Sunday, 31 March 2013

Happy Easter!

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a


We had a glorious day...with a difference.

In the past, it has been a chocolate fest of massive proportions. Between Easter bunny delivering to all 4 children, 2 sets of grandparents with their contributions and working in a kindergarten with children giving me chocolate as gifts, the day usually became less an Easter Egg hunt but more a Hunt for Humans in amongst the chocolate boxes. And after all, who cares?  It's one day of the year right?  Besides it's for the kids....

And then it hit me, like a candy egg dropped from up doesn't have to be like that.

We have been eating clean and healthy as a family for almost a year and a half now. I've noticed the children's tastes have changed and they actively chose healthier foods for themselves and don't look for the biscuit tin or the Maccas signs. We follow an active healthy lifestyle and model it as much as we can. By no means are we perfect ( french martini anyone?) but we are strong in our beliefs and values around our health now.

So why throw it all away on one day?

Between us, my husband and I, we decided to do something about it and cut down this year dramatically. And the results were surprising.

I thought the children would be disappointed that the chocolate they 'traditionally' received were not as abundant. In fact, they got an egg and a chocolate bunny each. But the clever easter bunny had also left them all a plaster model kit with paints for them to paint up and decorate. Beside that package was a movie ticket each for the holidays.

Well now let me tell you,  my children are 21, almost 20, 12 and 8. And every single one of them ripped open their plaster models and got straight into painting all morning!
They were so occupied, Troy and I managed to get out for a quick 1 hour workout this morning!

Any other Easter, it would be a morning of still lazing in our PJs, kids are ratty from eating too much chocolate already and me getting frustrated with the bickering and chocolate fuelled stupidity. Then by afternoon everyone feels a little ill, I have a wine too many for sanity sake and have to lie down and the day is gone.  Not this time.

This Easter, we spent together as a family.  We talked and joked around.  We 'hung out'.  We all cooked or set the table and everyone's masterpieces created the centrepiece for our lunch.

Lunch was not a hurried rubbish affair of store bought chicken and gravy noone wanted to eat because they were stuffed full of Easter eggs, but a delicious 3 course meal everyone helped make. We all sipped 'Mishy specials', lime and soda water in champagne glasses....which Miss 8 was totally delighted with.

Entree: Fig and proscuitto salad with honey balsamic dressing
Main: Rosemary and garlic lamb with gravy
Dessert: Chocolate custard tart.

After our gorgeous lunch was the traditional Easter egg hunt...the older girls hide the eggs...inventively, and the younger two go searching.

It is now the end of the day and there have been no arguments, no tears, no crankiness, no drama. The day has felt like a giant hug, holding us all in together in warmth.

A year and a half ago, when I first started doing the 12 WBT, I just thought I'd lose some weight.  Maybe. Hopefully. I didn't fully comprehend the humungus effect it would have on my life and that of my family and of those around me....friends, workmates, everyone around me.  And today is something I am grateful for, realising that healthy eating and healthy lifestyle hasn't just given me a healthy body and mind.... it's given me a happy healthy family, and a family Easter I always dreamed of.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Perfectly AWESOME

During this weeks 12 WBT mindset video, Michelle Bridges told me , “Your body is perfect.”
“It so is NOT”, I immediately thought to myself, and started half listening to the rest of the video.  Ok fair enough, I get what the lesson was…’s perfect for me, as my husband’s is for him, my neighbor is etc etc. Blah blah blah…but it is certainly nowhere near my ideal of perfect.  Where do I start on the things I want to change? I could never AFFORD to change all the things I want to change!

STOP.  What a negative Nellie I am.

Let’s switch it.

 Since I have been toning, I can feel that I am stronger.  I look stronger. I like the way my muscles feel when I move them and I can feel each individual one in some cases.  I like accidentally seeing myself in the gym mirror and thinking ‘Hey, look at that muscle popping out there…who knew?”  I like seeing how they move when I lift the weights, no matter how hard it is.
Since I have been cleaning up my food, my skin is clearer, my eyes are clearer, I sleep better. I have more energy and my body operates as it should without illness or sickness. I feel lighter, stronger and more in control and disciplined in my self.

I hear this song in my head when I recognize the positives…..or doing bicep curls in front of the mirror LOL.  It’s become my ‘theme’ song…( wait til you see me wiggle HA.)

It is AWESOME at how my body has turned a lifetime of so so eating and some downright hard Friday night sessions ( and Saturday….Sunday….) into strong and healthy, after just changing what I do.  It’s awesome that the times I do go for a burger, at how gluck filled I feel afterwards, or how hot chips, that smell SOOOOO good, make my stomach turn with the taste of the oil.  I’ve gone from a family block of chocolate a day to eating only a few squares because anymore than that and I’m ill. Take a week off to sit on the couch?  After a day I'm climbing the walls, itching to get out and run or lift something heavy....a small child will do....

All this healing and strengthening and operating of my body goes on 24/7 without me being even conscious of it.  Like little mechanics inside, so long as I provide the top quality fuel and building blocks, my body operates like a sleek high performance sports machine.   

And if I listen to my body, it tells me what I need to do.  Feeling hungry?  Up the protein I’m eating or add some extra vegetables.  Feeling tired?  Drink some water, am I getting enough rest? Joints getting a bit stiff?  Extra stretching and maybe a massage is needed. Now that I can read my body signals better, I’m more determined and aware of what I eat and what the effect is on my energy, my body and myself.  I do NOT want to feel like I used to before.  Slow, lackluster, boring.  Not compared with how I feel now…strong, amazing, buzzing.

Stepping on to scales or fitting into clothes doesn't mean as much to me as the feeling in my skin.  I'm no longer afraid of the numbers, because I can feel in myself how my body is responding to the workouts and nutrition.

So am I perfect? You betcha….my body is perfectly AWESOME.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Lean on me

I used to think I didn't need anybody.  I was independent, I was doing my own thing. I didn't need any help, I can do it mySELF, especially looking after myself.

Result? I couldn't do it and my health started to decline rapidly.  I had a future of pills pills and more pills and the spectre of diabetes looming as well. That's when I learned one of life's lessons.

You don't have to be weak to have support.

Support can quite often be the difference between success and failure.  Between making it or wishing I could make it.
It's the knowing that someone has my back, is there to fan me with a towel when it's the third round and I am spent.
Support is the scaffolding that catches me if I fall and puts me right back up to where I need to be, to get it done.

I have to say, in getting fit and healthy, support has made the road a whole lot smoother than going it alone.

When I first attempted getting 'healthy', it was difficult.  There wasn't a huge amount of support. In fact very little, however this would be due to the number of false starts I have had before.  I can see how the family thought this time would be no different.

It was difficult, to be going to gym by myself, to watch the portions of what I ate when the rest of the family and my friends were not on board. I ran my first funrun one to cheer or watch...a huge thing for me but I was so so disappointed inside.

 I had all the well meaning comments..." you don't need to lose weight", "Just have one it won't matter", " I'm sure you could skip gym for one day."

I had the not so well meaning comments..." You're becoming a gym junkie", "You'll get too muscly and look like a man and your husband will leave you", "Your priorities are all wrong".  It was like swimming against the tide on your first swimming lesson.  It would have been so easy to just give in and go with the flow. Take the easy road.

But that would have just proved them all right....that I COULDN'T do it.

 Over time, through consistent effort, determination and my commitment to my health and new lifestyle won over my family totally. They could see the change and how much happier and more ME I had become. The friends that were there no matter what were still there. Support began to grow and the tide turned.

Support does so much.  It picks up the slack when strength runs out. To me, it is the stone on which my determination, motivation and internal grit is sharpened.When those things wane and I feel like giving up, support is there to remind me that I CAN do this and I am not alone.

Support keeps me what I choose to eat and how much I workout. Support keeps me to my word, to my self.

Support gives me strength when mine is waning.  It's the cheer squad when I am lost in a world of muscle soreness and out of breath, when I feel disappointed in results or when it is all just too hard.  Support gets me through.

My support is my amazing husband and super awesome children who follow the same clean eating, who are there at the sidelines for each and every run, if they are not running alongside me. They didn't bat an eyelash when I asked each of them at various times and locations to take a picture of me every day in February to do a challenge...a handstand a day. Especially when I hadn't done a handstand for the past 30 years or so!

Running a 4 km funrun dressed as Wonder Woman with my then 7 yr old daughter beside me....that is a huge standout moment for me.  Quite possibly because her style was run a little then skip a lot because skipping was more fun than running...but she did it, leaving me for dead to sprint across the finish line. Hearing my son ask if he can come for a run with me when I start to head out....all this reminds me we are in this together.

 My husband comes to every single workout with me and we follow the same program, keeping each other going.  He's there at the 5 am workouts and  also the ones that end at 9pm. When cooking the evening meal all seems just too hard and my hands are itching to call the pizza shop, he's the one in the kitchen cooking up a frenzy to keep us on track. The added side benefit of this is a deeper understanding of each other...being so much more than just 'married'.

My support are my friends who ask now not what I DID on the weekend but how MUCH did I do. My friends do some workouts with me, and don't bat an eyelid when I bring my own food to our coffee mornings. If I ask them to help me out with different challenges, the response is not "What the hell did you just say?"  instead they ask " What do you want me to do?"

My support are the people who read this blog, post on the computer forums and facebook.  They are the ones who give the positive feedback that gives me so much more energy, particularly when I wonder if it's all really worth it. They show me and remind me it IS and how much I don't want to go back to the way things were. They also have the knowledge and advice for the strange questions I may have and can laugh at things only those going through the same process can laugh at.

Taking on anything as big as a total lifestyle transformation, is a huge task. It can be done by myself as I proved, but it is hard hard work.  It requires a greater focus and steely mind to get through and eventually even the strongest steel can fatigue and give way. Then the whole rebuilding process has to start again....if at all.

But doing it with support, with someone there to help me up when things do give way, to be WITH me every step of the way, then that is when I need someone to lean on. . Something I am deeply deeply grateful for.


Thursday, 21 March 2013

I get knocked down, I get up again.....

I've been reading about different athletes and the trials in life they have faced, trying to glean a little kernel of their secret to success. The desire to succeed, the long training, the focus and strict nutrition, I already knew all that.  And then it hit me.

They are RESILIENT.  A big word to use ( so you sound more intelligent) but it means...

If something goes wrong or they fail, they pick themselves up and go at it again. They don't give up.   If they get a 'No' they don't crumble and give up, they search for the way that leads to 'yes'.  They have the courage to come back.

I wonder how the Australian swim team felt when they didn't live up to their own and Australia's expectation? I know I'd feel pretty damn gutted. They failed.  But the team took the time to sit and look back on where they went wrong, what they could improve or how best to boost their chances of success in the future.  They could have just given up.....and been losers for ever.  Or they can be resilient, and get back into it and possibly change the future for themselves

 When that brick wall of failure comes looming up, stopping me from doing  or achieving what I was wanting to do, I have a couple of choices. 

I can sit and sook about it.  I can stamp and rage and scream " IT'S NOT FAIR" like a 2 year old.  Or I can figure out how to either demolish the wall or get around it.

Mistakes are what we learn by. Doing weights, I've been tinkering with my nutrition, trying to get the right amount of calories for muscle growth and not fat growth. Some weeks I've nailed it, some weeks I'm lost up the creek without a paddle OR a map. When I see a weight gain higher than I thought as opposed to the small gains I have been planning for, I could panic, shriek "I've been SO GOOD What's the point???" and self medicate with a family bag of maltesers...after all I've already gained weight, haven't I? I'll just stop exercising too since it clearly isn't working and now because I'm miserable, I'll just add my maltesers to this tub of icecream and watch Biggest Loser re runs. ( Dramatic response I know, but I refer you to my post on catastrophic thinking)


I could go back through my food diary.  See what I have been doing.  Find out I haven't been drinking enough water and eating a little more than I realised to compensate.. Make a plan and take steps to fix that....and continue on my way, healthy, calm and happy.

One the way of resilience, the way of bouncing back when things don't go the way I want.

The way to defeatism. True failure.  Because when I stop trying and give up, only then do I fail.

 I'm getting back up and back in the saddle. Because I REFUSE to be a failure. I REFUSE to give up. I REFUSE to settle for what I have now. I'm not done yet.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Defining moments

I watched Biggest Loser last night and my heart went out to the contestant, Mandy.  She stood on top of a 10 m cliff, trying to make her body move, trying to WILL herself past her fear to jump into the water with her son......FOR her son, so they both could enter the Biggest Loser house. It literally had me holding my breath and I could feel her desperate need to help her son, her feelings of mother guilt and that fear, because I have the same fear. She just couldn't get her body to move.

And then she jumped.  SHE DID IT!

I thought to myself, now if ever there was a defining moment in that woman's life, that would be it.

A defining moment is something that changes life in an instant. The dictionary states it is "a point at which the essential nature or character of a person, group, etc, is revealed or identified."  It's not an everyday occurence and these moments seem to me to be the pivot point on whether the opportunity is taken to grow, or not.

It got me thinking as to when I've experienced these defining moments, these moments of absolute clarity.  Time literally seems to slow and stand still when I recognised each of these at the time. My focus became crystal clear and intensely focused on what could be one small detail.  And I'm grateful to say I've recognised a few.

My first was when my firstborn was a day old.  I suddenly realised that my whole person had changed, much more than just becoming a mum.  I remember thinking "I will always forever after be a mother."  My life had changed irrevocably  and so did my name, for the rest of my life.  It wasn't just Kristine, it was Mum. And I grew into womanhood, into  motherhood.
My firstborn now, and me.  21 years of being Mum, and counting.

My second was when I left my first husband.  I tried everything to make that marriage work but nothing fixes abusiveness. While I was being patched up in hospital for the last time I heard the echo of my mother in my head..." The next time he could kill you."  With a clarity I realised yes, that could happen and it was time to end it now.  Despite my overwhelming fear, that is what I did.  I left with 2 small children, no income, no place to stay, no idea how to stay safe or what to do now.  But the moment, that realisation I had one life to live and only that one life to be happy, changed me. And so I grew into self reliance, self respect and independence.

My third came about week 7 in my first round of Michelle Bridges 12 week body transformation.  I was losing weight, but that wasn't it. I was feeling fit and strong.... but that wasn't it.  It was a shift in my head, a shift in my thinking that changed the self talk from hateful negativity to a quiet "I can do this" positivity. And that quiet calm voice has in the space of 18 months seen me run 10 K funruns and beat my PB each time, seen me run a half marathon, seen me be a top 20 finalist in the 12 WBT, seen me awarded most transformed at my gym alongside my husband, seen me lift weights regularly that I thought would be beyond me, seen me run a  funrun up the side of Victoria's highest marathon and PLACE, seen me walk 50 kilometres for charity and seen me complete Tough Mudder.  It has seen so much more because that voice, that defining moment mind shift has seen me start to LIVE after a lifetime of just waiting around for a purpose.

 The voice got me through the tunnel of water in Tough Mudder drowning out my claustrophobia.

That's not to say there have been many other significant moments in my life, the birth of my other children, completion of my studies, my marriage to a wonderful man now, but they were just that....significant, not defining.

Those defining moments gave me new life, each and every one.  New opportunities were presented, new things to learn, new ways of being, of living. They helped me grow into being myself. However hard they were to experience at the time, I am grateful for being able to recognise them and to cherish them. 

Because they make me who I am.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

One step at a time.

Caught myself out today, standing on the scales and looking at the number. Looking in the mirror and checking out my reflection. And I started...

" It's no use I'll never drop enough body fat percentage. I'll always be stuck with this mummy belly. Every time I try to do this I fail. Everyone else is getting better results than me. This is impossible."

This is the type of stuff that goes through my head all the time if I'm not careful.  It saps away my willpower, drive and happiness.  It makes me want to just give up.
But what I've learned is the language I'm using is catastrophic.  It's exaggerated, it's more dramatic than an episode of Bold and the Beautiful....

" It's no use I'll never drop enough body fat percentage. I'll always be stuck with this mummy belly. Every time I try to do this I fail. Everyone else is getting better results than me. This is impossible."

So it's time to calm the farm, love.  I will re write each statement more accurately....

" My body fat percentage isn't where I want it to be.  But I didn't put on the fat layer in 4 weeks,  so my expectation for it to be gone in 4 weeks is unreasonable and unrealistic. "

" My belly has gone down in measurements taken last week.  Woohoo go me!"

" I am not failing, look at all my successes, little ones and big ones. I am seeing change in mind and body, and I am continuing with my commitment to complete the program as prescribed."

" There are people who would like to do what I am doing, or think they could NEVER do what I have done.  There are those who want to lose weight and tone up but just cannot get started or want to start the hard work.  I am getting good results.  All people are different physiologically and while it may not be what I wanted so far, it is still a work in progress. Remember...COMPLETE not COMPETE."

" My results so far show this is possible.  The expectations I held may not be possible in this time frame but they are possible in the longer term given the time and effort I consistently put in. It is only impossible if I give up and stop."

This puts my mind in a much better place. I begin to see things more realistically and positively, and stops me from spiralling into a whole self hate and demoralised me.

 This goes for my days and weeks as well. Before, I could be having a great day, full of sunshine and rainbows and then just before bed, the kids play up, or I get a bad phone call, or something else bad happens.  Is my whole day ruined?  I used to think so.  But now, taking the time to think properly about was one bad thing in a day of really great things. It's not as big as I first made it. And 9/10 times it is a problem quickly solved. The day, and my thinking, is saved.

OR.....I eat so well all week then accidentally have 2 glasses of wine at a friends house followed by a packet of chips and other junk. I might as well just give up!  NO!   One bad day, or one bad decision does not change the good I have been doing all week. If I  DO give up, I won't see the good changes that are happening.

Doing the run up the mountain on the weekend taught me one's a case of one foot after the other.  I may stumble, I may even fall, I may stand there looking at what seems to be impossible and swear loudly (and frequently), but so long as I am putting one foot in front of the other I am making progress, no matter how small each step is. I may not look how I want to look yet but I am making day at a time, one meal at a time, one workout at a time.


Monday, 11 March 2013


This week was mini milestone week. In my own 'all or nothing' fashion I decided to climb a mountain.  If I'm going to climb a mountain, why not climb the biggest one in Victoria?  And if I'm going to climb the biggest mountain in Victoria why not do it in a race?

Straitjacket, anyone?

That was how I found myself, looking at Mt Bogong, Victoria's highest peak, located near Mt Beauty. Pretty, huh? Pretty damn big!  All 1986m of her.

Conquestathon is run by the Mt Beauty Lions Club, and is held on the Labour Day long weekend in Victoria. It is a really well run event with checkpoints to go through.  If you miss a checkpoint, they go looking for you!
We stayed in the Mt Beauty caravan park, ( great swimming hole in the river) along with crazed cyclists who were taking part in the tri peaks bike race.  I tell you, it was ALL ON in Mt Beauty this weekend.

I rose at 5 on Sunday morning, packed my backpack with change of weather clothes, 2L of water and snacks to keep me going,  chowed down on my banana bread breakfast and a quick cuppa then we were off to the starting point.  It was still dark when I took my place in the first wave at 6.30am.  It was at this point I suddenly realised, I am about to run UP A MOUNTAIN. Not only that but I HAD NO IDEA WHERE TO GO.  Well up obviously, but I was unfamiliar with the tracks. So strategy one was put into place....let someone else lead.

Strategy successful.

I was in 4th place at this point behind one other girl and 2 blokes. The first bit was easy peasy, along a gravel track with bridges over creek crossings, handy when running in the pre dawn gloom. Then the climb started. 

It was not a gradual climb but a straight up climb with steps cut into the track.  It was a rough track but easy to follow and it became slow going.

I was passed by quite a few people by that stage, including the man with the race record of 1 hr 57 minutes. ( Did he just fling himself off the peak to get down or what??) I noticed the ones making fast headway had ski pole like walking sticks, something to investigate for next time I think.

 By the time I reached the first checkpoint at 8 am at bivouac hut, an hour and a half after the start, my legs were jelly and my arse like concrete. A few words of encouragement set me off again and I devoured my first mars bar.  The path flattened a little here, lulling me into a false sense of relief as I ran along it......

.... only to be slapped in the face by another steep and rocky climb.  But the view that opened up about 2/3 of the way up was gorgeous.

Soon after this pic, the track became a goat track winding it's way along the contours of the mountain...nice and easy, and nice and SNAKY.  Nothing like nearly running on top of a copperhead snake to give you a jolt of adrenaline!!

Again, thinking I was near the peak I was lulled into a false sense of relief and again, was slapped in the face by the final ascent....those poles you can see faintly? They mark a nearly vertical climb and were approx 8 ft tall.

Amazing how many sticks look like snakes after you see one real one......I think I raced to the top based on adrenaline alone, leaping over venomous bits of wood.  It worked though, at 9.15 am I had reached the summit.

You know what? What goes up must come down I set off at a run.  My calves and quads were grateful but my knees...oh my knees do NOT like downhill running.  I had to stop and walk several long sections because of the steep and rocky track, after I fell twice of course!

Passing up an offer of a massage from a cheeky gent at the last checkpoint I stumbled on.  By this time I had no water left, had eaten 2 mars bars and more banana bread, bypassed a GINORMOUS black snake with the help of another kind racer, I came to the bottom of the just for the final 6 ish K run along a 4 wheel drive track to the end. And I a hopping hitching, swearing frequently type of run but ran nevertheless. To my surprise I began passing those who had overtaken me earlier, after running most of the 22 k by myself.  It was nearing 5 hours since I had started and EVERYTHING hurt. Splashing through icy cold creeks brought some relief to my sore feet and seeing the sign to the finish line (about 1 k from the end) boosted my spirits. I was determined to cross that line running, I was filthy, hot, wet, stinky but I was nearly there.   I got my second wind.

I joke you not, I SPRINTED the last 100 m to come in ( unofficially so by my count of the people I passed) 4th woman in my wave...and am now the proud bearer of a medal. 

The race for me ended 5 hours 22 minutes after I started, to be met by my husband and two children, a banana and an icy cold bottle of water.  So gooooooood.......

and I felt.....

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Bringing it back to Simple.

What is it about human beings that we have to complicate matters? I'm a champion at it.  If there was an Olympic event for over thinking and complicating unneccesarily, I would hold the Olympic record for all time. If there is a short way to do something, I will find the longer, harder instinct.

I have been given, by the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation program, a complete nutrition plan, shopping list and exercise program for 12 weeks.  All the advice and support and knowledge I can gain has also been provided. All I have to do is literally follow what is written down.

But can I do that?

I do a little reading in fitness magazines and online articles. "Macro nutrients" they cry " They are the most important for muscle growth!" " Further research ends up with me laboriously listing the protein, carbohydrate and fat content of every single thing I eat and drink. This EASILY takes up to an hour of my day to find all the right ingredients, separate them all and re add them up in the macro nutrients.  I start to feel much maths, so much work and writing and listing....and I want to just give up, it's too hard.

See? I over thought it. All I have to do is follow the nutrition plan as written. They have done all the working out for me! Why am I double- doing the work?

I read so much advice online about the weightlifting program I'm doing.  During my workout I start second guessing my form, my weights, my dedication. Am I doing too many reps on the program ( according to some sources) or am I lifting too heavy for the reps I am doing? Should there be more interval training in the program?  Less cardio?  More cardio? And again, I want to give's too hard, I don't know if what I am doing is right or wrong, effective or ineffective. Too many variables.....

STOP. All I have to do is follow the exercise plan as written.  After all, is this not what I paid for? The program I am following is based on a huge wealth of training experience and is DESIGNED to be a 12 week exercise plan for weights.

Over thinking creates more problems. Over thinking introduces doubt and insecurity to what should be a straight forward approach.

So how did I bring myself back to earth?

I stopped reading the different pieces of advice...I removed myself from those situations. So much knowledge and a lot of it conflicting because it is based on personal preference and/or experience. So I had to ask myself, do I trust in the program given to me?  And since the answer was yes, I removed myself from that which did not support it.

I asked myself, am I achieving my goals?   Those and the fitness test is what I can base my success and progress on.  And yes, I am achieving my goals and improved on my fitness test. So for me, the program, as written,  is working.

I had to stop my all or nothing thinking....there is no right and wrong way in doing what I am doing, except in this case, for form. I had my form checked and it is all good. There are always many different approaches to different goals, and this is just one way I have chosen. Others may choose a different method but this is what I committed to 4 weeks ago.....and have another 8 weeks to go.

 A huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders, a weight I had placed there unneccesarily. So to add to my motto COMPLETE, don't COMPETE, I'm adding this.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Stronger than Chocolate

I ran out of milk this morning and popped in the local supermarket to get some.  Bleary eyed, I stumble in and...


First thing in the morning and more than a little bit hungry I was not mentally prepared for the overwhelming displays of chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies, chocolate high heels ( ??? really?), chocolate in all shapes, sizes, shining away like a beacon to an addict caught in the storm of life.

As I navigated the siren call at the end of every aisle, to get to the milk WAAAAAAAAYYYYYY at the back of the store, I came to a realisation.

I am stronger than chocolate.

I am stronger than chocolate because I do not melt under heat.

I am stronger than chocolate because I maintain my form under pressure.

I am stronger than chocolate because it NEEDS me to eat it to fulfil it's purpose, yet I do not NEED to eat it to fulfil mine.

I am stronger than chocolate because I have a mind and willpower to make a decision to not eat it, where chocolate has no choice in the matter.

I can offer comfort to another person for a lot longer than a chocolate can, won't make you feel guilty and I won't charge you $2.57 to do so.

So, being a strong, empowered reformed chocolate addict, yes, even to the allure of the Malteser bunnies, if I want to continue being strong, why would I feed myself something that is so weak and useless to me? That is of little value and does not continue to empower me?

Hell yeah, it is!

So now I think I will ask myself before I buy a treat or a it strong for me?  Does it have some value to add to me? Is it worth eating, and will fuel me to bigger and better things?

Will it help me be the best possible me?

Friday, 1 March 2013

The root of motivation

Motivation is a word I hear often in lots of different ways
" I'm not motivated"
" I wish I was motivated"
" I'm motivated by chocolate...."

But I have never really thought that hard about WHERE my motivation comes from and the importance of whether it came from me ( intrinsic) or from others ( external).

External motivation I found is good for me in the short term.  It's a bit like a drill sergeant yelling at you, or the compliments you receive from others. 

After all who doesn't feel great when someone says " Wow, you look fantastic!  You are so healthy."?  When people say nice things, I feel good and so I repeat the things that brought the compliments or praise to keep feeling good.

These types of things push me in the short term to go and choose healthy food and go to gym the 6 times a week. People saying " I know you can" makes me go and do it.  But then I found that it was too easy to lose this type of motivation.  Relying on others perceptions and thoughts, and their comments is a bit like a sugar rush.....I feel great when I experience it but it ebbs away very quickly and I'm dragging myself to the gym again, or eating half a packet of lolly snakes just because they were there.  The more I work out and bring healthy food, the more people come to accept it and the praise and compliments start drying up...nothing has changed, except what I do has become familiar behaviour and doesn't get noticed as much.  My source of motivation dries up.

If I relied on that type of motivation alone, I would 'fall off the wagon' permanently. What I have been doing would just have been another 'phase' or another diet and the changes I have made would disappear into nothingness. I'd end up with all the health problems I had before, the weight would come back on and i'd just stop doing what is good for me. After all, it takes a lot of effort to haul myself out of bed in the dark and go to the gym before I go to work...I know I would like to sit with a cup of coffee instead.

 Or sit drinking a cup of coffee with Johnny Depp....gym?  what gym?

Intrinisic motivation is what keeps me going.  The motivation I can find in myself to keep myself going.  This is in the way hard basket.  Developing the habit of going to gym and being healthy helps keep me going but all habits can be broken! I need something else to keep me on track.  Habits are good when motivation runs low but it's not the sole answer.

What I need to create my own motivation is inside me.  It may be a goal I want to achieve, an ideal I am aiming for but it has to come from me.  I can't do it for my husband.  I can't do it for my kids, or friends.  I have to do it for me.


Because it is ME who has to do the workout. It is ME who has to plan my nutrition to be more fruit and vegetable than chocolate and wine.   It is ME who will be experiencing the results of the decisions I make....noone else.

So while it is definitely heartwarming and motivating to be told how good I look now, and how much I changed, I don't want to run out of steam.  I may run low, but never out.  I make sure that my intrinsic motivation is firing up too....and that is a much harder fire to start.