Overwhelming response

I recently made this blog known to friends and family via Facebook and have been blown away by how many people read it and sent me text messages, private messages or have spoken to me.

Some of them know my journey but perhaps didn’t understand or realise the impact it’s had on my life. They have been supportive along the way without realising and that’s what is so incredibly awesome about my support network. They don’t know they are my support network!!

I’ve been told recently that I’ve inspired others and encouraged them to do more than they thought possible. While that is humbling and gives me a warm glow, it’s up to the individual to get off their butt and do the exercise. It’s up to the individual to decide what they are going to eat or drink each and every day. I can’t control that, the willingness to change has to be a desire.

On top of that, it’s a constant determination to succeed that drives you forward. By surrounding myself, on purpose I might add, with positive and like minded people, I’ve gone well beyond my wildest dreams.

In addition to this, I keep setting small goals. My next one is to be under 60kg and although I know it’s about more than what the scales read each Monday morning, I’m so close I can almost taste the success. After I tick that goal off the list, it will be a far bigger goal to keep my weight under 60kg (that’s 132 pounds to those not using metric).

Thank you for reading this blog. Thank you for your comments. Thank you for being there for me.

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Fat photos

Fat photos, we all have them. Normally hidden away from public view, perhaps under the bed or filed away on your computer for some kind of special ritual. I was unlucky enough to have several of my family members and friends tag me on Facebook. I recently deleted and untagged myself from the photos I’m not proud of. I have a passionate HATE towards my fat photos but they are an important reminder of where I have come from.

I wasn’t sure about sharing them with the public but it wouldn’t be the naked journey without them. Don’t worry, none of the photos are of me naked, there are somethings that definitely shouldn’t be put on the internet and that includes photos of me without clothes on.

So, after spending a couple of hours selecting my most unflattering and horrific photos of me, here they are…

December 2006, aged 29 July 2009, aged 31 December 2009, aged 32

Pink top is December 2006, aged 29. Black and white top is July 2009, aged 31. Brown Top is December 2009, aged 32.

When I look at these photos I get incredibly sad at what I let my body become. Why did I stuff myself to the point I looked like that? I’ve cried when writing this particular blog entry. Just a few tears, not the gushing flood like the day of my first weigh in.

You might be reading this and saying “oh she wasn’t that overweight”, or perhaps you are thinking “Oh shit, she’s huge”. It doesn’t matter. I was in the overweight/obese category for my height and age. Fact. I wore size 14 clothing (Australian sizing) and some of that was tight.

I didn’t treat my body with any respect, I felt uncomfortable naked, I would prefer sex in the dark and I’m sure my ex-partner preferred me to be less chunky. I’m really proud to say that those feelings although haven’t completely gone away, I now have a renewed respect for my body, I’ll happily go naked and the lights can stay on. That’s an awesome feeling and I don’t ever want that to change.

Fitness challenges

Over Christmas and New Year of 2012/13 I caught up with a few friends. After a few beverages, an idea was born. If anyone I knew was endeavouring to do a food or fitness challenge in 2013, I would match them on that particular challenge. Here’s where I am at so far:

No booze until reaching my goal weight – this was a twitter friend and at the time my goal weight was my pre-Christmas weight. I was desperate to get there before another friends 50th birthday as she was having a cocktail party. I made it with one week to spare.

Running the Christchurch City to Surf 14km circuit – this was a close friend of mine and although this challenge was accepted prior to the beginning of 2013, it proved to be an interesting one as my friend twisted her ankle on our first training run. We ran the whole way, no stopping and it was an emotional crossing at the finish line.

Muddy Good Run – this is exactly like it sounds. A 5km run in mud. The same friend who did the City to Surf joined with my trainer and I to do this run. We were in costume and although we went through some mud pits, it was more wet than muddy. This actually kick started some future events and proved to be a good cross fitness event.

This is what my feet looked like after the run:

Muddy Good Run

Paleo Food Challenge – you might be asking yourself what the heck is paleo. Google it. Essentially eating food similar to caveman, unprocessed and clean food. I only did this for 3 weeks with my trainer but have carried on most of the food regime since finishing the challenge.

No booze for the month of May – this idea was created with a friend who does Zumba with me. Great idea until we realised May has 31 days. Oh well, these challenges are actually easy once you get past the first weekend.

Great Auckland Bed Race – this was a charity event held in Auckland and I got involved after suggesting to a group of people they should enter a team. Long story short, I got flown up for the day and ran 2.7km pushing a bed around a course and lifting it up way more steps that should ever be allowed.

Running the Christchurch Half Marathon – this was a challenge thrown at me after I’d had a couple of drinks. Several months of training, numerous hours of running long stretches by myself, I took on the half marathon and kicked it to touch. Never again though as this required a lot of time in training.

I’ve got several more coming up this year, including Mud Sweat & Tears, Spring Muddy Good Run and no doubt some others that mean I do something fun and stupid in the name of fitness.

Plateau – now what?

The dreaded plateau. Not just one week, but a run of staying the same weight and measurements.

I had this a few times and each time, I thought I was at my final weight. If this was where I was to end up, then ok, that’s my weight. Then a few weeks later a wee voice would niggle in my ear, what if I did something to change my food or exercise. Would it be possible to lose another kilogram?

I hit a major plateau in March 2011, just after the earthquake. My weight remained similar (although I put on 2 kilograms over Christmas). Then I undertook a self stupidity test in February 2012. I decided to see if I could do 30 workouts in 34 days. Be extremely strict with my food and see what would happen. Initially I thought it was impossible, working out nearly every day, sometimes twice a day to allow for rest days. Part way through I lost the plot. Telling myself I couldn’t do it, I was insane and it wouldn’t make any difference. Well, I survived and was a very happy size 10.

In March 2012 I got a friend of mine who is a professional photographer to take some shots for me. They were to be used for my professional headshots and for a reference point for me.

Alison-6 Alison-3 Alison-10

Again, I hit a flat line in weight over the next 6 months. Then I struck a major life hiccup. My partner of 14 years left me. Result was weight loss, as I threw myself into exercise overload and struggled to eat correctly. Turns out it’s possible to eat really awfully fatty food, high in calories and still lose weight. I don’t recommend this as a strategy for anyone as it was an awful time and experience.

I managed to get myself back on track with healthy eating and over Christmas put on the 3 kilograms I had lost. In March 2013 I started the paleo challenge, and I’ve since dropped to my lowest ever weight of 60.6 kilograms. I am now officially a size 8 which is just weird. It’s now June 2013 and I don’t want to lose anymore weight – sure getting below 60 kilograms would be awesome, but it’s about becoming toned and ensuring I’m healthy. After all, wasn’t the aim all along?

Weight gain – arrghhhh!!

The exact moment I jump on the scales and it reads more than last week. First thought in my head, the scales must be wrong. Weigh myself again. Bugger, it’s not the scales, it’s me.

Second run of thoughts in my head, what the hell have I eaten this week? Am I retaining water? Have I exercised enough? Have I got my period?

There is nothing that can prepare me for a weight gain. I’m not talking about a 100-200 gram increase, this I can live with – as long as I lose it the following week. Not long ago, I had a 1.2 kilogram increase in one week. I was shocked and had to sit down before I fell down. It was the week after I got to my lowest ever weight as an adult. I was not a happy individual that day and kept this information to myself.

I didn’t know what I had done wrong. I analysed and over-analysed. I replayed in my head all the things I had eaten, all the exercise I had done and vowed to get rid of it straight away. I also take weekly measurements of my waist, hips, leg, calf and arm and was surprised that they were all the same as the previous week. Was it possible this was all muscle gain?

None the less, I was a bit more careful with my food, jumped a bit higher and pushed a bit harder with my exercise for the next 7 days. Come weigh day, I got on the scales with one eye closed and my fingers crossed… I lost 800 grams. Not exactly the 1.2 kilograms that I had gained, but that was ok.

I’m not sure what happened, but my other measurements are the same. Perhaps it was a combination of water retention and having my period. I’ve noticed over the years that the week before my period I generally plateau and then the week after I am back to losing again. Female bodies are a weird mixture of chemicals and hormones, but it’s about accepting this and dealing with it.

Each week is a gamble and I have to accept the weight and measurements as they happen. Small changes can add up to massive life changing events, so it’s one day at a time, one week at a time. It’s the only way I can get through it.

Paleo, pal-e-who?

Along the way I’ve had food challenges to take it to the next level.  One of my more recent ones was changing to Paleo food. It’s essentially trying to eat and drink as many unprocessed foods as possible.

Excluded: all forms of sugar, dairy, grains, alcohol, potato, bread, wheat, and all the good tasty stuff.

Included: a huge variety of everything else – fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs, spices, herbs, seeds and surprising cocoa.

It was something my trainer was doing, and I thought, heck why not give it a go.  The first few days I thought I was going to be eating very boring meals as my brain couldn’t figure out what to eat. Bless the internet.  I googled and researched and found some very delicious breakfast ideas and snacks.  It required a switch in the brain and by day 4, I had most of this sorted out.

Two of my favourite snacks are chocolate protein squares which taste like a dense fudge, and some pancakes (although I make them small like pikelets). The pikelets are my absolute first choice for a pre-workout long run or event and I’ve been known to eat the whole batch in one day.

Piklets

Pikelet recipe:

2 bananas, 3 eggs, 3tbs coconut flour, 1tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp baking soda, pinch salt, 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
Mash banana, add eggs. Mix until smooth. Add all other ingredients and mix until smooth. Top with blueberries as you spoon each batter into pan. I get about 13 from this mix. If you don’t eat them all as they come out of the pan, they keep for a day or two.

I stuck religiously to the guidelines for 3 weeks and lost a staggering 3 kilograms.  Bloody hell I thought, is this even possible? After the initial timeframe, I kept to most of the rules – although I did try some of the old foods.  Dairy was ok (gosh I love ice-cream) and the first taste of processed sugar just about sent me into a spin.  I tried some bread – this wasn’t a good idea and my stomach turned into giant knot and it took about 4 hours for it to calm down again. Since then, I’ve eaten very little grains and I guess I’m essentially gluten-free by choice.

My clothes are falling off

Shrinking clothes sizes was the aim, along with getting stronger, healthier and general fitness. Along the way, I found myself with some very close wardrobe malfunctions.

Everytime I lost a chunk of weight, either slowly or what felt like overnight, my old clothes were getting baggy. Replacing clothes is an expensive exercise, so generally I tried to make my clothes last as long as possible, so I was definitely getting into a smaller size.

There were days where I was sure my trousers would fall down by themselves. It was a cool trick, taking my trousers or jeans off without undoing them – especially handy if I was in a hurry due to drinking so much water.

It eventually became embarrassing baggy, especially around the legs and butt area, I felt like I was wearing clown pants! I remember being at a business meeting doing a presentation and I could feel my trousers slipping dangerously close to falling off. I had to keep pulling them up and it totally threw me off my presentation. Goodness knows what people thought! I went straight to the closest retail store I could find and brought a smaller size to wear for the rest of the day.

I found I could generally get away with tops and shirts for longer but alas, these also became rather like wearing a sack and were completely unflattering. Sports gear was the same, but these are generally a bit more stretchy and forgiving.

It’s a very strange feeling to be wearing smaller, more fitted clothing. There is less of me to show off, yet I want to show more of it. Every time I went down a size, I essentially had to replace just about everything I owned. I still have my comfortable baggy track pants which are completely too big for me and an oversized jumper. They get used when I’m sick or I need an extra layer. Oh yeah, when I lost weight I got really cold in the winter. Less insulation to keep me warm I guess.