Losing It

My mad, crazy journey to health and beyond

Food Wars

Nandos

 

Inside Nicola’s head: a play in one act.

 

Good Nicola (GN): Finally home, thank the pope!

Bad Nicola (BN): Rush hour traffic can suck it!

GN: You said it sista.

BN: Man I can’t wait to mooch on the couch with a cup of coffee and chillax!!

GN:  Um…

BN: Come on, time’s a-wastin’! Let’s get out of the kitchen and into couch heaven. Wait, why are we in the kitchen anyway?

GN: Ok, you promise not to freak out?

BN: Yes…..

GN: We don’t have time to sit down because we have to cook all three of our meals for tomorrow.

BN: WHAT THE FUCK???

GN: You promised not to freak out!

BN: That was when I thought you were going to tell me something sensible. This is beyond ridiculous!

GN: No but-

BN: Uh-uh, don’t you ‘no but’ me you gargantuan asshole. We have been up since 5am, slogging away in the gym, battling through rush hour traffic, putting in a full day of work, battling back home through more gorgeous wonderful rush hour traffic, and now that we’re finally home, you’re telling me that instead of sitting down for FIVE FREAKING MINUTES I now have to stand in front of the stove for fuck knows how long, cooking all my meals for tomorrow? You must be out of your freaking mind.

GN: Look I’m not crazy about it either, but if we don’t cook, who do you think will – the magical kitchen elves?

BN: Ooh, burn.

GN: Oh shut up. I’m tired too. I also want to sit on the couch doing nothing and watching TV and generally metamorphosing into a potato, but we have to cook all our meals for tomorrow or else we won’t have anything to eat. This is what we signed up for. Eating to lose weight, remember!

BN: Oh for fuck’s sakes. Why can’t we just cook all our meals on a Sunday afternoon like the normal people instead of going through this mission every bloody evening?

GN: Because we tried that you idiot, and instead of cooking, you always make us go to the movies instead.

BN: Well the one movie was an important treatise on the consequences of the abuse of power. It was more of a documentary really, so it doesn’t count.

GN: You mean Thor 2 where Chris Hemsworth gets his kit off?

BN: You say potato, I say potahto.

GN: I think we may be drifting slightly from the point here…

BN: Look, we don’t have to cook ALL our meals for tomorrow. I have a plan!

GN: I feel a nightmare coming on….

BN: Here’s what we do. You pick up that lovely little phone of yours, call Mr D, get him to deliver us some Nando’s and salad. Then while we’re waiting for that to arrive, whip up an omelette for tomorrow’s brekkie. And once lovely Mr D gets here, you’ll have made your breakfast, and you’ll have your dinner delivered with leftovers for lunch. Taaa-daaa! I am a genius!

GN: Well, it would be easier and quicker than cooking everything.

BN: This is what I am saying. You should listen to me, I’m very clever.

GN: Ok where’s that phone.

BN: Wooohooo! Yummy chicken deliciousness, here we come!

GN: Ok, so it’s 021 68… wait!

BN: Nooooooooo! You were so close!

GN: No, we can’t do this! It’s expensive and it’s cheating! You don’t know what they make all their stuff with, you don’t know if it’s the correct portion sizes, and it’s a slippery slope. Today it’s Nando’s, tomorrow it’s us passed out in a carb coma surrounded by chocolate wrappers and leftover KFC boxes. NO!

BN: AAGGGHHHH!!!! I just want to sit down and relax! I am TIRED OF WORKING SO HARD!

GN: Well then you shouldn’t have eaten all that shit that got us here in the first place!

BN: I see your lips moving but all I hear is BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!!

GN: I’m not even listening to you anymore. We’re going into the kitchen, we’re cooking all our meals, and that’s that.

BN: WHATEVER YOU SAY MISS GOODY TWO-SHOES!

GN: This is fucking exhausting.

BN: I hate you.

GN: I hate you too.

 

The end

Advertisements
4 Comments »

The Losing It Guide to Surviving Christmas

I’ve been on holiday for all of two days now, and already I can tell that meeting my holiday goal of losing 3 – 4kg is going to take some work. The festive season is rough man, with pitfalls and obstacles at every turn. Some are obvious (that’s you, Quality Streets); some not so obvious (what do you mean there’s no time for lunch, I need to EAT!). That’s why in the spirit of giving, I’m going to give you my foolproof guide to staying sane over the holidays, while achieving your health goals. You’re welcome.

 

1. It’s true that we all love our families. It’s also true that after spending about 60 minutes in their company, we’re ready to strangle them. So to avoid causing anyone bodily harm over Christmas, try this instead – every time someone annoys you, get up and take a walk.

 

Trainers. Keeping families alive since 1895.

Trainers. Keeping families alive since 1895.

 

As soon as you can see someone gearing up for a flood of criticism, just say ‘Sorry Great-Aunt Jean, would love to chat but gotta go for a walk. Toodles!’ You may be walking for 8 hours straight, but at least you won’t be spending Christmas Eve behind bars for culpable homicide. And you’ll have buns of steel!

 

2. This is lebkuchen:

 

Lebkuchen. German for ‘so much of awesomeness’.

Lebkuchen. German for ‘so much of awesomeness’.

 

Lebkuchen is soft gingerbread smothered in chocolate, and it is DELICIOUS! It also happens to be one of my very favourite things, and having to watch everyone stuff their faces with it while I stick to my eating plan is torture. As my family is of German descent, there are spans of other similar treats scattered round the house, none of which I can eat. Germany. They have no word for fluffy but they can bake the shit out of Christmas.

So what do I do to avoid a chocolate-covered binge of epic proportions? Use my imagination! This is not chocolate covered fabulosity! No! This is poo, baked into shapes of trees and snowmen and hearts. Urg yuck icky – no-one wants to eat poo, least of all me! Whatever your own personal lebkuchen is (lemon meringue pie, chocolate mousse cake, etc) try that trick on it and see how appetizing it is after that. Picture the poo pie from The Help if it… helps. Yuckeroo!

 

3. I have discovered something over the past two days. Children are LOUD. I have also discovered that their loudness is proportionate to the number of people within listening distance. One person around – a bit of a wobbly lip. Packed restaurant – a tantrum louder than the eruption of Krakatoa.

 

That cutesy look isn’t fooling anyone.

That cutesy look isn’t fooling anyone.

 

However this can come in handy if you’re a weight lifter. As soon as the adorable tot opens its mouth, simply pick it up and move away from the crowds. You’ll be preserving everyone’s eardrums, and getting a great workout at the same time.

(Bonus tip: buy the child an ice cream and they’ll be distracted while you use them for deadlifts, squats, rack holds and anything else you can think of. Who needs a gym when you have a sugar-pacified toddler around?)

 

4. Quality Streets. Mince pies. And the like. Love ‘em, love ‘em, love ‘em. And so hard to pass up when the plate is passed around.

 

So sweet. So innocent. So ready to GIT IN MAH BELLEH!

So sweet. So innocent. So ready to GIT IN MAH BELLEH!

 

They fit into your mouth so perfectly, and then once they’re gone it’s like they were never there! The calories can’t possibly count – those treats are so small and bite-sized. How much damage could they do?

Turns out, a lot. But never fear, the solution is here! The next time someone passes you a plate of treats, take a closer look at the actual plate. There isn’t just one mince pie hanging out by itself is there? Nope, there’s a plateful – Mr and Mrs Mince Pie and all the little ones. That’s because they’re a family, on holiday together and enjoying life. And there you swoop in, crushing Mr Mince Pie between your teeth and crushing that family’s dreams at the same time. He was the sole breadwinner man, how is Mrs Mince Pie going to afford to send the little ones to school all by herself??

Breaks your heart, doesn’t it.

So the next time you’re tempted to put your eating plan on hiatus and scoff down a Christmas treat, just think about the tragedy you’ll be inflicting on another family. And put that mince pie the hell down.

 

5. It’s the end of the year, let’s celebrate with a cocktail! Lovely yummy fruity drinks with a kiss of vodka or rum or tequila at the bottom – your reward for a year of hard work and slog. So take a big sip and do what Frankie say – relax!

 

Don’t mind if I do.

Don’t mind if I do.

 

But wait. There’s an umbrella in your drink, isn’t there (if there isn’t, you really need to start drinking at classier places). And do you know who makes those dinky little cocktail umbrellas? CHILDREN, that’s who! Yup that’s right, next to that athletic shoe factory overseas, there’s a cocktail umbrella factory full of five-year-old children working their fingers to the bone, TO THE BONE! All so you can have a sodding umbrella in your carb-filled, sugar-filled cocktail. It may be happy hour where you are but it’s sad day all day for those poor children. Sniff.

So instead of filling up on cocktails this Christmas, fill up on sparkling water instead! Say no to child labour and yes to healthy drinks. Because every time you choose a glass of water over a glass of pineapple and rum, a child gets its wings! Or something.

Oh, and if you’re thinking ‘haha, this doesn’t apply to me, I don’t drink cocktails’, ask yourself this. Where do you think corks and beer mats get made?

 

Little Timmy worked for five hours straight to make this for you man!

Little Timmy worked for five hours straight to make this for you man!

 

Hope you enjoyed those awesome  tips because that’s it from me till next year folks. The old laptop is going in for a service, and I’m going to enjoy my holiday whilst losing 3 – 4kg at the same time. Eat, drink, be merry, have a fabulous festive season, and I’ll catch your act in 2014. Merry Christmas, happy New Year, and put that mince pie down!

 

Disclaimer: No, children do not make cocktail umbrellas, corks or beer mats. But I scared you a little there didn’t I?

 

3 Comments »

Assessment Day 13.12.13

Fat

 

Today was the big one folks – my five-month body fat/measurement assessment. I had my first one on 17 July, and today, five months later, was my final assessment of 2013.

To say that my initial measurements were embarrassing would be an understatement, but in the interests of full disclosure, here you go:

 

Weight: 123.4kg (I had already lost 11kg by this point, but still)

Fat – 44.8% (AAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH)

Thigh – 79cm

Neck – 39cm

Chest – 139cm

Waist – 116cm

Calf – 54cm

Hips – 144cm

Bicep – 44cm

 

Yup, so that was a fun time.

 

Fat Tuesday

 

While having a body fat percentage to rival the blue whale, I wasn’t super discouraged by it (although I didn’t exactly start raving about it at parties). Because I knew that was the highest it would ever be. That I would never see that number ever again (except on a birthday cake in 8 years’ time when George Clooney throws a party for me at his villa on Lake Como).

 

Thanks Georgie, you’re the best

Thanks Georgie, you’re the best

 

And so for the past five months I’ve put my head down to make sure all those numbers do the same – go the hell down. It’s been a tough, rough ride, full of early mornings, frustration, bleeding hands, plateaus, unexplained gains and bloody sparkling bloody water. But here we are, five months later, and I have made those numbers my bitch.

Allow me to demonstrate:

 

Weight: 111kg

Fat – 38.8%

Thigh – 72cm

Neck – 36.5cm

Chest – 125.5cm

Waist – 105.5cm

Calf – 51.5cm

Hips – 132cm

Biceps – 41.5cm

 

Total kg lost – 12.4kg

Total cm lost – 50.5cm

Total muscle mass lost – 0kg!!!!!

 

And total weight lost since I started on 1 July – 23.4kg.

 

Happy Dance

 

So now I have to say thank you to some people.

Thank you to my friends and family for all your support.

Thank you to Evo Fitness for helping me kick my eating and training into high gear.

Thank you to the Sleek Girls for all your inspiration and motivation.

And a big thank you to the 134.4.kg Nicola who started this journey in the first place. You weren’t happy with the way your life was going, and you made a monumental effort to change it. So proud of you chick – you rock the house!

 

Thank you

Here’s to more of the same next year! Merry Christmas folks xxx

1 Comment »

Finding your motivation: the Christmas edition

No Pain

 

The year is starting its annual wind-down to Christmas, and with it comes the accompanying panic – ‘how will I stay motivated over the holidays? BAAAAAAGGGGHHH!!’.

If I was going to be an evil bitch, I would say that if you started your journey from the right place, have set yourself reasonable goals and have a well-constructed plan to help you reach them, then you won’t have any trouble staying motivated no matter how many bowls of Quality Streets are thrust in front of you.

I would also tell you to get yourself to a doctor right away as you appear to be a cyborg, and not a human.

If you are in fact human, you’ll know that December is death to diets. Just one mince pie can make even the strongest among us crumble, and before we know it we’re lying face down in a pile of chocolate wrappers, carbs and guilt. Or as I call it, Christmas Day.

But not this year dammit! This year I will not be thwarted by a plate of German Christmas cookies and my mother’s hazelnut chocolate tart! I will navigate the roast potatoes and crackling with ease, get my bum off the couch, and show this holiday who’s boss!

And why am I going to be successful?

 

A) Because a lot of people at my gym are going to yell at me if I come back looking like a chubster.

B) Because I have put a series of very strong motivators in place to keep me on the straight and narrow no matter what the season.

 

Let me demonstrate:

1. My screensaver

 

Graduation

 

This is what I look at every time I open my laptop. This is a picture of me at my university graduation in 1998. (Yes, I am old.) In this pic I am 21 years old, and weigh 65kgs. Which is the exact weight that I’m trying to get to now.

Of course at the time I thought I was a giant gross monster girl who was too big to fit into stores, let alone dresses. If I could go back in time, I would go to that graduation and smack myself very hard. But since I can’t do that, I keep this photo as a constant reminder of what it is possible for me to look like once I get rid of all this fat. Motivation – BAM!

 

2. Fitspiration

 

Motivation 2

 

There is a whole world of these sayings out there – a world that I only discovered a few months ago. Some people live by these ‘fitspiration’ mottos; some people get a kick out of mocking them. Personally, they don’t really bother me that much. Yes, some of them are a bit naff, but some of them I find highly motivating. These are the ones that I have stuck up all over my bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and lounge. These are the ones I opened a Pinterest account for. And these are the ones that run through my head during my Monday morning prowler session when I want to set fire to that metal bitch once and for all.

 

Motivation 7

 

Yes, I look like I share a flat with the guy from A Beautiful Mind, but I don’t care. Having these up where I can see them constantly keeps me in the zone, and keeps me focused on my goal. And that’s what’s most important at the end of the day. Motivation – BAM!

 

3. The Biggest Loser

Something else that keeps me in the zone is The Biggest Loser. And not just because I have a girl crush on Jillian Michaels.

 

Jillian

 

This show is such a huge motivator for me, I’ve started watching it non-stop (thank you uncapped ADSL). No I don’t agree with some of their methods (way too much cardio, not enough focus on nutrition) and the product placement bits are awkward as fuck, but what I love about it is it shows real people on the exact same journey as I am. As they work through their emotional issues, I learn with them, as they let go of their baggage, I cry with them, and as they’re tortured in the gym, I feel for them. I’m completely hooked, and watching The Biggest Loser keeps me on my path like nobody’s business.

Plus I want to be this girl when I grow up:

 

Danni

 

Motivation – BAM!

 

4. My wardrobe

 

Wardrobe

 

Hands up if this rings a bell. My wardrobe is stuffed to the gills with clothes, 90% of which I never wear. Reasons for this are:

  • I have clothes in every single size from 46 down to 34. Whatever size I am at the moment, I have the clothes to fit me.
  • I have clothes that are years out of date, but I can’t bring myself to throw away or donate because I’m too bloody lazy.
  • I have clothes I’ve never worn even once because they were bought too small and I’ve never fitted into them.
  • I have clothes one or two sizes too small that I bought ON PURPOSE in order to motivate me to fit into them, which I’ve never been able to do.
  • I have clothes that well-meaning relatives have given me, usually involving wool or bows or bedazzles, that I can’t throw away, because I have to wear them when they come to visit to show that I LOVE this pair of stonewashed  denim dungarees with rhinestones on the va-jay-jay.
  • And finally, I have those one or two pieces of clothing that I DESPERATELY want to fit into, and dream about wearing when I reach my goal weight. See: the LBD I wore to my graduation (don’t bother scrolling up, you can’t see it under my gown), the dress with HORIZONTAL STRIPES I wore to a wedding four years ago, that sexy strapless top from YDE, and of course, the ultimate – my size 36 stretch jeans (that are really a normal size 34) that make me look like a damn girl. And by that, I mean when you walk past, guys go ‘DAAAAAAAAAMN GIRL!’.

That last bullet point is the motivator for me – fitting my goals to the point in time by which I should be able to fit into those clothes. Wear the stripy dress to your birthday party next year, wear the LBD to the Christmas party next year, wear the strapless top to end-of-year sundowners, wear the jeans ALL THE BLOODY TIME NEVER TAKE THE JEANS OFF AGAIN!

Motivation – BAM!

 

5. Fitting in

There is a book called Last Chance Saloon by my favourite author, Marian Keyes, in which she describes one of the characters, who is overweight, getting dressed. She talks about how clothes are the enemy – how zippers and buttons can launch attacks, and how getting dressed in the morning is like going to war. Whenever I read that part, I’m always struck by its accuracy, and I think to myself that she must have absolutely spoken to an obese person before writing that. I’ve met Marian Keyes (MASSIVE NAME DROP ALERT) and she’s the size of a pint of milk – there’s no way she could have known about that on her own.

This is something that thin people or average-sized people will never be able to truly know. That the world is not built for overweight people. I’m not saying it should be, I’m just stating a fact. Chairs stick to your butt when you get up. Seatbelts ride up against your neck. Airplane tray tables don’t lie flat over your stomach. Clothes never sit right. Nothing ever fits, and neither do you. It’s a thin people’s world, and fat people do not fit in – literally. It’s as if the universe itself is physically rejecting us and spitting us out because we’re too fat to fit into the mould. It’s a rejection you encounter again and again, on an almost hourly basis, and it cuts deep.

Motivation? Hell yes. This Christmas, while I’m looking at my screensaver and my fitspiration, watching The Biggest Loser and dreaming about wearing my LBD, what’s really going to motivate me more than anything else, is being able to fit in. Being able to get dressed without straining my seams or breaking a sweat. Being able to wear a seatbelt like a normal person. Being able to actually eat something on an airplane instead of pretending I’m not hungry because I can’t get the tray table down. And being able to leave a chair without taking it with me.

Freedom – that’s my biggest motivator. Bam.

 

Motivation 6

 

Merry Christmas kids xx

 

12 Comments »

Weigh-in Day 10.12.13

Déjà vu. That’s French for “my fucking weight stayed the same”.

Déjà vu. That’s French for “my fucking weight stayed the same”.

 

If you are possessed of keen powers of observation, or have been memorising all my incredibly amazing posts (well done you, ten gold stars), you will have noticed that my scale reading from last week and this week are identical. Fuck my life.

The human body is a strange, wonderful, sometimes incredibly bloody annoying thing. Apart from one glass of wine to toast Madiba on Friday, I did nothing differently this week than I did last week. I worked my ass off in the gym. My nutrition was textbook. And I tried my super hardest to get more sleep (I was in bed at 9:02 last night, no jokes).

So why the stubborn scale reading? Who knows. Water retention. Muscle gain. Random weirdness. Or my body yelling at me ‘I lost 2kg for you last week woman, WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT??!!’.

Staying motivated enough to keep working your ass off is easy when the scale shows a loss. That doesn’t take much effort or willpower. You’re on an adrenaline high from seeing the numbers go down, and carrying on is a breeze. It’s when the scale shows a 0 or a gain that ploughing on becomes bloody hard bloody work.

But that’s what separates the women from the girls, and it’s what’s helped make this journey a success – carrying on in the face of adversity, regardless of what the scale says. I’m killing it in the gym and my jeans are looser. So quite frankly the scale can go fuck itself.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go punch the next week in the face now.

 

Fight

2 Comments »

I’m too stupid to eat cheese

Cheese. For clever people only.

Cheese. For clever people only.

 

Cheese confuses me. It can’t just be one thing like a normal food group – oh no. It’s a protein AND a fat, which completely mucks up my eating plan. I’m supposed to have X amount of protein, fat and whatever veg I want at every meal, which is usually a fairly simple guideline to follow. But when I factor cheese into the equation, I have to start doing all sorts of sums to figure out, well if it’s this much protein and this much fat, then this is how much oil I’m allowed to cook with once I deduct that from my allowance and then now how much does my steak weigh, and then I start to GO CROSS-EYED!

 

This is not a block of cheese. This is a mathematical equation on a plate.

This is not a block of cheese. This is a mathematical equation on a plate.

 

I used to be the kind of person who weighed everything out to the last gramme, and had a fit if I ate one calorie more than I was supposed to. I once wrote a page-long email to a friend stressing about the fact that I’d done my calcuations incorrectly and had eaten half an avo instead of the quarter I was allowed, and how I could FEEL THE FAT CLINGING TO MY BONES! She quite rightly told me to get stuffed.

These days I’m way more chilled (although I did have a mild panic last night about the fact that I used light soya sauce with my stir-fry for today’s lunch and would that make me retain water for tomorrow’s weigh-in????). But, last night’s cameo paranoia aside, I’m way more relaxed than I used to be about food.

I think it’s because I’m not on such a rigid calorie-controlled diet anymore (1500 calories wtf?). My meals are now the size of a small, planet, I eat a ridiculous amount of calories every day for someone on a weight loss plan, and I’m NEVER HUNGRY.

 

Hallelujah!

Hallelujah!

 

As long as you get the basics right – enough protein to build muscle, don’t overeat on the healthy fats, veg, veg and more veg, you don’t have to get your panties in a twist if there are trace amounts of sugar in some or other sauce that you use once a fortnight. The bacon that I buy has nitrates in it, and I don’t care.

 

This is me at breakfast. Not caring.

This is me at breakfast. Not caring.

 

And I think that’s been my secret to success so far – just being super chilled about the whole thing. The minute I start stressing is when everything goes to a ball of shit. So as long as I just keep calm and carry on, I’ll be ok.

 

Who wouldn’t be ok eating meals like this?

Who wouldn’t be ok eating meals like this?

 

And because I’m so focused on being chillaxed (a bit on the contradictory side, I admit), I’ve managed to slowly but surely change my food behaviours. I haven’t visited a McDonald’s, KFC, Steers or any other fast food joint since 1 July. I haven’t had any sweets, chocolates or desserts (apart from one small bowl of vanilla ice cream) for six months. And my local watering hole, Banana Jam, recently put out a missing persons ad for me.

So ja, things are going well. I’m sticking to the good stuff, staying away from the bad stuff (95% of the time) and eating enough at one meal to feed a small family for a month. And it’s working, because my size 42 jeans are a month old and already they’re feeling a bit loose. So I have no complaints, and a lot to be thankful for. Although I do wish I’d taken A-level Maths so I could bloody well figure out how to eat cheese!

Leave a comment »

Life is short

 

RIP Tata

RIP Tata

 

I wasn’t going to post today, mostly because I’ve been too sad to remember my own name, let alone construct sentences (although if my boss is reading this, I finished all my work for the day, I promise!).

But I felt that while we are mourning what is perhaps our nation’s most profound loss, it is important for us to pay tribute to the legacy of greatness that has been left behind. And the best way I can think of to do that is by being a person of authenticity, honour, integrity and courage.

 

Mandela 2

 

That person is definitely someone I’m striving to be. But that wasn’t always the case. I used to be someone who was completely closed off, someone who never talked about their feelings, and someone who hid all their emotions from the people closest to them. Which is why when I saw this magazine cover recently, it resonated with me in a way that almost made me too sad to open it and read the article.

 

Heat cover

 

I don’t know what it’s like to be constantly in the public eye and having to fend off paparazzi when you’re just trying to have a pee. But I do know exactly what it feels like to think of yourself as a disgrace and an embarrassment to your family. For years I dreaded going home for Christmas (and in a lot of ways still do) as I knew I would have to face the disappointment of my parents – disappointment at having lost the battle against morbid obesity.

Because I never opened up to my parents about my struggles with emotional eating, weight gain, depression, and a whole host of other wonderful, happy things, they had no idea of the immensity of the demons I was fighting. Instead of sharing my pain, I became sullen, defensive and angry, and a thoroughly unpleasant person to be around. I was so utterly depressed at having to be myself that I wanted to make everyone else depressed too. So I did. And I was damn good at it.

Faced with this gargantuan monster of a daughter, my parents had no idea what to do with me. They wanted to help me obviously, but since I wasn’t sharing anything with them, they had no idea of the emotional turmoil inside. And so the only way they could think of to help me was by negative reinforcement and reverse psychology. Which in layman’s terms means saying cruel, harsh things to me in order to force me onto a healthier path.

Unfortunately as any self-respecting binge eater will tell you, all that being insulted will do to you is make you cry, and then eat an entire KFC 21-piece bucket by yourself. Not exactly the intended reaction. But I didn’t know how to explain myself (or more accurately, I didn’t want to explain myself) because I was embarrassed and ashamed of who I’d let myself become. And so I quickly carved out a role for myself. I was Nicola, the big, fat, unhappy, angry loser of the family, who made everyone upset and got a constant barrage of insults thrown at her for her trouble.

That’s not to say my parents weren’t supportive in other ways. They paid for me to join a gym, see a dietician – a whole host of things. But the more I kept my feelings to myself, the more they thought my obesity was simply a case of me not having any self-control over food, rather than the deep-seated psychological problem that it actually was. And who can blame them?

My worst memory is of waking up on the morning of my 30th birthday, opening one card from my aunt that exploded confetti all over me (they have the best cards in the UK) and then opening a letter from my grandmother telling me what a complete disappointment I was to the family, and how I’d let everyone down by refusing to take care of myself. And so my 30s kicked off with me sitting in a pile of confetti, crying my eyes out.

I think things would have probably carried on that way indefinitely if I hadn’t suddenly become so sick and tired of suffocating myself. At the end of last year I decided I had had enough of living in fear and cutting off the air supply to my future. I wanted to live, to fulfill my potential and become the person I knew I had it in me to be. And I knew that the first step to healing would be to open up, even just a little, to my parents and tell them that I was overweight not just because I ate too many pies, but because I was sick and unhappy as well.

 

Mandela 4

 

I of course picked the perfect moment to do this – over Christmas dinner. (I wouldn’t really recommend this if I were you, but I saw an opening, and I went for it.) I didn’t give them the whole song and dance (or we would have been there till New Year) but enough to make them realise that my weight problems were about more than extra calories – they were about emotions too.

They were a bit taken aback at first (Nicola speaks!) but they listened, and then Christmas dinner continued on as normal, and that was that. But the next day (obviously after a parental conference) they brought the subject up again, and for the first time I was able to speak to my parents like a normal person and tell them what I needed in the way of support and healing. And it was like a balm to my soul.

That talk on Christmas Day has been the foundation on which I have built my infrastructure of wellness this year, and it has been invaluable. Because how can we expect those that we love to support us if we don’t take them along for the ride in every way? This journey is about more than just shedding weight – it is about shedding baggage as well, and transforming who we are both inside and out. And if we can’t be completely honest and vulnerable with our loved ones as we walk the path to wellness, we can’t expect them to understand how we are changing, and who we are becoming as a result.

 

Mandela 3

 

So today, as we salute one of the finest men our country will ever know, I challenge you to live with the same authenticity that Madiba did. You may have told your friends and family that you are embarking on a journey, but have you made yourself vulnerable enough to reap the true value of the support that they are offering you? Because, as we have been reminded today, life is short, and we only have a finite amount of time to make our mark on this earth. What will your mark be?

 

Mandela 1

 

I can’t end this in a way poignant enough to do our nation’s father justice, so instead I will borrow from Mandela himself, as he once borrowed from another:

 

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,

Our presence automatically liberates others.

 Mandela 7

6 Comments »

An ode to personal training

It is hard getting up at 5am. No matter how much I try to dress it up for myself (lovely coffee waiting for you when you get up, mmmm!), when that alarm goes off at 5am I would rather pull my intestines out through my nose than have to get out of bed. And quite frankly that coffee can sod off and die.

Literally the only thing that gets me out of bed is the fact that I know someone’s waiting for me, and that they’re going to make my life hell if I’m late. I know myself, and so I organised it this way. If you don’t get up, you’re going to burpee hell and never coming back.

That someone is of course my Evo Fitness personal trainer, a man who has the dubious joy of seeing me at 6am without any makeup on. I really should send him a condolence card.

 

My trainer, De Waal. Big card coming his way.

My trainer, De Waal. Big card coming his way.

 

Personal training might be a luxury considering that I do have a perfectly good Virgin Active membership, but it is truly one of the best investments I’ve made in myself this year. There is no way I would be able to push myself as long and as hard (long and hard, heehee) without someone there to guide me.

If I didn’t have a trainer, I’d still be lifting those cute pink weights they have in the ladies’ section at the gym. But because I have someone to push me, I lift big black boy weights, and don’t question it. You want me to do 4 lengths of the gym with a 24kg kettlebell in each hand? (Are you fucking insane?) Ok, if you think I can do it then I guess I can do it. Give me those weights and let’s get cracking.

 

Kettlebell

 

After having had 10 months of personal training, I can say with confidence that the most important thing to have in a relationship with a trainer is trust. You have to trust that they’re going to do everything they can to help you reach your goals, and they have to trust that you’re committed enough to achieve them, whether you’re in the gym or out of it.

If I’m honest, I have to say that at the beginning of the year, my head was in the game, but my heart wasn’t. But since 1 July, I’ve been all in and then some, and my awesome trainer has been a huge part of my success. Thanks dude.

That’s not to say that it’s all fun and games and backslapping. While it’s great if you get on well with your trainer (and I do) you’re not paying them to be your friend. You’re paying them to get your ass into gear whether you like it or not. And so while you may usually think highly of your trainer before and after a session, what you think of them during a session can tend to differ somewhat.

What I think of my trainer before a session:

 

Cool dude who is going to help me get fit and strong.

Cool dude who is going to help me get fit and strong.

 

What I think of my trainer when he makes me do deadlifts and back squats:

 

Awesome dude who is turning me into a lifting badass!

Awesome dude who is turning me into a lifting badass!

 

What I think of my trainer when he makes me do burpees:

 

Satan and his yoga!!!

Satan and his yoga!!!

 

What I think of my trainer when he makes me do bear crawls:

 

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH

 

Jokes aside though, getting a trainer is really one of the best things I’ve done this year. I can do more, lift more and fit into smaller jeans as a result. And I’m not Rockefeller either – it’s just something I’ve prioritised over other things that were important to me, like getting hammered as fuck and throwing my name all over town. These days the only thing I’m throwing is a medicine ball (and perhaps the occasional fit when I have to bear crawl to it instead of walk like a normal person).

3 Comments »

Weigh-in Day 3.12.13

111 – unlucky for cricket players, lucky for me!

111 – unlucky for cricket players, lucky for me!

 

BAM! 111 – 2 whole kilos down since last week. Take that gravity!

It’s been a good week. I’ve worked my ass off and I deserve to have those 2 kilos erased from the scale for good. I’ve stuck to my eating plan like a plaster on a hairy arm, sweated buckets in the gym over five killer sessions, stripped the skin off my hands (literally) doing 400 kettlebell swings, and managed a PB in my Monday morning prowler session.

 

I’ve got your number you metal bitch

I’ve got your number you metal bitch

 

And I managed to resist the lure of wine, champagne and cocktails on Saturday night, even though every cell in my body was screaming ‘Drown us! Drown us in sweet sweet alcohol oh beloved one!’.

So yeah, I totally deserve to have lost every last one of those 2000 grammes, and I’m super amped to keep on going. All I need to do is carry on with what I’m doing, and try to improve on the amount of sleep I get. Next week can bring it all it likes – I’m going to punch it in the face and then some.

 

Weigh-in Day 3.12.13

Leave a comment »

Sleep is for the weak

Sleep quote 2

 

I hate sleeping. HATE IT! There is nothing that bores the pants off me more than sleeping. Except maybe Premier League football. But they’re pretty close.

For as long as I can remember, sleep has been something I’ve had to work for. I remember lying awake as child, hearing my parents go to bed way after my own bedtime, and still being awake hours later. My father told me that when I was a baby, he had a ‘who can stay up the latest competition’ with me. Apparently he fell asleep first, and woke up to find me the next day, still lying wide awake, staring at the ceiling. One time he couldn’t take it anymore and gave me a shot of whisky to help me sleep. That apparently did the trick. (And started a lifelong craving at the same time. Nice one dad.)

 

Sleep babygro

 

But yes, sleep – hate it. It takes me ages to fall asleep, I always wake up in the middle of the night, and then I wake up early in the morning too and can’t get back to sleep. Exercise does help me to fall asleep easier now, but the other problems persist. But mostly it’s just so BORING! I mean really, who could be bothered lying there like a big lump for hours when there are just so many more interesting things to do? I could be reading, watching tv, surfing the net, playing Candy Crush – doing any manner of things other than lying there with my eyes closed accomplishing absolutely nothing.

 

Sleep quote

 

I realise I am weird. You do not have to tell me this. I know you’re sitting there thinking ‘Oh wow, but I LOVE sleeping! I could sleep all day if you let me. It’s my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE thing to do’. Congratulations, you are normal. I on the other hand detest sleeping. I wake up in the middle of the night praying that it’s at least 5am so I can get up and DO STUFF. And then when I see it’s only 3am, it’s like ‘OMG I have to go back to sleep for at least another TWO HOURS? Aaaaarrrrggggggg!’.

 

Sleep mask

 

Now, being that I possess more than one brain cell, I realise that sleep is essential to both weight loss and healthy living. You need to rest, your body needs time to recuperate, and apparently if you don’t get enough sleep, you can put on weight! How unfair is that?! I’m an endomorph here people – breathing makes me put on weight! I don’t need another challenge on top of that!

Conventional wisdom recommends between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night. At the beginning of the year, I was getting 5. And most of that after 12pm, which I believe is terrible. Apparently every hour of sleep you get before 12am is equal to two hours of sleep after. Better quality of sleep or something, blah blah.

So when I started the old ‘get your ass in gear’ programme on 1 July, I knew I was going to have to get more (ARG!) sleep. Funnily enough, the idea of having to sleep more was scarier than having to give up carbs. Yes, I already told you, I’m weird.

But I’m a hard worker too. So the first night, I valiantly switched off my TV at 9:30pm (this would be like a normal person going to bed at 6pm) AND missed the Real Housewives of Orange County. I hope my body appreciates the bloody sacrifice I’m making for it. Missing all my TV programmes. Humph.

And since then, I’ve forced myself to be in bed by at least 10pm every night. In bed, not asleep. I would say I generally fall asleep around 10:30 or so. So that’s now 6.5 hours of sleep I get a night. Not enough yet, but I’m getting there.

 

Sleep quote 3

I actually don’t know how to physically get more sleep though. It’s not like I don’t try. My evening routine is:

  • Come home from work
  • Make all my meals for the next day
  • Watch TV for an hour (I’m looking at you here Grey’s Anatomy)
  • Do the dishes
  • Get all my gym stuff, etc, ready for the next day
  • Answer a call from the party police telling me to keep it down because I’m just having too much fun for one person

And all of that gets me into bed by 10pm, or just before. Then it’s up at 5am for gym. These people who say they sleep for 8 or 9 hours a night – I literally do not know how they do it. Are they able to stop time for a few hours to get some extra shut-eye in? I would really love to know.

So ja, me and sleep – not the best bedfellows. We’ve reached an uneasy truce for now, because I desperately want to reach my goal weight, and I know that sleeping more will help me get there. But I’m not happy about it.

4 Comments »