Michelle Bridges and Commando Steve's Change for Life Challenge: Week 3

The body+soul trainers Michelle Bridges and Steve ‘Commando’ Willis tell you how to have your cake, and eat it too.

Michelle Bridges and Commando Steve's Change for Life Challenge: Week 3

Photo credit: Nick Scott

What you eat can make or break you. But whether food is a friend or foe is your call, personal trainers Michelle Bridges and Steve “Commando” Willis say.

“We all have to eat — it’s how we live,” Michelle Bridges says.

“Food is how we survive and thrive but it can also make us do the opposite of that and put us in a really bad place.

“What I put in my body has to nourish me, make me feel good and give me the energy I need to get through the day. But it’s also something I enjoy without guilt.

“Food isn’t a tool to punish, anesthetise or comfort myself – and it shouldn’t be for you either.”

“People often tell us it’s hard to follow a healthy eating plan but it’s actually not,” Steve ‘Commando’ Willis claims.

“What’s hard is breaking old habits and reinforcing positive ones that help you flourish. The focal point should be nutrition.

“That’s not to say Mish and I don’t indulge. I love hot chips and a good chicken schnitzel but I don’t feel bad when I eat them because I’m not eating them out of emotion.”

‘Chews’ to eat well

“There seems to be a lot of stress and emotion around food insofar as denial is concerned,” Michelle says.

“People think food is either good or bad. They really want to eat something but don’t because they feel like they shouldn’t.

“Then they feel as though they’re missing out and that that’s not fair. These mind games only cause anxiety.

“Try thinking about it like this instead: By feeding yourself better, you’re adding to your life. You’re not missing out, you’re gaining health.

“It’s a shift in thinking and I know that can take a bit of work to hone, but when you do, it can be a real light-bulb moment.”

Do your homework

“Having a deeper knowledge and understanding of nutrition will also be a massive help when you’re trying to tighten up your diet because it will make you more conscious of the choices you make,” Steve says.

How does it make you feel?

“You’re not always going to eat food that makes you feel good because of its health benefits,” Steve says.

“But you can do it the majority of the time,” Michelle encourages.

“And remember that food can make you feel good in more than a physical sense.

“It can make you feel good mentally, it can make you feel connected because it’s shared with family and friends, it can make you feel appreciated because it’s part of a celebration or it can have religious meaning or cultural significance.”

Have your cake (and eat it)

“Guilt undermines you,” Steve says.

“It damages your self-worth, your self-belief.”

“And it totally comes from a place of fear,” Michelle adds.

“Being conscious of that inner dialogue is the first step towards eliminating guilt,” Steve says. “Then, when you feel that guilt building, show some compassion. Forgive yourself.

“Remember, having a treat every now and then is good for you – for your body, your mind and your soul.”

“Letting go of guilt is hard but it will stop you from feeling as though you need to exercise your backside off all week and eat only lettuce and air after you’ve had a burger – or schnitzel, in my case.”

Michelle: “My advice would be to choose how you treat yourself wisely. For me, a treat meal is eating out at a restaurant where the food is made with love, and is really good quality.

“I’ll enjoy every last crumb of it – the wine, the bread, the meal and dessert. Then I’ll wake up the next day and be back to normal.

“There’s no guilt attached, just the memory of a really enjoyable experience.”

It doesn’t have to cost the Earth

“What makes fresh food expensive is if you do the grocery shopping, make two meals out of it and then go back to your old habits and let the groceries rot,” Michelle says.

“If you do the shopping with a plan, I guarantee you’ll save money.”

“My mum was a single parent with two girls and no money, so she had to be vigilant with her grocery shopping. She’d only buy fruit and vegies that were on special and in season.

“She had her go-to recipes that were cheap and nutritious. She was organised.”

Steve: “Forward planning and thinking will go a long, long way.”

Three golden rules…

1. When it comes to grains, choose brown over white.

2. A meal served on an average-sized plate should be divided into 1/4 protein, 1/4 carbohydrates and 1/2 vegies.

3. Always go for wholefoods rather than anything processed.

This week I will…

– Start each day with two glasses of water. It’s cleansing and refreshing.

– Write a shopping list and plan your meals. It’s a sure-fire way to eat well and avoid overspending.

– Make a big pot of soup and freeze it for easy lunches. “Then high-five yourself,” Steve says.

– Switch it. Swap your 3pm sugar hit for a cup of tea and a handful of blueberries – your cravings will melt away.

The day on your plate


Oats with banana and cinnamon or two eggs, spinach and tomato on a piece of rye bread.


Tuna or egg and salad sandwich on wholegrain bread with a piece of fruit.


Grilled salmon (or lean meat of choice) with roast vegies or a green salad with avocado.


Green apple with nut butter or a handful of trail mix or two seeded crackers with ricotta cheese and tomato.


Two pieces of dark chocolate or frozen berries with natural yoghurt.


Eight glasses a day.


Herbal tea, black coffee or coffee with skim milk.

Next week: Michelle and Steve talk healthy living and leading a happy lifestyle. 

Follow @mishbridges and @commandosteve on Instagram for more #inspo. The couple’s posts will have your thumbs double-tapping – especially when Axel makes a cameo – and your tongues wagging.


Then we want to know about it. Tag @bodyandsoul_au and #changeforlife on Instagram to show us the progress you’re making so we can celebrate your success in the coming issues of body+soul.

ASK AWAY: Got a question for Michelle and Steve? Send it to feedback@bodyandsoul.com.au. We’ll put the best ones to the pair and include their answers in an upcoming issue of body+soul.

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