future health of this planet. For more information on what health coaching is click here.

What is the Institute of Integrative Nutrition® difference? Like I mentioned earlier, I am not an academic and I hate learning via memory. IINs health coaching course is delivered in such a way that you don’t even feel like you are studying. It is like you are on a journey of discovery, surrounded by support, encouraged and motivated, inspired while generating a feeling of belonging to a likeminded community that is part of a very positive global movement. The lecturers are passionate, knowledgeable and well known within the wellness space and you are given the opportunity to not only learn about but are encouraged to try 100 different dietary theories. IIN are very much about bio-individuality, what works for one person may not work for another and you gain an understanding of what this means. Click here for further info.

Health coaching is the upcoming profession of the 21st century. IIN are lobbying congress in the US for support and recognition for the vital role we can play in resolving the global health crisis. We are also lifting the veil on how this crisis has come about and are challenging the social norm.

As a proud graduate and member of this movement it was only natural that I also became an ambassador. I would simply LOVE to be able to inspire more people to do this course and join me on this incredible journey I am on. I can offer you exclusive savings to access this life changing course. Yes; I do receive a commission if you are wondering! But my reward is not just monetary, it is knowing that I have contributed to this growing community and together we are making a difference.

If you would like to have a personal discussion with me regarding the course, IIN, or anything I have just written please click here to contact me or write a comment below. I LOVE talking about my passion in life!

“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together.”

My Lifestyle

Whatever it Takes

April 2016

My beloved Sasha has been by my side for over 20 years.  She has seen me through some of the worst times in my life and has always been there for me, loving me unconditionally.  I have faced many challenges to date; from burying my mother, to competing in bodybuilding competitions, to divorces and heartache, to writing a book.  Nothing compares to the anguish of watching my girls decline and making the ultimate decision for her to leave this world.

Himalayan cats are a cross between Persians and Siamese.  They have a very placid, quiet nature and are a member of what I call the princess breeds.  They loll around the house looking stunning with their big blue eyes and luscious coat, with the least amount of activity possible and conduct themselves with an air of royalty.  They are incredibly loyal; my girl has always been very much my cat and totally in tune with my energy and emotion to the point of uncanny synchronicity.  Not overly affectionate as the thick coat brings heat when cuddling, but still wanting a close connection.  I have fallen asleep with her paw in my hand many times.  Respectful and faithful; a true companion that derives happiness from simply being in your presence without being demanding.

Life expectancy for Himalayans is usually around 16 human years.  My precious girl turned 20 last October!  She has been on my miracle supplement for the past two and half years along with me.  As so often has been the case, when I have had some form of injury or illness she seems to follow.  She tore ligaments in her knee at the same time I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my knees back in 2013.  I have no doubt that Laminine has extended her life and I am so very grateful for the additional time we have shared.

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

Anatole France

Mid-January was when her decline started.  Night howling was the first symptom and only between the hours of 1 and 5am!  Anti-anxiety tablets were prescribed as, once again, she suffers from a similar ailment to me, although I have not had problems with my own anxiety for some time.  She has been on a special renal diet for many years, kidney problems were always going to surface at the end and urinary tract infections emerged.  Once again a condition I have suffered from throughout my adult life.  Like I said, uncanny similarities!

With countless trips to the vet in the early stages as a protocol was established eventually I was supporting her from home as I mastered the art of injecting fluids every second day and administering countless tablets to keep her comfortable.  Mixing up special, tempting food concoctions, rearranging my apartment ensuring she had everything she needed in easy reach, rocking and cradling her to sleep in the wee hours. It has been a 24/7 commitment and responsibility I take very seriously.  And even now looking back I still don’t feel I did enough.

The magic that steroids provide kept her with me for an additional two months.  However, there are consequences for dependence on such a drug as they put additional strain on an already weakened renal system.  I learned to be grateful for each passing day but knew it was only a matter of time.  So hard to know when the right time is; doing it too soon could rob you of some of the last happy days together.  Doing it too late could rob her of dignity as well as enduring pain and suffering.  And I learned that what comes with this emotional roller coaster ride is good days and bad; a glimmer of hope of recovery, only to be dashed with a bad day.  Everyone kept telling me you will know when, she will tell you.  I didn’t believe anyone until it happened..

Pet ownership is a huge responsibility.
  It is a lifetime responsibility and needs to be treated with the same respect as any family member.   It is not just about the joy of welcoming a new puppy or kitten into your home and the following adult years when times are good and life is easy.  It is in the senior years that loyalty must be repaid, stepping up and going the extra mile during the bad times, looking after your pet as you would a dying parent or child, being there until the very end no matter how hard it gets.  I was determined to repay 20 years of loyalty and “whatever it takes” was my motto, as my heart broke on a daily basis.  I surprised myself as to what I actually could do; if you had told me a year ago I would be injecting fluids into my angel I would have said I never could.  We are all capable of heroic actions when circumstances warrant and when our loved ones lives depend on us.  I have compromised my training, my sleep, my job and my finances to nurse her through and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Another important factor in responsible pet ownership, in my opinion, is a long term relationship with your veterinarian.  I have been seeing Dr Steve Anich at Drummoyne Veterinary Hospital for 10 years!  He knows both Sasha and I very well.  I initially made the decision on the 6th of February to put her down.  Steve overrode my decision advising that there were still a number of treatments available, that she was not suffering and I got an additional 2 months!  I have been truly blessed to have the support of the most amazing vet through this ordeal.  A vet I trust explicitly and whose guidance not only allowed me extra time but enabled me to support my girl in ways I didn’t think I was capable of.  It has been a roller coaster beyond belief and I do not know how I would have coped without his and his teams support.  From his in-depth knowledge, to his compassion, understanding and patience.  Thank you just doesn’t seem enough for the enormous role he has played in both mine and Sasha’s life.

My life will never be the same without my princess.  I have been blessed with an angel watching over me for so long.  I know she will continue to and we will be together again soon.  My only consolation is that she is finally at peace.  I hold on to the vision of her final days to try and reassure myself that it was definitely time and I pray that she didn’t suffer as hard as I tried to prevent it.

I have owned a few cats in my time but the connection I had with Sasha I can only describe as to that of a soul mate. Every day when I walk through the door to a silent, empty apartment my heart breaks all over again.  I thought I was prepared after nearly 3 months of watching her every move and anticipating the end.  There is nothing that can prepare you for this excruciating pain.  I hope the daily crying stops soon.

Goodbye my gorgeous girl.  I love you with all my heart and soul.  Thank you so much for your unconditional love for so long.   So many people say how lucky you were to have had a Mum like me, but the truth is that I am the lucky one.  I feel honoured to have shared my life with you.  I miss you so very much.  xoxo

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