Unleashing My Inner Awesome

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

Archive for the category “Mindset lessons”

How far have *I* come then??!!

Yesterday I helped a friend train another friend. It was an “introduction to Crossfit” session, and I was there as unofficial photographer. About halfway through the session tyre flips were involved, and second friend said “I want to see *HER* do them!” at me.

Without even giving the matter a second thought I grabbed the tyre and started flipping. Down the course and back. Skinny jeans, light coloured shirt and all. Because I could. And yes, I went all Little Ms Competitive on the way back and beat my out time by two seconds thankyouverymuch.

So last night I was reflecting on who I am now and who I used to be. My wedding day was the most amazing day of my life. And thanks to a kick-arse photographer, an amazing dressmaker. copious quantities of boning, and the most awesome hair and makeup artist ever, I looked as good as I could have. I look back at my photos and love them, despite the saggy arms, rolls of back fat and big tummy. I still think I looked good, but I looked good for a fat chick.

The difference between then-me and now-me amazes even me! I still have a bit of pudge that I need to get rid of. But it’s not even the weight and size loss, it’s the fact that I was throwing tyres around in the park, and I didn’t even consider not doing it! When my friend called me out on it I just did it. No questioning whether I was capable (I knew I was), no second guessing, it just happened. And relatively easily as well.

I am beginning to love me. And from where I was, that’s a massive step in the right direction.

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Where do I go from here?

I’ve been struggling lately with my food and exercise. I’m starting to overcome the exercise thing by attending more group activities. After saying last round I was going to cut back, I’ve realised it’s in my best interest to have a commitment to someone. Otherwise I just don’t do it.

So on the nutrition thing, I’ve been self sabotaging in a major way. McDonalds, alcohol, ice-cream etc. I know what I need to do, I know I just need to shut up and do it, but there’s a little voice in my head which has turned into an overwhelming roar that says “it doesn’t matter. You can have the <insert vice here> if you want”.

Today I’ve done some serious reflection on why it’s happening. And here’s what I think it is. Warning: this next part may induce hysterical laughter at just how messed up my thinking is…

Physically I’m smaller than I’ve ever been. I’m a size 12. By all measurements except my BMI I’m a healthy size. My body fat is in the normal range, my waist measurement is under 80cm, and while my BMI is over 25 it’s only 25.5. So realistically I could stop losing weight now and be healthy. Sure, I’ve got some serious gains to make in the fitness stakes, but that’s a work in progress.

But I haven’t lost my 30kg. My goal was to go from 99 to 69, a number which I picked for no reason other than it was a kind of cool number. And 69 sounds better than in the 70s. I have been close to the 30+ crew and it’s a nice round number.

So I’m wondering if I’m deliberately self-sabotaging so that I’ll gain a little bit and then have to lose it again? I’ve got used to attacking my weight, and seeing a smaller number on the scale each week and I’m not sure my head is ready for the number to be the same each time. I haven’t really thought about what will happen when I get to goal. My goal weight is some weird far-away thing that I’ve never even got close to. I keep saying to myself I want to be a size 10, or an 8, but I don’t know if I do really. I think maybe a 12, and with a healthy body fat level and awesome level of fitness is where I really want to be.

As I read and digest what I’ve written I think that’s where I am. I want to sit somewhere around the size I am now, but a tighter, more toned version. If that’s heavier or lighter than what I weigh, so be it. I really think I’ll start working on maintenance mode from this time on.

The thing that’s really bugging me is that I feel like I’ve failed the 30+ crew. Those guys (and you lot who are in it!) have been amazingly supportive. They’ve kicked my arse on numerous occasions and been a shoulder to cry on on others. In my head I don’t want to stop before I get to 30kg lost because that will feel like I’m not one of the gang any more. While I’m still “losing” I can pretend that I belong.

I know that sounds sad and pathetic. I know I need to get over it. But knowing something and doing it are two different things, as we know, otherwise it would be easy.

Thanks for listening… xxxxx

Dreeeeaaaaam, Dream Dream Dream…

I’ve never been a superstitious person. I don’t believe in ghosts, or premonitions. I can walk under ladders and pat black cats until the cows come home. Which is why the dream I had last night, when I sat and thought about it, was all the more interesting. I’ve read dream interpretation books and websites and thought to myself “yeah, whatever”. But this time…

I’ll preface this by saying that my clean eating, exercising pattern has gone a bit off the rails this week. And last week if I’m honest. Eating out, way too many calories, and apart from a couple of killer sessions on the weekend with an awesome bunch of people, pretty much no exercise at all. Obviously that’s been playing on my mind a bit.

I dreamt I had a new baby. Now before you all oooh and aaah, it’s not going to happen, OK? Ever. Let’s just clarify that. It was a DREAM! So after a relatively easy labour and delivery, she was there, a perfect, rose-lipped little baby girl. I knew I had to feed her, so I started trying but she wasn’t really interested. She knew she wanted it and was crying a bit, but she couldn’t get her head around how to do it. And for me, it all became too hard.

So I gave up, left her lying in the middle of the bed, and left. I went out for lunch with my husband. I don’t remember what we ate, but I do remember that it was really good. After lunch I remembered my baby, and realised I had to get back to her because everyone would disapprove strongly of my neglect. I found my way back to the hospital with no problems, but when I tried to get back to my ward and bed there were a million and one obstacles in my way, corridors and walls where there weren’t any before, and I couldn’t find her. And then I woke up…

Now, in my mind my baby is representative of my new body. And even the easy delivery is symbolic. I’ve actually found losing weight to be relatively easy this time. Sure, the workouts have been challenging. But the just saying no part? My head seems (until now) to be dealing with that quite nicely. I’ve lost something in the order of 25kg in about 6 months. I’ve been trying, but it really wasn’t the drama that it has been in the past.

But when it came to maintaining my brand new body, I couldn’t be bothered putting in the required effort, and just gave up. And then I could ‘t find it again. Pretty obvious, huh? Well let me tell you, Universe. That ain’t gonna happen! It’s a dream, not a premonition. It’s a warning of what could happen if I don’t pay attention, not what will happen. And when I consider it in the cold light of day, I’m enjoying my life the way it is way too much to go back to how I was before.

So on that note, I’ve just printed out today’s gym program, and I’m about to head down there. I had a quick sneaky peek and it looks pretty damn hard, but that serves me right for being a slacker. After that I’m going to have a nice, healthy, SMALL lunch, and then work this afternoon to distract me. And tomorrow? Rinse, repeat. For the rest of my life.

I had a bit of a moment, but I’ve got this, people. It’s all good.

A very enlightening day

Today I spent some time with the gorgeous Louise from Emotive Images. She’s working on a photography project involving a bunch of women who have made life-changing decisions which I am an excited, proud and slightly nervous participant in. Today was my turn to spend some time at the studio for our initial interview.

Those of you who know me well know that I like to talk. You also know that I rarely talk about myself, at least not in that revealing, let-the-world-know-what-I’m-thinking-or-feeling way. So today was an interesting experience, one involving much reflection in the car on the way home. I have a feeling that the reflection is going to continue for a long time as well.

Without giving too much away (you will all see the results of the project, I promise!) Louise asked me to find something about myself to use as the theme for our photo shoot. I was initially thinking very literally, and visualising something around my cars, my family, the fact that I now run and cycle (I’m a freaking triathlete, for goodness’ sake!), that sort of thing. But as we talked and Louise got deeper into the me that I thought I successfully hid under my exterior (did I mention she’s got a degree in Psychology???) I realised that wouldn’t give an insight into the person I was, nor the person I am now. It’s what I do, it’s not who I am.

Who I am now is someone who is a weird conflicting blend of confidence and uncertainty. I feel better physically than I ever have. I can do things I never dreamt possible for myself, and I am no longer embarrassed to be seen in public. But inside I feel like the biggest person in the room, because that’s who I’ve grown up as. I have been overweight and then obese all of my adult life. I have fluctuated between mildly and seriously overweight, but I have never before been at a healthy body fat level or weight.

My problem at the moment is that I don’t know what I look like. The talk on the 12WBT forums among those of us who have a smaller amount to lose, and those who are just starting, is around goal weights. Others talk about the weight they felt comfortable in their own skin, or the weight they were at a size 8/10/12/whatever as being their goal. Or a level of body fat when they could function at their optimum level. I’ve never been there. I’ve never been at a healthy BMI, or a “normal” size. What is normal anyway? I have absolutely no frame of reference for what I will look like when I get to where I’m going, and consequently I don’t know where I’m going! To top it off my biological parents have not been in my life since I was 4, so I can’t look at the gene pool either.

All the self-help gurus and experts say if you don’t have a goal to aim towards you won’t know when you get there. Well I honestly don’t know what my body shape goal is, but I’m pretty sure I will know when I get there. At least I hope I will. I’m working on the theory that with healthy diet and exercise I’m currently still losing weight, so I hope my body will tell me when it gets closer and start slowing down. And who knows, that could be very soon! As of yesterday I officially have only 1.3kg to lose to get to a healthy BMI. That’s exciting! I’m also in the healthy body fat range (admittedly at the upper end). So I’m getting to the point where I have to decide what to do next. Until now my focus has been on losing weight, I think now it’s time to start to try and find out who I really am. Not what I do, not who I love, but about me.

Oh, and the photo shoot. You all want to know what my theme is, don’t you? You’ll just have to wait…

For goodness’ sake GROW UP!


Today I chucked a little tantrum. Not a big one, it was pretty restrained, and maybe even just ever so slightly justified, but it was a tantrum all the same. Any 2 year old would have been proud of me, I think.

For the back story, you need to know that I’ve been lusting after a new bike. I’ve found the model I want and am stashing away the cash to be able to afford it. But it’s a reasonably expensive bike (for me anyway) and the purchase date is still a little way off. So yesterday I rode my old bike home from work, and the front derailleur wasn’t selecting the midrange gears properly. It was working some of the time, but needed to be fiddled with a bit.

I mentioned this to The Man. I also mentioned that I was doing a 35k bike ride on Sunday with some friends, so if he wasn’t confident that he could make it better, I’d appreciate it if he at least didn’t make it worse. Another little back story – The Man uses the middle gear selection a lot, even when he’s going fast downhill. I use top and bottom, and middle occasionally on my way through to the others.

After a while he proudly came in and announced that he’d fixed it. It now moved smoothly and selected gears perfectly. He’d adjusted it all beautifully. I could now move easily between low and mid range.

But not top. WTF? No top gears? Yep, he was immensely proud of the fact that he’d managed to completely eliminate my ability to use the gear selection I preferred probably 80% of the time. Sure, gear shifting between the 20% gears was easier and more reliable, but absolutely no top.

I took a deep breath and calmly informed him that wasn’t quite what I wanted, and could he please very nicely put it back the way it was. At which point he told me he didn’t know what he’d done, and consequently couldn’t make it the same as it was before he started messing with it.

That was about when I locked myself in the bedroom (sans alcohol, it was in the fridge and I didn’t want to emerge into society yet) and threw my tantrum. Alone and in private, but still. I wasn’t kicking and screaming, but I was swearing at him under my breath. And apologies to all the men reading this, but I may very well have lumped all of you in with him.

I frantically tried to organise another bike. I toyed with the idea of taking it to a bike shop to fix, but we’re talking 2pm on a Saturday afternoon here, and I’m pretty sure your average bike shop wouldn’t have considered this an emergency, even if I did. Eventually I just threw my hands in the air and gave up, and posted on the Facebook group for the people I was supposed to be riding with, a terse, cranky sentence about not being able to go.

But then, he fixed it. Even now he still isn’t sure what he did, and I have to use my right hand to help push the lever because it’s pretty stiff, but I have a choice of low, medium and high gears. All of them!

So I feel bad. I apologised, and he looked at me with puppy dog eyes and pulled the line guaranteed to induce a guilt reaction in any female – “I was just trying to help!” Being the soft touch that I am I didn’t follow through on my threat to make him cook his own dinner, and I had an amazing ride along the ocean with a wonderful group of people. Breakfast (eggs, Turkish bread, fruit and coffee) wasn’t too shabby either. All in all a good outcome, but I’m pretty sure the outcome would have been the same if I hadn’t thrown my little tanty.

Conquering the mountain

Today I ran up a mountain in my home town. And back down again.

There’s a running/mountain biking trail a group of us have done quite a few times. It’s a 5k run down the side of a mountain, and then back up. There’s a fairly steep bit right at the top that you almost have to crawl up. I definitely haven’t mastered it yet, but it is getting easier.

Which is why when one of the girls suggested I do the road run before hand, I said yes. Hey, it seemed like a good idea. And then I started thinking about it properly. See, the road run adds another 3.75km each way to the circuit. So 7.5km more than I was already going to do. They start at a carpark at the bottom of the mountain, run to the start of the track and then run back down after the track.

Once I’d said yes I started crunching the numbers. A total of 12.8km. Half uphill. And Heartbreak Hill, instead of being at the end of the 5th kilometre, would be at the end of the 9th!

So this morning, while I was driving to the meeting point, I was composing the reasons why I couldn’t do this, and how I was going to explain to the others why I was pulling out. I couldn’t do it. I was kidding myself. I’m not that fit/athletic/strong yet. I’ll get there, just not right now.

But when I got there the others were so enthusiastic and encouraging that I felt I would be letting them down if I didn’t do it! So I just did. And it nearly killed me. My feet and legs were jelly at the end, my stomach was about to expel my breakfast, and my head was spinning. I was dripping with sweat and had totally run out of dry places on my shirt to wipe my face.

But I did it! There will never again be a first time. As I get fitter and stronger it will get easier (and yes, I will do it again!) I am not where I want to be yet, but I am a hell of a lot further along than I was. I will always be a “work in progress”, that’s inevitable. Once you stop improving you stop living. So there isn’t an end point to this journey, merely a whole lot of rest stops along the way.

I can’t eat like that any more.

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you had a wonderful day full of happiness and love.

We had no kids at home this year, they were all at their other parents’. So just The Man and I for Christmas lunch. He was having cheese kranskies, which used to be up there among my favourite foods. Lovely little German sausages, with pockets of warm, melted cheese. Yum!

So I had some too. On a fresh white bread roll. I followed it up with some grapes. I decided that today was going to be a No Calorie Counting day, and I’d go for a walk this afternoon.

The Man had the traditional post-Christmas lunch lie-down (even though we really didn’t eat that much!) and I decided I’d go for a quick 5k around the block instead of a walk. It wasn’t too hot, there was a nice cooling breeze, and I felt like going for a run up and down some hills. See how much this lifestyle has changed me? Anyway, I set off feeling fine.

About halfway round I started to get the worst stomach cramps and had to stop running. 3/4 of the way into my lap I was really struggling, sweating and shaking, and desperately trying to work out if I could make it home or if I’d have to knock on someone’s door. And then, I saw it. The public toilet, and the door was UNLOCKED! On Christmas Day! I couldn’t believe my luck.

Anyway, I made use of the facilities. And felt much better, and walked the rest of the way home.

I honestly couldn’t believe how bad I felt though. My body was totally rebelling against the food I’d fed it! I’ve been eating clean, unprocessed food for the last 4 months, and I could not tolerate the processed meat and cheese and white bread. It was actually a really interesting revelation.

So tomorrow it’s back to the good stuff. Actually tonight it was back to the good stuff. With the exception of a small glass of butterscotch schnapps. Hey, it is Christmas, after all!

A mental breakthrough

I’m fat, that much is established. In the past I thought “fat” was an offensive word. I thought that describing people as overweight, big, large, and the word du jour for online dating websites: cuddly, was a far less rude way to describe someone.

I have believed for a while now that fat is the more accurate way of saying it, but have been having trouble rationalising that with the part of me that says it’s rude and offensive. I hate sugar coating. I hate that society has become so politically correct that fat is no longer acceptable as a description, but I don’t know how to lose that mindset.

Today I was listening to an older podcast from Bevan James Eyles, who is an Ironman triathlete and professional fitness instructor. He’s also a really cool motivational speaker, if you ever get the chance to listen to him. Anyway, the podcast I was listening to today was all about disconnecting the emotions from your fitness decisions. And about how saying you’re fat isn’t an insult if it’s true, and that it doesn’t mean you are a bad person, just that you have made some unhealthy decisions in your life to this point.

Lightbulb moment! That’s me! I’m fat. I’ve made some bad decisions in the past. I’ll probably make some bad decisions in the future, but I won’t let them turn my mind around and ruin all the good work I’ve done on my body to date. I am here for the long haul now, and one bad decision is just that, a single bad decision in isolation.

It’s just what Michelle Bridges has been saying in the 12 Week Body Transformation program I’ve been doing (and have just signed up to do again in February!). Take the emotion out of it. View what you do from an external perspective, and when you screw up as you inevitably will (because nobody except John Eales is perfect!) you need to review what you’ve done as if it were somebody else, and jump straight back on that wagon. It’s not easy, but it’s simple.

It’s taken me 42 years to work out what I’ve been doing wrong, and now that I have, I don’t intend to forget it!

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