Thursday, 21 March 2013

Hard Work, Support, Results and Milestones. What a Week!!!!

This week has been a huge one for me.  I reached 2 weight loss goals, set a new longest distance run and longest time run, made it into the local paper and also realised how lucky I really am.  Add to that, I also bought my first pair of size 36 jeans and for the first time actually felt like I was a skinny person.  All round HUGE week.

This will not be in chronological order of what happened this week, but that is because I want to make sure things don’t get glossed over and the biggest parts of my week are those that I am focusing on.  Sorry to those OCD people that read this and need order to be restored in their lives to function, my weight loss journey and everything surrounding it do not work that way, so why would my blog.

Monday night I went for a run. No big deal really, so I should as it is cardio day after all.  I was determined to go for a bigger run though as I had another rest day on Sunday due to crappy weather.  I decided I would try and improve on my PB of 10.74 kms, which would have me running for approx. 1 hour 10 mins.  I had my heart set on 11kms minimum.  When I started running I had no idea exactly where I was going to run to, just get out and run.  Whilst out there I was pleased with my pace, so decided I would see how far I could push myself. At the 7km mark I thought, why not go for double and there it was, 14km became the target.  I had no idea whether I could do it, how fast I would do it or how wrecked I might be at the end, but I am a little compulsive when it comes to trying to improve and raise the bar of late.  I got to the 12km mark and my phone battery died.  SH!T, BUGGER!!!!  I still had 2kms to go, but luckily I had my heart rate monitor so I would have a total time run, even if I didn’t have it all on GPS. 

Worst part was I had no music for the last 2kms, which meant I had to push through the pain barriers with all those messages going on in my head to stop, you have improved on last time, you can do the 14km next time.  Like HELL!!!!! I didn’t run this far to stop so close to the end goal.  I knew how much I would have hated myself if I didn’t get there as much as it was hurting my legs.  Well now I sit back and know that I ran 14kms in 1 hour and 34 mins.  That is 2/3 distance I will need to run when I tackle my first half marathon in July. I am a RUNNER!!!!
Wednesday saw weigh in day.  I was a little apprehensive about this, not because I was worried if I was going to have a loss, I knew that was going to happen because I am a serial weigher, but I wanted to hit at least 1.6kgs as a minimum.  Why that number?  This would have given me a total of 40kgs lost since I started this program and 50kgs over all since the start of 2012.  I jumped on the scales to reveal that I had dropped 2.1kgs.  I was officially 40.5kgs lighter than when I started this program 42 weeks ago.  Add to that the 10kgs I had lost in the first 6 months of 2012 and I have now lost the same amount of weight as my 11 year old (5 foot 4in tall) son weighs.  I am in awe.  I am so proud of myself for getting to this point.  This is a huge milestone for me along with my run on Monday and now to shoot for the double digits.
This morning's weigh in. Didn't get a picture yesterday and dropped another 500grams.
I also just want to mention a subject that is important to me and every week it is highlighted more and more in the forums and the facebook groups.  Plain and simple it is support.  I am lucky that I have the most amazing support network around me, which without I would not be anywhere near where I am now.  This starts with my wife.  She is constantly teling me how proud she is, encouraging me, allowing me to go out for long rides, runs etc.  Following on I have amazing kids that let us train every Saturday morning in our garage with our garage crew and rarely interrupt us. Then there is the garage crew.  What can I say about these people?  Not all of them are current 12WBTers and some have never been but they are the most supportive bunch of people.  Some have become very close friends, others are just awesome to train with, inspiring to watch how they tackle different obstacles due to fitness levels and injuries but most of all, they constantly encourage and support each other through every session.  Even when we are not training together, there is a constant stream of support, confidence boosting posts and feedback/discussion on our Western Warriors facebook page.  This extended family is amazing and without that added network reaching these goals would be a lot more difficult task.

I know that ultimately your results are through your own hard work and the effort you put in.  I am constantly telling people on forums and facebook, you only get out of it what you put in, which is 100% true, but without the amazing support, friendship and camaraderie it would be a lot slower and more difficult path to tread.  Thank you Julie, kids, Warriors and all of the people that read this and give me support.

Finally, I just want to touch on something dear to me.  The Ride to Conquer Cancer.  Last year I completed the Melbourne ride raising money for Peter Mac Hospital.  This year I am doing it again.  I am also doing another 5 rides in 2013 (6 in total) each of 200kms and each over 2 days.  This is 1200kms in 12 days raising money for hospitals in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Auckland.  I need to raise $2500 per ride which is no mean feat.  I was fortunate enough to have an article in the local paper to highlight my rides, which the photo appears below.
I just want to thank all of those people that have donated, but in particular one lady Tania Burhala.  I have never met this lady, and she will probably never read this blog, but she is a friend of one of my trainer/running buddies Bridie Krull.  She decided to make a donation to my ride last night.  This donation was of an amount that I was over the moon about.  This morning this amazing lady sent me an email to tell me that her sister in law was having her own battle with cancer, she was inspired by mine and Bridie’s efforts in losing weight and my efforts in raising money and riding and proceeded to make another donation which was quadruple the initial one.  She is my single biggest donor to this point and an amazing lady.  She also said that because of Bridie and myself she is signing up to the 12WBT. 

Now you can see why I said it was a huge week for me.  What more can I say.

Friday, 15 March 2013

All About The Small Wins!

Losing weight and the journey around it is so often just about the numbers and the scales.  But is it and should it be?  This can become all consuming for too many people and can sometimes be detrimental to their success in making changes.  I have seen many times on the forums people becoming despondent about their progress because the scales are not moving at all or are moving very slowly.  Yes losing weight means that the scales should be coming down, how else do you judge it if the numbers don’t drop, but when we hit those inevitable times of slow weight loss or the dreaded plateau, what do we do then. 
In my opinion we should look at the small wins that we have along the way and what many of the smart and successful people in this program call “Non Scale Wins”.  This is a very broad term and can encompass almost anything that we consider a win that is not scale related and can help in getting people over a hurdle and through a bad patch.  They can also be a massive bonus and spur even when you are doing okay.

My reason for mentioning this today is after I experienced one this morning totally out of the blue, which has given me a huge lift today.  You need to make the most of these moments when you have them and remember them as these are what make all the sweat and tears well worth it.  I rode to work this morning and had to have a shower prior to going into the office.  After getting out and drying myself off, I wrapped the towel around my waist.  Very weird because I normally don’t do this, never have as I don’t mess around in getting dried and dressed (subconsciously probably because the towel never made it) but today I did so and on this occasion, the towel went completely around me and even overlapped.  I was gobsmacked and even had to take a selfie in the bathroom mirror, which is below.  I also noticed in the picture that my stomach is not hanging over the towel like it would have previously and there is also no skin to be seen.  WOO HOO!!!!!

This certainly put a spring in my step this morning, as it should, but it got me thinking about all the other things that people have done along the way which they probably brush over and never give themselves credit for or celebrate mainly because they are looking at the numbers.  So I sat down and formulated a quick list, which I am sure everyone can relate to and certainly think of more, but this is to jolt people’s memories and provoke thought about what they have achieved.

Small things that mean big things:
·         Children wrapping their arms all the way around you
·         Going for a period of time without something (sugar, soft drinks, chocolate, fruit juice, etc)
·         Towel being wrapped around waist without a gap or bits hanging out
·         Buying clothes without having to go into the Big Mans/+size section
·         Being able to see the scales without having to lean forward
·         Being able to touch your toes
·         Being able to do a push up on your toes
·         Being able to do a full sit up unaided
·         Being able to run the kilometre time trial non-stop
·         Taking part in your first organised sporting event (fun run, triathlon, bike ride etc)
·         Fitting into old clothes that you had kept for some reason or bought years ago expecting to lose weight but never did
·         Ladies getting back into their wedding dresses
·         Ladies being able to shop in Lorna Jane and have it now fit them
·         Being able to wear a pair of skinny leg jeans and not feel weird or out of place
·         Dressing in clothes that you have never contemplated before because they didn’t suit a fat person, but hey, now you’re not fat you CAN!!!!
·         Signing up for events that you would never have dreamt of or considered in the past (half marathon, marathon, triathlons, Ride to Conquer cancer)
·         Noticing changes in the way you look at yourself and feel about yourself.
·         Feeling bones where previously there was a thick layer of fat (in my shoulders, back and collar bones)
·         Having muscle definition where previously there was none
·         Finding that I now have a bum (yes there was something there before but it was just a blob of fat and skin with NO shape.)

So in short people, all I want for each of you that read this is to focus on and remember all the good things that have happened no matter how small.  Just like a 100 gram loss, it is a loss, so all the small wins add up together to make a successful journey.  Look back at what you have achieved, how you have achieved it and set some small non scale goals for yourself.  This is part of our preseason tasks where we have the opportunity to set goals, there is no specific parameters for this, but we all tend to focus on scales and athletic goals.  Think outside the square and look at something different. Maybe you want to wear size 12-14 underwear by the end of round.  I would like to fit into a pair of size 36 jeans in 7 week’s time and I believe I will.  Just don’t lock yourself in to goals that are numbers specific.  We all do it and it is detrimental to out state of mind some times when it need not be.

If you have a win, no matter how small, shout it out LOUD and let everyone know about it so we can share in your success as well.  These sorts of things should fill the forums and facebook groups because it motivates people and helps them think of areas they may have had wins in but not realised it.  Most importantly remember that these are YOUR wins. Don't compare your journey, wins or problems with that of anyone else, we all travel this path differently and in turn have different wins, goals and successes.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Morning of Mixed Emotions.

This morning I was thinking about my week and the wins I have had since my last weigh in and what I would write about in my blog today.  I have had a great loss on the scales (1.3kgs) and now have lost a total of 10kgs so far this round.  I am getting near the 40kgs lost mark, which will be a big thing for me as well as almost at the BMI of an overweight person not fat.  This is also I am keen to see on my stats page.  I ran a fun run of 8kms in 31 degree heat, ran a second 8km yesterday in 25 degrees at 6:30am as well as cycled 130 odd kms over the weekend as well as a SSS of a 5km run and the usual garage session.  Huge week for me to be honest, but whilst thinking about what I was going to write today and what message I was going to try and put out there about my week, learnings I may have come across or feelings I had, I heard some news that put things into perspective for me.

Sadly my wife has a very close friend who lost her mother overnight.  She had Motor Neuron Disease and her battle against this horrible disease was lost far too quickly.  This is a shocking and horrible thought and my heart goes out to this wonderful lady who is always there for her friends, their spouses and children whenever they need it.  She is a remarkable lady and now has to deal with laying her mother to rest.

I sit here writing this trying to think about how horrible it would be for my children to have to do that when Julie and I pass away.  Yes I know we all do at some stage, but this mother wasn’t old, she was just cut down at a time in her life when she should be enjoying grandchildren, retirement and quality time with her family.  Over the last 10 months I have been consumed with losing weight, training well, eating well, sleeping well and making sure I am around for a longer period of time for my own benefit, but also my family.  This is a good thing, but at any time you can be stopped in your tracks by some affliction which is totally out of your control.
Some of you may be aware that I rode in the Ride to Conquer Cancer last year with Julie and a group of others, which we call Team Fighting Back.  This was to raise money for Peter Mac and cancer research.  This is a cause close to our heart due to Julie’s dad fighting this disease at present as well as her sister being in remission at the moment.  Another horrible disease that doesn’t discriminate when it selects those it wishes to latch onto.  Doesn’t matter how fit you are or old, if it chooses you bad luck.  This put things into perspective for us a few years back, but today probably shocked me into thinking about things again.

I am sorry if this post is coming across as a little morbid, but at the end of the day, this is more about the big picture for me today and whilst I was ecstatic about my weight drop this morning and how well I have gone, today is a perfect reminder of all that is happening around us as well and how we need to remember the people that are in this fight with us and supporting us and loving us for who we are no matter what the scales tell us (good or bad).  So with this in mind I want everyone reading this to tell their spouse/partner and kids how much they love them and thank them for their support.  Do it now, because there is not point waiting until it is too late.  Sadly our friend can’t do that any longer and my heart goes out to her.

Life is too short to worry about little things.  Do what you have to, be who you have to and never regret what you have done if it is the right thing to do for you and your family.  For me, this journey of losing weight, becoming a better father, husband and person is part of that journey.  I have been fortunate enough to meet some amazing people on this journey (many of which I train with each weekend) and others I keep in touch with interstate whom have all been amazing and I want to thank you all now.  My wife, you are an amazing person, strong (grumpy at times) and a wonderful mother whom I love dearly.  I know I don’t tell you enough but it is now out there.  My 4 kids, the best in the world (truly they are) I know love me dearly and the cuddles and kisses prove that.  You are the world to me and I dread the day that you have to face what your mother’s friend is doing today.  We will make sure that in the meantime we have the best time together possible, doing as much as possible and loving unconditionally until that day arises.

Sadly this is not the sort of blog I want to ever have to write, but I am glad that at times you are forced to look at the big picture and put things into perspective.  One bad day on our journey is not the end. So what if you had a chocolate bar or a beer, get back on the wagon and kick some arse.  At least you have the chance to go again.  Others are not that fortunate and we need to be grateful for every day we have on this planet and make the most of them.  For me that is to train hard, eat clean and love like there is not tomorrow. Just put things into perspective please!!!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Kids Take In Everything

Since I have started the 12WBT I have seen many people post on the forums and on Facebook how they want to be seen as good role models for their kids and making this change will hopefully help achieve this by demonstrating to them a fit and healthy lifestyle and the flow on benefits from this.  Being a parent myself I think there is no greater legacy I can pass onto my 4 lovely children than knowing that they are fit and healthy and have been given the correct tools that they can carry through life in order to maintain their own fit and healthy outlook.
If I rewind 12 months, I would have thought I was doing that already along with my wife, as we ate fairly healthy and ensured the kids new about the right foods to eat and also about eating those not so good foods in moderation.  What we did not take into account was the fact that being morbidly obese also sent the wrong messages to our kids.  We forget that kids absorb everything and even if it is not something we think they take on, it is sadly absorbed into their way of thinking and can become accepted as normal.  With the state of obesity levels in our country rising, why would my children not just accept that being fat was how they were going to be especially if mum and dad were.  Don’t kids grown up wanting to be like their parents?

Since starting the 12WBT both myself and Julie have learnt a considerable amount about our previous lifestyle, what we were doing wrong, how we needed to change and have gone about doing exactly that.  As I sit here typing this I have lost over 37kgs and Julie has lost over 25kgs (may be close to 30kgs now), but this is not the biggest factor for me.  We have not only changed our mindset into including exercise into our daily routine, but we have children that are aware of this and accommodating as well.  NO easy feat when my little ones range from 11-4 years in age.  The kids are also aware now that mum and dad can have chocolate and chips if they want to, we just choose not to eat them.  They understand that this is not a diet, it is a lifestyle change.  I feel that this is an important thing for kids to understand as we have all seen the repercussions of people yo-yo dieting (many of us have been there for a number of years), so of the kids to know that this is not a temporary thing but something we are doing for ever for the benefit of us and them is a huge thing.

We have also been fortunate that we have a group of people that come every Saturday morning to our house to smash out a garage session for an hour of cardio and boxing.  Whilst this group varies in size from 4 to 15 people on any given weekend, we are surrounding the kids with like-minded people and showing them that being active and fit is a fun and exciting way of life.

So, where am I heading with this you might ask?  A couple of weeks ago I did my first fun run, which I blogged about.  One of my happiest moments was seeing the boys and my wife there to support me.  On Wednesday night we attended another fun run (final run in the Brooks Sunset series) at Princes Park.  I was doing the 8km event and Julie decided she was going to enter the 4km walk pushing my little 2 in the pram and my eldest (11 ½ year old Callum) was going to walk with her.  Sadly I did not get to see any of their event as I was running, but I did pass them once.  When I finally finished a little behind them, having Callum come and join me to run the last couple of hundred metres (which was brilliant) Julie told me that Callum had jogged off to run the last km by himself after she had jogged a kilometre with him, which in itself is a huge achievement considering we thought Julie would never run again after her car accident.  Not only had Julie and Callum run part of their walk, but my two little munchkins decided they wanted to as well and jumped out of the pram and sprinted the last hundred metres or so the cheers and applause of the crowd around the finish chute. 
Not feeling good but looking OK

When I heard this I was so proud of them for wanting to be involved and being part of the moment, but it wasn’t until later that I was also proud of my wife for involving them.  I was more concerned about running my 8km’s and how I was going to make it to the end and didn’t really think that they might have enjoyed taking part.  What she did was not only share her experience with them, but open a new world up to my children that shows them that not everything you do physically is about winning or competition but sometimes you just have to get out, get active and have FUN!!!!

Callum seems to be having FUN!!!

What we have been doing the last 10 months is changing not only our mindset, but also that of our children and this will continue to happen with more events coming up that Julie and I will take part in.  The flow on from the other night (see below picture) is having Julie send me photos of my 4 year old doing push ups and crunches.  Last night when I got home both the 5 year old and the 4 year old were doing push ups, crunches and mishy makers, with the 5 year old also showing dad his version of Mountain Climbers.

Aidan doing his push ups.

I must admit that I was aware of the fact that kids look to their parents and grandparents as examples and follow suit but to see the positive impact our weight loss and lifestyle change has had on them makes me proud of the changes we have made and will continue to make for our benefit and the little ones.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Recipe for Success - Planning & Consistency

What is the recipe for success? 
1 Cup of hard work (6 days a week)
1 Cup of clean food ALL THE TIME
Pinch of tough love from the GURU
1 tbs - planning
Large tub of Consistency.......
This week is the start of week 4 and this means mini milestone and Fitness Test/Measurements.  Whilst considering what I was going to do this week, mini milestone wise I thought I would look back and see what I had put down as my 1 month goals at the start of the program.  These I will touch on below, but before I looked at them I was wondering what my goals were and why I had set them. 

What was I hoping to achieve and how did that impact on what I have decided to do over the next 3-6 months and impacted on my training.  I have never been that proactive with my goals in the past and set mini goals.  I am not sure why this is the case, but I have always (since starting this program) had a huge goal I was striving for at the end.  For me last year this was my Ride to Conquer Cancer.  That consumed most of my training and focus.  Now that I have that challenge conquered for now and the base fitness there, what was my next challenge.

To be honest I had not really come up with anything different for this year other than the fact that I was going to take on more cycling and do it bigger and better than last year.  This is still the case but I have now decided to add a few extras and as my last couple of posts have mentioned included a lot more running.  Looking at my goals that I entered into the program 4 weeks ago, I did not have anything specific for any of the mini milestone weeks.  I am not sure why I don’t do this to be honest.  Perhaps it is because our schedule is all over the place and hard to plan, but that can also be a poor excuse as Michelle has always said that planning and organisation are the key to this journey.  I might also say that Julie and I have both never really talked about doing anything special for mini milestones or to reward ourselves, that is not what this is for us, well for me anyway, she may disagree. 
But it got me thinking.  Why does it have to be anything earth shattering?  I have mini goals now with my running, so why not just set myself a challenge to see if I can achieve something within the next 4 weeks.  My first month goals had me wanting to achieve these:
1 Month Goals
Lose 10 kilos. (almost there & still 5 days to go)
Run 10km non- stop (done)
Complete 50 push ups in one go (done)

I have achieved the run portion and the push up portion already and I am close to the weight lost portion.  If I don’t get there that is fine as 10kgs in 4 weeks is a huge ask, but I have worked hard and know that I am close.  So this got me thinking.  I know other people set themselves mini milestones, like running 8km’s or round the lake etc in that week and build up to it, but I haven’t done that and tend to just go and try it if I want to achieve it rather than wait for a specific week. So what can I look at setting myself, or do I even need to?  This I am still unsure of actually but what it did highlight to me is a lack of planning in what I have been aiming to achieve and how I am going to get there.  I have goals in place for the rest of this round which are as follows:

3 Month Goals:
Lose 20kgs
Run 15km non- stop (hopefully under 90 minutes.)
Complete 100 push ups in one go.

But in looking at them I have no plan on how I am going to get to each one.   Looking at my run progress over the last month I have no doubt I will smash the 15kms out of the park within the next 4 weeks let alone the next 2 months and I will be working on the push ups.  I have done over 200 in one training session so far on a couple of occasions so this I am confident in getting out.  The weight goal is something that will be a little tougher as I get closer to goal but as long as it continues to go down I will be happy if I just miss it. But none of it is planned or has been planned it has happened through a bit of luck and hard work.

So what is my plan moving forward?  I need to take a page out of my wife and a few other ladies in the program’s books and organise my training more methodically.  I have no idea from one day to the next what I am doing.  Everything is haphazard and spur of the moment.  The only time I know what is going on is Saturday morning and that is because there is a group of people relying on me to be organised but that only happens Friday night.  The thought of preparing for a half marathon is something that scares the hell out of me, but in a good way and also excites me.  I am looking forward to sitting down with my mate, who will do this with me and see what he suggests training plan wise. This will give me structure and force me to be organised if I aim to succeed, failure is not an option really.  If I aim to be an athlete (no matter what degree of one that is) I need to prepare a bit more like one and planning is involved.  I suppose this means a few very early mornings for longer runs and maybe some swimming in there as well. 

But up to this point I have been lucky that it has worked for me.  Yes I have put in the work, but not being organised is a recipe for disaster and I want to ensure that this is not the path I am travelling. So to all you other spur of the moment people or those wondering why you might not be doing as well as you hoped, have a look at how you have been mapping out your path to success.  If you have been as haphazard as me and not been planning then we all need to get this sorted now to ensure we smash out the last 8 weeks and drop the numbers we hope we can.

Oh yeah and with the words of Michelle Bridges ringing in my ears, “It is all about consistency. Be consistent, go into robot mode and JFDI.”