Guest Blogger – Nikky from ‘Lipstick and Motherhood’

Hey all – here’s a special guest poster for you today! Enjoy!
Bella

Hey Guys! My name is Nikky and I blog at Lipstick and Motherhood. When Bella offered me the opportunity to create a guest post I grabbed the opportunity with both hands because her blog is simply amazing and I couldn’t wait to interact with her lovely and loyal readers.
I blog about all things beauty and skincare, do reviews on products and tutorials on how to do certain makeup looks. I also like to talk about Weightloss, Motherhood and my love for my Thermomix. I have been on a weightloss journey for 18 months now.
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When it comes to weight loss, you mostly only hear success stories. Not many people are willing to say that they’ve tried and failed. As a matter of fact not many will tell you that they’re even attempting to lose the weight. I will put my hand up and admit that I’m one of those people. There are 2 people who know that I’m actively trying to lose weight and I know that they’re my biggest supporters.

Why won’t I tell anyone else? Because weight loss does not come easy to me. It never has and I don’t think it every will. See people who don’t have much weight to lose and haven’t struggled with it before just don’t understand how much willpower it takes to lose a single kilo.

Your willpower has to be strong, your mind set has to be in the right place and you have to be better organised than the military.
What goes wrong for me? The mind games. I have never understood struggle until I decided to loose the 40kg that I had in excess.  I want to lose it so bad, but my mind plays games big time. If I have a bad meal I would just go ahead and make it a bad week. If I miss one exercise session than I just don’t feel motivated enough at the next one and when the scales don’t place nice and show you’ve had a gain when you’ve worked really hard than that becomes very discouraging.  And then the roller-coaster starts all over again where bad eating is involved.

Nikky Nikky3 Nikky2

The mind is a funny thing. It can either help you get to where you want to go or really sabotage you.

I would love to know how the lovely readers of Sailor Vee have overcome this struggle and made their weight loss journey a successful one?

Nikolina xx

What I learned about myself from a DEXA scan…

Sometimes I choose not to blog things. Sometimes because I am too busy to write. Sometimes because I don’t think whatever it is is interesting enough to interrupt people with. And sometimes, it’s simply stuff I don’t want you to know.

Yep. I got secrets. Sorry.

So when I preemptively told the blog-o-sphere that I was having a DEXA scan, I sort of set myself up to NOT be able to do that. Which kinda sucks.

To clarify, the whole reason I wanted the scan was I know that I need to move away from the significant obsession I have with weighing myself at least once a day. I do KNOW it’s a bad idea, not a great reflection of my body composition and can’t really be trusted to give me accurate information. In fact, Cathy knows my level of pain with the scale and tagged me in this post on IG during the DEXA day:

weigh

So I had the scan. I had it done at the University of Tasmania sports science unit. To be fair, the scientist did advise me that it was a very old machine and not capable of the type of information that modern DEXA units are. I still was a little taken aback at the sheer age of the thing. It looked like it was made in the 70’s from a factory conveyer belt and my Grandad’s camera. Fo Realz.

The UTas DEXA is older than this model and not in quite as good condition. Notice the natty computer it runs off.

The UTas DEXA is older than this model and not in quite as good condition. Notice the natty computer it runs off.

Also different is the level of information you get back from a modern DEXA. I was hoping for detailed information about the specific location of body fat held, but sadly this model was only capable of averages per limb and the trunk. You don’t get a print out of the information, but a written summary of what the operator interpreted from the scan. Even my sports scientist wrote though there was some ambiguity in the scan and the results may have been skewed in certain aspects.

But hey, enough blaming the equipment.

I came in at just over 32% bodyfat.

Huh. 32%.

In all honesty – I was expecting 25-26%. I would have been annoyed but understood 27-29% and would have been stoked with anything under 25%.

Nope. The machine in all it’s science-y wisdom says 32.4%.

I waited to feel crushingly sad. I put my polite face on, paid the man and walked to the car in the eerie drizzling rain, wondering if I was going to cry. I sent a message to a friend letting her know what it had come back as and said that I might cry. But I wasn’t crying. Not even close.

I sent a message to The Captain. I had promised him that getting a DEXA would end ‘the crazy’, which is the umbrella term we use for just about anytime I talk about my weight or size based on ridiculous perceptions I have of myself.

Message read:

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Being the awesome husband that he is, he offered to come out and hang out with me for awhile. He knows this stuff can knock me about a bit. But still, I was fine.

Not quite fine enough to leave it alone though…..

I mentioned in my previous post that I have in recent times been using an Inbody scanner to do a electrical bio-impedance measure of weight, muscle mass and body fat. So….

I drove straight to the gym and did another one. To compare apples with apples. As best I could.

On scan 2 months ago exactly I came up as – having 31.6kg muscle mass and 28.7% Body fat.

Yesterday – 33.2kg muscle mass and 23.8% Body fat

So, what did that experiment tell me? That comparing data from the same machine with conditions as similar as I could (same time, similar clothing etc) showed that I was heading in the direction I need to.

AND – because I want a third and independent non-scale reference point – I have an appointment to have my body fat read with calipers next week.

But what did I LEARN from today?

That peace of mind for me in not in the numbers. Not even in the better numbers from the InBody scan. It doesn’t put my soul at rest. It doesn’t make my life easier or even really validate my feelings about the work I put in being worth it. I wish it did. Some part of me really, really wants to cling to data to tell me it’s all okay. Numbers are part of a sport that I really enjoy. Transforming your body in incremental steps is far easier to celebrate when you know the height you need to climb and the progress you make each week. That’s going to be the ongoing struggle.

But at the very end of the day, hanging out at home, I kept coming back to the idea of what I wanted to know from this whole exercise. I wanted a non-scale baseline where I could come back and reference this point in the preparation in three, six, twelve months and know then what I’d been doing for my body.

It was never going to tell me if I was happy with myself. Only I can do that.

So I did. Stripped down, no make-up, at the end of the day with 4 litres of water and 1900 calories in my belly – this is me.

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This is me. At 32.4% Body Fat. Or 23.8%, depending on who you ask. Look at that smile and ask me if I care :)

And if this is 32.4% body fat, or 23.8% body fat or 40% body fat – I’m pretty darn okay with where I am.

Yes, I want to grow and develop and be lean and have a physique that others aspire to. But feck it – I’m strong, happy and healthy and capable of doing anything I want.

And I want to continue on this fun-filled adventure of eating lots and well, lifting heavy things and generally living life like a boss without guilt or shame or feeling like I am supposed to be anything other than where I am.

So yes, I’m going to change. I’m happy to be open and honest with you about the road and the fact it’s not going to be easy, and sometimes not pretty. And yes, there will be more scans, and tests, and weigh-ins.

But what did I actually LEARN from the DEXA. I learned that I’m okay. I’m better than okay, I’m good. And that I don’t need a machine to tell me that.

Beep. Boop. Beep.

Night all!
SV

Tomorrow is DEXA Day!

So we are coming to the end of my year off. Balance achieved, muscle growing nicely and health is finally back on track.

Which means… it’s time to think about the next goal.

I make no secret of the fact that I still struggle with having an accurate perception of my body. I freely admit also that I am a lot heavier than when I competed last week – about 10kg above that stage weight actually!

I am known for throwing massive tantrums, some angry, some in tears, because I want to be super lean again. As much as I know this time off was needed, it hasn’t been easy. I get crabby at The Captain because he is naturally slim and can’t possibly understand. I don’t believe him when he tells me I am not “fatty-fat-fat” as I may have ranted. He reminds me that I am healthy, stronger than I was a year ago, with more muscle and for the most part – less crazy. Not right at that moment. But mostly.

I hate the scales. Which is funny, ‘cos I’m pretty sure they hate me back.

Measurements are good but if they go down is it because I’m losing muscle? Or should I look at an increase in size as new muscle under my body fat and not get too worked up about it? And where the hell did I measure my ‘waist’ at again last time anyway?!

Honestly, I like hard numbers. When I was initially losing weight all that mattered was the number on the scale. When I was competing it was still largely about the number on the scale, but also about measurements and being calipered. Calipers…urgh.

Urgh. Don't touch my fat!
Urgh. Don’t touch my fat

So tomorrow, I’m having a DEXA scan.

What’s a DEXA? It’s a groovy machine! DEXA stands for Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). It assesses total body bone mineral density and highly accurate measures of the body’s soft tissue composition (muscle mass and fat mass). By measuring my body’s muscle mass, fat mass, and bone mineral density, it can determine the total body fat percentage, and changes in regional body composition. So, HOW MUCH fat I have and WHERE the fat is hiding.

Woohoo. Or yikes. Depending on how mentally prepared I am for the outcome.

Last time I had a DEXA was when I was at a ‘goal weight’ for weight loss but before I had really dreamed much of training heavily with weights or cared about much more than my BMI. I came in at just under 30% body fat then and coming from obesity (I estimate I had been 40-45% at my heaviest) I was pretty happy.

I didn’t have any DEXA scans while I was competing last but did have my body fat percentage tested by someone very experienced in it each week. In the week of my last ever show I came in at a fraction under 14%. There is a lot of literature about DEXA readings coming up higher than caliper readings as a DEXA also includes the fats in your body NOT held in your skin (so internal fats around your organs etc aren’t reflected in a caliper). So it can’t be a direct comparision.

I do sometimes use the InBody scanner at my gym which is a bio-electrical impedence type (like a VERY expensive version of bathroom scales that do body fat) and it had me back at about 28% a few months ago.

This infographic isn’t perfect, but is a helpful visual of how different percentages might look. Keep in mind the women pictured are all different ages/heights/builds/poses etc so it is a ROUGH guide:

body-fat-percentage-picture-men-women

I don’t really mind where I land on the body fat percentage tomorrow – I’m just more excited to have firm data as my start point which will allow me to build and shrink in the right ways again in the future.

Wish me luck!

Bella

The blog post in which a tabloid magazine perpetuates body shaming…

New Idea LOVES to highlight a story in a way that makes us want to kill someone. Or at least hate them. And if they are working hard, they can make a reader hate someone AND themselves at the same time.

This week, it’s Sally Brouwer, a fitness mum of triplets who apparently preaches…

“Laziness is why we’re obese,” says controversial mum of three Sally Brouwer.
Do you agree with her, or is weight a far more complex issue?

New Idea Sally Brouwer

If that isn’t a desperate call for trolling and likes/comments/fury on their website and facebook page I don’t know what is. But all activity is apparently good activity in an age where print media is fighting hard to prove it’s not completely obsolete.

In this glimpse of the article, it is PAINFULLY obvious how hard they are working to provoke a fat/thin debate. They make her almost totally un-likeable. By letting her air views of disdain about those “struggling with your waistline” and statements starting with “If all mums took the time to look after themselves…” spaced with photos of her competition-ready six-pack abs – the magazine is cleverly making mums feel bad about themselves and their bodies and in turn many will feel angry towards Sally and hers.

Body shaming in the media is rife. And wrong. But damn, it sells copies and generates activity on the internet. Who is winning in this scenario?

The thing is – aside from the disdain I have for being manipulated by the media – I disagree with Sally Brouwer’s comment that “laziness is why we are obese”.

I have lots of fitness friends. Some who have come back to fitness after being athletes in the past. Some who arrived at fitness from being unfit, skinny, uninterested or just not motivated. But the ones who ‘get me’ are the ones who’ve come from the places that I have. To come back to a fit and healthy body from obesity is a totally different game.

It’s no secret that one of my favourite fitness friends is Cathy Sheargold, who posted this amazing response today.

Someone who has not been obese will never truly understand it, laziness has nothing to do with it. We all wear our pain in different ways, my way had me weighing somewhere over 150kgs.

If anyone tells you that dropping weight is simple math they’re wrong.

I think that’s why people quit so often – no one tells them that the biggest journey will be your heart and your head. No one tells you that each kilo holds some old pain that we store away. No one tells you about the tears.
So we get to the tears and then we think – ‘well, I’m crying so obviously I should quit.’
A lot of people do quit and they head to straight to the tim tams to hide that old wound again – directly onto their thighs.

I love how Heidi Scott Wilson put it:

“My journey I best describe as unrolling a roll of hand towel. I had to take off one piece of towel (kg) at a time and with every piece (kilo ) there was a different emotion i had been protecting that I had to battle. Not all fat people are lazy i know i wasn’t i just had that many layers protecting me from the past . It took 67kg for me to get to the hard core of that roll and work out who I really was because i had been hiding for so long.”

 

Pretty much that.

Even today, Coach Joe will at times pull me up on something I say and remind me it’s a “former fat-kid problem”. Our bodies and mindsets are different to those that have never experienced obesity and they always will be. It’s very much a ‘takes one to know one’ issue that people who have never felt that personal burden (in every sense) just can’t understand and in my opinion – should be wary on commenting on.

So – to wrap up this weekend rant:

  • Don’t hate Sally Brouwer because she is fit and lean and looks a certain way. Fit Shaming is bad.
  • I would suggest she and New Idea keep their disdain and provocation of those who are overweight in check. Fat Shaming is bad.
  • Understand that the media is manipulating you. Don’t let it.
  • Understand that you are gorgeous.

Have a great weekend. Do what nourishes you and makes you happy.

Bella xx

 

This is me, say hi!

I get asked a bit for 'before and afters', It's hard because my life didn't stop when I got to my goal weight. In lots of ways, it just started. But, here are the cliff notes! Before, 2 years exactly on stage in a Bikini Bodybuilding show, and my normal 'running around' weight.

I get asked a bit for ‘before and afters’. It’s hard because my life didn’t stop when I got to my goal weight. In lots of ways, it just started. But, here are the cliff notes! Before, 2 years exactly on stage in a Bikini Bodybuilding show, and my normal ‘running around’ weight.

About (my) Face

I went to a seminar recently with Andreia Brazier and Chris Dufey. I was REALLY hoping it would be a mind – expanding experience where I learned heaps of new things and expert advice on fat loss for female competitors.

Well, that didn’t really happen. I really enjoyed meeting both Chris and Andreia but I sat on the plane coming home, I really had to stretch to think of a single new thought/concept that had been presented during the day.

And I get that in this age of hyper-access to information – it’s pretty hard to have a 100% new idea. But even a consistent message across the day would have been great. Things like being told “Never eat carbs with breakfast” only to be told a few minutes later “if carbs at breakfast works for you,  do it”. :/

In fact “different things work for different people” was the concept that everything seemed to come back to. Which is great, and probably quite accurate – but probably less than I was expecting from a $250 seminar session. Also less awesome was the setting in a warehouse/shed style gym which in the bucketing Melbourne winter weather was so cold and loud it was a struggle to hear at all.

Ergh, I really didn’t want to have a whinge but I accidentally have. You live and learn…..

And on learning,  one thing Andreia Brazier does that I find interesting is to include supplements specifically for her hair, skin and nails in her crazy (Poliquin) list of supps daily.

I think it makes sense. We train and diet to compete in a show where in the bikini and fitness model divisions,  we are judged (at least partly) on our beauty.

So in my regular iHerb frenzy I bought myself this to try:

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Okay, so the name is gimmicky (I’ve been prancing about the kitchen each morning saying “It’s day two Darling, am I beautiful yet??” to whomever is awake). But the fact that the trio of supplements is in its own little pouch for the day is handy and cute.

This is where embarrassingly admit that I don’t really know what they are made up of. So I took a pic of the label too :)

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So, we’ll see if I am somehow going to morph into a babe in the next 28 days!

In beauty and health (and sorry about the ranty-pants)

Bella

Waitin’ on the Next Big Thing

Let me share with you one of my flaws. It annoys the hell out of me, but at least I know that I do it – and that makes me pretty good at catching myself doing it and spying it in other people.

No, it’s not endlessly complaining about the weather. Or interuppting. Or standing in doorways chatting holding up people trying to get through. People find those things adorable right? Right??

Huh.

It’s my habit of wanting to wait for THE NEXT BIG THING. That shiny new thing that I’m going to see/have/do next. Now, wanting something big and new is not a bad thing. But the trouble is that I sometimes lose focus on the thing I’m doing right now.

Take my nutrition approaches. At the moment, I’m working at gradually leaning down again, managing my food intolerances and still using and enjoying the flexible dieting/IIFYM approach. It’s good. It’s working for me. I’m happy and the weight is coming off, muscle staying on and I’m feeling good. BUT…. buh buh baaaa

next-big-thing-sign

I’m going to a seminar at the end of this month that will be about fat loss in the female figure athletes and competitors and I’m fascinated to hear the approach of the pro’s that are presenting. I find myself second-guessing my planning for TODAY, sneaking a few extra carb macros and losing a bit of my focus on the NOW because “I’ll probably change it all again next week”.

And it doesn’t need to be something as big as a full nutrition change. Sometimes I feel like this when I’ve ordered a new product online and I’m just waiting for it to be delivered. I won’t train legs tonight as my new tights will probably get delivered tomorrow! :p Or when I know I’m coming up to a program change for my gym sessions. Suddenly, my ‘right now’ is less shiny and important that the new whatever-it-is around the corner.

It’s a common issue for my fellow 12wbt alumni and current members for ‘between rounds’. Two weeks off turns into four kilos gained because ‘it hasn’t started yet’.

Grr.

So I can’t give authentic advice here as it’s still very much a glitch in my own journey. I own that couple of days with silly lapses and am right back onto today’s goals and aims. But with each mistake I make, it gets easier to see and feel myself holding out. Making less of today because of the promise of tomorrow.

So do the best you can with everyday – even if tomorrow promises to be bigger, better, bright or even just completely different. Like another of my favourite Roosevelt quotes (from Teddy this time though):


theperfectmoment

Tomorrow is another day, let’s make today awesome first!

Cheers Mateys,
SV