Sunday, 23 September 2012

Is DOMS Is Good!!!

I sit here writing this today with a smashing headache and sore throat.  I can feel a build up in my chest of that horrible green stuff.   This is the first time I have felt unwell for a while, but unfortunately it has gone through our entire house and we just can’t seem to get rid of it.  Julie is also not well, but we are still planning on attacking this next few weeks with a vengeance before we go to Bali.

I mentioned in my last post how I felt I had hit the wall and was struggling.  This is true and I wasn’t sure how I was going to shake it up to see the extra kilos fall off like I had hoped this round.  It is not as though I am close to goal and should struggle to lose weight, I am still 117kg for crying out loud.  I have been working hard and increasing my run distances and intensity, doing more physically demanding workouts this round than last with the toning part of it, but I have only lost 3kgs in 4 weeks.  I lost that in one week last round.  Whilst I appreciate the body is changing, I am fitter and need to work harder, it becomes a little demoralizing when you don’t see bigger numbers.

This week has been a bit of a yoyo week for me.  I have a 500 gram loss, which in the grand scheme of things I was happy with, but I have been struggling mentally with a few things.  My wife wrote in her blog about being in holiday mode and to some extent I have to agree with her.  Some old habits tried to creep back in.  I was craving a glass or two of wine and thankfully for her willpower and resolve she said no on Friday night and we didn’t.  Instead we went and did our fitness test.  So my battles with my mindset have been my lows this week, which I feel I have managed to win, but the highs have been some other wins which were less than expected.  On Thursday night I decided I was going to do my wall sit.  NO ONE enjoys doing this and if they say they do then they are liars or demented.  Why would you, it kills.  My previous time was 4:07 and was always going to be hard to beat.  I got into position and started the clock and when I finished I managed to get a time of 6:05 but my thighs were on fire and I could have cooked eggs on them.  I still had to complete my workout, which was Michelle’s toning workout.  This only included 180 lunges, clams and a killer crunch section.  Oh my god I was in pain Friday morning. 

So the workout had given me DOMS from hell.  I was not getting any love from my wife or Michelle for that matter.  I sent a tweet saying that this workout was not conducive to being able to walk.  The response from my wife was “Suck it up Princess, Is DOMS is Good!!”  Michelle responded “ha ha, She said it not me.”  Thanks for the support guys.  When I headed out that night for the time trial I had made the mistake of eating a short time before and having a seriously sore right glute.  I had hoped I could knock 18 seconds off my time and get under 5 minutes, but the way I was feeling I doubted it.  I went out pretty hard and approx. 350 metres into my run I thought my right glute was going to explode.  It was tight, sore and on fire.  Add to that, at about 600 metres I coughed and thought my dinner was going to make a second appearance for the night.  Not looking good at all for a decent time.  Oh well, suck it up and get moving.  I was really starting to struggle and doubted I would get anywhere near my last time let alone beat it.  With approx. 80 metres to go I glanced at my timer and I was still under 4 minutes.  I still had a chance to beat it.  How is that possible.  As I got to the line I hit the button hoping to see a 4 but the timer showed me 5:01.  AARRGGHH that is not fair.  But I now know that I will make sure I prepare a bit more before my next time trial and smash it out of the park. 

The ups and downs continue after that as I was spent but managed to continue running and knock out another 4 kms.  I was very proud of this as I have not even contemplated doing any extra after other time trials.  Nice win there and maybe a bit of robot mode.  I came home to do my measurements and was smacked in the face with reality.  I had only lost 3.5 centimetres in 4 weeks.  How can that be.  After a massive 86.5 last round I have not moved in some areas.  Julie and I had a chat and we have decided that this 4 weeks has been a bit of a blip for us, but with 8 to go we can still smash it out and reach our goals. 

Saturday morning saw us with our usual group and a circuit session followed by boxing.  We are really enjoying these sessions and we are both busting our backsides in them to get maximum effect.  We have now started doing them on Tuesday nights, Julie calls them last chance training.

Out of all the above, what have I learnt this week?  You need to keep moving forward. You will be hit by speed bumps, detours and diversions along the way, but so long as you are able to get back on the chosen path, you will still get to the chosen destination.  It may take a little longer, it may not be smooth or all roses, but stick at it.  Giving up is not an option, that got me to 146 kgs and I am not going back there.  As I have said in the past, this is not a sprint, it is a marathon and a lifestyle change, so I am still learning what works and what doesn’t.  This will not happen overnight, but it will happen.    I will be smashing out some big numbers in the coming weeks (well that is the plan) and hoping to be under 100kgs by Christmas.  What a great present to myself that would be.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Half Way Up My Everest

This week has been one of ups and downs, a bit like climbing Everest so to speak.  When I read Bear Grylls book, he explained that when he climbed Everest they had to aclimatise themselves with the altitude and lack of oxygen prior to trying to push higher. This would mean they would climb up and get used to the height and then come back down to allow their body to recover prior to heading back up.  This took him a total of 3 months from the time he arrived at base camp until he reached the summit.  Well this is similar to how I have been travelling this round and especially this week.

Some may find the fact that I am comparing Everest to my weight loss journey a little dramatic, but in actual fact my weight loss journey is my Everest and in my opinion a lot harder in my mind to conquer.  Whilst I am never going to reach the summit of Everest, through multiple reasons (finances, want/need, or capability) I WILL conquer this summit, but it is going to take time, work and the desire to reach the top.  This journey is one that I have struggled with on a number of occasions over the course of the last 12 or so years, trying numerous things to get to the top of this weight loss world, but always stopping half way up the summit and believing it to be too hard and finding myself back at base camp an unhappy, obese person, wondering if I would ever be able to get to the top.  I am not sure what happened this time, but the sun must have been shining one morning as I poked my head out of my base camp tent and I decided that this was going to be the time.  My wife had signed up for the 12WBT and I was going to jump on-board with here and get to where I wanted to be.  I was not sure how long it would take, how I would manage or even if it would work, but I had to try and I had to make sure I was doing the right thing by her and myself.

My story and journey up the mountain is well documented in this blog (which I won another 12WBT prize for this week, thank you everyone for your nominations) but what I have not yet written about is the fact that this current round has found me struggling a little.  I am still committed to losing my weight.  I am still eating as cleanly as possible and I am probably doing more exercise than I was last round.  The worst part for me is that I feel I have hit the wall metaphorically.   Yes there have been a couple of celebrations in this time with the Perth Finale and my wife’s 40th birthday, but I am not using them for reasons why I have hit the wall.  I think in part I am just tired.  I have never been this committed to anything in my life, even when I was training for Kokoda and I have not stopped.  Add to this I have not seen as much weight falling off me the last 4 weeks as I did last round and it makes you wonder what is happening. 
Receiving my Blogger award from Michelle at Perth Finale

Me and the Guru at Finale
I equate this to stories I have heard about people doing Tough Mudder and how they have struggled when they get to the walls.  The walls are so high you need assistance to get over them.  I have felt the last couple of weeks that is exactly what I need.  Either someone to boost me up over the wall or someone to drag me up by the arm so I can scramble to the top.  I have been very lucky that I have this support network and it comes in 2 parts.  Firstly there is my wife.  She is always encouraging me, telling me I am a weight loss machine and giving me the time to go for a run and bike ride.  Thankfully she sees how much I am enjoying my exercise and the small wins I am having with my fitness and this is something that keeps me going.  If I didn’t have that support I would plain and simply be stuffed.  The second part is the amazing people I have met at the finale and have befriended on facebook as well as the rest of the Facebook group and Twitter families.  Everyone is so supportive of my efforts, runs, cycles etc and this small little bit of feedback, praise and encouragement means that every time I question my ability to get that little bit further up the mountain, they are behind me with their hands planted on my rather large still (but shrinking) backside pushing me up to the summit.  This sort of support is undoubtedly one of the key factors in helping me and obviously a lot of others get to the top or to their own summit and is an undervalued part of the program. Find your own network in whatever forum, social media you can and make the most of us.

I am proud to say that with this morning’s weigh in I am now over half way to the summit of my own personal Everest.  I started this climb with 56kgs to lose and after losing 500 grams this last week (where I honestly expected to put on) I now have 27.9kgs to lose.  This is a huge milestone for me because every step I take now I have less weight to lose than I have already lost.  The numbers to goal are getting smaller than those on the left hand side of my tracker and I am going to be there some time in the new year.  I had hoped this would be the case in Round 4, but realistically I think it might take until Round 2 next year.  As Pink says “So What, I am a Rock Star!” at least I feel like one with my wins so far and as it takes climbers 3 months to climb Everest, it makes no difference how long I take to climb my own, so long as this time I don’t go back to base camp and I stay on the side of the mountain and regain my focus and energy to continue the climb all the way to the top and complete this journey.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Swimming Between the Flags

As a kid this message was drummed into us that when we go to the beach, you had to swim between the flags.  It is now preached on telly and at school.  WHY???  We all know that any beach which is patrolled by lifeguards, that if we get into trouble, they are there to support us, help us and ultimately save us.  For me at this stage of my life this is a perfect metaphor for what I am doing on the 12 WBT.

Michelle Bridges is my lifeguard and the 12 WBT program is my yellow flags.  Whilst I stay inside the program and follow it, what Michelle says will keep me on track and safe.  As soon as I get cocky or think I can swim outside the flags I am in trouble.  Especially at this early stage.

For 15 weeks now I have been swimming, probably only paddling between the flags, not really brave enough to venture out into uncharted waters for fear of what may happen.  This weekend was the first time I decided I could step outside the flags.  Now this was not planned or my intention, but when is life 100% planned.  Yes I know Michelle tells us to plan our week out and look out for RED FLAG days or events.

This weekend was certainly one of the RED FLAG events, my wife's 40th birthday party.  Knowing this we had planned to drink vodka lime and soda rather than beer and/or wine as it is lower in calories. We were also drinking from large tankards (well it was a pirate themed party and pirates drink from tankards) which had approx 300-400 mls of soda water each.  This made sure we were not going to back to quickly for our next drink.  So we were trying to minimise any damage.  Whilst this is theoretically outside what we are trying to do by sticking to the program, we look at this as teaching us about how to change for the rest of our life not just 12 weeks.  Sunday means back on it, no grog, clean food, busting my butt burning calories and becoming the person I am proud of and whom my wife and kids will be proud of.

The big concern for me was that there was a lot of party food there that we had catered for the rest of the guests and probably not enough clean food for us.  When this came out it seems I must have swum into a rip and was dragged outside the flags and couldn't help myself.  OH OH, where is Mich now?  No helping me now, I am swimming in the part of the beach not patrolled.  I was pretty good early on, but as the night wore on I ate some party pies, sausage rolls, a mini quiche, chips and even had a few beers.  Now none of this is the end of the world, there are no horseman of the apocalypse riding through my back fence, but it does highlight to me that if I decide to step outside the program and have a night off to a certain degree, I still need to be conscious of everything that goes into my mouth and how much of it.

I am not admitting defeat. I have not fallen off the wagon. I am not a failure, by writing all this down and admitting it.  I am human and we all have nights off.  Yes I ate some crap food and diverted away from my initial plan with my drink by having a beer which I had denied myself for 15 weeks, but I am able to recognise it, own it, accept it and know that when I am working my arse off for the next three days that I am still a new person, changing my life, my kids lives and my marriage.  I take responsibility now, where as in the past I didn't care, probably would have opened another beer Sunday afternoon and did it all again.

I am not perfect, far from it, but I am a better version of the person I was 4 months ago and getting better by the day.  Anyone struggling with their own journey and reading this, just remember, YOU CAN DO IT AS WELL!!!  How badly do you want to do it though.  We all have bad days but it is how we recover from them and bounce back that define us and how we improve on our chosen path.

Everyday the flags will move to the safest part of the beach, just make sure you move with them and you will be looked after. Follow the program and it will work for you.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

How Times Have Changed

This week has been an interesting one for me.  After feeling the highs on the weekend of being a winner at the finale and being humbled by the kind words of many on the night and on Facebook, forums and twitter since, I was then faced with the reality of coming back to work on Tuesday.  Add to that the horrible thought I might have had a gain, which actually turned into a 600 gram loss and has me sitting at 27.6kgs lost in total in 15 weeks and almost half way to my goal.  I can’t wait for next week now.
This was also the start of a new chapter in my working life as I was starting a new role, well actually only an expansion to my current role, but it did see me taking on managing another team and doubling the size of my responsibility.  Whilst this has not worried me it is an interesting time at work with this new team going through a period of transition and there being a little bit of the unknown for them and myself.
 Whilst I have never considered myself one to get stressed at work and have always felt that I handle pressure quite well, the last couple of days have been interesting and I have seen a few things in myself that I know are different.  The increased workload and expectations from the new business have been immense.  There have been numerous issues that have needed urgent attention and I have been the person they have expected to fix it, whether this is my area of expertise or not.  Add to this I have 9 new staff that are also wanting guidance and assistance and you would think that this is a time where some people might fall off the wagon and fall into old habits.  Well that would have been me to a degree in the past.  It might have meant that I would go home and have a bottle of wine to relax, which would obviously be accompanied by some crappy food after dinner.  With my new outlook this is not the case and today I was sitting at my desk being bombarded by emails, phone calls, meeting requests and staff issues and all I was thinking about was how I will be going home and doing a workout and planning what I wanted to do tonight.  WHO IS THIS MAN????

I am very proud of myself for not reverting back to old ways and part of this has to be attributed to my mindset change from the weekend.  The feelings that coursed through me on the weekend and the high I experienced, plus the extremely kinds words from Michelle Bridges on stage have sparked a fire in my belly.  I want to experience that again.  I mentioned to my wife this morning that I want to be up there again taking it all in.  It is like a drug, a healthy drug that I somehow need to have again.  I would not say I am addicted to be in the limelight, but knowing that people are genuinely happy for me, for what I have achieved and the effort I have put in, is something I wish everyone could experience.  I now know that if I want to have any chance (and it will be extremely minimal 2 rounds in a row) I need to work my backside off so that the numbers and transformation make it hard for me not to be.  If that happens and I still don’t make it up on stage in Sydney, I will still be a winner as I will be a lot healthier and happier than I have ever been. 

So looking at that I am trying to work out whether or not I am addicted to the thought of being on stage or addicted to the thought of being a better version of me, either way it will get me to the point that I will be loving the new me for the effort put in.  I can’t believe the change one good weekend away can make to someone, but in the right environment with the right people it can be amazing.  Hate to think what I will be like after a week away in Bali with the wife come mid-October.  Now to go home and smash out a toning workout that will have me stiff sore and hurting tomorrow rather than a bottle of pinot grigio.

Monday, 10 September 2012

What an Amazing Weekend

Well what can I say.  Perth really turned on a great weekend for us and everyone has been full of nothing but praise for the functions, workout and hospitality we received.  I can only agree with everyone that it was way to short a time but sadly we move on back to our lives and continue the day to day task of improving our well being and health but now with a lot more newly made friends.

Whilst I was aware that I had made the top 20 finalists prior to arriving, I had no idea which category I was nominated in.  I suppose this kept the suspense building to see if it was for the bog prize.  Ultimately though it didn't matter, as being chosen as a top 20 finalist out of a rumoured 12000 participants was something that I was extremely proud of even if i did not receive a prize.

The weekend began at a function on Friday night arranged by the Perth crew which allowed us to meet up with some of our 12WBT family and cyber-friends.  This was a great experience as it allowed us to actually meet and talk to people we had built up friendships and support networks with over the 12 weeks and supported each other along the way.  One of the people I had arranged to meet was the winner of the last round and her daughter Heidi and Alicia (aka toughmudder and baby_toughmudder) and their husband and partner.  I also met up with one of the few guys in the round, Patrick (aka imajica) whom was a huge support in the forums for me.  We then had a few other ladies from our Victorian facebook groups that we joined up with to head out to dinner afterwards.

Needless to say it was a big night with many laughs and good company but it also meant a sore head the next morning and a group workout to go as well. Not a good combination.  Heading to the group workout, which was in Langley Park along the Swan River, Perth had turned on an amazing morning.  Not knowing what to expect other than a lot of people I commented to my wife Julie, that I had never seen so much lycra in one place.  The pleasing part of the morning workout was that there were people of all shapes and sizes and athletic ability there from all age brackets and each one of them was enjoying themselves and cheering everyone else along.  We all had a great morning, worked up a sweat, had Michelle walk up to both myself and Julie and pat us on the shoulder and tell us well done, as she did for so many others and after a hour in sun it was all over for the morning.  People all went off on their own separate ways, many of the women going to get hair and make up done for the night, Julie off to bed to catch up on some zzz's and I watched the footy on tv.

Finally 6pm rolled around and we decided we would head down early to the finale party as I had to be there by 7pm to meet with the production crew and other finalists.  We were told how the awards would take place and that we would have to walk solo down a catwalk.  Hang on no-one mentioned this in the emails!!!!  I was told I was going to the third person on stage and first male, of which there was 3 of us, but only 2 could make the night.  I was asked a number of times in the lead up if I was nervous and I honestly was not but prior to leaving my wife and her friend Jenny to go on stage I told her this was the most nervous I had ever felt in my entire life, even more than the day I got married.  Butterflies were doing cartwheels in my stomach and swimming in the couple of quick glasses of white I consumed prior to going on stage.  When we were finally all on stage there were the obligatory thank you messages from Michelle and a video on the big screen.

Then Michelle start with the awards for the night.  First up was Blogger Award.  We had a sneaking suspicion that I might have been nominated for this as Michelle had highlighted my blog on twitter and facebook a couple of times, but with so many good blogs out there you never think yours will be the one chosen.  As soon as she started to talk about the winner I knew that it was ME!!!!!  I looked over to my wife whom was standing at the front of the stage and gave her a smile and then after my name was read out I froze.  I didn't know what to do.  Michelle was standing there waiting for me and then said come here.  I just didn't know what I was to do which is very unusual for me.  I was fortunate enough to get s brief chance to chat with Michelle and in that time I was oblivious to what was happening around me.  I didn't even realise that they had announced the prizes I had won or anything.  After the rest of the awards were given out and the remaining finalists were given a medal for making the top 20 we all had an opportunity to get a photo with Michelle.  I also managed to get Julie on the stage so she could have a photo with Michelle, which will be great to have at home when we get them on Tuesday.

After leaving the stage there were a number of people that came to congratulate me and mention they had read this blog, which I found extremely humbling.  Why would anyone read this let alone award me a prize for it.  You will all have your own reasons for doing so and that is humbling to me as well.  If anythign I have done or achieved is in some way helping you with your journey I am just happy to be of assistance.  We all look to different people for different things and I know I have been lucky with my wife, family and now my new family, the 12 WBT family.  I mentioned to Michelle on stage that if it wasn't for all the support that is shared around this would not be the program it is.  She agreed with me 100% and thank you to those special people that have helped me through.  You know who you are.

Now the rest of you need to get blogging.  It could be you and this is the week to start with the weekly surprise.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Still Kicking Goals

People who regularly check this blog will be shocked today that this post will be short and sweet.  Just wanted to let everyone know that it has been another successful week on the scales, which have seen me lose a further 1.6kgs and bring my total so far to 27kgs in 14 weeks.  This is proof that anyone can do this if they put their mind to it and I am only 1.1kgs from being over the half way mark.
Big test this week to ensure I maintain my fitness and eat clean whilst in Perth.  Received notification today about Saturday night and what I need to do.  I am looking forward to getting up on stage and having my photo taken with Michelle Bridges.  Even if I am not one of the winners, I have achieved far more than I thought possible in the last 14 weeks and I am so proud of myself and my wife for her efforts also.
I have been told by friends and family that they want to see lots of photos of the weekend, so keep a look out both here and on facebook for the pictures of the workout and from the finale party. 

Monday, 3 September 2012

Just Keeps Getting Better

Well where do I start with this one.  I was going to post today about a new milestone I reached on the weekend, well a couple actually, and how far I have been able to push my mind and body, past anywhere I imagined in the last 13 weeks.  This weekend say me burn in excess of 4000 calories and yesterday I managed to ride my bike a staggering 80.5kms in 3 hours and 35 minutes.  That is something I thought impossible only 4 months ago.
I am sure this post would have been a great read, but to be honest I have lost my train of thought on it.  I received an email from the 12WBT admins today notifying me that I am in the top 20 finalists for Round 2 and if I would like I will be up on stage with the other finalists.  Would I like???  What sort of stupid question is that?  Try to keep me off there.  Ironically, I am a very competitive person by nature, must be the fact I am a Scorpio, but even if I don’t win anything on Saturday night, I already feel like a winner.

Why would I say that?  Well, at the start of this round I told my wife that I wanted to be on stage at finale.  This was not to be seen as a superstar or winner of sorts, but it gave me a goal or target which meant I was competing against others perse.  I had to make sure I did everything I could to lose as much weight as possible.  Whilst I don’t compare myself to others in relation to this, it was really a competition with myself.  I don’t worry about how fast you run your time trial, how long your wall sit is, how many kgs you have lost, I just need to make sure I have done all that I can.  Admittedly I have not done this on every occasion in the last round and I am still learning about the things that held me back and aiming to fix those.  But what I have learnt is far more valuable than any prize or recognition I may get.  I have learnt that I am more capable than I have EVER given myself credit for.  I have a very supportive wife and children that have been amazing through the last 13 weeks and I have made massive changes to the way I carry on my day to day life.  This is what I mean by already being a winner.

Obviously I would love to get on stage on Saturday night and be lucky enough to walk away with a prize, but being recognised for the effort I have put in, with my wife there to see it will be a huge lift and I will also get to meet Michelle I would think.  It would be nice to thank her personally for the changes she has aided me to make to my life.  She has been a huge help to thousands of people but not many of them get to say thanks in person.
Well I still have 5 sleeps and a weigh in prior to the big night.  That also means 5 training sessions so I can look my best for Michelle.  Not sure if the crowd will be ready for my before and after photos being put up on the big screen.  That will be more scary for them than me.