Monday, April 25, 2011

Week Seven: FINAL WEEK!


WELL can you believe it... final week!  Can't believe how fast this Challenge has flicked through - and here we are staring down the barrel of just a few more days... 

JUST A FEW MORE DAYS!!  Argh!   This has been plaguing my head for quite a few days now... and I know you guys were all waiting with baited breath for my weigh-in results this week... I know, because I've felt every tiny speck of pressure sitting on my shoulders with that one... 

If you read my previous entry - the Word Challenge - by the end of the week, I was so emotionally-shot, everything took a little turn for the worst...  and I'm sorry to say, I let it all get the better of me. 

Watching the scales every day since about last Wednesday, I could barely breathe - every time I'd step on, there was NOTHING... no movement, no improvement...  In fact, come Friday, I was seeing a GAIN on there instead - and that just resulted in one of my biggest meltdowns yet... 

I sat here on Friday for five hours, with my trainers and heart rate monitor on "ready to go"... but do you think my body would let me?   It was as though I was stuck in cement - I physically could NOT move - it was as though my body and mind had locked on that I was in seriously dangerous territory and they would NOT let me do any further damage. 

I wish I could explain it better, but it was this physical block that shocked me the most.  Talking to a friend, who had experienced a similar "physical reaction" at the peak of her emotional and physical exhaustion - where her body literally "gave out" and she couldn't move... it scared me.   I knew I was exhausted, but I didn't think BOTH my body and mind would put me into lockdown like that...

I KNOW that what I've put myself through the past couple of months has definitely been above and beyond my usual...  I've worked harder and faster on my weightloss than at any other time over the last three years - and unfortunately, it all came crashing down last week... 

I wasn't going to write about any of this - part of me felt like a failure - but I guess the fact that I'm REAL and my experiences are REAL is testament to why people appreciate my side to the story...  There's very little "glory" in weightloss when you're slogging it out here at home on your own - you don't have a whole audience out there cheering you on, or professionals at your disposal to make sure you're not botching something up!  Noone really wants to admit to hardship or the "reality" of weightloss - we'd like to think it's all happy and fun and exciting - we want the end result without any of the pain in the middle!!  ... but that's not how it is...!

So, you can imagine, every day that passed last week, with little to nothing to show for the massive amount I was putting in - I was pretty much a mess come Sunday morning, when I was supposed to "officially weigh in."   I'd been progressively upping all my exercise - up and up and up - clearly to the point of exhaustion - I'd been BRUTAL on my food and was actually getting to the point where I was scared to put something in my mouth (far out, I HATE that - I'm NOT that girl...) - and I was trying to "shortcut" my way into a loss - just because I was so increasingly anxious about registering a loss on those scales... 

The pressure of this deadline and meeting this last three kilos very much took its toll...  I was a mess. My body was literally in lockdown mode - my joints are inflamed and seized up, my muscles are sore, I've been sick all week, I'm literally exhausted...   I ended up in a massive bingefest with my face in a jar of peanut butter at 1.30am on Saturday morning because I've fouled up my eating too, and went into a huge self-sabotage spiral...  My mind is telling me I'm a failure, all the self-doubt and hatred filtered back in, I didn't want to admit defeat and was even willing to "cheat" my way through this just so I didn't look stupid....    

I couldn't be any more disappointed in myself right now because of THAT than I am right now... 

When I said YES to this Challenge, it wasn't about "me"...  I said yes because I wanted to help others - get them moving, and make this weightloss business fun and exciting!  I wasn't in this for accolades (clearly, I'd been losing weight for three years secretly!) - I just wanted a way to "talk" to alot more people out there and allow them to see the potential they have within too... 

.. and unfortunately it's taken a HUGE toll on me in the process.  Sitting here in tears the other night, I realised I'd given away all my success to everyone else...  I'm back doing what I've always done - negating myself in the mix while I'm too busy making everyone else happy!  When did I "switch off" that this was for ME and so willingly give it all away?!   How can I even help other people if I can't even keep control of this for myself?! 

SO, aside from feeling like a total failure on the scales department, I now felt like a complete fraud aswell...  Busting my butt for just THREE tiny kilos?!!! ... trying to fast track success and push myself to the point of a meltdown and my body breaking down - WHY.... ?!!!   

WHO was I actually doing this for?!!   When did I STOP loving my exercise and food and that overjoyed feeling of freedom - because, yesterday I HATED what I'd become - that all those beautiful positives I've spent years creating went straight out the window - and I'm so incredibly upset about that, I broke my own bloody heart!!!  

I'm IN LOVE with my new fitness, I absolutely thrive on the fact that I can move this body and push my limits, and try new things...   I ADORE food and use it as the fuel that keeps this body moving...  and I KNOW I'm strong in mind and soul - you don't get this far without that.    So WHY WHY WHY did I throw all that out the window for three stupid kilos?!!   

WHY did that ridiculous goal negate ALL my success to date?  Why did it make me feel like a failure, and WHY did it override MY own pre-set goal (which was to get to 98 - and I did that - I'm STILL THERE, I'm literally stuck there right now!)..  AND least of all, WHY did it make my "90kgs lost" milestone void?!!!  That's the SUM of ALL my achievements!!!     Why the hell did I let that three kilos be my undoing?!! 

I've been battling this for the past few days - as I said - and every day it's been getting progressively worse.  The pressure is INSANE - and one of THE biggest reasons why I never imposed a deadline on my losses in the past.   THIS is why I don't condone deadlines - goals are great, giving yourself S.M.A.R.T goals and challenges to meet are great, I LOVE pushing myself to try something new and breaking through in the process...

... I DON'T love falling apart because of three freaking kilos!!!!    The mind games are hideous...

SO standing on those scales "officially" yesterday - I can report in a great big loss of NOTHING. After working my absolute butt off all week - with all the "right numbers" on the screen (which are clearly meaningless in the scheme of things - doesn't matter how "good" you are on paper!!!) - my body hit a brickwall. 

... and I know exactly why - I did this to myself.   

I kicked those scales to the wall, I may have let out a very big expletive, and I walked away - digusted - downhearted - downtrodden - revolted...  

It wasn't so much about the tears yesterday, it was more that I was head-to-toe FUMING that I'd put myself through this.  I KNOW BETTER.  I haven't been doing this for three years not to know what works for my body and what doesn't... and I KNEW there'd be hell to pay when I went too far... 

SO, I had ALOT to think about yesterday - in light of what I've done to myself.  I sat down and had a bit of a "D&M" and hit myself with a few very harsh realities...  

I LOVE that I stood up for this Challenge for you guys (and for me!) - it pushed me to come out of hiding even more, and in that process, I've had the capacity to talk to even more people... and I KNOW I'm already impacting other people.  I have the messages of support to show me that...    I LOVE what this has done for me - yes there's been some huge emotional transitioning here (and very FAST in comparison to the longer-route I've taken over the years) and ALOT of physical exertion - but I've DONE IT and I've pushed myself to new levels every time - and I'm extremely proud of myself for that...   

I don't regret having taken on this Challenge at all - it's not all "love and roses" ofcourse, there's some serious pitfalls to this taking over my life the way that it has - but 95% of it has been extraordinary!!! 

.... but I regret having pushed myself to the brink of despising it...  which is where I found myself yesterday, and I was shattered.  I feel like I made MYSELF a bit of a science experiment - just keep pushing and pushing, and let's wait and see if I snap!!    It's like in science class when you keep adding that one ingredient that you know is gonna cause the explosion, but you keep doing it - just a bit more, just a bit more, just a bit... BOOOOOM!!!!     It's not FUN when you're sitting here crying your eyes out and negating EVERYTHING over three stupid kilos!!!   That was never supposed to happen...   

Amy, who are you really doing this for???    

SO, reflecting on that, I set MYSELF a self-imposed Challenge yesterday... and I'm doing it again today.   I wanted to see that *I* still had control of my body and my results...  I NEEDED to bring this back to ME...     I hit four rounds x 30mins (10kms) on the cross trainer = 40kms.... and I'll repeat that again today. 

I'm taking MY control back - I AM THE TRAIN DRIVER!  This is MY mission, MY work, MY success... 


SO, in light of the fact that I kicked my scales to the wall yesterday morning and told them what I REALLY thought of them (!!!!) and now coming into the final week of Challenge - no more tears, no more tantrums...  

LET'S GET BACK TO MAKING THIS FUN!   That's why I did it in the first place.   Get rid of the stress, the ridiculous pressure, the deadline and the goal...   I'm NOT the girl I used to be - I do this THE RIGHT WAY and I do it with integrity.  No more trying to shortcut or fast track (it clearly just stuffs up my body - and three years later, I KNOW better) - and I ENJOY and celebrate the success I have achieved. 

I'm not a puppet or a science experiment...  I'm REAL and my experiences are real.  What's the point in changing your life "for the better" when you feel that horrible sense of regret, remorse and restriction.  That's NOT who I am now...  

I'm the girl who goes out and busts her butt for 40kms on the cross trainer BECAUSE IT'S HER CHOICE - not because she's too busy trying to make everyone else happy...   

And you know what, irrespective of whether I meet this "end goal" or not, it's time to freaking celebrate!!! 
  • I ALREADY made my 98kgs weight mark (which I doubted from the start I'd make - it wasn't necessarily a "realistic goal" given my body's loss history!!)  - and HELLO I've maintained it now for the following week! 
  • I've hit my 90kgs lost mark (for crying out loud Amy, get that through your thick head!!!  90kgs!!!)
  • I hit my double digits - which, was this not the point of the Challenge in the first place?!!
  • I'm fitter than ever - I walked a new PB just a couple days ago (over 13kms) and busted out 40kms of cross trainer yesterday!   
  • I've shrunk so much in the past two months, 90% of my wardrobe is void!
  • I've learnt SO MUCH about myself, my body, my food, my mind in the past two months, it's INSANE!!!
  • ... and I've been the Train Driver and team leader for god knows how many of you out there who came aboard and did this with me....  and I need to give myself a little bit of Cred for that... 

SO - as much as I love you guys - this week I'm taking back my control and being a bit rebellious!  I'm gonna have a kick-arse week looking after MYSELF!!!    I'm going to EAT and I'm going to EXERCISE at my discretion, and I'm gonna get to the end of this week with a gigantic freaking smile on my face, and be stupified by the fact that I pulled myself through the "challenge of all challenges" - for no other reason, than because I bloody well deserve it...  I've earnt it!

Bring on FINAL WEEK baby - we're driving this one home!!!! 



Week 7 challenge – Out with the old

Commando home page tile imageCommando Steve said: "This is the final week of your challenge and you’re getting close to your goal. It’s time to let go of the old you. I want you to go through your wardrobe, bag up anything that no longer fits and embrace bright and vibrant colours. I bet you didn’t think I was the type of man to dish out wardrobe advice, Amy. You'll need to post a photo each day on The Biggest Loser Club Facebook page."

YES SIR!  One more week...   and this one is going to cap it off fabulously!!!  FUN FUN FUN FUN FUN!!!   Style guru I am NOT - but hey, I was always really good at dressing up the Barbie dolls...  This is gonna be FUN!!   ....  now, do I actually have anything left in that wardrobe to actually show you.. hahaha!

:)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Week Six - Word 5: Gratitude



GRATITUDE

Another biggie in the word list - and my final word of this week's challenge! This one was really easy to pick at the beginning of the week - it floated SO perfectly after all my others... and yet, here we are at the END of the week, and I find it rather ironic that I'm now writing about the very thing I've needed to remind myself about ALL DAY!

You see, I wasn't having a very good day...  I'm tired, sore, a bit sick, and mentally all over the shop.  My body is exhausted - my knees have seized up after a HUGE exercise week and the change of weather - and I feel like I've been running on 'empty' since I woke up this morning...   And it's blatantly obvious something's "not right" when I sit here for five hours with my joggers, workout clothes and heart-rate monitor on, on the brink of tears, but can't actually bring myself to GET UP and go outside to train... No, not in a good way at all...

So, I've had a very big day of contemplating, deliberating and sussing out just what it is that's blocking me - is it purely physical exhaustion or is it something more? 

I'm mentally drained too.  Not only a HUGE physical exertion week - but this word challenge was really rough 'mentally', and as suspected, has very much taken its toll this end of the week.  I LOVE that I can write about these things for you guys - and let you delve into what makes me tick on these sub-levels...  but it hurts.  It might come across as something "easy" for me to do - given I keep getting told I'm a natural writer - but this is my heart and soul here on the page - this is ME offering up all remnants of myself to everyone else; drudging up and deliberating on all my history, choices and dreams... and splashing them out there into the Universe so that "someone else may benefit from it."      .... and it takes its toll.

I'm very much feeling the pressure of the impending deadline too - despite having made MY goal weight two weeks early, this last three kilos is proving to be hellishly stubborn... and I feel like I'm letting you guys down...  Despite working my backside off (literally) - the scales want nothing to do with me - and now my body is joining in on the picket line!  I was willing to push through that - "just two weeks to go" - until this morning when my head joined in with them and left me dangling out in the cold...

A VERY swift wake-up call that I've pushed myself a little too far...  and now I very much need to apologise to my body for putting unrealistic expectations on it...   Was that not the point of my post just two days ago - about RESPECT?!  Respecting my body, respecting myself, and doing this with integrity?!...  and here I am disrespecting this beautiful machine because I'm more worried about three kilos in two weeks, versus the ninety that it's so willingly helped me shed the last three years?!  Hmmmm....

If this is the part where Amy needs to eat her words, can I please take them in a low-fat variety?!!   Wake-up call heard... 

SO, five hours of mental ping-pong today, feeling hellishly guilty for not breaking a sweat, and then eating my bodyweight in anything not tied down just because I'd lost my focus and control (yup, I still do that too!), enough is enough....   Today became a necessity 'rest day' whether I liked it or not. 

Time to stop focusing on the negatives, the pressure, the unobtainable or be overcome with the stress - break through and change focus.  ...so I did.

And here comes the ironic part....

I sat down tonight and made some presents for a few very special friends of mine - a special gift that I've been meaning to put together for them for AGES, but have been so "time-poor" lately (looking after everyone else), that all these meaningful things have been thrown to the back of the list...

These friends of mine are the people who KEEP ME GOING - they're the reason I've been able to push through hurdles like this during the Challenge - and after today's meltdown, and a pep-talk or two from them, I realised just how GRATEFUL I truly was for people like this in my little world.

Aside from one very fluffy ginger cat and a wilting Mint plant, there's noone else here in my house to talk to - all my support network is here in cyber-world - and knowing full well that most people are off on Easter activities and spending time with family and friends, I was feeling extremely isolated in my struggles.  It made me appreciate these gorgeous friends of mine even MORE - that they can be so readily available when I need them - always with open arms, unbiased opinions and realistic advice - and they truly care.... 

SO I used this as a "distraction technique" - so I could break the emotional drudgery (and hence, get my head out of the damned fridge!) - put my mind and hands to work on something meaningful and heartfelt...  I made them something special....  a little present of appreciation - my token of GRATITUDE...

AND THEN - it dawned on me that I had to write this post tonight - about this very subject!   Ohhhh yeah, the Universe throws me all sorts of crazy signals and timing... and here she is doing it again!!   Does make me wonder just who is up there jiggling my puppet strings...!!!!

So let's talk gratitude.... 



Over the course of the last three years, and as I've mentioned through all my other posts, my whole little world has taken quite a change of direction!  I've learnt to adapt what is available to me into something tangible and positive - and find the drive and determination within that I never thought could exist for me...

Now, we're not here for an Oscar speech - though with all my melodramatics the past week, I'm sure I'd be right up there with some of the best contenders!!!   ... but I have one EXTENSIVE list of people I'd like to thank for their help and support over the past few years.  I won't name-names - the most special people know who they are - they're the ones who know me, probably better than I know myself!!!  (given how ridiculously different I am now, haha)  - so a blanket "THANK YOU" to you all for your most beautiful selves - and heartfelt gratitude for filling my world with meaning and love.... 
I absolutely adore you and thank you forever...

Add to that my extended network both on the BLC forums and now through my social networks too - a HUGE thankyou to you guys for being as super supportive and gorgeous as you are.  You make me feel like I'm doing something right - and your kind words and messages never cease to amaze me... I am truly humbled by your support.

PLUS - I wouldn't have gotten this far without a few 'tools' neither - and that's where the BLC comes in. That diary is my best friend - it's helped me understand nutrition and foods, and became an integral part of my success over the last few years...  and that success lead to recognition with the Club, and a jaw-dropping, butt-busting workout with the one and only Commando (*swoon*) and getting the opportunity to "tell my story" via this fabulous Challenge - and in turn, have the capacity to help others...   MUCH GRATITUDE HERE for all these amazing opportunities...


To say "I'm grateful" for this change of direction and these positives is one of THE biggest understatements I can make. How on earth do I ever truly describe how relieved or happy I am that I've now taken my two feet out of the grave (that I'd so willingly put in there 'before')??    Who do I thank for that?  Where do I send the flowers?!   I don't feel like a 'thank you' goes far enough - and I don't know where to direct it anyway?!!  There's something much bigger here at play, and I don't know that 'grateful' truly does it any justice either?!

But in saying that, I guess I have to stop looking at everyone and everything else as the factors that changed my life - and look back at my five words...   That pattern that emerged at the start of the week didn't happen by chance...   Out of an envelope filled with 50 words, I chose just 5 remarkable, life-changing words that validated everything that I've done to date.   It wasn't my head that chose the words - it was my heart...  I didn't "pre-plan" what I'd write about, nor think up something that I thought would sound fabulous on paper...   I picked five random words, put them in the order of importance to me, and then wrote up, each night, why they mean something to me...

And you know what - what an AMAZING insight that has given me!  Yes, this week has been an emotional one - but hindsight and reflection are EXTREMELY powerful tools.  These five beautiful words have reshaped my life... and I didn't realise until I saw it here in action...
1. Forgiveness - to clear the heart and start anew
2. Courage - to push through and try something new
3. Respect - to validate my actions and create substance 
    (and Integrity - for purpose and reason)
4. Hope - to feed the fire and soothe the soul....    and lastly,
5. Gratitude - to make the transition and my life meaningful and real


GRATITUDE... again, massive understatement!

I guess this is where I need to thank that girl, three years back, who took that first tiny step out of the dark, who didn't know who she was, where she was going or why...  She's the reason I'm here now. I lost her somewhere along the way - she just kind of "fell away" when I outgrew her  (ironic I know!!!  Maybe "shed" her is a better term?!)...   Either way, my gratitude towards her extends through all those five words - I forgive her, I applaud her courage, I respect her for her choice, she gave me hope, and I'm now filled with gratitude for it all...

I realised recently that I've effectively "wiped the slate clean" having come through such a drastic, HUGE life transition the way I have.  As much as I've missed out on, I'm also EXTREMELY lucky to have the uncluttered and beautiful opportunities awaiting me that I never had before...  There's nothing stopping me now!!    I have a world of "new" at my fingertips to experience - and because of where I've been, my outlook on these things is different to those that take alot of these things for granted...   I'm GRATEFUL for everything - and that's the most amazing feeling!

I live a life filled with gratitude!

So, wrapping up this powerful word challenge this week, and closing off a very emotional day, I KNOW I'll be back out there tomorrow - training like a trojan, working on my goals and focusing on what lies ahead...  it's a given.  This is my new life now - this is who I am and what I do... and I'm in love with it!    I'm not quite sure when it happened, but I gave myself permission to live, and I guess when it comes down to it, out of everything that's changed, that's the thing that I'm the most grateful for...

:)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Week Six - Word 4: Hope

 HOPE

This word choice was a given...  And I think you'll agree, follows on quite perfectly after my previous entries...  Forgiveness, Courage, Respect & Integrity...

HOPE - as it stands - is one of the most beautiful and powerful words in the world to me...  It envelopes all the most beautiful characteristics and attributes out there - it's the one that embraces them all, gives them a giant cuddle and tells us that there's always a reason....

When I chose this particular word, I had a really big emotional pull toward it... and KNEW it was going to be one of the toughest for me to write about. I think I underestimated its impact though - because when I really started to think about this one, it dawned on me that its basis lay far further below than I gave it credit for.  

You see, I used to think 'hope' was just for the hopeful - for those who had a natural sense of purpose, direction or future... Because I'd negated myself that, I gave up believing I had it in my life - I dismissed "possibility" and a future on the basis that I didn't deserve any of it - I'd already accepted that I had no future...   (god, I hate admitting that... it breaks my heart).

I'd watch everyone else experience things in their lives that I literally could only dream about - and I became a FANTASTIC day-dreamer in the process. But it's a bitter life when you lay there at night dreaming about things that cut you through to your core - because you know in yourself you still don't have, or potentially won't ever have, them "in the real"....

I lost count of how many nights I'd lay there thinking and thinking and thinking, then cry myself to sleep.  My emotions were (and still are) so finely tuned to my day-dreams, that I'd feel ALL the highs and lows of these things in my mind, and then when I'd remember that they weren't even real, well, I don't have words for the pain that goes with that...   That was my nightly ritual for the better part of the past decade and a half...  but it was because it infiltrated my waking hours too, I couldn't do it anymore...  I wanted out. I couldn't 'live' a life that resembled me watching a Hollywood movie in my head - because it always ended in tragedy, and I HATED that with a passion...    It wasn't enough I was envious and heartbroken watching everyone else 'live' - but my own head was attacking me from within... it was just monotonous...

It was only very recently that I was able to finally break through that (and if I'm honest, I still slip often.)  There's so many things in my life I've missed out on - SO many gaps - I feel a bit like a piece of swiss cheese!!   (you know - a bit different, a bit nutty, but full of freaking holes!!)  

I took myself out of 'life' because I felt like I didn't deserve to live - then day-dreamed an existence that would only break my heart even further...  I completely wiped any signs of 'future' out of my eyes because I couldn't handle the thought that THAT was how it was planned out for me...   What cruel, nasty, spiteful 'being' would write that sort of hateful existence for a person - what did I do wrong?!  ... and WHY was I being punished?!     (I still question that... )

SO, when people would talk of what they wanted in their 'future' and all its possibilities (career, travel, partners, houses, babies, weddings, parties, anything...) - when they'd make plans for a few weeks, a month, a year down the track (least of all two, ten, twenty... ) - I was always in awe, and always (ALWAYS) bitter and broken that I couldn't do the same.   I was never brave enough to make plans or dreams - in fact, I forced myself not to, because I didn't want to let someone else down when I wasn't going to be there...  I hated starting something that took too long to finish, or committing to something that required me to be "locked in" for months ahead in time - least of all years - when I didn't actually plan on being there by then at all.  The only plan I had in my mind was me not being here at all...  I just didn't tell anyone.   That was my burden to bear...   

Instead of making beautiful plans, putting faith or belief in the fact that I'd somehow find all those elusive things that would fill all those gaps... I was 'hoping' for an easy answer instead - an easy out..   My hope lay in me just fading away, so I didn't hurt anyone, didn't make anyone else suffer or cause fuss or mess...  I'd "hope I'd just go away"....    But there's nothing positive in that version of 'hope'...

When I started my weightloss mission a few years ago, I was more inclined to expect failure than believe in success.  Let's face it, in my eyes I had nothing, I was nothing, I had nothing to look forward to, nowhere to be, nowhere to go, noone to aim for... nothing.  I'd negated ALL 'hope' that something would actually help - painfully, I was still alive, even THAT "hope" had failed me...!!

So you can imagine, from coming from a place of that extreme - through to three years later - where my 'hope' has completely changed in structure and connotation....  this one particular word both shatters and rebuilds me - and I don't know if I can truly explain that?!  My whole existence hinges on the fact that I'm now encased in 'hope'. 

HOPE, now, in all its pure beauty - sends "sunshine" through my heart.  Hope saw me at my worst, forgave me my indiscretions and willingness to fail, and held my hand when I finally found the courage to make change. Hope was the little light in the corner of my heart when the rest was pitch black - and it was the hands that held me up when I'd fall.

Hope has been with me from day one - when I honestly believed I was alone...

HOPE is neither a negative OR a positive - it's an "ungiven" and an "unwritten"...    There's no answer, there's no tangible, there's no 'yes or no' - it's a belief, a feeling, a subtle nudge, an awakening, a new beginning...   It can be ANYTHING!   It changes shape and form, it changes character, it has the power to influence and manipulate and drive...    Hope is enforcing, hope is enchanting, hope is encouraging and hope has the most amazing capacity to heal.... 

I honestly used to think I had no HOPE within me, but it's one of the five factors - my five words - that has reshaped who I am, how I am, why I am and where I'm going...   It's the illusion of what's not yet to be - and the conjurer of dreams that I now let myself believe!   

Hope plays with my day-dreams now, not to spite me or make me suffer anymore - but to help propel me, give me direction and fill me with a sense of purpose. It let's me know that if I just keep trying, and just keep moving forward, that one day I'll get to have all those beautiful things I envy so much in everyone else... 

Hope will never leave you - even when you want it to...  It's what drives you...   It's your own inner-magic and will always work WITH you.   Hope built my forgiveness, my courage, my respect and my integrity - it's the "unwritten, all encompassing" that's finally given me reason.... 

Hope won't let me down - it's got big plans for me now. My life, and all its amazing possibilities in the future lay in its hands.... 

... and VERY much leads to my final word, tomorrow! 

:)

Week Six - Word 3: Respect





RESPECT

I LOVE this word - it flows on superbly from my first two choices....  Forgiveness and Courage... but it comes power-packed with a bunch of emotions too, and just as my previous two choices, there's a whole pattern that emerges here with this one aswell!

Respect is an attribute that resonates quite highly with me - it's something that's always come quite naturally - to respect those around me, those in authority, my environment, etc.  I was brought up with the belief to "treat others as you'd like to be treated."  Unfortunately, life doesn't always deal you a fair playing field...

Whilst I was off being 'respectful' of everyone else, the favour wasn't always returned.... and it was far easier to lose respect in MYSELF than it was to dish it back to those that threw it in my face. They didn't actually NEED to undermine me - again, I did that quite well on my own!!  I put everyone else up on pedestals and left myself flailing down below...

"Self-respect" has been one of my biggest issues. At my lowest point, I was an "empty shell" - with no respect for myself...  I didn't care about my body or my place in the world - and I (regretfully) knew fully well that's what I was doing. How could I find a level of self-respect (as an entity) when I clearly didn't care about what I was doing to myself...   That was the 'catch 22' - I didn't respect myself, so why bother trying to fix it - but without fixing it, how can you possibly change it... ohhhhhh it just boggles my mind - it manifests on itself, and just leaves a really icky feeling in the pit of my stomach....

How do you break that cycle?!  Considering I would go out of my way to treat others how I "wanted to be treated" - WHY would I then treat myself SO POORLY in comparison?!!    I was simply DISRESPECTFUL of myself... 

SO, here we go with my pattern again - and now it's really starting to take shape...!!
1: Forgive myself and what's already passed and cannot be changed
2: Find the courage to create the change you want
3: Learn to respect the essential elements of change....    DISCUSS!



Irrespective of how much you hate it, despise what it looks like, fault it within an inch of your life... your body is an intricate and magnificent machine - and deserves to be treated with a level of respect that ALL magnificent machines deserve! 

Think of it like a steam train - you want that beautiful train to stay on the tracks and take you through to your destination, so you need to fuel it properly, maintain the engine, and drive that train in the direction you need it to go... (the three essential elements!)   ... again, indulge me here with my analogy!!!

Three years ago, I became a "train driver."  First and foremost, I had to change what FUELS I was putting into this machine.  I couldn't mistreat the engine anymore - I needed it to drive me home....  Out with the crap, and in with the good, a train can't run on junk!!

I learnt how to choose healthy foods, modify my eating behaviours, make proactive choices about when and how I fueled this engine...  I proactively chose to treat my body with the respect it deserves, and it responded accordingly!

Where before, I treated my body like a walking trashcan (disrespectful and harmful), now I was eating foods that HELPED me initiate change, gave me the nutrition and energy that my 'machine' required on a daily basis, and very much helped keep me moving forward...  

In doing that, I also learnt to respect food as the fuel source that it is - it stopped being a 'hateful indulgence'; a cause of my issues; and the shame, fear, love-hate malicious relationship I had going on with food (in general) started to wane.   It's taken the better part of three years to make sustained change here, but I'm now IN LOVE WITH FOOD, have a brilliant relationship with it, no longer fear what I put into my mouth - all because I learnt to RESPECT it for what it truly is... 

RESPECT YOUR FUEL!


Now, I'm no 'certified mechanic' over here - but while we're on the subject of engines - you have to understand that any good piece of machinery only works at its best WHEN IT'S MOVING!   SO, here comes your essential element number two!

Maintaining that engine - or getting up off your butt and MOVING...  Yes, I'm talking about exercise!!   Now, like most people, when I was the size I used to be, movement and exercise were nothing short of uncomfortable and entirely too shameful - and made me feel even worse about what I was trying to do!

.... but you can't expect change if you're not willing to put in the work?!  I wouldn't want to walk away with the credit and kudos of a "job well done" if it wasn't actually ME who'd put in the effort... you can't respect that!!  SO, it was time to get up off my butt, start moving and EARN my changes!

I learnt to move this crazy machine slowly - bit by bit - this crazy 'train' started to move.  If I fueled it well, she'd move... and then we really started to get somewhere!!    We were definitely on track now!! 

Learning to trust that the human body (your 'magnificent machine') IS actually BUILT TO MOVE, and knowing full well that it's capable of a hell of alot more than we're often willing to try - I had to acknowledge that my body deserved to be traveling those tracks - it didn't deserve to be prematurely sidelined, stationary and rusting away...  there's nothing respectful in that!   It was time to move, have faith that my body COULD move and be willing to move it in a way that helped create forward momentum....

RESPECT YOUR BODY!


So are you seeing what I'm getting at here?!  We've got two essential elements there that initiate and create change...  but they don't work without this last one: the driver

YOU are the driver - you're the one with the map - the one who knows where they want to go...  You drive that magnificent machine in the direction you want to go, and you'll get there...  This is the MOST powerful element - the one that demands the most respect.

In order to drive your own success, create your own change, foster your own worth... it all comes down to YOU! You're the one who has to do the work - you're the one who has to make the proactive decisions - you're the one fueling the tank, moving the machine... - you're the one wearing the consequences...  that's YOU! 

Without YOU there is no forward momentum...  there is no change...  there is no success...

Knowing how essential YOU are then, in that process, you've BECOME the authority, you ARE that power, it's YOU that resonates and demands respect....  THEREFORE...

RESPECT YOURSELF!



It took me a really long time to acknowledge that it was ME at the heart of all my changes - and even longer to recognise that I'd actually EARNT my own power (hello self-respect!!!).    That's the beauty of hindsight and experience talking here - and why I was so inclined to include this word in my challenge...  

Most people fail to recognise their own power in the process - they let themselves fall into the trap of believing in gimmicks, or relying on crutches or fleeting "motivation" to pull them through.... when all the while, that power they hold in themselves is just waiting to be acknowledged - it's the PUSH when you sometimes slow down, and the reason why you get moving again when you fall off-track...  Being able to find and acknowledge your own self-respect and self-worth is a catalyst for forward momentum!

YOU MUST RESPECT YOURSELF - as a worthwhile person, as an individual, as an entity within a wider circle....  Your place in the world IS deserved - YOU deserve to be respected...  YOU create and you resonate your own respect.



... which leads me to a sub-word for the night...   (and indulge me slightly for upping the word count here!!!)

INTEGRITY

I really wanted to include this one within this topic - because one works intrinsically with the other, and is something that's become quite meaningful within the last few weeks for me.... 

In learning to respect myself, my body and my mind (the HUGE transition of my last few years)...  I've had to acknowledge that my behaviours and actions have changed accordingly.

Defining INTEGRITY (courtesy of a quick google search!!!) - I found this!  "Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty; the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished."  


My actions these days hinge around the fact that I'm bursting full of self-respect (and my success shows it)...  I'm NOW living my life fueled and filled with integrity.

I am PASSIONATE about the message I'm promoting with my weightloss - I'm honest, I'm candid, I'm ethical and I'm real...   I conduct my actions with integrity - and I'm really proud of myself for that.  I've earnt the respect of my peers, my colleagues, my mentors - because my passion and sincerity on this subject is REAL.  My story IS helping others, and in doing that, it's helped me discover a whole new level of self-respect as a result... 


Learn to respect yourself and live your life with integrity - and you've won the battle!   You've just taken your steam train and turned it into a freaking jet plane!! 


Forgiveness leads to courage, which creates respect and integrity...    "From weakness you create great strength... "

.... and you open up a world of opportunities in the process... and that just leads into tomorrow's word for the day....  ;)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Week Six - Word 2: Courage



SO following on from yesterday's bloggy about my Word Challenge...  today's word is:

COURAGE

As I was walking around my river circuit this afternoon, my little brain was ticking over about how I was going to present this word today, and why it had become one of the chosen few...  I have a lot of valid reasons for choosing this particular word - and naturally, it flowed quite easily after 'FORGIVENESS' yesterday - you need to forgive in order to move forward, but you can't move forward unless you can summon up that first step of courage...

AHHHH yes - you see where I'm heading with this one already don't you?!!  SO many little intricate links going on here...!

SO, walking like a lunatic this arvy (as I do!) and "following my not-so-yellow-nor-brick-road", my head goes into overload thinking this one through...  I had a little flashback to the Wizard of Oz - given that the word brought up memories of the Lion and his quest for courage! The Cowardly Lion - with all his false bravado - was actually quite broken, thinking he needed a dose of 'courage' from the Wizard in order to "be the lion he was meant to be"...

So I started to realise that I was a bit like the Lion... somewhat 'tough' and harsh on the exterior, lots of 'fluff' on the outside to hide what was actually going on underneath...  

... and as mentioned in my post yesterday, the reality was actually a very different story...



NOW, getting past my character analogy here, let's get down to business...  

COURAGE...  We probably link that with 'strength' and 'valour', tied in with a significant amount of 'fight' - and associate that with big things like war or heroics, where people really do go well and truly beyond the "call of duty" in the name of survival.

... but courage doesn't have to be that "formal" or "big" either.  It can pack a mighty punch in small doses and on small scales, and still have the power to impact a life in massive ways!

When I think of 'courage' in terms of weightloss, there's quite a few elements that spring to mind...
  • Courage to acknowledge faults - and let's face it, we don't LIKE to acknowledge we have faults - but we wouldn't be in an uncomfortable position if there wasn't some fault going on there...
  • Courage to take accountability - for past and future actions, and accountability for SELF
  • Courage to initiate change - knowing that 'failure' only happens when you don't try at all - and as such, the courage to accept what cannot be changed (as per forgiveness)
  • Courage to face and break through fears, barriers and comfort zones - and quite often, "the unknown"
  • Courage to make proactive choices for a better life, and lifestyle, on a daily basis.

I never did think of myself as someone who was 'courageous'...  not when I was so willing to give up on my life.  I certainly didn't think I was courageous when I started my weightloss mission three years back - I expected to fail - I just assumed I didn't have what it takes (too overwhelming, too big, too incapable, didn't deserve it, etc etc) - I was still waiting to fail right up until this year!! That's NOT courageous...!

... until I realised (only recently) that I've been "fighting the good fight" on so many sub-levels, and the courage has been slowly brewing and growing for the better part of my entire weightloss mission!  Three years later, and it really is only NOW that I'm starting to see just what potential I have going on underneath this surface.... !

I've had so many mini-victories over the years - barriers and fears I've had to face - and have (for the most part) broken through!  A few of my stand-out moments include: (and these are just a few - there's HEAPS of small ones too!)...
  • Overcoming my fear of public exercise - from crying when a car drove past in the dark, and barely making it a few steps out my front gate on my first walk - to now walking my 12kms in a hot pink singlet top and JOGGING my way around my favourite walking track (as I did again this afternoon!)
  • Returning to the pool after 15 years of thinking I was too hideous to be seen swimming - was nearly in tears on my way through that gate, and now I'm back in that pool again, swiming and doing Aqua classes and LOVE it, am just like a little kid again!
  • My fear of failure in my career - hardest move for me, quitting a 'stable job' to fly solo with my business - that meant I DID need talent, DID need business acumen and DID need to become totally independent (single girl, single income!) - one of the biggest decisions of my life, and it was a total leap of faith that I was capable of doing that (when I didn't believe in myself at all)...   Two years later, and I'm still doing okay! Girl has talent after all...!
  • Overcoming my fear of the gym - only took three years to be brave enough to walk in! - but now I'm in love with it and walk in there like I own the place!!!
  • Acknowledging my past haunts and issues, and willingly working on these to make sustained change for my mental health
  • Recognising that I'm worth knowing and allowing people into my life - fostering friendships and no longer 'hiding' the real me... "shy" isn't a valid excuse anymore... !
  • And allowing myself to look forward to a future...  a HUGE one for me - I never wanted to see what possibilities lay ahead before...
... and one of my biggest moments - and the standout one for me for this blog - (the one I'm so very proud of) - going public with my weightloss.  It was a strategic move - having done this "in secret" for three years because I feared failure, feared the external expectations, and feared being shunned...   I was STILL carrying a lifetime's worth of "self hate" for my weight, and brutal shame, and irrespective of having lost over 75kilos (at the time) - I was STILL too scared to admit to the wider community (including my family) that I was right in the thick of battling a weight problem...

EVERYTHING has changed since -
  • My outlook on my mission has changed (I went into hyper-mode thereafter and I've been busting through milestones since - including stepping up to the BLC Commando Challenge and taking it even further!)
  • My attitude towards myself and my achievements has changed (I can finally acknowledge that it's ME whose done this!)
  • My candid accounts of all my trials and tribulations through this entire process have meant I can't hide away anymore - I want to help others instigate their own series of changes so they can be as empowered in their choices and successes as I am!
  • and now I DO NOT back down from a Challenge!  I LOVE pushing my boundaries just to see what else I actually AM capable of achieving!!  (who is this girl?!! haha)

That's something bigger than my usual "everyday Amy" thing going on!  That's what's been bubbling away for three years inside - like a volcano - and this year it just went OFF!   ..... and I LOVE IT!

When I picked that word out of the list yesterday, I knew it was going to conjure up quite a few emotions too... and knew it'd tap into some of the deeper sub-layers to who I am and why I'm doing this...  but I still questioned if I was "courageous"...  even going so far as pre-thinking I'd be talking about "hopefully finding the courage within"...

BUT it dawned on me today when I was strutting my stuff, that I'm not LOOKING anymore - I'M ALREADY WORKING IT!

Which is funny... cuz going back to the cowardly Lion and the whole moral of the Wizard of Oz story...   It's all about what you already have - acknowledging that these qualities are already there within us, but it's our own self-doubt that we undermine ourselves with 'illusions', let ourselves believe we're lacking, when in fact, these qualities are right there waiting for us to tap into them! 

I never did lack courage.  It's one of my attributes that allowed me to change the course of my life...   COURAGE is the reason I'm still here...

:)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Week Six - 1 mysterious envelope, 5 words



After my session on Friday, The Commando handed me a mysterious envelope, and I was told I wasn't to open it until Sunday, when the new Challenge was announced...

So you can imagine how painful THAT was - and how obscure it all became when I opened it up on Sunday and found a bunch of cut out words....  HMMMMM I said to myself.... !  THEN the Challenge was posted up on the BLC webby...

Commando Steve said: "When we met in person last week I gave you an envelope containing 50 words. I want you to look through them and choose five. Each day you are to give one of these words to the weight loss community and blog about what it means to you and why it is important. This is your chance to impart some of what you’ve learned during this challenge and over the years. Pass it forward, Amy."





SO, upon closer inspection of all these WORDS - I see a bit of a theme going on here, and feel that little tug to the tummy (uh oh, yep, it's gonna be another one of "THOSE" challenges...!!!!).   These WORDS are ALL meaningful, evocative and extremely powerful - and they're all (for the most part) POSITIVE.

These WORDS start swirling around my head as I read them - they all carry different connotations and meanings to who I am NOW, where I've been and what it is I'm trying to do to turn my life around. The fact I could read the positivity in these words and feel them wrapping themselves around who I am today, was a HUGE revelation to just how much *I* have changed in the course of the last three years, and how different my outlook on my little world has become...  NOT an easy challenge, by any means!

SO, let's break it down and see just what these WORDS are....  (in no particular order)
moral, sense of purpose, kindness, ingenuity, creativity, modesty, determined, fairness, originality, gratitude, humility, caution, self control, judgment, generosity, loving, humour, perseverance, curiosity, confidence, discretion, purposeful, bravery, independence, perspective, diligence, courage, faith, genuine, leadership, open mindedness, hope, worthiness, focused, respect, playfulness, optimism, equity, inspiration, adventurous, spirituality, forgiveness, motivation, passion, explore, decisive and integrity.

.... and I'm to pick only FIVE from this extensive list?!  Ohhhh dear...!!!

SO, sitting here with the words spread out in front of me on the desk, I hit a stalemate... They're all VERY powerful words, and I had to let them "talk to me" in order to pick which ones resonated the most...  I thought I had it all worked out, until I saw the one word that tipped me off kilter....  I'll save it to the end though, it's the one that brought on the waterworks..!!!  (but what's new?! haha)

Five words...  I've numbered them in order of impact - in other words, there's a pattern that emerged here too, and it correlates to the changes I've made in the last three years.  It's funny, when I picked the words out a few minutes ago, I didn't see it until just now....  That's how subtle your mind works - and yet here it is, right in front of me - and I can visually SEE my own mental transition and progress in just five words....


So here we go...  My first word:  (and the emotions are already on overload, ohhh it's gonna be a big week...!)

FORGIVENESS 

Forgiveness.... it's a REALLY hard thing for alot of people to do.  We're all so stubborn and set in our ways, that pulling our own heads in sometimes and offering up a good old dose of forgiveness - for anything - is often something we shirk from, just to "save face" and not have to contend with the issue?!  We're all pretty good at harbouring grudges and getting a bit bitter about what's already passed...  (are you nodding there yet?!)

I reckon most of us have come across a scenario or situation where we've had to bite the bullet - irrespective of whoever or whatever is at fault - and just "let it slide".  But it's that saying that springs right to mind here "forgiven, but not forgotten"...  (.. and I have the chorus of a Corrs song playing in my head right now.... maybe it's not a saying after all, just some song lyrics?!!  - they just happen to be very perceptive ones! Anyhoos.. back to the point of my story... ).

Why did this word resonate for me?  It's pretty easy actually... (in writing!).  At my heaviest, and the decade preceeding my "choice to change" - I was nothing short of self-brutal.  I make no secret of it - I hated who I was, what I'd done to myself, my place in the world... and I was my own worst enemy, just digging myself deeper and deeper into the mess that I loathed more than anything else - my "life".  I hated that girl for being so weak that she wouldn't fight, and I hated the body that I was waddling around in.  I hated that I'd somehow just wake up every morning when I'd have preferred not to at all - and I hated that I was so fueled by all this hatred!! (ironic)   It was a sick cycle and one I had NO IDEA how to break.  (...and yes, I realise I'm talking in the third person here!!)

As far as I was concerned, that person didn't deserve to live, breathe, exist....  she was ruining "my life", and she was her own cause of misery.  If that's how I felt about MYSELF, then why on earth should I expect anyone else to feel any differently about me?   ... and the cycle would just continue, the hatred feeding on itself, and pulling me down deeper and deeper...  

When I decided enough was enough, I knew I had to break that revolting cycle - it had to go... There's enough issues with just physical change for weightloss, least of all this self-hatred undermining all the good intentions of trying to restructure a new lifestyle. I KNEW I had a world of hurt to break through - but I had absolutely no idea how much of an impact that would have on me three years later...  (here we go with the hindsight...!)

I guess I make it sound "easy" now when I say I'm an "entirely different person" - both on a physical, emotional and mental level - but it's because of hitting so many barriers and forcing myself through them that I've been able to break, rebuild and then forward momentum through the next one...  It's the ONLY reason I've stuck it out for this length of time - proactively change the way I think, and in turn, the body has followed mind...

BUT what happens when you hit a stumbling block of self-doubt?  Or when you run out of energy to contend with those horrible negative thoughts that filter through?  (and they always do...)   When you don't have any self-worth, or you can't see your own value - how on earth do you propel yourself further through, knowing full well you could either have a breakthrough or a breakdown in that one pivotal moment?

I sincerely don't know if I have an answer for those...  It's where I could apply some of those other words from the list - like motivation, perseverence or diligence...  and yes, they DO all apply (they're all so interlinked)... but I don't think they're the ones that push you through in that moment of weakness or despair...

There's something bigger at play for me here. When I opted-in to change my life, it wasn't for superficial reasons - it was to rebuild me from the ground up.  Strip away the stuff that fueled the hatred, bring me back to raw bones and then rebuild, bit by bit...  Change who I was entirely...

... and you can't do that if you can't forgive yourself for what's already been...  You can't move "FORWARD" if you're still dragging bulk of your past with you!

Now, like I said before, "forgiveness" is one of the hardest things to give - least of all yourself when you're fueled by a lifetime of self-hatred and lack of worth... but it's essential.   And it only happened recently for me...  Three years later of busting my butt, trying to prove to myself that I was worth the changes, worth the sacrifice, worth the pain and tantrums...   Stripping the negatives away bit by bit, being humiliated by the layers of pain underneath, leaving me somewhat broken, raw, and vulnerable...   There is nothing EASY about a transition like this... and it's taken three years to prove to myself that I have a potential light at the end of a very dark tunnel...

I can't tell you specifics about WHEN or HOW it happened - it just did, something 'clicked', and I'd hazard a guess, that going public with my weightloss mission earlier this year, and finally shedding that foul shame that's been sitting on my shoulders for as far back as I can remember, was probably a catalyst for instigating that change of attitude.   

Whatever the reason, I know I somehow subliminally "forgave" the old me, somehow clicked into the new version of myself.. it was just time to let her go... 

I get SO ANGRY and lament all the things I've missed out on (I physically pain sometimes from envy), everything that's passed me by, all the time I've wasted that I can't get back...  I get UPSET that she didn't fight or stand up for herself, try and fix it in a way that would have given me a shot at a "normal life" just like everyone else...   I want to shake her and tell her to WAKE UP and not let life pass her by anymore...   I want to yell and scream at her - but that's what has raged through her own head for years and years of self-abuse... so there's no point in "getting even" or trying to hurt her in retaliation - she's done a fine job of that all on her own...    What's the point in harbouring so much angst, pain, anger, hurt, loathing... they're all the useless things that have hindered progress in the past.  You can't move forward if you're forever pulling yourself back... 

There's no point in hating who I was 'before' - I can't rewind time and have a "do over" of my life.  I nearly gave up entirely on what "lay ahead" just because I hated all that had already passed me by.... and that's NOT how it should be!  Time is precious, life even more so - and I see NO POINT in carrying grudges any longer. 

... so I forgave her - all her indiscretions, all her pains, all her pitfalls, all her mistakes, all her hurts... 

"She's forgiven.... but not forgotten...."

And in doing that, I've been more FREE and more ME than I've ever been in my entire life!!!    Everything changed and has kept on changing since!  I can finally breathe... !

Forgiveness is one of THE most empowering and amazing things you can give somebody - it costs nothing, but is worth EVERYTHING

The minute you forgive yourself for what you can't change, you'll open a whole new universe of potential for everything else...   It's a basic fundamental that can totally change the course of your life...  and should be treated with the respect it deserves!  Forgive yourself, and you'll never look back.... 

:)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Week Five - Going Commando... for real!

Week 5 challenge – Go hard

Commando Steve said: “Go hard or go home, Amy. This week you’re going to have to step up to the mark because I’ll know if you’ve been slacking off. You’ve got extra workouts in your program. Why? To prepare you for a one-on-one, kick-ass training session with me at the end of the week. You'd better be ready. Get psyched and ride that adrenaline because I take no prisoners. It's time to toughen up, kid."



*Swoon*Faint*Drool*Convulse*   ... plus...   *Sweat*Grunt*Moan*Giggle*Blush*

UN-FREAKING-BELIEVABLE!!!   I'm not long home from my whirlwind trip to Sydney - and were it not for the fact that my bags are dumped in the middle of the loungeroom here waiting to be unpacked, and the muscles in my quads, glutes and triceps right now are VERY much telling me they DID do something substantial yesterday....  I'd have said it was all just a bit of a dream?!! 

BUT NO - very much real - very much an 'OH MY GOD, CAN'T BELIEVE I DID THAT!' experience!!!   ... and why my bags are still sitting in the loungeroom!!  Had to share the goss... 

After a HUGE training week - definitely gearing up for my end of week Challenge - noone could accuse me of having slackened off after what I'd put myself through!!!   Monday was a double-whammy Aqua and swim session (was supposed to be a rest day!) - and I even ended up with blood blisters on my big toes for the effort!!   All the thrusting myself in and out of the water not only bit into the thighs and knees, but totally smashes my tootsies!    Tuesday it was a butt-busting RPM class in the morning, then followed that later in the day with 45mins on the cross trainer.  Wednesday was 30mins cross trainer, followed by a grueling PT session with Shannon who upped all my reps, including my dreaded side planks - and didn't tell me until I'd finished the entire session!  My side plank holds are now at 25 seconds x 3 rounds each side, my weights are all up again, my machine leg press absolutely busted my butt, and I was BURNING!!!   Followed that with another 30mins on the cross trainer, and pretty much dragged my sorry bum home thereafter..!!!   Thursday I barely scraped through 30mins on the crossy - my knees were shattered from all the new strength and cardio work over the week, so I didn't push any harder than that - packed up the car and got myself sorted for the next challenge...

Snuck off to Sydney on Thursday arvy, and stayed with my sis in Penrith.  Friday morning, we head off to the train station to head into North Sydney to the BLC offices.  Having nearly missed the train, the butterflies and nervous ticks had very much settled in by the time we hit the city - closer we got, the more jittery I was becoming!

Checking in to the motel I was to stay at that night, we had about half an hour to fuss around, hoover down a sandwich and get prepped (and ME, recheck my bag, making sure I DID have my trainers, tracky pants and HRM in the bag....  and honestly, I had checked and rechecked that bag SO many times already before leaving Bathurst, then again before leaving Penrith, and then again leaving the motel - it was ridiculous!!   

And you'd have very much laughed out loud at the death-grip I had on that bag sitting on the train - god help anyone who thought they could pinch my luggage and run.. bahahaha... Those trainers were NOT to be let out of my sight!!!! 

So heading off to the BLC offices my sis and I went...  Having been a BLC girl now for well over three years, it was quite exciting getting to see "the hub" of the site that's been my "home" for so long - and equally as lovely to meet the guys and girls that I've been in so much contact lately with for the Challenge!   (and note to self: only say nice things on the forums now - the Techies have met me in person.. hahhaha!  HI GUYS!) 

So after flicking around the office and being referred to as "Aim79" (my BLC screenname) - which I found quite amusing  (and resulted in alot of "ohhhh yes, ofcourse!"s).. the girls and I head off to Kogarah... and the Cross Fit Effects studio.

Now, I think this is about where the nerves REALLY started to kick in and I started getting that nervous stomach convulsion thing going on (it was bound to happen at some point... hahaha!) - so by the time we got there, I had some serious jitter-bugs tap dancing in my belly!!!

So walking into the gym with the team, standing right there in the doorway is the Commando himself....  (*swoon*swoon*swoon*swoon*please don't faint amy*)....    Introductions around, and I'm trying not to burst out in fits of ridiculous giggles...   and god help me if I'd have made eye contact, I'd have probably made a complete arse of myself.... !!!

Don't ask me what was said - I really couldn't tell you...  I was too busy trying to stay upright and not make a total fool out of myself...   HOWEVER, I do recall asking him "not to break me..."   bahahaha....!!!     (this coming from the chick who just showed up in full makeup, skirt, lil purple top and looking like she was there for a coffee, not a training session!).    I don't think "The Princess" get up impressed....    Was pointed in the direction of the changerooms, and there was a comment about my makeup!!!     Again, no recollection, too busy trying to remember how to breathe and walk at the same time (!!!!!) ... and HOLY SHIT.... 


I walk into the gym....  It's bare, brutal, "rough around the edges".   I have an inward moment of "eep"....  there's no gym machines or things I recognise, except the dumbbell bars at the back of the room, medicine balls and kettlebells on the side (which I've never used).   There's gymnastic rings hanging from the roof, and a few pull-up bars... and oh god, oh god, oh god....  that can't be good!!!!


So I head up the stairs, trying desperately to compose myself...  (unsuccessfully)... strip off out of my good clothes, and then forget how to redress myself... DAMMIT!  STAY FOCUSED! 

Actually put some clothes back on, including my new hot pink 'double figure reward' shoes!!!   Slap my HRM strap on and realise I'm MAKING THE MAN WAIT, HURRY UP!!!   Then turn an exacerbated shade of hot pink (the same colour as my new shoes, ironically!!!) - and head back down the stairs....

 
Meanwhile, he's down there talking to the BLC ladies (and my sis) - all of whom are just looking a bit like.... well...  mouths open, head slanted sideways... yeah, I laughed!  (hahaha....  ok maybe not quite like that, but wasn't far off!  I may have embellished slightly!!!).    And off we go... 

SO, given he's never met me - and I'm new to the CrossFit gym system - I get the THEORY LESSON before the practice session....   Didn't know this was coming, and didn't really know what had hit me at the beginning...  Were we NOT doing the hard stuff after all??   (patience my child....)

Lots of "What is CrossFit" and how the body works and moves, the importance of core stability and its effect on natural motions of the body...  and for a finer understanding, buy his book!!  (Then when he asks YOU "Have you read my book?" you won't have to admit you haven't, be totally embarrassed and threatened to make you do 50 pushups in penance... bahahaha!  ... I have to go buy his book now... umah Amy!!).   

We were focusing on the squat, the press and the sumo 'something something'  (yeah, forgive me... all I remembered was the sumo bit...!) - all focusing on core stability and using those major muscles to do the work.... then came the demonstrations....  OHHHHHHHH MY GOD.....  (think I just died right about there...)

Now, I've watched the Commando do the squat move before - there's a vid I found on the Biggest Loser webby, and I nearly died at the prospect of having to get that low, at that angle and that easily with MY crappy knees - AND somehow get back up again!!!    And EXCUSE ME - did he just do that right there in front of me.  Oh god, there he goes again...!  

Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.....    

Yeah, see, right about now all you ladies out there are drooling over your keyboard - I just know it - but let me tell you right now, there was NO DROOL - there was terror!!!   

Having told him earlier that I have bad knees - and I'm pretty sure that just compounded the "princess" status with the aforementioned skirt and makeup stuff - I was losing the guy's respect!!!  He'd already told me he works the weak areas even harder - so I just KNEW I was in for a world of hurt, and I'd given him leverage on my number one weakness!!!  Damn you knees, and DUH ME!

So off we go with more squats, press and sumo demonstrations - I get in and put that theory into practice too, desperately trying not to lose focus every time he pivoted, flexed, squatted or hip-thrust, spoke, drew breath, moved.... MEANWHILE!!!  

Just to rub it in some more, err, I mean 'demonstrate' the theory of teaching versus experience and core stability and strength - he jumps up on the high beam and starts doing pull-ups....  Oh my god....  Like seriously?!   Can I please just go excuse myself and sit down and watch with all the other ladies with the drool running down their chins... ?!!!    (told him "now you're just showing off...."  bahahaha)

Practicing the squat, repeatedly, and finding the right form against the wall... knees ultimately decide they no longer want to play and lock up on my final rep (courtesy of huge week beforehand)...  No more squats for Amy!   It's not for lack of wanting to, it's just THEY no longer wanted to (much to my dismay!).   ... but there's more to go yet, so quit your whinging!!!    

So we concentrate on the Press and Sumos - and I'd just like to mention right about here that he commended me on my Sumo form!!   I attribute that fabulousness to years of being in a very "sumo-like state"... hahaha...?!!   Ya gotta laugh, right?!!  ;)    


  video


video


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MOVING ON!!   It's circuit time...

Theory, demos and now practice out of the way - it's time to get REAL!    Oh god, here we go!  (ps: I'm sore already, and I was only squatting and lifting bodyweight and broomsticks!!!)  -  Commando sets up a circuit for me - and takes me through it for a practice run, including how to row with STYLE!  As he said "..changed her rowing style in 30 seconds!" - yay!

5 bays, 1 minute each bay, 3 rounds, 1 min rest between rounds.  They include a seated squat (on stool) rise and throw a medicine ball against the wall between two set points  /  sumo lifts  / step ups on a low step  /  press lifts  /  rowing machine  / 1 minute rest  - and to do as many reps as I can on each bay.

GO!

First round
seated squats I hit 20 reps, sumo lifts about 20, step ups about 22, press lifts about 20, rowing machine I hit 10cals burnt...  

Second round
I'm struggling a bit after the first seated squats but I get through with about 20 again, sumo lifts are paining but about 20, step ups the knees get wobbly and I slow back a bit so I don't fall over, spin around to do the overhead presses and I'm paining and struggle a bit, then back to the rower and hit 8cals burnt...

Third round I gear up for the medicine ball and I'm hurting.... but last round, don't flake out now!!  GO!  I barely hit 20, go for the Sumos and I'm REALLY struggling to lift that bar again, but crank out a good amount, step ups nearly become my undoing (my poor head starts to get really fizzled about here as the fatigue really kicked in), and I lose about 10 seconds here just trying to regroup!  Push out a few more steps, then swing around for the overhead press again - and ohhhh my god, nearly had an unexpected visitor join us (my lunch...)...   PUSH THROUGH, can barely lift the bar above my head, my arms are shaking like crazy and I manage only about 10 or so...  then it's onto the rower...   There's sweat pouring off my face and body by now, my legs are screaming, I'm grunting and making noises my sis said later "I've never heard you make in your life!!!" and I'm bright red all over....  Last row and I smash out about 9cals burnt (nearly equal to first round) and I'm DONE....


AND HOW!!    Holy hell - I'm puffing like a fish out of water, I'm red raw and hot as hell (he had to put the huge fan on me mid-way through cuz I was overheating, and to help with oxygen levels!) -  my knees are shaking, my legs are quaking, my body is buzzing, and in just that ONE 18 minute circuit session, I smashed out 300 cals burnt!!!   (usually takes me over half an hour to do that these days on a high cardio activity - half the time but ALOT of intensity!  That was what our theory session has been teaching me before, right there in practice - and I felt every freaking minute of that method!!!

So right about here I'm smashed...  I'm about ready to roll around on the floor and convulse for real - but I'm ecstatic!  That's the hardest I've ever worked my body in my life - and by god, did I FEEL IT!!!   (... and I'm still feeling it tonight!  So stiff and sore in the quads and glutes from all the squats - amazing what happens when you do them properly!!!... and my arms are still touchy!   AWESOME!! 

.. and you know what... I think I quietly impressed the man!   I didn't wimp out, I didn't puke (though it was a close call!), I worked hard, fast and pushed...  and I think the "princess" that walked through the door at the beginning earnt his respect!  ;)    

... or so I heard!!!!   I was too busy trying to recuperate, breathe, walk it out and feel human again while everyone else was there chatting away about the session!!!   I did ask him if I'm allowed to complain and whinge about it though, and he'd said YES, which resulted in much whinging and a few lower-range expletives thereafter, hahahaha!

And then out came the cameras.... (after I'm head to toe in sweat?!! Ahhh!) - but well worth it...   I can now officially say I have sweated WITH and ON Commando Steve!!!  And my sis said (when I'd gone to go grab my gear) that there was mention that my "cardio was fantastic" and I think I may have even inspired the guy to go do a lil session himself... hehehe!

AMAZING session and experience overall - VERY grateful for the opportunity, and his theory session certainly hasn't gone astray!  I plan on putting all I learnt back into practice in my next Pump class (I now know how to squat and press properly without hurting myself, and hitting all the RIGHT muscles for once!!!).... and I've now seen what I'm capable of doing when I push to the extreme!   ... and wow, to see those results in half the time it normally takes me was just a MONSTER incentive to really knuckle in and push this hard more often!


.... and no session would be complete without a bit of "bonding" at the end...!!!  (after all, he had nearly just killed me....!)

I asked him, sheepishly, if I could "please have a hug, as the girls on my forums would really love it!" (yep, I blamed you lot, hahaha!).... and proceeded to cover the Commando in my sweat... !   Ohhhh yeah, I'm one classy piece of work!  ;)

But it didn't quite end there...  He handed me an envelope, and I was told "This is your next challenge - don't open it until Sunday..."     SO now I'm holding out for tomorrow to find out what on earth this envelope has in store for me for Week Six!!!   (eek!)

.... and then I got his autograph!   (as you do!)  and tried not to run into the wall on my way out when I was too busy thanking him over and over again...!!!!

OHH and Commando Steve says:  "And if anyone else wants to come and train with me, check out the website"...  and I promised to spruik it for him, hahaha!  http://commandosteve.com/

The Princess did good yeah?!!    :D


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BUT IT DOESN'T END THERE!!!

Heading back to the motel, I head upstairs to change, and try and disguise my sweaty make-up smeared face (hahhaha)...   Then back down to the motel's lounge area, for a chat with the BLC girls and Susie Burrell - the Club's nutrition expert, and host of the Club's member meetings. 

Just a casual chat about what I've done, where I've been, where I'm headed and what happens "in the future" when I hit maintenance...  MAINTENANCE!  Now there's a word I never thought would exist in my mission - and yet here I am approaching the end...!!! 

A very insightful chat with these ladies, and VERY helpful to get my head around what I need to look at in the future to fine-tune the nutrition even further, and really gear up for the transition ahead. 

... and some super kudos for me when Susie said "there's absolutely no reason why you won't reach goal...".    Damn straight!!! 

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What a killer and AMAZING week!   Bring on Week SIX already!!!!

xxx  :)