Monday, October 7, 2013

October Goals

It may be the first week into the month, but its not too late to list some goals for the rest of October. From my list in yesterdays post, I have chosen for things

  • Money
  • Organisation
  • Food
  • Exercise
In the Artists Way program I am doing, they talk about money, or lack of it, as an excuse not to get on with fulfilling your creative dreams. The tasks is to write down exactly how much we spend on everything for a week. This is a big one for me, not that I use it as an excuse not to do what I want, but because I am sure I spend more money than I have. I used to have a well-paying job, but now I work less and earn less. I find money very stressful, and as a result I dread opening the mail because I know its going to be another bill, and I wonder how I am going to afford it. I have no savings, just a large mortgage that I draw on too often to pay bills and other expenses as needed. 

This month I am writing down what I spend and will work out a budget from there. 

Hmm, not my area of expertise! I'm a pile person, I hate to say! 

I feel like I am always behind in my cleaning and its a mad rush if someone is coming over to get the place in any sort of order. Its a stress I don't need. I also hate people coming over to my place as a result. Its embarrassing. I feel ashamed of my mess. I also end up having to replace things because I don't look after them or simply cant find them ie chargers, tools, clothes. Its a waste of money! (see above). I already follow a blog about organisation so I may head over there to get some help. 

  • By the end of the month I would like a cleaning schedule that works, and to get rid of my piles. I also need to do a declutter and maybe even find storage for things I cant store properly at home.

Food and Exercise
Over the last few years I have gained about 10kg. I am struggling to lose the weight, and recently went to  he doctor to see if there was any reason for it. There wasn't. So I guess I just eat more than I need to and exercise less than I should. This does not surprise me. I am so much less active than I used to be, mainly because I am not running around at work the way I used to (I am a nurse), and because my depression has sent me back to bed most days when I can't be bothered to be awake. Its a recipe for disaster. I have tried numerous times to do Michelle Bridges 12wbt, but have given up when I don't see any results. Its very disheartening. I am a personal trainer and I know what I should be doing exercise wise, so I think I just have to get off my arse and do it. 

Food-wise, my biggest problems were grazing. I am a picker. Its a tough habit to change. 

I'm not ready to make any huge commitments as I am scared I will not keep my promise. So I am going to be a bit more general with my goals for this month. They will be:
  • Eat 3 meals, 2 snacks
  • Exercise 6 days a week
  • Don't sleep during the day
  • Move more
  • Focus on good fresh food rather than calories
  • Expand my healthy recipe collection

So that's it for the month of October, lets get started!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Yearly Goals

Following on from my last post, I am attempting to sort my life out over the next year. Usually something you only consider around New Years Eve, I'm starting now, this October.

This month is about getting the foundation right for my year ahead, setting up some habits that will help me remain healthy and hopefully give me some structure to avoid chaos and crisis.

My process for this was to write out all the areas of my life I wanted to work on. Not surprisingly, this list encompassed most things, eel, actually, everything. While an outsider may think my life is relatively normal, I do not feel like anything is really working well. I want more. I want better.

This is my list of areas to work on:

  1. Food
  2. Exercise
  3. Physical Health
  4. Mental Health
  5. Career
  6. Money
  7. Relationships
  8. Creativity
  9. Organisation
I also has a list of premises that underpin everything
  1. Mental and Physical health should always be a priority.
  2. Work on your weaknesses, exploit your strengths.
  3. Go with the flow- Life is not linear and multiple issues will need to be worked on at one time.
  4. Seek professional help if you need to.
  5. Good things don't always feel good at the time.
  6. Staying within comfort zones does not get you very far. To grow you have to push your boundaries.
  7. Organisation provides structure that creativity and spontaneity can grow from.
  8. Continue projects you are currently working on. This is not a new start, it is a new process.
I even did a mind map which looks something like this (just a lot messier).

A sample mind map- Wikipedia

I then created a list of what I would like to achieve by October 2014. This is not comprehensive, rather more an outline, something to guide my monthly goals. I think in my head I need a destination to strive to so that I can start out heading in the right direction.

Yearly Goals
Health- wellness, free of expression, free of addiction (food, exercise, chaos)
Food/Exercise- balanced diet, healthy weight, body worthy of a personal trainer, worthy of an after photo.
Career- have a growing business combining all my qualifications (Nursing, health, PT). Continue working on The Artist's Way and the possibility of using my talents as an income stream. 
Money- have savings, afford a holiday, be in control of my finances. Work within a budget.
Creativity- painting, quilting, sewing, writing,, whatever I choose. My goal is to financially benefit from my pastimes. 
Relaxations- be free to travel, for work or play. Take a holiday in December 2014 with the children.

Stay tuned tomorrow when I will list my goals for this month.

Health and Happiness


Friday, October 4, 2013

Sorting myself out

At the beginning of this year I started a journey of improving aspects of my life that I felt were not working for me. Unfortunately, in March, I got shingles in my face and eye and was pretty much incapacitated for a month. It took three months for life to get back to normal physically speaking, but mentally I had taken a battering. My mood dropped, my sleeping increased, I felt bloody dreadful. This has pretty much continued since then, with cycles of feeling okay, then feeling dreadful, up and down. Its now October, and for my own sake, I really need to get a grip on my life again. I feel like a boat without a rudder, knowing where I want to go, but unable to steer myself where I want to go. I feel at the mercy of the wind. Its not how I want to finish of the year, and its not how I want to live.

A month ago I started a program called The Artists Way that takes you through a series of tasks aimed at unblocking your creativity and allowing you to get past the issues that may be preventing you from fulfilling your artistic pursuits. As a painter, I had not painted since the beginning of the year and I really needed to start again. I always feel better when I paint, and I needed anything I could find to pull me out of my depressed slump. The changes were amazing, my motivation to paint, quilt or sew where re-ignited, and I started to feel better about my day. This has led me in the last week to thinking that I also need to focus on the other ares of my life that are in limbo. My career, health and fitness, organisation, money management etc. have all taken a hit and I really need to sort these out.

Earlier in the year I read Gretchen Reuben's The Happiness Project and was inspired by her journey of examining her life and spending a month on different aspects to find what really makes us (or her) happy in life. I've also been interested in reading peoples accounts of having a year off something- sugar, alcohol, whatever takes their fancy. In a way it would be good to focus on one thing,  and it appeals to the obsessive part of my personality, but that does not really suit me at this stage.  I also wonder f doing something for an entire year would be setting myself up for failure. I struggle with consistency (probably another area to work on!) For me, I have a few areas I need to work on, and rather than examining in detail everything, I just want to see how much I can change my life to get it more balanced and in a position where I can achieve what I want to achieve in life.

My plan for October is to get back to basics. In the next day or so I will be listing some goals for the month, including my alcohol-free period, as well as health, fitness and sleep to get my mood back up to build a foundation for the months ahead. Goals are a good way to move forward, to keep on track, to remain motivated. I'll also keep checklists of my progress to see how I'm travelling.

I'm quite excited about this year ahead. But I wont deny I am apprehensive, knowing that I will have to face some changes and new ways of doing things. Hopefully others will check out my progress as the months go on and be a little inspired to change some things themselves.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Goodbye my friend

I am saying goodbye to my friend, wine.

She is going away for a little while as we have been spending way too much time together. Despite me loving every minute that we share, sometimes she gets a little bit too much and like all best friends we fight. Like yesterday. We had a doozy of an argument and I felt so bad I ended up in tears, wondering what the hell had happened.

Not that we usually fight. Sometimes we just spend a few hours together in the evening and get along just fine. Her being there often allows me to do things that I otherwise put off doing, her company helps me get my act together. Other times, she ends up taking my focus away from the things I need to do, and I don't get anything done. I've noticed this a bit lately.

After last night I had to make a serious decision. I think its time for us to part ways for a while, just to see how we fare without each other. I think we need to disentangle ourselves and see how we manage alone. I'll certainly miss her, but sometimes you just need a little break to appreciate each other for what they are. Its hard to say goodbye, but its the right thing to do at this time. I need to look after me for a while, and sometimes soon I'll re-evaluate the situation again.

So for now, its goodbye. I may see you later, I may not. I'll see what the future brings.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

It's easier

Why don't we do things that leave us feeling do good?

Today I walked out of the gym after a tough leg session feeling on top of the world. But I had not been for 5 days. Why? The usual reasons- too tired, too moody, too busy, too hot, too late, what's the
point etc. Yes, I'd been for walks but I had not kept up with my weights (resistance training) program. I know all these excuses are just that, excuses, but I fell into that trap that many if us get caught in, when we make unhealthy choices because its easier, despite us knowing better, despite it not being easier in the long run.

My exercise example is the same as other different choices that people make everyday.
- continuing to smoke despite knowing its bad for your health
- eating fast food because you did not prepare any thing else
- not exercising because you hate the gym and refuse to wear lycra
- putting off your health check that is overdue.

One of my hobbies unrelated to health is painting. It is something that I have always enjoyed but over the last year or so I have struggled to get started and have doubted my capabilities and creativity. Sitting on the couch one day, despairing at my situation, I looked at my bookshelf and saw the book The Artists Way by Julie Cameron. Its been sitting in my bookshelf for maybe 15 years. when I picked it up, I knew that it was what I needed. I flicked through the pages and made the decision to start straight away- a simple 12 week program that involves writing 3 pages in a journal every morning, and doing some simple tasks each week that don't take a lot of time.

I started writing. Initially it was hard to remember, and hard to make myself do it. Like any new habit, it takes time to get into the swing of it. Thoughts such as "this seems stupid" and "what's the point"  filled me with doubt. How could I become more creative by writing seemingly meaningless lines every morning?

Then a strange thing happened. My motivation to be creative increased. I started to
realise what I wanted to achieve, both creatively and career-wise. Things that I had once loved doing but had given up were now on my to-do list again. It began to be easier to write than not to write.

That was my aha moment! It's easier to do what you know you should do than to avoid
doing it.

If you avoid something, chances are you spend more time thinking about it
than you would have spent just doing it! The guilt experienced when you put something off. The mind-games you play with yourself to justify not doing it. The silly excuses you use to
justify your decision not to do it. The things you say you'll do instead to make up for
not doing what you should have. It's exhausting!

Same with exercise for me (and probably you too!). I have a certain time of day that I go to the
gym. If I don't go then, the mind games start.

- "If I go later, I can have a nap now, I'm so tired because I did not sleep well last night, because I was hyped up after an evening gym session"
- "If I go home now, I can watch the daytime soaps, then I can go to the gym when the
kids get home from school (if I don't need to help with homework)".

It's never-ending negotiations. These thoughts and the feelings of guilt, regret and
shame last much longer than the gym session would have!

Looking at my table below, which would you rather feel?

Going to the gym
Not going to the gym
Endorphin rush afterwards
Feel proud about effort
Keep motivated
No mind games and negotiations
Increased chance of eating healthy food after
Sleep better
Feel guilty
Lose motivation
Start mind-games and negotiating to justify excuses
Increased chance of making unhealthy food choices
Feel under-active and lethargic

Its a simple choice. The decision to go to the gym is so much easier. Same with making healthy food choices or making time to get that health check you've been putting off. Sometimes just getting out there and facing what you are avoiding saves a whole lot of pain later on.

It's easier to do what you know you should do than to avoid
doing it.

Health and happiness xx

Friday, May 24, 2013

Week 2 overview

Week 2 is nearly over and it has been a bit of a hard week- nearly over meaning I have two workouts and two and a half days of eating to go. I'll have a whinge, then I'll tell you all the good things that are happening.

This week I have been so tired, I'm not sure whether its the lack of calories or the daily exercise, but my body is tired. I feel fine at the gym and work hard, but I'm just lacking energy. I have considered putting my calories up and changing to a maintenance nutrition plan, but ideally I would like to lose a couple of kilos. I'm unsure what to do, but as a precaution I am ensuring that I have protein shakes following my workouts. At least then I can replenish my tired muscles.

Work has also been different this week, I am by myself as the others are on holidays. This is only hard as I don't have any other adult conversation in my day. I get home and its just me and the kids. Last night when I met my partner for dinner, it was really the only adult conversation I had had since the weekend. Thanks god for the internet!

Now I'll stop my moaning and tell you all the good things! Firstly, I am stronger than two weeks ago. I could only do four push ups on my toes, now I can do 8 with my feet raised to knee height. I have also increased my weights on most of my exercises, and I have increased the resistance on the Cross Trainer. My clothes are feeling more comfortable and my waistline feels like it is shrinking. Even after 2 weeks I feel more toned, a little more muscular. I haven't lost weight, I've gained 100g, but this is really nothing. My body composition feels like it is changing, and that's exactly what I want.

Weekend and Super Saturday Session (aka Super Sore Sunday), I'm facing you head on!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Week 1 TGIF

What a week, I'm really getting into this 12wbt, enjoying the food and exercise, feeling good about my progress and enthusiasm. I feel quite empowered, just because I am making good choices. I know that I am progressing forwards, so I have none of that usual guilt about not exercising or guilt about the food I am eating. I have been a little hungry, so I am watching what I snack on and making sure they fill me up.

I have also found it really helpful to document my workouts at the gym each day. The 12wbt program shows a range of weights, but to ensure that I am working at my hardest and heaviest, I have a record of the last weight I used. Then each time I try to increase the weight or the reps to get the most out of my workout. Its seems to work much better than just "remembering" or winging it at the time.

So, today being Friday, I have today and tomorrow's workouts to go before I can rest for the weekend. Tomorrows Super Saturday Session looks very scary! I'm defineitely not looking forward to that!
Scary weights!!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Change to change

Day 2 of 12wbt and I seem to be doing ok. Last night was the hardest part so far hard as I was starving when I went to bed and could not stay sleep. It was mostly due to hunger but also because of the nerve pain from my shingles on my face. It was driving me crazy. I managed to scratch the hell out of my eye and forehead and needed to take painkillers and phenergan at 230am. This morning I was exhausted!

My day was really busy and I could tell by mid-morning that I would not make the gym by 1230pm as planned. Now, I usually have lunch after the gym, but today it was getting too late. I was really hungry, but knew if I had lunch first I may have ditched the gym. The usual excuses "I'll do it later" started entering my thoughts, "I'm too tired", then "I'm so hungry, I'll have something different, I'll buy a healthy sandwich, its more carbs but so what". Now, none of these would be unreasonable, I was tired, I was hungry, I was running late. Presented with these thoughts it suddenly hit me.

If I want my body to change, I have to change.
If I want to change, I have to change what I do.

Sounds simple, but it was a lightbulb moment. I thought, if not now, when? Why keep making excuses? Don't do it tomorrow, do it today. Just f***ing do it. JFDI.

So I did.

I went to the gym, even though I was a little hungry. I didn't effect my workout.
I bought a simple salad with protein, similar to what was on the menu for dinner tonight.
I will eat my chicken noodle soup for dinner.
Despite my busy day, I managed to stick to the program.

I'm guessing that I make a lot of excuses, which is why I struggle to reach my goals. If I can work this out on Day 2 of the program, I am eager to see what else will come up in the following weeks. Hoepfully I can meet those challenges head on, too.

I'm really excited!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

12wbt- Round 2

Round 2 of the 12wbt starts tomorrow, 13th May. I registered for last round but became terribly sick with shingles and was pretty much in bed for about 5 weeks. Needless to say I did not finish. So, with a lot of thought as to whether or not I could go it alone, I decided I needed the support of others from the forums, so I signed up.

Part of the program is completing the preseason tasks, and one of the most important is to make a commitment to the program and to others around you. Ive told the most important people- I told my partner I would not be drinking and would be concentrating on my diet and exercise for 3 months. I asked my mother not to buy snacks for the kids or packaged frozen foods because I will be watching what I we all eat (and if its there I am likely to eat their food!). My sister in law mentioned 12wbt this morning and I told her I was doing it. So, basically, the important people know. Here's my commitment, out loud:

I am committing to following the 12wbt Lean and Strong program for the duration of the program. I am also committing the next 6 months to achieve my goals of obtaining the body that I want, one that reflects me as a personal trainer, the one that I have always wanted. I commit to working on my mind and my self-esteem which is getting in the way of me achieving my gaols and dreams. Most importantly, I commit to completing Round 2. If something happens along the way I will deal with it and keep going.

The best thing is at the end of 6 months, I'm planning on taking the kids to Bali. That's incentive to stick to the program and see what I can look like in a bikini next summer. Nothing worse than getting all suited up in a new bikini and feeling like a beached whale.

Bali Holiday 2011

It all starts tomorrow. I feel like the possibilities are endless!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

9km done and dusted!

Yesterday I was worried about achieving my goal of 9km (or rather following the 12wbt half marathon running program). But today, with a few minor setbacks, I did it!

I woke up this morning and it was pissing pouring down. Typical! The same thing happened a few weeks ago when I signed up for the 7km Sun Run- that day I stayed in bed. Today, with time on my side, I waited a couple of hours until about 1030am. Then off I went. Sometimes I am really worried about whether I will make the distance, but this morning, for whatever reason, it did not enter my mind.

I have done the track before and measured it on my GPS so I knew where the 9 km mark was. All was going well. I used a few little tricks to get my mind of the running, i.e. timing myself from one landmark to the next. I estimated that I was more than half way there, and the track suddenly ended with a sign "path under construction, due to reopen in 2014". I loved that path! Tranquil, in the bush, no cars in sight! The only thing I could do was  turn around and run back the way I had come.

At that point I had to change tack and measure my run in time rather than distance. The actual program says "60imns or 9km run", so it became a clock-watching episode. And for me there is nothing worse. Time goes so slowly when you are in pain (a little exaggeration, but I was a little slower and sorer than at the start). My podcasts were helping, I find these much better to listen to than music because it gives me a story to concentrate on, rather than to tune out which is what happens with music.

60 minutes finally came, and even though I have no idea what actual distance I ran, I achieved what I set out to achieve- to be able to complete the long run of the Week 1 half marathon program. Only 11 weeks to go!


Friday, February 15, 2013

5 days done

Its Friday of Week 1 of the 12wbt, I've followed the exercise and food plan to a near tee (one night out yesterday for Valentine’s Day). It’s been good, though I am feeling very tired.

Tomorrow I am due to do a 9km run as part of the half marathon program. I have not run that for 3 months. Two weeks ago I did a 7km run, and that is the closest I have come to my old personal best distance of 10km. I'm feeling very nervous about tomorrows run as it will indicate to me whether or not I am aiming too high to be able to do a half marathon in 12 weeks time. Not that it is the end of the world if I take an extra few weeks or so to it, but my ego says "you've done it before, you can do it again!".

Only time will tell. A good sleep, a good breakfast, a little caffeine and I'll be on my way.

Nothing like a challenge!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

12 (wbt) reasons.....

12 (wbt) reasons why I could cry right now…..

1.       I had my before photos for the Michelle Bridges 12wbt taken this morning.
2.       I felt embarrassed about the photos
3.       I am now heavier than when I was pregnant
4.       I felt ashamed about my behavior that has resulted in the image of me in the photos
5.       I kept thinking about the photos all day, and therefore,
6.       I kept being reminded of what I have not done recently (ie Enough Exercise)
7.       I know the next 12 weeks are going to hurt
8.       Knowing I deserve the next 12 weeks to hurt
9.       Knowing that I am going to have to pull out some extreme resilience to get through the next 12 weeks
But also….

10.   Knowing that in 12 weeks time I can feel very differently
11.   Knowing that it is going to take a lot more tears to feel and look differently
12.   Knowing it is up to me to change, it is my responsibility for where I am now, and it is my responsibility for where I end up.
Despite feeling like crying, I am also excited about the possibilities of what the next 3 months could bring. There is a ray of hope.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Last day of slothsville

Ok, I admit that lately I have been less physically active than I should. My main excuse has to do with a very comfortable bed that calls me for naps at all hours of the morning or afternoon, perpetuating my insomnia- its a vicious circle. That all ends tomorrow for the start of Michelle Bridges'12wbt runing program that I am doing.

My main aim was to start the half marathon training plan, which requires that ability to run 10km. I have not run 10km's for 2 months. But the first weeks long run is only 9km and at a pinch I think I will be fine. The rest of the weeks plan looks manageable. So, if I fail to do 9km, I will step back and start in the middle of the 10km run program. If that happens I'll have to reconsider my half marathon goal on 28th April- Run Noosa. My back-up plan is the SMH Half marathon on 19th May.

Tomorrow my plan is to get up early and do my run, weather permitting. Its raining at the moment. I know I will have to get used to running in all weather conditions, but its certainly not my first choice.

I'm off to bed early for a good start to tomorrow. For all those others doing the 12wbt, best wishes lets reach for the stars,

One goal at a time,


Monday, January 21, 2013

New inspiration to run

In November last year, I was running 10km, I had reached my goal and was feeling great. Better than great! Absolutely on top of the world!
But then I stopped. An infected toenail meant that it hurt to run, so I stopped. What should have been a small break led to two months of not running. My fitness suffered, but my motivation and belief in my abilities suffered much more. I stopped being motivated in all my exercise. I did not stop everything, but I felt stagnant. Unmotivated. Uninspired.  It was not a nice place to be.
Then a couple of days ago I heard an interview on the radio with aerial skier and Olympian Alisa Camplin. When she started she was not even a skier, she was a gymnast but decided she could have a chance at succeeding in aerial skiing. So she wrote out a list of goals for the following year, and went about working towards those goals. Each year she revised those goals and kept on going, eventually winning gold in 2002 and bronze in 2006. Her motto is NO REGRETS. Do everything you have to do to succeed so that you won’t ever have to think “what if…..”
That evening, I sat and wrote a list of my goals for 2013. I need to run again. I need to feel elated as I did when I ran 10km. But this time I am setting my sights higher.

This year I am going to run a marathon.
I don’t care if I am starting at the beginning again. I take responsibility for the fact that I stopped running, for my fitness declining, for my ability to only run 2km at the moment (yes, I did say my fitness has suffered!!). I take responsibility for where I am now. I did it, I can’t blame anyone else. But I am starting again. I have a list of training goals that take me back to 10km, then to a half marathon, and then eventually to a full marathon. It will take effort and determination. It will take over six months. It may take injury management, but I will do what I can to make it in one piece.
I am so excited! I hope you will join me on my journey, with all its slow steep inclines, with a few fast downhills, and hopefully with some amazing scenery along the way.
Happy travels