Saturday, April 5, 2014

Happiness comes from within

Happiness comes from within. It doesn't come from a number on the scale or the size of your clothes or having a flat stomach, a thigh gap or a "perfect" derrière.

I have been every scale number between 54kgs-107kgs and every size from a NZ6-NZ22 over the span of 10 years. Today I sit at 69-70kgs and a size NZ10-12 and I have been here for almost 5 years. I feel my body has reached its happy place, while it's a higher "number" or "size" than what my so called ideal is (or was) I can truly say I love my body in its entirety with all my physical imperfections, because I am beautiful the way I am today.

I've never had the desire to achieve a flawless body because I know that I couldn't achieve that without going to a place of crazy (for me anyway). But I am letting go of wishing for my perfect body...why?

Because I got tired of waking up everyday and deciding how happy I was based on the scale number. I got tired of my life revolving around making a perfect food choice. Most of all I got tired of attaching my self worth to what I looked like. We live in a world that is so obsessed with how we should look.

Health to me now is finding balance. It's moving my body everyday and doing something I love, not exercising in a punishing way or trying to "burn calories". It's eating food that nourishes me and that I enjoy, not just focusing on macros. Food that makes me feel good!

The more you love and respect your body and find happiness with where your body is right now the more you will want to take care of it.

Be thankful for your whole body and appreciate what your body can do. You are not flawed so give yourself permission to be happy with yourself no matter where you are on your journey. If you think that waiting until you reach a perfect "weight" or "size" until you can be happy you will be sadly disappointed because your goals will always shift and it will never end if you can't accept and love your body right now.

What I will say is that I have to work on this mindset daily, happiness and self-worth isn't something you can buy. Everyday I visualise a healthy body/mind relationship and over time it is happening. I didn't just wake up one day and everything changed, no, this has been in the making for a long time now.

Think about all the amazing qualities you have, think of your character. You don't love your best friend or your mum because of they way they look. Give yourself the same love that you have for others.

Losing weight isn’t going to make your life better if your only goal is to lose weight. Instead focus of the feeling of being healthy and nourishing your body and mind with the things that you love, the things that bring joy to your life. Surround yourself with positive people.
Don't only work hard to change your body but work hard at loving yourself, the two can co-exist. It takes time, practice little steps towards loving yourself a little more everyday.

I'm challenging the ideals us women have about always wanting to "look different", when does it stop?

Challenge yourself! Imagine living in a body that each day you wake up and truly love yourself, how would that feel?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Maybe I was wrong!

I know by writing this that I may very well lose some of my avid keto followers or some hard core paleo followers and I'm ok with that.  The whole purpose of my blog was always just a platform for me to go through the motions of this weight loss journey without driving my family crazy with information they found boring, it was also to share my ups and downs as many of you relate.  It's never been about popularity and although my facebook page and this blog has become relatively popular in recent years it's never been my driving force, I am always grateful for the followers I do have and I hope that my authenticity and open mindedness is what keeps you reading.

Most of you know of my history with Primal, I've been primal for over 5 years and I've always classed myself as an 80/20 follower because I have a love affair with dairy and chocolate and lets face it I've never really been 100% compliant because I just don't want to live like that and I haven't felt the need to, I take my hat off to those that do Primal/Paleo 100%, I'm not one of them.  I have had my fair share of macro-nutrient adjustments over the years, plenty of trial and error and I've learnt a great deal about myself and my relationship with food in the process, it's something that cannot be taught, it comes from experience in living it day in day out.

lost 40 kgs back in 2008/2009 following a very low carbohydrate diet of around 30-50grams a day which I did for a year, then for the past 5 years I've mostly stayed around about 50-70gms most days with a few higher carb days thrown in for good measure and a few intermittent fast days also.  Last year I played around with nutritional ketosis here and here, I dropped my carbohydrates and my protein levels a lot lower and ramped up the fat, it was fantastic for dropping weight fast but I am becoming convinced that it's not a healthy state to be in 24/7.  At the time I felt amazing and had so much energy it almost felt unnatural. Fast forward to the last couple of months and I felt my body screaming at me to change something, I couldn't go on eating such a high fat, low carb diet, not because I didn't enjoy it but because I feel like it was taxing my hormones.  The one important thing I have learnt from my journey with weight loss and trying to obtain perfect health is that hormones and gut health are at the core of it all.

I was noticing that my sleep was becoming very erratic, my energy was lagging big time (even while in ketosis) when previously I was bouncing off walls, my gut health started to become very bad to the point I was struggling to digest vegetables, and my menstrual cycle was becoming very out of whack and extremely painful. I made sure I had bone broths, I kept the salt, potassium and magnesium high but none of it made a difference.  I thought it would all iron out but it didn't.  Once I started doing the research in places like Paleo for Women, Paul Jaminet, Chris Kesser, PaNu, Free the Animal and listening to all sorts of podcasts from Balanced bites, Robb Wolf and Dave Aspery etc..I have started putting a few things together in order to untangle the web I had spun myself.  I read forums, blog posts and comments, more books and taking all the information in, I found myself feeling conflicted and confused and a little bit angry, had all this keto dieting I had done recently been doing the damage, after all the studies I read on it had me convinced that Keto was amazing for long term health, the success stories alone are enough to make anyone make the change.  I thought it wasn't that far of a stretch to what I normally do.  I was wrong.

So in my long journey of regaining my health and maintaining my weight I gave the Perfect Health Diet another whirl, the last time I had done it I found I would binge on carbs all the time, what was different this time? I believe it was not going crazy on the fat while I was eating potatoes and rice, if you add tons of butter to starchy carbohydrates it makes it really hard to stop eating them, if you have them with only a little bit of fat and keep the meal much simpler it's much easier to only eat the amount you need.  From the data I've read on the subject it has a lot to do with food reward and our ability to listen to our real hunger cues.  Most of us find it hard to stop eating overly processed foods like pizza, cakes etc because it's the combination of sugar, fat and salt that keeps us gagging for more.  I have always struggled with moderation and felt like I have an addiction to these kinds of foods, especially when on a very low carb diet.  The most unusual and awesome side effect I have noticed since I have upped the starch in my diet is that I do not crave these foods like I used to and I can have a small amount and stop, that was unheard of for me and the reason I could never do moderation.

I still haven't formed a strong opinion about whether I think that strict nutritional ketogenic dieting is something that I agree with, I've had a pretty good stint with it and I have since changed my stance on it - hence why I'm writing this.  However I cannot deny that I had wonderful results in the weight loss department, in terms of health I found myself becoming unwell. Dropping carbs below 50gms per day undoubtedly works for weight loss, it was how I got off my 40kgs relatively effortlessly so I cannot deny that.  Would I recommend others do the same? I think it really depends on what kind of health you have, many people are much more resilient and can possibly handle the stress that low carb puts on our hormones, others might not be so lucky. 

So what does my daily diet look like now? Well I still consider myself very much Primal, the way I always have been, I'm still 80/20 because of dairy and chocolate and while the area or "safe starches" is still very controversial I am happy to include them in my diet.  I still stay away from wheat and excess sugar.

My day usually starts off with a decaf coffee with cream, at about 10am I generally have brunch which is almost always eggs 2-3 of them, I love them poached, scrambled, fried, an omelet and I'll add some cooked and cooled potato or sweet potato fried in ghee (clarified butter) and some sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), some avocado, maybe bacon if I feel like it.  That meal generally keeps me going most of the day until about 4-5pm and then I'll have a small snack of fruit, say a banana or apple with some nut butter.  Dinner is normally some meat, green vegetables and either some potatoes, kumara (sweet potato), rice, rice noodles and some days I just stick to zucchini noodles, cauliflower rice or mash because I like to change it up, everyday isn't the same otherwise I get bored.  I find myself cooking from cookbooks lately for new ideas.  My macros are probably about 100gms of carbohydrate a day, give or take, sometimes it's 150gms and other days it's 70gms, my protein is normally always around 70gms and my fat intake is roughly 70-80gms.  In terms of Percentages each day I'd sit around 45% Fat / 30% Carbs / 25% Protein, all very rough estimates.  My weight is fairly stable at 69-70kgs, (5'7") and I feel happy here, I could probably do with losing a few kgs but really have you ever met anyone that doesn't say that?! Mostly I'm just thankful that I have managed to maintain my weight loss while enjoying delicious food.

I personally think the following are really great websites to help get you on a good path to health and weight loss, I have no affiliation with any of these recommendations.

New Zealand Pages:

Please remember I'm not a doctor or dietitian and everything I have stated above is all from my experience, before diagnosing yourself please speak with a medical professional you trust.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Rebecca's Transformation!

Meet Rebecca, she has been following me since May last year and she asked if I would share her story.  I feel incredibly honoured that she wanted me to be the one to share it, Enjoy!

The photo to the left I was 82kgs and the photo to the right I am now 60kgs,  I was a size 14NZ and sometimes a 16NZ in tops, I hated them clingy and now I'm a comfortable size 10NZ.

I was a bridesmaid at my sisters wedding 30th October 2010, I was so unhappy with how I looked.  I had no hobbies, no interests and ate meals the same size as my partner who has a physical job. I felt extremely down and was so miserable and moody.

I joined the gym for 6 months and only lost 2kgs. I ate more than usual as I thought I could because I was working out. I left the gym and downloaded my fitness pal. I was given 1200 calories a day and they weight started disappearing! It took me about 2years to lose 15kgs but then it stopped, I got stuck at 67kgs and soon enough bumped back up to 72-73kgs. I felt happier I retrained my stomach to be full of smaller meals (normal size) and got back into horse riding which has always been my number one hobby.

I got annoyed and frustrated and wanted the extra kilos gone. I stumbled across Paleo, did a lot of research and started eating that way in May last year. I found Michelle Martangi from Primal Journey and followed her journey. I loved checking in daily seeing her food, it gave me motivation daily. Seeing other people food pics gave me ideas and made me want to push harder. By October 2014 I had hit 59kgs! I now sit about 60-62kgs and I am comfortable.

My goal now is to increase my exercise and tone up. I am more than happy with my weight but I just want to get rid of the last of the “jiggly bits”. I have a kettle bell arriving Thursday and I cannot wait to get started.

You can find Rebecca on Instagram "beccisully"

Monday, March 17, 2014

Health rollercoaster!

For the past 5+ years I've been Primal, keeping my carbohydrate at around 50-100 a day, I've had moments of 20-50 (only when in weight loss mode).  More often than not I wouldn't have been in strict ketosis the majority of the time, probably on the cusp of ketosis, certainly dipping in and out.  For the past few months I have generally been strict keto (20-50) to see if it would improve my health after a nasty inner ear virus I got last year. Unfortunately I've come to the conclusion that my delicate hormones weren't happy with the extreme low carb.   

I was noticing my monthly cycle was a LOT worse than normal and I was having pain for 3 weeks out of the month which felt very abnormal, I have terrible menstrual pain due to my PCOS but never had I experienced the random pain in the same place when I wasn't menstruating, it was concerning me.  My dizziness (due to Menieres) wasn't improving and I was feeling really tired most of the time.  My energy was just really lacking and exercise was the last thing on my mind, I was struggling to get through the day without a nap and everything in life was just feeling so much harder, it felt like a mystery and that maybe I was having a stint of depression.  

I decided to change what I was eating to see if it was in fact the strict level of carbs I was eating that was causing my issues.  I know for a fact that food affects our bodies and brains so much, it's the most powerful form of medicine.  So I started eating a lot more carbs, the addition of kumara (sweet potato), potato, white rice and bananas and lowering the fat a little to compensate so my overall calories don't go too high. While I miss the high fat keto levels interestingly enough I have felt incredibly satiated on the lower fat levels and higher carbohydrates than what I thought I would.

The best part is the pain I was having in my lower abdomen has gone, my period pain is much more manageable.  My energy has been so much higher and I no longer need to nap during the day, most importantly the dizziness has mostly vanished which has made life feel so much easier. As a bonus I've actually been very surprised that I've lost cms, the scale has stayed the same but I'm fitting things I haven't fitted in a while.  

Before anyone gives me advice that I didn't do keto right, believe me I know a lot about it and I love all the science behind it.  I made sure I had bone broths, I kept the salt, potassium and magnesium high, fat was 70-80% and I have in the past felt amazing on keto so I was miffed that I felt my health declining.  I'm all for doing what works, but if it stops working I'm the kind of person that will keep digging until it feels right.  

I'm yet to find my perfect macro nutrient amounts but for now I'm just feeling so much healthier.  I wholeheartedly think keto has it's place for so many people, including myself for a moment in time, it was crucial in getting that 40kgs off effortlessly, however my long term health is most important to me right now.

While I still wouldn't consider the macronutrient ratios of my current style of eating "high carb" compared to the conventional carbohydrate wisdom it is a lot higher than I thought I would ever go, I'm averaging at least 100gms a day at the moment.  

I've been at this weight loss, weight maintenance, health journey for a long time now and i've been every different weight imaginable, what is my priority these days is my health, waking up and feeling amazing and happy.  Its not always about a number on the scale or the size of your clothes but how you feel in your skin, my focus these days is to be healthy and confident.

Friday, January 24, 2014


Five and a half years ago I worked as a PA for a mortgage broker.  In late 2008 the international financial collapse economy took a massive hit, and the housing market slowed right down. My position was made redundant.  I found myself jobless and I will always remember that feeling of losing my job.  That feeling of dread and hopelessness to lose your job in a recession, and knowing that the available jobs around were going to be few and far between is not a very nice place to be.

I came home after hearing the news and sobbed, it felt at the time like my world was going to fall apart.  Not only had I lost my job but my marriage was going through a very trying time as I was suffering from depression and anxiety, and I was at an all time high with my weight.  I had gained 40kgs in a year and I didn't recognise the person starting back at me.  I felt hopeless, jobless, anxious, depressed and so uncomfortably fat that I was having trouble tying my shoe laces.  At the time I couldn't see my way out.  My husband (bless him) suggested that I should start my own business.  

Although we were going through a very tough time he was the one who believed in me more than I believed in myself.  He suggested I make clothes for people, he had seen me over years making dresses for myself for various weddings and how many people would always comment where they could get one too.  At first I thought I couldn't do it but I knew I had nothing to lose.  I had my mum's sewing machine and overlocker and I knew how to sew.  I was so anxious that I wouldn't be good enough.  With all that in mind I took the risk of not finding another job with a stable income, hoping that I could make my own income in time and in the meantime we would have to live on one wage with very little leftover.

We got a sandwich board printed by a friend and put that out on the street, in my lunchtimes I would walk the streets flyer dropping with black and white flyers that I designed myself and printed out.  Little by little I would get new clients.  It felt so demanding sewing clothing for women that were never really that happy about the clothes I made, not because of the quality, but because the risk you take when you get something custom made is huge.   Have you ever seen an outfit on a mannequin in the window of a clothing shop that you just love, only to try it on and realise it looks god damn awful on you.  Well it was much like that and although I knew many times that the garment would look like that, you can not tell women that you think that especially when you are just starting out.  

So after feeling deflated and like I didn't want to do that anymore I considered pulling out of the sewing world.  I thankfully had a businessman to my doorstep who bought fabric samples for me to look at, he asked me about what I was wanting to achieve.  He suggested that I do alterations and repairs because there's not as much risk and if you are good at it you can make good money.  I knew in my mind I was pretty good at alterations, I had lost count how many items of clothing I had pulled apart and transformed over the years.  So I headed up to Auckland and spent a week at my cousins Alteration Business in Epsom to see how this kind of business worked.  After spending many hours with the ladies and doing some alterations with them, learning how to tailor suits and dresses I realised that I could do it.  In fact I preferred it, there's a real satisfaction in fixing something and making it better.  It wasn't as "glamorous" as being a fashion designer like I had first hoped but it just made more sense.

I went home and changed the direction of my business, I phased out the custom clothing as I knew I would really start to hate sewing if I carried on with that.  I phased in the alterations and repairs and really started to enjoy it.  I did more flyer drops and waited for the phone to ring.  Gradually I started getting more people and started to make enough money to buy my first industrial sewing machine.  As the word of mouth started to work and I had more people over the next year I found myself quite a busy little bee, I was working hard and loving it.  I had to be motivated which can be tough when you are naturally a lazy person like I am.  I just kept my eye on the prize, worked hard and stayed focused.

Over the years as I made more money I bought more industrial machines to do all the different things I needed to do.  I bought a blind hemmer machine which has a curved needle to pick up a very small amount of fabric and this would save me so much time as I was doing that by hand! A cover seamer machine that could sew stretch hems, previously I had to send these hems away to Auckland to be done.  A heavy duty machine for denim so I didn't ruin my plain sewer that I used for silks and I made do with my domestic overlocker.  My database of clients grew each month and I worked longer hours and made more money.  I started to get feedback from clients saying I was the best alteration person they had ever been to and they were so happy I started my business, I was feeling the boost I needed to carry on and work hard.  I finally started to believe in myself and realised that I really was capable of so much more than I ever thought. 

Years later and countless hours spent, sometimes working nights and weekends to work with deadlines, I finally felt like I had a successful business.  When I got to tailor a suit for All Black Peri Wepu I knew that I must be doing something right!  

Currently I have 5 industrial machines and 3 domestic machines, I have a database with 1000 clients. I've upgraded from supermarket shopping bags to glossy red bags, stationery invoices to my own custom invoices, eftpos instead of only cash, It's turned into quite a successful thriving business and I love what I do! There has been many many moments throughout the last few years where I've wanted to quit, there's been tears, tiredness and doubt through it all.  I've counted dollars and cents to make ends meet and all of it has been through pure determination to make it work. None of it has been easy, but it's all been worth it.   I absolutely love my business, it's not perfect, but it's mine.  It's more than I ever thought it would be.

Counting the only money we had in my first two years of business!

When people say I'm so lucky to have such a great business I just agree with them because explaining this long story would take to much time.  Luck had nothing to do with it, all of what I've created is simply from hard work, long hours and determination to make it work.

Change is not always fun. In fact, depending on what brings you to the change, it can be down right humbling. Unfortunate events sometimes put us in very vulnerable positions where the future seems bleak. Facing the truth of the situation and reality that we are in is key, the great thing is we get to choose the path we want.  Step up to the challenge to move forward or you can sit and reminisce wishing things were different and watching the time go by…either way, the time will pass anyway.

Whether it's your job, weight, marriage, family etc..step up to the challenge of making things right. Choose to love yourself enough to make the changes.  You just need to start and believe in yourself. Your journey will not be perfect and it won't be the way it used to be, but it can be better.  You will be stronger, confident and more amazing than the old version of you ever was.  Change can happen little by little when you put in the work, stay consistent, focused and determined.  Don't get hung up on how things used to be, you might be stoping a transformation from emerging.  Years later you will look back at the time that has passed and well up with tears knowing that you have changed your life.

Transforming my health both physically and mentally, all while starting a new business! Anything is possible if you believe it can happen!