Set your goals in concrete but your plans in sand. Be flexible with your strategies but firm on your goals.

Tomorrow is Sunday of week 8 of my third round of 12wbt. Mini-milestone day for me. I will be taking part in a fun run.

However, today something happened, that in the long run might just mean more than achieving my goal tomorrow for the mini-milestone.

At the end of the BodyPump class there was the usual stretch track – all done on the floor. At the end of the track we did a hip flexor stretch. And when I finished instead of leaning on the bench for support or using my hand (or both hands for support) I just stood up. This was a huge deal. This time last year at about 155kgs I could not get up off the floor without Mr G literally pulling me up. When I was doing stretches at Curves or a Zumba class I would either roll very elegantly 😉 or scoot on my bum, over to a piece of furniture I could use to pull myself up.

But today, a year down the track at 109kgs, I just got up off the floor – and wanted to shout out, “Look mum, no hands!”

For a number of years as I got close to 165kgs and then hit that highest weight, I couldn’t even get up off our lounge at bedtime each evening without Mr G literally pulling me to my feet. Each night at 10.30pm-ish the feelings of dread and failure would build up as I knew I would have to face yet again how pathetic I believed I had become. It was nothing short of torture going to bed each night thinking I had failed at the last thing I had to do that day. And those negative feelings began a downward spiral, each and every night, that I had let myself go to the point I would never be able to do anything about it.

I am so glad I have proved myself wrong.

The achievement at 10.30 this morning got me thinking about just how far I had come.

So, having already put in my results for this week’s fitness test this morning, I went back to look at my results for the beginning of my first round of 12wbt.

September 2011

1km time trial: 11min 47 sec

Push ups: 8 on knees

Wall sit: 15 secs

Sit and reach: -9cm

Abdominal Strength: level 1

July 2012

1km time trial: 7min 10 sec

Push ups: 31 on knees

Wall sit: 1min 49secs

Sit and reach: 7cm

Abdominal Strength: level 3

When I first started 12wbt last August in the preseason my goal was to get to 77kgs by my birthday at the end of July 2012. Well, this hasn’t happened, but I certainly don’t consider myself a failure. My goal has remained the same – set in the concrete, to reach 77kgs. But the plans have changed according to the circumstances of my life. I have had a few setbacks. Spraining my ankle twice in round 3 2011. A bout of clinical depression ( a relapse according to my doctor) in round 1 2012 which caught me by surprise. Three weeks of being seriously ill with two infections in round 2 2012. Who knows, if it hadn’t been for these three setbacks, maybe I’d be 77kgs by now. It doesn’t bear thinking about, because it doesn’t really matter. I am running my own race to get to my goal weight. It doesn’t actually matter when I get there, as long as I keep working towards that goal.

I realised today after my SSS that the last two weeks have proven to be another setback. I had just finished a BodyPump class, followed by a Sh’Bam class and I was talking to the instructor. Ms P, the instructor, the one who takes my favourite 6am BodyPump classes on Mondays and Thursdays. Which of course I haven’t been to in the last two weeks as I am responsible for taking calls from unwell teachers, and then making the calls to secure a casual teacher to replace them. To do so I have to make sure I am available  from 6am to 7.30am each morning.

I admitted to Ms P that in the last two weeks on Monday to Thursday nights I had been to one Bodypump, one BodyBalance and one Zumba class – and one stroke correction lesson. I admitted out loud my excuse was I was just so tired in the early evenings after work. She suggested to not go home first, but to come to the gym on the way home. Then I had to admit that every morning I would put my gym bag in the car,  and five of those eight evenings I drove straight past the gym to go home.

I realised I had ignored what I had written in the sand. I realised I had let myself down. And Ms P reminded me that if I was feeling tired the best thing I could do would be to exercise. Lesson learned for me. Pulling out the JFDI card is just as important at 6pm as it is at 6am. And the bottom line is that if I choose not to JFDI I won’t be any closer to my goal in four weeks time, and my fitness test results may not look too different than they do right now.

I will achieve my goal. I will do the work that is needed to achieve the goal. I will rewrite the plans in the sand to include a JFDI card. I want more moments like the one I experienced this morning.

I can make excuses or I can achieve my goal. Bit of a no brainer really.

(Thanks to my friend and fellow 12wbt-er who posted the quote I have used in the title above. When I saw it before leaving for the gym this morning I thought that sums up my journey so far. Then, breakthrough moment as I am leaving the gym, it is totally relevant for where I am right now.)

Blogging Challenge Week 5 (Yep, two weeks late!)

FOOD!

I am sure that word has your attention. 😉 For this week of the blogging challenge Jayne has asked us to think about how our food habits have changed since starting 12wbt.

What were your old food habits like?

What were you like before embarking on this journey to become a healthier version of yourself?

How did you feel?

Before joining 12wbt I know I would have like to have thought my eating habits were healthy. But I was kidding myself. As the Commando said to Graeme in the 2012 The Biggest Loser, “You don’t get to be over 200kgs by eating salad!”  

I have battled with my attitude to food most of my 47 years.  Through the preseasons tasks I have completed over the last three rounds I have come to realise part of the problem is I see it as a control thing. While other aspects of my life are out of control – I can choose to control what I eat, which meant eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.

I went on my first diet at the age of twelve. It was 1977.   I clearly remember though, on our first day of high school we were dismissed at lunch time. So we raced home, changed out of our new uniforms and went straight to the local take away shop and bought ourselves a big feed of fish and chips. After weeks of feeling deprived, and feeling empowered by starting high school, we felt we were taking control by having whatever we wanted. We were in control. We could choose. And we chose something unhealthy. And this led us to decide to abandon the diet we were following. Probably in itself not a bad thing with the benefit of hindsight in 2012 – but for years I told the story of my first dieting failure at the age of twelve.

From 1997 to 2006 I was a Weight Watchers leader.  Not surprisingly, I thought I knew everything there was to know about weight loss.  But, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing when combined with an unhealthy attitude towards  eating. I certainly learnt more about eating clean and having  healthy attitude towards food in my first nine weeks of following the “Crunch Time Cookbook” and then 12wbt principles than I did in nine years of leading.

In the weeks before I joined 12wbt I was having “diet” food from a well known company delivered to my door.  I was eating the 1800 calorie per day program – and – eating extra because I never felt satisfied. That combined with the fact that I was not exercising more than three times a week meant my weight loss from October 2010 to August 2011 was 10kgs. Most of the foods I was eating were processed and high in sodium.

And I felt terrible. I had no energy. I was tired all the time.

I was bursting out of a size 26 – and wondering where on earth I was going to find clothes to fit when I needed size 28.

My doctor weighs me monthly.  This time twelve months ago she was still encouraging me to have lap band surgery. I was morbidly obese. All the tests showed no problems, but we both knew there would be a time when I would begin experiencing serious health complications. It felt terrible that my doctor felt there was no hope for me except lap band surgery.

And despite my thinking that eating whatever I liked was being in control of my life – I felt like I had no control over my life.

I often felt uncomfortable because I had eaten way too much at one sitting.  I also had terrible digestive problems with a type of reflux. This was worse whenever I was laying down.

Was there anything you struggled with but have over come?

The first thing was not having starchy carbohydrate based foods every evening. When I first looked through the Crunch Time Cookbook during preseason of Round 3 2011 I closed it again and thought “I could never do that! Is Michelle Bridges serious?” And of course, I did it and continued to do it.
I decided during my first preseason I would give up alcohol for the twelve weeks of the round. Not just because each glass would use valuable calories  and the fact that having alcohol in your system affects what your body chooses to metabolise. I mainly chose to give up alcohol because after a couple of glasses I know I have a tendency to not worry so much about what I am eating. I am now half way through my third round and the only time I have chosen to drink alcohol during a twelve week round was during my Thredbo weekend. (Well you can’t visit an alpine region and not have schnapps! And of course a glass or two of bubbles.)
I tried to give up Coke Zero and Diet Coke and Pepsi Max during my first round in 2011, but my resolve didn’t last long. My reason for drinking it was that if I had a “sugar craving” it would satisfy it. I decided on the 27th December, 2011 I would give up artificially sweetened drinks.  I decided going “cold turkey” was the best option for me. The first few days were tough, especially when I was buying petrol, as it was a habit for me to grab a bottle when I filled the car with petrol. By the new year the “sugar cravings” were gone, and I have since found out that the chemicals within Diet Cola drinks actually contribute to such cravings.
Now chocolate – that is something I am working on. My current strategy is to break off two squares and get Mr G to hide the rest from me.
Hopefully soon I’ll be writing a post about how I can break off two squares and put the rest in the cupboard and not think about it again for a couple of weeks.
I don’t know when, but I know for sure it will happen.

Oh no! There goes my training plan

As you may well know I actually enjoy my 6am workouts. Granted, I may have to pull out the JFDI card on cold winter mornings at 5am, but I am always glad that’s what I do.

I do BodyPump and RPM classes Monday to Friday. There are three great instructors at my gym for these four classes. All three are inspiring. I love the fact that my calorie burn for the day is done and dusted by 7am, especially great as some days after a day of teaching and after a school meeting I’m feeling a little drained, I have a family to consider, a household to organise and marking and lesson preparation to do.
I also love how energised I feel after the 6am workout – and how positive I feel as my work day begins.

I teach in a large-ish primary school and I am one of four Assistant Principals. One of our duties is to take the calls from our teaching staff when they are unwell, and then make calls to casual teachers to find a replacement for the day. The calls may come in the evening before the next school day, or from about 6am on the actual school day. It is really important to secure the casual teacher as soon as possible, especially in winter months.

So that means doing a 6am class is impossible. And even planning a 6am gym machine session instead is not a great solution as it can take a while to contact an available casual teacher, and there is no where quiet at the gym to call.

So my first thought was – there goes my training program. And then the negative thoughts started – I’ll never achieve my goals for the round now. And, and here’s the really silly negative thought, I’ll never get to my goal of 77kgs now.

I started to get emotional. Then I told myself to stop, and think about what impact it was really going to have on my training program.

First of all, Friday is my rest day, not Sunday. That means there are three days which are not affected by this change in my routine.

Secondly, Monday nights I do Zumba anyway – so that can be my cardio workout for the day.

That means its only Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I have to adjust. Both Tuesday and Thursday the gym has BodyPump in the evening. Wednesday night there is RPM. And if I can’t make it to BodyBalance on a Sunday in one particular week there are BodyBalance classes after the BodyPump in the evenings.

So I spoke to Mr G and explained it all. He agrees that I need to put myself first, along with fulfilling the commitments of my job. So for the next ten weeks there will be a change to my training routine.

I will keep giving it 110%, so that at the end of the round I can say I did my best and achieved my behavioural goals – regardless of whether it not I achieve my goal of losing 15kg this round.

And I will be a lot closer to 77kgs.

When you take the emotions out of the weight loss equation, it’s not so hard to find the answers.

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Happy Birthday Miss G

Today is Miss G’s birthday – and it is a major red flag event – as we always let Miss G and Master G choose a birthday dinner restaurant.
And Miss G’s choice for her eleventh birthday? A buffet restaurant.
Yep, thanks for that enormous red flag Miss G. And there’s a Teppanyaki restaurant right next door and she loves that too. That would have been perfect – little bit of rice, relatively small portions and no array of tempting dessert.
So when I said that a buffet would be hard for me not to overeat, my then ten year old daughter simply, in a matter of fact way, “Three plates mum!” I asked her what she meant, and she said, “One plate for entree, one plate for mains and one for dessert”.
Too easy.
Maybe.
So my plan has been to treat today’s food like a treat meal Saturday.
Breakfast was a whole meal small pita bread, cottage cheese (chives and onion flavour), tomato slices and rocket. That was 223 calories.
Morning tea was a long black.
Lunch was an open cheese sandwich with two slices bread, one slice tasty cheese, tomato slices and lettuce. That was 285 calories.
Afternoon tea is a small skim cappuccino probably 71 calories.
That leaves me with 621 calories for the treat meal.
So I’m going to follow Miss G’s advice and have three plates – about 200 calories each. And my beverage of choice will be sparkling mineral water, because this is not just “Dry July” for me but a dry round also.
And you might wanting to know why I agreed to this meal, you may have already posted a comment asking me as much. The reason is that it is Miss G really loves a buffet. She is the birthday princess. She has been very supportive of me on this 12wbt journey.
And above all else my 12wbt journey is not just for twelve weeks, but for the rest of my life. And I need to have a different approach to an “All you can eat buffet” than I have had in the past. And now is the time to start being in control of red flag situations, not letting them control me.
And Miss G, the birthday princess, will make sure I follow her rules.

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Blogger Challenge – Week 4 – Mini Milestone Week

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE LAST FOUR WEEKS

Since I spent the most part of two weeks in bed (doctor’s instructions) then so knocked about by the strong anti-biotics for another week that my training schedule was not what it could have been, this one will not be tricky to answer in less than one thousand words.
1. Week one I burnt 6656 calories – and loving it! In fact, it’s higher than that because I forgot to bring my HRM strap and transmittor to a Zumba class.

2. The Sunday of week 1 I entered the Sri Chinmoy 4km event at the Bay Run – didn’t do as well as I hoped, but a lot better than my last Sri Chinmoy event last September. I also went to “Pain in the Domain” outdoor circuit and “Pain in the Park” boxing workout that day too.Total burn for the day was 2318 calories. (Part of the 6656 total.)

3. Being named one of the official bloggers of the round by Mish in her Wednesday email last week. (And of course the fabulous prizes I’ll be getting soon.) I am absolutely thrilled by this – and of course humbled at the same time.

4. Time trial on Saturday Week. Not only did I take ten second off my preseason time, but I didn’t cough up a lung, my legs didn’t feel like they were going to explode and I didn’t have to convince myself to just keep going that little bit further. And I can say I didn’t shuffle, I jogged, and it felt good.

Going to the movies, crying and realising just how brave I have become.

Today Miss G celebrated her 11th birthday with four friends. Its almost midnight and they are not asleep yet – who thought of the name “slumber” party for goodness sake? The celebrations started earlier this afternoon when I took the five girls to the movies to see the Pixar movie “Brave”.

I loved the movie for lots of reasons. And of course I got emotional at the climax and the ending. (No surprises there really, I can get emotional watching ads for disposable nappies.)

But the thing that really got to me was something that was said in the final moments.

Our fate lies within us.

You only have to be brave enough to see it.

Here I am on a Sunday morning in July 2010. Mr G has brought me breakfast in bed – looks like Nutella on toast. (And let me tell you there would have been more than one slice.) I don’t even have the energy to sit up properly and eat. When I heard that quote this afternoon, it reminded me how long I was in denial about how my lifestyle was affecting my health adversly. It made me think about this photo and my attitude to my health. And how I was blaming the psychiatrist’s comment to me way back in 2003 for my weight gain, and my inability to shift the weight. How I was blaming the medication for my weight gain, and my inability to shift the weight. How I was blaming the chronic illness with the bouts of depression for my weight gain, and my inability to shift the weight. How I was blaming the ineffective diets I was doing half heartedly for my continued weight gain, and my inability to shift the weight.

Are you seeing a pattern here? I was digging an early grave with that spoon I would eat the Nutella with out of the jar. My fate was not dependant on the four things above, it was dependant on my choices. My choices to eat in an unhealthy manner. My choice to lie around in bed or on the lounge as much as possible rather than being active. My choice to be negative about what the future held for me.

My future was bleak because I was in such serious denial about my behaviour.

Looking back now, it seems as if I was scared of being successful. It was easier to be a failure. It was easy not to be brave. It was easy not to change.

So a little more than a year after that Nutella photo was taken I made the decision to be brave. I made the decision to take control of my fate and my health.

And now here is a photo from May 2012. That quote from the movie also got me thinking about this photo too.  Its about 5.30am and I am just about to leave one weekday morning for the gym for either a RPM or BodyPump class. The day before this tshirt arrived in the post. My new 30+ Crew shirt. And its a size 18! I was very pleased to be able to wear it the next morning. And instead of getting Mr G to make me Nutella on toast that morning, I got him out of bed early to take this photo. (And a couple of others!) Iwas feeling very brave indeed, and by now I knew that my fate was up to me. And I realise now I was no longer fearful of being successful. It is fun being successful. It is empowering being successful. There is nothing to be fearful of. And don’t you just love what the back of our crew shirt says.

I can. I will. JFDI

To me the back of that shirt embodies the lesson I learnt from the movie today.  With the support of Mish and my fellow 12wbt members I have learnt to be brave and understand that I can control my destiny.

So Miss G may have been the one celebrating her birthday today – but I certainly got a very special gift. I realised I’m no longer fearful of success.