Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Six Years and Three Months Later… Why Does That Black Dress Still Fit?

I had a fabulous time at the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation Round 3 2011 Finale Party on 10 December 2011.  I still remember how I ended my 12WBT Lean and Strong submission (this is what participants wrote and submitted to be in the running to win that category):

Splasharama is Leaner in Body, Stronger in Mind.  However, Clinton Barker deserves to be the Lean & Strong winner.  I'm so proud of him!” 
And he won!!!

The Round 3 2011 12WBTers may remember That Black Dress and black stilettos with diamante heels that I wore to that event.  I wore it to a photoshoot one month later.  It has been sitting in the back of my walk-in-wardrobe for over six years, untouched.

I was excited to attend a family member’s wedding on 10 March 2018.  I had planned to wear my 40th Birthday Party dress from July 2017.  Two days before this wedding I had a strange idea.  Thanks to the MyFitnessPal App that I still use, I was able to check what my weight was when I wore That Black Dress to that finale party, six years and three months ago.  I am two kilos heavier today.  That Black Dress cannot possibly fit me.  However, I now have much more muscle and less fat than I did back then.  Could it fit me?  I tried it on. 
Aaaaahhhhhh!!!  That Black Dress Still Fits!!! 

I wore it to the wedding with those fabulous stilettos.  My sister screamed with excitement when she saw me wearing it.  I wanted to surprise her and it worked.  I was complimented all night long on how gorgeous, wonderful, glamourous, hot and sexy I looked.  I was drawn to happy tears with many of the overwhelming compliments.

Six Years and Three Months Later… Why Does The Dress Still Fit?

I gained 18 kilos over two years, from when I was at my leanest and strongest in 2012, to when I weighed 82 kilos in April 2014.  This is due to the limitations that came with being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in October 2012.

My work hours had to slowly reduce. My food choices were poor because my physical limitations were getting me down and depressed.  In July 2013, my Specialist Doctor instructed me to stop working and reduce exercise to 20 minutes of walking once or twice a week, if I had enough energy.

Not working was boring.  I had nothing to do.  Doing basic things was exhausting.  Washing my hair would physically exhaust me and make my arms really hurt.  I would then fall asleep for a couple of hours straight afterwards to physically recover.

Being bored was no good for my physical or mental health.  I ate to pass the time.  My Specialist Doctor suggested I keep my mind stimulated by studying online slowly.  I would have to study at my own pace, with no time limit to complete the course.  Working for eight hours per week was previous exhausting and I had to stop.  Therefore, my studying capacity would be less than that, but it was unknown.

I already had my Gym Instructor Qualification.  I decide to enrolled into an online Certificate IV of Fitness course in May 2014 to get a Personal Trainer qualification.  I weighed 82 kilos, the heaviest since losing the weight in 2011. 

I discovered that I could study for four hours per week, one hour per day, without totally exhausting myself.  I was still bored, but I didn’t eat as much.  If I was eventually going to find a job as a Personal Trainer, I needed to be fitter and healthier.

I completed the online course in September 2014.  I still wasn’t allowed to work. I was still bored.  I didn’t eat my way through the boredom though.  I needed to lose weight.  Exercise was very limited so I had to make better food choices.  I reduced the amount of unhealthy foods I purchased.  If I did not have unhealthy food in my house, I could not eat them.  I tried to make and eat healthy meals.  My good food choices helped me lose 10 kilos over 12 months.

My Specialist Doctor advised me that I should be able to begin working very limited hours in July 2015.

I applied for Personal Trainer positions at local Health Clubs.  I was surprised to get a job at The Ridge Health Club in September 2015.  I weighed 72 kilos.

I had to be a good role model for my Personal Training clients.  They all loved that I changed my lifestyle and lost so much weight in 2011.  If I gained weight now, no one would trust me to train them.  I needed to get back to my fittest and strongest.

My weekly working hours were limited to a maximum of 10 hours.  I spread these hours over four days and I had to have a 30-minute rest during each shift.  I had no energy to exercise so I had to continue my healthy food choices.  Eating 1200 calories per day did not give me enough energy to function now that I had a job.  I worked out that 1400 calories was the absolute minimum I could eat.  I tracked my food intake with MyFitnessPal and ate about 1500 calories per day.  From September 2015 to March 2016 I maintained my weight of 72kg. 

My medication increased to give me more energy to work safely.  I increased my exercise to 20 minutes up to four times per week, under the instruction and strict supervision of my Exercise Physiologist.  I ate a minimum of 1500 calories per day, sometimes more if I became too exhausted.  I lost three kilos over the next six months.  I weighed 69 kilos in September 2016.

My CFS limitations were very slowly decreasing.  I could still only work 10 hours per week.  My food and exercise did not change.  I lost another 4 kilos over the next 12 months. I weighed 65 kilos in September 2017

My CFS limitations had not improved but my job was making me stronger and leaner.  My muscle mass increased and fat decreased just by being a Gym Instructor, Circuit Instructor and Personal Trainer for 10 to 12 hours per week. I still made healthy food choices of a minimum of 1500 calories per week.

I lost another 2 kilos over the next six months.  I weighed 63 kilos this month.  I am 2 kilos heavier than when I wore That Black Dress, 6 years and 3 months ago.  My body composition is different now.  I have more muscle and less fat due to my job.  Therefore, maybe I could be about same size as when I wore That Black Dress.  I tried it on and got a huge shock!

That Black Dress Still Fits!!!
I wore it to the wedding and cried happy tears as the endless lovely compliments came my way. 
I am very lucky.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Personal Training Spring Offer

 Join The Ridge Health Club in Eltham, Victoria,
then buy 3 x 30 minute Personal Training Sessions
with Mary to get 35% off the Personal Training Sessions.
Email Mary at splasharama@gmail.com by Sunday 20 December 2015
 to take up this offer.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Working as a Personal Trainer

September 2015 to August 2019

I worked as a Personal Trainer for four years at The Ridge Health Club in Eltham, Victoria, Australia.

I was so pleased to be able to offer my services to others wishing to achieve health and fitness goals, in particular but not limited to Weight Loss.

It was an awesome four years with wonderful work colleagues and fantastic clients. Unfortunately, The Ridge Health Club stopped trading in August 2019.  I wanted to continue my journey as a Personal Trainer with my fantastic clients so I set up my own little fitness business a few months later.

Fitness Qualifications

  • Certificate 3 in Fitness (Gym Instructor and Water Aerobics Instructor)
  • Certificate 4 in Fitness (Personal Trainer)
  • Senior First Aid & CPR


  • I have worked in the Leisure, Health and Fitness Industry for 20 years.
  • My various roles at leisure centres include Centre Manager, Programs Coordinator, Aquatics Coordinator, Event Coordinator, Water Aerobics Instructor, Gym Instructor, Pool Lifeguard and Swimming Teacher.
  • My most recent role was as the Leisure Facilities Contacts Coordinator for a local government.


  • My specialty is Weight Loss.
  • I lost 48 kilos in 2011 and have kept weight off.
  • I won two weight loss awards in the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation program:
  •       Top Transformation in August 2011
  •       Inspirational Role Model in December 2011.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Spicy Chicken and Pumpkin Soup Recipe Review

I usually find Melbourne Winters quite chilly. However, in 2015, I have found Winter in Melbourne to be absolutely freezing! I just cannot warm up.

I rarely eat soups as I prefer to chew something when I eat. This Winter I have just wanted food that warms me up. Soup to the rescue!

I was very lucky to win a recipe book called “The Bikini Cookbook presents Asia” by Michelle Floate in a Facebook competition. It includes a Spicy Chicken and Pumpkin Soup recipe that really appealed to me for these super cold winter days.

It was extremely easy to make. I chopped up all the ingredients, added them to a pot of boiling water, let them boil away, blended the cooked ingredients to my desired consistency with a stick mixer and served. 

The soup smelled absolutely delicious while the pot boiled away. I am very pleased to report that it tasted as good as it smelled and definitely warmed me up. It is a great soup during this very cold Melbourne Winter.

If you are interested in this recipe book, you can find it here: http://thebikinicookbook.com/wordpress/product/the-bikini-cookbook-asia/

You make like to try Michelle Floate’s free sample recipes here: http://thebikinicookbook.com/wordpress/sample-recipes/

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Clean Eating. Raw. Paleo. Vegan. Healthy.

Clean Eating. Raw. Paleo. Vegan. Healthy. These are a few words that apparently describe foods that are good for our bodies.

However, I'm yet to find a clean eating, raw, paleo, vegan or healthy caramel slice recipe that includes nutritional information.  I wonder why...?  I know the calories would be high but what I would really like to know is the breakdown of all the nutritional information.  If they are so healthy for us, why not include all of the nutritional information with the recipes to support that healthy claim? 

I conducted web searches for "Raw Caramel Slice" and found  twelve recipes, all without nutritional information.  Maybe I am looking in the wrong places…?  I messaged some of the sites asking for nutritional information.  One replied with "Sorry Mary, that is not something I know a lot about."  Another included this in the recipe's opening description "This still has high calories like a regular caramel slice but they aren’t empty calories."

If you find a clean eating/raw/paleo/vegan/healthy Caramel Slice recipe that includes nutritional information, please post it as a comment below.













Wednesday, December 4, 2013

12WBT R4 2013 Week 4 Squee!

Slow and steady will get me to my goals.  Here's the Week 4 update.

I've been participating in this round of the 12WBT program for almost four weeks and it's time to measure my progress.  I have exercised only 3 times and have followed the nutrition about 90% of the time.

In four weeks I have:
* lost 1cm from my right upper arm
* lost 2cm from my right thigh
* lost 2cm from my chest
* lost 5cm from my waist
* lost 3cm from my butt
* lost 3.5kg

I am trilled with my results and will continue doing what I did in the last four weeks.  Not only does my body feel better but my mind is in such a positive place.  I'm slowly feeling more comfortable in my clothes and I can wear my jeans again because the muffin top is gone!

My body is shrinking slower than it did in 2011.  I'm taking a slow and steady approach this time and not following the program 100%.  Weight loss is not my first priority, managing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is.  I am thrilled I have done so well and I feel ok too.

One big red flag is a theme park holiday next week.  I plan to have fun at the theme parks and indulge in a couple of treats. I won't return from holidays any heavier as it is just not worth it.  My mind is too happy to undo my hard work.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Do What You Want

I had a lightbulb moment twelve hours after attending the Round 3 2013 finale party in Sydney. That moment was reinforced when I heard Lady Gaga perform her second single from her Artpop album called Do What You Want.

Let's rewind and recap the last three years of my life first.

  • Went from obese to the healthy weight range thanks to www.12WBT.com in 2011.
  • Diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis in November 2011. (http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/transversemyelitis/detail_transversemyelitis.htm)
  • Improved muscle definition and strength with www.12WBT.com in 2012.
  • Diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) in October 2012.
  • Almost stopped exercising and gained weight.
  • Stopped working and exercising in July 2013 due to CFS.
  • Lost confidence and turned to food.

The 12WBT finale party was exactly what I needed to experience. I loved being reunited with the friends I made during five rounds of the program. They are such beautiful people and I felt the love with every hug and word that was exchanged.  I was so surprised that the Eventify staff remembered me by name from the two 12WBT workouts where I volunteered as their Water Crew Team Leader in 2012.  And, of course, it was lovely to be greeted by the 12WBT staff with huge smiles and "Hi Splash!"  I honestly can't believe these people remember me. I was ten kilos heavier ,looking like a big pink squishy marshmallow with diamant√© stilettos and being greeted with nothing but love.  Needless to say, 12WBT knows how to host a party and I had a fabulous night.

I woke up on Sunday feeling different to the last three months.  I was feeling empowered.  I'm not totally sure why but it must have had something to do with being in a room full of confident people the night before.  I remembered feeling confident.  That used to be me.  Can I be that again? Do I want that again? I do.

Ten minutes later and my iPad is welcoming me back to 12WBT.  The road to confidence starts tomorrow. I'm scared. But Splasharama do this.  I'm back for the mindset lessons. Everything starts in the mind and 12WBT is exactly what I need to bring me out of my three-month coma of self doubt and unhappiness.

Fast forward to The Graham Norton Show on Sunday night.  My favourite artist of all time opened the show with her latest single "Do What You Want".  I was almost crying yet so so happy watching her performance.  "Do what you want"... What do I want?  I want the old me back.  It will take longer than three months and that's ok.  Splash is back and I'm doing what I want.

Do What You Want - I want to treat food as fuel for my body, nothing more.
Do What You Want - I want to feel sexy wearing that tiny size 10 white Review dress hanging in my wardrobe again.
Do What You Want - I want my strong body (and my sexy muscles) back.
Do What You Want - I want to be healthy and genuinely happy.
Do What You Want - I want to beat CFS and return to work ASAP.
Do What You Want - I don't want to walk... I will strut!
Do What You Want - I will be confident.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Project SplashAttack

In the last 12 months I have:

  • Been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

  • Stopped lifting weights and exercising due to CFS

  • Gained fat and my strength has diminished
  • Gained weight
  • Changed from working full time to part time to taking extended leave

Monday 15 July is the first day of my twelve months off work and I have mixed thoughts.  What if I become lazy?  I am scared I may eat out of boredom.  What if my health doesn't improve in the tweleve months?  How can I keep a strong mind when all I want to do is go back to work?

I can sit here over-analysing the situation I am in and eat myself silly for twelve months.  Or I can be positive.  It is time to implement the Essentials that I posted about two years ago.  I will take my own advice and be accountable for my actions.  Here's a little glimpse of what lies ahead for Splasharama Version 2:

  • Complete personal training course that I deferred due to illness.
  • Walk for 15 minutes once or twice a week and increase the intensity and duration of exercise when my body allows.
  • Fuel my body adequately for energy, not to entertain my tastebuds.

In twelve months time I want to have no regrets and be the best version of me.  I call this version SplashAttack.  I will record my SplashAttack journey here.  Knowing I will blog my year will keep my mind strong as I don't want to report that I have failed or made bad decisions.  Unfortunately CFS drives what I can physically do and when I can do it.  Planning ahead doesn't always go to plan.  However, my mind determines what I do with my energy when I have it and how I fuel my body.

Project SplashAttack starts now.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Splash's Green Eggs

This is a healthier version of the Green Eggs and Ham that Miguel made on channel 10's The Living Room in May 2013.

Total Calories 606
Serve 2 - 303 calories per serve (1.5 toasts each)
Serve 3 - 202 calories per serve (1 toast each)

20g butter
3 fresh Eggs
75g light Cottage Cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped Parsley 
3 pieces Toast
1. Melt butter in a small non- stick saucepan and add the three eggs.
2. Mix continuously over a low heat.
3. When the eggs begin to cook, remove from heat and keep stirring for approx 20 seconds.
4. As they stop cooking return to heat and keep stirring for approx 20 seconds.
5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 by stirring on and off the heat until eggs are almost cooked.
6. Add cottage cheese and stir in well.
7. Add parsley and stir in well.
8. Divide into three and serve on toasts.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Icy Peacharama

A fresh treat for all ages!

3 or 4 medium ripe peaches, halved and pitted
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup sugar, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Coarsely chop peaches in a food processor. Transfer 1 cup of the chunky peaches to a medium bowl.
2. Add lemon juice, orange juice and sugar to taste (depending on the sweetness of the peaches) to the food processor. Puree until smooth.
3. Add this mixture to the bowl with the chunky peaches and stir in vanilla.
4. Divide the mixture among twelve icy pole molds (or small paper cups). Freeze until beginning to set, about 1 hour.
5. Insert icy pole sticks and freeze until completely firm, about 1 hour more.
6. Store in the freezer for up to 3 weeks.


Makes 12 serves at 33 calories each.