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.


12wbt Blogging Challenge – Motivation

This is a tough topic – because essentially for over eight years it was a struggle to get motivated.  There are complicated reasons behind this – it has a lot to do with the chronic illness I was diagnosed with in 2003.  This illness saw me live through prolonged bouts of clinical depression.  There were days, weeks and even months when just getting motivated enough to get out of bed when there was nothing physically wrong with me (apart from the physical symptoms of depression) was impossible.  Eating well and getting exercise were almost impossible in that state of mind. And the really frustrating thing in hindsight is that eating well and exercising would have been two of the best things I could have done to overcome the depression.

As I have said in other places in this blog, after l stopped being a WW leader in 2006, I tried a lot of fad diets and gimmicks. Some which made following “Size 12 in 21 Days” for a whole twenty-one days seem sensible.  Any of those attempts at dieting could have seen me lose weight, but I rarely stuck at anything for more than a week and if I lasted more than two days I was bound to be cheating. It was as if I didn’t really care – but the whole time my heart was broken, and with each failed attempted I felt more hopeless.  That coupled with the clinical depression meant I just kept getting bigger, heavier and more unhealthy. My unhappiness and hatred of myself just made it all the more harder to get going and get motivated.

The turning point was my visit to Solar Springs with my mum for the weekend in 2011. I booked the weekend as a gift for her, to thank her for all the support she gives me with my children, especially before and after school. I just went along for the ride. But the weekend of healthy eating, some exercise and a little pampering had a big impact on me. Instead of all the negative feelings – I was feeling positive about myself. I did enjoy eating clean, healthy and natural food. I did enjoy exercise, and the endorphin rush that came with it, and just because I was 160kgs didn’t mean I couldn’t exercise. The trainers in the small group sessions emphasised working at your own ability and how you could replicate what we were doing at home. And, maybe most importantly, the pampering (hot stone massage, facial, hydrotherapy bath) made me realise I was worthy of being looked after – even by myself!

So my motivation sprang from there – from a very positive experience. Instead of feeling bad about myself and wishing I could wave a magic wand and start my life over, I began to feel good about myself. And I had a goal which was achievable and easily measurable.  When you go to have your spa treatments, you wear a bathrobe supplied by Solar Springs.  You are meant to slip it on and then wait in the lounge area for the therapist to come and collect you for your treatment.  Well, at 160kgs, the edges of the bathrobe were more than thirty centimetres too far apart for me to wear in a public area. So I went along to the treatments in my track suit pants and tshirt, not very glamorous at all.  So I decided when I returned in 2012 I was going to be able to fit into the bathrobe, and maybe be able to wear it in the lounge while waiting for my treatments. I had a positive goal to strive for – great motivation – as opposed to something negative about myself to run away from.

Then in August, after having shed five kilograms in three months, I decided to join 12wbt for Round 3 2011.  I figured if anyone can motivate me Michelle Bridges can. Hmmmmmm. Except she doesn’t believe we should rely on motivation to be successful. I was confused at first, I spent nine years as a WW leader motivating my members to want to lose weight.  Or did I?  The first nine weeks of following 12wbt principles saw me lose over 14kgs, and learn a lot more about weight loss, nutrition, exercise and motivation than those nine years of being a WW leader.

Since August my motivation comes from the thinking and action I take as part of the preseason tasks – the preseason tasks I do every round.  The preseason tasks I revisit when I need some “motivational magic”. My success on the 12wbt program – just over 45kgs in ten months – also helps keeps me motivated.

Last week ou task was to come up with an inspiration board.  I suffered badly with “paralysis by analysis” the whole week.  I kept procrastinating about what I should include, what colours should predominate, how many images I should have, how many quotes. And the really silly thing was that I was planning on making a digital inspiration board – so I could have very easily played around with all those aspects until I was happy.  But instead, at 5pm last Saturday, I got serious about putting something together.  A big lesson in how trying to be perfect never pays off.

So it’s not the best inspiration board ever – but I think it shows well what motivates me at this point in time.

I want to be fitter, stronger and healthier every week. I want to prove to myself that nothing I want is impossible. I want to stop beating myself because I make a mistake or if I am not perfect.  I want to be able to do a burpee successfully. I want to take at least half an hour off my 2011 City2Surf time in 2012, and fundraise for the Black Dog Institute in the process.  I want to learn to ride a bike. I want to ride a bike on Rottnest Island when Mr G and I visit there on our second honeymoon after the Perth Finale.  I want to enter a Triathlon, and finish the event. I want to enter the Gold Coast half marathon in 2013.  I want to enjoy summer with my family. And I want to wear a fabulous frock to the Perth Finale, which I haven’t had to buy from the Myer Plus Size department.

I want to be the best version of me.

And when that doesn’t motivate me at 5am when the alarm goes off,  I don’t lie in bed waiting to feel motivated. Instead I do what Mish tells me to do.

Now I know I’ve made a difference

I can hardly believe two weeks have gone past since I was in Melbourne for the finale and I last wrote a blog post. The last two weeks have been a whirlwind (last weekend mum and I went back to Solar Springs – and I’ve got so much to say about that alone) along with being a busy time at school for a teacher.

So I haven’t been lying on the couch and eating for the last two weeks.  I’ve been working on the preseason tasks and making sure I get to the gym every morning at 6am. I did miss the 6am class at the gym this Wednesday – as Master G was very sick and I was the designated parent to look after him, though I did go and do a Sh’Bam class that night instead and really smashed some calories.

The next round is about to start on Monday – and the preseason tasks are just about done and dusted.  Just because this is my third round doesn’t mean they are any less important to my success over the next twelve weeks.  I am so excited about what the next twelve weeks will bring.

I’m looking forward to
* a getting to know you lunch with my local 12wbt group – and doing lots of other great things with the group over the twelve weeks.

* hitting the Giant Staircase again – yes I did it in April after saying never again in January during my first attempt.

* learning to ride a bike.

* doing the City2Surf in August with much better fitness – and doing my up most to j0g at least half of the course.

* going to Perth for the next finale.

And there is so much more I’ll be blogging about over the next twelve weeks, as well as the posts about Solar Springs and my time in Melbourne – complete with pictures.

And how do I know for sure I’ve made a difference?

When I was 165kgs I simply couldn’t get up off the lounge after a hectic night watching TV.  In fact I dreaded the moment when Mr G would switch off the TV, because it meant I had to do an impossible task next.  Each night Mr G  had to help me get up off our lounge.  He always smiled and never said anything to make me feel bad – but I always felt so pathetic that my life had spiraled so far out of control.

Two weeks ago in Melbourne I was with another three 12wbt members who very kindly gave Mr G and I a lift to the workout so we wouldn’t have to navigate the public transport from the CBD to St Kilda.  When we arrived it was still a while before the shenanigans were due to start, and it was drizzling – so we headed over to a coffee shop.  We sat on a couple of lounge chairs to drink and chat. The lounge I was sitting on was about 30cm off the floor, and when it was time to leave I just stood up, with out using my hands and without Mr G counting to three and pulling me up. I almost cried when I realised what I was now able to do – because of course I’ve been capable of getting up off low furniture for quite some months – but in front of other people who understood I was very aware of what I proved I could do. And to think I used to avoid sitting on low furniture in public!

I am now 116.4kgs – and I’m over half way to my goal of 77kgs. Not that I’m counting. 😉

Bring on Round 2 2012!

That was then, this is now

It would be hard to adequately to describe my level of excitement today as I prepared to leave for Melbourne, and then waited for the hour hand on the clock to tick around to three.

My colleagues would probably say I was literally jumping out of my skin.  I can’t remember when I was this excited about something in the last few years. And yet I wasn’t wishing away the hours – I really enjoyed my time spent teaching today. 

And that fundament shift in attitude is part of what I have gained being a member of 12wbt while I have been losing the kilograms. As well as having a much more positive outlook on all aspects of my life, I also appreciate the small things and I am aware of my feelings of gratitude for the things I used to take for granted.

Making the trip to Melbourne – I’m in the air as I type – is time for celebration for the things I have achieved since last August – as well as a time to think about my goals between now and the end of August 2012.

Arriving at the airport and getting off the long term parking shuttle bus I didn’t lose my breath while “running like a girl” (picture Elaine in Seinfeld) trying to keep up with long legged Mr G as he raced towards check in.

Walking through the shops and food court between the security check and the departure gate I wasn’t the least bit tempted by any of the food on offer. At lunch I had last night’s leftover green chicken curry, and was planning to have something yummy and low cal from room service once checked in – so a skim cap for afternoon tea was all I craved. No “treating” myself  with junk food.

I found the perfect bracelet for the Finale Party at an accessory shop in the airport – and it fit!

And sitting down in seat 5A – there was no trepidation about the seat belt being too small.

None of this would have happened before August 2011.

I would have been seriously out of breath walking quickly with my luggage. I would have obsessed wondering if I’d have time for Subway and a dessert.  I would have felt too self conscious walking into an accessory shop – forget about trying something on.  And I would have been hoping desperately – and breathing in with all my might while hoping – that I wouldn’t have to ask for a seatbelt extension.

As we left Sydney the plane headed north at first due to the prevailing headwinds. And I could see the route I had taken last year in the City2Surf all lit up. And I remembered the determination that got me through all 14 kilometers at 155kgs.

And as I traced the route from above tonight, I imagined completing the course at 100kgs (or dare I say less) in half the time. And the determination and consistency it would take to get me to those two goals.

As we approached the lights of Melbourne – I thought about how I had visited the city briefly three times over the last twenty years – so that meant I had a vague idea of where I would be, and how I would get there over the weekend.

And I realised that’s what the next fourteen weeks would be like. And that I was excited about expecting the unexpected.

Busy week being consistent

I really should be in bed right now, but Friday is my rest day, though I do have to pack my bag for the workout and party in Melbourne this weekend.  So the alarm is set for 5am regardless.  Probably too excited to sleep though!

Its been a great week.

* Last Friday my mind triumphed over my body, and I jogged that whole kilometre.

* Last Saturday at the gym, I held a plank on my toes longer than I had before.

* My BodyPump and Sh’Bam instructor paid me the biggest compliment ever on Saturday – it still brings me to tears when I think about what she said to me.

* I actually managed to hold a one legged quad stretch for more than three seconds.

* The trainer who writes my program for the gym gave me a compliment about how I was going as I was leaving the gym after my SSS.

* From Monday to Thursday I got up every morning at 5am to train.

* On Wednesday morning I couldn’t make the 6am RPM class as my car was being serviced and a colleague was picking me up – but I pulled out the JFDI card and did a DVD in my lounge room at 5.30am – a first for me.

* On Thursday at 6am BodyPump I focused really hard on good form in the squats and lunges, and went lower than I have before.  During the shoulder track, thanks to Karin the instructor, I realised I was lifting the weights too high – and low and behold the impossible became possible and I made it right through the track with the 2.5kg weights in each hand.


on Monday I went to get a new bra to wear with my frock for the Finale Party.  There will be no last minute tantrums this time.  Now, at my heaviest weight of 165kgs I was squeezing into size 26 clothing (some brands not even managing that), and I was wearing a 24GG bra.  I went to the DeBras store in Penrith, and said how I had lost weight and also wanted a bra to go with a particular dress.  After showing me just how much room I had in the 22FF I was wearing, the sales assistant came back and helped me into a pretty lacy number.  She did it up and asked if it was too tight.  I could breathe, so I said it was fine , ’cause it was fine.

Then I was squealing and literally doing a happy dance, as she told me it was a size 16G.

That made my week.

And it made my round.

Hanging in there no matter what is worth it.

Giving it 110% – my promise for next round, is going to see me really transform.

Fall seven times. Stand up eight.

Well I’ve just had a horror of a week.  And the worst part is its not going to get better any time soon.  It is not appropriate for me to go into details on this blog, as it is very personal and complicated and involves another person who deserves privacy. And it is all tangled up with my chronic illness, and my weight problems.

And in terms of my adherence to 12wbt principles, I made some very bad choices.  Wednesday night and Thursday night I indulged in some binge/comfort eating.  I can’t remember the last time I ate like that, my emotions were really controling my decision making.  After returning from my yoga class, (which I was very disappointed with – I have decided to seek out another teacher and say goodbye to $70) – Wednesday night I made the pizza – sweet potato and capsicum, yummo! But emotionally I just wasn’t satisifed.  So I kept on eating all night.  Finishing with a 100g block of dark chocolate.

Woke up determined to do better.  And I did, until I was cooking dinner for myself and my family.  I managed to polish off a packet of Swiss cheese slices while getting dinner ready, and Swiss cheese isn’t even on the ingredient list for Penang Chicken!  Late that night I thought another 100g block of dark chocolate was a good idea.  I know, why was it even in the house?  Well, I bought it that afternoon while buying the chicken because thought I was over the emotions, and initially I was only planning to have two squares.

Friday was much, much, much better.  It did end though with another 100g of dark chocolate. (They were two for five dollars on Thursday at the supermarket).  Good news is I know I like Lindt “Passion fruit intense”.

Woke up this morning knowing I can make choices to make today better.  Its going okay so far.  I’ve got a list of strategies ready to make sure if my emotions get out of control I can do something besides eat to get them to go away.

Could not resist including this picture.  Master G and Miss G both do Taekwondo.  Their instructor is a big fan of Chuck Norris – seriously, forget Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee.  😉

This picture makes me smile – big time.  Mastering a martial art is all about self discipline, Master G has shown me that the last few years.

Could you ever imagine Chuck inhaling a whole packet of Swiss cheese slices, or three 100g blocks of dark chocolate over three nights because he was feeling sad about something?

Chuck Norris fact of the day: Chuck Norris can teach an old dog new tricks.