Monday, March 31, 2014

12WBT 2 and 3

I missed the 12WBT blog challenges for the last couple of weeks, but I liked the topics, so thought I'd post.

First, an update. We've just hit week 4 of the 12WBT. It's a milestone week, and also a week where we check on our results and take stock of where we are. So where am I?
After four weeks on the program, I've lost 3.7 kilos, and 13.5cm (total) off my chest, waist and thighs. Compared to some of the folks on 12WBT and The Biggest Loser, that's probably not a lot, but I'm happy with it. It's taken a long time to put it all on, I'm prepared (most of the time) for it to take a while to come off.
But, since October when I got serious about this weightloss, I've lost  total of 20 kilos, 4 dress sizes and about 57cm (total) off my chest, waist and thighs. This sounds a little more impressive.
I'm also a lot fitter - I don't puff and pant when I'm going up the stairs any more. :)
To give you an idea, here are photos from October and today:

October 2011
March 2012
Week two: So this weeks challenge is to look at what are you actually TAKING up? What are you giving yourself? Are you learning something new? Taking up a new sport? Giving yourself a social life?
It's amazing how much your thinking changes as your body changes. You start to care more about other things: your hair, your skin, the way your clothes look.
So one of the first things that I've done for myself since losing a more than trifling amount of weight is to do these things. I've always looked after my hair pretty well, but I'm thinking more about different ways of styling it. I'm wearing a bit of makeup. I'm remembering more often to moisturise, and taking more care of my fingernails (biting them less!)
And I'm more careful with my wardrobe. Before it was just 'what hides my gigantic belly?'. Now it's 'would that look OK?'. Not that I'm quite ready for high fashion, but I've realised that baggy clothes don't really look that great, and I'm dressing for my size. I've pulled out a heap of clothes that I haven't worn since 2008 (the last time I was my current weight), and they look pretty good. Though I'm rapidly growing out of them (or shrinking!).

So that's the first thing I'm giving myself. Another thing that I'm giving myself is good eating fitness. And a commitment to developing it.
Apart from the last time I lost a lot of weight, I have only ever given fitness about 50% of my time/effort.
Yes, I've done my Sh'Bam classes for about a year, but for a long time, that was it. Now, I've added some gym sessions and regular walks.
My knees don't do well with running (an unfortunate legacy of carrying too much weight for too long), but I like walking up mountains. So I'm doing more of that.
And I'm eating much better. Despite my regular Sh'Bam for a good part of 2011, I wasn't really losing much weight for the first few months, as I was still eating too much crap. Or just too much.
I mean, I've always eaten healthy - I love vegies! - but I've also gone for chocolate, ice cream, cheese (etc) too much of the time too. Not so much any more. I'm not following the 12WBT menus to the letter, but I'm making healthy choices. And eating much less. It's amazing how little you do eat when you're concentrating on only eating when hungry.

And then there are the things I'm giving myself. And the challenges I've set for myself. Tomorrow, I'm picking up my new car. My little reward for the hard work I've done (both personally and professionally). It's a new Golf. I've never had a new car before, and while Delilah (my current car, called Delilah because the number plate starts with YYY) has been extremely reliable, she's 18 years old and too big for what I need.
I've also decided to do Sh'Bam instructor training (if I can come up with the money soon!). Not necessarily because I want to work as an instructor (but who knows, maybe I might!), but because it's a challenge I want to set for myself. Couch potato to super cool instructor!

So yes, I am taking up some new things. Lots of new things!

The week three question I've discussed before:
How will you acknowledge and reward yourself during Round 1, 2012 of the 12WBT? What are the small wins? What are your big accomplishments? How will you achieve these and how will you reward your efforts?

One of my big rewards has been my car, but I'm also looking at the Sh'Bam training as a reward too.
There will be little things along the way: some new clothes, nice experiences etc. Then once I've gotten where I want to go, I'd like to go away to one of those spa retreats: you know, good (healthy) food, exercise, massages in a nice, peaceful environment. Maybe that will be a 40th birthday treat!

So that's me in week 4. How are you doing?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

365 Grateful - Sundays

There's something special about Sunday. The pace is slower, everyone's relaxed, it's a good day to indulge in...well whatever makes you happy!

A little bit of my Sunday!
I go pretty hard Monday-Saturday, so I try hard to make Sunday a little slower. Sometimes I have to force myself, though today I didn't have that problem!
Sundays are slow breakfasts all together, often with one of Oli's friends (or one of ours) as a ring-in. I do pancakes or bacon and eggs, and we drink coffee and chat and read papers. 

Oli and I will often go on a Sunday bike ride, though we didn't today. Then he's usually occupied with friends or games or Lego (or we sometimes play board games). 

Now that I have someone doing some cleaning for me (best investment ever! I'm so grateful that I'm able to so that), I have more time on the weekends, so if I can't garden I'll do some work/study and a bit of a cook-up. I don't like sending Oli to school with packets of junk, so I make cookies and recess snacks like muesli bars or zucchini slice. I'll also do some meals for freezing and make up some salad jars for lunches (another thing I'm grateful for-great idea!).  
Salad jars! So handy!

So today was nice. I'm grateful for these kinds of Sundays, as I know I'm coming up for some crazy times at work!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

365 Grateful - February (my new job)

So I've been in my new job about 6 weeks now, and I can definitely say that I love it! And I'm very grateful to have been given the opportunity to do it. 

Some things I'm grateful for:

The Slow Lane
Taken while stopped, I promise!
One of the things about my new job that I thought would be the hardest is having to commute every day. When I say commute, of course I'm referring to the Canberra version: 22km of reasonably busy traffic (around 30 minutes on a bad day, 16-20 on a good one), going in the opposite direction to more congested traffic. So, nothing like a Melbourne or Sydney suburban commute (which I'm enormously grateful for!).
Still, perhaps because of the good roads in Canberra, or the fact that there isn't usually that much traffic on the roads, Canberra drivers are notoriously impatient and quite aggressive at times. So I'm very grateful for the slow lane!
On the days that I've tried travelling in the right-hand lane, I've arrived at work in a much more stressed-out state than the days that I travel all the way in the left-hand lane. It might take a couple of extra minutes, but the traffic flows reasonably well anyway, and I don't have people tailgating me and shaking their head at my obviously misguided attempts to follow the speed limit. 

Free Water!
Water - on tap!
The University of Canberra has a 'no bottled water' policy. And there are bubblers and bottle fillers all over the place. I like being able to fill up my bottle wherever I am.

A few other (non-photographed) things I'm grateful for:

  • My new friends: I have met some really great people at my new job, and I love hanging out with them. They're great to share a coffee or a beer with, and we have a great laugh when we're together. 
  • Learning: It's so cool to be in a learning environment again. While the subject that I'm lecturing in is right up my alley, I'm still learning new stuff about it every day. I'm also doing some tutoring in an Educational Psychology unit, and while I know a lot of the stuff, I'm still learning new things from it! I'm also studying again, which is quite satisfying!
  • Teaching! While I made the decision a while back that I wasn't going to go back to teaching in schools, teaching adults is completely different. It's been brilliant so far, and while I know it will get crazy around assessment time, it's great to be in that space again.
  • University of Canberra campus: There are so many cool things about working on a university campus: the wildlife (snakes, lizards, birds, rabbits, kangaroos), the great food and coffee (I've found the best coffee ever here!), the general buzz of intelligent and interesting conversations, the green spaces, the quirky people. I love it!
So work is great, and I'm grateful for it! Just gotta work on some ways to stay on there!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

You've gotta be grateful...

Today would have been Samuel's 18th birthday. So it's a sad day for us in a lot of ways, but I'm choosing to come at it from a grateful angle.

My brother-in-law posted a very important message on Facebook this morning. He said:

"I never knew how much I loved you, and the rest of the family until we lost you, it's a shame that it took losing you for me/us to realise just how important we all are to each other but to me that's your legacy. You have made me realise the true value of family and friends and truly what it means to love someone..."

Losing Sam was the most horrible thing that has ever happened to me, but (and I never thought I'd say this) there have been some positive impacts, and this is one of them. Samuel brought our family closer together and I have to be grateful for that. There is also the lesson I learned about balance, the value of not putting absolutely all your energy into work, and of taking advantage of every single minute you have on this earth.

Young mum
I'm also grateful for the things that I learned while Samuel was here. I was a new mum at 22; not young really, but young enough that I didn't know a lot about the world. Samuel taught me all sorts of wonderful lessons about being a parent, having fun, being humble, and loving someone deeply. I also learned funky things like how to play YuGiOh and teach a kid how to ride a bike and cook for a family and that I really wanted to be a teacher...

Most of all, I'm grateful for the memories that I have of him, the time we had together, the fun we had, and that he graced this world for a fantastic 13 years and 9 months. I regret that he didn't get to become an adult, but I can't dwell on that. I will remain grateful for him.

Happy birthday Sam, wherever you are...