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Thursday, 27 May 2010

After years of trial and error, I think I finally have my body figured out.

My weight has varied. I grew up as a very tall, thin child and teenager (I was fully grown at 181cm by the time I was 13). I was subjected to ridicule every chance that somebody got. I personally feel a pang of pain every time I see something nasty written about 15 year old models who are 6 foot and 50 kilos, as I was a "freak of nature" like that too. I lived a healthy life, typical to that of any teenager - I was an 800m runner, I player soccer and softball, I ate whatever I wanted. I was just blessed with my mothers genes which meant no hips and no stretch marks. It wasn't my fault. My mum got sick of the comments too, so she thought it would be a good idea to dress me in oversized t shirts and track suits.

My metabolism marginally slowed down when I was studying for my final high school exams as I spent no time outdoors and instead my life consisted of staring at textbooks and writing essays with no exposure to fun or sunlight. But the end result was worth it - I got into the course I wanted, at the university I dreamt of attending. Life was good. I did a bit modelling locally for student designers and in small shows in Brisbane. It was a fun hobby more than anything else. Some of the girls I worked with did very well - some even went overseas, but I didn't take it very far.

Somewhere in my early 20s I became a workaholic and a gym junkie. I was overloading at uni (by doing an extra subject most semesters), working a couple of part time jobs and spending about 2 hours at the gym every day, 5-6 days a week. I barely had an appetite. I always felt full. Thankfully I do not view my life through rose coloured glasses and I put in a big effort to change my ways, even though my boyfriend at the time found skinny "hot". I never lived my life for anyone else. I don't look after myself to please someone else. I don't dress for anyone else either. Perhaps I'm a little bit too stubborn and too selfish. Maybe that's because I was an only child for almost 10 years.

Turning 25 saw a huge change in my body. I put on close to 10 kilos for no reason in particular, yet my clothes still fit me and my body shape never fundamentally changed. I will never know what happened, or why. My only guess is the terrible time I was having in my personal life.

Food intake control is the only way that I managed to lose most of that weight. If I eat what I want, when I want and exercise constantly, nothing changes. If I watch what I eat, whether I exercise I not, I can see results.  And really muscles and the work put in at the gym do not show unless the fat percentage is reduced.

So now, this is how I like to do things:

  • In the morning I have half a tea spoon of UMF 25+ Manuka honey, followed by a big cup of green tea or some warm water with half a lemon.

  • Mid morning I will have some fruit or a liquid breakfast.

  • For lunch, I like to eat a substantial meal. There is a fabulous organic cafe near work that does wonderful gourmet sandwiches - roast lamb and greek salad.. roasted vegetables... the baguettes they use are amazing. Eating a substantial meal for lunch gives my body enough time to burn off the calories and stops mid afternoon hunger pains.

  • For dinner anything goes - but I eat a small portion. Usually an "entre" size.

  • With lunch I almost always have something sweet, but I have a mini canolli, or two squares of chocolate, instead of half a block! It's all about limiting portion sizes. And it works.
Exercise wise, I have been very slack since I've been married. My lifestyle has changed and so have the clothes I wear and the city (and climate) that I live in, which means that much less skin is on show. I do try to fit in 3 exercise sessions a week. ALWAYS a run around "The Tan" on a Saturday morning (a 3.8km track around the Botanical Gardens) as well as two really good gym sessions - weights, lunges, skipping, circuit training. Exercise keeps me sane. I'm lucky to have a gym next door to the office so I can pop in after work when I get the chance.

I know that talking weight and diets is considered taboo and off limits, but I think our bodies are a big deal for women and should be looked after by way of llifestyle, instead of crash diets three weeks before our friends wedding. Our bodies constantly change and our habits and routines should also change.

Seeing the photos of Gisele, shot for Vogue weeks after her baby was born was something else.  The photos no doubt inspire envy, but Gisele is an athlete who trains hard and didn't use pregnancy as an excuse to abuse her body.  Here's a short part of the interview, I love how honest she is...

The baby is called Benjamin Rein: "I wanted him to be called River because I wanted something always flowing, immortal. My husband said, 'There's no way we're going to call him River.' But my father's name is Reinoldo, so it's a homage to him. And it's like water."

Benjamin was born at home, in warm water in a deep bathtub that overlooks the Charles River. "I wanted to experience the transformation," says Gisele. A midwife friend of hers came in from Brazil as did her mother; her husband was there too. Gisele meditated through the birth. "It was the most amazing experience of my life, feeling him come through my body. And once he was born, I never felt so empowered as looking at him and thinking, Oh, my God, we did it together!"

She was up the next day, cooking and wandering around the vast apartment where her mother is staying in the guest room to help out—"I don't trust anyone else with Benjamin." She's regained her figure, apparently instantly and with no more exercise than some yoga on a mat in the living room. "I think it's muscle memory," she says. Gisele has always been in shape: Born one of six girls in the German-speaking hamlet of Horizontina in southern Brazil, she spent her childhood outdoors, "like a little monkey, jumping from tree to tree in bare feet." An athlete, she was captain of her volleyball team and hasn't stopped. "I did kung fu up until two weeks before Benjamin was born, and yoga three days a week. I think a lot of people get pregnant and decide they can turn into garbage disposals. I was mindful about what I ate, and I gained only 30 pounds."

Thank you all for stopping by and reading and commenting on my blog. I know I have a lot of your blogs to visit and some awards to collect, I promise I'll get there soon....


  1. I love this post. Especially the part where you said you don't look after yourself to please someone else, don't dress for anyone else either.

    At the end of the day you have to be comfortable in your own skin, and that is a feat in itself. Terrific post.

  2. So agree that it is down to genes as well as looking after yourself. Giselle was also lucky in that her body snapped back into shape afterwards - I do think that many (not all!!) women view pregnancy as an excuse to "eat for two" and then wonder why they are still overweight 6 months after their babies are born! x

  3. I didn't see pregnancy as an excuse to eat so much as I felt I needed carbs to help ward the nausea away... in saying that, I was conscious of what I ate & made the effort to walk instead of driving etc. I regained my figure fairly quickly after my first born. After my second birth, I weigh more now than I ever have but it's not because of being pregnant, it's a bad change in lifestyle! My youngest is now almost 3 & I've yo yod with my weight since her birth. I'm not really viewed as 'fat' but at 5 foot, any extra weight makes me feel frumpy. Weight is definately an issue with a lot of people & I wish I was as liberated as you in saying that I don't do things to please other people; but, sadly, I do. Ummmmmm. I'm getting off the computer now! lol! :)

  4. Brilliant, brilliant post. It is inspiring. Thank you Xxxx

  5. Giss is definitely inspiring! But there are a lot of genes involved there too! In saying that, I certainly agree that it also boils down to lifestyle. Very nice post M! Enjoyed reading that!


  6. That interview with Gisele was so inspiring. The entire Vogue edition was fantastic. Did you read the interview with Kim Noorda about eating disorders? Amazing!

    Anyways - I've always had one problem in particular with my body. I started out at an early age playing handball and my legs have a trained form today still. I just can't figure out HOW to lose the fat on the legs? I'm naturally skinny and have a skinnier stomach than most, but those legs? Can't get it off!


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