Long time coming

I am at a cross roads with this blog… I have not posted since February. In many way my life have drastically changed since I started posting here. I have started a new job teaching this year, I have had a dramatic learning curve, most of my spare time is spent thinking about my teaching practice and how to become an educator that excels in all aspects of her profession. I know that all teachers say this, but the hours are long, there is no off switch when you get home, and there is always something to prepare, read, do… I was reading my blog by line when I logged in today – “Living each day after reclaiming it from obesity” – part of that I think is really about moving on from this type of blogging as well.

Honestly I am always going to struggle with my weight, food, exercise – but in a western culture, where food is abundant and much of our devices are designed to make life easier – I think most of us do!

The time for the style of this blog focusing on reclaiming my life from obesity is over, this doesn’t mean I wont blog on exercise, food or weight loss… I just want to make sure that my byline and blog is a reflection of what I am learning and living each day. Don’t worry this doesn’t mean that it will all be about education and teaching! I do actually have interests outside of work…

But I think that this blog will expand to include some of my other interests, become about Living, Inspiring and Nurturing all aspects of my mind, body and spirit. It has focused long enough on the body or physical… I hope that doing this will also reignite my desire to write and share again.

Till next time

Lin x

Harlem Shake – my take

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Ok, so while I have been out of action I have noted an increase in chatter on the interwebs about a new dance “craze”called the Harlem Shake.

So what the heck is this Shake and why are people getting on board…

Essentially it is a 30 sec clip where one person is dancing (if you can call it that in some clips) and everyone else in the shot is oblivious to their actions. The bass then drops and the scene cuts to everybody now going crazy and dancing often in costumes and with questionable dance moves.

Here is one of my personal fav’s, it is of a group of firemen apparently in a truck, it makes me smile.

So why is this so popular, it seems a little odd, incomprehensible to some – honestly, I watched a few of the clips people had put together and was a little baffled, but as I continued to watch a few things became clear.

1. As adults we don’t often do crazy fun stuff for no reason anymore, not like when we were kids. This is a way to be stupid and have fun with friends.

2.You can still be anonymous if you like while it is online, i.e the use of masks, costumes etc.

3. It is bite size entertainment. It lasts for about 30sec, easy to make your own and upload, and for viewers you can have a brain break and a laugh while at work, without feeling guilty.

4. To me it is a little metaphorical peek into the social dynamics of group behaviour and society…  i.e the trendsetter or early adopter  – having fun not worrying about what everyone around them is doing, then the trend hits everyone else and bamm!, Hmm perhaps I am over analysing this too much :)

I think these trends like flash mob, gangnam style dancing, Ellen dancing, etc are important, they remind us that we need to stop for a moment, not take life so seriously, relax and have fun like no one is watching – Just like when we were kids. it also means that we are moving, not sitting on the couch and if it means having a dance, I’m all for that!

Cheers Lin xox

So Eff’ing Angry & Sad (language warning)

I am about to have a whinge and a cry… I am so fucking sad and angry that I have been between tears and fuming with anger. I am back in Hospital and not doing well. I was at work Friday afternoon in the sun with the kids for the last session, I had a hat and sunglasses on but by 3:20pm I started to feel very off colour and had to run to the bathroom. I felt sick and hot and when the bell went I was quick to get home to go to bed. Luckily I had cancelled plans earlier in the week to go to Lake Eildon Bonnie Doon for a dose of serenity and water skiing, I did this as I felt quite tired from returning to work and getting my head around teaching. All week I felt tired, I thought it was me adjusting to full time work and a new role.

Friday night I had a temp and slight discomfort in my right leg near the operation site, I woke Saturday morning to discover the right leg at the surgery site to be very red, hard and hot – essentially infected. I headed to the GP who diagnosed me with a temp of 39C and an infection and wrote a letter to attend the hospital where I had my leg lift surgery in November, which is where I am now…

I did write about some complications that happened with the surgery, the site took a long time to heal, but I had no infections… I healed up and I thought it was all good… I got the all clear from my surgeon to return to training, and life as normal, and now this.

Why am I angry and sad, well I have just started my new job, which I am really enjoying, and I now have an infection in my right thigh that has landed me in hospital. I was told today that I will likely not get out of here until Wednesday at the earliest,that is if I respond to treatment. Well as of tonight, my temperature is up again after coming down overnight and the infection site has spread – this doesn’t bode well for my body responding to treatment, shit,  bugger, grr argh . The infection is called cellulitis, and they can’t tell me why or how I have it. I have no open wound site, it is possible that it has brewed underneath and my body has been able to keep it in check, but it raised its ugly head as I have been a bit run down from starting work and not sleeping so well.

So here I am back in hospital with the same nurses, the same routine and all I want to do is go to my new job and get to learn the ropes and more about my amazing students… I am  angry that my body is sabotaging my plans, I am sad to be back in hospital and if I’m honest I am scared that this bloody infection won’t respond to treatment and this whole saga will get worse – I haven’t really had a lot of luck with this leg so far…

Anyway peeps, that is where it’s at – till next time

Lin xox

(PS – the language is not how I would usually write but I feel very raw and this is how I want to express myself today! )

Ability & Potential

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It is not about what we can’t do, but what we can.

I really believe that the mind and the power of positivity is essential in realising our potential. What we are capable of, what we can achieve in our lives is dependant on our attitude, and honestly if we dedicate our minds,  our will, leaving behind personal prejudice about what is possible we can reach what we think is not.

I think that sometimes we give up too early on our personal quests, whatever they may be… and that when we listen to what others say is possible, what is impossible, or improbable, we then limit our minds and our actions by others standards.

When we limit ourselves in our minds eye we begin to put the brakes on, we begin to believe the limit – we lose sight of our potential.  Personally I used to believe that I would never be fit enough to run, cycle or compete in a triathlon, that I would always be fat… I listened to my own negative self talk and that of others. I limited my mind in believing that a whole life was possible.

Then when faced with the prospect of changing my life  or dying from obesity complications, I decided that I would listen to people who had won the battle. That choice changed my mindset – the barriers came down. Sure there are times when I fell, heck we all but LIFE IS about learning to fall, then learning to get back up and keep going anyway.

This video of a young teenage skater reminded me of this lesson – It is not about limiting ourselves, it is about choice – making a decision to seek the edges of what we are capable of and living that life.

10 Tips and Tricks – Staying Motivated

motivational-quotes-14It is hard to stay motivated to exercise and on track all the time. People struggle with this all the time, I had major struggles with motivation in the last 12 months. For much of the year of 2012 I was not able to train at the level that I had obtained in the year of 2011. I missed exercise, that feeling of setting goals and achieving them and as many of you are aware due to a number of surgeries, medical complications and fatigue, I felt like 2012 went incredibly fast and many of my fitness goals were unable to be met.

Welcome in 2013. Understandably every new year many people want to get fitter, lose weight and shape up. Many people have these goals as a New Years Resolutions, so my question to myself is “How committed are you to your goals this year Lin?

Honestly, How committed  I am to my quest of losing another 10kg and becoming the fittest I possibly can be? Am I willing to turn of the tv and leave the house in all sorts of weather. Will I get off the couch and get to a training session. Will I sacrifice that ice cream, chocolate, cheese or wine to make sure I am fuelling my body well? Will I commit to ride to work getting up earlier and pushing on days when it would be easier to drive?

My motives or motivation WILL influence my practices. How I play out my year will determine if I make my goals of weight loss, fitness, half marathons and triathlon’s. But getting back my fitness and maintaining it will take discipline, it will take planning, and it will need to be fun!

I know for myself that as soon as something loses interest for me, when it stops being fun and starts being dull – I AM OUT. With this in mind I thought that I would brainstorm what helped me stay motivated at my peak in 2011 and what kept me going in 2012 when I was on a modified program.

1. Variety, Variety, Variety – Just like location in real estate I believe that changing up your routines, finding a number of activities you like will assist in keeping attitudes fresh and sparking interest. I like to mix up different activities, running, hikes, cycling, swimming, cardio sessions, weights, yoga, boxing, rock climbing. And within each choice you can change distances, difficulty, times. Our minds love new things and it helps to keep a sense of freshness in our lives.

2. Routine, Routine, Routine – While it may seem contrary to what I have just written, there is also a time for being consistent,  having routine and repeating some routes, distances, reps, times etc. This allows us to know what is expected, and compare our results over time. Our brains can take a breather, zone out and know what to expect, and how we will likely perform – this can especially be important when using exercise as stress relief, the brain and body know what to expect so it feels easier to get out the door.

3. Measurement & Data – I love to collect data in relation to my goals and fitness. I find it helps me compare my results over time. It helps me determine how far I can push, how much I’ve improved and what I need to work on. Not all people are turned on by data, but for me it is an important tangible outcome that I can see. You don’t need a fancy watch, most phones have apps that track distances walked, calories burnt, Or just noting the time and distance can work… In addition to that weight and body measurements are great at tracking changes in your body. I encourage doing both given the scale doesn’t show centimetres lost.

4. Planning & Prep – Having everything laid out and ready to go can make things a little easier to get out the door. Having the iPod, and Heart Rate Monitor charged are key for me. If either of these are flat, I know I am less likely to get out for a run. Similarly making sure my bike is in good working order, that I check tire pressures the night before means I will likely ride rather than spend the time pumping my tires while the sun is up. Prep reduces excuses.  Planning your workouts and increases in distance, weight, reps etc shows you what you are working towards.

5. Keep a Positive Mindset – No victims in the house please… If you don’t want to go, you will find an excuse. I often have to talk myself up. I remind myself how much I love it, that I have never regretted working out (even when I have thrown up after going to hard). I used to live with a victim mentality, it is an easy mind set to slip into… I have to remind myself to never give up, keep pushing and stay strong. If you can’t run, walk, if you can’t walk – lift some weights, can’t do that, find something you can do. A former colleague and a bit of a fitness guru (Mary Anne) is an inspiration to me, she is currently injured and while it gets her down on occasion (as posted on FB) she continues to push and do what she can, swim, lift weights and whatever else she can do to maintain her fitness. She does the best she can, with what she’s got until she can do more… There is something in that for all of us..

6. Time – You DO have time to work out… No matter who you are and how busy you are it can be done. Take every opportunity to move, maximise your time where you can. Perhaps this could mean cycling to work, it may increase your commute a little, but it’s maximizing time otherwise spent sitting on your ar$e. No time still, how much time do you spend watching TV? Cut that out and notice all the time you have to engage your brain and your body. I can hear some people say, but I have kids, it’s hard to leave the house – well take them with you, the park is a great place for step ups, a short walk, kicking the soccer ball. Can’t do that – well stay at home turn on the TV and grab a yellow pages phone book and do step ups on that for an hour while you watch that show – no cost, at home while the kids are in bed.

7. People – Sometimes I like working out by myself, other times a bit of camaraderie and competition is fun too. I love group training. I go to an outdoor group fitness training club through a group called Step into Life. This works for me on a couple of levels, a little competition, accountability, like-minded fit people who encourage your goals, and a positive exercising environment where everyone is encouraged. This is better than a gym as you are often paired with people and you talk to them!! If group sessions aren’t your thing, find a team, or a club, or just a friend who you can play with!

8. Events – While I acknowledge this is not important to everyone, for me having something to be working toward is helpful.  It could be an organised running event or bike ride, fights or gradings in boxing/martial arts or even a weekly game in team sport. Events and time framed performance can make sure that the other training you are doing during the week and in the lead up is focused; it helps create context and meaning.

9. Rest – I am including this because if you fail to rest you run the risk of injury and not allowing your body to heal properly as you build it up. Sometimes I find this hard. When I am in the zone, I want to push everyday… But disciple in training means listening to your body and a rested healthy body will ensure your mind and body are ready to meet the challenge and be consistent in your program. Burnout will only lead to more time away trying to recover from an injury and becoming disheartened.

10. Do what you love… Honestly this is the key, it comes back to the idea of fun I spoke about at the start. When did we stop “playing” like children and start “working out”.  If you don’t like running, please do something you love. This does not mean sit on the couch and eat junk food because you love to lie about and fill your gob with imitation food!!  If you love team sports, join a team. For pity’s sake figure out what works for you, what turns you on, floats your boat… Don’t do it because you think everyone will admire you, or it is the “cool” exercise of the minute if you hate it, you just won’t last and it will likely further disenfranchise you and stop you developing a solid fitness base. All that being said, trying different exercises is a bit like eating your veggies as a kid, you have to try it and give it a go sometimes before you know if you like it…

Alright that’s it for me…Mega long post ekk!  I mean there are heaps of other things I could say, use music, wear fun new clothes, reward yourself ra ra rah…. But honestly even with all these tips, the people who are most likely to stay with a program are those that are internally or intrinsically motivated; i.e Motivated from within –  it has to do with their attitude and perception. I believe that finding the pay off for ourselves and embedding that into our psyche allows us to draw on inner strength when everything else fails.

Till next time, Lin xox

Back in the Saddle.

On yer bike… That is exactly what I did today, I got back in the saddle and loved every minute of it. I realised that I have indeed really missed riding, I know how much I love running and how much I missed running, but I forgot how much I love cycling.

I am really glad that I got on my bike and got the legs turning over. I have been on a couple of runs this week and needed to move my legs today to avoid them stiffening up, cycling was the perfect solution.

The path I chose to ride today was not my usual road riding choice, but it wasn’t hard core off road either,  it was a nice compacted dirt path that runs from Mordialloc down to Patterson Lakes, there were a few sections that were a little gravelly, but for the most part it was fine. I have a road bike and it doesn’t have tyres that are conducive to riding on rough surfaces. The ride was lovely though, it was along some wetland areas, and I met a friend after 10km and then we rode back together, which was a nice mix of camaraderie and competition.

Given it my first ride out in a really long time I was happy with my performance. I wasn’t as strong as I was, but that is ok, the strength, stamina and power will build up as I begin to ride more. I will be moving back to the road in the coming week, it was only a 20km ride today, short to start with. I will build up over the next few weeks, and given that my new job is quite close to home (10km away) I plan to ride as often as I can, not only is it a great way to keep moving each day without adding to much time to the commute, I hope that it will help me get my legs in better shape after my leg lift surgery given the complications . I found that out today at a follow up appointment with my surgeon that I will need some revision surgery to get them looking right, but they need the next 6 months to reduce in swelling and for the wound sites to calm down.

So for now it is all about continuing to work of my fitness, and enjoying the process. I enjoyed today, riding with a friend, hitting my rhythm, and the most important thing with any fitness plan is finding ways to enjoy the experience, so that it has purpose, that it doesn’t feel like work and makes you want to go back for more… I think I’ll leave it there for now and look the idea of the difference that motivation can make a bit more next week,

Keep smiling, till next time – Lin xox

The Pain Game

06_21Figure-UI believe that there is difference between types of pain. Clearly dental pain is not cool, nor twisted ankle for that matter, But delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) well, to me that feels like good pain, it’s a pain you earn…mind you it is still pain.

I went back to my first weight / toning  session last week on Tuesday night, after months off training it was hard work… During the session I felt great – my body was working again, lifting, crunching, squatting, sit ups, push ups and as unfit as I felt, the pain and hard work during the session felt great.

Then I woke up Wednesday, and talk about sore… DOMS is a condition that occurs after exercise. The theory is that the muscles after eccentric exercise  (where the muscle is lengthened during contractions) are damaged, and that these small microscopic tears or ruptures are healing with new tissue, and that this process is what builds up muscle.

DOMS can be mild or severe, and to be honest after this session it  has been the worst I can remember EVER!.  It lasted a week, finally I woke up today (Tuesday) and finally felt OK. After the first 72 hours after training I couldn’t roll over in bed, I could barely walk down steps, and whenever I moved I hurt all over, legs, butt, arms, chest, core…

Today I woke up feeling good, and knew it would be back to training again today to continue to build up my body, I wanted to add cardio, and I wanted to get the legs ticking over again for a short run.  So I decided that I would go for a quick 2km run before a weights and toning sess, then go home… but in the end after the weights session I ended up staying to do another session, but a cardio this time.

Once I decide to do something, I go for it, when I commit I like to go hard… I suppose compared to when I first started seriously training that I know that I can push myself mentally and I know what my body is capable of… I ask myself with every set, every rep, every distance to push. My mental game is still strong, It thinks it can achieve anything, and has forgotten a little that my body is not where it was (yet.)

This time last year my body was the fittest and strongest I think that I have ever been, but fast forward a year, and missing months of training, dealing with the surgeries and health issues, well to put it simply my fitness and strength is in the toilet! My weight has been somewhat stable, but I feel unfit, and I want it back… My legs felt like lead when running today, the weights felt heavy, and in the cardio session my right quad muscle just felt super fatigued…

Honestly I possibly pushed it a little too hard last Tuesday, it hurt to walk and I couldn’t roll over in bed or move well. A week to recover is a little extreme, but I enjoyed the exercise and sessions today, and will continue to build up my fitness again. I may have pushed again too hard today, but there is a pleasantness in the pain – knowledge that the pain is building me up again, that I am on the right track, that I am getting stronger. My aim is to re-build my functional strength and fitness this year, to run another half marathon, to participate in another triathlon later in the year… It is going to be a big year…

2013 lets see what you got!!

Till next time , Lin xox