School Lunches Made Super Easy!


Here we go!  Another school year is about to kick off.  This time of year is really hectic for many women, not just mums.  Women returning to work after a holiday, returning to university / study and those finishing study and entering the full time work force for the very first time.   For those women with children, January is the time that becomes a little crazy – booklists, uniforms, parent / teacher interviews, school shoes and so forth.  For me, it’s a big year as my daughter is starting year 12, eldest son commences senior school (year 10) and my baby starts high school. :-(.   I do very clearly remember when they started prep and the emotional roller coaster that conjured up inside of me!  So, todays post is especially for you :-).

Starting school for the first time is so scary for  little ones and parents.  A few of my clients  have commented that they were stressing over their little ones starting school because they had no idea what to pack in their school lunches each day.

Therefore, I have put together this super easy, ‘cheat sheet’ to help you get started.  Click here to download the pdf or print.

Try and keep it simple and remember  it will be sitting in a lunchbox for hours before being eaten.  So foods such as tomato on sandwiches doesn’t work to well and is best avoided.  In warmer months; cold packs, frozen juice boxes and water bottles work well and in cooler months; pasta in thermos jars are great!

The one tip that will help get through your morning easier, is prep!  Prep snacks and lunch boxes in advance, leaving the sandwich or roll to make up fresh the morning before school.   After a few days, you will become a master at it. :-).

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome – PCOS



(Image sourced from

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a complex condition, in Australia studies show this condition effects around 10% of childbearing age women.  Signs and symptoms for each woman varies, no two cases are identical therefore treatment is varied and is usually based on the individual’s symptoms.   At this stage PCOS is not fully understood and there is no cure for the condition, however there are additional health considerations, such as heart disease – which should not be ignored.

PCOS should not be viewed as a condition which ‘just is’ and left unmanaged.  External, physical signs may appear in some women such as skin tabs, darkened skin in bodily creases and excess of body hair;   there are various options/ treatments for some of these signs.   However, internal symptoms can manifest over time and when unmanaged, can begin to cause additional health concerns.

Dr Joham, an Endocrinologist at Monash University published a paper that discusses their study of 9,145 women in which they looked at the link between PCOS and asthma.  The study showed that those women who had PCOS and an increased BMI also suffered increased asthma symptoms. His research paper was presented in Boston at ENDO 2016.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is associated with an irregular menstrual cycle or a cycle which stops altogether.  Therefore, eggs cannot be released as they should, not only does this effect infertility but it can also cause the lining of the uterus to thicken over time and this can lead to an increased risk of additional health concerns in some women,  such as cancer.   In those women that experience irregular cycles, a contraceptive pill maybe prescribed to help regulate the cycle.  Your medical practitioner will be able to advise you if this is suitable for you. PCOS is also associated with insulin resistance, this needs to be carefully monitored as studies show there is a strong  link between PCOS and the development of diabetes, especially in those women who have a family history of the disease.

Current recommendations for PCOS include a healthy lifestyle and optimal weight management, as studies show that increased BMI has been linked to PCOS.  Regular exercise inline with the Australian Heart Foundation guidelines of thirty minutes of walking per day plus two to three sessions of  ‘vigorous’ exercise per week in addition to healthy eating.  Both of these combined will help to maintain a healthy visceral fat rating, BMI and waist measurement – to best manage your polycystic ovarian syndrome symptoms.

Speak to your medical practitioner about the options available for you.    Click here to access Westmead Hospital Information Sheet, which has been published by the Department of Women’s & Newborn Health.  This guide is really useful, contains detailed information and contacts to assist your further.

Donna x0x

Free 2b Me Fitness 4 Women


Westmead Hospital Information Service

Mothers & Newborn Department – PCOS Information Guide – Asthma Link to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

American Association of Clinical Endcrinologists –


Exercise During Pregnancy:

Specialised Class- Post and Pre Natal Exercise & Pilates.

Pre / Post Natal Exercise:

Exercise during pregnancy is not about being able to run a marathon nor should it be about taking up a new sport at a high intensity. Specialised  pre and post natal exercise has many benefits in a woman’s overall fitness program.

The benefits of exercise during pregnancy include both physical and mental aspects, including:

  1. General fitness maintained throughout the pregnancy ensures an easier transition back into an exercise program post birth. A higher level of fitness can also be very beneficial during the labor process.
  2. Self awareness, self esteem, self image are all very important issues for women both pre/ post natal. An increase of hormones, fatigue and body shape changes can effect a pregnant women and her emotional state. Exercising during pregnancy helps to ensure the woman feels healthy for her baby and herself. Exercise classes also ensure she mixes socially with others in her normal day to day routine.
  3. Maintaining a healthy weight gain is important for normal foetal growth and development. Regular exercise can help maintain this.
  4.  As the centre of gravity alters during pregnancy due to the weight gain increase and the body shape changes, which occur to accommodate the developing baby -it is really important to maintain good posture. A good posture also helps to ensure less pressure is placed on the lower back causing muscular pain.
  5. Strong core stabilising muscles help to prevent instability in the pelvis during pregnancy which can cause lower back pain and sciatica.
  6. Pelvic Floor exercises help to prevent excessive pelvic floor weakness following the birth.

It is important to speak to your Doctor before commencing an exercise program during pregnancy.  Once cleared by your GP, participating in regular pre/ post natal specialised classes delivered by a registered fitness professional who is qualified in pre/ postnatal exercise  can benefit you are your baby.

Free 2B Me Fitness 4 Women offers specialised pre/ post natal exercise and Pilates classes for women, capped at six ladies per class for personal care.

For more information call Donna 0413 805552

Specialist Trainer

Free 2B Me Fitness 4 Women

Women’s Pelvic Health

Pelvic Floor Health:

1 in 3 women suffer from weakened pelvic floor stress leakage following child birth.  The severity can differ greatly and is based on many varying factors.  Certain exercises and training programs can worsen the pelvic floor and if prolonged stress leakage can worsen and in some cases, can result in a prolapse.

Pelvic Floor Health educational programs inform women about their pelvic floor muscles and can help to strengthen these muscles, which can help with stress leakage concerns – leaving you to enjoy your day to day activities without any accidents.

Learning how to isolate the correct muscles is important and also, learning which exercises are safe to perform after the birth of your baby will also help you protect your pelvic floor muscles from prolapse.

Exercise and pelvic floor weakness, is something that should be considered carefully when returning to exercise. Not all forms of exercise are suitable for women with a weakened pelvic floor. It is very important to ensure you have had your eight week post natal check up and received the all clear from your Doctor before returning to exercise.

Exercises to avoid include:

*Tuck jumps


*Sit ups

*Jumping ( all jumping; burpees, star jumps etc)

Specialist trainers with qualifications in post natal and pelvic floor exercise, can help modify these exercises for safe variations.

Pelvic Floor Education:

Pelvic Floor Education is beneficial for all women, pelvic floor training during pregnancy is essential to ensure you protect these muscles leading up to the birth.   Post natal pelvic floor programs play a vital role in your overall Post natal recovery.  Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles following your child’s birth can help prevent leakage and in some cases, help to prevent a prolapse from occurring.

As women age the pelvic floor muscles naturally become weaker therefore, it is important for women to understand the location and function of these muscles, correct activation and practice regular pelvic floor exercises to help prevent weakened leakage during the senior years.

To obtain more information on pelvic floor health, call Donna on 0413 805552 for your free PF Recovery Kit. 

*Donna is a registered AUSREP, registered Exercise Professional Lv 3 with Fitness Australia. Donna holds a Dip of Fitness (Specialist / Rehab Trainer), certified in  Post Natal exercise and Pelvic Floor Programming and Remedial Pilates.