Browsing Tag


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!


Self Worth

The Perfect Female Form

January 2015
Jane Curnow

What is the perfect female form? Where is it written that as women our bodies must be a certain size and shape? We all strive, sacrifice and place ourselves under so much stress to achieve this modern day, dare I say, illusion and then beat ourselves up when we fall short. Did our great grandmothers feel the same pressure? Do women in villages in Africa today feel this pressure? Where did we get this obsession of comparing ourselves to others? And surely there are more important things in life?

What does it feel like to actually achieve the perfect female form? Do you think that if you managed to achieve it you would be happier? Is this the answer to all your problems? I have been fortunate enough to be slim most of my life (so why wasn't I happy..?), however I have not escaped eating disorders or the intense pressure too many women feel about their bodies. Having debuted as a bikini model at the tender age of 46, at an age where surely the pressure lessens? I have learnt some valuable and life changing lessons on chasing this illusion and is why I feel so passionate about supporting women to feel good about themselves whatever their size!

I will be honest with you, although on the outside I have always appeared attractive, I have not loved myself, I have not treated myself with respect and I had no idea that this was the core of my issues. I was ugly on the inside but couldn't see it although realised that I was far from happy. I was also shy and introverted, I had no confidence in any area of my life (although you never would have guessed it) and I went to extraordinary lengths to hide the real Jane. Born from a lack of unconditional love I have spent a lifetime believing there is something wrong with me, attracting relationships and circumstances that did not foster a positive self image and always searching for the answer of how to “fix” myself.Therapists/books/courses/diets/relationships/addictions the list goes on and on of things I have tried to correct and to hide from my perceived flaws. So in my mid 40’s, having missed out on having children due to my inability to “fix” myself in time, and quite clearly hating myself even more, (but didn't know it) I go to the HUGE lengths of getting up on stage in a bikini. Surely if I obtain the perfect female form AND get the attention and adoration of everyone I will be happy and feel good about myself?

I started down this road for all the wrong reasons; for vanity, for attention, to fill a void, to obtain the perfect female form and to finally be happy… Really? Is that the answer?

A funny thing happens when you start treating your body with love and respect. When you start nurturing it with the right fuel and you become physically strong through resistance training. Most would say you have to be mentally strong to compete in the body building world. I would definitely agree, however, I certainly didn’t start out that way and I am not sure most women do. And although I can now freely admit that I am addicted to this new way of life (I have been addicted to far worse!) it has given me what I have spent my entire life searching for; self respect. Ironic isn't it? Too many women tie their self esteem to their bodies without appreciating the soul that body houses. It stands to reason if you start treating your body with love and respect, when you start to feel the affects of premium health and wellbeing, that your mind will follow and low and behold there is this amazing women inside and guess what? she has always been there!

Well you know the ending to my story; I achieved it. That is me in the picture attached to this blog. I managed to get myself on stage twice and I have had numerous photo shoots and captured all my blood, sweat and tears. And believe me there were a lot of tears. A journey that nearly broke me physically, emotionally, mentally, financially; I lost friends (think that was really a gain), my family didn’t support me, cleared a large chunk of my savings, I have even had trouble securing corporate work. Talk about sacrifices for the sake of obtaining this illusive perfect female form! We look at images of these women and aspire to have their bodies but I don’t think anyone realises what it takes to achieve and how difficult it is to maintain. Did I “fix” myself? Was I even broken? I have certainly come a long way but NOT because of the body I now own, oddly that is not even my main priority anymore (I am now trying to put on weight lol!) but because of the woman I have become, because of the qualities I now possess, because on this journey I was forced to look deep inside to get this shy ass girl on stage! I finally did find the answer and it was within me all along. There is nothing wrong with me!!! Did I really have to go to such lengths to work this out??!!!

So how do you love and accept the body that you have, the beautiful woman that you already are, while striving for a healthier, happier you? Isn’t that the million dollar question! And why I now devote my life to supporting my clients and sharing all my secrets of how I got this introverted, self loathing girl on stage and how I have finally became the woman I was born to be. When you focus on nurturing, caring and loving your body, when you start making yourself a priority in a world that is constantly demanding you to give up your authenticity, truly magical things start happening in your life. No woman should miss out on this amazing feeling of empowerment that I stumbled across while chasing an illusion. And no one should have to go to the extremes I did to learn this lesson!

The perfect female form is a modern day illusion created by mass media. And we have all been sucked in and brain washed. In our so called democratic society we overlook the fact that the advertising and media industry is a business, big business. Once upon a time, when we were a tad more modest and conservative, we were only exposed to images from the media through black and white newspapers. With the advent of magazines, TV, the internet, smart phones etc. and our seemingly endless need to reveal more and more human nakedness we are bombarded everywhere we turn by these images. We have become a society of voyeurs, reality TV shows have become the norm and you only have to look at the phenomenal success of Miley Cyrus, who has exploited the media superbly; love her or hate her, everyone is watching her. Everywhere we turn, including on screens in nearly every gym (?!), we see an image of a female form that is whose version of perfect?

A beautiful woman is caring, kind, compassionate, grateful, self assured, dignified, loyal, sensitive, humble, supportive, respectful, elegant, passionate, vibrant, honest, authentic, strong; she makes others feel good simply by her presence, she inspires and she ads value., she is an amazing friend, mother, daughter and sister. And the last time I checked, none of these qualities have anything to do with your weight!