Cold hands, warm heart….


Cold hands warm heart my Nana used to say.  (That’s me in my Nana’s arm with my Dad and Grandpa.)

Sounds nice doesn’t it? But the reality is that I feel the cold. I always have and I can’t remember a time that I didn’t. I thought it was normal so I have never, and will never, complain about it. It is what it is. I hear all winter long – I am cold – from members. Often this comes from members in t-shirts and ¾ pants. I then put my ice block hands on them and their bodies are fairly warm. I feel more like a cold reptile! Not mentioning it has actually been a big part of coping with it. Our words are powerful. If I say I am cold, think I am cold, even think about how it feels, it is a cold I cannot cope with. There needs to be a balance though and over the years I have learnt to ask for help and found it in many different ways. Now I would like to pass what I have discovered on to you and hopefully it will help.

As a child I used to go to my Nana’s house and was spoilt by her unconditional, never ending, unlimited love. To keep my little hands and feet warm she would put me in front of the heater that was turned up high. I would often sit at her feet as she crocheted. We would talk about all sorts of things and it was a wonderful time for me. However, I would leave her place and end up with the most awful chilblains on my toes. As the years went by those chilblains would be on the tips of my ears and then eventually on my hands. By the time they were on my hands I was living in the UK and totally unprepared for the cold.

Growing up in a cold town I was used to wearing a jumper all year round and of course playing and then exercising outdoors. Thankfully it is a habit I still have as I am sure it helps a lot. Arriving in England without the right clothing was pretty awful! I discovered big bulky coats, hats and gloves. Go indoors and they came off. That transition from hot to cold is one that I try and avoid. This means if I warm up at all the clothes are off and then back on if I feel even remotely chilly. No electric blankets or hot water bottles. The temperature in my unit stays consistently between 16 and 20 all winter long. The heating in my car is rarely on. As soon as I leave it I feel the cold. Once I am cold warming up can take hours.

I arrived in Melbourne after a couple of years in Sydney. That was lovely living there as I had no issues with the cold at all. You would think that after living in Portland and then England that Melbourne would be fine. It was horrible!! I ended up going to a Naturopath who was fantastic. The doctors in England had told me that I had Raynaud’s and this is the reason I wear gloves from April to September. They had also tried to put me on Warfarin (yuck) and scared me with stories. My hands when cold go a deathly white with no blood flowing through them. Apparently if it lasts I will lose the use of my fingers and amputation will be the only answer. Scary stuff for a girl in her 20’s.

The Naturopath gave me lots of tools that really helped.
First was to cut back on wheat. I was eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Hard to start off with but much easier now.
Second was to reduce dairy. Apart from yoghurt I have no dairy.
Gingko Biloba has probably been the most significant. It improves circulation and is great for memory. I always increase my dose throughout winter.
Fish oil made a massive difference. It reduces inflammation. My knuckles were so inflamed and painful that at times I was unable to hold a pen, let alone write. To this day I still take fish oil daily.
Reducing tea and coffee has an impact. Whilst not a fan of herbal teas anything with Ginger is good. I have discovered wet chai and through winter the cinnamon smell wafts through my home as I brew it up at least 3 times a day.
Meals always have a sprinkle of the circulation boosting spices – cumin, turmeric, paprika and chilli.

By 2004 I was feeling heaps better with my coping mechanisms and then looked at buying Step into Life. In those early days the question of how I would cope with the cold was major. At the time I was running about 5 times a week. I have always found running outside great for circulation. It was around this time that I discovered layers. I had always worn singlets and tights under jeans now I got serious. Skins and compression pants as the bottom layer are excellent. Long sleeve cotton tops as a layer over the singlet is important. Gloves of course are necessary. Thin layers and lots of them became my standard wardrobe. It sure does increase the washing but is so important. Socks are an all year round for me – especially in bed. Covering my lower back is vital to being warm. Layers have to be long with no exposure of the lower back. The Chinese say that we need to keep our vitals warm and I agree. Even my PJs have long tops!

A couple of years ago we changed to periodised training and it was just perfect for me. No longer standing on an oval through winter. I got to go out and run and romp with members. In the last 2 years that has had the biggest impact on my circulation. I do a lot of moving through winter but I also get to eat lots of warming foods – soups and bread. Delicious, nutritious and warming.

I read an article last winter which talked about the best way to stay warm through winter is to hibernate. Seriously no way will I do that! Hibernating is a ridiculous notion. Bears can do it because they can eat enough food through summer and don’t need to eat through winter. To compare us to bears and tell us to mimic their behaviour – I was as wild as a bear!! Putting my layers on and heading out for a walk along the deserted beach, training with members and seeing them leave with smiley faces, rugging up and going out and meeting friends at the park with Elly and Daisy are some of my favourite things.

As a child I suffered with colds ALL the time. My mum used to send me to school still. That’s what you did – soldier on. As a teenager I totally hated her for it. Whilst I certainly don’t believe that is how to treat it, the attitude strengthened my body and my mind. Now if I feel a sniffle coming on I head to bed for an hour nap. The difference that makes is incredible. Through winter I take 1000mg of Vitamin C every day. If there are lots of sniffles at sessions I do the same at night. Vitamin C is an amazing Vitamin and a vital part of my wellbeing. To date I had my last cold 2 and a half years ago. My immune system is strong, my body is strong and I have strategies to cope.

I embrace winter and the beautiful season it is. Crisp clear air that I can breathe in is glorious when my body is toasty warm in my layers. If not a few star jumps does the trick! Feeling the warm winter sun on my face is truly delightful. Like everything it is just a season and before we know it spring is here and then summer and autumn and back to winter. It’s the cycle of our lives and I love it and all that it brings. Listening to your body is very important. If it feels tired, rest it. If it feels blocked take some Vitamin C. If I feel sluggish I head outdoors and move. Most importantly though we can be summed up by Margaret Thatcher “Watch your thoughts as they become your words.

Watch your words as they become your actions.

Watch your actions as they become your habits.

Watch your habits as they become you character.

Watch your character as it becomes your destiny.”

I am a girl with cold hands (that I manage). I am also a girl with a very warm heart x

Just did it…..

Motivation – to provide someone for a reason for doing something 

 Not motivated to exercise? Don’t feel like it? Too busy, cold, tired? 

 So often I hear “I don’t feel motivated to exercise”. The definition of motivation does not even mention feelings. So why do we need to feel motivated to exercise? Moving is one of the best things that we can do for our bodies, yet only a quarter of the Australian population regularly exercise. It just doesn’t make sense…. Or does it? 

 Somewhere along the line our reason to exercise has become emotional and our reason to continue regularly exercising has also become emotional. The problem with exercising for emotional reasons is that it’s difficult to make that last for years on end. Emotions come and go. Feelings change. Emotion alone cannot give a big enough reason to support a regular life time exercise habit. Do a Google search on “Not motivated to exercise” and you will see just how many people have tried to fix this issue AND the motivation tactics are mostly about feelings and emotion. Feeling good in a new pair of jeans just won’t do it long term – those jeans will only be new once and then where does the motivation go?

 So how do I motivate myself? In the same way that my long-term members motivate themselves. I never question whether I will exercise – I just get on with it. There’s no feeling involved – like brushing my teeth a couple of times a day. It just happens – it’s a habit that serves me well, so I keep doing it. 

If I do think about its for toned and strong muscles, for bone density to resist osteoporosis, for good balance and coordination, for a strong heart muscle, to reduce stress, decrease the chance of mental illness, to sleep better, to have more energy during the day. These are all great reasons – logical reasons that aren’t based on feelings or emotion. 

 Sure, feelings come into it. The flow of exercise endorphins feels fantastic, the sense of achievement after a session feels awesome, feeling good in my favourite jeans is amazing. They are all feelings and motivation to exercise but they are not long lasting and on a cold winters morning they don’t provide a good enough reason to get out of bed and get moving. Knowing that when I get home I have achieved something good for my health, combined with a 30 plus year habit is enough to keep me motivated. 

 So next time you are thinking of hitting the snooze button or sting on the couch think about some REAL reasons as to why you exercise. And after its done you can say I Just Did It



Had a surprise adventure on the weekend. You know those times when you say yes to going somewhere but you just don’t think it’s going to be fun – maybe it will even be a bit boring?

Dad was visiting and asked if I was interested in going to the Moorabbin Aviation Museum. One of his goals for this year is to have an adventure every month. He usually has some kind of goal similar to this each year which is pretty cool!

I am never one to turn down an invite so off we went. Couldn’t tell you how many times I have driven down Centre-Dandenong Road and noticed the sign for the museum – heap sand heaps!  Have also driven past the museum and judged it (incorrectly, as so many of our judgements are!) as a boring junk yard for airplanes.

Once inside though we discovered that the museum is an amazing experience put together by a lot of volunteer’s who are clearly very passionate about their hobby – it was so refreshing to see their enthusiasm!  There are quite a lot of planes that you can go on board and lots of cockpits that you can sit in. I took the Captains seat and gave Dad the Co-Pilot seat. Our imaginations ran wild – pushing buttons and role playing different scenarios! It was great fun and very funny!

How many interesting places are there to see in our local neighbourhood that we don’t know about?

Maybe that we do know about but judge them as boring?

How many times are we asked along to things and say “no” thinking it might be boring?

Maybe it won’t be boring after all?

I’m glad Dad asked me to join him on his first adventure for 2016 and I look forward to saying YES to a few more!




Habits are wonderful things. It means that our bodies are on auto pilot to carry out tasks. We don’t need to focus intently on doing them – we have done it before and our body and mind remembers how. Imagine what it would be like without them! Remember that intense feeling of learning to drive a car. I would be exhausted after an hour out with my Dad (or maybe it was just his intensity that I was feeling!  ) Having to think through the process of turning a corner and all that is involved with it.

However, how many of our habits do we do on a day to day basis that no longer serve us? The other day I was out walking my two dogs. There had been a dead baby bird near the tree on the nature strip for a few weeks. I have just been jogging past so there is no time to stop and sniff. On this day as we jogged by I noticed that the dried up bird was on the footpath. Quick as a flash Daisy picked it up. Getting it out of her mouth and disposing of it was disgusting. I am sure if I hadn’t she would have eaten it – YUCK! That night I was chopping up their carrots for dinner. I top and tailed the carrot and then realised what I had done. It is habit to top and tail carrots but did it really serve any purpose on this occasion? The top of the carrot is hardly going to cause any harm to my fur baby – the same mouth that a few hours earlier had tried to chew down a dead baby bird that had been sitting road side for a few weeks! It’s a habit, doesn’t serve any purpose – I just did it. Until I caught myself doing it. Interesting I thought!

The way we think about things and the way we respond is so often a habit – something that we have done often enough that we believe it is the “truth”. What does that actually mean when the habit, behaviour or action does not serve us in any way? In this instance it meant that I wasted some food as my fur babies could have eaten the top and tail of the carrot. At other times the habit can be so debilitating that it literally stops you from moving forward.

Many times over the years I have seen so many people hesitant to start a regular exercise program. Bodies resent being taken out of their comfort zone, the mind finds a way around it by making excuses and then the gut gets involved by feeling squeamish. Next thing you know the possible new client has backed out.

·         It just doesn’t feel right – that’s the gut reacting to the change in habit.

·         I can’t fit it in – that’s the head trying to find an excuse.

·         I can’t afford it – before the gut and the body got in the way the head HAD been able to afford it!

The actual idea of starting a new habit seems exciting to begin with. Then the old habit starts to kick in, the inspired motivation diminishes in the face of a habit that has been around for a long time. We have all done this. Said we will change something and for a week we are pumped. Then an obstacle hits and the old habit is so easy to fall back on. It’s comfortable for the body, the head stops spinning with reasons and justifications and the gut relaxes as nothing is going to happen now that the old habit is back – it’s known and trusted.

SO how do you change this?

·         Being aware of it is huge! Be aware that the old habit WILL resurface. That’s a given. Be ready for it and have a plan.  Have a strategy for dealing with it. As they say – people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.

·         Tell people about your new habit. Ask them to hold you accountable. You have to ask them to do this and make a plan. They may hold you accountable for a week or two and then they will have their own habit to fall back to – which will not be holding you accountable!

·         Set up some indicators around your house. One of my favourites for dropping a few kilo’s for an event is to put the outfit you want to wear somewhere that you will see it regularly. It will remind you that there is a bigger picture. (Of course a note in the kitchen – “Step away from the fridge/pantry!” will also help!)

·         Stay positive by believing that it’s possible. Believe in your ability to do this and find those around that also believe you can. There will always be people around you who will tell you to be careful, that you can’t do it. That’s their own habit, their own fall back. Avoid those people for a while!

·         Respect and honour the struggle. Yes, it will be a challenge – it can be as fun and exciting as you want it to be. If you can stay positive, it won’t matter what the outcome is – the whole adventure will be a learning experience and will feed into your next adventure!

Go change some habits that no longer serve you and have a BLAST creating some new ones that do!

Goals – EEKK!!

For some that word has just caused a bit of fear……. perhaps for a good reason….

Somehow over the years setting goals has become something to be frightened of. It’s something we do with reluctance or regard it as a New Year’s resolution and have quit by the middle of the January.

A goal is defined as “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result”

That’s a good thing right? Well maybe not? Anyone who has looked at setting goals would have heard this – “A goal without a plan is just a dream”.  When did dreaming become such a bad thing?

I have been setting goals for about 25 years and the way they have been set has changed quite a lot over the years. For many years I was “told” to make my goals S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time based. In a nutshell, develop a plan. There are quite a few different acronyms’ that can be used but they all pretty much have the same message – develop a plan. Up to a point this kind of goal setting is valid BUT in many ways I have come to believe that it also limits our ability to achieve GREATNESS!

Just because a whole bunch of people, who seem to know what they are talking about, have said that this is the way to do it (in this case to set goals), does it always mean that it is the best way for YOU?

Way back in the year 2000 I set a S.M.A.R.T. goal to buy a unit – my own home. Things happened in my life and it never happened. Things kept happening every year for TEN years and it never happened. After a while the idea of setting this as a goal became frustrating, disappointing and downright discouraging. I’m pretty resilient, so every year the goal went on my list, until I stopped making it a S.M.A.R.T. goal and just had it there as a wish – a dream if you like. It took 10 years and when it happened it was incredibly quick and amazing! It was one of those things about being in the right place at the right time. It hadn’t been a S.M.A.R.T. goal for about 5 or 6 years. It was always a focus there in the back of my mind and finally it happened. Out of that I learnt what was most important was not that the goal was S.M.A.R.T. but that the goal was there in my mind and it was written down.

This year, for the first time, I have actually been brave enough to ask members to write their 2016 goals and not give them the well-used guidelines that as PT’s we are “told” to use. The results so far have been quite astonishing.

“Be a better friend” “Appreciate every day” “Be kinder to myself” “Be enthusiastic”

These are not S.M.A.R.T. goals – they are however an ambition, an aim and a desired result. They are written down and during the year I will remind them of their goals. At the end of the year I will hand them back to members and ask them if they achieved them. If they didn’t – well that’s ok. They can try again next year, and the year after, and the year after. If that is how they want their life to be, to look, then it’s a valid goal.

When it comes to goals it is time we changed the way we think about them.

It’s time the process stopped being scary.

It’s time to stop limiting our goals by making them S.M.A.R.T. or any other clever acronym we have been “told” to use.

It’s time we allowed our goals to be BIG and its definitely time we used goals to help us be better today than we were yesterday.

After all – that’s our main goal isn’t it? To live a great life?

Easter Spoiler!

As we enter the chocolate waterfall that has become Easter please remember to put some health Floaties on so you don’t get carried away by the sugar overload!

Easter Spoiler I hear you say!

If you have been focusing on your health for the last couple of months, do you really want to jeopardise it for an out of control sugar hit?


Now that I have your attention, it is only dark chocolate that has any real health benefits.

Dark Chocolate is chocolate without any milk solids added.  It’s the milk in milk chocolate that offsets any of the benefits that dark chocolate provides.

The main health benefit from eating dark chocolate is due to the antioxidant benefits. This helps protect your body from possible damage from cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure etc. To have any of the benefits from eating dark chocolate the recommended amount per week is 13 to 20 grams. The little Lindt Gold bunnies that we love are 100 grams. So break it up into 5 to 5 pieces and eat slowly……..


I doubt that I would be able to leave that bunny for 5 to 6 weeks, so let’s look at some options.

·         Go for quality chocolate. It tastes better because the ingredients are a higher quality.

·         Decide how much you are going to have and then stick to the plan. Remember that when sugar touches your tongue, it gives your taste buds a zap and sends a message to your brain for a good dopamine hit – woo hoo! Dopamine is highly addictive – it’s our reward centre. It’s the same reason we check our phones constantly for messages, check out our Facebook likes……

·         Over the next 24 hours you will come down from your sugar high and your body will want more. This is the time for a healthy plan. Be ready for it – fill up with protein. If the sugar craving is high feed it with fruit (fresh or dried). It WILL happen so be prepared.

·         Help zap some of that glucose and fructose having a party with your insides and do some exercise. Kick a ball around, go for a run, get the bike out. Whatever it is, it doesn’t really matter – moving is what is most important. 


In 2014 we were 11th on the world wide chocolate consumption list. * Switzerland leads the way with 9kg’s per person per year. Australia sits at 4.9kg’s per person per year.

That’s a lot of chocolate and a lot of damage to health.  I’m more than happy to let someone else have my share of chocolate and protect my health – what about you?

The Unicorn Story

A good book by Lilly – aged 8

The unicorn story

One day there lived a lonely unicorn it did not have friends “there’s nothing to do every day! It bad bad BAD! I’m lonely all the time it just…..” And then he heard a mean and growling voice unicorn hid between jarses and then he talked”I am going to take over the WORLD OF UNICORNS! Unicorn just then knew how it was I…t I……s laver UNICORN the baddest unicorn off all! Him him! That’s BAD all BAD she whispered to her self then she RAN out! She ran and ran! She got home to Mrs Unicorn and Mr Unicorn she told them what happened they were sad that he was going to take over the world! They thought to make an anoucment to the unicorns and then Unicorn told stardust her friend and Blue berry her friend she did that and thought to go out and find laver Unicorn to find inforemason she went to find him not true he found them! He took blue berry! NO! Don’t get our friend YEER! Shouted! You two get her back he said well were telling the city that you are taking over unicorn LAND! How do you know!!!!! I heard YOU I hid in the jarses next to YOU! That’s bad he said to his laver dog it’s bad is in it! WOOOOOOOF! The laver dog woofed they battled the unicorn team won! Give blue berry BACK! OK! As you won! I don’t like you then laver unicorn had no power after that! The END!



Lest we Forget

ANZAC day is always a very turbulent day for me as I am sure it is for many Australians. Unlike so many Aussies though I don’t have any relatives who have been in the armed forces or fought in a war. It still becomes a day that turns into an emotional overhaul accompanied with overwhelming feelings of gratitude when I think of what generations before me have achieved.

Dawn Service 2014 was even more interesting as I finally understood what my Dad was doing when we visited Albany, Western Australia in 1980.  There’s a photo of him on top of a lookout. His hand up on his forehead to reduce the sun glare – standing tall and proud, defiant even, as he looks “for Turks”.  I was 10 at the time and had no idea what he was going on about! Dawn service 2014 and the significance of Albany was explained as a part of the service. (Perhaps it had in the past but I wasn’t paying enough attention at the time?)  Imagine leaving on a ship and possibly knowing (did they?) that there would be no return.  That the harbour of Albany would be the last safe harbour they would see. I doubt those young boys had any understanding. The world had not seen a war such as the one that they were about to be involved in.

In 1980 we had been in Perth on ANZAC day and had attended the Dawn Service at Kings Park. It was an incredibly powerful service – beautiful surroundings accompanied with words and emotion that at 10 I could finally have some understanding of. For 10 year old Donna it was incredible moving. Amazed at what I was hearing – that there were so many heroes and so many deaths. I had seen the writing on the gates of Vansittart Park in Mt Gambier that said Lest We Forget. Up until that point I didn’t know what I was going to forget …… My jumper? A toy outside? My lunch? Lest I forget what? That gate had always puzzled me. Then in a blast it came to me. Talk about a turning point in my life! That there was so much life and death before me came as a huge surprise. It was, I believe, a point when I became aware of how incredibly significant (and possibly insignificant) I was but also the ability I had to make a difference. All those names on the wall at Kings Park (and at many parks around Australia) define both our significance and our importance.

As humans and as a society we are a very complex twist and blend of thinking we don’t count as an individual and how influential we can be! We can be significant at the time or maybe years later. The power of our words and our actions may seem irrelevant at the time, but we need to need to always remember who is watching and who is listening. Be significant in everything you do because each and every one of us is important in our own way, no matter how big or small that may seem. Whether that be fighting in a battle with the odds against us or simply picking up your rubbish. If everyone works together we can make a huge difference. Individually we have the power to create a change – positive or negative.

As for gratitude it would be impossible to walk away from a Dawn Service without an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the little things in life but also the big things. This year, as with every year, I am grateful to see the sun rise another day. ANZAC Day 2015 will be another reminder to never forget that.