Your Re-Invention

I don’t have the answer.  No one does.  All I can do is help shed some light on the journey of re-inventing my own life.

I thought my story was written.  I thought my life and path were set. There was no magical epiphany for me. No diagnosis that had me facing my fear of death in exchange for life. There was nothing that really set this going for me and quite honestly, I don’t know how quickly or how slowly I will get to my finish line, or even if a finish line exists, but I’m waking up every day faced with my demons and fighting as hard as I can.

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I read a lot about weight loss. Food equations, strength training vs. cardio, the mental work that needs to happen so the body catches up, but  it wasn’t until this morning that I truly embraced one, fundamental reality of this so called billion-dollar weight loss industry – there isn’t anyone that can give you the answer.  The reality is, until you are ready, 100% ready to start to re-invent your life, the start line will always be there.

I joined Weight Watchers over 20 times, Herbal Magic twice, bought Deal a Meal, did the replacement shakes, green bean coffee bean pills, appetite suppressants.  I have done all but surgery.  And you know what, all of these would have worked, if I was ready.  Yes I’m eating better, more often and have virtually removed ALL processed/packaged food from my diet.  Yes I workout and run on occasion.  But it is the reason WHY I do these things that matter.

I faced a childhood trauma when I was eight.  At my most vulnerable age, I was left unprotected, and therefore harmed.  With this, I turned to food for comfort and protection and learned very quickly to mask my feelings.  Food to me was never about fueling my body.  Food to me was about feeling safe when my world as I knew it as an eight year old girl came crashing down. That was almost 30 years ago.  My why, or motivator, as to my re-inventing my life now is the realization that I deserve it.  I owe the little girl inside of me the protection she needs to move on – prove to her that we can do this on our own and that food was here while we needed it but that it’s purpose has changed.

I am doing this because I deserve this.  I deserve to experience joy in helping other women and young teens realize that they too can make change in their lives.  I deserve the life of an non-obese woman.  I deserve to work in ANY industry regardless of my size or weight.  I deserve to live life openly and honestly and with fault.

I am doing this because I’m ready and because I deserve it.  And until you are ready and you realize you have the strength to make change, no blog or diet or book or new fitness routine or personal trainer will get you there. There may be a spark that is ignited, but it is all you!

And I know you can do it.

Time to re-invent.  It’s pretty fucking awesome.
Axo

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What I No Longer Miss

I may be redefining the steps to my journey, but here is a small list of things I no longer miss.  Sometimes it is just good to know where you were and where you are now, and for sure, where you will never be again!  Thanks, Jen B. for reminding me this morning of where I was to where I am today.  Your insight and reflection opened my eyes!

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For those who have been overweight, who are overweight, or have every wondered what being overweight is like, this list is just some of the life experiences I will never welcome back.

  1. feeling ugh – you know, when you’re sitting down in the car and your belly is sitting peacefully on your lap.  My lap was made for my babies’ when cuddling, a solid place to clap my hands when playing, and not for my extra rolls to take a nap.  No more looking down and feeling ugh!
  2. chafing thighs – no longer will I carry a small bottle of baby powder in my purse to dust up in the ladies’ room during hot summer days out.  The small red rash is no more.  Ya, these thighs may never be permanently apart, but the room they share with one another has down sized and the leg lifts have proved to be worth it!  See ya!
  3. back fat – I once tried to squeeze up to the podium during a training session, sucking in my gut to fit between a male Store Manager up against the wall and the chair I was vacating.  As he put up his hand to guide me, his hand hit my back.  I could feel the excess skin and fat giggle on my back.  A feeling I will honest never forget.  My back fat is just two little minor indents now, no longer holding real estate under my bra strap. Bye!
  4. lifeless lingerie – now this one is not so much a physical result but definitely something that switched in my head about 12 months ago.  I never understood sexy lingerie.  I mean, what’s the point if in moments it just ends up in a ball rolled up on the floor?  But, there is something very womanly, very feminine, very liberating in getting in touch with the goddess in you.  I was once white bras and Froot of the Loom underwear.  Now, I am black lace, red bodice, purple straps and sexy-inspired under-wear.  For no other reason than to look how I truly feel inside.  My cotton panties make their way back for those days that I need a little comfort, but I rarely get ready without lacing up and taking a quick peak in the mirror and honouring the changing body staring back at me.  I am beautiful, every step and every stretch mark along the way!
  5. wondering if I’ll fit – man oh man!  What a terrifying, take-your-breath-away moment when you are faced with a situation and you don’t know if you’ll fit.  When going through my Personal Training certification, I was the only one who was/has gone through life overweight.  As me and the other five perfectly fit and slim trainers-to-be entered the gym for demonstration training, I piped up (often as I do!) and asked, “What if the client can’t fit into the seated leg press?”.  The looks I got from the others was terrifying.  Can’t fit?  Ya!!! Can’t fit.  You know, the opposite of ease and grace.  Trying to smoosh yourself into something that was clearing not made for your body is really one of the most debilitating moments of anyone’s life.  While I may be faced with a few more of those moments, they are not as frequent as they were!  I can say I confidently recognize my shrinking size and I am happy to know my limits.
  6. plus size stores – nothing more to say!
  7. that my kids’ lives where happening without me – I remember time and time again, I would be the parent on the bench, focus not on the play yard but on my phone, not participating.  Being the parent that would seem involved but not!  Well, as things have changed, my perception has.  I am now the parent (and really, the ONLY parent), that has her swimsuit on in the splash pad playing with her kids.  I have been to three pads this week alone and I was it.  Parents need to turn to their children and mirror how they live life – active, moving, exploring, taking their time to discover.  My kids lives are now happening with me as a participant and student and I love  it.  So much to gain from their way of living, it has been eye-opening at what I have missed.

Just a little reflection as my week starts out great!  I am looking forward to so much over the course of the next stage in my journey and will continue to share honestly, and often as I am motivated daily by all of you who continue to read and reflect!

Happy Monday.

Axo

When Reality Strikes

I have heard from a lot of you wondering if I was in official hiding.  I am not.  I am here. Struggling with the real journey that is life and just needed some time to regroup.

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I have been offline for about week now.  Our mini vacation was great, had a bit of a stomach bug over the weekend and then off up North with my eldest for a couple of days.  I managed to get in a few days of intervals, but overall, my scheduled workouts and plan for clean eating was almost on hold. And there’s a reason for all of this…

As some of you know, I have made major shifts in my life including leaving my career 18 months ago and just recently parting ways with the job I had with my trainer.  The decision to take the month of August to spend with the kids and focus on “WHAT’S NEXT” was a big one.  August is now almost done – so, what do I do now?

Have you every felt lost? Like overwhelmed and really not knowing what direction to move towards? Well, I had a great interview last week and was certain it would pan out.  Perfect schedule so I could still build my personal training client base, work from home, ability to take my kids to school – all working out with when I needed and planned to start working again.  And then, word of a restructure at the company came to me; the position I was in for was cut.  No offer.  I was crushed.

I am now searching and wondering and with that, I over think.  And when I over think, I get overwhelmed and when that happens, I quickly shut down.  When the old me would have turned to food, I am much more aware of my behaviours and triggers and trying to fight the daily battle to remind myself why I have fought every day to stay on track.  With the added stress, lack of high intensity activity I have been accustom to and my increase in carbs, sugar and white flour, I can honestly feel my mid section expanding.  And it is something I hate!

A good friend of mine told me last night that people want to hear the truth. That there are moments of absolute desolation and there needs to be a reality in my journey; that not every day is perfect, because I’m not.  That there are days I feel like shit and just want to continue hiding on the couch with my popcorn.  Well, I’m here to confess the last seven days have sucked, but finding my voice and focus again is what picking myself up is all about.  And it there is one thing I will NOT do, is get back to this!

odlmeI have also joined a 90 Day Challenge with my good friend Lillian.  Lillian has put together 20 women who will be focussed on their health and wellness through sponsorship with GoodLife Clubs and Inspire Fitness.  I will have free access to a gym and Zumba which I am so super excited about.  Sometimes the journey gets lonely and we all need to face our fears and move through them.

I have never actively participated in a group challenge as I have always been a little weary.  I am excited and looking forward to the next 90 days!

Thanks to all who have continued to stick by me, sent me private messages about their own journeys and have given me reasons beyond my wildest dreams to keep moving forward!

Have an awesome Thursday!  I know I will!

Axo

The Belly Button

I was having a chat with a friend last night after our AMAZING ZUMBA class (that was totally worth the sweat!), about body parts. And the Innocuous belly button came up in conversation.

Now this blog post is something I have been toying with, so I think I should put a reader warning up. Any time a woman starts talking about body parts, you know it will get a little real, raw and graphic, so BEWARE.  You may close your laptop window or SmartPhone screen now, while you still have a chance to get out.

When you Google Image “belly button”, these are the typical images that pop up:

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Placed neatly, with no effort, the belly button, or ‘navel’ has it’s purpose during our 40 week term in our mother’s wombs, but after that, it really has no agenda.  It may be used as a land mark to the centre of our body, when taking measurements or a good spot to figure out how high to move up to perform the upward thrust motion if choking (formerly The Heimlich Maneuver).  All great but fairly insignificant uses.  Some people decide to tattoo around their button, get it pierced, or just forget it’s there, maybe giving it a bit of clean from sweater lint and crumbs.

But, the topic today is what happens to that little body part when you gain weight. In my pre-teen and teen years, heading into University, I really didn’t carry a lot of weight in my mid-section.  I had a little bit of extra inches, but I always carried below the navel, making buying pants an impossibility as my waist was super tiny and my hips and thighs heavier.  My belly button was positioned just as it was intended, as this lovely woman is displaying in the picture (although I had a bit more pudge than she).

Then, something happened… I went from 199 lbs in my last year of University to close to 270 about 10 years later along with carrying two babies, and what THAT process does to our buttons is all but a whole other blog post!

My button decided to make its way South, like real South. For those who have never carried weight in their tummies, you wont understand this. And it is my hope through this blog that you begin to understand the trials, tribulations and barriers living an obese life can bring. My belly button was located somewhere down mid-thigh. Yep! My weight gain shifted from my legs and butt, to my mid-section. And the results where terrifying.

Now, do me a favour and Google Images ‘belly button overweight’ and you will get a mental picture of what I’m talking about.  The human body is pretty spectacular. It’s ability to stretch, flex, morph, bounce back is nothing short of a miracle.

Why the post? Well, one of my all time wins in this weight loss path is my belly button’s own transformation journey – I am happy to say, it has gradually made the trek back up my mid-section and is sitting nicely in the middle of my torso.  I have lost almost 15 inches around my widest part of my body and for that, my belly button thanks and applauds me. It often times looks at me over top my purple lace panties’ waist band and smiles.  There are days it’s a little more spherical than oval (mainly due to a bad choice meal the day before), but I relish in the thought that with some water and exercise, it will bounce right back to where it belongs.

So to all of you who may have body parts that have moved with the expansion of your body, know that your own transformation journey will gladly return those little devils back to where they once where.  Maybe not perfectly, but they’ll get there.  The back fat will dissolve, the double chin will shrink back, heck, you may even go down a shoe size (this has happened to me too). Just keep going. And whether you’re open like me about your body, or just talk to your reflection in the mirror when you notice these changes, keep telling your body how awesome it is. Because it carries you every day, gets you through the shit of life and celebrates when you need it.

Taking the next few days off!  Enjoy.

Axo

 

Results: Week 2 Reflection

Week 2 of my 5 week summer challenge has come and gone.

Still one of my most favourite quotes!

Still one of my most favourite quotes!

Here are my results:

Weigh In:  203.4 – remained as is from last week (down 3 from start)

BMI: 33.8 –> Obese – remained as is from last week (down 0.2 from start)

Hips: THIS IS AMAZING!! 44.5:  down 2 from last week (down 2.5 from start)

Narrow Waist: 36 Inches – remained as is from last week (down 1 from start)

Waist to Hip Ratio: .81 –> Moderate Risk  This has actually gone up although my hip measurement has gone down.  As the ratio between my hips and waist are now closer, I am assuming this increases my risk.  Weird, but the numbers don’t lie!

Reflection:

This week definitely marked a week of agony and major self-reflection.  I battled moment after moment with choosing the right fuel for my body vs. what tasted good and what felt good.  I was even faced with a parenting moment when my son was screaming due to an injury and he immediately asked for a cookie from Grandma. I was at a pivotal crux in my role as mom.  I refused the cookie and told him mamma could give him cuddles and kisses.  With confused eyes from the on-lookers, I held my ground and we saved the cookie for later.  Through some major counselling and work on my own, I have come to know that I started comforting my own lack of feeling protected with food at the age of 8.  Knowing how the path started and choosing a better journey for my kids, I hugged him, kissed him and he eventually calmed down.  And he got that from  love from me, as this is my job,  and not the calories from a Baby Cookie that would have lasted all of three seconds.

This week, I was stressed and fairly emotional with crises continued to plague me only in my own head.  With all this, and prepping for a job interview, I gained mid-week and needed to re-focus to get back down for the start of Week 3. It was a battle, every moment of every day, but I am happy that I got back down and am here to start another week fresh.

This week’s challenge is vacation.  Luckily we have to pack our own food and prep meals.  I will make the time to get in my cardio and ensure my weight training is done before I go and then when back on Friday night.  I am also volunteering for the CanFit Pro Conference over the weekend.  I know my schedule and what barriers to expect and being able to plan is really 85% of the battle!

Thanks to all who have read and commented and encouraged me to continue on.  Over 1,000 hits to my blog and some pretty amazing leaders in health and fitness following me!  Much thanks – I hope you get but one little nugget of inspiration or motivation to continue on or start your own journey.

Much love,

Axo

The 5k Therapy

Waaaay overheated after my 5K Saturday Night

Waaaay overheated after my 5K Saturday Night

I was so tired Saturday. Like ridiculously tired. It was also a very emotional day for me. I don’t have tired or emotional days often but when I do they seem to fall on the same day. I battled myself all day. Every time I looked in the mirror I was unhappy with the progress I was seeing and I got down on myself.
I planned on running at 6am but I took the quiet of the morning before everyone woke to write and I was tired. Then during the precious afternoon nap time, I decided to catch up on mundane housework and rest. Then after supper but was again too tired.

The kids were in bed and it was 8:45. I got my gear on and left the house.

I captured the first video at my second km. Already sweaty but happy that I got to my first marker without stopping. Then the mind games started. I stopped at km 3 and then at 3.5 I started bawling my eyes out. Talk about emotional.

MY 2K CHECK IN – CLICK HERE!

I started to think if this fucking journey I am on would ever get easier. I started convincing myself my life before was soooo much easier, no effort needed and I ate whatever I felt like and sat all the time.

Then, without a lie, face beet red and hat soaked, I was ready throw up. I slowed my pace and could feel it burning in my throat. It wasn’t the steak salad that caused this. It wasn’t that I was starting as a new runner ready to toss my insides at my first run. I was making myself physically ill with the thought that my 270 lb. sedentary past self seemed like a better option then what I was going through at that exact moment – that sitting, eating what I wanted to eat, not moving or being able to enjoy life was actually a better choice of existence than my almost 200 lb. self now WHO WAS RUNNING.

It was shame and self loathing I was feeling. I have never experienced that.

Then, HOLD ON from Wilson Philips came on my headset and those lyrics pushed me through. Right to the point of almost passing out. It was torture but I finished.

5k CHECK IN – CLICK HERE!

I need to continue to run. It is obviously something that brings out my Blerch (Google that with “The Oatmeal”) and is a test of how successfully I can squash it!

I do not know if running will ever get easier for me because as I know now, every steps is a chore. But I do now know it is extremely theraputic and for that, I will continue.

Axo

Living a Life of Me

Me and Angelina after a sweating workout!

Me and Angelina after a sweating workout!

I had the pleasure of meeting up with someone this week that I have never worked out with before and that has been an acquaintance of mine but never really a friend.  I am hoping that is about to change.

It was reading Angelina’s own blog about finding the fit and fabulous her that inspired me to start blogging through my own barriers to the next phase of my journey (http://findingthefitandfabulousme.blogspot.ca).  I want to first thank her for finding the courage to put finger to keyboard to journal her own path and experience.

I came to realize after our 45 minute session of intervals that all our stories are very similar. And while this journey is lonely, we can rest assured that we are not the only one making changes, finding strength, falling down and learning to pick ourselves up.

Angelina’s story is one that I know too well.  And without exposing all she shared with me, I want to share this – we need to let go of who we thought we were, who others expect us to be and start living of life of me.

What is Your Life of You?

What is Your Life of You?

Until we are willing to go of EVERYTHING that is hindering us from living a life of ME, it may be impossible to move from where we are – if that’s a place of being stuck, then chances are, that’s where you may be left until things give.  I left my career.  That’s pretty big. With that stress and worry lifted off my shoulders I saw a shift in my weight dramatically the months following.

What else? I started being me. That’s a pretty big thing too – I stopped being the hub of my extended family. I didn’t meddle in who was doing what, making sure everyone was taking care of and communicating regularly.  I haven’t talked to my dad face to face in over a year.  Reason being? I can’t take responsibility for choices others make.  I wake up every day knowing that the life I lead and the lessons I teach my children are the only things within my control.  I can’t persuade or alter what others do in their lives.  I will just send out love to them and hope one day they find the love in themselves to have me back in their lives when ready.

But there are other facets in my my life right now that are stuck.  And I need to realize, until I unstuckafy them, or at least have the courage to want to change, I will be where I am today.  So I either need to ‘be willing to get rid of the life that was planned for me’ or carry on not living in absolute truth.

This isn’t easy.  You may wake up every day miserable in your relationships, but unwilling or scared to move forward because of how that decision will impact others around you.  You may be sitting at a desk right now reading this, knowing that you were not meant to sit in the confines of a cubicle typing away at a computer.  You may be overweight, 40, 50, 60 pounds or more and just do not know what has to give for you to live a life of freedom and health in a body what was given to you as a gift at birth.  What life is waiting for you?

My formula of nutrition and activity may be a simple one, but the third and most important part of this equation is what happens in the 24 hours of every day of our lives.  If our actions are not supporting where we WANT to be, all the greens and squats in the world wont sustain us.

I am going out to run my 5k today and think about small changes I can make to move closer to the life that is planned for me.  I hope this post inspires you to make some similar steps.

Axo