Two Years – Freedom is a cool thing

Can you believe it’s been two years since I sold my company, ventured into the wider, happier world and started this blog?

I’d love to say that I don’t remember that girl from two years ago. The one who felt bullied and devalued and nervous almost all the time. The one whose stomach rolled at the email notification sound on her phone because it was probably not good. The one who felt guilty for spending time with her family? For having a family! But I do. I remember her.

I also remember though, the strange and uncharacteristic moment where I said one sentence that changed the course of my future. Where I (before I believed or even understood it myself) dared to suggest that my worth was not able to be defined by a single other person. That indeed, I even had worth.

But I did. And I do. And I always will.

And two years on – I still have that hard-won freedom. I use it well. I live, love and grow with my family. We travel and laugh. I work – both in the gym as a trainer and in a community centre helping at-risk children and their families with health and wellness – because I love it and it enriches my life.

Life is good.

If you recognise any part of the old me, that girl from two years ago I have just one piece of advice;

Stand up. It may just be the best thing you ever do for yourself and the ones you love.

Peace Out,

SV

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How to be Hot, Rich and Incredibly Happy

 

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Guess what?

Feeling crazy hot, beautiful and positively attractive is not something that is out reach. You don’t even need to buy, take or sell anything to make it happen.

You don’t have to have a bucket-full of dollars to enjoy feeling financially confident.

You don’t have to earn the right to be happy.

You do not need to fight to be afforded peace.

Prepare to be a little bit open minded with me. I’m about to get all hippy up in here.

If I’ve learned anything in the last few years is that the greatest distance between where you are NOW and where you want to be – is the space between your ears.

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When we think about wanting to be crazy-hot, pretty or even just attractive – our mind immediately dashes into a dark corner thinking of the changes we need to make. “I’d need to exercise like a freak”, “I’d need bigger boobs/smaller bum/bigger bum/longer hair” and “I’d need to stop eating chocolate – oh hell, I’ll probably need to stop eating!”.

When we think about being rich, our poor little minds shriek again with thoughts of more hours at work, making more sales, getting a better job, doing more study, doing more, being more, making more, having more.

It’s not about forcing it.

What about if we retrained our brains to start thinking about our wealth and beauty in the same way it thinks about our happiness?

Because if I get you to close your eyes and think about becoming happier – being ‘more happy’, what do you see? I see my kids. And the Captain. And my dog. And us being together. Other than spending as much time with them as I can, there is no demanding thoughts of MORE. I can think about how I’d like to be happier with a smile on my face. Can you think about how to become richer or sexier with the same grin?

The difference is that when you think about happiness, your brain probably tracks first to what you ALREADY HAVE EXPERIENCED that makes you happy.

So think about how beautiful you are. Close your eyes and let your mind track first to the things you really like about yourself. Healthy shiny hair? Eyes the same colour as your amazing Nana’s eyes? Sexy quads or glutes that you can feel growing every session? Whatever these points are, embrace them as your beauty. Think of them first when you imagine yourself and how you look.

Think about your wealth. Think of all the things you have. A home to live in. Ability to access food to feed yourself and your family. Clothes on your back and shoes on your feet. Some additional resources to spend on the’extras’ in life. Want a reality check? If you earned AUD$20,000 or more in the last year – you are in the top 11% of the richest people in the world! The WHOLE world!

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(To accurately check your own ranking, go play on the AMAZING website www.globalrichlist.com)

The key thoughts here are self-awareness and gratitude.

You are already beautiful, you just need to embrace and accept it.

You are already immensely richer than the vast majority of the world’s population and most likely already have a standard of living that most could never even dream of.

And if you close your eyes and think for just a second, you will already know what truly makes you happiest – you just need to make sure you always gravitate closely to it.

So to be hot, rich and incredibly happy – think first about the qualities that we already have. We can all grow and develop. Wanting more is not a bad thing. But the best launching points for stellar achievements are solid foundations and beliefs. You are already amazing.

It’s about knowing.

The truth is that the world, everything you long for, is waiting for you to realise your worth. Your right.

Freedom. Joy. Peace. Happiness.

LOVE.

SV

Is Instagram Killing Your Confidence?

Let’s be honest first up. I LOVE social media. Instagram and Facebook are my usual modes of choice, but really, I find it interesting and as a business-person I recognise its value as a connector and profile building tool. Used well, people have built businesses and even careers by sharing. Or even more importantly, it’s the only way my parents ever have any idea of what the kids and I are up to. It’s a part of our lives and short of the zombie apocalypse, I can’t see it changing anytime soon.

It’s cool, we like it.

However, I’m seeing and hearing more about how it can also shake or break your self image and personal expectations when it comes to your health, fitness, and wellness goals.

#Nofilter? #Notlikely!

A few fitness professionals are starting to show more honest posts, showing the reality (or at least less of the perfection) – not just the professionally shot images or stage-ready bodies, but so many of the ‘Insta-famous’ majority choose to only show their highlight reels. We’ve all seen the selfies in the mirror of six-pack abs, sculpted shoulders, glutes, and legs.  We appreciate it. We aren’t dumb, we KNOW the work that goes into looking like that. The risk is that when we look at them day after day, the quiet whispers in our thinking can start to feel inadequate because we seem to not be able to measure up. I don’t look as good as XXXX XXXXXX in a bikini – therefore I don’t look good in a bikini etc.

For most of these women and men, it is a full time job. My PT clients don’t pay me to spend hours working on myself; they pay me to help them reach their goals. My work in the community centre and in fashion design don’t care at all what I look like. I’m pretty sure my kids wouldn’t care or notice at all! And more than likely, you do not get paid to be in crazy-amazing physical shape either, so give yourself a break if what you see in the mirror doesn’t resemble the pictures on Instagram or on Facebook fan pages.

So my thought for the day is to breathe, and focus for a moment on the thought that while social media can be a wonderful tool and an amazing source of motivation and inspiration, you are only seeing a small and carefully selected portion of people’s lives.  We all get to choose what we share with others for the most part – and not everyone is keeping it real. Which is absolutely their right.

Don’t be negative about yourself up because you don’t look like someone else.  Newsflash: YOU NEVER WILL.  You are unique; there is no one else in the world exactly like you. Own it, be thankful for that fact, and move on.

Just be you. You are awesome.

Peace,

SV

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Can I ask you a question?

Yes, you can always ask me a question. Always.

The other day I had a question pop up on Facebook chat. It happens a lot. Mostly from my friends and family asking when I’m going to make time to see them, because I’m a shocker for getting caught up in my work and kids and forget the bigger world. But this day it was a facebook friend that I have’t actually met in the real world. Someone who only knows me from my online exploits both here, on Instagram and the facebook page.

Do you sometimes find it easier to talk to strangers? I do. What follows is a simple chat I had that answers questions I get asked often, so I thought I’d share. I’m not a bitch, I did get permission to post this here too 🙂

Thanks for stopping by this weekend. Feel free to connect with me either here, instagram, facebook or twitter as I’m always happy to help out wherever I can 🙂
SV

 

Friend: Hi Bella hope you are doing well. I have a question for you and hope you can help out. I have an unhealthy relationship with food and would love to just have a freaken healthy relationship with food. I am going to a coach who will help me get the body I want but why is it that every time I go on a new healthy plan I binge eat? Or I want to eat everything because once I start to eat healthy again I am 100% on that plan. Did you had an unhealthy relationship and how did you overcome it?

 

Bella: Yep, I’ve always had a pretty disastrous relationship with food! I’ve swung from starving myself as a teen to being obese, to competing and it’s ALL hard. What has worked for me is not seeing ANYTHING as absolute anymore. I do the best I can each day. As I go to bed I ask myself “What can I do better tomorrow?” and “What went well today?” Sounds lame but even if I’ve had a blow-out binge I can usually see a positive like “I ate really well until 4pm” and it’s enough to stop it being constantly negative the way I find most approaches are!

 

Friend: That sounds like a really good idea. Do you still binge today? Did you find it very hard to be healthy still after your first comp or did you lose control?

Sorry for all these questions

 

Bella: Every now and then. It’s a thing. My ‘binges’ these days aren’t really binges, it’s just things I shouldn’t really eat. But I still work at being positive about my food and mindset. And yes, I found it REALLY hard after competing. Questions are fine – happy to help out. I should blog this conversation as I think LOTS of people would love to ask me!

 

Friend: What or who motivate you after comp to not go back to “old you” binge eat and eat and eat and eat? I am so scared once I reach comp body that after comp I will F it up again. Why do we feel like freaking binge eating? Thanks for answering my questions

 

Bella: I kind of did for a while. It’s about knowing where you are happy within yourself I guess. I don’t need to be as lean as I was on stage to be happy. I eat and train the way I do for ME to be happy. Eating crappy food all the time and feeling flubby isn’t happy for me

 

Friend: That is exactly how I feel! I am sooo much happier with skinnier and healthier me and much more self confidence but o dear do I hate being fat. This is the biggest Ive been and it is a daily struggle. I guess its still a long journey for me but I will get there. Thanks for the chat Bella I really appreciate it.

                

Bella: Any time. It a constantly evolving thing, and that’s okay! We are always changing and growing.

 

Friend: Thanks again for this chat. Not a lot of people understand the binge eating cycle so it was a good chat. I am sure I will still have heaps of questions for you in future. Hopefully one day I can help out people like you are doing now

 

Bella: Of course, happy to help out any time at all. xx

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Bogans and Beer Cans

In my head, I still have dreams that I might one day grow up to be an elegant lady. Highly, highly unlikely given that I am now in my (quite early) thirties but still regularly trip over my own feet, leave the house without brushing my hair, my teeth or some either vital aspect of proper presentation. But most of the time I give looking like a decent grown up a red hot go.

The exception is my slippers. You see, it gets cold here on the frozen island. As soon as I walk in the door, from the months of April to October, I put slippers on. But not just any slippers. Tall ugg boots. The shameful but accurate unofficial uniform of the great Australian bogan.

But what is a bogan? Just in case you are blissfully unaware:

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I should be ashamed. Really. Proper ladies do not wear ugg boots. But I do. However, there are rules.

– My ugg boots must not ever been seen beyond the limits of our letterbox.

– Even then, I must make sure there are no cars in the street if I make the dash to the letterbox with my boots on.

– I will deny, if asked in public. that these are my favorite shoes.

– If the doorbell rings and I don’t know who is there, I take my boots off before opening the door. You never know, Prince Harry AND George Clooney are both still single.

But in my darkest moments, when I worry about my affection for bogan footwear I have one consoling thought;

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (one of the classiest and most elegant women in history) had a proud and very extensive collection of beer cans.

On’ya Jackie.

SV

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Carrot or Stick?

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I often think about the ‘carrot or stick’ schools of learning. Do you learn new habits best when you are rewarded for getting things right (2 days Diet Coke free = get a good coffee somewhere) or when you are taught a lesson with a punishment of some sort (Diet coke again – no coffee for 2 days)? I ponder both sides of this coin a lot.

I also spend a lot of time on the internet reading. Sometimes it’s intelligent stuff, sometimes it’s just drivel that I find while randomly clicking my way around the webiverse.

The other night I found myself on an internet weight-loss forum and someone posted in a thread about their use of the anti-addiction drug Antabuse.

So of course I googled it. Essentially Antabuse is taken daily and creates a violent and very real allergy-like reaction whenever the patient has even a small amount of alcohol and to some types of drugs too. Even though the medication is taken daily, the effect remains in the patient’s system for up to 14 days so even if you had the fore-sight to think that you might like to change your mind and drink/get high again – you have to chill out for 14 days or get super duper sick. That’s a lot of time to think about why you gave it up in the first place and re-think your decision to go back.

I thought it was pretty cool. It’s a pretty big stick.

For the person writing in that forum, that’s what worked for them. More than getting a ‘chip’ at AA or a treat for staying sober for xx months. The real fear of “instantly  turning into a shaking, vomiting hot-mess”  was the motivator that worked.

As I do, I started wondering that should a similar drug exist for overeating exist (it doesn’t, I googled)  would I do it? Would you?

SV

All the dumb stuff I’ve done….

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As I sit here typing with a big burn on the side of my neck caused by a lack of due care and attention while in charge of a hair straightener – I started to ponder all of the dumb sh*t I’ve done over the years because of how I feel about how I look.

Crappy diets that starved me, diet pills that made me shake, creams to reduce the size of my thighs that made my skin burn and gave me hard-to-explain rashes.

Waxing my eyebrows thin, growing them out bold, tanning myself chocolate, avoiding all sun like an albino Alaskan because it looks so good on Nicole Kidman.

Going blonde.

Boob padding, clothes-layering and fat tummy/fat thighs/ fat bum compression until I felt like a sausage that might burst open and explode on a BBQ causing a fat-fire of shame.

It’s a long bloody list.

But why? I freely admit to being vain. I like to like how I look. But I’m a bit fascinated with HOW I come to the conclusion of what I like. I don’t read fashion magazines. I very rarely watch TV shows or movies where the focus of the female characters is on being attractive. Is it really the beauty industry so subtly surrounding me that the pressure to look a certain way to feel pretty just ‘is’.

An unavoidable fact of modern life?

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I don’t actually know the answer. But I’d love to. For now – tell me the dumbest thing you’ve ever done in the pursuit of beauty!

Love,

SV