711682_10200285914338467_1321598244_n[1]It all started with a yamn. Yes a simple yamn. Walking home from work last Saturday I yawned, strectched & pulled a muscle in my torso. Doesn’t sound too serious but it hurt like hell. I couldn’t breathe, move or barely stand up. I hadn’t done my long run for the week & planned to do it bright & early the following morning. As my alarm went off on the Sunday I could barely get out of bed. I decided at that point that it was my body telling me to take some time off & enjoy this Christmas & take a break from running….what’s the worst that can happen in a week.

You may be surprised to know that I did take total time off from my fitness routine over the last week (not like me at all I know) to help me reflect & digest all the events that have occurred in my life in the past 8months, to stop & smell the roses to see just how I have come & to enjoy all the rewards of my efforts.

I am so glad that I did Chritsmas 2012 has been by far the best Christmas I can remember in a long time. What made it special I hear you ask? Well time spent well with my family…..no dramas, no fighting just people enjoying each others company & the kids going crazy of course.  Christmas 2012 for me was not about getting presents, the material aspect of things or the food. The one thing that I wanted more than anything was to give my kids a great xmas they would remember & to have a great time with Rob’s & my family…. & I did. I didn’t have any extended family around growing up so sitting back at Christmas lunch watching my kids enjoying the company of both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles & cousins I just couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.

In my last blog I mentioned that I have been mending a fractured relationship with my sister over the last year & she had not met my kids. Well I am happy to say that is no longer the case. We arranged to have a family catch up & give her a chance to meet my girls. It was such a great feeling to have my girls meet her, but even better was the fact that the day went without a hitch. Once again as I sat back I could not get the smile off my face.. the only people who had a smile as big as mine was my parents, glad & relieved that no longer was there this gaping divide that seperated our family. For the first time in 8 years all the members of our family were all together in one room talking & more importantly getting along….life is good, I love having my sister back after so many years.

On the food front I was extremely pleased mith myself. It was the first Christmas that I didn’t stuff myself stupid with food or alcohol. Don’t worry I did indulge & eat outside the my normal restrictions but the big difference I found was that I had ALOT more self control. I could try a few things without eating the whole platter & just stopped at one. The difference meant that I was able to run around & play with the kids not just sitting at the table because I felt self concoius or because I ate way too much & couldn’t move. I can finally feel my mindset is slowly shifting food is no longer used to comfort or abuse., for the first time my soul is full, I don’t need to fill it with food to try & fill that void…things are good.

Well the craziness of Christmas has come & gone, the New Year is just around the coner. It’s only natural to look at the past year reflect the good, the great, the bad, the hard & the ugly bits of the year …..To say it’s been a big year is an understatement. I started my list of personal & fitness achievements in 2012 as I am a very visual person I need to SEE exactly what I have done. To say I am proud is an understatement. I remember last New Years Eve I made a promise that 2012 would be the year of change for me & it has … 2013 is going to be the year of smashing my running goals, de-clutter my life, get organised & to find myself along the way.

To you all my exercise friends I would like to wish you all a safe & happy New Year. I look forward to strengthening the friendships I have made & look forward to all the new challenges that  2013 has in stall for me.

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IMG_20121126_121742I firstly apologise I am not a writer, I normally do not blog. Mostly I just pen my thoughts in a journal or vent of pieces of paper & then throw them out. Yesterday however was different I woke with a head full of thoughts busting to get out. What followed was not a lightbulb moment but a lightning bolt.
It started by me wanting to make a list of all the achievements since joining 12wbt in round 1 2012 heading into preperation for hopefully completing a full marathon in 2013. One of the many things on the list was that I went out my comfort zone & made new exercise friends. how these were the first friends I had made on my own merit for many years. My mind quickly started to think about all the friendships I have had over the course of my life & how these have contributed to my poor self-image & unhealthy relationship with food.
I decided that I would make a timeline of my life with details of my friends, my life & my weight gain. I grabbed a few pieces of paper & started to write. I plotted life out on paper my starting at 16 to date. The frightening thing was there was only a few friendships during that time that I made on purely my merit. All though my adult life I have the friends I have inherited friends from the other relationships in my life eg; Rob’s friends are my friends. The last time I remember a time when I had made a friend purely on my own would have been when I was 16 in year 10. This was a bit concerning at first so I decided to think long & hard why this was the case.
I remembered when I was 17yrs old & with my first boyfriend we moved in together in LiverpooI, I had just lost contact with all my old school friends , we had drifted apart due to different interests. He had all his friends around him & I knew no one I felt like an outsider & did not fit in. My self confidence dropped & my weight ballooned. This would be the first weight gain
7 yrs later I decided to end the relationship with this boyfriend I started to realise that all the friends I had were actually his & I assumed that they would be loyal & stick with him. This feeling sudden feeling of loneliness started a 2yr battle with panic attacks & suffered severe depression. At the time of the break up I was a fitness instructor slim & fit. The panic attacks & depression took its toll on me & I started to put on all the weight back on plus more. My confidence was at an alltime low & extremely lonely I contemplated suicide many times. It would have to be my lowest point & something I am not very proud of.
During this time I had a huge fall out with my sister. We have been close most of our adult lives but had a stupid argument that led to her not talking to me for 7yrs. It hurts to talk about this even now, as I write now it still hurts. It was a big blow to my confidence even me own sister doesn’t want anything to do with me. Something most people don’t know is my sister has not met my kids & they have never met their aunty. Over the years I missed my sister terribly, I was the only one in the family she didn’t restore contact with.
I made a few frienships over the years but they all ended or dissolved I started to think that it must be something people don’t like about me.Looking back I think those friendships I did maintain were very toxic. My thinking was that any friend is better than being lonely, but what I have since realised is the old adage quantity versus quality really applies here. I kept writing my events & I started to see a real pattern develop. My weight would fluctuate as the friendships came & went from my life. It’s a very sobering seeing the last 20yrs of your life infront of you, seeing yourself making the same mistakes over & over.
The real turning point in the timeline would be Fathers day 2012 when I did the Sids Stampede 10km at Windsor. I knew a few 12wbt people were going to be there up until this point I was very quiet on FB & forums not saying too much hiding in the background. I was so convinced people would not like me I purposely remained detached from the group. As I ran that morning I noticed Kristi Bryant running ahead & I started thinking should I say Hi or not. All my bad dialogue kept playing in my head “she won’t say hi back” “don’t bother people don’t like you” with my heart racing as I ran beside her I plucked up the courage & thought whats the worst thing that could happen? She’ll ignore you the world will keep spinning you’ll live. So I did…I am so very glad I did.
As you know Kristi is such a warm welcoming person I said we chatted for a few minutes & I continued my run. At the finish line I met Kristi, Karen & Alsion & found these ladies to be the nicest people I had met in many many years. I was taken by their friendly attitude towards me. All of you may think this is weird but for someone that has surrounded herself by toxic people meeting normal people was like opening a window & letting fresh air in a musty old room. This was a turning point for me.
Over the next few months my confidence slowly grew as I trained for my first half. I started being more bold on FB & forums chatting to people something the old me would not have done.
Next big stop on the timeline would be Blackmores Half Marathon day, I was so nervous doubting I could do it. In the early hours of the morning the friend I had been training with found out she was pregnant & had to pull out. This left me with no one to do the event with….I was overjoyed for her but was scared about doing it alone. I ignored those bad voices telling me I couldn’t & just kept on saying JFDI JFDI until the start gun when off.
As I crossed the finish line at the Opear house I cried & cried like a crazy person people asked If I was ok injured needed first aid, I told them I was happy. I was so proud of myself for completing it.
It gave me belief in myself & I started to think if I was wrong about my ability to do this what else could I be wrong about? I posted on FB my result & the response from 12wbt was overwlming. I made a promise to myself as I sat by the Harbour to get out of my comfort zone more often & try and make some new friendships. Life is short to be alone.
Lap the lake soon followed this is where I knew all the 12wbt would be there. I said you have to say hi…so as I saw Leanne, Kathy, Narelle, Leonie I went up & introduced myself, this is HUGE for me. Everyone was really lovely again, I was invited to brunch by Kathy also which just blew me away. That night I went to Zumba at Springwood also I hadn’t done a class in years. Leonie & Renee were so friendly, it felt great. I made the decision to get to know these ladies & see where it would take me. What did I have to lose?
Finale as we all agree was a huge turning point for so many. For me it made me realise so many things about myself. It was huge me & my sister had met a few times before this & we decided to do the workout together, I thank everyone for welcoming her that day. Spending time with everyone made me realise what healthy friendship should feel & look like. A simple act of sharing a room with Kathy was exactly what I needed, we chatted for hours I don’t think she realised just how much that really helped in assessing my friendships to that point.
The day after finale I was thinking about my friends & started to compare the quality of them & I soon realised that I had to say goodbye to all those friends that were toxic that I held on to for so many years. Friends that did not acknowledge any of my achievements gave me no support when I needed it. These friends were toxic & cutting them loose was a very liberating feeling I made a promise then to place time & effort into the people that were genuine…my exercise friends.
At every encounter I am just blown away at the generosity & kindness of all of you. Kathy, Kristi, Tersea, Kyleanne, Lennane, Leonie, Marion, Shirley, Sharon, Narrelle just to name a few I have lost 26kg, lost a lot of friends on the way but I have gained a real friendships taht will help me develop & grow as a person, helping me achieve my goal rather than hold me back.
Looking back at my timeline It hit me the core reason for all my confidence & weight issues were driven by a sense of abandonment. I simply need the company of people more than I realise. Over the years I have told myself that I don’t need anyone, I am a loner, I can’t make friends so many times I started to believe it. All I think I wanted is to belong. All the torment over the years is my inner struggle not being true to myself. I have found this has come at a cost to me. At 36yrs I find myself not know exactly who I am.
So yesterday was sobering realising I don’t know who I am & the person who I thought I was I am not.
One thing I do know is I am a person who needs others it’s ok to say I need friends. I need to feel I belong more than I realise & its ok to admit it.
So know starts the journey to find me again after 20yrs. Rob asked me a great question last night as we were discussing this, he said “so do you look back with regret on your life & weight gain” I was quick to yell “NO!!” Without the 26kg of weight gained I would not have joined 12wbt & not have made my exercise friends. It’s been a hard road about learning the value of friends but one I had to take.
I started to think “Who am I?” that started another list, I may not know at this point EXACTLY who I am but I am do know the following:
I am Strong
I am Determined
I am Kind
I am Competative (in a good way people…well most of the time)
I also realised during this process that I miss my career in fitness, this may be the only regret that I have that I let that opportunity go. I love the human body & how it works, love anatomy, health, nutrition & getting people healthy. I miss the satisfaction training people brought into my life. The positive in this is now I have more empathy to others having struggles with self image & weight more than I have had in the past.
I am not a religious person I believe that everything happens for a reason, the universe will not give you anything that you are unable to handle at any given time. I have had great desire to complete a full marathon, without knowing exactly who I am & with not addressing my reasons why I don’t believe in myself, there would be no possible way I could complete the 42.195km.
Moving forward into 2013 my goals are clear:
Discover eaxctly who I am
Do not let toxic people take control of me again. Rob put it so beautifully “if they don’t appreciate who you are you don’t deserve them & it’s their loss” – Attending the Emazon workshop will sort this out come March 2013.
Start traning for a full marathon
Life is too short, it’s time to create my own reality.
To all of my exercise friends allof you inspire me in a different way & I admire you all for different qualities, the gratitude I have for your love friendship & support is something I can not express.