Who wants flat abs ? ME !!

Hi all.. I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve found that the most stubborn excess weight to budge is on my tummy.  Now, lots of people will say that if you’ve had kids, you can’t achieve flat abs, but I respectfully, but strongly disagree.  There’s just too many fit healthy Mummas out there with gorgeous, healthy abs to make this ‘theory’ stand up.


I mean, let’s be real..  our tummy muscles are torn in half with our first pregnancy, and there’s no glueing those babies back together, so if you’re asking if your tummy will get back to looking the same that it did pre-kids.. than the answer is a resounding no.  It’s kinda like your facial features before and after braces.  Structural change creates changes to the surface of our body… ain’t nothin’ gonna make that go back to the way it was before (well, maybe some super fantastic plastic surgeon could achieve it for a price… but hey, I’m not a big advocate for that course of action.😂)

I’ve spend lots of time in recent years doing crunches and sit-ups.. but I’ve gotta say, I’m not too keen on those methods.  I end up with a sore neck/back/butt (I kinda ‘broke’ my tailbone as a kid, so anything where you pivot constantly on your butt isn’t the most comfortable thing to do.)

When I spent a solid year working with a PT 2 times per week in 2016, she had me planking as the predominant core strength exercise.  While it takes a bit to get the knack, and concentration to ensure you continue to use the right form every time etc, it really is the best way to work your core.

While getting into the proper form is straightforward, holding the position takes strength and endurance in your abs, back, and core. The plank is one of the best exercises for core conditioning but it also works your glutes and hamstrings, supports proper posture, and improves balance.

I had started to think it was a little boring, until I discovered, and created, different variations to the exercise.  These not only help to work different muscle’s etc, but keep things more interesting, as well as distract you from the burn.  (yes, it burns, but it’s worth it !!)

Some of my favs are shoulder taps, reaching sideways and front to back with a resistance band, side plank where you reach your hand in the air, single forearm plank reaching alternating arms in front of you, knee to inside elbow plank, knee to outside elbow plank…. I could seriously go on.. but in general, you just need to keep them interesting so you don’t get bored.   YouTube search ‘plank variations’ and you’ll find loads of videos to check out.

Planking is such a versatile move and is best known for working your core, but planks also engage more than 20 muscles, including your shoulders, back, arms, legs, and glutes. To perfect proper form of the good old fashioned basic plank, start with the basic plank. Practice holding that plank, starting on knees to begin with, until you can go up on your toes.. for 30 seconds at a time, adding 15 seconds each time you work out. Once you can hold a basic plank for a minute, move on to more interesting variations … and before you know it, you’ll begin to see real transformation.

Click here to see one of my absolute FAV ab workouts with Danette May.  This chick is 40yrs old, and she’s had 3 kids people… so no excuses.  It just requires commitment and dedication.. and not a whole lot of time each day.  I really love Danette’s principals as she has really practical methods for busy Mums.  We don’t have all the time in the world to be at the gym 5 days per week.  We need quick but effective workouts that will achieve results.   Workouts that don’t require a lot (if any) equipment are also fantastic !!

In general though, I really think the plank was the great base that helped me train myself to hold my core in. Not only for all workout exercises, but also just in general throughout the day.  So, while the planking itself gets results, it’s the flow on effect that helps overall too, as holding in that belly (& tucking ya booty under) makes a subtle but really noticeable difference to your stance.   And let’s face it, it’s subtle improvements like these that make us happy with what we see in the mirror, and happier with how we appear in a photograph etc.

Some people say it’s vanity to want to look good, but it’s important to remember that Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are God’s handiwork…  as well as in Genesis 1:27, So God created mankind in his own image.  Personally, I want to feel that I’m presenting myself at my best (at HIS BEST).  When it comes down to it… are we respecting the temple He gave us if we don’t ?  Are we reflecting His image if we don’t?

Points to ponder I’m sure.  Until we chat again, happy planking !!



Guddah bowl anyone ??

Hi all,  It is the most glorious winter morning here in Brisbane.  I’m actually soon to go throw a towel down on my back lawn and lay in the sun for a bit… but first, I have to tell you about the most delicious nutritious meal I’ve just had.


I wasn’t even thinking to eat when out getting some things done this morning, but when I was heading home and I knew there wasn’t a huge amount at home (you know, that 2 days before grocery day feeling.), I thought to stop by this fantastic local coffee shop not far from my house.  If you are on the northside of Brisbane and haven’t tried it, do yourself a favour, and don’t walk, RUN to Wheelhouse Coffee in Lawnton.   (Support local business peeps !!) The staff are always super friendly and the place has a really vibrant feel to it.   Lots of solid timber pieces, greenery & colour.   (Hopefully the lovely ladies in this photo won’t sue me for putting them in my blog.)


It’s been open a few years now but has really grown into the most amazing, inviting place to stop and eat.  I’ve always loved that they’ve had some healthy options on their menu.. but today when I went in, sooooo much on the menu was packed full of wholefood nutrition, it was honestly hard to choose.


I decided on a Guddah bowl…..  Let’s be real, I’d never heard of it before, but I was assuming it meant a Buddah bowl from a Christian standpoint ??  😃   When I googled ‘buddah bowl’ to clarify, it said ‘sometimes referred to as glory or hippie bowls, are hearty, filling dishes made of various greens, raw or roasted veggies, beans and a healthy grain like quinoa or brown rice. Sometimes they also include toppings like nuts, seeds and dressings for added texture and flavor.’ Yep !!  Sounds about right to me !!

Similar dishes can be called ‘Nourishing bowls’ .The root of the Nourish Bowl is choosing nutrient dense veggies, fruits/carbohydrates, healthy fats, and quality proteins to make a filling meal in a bowl.

or a ‘macro bowl’.. .Similar to a rice bowl and a simplified form of balanced eating, they’re typically comprise of a grain base, raw or cooked veggies, a protein of your choice and a healthy fat like avocado, hummus or a tasty homemade dressing. They’re called macro bowls because they hit all your macronutrients: carbs, protein and fat.

Let’s look at the amazing life giving, nutrient rich ingredients within my Guddah bowl.

Grated carrot – Carrots contain vitamin A, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Evidence suggests that eating more antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, can help reduce the risks of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Carrots are also rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre.

Black rice – Haven’t heard of black rice? It’s not surprising really, it’s pretty rare compared to its brown and white relatives.   Black rice is rich in antioxidants, a natural detoxifier, a good source of fibre, reduces the chance of diabetes, aids in weight management, a richer protein source than white, or even brown rice. It also aids in better heart health.  A pretty good choice to include in your diet I’d say.

Avocado – Here are some of the most abundant nutrients, in a single 100g serving

  • Vitamin K: 26% of the daily value (DV)
  • Folate: 20% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 17% of the DV
  • Potassium: 14% of the DV
  • Vitamin B5: 14% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 13% of the DV
  • Vitamin E: 10% of the DV
  • It also contains small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin).

This is coming with 160 calories, 2 grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats. Although it contains 9 grams of carbs, 7 of those are fibre, so there are only 2 “net” carbs, making this a low-carb friendly plant food.  Avocados do not contain any cholesterol or sodium and are low in saturated fat.

Cherry tomatoes – Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and a good source of vitamin K and potassium.

Leafy green mix –These vegetables also contain an abundance of carotenoids-antioxidants that protect cells and play roles in blocking the early stages of cancer. They also contain high levels of fibre, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. Furthermore, greens have very little carbohydrates, sodium and cholesterol.

Roasted zucchini – Aids in weight loss, maintains optimal health, prevents infection & disease, protects the cardiovascular system, gives relief from symptoms of arthritis, as well as tasting AMAZING.. and so much more !!

Mushrooms –  are rich in the B vitamins: riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. The combination helps protect heart health. Riboflavin is good for red blood cells. Niacin is good for the digestive system and for maintaining healthy skin.

Capsicum – The presence of vitamin B6 and folate helps lower the level of homocystein, which is a major contributor to cardiovascular illnesses. The compounds found in capsicum such as fibre and lycopene helps reduce the level of fat in your body. Potassium in capsicum is also responsible for maintaining adequate blood pressure.

& homemade relish (OMG, the relish…. don’t get me started on how good that was.).

I also added pan fried diced chicken to the meal as an additional protein source.   I do like my lunch meal to be on the larger side, and my dinner to be quite a bit lighter.  My tummy thanks me for doing it this way.

My first bite was into a cut cherry tomato.. and oh my word….  flavour sensation, and I’m not even exaggerating.

I didn’t get a drink today as I’d not long had my brekky smoothie, but I’ve also had fantastic dairy free cold & hot drinks at Wheelhouse before.

If you aren’t in this neck of the woods, or don’t have a great cafe nearby that uses top quality wholefoods etc, get busy making yourself one of these bowls, as they really are so beyond easy to throw together, and the nutrients you’re packing into your body are fantastic !! You’ll be really pleased with the results you’ll see when you’re body is nourished with wholefoods, instead of processed items.  I’m not even talking about the number on the scales here…  Like really does attract like, so if you begin to fuel your body with wholefoods, you’ll begin to crave those yummy wholefoods.

You’ll notice improvement in your energy levels, your skin, hair & nails, your mental health,  and so much more !! I used to deal with so much ‘glugginess’ or ‘fullness’ after most meals.  I’d feel so uncomfortable and bloated after a meal that I’d find myself regretting eating it more often that not.  Now, this is a problem, as I LOVE food… like LOVE LOVE LOVE it !!  I love to buy it, prep it, cook it, display it… the whole kit & kaboodle.. so to feel a bit yucko after all that effort and time invested, is a bit of a drag.

After eating a wholefoods meal, full of life giving nutrients, vitamins and minerals, you come away feeling energetic, happy.. and most importantly.. SATIATED !!!

Let’s respect the temple together !!



Let’s keep it real

Morning all…  seeing this isn’t ‘fakeblog’, let’s get real with why sometimes, for me at least, being the healthiest version of yourself doesn’t ALWAYS turn out peachy keen.

So, two days ago, I went in for a surgery… heads up, if you’re a guy reading this and you don’t wanna read about women’s issues…. feel free to hit the red traffic light now (or the X if you are disadvantaged enough to be on a Windows system. 😂) . I went in for a Laparoscopy, where they would be looking for endometriosis, burning off of any that they find (they found none… woo hoo!!), a cervical scraping (to check for any nasties), and then an endometrial ablation.  Sounds like fun right ?

I have dealt with bad.. and when I say bad, I mean REALLY BAD, period pain my entire period having life.  High school involved 2 days off every month because of it… and well, yeah, maybe I hated school too, but that’s another story.  I got a good few years of reprieval while I had my children and breastfed them, but then went back to pretty full on pain every month.  It’s actually expanded from just the period time, to ovulation time, as well as the week leading up to my period.  Basically I had a 1wk sweet spot each month.  (All holidays planned around that one week.. lol).

I eventually, after a couple of trips to the ED, got my arse into gear and got a referral to see a specialist.  Due to my recent ED visits, I was categorised high, which meant surgery within 90days, but I actually ended up with a date only 6wks from my initial appointment.

Anyway…  fast forward to two days ago… I’m lying on a trolley, trying not to cry as I’m about to be wheeled into theatre.  I thought I was all A-OK about going in… but surprisingly not.  I asked for a pre-med to calm me down… and what d’ya know.. I was out like a light… and then that’s when the ‘fun’ started.. and where we get to the ‘keep it real’ bit.

I knew I could not have the drug Endone, as it makes me violently ill… something you do not want after abdominal surgery.. but I had forgotten that when I had some ambulance trips & ED visits with chest pain issues last year, I actually found out my body does not like ANY Opioid drugs.  It would have been handy to have mentioned that to the anaesthetist.  whoopsie.

Opioids include opiates, an older term that refers to such drugs derived from opium, including morphine itself. Other opioids are semi-synthetic and synthetic drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone and fentanyl; antagonist drugs such as naloxone; and endogenous peptides such as the endorphins.  They can be more commonly known as Narcotic drugs.

I went to sleep at around 2pm, being told that I’d need to stay 2hrs after waking up and then I could go home . I was thinking . home by 6pm…. at 7.30pm, I was still not responding well to the nursing staff, couldn’t keep my eyes open for more than a second…  and tbh, I felt exactly like Loki when Hulk gets to him on the rooftop in Avengers.  (Yes, I’m a huge Marvel fan.. just roll with it.)

When I spoke to the surgeon yesturday morning and she commented on my bad reaction to the drugs, she said to me “You eat healthy, don’t drink alcohol or take much medication, right?”  Well, that pretty much sums it up, yes.  It was interesting to hear her say that they barely ever see the inside of a healthy person who hasn’t abused their body with drugs and alcohol.  Funny.. I thought I was pretty darn normal.    Maybe I’ve lead a sheltered life.. ha ha

Fast forward again to now… and I don’t feel quite as bad as Loki… but not far off.  I honestly never want a GA ever again… and I joked to my husband that if I do have to, I may take up drinking a few months prior in order to prepare my body.  LOL.  Kidding, I totally won’t do that, and don’t recommend it to others.

The next ‘fun’ post surgery symptom is the shoulder and rib discomfort that follows any laparoscopic surgery.    Shoulder discomfort is common after a laparoscopy due to some residual carbon dioxide gas in the upper abdomen irritating the nerves near your diaphragm muscle. This is normal (and not dangerous) and usually settles in less than 1 week as your body reabsorbs the CO2.

LESS THAN A WEEK… are you freaking kidding me….  I’m 2days in and wanna rip my own ribs out… and give myself a shoulder dislocation … arrgghhhh !!!

OK… enough with the wingeing !!!!  While this situation is not the most fun I’ve ever had, I can recognise that having a healthy body is a great thing 99.999999 % of the time…  but maybe just not when you need to bring in the big guns.  I just need to remember to REALLY press the point if (she shudders) I ever have to have a GA again.  They did throw around the big H word if my pain continues, so let’s start praying against that one shall we.

I was beyond pleased though to have my prayer buddy with me at all times.  It’s a huge comfort to know that you don’t go anywhere alone and He’s there with you at EVERY point.   I know we just throw the words around … but it’s a legit comfort you can’t have with anything or anyone else.  I recognised that in particular when I was anxious before the surgery.. I was seeking the comfort of my husband (which don’t get me wrong, is a great comfort to seek), but once I was wheeled away from him and I could no longer seek his comfort, I was made VERY aware of the One who walked beside my trolley.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  Psalms 23:4

I’m super looking forward to truly being on the flipside of this as I have some fantastic blogs coming your way over the next few weeks.  We’re going to look at the BEST way to work those abs, while protecting the rest of your body, my best smoothie picks.. and some fantastic meal prep ideas.

Blessings & Health .


What can we learn from a roadblock ?

Hi All…

So, everyone knows that there’s those times where you just feel like you’ve lost the omph you need to stay on track with a healthy lifestyle… but what about when the choice is taken away from you ??  I am dealing with that at present due to this foot injury.  While, of course, I can stay on track with my food & nutrition, I am feeling like a caged cat when it comes to the inability to exercise to the degree my body is used to.

I’ve got all the info onboard.. I KNOW that I need to let whatever is broken heal, so that I don’t have a unecessarily lengthened healing process… I KNOW that I’ll regret it bigtime if I push it… but knowing the info, and being happy about it are two very very different things.

It actually messes with your head a tad.  So, I’m having some chats with the Lord about it and seeking some guidance as to what I’m supposed to learn out of all of this… what I DO with the time I’d normally be walking/working out etc.  We know that He uses all bad for good, so it’s not a question of IF he has something for me to learn thru this… it’s a sure thing, and I just need to be open to receiving the lesson.

It’s humbling to come to the realisation that while you have plans to build & grow muscles in your body, God has plans to build, grow and stretch (something you DON’T want happening in your body.. lol) you in a far different way.  It’s actually far far more important to keep our spiritual muscles strong, firm and responsive than it is for our body to be.

In reality, well, for me at least, I NEED to have strong responsive spiritual muscles in order to successfully stay on a healthy pathway when it comes to my fitness & nutrition. If I’m finding I’m slipping with my food choices, or getting a tad lax with my fitness… barring any illness etc, it’s pretty much always a good indication that I’m letting my relationship with the Lord slip a tad.  For me, I’ve found that they’re totally intertwined.  I blogged about it quite some time ago, but Jesus really is my fav workout buddy.  ha ha !!

When I struggle to see how I actually completed a hard workout, or made that good food choice, I thank Him straight away as it’s clearly only in HIS strength that I achieve these things !!

I’m pretty excited to see what God does with this, as He knows I’m a pretty impatient person….  so it’s gonna take some strength to allow for this healing process to play out.

I’ll keep you posted how it goes…. but I’m thinking it’ll be good…. coz, well, it always is !!

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8

Much love & blessings.  xox

Let’s dive in

Hi All !!

For those that are new, and those that have followed me over from my ‘life blog’ page at fimum23.wordpress.com, WELCOME !!!

I am so beyond excited, and a little relieved, that I have finally jumped in with 2 feet (one of which is slightly broken at present, but we’ll get to that later.) and headed down the ministry path that God has marked out for me.  I have been receiving the prompting for some months now, but didn’t feel I had 100% confirmation.  Well, I certainly received that confirmation (or rather a big ole shove in the backside with the boot of God. lol) between the hours of midnight and 3am this morning.

In true Fi style, I wanted confirmation upon confirmation, so I asked the Lord to have a couple of Godly friends back the idea… and low and beyond, by 10.10am this morning I’d received those 2 confirmations.  Isn’t God just simply amazing !!!

View More: http://sweethopephoto.pass.us/kingsley2018

Ok… so a super quick run down on me… My name is Fiona.. known to most as Fi.  I am married to a pretty handsome bloke I met in a bank line 24yrs ago.  We have 3 gorgeous, sometimes frustrating (hey, no-one’s perfect. lol) teens, aged 13, 16 & 17.  My life blog over at fimum23 has been a fairly broad blog spanning the last 6yrs, encompassing family life, travel adventures, our homeschooling years, the journey throughout our son’s ADHD diagnosis, my health & fitness journey, as well as the end of my Dad’s life, his passing and the grief that followed.  While I will still continue that blog for those broader topics, God has been preparing and equipping me to undertake a ministry where I mesh the two greatest passions I have… one being my relationship with Him, and the second being mine & my family’s health & fitness.   He was pointing out to me that there is a real gap in this area.. I mean, you can find a zillion (slight exaggeration) health and fitness ‘experts’ who can educate you to a really high standard, but the only person I could find who brought their fitness life and their relationship with the Lord together, was Candace Cameron Bure.   Her books, Reshaping it all, Balancing it all, Dancing through Life, Staying Stylish & Kind is the new classy have really spoken to me. I feel I can really relate to her because of these shared passions.   I’d highly recommend all of these reads.

To give you a run-down of my health & fitness, I have been on a semi-serious fitness journey for coming up on 6yrs now, a journey that had a dramatic shift a year ago when it changed from a journey.. and became a PERMANENT LIFESTYLE CHOICE !! The easiest way I can explain it is that I was on ‘diets’, or I’d ‘set goals’ and I’d always see results, and pretty much always reach the set goals…  but what happened when there wasn’t a ‘goal’ ahead? (eg.. a wedding, a 40th b’day, a holiday) . It became easy to backslide.  I have found that, for me at least, it’s best if it’s not attached to a reason, or an event…..  it needs to be an ALWAYS thing.  Now, don’t get me wrong, do I still set goals for myself?? Of course I do… but that’s just a little extra incentive in the event that I feel I need a little extra.   For me though, accountability is enough 99% of the time.

The 1%, the ‘off’ time, is those times when we’re ‘just not feeling it’…  we’re sick, or tired… or just plain ‘sick n tired’ of life.  (We ALL have those times… especially with 3 teens, one hormonal mother & one sometimes cranky Dad.🤣)

It was also a game changer to come to the realisation that it’s not actually just about making that number on the scales smaller, but rather being healthy in body, mind & soul as a package deal.  Having a healthy body is not only determined by what the scale says.. and it certainly can’t be compared to others as a benchmark.

I have used the #respectthetemple hashtag for a long time now, but in the last 12months, it’s really come home for me that the hashtag, those words, mean far more than a snappy slogan saying Fi uses to explain why I’m doing, or not doing a particular thing.

We have been given the bodies we have.. the temples we reside in, by our Heavenly Father to wisely steward (manage or look after).  We have jobs to do in out time here, and to do those jobs to the absolute best of our ability, we need to be as healthy as we can possibly be.

Yes, this requires work.. but hey, anything good does !! And if you’re anything like me, whether you’re already on a #respectthetemple path, or want to be, you’ll find that you’ll come to love and crave your workouts, the healthy eating, and generally caring more about you health as a whole.

And seeing that your mental health is encompassed in the whole ‘health package’, we need to feel confident in our own skin too, and that’s why things like personal care, styling, beauty care all come into play in the whole picture.

So, I’m going to aim to cover the whole picture within this blog.  Am I feeling crazy confident??  Um, NO !! But I have 120% confidence that the Lord has equipped me for this, so I’m surging forwards with that confidence onboard.

Feel free to comment, ask questions, give feedback etc etc. I really want to hear from you.

Oh.. and the slightly broken foot comment…  I kinda sorta might have broken my foot on a walk last Sunday night with the hubster.  They’re calling it as broken and have told me to use a moonboot and crutches, but they also said that if the bone is actually broken, it’s positioned in such a way that nothing I do can move it or stop it’s healing.  I haven’t had a huge amount of pain, just discomfort, so I’ve worn the boot as much as I can, but seem to be able to walk around on it with no pain etc.   I’m heading to fracture clinic Monday morning, so hopefully a new xray will clarify.  I’m praying it’s a strain rather than a break.. but no fear.. God’s totally got this !!

OK..  looking forward to the road ahead with you all.

Much love and blessings . xox