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Nourish your Body

Nourish your Body

Are you approaching fitness in an unhealthy way?

January 2018
Jane Curnow

Are you a group exercise cardio addict fuelling your obsession to be skinny? Are your gym sessions punishment for what you ate? Do you starve yourself and skip meals to look like a catwalk model? Do you only care about the number of calories with no knowledge or care of nutritional value of food? Do you enviously look at other women’s bodies? Would you give anything to look like I do in this photo..?

I have been obsessed with my weight and appearance my entire adult life. For 25 years I would have answered a resounding YES to all of the questions above.  As I was so unhappy with myself and my life I sourced my self-worth and identity from my appearance.  Being blonde, slim and attractive seemed to be the only thing I had going for me so I clung to it for dear life.  I would look at the parade of beautiful skinny women on TV and have a running commentary in my head, judging and comparing every woman I came across on their weight and looks. And I can’t believe that I would gain satisfaction from the results of my internal dialogue and comparisonitis if I thought that I was better looking!

As I was exercising regularly and not overweight I believed I was healthy. I had no clue that my lack of nourishment of my body and the continual stress of high impact cardio style exercise without the necessary fuel was actually causing inflammation in my body. I would barely eat and then jump around like a mad woman for an hour.  I would binge drink on excessive amounts of alcohol and front up at the gym the next morning…  I would binge eat over the weekend (to recover from the alcohol intake…) and then do a double class at the gym on Mondays as punishment.. followed by a week of barely eating and more high impact cardio until next weekend… How could I have possibly believed that this was a healthy lifestyle? But all I cared about was being skinny and escaping myself.

I also cared little for the food I actually did eat. Having not been educated on this at school and any learning was via food labels or advertising.. My sole focus was low calories so I ate low fat, no fat, low carb, no carb, preferably no calorie food! And the binge on the weekend was of course to soak up the alcohol so not so healthy..  and then I spent the next 5 days punishing myself for weekend sins.  And while I would not have been officially labelled with anorexia or bulimia this was far from a healthy approach to food & exercise.  With the knowledge I have now I consider the old Jane to have had an eating disorder and this was my cycle for over 10 years!

There is so many things about the school curriculum that does not equip us to lead a healthy and successful life. And while we will always need to learn the basics of reading and writing I have a real issue with the fact that nourishing our body is paramount to lead a happy and healthy life and this is not taught in school.  Physical education (PE) is however but too many of us did not enjoy this school subject and endured it being forced to do things that were not enjoyable or we are not good at and often made us feel embarrassed in front of classmates.  Not really a healthy introduction to exercise that again needs to be incorporated into our lives to ensure quality of life.

After we leave school (or even during these days) we are then assaulted from all forms of media with skinny, flawless women and our comparisonitis is born. Too many of us enter adulthood already with this infliction that seems to plague us women.  And without the necessary knowledge to love, nourish and nurture our body we usually get away with it while our body is young but as we age things start to go wrong…  I am one of the lucky ones that although my first serious injury wasn’t until I was 45 I have managed to take my first big wakeup call and changed my life as a result.

It saddens me deeply to see so many receive a warning from their bodies but ignore it simply through ignorance. Chronic illness or injury is never a shock to the body; it has been brewing for some time we just never stop and listen. So it does becomes a shock for us when it makes its way into our conscious awareness.  Preparing your body for 100 years (?) means adopting a healthy approach to food and exercise. And when you do you become more in tune with your body and can pick up when things don’t feel right.

So what can you do if you are on the same merry go around that I was? Here are my top 6 tips to start approaching exercise in a healthy way to ensure enjoyment, premium health and longevity.

  1. Self-Educate. Your body is a one model issued and has to last a lifetime. What quality of life do you want in your senior years? Educating yourself on what micronutrients your body requires to run at a premium is paramount. Food labels and ads are not factual… the manufactured food industry employs very clever marketers to ensure you buy their product! We live in an age where libraries are at our finger tips. Information on healthy nutrition is just a few clicks away. Google it!
  2. Body Love. Learning to love and appreciate your body for the miraculous machine that it is rather than what it looks like will change your perspective on food and exercise. When your health becomes a priority over simply looking good a whole new world opens up. And the funny thing is that you end up looking better than ever before! AND you get your dream body! Trust me!
  3. Fitness for Enjoyment. You gotta find exercise you enjoy… There is no point enduring your exercise or viewing it as punishment as this only serves to raise cortisol, the stress hormone, and is counterproductive to your weight loss goals. And if you don’t enjoy it you will always find an excuse, you will stop/start and not commit fully. This is a lifestyle, there is no end, and ensuring lifelong health means ALWAYS incorporating exercise into your routine. Zumba, dancing, walking the dog, swimming, tennis, team sport, yoga, whatever!
  4. Self-respect. Along the lines of body love but one step further. If we truly love and respect ourselves then being envious of others plays no part in our life. It is the cure for comparionsitis! Honouring and respecting you not just the beautiful human you already are but the one life you have been blessed with leads you to nurturing the very vehicle that facilitates your life. I gained my self-respect through changing my diet and the right exercise for me. And you can too!
  5. Mindfulness. By this I mean take the time to be still, to quieten the mind, to block out the continual noise that comes from TV/media, spend time in nature, be present in the moment, listen and notice, smell and appreciate, express gratitude and meditate.
  6. Get a coach! I say this often but to me it is the only way to change habits, to change lifelong conditioning, to explore all of the above points as applicable to you and implement into your life. Life is busy! And we are lazy… and as we haven’t been equipped with these life skills having a coach to teach you will not only keep you accountable but you will have a much better chance of implementing permanent change.

If I can totally overhaul my health, fitness and approach to food after knocking on deaths door you can too. Change is never easy but the rewards on the other side are beyond my wildest dreams!

Have I missed anything? If you have any further tips for approaching food & exercise in a healthy way please comment below!


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 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!

Nourish your Body

My Top 10 Pro-Aging Tips

January 2016

“We are all going to age and soften and mellow and transition. All of us. If we are lucky. There are plenty of things to be anti about. Anti-discrimination, anti-drug, anti-oppression, anti-poverty, anti-sickness. Aging shouldn’t be one of them. We need to become pro-aging and embrace the opportunities that aging provides.”

Jamie Lee-Curtis

When I told someone my age the other day the shock horror that pursued had me more than smiling 🙂  They estimated my age as mid-30s, 40 at a push.  Wow!  I turn 50 in 2016!

The fact that I even told someone my age is such a different Jane of years gone by.  I have lied about my age for nearly 3 decades; always wanting to be younger, fighting the aging process and doing everything I could within my financial means to ensure that wrinkles and sun damage were erased.  I have not gone to huge extremes due to cost but I have tried IPL, Fraxel and Thermage but all of these treatments to be effective require ongoing sessions which I could never afford.   I have, however, up until the last 18 months, always included Botox in my budget with quarterly injections.  All these treatments are VERY painful!  And yet you won’t find any of the clinics offering these services that are not running huge profits.   Does it really have to be this hard and costly?

As women we are under constant pressure to not just be slim but we are also supposed to keep our youthful complexion.   With constant bombardment from the media of beautiful, thin, youthful women is it any wonder we have developed these anti-aging complexes that undermine our self-worth.  Gosh I saw a picture of Jennifer Lopez the other day at 46 looking 25!  And we all know that Elle looks amazing still and she is my age 🙂  It is great that these women look so awesome and provided it has been achieved naturally…  then good on them!  But as celebrities with never ending supplies of cash you have to wonder how they have maintained their looks.  How can we possibly compete?  And more importantly, why do we feel we have to?!

For me now as I stare down the barrel at 50 I feel more energetic than I have in years, my skin literally glows, my nails grow so strong and long they not only annoy me they are painful if I don’t get them cut, my hair is nearly back to its youthful length,  I still don’t have any fillings in my teeth,  I stopped having Botox 18 months ago as I swear I have seen wrinkles disappear,  the bottoms of my feet are silky smooth with no hard skin in sight, my eyes are bright and clear, I never get sick and feel incredibly healthy and have so much energy I cant sit still!  I am gaining muscle in the gym and I still have that bikini body I competed with 3 years ago.   And while my motivation is no longer about vanity but about premium health and longevity I now have a passion to maintain this state of being well into my 90s!  Who wouldn’t?!

So how do I defy aging and look nowhere near my biological age?  Yes; I know I don’t have kids…  but it is a lot more than that.  And I am sure if you incorporate even a few of the following tips you would see an improvement in your skin and complexion.  A lot of these tips were on recent blog my top 10 health tips but are worth mentioning again with a pro-aging perspective.

  1. Eat Clean – Yep; you cant get around the fact that if you want glowing, youthful skin it all starts with what goes in your mouth. The food you eat is what your body uses to regenerate itself; the nutrients from your food is the fuel that ends up in every cell of your body including your skin. What is eating clean? If it was recently alive then eat it ie. plant or animal. If it comes in a package, box, jar, bottle, can ie. made by man, don’t! Eating clean is going back to our primal diet of fresh everything. Go organic where ever you can on this one; there are so many additives to conventional food that even if you are eating clean you are still exposing yourself to toxins.
  2. Hydrate  There is no getting around the water factor either. You have heard it many times now from a health, well-being and weight loss perspective but it will also improve your skin tone. Dehydration in the skin shows with dryness and flakiness; dry skin is less resilient and more prone to wrinkling. Water is the very vehicle that delivers nutrients to the skin and with all your clean eating if you are not drinking adequate water then the goodness is not getting to where it is needed. Water is also the vehicle for waste removal; with the incredible amount of toxins our bodies endure flushing out through urine is critical. How much should you drink? 2 litres minimum and more if you are exercising.
  3. Zzzzzzz’s  Lack of sleep is the quickest way for your skin to look older. While we sleep the body repairs damage and rejuvenates.The time when all those nutrients are used to repair your body. It is also the time that growth hormone and melatonin is produced. The latter is claimed to be the anti-aging hormone. Adequate sleep also reduces cortisol, the stress hormone. Stress causes the skin to wrinkle and loose collagen and elasticity. I get 9 hours a night! As it is when my muscles grow but try and aim for 7-8 hours every night.
  4. Sun Avoidance – I used to worship the sun and had a deep, golden tan for 8 months of the year. I never wore sunscreen…. Baby oil was more my style! You would think after 38 years of baking myself I would be a wrinkled prune but thanks to my current lifestyle I am reversing the damage. I now avoid the sunbaking scene and will enjoy the sun for a walk only with a hat and sunscreen. Avoiding the sun is a no brainer for pro-aging!
  5. Sup it Up – Our food supply and the soil we grow our produce in is nowhere near the same quality of only a generation ago. Not to mention all the additives, antibiotics and pesticides. So even if you are eating organic clean, whole food you will still need some sort of supplementation. From a pro-aging perspective these are the sups that work for me. COQ10, fish oil, probiotic, turmeric and Biotin. I also include an antioxidant to assist my body to eliminate toxins with glutathione and green tea extract being the ones I take at the moment.
  6. Super Foods – Although the term super food is a marketing tool rather than a category of food and every nutritionist, dietician, health expert will have a different view of what is included, the term is useful in describing above average nutritional value food. For me, the super foods that I include that contribute to my youthful looks would be bone broth, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and bi-carb soda, coconut oil, green tea, green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach, nuts with an emphasis on walnuts.
  7. Avoid Alcohol – None….I don’t drink at all anymore which is HUGE for me. Alcohol accelerates the aging process due to the dehydration affect, excessive additional toxins and affects the body’s ability to eliminate those toxins, not to mention the effect on your general health. Did you know I am allowed red wine on competition day due to the diuretic effect it has? Alcohol will see you having to drink twice as much water to compensate!
  8. Avoid Smoking – this in an obvious one..but need to mention it. I don’t think I need to go into details on this one…Quickest way to bring on the aging process is to smoke!
  9. Avoid Sugar – sugar has an oxidant affect which is the opposite effect of an antioxidant. Antioxidants help the body eliminate toxins. Sugar therefore increases your toxic load which quickens the aging process.
  10. Beauty Products – it takes 26 seconds for the chemicals in your moisturiser, soap, make up, sunscreen, deodorant, perfume, whatever you put on your skin, to enter your blood stream. Have a read of the ingredients list; would you eat them? So why would you put them on your skin…? Go organic, paraben free, alcohol free, fragrance free, chemical free etc. etc. and stop believing the incredibly clever marketing of the beauty industry. I am astounded at the promises made to eliminate wrinkles simply with a chemically laden, very expensive night cream. It seriously is rubbish.  I use organic rose hip oil at night.
  11. Exercise – many would say this is the number one pro-aging tip. It is no mistake that all athletes look younger than their years. It relieves stress, improves circulation (which improves the skin), improves bone density, strengthens the heart, etc. etc. You know this!
  12. Self Confidence!  I have left this one until last but it is my far the biggest factor to my youthful appearance. I am now comfortable in my own skin, I am no longer trying to hide the real Jane nor lie about my age. Happiness and contentment with where you are in life is the one of the most attractive traits a women can have. Yes I know this is a tough one; it took me 46 years to work it out!

We are all aging, every day, and there is nothing anyone can do about it.  The quicker you can accept that growing older is actually a privilege denied to many, that it brings all sorts of personal rewards, wisdom, peace, enjoyment and satisfaction, the quicker you will slow down the aging process.  I am now so damn proud of my age!  Can you say that…?

“There is a fountain of youth; it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will have truly defeated age.”

Sophia Loren

Nourish your Body

Have you been Doctored?

December 2015

“We have been taught our whole lives to be consumers of modern medicine.”

Dr Andrew Saul

Why is it we believe whatever a doctor says is gospel?  Why is it that doctors are put on a pedestal by society that their opinion is taken as fact?   How often do you seek out a second opinion after you have received a diagnosis?   How often have you blindly accepted the prescription written out for you and just taken the pills because the doctor told you to…?

I am not a fan of the medical profession….   Modern medicine certainly has its place particularly in emergency situations or if surgery is required however most doctors simply treat symptoms (usually with drugs) and rarely do they dig deeper to find the underlying cause (how can they when they give you 15 minutes…)  They also, like all of us, have certain beliefs and views which are based on the particular line of study they have chosen to undertake.

Prior to the marvels of modern medicine what we now call “alternate” medicine was the only way to treat any ailment or illness.  Using herbs and food was all our ancestors had available to resolve health issues and in many cases they did.  There is no doubt that with the advent of modern medicine (which was only some  200 years ago by the way) we have now conquered many fatal diseases however outside fatal there is still very much a firm place for addressing some health issues simply through food and supplementation.  How often do we consider this first?

Some doctors have provided us, and continue to provide us, with truly miraculous cures and back in the 1800s they would have appeared to be gods.  Just imagine 1,000s of people dying of the plague and then a doctor comes along with a cure that stops nearly all deaths!  Perhaps this is the reason that we have elevated all doctors to this god like status.

Recently I had a little medical issue with the women’s only area of the body as all us girls encounter at some time in our life.  I do have a wonderful GP that I have seen for 5 years within a medical practise that I have attended for 10 years.  Yes; despite my view on the medical profession I do believe it is important for my health to have a good doctor that knows me and my medical history.  I rarely visit the doctor’s office but as my health is my number one priority in life when I do need a doctor I want it to be the best possible.

My doctor is not one to try and diagnose outside her capacity as a GP and will refer me on to a specialist immediately without delay if she feels I need a more specialist care.   She also refers me to the best of the best; she is well connected and keeps up to date with her profession to ensure quality referrals and care for her patients.  She also ensures I have all the necessary tests done prior to my specialist’s appointment so bloods, ultrasound etc.  She’s a good doctor!  Of course she is, she is my doctor 🙂

I waited 6 weeks for my gynecologist appointment.   Who looked at my test results asked me a few questions gave me only one option to resolve my issues, which was a hysterectomy, and then proceeded to tell me that as I am a bodybuilder she would not touch me!  She advised that it would seriously damage my pelvic floor which would make lifting heavy very difficult for me.  Really?  This is all in a matter of 15 minutes!

I walked out seriously confused and perplexed.  With the issues I was having there was potential that I would not be able to achieve my fitness goals for 2016 and yet if I take the only option offered to me I would not achieve my goals anyway.

This wasn’t the first time the medical profession had told me that my weight lifting days were over.  Back in 2013 prior to my second competition I was told the same thing.  My knees were causing me so much pain I was having difficulty with every day activities like going to the bathroom….  I went to bed every night with pain killers and ice.  I was having 10 glucose injections in each knee weekly plus physio, baths; I was in serious pain!  I was told I had knees of an 80 year old and the only solution was two knee replacements and that my training would consist of swimming for the rest of my life.  Pfffffft!

Prior to the internet access to alternate treatments, opinions, options could only be obtained by seeking out a second opinion.   We even call it opinion rather than fact and yet we rarely seek it out!  I know googling symptoms is not always a pleasant experience but given we now have access to endless amounts of information on any topic why do we not use it?   Seeing a second specialist can be a serious hassle; obtaining another referral, waiting for the appointment, the cost, etc.  But isn’t our health kinda worth it?

I started asking around a few people both in the fitness and alternate therapy field and was receiving conflicting information.   If you ask enough people about any illness or ailment you will receive conflicting information and this alone should warrant seeking second opinions and further investigation rather than just accepting what the first doctor you see recommends shouldn’t it?  Doctors are no different to all of us, they have their own beliefs and views and really, unless your life is in danger or you need surgery isn’t it worth obtaining an opinion from someone who doesn’t administer drugs for a living? (and often gets paid commission from the drug companies…)

I decided to go back to my GP and ask for another referral.  Lucky for me my doctor knows me well; she knows I am just a tad determined and tenacious when it comes to my training 🙂  And to point, it is always good to have a GP that not only knows your health but knows your character.    So with the knowledge that maybe a hysterectomy is needed she refers me to the Head of Gynaecology at a private hospital.

Yes; more time to wait, yes more expense, as I am a private patient, but I would rather spend the money on the best health care possible than a Prada handbag….  Or the latest iPhone 6…  And for me, I needed to explore all avenues before I was prepared to give up my fitness goals.

So my new gynecologist looked at my ultrasound results, blood tests and gave me two options to resolve my issues…  With a hysterectomy being the last resort!  He explained that just whipping out organs is an old school approach and he would recommend a much smaller, less evasive, less expensive, day surgery procedure prior to making a decision on a hysterectomy.  He also recommended that given my symptoms are escalating rapidly that the procedure be done sooner rather than later.    And on the point of damaging my pelvic floor, for either option, and giving up weight lifting?  He responded professionally but I could see in his facial reaction that he thought the first opinion was complete waffle.   He said your pelvic floor is intact as you have not had children and he could assure me he would be keeping it that way…

Just think of the impact to me, my body and my life if I had accepted the first opinion.  In this case, I could not turn to alternate medicine to resolve my issues however I can still ensure the medical profession is working for my best interests.    If you have not watched the documentary Doctored yet I highly recommend you do.   The truth about the pharmaceutical industry and the influence they have on the medical profession will shock you.  Click here to watch now!

“The medical profession just treat disease. They don’t go back to the primary cause of a lot of things, because they can’t.”

Dr Ian Brighthope from Food Matters

Nourish your Body

Health is Wealth

October 2015

“Today, more than 95% of all chronic disease is caused by food choice, toxic food ingrediants, nutritional deficiencies and lack of physical exercise”

Mike Adams – Hungry for Change

Have you factored in additional savings for retirement to cover health care costs? I am serious. You may have planned for a certain level of income when you retire but have you added additional savings for potential health care costs?  Or are you going to rely on the overloaded Medicare system?  Or maybe the aim should be to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible….?

​I grew up in an age where we worshiped the sun.   I was taken to the beach every weekend in the summer where my mother would sun bake and us kids would play.  All day mind you.  Sunscreen was never used, rather we would lather ourselves in baby oil to ensure a deeper, faster tan.    This later morphed into me being an adult obsessed with having a tan and I was a no sunscreen beach bunny for some 38 years.  Being tanned in summer was a must; you were considered unhealthy if you weren’t. 

​Today, although many still seek out a tan, we are warned and educated of the connection between skin cancer and sun exposure.  Government funded as well as businesses promoting sunscreen products are everywhere you turn during the summer months.  Schools now insist on children wearing hats to protect from the sun in the playground.  So where was all this hullabaloo when I was a child?

​Go back to my parents’ generation and they were brought up to believe that smoking was cool.  It projected an image of confidence and charisma; everyone smoked!   Gosh even when I started working in the mid 80’s we all had ash trays on our desks!  Smoking was socially acceptable and once again a part of life.  So where was all the truly disgusting warnings of the dangers of smoking we have today?

​I highlight these two examples to not only show how society has changed but also how heavily influenced we are by marketing, advertising and the media.  The medical community may have been aware of the dangers of excessive sun exposure and smoking but it wasn’t until too many of us starting getting seriously ill and dying that the messages we were being given were forced to change.  I think we are all well aware of the legal issues tobacco companies have faced.

The current wave of misleading messages comes from the food industry and we are now beginning to see the repercussions and serious illness of a poor diet.  Serious repercussions!   The technological age we now live in has seen us demand everything in life faster and faster; this includes food preparation.  We no longer have the time our grandparents did to prepare a healthy, wholesome meal from scratch so we grab a frozen TV dinner or packet noodles or canned whatever or take away on the way home.   But who is policing the ingredients of this fast food?  The business who is trying to profit from your purchase….?  How do you really know there is nothing harmful in this man-made, processed, manufactured, pretend food?   Does the manufacturer even know?  Do you recognise and understand all the substances that are on the ingredient list?

“The problem is we are not eating food anymore, we are eating food like substances.”

Dr Alejandro Junger

​We tend to forget that our bodies are almost identical to our stone age ancestors.  Do you recall seeing supermarkets and packaged food in the history books….?  And while the human race has come a long, long way our bodies have not modified much for thousands of years.   Our poor bodies just don’t know how to digest and process all these foreign substances.   You have to give it to this incredible, miraculous machine we own though; it tries damn hard to process all these toxins, some it does and some it stores until it can figure out how to.  And guess where most of these toxins are stored….?  In your fat cells!  And the body will create more fat cells to store more toxins…  And it is not just toxins in food our bodies are trying to cope with; its chemicals in cosmetics, deodorants, hair dye, cleaning products, air fresheners, air pollution..  the list goes on and on!  If you are not taking supplements to assist, consciously adding detox regimes into your routine and exercising regularly then over time these toxins are now causing these chronic diseases.

​Disseminating this knowledge to the general public however is not yet main stream.  In my opinion there are a few reasons for this.  Doctors are not really educated in nutrition, they are trained to diagnose and cure symptoms and once they have a diagnosis we are then given more toxins aka drugs to try and combat whatever ails us.  And we blindly take whatever pill we are prescribed.    We have been brought up to put our utmost faith in everything a doctor says and prescribes.  Prior to the internet the only way to obtain a second opinion was to actually see another doctor.  Now we have this wonderful tool called Google where we can research and get information from thousands of doctors and studies and also research alternate treatments.  And yet we still choose to believe the one doctor we go to.  Shouldn’t taking drugs be the last resort…?  Unless of course your life is in immediate danger. 

“We have been taught our whole lives to be consumers of modern medicine.”

Dr Andrew Saul

Once again in this age of immediacy we are always looking for a quick fix.  Drugs have provided us with near instant pain relief, soldiering on when we have the cold or flu and so many other magic pills that allow us to continue life because we don’t have time to be sick.  I know I am certainly guilty of indulging in pain killers to ensure I can keep training!  But with the immerging warnings about resistance to antibiotics have we not abused this modern day dare I say luxury?  Maybe if we improved our health through proper nutrition and didn’t get sick we wouldn’t need so many drugs?

Or maybe we are just not ready to hear this information; change is hard!  And lets face it, we have created a life where we are all so time poor that making the effort to eat real, whole food is too difficult.  I spend a couple of hours on a Sunday preparing my food for the week.  I get up very early to not only train but to ensure I cook my breakfast from scratch and cut up my food fresh for the day ahead.  And the dishes….  I seem to spend my life with my hands in rubber gloves!

And then there is the cost… Packaged processed food is cheap!  We have designed our budget around this food and as organic whole food is not yet mainstream (it used to be!) it is more expensive.   Most people are horrified at the amount of money I spend on food and supplements.  But I don’t see food as something I spend money on; I see it as an investment in my body.   It is my insurance policy so I not only don’t have adsorbent health care costs in my senior years but that I have quality of life.  Plus I enjoy premium, illness free health now, as much energy as I had when I was 20 and I seriously don’t look anywhere near 50 if I do say so myself 🙂

​I think another factor is taste.  You would be amazed at how many things I make myself swallow for the sake of my health.  I sometimes gag when I have my apple cider vinegar I hate it so much! But I still have it every single day.  We have become a society where food is only about taste.  I am not saying that good food tastes bad because it certainly doesn’t!  But I hear all the time I don’t eat green vegetables I don’t like them, I hate the taste of _____ fill in the blank.   Is the wide range of food we have so easily available not another modern day luxury?  What if we wound back the clock and you could only grow, catch and kill your own food….?  If your life depended on it would you not eat that brussel sprout?  Sorry to break the news to you but your life kinda does depend on it!

​The momentum is slowly building and the quote attached to this blog is from Food Matters who have created a movement to educate and inform.  But until there is more regulation in the food industry and there are warnings on processed manufactured food as there is for sun exposure and cigarettes we are continually being bombarded with clever, confusing marketing to persuade us to eat more crap.

Please take the time to watch some of the movies from Food Matters.  Hungry for Change and Food Matters are their main movies and are really worth a look. And the founders are Australian!

So next time you decide to spend some of your savings on a Prada handbag or Jimmy Choo shoes or the latest iPhone 6 have a think about your priorities.  Are they for short term satisfaction and entertainment or a long term investment for your future self?   What sort of quality of life do you want in your senior years?  When would be a good time to start preserving your health?  Now while you still are young? Or later when things have already started to break down….?

“Remind yourself that health is wealth. And should you lose yours, NOTHING will be more important than getting it back.”

Robin Sharma

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 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 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!