Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Come Along for the Ride……

Nearing the end of this current round and there are lot of people looking back to see what they have achieved.  It is great reading what people have managed to do when previously it was deemed not possible.  Some are athletic achievements, some are beating the demons of the minds that have always held us back, some giving up the grog or diet drinks, which are all awesome efforts, but mine is a little different.  I have already mentioned on a number of occasions about my half marathon and how big of a personal achievement this was for me both physically and mentally and yes it is a huge achievement for anyone, but looking back at what has happened to me in the last 11 weeks, this is not my biggest achievement and it only dawned on me this morning why.
I have mentioned previously how I am doing the Ride to Conquer Cancer this October to raise money for Peter MacCallum Institute in Melbourne.  I did this last year and raised $6440 for this amazing hospital that treats my father in law currently for his cancer.  It was the least I could do for such an inspiring person in my life.  Julie also did the ride to support the hospital that is treating her father and to give back.  She raised $3500 herself.  The team we were part of (6 of us) raised $27K.  We decided that we were going to do it again, but this year I wanted to up the ante.  What could I do to make it better and raise more money?  Then I saw a post on the Conquer Cancer facebook page about a group called Vision Crusaders, that was undertaking an amazing journey to ride all 6 of the rides in Australia and New Zealand in 2013.  I knew I had to do this.  With some gentle encouragement from a friend (now fellow rider) and a lot of support and encouragement from my always supportive wife, I emailed the team captain to get some more info.

I am now a proud member of the Vision Crusaders Grand Slam team along with 26 others.  We have a dream.  To raise $15K each and take part in the 6 rides this year.  In order to do this we need to raise a total of $405K just for the rides.  We then need to find sponsors for accommodation and flights at the 5 rides that are not our home rides.  This is no small feat and one where will need as many corporate sponsors as possible.

If you can assist us in any way, please hop onto our facebook page and like the page, share the link and even pass on to your friends, family and colleagues.  If you are able to sponsor me even better.  We have some grand plans, hoping that we might have a celebrity ro two riding on some of our rides.  But most importantly we are simply trying to get the word out there about what we are trying to do and why.  Simply because we hate cancer and want to do our bit to get a cure.

I would like to say that without 2 things changing in my life this would not have been considered or possible.  Sadly the first is my father in law being diagnosed with cancer.  Of course without that happening I would not have taken up the challenge initially.  Secondly without doing the 12WBT I doubt I would ever have found the inner confidence and strength that has always been inside me.  Michelle and her admin team have managed to give me the tools that have given me the ability to learn to back myself, try things outside my comfort zone and push the boundaries.  Now there are no boundaries and I am riding to conquer cancer.  This is my biggest achievement this round.
Come along for the ride.

Friday, 26 April 2013

What a Round, Full of Excitement, Events and Achievments

Wow, almost into the final week of the round and looking back at what has happened has me blown away to be honest, but looking forward has me excited as well.  Why you might ask, what has happened, what is going to happen?  I have been reading lots of posts on Facebook, twitter and the forums about people's failures and achievements and this caused me to stop and have a look at what I had done this round.  Had I done all that I hoped to do?  Both on and off the scales.  Where was this leading me to and what was I going to do in the future.  It also had me looking towards next weekend and the finale for this round.

Now 12 weeks ago I blogged about the fact that I was not at the last finale and how I realised how much I missed it and was excited that this one was in Melbourne.  Well no excuse to miss it this round is there?  Well I almost did when I didn't have a ticket and they were almost sold out when I did get one.  That would have been a catastrophe.  The finale is an awesome time.  Since starting the 12WBT last year I have been to 2 of the 3 finales.  This has allowed me to meet up with some amazing people that I only talk to via social media or the forums but have built up a real connection with.  This finale will allow me to meet up with some new people, whether it be at the workout, Friday night drinks or the party itself.  It is a great weekend where everyone is celebrating the fact that we are all doing something positive and healthy in our lives to enrich them and become better people.  Plus we all get to watch the guru at work and possibly have a photo with her and maybe meet her.

Bring on the party and look out all you crazy people, the shrinking running man will be out in force and look out for me dressing up at the workout for a laugh with my Western Warrior harem.

Today I decided to look back at what I have achieved this round.  To say I was shocked is an understatement.  I had decided I wanted to improve my running early on and set goals around it.  I decided to take part in my first fun run. The Brooks sunset series at the Melbourne Zoo.  Was originally an 8km run, but shortened to 7.2kms due to renovations of the meerkat enclosure.  I got through the run in 48 mins which I was happy about but my running buddy Dayna suffered and injury which she is still coming back from.  My wife then decided that 1 was not enough and signed me up for the last run in the series, another 8km event at Princes Park 2 weeks later.  This one was in 34 degree heat, not what I call fun, but there was a huge group from the Western Warriors, my training group taking part in various distances and this included my wife and three boys doing the 4 km walk.  I got through this one in 53 minutes and it was tough.

Now this is where things get a little crazy and I found myself signing up for the Run Melbourne half marathon.  Why would I do that?  Running 8kms was enough wasn't it, why would I want to run 21.1kms?  I spoke to my buddy (aka my running coach) and he was over the moon about me doing something like this.  Fast forward 4 weeks and I had managed to run 14kms in one hit, was over the moon with this as it was 2/3 distance for the half and I still had 16 weeks to cover the rest.  Then just after Easter a friend and running buddy posted on facebook that she was ill and couldn't run the Geelong Half Marathon and was offering her ticket to anyone that wanted it.  I had a chat to Julie and my running coach and decided I would do it as a training run and if I got to 16kms and had to walk the rest so be it.  Well we all know what happened and I ran the entire bloody thing!!!!!!

So where to now?  Well look at the below photo and you will see that I have since done the Glow Run with my family.  Not really a run, as we had to walk a portion of it but it was another outing with the family and keeping the kids active and introducing them to these sorts of things is important.  I might not have thought so at the time, but Julie has been doing a great job with getting the kids involved.  She is a great mother and awesome role model.  I tend to do these things for my own sense of accomplishment and set PB's, she wants to to the family thing.  Difference between mums and dads and the kids are lucky to have her.  I also noticed and had forgotten that we did the MS Cycle in Feb which was a 50km bike ride.  So as you can see I have been very active in the last 12 weeks.  Add to this the leaps and bounds that my running has taken and I am pretty stoked with how quickly I am improving.  There is still a lot of work to go but it will happen.

Now besides the obvious physical achievements there have been other wins.  I am really loving the changes to me mentally.  I am now looking forward even more to exercise.  I am looking for challenges to set myself, maybe trying to improve my times for running, wondering what crazy event I can do in the future and starting to dream big about these things.  I am also loving the changes to my body.  I have never really worried about looking at myself in any way with admiration.  Why would I?  Being morbidly obese is nothing to admire.  Sure I tried to be a good person and do things for charity, volunteer as a football coach and help out people where I could, but that is different.  Looking at yourself in the mirror and being happy with what you see if very different.  You have to be happy with yourself, it doesn't matter what other people think.

The crew ready to run/walk

Wednesday saw me hit another milestone.  I wanted to smash this round out and try and get to goal. This was always going to be a tough ask, but you have to try. I also split my goals up along the way with kilos lost and actual weight. One of my big goals was to get under 100 kilos.  Well I had to lose 1.3kgs this week to achieve that.  Amazingly I lost 2.7 and not only smashed the double digits I missed the 99's.  OMFG!!!!  I have now lost 19.1kgs this round and want to have another huge week this one to see if I can get over the 20 kilos lost for the round.  

I have never been a vain person, obviously for the reasons above, but now I am happy to admit that I do look at myself in the mirror.  I notice the changes to my body and can see what people are commenting on.  I may not have guns yet, but I have some definition to my arms.  I have muscle definition in my legs, which I love and I now have an arse.  Just ask Rebecca Green (aka RunBecRun) who commented on the fact that I had a skinny bum some time ago, she also tried to say she wasn't checking me out.  Sure Bec, you are only human!!!  She is a great mate and I know she was only trying to point out that I had lost weight on my backside, but I love reminding her of the fact she accidentally made that comment to someone who will remind her of it for ever.  I have even let myself start wearing skinny leg jeans.  I catch myself looking in the bathroom mirror at work looking at how slim I am now compared to the past and enjoy the fact that I can now wear size 36" jeans.  Yes it is vanity, but I don't care.  I have not looked at myself for over 20 years due to the sight that looked back at me.  I am now happy with what is staring back and going to make the most of it.  I was even contemplating wearing a mankini to the finale just so everyone else could look at the new me.

Might be a little over the top with the tie though

Seriously though, having lost over 140cms off my body in 11 months has me proud of what I have achieved and whilst there is still some work to go I think this last round has been the most successful for me.  I have built the foundation in the first three rounds and now I am going to smash it next round to get to goal.  

Myself and Mini Me

Thank you to all the people that have supported me this round and have helped me through the crappy runs, tough days and celebrated my good times.  Without you this would be much harder.  If you read this blog regularly and are coming to the finale weekend, please come and say hello.  I would love to meet you or renew the friendships.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Seeing Things Through Other People's Eyes

Since I have completed my half marathon I have received many heartwarming and confidence boosting messages from 12WBTers, colleagues and friends which to be honest have really overwhelmed me.  At first I didn't really understand why.  Yes I had run a half marathon, which was something I never thought possible 12 months ago, but I hadn't set a world record or anything.  It took me a week or so to let it all sink in and for me to reflect and understand exactly what I had done and achieved.

Obviously I was extremely proud of myself for finishing my half marathon without walking and I also understand it is a difficult task especially without the correct preparation, however I was more surprised by my train of thought and mindset.  I have obviously been improving my fitness and now setting the bar a lot higher then ever dreamed of, so perhaps it is now the norm.  No not really, so why did I not feel like I had just achieved something monumental immediately afterwards.

I look at the comments posted on Facebook by many of my friends and 12WBTers, many of which used a word that I would never associated with myself.  They called me "Inspiring, or an Inspiration".  That is something that I have never considered myself being.  I have watched people battle cancer without complaining, I have watched people take part in 10km runs that suffer from disabilities and not letting this deter them.  To me these people and others like them are inspirational, not me.  After reading these sorts of comments though I had to stop and wonder why others might find me inspirational and put things into context.

This entire weight loss journey is about keeping things in context.  If you don't you will certainly get lost in comparing yourself to others (athletic feats or weight loss amounts) and it will only impact on efforts in a negative manner.   So after reflecting on my run and reading the feedback I received, I also looked at a 12WBT friend Noni77 (Leonie Gray) who last week completed her own half marathon.  Now Leonie was one of the amazing people supporting me prior to my run and complimenting me afterwards and I thank her very much for her support.  When I read her post afterwards, it dawned on me why people might have thought my effort was inspirational.  Sadly Leonie didn't have the run she hoped for.  She missed her time and had to walk some of the distance.  So what!!!  The part that I found inspiring is that she did not stop.  She battled her way to the very end and completed that run.  That was also her goal.  Yes she had a time she wanted to beat, but if you don't get to the end the time doesn't matter.  Many moons ago we both would have given up when the going got tough.  That was the old us.  The new improved versions don't give up anymore.  This is what I found inspiring about Leonie and obviously people found this with me as well.

My mindset has changed dramatically over the last 12 months.  I am a lot more confident in my ability athletically and I am more than willing to throw my hat in the ring for some difficult challenges.  First was a half marathon.  Now I have done that I am determined to improve my time.  Last one was done in 2:28 and I want to get under 2:10 for the next one.  I will work my butt off in training, but if I don't get there no big deal.  I am cycling this year 1200 kilometres to raise money for cancer research and treatment, this will be a challenge but one I am willing to tackle.  All of this sort of crazy stuff doesn't happen unless you have the right frame of mind.  Thankfully I found the 12WBT and have been given the tools to put me on the right track.

Now if these sorts of challenges and achievements inspire others to get up and get moving, then I am more than happy for them to consider me an inspiration.  I still might not think i am worthy of the word, but I know that getting started on this entire lifestyle change to lose weight and get healthy is not an easy feat.  It also can be daunting looking in the forums and facebook groups to see some very successful members smashing out events that you consider impossible for yourself.  We have ladies doing triathlons, marathons, fitness challenges, body sculpting and many other amazing things, all of which were way out of my reach 10 months ago.  Some of them still are, but I am now inspired by many people in the forums and facebook groups and have set my bar pretty high with what I want to achieve.  I am willing to put myself out of my comfort zone, which means I may not get the results sometimes that I hope, but I will never consider it a fail.  To have taken part in events that I would not have contemplated 12-18 months ago is already a success, so how can I fail in the future.  As mentioned above, if this helps and inspires others to improve their health and fitness then I am over the moon and I suppose it is my way of paying it forward.  If I have inspired them that is great.

So remember that if someone tells you that you are inspiring, take it on board.  Accept the compliment and understand that for them you have done something special.  Perhaps it has lit a fire inside them to see that this can be done.  Perhaps they will set themselves a little goal of running 3kms after you have done 10kms.  Perhaps they will start riding a bike or swimming because you have done a triathlon, whatever it is let's just hope that it enables them to all be willing to step outside their comfort zone and be daring, because we all deserved to be able to feel good about ourselves and our achievements.  This is something that I had never really felt until a week or so after my half marathon (athletically speaking) and I now want to add to that.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Post Race Reflections

Well this post is partially inspired by one of my biggest supporters, the lovely and wonderful Carol Gilmour, herself slowly becoming a running machine.  She is one of the people that I spoke of in my last post that offered me endless support leading up to the run and following it as well.  I have also been lucky enough to be captured in a number of photos from the day (beware, none of them are pretty) by the photographers, so this post is partially pictorial as well as having a bit of content post race.

At around the 3km mark feeling good

7km mark feeling awesome

After the run I was fortunate enough to have a fair bit of feedback from some smart people about what I needed to do to recover.  This included hydration, stretching, no running, good food.  I would like to say I did all this to the letter, but no I did not.  The hydration was spot on, in fact I felt like my insides were floating at some point during the day.  I was also always going to stick to the no running part for as long as I could and thankfully for me I was told not to partake until today/tomorrow with the running.  Sadly the nutrition was not the area where I made sure I watched and adhered to.  In fact I did not eat a lot during the day.  I also fell down in the area of stretching.  I did a little during the day but not enough I think.  Hence I have been stiff and sore, probably more than necessary in the last day or so.  I am used to DOMS, but DOMS in the toes is a new one for me. I have since been told of this weird notion called “Runner’s Toes.” Thanks but not something I like the sound of.
Another just after the 7km mark.

Not feeling good at the 15km point

I was very cautious prior to my run about making sure I had thought about things that may go wrong and trying to prevent them.  I have had issues with my calves tightening in the past, so I made sure I wore my long compression socks.  I was worried about blisters, so taped my feet and wore 2 pairs of socks.  I did not want to chafe, so I wore skins under my shorts.  I did forget about the possibility of my shirt rubbing on my nipples (hate bleeding nipples) but thankfully that wasn’t an issue during the run, only when I put on a dry shirt after the run.  Ouch.  My way of thinking was that if I can control the controllables (wonderful football parlance adopted for everything now) then I will hopefully not have any issues and if something else happened then so be it.  I also made sure that I was well hydrated prior to the run by drinking an abundance of water and hydralite on Saturday and also Sunday morning.  I ate well on Saturday evening to ensure I had the fuel in my body and also had some muesli bars and a banana in the morning.  Knowing that it was only a half marathon (only not meant to be cocky about the distance) there would not be food/electrolytes at the drink stations, my wonderful friend Melissa brought me some magic powder.  It was a carb powder that I was to drink during the race to give me a bit of extra oomph.  I have never used these sorts of things before and never really used gels either, (other once in one of my Oxfam Trailwalkers) so was not sure how it would work or if it would make me feel sick.  You are supposed to use these things in training runs so you can see how they react to your body and if you would use them in a race.  I still find it hard to call it a race as I was not there to race anyone, even myself, but that is exactly what it was with prizemoney on offer, so I need to call it that.
Struggling at the 18km point but not giving up

I MADE IT!!!!! With timer to prove it

I must admit, I am starting to feel a lot better, in mind and body.  I am shocked at the response I have received from people about my effort and to hear from a friend that people I don’t even know personally, are talking about me in Facebook groups due to them being impressed is slightly humbling.  Yes I have done something I have never dreamt possible, but obviously this is impressive to others and if it helps them get up and try to achieve something they never thought possible all the better for them.
Reflecting back on my run and what I have achieved has been an interesting experience and strangely I look at where I was 12 months ago and where I am now.  It is quite scary to think where I might be in 12 months time, but the posts are changing all the time now in relation to my goals and I am not daunted by anything.  Do I think that there is anything I would not be able to achieve in the future. Certainly NOT!!!!!  I think that the way I am feeling at present I would be able to achieve anything I set my mind to.  Of course the work beforehand needs to be done but it should be for any endeavor, athletic or not. 

Monday, 8 April 2013

148 Minutes – What can you do in that time?

How much can a person learn about themselves in a couple of hours?  In my case a hell of a lot.  It is not a lot of time in the grand scheme of things but when you have that much time to yourself and no interruptions you have a lot of time to delve into your own thoughts, inner demons, preconceived ideas and plans for the future.
Yesterday saw me run my first half marathon, which for me was a massive achievement, but it allowed me to spend some time looking at what I am doing, where I am going and how I am viewing things in general but also having a good look at how I am approaching a lot of different things in my life.  It also taught me a few lessons yesterday which I may have mentioned flippantly in the past but they really fell into place for me during my time on the road.  Hell, trying to run 21.1kms meant I needed something to take my mind of the pain so why not ponder on life and what I have learnt recently.
This half marathon was not something that was in my grand plan, if I actually have one as I was working towards my first being in July.  A training buddy of mine, Melissa Wilkins aka Mighty Mouse, was originally doing this run but fell ill last week and asked if there was anyone else that wanted to take her entry.  I mulled it over for a day and discussed it with Julie and then decided to take a shot at it.  I had never run more than 14kms before so there was a fair bit of apprehension surrounding this due to the unknown, but as I kept telling myself and others (not sure I was that convincing though) I was not going to die wondering anyway.  It was going to be a good training run and as many had said, just do what I could and then walk the rest, no big deal.  So without any preconceived ideas about being able to run the full amount or set a world record time for a fat git, I went and had a crack.
Only ever having done 2 fun runs before, this was all new to me.  Surely a half marathon is the domain of fit people and serious runners. WRONG!!!!  It was fantastic to see people of all shapes and sizes in different outfits (some in fancy dress) all getting ready to set their own PB’s or achieve a goal.  For me it was about just taking part.  I made sure I went to the very back of the field so that I would not get sucked into following people that were a lot faster than me (like I did following Janine Ward at the Zoo Run) and killing myself very early.  I wanted to see how far I could get and hoped to be able to average around 6 minutes and 40 seconds per km.  This I thought would be comfortable and get be to the end within 2 hours and 30 minutes if I ran the entire race.  Of went the buzzer and the crowd moved forward, the butterflies kicked in but there was no turning back now.  I settled into a rhythm and felt good.  My brother in law told me a few weeks ago that the best way to run is to find a lady in front running at my pace with a great butt and just follow them, it takes your mind off things.  I did this quite easily.  Sadly at the 5km mark she slowed down and fell behind me.  She obviously wasn’t too happy with my butt because she dropped right off.  I also had a few people that would surge past me and then stop to walk on a number of occasions.  This annoys me, why don’t they just run at an even pace.  This is where I started my thinking and pondering and became very deep and meaningful with myself.

Not the lady, but this would have me running behind her.
As I had said prior to the run, I was only there to run my own race.  I was not worried about time, looking good or what anyone else was doing.  This is exactly what these people were doing.  Maybe it was a training run for them as well. Maybe they were only allowed to run for certain distances on doctor’s orders or were simply out there to prove something to themselves and take part.  Then it dawned on me, why is life any different to a half marathon?  In fact, the 12WBT is the same as a half marathon.  Everyone that takes part is there to achieve the same result. In a half marathon it is to finish, no matter how you do it.  Some will take off and get there in 69 minutes like the winner, others will trudge along and run the entire thing at a snail’s pace whilst some will just do what they can and walk part of the way or a lot of the way.  None of them are comparing themselves to the other as they all have their own path to travel.  This is exactly what I was trying to do. I wanted to run as much of this race as possible and if I got there without stopping that would be amazing but if I didn’t so what.  The 12WBT is exactly the same.  All of us want to lose weight, but our journeys are all different and how we get there or how fast we get there should never be compared.  We see all too often people worrying about not being able to lose weight as quickly as other people, or taking too long to get to their goal.  Don’t worry about what others are doing, you don’t know their situation, you can’t control what they are doing and how does it impact you.  I didn’t care how fast people were going, who was in front of me (unless she had a nice bum of course) or who was behind me, they weren’t going to get me to the end, only me and my legs could do that with a heap of stubbornness and grit.
I was moving along nicely through 7kms, and actually felt a lot better than expected. As I went past 14kms I let out a little cheer as this was a new PB for me.  I was quietly hoping I would be able to get to 16kms (for no real reason) and when I did I was starting to feel heavy in my legs but counting down as I had been all day I knew it was only 5.1kms to go.  Then I hit 18kms and the fire in my belly started to burn.  There was no way I was going to stop now only 3kms from the end.  So close yet still so far.  It was at this point where it hit home.  I had to do this, not only for me, but for all those people that were cheering me on.  My friends and family had shown me amazing support in the couple of days since deciding to do this.  My training buddies as well were full of such nice words of support on Saturday morning as well as the 12WBT friends on Facebook and twitter, but the one thing that spurred me on more than anything was a text message I received yesterday morning from a good friend of mine.  This lady is another person that rides to raise money and awareness for cancer research.  Why?  Because we can and we want to do our bit.  Her words to me in this message were simple but true and really hit home.  She said to me “Good luck mate. Use the pain to keep you pushing!!!  Those we fight for don’t give up easily and neither will we ;).”  This is so true.  All those people suffering with cancer and battling their own issues would love to be able to be out here with my worries, but instead the fight for their lives every day.  There was no way I was going to stop now and miss out on achieving this so close to the end.

The last 3kms were the longest, hardest and most torturing I have ever run.  I saw 4 people passed out on the side of the road seeking assistance from members of the public or medics.  This could have been me.  The last 1.5kms was a long straight stretch of road, so I could see the finish but it wasn’t getting any closer.  I also had to watch these smart arses that had finished earlier running back the other way.  WHY???  Because they can. Makes me sick.  As I got to the end people were cheering everyone on, clapping and hollering and I could see my wife and 4 kids with a big banner which said “GO DAD” as well as my mum all standing there to welcome me over the line.  It was an amazing sight, I had managed to run the entire FREAKING thing and couldn’t believe it.  I also couldn’t stand anymore so just dropped down and lay on the grass.  12 months ago I would not have contemplated doing this let alone done it on a few weeks training.  The 12WBT has changed my life, I have a new outlook on life, I am apparently inspiring people but I am saving my own life and enriching that of my children by teaching them the benefits of being fit and healthy.  Yesterday proved that to me and I just want to say.


Tuesday, 2 April 2013


It has been a while between posts, but with the long weekend and a perfect excuse to get away and enjoy some time with the family at the caravan and out in the fresh air exercising, we had to sacrifice any sort of reasonable phone coverage, which meant limited or no internet access for myself or Julie to post anything on our blogs or god forbid facebook.  How did we function back in the old days??  My kids ask this question all the time.

This weekend has been a good time for a number of moments of reflection.  But what is reflection and what do I mean by this?  Well there are a number of different meanings in the dictionary for reflection, but I chose 2 of them for this blog and for a couple of reasons which have been prominent this long Easter weekend.
Below are 2 of the definitions I took from Dictionary.com today.
·         Something reflected or the image so produced, as by a mirror
·         Careful or long consideration or thought.
Now there are many words in the English language that have multiple meanings and can be used in a number of different ways. No wonder it is so hard to learn how to speak it correctly.  But this word and the above meanings are important in the grand scheme of things when it comes to making changes to your life and realizing how far you have come or where you have taken yourself along the way.

I have read many posts on facebook, in the forums and on other people’s blogs about them not seeing the changes in themselves, which to be honest I completely understand.  I look in the mirror every day and struggle to see the changes.  This is because it is every day that we look at ourselves.  Even though I step on the scales everyday (yes I am a serial weigher and love it) and see the changes, it still makes it hard for me to think of myself as anything other than obese.  I think that the most recent big moments for me were buying a pair of size 36” jeans (never thought possible) and then hitting the Overweight BMI range on my 12WBT tracker.  This is something that I have been wanting to see for a long time and never thought it would happen as quickly as this, or at all to be 100% honest.  After seeing the Obese label there every week it just seemed normal. 

This weekend saw me meet up with a number of people I had not seen since early January at our caravan park.  Their reaction to my weight loss certainly put things into perspective.  I have lost 13kgs since I last saw them, which is a lot of weight.  That is my 4 year old.  I have toned up a lot and I am a lot fitter.  All of this was lost on me until I heard their comments.  “Oh my god, look at you. Wasting away to a shadow”.  Then another, “You will be that skinny soon you won’t cast a shadow”, which is all great to hear and only then did I stop and look at myself in the mirror.  I now have bones that previously were covered up by fat deposits, whether it be in my face (jaw, cheekbones, neck, etc) or my shoulders, collarbones and hips (much to my wife’s dismay.)  I had to look in the mirror to really see this and only after ebing told by people I only see every few months.  Julie tells me all the time how good I am looking and how proud she is of me, which is fantastic and I am so lucky to have hers and the kids support, but I suppose it becomes the norm.  When you hear it from people that you only see occasionally you stop and think or reflect for a second.  So seeing my reflection in the bathroom mirror this week (yes I checked myself out, is that VAIN?) I could actually see some changes.  My stomach is slowly disappearing, but my love handles are not as yet.  My legs are getting back the tone and definition which I had many moons ago (but my upper/inner thighs are still flabby, these are my version of bingo wings or tuckshop ladies arms), and I am losing the flab on my chest slowly, so losing my man boobs or moobs as my oldest calls them.  This sort of reflection is a very important one and something that I have struggled with during this last 10 months, of which today is 10 months to the day since I started on the 12WBT program and my journey to a new life.
I actually asked my daughter to take a photo of my last week (mid round progress shot) so I could compare myself to my original photo.  When I did this I was in complete shock as was Julie.  I was massive and we both couldn’t believe that we did not see it.  The photo is below for you to see what 10 months hard work can do.  This is 41kgs gone and still working hard to get the last 14-17kgs gone as well.

The second part of this weekend’s reflection comes from a couple of different moments.  First of all was when I was out on my bike on the weekend.  Yes we took our bikes with us, we do that sort of thing now.  It is the norm for us to factor in our workouts now wherever we go, including Sydney last weekend when we went away for our wedding anniversary.  Whilst on my bike enjoying the open roads around Cobram on a 43km ride I found myself looking back and remembering what our previous holidays at the caravan involved.  Most of that was a great deal of alcohol (beer and wine) as well as BBQ’s with far too much meat and potatoes as well as lollies, biscuits and chips to snack on.  Not anymore.  We have worked out meals in advance, taken our snacks, taken treats for the kids and even took our soda stream with us so we had an ample supply of soda water as well as tea.  We planned in advance how we could both do workouts, whether going for a ride, run or gym session and Julie even packed the scales to keep us on track.

The second moment was last night.  After a weekend away I had a few hours of telly to catch up on and part of that was 2 episodes of The Biggest Loser.  I sat down to watch it last night with my dinner, which was a falafel in mountain bread with lettuce and sweet chilli sauce, a pint of soda water and a pot of rooibos tea.  I actually had a chuckle when I looked at it, because we were like so many others that have commented that in the past they sat to watch the Biggest Loser whilst stuffing their face with chocolate and chips last year.  It just shows me how far I have come and my mindset has changed over the last 10 months and how I used to be one of those people (having actually auditioned for the Biggest Loser) but now I am on the right path.  I am not there yet and still prone to the odd lapse, but I own it now and get back on the wagon.  I enjoy my training, enjoy the fact that I have made an entire new circle of friends with the same goals and dreams and enjoy that my family are on the path to a healthier lifestyle in mind, body and spirit. 

This is the sort of reflection I am glad to see looking back at me.  It hasn’t happened over night, it is still a work in progress but now the reflection looking back at me is 51 kgs lighter and healthier than the start of 2012, so I am a happy man and getting happier by the day.