Two small days of achieving big

Good morning!

Before I head into a couple of big meetings for the day, I want to share with you two small days of big achievements. It’s Wednesday today- three days since the challenge started- and for the first time in my life I can say that for two days straight I have eaten exactly what I intended to eat. No cheating, no blow-out snacking, nothing ‘bad’, just healthy food.

I have met the challenge for two days. 82 left to go.

I also started my new gym habit last night, with a self-guided gym workout (no PT involved). It was cardio night so I did some time on a bike, then spent the rest on the rowing machine. Probably not as long a workout as it could have been, but I had to get home in time to make it to the fruit and veg shop before it closed. That’s compromise for you. I’m going to take a rest day today- it is not my intention to rest on Wednesdays, but if i’m adding two cardio workouts to my week that weren’t there before (on top of the pre-existing 3 days of weights training), then I need to work into it. I really don’t want to burn out on week one.

For that reason I’m also going to allow myself a piece of raw vegan cheesecake tonight. Not that there’s anything bad in it- some fruit and nuts really! The worst is some coconut oil and a little bit of golden syrup, but per slice it’s really not bad. If it tastes any good I’ll share the recipe here soon.

So that’s it- I have achieved big in the last two days, by my standards, and I’m proud of myself. Oh, and I’ve lost some weight! (a little bit. Not much, not enough to share numbers, but still- I’m moving in the negative direction)

It feels unnecessary sharing this on here, but then, that’s why I started this blog- to share my difficulties and to celebrate my successes.

Advertisements

What’s that countdown?

If you’ve visited this blog before, you’ll have seen that I’ve been counting down to something. Well the countdown has finished, that ‘something’ has arrived, and a new countdown has begun. Today marks the first day of a challenge I’m taking. It’s a 12 week challenge (but don’t worry, it’s not Michelle Bridges’ 12 Week Body Transformation. I’m not paying $19.99 a week for this one). The challenge is affiliated with a brand, but seeing as I have pretty much no intention of buying their products at this stage, I’m not going to name them here. That only seems fair. The challenge is free (because presumably they’ll make a heap of money from entrants purchasing their products along the way), but it does provide eating and exercise plans along the way.

could take their eating and exercise plans and follow them to the T, but for me that doesn’t seem particularly sustainable so I’m going to be adapting and changing things up as I go along. Having said that, I’m going to stick to the basic premise of the meal or workout as much as I can, just making changes to suit my tastes and preferences. To me, if they’re saying “eat 100 g chicken with steamed veggies”, I’m reading “eat 100 g of lean protein, with vegetables in some form”. So I might go a chicken stirfry.

So, why am I doing this? If you’ve read my first couple of blog posts you’ll know why I’m taking action, but why am I doing this particular challenge? The answer is this: I am a creature of habit, and I have some habits I need to kick. By committing to a 12 week program of eating and exercising (and committing to write about it on this blog), I’m giving myself a chance to change some habits for good. They say it take a minimum of 21 – 66 days to begin to form a habit, so I’m giving myself 84. 84 days of great eating, and as much exercise as I can.

As I think I’ve mentioned before, food’s my big problem- so food is my focus. I already do three sessions a week at the gym with my PT (leg day, arm/back day, bit of everything day), so I’m going to make a concerted effort to add as many cardio sessions as I can per week. I’m not a huge fan of cardio machines in the gym, especially treadmills, so I’m going to mix it up a bit- probably a mix of rowing machine, cross trainer and the stair machine thingo that I’m not fond of at all, but which I know is good for me. So I already have the three-a-week habit when it comes to exercise- if I can increase that to a steady 5 days per week with a sixth thrown in there when I can, I’ll be really happy. Especially if that’s a habit that I can maintain post-challenge.

In terms of food, I need to go all-out. Lapsing is not an option for me. I’ve formed some terrible habits, and I really need to kick them. Honestly, if I can kick those habits and pick up just a few small new ones, I’d be happy (although I reckon I can do better than that). Habits that will be kicked in the next 12 weeks include:

  • The 3 pm chocolate bar at my desk;
  • The ‘because it’s easy’ focaccia from the cafe at work;
  • The “because I brought my own lunch and need something to do in my break” vanilla slice;
  • The constant defaulting to eating out at dinner time
  • The ‘inability’ to find time to purchase and prepare decent food
  • Food FOMO (aaaaaaaaalll of the food fomo)
  • Saying yes just because it’s there/offered to me (hello Mum’s fruitcake. I don’t even like fruitcake)

I think the biggest barrier I’m going to face over the next 12 weeks (gosh that sound shorter than 84 days, doesn’t it?!) is time and convenience. I’m a really busy person, and it’s so much easier to pop to the cafe downstairs and buy a focaccia than it is to buy and prep my lunch the night before. Same goes with dinners, and mid-afternoon snacks at work. If I can get a handle on that stuff, I think I’m going to be ok-ish. It’s not going to be a breeze, but I can handle it.

Has anyone else out there in blog land ever done something like this (what a silly question! Of course you have!). How did you find it? How did you keep a healthy balance between kicking the bad habits and forming the new ones?

I weigh how much?!?!

I’ve always prided myself on having a pretty realistic view of my body. I know I’m not tiny, and I don’t try to squeeze my way into clothes that are too small for me in the desperate hope that fitting into a size 8 means I actually look like I’m a size 8. That’s not to say I’m beating up on myself about my size either- what I know about my body is that, in reality, I am ‘average’. My dress size is average, and my shoe size is average (how do I know this? There’s never any sales items left in my size. All the other average sized women have already gotten in ahead of me and bought those average sized clothes). Over the past few years I’ve learned, more or less, how to dress to best flatter my body.

And for that reason, I’ve never been too fussed about my weight. “It’s not about the weight, it’s about the shape” has been a common thought flitting through my brain. Similarly, “I feel pretty good, and I exercise regularly, the weight’s not an issue” and “I’m tall- I’m supposed be heavier than someone that’s shorter than me”. Funny. As I write this, I know I still believe these things, but seeing them written down also makes them sound pretty lame. They look like excuses right now. The only one that doesn’t is my firm belief that weight is not an indicator health- you can be heavy but that weight can be made up of muscle, not fat, and therefore you’ll be extremely healthy and fit despite what the scales say.

Anyway about 12 months ago I got myself a personal trainer. I imagine I’ll write about him a bit in this blog- let’s call him PT for the sake of ease. When I first saw PT I had goals besides weight loss- I was mainly wanting to focus on injury recovery. Despite that he weighed me, we set some secondary weight-related goals, and I assumed that without changing my diet, if I added exercise into my week I’d probably see some weight loss happening. It didn’t. When he weighed me 12 months ago I weighed 75 kg, and when he weighed me week after week, I still weighed 75 kg. There were some weeks when I put in a really concerted eating effort and would drop a couple of kilos, but inevitably I’d stay at 75 kg. During all of that time I was really upping the exercise- over the last year I have consistently done 2-3 PT sessions per week, focusing on strength-building and weights. I lift weights. I’m not afraid to lift more than 1.3 kg just in case I build muscle. In fact, I want to and have built up some muscle in the last 12 months, and as we know, muscle is heavy. So in my head, while my weight has stayed the same, I’ve been thinking “yeah but I know I’ve put on muscle, so I must be losing fat”. Nuh-uh.

Last week, following a hiatus on the weighing-in and my spending some time in the USA, PT decided it was time for me to weigh-in again. Now, I wasn’t expecting anything amazing. I wasn’t expecting miracles (despite that little voice in the back of my mind that says “maybe we’ll have miraculously shed some k’s” every time I jump on that scale), but I was expecting that I’d still be at that stable weight of 75 kg. Not this time. This time the scales flashed up a number I truly wasn’t expecting… 85 kg. I weigh 85 kg. I am a 26 year old female, and I weigh 85 kg. I’m definitely not that muscley- this is fat, and it’s got to go. Seeing that number flash up actually took my breath away for a second. I shocked myself with just how much I was kidding myself.

Technically speaking, I could lose 25 kg and still be within a healthy weight range for my height. I say technically because if I lost that much I’d look sick and out of proportion- I once did weigh that amount, maybe even slightly more than that, back at the end of high school, and looking at photos I don’t look good at all. I am not on a mission to become as skinny as I can- I’m on a mission to get healthy again.

Something’s got to change…

Something’s got to change. I’m in my mid-20’s and in the last 12 months, several of my relatives have had significant health scares. These haven’t been wake-up calls for me in the sense that they’ve reminded me how short and precious life is blah blah blah- instead they’ve reminded me of exactly the genetic hand I’ve been dealt. They’ve reminded me that the female side of my family’s ‘big bum’ syndrome means more than just a big bum- it means that I have the genetic tendency to be a bit bigger than I should be, in areas that count. They’ve reminded me that everyone has an increased likelihood of experiencing these issues if they’re overweight- even just a little bit. They’ve reminded me that I have, more than the average person, an increased likelihood of experiencing these same health issues, because these are now part of my genetics.

I’m 26, and it’s safe to say that it has taken me every minute of my 26 years to come to terms with, accept and perhaps even like the body that I have. I’ve started to figure out what styles of clothing work best for me, and I’ve figured out that there’s some that I shouldn’t even try (and that’s ok!). It’s not because of my size- it’s because of my shape. And the thing is, I’m ok with all of it. It’s fine. It’s all good. The tough thing for me now is the recent discovery that, despite my body acceptance, I need to make some changes.

I have what is commonly called a ‘spare tire’ of fat around my middle. I wear somewhere between dress size 10-14 AU depending on the brand and style of the dress, so I don’t classify myself as particularly big, but as I’ve come to terms with my body shape I’ve realised there’s actually a bigger factor than how I look: how I feel. And I don’t feel healthy. When I sit down I can feel the bulge of my tummy, and the blergh of fat on my hips (yes, a blergh. I can’t describe it any other way). I don’t feel like I’m the best that I can be, and worse than that- I’m potentially making myself sick. It’s been proven that the bigger your waistline gets, the more increased your risk of developing a chronic disease- and my waistline has, over the course of the years, been growing. Right now it’s not too bad, but my body’s on an increasing trend. I need to stop that. The chronic diseases that are referred to in regards to an increasing waistline are some of the exact health scares my family members have experienced, so the increased genetic disposition + the increasing waistline means that it’s time for me to do something.

I’m not an inactive person. I go to the gym three times a week, with a personal trainer, and over the last year I’ve been kicking some really great goals there. My strength and stamina has improved, and I’m feeling great. Unfortunately the exercise really hasn’t had much influence on my body shape or weight, which can only mean one thing: it’s time to review what I’m putting in my mouth. And that’s the point of this blog. I’m not going on a diet- I’m going to be making some sustainable changes. I’m a creature of habit, so I’m going to need to do some drastic stuff in order to kick-start the process, but I’ll tell you some more about that next time I write.

For now, you just need to know that this blog exists to help me keep accountable. It’s a diary for myself that I’m making public for a couple of reasons. Firstly I hope that documenting the process will validate it. By putting my efforts down on paper (or on screen), those efforts exist- even if I can’t see the results. Secondly, making it public keeps me accountable. Maybe you’re reading this, maybe you’re not, but the thought that someone might follow the entire process seems to me like a good way to keep me motivated.

Perhaps this process will also connect me to other people who have been on similar journeys.