Unleashing My Inner Awesome

My "journey" through health, fitness and life in general

It seemed like a good idea at the time…

Geelong Ironman

So yeah. This happened. My entry into my first half-Ironman, and I haven’t even completed an Olympic distance triathlon yet! I blame peer pressure, but there was just a little bit of Big Hairy-Arsed Goal going on as well.

I have thought about doing it for a while. Since my first half marathon in fact, when I decided that was fun but it would have been better if it was longer, although I don’t think I could run a marathon. Why not preceded the 21.1km with some good old-fashioned non-weight bearing exercise then?

Bloody good idea, if you ask me! And so it happened. I have (as of today) 43 weeks and 5 days until race day.

I also have a Facebook page, which is my training diary. It’s here…

Come and join me! Let’s all be a little bit crazy. Although as my good mate De never ceases to stop reminding me, “that’s taking things a bit too far!”

Resurrection

sunrise

Yeah, so I’m back. It’s been a while, missed me?

Bought a house, bought a bike, painted, rode, now I’m blogging again. Stay tuned…

People are real.

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Real women have curves. 

Real women have muscles. 

Real women are skinny. 

Real women lift weights. 

Real women run. 

Real women need help getting the lid off the pasta sauce jar. 

Real women stay at home and look after their families. 

Real women have 14 children. 

Real women have no children. 

Real women have PhDs. 

Real women empty garbage bins and clean toilets and read comics and read the bible and believe in science but not God and run and lift weights and eat bread and eat bacon and eat fucking tofu if they want.

Enough of the “real women are…” bullshit. Real women are real. Otherwise they wouldn’t be. Defining a particular shape or size or type of woman as real defines everyone else as unreal. Really? You really wanna go down that judgemental route? 

That is all. 

Following the leader

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Who do you follow? Is there one person or idea or philosophy that you religiously and unquestioningly accept? And if so, why?

I used to as well. So many times in my life I’ve found the Next Big Thing, you know, that one thing that if done “right” will result in my life becoming perfect. Or if not perfect, at least it will fix all of the problems that I’m experiencing. After all, my life only sucks because I’m doing it wrong, right?

Wrong. My life sucked, or at least I thought it did, because I was so busy worrying about what the all-seeing, all-knowing guru would have done, or what people thought of me, or questioning my every move, that I didn’t have time to enjoy it. To stop and notice that people are amazing, and life is beautiful. I wasted so much time on the unimportant things. But that’s ok, because that process has led me to where I am now. Which is to question Every. Little. Thing. that the gurus say. Everything. And if it doesn’t fit with the evidence, and what I feel and know, it’s out.

Nobody is right all of the time. Nobody knows all of the answers. Some people get it right some of the time, and some of us go on fumbling through and trying to work out this glorious experience we call life. Pick and choose, people. Take the bits that work for you, and throw away the bits that don’t. And ultimately that will lead to you being as happy as you can be.

I was listening to this on the way home, which kind of inspired this post. Enjoy. (Thanks Brian!)

I know so many people who think they can do it alone
They isolate their heads and stay in their safety zones

Now what can you tell them
And what can you say that won’t make them defensive

I know there’s an answer
I know now but I have to find it by myself

They come on like they’re peaceful
But inside they’re so uptight
They trip through their day
And waste all their thoughts at night

Now how can I come on
And tell them the way that they live could be better

I know there’s an answer
I know now but I have to find it by myself

Now how can I come on
And tell them the way that they live could be better

I know there’s an answer
I know now but I have to find it by myself

Do you need a hug?

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Something I’ve noticed more lately is that for so many people, their view of others is inextricably linked to their own self-worth and sense of self-respect. They judge the living daylights out of people, and more often than not the judgement comes from the fact that what they hate most about themselves is what they see reflected in others. 

A University of Georgia study found that men who are homophobic are also more aroused by sexual photos of other men. I personally believe this is also true of other statements of judgement. The woman who frowns on the weight gain of another is afraid that she will gain weight if she stops the harsh restrictions she has placed on her own diet. The person who judges those recovering from eating disorders for pigging out on cupcakes at 3am has done the same thing, and hates herself for it. 

Judging others merely reflects on our own fears and insecurities. Maybe what we all need to do is to take a step backwards and truly look at what we frown upon, because it is these inner turmoils that tell us the most about our own character and fears. 

It is impossible to love others fully until we love ourselves. The fear that others will see through our imperfections and be turned off by our “true” self happens to so many people so often. But what are we really afraid of? Nobody is perfect. The way of life that works for one is completely unacceptable to others. Love where you are now, today, and not what you will be when you lose those last 5kg, or run that 10k in under an hour, or fit into that perfect dress. There will always be something that can be improved on. Don’t wait until you are perfect before you start living your perfect life.

Oh, and the person who abuses you and calls you names? Give her the biggest hug. She probably needs it most of all. 

That was unexpected.

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Wow. Just, um, wow. So grateful to all of you for reading my post yesterday. 

I was a bit scared before posting, putting it out there and all. And then people read it, and responded, and now you all know where I am. 

No more hiding. No more accepting unquestioningly. No more pretending to be someone I’m not, or trying to be someone I don’t really want to be. Now I’m me. 

So thank you.

How to lose friends and piss people off…

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There’s a known psychological phenomenon called the Confirmation Bias. Basically it means that you tend to look for evidence to support what you already believe, and ignore things that contradict your beliefs. The more strongly held the belief, the less you’ll look for contradiction. 

So why am I telling you this? Because it’s time I came out. This is a pretty tricky blog post to write, and it’s been going round and round in my head in various ways for a while. Apologies if I ramble, and for those of you who are used to my brevity you may want to go and make a cup of tea, but here goes. 

I was wrong. There, I said it. I was wrong but now I know better and I’m changing. 

I lost 28kg last year and the year before by restricting my calories to 1200 per day and exercising most days. It worked. My body shrank, I went from a non-exerciser to running a half marathon and doing triathlons, I fitted into a size 12 most days and a 10 on a good day, and my body fat percentage decreased massively. 

People kept saying to me “you must feel so much better!” I’d smile and nod and say “yes, I do!” But you know what? That was actually bullshit. I felt the same. No, I felt sluggish. I did my workouts and then went home and slept. My hair fell out, my nails got spotty and my skin got dry. I was fuzzy in the head and just didn’t want to most of the time. But I had LOST WEIGHT! I felt awesome, didn’t I? I dunno, if this was what it was supposed to feel like it just all felt wrong.

I’d stopped losing weight. My solution to that was to try harder. Eat the “right” 1200 calories and exercise the “right” way and my body would continue to drop weight, right? Obviously I was doing it all wrong. I was still only at the upper end of my healthy BMI. 

And the restriction! Low fat this, sugar free that. Saturated fats and sugar are the devil incarnate, and if they don’t kill you you still shouldn’t eat them because they take up too many of your precious precious 1200 daily calories. 

So one day I was randomly cruising the internet, researching nutritional information as you do. Did I mention a large part of my waking non-working non-studying mental time was spent thinking about what I had eaten, what I was going to eat and what I “couldn’t” eat? Yeah, fun. And I found GoKaleo. Actually, you know what? I found it when I was searching for the perfect “Green Smoothie”, which for the uninitiated is a particularly tasteless and bitter concoction of blended green vegetables, intended to give you a concentrated hit of nutrients without using too many of the precious precious calories. 

I read. And I read. And I read more. Initially with skepticism – eat my total daily energy expenditure to maintain my metabolism? Yeah, right. Obviously this chick didn’t realise that my TDEE was usually over 3000 calories a day. Obviously I’m the exception to that rule. 

And stop exercising while your body “heals” from massive undernutrition? Pigs bum. 

And what was this shit about eating disorders? I eat healthy. Quite clearly Amber, the page’s author, was a particular version of insane. 

But something started to niggle, and I did more research, and I found my thinking gradually but quite clearly swinging in a very different direction. 

So here’s what I’ve learned. In a nutshell. 

  1. Restricting your intake to less than the amount needed to keep a comatose 18 year old girl alive does not do your metabolism any favours. 
  2. When you exercise you need to fuel your body. The more exercise, the more fuel. Exercise isn’t a punishment for eating the “wrong” foods, it’s a way to maintain your body’s health. 
  3. Eating less than your basal metabolic rate will destroy your metabolism. Your body will shut down and stop losing. Then when you eat more, it will hang onto Every. Little. Bit. that you give it. It’s in full on panic mode! It doesn’t know when you’re going to feed it properly again. That’s why 95-98% of people (depending on which study you read) who lose weight regain it within 2 years. 
  4. There are no bad foods. There are foods that nourish and nurture your body better than others. But eating “bad” foods? No such thing. 
  5. Exercise is supposed to be something that you enjoy and that makes you feel good. Don’t do weights/cardio/Crossfit/swimming/yoga/whatever because it’s the latest and greatest, do it because you LOVE it! 

So here’s what I’m doing now. I’m eating the food! And lifting the things, and running and swimming and cycling. The net result so far is I am HEALING! My metabolism is running faster than it ever has, and I know this because I feel healthier than I ever have. Ever. Oh, and there’s the little issue of an appropriate amount of fat and calories leading to hormonal stabilisation, which apparently is good for the libido. Or so I’ve found… 

Right now, I’m in healing mode. I’m pretty sure I’m nearly done with that, and I will be able to start getting rid of my excess fat that’s still attached to my hips. But how I will do that will be to build muscle by lifting heavy shit and EATING (are we seeing a pattern yet?), and by eating a slight restriction of 300-500 calories a day under my TDEE, which means I will still be eating 2500 – 2800 calories a day. Unless I do a really big workout, like a 100km bike ride or something, in which case I’ll eat MORE FOOD! Sacrilege, I know. I’ve put on weight. I’m 10kg heavier than my restricted lowest weight, and that’s now stopped, which hopefully means my metabolism has healed and I’m maintaining, and now I can work with what I’ve got.   

As a poster child for calorie restricted weight loss coming out like this is difficult. I was wrong, and by definition I’m saying most of my friends are wrong. I’m never going to come over all evangelical, this blog is the one outlet where I’ll actually talk about this, and in real life I’ll just do what I need to. But I will no longer hide what I’m doing. 

My clothes are a bit tight, but I can eat icecream, my hair is glossy and thick and I have energy to do things! I feel as awesome as I should have felt when I lost weight. Now I’m working on creating the best body I can. I went a bit FINGER UP FUCK YOU UNIVERSE initially, and did the whole shebang, including a dose of KFC. Bad idea as it turns out. Apparently even in the “I can eat anything I want!” universe, my body doesn’t like KFC. But now I know that for sure and I’m not just restricting it to prove a point. 

Oh, and the “I don’t have an eating disorder” thing? Yeah, according to the DSM-IV, I put on weight initially due to a binge eating disorder, and lost it with a bad case of orthorexia. And judgementalism, for which I apologise profusely. 

Amber’s Facebook group is here. Feel free to come and hang out if you like. 

I’m Awesome and so are You

There’s this blog I read, GoKaleo.com, and the owner (hi Amber!) made a picture about herself. And then her blog readers and Facebook followers did.

Anyway, I thought it was an awesome idea and decided I’d do one too.

Every single one of these people is awesome. Every single one inspires the living hell out of me.

Enjoy.

Aby

Al

Anais

 

JulieL

Anita

Cassidy

Catherine

Cathy

Courtney

Danica

Emily

Georgina

Greg

Jodie

Julia

Julie

KateB

KateG

Kirsty

Kylie

Lauren

Leanne

Leelee

Leisa

Leonie

Lisa

Logan

Lyndal

Maryan

Michaela

Michelle

Nicole

Nyree

Sherrell

Rach

Rowie

Sarah

Shirley

Tammy

Tania

Tara

Tasha

Tracey

Vicki

Zoe

Martine

Lynda

Colleen

Donna

KateJ

Sharon

Katrina

Angela

KirstyH

Bron Emma Jo TraceyE

Kirsten Kristie

Ruth

My issue is bigger than your issue

conflict

So much angst, so much fighting lately. I’ve been reading many many comments on Facebook and Twitter and in blogs about people feeling offended when others bring up issues. “You’re not allowed to feel bad about your post-baby belly and stretch marks because I’m infertile, you should just be grateful you can have a baby”. “You’re not allowed to feel good about your body because it makes me feel bad about mine”. “Don’t talk about enjoying food, it triggers my eating disorder”. “My cancer experience is definitely worse than your cancer experience”. “Don’t talk about your workout routines in front of me, it makes me feel guilty about not doing anything” (that one was an actual quote an acquaintence of mine received from a work colleague! They thought she was joking, but apparently she wasn’t.)

Maybe if we all paid less attention to what others say and do and more attention to our own behaviour, our lives would be easier. Maybe what really needs to happen is for everyone in the world to accept others for their own beliefs and hangups and weird little quirks, and love them for it. Wouldn’t that be good? If everyone just went “yep, that’s you. That’s what you think. It’s not what I think, but I absolutely respect and acknowledge your right to say it”.

Think about it. A worldwide movement starts with one person taking action. How about making it your action?

It’s because I love you

Are you living your life the way that you think you should? Are you making decisions, work, life, family decisions, because you think that others think you should?

So STOP! Making life choices with consideration for others is one thing. Doing what is expected is something completely different. It will stifle you, and hold you back, and make you resent everyone around you. Living according to the wishes of others will mean you lead a life that diminishes you and holds you back.

You have the capacity within yourself to live the best life you possibly can. You just need to start making decisions that are right for you. Consider the options, realise what empowers and enriches you, and do it.

Off you go then!

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