Tuesday, December 31, 2013

And another year ends

I like to reflect on my year and make goals for the next one.   17 years ago I went through a few very tough years with massive changes, broken hearts, changes of jobs, guys, homes, cities and eventually I settled and that rough and crazy season ended.
I enjoyed the respite of a decade or so and then 5 years ago the sh*t hit the fan again and my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 60 in the December.  We were NOT that family, we were supposed to be invincible.  6 months later after Mom enduring grueling chemo my Dad has a heart attack, triple bypass and a stroke a month after his 60th birthday.  My family and life as I knew it was forever changed. Is forever changed.   Since then life has thrown me with one challenge after another and I no longer start the year with the innocent and expectant hope of a better year, an easier one.  I man up and I know life will kick me in the teeth challenge me and I will continue to go through hard times.    

You know what, its OK.  God never promised an easy life.  His power is made perfect in my weakness and amidst the tough times are the tender times, the fun times and the moments of pure happiness.  Its the mixed bag called life and I just have to live it to the max knowing He will see me through anything.  Do I hope and pray for safety and protection for my family and I, for calm times, for a respite, for healing for my dystonia, for healing for a broken marriage (not mine) and for a season in my life where I don't have to fight so damn hard and be so damn brave.  Absolutely. 

My goals were big this year.  Surviving my brain op did feel like the proverbial 2nd chance even though the mortality figure was not high.  Healing and getting stronger and re appreciating my health and my body made me live my life to the absolute fullest in 2013.  My first run, getting my bike and discovering what fun it is to cycle.  Working hard at my swimming.  Being fitter and more toned at 42 than I have ever been, its a good feeling.  Finishing that triathlon was probably the biggest high of 2013 and then getting my 7 out of 8 distinctions for my UNISA studies.  I worked damn hard this year, every day, at me desk, determined to actually learn and plan for my future career which some scoff at given my age.  Although I will only die in my late eighties if I die tomorrow I have no regrets.  I have given this year horns, I have pushed myself beyond all limits and finishing off with this crazy mountain bike camp was a good metaphor for 2013. 

And next year?  Tomorrow in fact.  Study hard (my text books and work load looks so kak scary!) and do my best.   Do 3 triathlons for the year.   Do a few 10km road races and some trail races for fun.  (Original goal of half marathon scrapped, just don't love running enough!)  Swim a few mile open water swims.  And the mountain biking?  Not sure about that one.  I crapped myself most of the time on this cycle camp.  I don't have the skills and I might just be too old with too much to lose for such an extreme sport.  I am thinking trail cycling...jeep tracks, gentle hills, vineyards and single track minus the boulders and deep grooves.  I will do a skill clinic which I should have actually done before this camp and see. All what I know is I feel extremely blessed to have my precious family, my team and what ever I do in 2014 I will do with all I have within me and then some.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The F-word

In past blogger days when I was a proper blogger I dared to mention the F word sometimes.  Yes, I do mean FAT.  It caused a huge wave and I won't ever forget the infamous blog post about the amount of fat people at Disney and how pissed off some Americans got with me as apparently they were fat because they were poor not because they had to eat those huge drumsticks, extra large fries and bottomless sodas.  The teensy amount of skepticism I have with this is how the fek do they afford to go to Disney then but anyway, moving swiftly on.

People think that only fat people get judged by their size.  That first impressions of them imply that they are lazy and undisciplined or funny or loud or any of the other generalizations people attach.  Slim people, labeled too.  The amount of people who have later become my friends and told me when they first met me they immediately labeled me as skinny model bitch is many.  From being 19 and meeting the other soccer wives and girlfriends to people I meet now.  Slender = vain, bitchy, snobby, mean, uptight, I could go on.  Next week when I meet a group of 20 women for the first time I hope because its a cycle camp and others who love exercise, I wont have to fight that unfair label.   We all judge, it sucks, but we just do.

But my point is I know people of all shapes and sizes and love them for who they are in my life.  Most are happy with their bodies, the plus side of being our age I guess.  If you are happy, your lover is happy, you feel healthy, then we all good.  For those of you who are not happy with your body though you do need to do something about it.  For those whose health is compromised or quality of life, change is needed and the symbolic replacing of a new calender with 2014 on the cover is a good place to start.  (not now obviously, Christmas=chomping!) 

People say I am lucky to be thin.  This is partially true.  Genetically we are a slim family.  If you look at pics of Rebeka my 11 year old and my nephew Adam who is 9 you will probably want to send food parcels or have me and Tertia arrested.  My other nephew Zack is fairly skinny too.  But I am also very deliberate in how and what I eat and exercise.  The way to lose weight is not the million of fad diets out there.  Its the same basic principles that we actually know and are sustainable so you can have a normal life and maintain them.

So here is my 5 cents worth for long term weight loss and good health.
1.  You DO have to exercise.  Sorry but its true and the same mags who tell you that you can have five fabulous shags a week with your husband forever are the ones who tell you no exercise is required and you can still lose weight.  The trick is finding something YOU enjoy and finding someone to do it with you to keep you accountable.  Something that elevates your heartrate and makes you sweat.  Don't sweat huh?  That is what I thought before this year but it turns out I was not pushing my body past a certain point.  If you really can't do sweaty then get in the pool.  You think everyone is looking at you in your costume?   They not and if they are its for 5 seconds so get over yourself and get in.  Start with a few lengths and build up.  I could do 10 max.  Now I do 64 continuously which is a mile or 1.6km.  No swim?  Start off with walking and increase your speed and distance.  Zumba?  Crossfit? Cycling?  Spinning? Netball?  We are blessed to be in an age where the choices are vast.  Yoga and pilates great for toning but you won't lose weight, you have to get your heart rate moving.
2. Don't eat sh*t when you hungry.  I eat crap too.  I am in no way a food nazi, especially when I am PMS.  What I never do though is eat rubbish when I am hungry.  I eat proper food first and THEN I eat the chocolate or chips or biscuits or whatever.  It means my blood sugar doesn't spike plus I eat less of the junk.
3. Eat smaller portions, especially of the fattening stuff.  And you don't have to cut out carbs but obviously going for low GI bread vs white bread is a better option.  Remember you are now exercising so you will burn it off!   Eat a balanced diet, fruit, veg, protein, carbs and even some fat too.  Empty kilojoules are for occasional days, not daily.
4.  Make wise food choices.   Life doesn't have to be a jam doughnut or a celery stick with cottage cheese.  In between lie an array of foods available.  Thick butter on your bread, creamy sauces on your steak, fries instead of new potatoes, fizzy drinks.  Start with those simple ones to cut out instead of radically cutting out everything.  Baby steps.
5.  Drinking.  You have to drink water, you just do so stop saying you hate water and pretending the 4 cups of coffee and glasses of juice are enough.  Never go anywhere without your water bottle.  Driving somewhere means you will have drunk 500ml without even thinking about it.  Yes you will wee alot but it will be pale and non stinky wee.  Hydrate.  And booze...totally empty kilojoules.  Have a glass of wine but not 4. Cocktails and spirits and beers, moderation and not every day.  You will never be slim and its just not good for you.  Fizzy drinks are an obvious evil.  Mix clear juice like apple or berry with half soda water, yum.
6.  Your kids  Do not obsessively talk about diets, weight, food, fat in front of your kids.  Lead by example and teach them to respect and love their bodies.  If your child is overweight, do something about it.  Now.  It if means you all have to eat a certain way then do it.   Get them off the i-pad and get them moving.  Fat kids are often teased and ridiculed and its just not fair.  You can subtly address the problem without making them hyper aware.
7.  Love your body.  Our bodies are miraculous, we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  You have to live in it all your days and you want many days so be kind to it and keep it healthy.  Many have no choice over their health and would do anything to preserve their life so be deliberate in looking after your body.
8.  Set realistic goals   How much do you want to lose?  What is YOUR ideal weight?  Can you sustain it and lead a normal life?   Remember its not just about how you look but your health too.
9.  Eat the piece of cake  If you at a party or babyshower or whatever you CAN eat a slice of cake.  If you don't you will go home and eat something in secret anyway so eat the cake.  Food is a huge part of our social world and you are part of that world.  I know moderation is such an over used word but if you can find that balance for everything in your life it will mean a happier you.
10.  Psyche yourself out   Why do you over eat?   Dig a little deeper or find someone who is a professional to help you.  We have so many psychological associations with food and our bodies and if I look at how we immediately give our child a food treat if they bored/hurt themselves/behave etc I see how we create and exacerbate the problem from early on.  Decide what you want and if you want it badly enough and you are half way there already.
11.  Accept my apology   I know this is a sensitive issue and I would never want to hurt anyone's feelings so if I have in this post then please forgive me.  I just want people to live their best lives and be healthy and like themselves and if you are overweight and this is you, then ignore points 1 to 10.  If however you are overweight and unhappy and desperate to change then 1-10 is for you.  If you want to, you can.  Easy, no.  Possible, absolutely.  Good luck!