Goodbye to Gaia

She woke up feeling refreshed. She wasn’t tired, she wasn’t restless, she wasn’t anything – just plain refreshed.

She’d thought about doing yoga that morning but decided to get on the road and back to her life, her loving family, her little world outside of Gaia.

She did take a little walk across the grass to look at that view one last time. She had breakfast with Shana, a new found friend, then she said her farewells and left.

“Goodbye Gaia…” she whispered to the trees as her car turned off the driveway and back on the road to reality.

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……..

I really hope you have enjoyed reading these posts as much as I have enjoyed reminiscing as I posted them.

We all have those thoughts; you know the ones that sound like ‘gee I wish I could just stop time for a day, catch up on life, and take a breath!’ Well Gaia for me was like stopping time. It was about switching off from the outside world and diving deep into myself for a change. Life is so busy, so hectic at times that we forget about ourselves. I know it sounds weird, but, we do! We stop listening to our bodies, our hearts, our minds. We get up, get dressed, go to work, tend to the kids, do the chores, the shopping, the cooking, go to bed, get up the next day and do it all again! Rarely do we stop to enjoy the little things in life; rarely do we give in to what we really want. Maybe it’s mid-week, the house is a mess but all you really want to do is have a hot bath and read a good book.  Gaia was about learning to say yes to the bath and book. It was about learning to enjoy life, every precious moment and it was about living in the present moment too. We rush and we live in the future and sometimes the past. We don’t just be, in whatever moment we are in. This is what Gaia taught me.

I went to Gaia because I wanted to centre myself, calm my thoughts and learn to harness my emotions and energy. You see, I live in the future A LOT. I’m always thinking about what will come next – when will we get to travel again, where will we buy a house, when will we have kids, what job will I go for next, what is my destiny in life. I have these questions swirling around my head all the time and not being able to answer them drives me crazy! It’s like I need to know the answers, like my entire life depends on it. It was this attitude, this strange obsession with the future that was holding me back from living my life right now. I was missing things because I wasn’t even aware they were happening around me. Then there were those rare moments when I would ‘snap back’ to the present and be startled by its beauty. One day, for example, I was out in my backyard and realised there were the most beautiful white flowers growing next to my fence. There were just a few, a handful of tall stems shooting up from the soil. It was impressive. I couldn’t believe I’d never noticed them before!

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Gaia taught me not to worry about the future. In fact, now I don’t even dwell on it. I have a book and every time I think about what I want in my future, I write it down in detail, and then I close my book and leave it. In June, I will go through the pages and see what themes reoccur. Then, when I’m ready, I will know which path I’m supposed to take.

By the time I left Gaia, my heart was open, I was letting life in, feeling positive, and I was physically rejuvenated too. The organic, healthy meals and the massages were divine and certainly helped regulate the internal creaks and cracks. All wrapped up, Gaia was like a warm blanket, a soothing touch on the body and soul. Gaia brings you back to where you want to be, where you should be. But only if you let it. It would be easy to go to Gaia for the massages alone. But if you open your heart and your mind, Gaia will fill you with love and wisdom…

Namaste

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http://www.gaiaretreat.com.au/

Run in the sun – Gaia day 4

She slept until 9am. This was becoming a bad habit, but she took the advice of both her practitioners from the previous day; the acupuncturist who said she may feel overly tired, and if so, to rest, and the astrologist who said to listen to her heart not her head when making decisions. This morning’s decision was ‘get up for yoga or go back to sleep’. Sleep won.

After a quick shower she went over to breakfast and found one of her favourite workers, Josh, was there. He was a young guy, always happy and always helpful. He served her corn and ricotta fritters and a lemongrass tea to go with the porridge she poured out for herself.

She felt great today. The acupuncture had definitely done something because she had energy, and she wanted to get out and see some things down this end of the world. So running gear on, she packed some bathers and a towel and drove the half hour to beautiful Byron Bay. It’s funny because although she had been here before, she didn’t remember it at all. The beaches were stunning – blue and silver hues with crashing white waves and azure patches of green. The streets were filled with hippies and holiday makers walking, riding bikes and driving their cars in search of the best car park. She found her park just a block from the main beach, paid the $12 to park there and set off on a 7km run to the lighthouse and back.

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In the hot sun she ran along the beach track, up steps and steep winding pathways, down similar tracks and back up again to Palm Valley. From there, she had 1.7km to go to the lighthouse and with determination, sore legs and a lot of sweat she pushed on up even steeper paths and slimmer tracks until she reached the top. It was a great accomplishment and she felt a sense of pride. It was getting even hotter so she had a sip of water and carried on back to the starting point, this time stopping here and there for a photo and to take in the breathtaking views out over the rocks, the ocean, the beach, the trees – it was magnificent and in that moment she felt totally content just being who she was, where she was.

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Back at the main beach she ran onto the sand, stripped down to shorts and a sports bra and dived in to the powerful swell. The cool water hit her skin and she inhaled the smell of the salt, licked it off her lips and dived under the waves one by one until she felt ready to get out and walk back to her car barefoot.

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Back at Gaia a smoked trout salad was awaiting and she ate it all before meeting with the retreats owner Gregg for a chat about how this amazing place all came to be. He was an interesting man, wearing a suit with thongs, she felt envious of this amazing life he has made for himself out here. She really enjoyed their chat; he was easy to be around.

That afternoon she was treated to an hour of luxurious bliss at the spa which presented itself in the form of a steam room body scrub and facial mask. Wow. 20 minutes in a spectacular steam room, complete with twinkling lights on the roof, she lay there almost naked and let the steam engulf her from head to toe until the therapist returned and lathered the most deliciously scented lemon myrtle and wattle seed salt scrub on her body. Starting with the legs, the feet, the back, the arms, the chest and stomach and then finally the face. A mask and cucumber on the eyes then soothed the face and she was left once again to absorb this into her skin while the steam took her into a warm cloud once again. By the end her skin felt crazily soft as the therapist showered her right there on the bed.

She floated back to her room and there she stayed lost in thought for a few hours until it was time again for dinner. She stared blankly out the window, something that felt natural to her from the day she arrived, but something she didn’t feel at ease doing until now. It’s funny how society tells you something is normal and something else isn’t, she thought. People don’t just sit and ponder these days. Now she was.

Dinner was fantastic as always – beetroot and ricotta arancini balls, Cajun chicken breast and black bean salsa finished with mango and peach crumble. Another day in paradise she thought as she made her way to bed, but that niggling headache that had found her every night since the massage found her again. She took it as a good sign though, if not an annoying one, but to her it meant there was change inside her body, things were moving and energy was flowing. It was a sign of re balance so she sucked it up and tried to fall to sleep.

And she glowed from the inside out…

When I started operation nutrition my skin was dull, slightly red and it didn’t look as smooth as I’d probably like it to.

Now, 11 weeks on (almost to the day) my skin has a glow about it. The redness is subsiding and it’s smoothing out. My cheeks don’t look so dull and the softness is returning.

At the start of the journey back in September

At the start of the journey back in September

After the 11 weeks!

After the 11 weeks!

It’s amazing what a difference food can make. Just by putting the right nutrients inside your body you can make a real difference to the outside appearance as well.

For example, if you are stuffing your face with fast food, processed food and bad fats, your skin will start to reflect the amount of grease and saturated fats you’re ingesting.

Similarly, foods that are good foryour body weight seem to be equally as good for your skin. So if you consume a lot of fruits, veg, lean meats, nuts, legumes, etc then your skin will reflect this freshness and radiate health! This is what I’m now starting to see!

And, appearance aside, after 11 weeks I’m really starting to FEEL a difference as well. My energy is up, I’m finding that by eating the right types of food for my body I now have more energy to do longer gym workouts or to push myself more which in turn equals fat loss (bonus!!). I am getting less tired during the day, I feel happier in general and my mood swings are not so frequent. Even my periods are becoming more regular and less painful (which any woman knows is a bloody good thing!).

Bloating was a regular thing at the start of the journey

Bloating was a regular thing at the start of the journey

At the 11 week mark, bloating is gone!

At the 11 week mark, bloating is gone!

When I started on this journey with my wonderful nutritionist Jessica Cox I had an idea of what I wanted to get out of it. I really wanted to learn what foods weren’t right for me and I wanted to learn how to replace those foods with ones that were right for me. I have certainly achieved this! I suppose in the back of my mind I wanted to be eating better so I could lose some weight, which I also achieved! Simply feeling better in general was the main purpose of seeing a nutritionist in the first place. This, I have absolutely achieved. The cramps, nausea, fatigue, headaches and bloating have pretty much stopped completely. Of course I’m still adjusting to this lifestyle so there are occasional slip ups which leave me a little bloated but these are few and far between now.

They say new habits are formed and results start to happen after 12 weeks and I think this is pretty spot on! One important thing I’ve learnt throughout this journey is that you need to be patient and you need to be kind to yourself and your body. Health is a journey and there is no quick fix. Sticking it out is the only way to prosper. And getting support, such as I did with Jess, makes the journey soooooo much smoother and soooooo much easier. I could not have made these changes without her!

So for all of those working on their 2014 resolutions, if getting your health back on track pops up, see a nutritionist. You will not regret the investment. And if you give it a bit of time and stay positive and on track, when you get to the 12 week mark you WILL be able to look back and see some stand out changes to your health, your body and your skin!

Check out www.jessicacox.com.au –make health your priority next year!

PS she has some DELICIOUS recipes on the site as well!

My inner voice has spoken up!

I recently cut red meat from my diet (something I need to discuss with my nutritionist Jess at our appointment next week!). This isn’t the first time I’ve done this; it’s actually something I do quite frequently. I go Vego for a few months and then add meat back in for a while. The reasoning behind it is simple really; it’s a moral decision. I’m a big believer in and supporter of animal rights so I feel like a bit of a hypocrite scoffing down a juicy steak.

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Going off meat temporarily isn’t too tough for me, but after a while it always seems to get harder. Why? A: like the taste (I know, I know… don’t judge) B: My iron levels are low and sometimes my body needs the extra fuel. However, now that Jess is on the case regarding my iron and my levels are rising I feel that problem may be combatted for good, so that excuse is no longer relevant.

And today, just when reason B was about to wreck everything, my little inner voice who until now only pipes up when I don’t want it to, actually came to my rescue. Here’s the story…

I’m in my lunch break, driving to get some sushi and one of my fav pieces is the Aburi Ngiri (rice with seared wagyu beef). When I realised I wasn’t going to be able to have that now I’ve gone back to not eating red meats, I thought, oh well I suppose it doesn’t matter, one sushi won’t kill me. Then, enter stage left my inner voice who said very calmly… ‘Lahnee, you can eat the sushi if you want, but remember that you made the conscious choice not to eat red meat because it goes against your morals. It’s a choice you made, and it’s a choice you can keep.’

Hmmm, wise words little voice.

So I suppose the moral (pun intended) of this story is that some foods you may want to eat but you can’t because you are allergic or intolerant. Such is the case with me and my old pal wheat. Other foods you are actively choosing not to eat for one reason or other. And you are in total control of your actions. You are the only person who can be blamed if you break your own rules. This goes for weight loss too. No one forces you to eat a piece of cake. You pick that sucker up and put it in your own mouth.

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Our relationship with food really shouldn’t be as complicated as it is sometimes. Basically, if your body can’t handle something, don’t eat it. If you know something is bad for you, don’t eat it. If you’ve made a moral decision not to eat something, don’t eat it.

There… super simple really!

Nutrition rollercoaster

Increased saliva, nausea, fatigue, moodiness, increased gas.

Hmm, I’m either preggers or having an odd reaction to the metagenics supplements.

Now Jess did warn there may be side effects, so I’m figuring this is what I’m experiencing.

But, I’m curious to hear from others who have been on these types of supps. What side effects did you have? How did you feel? How did they help you?

Another weird thing that’s been happening this week is my appetite roller-coaster.

Some days, I’ve been ravenous! Other days, I’ve not been hungry at all….

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And my diet has not changed. I’m still no wheat, no dairy. In fact, if anything my diet is getting better every day.

The only ‘new’ thing is the supps. But then again maybe that’s how these things work?

Anyone who is going through the process of changing their diet and lifestyle would probably feel the same as I am right now. It’s all a bit new and uncertain. Things are changing slowly inside you and your body, and mind, is adapting.

I think the thing I’ve learnt from this week of ups and downs is that it really is a process, and even though I’ve felt better already, it’s a long road ahead to being ‘fixed’. There is a whole journey in front of me and I’m only just beginning.

So, I’ll keep chugging along, and when I catch up with Jess in 2 more weeks, we will have plenty to talk about!

Feel free to get in touch either in the comments section or on facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Lahneeland

Operation Nutrition – the meet!

It was 4.30pm on a Thursday and I found myself wandering up the steps to Jessica’s office space in Brisbane CBD. With a big smile and hello I was in the room and sitting at the desk, anxious to get started. It was D-Day… the initial consultation was here!

So as you all now know I’m embarking on Operation Nutrition to get my health back in order. I shared a bit about my past in the last post and over the course of the next few months I’ll be sharing the journey.

Here is the starting point. In order to give you a real idea about what goes on I am going to be honest and share with you everything… the highs, the lows, the good and the bad. Starting with the pre Operation Nutrition pics…

These pics are post wheat based snack. As you can see there is some serious bloating going on. This is pretty much what I deal with daily. I’m not sure at this stage what exactly causes it, but with Jessica’s help we are going to find out and eliminate that sucker!

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Here is a pic of my bare naked… face! Straight out the shower sans everything (including moisturiser) this is all me.

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Now here are the stats:

Weight – 65kg, Height 161cm (yes I’m short!), body fat 22%.

Just to clarify, I’m not doing this to lose weight; I’m doing it to feel better and to learn how to use food to benefit my body. But in doing this, I’m pretty sure the weight loss and fat loss is going to come as an added perk! So I will keep track of this too!

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Now on to the initial consultation itself!

First let me just say, it was super easy and I felt really comfortable, even when talking about things like bowel movements and flatulence…Jessica covered all the nitty gritty bits and asked plenty of questions, most, I surprisingly couldn’t answer! It’s quite amazing how little notice you take of things like how often you go to the toilet, what foods/meals cause the bloating, whether the symptoms all came at once or over time. It comes back to being mindful and aware and in this day and age, we just aren’t aware of what’s going on in our bodies, or what we are putting in them!

I actually felt a little embarrassed if at any time when we were openly discussing my current diet. Which I thought was reasonably healthy, until I said what I ate out loud. It’s funny, I go about life thinking I’m pretty healthy, I don’t eat white anything, I exercise, I don’t smoke, don’t drink much, don’t take drugs; yet I get sick all the time and I’m constantly tired. You would think alarm bells would have gone off sooner than now! And to think it is all to do with the foods I’m eating.

Even something as simple as weetbix for breakfast could be upsetting the balance, or too much sushi, or those morning cappuccinos! I use skim milk, that’s healthy right? Not when your body hates dairy!

So in short, the initial consultation was exactly that; a starting point for us both to discover what’s been happening and to start talking about what is going to happen. One thing I was really thrilled about was that I got to take something home with me right then and there! Jessica created me a brand new food plan designed around what types of food I like and not too different from what I already ate. For example, weetbix and fruit with cow’s milk has been substituted for low sugar muesli, berries and almond milk. The coffees exchanged for herbal tea. All totally doable and delicious swaps; there is nothing on my new menu I don’t like. I also got some great new recipes for home-made dips, salad variations and pre workout muffins! I left with my next appointment booked for 2 weeks’ time, a pee cup for one test, a referral for another blood test with my local GP and I was feeling positive about the whole thing.

So what now you ask? Now I have a food plan with no wheat and no dairy so we can determine if it is one or both of these foods that my body doesn’t like. We will trial this until the next appointment, in the meantime I have the two tests done and then we bring it all together at our next session! The beauty is, Jessica is available any time I need help or advice and that makes me feel super excited and motivated to see this through!

Stay tuned for daily updates and the big shop!

Peace

Operation Nutrition

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So all my regular readers know I’m on a bit of a health kick lately both inside and out – The Insanity Challenge (which you will see and hear the results from soonish) most recently the 10 Minutes for 10 Days (which I am on day 9 of and going strong) and now, let me introduce you to Operation Nutrition…

Tomorrow a very special journey will begin; a journey that really should have started a long time ago.

Let me go back to the start for a moment and give you a bit of an intro on me and why all of this is so important.

I was always very fit and healthy as a kid. I was part of numerous sporting groups, surfed every day, I ate well – I felt great. Then like a lot of adolescents, I fell from grace. Long story short I put on about 20kg, felt like shit and was very unhealthy and unhappy.

At 19 years old and 80kg I had a meltdown and with the help of my now hubby I lost about 15kg and was back on the healthy trail. And to see just how far I could go, I enlisted in a great trainer and decided to compete in a Sports Modelling comp. I trained my ass off (literally) for 12 weeks, lost another 10kg, went on stage and won! Yep… I looked hot! And I felt great! Momentarily. You see as great as you look on a body building diet, it really isn’t very sustainable. Well it wasn’t for me anyway. I fluctuated for a few years, competed in a few more comps and pushe my poor body to the brink. I was burnt out by the end. So much so I gave up on the gym, quit that membership and did a backflip with my nutrition. Before I knew it I was 65kg again. Rollercoaster right?

I suppose it’s quite important to point out at this stage that during all of this craziness it wasn’t just my weight that suffered. My insides hurt. For years I would go back to the doctor, different doctors, and every time they would suggest I might be pregnant (which I never was). Why you ask? Because my symptoms were always the same: nausea, fatigue, headaches, bloating, cravings, cramps.

After blood tests, urine tests and ultrasounds over and over again, well apparently there was nothing wrong with me. So on I went.

Which brings me to the present – I am currently working out again, about 5 x per week, and eating reasonably healthy, I still weigh 65kg and still have the weird symptoms.

Naturally, I went back to the doctors, because now I also taste metal in my mouth (yay!) and finally we had a breakthrough… this wonderful doctor suggested it might be as simple as acid reflux caused by my diet. Hmmm, ok. So a few tablets later and well, I felt better. This is good! But what it means is that I am probably intolerant to something in my diet, if not numerous things.

Enter stage right… Operation Nutrition!

In a bid to right this for good, to get off the rollercoaster and start living a better life, I decided to enlist the help of a nutritionist.

So last week I met up with the very lovely Jessica Cox, a Brisbane based nutritionist who is about to get my life and my health back on track. Over the next few months I’m going to be seeing Jessica every couple of weeks and documenting the journey. Through the good and the bad, the hard and the easy times, the failed and successful recipes, the cravings, the delicious times – through it all – join me and see how this works. If you have ever wondered whether seeing a nutritionist is for you, well use me as your guinea pig. Follow my journey and make up your own mind.

Tomorrow it all begins – my initial consultation and then it’s all go!

Keep in the loop on here, my instagram and facebook page! And wish me luck.

Peace!

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Nutrition for dummies

The saying goes, you are what you eat.

And it appears to be rather correct.

You see, I’m starting to realise that if you stuff your face full of fattening foods, guess what, you get fat. If you eat lean foods, shock horror, you get leaner!

This is pretty generalised but you get the drift.

In my search for information about ‘being what you eat’ I came across this gem of a list…

It’s called Nutrition for Dummies… I now have it posted on my wall at work…I’m particularly fond of rule number 15, and remember, nobody accidentally eats cake 😉

1. Don’t eat anything bigger than your head. Unless it’s a watermelon. Or you have a tiny head.
2. If your meal arrives through a car window via a teenager wearing a headset, don’t eat it.
3. If it comes in an exciting range of fluorescent colours, don’t eat it.
4. Don’t confuse the marketing on the front (of the pack) with the nutritional information in the teeny-tiny box on the back.
5. Nobody accidentally eats cake. Own your choices and your behaviours.
6. Calories consumed in secret count. Your friends might not know but your arse will.
7. If dieting was an effective way to lose weight permanently, nobody would ever diet twice.
8. Don’t confuse ‘what your head wants’ with what your body needs. Your mind is a lying bitch.
9. If the ingredient list is full of weird-sounding numbers and words ending in ‘ose’, throw it away.
10. If you haven’t had a poo since June, maybe cut back on the processed food. And try a little fibre. Just saying.
11. If it comes with orange-coloured cheese, throw it away.
12. Most cereals are shit. Avoid them. Unless you want diabetes by Friday.
13. Amazingly, following a generic eating plan from a magazine is not your best bet.
14. If food is your lover, you need to get out more.
15. If you’re considering taking your kids to McDonalds for a treat, punch yourself in the face.

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(work wall inspiration!!!)