You learn to love every good second, every good minute, of any of those few good days you might have. You know it’s not important to dwell on the little things. You have more important things to worry about.   Being sick makes you weak. Being sick makes you strong.  Being sick gives you insight and knowledge about life as it eats away at your own. Being sick is the greatest blessing in disguise. It is so much more than just having an illness. It’s having your entire life be taken out of your control, and fighting to get it back. Some days it feels like that fight will never end.

Last week I was honoured to share a patients perspective to a community who may otherwise have never known the impact the work they do has on my wellness.   I spoke to some of the globes leading stars on the final day of conference for one of the drug companies that provides me with my life changing treatments.

It heard myself sharing that I was on the big river of DeNile for again.  That means that medically I am unwell again, yet I have been shoving all signs under a big carpet hoping I won’t trip up on it…..

The truth is that  that every winter I cruise down this river pretending I am normal and not that sick.  I thought it worked well for the most part but for the last few weeks the winter nights and reliance on others to function has been taking it’s toll.   The thing is with chronic health is that there is no end, loved ones have no finish, friends get sick of us cancelling last minute, we get sick of missing out.     Today I had to cancel some exciting catch ups I had planned because my health is telling me I need to save my spoons (see below) for other things… It sucks and I have been feeling frustrated that my health is taking a dip…

Social activities are constantly analysed for timing, carparking, noise levels, cancellation policies,  finish times, long range weather, accessibility, room temperature, seating arrangements, when to take meds so you aren’t sleeping at dessert, what clothes to wear, can you get to the toilet without help, have I rested enough to fight off any bugs, hows my immune system doing, ….. oh the list goes on and on…………  Getting ready is no longer a five minute job, you have to think about clothing fastners, shoe choice, comfortable clothes and still make time for hair and makeup!  For those with chronic health a simple dinner with friends seems overwhelming.

The flow on effect for loved ones is this whole chronic health business seems relentless. My heart goes out to all our incredible carers, most days I believe they are most affected, as they watch their loved ones pain, with deteriorating function, and no end in sight.   It is like a spaghetti junction with everything crossing over and medical teams offering little relief to the emotions that go with this.  Our medical team job is to keep us alive, prolonging our deterioration as much as possible, while we with our loved ones attempt to keep our heads and hearts in balance as our quality of life is diminishing.

It is so damn harrowing, frustrating and incredibly sad.   For the short term I am back on my crutches, booked in for a booster infusion and avoided any hospital admissions, I am being compliant and enjoying regular physio while I get this flare undercontrol…. I know I have the right medical team and a kick ass support team on my side.

Huge thanks again to my support team this week who have kept my head above water, I am excited to have booked a beach retreat break away in July and spending time focussing on what I can do!  The most important thing for me at the moment is to continue to do the work I love, in the controlled environment that allows me to function!    So there is hope, I will be ok with saying No so I can do the best I can everyday, with the energy I have, then I can go to bed feeling satisfied I gave the day everything I had!  That will keep me smiling and focusing on what I can do, and allow me to reflect on at least one awesome thing I acheived… Like today biking to my hairdresser and then taking my dog for his first every bike ride in a basket to visit my mum.

Smiles and Hugs to everyone who takes time to read this…

My blog has always been a way to relax my mind by getting it all out in black in white


Early in my RA diagnosis I stumbled across the Spoon Theory.  It is one of those blogs I found in the middle of a pain and insomnia crusade – you know those nights where the meds aren’t kicking in and you find yourself drifting to your online supports around the globe for inspiration and validation that’s this too shall pass… 

It is one of those theories that keeps me sane when at this time of year I am struggling to keep my head above water as my head is rearing to go and my body isn’t playing ball…

It is well worth a read.

Wikipedia helps me explain it – The spoon theory is a disability metaphor used to explain the reduced amount of energy available for activities of daily living and productive tasks that may result from disability or chronic illness. Spoons are widely discussed within autoimmune, disability, and other chronic illness communities.  Spoons are an intangible unit of measurement used to track how much energy a person has throughout a given day. Each activity requires a given number of spoons, which will only be replaced as the person “recharges” through rest. A person who runs out of spoons has no choice but to rest until their spoons are replenished.

One of the tenets of the spoon theory is that many people with disabilities or chronic illness must carefully plan their daily activities to conserve their spoons, while most people without any disabilities or chronic illnesses don’t need to worry about running out.[1]Because healthy people do not feel the impact of spending spoons for mundane tasks such as bathing and getting dressed, they may not realize the amount of energy expended by chronically ill or disabled people just to get through the day.[2]


Incredible!  I woke up this morning and for the first time in 13 years (almost to the day) there was no prednisone, codeine or tramadol  in my hand.   My methotrexate hangover was mild and my inflammation and morning stiffness only lasting an hour!  Incredible…. I can handle the new swollen finger and the new pain in my shoulder, this is my body recovering from my fall a month ago,  and the bursitis on my knee will mean I will still take my crutches out today…. Yet there is hope and that hope is what keeps you going.

Let’s face it; rheumatoid arthritis is a pretty crap disease, any arthritis is really.  It’s not popular, doesn’t get much media, and when it comes to funding it is a struggle.  Living the life you desire is seriously compromised. The impact the disease and medication side-effects has on day-day functioning, relationships, energy and living well is like being on a rollercoaster ride at the speed of the european autobahn, and without notice the highs can be wiped out like a high speed crash without warning!

That’s why you have to celebrate the good days and do what you can, when you can.   The toughest part of the disease for me is never knowing what the morning will bring, the unpredictability causing the most distress as you can never fully commit to functions or plan too far in the future as that day might be one of the bad days.

I don’t want to bang on and compare my illness with anyone elses, and I certainly don’t want to get into a debate about which disease is worse to have.   I just want to put it out there that when you get RA  young it is like a double edged sword, it’s a relief because it won’t kill you and you have plenty of years to learn how to manage it, but it is also tough some days because for  you and  your support crew, those closest to you there is also no end.  The unpredictability effects everyone around you too.  It is tough for everyone and just as you work out your new normal something changes.    Symptoms come and go in waves, working out the impact for you is challenging enough, but we also have to ask for help, this is tough and receiving help is tougher.  Your support crew are willing but communicating with them your needs, especially if the symptoms are new this can be heartbreaking for you all.   We must remember our support crew have no end either, and this is more challenging as we begin to look well but our functioning is still limited.

The good news is we are in one of the best technological ages and a future with RA looks brighter.  When my Nana was diagnosed she was prescribed asprin and bed rest – 50 years on and I have been prescribed infusions and exercise.   Around the world there are superdrugs, super research teams, rheumatologists, surgeons who are moving ahead with management plans for the disease – The positive changes have been phenomenal in my 20 years with the disease.   I believe there is always something just around the corner to slow the progression, and make sure that I am not painfully destroying myself from within, the crutches give me independence and the wheelchair is far off in the distance!  Who knows what medicine, my tenacity and the support of my A team will be able to accomplish by the time the wheelchair is needed – if at all!

Until then I am am off for brunch, to enjoy some time with my sister and hubbie!  Two of my team that have been with me in through the tough times – lets use this window of feeling better to good use! …. Cease the Day Carpe Diem!

Ps Thanks for reading!  You are all incredible and my hope for you is today you get to do something that makes you smile too!

C x

What a SUPER day it turned out to be..

So it’s after midnight but this always happens after any treatment I get as I get a bit dose of IV steroids that lasts a day or so.    The good news is I wanted to share a couple of very cool groups of super heroes, some I have never met but they have been rocks and supported me on more than one day this past six months. They are all heroes in my eyes read more on how they changed me life here..

Firstly the superheroes at the CDHB 🌟  and Surgical Day Unit 🌟 ! I counted 14 different people who came and advised me and made me feel comfortable at the odd anxious moment and completed the procedure quickly and smoothly.    Three on the anaesthetic team, two consultants, one registrar, pre-op, surgical, recovery and post op nurses.. Not to mention the behind the scenes crew I never met! It was amazing and all of them are super heroes in my mind!  Thank you.

So far (apart from the temporary insomnia ) I am feeling good .  My Rheumatoid Arthritis flare means I qualify for another round of my magic treatment, it is pretty awesome that the NZ health system and treatments have come so far and are  working for me to keep everything at bay physically so I feel we are leaping off to a great start of my 20 years of arthritis celebrations with another superhero Rheumatology and Immunology team at CDHB 🌟 .

The flip side of course is the emotional roller coaster still has its challenging days.  So here is another group of super heroes I have never met but been rocks and supported  me on more than one day this six months.

Introducing YOU App..


making sustainable changes on day at a time

I feel blessed that following Jamie Oliver and his food revolution campaign in May 2015 that I discovered and became a part of an incredible community through the @YOU_APP. The amazing @YOU_team along with the ever inspirational @jamieoliver and all of the people involved make it such a positive, empowering and life changing experience. Those who already follow me know that 2016, has started out pretty challenging on the health front and I know that is largely because I give and give and forget to look after myself. After six years of hard work and dream chasing my hubbie (@tutumannz) and I opened our specialised wellness studio LeapHQ, empowering others with health conditions to leap2it! and discover their own life balance, and share their good news.

It’s been an amazing year and personally it had so much to do with this APP. During our NZ winter when usually I get sick I turned YOU actions to help keep my balanced. I became the wellest (doubt that’s even a word) energised and healthiest I had been in a decade thanks all the micro actions I did. One day my dream is to meet them and give them all a big thank you hug. They hopefully know how much they positively impacted on my life and how everything fits perfectly into my LEAP philosophies for loving life, enjoying exercise, appreciating all around YOU and participating positively. This year I am going to use the APP to record a one minute diary and most importantly I am no longer going to be selfish and keep this APP to myself! The world needs more of YOU to know about it and grow this community so we all live in a healthier, fitter. stronger, and happy place.

So for 2016 I highly recommend you download, follow their blog and be apart of something great 🌟 and while you we are on the subject of super heroes you can not go  past a look at Jamie Oliver’s new book Everyday Super Food 🌟  or his blog to learn more here

12:45am and yay! Finally a yawn x

Happy lunching northern friends

Good night down under friends

Smiles and Hugs


So all you wonderful people out there, thank you for being amazing and all sending well wishes. It really is a huge help to both of us when we face these blips on the radar.. I am home and relaxing, as I have a procedure under anaesthetic today for Endo. Am second on the surgery list for that so should be home and an on my feet in a couple of days. My RA treatment is all booked in for next Thursday.

It kinda blind sided us, this RA blip – if only my frequent flyer points for Chch hospital gave me a free flight to a tropical island ! One thing we are pleased about is that a still have a week off work and because I work from home these days will be feeling ready to Rock! by next week.  All the medical teams think my work keeps me well so looking forward to getting back to it.

In fact November and December were so busy that I didn’t even realise I was in a flare of my rheumatoid arthritis.

The writing was on the wall if I stop and think about it; I had been so focussed on walking without my crutches, enjoying the Summer Starter, doing my hydrotherapy and land based Physio that I put the morning stiffness and aching muscles and joints down to me overdoing exercise.

My fatigue and restless sleep put down to planning our exciting year of Leap in 2016′ and negotiating back and forth with lawyers as another company have been quite silly and made a huge mistake (their words) and hoped we would fix it for free for them (that’s a whole new blog post and will be written when we can share it all, and when we get our heads everything without legally putting anyone in the firing line).  Recurring contributing  factor is definitely stress good or bad!

Also I was dropping things and knocking stuff over… I kept saying I had lost sensitivity in my hands and today the awesome medical team pointed out the fluid in my hands and wrists was quite significant.
Any pain they asked said… Not really I said. Until she squeezed them…… Good golly missed that sign too…

Then came the elbows….
“On they are fine” says I – “They are feeling really good and moving great.”..

Are you sure? Says the team….

As we could all hear creptis that would wake up the dead and it turns out my “wobbly arms isn’t fat deposits after all….. it’s fluid on the joint.

We decided maybe I was a little more flared than I thought as I realised I couldn’t lift my arms above my head without pain. Then I giggled a bit as I realised my shoulders had ‘t been that good for a month or so. Key Giveaway – I was sleeping in my bra again on riwais night shifts (because i can’t undo my bra or do it up before he gets home from work!)

One squeeze of my feet and we had shoes and socks off displaying sausage like shapes where I am sure my toes used to be and a beautiful red patchwork quilt of scaring and swirls and random vascular spots. We pushed on those too and I nearly let out a yelp!  Back, knees hips … Bloody flaming Nora! Even my head and nail beds are inflamed.
So after at least 30 seconds of deliberating and checking the blood tests from three weeks ago, I was off got another blood test, booked in for my treatment – read more here about it … And hugs from all of the team (we have been together for over a decade!) and then quick discussion on meds and my ensuing operation tomorrow (that’s with my gynaecologist team for my endo – never a dull moment around here!

We were off home …..
In the car was quite weird as this flare really had blind sided us both, until today if anyone asked me how I was it would have been great, less than a week ago I walked over the hill from where we were staying to diamond harbour, yesterday I was down the beach over stones with no crutches.

We decided that bodies are incredible, this blip will be short lived I am sure! My willingness to cope with life’s curveballs and stay positive, keeping active and following my leap philosophies really has contributed to keeping the effects of this awful and debilitating disease at bay and my pain minimised…… That feels like a win… And so  worth celebrating!

Thanks always for being part of this crazy journey

Hugs and smiles

Cate x


I have been reflecting on what my role is as a Personal trainer, Wellness Coach and Leap Coach.   For the last five years as my role has evolved and with it the title..    It was a great thought to ponder.

What I realised hasn’t changed from day one in my role is that I facilitate change.

I inspire, encourage and empower  people everyday and provide them with tools and skills they can use to make internal and external shifts.  I challenge them – physically and emotionally.  My role is often to introduce uncomfortable conversations to allow those I work with to discover and share their own good news.   It is so rewarding to watch unfolding one step after another,  little by little, until eventually they experience massive growth and big changes have been made to their overall health, wellbeing.   Then like magic the impact and flow starts for those around them, their families, friends, workplaces and wider communities.   It really is so rewarding and amazing to watch.

They stretch, and push their own boundaries – and constantly re-define their comfort levels and as a result they improve on many levels.

However… it still amazes me that even when people work hard and look and feel amazing that giving compliments to themselves or receiving compliments about them is a major challenge.

As you know I don’t push products unless I really believe in them so what I am about to share with you is not about the product its about the content of their latest promotion!  They women in the campaign  represent the women I work with (men might feel the same but I don’t have a video to share for them!)

Congratulations DOVE!   This is wonderful 🙂

So here it is and maybe after watching this today you might start to start some new conversations with yourself and those close to you about whether you are Average or Beautiful.


ps heres the behind the scenes footage!  Its Awesome too! 🙂

I am a personal trainer.   I empower people to discover movement and exercise they enjoy, that focuses on their long term health goals and can continue despite what life may throw at them along the way.   I totally believe in hydration, rest,  movement and changing our internal self belief.   Currently I see my industry pushing nutrition as the key player for clients success.   I am not convinced so went out on a wee research mission to help me decide.   The following is my opinion and summary.   I hope it starts new conversations for you.

80% Nutrition – 20% Exercise… I am not convinced.

These days google healthy food and you get  144 million hits in about .24 seconds!

How on this earth can you possibly decide which result is the perfect one for you.    I have been working with women for over five years in the fitness industry.   Every day we are all subjected to massive marketing campaigns, ideas, theories, fads, diets, campaigns for less sugar, more fat, no diary, more diary, channels of food shows,  billions of recipes books, lists of superfoods, lists of cave man foods,  eat raw, eat natural, quite sugar, lists of supplements, what we are deficient in, what food will cause cancer, arthritis, disease and death,  Everyone has an opinion, media, newsfeeds, blogs and family and friends all sharing their opinions on food! We are completely inundated with messages about food, nutrition, hormone response, body function, disease, obesity, how we are eating wrong, eating too much of this and not enough of that.   We shouldn’t eat this with that or mix that with this.   Eat that in the morning, and this at night.   Don’t have this after a certain hour and don’t go to bed within so many hours of that.    Good Golly it’s all just a bit overwhelming.  I might just have to sit down with a big bag of potato chips and take a break from it all.

So I did sit down , ok minus the chips but I was tempted and can totally see how easy it would have been to say arfeckit! I have in the past.   And many of the ladies I work with share this is what happens for them when they think of food…. In my opinion this occurs because we are just completely overwhelmed!   We just have too much information to filter.   OVERWHELMING… Too many thoughts on food.   And that leads to at some point sneakily or not so sneakily eating whatever is close to hand to comfort us,  and if we are feeling just a little bit vulnerable then each food message gets through our filters wonderfully, evoking emotion and reaction,  mostly negative and feeding our insecurities that we are not fit enough, trying hard enough, beautiful enough, skinny enough, shapely enough, healthy enough, we won’t look good enough at that special event and so on and so on.   Then before you know it while on this emotional spiral you have reached the bottom of the packet of chips, chocolate or another wine bottle and then race to stuff the evidence into the rubbish so you can’t beat yourself up for it.   Then the battle begins as we wage war on our guilt and woes which no doubt releases a tonne of hormones that are not conducive to getting any body feeling the best they can feel.   When finally the process reaches you to that place of “ I will be good tomorrow”, ok maybe Monday, really it will probably be when you get back from that holiday, hold on let me count how many weeks until that special date.. oh golly.. negative chatter overload and I need another sit down.    Look down at the watch to see that all this exhausting mind chatter has taken up about a total of 10 minutes!

In vain to unravel this for my fabulous ladies I poured a large glass of water, took a couple of deep breathes and sat down to do some pondering on the tornado of thoughts that I had in the past and so many of my clients still do when it comes to food!  And here’s what I came up with.

  1. We live in an era that has progressed faster than any other era known to man kind with an abundance of information at our finger tips and technology to tell us things we never knew.
  2. Our bodies have not evolved as fast to always keep up with the amount we have to process
  3. We still have the same body systems we had thousands of years ago that need fuelling to function and do the activities we want each day
  4. Our brains seem to be the part of us that has to deal the most with this fast evolution
  5. On average we have 50,000 thoughts a day (can you imagine in cavemen time someone sitting then using an abacus to count each thought a woman had in a day – proof of point four – it is our brains that have evolved!)
  6. Wouldn’t it be magnificent if we could use those 50,000 thoughts for good not evil
  7. Every body is different and imagine if we could take time to work out what our body needs to function in this new era
  8. Imagine being kind to ourselves and eating what we needed, when we needed it and enjoying it.
  9. Imagine if we had so much energy we could do all the activities we wanted and felt so good about ourselves that we were by our own definition were healthy, fitter, strong and happy?

Thanks to my nephew I found this cartoon.

Caveman Cartoon

It was a great distraction for me not to eat.  And I didn’t feel hungry while I was busy.    I pondered why cavemen lived only a third of our average age today.    I doubted it was the lack of great food!  And then felt my head shaking wondering how on earth the fitness world decided that adopting this method of nutrition was going to prolong our current lives?

I concluded that what we are consuming is probably not the key to success?   I think simplicity is a key.   I think being kind to yourself and learning when you eat is an opportunity to nourish yourself is a key.    The women I have been training for over five years mostly have one thing in common, they come in thinking they are here to see me for weight loss, it doesn’t take long until they realise that they really signed up to feel good, feel healthier, more energised and more alive.     To get to this place it’s not 80% nutrition and 20% Exercise.    Our equation is more like 50% thought processing and self belief, 10% Water, 10% Rest, 10% Nourishing,  10% Movement and 10% Connection.   But that’s another fact sheet for another day.

For now focus this week on simplifying how you eat.  Be kind about eating.
Here are some ideas to get you started.

  1. Each time you eat is a time to nourish and be kind to yourself
  2. Nourish so you can perform the activities you want
  3. Nourish for enjoyment so you can focus your food thoughts on positive thoughts
  4. Aim for food that is not in wrappers or that contains ingrediants you cannot pronounce
  5. Choose delicious vibrant colours and nice looking food that makes you feel hungry
  6. Include some occasional foods (food with wrappers) that you love and can savour
  7. Sit down undistracted so you have the opportunity to appreciate your food
  8. Slow down and savour flavours and to work out how food makes you feel physically and mentally
  9. Listen to your body to work out what and how you want to eat
  10. Work on developing a “The Healthy ME Plan” for nutrition, by experimenting on what works for you.

harbor (1)

I love celebrating women’s good news.

But here’s the thing I have to declare I have a wee bug bear that I have to share….

Too many women feel they can only celebrate success if the scales tell them to do so.

You see every week I hang out with the most extraordinary women who work incredibly hard all week hydrating, nourishing, exercising, appreciating and enjoying their life.

They jump on the cardio equipment with me or online in one of our groups and share  they have more energy,  feel fitter,  feel healthier, feel stronger,  are relaxing more and are feeling good.   Sometimes they are feeling great.   Their faces light up and the smile beam from ear to ear as they share this good news.

Then the dreaded question (dreaded for me…).  Are we weighing today?   I feel my body shudder… I feel my whole body  do a small convulsion and I am the one weighing not the weighee .. I seriously feel like one of the executioners from game of thrones…  Because I know that in exactly two minutes the result can make or break my beautiful LeapStars day.

I do because my clients ask and it’s expected that a trainer who is supporting weight loss will weigh but I have realised I have done it reluctantly and in the end probably doing is as a disservice to my authentic self.    I haven’t weighed myself for years.   I stand on the scales for my medical professionals to work out dosage – but I never look.   I let other things determine my mood for the day.    I let my clothes and bra size tell me how I am doing and if I am track.

It hasn’t been an easy journey,  I have relapses,  especially on good days,  especially when I feel so good maybe I should seek some validation from what I knew for 25 years … Maybe the scales will tell me something better than I feel.     After all the world seem to put an huge amount of weight – excuse the pun – on the result too.   You don’t need to look far to find good new headlines of “she lost x amount.” It’s everywhere – society, media and throughout my industry

So I take my clients off their cardio equipment and watch silently in horror as dread starts to fall over their faces,  as they take their shoes and sock off and gingerly stand by a piece of glass, with nuts and bolts and some beeping buttons.     They rush to the loo,  take of another layer and mumble how they shouldn’t have eaten breakfast.    And I have encouraged it – for five years I have been part of this ridiculous ritual.    Before that I was asking others to do this for me it 25 years of terror or joy depending on the number flashing back at me.    And then we celebrated if it went down and grappled with the disapproving look down the nose of someone else if it went down.

My ladies do nothing more than weigh there self esteem.     If the number is up or down or bang on the same does it really reflect how you are?  Where you are at?   We know when our clothes are tight,  when we are dehydrated, when we puff at the top of hill.  From where I stand weighing is a pretty inaccurate measure of how you really are.

Wouldn’t it be a good day if we paid attention to what is happening to what is happening IN your body, in your life and focus on what we can change because of real tangible things.   What if we paid attention to habits and what you are doing consistently to make real change in the way you live and feel.  What if we measured our water intake every day and it makes our body feel instead of jumping naked in secret on the scales!!

It’s time to create real change!  We need to get real.  We need to do the small things regularly,  measure them in real ways,  understand the result, and adjust if we don’t feel happy about it!   Then we will really celebrate!



In life you realise that there is a role for everyone you meet. Some will test you, some will use you, some love you and some will teach you. But you must hold onto and remember the ones who are truly important are the ones who let you be you and bring out the best in you. They are precious and amazing people who remind you why it’s worth it!

Today I worked hard to follow my own advice of being kind to everyone I meet. I wanted to empathise with the overworked people following a process that’s not working. I wanted to give the poor communicators some of my smiles as it felt like they might need them, especially today. It seemed they might need it the most.

Sadly it is just so hostile, so rude and unnecessary.    I attempted to dig and deep, to continue to be considerate as I could hear my nan and grandma remind me to find the good in everyone. I am polite, ask reasonable questions, in an attempt to gather the information so I have what I need to make big life changing decisions, in the end it is ridiculous and impossible so I add to my ever growing list of OIA requests so I can see our own paperwork trail.  

I hang up, sit on the couch in the sun and realise I am emotionally exhausted, that the last four years has been more taxing on me, my health and my relationships than I wanted to admit . We had believed in a process and that common sense and decency of human nature would prevail.   It hasn’t.   We feel let down and are fighting over small silly things that should not have been missed.    I feel like a broken record.     We never wanted more than what we were entitled too.   If the people in charge of our file had taken to time to walk with us and the decency to follow their own process then it wouldn’t have been so taxing on any of us.   

So today it is time to draw a line in the sand. It’s time to let go (as she sings Frozen!). It’s time to put my energy into things that matter – getting well and working with the people who bring out the best in me.

We have asked those more qualified than us for help. We are no longer doing this behind closed doors.

It’s time to speak out…