Consistency over complacency

So, I’m about to embark on my 13th round of 12wbt. You’d think by now I’d be at my goal weight by now. That’s 12 x 12 weeks, and then some. But not so much.

And I know why. I allowed complacent thoughts to dominate consistent behaviour. I felt a lot better when I stumbled across this quote….

“I suppose it’s too bad people can’t be a little more consistent. But if they were, maybe they would stop being people.”               Budd Schulberg


So I’m human. I’m not perfect. I have pretty much let go of the need for perfectionism, but maybe just a little too much.

My first three rounds I lost about 12kgs each round. That, and the losses in between rounds meant that at the end of my third round I was down to 104.6kg. A 60kg total loss give or take 400 grams.

The next round I was out to run a 10km fun run without stopping. Did that and dropped a few more kilos along the way. In fact a few weeks after that round I was in double figures. I actually dropped down to about 94kg in January 2013. And I started training for my first half marathon.

That’s when the perfectionism got in the way. I was ravenously hungry being 94kgs and doing the low slow runs needed to train for a half marathon, one of four runs a week. So, I allowed myself a few extra “healthy” calories. Not a problem really. Except then I told myself, you’ve blown it now you may as well have that cake or serve of hot chips or hunk of cheese. That’s a problem.

By the time I ran the half marathon in April I was just over 100kgs again. And then the wheels fell off, as I didn’t believe I was really a runner. I stopped running. I doubted myself. Running mojo was non-existent.

And then, a turning point. A 30+ crew member talked about a blogger who posted about herself – both the things she saw as negatives and positives. Soon we were all doing it. And the message at the bottom of the photo says it all. We all put it on our collages. “I’m f*cking awesome and so are you!” It was all about accepting who we are and embracing it and loving ourselves. We were all very active supporting one another as we posted these expressions of self love.


I took the selfie when I was out on a run as the sun was setting and I felt on top of the world. In case you can’t read the orange text it says:

Was morbidly obese

47 years young

Bipolar disorder

Stretch marks

Dark circles

Runs slowly

Loves to run

LG means Life’s Great
65kgs gone

Half marathon done

So, making and sharing that collage saw a big shift in my mind set last July.

And then once my mindset was all set, other aspects of my life began to unravel. I became ill with a virus. And another virus. My son was unwell. I slipped on a shallot in the kitchen and the x-ray suggested a suspected fracture and I ended up with my foot in a cast. After two weeks of intense pain in the cast I saw a specialist, and he said it wasn’t fractured, shouldn’t have been in a cast and that was the reason for the intense pain.  So, no 10km Run Sydney fun run for me in 2013.

I get the all clear to begin running again after Christmas 2013. At first it was short distances with gradually increasing running intervals and gradually decreasing walking intervals. I went to cheer on some friends at the Sun Run in Manly, NSW at the beginning of February as there was no way I could take on the 7km hilly course.

By the Pink Triathlon in March 2014 I was ready to take on a 5km fun run with no walking intervals. And I did it. I was slow, it took me 41:21 to finish – but I finished and there was no pain in my ankle.

I was all set to run the 10km event at the Canberra Running Festival on the 12th April. And I was still on track after the shallot incident to take part in the Gold Coast half marathon in July. It wasn’t to be. On Friday 4th April I was walking alongside the checkout area of a supermarket and all of a sudden I was face first on the hard floor. I had slipped on what looked like a puddle of icecream (the same colour as the floor), twisted my other ankle and sprained it.

Recovery was slow. Very slow. I wasn’t able to do run and walk intervals without pain six weeks after the injury occurred. Finally, in July (after the weekend of the Gold Coast Marathon) I was able to run 5km without needing to include walking intervals. Between the accident and getting to this point, I was feeling very stressed about various aspects of my life. Instead of looking after my nutrition and being consistent with my training I dropped the ball big time. I was complacent. I made excuses. I kept promising myself tomorrow would be better.

And so, I have come so far in the last three years. But I have realised if I continue with the complacency, the excuses and the false promises I won’t get where I really want to be. I realised I had to choose, between consistency or complacency.

I choose consistency.

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”
Robert Collier






Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink


It is so important to be well hydrated – both for helping to keep your body functioning well (because a well functioning body is able to lose weight better), and also, because to be able to train at your best the water is vital.

I learnt the second one the hard way recently.

Mrs M (my mum, otherwise known as Mama) recently treated me to a night at the Outback Spectacular on the Gold Coast, in South East Queensland. My first round of 12wbt (Round 3 2011) was a completely dry round – not one drop of alcohol passed my lips.

Since then I’ve allowed myself to indulge in moderation. Well at the Outback Spectsculsr (which I highly recommend by the way) I had three glasses of red wine with the meal. Not what I would class as a huge amount really – but much more than I have been used to since starting 12wbt, and compounded by two things. I didn’t alternate each glass with a glass of water and when I got back to the hotel I cracked open a mini bottle of red because “I felt like it”. Now, that’s certainly not moderation!

Mrs M and I loved the night, and we both wept during the tribute to Phar Lap, as my father Mr M – who passed away in 1992 – was a jockey and loved horses all his life. And as you can see by the photo it was one of the highlights of our weekend.


The next morning I planned to do my weekly endurance run, at the time I was training to do a ten kilometre fun run. The long run for that week was an eight kilometre run. Great I thought, the Gold Coast, unlike the Blue Mountains where I live, is relatively flat. So I got up, drank my normal two glasses of water before getting dressed, and headed out the door.

I took a bottle of water with me, but wasn’t wearing a hat. It was October, and in Sydney at this time it wasn’t really that hot and I wasn’t accustomed to wearing one.

When I completed the eight kilometres it was well over twenty-five degrees Celsius. Much hotter than I was used to running in. As you can see by the look on my Shredder Face at the end.


It was a lovely run, very picturesque.


So I jogged 4km out from Sea World Resort towards Southport, then turned and headed back the way I came. When I had gone five kilometres in total I suddenly felt like I had hit a brick wall, and I felt as though I was going to vomit – which is unusual for me.


Even though my legs were not sore and I wasn’t out of breath I could only manage to walk the final three kilometres back to the hotel. I very nearly threw up in the gardens of the Palazzo Versace! That would have been awkward!

With the benefit of hindsight – and the medical knowledge of another 12wbter Ms P, I realised I had been severely dehydrated. A combination of not enough water the day before, all the alcohol in my system, the lack of a hat and not being used to the warm conditions.

I live and learn every day.

What can you do with a drunken sailor.

What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.

So it’s New Years Day 2013. Millions of people around the world are making resolutions to diet and exercise hard to achieve a weight related goal.

I used to be one of them. But since starting 12wbt I have decided I can’t just make resolutions about changing things in the short term to meet a specific goal. I have to commit to making sustained lifestyle changes which will see me being healthy in mind and body for the rest of my life.

So today, my family and I visited the Bundaberg Rum Distillery – an iconic Australian company, producing an alcoholic beverage made from sugar! And I indulged on the tasting after the tour, and treated myself to some take home beverages. So my choices today are not necessarily going to help me get to goal – but they are not going to prevent me from achieving my goals in the time frame I have set myself. It was a special indulgence for New Years Day, not an everyday “treat”.

So I could go into a panic and say I’ve ruined the week and I’ll start again on Monday. Not a good idea. One day of over indulging is not the end of the world. Six days of over indulging would see me move further away from my goals, not closer.

So tomorrow morning it’s back on track with week 2, day 2 of half marathon training. A fast run. Because what I do in the next six days will count for more next Wednesday than what I chose to do today with my family.

And no, I didn’t actually drink so much that I got drunk – unlike the suggestion in the title, and for a few reasons my fully didn’t celebrate New Years Eve in a big way – our celebration was New Years Day.

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.)

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.


Really can’t wait for this round to start – but so glad this wasn’t week 1…..

Hi my name is Leonie and I have been a primary school teacher since 1988.  The first week of school always sees me exhausted and ready to fall asleep not much after 8pm.  This picture gives you an idea of how I felt at the end of each day this week.  And will go some way to explain why I haven’t updated this blog all week, and why I haven’t even tweeted.

My energy seemed to return yesterday afternoon.  And as I was driving home from work I thought – thank goodness that this isn’t week 1 of 12wbt – or I would have failed week 1 of 12wbt.

When I caught myself thinking that I thought no – what a negative mindset full of excuses.

So instead I thought about what I had done this last week that had been good, and, what can I do next time this happens to ensure the week is better.

Firstly, even though I was thinking I’m a failure, I realised that wasn’t exactly right.  I had kept up with the nutrition, stuck to 1200 calories and the only bit of non-clean eating was a cupcake from the batch my class made yesterday as a maths lesson.  I enjoyed it, I didn’t feel guilty and I allowed for the calories.

I had made the 6am pump class on Monday, 6am RPM + swim on Tuesday, c25K run on Tuesday and first yoga class on Wednesday.  I had planned to have Friday as a rest day, so really only missed one day of training – 6am pump on Thursday.  (Though I also had planned to go to evening Zumba on Tuesday, RPM + swim at 6am Wednesday and c25k on Thursday – but they are all over and above the beginners workout plan – so I knew there was no point beating myself up over not doing them.)

So, given those two set of facts about my training and eating it certainly wasn’t an epic fail by any means!

So what would I do differently if something threatened to interrupt my training and eating again?

1. Pack my bag for the gym (including work clothes for the next day) and prepare my food (breakfast and lunch) for the next day before dinner.  Wednesday, Thursday and Friday there was no hope of me getting to the gym by 5.55am becuase I hadn’t done these things before crashing asleep at 8pm.

2. If you don’t have time, or perceived energy for a planned workout – do something for ten minutes.  That is, JFDI and apply the 10 minute rule!  For example, when I felt so exhausted Wednesday morning and couldn’t face the gym, I know now I should have just walked on the treadmill at home for ten minutes or done the warm up and cool down of one of Mish’s videos.

And what did I do this week that helped that I should continue to do?

1. Plan my weeks meals in advance.  Shop, and order fruit and veg online, in advance so dinner is ready to cook each night – and I can give the recipe to Mr G and say go for it.

2. Accept compliments that I am looking better – and know that there is a bigger picture to think about, not just that a few days are a little hard.

So today?

First, hopefully meeting Michelle Bridges at a book signing.

Second, preseason tasks 5 and 6 to be completed.

Third, clean up kitchen and do a cook and freeze session.

Fourth, exercise DVD and c25k on treadmill at home. (SSS tomorrow)

I have to remember I am not going to succeed because I am being perfect.  I am going to succeed because I am consistent.

What are you going to do today to set yourself up for success?

Preseason Task 2 – No Excuses

So this is me thinking.

I’d like to say I am deep in thought doing preseason task two, considering my excuses and what I am going to do about them in the future, and how I am going to stay in control of my excuses.

Instead, the truth is that it is New Year’s Eve 2011 and I am thinking what half a cup of steamed rice will look like on my plate as I don’t have a measuring cup with me at the Thai restaurant.  So, if I put too much rice on my plate and consume too many calories my excuse is that I don’t have a measuring cup.  If that’s going to happen anyway, I may as well have as much as I want of the Pad Thai that my family will probably order.  Can you see where this is going?  One moment you are in control and ready to use the 600 calories for the treat meal wisely and feel good about yourself.  The next moment, you make one little excuse, and then before you know it, it has snowballed out of control, you’ve ordered the deep fried ice-cream and you’ve wound up feeling like a failure.

Excuses will do that to a person.  Excuses are best avoided.  If they rear their ugly heads you must be ready to tackle them head on.

How do I know this?  Well, not because of anything that happened at dinner that particular night.  I did manage to stay in control on 31/12/11, have my clear broth soup, stir fry with lots of vegies, approximately half a cup of rice and a taste of the Beef Massamum.

But I have run foul of my excuses last round.

This preseason task has been a tough one for me to face this round, as you might be able to tell since I’ve been working on it for over a week.  This is because I thought I really nailed it last round and got all the excuses under control.  It wasn’t until I started blogging again regularly after Christmas, and reflecting on my mindest, behaviour and choices from Round 3 2011,  that I realised I still have a lot of work to do on this preseason task – and I may still have work to do in future rounds.

It is the Internal Excuses that wrecked havoc with my mindset and my behaviour in the last six weeks of Round 3 2011.  And the thing is I have total control over those internal excuses.

As you may be aware I sprained my left ankle, not once, but twice in the space of ten days in October.  After the second time I decided to not exercise again (not even water workouts – which I enjoy – or working around the injury – both of which my doctor gave the go ahead for), until my doctor gave the all clear for weight bearing  exercise.  Big mistake. My excuse for making that decision was I am getting older (I was a 46 years young at that stage) and had a long  journey ahead of me – and I didn’t want to risk further injury.  What a cop out!  Of course what happened once I allowed myself to make that excuse was that I began procrastinating and making more excuses, which continued even after my doctor gave me the all clear to return to weight bearing exercise.

Once that happened for a couple of weeks the real rot set in.  And it only became clear to me last Sunday what had happened.  I cried a lot last Sunday as I reflected upon my behaviour and prepared to start this particular preseason task.

Once the excuses and procrastination snowballed out of control last round I began to speak harshly to myself.  Those harsh words follow two main themes of internal excuses – and when I wrote down my excuses last round, I only just scratched the surface of one of these excuses.

The first one, is that I am destined to be a failure at whatever I do.  I realise now that by saying that all I am putting into action is a doozy of an internal excuse.  It’s taking the easy way out.  If I give up because I believe I am going to fail anyway I don’t have to do the hard work. And who knows what might happen if I do the hard work?  I might just succeed.  I realised these feelings of failure come from the experience of living with the chronic illness I was diagnosed with in 2003.  And the really silly part is, despite how low I felt at my worst with this illness, I have already proven in other aspects of my life that I am not a failure. The bottom line is, as long as I never give up I have no right to call myself a failure.

The second underlying excuse is that I am not worthy of giving myself the care and attention I need.  In other words I am not worthy of being loved – by myself or others.  That’s what I was actually thinking towards the end of last round.  I realised last week this stems from the rejection I still feel following my birth mother giving my up for adoption at birth forty-six and half years ago.  Straight away you can see how this excuse has no grounds to be taken seriously by myself.  Forty-six and a half years ago, its time to move on princess! (And I say that with love.) My adoptive parents have shown me nothing but unconditional love my whole life.  I seriously believe Mr G is my soul mate, and I am grateful every day to have ever met him. I have Master G and Miss G in my life who are constantly telling me, and showing me how much they love me.  And the bottom line is I don’t need my parents, Mr G, Miss G or Master G to validate my worthiness of love. I am a human.  So therefore I am worthy of  love and respect.  So how can I continue with this excuse in the face of overwhelming evidence that it is not true.

Well, I have decided that these two excuses will no longer influence my decision making or have any power over me.  I have kicked them to the curb. Once and for all.

I am not a failure and I am worthy of love.  Because of these two undeniable truths I will strive to succeed in all aspects of the 12wbt Round 1 2012 and I will treat my body and mind with respect and love.

And if you are thinking – how is she going to do that?  It’s simple – I will JFDI.

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