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

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Ability & Potential

Video

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.

Coping & Routine

We all have strategies that we utilise to cope with navigating our world. I was discussing this idea earlier in the week and reflecting upon some of my personal practices.

Coping mechanisms can be healthy and unhealthy.  Having a big night out with a few too many drinks and bad moves on the dance floor can be good to let off some steam, drinking by yourself every night not healthy… Eating a bowl of ice-cream after  hard day not too bad occasionally; eating the tub, a large pizza and a packet of cookies (in one sitting), not so good.

Exercising is a healthy option, often under utilised and under estimated. Studies have shown that even a simple 30 min walk each day can help in improving mood and decreasing some of the symptoms of depression. I wrote recently about not being able to run (which is my personal preferred coping mechanism now). When this was off the table, I slipped into some unhealthy coping strategies and ate more than I usually would, in particular foods that I attempt to limit.

Part of the reason that I believe that I went back to older patterns quicker was that I hadn’t re-established my exercise routine after surgery in February. I wasn’t back to training until April, the routine wasn’t solid yet, the routine didn’t have enough time to solidify prior to the confluence of life situations that lead to me feeling overwhelmed. Here is the key… Pattern and Routine.

Pattern and Routine are essential for us to be able to navigate through each day and keep our emotions, thoughts and feelings in a state of relative order. To be in a space of emotional safety and allow us to move through life and cope with what the world flings at us. When our pattern and routines are not established, take a hit or become disrupted we can fall back into easier or older coping mechanisms.

Recently, when my “Perfect Storm” of stressors rose up it wiped me, my running and my exercise out. This lead to falling back into old thinking and patterns – Honestly, this scared the crap out of me. I have worked hard over the past 4 years to move the weight and change my patterns of coping. While I didn’t completely fall off the wagon or relapse – I felt a little out of control and that I was trying to hold onto water with it only to run straight through my fingers.

This got me thinking – There will likely come a time when I am faced with another “Perfect Storm” of stressors. That is just the way of the world; we cannot (despite trying) control all the factors of our lives. This has pushed me to think about extending my coping mechanisms and routines to include other healthy coping mechanisms on a regular basis.  This will allow me to build into my routine new coping mechanisms and use them on a regular basis, so, that if the day comes that I am not able to run or walk, or move as I would like, I will have another healthy way of working through the stress, thoughts, feelings and emotions. It is a bit like exercising a muscle, the more you train and work that muscle the stronger it becomes. I need to exercise new coping strategies, make them strong and build them into my life.

So my question to myself and one that you can ask yourself is this; What do I enjoy that can become a solid practice in my life  (part of my routine) that will allow me to cope and deal with the stressors of life in a healthy way?

Some ideas for me to explore are having focusing methods and projects,  understanding meditative practice better, and incorporating reading and writing as reflective practice.

I would be interested in reading your ideas or thoughts about this so feel free to leave a comment.

Till next time, Lin.

“Not Running”

going a little crazee!

I think I am going a little stir crazy.. Yesterday I woke, tired exhausted and grumpy. I knew that after being out for dinner two nights in a row to see my friends, (one who just flew in from the UK) I was due for a day home. I started off quite enjoying the day, I got up, dressed, and then onto the net for a look at some of my favorite sites,Esty and Pinterest (I may be addicted). I chatted to a friend on the phone…And then, I got restless…

It was a lovely day outside, some friends had posted on FB about their training for an upcoming event (tough mudder), I was super jealous and my brain just wanted to chuck on my running gear and head out the door; my body on the other hand was still on strike.

I was driving my housemate (Lynn) mad, by saying I would rest, and proceed then roam around the apartment like a nutter; cleaning out under the laundry sink, cleaning out my bedside table, throwing away junk, and counting up my spare change collection ($70 was a nice little bonus). I would return to sit on my bed and write between these little outbursts, but I was really just wanting to burn off all this mental energy.  Exercise is a great way for me to unwind and do this, somehow on a long run I can turn the music on, let my legs pump away and allow the thoughts of the day wash past me, running exhausts me physically and aligns my thought patterns, it has become the feel good drug for me, it replaced food… I do not like the feeling of not running,  not cycling or not working out at Step into Life classes. It doesn’t feel right…

Before surgery I thought that I would struggle with this; the being stuck at home, not moving, not being as active as I want to be… Honestly it scares me, not exercising and or being active feels too much like my old life. This coupled with the fluid retention, swelling and exhaustion; well it is not a great combo…

But then this morning (after another fitful night sleep) I awoke with a little more energy, each day is one day closer to a full healthy recovery and running, that is what I need to focus on; I also felt like I could perhaps start to go for short walks, I checked with my surgeon House this afternoon after a minor procedure to remove some more fluid, he said YES to walking now. So it is all systems go from tomorrow; Slowly of course 🙂

Till next time, Lin xox

Does Real Lasting Change Start SMALL?

Enjoy it one small bite at a time!

All difficult things have their origin in that which is easy, and great things in that which is small , Lao Tzu.

We often over look or diminish the small changes in our lives. We wonder why we aren’t able to maintain the massive changes we initiated at the start of the year (i.e NYE resolutions)… We try to change much in a short space of time, not allowing our brains to really fully adjust to the “New” state of play.

In reality there is no new state of play, there is only a radically altered playing field that is foreign to us. I believe that when we try to change things quickly, most of the time our thinking and processing are not able to keep up. We try to do it all at once, many times I have thought and voiced the idea of  “All or Nothing”, and I can think like this, but in reality and upon reflection, it is small consistent changes  that have impacted on my habits the most and have given me the best outcomes.

Here are some examples of small changes I made;

I began walking 5km about 3 times a week, after a few weeks, unwittingly I increased this to every second day, after a few more weeks, I increased it to everyday…. Then over the coming weeks I increased the distance to 10km every day…. I did not start out at 10km every day – I allowed my body and mind to adjust slowly over time… Building the habit, increasing the frequency and the intensity. Had I said at the start, “I will walk 10km everyday” I doubt I would have developed it into a habit….(In fact I know it wouldn’t have because I had tried that before) But I did over time build it up… And it was only on reflection that I realised that this was what I did, originally I didn’t have a plan, I only liked getting out and walking on the beach and because it made me feel good I did it more often. The walking lead to running, short distances lead to long distances – but all of this was over time and done gradually.

Recently I have been moving to a more protein focused diet and reducing my carb intake. I started with the focus on one meal a day, moving from breakfast, to lunch, to dinner…a friend said start small with breakfast,  very smart advice; I am still working on this change in diet – but am making small incremental changes over time that will hopefully add up to healthier habits in the end.

———

Now that I have less weight to lose it doesn’t come off as easily – I now understand the pain of losing that last 5kg – It seems like a small number, and it is hard to move… I used to be able to move 5kg quite easily (but that was when I had a lot to lose). Now I am down to the thin end of the stick 😉 – where it is all about the small changes, the small choices. It is where choice builds on choice. I need to remember that I can divide this number into smaller numbers, look at it as 1 kilo at a time, essentially breaking down the job into smaller jobs – take those first steps and make the small incremental changes.  Because I know that if i am true to myself they will add up to a healthier me.

Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
Lao Tzu

And while this blog is about losing weight, and reclaiming my life, I think that these principles can be applied to most areas of our life where we want change. Finances, weight, fitness, career progression, study etc.

Someone once said, “take a bite and then chew like crazy!” – I say  “Bite off a little, and enjoy it one mouthful at a time so you don’t go crazy”

It is about taking stock of the situation, being honest with ourselves and not getting overwhelmed by the reality – then – breakdown the problem into SMALL changes that overtime will allow us to enjoy the greater journey of overall impact.

Till next time, Lin xox

Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.                                              Henry Ford.

The Law of Attraction

What am I choosing to attract in my life?

One of the best things about losing weight is feeling better about yourself; inside and out. It is the journey of feeling better on the outside that has changed dramatically for me, I have  started to make changes in how I view myself; and I have noticed that other people now view me differently too.

When I was walking everyday after I had the lap band in, I walked at night so no one could see me easily. At my heaviest I used to get people (particularly young guys) hang out of cars and yell abuse at me during the day, when I was walking up the shops, crossing the lights – Believe it or not but  near my highest weight I once had an apple thrown at my head when I was out walking at night..                                                                                                                       It was devastating & demoralising – I did not feel good about myself, Inside or Out.

I was speaking to someone the other day about the idea that we (as in individuals) shouldn’t care about what other people think about us. He challenged me when I said this, and suggested that the idea may be flawed in some aspects. He then suggested that we are social beings, we live, work and exist in community and what we say and our actions  impact each other…. Given this he suggested it is logical that we care about what other people think about us, it is a normal part of life. We care about what family and friends think of us and we don’t want people to think poorly of us. He is a well respected Psychologist and I got what he was suggesting, and agreed with it…

The fact is as much as I didn’t want to care about what other people thought about me, I did care that people yelled abuse at me, I did care that apples got thrown at me from cars; I did care and It hurt.

I sometimes still think that people see me as that fat girl, and It is an idea that I have to challenge on an ongoing basis. People don’t treat me like that fat girl anymore and I am starting to train my brain to actually “see” myself as I am now. I have gone from guys throwing insults and apples, to being whistled at on the street, or being flirted with in a bar – A very different experience, and something that is hard to get your head around.

I have noticed that the better I feel about myself, the more confidence I have, the more I smile, flirt and generally have fun with life and people. Confidence is an amazing feeling – and while I don’t have any delusions that I am some sort of super model (I do have curves for a start 😉 ), I feel good about myself and this is nice for a change.

Basically I liken it to the law of attraction – the idea that “like attracts like”… I am more confident, happy and loving life and therefore live a life like this. I now attract people in my life that are confident, happy and loving life.

I am sharing this because I think looking back I was not that person, I was not happy in myself and perceived other people who were successful as a threat to me.

The law of attraction for me back then was “I feel crap, and will attract crap in my life” –  I viewed life and people negatively.  That is no longer the case, I view life more positively now, and will continue to embrace life and understand that confidence begets confidence, it is this cycle and knowledge, that I believe, will help me to keep hold of the gains and progress that I have made.

Till next time,

Lin xox

Rest is not an Option – it is a Requirement

Just a little tired?

I think I possibly only have two gears – All or Nothing. I don’t think this is good, and I need to work on this… Leading up to Christmas (without realising) I upped my running too much. Basically I was enjoying my running so much that I forgot to track what I was doing, and increased my km’s from roughly 18 – 20km a week to 32km. My hamstrings, ITB and calves went out on protest, and I couldn’t figure out why I was so tight… then sitting in the physio’s waiting room (to get him to look at the hammies)  and playing with my Garmin watch I realised my mistake…

I wasn’t tracking my running and running to a plan… I wasn’t giving my body enough time to rest, or have rest days from running, and as I saw that I had run 32km in that week I cringed at the thought of having to admit this shortly to my physio.

SO I rested, for 2 weeks over Christmas I rested my legs, and they thanked me. This resting was not easy – I felt antsy and wrong – all I wanted to do was run…  But with further physio, work on the foam roller and no running, my legs gradually improved and I got my range of motion back….

Then I went for a run, it was hard after a break – the fitness dropped a little, it was hot even at 5am, but i enjoyed it and pushed out 4.5km…. then i got sick – Pushed myself too much and came down with a mild tummy bug, still went to work and thought I was OK – But still deciding that I needed to exercise, have fun and make the most of my summer, off I went water skiing….Got to the lake only to realise I was still not 100%, had a go anyway and learnt that this is not a good idea when you can’t keep down fluids. (Throwing up whilst clad in a wetsuit, floating on your back and skis in the air is not fun)

This lead to spending the next 5 days under the weather, short on sleep, long hours at work and quite emotional… All my fuel tanks felt low and I was a bit of a mess.

Why am I sharing all this? Good Question really – and I think this is why…

As I said, I only seem to have two gears – all or nothing  – and what I am scared of is if I start to do nothing (because of illness, injury, lack of sleep, work etc) then this may lead me back to bad old patterns, but what I need to find more of is BALANCE.

BALANCE with my workouts, balance with sleep, work, rest days etc… When I moved to Mordi I walked everyday, now with improved fitness and the ability to do more, i do do more… Sometimes I think I might do too much – leading me to a place where I am doing more damage than good. I need to have rest days of walking and swimming to give my body time to recover from the hard days when I exercise for 3 hours or more. Rest is important to building muscle and cells regenerating and I know this, but I have this thing where I think If can do more I should do more… BUT  with proper rest I am more likely to not become sick or injured and be able to maintain a good workout schedule. So for now that is the aim. Still be active everyday – but for it to be OK to listen to my body, have a gentle walk or swim and not think I need to break myself down and hit it hard every day…. So I will see how that goes.

Till next time, Lin xox