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Nourish your Body

My Top 10 Health & Weight Loss Tips

August 2015

Do you find it hard to find the motivation to eat healthy all the time and/or fit some exercise into your schedule?  When you are trying to change a lifetime of food conditioning, when we are constantly bombarded with mixed messages and clever marketing about what is healthy and what’s not, when life is so hectic in this technological age who has time to prepare food from scratch every meal AND go to the gym?! Losing weight and getting healthy just seems too confusing, too hard, too time consuming and too far out of the comfort zone! 

The extremes of my lifestyle to maintain premium health are just that; extreme!  If you do nothing else but add in a few of these things to your life they will make an ENORMOUS difference to your health and weight loss goals.  Just imagine losing weight without changing what you eat or doing any exercise! These are my top ten tips: 

  1. Hydrate!  I am sure this is not news to you..  our bodies need a minimum of 2 litres a day just to function effectively.  And yes, drinking adequate amounts of water will not only improve your health, help you control your stress levels but is scientifically proven to assist with weight loss. Try having a big glass of water before each meal and I guarantee you will eat less.  Have a big glass of water prior to your 3pm snack and see if you still snack on as much.  Too often we are actually thirsty which can come disguised as hunger. Buy a jug for your desk at work and ensure it is all gone before you leave for the day.  Buy a trendy water bottle and add it to your handbag accessories.  This one is crucial!
  2. Warm lemon juice.  Every day I start my day with half a lemon squeezed with a splash of warm water.  Health benefits to this are off the charts; weight loss, improves digestion, regulates bowel movements, cleanses skin, detoxifies the body, alkalises the body (which helps prevent cancer), reduces pain and inflammation in joints, nourishes brain and nerve cells, strengthens the liver, boosts immunity, gives you an energy boost.   You could also add a dash of bi-carb soda to make it a little more palatable as well as increasing the benefits further.   Wait half an hour before eating.
  3. Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother!) Again, health benefits are off the charts.  I dilute this one also as the taste is just a bit too much for me!  Best time to take this one is just before a meal as it will stimulate enzymes to improve digestion.  Further benefits: reduces appetite and cravings, lowers bad cholesterol, weight loss, tones, clarifies and clears the skin, detoxifies the body, alkalises the body (which helps prevent cancer), cleanses the lymph nodes, reduces heart burn, boosts immunity.  This list is exhaustive!
  4. Get more Zzzzz’s!  Not only does sleep deprivation raise cortisol it is the quickest way to grow old!  Our bodies regenerate when we sleep.  I like to get 8-9 hours a night; it is the time my muscles repair from my training and grow!  Raised cortisol is a silent contributor to weight gain and is very hard to measure.  Getting enough sleep is vital to a healthy lifestyle and managing stress.  Benefits include; weight loss, better concentration, better mood, mental clarity, anti-aging and longevity and boosts immunity.
  5. Soak in a bath.  When did taking the time to soak in a bath become a luxury?  It used to be the only way humans could bathe!  Soaking in Epsom salts, bi-carb soda and some essential oils for 20 mins will not only detox your body it will detox your mind!  It aids in weight loss, lowers cortisol and promotes relaxation, eases muscle aches and pains, improves sleep, aids in detoxification, softens and smooths skin. Plus you will get an extra dose of magnesium that we are all deficient in.  Refer tip 10.  Once a week is fine for this one.
  6. Drink Green Tea.  A scientifically proven way to rev up your metabolism, provides anti-oxidants, improves brain function, increases fat burning, may lower risk of cancer, anti-viral and anti-bacterial, anti-aging, improves dental health, lowers the risk of type II diabetes,   Try swapping just one coffee/black tea with a green tea a day and gradually increase.  I also take green tea extract in tablet form prior to a workout to improve performance and enhance fat burning.
  7. Dry skin brush.  Takes all of 3 minutes before you shower and it will stimulate circulation to aid weight loss.  Give the back of your thighs a good scrub to reduce cellulite too.  Our skin, like the rest of our body, works overtime to try and eliminate toxins; giving it a brush aids in this process as well as giving you soft, glowing skin!  Other benefits include stimulating the lymphatic system, exfoliation, increase circulation, improve digestion and kidney function and its invigorating!
  8. Graze! on 5 smaller meals a day.  I am sure you have heard this one before too.  Skipping meals is the fastest way to put on weight.  You would be astonished at how much food I eat but it is always little amounts often to maintain blood sugar levels and keep my metabolism revved. If you allow your body to get into that starving mode your stone age body can only interpret this as a famine is on the way.  It has no clue that the fridge is full or the supermarket shelves are over flowing; it only understands feast or famine.  If your body thinks a famine is on the way it will hold on to and store as fat everything you have just eaten or eat next to last it through until your next kill. (so to speak!)  We tend to forget that our bodies are the same as our stone age ancestors; tap into this primal response and ensure your body is working for your weight loss goals not against you.
  9. Coconut Oil (organic cold pressed) Another one with health benefits off the charts including weight loss, improves digestion, boosts metabolism, boosts immunity, lowers cholesterol, nourishes the skin and hair and improves bone health to name a few.  Try cooking in coconut oil for a change in flavour.  Coconut Oil solidifies most of the year at room temperature; I simply scoop out a teaspoon and eat it straight up.  It tastes like the inside of a Bounty!
  10. Sup it up.  Our food supply and the soil we grow our produce in is nowhere near the same quality as only a generation ago.   Not to mention all the additives and pesticides.  In my opinion, the only way to ensure you are receiving adequate nutrients is to supplement your diet.   I take a wide range of supplements and of course as our bodies are so diverse and different we all have different needs however I do recommend a basic suite of supplements to ensure you are giving your body the best chance to achieve premium health.    Like shopping for a car, handbag or shoes, the higher the price tag the better the quality.  There is no regulation in the supplement industry as there is in the drug industry…  so I would be very wary of off the shelf, commercial brands.  What they say are contained in the tablet is not always the case. And of course, when I hear the complaints of how much supplements cost I would have to respond with how much is your health worth?  What quality of life are you after in your senior years?  Look at it as an insurance policy!  My recommended basic sups for wellbeing and weight loss are: a multi-vitamin, fish oil, probiotic and magnesium. 

If you have noticed a common thread of detoxification through most of these tips good spotting!  Our poor stone age bodies are bombarded daily with foreign chemicals and electromagnetic waves; from air pollution, to cosmetics, to scented toilet paper and soaps, to bleach in tampons, to pesticides, artificial flavours and colours and antibiotics in our food, to mobile phones, to sitting in front of a computer all day and now we have this new fitbit craze!  If our body doesn’t know how to process a foreign substance it is stored in our fat cells until the body can figure out what to do with it…  And guess what? It rarely figures it out!  The majority of your weight gain may have a lot to do with simply the need to detox.

I am not saying that only these things will see you shed all your excess weight as there is no substitute for a healthy diet and regular exercise however incorporating these little things will see your health and energy levels improve and have you feeling so good that you may just find yourself wanting to exercise and eat better!  Just imagine the weight loss potential!  Like anything in life it comes down to habit and for all of these (other than the bath) to be effective it needs to be consistent and daily.  Doing them once a week or once in a while will have little or no effect.   And yes, I do them all and more every single day!

“You will never see a change in your life (or body) until you change something you do daily. The secret to your success is in your daily routine.”

John C. Maxwell

Nourish your Mind

Music Therapy

July 2015

As I sit here typing this I have Uptown Funk (feat. Bruno Mars) by Mark Ronson on repeat.  I would have listened to this song maybe 50 times in the last few days plus watched the video clip a dozen times.   Why?  Because I LOVE it!  Because it makes me feel good.  Because it makes me sing and dance.  Because the lyrics are just perfect for feeling good about yourself.  Too hot!  Don’t believe me just watch 😉

Have you had or have a song that when you hear it makes you want to sing out loud and dance with reckless abandon?  In those moments you feel fully alive, full of energy and truly happy.  And all because you hear a few chords strung together in the right sequence.  Music can have an enormous impact on us; it can lift your mood, put a smile on your face and add immeasurable quality to your day and life. 

It can also have the opposite effect…  A sad song that brings back painful memories or a time in your life that wasn’t happy can all of a sudden see tears involuntarily well up in your eyes.  Even if that time in your life was years ago, music can still move you to feel those painful emotions over again.

Music can also make education fun for children.  There are many groups such as the Wiggles who have been very successful in putting words to music in such a way that children don’t realise they are learning while they are having fun.

Music brings people together.  Whether it is a group of friends jamming in the garage, musicians playing in an orchestra or band that we go to watch and listen or a good old karaoke sing a long music is in all of us and there is a certain connection between us when we come together with music.

Music truly is the language of the universe that has no boundaries of communication.
  Whether we as humans speak a different language or even pets, birds and whales understand music to a certain degree.

So how can we use this incredible gift to enhance our life and wellbeing?  Here are my top 5 tips on how I incorporate music into my life to lift my mood and get me motivated!

  1. Build a collection of inspirational and motivational songs on your smart phone or ipod so you can listen to music that fills your heart with joy every single day.  With the incredible range of ear buds available you can listen to music almost anywhere.   On your commute, at work if your job permits; the last thing I do before I walk out the door in the morning is put on a uplifting song to ensure I start my day with a spring in my step!
  2. There is not an athlete in the world who doesn’t use music to motivate themselves and we all know every gym in the world has music pumping to motivate you to exercise.  Pick your favourite work out tracks and incorporate them into your exercise regime to motivate you to push harder!
  3. To share with friends or that special someone.  There is nothing like happy music in the background as you catch up with friends aka party!  I usually have one of the music channels on like Max so that there is the visual video clip as well.  Or change the mood for that special someone with something more romantic or sexy!
  4. We have all walked into a day spa for a massage and heard that relaxing new age music. Easier enough to put on your smartphone and time it for say 20 mins if you have trouble sleeping music can help you find your zzzzz’s.   You could even find music that has subliminal affirmations to reprograming your subconscious as you drift off!  Topic for another blog!
  5. Never underestimate the power of driving along and singing along at the top of your voice! Guaranteed to lift your mood!  I also play music while I am doing the housework; similar affect!

Music has played a huge role in my life in my battle with depression.  I have used it to block out the world and ensure I am protected from anything sad.  So many girl power songs have been played over and over and over! 

Nourish your Body

Prepare to Succeed!

June 2015

Fail to Prepare, prepare to Fail! We have all heard this quote many times but I don’t think any of us realise the huge impact failing to prepare for the week has on our health and diet.  Convenience, processed, manmade and therefore calorie and/or chemically laden food is everywhere; it’s quick and easy and is your downfall!  Our modern day, technological lives have become increasingly hectic and demanding of our time and attention.

Do you remember the wonderful home cooked meals that your grandmother used to make?  How is it that too many of us have lost this invaluable skill and probably more on point where has the time gone to devote to this dare I say, boring, domestic chore?  Sadly preparing a healthy, home cooked, family meal has dropped off too many of our priority list.  TV, social media, the internet, smart phones are the obvious time suckers!

Food “prep” as we call it in the gym world was a new concept to me when I started down this road.  Why on earth would I want to spend my relax time on a Sunday cooking!  I have never been much of a cook and still to this day don’t enjoy it….    But I very quickly realised if I was going to stick to this horrendously strict diet and get my ass on stage I had to change my approach to food and cooking.  Not to mention what was on my list to eat I could not buy at the local take away, food court or frozen food section of the supermarket. 

Successful weight loss is 80% diet.  Another quote that I am sure you have heard of!  If you are managing to commit the time to your workouts and you are not making the same commitment in the kitchen you are wasting your time.   And I am sure you have also heard that successful weight loss is not a 12 week diet but a lifestyle change and your approach to food and cooking is at the very core of that change.

We must go back to old style cooking of real food and by pass all the pretend food that comes in a packet, box, bag, jar, bottle, can, container etc.   I am sure you have walked into a fresh food market and been overwhelmed with the sight and smell of all the fresh produce; here is where the answer is to your weight loss success!

Here are my top 6 tips for getting organised and ensuring you prepare to succeed!

  1. Buy a weeks supply of food on a Friday/Saturday so one trip to the supermarket a week.   A couple of reasons for this first one is that you remove temptation of buying extra naughty food with each trip.  So you had to stay back a bit late at work, there is no food in the fridge I will drop into the supermarket on the way home and there is a huge display of chocolate strategically placed near the checkouts.  I have had a hard day I deserve a treat….  Yes; I have been there too!  And the other is point 2.
  2. Cook once, eat two, three, four, five times.  On Sundays I cook all my protein for the week (lunch and dinner) so all I have to do is cut up salad or veges through the week.  Some even prep their veges for the week but I prefer mine fresh and I don’t use a microwave to cook or reheat.   Cooked meat lasts for days in the fridge and for dinner I will reheat (this is usually organic mince) If I run out by the end of the week eggs are my back up or I will buy a BBQ chicken and only use the breast meat (no skin!)
  3. If you are a list maker (I am so not!) then write down your meal plan for the week prior to going shopping to ensure you have all the ingredients for the week. 
  4. Prepare your snacks for the week also.  Nuts, seeds, cut up carrot/celery/cucumber, hummus, cottage cheese, nut butter, dates, rice cakes, fruit, boiled eggs etc. etc.
  5. You can even prepare your breakfast smoothies ahead of time; put all the ingredients in a plastic bag and freeze.  Then all you need do is throw into the blender frozen, add your liquid base and voila!
  6. Stock up on plastic Tupperware containers!  Of all shapes and sizes.  I also have a cooler bag with an ice pack to transport my food particularly in summer.

Yes; it all takes additional time, organisation and preparation but isn’t your one model issued, has to last a life time body kinda worth it?

Nourish your Mind

Mentor Therapy

May 2015

Having a mentor or coach is a relatively new concept and if you ask any successful business entrepreneur or athlete they will have a number of professionals supporting them and propelling them towards their goals.  It is even becoming more common in the corporate world with executives seeking the assistance of a career coach.   So is this a concept that we can apply to our everyday lives?  Do our dreams or issues warrant the services of a coach?  And are their people already in your life that you admire, look up to and you would consider a mentor albeit in an informal way?

I would not be where I am today without my coaches and mentors and the funny thing is, with a few of them, I didn’t really seek out and search for these people in a formal way.   And while my journey to stage was the catalyst to create my support team, I don’t think they realise the huge impact they have had on me, nor are they officially titled with mentor or coach.   I have attracted to me some truly amazing individuals who inspire me and believe in me and I now look at the concept of searching for help, aka therapy, in a very different way.

Traditional therapy is where we are conditioned to turn to for help.  Psychologists, psychiatrists and psychoanalysts; I have seen dozens and been in and out of therapy since the age of 16!   So many of us carry emotional scars from childhood; I am certainly not unique there.   And when Medicare covers the cost of traditional therapy it is naturally the place we will turn to.

Traditional therapy sessions are usually spent talking, analysing and dissecting events of the past to establish why we are still suffering.  Whether it be events from childhood or the events of last week. And while there is some value in being aware of the events that shape us I am not sure that reliving the past over and over is a healthy way to approach the future.  The past is just a story you keep telling yourself in your mind, it is not real, you can’t get in your car and drive there, so why keep telling yourself a story that hurts?  It is important to forgive and be at peace with your past sure, but every session I would walk out in tears and feeling worse!  Is this negative energy propelling me towards my goals and a happier life?

I have tried alternative modalities as well…. kinesiology, hypnotherapy, energetic and transformational healing and I do feel these are far more positive and beneficial.  But sadly these are not covered by Medicare or private health funds so although I persisted it was becoming very expensive!

I always associated mentors and coaches with successful people.  I certainly didn’t think that a broken person like me would fit the ideal client profile.  I therefore didn’t seek out this type of professional to help me.  With my decision to compete and become a fitness model I naturally sort out experts to assist me to achieve this goal.  As I was not seeking this help to “fix” me of course I felt comfortable to engage with these professionals. 

It doesn’t matter what you want to achieve in life, there is someone out there who has either already achieved it and/or can mentor and support you to achieve it.  Far more positive and productive that traditional therapy don’t you think?  Here are my top tips for selecting the right coach for you:

  1. Set your goal – I know this can be a tough one when all you feel is unhappy with life in general. What is missing in your life?  Where do you want to be in a years time?  Where do you want to be in 5 years’ time?  What are you passionate about?  Is it career, relationship or health related?
  2. Field of expertise – there are many different types of coaches out there these days.  A life coach is the most common and are good for career and relationship goals however, as I am biased.. lol!  I don’t believe you can achieve anything in life without your body being in premium condition.   Health coaches are a relative new profession that combine your wellbeing in its entirety.   If you have a more specific goal related to fitness then a personal trainer, yoga instructor etc.  If you are just looking at physical goals however make sure you dig a bit deeper; is losing weight tied to your self-worth….?  Executive coaches specialise in career focused goals.   Most entrepreneurs will have different coaches and mentors along their journey to success;  from start up, to launching, to social media, to building a client base, there is a business coach out there who can support and guide you.
  3. Characteristics – for me this is the clincher.  If I am going to move forward towards my goals I need to admire, respect and look up to anyone who is supporting me.  This is like any relationship in your life and just as you are selective with your friends and partner you should be with someone you are going to pay money to support you.   Thoroughly read their website, like their Facebook page; do their posts and philosophy attract you?  Read their testimonials.  Read about their story; can you relate?  You are looking for respect, integrity, professionalism and above all do they inspire you!
  4. Investment – if you want to fast track change and engage support to do so there is no getting around it will cost money.  I spent a fortune on my journey, but I also spent a fortune the previous 30 odd years on traditional therapy that got me nowhere.  Which fortune would you rather spend?   I resent the traditional therapy cost but I don’t for one second regret the cost I have paid to finally find myself.   I prefer to spend at least 3 months with my clients; doesn’t seem much if you have been battling for how many years?
  5. Commit – This is your future we are talking about, this is your life!  Life is not meant to be lived in mediocrity, life is not meant to be lived unhappy.  I promise you the sacrifices you make now will be worth it tenfold when you realise your dreams and get to a place of empowerment and peace.

When you are sitting in the old folks home what stories are you going to reminisce over that are going to make you feel proud?   That you can look back on with a feeling of accomplishment?  What will give your life meaning and purpose so you can feel satisfied that you have lived a fulfilling life?  The time is now to create this life and there are loads of professionals out there who have made it their life mission to help you!!

Self Worth

Confidence is Silent, Insecurities are Loud!

April 2015

Have you ever noticed that some people quietly go about their business and are not concerned what others think?  When faced with a situation of differing opinions or someone with a problem they just listen and empathise?  They will offer their opinion when asked but respect that everyone feels and sees things differently?  They are easy to be around.

Are you always trying to convince others that the way you see things is the only way to view a situation? Do you have disagreements because your opinion is right and you won’t accept another point of view? Do you always have to have your say and voice your opinion? Are you so closed off to how others feel (because you don’t agree with how they feel) that you find it difficult to have a calm conversation about it?

I have to admit this has been me for the majority of my life.  I was well known for giving “The Curnow Crunch” Lol!  I wouldn’t hesitate to tell people what I thought and I would never stop to think before shooting off.  I thought I had convinced myself that I didn’t care how others felt or my impact on others.  I actually didn’t think I had much of an impact on others hence the need to force my point of view.  I used to think that I just didn’t fit in and that others were just plain stupid for not seeing things the way I did.  Sometimes I would go back and give a double handed apology; standing by my opinion (because I was right) but sorry that I was so aggressive in my approach (because deep down I felt bad but didn’t realise why)

It has only recently occurred to me why I have always behaved like this and more importantly that I no longer feel the need to engage in this kind of behaviour.  Phew!  Already my life has become more peaceful.  It’s so weird how we put ourselves under so much additional pressure!

The reasons behind feeling insecure will be different for all of us.  We all carry scars from history but the important thing is to not only accept that the past is something we can do nothing about, recognise that how you behave is due to feeling insecure and work on changing your behaviour today.   Not so easy when you are still feeling insecure or worse are in denial that this is why you behave that way (which was me down to a tee!)  When you don’t feel good about yourself we tend to find ways to project this onto others with this weird expectation that if we make others feel inferior, if we force our view on to others then somehow that will help us feel better about ourselves.  Doesn’t usually work…

So how do we overcome a lifetime of conditioning to feel secure enough within ourselves so we don’t need to be so “loud”?  How do we detach ourselves from the need to always voice our opinion? Here are my top 5 tips for becoming confidently silent!

  1. Do your inner work – by this I mean meditating, spending time alone, journaling, get to know yourself, read inspirational books, practise gratitude, kindness and forgiveness and make the time to look after yourself both physically and emotionally.
  2. Respect others feelings – we all view life very differently based on our past and life conditioning.  No one’s feelings or opinions are right or wrong and as I am fairly certain we live in a democratic society we are entitled to feel however we want.
  3. Listen – instead of jumping in with your opinion or view try listening and empathising.  Practise reflective listening ie. Repeat back in your own words what you understand has been said. Keep your opinion and advice to yourself unless specifically asked.
  4. Don’t respond to rude, argumentative, critical comments.  You don’t have to participate in every argument you are invited to particularly when the attitude is already a negative one.  I find no response at all is the best option.  If you don’t engage with the negativity there is nothing for the other person to feed on.
  5. Let go – of needing to be right, the need to win, to be superior, of your reputation, being offended, of your ego…

Respecting others begins with respecting yourself.   It is very difficult to find value in others when you are blinded by your own lack of self-worth.  It’s a tough one to come to terms with but I promise you once you do your life will change in ways you have only dreamed of!

Nourish your Body

Resisting Temptation

March 2015

Eating clean is not an easy task in today’s modern society.  Not only do you have to be super organised and prepare most of your own meals but temptation is everywhere!   So how do you resist?  How do you not give in when cakes, chocolates and all sorts of naughties are offered to you?  How do you overcome that urge to buy a treat because you had a bad day…? How do you stop yourself from devouring the ice cream in the freezer that you cant stop thinking about..?

Working in an office is the hardest!  Morning teas every other day, drinks and nibbles and the stressful nature of the corporate grind sees most of us reaching for caffeine and/or sugar to simply get through the day.  I have worked in an office all my life and I have recently finished working for an organisation whose main product is bread.  All types of bread including crumpets, pikelets and raison toast are free to all staff and available in all kitchens all day! Plus all staff are eligible for a free loaf to take home every day.  I LOVE bread!  But it is not part of my diet and I only have it on my cheat night.  The office smells of toast all day!  Gees; talk about testing me!  so how do I overcome the temptation?

For starters with the way my diet is structured my blood sugar levels are always stable.  Cravings come from a number of sources but the physical desire comes from a drop in sugar in your blood stream. Whenever you consume sugar or “bad” carbs (bread!) insulin is spiked to reduce the sudden surge of sugar and drops again once under control.  As I don’t consume these naughties, other than cheat night, I don’t experiences these highs and lows so my body is better equipped to resist on a physical level.

However!  The smell of toast… the smell of food in general.  The visual daily display of cakes and chocolates that we all seem to have to endure taps into the emotional aspect of cravings.  And if you feel stressed, cranky, teary and any other emotion of course these foods are of comfort.  And apart from anything else they taste good!

So back to the original question; what do I do to ensure I don’t give in?  Despite my body being in premium condition to cope it is still very hard for me too.   Here are my top 6 tips:

  1. Cheat Meal – Having a cheat meal once week, in my opinion, is paramount to resisting.  If you know you can have whatever you want one meal (not day!) a week then you don’t feel like you are missing out altogether. 
  2. Eating Regularly – I eat 5 -6 meals a day so I am eating every few hours.  Number of reasons why this is important but for the sake of resisting temptation if you are eating regularly then your tummy is generally always full.  When you are not starving your self control is stronger.  And I always make sure I eat before I go to morning tea!
  3. Preparation – I take my food with me where ever I go.  I don’t put myself in a position of having to walk into a shop and buy a meal.  It is not easy to buy the food I eat and I don’t want to be standing there looking, smelling and trying to resist temptation.
  4. Keep only healthy food at home – if you don’t have naughties in the fridge or cupboard they are harder to access when that urge comes over you after dinner. Have fruit available so if you do give in to the sweet tooth you are at least giving your body good nutrients.
  5. Green tea – and lots of it!  I always ensure I have a cup of tea in my hand during morning teas. Keeps my hands and taste buds busy.  Yes I know it is not the same…
  6. Water – 2 litres a day minimum. And try and have two big glasses of water BEFORE you give in to temptation; you will then at least eat less of the indulgence.

Like anything in life the more you practise, the more you make clean eating a habit, it does become easier.  Also too, I am well known for my healthy lifestyle so I am bypassed with offerings which helps!  I am proud to be the strong one and my health, weight and looking nowhere near my age speaks for itself.  Make yourself the source of admiration and you will receive encouragement and support.  And you might just find yourself being a positive influence on those around you which is so cool!