Farewell Dietgirl, and a new beginning

This is a long post but I promise I’ll make it worth your while.

Short version: I’m not stopping, just relocating! Plus, there’s awesome prizes to be won…

Twelve years ago today I started this secret blog. I was lonely, scared and convinced I was possibly the very largest person in Australia. I already had a blog, but thought everyone would disappear if I revealed the true shambles of my life. Who’d want to read about that?

I invented Dietgirl to hide behind; an alter ego far stronger and capable than I felt. I wouldn’t need her very long – for I had a spreadsheet! I calculated I could zap 80 kilos in neat weekly installments, so in less than two years I’d slip seamlessly back to my non-secret non-fat blog and begin a sparkly, skinny new life.

Do you reckon Me of 2001 would’ve freaked out if she’d known I’d be here in 2013? That the spreadsheet still isn’t “finished?”. Sorry 2001 buddy; it all got a bit messy. But messy in the good way! You took half a decade to lose the lard, then after a few years you found a big chunk of it again. Then there were unexpected adventures… a Body Pump addiction, a move to the other side of the world, a nice Scottish bloke…

Seems like yesterday…”outing” yourself in the paper, getting your arse kicked in your first and last kickboxing competition…

and whinging your way up some hills! (circa 2007. oh to be this fit and slinky again. I’m working on it, hehe)

… writing a book, re-learning to ride a bike

and discovering new shades of red. mwahaha.

… growing parsnips as big as cats, going to some brilliant blogging conferences, and shuffling 5K that years later sparked a groovy running community.

And of course, there’s all the kind, thoughtful, witty and generous people who read along and shared their adventures too. Incredible strangers who reached out over the interwaves just to say, “Dude, you’re not alone”. It was bloody awesome.

. . .

I was only 23 when Dietgirl began and now I’m a creaky 35… I’m no longer on a Diet and I’m certainly no longer a Girl! So after twelve years, today I’m hanging up the cape and will be continuing my adventures on my original blog at ShaunaReid.com.

I feel so giddy to be downsizing to one home for my web wafflings, whether that’s travels, lard busting updates, cake, perving on sportsmen or general happenings. No more compartmentalising or hiding behind not-at-all-secret identities. I’ve wanted to simplify things for about three years now but it’s taken me this long to get organised! I wasn’t kidding yesterday about the procrastination problem.

I’ll also be writing more often on the Up & Running blog, with my amateur bumblings providing nice contrast to Coach Julia’s Ironman heroics. We’ll be exploring the mind and body connection stuff even more this year, as running and fitness is about so much more than sweating! We’re also cooking up some exciting new stuff for 2013, including an e-course for those seeking a helping hand to start making exercise part of their life – basically what I wish had existed back in 2001.

So, from now on you’ll find me at ShaunaReid.com – complete with a whizz bang foxy new design!

Righto… if you made it this far, it’s time to CELEBRATE like crazy people!

For the past three years January 15 has meant time for cool prizes in the Dietgirl Birthday Sell Out, a way of saying cheers to everyone for reading. Today feels like the biggest celebration of all, I’m Selling Out once more! It all starts tomorrow at the new digs. So be sure to subscribe or stalk on Twitter or Facebook to find out when the first Sell Out post goes live. And the prizes are ace, I must say! UPDATE: The Sell Out has begun!

Thank you thank you THANK YOU to everyone who’s stopped by over the past twelve years. Thanks for your comments, emails, generosity, friendship and kindness. It’s been an unforgettable adventure and I’m excited to dive in to the next phase.

See you on the other side! »

My word for 2013

Happy Monday to you! Be sure to come back tomorrow for some DG 12th Birthday goodness!

Do you have a Word of the Year? I always thought it was a frilly idea until I gave it a go last year. My word was present, and turned out to be a groovy way to set a theme, guide actions and remember an intention. Rather than a mega list of to-do’s or goals it’s a concise little thing to carry around. When things went astray I’d recall the word – whether in my head or muttering it aloud like a loony – and POW, it pulled my head out of the clouds.

Many times I forgot to remember the word (e.g. covered in cake crumbs… Oh yeah! PRESENT! D’oh.), but these things take practice!

Since 2012 turned out okay I’m calling the secret trial a success and have decided to say this year’s word out loud. There’s always that, “If I tell people, what if I cock it up?” fear but… accountability and all that, eh?

Wood pigeon and pals from earlier this morning

Wood pigeon and pals from earlier this morning

My 2013 word is Focus. It felt like a good one to build on the momentum from the end of 2012 and get that consistency happening. I know what I need and want to do, it’s just that tendency to procrastinate, self-sabotage, multi-task and wander down self-destructive and/or time-sucking side streets (e.g. Facebook Street, LOLcat Alley, Binge Boulevard, ho ho ho!).

So I’m focusing…

  • On what’s important, on what’s meaningful, on the little things that make everyday life feel good.
  • On only one task at a time.
  • On one browser tab or Word doc at a time.
  • And not focusing my energy on petty issues, perceived slights, drama that doesn’t belong to me, etc etc etc.

To give the Focus a bit of backbone, health and wellbeing wise, I picked three straightforward things:

  1. Write every day – basically the Morning Pages idea from The Artist’s Way book. Every morning you write three pages of stream-of-consciousness waffle. It helps shake out any deranged thoughts and set your compass for the day. I’ve been doing them for about eight months now but with no real consistency until this last two. It’s so helpful to get your ranty pants on first thing then just GET ON with your day!
  2. Continue the HAM Plan for the eating. Also watching portion size as that’s no doubt contributing to the maintenance 😉
  3. 3-2-1 Exercise plan – 3 cardio sessions, 2 weight sessions and 1 yoga session each and every week.

Two weeks in and it’s all going great guns. Focus is a great word for muttering under your breath… must be the F? Also, I’m amazed at how much work gets done when not Alt-Tabbing between a dozen apps and brower tabs. Hmmmmmm.

Apologies to the Up & Runners for having already been subjected to a version of these ramblings on the Forum! 😉

Hope in a disc

How did I end up with so many bloody workout DVDs? I’ve pondered this a gazillion times these past couple of Dust-Off months and this is what I came up with.

1. The Absolute Awesomeness.
I remember the elation of my first Cathe DVD – whoa this just like Body Pump except I’m home and it doesn’t matter how shite my workout clothes are!

I just dig the home workout. I can modify for my dodgy knee or skip high-impact sections, which is much better than paying money for a class that I can’t really do properly. I like seeing the evolution of instructor hairstyles and wondering if they get along with their background exercisers, or if one of them is secretly plotting to topple the leader with her own set of DVDs.

2. The Collect-Them-All Syndrome.
Like when you read a great book and urgently want to get your hands on everything they’ve ever written. Or watch one Scandinavian crime drama and immediately want to watch them all. I went a bit mad with Cathes, Jillians and the Element series, but turns out the majority of them are total keepers!

3. The Diet Book Mentality.
The whole Dust-Off project was sparked when Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution 90 day programme thing was released in the UK. It was over £100 and I hadn’t touched any of her other workouts for months, yet I was lusting after it. I scoured reviews and Googled for Before and Afters.

Years ago I quit my diet book habit after noticing the thought patterns… Maybe this one holds the secret? Maybe this one will tell me what to do and I’ll bust this lard for good? I’d feel like a twit when I finished reading because it was never anything new. Deep down I already had all the tools I needed; I just needed to get on with it. I reckon I’ve had a similar thought process with workout DVDs. They’re so shiny and revolutionary with never-before-seen moves that sculpt your butt in entirely new ways! Hope in a disc!

But really, the only Revolution I needed was to get back to moving my body on a consistent, sustainable basis. The answers were always within and there was certainly adequate support available on the groaning shelf of DVDs.

So, ten weeks since the Dust-Off started it’s fab to be enjoying exercise again. I’m going to give the project a rest for awhile. Firstly as I have a bunch of other things to write about, but mostly because I really enjoyed Bob Harper Week and want to give the workouts another go this week!

The more I look at the Yoga For The Warrior cover with his zen body but crazy eyes, I think he looks like he’s steeling himself to levitate…

Levitating Bob

You cannae beat a bit of bad Photoshop on a Friday evening

DVD Dust-Off: Week 6 – 100% Bob Harper

“You love me, remember?” Bob grins into the camera, “I’m the Nice One!”

The Nice One from The Biggest Loser bought out a series of workouts in 2010 called Inside Out Method. I have three and gave them a spin for this 100% Bob episode of the Great DVD Dust-Off.

I reckon Bob must get sick of being called the Nice One all the time. Nice is one step away from dull and snoozy. I think Bob wanted us to know with these workouts that he’s actually cool and badass.

They’re very stylised compared to a Jillian DVD, for example. There are funky slow motion shots and occasional split screen bits, kind of like the opening credits of Law and Order. There’s edgy music throughout, even the yoga one. I thought they’d been filmed in a sepia tone at first, but then spied a stray fluro water bottle in the background. It’s just that the whole set is shades of brown – the carpet, the punching bag, the lockers and all their clothes! Très edgy.

As well as sexy styling and Bob hilariously growling, “you said you wanted me as a trainer, well now you’ve got me”, they’re great workouts. Bob explains the moves very clearly, starting with a more simple move then adding on stuff. He counts down the seconds like he does on the show too… threeeee tewwww wuhn! 

Yoga for the Warrior - Amazon link16. Yoga for the Warrior by Bob Harper (2010)

I didn’t like this one when first purchased – the guitar riffy bits don’t really get me in a zen mood. But I enjoyed it more this time around. I particularly like how he kinda picks on Robert, the only bloke. Are you okay back there Robert? Robert, you can do this modification if you need to.

It’s not a Om kind of yoga workout – it moves faster and is more about strength than relaxation. I couldn’t really keep up but enjoyed it anyway. It reminded me of how Bob does yoga with his Biggest Loser contestants. All I have to do is develop a creepy crush and expect him to rescue me from my emotional issues then it would be just like being on the Ranch.

Verdict: MAYBE


Body Rev Cardio Conditioning17. Body Rev Cardio Conditioning by Bob Harper (2010)

It’s called “Cardio Conditioning” but there’s a lot of resistance work here. There are some cardioish jump squats, jumping jacks, mountain climbers etc, but also compound moves with dumbbells. Since you don’t really stop moving you get the heart rate right up. I had to modify the jumps obviously, but overall it was a nice workout and you only need some dumbbells and a small amount of space.

Verdict: KEEP


Pure Burn Super Strength - Amazon link18. Pure Burn Super Strength by Bob Harper (2010)

I really like this one except for the Orgasmic Girl. She’s the one on Bob’s right and she never stops grunting and groaning and gurning throughout the whole bloody show.

It’s a great total body resistance workout using dumbells and simple moves. I liked the isolation ones, where you just hold a dumbbell out until you feel like your arm is going to fall off. We used to do that at kickboxing and it’s awful in the good way. Again I couldn’t really keep up with this workout, but it’s something to aspire too!

Verdict: KEEP

2012 Wrap-Up

A final monthly wrap-up on the 2012 plans.

Why don’t I ever write the end of year wrap-up before the new one begins? I’m busting to get on with the 2013 jibber-jabbering but I want to send off 2012 in a flaming boat… there it goes, over the horizon. Begone with ye!

. . .

December review
The Christmas HAM Plan kicked arse! 31 days of blogging and mindful eats and exercise, done and dusted. I’d say I was about 80% compliant and it’s got me fired up for the new year. I wrote a big old post about the awesome lessons learned from the experience, if you fancy reading it. Thanks everyone who tuned in over the month!

. . .

2012 review
2012 was a tip top year and as I wrote in my mega non-fat annual review, I’ve really got nothing to whinge about. But a quick look at the health and fitness side of things… the main aim of 2012 was to “keep the mind attached to the body”. I wanted to stay present in tough moments and not abandon my structured mindfulness tools at the first sign of difficulty.

Was I successful? How do you definine and measure “success”? On one hand, I finished the year the same weight I started it. That’s not ideal with my dodgy knee and ongoing irritation at plus size clothes.

But I don’t want to get stuck in black/white all/nothing thinking. I’ve learned a lot in these two years of “regain maintenance”. I think that losing what I want to lose will start to happen once I practice what I’ve learned with greater consistency and focus. Practice practice practice. I feel empowered and squirmy all at the same time, knowing that it’s all in my hands.

Now on with the new year! It’s Bob Harper Week in the DVD Dust-Off and some fun things coming up. Stay tuned…

There was a sunny day a few months back ;)

There was a sunny day a few months back 😉

2012 – The Year In Dirt

Rain, wind, mud, rot, rain, wind, mud, rot… that was the veggie gardening theme this year! The summer was so wet and miserable and we went batty trying to stay on top of the weeds. Combined with a bit of slackarsery on our part, it was pretty slim pickings…

Remember those humungous parsnips of 2010, of can-sized diameter? 2012 yielded just 1.2 withered specimens.


Our beetroots came to nought and the salads didn’t do much either. We had another go at pumpkins but left it too late in the season, and there just wasn’t enough sunlight for them to do anything. But they were slightly bigger than the micropumpkins of 2009 so I’m counting it as progress!


The leeks didn’t seem to mind the quagmire – we’ve got quite a big haul of those. Hard to believe that a tiny, tiny seed could turn into something so huge. I’ve got my eye on Jamie Oliver’s Leek and Turkey Pie for Boxing Day.


One thing that really thrived was the rhubarb. I hacked it all back and stewed it up for the freezer then it came back again, so I made rhubarb and apple chutney. After three months in the jar it’s really deep and spicy and will be killer with leftover Christmas ham. Woohoo!


Remember my in-laws’ wild and woolly allotment? It’s been tamed after many many hours of labouring. We grew our leeks up there and my in-laws grew flowers, delicious potatoes and also raspberries and strawberries. They even put up a shed with Birds of Britain posters inside; it’s all very civilised!

On the left is November 2011 with the 3ft-deep weeds, and on the right is October 2012 (the weedy path has since been taken care of!).


After the diabolical weather this year I reckon the 2013 tactic will be to not bother with anything but the most grim, hardy and dull veggies that don’t mind a frequent drowning! I’m going to give a few kale varieties a proper go too – it’s meant to be robust. Anyone had much luck with that?

Happy holidays, lovely people! Hope you have a relaxing one and thank you gazillions for stopping by!

DVD Dust-Off: Week 5

I’m still huffing and puffing my way along in the Great DVD Dust-Off. This week took 8 days. Shhh!

Cathe Boot Camp and Muscle Endurance13. Muscle Endurance by Cathe Friedrich (2002)

This is a good old-fashioned 64 minute full-body resistance workout using a barbell and plates, dumbbells and a medicine ball. I did the 45 minute upper body premix. That sounds like a lot of equipment but you can adapt: I don’t have a medicine ball so used a dumbbell instead, nae bother. Also, if you didn’t have a barbell you could easily substitute with dumbbells.

The disc also contains an excellent 60-minute circuit workout called Boot Camp so it’s great value.

This is another goodun for Body Pump fans as it breaks up the moves into separate segments for chest, back, shoulders, triceps and abs. There’s a nice variety of moves and Cathe seems to be in particularly cheery mood so it feels like a gym class in your living room. More details and reviews here.

Verdict: KEEP

Cathe MMA Boxing14. MMA: Boxing by Cathe Friedrich (2009)

This is a good workout if you miss your kickboxing classes like mad but no longer have the knees to do them. I still get my RAH! KAPOW! fix without the soreness. Running for 49 minutes, it’s got shades of a Body Combat class where a sequence of moves are broken down slowly then put together. I’d call it an Intermediate workout by Cathe standards which suits me just fine!

The boxing combinations are simple but if you really put your all into them you’ll get a good workout. There are cardio intervals that involve some jumping so I just did my own low impact shuffle-around kind of thing. There’s a killer core section that uses a dumbbell and it’s pure torture. More details and reviews here.

There’s also a bonus 20-minute punching bag workout if you happen to have one of those. I wish I did!

Verdict: KEEP

Cathe Cardio Core Circuit15. Cardio Core Circuit by Cathe Friedrich (2009)

This advanced cardio interval circuit workout requires no equipment aside from big lungs and a good set of knees. It was way, way too much for me. It came as part of Cathe’s Shock Cardio System series (which also included MMA: Boxing above) and I love most of the others workouts in that series so don’t feel bad that this one has to go. More detail and reviews here.

Verdict: REHOME

DVD Dust-Off: Week 4, with bonus pointless stats

This is the 900th post on Dietgirl! The blog has been alive for 11 years and 11 months, or 143 months, or 621 weeks if you prefer. So that’s an average of 6.293 posts per month or 1.44 posts per week.

I also have an enormous spreadsheet that documents the weekly weigh-ins since it all began on 15 January 2001 (albeit with sizeable gaps due to travel, illness and/or denial). I could tell you my average weight loss over those 621 weeks but the number is so small you’d all have to go out and buy a microscope…

. . .

The Christmas HAM Plan is now 11 days strong and strangely enlightening! I lost weight in Week 1 while thoroughly enjoying cake-related festivities. I’m finding the HAM “rules” to be strangely freeing. I’m still blogging up a storm every day… swing by and say hello if you fancy?

. . .

Back to the Dust-Off. The Mothership emailed to “bagsy” the Tai-Chi video from last week. That’s one orphan with a new home.

Yogalates for Weight Loss10. Yogalates for Weight Loss with Louise Solomon (2008)

The instructor has a very odd way of saying the word “body” and she says it a lot in this workout. She elongates the bo then the dy fades away. Like BAHWdy. Bahhhhdy? Bohhhhdee. I was so busy trying to figure out just what she was doing to that word I wasn’t doing the moves properly and had to start over.

But once I got used to her voice I remembered that this is a fab workout; a hybrid of pilates and yoga as the name suggests. The first half is called Core Toning and features many classic Pilates moves and the second half is called Cardio Enhancer which is more lower body and ab stuff. It’s gruelling but her daughter does an modified version which I followed a lot. A worthy home substitute for a class.

Verdict: KEEP

Cathe Travel Fit11. Travel Fit by Cathe Friedrich (2009)

I always recommend this one if you don’t have a lot of space or dosh – a resistance band only costs a couple of quid. It’s 50 minutes of resistance band toning with short cardio intervals. Because it’s designed for hotel rooms, there’s no jumping around so it makes a great low impact workout. I bought a stronger resistance band to harden it up a bit.

There’s no repetition under the rules of the Dust-Off so I’m sad I won’t be doing this for awhile. It’s so good for when you can’t be arsed with equipment. It’s a good one to get in the download form for a laptop, phone or tablet for easy travels.

Verdict: KEEP

Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown (Amazon link)12. Yoga Meltdown by Jillian Michaels (2010)

This isn’t a traditional yoga workout – it’s more like yoga intervals. It’s fast paced and I was utterly knackered afterwards. It felt more like a body-weight resistance workout than yoga. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but if I’m in the mood for yoga I like it quiet and meditative. If I want something more intense I’d rather lift weights. Check out the Amazon trailer to see what you reckon.


Monthly Check In: November 2012

Ho ho ho hello! It’s time for another monthly plan update plus the lowdown on the mighty December challenge!

Wow, I got quite a lot done in November. Not sure if it was the structure imposed by the challenges, or the fear of looking like a twit in public if I didn’t come through?!

Challenge #1 – Three Times A Lady Blogging Lady
I wrote 7 posts here, 2 on Pussycat and 1 on Up & Running for a total of 10. That does not average out to the targeted three per week. D’oh! But still, it’s a step up from my usual one-or-twice-a-month slackarse efforts of late and now I am feeling the writing love. Now let’s say a fond farewell to this low-res sexy Lionel…

Once, twice, three times a blogging lady!

Challenge #2 – The Great DVD Dust-Off
I’m going to carry on with this one. Decluttering is good for the soul. Coming up: Bob vs Jillian Smackdown!

And now for the December Challenge…
I’m blogging every day this month! Julia and I were chatting about how easy it is for things to go tits up in December with all the festive shenanigans. Also, my 2012 lard-busting results have been lacklustre (one measly pound off in November) so I want to finish strongly and not start 2013 with extra extra pounds. So for both our amusement and accountability we created…

The Christmas HAM Plan

(HAM = Happy And Mindful)

We set ourselves three simple habits to work on. Inspired by the Amsterdam experience my list includes sticking to three mindful meals and a minimum standards agreement on exercise, plus blogging the gory details each and every day. We each set out our HAM Plan habits here.

Five days in and the HAM rocks – it’s that structured mindfulness thing again. It’s also fun pretending to be one of those food blogger types for a wee while, even though I find it hard not to picture disapproving readers tsk-tsking at all the cake last weekend.

So if you fancy cheering me on, kicking my butt, or just want a stickybeak at how two ladies navigate the festive season (I’m personally addicted to this window on the running coach life), I am writing every day on the Up & Running blog throughout December. Fair warning for the coming weeks: There Will Be Cocktails!


DVD Dust-Off: Week 3

This is a slacker Week 3 DVD Dust-Off Update but I wanted to get caught up since I’m nearly finished with Week 4! I’m enjoying this project but I hope this is more helpful rather than batshit boring for you guys. I have non Dust-Off posts coming very soon so don’t worry!

Element: Tai Chi for Beginners7. Element: Tai Chi For Beginners with Samuel Barnes (2008)

This was an impulse buy because I loved other DVDs from Element and felt a mad compulsion to collect them all, like I once did Baby-Sitters Club books (even the Super Specials) or obscure Radiohead singles. It’s beautifully made with serene music but the verdict is unchanged from years ago: I find tai chi more a snooze than serenity now! I may revise my opinion when I’m 70 but for now it’s time to pass it on. Also, the bloke reminds me of that bloke in Star Trek whose name escapes me and it was kind of unsettling. Profound, I know!

Verdict: Total REHOME

Cathe Friedrich's Gym Harcore Series: Gym Style Legs DVD8. Hardcore Series: Gym Style Legs by Cathe Friedrich (2005)

Despite the cheery faces on the cover this is a serious lower body resistance workout – over an hour with barbells, dumbbells, resistance band and stability ball work. I thought this would be a definite Rehome as there’s so much squat and lunge work, but I’d forgotten there there’s a good 25 minutes of floor stuff using just a resistance band which was doable with my dodgy knee – great moves for the hips and glutes. There’s an evil calf raise section which I could do no worries. So a surprise keeper! There’s lots of info, reviews and a clip on Collage Video.

Verdict: KEEP

Cathe Friedrich's Low Impact Circuit9. Low Impact Circuit by Cathe Friedrich (2006)

This workout contains three circuit cycles, each with a step aerobics routine, a step interval blast, a compound strength exercise then an upper body move. Cathe is so creative with her workouts – there’s some great variety in the resistance moves, including some natty resistance band work.

While the step work is low impact on this one (Cathe has some seriously crazyass step DVDs out there), the movements did not feel good on my knee so I just the resisty bits. I only have this DVD as it came as part of set, so I’ll find someone who actually likes step work to make full use of it. If you’re after an efficient mix of cardio and resistance work and like a bit of step action, give this one a burl! More info here.

Verdict: REHOME

Back tomorrow with November Challenge wrap-ups and the lowdown on my big December Challenge!