March 5, 2012

The Other Michelle (Bridges that is . . .)

I have all the latest fitness gear for my new regime, including designer baby weight (available from Rebel Sport)
So we're living with another woman in the house at the moment. Another Michelle actually. Mistress Michelle. And brother, is she a difficult mistress. But not the type that wields a whip and studded collar, no. This one wears lycra and Adidas and is more likely to tell you to drop and give her twenty push-ups, rather than drop and lick her boots.

Michelle Bridges has entered our home and is dictating what we eat, when we eat it and DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT GOING BACK FOR SECONDS!!!

Yes, the time has come when I can no longer claim the "I've just had a baby" excuse. The rusty dumbbells in the garage are not so much beckoning me as rolling their eyes at me and saying "Really? You just had a baby? Wasn't that, like, 15 months ago? Sure Mrs Muffin Top, whatever you wanna tell yourself." 

So it's time to swap the Crunchies for some crunches, the wine for the grapevine, burpees instead of slurpees.

Even though I'm still breastfeeding and could officially still use the "eating for two" excuse to justify the endless consumption of ciabatta toast slathered in jam, you and I both know that's a lie. (It is, isn't it?)

Now because I'm as big a procrastinator as the next mummy-in-denial, I decided I needed a live-in personal trainer to force me to get into shape and a live-in nutritionist to help wean me off the endless snacking of whatever is at the front of the fridge and give me some inspiration for fresh, healthy, tasty meals.

Unfortunately I do not have the funds for a live-in anything (being already packed to the rafters with four live-in children, a live-in husband and my ciabatta addiction) but fortunately I stumbled across Michelle Bridges' 12 Week Body Transformation and it's just as good as having Michelle Bridges right here with me. It is hard to ignore her. She uses common sense, plain talking and humour to get you mentally on track with her twice a week video broadcasts. And only a little bit of guilt, bless her cotton anklets.

But here's the thing. I'm not exactly huge. In fact, I'm slightly below the ideal weight for my height. And for some reason people think it's okay to raise their eyebrows and ask me why the hell I'm doing this. So why do I need Mistress Michelle? Here are my reasons: 

1. My Grandchildren
Did you know that heart disease is the biggest killer of women in the world? My cousin Amanda's best friend recently had a heart attack at the age of 36. She has 3 small children. Luckily her husband was home and performed CPR until the ambulance arrived but still, she was brain dead for 12 minutes. Just a little bit scary isn't it?

So at the age of 43, I have two very good reasons to look after my ticker and their names are Jack and Francesca. I want to make them double-shot espressos when they're pulling all-nighters before their HSC exams, and wear an appropriate mother-of-the-bride/groom outfit at their weddings (something in lavender?) and sneak Tim Tams into my grandchildren's hands before dinner (outrageous)

In short, I'd like to keep my heart fit and to do that I need to exercise more often and put less crapola in the old bod. 

2. Jelly On The Plate
As in there's a whole lot of wibble wobble going on that I would like to be less 'jelly' and more 'jube'. Hard jube. I think every woman in the world knows what I'm talking about here. Enough said.

3. Boobs
Young women of the world, admire your pert breasts every single day. When all that wonderful connective tissue breaks down due to gravity and breastfeeding, nothing can bring it back. Sad fact. You can, however, work on your pectoral muscles which can provide some 'lift'. Why is it, though, that when I lose even a little bit of weight, it all comes off my boobs and face first and not my bum, thighs and tummy? I'm still breastfeeding and my breasts already look like little pannacottas. The mini ones from a tasting plate. I hear my old wonderbras calling my name from the dark depths of the lingerie drawer. Come to me my pretties . . . 

4. The Lady-Trampoline That Lost Its Bounce
That would be the pelvic floor. Losing control of which is another of the fabulous side effects of child birth. Throw in a little genetic predisposition to a weak pelvic floor and . . . well let's just say that star-jumps and I are not the best of friends. 

I'm also thinking of writing a book called The Lady Golfers Guide To Shrubbery. It is a most inconvenient fact of golfing life, and a shocking oversight on the part of golf course designers quite frankly, that there are no amenities at least half way around your typical golf course. It can take a good three hours to play 18 holes of golf (four hours if your ball likes sand, bush and water half as much as mine) and, I'm sorry, but the pelvically-challenged among us cannot go 3 to 4 hours without an opportunity to 'powder one's nose'. I'm not ashamed to admit that I have peed on golf courses all around Australia, which is all very well on your heavily forested course, but a tad trickier on your coastal links course, where you'll be lucky to find a scrappy bit of ti-tree or salt bush to squat behind. I do, however, pride myself on always finding some bit of shrubbery with the required amount of coverage, and have perfected several yoga-like positions to adjust for shrubbery height, and I'm keen to share that knowledge with the female golfing public.

But I digress. The upshot of all this talk of inappropriate weeing is that exercise, particularly the hard, weight-bearing, ab-crunching exercise that Ms Bridges encourages, is extremely excellent for ye old pelvic floor. You too can smile and leap gleefully onto a trampoline next time your children ask, instead of sitting like a lonely no-mates on the swings.

5. Posture
Ever catch a glimpse of your full length profile whilst walking by a shop window and immediately felt the need to stand up straighter? My nan had a hump. And as much as I loved my nan, no one likes a hump. So as well as eating up all my calcium, weight-bearing exercise will help build up my anti-hump muscles. It's all about the core people.

6. Diet
Yep, that other four letter word. This was a big motivator for me in relation to joining the 12WBT program. I'm a 'snacker'. I eat whatever little bits and pieces I find floating around in the kitchen, including the remains of the kids' dinners but generally excluding all other healthy options, so that by the end of the day, I'm full of empty calories.

At the start of every week, Mish (that's Ms Bridges to you non-12WBTers) gives us our recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, as well as your entire shopping list for the week.

I can't even tell you how much I love this. It's like having a wife (something I've always wanted incidentally) who does all the hard 'thinking' work about what to cook every day. Brilliant! Instead of wandering aimlessly around the supermarket looking for inspiration and thinking "surely they won't mind having spag bol again this week", I simply look at my list and stride purposefully around picking up snowpea sprouts and fresh mint and low fat ricotta and tuna steaks and tamari. Exciting, interesting ingredients that aren't anything like what would go into spag bol! Not to mention the pride - oh, the delicious pride! - of putting all those virtuous, exciting ingredients onto the conveyor belt at the checkout!

And the meals have all been delicious and easy to prepare. The whole family is benefiting from the gastronomical excitement of meals that don't resemble spag bol IN THE SLIGHTEST. With the added benefit of being healthier.

So all in all, I'm loving the program. It's hard work but ultimately rewarding. I'm training six days a week (yep, more time away from writing blog posts, sorry) and I've eaten more vegetables and less carbs in the last 3 weeks, than I have in the last 6 months. Only 3 weeks in and I am already feeling fitter and healthier. Virtue is my new middle name.

I'm also part of a Facebook group of people in my area who are all doing the program. A wonderfully supportive bunch of (mainly) women who you can laugh, cry and confess to eating donuts to. Someone's always organising a group training session every week (followed by skim lattes, hold the bagels of course) so I feel like I'm part of a community and not slogging it out with the good and bad fairies in my head.

And I'm running! Yes running!! Three weeks ago I could only run half a kilometre. On Saturday I ran six (with only a little bit of walking up a crazy ass hill mountain). It's all slog and no style (an ex-boyfriend once referred to me as a moving statue), but hey! I'm running!

So if you see a slow-moving, yet jaunty jogger with excellent posture and a killer wonderbra ducking behind some bushes up around Long Reef headland, come and say hi. After I pop out from behind the bushes of course.


  1. Michelle I stumbled upon your blog and found it very entertaining, light-hearted and funny! Good luck with your 12WBT

  2. Thank you Julie, that's really kind of you. I had a great experience with 12WBT. I learned so much about nutrition in particular. Hope you enjoyed it all too :)


I love hearing from you (and by the way, you're looking lovely today) x

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