Monday, 30 July 2012

12WBT Reflection Post

“Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead.” Author Yvonne Woon.
This weeks 12WBT weekly Surprise is to post about our journey and how far we may or may not have come.  The above quote for me symbolises what we should be able to do in order to see where we were at the start of this journey and what we are on our way to become in time with persistence and commitment.  When I look back at who I was 8 weeks ago, it is a vastly different person.  Whilst I still have moments of doubt, struggle with some of the changes being made and possibly lapse back into some old habits, I believe that this journey has changed me for the better and the difference to my life has been immense.
I am now aware of the years of punishment I have put my body through, all the life experiences I have missed out on and basically many years of enjoying life to the fullest which have passed me by.  In the last 8 weeks I have reached numerous milestones (ran 7kms non stop, rode a bike for 60 kms, lost almost 20kgs) but more importantly I have learnt that in order for me to be the best version of me, I needed to make some serious changes in my life which were not only about fitness and physical milestones.  These have been around diet, which is a huge change and one I now enjoy and changing my mindset.  There is no excuse now for not working out 6 days a week.  There is no excuse now for not pushing myself in a workout and there is no excuse now for eating crap food. 
If you want to succeed in this journey, make the change.  Travel your own journey as honest as you can and don’t compare yourself to others or worry about what others think.  This is about you, not the doubters, not the knockers, about YOU.  You will only get out of it what you put into it.  JFDI!!!

Thursday, 26 July 2012


Yesterday was once again weigh in day, but this week is also a mini milestone week.  This requires us to do our measurements again to see how we have progressed and also our fitness test.   Whilst I was confident that my measurements were going to be okay due to the weight I had lost over the last 4 weeks, I had mentioned to my wife that I was not going to have a huge loss this week (call it a gut feeling, it is big enough still to know).  I was also not looking forward to the 1km time trial, which is a part of the fitness test.  I have progressed a great deal in terms of fitness level, but I had not been for a run for the last 2 weeks and was not confident that I would be able to reduce my time as I had planned 8 weeks ago.  These two things alone made me anxious about my results this week.
Looking back at this it seems very silly that I felt like this about my weight and fitness after 8 weeks of the journey.  I have been very strict with my training, pretty much spot on with my nutrition and the weight has been coming off a lot quicker than I ever expected.  I have had so many positive experiences so far in relation to my fitness levels and achievements, which I would have deemed impossible 10 weeks ago, yet I still had concerns over this weeks results.  The way the human mind works is a baffling concept and the simple fact that I have been doing as well as I have should be enough to rid my mind of any doubts.  Still they were there.  Why am I worried if I don’t lose a big number on the scales?  Any loss is still an improvement, isn’t it?  Why do I need to beat my time on the time trial?  I had been a little injured and concentrating on my cycling, so I know I have been working hard, just not at running.  Is that the end of the world?  The answer is one that I had pushed to the back of my mind.  Why?  Was the old competitive me coming back to the forefront?  I like to win when playing sport and games, but this competition is against no one other than myself and at the end of the day I am winning with everything I do on this journey, so why do I need to be the best?

There are so many things there that a psychologist could have a field day with, hence the reason I have never visited one.  At the end of the day, these tasks just had to be completed, so suck it up princess and do it.  First things first, I jumped out of bed and weighed myself.  Had to have a second look at the scales and noticed I had lost 2.8kgs.   OMG that is amazing.  That has taken me just over 18kgs lost in 7 ½ weeks.  I am gobsmacked by that and it was the best way to start off the day.  At least I was on a high for the morning, until I thought about the fitness test later that night.  Why was I still worrying about the fitness test?  I knew I was going to lose cms and that the Wall Sit, and flexibility exercise should be okay, even the push ups should be fine, but it was that dreaded time trial.
We completed the first part being measurements and I found that whilst I had lost further cms on my body, totalling 52.5cms since the start of the program, my thighs and arms had increased in size slightly due to muscle being built.  As I said to Julie, it is my guns getting bigger.  I know I have cap guns.  They are a work in progress people. I have to start somewhere. In the wall sit I almost doubled my time when I hit 2 minutes and my flexibility has increased.  I have dropped a couple of sizes in pants and now fit into some XL shirts, which was a long way off 10 weeks ago. 

It was now time for the time trial.  I headed out and was going to the spot where I run this 1km and it dawned on me.  Who cares what time I run?  I don’t to be honest.  I have been working my ar$e off to lose weight, I am a million times fitter than I have been in a number of years and if I don’t beat my time so what.  I am still out running which I have not done in 20 years and that means more to me than a few seconds here or there.  I turned the timer on and off I went.  Where I run is a little track that is 250 metres long.  Perfect, as it means it is only 4 laps and I am done.  I had decided that I would go out hard (my version of hard people) and try to maintain that pace for as long as I could and see where I ended up.  The time I last set was 6:17 for 1 kilometre, which was an improvement on the 7:19 I set 4 weeks earlier (not all run either) so it was going to be hard to beat. 
After 1 lap I was feeling okay, but my left buttock was tight from squats and lunges the night before.  After 2 laps I was thinking that I might have gone out a little too hard as I was feeling a bit yuck in the stomach and now my right buttock had come to the party.  So, I was half way there with an average stomach and 2 sore butt cheeks.  Don’t stop, just 500m to go, keep running you big mongrel.  Don’t give up now.  Third lap down, 2 screaming buttocks and a stomach that wanted to get rid of the lasagne it had consumed 2 hours earlier, but these legs kept pumping and the mind screaming internally not to stop yet.  By this time I was thinking that the time was well and truly beyond me but it didn’t matter, I just needed to keep running and try to finish as strong as I could and that in itself was going to be a win for me.  More parts of the body started to join in and scream out to stop at this point, but I couldn’t stop now.  No way, that would be admitting defeat and I hate that. Run Forrest Run!!!!!!  I managed to keep running to the finish line and stop the clock.  I was apprehensive about looking at it, but delaying it was not going to change anything.  When I glanced down and the first number was a 5 I had to have a second look.  The time actually said that I had completed the 1 km time trial in 5:48 which is a full 29 seconds faster than my last item.  I could not believe it.  I had broken the 6 minute mark, which was a goal of mine and I was only 18 seconds away from the advanced running time, which is where I wanted (more like hoped) to be at the end of the 12 weeks.
What an amazing feeling, knowing that I had progressed enough that I could run that much faster without concentrating on my running.  My fitness level is improving every day and for me that is the catalyst for changing my life.  It has given me the impetus to want to get out and do things, think about taking part in activities that previously were nothing more than fanciful, but with work could be a reality and to enjoy life to the full.  The simple fact that I had allowed my mind to clutter my thoughts of not being happy with the work I had put in was utterly ridiculous.  Nothing I have done in the last 8 weeks could be seen as a failure.  Every step has been a positive one forward and to think of a loss not being big enough or a run not being fast enough is foolish.  I will conquer these mind games in time, I will also need to train that competitive beast inside me and realise that every day I stay on this path, eat correctly and train correctly I am a winner.  This is helping me become a better version of me and can only be a good thing for my wife, kids and everyone else I know.

Monday, 23 July 2012

No Rest For The Wicked

Sunday is known as a day of rest by most people and even more so for those on the 12WBT.  Michelle expects us to train Monday through Saturday and have a well earned rest on Sunday.  This is something that normally is appreciated and a day that most people look forward to, especially after the gruelling training sessions we all put ourselves through on Saturdays.  This is due to the fact that we must burn off a minimum of 1000 calories on a Saturday.  For most people that can be 2 – 2 ½ hours of steady exercise.  For myself and Julie I doubt we will be resting on Sundays for the next 3 months.
Some of you will be aware that we have signed up for the Ride to Conquer Cancer and as the ride is only 96 days away we are in the process of stepping up our training.  This meant that this weekend was the first opportunity we had to work out for a good lengthy period of time and both get out on the bike.  Now, Saturday for me has usually meant that I can do our personal training session and then go for a bike ride for 35-40 kms which allowed me to burn between 1200 to 1500 calories.  This weekend I was not able to go out on the road on my bike due to Julie working early on Saturday, so I had to improvise.  After our PT session we did a bit of boxing (as mentioned in my previous post) then I jumped on my bike on the trainer for a while, did some weights and a bit of running in my back yard (covering 2kms in total of short shuttle runs) which allowed me to burn 1325 calories.  Not a bad mornings work actually.


Sunday was a different story.  Julie was fortunate enough that she wasn’t working, so after our oldest son’s football match she went out on a bike ride, for her first serious hit out.  She managed to ride 40kms in around 2 hours 30 mins, which is an awesome effort and she came home feeling good and like she could keep going.  Only reason she came home was to let me get out.  Knowing that I really had no time constraints on me, I was looking forward for a bit of a longer ride than I had done in the past.  I headed out on my usual route but extended it a little at one end and by the time I got home I had ridden 50.4kms in just on 2 hours.  Added to this new benchmark for me was the fact that I managed to average 25km per hour and burn an amazing 1705 calories in 2 hours (time shows a bit longer due to stretching afterwards).  This is almost equivalent to my daily intake of food.  That is HUGE for me!!!!
I will admit that both of us are a little sore today, but it is a good soreness and I am proud to say that for the first time I actually felt like an athlete out there on my bike.  I might not look like one just yet, but at least I am feeling fitter, healthier, more confident and I believe that what I am doing is making a difference to my life, my kids lives and also making me a better person, father and husband.   Whilst I appreciate that the sight of a large man in cycling gear is probably not the prettiest of visions when I fly past you, suck it up, I don’t care what you think.  This is about me and from now on that is the way it should be and will be. 

Anyone wanting to donate to my efforts in raising money for Peter Mac on my quest to Conquer Cancer can do so on the below link.  I am hoping that I can raise $7000 and I am currently just over $5000 so any donations are greatly appreciated and if you can notify your friends and family of this great cause that would be appreciated as well.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Very Proud Today!!!

This journey that I have decided to take is being done alongside my wife and we are assisting each other through support and feedback on all aspects, whether it be diet, exercise or mindset.  Whilst we have both had our moments, I would like to say that I believe we have been far more positive in our relationship since we started than we have been in the last 5 or so years.  This can only be attributed to our weight and mindset which has caused us both to be unhappy in our own skins.

Now, whilst I have been concentrating in this blog on my own little wins and some big ones as well, I have not mentioned a great deal about how my wife is travelling.  She has always been the sort of person that can be very determined when she wants to do something, but her issue is sticking to it.  She would say that it is probably me being a bad influence on her and I am sure she will comment here.  I must admit that she did extremely well on Weight Watchers for a long period of time, but openly admits she went off the rails and put it all back on.  Enough about the past anyway.  On her 12WBT journey she has been amazing.  Whilst she has not been able to exercise as much as myself due to her ankle injury sustained in a car accident a number of years ago, she has tried to do as much as she can.  This has caused her some angst as she has felt that she hasn't been able to do what Michelle has asked.

This in itself has caused her to have doubts over what she has been doing, BUT she has been amazingly good on the diet, even keeping me in check and she has even worked out her own little circuits at home, climbs the stairs at work in her breaks and walks to pick up the kids from school.  Add to this she has lost 11kgs in 7 weeks and is feeling amazing about herself and her journey.   Go you good thing!!!!

All of this is enough for me to be proud of here and the way she has changed her outlook and I can only thank her for joining up this program as it was her doing so that made me join as well.   The really big moment for me was this morning after our training session with our personal trainer.  We had just completed a circuit session which went for 30 minutes and I then decided that I wanted to do a little more before Julie had to go to work.

I went and grabbed our boxing gloves and pads and asked her if she wanted to continue when everyone left.  We then started to do some simple exercises which meant we would both have a turn and seemed easy enough.  During Julie's second round I asked her to do 3 times as many overhead punches as we had normally agreed.  I could see by the look on her face that she was not happy about this as we were only going to do 20 which is enough to have the shoulders and upper arms killing.  When she got to 35 I could see she was not happy and slowing rapidly.  She then proceed to smash out the next 25 punches with a totally different mindset and maybe a little anger. It was truly amazing and I don't know where it came from.

After this we then did a couple more rounds of jabs, overheads, uppercuts and hooks in sets of 50 punches.  This means that she managed another 400 punches in quick succession with a smile (maybe grimace) on her face.  I could see that she had realised that she needed to break a mental barrier and she pushed herself harder than I think she has in training since we have been on this program.  For me this is a huge step for her and I am so proud of my wife and she is going to smash the last 5 weeks of this program.  She has already signed up for round 3 and is looking forward to continuing, so look out for my sexy slim wife in Bali next March (maybe sporting a new bikini).

Well done Julie, you are a trooper, an inspiration, wonderful mother, workhorse and oh yeah an okay wife as well.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Gaining Some Perspective

I woke up this morning and was excited to get on the scales to see what the last week’s work on exercise and diet had thrown out for me.  I was over the moon to see a loss of 2.4kgs this week.  This brings my total weight loss in 6 ½ weeks to 15.3kgs.  This is mind blowing to me and something that I never thought would happen when I started this program.  I am enjoying the new place I am in mentally, physically and emotionally with my new outlook and the changes that are visible to all.

I would also like to add that I am extremely proud of my wife as she has lost over 11kgs in the same time, whilst battling the dreaded cold and flu twice and also being limited in the training she can do due to her leg (suffered in car accident 6 years ago) but she has ensured her diet is perfect and worked out whatever way she can to ensure she is still active.  Well done Boofie, you are truly a legend and an inspiration to me and your children to show there are no excuses, JFDI.

This morning, as per my usual Wednesday ritual, I logged in to both the 12WBT and facebook forums to record my weight in various threads and groups and have a boast about my great week when I was confronted with a picture and story which saddened me quite a bit.  This is for no other reason than seeing exactly what life can throw at some people and how cruel it can be.    Firstly I saw this beautiful photo (see below) which is something we would all like to see rather than the dour interiors of our workplace.  Attached to this was a little story about a 6 year old boy named Talin Hawkins. 
You can read more here about this poor little fellow. 

First of all I wondered why so many people had shared this picture, but after reading the attached links I couldn’t help sharing it myself.  As a father of 4 beautiful, yet sometimes cheeky, naughty and painful children, I could only feel anguish at what these poor parents, siblings and broader friends and family had to go through.  It certainly puts into perspective the things in life which are most important and that we sometimes need to re-evaluate what we are doing and why.
To me this re-evaluation of what we are doing in life is never more important than right now.  My journey on this 12WBT is not only about me, it is also about my kids and wife.  If I didn’t decide to make the change NOW then it may end up being too late.  I do not want anyone to think I am comparing my situation to poor little Talin’s as I have a choice, sadly he never.  The point is that I do have the option to make a choice, now I have for the better and to not only benefit me and hopefully be around a lot longer, but also for my children and my wife.  No one ever wants to think that they are causing themselves harm, but the amount of weight I have been carrying for the last 20 years can only lead to numerous diseases and illnesses that can and will ultimately end in death.  Not a nice thought but a reality.  Thank you to my wife for signing up to this and showing me that it would be a good idea, I am now feeling so much better for it already and this is just the beginning.
It is sad that the passing of a little boy, not much older than one of my own son’s, has to be a catalyst for me to look at my situation and understand that whilst I am overweight and trying to achieve some change, I have a lot to be happy for and to continue on my path for a better version of myself. 

As I said earlier, I have the opportunity to make these choices at the moment and need to ensure I can control all things in my power and let all the other things just happen around me.  The things I can control are my diet, my exercise and my will to ensure this happens and the weight comes off.  Everything else will fall into place around that and the world for me will be a better place.

Gladly this is happening at the moment for me and I hope all participants in the 12WBT.  We are in control of our own destiny, we just need to take charge.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Hump Day!!!!

Yesterday marked the midway point of my first round of the 12WBT (Michelle Bridge’s 12 Week Body Transformation) and it has been an amazing 6 weeks so far.  I have learnt some amazing lessons, some serious home truths and seen some amazing results and changes in both myself and my wife, who is partnering me in this journey.
If you have been reading this blog it has not all been rosy, but I am over the moon to say that the positives far outweigh any negatives for me so far.  I have read numerous posts on the 12WBT forums and in blogs of people falling off wagons and rails (choose whichever saying you wish) and how they are struggling with motivation to train, eat right and stay on track.  This I struggle to accept, but that is me and my situation is obviously a lot different.  I feel like saying JFDI (Just F@*King Do It) but each person must travel their own path and tackle their journey in their own manor.  I have had moments where I have felt flat or tired and wanted a beer, chips and/or pizza, but that soon disappeared when I remember why I am doing this and who I am doing it for.  This is for me to teach my kids that you do have the ability to change things in your life and you DO control your destiny.  If you want to do something badly enough make it happen.  The effort you put in and the pain you go through is far better than the pain you suffer sitting on the couch as a fat person whilst life passes you by. Why did I only realise this now and not 20 years ago????
That last statement sounds a bit rich considering I am still classified as obese and to be honest I know I am, but there are times when I now feel like a skinny person trapped in a fat man’s body.  This may sound ridiculous, but the changes to my fitness level and my mindset have me walking taller, feeling better about myself and also wanting to get out and do things (run, ride my bike, go to the gym) where previously I would have done anything other than any of those things.  None of this is possible without having a program to follow that you have confidence in that works.  For this I can’t thank Michelle Bridges enough.  Yes it is up to me to do the work and ensure the training and diet are spot on, but without the lessons learned from her, I would be in the same spot I was 7 weeks ago.
Whilst I have passed milestones that I dreamed beyond me in the last 6 weeks (3km run week 3, 5km and 7km run week 4, 15kgs lost so far, more positive outlook, etc) I think the biggest thing for me has been the response from colleagues and friends that have resonated with me.  I have never been one to worry about what others have thought, so I thought, until I watched Michelle’s video today and listened to SanSue and what she said about the exact same thing.  It dawned on me that in the past I was in fact worried, I just put walls up to block it out.  The last few weeks with people noticing the weight fall off me and asking how I have done it and how good I look has been a huge boost to my confidence.  One staff member wanted to comment but was unsure how to do so, she said “Not that I am checking you out, but I have noticed how much weight you have lost and you look fantastic, what are you doing?”  My response was a little predictable if you know me well, “Yes you were, you are only human!!”  Thankfully she saw the funny side of this and was then very interested to hear about the program and how I was managing to lose so much weight.  Yesterday at my son’s football match, 2 of the mothers commented on how good I was looking and how much weight I had lost, which was also nice to hear. 

Little comments like this from numerous people all add up to let you know that what you are doing is noticeable to more people than just yourself.  If I am getting this sort of response after 6 weeks, I can only imagine what sort of response I will get or how well I will be feeling after another 6 weeks.  I set myself a goal of 15kgs for the 12 weeks.  I have reached that now at the half way mark, so the sky is the limit for the next 6 weeks. I will be working my backside off to try and reach a massive goal of 30kgs by the end of the round.  It is going to be a huge challenge, but one that I am willing to have a crack at and hopefully it will be attainable.

Watch this space……

Friday, 13 July 2012

Down, Down, My Weights Going Down!!

Another Wednesday has come and gone and weekly weigh in has been completed.  A lot of people in the forums worry about Wednesday morning but for me it is the time where I get to see what the hard work during the week has rewarded me with.  Yes I know there will be a time (perhaps sooner than I hope for) that the scales will not be my friend, but that will still not be the time to worry or become negative as this is a journey that I am going to be taking for the rest of my life, not just a quick 12 week fix.
So Wednesday morning I jumped out of bed and followed the usual ritual prior to jumping on the scales.  My loss this week was only 1.2kgs, but that is still 1200grams that have disappeared and are never coming back.  I feel healthier, happier, and looking forward to the time when I no longer have to go to the Big Man part of any clothing store.
With this being said, the test is now to step it up this week and make sure that I have a decent loss now to get me back on track.  Our personal trainer is away tomorrow so the 4 of us will be going alone, but she has put together a killer circuit for us and this will form part of our SSS (Super Saturday Session) which I hope will help me scare off a few more unwanted morsels of fat.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Warm Fuzzy Feeling

Today I received a nice little boost to my weight loss journey.  Sitting at work and the PA for our GM, who doubles as our Office Manager came over and said to me that she had a delivery for me.  Now I knew this was coming as it was my prize for the week 3 challenge, which is the reason I started this blog.  Due to the blog being the winner I though I shuld post this news here.

Now the prize is worth $340 as quoted on the 12WBT website, but that was not the part that made me the happiest.  Whilst I am grateful for the skincare products, teap pot and assorted fancy tea, I was happier to have the message sent with this from Michelle.  Please see below picture.

Yes I know it is a generic message that she will send out to all the winners of the weekly prizes, so I am not getting carried away with myself that Michelle Bridges is personally writing to me and only me, but this to me is a little jump start that is needed to show me I am doing the right thing and headed in the right direction. 

I am happy that I have a hand written message from her, not a mass produced printed card.  If she can take the time to do that for me and the other 9 winners of that week, even if the message will be the same, then I am proud of the effort I put into this blog to have it voted in the top 10 for that week.  I have also been blown away by the posts and messages I have received since Michelle posted the link to this page on her Facebook page, so thank yu to everyone.

I know it is a little self indulgent putting this up here, but it is my blog and I can be.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Reality check time…….

If one thing this program has taught me is that I need to be monitoring all the time what I am eating, how I am training and not thinking I have everything under control.  If I had been able to master things so quickly surely I would have done it already and would not have allowed myself to spiral downward into the overweight lazy person I had become.

After completing 5 weeks of this program there are so many things that I have impressed myself with and can’t believe that I have learnt or completed.  For this I am truly grateful and will continue to use in my life moving forward to ensure I lead a much healthier and happy lifestyle.  I have found a love for exercise which I am shocked but glad it has happened and the benefits this has for my well-being and also the example it is setting for my 4 young children is worth more than money can buy.  I now realise the benefits of clean eating and portion control and that these foods can be used to produce amazing meals which my kids even ask to have again.  Finally, I have learnt that the only way these changes can be put in place and maintained for the long term is if I am prepared to make the mental changes to prevent them from collapsing and putting me back into the darkness I have escaped from.

All of the above sounds great and like I have found the answer to all my problems.  If this was the case and I was the master of my own fate (which I will be) I would have been able to do it in the past.  Not quite there yet it seems.  What has happened?  Why am I not able to make these changes without slipping up?  Simple answer to this is because I am human and I have had issues with food and exercise for over 20 years.  They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, I disagree, it just takes a little longer to reprogram the mind and get rid of the bad habits with the new ones I want to be put in place.
All of the above has come to me in the last week that perhaps I need to re-check what I am doing before I find out the hard way, by falling off the wagon.  My exercise has been really good and last week saw me break new ground on a couple of occasions.  Saturday even saw me set a new personal best of running 7kms non-stop.  OMG that hasn’t happened EVER!!!!  I couldn’t even do that when I was fit and playing football.  Well I could have I would say, but I was never able or willing to push myself that hard.  Another milestone I have achieved and a barrier I have pushed through.  Michelle always says the human body can do amazing things it is our mind that stops us.  I no longer let my mind tell me when I have done enough, my body will tell me.    Sadly it is my food that has led me to look at what I am doing and where I need to check if I am being 100% honest to myself and the program.  Now I have not had a binge or fallen off the wagon, but I have had a couple of minor moments where I have recognised that I am treading in dangerous waters.

What could this be?  Well I indulged twice this week with a couple of glasses of wine.  No big deal in the grand scheme of things as I am allowed to do it if they are within the calorie count for the day.  Well the first glass might have been.  Having 3 or 4 means I have not been strict enough.  Doing this twice in a week is a warning shot being fired over my bow of where I was and where I don’t want to go back to.  I also had some cheese, kabana and crackers whilst visiting my mum.  Probably not a bad thing but I know it is processed meat and I also know kabana was a weakness of mine.  So WHY DO IT????  What this highlights for me is that I still need to focus 100% of the time about what I am doing, where I want to go and how I am going to get there.  I thought I was prepared yesterday by taking my water bottle so I would not be tempted to have a beer, we went between meals so I would not be tempted, however it didn’t work out that way. 

I am glad this reality check came to me quickly and early so I can rectify the problems before they got out of hand and impacted my weight loss and training.   I have been working my backside off and the last thing I want to do is go backwards from silly errors and bad judgement when it could have been easily avoided.   

 Where do I go from here?  Well get back on the program and make sure I am doing what Michelle says 100%.  It has worked so far and allowed me to lose over 12kgs, so stop messing around with it.  Don’t go near the crap food, get away from the wine and make sure that you have gone back to preparing lunches and meals in advance.  If I want to succeed to the best of my ability now and in the future have faith that I have been able to do it the last 5 weeks and I can and will be able to continue so that I am the best person I can be both physically and mentally.
No matter how far this journey takes me, I now know there will be challenges put in front of me which I will need to tackle head on.  The alternative is to go back to the fat unhealthy me and nobody especially me wants that.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

It's All in the Mind.......

The last 5 weeks have seen numerous changes in both my wife and I which are all for the better.  There are the obvious changes to our weight and measurements and fitness levels, which we have documented and are there on record in the 12WBT archives.  The more important and intangible changes are to our health, wellbeing and mental state in my opinion.  You may ask what I mean by this and why is this more important than losing weight and the flow on effects to your health, but I believe these things are the most important and without having these changes I believe we would not have made the progress we have.

Over the last 5 weeks, I have read a lot of posts on the forums and tried to contribute where I can with meaningful contributions.  This is sometimes difficult due to the fact that I struggle to read some of the stuff on there in relation to people struggling early on.  I am in no way passing judgement on anyone as I have no idea what their circumstances are, nor do I wish to reply to their post with a wishy washy comment that I truly don’t feel helps them.  Reading these posts though re-enforces to me how lucky I am that I have finally found a good place in my life and I am prepared to do the hard yards to get there. 
This comes back to the Mindset Lessons in the Pre-season tasks and how honest you really want to be with yourself about the reasons I ended up this obese monster and why I was an unhappy individual.  I can see that my wife was exactly the same on the inside and neither of us were happy with what had happened to us or what we had become, but we were in a rut and digging it deeper rather than finding a foothold to help us get out and start changing our life.  That foothold in this instance was the Michelle Bridges 12WBT and what a change it has made to my life and that of my wife and family.

I have been thinking of late, why has this program made such a huge difference in such a short time?  Well, to me it comes down to a few simple things that when put in place together add up to huge changes taking place for the better.  Obviously there is the need to WANT to make a change.  In this instance we chose to follow the guidance of someone we knew had a great track record and a program that was easily accessible.  My sister is a 12WBTer and she has spoken highly of this program.  My wife took the initial step to join which convinced me that if we both do it, it will be easier and we can work together and support each other.  Secondly you need to be able to look at what you have done in the past and how you got to the state you are in but more importantly be 100% honest at this point.  No point hiding from it otherwise you are wasting your time.  Finally, you need to be willing to get up and put the good intentions into practise with full commitment.  As Michelle says, you need to JFDI “Just F@$King Do It, No Excuses.  This is a new mantra in our house.
Whilst pondering on what inspires people to finally get up and make the relevant changes in their lives to this extent, I stumbled across a blog which contained some very poignant statements about traits that most happy people have in common.  Whilst reading them I was easily able to attribute them to a lot of the successful people on the forums and also able to see where some of the others, including myself still lack a little.  If we can all master these areas and translate them into our journey, it will mean that we will all be so much happier in our own skins and able to travel this path a lot easier to get to our goal.
·         They are ambitious.  They don’t believe in, or wait for fate, destiny, chance or luck to determine or shape their future.  They take control and choose to live their best life rather than spending it on auto-pilot.
·         They are glass half full people – while still being practical and down to earth.  They have the ability to find the good in any situation
·         They rarely complain because they know it’s a waste of energy.  All complaining does is put the complainer in a negative state of mind.
·         They don’t procrastinate and they don’t spend their life waiting for the ‘right time’.  They are busy, productive and proactive with their goals.  While most are laying on the couch, over-planning, over-thinking, sitting on their hands and generally going around in circles, they are out there taking steps in the right direction.
·         They don’t blame others.  They take complete responsibility for their actions and outcomes, or their lack thereof.
·         They avoid toxic people, and spend time with positive, like-minded people. They understand the importance of being part of a team, and part of healthy relationships.
·         They deal with problems and challenges quickly and effectively, they don’t put their head in the sand.  They face their challenges and use them as vehicles for personal growth.
·         While many people are reactive, they are proactive.  They take action in pursuit of their goals and the things that make them happy.
·         They are humble and they are happy to admit mistakes and to apologize when they should.  They are confident in their ability, but not arrogant.  They keep an open mind, and are happy to learn from others.
·         They are more effective than most at managing their emotions.  They feel like we all do but they are not slaves to their emotions.
·         They sacrifice short-term pleasure for long-term happiness.  They are more interested in something being effective than they are in something being easy.  While everyone else is looking for the quickest shortcut, they look for the course of action which will produce the best results over the long term.
·         They are adaptable and embrace change.  While the majority are creatures of comfort and habit, they are comfortable with, and embrace, the new and the unfamiliar.  They are strong, and they are happy to take the road less travelled.
·         They aren’t as concerned with what others want for them as they are with what they know is right for themselves.  They are happy to swim against the tide, to do what most won’t.  They are not people pleasers and they don’t need constant approval.
·         They are secure.  They do not derive their sense of self-worth from what they own, who they know, where they live or what they look like.  Their self-worth is a reflection of who they are and how they choose to live.
·         They keep themselves in shape physically, not to impress others, but because they understand the importance of being physically well as it relates to their happiness and longevity.  Their body is not who they are, it’s where they live.
·         They don’t invest time or emotional energy into things which they have no control over.  They concentrate solely on the things they can control.
·         They have an off switch.  They know how to relax, let loose and enjoy what they have in their life right now.
The full article and more can be found here.
Why would I reference these quotes as being important for all of us on the 12WBT program?  For me they show that if you really want to be successful and happy in what you choose to do then you need to make sure you have the correct frame of mind and outlook.  These quotes are symbolic of the areas that a lot of people question themselves over regularly on the forums and also areas that Michelle has raised in her videos and forum posts.  They mention about taking responsibility, embracing change willingly, staying away from toxic people, getting up and JFDI, not wasting energy on things out of your control or complaining and for me the most important thing, being able to sacrifice short term pleasure for long term happiness.
This for me is a huge point as it has been my issue for quite some time.  We all want to have the good times now, but this is possibly sacrificing having a lot more of them in the future.  I will gladly forgo a few wines and beers for the next 3-6 months whilst I get my head and body in a good place in order to be around for my little ones 21st birthday or wedding and to hopefully be here when they give me some grandchildren.  Small price to pay, but do we think of it that way, not very often if at all.

Finally, I want to add a quote that one of my all-time sporting heroes Michael Jordan, posted on twitter the other day, which to me highlights why he is a champion and the rest of us are here trying to lose weight and get fit.  I now want to adopt this for the everyday.  “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it...”

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

1 Small Step for Man, 1 Huge Leap for the Shrinking Man

“What is he carrying on about and why is he comparing anything about himself to the landing on the moon”, I hear you say.  Well the last few days have seen some huge and significant steps forward for me in my journey and fitness level and achievements.   Whilst this can never be compared to a moon landing, in my life it seems just as significant and proves that if you believe, you can achieve.

Where is all this heading you might wonder.  Well one thing I am proud of so far in this 12 week program is the fact that I have now built exercise into my routine to such a point that I feel guilty if I have missed it.  Now I had not missed a session in the first 3 weeks and I was on track with 6 days of exercise each week.  Last Wednesday I was not feeling well and decided that I would miss that night and make it up on Sunday.  Well circumstances changed and I was not able to do Sunday's session and I was then 1 session behind.  The guilt crept in and I was feeling as though I had let myself down and also not been true to the program, as we have been asked to workout 6 days a week.  My wife and I have said that we will go through this program attempting to stick to it as much as possible, no excuses.

With this in mind the only option I saw was to make up for the lost session with a double workout and that meant burning at least 1000 calories on Monday and covering the extra workout.  Now anyone following this program knows we are expected to burn at least 500 calories per day Monday to Friday and then 1000 on Saturday.  This would have meant I would have done 2x 1000+ calorie burns in 3 days.  Oh well, suck it up was my message to myself as I headed to the gym.  I had no idea what the session had in store for me or how I was going to burn these calories, just knowing that I had to get it done and it would be a cardio workout.

Now the initial part of the session started out with a gentle warm up on the exercise bike, followed by a run on the treadmill for 1.5 kilometres, then a little bit of weights on the machines.  This was a mixture of legs and arms just to mix it up during the session.  I then returned to the bike for another 30 minutes to get a little more time in my legs in preparation for my bike ride.  Having done all this I was still feeling good and decided to do a little more on the weights and some of Michelle Bridges wonderful static lunges with some 5kg dumbbells in my hands.  Now these certainly sort out the glutes and had me feeling a little tight.  Having completed all of this I had now burnt an amazing 1175 calories, which meant I had made up for my missed session.  I could hve stopped there and been happy that I had made up for the day missed, but I was still feeling okay and decided that I might get on the treadmill and try to work out some of the stiffness and try a gentle run.  “Are you mad?” I can hear you saying.  Well to be honest, I was probably delirious at that point, not mad, but it gets better.

I hopped on the treadmill and started out at a leisurely pace walking at 6km per hour.  This is not hard at all and perfect for a warm up or down, but after 160 metres I decided to up the ante.  I increased the speed and decided to go for a little jog.  Actually it was more of a joffle, half jog, half shuffle, which is all you will probably do at 7.5km per hour.  I thought that I might get a kilometre out before I felt stuffed and then call it quits.  I got to 1km and then felt okay so decided to go to 2km if I could and then stop. 

If you have read the last post, you will remember I only made it to 3kms last week which was a milestone for me and I was not expecting or contemplating getting there today after a pretty decent session already.    Well the 2km mark came and I was still feeling okay, next came the 3km mark and I was still going okay.  At this point I was heading into unchartered territory.. The words “Should I stay or Should I go Now” come to mind as I was not sure how far this could go but something Michelle has previously said sticks with me regularly when I am working out.  She says that you need to push yourself and that the human body can do extraordinary things, it is our mind that holds us back.  

Well there is nothing to lose and why not see if I can get to 4km. Surely that will be enough and I can go home happy that I have stretched myself that little bit further and added to my best in under 5 weeks.  This is exactly what I did however the 4km mark also came up and I was still feeling okay.  Now saying I was okay only means I was not a dribbling mess, I have felt better but I was comfortable enough that I thought I could try to go on.  Well when the treadmill display finally showed that I had managed to run for over 40 minutes (something that I have NEVER done before) and I had managed to complete 5kms I thought it was just about perfect and a great way to end my session.  Looking at my heart rate monitor it showed me that I had been working out for a total of 2 hours, 31 mins and burnt and amazing 1872 calories.  Holy Cow, this is more than my daily intake in food.  This is huge for me and I was over the moon to think that prior to this I would have struggled to run 500 metres, nor would I have tried to be honest.  

Funniest part is that I mentioned to my wife that I was thinking about doing the 10K training program next round to see if I can manage that, but I think I will be able to do that within the next 7 weeks.  Well I hope so anyway.  Having achieved this huge milestone for me, I am now working on reducing my 1km time trial time from the 6 mins 17 to under the 5 mins 30 I need to be classed in the advanced run section.  What a goal to achieve for me.  It does mean that I will need to run for 5:29 or better at 11kms per hour or faster.  Looks like some interval training coming up for me.  Who wants to join me?

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Steep Learning Curve - But Great Lessons being Learnt

The last few days have been interesting to say the least.  Friday was a very busy day at work and for anyone in Finance they will understand that End of Financial year is just horrible.  In my job, all hands on deck, even if you are on your death bed.  Well, as an incentive, us managers decided to supply lunch on Friday for our teams to entice them to work through and get as much done as possible rather than having to stay back.  Now I am not the sort of boss that wants to force people to hang around, but the company expects it.  I also don't want people being forced to work through lunch, but having a nice supplied lunch is also a nice enticement to putting a little extra in for one day.

At our meeting early in the week we decided that we would make sure the lunch was something nice.  Majority of people wanted us to order Crust pizzas, so that is what we did.  Now for me this was a horrible scenario.  Anyone that knows me well enough is fully aware that pizza is my favourite food for a quick and easy meal, whether it be home made or take away.  What is the issue here you say?  Well being on this journey and knowing the calories in a piece of pizza, besides the fact that it is all processed food means I had to make a choice here.  I would also in my old days (not that old really, only 5 weeks ago) have eaten almost a large pizza to myself.

Was I going to be a part of the group and join in, or was I going to bring my own lunch and stand out.  I decided to have 2 pieces of vegetarian pizza (which I normally refuse to eat as it is akin to having a salad sandwich) and then have a small salad.  This is exactly what Michelle said to do in her last video, so I thought this should be okay.  As it was such a busy morning I forgot to have my snack, so I had 300 calories extra to play with.  This was not done on purpose, but I am conscious that I need to eat all my calories during the day as Mich has instructed.  This meant that I could actually eat 3 pieces of pizza and my salad.

The pizzas arrived and the swarm descended on the kitchen.  It was like having fish and chips at Williamstown beach and having to fight off the seagulls.  Ridiculous how people behave over free food when there was 20+ pizzas for 40 people.  Anyway, I found my way to the table and decided that I would take a piece of Mediterranean Lamb pizza (small one) and a piece of Vegetarian.  After having this I ummed and arred about having a third and then decided to have a piece of Tandoori Chicken.

Big mistake right there.  I probably could have gotten away with 2, but the third sat in my stomach and it was extremely uncomfortable.  I have now realised that after only 4 weeks my stomach has taken to the fresh whole foods we have been eating and does not like the processed foods.  This heavy feeling was something that I believe I used to feel previously but nothing registered like this and that was after 6 pieces.  It made for a very uncomfortable afternoon and not something I look forward to experiencing again.

The second big lesson that was learnt was yesterday during my training.  I sometimes forget that I am still only new to all this and must not push myself too hard.  It is important to give it my all and train within my limits as I am not to quit, but listen to my body.  In the morning we had our personal trainer put us through a circuit session of push ups, lunges, squats and shoulder presses.  Doesn't sound much but 4 circuits of this as fast as you can when you are unfit kills you.  After this I went for my weekly bike ride.  I was 10kms into my ride and felt the tendon behind my knee causing severe pain.  I had not felt this before, and whilst I want to make sure I am getting as many kms in my legs before my ride as possible, I want to make sure I am okay to train moving forward.  I decided that I would turn home and see if  could make it at a more leisurely pace.  It appears that my knee is okay, but I might have been pushing it a bit hard into the wind.  Bugger, if that was all it was I would have went on for another 10 or so kms and then turned back.  Better to be safe than sorry so I can go for a run tonight.  Just need the rain to knick off so I can do it without getting wet.

Today marks the last day of week 4.  10 kilos gone, 45.5 centimetres gone, healthier outlook on life, sleeping better and looking forward to exercise.  I am so disappointed that it took us this long to find out what path we should have been travelling and the years of torture both physically and mentally we have put ourselves through.  Thank god for Michelle Bridges and if my sister only did one thing for us she made us aware of this program.  Not long to go until there will be a slim me running around chasing my 4 kids and possibly even the boys at footy I coach, but not getting to far ahead of myself.