Be the change you wish to see in the world.

That is my favourite quote.

” You must be the change you wish to see in the world” Mahatma Gandhi

The last few weeks have had me thinking a lot about change. Positive change, change for the better, it is a popular topic of thought and something we have all dwelled on at some point in our lives.

Personally I love change. One of my favourite things is moving house. Not the most popular past time for most people but the drudgery of packing and un-packing is surpassed by that awesome feeling of adventure. I love to explore my new surrounds and start over. It is a clean slate to arrange things the way I want and then sit back and reflect on my accomplishment. Until the inevitable clutter creeps back in. Then before the year is out, nothing is where it should be and the house never seems clean. It is about this time that my change itch sparks up and I start getting antsy to move on. It is one of the reasons I love day trips, driving holidays and getting away as much as money allows. I crave the stimulation of experiencing new places and exploring a new environment even if it just a temporary change. I change my hair colour and style as often as I change my mind, which is a lot. I also change the things that I am passionate about, my hobbies and interests just as easily. This love of change may make me seem flighty and unfocused which is why I have to work extra hard to knuckle down and complete what I start before I go off on my next tangent.

The idea of changing my diet and increasing my level of activity wasn’t a daunting thing for me. Because it represented a change and I was long overdue for one. My focus right now is to discover new and exciting ways to train. I have just discovered kettlebells and have fallen in love. Until my next love crosses my path. Crossfit maybe or Zumba? Nah…sorry, I draw the line at Zumba. Throw an 8 kilo kettlebell at me and I will blitz a workout, strong and consistent. Add an element of latin dance and it all goes to hell with itself. My brain is allergic to dance and I will most likely end up breaking out in hives as well as breaking an ankle.

Luckily for me my husband is a supportive kind of guy. He usually goes along with what I suggest, not for lack of having a mind of his own, he just wants me to be happy. I suspect that I frustrate the absolute crap out him most days though. You see, it is not enough for me to embark on this 12 week body transformation alone, I have to drag him along with me. I am an epic control freak, I admit, but this is not the reason why. It is because I want what is best for him and my daughter even if he doesn’t see it. I know how much better he feels when he is training and fit. I know it gives him extra energy and that it sets a great example for our daughter. I also know that it is partially my fault that he is overweight at this point in his life. Like I said before, he tends to go along with what I want to make me happy. And this meant pizza, chips, chocolate and burgers.

So my husband now rides his bike 16 kilometers a day to and from work and eats all of the 12WBT meals that I prepare for his breakfast lunch and dinner. He eats the snacks that I supply for him and listens to me endlessly prattle on about fitness, nutrition, Michelle Bridges this, Michelle Bridges that. This is a pretty big change for my Husband. What you need to know about him to put this all into perspective is that he is a classic Taurian male….a rut guy. We are talking about a man who until recently ate weet-bix for breakfast, every morning , without fail. he doesn’t like weet-bix, in fact after five years of me knowing him and watching him eat it every day he finally admitted to me that he hated it so much it made him want to vomit. I was astonished. Why eat it if you hate it so? He did it because he always had. Simple as that. The weet-bix rut. The thought of doing something like that baffled me. I’ve never been in a rut in my life simply because I never stuck with anything long enough for it to become a rut. Fancy Mr. Routine Rut Guy marrying Miss Flighty Never Finish What I Start. It is a pretty good match, I give him enough excitment to last a life time and he keeps me grounded so I dont end up living in a hippie commune located on an island owned by a nudist colony in my search for adventure.

So despite my husbands tendency to get comfortable in his drudgery, he has been making a lot of changes with me. Is this enough for me? Oh No! I want more. It is not enough that he rides his bike 16 k’s a day, I want him to do a kettlebell workout with me when he gets home followed by a 30 minute ab workout. If I could possibly manage it, I would get him doing yoga too. I don’t want him phoning it in either. I want explosive effort and sweat pouring off him.

Some of the joys that await my husband when he gets home from work.

We did a cardio Pilates workout together a week ago. It was more like a ” get fit with interpretive dance” workout. There were leotards, spirit fingers and jazz waves a plenty. I felt utterly ridiculous whilst doing this dvd and I knew my husband felt about as far from being a man as possible at that point. However, I had talked him into it so I had to go through with it. I can tell you, I never felt so much relief as when that dvd ended and I knew that was going directly onto my ” sell on eBay” pile of useless junk.

My husband would prefer “manly” workouts he tells me. You know, lifting mega heavy weights out in the gym and then standing around a mirror comparing how much pump you got from one arm to the other. Or simply running his ass around the block until his legs give out. None of this prancing about the living room to poorly mixed Mardi gras music. It seems that no matter how heavy the kettlebell, how challenging the workout DVD he cant seem to stop thinking of it as “aerobics”. Leotard and leg warmers optional.

Luckily, I have not encountered as much resistance on the diet front. He has enjoyed everything I have cooked so far. Even the minty, lemon, ricotta peas i made last night were a hit. They looked terrible, like something I had dredged up out of the bottom of the lake but he overcame appearances and ended up enjoying them. Is that enough for me? Oh No! My husband is a coffee drinker and I will not rest until he has replaced coffee with herbal tea.

Every day I drink about 8 cups of herbal and green tea. Usually rosehip, nettle, green tea with jasmine, chinese white tea, rooibos tea, lemon and ginger tea and sleepy time tea before bed. I love tea, I have an insane collection of tea and I enjoy sipping a cup of tea constantly throughout the day. I want my husband to also like tea and I continually bombard him with all of the health benefits of drinking tea. He tells me that he likes green tea with jasmine so I run out and buy him a box to have at work to replace the several coffees. He attempts to drink the green tea I have bought and then tells me it turns out it is not as nice as he thought.

Anyone for tea? A sample of my collection!

The problem is that my husbands only experience with green tea was after dinner at a chinese restaurant. The little pot and tiny little cups came out and everyone at the table happily sipped away. The reason why the green tea is so good after chinese is because the food is so loaded and saturated with salt, your body will drink anything to try to relieve the dehydration. You could serve up a lightly warmed pot of toilet water and the recipients would be slurping away all ” god damn, that some good tea!”

There is an art to preparing the perfect cup of herbal or green tea. Water too hot or not hot enough, leaves or bag, steeped quickly or for longer. All of these things will decide whether your tea is delicious and refreshing or bitter and horrible. And just to make it more difficult, every tea is different in its brewing requirements. When all is said and done herbal teas are a bit of an acquired taste. The more you drink them, the more you will love them. I served my husband a sleepy time tea before bed last night instead of his usual hot chocolate. He was a good sport and he did drink it but it was a slow process. When I asked him if he liked it, I was hopeful. Maybe he could be converted after all. He replied ” well it’s not too bad, if you like the taste of a sweaty gym sock steeped in boiling water”.

The pungent aroma of sock tea is an ancient chinese method of weight control. Drinking this tea has an immediate emetic effect.

Oh well, better luck next time. We then proceeded to have a conversation about how apparently ” real men don’t drink herbal tea”. I told him that was untrue and he asked me to prove it. So I must be off now. In order to win the battle of the herbal tea I am now going to trawl the internet until I find at least five celebrity males that have openly spoken about their love of herbal tea. Wish me luck 🙂

Math Smath…A lesson in how to defy the rules of science and math.

So it is weigh in day today for the 12WBT. I know, a little weird considering we only just technically started 2 days ago, but hey, I’m paying $200 for this and what Michelle wants, Michelle gets.

I will tell you that being impatient as usual, I actually started eating a controlled calorie diet about a week before kick off. I knew that we would be sticking to a 1200 a day calorie diet and I knew that we would be required to burn at least 400 calories a day through exercise so myself and many others decided to get a head start. I did not know what the nutrition plan was but knowing a fair bit about nutrition I decided to wing it and create my own meals for the week. Also knowing a fair bit about training, I decided to wing it for the week in my gym also.

Then come Sunday, I weighed in. I had lost 2.1 kilos in a week. Amazing. My hormonally challenged body finally did something right for a change. I did a ludicrous little mexican hat style dance around the scales and was brimming with motivation to dive head first into the first official week of the challenge.

Turns out this was one of those deceptively shallow pools and my head first dive ended up snapping my weight loss muscle leaving my results paralysed for the entire first week.

I ate everything on the nutrition plan. Every recipe was followed to the letter. Even though the calorie content was already counted for us, I am not one to leave anything to chance. I counted again. Every single ingredient was strictly measured and poured. My snacks were fresh, healthy and non processed. My whole diet for the last 2 days has been organic, calorie controlled, low in fat, high in essential vitamins and nutrients….perfect in other words. I drank gallons of water and herbal tea throughout the day, selecting teas specifically for their weight loss benefits and anti-water retention properties. I have a tea regime that is almost as complex as the nutrition plan.

I trained like a maniac. Literally. I must have looked like a lunatic because I strapped on my heart rate monitor and took my body to places it never thought it could go. I have pain in muscles that I did not even know existed. My enthusiasm was such that even my daughter would stand next to me and cheer me on in between intermittent periods of worry about why mummy was red-faced and foaming at the mouth in front of the TV. Shred it with weights: 30 minutes 300 calories burned. Six week six-pack: 30 minutes 200 calories burned. Power Yoga: 30 minutes 250 calories burned. I smashed my workouts and finished each one feeling both elated and suspiciously like I was going to vomit.

Extra calories were burned daily by the many laboured trips up the stairs to the toilet in between all of the tea and water. My quadriceps were so ruined that sitting on the toilet was a whole workout unto itself. The last week and 2 days have been obsessed with all things health and fitness. I have literally fallen off the social radar, not an uncommon thing for me at times but I suspect people shall be getting concerned shortly with my whereabouts. I will simply explain that I cannot go out for lunch as I have to spend an hour running around my back yard with a skipping rope and doing burpees. Watch how quick the psyche team are called when I tell them I have been doing “burpees” all day. ” Geez Carol, Amber has really lost it this time, she keeps talking about running around the yard burping? I think we better make that call”

For those of you unfamiliar with the “joys” of an exercise called Burpees, google it and attempt one. They suck so bad, you know they’re gonna work.

So there is a certain element of math and science to weight loss. The all important calorie deficit. The idea is that your body uses a certain number of calories just for existing. Being awake, walking around, breathing etc. This number is called your BMR, basal metabolic rate. The fitter you are the higher your BMR will be. My BMR is 1598 calories a day just to be out of bed.

So, to lose weight you need to create a deficit between the number of calories needed to function and the number you eat. If my body uses 1598 calories anyway, and I only eat 12oo that is already a deficit of 398 calories. So what this means is that even if I never exercise and only eat 1200 calories a day, I should technically lose weight at a rate of about a kilo every 2 to 3 weeks or so.

Add on to that, the exercise I do. This burns an average of another 600 calories a day. So my calorie deficit is now nearly 1000 calories a day. This equates to an approximate weight loss of just under 2 kilos a week.

Now that you understand the science and math behind losing weight, we can continue.

So before bed last night, I was hungry. That really annoying, picky hungry where you know if you start eating it will most likely end up in a binge of epic proportions. So I exercised my will power. Used my mind-set lessons and had a cup of sleepy time tea and went to bed. As I lay in bed asleep, I actually dreamt of being hungry and woke up hungry. Somewhere around 2am I had to convince myself that it was not worth getting up and eating something as it was weigh in day and I did not want to sabotage my results. I realised this morning that the reason why I was so hungry last night was because as delicious as the pumpkin soup was for dinner, it had no protein and that is something we really need in every meal to keep us satisfied.

I woke up this morning, keen as mustard to get on those scales and see how I was tracking. I jumped on the forums first to see how everyone else was doing and saw numerous posts about having lost 2 kilos in 2 days etc etc. Excitedly I made my way to the bathroom and went about my weigh in ritual. All the pain in my legs and abs and the hunger games I suffered all night were going to be sooo worth it, I knew it. After all, I had math and science on my side too!

I got on the scales and looked down and what did I find?

I HAD PUT BACK ON EVERYTHING I HAD LOST THE WEEK PREVIOUSLY!!!!!

Pardon my french but…What The F@#K !

Fat girl was laughing in a maniacal way and skinny Minny’s jaw was brushing the floor. How could this be possible? Fat girl had done it again. She had caught my body off guard and managed to trip me up. Granted she had to break the rules of math and science to achieve it but achieve it she did. I felt absolutely deflated and the idea of going downstairs and doing another vomit worthy workout was unthinkable. I lay in bed all night hungry when it would not have made a lick of difference if I had of eaten something and I had shredded my quads for what?

All of the old familiar excuses came rushing back. Fat girl was rubbing her hands together and doing her best evil laugh. This was the moment she had been waiting for. NO! Skinny Minny got up from her heap on the bathroom floor and took control. I was not going to quit. There were several reasons why the scales had shown this gain.

Hormonal levels, time of the month, water retention, muscle gain, who knows what else. I could not quit now. I could not let myself go another year being this over weight and feeling like a wreck. So I took my own advice from my previous post and reigned in my horse, got back up on him and rode downstairs to do my workout.

It just goes to show that even science and math can be cheated. Their equations, flawed. I might have all of the numbers worked out when it comes to weight loss but apparently I am going to need a lot of faith as well. Can I get a hallelujah!

What do you do when you fall off the horse? Eat yourself into oblivion of course.

I never generally thought I had a problem with binge eating as such. I didn’t really eat until I was sick or anything unless it was pasta ( see relevant pasta post). Until today, I may have had a personal misunderstanding about the definition of binge eating. And even worse, it seems I may have a problem with it after all. Correction…HAD a problem!

As much as I believe I am an intelligent woman, I have had my share of stupid moments. Especially in the last few years. I had become one of those women who fell for every weight loss gimmick that graced our television screens during Grey’s anatomy. You know the ads. Before and after pictures and testimonials of “real” people who had success on the 10 a day carrot diet or the blend your food and inject it intravenously diet.

It always seems too easy and there is always a catch. ” I lost 500 kilos in 5 minutes and all I had to do was eat nothing but dehydrated duck sphincter every five seconds while I was awake” I am pretty sure I would lose weight on a duck anus diet too seeing as I would be vomiting all day at the mere thought of it. ” Get a ripped six-pack just by using this ridiculous piece of equipment for 3 minutes a day”. What they don’t tell you is that it is impossible to get a ripped six-pack in 3 minutes a day. It is also impossible to look anything other than completely retarded whilst using one of those stupid, fold your knees up around your ears, ab twister thingys. Maybe there is some merit to those machines but you will always be destined for failure. Our pride will only allow us to subject ourselves to a certain amount of humiliation before we give up, even in the comfort of your own home. Who is really going to be comfortable getting down on hands and knees in front of their husbands or wives and swinging their bulbous derrieres back and forth long enough to get a ripped six-pack? Not me that’s for sure. I want to lose weight from my behind, not spend the next 12 months waving it in the face of any poor unfortunate passer-by.

There are ludicrous juice diets that require you to drink a certain amount of freshly pressed juice every 20 minutes throughout the day and nothing else. Diets that include nothing but meat and cheese. The south beach diet, Atkins, the ever popular israeli army diet, body trim, body for life, flat belly diet, the HCG diet, the cabbage soup diet, the little black dress diet, the list is literally endless.

Each one claims to have the secret to successful weight loss, some magic ingredient that all the others are lacking. I have shelves and shelves of books for different weight loss systems, each one promising to fulfill our weight loss dreams and more. What is it that makes one more effective than the other? Nothing.

Thats right, the secret to success is not within the diet itself. It is within each of us. There is no need to travel to Nepal and have an ancient sherpa trek to the tops of the Himalayas to retrieve some secret tea that enables you to lose weight by making you crap out half of your large intestine. No special, expensive foods with names hard to spell and as hard to pronounce as some of the new modernised baby names you see in the paper now a days.. You know what I mean, it is not Jane anymore, it is Jaihyan and don’t forget the silent K.

Acceptance is key to success. Accept the fact that at some point you are probably going to mess up. Miss a workout, eat something you shouldn’t, drink some alcohol and maybe even smoke a cigarette ( no, mum, I have not done this, just an example ) Accept that we are human and slip ups happen. Learn to deal with it, that it is not the end of the world. Learn to forgive ourselves and move on. When you fall off the horse, you don’t go to the nearest buffet, you get right back on and keep riding.

I will be taking my own advice this time round because I have never practiced what I just preached. I have tried several of those interesting diets listed above over the last few years with the exception of the dehydrated duck sphincter of course. Some of them were just plain bad for me. Any diet that urges you to completely cut out an essential macro-nutrient such as carbs is asking for trouble. We need protein AND carbs equally to sustain life. Cutting out carbs lasted all of 2 days for me before my gall bladder went into a fit of spasms that left me in excruciating pain for over a week. Turns out this is a common side effect of cutting carbs out of your diet.

Some of the diets were not diets as such but more ” healthy eating plans”. As a rule I agree with the concept of nutrition plans. They are balanced and portion controlled and tailored to your individual needs. Where I went wrong with these is when I fell down. I did not get back on the horse. I whipped his moping ass and dragged him straight to bingeville. Because it is not just about the food and the exercise. Your head plays a larger role in your weight loss success than you think.

Turns out acceptance and forgiveness were not things that I knew how to do when it came to myself. If I messed up, that was it. I would convince myself that I had ruined everything and had to start over from the top. Even if I was 8 weeks into a 12 week program, it would be all over red rover if even one tiny piece of chocolate passed my lips. I did not know how to pick myself up after a slip up. Instead I would beat myself up and get depressed about yet another failure. This would lead to more bingeing. Seeking comfort in chocolate felt like the only thing I could do to console myself. As I would sit there mindlessly putting hand to mouth, shoving the chocolate in, I would think to myself ” oh well, it’s done now. You stuffed up and have to start from scratch. Might as well have one more binge before I get back into it”. The problem with that theory was that it was never just one more. It would turn into weeks and months of binge. Eating whatever I wanted, when I wanted so that inevitably I became a self-fulfilling prophecy. I had undone everything I had worked towards prior to the slip up and maybe had even packed on an extra kilo for good measure. So I was well and truly back to square one.

So why is Michelle Bridges any different? What makes the 12WBT a successful program for weight loss?

It is what I like to call holistic weight loss. It doesn’t just focus on one thing. One exercise or one food you can or can’t have. It is all-encompassing. Nutrition plans are set out to the letter with easy to follow recipes complete with nutritional info. Fitness plans are worked out every day and there are options options options!. Gluten free? No problem. Lactose intolerant? No problem. Vegetarian? No problem. Cant get to the gym? No problem. Pregnant or breastfeeding? No problem! There is literally something to cater for everyone.

Most importantly, it spends a great deal of time dealing with the reason why we overeat. Banishing our excuses not to exercise and teaching us to alter our mindset into a more positive one. Once the mind ditches the unhealthy habits and thought patterns, the body will follow.

I have seen a few forum posts from members who are already slipping back into those self sabotaging ways. They didn’t eat as well as they would have liked on day 1 or didn’t train hard enough. Please, please, please, I beg of you. Stop punishing yourself! Forgive and move on. Tomorrow is another day and you know you do not want to quit now only to find yourself back on the carousel of fad diets and machines that make you look mentally challenged. When you fall off the horse, and you will at some point during the next 12 weeks, make sure you get back on. Keep getting back on and when that horse carks it, get a new horse. Never stop trying and you will see a transformation, not just in your body but in your head too.

What are ya waiting for…Get back on!

Fast Food …..Trick or Treat?

Is junk food addictive?

What is she on about now? It’s all good readers, I have a point and I will be arriving at it shortly, just try to bear with me.

I am not suggesting that there is cocaine or any addictive, illegal street drug infused into your burger that will have you inexplicably crave more and more burgers until you are turning tricks in some back alley to fund your new career as a Mac Addict. I am suggesting however, that junk food is addictive on some level. Whether it is a physical or psychological addiction, I’m not really sure and it doesn’t matter either way. The point is, the more you eat it, the more you want it.

Is it the sugar, the salt, MSG, preservatives.. again, who knows. But I can tell you from personal experience that there is something going on with junk food and the way our brains react when we eat it that makes us want to eat it again and again. And this is a pretty neat trick considering that…..

The majority of the time,fast food is disgusting!

Seriously…Why would my body crave this?

Thats right, I said it. Now again, don’t get me wrong. I am not simply saying that because I am on a health kick and by bagging out fast food it makes me feel better about the fact I cant eat it. I will admit that there used to be a time when that would be true. My husband and I used to do another 12 week body building program that allowed a “free day”. One day every week, usually a Sunday, where you could eat whatever you wanted. The science behind the free day was that you kept your body from going into that dreaded starvation mode and that you were more likely to stick with the program all week if you knew you had light at the end of the tunnel. The general belief was that you might binge out for your first few free days but as you got healthier and fitter you would not go as hard on the junk on your free days.

Haha….WRONG!

Never being one to be content with doing the bare minimum, I made a point of defying the science of free day every single sunday. From the moment I woke until the moment I slept it was a massive junk food extravaganza that sent blood sugar levels sky rocketing and calories flowing into my system from a never-ending fountain of saturated and trans fats. Sausage and egg muffins with hash browns and chocolate for breakfast. Burgers and chips and chocolate for lunch. Pizza and fried chicken and chocolate for dinner. Lets not forget the calorie packed soft drinks and all the chocolate for mid meal snacks. I was finding that I could easily pack in all of the calories that I was cutting out all week in one day. Hubbie was right there along for the ride, whatever I ate, he ate also. Supportive guy that he is 🙂 And then the end of the day would come and we would drag our bloated, gassy, nauseous bodies to bed and sleep it off only to get back into the healthy lifestyle on Monday.

The problem with free day was that it taught no moderation. It was all or nothing. It was a pointless exercise. We worked hard to transform our bodies all week and then packed our arteries full of bad cholesterol for 1 day. For those of you wondering, Yes. It is entirely possible to undo a whole week of hardcore clean eating and training in one day of bingeing. We read stories of others doing the same program that finished the 12 weeks, looked great and were in the best shape of their lives. After 1 week of celebration, they had essentially eaten themselves back to square one. It was temporary success. The mind set hadn’t changed and the reliance on junk food as a reward system was the reason why they could not maintain their results for any real period of time.

My husband and I were so fanatical about this program. We usually do become a tad obsessed with fitness once we are back into it. All week we would launch into lengthy diatribes about the evils of fast food. ” Don’t eat take away, your legs will fall off”, ” oh look at this info I got off the internet, apparently take away foods cause your brain to get stupider and your penis to grow smaller” We would look for any information that pointed to why junk food was single-handedly destroying the universe and cling to it. During the week anyway. Once the weekend hit, it was on like donkey kong.

Preparation for junk foodapalooza began on Saturday. We actually used to plan what we would eat. The perfect scientific equation for how to get the most crap into our bodies in the limited time that we had to do so. I can tell you that my husband was and still is the worst morning person you will ever meet. Trying to get him out of bed is a mission too dangerous for even the worlds most highly trained militia. Except on free day. He would jump out of bed bright and early, ready to get his “nom” on. And just when you thought free day could not get any more disgusting, we evolved. We soon figured out that sunday technically started at 12:01 am so we would stay up late and the minute it was technically sunday, out came the chocolate. So then not only were we eating that filth all day sunday but stuffing on it before bed and going to sleep on a belly full of confectionary.

Anyway, I moderately digress,

When was the last time you ate junk food of any description. I mean burgers, fried chicken, chinese, pizzas, fish and chips. Think about if for a minute. Chances are it was not that long ago so you wont have to think for long. Now really think hard about the whole experience of that meal. For example:

You decided to have takeaway for dinner and got in the car to go to the local fast food burger joint. You wait in the line at the drive through. Finally you get to the speaker and a muffled voice practically screams at you for you to place your order before your car is even in line with the speaker. The pressure is on now. You should have thought about it in a bit more detail before you pulled up. You are so rushed that you know you will probably end up ordering something you don’t want because you did not have enough time to really think about what you did want. Every time you get part of your oder out, the voice gruffly orders you to ” drive through please” and every time you have to tell them you are not finished ordering yet. The pressure mounts and your heart rate is even elevated a little by now due to the stress. Don’t worry though, considering what you’re about to put into your mouth, raising your heart rate and burning a few extra calories before hand is not going to hurt.

Once you finally succeed in placing your order, you drive, as instructed to the next window where you are to pay. As you could not understand the girl over the speaker, you have to ask her to repeat that total amount of your order. The problem is that she has her hand hanging expectantly out of the window waiting for your money while she is talking in her ear piece to the car behind you, rushing them through their order. You get an impatient look, wait for a break in their conversation with the following car to work out the total amount and hand over your money. Your change is tossed roughly in your direction, most of it falling into that space between the car seat and the gear box. This space is called coin Narnia. You don’t really want to go searching for it because you never know what else you will find in that abyssal space.

You drive to yet another window where a hand is dangling a paper bag precariously out into open space. The bag is filled to capacity and looks as if its structural integrity is doubtful. You have to now try to maneuver your car through one of the most narrow lanes known to man-kind, filled on both sides with dangerous obstacles, poles and brick walls. The poles and bricks wear the paint scrapes of the other cars before you who had succumbed to the pressure and failed to make the distance without injury to their vehicle. The car behind you is now bearing down on you, the bag is still dangling out of the window and you are now sweating trying to get to the bag in time before its contents explode out all over the concrete, forcing you to wait whilst the whole event replays itself. The food is tossed into your lap, you barely make out a “have a nice day” as you barrel out of the drive through and head for home.

Upon arriving home, you unpack your order and find instead of your beef burger , you have a fish burger. Who the hell eats those things anyway? There are no napkins, the fries are half empty and have no salt. The soft drink is flat and watery and they have forgotten your dessert entirely. Briefly you consider driving back for them to correct it but decide that you would rather eat your own flesh than attempt to run that gauntlet again tonight. You resign yourself to a fish burger and think ” oh well, at least I’ll be getting some good omega in my dinner” Wrong again Einstein…There will be no nutrients because it would have to real food for there to be nutrients present. You open the burger and find one half of the roll is stuck with some inexplicable substance to the top of the box, the fish is half on the floor and the cheese has melted entirely onto the cardboard. It is lovely that these establishments are now apparently employing vision impaired people but maybe they would be better off on another station rather than the burger construction station.

After eating your “meal” were you really satisfied? It tasted average at best, the service was shitty at best and it did absolutely nothing for you nutritionally. Quite possible, your stomach is in knots now as it tries to digest something that it cannot identify as food.

So, why do we not only eat it but return to it time and time again?

It is not because it tastes awesome. It can’t be because of the impeccable service. Not even the price is right nowadays. It is because of a whole lot of misperceptions.

We make ourselves believe that it is the quick and easy option. Not true. I can grill a nice steak and throw together a side salad in less time than my husband can get though the drive through and get home.

We make ourselves believe that it tastes amazing. Again, how can something that more closely resembles plastic than food taste amazing? Fresh salads and vegetables taste amazing. Processed square blocks of “fish” in fluro orange crumbs do not.

We hold on to a positive memory from years ago that is associated with fast food. My husband grew up in the country, the first time he had a cheeseburger, he thought it was amazing. 30 years later, he still reaches for that cheeseburger even though the truth of the matter is that they have not really tasted good for a long time. Cost cutting and a decline in the quality of the ingredients has seen to that.

Recently I gave up smoking. At certain times of the day, I will get that familiar little niggles that says ” it’s time for a smoke”. I simply tell myself ” no, we don’t do that anymore”. My body immediately responds with ” oops, sorry about that, forgot for a moment” and I go about my day. Yesterday while driving past a familiar old take away franchise, my body piped up with another one of those craving niggles, but this one was more epic than the smoking one. Again I told myself that we don’t do this anymore. But it didn’t give up. I fought with a strange craving for the better part of 10 minutes. It was a real eye-opening experience the minute I realised that my addiction to cigarettes, a known health risk and addictive drug, was nothing compared to my addiction to junk food. In fact the junk food was far more destructive in the long run as it was such a silent vice, creeping up until before you knew it you were consuming some form of fast food every single day.

I spent so long loathing my habit with cigarettes and obsessing about quitting and getting them out of my life. I never realised that I had another habit, just as harmful to my health and the health of my family right under my nose.

So is Junk food addictive? Again, still not sure from a technical perspective. From a personal perspective, junk food is an expensive, nutritionally void, chemical laden waste of time and I will never again allow myself to be so easily lead by commercials and teams of marketing experts to allow myself to believe that it is anything other than crap.

If I want to treat myself or my daughter I can do so using fresh, organic ( when practical) produce. A banana split with fresh banana, organic whole milk ice cream, fresh sliced strawberries and maybe even a bit of organic fresh cream. Sounds 1’000’000 times more appetising than a processed meat burger with plastic cheese now doesn’t it !

Would you rather eat this?….

Or this?

I have heard this golden rule of eating healthy a few times since starting the 12WBT. If it comes to you in a paper bag through a window into your car…It isnt food! Sounds like something to live by…and to my smart ass husband, getting out of your car and eating it in store does not magically improve the quality of the product.

Please drive through and have a nice day!

Coming Up Next On Animal Planet…

It is nearly time. Kick off is tomorrow and the 12WBT forums are abuzz with last-minute questions and preparations. The pre-season tasks have been completed. I have declared my committment to being fit and healthy, geared up, organised and diarised, sifted through my kitchen and thrown away food in an epic pantry purging and even endured the horror of measuring myself. Now it is with a sigh or relief or maybe resignation that I can tell you I am ready. The last task has been completed this morning and it was one I have been putting off for the entire pre-season.

Da-Da-Duuuummmmm The Dreaded Before Photo.

As my husband waited patiently for me in the hallway, camera at the ready, I trawled through my underwear drawers trying to find something appropriate to wear. Then it struck me, it is never really appropriate to have your photo taken in your underwear when you are 25 kilos over weight so I best just get on with it!

I decide this is one of those times I should suck it up. Mentally chastising my self, I walk out into the hallway. Suddenly I feel like…well … a wildebeest. A huge, hulking, hairy wildebeest. Well actually that’s probably not fair to the wildebeest. They don’t have quite as much hair on their chins as I do at the moment. This isn’t my hallway anymore, it is the plains of the Serengeti and I can’t tell if that is a national geographic photographer over there or a lion who cant believe his luck at the size of the meal presenting itself to him.

The whole week has been focused on measuring and fitness levels and photos. It all feels like some strange wildlife, capture, tag and release program. I’ve been tagged. All of my progress and movements over the next 12 weeks will be monitored. Well I can tell you the migration pattern of this particular species will be short. Gym, shower, kitchen, bedroom. Wash, rinse, repeat.

So am I going to share my before photo on my blog? Not sure yet. I am all about accountability but the bottom line is, the photo is shameful. I can barely look at it myself let alone put it out there for the world. Ahhh what the hell….It’s gotta come out sometime right….

To see the horror, scroll down, other wise look away and stop reading now, you have been warned…

lower…

lower…

lower…

lower….

Sorry, couldn’t help myself. I’ll post the real photo once I have some improvement to measure it against.

No wildebeests were harmed physically in the making of this blog, the harm done was all emotional. Chin up Wildebeests, i am sure with all the billions of people on the planet, you are someones favourite animal.

Call Cheaters! My Husband Is Having an Affair…

For those of you with pay TV subscriptions, you most likely know what I refer to in my title. For those who don’t, Cheaters is the reality TV solution to suspected infidelity in your relationship. Because nothing is more effective in outing an unfaithful partner than a television crew, security detail, private detectives and a host with more cheating analogies and metaphors than you can shake a husbands wandering stick at. For maximum impact, this all has to happen in public, with a crowd, cheating partner with lover in tow and preferably mid-coitus. That my friends is a supersized ratings combo right there.

This delicious smorgasboard of viewing entertainment will be coming to a dream sequence near me because I suspect that my husband might be having an affair. He let some details slip the other morning over breakfast that sparked a suspicious fire in me and I have been on high alert ever since. It seems I have let my guard down. I have been so pre-occupied in my war against Fat girl that I did not even think twice as to the reasons behind her silence in the last week. Foolishly I thought she had been weakened by recent losses against Skinny Minny and that she had retreated to reconsider her plans. Apparently I was mistaken. While I was celebrating my small victories, she had set her sights on gaining an ally and getting her hooks into my husband!

I have known my husband for around 11 years now. We were friends first, meeting when we played in a band together.It was a rockers dream come true, sexy singer meets edgy guitarist, they make beautiful music together and rock off into the sunset to headbang happily ever after. Sort of… We were friends for a couple of years first. Playing in the band, hanging out as a band on weekends, doing band things, talking about band stuff and indulging our control freak drummer and his fantasies of touring Australia in an old renovated bus with groupies in tow. We were all great friends and we were all in relationships with non band members.

Eventually, my relationship fell by the wayside. I never could bring myself to commit to a man who held a university degree in arts and visual design yet could not seem to grasp the difference between telling someone he was Artistic and telling them he was Autistic. Perhaps he was more accurate than I knew at the time! My husband’s relationship also fell into disarray and we soon both found ourselves single.

After not much umming and ahhing, we hooked up and have been together ever since. We got a place, got a cat, moved to a bigger place, opened a business, got a dog, got engaged, got pregnant, got married, got a baby…Get it? Got it? Good.

So after 11 odd years my husband and I have a strange symbiotic relationship. We constantly banter back and forth, finishing sentences but perhaps the most disturbing thing is our ability to use no verbal communication at all. We can just glance at each other and seemingly a whole conversation takes place with a series of strange facial expressions and gestures. Stop what you are thinking, it is not cute nor is it romantic. It is creepy and weird and freaks our friends out no end as they never know what we are on about. Strangers witnessing this phenomenon would most likely just be thinking how lovely it is for the two of us to have found love together despite our seemingly debilitating facial tics and eye spasms.

The latest evolution of this weird alien intimacy is the ability of my alter-ego, Fat girl to enter into my husbands sub conscious and try to sabotage me from within his head! Kudos to you Fat girl, I never knew you had it in you. My husband has been reading along with my blogs and has heard all about Fat girl in considerable detail. My husband also has quite an over active imagination especially when he is dreaming. This is a man who has an apocalyptic, end of the world dream to rival any hollywood production almost every night of the week. Steven Spielberg, eat your heart out, we’ve had alien invasion, zombie up risings, biological warfare, nuclear explosions, you name it, he has dreamt it. And yet he wonders why he wakes up tired every morning!

My husband tells me of this dream that he has had. As he begins, I settle in ready for another tale of survival against all odds in a world over run with rabid zombie moose or flesh-eating clams. Instead he tells me that he dreamt he nearly cheated on me…with me! While I was at home with our daughter, working out and eating well, Fat girl approached my husband and turned on all the charm she could muster. She tried as hard as she could to seduce him but he stood his ground. When it became clear that she would not have her wicked way with him, she threw a tanty of epic proportions and left.

The dream brought 2 things to light. Firstly my husband is so undyingly loyal to me that he wont even cheat on me in a dream ( god bless him ) and secondly, Fat girl knows she is losing, She is trying to amass support. To acquire some allies to give her battle a boost of strength. She cannot be underestimated.

My husband sleeps soundly for now, but I must be on guard for us both, there is no telling when she might make another attempt at his affections. With me so busy training to fit into the lingerie that has been stuffed in the back of my drawers for a few years, she may just seize the opportunity when my back is turned to squeeze her wobbly ass into that thong regardless and give it another crack…pun intended… after all she knows as well as I do, no matter how big or small, my butt has always been my husbands weakness and this time it just might prove to be both of our undoing!

Treat ‘Em Mean….Keep ‘Em Keen

I remember when I was a young girl , a family member repeatedly reinforcing the title phrase to me as a sure-fire way to get a man and keep one. Now in my early teens and I mean 12 to 13, this was hardly a priority and later in life after dishing out much grief to a couple of poor unsuspecting ex-boyfriends, I discovered that this was not a motto you wanted to live by. Not if you were a nice person, which I, for the most part, am. Treating a man like crap for the sake of it does not a happy relationship make. And any man who willingly allows himself to be treated like crap and walked all over inevitably loses my respect and shortly thereafter the death of the relationship occurs.

Here lies ex number 1, 2 and 3. RIP boys

Now there is one thing in life where this phrase does prove appropriate. Weight training. We are taught our whole lives to avoid pain. Pain is bad. It is the body’s way of telling us something is wrong. The exception to the rule is Weight Training. When you are participating in strength training of any kind, pain is good. We love the pain, crave it even and feel disappointed if it doesn’t hurt the next day. The pain is our body’s way of telling us we are doing it right! Lovers of strength training find joy in the most unlikely of places. I often think that we must have a deep undercurrent of S&M tendencies. We love to inflict the pain on ourselves hence the sadism but we also love to feel the pain within ourselves hence the masochism.

Most people would be horrified if their leg muscles hurt so much, they couldn’t even bend their legs to get down to the toilet seat. A weight trainer loves it. There is a huge rush of pride and exaltation that comes whilst using both arms to grip the toilet wall as you grit your teeth and try to gingerly lower yourself to the toilet seat. Quads are like jelly, hamstrings pulled as tight as bow strings, you slowly, ever so slowly, lower down to the seat. Getting down is only half the equation. In a moment, you will have to get back up again! Thoughts of attempting a stand up wee go through your head but then you realise that you will just make a mess. How the hell are you going to bend down to clean the floor when you cannot even bend halfway down to sit on the toilet??? Sound like hell to you? To me, it is heaven. It means I have worked hard enough. My muscles have suffered enough to repair and grow and transform. The pain signifies to me that I am changing my body for the better. I have come to love the pain. To need it even.

The pain I speak of is commonly called DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness. Trust me, the irony of the name DOMS is not lost on me with all my sadomasochistic musings. DOMS can happen soon after workout or anywhere up to 48 hours later. We finish a weight training session and then we wait. Like kids in a candy store, we wait with glee for the first twinges of muscle soreness. Weight training partners and friends will compare the degree of DOMS and wear our stiff gaits and pronounced waddles like hard-earned badges of merit. Other gym going DOMS junkies will pass us in the streets with a knowing nod. Non gym goers just look at us with sympathy and wonder what horrible injury did we sustain to cause us to walk around like half paralysed penguins.

All this talk of S&M and DOMS might come across to someone skimming this blog as a whole page of 50 Shades of Grey fan fiction. Sadly for those searching for such a thing, you will not find any positive reviews of that literary atrocity here. Although I do happen to be in possession of my own “red room of pain” . Alright it is not really red, more a reddish-brown wood panelling but it definitely a room used solely for the purpose of inflicting pain on myself and my husband. Because I am the sharing kind, I will even inflict pain on my friends here. threesome, foursome I reckon I could even accommodate a five person session.

Not medieval but torture instruments all the same!

For those of you with your mind in the 50 shades of grey gutter, I am not talking about a S&M torture room. I am talking about my gym. If you are a lonely housewife looking for tales of emotionally stunted, abusive men treating weak, pathetic women like slaves or soft core porn disguised as a novel, I cant help you. If you are looking to transform your body, gain lean muscle, burn unwanted fat and feel the pain of a much more beneficial relationship, the relationship between you and your gym equipment, then I can. I know which I would prefer. Watch out Christian Grey. By the end of this next 12 weeks, this woman would kick your sadistic ass to the curb! Bring on the pain……

Home Gym, complete with cats