Getting Pregnant after an Eating Disorder

Getting Pregnant after an Eating Disorder

A brief history:
When I was 12, I was bullied at school by this one girl that turned my world upside down. I decided to go on a restricted diet and exercise like crazy. My day consisted of a couple spoonfuls of breakfast, an apple for lunch and a couple spoonfuls of dinner or a protein bar alongside 2-4 hours of sport and exercise.
Needless to say, I lost a lot of weight. Weighing as low as 37-38 kg.
From then until the age of 24 I yo-yo‘d about 3 times between this weight and 54kg mirroring the times in my life I felt most comfortable and happy. I didn’t eat when I felt controlled by others or the expectations of others and I ate when I was in control of my decisions and happy in my environment.

2012, 20yrs old

In those years, I had never really thought of having kids. I had gotten my period during a happy time in my life when I was 16 however went on the pill shortly after. For those who don’t know, the pill mimics the hormone levels in the body to create a lining and shed a lining without letting you 1.do it naturally or 2.ovulate. The pill alone can cause many fertility issues in the long term and may make getting a natural period back extremely hard. I was on the pill for 4 years before deciding to come off it when I was at a very low body weight. My period never came back.
Years went on, however I wasn’t that fussed. The doctors would tell me, it will come back in time and that it wasn’t important unless I wanted to have kids.

My pole career kicked off and it was great not having to worry about having a period during comps or travel. I thought that one day it would just magically appear, but year after year, it never showed. I started to get a little more concerned knowing that a period is a vital sign of health in the body and that an absence of may be a sign of something more severe.

2017 MPDA. Photo: The Black Light

As I began to study herbal medicine, I started to become increasingly aware of how important it is to get it back regardless of wanting to having kids. I did heaps of research and got heaps of tests to see what was going on. MRI, ultrasounds and blood tests later, the doctors continued to tell me everything was normal and it will just simply come back.
After dead end after dead end, I discovered what was known as hypothalamic Amenorrhoea which is an absence of a menstrual cycle for over 3-6 months due to a cocktail known as the female athlete triad (excessive exercise, low body weight/food intake and missing period).

It is the body’s survival mode to show you that you are not in a safe environment to harvest a baby. Your body thinks that there is a famine and that you are running away from a predator. That is definitely not a safe environment to also grow a human.

From then on I decided to change things drastically. I decided to slow down. I started seeing a Chinese medicine doctor to help get things back on track. We worked with herbal tea mixtures, acupuncture and cupping as well as teaching me to become more of a nurturer rather than an over achiever. She helped me to understand that I didn’t need to be doing something all the time or even every day.

I had to work so hard to retrain my brain into a new way of life. A life that didn’t involve counting calories, food restrictions, daily exercise, hours of training. Of course I felt a huge amount of anxiety and stress watching my body grow and my strength decline. I felt that everything that I had worked towards was so quickly being flushed down the drain.

Jake & I, 2018. Photo: The Black Light

After the arrival of my niece and meeting Jake, I started to feel like this was something I wanted for myself. The thought had definitely crossed my mind that I may not ever be able to have kids and before, that wouldn’t have bothered me but now, I was starting to realize how beautiful creating life is and how much love I have to give for a little human. Watching my niece grow up brings me to tears (happy) nearly every time.

As time went on and still not change, I started to become even more on a mission. I decided to go ‘all in’ no matter what the consequence. This is a term used in the book ‘No period, now what” which entails eating 2500+ calories a day and limiting exercise to gentle activities like walking and yoga. Although I was still teaching pole classes twice a week, I definitely did the rest! I had to unlearn all of my disordered eating habits (like no butter, limited carbs, no white potatoes etc) and retrain my brain to allow all food to be accessible. A book that helped me with this is called ‘Just eat it’. It’s a book that helps you realise how silly those eating disordered rules were and that there is no harm in eating what you want.
Naturally I knew I wasn’t going to now just go to the junk food isle and stock up, but I now didn’t have a restriction on that isle and I could have it and will have it when I feel like it.

Along with readings, I also listened to period podcasts daily learning about how it is the fifth vital sign and how to track changes monthly etc. I learnt so much about the menstrual cycle than ever before. I had engulfed my self in this process and had my eye on the goal!
My favorite podcast was ‘fertility friday’ which I recommend for all women!

As I started to gain more weight, I started to realize small changes in my body. I no longer felt incredibly freezing all the time. I also finally understood what full felt like and when I had had enough. Things I only knew once my body was fully replenished!

2020, Photo: Danceflicks

A few months later and a few kg’s later, I got my period back. Woohoo! It was such a relief to know all my hard work had paid off. I knew it took 3 consecutive periods to know that everything I working again but I knew that 1 was better than anything!
A month later, no period came. I was a little disheartened but I didn’t give up as I had learnt that each month, you alternate ovaries so maybe this ovary was just not up for it yet. Surely enough, a month later,
I got my second period. This confirmed one was working! Now for the other.
Next month, I got my period. YAY! Now I had two functioning ovaries! This was such a blessing and I knew I had done the right thing. I still didn’t know if I would be able to create a baby but at least I knew I now had a better chance than before.

Jake and I had spoken about kids but never really new when or if it could happen. A month after my 4th period, I knew something felt different. I felt my usually PMS symptoms but with added extras. On the day I was due, I took a test. I didn’t want to wait until I had missed it as I knew I felt different. The two lines showed up and I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it for weeks until I had a scan to see it. It all seemed too surreal to be real. Seeing the little one on the my 12 week scan brought me to tears. I laughed and cried in joy seeing that there was actually a baby in there.

Now currently 17 weeks pregnant, I still have moments wondering if it’s still true or if I’m in a dream. It’s a miracle and another dream come true!

Taking Time

I recently ran into an old friend that commented on my minimal involvement in the pole industry as of recent years. The truth is, for the last 2 years I have focused on slowing down and taking time for me. Time for me to heal, time to learn, time to love and time to focus on new energies and paths.

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To be honest, in my whole 7 years of competitive pole dancing (9 years poling in total), I had never really thought beyond Miss Pole Dance Australia. From the day I began pole dancing, the MPDA crown was my dream but once it came true, I felt as though I had completed a milestone. I no longer needed to prove anything to myself nor felt the desire to. People always ask “What comp are you doing next?” and frankly, I don’t know because I don’t have any desire to go on and do comps for the sake of doing comps. I feel as though I have been so focused on dancing since the age of 18 that I have not allowed myself to experience what some may call ‘normal’ aspects of life such as love, health, knowledge and leisure. As much as I love to dance and perform and it will always be a part of my life, I feel as though that milestone was the perfect moment to stop and explore my life a little more.

HEALING

After suffering from an eating disorder, I never really allowed my body to fully heal before I jumped straight into training. My obsession with pole dancing allowed me to focus my energies away from my body image but didn’t give my body that chance to settle before putting it back under a lot of stress resulting in secondary amenorrhoea for over 7 years (no periods). The signs from my body was obviously telling me to slow down but my mind had other intentions. I used to tell myself that it didn’t matter because I don’t want to have kids. Looking back, I can see the story I was telling myself as I was trying to hide a truth I didn’t want to face. Now, the thought of kids in the future fills me with joy however the battle of amenorrhoea continues all because I didn’t give myself the time I needed when I needed it. This is one of the reasons my last two years have been spent learning, resting and allowing my body the love and treatment it has needed. I was also always injured or in pain with a sore back, sore hamstring, bursitis in my knee etc. I trained through it all just because I had a comp to do. I look back and wonder if I had just taken a little more time, would I have needed surgery? Would I have been able to manage my pain better than taking anti inflammatory everyday? This is why I wanted look into my health and study it.

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LEARNING

I have always been interested in healing the body naturally where possible and therefore I chose to study Naturopathy (Herbal Medicine) to increase my knowledge in this field. Not only did I want to learn about my own body and how to heal it naturally but also to be able to share my knowledge and help others heal. I am currently 2 years in to my 4 year course and have a lot of hard work ahead of me! I have managed thus far to travel for pole and maintain my studies but as it comes down to the nitty gritty of the course, I am going to have to spend less time traveling and more time studying!

Last year, I also completed my 200hr Yoga Teacher training in Bali which was something I had been wanting to do for a while. I used to think yoga was so slow and boring however, after learning more and more about the philosophy and meaning of yoga I have grown to love it. I find yoga challenging, calming, and revitalizing and I still feel there is so much more to learn and that I have only just skimmed the surface!

LOVE

Leading up to MPDA 2017, I had just met Jake. Since my break up with a toxic relationship had ended back in 2013, I had never put myself in the position to date let alone get close to anyone. My focus on pole dancing was the only thing on my mind which kept me from getting into any sort of relationship. I found myself very lonely at times but continued on my path without going out of my way to make an effort. One day, in my one effort to find someone, I found Jake. Someone who made me realize how much more fun life can be with someone by your side. After MPDA 17, among the other things I mentioned above, I finally felt I had the time and energy to spend getting to know someone else and really fall in love.

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NEW PATHS

This year, I have taken on a new role as co-owner of the Blackbird studio. This was an exciting time for me as I have been with Blackbird from the start and have always referred to it as my home. I will always be involved in the pole industry in some way as I could never leave my love of dancing, creativity and heels but I am proud to say that taking it slow has made me able to reflect on what a career I have had already and how proud I am of what I have been able to achieve at only the age of 27!

My life is young, and I could have 5 different careers from here if I really wanted but for now, I am blessed to be a part of this community and feel overwhelmed from the support you have given over the years! ❤

The Need for Knee Pads!

It has been a long time since my last blog, life has been getting back on track, the uni term has come to an end (nearly) and I am looking forward to heading to Dance Filthy this weekend in Sydney!

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I wanted to write about the topic of knee pads in training and performing as I was having a dilemma as to whether to wear them for my dance filthy piece or not. The answer is yes, I will be wearing my trusty knee pads and this is why.

When I began dancing (age 6) and pole dancing (age 18), knee pads were not a thing. I danced on my poor little knees for over 15 years with no knee pads and as a result, I developed bursitis on the top of my knee cap the size of a gold ball that cost me over AUD$5000 to get it surgically removed. I considered myself lucky that the surgery to remove my bursitis was a very easy, low risk and straightforward one of which the recovery time was extremely quick with no complications, however, I could have just as easily needed an ACL knee reconstruction with the amount of knee floor work I did over the years.

After my surgery at the end of last year, I remember getting a message saying ‘does this mean you won’t wear kneepads anymore?’ and for a number of reasons, this made me angry. I love my running, dancing and lifting weights, have made a career out of movement and live a very active life; without my knees, none of these would be possible. I had also just spent a large amount of money on getting my knee back to healthy, that I wasn’t going to do anything to make my knees vulnerable to any more damage. My response to this was ‘no, this means I will always wear knee pads!’

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Now, here comes my dilemma. I have seen an increasing number of dancers wearing kneepads in competitions, and as much as I appreciate the need for them, I do want to point out that if you are going to wear them for comp, either bedazzle them or wear fashionable or altered ones that go with your theme and the rest of your costume! They are technically part of your costume and therefor they need to look the part!

I have also had questions about what grip I have when I have thigh high socks or knee pads on in my routines and my answer is none. I Don’t use any patent leather, sticky or helpful materials to help me grip; this means my hands and whatever part of my body is exposed are my only reliable sources. A little something you may have not known about me – I have never trusted my knee grips as much as my hand grips – I have large, monkey hands! 😛

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Anyways, that said, I do wish to perform knee pad-less again sometime in the near future, however that will mean making a conscious effort to avoid any knee spins, knee landings or anything that could bring on any complications! Always remember that you only have one body for the rest of your life, take care of it! Why cause damage when it can so easily be prevented!

Be kind, think twice and take care!

XX

VEGGIE PIZZA

I love experimenting with foods! Tonight’s recipe is vegetarian, paleo, gluten free PIZZA!!

Pre-heat oven. (not sure of heat… some regular baking temperature)
Base (the tricky part)
1 whole            Cauliflower – chopped with stalks removed (blended in the food
processor to look like rice, heated for 6 mins in microwave, place
in teatowel to cool, then squeeze out ALL the water)
100g                  Almonds – blended in the food processor
2                         Eggs (whisked with any herbs (thyme, basil, oregano etc.), salt and pepper
as desired)
FOLD ALL TOGETHER AND PRESS INTO PIZZA SIZED CIRCLES – BAKE (in oven) FOR 10 mins or until edges are browning and turning crispy then……………………

ADD ANY TOPPINGS! and place back in oven
I used tomato paste, chopped garlic, red onion, kalamata olives, roast pumpkin, cheddar cheese, capsicum, mushrooms and chilli.
Top with rocket lettuce after taken out of the oven. ❤

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VEGAN Summer Broccoli Salad

I made this salad the other day and wanted to share the recipe with you all – proving that Vegan food can be SOO TASTY!
I am not a Vegan, however I am ‘preferably’ Vegetarian. Meaning, I prefer the option of eating vegetarian however, I am not opposed to trying or having meat if it is presented in front of me. I feel there is no need to be labeled as a food type, but more so enjoy whatever foods make you feel happy! ENJOY!

Recipe (Makes a HUGE BOWL! maybe 4 days worth)

Dressing : Put all in blender and blend till smooth
1.5 cups                  Cashews (Soaked for 2 hours then drained)
0.5 cup                   Water
1 Teaspoon            Chopped Garlic
2 Tablespoons      Maple Syrup
2 Tablespoons      Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Teaspoon             Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
                                  Ground Black Pepper

Salad : Put all in bowl once cold and mix in dressing ❤
2                                 Broccoli Bunches (lightly steamed)
1                                  Bunch Kale (leaves only)
200g                          Organic fruit, seed and nut (Almonds, Sunflower Seeds,                                        Pumpkin Seeds, Dried Cranberries, Sultanas)
1/2                              Small Roasted Pumpkin (In coconut oil)
200g                          TOFU – pan fried in coconut oil (flavour of your choice – I                                                             chose spicy)

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Thank You

I haven’t written in a while and I feel that this post Miss Pole Australia hype is the perfect time to update you all on how I am going and to say some big thank you’s.

I know a lot of you have become concerned for my health due to a recent weight drop and yes, I am aware that I am much smaller than I have been for a while, however I do want to let you all know that I am slowly on the mend mentally and have successfully put about 2kg back on!
My recent weight loss was triggered by a number of things and my most recent overseas trip, of which I have previously written about in my blog being extremely ‘home sick’, is when the avalanche caught speed.

During my time away, I lost my appetite and found that the only thing making me feel comfortable was running – both of which were bad habits of my past that caused more damage than good. I had felt like my spark had been stolen and I had become a lifeless emotional wreck.
By the time I arrived at Pole Expo Vegas, I had become so detached and absent, so much so, that my memory of the whole event feels like a blur. I remember 5 minutes before I performed for the Bad Kitty fashion show, I was huddled over in tears to the incredibly supportive Trisha Stone, feeling so fragile, and both emotionally and physically exhausted.
The trip made me realise, that I do have the power and choice to say no to things. No to travel, no to teaching, no to performing. I had got so caught up in wanting to please everyone and saying yes all the time, that I didn’t have any sparkles left for myself.

After I returned home, I began school straight away and I love it!! I am so happy to have taken then time to focus on something that I have always wanted to do. I have found it so liberating to have re-evaluated my self worth to realise I do have control over what I want to do and sometimes saying no is the right decision. I am so grateful to have some amazing people in my life standing by me and looking out for me when I need it the most. So here begins the thank you’s.

Thank you firstly to the Bad Kitty team. My sponsors – Trisha and Jack for hugging me and holding me up when I was falling down. Thank you to Lou Landers and Carlie Hunter for pepping me up and giving me life when I thought I was hopeless. Thank you Prana for your extremely kind words just before I got on to the stage. You really made me feel so much love. Thank you to all the other team members Mina, Nadia, Natoli, Sam Star just to name a few that were there by my side.

A special mention also to Chris Talbot (Blue Phoenix), Jedda Jordan, Justine McLucas, Suwasit, Sergia, Chilli Rox and Andrea Ryff who have all spent time listening to me and  making sure that I am doing ok and staying happy. You all have such warm and beautiful souls!

Thank you to Maddie Sparkle and Shimmy for all the hugs and support and for always offering your time to me. You both make me feel extremely wanted and loved!

Thank you to Marion Crampe, my idol, my sister, my fairy. I am grateful that you are by my side and always looking out for me even when you live so far away!

I want to thank my Blackbird Family. Thank you Fontaine, who has inspired me for years for taking the time to talk to me and look out for me making sure that everything was ok! Thank you Olga for always being a great support and nurturing figure in my life. Thank you Gina for always believing in me when I didn’t and for the spontaneous messages that brighten my day 🙂

I also want to say thank you to all of my fans, supporters and students for all your kind words! I can’t thank you guys enough for giving me the career I had always dreamed of! I have learnt my lesson than sometimes when you get what you wish for it can bite you in the bum, but I have come to terms with finding the balance and am looking forward to continuing on this path with you all!

And finally, a massive thank you to Andrea James Lui. I have always said that you are my rock. But man, you really are. Through thick and thin, through laughs and cries, you are just always there and such a genuine friend! I can’t explain how thankful I am that I have met you and I am so grateful that I have such a strong, beautiful and powerful role model by my side.

I know I have probably missed some incredible people out because I have been in a whirlwind of an emotional state but thank you to everyone who has given me their time, expressed concerns, listened, hugged or chatted to me! I am looking up and excited for the future and what it has to bring with this new valued perspective!

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This photo says everything ❤
Thank you Leslie Liu for capturing this moment.

It’s time to make a change 

Before I embarked on my latest travel adventure – a tour of Colorado, Mexico and Vegas – I noticed I was experiencing a very different feeling than usual. Instead of the usual excitement and anticipation of the incredible journey I was about to have, I felt extremely hesitant and deflated. Having only recently returned from an amazing previous trip of New York, Texas, Switzerland and Ibiza, I felt like I was just about settled back in at home and before I knew it I was packing again. 


Now to most, this travelling life seems like one that you could only dream of, with beaches, pole, food and friends, however, there are some downsides to the travelling life that can really begin to take their toll. Now this is not to sound ungrateful as I am so happy to have met the people I have, seen the places I’ve seen, experienced the journeys I have been on, but sometimes the constant airports, unknown beds, languages, foreign foods, limited training access and strange work schedules can really be exhausting. I am a very frequent and easy going traveller, having spent the majority of my life on an aeroplane and never once felt this ‘homesickness’ before, so it came to be as quite a shock. It was as if my longing for a little stability hit me with a tonne of bricks and it pulled on my heart strings to want to go home. Even sipping on pina coladas and watching the sunset in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico couldn’t shake this longing to be back in Melbourne. 


Just before I left on my trip, I had began waitressing at a small cafe near my house and I love it. This refreshing environment  of meeting people, remembering orders and connecting to the world again has been so amazing as many of you can understand being trapped in the bubble of pole dancing can really tunnel your vision! I have also just signed up to begin a 4 year degree in Naturopathy starting as soon as I am to return from my trip. I think because I was so excited to begin this new chapter of my life that I forgot to enjoy the end of the previous chapter. I almost didn’t even want to finish the chapter in anticipation of what was to come in the next. Never before did I think that the excitement of starting my degree would take place of the excitement of a world tour but it happened right before my eyes this very trip and it really confirmed to me that it’s right decision to make a change and turn this new leaf.


This doesn’t mean I will leave pole completely (I don’t think that would ever happen) however it does mean I will limit my travelling and touring for some time and will continue learning, developing and forming a future for myself in the health and fitness industry. 

I hope you all understand and I can’t wait to meet you in the future when I do happen to pop up in your city 😘

Lots of Love 

Amy Hazel xx 

You can choose to be Happy :D

There are many factors in our lives that shape the way we feel everyday. Whether it be our family, friends, work, hobby, food or weather etc, each of these variables produce a wide range of emotions for us to feel both positive and negative. Although all these elements play a part in creating how we feel, there is only one decision maker within our selves that can truly decide our feelings. YOU ARE!


After coming back to freezing, rainy, wintery Melbourne after my beautiful trip to sunny Ibiza, I couldn’t help but still be happy about where I was and the things that I achieved. One morning, I woke up nice and early, made myself a smoothie and watched some news (as I usually do every morning) when my housemate moped out of the room grunting ‘it’s such a horrible day outside’. Now this really annoyed me as my happy vibe-ing morning was immediately reminded about how cold and wet it was outside. The comment made me think about the way in which people categorise rain and cold with being so negative. Something that is so beyond our control yet we let it control so much of our emotion. Rain and winter happens to nearly every country around the world yet it can bring such negative energy to those within it. So why do we make ourselves feel unhappy when its raining? It is our decision to feel happy or sad in the rain and cold so why more often then not do we choose to feel unhappy when there is nothing we can do about mother nature?


Now this is not only about how weather makes us feel, I wanted to touch on much deeper subjects. Time and time again I find myself listening to the problems and issues of my friends and students, constantly offering feedback and advice to get them through their tough times. At one stage I was even called ‘the human sponge’ as I would soak up all the problems and motivate people to power on. It is something that I do love to do and the lives of others intrigues me a lot however most of the time, the problem that is causing their unhappiness is a factor of which is out of their control. When something is out of your control, as much as you would like to think that you can change it/make it better/take it back, you cannot change it. The only thing you can change is how you personally feel about it. Your feelings are the number one thing you have 100% control over. Yes, each factor I spoke about earlier can push and pull you to feel different things however you are the final decision maker that can decide weather or not you are going to allow that factor impact you or not.


Now I am not saying to never feel emotion again – that would be just silly! I am saying that it is healthy to feel all different emotions throughout your life and to explore your feelings but don’t dwell in the negatives. Simple things like rain, bad food, a break up, a death they are all things that happen in life and as sad as they may make you feel, they are not the be all and end all of your life. The next day will arrive and you will be the creator of your feelings again. I am a big believer in the law of attraction – you attract the thoughts you possess. Think positive and positive things will happen. Think negative and negative things will happen. Don’t let the uncontrollable variables and hurdles control your life. Each day is new and can be created into something wonderful if you choose to.


My grandpa always says ‘It’s a good day, because I woke up’. It is a quote I always think about when something gets me down because it is so true. If you can wake up, breathe and live…. then why the hell not make it a good day.

 Hope I can put some smiles on faces 🦄😘💜

Xx Amy Hazel

 

 

Help for ED recovery

Recovering from an Eating Disorder is definitely one of the hardest battles I have ever had to fight in my life. Not only do you have a constant mental war between your demon and food but noticing the physical changes in your body makes you feel like a puffer fish about to explode! As much as your dietician/friends/family are telling you to eat and saying ‘you are going to be ok’, for some reason you still think you are different to everyone else and that food works differently in your body than it does to theirs. The feeling of food in your system sparks an anxiety attack that tells your demon you are going to put those calories straight on to your body as fat and you will instantly become fat and ugly. It took me many months to overcome these changes in my lifestyle and with many relapses and depressive thoughts throughout the process, I came out the other end and found the light!

After recovering, I decided that I wanted to help others suffering with an ED.
Now, I am not saying that I am now invincible and don’t still have thoughts of going back to my ED because I believe that it is something that will stay with me forever, however I have learnt that it’s about knowing how to control those negative feelings and balancing your life with a whole lot of goodness with a little bit of guilt free treating.

So I wanted to give you some general help to get you or that you can use to help your friend through this tough time!

ALWAYS REMEMBER – Quantity of amazing food is never an issue. Don’t be afraid to overeat wholesome nourishing foods that will benefit your body. If you are hungry, eat as many nutrient dense foods as you can!
But now, the hardest part that needs to be addressed when it comes to recovery is being comfortable with eating the ‘fear’ foods and being ok with having a little bit of bad amongst all the good. The best thing to do is an 80/20 ratio. This means as long as 80% of your daily routine is wholesome, great foods, 20% can be little treats and enjoyment. The little fun spark in your day to keep you mentally stable, happy and socially enjoyable to be around!

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When you treat yourself you won’t get fat. Your body is an amazing machine that continually tries to stay as regular as possible, so 1 treat here and there throughout the week isn’t going to make you change into a puffer fish (as much as it may feel like it at the time). Bingeing comes from being deprived of the things you actually enjoy… With the thought (if I have 1 then I have to have them all because this is the last time I will ever be allowed it)
Always remember, all food is available to you all the time. You aren’t any different to other humans where if you eat a bar of chocolate you will double in size 🙂 the body doesn’t work like that. If you were to continually have 3 unhealthy meals a day 7 days a week then you may gain a kg or 2 over the next month or so but it will not happen overnight and I can guarantee you probably wouldn’t be eating 3 unhealthy meals a day 7 days a week anytime soon.
If you are an active person, your body needs constant replenishment of proteins, carbs, fats and minerals. Try to avoid diet foods as they are usually packed with sugars, the more wholesome a food is the more satisfied your tummy will feel. The more ‘diet’ the food is, the more you are going to want more. Sugar peaks and dips is what causes the body to crave more and more! So eat foods that are as natural as possible and you can guarantee your demon will not want so many extra calories.

So, I know It will be hard accepting small bodily changes as you begin to nourish your body more and more but always remember people love you for you and your personality .. Not how your body looks. Even within this year I have fluctuated 5 kg up and down…. And I still have the same friends, the same lifestyle and the same goals.
Don’t fear eating, some days you WILL be hungrier, so eat what your body is wanting, other days you may not be as hungry and subsequently you won’t eat as much…

Surround yourself with positive vibes and never be afraid to reach out for help.

I hope this gives you the light you need to get through the tough times. I hope to be helping more and more of you in the future ❤

Taking A Break is Great

Slow and steady wins the race

A few days ago, a student messaged me with extreme excitement about the improvement in her needle scale flexibility that she had discovered during class that night. After a whole month of being away from classes due to performance work, she had found her goal of the ‘needle scale’ so much closer within reach than the previous month however she couldn’t understand how that was possible! I told her that taking a break from extreme stretching can be very beneficial to the body as it has time to recover and that I take breaks from time to time too! Like some of you may think also, she found it hard to believe that someone as flexible as me would take breaks from stretching!
This whole conversation made me curious to find out when the last time I had actually practiced a chest stand was. I picked up my phone and scrolled through all my pictures to find a photo 4 months ago of when I was properly training my chest stand!


Many people think that when it comes to contortion training, if you don’t use it you lose it. However, I think it actually works in reverse – if you ABUSE it, you will LOSE it. Stretching is about
1. getting into a familiar posture
2. stretching to the next limitation and familiarizing yourself with this new-found pain
3. becoming comfortable with that feeling
4. recovering from the whole experience


Photographer : Jasmine Monrouxe

Now, When I say to take a break I don’t mean from stretching in general, I mean taking a break from contorting – especially contorting into the same shapes. For example, I hardly ever train my Rainbow Marchenko. My body, knows the steps because I have learnt it before. My body knows the amount of time it takes to get into it, and knows where it needs to be on the pole. As long as I am stretching daily and contorting every now and then, my flexibility won’t go away from me and my Rainbow will always be accessible. If I were to train my Rainbow Marchenko every week there would be no doubt that one of my hips would sit higher than the other, my back would be out-of-place and one shoulder/leg would be more flexible than the other alongside all the bad things that happen with training one side! Plus, I would have no time to train all the other awesome flexible moves out there in my 1 contorted training session a week.

So, When I train contortion (once a week or sometimes every 2 weeks), I pick 1-2 poses to focus on for that session. First, I get into the shape that I am familiar with, I then find my new limit within the posture (maybe just a centimeter further than the last), after holding it/pulsing the posture for a few breaths I then repeat it 3-4 times (plus conditioning in between). When I am finished, I leave the posture for 2-4 weeks or even months before trying it again. In doing this, my body meets the new sensation of pain, has time to familiarise myself with it without abusing the shape, and then has time to recover afterwards.


All in all, the moral is – Don’t spend too long focusing on that one shape – Eagle, Rainbow, Needle Scale, Chest stand etc.. Stretch as a whole body as much as you can, and when you are feeling super bendy (hydrated, well rested and happy) then pick a couple of shapes you want to work on changing it up from week to week. The more you focus on that 1 particular shape, the more your body gets tired, ruined and broken and it can feel like a constant yo yo trying to get it! Forget it for a month and then come back to it and you may be pleasently surprised at what all your other stretching has helped you achieve! 

Where Do I Belong?

I recently came across an article that I found extremely relatable about the Not-so-glamorous life of a Third Culture Kid. This article was forwarded to me by my best friend of whome I grew up with in Hong Kong but now currently lives in Scotland. Like myself, we are part of a culture that involves travel, change and constant new beginnings. Having lived in Hong Kong for 15 years, England for 1 year (university), Melbourne for 7 years (5 at boarding school) and having travelled most of the world both with family and alone, I can definitely say I have lived a very fulfilling life and I am only 23.

 (Czech Republic)

Common questions I get asked all the time are things like ‘Why do you sound American?’ ‘If you grew up in Hong Kong, do you speak Japanese?’ ‘Where do you call home?’ To answer those questions, my accent is a hybrid of every accent in the world due to my ‘International’ schooling in Hong Kong of which both teachers and students were from all corners of the globe. Do I speak Japanese? No. I’ve not even visited Japan. The native language of Hong Kong is Cantonese (A chinese dialect) and no I don’t even know how to speak Cantonese other than simple food ordering, taxi directing and swearing phrases. Schools in Hong Kong teach Mandarin as it is the main International Business Trade language if you want to make your millions in the Chinese market. But honestly, you could live in Hong Kong without a knowledge of the language and you wouldn’t have a problem. And lastly, where do I call home. This is what brings me to write this blog.

 
(Hiking in Hong Kong)

One of the phrases from the article I read this morning really connected to me. It was that of ‘we travel through so many places and so many cultures that we simultaneously belong to everywhere and to nowhere.’ Having travelled much of the world before I had even turned 20 and travelling on at least 4 plane journeys a year since I was a baby, as privelidged as that may seem (and I am so grateful for all that I have seen), I have never really felt like I had one place to be ‘home’. My ever changing life of travel and exploration was born into me making it hard to see how I could settle for just one place. I used to say home is where I am sleeping that night often saying “lets go home” but in fact reffering to the hotel room or friends house I was staying at for the night. I now have come to realise that for me, home is where I feel loved by friends or family. Home is an internal feeling rather than a physical place. As long as I feel welcome, I can feel comfortable and at ‘home’.

  (Best friend and my mum in Hong Kong)


Another phrase that got to me in the article was that of ‘We can never be a lasting part of anyone’s life.’ I have always found it hard to meet new people or to fit into ‘groups’ because my love of travel, change and new environments never kept me planted in one place long enough to form a strong enough bond to anyone. Constantly meeting lots of people and sharing experiences with everyone but not connecting with anyone in particular. I am lucky to have best friends that don’t need constant reminders that we are friends. The type of friends that I don’t see for 4 years, dont talk to for months at a time but knowing that they are there unconditionally if you need someone.

  

You could almost describe the life of a third culture kid as the life of a gypsy. Floating from this to that, moving from here to there, loving everyone but noone in particular and resting our heads whereever the wind blows. This is how I feel my life is, with no major triumphant life goal to achieve, no real focus on just one project at a time and no real vision of how my life should or is meant to be. Natalie Jones (author of the article) wrote ‘We are only temporary players in everyone else’s permanent existance.’ This is the gypsy life. This is my life. I do not belong, I just befriend.

 
(Lou Landers and I on Pole Cruise)

A week in the life of Amy Hazel

From day to day and from week to week my routine is never the same but here is an indication of what a week in the life of me sometimes looks like! I monitored my week from Wednesday 2nd March to Tuesday 8th of March to let you all in some of the things that a week in the life of me consists of including, food, training and classes.

 

MONDAY

8am Breakfast:

Organic no sugar Meusli
1 Banana
Handfull Blueberries
100g Coconut Yogurt
 

9:30am Hot Flow Yoga at Bodhi and Ride

12pm Lunch:
soy latte
2 slices of vegan cheddar cheese
trail mix (dried figs, almonds, pecans, pistachios, coconut, sunflower seeds)

1pm Plan for classes

4pm Snack: Salted Caramel Protein Omnom Ball made by Gina Eom

  

6:30pm Hoop Level 2 Class at Blackbird

7:30pm Pole level 3+4 Dance class at Blackbird

8:30pm Contortion class at blackbird

  

9:30pm Dinner:
YOR Health – Protein Shake Vanilla + SuperGreens + Berry Blast + Fibre Plus
2 slices of Vegan Cheddar Cheese with 1 dried fig

TUESDAY

7am Breakfast:

YOR Health – Protein Shake Vanilla + SuperGreens + Berry Blast + Fibre Plus with coconut water
1 banana
No sugar Muesli
Soy Latte

9:30am Private lesson at Blackbird

12pm Lunch at Holy Bowly Superfood Bar:

Protein Acai Bowl
Kombucha (Ginger and Lemon)

 

1:30pm Train routines and lesson plan

5pm Large handfull of Train Mix (figs, Almonds, Pistachios, Pacans, coconut)
Salted Caramel Protien Omnom Ball

6:30pm Pole level 1 + 2 Dance at Blackbird

7:30pm Hoop Level 1 Class at Blackbird

9:30pm Dinner:

Large Can of Chilli Tuna
½ Avocado
Cherry tomatos
Beetroot Sourkraut

WEDNESDAY

7am – walk to Markets and do Grocery Shopping

8am – Breakfast:

Organic no sugar Meusli
1 Banana
Handfull Blueberries
100g Coconut Yogurt

  

10am – Physio at Trademark Therapy with Tal Moram


11am – Soy Latte and Window Shopping

  

11:30am – GYM workout:

3×10 deadlift, kip, shoulderpress, barbell squat sequence (20kg Barbell)

3×10 russian lunges (8kg dumbells)

3×10 hip thrusts (20kg dumbells)

3×10 russian deadlifts (9kg dumbells)

3×20 step up jumps over a box

3×30 calf raises

3×10 kettlebell swings (12kg)

3×10 sumo squats (16kg)

3×10 oblique crunches (20kg)

3×20 swiss ball crunches

  

1:30pm – Lunch:

YOR Health – Protein Shake Vanilla + SuperGreens + Berry Blast + Fibre Plus with coconut water

Fuji Apple

Handfull of Trail Mix (Almonds, Pecans, Coconut Shreds, Figs, Pistachios)

2-6pm – Organise stuff!
6Pm – Dinner:

Mushroom, Zuchinni, Broccoli, Broccolini, Carrot, Choy Sum Stir Fry
Spicy Tofu
Sauce: Maple Syrup, Tamari Sauce, Garlic, Sesame Oil

 

7:30pm – Snack:
2 Dates, Slice of Vegan Cheddar Cheese

8pm – Catch up on Reality TV

THURSDAY

6:15am Hot Flow Yoga at Bodhi & Ride

  

8am Breakfast:

YOR Health – Protein Shake Vanilla + SuperGreens + Berry Blast + Fibre Plus with coconut water

11:30am Lunch at Urban Projuice:
1 poached egg
Scrambled Tofu
Broccoli, Beans and Peas, Smashed Avocado, Mushrooms
Soy Latte

1-4pm Train Pole and Stretch

  
4pm 2 dates and a slice of Vegan Cheddar Cheese

4-6pm Plan Classes

6:30 Hoop 1 + 2 Dance Class at Blackbird 

9pm Dinner:
Mushroom, Zuchinni, Broccoli, Broccolini, Carrot, Choy Sum Stir Fry
Spicy Tofu
Sauce: Maple Syrup, Tamari Sauce, Garlic, Sesame Oil


FRIDAY

8am Breakfast:

Organic no sugar Meusli
1 Banana
Handfull Blueberries
100g Coconut Yogurt

9:30am Gym :
30 min run (11km/h)
Stretch 30 mins


11am 2 dates and a slice of Vegan Cheddar Cheese

12:30pm Lunch:
Vegetable Pattie (Chickpea, Kale, Pumpkin)

½ Avocado

Beetroot Kraut

  

2:30pm Spray Tan at ‘The Waxxx Room’

3pm 2 dates and a slice of Vegan Cheddar Cheese

3-6pm Watch ‘Orange is the new black’ TV series


6pm Dinner:
Stir Fry Broccoli, Broccolini, Asaparagus in Sesame Oil, Tamari and Maple Syrup

8pm Apple and 1 Tablespoon Peanutbutter

SATURDAY

7am 1 hour Walk along the beach

8:15am Breakfast:
Organic no sugar Meusli
1 Banana
Handfull Blueberries
100g Coconut Yogurt
Soy Latte

11am Hand Stand training

  

12pm Train routine for Felix Cane Championships

2pm Lunch:

Handful of Trail Mix (Almonds, Pecans, Pistachios, Figs, Coconut shreds)

Pure Eden Boost Juice (Apple, Pineapple, Grapes, Kale, Spinach, Cucumber, Lemon, Banana, Mint, Coconut Water, Ice and Greens Booster)
5-7pm Photoshoot with ‘The Black Light’

  

8pm Dinner with Andrea Lui at Irori:

Sushi and Sashimi Platter
Edamame
Vegetable Dumplings

SUNDAY

7:45am Breakfast:
Bircher Muesli (overnight soaked in coconut yogurt and coconut water)
With Banana, Peanutbutter and Blueberries

9:30am Gym:
3×10 deadlift, kip, shoulderpress, barbell squat sequence (20kg Barbell)
2×10 russian deadlifts (10kg dumbells)
20 Burpees
15 Chin ups
30 min run 11km/h 

11am Walk Charlie in the park

  

1pm Lunch at Urban Projuice with Andrea Lui:
Matcha Smoothie Bowl (with Banana, Kiwi, Strawberries, Figs, Bukinis, Goji Berries, Coconut, Chia Seeds, Sunflower Seeds and Almonds)
Golden Latte (Tumeric, Cinnamon, Ginger, Honey and Almond Milk)
Kombucha (Ginger and Tumeric)

  

2pm Pick up some fruit and vegetables from the market

3:30pm 1 pint Apple Cider

6pm Dinner:

Vegetable Pattie (Chickpea, Kale,Carrot)
½ Avocado
Beetroot Kraut
Cherry Tomatoes

2 Slices of Vegan Cheddar Cheese and 4 dates

7:30pm Some Hulla Hooping and TV watching