12wbt Blog Challenge – Week 1

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.  What makes you, you?

I am 46 years old and married to Mr G since 1987.  We have two children, 13 year old Master G and 10 year old Miss G.  I have a 29 year old step-son Mr G junior, who has two delightful daughters.  I am just one month younger than Mr G junior’s mother, so I am old enough to be a step-grandmother.  My mother, Mama,  lives in a granny flat on the first floor of our house.

We live in the Blue Mountains, about an hour and a half west of Sydney. I am a full time primary school teacher in South Penrith, and really love working at the school.  All I ever wanted to do since I was four years old was be a teacher, so I count myself fortunate that I can do what I love to do every day.

I was diagnosed with a chronic illness in 2003, and unfortunately I let that illness define who I was for many years.  Until 2008 in fact, when a new specialist helped me to turn my life around.  As a result of the illness, I gained over 75 kilos from 2003 to 2007 – because I made choices which were not healthy, and the illness made it hard for me at times to realise just how bad the choices were.

I was a Weight Watchers leader from 1997 to 2006 and thought I knew everything there was to know about weight loss.  It wasn’t until I started following the Crunch Time cookbook and doing the preseason tasks in the Round 3 2011 preseason that I let go of all the guilt associated with gaining the weight as a former Weight Watchers leader, and realised I had an awful lot to learn about the science and psychology of weight loss.

During the between round times and the Round 1 2012 preseason I have rediscovered just how determined I can be – and how much I love a challenge.  Many thanks to all the members of the 30+ Crew Eight Week Challenge for helping me find the real me after all these years.

2. Why did you decide to do the 12WBT?

I found about about the 12wbt just as round 2 2010 was about to start – a friend in a yahoo group – who may well be reading this – hi Kelli 🙂 – posted about it.  I went straight to the website and signed up to get the email when the next round started.  Stupidly, when the emails came I hit delete.  I had two negative thoughts. Firstly, how can I transform this morbidly obese body in just twelve weeks.  Secondly, how can some one who has never been overweight know anything about the psychology of losing weight?  (I was brainwashed by ten years of Weight Watchers membership.)

The emails kept coming and I kept deleting, believing I was beyond a transformation.  Then in August last year Michelle Bridges was on the cover of the Women’s Weekly, and the article inside brought me to tears one night.  This is an excerpt from that article,

After 20 years as a personal trainer, she finds herself in a growth industry — literally and metaphorically. And spurred on by what she calls a desire to “help people live their best lives”, Michelle is on a mission, taking on the national obesity epidemic one waistline at a time.

Her mantra is that each person is the master of their own destiny. That whatever life has thrown at them, ultimately it’s up to each individual to write the narrative of their life.

I cried when I first read that statement.  I decided that night to join the upcoming round.  The next day I joined the gym.  Eight weeks later I met Michelle for the first time and couldn’t control my emotions – no surprises there really.  How do you begin to thank someone who has helped you to turn your life around?

There was no decision involved in joining Round 1 2012 – its what I needed to do for myself.  I will continue to join every round until I am at my goal weight, have completed a half marathon and then completed at least one round of lean and strong.

Here is a link to a PDF document of the Women’s Weekly article I mentioned above


3. What are you hoping to achieve through the program?

  • To establish for the rest of my life good healthy eating habits.
  • To establish and maintain good exercise habits.
  • To have a strong and confident mindset.
  • To pass on these good habits to Master G and Miss G.
  • To weigh 77kgs again, and maintain that weight.
4. Why have you decided to blog about the 12WBT? What will be the main focus (eg, food, exercise, a bit of everything?)
For two reasons, it is both a diary and a journal.
Firstly, as a diary to keep a record of what I am doing, so I can constantly remind myself about what it is I need to do, and how to go about doing it.
Secondly, as a journal where I think out loud on a keyboard.  Part of my chronic illness has been episodes of clinical depression, and I have found out the hard way that if I dwell on thoughts they can overwhelm me, so its best to get them out of my head and on paper – or a computer monitor.
5. How will you be exercising this round? Gym, home, outdoors or a mixture?
 A mixture – which I think is the best thing we can do for our bodies and our minds.
  • My core will be the gym – I go at 6am each weekday morning for BodyPump, RPM + a swim or a workout in the gym.  My fitness trainer has just devised me a beginners weights program, and I’m surprised how much I like doing it.  I also do Sh’Bam and am going to give BodyBalance a go this round.
  • I also will do a  Zumba class once a week – love Zumba.
  • Three times a week I will go for a run – I’m doing the C25K program, and can currently cover just over 3 kilometres in 30 minutes walking and running.  I prefer to do this outdoors – and with my #runningbuddy – but the treadmill will do – no excuses!
  • I also do a yoga class once a week.
  • Then to mix it up, I will join in with the Outdoor Boxing and Circuits as often as I can with the Sydneysiders Crew.
  • Weekends and school holidays will see me going for bush walks and walks along the Nepean River.
  • I also have DVDs and a treadmill and some weights to use at home whenever the urge hits!
6. What is your greatest strength that will help you?
I am determined.
I had forgotten about that until being a part of the 30+ Crew Eight Week Challenge reminded me of the fact.
That was one great thing I have taken from ten years of Weight Watchers membership.  I had lost 27kgs with Weight Watchers before becoming a leader, and then being pregnant with Master G.  At my first back to goal meeting for leaders in 1998, when Mr G was a couple of months old, the leader of the meeting asked how I was feeling.  I said I was scared of not getting back to my goal weight.  Her words had a big impact on me, she said “Don’t be scared. Be determined”.  She wrote the words scared and determined on a whiteboard, and crossed the word scared out.  I realised then I had a choice about my feelings and my behaviour.
7. What are you afraid of?
Do I dare write spraining my ankle?  I wrote that in the first week of the blogging challenge last round, and then did it twice in ten days a couple of weeks after that! I do know if it were to happen again I would react in a much different way.
With that in mind, I shall say if I am determined I am not afraid of anything.
8.  What are you looking forward to the most over the next 12 weeks?
  • Sweating and watching my HRM as I maintain a high heart rate during my training.
  • Being able to run five kilometres.
  • Lots of yummy food.
  • Finding a yoga class and instructor that suits me.
  • Being able to shop at a regular clothing store by the end of the round.
  • Doing the fitness test – and scoring “intermediate” in every aspect.
9.  What is your downfall? Food? Exercise? How will you overcome this?
A negative shift in my mindset.
I will overcome this by
  • Not dwelling on negative thoughts.
  • Not beating myself up if I make a bad decision.
  • Not putting up with excuses from myself.
10. If you had to pick one word to motivate you over the next 12 weeks, what would you choose?

Preseason Task 5 – Say It Out Loud

Well for this preseason task I have literally done what the name of the task says to do.

You can watch it here:

My commitment is to do the following three things for the twelve weeks of the program

Eat Clean

  • stick to 1200 calories a day.
  • track my calorie intake on myfitnesspal.
  • only have food in the cupboard and fridge that have minimal ingredients on the ingredient list.
  • give up alcohol for the twelve weeks.
  • maintain my avoidance of diet soft drinks and cordials.  Can you believe that I have had no sweet cravings in 2012.
  • have a stash of lovely food in the freezer.
  • introduce the family to “Meat Free Monday”.
  • and shhhhhh don’t tell Mr G and Miss G this – I’m going to start making tomato sauce from Organic Tomato Passata and a little sugar following the recipe in “The Sweet Poison Quit Plan”.

Train Mean

  • work at moving from beginner to intermediate level of fitness by the end of the round.
  • push myself a little harder each workout.
  • believe I can do things rather than “try” to do things.
  • follow Mish’s training plan for my level, and add in 3 x 30 minutes of ease into c25k program + a Zumba class each week.  I regard these two activities as hobbies – but of course I’ll be wearing my HRM while doing them. 😉
  • start training for the Triathlon Pink in October.

Think Lean

  • JFDI
  • tell myself by saying no to the chocolate or sleep in or whatever, I’m saying yes to something far more important.
  • get on the forums whenever I find myself being negative or doubting myself.
  • watch the videos and listen to the podcasts – again and again!
  • be hard on myself when I find I’m making excuses.


Sign a women’s book and make her smile. Tell her to train hard and help her change her outlook.

This photo was taken on Saturday 3rd December 2011, the second last day of Round 3 2011.  Michelle was at Castle Towers for a book signing for her new book – Five minutes a day.  And of course I was there with some friends – who also just happen to be on the 12wbt journey – to meet Michelle and ask her to sign my book.

So why has it taken so long for me to post this photo and write this blog post?  Look at the photo, do you see what I see?  I see someone who has let herself go over a number of years, made a commitment to do something about it and then has not given the last few weeks of the round 100%.  It especially hit home becuase as I walked to the coffee shop where I was meeting my friends,  someone who hadn’t seen me since October gave me the hugest compliment about my weight and how healthy I looked.  I felt fabulous.

I met Michelle, and thanks to my friends coaching me, managed not to cry this time.  And she said she remembered me from the Outdoor Workout in October.  And I of course when she said this I went into a negative head space (while maintaining the smile) and thought, who, the fat one or the blubbering idiot?  No, when she said why, it was because I was the tall one.  Bigger smile

And here I am with my friends.  We were telling Michelle about our trip to Mt Kosciuszko in 2012.  She was so excited and called Billy over to tell him about our plans to walk to the summit together.

Her passion and commitment to what she does is real.  We had to wait quite a while in the queue to see her – but we didn’t mind.  We knew that was becuase she treats everyone as though they are her client for those couple of minutes, and we knew when it came to our turn it would be the same.

And what did she write in my copy of the book?  Train hard! I actually groaned out loud when I saw it.

I thought to myself, right you haven’t given the last few weeks your best effort.  You’ve made excuses about spraining your ankle twice in October, that now, in December, are no longer relavent. There has been “paralysis by analysis”. There have been excuses about being too busy to train. That has to change.

But I am pleased to say now two weeks away from the beginning of Round 1 2012 I am training hard.  My fitness is improving and I feel so much better.  And that’s all I had to do.  Train hard.

PS One of my lovely friends gave me a copy of the book as a gift.  I had pre-ordered a copy from a website when it was first announced it was going to be released.  It arrived the following Tuesday.  I was going to send it back to the online bookstore – but didn’t get around to it with the end of year busyness. I am going to pass it on to one of you!  You can keep it for yourself or give to a friend.  When I get 100 likes on my 77noni facebook page I will hold a draw and someone will win that copy.  The page has 54 likes right now – so another 46 and I give the book away. (Its brand new, I haven’t even taken it out of the packaging!)

Finale Workout & Party – Round 3 2011

I had been looking forward to the Finale Group Workout from the beginning of the preseason.

When the day came however, I was feeling very apprehensive.  I had only trained once since the 12th October – and I felt I didn’t really deserve to be going.  Is that a mindset I need to work on or what!

Once I got there those feelings didn’t last for long.  I was so excited and so pleased that I had made the changes I had in the 16 weeks of preseason and 12wbt.  I decided there was no need for me to feel a failure because I wasn’t perfect.

And when you’re surrounded by a bunch of people like the Sydneysiders Crew you can’t help but feel positive.  It was great seeing friends I had only seen the week before, or not for several weeks, or even for the first time.  And a mini-goal was to be wearing the size 22 Sydneysiders t-shirt, and I had achieved that.  I’m forth from the left, back row – just look for the Lorna Jayne headband – she makes them in my size!

And then Mish arrived!  It was really happening.  I think I’m in a slightly different position in these shots – just look for the purple headband.

And look here – proof I was feeling positive – despite the nagging doubts I’d had since waking up that morning.

I was so excited in fact that when it came time to do the workout I forgot to start my HRM – so please, no questions about how many calories I burned at the workout.

It was great to be there with all the 12wbt Sydneysiders Crew and just amazing that hundreds and hundreds of 12wbt-ers kept arriving.  The atmosphere was great!

But, there was one very special person at the workout.

Just to the left of me in this photo is my special guest with his own Michelle Bridges 12wbt shirt.  Yes, my husband Mr G. agreed to come along and share in the day with me – even though the last time he set foot in a gym was 1997, and the only exercising he’d done since was some walking at a leisurely pace.  (I might be forgetting the time he got on my treadmill for five minutes earlier this year?)

So here we are waiting for the workout to start.  He has no idea what he is in for! He thinks BodyAttack is something our kids do at Taekwondo.

I think he is particularly brave – probably even more daring than going to the midnight screening of “Breaking Dawn” with me.

So here we are working out!  And look – I’m smiling and enjoying it!

Mr G. struggled with coordinating his movements to the music.  And he commented later that it was so confusing – they kept repeating moves and changing moves from side to side and repeating and changing again………but he persevered.

We both think its hilarious that I struggle with being able to identify and name my left and right hands, legs, feet – don’t ask me to sing and perform the Hokey Pokey on my own (you get the idea) – but I can keep up with a BodyAttack routine I’ve never done before.  Mr G on the other hand has a brain wired entirely differently to mine – he can read a map upside down and the right way up – but following an exercise sequence left him baffled. Go figure!  His t-shirt was one of the ones designed for an earlier round.  It says on the front “I smashed it up with Michelle Bridges and all I got was this t-shirt…” and on the back “and lots of lovely meals.  77Noni’s No 1 Supporter”.

Here is how 900+ people ready to work out look like.  An amazing sight!  We followed Mish and her crew in BodyAttack moves as a whole group. Then we broke into four groups and rotated around four stages doing two different exercises at each stage – one standing and one on the ground.  Hadn’t done that since the last Pain in the Park way back in September!

After that there were more routines together as one big group facing the main stage and jogging and exercising in a circle – including 900+ people running towards the centre of the circle and back out again.  It was fabulous to be part of a group that broke the record for the number of people in a workout.









JFDI says it all really doesn’t it!

So once we had cooled down and stretched, there was only one more thing to do.  Another group photo with Mish.

In the end I was so glad I went and did the workout.  Next round I’m determined to make sure I do all I can not to be down on myself if the round doesn’t go perfectly.  It’s not about perfection, just about doing better than your best.

And, I’ll make sure I start my HRM – if you’re going to smash it up with Michelle Bridges, you should know how many calories you’ve burned!

So is it your goal to make it to a finale workout one day?

I may not have burned 1000 calories, but I sure had a Super Saturday!

Today was the day for Outdoor Fitness Fun with Michelle Bridges – part of “Australia’s Biggest Health Check”.  I considered not going because of my sprained ankle.  I considered not going because of the overcast weather, and the forecast for showers. I am very glad I made the 75 minute trek to Leichhardt Oval 3.

It was quite overcast when we arrived but the weather held off.  It was great actually seeing Mish for the first time.  After she had been there for a while, someone “official” came over to us and asked us would we be in the background – exercising – while Mish was interviewed live for the Sunrise weekend show.  How could we say no???

 In these photos Mish is giving us our instructions for the workout we had to do in the background while she was being interviewed.                                         







Rachel (12wbt Sydney Crew) led the exercises – mostly jogging around in circles, push-ups – and horror of horror – burpees!  When everyone else got down on the ground I remained upright and concentrated on avoiding the TV camera, as I didn’t know if I could get back up again with my dodgy ankle.

That done, we got ready for Mish’s first workout of the day.  That’s me there on the left in the photo below – complete with spare tyres!  (Blogger’s note: I can’t believe I’m actually posting an unflattering photo like that.)

 After a few words about the event we got underway with the workout.  I kept it low impact because of my ankle – still managed to burn 176 calories in the 25 minutes.  I haven’t got Mish’s DVDs – but I’m definitely getting them now!



It was such a great atmosphere – can’t wait for the finale now!  During the workout some officials were on the lookout for someone exercising well to recieve a $299 (Rebel Sports price) heart rate monitor – designed for running as it has built in GPS.  At the end of the first workout Mary from the 12wbt Sydney Crew won one.

Then we all got a hula hoop to keep – Priceline Pink in colour, so we could do a Hula Hoop workout.  Well, my Hula Hooping skills have not advanced from what they were in primary school – I think it’s called an epic fail.  I did manage to keep trying for 5 minutes and 29 seconds, with a calorie burn of 33 achieved!  Most of those calories were burned by laughing – I’m sure!





And the highlight of the morning – getting to meet Michelle.  My plan was to walk over (lots of other people waiting), smile for the camera and say thank you.

Instead I looked at her as she smiled at me and I started to tear up.  She said something like – “There’s a lot of emotion there.”  Then I started to blubber, and she started to talk to me – after checking that they were indeed happy tears.

I told her they were because I had lost 14kgs since the beginning of preseason.  It was wonderful to hear her say congratulations – and then give me a little pep talk – and of course I brought up my current ankle problem, and she was very supportive.

 I think I got so emotional because it really hit home what I have achieved the last 8 weeks – and it’s the first time I’ve said it out loud to someone besides Mr. G.

And look – she managed to get me smiling again!  I just hope I managed to get the words “Thank you” out!

(Blogger’s note: I know my shirt is a little snug – but I’m very pleased to say it is a size 22, and I have been wearing size 26.  I’ve got some size 24 clothes on lay-buy, I think its time to get them out!)

After this photo opportunity with Mish we went over to the photo tent.  We tried to get our whole group in the shot – we didn’t quite make it as you can see!

So then the photographer suggested we try 3 at a time. This was a much more successful – though as you can see the graphic on the cover of the magazine were set up for one person – not many people would choose to have a stethoscope land in the middle of their forehead.

It was great being there with so many fellow members of the 12wbt Sydney Crew.  It was nice to put actual faces to the names and profile pics on Facebook and the 12wbt forums.

The event itself was good fun – and there was free bottle of water (with Shannan Ponton on the label), free Forme yoghurt and fruit.  The Men’s Health Magazine had a sausage sizzle – with wholemeal bread – but I stuck with the fruit and yoghurt.  We also got fab sample bags from Priceline.  There were free mini massages and free Heart health Checks, and Mish interviewing the sponsors on stage.

We had a group photo taken with Mish and next thing it was time for Mish’s second workout of the day.  I was deciding wether to do it or not because of my ankle – and I thought JFDI – I mean, how often will I get to do a group fitness class led by Mish – I decided just to keep it low impact again, and stop if I needed to do so.

And am I glad I did.  Not only did I manage to burn 124 calories in the 20 minutes but I also won a Garmin Forerunner 110 Heart Rate Monitor with GPS – just like the one in the picture below.  What an incentive to get back into learning to run again as soon as my ankle is ready! Another member of the Sydney Crew also got a Garmin in the second workout!

I got the cute grey and pink one in the middle 🙂

After feeling a bit blah all week I feel on top of the world now!

I’m not alone on my journey – and I can do this!  Who needs motivation when you can JFDI!  My favourite music from the workout – I think it must be called “Scream if you want to go faster” – going to look for it on iTunes now.

What would you say to Michelle if you met her tomorrow?