Wednesday, 31 October 2012

As requested.. The lemon cake recipe to end all lemon cake recipes!!

I believe that food should be enjoyed, and while I do need to limit the quantity and ensure the quality is top-notch, I don't believe in avoiding treats! 

Food is not naughty.. it's delicious!!

So, in the interest of balance, I give you the ultimate lemon cake recipe!!

**warning- contains nuts**

Nigella's Lemon Cake (adapted from How to Eat)

400g lemons
250g caster sugar
250g ground almonds
6 eggs
1tsp baking powder

Place lemons in a saucepan, cover with boiling water and simmer for 1-1.5 hours or until the lemons are very tender (a spoon should easily break the skin). Top up with boiling water from the kettle if the water gets too low. Once cooked, remove from water and allow to cool.

Pre-heat oven to 190c degrees and grease and line an 8" round cake tin (or use patty pans like we did!)

Place the cooled lemons in a food processor and whiz them up until they are a fine puree. Pick out any pips that are left over. Add the rest of the ingredients and whiz again until it's all combined.

Pour into pan and bake for about an hour (or until a skewer comes out clean). Check it at the 40 minute mark and place some foil over the top to stop the cake from browning too much (we didn't do this and ended up with dark tops... it was a great excuse to blob some lemon cream on the top!).

Turn the cake out on a tray and allow to cool. As I said, pop some sweetened lemon cream on the top for an extra treat or make up some lemon cream cheese icing... yummy!!!

Enjoy with a cuppa and you've got the makings of a lovely morning or afternoon tea!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

I love my strong and muscular body..

I have learned to love my body.

After two kids and many years of my weight yoyoing up and down I am finally at a place where my health is far far more important than my vanity.

I am at peace with my stretch marks and my saggy tummy because as many other women have expressed, they symbolise the amazing function my body has performed... growing two 9+lb babies and holding them safely until term.

I haven't always felt this way. I have said very cruel things to myself over the years. Things I would never say to anyone else! I have believed I am ugly, too fat, too tall, with frizzy and unruly hair.

But now, at almost 28 I've had enough of all that shit.. enough!!

I am not ugly! I am beautiful! Just the right height, my hair is actually great! When I care for it properly, it is very well behaved and does what I tell it to! It's thick and has a lovely soft curl.

I will not hate my body or judge anyone else based on their size, shape, colour or ability.

Health is not about being thin!

I lift weights. I love weights!

I feel powerful, strong, able. I am knowledgable and my form is always perfect. I am very good at weights. My body doesn't ever let me down on the weights floor.

I love my strong and muscular body and I will continue to train it and care for it because it deserves my effort.

I decided to do this post as part of the I Heart My Body Campaign at We Heart Life. I love how positive this campaign is! Love it!! I am now going to go check out how other lovely women are feeling about their bodies!

When TV looks just like life and makes me laugh and cry.

Last night's episode of Modern Family had our family in stitches!

It was the one where all the women in the Dunphy household had their periods at the same time and the fellas spent the whole time tip-toeing around trying not to do or say anything wrong. The funniest scene was one set in the bathroom and involved a lot of fake blood and screaming.. Oh.. good times..

The three women were tired, foggy, irritable, crying at the drop of a hat and behaving in a very stereotypically "PMS" kind of way. If I could be bothered being a raging feminist I might look at it more critically- however- I'm not doing that.. What I am going to do is let myself enjoy laughing at an experience that I myself have struggled a lot with over the years.

I think the episode touched a nerve for me because, despite having lots of period issues throughout my life, I haven't really felt like this for ages! Funnily enough, this week has been a shocker for me in that way. I haven't cried so much in such a long time. I have felt too tired to exercise, very sad, queazy, have wanted to sleep and sleep, and have been bloated and sore.

Last night I bawled my eyes out because a little girl on the TV show "Life at 7" (ABC) said she wanted to be a bio-medical scientist. Her dad had been a cleaner, then his business went bust.  The family spent some time living in poverty and her father was in and out of jobs. This awesome guy wanted his kids to have higher expectations in life so he led by example and went back to uni to study... you guessed it... bio-medical science! WAAAAH!!

I had an IUD put in at the beginning of the year and since then my periods have been fine. But for some reason, this cycle has been a doozie! So this Modern Family episode really gave me a giggle.

A new favourite term, as coined by "Luke" is "Monstruation".. teehee!

I couldn't find a clip of the actual episode, but I thought I should leave you with something to give you a chuckle so let's have some fun with Cam!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The bolognese that blew my freaking mind...

I made bolognese yesterday... big deal! I hear you say..

But it was a big deal you see.. because it was GILL'S bolognese.. Gill from River Cottage. And Gill from River Cottage, I now realise, has the best bolognese recipe in the whole world.. Think I'm exaggerating??!

You must CLICK HERE right now and get this recipe for yourself! Because it was the best freaking pasta sauce I have ever consumed! It has a whole lot of lovely, healthy ingredients but I think the thing that made it so wonderful was the cooking time. I let it simmer away for nearly two hours. Like a bolognese stew really! We left out the booze because we had none and swapped the pancetta for short cut bacon. Even with those changes it was amazeballicious!

I SO wish I had taken a better picture but alas, we ate it all before I managed to snap a classy food-bloggeresque image to share. The River Cottage crew have a lovely, much more appetising image on their page which I could've stolen (and given due credit of course) but in the interest of being an ethical blogger, this crappy picture will have to do!

We ate the whole batch last night. John and the kids had theirs with spaghetti and I had mine poured over some blanched broccoli and cauliflower. I would've had the spaghetti usually but yesterday was "accelerator day" on the 12wbt and it was just as delicious with veggies.

***Quick brag***
I have now dropped 9.8kg in the 9 weeks I have been following the 12wbt plan!! Feeling much healthier and my head is so much clearer!!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Are you intimidated by the weights floor? Or are you a regular iron pumper!?
The dreaded lovely kettlebells!

Lifting weights is one of those things that can seem really scary and intimidating. When you walk onto the weights floor in the gym for the very first time it is SO common to feel like you don't belong.. like everyone else there is looking at you and making judgements. Those machines look technical and tricky and it seems like you'll never feel comfortable.

This might be you... or it might not. Not everyone feels like this. You might be more self confident and might feel happy enough to sidle up to the nearest meat head muscular gym type and ask advice on how the machines work and get a few pointers on technique. I have done this myself and have usually found that people are friendly and helpful. 

Another path to confidence on the weights floor is to have a program written for you by the gym staff. You can talk to them about your goals and they will design a program just for you! They will even take you through each exercise and make sure you are doing it correctly to minimise the chance of injury. It's amazing how quickly you can become confident once you know a lat pulldown from a tricep extension

So why don't we see more women on the weights floor?? Is it simply because it has traditionally been a men's game?? Are women intimidated by the men, or by others who seem to know what they're doing? Or is it because women are fearful that they may "bulk up" and become too masculine? Julia from Julia's Fitness Blog has written a great post on why this is a flawed theory and why strong is the new skinny.. check it out!

I asked my friend B a few questions about weights. B is in her early 20s, she is quite self confident and trains with weights intermittently. 

A: Do you lift weights?:
B: I lift little weights in the gym...about 3 kilos I think. I think I started doing it because i wanted to be stronger. To help me with my horse riding. 

A: Are you comfortable in the gym?? 
B: Yes, because I go to the uni gym where my partner works and it's a pretty non threatening environment. It's full of students from all different backgrounds and people at all different levels of fitness. I don't feel perved on and there are plenty of women. I also know lots of people.

A: What would make you feel uncomfortable in a gym?? 
B: If I felt self conscious of what I was doing. If I thought people were watching me and judging my ability or technique. I'd hate to think people were staring and thinking "look at that girl... she's doing it all wrong!" 

A: If a trainer suggested lifting heavier weights, would you feel comfortable to have a go? 
B: If it made sense as to why they were suggesting it I would give it a try. I would need to have info on why it would be the best exercise for me and my goals.

So, do you lift weights?? If so, why? Do you love them or loathe them? Or are you indifferent? Do you have any goals relating to your strength or muscle tone? Are you someone who has been worried that you'll grow a stonking great pair of Arnie biceps??

What are your concerns? Fears? What do you LOVE about weights?? 

I'd be thrilled to hear from you in the comments!!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

What I learned from the ProBlogger event... that I didn't attend

For those of you who follow me on Twitter (if you don't, you can by clicking here!) you may be painfully aware that I totally crashed the ProBlogger event conversation! That little #pbevent hashtag made me very excited!

I am really sad that I hadn't budgeted to go this year and that a virtual pass is currently out of my financial reach.. however the wonderful thing about bloggers is that there was a plethora of information spilling forth from the conference via Twitter. For those two days I lived vicariously through those bloggers. The tweets, the photos, the hairstyles, boots, nails, bags, food... all of it.. I lapped it up!!

Just following along with the #pbevent tweets was enough to rekindle my desire to blog and blog well. I want to make Go Mumma awesome. One of the pieces of advice that came through- and I sheepishly can't remember who said it.. it might have been @_sarahwilson_ - was to look at what questions people ask you because that is what people think you know about and what they expect to hear from you.

That got me thinking... what do people expect to hear from me?? What do people ask me about? I pretty much just blog about my life however there are two distinct areas that have emerged over the years.. pregnancy and health & fitness.  Now- at this stage I have no more baby plans so that pretty much leaves me with a blog about good health. And I DO get asked lots of questions about how to feel good and treat the body with respect.

And I actually DO know a lot about this area.. I live it every day.. I know healthy weight loss and I know fitness (don't tell anybody but I almost finished a PT course and intend to go on to study exercise science at some stage when I don't have a million other things to do) So I have made a decision to take this blog back to where I first began... to where my passion and knowledge intersect.

I am a health and fitness blogger..

And an awesome side note?? My boss told me I could probably use the next PBevent as professional development and have it paid for by work as I am the "social media" person for our team.. Yayzers!!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

The Stages of Change Model :: My personal story



I sometimes wonder why I go through periods where I just can't get my head into gear. Why I can't do the right things for my mind and body despite knowing exactly what to do to be healthy.

Like many of you, I have had some very bleak times where I pretty much resign myself to being overweight, unfit and down in the dumps for the rest of my life. I have said things like "why bother?", "I'll only put the kilos back on again", "I'm too busy/tired/sad", "it hurts", "I'm too fat to do that" etc etc etc... pretty defeatist stuff isn't it? These conversations have the potential to go on and on.

But then a small voice starts whispering from somewhere deep in my brain (she has possibly been stuffed in a cupboard to shut her up) and I begin to hear her.. a tiny voice timidly saying things like "you can do it", "you're worth the effort", "why do you always put yourself last?".

This is usually the point where I begin to reach out for support. I tell people I trust (in real life of my online friends) that I'm not doing well and I start investigating what other people have done to get themselves to where I want to be. This is also a very dangerous point, as it is often the point where I feel desperate enough to do stupid things like using meal replacement shakes and doing strict detoxes. I know these things don't work for me but when you're desperate, you make silly decisions. I do this for a while, I usually receive lovely support from my wonderful community.

Then something clicks for me. It's like a light being switched on.

I remember that the only way to long term health and fitness is by doing it properly... slowly.. steadily.. with consistent effort. So I decide on a healthy approach and I stick to it for longer than a few weeks. And I see RESULTS! And I begin to feel better in body and mind. I begin sharing my experiences with others who are also on a similar journey. Inspiring people, real people, people who also need support.

If I stick to this long enough I know I will get to where I want to be. It is, for me, about persevering. About sticking to it. But it doesn't guarantee that I will never struggle or hear those loud, abusive voices again.

This reminded me of something we used to talk about at uni when studying mental health and substance abuse- the Stages of Change Model. It looks like this;

Pre-contemplative > Contemplative > Preparation > Action > Maintenance

But the catch is, that it is expected that a person usually goes from maintenance, back around to pre- contemplation again and start all over again at some stage. They might not spend as much time in that stage as they did before, but it is NORMAL not to be in action or maintenance all the time.

And that's ok.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Consistency is the key

I am now in week 7 of the 12 Week Body Transformation. I haven't really posted anything about it as I feel like I shared SO much of myself in the last round that my focus shifted from the actual task at hand and I spent a lot of time thinking about how I presented myself in videos and blogs (and trying to inspire others along the way). This is not a bad thing per se however I did lose focus and wound up not finishing the 12 week program. I just dropped the ball and it was all too much pressure.

So this time I decided to keep it sort of on the down low. I have been sharing on Facebook and talking with family but the blog really hasn't been my focus. Having said that, I now feel like I can share a little bit about how I've been going.

My mantra for this round has been "consistency is the key" and I have been focusing on doing ALL the workouts I plan at the beginning of my week and consistently sticking to my healthy nutrition plan.

I have now lost 8.3kg over the last 7 weeks. Consistency is working. I am feeling fitter, stinger, my head is clearer and I can't wait to feel even better as the weeks roll on.

Are you trying to get healthy? Do you have a support network? What are you doing to get you to where you want to be? I'd love to hear from you. Please drop me a comment below.


My face- 7 weeks and 8kg down and I'm beginning to see some changes.

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