Losing It

My mad, crazy journey to health and beyond

Here’s what you missed

If you’ve been eagerly logging on over the past few weeks in the hopes of reading about my general fabulousness, then you’ll have been bitterly disappointed. That’s because life, with its delicious sense of irony, has kept me so busy I’ve barely had time to breathe, let alone blog. I don’t even have time now, but I felt I couldn’t keep my 7 followers waiting any longer for my latest pearls of wisdom, so here I am, blogging during my post-gym coffee, wearing sweaty gym clothes, and half-watching American Restoration. True story.

So because my coffee’s getting cold, and I have to go write about baby showers and lotteries and life insurance in a few minutes, here’s what you’ve missed out on over the past few weeks:

  • Lots of work
  • Lots and lots of work
  • Seriously, LOTS of work
  • Hardly any sleep
  • 4am trail running wake-ups
  • Plenty of trail running swearing
  • Bumps, bruises and muscle strains
  • No takeaways
  • Irritation caused by no takeaways
  • Lots of healthy food
  • Protein bars
  • No more protein bars!
  • Binge-watching How I Met Your Mother
  • Walking out of Fifty Shades of Complete Fucking Rubbish
  • Lots of coffee
  • Lots of thinking about cleaning
  • Lots of not actually cleaning
  • Trying on old clothes
  • Realising old clothes are still too fricking small
  • Realising current jeans are too big
  • Realising next size down jeans are too small
  • Realising pants choices are either ‘keep pulling them up’ or ‘subject general populace to epic cameltoe’
  • Choosing third option of ‘no pants’
  • Doing ridiculous scale dance every Tuesday morning
  • Again with option of no pants
  • Seeing numbers go down frustratingly sloooooowly
  • High fiving because at least numbers are going down
  • Still enjoying the ride

So those are the word updates. Here are the picture ones:

Three weeks ago

Three weeks ago

Two weeks ago (or as I like to call it, what the FUCK?)

Two weeks ago (or as I like to call it, what the FUCK?)

Last week

Last week

This morning

This morning

See what I mean? Slow. Frustratingly slow. But hey, at least the numbers are going down. I may or may not reach my goal weight (round about 70kg) by the end of the year, but I’ll get there eventually. And in the meantime there’s lots more eating, sleeping, trail running, swearing, coffee-drinking, working, playing and going pants-less to be done. Have a good Tuesday everyone – I know I will!

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You want a hot body? You better work bitch

Much to my surprise, the reaction to my last blog was overwhelming. I guess semi-nudity is always a hit, no matter how many back rolls you have (will bear this in mind for future blog posts). So to those of you who read it, connected with it, and took the time to share your thoughts with me, a huge thank you!

What was most gratifying was seeing how many people agreed with my point of view – how having an obsessive attitude towards healthy eating and fitness is completely unsustainable, and how we need to focus on the bigger picture of making healthy choices for the rest of our lives, and not just for the immediate future.

That said, there was some feedback that worried me a little, and made me think that some people had missed the point either accidentally or on purpose. What I was trying to say was, don’t get so bogged down in the tiny insignificant details, and if you’ve worked hard, don’t let a ridiculous scale reading bother you. It’s for the rest of your life so keep on trucking. What I wasn’t saying was spend all week on the couch eating takeaways and thinking, ‘meh, it’s for the rest of my life, I still got plenty of time to eat right and work out’.

No. Just… no.

While I’m all about the bigger picture, and being relaxed, and not letting a pathetic loss like 200g (i.e. this week) get me down, I’m all about working my ass off too. Literally. There is a pair of size 36 skinny jeans in my cupboard that I am looking forward to CRUSHING at some point. Which is why over the past week I:

1. Logged all my food like a macro-loving fool

Screenshot_2015-02-05-15-44-58

If it was going in my tummy, it went into MyFitnessPal first. Much as I would love to gorge on pizza and Lindt balls, it just ain’t happening. In fact, there are more carbs in a large Debonairs Tikka Chicken pizza than I’m allowed EVER, even on a carb refeed day (trust me, I checked). Mama just don’t have the macros. And I can’t order a regular pizza, because please, who does that?

2. Entered a clusterfuck* of runs

(*Official collective noun)

Night run, parkrun, trail run, I did them all. I ran, I walked, I swore, I complained, I faceplanted like a motherfucker and hurt my hand badly, I came last, I got a PB on my 5k, and I finished every one of them. Because that’s how I roll.

Constantia Trail Run

Grabouw trail run

Parkrun PB

It also has to be said that in the moment I tripped over a tree root, went flying, hit the deck like a sack of potatoes  and bent all the fingers in my right hand back, literally the first thought that went through my head was “how am I going to lift on Friday??”. I don’t know if that’s sad or awesome – I’m gonna go ahead and say a bit of both.

3. Did Satan’s workout

On top of my two PT sessions a week, I also go into the gym once a week for a conditioning session on my own. The one I’ve been given at the moment I have lovingly (??) dubbed Satan’s workout. Because only the Devil himself (or at a push, Lord Voldemort) could have come up with this hellfire on earth.

My trainer. Satan.

My trainer. Satan.

I would love to tell you exactly what it involves, but it mostly passes by in a haze of kettlebell swings, ball slams, assault bike fuckery, and medium-grade nausea. All of which result in me looking like this afterwards:

IMG-20150121-WA0001

Now that’s attractive.

4. Rested

I am not one of these people that works out twice a day, six times a week.  Like, who’s got the time? Four to five times a week is enough for me thanks very much. Bob Harper said it once on The Biggest Loser and it’s still true today. Rest is a weapon. Watch me wield this bitch.

Rest trail run

5. Had me some spoils

This is where the bigger picture thing comes in. Because while I did all the work, I gots to have me some of the play too.

Like for starters, a well-deserved pedicure for my tired, trail running feet. Thanks Rouge Day Spa, you’re the best! And because I like me some unusual colours, I didn’t go for a red or pink – instead I went for this off-beat what-the-heck grey-blue colour, called Pretty Ugly. Which actually I think is pretty awesome. Don’t worry Pretty Ugly – my tootsies and I will show you some love!

Pretty Ugly toes

Pretty Ugly

Then because as of 1 February I’ve given up takeaways for the next 100 days (which means no more “I’m too lazy to cook, let’s get some Simply Asia up in here” evenings) I celebrated my last day of laziness with this:

The most awesome curry in the world.

The most awesome curry in the world.

That there is the chicken vindaloo from Bibi’s Kitchen in Wynberg, and it is without a doubt the most awesome curry in the world. Since I’ve forced myself to stay away from it for the past eight months (!), I figured my last night of takeaways was the perfect time to smash one in my face. Fuck it was good! And before you start wagging your finger at me, it was all worked into my macros. I basically lived on water and hugs just so I could eat this in the evening. And it was totally worth it.

And finally because I’m nothing if not patriotic, I had myself a little biltong orgy courtesy of Meat Locker – a delicious new butchery service I recently discovered. I of course made the fatal mistake of saying, “oh I’ll just have one slice”.

Meat Locker

Bam, that sucker was gone within 24 hours, and it took a lot of higher grade maths and hair pulling to get my macros back on track. But again, totally worth it. And now I’m hungry.

So ja, that was my week – a lot of hard work, a lot of fun, and a lot of dedication. I have no idea if the biltong was cured with sugar, or if it was grain-fed or grass-fed. I have no idea what kind of oil was used to make my chicken vindaloo. I have no idea why I stuck to my macros, trained 5 days out of the week, got enough rest and water, and only lost 200 grams. And I don’t care. Because worrying about things like that takes up too much energy and I don’t have any to spare. Britney and I are too busy working, bitch.

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Ain’t nobody got time for that

This is my third draft of this blog. I threw the other two away because the first one was too soft, and the second one was too hard. Hopefully this one will be just right.

I think the reason why I’ve found this one so difficult to write is because I’m just exhausted. I’m tired of logging onto health and fitness forums and seeing people moan about the same old shit. Worrying because they haven’t lost any weight in the past week. Stressing because they used (gasp) corn in their stir-fry. Panicking because their bacon may or may not have been preserved in sugar (the horror). Or freaking out because they don’t know when the best time of day is to drink water (spoiler alert: any time of day).

Time

I’m tired of seeing rubbish like this because it says one thing to me: the people on these plans think that their journey has an expiry date. They’re not seeing it as a lifestyle, but merely something to do for a certain amount of time, and then they can give it up and go back to mainlining pizza and channel surfing for a living. And it’s depressing.

I know, because I used to be there. I used to set myself ridiculous weight loss goals. I would say to myself, Nicola, you need to lose <X amount of weight> by <completely random social occasion>. And from that point on, I would measure time in kilograms. Ok so your <social occasion that you can only enjoy if you are 20kg lighter> is happening in 15 weeks – that means you need to lose <something stupid> every week and then you’ll finally be thin and happy and everyone will love you. I didn’t think about what would happen after the birthday/wedding/big dinner/date – I only focused on losing weight up until then. Expiry date. And then every week I didn’t hit my ridiculous weight loss target was another week I fell behind, another week further away from my goal and another week people would think badly of me for being overweight.

Same with the obsessive food worrying. Am I sticking to this plan 100%, how many grams of whatever are in this, which farm produced that, Christ Almighty were my pickles preserved with A GRAM OF SUGAR??? No-one can live like that for the rest of their lives (and if they could, they’re not the type of person I’d want to be friends with) which means again, expiry date. At some point you’re going to crack under all the obsession and become close personal friends with Colonel Sanders again. Cluck my life.

KFC

No, seriously.

Years of this. I put myself through years of this shit, and it is fucking exhausting. And what’s even worse is that I did it, because I just didn’t get it. I wanted weight loss, but I didn’t want health. I wanted to be slimmer but I didn’t really care about how I got there. And I wanted to be able to give it all up as soon as I got it, and go back to an easier, more calorific, more couch-driven way of life.

Expiry date.

You hear people say crap about sustainability all the time. “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle”. “It took years to gain, it’ll take years to lose”. Most of the time this just made me want to staple things to their head. I didn’t WANT to eat sensibly for the rest of my life. BOOOORING!!! And I didn’t WANT to wait years to look like a Victoria’s Secret model. Or even just a normal woman. I wanted to reach my goal weight NOW dammit. Fuck waiting.

I am not a patient person. I want to see results, and I want to see them now. When I first started, I was mad and upset as hell if the scale wasn’t playing along. I stressed about getting a BBQ chicken from Woolies because the sauce was made with sugar. I wanted to wear a certain dress on my birthday, and had a fit when it was still busting at the seams come party time. Because I still didn’t get it. I didn’t get that time was actually my friend. That I was sweating the small stuff WAY too much. And that the dress would still be there next year.

Some people benefit from becoming more focused on their journey. But the key for me has been in becoming more relaxed. So you didn’t lose weight this week. So what? There’s still next week. And the rest of your life. So you had pickles in your salad (that were preserved in sugar for the love of god). So what? You had a salad instead of KFC. And so you don’t fit into that dress this birthday. So what? You still have plenty more birthdays to come (even more now that you’re fitter and stronger and healthier).

Kettlebell

Boo-ya!

What I’ve come to realise along the way is that giving yourself an expiry date means giving yourself more headaches, more stress and more anxiety too. By taking that away, and truly, completely, utterly OWNING the fact that this is for the rest of your life – well, that’s way less stressful. And things like not losing weight this week, not checking food labels like some OCD mental case, and not fitting into things just yet really doesn’t matter.

I only lost 200 grams this week. I could give a flying fuck.

I only lost 200 grams this week. I could give a flying fuck.

What does matter is healthy choices and commitment. Making the best choices you can day after day, and not stressing when you have the odd off day (which you will). Worrying less about the sugar content of everything and more about not using food to self-medicate. Remembering every day why you’re doing this. And enjoying the journey for what it is – one of insight, growth, understanding, and ultimately, freedom.

Because when you do that, you see that every week of hard work, whether you lost weight over those seven days or not, eventually adds up to two years’ worth of massive change, both inside and out:

Comparison Front

Comparison Side

Comparison Back

Yes, it took two years. Yes, there were a lot of fuck-ups along the way. And yes I’m still very much a work in progress. But the important part is that it’s progress, and a huge amount at that. So please. Stop worrying about not having lost weight this week. Stop worrying about how much fucking corn is in your stir-fry. And start focusing on what really matters – the rest of your life. And that’s something I have plenty of time for.

Statue

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