Full Belly not Fat Belly

I love it when I read things in my nutrition studies that actually apply directly to my experiences as a former chubster.

Something I read this week was about the concept of nutrient dense versus calorie dense foods. Sounds fascinating right? But as I broke it down in my mind it made so much sense to me.

You see, for the few years that I was obese it wasn’t because I was eating a LOT of food. In fact, everyone who knew me, including The Captain, would swear and declare that they almost never saw me eat. Part of that was that I was a terrible secret binge-eater. Years of disordered eating as I grew up makes it particularly easy for me to hide my habits around food from others. I’m like a self-destructive food Ninja.

But the main part was that I was whole-heartedly addicted to very calorie dense foods.

spiderman

 

 

 It means: A food with high calorie density provides a lot of calories in relation to the serving size. A food with low calorie density provides relatively low calories per serving size.

So it looks like this:

Caloric-Density

or terrifyingly like this:

Fast-food-and-apples

 

When I first started losing weight, I was mortified by the AMOUNT of food that I was supposed to be eating. How could it be that I had only been eating a small volume of food once or twice a day (with some snacks) and gaining weight like a prize cow but NOW I was eating buckets of food and losing weight? It really seemed like black magic. Except it’s not. It’s simply caloric density.

A plan consisting of foods with a lower caloric density meant I get to eat a lot MORE food for the same or less calories than my previous high calorie/low volume habits.

Foods that REALLY helped me fill the void left by my crappy diet were things that made me feel full and happy. Things I could eat a GIANT BOWL OF and feel a bit piggy. Because I still needed that mentally. Things like insane amounts of vegie sticks, air-popped popcorn, frozen berries straight from the freezer, a big bowl of fresh green peas…

These days, because I’ve had a few years of training myself to eat more regularly, not skip meals and incorporate more protein into my diet, I don’t get so ravenously hungry any more. While I still love that crazy full-belly feeling sometimes, I don’t NEED it. But in case you do, I hope this helps.

 

Nom Nom,

Bella xx

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

 

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

freedom

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.

The-greatest-distance

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!

Richerthanyou

(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

yourebeautifultoo

Shoulders like Boulders! Come and play in June

 

June – who wants to get sculpted with me? I do know it’s high reps by the end, but it’s a bit of fun 🙂
If you are keen on making it the month for accountability and high-rep strength building, you’ll also find great 30 day challenges for abs and butts on Instagram!

supershouldersmonth

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

strangers