Stigma & How It Ruins Lives

I’ll be honest; this is my heaviest blog to date and I have no idea how to approach it, but something in me is yearning to do it. I’m touching on a subject that is wildly opinionated and oh so sensitive. I’m nervous, you’re nervous. Let’s see if I can royally mess it up.


I want to talk about a silent killer. No not the hidden sugar in ketchup, but stigma.


There is always a reason why I write a blog. So let me give you the back-story. I was recently speaking with a girlfriend and I wanted to share with her something, something about myself, something intimate. **cue vulnerability. But before I had the opportunity to, she made a remark about a unrelated topic, I’m not going to tell you but lets just call her Suzy and for the sake of this blog lets just say she said something like “yeah but that’s what gay men do.”


Instantly I thought:

  1. Suzy, you are ignorant.
  2. If my eyes don’t deceive me, you are not a gay man so how do you know.
  3. And lastly, now I know that I will never share with you, because you have listened to gossip, media, hearsay, and mean opinions and guess what – you’ve applied stigma. You’re small-minded and now I think less of you.


Disclaimer: Suzy doesn’t exist and she never said that. I sometimes create mean friends for the impact of this blog.


Stigma is a mark, a blemish, and a scar that cannot be removed.


But you know what gets me fired up the most? Stigma isn’t you (or me) thinking. It’s not an autonomous thought. Stigma is a brainwashed, snow balled effect of misinformed Chinese whispers.


I don’t believe we create our ideas from thin air; Stigma is a mob mentality.


Mob mentality, describes how people are influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviours. Examples of mob mentality include nationalism, globalism, stock market trends, superstition, home décor, festivals, and clothing trends. And then we have mental mob mentality – people influenced by their peers to adopt certain thoughts, here we go…

  • Stigma around women who show their gorgeous bodies off and have a lot of sex (slut shaming)
  • Stigma around gay men and HIV
  • Stigma around sex workers
  • Stigma around single mums
  • Stigma around people that went to a high profile elite university
  • Stigma around women that are 40 and childless and/or marriage-less
  • Stigma around men that are 40 and bachelors
  • Stigma around people that go to the gym a lot
  • Stigma around people that don’t go the gym
  • Stigma around alcoholics
  • Stigma around addicts
  • Stigma around people who live in low income suburbs
  • Stigma around children from domestic or sexual abuse.


To only name a few….


But how do I know that there is stigma? Because as you’re reading those words, you instinctively conjure up previous associations of what we know (or think we know) about them. We can’t help it. Our whole lives and the way we think sometimes is, and has been a mob mentality.


I think that if you have NOT experienced any of the above, you actually don’t have an educated opinion on it, would I be right? (For example: if you have stigma about alcoholism for example, make sure you’ve been a full blown alcoholic to be able to speak up so well informed on the matter)


I don’t even know why I’m writing this blog or where it’s going. I started it with an optimistic oomph and now it seems to be dying on its derriere. I’m a woman aware of stigma around her and a voice to say I see it, but no suggestions on how to change it. If anything, lets just start to talk about it with ourselves and our loved ones and see where we have been placing stigma and judging people close to us because of it.


I’ll leave you with this – I feel that the more stigma we place on people and their circumstances, the more we:

a) Shame them into not sharing with us their lives, their troubles and even their joys.

b) We narrow the scope of people we can relate to, connect with and learn from.

c) We are ultimately small minded and annoying to be around.


Over and out


Identity & Being Yourself

Imagine me, one Tuesday afternoon, chilled out to the max, work complete and looking for something to do. Sounds harmless yes? Wrong. I stumbled onto my Instagram page and thought it would be a grand idea to redo my bio. Fast-forward 3 hours later – me, rocking silently in a corner questioning who I am and where I belong in this world not to mention this social media sphere. All I needed to top it off was a dinner party and someone to ask “and what do you do for a living?” *cue full-blown anxiety attack.


At one point I deleted the entire Instagram bio and just wrote ‘human’.


The truth of the matter is, I haven’t known where I belong in the industries I’m in for a while now. I am majority writer, long time personal trainer, absolute Author of a cookbook, on the side uni-student, with undertones of a debaucherous rebel dying to express herself on her social platforms. But I am a lone ranger. I keep my head down and work away in all of these areas without being fanatical about one or the other. Hence confusion with how and where and when to express myself and what I do.


Recently I’ve been scared to post anything but fitness in case my fitness followers don’t continue to follow, scared of posting my writing in fear of my fitness readers not finding relevance, scared of posting non-food inspiration to my cookbook followers. And scared of posting a wildly irrelevant post that represents me but yet has no place anywhere.


For too long I have been scared to publicly change identities.




That is ludicrous.


And has me exhausted.


With some self-reflection I see it’s a bigger case of letting go. I have been known as a famous cover girl, model and public figure personal trainer and I have followers that have followed me for nearly ten years because of that. It’s sometimes difficult to let that go and move into a new phase of my life without fear that people (my followers) wont follow suit. I used to be a full time personal trainer and part time writer, and now I’m a full time writer and part time personal trainer. I asked myself, why is the struggle so real to show that?


Because, history does in fact define us. Our previous successes make us who we are and we undoubtedly cling to them as an identity. So transitioning can be resistant. Then lets discuss labelling, labelling is a huge business nowadays – every app or platform or subscription has a “describe who you are” section.


What I realised was, I needed to define what I’m passionate about:

  1. Inspiring women to be fit and healthy.
  2. Inspiring women to wear their personalities in the form of their fashion.
  3. Inspiring women to break the societal mold and create a unique and exceptionally diverse life.
  4. Inspiring women to have self-expression, equality, sexual autonomy, and empowerment with their bodies, therefore creating an insight into nonconventional ways to live their lives.
  5. Writing about all of the above.


I’m going to set you homework – I’d like you to do the same. Write down 5 things that you are passionate about. Then take a look at them, and see how they light you up but also that they don’t define you, they are not your set identity, they are changeable and in ten years they may not be you – and guess what? THAT’S OK. You are an ever-evolving human, your interests’ change, and your mentality changes and so do your goals. You are not defined by an Instagram bio, resume, a job title or a fixed idea of how your life was or is.


This is a bigger picture I feel, one that I cannot even attempt to attack here on my wee blog. Instead, I’ll just leave you with this…we are at the height of a decade; a decade of judgment, image conceptualization, and identity crisis. We are encouraged to chase our dreams, be authentic and embrace ourselves, but then body shaming, slut shaming, and labeling are higher than ever.


We are so confused, on the brink of a breakthrough.


The world is screaming “BE YOURSELF, but be careful…because we will judge you for it”. I refuse. Instead of being someone you follow because of a label, I’d like just to be followed because I’m another human, doing her thing, without a rule book – and if I can be your relatable mentor then that’s pretty cool too.


You will have noticed this blog transforming, into a lifestyle blog – not just health and fitness. So I do hope you come along for the ride.


Until next time, be unapologetically you.

Penny xxx


12 Ways To Reduce Cortisol & Tummy Fat

Cortisol, along with norepinephrine and epinephrine are our fight or flight response hormones and are produced by our adrenal glands. Each of these stress hormones are released in different ratios depending on the stress you are faced with. The hormone Cortisol can present itself in many ways. Most people think that cortisol is simply being stressed, or feeling stressed emotionally, but there are many more in depth causes to stress. When our cortisol is high it can accumulate body fat around your mid section, especially your umbilical area.

Things that can disrupt cortisol levels are anger, conflict, aggression, diabetes, dieting, excessive caffeine and sugar, lack of sleep and skipping breakfast, just to name a few. Foods that raise cortisol are alcohol, caffeine, gluten, licorice and excessive sodium. Foods that help reduce cortisol are high fibre foods, whey protein, vitamin C, and phosphatidylserine (BSE), which is a natural chemical, found in mackerel, herring, chicken, beans, pork, leafy greens and beef. Cortisol is probably the hardest hormone to control because, well, it’s out of our control. I suggest along with picking cortisol friendly foods, addressing where in your life elevated cortisol may be coming from. Eliminate stressful situations, relationships and habits.

Cortisol And Digestion
You may not think that cortisol impacts food and digestion but it does. When you are stressed, whether it’s a lion in the room or a deadline at work (same thing to your adrenals) your body stops producing insulin so you have plenty of glucose ready to fight, and relaxes the muscles of the stomach, you body is smart, it would rather conserve energy to save your life, from your deadline, than digest food.

To manage stress and decrease the body’s output of the hormone cortisol, follow my top 12 ways to reduce physical stress and ultimately trim down your tummy.

1. Stop Doing Cardio On Machines.
Cardio equipment such as the stepper, cross trainer, bike and treadmill give off ‘dirty’ electricity and cause cortisol to rise in your system, instead, get outdoors and enjoy your workout.
2. Avoid Food Allergens.
When you eat something that your body has intolerance to it causes cortisol to rise. Avoid your known allergies and steer clear of common food that causes intolerances such as: over consumption of eggs, artificial flavors and additives, artificial sweetener’s, dairy, wheat, gluten, and soy.
3. Avoid Foods That Are Unhealthy.
This means processed and packaged foods, foods high in trans fats and sugar.
4. Ensure You Are Getting Enough Fibre.
Aim for at least 25g of fibre a day. Low fibre leads to poorer insulin health and an increase in tummy fat.
5. Eliminate relationship stress. This is a given, if you are in an unhappy relationship or experiencing emotional stress of some description it can effect your health, and ultimately your cortisol levels.
6. Fix Your Gut Flora.
If your gastrointestinal health is compromised it can lead to belly fat gain and elevated cortisol.
7. Limit Fructose In Your Diet To Only Fruit Sources.
Avoid all fructose corn syrup.
8. Take Magnesium.
Magnesium helps to decrease cortisol and calm the body. Optimum times for magnesium is post workout and before bed.
9. Eliminate Work Stress.
This isn’t as simple as it seems, as we sometimes cannot control the work environment we spend so much time in. I would suggest reevaluating your working relationships, time management, and procedures to ensure your working day runs as smoothly as possible.
10. Drink More Water.
A major cause of elevated cortisol can be dehydration. To ensure you are hitting your required h2o target use a notepad to tally up your water consumption, your water requirements are dependent on your level of activity and body weight.
11. Commit Yourself To Achieving Excellence.
Change your mindset to that of a positive, can do attitude.
12. Relax!
Engage in activities that you find relaxing and calming. Such a massages, saunas, walks with girlfriends, reading a book, yoga, Pilates and stretching.

BioSignature Is Coming To Sydney!

I have exciting news for you! I’m taking The Hormone Connection love on tour!

I’ll be in Sydney the 25th to the 27th August* and I am super pumped to be hosting BioSignature Consultations. So if you’ve been dreaming of working with me and are wanting to revamp your metabolism, health, hormones, body and ultimately your quality of live – then NOW is your chance!

Included in your BioSignature Consultation will be…

Hormone Profile / Body Fat Analysis / Nutrition Plan / Supplement Plan / Personalised Lifestyle Plan – Sleep, Digestion, Toxin Load & Gut Health / Starter Pack eBook

For $250

So hands in the air if you’re ready for CHANGE? If you’re ready, Awesome! Send me an email and secure your Hormone Consultation* with me.

*limited spots available and 25% deposit required to reserve your spot.

Love & Hormones,


You Failed This Year? Awesome! – My Tips On How To End A Shit Year.

So I usually write up a happy, happy, fluffy, fluffy goal setting blog around this time of year for my followers. Riddled with goal crushing tips and tricks and a patronising undertone of how to be the best version of you, because this is your year, remember? (Side note, every year is your year – high five sista!)


But there seems to be some serious social hate surrounding poor 2016 that everyone seems to be getting on board with, so I figured a self righteous blog about writing S.M.A.R.T goals isn’t going to resonate with you. When sometimes the ugly truth is that we try a little better and yet another year drags by with us still no further along, and we start off the refreshed year with deep remorse for our decisions.


Lets touch firstly on all the articles, blogs and memes you’ve seen floating around the last few days. You know the ones, about 2016 taking all of legendary celebrities lives, or that 2016 can go to hell, or that it’s been a trying year for all. And if read the deeper articles there is some spooky stuff going on with numerology and chakras blah blah blah, and that’s cool too and probably has some decent backbone to it.


But what I want to talk to you about is how low we are all feeling. Yep, it’s real. You haven’t been imagining it; its there and we are all crawling to the start of 2017 on our knees with hope in our eyes that this unlucky year will leave us be.


Next, lets do some vulnerability check-ins shall we? Cause I love that shit and you guys love my real, awkward and no bull approach.


Here we go:


I have failed at some major things this year.


There I said it.


I have failed so hard and fast at some adult stuff this year, that I hit my head on the way down. I failed the deepest and darkest and hardest, so you could say I failed spectacularly, I probably failed the best, hang on, so I’m really the winner at failing?


Failing is so cool. I love failing, mainly because, if you know me through my blog or even personally, I am a story teller – through words in any way. I love a good dramatic and slightly fabricated story to make people feel lighter and the odd laugh at misfortune – because no one likes a story of brilliance and success all the time……boring, we like hardship and comedy combined. So every time I fail, I say to myself, that’s gunna be a great story. It also makes you more resilient for the mammoth future failures to come – yep spoiler alert, life is hard and you’re going to fail a lot.



On the flip side, this year has been phenomenal for me in areas I never expected.  Really exciting areas of my life and my personality have blossomed and I’ve learnt so much about myself as a person. So, granted 2016 in my best description, has “just been weird” but I am ending 2016 with clarity of who I am and what makes me happy, with a slight understanding of my place in the world around me and a decent approach of where I’m heading – not a down right comprehension of it all, but close enough, and that my friends, is all I need to transition into 2017.


So many people this time of year do a ‘close off’, they sweep the last year under the carpet and welcome in the next year, set some new goals and right off the year.  But what I would like you to do is to totally honor what you have failed at. Yes it has been a shit year, for some more than others. But I suggest you put your big girls pants on and reflect on what you’ve learnt, openly tell people “I failed this year, and I’m so ok with that”, and remember that no bad year is a waste – it is merely a layby year to the big, momentous years that shine through.


I said I wouldn’t do it – but here are my goal crushing tips for 2017:

  1. Fail a little harder, because it’ll make you even more awesome, and funny and interesting as a person.
  2. Do something that you haven’t done before. This could be eating a vegetable that you’ve never eaten before or trekking the Himalayas, your choice.
  3. Drink more water and get more sleep, because we all need that.
  4. Get your chakra sorted sweetheart.


So yes, due to numbers and the moon and chakras, we have all had a really trying, exhausting and stressful year.  So what. We’re all adults, doing our best, with what we’ve got, and failing along the way.


So hands in the air if you failed this year? Awesome! I am so very proud of you. Tell me all about it! Please send me an email and share your failure and see if you can make me laugh.


Pen xxx