Dealing with the motivation drop


It’s inevitable.

You know the moment I’m talking about – when, despite doing well for however long on your eating well and being active goal, you lose any motivation. You get rebellion in its place. Instead of choosing the apple for a snack, you brazenly pick up a chocolate bar a the checkout, knowing that you don’t really need or want it but darn it, you deserve it. You go out for dinner and you deserve to order the massive pasta dish, or chips on the side, or dessert. You’ve been working hard, you deserve it.

And so begins the back slide (no, not backside, although that grows too). You wake up after a big night of eating out and you’re still stuffed, but instead of listening to your body, you keep eating. And who wants to work out on a stuffed belly? Not you, so you take a day off. After all, you deserve it.

Soon enough, you misplace your gym card and your hand weights in front of the TV are gathering dust. Your treat meals go back to being your regular meals and any pretext of deserving it goes out the window.

This usually happens for me after a month because I start seeing scale results quickly as I drop water weight, then start ignoring the scale and focussing on my clothes, which fit so much better. I feel great! So obviously, I lose motivation.

Wha?

Yeah, that makes no sense to me either. Surely when I’m doing well I should be hella motivated? You’d think but alas not. This is the time I have to fight to stay on track, to convince myself that I deserve better than junk food and sitting on the couch, that my body deserves to be active and fed well. Last week was not a good week eating-wise (other than the fact I ate lots of yummy food) and I ended up sitting more than moving, but it’s okay. This week will be better because I’m not letting the motivation drop Have any more of my energy.

I’m trying to focus on following through more this year and actually doing all the things I think of. Like making more friends and going out more. Like exercising more and writing more. Focusing my efforts instead of surfing the web or flicking channels while propped up on the couch. Television can wait. My health can’t.

How are you going with your goals so far?

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Taking stock and counting blessings


I am a terrible health and fitness blogger. The worst.

I vanish when things get tough. When the numbers aren’t good. When the exercise is non-existent and the stress levels are high. I fall off the wagon and I don’t share that because I’m ashamed.

In short, I’m like everyone else and I hate it. Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not insulting anyone here. I’m just disappointed in myself because I thought I knew better. I thought I knew all the tricks and that I’d CHANGED. I was DIFFERENT. I mean, I’d done this healthy living thing for years and I had it down pat. I knew how to fuel my body and how junk food made me feel. I knew how good exercise was for me and how I never regret working out but I regret not working out. I thought I knew all this stuff.

Then life happened and I thought I had it tough. I was working full time, studying part-time, moving house and trying to stay sane at the same time. Everything fell by the wayside. I ate what was there because I was so damn tired all the time that I didn’t have time to make something to nourish me and stop me from feeling so tired. I slept instead of exercised and I rationalised that I needed sleep over activity even though I knew that exercising would relieve my stress. Everything stopped because my life was so damn HARD people!

And then my friend got a brain tumour.

And then my father ended up in ER vomitting blood (ended up okay but still shook me).

And another friend had a miscarriage.

And yet another friend got diagnosed with leukeumia.

And suddenly, my life is pretty damn good actually. I’m healthy. I’m surrounded by loving friends and family. I’ve taken on a lot this year but it’s good stuff and I’ve done it out of choice. Every change I’ve made this year that’s caused me stress has been my choice. And I need to take ownership of that, and realise that my life is like everyone else’s. I need to stop making excuses. Stop pretending that I know everything because I don’t. As my father always says, knowing doesn’t get results. Doing gets results. I need to stop knowing and starting doing.

Tonight I’m visiting my friend Kate who has just undergone her first round of chemotherapy for leukeumia. I will laugh with her and chat about all sorts of things and when I leave, I’ll hold back any tears or sadness that she’s in a hospital bed at all.

Tomorrow, I’m heading back to the gym because I can and because it’s good for me and because I need it.

Readers, I’ve had too much sad news lately to whinge and moan about my life. I’m too busy counting my own blessings really, or at least I should be. Because I’m truly blessed.

My own worst frenemy


I think I know why I’ve gain a yet-to-be-determined amount of weight.

Self-sabotage.

I realised this this morning as I was looking at the latest CAE Short Course catalogue and musing about taking a chocolate making class at the end of April. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Yes, fun and fattening.

And this morning as well? I went to the kitchen to get a piece of Babybel cheese for my snack. It was a pre-planned snack. How did I end up with the cheese AND a biscuit from the biscuit tin as well? Did it jump onto my plate?

So yes. I am officially my worst enemy. I should have my own face on a WANTED poster. Because people, I am a self-saboteur.

I know how to avoid other sabotaging “frenemies” quite easily. I have all those techniques but how do I avoid myself? It’s a bit of a challenge since I’m kinda stuck with me. I need to find a way to control my frenemy side. The side that justifies that biscuit or that snack or that lie-in.

That word-that-rhymes-with-witch must go.

But people, this is HARD. That voice in my head has been given free reign over the last 6 months really. Every meal is a choice and every choice has been justified, conveniently ignoring all the previous choices. Not that I’m saying there’s “good” food and “bad” food but there are better choices out there than I’ve been making.

It’s the small things I’ve been justifying. The chocolate in the afternoon. The biscuit with tea (or sometimes without tea). They’re easier to justify really. And I need to confess something else. I bought a funky water bottle and have been drinking LESS water than I ever did before. Somehow, being in a bottle and out of sight (on my desk) has made me “forget” to drink up! So that’s got to stop too.

Now if only using my brain again and doing all the things I know are good for me would make me lose weight overnight. That would be nice *sigh*.

Setting yourself up for Success!


I’m sure I’ve written about this before. In fact, I’m sure most bloggers with a health and fitness bent have attacked this topic. I’m just too lazy to check my own archives (although you totally should!) or link to other people.

On the weekend, I listened to my friends talking in absolutes:

To lose weight, you have to eat 1200 calories max
A serving of almonds is 6 and that’s all you can have all day
Yoghurt is so high in calories
Apples are sugar and sugar is bad for you
A 3 hour run burns 3000 calories

I could go on but you’ve heard it all before. Diet and fitness in absolutes; in black and white. People like things in black and white. They want to be told “do this and you’ll lose X amount of weight in X number of day”. Heck, I’d eat only 6 almonds a day if I’d shed these pesky 10 pounds.

But the problem is that we’re all different. A 3 hour run sounds like hell to me and would burn a different number of calories for me than it does for my friend, the marathon runner. She weighs a different weight and has a totally different fitness level. And 6 almonds is indeed a serving – that’s true – but nothing says you can’t have 2 servings a day if your plan allows for it.

And I curse The Biggest Loser for perpetuating this myth of the magical 1200 calories. That should be the minimum number of calories you eat, not the maximum. Your calorie level for weight loss depends on so many things – your gender, your age, your current weight, your activity level – and no single plan fits everyone. This is why people struggle to “diet” in my opinion. They’re trying to make a one-plan-fits-all fit them and it’s too little for their lifestyle. So they struggle through a week or two, feel deprived constantly and quit, feeling like a failure. Meanwhile, they’ve been setting themselves up for failure from the word GO.

People, life is NOT about absolutes. It’s not black and white. The only hard and fast “rule” in my health and fitness approach is to be healthy and fit. Be active, make healthy choices and then work out how that fits into who you are and how you live. Don’t get caught up in an absolute world and instead, set yourself up for success.

Operation Fit into my Wedding Dress


I bought my wedding dress last October when, by some weird chance, I found The Dress at the first place we went to in Melbourne. It’s beautiful. I love it. But there’s an issue I’m a little concerned about.

When I bought it I had been exercising really well and had more muscle and less, well, fat. Since moving here, my exercise regime has slacked off and for the last 2 months, it’s been minimal. I’m getting back onto the horse at the moment but my issue?

The store ordered my dress in an Australian size 8. Which is about a US size 4-6.

I’m a *little* scared about fitting into said size.

My weight has only changed by about 4 lbs but I know I’ve lost muscle and gained fat so my body has changed a bit. And I have this *thing* where I’m not entirely body-aware and I assume that 2 lbs gained equals not fitting into my clothes.

Note that I don’t try on said clothes and then discover they don’t fit. No, I assume they’re not going to fit and get all sad and stressed and usually, they still fit. But by then, I’ve gotten into a state about it.

This is not where I was expecting this post to go. Weird.

Back to Operation Fit into my Wedding Dress. My plan is to go back to Lindsey’s insane 4 week training plan, which killed me in January and also get back into the whole C25k thing. I had set myself a goal of completing it by June and if I start now, I should be able to do that.

I also need to remember my goal when I’m craving a treat everyday and justifying it. I need to eat better. Cleaner.  Just because I’m stressed does not mean I deserve a treat.

I don’t want to stress about this dress too much. I do have enough time to tell them to order a bigger size instead (even though the dress has arrived) but I know that if I get back on course, I can get there. I’ve been there before and I’m not far from it now. Just need some FOCUS BABY.

Oh, and I went driving yesterday. It was awesome.

Happy Easter everyone!

Being supported and supportive


A big part of starting up and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is support. As much as we all like to believe that we’re able to do things alone, we can’t. People are inherently social beings (even the anti-social ones) and we do not live in isolation. So many people write and speak of the difficulties they have staying on course when they eat out, when someone else picks the food, when they’d rather laze on the couch with the family than go out and exercise. We all need support from our network.  Your network could be your partner, your family or your friends. It could be physical or virtual. But it needs to support you.

The big question is not if we need support, it’s what kind of support do we need.

Everyone needs to be supported differently. Some people need constant check-ins on what they’re eating and how they’re exercising. Other people hate to feel nagged but they want someone to join them in their goal – cooking healthy meals is more fun when it’s for more than just yourself. Other people need even less of a support presence, but simply knowing you support their goal is enough for them.

After listening one of the BRILLIANT podcasts from Two Fit Chicks & a Microphone, I took MizFit’s excellent point about asking how people want to be supported and not nagged, I asked the Boy exactly that. I know he wants to be healthier and I want to support him but I really don’t want to be a nagging witch, who makes him feel guilty and/or resentful, the way I used to feel when my parents tried to “help” me. I asked him and do you know what he said?

Nag me.

Yep, basically, that’s what he wants. In my effort NOT to nag, I’ve been given carte blanche to nag. I’m not sure how I feel about that!

But at least I asked. Try it. For people who want to support you or you want support from, tell them what you need – be it a weekly checkin or socialising over healthy choices. Don’t expect them to know what you need. Tell them. And if you have people you want to support, ask them how.

Oh, and the Boy has a blog! Go on, read his ramblings! It’s at http://muttys.wordpress.com

Sunshine on a rainy day


This is one of my favourite songs by Australian artist Christina Anu and everytime I hear it, it makes me happy.

My last few weeks have been up and down and I’ve been struggling a bit at times. But doesn’t everyone? It’s how you deal wtih the ups and downs that define you. It’s a case of realising that there are boths ups and downs – life is not all ups or all downs. Sometimes it seems that way though (esp. with the downs) but sometimes it helps to remember that life is never perfect and sometimes, that’s okay.

After all the snow last week, the sun came out (literally and figuratively) on Thursday. I decided to work from home after a disasterously annoying and frustrating day on Wednesday. I also decided not to be too hard on myself. I woke up and saw the sun.

My desk at home faces a window and I had the sun streaming in all day. I worked, I cleaned, I napped, I went to the gym, I worked some more. I barely spoke to anyone during the day. I capped the night off with a super fun Passover seder.

Friday was a holiday so I again stayed in. I cleaned, I put up some photos on the walls (only after 7 months of living there!) and I admired my handiwork.

I bought a bath mat so I could avoid the debacle of Wednesday morning and never slip while getting into the shower again (my bruise is healing nicely thanks).

I discovered a new recipe that I LOVE and will share tomorrow.

Lather, rinse, repeat for Saturday and Sunday, with the exception of doing some work on Sunday afternoon. But all in all, 4 days of me time. I loved it. The sun was out the whole time. I worked out once and relaxed the rest of the time.

Now, except for the insomnia I had last night (I’m zonked out today), life is good. Everything is doable.

I’m on a semi-detox from today. Two weeks no chips or chocolate. I need to get back on the wagon with my eating and stop using food as a crutch – stop justifying a snack as a reward for a nebulous something. The downward spiral feeling of the last few weeks has seen me falling back on rewarding myself with food and it’s not good because I’m worth more than that.

So the sun is out. There’s a vacation to Vancouver on the horizon (any tips anyone?) and I’m doin’ good.