Saturday, 25 February 2012

Yes Pollyanna. There is something to be glad about.

My Dad used to say I was like Pollyanna (remember the movie with Hayley Mills?). I was always 'glad about everything.' 

That kind of optimism, or playing the 'glad game' of finding something to be glad about in every situation, has helped me in some very challenging situations throughout my life.

Last week however, I was struggling to play it.  I spent an entire week feeling mentally, physically and emotionally like I was wading through concrete.  I had NO energy on any front.  My responses to people and situations had me saying afterwards "for goodness' sakes Jacqueline, lighten up!"  I struggled with constantly being hungry and craving foods I normally would not and have learnt not to eat.  I ate a bag of lollies (haven't done that for 5 months).  I ate a malteser chocolate bunny and a blueberry muffin.  Despite Mish-style conversations with myself like "don't do it" and "no excuses" I did it anyway.

I missed a day of exercise because I felt like crap and I started to withdraw because I felt I had nothing positive to contribute and that I had stopped my journey while everyone else was charging full steam ahead to the finishing line. 

After a week of ruling out possibilities, I reasoned it had to be something physical.  Eventually I stumbled on to the fact I might need to increase my Vitamin B intake.  On Friday I did just that and have been feeling back on top of my game ever since.  What a difference.  By Friday night I felt so good I cranked out 678 calories at the gym in an I-am-smashing-it workout.

In the past after a week like that, I probably would have fallen off the wagon and got into a lengthy conversation with myself where words like 'failure' and 'hopeless' and 'impossible' and 'can't' would have featured heavily. 

But this time around, I focussed on positives.......

1. I have wonderful 12WBT friends that won't let me slip off into the darkness so easily.

2. Despite the snacking, I still managed to do 80 - 90% of what was expected of me. The odds for success are stacked in my favour. This was a setback, not a failure.

3. I am the closest to my goal weight that I have ever been in my life. I have made progress that has amazed me.

4. I am not the person I once was. I try new things: gym classes, running events, workouts, meeting new people etc.  I know I can be successful. 

The new me is really a return and opening up to the authentic me; the one who always used to play the glad game.
And so it is this week that I am reminded how much I have to be glad about.  I am so glad to have found the 12WBT and all the wonderful and beautiful crew and friends who share that journey to great health with me, and whose committment to being the best version of ourselves is as firm, sure, and cherised as my own.

Blogger Challenge #1 - Introduce Yourself

Thanks to Whirlsie (blog Nutritionally Yours) I am joining the blogging challenge for Round 1 2012.  I will still continue to write additional posts.  This weeks challenge is to introduce yourself.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What makes you, you?

I am a small business owner of a luxury travel goods company in my mid 40's living in Sydney's north.  Although I was born in Manly Beach in Sydney, my childhood was spent living here, there and everywhere as my father's job in the construction industry meant living in three different states in Australia as well as stints in Singapore and Indonesia. 

In adulthood, I continued to travel for work and pleasure but after a second stint as an expat which started in Saigon and ended in Singapore, I decided I needed to put down roots in one city.  Sydney has been my home ever since.  I have a close-knit extended family and I have two naughty beagles who love to chase rabbits on their morning walk.

Why did you decide to do the 12WBT?

After a lifetime of being overweight or obese, I have tried every diet that every existed.  Some with more success than others.  Some diets were doomed to fail and others, the failure was my fault.

I had been doing Weight Watchers for 2.5 years and lost around 17-20gg but it was incredibly slow and I hit a plateau for 18 months that I simply could not shift.  Given how many people have had success with WW, I kept blaming myself and persisting.  I finally decided there had to be a better way and kept searching and stumbled upon 12WBT after reading an article in the Women's Weekly.

What are you hoping to achieve through the program?

To be within my healthy weight range for the first time in my life
To be normal
To not have a weight problem
To not be the biggest person in the room. 
To fully participate in life rather

Why have you decided to blog about the 12WBT? What will be the main focus (eg, food, exercise, a bit of everything?)

Initially it was to be accountable and to find a place to work through issues by writing about them.  In the process I discovered that so much of what I have felt or experienced in my journey to weight loss resonates with others and that by sharing with gut-wrenching honesty the ups and downs of changing my life, I may be able to help other people be successful.

How will you be exercising this round? Gym, home, outdoors or a mixture?

I work out at North Shore gym - a combination of machines and classes.  On Sundays I join the Death at Dee Why group for an outdoor workout and when life events takes over, my fall back position is to do one of Mish's Crunchtime DVDs.

What is your greatest strength that will help you?

Resilience and laughing in the face of adversity and, sometimes, embarrassment.

What are you afraid of?


What are you looking forward to the most over the next 12 weeks?

Reaching a healthy BMI and hopefully, my goal weight within that range.

What is your downfall? Food? Exercise? How will you overcome this?

Snacking. Snacking.  Did I mention snacking?
I have got my own snacking sheet and worked out calories and portions.  I will also be tracking my snacks so that I stick to 1200 calories per day.

If you had to pick one word to motivate you over the next 12 weeks, what would you choose?


Friday, 24 February 2012

Snacking (or managing the thing that derails me most)

I have my inspirational 12WBT friend, Mary Crea (Splasharama), to thank for this post. 

I have always had a problem with snacking. I can have a beautifully measured out, stick-to-it-100% breakfast, lunch and dinner and then wave goodbye to all my hard work with uncontrolled snacking.

Last round Mary helped me enormously with her tips, advice and blog post on snacking.  This last week I have fallen off the rails for a number of reasons including snacking (which I'll write about in another post).   

In getting real with myself, I realise I can no longer pretend that my snacks are less than the amount of calories they actually are or less than the amount I actually eat. 

I don't eat the type of snacks I once did, I've tried new things thanks to Michelle's 12WBT and Mary's list of snacks and like Mary, not everything is completely Mish-approved.  My purpose in listing them below is to get a real grip on exactly what goes in my mouth, what portion I need to measure, and to plan snacks a whole lot better so that I stick to my 1200 calories per day.  Now that I've done this exercise, I feel more in control but also horrified by what I did before and the BS I told myself.

I highly recommend you do a list for yourself of things you actually eat.  The good, the bad, the ugly to get a real handle on what you are doing.  As a starting point, here's my list and Mary also has a great one on her blog at





Banana (medium)

Carrot (medium)
Apple (medium)

Celery stick
Orange (medium)

Strawberries - 250gm punnet


Blueberries – 150gm punnet

Sunrice Multigrain 5 thin rice cakes
Dates – Fresh 1x 10gm

Vita Weat Lunch SoyLin Slices 1

Ryvita Original 1 cracker
Muesli Bars & Biscuits


Uncle Toby’s Crunchy Choc Bars

Honey            2 teasp
Special K bars

Vegemite       1 teasp
Be Natural Trail Bars Berry

Marmalade    2 teasp
Sunrice Apple/Cinnamon Rice Cake

Hommous      1 tblsp


Bread 1 slice

Cottage Cheese lite - 1tblsp

Raisin toast regular slice tip top
Ricotta Cheese lite   - 25gm

9 Grain Multigrain
Butter                       - 2 teasp

Lawsons Grain Bread
Yoplait Forme Yoghurt - 1 tub

Mountain Bread
Skim Cappuccino 1 med 300ml

Lindt 70% chocolate 10gm piece

Popcorn Coolpak Sgl Pkt 20gm
Trail Mix Sanitarium ¼ cup

Almonds Raw 10 nuts

Thursday, 23 February 2012

A letter to a friend about self-worth, perfection and sabotage

In response to a post yesterday, I wrote this letter to a 12WBT friend whose name I have changed to simply 'friend' for obvious reasons.  I hope it helps you......

Dear, Beautiful, Friend,
I know what it is not to love yourself; to loathe yourself so much that you wonder how others could possibly like, let alone love you.

I know what it is to think your worth is a direct reflection of the way you look.

I know what it is to look in the mirror and think the situation is hopeless and to spiral downwards further every time you fail at weight loss or have a temporary setback.

I’ve heard that negative dialogue in my head a thousand times that is so strong, it takes you straight to a point of sabotage so that no one needs to do it for you; you do it all by yourself.

Friend - the moments when I feel that way these days are minimal. I found myself some years ago feeling so utterly exhausted from hating myself that I had no energy for anything. I reached the point where I said to myself that hating myself hasn’t worked, so I may as well try thinking I’m OK.

Losing weight, changing your life, does not have to be about perfection or being the most inspirational weight loss success story for everyone else. All it requires you to do is do your best every day and be true to yourself; to make good choices more often than bad choices; to go out of your comfort zone to help you get to a better place.

I no longer think of losing weight in terms of perfection and failure or trial and error. I think of it as trial and success. I keep trying what works, understanding what doesn’t, learning from myself and others, and I keep practicing the behaviours that work for me.

Losing lots of weight also involves losing a whole pile of emotional baggage. Sometimes you can discard a bag pretty easily, sometimes you’ve got to unpack and examine the contents carefully because there are some things worth keeping and others that need setting fire to!

 Friend, when I last saw you, I could see from your appearance and in your eyes that you had made progress.  Despite the odd glitch (which we all have), you are doing a great job. Keep making small changes and it will add up to a big change. Most of all, trust that 'your man' and all of us (your 12WBT family) think you are just wonderful and beautiful inside and out. As you learn to feel better about yourself and to see yourself as we and others see you, the greatest love of all - learning to love yourself - will happen.

Stay strong.


As a Post Script I want to add that since I commenced 12WBT in Round 3 last year, I have changed so much as a person.  Practicing self-care - through good nutrition, being active every day, participating in life, making positive changes, trying new things and meeting new people - has had a massive impact on how much I love myself and enjoy life.  I truly believe, thanks to Michelle, the support crew and 12WBT family, that you can make the impossible, possible.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Why do strangers think they can give unsolicited advice designed to humiliate others?

This is not a post I expected to write but I wanted to put it out there because I know all of us that have dealt with weight issues have faced this one.

Here's what happened.....

Yesterday after exercising, I popped into the shops to do a top-up shop.  Coming down the escalator afterwards, an old man/stranger said to me "you'd lose weight if you walked down the stairs." 
Quick as a flash I shot back, "I've done my work out today thank you," to which he replied "I exercise for 30 minutes every day." 

Hmmmm.  Punch.  Counterpunch. Uppercut. Round 1 Over.

At this point, I realised this was about his ego, not mine, but it still riled me.

So I said (in my nice voice), " That's fantastic.  Michelle Bridges is my personal trainer.  I do at least 1 hour every day, 2 hours on a Saturday and then most Sundays, just because I feel so good, I throw in an extra workout.  That's on top of a 1 hour dog walk every day, rain, hail or shine. I've lost 32kgs so far.  If you need any tips or help I'd be happy to share them with you."
And I walked off (hopefully it was a Total Knock Out).  I have the ability - don't ask me how - to remain calm and pleasant in those situations while making my point but it still niggles and rattles me and gets under my skin that complete strangers feel they have a right to make not only a judgement about someone without knowing the facts but also to make a comment that has no other purpose than to belittle and humiliate the recipient.  Where do they get off?

After years of having comments like this come my way, I've learnt to handle them but to be honest, I get frustrated that I still haven't come far enough in my journey for people to stop making those kinds of remarks and although it doesn't affect me to the same extent or duration I still get angry.

My first instinct was to yell at him, "get lost you complete tosser" but I realise insecure idiots like him, that feel the need to humiliate others in order to make themselves feel better will always find something to say about other people's looks and behaviour. 

Have you ever had that happen to you and how do you handle it?

Thursday, 16 February 2012

"To thine own self be true" - a lesson in comparing yourself to others

I hope everyone is having a great weigh-in result this week.  For me, I've hit a milestone, losing 1.8kg.  It's my highest weekly loss ever and now takes me to the lightest weight I've been since I was 18 years of age.  It brings me to a 32kg loss from my heaviest weight and 14.7kg total since starting 12WBT.  Sometimes I find it hard to believe. 

I'll admit, its great to have a big loss on the scales and do happy claps, high-fives, air-punches and joy jumps.  But here's my weight loss reality.....most weeks I average a loss of only 800gms and sometimes its as low as 200gms.  However, in each 12WBT round I consistently lose weight. There are times, as I'm sure there will be for you over the coming weeks, when its very hard to have a loss of only 500gms, for example, when you are seeing other people post big losses of 2kgs or more. 
When the small losses happen, the bad fairy / Darth Vader voice in my head inevitably pops up and says things like "you are failing, you'll never get there, what's the point?" or "come to the dark side and console yourself with a blueberry muffin and cappuccino but make it skim milk so you can appease the guilt from the muffin.  Go on, you've been good all week, it won't hurt."

So before I go to that dark place, I remind myself of this; before starting Round 3 in 2011 (my first round), I had been trying to lose weight for some time. I was already eating fairly healthy and exercising daily but there was plenty of room for improvement and a massive plateau to break through.

Other people who started at the same time as me had diets, exercise patterns, ages, genders, and the amount of weight they were carrying that were vastly different to mine. In other words, although we were all doing the 12WBT plan, we had all started from different places. This is why its so important not to compare yourself to others.  Chances are you didn't start at exactly the same point.

I have since found a 12WBT twin, the wonderful Erica, whose journey, weight loss, issues and frustrations are spookily similar to my own.  We often do the same things each week (often at the same time!) or burn the same calories, but our results still vary. 

For me, having tried to lose weight for so long now, I know that I have a pattern of losing weight; over 4 weeks, I have 1 big loss week, followed by 2 weeks of average losses and a 4th week of a small loss and then the pattern repeats. My body ajdusts for hormones and recalibrating the weight it has lost.  

Very rarely is the path to success a straight line for me but as long as my weight is following a downward trend, I am happy.

Even though I know my patterns, when I lose less than 500gms, I review the week to see what I could have done differently.  Sometimes I accept that it is what it is and I simply need to persist.  Other times I need to adjust my exercise intensity, or the times that I eat, or just slap myself stupid for not controlling my snacking habit.

And that's the point.... it's about my journey and how I am going to manage my health for the rest of my life.  No one can do that for me except me.  My photos show me at my starting point and various weight milestones along the way that remind me of how far I've come and how far I have yet to go.

It's worth remembering too that in 12 weeks time you will be comparing yourself with YOUR before and after shots.  Not mine, not someone else's. If you follow exactly what Michelle says, you will be amazed at the changes. 

The road to great health is different for everyone.  Some people take the freeway and others, like me, take the scenic route because I have a lifetime of weight to shift,  habits and thinking to change, and so much to learn to make sure the rest of my life is not like the first half.

I don't try to do big spectacular weight loss feats anymore.  I find small, daily changes in my habits are the key to success.  Small weight losses can add up to a big change. I focus on being persistent, consistent, and running my own race.  One meal at a time, one exercise at a time, one day at a time and I am getting there. You can do it too. It only requires that you be true to yourself.

Friday, 3 February 2012

I am a woman of my word. Here is my commitment...

I am a woman of my word. I have proven this to myself.  I know that when I say I will do something and follow through, great things happen and I achieve my goals.

2012 is my year. In the next 3 months, I give my ABSOLUTE WORD that I am committed to;

1. Achieving the goals I set out on my vision board and goal plan regardless of whether they are on the bucket list of things I’d love to do or the vomit list of things that terrify me.

2.  Losing 15kgs and reaching my goal weight (yay!)

3. Following the 12WBT food and exercise plans with honesty, courage and determination.

4. Tracking my food and exercise calories so there is no guess-work or calorie amnesia. I will stop thinking it is a pain to do and instead consider it a helpful process to get me to my goal.

5. Managing my snacking so that it no longer derails me and choose nutritionally (not calorie) dense foods.
6. Doing things that take me out of my comfort zone or require short term discomfort in order to reach my goals.
7. Being consistent, organised, proactive.

8. Persisting and JFDI even on days when I don’t feel like it.

9. Living my best life and helping others but recognising I do that best when I walk my talk and lead by example.

I AM WILLING TO DO THE WORK to achieve this with enthusiasm, good grace, and a positive outlook. 
I recognise that EVERYTHING I DO, THINK AND BELIEVE WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE in the final result I have.  I have made this commitment because I owe it myself, my health and my happiness to live the life I have imagined but have put on hold for years. 

IT IS TIME TO LIVE MY BEST LIFE and the only way I will get there is to be real with myself and stick to and finish the program and goals I have committed to. 
I give my word.