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2011 – What a ride!

With just over two weeks left of 2011 I am on a high! What a year!   I love reflecting back on the year and still am amazed at how much I manage to squeeze into the 365 days…  

Some of the madness/fun includes:

* Promoting myself in a new role at work – taking on social media in communications co-ordinator role, from being an Executive Assistant

* Being bestwoman & MC for Sera & Kevin’s wedding in New Zealand – two fabulous friends sharing an amazing day

* Celebrating Dad’s 40years with Rio Tinto  – a trip home to Perth to spend time with my family & friends

* Meeting some amazing friends on the 12WBT fitness journey – two finale parties one in Melbourne and one in Brisbane – great people coming together to celebrate success in fitness

* Meeting Jamie Eason at Filex – Love Jamie’s approach to health & fitness, her bb.com articles rock!

*  SO many fitness ventures from indoor rock climbing, trapezing,  AC’s Sunday bootcamps, winterwonderland iceskating to swimming in the corporate games for Ernst & Young, running my first City to Surf, MS fun walk, Mudrun not to mention so many PB’s in the gym.

* Half day photoshoot to celebrate ME, my fitness achievements and to enter the Oxygen covergirl comeptition – tick off bucket list.

* Working as a trainer again at Annette Kellerman Aquatic centre, running bootcamps twice a week from June – December.

*Rocking it out at concerts – AC/DC, Janet Jackson, Cold Chisel with awesome friends

*Meeting some amazing new friends through the gym, twitter and fitness networks on bodybuilding.com and Facebook – I love social media! Lucky it is my job!

* Another successful year as Mo-sista for Movember – helping raise funds and awareness of this great charity – building the WORLD’s largest MOustache on Bondi Beach – highlight indeed.

*  365day photo project – some of the pictures I have captured give insight into my daily surroundings, didn’t take a photo everyday but manged at least 90% – loving the results

Wow… I am sure  I have missed a few things in there somewhere, lots of festivals, weddings and outings with friends – been a busy year – bring on 2012, looking forward to smashing some more goals.

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No Sugar November

The one thing I have noticed since starting Paleo is that I was being so good with not eating (0r craving for that matter) dairy, bread, pasta etc but noticed that I had slipped back into my old habit of eating lollies and sweets or more dark chocolate.   Now I knew I had to cut this out and NoSugarVember just happened to appear on my twitter wall one-day.    This concept was created by Natalie from New Outlook Fitness – definitely one that I needed and have a few friends following also – together we are going to kick sugar. 

A no sugar diet will result in you having more energy, by keeping your blood sugars stable.  Ensuring you are eating good foods throughout the day to also help the levels stabilise.  Good foods that is – good sources of carbohydrates, fats and proteins all important.    If you are having cravings still you need to re-evaluate the food you are eating and eliminate those full of sugar and preservatives, cut out the processed food and YOU WILL NOT HAVE CRAVINGS. I haven’t had a true craving for two months….   

I had forgotten just how much sugar is in foods, since doing Paleo my processed food intake is minimal and I truly do notice how “sweet” some foods can be.  Corn on the cob for instance… yum. 

It is Day 8 today and so far I can honestly say I feel great, I feel energised, happy, not moody or tired or cranky but that is because I have been eating so well the last few months.  I have only had one slip up and that was at dinner last Thursday night – I was at a friends place and she had kindly put some chocolate on a plate after dinner and obviously my sugar pathways were still in control and I grabbed a piece and popped it into my mouth without a second thought, it wasn’t until I thought this is so nice… AHHHHHH! haha… classic, so I savoured it, and had no more. 

I am tracking my calories daily, to ensure I am eating ENOUGH and getting all my macronutrients.  Ensuring I am keeping this body fuelled with the RIGHT energy.  I am averaging between 35-55g of sugar in foods per day, sources are from fruits and vegetables.

Breakdown of nutrients from yesterday – still need to get more energy IN!

 

 

 

Two months on with Paleo

Two months on and I am still loving the Paleo lifestyle!  I haven’t been 100% strict, allowing a few treats here and there (chocolate is one of them) but overall I am feeling amazing.  I have made choices to be picky where I buy my produce and meats from & enjoying the positive results!   For the first time in my “dieting” life I feel like I am NOT on a diet and in control and eating healthy.

Check out the Paleo Snacks FB page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Paleo-Snacks/110561122350632

Check out my post from day three of eating paleo – https://onnada.wordpress.com/2011/08/27/day-three-of-challenge/

I remember this day so well, was feeling energised and felt like nothing could stop me.  Two months on and eating good clean foods is giving me more energy and benefits than I have ever experienced before.  My skin is so clear and not dry, I hardly use body lotion, my digestion has improved so much (no bloating, wind or sluggish feeling) I no longer crave food or have mood swings or energy level drops.  I have dropped another 2kgs on the scale but am feeling much stronger and leaner…

To say I have followed it 100% would be a big fat lie… I have had the occasional dairy treat or cupcake (paid for it afterwards mind you) – I enjoy the odd soy piccolo from time to time, enjoy some goats cheese now and then (preferably with beetroot and walnuts) but predominately I follow the paleo plan. I do not miss milk, bread, pasta or oats. I believe my diet is richer in calcium and fibre now with the variety of foods I eat than it was before. Leafy green vegetables, meats, eggs, coconut oil/milk, fruit, nuts, seeds…. heaven.

The one thing I can say is that scrambled eggs cooked with butter, is DIVINE! I have this a couple times a week either as dinner or breakfast…

My daily nutrition looks something like this:

Breakfast: two boiled eggs, salmon or ham, spinach salad with avocado and balsamic dressing, strawberries or berries on the side OR fresh fruit with coconut cream or coconut milk (light) topped with walnuts or brazil nuts.

Lunch: Beef stew with vegetables; chicken/salad with avocado;  fish curry with vegetables; frittata and salad; sardines and salad or with ratatouille; sashimi.

Dinner: kangaroo w/sweet potato mash; broccoli, red capsicum; beef/chicken/lamb stews with potato/carrot/leeks; baked eggs with ham/pesto;  beef stir fry with veggies, baked salmon with asparagus and pumpkin/carrot mash.

Snacks: blueberries/almonds, coconut milk and fruit, almond meal protein balls, sesame seeds.

Interesting information and reading can be found:

 Anastasia – http://primalmeded.com/

Jamie Scott – http://thatpaleoguy.blogspot.com/2010/03/paleo-dairy-exclusion-and-calcium.html

The photos are in…..

A month ago I had an afternoon to celebrate ME. I had the afternoon off work and a bag filled with outfits and accessories ready to take to my Starshots Photoshoot. 

I have never really been a shy person, always outgoing, loud and bubbling with excitement, but when it comes to cameras the shy Donna comes out…   I knew it would take some time to get used to the camera and the wise words of the photographer Justin were “stop thinking”.   I am alway so in control of situations that it took some time to just listen to him and do as I am told. (ssshh Mum).

We started the photoshoot with the burlesque style – I had been to a friends charity night a few months earlier and brought a sexy corset and a little top hat. Channeling my inner Madonna I felt strong and sexy wearing trousers, heels and the corset/top hat combo.

The picture I loved the most, so much so that I ordered it on acryllic frame 24″ big is the relaxed picture of me sitting on a gorgeous chasse – I love the entire colour range/lighting of the shot, the green on the chasse with the wood – reflection and quiet time is so important in life and this just captures that.

All I seem to notice in pictures now is how the models are trying to arch their back up to get a good shot.  This is another favourite… I have been told numerous times that my blue eyes are amazing, how awesome is this shot? The green backdrop just brings out the colour that little bit more and I love how you can see the muscle striations in my chest. 

Most people that know me, or who work with me or have lived with me know that I hate shoes, I hate the restriction of them, you can take the girl out of the bush – yes it is nice to wear sexy heels from time to time and that i do enjoy but nothing is more enjoyable than bare feet on the grass or in the sand… freedom.  Justin the photographer is very good at capturing the true style of the people he shoots and he knew I was itching to get those heels off! 

Lots of celebrations this year, flying back to Perth for my Dad’s 40 year dinner with Rio Tinto was one of them.  The last time I saw my family was last year when my Pop passed away, so it was so nice to go home and see my family and celebrate with them and so many people I grew up with in Tom Price – mum & dad’s friends… oh the stories and the reminiscing of the old times, hearing great things being said about my dad’s achievements over the years, very proud moment indeed.  I brought this gorgeous Cue dress for the occasion. 

Love the blue backdrop and the photographer wanted to do another shot whilst I had on the lace dress which showed off “my great legs” end quote.  I am tall and have learnt to stand tall and be proud of my height over the years.  When you are given a gift you should embrace it. So with fake tan applied, I did.

One of the main reasons for the shoot was to get a great picture to send into Oxygen magazine competition. Everytime Oxygen gets delivered to my house I always admire the fitness model on the front cover and think “wouldn’t it be great to be that fit, or on the cover of the magazine”. Every year I would see the competition for “be on the front cover” and always would shrug and think one-day I will be fit enough, perfect enough.  Well this year when I saw the competition this strong powerful voice said “I am going to enter” and that is what I did.   If you wait until the day you think you are perfect, you will wait a long time.  I have worked hard, trained hard and very proud of myself and my achievements this year.  Entering this competition, for me, being a perfectionist, was a big hurdle to jump and this meant I am ready, to move onwards and upwards to bigger and better things. Needless to say I was very happy with the result. Love the green top and short from Running Bare. My favourite sportswear brand.

I had so much fun with the next photo! After standing in shorts and crop top and HEELS to get the picture above Justin thought it would be good to have some fun, so off came the shoes HURRAH and time to do some jumping shots.    He took a few snaps but confessed he got the right shot the first go…  my poor calves were cramping from going from heels to no shoes, to jumping……. modelling is hard work!

In the brief I mentioned that I loved boxing and brough in my favourite Running Bare hoodie and boxing gloves to do some action shots. Emma sprayed me down to get that “just worked out” look and I spend quite a few minutes trying to get serious.. I just kept laughing, was so hard to get “focused”, oh and not to punch Justin.  Looking forward to doing this shot again soon with  more definition on the arms/shoulders!

Natural shots.  I have always admired natural/nude shots, the arty ones that are done well and not too cheap looking.  That free feeling f wearing no clothing and being comfortable in your body is something everyone should be able to experience. you might not be “perfect” and what is perfect anyways? But to feel alive, free and confident in ones skin.   Standing (not crawling) on the bear skin rug I felt pretty awesome, reflecting on how far I have come this year on not only my fitness journey, but the journey of ME learning more about myself than I ever though possible.

The “fake” butterfly tattoos were a special little touch. I do have a tattoo and am looking to get another couple.  The butterflies for me symbolise freedom and creativity, to be who you are, true beauty at all times. My Poppy who passed away last October used to cherish the gorgeous things in life. He was so passionate about travel, animals, reading, learning and creating objects with his bare hands out of any material he could find. He used to make tables out of tree tops, he hand-made me a wooden jewellery box from a left over cabinet.. he always saw the beauty in everything and he even transformed old aluminium cans into gorgeous butterflies,  painting them bright and used to put them aorund his house. At his wake the words “when you see a butterfly, you know Ronald isn’t far away” just made me smile. I know his spirit is with me and my family and I do always smile when I see a butterfly, more now than I used to.

The foods I eat…..and why I eat them…..

Eating “different” foods then my co-workers do on a daily basis gets quite a bit of attention.  My morning breakfast ritual at work receives so many questions and comments from: “that is a healthy breakfast”,  ” I wish I had time to eat healthy like you”. “Is eggs everyday good for your cholesterol?”. Even before I was doing the Paleo diet my egg whites stirred into my oats used to cause a um a stir…

Being prepared and organised is key to eating “the way I eat”.    I love preparing my breakfasts that take no time at all.  Baked, boiled or microwaved eggs with salmon or ham, with a side of  spinach, balsamic dressing & some avocado – side cup of mixed berries/kiwi fruit, just delicious or left over beef/lamb/kangaroo and a nice rocket/spinach salad with brazil nuts or macadamias – so simple to prepare and bring into work.

Snacks consist of berries/nuts – sometimes chicken breast/veggies, (sweet potato included) depending on what I feel like and what training I will be doing that evening. Lunches are protein and salad/veggies or both. Lots of colours to get all the nutrients I need in my diet. 

Superfoods are my favourite kind of foods – I have always eaten a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and enjoy them all, the Paleo diet definitely ensures I get adequate nutrients!  The key ones are: Apples, Avocado, Beans, Blueberries , Broccoli , Cinnamon , Dark Chocolate , Extra Virgin Olive Oil , Garlic , Kiwi Fruit, Onions , Oranges , Pomegranates , Pumpkin, Spinach, Green Tea, Tomatoes , Turkey , Walnuts , Wild Salmon

My favourite superfood – Blueberries are so addictive, and currently only $3.50 a punnet!  Bargain.  Blueberries are so rich in *phytonutrients that even though they are not filled with the antioxidant vitamins C and E, the still provide as much antioxidant protection to the body as 1,733 IU of vitamin E and more than 1200 milligrams of vitamin C.  Recent studies have shown that blueberries seemed to slow and even reverse many of the degenerative diseases that are associated with the aging of the brain, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  Which is great news (especially with family history of Alzheimer’s)!

Second favourite superfood – Did someone say chocolate?  I love chocolate. I enjoy eating good quality dark chocolate.  Either mixed with goji berries, coconut or even chilli, I love it and find it goes well with an evening cup of tea.   The lastest sensation is one I found in the deli in Newtown made from coconut oil, agave nectar and cacao. Oh MY GOD, delicious.

I eat healthy clean food so that my body (machine) is fuelled adequately to remain fit, healthy and energised.  Put in great healthy food and your body will respond the same way. Fill it with overprocessed crap, you will feel, like CRAP! I don’t get cravings anymore, I may “fancy” something but I don’t get the “sugar frenzy” attacks, I no longer get the insulin high and low’s from eating refined carbohydrates.

Tracking my food, I can ensure I get adequate nutrients and vitamins the body requires.  Having had recent tests I have normal levels (calcium, magnesium and potassium, vitamin D) loving bone broths, such a great way to get nutrients! Now I know why my dog used to go MAD for bones… all that great marrow!! Soups with bone broth, vegetables, meats …. eggs, fish, fruits, nuts/seeds… food for champions.  

**Flavonols are plant compounds with potent antioxidant properties. Cocoa beans, along with red wine, tea, cranberries, and other fruits, contain large amounts of flavonols. Research is now suggesting that the flavonols in chocolate are responsible for the ability to maintain healthy blood pressure, promote blood flow, and promote heart health.   Eat in moderation of course.

*Phytonutrients are nutrients derived from plant material that have been shown to be necessary for sustaining human life. Phytochemicals are non-nutritive plant chemicals that contain protective, disease-preventing, compounds. Their role in plants is to protect plants from disease, injuries, insects, drought, excessive heat, ultraviolet rays, and poisons or pollutants in the air or soil. They form part of the plants immune system.

Research has shown that phytonutrients help the body cells communicate with each other more efficiently, prevent mutations at the cellular level, prevent the proliferation of cancer cells, and there is still much more that we are learning about the powers of phytonutrients everyday.

** Flavonoids are polyphenolic compounds present in vegetables, fruits, berries and beverages such as tea, red wine and fruit juices, having  similar effects as antioxidants. Especially green vegetables, onions, apples, berries and tea are rich sources of  flavonoids.