Tag Archives: weight loss

The Goalposts

Standard

It’s cold this morning, proper cold, the kind of cold that gets you by surprise after months of warm. Cold never used to bother me too much. I was well insulated. I recently went to Melbourne to visit my besty and her family, and we’ve known each other for around ten years, and for the first time ever I told her I needed an extra blanket because I was cold. She was thrilled because for the entire time we have been friends I’ve laughed at her for being cold. The tables have turned.

In the interests of honesty, I have to tell you that the visit to the plastic surgeon a couple of months ago sent me into a huge tailspin. While it was extraordinarily positive, it set off a complete nosedive in my mood. Let me explain.

The surgeon is a beautiful man. He was stunned at what I’ve achieved through hard work – most of his patients who come for skin removal have lost weight via surgery such as gastric banding. He has, he said, a soft spot for people who have lost massive amounts of weight through sheer determination alone. He looked at my body, my excess skin, and said some amazing things. That I more than qualify for medically necessary skin removal. That there’s around 7kg of excess skin in my belly alone. That really, I could just maintain my weight and after the skin was gone, I’d be at a healthy goal weight for my frame. After being substantially overweight for all of my life, this was incredible.

I was quickly disappointed though, given the (well warranted) cost of the surgery. Even with private health, still ridiculously out of reach.

What my brain took out of that was this:

Without surgery, I will never be at my goal.

And once again, I felt like a failure.

Just like that, my brain took over and everything got hard. I filled up with doubts about being a PT. Who wants a PT that looks like me? Unless you know the back story, and unless you realise that my bulk is largely made up of excess skin, I just look… unfit. Everything became difficult. I struggled to see the point of going to the gym, particularly when I was surrounded by teeny tiny PTs. My studies got harder, because it was a reminder that my body isn’t normal for a PT. Everything, everything spiralled.

I went back to the plastic surgeon to ask him more questions and to work out what to do to short circuit this funk before it got completely out of control. I was cutting it close, to be honest.

We talked about goals. We talked about long term plans. We talked about all sorts of things.

That was a week ago.

And today, I’ve woken up with a new approach. It’s been bubbling away and developing for the last seven days.

This photo is from a fun run we did on the weekend. I look at it and the noisy part of my brain focuses on the way the skin hanging off my belly makes me look so big in that area. But now I see my quads. I see the lines in my neck that I never used to have. I see the way my shoulders are back, the pride in my stance. Fuck yeah. I can do this.

18575129_10154659424965897_1729230076_o.png

I’ve shifted the goalposts.

Losing weight and getting fit and healthy was never, ever about being aesthetically pleasing. It was never about forcing my body to be something it just isn’t built to be. I knew all along that my build and frame wouldn’t let me be a waif, which is fortunate because that’s not what I want.

I want to be strong.

That first step into the gym, almost two years ago now: it wasn’t about one day looking perfect.

It was about saving my life.

And just like that, skin or the surplus of it, is not such a problem.

Because I’m saving my life. And I can live with the apron. I can live with the saggy, empty boobs. I can live with arm skin. I can live with floppy thighs. And every day that I get to live with these things is a good day because it means I am achieving what I set out to do.

I’ve saved my life.

I don’t look like what you’d expect a traditional PT to look like. But on the other hand, I don’t actually want to look like that.

I want to be strong.

I might not have a body that you would aspire to. But determination? Stubbornness? Drive? I have those, and my god you’re going to need them if your goal is anything like mine.

Because when you’re fighting to save your life, when you’re battling the very shell you’re wrapped in, you need every internal resource you can summon. Because the battle is inside.

Which is a good reason to not worry about how the outside looks.

These are the things that matter when you shift your goal posts.

This is what matters when you realise that you’re saving your life.

Advertisements

Remember When

Standard

Those memory things on Facebook, they can either make your day or break your heart, can’t they. Some days it feels like all they show you is your dead pet caterpillar and what noxious weeds can do to your prize petunia; they can make you wonder why you wore what you did to a social event eight years ago and relive the cringe-worthy moment that you spouted your love publicly for a toad. Day ruined before it even starts. Other days though, you can see a pattern emerging, or evidence of change and growth.

Three years ago today, I was recovering from yet another broken ankle. This was the break that finally pushed me to see a different orthopaedic surgeon, who would reconstruct my ankle, repair my calf muscle and fix my Achilles – the steps towards being able to finally walk correctly after seven years of managing with an ankle I’d destroyed quite well after falling down some stairs.

Two years ago today, I was finally allowed to leave the house after being diagnosed with whooping cough. This was a scary time, I remember feeling like I was fighting for my life. Aside from just breathing, one of the main issues the doctor kept talking about was my co-morbidities. Isn’t that a reassuring phrase. The GP who was managing the whooping cough had written a referral to both a respiratory specialist, and also to the emergency room of the local hospital, just in case. As an asthmatic, whooping cough was quite problematic. But the other issue was my weight. It was a huge amount of excess load to be carrying around with me while I struggled from the nebuliser to bed, and back again. It also made treatment tricky – it wasn’t until the steroid dose was tripled that I started getting any form of relief.

Whooping cough was, I think, my absolute low point. At the time I felt like a victim. Like nothing was ever going to go right. That life was just relentless in it’s taunting and slaps. And even though I was surrounded by good people (albeit at a distance while I was in quarantine), I had a distinct feeling of being totally, utterly alone.

But evidently, something changed.

I had a slow recovery from whooping cough. Extreme tiredness. Trembling constantly because of all the medication and steroids. Gaining even more weight rapidly, again as a result of the steroids. But it wasn’t long after this that something shifted.

Because one year ago, on this day, I hatched the idea that maybe one day, I could be a personal trainer. And I referred to it so vaguely and so cryptically, that if I didn’t know that’s what I was talking about, I’d have skipped over the memory. But I knew what I was talking about.

I’d been going to the gym for about 8 months at this stage. Actually, maybe a bit longer. I’d made progress. I’d turned my sinking ship around and started sailing towards directions unknown, but I was OK with not knowing where I was going – I could feel myself being stronger and healthier and happier.

But I still had the issues of confidence and doubt. In that I had none of one, and a lot of the other. So much so, that when I finally squeaked the idea of being a PT out loud, I firmly believed I’d be laughed at and told to swallow a large dose of reality. But that’s not how it went at all.

As I spoke out that idea, it kept being met with unbridled joy and excitement. My people were confident in me, and urged me to push towards this goal.

I don’t think I’ve shared it here before, but I actually submitted my first expression of interest in the course around this time. When the information date rolled around, I panicked and didn’t go. I just didn’t go. The second time? I went.

Because now, on this day today, in 2017, I’m halfway through the Certificate IV in Fitness. I’m almost a personal trainer.

The facts?

I still have some weight to lose to be where I want to be. Not because of aesthetics, not because of the BMI – but for my goal of where I want to be. But I’m OK with that.

I still do not look like the traditional personal trainer. But I’m OK with that.

Already, I’ve seen that as an industry, there is a tendency to rely on how people look. In getting a job at fitness centres, how you look counts. And I’ve even seen and heard people commenting that they wouldn’t want a PT who doesn’t have a body they’d aspire to. But I’m actually OK with that one, as well.

I know my story. I know my truth. And I know that there are people that I can help, and perhaps best help because of this imperfect body.

And if nothing else, future Facebook memories will attest to that.

The point of this post?

As much as I hate the way the word has been trawled through crappy reality TV and cheap self help books, trust the journey. If you had told me on this day one year ago that I was indeed going to be a PT, I wouldn’t have believed you, even though the idea was in my mind. Certainly not when I was recovering from whooping cough. Not at all when I was sitting on my bottom watching my ankle change colours.

But sometimes, you can do nothing else but trust that somehow, you’re on a journey.

17092152_10154439976760897_485692536_n

Hope for sale

Standard

Facebook is full of Buy Swap Sell pages.

Generally, people are cleaning out their garage or buying something to replace the old. Posts usually include the words “listed elsewhere” and “or nearest offer”. I saw an ad once from someone selling a Chester Drawers. It took me a bit to work that one out. Turned out they were selling a chest of drawers. It made me laugh to think that they called it Chester, and I imagined them walking down the hallway and bumping into the drawers and saying, “Oh, sorry Chester, I didn’t see you there”. Poor Chester.

On eBay, I’ve been caught out more than once by sellers having items for sale that they don’t actually have. I’m currently waiting on one such item. I’ve been emailing them to try to find the item and they told me a couple of weeks ago to be patient because the item is at my local post office. I got a refund, but I still don’t have my item.

The point is, selling something you don’t have – it doesn’t work.

There are things you buy or do that are investments into the future. We recently made a vegetable patch. Because we were starting from absolute scratch, we had to buy the stuff to create the garden beds, and the soil and the fertiliser and the seedlings and seeds and the works. But we did it, in the hope that in a few months, we’d have a harvest. Essentially, we bought into the future; we’d bought hope. Because there’s no guarantee that the weather would be right for these crops, there’s no promise that we’d get our money’s worth. There’s just hope.

17903466_10154298292372181_6695582123585346261_n

Yesterday at Tafe we were asked to consider what personal trainers are selling. What we’re giving clients in exchange for your hourly rate. Several answers were offered but none of them really sat right with me.

And then it struck me.

If you’re selling something, firstly you need to have surplus of it. Secondly, it’s generally an investment into the future.

For me, personal training is about selling hope.

Consider it.

Imagine hitting rock bottom with your health. No, I mean worse than what you’re considering. It hurts to move. You have weight related health conditions. You can’t play with the kids, you struggle to do basic things. Doctors are telling you to lose weight but if it was that easy, don’t they think you would? Because it isn’t easy.

But you take a punt. And this takes more courage than the average person could ever understand. So you find a trainer, someone who you’ve heard gets it. Someone who has come recommended. They take you through some basic screening, check out your functional movement so that they can work out what the beginning is for you. And you hand over the money, with plans to be spending more of it with this person, based on one single thing:

Hope.

They might be able to help turn things around. They might help you save your life. They might even help you start to enjoy exercise without pain, without intimidation, without shame.

And it’s all a might, but it’s anchored in one thing: Hope.

I’m confident in this because it’s what I bought, almost two years ago. I didn’t know how it was going to work, or even if I could stick with it. I didn’t know if my body could do it, or if my mind could do it. But I had to try, I just had to. So I handed over the dollars. Signed up for one session a week. Went to each session, and did what I needed to do in between sessions. At the time I had no understanding of what my awesome PT was telling me to do, what it would all add up to, what difference it could make. But I just did it. Because I’d paid for hope, and I had put action in that investment.

18279851_10154617699555897_524156321_n

Before buying hope.

So while it’s an industry that can be tied up in appearance and numbers on scales and measurements, don’t forget that essentially it’s got the potential to be an industry that’s about hope. And if you’re lucky, you’ll find the people to be on your team with it. Who know it’s about hope. And when yours falters, they’ll remind you that it’s still there.

Hope for sale.

18057670_10154596002625897_9192018219058711497_n

Investment: worth it.

Back to the start

Standard

The most common question I get asked is, “How did you get started?”.

Now, I know they’re not asking questions regarding how I was conceived because god knows I don’t want to discuss or imagine this. No, generally this question is asked when people see photos like this:

18057670_10154596002625897_9192018219058711497_n

Undesirable No. 1 

As an aside, people look at me fitting into one leg of my jeans or shorts or in this case, jean shorts, and comment that I’m half the size. In terms of weight loss, no. I’ve now officially lost over a third of my body weight. So I’m not half the size. Or half the person. Maybe that’s my brain being factual, or maybe it is the actual facts in answer to a statement where I have missed the point. Anything is possible. But my money would be on the latter option.

Anyway, how did I get started?

For me, the answer is this: Find a reason.

It needs to be a good one. An overarching reason. A reason that will make you tie your shoe laces and go, even when it’s cold or you’re sad or too busy or too stressed. It has to be a big reason, a reason that resonates with the core of your being and your will.

Nudging obesity related health conditions was not a big enough reason.

Being in constant pain was not a big enough reason.

Slow, unfit, hugely overweight: not big enough reasons, not for me.

Hating my body, and myself for what I’d let it become? Still not there.

Because all of these reasons, which are good reasons, weren’t enough for me to act.

For me, the big enough reason happened 14 years ago. But I didn’t turn it into a reason until July of 2015. Almost two years ago. So it took twelve years to realise the reason was there. It also took a considerable mind shift.

14 years ago, my mum died very suddenly.

She had some health issues, and was overweight.

There are things I won’t ever forget from the night she died.

It’s easy and natural to be stuck in grief.

But the thing is, I knew I was heading down a path to recreate this moment for my people. I was barrelling down the road that was going to put my people through the same thing. And when I looked at them and thought about them, I couldn’t understand why I would put them through that. For some of them, it would be the second time they would have to confront these experiences.

And so that cloak of mourning and grief had to be changed.

It became the hand on my back, pushing me forwards. It became the reminder on to the too cold too tired too hard days. It became the furnace that rose up from the pit of my belly and told me I could do this. It became the momentum behind my walking and running, the power in my weight lifting, the reason to scan my gym card or to sign up for yet another fun run.

When I hit the 50kg gone point, my aunt told me that I had realised mum’s goal.

And as my health improved, as well as my fitness, I had realised my own.

I’ve dodged a bullet, not only for myself but also for my people. And it comes down to that reason.

Essentially, my reason was love.

My reason was about changing the way that most painful moment changed my life. It took 12 years to get there, fortunately that was OK. But I don’t know how much time there was going to be to find that reason. I have no idea where I would have been today if I hadn’t started.

It’s a sobering thought.

Here’s something I know, though:

If you find a reason – and it must be a big one – then you’ve started. From there, it’s about moving. Find something you’ve enjoyed in the past. Walking? Swimming? Skipping? Set those beginning goals low. Walk to the mailbox and back each day. Walk in water if you’re sore. It’s not about speed, because you’re not racing anyone. It’s not about distance, because even marathon runners start small.

It’s just about starting.

And then remembering why you started.

18010300_1669949706351787_3208840316793851952_n

I won’t ever stop wanting my mum back. But I also know that the last thing she ever gave me was the power to save my life.

Which seems fitting, given she gave me that life in the first place.

 

On This Day

Standard

To the me on the left: You’re stubborn. You’re surrounded by people who love you. You’re brave and fierce and determined. You have value and you are worthy.  I know you are uncomfortable. Everything hurts. Nothing is easy. Not walking not sitting not standing not anything. Every career path you’ve tried, you’ve struggled at because in your head you feel like everyone you know is judging you because of your size. They weren’t, but it’s hard to change a mind set, and it’s hard not to project your insecurities.

To the me in the middle: You’re stubborn. You’re surrounded by people who love you. You’re brave and fierce and determined. You have value and you are worthy. You kept it going. The idea of being a personal trainer was still tucked away behind that head of curls and strange ideas. You were discovering, at around this point, that you enjoyed exercising. You enjoyed the fun runs, the weights, the treadmills and the spin bikes and the different things that your body was suddenly able to do.

To the me on the right: You’re stubborn. You’re surrounded by people who love you. You’re brave and fierce and determined. You have value and you are worthy. You’re almost there now. You’ve taken that idea of being a personal trainer, completed the first part of your qualification and started the second. You’ve learned that the number on the scale isn’t overly important, what’s important is having a goal broken into micro goals, and then achieving them. You thought that losing weight would help you to be happy with yourself, and with your body. But then you discovered the joy of excess skin and chafing and random clapping. What you’ve been working for is hidden by a daily reminder of what was. What’s important though, is that it’s there. Hidden, yes. But there. You’ve worked your arse off, literally.

 

*     *     *     *     *

Those memory things on Facebook, they come up every day to remind you or taunt you or embarrass you about what you were doing on this day in previous years. The memories only go back for as long as you have been on Facebook, which proves that there is life outside of social media. Or, that there was.

It was because of the On This Day feature that I realised for the first ever time that my regime of training, walking, running, lifting and generally moving was making a difference to my body. It was 12 months ago, on this day, apparently, that I made this realisation.

It was a photo of me in my Scout uniform shirt. It was the largest size shirt that I could purchase. You can see how it fits – it was tight. And I remember seeing that photo of myself and thinking, “Hang on, my Scout shirt doesn’t fit like that anymore!”. So I put on my shirt and took a photo and compared them, side by side. It was a pretty huge moment.

Anyway, that original photo popped up in my On This Day reel today. I’m not doing Scouts anymore – I finished up last year so that I could focus more on my shifting priorities. So for shits and giggles more than anything else, I went and found my shirt and popped it on.

17887532_10154555817475897_448001924_o

The me on the left. The me in the middle. And the me on the right.

Thanks.

 

 

But “no fear April” is not as catchy

Standard

It was funny, I was sitting in the gym car park this afternoon messaging a friend and openly told them that I was sitting in the gym car park. I was maybe 20% thinking I would just go home. I was tired. It’s been a few weeks of not a lot of sleep. It’s also been a pretty full on few weeks. Worlds get rocked sometimes.

But that other 80% of me dragged my bottom into the gym. And as I opened the stairwell door, I was confronted with hordes of teenagers from one of the local high schools traipsing down the escalator to the gym.

Friday afternoon sport.

To be perfectly honest, I automatically turned around and walked back to the stairs that would return to me to my car.

But I didn’t go up the stairs.

I turned back around and joined them on the escalator and went into the gym. As I went to get changed I had a little voice in my head whisper, “You know you packed a singlet to wear today, don’t you.”.

Now, singlets. They’re kind of my nemesis. I look at myself in them and see wagging, saggy skin; the way they cling to the skin on my tummy, the bulgey bits from my sports bras (yes plural, the girls are escape artists). But I’ve been getting braver.

And remembering I had packed a singlet when the gym was full of high school kids again made me contemplate the cleverness of my decision to push on with getting changed and doing a workout.

But I got changed. Walked through the selfies taking place. Went to my treadmill. Then to the weights. Stretched. Had a good workout.

And came home.

The No Fear November thing was awesome. And I’ve tried to keep it in mind as I’ve gone through the Cert III, and start the Cert IV next week. But it’s hard to change almost 40 years of thinking with one hash tag, which is why I tried to change my thinking just for November last year. The thing is, I discovered that I quite liked being brave. I enjoyed not being governed by fear and doubt. So yes, I tried to hang on to No Fear November.

But now it is April and No Fear April is nowhere near as catchy.

So instead, I think it’s going to come down to reminding myself not to be scared. Of life, of teenagers, of singlets.

It seems to be more of  a remembering what I’ve done and who I am thing, and remembering that my old responses aren’t how I need to respond now.

And just like that, this post has become more of a thought vomit.

Anyhoo, here is me in my singlet. Middle finger up, because you know what, I didn’t need to do this gesture at all at the gym. There were no giggles and no snide remarks. Instead it is up at the old thought patterns that still threaten to taunt me every now and then.

Fuck them.

I’m wearing the singlet.

#nofeareverymonth

17670430_10154522902840897_121281699_o

Unspirational

Standard

I hear all the time that what I have done with my weight loss and fitness is inspiring. I’ve watched friends and family make changes because of what they’ve seen me do. And it’s brilliant, and I am so proud of every single step they take towards achieving their own personal goals. And it’s humbling to have played a small part towards spurring them on. I’m so excited for them, cautiously excited not because I don’t believe in them but because I know the hard yards they’re about to undertake. I know the ache in the thighs, the pain in the feet, the confrontation of exercise, the way food that fuels you better at first doesn’t taste as good as the foods that you love. I know the power of chocolate on sale and the lure of daytime television. These are hard choices. Your head game has to be strong to do this, and there they are, doing it, and I couldn’t be prouder. To T, P, K and several others who have messaged me to say thanks for motivating them to get on this path: you girls are true heroes, and I believe in each and every one of you wholeheartedly.

The title of this post might have you thinking my own wheels have fallen off regarding this stuff. They have not. I spent Sunday boxing for 8 hours. I’ve just signed up to walk ten kilometres a day for ten days in April. Every day choices, friends. Just like last night we chose to have pizza for dinner.

This isn’t about good food versus bad food. This isn’t about changing directions.

This is about when the inspirer feels totally and utterly unspirational.

I hit struggle street a couple of weeks ago. Time management has gotten the better of me. I’m in the last week of my Certificate 3 in fitness, assessments have been raining down on me and I think it’s time to build an ark and take two of everything that has ever given me hope and sail away while the tide comes crashing down. Except the dogs, I’ll take three of those. I think I’ve caught up with most of my study load now, but the under-riding panic is still there.

I think this was sparked by probably the most exciting thing that has happened on this journey.

I saw a plastic surgeon, regarding the excess skin I have. Now, in Australia, there are several hoops to jump through to have the removal of this skin deemed medically necessary. If you successfully get through those hoops, you then are given an item number for the surgery. This item number means that part of the surgery is covered by Medicare, reducing the cost of the surgery significantly. Then you have the option of doing it privately, with the surgeon of your choice, or going on an extensive waiting list (at least several years) to have the surgery done publicly.

I cleared every single one of the hoops. The surgeon asked me how I had done it and I told him the truth: through bloody hard work. He clarified that I hadn’t had any form of weight loss surgery. I told him no, I’ve just worked really really hard. He threw down his pen and gave me a high five, and said, “We just don’t see that anymore!”. He was amazed. He then checked out my skin and my body, what would need to be done. I don’t have a frame that is petite and dainty. I’ve worked hard to build muscle mass. I have big hands, big feet. On my tummy alone he’s estimated 6-7kg of skin will come off. And by the time all the excess skin is gone?

I’ll be at the goal weight for my frame.

After being a fat baby, a fat kid, a fat teen, and an adult so overweight that I didn’t even register on the BMI scale when I first started, I had been told for the first time in my entire life that I am now at a point where I just have to maintain my current weight and muscle mass. He said I could try to lose another 5kg or so before surgery if I wanted to, but it’s not necessary.

Stunned. Overwhelmed.

I sat waiting to see his secretary to talk costs, and I became really teary. I’d done it. I’d bloody done it.

And then I found out the cost and just like that, reality hit. Even with private health cover, the out of pocket cost for just stage one of the surgery would buy an excellent car, or be a substantial start for a deposit on a house.

So there I was.

So close to my goal weight, after almost two years of solid grit and determination. On the cusp of finishing my first fitness qualification, the first step towards working with clients like myself who felt like it just couldn’t be done. Now faced with a financial challenge that looks totally and utterly unattainable. Don’t worry, I’m working on solutions for this.

But I think that’s where the wheels started to wobble.

At the boxing course on Sunday, when I did a roundhouse kick, the skin on my thighs followed through with an audible clap. When I was jab-cross-jabbing, the skin on my arms would wave at the focus mitts almost as an apology, and I’d catch sight of it in the corner of my eye. Lifting my legs for the forward kicks was difficult because of that damn apron of skin. But no, that’s not the point, the point is that in doing that course I can now use boxing with clients, and the point is that I kept up with every single one of the people doing the course, and the point is that this body, my body boxed for 8 hours with minimal breaks. The other stuff is aesthetics.

But when I think about why this stuff has thrown me so much, I begin to wonder if I’m being totally superficial. I wonder if I am every actually going to be happy with my body. I wonder if I am ever going to feel enough: fit enough; strong enough; healthy enough. Because these things aren’t aesthetics. These things are internal.

Something you don’t get told about losing a huge amount of weight is that it takes a long time for your head to catch up. That you will have demons to conquer – not food vices, but thought patterns.

There are non-scale victories that the average person wouldn’t even consider.

The moment a beach towel, and then a bath towel wraps around you for the first time. The moment you no longer have to have the car seat back as far as it can go in order to drive. The moment you don’t have to turn side on to get through doors. The moment you can walk between cars in a parking lot. The moment you can stand up and look down and see your feet, or when you can be lying down in bed and see your feet.

I can see my feet.

17408462_10154495639325897_1729652375_o

I’m not sure what the point of this particularly long post is. I have a hunch it’s about being transparent, being honest with the people who follow this blog. Or maybe it’s just about getting thoughts out of my head. Or maybe it’s about giving myself a chance to catch up on where I am at the moment.

I was messaging someone who has become a treasured mate yesterday, explaining that my head had imploded. And I said this:

“Still going along the forwards path. Just need to make sure my head is where my feet are on that path”.

What I have done has changed my life.

It’s time to let it start changing my view of myself, too.

 

The Measure

Standard

I wanted to write a quick post mainly because The Biggest Loser kicks off tonight on Australian screens. If you’re not familiar with the show, a quick introduction: people apply/audition to be on the show based on their weight and wanting to change their lifestyle. Contestants are picked from the applications, and are then designated a group and a trainer for the group. The trainer generally yells and motivates the contestants through a variety of means. Contestants vomit, work hard, lose weight. Each week they weigh in and their weight loss is recorded. At first this is done either topless (men) or just in a sports bra (women). As they lose weight they start to wear singlets to the weigh ins. Then there’s a finale, and the person who has lost the greatest percent of their body weight wins.

The reason I want to write a blog in response to this is several-fold.

The Biggest Loser tends to encourage people to work on their fitness and lose weight. But you need to realise a couple of things.

1. You will not get the extraordinary weekly results that the contestants on The Biggest Loser get. There are several reasons why. The first is that the weigh ins are not actually weekly. I have read differing amounts of time between weigh ins, but in general they seem to be every ten days or even fortnightly. Not weekly. The second reason you will not get those same results is because the contestants are taking part in an extreme and gruelling exercise regime. We’re talking many hours in the gym per day. This is not sustainable in real life, because we have things like jobs and kids and partners and pets and washing.

2. If you are particularly well endowed in the chesticle region, you will struggle to find a sports bra that offers the required scaffolding to support the girls. Do your research, they are out there but you do need to work hard to find them. I got my first few online. They’re expensive but they are absolutely necessary.

3. Most importantly, is this: If The Biggest Loser inspires you to get moving, or even to jump on the scales and assess where things are at, remember this. There is no number on earth that will ever be an accurate measure of who you are as a human being. Not the number on the scale. Not the number on your clothing. Not even the number that represents your chronological age. You’re more than a number. You’re worth more than numerical digits that attempt to sum up your worth. I am worth no more at my weight now than I was before I started my weight loss adventure. I will always be thankful to who I was when I started, because she did the hard yards: walking into a gym for the first time. God, even just walking. You are more than a number. You are.

The Biggest Loser isn’t a bad thing. Not at all.

But it always helps to remember the reality behind reality television.

 

 

Behind the keyboard

Standard

It was unexpected, by me, anyway – but the last post, It’s Not That Hard, went a little bit crazy. It resonated with many of you, and while I knew it was true for me, I tend to write things taking a bit of a punt that it might be true for other people, too. It’s kind of hard because my brain is a peculiar place. But it appears this time, I was spot on.

The problem with writing a post that results in new followers of this blog and big reactions, is that for me it creates this funny kind of pressure to follow it up really well. I guess it’s a different kind of writer’s block – performance anxiety or something. Who knows. But I decided in the end that probably the best way to follow up that post is by letting you know who is behind the keyboard for this particular blog. To prove that I know what I am talking about when it comes to losing weight actually being quite hard.

This is me.

17029093_10154439987610897_64524518_n    17035915_10154439987615897_588483343_o

 

This is also me.

17078002_10154439988080897_755222043_n

17092342_10154439988075897_577336477_n

 

So yes. I do know that it is is indeed hard to lose weight. Anyone who tells you it isn’t that hard is an ignorant fool, and probably hasn’t been there. But I’ve already told you my thoughts on that one.

For me, this journey started when I fell down a flight of stairs. I completely screwed my ankle, busting bones and ligaments and tendons. I was overweight at the time, and the foot surgeon I saw said, “If you were an athlete, I’d repair it, but you’re not.”. Can anyone say arsehole?

Eventually, seven years after the initial fall, I did indeed get my ankle repaired. And after months of physio, and two more procedures, I started walking. Exactly 12 months after I took my first steps on that new ankle, I completed my first fun run. I barely ran, in fact I walked the vast majority of it and also managed to get lost on the course.

The thing is, in that seven year gap, I wasn’t able to do anything active at all. So the weight piled on. And on. And on. I also had PCOS (poly cycstic ovarian syndrome), which meant that I was exceptionally good at gaining and keeping weight. Like, National Representative good. And every single thing that I did, was hard.

I can tell you that while it wasn’t easy getting started, I knew I had to. I had a lot of motivators, but no motivation on earth is match for a reason. A Reason. Motivation can and will fall away. But I reckon if you have a Reason, a Reason for anything that you do, then you have something that will drive you through the days where you don’t want to, or it’s too hard, or you just cannot be arsed.

For me, my Reason was simple, but came from the most painful of firey furnaces. I’d say it  was like a phoenix but in reality is was more like an uncoordinated pelican that my Reason surfaced. It involved shifting of mindset and reframing of response.

My mum had died very suddenly, and the grief and aftershocks for my family and myself were, in short, heartbreaking. And I stayed stuck in grief mode.

And then one day, when I was thinking of my family and my people and my beloved, I realised that by not getting my health under some form of control, I was heading up a path that was going to force my people to go through the grief and pain of my own sudden death. Because that was the reality of where my health and my weight was.

So I changed the way I wore that blanket of grief. Tucked it into the back of my shirt and turned into some kind of mediocre superhero cape. Because it really was going to take a superhero effort to turn that ship around.

18 months later, that Reason hasn’t changed. For me, my Reason comes down to love; to an encompassing need to try to protect my people from experiencing that grief and pain of loss. Everyone is going to have a different Reason, but if you can find your Reason, then congratulations, you’re on your way.

That Reason pushes me on daily. Fuelled by love, I do my kilometres on the treadmill. I lift my weights. And now, I go to Tafe to learn how to be a personal trainer and fitness worker. Because there is a serious shortfall of people who know what this is like, first hand.

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know all of that stuff. And even now it still makes me a bit wobbly to share it all again. These are painful things to think on, but it’s the reality, and if nothing else I have always, always had the mindset that if it’s painful and I have to do it, then I need to use it to help other people.

Give me a few months to finish these qualifications, and I’ll do just that.

17092152_10154439976760897_485692536_n

 

It’s not that hard

Standard

Sorry, yes it is, actually.

Today someone told me that it is not that hard to lose weight.

Someone with quite a small frame, who juggles their weight to benefit things like muscle definition.

Not someone who has battled obesity. Not someone who knows how hard it is to function with extra weight on board. Not someone who will have to make a choice every single day to stay in charge of their body.

So, in response to that particularly stupid and ignorant statement, I would like to respond with this:

It is hard.

And I want you to know that I know that it is hard, which is why I am learning to be a trainer – so that there is someone on your side who knows exactly how soul-crushingly, body-achingly hard it is.

It’s hard when you have that moment when you realise that you need to lose weight. It’s hard to realise that your weight is out of control, and that it’s collected some friends in the form of serious health conditions to keep you company.

It’s hard to recognise the depth and breadth of the changes you are going to make. It’s hard to recognise that you feel a sense of grief and loss about what your health has become.

It’s hard feeling shame, because we’re surrounded by a million different inputs every day on social media and television and in almost every interaction from the moment we put our feet on the floor in the morning – and they all tell us that we do not look the way we are meant to look or need to look.

It’s hard taking the first step into gym.

It’s hard going to the gym when everyone else there doesn’t look like you.

It’s hard going to the gym when everyone else there doesn’t look like you, and you can’t keep up with what they are doing.

It’s hard going to the gym.

It’s hard to feel guilty for resting. Be it 20 minutes or a day or two days, even after 50kg gone I still feel guilty if I haven’t been “active” that day.

It’s hard knowing that as the weight comes off and your fitness improves, there is no ‘fast forward’ button in life. I remember the moment when I realised that this was going to take me a long time: I was pedalling on a bike, and in my head I was thinking about a movie or a TV show that did a flash forward on somebody at the gym. In a simple ten seconds they went from unfit and overweight, to fit and in a healthy weight range. That’s not going to happen. This is going to take time. Commitment. And a choice, every single fucking day.

And it’s hard.

Going to the gym or starting any new fitness regime is hard. Add to it, in my case, an extra 50 kilograms (and still more to go), and you tell me it’s not that hard to lose weight. Stepping on to the treadmill is hard because your knees, they’ve hurt for years. Sitting on a bike is hard because your back screams at you constantly. Weights are hard. Rowing is hard. Classes are hard. Walking is hard. Everything is hard.

It’s hard as you start enjoying the new routine of being active and regaining your fitness and health. You begin realising that there’s time, lost, that you can’t get back. It’s hard seeing old photos of yourself. It’s hard getting your head around your new body and your new shape. It’s hard working out how to respond when people tell you that you look great and that you’ve saved your life and that you must be feeling better. It’s hard when people say that they’re proud of you, like every other thing you’ve ever achieved wasn’t going to be good enough because of your size. It’s hard because if you’re lucky, there will be people who will remain steadfastly by your side – but they cannot do it for you. It’s hard because each and every hard yard is walked and run and carried out by you. It’s hard feeling lonely. It’s hard feeling pressure from yourself.

It’s not that hard, I heard someone say today.

All that says to me is that they have not had to do it.

And to be honest, I’m really glad that you think it’s not that hard to lose weight. Because you thinking that, and saying it in a public setting, sends the very loud and clear message that you have no ability to comprehend and empathise with what this is like.

And I’m also glad that I am able to comprehend it. Because it means that I can use that comprehension and empathy to help other people.

It is hard.

And don’t ever let anyone, regardless of their standing or role or qualifications, tell you that it’s simple or easy. It’s not. It’s hard. It’s bloody hard.

But if it’s worth it, it’s worth earning.

It is hard, and I am proud that I have put in 18 months of ridiculously hard work to get to this point. Still not finished, but closer today than I was yesterday.

It’s bloody hard. But yes. Yes, it’s worth it.