Unleashing My Inner Awesome

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

Archive for the category “Mindset lessons”

Following the leader


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

My issue is bigger than your issue


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!

Are Your Scales a Thermometer or a Thermostat?

ImageWhen you jump on the scales every Wednesday, or Monday, or whatever day of the week or month you choose, a number comes up. That number can either help or hinder your health and fitness goals depending on how your mind sees it.

Some people look at the number, which is a direct measurement of the effect of gravity on their physical mass, and objectively say “well, that’s interesting. It’s higher/lower/the same as last measurement. Let’s see what happens next time”. Sometimes the conversation continues with “I’m due for my period / I ate lots of salty foods this week / I didn’t drink enough water” or the like. This is like viewing your scales as a thermometer. It’s a measurement, one in the arsenal of measurements you can use to evaluate your health and fitness, and that’s all. It should NEVER be viewed in isolation and shouldn’t be used to make changes to your nutritional or workout program.

There are people who use the scales as a thermostat. You see, a thermostat measures something and then adjusts the function of the underlying machinery to keep the measurement the same. If you look at your scales as a thermostat your mindset around your weight is different. You look at the number (again, a direct indication of gravity on your particular body mass) and their head starts to spin. “Holy crap, the number is 500g bigger than last week! I know what it was, it was the extra 50g of icecream I ate! Oh god, oh god, I need to never eat icecream again, and I should cut out my carbs, especially after 6pm, and I need to use coconut water and take apple cider vinegar and I *NEED* to burn at least 1500 calories a day until I get back to where I was, and … and … and … ”


What you REALLY need to do is just keep doing what you were doing. If you’re on a program that has worked for other people, and has worked for you, and will continue to work because it makes good sound nutritional sense and has a challenging but safe exercise program, maybe you just need to keep doing it? Use your scales and weigh in each week as a thermometer. It tells you where you are at that particular given moment in time. Look at the number, consider it, and then just keep doing what you need to do. If you readjust the mechanism too much you’ll end up making everything too hot or too cold, and then you’ll just get uncomfortable. It could even be dangerous.

Make a plan, stick to it, give it time to work. That’s all. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. It’s not for 12 weeks, it’s for life.


It’s the last day on Earth…

According to the Mayans, anyway. So this will either be MY last blog post, or the sun will rise tomorrow and the world will keep turning and I’ll have to go to work as usual.

So, stuff’s changed for me. And I’m not the person I used to be. I am beginning to realise some of my potential, but now the issue is I don’t KNOW my potential!

As someone who’s been overweight or obese her entire adult life, I have never been at a healthy weight, or participated fully in sports and physical activities, or really felt good about myself. About the way I look or the way I feel.

And now I do. So now I begin to experiment with the potential that is untapped. I will do things that terrify me. I will never say no because I don’t believe I can. I will say yes. And Yes. And YES!

Life is too short to limit yourself. What are you going to say yes to today?

The “Journey”



I dislike the word “journey” in relation to health and fitness. Every contestant on The Biggest Loser and every Weight Watchers member I know has been on a “journey”. The word grates with me, and I think I’ve just worked out why.

A journey ends. You set out, you get there and you stop. But then what? What happens when you reach the destination? I know, people say you can just set bigger and better destinations, but wouldn’t it be far better to always be travelling?

It’s the same with “goals”. Set a goal, sure, but make it a glorious and unachievable one. Who knows what you are capable of? I certainly don’t. My goals are mini-milestones along the way, but I don’t really have an “ultimate goal”. I won’t set one either, because I know if I get there I’ll stop. What I will do instead is just keep on going, transforming me into the person I want to be. And at this stage I have no idea who that is!

I leave you with this… an alternative Journey. Don’t stop believing people.


One year on…


On this day one year ago, I stood on the scales and cried.

On this day one year ago I set my laptop up on top of the piano, and took dodgy out of focus pictures of myself holding a magazine, and cried.

On this day one year ago I entered all of my before details into the 12WBT website and cried.

On this day one year ago my life changed. And I’m never never never going back.

Today I climbed a mountain.


I mean that literally. Today I climbed a fricking MOUNTAIN! That really should be in all CAPS and with underlines and flashing lights and a big neon sign around it. Today I CLIMBED A BIG FRICKING MOUNTAIN!

Ok, so what’s the big deal? Well this mountain has been on my to-do list for years. I mean 15 or 20 years probably, since I knew it existed. Mt Warning in NSW is the point at which mainland Australia first sees the sun in the winter. So it’s a bit of a pilgrimage to climb it in the early hours of the morning and sit on top to watch the sunrise.

When I started the 12WBT I decided that my goal weight milestone would be to climb this mountain and watch the sunrise. So when one of the other girls doing the challenge proposed a trip, of course I didn’t hesitate.

From the outset yesterday it seemed the universe was conspiring to make sure that if we DID do it, it would be memorable. And that we really wanted to do it. The day started with a 5.5 hour road trip to Mt Warning. Yes, I know from Brisbane it’s only 2.5 to 3 hours normally, and that’s Sunday driving. But that doesn’t account for a mini bus turning over on the highway, nor the 8 car pileup of nose-to-tail drivers who really weren’t paying attention to the fact that the person in front of them was stationary. And then there was the camping ground running out of firewood, and the firewood we ended up getting being damp, and … and … and …

Ok, so at 3am this morning we set off from the carpark at the foot of the mountain. On board were food supplies, water, and my ashes. Last night I spent some time writing down the stuff that I was, or I thought I was, but that I am no longer. It brought up some things I thought I had recovered from years ago, and was an enlightening exercise. I burned them and took the ashes with me to scatter on the mountain, as a symbolic release of what I will never go back to. What struck me most was after filling a bowl with screwed up pieces of paper and burning them, how little there actually was. How light the remains were.

The walk was challenging, in that whole “if there weren’t 6 other people doing this with me I’d probably turn around now” way. The last 400m (400m? Pretty sure they measured that wrong) was a rock climb. Not quite vertical, and with foot holds and a chain on the side of the path, but still a rock climb. We rounded a corner and I literally gasped as the first glimpse of the pre-dawn light was visible. Did I mention the blackest most moonless night in living history?

So there we were, on the top of a freezing cold wind swept mountain. Just me and a close bunch of about 50 complete strangers. I didn’t realise how many people made the trek in the middle of winter! Crazy bastards. We were there about an hour early, and we waited, and froze, and waited.

And then it happened. The first rays of the hugest most orange sun you’ve ever seen appeared over the horizon. The crowd hushed, and the chatter stopped, and everyone drank in the amazing sight before us. It was breathtaking. We were in a massive group, but at that moment I think we all realised that we are alone and responsible for ourselves. Nobody to blame when things go wrong, nobody to point the finger at. Just us.

There were photos, but the photos don’t do the event justice. There were numb hands and toes, and then dread as we all realised we had to go down the way we came. Only on our bottoms.

Today I realised, formally for the first time, I am NOT worthless. I am NOT last, I am NOT fat, or ugly, or hopeless, and I DO finish things. I left that mental image of myself on top of a mountain (well, kind of in my face as well when the wind sprung up at just the wrong moment!) and I am NEVER going back to that person. She served a purpose, she is who I was at the time, but she is not who I am now.

Today I climbed a mountain.

Giving something back

Today was the last long run in the training I’m doing to run the half marathon at this years Brisbane Running Festival. 18km thankyouverymuch. My husband dropped me off near his work (I think he’s secretly a bit disturbed, but also somewhat impressed), and I ran home.

Did I mention it was 18km??

It was slow. It was hard. It was painful, and I’m damn sure it wasn’t pretty. But I bloody well did it. And now I’ve got some sprint/beach/hill sessions, and two more runs of 15 and 12km respectively, and in 3 weeks from Sunday it’s race day.

So what made me decide to run 21.1km on a Sunday morning? Well, there’s the “significant event” aspect. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Robert de Castella’s magnificent victory in the Brisbane Commonwealth Games. Sadly, I vividly remember that event, as well as the kitsch but world-changing moment when Matilda batted her long-lashed eye at the world in a wink.

But I also wanted to use my new-found fitness to give back. I’m never going to be a world-class athlete. There’s a limit to how I can contribute in the fitness world. I’m trying, and supporting others, but really it’s a drop in the ocean. So I thought I’d use my new network of fitness freak buddies to help me raise some money to donate to Youngcare, an extraordinary organisation that is working to provide age-appropriate accommodation to young disabled people. Around 7,000 young people currently live in nursing homes with the elderly, simply because there is no alternative. Youngcare are determined to change that, and give these guys a chance to live in their own space where it’s ok to put heavy metal posters on the walls, sleep in on weekends and play loud music. Not really too much to ask, I wouldn’t have thought.

So dig deep and throw in a few dollars for this amazing group of people. I’ve done my small part, now it’s up to you.

Donate here now! 

The way things change…

Isn’t she beautiful? I bought this little charmer on Thursday night. A bit shout out to Bill at 99 Bikes in Chermside for staying an hour past closing to properly fit me with all the bits and pieces I needed. You guys are awesome!

So yesterday I took her out for her maiden ride. Another friend just upgraded to a very swish Trek road bike, and was keen for a longish ride to try stuff out. Like the maximum speed on the trip computer. We decided to ride from home (inner north west Brisbane) to Nudgee beach for lunch, a round trip of about 60km.

At lunch we were chatting about exercise, and fitness, and stuff like that. And a sentence that came out of my mouth gave me pause for thought. I found myself saying “I didn’t do <exercise program that everyone else did> this morning because I’ve decided Sunday is my rest day. I need to not exercise on my rest day, and I need to be really strict about it or I’ll get overtired again”.

And then I though. Today’s Sunday. I’ve just ridden 30km for lunch, and I’m about to ride 30km home again. Since when is THIS not exercise? It used to be, when did that change?

When I got fit. And when I realised that doing stuff isn’t necessarily formal exercise, but that fit people actually do active stuff for FUN! And being fit gives you the ability to do that as well. Lightbulb moment!!!

At which point the conversation evolved to the fact that there were stacks of families out on the bike path, some with kids in trailers and bike seats, some on their own set of wobbly wheels. My lunch mate informed me that her (self-admittedly obese, even though she isn’t any more) family never did stuff like that. Never. No bush walks ending in a picnic, no family bike rides. Like she said, it’s no wonder they turned out like they did.

My family did that stuff, but somewhere along the line I stopped. Think I need to start again…

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