Bikini Body v Bikini Mind

free your mind At 43 years old I’m wearing a bikini for the first time in 15 years! Let me just say that again –

I’m wearing a bikini in public!

It’s summer here in Australia and that means one thing – swimwear season! This year I made a commitment to myself – that I would wear a bikini. For the last 6 months I have been working hard to achieve mind and body transformation; my challenge was to be bikini ready for Christmas – it’s a goal I visualised myself  achieving.

But the reality is a little different…can you ever really feel bikini ready?

Can You Ever Feel Bikini Ready?

Like so many women I have felt ashamed of my body, embarrassed by the lumps and bumps that document my pregnancies and the wobbly bits that used to be firm. I certainly won’t blame pregnancy for the gradual gain in weight, I’ve proved to myself that it’s a convenient excuse .  In truth it’s been a love of the good times, of drinking, eating and socialising that has added the extra kilograms over the last ten years.

I’ve been saying for a long time ‘I’m not ready to wear a bikini’, ‘I just need to lose another (enter any number here)’ and ‘Maybe 40 is too old for a bikini’.

But this myth is washed away every time I go to the beach.  How is it that some women exude confidence, sex appeal and empowerment in a bikini, whatever their size?

It’s clear that it’s got nothing to do with having a bikini body, but a bikini mind.

Shedding The Emotional Kilos

It seems to me that external change doesn’t  equate with internal change.  Losing those extra kilos will change your body shape, but if it doesn’t change your mental shape then it’s as if it hasn’t happened. Marc Manson tells of a guy who lost over 100lb but never really lost that weight emotionally:

His perception of himself was like the Titanic: he had…put the pistons in reverse, but the thing was hardly turning. And emotionally, he was still hitting the iceberg. …[I]n his head he was still that same fat guy. He still had shame attached to his body…despite his ripped biceps and his shiny new abs.

Marc Manson’s  ‘Shut Up And Be Patient’.

This year, for the first time I have lost the emotional kilos as well as the physical kilos and my mental picture has shifted.

I don’t have the bikini body that I imagined. That mental image was created after years of media saturation with thin, toned women who have that elusive thigh gap!

Shape Shifting

The desire to measure myself against the perfect bikini body has receded (not gone completely, but it’s fading out).  I have strength I never had, muscles in places that used to be soft and a growing feeling of ownership over my physical form.

The notion of ownership may seem strange, but reflect on this – 

During your teenage years you are at the mercy of your hormones, developing a size and shape that is beyond your control, there’s only a few years respite before pregnancy imposes a new shape, reconstructed again in the post-partum years, compounded with further pregnancies and before you realise it your shape has been morphing beyond your control for long time.

Shape shifting in this way left me vulnerable to measuring myself against the ‘ideal body’ and always feeling inadequate. Now I own the changes in my body, I’m defining my own shape for the first time in many years.

Bikini Mind

I’m wearing a bikini not because I have a bikini body, but because I have a bikini mind.

I perceive myself with strength, health and vitality, and I’m not afraid to show that to the world. That doesn’t mean to say that I don’t have my moments of doubt, years of conditioning can’t be undone in 6 months.  But 6 months of positive body attitude has given me the confidence to accept my imperfect self.

tranquil acceptance

 

 

 

Women Who Sweat Together Reach Goals Together!

empowering women in sport

I’ve never been someone who loves exercise. I’d always wanted to be a sporty type, competitive and fit, ready to jump on a surf board or smash it on the netball court, but that just wasn’t me. I didn’t play sport as a kid, my mother considered sport a punishing ordeal and I certainly inherited this aversion!

So it is a huge surprise to me that I’m getting up at 5.30am, before doing a days work, to exercise! If you knew me a few years ago you’d think I was possessed, because wild horses couldn’t drag me out of bed! In fact, I was the only student nurse to ever over sleep for a late shift! What’s changed you may well ask?

The Secret To Discover Motivation

I’ve found a secret ingredient that has changed my approach to exercise. All these years I believed exercise was about the grit, the cardio, the sweating and the active wear!  When I exercised I focused on all those things, got bored pretty quickly and continued to pay for a gym membership that didn’t see any use! If that sounds like a familiar story then maybe you’re a bit like me.

You see, it’s not the exercise that gets me up at 5.30 in the morning, it’s the people! The community of women who encourage, support and sweat together. The women who don’t care what my hair looks like, or whether my active wear is last seasons, last years or last decades! The women who count my 10 burpees, who say ‘just another one’  and push me to hold that plank just 10 seconds longer.

A Sense Of Belonging

All these years I’ve been focusing on the wrong thing when I work out, I’ve been focusing on the exercise, but really I should have been focusing on the people. What I’ve come to know is a sense of belonging in a non-judgmental fitness environment that pushes me harder than I have ever pushed myself before.

I may never love exercise for the sake of exercise, but I love the pursuit of shared goals with like-minded women. Over the next few months I’m going to be introducing some of the women who are part this community, sharing their stories, their triumphs and their reflections on living with passion and purpose.

Next week – meet Brooke, the winner of Advanced Finesses 6 week challenge, and hear the secret of her success!

Mapping 16 Years of Change

Do you ever wonder where those extra KGs came from?  I remember a time when I felt great, could fit into a size 10 and wore a bikini, but it’s hard to pin-point when that actually changed.

I often blame pregnancy and think its been all down hill from there in terms of my fluctuating weight. But recently I had a bit of a shock when I created a time line mapping my weight over 16 years!

I was intrigued to see how it panned out historically, and understand what triggers (if any) I could find to explain why I’ve been battling with the scales for all this time. The time line was based on photos, feelings, memorable events (eg my wedding) and  some actual data (old Weight Watchers log books).

weight loss over time

Charting Life’s Changes

When I look at my weight historically, I can see that pregnancy was a huge factor that contributed to my early weight increases, but other peaks in my weight gain occurred around moments of disruption, such as an international move, miscarriage and relationship stress.

It’s easy to see the link between stress and weight gain, but I hadn’t considered the impact my partying had on my weight!! When we moved to Oz in 2005 we set about making friends and having big social gatherings. Each time we moved, (3 interstate & 1 international) we had to start over, and each time the partying begun again with a whole new set of people!

By 2008 you can see I was 10 Kg heavier than when I left the UK!! Much of that is as a result of living in the extremes of life; either having a really good time partying or having a really bad time missing family! Before I created this timeline I would never have realized that my current weight gain stems from this, I was still blaming pregnancy!!

Creating the timeline has been an inspiring activity, as it’s put my current achievements into perspective. I can see a long-term downward trend forming and this has helped to pop some of my negativity bubbles!

Popping The Negativity Bubbles

When I first began my 6 week challenge back in August I was giving myself a hard time about believing I could do it. I was habitually telling myself that I was incapable of change because I’d been stuck at the same weight for as long as I could remember. Well, this timeline certainly cleared that one up; I’ve been all sorts of weights and rarely the same weight!!

I’ve blown another myth out of the water too – the ‘I always put weight back on’ myth! I have proof that I’ve been steadily losing since 2008! That loss wasn’t significant enough to be seen on a weekly basis, and it’s only over a few years that I can see it has happened.

But you know what the most exciting thing of all is? The most recent shift…it’s been 10 years since I was my current weight and that really is something to celebrate (but not too much!)

Talking of Celebrating

The impact of those daily choices add up over time, and just like the slow increase of 10kg after arriving in Oz, now I control the choices that will see the steady decrease; and that does mean no less wine!

The choices I make on an hourly, daily and weekly basis are the little changes that will make the big differences over time. This inspires me to make every choice a good one!

(And if I have a splurge on a piece of cake, then I will make the next choice a better one!)

(As opposed to saying ‘f**k it!’ and eating ice-cream, chips and chocolate after the cake because I might as well trash the day not just the meal!)

Choices…you have the power!!

 

Lisa is participating in a Mind & Body Transformation program at Advanced Fitness.

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Reflecting On 6 Weeks Of Transformation

change your lifeThe 6 Week Mind & Body Transformation Challenge came to an end last week, and as I prepare to embark on the next 6 week challenge I’m reflecting on the transformation I’ve experienced over the last 6 weeks.

At the beginning of the challenge I spent time finding my why;  when I re-read that post today I realise how far I’ve come. The behaviors that have been keeping me locked in a cycle of negative thinking have changed – I’m no longer getting undressed with the lights off, I’m not eating behind the pantry door and I’ve stopped editing myself out of the family photos!

Fear of No Change

Your life does not get better by chance.

It gets better by change.

Jim Rohn

One of my biggest fears before starting the challenge was that I wouldn’t be able to change. This fear has taken root so deeply in my mind, that the slightest disappointment on the scales sent it into over drive! It felt as if a part of me was just waiting to get confirmation that I can’t change.

Why is it that we’re so willing to accept our failings but so reluctant to believe that we can be successful?

Over the last 6 weeks I lost 5 cm from around my waist but only 1.5kg and guess what? My mind wants to focus on the disappointing weight loss rather than the impressive cm loss!

Moving Forward

Whilst I’m ramping up for the next 6 week challenge, I’m also  reflecting on my previous goals. My main goal was to lose 6kg, but I only got 1/4 of the way towards it. But maybe I should re-phrase that;

I’m a quarter of the way closer to achieving my ultimate goal!

Now that’s worth celebrating!!

I’m approaching the next 6 weeks with more experience, knowledge and self belief. I’ve been inspired by the achievements of the women who I’m working alongside in Advanced Fitness; with they’re support, my determination and planning I’m optimistic that the next 6 weeks will bring me even closer to my ultimate goal.

A Take-Away From The Last Challenge

Here’s the learning I’ll take away from the last 6 weeks.

weight loss and body change

Do you have any more recommendations to help me on the next challenge? I’d love to hear your advice in the comments!

This post is shared with the Candid Cuddles Link-up

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Own The Change You Want to Achieve

strong powerful women

Often the biggest challenge I face is self-doubt.

I have so many aspirations, dreams and passions, but I doubt my ability to realize them.

Notebooks overflow with my ideas, but it is Doubt that keeps them cocooned within the pages; Doubt that whispers ‘stick to what you know’; Doubt that says ‘it’s too risky’.

I feel as if I’m teetering on the edge of a precipice, to step back is to give power to my doubts, to step off  is to believe in my own power.

The power to change.

Transformation

I’ve been embracing 6 weeks of change on my Mind & Body Transformation Challenge, and that has ignited a spark within me, the spark of self belief.

I can change when I commit with passion and purpose to my vision.

Changing my body has been a great; I’m stronger, leaner and healthier, but changing the way I think has been profoundly liberating. Through personal reflection, research and positive connections I’ve started to change the  toxic habits that were barriers to my success.

Knowing and understanding myself has enabled me to tap into something I didn’t know I had; my own innate  power! It might sound like a cliché, but you have to own the change you want, or else it doesn’t truly belong to you.

I own the change I have created.

And this week I’m about to make another change; I’m stepping off the precipice!

I have an opportunity that both excites and terrifies me; up till now I have been giving power to my doubts by doubting my power to succeed.

Today I accepted that opportunity and stopped doubting my power.

Do you experience self-doubt? What do you do to chase the doubts away?

Sign-up to follow Lisa at mummy2mum to see where this opportunity takes her next!

 

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Find Your Purpose & Commit To Success

Y chart for weight loss successI’m 5 weeks into my Mind & Body Transformation challenge and I’m feeling stronger and more determined than ever. But, I do know that the journey will be longer than 6 weeks!

Is that really news to me? Deep down I always knew that it wouldn’t be a ‘quick fix’ and that I had to embrace life long change, but I wasn’t ready to face that at the beginning of this challenge.

At the beginning to make the sacrifices necessary for weight loss I consoled myself that it was only for a short period, and this helped me to cut out the crap. As the challenge has gone on I’ve felt stronger mentally and physically, and determination has taken over! What used to feel like a sacrifice now feels like a kindness to my body; how I eat and exercise reflects who I want to become.

The 6 week challenge will officially end in a week, and before it does I’m reaffirming my purpose and my vision while my commitment is running high. In this way when I celebrate the achievements I have made I will look at my goals and know that I’m only part of the way there.

Embed Your Goals In Sensory Memory

As a teacher when I want my students to embed a concept I use a tool called a Y chart. This is really effective because it gets them to engage with a concept on a sensory level. You can take any subject for a Y chart and describe what it feels, looks and sounds like; for a weight loss goal this is perfect!

Having a clear purpose that is embedded at the sensory level helps me to stay connected to my goal in a visual way.

Y chart for weight loss

Create Your Y Chart:

Equipment: scissors, glue, coloured pens, coloured paper.

  1. Get a large sheet of coloured paper (A3 or bigger)
  2. In the middle of the sheet write your focus (weight loss, body transformation)
  3. Draw a huge capital Y on your sheet, make it appear to go behind your focus  (see my photo)
  4. Your page should now be sectioned into 3 parts as the Y separates the areas
  5. Label the sections; Feels Like, Sounds Like, Looks Like (the order doesn’t matter)
  6. Now comes the fun part – filling it in!
  7. Feel Like – this section should reflect the things you’ll feel once you’ve achieved your goal eg strength in my mind & body
  8. Sounds Like – imagine what you’ll hear people saying to you once you’ve achieved your goal. “You look great in that bikini!” What sort of words do you want to hear yourself saying? “Size 14 is too big for me!”
  9. Looks Like – use images in this section, either body shapes that inspire you or photos of yourself when you were at a weight that you associate with feeling happy.
  10. Now sit back and admire your work, it should reflect a very personal vision of where you want to be.
  11. Stick it up somewhere where you will see it every day; mine’s in front of my desk where I write, but on the wardrobe door, bathroom door or inside the pantry are good places that you’ll visit frequently.

Y chart for weight loss

Digging Deep To Find Determination When The Going Gets Tough

determination to reach your goal

I’m half way though my 6 week mind and body transformation challenge and I’m starting to find some obstacles in my path. It’s at this point that I need to dig deep and really find that determination to push through the last three weeks.

What has prompted this dip in my resolve? A combination of static weight, sickness and intense pressure at work.

As a teacher my desire to do the best job I can in the classroom is driving me to neglect myself.  The dominance of school work has resulted in less meal planning and more ‘winging it’!  If you’ve been following my journey over the last few weeks  you will know that in the past it’s the planning that lets me down, so I hear the alarm bells ringing!

This is the first week that I haven’t created a food plan or cooked extensively at the weekend. To add to this I haven’t been to my regular gym sessions before school because I’ve been off sick and I’m sleeping in! These 2 things signal a drift towards old patterns and a slide away from my goal.

When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal,

you do not change your decision to get there.

This quote is a reminder that I must set my course doggedly, work around these obstacles and never lose sight of my goal: I will be a fitter, stronger me!

With school holidays less than a week away I need to re-focus, plan and prepare for the last 3 weeks of the challenge.

What do you do when you feel yourself letting things get in the way of your goals? Do you have any tips or tricks to share about galvanizing your determination and re-focusing? I’d love to hear your advice in the comments.

 

Further Information

Lisa is participating in a 6 week Mind and Body Transformation at Advanced Fitness studio. To read about goal setting and finding your why click here.

What To Do When The Scales Don’t Say What You Want To Hear!

When the scales say OMG

This is week 1 on my Mind & Body Transformation Challenge and I’ve felt super motivated to succeed! I’ve been pouring my energy into the belief that I can make a difference because this time I’m addressing mind-set rather than just weight loss.

But the reality is that weight loss is still one of my priority goals and the most tangible way to measure success. A week ago my fitness buddy and I weighed, measured and photographed one another, setting out on our weight loss journey with determination, commitment and solidarity. A week later, we met again and stepped onto the scales.

Now before I tell you the result I need to fill you in on the feelings I’ve had about this impending weigh-in – I’ve been dreading it!!

Why Am I Dreading The Scales?

In the past I would be dreading the scales because I know I’ve not stuck to my plan, however, this week I have stuck to my plan and this makes weighing myself even worse! It’s easy to take a poor result when you have the excuse ‘I’ve eaten terribly’ but much more difficult if you’ve been doing everything you can! I felt more vulnerable than ever!

The verdict on the scales: my buddy had a loss and I gained 100g.  I was  gutted.

Fear Of Failure

My fear of failure reared its ugly head and said ‘I knew you couldn’t do it!’

When the scales say what you don’t want to hear it can derail the whole transformation process,  fueling negative self-talk, leading to comfort eating and then self-loathing! I’m sure that this cycle is familiar!

This week I broke that cycle!

Finding a Way to Break the Cycle of Self Loathing

To break the cycle of self loathing I had to create new emotional patterns.

These are the 5 things I did:

  1. Acknowledge the emotion and release it
  2. Reflect on what is driving the emotion
  3. Get physical right away
  4. Identify the positives & negatives
  5. Plan for next week

I found an understanding shoulder to cry on  and I let out that disappointment with strong safe arms supporting me. And then I reflected – why am I so upset about this?

It didn’t take much soul-searching to know why; it feeds my lie – the lie that whispers – you can’t change, you’ve been here before and you’re here again, you do not have what it takes to make this happen.

The insidious thing about that lie is that it calls on certain truths to prove itself – I have been here before, the only one out of a group of friends failing at the scales each week. And what happens next feels as if it’s already written – my suppressed emotion turns into an angry binge on chips, chocolate and cheese!

So I went straight to Combat, and punched the crap out of that feeling of failure!

Then I started to make a new plan; evaluating the previous week, identifying the positives and negatives, setting out to repeat the positives, eliminate the negatives.

By the end of the morning I wasn’t wallowing in self-pity, I was ready to attack the coming week with conviction!

This is the first time I can remember managing my disappointment without turning to comfort eating!

How do you manage your emotions when the scales say what you don’t want to hear? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments.

 

 

Further Information:

Lisa is participating in a 6 week Mind & Body Transformation program run by Advanced Fitness.

 

Re-Thinking Your Weight Loss Strategy

re-think your weight loss failuresI’m a serial offender when it comes to dieting; over the years I’ve followed Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Dr Joshi’s Holistic Detox, Carol Vordorman’s Detox Plan, The 8 Hour Diet, CSIRO Total Well Being Plan and Atkins Don’t-Poo-For-A-Week Plan!!

Before I started each and every one of those plans I had heaps of enthusiasm, had done all the reading, inspired friends to join me and set off believing that this would be the one! But once I got started the boredom and monotony of following a routine did my head-in so much that I self sabotaged!

And do you know the most frustrating part about this? Celebrating the success of the friends who I convinced to join me when they reached their 5kg goal, while I was stuck right back where I’d started!

Why were they so successful? What did they have that I didn’t?

Well the answer may lie in how my brain is wired!

Know Yourself

Recently I was lucky enough to attend a Body Transformation Summit at Advanced Fitness, where I was re-introduced to the In8 Model by Veronica Smith. If you’ve never come across the In8model before, you’re not alone! I hadn’t heard of it until last year, when I had a chance to get my profile done.

In a nut-shell the In8 Model provides a way to understand how your brain works and use this awareness to target areas for change and growth.

I was fascinated with the idea that my preferences for using a particular area of my brain was able to explain many of my good (and bad) habits! But it wasn’t until I heard Veronica speak that I had an ‘a-ha’ moment!

The reason that I’m so good at encouraging and motivating others to join me on new diets is because I have a brain preference to connect, inspire and enthuse others. Equally, the reason that I’m so crap at sticking to a plan is because I’m under utilising a part of my brain that delivers the detail, routine and planing!!

It’s likely that the friends who have been successful are better utilising the planning quadrant of their brain, but need someone else to enthuse them into action and give them a kick-up-the-arse (otherwise known as a quadrant 1 preference)!

How Does This Help Me?

How does knowing my brain preferences help me to change? I believe it’s all about self-awareness.  I know that quadrant 2 of the brain focuses on persistence, planning and self-discipline and it’s an area that I have a preference to AVOID at all costs (hence late bill payments, poor time-keeping and zero routine!).

This knowledge helps me to re-focus my energy into this part of my life. By recognising that I avoid routine because it makes me feel restless and bored, I’m also able to see how this preference has sabotaged my previous attempts to stick to a weight loss plan.

I have to ask; is this preference serving my current goals? If the answer is NO, (which it is) then I will target this as an area for change.

Making Planning A Priority

In practical terms, I have prioritised my time and energy into planning and preparing.

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

I wrote a weekly meal planner and stuck it inside the pantry door. I also shopped to the plan, and spent a few hours on Sunday afternoon preparing food for the week ahead.

Today it’s Wednesday, and the preparation has really paid off; I’ve eaten the food on my plan and it’s time to re-stock and cook again ready to nail it for the rest of the week!

If you’d like to check out my weekly meal plan click this link: Food Plan week 1 – 6 Wk Challenge

What are your areas of challenge when trying to change?

Do you believe that knowing your brain preferences would help you to achieve change?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

Further Information

If you would like to find out more about the body transformation program click here

Finding My Why

Mark manson quote 1I’ve been carrying around  an unwanted guest for about 10 years, and I’m over it!

The first time I noticed that cheeky hitch-hiker was after my first pregnancy. As a new Mum I was at home full-time, lonely and tired; food was a comforting staple when there was nobody to talk to.

I got used to bigger portions and regular cupboard cruising, and soon I was 7 kilos heavier. That unwelcome guest made itself known by rolling over the top of my jeans, forcing me out of a bikini and forming a spare tyre under my bra.

A second baby, 2 miscarriages and an international re-location invited a further 3 kilos to join the party; they felt right at home snuggling into my belly and thighs. I adjusted clothing sizes, styles and stopped trying things on at the shops; bright lights and multiple mirrors were no longer my friends!

And now here I am, 43 years old, adapting my life to suit that unwelcome guest; my extra 10 Kilos!

Living Together

I make that 10 Kilos feel very welcome, adjusting all sorts of things so she can live with me.

I walk instead of running to avoid jiggling too much, I wear stretch jeans to accommodate her and loose floaty tops to flatter her. In fact, we’ve really become friends; she’s a symbol of all those moments of happiness found in eating second helpings, saying yes to pudding and washing it down with plenty of wine. Why would I even want to get rid of her?

And there it is, the burning unanswered question; what’s my Why?

Changing My Why

Awareness precedes change

Calvin Coyles

I have made many attempts over the years to change, but I never identified my why. What was my inspiring reason to commit, to persist when it got tough and drive myself to achieve change? I’ve been working to discover my why, and it’s been a lot harder than I thought it would be.

My why, my purpose and my inspiration for the last 15 years has been my children. They are the light that brightens every day and the reason I get up in the morning. I am a Mum that has thrown myself into parenting, thriving on being needed. But I’m at a cross roads now; they don’t need me as much!

At 12 and 15 I’ve done my job well and they are confident happy people growing to independence. I’m proud of the young men they’re becoming, but I’m aware of a silence surrounding me. I hadn’t noticed it before because it was filled with children’s voices; asking for a story, clamoring for dinner, laughing with their friends.

In the silence after they go out for the day, I find what’s left of me.  And I’m not sure I like what I see.

I see someone who:

  • Snacks secretly in the pantry
  • Get’s undressed with the lights off
  • Hopes her husband doesn’t catch sight of her in the shower
  • Edits herself out of the family photo album
  • Holds her tummy in when looking in the mirror
  • Is horrified to see her reflection when she forgets to hold her tummy in!
  • Can’t remember the last time she felt good naked
  • Worries about wearing bathers in public
  • Stopped feeling sexy a long time ago

Yesterday an article by Mark Manson brought a new level of awareness to my thinking. He wrote about the lies we tell ourselves and it dawned on me; I can’t find my why until I recognise my lie.

What’s My Lie?

Instead of asking what’s my why, ask what’s my lie?

I spotted mine pretty quickly when I re-read this post.

I wrote that I’ve become friends with that extra 10 Kilos. How can I imagine calling this impostor a friend?

She’s hijacked my wardrobe, turned the lights out on my sex life and made me feel like a victim! I would never put up with that from a friend, and I WONT put up with it from her!

So I’m breaking up with her, we’re finished!

I know she won’t go easily, it’ll be a messy, but I’m determined to find the me I really want to be.

What’s My Why?

My why, my purpose, my inspiration is to lose weight and get fit:

  1. To feel sexy again – I want to feel confident, desirable and passionate
  2. To prove that I can change – I want to prove to myself that I can stick to something and make a change
  3. To feel proud of my photo in the family album – I want to see photos of me laughing, connecting and exploring with my family.

What’s your why?

Have you got a purpose that drives you? I’d love to hear your story in the comments.

 

Lisa is about to embark on a 6 week mind & body transformation, follow her  journey and read her reflections by signing up for weekly email updates.

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For more information on body transformation follow the link to Advanced Fitness.