The long but (hopefully) effective way to make a New Year's Resolution.

Every year I hog wash New Year’s Resolutions – because I know the data (somewhere in the vicinity of 90% of New Year’s Resolutions fail. Hashtag depressing.) And I know that in the past, I have most probably-definitely-absolutely contributed to those ‘fail’ stats.

But there is something about a crisp new diary, a blank page on the calendar and a little down time in the day-to-day chaos that begs one to consider the possibilities of change for the year ahead.  So, despite my resolute mind to not make New Year’s Resolutions, I do find myself mulling over the oyster of my world that January 1 seems to promise.

With almost-40-years of wisdom behind me, a bit of time in the health and fitness industry (where I’ve witnessed the rise and fall of many a new year resolution) and my experience as a Wellness Coach, I do end up throwing a resolution out there, but not without some solid work behind it.

new year new size.jpg

1.       Know your goal

It kind of goes without saying but know what it is that you’d like to achieve in the year ahead. Me? Cliché I know, but I’d like to lose a bit of weight. (I’d also like to maybe become a little more minimalistic with my clothes, but let’s just workshop one for now).

2.       But more importantly, know your reason why.

This is the step that most people skip, but it is the most important – because it is what will drive you to do the behaviours that are required to meet your goal.

To find the real why behind your goal (sorry, “Because I feel ‘yuck.’” won’t cut it), try doing what I call the Almost-Endless-Because.

Here’s mine: I want to lose weight because…

I want to fit into my wetsuit (and I can’t justify forking out the money to buy another one) because…

If I can fit into my wetsuit, I can do another triathlon and I really want to do another triathlon because…

I love the training that comes with triathlon. It feels like a really nice balance of cross training. I find swimming pretty therapeutic, I love riding (and if I ride more, I can spend more time with my Dad who also loves getting out on the bike) and running is something that really challenges me, but something I want to keep in my regime for as long as possible because…

I want to stay as fit and healthy for as long as I can, doing as many physical activities as I can. I’m not worried so much about body size, I just want to be able to keep active right into old age because…

One of my grandmothers died in her early eighties. She was hospitalised for a few years before her death. It broke my heart to see her decline physically and mentally.  My other grandmother lived independently until she was 97. I’d like to stay fit, able and avoid major surgery and disease and live to 100.


It’s a pretty deep, right? From losing weight, to fitting into a wetsuit, to doing a triathlon, to spending more time with my Dad, to living independently until I get a letter from the queen. (NB: You don’t necessarily need to keep adding on “because’s” until you come to death, but at least until some of your true values start to appear).

Finding this kind of “why” gives a significant and emotional attachment to the initial goal. It makes it more personal and certainly packs a punch around my headspace when I go to grab a chocolate bar on my way through the checkout.

3.       Make your goal pretty loose, but your behaviours pretty tight.

About now, the initial goal/resolution will go on the back burner – and that’s a good thing. What you want to keep at front of mind is your “why” and your “how”.

Achieving something is done through a series of small behaviours practised consistently. Define the behaviours you need to and can do consistently. Be specific and realistic about them (most people know the “SMART” principal of goal setting – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.  But to keep make it even more simple, I love the quote from Theodore Roosevelt: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”)

The behaviours I will practice to help me reach my goal will be:

-          Only have one “in between meals” snack per day and make it low in carbs/sugar (my nemesis!)

-          Have 2 sources of protein at each meal (I’m a pescatarian) and 3 serves of vegetables at lunch and dinner, at least 5 days per week.

-          Hit a target of drinking 2-3ltrs of water per day.

-          Swim 1km twice a week.

-          Run three times a week.

-          Cycle once a week.

-          Weight train twice a week.

-          Pilates once a week.

If I was coaching someone through this process, I’d be challenging my client to get more specific about each of these behaviours eg: what snacks will they have, what protein sources will they use, what vegetables they will eat, what days and times will they train etc – and I’ve done that for myself, but I’ll skip that for you the reader because: snore.

4.       Call out your obstacles

Just because you know your goal, you’re connected to your deep seeded “why” and you know what behaviours you have to do, doesn’t mean you’re home and hosed. It sucks b*lls, but obstacles can still trump motivation and best laid plans. Hence the reason that most New Year’s Resolutions are a carbon copy of the year before.  

Call out your obstacles. Get the butchers paper out (notepad/whiteboard/something more techy – whatever) and just dump down every possible thing that might get in the way of you practicing your behaviours. Imagine you are holding a torch and that torch is your goal, and every damn pain-in-the-arse obstacle is a moth. What comes towards it? For me some of my obstacles are:

-          3pm cravings. I snack like an absolute hero at 3pm.

-          I love sugar. Chocolate covered anything, specifically.

-          All my energy goes into my clients, leaving zippo for me and my grand exercise ideas.

-          I snack when I am tired. And I get tired a lot.

-          I snack when I procrastinate. And I procrastinate a lot.

-          Time. Remember I said in the intro it’s easy to make fab resolutions when you don’t know what day of the week it is. Fast forward to February and when exactly am I going to fit that ride and those swims in?

-           #mumlyfe. Okay, so I can do all the behaviour things, but when ah’ shall I cook the family a meal or hang out with them?

There’s at least a dozen more [pages]. But you get the picture. Dump your obstacles down.  Stare them in the face.

5.       Grab hold of your strengths

Now you know your mothy little obstacles, what ammunition have you got to zap them when they crop up? Really dig down to work out what your strengths are. In the Wellness Coaching world, this can be a bit of a process (and this post is already way longer than I had intended – are you still there?) but think about what you are good at – in any situation – as well as the resources and support you have around you. And be prepared to use it.

I’m good at

-          Time management

-          Writing exercise plans (phew, that’s lucky)

-          Being social

-          Being resourceful

-          Exercising regularly

-          Prepping and eating healthy meals

-          Making my own healthier-than-cadburys-chocolate

-          Powernapping

I have

-          A good home gym

-          A very willing, helpful and supportive husband

-          A good bike

-          Access to a pool

-          A great network of running friends

-          Refillable drink bottle (#mindblown I know)


6.       Give your obstacles a strong buddy

Pull out that butchers’ paper again and next to each of your obstacles, write an antidote – based on your strengths/resources/support – next to it.


Obstacle: Need to spend time with family.   

Antidote: Use my time management to combine a family swim with a training swim.

Obstacle: 3pm hero-snacker.

Antidote: I have a great home gym. Make my weight training time or my bike ride time, 2:45pm

Obstacle: Procrasta-snacker (OMG new term – make it viral)

Antidote: When procrastinating, fill up drink bottle. Drink water.

Obstacle: Eat when Tired.

Antidote: Take a powernap.

You get the picture? I love this bit. I can virtually heat the pow! Pow! Pow!s coming off the page.


7.       Write it all down.

Now let’s bring that baby home.  It’s important that you write it all down. Writing stuff down has some psychological-come-magical power. (No jokes, even writing this blog has sent my motivation for this goal sky high. It has incidentally, also make me need to go to loo multiple times because I have been procrastinating, so: drinking loads of water.).

In a tidy little package, here’s my new New Year’s Resolution (which for the astute amongst you, will notice that it is less about my goal and more about my motivations, actions and strengths. Boom.)

In 2019 I will lose weight because I want to fit in my wetsuit so that I can do a triathlon. Doing a triathlon is important to me because I really enjoy the cross-training component and it will give me an opportunity to spend time with my Dad and it will help keep me fit, healthy, active and independent into old age.

In 2019, I will achieve this because I will cut back on sugary/high carb snacks. I know that I am most vulnerable at 3pm, so will schedule weight training in my home gym at this time or go for a ride. 

I am good at planning and preparing healthy meals, so will make sure that I continue to eat meals that are high in protein, healthy fats and combined with a wide variety of vegetables. If my chocolate cravings hit, I’ll have some home-made chocolate in the freezer for emergencies!

When I am procrastinating, I’ll drink water instead of reaching for snacks. When I am tired, I’ll schedule in a 20-minute powernap.  

I enjoy exercise, have my own home gym, can write my own programs and am good at time management, so I will have a regular schedule for swimming, running, riding, resistance training and pilates but will be willing to make them shorter sessions when I am pressed for time, or I will combine them with family activities when I need to.

You can see this process is a little more detailed that the traditional thrown-to-the wind New Years Resolution, but more personal, powerful and effective.

I hope anyway.

If not, WTB: wetsuit.

Ok women, stop it.

There’s a woman sitting near you in a restaurant, on a train, in a school meeting, at your kids’ sport, on a nearby desk at work, or walking past you in the street, feeling lousy about herself.

Pausing life for just for 20 mins. Then I'm good to go.

The crew and I were in countdown mode all weekend. This little family of four has been one man down for 2 weeks and we couldn’t wait to welcome hub-dad back into the country. There have been times over this last fortnight when dinners have been a gourmet collection of weetbix, raisin toast and rice crackers. There have been times over this last fortnight when socks have had to be pulled out of the dirty washing pile and squished bits of cupcake have had to be picked off them before being worn to school. There have been times over this past fortnight when a wee-puddle, left by the side of the toilet bowl from a half asleep son has had to wait 7 hours before being mopped up. There have been times over the last fortnight when we have screamed [me], sworn [me] and cried [also me].

Solo-parenting, is parenting, amplified.

I am not unique in the going-solo sense. Mothers are doing this ALL. THE. TIME. At any given moment I could list half a dozen women that I know, who are juggling the demands of a young family while their husbands are away for work. And that doesn’t even count the single mothers, who just roll with these punches day in and day out (and probably, rightfully so, rolled their eyes and tuned out of my pity post by the second paragraph).

The biggest challenge of parenting, and more so solo-parenting, is the seemingly impossible art of living in the present. This allusive skill teaches us to appreciate what is in front of us, let go of the past and allow the future to fall into place. That’s all well and good and daisy-chains, until my son needs to get to soccer practice and my daughter needs to be at basketball, at opposite ends of the town, at the same time. Living in the present is all beer and skittles until the dog needs a walk, the kids need dinner, the washing needs to be pulled in and I have three hours’ worth of work to get through before the inevitable tiredness of the day threatens to sink its teeth into all of our emotional states.

The thing is, living in the present is a beautiful notion and an undisputable benefit to wellbeing, until life happens. It seems almost inconceivable to stop and smell the roses when you can’t stop watching the clock, checking the diary and trying desperately to somehow get ahead of the conveyor belt of the family schedule.

But if there is anything that I have learnt about myself over the last 14 days, it’s that regardless of how hard it seems, I need to find the pause button for this conveyor belt; I need to schedule in regular maintenance – whether I’m solo parenting or not.

There’s a Zen proverb that says “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” If I hadn’t been so preoccupied with the impending to-do list after my husband’s departure, I would have written these words on a post-it-note in every room of the house.

At some stage in every fast-paced block of 24 hours, I need to find at least twenty minutes of nothingness; of calm, present, non-judemental thoughts only. Because there have been times in the last fortnight that I have felt the harsh brunt of living in every moment except the current one. I felt anxious. I felt stressed. I felt irritable. I felt erratic. I felt don’t-even-look-at-me emotional. I felt angry. I felt guilty. I felt completely overwhelmed, exhausted and broken. All signs, I imagine, of present-living deficit.

With hub-dad almost touching down back on Aussie soil (ed note, I just got a text. HE HAS LANDED! WOOT!), I am looking back over these last two weeks and questioning how I behaved as a parent, how I managed my emotions and dealt with the stress and I am wondering “why was that so damn hard?” It comes back to my complete lack of presence; my inability to clear my mind of who needs to be where and what needs to be done, for just 20 minutes of each day.

Having never been great at meditation, I’m pleased to read recent insights about the practice being less sitting on a cushion repeating “om” and more just slowing down and basking your senses in your current surroundings. Meditation can be done walking or running or even, for the win, while watching a live show. Anything that allows you to shut your diary, switch off your phone, close off your mind to the things that “need” to be done and just “be” present, is going to pay back with interest – emotionally, mentally and physically.

So solo-mums, single-mums, mums with loads of support, mums with no-support, mums in general, parents in general, it is hard, so damn hard to stop thinking about what everyone is doing, where everyone needs to be, what everyone needs to eat, who needs to have what packed and what needs to be done next. But from someone who’s tiptoed on the knifes edge of spending too much time in the next moment, find the time to stop; to look, to listen, to breath. Forget the to-dos, forget the not dones and just switch off. 20 minutes in 24 hours.

Then mop up the wee.


Is fat a dirty word?

I have embraced. Locally, I promoted and hosted Taryn Brumfitt’s documentary last year. I wholeheartedly support the #bodyimagemovement. On the socials I like, comment, support, applaud, share and encourage women of all sorts that are joining the body positive chanting. This embrace-thy-body mindset is undoubtedly overdue. Women (in particular) are constantly hammering their confidence into the ground one blow at a time; often to a point where their self-hate can make leaving the house feel like a confronting task.

It absolutely should not be like that.

But despite all of the roar-roar-roaring and hashtagging in the right direction, I, ah, um, well…

I feel fat.

I feel fat and I am on a mission (a gentle mission) to lose some weight.

Is that me un-embracing? Have I just said a dirty word? Will I be cast out from this beautiful, jelly-belly loving tribe?

This is the first time that I’ve felt not-so-happy with my bod since the #bodyimagemovement turned from a ripple in the ocean to a brilliant tsunami. Prior to that, it was pretty much a daily (wait, maybe hourly?) occurrence. The difference now, is that me and my extra k.gees are totes calm about it all. I can look back over the year and see that some injuries sidelined me from a lot of my favourite physical activities. I can see that along with embracing my child-beared body, I also embraced a fair few “clean” and not so clean treats. (My husband and I found a local supermarket that stocks Cadbury pineapple chocolate ALL. THE. TIME. Friday night ritual: on point).

Me feeling fat right now, isn’t body shaming myself. I feel fat, because I am carrying more fat than I have in a long time. There are a lot of lovely, logical events that landed me with this extra layer, but I’ve reached a point where it’s just not comfortable for me. It’s kind of like buying a beautiful pair of shoes and finding out that, despite dogmatic persistence, they rub your heels raw. I don’t hate my current body, I just can’t wear it for long.

Not limited edition. ALL THE TIME PEOPLE.

For the first time since Mark Zuckerberg became an answer to a trivial pursuit question (un-researched, but confident that it’s fact), my fat-feels are not because of women I see on Instagram flashing their impossible abs at me (which for the record, I have a well-programmed reflex to do the insta-equivalent of swiping left on, because of the super power they have of sending me down a hate-myself-hell-hole).

In fact, probably not since I put a Dolly (R.I.P) issue Alison Brahe poster on my bedroom wall and longed to be just like her (blond, tiny framed and dating Cameron Daddo…I achieved none of the three) has my desire to lose a bit of weight been so intrinsic.

This overweightness that I feel right now isn’t because someone or something made me feel this way. My motivation is not because of @sixpacksusie (not a real account. Yet.) or the adorable Alison Brahe (I bet she is still adorable) (wait, I just googled her. She is). It’s all me. I’ve embraced myself at this size and all the glorious pineapple chocolate that it took to get here. But it doesn’t feel quite right and I’ll just change a little bit here and a little bit there, until I feel comfortable again. Whatever that may be.

With a healthy, level-headed, gentle approach, I’ve come to the conclusion that “fat” isn’t a dirty word. You can embrace yourself and change yourself at the same time. I still have my arms lovingly wrapped around my additional lumpy bits, and I’m hopeful that even as I try to lose a little weight, I won’t be voted off the body lovin’ island.

Resolutions that roll with the punches

If you’re anything like me, you’ll scoff at the idea of making a New Year’s resolution. A lifetime of experience tells you that they never stick and they only come back to haunt you when Christmas rolls around again. And experts tend to agree. According to many, New Year’s Resolutions are so last decade. Apparently it is the worst time to declare lifestyle changes and there’s a very slim chance that you’ll be high fiving yourself come December 31st. The New Year is amidst celebrations, frivolity and for us here in Australia, weather that calls for beach side holidays, alcoholic drinks, BBQ gatherings and icecream. It’s hardly a breeding ground for spectacular transformations.

But despite all of this, as I flip the crisp new page of the carefully chosen calendar, I find it hard not to reflect on the past 12 months and contemplate what might be possible in the year to come. Is it ingrained in us, or is there something in the cosmos that makes us want to seek out personal improvements when a new year clicks over?

What’s possibly the limiting factor in New Year’s Resolutions is they are generally a statement of declaration: “I’m going to lose weight!” “I’m going to be more organised!” “I am going to give up alcohol!” “I am going to start running!” There’s plenty of enthusiasm, but very little planning bolstering up our resolutions.

Despite a worthy protest, if you feel the gravitational pull towards implementing some new year changes, there are some things you can do to make your success a little more likely.

1. BE SMART ABOUT IT. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and have a time frame. Replace “I am going to lose weight” with “I am going to lose 5kg by September.” Replace “I am going to start running” to “I am going to run in a 10km event in August”. You can even make us your own system of scale, for example “At the moment, on a scale of 1-10 on how healthy I feel, I am a 5. By the end of June this year, I am going to be at 8.”

2. CHANGE YOUR FOCUS FROM WHAT YOU WANT, TO WHAT YOU NEED TO BE DOING. Once you have your SMART goal, it’s time to carefully consider what actions you will need to be doing consistently to achieve that goal. The person that says “I am going to run a half marathon in June” may need to invest in some new runners, start going to bed earlier to make early morning training possible and set aside some time to run 3-4 times a week. Change is the result of a series of new behaviours done consistently, so make your behaviour the focus, rather than the overall goal.

3. GO AS BIG OR AS SMALL AS YOU CAN MANAGE. It’s an old cliché, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Take one step at a time and appreciate that each of those steps are entirely customised to you; what fits your lifestyle and what you can physically, mentally and emotionally manage. If your SMART goal is to lose weight, and the changes you need to be doing consistently involve reducing portion sizes, it might start with simply reducing the size of one meal, one day a week. Once you feel that you are doing that fairly effortlessly you might move to two meals, two days of the week. Don’t let this step be dictated by impatience or pressure. It’s vital to long term success that each step is integrated gradually and easily into your lifestyle. The downfall of most New Year’s Resolutions is that people go too hard too soon!

4. OBSERVE, DON'T JUDGE. As Thomas Edison said “I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” If one week doesn’t go to plan – you miss a run, you overeat, you relax on a Monday night with a scotch, just make an observation about what lead you to that point. Rather than throw your hands up in the air (like you just don’t care) and rubber stamp it failure all over it, simply think about how you can adjust your ultimate goal, your behaviours or your environment to make it work. Like Thomas Edison, it could take thousands of attempts and you’ll learn a little bit about yourself each time.

5. KEEP YOUR RESOLUTIONS ROLLING WITH THE PUNCHES. Life happens. We get busy. We get thrown curve balls. We lose our way. Our priorities change. Revisiting your goal and being willing to adjust it (and the required behaviours) if it no longer fits within the realms of realistic or achievable, is totally ok. It’s far better to keep moulding it around life, than sidelining it altogether.

Whether it is habit or something in the universe that pulls us towards change around January – make your resolutions SMART, support them with small changes in your behaviour and when things don't go to plan, adjust the plan; and I expect there will be high fives rather than haunts by the time December arrives again.

3309, the adventure continues

Continued on from previous post Hi 3309, it’s me again.

Last week, possibly painfully, I explained what life could have been like, had you made it to the Melbourne Marathon. I detailed the atmosphere that you would have experienced, the emotions that you would have witnessed.

But I wasn’t entirely honest.  You didn’t get the full story.

You see, 3309 I’ve never been particularly sentimental about my bib-numbers. They have normally suffered a long day; safety pins and tired movements have gradually torn their corners, Gatorade guzzled desperately at the final drink station has made them sticky, and sadly, you would have been superseded by a medal that endured nothing more than a production line and the helpful hand of a finishing chute volunteer.

The truth is 3309, if it was indeed your destiny to travel the 42.2 kilometres of the Melbourne Marathon, I am afraid it was also your destiny to end up in the hotel room bin.

Instead of experiencing the Melbourne marathon, your Sunday 16th October was spent as just another average Sunday with me. We went for a short run, along one of my favourite courses with one of my favourite friends. We enjoyed an overdue brunch (the smashed avocado and poached eggs were delicious) with some old school mates. We whipped up some wholesome feel-good foods for a beloved pal who had had an emotional couple of days. We lovingly prepared and proved pizza dough ready to feed the family their favourite weekend meal. We did a spot of home maintenance and we got the groceries in for the week ahead. We finally gave in to my 9 year old son and agreed to play, albeit poorly, a new Xbox game with him.

Just another Sunday in the life of me.


I’ve often questioned why I run the marathon. Why I can’t just tick it off the bucket list and move on. I usually arrive at the answer that it somehow validates me. It justifies me. It makes me feel like I am doing enough. That I am enough.

Completing the 2016 Melbourne marathon with you would have, of course, given me a great sense of achievement. But strangely 3309, this year it almost feels like a bigger achievement to have not run the marathon; to have had the sense of self, the belief that I would be quite okay to not do it. To recognise that my life is full, that there are other experiences to enjoy and other elements that make me the person I am; to appreciate the other laurels I have to rest on.

I may run the marathon again. I may not. Whatever the case may be, I feel that I no longer need to cling to it.

So strangely, 3309 you are pretty significant. You represent a certain maturity, an inner strength. You represent a new found comfort in being, rather than doing. You tell me that with or without the marathon – I am enough.

It’s ironic 3309 that you might just be the one bib-number that I do keep.


I love Christmas, I love it not. Diary of a crazy Christmas person.

Christmas is one little week away and I find myself in a flurry of competing emotions at this time of year. I loathe greed and excessiveness, but yet I want my kids to have everything that’s on their Santa list and damn, that dress is pretty… I want it. I’m getting it. And some new sandals to match too, thanks.

I love the school holidays. Not having to make lunches, brush hair, sign homework diaries and rush out the door. Until the kids start fighting at 8:41am, then I hate school holidays. The kind of hate where I want to pick my fingernails off one by one.

I love Christmas parties. I love being social, having some drinks and maybe some more after that. But I hate hangovers. I hate them. Almost as much as I hate school holidays at 8:41am.

The abundance of food at this time of year makes me uncomfortable. I admit to having a pretty dicey relationship with food and the silly season sends me into high alert. But I love preparing Christmas treats and I just ate chocolate melts for lunch. But I hate myself for it.

Yes. It is exhausting.

on floor

I enjoy integrating health into what is renowned for being a season of overindulgence. I love being creative and making tradition-breaking goodies. But I also hate being “that” person; the one who brings the cacao and spouted buckwheat “mint slice”  to the table and wants to start Christmas morning with a run.

I look forward to spending time with my family; my nieces and nephews, seeing the kids playing with their cousins, drinking wine and laughing with my sister and our parents. But of course, put three family units in a house together for a few days and there’s bound to be some tension crop up at some point. I don’t cope with tension very well. And all I’ll have to calm my nerves is a gingerbread house made from quinoa. Damn it.

But Christmas will come and I think if I can stop trying to please all of my demons at once, I might be able to enjoy it, even with the undercurrent of moral, emotional and ethical see-saws rocking inside me. To get through Christmas, I almost need to balance those see-saws a little bit, or enjoy the thrill of them crashing to the ground occasionally.

We’re lucky. The kids get a lot, I get a lot and there are many that are not as fortunate. I’ll focus on being grateful. I’ll give food, clothes and toys to the needy in an attempt to somehow make a small ripple in a big ocean (and in selfish honesty, to help alleviate some of my own guilt).

The school holidays, will, at times be shit. The kids will fight. I’ll yell profanities. But it doesn’t mean they are destined to be lifelong enemies and it doesn’t mean I have failed as a mother. There will be laughter and cuddles too. And I just have to hope like hell that it’s those moments they remember.

I’ll enjoy the few Christmas parties I go to (one actually, I go to one). And I’ll probably enjoy it enough to not need another party for 12 months.

Food is good. Yes, we live in a society where there is a ridiculous and unnecessary amount of it. Chocolate melts for lunch probably aren’t ideal, but I know enough to understand that that won’t be regular faire every day of the coming year.

Cacao and sprouted buckwheat, probably goes pretty well with Bailey’s on ice. Just like a balance between health consciousness and luxury indulgences.  smoothie cheers

My family will individually or collectively, annoy the beejeepers out of me at some point over the Christmas break. And there’s a good chance I’ll be driving them crazy at some point too. Thank goodness for cacao and buckwheat slice, with a side of Bailey's. And laughter. And Christmas morning jogs. And chocolate melts at lunch time, sisterly chats and card games. And little cousins causing mischief together. Thank goodness for what I have.

Christmas. I got this.

Not everyone wants to run a marathon. And that's ok.

In my little bubble of a world, people do crazy things – they get up at what often seems like the middle of the night to take on massive physical tasks before most people have even kicked off the doona. In my world, doing more than 1 hour of exercise a day isn’t extreme or obsessive it is quite literally, all in a day’s work.

6 things I have learnt since giving up my scales

Hi. My name is Naomi and I am a scaleoholic. I have been scale free for 17 days. I am not sure when the fascination with weighing myself began. I can always remember having scales on the bathroom floor when I lived with my parents. I can remember (with complete horror and panic) having to be weighed at secondary school for fitness testing. So I guess it was only natural that as an adult, I equipped our house with a set of digital body weight scales.

Despite putting my scales in a different bathroom and understanding that it wasn’t necessary or conducive to my health, weighing myself somehow became a daily ritual. I couldn’t start the day without seeing the magic depressing number.

Seeing some alarm bells late last year, made me resolve (for New Years – how original) to only weigh myself monthly. That (as New Year’s resolutions tend to do) crept back to weekly and then almost back to a daily occurrence.

Regardless of if it was daily, monthly or just randomly, the result of the scales had the power to change my entire day (I always weighed myself in the morning. Habitual weighers always do mornings right?). My mood, meal plans, clothing choices, exercise efforts, confidence at work and the way I treated my 2 children was all tied up in the number that came flashing up. And it was rarely a positive outcome.

A friend suggested I ditch the scales. Smash them! Throw them out! Get rid of them! I nodded my head, I roar-roar-roared! I took charge and agreed that I would! Next week.

Eventually, the pressure of the scales got too much for me. I hated weighing myself but I hated not knowing what I weighed. I would stand butt naked at the scales (and in front of a mirror – awesome confidence booster for the day) and ask myself if I was strong enough to see the number today. I would answer yes. Then I would step on the scales. I would see “the number”.

Cue: World. Crashing. Down.

I wasn’t strong enough after all.

I’d pick myself up, get through the day, vowing to eat better, move more… get that number down. And like Groundhog Day, it would all happen at 8am again the next morning.

World. Crashing. Down. Day after day after day.girl sit wait

So, finally, I did it. I got rid of them.

Instantly I felt lighter. I felt empowered. I felt free.

But the next week I felt lost. Like a junkie, I needed a “hit”. I found myself seeking out scales in the pharmacy. I wondered if it would be weird to visit my friends and ask if I could use their scales to weigh myself. I mentally compiled a list of possible reasons I could go to the doctor and get weighed there.

Now at week three, I am reflective on what I have learnt about myself, without my “insecurity blanket” so to speak.

I have learnt:

No single food is responsible for my weight.

I used to jump on the scales and if the number had increased by any small amount (or even just stayed the same) it must have been the extra slice of cheese I had, or maybe the big handful of goji berries. Or possibly, the two freddo frogs (gasp!). This then lead onto a constant battle with the enemy-food: a love-hate relationship; a binge-guilt affair; doom.

Since ditching the scales I don’t blame any particular food for how I feel. Some foods, over an extended period of time or eaten in excess will make me heavier. But I have days where I just eat a little mindlessly and I don’t feel great for it. It feels much gentler to remind myself how overeating any food makes me feel, rather than what “number” it equates to.

We are governed by numbers

Imagine a world without numbers. A world where we just bought clothes for how they looked and felt. Imagine getting up when we felt recharged, going to bed when we felt tired. Imagine eating when we just felt hungry. Imagine running at a pace that just felt good and continued for as long as you felt good for. Imagine your age being measured by the state of your health. Image trading goods in return for other goods so both parties felt they were on the receiving end of a fair deal. Even imagine driving the car at a speed that just felt safe and courteous to other drivers. How old would you be if you didn’t know your age?

How comfortable would you be buying jeans if you didn’t have to consider the size? How heavy would you feel if you didn’t know how much you weighed?

We have forgotten to FEEL. Our society is governed by numbers. True, we can’t banish some of them. But some of them we can place less importance on. And the number we represent in weight, is one of them. It feels incredibly light and delicious to not have to think about that extra number in my day.

I have great skin

If I had just weighed myself I would look in the mirror and see “the number”. As I got dressed into my clothes I would see “the number”. I would eat my food throughout the day and see "the number". In the middle of discussions with friends, I would see “the number”.

The greyscale of “the number” in front of my eyes blurred my ability to see any other good in myself.

Since ditching the scales, I can see the good in myself a little clearer. Turns out, I have pretty good skin.

Fat days happen

I could have eaten “right” for a few days, done a stack of exercise and been feeling trim and fab and ready to don those skinny jeans for the day.

Then I would weigh myself.

And my “skinny” day would plummet to a “fat” day. I’d pack away the skinny jeans and pull on the sloppy joes. I’d dress how the scales had made me feel.

Without scales, I still have fat days and I have days where I am not. I deal with the fat days (and attribute them to tiredness, time of the month, the weather… could be anything!). And I embrace the "not feeling fat" days. Ain’t no number on a scale going to take that away from me!

I feel good.

After 8 days without my scales, a close friend said to me “You are looking good!  Are you feeling good?” My response: “I don’t know. I have gotten rid of my scales.”

I realised what I had said instantly. I didn’t know how I felt without knowing what I weighed.

What tha?

Now my response would be different. I. FEEL. GOOD.

My kids are right.

My mum had body issues. She often told my sister and I that she thought she was fat, frumpy and unfashionable. She compared herself to other mums. I never thought my mum was fat. In fact, if she believed in herself a little more, she really could have been quite banging (and I am not sure why I am talking about her in past tense…. She is still very much alive and quite frankly could still be banging, but the low confidence she has in herself is a tough cookie to shake). But I started to believe her. I started to believe she was fat. And I guess I started to believe that she represented fat.

So as I grew from a girl to a woman of a similar build, of course I saw myself as: fat.

Now that I am a mother myself, my kids tell me that I’m not fat (and it should be noted I am very careful about shaming myself around them and stopped weighing myself in front of them long ago, but somehow it still comes up). My kids tell me I have a wobbly belly (I really do). But they also tell me that I am beautiful and strong.

With the scales aside, the self-hatred is fading and I can start listening to my kids.

Do you have an obsession with weighing yourself? Do you feel like it is something you could live without?


Ed Note: This article was written over 12 months ago. While I still don't weigh myself, I have at times found myself drawn to a set of scales at a relative's house or the gym. Thinking I am now immune to weigh in results, I have used them. But, apparently, I'm not. The struggle is real people.

Put down the bun and put your hands behind your back.

I trawl through a fair few facebook pages relating diet/nutrition/health/wellbeing. I consider it as part of my ongoing professional development procrastination research. Well, that’s how I justify it when my husband seems confused as to why the ironing hasn’t been done or the breakfast dishes are still in the sink at 5pm. Such pages can inform me, educate me and give me food for thought (pardon the pun). But I am always selective about the info and like Wikipedia; don’t take it all as gospel.

Good quality articles written by qualified professionals I usually file under the educational banner. I take the time to read those articles in detail and then follow and contribute to the comments with interest. It fuels my fascination in all things health and fitness.

The ones written by the not-so-qualified individuals, I generally just jump to the comments and see where the discussion is headed. The comments fuel my fascination in human behaviour.

Let’s face it, Facebook has become a massive medium for information gathering and sharing and there is a truckload of pages out there dedicated to diets. If you want to catch what I am throwing, type “paleo” into your Facebook search function (top left hand side) then hit the “show more results” button at the bottom of the initial suggestions. You’ll be presented with an extensive list for everything paleo; paleo mums, paleo recipes, paleo cafes etc etc etc. Do the same for “sugar”. And the same again for 5:2, gluten free, protein, low carb and Atkins (sadly, showing its age through significantly less worshiping pages).

Amongst all of these diet-shrines, there is almost always someone, from somewhere in the world asking: “am I allowed to eat X on this diet?”man eating donut

I have some news for you. Whatever diet you are on, wherever you are in the world, whichever page you are following, the answer is YES, you are allowed to eat it.

Going Paleo? And want to eat a slice of sourdough bread? Yes. I can almost, with 99% certainty (I won’t say 100% because his tanned skin and overwhelmingly sparkly eyes could indeed be magical) guarantee that Paleo Ambassador Pete Evans is not going to jump out of the pantry and donk you over the head with caveman club for breaking Paleo law.

Quitting sugar and want to know if you are allowed to have honey? Yes. I’m pretty sure that green-short clad Sarah Wilson is not going to piff jars of Rice Malt Syrup at you over the breakfast counter.

Going 5:2 and wondering if you are allowed to eat ice-cream on your 2 day? Yes. (Now I’m stumped… I have no idea who to attach to the 5:2 thing to. Note to self: more Facebook “research” required).

Regardless of what diet you are following (and just for the record I think “the best diet is the one you don’t know you are on” Brian Wansink, Ph.D. 2006) you are allowed to eat whatever the hell you damn well want. Unless you want to eat human beings, crystal meth or the neighbour’s cat, there are no police; there are no convictions, no fines, and no jail or death sentences.

Diets. Are. Not. Laws.

Sure, shop around and see if there is something out there that seems to sit right with you. I think paleo, sugar quitting, 5:2, low carb, high protein all have components worth integrating into our lifestyles, but when we start to roadblock ourselves with rules we fall into danger territory.

You can zip a long for quite a while being ok with the fact that bread or chocolate or honey is not “allowed” but eventually (and this is backed up by stats – 95% of people who go on restrictive diets don’t succeed long term) you’re likely to rebel. And then you’ll love the feeling of being able to make your own choice again. And then, abuzz with new found freedom you’ll eat everything from the “forbidden list” (quite possibly in one sitting), and all of a sudden the weight is back on and it’s often paid back with interest.

Just like my six year old hates it when I tell her what she can and can’t eat, fundamentally, so do most adults.

Here’s something to consider: Make your own decisions about food (gasp!). Not based on rules. Not because some airbrushed celebrity making a nice buck out of your vulnerability said so. Make your food decisions based on hunger, happiness and circumstances.

If you understand why you are choosing to eat whatever it is you want eat and you understand the outcomes of that choice (i.e. is it getting your closer or further away from your goal) then you are entirely in control. You don’t even need to ask a Facebook page for permission.