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Amanda Billing's life-changing milestone

The former Shortland Street star on love, exercise, and dreaming in Italian!

This star of stage and screen, recently seen on The Brokenwood Mysteries, tells us about her ambivalent relationship with exercise and shares some of her wellness rituals.
The best trip I ever went on was to...
France to see my brother Andy get married. I loved it because I discovered Negronis! On the same trip I went to Berlin with friends then travelled around Italy by myself. I was dreaming in Italian by the time I left. Being able to talk about things that matter in another language is very satisfying.
Body positive
After I clocked 40, I realised I appreciate my body more. This is partly because I used to think 40 was old and now I see I am just what I am, and it’s my relationship with my heart and soul that determines how I look at myself in the mirror.
I have gravity to contend with now – and it’s a b----! I’m learning how to be kinder towards myself, and have a growing appreciation of how lucky I am to have a body at all, and how wonderful it is to be alive in the world. Considering I haven’t exercised consistently for years, I think I’m ‘doing pretty well for my age’ (whatever that actually means), but I do think I’ve reached a use-it-or-lose-it point regarding my body’s capabilities.
It’s all about having fun
I have an ambivalent relationship with ‘exercise’ – I prefer to move and have fun, but even then I have to convince myself it’s a good idea. When I do move, it’s walking up a hill to see a view, it’s yoga, or dancing.
I bit the bullet recently and did a session at Ludus Magnus gym and it was great, because I was in a place that has a strong sense of community and I was with my friends. I once tried an aqua jogging class; anyone laughing should try it, it’s hard!
Mood boosters
Creativity is as essential to me as touch, movement and good food, so I practise that daily. I also practise a kind of mindfulness based on something called ‘consciously connected breathing’, but I could definitely be more consistent about it because it really makes a difference to me.
As a treat, I like to book myself a lovely massage every now and then.
Exercise ambitions
A full day on set can start very early and end late. It’s difficult in winter but much easier in summer when the days are longer. My favourite time of day for a workout is the morning, but walking up Mount Eden at sunset is hard to beat.
I don’t mind working out by myself; I’m good at challenging myself to ‘one more rep’, but if you’re with a friend who does that too, it’s way better.
Finish these sentences:
When I’m feeling stressed I know I need to slow down and focus on my physical experience, right now; thinking more sometimes means you do less.
The reason I get out of bed each morning is to go to Goodness Gracious for a coffee. Oh, and to appreciate being alive.
I feel most comfortable when I’m in activewear.
The piece of advice I’d give my 16-year-old self is “March to the beat of your own drum, baby.”
For more, see the December issue of Good Health Choices

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