Operation Bridesmaid : The Last Stand

Hi everyone – Juz here…


Something devastating happened on Labour Day in Perth.


I was strolling around in a major shopping centre when I decided to go into David Jones and try on a Zimmerman dress – the same size as the bridesmaid dress…  It didn’t fit.  I couldn’t get the zip up.


When I got home, I collapsed on the bed and didn’t want to move.  There was only 3 weeks left until the wedding and there was no way I could lose inches off my bust.  The last 10 weeks of travelling had taken their toll and everything was ruined.  Oh the despair…




Dave walked into the room and saw me.  He held my hand and told me that he hadn’t seen me like this before, so defeated, so deflated.  I was truly sad and disappointed, and knew that if I was to fit into that dress in three weeks, drastic measures would need to be taken.  Strict eating, strict exercise, constant monitoring and no beer, no wine, no chicken parma, no dinners with friends without having to decline what they offer because it doesn’t fit in with The Plan.


The Plan was severe and relatively simple. Eating involved minimal carbs – about 5% made up of vegetables and a little dairy, with plenty of protein and healthy fats.  The intention was to bring my body into ketosis so that it would use fat stores as fuel, and I found I was less hungry throughout the day.  This reduced appetite made it very easy for me to stick to 1200-1400 calories a day, which I thought was awesome!  Usually, my appetite is out of control so it was nice to think about something else for a change.


I would do a 14 hour fast between 6:30pm and 8:30am every day and if my body allowed, I would wake up at 5am and go for a run before going to work at 7am.  On my days off, I’d do resistance training and intervals.  If I wanted a tasty treat, I’d stir some peanut butter in yoghurt to make a nutty mousse or we’d find a cheap steak night and I’d gorge on a slab of red meat.



About a week and a half later, I crashed – exhausted, stressed, hazy, and lethargic.  Not because I wasn’t eating carbs but because I wasn’t eating enough… period!  And I was losing sleep for a number of reasons – going to bed late, waking up early, and being close to the airport.  Whenever a plane was coming in to land, the noise was frightening and I would wake up filled with the anxiety that a part of the plane would fall down and crush us!  The stress of not being able to fit into the dress was getting to me too, and my coffee consumption was out of control, thanks to an awesome coffee machine at work that spits out a delicious brew at the touch of a button.


I had to seriously look at what I was doing to myself.  Did I really need to stress myself out and put so much pressure on my body?  I decided to take some time to sleep more, have nanna naps during the day, rest, drink decaffeinated herbal tea and breathe – to relax.


Giving my body the time to recover made a huge difference, and by increasing my food intake, I had more energy during the day to be happy and feel healthy.  Workouts were executed with more gusto and there was more enjoyment in eating, and soon enough the difference was visible.  I was starting to become more confident that when I finally arrive in Melbourne, the bridesmaid dress will fit… maybe…



Operation Bridesmaid #1

Operation Bridesmaid Update – The Wedding



Operation Bridesmaid : 2 Month Update

Hi all – Juz here.


Operation Bridesmaid continues into the second month and it has been quite an unstable few weeks.  I’m starting to get the impression that if anyone wants to lose weight and be healthy, they have to be single, have no friends or social life and live by themselves.


Of course, this is cruel and unrealistic and it’s healthy to have friends and loved ones around you, but you can’t expect everyone to have the same goals as you.  Balance is one of those words that is thrown around often when you’re embarking on a regimented lifestyle, but everyone has a different idea of what balance is, as well as a good portion sizes, how regular ‘treats’ should be, and what healthy food actually is.


Falling Down

During the last few weeks, I fell off the wagon, as do many people who are trying to get in shape. The journey is not easy at the best of times, but while you’re travelling with others through food and wine regions, the objective is to enjoy yourself and your surroundings, not to say, “Oh no, I can’t sample any of this delicious, locally made, gourmet cheese because I’m on a diet”.



And what makes the sting even more painful is that I was doing so well.  Meals were well timed and on track, intermittent fasting was happening most nights, and I was frequently waking up and going for runs or doing resistance training with Troopy.



The stumble started once we arrived in Esperance.  There was a massive sale on bread at the supermarket and before we knew it, we were stocked to the teeth with multigrain rolls, seedy sourdough bread and sliced square loaves.  Everything had to be eaten with bread so that it wouldn’t be wasted, and I felt myself getting weighed down with every bite.  After less than a week, I was sick of it, but the damage was felt on all fronts.


Driving through Denmark and Margaret River with friends contributed to the downward spiral.  Wine, cheese, chocolate, fudge, truffles, schnitzel, beer, nougat, the list goes on!  Everything needed to be sampled.  And of course, after the daytime delights, dinner would usually involve a delicious cheese platter with more beer or wine, a slice of Coat of Arms salami with a dollop of locally made quince jam.


I watched myself lose control and promised that once we were back in Perth, I would make things right.



Getting Back Up

We’ve been in Perth for a week now and the domestication and routine has helped me inch back towards success.


Bread has been ditched, as well as pasta, rice and other sugary delights.  Main food items include yoghurt, meat, lots of vegetables, berries and nectarines, ricotta, nuts, and some crappy, chalky protein powder that I’m using while I wait for my good protein powder to arrive in the mail.  I’m drinking like a fish – about 2-3 litres a day – and have indulged on only one glass of dry red wine.


In the mornings, I wake up at about 6am and do one of two things.  Resistance training followed by cardio or high intensity interval training (sprints or boxing) or a nice leisurely run around the block for about 4-6km.  One day a week is for resting and sleeping in, because sleep is the most important form of recovery.


As you can imagine, I’ve been weeing a lot.  The copious amounts of water I’m consuming is flushing out my system and my body was releasing all the water weight that I gained during ‘bread week’.  The second day of coming clean was tough – I just wanted to go to sleep – but once I acknowledged that my body was crying for carbs, I inflicted some serious discipline and said NO!




Please keep in mind that I’ve suffered ‘bread week’ and two gourmet regions since my last measurements. I’m taking a picture of my progress every morning and next month I will stitch it all together in a timelapse to see if there are any noticeable changes.


Bust with blue bra on: 94.5

Waist around my belly button: 81

Hips where my undies sit: 93

Thighs along shorts tan line: 57.5

Belt is still at the fourth hole.




Just do it!

Operation Bridesmaid : 1 Month Update

Hi all – Juz here.


It’s been a month since I stared Operation Bridesmaid and it’s time for an update. Over the last month, I’ve learnt a lot about balancing budget travel with a healthy lifestyle and eating right. Many decisions on what to do and what to eat rely on conveniences that many take for granted.  Will I have a shower or river nearby so I can clean up after a run? Is there room in our little fridge for more fresh vegetables?


Food choices are also at the whim of money allowances, and while I’d love to buy the artisan sourdough bread or the grainy, gluten free bread for $6 a loaf, it’s simply not smart.  Therefore, the compromise is looking on the clearance shelf at the supermarket for relatively healthy, wholegrain breads that have been heavily reduced.  Instead of paying $5.20 for a loaf of Burgen bread, we’re only paying $1.60, or a loaf of Abbot’s Bakery Light Rye is usually $5 but we got a loaf for $1.74.


Creating that healthy balance between enjoying our trip and maintaining health can be tricky in itself, but because I’m on a mission to fit into that beautiful bridesmaid dress by March the 23rd, I have to be extra disciplined and keep motivation levels high.



My first mission for Operation Bridesmaid was to focus on diet and simplify it to meat and veg. The mission was not 100% successful but due to the conscious effort to eat less processed foods and more whole foods, I can happily say that fruit and consumption has increased considerably. While this battle has been overcome, the goal of the war is to fit into that bridesmaid dress and there are many more battles to come before the war is won.


Intermittent fasting

I used this strategy back at home to accelerate weight loss. The rules are simple. Allocate an 8-hour feeding window to consume your daily calories and don’t eat outside of this window. For me, my window is 8:30am to 6:30pm and all my meals fit perfectly between these hours.


The great thing about this technique is that it allows you to feel hunger, which I think is a healthy sensation to experience. From a budget traveller’s perspective, it also means spending less time eating and it gives me a break after 6:30pm from thinking about what to eat, because I know I won’t eat anything.  If you’re interested to learn more about intermittent fasting, check out Precision Nutrition’s article.


Healthy Guts

I found that for a few weeks after we left for the trip, I was struggling with regularity.  I looked at my ‘traveller’s’ diet to see what was different compared to when we were at home. I realised that I’m eating more cheese than normal and bread had weaselled its way into my diet .


The action plan was to eliminate both of these for a few days and increase fruit consumption to promote digestion through extra fibre and enzymes.  There was a glimpse of success, and with the rationed return of wholegrain bread and lots and lots of water, I’m happy to say there is routine back in my life.


Another little strategy I’ve adopted between meals is to chew gum.  It keeps my mouth busy and minty.



I love going for runs first thing in the morning.  Of course, if there is no water nearby for bathing afterwards, I won’t go, but rinsing off in the river or at an outdoor beach shower is just fine, but nothing beats a hot shower at the local yacht club toilets or caravan park.


Dave and I have also had plenty of opportunities to go for walks and hikes – in cities, towns and national parks.  It’s a great way to check out the landscape of the area, with many walking trails offering scenic lookouts over mountain ranges or turquoise bays.





I’ve decided to return to MyFitnessPal as another way to manage portion control.  It’s a fantastic tool that does rely on measuring and weighing food, but luckily, I’ve done plenty of food measuring in the past so my estimates are fairly good (I think).  The community that uses MyFitnessPal are really supportive and provide additional motivation and accountability.


I am also using MyFitnessPal for another side project that is in complete contrast to my first mission.  I have started to consider calories and aiming for a 3500 calorie deficit every week.  This mini-goal should, in theory, cause a 0.5kg loss every week.  I’m interested to see if it really is as simple as ‘energy in, energy out’.


Also, I’ve changed apps from Sports Tracker to Runtastic to record walks, hikes and runs.  This app syncs with MyFitnessPal and uploads calories burnt to my profile and allows me to determine whether I can have another meat biscuit or not.



As measured on Australia Day…

Bust with blue bra on: 94.5

Waist around my belly button: 83

Hips where my undies sit: 94

Thighs along shorts tan line: 57.5

Belt is now at the fourth hole.


Operation Bridesmaid : 2 Month Update

Operation Bridesmaid : The Last Stand

Operation Bridesmaid : The Wedding




Plant foods are ace for you!

Operation Bridesmaid

Hi folks – it’s Juz.


The stunning bridesmaid dress that I NEED to be able to fit into in March.

We’ve been on the road now for a month and the massive lifestyle change has reversed a lot of the work I did back at home with a regimented eating plan and routine at the gym.  Finding the time, motivation and energy to work out while roughing it is tough and I’ve found that my belt doesn’t buckle where it used to.  However, because I am a bridesmaid for my mate’s wedding in mid-March, I need an action plan so that I am still able to fit into the beautiful bridesmaid dress.


Therefore, my new year’s resolution is a 3-month mission called Operation Bridesmaid.  The plan is simple, because it has to be.  If I start calorie counting, reading nutritional panels, allowing myself this but not that and giving myself too many options or restrictions, the mission will fail.  So, it is probably the most basic eating rule I have ever assigned myself:

Meat & Veg

(aka Plants & Animals or Flora & Fauna)


The following things are classified as ‘meat’:

Anything that comes from an animal… fish, shellfish, seafood, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, pork – their boobs, their brains, their liver, whatever.  It may be fresh, tinned, dehydrated, boiled, roasted, grilled, cured or pan-seared, it doesn’t matter.


Eggs and dairy also come under this heading, because egg, cheese and bacon wrapped in a lettuce leaf rocks my world.


The following things are classified as ‘veg’:

Anything that comes from plants and is still recognizable as a plant… green leafy vegetables, tomato and capsicum, carrots and sweet potato, berries of all kinds, you get the picture.


Beans and legumes, brown rice and quinoa are all good too, in their wholegrain form.  Nuts and seeds also come under this category – almonds, brazil nuts, sesame seeds, mustard seed, coconut and its milk, cacao, nut butters, etc.


Things that are excluded include:

All the refined, processed foods like breads, cakes, fruit juices, soft drink, pastries, pasta, and lollies.  These things may have been made from either meat or vegetable products, but the process of making them has changed them into something else, and thus do not fall under the meat and veg umbrella.



I will have one relaxed day a week where I’ll allow for wine, chicken parmis, pho or other indulgences, but I will try to stay as close to the path as possible, as often as possible.


Exercise does play a role in this ever-so simple plan.  I’ll be doing it every day – walking around to see the sights, hiking up that mountain, bush walking, running for the train or for pleasure, fetching water and setting up camp.  Ultimately, I’m more active these days than I was at home because I’m not sitting in front of a computer for 8 hours a day, but I will incorporate some resistance training and body weight exercises to maintain muscle mass for a hearty metabolic rate.


Now – because I don’t have access to any scales, my progress is going to be measured by how my clothes fit.  For your reference, my belt buckles at the third hole, and I’ve also taken a few measurements:


Bust with blue bra on: 95cm

Waist around my belly button: 87cm

Hips were my undies sit: 99cm

Thighs along shorts tan line: 60cm


Let the games begin… and they begin today with a 5.5km morning run and an egg and chicken omelette.


wake up to dreams




Operation Bridesmaid Update #1

Operation Bridesmaid Update #2

Operation Bridesmaid Update – The Last Stand

Operation Bridesmaid Update – The Wedding


Juz doing the Tough Bloke Challenge

Fitness Profile : Juz

Juz was not a particularly active child, but she wanted to be.  In her primary years, she dabbled in karate, softball, scouts and ‘rounders’, an old British bat-and-ball game similar to baseball, but nothing really took her fancy.  She preferred to be on stage – playing guitar, acting and singing in the choir.


When she got to high school, she was encouraged to join the athletics team because her strength and weight was an advantage for shot put and discus, and she even tried the swimming team but hated diving into a cold pool at 6am.


She retreated back to the stage, and by the time she got to uni, any inclination towards sports had disappeared.


It wasn’t until she was diagnosed with PCOS that she realised that her weight had ballooned out of control.  Twisties, Cheezels, chocolate, smoking, drinking, not eating properly – all these things were taking their toll and for the first time in her life, Juz had to start take responsibility for her own health.



Over the next 5 years, she worked hard at the gym, researched healthy eating, pounded the pavement, tried a handful of diets, signed up for fun runs, won a Biggest Loser competition at work, started practicing Krav Maga, reduced the boozing, and quit sugar.


She fell off the horse and got back on so many times, and after an epic battle with the struggles within herself, she has managed to lose about 20kg and be in the best physical condition of her life.


There have been so many achievements to be proud of but there is always room for improvement.  Juz wants to use her time travelling around Australia to get even leaner and meaner, and has asked Dave to train her like he was trained at his gymnastics club.  Plus, she’s gotta be able to fit into the bridesmaid dress for her friend’s wedding in March!