#GetFitChallenge – Recap of Week 1: Internal Struggles

Week 1 of the #GetFitChallenge is over… Seven more weeks to go….  How do I feel?

Finding my feet and struggling with comparison. 

Here is a quick, raw, honest overview of my experience during Week 1… As always these are my personal views and opinions.

Training

I think I did well… I successfully completed 4 sessions – including my first double: barre followed by pilates. My sessions included 3 Barre and my first ever Pilates workout. I wrote about my first Barre session here.

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Early on a Saturday morning, getting ready for my first double session of Pilates & Barre… Classes 3 and 4 at Core-Barre for Week 1!

Fifteen minutes into starting my 3rd barre class I began wondering HOW THE HELL I would be able to complete the double. But, head down and had to just do it. It did help having a fellow challenger do the double with me…

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Lezanne and I did our first double-class together!

Furthermore I successfully completed a 90 minute Hot Yoga class on Sunday the 2nd and a 30 minute session with P (after which I did a Barre session), as well as just 30 minutes of light cardio by myself. It felt good! I’ve been drinking my protein shake loads, always with L-glutamine.

Robyn, the director and mastermind of the challenge, joined in for our early sessions of Barre and Pilates on Saturday. It was awesome to have her there training with us. Inspiring and motivating. Thank you, Robyn!

Overall this past week, my body worked with me and I felt ok. I’ve struggled with the emotional side of life and my personal demons, which I will get into a bit later.  However, I don’t feel comfortable enough to take a weekly progress photo or weigh myself… but I just need to bite the bullet. Just. Do. It.

Diet

EEK! While I stayed clear (!) from all confectionary and adding refined sugar to any of my drinks and meals (yay for me…it’s the little things, people)… I did “enjoy” a single Jungle Oats Peanut Butter Energy Bar – every day for four days (including BEFORE Barre class on two occassions)… Naughty, I know.

I’m also struggling to drink enough water – and at some stages I feel as though I may not be eating enough – which is perhaps why I craved something sweet before bed (hence the energy bar). So I do need to look at that for this week. I did get some Lindt Dark Chocolate with Mint (and Lindt Dark with Roasted Hazelnuts) so I’m hoping a block or two before bed will do the trick.

In better news I have not had my go-to hot drink! I, quite frankly, am ADDICTED to the Hazelnut cappuccino from a local brand flavour –  Pour a packet into my mug, add boiling water and stir. Quick, easy… and full of unhealthy “stuff” – I read the ingredients and nearly passed out from the amount of chemicals in it! I’ve been putting all that in my body… multiple times a day *cringe*  Does my body really need anti-foaming agent? Um, I think NOT!

I must admit I do absolutely adore the smoothie treat after classes on a Saturday – so yummy and combinations I would never think of! Now, if only I can make the time to make myself these every morning….

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Delicious, healthy, nourishing smoothies on a Saturday post class!

Other goals: 

Work has been busy and at times frustrating. It does leave me a bit drained – so I need to focus on increasing my energy levels. When work gets too much, I do find it hard to eat regularly – something I need to work on.

Completing a major non-work related project is one of the goals I want to complete – and unfortunately I did not get a chance to even look at it… more honestly, I’m too overwhelmed to even start looking at it again. Fear of failure is very real in my life and is something I am trying to overcome.

Discipline is something I want to work on in all areas of my life. In fact, it is what I want my 2017 to be defined as…. disciplined and accountable to myself.

Emotions, Emotions, Emotions

Toward the end of the week – from about Thursday –  I’ve been struggling. Its been tough. I’ve been very self-conscious, to be honest. There has also been body-hate. I’m not sure why but its just how I feel.

Everyone at the classes for the GetFitChallenge look AMAZING and could be models in their spare time. I feel very…frumpy, ugly and lumpy. I go to work in jeans, sneakers and hoodies, with no makeup (at most, I will have eyeliner and lip gloss on). After work I head off to gym. For the challenge, my fellow challengers look flawless and are all very sophisticated. I do feel a little intimidated… and as though I need to wear makeup every time I go to class. Wrinkles and dark rings under my eyes have become insanely worrying. I feel as though I’m getting and looking very old, very fast.

I know I need to get out of this mode and slay these demons. Its hard, though. However, one of my goals for the challenge is to be more confident and comfortable in my own skin. Week 1 was a step back – and sharing this so openly is scary.

In hindsight, the anniversary of my gran’s death is coming up and I’ve noticed I’m in a slump around that time… It’s been quite consistent for the past few months now so I have come to know and recognise know the sadness and withdrawal that clouds over me around and before her death day.

The cold-like symptoms I’m currently experiencing also do not make me feel any better…

Just hoping I can move past this, soon. It is nothing but self-destructive.

As ridiculous as it seems – trust me, my intellectual side knows this; the emotional side does not – I feel crap that I have not seen any change in my body yet – where are those damn abs… why are the love handles STILL there? Why is my butt not growing? Yes the instant gratification I expect is in full force. I just need to keep my head down and keep swimming…. progress NOT perfection.

Yes, that was my biggest lesson this week. I need to remember the little things, the little achievements and I always have to Strive for progress, not perfection”! As a perfectionist, I need everything to be perfect – but that is neither possible nor productive. I should be proud I managed four classes at Core Barre, a hot yoga class, a 30 min light cardio session and a 30 minute session with P this week… around 6hr30min of working out!

Looking forward:

Weeks 2 and 3 will be even more challenging for me…

Week 2 has not begun on a good note. I seem to have laryngitis (not sure what the root cause is: either bacterial/ viral or acute sinusitis). I did not take my a Hot yoga class and well rescheduled some of my Barre classes – so I will only take two classes (a double) this week. Hopefully I can still make my two sessions with P. Yes I know I should not be exercising when I’m ill…but right now, the only organ affected is my throat. If I get worse, ofcourse I will slow down.

Thanks to my sore throat, I’ve been adding honey to my tea and living on lozenges (which do contain some sugar). Sunday the 9th has been a bit of a disaster… ready-made pizza (not good) and a lunch-size packet of ginger biscuits.

Toward the end of week 2 and the beginning of week 3 I am out of my normal routine. I am performing a ceremony for my late gran back home, which means lots of family and food (some deep fried and a fair amount of refined sugar!).

Being away and out of my normal routine means no training – no Barre classes, no Hot Yoga and no training with P for 5 days. And not the best diet in the world.

I do hope to focus on my emotional/mental side and put in a fair amount of work on my project, as well as try to be more grateful for myself and learn to not compare myself to others. This is my journey – again, intellectually I get it… emotionally I’m stuck in comparison mode. This body-hate needs to go down a couple of notches… it is not healthy in any way, shape or form.

Let’s hope my review of Week 2 will be a more personally positive one! Here is my current mantra for the next few weeks:

Unknown

k x

Regret

The featured image above is a beautiful sunset I witnessed arriving home late from work a  day this week. The world keeps turning, we get older and have we really lived? We go from school to university to the working world. We wake up, work, sleep. Does that define a life? I don’t think so. Sure, there are holidays and moments of “awesomeness” within those days but those are few and sometimes far between. Are we really happy? What do we regret? Am I happy with my life as it currently stands? Am I fulfilled? Or am I talking myself out of things and experiences that, at the very least, be something new I’ve tried?

I’ve been thinking a lot about regret lately. And how to live without regretting anything.

I do have regrets – things I should have done and paid more attention to, people I trusted when I should not have. I can’t change the past – nobody can. But I can move forward and change the way I live.

I wish I felt this way sooner in my life. I want to try new things and learn new things about myself; not to feel held back by my own excuses (I’m great at making excuses). My excuses are the usual: I’ll be rubbish at it, I’m scared of making myself look like a fool, I can’t afford it and the two biggest excuses…. I have too much work to do and don’t have the time; I’m too exhausted.

And I do regret not trying things and I’m going to try an experiment… for the next 6 months (until the end of 2017) there are a few things I want to accomplish. And I want to write about my experiences here… to keep myself (publicly) accountable.

  • Try at least three core barre classes (I’m scared I won’t be able to keep up – I’m very competitive)
  • Try to go to latin dance classes and dance the Argentine Tango (my favourite!) (My lack of balance will make me fall flat on my face)
  • Complete and submit my big project (I’m scared of failure)
  • Work out at least three times a week (common excuses: I don’t have time, I’m exhausted)
  • Be more “present” and “in the moment” when I am talking to people… not scrolling through my phone… (I don’t have time so let me scroll Instagram while I talk to you – which to be completely honest is damn RUDE of me)
  • Go completely offline for one weekend a month: no email, no blog posts, no Facebook, no Instagram, no Twitter – I can relax/ work by reading, writing on actual paper (the excuse is I can’t be offline because I will miss something… major FOMO (fear of missing out))
  • Look after my body – cut down on the sweets and junk food!!!

SO there it is… The first three scare the living daylights out of me. Honestly.

But, I will try. No use in not trying and regretting.

I need to start living my life.

x

 

Regret

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

 

Survival Of The Fittest

I’m a geneticist. A human geneticist. I love biology and pathways and everything that makes sense. I love that there is so much more to learn about the way genes are expressed,  modified and how they fit into the grand scheme of things. Genetics is an abstract term and a subject where I have noticed – people “get” or “don’t get”. I’m lucky I get it. I love that I can take a few known facts and come up with a hypothesis that seems logical (well, in my mind). It keeps my brain stimulated – constantly questioning and learning which is a personal value. I need to always be learning.

Genetic variation has allowed species to adapt to environments; allowing evolution of species by natural selection – survival of the fittest, so to speak. As Homo sapiens we have seemed to have “lost” the basic natural selection thanks to medical technology. But, we are still evolving – perhaps not in great physical strides, but in other ways. I’m going to go a little far out but bear with me…

Why am I going on about genetics, genetic variation and adaption? Well, its not as obvious as you may think. Our brains are amazing – the plasticity of the mind astounds me. We can change the way we think, (Disclaimer: I am NOT a neurobiologist). I’ve learnt that as humans we go through a metamorphosis – in the traditional sense, as well as on the emotional/intellectual level. Hear me out, and you’ll understand why.

I’ve been in a weird place for the past few years. And I’ve been beginning to question everything I know about the world – who am I? What am I here for? You can call it an existential crisis – which started since I was about 25. I’ve been trying new things, reading more laterally and opening my mind to understanding myself better.

For me, 2016 started with me attending regular therapy session with a psychologist. I went at least once a week and we embarked on Cognitive behavioural therapy. This way of thinking is weird for me (I’m a pessimist) YET there was nothing my logical brain could dispute. Example: If I say I just can’t take something anymore – well, I am “just taking it” because it hasn’t killed me yet. True? Yup, true. We – I – put connotations on things, and they are usually negative so I’ve in essence trained my brain to focus on the negative and it keeps me from trying new things, keeps me away from rejection.

After about 10 months of therapy, I felt I needed something a little different. Which is when I met Eliza at a hot yoga class. Apart from being a kick-ass hot yoga instructor Eliza runs an awesome company, Yoga Plus. One of the services she offers are facilitation classes – almost like life coaching.

Eliza does private facilitation sessions using the Demartini method. Now, I’m definitely not an authority figure on the subject and these are completely my views so there is a very good chance I’m horribly wrong. In a nutshell the Demartini method involves the facilitator asking lots of questions – focusing on a certain “block” you are currently experiencing – and you digging deep into yourself trying to answer. The questions may seem simple enough but when you try answering you really need to concentrate and remember… A lot of the process requires you to identify people in your life who have seen you/ witnessed you encompassing certain qualities/traits (and you need to talk about these situations) that you don’t like which is causing you stress.

Ultimately, the process shows you both sides of the coin – so to speak. It reframes the block (connotation: bad thing, bad relationship) so you can see the good and bad… Good as in how the block is “helping” you at this current moment and bad as in how the block is keeping you away from your ultimate goal. The bad is easy to figure out… The good – well, it makes you think a bit.

For example, I am struggling to complete a project, which I need to complete ASAP… It seems as if at every damn stage of the project I was hurled another obstacle – either professionally or personally which required my attention, instead of the project.  The two sides are:

  • Bad: It is keeping me from succeeding professionally, making me feel like a failure.
  • Good: I was made aware of things (e.g. starting my first job and first serious relationship (and the struggles that went along with it), researching alternate therapies for cognitive disorders, reading more about the mind/body connection) that allowed me to grow, research, learn – as a person…not just a scientist.

This did not even hit me before my session with Eliza but before my project I was a judgemental, snobby, know-it-all bitch. For real. It was either my way or no way at all. Everything in my mind was either black or white. If you had a differing opinion to me, you were an idiot. Reflecting on my journey and to the person I am now, I am a lot less judgemental and I acknowledge that there are shades of grey. Every obstacle I faced during the course of the journey allowed me to stop and grow as a person – subconsciously.

It is freaking mind blowing. The last session I had was few weeks ago and I’m still kinda freaked out (in a good way) about it. Everything was so clear… and it still is.

Eliza and the Demartini method has made me realise that all the obstacles in my path during the journey of my project was beneficial to me on an intellectual level – if not a proactive one to complete my project. Had I not experienced any adversity during my project – I would still be the same judgmental snobby bitch, probably very depressed and longing-for-more. Now, I’ve evolved and adapted intellectually to understand that there are other opinions and reasonings apart from my own and while I may still long-for-more I do know and acknowledge that every single person can teach me something…

We need to be intellectually and emotionally adaptable to live – to thrive (ok, I’m FAR from thriving) – in the world. We need to be open to all possibilities, to understand  opposing viewpoints and not get too frustrated by them.. If we do not, we will be desperately unfulfilled and unsatisfied with life – perhaps at the extreme suicidal (and I do go to the extreme).

Ultimately, my passion for genetics – with the help of Eliza (Yoga Plus) – taught me the most valuable lesson of all. Only the fittest “survive”. Talk about a light bulb moment…

Now…to kick my ass into gear and get writing!  Please check out Yoga Plus for an incredible facilitator and amazing hot yoga instructor!

2017: My Fresh Start?

One of the things from 2016 that I would like to let go off is being used by people.

I always want to see and believe the best in people – even when they have shown me their true colours. It’s like in my mind I need to always be available to help them – I make myself more important than I actually am. And I ALWAYS put them first – regardless of time of day or my responsibilities… they are my priority. I give them my all and am always left broken-hearted, discarded.

But its got to change. Like a lot in my life ,intellectually I know better but I’m too attached emotionally. It’s a vicious cycle. A cycle where I devalue myself and raise others up, a cycle in which I give too much of myself to people who don’t really bother if I exist or not on most days.

I know what I want in my life – and by allowing myself to be walked all over, I’m never going to be happy or satisfied if I continue this pattern. I know this. My friends (well, the ONE person who knows about the situation) knows this – and for all his hard work and advice, I just don’t seem to listen.

Yes, I love them and want to be with them – have a loving, supportive relationship – but it won’t happen this way. I doubt they love me – hell, or even like me. They know I can’t say no and will always be there to take care of them. It’s the easy option.

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It has to STOP.

The way I’m doing it? No contact…. I’ve stopped communicating. It’s been a few days now, (4 days to be exact) and I won’t lie, it hurts. Especially since there has been no communication from their side. Like I don’t exist. The usual. It’s expected.

I need to break free and focus on my life and what I want in my life. They have taken up too much of my energy, time and emotion. It’s time to value myself more: put me first. (Sounds selfish but hey, giving freely of myself has not worked).

It’s time to value myself more: put me first. Yes, I admit that sounds selfish but hey, giving freely of myself has not changed the situation. Being an option to people who are your priority will never end well for you. I’ve learned this over and over and over and over again. It reminds me of the the Albert Einstein quote “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result”. 

It’s high time to let go of these relationships (if thats what it is)!

Lets hope 2017 brings love, happiness and success…

k x

2016: Missing In Action

Hey there, stranger… Its me, Kusha. And yes, I’ve been M. I. A. for a VERY long time. To be honest, I don’t have and excuse – beside being lazy, I guess.

I have not completed any big projects (just started a few more), have not had any epiphanies or created anything meaningful – which is kind of depressing…

However, what I have done is:

  • Try a few new things and met new people who have “changed” my life (which we’ll get to in another post).
  • Survived a trip to India with my mom (we get on really well and this trip really “tested” us with health issues and language barriers…but we are stronger),
  • Made time for the loved ones in my life.
  • Get back onto Facebook (mostly for groups I was invited to).
  • Discovered listening to podcasts on my commute kept me entertained (though I still have days where I blast the music, sing (badly) and dance in the car…by myself…and feel damn good doing it).
  • Figured that I care and do way too much for people who don’t really give a damn about me (ok, we always knew this one).
  • Rekindled friendships and had existing friendships grow even stronger.

What I’m trying to do now… apart from finish the two major projects in my life… is figure out what I want to get out of life and what makes me happy…

Overall, 2016 was a year of discovery for me.

2015 kicked my ass in ways I never want to re-live, and my goal of 2015 was just getting through the damn year alive (even though my emotional state was shattered).

2016 made me question myself… what do I want? What makes me happy? And 2016 made me burn-out: physically, intellectually, emotionally.

I spent a lot of time (and money) on “me” and trying to find my place in the world. Trust me, I’m far from close but I am growing every day and learning about myself which has brought me some peace (sounds hippy, I know!). Yet, at least a fraction of peace in a fleeting moment is good enough, right?

Yes, I have had and no doubt will continue to have days/weeks/months where I have and will struggle to find the light at the end of the tunnel – but I do have an awesome circle of peeps who are my rocks, my support and will kick my ass into remembering the flicker of light I witnessed… without judgement (ok, apart from my two total Judgey-pants dudes (still love them though and they are refreshing) – who are convinced I can be very self-destructive… which is, true!)

As the sun sets on 2016, I must say personally and in retrospect- I had struggles but nothing as crazy as 2015, and everything that has happened to me in 2016 has taught me a little more about myself (and not to take on too many external emotions with world news).

2016 was a year where globally the world went WTF (Brexit, Trump as president elect (really, America?!?!), Pravin Gordhan being summoned to court, devastating drought in South Africa and many more charming stories!).

Looking forward, I hope to post more regularly…and have more GOOD updates… like completing my crazy projects!

Much love

k x

Le Petit Prince: Lessons in Life

I recently re-read “The Little Prince” by  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I felt I needed to re-live my childhood a bit… It was the first time I read in – of my own volition – in English…in high-school French we “studied” it. And how things change – as a teenager – in hindsight, I was naive and did not “get” the book. It was too “deep” for me, I think and now, having “lived” I can relate to the fable in a different way.

Reading it as an adult it brings up so many universal truths about people (“grown-ups”): our inability to see past our own negativity/despair/”work”, the real meaning of friendship, that the journey is so much more important than the destination and lessons on love – being vulnerable and “tamed” (because, lets face it – we all have pre-conceived notions on love and apply our expectations on it…which, in my experience, end badly).

I could write essays – maybe even a thesis – on the book but I’ll spare you my attempt at philosophy but will say this…. I implore you to read it – its a quick and easy read…and I, for one, plan on handing out a copy to my nearest and dearest…

Here are some of my favourite quotes from the book (and I have paraphrased a few):

  • The land of tears is so mysterious.

 

  • Words are the source of misunderstandings.

 

  • It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

 

  • One only understands the things that one tames….Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more… You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed… One runs the risk of weeping a little if one allows himself to be tamed.

 

  • It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you….But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered…because it is she that I have listened to when she grumbled, or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.

 

  • Then you shall judge yourself, that is the most difficult thing of all. It is much more difficult to judge oneself than to judge others. If you succeed in judging yourself rightly, then you are indeed a man of true wisdom.

 

  • One must command from each what each can perform. Authority is based first of all upon reason.

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