Tag Archives: exercise

The Break Up

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This year, once again I found myself beach bound with too much luggage and an incapacity to resolve in my mind the fact that I had not achieved what I set out for myself at the start of the year: to never go through a fat summer again. Imagine an overweight woman, sitting by the window, watching her family and friends outside in the Australian sun. Now watch her look down at herself, her stomach, and then back outside. She turns side on to look at her reflection in the mirror, checking no one is coming, then back outside. Looking square on in the mirror, she fluffs up her curls a little. “Right, you did this, so off you go”.

Every slim young thing that walked passed my camping site and it must be said, all those sitting at my very own table only highlighted to me how much I was still a physical disappointment, and my preoccupation with it only highlighted to me I’m a mental lightweight. I was unable to put aside the feelings of inadequacy and enjoy myself, falling further and further into a rather low state.

I must admit that for the past few months, and possibly a contributing factor accounting for my blog silence, I felt a creeping feeling of failure sneak up on me. There’s been something in the background, something I just couldn’t quite see clearly, shaking its finger at me and daring me to respond. Silencing that little voice inside*, I’ve tried to move quickly into action, keeping as busy as possible to avoid inviting over the black dog to bark at my backdoor.

As someone very talented in the art of emotional diversion, I convinced myself that the problem lay within the domain of my marriage. Namely, that I have never done anything to make my husband proud of me and therefore respect me. Such was my delusion, when watching a Grand Slam hosted in my home town, I actually wondered whether I could transform myself into a tennis-superstar-come-lately simply to impress the toolman.

Feminists put the gun down, you don’t want to waste that one bullet just yet.

On arriving home from my camping trip, I successfully humoured my gloomy disposition and opened and closed every cupboard in the house until I found a card I received from my family ten years ago before I left for Italy on a year long study trip. Along with the “Ciao Bellas” and the “Good Lucks” were more than a few messages that indicated that “the Italian boys will just love you” and one message from my mother’s dear friend that actually said, “Good Luck Darling. They’re going to love your shape”. My shape? Tucked inside the card was a photo taken of me before I left. I stared at it for a long time, wiping the tears from my eyes.

That was who was in the back of my mind. The old me, holding me hostage and incapacitating the me that lives in 2011. For the past two years, I’ve been holding up a ten year old image of myself as the picture perfect unattainable range of who I should be. And in every corner of my house was a relic that told the narrative of my disappointment and my endless consumption to compensate.

The next day, I called, booked and paid for a commercial skip to be delivered to my house. For the past week I have emptied, cleaned and purged all the things that have been terrorising me. I walked up and down the incline of my drive, sweating and puffing. After watching me all week, the two men who live next door (and who I might add have not spoken to me in five years) caught me, cottage cheese bum in the air, fishing out a pair of tiny olive pants during a bout of post-throw-dissonance.

“Are you moving?” they yelled.

My sweaty, frizz haloed head popped out from the depths of the bin. “Huh? Oh, no. I’m a Buddhist now. I don’t need stuff”. Ok, yes. I admit I’m odd but seeing as I’m quite partial to oversharing, it was the easiest way to escape unscathed.

When the skip drove off on the back of a truck, I thought my work was done. But as I watched it turn the corner, I realised I was broken, that I’m not who I was born to be. So I sat down (and here’s the bit where you’ll have to reserve judgement about my sanity) and had a little talk with myself. The me I’m supposed to be has the innocence of a child, without fancy things and shiny hair, nor is she a heavily committed working woman (you want that bullet now?). She’s a fit mother, able to live her life. Able to jump in a river without hiding anything, run a little without collapsing and sit with her family without shame. And you know what else; I really don’t need any stuff to get that.

It was time to Break Up with myself!

So I did what any good woman does after a break up; I cleaned my fingers red raw. Up on ladders, down on knees, climbing on top of baths, toilets and sinks. And each day as I’ve said goodbye to another little piece of me, I’ve put less and less into my body to quieten that doubting voice. No doubt we’ll have conversations in the future, discuss some misery over some bread and cheese, but I don’t think we’ll fight.

Perhaps I’m a getting just a little bit too abstract on you here? I did a spot of cleaning, so what? A better illustration of my state of mind may be in the response I gave to a cleaning shop owner a few days ago. On my third visit during a single week his curiosity finally got the better of him and he asked,

“Let me guess. You’re a caterer? A chef? A cleaner?”

I paused ever so slightly and then responded, “Umm, I’m not too sure. I think I’m a nurse”. And with that I left, realising that I had spoken the truth; that I’m not sure where I’m going or who I’ll be at the end of this year. It could all go wrong, or bad, or right. And perhaps I am not of sound mind right now…

But give a girl a break, I have been through a break up after all.

* Note: There is no actual foreign voice inside my head. Call off the Doc’s Ma.

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Well, Well, Well…

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Well well well, what do we have here? I’ve found it increasingly difficult to recognize my own good self recently. My “go-getter” status has definitely reached a new high, depending on who you ask of course. In actual fact, I seem to be slowly but surely morphing into my father.

When this afternoon I was daydreaming about my newly purchased attachment for the garden hose (do you know what those things can do these days?) and found myself calling my husband to see if he could bring home an empty milk bottle so that I might concoct a home made dripper for my basil, I realized I’d gone too far.

I wasn’t quite ready to tear myself away, so whilst I watered (the mist nozzle really gets me going by the way), I considered whether I actually had tipped over the “cat-lady-rose-bush-croc-wearing” line.

The funny thing is that like a mysterious beast of prey, you wouldn’t know what I was truly capable of upon meeting me; that I would be daydreaming about giving the corn (yes corn!) a good mulch and crying with delight when I found a worm in the compost. Unfortunately I live only a few kilometres from the city of Melbourne and therefore live with what could most generously be described as a large courtyard with a small lawn.

I grew up in the city but find that I move ever so gently, year by year, towards being a woman I would have never thought I would know. The vain city girl still lives strong; the biggest indicator of which is evident in all the fantasies I have about moving to a more rural area.

My fantasies always involve a great set of pins in tight jeans, bouncy hair and (I can hear the collective sigh of us fat girl now), a beautiful shirt tucked in to said jeans. Ah….the serenity…

Unfortunately little dreams don’t manifest themselves, so in the last few days, I’ve stepped into a new world, hoping to help me get back on track. Anyone following my weight loss would see, blaringly obviously, that I haven’t lost any significant weight in some time.

The difference in my appearance has motivated many to comment positively on how I look, inadvertently resulting in a release on the weight loss accelerator. But well aware of a job half done, I decided to take up a free trial at my local gym.

Not so much a gym as it is an oestrogen laden, sweat soaked women’s group, where middle aged gals doodle their way through a serious of hydraulic machines, enjoying a good dose of Abba coming through the speakers.

Needless to say, when I walked in, I knew instantly that it was the place for me to be. Free trial up and a decision about joining imminent, I went in today to complete my final workout free of charge. It was only when a woman walked in, donned in lycra and a sweat band rolled and tied around her forehead, all coordinated of course, I realised that I couldn’t possibly be more comical than that and would therefore be quite happy there.

Unfortunately joining seems to be more difficult that one would expect. You need to make an appointment for a fitness assessment, at which point I’m sure I’ll be sold all sorts of pointless gym-ing paraphernalia. When I finished my final trial, I walked up seriously to the young girl behind the desk,

“Now I’ve decided that I would like to join. I think this could work for me”

“Well, you have to book in for your assessment. Tomorrow’s no good, Friday’s no good. Why don’t you call next week?”

My face dropped. I had half expected a brass band to emerge from the staff room with a personalised congratulatory rendition of It’s Raining Men, every girls’ power song (C’mon, you know it is!). Alas, nothing; not even a discrete applause. It put me off enough to consider backing out.

But some places you have to get to on your own. And it could be the crazy in me, but lately I’ve been carrying my own little orchestra inside anyway…

Wasted Weeks and White Roll Redemption

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February has been a period of blatant teenage-inspired petulance. For the last three weeks I have been “doing” weight watchers but unlike the months gone past where I have been successfully losing weight, this month my energy has been spent on lies, manipulation and pointless negotiation. Such arguments between Me, Myself and I have included:

  • Convincing myself that a packet of white fluffy rolls are ok, finding myself halfway through said packet, panicking, then running the remainder under the kitchen tap
  • Telling myself that I should probably plateau at current weight, should new, cheap flimsy dress sit loosely on ample bosom rather than stretch across appealingly (so mistaken on all fronts!)
  • Presenting what I thought was a very convincing argument: I’ll get fitter and exercise after I’ve lost weight; I’ll lose weight after I exercise….hmmm
  • It’s perfectly justified to eat lunch after a five hour fast, so it’s equally valid to have a light meal at midnight seeing as the last time I ate was 7pm…my body needs it, I’m telling you!; And the real cracker
  • Berating myself for not moving enough whilst finding comfort under a fuffy doona; “Ah…num, num, num, num….”

All this energy spent lying to myself only helps to maintain my current weight and therefore my unhappiness and ultimately, a sense of failure. Why oh why would I be so self destructive? There are those that eat well, exercise, read, talk and socialise with confidence. To you, Congrats! There are so many of us though that choose our poison, hell bent on preserving the status quo. The toolman is very good at recognising these toxic patterns in his life and annoyingly and consciously works towards breaking these shackles…which only serves to highlight my inadequacies.

Then again, he’s my husband and I’m happy for him and his highly evolved state…umm yeah…absolutely…

So this week, I’m breaking it down so even an ape couldn’t get it wrong. It’s shameful that I’ve got this low (and I can hear even the dearest of loved ones sighing with exasperation) but it’s all I can do to get the momentum going. There’s nothing witty or clever about it; diarising the most basic of tasks certainly doesn’t make for good reading. For those of you whom understandably couldn’t be less interested in my goals for this week, LOOK AWAY NOW:

  • Walk! Four times, four hours, would be lovely.
  • Limit food consumption to 20 points (Weight Watchers System)
  • Track food consumption like “skinny girl gone mad”
  • Drink 2L of that scrumptious stuff we call mineral water (without the ginger wine snuck in would be an added bonus)!

So if you happen to stumble upon a snoozing Hauling, permission to propel foot up enormous bum granted. And if you see me strolling through suburban streets on Wednesday with a gorgeous Eurasian baby, I’m exercising, not pretending he’s mine…

Note to concerned over-eating anonymous professionals: You don’t need to tell me, there will be no more rolls passing across the threshold of my front door.

The Heavy Rye Debate

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Buying bread at the supermarket is like shopping for your ideal self. I read not long ago (from a very funny fellow weight loss candidate) that an overweight person will regularly fill their basket with things that represent their ideal- veggies, fruit and fat free biscuits. For me, this sentiment really reveals itself in the bread isle.

Last week, whilst pondering my ideal body shape and which loaf of bread was going to do it for me, a gorgeous couple came up beside me. I quickly picked up the soy and linseed “women’s health loaf” and confidently placed it in my trolley whilst concurrently fantasising about making my way to pick up a “women’s health” magazine (which would of course be precariously balanced on top of my hand bag for every one to see). In reality, I actually just plodded around the corner and did a full loop back into the same bread isle where I threw out the overpriced health loaf and picked up my favourite heavy rye.

I must admit, I usually experience an irrational sense of satisfaction from the bread I purchase. Fluffy white speaks fatty, whilst dark rye speaks healthy, tanned, slim. In reality, my shopping basket doesn’t really reflect my size at all. But even this is a huge source of embarrassment for me. I am sure that those who see my trolley or what I eat think that I am one of those sad women stuffing their faces in the car on the way home but order light in the restaurant (we all know the ones). Should I just order a pizza and stop the confusion, I regularly ask myself. It’s much more comfortable to appraise someone as a fatty because of their poor eating habits- more uncomfortable is the fatty that “is trying”.

This is the same reason that you’ll rarely see me exercising down the street. Walking works well- but I feel self conscious traipsing around my suburb the size I am. I’ve heard others laugh and nudge each other when a fat woman in stretchy pants puffs their way down the street. “At least she’s doing something about it!” I’ll spit out at them. But in reality, I’m terrified of being that woman and having that sideways poor-thing-but-it’s-kind-of-amusing look from strangers. A kinder person may not even consider this a conundrum, but a gentle soul I am not- I am all too aware of the bitchy perils of being a young woman.

So I admit, yes, sesame sour dough was my undoing this week. It was heavy, sour and beige. Not my ideal and it certainly reinforces the same weight problem. I know I’ve gained weight this week and I know I’m running (ok, a slow amble) round in circles doing the same things and getting the same crappy results. I’m also aware of coming apart at the seams because I drank a bottle of wine last night and I’m a non-drinker (and a two pot screamer as my good friend phrased delicately).

So tomorrow I’ll weigh in reluctantly. But I will weigh in because I will not hide from the scales. I just hope they’ll be kind…