A Year of Maintenance!

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This time last year I had very little winter clothes coming into the cooler months! I had just reached my goal weight after losing around 13kgs in 6 months through eating healthy (basically cutting out the crap) and exercising (mainly running)! I’m happy to say that a year later I have plenty of winter clothes to choose from and they all still fit as I’ve maintained my goal weight!

Like anything losing it really is the easy part, it’s the maintenance part that can be challenging. It’s funny how the power of our mind is the key to all of this. When losing weight your mindset is quite different to when you are maintaining. You go from being very strict with yourself to relaxing a little and treating yourself a bit here and a bit there, but if not managed well, this can be the start of where weight creeps back on! Then you can go the other extreme and become obsessed to the point where you lose too much weight and start to look too thin – not healthy ….trust me I know I’ve been there and it’s not nice!

Last year after getting to my goal weight I lost a bit more and a bit more and then before I knew I was struck down with a terrible gastro bug for days which left me looking very unhealthy and very sick looking! I learnt a lot from all of that! It taught me to get myself at a weight where I have some reserves. Getting down to a weight that is too thin for your height is like living on the edge. You may look healthy and trim but what reserves do you have if you get sick?? It took me months to build my body fat and muscle back to where it was. But I did and a year later I feel fitter, stronger and healthier than I’ve ever been!

I still maintain a heathy eating diet. My rule to myself is be sensible Monday-Friday and enjoy my favourite treats on the weekend! I love eating healthy so to me it’s not a chore but a way of life. Just like my running. It’s not a chore it’s a part of my day to day routine and without it I wouldn’t be able to achieve what I do in a week! My exercise program at the moment for winter consists of 3 runs (approx 18-20km) a week and 2 walks. My way of life that I chose to live is what works for me. I think it’s important that when losing weight and maintaining it, you have to;
1. want to do it
2. find what works for you in the way of food and exercise
3. be consistent with whatever you chose
4. believe in yourself!

Anyone can lose weight and become fit. But the way we do it is completely individualised. We are who we are and we are all individuals breathing the same oxygen, but no one can force you to do something that you don’t want to do…only YOU can be the one to make the decision:) I believe before training your eating habits and body, you have to train your mind, because if your mind isn’t at it’s best nothing else will be!

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Health is Wealth!

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This past week has taught me a lot. Sometimes we get caught up in our busy lives and forget what really is important….

On Thursday my beautiful nana was rushed to hospital after becoming very ill with vomiting from an obstruction in her tummy. It’s just another hurdle my dear grandmother of 80 years, who lives with Parkinson’s Disease has had to endure, after having several ups and downs with her health for many years now. Watching my nana lying in her hospital bed not being able to do anything for herself, makes me feel terribly sad for the once vibrant and independent women she has always been. Nana has wealth and an abundance of people who love and care for her, but in the end no matter what, life really is nothing if we don’t have our health!

I appreciate everyday of my life that I am able to get up out of bed and carry on with my day doing the things that I love the most, without needing help or supervision! I really dislike getting the flu or gastro let alone being struck down with a long-term illness or disease. I remember so vividly lying in my bed 3 years ago, when recovering from my semi-thyroidectomy, how frustrating it was not to be able to care for my children or enjoy running around with them. I use to lie there and think when I’m better I’ll never complain again that I’m playing hide-and-go-seek for the 20th time!!! We are all guilty of forgetting just how important life is when it comes to our health and it’s only once jeopardised it allows us to have a better perspective…for me watching my nana and being diagnosed with a heart condition was a huge kick in the butt!

What is health?

My definition of being healthy involves good mental and physically health. Mental – having the ability to use our minds wisely in a strong and positive manner and physically – having the ability to complete physical tasks and maintain a good fitness level! Both go hand in hand with a maintained well-balanced diet! The cycle I follow is I eat a well-balanced diet and exercise at least four/five days a week as well as drink at least 2 litres of water per day, take a women’s multivitamin and get out in the sunshine at least 4/5 times per week!

Other things I believe that are important to maintaining good health is obviously no smoking, limited alcohol consumption, getting at least 7-8 hours sleep per night, regular health check ups, seeking medical advice if you are not feeling 100%. I also believe that maintaining a healthy weight for height range is important but done wisely through good eating habits and exercise. I saw an advertisement on Facebook the other night…’lose weight in no time without dieting or exercise!’ what the? How is that healthy?? Our bodies should be treated like gold…we have one shot at life and it’s up to us to give it our best!

Plenty of things go wrong in our lives from day-to-day, week to week, but if our health is great we have the strength to get through anything! I look at my nana and am so inspired by her strength and how after everything she has been through can still smile. Her eyes still light up when someone comes to visit her and her voice still communicates with so much love and honesty. From here on in, I declare that I will continue to promote a healthy lifestyle for myself and my family – anything to give us the best chance of living a long and healthy life is certainly worth working hard for! All the money in the world could never make me happy if I didn’t have my health and as the saying goes…health is wealth!!

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Create the best ‘YOU’!

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Last week was International Women’s Day! How did you embrace the women within you?
I was recovering from a gastro bug the kids passed on…not my finest or classiest of moments that’s for sure lol!

As a women, I think we are an extremely important part of society! Not only are we nurturing and intelligent, we are strong…I mean what man will ever be able to birth the size of a watermelon out of their sacred area?? Without women the population of the world would slowly dwindle so we ARE needed! But we are not just baby producing machines, there is so much more to us!

Just recently I’ve had several people stop me and tell me I look great considering I have three children. One lady asked me if the kids were all mine and then politely said “my you are thin!!” As flattering as it is, it makes me so frustrated and annoyed that the general stereotype for a mum is under dressed and over weight!! Why can’t us mums be fit, slim, healthy and trendy without people being so surprised about it!

Several months ago I wrote a blog called “Yes I’m a mum of three children!”, which highlights how annoyed I get by people’s ignorance when they get a shock that me, oh god forbid me, would have birthed 3 children…that’s right because a size 8 women is so incapable of that…NOT!!! Which takes me to the point of this blog! I’m fed up with people’s reactions and stereotypical attitudes towards us mums. Shouldn’t we be praised and acknowledged for being a good role model for our children? Doesn’t what we do rub off on our children and if we are leading a fit and healthy lifestyle, isn’t that a good thing to pass onto our children?

So as a fellow member of the mothering society I strongly urge you to take control! Take control of yourself and your life and create the best ‘YOU’ that you can be! If you are not happy with yourself, don’t beat yourself up about it anymore, do something about it! And I’m not solely talking about weight loss. That could be one area. You may want to build your fitness, change your eating habits or seek out a new wardrobe, if you know what it is that will help ‘YOU’ be the best ‘YOU’ can be, than start now!

TIPS to get started…
*Set your self realistic goals and keep a regular check of them! Once one goal is achieved set a new one.

*Cut out the crap! If what you want is to lose weight or get back to eating healthy, then cut out the bad food from Monday – Friday and treat yourself in moderation over the weekend! Drink plenty of water and reduce the size of your meals. I also recommend to go on a good women’s multivitamin to…I take rest and restore by Nature’s Way and highly recommend it!

*If your desire is to get fit, pick an exercise that you know you’ll be able to manage in your busy schedule and be consistent with it…like everything consistency is the key to success!

*If you need a new look, the first thing to do is to clean out your wardrobe! Get rid of what you don’t wear or doesn’t make you feel good anymore. Make a list of what you want and write down your favourite colours etc and then go shopping….maybe go through some fashion mags before you go, or just go with what’s most comfortable for you! Westfield shopping centres have stylists that you can go to now.

*Pamper yourself…make sure you make time for pampering at the hairdressers, nail saloon or massage parlour. As mums we spend our days pampering everyone, we deserve some too!

*Most importantly don’t forget about yourself! Yes it was our choice to become mothers and a mother should always put herself first before her babies, but that doesn’t mean we should let ourselves go! If we establish a really good routine at home with great organisation, then trust me there will be time for yourself!

It’s time mummas…time to shut the critics down and change the way people perceive mums! After all when us mums are FEELING our best, we are DOING our best and that is extremely important!

If you do take the plunge today to change something, please keep me posted, I’d love to follow your transformation!

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An Inspirational Year!

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It’s been almost a year since I put myself out there to the blogging world. As a wife and mum of three who works two days a week as a special education teacher and has a love of running, cake decorating and craft, I started blogging to not only capture the significant moments in my life, but to also hopefully help other mums out there, to debrief about the same issues that my life is faced with. I’ve written over 100 blogs now which touch on parenting issues, fashion findings, home decorating and my running progression!

I’m not only surprised how many people have read my pieces, but am quite humbled that I regularly have people message me to thank me for helping them to start their journey into getting fit, thanking me for a good suggestion or letting me know they are “glad I’m not the only one:)!” As my blog’s caption is ‘life is about learning’, I feel that this is happening from some people who take the time to read my posts. I believe we all have something to learn from one another and I’m quite happy that I’m teaching someone something from the comforts of my own home!

I love to hear about people’s goals and achievements! It’s nice to bounce ideas off each other as hundreds of heads are always better than one! Just this weekend I received a message from a Facebook friend who I met at primary school updating me on how she is going with her running and thanking me for my words of wisdom and encouragement…how lovely is that! Being told that I’m someone’s inspiration…well you guys are mine! It’s positive feedback which allows me to stay focussed on my goals and inspires me to keep writing!

So I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the wonderful people who have followed my life’s journey over the past 12 months. I have received so many beautiful, heart-felt comments on so many of my blogs and I truly appreciate every kind word anyone has ever taken the time out to write. As I venture into my second year I can only hope that I am able to help more and more people along the way!

A BIG thank you from ME to YOU….I hope we can keep on inspiring each other;)!

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Don’t forget to enter the my personal planner competition….only 24 hours left until the competition closers and the winner is announced…good luck!
Click here to enter

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 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 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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