About Me

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London, United Kingdom
This is the journey of an average girl trying to lose weight and embarking on a new adventure. Everything you read and see posted from me is real. I wear my heart on my sleeve and make mistakes just like everyone! Everything on this page is just my opinion I do not claim to be an expert I am just giving my account of how I feel!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

CrossFit - Week of the Box - April 2012

I DID IT!!!!!!



I did what, you ask? I cant keep it a secret till later in the Blog! Finally after 6 sessions at CrossFit I finally managed to jump on the wooden 20" box. To loads of people this is NOTHING but to me it is EVERYTHING. It is an example of an obstacle I have managed to overcome. Since the first CrossFit session I have looked and attempted to jump on the box but a lack of fitness and sheer fear I just could not do it.......but now I have and everything seems that little bit different. I now feel like I have moved up a step in my journey. When you face a fear (small or large) and you overcome it the sense of pride is enormous, you gain a little bit more freedom towards a new life! 

I am now on a high from just jumping a box!




Wednesday 25th April

Really starting to enjoy the classes now in a more "come on" kind of way whereas before it was more "oh god". Today was the first time I felt a bit more fitter, I did a burpee and rather than looking an OAP trying to break dance I did something that resembled a burpee (I think after now jumping the box I might start working on completing an amazing looking burpee!). Also really getting to know the guys and gals and enjoying meeting new members and telling them its all ok. Completely forgot to jot down my WOD for today but one thing I do distinctly remember is that one of the exercises was to pull your lower body up the rope. So we grabbed the rope as high up as possible (so you are on tip toes) and then bring your knees up to your chest! Yes you read right ROPE - just like back in school - I could not do it back then and I could not do it tonight, instead to build up my abs and strength Andy gave me all alternative exercise of laying on the floor holding the rack above my head and then bringing my knees into my chest, can I just tell you that my abs ached for 3 days and hurt every time I tried to laugh or cough! Another challenge for later - climb the rope!


Saturday 28th April  

Saturday is my favourite class for a number of reasons: firstly because it is my ideal time to exercise 11am (its changing to 9am as of Monday!), secondly, it really sets me up for the day and lastly everyone is always in a great mood and ready for the workout! Today's workout started a little confusing as we were split into two teams and had the attached (see pic) tasks to complete as a team, the confusing thing was that we had to work out what each person was going to do, it took us a while! lol I opted to row and do the box jumps (although I did do 20 burpees too). Whilst the rest of the guys spilt the rest of the exercises between them. There were only 4 of us so to our delight Andy said he would join our team (you know you have a chance when the head coach joins your team). We pushed hard and by the time I had rowed 1000m I was already knackered somehow though I always seem to find the energy to move on when there are others involved as you never want to be the one to let the team down and guess what....our team won! Not used to being on winning teams but I liked it a lot! So in the end I rowed 2000m, did 30 box jumps (step ups) and 20 burpees all in 16 minutes!

I walked out with a VERY red face and sat at the traffic lights on the way home wondering if the person in the car next to me as just worked as hard! I could not wait to get home and tell Matt that I had finally jumped the "BOX" Matt was so pleased for me and got the tape measure out to show my brother exactly how high that is (thanks Matt). Next week I think I may try TWO box jumps in a row!!

Check me out!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

WEIGHT LOSS EXPECTATIONS

Are you like me that when you have exercised at least 3 times in one week that you feel like you should of dropped a dress size already? Do you feel that because you got off your butt and walked around the park for 20 minutes that you deserve to have that beautiful cream cake which was sitting in the bakers window? That’s ok if you are already at your goal or maintaining your weight, as I do believe you can have whatever you like in moderation, but if you have 4+ stone to lose like me I don’t think this way of thinking is quite right!

I do seriously have high expectations when it comes to weight loss or is it that I am really impatient? So far in the last few weeks I have attended 4 CrossFit classes, walked Virginia Water lake which is 4.7 miles, been swimming 5 times for 20 mins at a time so I think (in my pea sized warped brain) it is reasonable that when I put on my work trousers this week they should be starting to feel a little looser? What if I tell you that my trousers are not looser yet? Would you be secretly disappointed like me? I think sometimes I forget how long it took for the weight to go on yet I expect it to come off the second I start to exercise. The danger with expectations is that it has a direct link with your motivation. There are a lot of people out there struggling with their weight that start exercise plans do a couple of weeks expect to drop loads of pounds and inches and when they don’t, they give up! I have done this many times in the past, 60 minutes of legs, bums and tums and I think I have the god given right to walk out of that class with abs like J-Lo and legs like Cindy Crawford. Because I struggle with being overweight my effort and emotional stress level to commit to an exercise or class is probably much higher than someone of normal weight who regularly attends the gym therefore in my mind I feel like I deserve a bigger pat on the back when I have done it – the problem is that no one else cares and that also it is a misconception that just because someone weighs less than you that they don’t have trouble getting themselves to the gym, as we know for most of us the battle is in the mind not the body!
 
I often ask myself what it is I actually want to look like when I get to my goal?  Well in my dreams it is Exhibit A  but realistically it is Exhibit B (what I was before), in my opinion I could still do with a bit of shaving off here and there in that picture but basically I remember I was pretty happy with that weight and wearing a UK size 12-14. I do like having curves and being womanly but I do 100% admire Exhibit A who is a fitness model in the US, she used to weigh 200lbs and lost 80lbs to look like that, she is also a mother of 2, so although I see her body as a dream body who said it was not achievable?

Exhibit A

Exhibit B


Fashion has always been an interest of mine, I love watching the catwalk shows and reading Vogue (when I can afford it or someone leaves it behind on a train) I admire those who can put an outfit together effortlessly, one of my best friends always looks amazing even going to Tesco’s (Char – I love ya) and being slim helps! Retailers have started cottoning onto the larger ladies now and supplying nicer clothes which is about time as overweight people do have money to spend too you know, maybe retailers thought we spent it all on cakes and burgers! Even so, personally I prefer to reduce my size for a healthy future.

Do you ever hear people say “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”? I do a lot and would like to explore this a bit more. Firstly I would have to disagree with the taste bit – the person who wrote that had obviously not tasted a burger from The Gourmet Kitchen with chunky chips or eaten freshly made bread with melted Brie on (dare I say a Sausage and Egg McMuffin from McDonald's) note that it was quoted recently by a stick thin model who’s whole career depends on it!  I am not totally sure what being skinny feels like, the closest I got to skinny was about age 8 where I could breath in really tightly and you could see my ribs – does that count? 

I prefer to ask myself the question “How would I like to feel when I reach my goal?” maybe by asking this question it can help me really capture and visualise the end result.  I would like to feel FREEDOM, freedom to go into my wardrobe and only not wear something because I was not feeling that colour that day rather than I can’t get the skirt over my shins let along my thighs! I would like to put on a nice pencil skirt and be able to move it all the way around my waist fully zipped! I would like to be able to decline an invitation to an event on the grounds of being double booked rather than because I have no idea what to wear or what out of all my plus sized clothes would be suitable – you can only jazz up a pair of black trousers so many times with scarves, shoes and handbags. I would like to wear an outfit without the need to hide behind a pillow when I sit down or hold a jacket in front of me when I go out. Photographed, I would like to be able to have a photo taken of me without taking 30 minutes beforehand of getting into the Liz Hurley foot forward pose and asking the photographer to stand up on a table or step ladder to take the picture from above (you don’t get a double chin then). I have missed out of loads of great photographs of me and my family due to feeling embarrassed about being heavier, when Josh grows up he will look back and think his dad gave birth to him (can u imagine?).


When you embark on a weight loss journey no-one ever tells you that potentially it could take you a year or so depending on how much you have to lose. Can you imagine joining Weight Watchers and their signs said "Lose weight in one Year" "Drop 80lbs in 600 days" it just does not look as good as "Lose 14lbs in 14 days" and what happens when you don't lose the 14lbs in 14 days? You either feel cheated and give up because you spent the last two weeks miserable or you feel like a failure and then switch to some other faddy diet. If we were to give ourselves more realistic mini goals like lose 5lbs in 14 days not only would we be more likely to achieve it but can you imagine the boost you would feel when you did. The fact that you said something and followed through (not literally)!

Losing weight is a commitment. It does not matter if you have ups and downs as we are all human and make mistakes. I reckon this journey for me will continue for the next year and then the next journey of maintaining my weight will continue forever after that. If I can manage my own expectations and are realistic with myself on how long it will take me to lose this weight then maybe that will stop me giving up. I find the more pressure I put on myself and the less time I give myself to lose weight the higher the chance I fail.

I feel you have to look at your history of weight loss and analyse why it did not work, for me its because I lose the weight quickly through fad diets and then think "I am ok now, I can eat bad again" for it to all pile back on and some. Maybe for some it is the fact that they really did not try hard enough and gave up because they gave themselves unrealistic goals.

So adding to what I have previously said in "Motivation" blog my formula is now growing:

Exercise/sport u like doing +
Music +
Baby Steps +
A realistic timeline =

Baggy Trousers!



Monday, 23 April 2012

CROSSFIT - 18th & 21st April 2012

CrossFit was brilliant this week, can’t remember if I told you all but the plan for me is to start going twice a week. A few people have asked me how much CrossFit is as some of the Box’s websites don’t share the prices. Now if I told you that it is less than the price of 1-2 personal training sessions would you believe me?  The average price (according to my research) of a personal trainer is between £25-£45 per hour session and what is it that you gain from seeing a personal trainer? In my experience it is motivation and the ability to carry out your exercises correctly. For me CrossFit ticks these boxes plus more as the session is not as long as an hour yet you work just as hard and I get all this for £45 a MONTH!!!! That works out to £5.62 a session, there are higher tariffs if you would like to go more often but twice a week is good for me! You cannot put a price of motivation!

Wednesday 18th April 2012


So Wednesday 18th arrives and again I woke to a gloomy rainy day which makes me feel depressed but the sounds of “Usher” on the radio boosts my mood a little. As the evening draws I must have told at least 30 people that I was “going to CrossFit tonight” I think I do that sometimes to talk myself into going, my stupid brain thinks that if everyone knows I am going and then I don’t go all those people are going to be disappointed in me (I know I am crazy)! It works though, I drive home a quick kiss to Matt and Josh, slip into my gym gear and I am off so fast like someone had just announced a 90% off sale at Gucci!

When I arrive I spy loads of new faces well new to me, they have probably been going since the box opened. It was almost like the first time I attended, you know that uncomfortable feeling of isolation you get when you can’t recognise anyone, it did not last long a few of the regular smile and say ”hi”. I have to say that it really is such a friendly place and it’s not fake either people are generally pleased to see you (they don’t know me well enough yet ha ha). It was a large group, 19 in total, the largest yet. Andy organises us into partners and the WOD is to do as many reps as you can on 5 different exercises/equipment (see pic for example). I was partnered up with a great girl who has bags of enthusiasm and character, I decided to go first to get it “over and done with” and even started on burpees which I hate with a vengeance! After the first minute Andy called to change equipment and the next obstacle was the rower. I used to hate the rower but only because my face would go as red as beetroot after a min, it always use to hurt my back but I believe that was down to me having bad posture (you don’t get a chance to slouch at this class!). Following the rower came the box, I still have not jumped the box but Andy thought it may have something to do with my flexibility so he scaled the exercise down so I stepped up rather than jumped, that way the muscle group you need to jump could be worked on. The push press next followed by the Kettle Bell swing. In total I did 137 reps of everything in 15 minutes – that’s average of 9 reps a minute – sounds ok but I think I was the lowest in the class, now that could put some people off but not me I straight away want to exceed that by at least 30 next time we repeat it. This workout was a benchmark workout so it will be repeated.

Thursday morning arrived and to be honest I was not aching as much as before, I actually felt cheated as previously I could not walk up or down stairs after the sessions. I spoke to soon though by about 6pm Thursday night my legs were stiffer than a stiff person from Stiffsville! Friday came and I moved like an OAP at a disco. I was looking forward to Saturday though as my cousins girlfriend was joining me at CrossFit for the taster session, this is a session they run for anyone who would like to try CrossFit without committing “Try before you buy”. She like me is not shy of a bit of hard work.

Saturday 21st April 2012

When I arose from my pitt the sun was shining! I was waiting for the text from my cousin to say “I can’t make it” but instead I received “on my way” wooo hooo, it is such a nice feeling having someone close to join me on this fitness journey. Matt wishes us luck as we travel to the box, we arrive and immediately bump into Andy and his co-owner Shaun, Andy welcomed my cousin and asked me to give her a little show around. There were two other newbies joining the taster session so she was not alone. As I watched my cousin get put through her paces I wondered whether she was looking at me with “I hate you” eyes or if she was just focusing.

Luckily it was the latter, SHE LOVED IT and is coming back next Saturday for her induction session. I of course are very happy about this as I now have a fitness pal, we already talked about impressing our men with the CrossFit jargon but even coming up with new ones so we can talk in code i.e. HIF (he is fit) or WGB (wow great bum) …. well I am only human!

My session starts with a warm up jog outside the box, I really appreciated one of the guys jogging slow so I was not the last one (unless he was knackered like me). We were put into teams and told to complete the exercises lined up in a long row. The order was (as in pic) air squats (where basically you perform a squat but your bum has to touch the ball) then more air squats, row machine, dead lift, burpees (my favorite – NOT) floor to overhead (lifting a weight to the floor then above your head) and to finish the farmers walk (you carry two kettle bells whilst walking a distance). The amount of time we spent on each exercise depended on the amount of time your team member took on the first exercise. For example, if someone went off and did the farmers walk when he/she came back we moved to the next exercise until we had overall as a team completed 15 minutes on the rower! It was a tough one and when I looked around the room I did not see anyone without a red face or sweat running from them. The thing I am learning more and more about CrossFit is that it is hard for everyone, even the fittest people are challenged (that makes them gods or superhuman in my eyes). Again the challenge was scaled for me i.e. less weight or reps, as Andy will tell you, it is better for me to complete the challenge than to stop half way because of my lack of fitness!

The buzz that you get after CrossFit is amazing, I it is because I am pushing myself hard that my endorphins are so proud of me they paid back by giving me a rush of happiness. The buzz lasted for hours, that afternoon I did 4 loads of washing, organised the garage so Matt can now find all his tools (ok that was well planned as I have jobs lined up for him), went to the supermarket and cooked lunch all this by 2pm. Can’t be bad hey?

Thursday, 19 April 2012

MY STATISTICS

Here is where I am going to upload my stats once a month to track my progress.

Height: 5ft 7.5 inches
Starting Weight: 19.04.12: 16 stones 3lbs (228.2 lb)

All measurements are in cm.


Aug 2012 - Started Cambridge Diet plan and the consultants scales weighed me in at 16st 8lbs wheras my scales still say 16.1stone! So I am sticking with my scales! lol. Weight loss in first week was 6lbs so I am now down to 15st 9lbs.
May 2012 - Overall I am down 5 cm in the last month but I wont lie I am a little dissapointed with the stats as I feel my trousers are looser so its coming off elsewhere but not where I have measured. My body shape is changing which is why I have gained cm in some areas. Bit confused about my neck increasing by 2cm as I only have two chins now! lol Weight: 16st (225lb) 3lbs off.

On a positive note though I am still reducing in size overall so I must stay focused, paitent and motivated. Weight: 16st 3lbs (228.2lb)

Apr 2012 - Down 12.5cm all over since Oct 2011 which is better than nothing - lets hope CrossFit kicks butt! I am very pleased about 5cm around my waist, that means my hourglass figure is slowly coming back! Weight: 16st 3lbs (228.2lb)

Oct 2011 - see below.

DateOct-11Apr-12May-12
Overall since oct
Neck3534361
Arm38.53837-1.5
Thigh68.565.563-5.5
Calve4747.546-1
Waist999494-5
Hips1151151172
Widest Part125.5125.5123-1.5
Bust117113.5112-5
Total645.5633628
-12.5-5-17.5

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Bad Days, Depression and Panic Attacks

This post may be a little "deep" but I feel it needs sharing!

I don't need sympathy, its understanding I need!

YES I do have bad days in fact I am having one today so I thought I best write this whilst I am feeling down then I can explain the feelings clearly. I woke up this morning feeling very tired and down,  I could hear the rain outside so I knew I would feel even more down when I looked out at the grey sky. There are rarely any days when rain gives me any comfort, the only times I have enjoyed the rain are when things are extra happy at home, Matt and I are watching a film snuggled up on the sofa whilst the rain hits the window, or when I have been in a tropical country sunbathing and the welcoming drops of a light shower blessed my sunburned skin. Other than that I hate grey skies and rain, its almost always a reflection of what is going on inside my head. The pull to stay underneath the quilt in a dark room all day was tremendous today, I literally felt like I could stay there for the near future (I could not say “forever” as I do know these days of feeling down do not last). If I did not have a child in the next room who needs me then my bed I would stay!  There are lots of things that try to pull me down and sometimes they do succeed and then it is just a case of allowing the feelings to naturally pass.

At the moment I am still on medication, I started taking Citalophram 20mg very soon after having Joshua as I was suffering from post natal depression, the strange thing about anti-depressants are that when you first start taking them the side effects are the same (if not sometimes worse) than the symptoms, you have to be very patient with them and let them do their stuff, it took about 6-8 weeks before I started to feel even a little bit better. There was so much going on around this time especially having a new baby that trying to cope with it on my own was impossible, I was crying all the time, my motivation was non-existent, I struggled to accept that I had a child and now had to act like a responsible parent. I do know a little bit about how these types of medication work but not being a doctor I am reluctant to share my knowledge (in case it is complete rubbish) but what I can tell you is that it is a chemical process and my body was not producing enough serotonin which is your “happy chemical”, I did not have the time then to exercise nor was I in the right frame of mind.

Due to situations out of my control I had no option but to return to work early after only 4 months of having Joshua, now depending on what country you live in some women go back before this and some women return to work after 2-3 years maternity leave. What I know is that I was devastated by this, I had planned a year, I wanted to bond with him and take him out places, I wanted to do “ladies that lunch” and watch my son develop instead I felt pushed into work full time. I remember crying on lots of occasions in the car on the way to or on the way home because I felt like I was missing out on precious moments with my son (I still do occasionally).

I did not feel myself at all for at least a year, I struggled to smile and laughing seemed to use up too much energy (which I did not have), the plans I had visualised for my future as a parent were ruined, we had no money yet I had to work full time and come up with an additional £1000+ a month. Car boot sales, eBay and various other selling channels were then my life outside of work, I would get home, make dinner, play with Joshua for an hour or so then bath him and put him to bed then start my second job raking in the £1000 for the month, this felt like every night for at least a year. At this point of my life I could not see the brightness ahead. Depression has a way of completely taking hold of you. As much as I hated returning to work early I do think that if I had not my depression would have got worse as it really is a lonely place being home alone with a baby day in and day out. My advice to any mums out there having these feelings now to just try and go out for a walk with your child to the local park, make it a regular thing every day, fresh air and a tiny bit of exercise will help give you just that little boost and then maybe when you feel a bit better join a baby club (even if its once a week). Remember - BABY STEPS (see Motivation post).

It’s really tough living with depression, in addition to my own problems I also had my partner suffering from depression and grieving from losing his dad. Usually in a relationship there is one person who is positive whilst the other is struggling and vice versa, for us we were both depressed. Weekends are even more precious now to Matt and I as we love spending time with Joshua. Our family life is still under pressure financially but we are getting there. When the weekend arrives I always try to instigate getting out of the house to stretch our legs, it costs nothing to walk to the park with Joshua and even just getting out for 30 mins makes us feel more alive and refreshed.

I do believe happiness breeds happiness, being positive is infectious – only this morning when I felt gloomy I heard a colleague singing “let’s do the time warp” a song I am not that keen on but it brought back images of dancing to it on a great night out immediately I laugh (as she was also doing the actions) and then I continue singing it to myself at my desk. That moment lifted me and its moments like that through the day that keep me going. If it was not for my colleagues at work making me laugh and giving me support on a daily basis I don’t think I would get through my dark days.


Panic Attacks


Panic attacks are just about one of the worst things to experience, I have suffered now for 11 years, I could write a book about them alone! One of the awful feelings I experience is embarrassment as after an attack as you wonder what all the fuss was about, people look at you as if you are a freak! Unless you have suffered from them it is hard to imagine the magnitude of what is happening inside.

Let me try and explain for you: Imagine you are out walking with your family in the city, there is a man in the distance walking towards you and he looks suspicious, so whilst walking you shuffle your son/daughter behind you and pull your partner in closer to you. The man approaches fast and shows you he has a knife in his jacket, your heart is racing, the adrenaline has started to pump around your body and you can feel waves of fear for the safety of you family. By now your mouth is dry and as the man asks you for your cash you pull it out of your wallet/bag with shaking hands. You are normally really fast and sharp with thinking but you just cannot focus or concentrate, the adrenaline has reached the stomach and the “flight or fight” mode starts. The bowels start to get ready to empty and by now you think you may embarrass yourself by having a toilet accident.

NOW, imagine all those feelings but instead of a man with a knife in the picture you are just standing in the queue at a supermarket checkout, there are no dangerous threats and your family are happily chatting by your side. Something inside has triggered the “flight or flight” mode yet there is no immediate danger. Your conscious mind knows that the environment you are in is perfectly safe but something in your brain started the process of “flight or fight”. 

Panic attacks have stopped me doing the following:

*Going on a holiday abroad
*Physically get on a plane
*Go into London shopping on the underground
*Visit family members
*Get on the motorway
*Attend an evening out   
*Attend a city meeting 
*Go to a theme park    
*Go shopping in a mall/centre 
*Go on a coach

Those are just a few of the things I have avoided due to the fear of a panic attack happening.  What is worse is the build-up, as an actual panic attack only generally lasts 20-30 minutes. For example if I knew that in July 2013 all of my family are going on holiday to Sri Lanka I would start the negative thought process now so in total that would be approx 15 months of fearing something that potentially will last 20-30 mins! That’s because like I have said the feelings are so awful that like my example above (man with the knife) you would not want it to happen again! There was a time when I thought I would never be able to get over panic attacks, that I would always live in a controlled life of fear, my panic attacks are always centred around situations where I cannot easily get out of i.e. an aeroplane, I suffer from claustrophobia which as far as I know is not genetic but my dad recently confessed to suffering claustrophobia on a huge scale. Knowing this makes me feel like I need to make sure Josh does not develop these fears, luckily his dad has no fear of anything so I will send him out with daddy so he does not pick up on any of my behaviour!

Whenever I fear a panic attack I usually am armed with my “anti-panic” kit this consists of Propranolol for the adrenaline, Imodium for the bowels, water for the dry mouth and worst case scenario I have some strong calming meds such as Lorazepam (I am not suggesting anyone copies me as these drugs are prescribed to me).

11 years on and I still suffer but since giving birth something changed inside whereby I started to allow the feelings of fear happen rather than fighting them. The second I allow the adrenaline to flow, I say to myself “it’s a normal feeling” the more I do that then the quicker the “it’s ok now” chemical reaches my brain to stop the fight or flight panic! It sounds crazy but it is true! If you allow the feelings to happen then they stop quickly and you are back in control. I am not cured of panic attacks by no means but I am starting to learn a real technique of how to deal with them, a shot of alcohol helps too! I also try not to avoid places now but I go at my own pace – it’s better to get to your destination than not at all. 

Dont Give Up

We all have choices in this life, we can choose to let all of our problems consume us, let them eat away at our core. I could choose to feel miserable on a daily basis and give up smiling but where on earth would that get me? I would lose friends, my partner, my home and simply put I would lose me! I cant afford to let that happen I am responsible for the life of a little boy who could grow up to save the world (dramatic but a possibility) so its my job to make the best of myself so he can have as many opportunities presented to him as possible. Also I don't want to be a miserable cow, I like the feeling of being happy (not every moment though as those sorts of people annoy me!).

No matter how dark the sky looks outside, the sun is always behind it waiting to shine through. I wont give up the fight - will you?

Monday, 16 April 2012

MOTIVATION (lack of, moments of & lots of)

What Motivates Me and what could motivate you!

Motivation in my opinion is the BIGGEST factor when it comes to transforming yourself both mentally and physically. If your "get up and go" has "got up and gone" then it does not matter on the goal you are just simply not going to get there! What is motivation? Wikipedia:

Motivation is a term that refers to a process that elicits, controls, and sustains certain behaviours. Motivation is a group of phenomena which affect the nature of an individuals behaviour, the strength of the behaviour, and the persistence of the behaviour. For instance: An individual has not eaten, he or she feels hungry, as a response he or she eats and diminishes feelings of hunger. There are many approaches to motivation: physiological, behavioural, cognitive, and social[1].It's the crucial element in setting and attaining goals—and research shows you can influence your own levels of motivation and self-control [2]. According to various theories, motivation may be rooted in a basic need to minimize physical pain and maximize pleasure, or it may include specific needs such as eating and resting, or a desired object, goal, state of being, ideal, or it may be attributed to less-apparent reasons such as altruism, selfishness, morality, or avoiding mortality. Conceptually, motivation should not be confused with either volition or optimism.[3] Motivation is related to, but distinct from, emotion.

Now that all sounds tickety boo but that paragraph alone is not going to do it for me! If I try to list all the things that motivate me the number one thing has to be........MUSIC.

There cannot be one person in this world who does not have a song that makes them either dance, sing, whistle, jump up and down, cry, shout or laugh to. Music is a stimulant it is like a drug to me (as well as hot cross buns) its an emotional journey, if I am happy I need happy music and if I want to wallow in self pity I stick on Luther Vandross (House is not a home) its always the love songs for me when I am down.

Don't you think it is amazing that you can be lifted so quickly by a song or a piece of music? You can be plodding along exercising to a song and all of a sudden you get that instant lift when the chorus part comes kicks in.
I use music for EVERYTHING (except in the bedroom otherwise it would be Chariots of Fire!). If the mood is low at home I stick MTV on or turn the radio on in the kitchen. If I have boring work to do or need to concentrate at work I put my headphones on and get into the zone. A world without music to me would not be worth living in. Music connects people together and it certainly helps me get through depression and motivates me to exercise. That in itself is the one of the solutions to my problems. When I am low I know I need to exercise as the endorphins lift my mood, music is then my connector. No music, no exercise, no mood lift. Its as simple as that!

Of course I have other motivators for example if I lose a pound or more in a week I always allow myself a chicken kebab (motivator - FOOD) (you can take the girl out of Staines....!) on a serious note a chicken kebab without 10 tonnes of burger sauce is actually not bad but still tastes good! If at the end of the month when I get paid I have lost a few pounds I like to treat myself to something nice like a pair shoes or my nails being done (motivator - MONEY). Quotations motivate me "Persevere and you will win the prize" or "You have failed only when you quit trying. Until then, you're still in the act of progression. So, never quit trying and you'll never be a failure" Tommy Kelley. Quotes put things into perspective for me but the inspiration is short lived, they motivate me for a minute or so then the boredom kicks in. Its the MUSIC that is my starting pistol.
Below are some tracks that help me with certain situations: 


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWM5D3MwSgA - this one just generally makes me want to boogie!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmin5WkOuPw - great for when I am on a treadmill or outside running.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2K-hP7kbyY - another good one for exercising!

I could go on an on about music tracks I love but I would be here all day and night!

Starting Point

After speaking to a few friends lately and them paying me compliments about my blog and motivation it is clear to me that not everyone can find this inner motivation as quickly as others. I promise you I struggle every morning to motivate myself, I do not spring out of bed, the sun is not always shining outside my window but I do 100% feel that once you start on a good note it continues and when you are in a positive motivated mood you must try to continue it (unless of course you like being in a mood or having a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp).

Doing CrossFit now motivates me but I can totally relate to people when they put off going to the gym or a certain class. I remember that feeling of dread trying to make sure I got at least 2-3 gym sessions in a week. Gone are the days of being footloose and fancy free when there is no-one at home moaning "what time is dinner? and "oh can you stop at the shop on your way home and get me some chocolate" the pull I have to get home now is tremendous as I carry guilt of working full time and not being able spend every spare moment with my son before he goes to bed. I also found that if I did not get to the gym then I would feel immediately fatter as I had let myself down.

The question I ask is why bother going to the gym then? If you love the gym and can get there without a JCB scooping you up and dropping you off at the door then great, it must work for you, but for everyone else who hates it why not change it? What about trying something else? Surely whilst growing up there must have been a sport or exercise you used to love or even just like? Saying that, growing up there was the stuff I used to like which I was rubbish at and then there were the sports I was good at but they did not have the same cool street appeal as the rest - yes I am talking about shot put! lol No offence to any shot putters out there but no bloke at my school wanted to date a girl who was good at shot put - sorry but its true! They all wanted the gymnasts because in their testosterone fuelled brains the boys thought gymnasts would be better in bed because they were flexible and to be honest I think the grown up testosterone fuelled men still think that! lol

CrossFit for me is going outside my comfort zone, now I am not suggesting you join Crossfit (although you could try) but what about trying something different that you might just like? You might bring back those motivated feelings again? What have we got to lose? I am one step ahead now as you know, I have taken the step to do something different. That does not make me a better person but if you imagine there is a 3ft line drawn on the floor between us, I am one side and you are the other, I have already been where you are and I was not happy, I am then telling you that I've already stepped over that line in front of you and its OK, not only is it OK its actually GOOD so why would you not step over and join me.

Baby Steps

I saw a film once called "What about Bob?" starring Richard Dreyfuss and Bill Murray, it was about a guy (Murray) who suffered with complex phobias, he came across a book that a psychiatrist (Dreyfuss) wrote called "Baby Steps". The basis of the book was about taking little steps you can take to overcome problems or situations, that philosophy struck a cord with me then and today (plus the film is very funny).

If I think about my weight loss goal which is to lose 4 stone I immediately feel overwhelmed, the thought of seeing it through to the end or committing the next year or so to dieting just feels me with dread. Another example is my mum she is a larger woman (5ft 9 and about 25 stone UK size 24-26) to be healthy on the BMI scale (I use that just for comparison purpose) she would have to lose about 13 stone - can you imagine being told that? There is no person on earth who can just take that on board and say "ok lets crack on then" everything needs to be scaled down so that goals are achievable.  I am not setting goals as such what runs through my mind are are baby steps, forget numbers, weights and events, at the moment all I want is for the only black trousers that fit me to become a little bit baggy. I want to pull them up my thighs and over my butt with ease and then when I go to do up the button I don't have to pull it hard - that's all I want right now. That might not sound a lot or may sound like I am aiming to low but think about it - its at least a dress size! 

So to round up above my motto is:

A Sport/Exercise you like + MUSIC + Baby Steps = Baggy Trousers!


Think I am going to watch "What about Bob" again! It cracks me up! 











Saturday, 14 April 2012

PACKING IT ALL IN - CrossFit Workouts April 2012

OUCH

What a busy week I have had, I find it so difficult working full time and trying to also fit in being a parent, a partner, exercise and then the small tiny social life that I have. Thank god for the Costco visit on bank holiday Monday - bulk buying is the way forward people (well it at least gives you a week off having to do a food shop!)

I made it to TWO CrossFit sessions this week! TWO!!!! That is good don't you think? The fact I was in agony from the last one (I ached for 5 days) I went back for more punishment! I use the word PUNISHMENT lightly as although the workouts are tough they are actually done in a really short time period as its about the intensity rather than the length of time you workout! (don't I sound like I know what I am talking about lol)


Thursday 12th April 2012

After 2 full days back at work since the long weekend and two evenings packing poxy matchbox cars for my brother Thursday night approaches and to my absolute astonishment I did not have any non-attendance excuses in my head about not going to CrossFit that evening. I don't know about you but historically I am crap at exercising in the evenings after work. By the time 17.30 comes I am hungry, tired and desperate to get home to see my family. The thought of having to jump up and down getting hot and sweaty only appealed to me when Matt and I first met (Ok stop there Tash wrong subject) no seriously I think if I had a time of day that would be OK to exercise it would be about 10.30-11am. In an ideal world I would like to get up about 9am have a slow but slinky (I don't really do slinky) walk down the stairs, make a large cup of coffee and grab a bite to eat for breakfast all this whilst the TV is on with the latest celebrity news, then get change and head off with a swinging pony tail and fresh (matching) gym gear down to the workout venue (just realised what a bimbo I sound like).......then I wake up and smell the coffee and realise there are only a couple of time slots I can actually exercise, one is the morning and immediately that is out! I am afraid me and mornings are like Katie Price and husbands - we just don't get along! If I had the opportunity to get to bed earlier and actually sleep then maybe 5.30am could be my next best friend but for now its a 100% NO. The next option is lunchtime I have been known to go swimming with one of my good colleagues at work and to your astonishment I actually went this Friday lunchtime! I have to be honest though for me it was 6 lengths and 10 mins in the sauna as my legs were killing from Thursdays CrossFit! Then that leaves after work and the weekends. Weekends are sacred in my household as there seems to only be one or maybe two in a month where we have nothing planned but chillax (For those not "down with da kidz" chill and relax = chillax) but as long as I do it earlyish then I can get away with it!

So I arrive at CrossFit Thursday and immediately notice the WOD (work out of the day) plastered across the whiteboard, I ask Andy what the name "Nancy" relates to or means, to which he replies "don't worry but you will hate her by the end of it" very funny but scary at the same time. The main challenge was 450m row followed by 15 overhead squats, now just that on its own sounds not too bad until he tells you have to do as many reps as you can in a certain time period. Never fear though he calls me to one side to give me the good news that he only wants me to do 4 rounds - this is what I mean by scaling the workout for you, I was ready mentally to do as many as the others but the CrossFit guys know what they are talking about and by the end of 3 rounds I realised why I would not have been able to have completed anymore than 4! The worst thing any trainer could ever do is push you so hard that you cannot even walk out of the building let alone manoeuvre the clutch of you car, this is one of those times when you need an automatic vehicle!

I forgot to say that we did have a 600m row and 15 overhead squat warm up - cant believe I nearly forgot that otherwise you may think I am a complete wuss when I explain how tight my thigh and hamstring muscles were the next day. I had to climb stairs at snail pace and coming down I had to make sure no-one else was looking when I had came down the stairs with one straight leg at a time. To my work colleagues disappointment I did no tea/coffee runs that day!

WOD score for Thursday was 15mins 13 secs.


Saturday 14th April 2012


Ok so I woke up this morning even stiffer than yesterday, I really wanted to get into a hot bath last night but we had visitors (who I am trying to talk into joining Crossfit - you know who you are - please come) so I did not end up going to bed till 1am and then my 20 month old son decides sleep is something for the weak (hmmm maybe his knows Andy the trainer! lol) and keeps me up till 3am! I love my sleep so much that when Matt starts nudging me at 9am (with his hand NOTHING else) my mood is less than happy, if there is one thing I hate its having lack of sleep and on top of that is when someone is trying to wake you when you potentially have another 30 minutes before you have to get up - all of a sudden I turn into something from a scene in The Exorcist (my hair was similar too). So I get up in a bad irritated mood and head for the bathroom where I stay for the next 30 mins as something I had eaten the day/night before had disagreed with me.

So now I am stiff, tired and now have an upset stomach and the excuses not to go to Crossfit this morning were building up in my brain! These were my speech bubbles above my head "what if I went later today?" "maybe I could do Monday night instead?" then out of no-where this angelic voice whispered in my ear (ok that is dramatic and no I am not hearing voices) but I suddenly thought that I did not want this horrible mood to continue for the rest of the day and then infectious transfer to the rest of my family so we all end up moody so I got dressed and mentally pushed myself out of the door. I seriously have arguments in my head with myself, I know what I have to do but there are these ugly dark energy zapping receptors in my head that have to have their 10 pence worth of negative banter but they rarely win these days, since fit farm and giving birth naturally to a nearly 10lb baby with only a bit of gas and air, I have come to realise the power of the mind and what only focusing on the good can achieve!

As I approach the "box" I can hear pumping music which is the best motivator to my ears, I immediately perk up and even start a little booty shake as I enter the arena! The WOD was on the board (see pic) and today there was a little difference, it was the qualification workout for the Reebok CrossFit fitness Championships - now that sounds impressive to me last time I did anything that had the word "Championship" in was when I was about 14 and very flexible. 






As always (till I am fit and then I wont have any excuses) Andy scaled this down for me because as you know I have not yet managed to jump onto the 20" high box, I know I will because I wont give up but it still scares me. So instead he stacks some large weights which equalled about 16-17". The mission was clear and whilst everyone did it in pairs I had no partner and was last so little old me (nothing little about me really apart from my bank balance) had to do it on my own, but that's the thing with CrossFit you don't do anything on your own, the support I received from my fellow members was fantastic! They were shouting "come on Tash" " You can do it" the music was still pumping and by the time a Prodigy song came on that I like I was nearing the finish. The one thing that always cracks me up is though is whenever I lift anything slightly heavy for more than 10 reps my top lip turns up to the right like Elvis Priestley "ah ha ha" its so embarrassing that I have to constantly pull my lip down before anyone notices. I am sure I am not the first to have something strange happen to them when lifting weights and I hope if anyone of my new friends at CrossFit reads this that they don't start expecting me to sing "love me tender" at the top of my voice!

My overall reps were 102 in 12 minutes not bad for a woman who has hardly exercised for 2 years and is carrying 4 extra stone around, we all get the choice to register today's scores or repeat the exercise to exceed it - not sure if I could exceed it or not as I am seriously going to need at least 3 days to repair these thigh and hamstring muscles this week so 102 may be my best for now!

Cant also forget that whilst jumping on the weights I slashed Andy's face with my nails taking the skin off his face.....oooops! Sorry Andy but maybe its karma for the pain I felt? lol More like I am just a clumsy blonde.

The moral of the story today was that with all the reasons for not going I was 100% glad I did, nothing can beat those endorphins rushes (well apart from finally getting into my size 12 Karen Millen purple dress I have hanging in my wardrobe or stumbling across a winning lottery ticket for 2 million that could probably beat it).

WOD score for Sat 102 reps in 12 mins.

Changes to my body

As far as my body is concerned apart from feeling a little battered (no pain no gain) I have not noticed any differences yet and historically it usually takes 3-4 weeks before a little notch comes off in cm's or inches.

HOWEVER, my MIND has defiantly noticed a difference, I do feel motivated and more awake than before even from the few sessions that I have done. Its defiantly true what people say that exercise breeds more exercise as apart from the body restrictions every time I finish a CrossFit session I feel like I could run a marathon or at least around the block!

Now to decide when to book in next.........!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

OUTSIDE vs INSIDE

Our bodies are AMAZING. For example the way the liver can regenerate itself or the way we can gain strength in one sense when we lose another. My dad is a prime example of this when he lost the sight in one eye, out of all the full sighted people in our household he could always spot a big busted blonde before anyone else! lol

Women can grow a baby from a tiny weeny sperm and then push it out through a very small exit (I choose my words carefully!) My question is why when the body is so amazing do we still have negative thoughts? why is it the brain can send a message to tell your piggy toe to move or some people can learn to walk again after being told they will never walk again but it cant tell you that Dave from Dagenham is just no good for you? Or the guy who never returns your calls is just not that into you! Why is it that 100 people can tell you that you look amazing tonight but you don't believe any of them? Where do these negative thoughts come from?

Self image is something every single person on this planet thinks about at some point in their lives, growing up in a city/town made me even more self conscious as the competition to look good was high!

I defiantly think I have suffered from body dysmorphia during a few stages of my life: 

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD, also body dysmorphia, dysmorphic syndrome; originally dysmorphophobia) is a type of mental illness, a somatoform disorder, wherein the affected person is concerned with body image, manifested as excessive concern about and preoccupation with a perceived defect of their physical features.[1][2] The person complains of a defect in either one feature or several features of their body; or vaguely complains about their general appearance, which causes psychological distress that causes clinically significant distress or impairs occupational or social functioning. Often BDD co-occurs with emotional depression and anxiety, social withdrawal or social isolation.[3]

In my own opinion I suffered from from BDD especially in school as I was larger than the other girls. Growing up from a teenager to a woman most of my negative feelings derived from my lack of self esteem. Every time I was declined romance (or a snog lol!) I would immediately think it was because of the way I looked, there was no amazing bodily sense that kicked in then and said "Natasha you are a pretty girl and it's his loss" or the mature approach of "each to their own" those thoughts did not enter my head.

This perpetual negative thought pattern just fuelled my need to diet, binge eat, starve myself or just generally overeat. I have to admit that I tried making myself sick on a number of occasions but in my own funny way I could not let wasted food go down the toilet (those that know me will know I am a hoarder! lol). I hung around with pretty girls with legs up to their arm pits something I defiantly was not in the queue for when god was giving out qualities! I think I lined up for big boobs and a sense of humour (something men like too!). I purchased magazine after magazine aspiring to what was portrayed as the perfect body. If only I had spent the thousands on counselling my internal unhappiness rather than newspaper I might have made a difference to my life back then. I socialised hard going out night after night, all my money was spent of looking good, the hair extensions, nails, tanning, skin and make-up products, gym sessions. I spent thousands every year but inside my heart I still felt ugly and fat!

I cannot to this day tell you what it was that I was seeking but I do know that having a child changed my priorities in a way which can only be explained when you have a child. This is not meant in a patronising way in any shape or form its just that something inside you changes when you become a parent. All your thoughts of yourself just disappear! You start to put someone else first and you simply don't have the time (or energy) to concentrate on yourself! This is neither a good or a bad thing it is just a FACT of what happened to me. There was no pinnacle moment of self help that healed my lack of self esteem for a while, it was simply the process of having a child that just put it on the back burner!

However, once the overwhelming feeling of being a parent had faded and the routine set in it was inevitable that the low self esteem issues would re-surface. The extra weight I gained through pregnancy made me feel low about myself. There is one major difference this time though and that is that I am (according to the BMI) obese and currently wearing a size 16-18, now I know that I am carrying 4 stone more than I should whereas before I was slim but felt like a size 20!. I would consider myself more of a realist now which is what makes me even more determined to lose the extra weight. Another reason I think I don't deeply insult myself as much as before is because I simply don't go out that much, it fills me with fear to try and find something in my wardrobe that not only fits but makes me look half decent. The second I get out I dive straight into getting drunk so I don't have to think about feeling insecure. My friends will notice that I will hold something in front of my tummy like a jacket or a pillow and I have to sit facing people rather than them seeing the back of me, all these things put me off going out!

I still buy some magazines but its more certain they will be Homes & Garden, the monthly Rosemary Conley mag or Horse & Hound (ok the last one was a complete lie) but what will never fail to get my attention in these magazines is the before and after pictures of anyone who has transformed themselves. I am kind of obsessed with finding out their philosophies and secrets, I want to know what changed for them, their trigger and what motivates them.

I am in no way cured of "low self esteem" but I have 100% started the journey of increasing my self confidence and I am determined more than ever before to build on this to find some internal peace and happiness. I am now a role model to my son and that is a job I take very seriously. xx