This is my 1000th blog. Strewth.

Posted on March 18th, 2014

I wrote my first blog post June 28, 2009. I had no idea what I was doing. I still don’t. I was filming Masterchef at the time and needed something or someone a little more cerebral to engage with. So I chose, um, you lot!

Image via A Well Travelled Child Tumblr.

Image via A Well Travelled Child Tumblr.

Like many things that I try, if it feels right, I keep going and going. I questioned why I blogged every single day. I still do. But something compelled me to keep writing.

Mostly the comments fueled me from post to post. So did the people I e-met a long the way, some of whom I started up pen pal-like relationships with (I’m talking about you Shauna and Aran). My blog forced me to get real about what matters to me. And called me to account on slippery issues like cash for comment (you can see my policy on advertising here). It also encouraged me to be more generous and less precious about myself. The online world needs to operate that way and I learned that nothing I shared was new or “mine”.

And then it became my livelihood and I started employing People I Wanted To Be Around, starting with Jo.

And here we are today, 999 posts later. I don’t like fuss. But I thought I might celebrate a little and hand over 10 x ebook packs (each pack includes a copy of all of my ebooks) to 10 commenters on my site. Some from right back in the early days and some who’ve contributed a lot of their time and thoughts along the way. Thank you Ian Acheson, Mia Watson, Anthony Porter, Laura Valerie, Jo at Living Savvy, Mike Wilde, Sassi Sam, Liz Wiggins, Jules Eyre and Sarah at Inner Beam (you’ll be receiving an email from us shortly).

I’m also giving away an additional 10 packs to new friends…see below.

Also, since I get asked this a bit…

Some of my pivotal posts:

1. My first I Quit Sugar post. It all started here, as a gentle experiment (and mostly because I was short of a topic for my Sunday Life newspaper column).

2. The post where I first shared about my autoimmune disease. Read more

the exercise mistake I used to make

Posted on February 20th, 2013

Oh, we get competing messages, don’t we. The latest befuddlement that we’re trying to get our heads around is this “exercise myth” idea. In the “everything you used to think was right is wrong” vane, it’s now being suggested (ready for it?) that…

exercising can make us fat.

What do I think of this?

Photo by Rachel de Joode

Glad you asked, because it’s become a little project of mine lately – to wrap my head around the science of it all, and to encourage people to back off a little. To be gentle. To enjoy exercise and not use it as a self-flagellating mechanism of misery.

First, I should say…I used to do a lot of exercise

I used to self-flagellate. I used to run soft sand races and compete in 24-hour mountain bike races. I ran 10km to work when I edited magazines. And back. I went for 3-hour bush runs on weekends. I went to the gym, did chin-ups on first dates (and didn’t that end badly), and could beat my boyfriends in arm wrestles. Yes, it was an ego thing, too.

But a few years back it took its toll (the ego stuff as well). I kept trying to exercise hard. I kept getting injuries. And eventually I had to accept, that this way of doing things was somehow not right.

We are not meant to push ourselves. We are meant to move and be energised and get blood flowing…but beyond that, it’s just dumb and ineffective.

Exercise does not work for weight loss

Indeed, we’re designed to NOT lose weight when we exercise.

In his book Big Fat Lies, David Gillespie touches on the science that explains that we are designed to NOT burn off a lot of energy when we exercise. This is what enabled us to keep going and going all day and not waste away.

Then there’s the psychological element. If you’re doing exercise just for weight loss, don’t bother. Let me rephrase that. Exercise. Move. Keep active. But don’t expect it to make you lose a lot of weight.

A study compared hunter-gatherers in Tanzania with Western folk. It calculated the participants’ typical daily physical activity, energy expenditure and resting metabolic rates and found the former do move more, but they weren’t burning more calories. In fact, they found their metabolic rates the same as sedate Westerners. That’s the way we roll. Calories in doesn’t equal calories out. We’re far more complex than that.

To put things in perspective:

To burn off a piece of white bread you have to run up 20 flights of stairs.

In fact, it can make us fat!

A Time magazine cover story a while back – ”Why exercise won’t make you thin” – looked at all the evidence and found exercise may actually cause us to consume more calories than we expend, therefore negating the hard, sweaty work on the stair master. It jolted me awake when I read it. The article went as far as to say our over-exercising obsession is adding to the obesity epidemic. Read more

things feeling shit-full? it’s ok…

Posted on February 13th, 2013

I read The Art of Possibility a few years ago. It’s an odd book..I’m not sure that I get it entirely. But I like the way it’s sprinkled with little lessons, like this one below. It’s very much a “just because” read with no apology given for it’s odd format.

Image by Tierney Gearon

Image by Tierney Gearon

Anyway. The lesson:

Four young men sit by the bedside of their dying father. The old man, with his last breath, tells them there is a huge treasure buried in the family fields. The sons crowd around him crying, “Where, where?” but it is too late.

The day after the funeral and for many days to come, the young men go out with their picks and shovels and turn the soil, digging deeply into the ground from one end of the each field to the other. They find nothing and, bitterly disappointed, abandon the search.

The next season the farm has its best harvest ever.

This theme is going through my life at the moment. I spoke about it at my book launch. I shared that the most shit-full experiences in life always turn out to be a gift. Likewise, the stuff you dig down into – often out of shit-full necessity – so often becomes something fruitful in and of itself.

Like my autoimmune disease. It was certainly shit-full. Still is. I spent almost a year unable to work or walk (about four years ago). Which forced me to go over my life and dig down deep…and to blog about it…because I was forced to (I struggled to work in any other environment). My blog then became my livelihood and it has reaped a bountiful harvest in so many ways for me.

Of course, I didn’t foresee this at the time. But deep down I had faith… in something… and I kept tilling.

I hope that if you’re going through some shit-fullness that this might come of some comfort. Keep tilling…xx