Sunday, January 1, 2012

Transitioning from 2011 to 2012

Its quite difficult for me, as someone so intently transfixed on forward propulsion, to look back upon 2011 and take stock of the year that was. I'm going to do it, though, because the reflection is always so rewarding.

Last night was spent with good mates and beautiful food, secret champagne, perfect weather and spectacular views. We headed home after the 9pm fireworks but I managed to wake up and watch the midnight display on TV. I have had a very hard week of training, however, and today I'm completely wrecked. My right hip and calf are smothered in deep heat and my scheduled 2 hour easy ride has been postponed til tomorrow in order to rest today.

With the help of Tom Skulander and Eddie, I learned to ride a bike! With the help of Geoff (and his patience..) I have developed skills and trained harder than ever in my life. With the help of TADNSW, I've had all the equipment I needed for training. Mickster is the best training buddy ever and makes sure I never have an excuse not to head out because I'm alone. Today, I can confidently call myself a cyclist. I'm fitter than I ever have been. I'm an athlete. This is my reality.

I helped Ed buy an apartment, I gave up my cherished single life and asked him to move in with me and in ONE WEEK we will be living in our new Waterloo abode. I'm going to miss Randwick so much! I need to be free of the burden of rent, though, and we need a new beginning. There's a whole life transformation in process here (again). I'm kicking off a month of twice a week yoga to help ease the transition, along some super clean eating. No dairy, sugar or grains until Australia Day. The story continues...

I found my calling.. twice. Maybe even 3 times... It started with helping people as a personal trainer. Then I ran a series of motivational talks for Mission Australia on behalf of Fit for Good. I started helping people with different needs on an entirely different level and experienced the amazing satisfaction of volunteering. That, and David Rothwell from the Amputee Association, are what lead me to my mission to open Accessible Wellness. As the year rolled on, I had become Ambassador for Fit for Good at Common Ground Camperdown, and finally to Lululemon Ivy!

On January 30th, Ed and I are off for our first EVER real holiday! We booked it a while ago, because we realised that the piggy bank was about to dry up. We're off to Fiji for 5 days to do nothing but RELAX. Coach has warned me that those last weeks of January are going to be punishing!

In order to pursue my dreams as a cyclist, as a speaker and as an "Accessibility Activist", I have ended my career as a personal trainer in Fitness First. Big changes are ahead, as well as some tough times financially, no doubt. I do have fantastic support and guidance around me, so I'm not terrified... Just mildly anxious! The Leaders of Tomorrow program kicks of with 2 days in Brisbane in February, and I'm expecting to feel much more centred at the conclusion of the retreat. Huge thanks to the amazing Lisa Champion and my best supporter Bill Webster for writing the recommendations that got me invited to participate in the program.

I have LOTS of big goals and plans for 2012 - like my first time trial at Calga in March AND my first time as a bridesmaid in Feb (hi Avanti!) - but I can't tell you anything about them yet. Some things are still top secret. 2 weeks time, that all changes, so watch this space! <3

Thursday, November 17, 2011

ISPO 2011

On Thursday, 3rd November, I had the pleasure of attending the 2011 Annual Scientific Meeting of ISPO (International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics) Australia. This year’s theme was the Psychosocial Impact of Disability and Limb Loss. The article I've posted here will be published in the upcoming Summer edition of the Amputee Journal.

To kick proceedings off, there was a brief address from 13 year old Jake Widjaya, who, like myself, was born with limb difference. He started campaigning for limb difference awareness at age 9 and released a DVD called my special hand that focuses both on his childhood experiences as well as advise for parents and peers of children experiencing limb difference. As someone who has shared in Jake’s experiences, I think his courage is remarkable and I’m both extremely proud of him as well as grateful for his accomplishments in generating awareness and of his chosen direction and attitude.

Then it was over to Pamela Gallagher for her keynote address. Pamela travelled all the way from Dublin Ireland to share with us her insight into the world of the Psychosocial Impact of Disability and Limb Loss – right after talking to us about the rugby! Pam’s address focused on the issues we experience as amputees, especially our psychological wellbeing, body image and goal engagement, and how the clinicians who care for us can do a better job by understanding what the issues are and how to better respond to them. The study she is involved with is centred around improving our quality of life and breeding resilience and positive outcomes. She presented us with some alarming statistics – her studies indicate that between 20 and 40% of amputees have indicators for depression. She then outlined the complex challenges an amputee faces and which impact our adjustment. The most positive and profound insights Pam shared with us were about self worth and acceptance. Our self worth, not just as amputees but as human beings, is established by overcoming the challenges that life presents us. This is how we achieve psychological growth. Days come and days go, regardless of whether they are “good” or “bad” and resilience is the ability to forge ahead with that very fact in mind. She asked if acceptance was always appropriate... It isn’t! There are situations in which we are entitled to be angry. There are situations in which anger will spark action and this action will result in a positive outcome. Just look back at how segregation came to an end, how women won the right to vote, etc. We don’t have to accept disability as a sentence to misery or a limited life. It is what we choose to make it.
Pam talked about the importance of goals and how necessary they are to enable us to experience purpose, fulfilment and ultimately happiness. I was interested to learn of two different variations of goal setting – one being Tenacious Goal Pursuit, where we modify our own behaviour and lifestyle to fit our goals, and the other being Flexible Goal Adjustment, where we adjust our goals to suit the situation. Both methods were shown to reduce depressive symptoms and improve perceived quality of life.. It beckons the question: What are you working towards??

After morning tea, it was over to Sydney based Psychologist Chris Basten to talk to us about Responding to the Emotional Needs of Amputees. His focus was on how occupational therapists, physios and other therapists including psychologists and psychiatrists can best assist amputees cope with the task of adaptation. He talked about the emotional problems commonly experienced by amputees, such as depression, anxiety and PTSD, and ways to both identify and address these issues. He explained the importance of a positive attitude, optimism and accepting responsibility for ensuring your own positive outcome – as well as accepting that it’s perfectly OK to need help to do so and reach out to your support network, which could be friends and family, a psychologist, or the Amputee Association’s peer support network. He talked about how important it is for amputees to focus on your strengths and find ways to increase your confidence, as well as the tremendously important role of goal setting and achievement in leading fulfilling and rewarding lives. I can definitely vouch for that being true!

Right after Chris, I was delighted to hear the findings of the lovely Sarah Eskandari’s PHD, which examines Body Image as an Important Factor for Adjustment to Amputation. Sarah’s study surveyed 218 amputees and supported an alarming statistic: that while 5-8% of the general population experience depression, the condition affects between 20-30% of amputees. Those who viewed their bodies negatively subsequent to amputation reported more symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as a poorer perceived quality of life.

We then heard from Andrew Steele of Body Care Solutions (Melbourne), who outlined to us a case study in which elective amputation resulted in exceptionally positive outcomes. The goal of his message was to prompt the medical faculty to consider amputation as a valid treatment option which is not limited to negative psychosocial impacts. Weighing up the pros and cons of amputation versus reconstruction was enlightening.

Lastly, Carla Negri from Ossur Asia-Pacific (Sydney) presented a review of the Psychological Benefits Associated with Physical Activity for Persons with Lower Limb Amputation. Like Sarah’s presentation, the topic discussed by Carla was of special interest to me as an athlete and personal trainer focussed on wellness. My favourite article that Carla brought to our attention focused on investigating the relationship between participation in physical activity and body image in 56 lower limb amputees. The study highlighted a significant difference between the inactive group and the active group (who participated in a minimum of 2 hours aerobic activity weekly, in sessions no shorter than 20 minutes) and a positive relationship between physical activity level and body image – it’s another good reason for us all to get out there and get moving! In a 1985 study, Valliant et al. Found that physical activity for the disabled population can be an incentive to reshape their lives in a positive directions. Our focus needs not to be returning to our previous activity level: it should be achieving a healthy activity level and a balanced lifestyle, that accommodates our physical condition, whatever it may be. There’s ALWAYS a way to work up a sweat – and improved proprioception, confidence and coordination are just a few of the reasons we should want to.

I loved sitting in on the ISPO conference and wish I could have been at the symposium the day before. There is always next year though! It was such a valuable experience, which I hope I have been able to pass on and share with you in some small way J

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I do the hard thing.

There is so much going on I'm not sure where to start!

I've been sore. Not just a little bit. I ACHED.  I touched my coach's wheel on Sunday and threw myself down the road. Riding a wheel is scary. Touching a wheel is bad. I know that for a fact now! It's mostly road rash, apart from a black pinky finger - which has now returned to its normal colour. I elevated and iced, then after teaching Monday morning I sat in the steam room for a bit before using some hot/cold therapy in the shower. My neck was out and my abs hurt pretty bad, too. Battered, bruised and SO EMOTIONAL. The whingy tearfulness and inability to concentrate with all the post-trauma toxins in my body was YUCKY. Luckily, the worst of it had passed by Tuesday and Wednesday I was feeling like a scraped up and scabby version of my old self again.

Last week was EPIC! While you were all enjoying your public holiday, I was at the first EVER Youth Speaker Inc, hosted by the INCREDIBLE Sam Cawthorn. I was surrounded by 9 other amazing thought leaders and youth speakers for 8 hours in a room that absolutely BUZZED with energy. It was INSANE and just tremendously valuable.

The rest of the week? It looked like this: Train clients, train me, teach spin, early starts, focus on eating right, try to get enough sleep, be organised, forget nothing, be on time, ADD MAXIMUM VALUE, ALWAYS.

Last Thursday was a stand-out. Just one of the most incredible days I've had in, well, AGES. I went out to cover a spin class at FF North Ryde and it was amazing. The connection I shared with every single person I came into contact with that morning was pure magic. Fantastic conversations with incredible people and an incredible workout to boot. What more could you want? It doesn't end there, though. After a quick chai tea pit stop, I was off to The Northcott Centre in Parramatta to meet with David Rothwell from the Amputee Association about our pet project, his idea, but I'm taking it, growing it and running with it just as far as these little legs will carry me. It might take 2 years, but it is coming: Accessible Wellness Centres Australia will be the first "gyms" designed specifically to service the mobility impaired, building functionality, body confidence and self esteem to improve their quality of life. The focus is on integration and inclusion: the end goal is to have confident, balanced people in active lifestyles and good mental AND physical health. Whilst in it's infancy, this is SO EXCITING for me and I am extremely passionate about seeing this through. Whatever it takes.

Saturday morning I had a great metabolic strength training session with Hilly before teaching spin over at Five Dock: the SSS and a great way to power into the weekend chores and endless to do lists! I then had the pleasure of having a follow up meeting with Sam over yummy chai tea in Balmain. We discussed some great topics and I'm looking forward to sharing some of that with you in my first video blog. There's a lot for me to do before I transition full time into my company and away from PT in Fitness First, and I'm feeling quite overwhelmed trying to juggle everything.

All I can do is breathe as I ride these tumultuous waves: I know it's OK to feel overwhelmed sometimes. I know it's OK to struggle. I choose to do the hard thing. It has the greatest rewards.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Week 3: Success!

So weigh-in day landed and I lost 700g! Yeeha! It's not a huge loss, but if I can maintain and sustain that rate - which I surely can - I'll have lost over 5 kgs in just 8 weeks time. That WILL be AMAZING! Just the sheer thought of how great it will feel is enough to get me going.

I'm really proud of this loss because of the sheer bloody mindedness and determination that has gone into it. There's so much planning and preparation going in to ensuring a result. I had 2 food events this week, with wine, and I made sure I pushed through some gruelling 2 hour sessions on the day and the day after these to earn the right AND to stay on track.

The first was the Fitness First New You Awards dinner on Friday. I was invited this year as, when I was a finalist last year, I was unable to attend. Trekking in Nepal is a pretty good excuse I reckon! It was such a great night, incredible stories, amazing and inspiring people all around the room - with a cast of fitness professionals I was just so proud to be counted among.

It has been a great week. Last Tuesday I gave a talk called "A Being of Balance" for LuluLemon. It was a new experience for me, to speak in this environment, seated on a yoga mat, sharing so intimately with a small room of people, amongst whom I recognised the faces of friends. I'll be presenting a similarly titled but much more detailed workshop version of the talk to Mission Australia tomorrow, part of my role in Fit For Good. My ambassador profile is live now! How special is that?!

I've had another couple of great successes in the past week - I now ride successfully in cleats outdoors. Had my first long session in them yesterday and felt really good. Had to celebrate last night with 2 good friends and a delicious meal :)

There are some amazing things coming up in my calendar... Youth Speaker Inc with Sam Cawthorn on Monday, the St Greg's Annual Sporting Gala on the 14th - a black tie event, and I'll likely be dressed by Paddington designer Sylvia Chan... and lots of training and hard work to put in, in the meantime!

The best bit is, I have Eddie by my side, sharing it all with me, and I'm loving every second :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Weigh In Day: Reality Bites.

I've been training hard and following the meal plan, the changes have been big... but just not big enough to register any movement at all on the scales.

I'm healthy and my body is obviously very happy where it is. It is clearly going to take a much more concentrated effort to get those scales to move. I was vigilent and diligent, but I wasn't hyper-vigilant and I think that's really what's required here. There were a few sneaky cold ones on the weekend in addition to my treat meal and whilst my meals and food choices were on track - I also snuck little bits of Ed's food on more occasions than I should have. The result? Maintenance.

So I can see areas for improvement. No having a little taste of Eddie's muesli, sustagen or baked potato. It all adds up.  I have 2 food events in the following week though, one of which is the evening before weigh in day! In order to combat these, I am setting myself guidelines and limits, as well as arranging good training around them. I am, however, terrified of derailment. My strategy for next week of the challenge is to write more things down, be very strict on the numbers - the 3 meals a day are planned for me, but I need my snacks to be planned as well - they are already, but I haven't done the math. 1200 has to be the magic number.

I'm so disappointed, regardless of being able to see where I fell down. I'm often hungry, and I'm actually training above and beyond the recommendations of the plan. Yesterday and especially today, my energy levels are quite low, leaving me feeling a little flat and despondent.

This will pass. I will make this change. I have the evidence of where I am, the analysis of why I'm still here and the commitment to move past it. In a way, it's the kick in the pants I needed. Here goes.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Healthy Habits: The Desk Drawer

Last week, we had a look at some of the healthy things you can stack your fridges with so that healthy food is always accessible.

Really, it's not very far to go. Your desk, to the fridge, return. This makes life seriously easy for you. Sometimes, however, crisis hits. We get STOPPED, stuck, literally glued to our desks, unable to leave. A long conference call or major client outage or sudden threat of serious legal action can all be very powerful motivators to skip lunch and try really hard not to need to pee!

So when you can't move, but your tummy is a-grumblin', what is there to do?

Well, there are a few solutions I can share with you right now!

Some answers come in little tins. Now, fresh is ALWAYS best, but we're talking about what we eat in desperate need instead of running to the vending machine or simply going hungry. These are relatively healthy foods in convenient little packages.

First is the little tin of tuna. Coles Italian Style tuna is very tasty and only 59 calories per serve. You get all the benefits of increasing your intake of fish for very few calories and it won't ruin your appetite. Be very label aware when selecting your tuna. Some flavours are up to 200 calories in one tiny tin! Safcol salmon sachets (lemon and dill - 160cal) are another another delish fishy solution. If you're on the hungrier side of the snack attack, have either of these with 2 wholegrain crackers, like Vitaweet 9 grains. I don't advocate going for grains, especially the processed kind, as your first option, but again, we're looking at healthy crisis outcomes.

Next we have BEANS! Edgell have us taken care of here, releasing 4 packs of mini tins in great flavour combinations. Everything from 4 bean mix to chickpeas and corn - these are about 100 calories per serve and just AMAZING for you. Beans are incredible. A great source of fiber, vitamin B, folate and cheap as chips! I'm not going to keep ranting about beans, but you should head to this link for more information on why to ramp up your bean intake. You won't regret it :)

Nuts are another go-to-guy in case of emergency and should be an occasional inclusion in every healthy diet. Each different nut has different health benefits, but you're looking at heart healthy fats across the board and, like beans, limited insulin response. Don't go nuts with the nuts though, they pack a calorie punch. That said, you're better off eating them now and then that you are not eating them :) Lucky brand make a little six pack of boxed natural mixed nuts, meaning they come to you portion controlled and you get a little bit of goodness from across the nutty families.

Do you have any other desk drawer favourites? What are your best convenient food selections?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

12 Weeks A-Whacko!

 I have grand plans for 2012. Mighty grand plans. To give my lofty goals my very best, I want to feel my ABSOLUTE BEST going in. I want more body confidence!

I believe in my industry, I believe in my job and I LOVE being a part of something bigger. So, I signed up for Michelle Bridges' 12 Week Body Transformation.

I devote so much of my energy and my time to motivating others, I need it too!! So I'm turning to Michelle to share her passion and energy with me as I do with my clients. At the same time, I'm part of a great network and community all fighting to achieve great things, putting in the hard work required to find that success.

I know how to eat well, I have my tried and tested combinations, but I'm in the mood to learn, grow and try new things. Maybe someone else's recipe for success could be coupled with mine to make for EPIC WIN! It has certainly cured my boredom - the recipes look delicious and I spent this weekend cooking and preparing DIFFERENT foods, so there's nothing to do except reheat and eat this week - maybe boil a little wholemeal organic pasta and make some toast. It's easy for Eddie, too - he just adds some potato and meat (like grilled chicken or sausages) to what I've made. Everyone is winning!

I've been craving more routine life, structure and organisation. This challenge, like my training and my goals, requires dedication, persistence and perseverance. My favourite muscles to flex! Just like I tell my clients, consistency is key and while there will be setbacks - they WILL be overcome. Being organised is a great place to start. When you already have a plan, its easier to implement a workaround.

It started on Monday and ends on December 4. The best xmas present is the one I'm giving myself - HAPPINESS! I'll be doing my own training, specific to my sport, but I'll definitely be participating in the fitness tests, measuring up and getting involved in other events. We are people on a mission. That's the energy I love the most!

Xx DZil 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Healthy Habits: Fridge Favourites

I did work in an office, once upon a time, and I used to eat healthy even back then! Much of my diet was the same, despite the fact that it is now organic and higher in good quality fat (and much lower in tinned food). There are staples that you will always find in my fridge at home and these can always be stored in your office fridge at work. We want to avoid the temptation to buy things from the cafe of the vending machine. One trip to the local supermarket near your office means you have a well stocked work fridge at MUCH lower cost and it's all healthy!

Coles sells bags of organic carrots and apples. I go through one of each every week. I make my own hummus from organic chickpeas, lemons, garlic and tahini - but coles also sells a light hummus, tzatziki AND a fabulous beetroot and mint dip that you can put with your carrot or chosen nibbling vegetable. Tomato salsa is another excellent dipping choice, as is cottage cheese if you eat stuff that comes from cows.
There is ALWAYS natural sheeps milk yoghurt in my fridge. I use it as the base for my own dips, I put 100g with a sliced up apple or pear or with any kind of berry as a snack, and I put it over my soaked rolled oats for breakfast. Any natural yoghurt is great to have in the fridge to put with fruit at any time of day. Combining your fruit with the yoghurt gives you a little bit of fat and protein to slow both the digestion of the fruit and the blood sugar response to the fruit sugars.

I spoke about keeping a stash of boiled eggs last week - but you of the meat eating persuasion could keep lean, low fat turkey or ham slices in the fridge to snack on as well.

I hope you've enjoyed this week's installment of healthy habits! Do you have any other fridge favourites?

Next week, we'll put some nutrition into your desk drawer :)

Tell me what you're thinking people! I want to know if you're out there..

Monday, September 5, 2011

Healthy Habits: Portable Food

I'm travelling around all the time and I always carry my own food. I can't trust that wherever I'll be there will be healthy food options available, so I take the time to make sure my nutritional requirements are taken care of properly, as part of my every day preparation.

Fruit and veg are great on the run, as is a little container filled with a handful of almonds. I usually carry an apple and a carrot. In addition, I'll carry eggs in one of 2 forms: hard-boiled or a frittata.

Hard boiling is easy. There's very little mess and very little fuss. Pop them in a saucepan with enough water to cover, boil them for at least 5 minutes and then rinse them under cold water and peel them immediately. It's really easy to peel them if you transfer them from hot to cold straight away - it's very difficult if you wait until later. I eat 2 a day and have always had low cholesterol. Eating eggs is fine. Eating deep fried stuff and trans fats - THAT is bad for the ticker.

One of my favourite frittata combinations is goats cheese and grated zucchini with oregano and chives. You could use baby spinach and cherry tomato or even parmesan and olive with whatever herbs you fancy. It's pretty easy, too! Grate a large zucchini, measure out 40g goats cheese and whisk up 8 eggs in a bowl. Heat a medium frypan over a medium heat - use a little olive oil if you need to, nothing sticks to mine, I'm lucky. I like to mix the zucchini and herbs through the egg mixture with salt and pepper but there are different theories on this being right or wrong... I put that in the frypan and crumble the goats cheese over it. Once the edges start to cook, I lower the heat a little and warm my grill. Once it's just about done, just a little gooey on top, I pop it under the grill to finish it off - until it's beautiful and golden. I then slice it into 4 serves and put each into a container, ready to go in my bag when I head out the door.

I also carry an emergency tin of Coles Italian style tuna and never leave home without a spoon and a fork... Though I'll admit my travel cutlery is plastic.

Do YOU have any good tips on portable healthy eats to avoid getting caught out with the munchies when you're on the go?

Friday, September 2, 2011

One Body, One Life

So I recently had minor surgery for a soft tissue injury I got cycling. This procedure meant 3 weeks off the bike. In my down time, I decided to do lots of walking, upper body strength training and yoga. These pursuits have lead to me injuring my knee! There's a knock on effect in action here, as well.

I saw the physio and had my knee taped... The day before I was scheduled to have my first ever spray tan! There went that plan.. Also my training plans are out the window. Yesterday, my last stitch finally dissolved - I could be back on the bike! But alas no. I'm nursing an injury. It ruins plans, it's a bit frustrating and it's pretty damned painful, too: life, however, continues a pace.

I'm fortunate enough, however, to be sponsored by Elevate Performance and The Magical Kate of physio fame has made it possible, with her tan-preventing tape, for me to walk without either vomiting OR crying in pain, which made Thursday a much better day than Wednesday.

My life is exciting - I also had my car detailed AND managed to visit all Sydney based family members! OK that was sarcasm, but I did gift the talking Woody that Eddie found in the park to little SQuAngus and he loves him lots. Poor Bel has the nastiest eye infection I ever saw :*(

In ACTUAL exciting news, I have the finalised carbon fibre socket on my prosthesis! YEEHA! Can't wait to test this baby out..

I want to take a moment to shout out a HUGE congratulations to Caitlin on this week's FANTASTIC weight loss effort and to Lizbot for more training, more loss AND pushups on her toes. Also to Laura, for being the toughest chick ever to smash out 3 huge sets of gladiator/push-up/mountain climbers. YOU GO GIRLS!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Common Ground

On Tuesday night I had the amazing opportunity to attend an evening with Rosanne Haggerty, as the Ambassador for Fit For Good. I went along with founder, Lisa Champion, and board director, Justin Tamsett, to hear Rosanne speak about Common Ground.

What am I the Ambassador for, exactly? Well, in about 6 weeks time, The Camperdown Project will go LIVE! This is an incredible initiative, the first of its kind here in Sydney and the ethos is FANTASTIC. In addition to the wide and varied array of services that will be offered to the residents and community, there will be a pop-up gym - complete with spin bikes! - for the first 6 months. I will be heavily involved in coordinating the programs and initiatives operating in this gym and am VERY EXCITED to get started!

It was an honour to be involved with the evening and see the beautifully elocuted Minister for Community Services, Pru Goward, speak before Rosanne and also to hear Mission Housing present the stories of the people whose lives had been transformed by similar sustainable, affordable housing initiatives.

I am so thrilled to be able to be involved in this transformation! I love doing my bit to benefit the wider community. It is just so deeply rewarding. Smiling - inside AND out.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Maintaining Motivation

Last time I spoke at Mission Australia, the audience asked that I send them through my top tips for maintaining motivation. I think that's a great thing to share on my blog, so here they are!

My Top 15 Tips to Keep you Motivated:

  1. Keep checking that your goals are specific and achievable.
  2. Break your goal into pieces with a timeline as your road map to success.
  3. Make a lists of the tasks you need to achieve each day and set reasonable time frames.
  4. Keep your daily list short and plan well in advance.
  5. Take stock of the tasks you do achieve each day and be proud.
  6. You are your best friend, so positive thinking and encouragement are key.
  7. Visualise: see yourself achieving your goal and your rewards frequently; e.g. see yourself graduating, working your new job, living in your new home, playing with your children.
  8. Use visual aids like goal boards and written reminders hung in obvious places.
  9. Check your progress regularly, congratulate yourself on your wins and work around set-backs.
  10. Tenacity and perseverance are CRUCIAL. You must be persistent, stubborn and selfish about what you want to achieve: don't EVER give up.
  11. Seek help quickly when you have questions or when problems occur: take action and don't procrastinate. Just keep moving!
  12. Nothing worth having in life comes easy or cheap, so be willing to struggle sometimes. It’s what makes you tougher and builds your character!
  13. Do what you love and love what you do (learn and work!), life is too short to feel negative emotions when we can choose happiness. Be involved and be active!
  14. The more you talk about your studies and share it with your friends, partner, colleagues, the better your network becomes and the stronger your connection to your goals grows.
  15. Use journaling to analyse problem situations and face your dragons to break negative cycles.

I'm back over at Mission next Tuesday to talk about the importance of our relationships.

I'm also in for a minor operation tomorrow which means that I won't be able to teach spin or do any cycling for 3 weeks. I'm planning on doing lots of walking, yoga, writing and even a few dance classes. I've been feeling like life has gotten control of ME instead of vice versa lately, so I'm hoping this little break gives me the opportunity to take it by the horns.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Showing A Little Gratitude

It has been quite a while since I've written one of these. I'm going through a bit of a troubled patch, with my confidence taking numerous and significant blows in multiple domains. Chaos seems to be swarming about me and I long to find quiet and calm.

What better way, when feeling tested, troubled and blue, to reconnect with happiness and joy than to write a list of things for which I am thankful? More people than things though...

  • I have a cat who loves me and keeps my lap warm. She runs to greet me every time I walk through the door. She always wants my attention, pats are her favourite thing and she has affection on tap, ready for me to call on anytime.
  • Eddie is much the same *giggle*. He thinks I'm amazing and is always helping to keep my spirit strong with his kind words and affection. I get amplitudes of cuddles, massages and help. He would move hell for me. He regularly goes above and beyond and he does it without complaint or hesitation <3
  • I have a cute little apartment to house me and keep me safe and warm. Everything here is working. I am never hungry, I have good food, I cook like a little Martha Stewart and there's fresh, clean drinking water on tap. The air is fairly clean, the weather not too extreme and I live in the most beautiful city in the world. I run by the beach and cycle in the park. 
  • The support network I have close at hand is strong. In times of crisis, I have the resources to find suitable solutions quickly. My car is out of action, but I have Eddie to drop everything and arrange his family car as mine in the interim. I have amazing friends like Mick to drop me home from the scene of the accident, and Chandler who changed plans to pick me up from home, as well as Meaveen so we could run as we had planned. I have the love of my family.
  • I have clients with beautiful spirits who train with me because they believe in me, as I do in them.
  • I have friends in places I don't even know who reach into their pockets to make my dreams come true (money for my bike). 
  • I have an incredible coach who is devoting his time and energy to making a rider out of me and managing Debzillah The Handful. 
  • I have the support and backing of TADNSW and Clarence St Cyclery, Bill Webster and Geoff Rimmer.
  • I am able to reach out and help people who need it, through Fitforgood at Mission Australia and at East Sydney High. I have the opportunity to be the catalyst for positive change not just as a speaker and volunteer, but as a PT, a Spin Instructor and as an every day Australian.
  • I have a bike to ride and the rage to master. Everything is as it should be.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Good Food and Wine 2011

Hello Again!

I'm only 2 days late. I'm not sure anyone is reading, anyway.

Here's the story about Eddie and Deb's adventure to the Good Food and Wine Show on Saturday, July 3rd.

We arrived at about 2pm and it was THROBBING. People everywhere and many of them had trolleys! We had to grow accustomed to being run into, run over AND elbowed. We managed!

I spied an interesting stand not long after entering, a selection of jams and pickles by Anathoth NZ. After tasting a wide variety, I decided on the tomato relish and farmstyle pickle as both rank high in tastiness. Unfortunately, both also rank very very high in sugar. I suspect as high as the jams. Nevertheless, occasionally, treats are OK. I'll refer back to this statement frequently :)

Eddie was hungry so we had to find the mini burger stall for him to sample their wares. Once we had roamed and filled our bellies with a free selection of tasty treats, Eddie was next to flex his spending muscle. Below is what he purchased - the KLEVA Sharp, which came with a free grater!

Ed has been gone for days on his knife sharpening frenzy, but I'm sure he'll come home soon.

We wandered through the whitegood pornography supplied by Fisher and Paykell as well as its budget range by Haier. We were excited to see one of our favourite wines EVER, the Pinot Noir by ARA, on display - we stayed well away from all things wine though, it IS Dry July after all! We sampled many delicious smoothie cube flavours by Creative Gourmet, black pudding and potato bread by The Irish Butcher and the full range of Gü's puds and naughties (lime pies OMG). 

We don't normally like Gloria Jeans, but we did on Saturday. They did some awesome treats! They had these caramel filled wafers that melted into your free tiny coffee and were delicious. They also had free carrot cake AND lamingtons. We were spoiled... by the power of hillsong! We figure its OK cos we didn't invest $$.

 The rest of the purchases were made by me :) The chocolate chai above is AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS and nearly all gone already - I'm not sure where to? Teehee. I'll be buying more from the real chai website and taking it to Avanti's bridesmaids luncheon, so she can compare it with her mum's recipe. OM NOM NOM.

When I'm feeling run down, I like to put manuka honey in stuff for extra energy. Juuuuust in case all the stuff they say about it's magical properties is true. NZ holds the patent for Manuka and we pay a fortune for it. Beechworth honey have made a manuka that can't be graded because it isn't a kiwi and is therefore less $$. It is tasty (in my chai AND on my pear with natural sheeps' milk yogurt) so I'm winning.

The very last thing I bought were these 2 packets of M n Ms, which made it from Saturday until Wednesday night unopened, but after a massive spin class last night, having trained chest and back earlier in the day, I deemed it appropriate to sample these wares. The coconut flavor tastes like imitation coconut essence, which is an imitation of tastiness. I'm in no hurry to finish these. The peanut butter ones on the other hand will not see the week out. Oh boy! I love peanut butter. I also love chocolate. Whenever these two meet, I die and go to heaven.

Here are some of the samples I collected - two new flavours of herbal tea to add to my extensive collection. They were cranberry and pomegranate as well as Raspberry, Strawberry and Loganberry. I've already had them. How CUTE is that almond tin? I squealed with delight when I saw it and the girls on the stall were kind enough to give it to me on the sly, along with information on what makes Australian Almonds the perfect recovery food. That was music to this little athlete's ears, I'll just at any excuse to eat nuts so I have had my almond tin packed full of almondy goodness and on my person ever since.

Noteworthy mentions from the day abound! I'm excited about the gorgeous range of gluten and dairy free cooking sauces and dressings from Ozganics, but not quite as much as the gluten and allergen free baking mixes from Well and Good! Their everything was DELICIOUS. Best quality gluten free baked goods I've sampled so far - very important in my family.

The most exciting thing, though, by a long way, was the arrival of Harney & Sons teas in Australia. I am a tea NUT. I have a HUGE tea collection. These teas are really the creme de la creme. They smell incredible, they taste divine and they come in tins so pretty you want to display them always and forever. I can't wait to start my new collection!

I hope you enjoyed my food post about the naughty side of Debzillah. I'll talk about healthy food next week, promise :) Xx

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I know I had promised a food post today. It was supposed to be about the Good Food and Wine Show - I have pictures and everything! Then I was going to tell you about my weekly cooking adventures.

I have, however, run out of time and will have to delay that update until either Thursday or Friday.

I WAS at the Observatory for High Tea two weekends ago and my galpal and baker extraordinaire Swah has reviewed the experience over here

Birthday treats are the best kind <3

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mission to Motivate

I started this post on Thursday afternoon AS IT HAPPENED PEOPLE.

But as it happened, blogger failed and I wasn't able to repost it until NOW. Right before masterchef... How convenient?

Anyway, allow me to recap:
"This is awesome. I'm feeling headachy and chesty and run down, all of which is a bit crap, BUT I have come home, put my pjs on and jumped into bed with a cup of lemongrass and ginger tea. Its 230pm and I have laptop, tea and doona. I've never done this before. I can see this becoming my new bad habit.

I've just come home from my first talk at Mission Australia Surry Hills on behalf of Fit for Good. I feel really good about being able to share some stories and time with people seeking motivation and inspiration. They were lovely!

The talk was the 1st in a 4 part series, called Daring to Dream and it discusses what you need to build inside yourself to allow yourself to Dream, so self awareness and self worth, then moves on to cover goal setting techniques to start a successful journey"

Aaaaaand the rest of my post, which I had completed IN FULL got gobbled by the ether! *fist shake* I'll get over it, though and write it all again.

I'll be doing the 2nd talk, What it takes to win, on July 26th. The focus shifts from inception to delivery and how to deal with road blocks, obstacles and self doubt, using a positive attitude to turn them into opportunities for “adversarial growth”. The end result is to get the dream across the line.

I also spoke a fortnight ago at East Sydney High. I went in to give the kids a rev up speech and make sure they understood that life is going to go however they design it, so they better take their choices seriously and decide who they want to be. It was another extremely rewarding day and next term I'll be back to do a more in depth half day workshop with them on Strategies for Success Past School. Paid work, which is awesome...

On the subject of paid work, I've just launched a new business to encapsulate both Debzillah PT under Body and Breath, as well as my speaking work under Mindful Motivation: Inspirational Industries, with the motto Inspired, Ingenious and Infinite. The gorgeous Ingrid of Frankenmedia Design has secured the domains and will be starting work on my new website forthwith :) Huzzah!

Watch this space, Tuesday I'm talking about food and the good life!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Lot on the Boil

I'm just home from my skills session with Coach Geoff Nash. There's a pot of organic vegetable, chicken and quinoa soup reheating on the stove as I write this.

It had been over 4 months since my last visit to the track at Heffron Park. That's where we headed for today's session. In our last session I finally conquered a skill that had held us back for quite some time - changing hand positions. I was elated last Tuesday. Finished feeling happy, accomplished and content. Today we tackled changing hand positions to change gears and when to do it. Today's session didn't end with a rush of enthusiasm for me though. Today I left feeling drained. I came off again.

It wasn't a bad stack, but it wounded my confidence. I was practicing a new skill in a new riding position in a relatively new environment and on a rough surface - yes. The stack, however, was avoidable. It shouldn't really have happened. I feel clumsy and awkward. Maladroite, but moreover: plain silly. I want to stop falling down while I move forward and just head in that direction without the annoying niggles. Boohoo, I hear you say, and I do know that these are first world problems of no real or significant consequence. I also know that no journey is without it's challenges. I'm breathing into this... but it's taking some doing today. I acknowledge my frustration. I have high expectations of myself and this disappointment I feel is of my own creation. I just miss last Tuesday's joy. Could be the dreary weather?

Anyway, it is truly great to be back in training again. I'm loving the fitness training, but have also found renewed vigor and passion for my strength training. I'm finally able to deadlift the olympic bar with my prosthesis in a controlled manner - I trained this on Friday and boy crikey - I still hurt! The hammys are STILL tight! I'm also lifting my personal bests in upper body strength right now which is awesome. I wonder if the fact that I've recently converted to carnivourism is much of a factor.

What does the rest of my training week look like? Well, Wednesday is a hard day, so I'll be doing upper body strength training as well as teaching spin (a hard cardio session) in the evening. Thursday I again teach spin in the evening, Friday I'll train legs/deadlift with Emily before I cover yet another spin, making this a hard day. Saturday I will run 8km with clients and friend and finally on Sunday I'll wind down with 40 minutes of cadence training on the wattbike out at Velofix Rozelle.

Speaking of Velofix, I have some class plans to tidy up and send off before I head out there to coach tonight's indoor training sessions. You should come and check it out! :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Misadventures in Baking

May was an exceptionally rough month! In the second week, I got sick. After a week I recovered, only to fall ill again a week later. Boy oh boy was I ill. I had an evil, nasty virus that sapped me of all my energy and caused a host of infections that required 2 different kinds of antibiotics to take control of. Antibiotics, however, will only treat the infections. The virus is something that your body must combat on its own.

I hadn't been that kind of sick for many years. There's a large part of me that is somewhat indignant about it - "I'm so fit and active and healthy! I go to bed early, I don't eat junk and I exercise all the time!" But I also work a whole lot, try to keep a house, attempt to maintain a relationship with my significant other and family, as well as, very occasionally, my friends.. The honest truth is that I've been living my life at breakneck pace and have often wondered how long my body would tolerate it. Some changes are in order.

With my time off, I had a little project. I'm not very good at resting, but I did lay on my couch and watch dvds  or in bed reading a book for much of the time. My little project wasn't very taxing and didn't take very long. I wanted to make some healthy baked goods - full of nutrition, not sugar. Tuesday I attempted coconut cookies, replacing much of the butter with applesauce and using organic ingredients. I used too much baking soda and they turned out extremely bitter! Also, they were too fluffy, more like cake than cookie. I've always struggled with cookies. This was no exception.

I'm a pretty good cook! Risotto, curry, pasta dishes, frittata, polenta, fish, beans, anything vegetable, casseroles, stews and soups. I make mean salads and have some wicked healthy pizza recipes using either spelt bases or mountain bread. In dessert land, I can make a nice rice pudding.. Baking, however, has alluded me for the past decade because I'm always trying to reinvent the wheel. My friend Swah has a baking blog and she is an exceptional cook. "Baking is a science - follow the recipe to the letter!" she urges... I have had success with Brownies and when I was a kid I won a few cake competitions, but it's a different matter these days - I can't follow a recipe because I'm trying to INVENT.

Today I had a goal. A completely healthy, high protein, quality nutrition muffin. No added sugars or oils and all organic ingredients. I used unsweetened applesauce, soaked whole rolled oats, 2 eggs, apple, carrot, coconut, pumpkin seeds and lots of Cinnamon and allspice. I was a little stingy on the baking soda though, following the bitter cookie episode, and my muffins didn't rise. They are dense little rock cakes and they don't particularly taste of anything. They aren't distasteful, though, so that's a great improvement! I will work with this recipe again next week, with 1/4 tsp extra baking powder and baking soda and either some chopped dates or pineapple. Pineapple is in season and quite affordable at the moment, it also won't elevate blood sugar levels like the dates would AND contains enzymes that will help fully digest the protein from the eggs... So stay tuned!

Tomorrow will be my first day back at work and next week I will resume teaching my spin classes. I'm also taking on a new venture! Velofix Rozelle are opening a spin studio, where I will be coaching sessions on the Watt Bikes - a completely different style of spin class to those you experience and that I teach in a Fitness First environment. This is much more technical, practical and personal. I will spend most of my time off the bike, monitoring the class, instead of on it, entertaining them and yelling. I'm VERY excited about this! Classes for the first 2 weeks from Monday June 6th are free and you can book a bike on the website linked above.

I'm really happy to be finally heading back to the gym to see my clients. I miss them terribly! I love that I get to work with such great people :) I'll be able to pick my bike up from the shop tomorrow and get back into training - I'm hoping for a Sunday ride. Huzzah!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Difficult Decisions

Illness is no longer something I'm used to. I enjoy good health and focus on maintaining my wellbeing.

So right now, I'm very sick and very conflicted. I believe that the human body is amazing and our ability to heal, regenerate and grow is so often underestimated or even ignored in favour of "quick fixes" - like antibiotics. My income and livelihood, however, depend on my wellness every single day.

Today I see the doctor, who will prescribe antibiotics. Should I take them, I will subsequently rebuild my body with probiotics, coconut oil, vital greens and an immune tonic... But I could do all that right now, without putting western drugs in my body and causing it toxic strain, and build my immunity so that I don't get sick again for a long time. I risk taking longer to heal and losing more money in the short term, and that poses a very big problem.

I'm opening this one up for discussion!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Another Year Ticks Over

Tomorrow I turn 29. I'm excited! I needed to write this quick note before I go to bed.

I'll wake up alone and I'll be happy. Last year I chose to do the same, but on the day I was miserable. I was still finding my feet as a single woman in this world. As ME, with no boundaries and no emotional crutch. I'm in a very different space now. I can be alone and feel totally secure.

I look back at what I've achieved in the last year and I smile. 28 has been the best year of my life. I've grown so much as a person and my life is taking on the shape I want it to, going in the direction I really want it to. None of this is easy and it isn't yet a fait accompli, but this journey is one that I love and I can't wait to see what I have become by age 30.

I still don't have a handle on that whole balance thing, but I'm getting better at it. I'm definitely a lot less stressed than I was a year ago. In this past year, I have enjoyed the best health of my life. As my birthday approached, I have excitedly proclaimed to anyone who would listen "I've given myself the best present I can imagine! I'm the fittest and the healthiest I've ever been!" In true Debzillah style, I subsequently succumbed to the first coldy fluey thing I have had in over 6 months. You gotta laugh, right?

I'm also the most content within myself that I've ever been. Self acceptance had always seemed so foreign and challenging to me, but I'm now so close I can smell it on the air. I can't quite taste it, but I know it is near.

And on that note, GOODNIGHT and farewell 28!