Monday, February 13, 2012

Finding Amy, Fun Runs & Food!

So it’s been a pretty amazing couple of weeks – with the advent marking of the “Finding Amy” challenge I set myself, and the start of the 1 Million Kilo Challenge, I have to say I’m a little bit chuffed!

The food on the 1MKC has been gorgeous – and rekindled my love of cooking, and all things “kitchen adventure” again. I’ve been posting up the pics of my creations on Facebook, a little bit excited about what I’ve been eating and just how well I’m doing following a structure again!

Funnily enough, not once have I counted calories in the past two weeks – just been following the base menu, and eating my way into taste heaven!!

My first week, I dropped two solid kilos. TWO! Admittedly, I was as shocked as anyone – the portion sizes are huge, the amount of food I was eating was so much more than I normally have… and I was still indulging a little on the side (ummm… peanut butter jar, my arch nemesis!!!).  Two kilos later, and I laughed a little – as really, it’s the same two kilos (within the five) that I’ve been battling up and down with the past 10 months, so I don’t see this (yet) as some miraculous transition!!

Bring on my next physical challenge, however…. ! 

Off to Dee Why for a girl’s weekend (4-5 Feb) – and, more importantly (haha!) the first of MANY of my (self-confessed obsession) fun-runs for the year. The Sun Run – 6.5kms of gorgeous track from Dee Why to Manly, starting at a killer 6.45am!!!   Rocked up the night before with the girls, and really didn’t sleep well that night – storms and humidity, oh, and sharing a sofa bed with my bed-hog sister (hahaha) and being woken up at the crack of dawn by the event setup people downstairs at 3.30am… makes for very little sleep, and a grumpy-bum Amy at 5.30am wakeup!!!

.. but I have the bug, and I LOVE the run – so off we trot out the front of our apartment, and “greet the sun” and toddle off for our first fun run of 2012!

Lynda, Andrea, Amy, Annalee - we love medals!!
I managed to pull my 6.5kms in just under 46mins, and to say I’m a little chuffed is a bit of an understatement! Have had some troubles with my hips and knees lately (in trying to run-train) and yet I pulled bulk of this course in jog-mode!!!  Happy camper here, when I pretty much kept pace with my Super-Twin about a minute ahead of me (a much more seasoned runner!) – I KNOW I’m on the improve!! 

Grumpy bum with a medal (hahaha) – the girls and I head off, after a much-needed shower - for a well-deserved Brunch, with our stunning Dee Why beachfront views right there for the taking!  I’ve never done anything like this, so it was pretty awesome to just sit and enjoy our delicious goodies on what felt like such an indulgent holiday!! 

… but it didn’t end there!  Dropping my sister off to the train station thereafter, the girls and I hit the shops – a spot of retail therapy anyone?!!

Heading into Warringah Mall, it was a little like walking into a different city – HUGE!!!   Now don’t laugh, but I’m a country girl – heading into the “big smoke” for a shopping fest into big centres like Westfield or the CBD are a big deal for me – but this shopping centre was just plain AWESOME!!  You could literally get lost in there, and they’d need to track your credit card purchases just to find where you were last seen before ending up on the Missing Person list…

I DID contain myself, however (easy to do when you’re broke, haha) – but still managed to find myself some gorgeous $70 black boots for $20 and a pair of new workout pants, also $20 down from $70! (girl can shop!!)

Some food, some spending… we were back in the car and feeling rather drained by this point! Heading back to the apartment, we decided to hit the beach for a little R&R – and take advantage of the GORGEOUS summer weather that finally peeked its head out to greet us!!   (the day prior, it was absolutely pouring down, and I was highly disgusted!! Hit the beach in weather like that, and it’s the biggest let down ever, haha!)

Popping on the swimmers, and loading up on sunscreen, we hit the gorgeous Dee Why beach, ready to soak up the rays!  Now, it’s a pretty big moment for a girl like me when
1. You hit the beach (when you don’t have that access normally)
2. You hit the beach in swimmers and boardies and actually take your tshirt off (when that’s NEVER happened before!)
3. You hit the beach in swimmers and boardies and actually GO IN THE WATER for a  swim!!! 

First time EVER for me to actually get into the water – not just walk along the edge as I’ve done in the past (fully clothed, highly anxious about being seen, very much hurting inside that I was too ashamed to actually go in…).  Big moment for Amy!

I wasn’t exactly “all inspiring” and super confident in the water – but I went out far enough to do some paddling and get thrown around, and far enough to make me want more next time!!  I was enviously watching some little kids having surfing lessons, and just how confident they were – next time I hit the beach, I want to try and go out with a boogie board or something! As long as a shark doesn’t eat me, or I end up drowning, what’s the worst that could happen?!!  Hahaha!!

Back at the apartment for my second shower of the day, and getting ready to head out to dinner with the girls… and I get a message from a friend who’d read a Facebook status update about me at the beach, he just happened to be across at Narrabeen! 

Completely out of the blue chance meeting – I FINALLY get to meet one of my online friends that I’ve been in contact with for AGES. Sitting there having a chat with the gorgeous Dee Why beach in the background, watching the world go by (well, kids, dogs, skateboards, semi-naked elderly men in speedos… hmmmm) and I’m feeling rather chuffed, in general!  He totally made my day when we had to have a photo together, just so he could show his mum that he “met Amy” (that girl from the magazines, hahahaha!!!)… and off I toddle to meet up with the girls for dinner thereafter.

Gorgeous barramundi dinner with the sun setting on the beach beside me… and I’m feeling preeeeeetty fine right about now! Pretty exhausted too, mind you… !!

One more stop on our way back to the apartment – an ice cream cone (naturally!!) and a walk by the beach… then ‘home’.  Not much after that, we were all that tired by then, we were out like lights by the ripe old hour of ohhh about 10pm?!!  Hahaha!!

Day Two of our Dee Why Adventure – and I’m up bright and early, well, early.. not so bright…. !!!   Lynda’s already out the door for a walk, but me taking a little longer to adjust to it being morning (as usual – I don’t DO mornings ordinarily, and this was the second one in a row, ouch!!!) – and I stick the headphones in, leave the joggers on the floor and walk out the door.

I have a beach to walk!!!   Another first, I’ve never gone for an early morning beach walk quite like this. The sun rising over the water was just stunning – and watching the surfers hit the waves on their early morning paddles, and walking along the clean sand… it sounds a little cliché to say it, but it truly was cleansing. I was tuned in to a Sydney radio station (no idea what I’d found, just something random) and next thing I’m listening to – of all things – the Beach Boys!! 

An enormous smile just spread over my face – I just wanted to raise my hands up in the air and scream – that whole feeling of happiness was just SO empowering and SO liberating!  Funnily enough, moments like that usually make me want to cry, but nope, I was in heaven baby!!!  I walked all along the shoreline until I found the catchment area – then turned around and walked all the way back, to the Dee Why beach pool and was greeted by the stunning rock formation on the other side!

Heading back towards the apartment, and I ran into Lynda, and we head back to pack up and (very reluctantly!) leave our magic little spot…. But not before another Brunch together!!


Heading back to Bathurst after such an awesome weekend, was feeling pretty content with my little part in the world… but reality can be a tad brutal sometimes, and whilst I’d been riding very high on my ‘holiday high’ – the next couple days I came crashing back down…  It’s hard coming back home after such a beautiful getaway – albeit just two days – but between the sunshine, the beach, the company and my little run achievement, was finding it hard to come back to normal and be ‘ok’ with things again… 

It would have been SO easy to just pack up and run away right then and there, but it’s not time for that yet…  It put thoughts into my head though, and made me realise how much I AM missing out on, how much I really do need to push further afield, and how much more confident in doing that I truly am. Every little step like this is growing my life – and the more it grows, the more I want!!

I had a couple of minor meltdowns after this – just a few frustrated tears – but nothing I couldn’t really handle. Just little insights into what Amy truly likes and what Amy really enjoys… and didn’t even realise how much it correlated to this  whole “Finding Amy” thing – the timing was purely coincidental.  You just “forget” sometimes, how much things have changed – or you get swept up in so much every-day life that you sometimes forget to dream a little too! Sitting on a beach – totally foreign to my little world – and I could have sat there for WEEKS and been completely content to stay there! Coming home to an empty house (albeit with a happy cat!) and back to trying to salvage my business, and it just had me wondering how much of this is really ME, and whether this is the reality I truly want for myself…  I think I deserve more!

SO, with that little insight, it was onto week two of the 1MKC – and back to the structure that would help me get that ‘more’ in the future. I don’t expect change without hard work – nothing has ever fallen into my lap – and if I want the ‘dreams’ and that beautiful awesome feeling in the future, then I have to be prepared to work for it…

Week Two on the program, and I’m just in LOVE with the food!  Dishing up awesome things like the Sticky Chicken, and just enjoying my work at the gym. I’ve slightly changed up my classes in light of the beating my hips and knees have taken with my running training, and adding in things like low-impact Aqua classes (with additional laps to make up the shortfall – god, I’m stubborn!)… and I even went so far as to try a brand new class – Body Balance!

ANOTHER monster win for Amy!!!  Body Balance was one of the classes I’ve been avoiding because I simply thought it would hurt me more than help. As much as I knew the stretching and movement would be beneficial – the last time I tried to do yoga or pilates, it hurt me so bad, I was nearly in tears. Laying on my back, I could barely breathe with the pressure on my lungs…  the pressure on my spine would nearly cripple me… I couldn’t hold poses because my muscles weren’t strong enough… kneeling was impossible (and I mean that in every sense – I literally couldn’t bend my knees properly, least of all rest on them – if anything it was one at a time, and for a few seconds at most and I’d be nearly in tears…). I’d tried pilates DVDs at home, and end up sitting on the floor crying because it hurt my body so bad that I just gave them away “until later” when the “fat girl rolling around the floor hurting herself” wasn’t an issue anymore…  hence (at least) four years later, and I haven’t even touched, the fear of the pain was too intense.

Enter my first ever Body Balance class here – and to say I was a little nervous… again with the understatements!!  Friday rolled around, and I’d already aligned myself up for my Pump class – that was no biggie, I ADORE Pump! For whatever reason, I got all-inspired and super-determined to try BB afterwards… and for the rest of the day, I sat here with knots in my stomach, fending off wanting to vomit with the anxiety that comes from stepping outside your comfort zone, and NOT wanting to humiliate yourself!!!

Off to Pump I went – upped my chest weights and cranked out a fantastic session! … then took off my shoes and stayed for the BB class. 

 … but who looks like a silly duffer NOW Amy?!!  I absolutely NAILED that class – LOVED it to bits!!! The movements weren’t natural for me (yet, that comes with practice!), but my flexibility was fantastic – my holds were strong – my knees held out – I found muscles in my body I didn’t quite know existed (haha – that’s pretty exciting too!!!) and I just felt SO BLOODY GOOD afterwards!!  Achievement AND double-whammy workout – life was good!!!

And it was only going to get better… 

* * * * *

It was only on Wednesday that the Biggest Loser show I'd been privy to watch being filmed a few weeks ago, finally aired on TV – when the contestants came out to tell the audience about their weightloss stories, etc.  Sitting there re-watching it, and reliving those emotions that had been so raw when we’d been there, it was just a little reminder of why I’m doing this again… another little piece of the puzzle falling back into place.  And right when I thought that was another little ‘win’ moment for me - I had another dose of fame hit, albeit not so pretty!!!  (haha)...

Just what the girls and I had been avoiding while those cameras had been rolling – the tears streaming down my face, the puffy eyes – by the end of the show, I was a MESS – and Michelle was the last contestant to come out to tell her story, and sing us a little song…  She dedicated it to “all those people out there with a weight problem – because unless you have that issue, you have no idea how hard it is…”  …. Well, THAT was what had me bawling my eyes out (I couldn’t have agreed more) and THAT is the prolonged closeup audience shot they aired nationally right after she said it – with yours truly bawling her eyes out for the whole country to see!!! 

When I sat here watching it on TV, my jaw dropped when I realised it was me… then I had a fleeting gut-wrenching-heartbreaking moment seeing myself so emotional like that…  then ended up in a fit of laughter when I realised EVERYONE watching that show was watching me bawl my soggy eyes out!!! We've since dubbed that the "Snot Shot"...

.. and yep, didn’t take long!!  Posts on my Facebook wall, text messages… hysterics ensued!!  I even had one of my lady’s in my RPM class the following night introduce herself to me because she’d seen me on TV the night before… with “that shot”… hahaha!!

* * * * *

Saturday 7 February – and I was off on a roadtrip with a couple of my Bathurst 12wbt girls to see the “Biggest Loser Reveal” – the makeover show!  A huge day ahead, we left Bathurst and head to the city for the 4.30pm audience registrations.  An hour later, and we FINALLY got moved out of what I'm calling “the holding pen” (like a herd of sheep we were…!!!) and marched down to a studio door. We were ushered inside and prompted to go and look at the contestant’s photos against the walls – these were their “before shots” and we were all there standing around looking at the photos and footage that was playing… whilst being filmed doing so!

… Then I ended up with a camera in my face!!  How often does this happen?!!   I’m like a magnet, I tell ya!!!

I was asked some questions – things like who I was following on the show (which as much as I’m there to support them all, I’m a Graham girl – he’s our local boy, and as I’d met him when he came back to Carcoar briefly a few weeks ago with Commando Steve – I have a vested interest in how he’s going!  I just KNOW what he’s dealing with…)…   Can’t even remember what else I was asked – I get so nervous and tongue-tied – and had people recognising me, which just made me blush every time and want to hide under the seats, haha!!!

So yes, it was bound to happen that floating through the Biggest Loser audience on the Saturday, I’d be spotted…  I also spotted a fair few of the other ‘regulars’ that frequent these events, so it’s becoming quite funny to keep running into them like this!

… and offcourse, no BL event would be complete without seeing Mister Muscles!! As the Trainers were introduced and strutted down the catwalk, I waved and he turned and spotted me, shot me a smile and that was it – my night was complete!!  Hahaha! 

Six hours later, and some very amazing transformations – and tugging a little on my emotions – with another 3.5hour drive home ahead of us… and I was pretty exhausted by it all. A little highly strung on the emotions – this whole business of focusing on them being single and how the weight would somehow miraculously make them desirable, is having a really hurtful impact on me…

I left the taping feeling quite downtrodden – a couple of the contestants are ALREADY finding romance, and here I am still struggling to figure out where I fit in the world, four years later.  Made me feel a little like a failure, if I’m quite honest…

… but a phone call from someone who understands why I’m hurting like this (as he’s lost about 120kgs himself – I kid you not!) and I was feeling a little less disjointed about what had just happened, and why I was so upset about it…  I think I was more tired than anything, but given how crazy excited I’d been all day and for bulk of that taping, it really only hit in the last couple, when it ground down to a couple of raw nerves, and I lost it…

I guess in all this “Finding Amy” business, there’d be no miraculous immediate transformations or transitions – I’m finding me bit by bit – and it’s not always easy!   Every day I’m working on this new challenge, I mark it off on my calendar – it’s a “victory” to me, and so far I’ve stuck to it for my two weeks…

I’m taking my control back, I’m loving eating again, my exercise is fantastic, I'm down three kilos, I have new goals on the horizon and little adventures like this along the way are making me aware that I may actually be LIVING a bit of a life?! 

I think there’s a lot of people out there who look at what I’ve done and think I must just be “brimming full of self pride” and that things have all just fallen into place with my weightloss… but I’ve worked my butt off for 3.5 years in solitude, 10 months with publicity – and the latter has shaken me something severe. 

I guess, in my head, it’s kind of like a snow globe – everything was stagnant, and had its place… it was cold and silent, and just sat on the shelf, people looked in and saw what they saw and didn’t really see anything else…It looked 'ok' from the outside...

Then it all got turned upside down – and everything became fuzzy, erratic, disjointed, and all the pieces floating around were just randomly falling…  I’m still trying to catch all my pieces and figure out where to put them, and they won’t ever go back to where they were to start with (which is ok!) but it means I have to adjust to the new scenery – and I’m still catching my pieces as they fall…

I won’t say I’m disliking the changes or what it’s doing for me – because I’m far stronger, flexible and confident than I’ve EVER been in my life… but two weeks in, and I know I still have a way to go yet… but it’s happening… and I have to admit, I’m really relieved.  I know she’s still in there, and she’s still willing to fight… 

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