Tuesday, September 29, 2009

You're not alone



Tell everyone what you want to do and someone will want to help you do it.
- W. Clement Stone

Monday, September 28, 2009

So THERE you are!

Sometimes in the depths of misery, pain and frustration, you find some surprising things.

Strength, certainty and mental toughness showed up today, just when I thought they might never come back. Let's hope they hang around for a play date tomorrow.


“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”
- Arnold Schwarzenegger

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Forward motion

Plans A to E are progressing - some faster than others.

On the keeping occupied front, I've done a major renovation of our outdoor furniture, which I'm pretty proud of. If only the weather hadn't turned all to crap, we might actually be able to use it.... Anyway, the therapeutic value of physical labour can't be over-emphasised. Especially when you get to enjoy the fruits of your labour.

Plan D has been featuring heavily. The Baby and I saw Up on Friday morning, we've been out for lunch, and had a peaceful (and almost bogan-free) shopping experience yesterday arvo while 99% of Melbournians were glued to their TVs watching some sporting event or other. We've also watched a stack of DVDs, and today we went out for breakfast. He's good company - possibly a bit unusual for an almost 14-year-old boy, but he's very sweet and loving and he makes me laugh a lot. :o)

Plan E is all about taking care of myself, so another visit to the physio on Friday helped with that. On another level, Bike Boy and I are also making an effort to get out more and we have plans to catch up with friends a lot more often.

Plans B & C will happen, but it may take me a few weeks to sort those out.

Slowly, slowly.... I need to reign in my impatience and remember that I don't have to achieve everything at once; I just have to keep moving forward.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Finding some answers, but what's the question?


Things are a bit up-and-down. I haven't been blogging much, just haven't felt like it (still reading though, otherwise my feed reader gets eeeeeeek! totally out of control) and haven't been doing much of anything, really. Except working. Blah.

I can't even pinpoint what the problem is, which is really irritating. I like to be able to grab hold of whatever is bugging me and FIX IT, but no-can-do when you don't even know what it IS that's bugging you in the first place.

But I'm not waiting for things to resolve themselves, I'm making plans instead. I figure that I'll just act on them, and hope that: a) they help keep me (relatively) sane; and b) one of them promotes an AHA! moment and I can then find and rip out whatever's festering in the back of my head and get back to normal.

Plan A involves marathon working bees around the house - because idle hands are the devils' playground and all that.

Plan B is to find a new exercise activity I can try; one with a point other than looking good. Anything involving ball skills is O.U.T. (*yawn*), and I detest team sports. I had a momentary flash of brilliance, and thought i might try indoor rock-climbing (yes, I have acrophobia, but hey, everyone needs a challenge), but finding a venue that's less than an hour's drive is proving harder than expected. Still working on that one.

Plan C is to tee up a lunchtime training partner again for some fun at the park. I have someone in mind, but the weather ain't playing nice at the moment, so this is on hold.

Plan D is to take some time out and do some school holiday stuff with the kids - The Baby and I are off to see the new Disney movie tomorrow, for a start. :o)

There's a Plan E too, but I'm still thinking that through.

Now it's time to stop with the talking and get on with the DOING. I might be back later. Or tomorrow. Or not. Please bear with me while I sort out this technical hitch ....we'll be back to our usual programming soon. I hope.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Gym optional

My workouts this weekend have been a bit unorthodox. They consisted of:

- Washing every window on our McMansion.(upper body)
- Weeding the entire back yard - a big job, since we had knee-high milk thistles, marshmallow weed, stinging nettles, and God knows what else everywhere. Four large wheelbarrow loads, in fact. (posterior chain)
- Sweeping three billion cubic metres of dust and crap out of the garage and al fresco room, thanks to the constantly windy weather we've been having. (chest, triceps and abs)
- Moving a delivery of 400mm square concrete pavers from the nature strip to the back yard. (pretty much everything got worked with that!)

The result is very satisfying, but every muscle in my body hurts. Even my fingers. I feel about a thousand years old.

************

I know I'm practising being all calm and serene, but my stress levels went through the roof this afternoon, when The Middle Child needed a parent to supervise his driving and Bike Boy was busy. If I'd had some Valium handy, I might have been tempted to down one before heading off.

Control freaks should never be in the passenger seat when a sixteen year old is in charge of the car.

Just ask Debstar.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Just keep swimming

Maintaining a positive outlook and choosing to be happy is a challenge for most of us. I mean, you can set out on your chosen happy-joy-joy path with all the determination in the world, only to step in the stinking dog poop of daily life that was lying unseen, just around the corner.

So how do you keep your happy face firmly fixed in place when it seems that all around you are doing their damnedest to drag you down? That old saying about not sweating the small stuff is something I'm trying to live by. I'm one of the worst offenders when it comes to allowing life's little inconveniences to throw me all off-balance, but I'm aiming to change that. Because of course, it's not the circumstances that are the problem, but how you react to them.

For instance, getting angry about being stuck in a traffic jam and fuming all the way to work is pointless. It doesn't make me feel better, it doesn't move the traffic any faster, and I arrive at work with my neck and shoulder muscles twisted in knots and starting my day off in a bad mood. I'm sure my colleagues appreciate that ...NOT. So, my chosen approach will be to take a few deep breaths (and maybe yell F*CKERS! just once, for old time's sake. LOL) and then put on some relaxing music and just exercise some patience. I still get to work at the same time, sure, but hopefully feeling less stressed and minus the grumpy face.

I'm practising like mad, because this doesn't really come naturally to me.... Today, the wind is blowing a gale which is messing with my plans to do some outdoor work. Instead of bitching about it, I'm washing sheets, towels etc and hanging them out to flap madly in the wind and dry nicely, thanks very much. :o)

As well as letting go of unimportant crap, I'm surrounding myself with positive words and images, to remind me to just keep swimming.



I thought I'd share a few of the "challenge" quotes I've collected:

Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are.
- Bernice Johnson Reagan

Accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.
- General George S Patton

Opposition is a natural part of life. Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition - such as lifting weights - we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity.
- Stephen Covey

Friday, September 18, 2009

Think it, do it, BE IT

Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace and power in it.

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I've spent the past couple of days doing some serious work on my mindset, and although it's early days yet, I'm feeling confident of a major turn-around. Thank goodness! I was about ready to smack myself around the head and see if that would help - this is a much less painful alternative.

I've revisited my goals and done a little tweaking, and I've been doing lots of reading on positive thinking, visualisation and goal-setting. One of my old favourites, Burn the Fat, feed the Muscle has been dragged out and is sitting on the floor next to my bed, to send me off to sleep in the right frame of mind. Think I'll add Absolution to my nightly must-read pile too and I swear it's not because of the eye-candy. Mmm ...well, maybe it IS because of the eye-candy, but if it helps, so what? :p




Anyways, I have a list of my goals in the form of affirmations now and I will be repeating them to myself ad nauseum. The idea being that my stubbornly stupid subconscious will have no choice but to get with the program, and the self-defeating thoughts lies that keep running through my head will just get crowded out.

Like Shelley, I'm choosing to have a great day today. So far, I've achieved the following:

- I had a fantastic early training session with a client this morning. This young lady is just starting out on a weight-loss journey and she's going to achieve big things. Her excitement and positivity is contagious!

- I didn't get annoyed and grouchy when The Baby announced, just as we were leaving for school, that he thought he had a class party today and needed to bring some food. I just saw it as what it was: NO BIG DEAL, and stopped at the supermarket, leaving him to walk across the park to school afterwards. Huh. The exact same situation on Tuesday would have turned me instantly into a screeching, raving lunatic.

- I had a SMASHING training session at the gym. Trained legs and shoulders and really pushed myself. I was making some seriously ugly faces during my deadlifts, and loving it.

- In the interests of positive thinking, I have stopped telling myself that I hate cardio. Instead, I'm focusing on the benefits and enjoying the results. So right after my weights workouts, I pumped out a good old Body-for-LIFE cardio session. 20 minutes of awesome HIIT on the treadmill that left me feeling like a wrung-out rag. :o) I haven't done that particular pattern of intervals for a loooong time and it felt fantastic.

- I went straight from the gym to a session with my new physio (yes, FINALLY, I'm acting on that goal, in case anyone remembers it). I'm getting these stubborn shoulder/thoracic problems sorted out once and for all. He got stuck into my horrible traps, infraspinatus, rhomboids and goodness-knows-what else. It was incredibly painful and entirely worth it. I'll be back for more torture next week.

As for the rest of the day? I have some cleaning to do, kids to pick up early from school since it's the last day of term, a quick stop at the supermarket, maybe lunch from Sumo Salad. And then I think I may just do something for ME. A nap, a movie, a home facial? Or perhaps all of the above.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Huh?

Apparently it's possible to be completely, certifiably, loopy-loo, call-the-men-in-white-coats INSANE one day, and then wake up the next (after only five hours sleep, what's more) feeling calm, happy and totally normal.

What is THAT about?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Enough!!

Right, I've just been dragged out of my funk.

I'm fed up with this bullshit, so I'm just taking control and CHOOSING to be who I want to be ....regardless of the fact that the loudest voice in my head right now is telling me that what I want is to lie around feeling miserable. That voice is quite obviously not the slightest bit sane, so I'm going to go right ahead and ignore it.

Arguing with it isn't working - possibly because arguing involves a lot of negative words. No, not, don't, can't, isn't.... I can't do that, I don't want to be this, I'm not going there because...

Thanks to the beautiful Shelley, who not only posted something today that really hit home, but also took the time to email me with some kind and helpful words (xoxo to you, Miss Shelley!), I'm fighting back with POSITIVE words and thoughts.

Bugger what I don't want, what I do want is the important thing.

I WANT:

• To be strong and fit
• To be lean and healthy
• To enjoy my training and good nutrition
• To be a role model
• To be happy and content with myself and my life

So, I guess it's up to me then. Little Miss Fricken Sunshine, my arse! THIS is who I want to be:

Attitude realignment required

I'm having one of those weeks where I just don't want to make the effort to get off my butt and train. I hate those. I know I should, and somewhere deep down, I really want to, but my inner couch potato is playing hardball at the moment and all my usual strategies simply aren't enough to beat her down.

I was dressed and had my runners on this morning, but still couldn't (wouldn't) force myself out the door. The bike isn't appealing in the least today and I'm about ready to smack myself across the head with frustration.

Instead, I'm going to go make some protein pancakes, and then take myself out for a walk. Today's clearly a "something is better than nothing" kind of day.

I may not BE Little Miss Sunshine, but maybe if I fake it, I'll start to feel a bit more like her.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Salad love



Sometimes it's hard for others to understand what drives health and fitness-focused people. Why do we do the things we do, and more importantly, why do we feel inadequate (or fat), or as though we've failed (or fat), or like we're never really good enough (or...just fat)?

Those who haven't yet found their own groove - or those who have no desire to change their lifestyle anyway - scratch their heads and cannot comprehend how someone who's lost 30kg, has completed a few fitness events and who helps others to achieve their goals, can possibly feel inadequate. If I vent a little while having a minor down-in-the-dumps moment, this is the kind of thing I hear from most of the people I know:

Pfft, you've got nothing to worry about!
Look at you - you're skinny!
Ah, at least you don't have this! (grabbing the flesh spilling over the top of their pants)
Just relax and have a piece of cake - you can afford it.


Sure, they mean well, but those comments do NOT help. Especially when I've had a really rough couple of months and I'm still nowhere near achieving my small fat loss goal. It may not be a life-and-death matter, but it's important to ME, okay?

So it's a very lucky thing that I do have some solid support from Bike Boy. Take last night for example. I got home about five minutes after he did, and walked into the kitchen to unpack some shopping and my food containers. I was feeling particularly crappy, and he picked up on that (maybe it was the slump of my shoulders and the scowl on my face that gave it away...).

BB: What's the matter?
Me: Nothing.
BB: Yes there is....what's wrong?
Me: I'm FAAAAAT
BB: (wrapping his arms around me) You're not fat.
Me: Yes I am. And I'm hormonal and I'm sick of it and I'm being a miserable cow. And you know what I had for lunch?
BB: What?
Me: (dramatic pause)......A PIE.
BB: A pie? (Laughs at me)
Me: Yes, a PIE. And it was a bloody good pie too. But that's not the point...I felt crappy, and my pants are tight and I feel like a small hippo, so what do I do? I EAT MORE CRAPPY FOOD. Yeah, that'll help....
BB: (Still laughing at me) I'll make you a nice healthy dinner. With veggies and all.

And he did. With a home-made vinaigrette on my salad, what's more.

“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.” - and a husband is someone who does all of that, puts up with your obvious insanity, reassures you that you're not fat, AND makes you bbq chicken and salad for dinner.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Be careful what you wish for

I know I did it all to myself. I know I wished for a totally kick-arse weights session. I know I whinged about my super-powers disappearing. I know I was all "Yay, DOMS!" this morning.

But I TAKE IT BACK.

Ouch, ouch, OUCH.

Now, that's more like it!

Two things to be happy about this morning:

1. Waking up early and it's DAYLIGHT.

2. Mega-soreness in my glutes, because yesterday my super-powers returned.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Caring....but taking care



Liz’s post today got my brain ticking over on the subject of carers taking the time to look after their own needs.

There’s an interesting thing about the "caring professions"... Liz recounts being told at university that she and her colleagues had to rise above (their own problems?) to treat patients. And I remember that nurses and doctors used to be told that they had to learn to detach their emotions when dealing with patients. Of course that's utter rubbish - in a job that requires caring for others, if you're unemotional, how can you possibly be a good carer?

I’ve worked as a manager and in HR, and I can recall times when helping other people deal with their problems would overwhelm me. At one point, I had the following going on all at once:

• My assistant was caring for her mother in law through end-stage terminal cancer.
• Another woman was struggling to help her husband through his grief over his brother’s suicide.
• A young mother had given birth four weeks early to an apparently healthy boy, who died 24 hours later of a severe heart defect.
• A mother of three who had sustained a spinal injury in the workplace was now pregnant with a fourth child and was battling the worker’s comp authority to get paid leave due to severe back pain.
• One of our admin girls had developed an anxiety disorder and couldn’t leave the house most days.

There was more, but you get the idea…. My job was basically to try to provide everyone with whatever they needed: leave, a switch from full time to part time work, pay adjustments, referrals to occupational health staff, paperwork required for worker’s comp claims and so on… and of course, I usually ended up being the agony aunt as well. By the end of each day, I would find myself feeling burned out and exhausted from dealing with all the heartbreak and tragedy. And I still had my own young family to care for when I got home.

Thank goodness life wasn’t always like that. Some days I only had to sack somebody for stealing or drive someone to the local casualty ward. LOL. I’m not actually kidding….

Anyway, it's a bit of a tightrope act to care and yet not shoulder everyone else's burdens. When you’re a personal trainer or coach and you spend your days helping people to achieve their goals, you can get so focused on being there for everyone else that you can easily forget to care for yourself. Your own needs get pushed aside, especially when you have kids to look after as well.

What’s the answer? I’m obviously no expert, because I have my own issues with occasional bouts of depression and more frequent minor ups and downs in mood. But if I can manage the following, life is generally a lot more fun:

• Separate work and personal time. Harder than it sounds, but there have to be off-limits times when I won’t answer my phone or reply to client emails. That’s usually Sundays, and evenings after a certain time.
• Make an effort to DO something with my family on a regular basis. We used to make every second Sunday a family day and go to a movie, a museum or show, or just to the local park for a picnic and a play. Now that the kids are older, they don’t really want to do that, so we might just take The Baby out. Or abandon the kids altogether and go do something as a couple.
• Grab a couple of hours and do something just for ME. Last week I shut myself away and watched a nice light chick flick.
• Fit my own training in, no matter what.
• Get enough sleep. Need I say more on this?
• Book myself in for some physical therapy – massage, osteopath, whatever. THIS one, I’ve been neglecting. Need to change that.

AND, I have to remember that I don’t have to be perfect myself to help other people.

Anyone got any other brilliant tips?

Friday, September 04, 2009

Is that all you got?

With the emotional challenges of the past few weeks, I've been extremely vulnerable to the slightest whisper from my beast, telling me that I need a sugar hit. Or a glass or two seven of wine. Or the quickest, crappiest snack that I can get hold of, rather than anything that takes a little effort.

Beastie would chime in with: "you need it"; "You deserve it"; "You can be good tomorrow"; "Oh go on, it'll make you feel better". All lies and excuses, of course, but I really wasn't in battle mode. In fact, my defences were completely shot, so the minute that crap started up in my head, I'd be figuring out a way to get my fix, even while I was telling myself otherwise.

That's kind of the mental equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and going La-la-la. Ignoring that kind of muddled thinking doesn't make it go away, it just leaves the thoughts festering below the surface. Eventually they're gonna bubble up again and they'll be even harder to resist.

This week really has marked a turning point for me. I've been slowly getting back into my groove, making each day a little better than the last, eating well, doing some training, and seeing the scales reflect my return to sanity. More importantly, yesterday afternoon when Beastie resurfaced from wherever she'd been lurking, I stood firm.

I gave her a good smackdown in GJs when I wandered in to grab a long black and found myself having a mental argument in front of the cake cabinet. Then in the supermarket, when she began telling me that I "should" have a treat because it's Thursday (Hey, it made sense at the time...), and suggested a Tim Tam Cornetto, I actually opened the freezer cabinet and had the box in my hand. Then I stopped, took a deep breath and thought: I don't want THIS, I want to reach my weight goal.

So I put back the Cornettos, pulled out my sword and cut off her head. (Metaphorically speaking, of course. No need for Woollies to call for a Cleanup in aisle 3)



No doubt she'll be back, but every win makes me a little bit stronger. I'll be ready for her next time.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Oh no! Somebody stole my super-powers!

Last night I got home from work late, tired and with a teensy headache. Oh well, thinks I, I won't do that weights workout I planned. And I put on my PJs, answered my client emails and had a quick chat to Miss Liz on the phone, while Bike Boy cooked dinner.

Of course, my conscience got the better of me, and I changed my mind. By the time dinner was done with, I was looking forward to moving some metal. But my body had other ideas. My decline pushups were sluggish, my barbell rows a bit Meh! and then I lined myself up to do some chin ups.

I stood on my step, positioned my hands just so, gripped the bar and PULLED, and.... nothing. Huh? Not one single unassisted rep could I manage. I sighed, grabbed my band and cranked out a few difficult assisted chins. Man, those extra few kilos make a difference!

I shook off my grumpy mood and got myself organised for some bench presses, enlisting Bike Boy's help as a spotter. I'll just warm up on 35kg, says I.... Yeah, right! I struggled through four reps at that weight. By the final set, my arms were shaking and I barely got three out. What happened to last week's super strength?

I've had this happen before, and usually with no obvious reason, so I just figured next time will be better and didn't give it another thought.

This morning, the joy continued. I couldn't deadlift 60kg. I was feeling it with only 40kg. *sulks*

Whoever stole my super-strength: I want it back.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Fotografic Food Fest

What do you do when you're out of blogging inspiration? Bore everyone to death with a what I ate yesterday post, of course.... :o)

Breakfast:

My favourite... protein porridge - 50g rolled oats, vanilla whey and a little skim milk.



Snack:

Banana Paleo pancake (and a few almonds):



Lunch:

Vietnamese chicken mince with rice noodles and green beans. I added half a bunch of broccolini to this today.




Snack:

Vanilla-cranberry cookies and green tea.



Dinner:

Had a Vietnamese thing going on today. Sizzling garlic-chilli chicken with stir-fried veg. And uh....I completely forgot to take a photo. Oops. Cold leftovers aren't going to photograph too well, so I'll skip it.

All delicious, all healthy and very little processed food in that lot.

And as a bonus, I now have lunch ready-made for the next two days, plus two more serves of cookies. So getting through my couple of *yawn* nine-to-five office days should be a breeze. Even if I am surrounded by fundraiser chocolates. There really should be a law....

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Dum brane - werk, dammit!

I am completely and utterly out of blogging inspiration at the moment. I have approximately one billion partly-written posts (or cryptic notes that apparently relate to blogging ideas I've had at some stage or another), but none of them rings my bell today.

In fact, I feel completely flat and uninspired in general this morning, in spite of a solid night's sleep and a big drop on the scales since yesterday. I think a dose of Spring sunshine is required, and then maybe some spiced cranberry cookies and a cuppa.

Yeah. Let's see if that helps.




P.S. Any suggestions or requests for blog topics, let me know. Maybe something will kick my brain back into gear again.