What would you try…

if you had no fear?

what would you doI went dragon boating this morning for the first time. It was one of those sparkling Sydney mornings… sun shining, clear blue sky, a slight chill in the air. It was great to be up and alive.

And, turns out, dragon boating is fun. I went with a group of girls from work – but there were 16 other people in the boat with us, all newbies. We weren’t good enough to win any races, but there we were, down in Blackwattle Bay, sun shining down on us, out amongst the tinnies, the rowers, the other dragon boats and a luxury yacht or two, splashing around, having fun.

It made me think how much losing weight and getting fit and healthy has given me. Before I started working out and lost weight, I used to avoid outings like this. It doesn’t stop everyone, but it used to stop me. I was always fearful of embarrassing myself, or being too fat to do something, too unfit to last the length of whatever it was. I would never have said yes to going along.

I used to live with a really high level of background stress. I don’t think I ever really acknowledged it, but I was worried about stuff all the time. Would the seatbelt fit on the plane? Would I be able to get out of the full restaurant without knocking someone’s table? Would I fit in the space?

And that was just the physical stuff. The amount of thought I gave to what other people thought of me was ridiculous. Were they looking at me as I pulled the seatbelt around myself? Were they judging me if I ate the cake?

It probably shouldn’t be like that – certainly no-one should be judging anyone on how they look, and if I had a better self-esteem, maybe I wouldn’t have felt so constrained by it. But being fat made me feel I was able to participate in life less. It made me put off so many things, it made me fearful, it made me anxious. It made me delay life, and have less fun.

Probably the thing I was most fearful about was really putting in the effort to actually lose weight and get fit and healthy. Because what if I tried really hard, and I couldn’t do it. What would that mean? At least if I hadn’t really tried, I could always give it another go. So I didn’t. For a really long time.

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What I know now is I CAN do it. It was not easy – there are many days when it still isn’t. But I can do it. And I can keep doing it.

Losing weight has given me so much. I feel like I’ve been given a whole new chance with life, and I want it all. I want to run, I want to lift, I want to dragon boat, I want to play tennis, to snorkle, to swim, to ride my bike… to do ALL the things! And being fit means I actually can, most of the time.  And the thing is – that’s a great motivator to keep doing the other stuff – the working out, the eating right – because the trade off is everything else I get to do.

The new normal is the me who gets out of bed to train – even on the days I don’t really feel like it. The new normal is the one who thinks consciously about what she eats. And today, the new normal feels great. The only regret – and I try not to focus on regret – is that I didn’t do it sooner.

There’s more of me on twitter!

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You can’t out-exercise…

… a crappy diet.

016I’m feeling a bit ranty … excuse me, please. I’ll keep it short!

I had to go to a work function tonight. Straight from the office, board members and the senior executive team, along with a number of stakeholders. A meet and greet, a chance to engage in a less formal setting, lots of smiling, talking – analysing the election results – you know the deal.

But can someone please explain to me – why  is the food served at these things always utter crap? Everything that came out was deep-fried, or full of carbs (and not in a complex, good way). Sparkling wine, white wine, red wine and processed fruit juice. I had to specifically ask for mineral water – and then I wasn’t offered a top up all night (as wine glasses were constantly topped up around me).

I know the score, and I was prepared. I ate before I left, I managed to get some mineral water – but I fail to understand why, when we know so much about food and obesity, we continue to hold functions that make it almost impossible to stick to plan or eat well. I know that for some people in the room, this was dinner – and there wasn’t a vegetable in sight! Four out of five of the food options were deep-fried. This was a function in a large hotel chain – it’s lazy, unimaginative catering. It’s not like it is hard to throw some healthy options into the mix – lots of places do it really well. This stuff didn’t even manage to look appetising!

I’m going to raise it at work tomorrow – I work for a health organisation, and we should demand better – but really, I find it hard to believe this is the best that a hotel kitchen can serve up. That it is even seen as acceptable.

And don’t tell me that environment isn’t an important factor in our rising overweight and obesity rates.

End rant. For now.

You can find more of this by following me on twitter!

 

Whatever does not destroy me…

… makes me stronger.

084I’ve been struggling with injuries again in the last couple of weeks. Missed workouts, no running, pain, physio, massage, dry needles, pain killers, more massage. All the fun of the fair.

And then there’s the head. I know I’ve written before that I can be black and white in my thinking – and injuries really bring that out. I get disheartened, feel out of control – my eating plan takes a hit, and I’m left wondering if I can keep this up, whether it’s even worth it. Straight away I’m thinking about how I never hurt myself when I didn’t work out. And maybe this life isn’t really for me – that maybe I won’t be able to sustain it. And that I’ll fall off the wagon, and go back to the girl – the fat girl – I was before.

My trainer, as usual, has been fab. Encouraging me to keep moving, doing the things I can do, and working on fixing things so I can get back to working on the longer term goals. To understand that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. To get back on track. He’s had an injury recently too – we’ve been able to compare notes on the relative benefits of treatments, and the frustration of not being able to train properly.

But it was one of my CrossFit coaches who really helped me out this week. His words of wisdom were something along the lines of that, unfortunately injuries are part of training… it’s the price you pay for not sitting on your arse and being unhealthy.

It would be better without the injuries. Before I started to train, I didn’t get injuries. But he’s right. Because I also didn’t get the exercise highs, or the satisfaction of setting goals and achieving them. Of being fit and strong. And healthy. Of being able to do things that most people can’t. And hell, I’ll say it, I certainly didn’t look this good!

So… I’ve worked out that I need to take time to get better. To get back into it gently – not to rush and ruin all the healing. To take some time to reassess the goals, and figure out an alternate route to get to the same place.

And to keep trying to shift this all or nothing thinking. Not to be quite so hard on myself. Forgive myself for the slip-ups, and remember that it’s the long game that’s important. That this is the new normal. The challenge is, of course, to remember this next time it happens – and not be beating myself up for two weeks before I figure it out again. *Note to self.*

I’m also on twitter.

Also – shock – I’m not the first person to deal with this… there’s some good advice in here.