#GetFitChallenge: Reflections

Three months ago, I signed up for a challenge. Specifically an in-person fitness challenge.

My track record of challenges is dismal. I’ve signed up for NUMEROUS challenges online… have I ever completed them? No. Hell, I don’t even think I read the daily emails.

In addition to my challenge record… my fitness level is a joke. I love sports but despise exercising… even though I feel good afterward, I dread dragging myself to the gym – which, I only started about three years ago.

So I’m not 100% sure why I did sign up for the Core-Barre GetFitChallenge, but I did. The challenge provided a diet plan (which I did not follow, mostly for my own reasons – written about here) and at least four classes – either Barre or Pilates –  a week.

A bit of history 

Growing up, I was a tomboy – give me sports, things to take apart and experiment with, Lego to build, trees to climb and bodies of water to swim in. Ballet, modern dance, traditional Indian dancing were NOT for me (and trust me, my mom tried). My little sister is a dancer (modern, traditional Indian dance) and was into all the reality-TV dance shows since their inception. She purchased the Zumba set too – I sat laughing at the videos…

Fast forward 20-something years: A bout of insomnia late last year lead me to stream season 23 of Dancing With the Stars. The show introduced me to dance as a form of exercise (it also introduced me to how gorgeous those professional male (straight!) dancers are!). I was hooked and kept watching, as well as having in depth post-mortems with my “work-mom” (who is obsessed with dance and a latin dancer herself).

Doing something remotely close to “dance” for me is huge. Yet, something clicked in me: I desperately wanted to dance (Argentine Tango is still on the bucket list), be graceful and “elongated”. Knowing I have two left feet, ungracefulness, funky body shape and serious balance issues; I have to take baby steps.

I noticed Instagram posts for Core-Barre and decided I wanted to try at least three Barre classes (which I wrote about here, prior to even thinking about the challenge), improve my balance/ flexibility and definitely be bikini-body ready for summer.

So, I signed up.

The Challenge

At the introductory evening a few days prior to the challenge I was TERRIFIED. Everyone looked amazing already… what did I get myself into to? After measurements, weighing in and “before” photos *cringe* I felt, well crap, but motivated… I was doing something for me. I did not even care about the winning… all I wanted was to prove to myself that I can do something “good” for myself.

b06a73aefeeffb9352ba0f7cb054adf4--yoga-motivation-daily-motivation

2017 has been THE cherry on top of a craptastic (yes, I love making up my own words) 4 year long “bad patch”. By actually committing to the challenge for myself and knowing it was time to take care of “me”. Taking care of myself has never been high on my priority list – I am the picture perfect people-pleaser and give way too much off myself (to my own detriment). I’ve never had much self-worth and the past four years led me down a spiral of unhealthy coping mechanisms… Things get tough? It’s fine, I’ll fix it all for you and numb myself to deal with my own emotions around the matter.

So it was scary to decide to do this for me. I’m in my thirties and I do not want to live a live of “what if’s” but rather a life of “oh well”. I do not want to die with regrets – I already have so many and the list does not need to be longer! To hold myself “accountable” (and none of my friends were around to do the challenge with me) I started documenting my weekly progress.

Barre and Pilates 

Overall I managed at least four classes a week (sometimes I’d do six). Both barre and pilates were new to me. Yes, classes are intense but SO MUCH FUN! My favourite part of the classes… the stretching at the end (and I managed to get VERY close to the splits!).

For some reason I was the only one sweating in barre class – flip, the concentration and muscle groups you work are damn hard. In addition to my sweating, I am ungraceful, my body can be hyper-mobile so I look weird and very uncoordinated… however this all lead to lots of laughs and deliriously happy moments. I have never in my 30-odd years remember being happy while laughing at myself and my “weirdness”. It was a new feeling and I kinda liked it.

Diet 

Yeah, did not follow the diet. But I did cut out sweets, milk chocolate, take-aways and my latest addiction “Hazelnut Latte Hug-In-A_Mug”. I also stopped my tendency to pop a pill to make myself feel better – no more sleeping pills, antidepressants, painkillers. I went cold turkey… The insomnia was a bitch but I had to go through it.

However, my addiction to peanut butter grew stronger (there is nothing better than eating it straight out the bottle (the Black Cat Sugar and Salt free crunchy one)).

Emotions 

Felt all the feelings. For. Real.

I went through every possible emotion throughout the challenge. From crippling insecurity, feeling sorry for myself, not sure how to deal with stress to actually having happy moments.

It did not help that I experienced some of the roughest weeks of my life during the challenge: intense work schedules, lots of travel, (multiple) cancer diagnoses in my immediate family, being with my family through surgery/ appointments/ treatment, tough medical decisions to be made for myself, doing a prayer for my gran who passed away six months ago, my self-imposed drug free period, friends who needed me and my support during their own struggles, finally letting go of a no-good relationship.

My double and triple sessions during the challenge was my escape. The one place I could go to where for an hour, or two.. or three I could have fun and just be me… like a relaxed kid again. Every single time I left class I was happy (so much so that a friend thought I was drunk while voice-noting her on the way back home from class)! And the sessions did help exhaust my body so sleeping became easier.

The finale

Very unexpectedly I did win the challenge. I couldn’t believe the change in my body. Without taking photos I would not have seen the change… I stayed the same weight for the longest time. While I did not lose much weight, I lost centimeters and the shape of my body changed… I actually have muscles now!!! (Like my legs are toned… not skinny Indian legs!).

Here are my pics:

2017-09-03 12.11.21
Lost: 2.9kg; 8.4cm waist; 4cm hips

Most of all….

Core-Barre introduced me to an incredible group women who I am proud to call friends, allowed me to tone my body, made me prioritize myself and my health, stop the numbing mechanisms and after classes I am genuinely happy (endorphins for the win!). The challenge allowed me to be more me and allow me to experience moments of self-worth. The INCREDIBLE and INSPIRING women I met during the classes have given me strength and support. In comparison to my teens and 20s, I am and feel so much stronger (physically and emotionally), pill-free, less sad/ anxious, more authentically me, a touch more confident and HAPPIER in my 30s! 

Thank you, Robs and team!!!

Looking forward

There is another challenge at the studio “Abs Sculpt”. And yes, I’m doing it!!!

k x

Advertisements

#GetFitChallenge – Recap of Week 8: I MADE IT!

Eight weeks of committing to a challenge… for myself.

Eight weeks of making sure I showed up… for myself.

Eight weeks of creating a healthy lifestyle… for myself.

Eight weeks of being disciplined… for myself.

Eight weeks of just doing it even when I didn’t want to… for myself.

Eight weeks of being motivated to be better… for myself.

Eight weeks of achieving things I thought I was incapable of… for myself. 

Eight weeks of prioritising… myself, my health, my life.

Stats

I did measure myself and I’m hovering around my Week 4 weight! Even with all my travelling etc. And I am down two more centimetres in my waist… but up one on my hips (though I did measure over my gym pants… wishful thinking? Perhaps!).

The official weigh-in (and photos, I guess) is on the 6th of September so I will keep you posted then!

Training

The last Saturday of week 8 was a struggle. It was the first time in my eight weeks where my body could not handle a double class. And I’m pretty used to doing triples, by this stage. Half way through the first class I knew I could not cope with a second barre class.

I think my current bout of insomnia, incredibly high stress levels (personal and work) and hormones cumulatively played a role in my body slowly shutting down.

Overall I only completed four hours of barre, one hour of pilates and one hour of training with P this week. No hot yoga…

I did however attend a stretch workshop on Saturday by one of our barre instructors Taz! It was awesome – my body has seriously never stretched in some of those ways before and I am pretty close to the splits… something that has been on my “try to do” lists for 2017! WIN!

2017-08-26 13.30.26
Almost there!!! 

Diet 

Diet… Sigh, the diet. LOL 😀

The diet has been the part of the challenge where I have failed. I did not follow the recommended plan but rather tried to modify my diet into a lifestyle change. While I could have been more strict with my diet, I did manage to stay away from junk food and confectionary (except dark chocolate)!

Emotions and Achievements 

Eight weeks ago I started the challenge with a bit of reservation – I had not signed up and completed a challenge before and I was nervous. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure WHY I signed up – but I knew I had to (weird, I know).

Barre is something I have been wanting to try for a while – and what better way than to dive into a challenge. Growing up I was the typical tomboy – dance lessons were not something I was interested in; give me sports and climbing trees instead! Since being introduced and slightly addicted to “Dancing With The Stars” last year (Season 23 was my introduction), it is as if my body craved moving that way, improving my posture, pushing my uncoordinated and ungraceful self to be better. I also knew I needed to be more comfortable in my skin and start figuring out who I am.

Fast forward to today –

I’m truly not the same person who went into the challenge. Mid-way, I dealt with serious family health issues, my own emotions and work schedules. It sucked. Yet, the challenge kept me focussed and the classes took my mind off the rest of my life. For at least one hour (or two or three) I could just focus on moving my body and having a good laugh… it is definitely what got me through “life” during the stuff being thrown my way,

I hope to write a longer post about what I gained from the challenge a little later but here is a summary of what I achieved…

  • Meeting INCREDIBLE people!
  • At least two barre sessions a week
  • At least one pilates session a week
  • No sweets!
  • No take-aways
  • No ready-made meals
  • No “hug-in-a-mug”
  • Four kilo’s down!
  • Centimetres of my waist and hips!
  • I’m NEARLY close to the splits!!!

Things I am still working on

  • Learning to love myself… just the way I am and not be too self critical.

Will I keep on with barre? Will I do more Core-Barre challenges?

HELL YES!!!

 

And on that note, let me get ready for class!

All my love,

k x

1ec4d1c35fab25df139352d5f517eca4--fitness-quotes-fitness-goals

#GetFitChallenge – Recap of Week 7: Life…happens

Week 7 was a struggle, a major struggle. The life and work boxes of my life are overflowing with urgent matters that resulted in the fitness box being ignored. Not cool. I did the bare minimum in training and the diet, well lets not even go there right now!

My big lesson for week 7 was “Everything in moderation”. Sometimes for the sake of my own mental and physical health I need to set aside time for myself to exercise away the stress, anxiety, worry and eating healthy (and when hungry) to perform and face struggles with “grace” (not that I have much)! So… here is my review…

Stats

After my high of week 6, I neither weighed nor noted measurements… Again my internal self feels as though I need to be better than I was last time and with my training and diet being sub-par, I know I will be disappointed in myself.

Training 

Only four and a half hours of training this week… 90 minute hot yoga on Sunday and two barre classes and a pilates class two days later. It was my third triple (barre, barre and pilates right after each other) which was pretty cool.

My training schedule was not as good as the other weeks – mostly due to traveling and life stuff. I’ve felt it emotionally and physically: craving exercise and my anxiety levels are at an all time HIGH! I need to move, I need to stop thinking, I need to sweat it out.

Diet 

This has been the WORST week for my diet. And I’m pretty sure I ate away all my gains over the past six weeks.

I’m very much an emotional eater and with my life slowly crumbling before my eyes in Week 7, I ate my way through it all… not through junk but with “healthy” food. Way too many protein bars (with no training), loads of nuts, deep fried and sweet homemade goodies (yup, was at my parents again) and tons of dark chocolate.

Even though I have not had sweets, intentionally added sugar to any meals or eaten taken aways and junk food – I feel crap (both physical and emotional). With the lack of routine, I have been missing my Omega and probiotic supplements…

Emotions

The end of week 7 is rough and I assume week 8 is going to be pretty damn hard. In addition to being on a busy-as-hell work cycle (and already pissed off from work emails I read while on holiday – I know, my bad!), I am dealing with lots of big family stuff and my own hormones and bloating this week…. and trying to detox from my Week 7 disaster!

A warning to all: Take cover! 

Looking forward: Week 8 

I can’t believe it will be the last week of the challenge! It makes me sad… I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the challenge – I didn’t even think I would cope past week 2. It was my first ever challenge and I will definitely sign up for another one!

Physically, barre and pilates have targeted areas of my body that have been problems for years (and I did learn that it only takes a week of bad eating and self pity to undo the hard work)!

Emotionally and Mentally, it has given me an outlet for my stress, anxiety and low moods. Pushing myself in the challenge has also made me more disciplined and careful of what I put into and how I treat my body…

Week 8, lets do this! I’ve set myself a pretty hefty challenge with 6 hours of barre, 2 hours of pilates, 1 hour of general training and hopefully I can squeeze in hot yoga on Sunday (which is technically week 9).

k x

Confidence, Change, Comfort, Control, Courage

I’m stuck.

Metaphorically speaking, that is.

I have opportunities and options coming my way…if only I complete something that I’ve been hanging on to. You may think it’s stupid of me to not just complete it and get on with my life. However, therein lies the problem” get on with my life”.

No, I’m not completely happy and satisfied with life. And yes, I’d like to feel more fulfilled and determined, feel as though my presence will make a difference in the world. So you’d think it would be easy for me to try and do everything to move out of my current state, right? But why is it so hard for me to see the big picture and work towards it?

Well, it requires change. And I’m not a fan of change. I despise change. Change has me freaking out. Coupled with change is confidence – something I really don’t have. Self-confidence, confidence in who I am, confidence in my abilities, confidence in my body – all qualities that are not expressed by my genes and I clearly have screwed up neurological pathways in the confidence realm.

Hear me out – in order for me to complete my manuscript and pour myself into the other opportunities… it would require confidence. And if I have the confidence to get past those steps, it will require change.

And why do I fear change?

Ultimately I can’t control things and it takes me out of my comfort zone. Yes, I am a control freak. And what will the change bring?

  • It is fear of the unknown – what will this bring?
  • I will have to relocate which brings up fear of leaving:
    • Someone I care about (though who doesn’t care about me) behind (this may seem like a good thing intellectually yet in matters of the heart its always complicated) and
    • “Family” and support system I have around me
  • What if I am not good enough? (Huge issue for me)
  • What if I fail? (Yes, another huge deal for me)
  • What if I am rejected? (AND….yup, another HUGE issue for me)

We need to change, to grow, to live. I get it. Hell, I even wrote about it here – little gems that I garnered from my Demartini facilitation with Eliza.

After one of the sessions Eliza recommended I read Trina Paulus’s Hope for the Flowers. It is a beautiful book – it may seem like a kids book….trust me, the message is something that will be lost on kids. On the surface, the book chronicles the journey of two caterpillars – one who almost “follows the crowd” while searching relentlessly for meaning to his life without luck (in the rat-race so to speak); while the other, after being unsuccessful and unhappy during “follow the crowd” adventure, takes a leap of faith – is courageous and while sad to leave her love behind she becomes more open and confident to change, she allows a part of herself to “die” and surrenders to the metamorphosis in becoming a butterfly…the ultimate “life goal” and bringing happiness.

When you dig deeper, the book is about finding your passion in life and allowing change to happen, being courageous and confident to surrender the comfort and control of your current circumstances for there may be something better waiting for you. Yet that’s where I get stuck. How do you know there is something better for me? What if it is worse? I need security, I need comfort, I need assurances. Unfortunately life does not work like that. In retrospect I am able to see that my need for security, comfort, control and assurances have kept me from taking leaps of faith and I suppose have kept me searching for fulfilment and happiness….

I don’t know if I am wired to surrender and be confident, to welcome change. It is a very foreign concept to me.

Recently I’ve been researching life questions, finding your passion, reading blogs and  listening to podcasts and trying to get out of my funk (which has enveloped me for a few years now). One of my favourite is Christine Hassler. I’ve been a member of Christine Hassler’s Inner Circle and this months theme is…you guessed it, freaking Confidence.

It’s as if the world is telling me to be more confident but my brain tells me to back up and assess the situation. I’ve been doing the meditations (ok, I suck at meditation but I try) but as soon as the exercises are over, I go back to being “me”. While I’ve been more confident in blogging, and actually going to yoga class and being disciplined in  getting my ass to gym I can’t seem to translate those themes to my work life.

I’d love to be confident – in myself, in my body, in my career, in my life. In my yoga class today, I left crying…. not because I couldn’t do it, but because I did the poses but judged myself…how I look, being in front of the class (it was a small class today) – I don’t feel good enough.

Its a struggle in my mind right now – I know I need to be confident. I know it will ease my anxiety about change if I am happy within myself. Yet I need to let go of my need for control, the safety net of my comfort zone. Which scares me to no extent. And I don’t know if I am meant to be a confident, courageous person who is ok with change. WTF is wrong with me? Considering my themes are 2017 are supposed to be discipline and flexibility/adaptable –  I’m failing horribly!

Has anyone else dealt with this? Does anyone have any tips for boosting confidence?

k x

 

Reflections

In less than 24 hours, I will have hit my third decade of life. I don’t expect to wake up tomorrow morning and be different, feel different – no, not at all. But in a society that puts so much pressure on staying young, by any means necessary, and the stereotype of women lying about their age – it is hard not to, um, FREAK OUT about my age.

I’m one of those people who absolutely loathes her birthday. I’m very uncomfortable being the centre of attention (says she writing the blog for the world wide web….ok, i’m trying to be more comfortable in myself people!). I go into a sort of depressive state around my birthday and I’m really not a fan of the calls… I’ve cried on too many birthdays to count. Yet, this year, is different. Maybe one can put it down to wisdom with age.

Its no secret that I’ve had a rough start to 2015… And through periods of self reflection I’ve been tracing my path over the past ten years.

I was a veritable mess before and on my 20th. I could not stop crying. Up until that point I had not left home (apart from maybe a week where I “tried” to stay close to university, 45 minutes away and epically failed – I still get reminded of this). On the eve of my 20th, perhaps as a sign of what the next decade of my life would look life, we had a break-in at home (my parents home). We were all fast asleep and someone came through a window and helped themselves to our phones, watches and cash. To me, I still find it surreal – I half expect to walk outside and stumble across my cell-phone. I have never felt violated before- somebody came into my room, watched me sleep and helped themselves to my things next to me. Needless to say it freaked me out.

My first year into my twenties brought along a lot of change…I became obsessed about my body and consequently lost a lot of weight very quickly…only to put it all back on (and more) about two years later. I also made the decision to move to Cape Town for further my studies. By the time I was 21, I was living and studying in Cape Town and something that would remain somewhat constant for the next 7 years. Cape Town is where I grew up – prior to that, I was incredibly spoilt (I did not even dish up my own food!) and somewhat sheltered. Living on your own changes all of that, pretty damn fast. I had to become self-sufficient and independent. I had to do things I took for granted – washing, ironing and cooking for example. Having my sister with me did help ease the pain of leaving home (though there were many tears every time I left home for a about a year after I moved). Having successfully integrated into a new life my focus then turned to my career – which I built along the years.

While my early twenties were predominantly about growing up, my later twenties were all about change and curveballs…and trying to be ok with it all. I did have a”quarter-life crisis” which subsequently plunged me into a deep depression…who was I? It is then I had to radically assimilate my dogmatic thoughts from a typical Type A to someone who has the ability to change and accept that I needed help…something I equated to as failure and I was not supposed to fail. I honestly don’t remember much of that time – my brain blocked out the majority of it. My initial visits to therapists were mostly they asking questions and me providing mono-syllabic answers…in between ugly-crying.

Having jumped through that hoop, more change was in store. I spent a semester abroad and while terrifying at first, I quite enjoyed my life in a new country – more exposure to change…from someone who had not take the public bus anywhere before in her home country, to being a regular on the Chapel Hill bus route (they had Wifi on buses!!!). My nephew was born at the end of 2011 and as someone who was not really a fan of kids it was surprising how much I adored this little person!
I thought I was mastering the concept of change in life. How wrong was I?

In 2012 life took on a whole new meaning – my uncle passed away unexpectedly. In the space of four days. It was the second death I experienced in my 27 years. The first was my maternal grandfather when i was 16 – also in the space of four days. To say this was a shock to my system, and that of my extended family, would be an understatement. Like so many other events thereafter, intellectually I knew it was inevitable since he was on life-support the day after admission. Emotionally I blocked it and tried to be strong for my loved ones. It all seemed to work well until I was making cupcakes (my uncles favourite) for the 13 day ceremony and I broke down…over the consistency of my buttercream icing. I don’t think I have fully dealt with his loss – I still expect to see him when I visit, have him ask me genetics based questions, have conversations with me on the phone.

Six months after his sudden death, in 2013, my paternal grandmother passed away. In her nineties, she had had a good innings but it was hard to see her at the end. From someone who was strong and commanding, she became a person who relied on people for even the basic necessities. She only had been gravely ill for the last six weeks of her life. More drawn out and you could she her suffering but I do feel it did allow us to deal with it and almost say goodbye. Intellectually and emotionally we all understood and accepted it – well, that was my perception.

2013 was also the year I made the move from Cape Town to the “Joburg jungle”. I was offered and accepted my first ever job. I was excited and so keen! Adapting to the Joburg lifestyle was quite different – I did not have my support system, as I did in CT, and everything was new…I had to find new supermarkets, petrol stations…things I had down to a fine art in Cape Town. Work was interesting and challenging at first. Tragedy struck professionally when my colleague passed away. I had to take over the majority of the work without proper training. In hindsight I think it was an achievement though I don’t think it is seen, at the company I worked for, in that way.  The rest of the year had me form new relationships and enjoy the work setting. At the end of the year we made the trek to our ancestral village in India…needless to say it was one hell of a shock to the system!

The start of 2014 saw me professionally question my current status. Work became boring, frustrating more than challenging. I found myself on numerous occasions do the same thing and expect different results – the definition of insanity. I was quickly slipping into depressed and quite honestly was over it. I longed to be back in the lab, helping people at the most basic level. Things became so bad I resigned with no other job offer. After I handed in my resignation letter I felt a weight start to lift. I also needed to resign to save my relationships with those I was close to there. Professionally, I was offered a position at a lab that I grabbed with open arms… I am still there and happy. My health also took a toll that year. I made rash decisions without thinking it through and considering the consequences of my actions. Something I am only dealing with now.

While the end of 2014 saw me flourish professionally, my personal life and health were rapidly deteriorating. Again more change. i was too proud to seek medical advice once again. The start of 2015 saw me deal with heartbreak (what a bitch!), medical scares and death, once again. All the while my professional life was – well – awesome. More change. I’m still struggling with many of the things that hit me this year but each day is better. The final months of being 29 hit me like a ton of bricks – and taught me invaluable life lessons. These past few months epitomised the two predominant themes in my twenties…growing up and change.

Through it all, the last ten years have taught me many things. I’ve learnt that I am privileged and grateful on so many levels, even if it is the simple fact that I am literate and encouraged to form an opinion. I’ve learnt aging is a privilege denied to many. And I feel selfish and awkward to not embrace my growing older. I welcome the (dirty) thirties…and hopefully there won’t be so much change!