Saturday, December 24, 2011

Find Your Summer Body 2011 - Hall of Fame

A special congratulations goes out to the following mums who, through their hard work and dedication have found themselves in the first Body Beyond Baby - Find Your Summer Body - 8 Week Challenge Hall of Fame.

Overall winner

Sarah Caroll, mum of one (8m)

With a total weight loss of 10.9kg, 16.9cm from around her waist, 21.5mm of abdominal fat and a personal push ups  improvement from being able to do 13 on her knees at the start of the challenge to 10 on her toes at the end of just 8 week.  Congratulations Sarah!

Sarah wins a night at the Shangri- La, including champagne on arrival, breakfast a $150 voucher for an evening meal at Altitude Restaurant

Biggest Body Fat % loss

Jade Mackenzie, mum of one (5m)

For a new mum that wasn't sure if the challenge was for her Jade lost a total of 7.6% - is looking fantastic and is very glad she decided to give it a go.

Jade wins a mobile massage voucher from Eastern Suburbs Mobile Massage
Contact number 0411 628811 (no website available)

Most Improved Push-ups Test

Olivia Lowe, mum of 1 (8m)

Olivia started off at the beginning of her 8 week challenge only being able to complete 1 push up on her knees - by the end of week 8 she could do 16 on her knees - awesome improvement!

Olivia wins a La Glam Start me up pack from Make up for Mums

Best Push-ups (person who could complete the most push-ups to faliure)

Bek S, mum of one (1yr)

Bek is known as the push-up queen and managed to pump out a total of 53 push-ups on her toes.

Bek wins a Pronto Pram Cleaning Services voucher (with pick up and delivery)

Most Improved Prone Hold

Tsumi Smith, mum of one (5m)

Tsumi started her 8 week challenge with a prone hold of just 26" on her toes and finished up with a time of 1'24" - great improvement. 

Tsumi wins a mobile make up application that can be used for a special occasion from Make up for Mums

Best Prone Hold

Brenda De La Piedra, mum of two (1 & 2 1/2yrs)

Brenda held her prone hold for a MASSIVE 4'06"!!! This is a great example of what you can achieve if you take the time to re-build from the inside out after having a baby.  Brenda is mum to two beautiful girls aged 1 & 3.

Brenda wins a Pronto Pram Cleaning Services voucher (with pick up and delivery)

Most Improved Stamina - Beep Test

Paula Disley, mum of two, (4m & 2yrs)

At week one Paula's best test was 4.2 and by week 8 she achieved 8.3 - again a great improvement for a mum who wasn't sure if the challenge was for her!

Paula wins a Pronto Pram Cleaning Services voucher (with pick up and delivery)

Most Improved Cardio Test

Virgina Weinstein, mum of three (6yr, 4yr, 20m)

Virginia smashed her week 1 cardio test time of 4'56" by over 1minute taking it to a fantastic 3'45"

Virginia wins an age defying, all natural, body care gift pack from Essential Stuff

Fasted Cardio AND Beep Test

Amy Adamson, mum of two (4yr & 2yr)

Undoubtedly one of the fastest and fittest mums in our groups Amy recorded a beep test of 11.9 and a cardio test of 3'21" - keep up the amazing work Amy!

Amy wins a $50 voucher from Muesli Mixer

Sunday Steps 

We also celebrated those mums who regularly turned up early on a Sunday morning for their extra cardio session at Coogee steps and awarded one mum each week with Most Improved from the week prior.

Week 2 - Angela Walsh
Week 3 - Nicole Maroutsos
Week 4 - Angela Walsh
Week 5 - Nicole Maroutsos
Week 6 - Amy Adamson
Week 7 - Sarah Caroll
Week 8 - Nina McDonnell

Angela wins a scented Candle from Ambrosia Candles
The rest of these ladies win a Pronto Pram Cleaning Services voucher (with pick up and delivery)

A BIG thank you to all of our sponsors (listed above and links provided). To be associated with these great businesses that all offer ways of looking after and making mums life easier is fantastic and your support is much appreciated.

I guess that wraps it up - the end of 2011 is near and our first 8 Week Challenge is over.  The great news is that we will be back in 2012 with our second challenge - starting on February 6th there will be two phases of this challenge - one for new BBB members and a stepped up challenge for those who have completed the first one so we all continue to make better and healthier lifestyle decisions, smash more of our goals and become fitter, stronger and leaner versions of ourselves - feeling absolutely fantastic in the process.

To start your 2012 in the best possible way click here to register and find out more about our next Find Your Summer Body - 8 Week Challenge. 

Find Your Summer Body 2011 - overall results

I am so proud and inspired by the fantastic commitment and results our first ever Body Beyond Baby Find Your Summer Body - 8 Week Challenge mums have achieved.  From a group of 34 mums that completed the challenge:

Total 119kg of body weight GONE

Highest total body weight loss: 10.9kg

Total 229cm from around the middle GONE

Biggest cm loss from around the middle: 17.2cm

Total 252mm abdominal fat GONE

Biggest abdominal mm loss: 21.5mm
Congratulations to every mum that took part in our first ever challenge!!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Our Body Beyond Baby Find Your Summer Body winner is....

The Body Beyond Baby 
Find Your Summer Body 2011 winner is:
Sarah Caroll

Sarah lost a total of 10.9kg over period of her 8 Week Challenge, she also lost a total of 61.7cm's from her body including 16.7cm's from her waist and 21.5mm from her abdominal skin fold.  Sarah also achieved a personal goal of hers by completing 10 push-ups on her toes during last weeks testing - Sarah started at the beginning of the challenge by being able to do 16 push-ups on her knees.

Sarah's effort throughout the whole challenge has been unwavering and inspiring and we look forward to seeing what goals she sets for herself next!  Well done Sarah - keep up the amazing work, enjoy your night at the Shangri-La, we can't wait to hear all about it!

Stay tuned this week for the rest of our fantastic Find Your Summer Body - 8 Week Challenge results and achievements.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

FYSB end of challenge celebration

After our final day of Find Your Summer Body testing fun was had by all at our end of challenge and Christmas party last night - everyone looked amazing and it was really great to see everyone out of their runners and training gear...we certainly had a room full of Yummy Mummy's!  Thank you to Lucy for organising such a great night.

A big congratulations to everyone for making it over the finish line, you have all continuously inspired me with your determination and commitment over the past 8 weeks.  I will be revealing all of our winners through the blog this week so stay tuned to see what amazing results were achieved.

The last ones standing

Thank you for a great night ladies - I hope you all managed a little extra sleep at some point today!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jenny's ultimate Body Beyond Baby

I am so excited - the challenge has come to an end and everyone has done SO well.  We are doing all of our final fitness testing and measurements this week and I can't wait to announce our winners this Saturday evening at our end of challenge party.  And I can't wait to see what everyone looks like out of their runners ll dressed up!

So..... I have been ticking away at my own little challenge in the background - it would have been hard not to with all the energy and motivation within our BBB sessions. First up I have decided to take a look back at the goals I set for myself 8 weeks ago:

Goal 1
I am going to achieve a VERY toned stomach - I want to have a bit of a V going on (not too much or masculine in anyway just that look).  

I guess out of my three goals this one is the least measurable (and one I probably would have questioned if a client said this to me..... how lean? how toned? how will you know you have got there?)  So, I am definitely 'getting' there - I can see muscles now and when we look at where I am at with Goal 3 we will start to see why.  Photo's are happening on Friday so I promise to share as soon as I get them back.

Goal 2
 I am going to be able to perform 8 unassisted strict chin ups

This morning I did three sets of 6 unassisted chin ups so I know I am definitely on track I just need to do my final testing to make sure I can get 8 in one go.....

Goal 3 (and the one I am most excited about)
I am going to reach 20% Body Fat 

I have SMASHED this one out of the water - I knew my body had been changing and I have been dropping fat but how much I didnt know - the scales weren't giving away much.  I went to Body Composition (now Measure Up) yesterday and here is the comparison to my last scan.

19th July 2011
Body Fat % = 21.7%
Total Body Weight = 54.8kg
Fat Mass = 11.9kg
Lean Body Mass = 40.5kg

29th November 2011
Body Fat % = 16.6% 
Total Body Weight = 54.4kg
Fat Mass = 9kg
Lean Body Mass = 43kg

I have managed to get way below my goal of 20% Body Fat (with a loss of 5%) though if you look at my Total Body Weight it appears that I have lost only 400g so here is a really great example of why you absolutely can not rely on what the scales are telling you alone.  You can see I have dropped 3kg of Body Fat and added 3kg of Lean Body Mass.

I have been doing Body Composition Scans since 2006 - those of you that have followed my blog will have seen my results following both pregnancies (the first being in 2008).  What is cool about having this information is that I can really see where I have been and what my body has been doing over the last 5 years.  I found these comparisons pretty cool:

5th December 2006
Body Fat % = 16.9%
Total Body Weight = 49.9kg
Fat Mass = 8.4kg
Lean Body Mass = 39.3kg

29th November 2011
Body Fat % = 16.6%
Total Body Weight = 54.4kg
Fat Mass = 9kg
Lean Body Mass = 43kg

Here you can see that in terms of Body Fat % I am back to where I was way before my wonderful little people entered my life BUT looking back I know that I didn't achieve this in the healthiest manner.  I didn't eat a whole lot and you can see by my Total Body Weight that I was tiny and wasn't carrying much muscle at all.  Looking back I never wanted to get back to that 'weight'.  I guess this time I know I am healthy, I know I am strong and I have grown in regards to my own training and knowledge (and I'm not hungry).

I have to thank both Marley and India for putting me where I am today as a mum and as a fitness professional - without them I wouldn't be writing this and I possible wouldn;t have specialised in pre and postnatal exercise and I wouldn't be connecting with all of the wonderful women that I do on a daily basis.  And I absolutely can't wait to continue to share my knowledge and passion for showing every single mum out there that it is possible to be a mum, be really strong, look great, feel fantastic and be a wonderful example to the children in their lives.

Cathy - Find Your Summer Body Week 7 & 8

Week 7 and the jiggle is going! This week I have hit another plateau so I have amped things up by exercising in the morning on an empty stomach followed by a protein rich smoothie afterwards. I have to say, I haven't run along the beach since before I started this challenge and what used to be a struggle I can now do in my stride. It really took me by suprise and I am LOVING the feeling.

I have gained so much more confidence going out now and ordering food, before I thought if I went off the rails then it was all over for me. Not so, I just pick myself up at the next meal and off we put in a little extra effort the next day and it all seems to even out.

Week 8...we have arrived! When I look at myself in the mirror now and see my new bo I can't even imagine I let myself get into such a sloth state before. I have come such a long way in such a short space of time and I am absolutely ecstatic with the results. I haven't finished by a long shot but the goals I set for this challenge have all but been met. I am in a quiet state of shock, all the hard work paid off!

I have totally re educated myself in terms of diet with the help of Jen and Marieke and I have no desire to return to my "old self". I haven't had any processed food or sugar for 8 weeks and I am feeling full of vim and vigour!

My fitness has vastly improved and my partner can't believe the turn around I have made (and neither can I).
When I first signed up with Jen I NEVER in a million years thought I could get to the level I am at (remember in the beginning I could barely drag my sorry carcass around the oval). Now I actually LOOK FORWARD TO EXERCISING (yes, those words actually just came out of my mouth!)

These past 8 weeks have been a total re education and an overhaul of my life, it's been like an intensive boot camp and as much as I have grumbled at the process I'm glad Jen kicked me into action, I am very thankful to have found her at BBB.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Christa - Find Your Summer Body Week 6 & 7

I can’t believe how fast this challenge is nearing its end and how much better I feel. The weighing is still a bit scary as the scales just don’t wanna show what I want to see but in the end I guess the kilos are not as important as my overall fitness and measurements. My fitness is really improving though and that makes me very happy.

A few of us had a very interesting session with nutritionist Marieke Rodenstein. I was looking forward to her advice but thought my diet was pretty healthy anyway.   Marieke checked all our food diaries and pointed out what we should and should not be eating. She also shared healthy recipes and ideas for the little ones which was fantastic. She has a wealth of knowledge and is really passionate about food.

Another positive thing over the last two weeks was that I built up a few new muscles which definitely didn’t ‘existed’ before hand…I am really excited about that. When I started the challenge I assumed I will only be doing this for 8 weeks to get my fitness and figure back and then do my own training.  However I have already booked my sessions for after the challenge as there is still a long way to go and I just love exercising with all the other girls in the meantime.

Last Wednesday Jen launched the Bluebird Community at Lululemon and it was such a nice and interesting evening.  I, thankfully, was not affected by PND but hearing Amanda’s story or reading Virginia’s blog most certainly makes you aware that it can happen to anybody anytime.

A slight drawback is that I rolled my ankle whilst running and talking on Saturday (multitasking is obviously not one of my strengths) Thanks again to all of the girls that helped me and my apologies if I came across slightly rude - I was in shock I think. Gutted is an understatement…. anyway, I am over the self pity phase and will resume one-footed training on Tuesday. Coogee steps are out of the window but hey, thank god it happened in week 7 and not week 2!

Cathy - Find Your Summer Body Week 6

I think I've finally got it, it's only taken 6 weeks of intense life changing effort but I am feeling fantastic!

I am so glad I found Jen and the group and took up this challenge.  I am feeling stronger, fitter and leaner and proud of myself.  For me, this challenge will be continuing on well beyond the 8 weeks but I feel that I have adopted some great new habits.  I can't believe I would ever feel like I WANTED to exercise but now if I miss a few days I feel agitated and need to get out.  Such a far cry from the past.

The beep tests have been really revealing. Hearing our scores now compared with when we all started it's so inspiring. I think we are all seeing some great results.

Getting into my cossie now I don't feel half as bad as I did before.  Taking Milla to swimming lessons isn't as excruciating as it was and I'm not so embarrassed when I run into old friends by pool. (Mind you, they still do the up and downs).  As I said there's still a distance to go but I am feeling much, much better.

As a thank you for writing these blogs, Jen kindly rewarded me with a consultation with the gorgeous Marieke who is a Nutritionist (I hope I got that right) and oozes good health.  What a wealth of knowledge she is!  The session blew my mind and flipped a few of my beliefs on their head.  For instance, she is an advocate for eating the skin on chicken, totally the opposite of what I had been taught.  Also eating far, far less grains but eating more animal products and fats and vegies and limiting fruits.  I will be making some more changes to my diet but overall I feel I'm on the right path.  It's simple, clean unprocessed food (organic ideally) in moderation and regular exercise.  There is no magic pill.

I can't believe we are almost at the end of the 8 weeks. There have been peaks and troughs and extended slumps and now I am ready to go out on a high. If I reach all of my goals then there will be no stopping me!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Virginia's PND story

Meet Virginia - Virginia exercises with Body Beyond Baby and has wonderfully agreed to share her experience with PND - thank you Virginia.

My name is Virginia, I'm 38yo and Mum to Jake (6), Jesse (4) & Lili (20mo)

Coming from a strong blood line of women, depression was never something I thought would ever happen to me.  I grew up a happy, confident kid in Perth, always had lots of friends, did well at school and university, travelled the world, enjoyed a successful corporate career for many years and always worked hard to achieve my goals.  I was invincible (or so I thought), 3 kids........piece of cake!

For me, the warning signs started when my 3rd baby, Lili, was just a few months old, although looking book I'm fairly certain I had the same signs with my 2nd.  She, like the boys, was delivered by caesarean and I was over the moon that we finally had the coveted baby girl I always dreamed of.  Not long after the hormones settled down, reality kicked in and I was faced with having to juggle a newborn baby, a very strong-willed 3yo (not at all happy with his new sibling) & a 5yo just starting primary school. I'd wake up feeling utterly exhausted having been up all night breastfeeding or settling.....then having to pick myself up and pretend like everything was normal - packing lunches, getting 3 kids ready for the day and the dreaded morning drop offs in the pouring rain with baby on one hip, umbrella and school bags in one hand, little hands in the other. One morning it was raining so heavily, I slipped and fell into the gutter (luckily didn't drop the baby). Tears running down my face, completely drenched and not knowing which way was up or down, I managed to get up and get the boys to school and kindy safely (albeit saturated) and I spent the next hour or so howling in my car. What happened to my life? What have I become?

Next came feelings of being completely overwhelmed, a failure, alone and resentful, anxiety attacks, frequent crying and feeling completely unsatisfied in life.  My coping mechanisms had hit rock bottom.  With my own family and close friends in Perth, I didn't have a strong support network to begin with and started to withdraw from social circles because it was just all too hard.  I was cranky with my husband, short fused with the kids and behaving like a complete maniac only I didn't have the power to stop.  I thought to myself "pick yourself up Virginia, plenty of women have walked in your shoes, you can do this" but I soon realised these feelings weren't going away and something had to change.

My obstetrician suggested I talk to someone, which I did, and was shortly thereafter diagnosed with PND. I was gutted and relieved at the same time, but at least I knew what was going on in my head. After a few sessions I soon realised that like most women, I was (and still am) constantly placing unrealistic pressure on myself to do everything, be everything to everyone and all the while being polite with a smile on my face! I had to start making some changes in my life and start learning to be kinder to myself. So I started scheduling in some "me" time - diairising events with friends and date nights with the husband, got myself a cleaner and started exercising again.

Whilst many of my friends were falling prey to PND and the medication route, for me, exercise was the first and natural choice as I'd always been heavily into sports growing up and never had the time to get back into it with kids.  I am so grateful I stumbled across Jen Dugard's BBB through a friend because it has been my saving grace, literally.   Not only is it cheaper than therapy (much!), but it also alleviated the stress of trying to find a babysitter via BBB's nanny service.  I now exercise daily (3 weekly sessions with BBB) and pleased to say I am not only feeling the best I've felt in years, but I've also regained my self confidence and wake up in the morning with a smile on my face and a spring in my step.  There is nothing quite like the feeling of a natural endorphin high and I am proud to say my PND days are behind me.  Rocking a pair of killer heels and skinny jeans has never been more enjoyable:)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Biz tells her PND story

Many of you will be familiar with Biz already -  Biz shared her BBB story with us a year or so back and also told us a little about her experience with PND and how she used exercise as one of the main means of getting through it.  Here is Biz's story:

It might sound like an odd thing to say, especially to someone who’s currently going through PND, but for me, getting PND ended up being an absolute blessing. I suffered from PND after the births of both my boys. The first time I put it down to sleep deprivation and the belief that parenting was just hard and not necessarily enjoyable...yet, so I muddled through. How untrue, and what a massive waste of Jack’s first year. 

After the arrival of my second child, Alex, it took no time before I was back at rock bottom; constant tears the inability to think and make decisions, let alone being able to look after two kids. What I did this time though, massively improved my mood, energy (despite sleep deprivation!) and my ability to enjoy parenting. I decided I needed to do whatever it took to feel better so I could see what all the fuss of parenting was about. I started to eat healthier and more regularly, sought my doctor’s advice and went on medication. I also began exercising with Jen at Body Beyond Baby as soon as I’d had my 6 week check up…. this turned out to be the key turning point.

Training with an exercise professional that specialises in post-natal exercise, teaching the importance of safely re-building strength from the inside out, made all the difference. Before long I felt stronger and fitter than I have in years, if not ever. The nannies took care of the kids while I got fresh air, sunshine (also a brilliant cure for depression), increased strength, and social activity with other mums, and a hit of endorphins.
Despite only being able to commit to one session a week, this turned out to be enough to spur me on and provide me tips for doing more exercise on my own throughout the rest of the week. 

Now, almost two years on, I still hold exercise as the most important factor for boosting my mood, my ability to cope and my ability to think clearly. I don’t live in Sydney anymore so can’t train with Jen, but if you do, I couldn’t recommend training with Jen more highly.  She is so passionate about what she does, she practices what she preaches, is genuinely interested in each of the mums and I am still in contact with her despite being interstate.

As someone who's had quite an ongoing history of depression, especially in times of big changes (e.g. moving house/country, changing jobs & having a baby!) I can say with experience that good regular exercise (not just walking) doesn't get the emphasis it should.  Medication or talking to a psychologist, alone, isn't enough. I now know that exercise and nutrition are absolutely vital in truly getting your life turned around for the long term.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Meet our Bluebird Community ambassador - Amanda Cox

I'd like to introduce you to Amanda Cox aka Mad Cow , Amanda is our first Bluebird Community ambassador and here is her story:

There’s a bit of fun to be had, bouncing around to the beat of the music, fluorescent g-string leotards holding up your lycra bike shorts, yelling instructions along the lines of “hold those abdominals tight! Tighter! TIGHTER!”

It’s way more fun when your 36 week pregnant belly prohibits the view of your toes – the look on people’s faces is priceless.

It’s also a pretty great feeling, knowing your body, it’s strengths and what it is capable of doing when you first walk into the labour ward.

Beaming with excitement, and terrified as hell at the same time, and 11 days overdue I wandered in, ready to take on anything. Especially the epidural, which I think I’d requested a good five weeks earlier.

My preparedness wasn’t enough for the emergency c-section that my pregnancy culminated it. Sure, it also produced a gorgeous baby boy, who fed well and slept well and was just the cutest thing every. He was the very epitome of “good baby”.

But all I could see was how I had failed in my very first role as a mother. Giving birth; millions of women do this every year … and I had failed.

I spent the next ten or so months raising this baby, feeding him, cuddling him, reading to him, being with him. All the while I was reading, reading, reading, taking on every piece of information I could. If I couldn’t get the birth right, then I would do what I could to get the rest of it right.

I was going to be the World’s Best Mother.

Whilst I tended to the physical needs, my mind was doing its own thing. It kept reminding me how badly I had started, telling me I was useless, I couldn’t do anything right, that not only was I not a good mother, I wasn’t a mother at all. How could I be? It’s not like I actually gave birth or anything like that?

And I started to make sure this baby was raised properly. So when “they”, his “real parents” came to get him, he would be ok.

I slipped further and further into a darker place. The more I read, the more people I spoke to, the more I was aware I was doing wrong. Well, sometimes. This book said to do this, that professional told me something else, my mother-in-law told me it was my fault I had a c-section, and an aunt called me “evil”. 

I was confused, conflicted and slowly losing control over … well, everything.

Although married to a chef, and living at a function venue, complete with commercial kitchen and two professional chefs, I took on the cooking of the evening meal.

I was the only thing that I could control, implicitly. It was an exact science, I followed a plan and everything worked.

It also put me in regular contact with the professional chef’s knives in the kitchens where, whilst dicing the carrots and slicing the onions, I could fantasise about slitting my wrists or cutting my throat.

I’d ponder how long it would take before I died.

Driving to and from uni, my outlet and the one thing that kept my mind active, I would contemplate the many choices I had before me; do I run into that pole, or that tree. Should I drive into a truck, or perhaps just slam the brakes on hard so the one coming up behind me could finish me off.

Oh, the possibilities were endless.

I’d have a bath, you know, to relax. Hot, bubbly, and locked in a room by myself. I’d immerse completely in water, my face submerged and the peace was welcome. I wondered how long I would have to remain under, before I was completely at peace … and who would find me.

I didn’t have “thoughts of suicide”, as the brochures suggest. I was completely overwhelmed with thoughts of dying. They consumed me, and everything I did in my day.

Two things stopped me.

The first was that my mother-in-law would be involved in the upbringing of my son.

The second was the words of my beloved grandmother, whom when I was ten, and upon hearing of the suicide of a 15 year old boy, muttered “Why don’t they just talk to someone?” To this day, I don’t know if she was talking to me or herself. But I knew I could do nothing until I spoke to someone.

I did. I visited my GP, under the pretense of a pap smear, when I burst into tears. I was fortunate to have someone so amazing as my GP, and within a day she had me seeing a psychologist, and within a week, they both had me on antidepressants.

My illness had caused me to drop all the group exercise classes and personal training clients I had. I just couldn’t summon the energy to lead a group, or a person. I missed exercise incredibly.

I realised, then, that for all the time I was feeling sad – so deeply and debilitatingly sad – I had continued to walk. Daily. Everywhere. It was the thing that I could do that wasn’t hurting myself. It was sunshine, that made the teensiest of cracks in the black. It was the vast space that made the noise of my son’s cries seem quieter. It was me out in public, so I couldn’t break down, or cry, or throw myself off a bridge.

I continued as part of my treatment for PND; counseling, meds and walking.

I had an amazing support team around me in my husband, a sister-in-law, my GP and my psychologist.

I got myself three additional sources of support; a good pair of shoes, a decent bra, and some great friends to join me.

Body Beyond Baby launches The Bluebird Community

This week we are gearing up for the launch of The Bluebird Community.  The Bluebird Community is an initiative that has been a thought process of mine for quite some time - you know, one of those things that you talk about..... and you are so full of enthusiasm...... and it feels like such a great idea but lots of the time these great ideas don't ever come to fruition.  I guess I can sometimes be one to just jump straight into something - commit to doing it in some shape or form and then make it happen.  I put myself under pressure but I achieve things this way - people expect, so I deliver and I am so glad I have made a commitment to get The Bluebird Community up and running.

Personally I have never been diagnosed with post natal depression but I have had times in my life that I have been hugely up and down - the most recent being after the birth of my daughter, India, who is now 16 months old.  I spent the first 6 weeks of India's life in tears, not quite sure how I was going to get through the day.  No idea how to juggle a demanding two year old and a tiny baby that just seemed to cry SO SO much.  She was beautiful, she is beautiful but she's never quite got the hang of sleeping all that well which was quite a shock to the system given my son, Marley, seemed to sleep so well from the start.  I was out of hospital within 24hours and back to the real world - exactly where I wanted to be but my frame of mind started to suffer.  My husband didn't get much time off work and although his parents came from interstate for a couple of weeks and took Marley out and off my hands most days I still couldn't quite seem to pull myself together and get on track.

I do remember that I wasn't exercising as much as I did with Marley - not strenuous exercise that early on but with him I was out walking everyday, everywhere - I had the TIME to take my time back then.  This time round trying to convince a very busy little boy to sit in the pram while I 'took my time' was not going to happen.  When my in laws left two weeks later I think it really hit - life went on, everyone gets on with their day and you somehow have to get through yours...... there were many tears (mine and hers) and sleepless nights that I just couldn't handle my daughters cries - what kind of a mother doesn't have the patience to sooth her own baby?  I wanted to hold her, comfort her and make her stop but the anger and frustration can be overwhelming - I wanted her to go away, to be quiet.

I am very lucky that my mum arrived from the UK when India was six weeks old and she has been here ever since - she actually leaves in two weeks time so I know I am then going to have some big adjustments to make not having someone to lean on all of the time.  My mum pulled me out of that hole - she helped me with my children and does so almost everyday even now - she is a huge part of my life and their lives and we will all be very sad to see her go.  It is a little scary to me to figure out what to do when she is gone - I know that I have to make time for myself and to prioritise exercise in my life - it keeps me going and makes me tick.

We all need the support of someone around us, someone or something to get us through a tough day and with more and more of us not having family around to help us raise our children it is important that we factor ourselves into our day to day life.  It is all too easy for mum to look after everyone's needs and not her own.

With The Bluebird Community I aim to provide mothers that need it an opportunity to be part of a friendly and supportive group, to do something for themselves and for their baby to be looked after allowing them some time out.  By partnering with local business we take away the financial aspect of starting an exercise program and welcome these mothers into our group.  Endorphins are released through exercise and we often find many of our mums create friendships which carry outside of their training sessions which is incredibly important.

I am SO SO excited to be able to announce that we have welcomed Taylors Real Estate Agents in Randwick on board as our first sponsor of The Bluebird Community - Mark Taylor has welcomed us with open arms and is very keen to make a difference in the lives of women experiencing PND.  With our launch just two sleeps away things couldn't be going better.

Tomorrow I will introduce you to our ambassador Amanda Cox who shares her experience with PND and how exercise helped her to get through it - stay tuned.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chritsa - Find Your Summer Body Week 5

There must have been something in the air in week five as reading Cathy’s blog sounds too familiar.  The whole week I felt really tired and while my lil one adjusted to my routine during the day, he decided to become devils child during the night.

On top of it all I had a mini breakdown about my thighs. Whilst I see minor but steady improvement to my whole body, mentally as well as physically, I start to wonder if the cottage cheese legs will ever get in shape again. And why is it that husbands think saying "Don’t worry honey, I love you no matter what you look like" is actually helping?!?

However, it’s a new week and I decided to get over myself.

In terms of my diet I honestly think that I am eating healthy and am enjoying my salad. If I have salad as a main I make sure I add meat as otherwise I feel like I am missing out on something. (It is hard enough to cut out bread as much as possible…) Normally I have chicken or lamb strips on the barbie mixed with green leaf salad, tomatoes, red onion, pumpkin seeds and whatever veggies I find in the fridge. I also tried Jen’s hummus recipe and it’s really quick and easy.  I swapped the beetroot for red capsicums and this works well too.

I am really looking forward seeing Nutritionist Marieke Rodenstein for an educational nutrition session and hope this will reveal any other ways that I could improve my diet. I would love the kilos to drop off that little bit faster.

I have realised I don't drink enough. Sometimes at the end of the day I recall my water consumption and realise that other than the water during the training I only had coffee…I even buy bottled water when I am out only to find it still sealed in my bag hours later. I know, I know this has to change straight away.

As I absolutely want to keep doing what I am doing in terms of exercise I am now planning my training  post-challenge. Even though it is sometimes quite hard to get organised and leave the house in time, I really look forward to each session. Not to mention seeing all the other mums which are not just training partners anymore, but more and more becoming friends with the same goals.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cathy - Find Your Summer Body Week 5

O.K, I'll admit that the hormones got the better of me this week. With my partner out of town for 2 weeks and it being that time of the month I just didn't have the same energy that I have been putting in up to this point. I even surrendered to a chocolate fix (albeit a "healthy option"). Here is the recipe if you need a little indulgence:


35 pitted dates (to be soaked overnight)
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
3/4 cups quinoa flakes
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/3 cup raw cocoa powder
3 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons ABC spread


soak the dates overnight then chop into tiny pieces (or whizz in a food processor)
Add the tahini and ABC spread to the chopped dates and mix together.
In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients (chia seeds, sesame seeds, quinoa flakes, desiccated coconut and cocoa powder).
Slowly add the dry and wet ingredients together to a consistency that holds together. (you may need to vary quantities as you see fit.
Using your hands form into little balls about 3cm diameter.

I don't feel bad at all because I am continuing with the challenge as usual it's just a few days of not being on full power. I feel much better now and I'm ready to go out of week 5 and into week 6 full steam ahead.

Another admission I have to make is that after training when the tape measures and scales came out, I made a swift exit. Had it been a few days earlier before the bloat and plateau I would have been excited to see my results. I can't wait to see what I will achieve as an end result plus I am really proud of myself for what I have achieved so far. Who'd have thought?

The crucial key for me and the biggest change in my life has been the forward planning and scheduling. Without them I would still be flailing, still waiting for that 'tomorrow' to start. With most things in life it's been persistence and consistency that have helped me reach my goals.

I went to my parents the other day and I hadn't seen them in a few weeks and my dad even commented on how much weight I had lost and how well I looked. The fact that he noticed anything apart from his grand daughter says it all really.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Jen's Beetroot Hummus

This is one of my favorite dips and makes a great snack with chopped veggies.  I have to confess I haven't had much time of late to 'whip it up' but it really doesn't take too long and tastes very yummy!  Great for kids too.

1 can Chickpeas
1 can Beetroot (I use sliced as its easier to blend)
1 tbsp Tahini
splash of Olive oil (though flax seed oil could be used here as it is a great form of good fats)
tsp Garlic
tbsp Lemon juice
(I prefer it sweeter so I put more lemon juice than garlic but if you prefer a more garlicky taste just swap the quantities around)

throw all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. I sometimes then add a can of whole chickpeas for a more chunky texture.

Chop veggies, dip in hummus and enjoy a healthy yummy snack.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Christa - Find Your Summer Body Week 4

Half time!!!!  I can’t believe it has already been four weeks.... I am feeling so much better.  I have lost 2kg in the last two weeks which is great but  I have to admit though that I thought as soon as I started exercising again the kilos would drop off a little faster.  I can see a difference in my wardrobe and I went for a swim on the weekend in my old bikini.  I didn’t turn any heads (yet) but I don’t feel like hiding anymore either!

I also think that I am getting fitter by the week even though my body seems to be constantly sore.  I am with Cathy in regards to running, but same here, it doesn’t feel like I am dropping dead after a run around the oval anymore.  The bright red face is something I can’t seem to get rid off but I looooove the fact that I am sweating like hell.  Sorry, I know its slightly off putting but the sweat coming out of every pore feels really good…

Friday’s hill boxercise had me nearly crack and sometimes during the sessions I thought to myself "why am I doing this?"  Afterward I get my answer; the chemical reaction in my body after giving it my all is just such an amazing feeling.

Sunday’s steps are still a killer and I am actually surprised that I don’t have nightmares the night before.  But its so intense and at the same time a quick workout that really pays off and it seems we are all improving by the week.  I can be a bit competitive and thanks to Sarah I gave it my all last week.  It makes such a difference if you try to stick close to somebody - you are my hero girl, your baby is only about 14 -15 weeks and you kick my ass every time! At the moment I am improving my time due to running down the steps quicker rather than coming up faster which is a huge challenge.

I don't think I have ever been quite as determined as I am at the moment - before I was pregnant losing or maintaining weight was never really that hard..... things are different now.    I have decided to do more in terms of our ‘homework’ as it is very easy to ‘forget’ about exercising at home after doing 5 group sessions a week.  This week I actually set an alarm on two days during my babies naps time to perform my do-at-home program. No excuses anymore.

With the BBB end of challenge party in the diary and my 35th birthday just before that I am definitely going to spend some money and treat myself to a new dress…preferably in the size I was before falling pregnant and I plan to look HOT!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cathy - Find Your Summer Body Week 4

Here we are at the half way point and it has been one hell of a ride so far. I now know why it's called a "Challenge", it certainly wasn't called the 8 week "Easy"!

The weight has been steadily melting off onto the grassy hill, Coogee steps and all over Centennial Park. I have been working my (now very sore) ass off and I am delighted to say I am on track!....until now.

I wasn't expecting to hit a plateau this week and I must say it has been very frustrating to move forward.  The chocolate voices have been whispering in my head and driving me nuts but so far I haven't succumbed because my determination to reach my goals is shutting them down.  I am sticking with my plan and just continuing on with things. Only 4 weeks to go!

I still can't see an obvious visual difference with my weight but my clothes and the scales are telling me otherwise.  My jeans now have a little less muffin top to deal with and I am fitting into clothes that have been in the vault for some time.  There is still a long way to go so I won't get too excited just yet.

The running (never my forte) which I thought would become easier hasn't and I don't think I will ever come to love burpees.  But if you had told me at the beginning of this that I would be doing push ups in the rain I would have said you had the wrong girl.  I am feeling much stronger than I have in a very long time, what I love is my new found core strength...all those planks are making a difference.

Four weeks into it and I feel that new life changes are being made and that regular intensive exercise and a cleaner, better portioned diet is going to see me a long way into my future and also help me be a better example for my daughter, Milla.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Christa - Find Your Summer Body Week 3

Three weeks of the challenge have passed and I fit into my skinny jeans again! OK, they are still more like compression tights but I can actually button them up.

The weigh in last week showed a kilo more than at the initial assessment.  Even knowing that you probably gain weight when muscles are built up, I was a little bit disappointed in myself. Training four times a week (and a hill session surely counts as double) and keeping a close eye on what I eat hasn’t done quite the trick..... yet.  Later that day though Jen texted to let me know that I lost 2.5cm of my waist and 5mm of tummy fat. That was exactly what I needed to hear and a big motivator.

The exercise sessions are still great and I finally got myself and my baby, Alex, into a routine so it doesn’t feel I have to leave the house in a rush before every session.  I pack everything the night before and I changed his napping time to right after the classes. I know it sounds a bit harsh for a 6 month old to follow my routine rather his but I do believe he will be a happier kid if I am healthy and happy with myself.  After all, I put him in the playpen with the nannies and he doesn’t even look back once (not to mention that he naps for 2-3 hours rather than half an hour after playing his heart out in the fresh air, hooraaahh)

My eating is my biggest enemy at the moment.  I definitely think about what I eat and don’t have massive portions anymore. (except last weekend after a visit to the Austrian Club where they served Austrian beer and Schnitzel hanging over the edges of the plate..... I am still paying for that)   However, after Alex is in bed the chocolate devil is haunting me and I get this sugar craving.  I am still going strong, normally satisfying it with a pack of blueberries but I am wondering if there will be a time where I don’t think, dream, smell chocolate everywhere.

In the meantime I'm really into exercising again.  My other half wanted to go away for the weekend and I instantly thought but what about the Sunday steps session?!  So, we decided to do that after the 8 weeks and I also signed up for an extra session in the Friday boxercise class.  It is officially back; the feeling of missing out on something if you are not working out….and that’s good as I still have a long way to go!

Cathy - Find Your Summer Body Week 3

Here we are at week 3 and I feel like the scales are moving like an old rusty gate in the right direction. It's all just happening SO s.l.o.w.l.y.....

I am starting to feel a little frustrated when I should really be happy with my efforts.  I am putting in all the training hours and my diet is being watched...but I just don't FEEL any different. I also can't SEE a difference but I just have to trust that it will all come together.  In fact it just highlights how much further I have to go on this journey which makes me mad at myself for letting it get to this stage. 8 weeks will just be scratching the surface but it's a great start to a new way of life.  I'm feeling flat but my motivation and determination are still there.

What I have learned so far is that it really helps to be prepared and to plan ahead. I take snacks with me when I am out like almonds and apples or rice cakes with ABC spread to keep me going.  I have emptied the whole house of unhealthy foods so I won't be tempted and if I am working then I pack a lunch of a turkey and salad wrap for something similar.  I'm definitely not going hungry, but there is a certain amount of discipline in the preparation and forward planning.

The training is all going well and having my four sessions per week locked in really keep things on track, the other days I use my resistance band at home for a work out (but of course training by yourself you never really push yourself as hard as you would in a group).

We are already one quarter of the way into this challenge and I know there is no quick fix but I am anxious to start seeing obvious results. I think I might need to work on my patience as well....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Guest blog - Deciphering food labels by Nutritionist Marieke Rodenstein

Food labels are intended to help you eat healthier but this premise only works if you know what to look for and what to avoid and then make the appropriate choice. Unfortunately many of us focus purely on the nutrition table (which is often inaccurate) and base our choices on which products have fewer calories and fat. As a result we often neglect to see the real dangers lurking in our foods and continue to make poor choices.

So next time you reach for a product on the supermarket shelf or your pantry or refrigerator check the ingredients list rather than just looking at the nutrition table and look out for the following:

•    Sugar, glucose, fructose, dextrose
•    high fructose corn syrup or corn syrup
•    hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fat
•    artificial sweeteners such as aspartame
•    artificial colours (in particular 102, 104, 110, 122, 123, 124, 127, 129, 133, 150)
•    preservatives (in particular E211, E220, E828)
•    Nitrate & Nitrite preservatives (E249-252)
•    Artificial flavours (E620-635)
•    MSG (E621) – flavour enhancer
•    Hydrolysed vegetable protein (hidden source of MSG)
•    Yeast extract (yes, this includes Vegemite!) – also a hidden source of MSG
•    320 BHA (Buylated Hydroxyanisole) – a synthetic antioxidant
•    soy protein or soy protein isolate

A note on artificial colours: did you know that Australia’s favorite biscuit the Tim Tam contains not only 1 but 5 of the above mentioned artificial colours! These colours have been banned in other countries due to the health effects they have been associated with (hence the fact that they are so exclusive to Australia). So when it comes to biscuits to avoid (particularly for your children) Tim Tams top the list!

Marieke Rodenstein
Dietitian & Nutritionist
The Nutrition Practice
0450 458 549

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hill session

Hill sessions are always great fun and a great effort - here are a few pics from Tuesday morning....

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Christa - Find Your Summer Body Week 2

Two weeks down and I already feel some changes. Even though the scales showed a kilo more than at the weighing I feel energetic, healthier and overall much better. I guess I am slowly building some muscle again…yeahh

Training is getting more fun every time there are some mini-improvements.  Not being completely exhausted after 2 burpees, slightly better performance at the beep test and an improved time at Coogee’s killer steps feels great.  Those 218 steps are quite something but it is a fairly quick and intense workout. The hardest bit is when I am coming up seeing the end of the steps, then getting there and realising that it is just a plateau and there is still another approximately 100 to go to the top…bugger! But, no pain, no gain I guess. It will be really interesting to see how much we all improve our times by the end of the challenge.

Jen had a few additional spots at Friday’s Boxercise so I went along and really liked the session.  It’s different to the other weekday classes and I was, once again, sore beyond belief.  The major difference is that I had to concentrate quite a bit to get the combinations right. Thanks once more to my patient partner, Cindy, as I was pretty uncoordinated.  Loads of fun though so I am absolutely in again if there are any spots left.

Meanwhile, I figured that my diet is not as healthy as I thought.  Foodlog is a great tool to track what I eat. Yes, it is a bit of an effort to log it all but its made me so much more aware of what I am eating. I had some 'aha' moments about food, thinking it was healthy or low calorie when in fact it is a completely different story. The muesli I always had for breakfast had a whopping 450kcal due to all of the of nuts, dried fruit and granola I used. Also I find that it’s easier to make sure I have less sugar and alcohol.  Those raspberry muffins and Tooheys Extra Dry's aren't appearing so regularly anymore - they give me an instant guilty conscious if I have to record them.

My goal for the remaining weeks is to even put more emphasis on what and how much I eat and to cut out sugar/alcohol completely; surely it can’t be that hard…

Monday, October 17, 2011

Guest blog - Not all Calories are Created Equal - by Nutritionist Marieke Rodenstein

Now that many of us have started tracking our calorie intake on Foodlog I want to reiterate on a very important point that Jen made in our ‘Nutritional Guidelines’ and that is the misconception that “a calorie is just a calorie”.

When it comes to keeping track of our food intake we often get fixated on the calories and forget about the quality of the foods we choose to eat.

As Jen mentioned, a widely accepted concept in mainstream nutrition is that weight loss or weight gain is strictly a matter of calories in versus calories out.  If you "burn" more calories than you take in, you will lose weight and if you eat more calories than you burn off each day, you will gain weight.  In other words, “a calorie is a calorie” whether it comes from protein, fat or carbohydrates.

We now understand, however, that not all calories are created equal and that calories from certain foods (such as fat and protein) can evoke entirely different physiological responses than others (such as carbohydrates).

A study featured in the International Journal of Obesity, for example, found that people who consumed eggs rather that bagels for breakfast felt more satisfied and ate fewer calories at the following meal.   Also, compared to the subjects who ate a bagel breakfast, men and women who ate eggs lost more weight and reported higher energy levels, this despite the fact that the egg and bagel breakfasts provided exactly the same amount of calories!

So which calories are more likely to make you gain weight?  Surprisingly it is not necessarily the calories from so called ‘evil’ saturated fats but the calories from grains and fructose that are the real problem.

More on this later!

Marieke Rodenstein
Dietitian & Nutritionist
The Nutrition Practice
0450 458 549

To read a little more on this very important topic you can also check out a past blog post of mine from back in 2008 - click here