My Balance Project - Recap


Lately quite a few people have asked me about my wellness journey as they haven’t been following me for a long time on social media, so I wanted to do a little recap.  To be honest, it’s also been far too long between posts!

Almost two years ago I hit a real low point with how I felt about myself. For someone that has always been a ‘big girl’ but confident, I lost my spark and ability to care for myself.

I felt awful in my skin and knew I was treating my body like a garbage disposal. I hit rock bottom and I decided overnight to change my life.

First - I let go of all my resentment towards myself for my body, and decided to love it instead. All of the guilt, shame, anger towards my current self - I LET IT GO. This is the hardest part. If you can do this - the rest is easy.

One shitty habit at a time, I made changes. I started small, built my confidence and faced every day with positivity. I ate food that nourished me and sing the way learned to love simple unprocessed food. It turned out, I could live without sugary processed foods - in fact, I thrived. My relationship with food and myself changed considerably and my body followed. I stripped away all of the conditioning, all of the diet culture and just did what MADE SENSE to me. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, lean meats - this is what makes sense for me.

I lost 30kgs in 10 months.

What happened to me and what I did can not be explained by a ‘before and after’ photo. Forget about the body for a moment -my mindset went through a huge transformation. I love myself. I embrace myself. I no longer feel shame for my body or talk about myself in a negative way - and that shit is LIFE CHANGING. It opens up your entire world and the possibilities of where you can take yourself is limitless. My exercise increased as well as my productivity.

I’ve become emotional writing this post. It’s been an emotional and enlightening journey for me and I so badly want to help other women to be where I am today. To be free. We are so tied up in food and restricting or setting non sustainable habits that we forget what it’s for. 

What is it for?  Is it worth doing right?  This is different for everyone, but take time to think about this. For me, it was for my son. Yes, it was absolutely for me too, but in the long term, it was for him.

The things I do now with my son I never did before. I wanted to so badly, to be a part of his active little boy life, but I was on the sidelines. I wasn’t participating, just always watching. I have forever changed the way that he will view me as an adult, and that means so much to me. I’m the Mum going up the mountain with him, swimming with him and being carefree, and girls - that’s way bigger than any change in dress size. 

Our 6km headland hike in Northland this summer

Our 6km headland hike in Northland this summer

Our focus needs to shift to loving our bodies and ourselves as a whole - and not just loving what it looks like, but what it FEELS like. There’s no doubt, this takes work. It takes constant reminding that you’re WORTH something and that you’re not defined by your outsides. In the beginning I would go as far as having all out arguments with myself in my head. Every time I would call myself fat, or stupid, or ugly, or like an elephant - I would argue and turn it around. You have to get a bit sassy and tell that negative Nancy where to go.

It takes time, but you must focus on yourself. Think about how and what you want to be, and then your actions will support your vision - trust me, this really works. ‘I want to nourish myself and be helathy’ Results in positive actions that support that goal.

I still learn things about myself and my behaviour around food - we will never have it all figured out, but if you start, you will always be a hell of a lot better off than before and your health will thank you for it. If you think about it, you know straight away at least 5 things you could do differently whether it be food habits or otherwise. The trick is not to focus on all 5 at once, just one at a time. Each tick on the list makes you feel so good - the positivity you feel from accomplishment will help you towards the next.

Rememebr Rome wasn’t built in a day - stop the pressure, start small changes and take time for yourself, something we all struggle with.

I hope this has given you something to think about, I believe in all of us - let’s create change in the way we see ourselves, and the way our children will follow suit.

Breaking Through

I want to share something really personal with you, and I should start by saying that not everyone needs a breakthrough, but I did. Some of you are just here because you like the sneaky little healthy recipes sandwiched in among all this heavy stuff, and that's cool!
This blog is about my breakthrough, and for those of you that are stuck, and need a breakthrough like I did. 


Today I have been re reading some of my early conversations with Alex, looking for quotes to include in my talk at the upcoming The Balance Project evening I'm hosting. 

For those of you who haven't been following me for long, Alex was the friend I spoke to who helped me see my eating behaviour in a different light, which ultimately led to me making this huge change in my life.  (I wrote a specific blog about it called The Switch a year ago and also an Interview with Alex).


In reading through our conversation I got very emotional.  I'm sitting here having a cry and realise it's for two reasons.


First, I remember that place of desperation and unhappiness so very clearly.  Sometimes I forget because life is so different for me now, but when I read the words - I remember the feelings, the hurt, the frustration and I feel incredibly sad for me.  I was fully functioning. I went about my busy life and I suspect no one knew how unhappy I was, but I was in a dark place when it came to how I viewed myself.   I certainly was not unhappy all the time, don't get me wrong, I was still a positive person about life and my place in it - but deep down I was not happy about myself.


Following feeling sad, I felt immense happiness and pride.  To look back and see what I have done and how I've done it, I'm so proud. It has made such a difference in all aspects of my life. The breakthrough is the hardest part. The breakthrough is what changes your direction and leads you on a journey of self discovery and improvement, but it can be hard to get there.  I didn't understand back then what making these changes would mean, I just knew I needed to change and part of what this blog is about, is showing people what the other side can look like.

What I wanted to share with you is part of the conversation that I had with Alex that night. There was an important question that Alex asked me, that I'd like to share with you, and more importantly, my response. It is very personal and to me still a little raw so it's a big deal for me to share it as not all goals came to fruition, as you'll understand when you read on.

This was the question that made me think about my future.  I remember answering VERY quickly, typing fast and crying as I did it.  I'd like you to think about your answer, maybe write it down to reflect on later.


Alex:If you and I are having this conversation again in 12 months time and you are really happy with how you've progressed and your results. Tell me what those results would be. Physically and mentally.

Justine: I would have energy, I would be able to run around with Aiden and not get tired, I would be able to do all the active things I love with him and Bill that we enjoy as a family but I am limited to do at the moment.  I would look better, I would be able to wear the clothes I want. I would be pregnant. Or at least if I wasn't pregnant, I would know it wasn't my fault. Because right now I feel like I am the only thing stopping Aiden from having a sibling. And that weight is paralising sometimes.

The very first thing that he said to me after that response was:

'Justine, You must stop holding yourself to ransom', and the words were honestly like a bullet.

That is what we do to ourselves, we blame ourselves for all our past perceived failures and hold ourselves to ransom. We fill our head with negativity because we are not who we think we should be, because we're fat, or unfit or just plain unhealthy.
It's time to stop it. Stop with the negative self talk, it's not ok anymore.
You are worth more.

One thing that Alex said to me that has really stuck is, "you must commit to starting to understand yourself better". Mindfulness and awareness is such a huge part of changing how you eat because it's actually not about the food.   This is something I have learnt to practice everyday, to THINK about what I am doing.  Do things with intention. There is no need to pressure yourself with a long list of things you CAN'T eat, life is for living and if certain foods bring you joy, don't do yourself the disservice of saying you will NEVER eat them again. It's not realistic for a start, you're setting yourself up for failure. You must also realise that when you start exploring with different food, food that fuels you, you find other things that you love - even as much as cake ;)

Here are the 5 things I believe help you to have your breakthrough and help you to get started on your journey.

  1. Write down what success looks like to you, what do you want?
  2. Forgive yourself of your faults, what's done is done, there is no point in beating yourself up anymore. LET IT GO.
  3. Get to know yourself better. As Alex said to me, you must commit to starting to understand yourself better. Understand why you make the decisions you do - you don't have to stop them, you just need to start with understanding your triggers and why you make those choices.  Then you can recognise it next time.
  4. Be in the moment. Concentrate on today. There is no need to set 30kg goals and make your task a mountain - do well today, and then move on tomorrow.
  5. Love yourself and think of yourself positively - practice this every day

My last piece of advice, for now, is to utilise the people around you that love you.
I reached out to Alex because he had offered countless times over many years to help me. I was never ready, and I was stubborn, but when the time came - I knew exactly who to call.  I am very fortunate to have a husband who has been my biggest cheerleader & supporter.  The changes I made have not only been for me, Bill & Aiden have been part of this as well and are also healthier because of it.  Aiden counts my steps each day and tells me he's proud when I hit 10k.

To be successful, you must let the people who love you help you and be part of your journey.  Bring people into your fold, and it becomes a happy place to grow.

J xx