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

Carnie Wilson & Lap Band Surgery – Options

Carnie, front & centre in Wilson Phillips.

“If you Hold on for one more day, things will go your way”…I am not sure if you remember Wilson Phillips, the 3 daughters of two of the Beach Boys who had the hit “Hold On”… Well I remember them, mostly because I identified with Carnie who was overweight.  Carnie, has an amazing voice, unfortunately received more notoriety for her size rather than her ability to belt out a tune. I remember when she under went gastric by-pass surgery in 1999 and the press that she received.

Carnie did great with the by-pass surgery, and I remember thinking after she lost her weight that surgery might be an option for me… However I just could not get my head around this type of surgery,where the stomach is basically bypassed and the food you eat doesn’t get absorbed properly. You do eat smaller portions, but the permanent change by chopping up and rearranging the digestive system scared the crap out of me…

I knew that Carnie put on some weight after the birth of her children, and now I read that she has recently had lap band surgery in January (see link below). After having a lap band put in 4 years ago (and losing over 175 pounds in the process) I know the change it has made for me, and, I am glad that it is helping Carnie get her weight down again, but this leads me to a sticking point I have with weight loss surgery…

Why is the least invasive option not explored first? I know for some people’s life style Lap Band won’t work, they will try to cheat the band… But why is there such a propensity especially in the USA to go down the path of organ altering permanent surgery first? Lap Band does take a little longer to get the weight off, it is not easy, but it can be reversed and removed and with no damage to the stomach or digestive system (barring complications). The other reason lap band should be a well-considered 1st option is that it is adjustable and can be tightened and loosened depending on life circumstances and need to lose weight or maintain. Therefore if you get pregnant and need calories, it can be adjusted, If you hit goal, it can be adjusted… If you are not feeling restricted it can be tightened a little…

I feel for Carnie, honestly one of my biggest fears (apart from birds) is putting weight back on…  But I am scared when the weight loss industry and surgeons take the most drastic surgery option as a first step, and sell this options to desperate people as the quickest and easiest way forward. Lap Banding has its issues too, but cutting the stomach out, bypassing it and taking food straight to the intestines should surely not the very first surgical option given to patients today.  I do understand that Lap Band has come a long way since 1999, and that maybe for Carnie it was rightly not a first option… But why do the stats in the States still show that gastric bypass is still the top choice?

Are we providing people with all the options first… The truth is no. It seems that it is up to the obese “consumer” to do all the research and surgeons offer their “service”, like picking a product off a shelf. I have an issue with this. I did my research, that is the type of woman I am, but desperate people are often “sold” a solution rather than their HEALTH treated with CARE…

I am lucky, I got a great Surgeon who did go over all the options with me, listened to me, I was, and, still am cared for by him, but not everyone is as lucky… I would like to see the weight loss industry, whether diet, exercise or surgery overhauled. I would like the industry to stop selling to people, and start caring for people, But honestly, I don’t expect to see it in my lifetime – there are too many desperate people and too much money at stake.

Till next time, Lin

Carnie Wilson Undergoes Lap-Band Surgery – E! Online.

10km training run; Hill Running.

Today was my longest run since surgery… And I feel great.  I actually don’t mind running hills. I like the satisfaction of beating them, and while I don’t actually carry a stick, I do beat them in my mind with a big, big stick.

Up at 7am this morning, a little reluctant to get out of bed, but I got out from under that warm doona and I headed down to the coast.

Mount Eliza has some great hills for running and our trainer mapped a course that is challenging and makes you work.

The first 1.5km is up a hill, a long gradual climb of roughly 70m in elevation. It keeps going after a short reprieve up a few more hills to roughly 80m elevation, then back down to sea level… It was a 5km course that we got to do twice… As the Run Melbourne Half Marathon is a twice around course, this is how we train.

So after I did it once, it was back to that long gradual hill, I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. I did not stop once this morning, I did not walk any hill or section of the run (with the exception of the slippery set of stairs) I might have been the slowest in my group, but I am not competing against any one, just myself, and my mind.

When running hills I may slow down a little, but I don’t stop and I don’t walk – I keep that running action and use my glute muscles like pistons to push me up the hills. It is not how fast you are, It is not about who beats you, it is about getting it done! and today, well I got it done!

Hill runs are great for building power and endurance into your legs because as you run you are using your body weight as resistance up the hills. I have found in the past that after a hard hill run, I run better the next week. It improves my strength and then when I go back to flats I notice an improvement in my time.

It would be easy to take the easy option when planning training runs and avoid the big hills, or map an easier route, but I encourage all you runners out there to put in some hill work every couple of weeks and notice how it improves your running. Here are a few tips; Make sure you warm up properly before setting out. Drop your regular speed a little on the hill and take a shorter stride. On the down hill avoid placing your foot way out in front and opening up the speed, while this is tempting this can cause a lot of stress to be placed through your knee and makes you more prone to injuries. Listen to your body and if your heart rate is climbing then slow the pace down a little but try to keep up the running action because this is not about speed as much as getting it done!

Finally – stretch out properly after the run, take your time to add a few more stretches over the day and the next day… and allow your body some time to recover before your next run.

Here is a good article from Runner World too!  Can Hill Running Make You Faster?.

Till next time, Lin xox

PS – I am no Dr, so if you are starting to run make sure you get cleared to exercise and all that jazz, don’t just listen to me!

Crazy…No just committed

Love this Quote

I got called “Crazy” tonight. Just because I wanted to go home after shift and run, and that it was likely to be still raining,. Many of you know that I have a habit, a pattern of coming home after shift and doing my running then. I have blogged about it, I have talked about it, I like it. Running in the wee hours of the morning works for me. I can unwind from work, push it all out and leave it on the pavement.

It was wet again tonight. I am not a fan of working in the rain. I work outside and wear 5 – 6 layers of clothing which consists of wool thermal tops, singlets, hoodies, t-shirts, and wind/water proof jackets. Whilst I don’t like spending hours walking around the city in the rain, I make every effort to stay as dry as possible, no one wants to be wet for hours, then drive home wet and cold.

But running – that is different. It is a time framed thing. I did 5.5km this morning. When I got home it wasnt raining, by the time I changed and walked outside it was the slow steady drizzle rain that soaks you through. I ran anyway, I said earlier I would run, even if it was raining. I did. I like it when it drizzles like this. I feel that my body stays cool, it is not crazy – it is committed. Plus when you get back home and you can deal with the wet then…

Crazy is sitting on the couch making excuses.

Crazy is the way i used to live, – if you could call it living, looking back i can’t, it was more of a sad existence. I was sick, tired, obese, stuck and making excuses… That was what was crazy, that Lin was lost – She was crazy and all her systems were unhealthy.

SO – if i tell you about my training, it is not crazy, it is committed. If I tell you about my events coming up and trying to squeeze them all in, it is not crazy it is taking life with both hands and living it with vigour.

I am not crazy – I am committed – committed to living a full and healthy life, having fun – and realise that to have a healthy mind and emotional life I first must live a physically healthy life. Running in the rain – that is just the tip of the iceberg. Being stronger and healthier is my goal… weight loss is the natural by-product of living a committed healthy lifestyle.

My goals at the moment are to work towards getting back to running a 10km before the 15th of May, strengthening my core, and improving on my shoulder and upper body strength after surgery. I am still having a little discomfort and pain with the arms and tummy… Not all the time – but strength is the key and working with the physio is helping.

So dear readers, find your commitment, call it crazy if you like… In fact I think I will embrace the word crazy now – Yep call me crazy; crazy about being healthy, fit and strong enough to live the life I want.

BTW the run was awesome! the key when running in the rain is getting home, stripping off the wet gear straight away and jumping into a warm shower. Now for sleep…

Till next time, Crazy Lin xox

“Coming Out”; Dating after Weight Loss.

Just a click away??

“Coming Out” is now a term synonymous for telling family and friends that you are gay or same sex attracted. Sorry readers, no gossip today, I’m not about to tell you I am gay, but I am here today to talk about dating.

Once upon a time in a little land called England, “coming out” or “coming of age” was the term used for young lady’s of aristocracy to be presented to society as ready and available to meet eligible gentlemen. These men; of good social standing and breeding – were the hope of securing marriage and a future. This occurred between the ages of 17 to 18, where the young woman would be presented to the courts and come out to society. The young ladies “job” role from this point forward was preparing for the social events of “the season”. Being introduced to interested, eligible and suitable bachelors. Enter the whirlwind of Balls (with gorgeous gowns), picnics, afternoon teas, charity events and concerts galore. It was the world of Jane Austen and Downtown Abbey, where marrying the “right” gentleman” had as many pitfalls and complications as it does today.

“Back in the day” these women’s family members, (usually female matriarchs such as mothers, grandmothers and aunts) would be out on the “social network”, think FB without computers. The rumor mills would run hot, the gossip of London’s “well to do” could make or break a future, a family and lives. Young women’s attributes and beauty would be extolled. Eligible bachelors were considered and evaluated; It was, for all intensive purposes – trade. Often match making occurred for a variety of reasons; to confirm or keep royal titles, money, and land. The idea of love and attraction in these matches was not usually the first priority, but the hidden romantic in me hopes that it wasn’t entirely lost either.

Part of this all sounds like fun right? Being part of a family that was wealthy enough so that you could spend your time shopping and having maids set your hair sounds a little delightful. However for some cases, surely the awful truth, was just that, awful, and that that for many women, and men for that matter, it was a scary, daunting prospect; a little like being a commodity or an object…

In previous blogs I have stated that I am dating. Don’t get me wrong, It is fun, but just like those wealthy English Girls of yesteryear , it feels like hard work, a little scary and a huge learning curve. I have stated previously that it is tough to meet people. In today’s world it feels like one of the few places left to meet other singles is on a dating website. So I have wondered about the dating website world, Is it the 21st Century version of Coming Out? We now create profiles of ourselves, have we become our own matriarchs?

Are we now using new social dating sites to change the way we meet, communicate and interact? Or are we now just spruiking or making a commodity of ourselves? Primping and priming our profiles, rather than our hair?

I am not bashful or embarrassed to be internet dating, honestly where do you meet the single eligible men of today? I haven’t heard from my Mum on this, but, I am pretty sure that she is not organizing my social calendar for picnics, charitable events, or balls…(No mum that is not a hint:)

Meeting people is hard, meeting a nice, funny, real, SINGLE man who your attracted to; even harder. The pub seems like a less attractive version of internet dating sites (beer goggles are not good for anyone) and most of us have exhausted the friend connections.

In today’s world we do everything online, we are connected all the time; So if that is the case, so why shouldn’t we use the tool that can (at some levels) make it easier to assess potential partners…

Saying that you were internet dating 5 – 10 years ago was almost taboo, one of the statements that would often get you a sideward glance, and a snigger from the corner – How times have changed. Now it seems like everyone has a profile..and if you are honest enough to admit it out loud you often find that the single person next to you has an online profile too (or is seriously thinking about it). Whilst we live most of our lives on-line, the hard part of internet dating is translating that into meeting, turning the online reality into a real life date, but more on that another time.

For me, part of this modern-day personal “Coming Out”, this Multi-dating (or meeting guys for coffee to see if they are reasonable human beings) is about learning who I am in this process. I am trying to figure out what I am looking for in an eligible bachelor. Losing weight is not just a physical journey. It is really more than that, it is about becoming healthier across mind, body and spirit; It is also about becoming healthier in connecting my self esteem and sexuality… Honestly it is some scary stuff people; I know, I know, I mentioned the word sex there – even though it was backed up with some “uality” at the end of it 🙂

But back to being fat for a second, when you are obese, and the discussion about partners starts, you hear a lot of “But you have a great personality, someone will see that”…

LETS STOP RIGHT THERE…. Lets cut the crap people, and, to be honest, for me, I don’t think my personality was that healthy. Sure I had friends, I was happy at some levels, but I was also really f*#king miserable as well. I did not like the me I was. I looked awful and didn’t love myself. If I am honest; deep down… gut wrenchingly honest – I did not want to be loved. Especially not by anyone that would have accepted that version of me; Seriously how could I love someone who accepted that me, when I couldn’t accept myself. It would have been settling for someone I didn’t respect…

So now, where to from here; Well I have jumped into the Magic Far Away Tree, and landed smack bang in the middle of “The land of Multi Dating”, where, the healthy me; the happy me; looks for Mr Darcy, whilst weeding out the Mr Duds… Who knows what the magic far away tree has in store next, but I like Multi Dating Land now, and plan to hang around for a while. Why? Well because I am learning, learning about myself, men, and how to navigate relationships. I am also learning that I have plenty of lessons that need to be learnt in this space.

I really look forward to reading your comments on this post 😉 and, as always, I will continue to keep you posted!

Till next time, Lin xox

Please Note; Multi Dating is a term used by some dating sites to explain that you are meeting people for a coffee or first date. A first date, second or third date doesn’t constitute a relationship people! I am not talking about being in multiple relationships. It is a process of getting to know people, developing friendships and seeing if anything more is there.

Evil Easter Bunnies…

If I could photoshop I would have made his eyes look evil to reflect his true character.. Actually if you look closely he does look like he is hiding something.

Have you heard the bad news…. It is about the Bunny… We used to be close, I was once so fond of him; but he is abusive and I am sorry to tell you – a little evil.

Sure, he looks cute, with his little red bow and bell. He is all shiny and gold, with a teenie tiny nose, And by God if he doesn’t just taste like a tiny piece of heaven… all creamy, velvety, smooth; so very smooth. OK enough of the food porn… Back to the point of the post.

I got back to my training classes this week – Cardio on Saturday morning and then a fitball session – Whilst there; the amazing Dave (our trainer) decided to educate us on the Evils of Easter. Dave (being the good trainer he is) tells us that the bunny to which I refer *cough Lindt cough* has a little secret, for the 200gm size bunny – he packs a big 1086 calories, that is pretty much your whole daily intake of energy for the day, all sugar, all going straight to storage (also known as fat cells) Yikes! I couldn’t believe it, surely Dave was wrong,  But I looked it up, and if you don’t believe me I have added the calorie king link below.

Sure I know it is Easter, and the phrase Easter Scrooge was bandied about yesterday in relation to Dave, but these little treats add up friends… A bunny here, an elegant rabbit there, a chocolate creme egg or two, and then there are the hot cross buns, best I don’t get started on those; someone is likely to take a contract out on me…

Some might call me a kill joy – Yes I have eaten a few eggs this Easter (a big basket of free eggs at work didn’t help) but it is over – I have cut myself off… Most people will get their stashes of chocolate today – I dare you to add up the calories of your collection, remembering that you have to burn 7700 calories to lose a kilogram of fat…I think It is easier not to eat it in the first place… I burnt around 400 calories in a one hour cardio session yesterday… So Lindt you can keep your bunny, have him back – for around 3 hours of hard work – He’s just not worth it…

Enjoy your Easter, till next time – Lin xox

CalorieKing.com.au – Food Data. Nutrition information about your favourite food. fat, fibre, protein and more.

Gastric (Lap) Band – Part 1; What is it?

Gastric Lap Band Illustration (the port at the bottom right of pic is what is stitched to the muscle wall under the skin)

Part of understanding my journey is knowing that I had a Gastric (Lap) Band surgically implanted around 4 years ago. I realized that I haven’t written a lot about the Band, why I had it, what is does, and why I chose that path.

This first post (in this series) will look at what the lap band is, and how it works. I get a many questions about this and hopefully this post will be able to clarify some of the more popular queries.

A Gastric Band is a device that is placed around the top of your stomach. Looking at the picture to the right we can see that there is a plastic ring which on the inside has a silicone tube, this section is adjustable via saline solution being filled into the port.

The inner sections are adjustable with saline solution via the port and when filled contracts more around the opening of the stomach section is adjustable. From the band a tube runs down to a port, this is how the saline solution is injected into your band, essentially filling the silicone up and tightening it around the top of the stomach.

The lap band is inserted into you body via keyhole surgery.  The surgeon places the band around the top section of your stomach, where the stomach meets the esophagus. When adjusted the band creates a small opening into the stomach.

The band works in two ways;

  • It causes the brain to believe that you feel full, with a very small amount of food or sometimes even when you don’t eat. The band stimulates the nerves that sends these messages to the brain.
  • The band also physically creates a small pouch like stomach above your stomach. The food that you must chew well slowly enters the stomach. This makes you feel full and you don’t consume as many calories.

The port of the lap band is stitched to the muscle wall of the abdomen under the skin. After surgery your doctor / surgeon adjusts it with using a needle to inject saline which travels up tubing into the band tightening it. The adjustment is a simple procedure, seeing a doctor at their rooms like a normal consultation, I am usually in and out in 5 – 10 mins after a quick weigh in and chat about my progress.

The lap band can stay implanted indefinitely as long as are no issues. As it is adjustable all the fluid can be removed and you will have no restriction if required.

The Gastric Band is not an easy solution, you can cheat the band, eat all the chocolate, ice-cream, mushy food and anything liquid you like, they slide right on through and the calories on these add up quick. The band does have some issues however, sometimes I can’t keep food down, I can have days where I feel a bit more restriction than others and the band feels tighter and when happens food gets “stuck” and won’t go through the band – it can be painful and results in food coming up (not quite vomiting more like a painful swallow back up).

The Band is an aid in weight loss, it doesn’t do the work for you, I have worked hard to watch my portions, my food choices, and then there is exercise – a lot of exercise. For me the band was the tool I needed to get off the bulk of the weight to allow myself to begin to have success reprogramming my former failure mentality and be able to engage in physical activity.

In my next post I will discuss why the band worked for me, what I have struggled with, and would I recommend it, etc – If you have any questions please feel free to leave it in the comments section and I will do my very best to answer them…

Till next time, Lin xox