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.

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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.

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.

At some point in your life, you’ll have to trust yourself.

I suggest you start today.

I’ve said before I can be a bit black and white in my thinking. In my natural state, I’m in or I’m out, I’m on or I’m off. I’m going hard, or I’m going home. I’m eating well, or I’m bingeing on junk. I’m running a marathon or I’m sitting on the couch.

So this week was always going to be tough for me. I have been waiting for months to have a little medical procedure done – nothing major, but it involved cutting and stitching. And I knew they would tell me I couldn’t exercise while it healed. And I have been trying to prepare for that.

Well, when I say trying to prepare for that, I was looking for the caveats. I was hoping they might forget to tell me I needed to rest. Or that I might feel so great post-procedure, I’d be able to run straight back to the gym for a quick afternoon session.

Because I don’t trust myself to take a week or two off, and be able to get back into it. I don’t trust myself not to plonk myself on the couch in front of the TV with a bag of chips, a pizza and a tub of icecream and return to normal. Not the new normal… the old normal, the one I’ve just spent fourteen months working off.

I am trying to learn to trust myself more. To understand that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. That a week or two off doesn’t mean it’s all over, and it’s a bust. But I have to admit that I am struggling.

I have hated my body for a lot of years. I hated the way it looked. I hated that it let me down. I hated that I couldn’t control it. In the last fourteen months, I have learnt to control it. Mostly. I have learnt about calories in, calories out. I have learnt that I control what I eat, and I control what I burn.

But I am feeling very out of control today. In an effort to maintain control I walked for a couple of hours (walking is the caveat, by the way – I can walk because I can walk without sweating). I have been extremely careful of what I have put in my mouth. I know I am winning the calories in, calories out battle today. But I am feeling really anxious, and really out of control. Really uncomfortable. And I don’t like it.

On Monday I was congratulating myself for being able to have a night off over the weekend, and get back into routine, and understand that having a night off was OK. Today I am terrified that a week or two might be too big a test for the new normal, and that I’m not ready. That I might fail. And go back to the old me. The one I wasn’t proud of, and that I didn’t like.

I guess for now all I can do is what I have taught myself all along… to keep taking it one day at a time – one meal, one decision at a time. To trust myself, until it starts to feel better.

But if anyone has some handy tips or caveats… please, feel free to share. I’d be glad to hear them!

I’m also on twitter.