So I normally start my week on a Monday, but I will use some creative licence here. Note, I've had a pretty exciting week, so I'm going to be incredibly verbose. You have been warned :)
The death of apathy
It all kicked off on Sunday afternoon, when I had some kid- and husband-free time up my sleeve. So after a read and a snooze, I jumped in the car to do the grocery shop. On the way there, I thought I'd nip into the Warehouse and try on some exercise clothes.
So I found some things I liked, and took them into the changing rooms and most of them didn't fit. Even the ones where I had looked online and use the sizing charts and everything. I ended up having to go up TWO sizes for most of the items in order to get a fit I was happy with. But I WAS NOT happy. I had a pile of about $60 worth of clothes and I was pretty disgusted with myself, to be honest.
The demise of diet and exercise
Since heading back to work three years ago, I have PILED ON the weight and I'm somewhere around mid-pregnancy level now. With my mum being obese for a large part of my life, and eventually dying of bowel cancer, I don't want to be the person who just ignores their health until it can't be fixed. Before she died, I had started running during my lunch breaks and even managed to do a full 5kms without stopping (big hill in the middle). The following year, I intended to do the same, but she passed away and I gave up.
After having my son, I walked a LOT with him, just to improve my mindset. Maybe I had post-natal depression, even if only mildly, but I needed the movement and fresh air to feel even the slightest bit sane. When we learned he had a dairy intolerance, I then cut dairy out of my diet. I subsisted on rice and lamb for several months until I weighed a paltry (for me) 65kg (my ideal weight according to the BMI guys). But once he was weaned, I was able to get back into my bad habits (only with much less dairy, because apparently I'm intolerant to it too, and just didn't know!) During this time, I was able to keep the house really decently cleaned, inside and out (with some help from the nephew living with us at the time).
But once money got tight and the maternity leave ran out, it was back to work part time. Part time hours meant shorter lunch breaks, which meant little opportunity for exercise. And the burden of trying to work, parent, AND maintain a house (DH is still not the most helpful in this department), combined with a desk job meant that my snacking:exercise ratio was getting seriously out of whack.
With the state of the house deteriorating, my waistline expanding, and the budget a bit tight until DS hit three (20 free hours childcare!), I eventually got to the point where I didn't like myself very much and I told DH I was going to find a counsellor. I didn't end up doing that, but the shock was enough to render him at least temporarily more helpful.
A lightening of the darkness
I've been a vault member for a while, and I had already read "the 12 week year", so when I stumbled on to Helen's thread, I was keen to give it a go. It's taken a few rounds for me to start seeing some real progress, but I am starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
Calling in the big guns
I have read a couple of books that have also helped with this process. One book, by Asheritah Ciuciu, is called "Full: Food, Jesus, and the battle for satisfaction". This one helped me to see that trying to find satisfaction in things other than God is a harmful behaviour that I have indulged in since childhood. Now I don't expect that to feel true for everyone who reads this, but to me, it is incredibly true. In the book, Asheritah has a little prayer, which I started praying regularly. Along the lines of "I'm not trying to find my satisfaction in You, help me to do better."
The other book, (which I still haven't actually finished), is "Lose the Clutter, Lose the weight" by Peter Walsh. He explores the correlation between clutter and obesity and outlines an eating, exercise, and mindfulness plan that is to be implemented in conjunction with his de-cluttering plan.
He starts off gently, with several lists of acceptable foods with the guidelines as to how much and how often - so basically an easy diet plan that involves no calorie counting or points system. The exercise is not intense, but he does insist on 30 minutes per day of walking as well as strength exercises (often incorporated into the de-cluttering process: wall push-ups, bicep curls with trash bags etc).
He also recommends at least five minutes of mindfulness meditation - where you practise just letting thoughts pass through your head without dwelling on them. Also, that when you eat, you practise mindfulness - no phones, no books, no multi-tasking. Just concentrate on the food and its flavour and texture etc.
With the de-cluttering, his first task is that you create a vision of what you want your kitchen/dining area to look like. Then you pull out the "malignant" items - things from failed relationships, or failed cooking experiments, or the super whizzy as-seen-on-TV gizmo that was going to make you an all-start cook, but has just gathered dust in the cupboard - ANYTHING that makes you feel bad when you look at it - and take it away. Put it away somewhere for now, and move on. You then de-clutter and clean the other seemingly innocuous stuff, and finish of the week by tossing the malignant stuff.
He's very reassuring in that the timeframes may not allow for you to achieve everything in that zone that week, but the idea is that you move on each week to the next zone, in order to get into the habit. Then, when you've done your nine weeks, you can head back and do the things that you were unable to complete.
So, I'm a sporadic implementer, and really I've just done a bit here, done a bit there, eaten salads for a week then binged on brownies etc, but the trend is generally upwards.
The master plan
I had this idea a while ago, that in order to save on transport costs and incorporate more exercise into my daily routine, I would (once DS starts school) bike to and from work. So I did a few rides on my 20+ year-old bike (unridden for 10+ years), before taking it in for a service. The bike cost about $400 originally, and the service was going to cost $320. I wasn't too keen on that, so we left it for a while. We bought DS a new bike (old one was way too small) and then decided to buy new ones for ourselves. I believe it cost $321 for two new adult bikes. Since then, we have been for a few family rides, which has actually been really nice.
Drowning in H2O
My workmate that I had previously been going for afternoon walks with (but we got too busy at work), suggested that we challenge each other to drink water. So each day, she starts with her 1.5L bottle and I with my 2x 750ml bottles, and from 9-4 (my hours), we remind each other to drink. Results have been intermittent, and we both fail at the weekends (Fri-Sun, for me), but we've been doing generally okay.
The 12 week year
The thing I like about the 12 week year is that instead of making new resolutions every 12 MONTHS, you make them every 12 weeks. But not just resolutions. A plan. Each week you lay down what you intend to achieve and when you intend to achieve it by. And each week, you assess how you did the week before. Now, you could be negative and look at it as a way to fail to achieve so many more goals, but I've found that it's awesome because every week is a fresh start. You don't have to wait until January. You don't have to wait until next month or whatever. At most, you're seven days away from wiping the slate clean and trying again. And as you get more and more wins, you are able to achieve so much more than you would have if you fell off the wagon in February and figured you may as well give up until next year.
You're also holding yourself accountable by measuring your level of success (% of tasks achieved) and aiming to beat it next time. AND you set rewards in place for when you do achieve your goals.
So what's the point?
The point is that I made a goal at the start of October to lose 3kg by Christmas. The reward I had laid out was to buy some essential oils, but as I looked at that pile of nice exercise clothes in sizes two times larger than I was willing to accept, I realised that I had no right to buy new clothes for myself. If I bought these clothes, I would be telling myself that it was OKAY that I was this size and shape. Now, you might want to tell me "oh don't be so hard on yourself", but your kindness would not be kind. I am OVERWEIGHT AND UNHEALTHY. I can not keep lying to myself. I want to see my boy grow up and have his own family. I want to be there when he asks "hey mum, what did you do when I was teething?" I don't want to be food for worms within two weeks of my 40th wedding anniversary and a month before my 60th birthday. I DON'T WANT TO BE MY MOTHER.
So I made a decision in that changing room. IF I lose 3kg by Christmas, THEN I will buy some new exercise clothes. But I am literally going to have to work my butt off to achieve that.
And in making that decision, I must have just unlocked something incredible, because this week has been a whole different level of eating better and exercising and a desire to do those things. For me, it starts with prayer. I still pray Asheritah's little prayer almost every day, and I ask God to guide me in my decisions, and most critically, I make a real attempt to actually listen to what He says. Then I workout and get ready for work and do some housework before taking DS to daycare, where I try to spend some time before heading to work.
I hit the water straight away and have my first bottle knocked off by 10am, then have a coffee for smoko and a tea for lunch, before finishing my second bottle by 4. Food has been minimal and light on the snacking.
What about your arch-nemesis: the weekend?
Today was always going to be the challenge, because I usually take a flying leap off the wagon at this point. I didn't do a workout this morning, and I did spend a bit of time on the computer, but once I got my A into G, I went outside and picked a bunch of pretty weeds and put them in a vase on my dining table (Peter Walshing it), then spent the remainder of the day doing housework and spending time with DS. I did eat a bit more for lunch and dinner (I cannot let sleeping leftovers lie), and I had a little bit of brownie for pudding, but overall, I'm really happy with how the house looks and how I feel.
DH works tomorrow, so groceries with DS (tight, tight budget to stick to) and hopefully I'll be able to stick a long bike ride in there somewhere. With my office much more user-friendly, I should be able to make cards for birthdays and anniversary coming up.
Church on Sunday, where hopefully my other workmate will turn up again, and maybe a coffee or something with her after. DS has the sniffles, so we can't go out in this Southerly, but we will see what Sunday brings.
All right, enough rambling, wrap it up already.
So it's been a week of wins for me, and it's looking to end on a much higher note than the one it started on. I'm crazy excited to smash out some goals and I really hope that when I weigh in on Monday, the scales will tell me promising things.
But if they don't? Well. Monday is another new beginning.