Good has to come from bad, right?

I have often thought (a hard thing to admit) – “I just wish the world would end for a little while”. I have wished this, willed it to happen because I have wanted a break. I have needed a break from my brain, from my thoughts, from the rules, from the perfectionism, from my life.

And it has happened. In such sad, hideous circumstances, it has happened. I can’t go to the gym, I can’t go to yoga,  I can’t guarantee that my safe foods are going to be available, I can’t get my hands on my beloved kitchen wipes, I can’t go to the newest bars and restaurants that make me feel like I am achieving because I am there opening night, I can’t catch up with girlfriends and post it on insta to prove I am hitting social goals. I can’t maintain the me that I have created. The me I have been trying to fix.

And this terrible situation might just force me to actually be me, it might give me space to do the real fixing. The situation that has created it is horrendous and I would never ever be excited by that but I am excited to use this as an opportunity to heal, I am excited by the prospect of the respite, I am excited by the forced behaviour change.

At first I was not, my unhealthy self fort back and fort hard. The feeling I had when it was announced that gyms would close was a feeling of dread, a numbness that comes from being told something so terrible that your brain can not process. My healthy self on the other hand was so incredibly relieved, relieved to have it taken out of my hands and that felt like a jail sentence had been lifted. When I found out that I might just have to suck it up and eat whatever was put in front of me because my organic, grass fed, hand reared, nurtured produce might not be available put me in to a spin. But part of me felt thanks, thanks for the decision and the planning and the process to be gone. When I found out that there was little on the selves for me to maintain the rules, when when I found out I could not go to ‘that place’ and when I found out I might actually need to stop, to experience time, to have that break, I almost hand a panic attack. But equally I was filled with gratitude. I am grateful for this time, for this space, for this forced experience and break I have been wishing for. I am grateful for this opportunity to finally find me.

 

What do you want?

Everyone keeps telling me that I need to decide what it is that I want.

But what if I don’t know what it is that I want? In reality, I don’t know what I want – I truly don’t know. Sometimes things feel so overwhelming and I want someone to decide for me what it is that I want. In fact, even when things aren’t so overwhelming I want someone to decide for me. Because what If I decide and it is wrong?? It seems like most of the decisions I have made in my life so far have been wrong and I am too exhausted to make more wrong decisions.

I thought that when I moved to Australia, that was the best decision and all of my problems would disappear. They didn’t.

I thought that I would move in with my partner and we would build a perfect life together and all of my problems would disappear. They didn’t.

I thought that I would quit my long-term job and build my own, incredible business and all of my problems would disappear. They didn’t.

I thought I would quit my failing business and go back in to the corporate workforce and all of my problems would disappear. They didn’t.

In fact all of these things led to me replacing problems with more problems. And now I find myself unhappy (a constant state for me or so it feels) and I feel like to need to make some decisions to change it. The thing is, I don’t want to make the decisions, I am scared of making the decisions, I fear my decisions will be wrong again and so I ignore. I ignore by bringing back in the rules, the food rules, the exercise rules, the restriction, and the safe place. And this fills my head; this takes away the need to make decisions, the need to adult, the need to take on the responsibility.

I don’t want to be responsible. I have enough responsibility at work (which I hate and which exacerbates my anxiety) that when the responsibility of life comes in, I am too exhausted. I want the opposite of responsibility and then I feel guilty about that, about the decisions I am not making, the adulating I am not doing to move our lives forward. And it is then I revert to the safe behaviours that fill my head and I forget about the responsibility and decision-making, the adulating, the growing up. Instead I feel guilt about drinking milk or not doing 3 exercise classes in one day and this numbs everything for a while. A bit like I imagine a drug addict or an alcoholic would numb everything with drugs and alcohol.

What do I want??…….What I want is space, freedom from responsibility, freedom from ED thoughts, freedom from guilt, freedom to allow me to have enough brain space to make the important decisions. The decisions that are going to make our lives a life rather than this tedious game we are struggling to play every day.

When the work doesn’t work

I thought I had done the work – I weigh a healthy weight, I eat the good foods, I rest, I practice gratitude, I yoga, I see the therapist, I do all of the things. So, why don’t I feel any better?

When I started this journey, I thought as soon as I put the weight on, as soon as I overcame the fear around food, lost the obsessive-compulsive behaviours over exercise and released the rules that everything would be better, everything would magically be perfect and I would be happy. I am not.

Where the eating disorder has gone, a huge empty gap has been left. The eating disorder was safe, it filled the emptiness by being all consuming and not allowing me to think or focus on much else. Without it, there is a void. My problem is – I don’t know what to fill this void with and I don’t know how to do it. This feeling is not easy to sit with and it is this feeling that the eating disorder sedates so readily, so easily.

And so it is now that I start a brand new journey, a journey of discovery, a journey to happiness. The eating disorder pretended it brought me happiness, it actually provided the opposite. To make sure that I do not fall in to those patterns and go down that dark path again, I start on a new path to discover me, to discover the things that make me truly happy. No distractions. No disordered behaviours. No ignoring it. No dulling it. Whole-heartedly taking this by the balls and taking back my life.

The question is where to start? What makes me truly happy? What gives me those butterfly feelings in my tummy? The smile that can’t be wiped? That feeling of contentment, of peace? What is it? The eating disorder and anxiety has dulled any of these feelings for so long, I really am not sure that they are possible for me any more. But I sure as hell am going to try to find out if they are!

First: make a list. I love a good list and this one might become one of the most important lists of my life. My list of things that I believe might make me happy.

The happy list:

  • Friends and social connection. This is something anxiety and an ED hate (the ED can be caught out if it is seen and anxiety likes to be alone). I went from being an extremely social person, always a ‘hells yeh’ to a very definite ‘no’ and this is something I still struggle with and am struggling to get back because if you say no often enough you stop getting invited.
  • Connection with my partner. My partner became my carer. I want him to be my lover and that was stolen by the eating disorder and the anxiety. To get this back would make me happy.
  • A sense of giving back. I used to do be an extremely charitable person. My illness has made me selfish – I want to give back again.
  • Looking after me. Ironically my issues began because I wanted to look better. What actually happened is that I lost all care for the way I looked and the only thing that mattered was the obsession. I want to care for myself; I want to feel a sense of pride for who I am.
  • Random acts of kindness. I used to do em all of the time before they were even a thing. I didn’t even realise I did it but I was known for it, it came naturally to me to just be nice. I love the feeling that doing something (no matter how small) for someone else gives me. I have lost that and I want it back.

I want all of these things that feel truly me that I feel in my core are me. I want them back. And this is where the real work begins. Bring it on.

 

Anxiety is a bitch.

Anxiety presents itself in many ways. For me, it shows up in one way that I recognise as well as my own reflection in the mirror and in another that I often don’t recognise as anxiety until well after the time.

When I recognise it as anxiety I FEEL it, REALLY feel it. My legs feel empty, my muscles feel stiff, I find it difficult to walk, to breath, I feel paralysed, I feel frightened, and I feel panicked. Living in the real world when I feel like this, I have no option but to function. In reality, I feel like I am not functioning at all I am simply making movements, slow on the outside yet chaotic on the inside movements. This anxiety can show up at any time. I panic, I catastrophise, I go in to the spiral, I can’t get away from this feeling, I can’t escape it, I am a slave, and I am frozen. This could last for hours or this could last for days, if I am really lucky it could last for weeks!

Other times anxiety shows up simply as a bitch, as a real bitch to everyone around me. Anxiety takes it out on anyone who happens to be in her pathway. This is when ‘I don’t know what is wrong with me’. I lash out at those closest to me. I say horrible, cutting, belittling, obnoxious, things to people I respect, people I love. And I don’t know where the things I say are coming from. I become a person I would really dislike should I meet them.

I am no meaner to anyone than myself.

I am sure that these 2 forms of anxiety link to each other somehow – one feeds off the other and both lead to sadness, deep, dark sadness. So sad that I feel it in my bones; I feel anxious, I am mean to others and myself, I feel guilty and embarrassed for being that way and then I am anxious again…you see how this bitch works?

So, why can’t I stop this? Why can’t I be less anxious? Why can’t I deal with the things that make me anxious?

I dislike the person I become when anxiety takes hold. Why would I want to continue to be this person when I can clearly see this happening?

The answer? I don’t know yet. But I can see it happening and that is step one. Rather than be mean to myself this time, I am going to be proud of myself for identifying this behaviour, for having the insight. And I am going to use that to grow as the person who is going to beat this bitch!

My therapist told me to do it….

I haven’t written on my site for a long time. This site used to be for my business. My business failed. My business failed because I became consumed by something else, I became a slave an eating disorder and the resulting anxiety. These things changed me as a person, I became selfish, I became insular, I became anti-social, and I became rule driven and inflexible. I was not a very nice person to be around. I lost friends, I isolated family, and I turned in to someone I wasn’t and someone I didn’t like.

For the most part, the deep, dark, debilitating days are gone. What I haven’t recovered is all of the things I lost during those dark years. Which brings me to this….

One of the things I have gained in recovery is time. And what do you do with the additional time you have when you are not exercising, not obsessing over food, not thinking about food, not cooking food you have no intention of eating, not planning exercise, not researching food and exercise. What do you do with time that is truly and genuinely yours, when you are you? According my therapist – you write a blog.

So this is a blog about my ongoing recovery – recovering my friendships, my relationship, my period, my boobs, and my return to self.

Today I start this sitting at the hairdresser drinking a glass of wine while I wait for my hair to process. I think back to this time 3 years ago when not only would I not have allowed myself wine, I also had no hair to process. It had all but fallen out due to undernourishment – yup, turns out that you need to feed all parts of your body, not just your belly. And let me tell you, no hair is not sexy.

If you are in those deep dark days where food and exercise is the nemesis; there is no magic pill, there is no easy answer, and there is no formula. It is the hardest thing you will ever do. You can scream, you can cry, you can procrastinate but to emerge from that deep, dark place where all is ruled – just do it. Ironic Nike reference fully intended.

I thought I was in control maintaining my eating disorder and the thought of losing that control filled me with fear. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. I wasn’t in control at all. The eating disorder had complete control. I feel more in control now than ever.

Regaining this control doesn’t come easy. It is slow, it is measured (sometimes with kitchen scales when ED gets his way) and it is deliberate. But when it finally starts being the norm, when it finally becomes less and less calculated, it is the best feeling ever and this for me continues with every challenge, every day. Embrace it.

You don’t have to start big you just have to start. That is what my therapist told me.

Tip number 1: Get a therapist.

 

GIVE BACK

Want to keep everyone occupied and create a feel good factor for all??

Do it by getting involved in some community volunteering over the holidays. There are so many ways that you, your partner in crime and the small people, of all ages, can get involved.

These are my fave ways to give back:

Green fingers – you may not know this but most towns/suburbs will have some sort of gardening club/community who help out with public areas. Toddlers are able to play around in the dirt and pull up weeds (under supervision, of course). Older kidlettes can plant seeds and bulbs, and you can do all of the above. It can prove to be a great workout, too!

Rid the rubbish –  This may not sound appealing but it has soooo many good benefits you may very well become addicted, honest. Almost all communities will have a group of volunteers who help out with the collection of litter from the streets, beach, local park and play areas. The reward for getting involved in this is more than you could imagine. Not only does it create an abundance of ‘feel good’ it also teaches the children about the importance of not littering (this includes in the house so is a win, win for you), it promotes interaction and builds social skills and again, it can be a killer workout.

Get animal friendly -all animal rescue organisations with have volunteer opportunities. This could be helping out with clearing out pens, walking dogs, feeding etc. all of it will have you fully involved and feeling fuzzy. It will also teach your small people about caring for an animal, which is a great lesson for them to learn. Also another great potential workout opportunity – does anyone else see a pattern here??

Go back in time – And what if your little ones are too little to get involved in any of the above? A priceless way of giving back when you have tiny people is to visit the elderly at a retirement home. Staff and residents at retirement homes are immensely grateful of visits from young families. You will usually be placed with an elderly resident who doesn’t have a family of their own to visit. The conversation to be had will usually take you back in time with old stories told lovingly. And seeing the joy a small baby can bring to a senior soul is the very best thing you can do for your soul.

Now what??

Are you a new Mummy? How good does it feel? You grew a little human being and brought them in to the world all by yourself – how amazing are you and your body?

I am betting that you spent the past 9 months (and likely a fair few months in the lead up) taking great care of yourself; giving your body what it needs, when it needs it and caring for that small being growing inside you.

So what happens now that lil’ human is here?

The postpartum period is classed as the 6 weeks post childbirth. It is where you, the mother, return to your physiological non-pregnant condition. This is the period where you require the upmost care.

And now that small being is here in person and is still the number 1 focus of your every waking moment, how do you maintain that level of care and nourishment for your own body?

Here is how:

Zinc: zinc is essential for the development and maintenance of immune function before and after birth, it speeds up healing and helps prevent postpartum depression. The recommended dose of zinc post partum is 30mg per day.

Get more of it in you by munching on: meat, liver, eggs, seafood, legumes, wholegrain, miso, tofu, brewers yeast, mushrooms, green beans and pepitas.

Iron: iron might be necessary after birth to restore circulation and stored iron, preventing anemia due to blood loss during labor. The risk of acute post partum hemorrhage is also decreased with optimal intake of iron. Intravenous iron has been found to be safe and efficient in restoring iron levels but is only used in extreme cases of deficiency and the recommended dose of iron post partum is 25-80mg per day, depending on your individual levels.

Get more of it in you by munching on: liver, organ meats, red meat, poultry, fish, nuts, legumes, fruit, dried fruit, grains, tofu, molasses, green leafy veggies, beetroot, and yolks.

Vitamin E: – vitamin E can be depleted within 24 – 48 hours after delivery, even in none complicated births. When vitamin E is depleted it affects the ability of the body to heal and if this is the case the recommended dose to replenish is 400 IU per day.

Get more of it in you by munching on: cold pressed oils, nuts and seeds, spinach, kale, sweet potato, avocado, brown rice, egg yolks, liver, soya beans, asparagus, butter and milk.

Essential fatty acids (EFA’s) – EFA’s assist in reducing post partum depression and aid in infant growth development. DHA (an EFA) is particularly important for infants and this is transferred through breast milk.

Get more of it in you by munching on: deep sea cold water fish i.e. salmon, trevally, cod and herring.

Remember, these are general guidelines and you should always consult your doctor to assess your own individual needs.

See more new mummy options, here.

Escape with confidence

Providing transformational packages for women means I am asked a lot questions about health, fitness, beauty and the body. By far, one of the most popular questions I am asked is: ‘What are the best beauty treatments for cellulite / saggy tummies / stretch marks and other trouble areas’. My answer…

Firstly, I tell women that they are not alone in this. Everyone has something they would like to change about their body; it’s a natural part of being a woman in our society. I reassure them they are beautiful as they are but if addressing those trouble spots is going to make them feel more empowered, these are my top shouts:

  1. A treatment I swear by is Decleor Perfect Slim Effect.It never fails to provide outstanding results!

The targeted slimming ritual works by stimulating blood flow to the area and ridding toxins through lymphatic drainage. This is done with specific exfoliation, specialised massage techniques and a potent mask. With the precise blend of plant extracts and essential oils in the decleor products the all-natural treatment packs a real punch to those wobbly bits.

One treatment will see skin looking smoother and tighter, but for head turning toned goddessness a course of six treatments over one – two months is best. 

  1. For an instant 2 in 1 hit I can’t go past a skinny tan spray tan. We all know that a tan creates an instantly slimmer appearance and can hide a multitude of sins.

This treatment provides a double whammy by combining natural tanning with slimming, firming and toning. Skinny Tan is the first bio-organic spray tan designed to offer sunless tanning while visibly improving the appearance and texture of the skin. Using natural tanning and smoothing actives, Skinny Tan has been expertly formulated to create beautiful bronzing whilst also targeting persistent cellulite.

The more it is used the more effective it becomes. One tan will give you a goddess glow and 5 + treatments is where the magic starts happening with skin tone and cellulite reduction. and you know what they say – if you can’t tone it tan it)!

  1. If you want to approach it from a natural, cheap, at-home angle, my go to has to be good old-fashioned food!

I don’t like wastage and that includes on food and money. The targeted treatments above will work wonders when managed by a professional, with the professional products. However, if you want to take this in-house using what you already have this can work just as well. Create your own body scrub using olive oil and salt followed by a slathering of organic coconut oil applied to trouble spots using upward, circular motions – trust me!

Get it right this mothers day

For women in their 20’s:

Get her:

A Make-up lesson

Because:

Women will generally wear more make-up in their 20’s than at any other age. However, make-up can be tricky to get right, especially when trends are constantly changing and information can be inconsistent. During a make up lesson she will learn:

  1. Why truly good makeup application comes not from trying to make a face conform to the latest fashion trends, but from enhancing her natural beauty.
  2. How to prepare her skin for make-up application.
  3. Why the products she chooses are important and how to get the most from them.
  4. Tips and tricks on enhancing, correcting and highlighting her individual features.
  5. Best of all she will receive a full professional Make-up application and schedule of how it was done.

How:

Choose a day when she has plans for that evening; book the lesson in for her a few hours before she is due to go out. As well as being on a high from a fantastic lesson, she will be ready to hit the town with confidence having been made over by a professional make-up artist – fitting for super star she is!

For women in their 30’s:

Get her:

A Deluxe Manicure and Pedicure

Because:

During their 30’s most women are at the stage in their life where they will be their busiest. They often don’t have time for themselves and certainly don’t take the time to pamper themselves. It is unlikely she is going to be able to relax through a massage or facial treatment, so get her something both practical and pampering. A deluxe manicure and pedicure elevates a practical treatment to facial standards for the hands and feet. And because we come to you, she can even work on her laptop while we work on her feet!

How:

Find out when she usually heads to that cheap, quick nail bar and schedule this as an alternative. She will float away feeling pampered and relaxed without any of the guilt.

For women in their 40’s:

Get her:

Aroma Expert Facial

Because:

Being slightly less busy than in their 30’s, it is in their 40’s women start thinking about skincare more seriously. This facial and skincare prescription is customised depending on scents that resinate with the client when the therapist completes a specific consultation process. Each facial features a concentrate of very targeted active ingredients with renowned properties that will fulfil even the most demanding skin requirements. The education provided on skincare is individualised to the client; this combination makes it a really special gift for a really special woman.

How:

She will want to have absolutely nothing planned following this facial, and to be prepared for 90 minutes of pure luxury. We think it is best to get her a gift voucher for this one – an individual treatment at an individual time.

For women in their 50’s:

Get her:

Body Essential Ritual

Because:

In my experience women in their 50’s can start to lose a little bit of body confidence as hormonal changes and ageing start to kick in. This treatment will recover radiance, vitality and leave her with soft, silky, revitalised skin. It is a wonderful sensory-stimulating ritual that chases away all signs of fatigue and will make her feel 100% body confident – exactly what she needs.

How:

Book this on the day before a big social event, an important work presentation or a break away. The confidence will still be soaring for days after the treatment and she will feel wonderful walking in to any situation.

Still unsure of what to treat her with? Contact us and let us help you decide.

What is DR

Depending on many factors including your stage of motherhood, your pregnancy and birth experiences, the number of children you have and various other factors, you may have diastasis recti, otherwise known as DR. If this is the case there are some things that you need to be aware of.

If you aren’t quite sure what diastasis recti is or if you have it, don’t worry I have you covered. Below is a little information on DR, how to know if you have it, and how to work within your limits when exercising.

What is Diastasis Recti (RD)?

Also referred to as rectus or abdominal separation, diastasis recti is the separation of the 2 sections of the Rectus Abdominis (your 6 pack) muscle. Diastasis recti is very common, especially in mummys who have had larger or multiple babies.

The research shows that all women will develop some degree of separation in the third trimester of their pregnancy. The issue for a lot of women is that if this is left untreated postpartum it can remain for 12 months +.

When you have diastasis recti the structures of tissue that form the meeting point of the 2 sides of the rectus abdominis no longer provide the tension and stability it did prior to the separation occurring. The lack of protection and stability affects the whole body both aesthetically and functionally, which is why women with DR need to modify certain exercises.

The sure fire signs you have DR, are:

  • ‘Pooching’ or ‘doming’ of your stomach
  • Appearing a few months pregnant
  • A weak core and pelvic floor
  • A lack of strength and stability in the entire pelvic region and midsection

The Test:

I have a great little test I complete to assess for DR in my clients and you can do the same test at home. If you have no issues at all when completing the test, you are good to go girl! If you do find you have some form of separation when you have completed the test, it is best that you consult with a physio or an experienced PT to learn how to modify your exercise regime accordingly.

Start by laying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Relax your head and shoulders and place your fingers (palm down) just above your belly button.

Lift your head and neck very slightly off the floor and press down with your fingertips. If you feel a gap (separation), that’s the diastasis. You will feel the muscles close in around your fingers as you lift your head and neck. Repeat the test directly over the belly button, and then a couple of inches below.

A diastasis recti gap is measured in finger widths. If you find you have a 1-2 finger gap or less, that’s super common. If your separation is 2-finger widths or more I strongly suggest seeing that physio.