When you don’t meet a challenge have you failed?

Recently I took part in an 80 day fitness challenge.

The idea was the exercise/move every day for 80 days in a row. Before you think that the idea is insane and rest days are important, one of the options was stretching, which worked well for ‘rest days’. It was also a fundraiser for a wonderful woman raising money for Cancer research.

I went into the challenge full of enthusiasm and had planned out a countdown of days. It looked intimidating, but totally achievable. I enjoyed moving every day, and at the beginning of the week I would set out my days and what movements I would be doing. I used YouTube a lot and am so addicted to “The Fitness Blender” and all their workouts. I got stuck into the kettlebells and the DOMS were feeling good. By about day 25 I started to feel stronger, and better. The online support group was great, and it was good to go in and celebrate movements.

There was an element of nutrition that came into it, such as introducing more fruit and veg, which I eat anyway, and trying to cut back on alchohol..bonboooong.. THIS one may have definitely was my demise with seeing complete improvement.

We planned a trip away for the weekend for my eldest, who turned 8. That’s when it all headed south (literally). I believe it was around day 52. We spent the weekend away and I didn’t make it a priority. That‘s basically what it comes down to. Poor planning meant that I neglected to do any movement, thus disqualifying me from the challenge.

Now..there are two ways this could go. I miss a couple of days, pick myself back up and keep going with moving every day (because I genuinely enjoyed the feeling!) Or…. drop it and forget all about it. Going back to old habits and neglecting what made me feel good. You can guess which one happened. I fell apart. All the planning, all the moving. It stopped. Do I regret it? I don’t regret it, because I feel it’s a genuine lesson. I think the lesson I needed is to keep small goals in mind. Not grand ones. Think small, achieve big. I was able to go for 52 moving EVERY day. That is HuGE. To me, that is an achievement I should celebrate. So.. I am celebrating the fact that I was able to meet part of a challenge, and whilst I didn’t complete it to get a ‘medal’ at the end, I know that I’ve learned an extremely important lesson to me.

Starting today, I am going to plan one week ahead. No further. I will write out my workout/moving plans and stick to them. I will celebrate small victories and although the bigger picture will always be hanging on the wall, I will choose to look at the snapshots that will create good habits, and allow me to continue on a journey of life, love, health, and everything in  between.

Do you have any favourite YouTube workouts? Do you have a secret to motivation? Is it motivation, or is it planning?

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Congratulations – Virtual Charity Run #1

Congratulations4After a week of voting – the winner has been decided. It was a close call and I thank everyone who voted and took the time out to share the poll. Moving forward I hope you join us on this journey and create a brilliant platform for fundraising, and getting out there and moving more!

Congratulations to Give and Take

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Please keep an eye out on this page for upcoming news regarding the run and how you can participate from anywhere in the world! The first event is estimated to be February 2015.

bcyM6MdcLNever fear Feel The Magic voters – stay tuned for exciting news coming soon.

Our Friendship Goes The (Running) Distance…

I have a little sister, her name is Lola.. Oh wait..hang on… wrong opening line!!

Actually, I have a little friend, her name is D….. and I lub her very much!

D and I have been friends for a little while now (thank you social media!) and we have a common interest (among many) of running. She introduced me to the wonderful, supportive, online group Operation Move and I haven’t looked back! Recently I flew up to see her for a visit, but also because she had convinced me to sign up for the Tour De Tambourine 10K run! Talk about crazy!!!

Flying to Queensland, I got off the plane and was immediately wrapped in a warm blanket of lov…..no, not love…it was humidity!! Oh My!!! That stuff is thick..and sticky!! Not used to that at all, but yay… Queensland.

Leading up to November, D and I had undertaken a 12 week training program with Operation Move, but had completed the training a few weeks before. Both of us were a little struggling with fitness, and decided we’d just spend this run as a fun run, not for any record times. This is why I think, and want to absolutely stress…. running with friends makes it fun!!!! I know that running can be a wonderful, individual time out from anybody (mostly the kids), pushing yourself to get your pace and fastest time, but running with a friend (my first time!) was soooo much fun!

tourdetamboWe picked up our race packets (so easy!) and I was so surprised that it had MY NAME on it!!! I was so bloody excited that I forgot I’d be pushing through 10k the next day!!!!

tambofriends

You know how running can be a mind game, and there is no “only” about it..if you do 1km, you do 1km, no matter how slow you go?! Well the lady who took our photos asked what distance we were doing and I made the mistake of saying “Only 10k”…both her and D corrected me, that it’s not just “only”….. remember that… no matter the distance, it counts! She also said to us “The Journey is Now” … that was really sweet. All the hard work we put in, and maybe the work we didn’t, now mattered! Not much else to do, we relaxed and drank coffee… a staple in our diet… and friendship!

We had a yummy Indian dinner, go check out the restaurant Masala Shanti if you’re ever there!

Race Day Ready …. lucky for the band aids in the cars first aid kit! I have a tricky little toe and without band aids I’m not sure I’d have a toe left …hah. tambostuffHow good does the Operation Move shirt look?? So incredibly honoured and proud to be able to wear it. This wonderful, online group of women prove every day that you can be all shapes, sizes, and ages to succeed, just by Moving!

tambocoffee

Mandatory Pre-Race Coffee It’s good for the lungs…seriously!

The event was well set up, and a great course. The only downfall, the lack of photographers on the course (We’d even discussed our photographic poses in the week leading up to the event!), and few marshals around the outer parts of the course (Oh, and the lack of bling *sob*) …Apart from that, it was a top notch event. Lots of hydration stations, although the water spraying we got at the end would have gone well throughout the course!!!
Since there were no photographers, it was lots of runfies and selfies!! So Much Fun! Going up

The hills...so many hills!!!

The hills…so many hills!!!

the hills killed, going down the hills..not so much! It was also nice to see other people out on the course from Running Mums Australia who were very supportive of their team mate who was walking/jogging with injury..I swear they clocked up heaps more mileage through doubling back!

The running community I’ve been able to witness really is a great one. As long as you’re out

ONE MORE KILOMETRE TO GO...we can do it (just don't stop on a hill - that was the advice of a pro running past us!)

ONE MORE KILOMETRE TO GO…we can do it (just don’t stop on a hill – that was the advice of a pro running past us!)

there – running, jogging, shuffling, or briskly walking…you’re a part of a super global community! There’s always someone there to encourage you to keep going, and someone letting you know you’re doing a great job, even if you’re internally struggling!

We finally got to the finish line and crossed over at the EXACT same time!!! *all of the smiles*

tambofinish

WE DID IT! …And all we got was a wrist band! I wore the ShIT outta that wrist band the next day! But seriously..we did it!!!

I’m so glad I got to go to QLD and run an event with a friend. No record for finishing. But it was all about the friendship, and going the distance.

I’m so glad that D is in my life. I’m so glad that she is my friend. Although we live in different states, our souls are still entwined.

The End.

Kara-Goucher

I apologise ….

I’ve had something on my mind for the past couple of days. Ever since I heard about the English cricketer who has gone home from the Ashes with stress-related illness. It can happen to anyone. And it does.  This is my post in response to that (which is actually pretty unrelated)…..

I think I need to make an apology. What for? You might ask… You see, at the beginning of this year I was traveling a very dark path. There were no streetlights, and there was no end. There was a street sign with the name of the street, but you would have to look really hard to read it because it was so dark. When I looked forward, there was no hope; There was no future. I was at a crossroads and they were marked Depression Rd and Anxiety Way.  The thing is…there were so many things happening in my life, in my head, and I had no way of filtering them, of sorting them out, and getting through them. From the outside looking in, it probably seemed as if I had it all. I had a husband, a home, 3 beautiful children, a stable income and a car. I was studying at uni and there was sunshine in the sky. That’s where my apology comes in. The sun wasn’t shining for me.  I locked myself away, and didn’t come out at all. I would drop the kids off to school without getting out of the car, so that I didn’t have to talk to anyone, or didn’t have to get out of my pajamas. I declined every invitation to get together and socialize because I didn’t know what to talk about, and I didn’t want to leak my sour mood onto anyone else. I didn’t want to get out of bed, and would quite often go straight back to bed as soon as I returned from school drop off. Only now, now that I am finally at the end of those streets and finally walking along It Gets Better Street do I realize, by doing this, I had the potential to jeopardize friendships I’d had for months/years. To the outsider who doesn’t know, my behavior could be perceived as uppity, and snobbish. As if I was acting like I was too good to talk to anyone. Or to good to go out and share a meal and have a drink.  The problem is. That’s not the truth. The truth is that when you are in the deepest parts of depression, nothing seems appealing. Hiding in my house all day. Looking things up on the internet. Getting lost in books. Watching tv without even seeing it. Those were all the things I was stuck in. It was like a loop and I couldn’t stop it from happening.  Just the thought of having to talk to people would cause a physical reaction and I’d cry. I couldn’t breathe at the thought someone would talk to me. I know that a lot of people suffer in silence. They don’t want to burden anyone with how they are feeling, and what they are going through. That’s exactly where I was.

If not for a couple of friends who gently persisted on being a friend and never giving up, I would still be in that pit of despair. They listened without judgement, they asked questions, and they were there, often just through a small phone screen. So……to all the people in my life, both on screen and off who felt the brunt of my struggles. I am sorry. I’m sorry if I bought you down. I’m sorry if I ignored you. I’m sorry if you thought I didn’t value our friendship, because I do. I do so very much.  There may be nothing that can turn things around, but just know… everyone has their journey they’re traveling. Sometimes it just takes one friend to ask the question and make sure everything is okay. Just be there. Be present. Know it’s not personal, it’s the person.

I also want those people who may be reading this and are still walking along those Roads and Paths marked with lights that have blown out… I am here for you, and you will get to the end of it. It might not happen tomorrow, it might. Either way, you are not alone. Never, ever, ever…. And remember YOU ARE IMPORTANT.. even if you don’t believe it.

 

IF you’d like to know more about how I was able to turn myself onto a better path please feel free to ask. I’m more than happy to share my story. It might just be similar to yours!  You can email me at sydneygen04@yahoo.com

I don’t think my journey is over yet, in fact I know it’s not, but I am glad to see a lot more streetlights burning bright. Let’s turn some on for you, too!

Emazoning it…. Learning to walk before I run

This week has been a topsy-turvy week in the SydneyGen world of things-that-happen…..

Our youngest has been hit with a horrible sickness, and her usual vibrant self is nowhere to be seen. It’s taken 2 doctors visits to finally diagnose tonsillitis, so with the proper medication, I’m hoping we all get some sleep relief soon! Speaking of sleep…. an interesting thing happened to me last night.

I attended a free (absolute BARGAIN) one and a half hour session with Emazon (Stand Your Ground) thanks to the wonderful girls at Designed 2 Fit gym.  If you haven’t heard of Emazon before, she’s been on The Biggest Loser, and Australia’s Next Top Model. From her website: Emazon travels the country as a keynote speaker, presenter and coach. STAND YOUR GROUND is the renowned mind body workshop that has toured the country for over 5 years. A provocative and unconventional insight into our health, weightloss, self image, personal authority and self destructive behaviours.

Anywho… for an hour I got to put on some very cool red wrist wraps, that immediately got me into the ‘zone’ and belt out some boxing and get my mind into some focus points.. basically, I got to forget about the world and my life for an hour and a half. Whilst I really enjoyed the boxing aspect of it, and the way that Emazon made you micro focus, I got the most of the session at the end. She ran us through a breathing technique and relaxation, which of course I loved, as it w photo IMG_5234_zpsb9ac3a6a.jpgas very yoga-esque. Then, she spoke to us about some ‘techy stuff’ to do with our bodies, brains and functioning. As she was speaking I was listening and nodding along. Everything she was saying I was thinking, “yes, yes, yes that’s me, yes” … I don’t get enough sleep. I don’t sleep at the optimum times, I don’t handle my body correctly, and I’ve definitely done too much too fast in everything, to be able to maintain a proper, consistent form of living and weight loss.  I asked a question about how “us mothers with young ones” are supposed to get the “eight hours” sleep, when it’s a fantasy. The answer wasn’t as complicated as I thought. If I can’t get the eight hours, then it’s more beneficial for me to be asleep between 10pm-1am in the ‘deepest’ part of sleep. That means I start a going-to-bed ritual a lot earlier than I usually do. I turn off technology, I calm my brain down, and make it a habit to sleep sooner, rather than later. Surely that can’t be too hard!!

At the moment, I’m really unhappy with how I feel I’ve let myself go. In the last year I’ve gained 10kgs and I can feel every little bit of it. Interestingly though, instead of thinking I have to go hell-for-leather and start immediately.. it was pointed out, that in order for our bodies to not rebel on us, or go into shock, we have to ease into things. So, with that in mind, I am not jumping straight onto the 1200 calorie eating plan again, I am not going to attempt to run 8kms again, instead… I’m going to slowly ease my calories down to 1200 over the next two weeks, and I’m going to start walking as much as I can. This is my ‘say it out loud’ and I’m hoping you’ll hold me accountable!

I was very lucky to have a wonderful stranger gift me a ‘group session’ that she had won in the lucky door prize. I thought I was going to cry!! It’s those small things that need to push me. Last night I saw some people I hadn’t seen in a very long time, it was like a mini 12wbt reunion. I was so happy seeing them, and realised that by isolating myself, and not seeing them I have not been ‘surrounding myself with things that help’ … These were girls I climbed the highest mountain with (literally) and they’re the type of people who will gently push and encourage and you listen, because they’re going through exactly the same thing you are! So in saying that. I am also going to work out how I can afford regular gym sessions, one-on-ones and group training.  I’d love to go to the Emazon convention in October, but some things are beyond reach… for now.

emazon

Middle and Center for the Team Photo!!

Err so what was this post all about then? Ummm.. it was just me wanting to express that A: I don’t like the way I am right now. B: I know I can change this. C: I will change myself slowly and surely. D: I recommend you look up Emazon and check her out. E: The girls at Designed 2 Fit are awesome. F: I will surround myself with people that help me be the best version I can be. G: Tonsillitis in littlies sucks H: I don’t need to get through the whole alphabet because this post is long enough.

Until next time….  Stand Proud and JUST Be the Best You Can Be!

Why I quit Facebook and Booze ….and other random stuff

I’m not a Quitter, I am GREAT! The Great Facebook and Booze Dry Spell of the year!

Hello, my name is SydneyGen and I haven’t had a drink in 12 days…. Wait.. wrong forum!

Actually, it’s true though!! I am still going strong in Dry July and have to say… not missing it at all too much!!  I thought it would be harder to put down the wine and vodka (mmm….vodka…….) and not have a drink, but it truly has been easier than I anything I’ve ever done realised. It’s also made me aware of the fact I think I was drinking ‘just because’ before, and that kinda takes the enjoyment away!  I’ve replaced wine with water (There’s something awfully backwards about that statement!!) and know the health benefits are rockin. So far I’ve started exercising more *slowly first, but more than before* and I’ve started watching the scales decline… (hoorah, finally.. although I had a sneaky suspicion this would occur once I stopped) I am glad my minds at a place now where I can do this. I have ‘tried’ in the past, but absolutely didn’t pass because I wasn’t strong enough to give in to temptation. The Aussie culture is definitely one laced with booze, but that’s not a bad thing (in my opinion), it’s the responsibility of booze that needs to remembered and reenforced.  I am about to go off on a tangent here, because that my dear friends, is my brain!!! Anywho… the other night I was flicking through the tv channels (which is rare in itself, I barely get time to sit down at night, let alone watch tv…whoooops, there I go again!) and I came across a show on the ABC called

Shitsville Express with Joe Hildebrand. Shitsville Express

If you haven’t heard of it, it’s this:  Each week, Joe Hildebrand rubs the noses of our four bright young things in Shitsville’s darkest and grubbiest corners, examining issues including the explosion of alcohol fuelled violence, the gambling epidemic, Australia’s substandard transport system, the current housing crisis, and the pros and cons of coal seam gas mining. And at the end of it, all four will put their ideas to a former Prime Minister who’s been to Shitsville and back many a time, and who knows the difficulty of making change happen. 

So the reason I’m bringing this up is because the episode I caught just happened to be on alcohol fueled violence. I sat in astonishment at the awful scenes of women barely wearing anything, stumbling around drunk. Men beating each other up, and blood pouring everywhere. A boy who was only 16, drunk, showing gang signs and looking for a fight. And I was sad. So, So, So, sad. What has happened with our youth? What has happened to parents instilling values, decorum? I remember being a fresh-faced 18 year old in Tassie, and stumbling through the streets of Hobart at 2-3-4am and walking between bars, but there was never violence involved. It was usually a bit of hippy love to a passer-by, a hug and a squeal to a stranger, or a friend you hadn’t seen in a while, but never violence. There were no brawls, no beatings, and certainly nobody dying from being king-hit as they walked out of bar. The issue bought up on the tv show is, “what can we do about this”, and I seriously don’t have the answer. My mother taught me to drink responsibly, and if I’m going to get shitty drunk, still be a lady about it. OH, and WHAT EVEN is this ‘pre-loading’ these people are doing at home. Drinking a bottle of alcohol and THEN going out? (I of course blame the cost of alcohol for this! We used to go out for $50 and be able to shout rounds to people and still be happily drunk by the end of the night!)  If you’re going to drink at home, make a night of it!!! If you’re out to pick up, WHY do you need to be drunk?? You most likely won’t remember it!! Ugh, I think I’ve ranted, for far too long!! (I do that, too!) So … anyway.. my advice to the youth and drinkers of today…. drink, have fun, be merry, and keep your mitts to yourself. You’re giving booze (for the rest of us responsible people) a bad name, and making it cost FAR TOO MUCH! I’m not sure what I’ll do when August 1st comes around. I don’t even think I’ll notice it. I have 2 assessments due that time anyway, so booze will be the last thing on my mind!! We’ll just wait and see.

Right, now that I’m off that soapbox I’ll just briefly go into my hiatus from Facebook!

Two uni assessments due, lots of reading to do,  housework to be done, and what do I find myself doing? Glued to my Facebook feed. Clicking likes to win prizes I’ll NEVER win, playing awesome stupid addictive games, and being sucked in to a time vortex. Something had to be done, so I cut it. Cut it out. I have enjoyed Facebook for many benefits, but mostly for being able to share one image, one thought, a useless status update with many people. It has connected me with people from my past, and present, and has allowed me to stay in touch with friends who live far away. BUT… it’s a time waster. It really is. You think you can just check one thing, and the next thing you know it’s school pick up time, the tea is cold, and you’re rushing to get things done and be places on time. Since I’ deactivated my account I’ve managed to get a lot done. Uni is caught up, and I feel good. I do miss it, but not in a life is so much worse now I’m not on it way. The one thing I have realised is the amount of businesses, and bands, and people in general, who are using Facebook as their platform for promotion! I’m still on Twitter (and Instagram – I need SOMEWHERE to picspam my kids!), but Facebook is ‘The way’ to do business nowadays I guess? I even hear on the radio, ‘check us out on Facebook’ and I cringe and think UGH, why can’t they just have a good website that can be browsed and updated. What has the Zuckerburger done to us??? What’s next?? Who knows…. but yeah… a Facebook break has been good. I have a mobile phone, and anyone who’s important will know the number, so who needs an FB message to let me know if somethings happening, or someone’s pregnant!! I’ve disconnected, to reconnect!

So WOW… this post was epic and also about not much, basically, a common theme on this blog!! I hope you’re all well. I have almost survived School Holidays – which deserves it’s own blog post – maybe next time I have a spare five minutes!!

Take Care of Yourself.  Shine & Sparkle (and drink responsibly, and with class *in a glass)

Weighing in and running for it

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Things are going well in discovery land, every day is a new day and I need to keep pushing through temptations and trying to make the right choices.

No, I don’t need that cookie at Mrs Fields’, even if it’s called a “nibbler”, how harmful could it be?? I didn’t choose to find out! I was standing longingly at the counter having an internal debate about it being ‘okay’ if I just got one with a coffee. Lucky for me, I’d just been in a few stores and tried on some clothes, fitting into mediums and size 12 dresses!!!! This gave me enough confirmation to walk away, so I did. My hips thank me for it, but even better, the scales today reflected the decision.

Today I jumped on the scales and it’s official! 71.0kgs! (156.2lbs) which makes it an 18kilo loss so far!! My original goal for 12 months was 15-20 kilos, so we’re well on the way to surpassing goals! I also measured myself from the end of the last round and I’ve lost 8cms, mostly off the hips (that’s a very good thing!!!) I started this journey back in September and it has well and truly changed my life and who I am.

I’m hoping, for the sake of myself, that it hasn’t changed me too much. I’ve noticed that I’m always thinking about nutrition and exercise, but I have so many interests that I’ve been losing focus. For example, I haven’t done any creative writing in over a month. This makes me sad. When you’re living a ‘healthy’ lifestyle, or you’re trying to lose weight, you tend to concentrate and start to prioritize in regards to how to go about it. Unfortunately, I’ve neglected to prioritize the other things I love to do too. I must make a conscious effort to do this from now on.

I’ve been doing my dedication run this week and managed to run out another 19kms since my last blog post. I’ve only got 14 to go to have achieved the 45kms nominated. I have honestly found that having to be accountable has pushed me that little bit further, so to everyone that ‘liked’ and ‘commented’ to get me there, I thank you! The kms were for me, but they were also for you! I have a training schedule for a half marathon in 10 weeks that I’m trying to stick to. If I can stick to it, I’ll participate in the Canberra half marathon in April. I’m going to reassess my progress in about 4 weeks and see whether I should enter the 10km or go for broke! Wish me luck!

I’ve been contemplating the next step in my weight loss journey. Last night I was on the bed and pushing through the doona of fat on my belly and contracting my muscles. I was super excited that I could actually feeling my abs contracting every time I squeezed! Don’t get me wrong or let me mislead you, there is still a big belly in the way, and a layer of fat keeping everything nice and snuggly, but the fact that I could feel ‘something’ under there made me focused and determined to not stray from goals.

I have to say, I am determined and I am focused, but I am also very easily understanding how a person can to a point and think that “Oh well, I’ve already lost a bunch of weight, I can give myself a leeway every now and then.” For that I give myself a huge mental and physical slap and remember what it’s taken me to get here. When ‘they’ say blood, sweat and tears, ‘they’ weren’t lying! I’ve been on this journey for six months now and I can’t believe the changes taking place. I just have to remember that. If you have a day where you may stray, pick back up and move along. Just don’t make every day a stray day!

I have to sign up for the next round of the 12WBT and am still contemplating what I’m going to do. I am 2kgs away from my original 69kg goal, but to be in the ‘healthy’ BMI I think I need to be 65ish. I was thinking of doing the Lean and Fit program. I want to keep running, it’s definitely a mind clearer and sense of achievement every time I complete a run, but I also want to start getting stronger. I have limited upper body strength and my core needs more work! If you’ve done these rounds, or have experience with these type of programs I’d love to hear from you. I definitely need to work on the preggy belly and get those abs out and proud!!!

If you’ve never run before and you’d like to give it a try, I’d highly recommend the C25K program, that’s Couch to 5 km.  It will set you up to be running in no time! It starts out nice and easy and very achievable. If you’re an iPhone app freak, you can also download the app from iTunes to help you along! I’d love to hear if you’ve started this, how you’re going with it and what you’re getting out of it, if you start it or have done it!

For everyone doing pre-season of 12WBT let me know how you’re going with it! I’m excited to hear the new journeys and the return journeys!

Until next time! Be Safe and Stay Pretty everyone! Thanks for reading!