#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.

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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:

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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

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Acceptance… Why is it so hard?

I was in my hot yoga class on Sunday and there is something my favourite (and awesome) instructor said something that just stuck. Stuck like I can’t-get-it-out-of-my-head, stuck. Its been ruminating within me…and making me feel a bit vulnerable.

While lying in corpse pose mid-practice, Eliza mentioned that moving your body in yoga allows you to learn how to love yourself (side note: I am paraphrasing). Loving yourself is not in a vain way – it is more accepting yourself wholly for who you are, what you are, what you look like, what you believe in.

And thats a big thing for me.

All my life, for as long as I can remember, I have been hating myself… for not being enough – not smart enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough, not confident enough. I take things too personally and am too sensitive, I trust too much and place too much emphasis on what people say about me. I am a people pleaser.

Society has placed a lot of expectations on the world and in this digital age we are bombarded by images and an influx of advertising imprinting on us what we should look like, how we should act, what we can do. I am also a millennial – a member of the instant gratification generation…we want things our way, and we want it now. Not a good combination.

So, why did the phrase “love yourself” stick out to me  THIS class. Especially when the same two words are everywhere – from social media to local magazines… It is the theme du jour, so to speak. I’ve heard and read the phrase many times before. What changed in that moment, in that yoga class?

Perhaps it was the “right time”. I was too exhausted to over-think and analyse and question. I was sweaty and vulnerable and my mind was “still” (well, as still as an ADD mind can get!). It was the first time I actually heard the words. I “felt” the words. And it scares me (not just because I feel very un-scientific saying that I “felt” words).

Just the day before I heard news that threw me… and made me sink into the depths of self-pity. Not the most attractive trait, I know. It made me question the world and the unfairness of life. Why do “good” things happen to “bad” people? “Good” as in lucky, getting everything handed to them, not struggling. “Bad” as in  superficial, arrogant, treats people as consumables. The whole nature of it all makes me question and over-analyse life….is life really that unfair? Or is it a perception? What do I really feel about “everything happens for a reason” and “all in good time”?

To add insult to injury, I’ve been feeling forgotten… I seem to attract emotionally unavailable people to my life and then berate myself for giving 150% of myself to a one-sided relationship. I care too much. I love too much. Almost to the extent of losing myself in the process. While they only know me when they want something. It sucks.

I get that each person has their own journey in life. Their own obstacles, trials. But why is it that those who suffer the most are the most humble, genuine, compassionate people? I’m not saying I am any of those qualities but I feel as though I am respectful and caring. Why have things been such a struggle for me these past ten years? Why have their been so many bricks along the path which caused me to stumble at every single step? These questions have been haunting me for the longest time.

As I was in the corpse pose during that class, my heart physically felt as though it was being squeezed, constricted….remnants of muscle breaking away and falling into the deep abyss (so to speak).  I’ve felt this way before – I know it well. It is my not-good-enough feeling – I remember it from early 2015, when I had my heart broken. When Eliza said the words “love yourself” it was as if it was a “lightbulb” moment. Don’t get me wrong, the feeling is still there…but my thoughts have “shifted” slightly.

I know I need to persevere, keep at it, take it all in my stride. Intellectually, I know this. I need to move forward. “Embrace” the lessons and learn from them. Grow as a human being – and get stronger, more adaptable, resilient, disciplined (shout out to my 2017 theme)! However, emotionally I am “stuck”… It is so much easier to feel sorry for myself and stay in the same metaphorical place while lamenting my fate, blaming the world – hell anything and everyone – for my situations. I have so much to be grateful for and when I reflect on this it makes me feel worse for even feeling sorry for myself. Vicious cycle all leading to “hate-me” avenue.

It is much, much harder to be an active participant in my life and love myself – flaws and all.  The perception requires me to take 100% responsibility for my life, my actions, my decisions. Which is scary because there is no-one or nothing I can blame but myself. When I am in the middle of a hot yoga class and sweating profusely, thinking I am going to fall flat on my face, my mind screaming at me (you’re going to die!)…the heat, the instructions and pure instinct kick in and my body surprises me. I can do it and make it through the class. So perhaps I need to trust my instinct and intuition more in everyday life…and learn to accept myself – flaws and all. Easier said than done.

What do I need to accept in life?

  • I will never have supermodel looks or a supermodel body or look like anyone else.
    • But I can be the healthiest, fittest person I can be.
  • I will never be the smartest person in my field.
    • But I can work hard, be disciplined and focused on where I would like to be.
  • Some people will only know me when they need something.
    • But I can set boundaries to protect myself.
  • People I love and care about will not feel the same about me.
    • But I can hold a place in my heart for them, wishing them well, without expectations.
  • Some people will not have the same values in life as well.
    • But I can know my own values, morals, ethics and not be pressured into saying or doing things that does not feel authentic to me.

All these things require diligent action –  especially when I’m having a bad day and my default is to feel sorry for myself. Its damn hard work. Today, is a particularly hard day. I deep in wallowing mode and trying to pull myself out of it. My discipline and habits for the day have fallen to the wayside and I’m harder on myself because of it. Talk about a catch-22. Again, vicious cycle. But my crappy feeling is somehow different this time around… I’m fully aware of it… not just feeling “bleh” for no real reason.

I’d like to think my hot yoga practice and my facilitation sessions with Eliza have opened the gates to a new perception of myself and my world. The combination seems to have pushed my boundaries – in and out of class. I only started hot yoga in October 2016, at least once a week so I am still a newbie! My first and second facilitation sessions were in December 2016.  Those are the only new things I’ve incorporated in my life and since then I found I’ve been bubbling with the urge to write more. I’ve somewhat started to  accept my body (the moments are few and FAR between but there have been glimpses of acceptance).  I’m still working on being disciplined, learning to set boundaries and say no… hopefully it will come with time! And I am definitely a work in progress when it comes to comparing myself to others.

Hopefully putting my words down here will allow me to “let go” of some of the thoughts occupying space in my mind and let me get on with my priorities and goals. And, I think, most importantly figure out my vision and passion in this world… so I can see the bigger picture and accept myself more…

Am I the only one who struggles with this? What do you do to get yourself out of a slump? Do you find accepting yourself hard? Please let me know below 🙂

kush

x

Is it just me?

 

I’ve been recently been made aware of my thought processes. In every other area of my life (professional, friendships etc) I seem to evaluate, assess and advise in a logical and rational way – taking into account facts and recognising the shades of grey in every situation. Perhaps it is the scientist training…

However, when it comes to myself and my emotions I only seem to only consider back and white, positive or negative (mostly negative, when it comes to myself). Why is this? Why do we (or me)  think the worst of ourselves without logically and rationally working through facts.

And who would have thought that I would have had this lightbulb moment at this (late) stage of my life. This year has become a huge midst adjustment for me and its weird. I’m learning these life lessons that I should have known years ago but all in good time, I suppose.

I’m learning that I can not control what people think of me or how they behave but I can control my thought process towards myself – not reinforcing any negative stereotypes I have made for myself.

I’m learning that sometimes people use and abuse and its not my fault.

Sometimes the world and people will disappoint me and again its their issue, not because I am a problem.

If I stop being myself, true to myself, beliefs and opinions then I stop being me. And I will not allow that to happen.

Having said that I do realise and understand that I cannot allow myself to be used/abused/manipulated so I need to be selfish in that sense.

I need to know when to take a step back, take care of myself and my emotional needs instead of always focussing on others. I need to learn how to look at behavioural patterns and logically work stuff out – and cut out “bad influences”.

I know who has my back and who doesn’t – its became pretty darn clear this year…and some of the revelations I’ve made – I won’t lie – have thrown me for a curveball. Yet in hindsight, if I go back and logically rationalise the pivotal moments I was the one trying to revive relationships which had died long before. And I need to be kind to myself and realise that I am not the problem. Its freaking hard and tomorrow I may be back at square one blaming and ostracising myself for my choices. But I guess life is but one big work-in-progress.

Emotionally I’m still working on it all. Have you felt you thrown yourself under the bus everyday something bad happens? If you do, trust me – I’ve been there. And its not you. It is much easier said than done, I know.  I’ve been there. Some days, I still am there and trying to work out what I did wrong. And if you need someone to listen, I’m here.