Sick of being Sick. Help Me!

Sick-and-tired

First up – this is not a ‘poor me’ post. I get that the various maladies I’m afflicted by at the moment are not life threatening, not devastating to my quality of life or any sort of dire zero-hour of my health. There are people who are in those situations and I’m sorry for sooking about my health when I am not.

But I am sick.

And have been sick for a few months now and it’s starting to really get me down.

I don’t know if it’s because I stopped getting sick at the same time I started looking after my diet and losing the weight three years ago and I’m unaccustomed to the erkiness and sadness of being unwell. I’ve had three years of not much more than a common cold or two that while yes, did make me miserable, buggered off in the appropriate time frame.

This year it started with a cold, that somehow became pneumonia, that was treated with a stack of antibiotics that flared up my gastritis. Then I was better for a day and got another cold that I’ve now had for two months and I had a crazy Raynaud’s Phenomenon attack for the first time and have just got my diagnosis of Raynaud’s Disease (you can read about Raynaud’s here) with my fingers but especially my toes being significantly affected. Oh, and I still have a cold. And the gastritis is making it hard for me to eat normally and I am bloated and puffy all over.

So I’m feeling:

  • out of breath
  • snuffly/snotty/coughing gunk
  • fat/bloaty
  • in pain when I eat most things
  • Oh – and at any given time, my hands and/or feet do this….
This is Raynaud's Phenomenon. Fun, huh?

This is Raynaud’s Phenomenon. Fun, huh?

So clearly, I’m pretty much a walking sick-sook.

I need to get better. I need to figure out why this year I’ve entirely lost any immune system I ever had. Traditional (Western) medicine really has nothing to help me at the moment. Their thoughts? The gastritis will eventually get better as long as I can figure out and avoid foods and medications that inflame it. A cold should go away on it’s own. As long as you don’t have/work with/get coughed on and re-infected by small children daily. Oh wait. No way Jose. The Raynaud’s Phenomenon flare-ups can’t be avoided but I should try to never get cold. Riiiight.

So I’m not sure where to go? Do I look for some Traditional Chinese Medicine? Or look into Paleo or fermentation foods for gut health?

Help me, help me Obi-Wonky-Donkey.

Bella

Decide to be lucky

I have a friend who is working through a divorce at the moment. I say ‘working through’ rather than going through. Because it is and has been, an amicable separation and now legal divorce. No yelling, no hating, no ugliness. When I heard them speak about it though, they mentioned how lucky they are to have things work out so well.

I agree and I don’t.

In many situations in life, we make choices that affect our ‘luck’. In that particular end of a marriage, there are two people who are making choices about their behaviour, their mindset and about working together. So it’s ‘lucky’ that they both feel the same way about it, but not that it’s actually coming together this way.

I often tell myself that I am so lucky to have met The Captain and to have a lovely husband and a strong marriage. But that luck in meeting him was totally steered by the fact I had no desire to hang out with guys who were less than good people. The fact was that I was purposefully aloof and would always prefer to be single than the girlfriend of some ass. Even if they weren’t an ass all the time. So when I met The Captain, and time after time he demonstrated his amazing character not just about or to me, just the way he thinks and the little glimpses into his moral compass, it was no surprise that I fell madly in love. So yes, it was luck that this meeting happened when I was so young, but not that I married someone with the same values that I have. It’s not at all perfect, but we mark thirteen years together and ten years married next week, and it is amazing.

One area where I do feel true luck is with the conception, pregnancies, birth and beyond of my lovely boys. As someone who had been less-than-healthy in my teens and early twenties, I fully expected to struggle to get pregnant, and maybe that I wouldn’t be able to have children at all. The fact that I did really is luck. I see that Michelle Bridges is ‘being slammed’ (there’s a few irked facebook comments) for saying the healthy lifestyles of herself and her partner Steve contributed to the luck of them falling pregnant at her age (she is 44). In the article (you can read it here) she repeatedly uses the word lucky. Like me, the couple had assumed that a contributing factor in their lives might hamper getting pregnant, they had even gone so far as to book IVF appointments, but with luck, fell pregnant naturally. Had they steered their luck by being uber fit and healthy? Maybe. And when you finally take the plunge to start or extend your family, the constant worry about how things will turn out sometimes make you cling to the choices you CAN make, rather than the flipping of the universe’s coin. Even now, when I think about taking the plunge one day to expand our family, I think I couldn’t possibly be this lucky again.

luck quote

Because realistically, there are people out there who do ALL THE RIGHT THINGS who struggle and even fail to be able to fall pregnant, carry babies to term or have their children born with health or developmental struggles. I was lucky as was Michelle. I truly don’t think her comments are offensive to people who are trying to fall pregnant who aren’t as fit and healthy as she is. Because it was luck. And even if it took her a year, and IVF and sixteen lab-coats, it would still have been luck.

So where I think I’m at with luck is that a lot of what we feel is luck is actually mindset. We choose so much of our future without even realising it’s in the little choices we make all the time. Stick to your goals, and beliefs and the rest really is pure, dumb luck.

Heads or Tails?
Bella

Why would you Even Meal Prep your Food?


So, my life is back to super busy, as I’m sure all of you are experiencing as well!  Whether you’re a student, working, have a family of your own (or knowing lots of you – doing all three!) life is busy and can get stressful.  Eliminate the stress and time factor of having to scrounge to find something appropriate at each lunch-time and having to cook every single night by meal prepping!  It saves you time in the kitchen and helps keep you on track with healthy eating!  You can prep and plan for just dinners, for lunch and dinner, or even all three main meals of the day and snacks too!  The amount of prep you do, depends on how much time you have to dedicate to prepping and your personal preferences.

I prep my lunches for the week, cut up my veggies for snacks, as well as all my dinners for the week.  At different times, I’ve prepped my breakfasts as well but I seem to have a bit more time in the mornings to make it now that the boys are a bit bigger.

So what exactly is meal prepping?  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, essentially it is planning and prepping your meals in advance for the week.  This means cooking items in bulk and eating leftovers!  For those of you who just groaned and are turned off to the thought of left overs, listen up, I used to hate left overs when I was younger, well actually up until I was at uni!  Now I rejoice in their existence and you should too!  Left overs are a wondrous time saver!

If prepping and planning can stop you eating off track and keeping you eating good wholesome and nutritious food one extra time each week – that’s a fantastic result and will certainly help you on your way to your goals faster!

And no, I’m not ‘preparing’ for anything special at the moment. Not competing, no shoots booked any time soon. This is just my life. And meal prepping is a life-hack I’ve really grown to enjoy and see the benefits of.

What do you do to keep your weeks prepped and ready to enjoy?

With hugs I prepared earlier,

Bella

7 Steps to achieve your Nutrition & Weight loss Goals

Oh hi there. I’m totally not one for pretending the struggle is simple, but I do believe in breaking things down into tasty, tasty bite-size chunks to make it easier.

Want to live a healthier life but don’t think you’re disciplined enough to stick to a plan to achieve that goal? Don’t worry Poppet! Self-discipline can be learned…

Even the smallest actions are steps in the right direction

Formulate a ‘mission statement’
Ask yourself what you want to accomplish with your eating, overall health and body. Is it to get your pre-baby body back or just tighten up a little? The answers will help you formulate your mission statement. One example might be: “My goal is to reach a healthy weight and feel more confident with my body.”

Develop role models
One excellent strategy for learning how to reach your weight loss goals is to model your behaviour after a successful achiever — someone you know who now has a healthier life, or an athlete with impressive work and training ethic . While you don’t have to follow that person’s exact goals and philosophy, you can match certain elements of their strategy for success that make sense for you and your diet.

Develop an action plan
First, identify and isolate any unhealthy behaviours that keep you from reaching your weight loss goal, then ask yourself how you would act if you had already reached your ideal weight. For example, if you normally stay at the office later than everyone else, you’re probably too tired to go to the gym when you finally do leave. So think about how you might leave the office earlier, in time to get to that 6pm class. Are there meetings you can get out of? Is there work you can delegate? Or can you motivate yourself to exercise at lunch instead?

Visualise your goals
Self-disciplined people form images of themselves achieving their goal. As dumb as it sounds, visualising the new healthy you helps the brain convert images into reality. If weight loss is your goal, imagine yourself looking and feeling fantastic in your new wardrobe or looking your best and being comfortable and relaxed at the beach — you’ll find it much easier to stick to a healthy diet and exercise plan with this image in mind.

Search for pleasure as you pursue your goal
Many people find delight, excitement and intense involvement in working towards a healthy goal. Even if the idea of the diet  changes and exercise needed to achieve your goal may not seem instantly gratifying, the overall feeling of accomplishment will be well worth it in the end, so hang in there. Don’t stress about any occasional diet slip ups or if it feels like you’re not changing at all at first – it takes time to reach a goal.

Section up your life
People who achieve weight loss goals have a remarkable capacity to divide up the differing spheres of their lives to stay focused on what they are doing at the moment. You can make continual improvements to your food choices and healthy meal options, for instance, while other aspects of your goal — like stress reduction — may require other strategies. Set aside some time to think about how your can take control of your life and implement these improvements.

Stop making excuses
If you want to reach your goal, concentrate your energies on healthy accomplishments and successes rather than on concocting reasons for what you haven’t done. To avoid this behaviour, write down all the reasons why you are unable to achieve your goal, like all your excuses not to exercise then write down ways you might overcome them. So what if you don’t have the money right now to purchase new workout clothes? Exercise in a t-shirt and shorts.
By following these seven supportive steps you can re-invigorate yourself about your ability to achieve your goals and maintain the healthy life the way you want it.

Let me know what works best for you!!

Making lists and taking names!
Bella

Goodbye Grandma Winning

I remember being so small that I recognised you by your knees in the airport, because they were the first thing I saw.

I remember you being appalled that I didn’t eat a mango every day, and that my skin burned in the sun.

I remember being terrified of the border security dogs because you stuffed my suitcase (you always said ‘port’) with mangoes to bring home to my mum.

I remember how much you loved Grandad. Even though you called him ‘Silly bugger” and ‘Stupid Old Man’, you did it while holding his hand, or making his cup of tea and looking at him like he was anything but silly.

Your beautiful eyes never missed a thing. Not ever.

I remember that one time you tried to teach me to make marshmallow to enter in ‘The Show’. We set fire to the kitchen. We fed three batches to the dogs. I’m pretty sure you remade it when I was finally asleep. But I remember how freaking proud I was of that first place ribbon.

I remember how little you became at the same rate I became big. How small your hands became against my growing ones.

I remember your music.

Your art.

Your tremendous cooking skills and

Your enormous capacity for friendship.

I remember so much about your strength. You were bad-ass before it was cool to be bad-ass.

You probably wouldn’t like me saying ‘ass’ though. You were a proper country lady, after all.

Everything was your canvas.Canvasses were your canvas. But so were notebooks, paper, recycled boxes, tree bark and rocks.

We were your canvasses. You created such wonderful things with your family. We weren’t raised. We were crafted. With love, and attention to detail.

You were an artist in it’s truest sense. In life, and as a painter, who through the virtue of imagination, talent, skill and passion was able to draw together, sculpt, shape and develop a family of the deepest value and love for you.

I will miss you more than I can even articulate.
x

Winning Family Queensland

There is a Post I need to Write… But not today.

Someday soon I’m going to need to post. It’s going to be a hard post to write, but I’ll need to do it. For me.

It’ll be the post about how I deal with grief.

I’m (sure as Hell) no counsellor. I have no formal advice to give.

But what I am learning is that somewhere inside, along with my other quirks and issues, is still the food addiction.

I don’t see it anymore. I don’t feel it on a daily basis. I was pretty sure it didn’t even exist anymore. It was a fat-girl problem.

But today, when I heard my Grandma is really unwell, it was like an avalanche.

There was numbness. Then an OVERWHELMING desire to eat. A pizza. A whole one. Or maybe a pie. Or icecream, buckets and buckets of it.

Right now, I’m not eating any of that. But the feelings are still there.

I’ll need to write about that.

But not today.

Today I just need to breathe.

lungs

The post where I talk about the Healthy Eating Pyramid..

Nutrition Australia have finally updated their food pyramid for the first time in 15 years. Seriously – FIFTEEN YEARS!! The new pyramid is based on the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines, which was a thoroughly nerdy-wordy 52 pages, refined it back down into the pyramid and get this – it’s pretty fantastic! Not even joking…

I’ve been annoyed by the old pyramid (below) for SUCH a long time. There was so much weighting on heavy carbohydrates, a fairly decent allowance for junk/crap foods and demonisation of fats, healthy or otherwise.

old food pyramid

But wait – Check out the new food pyramid here:

New food pyramid

You see it? All of the amazing-ness?

Here are the major changes:

  • The food pyramid is now separated into five sections… way better than just three! This gives us a much clearer picture of what a healthy diet should look like. You know what I’d love? To turn it upside down! We read from top to bottom and I think it would help to see/read the ‘eat most’ section at the top. But hey, Healthy Upside-Down Food Triangle doesn’t have the same ring to it.
  • The new food pyramid very clearly gives veggies precedence over breads and cereals. Finally!
  • There’s so many greens. From a guess, I can identify bok choy, pak choi, green beans, broccoli, zucchini, basil, rosemary and lettuce – GREEEENS for the win.
  • More nutrient-dense whole grains are included. Like quinoa, cous cous, soba noodles and oats. Carbs are your friend.
  • Fruits and veg have different weighting. The new food pyramid calls for about three times as many veggies as whole fruit. This is exactly what I do with my kids, myself and my PT clients – quality proteins and filling up on veggies first.
  • There’s no junk food at all. Not even in the “sometimes” area like the original food pyramid. Actual REAL food for the masses, yeah!
  • Good fats are actually named up as good. The old food pyramid has margarine and reduced-fat spreads in the “sometimes” food. Now this spot is reserved for healthy fats like olive oil and almonds.
  • Spices and herbs have been included.
  • Avocados are included in the “eat most” section. Now there’s definitely no need to feel bad about having an avo a day
  • Margarine has been taken off the new food pyramid! Not even a food :)
  • There’s no allowance for added sugars.

What’s the bad news then? Hmm, there isn’t much. Not really. For a generic suggestion that needs to be broad enough to cover a whole country and therefore can’t possibly take into consideration each individual’s needs and reactions, it’s pretty great in general terms. If I were being really picky, I am still a little iffy on processed soy products like tofu. I don’t do soy at all and with clients who feel they need these in their diets I prefer they lean to the less-processed soy products. And personally, I run better on a much higher fat ratio in my diet. But hey – such an improvement.

So, that’s my thoughts on the new food pyramid, now I’m interested to hear yours. Sing out in the comments!

Cheers,

Bella