Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Beautiful Blogger Awards

April kindly nominated me to carry this post on - can i just emphasis again how much I love this girl's blog and as I'm a bit of a lazy blogger,  I'm flattered to be on her blogroll! :) 

Part 1 of the deal is I get to divulge 7 random facts about me:
1. I'm both fascinated and terrified by croc/alligators. This month I plan to get some alligator tail and cook it using one of my recipes from Jamie Olliver.
2. The only country I've visited thus far is Japan. While I would love to see the rest of the world, my ideal holiday right now is cruising... to nowhere in particular.
3. I am a youngest sibling (one older sister) thus am used to getting pushed around a a bit, but never getting blamed for anything, lol. 
4. I am a crazy cat lady, I have two but would have more if I could. I'd like dogs next (never had one before) and am worried I'll end up with a farm eventually! I want to get a pug and call it McBain. 
5. I love training shoulders and am getting quite strong. But when I first started training, I used ~5kg dumbells for pressings and side laterals etc and could not even do the movement for rear laterals with the smallest baby weights! 
6. I still eat ~ 1-1.5kg vegies a day (spread out over a lot of meals). I know I don't have to but I can't help it.
7. I am a closet popstar. I got singstar for Christmas to add to my collection of karaoke DVDs and CDs. I don't need alcohol to get up and sing either!

This is Cookie - she had four baby boys and we kept one of the gingers and named him Tiger.

Part 2 - I will nominate 7 more beautiful bloggers:
I nominate:

Don't feel as though you have to carry it on, but do know that you're beautiful! :O

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 a year in pictures :)

Wow, another year has come and almost gone. The biggest highlights of 2009 for me were competing in my first figure comp (of course!!) and scoring my permanent position at work - thank goodness that was earlier in the year before prep started!
I turned 24, Ali turned 27, we celebrated our 4th anniversary together and our 2nd anniversary of living in the home we purchased together.
... Now for some pics! 

POSING! below L-R 
First ever progress shot when we first went to see our coach Jon (June 2008 - 101ml @ 62kg)
First posing tutorial with Jo Rogers
10 weeks out, posing is getting easier

below L-R
the fun really began at 6 weeks out, no more cheat meals and a bit of HIIT
published in Oxygen! (pic also taken at 6 weeks out)
Dallas Olsen shoot at 4 weeks out

below L-R
8 weeks out, suit fitting with Jo
Finding out just how high my suit would have to be - thanks hips!
Jo promised it would out work on the day ... if I got into shape!

night before
show day
morning after

I hope you all had a successful and memorable year and I look forward to continuing to read comment and post in blogland in 2010!

Friday, December 18, 2009


Thanks heaps to all who commented on my last post, they really made my day :)

Chelle asked me how many kilos were lost and found throughout the journey – in the ‘before’ pic I was about 66kg. This is a little heavier than I what I used to maintain, we had just come back from a cruise and were heading into Christmas, need I say more?! I competed at about 50kg (dry) and am currently maintaining between 54-55kg. As I’ve mentioned before, even though I’ve gained this weight reasonably slowly over the last 3 months, you get so used to be a certain way that feeling the fat creep on definitely plays with your head! However, I must remember that once upon a time, I never dreamed I’d comfortably maintain this weight! I starved and cardio’d my way down to 57kg once before when I was about 19 before promptly rebounding! I have to make a huge effort to stay positive and continually remind myself that I am slim and healthy.

A couple of you mentioned how much healthier we look in the ‘after’ shot, which I think is much more apparent from that choice of photo from the comp. I chose it because it is one of the few Ali and I have together AND it is offstage and after the night show, not as glamorous as those taken onstage so you can see how we really look. Ali had won his division so competed for the overall and ended up being dyhydrated for a lot longer than me.

So is competing unhealthy? You could definately argue the point either way.

Even if I decide never to compete again, I would never discourage others from doing so because it was the most challenging, character building time of my life to date and I owe a lot to my personal journey. I love the lifestyle of eating clean foods and training hard. I enjoy seeing the changes I can make to my physique and getting super lean is a fool proof way of seeing just how much (or how little!) muscle you actually have. I’m aware that different coaches have different methods and that some are far more effective and healthier than others. But I would venture to say that pushing through to that level of conditioning, especially for women is not the most healthy thing in the world and doesn’t come without its risks. No one should pretend otherwise. If it were just a matter of time and discipline, why wouldn't some people look stage ready all year?Why do there seem to be so many figure athletes plagued by hormone imbalances and adrenal fatigue?

I justified competing by the fact that the extreme conditioning is merely temporary. However, pushing yourself to such a place can certainly have effects that take longer to rebalance. I would definately advise other competitors to brace themselves for post comp and have a strategy in place for easing into an 'off season'. The body strives to maintain the status quo and doesn't seem to like sharp changes in routine! I think the term is homeostasis - A good example is 'peak week' when competitors water/sodium load then cut it out and deplete then carb up.

I like to see people educate themselves and make informed choices. Decide what your values, priorities and goals are and live accordingly. Decide what you are willing to commit to and whether you can manage any potential risks. Stop talking and act. In other words, whatever you are – be a good one!

ps you might be wondering about my picture... it cracked me up! reminds me not to take life so seriously :P

Monday, December 14, 2009

2 years well spent

Don't you love a good before and after comparison? There is exactly two years between the first photo and the most recent one on the right, which was taken on the weekend. The one in the middle was obviously my show day which was 26 September 09.
The trouble is, how do you know when 'before' is and when have you reached 'after'? I've been waiting til long enough post comp to post these comparisons because competition condition does NOT = after photo! For me, my 'after' photo is all about my new lifestyle and positive relationship with food. Its about finding balance and peace with my weight and body image.
I wish more girls would genuinely embrace the fact that comp condition is not desirable year round. Everyone seems to agree that it is only a temporary state so why pine for it after the show is over? Aren't you just making yourself miserable unnecessarily? For example, a lot of girls seem to pine for their lost abdominals after comp. Don't you remember what you were doing to have them if you were lucky to see them at all? I only saw mine at sub 35ml bodyfat and dehydrated!
Gaining weight after the show is an unpleasant but necessary phase, it has been an interesting new challenge trying to work out my new maintenance level given that I have never successfully maintained a weight that I'm happy with before. I currently weigh myself once per week and would love for one day to do away with the scales completely. Despite how far I have come, I am silently terrified of regaining all the weight I've lost.

Complaining about our bodies is something we girls do very well and it is contagious. It almost feels wrong to be satisfied with yourself just the way you currently are. I do seek continuous improvement and will always have goals but also need to strike a balance between this and being proud of myself the way i am. The offseason is not an excuse to get fat and complacent but please, be kind to yourself and love your offseason body just as much. I know its easier said than done and I loved being rock hard too. When negative self image thoughts come to me I just tell myself- at least the boobs are back :)

Friday, December 11, 2009


I always want to post on my blog but never know what to talk about. I learnt something about cellulite from good old foxtel the other day so I thought I’d share that. Do you know what cellulite actually is and why most women have it and most men don’t?

Its not a special kind of fat that you have to buy expensive creams for, its just normal body fat that gets a dimply appearance when it pushes against the connective tissue in our skin.

Because women’s bodies are designed to be able to be able to transform shape to carry babies, our connective tissue is a lot less dense than men’s, meaning there are far more ‘gaps’ in it. A typical healthy woman’s body fat percentage is also higher than a man’s. Basically when there’s enough fat under the skin pushing against this connective tissue, it will ‘spill through’ the gaps causing the outside to be bumpy rather than smooth. We all know that even very small women who appear slim in clothes can have high percentages of body fat, so they are not immune to cellulite. Don’t hate me, but I seem to be one of the lucky ones who doesn’t tend to get it (unless I squeeze my fat to make it appear… haha) BUT I am prone to stretch marks if I lose/gain weight rapidly so I guess that supports the theory about stronger connective tissue being less flexible.

The internet is and isn’t a good place to find out about things health wise. Using cellulite as an example, try to find out anything factual, all you get is sales pitches for remedies from creams to pills to vibrating treatments. Just like anything I guess, playing on body image issues and overcomplicating stuff sells products and makes money. Once more the simple answer we don’t want to hear is that all eat well and exercise. With good circulation, healthy skin and body fat levels you might still have some cellulite but only then can you start blaming mum for your genes!

Friday, December 4, 2009


We've been sooo slack and still haven't put up any photos from comp around the house so I hadn't looked over them in a while. Bit of a shock when you haven't seen them for a while! Especially now that I'm used to my rounder face again, hehe! I know that my conditioning was as good as it could have been but damn- can I have some more muscle for Christmas please?

These are the pics I like:

However, some of the other shots are a little scary! Particularly my posing and symmetry shots from the side- my waist looked nice and small but I think I look very fragile and wouldn't have wanted a strong wind to blow! Ah such is the life of a natural female competitor.

One of the most important things I learnt from the stage experience was DO NOT RELAX for one second! Several people will get photos of you doing so and obviously the difference is quite incredible! I didn't find myself getting too sore onstage thankfully but I remember telling myself before going out- you have worked for this for 18 months, 5 more minutes won't kill you! Its definately a shame when you see posing or a lack of confidence let a competitor down. The pose I would be working on a lot for next time is my chest pose.  Having quite long arms, I tried to tweak it by adjusting the position of my hands but I obviously didn't spend enough time practicing it without a mirror ended up looking a little bizarre, lol!

So its now been 10 weeks since comp and hopefully the muscle building has been going well! We took one week off training after comp and have been training consistently four times per week since. Will take another week off over the Christmas/New Year break since the gym will be closed a few of those days anyway. I'll definately be keeping up with my walking though cos I'm sure there'll be some trifle and other goodies in there! Sounds a bit of a random food choice doesn't it? I just remembered that's what I went nuts on last year, probably because its not something you see often...

Less than 3 weeks to go now! Here's to enjoying an indulgent meal or two with family but not having to start 2010 with "lose weight" as a resolution xx

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

How popular are you?

Time for a non figure/food related post! I've been thinking a lot lately about the 'sort of person' i aspire to be. During comp prep it was necessary to focus on myself and my own needs. In fact, this was a beneficial lesson for me in asserting myself. However, I found I lost touch with what was going on in other people’s lives and I still feel like I have a lot of catching up to do so I've been doing a lot more listening and asking questions than talking these days. It feels good. What is also beneficial is giving my mind a break from all things fitness and finding out more about what other people are interested in.

Think about a really ‘popular’ person you know. I mean popular in the genuine sense, not the high school bitch routine. Someone who everyone likes to be around.

How do you feel when you talk to them? Listened to? Good about yourself?

Here are some traits or skills that I think popular people have in common:
Active listening skills. Genuine interest in people and what they have to say. They also seem to remember things people tell them.
They don’t seem to worry about what other people think of them… they don’t really have to! There is less fear of offending anyone, overreacting to things... less drama!
They react when you tell them things rather than just wait until they can talk again. You feel comfortable sharing information because they're non judgmental and don't tend to gossip.

I guess true popularity has nothing whatsoever to do with how people look, their job, how much they earn, how nice their house is etc.

Unfortunately I think these people are few and far between these days. How good are you at giving someone your full attention (not interrupting etc) especially if they are talking about something you have absolutely zero interest in?

My friend at work is a volunteer for the Lifeline call centre and told me that many people call who are simply lonely and need someone to listen. Notice I said ‘listen’ not ‘talk to’. Part of the training to do this role is that the volunteer is not allowed to give any advice. Think about how difficult that would be at first! It is with the best intentions usually that we jump in with our advice and opinions on other people’s situations when all they really need is an ear.

I'm not saying that I am going to try to be all things to all people or please everyone all of the time because that's simply not possible or healthy! I just think if you’d like to be more popular, it helps to start paying attention to other people and stop trying to impress them. I’ve realized that the only person I need to impress is myself.

Friday, November 27, 2009

No sharing allowed

Its official, we don't like to share (food). I think this is very close to the 'clean plate' rule in that we like to know what we're eating, how much and we're going to enjoy every last bite.

Despite obvious evidence to the contrary, I think we are hardwired to believe that food is scarce so often we fear not getting enough to eat, we fear hunger and we fear missing out! If I get anxious about this sort of stuff or I get the urge to continue eating after finishing a meal, I'll often remind myself that I can always get more food if I want it however, my next meal is never far away!

Growing up at my house, I remember that whenever one person had something they HAD to offer it around to everyone else first before they ate it. So if you could had a chocolate bar (which wasn't often), you'd reluctantly offer it around to everyone "for a bite" and hope that you get at least 50% back. I only have one sibling so often it was also the case that we'd only get one item and have to cut it in half. Seems fair doesn't it? But if you think back it never was, especially if you were the younger sibling! Its so funny to think about what a big deal this was as a kid!

I totally get that parents need to teach their children how to share but you don't really get that warm fuzzy feel good feeling after sharing when you are forced to! I've heard of some families that buy their kids one each of everything from computers to the same exact toy that they'll be bored with in one week anyway, to avoid the fights over having to share. Incidentally, I heard the other day that the 'cost of raising a child' has been reestimated as one million dollars (!!) and that this is largely to do with all the new technology available - craziness!

So I guess the 50/50 rule works sometimes but not so well in other circumstances. I definately think that food is one that should be an exception to the 'must share' rule sometimes....
Ps how cool is my picture today?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Are you going to finish that?

I've been thinking about little habits/behaviours we develop in relation to food. I'm one of those people whose parents made them eat everything on their plate as a child, ah we can blame childhood for so much can't we? Yes the whole nine yards, "you'll sit there until you eat that" mexican standoff that is so much fun for all involved. I even still associate the music of the 6pm news with dinner time - seriously, I'd hear that music and dread the battle of wills that would come!

Now, as an adult I rarely leave anything on my plate. I'm not very good at listening to 'hunger cues' to know when I'm satisfied, I just keep going until its all gone! I think 'dieting' both helps and hinders the situation. When I follow a meal plan I know exactly what portions I should be having, hence I'm not only entitled to eat the whole thing - I probably should or else I'd be undereating. I suppose now I manage the situation by continuing to 'volumise' my meals with fibrous vegetables. I put on my plate what I intend to eat and don't go back for more. You can see how this works at home but not so well at buffets...

I don't like to share either (lol). When I go out to dinner with my friends they often only want to order a couple of meals (less than one each) and just share them and I just don't understand that! Unless its tapas or that kind of menu.. I suppose if you're really not that hungry it might be a good way to save money and not waste food? I like to know that what is on the plate is mine and I can take my time eating it... maybe I'm afraid of not getting enough or missing out? I'm pretty sure this stems from childhood as well... Do any of you find yourselves eating too quickly for this reason?

I'm sure everyone has their own little habits with eating. What are yours?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Working with food rather than against it

For my own benefit really, I want to recap some ideas because I tend to write as I think and therefore am not as concise as I would like to be!

(I know how to diet when i need to)

1. I love food- who doesn't? I love fresh healthy unprocessed foods and the way they make me feel. I also love the taste of a lot of processed, high fat/high sugar foods. I love to cook, watch cooking shows, read and talk about food. I am a foodie!
2. I am also an athlete who loves to train.
3. My food choices are consistent with my current goals, therefore:
a) I make wise choices about how much and how often I eat high sugar/high fat foods.
b) If I want to lose fat or am preparing for a comp, I am comfortable with ‘being on a diet’ for that purpose and only eat what is on my plan. Not to fear, the plan is usually pretty flexible and generous to begin with anyway! Key points re dieting = never hungry, never deprived.
4. I am liking the approach of balancing my intake between “functional fuel and purely for taste”. Patent pending! I aim high for functional eating – 80-90%?
5. I probably wouldn’t touch the term ‘intuitive eating’ because my intuition might lure me into a sugar coma. My 90% goal would suffer.
6. Not only that but my portion sizes would be immense! Too much fuel can make you fat too you know :S
7. Learning to cook and making “functional fuel” (aka healthy food) taste great is worth it, given I'm eating it most of the time.
8. Lovely fresh ingredients don’t need that much help anyway- hello garlic! During prep I didn’t eat one thing I didn’t enjoy the taste of.

I also want to convey that although my posts tend to come across as advice (lectures?) I’m really just reflecting on my own thoughts/what is or isn’t working for me etc. I like to think that there’s people reading who might be able to relate or benefit from some of my ideas.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Intentional Chocolate

Chocolate doesn’t really even rate highly on my list of foods I crave but I love today’s title, borrowed from Yes, my current strategy involves intentionally eating all of the things I love, balanced by portion control and keeping up my training. Basically I like to see what I can get away with food-wise, lol! Keeps that metabolism cranking! is one of the few ‘foodies’ blogs I like to read (I’d read more if I were allowed to surf the net all day). We share a love of thinking of all the yummy things we love and trying to eat them all at the same time…. For example I’ve gotten a lot of fabulously naughty ideas to make a bowl of oats for breakfast more like dessert… Kath is a runner so I guess can afford to ‘carb up’ a lot more than me (so lazy!) so my compromise is to choose one or two things to add to my oats each day to make life just that little bit sweeter. This morning I had 50g mango through my oats.. yum!

I think the ultimate goal for emotional eaters is to feel in control of your eating habits and enjoy food.

What about if you want to or like being all ‘hardcore’ and are genuinely happy to only ever eat food as fuel? Wow well if that’s true then good for you and I’m a little jealous of your six-pack right now! Although just quietly I am wondering what planet you are from and whether you have ever tasted hot chips with garlic aioli or baked cheesecake… haha. (Talk about “sometimes foods”!)

In the past I have wanted to achieve this and used to think that to truly consider myself an athlete, I had to be disciplined enough to eat ‘functionally’ 24/7. To be honest, I used to think that anyone who preached using a balanced approach was ‘soft’ and just wanting to justify eating crap….! At the end of the day you can tell a lot more about a person by what they DO not what they SAY.

For most of us, there’s a little struggle going on in your mind where some days you just want to be able to eat whatever you want but on other more motivated days, you’re willing to do whatever it takes to be lean as…. I’m about 80% fuel and 20% taste right now and am using a bit of common sense in planning my meals to balance these conflicting extremes and keep all the voices in my head happy …(!)

Using my list of foods from yesterday, I have a good idea of how often I should be eating each item and what is a reasonable portion for me – this is something we all have to consider for ourselves based on your foods, activity level and current goals (usually losing/maintaining fat and gaining lean muscle mass). It also depends on how disciplined you’re willing to be. There’s no point saying you want to have abs year-around but also want to eat chocolate everyday. Basically, you need to align your eating/exercise habits with your goal and keep it realistic. Break out of the cycle of setting unachievable goals and feeling like a failure because you can’t keep up with what it takes to get there.

As for these foods triggering overeating, I guess that’s a risk you have to manage by not eating when you’re upset and staying focused. But if you know you can have x food again tomorrow or later in the week then that makes it a lot easier to stop. I’ve been on some mad binges in my time. If I’m feeling that behavior coming on, I ask myself “you have to stop eating at some point – do you want to feel good about it or … gross?”

Its worth thinking about …. Personally, if I tell myself I can’t have a particular food for longer than say, a week - then I consider myself to be on a diet. I don’t want to be on a diet 365 days a year, do you? It’ll make comp dieting easier, I promise!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Too much of a good thing?

Hannie’s done a great post on what she’s been craving lately and possibly considers to be her ‘trigger’ foods. No its not oily greasy chips and KFC, its things like – bananas, peanut butter, natural yoghurt! I think a lot of us could relate to it, with the exception of the ricecakes (bleghh!) I could have written a very similar list. Just for fun, here is mine in no particular order:

Bananas, peanut butter, natural yoghurt, dried fruit such as dates and apricots, heavy grain/seed bread, plain oats, granola, fruit scones, banana bread, cheese, sushi, dark chocolate with nuts.

We all LOVE food. We understand that there are a lot of clean foods that taste great AND make us feel good. In the right quantities, many of the above things that I crave can form part of any healthy meal plan … But that’s the issue – can you stop at ‘the right quantity’ or ‘in moderation’? It always comes back to good old portion control!

When it comes to clean foods emotional eating may not play as great a part in controlling portion sizes (unless perhaps if you’ve placed yourself on a restrictive diet). However, because most of the items are (sweet) fast acting sources of carbohydrate we also have the body’s physiological responses to contend with. We get an insulin rush then drop AND a nice release of happy chemicals from the brain and can end up overeating. Cheese is slightly different but apparently releases a similar chemical in the brain found to be released in the brains of heavy drug users… addictive much? Unfortunately it is possible to have too much a good thing.

So what is the solution for you? To eliminate these foods? Completely or just for a while?
Don’t eliminate them but keep them out of the house? Or … purposely incorporate them into your meal plan?

I’ll let you know what my current strategy is and how its going so far in part 2


Thursday, November 12, 2009

I'm on the seafood diet

I ‘see food’ and eat it, lol- I never get tired of that joke. But seriously, I was really excited about my lunch today….

On the weekend I went down to Southport on the gold coast to visit my mum. Having not seen her in about three years I didn’t know what to expect but this post is going to focus on what I think was the highlight of the trip – we had an amazing seafood lunch at Georges Restaurant, next to Australia Fair shopping centre.

As you know when it comes to seafood only the best (freshest) will do – luckily George’s menu is half price at lunch time J We all chose a mixed appetiser that had 2 oysters, 2 king prawns, a bug and smoked salmon with capers on salad with avocado, seafood sauce, fresh lemon wedges and fruit garnish. Plenty of food leaving us feeling satisfied and fantastic rather than full and sluggish!
So for today’s lunch I treated myself by replicating part of the meal - smoked salmon on salad with avocado, capers and fresh lemon juice. I tried making my own figure friendly seafood sauce too by mixing together equal parts of low fat mayonnaise with low sugar tomato sauce.. clever aren’t I? hehe.

I am loving my food at the moment and the increased energy I have for training. After going through a little bit of a struggle patch recently I worked out that if I could make small increases of healthy things that I love on a daily basis eg oats, fruit, natural yoghurt etc I can shake this ‘on a diet’ feeling once and for all. This has been working really well and I’m not getting cravings for junk or the urge to binge. Keep asking yourself – how will food X make me feel compared to food Y? For example, I have been raving about that seafood at Georges all week and before I ordered it I was tempted by the lasagne on the menu (you know its my favourite!) The main reason I went with the seafood was that I knew it would be very high quality but by the end of the meal I felt so good that I knew I had learned a valuable lesson. I wish I was on the seafood diet, I would love to eat this stuff every day, wouldn't you!!? .... imagine it, living on a beautiful island - before long you'd be saying McWhat?!

I weigh myself once per week and this morning was sitting just over two kilos heavier than I was the week leading up to the show. 2kg of FAT mind you = looking and feeling a lot softer. I have been keeping training intense with the goal of gaining at least 2kg lean muscle mass by the time I’m ready to compete again (2kg heavier onstage). I’m estimating that if I keep working hard, this will take me about 2- 3 years. If anyone tells you that as a natural female you can gain muscle faster than this, I’m sorry but they’re having you on!

I’m also absolutely amazed at how much fluid I seem to hold. I look positively FLAT in the mornings before I’ve had a drink (and of course that’s when I weigh myself!) Ali told me that when we were dieting toward the end there I looked like I was dying first thing in the morning, haha! The positive side of that was that dehydrating for comp worked really well for me, our coach couldn’t believe the difference!

I’m getting more and more used to my new ‘offseason’ look and although I miss looking and feeling ‘hard’ I certainly cannot complain. I have been meaning to take a photo to post – can someone harass me if I don’t do this over the weekend please?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Get out of my way!!!

Trying to get out of my own way really- yes, I'm talking to myself in the title! Thanks Jehanne for giving me a lil push to blog :)

I have been very up and down in terms of mood, which I'm really over! I'm sure its the hormone issues at play - wish I could just feel ... calm and on the level but I'm usually either pumped and full of positive energy or down in the grumpy dumps!

I still find it difficult to relax too, but am getting better. I've discussed 'anxiety' with a few people lately and its shockingly common these days, many people seem to struggle with it to some degree. You know that overwhelmed feeling? hate it. Sometimes your own head can be a scary place to be. Got it every now and then during comp prep which was to be expected I guess but its still popping up now. A good measure for me is whether or not my food prep and housework is getting done without me going totally nuts about it, lol!

So the goal of de-stressing continues! Especially not to stress or worry about things that are out of our control. During prep I worried far too much about what others thought about me and how what I was doing affected other people. There was nothing I could do about that and really, what others think of you is none of your business (unless they want to let you know). The advice I would give to others is:

Do NOT be apologetic or let anyone make you feel guilty for your decision to compete or live a healthier lifestyle. Be open, honest and polite about it but assert your right to choose what you put in your mouth and how you spend your time.

One qualification to that is please don't complain though either! You can't say your decision to compete is not affecting anyone else if you pick on them for their 'normal' eating habits/won't let them eat in front of you etc etc.

I was pretty happy with my focus during comp prep though while the daily monotony of routine and crazy business stressed me out at times I never worried about whether or not I'd actually get there. I never saw cheating or bailing as options. I know some people feel safer with an exit strategy but I think it just makes the daily motivation more difficult. It also makes it dangerous for excuses to emerge post comp about why you weren't in the best condition possible.

Do the work and everything else will take care of itself.

So although I'm not competing again in the near future, I feel I have learnt a lot that I could put to use next time and have identified lots of things to work on in the meantime.

Came across a great quote from Ronnie Coleman about competing that I thought I'd share, it was in a 2002 Flex mag i was reading on our treadmill this morning so at this point he had won Mr Olympia 4 times:

"Work hard, improve, stay calm and keep quiet. There's no reason to go around complaining and worrying about where you place. You've got to train as hard as you can and leave all that other stuff up to a higher power. Put in the work and everything will come out alright.

Look at me. I'm the best example of that!"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

time to slow down

I don’t know why but I’m just in the mood for some funny pictures today- tributes to the two best clean eating foods in my opinion! ;) The baby one is cute but grosses me out a little! haha, stole it from this awesome competitor's blog. I found the oatmeal one at this great foodie's blog. These are the only two blogs written by gals from the States that I regularly read- Ali and I love all things American, I highly recommend both!
I haven’t blogged in ages and everytime I get a good idea for a post I can’t get onto blogger dammit. Ah well so its just a random hello and ramble from me today J

Have just ticked over the four weeks post comp mark and have hit that point I’ve been waiting for where I (really) don’t want to get any softer :S Ali and I got our callipers in the mail and took our skin folds over 9 sites on Saturday and I was sitting at 53mm which I was pretty happy with. I said I would like to ideally maintain in the 50-60 range. Even though I’m feeling quite soft and missing the super lean “only near comp look” I remember when I got down in this range during prep and I started to really like how I was looking in clothes etc … for the first time in my life! The other night when we went to bed I was lying on my side and I said to Ali, wow I feel so much more comfortable in bed than I have in ages…. Yay for seeing all the upsides of extra padding- Lol!

Still doing a realistic amount of cardio most mornings which I really enjoy now (…now that is optional?) I either get out for some fresh air or make good use of our treadmill + plasma + foxtel J I’ve become the hugest fan of cooking shows and watch lifestyle food a fair bit. I used to worry that I was ‘obsessed’ with food but I now think, if its something positive in your life that brings you joy, then who cares? Better than the love/hate relationship with food that I used to have!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

So many questions but the same answers

Photo courtesy of Dallas Olsen
If we know diets don’t work, why do we keep doing them?

Because we (particularly us girls) are very emotional creatures and I am yet to meet someone who doesn’t have some kind of emotional attachment to food/eating. That is, whether positive or negative emotions no one (in developed countries where food is freely available) eats purely for fuel/survival 100% of the time.

We’re also really, really impatient :P I remembering feeling overweight and uncomfortable and getting to the point where I would think “I just want this weight off NOW” which led to, thoughts such as ‘well what can I do to jumpstart this weight loss?’…. ‘I know, I won’t eat much this week and do heaps of cardio!” Does this sound familiar?

It seems that these days whenever someone (having noticed my weight loss) engages me in conversation about what I'm eating or asks me for some advice, I’m bound to hear similar things:

Firstly, the question – “what exactly do you eat in a day”? (Or, they might say “tell me what to eat”).

PLEASE use some common sense. You know that you should eat more vegetables drink more water and eat crap less often - if you concentrated only on these you would probably do quite well! Don’t pretend that this is news to you or rocket science.

Sometimes I make the mistake of going into too much detail about my own eating habits eg, even as far as I eat six small meals a day, protein at each meal. Which leads me to my second pet peeve comment – “Oh I could never be that disciplined and/or I love food too much/ I go out too much” etc.

Somehow the notions of discipline, consistency, gradual weight loss and self-control don’t seem as attractive as saying that “I drank three chocolate milkshakes a day and the weight fell off in two weeks”. I could get very sarcastic here about how much I hate tasty food and love bland fish and broccoli but there’s really no need! As for discipline, its not like you either are or you aren’t- its a case of whether you are willing to keep at it. Do you want this badly enough? If so you will find a way, even if you do go out a lot. Its not any easier for me than it is for you. Right now I would really like to dive into a jar of peanut butter or walk outside my building and into any one of the dozens of fast food outlets that are within 50m… but I choose not to, LOL. Most people aren’t wiling to do what it takes to stay in good shape and that is fine, just don’t deny it!

Lastly, there always seems to be a deadline, 10-12 weeks at most to get in the best shape of your life. I know that it can be very motivating to be working toward a specific event and its conducive to setting goals to have timeframes, be accountable etc but how is that for pressure?! And the fact that it seems to imply that you only have to eat well up until this point.. what then? Temporary changes = temporary results!

Yes, you need to have a rough plan of what you’ll eat in a typical day, be prepared and keep an eye on the amount of dining out/extras that creep in. But you don’t need to count calories and get all obsessive about everything. This just leads to a sense of failure as soon as you don’t comply with your own rules.

So when people wanting to lose weight yesterday are very interested in my calorie input, macronutrient split or how much cardio I do, I would rather advise them:

Don’t start any more diets or 12 week challenges

Don’t ask someone else what they eat and try to copy it - trying to change too many things at once doesn’t work.

Create a logical plan that reforms eating behaviours sensibly and progressively over time. Start with breakfast!

Get support/help with planning meals, staying accountable- whatever you require.

Be as positive as you can and accept that you are in this for the long haul!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Embracing the pale soft skin

and trying not to hate it!! haha. let's face it, its difficult to go from seeing your dark, rock hard physique on comp day and knowing how hard it was to get, to watching it slowly fade... at least it has been slow otherwise I can't imagine how I would feel! I feel like going to get a spray tan to wake up and see it really aint all that bad haha. I've been trying my best to put the brakes on gaining this weight which I know is necessary to get back up to a healthy offseason size. I've fallen down a few times now but refuse to feel guilty because I'm not on a diet and guilt/beating yourself up just starts that 'all or nothing' cycle of binging that I refuse to return to.

As you can see, Ali and I received our professional pics from genius photographer Dallas Olsen- this is my favourite one :) They were taken 4 weeks out from comp so while I probably wouldn't be able to maintain this condition, getting these really boosted my motivation to lead a healthy 'offseason' lifestyle and stay relatively lean because of it. Will share more next time.

I am enjoying clean healthy foods that were eliminated from comp prep diet! Hell, yesterday I had sushi for morning tea and tandoori chicken for dinner! yummo! I love it that I actually prefer the healthiest choices from any takeaway place. It's the portion size that I have to watch! lol. I can use Ali as a guide there and depending what it is, I'll have 1/3 to 2/3 what he eats- how unfair is that! Eg with sushi rolls, he had 5, I had 3. We got a whole tandoori bird, I had 1/3 he had 2/3. I only had half a portion of rice and bulked up the rest of the meal with vegies :)
A friend asked me yesterday how many carbs I have in my post workout meal... I don't know! I could jump on calorieking program we bought recently to find out but I've let go of analysing numbers to that degree. Thanks to the program I know roughly what calories I want to average to maintain a certain weight and make sure the macro split is appropriate but other than that I know what is a reasonable portion of a certain food for me now.

Training is going very well! I usually train on my own but recently found a new training partner who happens to be a glamour model and is competing in the miss indy comp from this weekend! (it changed names but i can't remember the new one, Supa GP something or other??) Now I have absolutely no idea about these kind of comps but she was showing me the 10 day schedule and let me tell you these girls work hard! every single day there are appearances, photoshoots etc from 6am-8pm or later at night. There is probably a lot of divas but most girls work very hard and are quite career focussed- I think they should be paid!! While I would not compete myself I learnt a good lesson in not judging something you really don't know a lot about. 

Hope you're having a great sunday and enjoying life! x

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Since comp!

Hehe the first pic here makes me laugh, it was taken the day after the comp and yes Im eating broccoli! Ali and I came home that night and spent about an hour in the shower scrubbing ourselves and eachother so I was left with a decent tan for a little while compared to my natural white-ness!

After the show we went out in search of a meal with both sides of our family; I had planned on getting a Big Chief burger but it was 8:30pm and they had just closed... no matter, (I would have thought I'd freak out!) we all ended up getting a katsu curry (Japanese chicken curry) from the place next door. The flavour was intense! Even the cokezero we shared with it tasted so STRONG having not had that for a while.

The next day I thought I would have liked to go out for brekkie, my favourite meal of the day, but I felt like oats! Ah, there's just nothing better is there? no wonder we all love them! Had some family members back over for lunch which I was saving my appetite for- we wanted a no fuss banquet so enjoyed hot bbq chickens on crusty breadrolls with heaps of salads and I was in my element as 'condiment queen' blissfully using tomato sauce/dressings as I pleased! haha, simple pleasures. I made dessert- chocolate pizzas with a scoop of icecream on top! I filled up suprisingly fast! 

Ate clean during the week and then last weekend enjoyed another meal out when I went with my sister to Draculas to celebrate her bday. It was SO nice to be able to go down to surfers paradise and stay the night! I still took quite a few meals with me and still got up and went for a walk the next morning but just to know that its OK if you go for longer than a few hours without eating, or if I didn't end up eating all that I had brought the world wouldn't end!! you know? pressure is off! I am eating well and training now because I love it and it makes me feel good!!!  Have cut weight training back to a 4 day split and cut cardio in half which feels like a breeze now!! Overall, dieting for comp has really made us appreciate so many simple pleasures such as sleeping in, free time etc etc far more.

I've had some really difficult days too (re food)- sometimes it is very tempting to just go nuts. I get this especially after having a bit of a treat, I get that old 'all or nothing' thinking trying to reemerge and turn a treat into a binge. A couple of times I have gone a little overboard but how I am handling this now is so different than I would have in the past. I refuse to feel so guilty and 'punish' myself by restricting my food for the rest of the day or the next day for example, or try to exercise it away. Nope, I just jump straight back on track with the next meal and eat a truckload of vegies!

The second pic of me above was taken at about 6 weeks out from comp and is my profile pic in an article of the current issue of Oxygen! If you have the magazine, check out the training article on building a great butt- I don't think I have ever gotten training ideas from a mag before but I decided to try something new and so far have done the squat and lunge routines with the varied foot placements/stances AND I have done the 'hills' (incline) treadmill workout.... ouch!! 

Beautiful Deb competed today in the WNBF- I am still hanging out for news!! better go and check facebook.. :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Introducing Michelle

I’d like you to meet my friend Michelle who has just begun a new blog in relation to her fitness goals, please click on this paragraph to head over and make her feel welcome to blogland! J

Even though we go to the same gym here in Brisbane, I only met Michelle a couple of months ago, when she was about 6 weeks out from the INBA state show and I about 8 weeks out from the ANB state show. How glad am I that I happened to comment on her jacket and introduce myself in the locker room, we immediately became friends and were able to support eachother through furious text messages of encouragement the rest of the way to our respective shows J

Best of luck to you in your journey and I hope you find as much support and friendship through blogging as I have been blessed to receive. My best advice is to be kind to yourself, always find a way rather than an excuse and of course to never give up on your dreams!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

"Offseason" Goals

I like having goals, whether they are short, medium or long term- I like knowing where I want to go in certain areas of my life and not feel like I'm just spinning my wheels. I don't put a lot of pressure on myself, I go at my own pace etc but when I achieve something I have been working toward for a awhile- it feels amazing! I like to live with purpose, to feel like my contributions to work, training, eating well etc each day are all adding up to better health, lifestyle and a happier me! No need to question yourself, no need to overthink or overanalyse. 

People have been asking us when we intend to compete again and of course whether we will be at the ANB Nationals comp in Sydney, having both qualified. I'm happy to say that even though we decided against competing in a way due to financial reasons, we are both satisfied with our achievement to date and don't feel as though we are missing out on anything. 

Rather, we are excited about training again and of course, growing bigger and denser muscles!! To me, I would be disappointed to compete regularly only to present a similar physique. I am also happy to say that Im at a point with my eating habits that I know longer fear 'blowing out' and the need to continually be dieting. Do not get me wrong it has not been easy but so far I have been rather sensible with my eats post comp and am on my way to slowly gaining about 4-5kg to maintain over the weight I competed at. Coach told me that if I continue to eat 'functionally' that this would occur in a controlled manner. Have felt (brain trying to justify) that perhaps Im being a little strict on myself at times however,  as the comp tan faded away along with my conditioning and I become 'softer', pacing myself with meals out and treats has made coping so much easier than throwing all my good habits in and feeling disgusting- not worth it! So thats it, I might have a list in my brain of things im dying to try, places I want to visit I just have to be patient and spread them out, with heaps of clean eats and hard training imbetween. Ahh, have finally learned balance :)

I am in no hurry and am focussed in on areas on my physique that I know I would like to improve. Looking back over my pics, I was quite happy with my back and shoulders. In addition to a general goal of greater overall thickness and muscle size I would particularly like to prioritise my glutes and abs. Abs in particular were my weakest pose- I did my best to hide this by favouring my obliques pose (see pic). Having more lean muscle next time I compete will also allow me to come in with lower skinfold measurements (without looking like I may break!)

I don't think Loretta would mind me using her as a little motivating comparison for myself through the pics above, she inspired me! I know she has quite a few more years of training up her sleeve so I am patient, dedicated to training for the long term and excited about the improvements the future holds for me!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Show Day - Finals

Now where did I leave us? Oh yes, the wait for the finals (routine + awards presentation) due to the 2 show format! Of course Ali and I were both wondering how we went but the hardest part about the big break between shows was continuing to hold out on water! Not so much the food, although the chips with gravy at the RSL did smell pretty good! We took the opportunity to relax with family and catchup with Ali’s friends who had kindly come to the show to support him.

I am not all that competitive by nature and certainly never went into this journey with any expectations (other than to be my best) but the callouts in the pre-judging had put the hope in my mind of a placing.... top 5 would qualify for Nationals but I was daring to dream of top 3. I knew how important it is with a two show format not to let your conditioning go imbetween shows and not to allow anything that has already occurred to affect your efforts for your second round onstage as the judges may not have cemented their decisions. I also think it’s a little unprofessional to guts it imbetween shows and turn up with a bloated belly onstage- I didn’t even think of this but apparently it happens?

So it was at this point I started to get a little nervous about my routine…! Especially after forgetting to move my hair in pre-judging I knew it should be up for the routine. I didn’t have a nice hair clip to use unfortunately but made do with a side ponytail! I didn’t mind it with the fringe so left it like this for the awards/posedown just for a change. Jon’s other figure novice competitor Loretta (dark hair, burgendy suit) and I took turns practicing our routines in the limited space we had backstage. We pumped up together and were instructed what to eat and when to try to bring out pump and vascularity. Loretta was so generous, she kindly shared her resistance bands (mine were too strong!) and supplies including Lindt chocolate with me!

Waiting backstage with the other girls to do the routines was a fun atmosphere. I went on third, just after Kristin whom I watched from stage right wing and (not so silently) cheered on! Seeing her having so much fun out there to an uptempo song helped calm my nerves and replace them with excitement for my turn. I had chosen Lady Gaga- Paparazzi for the 60 second posing solo and was very concerned about missing the fast moves at the beginning! I did make a couple of mistakes but improvised a little, covered them well and had heaps of fun! Robert Powell even said at the end of my routine that I had great presentation, wow! So after months of angst about it I’m glad the ANB requires routines and that I got to do a one afterall.

After going backstage, putting the stripper heels on again and the rest of the routines ran through we all filed back out onstage in a long line up once more. The announcement was that if you’re number was called, to please move toward the back of the stage…. Mine was called first…(family told me they were nervously wondering at the time whether or not this was a good sign!?) followed by four other numbers. We were the top 5 competitors in the class, I acknowledged and congratulated all the other girls as they left the stage. 5th place was announced … followed by 4th and these girls were presented with their trophies. All that was going through my head was my number #48 and knowing that the longer I didn’t hear it, the better- haha! So When it was announced that I had won third place, for one split second I thought ‘damn’, but then it caught up with me and I realised wait, I came THIRD in this impressive lineup? Awesome!!

Second placegetter (blonde hair, blue suit) had the most amazing set of legs and shoulders- I watched her win her novice tall class at the INBA comp the week previous to ours. Which made Loretta the winner- I couldn’t have been happier for her- in the few short days we had known eachother we had really come through a lot! She looked even harder and more vascular when she got onstage for the overalls and took that out too, Amazing achievement!

When Ali’s class came back onstage I honestly had no doubt in my mind that he would be the winner. I had to be careful so many times during our prep not to put too much pressure on him by always saying that he was bound to do well as a novice with his years of hard training, commitment and potential. He had been thinking of competing for the last couple of years and Im so happy that we experienced the journey as novices together and that I was there to see my champion take it out! Although the poor fella then had to hold on a bit longer to compete in the overalls for which he was also a strong contender. We were both so exhausted by this stage and when he came offstage I had his water and electrolytes ready to go for him- after a big kiss of course! ;)

Next issue- after the comp! (duh!) including what I ate post the show and have up to since!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Show Day- Prejudging

So following quite a stressful few days, on
Saturday morning everything seemed to fall into place. We had a good night's sleep and woke up early to an interesting dry breakfast and continuing the carb up. I thought I'd wake up with one hell of a dry mouth however, the water deplete was not too bad other than swallowing some large tablets dry. Was instructed for the next meal to have some steak, potatoes and peanut butter which was by far the best comp prep meal ever! Although I had to shove it in my mouth while Ali's mum was doing my makeup! Ali was such a sweetheart and cooked this for me as he was ready earlier (bit simpler for guys!) and as we were both covered in dream tan by this stage and were getting ready at Jon's house, he was chopping and microwaving and moving around with a teatowel in check wiping up his fingerprints :S

The aim was to be ready to rock and roll by 9am- super organised. So we arrived at the RSL and met my family who were already there- Dad was super paranoid about getting there early before tickets sold out (aww!) and I warned them, this is going to be a long day! The pre-judging began and seemed to be moving through quite quickly so we gathered our bags and found a spot backstage to get ready, again with plenty of time. Loretta and I were set up with male competitors and actually didn't see any other figure girls before it was stage time! I think this really helped in terms of not getting nervous- I had no idea who or how many other competitors were in our lineup until we were there! We carbed up some more, had our tans touched up until perfect and pumped up with bands- I didn't seem to get a good pump really but didn't worry. I was in a great mood, nothing was bothering me!

Carried our shoes out and behind the stage where I met up with Kristin, marvelled again at her height in our perspex heels and we wished eachother all the best before heading out into the lights! I was really happy the two of us got to go out next to eachother, another familiar face was welcome in facing the judges and the crowd! 

Made my first mistake when turning to do a rear double bicep pose, I actually forgot to move my hair- didn't we practice that?? lol. So I was sooo relieved when I got a call out into what later became the top 6 competitors, and got a second chance to redeem myself. Everything else that I had feared would be happening- eg extreme nerves, lack of mental clarity, dehydration, shaking etc did not eventuate, I still cannot quite believe how calm I was which was great as I was able to soak it all in. I smiled at and directed my posing toward the judges as planned, waved to the crowd and smiled at my family who were madly taking photos :) While I was in the backline (not tensing enough while in the relaxed pose haha) I ran my eyes over the other girls, didn't count them but was really impressed with the physiques I was seeing, these girls looked beautiful - I was so proud to be among them!

The judges moved us around a little onstage and the last thing they requested us to do was to show them the lower body only, flexing one leg at a time which I thought was a little strange- perhaps they were using this to help split us! Excitement built at that thought because I allowed myself to wonder, am I in contention for a placing here?

Ali's class was following intermission and he was in a lineup of 5. Again the standard for amateur novice competitors seemed extremely high! Ali was the only one in coloured (blue) trunks and to me (totally biased anyway) he really stood out with his presentation, posing, smiling face (amongst a lot of seriousness!) and by far the best hammies and glutes onstage :)

We were beaming and congratulating eachother and other competitors when we were done and went to enjoy a second round of steak and potatoes from the restaurant downstairs to begin the wait for the next show.... 

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