A Walk in the Park – Not!

Mr G and I traveled to Perth the Friday before last for the Round 2 2012 Finale Workout and Party. As we live just outside Sydney, we decided to make the most of the flight and stay for a week and celebrate our second honeymoon. When we got married in 1997, we traveled on the Indian Pacific to Perth, and then stayed in Perth and traveled around the South-West Corner for two weeks before flying back to Sydney. So, after all the turmoil of the seven years following my diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder we figured we could treat ourselves to a romantic getaway after the finale.

On the Monday and Tuesday night we stayed our Rottnest Island, were we had visited on a day trip on our honeymoon.  On the Tuesday morning, we hadn’t decided exactly what we were going to do for the day, and breakfast wasn’t being served for another hour or so, so Mr G suggested we go for a walk, and I added that I could do a training session on a beach like I had the afternoon before.

Instead of heading for the beach we went to the previous day – Mr G suggested we try another road as it headed towards a different lake. “There’ll be a beach there,” he said. There wasn’t. There was a sandy gravel road. We had walked as far as we could without risking being late for breakfast, Mr G likes to be first in line for the buffet 😉 – so I agreed to stop and do my TABATA training session.

It was devised by a friend who has just finished her PT training. It involved five different exercises, including sit ups and mountain climbers.  I explained, carefully, to Mr G that the TABATA involved me doing each exercise in eight sets, each set lasting twenty seconds, with a ten second rest in between. And a thirty second rest in between each exercise. All he had to do was keep count of the number of sets and operate the stopwatch on my phone.

 

 

 

 

The sit ups were the third exercise. While resting on my back in between working times I looked up at the sky and thought what a view to have during a workout. The Mr G came in to view, and I thought what a great shot for the photo a day challenge I’m doing this month. So, next rest I took the photo, the title “Hero”. Very appropriate I thought. Here he was supporting, encouraging and helping me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mountain climbers were the second last exercise. When  is doing the first set I counted a very high number. When he called rest I said that was a very long twenty seconds. “Twenty seconds – not twenty seconds – it was thirty seconds,” said Mr G. I asked why he did that. He said all my working sets were thirty seconds long. I lost my calm, cool composure 😉 and said they were supposed to be twenty.

His response, “Suck it up princess and finish them all as thirty second sets!” So this is the face I made him pull to show how mean he was to me! Mr G – the apprentice tough trainer!

I felt I really deserved the breakfast that morning!

Introduction to the 12wbt Blogger’s Challenge – Round 3 2012

Welcome fellow bloggers to the 12wbt Bloggers’ Challenge – Round 3 2012.

This blog is for everyone, whether you are a seasoned blogger, just started your first blog this round or sitting there thinking about starting one right now.

Each week I will post on this blog a topic for you to write about, related to 12wbt of course. You are welcome to join in with the challenge every single week – or whenever you can. If you are reading this and its already week 2 or beyond, please don’t hesitate to jump in right now with this week’s challenge – or if you can – catch up on the ones you have missed.

I will post the challenges each Wednesday. I will post in the 12wbt forums that the latest challenge is ready, update my 77Noni status on facebook and send out a tweet when the weekly challenge is ready.  The weekly challenges will all be available in their own “archive” in a link list on the right hand side of my blog, right below my tickers.

It is up to you exactly how you respond – there are certainly no expectations for the number of words or anything else for that matter. I envisage each week there will be a series of questions – and its up to you whether you respond to all of them or just some of them. It’s your own personal response to different aspects of the journey. A way to get to know yourself, and your fellow bloggers, a little better.

There will be a linky tool at the bottom of each challenge, so you can provide a link to your blog post for that week. It’s a great way to get to know other bloggers on their 12wbt journey. I have participated in Blogging Challenges in the last three rounds – and have always enjoyed reading other members’ points of view on the weekly topics. (I have to come clean here and admit I have never been good at posting every week of the challenges – so that’s my goal this round – to not only set the challenge each week – but write my response as well!)

And of course, as you click on the links to your fellow bloggers’ responses, don’t hesitate to leave them a comment and encourage them to keep blogging.

So, everyone is welcome, don’t hesitate to join in with the challenge. It can be especially useful for those times you have the urge to write and express yourself, but you’re not to sure what to write about.

Are you ready for the challenge? Are you ready to think a little outside your comfort zone? Are you ready to share how you are transforming your thinking as well as your body?

Leonie smile

Goals are dreams with deadlines

Last year on Saturday 13th August I joined the Facebook group for 12wbt Sydneysiders. Master G and I stayed in a hotel on Pitt Street that night so we wouldn’t have to make an early trek into the city from the Blue Mountains for the start of the City2Surf the next day.

While we were watching television that night I was busy multi-tasking and reading the posts from my fellow Sydneysiders members on the Facebook group – most of the chat was about the City2Surf. The next day I searched in vain while waiting for the starters gun for the yellow group for a purple Sydneysiders shirt. I kept looking for the first three hours of my walk to Bondi for a Sydneysiders shirt. I lost count of how many other purple team shirts there were last year. I was so excited, when about half a kilometre to go I looked behind me and saw a runner with an orange bib about to overtake me – with a purple Sydneysiders shirt! It spurred me on even though I felt like all my energy was spent. I already felt like I was part of the 12wbt team, even though my first preseason didn’t start until the next day.

That night while recovering from my adventure I posted this in the Sydneysiders facebook group

“Well my son and I walked and finished in 3hours 12minutes and 11 seconds. Doesn’t sound great at first – but 10 minutes quicker than last year – and I found HB hill a real struggle. Looking foward to next year – hopefully I’ll be a lot closer to 100kgs – maybe even under 🙂 – and maybe my finishing time will be under 2 hours???”

The supportive comments I received from people I didn’t know yet made me feel so much better about what Master G and I had done that day on the way to Bondi. Looking back at the post now I realise how much those same people have supported me over the last year, and how they are now very much part of my life.  Three examples are, Ms H who encouraged me no end at an outdoor training session this afternoon, and made sure my form was as close to perfect as possible and encouraged me to work hard to achieve my goals. Ms R who joined a group of the Blue Mountains crew this morning with me for a bushwalk and brunch. Ms B who makes gorgeous JFDI bracelets ( an idea suggested by Ms R) which I wore last Sunday to remind me what I had to think if thoughts of giving up entered my mind.

Searching for this post a little while ago, and then tearing up while reading the comments and looking at the “likes”, made me realise how important all the support and encouragement I get from my fellow 12wbt members really is in ensuring I reach my goals.

I was very disappointed with my time in 2011, I was really hoping to break the three hour barrier – but 3:12:11 was the best I could do on the day. Their comments made sure I didn’t stay disappointed for long.

So how did I go with the goals for the 2012 City2Surf mentioned in the post on Facebook on the 14/8/11?

My time was 2:00:25 – twenty-six seconds short of breaking the two hour barrier. Very happy with that result. I am pretty sure I jogged more than half of the 14kms altogther.

My weight last Sunday was 105.9kgs. So not under 100kgs – but so much better than the 155kgs I was when I did the 2011 City2Surf.

But here is the huge achievement. Heartbreak Hill. Last year it nearly broke my heart. I don’t know how many times I stopped on the hill. I lost count of the number of times Master G and I had the following conversation, each time I had to stop, “Me: I just need to catch my breath. Master G: Come on mum you can do it. Me: I know, I can’t believe its harder than it was last year.” It didn’t help that last year there was a sponsor for Heartbreak Hill, and there were signs on every power pole with encouraging words for the runner/walkers/crawlers. It did my head in because I’m sure there were at least five or six signs (over about 200 metres) saying we were half way.

In 2012 there was no such sponsor and no signage on the Hill. So before I realised it I was walking up the hill, doubting that I was  walking up the Hill (because of the lack of signs) and wondering if it started at the 7km mark instead of finishing at the 7km mark. And then I was crossing a timing mat which would send a signal to my Facebook page to say I had finished Heartbreak Hill. And I was still waiting for it to start! I had power walked up the entire hill without stopping, without needing to catch my breath and without wishing it was over already.

And here is the big achievement – I finished those first 7kms (including Heartbreak Hill) in just over one hour. My time for the first 7km of the 2012 City2Surf was only a couple of minutes slower than my time for the relatively flat 7km of the Bay Run fun run the week before. I realised I had a good chance to get to the finish line in two hours if I stayed focused.

My goals for the 2013 City2Surf?

Finish in 1:30:00 or under.

Weigh 77kgs.

Run all the way up Heartbreak Hill.

Round 3 2012 of 12wbt I’m going to be following the 10km Fun Run training program, so I’ll be well on the way to meeting those three goals by December 2012.

 

I’ve been waiting a year to do this……

 

This is me one year ago. I was just approaching the finish line of the 2011 City2Surf. My time was 3:12:11.  Master G was there by my side. It was tough going up Heartbreak Hill, and every other small incline after that was sheer torture. I weighed 155kgs. My training regime consisted of walking on the weekends, one or two Zumba classes a week and two or three thirty minute Curves sessions a week. I was eating in excess of 2400 calories a day. I was in a better place than I was a year before that – but if I knew if didn’t do something to improve my health, I was risking more than heartbreak.

The good thing was the next day was the first day of Round 3 2011 preseason for 12wbt. My life changed completely from that day. Well, it was already starting to change from the moment I decided to sign up the Tuesday night before. I knew I was not going to be trapped in this body for much longer. Little did I know just how much my body, and my mind, was going to transform over the next fifty-two weeks.

So, I’m about to go to bed so I am well rested for the City2Surf in the morning. I was aiming to be running the whole 14kms tomorrow, but my running training has had a few setbacks. So my plan is to jog the first 5kms, and then do a walk and jog combo for the remaining 9kms. My goal is to finish an hour faster than I did last year. So, hopefully there will be a tweet from me saying as much at about 11:20am.

As well as shedding almost 50kgs in the last 52 weeks, I am much fitter and stronger in body, mind and soul. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2003, and some of the years between the diagnosis and 2008 were very bleak indeed, as I spent most of that time in a clinically depressed state, with brief episodes of manic upswings in mood. The Black Dog Institute was a great support to me in those years. But still, even as recently as six months ago, I was ashamed of having a chronic mental illness and I was reluctant to be open and honest about it with everyone I knew.

A few months ago Michelle Bridges announced that the charity she was fundraising for in the City2Surf was the Black Dog Institute. After shedding many, many tears after realising I really shouldn’t be ashamed of having an invisible illness, I decided I would fund raise for the Black Dog Institute as well. I know that the funds I raise will contribute to someone else with Bipolar Disorder or Depression finding the path to wellness as I have.

If you would like to help out please consider donating to this worthy cause. You might like to sponsor me fifty cents for every kilometre I jog and walk tomorrow. That would be a $7 donation, and it would help to make a difference.

Here is the link to make a donation
http://www.fundraise.city2surf.com.au/leonie_gray_0

I look forward to updating this blog with my finish time from tomorrow and the photo of me at the finish line. And the great thing is, even if I don’t finish in under 2:12:11 – the fact I have never given up will make the result worthy of celebrating.

 

 

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.)

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.

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