Exercise is a Drug…But a Damn Good One!

If I was told a year ago that in a years time I would be obsessed with exercising I would have laughed like someone was telling a funny joke! I know what being obsessed with exercise is like…I’d been there and done that before! I was off on another track (having babies) for a while, but eventually found my way back on the track that I knew for many years before becoming a parent!

I look back at what I was like and wonder how I existed with the lifestyle I led! I got myself into a pattern of bad eating habits, poor sleeping and never getting out to exercise, but then one day I decided to change all of that and although they say losing weight is 80% food and 20% exercise, it’s the exercise I now do that has enabled me to become the strongest person I can be….it is my drug I take which helps me cope with the throws of life!

For me, exercise….
*Helps me to clear an overloaded brain…so much can go on at the one time around here and there are days where I literally feel like my brain is going to explode….but once I’ve exercised I can come back to the same situation with a clear mind!

*It helps me to manage my busy life without having regular meltdowns….there are times of the month or certain times of the year when life becomes so busy I just want to stop and scream…this feeling is becoming a faded memory of the past since exercising!

*It allows me to think positively….it’s so much easier at times to look at an ordinary situation with a negative attitude…since exercising I feel so much more calm when faced with a difficult situation!

*It allows me to get so much more done in a day…before exercise, I would have days where I could barely put one foot in front of the other, now I just get up and soldier on until things are done!

*It allows me to feel confident as a mum, as a teacher and as me!

*It allows me to feel strong…like I can handle anything!

*But most importantly it allows me to feel awesome! Keeping fit and eating healthy helps me to get out of bed each day with a step in my stride!

You often hear people say ‘your obsessed’ with exercising or ‘it’s their new obsession’! Once exercising for a while, like a drug, your body starts to crave it, your mind keeps telling you need it, which is where the obsession starts! But when put into context and compared with actual ‘drugs’, I know what I would rather choose! If my ‘drug’ in life is exercise and for me that’s running, then I’m proud to say I’m an addict! Because at the end of the day like any obsession with the cravings and withdrawals….exercising may be a drug in habit, but a bloody damn good one!

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My Longest Run To Date!

Well I did it! Last Sunday I completed my longest run to date….10 kilometres!!!

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It’s been just under a year now since I put my running shoes back on for the first time in many many years. That very first attempt of running was nothing shorter than painful. Every inch of my body, every muscle, every ligament and tendon felt that run, but that didn’t stop me from going back the next day and the next to slowly build on something that I to this day can be very proud of! For the first few months my aim was to run non stop for 20 minutes. Once I became more confident and felt myself becoming fitter and fitter, I started measuring the distance I ran. My pet run is 4km which I can now run in 20 minutes (pb 19.50) and occasionally I like to run 5km which I can run in 25 mins (pb 24.36)! For a long time a 5km run scared the hell out of me let alone anything higher!

Then slowly but surely I started to want to challenge myself to running longer distances. I slowly increased over time from 6, to 7km and up until last weekend my longest run was 7 and a half kilometres which I did in 40mins. My goal was to run my first 10km run by Christmas and I wanted to run it in under an hour! Well I’m happy to say that it’s only September and not only have I completed my first 10km run but I ran it in 53.40mins!!!

I sit here, three days later, still in disbelief that not only did I complete it, I didn’t once stop, feel like stopping and felt so good the whole time I was running! If someone had of asked me 12 months ago lets go for a 10km run I would have laughed in their face….how things change! I had it in my head that day that I wanted to increase my run to 8km. I was running a decent pace (2km in 10mins) feeling pretty good, but when I got to 6km it felt like I had run 12! I was feeling fine but it felt like I’d been running for 2 hours! When I finally reached my target for the day of 8km I knew I still had running in me so I kept going! I was 43mins at 8km so my last 2kms I really brought it home considering….the adrenaline obviously had kicked in!

As much as running is a physical challenge, it is one of those physical activities that is very mentally challenging! Something that seems easy at first or when you speak about it in conversation is actually really hard! It’s the same thing over and over again – left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot! If you think about the pain the run is harder, if you tell yourself I want to stop you most likely will! All this is controlled by how we think during running! I remember those days at first thinking, wishing my run was over, but now I’m the opposite! With the help of happy thoughts, my tunes and thinking about my loved ones or what I have to do for the day, my run is over in the blink of an eye and I enjoy every moment of it – of course I’m only human so there are still times where a run can seem harder than normal, but not on Sunday – my mind would not let me give up, I was so determined to do it! I felt so empowered after it as 10kms is a long distance!

So often I’m asked how do you do it? Or people will say I wish I had your motivation! You have to find something that motivates you and you have to want to do it! For me it’s my heart. In order for my aorta not to dilate any further, I need to prevent high blood pressure. By keeping fit and eating healthy this keeps my weight down and blood pressure down. While this happens my heart doesn’t get any worse and at the end of the day I need, I must be healthy for my children to have a mother….that’s a massive motivator!!!

So where to now?? I’ll just keep running 4-5 times a week. I’ll keep up my pet 4-5km runs and do a longer run each fortnight like I’ve been doing for a while! I get bored really easy so I keep changing my routes which really helps! My aim is to run a 10km run each month to see if I can improve my time! But my real challenge to myself now is to keep improving on all my PBS and get myself ready for 2013, as next year will be the first time I will enter into competitions! I never started running to compete against other people, it’s always been about competing against myself for myself, but I figure by entering in competitions, my money will be going to charity and it will be another great excuse to do what I love the most and that is running!

Thought for the day:
Believe in yourself by saying “I can do this!” Because the minute you say I can’t, you won’t!

No Pain, No Gain!

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Last Sunday I did something I never thought I would ever be capable of doing….I ran 5km in 24.36 minutes – I was running less than 5 mins per kilometer!!!!

The week Leading up to this moment:
I’d had a massive week! It was the week leading up to mum’s 60th birthday. I started with sinus on the weekend, which I get at this time of year, but I didn’t feel sick with it! By the Tuesday my voice had escaped me. I was suppose to go to work but decided to rest my voice for the year 1 excursion the following day….everything except rest happened on my day off as the three of my children woke up with conjunctivitis – grrrrrr!!!! So after a day of eyes being bathed in warm salty water, my eldest was able to go back to school the next day but my girls started to get a cold. This ended up with Mia getting croup and Sienna getting a middle ear infection!!!!O

Meanwhile each day I was spending time organising mum’s 60th birthday party and trying to fit in a run here and there. I managed a couple of 4km runs that week but wasn’t feeling flash and the lack of sleep was starting to catch up with me! By the end of the week my voice started to return to normal but the girls were getting worse before they got better! The day before mum’s party saw me making 3 cakes, 24 cupcakes a Mexican dip and enough fried rice to feed 70 people! Thank goodness all the craft stuff I made and the photo slide I created had been completed at the beginning of the week!

Of course the night before mum’s party the girls slept terribly and I was up at 5.30 to finish off the last of what had to be done! Mum had a wonderful 60th birthday though and was worth the hard yards organising and preparing for it. I was shattered by the end of the day and was asked by my brother-in-law if I was ready to run my first 10km run the next morning. Mentally I was ready, but physically I didn’t want to push it! I passed on the opportunity and went and had bacon and eggs at mum and dad’s instead lol! I then layed around all day to recoup after a huge week. I had it in my head all day that I’d go for a 5km run that afternoon, but I convinced myself that a PB wouldn’t be possible!

But I was wrong…..

The Run:
I didn’t have a very big window of opportunity to go as we were going out for dinner, which can be a good thing as you are almost forced to run just that little bit faster. I was about to set off and the kids ran happily towards me to give me a big kiss before I left….they are my good luck charms:) I used my new earphones my brother-in-law had given me which are awesome!!! They mould to your ear and don’t even look like falling out!

I started my run at my usual pace and was feeling not too bad at first. I felt like I was going pretty fast and at the 1km mark I was up to 4.35 mins. I was stoked! A PB already for 1km! My second km started to hurt a little. I kept telling myself to hang in there as I’d started so well! I thought for sure I’d lost some time but at the 2km mark I was 9.35mins and again on a PB! About 50m into my 3rd km I was almost convinced that that was as good as I’d get as I was really starting to struggle! It didn’t help having to keep going from one side of the road to the other to avoid the magpies!!!!

When I reached the 3km mark and was well under 15 mins it then became a mental challenge! I kept telling myself to keep powering through! “If I can run 3km in under 15mins I’ll be able to run the next two in under ten!” My aim was to reach Warrigal rd at the 20-21 minute mark to have any chance of getting under 25mins! This was the last time I looked at my watch! By now I was imagining reaching the finish point! I kept saying no pain no gain and it will be worth it! I could feel the kisses on my cheek my babies gave me before I left and pictured their beautiful little faces the whole time!

The last 100m felt like a kilometer but as much as I felt terrible I suddenly got a burst from somewhere and was able to finish my run how I started! At first I was just stoked I’d completed my run without stopping but when I saw my time of 24.36mins I was pumped!!!! It’s the best feeling when you achieve something good….I’d taken 36 seconds off my PB!!! No wonder it hurt. To date, it was the longest run I’d ever ran under 5min kilometers! I shared my excitement with my husband who asked…”is that a good time!” thank goodness I have Facebook and my blog lol!

I don’t like hurting when I exercise. I like it to be fun and enjoyable. But this was a moment in time when ‘No Pain No Gain’ was applied and at the end of it and even now I think it was worth it!

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A Month of Personal Bests!

After starting winter on a downer from catching every germ going around, it took a while then for me to pick myself up! The nasty gastro bug I caught got me the most! I was left feeling drained, tired and energy-less all the time. I lost too much weight and all I wanted to do was eat rubbish! But I never lost sight of what my main agenda is for myself and that is to be a good mum and wife, eat healthy, keep fit and be happy!

Before all of this I was at the peak of my fitness. I was running really well and achieving my goals and then a crack appeared in my path. I was determined not to let any of the hard work I’d done for a long time to be wasted so I battled through it! I’ve kept up with my running but some days have been a struggle! The power of the mind has had a huge impact on me continuing my successful running path and if my mind wasn’t in a good place I wouldn’t be running the times I am now!

About a month ago I thought there was seriously something wrong with me! I was keeping up my exercise but still feeling tired all the time and not having the spring in my step I’d found since exercising! Each run I did hurt like it was my first and I was beginning to think I needed to go to the doctors! But then I reassessed things. I was starting to eat more rubbish than normal, I had a constant head cold and I was still trying to exercise on my work days! A reality check allowed me to make some adjustments which I’m so glad I’ve done!

I now only exercise on my non work days, treat myself once a day rather than binge eat and force myself to rest when I feel I need it! Since doing this I feel great again!! I don’t feel exhausted anymore, my spring is back in my step, life isn’t as overwhelming and I’m running as good as ever!!!! Even though through all of this I’ve maintained my goal weight, I contribute my running PBs to my healthy eating that I’ve regained! It’s ok to eat a bit of rubbish here and there and keep up your exercise as one really cancels the other out! But eating a well balanced diet really plays a huge part in feeling great, therefore exercising well!

An over abundance of bad food, whilst at the time may taste delicious, really ends in our bodies feeling sluggish and tired! I noticed a huge difference from when my diet went off track and now I’m back on track things are looking up again!!! I’m finally, in the last few weeks, back to my peak with my running! This last week has been a huge week for achieving personal bests! It’s amazing how good eating, a good mind set, a good pair of running shoes (new pair) and comfy pants set you up for running your best! It’s also helped that the weather is starting to warm up, so I’m hoping things will only keep getting better!

My PBs now are:
2km – 9.40 mins
3km – 14.54 mins
4km – 19.55 mins
5km – 25.15 mins
7.5kms – 40 mins

My next goal is to complete a 10km run under an hour!

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Taking The Good With The Bad!

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I write this blog now as the Olympics are almost coming to a close. I love the Olympics. I’ve watched it religiously since I was a little girl and yes I will admit that I always imagined standing up on the podium receiving a gold medal and singing proudly to our National Anthem lol! Who didn’t….most children who love sport dream this! It is such a massive achievement to make an Olympic team and compete against the world’s best athletes.

But imagine being on an absolute high, training day in and day out for four years, putting your body through grueling sessions to be prepared for your event. You compete, you try your hardest and it doesn’t pay off. You may not have made the final or you did and you didn’t win a medal or you may have won a silver or bronze! But instead of giving our athletes the recognition they deserve for making it to the Olympics, let alone a final or a medal, the media asks stupid questions like you must be disappointed – when you’ve won a medal??? I can only speak of the Australian media, but it has been so disappointing how negative they have been at times during these games! I agree there are times when our athletes or sporting teams cross a line and do inappropriate things, but when they’ve tried their hardest and don’t get the recognition they deserve it makes me so sad for them.

From criticising swimmers about their weight to making our athletes who win silver or bronze feeling bad they didn’t win gold! I have to ask the question why? Why can’t we embrace a world class event for what it is? I would be so grateful and thrilled that I was good enough to make an Olympic team, a medal would be the icing on the cake. So we’ve not had the best Olympics, in fact as a 32 year old women, this is the least amount of golds I remember us winning in all the Olympics I’ve ever witnessed, but instead of getting behind our athletes we are doing the opposite!

We may not have won a heap of gold medals or were pipped at the line several times for a gold, silver or bronze, but we still did well! We managed an Australian athlete in most finals, came a place in so many events and we have won several golds! Even if we came last in a final, in the whole scheme of things we still did well. I’d love to tell people I made the Olympic final in the 400m running…that would mean I was the 8th best 400m runner in the world…now that’s not bad at all!!! But do we celebrate this enough….I don’t think we do! Too much focus is always spent on finding that story of the person who wins, as much as that is wonderful, it’s nice to hear from athletes who have managed a PB and the excitement and joy they get from that!

Seeing the emotion on Sprenger’s face when he won silver for the 100m breaststroke brought a tear to my eye and channel nine hardly made any fuss over it! Our mens 400m relay team sadly missed the final and instead of giving words of encouragement, a commentator was asking one of our runners are you ready for the criticism you are going to get now you haven’t performed your best? What the? It’s bad enough some of our athletes put so much pressure on themselves, the media doesn’t need to add salt to their wounds!

As a proud Aussie I’d like to stand up and say well done to our Australian Olympic team! You did us proud and we know you will learn from these Olympics and come back stronger than ever in four years time! We can’t be world beaters all the time in our pet events, and we certainly weren’t far off it anyway! But like anything you have to take the good with the bad and as a nation we need to support and congratulate our athletes for representing our country with great pride and dignity…..well most of them anyway:)!!

Aussie Aussie Aussie!!!!!!

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A Change Is as Good as a…..

Since deciding to get off my butt and finally regain the fit healthy me I use to be before becoming a mummy over 6 years ago, I’ve achieved a lot when it comes to my running! I’ve taken almost 10 minutes off my pb for my 4km run that I started 6 months ago and I can now run up a hill without losing the feeling in my legs! Plus my longest run I’ve done so far is 6km which I never thought I’d do!

Why run? you ask…there are lots of reasons why I’ve chosen running as my main form of exercise. I love to run because:
*I feel free…free from the worries of the world!
*I can think…think about my blog topics and projects I’m working on!
*I feel energised…to get through my busy days!
*I feel challenged…to improve on my pb each time!
*It makes me happy…that I’m doing something for myself!
*And I love going for a run because I can!

Running is one of those exercises that can become boring at times. I spent the first few months running without music so I could solely concentrate on my breathing. I look back now and think how did I do it, I couldn’t run without my tunes now! I’ve been running the same 4km route for 6 months now and I challenged myself to running it in 20 minutes. It took 5 months but I finally ran it in 19.55 mins. I always said once I reached that point I was ready for a new route!

Prior to this I was already starting to get a bit bored with it, so I started a new route that included hills, as my original route had hardly any! I’m happy to say I’m so glad I challenged myself to what I call my ‘hill run’ because I now have a positive spin on running up a hill! It also helps that I tell myself when running up a hill “once I’m up I have to come down!” Busy roads surround where we live, so if I run one way I have to cross a railway but is quite flat (which is what I’ve been doing) and if I run the other way I’m challenged with hills! But I’m ready for the challenge!

Last Sunday I started running my new route and even though it is harder than my original route, I’m loving the new challenge! I feel like running and I are friends again. I’ve managed to run it three times now and have taken over a minute off my pb which is now 21.07 mins:) Now when I run I think about my new challenges. My aim is to run from one end of warrigal rd to the other which would total at least 6km….but my biggest challenge to myself is to hit the 10km eventually!

I’ve recently started to run to my parents house when we go there for a visit, while my husband and kids drive. This is something I want to continue with to various places! It’s just another reason to run:) plus if the day is crazy busy and that is my only chance to run I’m certainly not going to pass the opportunity!

I don’t want me wanting to keep fit and heathy to be a chore. I want to happily do it! I was happily exercising for a long time but just recently felt like it was becoming a chore. I realise now it wasn’t me or the exercising, I just needed a change. Now I know for next time when I’m feeling like that again I will seek out a new challenge and mix it up! As the saying goes a change is as good as….for me it’s a new lease on running!

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Who else has made good progress with their fitness lately?

My Direction Has Taken a Wrong Turn:/

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It’s quite ironic as I read my ‘Power of the Mind’ blog I wrote a week ago and my last few words read…..”I couldn’t be happier!” and now from my sick bed where I’ve layed for the the past 5 days I’m trying to be happy, but really I’m just feeling really crappy……

I was feeling so focussed, in control of everything I needed to be in control of! My job is so busy at the moment with reports and deadlines due before the school holidays. I was at the peak of my fitness and feeling really content in most areas of my life and then Monday night is where things took a wrong turn!

Of course my husband had a week of work to do away in Moree so it was single parent duties for me, but that’s ok I’ve done it before and I’m getting pretty good at it now:) I left work later than anticipated, but managed to pick Sie Sie up, got home cooked a big batch of bolognaise, bathed and fed the kids and myself, cleaned up, got all the school stuff ready for the next day and the kids and I were all sitting down by 6.30 enjoying cuddles and giggles together!

By 7.30 all were sound asleep in bed and then the time of day which I LOVE was about to be enjoyed. As I got all cosy on the lounge with my iPad and remote I suddenly felt cramps in my belly. I didn’t think too much about it as I thought I must have pigged out too much on dinner! I went to bed at my normal time after The Voice and the cramps were still there! Thankfully I fell fast asleep but then 1.30am approached and my wrong turn became a bad turn of events! I took some panadol and managed to get back to sleep until Mia woke up crying her little eyes out at 4.45am! When I looked at the clock I thought “Nooooooo!” Mummy’s cuddles got her back to sleep and I then went back to sleep and woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a bus:( I had an hour until I was to leave for work, so as much as my body was screaming “do not get up!” I knew I just had to do it!!!

So I did I got up did the usual – made the beds, got the kids breakfast, took one mouthful of my cereal and have pretty much been on my back since! I couldn’t stand up. I started shivering uncontrollably and once I made it to the lounge not one bit of soul in my body was able to get up! I was like this for 48-72 hours. I went from shivering to sweating, had severe body aches, fevers, cramps in my belly and of course the joys of gastro! I obviously didn’t go to work and thank goodness for my sweet angel of a mother, who came to my rescue until Kane came back from Moree, otherwise my poor kids would have done a lot of fending for themselves!

It’s day 5 now and I’m still not over this awful virus, better, but not a 100%! I’ve had a lot of time to think this week. This is the 4th time I’ve been sick in the last two months. Prior to all of this I hadn’t had anything bad since winter last year! I know it’s the season for it but four things in two months! And I’m the mum, I can’t keep getting sick. My poor little darlings ask me everyday “are you better mummy?” They are use to seeing mummy leading the pack, running, darting from here and there and the only time I reside on the lounge is after dinner at night!

I’m now left feeling weak, tired, drained and overwhelmed at the feeling of picking myself up and getting things back on track! I weighed myself….I’m down to my wedding day weight! Most people would be excited about this, but that wasn’t my goal! I was 24 back then and carried it better, now I look like a sick stick figure which is not what I was hoping to achieve! I have no reserves left and cannot afford to get sick again! I questioned: why me when I’m so fit and healthy? This is it….people who are fit are at risk to not being able to fight off germs and I look back now and I was always sick when I was younger and at the peak of my fitness! You can’t win really! I’ve gone from one extreme to the next where I’m now facing changing my eating and exercise plan to put on weight so I can get back to the fit and healthy me! So my advice is: when losing weight get back to a nice comfortable weight and have room for reserves if you get sick. I was that at my 60kgs, but I’m now playing with fire and have no reserves left!

I know I can do this and I will do this! My direction has taken a wrong turn, but I’m going to turn things around with all the strength and knowledge I’ve gained over the past 8 months and will be back in the right direction in no time!

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The Power of the Mind!

I often refer to the saying “it’s mind over matter” as I believe this statement is so true! The mind is such a powerful thing that works over time, day in and day out. It has the capability to work even while we are sleeping. It thinks all day long about anything and everything, yet if we aren’t really on the same page as what our minds think, then things we really want to happen won’t be achieved!

It’s so easy to think I want this and I want that, but it takes strength, determination and dedication of our minds to accomplish what we want. I’m up to the 8th month of obtaining the old me, through healthy eating and exercising, but without my mind being in the place it is right now, I would have achieved very little. Prior to having my 3 beautiful children, I was always so fit and healthy and my mind was in that fit and healthy space for most of my life! Then somewhere along the way while having 3 children in 5 years, my mind was busy focussing on other things and lost its way on that path, but I never stopped thinking about the past and how I use to be!

My mind set after having kids has always been once I’ve had all my children then I’ll work on getting myself back to the old me! My last baby Mia, was 8 months old before the penny dropped and my mind set suddenly changed and it changed for the better! I now crave healthy food and the time to go for my run! I crave challenging myself and improving on my PBs for each distance that I run. There are days where I could eat everything in sight and there are days when I don’t feel like dragging myself out of bed to go for a run, but then my state of mind kicks in and takes over! It hasn’t been easy and I’ve had to work really hard at training my mind back to the way it use to be, but I feel it’s back to where it was and even better!

Now my mind is in a good place, I feel like I have the strength to take on anything. When I go for a run I may not always feel fantastic but I keep thinking as long as I keep going and not stop until I’m finished, I’m happy with that! When I wake up in the morning and it’s less than 10 degrees, I dress in more layers than normal and push past the coldness and go for my run. When I’m running and know I’m close to beating a PB, I push that little bit harder to achieve that! When I wake up and not feel flash I go for a walk instead of a run as walking is still being active! When I feel like eating a loaf of bread or a tub of ice-cream, I think about all the new clothes I’ve been able to buy and fit into and I gladly cut up my tossed salad and fruit! And when I do want to treat myself with a milkshake or muffin I do, because I know my mind has the strength to go back to its healthy ways after the treat!

A healthy mind set not only helps with my healthy eating and exercising but everyday stuff too. I’m only human and I’m not here to say I’m now perfect in every way, I’m the first to admit I make mistakes. Compared to where my mind set was 8 months ago to now, things around the house and the ability to be able to cope with the demands of being a mum to 3 kids under 6, seems so much easier! I now bounce out of bed instead of falling out and then struggle to get to my feet. When I have those moments of not feeling like doing the groceries, housework or cleaning out the linen cupboard that I said I was going to do for five years, I now just do it! And even though I still have many sleepless nights, I have the strength to get through the day without feeling like I’m drowning!

A classic example of the mind being powerful happened yesterday morning…..
I had 8 hours uninterrupted sleep (that hardly ever happens) and then stayed in bed chilling for over an hour. The weather looked a bit dodgy outside but hadn’t started raining yet. I run every Saturday morning and due to having more time up my sleeve I usually run at least 5km, but because of the weather I thought I’d only run 4km. Before I left I felt different, awesome different and I had it in my head that I was going to run a PB. From the second I started running, I knew I had it in me to achieve my 4km in 20 mins that I’d already come so close to a couple of times in the past month. I got to the first kilometer 4.33 (PB) then the second, 9.57 (PB) and when I was 15.25 mins (PB) at the 3rd kilometer my 4km in 20 minute goal was well in sight! I ended up reaching my 4km destination in 19.55 mins even better than I hoped! There were a couple of times where I thought “mmmm maybe not today” but I kept telling myself I can do this and that I did! And the prize at the end….self satisfaction! It’s also nice to get home to my very own fan club who greet me with cuddles and “did you have a good run mum!”:)

No one has the ability to change someone’s mind for them, encourage yes, but it’s up to the individual to control how one’s mind thinks and it takes time for this to happen. The first step is recognising what you want and then from there steps are put in place to achieve that. Those steps can be two forward and three back at first, but in time those steps become easier and easier to the point of it being a natural part of day to day life…..and this is where I’m at now and I couldn’t be happier!

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The Battle of the Bulging Belly!

If you could change one part of your body what would it be?

Mine would be my belly!

I’ve always been smaller up top than the bottom and if I put on weight it always goes straight to my thighs and butt. Throughout my pre baby days I had a flat stomach and never had any troubles with putting on weight in that area and then I had one baby, two babies and before I knew it 5 years had past and I was cradling my 3rd baby!

When I first fell pregnant with my son almost 7 years ago, I never once worried about what it would do to my body. I was so thrilled that I was growing a little life inside my belly. I am one of those people that start showing early on in my pregnancies, so by 20 weeks I always had a decent size belly, that would just seem to grow and grow by the second! I first gave birth at 38 weeks to my beautiful baby boy Bailey Kane Trew, who was 9 pound 5 – ouch much! Again even though I still looked like there was a baby left inside of me two days after he was born, I was happy and content with our new bundle of joy and our new little family that we created!

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Days before giving birth to my 10 pound baby girl!

Because I was less than 60kgs when I fell pregnant and ended up carrying close to a baby elephant at the end, I ended up with a 4cm stomach muscle separation….but trust me I can push them out lol! After seeing a physio weeks after giving birth and taking good care of myself and following the physio’s exercise plan, my muscle separation went back to normal and by the time Bailey was one my belly returned to its normal flat state:)

Then a whole new world began for me when I fell pregnant with my second baby! Where I craved not much other than slurpees with my first pregnancy, I craved anything fatty, juicy and sugary the second time round! And milk, I couldn’t get enough of the stuff….frappes by the dozen!! When I think about it, I really ate myself stupid! Which is why I put on over 20kgs and alas gave birth to a 10 pound 2 precious baby girl Sienna Lynette Trew! She came out running and looked 3 months old compared to most other babies lol!

At this point the state my belly was in didn’t even cross my mind. I’d just given Bailey a little sister and we now had a bigger family to enjoy, but i was sore!!! Sienna was so big that she left my insides hurting for a long time! My stomach, ribs, kidneys, it felt like I’d been in a boxing ring.This time round I ended up with a 5cm stomach muscle separation, but that didn’t phase me as I was confident things would go back to normal just like it did after having Bailey….not so easy!

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6 months after Sienna was born, belly still ‘pregnant’ looking!

I went to the physio again, who like last time gave me the same exercises to do, but having a 2 and a half year old in toe this time round, life was far more challenging and of course things like myself got pushed to the side. Things were different this time too. I had to wear a support compression belt for 6 weeks after having Sienna and when this time was completed, I had to wear those belly support undies. After 6 months my belly had gone down considerably, but I was left with a bulge that had so much loose skin hanging from it, as my skin was stretched beyond repair!

I didn’t get even a hint of stretch marks with Bailey, but with Sienna I did! I mean I really should be grateful to only get what I did….she was 4.6 kgs born!!!! I remember approaching Sienna’s 1st birthday and my belly was no where near back to its flat state that it was pre baby and post Bailey! But I came to accept that this is how it would be now and if that was the result of being able to conceive, carry and give birth to two beautiful precious gifts, then I was ok with that!

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At the races for my 30th birthday, nearly 2 years since Sienna was born and still sporting a belly!

The kids loved my belly. It was like a big bowl of jelly that they could mush their little hands around in. I still remember Bailey coming into our bed in the mornings and lifting my pj top to play with my belly. I wasn’t phased by it at all! They would always ask me “why is your belly like that mummy?” and I’d reply with telling them how they grew inside my belly and everytime they grew my skin would keep stretching and stretching and eventually it stretched so far that it didn’t go back anymore! They loved that story!

My support undies became an essential to my wardrobe and I never would go out without them on. I know it sounds stupid but I lacked confidence without them. Things I use to wear nicely, didn’t look as nice anymore and I always had an overhang whenever I bent over or sat down! I was often asked if I was pregnant or not, but all I kept thinking of were my two precious babies and how blessed I was to have them! Then I did fall pregnant with Mia. By now my thoughts were more focused on crap 3 kids how am I going to manage this as apose to how will my belly look now!

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Hours before giving birth to my third and final baby….my belly had reached its peak and will never be like this again!

Mia’s pregnancy was a cross between my first two so I didn’t put as much weight on as I did when pregnant with Sienna, but more than I did with Bailey and I finally got my wish for a baby in the 8 pounds lol! At 38 weeks, weighing 8 pound 13, Mia Natalie Trew was born and completed our beautiful family! Mia’s birth was very bittersweet as I was diagnosed with a heart condition a week prior so the last thing I was thinking about was my belly, I was happy that I got through it without any complications to Mia or myself!

It’s amazing how different your body feels after giving birth to an 8 pound baby as apose to a 10 pound baby! But third big baby in 5 years, it was always going to take its toll and this time I ended up with an 8cm stomach muscle separation:( Between my heart and my belly, I wasn’t able to do any heavy lifting for the first few months, bit hard with 3 kids under 5! I saw a really awesome physio this time and within 4 months of having Mia, my muscle separation was back to 2 and a half cms, which meant it didn’t need to be surgically fixed….I was stoked!

20120511-142148.jpgBailey and Sienna meeting their baby sister for the first time….my belly is like a shelf in this photo!

Again the excess skin and bulge was as bad as ever and the kids thought it felt as squishy as ever too. As much as I was beginning to miss my lean flat belly, the belly I had now was a beautiful reminder of the three precious babies I carried and nurtured while they were growing inside of me. But something was changing, I was starting to feel a strong urge to reclaim my original body shape that I’d given up hope on, while I was getting use to being a mum of 1, then 2 and finally 3 children. Knowing Mia was our last, the time had come for me to put myself first and do something about my bulging belly!

It’s been 7 months now since I started my weight loss journey and I can happily report that it is possible to win the battle of the bulging belly! It takes time, but with patience, determination and perseverance, the battle can be won! I haven’t spent hundreds of hours at the gym, nor do I spend hundreds of hours exercising each week! I simply walk or run for half an hour each day and follow a healthy eating plan. It took a long time for me to finally put those running shoes back on to reclaim the person I once was, but the timing was right and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

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15months after giving birth and 7 months of exercise and healthy eating, my belly is close as it will get to pre baby:)

I feel like I have a new lease on life now. I’m so much happier, fitter and healthier, which reflects on every aspect of my life! The kids love me exercising and join in with me whenever possible. I have thrown all my belly undies away and feel as confident as ever! When I tell people I have 3 children, they look at me and say “you!” and I think “why not me!” People stereotype mums and what we should or shouldn’t look like or wear. At the end of the day we are humans and should be allowed to do things for ourselves that make us happy! Losing weight hasn’t affected my mothering duties, I think I’m an even better mum now. My belly will never be back to its original state prior to having children, but it’s as close as it will ever be and I’m so satisfied with that!

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Maintaining the Groove!

It’s been 7 months now since I took the first and hardest step of putting on my running shoes and getting the courage to become fit again. It’s been a fantastic 7 months and I’ve been able to achieve some great goals! Since my ‘Jackpot’ post, I’ve achieved my goal weight by losing 10kgs and new PBs for both my 4km and 5km runs! My new PB for 4km is 20.38 mins and for 5km is 27.33 mins!
I’m so close to achieving my new goals which are 4km in 20 mins flat and 5km in 25 mins flat:)

When I say it’s been a fantastic 7 months it has been, up until the last month. I was doing so well. Keeping up my exercise plan of half an hour a day 6 days a week, which included running 3-4 times a week and power walking the other days! But three bouts of illness has proven to be a challenge, but I was so determined not to let any of my hard work be jeopardised!

I’m not a silly person and I know when my body needs rest or not. On the days I was sick I rested but when I felt well, I would exercise even if it meant walking more that week than running. I only ever run when I know I feel awesome! As long as I move in some way each day for half an hour, I am happy:) Even after a whirlwind month I’ve managed to maintain my fitness and goal weight loss. I don’t find it difficult anymore, it’s a part of my everyday life now….I’ve officially got my groove on!

In the past week or so I’ve changed my running routine a bit. I was starting to get a little bored with my route and was wanting a new challenge so I’ve changed my running route which now includes hills…7 of the suckers to be fact! I run this route about 1-2 times a week and it’s already making a difference to when I go back to running my original 4 and 5 km route. I’m hoping this will help me reach my new goals.

I believe that everything we do is mind over matter and once you become comfortable in a good mind set, things will fall into place how you want it to! It then becomes a matter of maintaining the groove that you originally worked so hard to get!

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