A Truth About Never Finding It

Today I am sharing a link to Ellen McCarthy’s recent article in the Washington Post, it just struck a chord with me, particularly Wendy Braitman’s quote “Sometimes, the only thing left is to know that it’s ok to be uncomfortable.”

I think I will apply that statement to more than just the “single” moments in my life because, let’s face it, I have a habit of embarrassing myself on a regular basis (such as walking around the city with a hole in my skirt!), and it makes me feel better to think that being uncomfortable is inevitable for all of us, at times.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/some-people-never-find-the-love-of-their-lives-and-live-to-tell-about-it/2012/01/13/gIQAB0S43Q_story.html

There are indeed, no guarantees in life, but how I choose to deal with the hand that I am dealt is up to me.  There is no magical “cure” for heartache and longing, so I need to learn to make the best of the circumstances that are beyond my control.

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Spreading the Love

So, next Tuesday is Valentine’s day.

The annual day for lovers.

The most romantic day of the year.

A day for heart-shaped chocolates and flowers.

And what will I be doing? Why, I will be on a plane of course! Doing my weekly trek back from the middle of nowhere.

So, I officially have an excuse not to be doing anything.  That and of course, I am single.

However, I was recently speaking with a French work colleague who- being French and recently engaged, I imagined would be doing something incredibly, deliciously romantic herself- asked me what I was doing for V-Day.

I advised I didn’t have anything special planned.  She asked if my partner worked away, and I was forced to reveal my “lack of partner”.

“Oh!” she said, “are you not doing anything with your friends then?”

I must have looked confused, so she clarified:

“In Europe, and also when we were in America, Valentine’s Day was more about showing all those you love, that you love them.  It was more about friends and family than ‘couples’.  I have noticed it does not seem to be the same here in Australia”

I am ashamed to admit that this has never really occurred to me.  Not even many years ago, waaaaaaay back in my early uni days, when a friend, J went to America to work for a while and though he was in a very serious relationship with my other friend M, thought to send me a massive bunch of flowers on V-day, from the other side of the globe!

It was such a lovely surprise and it is by far my fondest V-day memory, possibly because I knew it was a true sentiment.  He wasn’t some boyfriend who had, after weeks of bemoaning how “commercial” V-day is, begrudgingly raced to the servo at 11am on V-day to get me a card, after I had bestowed upon him some well thought out gift that I had laboured over for weeks. 

It was simply one friend expressing love to another and it was so thoughtful and such a surprise, that it reduced me to tears, in the best way possible.

So, to all my beautiful friends, though I will not be around to ring in V-Day 2012 sharing a cheeky cocktail with you and having a few laughs, I would just like to say, that I love you very much, and I don’t know what I would do without each and every one of you! 

Happy Valentine's Day!

21 Days to a New You

I have been on a fairly intensive health kick for the past 3-4 weeks.  Strict diet and calorie intake (although I did have one day that I fell of the wagon), little to no alcohol and I’ve been really motivated training-wise.  This wasn’t a New Year’s Resolution.  It was designed to be a lifestyle change, as I had allowed myself to slip into bad habits in the last 6 months or so.

I have not lost any weight on the scales (-0.2kg after my two week weigh in!) but I have seen massive improvement with how my body looks and how my clothes fit.  There’s still a really long way to go, I want to drop my body fat % significantly, but I feel the visible changes that have occurred so far have been really positive and are serving to help keep up the motivation levels.

Plus I feel much, much stronger and just healthier generally.

It’s true though that diet is 70% of any weight loss program.  Training is important yes, but if your diet isn’t right then you might gain strength but you won’t be seeing the changes you want.   It seems obvious but I have only really now started to realised the significance of this. A few years ago, I was training A LOT but I pretty much ate anything I wanted.  Most of it was healthy but I was just eating far too much.  I still lost some weight solely on the basis of the amount of exercise I was doing (2-3 times a day where at least one of those sessions was high intensity), but I now wonder what I would have achieved if I had given any consideration to my diet and bothered to work on a calorie deficit.

I read somewhere that it takes 21 days for a new activity to become habit.  Give or take a couple of weeks, I think that is probably a fair statement.  For example, normally on a Wednesday I spend the last hour or so at work bemoaning (in my head at least) the fact that I have to get to a PT session that evening, I normally sit there thinking about how tired I am and how I don’t really feel like training and then I would start to consider cancelling.

When I started this new training program this year I promised myself I would make it to my training and stick to my diet for 21 days.  I had one bad diet day and I have missed two training sessions (primarily due to the horrible weather we have had lately) but yesterday, 23 days into my new program, I realised that I didn’t have the usual 3 hours of dread preceding my PT session.  When 5 o’clock came I simply got up from my desk, got changed and made my way over to the gym.  I didn’t even consider the possibility of cancelling.  Once I got to the gym I started to look forward to starting my session but strangely, when I was getting ready I neither anticipated or dreaded it.  It was simply the next task on my list of things to do for the day.

It’s now part of my routine.

So if you are in a bit of a rutt and you are struggling to get motivated to change your habits, maybe a good way to start is by:

a)      Setting yourself a clear- but realistic- goal to aim for (for me it is to drop x kg and y BF%) but I also had an interim goal to at least fit comfortably into my jeans (sans muffin-top!) by the 4 week mark which I can say I have now achieved 🙂

b)      Making a promise to yourself that you will give it a fair try for a set time period (for me I was testing the 21 day theory and it seems to have worked).

c)       Staying positive.  I have not lost nearly as much weight as I expected to by now, but everyone’s body is different but as long as you recognise the positive results you ARE getting, you are making progress.  If you aren’t seeing any positive changes then perhaps you just need to rethink the calorie intake, or look more closely at where the calories are coming from (online/App tools such as www.myfitnesspal.com or similar can be really helpful in this regard and the geek in me loves the fact that I can graph my progress and analyse the data!), or perhaps you need to look at whether you are really applying yourself as much as you can in your training.

The other benefit to all of this of course, is that once you start to feel good within yourself, it becomes a lot easier to cope with the unpleasant things in your life.

I feel like I’m getting the old Serene back, finally!

P.S. One final note on diet, don’t hate me, but I have to say it… WATER, WATER, WATER!

Novel, but not quite…

Jackson and Justin Timberlake at the Super Bow...

Image via Wikipedia

I had a wardrobe malfunction today.  The split in my skirt started to split uncontrollably after I sort of tripped whilst getting out of my car.  So, I pinned it and then in my lunch break I made an emergency dash to buy a replacement and put the other one in for mending (no- it’s not wasteful! You can never have too many black skirts and today’s purchase would comprise only my 2nd black skirt so, I feel fully justified!).

Anyway, so I bought a skirt. 

It’s the most boring black skirt I could find but it’s fine and a perfect option for the office.

The lady in the shop said “oh that’s a good skirt for work because it’s made of [something-or-other] and it doesn’t crease!”

I look down at it and note a number of creases in the front, then I look back at her and then she says “oh, that’s just because we only have a steamer

Right.  So let me get this straight…  After you IRON it it’s not creased?

How novel!

Perhaps I should buy two?