Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Ten Years of Relentless

I have two babies turning ten this year – my middle daughter (aka Curly Mop – less a mop these days and more a Rapunzel clone) and this blog (aka Relentless).

Ten is an important number, a milestone if you will, and cause to pause and reflect on the past decade.

Relentless started in the computer lab of a Perth high school in October 2010. I had made the newly minted decision to become a writer, and had been encouraged by a good friend to attend her ‘Blogging for Fun and Profit’ course.

In hindsight I have only managed to achieve one of those goals (no prizes for guessing which one), but over the past ten years I have published almost 330 posts and racked up 716,000 views.

The law of averages says that means each post has received just shy of 2,170 readers but in reality 40% of those readers came to see just one thing  while my top five posts account for more than half my readers.

Suddenly the other 325 posts aren’t looking so flash. But that’s okay.

When I started Relentless (then called From Mum to Me, you can find out why here) getting readers was far from my mind (in fact I was quite terrified anyone would read it). With a nine month old baby on my hip and a four and a half year old in Kindy, its primary purpose was to plug the holes in my post-natal memory and create a permanent chronicle of the small moments that are easily lost and forgotten in the chaos of small children.

Relentless saw the birth of Baby Number Three, that post, renovations, becoming a ‘school mum’, returning to uni, the highs of my writing successes and the lows of motherhood. Of which there were plenty.

Over recent years I have been writing less and less here at Relentless. This is a combination of being otherwise occupied here and here, but also as the girls get older I’ve needed to be mindful of their privacy. That’s not to suggest they don’t do weird crazy crap all the time, I just can’t write about it.  

Out with the old

I thought that being so old and all, Relentless deserved a new cover image, and so in typical fashion I did one in a half-assed rush, rather than putting in any real effort. But it’s the thought that counts, and so you will see I have said goodbye to the nappy and dummy (diaper and pacifier) and said hello to car keys and phone chargers. Plastic cutlery has been replaced by stamps for the reward chart and a sleeping mask. Dora has been traded with a scary vampire hooker doll. My computer and books now take pride of place. The coffee cup and wine glass remain supplemented by the ubiquitous block of chocolate.

There’s also headache pills, because…. Life with three kids!

And in with the new

Friday, November 22, 2019

How Dyslexia Affects My Daughter

My youngest daughter was diagnosed with severe dyslexia at the end of Year 1. 

Getting the diagnosis wasn’t a big shock, we had suspected she had an issue from the time she was at Kindy; Pre-Primary was a mess of a year, and by the start of Year 1 we had begun the long testing process. We also watched her daily struggle, so putting a name to it came as a relief in some ways.

Having a diagnosis has undeniably helped. It allows her to label some of her challenges, to put them in a box and say to herself – and others – ‘that’s my dyslexia, that’s not me’.

From the very start she has owned her dyslexia. We haven’t tried to hide it, and I have encouraged her to talk about it with her classmates and friends. She stands up and talks about it as a news topic, her teacher referenced it on her Merit Certificate - and I strongly believe this has helped stem any possible teasing and bullying.

My daughter is now only weeks away from the end of Year 2. Yet her ability to read, write, spell and understand certain maths concepts is probably that of a Pre-Primary student. She’s a smart kid though. Dyslexia is not related to intelligence, and most dyslexic kids test to be above average intelligence. 

All dyslexics experience different strengths and challenges, and like many things, it operates on a continuum. This is how dyslexia affects my daughter:

Poor sense of word recall – she often struggles to find the word she wants to use to describe or explain something. As a result she will use an incorrect word or simply make one up, which can be kind of cute.

Difficulty hearing sounds – she has difficultly hearing or distinguishing between certain sounds. This has a knock on effect for both speech and spelling.

Poor concept of time – she has difficulty understanding the abstract notion of time and cannot grasp the difference between waiting for an hour and waiting for a year. The language of time, is therefore lost on her and she will talk about things happening yesterday when in fact she means tomorrow.

Poor speech – as she unable to hear certain sounds, she cannot replicate them, leading to difficulties with her speech.

Poor spelling – if you cannot hear or say sounds, then it makes sense that you won’t be able to use them when you are writing. When writing she often leaves out vowels and misses adjacent consonants.

Poor letter recognition and formation – she struggles to distinguish between similar looking letters such as b and d, n and h or similar sounding letter such as g and j. She has difficulty visualising diagonals and so letters such as K, M, W and V are either written incorrectly or she prefers to read and write them when they are in a curly text.

Confusion with left and right – if left unguided, she will often start reading a word from the right-hand side, for example she will read ‘got’ as ‘tog’.

Poor short-term working memory – if she correctly sounds out a new word on one page, she won’t necessarily remember it when she reads it on the next page. It will look like a new word and she will need to sound it out again. She may read the same word, three different ways over the course of a few minutes, for example ‘got’ as tog, get and got.

Slow processing - related to the working memory is the fact she processes information more slowly. It takes her longer to work through instructions, so if you give her a four step process, by the time you have finished telling her the last step, she's only just processed the second, and probably forgotten the first. She can do everything you ask, but not if you dump all the information on her at once. This is usually when people accuse her of 'not listening', but she is listening... she's probably listening very carefully - but she's just trying to recall the information that is rapidly slipping away.

Poor number recognition – while she is able to visually understand numbers and put them in the correct order, she cannot name them. Often she cannot tell you what a number is (for example ‘twelve’) without counting from 1 (ie 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-twelve).

There are compensations though.

From early on, before we realised she was struggling to comprehend the world around her, she had already begun to discover methods of coping. She would use her body in a way to describe words she couldn’t find the language for, and as a result, she has always been physical and animated. When she couldn’t find the word for banana, she would curve her hands into the shape of the fruit, or pretend to peel and eat it. Automatically we would provide the word ‘banana’ which she would repeat, and all the while we had no clue that she was having difficulty recalling the word begin with.

She is able to spot differences and see patterns that ordinary brains cannot. She has walked into a room where one small thing has changed and notice it immediately. She completed a nine square sudoku style puzzle in seconds, where instead of numbers, images of different types of weather had been used.

She always kicks my butt at Memory, and I've never once needed to 'let' her win. I wish she'd let me win once in a while.

She has uncanny long term memory, often dredging up a comment I made once, five years ago, or tearing up at the memory of a random event that happened when she was three. She will remember the faces of people she met once, or the precise location of her great-grandmothers grave, but she has no idea what her uncles' names are.

She has an incredible eye for detail - once with her speech therapist, we were playing a game where we each had a different game board. Each board had 100 images. A card with six images was dealt – but only one of those six images was present on each of the boards, so you had to look at a board with 100 items, while searching for six different images, only one of which was actually there (a bit like Where’s Wally). It meant you could spend most of your time looking for an image that wasn’t even there. Almost every time she would win, and then find the correct image on the other boards as well just to prove a point.

I believe she also has a level of insight towards others that comes directly from her own personal anxiety and sadness. She recognises these feelings in others, because she has experienced it herself, and as a result she can be very empathetic.

She is also very visual and creative, she loves drawing with fine levels of detail as a result of her intense observation.

She also has plenty of big ideas and makes connections between topics and concepts that would normally be beyond a seven year old. Truth be told, sometimes her statements are wildly left field and beyond the mortal brain of her mother (me), but I love her enthusiasm regardless.

I have been telling her stories about the many inspiring and successful people who have dyslexia and have achieved incredible things in their lives. She loves finding out that an actor she loves on TV or an author who wrote a book she enjoys also has dyslexia. She knows that although she will be challenged by her learning disorder, she won’t be limited by it – and tells me constantly that she can’t wait to see what amazing things she will do in her life.

I freely admit that before my own daughter was diagnosed, I hardly knew a thing about dyslexia. But chances are there will be one, two or even three children in every classroom in the country with it, diagnosed or not, so I think it’s important for all parents and teachers to know what it is.

Without a diagnosis, you might just think they are slow to learn, perhaps they are seen as the ‘naughty kids’ because they don’t concentrate in class or they’re disruptive. My daughter certainly was. You might see them as masters of procrastination, as they will do almost anything to avoid certain situations.

As she gets older, some aspects of her dyslexia will get better as she learns how to manage it, and others will get harder. I have no doubt that this is a lifetime journey that she’s on, and for the next decade at least, I will be right there alongside her.

To be continued...

Monday, November 11, 2019

25 Things I Wish I Knew Before I had Babies

I remember running into a friend who was pregnant with her first child. I had to look twice at her neat bump, as it looked a lot like my own cake baby*. But no, there were ultrasound images stuck on her fridge, unlike my fridge which just has shopping lists, reward charts and dozens of pictures from the girls in varying shades of texta.

My basic principle is that I don’t believe in scaring pregnant women with horror stories nor bragging to them about how brilliant your kids were. This isn’t just because I'm a nice person, but mainly because I have forgotten most of it.

However, there are things that I wish I had known before I had a child; things that have only crystallised in the years after having a baby. Maybe it would have helped manage my expectations. Maybe it would have helped manage the budget.

These are things I wish I knew before I had babies:

1. Have a birth plan but be prepared to chuck it out the window if necessary. I was adamant I was going to have an intervention-free natural birth. I ended up with an emergency c-section. Actually three c-sections. I wish I had known that just because I really wanted something, didn’t mean Mother Nature had read that particular memo. If you learn to be flexible now, it will save all sorts of hassles later on.

2. Learn how to use your car seats and assemble your pram before the baby arrives. Practice folding and unfolding your pram while holding a sack of potatoes in one arm, and a huge nappy bag strung across the other. Practice swaddling techniques on a large stuffed toy, or for more realism, a partially sedated cat. Seriously.

3. Prepare yourself for Day 3 blues, and make sure you (or a loved one) know the warning signs for post-natal depression.

4. If you enjoy reading books about pregnancy and babies, don’t forget to read about the first few months before the baby is born.

5. “Sleeping through the night” actually means only 5-6 hours in a row. It does not mean sleeping from 6pm-8am.

6. You can never buy enough toilet paper. We go through a roll a day, at least.

7. Tell your family and friends ‘no stuffed toys ever’. Ok, maybe one or two, but keep in mind they're notoriously difficult to get rid of/recycle/donate. If you or your partner are susceptible to asthma or allergies, put stuffed toys in the freezer regularly to kill dust mites.

8. Buy nappies and baby wipes in bulk. I could tell you how many nappies a baby goes through in the first year, but you’d probably start to cry. Baby wipes are a gift from heaven. I still carry them in my handbag and my youngest is now seven.

9. When your baby is ready to start solids, skip the bland, processed jar foods and make your own. Don’t be afraid to include real flavours like garlic and onion. If a baby gets used to bland food with no texture, chances are you will have a fussy eater by the time they hit school. I say that with bitter, bitter experience. Here is a recipe I used to make a rice-based baby food that can use with a range of proteins and vegetables.

10. Don’t take books, baby whisperers, routines or methods as gospel, especially anyone who calls themselves an 'influencer'. Take all unsolicited advice with a grain of salt. Repeat after me: smile and nod.

11. Don’t expect to get your pre-baby body back. Ever. Pregnancy changes you – for the better.

12. If someone wants to buy you an expensive gift, ask them for a small, handheld, rechargeable vacuum cleaner for the car. By the time you have a toddler, it will be your favourite appliance – even more than the coffee machine.

13. Repeat after me: you can leave the house. Babies are not a disability.

14. Keep a spare packed nappy bag in the car at all times, with a coin purse, a change of clothes, at least two nappies, something to lay your baby on and some wipes. Maybe a spare t-shirt for you too. Don't forget to update the clothes every now and then. I can speak from experience it's difficult to squeeze a one year old into 0-3 month clothing after they vomit everywhere and you left your regular nappy bag at home because this was 'just going to be a quick trip'.

15. Day-care waiting lists can be longer than the Great Wall of China. If you plan on returning to work put your name down for day-care when you are pregnant. You can always knock a spot back and ask to go back on the list, but the stress of trying to find childcare if you have to go back to work suddenly can be debilitating.

16. Chances are for the first six to twelve months of day-care, your child will get up to a dozen different childhood diseases and infections, no matter how expensive and clean your day care is. Make sure you have babysitting back-up if your workplace isn’t very flexible. If you don't send your kid to childcare, this usually means you will get all the childhood diseases and infections when they start school instead. You've been warned.

17. Pregnancy is not what it appears in the movies. It can be quite horrid. Labour goes for about 12-24 hours longer than movies would have you believe, and there are a lot more bodily fluids.

18. Eating a handful of dirt or having fluff on a dummy is not going to hurt your baby.

19. Baby brain/placenta brain/mummy brain is a real thing. You will temporarily turn stupid and keep dropping things. This should pass in approximately 8-10 years.

20. Buy the best camera you can afford, one that is capable of taking photos of fast action and video. Use it as often as you can but don’t forget to give the camera to other people and make sure you are in the picture too.

21. Breastfeeding is hard. It can really hurt too. If you can, go to a breastfeeding class before the baby arrives. If you can’t breastfeed, don’t stress: down the track, no one can tell the difference between a breast fed and a formula fed baby.

22. Things change quickly with babies, both good and bad. As soon as you are congratulating yourself that your baby sleeps eight hours a night, they will go through a growth spurt and want two-hourly feeds. Nothing stays the same. Be prepared for constant change.

23. Make time for your partner and time for yourself. This will make you a better parent, not a worse parent.

24. Get support. Find a mothers group, even an online support group. Find someone you trust and ask questions but never compare your child with others. It's been twelve years but I still see friends from my Mothers Group regularly.

25. Write it down. You will forget those precious memories. I wrote it down, and now it is Relentless.

*Cake baby: when you have a big round tummy from eating too much cake and people keep asking if you’re pregnant. ‘No, it’s just a cake baby,’ you tell them cheerfully.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

1 Easy Step to Mucking up the School Holidays

Even though it is currently summer school holidays here, my youngest daughter has been doing homework almost daily for the past month. It’s safe to say, it hasn’t been the ‘funnest’ holiday ever for her, but with her diagnosis of severe functional dyslexia being confirmed days after school ending last year, everyone (above the age of 40) agreed that she couldn’t afford to miss 7 weeks of schooling.

So I get to play teacher. Yay.

Some days start with tears and end with shouting. Sometimes we mix it up, and start with shouting and end with tears. ‘Why did I have to get the broken brain?’ she’d mumble after crawling into my lap for a hug. Every session ends with a collective sigh of relief – and I can’t tell whose are louder – hers or mine. But every day she amazes me with her persistence and tenacity.

Today I gave her an activity that she enjoys because she gets to use a packet of brightly coloured alphabet stamps. Hell, even I like brightly coloured alphabet stamps.

I gave her a page that had the following:

B E _

_ R I P

_ A M P

W _ G

_ E N T

She uses her stamps to make ‘real’ words (such as bed and red, drip and trip). It can be rather hit and miss, but it’s good for her to swap sounds and see how they affect words.

But little did I realise that the letter stamps were alive, all with unique personalities.

‘I want to go first’, she squeaked waving the letter M around. She hopped the letter over to the first word. ‘B-E-M’ she sounded out. ‘BEM.’ She sighed heavily. ‘Too bad M, back in the box.’

‘I’m scared,’ she whispered, waving the T around. She glanced sideways at me. ‘T is just a baby.’ She said by way of explanation. ‘Go T’ she cried in encouragement. ‘You got this!’

Having established that indeed BET was a real word, she turned to me – ‘I’m on fire!’ she said.

We made our way through the words. Very. Slowly. She’s very fair-minded and wanted to give all the letters a chance.

‘I want a turn’ the orange letter C cried.

‘Can I bring a friend?’ asked green S.

‘I’m X and I like being crazy!’ whooped the purple X.

‘Ladies first!’ huffed the pink J.

Soon, all the pink letters were lined up with a respective blue ‘boyfriend’ and were about to start a conga line. I was tempted to tell them all off, but the thing is – she was actually enjoying herself and she was making the words she needed.

‘Off you go D,’ she said encouragingly to a pink stamp as she bounced it towards _ AMP.

‘I have a good feeling about this,’ she whispered to me.

‘DAMP! Yes!’ she cried.

The next word was W_G and after a few false starts involving unpopular letters Z and Y, I told her she would need vowels to make it into a word.

‘Right then,’ she cried to the box of stamps. ‘I want all the vowels please. Line up! Come on O where are you? Don’t be shy,’ she pleaded.

Having made wig and wag, she moved onto the last word which was _ENT. She lined all the vowels up again to have another go.

‘You won’t need the vowels for this one,’ I explained. ‘It already has one.’

She cupped her hands around the stamps. ‘Shhhh Mum, you’re making them sad.’

Slowly she marched them all back to the box, whispering gently to them not to feel bad, and they’d get another chance.

And even though dyslexia will be a hard slog for both of us, I cannot but feel hearted by the fact that she has a love for letters and words. And maybe one day, with lots of work – the feeling will be mutual.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Shocking Day I Realised How the World Appears to My Daughter

My youngest daughter is severely dyslexic. We noticed a difference between her and her peers a couple of years ago, and the older she gets, the more marked it is. Diagnosing her dyslexia was a costly and time-consuming process, and despite intensive intervention at school and at home, progress is painfully slow. 
Having a child with reading and writing difficulties is extra strange considering I spend my life reading and writing. It’s my chosen career, and for the most part find it blissfully easy. So it’s been hard for me to take a step back and comprehend how the world might be for her.

Until I was sitting on the toilet recently. 

I know that sounds strange, but we have an Auslan finger spelling poster in the toilet that I often find myself staring at.

I pride myself on being able to rattle through the hand signs for the alphabet pretty quickly, just like my daughter now is (almost) able to recite the alphabet. We are both pretty good when asked to go from start to finish.

But if you ask either of us to read (or sign) one of the ‘trickier’ letters – for her it might be H and F, for me it would be signing H or G, we will pause, no longer certain, without the context of the surrounding letters.

If someone proficient in Auslan sign language came up to me and started spelling ‘Hello, my name is Sam’ I would probably panic. I’d have to ask them to go very slowly, one letter at a time, translating the hand shapes to sounds, and trying to hold them in my head while I concentrate on ‘reading’ the next sign.

In an ideal world,  when reading H-E-L-L-O, you're still meant to remember the ‘H’ by the time you get to ‘O’. 

But if I was watching someone sign the letters to me, I would probably be concentrating so much on recognising the ‘O’, that the ‘H’ would be long gone. The word I had just 'spelled' would be an incomplete collection of sounds and make no sense. I then imagined how hard it would be to keep an entire sentence in my head.

My heart sank.
That’s when I realised that's what it must be like for my daughter every time we ask her to read. 

And while I don’t have to learn the Auslan finger signs, she HAS to learn how to read and write English. There is no avoiding it. For her, it is a mountain that must be scaled. Every day for the rest of her life.

For her, reading is excruciating and labour intense, and without any certainly that sounding the individual letters will actually makes any sense once she’s done.

Despite the difficulties she has, she is determined to persist. She blows the rest of us out of the water when it comes to working hard. We are developing little rules that help her remember each letter shape and sound. What is automatic and easy for most of us, involves a number of laboured steps for her.

Funnily enough, one thing she can write with no issue is the phrase ‘I love you’. She writes it a lot. On cards and pictures, on scraps of paper, on the shopping lists, on post-it notes that she leaves next to my bed. 

Yet the other week, when she had to read ‘YES’ it took about 10 steps.
First I wrote the phrase ‘I love you’ next to her word list. Then I circled the ‘Y’ in Yes and the ‘Y’ in You and joined them together, and then I waited. I watched her eyes dart from one phrase to the next, as she mouthed the sounds to herself. ‘I love you’ she whispered under her breath, ‘You’ and then she got to ‘Y’. Then she looked back at the word YES and started ‘Y-E-S’. She turned to be with a big grin ‘YES’ she shouted.

To which there was only one appropriate response: ‘I love YOU’ I replied.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Diary of a Wannabe Dieter [Bodytrim review]

I receive an email from a company asking if I’d like to write a blog post about losing weight with Bodytrim. My first instinct is to write back and say ‘no thanks, I’m too busy to lose weight.’ Then, just as I am about to hit ‘send’, I reconsider. 

I know I never do things like this on Relentless, but it's relevant for me right now and I am willing to give this a try – what have I got to lose? Just weight! I've got plenty of that.

Day 1:
Bodytrim is essentially a high-protein, low-carb meal-replacement plan. They provide both shakes and various snacks, and you sign up for a free 12-week program that offers guidance and support. It instantly sounds appealing because you don’t really have to do anything.

I admit that I had a peek at the program when I first received the email, and because of what I saw I delayed the start of my trial to begin after the kids went back to school. I believe they should learn about healthy eating, but I am reluctant to ‘diet’ in front of them, and besides – I knew they’d all want to have shakes for breakfast as well and I’m not too good at sharing.

There are three stages of the Bodytrim 12-week program. Basically you start with 3 meal-replacement shakes in the first few days, gradually dropping to two, then one shake per day. You are supposed to have learned by this point, to fill the rest of your day with healthy snacks, balanced meals and plenty of water. You never replace dinner, so there’s no problem with watching everyone else tuck into a roast dinner while you sip on a shake.

This is nothing new. I know how to lose weight. My problem is that I don’t like exercise and I really enjoy eating. I like baking with my kids. I like going out with my friends for dinner. I love a glass of wine or two. I’m a typical mum – I am busy busy busy with my kids and my work and my life and very, very neglectful when it comes to myself. And sometimes losing weight just seems like such hard work.

My first day is a mixed success. The shakes aren’t substantial enough to replace one of my normal meals, so I eat a bowl of raw veggies over the day. I’m also well behaved and skip my wine, but I scoff a piece of cake when no one is looking and still go to bed hungry.

Day 2:
I’ve never been terribly fussed about the numbers on the scale. I have always been heavy, even when I am at my slimmest. I like to think I have a skeleton made of lead, or rather a heart of gold. This is why I prefer looking at my measurements – and losing centimetres from my tummy and butt rather than kilos. You can’t see kilos!

I like it when my skirts zip up. I don’t like it when I have to leave them unzipped and hope that my top covers the big triangle of undies hanging out at the back. It’s good motivation.

Day 2 and I am still hungry, though I suspect that is the point. The shakes are small, about 1/3 the size of my morning coffee. I get ‘hangry’ while at the shops, but while I would normally chow down on a roast pork and crackling roll, today I buy some healthy sushi, so I guess I should be proud of making a reasonably healthy food choice, even if I am technically breaking the rules.

Day 3:
These are my numbers:
Number of children: 3
Number of pets/husbands: 3 if you include the fish
Number of times I have tried serious dieting: 3
Number of times I lost a heap of weight and gained it back again: 3

I’m beginning to detect a theme…

End of Day 3 and I am still hungry. Although I am technically in the Fast Start section of the 12 week program (3 days of three shakes and only 1 meal) I admit that I am scrounging around in the box of snacks they also sent me. The snacks are all high-protein, low-carb sweet items such as slice, cookies and protein bars. The texture is unusual, but they are definitely filling.

Day 4
I am being sent daily emails from Bodytrim as part of the free 12-week trial. You simply sign up to the website using the code provided on the side of every shake container. There is a lot of good information on the site if you’re willing to read it – plenty of articles and discussions. One of the messages which I really like is that it isn’t selfish to think about yourself and take care of yourself. I think a lot of mums forget this.

End of Day 4 and I have gone totally off-track thanks to a rather delicious bottle of wine. That being said, I have been making smart food choices all day, which is rather unlike me. Could this be evidence of the ‘trim thinking’ you are expected to apply when trying the 12-week plan? Maybe this will work after all.

Day 5
Meal-replacement shakes come in two flavours – chocolate and vanilla. Three scoops of the powder and top it up with water. I quite enjoy the taste although they are quite small. If you follow the instructions and don’t try to sneak an extra scoop in, each tub makes nine shakes. Therefore, if I follow the plan as proscribed by Bodytrim, the three tubs will last 27 days. 

The real question though, is will I last that long?

End of Day 5. I am down to two shakes a day, 1 meal and 2 snacks. I feel this is much better suited to my normal way of eating. I work from home, and am constantly heading off to writing sessions, school, the library or having to drive my kids around. I don’t do well skipping food for long periods of time, and this stage two ‘trimsition’ is much more manageable for me.

Day 6
I have been sent enough Bodytrim shakes to last around 4 weeks, and I think this should be enough time to see how the system works for me in my life. The website recommends 12 weeks, as you need time for your body (and brain) to form new good habits. I might need more than 12 weeks, as I have spent the last 40 years forming bad habits.

One of the other mums at school stopped me today and said I was looking good. She asked if I had lost some weight. I’m actually not sure if I have, but it felt good hearing that anyway. Motivation to go another week.

Day 14
Constant snacking is a hard habit to break, and I’m not a huge fan of the low-carb, high protein snacks they provide. It’s a different texture to normal biscuits and slices, although the flavour is fine, and they definitely fill you up. However, being on the program (or attempting to be on the program) is making me re-think some of my food decisions, some of the time – which is better than me not thinking any of the time. So that’s definitely a win.

I think the amount of weight I have lost is negligible – maybe a kilo or so - but if your heart isn’t fully in it, then the chances of weight magically falling off is as unlikely as winning the lotto – lovely to dream about… but keep on dreaming. Weight loss is also meant to be slow and steady, otherwise it will all just come back again.

My thoughts about the Bodytrim Program? 
It’s not for me. Clearly I am not motivated enough right now. But I think if you’re needing some structure and a clear program to follow then perhaps this might suit you. 

There’s also not a lot of variety in the products – the flavours run the gamut from vanilla to chocolate with a quick detour to mint, and they’re all sweet. That being said, they go in your bag and could easily stop you making that drive-through for the cheeky burger next time you’re hungry. 

Thank you to Bodytrim for letting me try their products. You can find out more about the program here:  https://www.bodytrim.com.au/weight-loss-program-products/ 

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