28 Nov 2014

Endorphining the blues away.

Good morning!

I'm posting from the gym today between sessions. This week is the first since my doctors visit that I'm able to properly carry out my new 4 day a week training plan due to my birthday 2 weekends ago and a wedding last weekend. 

Here is yesterday's effort:

And today's so far:

I'm about to head back in to get on the treadmill and watch bad daytime TV.

I thought I'd pop in and record that today I've been dealing with some really black feelings triggered by money stress and family conflict. Where I would usually choose to spend the day at home on the couch watching iview and eating carbs, today I am smashing it out at the gym and the endorphins are already kicking in!

I'm so pleased with this progress. Go me!

Also, 90210 was on the tready TV earlier Which made me happy. 

For the record, I took some "before" pics yesterday:

Confronting, but good to have on record.

Gah... I hate these. But I'll be glad to look back on them. 

Big shoutout to my cousin Lisa-Marie for making it possible for me to have a gym membership. Xxoo

Anyway, back to it!


13 Nov 2014

Biting the bullet and swallowing my pride

I paid a visit to my doctor yesterday to get support with weight loss.

It's a confronting and scary thing to do, but also kind of freeing because instead of keeping all of these (sometimes irrational and silly) thoughts and ideas in my head I have someone to share them with. Someone who will pull me back down to the ground when I get off track and help me to remember that I am not a failure as a person just because I haven't been able to lose weight.

It's tricky for me because I know I can do it! I have done it before and did it sensibly and healthily so, I've been very frustrated with myself and my internal dialogue has been really bad, full of put downs and insults. I'm not a very nice person... to me.

The doctor and I looked through my files so she could get a good picture of my history and we stumbled across an entry from a visit just before I got pregnant with Richie when I was having a bout of dizzy spells. My file said:


Athlete!! No wonder I've been hard on myself. In my brain I am still an athlete despite the extra weight I am carrying around that prevents me from living the life I want. It really does stop me. I sit on the sand when my kids swim at the beach. I sit on the sidelines and watch them run around when what I want to do is play with them. I step out of the frame when family photos are taken because I don't recognise the woman I see when I look at the pictures.

I am 120kg. I am unhealthy and I hate living in this body. If I could unzip it and hop out of it I would. I feel like I could. It does feel like a fat suit.

So we made a plan. My doctor knows that I actually DO know what to do and that I really need accountability and support with the practical side of it.

Here's the plan:

I am going to aim to exercise four days per week. Because my week is crazy and I really can't manage early mornings at this stage, it looks like I am going to need to work out Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Which isn't ideal as I have no rest days but if I change up what I am doing from day to day I should be ok.

I am also going to increase my incidental exercise by riding my bike and walking places when I can.

As far as food goes my doctor suggested sticking to a fairly low carb diet due to my PCOS and making sure I'm not drinking too many extra calories in milky coffees - this is a thing for me because I do have 2-3 full fat lattes every day. SO I am going to limit to 2 a day and switch to low fat milk. Just for those. Yoghurt and cheese are still going to be full fat because I don't eat them often anyway.

The other thing we identified is that I have got out of the habit of eating breakfast. Actually, I could go most of the day without eating and then have a massive binge in the afternoon, which is so not cool... so I have started eating first thing once again. I can't face eggs at this stage but fruit and yoghurt are doing the trick. When I get back into the habit I'll try for a breakky higher in protein but for now, something is better than nothing. I have already noticed that I am hungry for lunch today when I am not usually so that's good.

My metabolism is so slow right now and I am determined to fire it up!

The doc asked how I did it in the past and I told her it was slooooow and steady, over years, not months. She was very happy to hear that and suggested I view it the same way this time around. A long term project. I love and hate that. On the one hand, I know she is right. It's the healthy way... but on the other, I just want to lose it quickly because I am so sick of being this big. But I'll do what she says. I'll avoid doing silly fad diets and will try not to be too impatient.

I am going to go back and see the doctor just before Christmas to assess my progress. It's good to have a date to work towards. I am determined to be feeling better and being a bit smaller by then!

It's hard being honest, especially after I was kind of held up as an example of how to get fit and healthy all those years ago. But I guess I am proof that the journey never ends... well.. until we're dead... and we just have to keep plugging along and working on ourselves and encouraging others along the way.

I bought these ace shoes to inspire me.

So how are you going? Are you feeling healthy? Are you making any lifestyle changes this month?

24 Sep 2014

My body wants to be fat... but I can change that.

Well hey there! It's been a while. I've been in the midst of an exceptionally busy time and my focus on health and fitness has gone by the proverbial.

This is not an uncommon story for me. Whenever I try something new that is NOT a long term, sustainable thing (ie. shake diets, very restrictive eating plans), I feel great for a while and I lose a bit of weight but I usually last only a few weeks before something shifts and I can't manage it any more.

I have recently re-read a book that I had forgotten about. It outlines an approach to weight loss which is the opposite of most "diets" and advocates adding in more good foods instead of banning, restricting and counting calories. I had forgotten about this book but as soon as I started listening (I downloaded the audiobook) I remembered that this was the key for me when I lost weight prior to becoming pregnant with my little man.

The book is called The Gabriel Method.

It's difficult to outline the key concepts in this book because it is multi-faceted and unique for each person because it addresses emotional issues as well as teaching good nutrition and useful exercise concepts, but I am going to have a go anyway. I have already had a major "a-hah!" moment about one particular emotional reason for my weight gain which I'll tell you about after my attempt to share the key concepts.

The main key to this approach to weight loss is that there are biological and psychological reasons why the body wants to be fat or thin (or somewhere in between) and as long as the body wants to be fat, it won't allow it to lose the stored fat for any length of time. It has a set point for a reason, so although I can go on a diet and lose some weight, it is like holding a basketball under the water; as soon as I let go, it shoots back up to where it wants to be. That's a difficult concept to grasp for many people, it was for me, because it doesn't seem to make sense at the outset. Why would my body want to be fat? It almost seems like my body is separate from the rest of me. When I looked deeper into this concept I realised that it is not that my body is separate, it is just that the part of the brain that governs my subconscious responses to any stress is not one that I am acutely aware of... it's my subconscious after all!

Jon Gabriel, author of The Gabriel Method calls this "the animal brain" and he says that all the stress we experience in our modern day lives are interpreted in only three ways by the part of our brain that is programmed to deal with the following ancient stresses: freezing to death, starving to death and getting eaten by a predator. The responses to these ancient stresses are obvious: store fat to keep warm, store fat to survive a famine and get thin to be able to run away from a predator and stay alive.

The Gabriel Method suggests that any modern stress is interpreted in one of these ways. For example, many people hold on to fat as a protective mechanism after abuse. This is a chronic stress that sits with a person for many years, it is always there in the back of their mind and they cannot run away from it. This stress is akin to freezing or starving to death, long and drawn out, and so it makes sense that the brain would interpret this as a trigger to store fat. Financial stress is the same, as are many other modern, chronic stresses.

The good thing is, we can change our body's set point. We can make our bodies want to be thin.

The "get thin or get eaten" stress can be used to help weight loss along by tricking the brain into thinking it needs to drop fat fast to enable you to get away from imaginary predators. The modern take on this is high intensity interval training (HITT) where you run or cycle as fast as you can for short bursts a few times during your lower intensity exercise session.

The nutritional aspect of the method is almost the exact opposite to most diets out there because, in response to the modern stress of "starvation", that is nutritional starvation due to the large number of denatured, processed foods in our modern diet, the method encourages you add in more good foods and not restrict anything.

The key here is that once your body is receiving the right nutrition it will no longer crave the other crap.

The things to be added to every meal are:
Live foods (fresh salads, veggies, fruits)

These are added to whatever you're already eating. You could even add them to a meal of junk food according to Jon. You just cut up whatever you're eating and make a salad out of it. Seems funny, but it makes sense. The more good food you have, the fewer cravings, because your body is getting what it needs.

Another key is to accept yourself exactly as you are right now and learn to love yourself at any size. Because if you don't think you're worth the effort, you wont succeed.

My "a-hah!" moment:
While listening to an interview with Jon Gabriel, he mentioned that financial stress can be interpreted as famine by the subconscious and lead a person to hold on to fat as a protection. Storing it up for a harsh period of lack. This really hit home for me. We have been in quite serious financial stress for a long time and I really feel this is the key for me. I feel vulnerable all the time and while I can put on a brave face and get on with things, I can't stop the lingering stress that is always there.

We had a period of time where we didn't have this financial stress and it happened to coincide with a time where I lost 42kg and was quite easily maintaining it. Coincidence? I think not.

So there's my brain spew for the day. I will be back soon to share more because I have lots more to explore, but I feel better having got all of those thoughts out. Thanks for tuning in!

A time when there was less financial stress and when being healthy was easy

*** FYI- I am not in any way associated or being paid by The Gabriel Method, I just this it's a really great approach***

14 Jul 2014

Hello? Mojo?

Good morning friends,

It appears my mojo escaped while I wasn't watching. The school holidays kicked me in the butt and I am waaaay out of routine!

Pretty sure I've put back on whatever weight I lost over the last six weeks and while I could wallow in self loathing and misery, I don't have time for that crap so I'm just going to get back on the wagon and and get on with it.

I'm going to go back to Operation Move basics and time table my week - this has been one of the best tools Op Move has given me. It's so simple and seemingly obvious but it has really helped me to realise that I actually DO have time to exercise for a few hours each week.

My plan for this week is to get three hours of exercise done and to stick to my calorie allowance with My Fitness Pal. I don't have bathroom scales so I'm going to go to my friend Mayra's place to weigh in and assess the holiday damage. It's not going  to be pretty.

I am 30 on November 18th this year and I would like to lose 20kg by then. That's 5kg per month, which is doable but I'll need to be strict.

The plan for the rest of this week:
Tuesday morning : 1 hour walk pushing the little dude in the pram
Wednesday afternoon: 3x20 squats/lunges/wall pushups 3 x plank holds
Thursday morning: 1 hour walk - pram pushing (Hair appointment in the arvo! Nice reward!)
Friday morning: Miss 7 home from school - will take a 1 hour walk along the beach where she can skate

If the weather is bad I can use a free gym pass on Tuesday or Thursday night.

So I'm organised. I have a few online buddies who are kick-starting this week too so I've got a little gang of supportive people to chat to which is nice. I also commit to being more active in the Op Move Facebook page - I tend to go quiet when I'm not doing so well.

Here's to transparency!

24 Jun 2014

The photo that made me really glad I started this thing...

So, I'm about 7 kilos and over one dress size down. My energy levels have increased and I am exercising for over two hours a week - this is gradually increasing as I get fitter but for now it's SO much more than I have been doing over the last year or so and I'm proud of that.

Anyway... you know how sometimes it's easier to live in a state of denial than to actually acknowledge how serious things are getting? Well, I definitely have been doing that. Denying how big I was getting and how sick I was feeling and instead buying bigger clothes every few months so I could keep ignoring that serious change needed to happen. 

I just couldn't face it. The last few years have been very stressful and I was just managing to hang on emotionally. I didn't have the emotional energy to deal with my increasingly bad choices. Emotional eating, emotional laziness, comfort, lots of sitting, thinking that it was all making me feel better but in reality it made me worse....and worse and worse.

So I've actually changed things! I really have! And it's starting to show! And I'm proud of my efforts. 

Talk about the power of positive reinforcement! For the sake of transparency, I have spent the last month kick-starting with the help of Optifast and I am about to transition to a balanced 1300-1500cal plan in the next few days to ensure I am getting adequate nutrition and ensuring slow and steady losses until I reach my goal. 

I haven't addressed the title of this post have I? I'm feeling very challenged and embarrassed that I let myself get so out of control but I feel that it would be good to share so that I can remember how far I have come and how little changes and being consistent can have a big effect in the long term... That's what Operation Move is all about... little changes and consistency. Anyway... here it is. I'm struggling to even add it to the post but I know I need to. For me... no one else.

This is me with my little boy a few months ago. I honestly had NO idea at the time that I looked like this from the side. No wonder I was having so much trouble playing with my kids and doing simple things like crossing my legs when seated. 

I also recently participated in a film clip for Georgia Fields's new single The Hood and The Hunter and to be honest, when I saw my face pop up on the screen I was so shocked at how round it was. I took a comparison picture last night.

So YES! There's a difference and I am very proud and keen to keep going and feeling better every day. I am unsure if I want to post my weight and measurements... Do people want to know that stuff? Does it matter? I guess it's up to me and right now I don't feel like sharing that stuff. I'd rather focus on how I'm feeling.

I want to give a big shout out to the lovely and supportive people at Operation Move* who have been so generous, kind and caring. I wouldn't have achieved this had I not started the Get Moving program with you.

You may have noticed that this blog has changed. It was going to be a blog that I shared with my friend Yelka but things have changed and I've decided to keep the blog going with a different name.

Here is the gorgeous music video I mentioned above. I'm totes famous... albeit moon-faced. 

*Disclaimer: I am participating in Operation Move - Get Moving for free in exchange for sharing my story with you all. Good deal huh!?

27 May 2014

The beginning again...

Hello from my writing desk... it's tea time... thank goodness.

Well hello there,

Welcome to my little bloggy-journally-spill my guts blog. It's really different to my other blog The Squee because here I just talk about me me me...totes self indulgent right? :)

Yelka will also be posting so stay tuned for her no doubt wonderful posts too.

I'm really trying hard to be positive at the moment because there are so many good things happening and lots of opportunities to express creativity and connect with people. It's really nice.

Despite these good things I can't ignore that I have been steadily gaining weight over the last three years since I gave birth to my little man and I really don't feel good. I medicate myself, my feelings and stress with food and I have completely lost the knack of knowing when to stop and how not to eat when I am not hungry.

This frustrates me no end because only four years ago I was at my fittest and healthiest and was helping other people to reach their own fitness goals. I wonder if I knew deep down that I wouldn't be able to maintain the weight that I had lost? Maybe... or maybe not. I couldn't know could I?

I need to figure out the WHY of my behaviour. Why does food comfort me? Why do I eat when I'm not hungry? Why do I eat in secret? What's it all about? How will I feel if i don't turn to food?

Some of that work will probably happen here.

I haven't weighed myself in a long time as we made a decision to get rid of the scales because we could hear our girls using them all the time (it beeped) and we didn't want them becoming fixated on how much they weigh. They are both healthy and active and within a healthy weight range so we thought the best option would be to remove them. I still maintain that this was a good choice but it also makes it more difficult for me to monitor my progress and I will need to find a way around it. Maybe weighing at the chemist? Or maybe if I can eventually afford a gym membership I'll do it there.

I estimate that I am about 112kg right now but will confirm that when I can get to some scales. I will also take some measurements and photos over the next week. I will probably eventually post them here but not until I have some progress pics to compare them to.

I know I can do this. I've done it before and while it seems so hard right now, it will get easier. It just will.

My plan of action is this:

Monday to Friday I aim for about 1500 calories a day and on the weekends a little more depending on what I'm doing. I plan to include more fresh veggies and salads and less processed food, sweet things and bread - but these things are not outlawed.. just limited. I am using the My Fitness Pal app to keep track of my food and exercise.

I am going to get my exercise plan from Kate at Operation Move* really soon but I know it will include three sessions per week. Due to my busy life, for now my exercise will occur on Thursday afternoons while Richie is at kinder and on the weekend when John is home. I need to keep it as simple as possible or it will all become overwhelming and I won't want to do any of it.

So here we are... Day one of tracking with the app. No veggies yet but I'll have some for arvo tea and I'm going to have a big salad for dinner.

It's nice to know I'm not going to feel this crap forever.

*Operation Move is a fabulous fitness program that I am participating in for free in exchange for me chatting about it on the blog. Good deal huh!?

24 May 2014

Hey there!

Well hello there!

My name is Ashley and I live in Melbourne's west in the buzzing multicultural hub of Footscray. I am a writer, a student, a mother, a Social Worker, a crafter, a cook, a blogger, a wifey, a lover of the garden and of community.

I have had a tumultuous relationship with food and the bathroom scales and have ridden the roller-coaster of weight loss- weight gain- weight loss -weight gain for far too long. I am looking for a life long solution and I want to start today!

I am in love with chocolate and cheese... and bread with peanut butter. Unfortunately, my body doesn't like those things very much and as someone who has polycystic ovaries and who is very close to having the syndrome if I don't get this under control, I really want to create long term habits that are actually good for me.

I don't believe in starvation, severe restrictions, extreme exercise regimes, self hatered, negative self talk or other kooky shit. I do believe that I can lose weight and get fit in a way that is good for my mental health as well as my physical health.

I want to find my mob! My cheer squad! People in the same boat to me and who also want to get fit and healthy without getting all crazy about it. Is that you? Yes?? Well please say HI!!