Sunday, 1 February 2015

This is just the beginning...

Where do I start?  Firstly let me just pop a disclaimer right here: this may be the hardest post I ever write, and one that you may feel uncomfortable reading, as it is going to be very honest in regards to my physical appearance and health.  And it aint pretty!  Originally when I decided to write this post I wasn't going to share my starting figures and I certainly wasn't going to share any pictures of myself in my underwear :/ But, then I remembered that a) I promised myself that I would be open and honest about this whole ''journey''.  Now that I am documenting some of it via this blog, that means that commitment applies here too.  And b) I know exactly how inspiring it can be to see someone else's progress when you are on a journey of your own.  Even if you are not on the same journey!  Seeing another person's commitment and dedication to work towards their goals can spark that little thing inside of YOU that makes you go 'well if she can do that, I can do that too' - whatever THAT is.  So yes I feel rattled to my core with embarrassment as I am writing this, but hey, if I can inspire one person to better their health then it is all worth it! Okay, so apologies in advance for what you are about to read and see and if you are not interested in knowing then hit your back button now ;)

So four and a half months ago, I decided enough was enough with where I was at, in regards to my health/weight/fitness/wellbeing.  As most of you know I have been overweight my entire life.  I have made bad choice after bad choice when it comes to my body.  A lot of the time I haven't cared enough (clearly), I haven't been educated on how to truly be healthy, and I have been too lazy/slack/impatient to do anything about it.  Now this makes me sad.  I am almost 30 and for most of my life I have simply abused this vessel I walk around in and disregarded my health.  I really feel like I now owe my body a whole heap of make up sex - in the form of nourishment and exercise that is! Why now?  Nate!  What was my lightbulb moment?  Sitting down to eat dinner one night - I had prepared something nutritious for Nate from scratch (I have been pretty pedantic with this since he started eating as a baby) and I was sitting down eating McDonalds...  He was watching me intently, as babies do, as I put each french fry in my mouth.  Out of I don't know where, I just had a massive stroke of guilt wash over me.  What the hell was I doing?  Yes I was feeding him great food, but I was showing him something completely different!  You can't tell your children one thing and then display a completely different behaviour and expect them not to do it.  Seriously?  Ugggh, I can still remember that exact moment as I type now.  Before I go any further, let me just say that YES I do let my son eat some takeaway on occasion (terrible maybe, but our reality).  Every now and again when we are out and about I will let him have some potato chips or something similar.  At Christmas he ate bloody shortbread for breakfast one day for goodness sake (eeek, I did kinda shudder at that one lol).  Although he eats a pretty good diet, it's not perfect by any means.  And I will never ever pretend it is.  Anyway, moving along!

So I had the lightbulb moment where I basically realised that I was displaying terrible behaviour in front of my child.  I did not want him growing up and picking up my bad eating habits.  Shit had to change!  I also want to spend as many years as possible on this earth making memories with my baby.  If I kept going the way I was, those years would undoubtedly be shortened.  And on top of all of that, I had severe IBS and digestive issues that I needed to get under control for my sheer day to day quality of life AND of course the thought of feeling and looking nice was something I have always wanted too!  I had lost a bit of weight in 2012 (when we were still trying to conceive) and that has been the first time in my life where I had been committed to doing something about my health.  Sure I had done a gazillion (totally a word!) ''diets'' and things in the past - everything from shakes, to WW, to taking freaking duromine from my friendly local doc :/  I lost a few kg here and there and always put it back on of course because I never stuck to anything for more than few weeks at a time. None of these things were sustainable lifestyle changes.  There were bandaid 'fixes'. In 2012 I started exercising for the first time and enrolled in the Michelle Bridges 12 week challenge.  It was good for me at the time.  I wouldn't do it now simply because I have learnt so much since then, but it was honestly good for me then.  But, history repeated itself and when the 12 weeks were up things started to go back to normal.  Before long the weight slowly started creeping back on.  I can't remember how much I weighed before and after that process, but I do know that when I found out I was pregnant in Feb the following year I was 89kg.  The day I found out I was pregnant I never exercised again and ate anything and everything. What, I was pregnant, that is what you do right? Oh how different things will be next time - if there is a next time!

I put on a staggering 24kg during my pregnancy, taking me to 113kg.  I am only 161cm tall.  All I can say is that I feel sorry to my body for doing that.  After you have your baby you lose some of that weight immediately (obviously) and some more over the coming weeks/months.  I found myself weighing in at a hefty 97 odd kg.  Between Jan last year and Sep I made a few very short lived and sorry excuses for attempting to lose weight.  I don't think my commitment ever lasted more than 2 weeks.  Until, as I said, mid Sep when shit got real.  I had a dexa scan to show me just how much fat I was carrying around and promised myself I would really make some positive changes. About a month later I signed up to crossfit - best thing ever.  Fast forward to now and I am pretty proud that I have done that for myself :)  Apart from a few days over Christmas/new year, and the odd meal when socialising or celebrating a special occasion, I really have been dedicated to my journey.  That in itself has been really empowering!  I will write another post soon about what I have exactly done over the past 4.5 months (because this has turned into a freakin novel as it is), but for the most part I have simply eaten REAL FOOD and MOVED!  That's it.
On Friday, I had my follow up dexa scan.  This allowed me to see how far I have come, and compare my body composition now to what it was then.  For anyone else on a similar journey I would really recommend looking at getting one done.  I also weighed myself and took my measurements purely for progress sake.  This is me from my first dexa scan, and then my most recent one.  I was excited that I fit my whole body in the box on the table the second time round as I didn't the first time (see my left arm) - seriously embarrassing :/

Now for some results and achievements!

Starting weight = 97kg, current weight = 81.6kg.  Total loss of: 15.4kg
Starting BFP = 50.6%, current BFP = 43.8%.  Total loss of: 6.8%
Starting dress size = sz 18, current dress size = sz 14
More importantly my IBS is almost non existent (when I am eating the right foods!) thanks to dietary changes. I am now active 4-6 days a week.  I have lost a surprising 94cm off my body in total.  NINETY-FOUR CM!  I have about 3kg to go and I will officially be the lightest I have ever been in my adult life - that is exciting.  Although I have lost some muscle from my trunk, I have gained some muscle in my arms and legs, and with some corrections to my diet I hope to minimise any muscle loss going forward.  Oh and did I mention that I feel healthier and stronger than ever?  That is an awesome feeling :)  This is just the beginning though.  I am committed and focussed on being the best version of me I can be.  I am excited to see what I can achieve in the next 4 or 5 moths and beyond.  There is no quick fix, there is no miracle potion.  There is simply hard work, dedication and whole lot of fun and learning along the way!
The extremely embarrassing pic below is me at the start of this journey, and then me yesterday.  Onwards and upwards from here!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Non Scale Victories

I’ve been sitting here reflecting on my little journey over the past few months, and realising that I have had far more small non scale victories (NSV) than I have noticed, and certainly more than I have celebrated!  I am starting to learn that we should celebrate each and every victory, no matter how small – especially ones achieved without your scales telling you so.  If your friend did something great you would congratulate them right?  Yet when it is ourselves we just keep on keeping on and sadly often don’t even recognise what we have achieved.  Of course I am speaking for myself here.  I have no idea how everyone else thinks, though I think I would be pretty safe betting there are a few others out there just like me!
As far as my fitness goes, last week I used a 12kg kettlebell instead of the 8kg I have always used previously – go me!  I also ‘ran’ 600m without stopping or walking the week before – go me!  And, the clincher – I can now do box jumps on an actual box (albeit a baby one) instead of weight plates – go meeee!  Many people would read this and think ‘wow, she is excited that she ran a whole 600m?  Really?’  And you know what, yes I am excited because a few months ago I couldn’t run 400m without walking some of the way, let alone 600m!  Before I know it I will be able to run a km!  Which, for the record, currently takes me 7:31 to complete.  Rest assured this will only get better.
Being overweight when I first decided to ‘get healthy’ it was all about the scales.  I hadn’t really thought about getting healthy, I just knew I needed/wanted to lose weight.  I now know there is a HUGE difference between losing weight and getting healthy.  Initially all my goals were based around those freaking scales.  Numbers.  Smaller numbers.  Smaller numbers do not necessarily equal healthy.  It took me months to realise that I needed to have non scale goals, and celebrate the non scale victories!  So, I’m currently not weighing myself.  That’s right, I have no idea how much I weigh at the moment.   For the first time in my life I have not been stepping on the scales at least twice weekly, or even daily.  In fact I have not stepped on the damn things in 19 days.  That is massive for me.  And liberating.  And empowering!  Very empowering actually.  I will not be stepping on the scales for another 11 days (30 days in total) and even then, when I do, it will not be frequently and I will not let them rule my life like they previously have.
A couple of months ago I was feeling pretty good.  I had been eating delicious, nutritious wholefoods all week – no junk, nothing processed, all good real food.  I’d also not long started crossfit so I was feeling pretty pumped that I had actually been exercising too – something I had not done in a long time.  I was feeling good.  My clothes felt a little looser than the fortnight before.  My skin had a glow to it.  My tummy issues had been behaving.  I was soooo excited to jump on those scales as I just knew they were going to tell me what I wanted to hear that week.  On I get…  BAM!  2.7kg GAIN!  GAIN!!!  How is this possible!?  In that split second none of those small non scale victories meant shit.  I immediately felt like I had failed that week, yet again.  Not only had those numbers not gotten any smaller, they were actually bigger! 2.7kg bigger!  Clearly I was unhealthier than the week before!  Or, perhaps I was retaining fluid due to my increased exercise.  Or perhaps I was at a certain point in my cycle that naturally fluctuates our weight.  Or perhaps who cares!  I was not unhealthier than the previous week and the numbers on that scale in that moment meant nothing.  The fact that I was feeling good and my body was reacting positively to what I had been doing in the way of my skin and tummy and clothes feeling looser, should have been enough to show me that I was doing the right thing.  I can now look back and tell myself that I was doing great.  In fact I should have been celebrating a non scale victory as I had just gotten off my arse after over a year and a half of not moving, and completed multiple crossfit classes that week!  That my friends is a victory. 
What non scale victories have you achieved lately?  Better yet, ditch your scales for 30 days and make a note of all the victories you achieve during that time!