Tag Archives: big thoughts

Hello World

It is hard to come back and write a post which says I have been off the rails for 6 months. But I like this space. This space helped me last year to be accountable. I need that back.

Last weekend I had the most magical weekend away with some of the girls from my Up and Running group. Paula had come out from the UK to Australia and was meeting some of the girls in Sydney. I knew about it but had not been in touch since August. Three weeks ago I went back to the running forums with my tail between my legs. And they wanted me to come, they were overjoyed, there was no talk about the fact I had not been about and so shouldn’t be a part of the meet up. They welcomed me with such joy and acceptance that I was stunned.

The weekend was magical. We went running on Saturday at the Sydney Parkrun and it was hard (there is a bloody big hill in the middle of the course!) but I did it. And I did it with people cheering me on. We talked and relaxed and drank wine. And I talked about my struggles this year and was met with understanding, support and encouragement.

I had been thinking about my relapse for a while and I knew I was getting close to the point where things would turn around. Driving home, I let the love and acceptance these girls gave me wrap me like a blanket. And I decided I was worth the effort. I am valuable, I am special and my actions should reflect that. I decided it was time to change my ways.

And so on the drive back I made a commitment to myself. I committed to my today. I committed to my future. And I chose to change my path to one of nurturing my body with good food choices and exercise and nurturing my mind with regular times of reflection and meditation. And I accepted the logistics of good food choices with planning, prep and tracking, of exercise with scheduling and getting things ready to go and of reflection by going to bed earlier so I can get up earlier to have some time for myself. Commitment – heart. Choice – head. Accept – hand. Three different aspects, all relying on each other, all supporting each other to make a strong and powerful change.

A week has passsed. And I remember so vividly the thrill of last weekend and the drive home. I have had a good week and have reinforced this new state of being every day, several times a day. I am doing alot of journaling. Not just tracking food, but writing about my thoughts, how I feel and doing some Q&A to help me focus my mind. The Q&As look at things like why I want to be healthy when I am older, what I want to do when I am older, what do I mean when I say I want to be healthy, how do I feel when I am eating and exercising and how that compares to how I feel when I am not eating well or exercising. I want to build the evidence base so that when I don’t have the warm fuzzy glow of commitment that I have now, the evidence will still compel me to choose the healthy path. Some of the Q&A might end up here. That would be useful.

I have put some weight back on, but not all. Last year I went down 4 clothes sizes. I have gone up almost 2. My fitness is in a much better place as I am still running and walking. It is disappointing to have relapsed. It is frustrating. But I need to get over that and move on. I can’t let my guilt hold me back.

I commit, I choose, I accept. I commit to my today and to my future self. I choose to nurture my body and mind with healthy food choices, exercise and times of reflection. I accept the logistics required to make this happen.

And I am so much happier.

The Racer

Late last year I was looking for some poems about running that I could put up at work. See, the password policy had changed and the password to login needs to be complex and change frequently and I can’t remember them. But if I have a poem, I can use phrases from the poem to create my password and because the poem is up on my cubicle wall, I have a prompt at hand. The running poems does not look out of place, it is underneath my Up and Running 5K course certificate.

One of the poems I found is The Racer by John Masefield. John Masefield was an English poet and writer (1878-1967) and was the poet laureate of the UK from 1930.

I saw the racer coming to the jump,
Staring with fiery eyeballs as he rusht,
I heard the blood within his body thump,
I saw him launch, I heard the toppings crusht.

And as he landed I beheld his soul
Kindle, because, in front, he saw the Straight
With all its thousands roaring at the goal,
He laughed, he took the moment for his mate.

Would that the passionate moods on which we ride
Might kindle thus to oneness with the will;
Would we might see the end to which we stride,
And feel, not strain, in struggle, only thrill.

And laugh like him and know in all our nerves
Beauty, the spirit, scattering dust and turves.

And because I had to look it up… turves is the plural for ‘turf’ and so means ‘grass and the surface layer of earth held together by its roots’ and that is a nice running surface.

The third verse really speaks to me – here it is again

Would that the passionate moods on which we ride
Might kindle thus to oneness with the will;
Would we might see the end to which we stride,
And feel, not strain, in struggle, only thrill.

If I could only focus that emotion I have into getting the job done! And if I could take the effort and have that spur me on! Even the difficult times, knowing that I was making progress. I would surely reach my goals!

I read this poem maybe once a week, and think about the struggles on the journey. Getting up early to go running when I don’t want, pushing myself to finish a workout when I want to stop, not eating the chocolate last night because I had eaten enough food yesterday, food planning, food prep in advance and all of the little things like tracking food and making sure the washing is done so I have clean workout clothes which can seem a burden. It is all part of the journey. Sometimes it is a strain and a burden and sometimes I don’t get it all done. But I want the goal. I want the ‘far off’ health and fitness that I am striving for. I want to go walking with my grandchildren in 30 years time.

I like this poem. And it is good to have things about me which help me reflect on the journey, that the choices I make today are important for the long term goal.

The lull between christmas and new year

I did ok for Christmas food wise. I went running on christmas eve and on boxing day. I went walking on the 27th as well. Today is a rest day as I plan to do a 5K tomorrow morning. Tomorrow is my birthday and I want to celebrate my birthday, my increased health and fitness and my future by running. My training has been ok, my eating has been not ideal but my race plan is to take the first km slowly and then have a steady pace.

I have been thinking about food plans and overall commitment and motivation for next year. My plan will have three components: exercise, healthy eating and building self acceptance. My plan will have monthly check-in points rather than being a long focus like last year. I will blog more on the healthy eating, the self acceptance and the monthly check-ins a bit later. The plan is taking shape but it needs a name; I need to work on a name for the 2012 plan.

My gear is out and ready for tomorrow. I am going to have some water and head to bed.

Am here, it’s monday…

No weigh in today.

But I went running this morning. I went up the hill on the walk that I started going up at the beginning of the year. It was my hard walk. Today I walked up the hill to the track that runs around the crown of the hill. Then I ran about 3/4 of that back to my starting point and I walked back down. It was cool, the sun was rising. And it was very good.

Especially very good as the small one woke when I got up and was really awake – none of this snoozing nonsense! My man got up to look after him so that I could go out. I am very grateful.

As I was coming back I remembered a couple of things. I know who I am. I like who I am. I don’t always manage everything, some things are harder to process than others. Some things I deal with pretty badly. But there are lots of things I am good at, there are lots of things about me that I like. I know who I am. I like who I am. That doesn’t change because of some issues that were very much front of head for the last couple of weeks. I got through the last couple of week. And today I got up and I did some exercise. And I agreed to make healthy choices for the rest of the day.

I need to not weigh in for a little while. I need to remove that ongoing challange with the scale and focus on making healthy choices consistently. I need to think of how I want to go forward next year. Having a plan this year was brilliant. But next year I need a different kind of plan and some different goals. This will be my focus for the next couple of weeks – that and getting through each day.

Check in

I just want to say I have had 4 days of eating properly and I feel better. I pushed myself a little far I think with the running and have had a couple rest days but I will be back out there tomorrow, rain or shine.

It boggles me how it can be so easy to be on track when everything is going well. For example, today at work I said that I did not want the free lunch after the orientation program – this was when I was looking at the food. I said I am watching what I eat, it would be difficult to guauge the kJ in what was provided and as I had bought my lunch in I would stick with that. I was respected for that choice. It was actually an easy choice for me to make today.

But then, when things are not ok, it is so hard to be on track. Every decision is a struggle. Sometimes I can make healthy decisions and sometimes I let it go and give in to whatever is driving me. What I find frustrating now is that I look back at last couple of weeks and I don’t understand why I acted that way – it is so foreign to my state of mind now.

I hope I get better at seeing that switch coming up so that I can manage it, even avoid it. I hope I get to a point where I can look at what is stressing me and channel that in ways that are not related to food. I am getting better but it still is a fallback for me.

Small steps. Today was a victory and each day of good choices reinforces a better way. This is not about perfection, it is about improvement. I will keep going.

The other thing I am really happy with today is that I had a surprise visit from my sister and her fam after work. They live about 4 hours drive away so it was very exciting to see them with about 40 minutes warning. They were at our place for dinner and on such short notice we got takeaway. We picked up some bbq chicken, shredded it and made wraps with tortillas, salad, light sour cream, salsa and light cheese. It was tasty and healthy. For my second wrap I used a large lettuce leaf rather than a second tortilla. It was a meal that I could track easily and while a little more work than straight takeaway it was still easy.

Four days in a row of good, clean eating. It is a good start. Already I can feel the difference in my body. Eating healthy food is better for me. I need to remember this.

Danger – cliff edge ahead

I’m down almost a kg on last week – which means I am still up from 4 weeks ago but it is a step in the right direction.

I was lying awake last night (my boy had a restless night), thinking about weigh-in Monday, knowing I had exercised well but not eaten well for about 50% of the week. There are three things that really stick out for me this week for having derailed my earnest desire of this time last week, which was to follow my food plan:
– sugar…
– alcohol…
– an intense workout…

I had some jellybeans in the house left over for decorating my boy’s birthday cake. I only needed two for the cake but bought a big bag because that was cheap and easy. Next time I must remember to get one of those little bags from the chemist. Without too much thought, I ate jellybeans all week, I just kept going back to the container. Finally, I threw them out on the weekend but I should have done it much earlier. I have thought about the impact sugar had on my body and my head. The sugar made me thirsty. Rather than having a drink, I would go for more sugar. I was craving sugar. Then I started looking for something other than jellybeans that would give me a sugar hit and I would eat that, too. It was pretty nasty and I kept doing it for days in a row. I get addicted to the sugar hit. I love sugar, especially in sugar/fat combinations. It makes me feel good really quickly but it is evil. The downside is that too much sugar makes me feel bloated and my system doesn’t like it. Sugar makes me thirsty but then tricks me into more sugar. Sugar makes me grumpy and tired from the spiking blood sugar levels. Sugar withdrawal leaves me with a headache. After a few days of no sugar I feel much better; I am sleeping better and have more energy. But it does take about three days to get through to feeling better stage. When I am managing my food well I can tolerate small amounts of sugar but that really means occasional small amounts. For me, it is a fine line between managing my sugar intake and blowing it. Maybe I should respect the line and keep away – like the edge of a cliff. Last week, I kept trying to see over the edge… and of course I fell.

Alcohol is also evil but in a different way to sugar. I had a couple of drinks last week. We had a special dinner as part of my first week of a new job and I had an alcoholic ginger beer. We went out on Saturday to a friends place and I had some wine there. Alcohol makes me feel like I am confident and in control but it actually results in a lowering of my ability to assess my hunger/satiety levels. I want to fly off that cliff edge with alcohol! I become so confident I don’t take note of what I am eating. And then, I get the munchies. I usually go for something high in refined carbs (bread/chips) while I am drinking and afterwards I want sugar. Alcohol can lead into a sugar spiral if I am already primed with a little sugar.

On Wednesday last week I went for an almost 5K run in the morning. I felt great. I had my normal breakfast. I had my normal morning tea but I had it a little early. Then I had lunch a little early but it was a normal lunch. And then 2 hours later I was so hungry that I just started snacking. It was healthy snacking – I first went with protein, fruit then dairy but then I found the jelly beans. I hadn’t realised before that I need to be careful of my hunger response after an intense workout. I need to manage that by having just a little more at breakfast and morning tea and pulling back into a normal lunch.

I lost weight this past week. I exercised well and consistently – getting in 4 1/2 hours over 6 sessions. 5 of these sessions included running and for substantial distances. My overall exercise intensity has increased in the last month and I want to keep it at that higher level. I made some really good exercise choices with regards to setting up new routines at my new work, mapping out new routes and challenging myself. I did well.

But it works better when both my eating and exercise are on track. This past week I would say that my eating was in control only 50% of the week. I kept trying to get back on track but I kept eating those jellybeans and didn’t realise what has happening in my body till later in the week. I was sabotaging my efforts.

My goal for this coming week is to break the sugar cycle, not drink alcohol and have my eating in control for 90% of the week. I have to stop looking over the edge of that cliff and thinking I won’t fall. Right now, I need to stay away from the edge.

many steps forward, a couple back

Tired today. I started my new job and it was a good day.

I also weighed in this morning and I have put on weight in the last two weeks. I was up 4 kg this morning from a fortnight ago. I know some is water, some is overeating and some is hormonal. But it is also not unexpected. While I did some exercise last week, my eating spiralled out as I made cake for my toddler’s birthday and decorated cake and planned party food. It was not a good week. And I didn’t check in here because that would mean I would have to face what I was doing.

A couple of times during the week I was aware of how I felt physically, having eaten too much sugar and too much food in general. I thought about how I felt in my body – It is important to notice the bloating, the trouble getting to sleep and the sluggishness when I don’t eat well. It is important to recognise that eating too much sugar leads to sugar cravings and it is so very hard to stop once I have given in. It is important to remember that I feel so much better when I eat well; I sleep better, my body moves more smoothly and I am confident in myself.

Here I am. I have taken some steps back. And I have learnt some things. I think that these are lessons it is going to take me some time to learn. My brain is still wired from decades of poor choices and it will take a long time for the rewiring to be the default.

But, I am going to start taking steps forward again. I am not yet done.

This morning I went out and did 50 minutes of walking/running, a total of 5.8km. I was at work today and I took my snacks and lunch. I have packed my food for tomorrow and have done some prep for dinner tomorrow night. I feel like I am in control.

I am not going to meet my goal for Christmas with regards to seeing numbers on the scale. That is ok. But I will aim to be at my lowest weight this year for Christmas – which means I am going to get the gain off and then some. I will work towards running a 5K between Christmas and New Year. That gives me time to train and I hope to see an improved time since my 5K. This is a good goal to set.

I wish that my emotional mind could take orders from my rational mind. My rational mind knows what to eat and how much. It has logic and evidence with regard to food choices. But eating/food is more than that for me. It is comfort and pleasure; it is part of how I interact with my friends, it is how I am generous with my friends; it is part of how I express my creativity. I am finding ways to be creative in a healthy way with food. I am finding ways to be social apart from food. I am finding ways to manage stress without food. But it is not easy. I don’t think it will ever be easy.

But I believe it is worth it.

I am already living so many benefits of my weightloss and improved fitness.

I will keep looking for new ways. I will keep taking small steps forward; in healthy food choices, in exercise, in stress management. I will be healthy, fit and strong. This I promise to myself. While I may take small steps back, that will not be the end. I will stop, look at what I am doing, look at where I want to go and then keep going. This I promise to myself.

Third Trimester Wrap

I thought I would have a look at the last 13 weeks today so that I don’t forget in all the excitement of the 40 weeks.

The last 14 weeks have been difficult. Work stress has resulted in some uncontrolled binging. I have had 4 gains in this time. But overall I have lost 9kg and I am happy with that.

Each time things went badly and I started using food as comfort or to suppress my stress, I did have some awareness that it was happening. I remember thinking things like this ‘things are hard, so hard, it is ok to stop and use any way you have right now to manage. but come tomorrow, there will be exercise and better eating. this is a way to manage today but not a way to manage long term. so for today and today only, it is ok to use food for comfort and food to forget’. And then I ate and felt the relief that came with that. And then I felt physically uncomfortable from overeating and I tried to remember that ill feeling for next time. It took 3 or 4 days after a binge to get back to feeling right again. The loss of that time frustrated me and I tried to remember that as well. The awareness of what was going on is a big step forward for me. It helped me limit my comfort eating and get back on track. So, I am glad that I have been able to learn a little about myself in this area.

I also know that I managed so well through this time because I had been exercising consistently leading up to it and I kept exercising through it. I don’t want to think about how difficult it would have been without having the exercise to keep me mostly sane. Having exercise challenges was a wonderful thing to have in place 🙂 And walking buddies 🙂

Apart from those times of really high stress, I did ok foodwise. There were also some social occasions I did really well at and some I did badly at. But I learnt through them, too. I did not cook as many new things but I did get the soupmaker and I am still having soup every day for lunch.

Exercisewise, I started jogging more in my walks and signed up for the Up and Running 5K course. In the week ending 18 August I was proud to be jogging for 2 minute stretches. Now I am halfway through the course and can jog 14 minutes! Amazing!!! Looking back, I have not done much resistance training. Maybe I should think about my routine and where I can make it fit because I think it is important. But I have exercised between 4 and 6 hours every week, usually getting in just over 5 hours. Exercise helps me feel strong and powerful.

I have noticed my shape changing alot in the last 6 weeks. I am enjoying my waist and I watch the muscles move in my legs. I can feel my hips and my pelvis. And I like feeling my ribs. I love my collarbones!!! This is my body and it is starting to look good 😀 I am also starting to wear clothes that cling to my curves.

People comment regularly now on my weightloss. And I talk about it alot. I am humbled that people look at me and are inspired to make changes to their own lives. That also helps remind me that what I have done is actually unusual and I am proud of what I have done.

There has been alot of good things in the past 13 weeks; good learning, good exercise and food, amazing support. I am happy.

Kaleidoscope view

I like who I am. That is a good starting point.

About a decade ago, I was in a bad situation. Part of the consequence of that situation was that I lost my sense of self. I did not know who I was, what I wanted, found it difficult to form opinions and more difficult to vocalise them. I was scared and felt trapped. I was not safe, there was no respect for me at home and I had very little respect for myself. I did have enough respect for myself to leave.

A year or so after that I had found a good counsellor. One of the things I spent alot of time working on was who I was. At the time I felt defined by the bad situation but I came to understand that was just one aspect of who I was and that aspect did colour alot of other things about me at that time. That aspect is still a part of who I am but has very little impact on my day-to-day anymore. Building a concept of who I was involved several of these aspects and all of them impact to some extent. Then there are the other things about me – skills/talents/preferences. These also help define who I am. For example, I like reading, I like making things, I like cooking and am good at it; and I don’t like watching or participating in organised sport. These are tangible things about who I am that other people see and also know about me. There are also some fundamentals that define me – I am a woman, live in Australia, white anglo-saxon protestant upbringing. This is a very basic and simplified summary of the work with my counsellor on this issue.

I look at all of this and to me it works like a kaleidoscope. The aspects are like colour filters that fall in and out of view. The fundamentals and preferences/skills are like the jewels that are in the kaleidoscope. All the components are there but it shifts and changes. The aspects give their different hues depending on how dominant they are at the time. Who I am changes but is made up of the same components.

And so, I like who I am. I like having this understanding of who I am.

I am coming to realise that there is a part of me that I have never really addressed. It is an aspect that I am actively aware of, it is dominating at the moment and I want to reduce it’s influence. I have always been the fat girl. I am working on changing that. Part of me wants to keep changing it and part of me wants things to stay as they are now. Being fat has always been part of who I was. When I left school, I was bigger than I currently am now; that was 18 years ago. In the last 18 years I have only once made it close to where I am now but the bad situation that I described above happened and that was that. So, for my entire adult life, I have been fat. I have used it to avoid doing things that I did not want to do; I have hid behind it; I have used it to fade out at social occasions; I have used it to be invisible in public. I had accepted that being fat was ok.

But I know who I am and I like who I am. I am not defined by my physical size. Sure, ‘fat girl’ has been an aspect of who I am but it is not me. I am so much more. I have so many skills and I know what I like and what I don’t like. I need to start saying goodbye and letting go of ‘fat girl’. It is really hard to replace something with nothing. So, I need to start celebrating something new and help build this new aspect of who I am. How am I going to do this? I will enjoy the journey – enjoy the exercise, challenge myself with exercise. I will enjoy what I am eating and keep that interesting. I will enjoy my body, wear clothes that fit and that make me feel good. I will think about my goals of being healthy into my future. They are some big ideas and I don’t quite know how I will make it happen day to day. I will think about it. I also don’t want to be defined by the fact that I was fat… so ‘former fat girl’ doesn’t really work for me. It will be there but I want to work on the idea of ‘healthy for life’ as my new aspect.

I don’t need to be scared about this change. Sometimes it feels like it is all unknown from here. But it isn’t because I can apply the same things that have got me this far to the next stage of my journey. I know I can lose weight, I have already succeeded there. I know that I can get clothes that fit on the internet or at second hand shops that will get me through the changing sizes. I know that I can manage my food and exercise consistently. I know that I am getting better at managing my stress with strategies which don’t involve eating. I know I have the support of my family and friends. The fact that I don’t know what I will look like or feel like at a healthy weight is ok and is actually only a small part of the journey. Afterall, I like who I am.

The great unknown

I go to work today but I am going to a different position. This should help. This should make a big difference.

The week was busy and stressful. I was still stressed over the weekend. My guess is all that nervous energy is helping me weight wise because I have not been consistent with exercise in the last week. I will take this week’s loss as a gift and encouragement to continue.

Starting weight: 140.9 kg (310 lbs)
Today’s weight: 102.4 kg (225.3 lbs)
This weeks loss: 0.9kg (2 lbs)
Total lost 38.5 kg (84.7 lbs)

I have some big thoughts floating around in my head. They are around the fact that I don’t know what I will look like if I lose more weight, I don’t know what I will feel like in my body. This is uncharted territory for me. Which makes it kind of scary. Where I am is known and feels good in comparison to where I have come from. So, I will be working on these thoughts because I don’t want to sabotage myself.

It is going to be a good week at work. It is going to be a good week at home. The days are getting longer and warmer. This week, I choose to be healthy.