A new month and a new diet… using Willpower.

Hello February!

Hello February!

Don’t you just love the first of the month? A fresh start, a new beginning, new resolutions and in my case, a new diet. It’s also the month that has thousands of Australians taking up the FEB FAST Challenge. Which usually means giving up alcohol. (although you can choose to give up coffee, sugar, caffeine or even digital screens as alternatives.)

Fletch and a few of his Neighbours mates are taking up the alcohol option. He’s already had some generous donations pledged from some lovely friends. If you’d also like to show your support, here’s the link.


Feb Fast

Feb Fast

I’m not quite so brave. I am doing a pathetic half-arsed version of the challenge by ‘saying’ I’m doing Feb Fast without signing up… There’s a good reason for this but I don’t want to go into details. Suffice to say I might have to head overseas soon and if that happens, well, yes OF COURSE I’d be drinking! And I want a practice run before fully committing next year.

I’m curious to see how I’ll go. And Fletch. I’ve heard lots of good things, so I’m actually looking forward to it.

Apparently you lose weight (YES!) and generally achieve a bucket load more in life, so I’ll keep you posted and let you know.

God knows I need to kick start the diet thing again after falling off the wagon MASSIVELY over the Christmas break. Getting on the scales right now is downright scary.

My juice selection for Day One

My juice selection for Day One

Some of you might remember me banging on last year about a diet I put together myself because I wanted something that was realistic to manage, simple to implement and easy to stick to. I called it the FIT FIX Diet, and yep, it really worked. If you’d like an overview, you can refer back to this blog to see the food plan for the first three weeks.


This time I’m still going to stick to the FIT FIX Diet Plan rules with the extra kicker – NO ALCOHOL. Plus some strategies from a book I mentioned in the last Blog, called Willpower.

Willpower by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney

Willpower by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney

It’s worth a read. Although I do think there are some contradictions in the chapter about dieting. Basically, the authors say there’s no point attempting to take up special diets because they never work. But at the same time, they say certain ‘rules’ can be effective. Like no sugar. If sugar isn’t an option at all, then you don’t waste time and energy deciding whether to eat the stuff, you just say ‘no’ and be done with it.

But if you implement a new ‘rule’, then you are in effect, creating a new diet anyway, aren’t you? Hmmm…



The best tip though, is the ‘not now, but later’ theory. The idea is that you never say to yourself, ‘I can’t eat that yummy chocolate ice-cream tempting me from the freezer.’  What you are meant to say to yourself is, ‘I won’t eat that yummy chocolate ice-cream now, but I will have it in two hours.’ Or tomorrow.

And you probably never will eat it, but psychologically, you feel less deprived. Those who do this lose more weight and keep it off.

There are lots of fascinating stories about case studies and psychological tests on groups of people to support this theory, so I’m going to give it a go.

Tapiz Chadonnay

Tapiz Chadonnay

So there you have it. The new diet means no alcohol, sticking to the FIT FIX Diet Plan and using tips from the Willpower book. All sounds good, doesn’t it? But damn, I’m going to miss my chardonnay…

Are you giving up anything for February? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments section too.




A weighty issue – which ‘diet’ works best?

I’ve been debating whether to write about this topic or not, since it’s almost politically incorrect these days to say we’re ‘NOT happy with our bodies’ or to even mention the word DIET, because it SHOULD be about being healthy rather than how we look, right?

Not to mention the fact that there are so many more serious political issues I could be addressing rather than the trivial obsession with what we put in our mouths and whether our muffin tops have grown since last year…

But heck, it’s my Blog so I can write what I want and I want to get into shape for summer, so selfishly, it suits me. It’s also something I haven’t addressed since the beginning of the year, when I went on the SUGAR FREE DIET for six weeks. Well, I did eat some sugar products – as long as they contained less than FIVE PER CENT sugar per 100 grams. I have to say I wish I’d stuck to it, because not only did I feel great during that time, I also dropped a few kilos without too much effort at all.

Just some of my collection of 'diet' books...

Just some of my collection of ‘diet’ books…

Sadly, since then the old bod has expanded beyond what I consider to be an acceptable size. It hasn’t helped that I’ve travelled quite a bit this year, which has meant less exercise, more food and overall, less self-discipline.

Now it’s time to get motivated again. Well, that’s what I thought about two months ago and since then have been re-visiting the rather large collection of fad diet books I’ve bought over the years to try and work out what’s going to be the most effective way. Clearly, it’s taken a bit of time to come to the right decision.

Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr

Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr


At first I fell in love with Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet, with its vegan slant and wonderful array of fresh juices. Dutifully, I trotted out some amazing salads for the family, but was met with scorn and revolt at the lack of protein and abundance of healthy green stuff. (Not to mention their inability to appreciate hemp seeds.) It was also difficult finding some of the ingredients, which might be a cultural problem, but nevertheless, made the recipes all the more challenging.


My home made green juice

My homemade green juice

Ms Carr’s power of persuasion about the health benefits of fresh juice even led me to purchase our own whiz-bang Breville juicer. A few weeks went by when the fridge was bursting at the seams with magical green juice, that again, I was the only family member to truly appreciate. What I didn’t appreciate was the time and effort to make the stuff.


My enthusiasm quickly waned and before long, the hoards of veggies I was buying with the intention of juicing, would wilt and wither in the fridge, then be tossed out before they even made it to the juicer. The problem is that this juicing caper is WAY too time-consuming. Washing, peeling, dicing and prepping the fruit and veg for the juicer takes FOREVER and then you’re faced with a mountain of dishes.

On the plus side, I have to say I did feel great when I went on a juice binge and I was the only member of the family NOT to get a cold this winter.

Regardless, I put that book to the side and decided to sign up to the Michelle Bridges 12-week Body Transformation. A friend had done the program and swore by it. But it wasn’t for me. Sure, my body transformed – I put on two kilos! I found the meal program to be heavily laden with carbs and again, if you’re a working person, too much time and effort required on the food front – especially for lunches.

The Dukan Diet has worked for me in the past, but does become boring for the taste buds. I also think it’s impossible to stick with long-term and as soon as you break the momentum, the weight goes straight back on.

Yep, it really is marvellous...

Yep, it really is marvellous…

I know, I know, I can hear you shouting – but what about the simple EAT LESS, EXERCISE MORE theory? Yep, you’re absolutely right. That makes total sense. BUT I like a plan. A bit of a regime to get me motivated. And to keep me away from all those temptations – like this chocolate, which is TO DIE FOR.

So I’ve decided the best solution is to come up with my OWN diet. A mixture of all the good bits from the diets I’ve been researching, smashed together into one GRAND PLAN. I’ve also realised that being accountable is a good thing. So I’m going to be accountable to YOU.


I’m going to check in with Blog reports, listing my food and exercise plan and whether I stick to it or not. I hasten to add, I am NOT a dietician so please don’t follow this unless you chat to someone with the right authority to let you know if it’s a healthy option for you. I’m just doing this for myself as an experiment. It will probably be more Bridget Jones than Michelle Bridges, but hey, let’s give it a shot and see what happens.

DAY ONE – MONDAY, November 18

Day One of a new regime is always my favourite. That’s when I’m full of positive energy and determination to succeed with my new plan. Part of my enthusiasm comes from the fact that a new store opened in our local area – PRESSED JUICES.

Pressed Juices, 25 Carpenter Street, Brighton

Pressed Juices, 25 Carpenter Street, Brighton

Now, I’ve never been into all that detoxing stuff before, but after feeling the benefits of fresh juices through the Crazy Sexy Diet plan, I do agree that a short-term ‘cleanse’ can set you on the right path for a new way of approaching food. So when Pressed Juices opened up, I was thrilled. Now I could enjoy a fantastic range of fresh juices without having to go to all the trouble of making them myself.

That’s the other drawback of having your own juicer. You can really only make one batch at a time, whereas buying them already made, you can enjoy a variety of flavours.

A fridge full of miracle juice

A fridge full of miracle juice at Pressed Juices

The Pressed Juices brochures explain in detail how it all works, so I decided to kick start my new diet with a three-day juice cleanse. There are a couple of stores dotted around Melbourne and Sydney if you’d like to do the same, and likewise, interstate or overseas, you should find that similar stores are popping up everywhere and there’s very likely to be one near you. Or bite the bullet, buy a juicer and do the work yourself.

My juice selection for Day One

My juice selection for Day One

I’m lazy and LOVE this option of buying my six bottles for the day and putting them in my fridge. Not only are there massive health benefits, it means NO COOKING for three days!! Just grab a bottle, crack it open and down the hatch. Not even cutlery needed. Bliss. I told the family they could fend for themselves.


Breakfast was a Green Smoothie with avocado, banana, coconut water, cucumber, lake, lime, mesclun and pineapple. Delicious! Thank God I didn’t have to make it – would have taken at least two hours.

I won’t detail ALL the juices I drank, but suffice to say they all tasted great and I didn’t feel hungry. It’s advised not to exercise TOO strenuously during a cleanse. Yesterday, I DID go to the gym and did a spin class, but I’d had a big meal the night before so was still burning that off. I felt a little more tired than usual at night, but that’s to be expected.

Today I trotted off to Pressed Juices again to restock, but ditched gym in favour of a half hour power walk. I’ll get back to the heavier gym stuff after the 3-day cleanse is done. SO now I’m half way through DAY TWO and feeling great.

Time to work out the plan of action AFTER the 3-day juice regime. How much I hope to lose, confess to how much I weigh right now etc… Stay tuned…




When I first heard about this upcoming MAKEUP FREE ME campaign, I thought ‘Nice concept, but not for me.’ It’s all about encouraging women in to go ‘makeup free’ for one day – NEXT WEEK, Friday, AUGUST 30th  – to show the world you can step out and be confident about who you are without any artifice.

The art of makeup

The art of makeup

Gwyneth Paltrow goes makeup free

Gwyneth Paltrow goes makeup free









It’s also about raising funds for an excellent organization – The Butterfly Foundation, which promotes positive body image and helps those with eating disorders.

And while I agree it all sounds lovely, I’m just not sure I’m brave enough to take part. I mean, it’s all well and good for the fresh-faced twenty-somethings out there, but for me? Just the thought of putting my face forward into the world without makeup is pretty terrifying. Okay, so I wear very little make-up to the gym – but at least a coat of mascara and a dash of eyeliner make me feel human.

The woman helping to promote it all is Merissa Matthew, who gave up a high profile marketing job about a year ago when she decided she’d rather ‘make a difference’ in our society. Negative body image is an issue she’s passionate about.

‘The campaign is not about makeup being bad but rather it’s about encouraging women to step out in confidence and show the world that beauty is more than just skin deep,’ said Merissa.

Cynical me had to ask, ‘But surely a lot of women are saying, HELL NO!’ ??

Funds raised go to The Butterfly Foundation

Funds raised go to The Butterfly Foundation

Nup. Merissa says it’s exactly the opposite. ‘Women absolutely love the Makeup Free Me concept and the positive body image message that is being promoted. Many women have jumped straight into the challenge whilst others have been a little hesitant. But that’s absolutely fine; it’s supposed to be challenging – to encourage us to stop and reflect on where we find our self worth,’ she said.


Well, I don’t value myself according to the foundation I put on my skin – I just think it looks a helluva lot better with the foundation on it. That’s all. And yes, I CAN do without foundation, but giving up mascara??? Hmmm… I’ll have to think on it. And if I DID go makeup free, should I post a blog and show everyone? EWWWWWWW…..

Merissa admits there are some women who HAVE said ‘No’. ‘Yes, some women who have said that they don’t feel comfortable going makeup free for the day and that’s okay. I recently received some really great advice from Travis Garone, founder of Movember. He said to me “Movember welcomes all but Movember is not for all.” He then proceeded to say that I must always remember that not all women will get involved and that I need to be okay with that. Wise words indeed, but I guess I shouldn’t have expected anything less from such a great man.

But let’s get to the WHY part of the campaign. And this is the bit where, if like me, you were initially reluctant, you might start to change your mind.

Merissa explained the facts and figures. Here are TWO that stood out:

– 90% of Aussie girls aged between 12-17 are on a diet of some type. (yep, that’s NINETY per cent!!!)
– Only 4% of women around the world can call themselves beautiful.

Merissa found these statistics shocking. ‘I had to ask myself the question as to whether I sat in the 4% of women? If I’m being honest, I would have to say that I probably fall into the 96%. I am on a journey, however, in discovering my value in who I am rather than what I look like and I want women and girls across the world to walk in this knowledge as well.’

Except that Merissa sent me through a photo of herself without makeup and well, HELLO, she’s stunning. I really hope she’s a long way into that journey because Merissa, if you read this, you ARE beautiful!

Merissa Matthew, Founder Makeup Free Me

Merissa Matthew, Founder Makeup Free Me

I had another question, which is a bit superficial. Why the hell pick a FRIDAY when most people go out that night of the week and might decide NOT to do the campaign for that reason?

‘That’s a great question,’ said Merissa. ‘The reason a weekday was chosen was because we wanted to ensure that we didn’t just hide away, makeup free in our homes on the weekend (which might be tempting). Specifically we chose a Friday because it gave us the extra challenge as most of us do head out and socialise with our friends.’

Right. Merissa is big on those challenges… Could I? Will I? Should I??

Hang on, surely it’s going to be an annual event. Could I do it next year instead? Is it going to be an annual event?

‘That’s definitely the plan. Now that the foundations are in place we can focus on increasing awareness each year and encouraging more Australian women and girls to participate. We also know however that negative body image is not just an issue in Australia. Our ultimate goal is to expand to other countries so that we can empower women and girls across the world to develop and nurture positive body image (but let’s not get ahead of ourselves),’ said Merissa.

And what about some fun stuff? Are there any events taking place? If I’m going to be going around scaring people without makeup, it would be nice to get together with some other nudie-faced chicks so we can all feel self-conscious together.

‘We have the Makeup Free Me Girls Night event on the Friday at Rivers Edge in Melbourne,’ said Merissa. ‘Whether women are registered for the campaign or not, we’re encouraging them to join us. Tickets are only $55, which includes canapés, drinks, giveaways and lots of entertainment.’

Of course all the proceeds go directly to the Butterfly Foundation and Channel 10’s, Natalie Hunter will be guest MC for the night.

Tickets can be purchased at http://www.makeupfreeme.com.au/events.

And if you’re interstate or overseas, why not organize your own Girls Night Out with a fund-raising game attached – and see if you can meet the challenge – NO MAKEUP for just one day.

If you’d like to register to take part, go to: http://www.makeupfreeme.com.au/register

I’m still thinking about it. But I AM leaning towards doing it. What do you think?

Watch this space.