Monday, 5 June 2017

Trigger Words ... BANG!! BANG!!!

Walking casually down the health food aisle in my local supermarket on Saturday, I suddenly found my hand and arm taking on a life of it's own (since my brain didn't necessarily tell it to move) ... and as I watched it reach out and grab the latest famous swiss chocolate block ... "Salted Caramel ... something" ... I also casually read the sign which said "2 for $6.00" ... and my hand automatically moved back and picked up a second block ... and I still wasn't really registering what was happening (believe me!) ... but as my hand was about to drop the two blocks into my trolley ... my brain suddenly kicked into gear with the thought "What the hell are you doing? Why are you putting these blocks of chocolate in your trolley ... you don't need them, this is nonsense ... this is unacceptable and for what ...??" ... and then it hit me ... I had been "shot" by my trigger words ... "Salted Caramel" ... BANG! BANG!! Dead in my transgressions!

Thankfully, I am in a mental space now that I IMMEDIATELY and I mean IMMEDIATELY, without hesitation grabbed the blocks and practically threw them back at the specially set up temporary, cardboard stand with all the latest flavoured blocks on it! The positioning of this stand is undoubtedly strategic and misleading ... I mean ... on the corner of the so-called health aisle next to the bakery and bread section and nowhere near the sweets and chocolate aisle at all!

But for me, the most important thing was recognising that I have "trigger words" and in the past, I would have eaten or tried to eat or chosen to eat anything that is labelled "Salted Caramel"?! I wondered what else triggered me ... ??

Salted Caramel tops my list.

Choc Mint comes in a close second.

Creme Brulee slides into third.

Doughnut eases up to be a cheeky fourth.

Fresh white bread becomes my sly fifth.

Puff Pastry holds the title of naughty sixth.

And I'm sure there are more ... but thankfully, I am no longer a slave to these trigger words and I no longer blindly accept them as being "good reasons" for why I should allow myself to taste, eat, gobble or savour whatever food these flavours and trigger words are attached to!

Power on people ... knowing yourself and being empowered to change your choices is within us all but it does help to shoot the trigger words down before they shoot you down!

Bang! BANG!!

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Life is just NOT fair!

I remember a time about 8 years ago now when I was so despondent about my weight and so disillusioned with the effort that was required to just make a choice regarding what food I would eat for every meal ... everything seemed a bit pointless and hopeless. My thoughts were strong ... "I HATE FOOD"!!! But I loved it at the same time too! I didn't want to be anorexic, I just wanted to be normal for my body weight but I had lost complete sight of what that actually meant or looked like. Everything related to food felt like it was screaming at me to give up, forget about trying, eat what I wanted to eat, and not care about what other people thought about me or my body! Every fibre in my body wanted to reject all foods completely so that I no longer had the agonising process of having to make a choice about what to eat ... every meal became an epic mind battle and every time I gave in to my preferences, I berated myself for the failed choice, the failed attempt to be thinner, healthier, more beautiful.

Depression ... ah yes ... a condition that is well known by most overweight people I have no doubt. Depressive thoughts of hopelessness, guilt, shame, fear, low self-worth and low self-confidence would flood in like a rushing King Tide at any given moment when the food war was raging! Despair and Loneliness in the individual pain of this struggle is so real, it's almost tangible.

It was easy to think the following types of thoughts: "No one understands what I have been through, no one cares about the toll this struggle has taken on me, no one stops to consider how hard I've tried and what about all the lost or missed opportunities to engage in life this body war has caused."

These are some of the self-deprecating thoughts that have beaten me up mentally and literally, and I have wanted to scream at the world so many times ... "Life is just NOT fair!"

Why me? Why did I have to be someone who had a bigger body, a body that held more fat than the girl next to me? Why couldn't I have had a sexy, thin body that allowed me to eat what I wanted, wear what I wanted and live how I wanted without worrying?

What I have, however, come to realise is that women are so super critical at comparisons ... we compare ourselves to each other and then uphold one another to an unrealistic standard and expectation.

This is NOT fair!

We judge other women harshly, we judge ourselves more harshly.

This is NOT fair!

We lack the ability to nurture self-acceptance.

This is NOT fair!

We believe that beauty is only on the outer ... we forget that it is the beauty that lies within that makes that outer shine.

This is NOT fair!

In essence, I now know that no matter what size or shape your body fits into, there is likely to be something that we won't like about ourselves - I remember a DOVE video on this really impacted me!

This is NOT fair!

Nothing in life is fair ... nothing about being fat is fair ... and nothing about being sorry for ourselves is fair!

We need to fight ... stand up and claim our freedom, our independence, our individuality like never before! We are not robots or carbon copies of one another - we were never meant to be so and yet that is what we tend to strive towards when we follow fashion trends, magazine glamour and movie star glitter!

About 8 years ago, I felt depressed about my weight. Every time I talked about it, I would well up and the King Tide of emotion would overwhelm me. I sought advice from my GP and God bless her, she was a lovely woman and I have every confidence she had my best interest at heart because she knew me well. I was offered a course of Anti-Depressants and I bought them from the chemist ... took them home ... and was about to pop that first pill into my mouth when something stopped me ... I couldn't do it! I literally could not bring myself to admit that my own thoughts about my weight had led me to that moment and in that moment, I vowed to myself that I would not allow myself to feel depressed about my weight again. I am not knocking medication ... please do not misunderstand me ... I simply hate pills ... any pills ... I struggle to finish a course of antibiotics, I wait until I'm in migraine mode before I take a headache tablet ... it's just not my thing!! So I knew that if I started this Anti-Depressant, I probably wouldn't continue them and I had to find another way to move myself forward. Self-Acceptance for me was the best medicine at that moment ... but it's still taken me 8 years to really start moving in the right direction towards weight loss ...

Life is just NOT fair ... no, it certainly is not but we need to equip ourselves and those we love with never ending, unconditional acceptance and self-acceptance for who we are, not just what we look like!

The reason I wrote this post tonight is because my almost 4 year old son was sitting at the dinner table tonight and he suddenly started singing the song ...

If I were a butterfly, I'd thank you Lord for giving me wings (come on ... sing a long!) ... but I just thank you Father for making me, Me!

In that moment ... I realised that despite life feeling unfair with regards to my struggle with my weight ... I am thankful to God for making me, Me!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Handy Recipes ... preparing for success!

Preparing for Success ... this is so important in whatever pursuit we follow. If we do not prepare ourselves sufficiently, we can't expect to achieve our maximum potential because we might lack the necessary resources to ensure success will be achieved.

So preparation is vital to any weight management plan!

In the past, I know that when I felt stuck or didn't know what to eat, if I didn't have some handy "go-to" recipes available ... then that would be when I started to look for easy option "junk" foods but now, no more ... I have to be prepared for success!

I'm going to start sharing some of the recipes that I have been finding and/or making as they are truly delicious and it's so nice to build up a repertoire of recipes to draw on for those preparation days and/or days when you just can't figure out what to cook next!

I made this last night - it's Keto Caramel Apple Mug Cake - it was so yummy and really filling but not really sweet!

Thank you to this Web Link for the ideas -

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Knowing yourself is the key to empowerment!

I really believe that a huge part of the weight management journey is about knowing yourself implicitly.

I've known for many years that my head was not in the right space to really tackle this journey once and for all. Perhaps it was fear of success, as crazy as that may sound, or fear of losing the weight only to put it all back on again which continually seemed to happen for the yo-yo effect to take hold!

On Saturday night, I had a dinner out and whilst I didn't eat terribly, I also didn't eat sensibly but I was in full control of my actions and I have not berated myself as a result of it. I had a simple schnitzel (I only ate 1/2 of it) and some hot chips with a mushroom sauce - it was delicious ... and then I indulged and had a "Nutella Cronut with Chantilly Cream and ice-cream" ... oh my goodness ... looking at it, it looked amazing and my mouth salivated at the thought of eating it! Again, I didn't actually eat the whole thing but when I did get stuck into it, I actually found it to be really sweet and rich (esp. the Nutella) ... and boy-oh-boy did I pay for it later! I had terrible stomach cramps for the rest of the night, I felt a bit off (not quite nauseous) and bloated and generally just yuck! And once again, I was reminded why I'm following LCHF ... it truly is the only way for my body to feel healthy and functional and for the weight loss to be consistently going down.

I should also share that I feel like I've gone through my first plateau phase which I had dreaded with some intrepidation because in the past, it has always been the barrier or the hurdle I can't seem to see past or over ... and I will admit it has been a bit demoralising and discouraging. But then a small voice inside me just kept saying "Keep going ... you can do this ... it will happen for you when your body is ready to lose again ... hang in there ..." and so I am excited to say that by Thursday this week, I had hit a new low (that's a bit of a paradox isn't it ... being happy about hitting a new low!") ... but nonetheless, I am now 14.2kgs lighter and feeling so good for it!

Knowing yourself is the key to empowerment because when you know yourself, you will be aware of what is going to work for you and what isn't and I've learnt a powerful lesson about the fact that just because something may sound delicious on the menu and may look amazing when the plate hits the table, it doesn't always taste as amazing as I imagine it to ... and I am deceived by my own perceptions and expectations. I then also suffer for indulging in something that clearly, my body is no longer needing! Do I regret what I did ... actually, No, I don't because I know for the next time that I don't need to go to that place where my eyes and ears deceive me into believing it will be ok to have that indulgence! I have no regrets, I don't feel guilty ... my mind is strong, I'm back on track and moving forward and ... nothing is going to stop me now!

Empowerment is knowing yourself so that you don't trip yourself up over and over again with the same mistakes ... knowing yourself is key!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Please take a seat ...

Who would have thought that taking a seat is so difficult but trust me ... for fat people, taking a seat comes with a WHOLE lot of headaches! Just yesterday I was reminded of this very fact ... going for a simple coffee with a friend of mine, we opted to sit at a table which was essentially a booth seat (round table) and thankfully, there were two (2) separate chairs available on the one side of the table because I have almost developed a phobia for booth type seating ... why? Because, quite frankly, I feel that I might not fit between the table and the chair space and I don't want to make an idiot of myself trying to squeeze myself in that space even if the seat is more comfortable on my bum!!! It is made worse of course when the table is fixed to the ground and does not move so there's no room for making the booth seat space a bit bigger to accommodate fat people! I actually experienced this when I was pregnant too so quite frankly, people who own restaurants should think about this perhaps! It's such a hassle and it also means that fat people never get to really enjoy the booth seating ever!!!

Seating for fat people can be a real challenge ... I've not really wanted to disclose the "ugly" side of being fat but I also feel that it is important to be truthful about my experiences and it was something that really impacted me ... I've flown to Sydney and the Gold Coast and to Kalgoorlie in the past 4 years and how awful was that experience ... well let me fill you in ... not only was I squashed up next to the person next to me and feeling highly embarrassed that I'm practically overflowing into their limited space but in addition, I actually had to request an "extension" seat belt to be able to comfortably be seated through the 5hrs or more that it took to get to my destinations. Now I'm not a wallflower and I am not easily intimidated, however, having to ask for an extension belt was hard enough and I always did it as I walked on to the plane so that the air stewards could bring it to me without too much fuss or so I thought! In reality, they usually forgot my request within a few seconds and then I would have to push the bell for their attention which, as you know in those preparation stages of a flight are busy enough and then I would have to remind them of my request and then, and this is the embarrassing part, they would come over and at the top of their voices but in the most polite way say "Here you go Madam, here's your extension seatbelt" ... really ... was that so necessary? By this time, I'm surrounded by upwards of 50 or more people defeating the point of getting on early to settle myself in before everyone else arrived and really, I didn't need half the plane to know that I required an extension belt just to be able to do my seat belt up in the first place ... talk about wanting a black hole to appear and swallow me up at that very moment! And it happened time and time again ... nothing like starting a long plane ride in that frame of mind ... depressive thoughts were immediately present and there was nothing that I could do about it there and then! Of course, then when meal or snack times come along, or the person in front of you wants to recline their chair, thus diminishing the already highly limited space between my stomach and the back of their chair ... there were often times when I couldn't get the tray table out because it also couldn't fit or lie flat ... more embarrassment follows! Oh, it's such a nightmare all these things to consider and manage, all the while trying to enjoy your dinner which you feel you shouldn't be eating because that might contribute to another few kilos being piled on!

Restaurants are often no better!! Have you ever tried to squeeze yourself between other diners who have pushed their chairs out leaving room for stick figures only and then having to be seated by the hostess and all the time bumping into people with your stomach ... and/or having to push their chairs just to get through or trying to automatically find an alternative route to your table and chairs without causing a scene? I know this sounds like I'm whinging and some of you might think - well it's your own fault and you shouldn't complain but seriously people - if you know how hard it was, you would happily either get up and/or pull your chair forward for someone who was struggling at a restaurant or even stand up at the the cinema or concert hall to let someone through - it's not hard and it may be that this person has spent all their effort in just getting there in the first place because they know that this is one of the events in their evening that they are going to have to contend with when in reality, you may never have even thought about this at all because it's not an issue for you!

Chairs are not always designed with large/fat/big people in mind - take the bucket type seats at cafes ... it's uncomfortable and darn right painful when you have to fit your oversized butt into a bucket chair with arms that envelope themselves around you leaving you no room to move ... and sometimes there are delicate chairs that are so fragile you're afraid to even put one butt cheek on for fear they will not hold you! There are also the soft, comfy armchairs or lounge suites that seem to swallow you up when you sit down and you literally can't get out of them and when you do make it out, the indentation is obvious!

All of this stuff is really just one additional stress for overweight people to negotiate when they think about going out in public and so again, I would like to encourage you to think about your larger friends and ensure that when you invite them out to a cafe, restaurant or dinner somewhere that you may just be mindful of the layout and seating that these places offer in order to ensure the true comfort and joy for everyone at the table!

Take a seat ... it's not as easy as you think!

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Saying "No" is the hardest word to say!

I've been contemplating some of my own pitfalls in the journey of weight loss and one of my key "fails" is the ability to say "No" whether it is politely or not! I was asked why I wanted to be so public in my journey and to be honest, it's taken me 2 years to really start writing this BLOG so I don't think I have jumped into this forum lightly! But now, I am in the right frame of mind to be addressing these issues for myself, and I feel that I need to really express these things to others around me and beyond so that they can gain an insight into who I am but also that who ever reads this BLOG might also stop to consider how they behave around someone who is struggling with their weight.

It's a very tricky situation actually ... fat people don't want to miss out on having fun and being entertained or entertaining with friends, and we certainly don't want to miss out on social events (unless they are introverted and choose differently) and we definitely don't want to miss out just because we have to watch what we are choosing to eat or not eat as the case may be!!?

It strikes me as fascinating that there are adverts on TV in Australia at the moment which are all about people who are attempting to quit smoking and the adverts are asking people not to smoke around people who are trying to quit because it's so hard for them!

This got me thinking about people who are struggling with weight issues ... I've never seen any adverts which ask people to not eat unhealthy (fast) food around people who have a weight problem and are trying to "quit" the weight gain! In fact, it's the total opposite - the TV advert breaks (which are ridiculously frequent - I timed it one night - approximately every 3-5 minutes that you watch a show, you will also watch 3-4 minutes of adverts!!) are constantly bombarding us either directly or in subliminal ways with messages about unhealthy foods! A "McD's" promotion just hit the TV as I'm typing this ... it's subtle yet not so subtle at all! A HUGE majority of these adverts are directly marketing fast food, chocolate, lollies and fizzy drinks!

There are very few, if any, adverts that I know of, that promote eating healthy foods ... unless they are attached to some diet program ie. JC or WW, L&E etc.? If there are, I must have missed them because I don't recall any of them. So when I'm sitting in my lounge room, in previous times, I would be trying so hard not to crave a block of chocolate, or when I was trying hard to do home cooking rather than grabbing some KFC ... then I would spend the night on the "mute" button every time the adverts come to air just to avoid hearing the jingle that got into my mind and sent me to the shop or the local fast food outlet or phoning for a pizza?!

Now I know that there will be people thinking ... but you don't have to eat these foods, it's your choice and if you eat in moderation, and exercise and watch yourself, you should be fine ... but this is not the case for people like myself who are categorized as being "morbidly obese" because one weekend of eating poorly would pack on up to 3-5kgs ... and then it would take me 3-6 months, yes, I mean months to get those kilos off again?! And who doesn't feel like they deserve a treat from time to time ... it's not like I eat junk food every night of the week?! I'm going to post photos of some of the meals that I was eating both now and before ... I've tried hard to be healthy 90% of the time ... but it's the 10% that makes my weight loss a failure every time!

And why? Because I struggle to say "No" ... "No" to myself and "No" to the temptations that are presented every night on TV or around our society and "No" to lovely friends who I don't want to offend or upset, and "No" to feeling cornered or restricted if I choose that option?! And, here's the worst part ... on the odd occasion, in the past, when I did have the courage to say "No, thanks" ... then inevitably, I would receive either cajoling or peer pressure ... "Ah com'on ... just one piece, it won't hurt, you're allowed ... it'll be okay - don't miss out, it's so yummy!" type talk which made me feel guilty for using the "No" words and then I would give in ... eat the delicious morsel ... and feel like rubbish afterwards ... and then the cycle would repeat the next time!

As humans, we are social and relational by nature, and pretty much from the days of Adam and Eve, we have gathered together to enjoy fellowship with one another over ... one thing ... FOOD!! Food is not the enemy ... there have been so many times in my life when I've hated food, I've hated food for the way I look, I've hated food because there are so many options to choose from and I never seemed to get that choice correct ... I always chose the so-called wrong food and it was to my personal detriment! Then the see-saw would tip the other way and I would spend endless hours berating myself for my lack of self-control or willpower, for being weak and wondering why I just couldn't seem to make the choices that would bring me success instead of failure. "No" is the hardest word to tell myself, let alone anyone else!

Finally, I feel it would be remiss of me not to make at least one request to anyone out there who loves their friends or loved one (regardless of their size or shape) to just be mindful that not everyone is going to tell you they are on the weight management journey for fear of judgment, cajoling and/or being left out ... and not everyone is going to be able to say "No"!! So when they do, please, please, respect that decision and don't badger them to change their mind! You never know ... it may have just taken a monumental amount of inner strength to get the words out in the first place without having to justify why they said "No". It also does not mean that they don't like your food or that they are being rude in any way ... they are choosing "No" for so many other reasons! Most importantly, if they do choose to eat the food (whatever it is), please don't judge that action either, because it may be that this choice is their one treat for reward and, you can bet your bottom dollar, they are not just eating that food without having gone through a lengthy debating process in their own mind first - weighing up (excuse the pun) whether it is or is not the correct choice to make at that very moment?! Ultimately, they will be their own worst judge in the end so they don't need additional criticism piled on top of them from you!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

I like to move it, move it ... I like to MOVE IT!

Well, I've had a love/hate relationship with exercise all my life ... I wanted to write about this particular topic because it inevitably goes hand in hand with weight management and can be a real source of criticism for those of us with large exteriors!

Now I need to say that for many years, I never shied away from being active ... I started off doing ballet, modern dancing and tap dancing ... it's so sad that in one of my concert dances, I had to wear a little yellow bikini and in my photos, you can visibly see me trying to hold my little flabby tummy in! At school I was part of the tennis team, the hockey team and I also did netball and swimming but I was never really a runner! I also longed to go to a gym and do aerobics (think 1980's hairstyles, illuminous gym gear and wild hair!) ... but this did not happen for a few reasons - cost, time and effort to get to the gym. I did end up funding myself, I used to walk down to the gym after school and then my mum would pick me up but it didn't last long as I couldn't afford it. I've attempted boot camps, personal training (at 5.00am), powerwalking at 6.00am and more gym!

I used to spend most of my school holidays on my uncle's farm where we did heaps of walking, bicycle riding and horse riding too - I even competed in gymkhanas with my favourite horse! I loved being in the country (still do!) and being outdoors and I was always in the pool at home doing water aerobics or dancing and playing pool volleyball with my family!

I also absolutely love shaking my bootie ie. I love dancing ... and still do too!

Over the years, I have undertaken weekly beach volleyball in Manly Beach, Sydney as well as regular power walking, bush walking for up to 15kms, climbed mountains, kayaked, went on a flying fox (if you can call that exercise), did archery, sailing and even tried windsurfing and being on a catamaran too! I again tried the gym from time to time ... and I bought the Zumba DVD and weight set to do from home along with some other home aerobics videos (yes, videos, not DVDs!) which I attempted to do in a ridiculously small apartment covered in wooden floorboards (much to my neighbour's dismay!) ... the elephant upstairs was at it again?!

What else ... hmmm ... I've been skiing in Europe several times and once in Australia, I've done white water rafting and fishing! I've played table tennis and badminton but never quite got the feel for squash! I have climbed to the summit of a mountain in Canada near Jasper (admittedly from the Gondolier station to the top at a very high altitude)! I've trekked the mountains of the beautiful Drakensberg range in South Africa and I've also trekked the beautiful Blue Mountains in NSW. I also went on safari in Kenya and Tanzania (on my own with a tour) for 2 weeks where I pitched my tent and camped under the stars - I love camping and have been many times - some of the best adventures ever! I love the beach (but don't like being in my costume in front of others) and I've tried body surfing and boogie boarding but hated being dumped! I've snorkelled and I've "floated" down fast flowing rivers in Turkey and on Fraser Island.

I can't tell you how many times I've run to catch a bus or train - I have walked up escalators instead of just riding them, and you must know that I really hate stairs! I would rather walk a hill than climb stairs! And then I went and lived on a 9 Deck ship for 2 years where there was no option of a lift and my cabin was on Level 2 and everything else that happened was above me, so I climbed a LOT of stairs in those 2 years! None of us had a car in this time either so, if we wanted to go somewhere, we used our own horsepower!

Now, however, in my later years, after I got married and fell pregnant within my first year of marriage (I was 37yrs old), being active just seemed to get harder ... and that made me larger ... which made it even harder to get back to exercising again! And then I let things slip by me and before I knew it, I was 41yrs old and had just had my second child but I had reached my heaviest weight ever whilst pregnant with my son!! Being a mum of two small kids was, in my opinion, enough exercise to keep me busy ... but it wasn't enough to stop the weight creeping up and up the scale!

All in all, I believe that my life has been amazing (but that is only my humble opinion, it's not meant to sound arrogant or self-praising)! The one thing that I can honestly say I don't regret is, that I have never let my weight prevent me from doing things that mattered to me (except for bungee jumping and sky diving)! At times, it's true that I felt unfit but most of the time, I felt quite fit, BUT ... at all times, I was always FAT!

Now I don't know if you consider me to be unfit or unhealthy or both when you look at my size but please, let me share one other thing! When it comes to exercise, just because I'm not in a gym or affiliated with some dedicated exercise regime, does not make me a lazy, fat person who doesn't care about my body or doesn't enjoy exercise type activities. I long for the day when I can just go to the beach or a friend's pool and be in my costume without any fears of my own harsh self-judgments and self-consciousness ... but even if I lost heaps and heaps of weight, if my mind does not change, it won't matter what size I am because those mind-barriers will still be there!

Why am I telling you all these things ... well simply to ask that when you look at my size, you don't judge me for what you see on the exterior but rather that you realise that right now, at this very moment, being in a gym takes a monumental amount of effort - not so much physically for me, but more importantly psychologically! I started personal training in July 2016 for 8 weeks and I can honestly say that when I was standing in this small gym with only 3-4 other ladies around, I just wanted to burst into tears (and I often did on the way home) and overcoming my own mind was of far greater challenge than getting my body to do a few step ups or squats or walk on a treadmill! I don't hate the gym but I don't particularly love it either ... and at the moment I'm committed to going to personal training 1-2 times a week thanks to the amazing support of a dear friend who has just been such an encourager to me!! I can't name her unfortunately but I hope she reads this and knows how much her efforts and support mean to me right now.

Finally, I want you to really think about what thoughts go through your mind and how you react when you see a "body challenged" person who is half walking, half jogging down the street or around the oval, or in the gym with all those fat rolls bouncing around with them - turn your thoughts to an encouragement and silently pray that they will stay motivated and keep up their great efforts! Not everyone wants to have a body like "The Body" (Elle McPherson) or something similar ... and just because we are fat, doesn't mean we don't care about our temples, our bodies and all that means for our overall health in life!

At the end of the day ... it comes down to choice ... choosing for myself ... choosing to push through my barriers rather than be overcome by them!