LCHF and Me: The Six Week Low Carb, High Fat Challenge

Nine years ago, I was about to get married (for the first time ha!) and so I did what what most brides-to-be do – hit the gym. HARD. Got myself a a personal trainer and was there at 6am, 5 days a week. I don’t remember her name, but she told me about this special diet I could do to help slim down for the wedding. It was all about limiting your carbs and increasing your protein and fat consumption. There was a catch though. No alcohol, no dairy, no sugar… AKA, no fun. But I’m one of those people who, when she puts her mind to it, can do close to anything. So, I followed the diet to the letter, lost a bunch of weight and looked amazing on my wedding day. By the end of the honeymoon though, I was basically back to square one. All that work wiped out in the space of a fortnight.

Fad diets. Ugh.

Fast forward nine years, another wedding and two kids later, and here we were. A little worse for wear. A few wobbly bits here and there as you might expect. Still looking pretty good, but not feeling like “me” anymore. Tired, lethargic, and lacking motivation.

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Here I am, living my best life being a legit underwear model with my post-kid wobbly bits out for all to see #noregrets

So I went searching for a solution. Not a fad diet – a lifestyle overhaul. A way to change it up that was going to help me out of the fog and hopefully, back into those skinny jeans sitting in the back of the wardrobe.

After doing some research, I decided I was going to sign up to the 6 week Low Carb, High Fat Challenge with Vicky and Joe from Eat Play Thrive.

I paid my registration fee and off I went. Before the challenge started, I was given a plethora of information to get me on my way to make sure I felt supported and ready right from day one. There’s a private Facebook page for you to join with the other participants, which immediately makes you feel like you are a part of a community. Having a bad day? Post about it in the group and let the other members lift you up and remind you why you’re doing this. Having a great day? Post about that too! I used the group regularly when I had questions about particular foods, which were always answered quickly by Vicky, Joe or a member of the group.

For all the participants who need to understand the science behind the LCHF movement, theres workshops and interviews with Doctors, Nutritionists and other who clearly explain how shifting to a LCHF lifestyle benefits your body.

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Keto Chicken Curry Pie. Wahhhh, poor me eating like a QWEEN.

And finally, the recipes! Oh my lordy. The recipes. Never did I think that being on a “diet” (for lack of a better word) could be so delicious. Not once in the six weeks did I miss the foods I usually rely so heavily on (I’m looking at you pasta and bread), because the food I was consuming was so amazing, I never felt like I was missing out.

And heres the best part – the results.

For me, this was never about the number on the scales. It was about dropping body fat and feeling good. Both of which I achieved.

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All 163cm of me, before and after.

BEFORE                             AFTER

Bust: 92cm                        86cm

Waist: 77cm                      69cm

Hips: 98cm                        92cm

60.1kgs                               56.7kgs

25.6% fat                            23.2%

48.3% water                      49.9%

29.1% muscle                    31.0%

So where to from here?

Thats the best part about the program and signing up with Vicky and Joe. At the end of the six weeks, you have the tools you need to make this a LIFESTYLE change. Not a fad diet. I’m now in maintenance mode, and feeling better than I have in a long long time.

The next six week LCHF Challenge starts on 28 October, and I’ll be there. This time around I’m ready to learn more about the exercise component and how I can really kick my body into shape over summer and beyond.

Registrations are now open for October – come and join us and see what all the fuss is about!

Amy x

Who do You Dress For?

A friend of mine was telling me a story recently about a girl she knows. Said girlfriend was in a clothes shop, contemplating buying a rather expensive but fabulous shirt. As she ummmmed and ahhhhhed about her possible purchase, she looked at her friend and exclaimed, “Craig is going to kill me if I buy this. He won’t like it at all.” As my friend recalled the story, she threw her arms up in the air. “Who cares what Craig thinks?”

Obviously, in this instance, this particular person cared what Craig thought. Enough that she walked away from the fabulous shirt and now probably goes to sleep every night thinking of nothing but how it could be hanging in her wardrobe right now making all the other, slightly less fabulous pieces hanging around it feel slightly inadequate.

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This sleeve length is maybe the best thing in the world…

On my last trip to Melbourne, one of my main objectives was shopping. I had squirreled away every hard-earned dollar from selling the girls pre-loved clothes, a few Gumtree purchases and bits of spare change I could put to the side, so I could go nuts in a few stores that I don’t have access to in Canberra. Yes, online shopping makes pretty much everything accessible, but sometimes there is nothing better than actually going into a store and being able to try on things before making a purchase.

So, like I was saying… I had come to shop. I had cash in my hand, and a list of shops to visit. What I did not have though, was a list of items that I was or wasn’t able to purchase based on what my husband likes. Sure, I like it when Benji says I look nice, but bless him – he pretty much reckons I look good in a potato sack (note: I do not wear potato sacks around the house, or anywhere else for that matter).

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Too cold to wear your favourite dress? Grab a crazy-cat-lady cardi, hold your head high and go live your best life

I dress for me.

I like it. I can afford it. I buy it. I wear it.

Exhibit B – a previous man in my life used to hate the way I dressed. As far as he was concerned, I wasn’t doing my body any justice hiding it from the world. It was something that should have been showed off in tight, feminine clothing at all times. I thought about what he said, and then went shopping for as many formless, androgynous outfits as my bank balance would allow #icantbelievehewasnttheone

Call that selfish if you want, but I don’t think you will. You see, the way I dress is just one of the ways I show the world who I am. When I wear clothes I feel comfortable in, I am confident, I walk taller, I feel powerful. Like the world is mine for the taking. If I start dressing for someone else, in shapes or colours that don’t quite suit my vibe, this doesn’t happen. I feel like an imposter.

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Gotta love a dress that you can wear with heels or sneakers, but yeah, mostly sneakers

As Avery gets older, she is starting to figure out her own look. She likes being able to pick what she wears and how. Sometimes she nails it, sometimes she looks like a cute little hobo. But maybe in her head, she’s rocking her vibe. Walking taller, feeling more powerful. So I won’t stop her. Just like Benji won’t stop me.

So let me ask you – who do you dress for? Do you have the fabulous shirt hanging in your wardrobe, or just in your head as you close your eyes at night?

All fabulous outfits and earrings kindly gifted by some of my favourite stores. Grab a wine and go find something amazing for you, not your partner below:

Outfit One: Whitehaven Emporium – A Nice Cotton Dress with Sleeves in Chai Lattice $84.95

Outfit Two: Seagrass Design – Pebbles Button Dress $229.00

Outfit Three: Assemble Clothing – The Lakehouse Dress $99.95

All Earrings: Love Buds by Amy – Prices Vary

Got this far? You go Glenn Coco! Discounts and a cheeky giveaway happening soon over on my insta.

The Great Dollhouse Renovation!

My girls were the lucky recipients of a hand-me-down dollhouse from their Mardie and Pardie (is anyone else noticing that none of my children’s grandparents have normal names yet?) a couple of years ago. It’s wooden, beautifully handmade, and very solid.

But kind of old-fashioned.

And as you might have figured out if you’re familiar with my Instagram page, I don’t really do old-fashioned at home.

*cue music* It’s time for a makeover!

I had hinted to Benji for quite a while that the dollhouse could use with a bit of a face lift, but my whinging hinting fell on deaf ears. So there was only one thing left to do – get the job done girl.

With special thanks to Ryobi tools, this is how I made our little dolls house go from drab, to fab.

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“She’s wearing overalls, she must know how to use tools”

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “she’s wearing overalls, she must know how to use tools.”

WRONG!

My idea of DIY, is getting stuff out of the shed and then standing behind Benji, loudly offering my guidance on what I think he’s doing wrong as he goes about the task at hand. But this time I was determined to do it myself. I’m a woman, I can do anything!

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Benji: “Are you sure you want to do this?” Getouttamyway Benji.

Using the One+ 18V Compact Drill was easy, but kind of counter intuitive to start with for a thinking girl – “So I have to push the drill into the dollhouse to get the screws out? Huh?” Once my brain got over that little fact, and realised that this was going to make my life approximately 1052 times easier, I got into it and removed all those screws holding the house together quicker than I can make my way through a packet of Tim Tams.

The backing board was next to come off, and that was just a matter of using a little elbow grease and some pent-up frustration. A few strong taps (“like you mean it” according to Benji) and it was off.

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Eek, there’s no turning back now.

It was at about this point – five minutes in, that I got a little bored out in the shed and needed a little something to keep me going. Luckily, this is where the One+ 18V Bluetooth Radio comes in handy. It’s small, lightweight, has AM/FM, aux and Bluetooth capabilities and uses the same battery pack as my drill. Sorry neighbours, but this bad boy is getting turned up and I’m getting my shed-oke (totes a word) on.

Now, the wall of the dollhouse was probably the part of the house I disliked the most and was most keen to replace. To get rid of the old wallpaper, I set my 2000W Corded Heat Gun to low and warmed up the backing enough to scrape that bad boy off. Good riddance! Using my limited computer skills to good use, I made up some wall paper, printed it on card and using 84 2 rolls of double-sided tape, lived out my fantasy of having a house with beautiful wallpaper in every room, in miniature form.

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New versus old… Ugh, get rid of it now!

In hindsight, I should have used PVA to glue down the paper, as the taped paper buckled slightly. If I was a perfectionist, I would have redone it, but it isn’t noticeable to anyone but me, so I’ve left it as is!

Next came the part I was dreading the most, and more than likely was the reason I avoided doing the renovation myself for so long – the sanding. Ugh…

Thankfully though, thanks to the 100W Multipad Sander, the old varnish came off that bad boy fast and easy. I decided not to disassemble the entire dollhouse because I’m lazy like that, which meant there were lots of little nooks to get into. The sander handled these with ease and I was able to sand the timber back to its former glory without too much mess or fuss. Smooth as bruh.

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Super easy to use. Dare I say it made sanding fun? Too far?

Because I’m a narcissist at heart, I decided the colour scheme for the dollhouse would mimic that of our renovation that we’re about to undertake, so off I went to Bunnings and picked up some sample pots of the colours I’ve had my eye on – Dune for the exterior walls and Basalt for the Roof. Snow Peak for the interior walls which I watered down to whitewash the floorboards to show the beautiful wood grain.

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The whitewashed flooring and herringbone “marble tiling”. So chic. So what I wish I could have in my actual big house.

Finally, it was time to put the house back together and see if it actually looked any good…

Drum roll please…

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Time to see if it’s been worth the effort or if I’ve just ruined a perfectly fine dollhouse…

Success! Avery running out to see the finished product and looking at me with delight was a major highlight. “I love it!”

*heart swells with pride*

I made this for her. Me. Not Benji. Just me. I must admit, I didn’t realise how proud of myself I would be at the end of this project. It wasn’t particularly difficult, or challenging, but it was something that I would usually make Benji do for me. I feel a real sense of pride in my achievement and I must admit, I’ve developed a bit of a taste for DIY…

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Happy girl, happy Mum

Watch out shed, I’m coming to see what else I can play with next!

This has been a sponsored collaboration with Ryobi, but we do not endorse or work with any products or brands we do not use and love.   

Ryobi delivers affordable power tools with pro features, all backed by their 6 Year Warranty* and are available exclusively at Bunnings Australia and New Zealand.

* 6 year warranty applies to cordless products registered at http://www.ryobi.com.au. Batteries and chargers have 3 year warranty only. Corded tools have a 4 year warranty.

 

The Strength of Vulnerability

Let’s wind back the clock a couple of years. 2011 to be precise. My Husband and I have just sat my Mother down to tell her we’ve decided to end our marriage and we’re getting a divorce, 23 months after saying “I do”. I’ll never forget the look on poor Mum’s face that night. Her jaw nearly hit the floor. She was completely and utterly blindsided. Our friends were the same when we told them. Shock. Disbelief. No idea that this was on the cards.

“You were off my radar Amy. You were the one I didn’t need to worry about anymore.”

Surprise! My life was falling apart and very few people had any idea. Why? Because I was strong! I was resilient! I was… stupid.

I was really good at keeping up appearances and making it seem all was okay, until of course everything was shit. My world was broken and I needed help to fix it, but those around me were too shocked to know how to help and I wasn’t willing to let them even if they wanted to.

Eventually, I healed and my world became “unbroken” over time. I learned to love again and to be loved in ways I never knew I was allowed. But I also learned a valuable lesson in the importance of vulnerability. Allowing people to see inside doesn’t make you weak. It makes you strong. It gives you an army of friends and family who are able to be there for you and help you when your chips are down.

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, I can imagine you looking at your screen quizzically as you read this.

“I’ve literally seen you cry more on Instagram this week than I did when my dog died last Autumn. Seriously, I think you know how to share your feelings…”

And you know what? You’re right. There have been a lot of “real” moments on my social media these last couple of weeks. My chips are down. My resilience is very very low. Lower than it’s been for a very long time. And I’m a little ashamed of the fact that it’s all due to a couple of back to back colds and me feeling crappy. But that’s the thing with resilience. It’s not always the big stuff that breaks you. Sometimes, it’s not being able to taste food for a month straight because you just can’t get back to 100% and your baby has just been diagnosed with Scarlet Fever and you didn’t even know that was still a thing and you’ve had so much time off of work lately and your new boss is surely going to be annoyed at you because you’ve got that time critical project that you need to write that brief for that you haven’t started yet and your eldest comes into bed with you every night and you just need eight hours of unbroken sleep for once but your husband is away for work again this week anddddddddd take a breath! Ahhhhhhh. You get the picture. Life is messy sometimes.

I made a decision not too long ago that I was going to share the bad times with everyone as well as the good. Call it an experiment of sorts. My way of forcing myself into being more open. Because if I don’t, I might just go back to 2011 Amy, who is great at pretending her life is like a magazine picture.

If this week has taught me anything, it’s that support is everywhere. I’ve had so many amazing people reach out to offer a kind word, flowers, a small gift. It’s filled my heart with all sorts of warm and fuzzies. I’ve also had others reach out to let me know that they have been feeling the same and thought they were alone, but seeing me go through something similar has made them realise they’re not.

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When people know you’re having a rough time, they do really lovely things, like send you ALL THE PRETTY FLOWERS

There are people everywhere wanting to be strong to support you, if you let them. You just have to be brave, and open yourself to the possibility. Vulnerable is the new strong.

Amy x

 

Five Minutes with Seriously Milestones

I’ve been a big fan of Issy and her Seriously Milestone cards ever since I first came across her on Instagram. Understanding that motherhood isn’t exactly the picture perfect world that we often portray on social media, Issy has managed to snag a corner of the market that was missing – milestone cards for those Seriously Real Moments. The ones that sometimes make us cry, but almost always make us laugh.

Mother of two herself, you’ll find Issy on Instagram most likely chatting candidly in her dressing gown, singing in the car (a woman after my own heart) or making some amazing lip sync videos with her bestie, Emma which you can view over at @lipsyncbattleground.

As the mother of girls, I’m always interested to know what “Girl Power” means to you?

Oh wow way to start with a hard one!

Girl power means so many things, it means being able to stand up for yourself without being a bitch; respecting males but understanding that you don’t need one to be happy; not really giving a shit what other people think but also considering people’s feelings.  It is super hard to summarise actually, but maybe I’ll half answer it in the next question.

Who inspires you and why?

On a business level, there are so many amazing women out there who have and continue to inspire me on a daily basis.  The ones who are literally there every step of the way like Leah (@leahladsonphotography), Morgi (@morgimacdesign) and Em (@happyhandshappyheart), to the ones that I have never even met before but have been so generous with their knowledge on this crazy journey – Heather (@kippins_), Cherie (@thedigitalpicnic) and Kim (@captain.and.co).

Anyone who has been generous to me is a winner in my eyes, because it can be so easy to not reply to an email or to forget the ‘little man’, but all of these woman and more have gone out of their way to support me and I am forever grateful for it.

Describe Seriously Milestones in three words:

  • Piss-take
  • Time-consuming
  • Love

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Was it hard to take the leap into running your own business?

I wouldn’t say hard is the right word, it was more exciting.  There were times when it was challenging, but having been on maternity leave for almost 12 months my brain was ready to start up again!  Plus, as I mentioned above, I had a shit tonne of support, so any time I started to doubt my idea, I had a whole tribe behind me telling me that I was going to totally rock this business thing!

If you weren’t running Seriously Milestones, what would you be doing?

Probably back at my office job in a school, trying to ensure that the naughty kids don’t get expelled and sorting out an alternative pathway for the ones that do…See why I’ve had to develop a sense of black humour? I do love that job though, mainly because my boss was so freaking awesome, but she knows I am not coming back any time soon 😉

I love that the Insta-community is so supportive of each other. Share with me your top five Insta-brands and what makes them so special:

Oh god I feel like I’ve totally done a million shout outs, so I’m kinda including those girls in this but I’ll pump out some new ones too –

  • My Little Booky Wooky – she is special because she is new on the scene, and she has that energy and excitement to learn that only a new account can have, so I’m excited to see what she does.
  • Hello Zef – I caught up with Suzi when I was in her home town of Torquay recently and it was so nice to meet someone for the first time who is just exactly what you expect them to be like.
  • Thank-You – Because, they are amazing.  I wouldn’t say we’re supportive of each other, or work in the same circles, but I have a total girl crush on Justine and think the whole brands ideology is something that we should all aspire to.
  • Emmylou Loves – if you haven’t watched her insta stories yet, do yourself a favour! She swears, she gets her kids to film her as if they were her insta husband, and she does not appear to have a filter between thinking and speaking.  Can’t get enough.
  • Hurrah For Gin – I obviously couldn’t do a shout out without mentioning this account, because I do repost her images about once a week.  She is a god, that is all.

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What’s next for Issy and Seriously Milestones?

In August I’m heading to Life Instyle for my first trade fair – I’m so excited! Hopefully it goes well enough that I can convince hubby that we should go to one in New York next year…watch this space.

For me? I’m gearing up to kick the eldest one out of the house for more days a week and into school next year, and I may have to cut the apron strings and put my big baby into some sort of care…but I probably won’t.

Finally, for anyone out there wanting to make a change, what words of advice do you have?

Find your support crew – the people who will champion your idea but also give you constructive feedback.  Probably the ones that know the industry you are going into so they can give you their advice from learned experience.  But most of all? Back yourself, you rock!

To celebrate my chat with Issy, you can get your hands on a free greeting card of your choice over at the Seriously Milestones website when you purchase any set of milestone cards. Simply pick your card and mention the TJM blog in the comments at checkout. Enjoy!

You can find Issy and her awesome cards here

Amy x