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:

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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

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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.

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

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

“I just want to get toned.”

From the gurus at http://www.bodybuilding.com…

For some reason, women, their trainers, and advertisers have kidnapped the word “toned” and turned it into the ultimate lady goal. It seems that being muscular is not a goal women should aspire to. Here’s the real deal: You can’t see shape without muscles. You can run on the treadmill or swoosh away on the elliptical all day. Sure, you might get thinner, but without some meat on your delts, triceps, and biceps, you’ll never see those awesome shoulder caps.

Ladies, “I want more muscle,” is an absolutely legitimate goal to tell your trainer or your friends.

On a scientific note, “tone” actually has meaning on a physiological level. Your muscles maintain a low-level contraction, even when you’re at rest. That’s why your muscles are always at least a little firm. This is called “muscle tone,” or “residual muscle tension.” It helps keep you upright, and maintain balance and posture. In this light, there’s really no way to “tone up” your muscles—they’re already toned.