Your mind will quit 1000 times…

… before your body will.

Ain’t that the truth.

When I first started working out, I was worried about so many things – but one of the biggies was that my body wouldn’t be able to keep up. I learnt pretty quickly that the body adapts fairly fast. I mean, I couldn’t run 5km straight away, or do 100 push-ups (ha! I still can’t do 100 push-ups!), but there was plenty I could do, and learn to do over time… plenty to keep me busy, keep me challenged and keep the kilos coming off.

 The mind on the other hand… the mind fights. It is dragged along kicking and screaming. It has all the excuses for not getting out of bed. It has all the reasons that a glass of wine or a cupcake is ok.

I have a friend Sarah, who I’ve recently encouraged (some might say nagged…) to join my gym. Like lots of us, she’s got a few kilos she wants to lose. She’s a single mum, she works fulltime – life is busy. She started with a bang – was starting to get all competitive with herself, pushing herself to do more – and then it got hard. Work ramped up, lots of stuff going on with her daughter – things were feeling out of control. And what was the easiest thing to control? The workouts.

She called Kirky to talk to him about it. He does a pretty good line in encouragement, and she’s changed her schedule around, and she’s back into it. And sometimes that’s what we need – someone else to show us a way through. Bless trainers and gym buddies.

Sometimes we’ve just got to rely on ourselves – dig deep. But there’s lots of websites and blogs – facebook and twitter. I’ve become the queen of the motivational quote. I have one for every occasion. I save them onto my phone, and recycle them in my blog. I always thought motivational sayings were twee before – not anymore!

When I first started, when I was really hating it, I would give myself permission to quit tomorrow. But I had to go just today. I figured if it was just today, I could stick to it. And when it was really, really hard I took it one decision at a time – each decision to workout, each meal choice… at that point “Just. Keep. Going.” was my motto.

The other thing I had to learn was to ask for help. People want you to succeed. Tell people you’re struggling… ask for the help you need to get you back into the gym, to eat a better lunch… people are more generous than you can imagine. They will help you out with a tip or some encouragement if they can.

And the longer you do this thing – the easier it gets. I mean the workouts don’t get easier – there’s always something new to learn (handstand push-ups anyone?) – but it gets to be habit. It gets to the point that when your doctor says you can’t train, you get stressed about that! Where the healthier choice is easier to make. It gets to be the new normal.

726So hang in there, Sarah. I have a plethora of motivational quotes to share, and I’ll do whatever I can to help you stick it out. Because it might be hard, but it is so worth it.

I’m also on twitter.

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I want to inspire people…

I want someone to look at me and say, “because of you I didn’t give up.”

When I made it to the 50kg goal a while ago, the owner of my gym asked me to write a testimonial for his website. I wasn’t keen – I still hold on to a lot of shame about even having to undertake this journey – but he said he thought people would be inspired by my story. He also said I could be anonymous… guess I’ve blown that now.

I’d never thought about being inspirational. This was something I had finally felt motivated to do, and it was for a very personal set of reasons – I hated myself and my body, and I knew I was going to make myself sick if I didn’t do something to change. I remember saying to him at the time I hadn’t done it for anyone else, I’d just done it for me.

It took me a long time to even feel proud of what I was achieving. I was dogged and determined in my approach, but it felt like it was punishment for years of “bad” living. It’s only recently that I’ve been able to talk to people about what I’ve done, and acknowledge and feel proud of what I’ve managed to achieve.

So it was pretty special today when my little brother told me he was proud of me.

We spent the day driving up the coast to go to a funeral. Not the most pleasant of excursions, but it gave us hours in the car together. We talked about his kids, our work, the rest of our family – all the regular stuff. And then on the way home we worked our way around to diet and exercise.  He’s put on some weight lately, and he is finding it really hard to do much about it between long hours at work and a busy family life. He started asking about what I was eating, how I was exercising – how I’d “done it” – and how he might be able to change things around to fit into his life.

And I felt inspirational, right there.

When I was at the gym tonight, my mind kept wandering off thinking about who I’d found inspirational when I started. There were lots of people who were supportive – my trainers, friends, colleagues who all went out of their way to encourage me, especially at the beginning when it was really hard – and thank you to you all. But actual inspiration? Really that was just one person – my friend Marie. She’d lost a lot of weight, and more impressively, has kept it off.

Marie and I had worked together years ago, and when I came back to Sydney, she encouraged me to join her gym. And it was her success that inspired me to face my fear and call Jace, go and meet him, and go to my first session. She has supported me ever since, but part of getting through the door that first time was the inspiration that I took from her story – the belief that she gave me that this might be possible.  What I saw in Marie’s story was someone like me, who had done the thing I so wanted to be able to do.

Google tells me that inspiration is defined as the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, esp. to do something creative. Marie’s success made me believe I could do something, that I could make a change, that this time it could work.

Because you can know all the statistics and the facts, you can know you should do something, you can even know how and where to do it, but sometimes what you really need is to know is that someone else has been there before you – someone real, someone like you – and that it’s possible.

So, I’ve decided to breathe deeply, and get more comfortable telling my story, because maybe it will be the thing that makes someone else feel that it’s possible for them too. And wouldn’t that be a cool “new normal”.

I’m also on twitter.

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… you’d be done by now.

I decided last night that even though the Ladies Running Club (more about them later) had cancelled on me, I was still going to get my Tuesday morning run in. I had a busy day ahead, so I wanted to be out the door by 5.50am, on the treadmill by 6.00am and off the treadmill by 6.45am.  That was the plan.

You don’t know me well, so I’ll just put this out there. I am not a morning person. Never have been. I find mornings hard. I find cold, dark mornings really hard. So this morning when the (first) alarm went off at 5.24am, I hit snooze and did just that. The second alarm went off at 5.28am. The third at 5.33am. You get the picture.

I finally dragged myself out of my warm, cozy bed at about 5.37am. My feet hit the floor and I shuffled off to the bathroom, thinking dark thoughts.

And then I heard the rain.

It almost enough to send me back to bed. I really considered climbing back under the doona. I bullied myself into getting dressed, and heading out into the cold, dark, rainy morning. I made it to the gym. Of course I was late. Of course all the treadmills were busy. Of course I was now grumpier than ever, and of course I was cursing the snooze button and my lack of resolve.

My tale of woe ends there though. I mean, like they say, the only workout you regret is the one you didn’t do. I got a treadmill in the end. I did my run. I got the smug feeling I get when I’ve done it. My day went on, and was better for the run.

But why do I do this to myself?!?

I have learnt many things since I started this fitness thing. One is that my day is better when I work out in the morning. I get the smug feeling. I eat better. I feel better. I’m happier.  So why do I fight myself ? If I didn’t insist on “snoozing”, I could have had an extra 13 minutes sleep this morning! Quality sleep. Not “snoozes” with regular interruption!

I don’t think I will ever become a morning person. But in the “new normal”, I think I’d like to stop being the person who makes the morning harder by being grumpy, mostly out of habit.

So I resolve to try getting up on the first alarm tomorrow morning. That resolve is likely to be tested, because I can still hear the rain outside. And it is cold. But I’ll give it a go.

Let me know if you’ve got any tips!

I’m also on twitter – @SportyMaenad01

 

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… just take the first step.

So, here I am. The first step on this new journey. My first blog post.

I’m on a quest for my “new normal”.  Just over a year ago I moved back to Sydney, bought a new flat, started a new job and decided I was going to try one last time to “lose weight and get healthy”.

For some background – I’ve been the fat girl for all my adult life – increasingly so as I got older and less active, and life got more complex and busy. And I wasn’t happy. I didn’t like myself, I hated the way I looked, and I was pretty sure I was eating my way to an early grave.  I had tried all the diets, paid out a lot of cash to different weight loss companies and gyms. None of it had worked, and I honestly didn’t have much faith that anything ever would.

But I decided to give it one more go. I decided to be honest, and ask for help when I needed it.  I joined a new gym , I got a new trainer, I got a food diary and I got started.

My first day in the gym was Wednesday the 9th May 2012.  Today I am more than 65kg lighter, and the fittest and healthiest I have ever been.  I run, I play tennis, I ride my bike, do CrossFit, TRX, Pilates and yoga, and I lift heavy things. A lot.

Like all the best things in life, it hasn’t been easy.  There have been tears and tantrums, good and bad weeks, great triumphs and disappointments. I have learnt an enormous amount – about food and exercise, but most importantly about myself – and I have truly changed my life. I have done things, and continue to do things, that amaze me and which I never thought possible.

So now I’m just under 5kg from the goal (turns out everything they say about the last five kilos is true – but more on that later!), and I’m trying to figure out what happens from here. What is the “new normal”? How does this all fit into my life from now on? How do I transition into less structured eating? Can I have chocolate in the house? Is there a place for spaghetti in my life? Do I keep working out like a woman possessed? Can I count shoe shopping as exercise?  Will going shopping and fitting into the pretty frocks ever get old?

But maybe most importantly, will I ever stop being the fat girl in my head?

In the beginning I was too embarrassed to do anything as public as blog about my journey. Since then I’ve gained a bit of confidence, and frankly, I’m pretty proud of what I’ve achieved so far, so I’m gonna give sharing a go. I hope you get something from it, and maybe I’ll learn something from you too. Let me know what you think.

I’m also on twitter – @SportyMaenad01