Saturday, 18 May 2013

Support

A friend of mine shared with me at our regular Friday lunch that she feels like she is not achieving anything. That she isn't keeping up at work, and feels like she really should have accomplished more. That she feels old, and tired. And I was so surprised. This lady has recently bought a very large house right on the water in one of the best areas in Sydney. The house has a pool, multiple-spot garage, and more than three rooms. She is very well respected at work. She draws admiring glances from men whenever we are together. She has a great husband and two well balanced, gorgeous children. And yet, she is not feeling good about herself or her life.

I could not contain my amazement, and shared that I had also been feeling 'flat'. I had just turned 39 the week prior, the cusp of middle-age (cringe), and had spent my first few days of my last year of the 'dirty thirties' lamenting my single mother-corporate worker-cleaning-washing-press&repeat-life and what appeared to be a waste of nearly 4 decades (yikes).

As I sat listening to my friend's heartfelt dismay at how cowed she felt by life and how much I could commiserate, I made a decision. I decided I was not going to criticise her, or coach her, or compare her lot to mine. None of that would be useful to either of us, and would keep us in the negativity we were both experiencing.  I thought I would just support her. In fact, if I was being truthful, I, in fact also was really needing support myself.

For the remainder of the 35 minutes we had (she had forgotten she had to attend a lunch meeting); we created a plan for what we would set out to achieve in the coming week. As we developed our 'gameplan', it was like the clouds lifted and rolled away after a storm. She started sharing about accomplishments she had made that week that she had forgotten about, we had a little laugh at ourselves, and felt like we could pick ourselves up and 'have another crack'. It was a very valuable 15 minutes for us both, and I came away feeling that this use of time would support not just us but our respective families, our colleagues, our managers, our staff, but in fact every person that we would interact with from that point forward. A very different type of lunch to our usual idle chats.

So we now have a commitment to email each other with what we intend to work on toward our goals for the coming week, and catch up the following Friday, so we can accountable to one another for what we did or didn't accomplish. Support in action.

I'm now excited rather than dismayed. Maybe getting older includes getting wiser. The jury is out on that in my case. Either way, we're working on our journey together. I can only see our friendship getting stronger as we support each other on this game called life.

Who are you going to choose to support today? What about the most important person you know, yourself?

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Being inspirated

I admit it. I am a fan of the My Kitchen Rules show. The premise of the show is to create a restaurant in your own home and cook for two judges (well regarded chefs) and your fellow contestants, one from each state in Australia. Its a brutal show. You get a time clock for shopping, and one for cooking. You have to make everything from scratch. You have to decorate your place to a theme. And you get scored by the judges and by your 'peers' who want to win themselves, so often have the knife out ready to stab you in the back. It has angst, emotion, intrigue and drama. That is why I like it. And I am very glad I'm not a contestant. Kind of like that car crash you drive by, and are so happy its not you.

One of the contestants, who is, shall we say, a little academically challenged, was saying to her fellow dinner guests that she thought their Wonderland theme was beautiful, and she felt "Inspirated" by it. She was ridiculed both at the table, and in virtual twitter/facebook land today. The word even made the serious newspapers. However, I was quite taken by that word. It had a certain flavour to it, a bit of pizazz and interest.  Hence, I have been thinking all day how to Inspirate myself in this journey of weight shifting that I am on as I have felt decidedly flat and uninterested by it all of late.

So. The word Inspirated looks to me like this.

It means to revisit and reinvent.

So I took down my vision board that I had already created, and made two - one for revisiting and one for reinventing. Inspirated is a big word after all, and needs some room to move.

To revisit, I put up photos of all the running and sports events I have already participated in over the last few months. Four in total over six months. I had never been in a fun run or anything similar ever in my entire adult life for fear of being ridiculed or singled out. What a big shift. I also put up photos that people have taken of me over this journey. And even I can see the difference. I am noticeably lighter and so much happier and more confident. Revisiting has made me feel proud and reinvigorated. Definitely Inspirated.

To reinvent, a concept I have been struggling with as I battle my urge to return to old habits and give up on my goals, I  put up key quotes that I really value, along with pictures of people I laugh with, and play with. They tend to be the same people who light me up and keep me strong and supported. I have also created a space for printing my little graph of progress from the 12wbt transformation page, so that I can see how far I have already come, so that when the late-night chocolate is calling, I can quickly reference my fantastic (!) work so far. Reinventing has made me feel fresh and ready to go. Most definitely Inspirated.

Who would have thought a throw away line of a mispronounced word could mean quite so much. I'm Inspirated enough to suggest the word for the next Macquarie Dictionary edition.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Run Forrest Run!

A friend of mine commented on my FB post to “Run Lyle Run!”. Forrest Gump also happened to be on TV a few weeks ago. My daughter had never seen this movie, and sat, fascinated, the whole way through. She cried, I cried. And she is a generation AA (or Millenium or whatever they call the next one after Gen Y..I can't keep up).

Got me thinking about my endeavours in being a Fat Runner.

What was it about Forrest Gump that worked? He obviously wasn't blessed with being all that clever. He was born into an ordinary family with a single mum, and had polio. A toxic combination pointing to a less than successful future. Some would say a simpleton, a fool, an idiot. But that idiot created a Fortune 500 business, won a bravery medal, became a champion tennis table player, met several of the American presidents, ran across the country (Run, Forrest, Run!), married the girl he had loved since he was a young boy, and became a father to a kid who was smart, unlike his dumb self.

That turning moment in the movie stands out for me as the key to Forrest's success - when the bullies are chasing him in their van, yet again picking on him, and his “Jenny” calls out at the top of her lungs “Run, Forrest, Run!”, and he just takes her word for it, and starts to run, with no thought other than to get away from the van, to do what his beloved wants, and the metal falls away and he is running.

What is it about Forrest Gump's seemingly effortless sucess I wonder?

Another moment in the movie which pointed to what worked for Forrest, was when he was in the Vietnamese jungle, and his best friend Bubba is injured, and he had promised they would always look out for each other, but he can't find his fallen friend anywhere, and Forrest, under massive gun fire and in danger to his life, (with no thought to it at all), carries out member after member of his platoon to safety, before finding Bubba who is mortally wounded, and Bubba dies in his arms.

“Smart” people would say Forrest's behaviour is dumb, he does things with no thought to them whatsoever. There are so many moments in the movie where people laugh at Forrest, or shake their heads in amazement at his lack of good common sense. But MAYBE that's part of what it is that worked. He didn't second guess, didn't ponder, didn't procrastinate, didn't feel bad, ruminate, talk about it, he just did exactly what he was told to do. To the letter. Not start strong then end weak, not half hearted, not 'holding back', just did the whole thing every time.

I certainly cannot say that I have ever been that consistent or played that hard in application of much of anything in my life. But, when I have, it has been such indescribable joy, relief and elation to do that. Like when I managed to get out my babies after hours and hours of agony and strain, or when I finished my incredibly difficult statistics unit for my postgraduate qualification, or when somehow me and my sisters managed to talk an airline into giving seats on a plane, my auntie into postponing the proceeding of, arrange travel insurance with the artery condition exclusion removed to successfully get my parents overseas to my dad's only brother's funeral with little time and even less money. Miracles are possible when we play full tilt.

Michelle Bridges (yes that famous trainer on Australia's Biggest Loser TV show), points out with great emphasis that motivation is a fabrication designed to give us yet another excuse to not be in action.

So what produces results then? Action. Not overthinking it. So when someone says “Run, Lyle, Run!” You know what? I am going to Just Full-on Do It.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Can a fat person run?

There are many words for us fatties - obese, heavy, curvy, round, wide - the list continues. None of these bring to mind the athletic, toned, gracefulness of the runner we see loping past while we're still wiping the sleep dust away. Or the slim muscliness of legs that actually look good in those little shorts thin people wear.

To be a runner, which is a fairly vigorous activity, fat people have to deal with copious sweatiness, pretty painful chafing, badly fitting workout clothes (who wants to see the crack of a wide backside? Or the two rolls sneaking out the side of the too-tight shirt as it rides up mid run?), laboured breathing, very sore knees and ankles, and a myriad of other symptoms of the unfit body, all while feeling highly embarrassed and uncomfortable.

The thing about running is it is so visible. Unless you buy a treadmill (which is ridiculously expensive for the average joe punter like me) and promise yourself you will use it at home (yeah right), you find yourself out displaying your fat in public in the most unflattering form of exercise possible.  The combination of the extreme visibility and the rigour of running when you're fat leaves you feeling like there's a target on your back, because how dare you let yourself get 'so big' then heft that body around in front of everyone?

These types of thoughts stopped me from even trying. So I would sit, inert, in front of the tv show Biggest Loser, season after season, so envious of the opportunity the participants had to get thin with their scary personal trainers and many-houred exercise programs,crying tears of happiness when they succeeded, eating chocolate and chips and anything else I could find in the fridge, going to bed really late, going to work, and thinking I could never put myself out there like that.

But it just kept niggling me. I wanted to run. Can fat people even run? I didn't know. So I applied a couple of tests of logic. Example 1. If my house was on fire, and my kids were still inside, I would run like a banshee out of hell to get them out of there, to keep my babies safe. Example 2. When  I can see the train in the distance, and I know if I don't catch it, I will be late for a very important meeting that my boss in counting on me to attend, I can shuffle pretty fast. So I can run if I put my mind to it.  Logically anyway.

So, I figured if I'm fat, and logically I can run, fat people must be able to run. It's just that we have to deal with a few issues thin people don't.

It has taken me nearly 18 months of daily visualisation, plenty of reading, plenty of discussions with those around me who can and do run, to work up the courage to start. To run.

I did my first registered run last Sunday. 7km in 58.54 minutes. People were walking the course faster than I ran it. But I did run it, and I ran pretty much the whole way. So yes, that must mean a fat person (in fact this fat person) can run.

I am starting this blog as I want to share both what I found works for me, in the hopes that this will encourage other fat people to run, so we can feel like we are also entitled to be included in the world of those who get the highs of exercise. Don't ask me what they are, I haven't experienced the supposed highs. Vapours, yes. Dizzy spells, yes. Highs, definitely not. Yet.

I am only at the beginning of this journey.  I have a long way to go before I can honestly say I am at peace with my fat. But, I want to run. And I am fat. So the fat runner is born.

Next blog I am hoping to start outlining the steps I have undertaken to start on this journey of the fat runner.

Being highly collaborative, and inclusive by nature I am hoping there are others who will be interested in this conversation. Please comment, respond, be in touch. I would love to hear what you think.


Do you want to become a fat runner too?  Are you a fat runner already? What's worked for you? What didn't? What would you like to see discussed? What's stopping you? I am so looking forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for reading!