Thursday, 17 October 2013

What's your story?

It's 6 am and I'm in bed thinking about my day. It's going to be a crap day, the weather is windy so all the children at my kindergarten will be climbing the walls. The unit leader is coming out today to talk to me, it's probably a complaint but I'll be damned if I know what I've done, I just know how it will all go, how am I going to defend myself? I'll say this, she'll say that, I'll say this back..yep that's what I'll do.Man, I SOOO do not want to go to work. :(


It's 3 pm and I have to call the school but I don't want to do it because I sound like an idiot on the phone and if I get the answering machine I'll end up just making everyone laugh at how stupid I sound.


I really want to learn how to swim but I'm so uncoordinated, besides I'm afraid of water, I'm not the sporty one in the family, some people just know how to swim I won't be able to be taught because I just have something wrong with me when it comes to learning that stuff.

Every day, every hour many of us have a conversation similar to ourselves....negative, bitchy, hateful, defeating. Seriously, if there was a person standing beside me saying those things to my face I'd be avoiding them as much as possible, if they said it to my friend, then I'd be telling them where to go. Why would I want to hang around someone who just makes me feel bad about myself?

Each of those stories are just a story. Fiction. Not an ounce of truth in any of them. Planning my day to be a disaster? Well that was yesterday. Yes it was windy but the children were fantastic. Who told me they wouldn't? Where was the fact in that? The Unit Leader did come out but it was for a visit, nothing more. Why did I believe someone had complained about me? Did I have any evidence to prove that?

In fact, where was the truth in ANY of those things that have gone through my head? Who said I sound like an idiot on the phone? Where is the proof I am uncoordinated? I can drive a car, play a violin, run, clap my hands....they all require coordination.

We all tell ourselves stories....constantly.  We have a running reel in our heads narrating what we have done, are doing, or will do. But like all good storytellers, it isn't always quite true. It gets embellished, made dramatic and then we accept it as truth without evidence. It's a bit like re writing history to suit the current dictator or political/religous agenda. If the person in charge is a negative tyrant, then things will get warped to fit.

The one way around that is to look for the evidence and the facts. WHO has said I always stuff things up? Is their opinion worthy? Asking questions to test  negative thought patterns nearly always gives me the realisation that noone has said that to me, it was just another self defeating thought and not worth listening.

So I think for me it's time to switch from telling myself 'stories' and instead tell myself 'news headlines' based on research. Time to test the negative words and put some honesty into my thinking.

 Being truthful or honest is not just in my dealings with other people, it is in dealings and conversations with myself. It is in every word I say to myself in my head.

 If I was to live truly honestly, I could achieve amazing things. We all could.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Can't see the forest for the trees....

I am confused. Super confused. I am confused about nutrition.

I read fitness magazines, have done the MB 12WBT program, and know my food pyramid. But it is all conflicting.

How many calories should one eat? 1200? 1500? 2000? What about macros? percentages? Activity levels?

Should I eat 1200 for weight loss but if I am at goal weight it is recommended I go to that with or without workout activity?

If I lift weights, I need more calories and to look at my macros and don't even get me STARTED on timing my meals!

More carbs?  More protein? Portion sizes? How much leafy greens is too much?

Every magazine article has a different view, a different expert telling us what we need to lose weight or get that bikini body fast. There are a gazillion different diet plans out there, scientific or otherwise. It has got to the point of ridiculousness.

I have been so bound up in the nitty gritty, timing, macros, calories thing because I KNOW it is all about nutrition. I faithfully log in everything I eat to My Fitness Pal and keep a food diary. But I still wonder am I doing the right thing? If I am why isn't my body changing the way I thought it would?

It has got to the point that the night before I do my grocery lists and meal plan for the week, I am unable to sleep, worrying I have got it all wrong. That is no way to live.

I couldn't see the big picture anymore.

The Big Picture is to be healthy. And I am. I may not have a tiny waist or flat stomach and that may or may not come in time. But I can feed my family, eat nutritious meals every day and feel good in my jeans. I can cut as much processed stuff out as I can. I can run, play with the kids and lift heavy stuff. I can treat myself from time to time and know that it is a treat and not the end of the world.

Do I want to learn more?  Absolutely. I have seen the long term success other people have had in tweaking their nutrition. It is a new goal that I learn about how they did that because curiousity is always a good thing...once I find someone to point me in the direction to find the path between the trees.

In the meantime, I do the best I can with what I know. And when I know better, I will do better. In between times, don't sweat the small stuff and keep my eyes on the Big Picture.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Eagles and Turkeys

There are two types of friends in our lives....the Eagles and the Turkeys.

The Eagles are the friends who are literally the wind beneath my wings.  In so many little ways and big ways they enrich my life, sustain me when I struggle, inspire and heal me. They may not even know how much they have positively influenced me. They are the type of friends who notice...and listen.

The Turkeys however are the toxic friends, the ice upon my wings. They drain me, ignore, belittle, bait me. Their words and actions become toxic sometimes slowly, sometimes obviously, but poisonous nonetheless.

The hard part is identifying between the two....and then distancing myself from the ones who are a negative influence.

Toxic friends can be 'sneaky'.  For instance, negative or hurtful remarks can be made either on my actions or opinions by one.  Another joins in. But stand up to them and it will apparently be all my fault for deliberately misunderstanding their comments. Try and express an opinion different to theirs....or try and show a different side to a debate, and watch them turn on you.

Toxic people are draining. They like the drama and sympathy they get from their hard luck stories or trials. Everyone has trials, some more than others....but a toxic friend will ALWAYS have the best hard life story and offer little empathetic or constructive to support you. They don't just listen.

Toxic people are a big ball of criticism.  No matter what I do, there will always be something wrong. They seize upon the negative in every situation...and use it to say " I told you so" to put you down.

Toxic friends betray my trust, through gossip or their actions.

Toxic friends make me feel stressed or worried or on guard whenever we are together.

Toxic friends make you feel bad about being yourself.

Friendship is not a one way street. I'm sure we've heard the saying " If you want to have a friend, be a friend" It's good advice. If I want a good friend, I become a good friend myself.

I personally think people take on character traits of the friends they hang out with. The more time we spend with a friend, the more likely we both have an impact, and influence on each others lives. I know I'd prefer to be one who has a positive impact, someone who enriches or lights up another person in even a little way than be someone who drags them down into the pit with me.

 We all deserve good friends and to live life well. It's up to us all to choose who influences us, who and how we want to spend our time, what our actions will reflect.  As everyone's personality and characters are different and grow and change, so do our friendships. And for all it sounds harsh and hard hearted, it is time to sort between the Eagles and the Turkeys.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Nurturing or indulging?

A friend of mine put me in the direction of this fascinating article:

It got me thinking about a lot of things, part of which is what I do in my day....and what I used to do. So I decided to share with you all my musings on that part.

There's a fine line in my mind about nurturing and indulging, and it takes a great deal of thinking initially to differentiate between the two. I think basically, nurturing helps me to grow and build and to be responsible for myself. Indulging encourages me to stagnate and avoid consequences and responsibilites...just because I can.

I USED to think nurturing myself was eating a block (or two)of chocolate, followed by wine when I felt bad about myself, which was a lot of the time. Poor self image, two teenage daughters, looking fat and flobby all just fed into a more and more negative view of myself. Everything I did I thought was all wrong and I was completely worthless. In fact I was so far down I couldn't see a way up and I was falling fast...sick, depressed, hopeless. Of COURSE chocolate and wine would make that all better. My life revolved around what time tv shows were on so I could escape my life for a while.

Then I did the Michelle Bridges 12WBT, lost the weight, found I could do amazing things and that I liked working out. I started lifting weights and keeping food diaries, conscientiously marking down what my macros were, exactly what and how much I ate and drank, how many calories, how much I burned off in each gym session. I felt good, I looked good and I felt focused. My life now revolved around what time I could get to gym 6 days a week.

Now, reading those two opposites, you would think the second option was better. After all, I lost weight, gained confidence and new skills, life was no longer stagnant. But, in my own fantastic all or nothing way, I had gone too far and my determination in working out could be construed as damaging as sitting doing nothing on the couch.  Both actions were driven by the same nagging voice in my head " You aren't good enough', the same poor self image, just dressed up in a different way. Where it was once fear and worry about being 'good enough' or being 'normal' now transferred to doing it 'right' and not slipping back to what I once was. It may have started as nurturing my body back to health but became indulging my drive, my all or nothing approach.

Would I change the past?  No way, but I am gradually now learning that happiness and health lie in the middle of the two. A 12 week program is just that, a 12 WEEK program. When you do it as a 12 MONTH program (or more), your body and mind will feel the effects,  and not always in a positive way. It was time to re think, re boot and re set.

I still believe working out is important and so part of me nurturing myself still includes that component. But instead of 6 days a week, I do 5 days. Instead of killing myself during every workout to the point of exhaustion, I am following a slower yet just as effective program set for me by my PT husband (got to be some perks in it) I am doing what I love and what I like, and not what I think I 'should' be doing  in case I don't measure up.....and I'm still getting results.

But more importantly, I am looking at food differently. Instead of being so focused and worried about my calories and macros, I focus on eating healthy.  If I am out with my family and everyone has an icecream cone, I have one and enjoy it and ( most imprtantly) don't stress about how it will affect my calorie count and my macro percentages. Conversely, when it is the end of the day and I'm feeling very blah and tired about myself making me think I  want to reach out for a tub of icecream, I stop and evaluate the whys... Why do I feel like this? Why do I think eating icecream will solve this?

In other words, I what I am about to put in my mouth to nurture my body or am I indulging it? Is what I am about to do to my body nurturing or indulging?

I am slowly getting to the point of balancing, much like as a kid when you stand in the middle of the see saw and see if you can get it to just balance, without tipping.

And I always thought I was the most awesome person in the world when I could do it...TAKE THAT GRAVITY!!!!

I am finding my balance point and letting go of the fear and worry that feed that negative self image, taking a step back and looking at things objectively. Finding a balance point can be tricky and I have no doubt I will fall either side of it often before I can know what it feels like. But that's what mistakes are for, to show me what it isn't and to learn from it.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Be proud

One of the facebook groups about fitness and lifting I belong to had a 'selfie' picture show, mainly of biceps and backs but it could be any part of the body you feel has improved.

The comments on all the posts were supportive but not all of the original posts were....I was guilty of this too.

I put up this pic of my bicep as something I was 'proud' of....

 But my post indicated otherwise ....guilt and perhaps a sense of shame that I am not 'better'
"My pistol as in baby gun... Only 3rd week back lifting after 12 weeks running and a week sick. I will get there...."

Why do I feel the need to make apologies for something I can only compare to myself? Look, I have a bicep.

You know when I first started I had a blob of fat there, not a muscle you could see. I had the 'bingo wings', the 'tuckshop arms' thing going on. Not now. And yes, I am improving on it, but that doesn't take away the fact I have worked and worked hard to get to this point.

I keep a workout diary and I put up my weights by 2.5 kilos on the leg press. My husband snorted (supportively I'm sure,  he really is a gorgeously good man)  and said, "What, are you going to take that as a PB?"

HELL YES. That's 2.5 kg I could do now that I wasn't doing before. It's not a huge leap but it is still going UP. And that is worth being noted for being a Personal Best.

We all start somewhere. I think we need to celebrate the little things as well as the big. 

Little things like only eating 2 tim tams instead of the pack. Raising weights a bit further. Taking a few seconds off your best running time. Even drinking another glass of water for the day.  

These all add up to a healthier me.  I am achieving, I am progressing, maybe in fairy tiptoe steps instead of gazelle leaps and bounds but I am still progressing. And it is seeing those little progressions, the little wins that keep me going back to push a little bit further, to see how much more I can do. It's those little triumphs that remind me that I CAN do this, even when I ache, or am tired, or just really don't want to go workout....

Big things are things everyone sees, running a first half marathon, getting prizes or awards. But it's the little things that keep me going back to the gym, little celebrations that I can fistpump in the air and say " I am DOING this with AWESOMENESS" 

So stand up and be proud of them! Every day something small will happen that is a small miracle, or little triumph. Notice them, cherish them, celebrate them. Remember what it was like when we started, and see how far we have come since then.

 After all, we are all made up of small things, and without the small successes, we wouldn't have the big ones.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Are you Okay?

Today, in Australia, we ask each other one little question...Are you okay?

It is R U OK day, best described on the website as:

"The R U OK? Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to encouraging all people to regularly and meaningfully ask 'are you ok?' to support those struggling with life."

I think in theory it's a great idea. Facebook has been filled with posts asking  R U OK? and people offering to lend an ear. But what do they do if you are NOT ok? How can they help?

What if you are not ok but don't know why, or how to say it?

What if you think others are more needy than you, after all, at least you have shelter and food and clothing? What have you really to complain of?

What if you have had to be strong and just 'deal with it' for so long, you don't know how to not be strong?

I don't have any answers.

Everyone, every single one of us needs help at one time or another.

I knew one of these people.  She was a member of my gym class. She was always helpful to all the newcomers, was great to talk to, always smiling. We had great chats, and worked out in Body Pump beside each other.

And I didn't know she felt so utterly lonely and heartbroken that she took her life earlier this year.

Would that have changed if I said Are you ok? Would this strong, vibrant, apparently happy and confident woman have said anything for me to see her differently?

Would I have known what to do, how to help?

Sometimes the person who seems it to have it together and is a 'super person' is the one who inside is screaming for help, but can't get the word out. The shell of being capable and in control is too thick, the fear of losing 'face' or esteem with others is too great. The pressure they put on themselves is enormous and builds, like a volcano, until great destruction is the result.

Sometimes the person who has it all, really has nothing inside....the outside glitz and glamour is to hide the emptiness that eats away at the heart and soul.

Sometimes the person who is the brightest laugh at parties, the ones that seem to be in a crowd of friends, is feeling more alone than you can possibly know. Alone and invisible within the crowd.

Sometimes the person knows they need help, really needs someone to take over, to just help them see the way through, but just cannot  find even the tiny amount of self love needed to think they are valuable enough to be helped, to reach out. They are crippled with the belief they are so repulsive to the Human race, the world would be a better place if they were not in it.

Sometimes, asking just one question is not enough. Sometimes, knowing someone, spending time with them, developing the relationship with them will show more than you or they realise.

Sometimes, there just are no answers.


Who's the Boss?

A little blast from the 80's there....ahhh Tony Danza.....

I've been looking back on the past week, and in particular yesterday. Yesterday at work, I came up with every excuse, including hormones to explain why I have felt the need to eat chocolate.  Now I normally wouldn't feel guilty because everyone has to let loose every now and then, but this week, when I added up what I've eaten, I felt a little twinge of shame.  A 500gm tub of Maggie Beer's peanut butter and chocolate ripple icecream, several large freddo frogs, a large box of maltesers, a packet of mini caramello easter eggs, a block of Whittakers peanut butter chocolate, several bars of different chocolates....and guess what, THAT'S ONLY IN 4 DAYS.

But of course, it wasn't my fault.  I was emotional, I was hungry, I was bored, I was craving it, I was offered it and didn't want to be rude....I even found myself saying I ate a tub of icecream because my husband said he was going to have one with our son while they were out...and then felt BETRAYED when he didn't actually have one, after I had eaten a tub. Clearly all his fault.

Oh, all right. No it is NOT all his fault. But don't tell him that ...yet.

I had forgotten about responsibility. Again. Every so often the lesson I think I've learned suddenly become unlearned. Accepting responsibility for what I do is one of them.

Now I consider myself a very responsible person, I drive a car, raise a family, hold down a job, all with responsibilities and I like to think I do them all well. I hold myself accountable to go to gym to workout 6 days a week and to rest one day. I hold myself accountable about eating healthy for main meals, for maintaining a positive outlook and for personal organisation.

So why did I suddenly come up with every excuse under the sun because I, noone else, I chose to go all Augustus Gloop at Willy Wonka's factory?

I realised, I don't like getting into trouble. Who does? But I am also a 41 year old woman, why am I getting into trouble for making poor food choices? What do I care about being judged for that, when I know I do far more good choices with my health? Why am I trying to hide it from myself?

I made poor choices. It was a CHOICE that I made, not anyone else. Do I like how it made me feel?  No. Did it solve any of the reasons why I ate it? No. Did I write it in my food diary?  Hell no. Lets add being honest with myself to the list of lessons to learn again....

I've decided to take a new approach. When I know I'm trying to talk myself out of a workout, or into another tub of Maggie Beer's icecream, the first answer is NO. The next answer to the wheedling in my head is WHY? A typical example....

Head: Why don't you get some salted caramel swirl icecream when you do the shopping?

Me: NO

Head: Come on, You've earned it.

Me: Why? Why should I?

Head: Look at the crap week you've had . AND your husband is going to have an icecream with your son, and you'll be missing out. Bastards.

Me: Missing out on what? Fat and sugar with a side of obesity and diabetes? Ice cream will fix a crap week like a time machine will it? And let's see, my husband will also be getting rid of the massive huntsman spider on the roof and I'll be missing out on that, should I go catch a massive hairy legged spider too?
 Time to stop blaming everything else but me.

I am responsible for myself, my choices and my actions, noone else. That is one of the hallmarks of character.....being a woman of my word. And that I am. Time to put into action the NO/WHY plan. Time to woman up and be straight up honest, stick to the plan and live how I think and want to live.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Let's call a spade a spade.

This came up recently in a facebook conversation.....a blog article on supermarkets and their marketing ploys geared towards over processed fatty, sugary foods made mention of the fact the check out attendant was obese.  What hope does she have? wondered the writer.

And while some of my friends raised a valid point, the attendant's weight may be due to other health issues,  it was their statement this is too "judgemental" on the person.

So the following is my opinion....

Why has it become such a sin to say if someone is overweight?

Statistics and studies have shown that Australia is now the most overweight nation in the world. Surely we can't ALL be suffering medical issues or hormonal imbalances that cause this?

Over the years, I see noone has had any hesitation in frowning upon smoking and changing laws to reflect this.  SMOKING KILLS yell the posters and ads.  Well so does excess fat.

It is important to point out here, that a person's size is no indication to their body fat. A 45kg woman may have more body fat percentage than a 70 kg woman. Size or weight is not an indicator of harmful body fat.

It is time people accepted responsibility for their own health. Regardless of what we tell ourselves, we choose what we eat. We choose how to spend our money. I COULD spend $2 on a cheeseburger at Maccas....or I could spend $1 and get 2 apples, or a couple of bananas.
 This is American but you get the idea!

We have handed over our choices to the food companies and the supermarkets. We have chosen instant gratification with food over preparing meals. If we had to take the time to bake tim tams, would we eat the whole batch in a sitting?  Or would we pace it out?

How easy is it to roll up to a drive through and order dinner, and receive it in less than 5 minutes?  As opposed to going home and chopping vegetables and cooking?

Which leads me to another  spade.....we have become LAZY.

Nobody moves much anymore, or exercises. Nobody wants the bother of cooking and the resulting cleaning up. It takes up too much 'free time' which we spend doing what?  Facebooking?  Watching TV?

I cook dinner at home after work, as do many of my friends. Most of our meals involve a prep time of approximately 5-10 minutes and a cooking time of about the same. Literally, within about 20 minutes to half an hour of walking in my door, I can have dinner on the table. That's not so's fresh, it's hot, it's delicious. Sure I have washing up to do, but then I'm not contributing so much to landfill with all my packaging...(tick smug environmental box here LOL) and really, if I timed myself doing the dishes, it would be 15 minutes or less.

It's time for us all to wake up and THINK for ourselves. To take the time to educate ourselves on buying and eating fresh unprocessed foods, and moving and doing more. It's not rocket science....and it's not hard. I've used every excuse under the sun myself....I have no time, I don't like it, it's too hard, it's too expensive but when I started I found all those were just that ...excuses.

I do have time, I just thought I didn't. I do like it, I was just not used to it so thought I wouldn't like it. It's not too hard, I just thought cooking would be hard (because I watch too much Masterchef), besides there is a HUGE amount of information to tell me how to cook something. It's not expensive, it is quite often cheaper than buying fast food and over processed meals from the supermarket, plus the savings in medical costs (commonly treating high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc)

You also don't need a gym to exercise, go out and walk, even if its a few laps around the back yard. Do pushups/situps/burpees in the ad breaks of television, just MOVE more.

Hiding behind the 'judgemental' card is not going to change the situation. We make value judgements about people, including ourselves, all the time, whether we are conscious of it or not.

 I'm not advocating going out and calling people fat. But I AM saying, let's not hide our heads in the sand. Deep down we know what we are doing to ourselves, it's time to take responsibility for it. It's not good enough to expect others to have the responsibility for our health, or to blame the fast food companies for making us ill and obese. Noone is forcing us to eat what we put in our mouths or to cave in constantly to the children who have seen one too many kids meal ads on TV.

It's time to wake up and face what is real.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Flying solo

So my first week of flying solo has gone...not so well, with circumstances out of my control.

I've switched back to doing weights as my foot is still not healed enough to run.  It's having a nice long rest while I lift heavy things for the next 12 weeks.

I am loving the weights.  I love how my mind feels when I run, but I love how my body feels when I lift.

Using a Lean and Strong program from 2011, I am concentrating on form and not rushing through the sets. Even so I was surprised to see most of the workouts this week were less than an hour.  Due to a staff meeting on Friday afternoon ( my gym time before school pickup), I did a double workout on Wednesday before work and finished in plenty of time.  I'm sure this will change afterwards and my legs were SMASHED that day....but all for good cause...and I am starting to feel strong again.

Noe for circumstances out of my control.....well, after 3 weeks of a bad cough getting progressively worse and seeing 3 different doctors, I finally have a diagnosis.

The first doctor told me I had a bad cough and if I couldn't breathe then I should not cough so hard.

The second doctor gave me some general antibiotics and told me not to cough so hard.

I then taped an episode of coughing on my phone.

The third doctor heard about 5 seconds of the tape and immediately took action for whooping cough....throat swabs, nose swabs, bloods and some serious horse pills and steroids to take, thankfully which now, after 2 1/2 days of medication has taken the choking and most of the 'whooping' away.

And all this gym, no workouts for at least 5 days.....and I have to say, while I really want to go do something, I feel so weak and tired from interrupted sleep and unwellness, as well as restricted breathing, it's an effort to do anything.

I would not wish this on anyone, it feels as if I am drowning from the inside, and I dread the next cough and the struggle to get air in. Everything aches with the effort of trying to not cough and then, ironically, coughing. I could look at it as a great core workout LOL.
And the not so great could last another week, it could last another 3 months.

So for this next week at least, it will be more about keeping an eye on nutrition rather than exertion. I have set myself times to eat as I have next to no appetite, and formulated a meal plan to make sure I get what I need. And rest, rest, rest.......It's not the best start to my next 12 week period but it's no reason to quit.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Finale part 2...workout and party

After far too little sleep, Troy and I got ready for the days workout, held at the Adelaide showgrounds....after the obligatory gun shot of course...

A quick breakfast later and we were on our way.

It was a gorgeous day....for an indoor workout. The registration process was quick and we were in the room.  I was so excited I popped out a little cartwheel....totally suprised myself AND my husband.

There was a wall of sponsor stands selling so many different things....wish there was a oneactiv sports wear stall.  A stage was in the centre of the room, ready for Michelle's workout, the fashion parade, a yoga demonstration and a 'form' demonstration as well as the finals for the fitness challenge.  Around the sides of the room were various fitness challenges....planking, pushups, shuttleruns and so on.
This greeted us as we walked onto the grounds

Getting ready for the pushup challenge.

Troy and I both tried the pushup challenge....I managed 45 full depth pushups in 60 seconds which I was pretty happy about, considering I had done far less strength work this round than before.

The yoga class demonstration was heaps of fun.  I appreciate yoga and while my balance is fairly good, my flexibility is not. Yoga can be hard work.  Proud of Troy who popped out a beautiful crow pose amidst the falling bodies of the rest of us LOL

Beautiful shot of my tutu bum, with Troy to the right.

And then...the big moment, Michelle Bridges came and put us through a fantastic workout...just brilliant.  I really wish I'd been in her fitness classes before she became famous, they would have been BRILLIANT.   That woman can tuck jump like a demon....and smile the whole time.
 High fiving the Queen herself

Reverse planking, part of the workout

All too soon it was over and far from feeling tired, I felt like I could take on the world...GO ENDORPHINS!

Ahem....didn't stop me having a nana nap before the big party that night though :)

And now the party....I had my fabulous dress from Ebay which cost around $30 but looked like a million bucks. It was a corset type dress, requiring Troy's patience to lace me into it, but totally worth it. Popping on my top hat ( I love a good hat) we walked the red carpet at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

Man, my husband is a good looking man!

Those who have read my blog before will note, yes, same shoes for every Finale party since 2011.

A curtain of lights greet us as we walk in, just fantastic.

The party was great, awards handed out for the most inspirational people and some of those stories were amazing.  My favourite would have to be the lovely lady from NSW who raised $26 000 for a family.  The mother was struck with cancer and then when her baby was 2 months old, suffered a stroke as well. Just heart wrenching.

It was a great opportunity to catch up with old and new friends from all over Australia...
Wandering entertainers


Troy and the Lean and Strong Pirates, including 2 winners of the Most Inspirational award.

The night flew past....and like Cinderella we were all packed off before Midnight, loot bags in hand filled with fantastic products...lindt chocolate anyone? Unlike Cinderella, a large number of us ended up in the cocktail bar at the Sebel to continue on.

Eventually though, considering we had to be up at 5 to catch our flight home, the party had to end. As the buzz went , a little bit of sadness crept in.  It was over. My last finale party for a while, my last round for a while.  Can I keep it going by myself? Do I have the self discipline and self determination?

Time to find out.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Finale weekend....Part 1

Last weekend was the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation finale weekend, held in Adelaide.  And didn't Adelaide know it!

Hundreds of people flew in from all over Australia and the world to take part in a group workout and the Gala party afterwards.  Seeing as how it was coinciding with our wedding anniversary, Troy and I decided to fly down on the Friday and take in what Adelaide does

We took a 'Bums on seats' tour and they were amazing. Gary, our driver gave us a running commentary on everything Adelaide.  The tour was small, about 9 of us in total and during the course of the trip, we found out that 7 of us were 12WBTers.....LOTS to talk about.

Group shot at the first winery, Te Aro
Can you spot the two who were NOT part of 12 WBT?

The wineries were generous and the group VERY merry. We visited 4 wineries in total (I think) and lunch was at a pub. It didn't just centre around wine though, mead, cider and beers were all tried as well.
Have to say though, selfies at the third winery were....interesting.
One too many?  NEVER

Our trip ended with a visit to Maggie Beer's farm shop and the tastings there were beyond description. I would LOVE to go back and eat there one day, everything looked, smelled and tasted delicious. This was the one stop the WHOLE bus insisted we make.

Before we remembered we have to try and fit everything into our bags to bring home....
On the way home, we drove through and around Port Adelaide which was interesting....but getting dark it was getting hard to see, plus I may have had a little nana nap....

Back at the Hotel later (Grand Chancellor on Hindley) we discovered that booking a hotel online may mean you are residing in the middle of the city Red Light district. 
 It was many sheesha bars blowing sweet smelling smoke over the whole area, bars full of life, mounted police having chats, it was like being in the middle of a huge party and the whole city was invited. We ate tapas and drank cocktails at a little bar and spent the rest of the time walking up and down the street just looking. AMAZING vibe.

But, with the workout looming early tomorrow, and us being awake for 18 hours already, it was time to flop into our beds and sleep the sleep of the content.....or exhausted.

So ends Part 1......part 2, The Workout and The Party to come :)

Sunday, 4 August 2013

A new kind of normal.

Another 12 week block is over, another 12 weeks of following brilliant exercise plans and eating delicious meals has passed. While I am not signing up for another round of Michelle Bridges 12 Week body transformation (yet!) until after I hit my goal of running a marathon, I am continuing on what I have learned about nutrition and exertion. As a matter of fact, it's been so long now, i don't think I could live any other way.

The gym has become a second home, the streets and bike paths I run on have become my place of comfort. The food I eat is clean, fresh and minimally processed. The goals I set are challenges and far reaching, but I KNOW I can do them. The thoughts I have are strong, and when they weaken and I turn on myself, it's not so much a struggle to get back to my new kind of 'normal'.

I'm no longer scared about the Big Bys weights room, the top speed on the treadmill and I also know how to FINALLY use this....LOTS of ways...
Normal used to be sitting on the couch watching tv.  Now normal is wondering why I have a couch, I'm very rarely on it.  Normal was where the pizza shop down the road knew my name AND my order. Now, I have no idea who it was behind the counter the other night.

Normal used to be not starting anything because I was scared I'd fail. Now it's bring on all comers.

Normal used to be this.

Now normal is this:

And what was the result from this last 12 week block?  Below is the before and after picture. Not much change but it's still happening.

In these last 12 weeks I have run a half marathon in my best time of 1 hour 59 mins 14 seconds.
 I saw my 9 year old daughter set herself goals just like mum, and smash them.  We climbed all over the Grampians, rode 10km on bikes and ran 2 km together.

I lost 2% of my bodyweight and 19 cms this round....3cm from chest, 5cm from waist, 3.5 cms from hips, 0.5 cms from my arms and 7cms from one thigh alone.  And yet ultimately my weight has maintained, hovering between 49 and 50 kgs. I must be doing something right ;)

I would not change the past two years for anything. My body, my mind and my life has changed so completely. My family are so much healthier and happier.
I have visited spots in Australia I would never have thought of before and loved them.  I have climbed the Harbour bridge, ran along the Busselton pier, ran around the streets of Melbourne and who knows WHAT I'll get up to on the streets of Adelaide next week. You have been warned.

IF you ever wondered what life would be like, or how you would fit it all in, or even how to start.....go to here...

It's easy. It will change your life and you will never regret it.

Find a new kind of normal.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

A bump in the road.

This time last week I was on a high....I was still celebrating my half marathon run and had embarked on my marathon training plan with an easy 10 k run, which felt GREAT.  The future was shiny bright and I had my runs all mapped out....the next long funrun would be the Bellarine funrun, (34kms), then the Yarra Valley Grape run (30 km) then the marathon.  I felt strong and motivated. My dreams were castles in the air and I was loving building them.

Thursday, as per my training schedule I went for an 8k tempo run....which basically was 1.5k slow run to warm up, 5km at my half marathon race pace (5min 30 per kilometre) then a 1.5 km slow jog to cool down. I started off on a well worn route along the river, beautiful day, feeling GREAT.

Then I felt like a little bruise on my heel about 3km in.  No biggie, I registered it and continued planning the next long run in my head.

It didn't go away.

I finished the 5km run and slowed down to jog and the pain became intense all down the side of my left foot. I ended up hobbling my way home.

And all my castles crumbled.

I made it home, stretched and iced, stretched and iced.....and iced some more. I took an anti inflammatory pill and kept the foot elevated all day.

And it worked.  I felt better.  I went to work and all was good.  But when I tried to run with my friends on Friday night around the footy oval, I hobbled after 1 measly kilometre.

I sat in the car and tried my best to not cry.  How ridiculous, me crying because I couldn't run, afraid I had a serious running injury, when even a year ago, I could live without running.  I went to bed when we got home and had a quiet sob to myself.  The dramatic self talk happened....I will never be able to run again.

You see, I was lost. Lost without running. I hadn't realised how much running had come to be part of my definition of myself...I am a runner. Without that, what was I? What could I achieve without my running? How would I relax and sort myself out without running? I literally, mentally, fell apart at this.

A weekend of misery followed.  I was fitted for new shoes, thinking that would help. It will, although not immediately. The staff at Running Fit were amazing and I have now got the best damn pair of shoes IN THE WORLD. They tested me on a treadmill and now I know I have a neutral foot strike and a great take off and landing.

But that didn't tell me if I could run again.

Now, I could still be sitting in misery, defeated, back into myself. But I have learned better than that. There is always something I can may be that I won't be able to run marathons again but that doesn't mean I have to shrivel up and die on the couch, watching Dr Who repeats and eating maltesers. 

I came up with a plan.

1. Make an appointment to see a physio and stop diagnosing myself on google doctor.
2. Keep cardio up with swimmming, elliptical trainer or my arch nemesis, the rower.
3. Check what weights I can do and continue with weight sessions if cardio is out.

Plans make me happy.

So armed with my to do list, I made the first step and scored myself an immediate appointment with a physio. And I wish I'd been able to see her before I dissolved into a self pitying mess!
It seems to be a type of tendonitis in my foot, from overstrain. A plan was formulated with her, to cut runs down but I can still run with the taping she placed on my foot. The marathon is still this point. But if not now, I will heal and be able to run in the future. I am diligent with my exercises and icing and today, was the first trial of running with the taped foot. 

Instead of 8kms as on the plan, I had 5 to do....if the pain didn't return. I stepped on that treadmill with almost as much trepidation as I did the first time I EVER stood on a treadmill. And I started, a nice slow even run, about 9km a hour. Comfortable to keep talking to my mate Mel who ran alongside me.

And I could run. There was a slight ache, but not a pain. I could walk afterwards. I could see ahead a little way again.

This has been a huge lesson for me. It's not what I achieve or can do in life that counts.  It's how I react to life when things go against me. It's about how resilient I am to the unexpected. I found out I am not as resilient as I thought, certainly not the most patient person but I already knew that, as do most people who know me I expect.
I won't get anywhere, wallowing in my self pity because plans changed.  Because things did not go as I expected them. If I hadn't learned to take a grip on myself and work out a plan, if I'd stayed on that couch or in the bed, crying about what could have been, I'd have missed the new paths leading me to my goal. I'd not have grown up. I would have stopped, and not kept going.

 And just think what I could have missed.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Curiousity created the cat...

You know what I love about children? They have a huge '?' in their heads.  Why? How? Where? What?  Their whole world is new and they want to know everything they can about it. And more.

Children are curious. And with curiousity comes CHANGE.

Galileo was curious about the heavens and made the discovery that the earth was the not the centre of the universe, but the sun. HERESY cried the Church and found him guilty, imprisoning him under house arrest for the rest of his life.  The Church burned as many copies of  his book about this discovery as they could and yet, within a generation, Galileo's discovery was widely believed among the educated that the sun was indeed the centre.  A change in the thinking of the world, from a man's curiousity.

How many of us would watch an apple fall from a tree and wonder why it didn't fall upwards, or sideways, or at all? Then work out the mathematical equations needed to form the law of gravity?  A curious mind would, and Isaac Newton had that. And look at all that has opened up since in the hundred of years following.

We all learn through curiousity.  With that learning, we change, in so many ways.

I joined Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body transformation out of curiousity to lose weight and learned about exercise and nutrition. This lead to a whole change in how I thought, what I believed and my lifestyle.

 I was curious about what food tasted like when it wasn't processed, salt/sugar laden or drowning in preservatives or additives. I learned I love the texture and taste of clean foods and now have changed to the point that eating fast food makes me feel ill, and that I often crave an apple or some green vegies.

People tell me they could never be a runner and ask me how I do it.  Well, I wondered if I could run and tried it. I wondered how far I could run so I tried it. The next time I wondered if I could run further and so on. Curiousity led me to trying funruns from 4kms to 5 kms, to 10, 15 and 21.1 kms.  Soon curiousity will drive me to see if I can run 42.2 kms. And somewhere in between, I changed.....I turned from someone who avoided exercise as if I was anaphylactic to it, to someone who plans her life around the next long run.

Never lose your curiosity. By asking myself " What if?" my life changes in innumerable ways. If I didn't ask myself those questions, if I never wondered, I would not have changed, I'd still be stuck in that rut I'd made on the couch.  I would never have found confidence in myself, new friends, new tastes and ways of living, a new me. I would not have new dreams and new achievements, new plans and goals, if I had not been curious.

Or look at it this way, which are you like, the stagnant pond or the  free flowing water? The pond doesn't change and so it begins to rot, to die, harbour disease, to shrink and stink. The free flowing water constantly changes with the flow, which flushes out the old and is everchanging with new, keeping the water clean and clear and full of life.  I know what I'd rather drink from. 

Being curious is exciting, one never knows where it will take us. But the adventure in finding out is half the fun.  Ask yourself...."why?" or " I wonder if......" and SEE. What have you got to lose?

Thursday, 25 July 2013

That PB feeling.....

On Sunday, July 21st at around 9.15am EST, a momentous event occured here in Australia.

No it wasn't the birth of our new King.
No we didn't get a new Prime Minister. Again.
No. I didn't win the 35 million jackpot in Lotto. (dammit) was something that for me, the heavens opened and sang, yet noone else would have heard it....

So what was it?

I ran a new personal a half marathon no less.

Sunday was the day of The Age Run Melbourne half marathon. I had trained for this 21.1 km run, had a plan in place and felt prepared. My goal was to run the half marathon in 2 hours.
The plan was to find the two hour pace group, and stick with them, then I would know I was getting the right time in.

And the wheels all fell off at the start.

I lost my friends, not once but twice. I think I did an extra 2 km running up and down the street looking for them. In the end the start gun sounded for the first wave and I found myself in the very back of the start chute...with what looked like 1000 people between myself and the pace group I was after.

It was cold, I was alone and immediately 'Phyllis' started her whinging...." It's too cold", "you won't make it anyway" " You'll barely be able to cross the line let alone beat your last time" I turned up my ipod.

The first wave left at 7 am. My pace group left at 7.10 am. I finally reached the start line at 7.25am.

I set a pace that left me a little breathless and just kept plodding.  The sun came out, there was no rain or wind, just a seeping coldness that slinked in through my clothes even though running usually makes me warm. We ran all over the place, past the Arts Centre, through the Botanical Gardens, along the banks of the Yarra river, along roads I had never seen before.

And along hills I had never seen before.

I was so glad there were a lot of us, I would have been lost otherwise.

 I had my ipod in and played my mind games to keep going...running to the beat of the music, planning the grocery list for the next couple of weeks, picking a shirt in front of me and seeing if I could pass them. After a while I passed the 2:10 pace runner and felt a little more optimistic....if I could keep in front of him, then I'll be confident of a better time than my first half marathon time of 2:19.

Further on I found two of my friends, the amazing Theresa who, with cerebral palsy, ran the half marathon, and Renee who never seems to stop smiling. I found out they had started further up the chute than I did, so a quick chat and I continued on.

Demoralising moment no 2: at the half way mark I was overtaken by the lead runner who had only 2 km to go and the wheelchair racer who was FLYING. They had reached the end and here I was still schlumping along at halfway.  It was at this point I began to sing....quietly but singing Walk like an Egyptian with your ipod does lift the spirits.

Time travelled on, I passed tents with various entertainers in them singing and playing for us, bringing a smile to my face.  LOVED the drummers just over the bridge....

The wind picked up on the final lap and I found myself with legs that started feeling like blocks of wood, then like lumps of concrete.  I concentrated on just making my feet keep going one after the other, almost like a running march.  I had given up all hope of reaching my goal of 2 hours but I hadn't seen the 2:10 pace runner again so I was hopeful. The slightest breeze felt like I was pushing against an invisible wall and all around me people's faces were in various descriptions of pain or defeat. Much like this...

And then like magic....the flags telling us only 750m to go......then 250 metres to go.....I could hear the angels singing...

to find some bastard put the finish line on top of a hill.

With the finish line in sight, I became focused...extremely focused.

It was do or die and I crossed... an official time of 1:59 and 14 seconds...

I did it. I am not ashamed to say I had a little cry afterwards, I was so unbelievably happy that I...DID....IT.

Next target.....the Melbourne Marathon........