Sunday, December 28, 2008

Need some motivation?

Taking 'before pictures' is never fun at the time but aren't you always kinda glad you did? Going back over them is a great source of motivation for me.

There is about 10kg and well over 31mm of fat between these two pics, the left is pretty much the height of my yo yo dieting and the right is my favourite progress pic to date. I like to remind myself why I am eating clean, where I have come from and how much further I'd like to go.

So if you are planning a big overhaul of your diet/exercise for 2009 I would encourage you to take some progress shots! Its a little embarrassing sharing them but you'll be glad you did, and sometimes it feels good to show off your hard work! :)

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day were great- three days spent with family without a care in the world. I really enjoyed the fresh meats (chicken, ham, turkey pork and prawns) desserts (trifle, cheesecake) and even a couple of drinks guilt free but am so ready to eat clean again! Ali and I are taking this week off the gym so Im straight back into sticking to my meal plan strictly. My meals did taste just a little bland at first but my taste for clean food came back quickly and my tummy is thanking me for it too- just waiting for the abs to reemerge now, lol!

As I've mentioned before, I really work hard with my food prep to make sure I enjoy my meals- much easier to stick to the plan that way and having more time on the holidays makes this so much easier. Im really enjoying having yoghurt/fruit back on the plan now especially, on these hot afternoons! I like to freeze my natural yoghurt mixed with protein powder and fruit and serve with some low joule jelly. The combo in the pic is chocolate protein powder with blueberries and some low joule choc topping but my favourite so far is vanilla protein with raspberries (more like icecream).

Meanwhile, its so weird not to have to go to work or the gym! After a fairly lazy first week off, we 'de-Christmased' the house and gave it a good clean. Now I've run out of things to clean and its time for a good sit... haha. We are still working out how to spend New Years Eve- what are you guys up to?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Cheer

It is Christmas Eve and Ali and I have arrived at his parents' place where we will enjoy dinner this evening, stay the night and wake up early like crazy kids on Christmas morning.

Christmas is all about family to us; its a chance to deck out the house in tinsel, have some holidays, chill out and spoil eachother rotten. 

I was out doing some last minute shopping with my sister yesterday and we were talking about how whenever we think we're having a rough time or are tempted to complain- that we should think of those less fortunate and be grateful for what we have. Christmas is a great time for this and to give a little extra to hard working charities. I know I am extremely grateful for my family and friends, my health, my home, career and the opportunity to study. We are also all so lucky to live in such a beautiful country!

Today was our last training session before we take 8 days off the gym. I am already looking forward to smashing these muscles again in the New Year :) As for now, I have a whole heap of lovely fresh prawns, salad and mangoes to get through, mmmm.

Wishing you all a MERRY AND SAFE CHRISTMAS!!!! I hope you are doing whatever you love best with those you love.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Steph, the Student once more

We are officially on holidays! *jump for joy* It may only be 16 days but that to date is the longest time off I have ever had without having to work/study at ALL! And Im being paid, bonus heehee.

Left: me this time last year, we took a 7 night cruise on the Pacific Sun- highly recommended!!

I thought in advance about how best to use this time off... then it hit me- I'm going to do as much NOTHING as possible :) Enjoy freshly cooked meals everyday rather than frozen and reheated ones and spend some time out in the beautiful sunshine....

GREAT NEWS- I got my official university offer in the mail yesterday! So the journey to becoming a qualified nutritionist (and perhaps dietician if I continue studying) commences February 2009. Im daunted and excited at the same time about getting my brain back into chemistry gear and nerd jargon. People keep asking me if Im going to drop back to part time work but unfortunately we couldn't afford that so I'm just going to take on as much uni on top of full time work as I can manage... I told you 2009 was going to be BIG! I may not be able to put as much effort into it as I'd like but I just keep thinking- I have to do this, there is no maybe!

My future career awaits!!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Turns out you CAN make friends with salad!

I never never never thought that I would happily eat salad for lunch every day. Having grown up taking a sandwich to school/uni every single day, I never thought I would be full/satisfied at lunchtime without the bread wrapped around it!

Now that my carbs are more limited I have found out that what it is that really keeps you full and give meals flavour is of course the protein and good fat components of the meal. On their own, carbs are actually quite boring (except oats of course, they are just little miracles).

Every work day I find the biggest plate in the kitchen and prep a fresh salad mountain with as much colour and variety as I can- I own a whole drawer to myself in the kitchen's fridge :)
The picture above is the big bowl I use at home on weekends, I feel like I'm eating out of a bucket but its great, I chuck all the ingredients in and give it a good mix with some lemon juice.

The options are endless!

For protein I like:

fish- orange roughy or flake are my favourites

SALMON is to die for

chicken or

kangaroo mince

Good fats:


Nuts- almonds/walnuts

Olive oil

sundried tomatoes


lettuce, spinach etc

beans, sugar snap peas, snow peas

sprouts eg alfalfa, garlic, onion and bean sprouts

lightly steamed broccoli




grated fresh beetroot

diced/grated carrot

red capsicum

Even though I'll probably eat it year round, summer is the perfect time for salads, to try new flavours and combinations. Remember our mantra- GREEN IS LEAN!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Emotional/Binge Eating

Is it just me or is this topic of concern for FAR TOO MANY women!?

Finally learning to not only lose weight but to successfully keep weight off has meant that I've had to address these issues head on. When you have spent your life turning to food for comfort, pleasure, distraction, something to do etc when this option is taken away, you feel quite naked and its confronting to say the least.

I've come a long way but I'm wondering whether anyone can say they work past these issues entirely and never give them a second thought. It is my opinion that food addiction exists and that it is just as serious as any other addiction- perhaps more so because you can't give it up entirely.

Absolutely any emotion can trigger it emotional eating whether positive or negative. I would say that everyone emotionally eats from time to time because no one eats solely to fuel their body, only at times when they are physically hungry. Therefore, it can range from minor to extreme and is only a problem if it affects the person's health or wellbeing. I wouldn't say that I struggle with emotional eating to a great extent as I have learnt to separate emotions or circumstantial 'opportunities' to eat from physical hunger- eating regular meals and drinking enough water can greatly assist with this and remember, just because its somebody's birthday doesn't mean they will get offended if you don't eat their birthday cake, you CAN celebrate without food. More often that not, you can find other much more effective ways to satisfy an 'emotional craving'. We've heard them all before eg if you are bored, lonely- call a friend; stressed- take a break and so on.

Binge eating seems easier to define (eating a very large quantity of food in one sitting with a sense of loss of control- minus the purging) but much more difficult to deal with. Experts seem to define this as an eating disorder if episodes occur in the realm of at least twice to three times per week. This one I am sad to admit has been quite relevant to me in the last few years. The 98% of the time that Im in a logical headspace I do not why it happens to me at all, it is not until the compulsion strikes. It is an overwhelming urge to eat NOW and FAST.

A while back, the very wise Liz Nelson gave some advice on the sources behind a binging/diet cycle that I held onto:

1. The first is not enough food, especially carbohydrate when you're back to eating healthy food. I've mentioned it before but cut out carbs and it comes back to bite you on the bum (literally because your serotonin levels drop too low and in order to get them up naturally we crave carb (and often why docs prescribe SSRI type antidepressants for this problem).

2. Secondly it can have a psychological root - I liken the diet /binge cycle to an all or nothing attempt to gain "control". You're either being "in control (strict diet)" or out of "control (bingeing madly). Key to bringing this under control is to examine where the ALL or nothing mentality is coming from. It's a learned trait, which means it can be unlearned - changing your thinking requires a lot of work. If you are working hard at being more even but still slip every now and again, you're still ahead as long as you are stepping away from the ALL or NOTHING thought patterns.

3. The other thing that may be setting off the bingeing cycle is being intolerant of something in your diet. Processed sugars are a biggie for me - sometimes a paleo style detox can really help you smooth things out whilst you work on everything else.

I can relate to all three of the points above. Before I started following an effective meal plan and was just dieting myself silly all over the shop I would have fairly frequent episodes. However, as discussed by a a previous post this just seems to rear its ugly head when I have planned a 'cheat meal'; lacking the ability to control it.

I know I give myself a hard time about all these things but I am keen to deal with these issues (as much as is possible) early because I don't want to live my whole life struggling- bigger fish to fry! Further, if I have a family, especially daughters- I would want to model a healthy relationship with food.

So thank you Liz for helping us identify the issues and giving us something to think about and to (continue to) work on. I have heard nothing but good things about the style of coaching Liz takes with her clients who go on to compete successfully and in a healthy manner.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Power of Persistence

In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins; not through strength but through persistence- Buddha

Above: Twin Falls, Springbrook Mountain (taken on our trip there for our 3rd Anniversary) 

Yesterday's post turned out a little more like a big whinge than I would have liked but we need those every now and then! I've actually been feeling very positive the last few days and its great to use times like this to reflect and get goals and plans in order.

I've decided that the thing I like best about the sport of Figure is that it can be a lifetime hobby and one that to be successful, requires such commitment that it becomes a lifestyle and those who partake form a special community.

We don't pick up our bats and balls once a week and go out to play, only to forget about the sport for the rest of the week. To use Rae's  words, "competing is something I love so much, I pretty much eat, sleep and breathe it". Sometimes I get tired. Sometimes I get sick of cooking and eating so frequently and sometimes I get to the gym and just want to go home before I've even changed. And sometimes I get tired of being so busy. But as I've said to Ali before, I wouldn't have it any other way. 

If there is one thing I am, its persistent. Obviously I struggle at times with my nutrition, training and staying positive but I will never give up and I never settle. That is the other exciting thing about figure, its always about progress. We are never perfect, there is always room for improvement. I am going to step on stage next year in the best condition I have ever been in, in my life. Whether I place or not is moot, because I have no control over who else will be there sharing that stage on the day. But would I be content to stop there? Is that the end of the journey? No, I see competing as a challenge, a chance to take further and showcase the results of what I would be doing anyway- training hard and eating clean.  

Some competitors have felt lost after the big day and Im sure I will also go through some kind of 'post comp slump'.  But I believe that viewing competitions as part of a lifetime journey rather than as an ending point will help me fuel my desire to persist and constantly improve. As soon as I step off the stage I will want to know what I can do to come in better condition next time. 

Its about hardwork and dedication but its also about fun. I think thats why what we are doing is so rewarding.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Moderation...and why I SUCK at it!

Thanks for all your comments on yesterday’s post. It really emphasised to me what I have been struggling with and come to terms with this year in particular- “All things in moderation”. It seems very wise and common sense enough but I can’t seem to follow through with it in practice. What is moderation? How do you know if you are achieving a ‘balanced lifestyle’?

I have been calling it my ‘all or nothing’ or ‘perfectionism’ approach. And come to think of it, ever since I labelled it, I have struggled more than ever.

Here’s my dilemma:

My meal plan as its written is fairly strict, fairly onerous in terms of the amount of food prep involved, lower carb, high quantities of fibrous vegetables and a high intake of water. Of course, when I follow it consistently = I get great results. Thrown in there are 10% meals which are allowable deviations for meals ‘off the plan’ but similar macronutrients as the meal you are supposed to have, eg chicken sandwich instead of chicken with brown rice. I don’t usually bother with these because I have my food prepped for the week anyway and used in their strict sense they don’t really taste better, they are mostly for variety and convenience. Then there is…… the cheat meal. One meal per week where I am allowed to have ‘whatever I want, in one sitting’.

What does this sound like? A binge! It doesn’t have to be of course. I hear about the 200 rather than 2000 calorie rule and although I agree with it, what I have found is that I simply can’t follow it if I choose to eat something with fast acting carbs/wheat/simple sugars.

The loss of control is quite frightening. Once I get going I find it incredibly difficult to stop. I still don’t know whether it is psychological, physiological or both. I’ve tried pretty much every week to set myself a limit and failed on almost every occasion. I tried cutting out the cheat meal and eating more moderately during the week instead but ended up gaining 2mm of fat that month when it was my goal to keep losing. I was told that physically, the best approach for my goal (fat loss) was to only have that insulin spike of the cheat meal once a week rather than every time I ate a unplanned simple carb (even if its healthy one) during the week. So I went back to being 100% during the week, planning a cheat meal with all sorts of junky treats, getting all anxious about it, eating uncontrollably to the point of feeling sick and spending the next few days feeling incredibly guilty- and lost 8mm. Sigh. I want to get results AND be happy!

Here’s my attempt at solving the dilemma:

I may have failed a thousand times in the past but I will never ever stop trying. It all lies in my mindset and the way I approach my relationship with food- I have decided that I am going to stop labelling and trying to ‘fix’ myself. I make my own rules and I am going to continue to work toward finding a way that not only helps me achieve my goals but that I feel comfortable with, even if its not the norm.

Focusing on nutrition and what foods will improve my health, rather than all the foods I ‘shouldn’t have’ has been the key for me. The more I educate myself, the less I see the point of eating the processed, sugary carbs that send my body and mind crazy. The more I focus on improving my health instead of ‘losing weight’ the more efficient at sculpting my body I become. If I know that I cannot eat these in moderation then perhaps they are best avoided! Why continue to beat myself up over this? I can’t say I haven’t tried!

Overall, I prefer the taste of healthy food and when it comes to a cheat meal what I really want is to have a break from restriction (big appetite remains despite shrinking body). Moderation in terms of portion control might still be out the window here but it certainly takes less of unprocessed foods to make me full anyway and most importantly, I know naturally when to stop because I am not only physically full but satisfied. I couldn’t believe it the last time I had takeaway (KFC) and I could just eat and eat and eat without it touching the sides- it was so refined it was like it had already been chewed for me! I am also generally disappointed by its lack of flavour and less than impressed with the toxic side effects on my stomach and digestion.

My last post talked about the dangers of sugar to health. I strongly believe that processed foods, sugar, trans/saturated fats, artificial ingredients and preservatives consumed everyday lead to a poor quality of health and life in the long run and it makes me angry how companies will refine a product, add fillers, cut corners at the expense of quality to save money and make more profits. I also avoid ‘diet products’ which are junk disguised as health products and a massive industry. I worked for a weight loss company and pushed expensive, frozen, processed and packaged foods onto desperate people. At the time, I was dazzled by the idea that I could eat foods I liked as long as I didn’t go over my ‘calorie limit’ for the day. But what is the point of eating such empty calories when what you eat literally becomes you. Imagine my shock when I started eating well over 2000 calories a day of real food and losing fat! This way I am providing my body with more essential vitamins and nutrients, giving it something substantial to digest and raising my metabolism- its not as convenient but oh well!

When it comes to comp prep, I am also kicking moderation out the door because this IS a DIET – a temporary change in lifestyle for temporary results and that is perfectly fine and the goal. I want to go for it and not stand in the way of my own progress. I am going to have to do some pretty extreme things during the latter stages of comp prep to get as lean and in the condition I want to be in- there is no avoiding that no matter how well prepared I am.

I would never swear off junk food 100% because labelling it as totally forbidden would illogically make it more appealing. I like to remind myself that Im a free person and can eat whatever I want whenever I want, as long as Im willing to deal with the consequences. And there are of course, some non healthful foods that I still really like the taste of, like fresh scones with jam (white flour + sugar). I will still always choose real food, over foods with a lot of artificial ingredients, colours etc. For example if I want cake, I’ll choose one made of all natural ingredients with fresh ingredients like banana and walnuts. It will still have the sugar and fat but it is less processed and therefore better tolerated by the body. My tactic when I want to incorporate these kinds of foods into my cheat is forced portion control- I never buy a family size, big pkt of anything I don’t care if its cheaper because I know I won’t stop at one serve. I also always make sure to take note of the effect these foods have on me, the instant cravings I get for more and decide whether or not the taste was worth it…

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bin the sugar and eat real food

Right: Chocolate covered Cream Filled Krispy Creme- 86g donut- 347 calories, 21g fat, 39g carbs (23g sugar).

The simplest way I have found that I can give advice to people who ask about improving their diet is to:

Avoid processed foods and simple sugars (going for lean protein, fresh fruit and vege, low fat dairy and low GI unprocessed grains).

Sounds simple enough doesn't it! People love to get into long conversations about low fat, low carb, raw diets, meal replacement shakes, macros, calories, carb cycling etc etc, see it all as too hard and do nothing which is such a shame!

The longer I have been eating this way, the more benefits I find and could never go back! My diet has slowly evolved over the past few months so that i only use natural ingredients to spice/flavour foods and I only use protein shakes/bars* where necessary.

Sugar is a particularly nasty beast and is added to almost all processed foods- you wouldn't think of it if you didn't check the labels! Eg tinned beetroot! Why not eat fresh?

Here are some reasons to avoid it:

1. Sugar has no nutritional value, studies have shown that sugar, caffeine and alcohol produce a chemical reaction in the body that creates enjoyment, but only for a moment. This results as a depression or that desire to get “high”. Doctors call this a “crash”. Dr. Janice Keller Phelps has researched the addictiveness of sugar. People would start out as sugarholics and then they’d become victims of depression. Because of that, people get stressed and want to eat more because of their chemical imbalance and they tend to get overweight.

2. Refined carbohydrates and sweets enter our blood stream rapidly. Our pancreas is attacked by the sudden urge of sugar. It releases too much insulin since it’s doing more work than it usually does. Because of this chemical confusion, there is a big drop in blood sugar. This causes feelings of hunger!

3. Sugar can suppress the immune system's ability to remove foreign debri and fight bad bacteria in the body.

4. Sugar can upset the body's mineral balance. With just 2 teaspoons of sugar, micronutrients in the body can change radically, throwing the blood chemistry out of balance. Some mineral levels increase, some decrease, and delicate ratios are upset. This may cause calcium deposits to increase which could lead to arthritus and other bone diseases.

5. In 1976 the sugar industry found it was less costly to make sugar from corn than from beets or sugar cane. Since then, high fructose corn syrup has replaced sucrose as a sweetener in processed foods and sodas. It has been shown that fructose causes the white blood cells of the immune system to become inactive and unable to protect the body against damaging intruders.

6. A sugar addiction speeds up the aging progress. When sugar is consumed on a regular basis the pancreas can become over stimulated and secrete too much insulin. Excess insulin can cause a drop in normal blood sugar levels, and hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, may develop. Symptoms of hypoglycemia can involve tiredness, memory failure, quick heartbeat, anxiety, tremors, headaches and depression. These may sound like diseases of the old, but more and more young people are experiencing these warning signs daily.

I have the pleasure of turning down sugary/fatty treats at work on a daily basis. Today when offered a Krispy Creme donut, I checked out all the different varieties in the box- glazed, jam filled, every colour under the rainbow and said "Oh they look really pretty, but no thanks- they're not really food are they? Just fancy sugar!" (Well, if you want to be perfectly honest, they are a lethal recipe of sugar coated fried bread (donut) with a cocktail of artificial additives, flavours, colours, preservatives)#

* the protein bars are a real treat for occassional use only as they contain a lot of artificial ingredients. Having said that, try "Oh Yeah" they are delicious!

# Disclaimer: Despite all the evidence above in relation to why sugar should be avoided- I admit I have been known to have one hell of a sweet tooth. I have managed to get my former addiction to a controllable level through eating clean and now fruit tastes super sweet and delicious once more! As part of a balanced approach (and not yet in strict comp prep) I currently indulge in some sweet treats about once a week, although they are never as delicious as we build them up in our anticipation to be!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Morning Fuel

More tools I have found useful! 

So far:

#1 Support
#2 A meal plan constructed by an expert (even if you know what you are doing! remove all doubt!)

Today's post will build on #2 because I have a lot to say on the subject of food!

a) Changes need to be permanent

The most important thing I have learnt about changing your body through nutrition so far is that absolutely any change you make needs to be for good; there is no point making any temporary changes because any results you get will also be temporary and you might drive yourself mildly cuckoo in the process. For example, the brain comes up with all sorts of crazy 'quick fix' ideas when one is desperate- I remember at times feeling so disgusted with my body that something would snap, I just wanted the fat OFF NOW! So in an attempt to 'jumpstart' the process I would severely restrict calories 'just for a few days' etc you know how it goes. But even just a few days of any low calorie diet was enough to send me headfirst into the fridge not to be seen for another few days. I did 'succeed' a few times at torturing myself for extended periods with low calorie diets and a lot of cardio (something like 12 hours high intensity per week) only to regain the weight plus a bit more for good measure.

I am grateful that I did not waste more of my life on this yo yo rollercoaster. This year, I have had to learn to be patient, consistent and persistent in my efforts to lose the excess weight for the LAST TIME. (I intend to maintain at about 10% over the weight I will compete at). Everyone is different and some people need to 'relax' more during their offseason but I think what will work for me is to stay relatively lean year round so that i don't have to make drastic changes to my lifestyle.

So in order to create a meal plan that I would be happy to stick to indefinately- of course, the meals need to TASTE GOOD :) Keep tweaking your recipes and come up with suitable variations for variety til you love it! 

We were chatting on lindyolsen's forum this week about BREAKFAST my most loved meal of the day. This is what I look forward to every morning after my 30min walk:

Omelette with vegies
(pictured beans, cabbage and onion) I also like broccoli, tomato, mushroom and red capsicums
Seasoned with garlic, black pepper and either parsley or oregano

I slow cook rolled oats in water on stovetop 
at the end, I mix in cinnamon, splenda, lecithin, psyllium husks and sometimes vanilla and LSA

Monday, December 8, 2008

More of the story so far

Things you need to succeed:
#1 Support (see last post)
#2 Advice from someone who knows their stuff....
I have always played one sport or another and stayed fairly active growing up but had never really managed to shed my 'puppy fat'. I was comfortable enough in my own skin but did struggle during various periods when I finished school in attempts to lose weight, only to regain it and a little bit more. I had been going to the gym since 2001 but never really looked as though I did if you know what I mean. I have been training with proper form/heavy weights etc and*consistently* (key) for about two years now but still struggled to bring my eating into line with my enjoyment of training. With a goal to compete, I knew that this needed a massive overhaul. It wasn't until Ali and I enlisted the help of Jon Davie (JD) in June this year that I learnt just how important clean eating is the overall regime (you seriously cannot out train a bad diet) and importantly, I learnt that you DO NOT and should not have to starve yourself or even count calories to lose weight (fat).

JD put together a meal plan for me based on healthful foods that I was already eating and enjoying and timed my intake of certain macronutrients so that I could maximise my metabolism and fat burning potential whilst maintaining muscle mass. With regards to meal plans, I think it is extremely important to seek the advice of someone who you trust and has a proven track record. Since June, I have been able to ignore all conflicting information I receive about nutrition because I know with confidence that if I adhere to my plan I will achieve the desired results- its a confidence that is invaluable.
Since June, as shown in the pictures above, I have lost 31mm of body fat and about 5.5kg on the scales. It is my goal to reduce my bodyfat by about another 8mm before I try to maintain for a while and gain some more lean muscle mass. There will be a big last chance effort required there before beginning comp prep diet in May 2009 because honestly, who wants to diet for 20 weeks to show off a nice set of bones?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

RPM class from hell... j/k

An integral part in any major goal or lifestyle overhaul is that you have SUPPORT. 
First of all, I would like to mention my partner Ali who introduced me to (serious) weight training. Without him, I would probably still be doing BodyPump classes and killing myself with cardio. Together, we are live a very healthy lifestyle and are pursuing competitive physiques in Figure and Bodybuilding. It sure makes this easier when you have a partner that understands WHY you need to stop and find a public bathroom so often and that doesn't crowd the fridge with junk when you are trying to cram in 8kg of broccoli... 

The other major source of support I have found this year is over at Lindy Olsen's forum and other ladies who blog. Honestly, without the advice, support and encouragement of these women I think I would have either given up my pursuit to compete in figure or gotten distracted by something shiny and lost interest along the way.

I had the pleasure this morning of participating in Liz's RPM class, my very first time! I caught up with Shelley, Nicole and Doris and AND got to meet Fern (Miss Tank), Carolyn and Lisa (all in picture above) for the very first time- all fantastic women who worked very hard this morning and lost litres of extra sweat due to a lack of air conditioning! After the class we all got a chance to chat and it was just so nice being amongst people with the same passion for health and fitness as I. Fern was up visiting from Sydney and it was her idea that we all get together- we should definately make the most of every opportunity! I cannot emphasise enough how lucky and grateful I feel to have been accepted into this wonderful group of ladies from Lindy Olsen's forum and 'blogland' who have been supporting me all the way in my journey to become a figure athlete. Love you all! xx

Friday, December 5, 2008

Brave new world of Blogging

Hi, my name is Steph

This blog is going to be dedicated to my passions- food, fitness and the sport of figure. I hope you will follow me on my journey to my very first figure competition next year- I plan to compete at the Australian Natural Bodybuilding (ANB) Qld State Titles in September 2009.

2009 is going to be a huge year. In addition to competing, I am recommencing university studies with the goal to becoming a registered dietician. Currently, I possess a law degree and work in the investigation of child death with the State Government. While I find my work fascinating and fulfilling, I am following my dream to have a job that does not feel like work as I could talk about health and nutrition all day everyday for free, and often I do!

I commenced my weight loss journey earlier this year and have already lost over 11kg and a third of my body fat. I have found great support and friendships through the online forum at and through many of the lovely ladies who also blog. Though vastly separated by distance and varying ages and backgrounds we have come together with the common goal of better health, fitness, wellbeing and for some of us, the love of a challenge (to compete!) I hope to fill you in with more of the story (also through pictures) to date in the next post.

So until then, I will leave you with a thought for the day:

To achieve your goal, commit yourself to a course of action and cut yourself off from all other possibilities. (Tony Robbins)

Steph xx

For incredible info, advice and support- get involved!