Is it true?

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Is it true?

Last night I had a lovely dinner with my dearest friend. I’m often in trainers or flat shoes but thought I’d put on a little heel for my girly night out. 

When I woke up this morning my ankle was a sore which didn’t come as a surprise (I broke it a few years back). As I made my way to the gym the stories started; 

– Was  I going to be able to run on the treadmill today? 

– Maybe I would just do a walk for 30mins instead. 

– Maybe I should reduce my weight on the machine for the leg press today or just skip it all together. 

It was a mind jumble up there. I came so close to throwing out my workout plan to work around my “ankle”. But I soon identified that I was telling myself stories again. I reminded myself that there was nothing physically wrong with my ankle. This was nothing new and without actually trying this out I wouldn’t actually know whether something was wrong. After all, I was mature enough to know when something wasn’t right.

So, I stepped on that treadmill. And lo and behold I had a better session than I’ve ever had. I have been alternating between a run and walk and on two occasions I extended my run by 30 seconds. I was enjoying it so much that I lost track of that timer.  

Just how many things am I holding myself back from because these voices in my head have created a scenario that says “don’t do this, danger lurks!”? This journey has had many light bulb moments for me and it really has become an overhaul of who I am. If you are struggling with these self-limiting stories in your fitness and nutrition, there’s every chance they are there in many facets of your life. 

If your mind tells you something that causes you to rethink your strategy ask yourself: is it true? 
Stay blessed xIMG_6514-0

The Valley of Despair

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The Valley of Despair

If you’re working on a long term project or some form of transformation you will be familiar with “the valley of despair”. 
For me, it’s been through my ongoing fitness transformation that I have begun to understood this place and been able to apply it to other areas of my life. For most people on a weight loss journey, we call this the plateau; when we’ve got our habits in check, our nutrition is improving and we’re working out well but still those hips won’t shift! 

Zero pounds lost!

To say it can be disheartening is an understatement! You’re putting your all into this weight loss so it’s not unreasonable for you to expect results. You lower your expectations, in the hope of uplifting yourself but still that scale isn’t giving you a single ounce! Now, there are many reasons why that could be happening but I’m not a fitness expert so I’ll leave Google to help you with that one. But what I have learned is that the valley of despair has been a good place for me. Whilst I would love to be dropping those fatty pounds on a weekly basis, I’ve learned to use other methods to measure my progress. 

  • How many full body push-ups can I do in one set compared to last month? 
  • How much more weight can I lift?
  • How clean is my food diary? 
  • How much better am I feeling, mentally, emotionally and physically? 

For example , this weekend we had a cupcake each but by the next day, my husband hadn’t eaten his. When he said he wouldn’t be eating it, I threw it straight into the food caddy. It’s only moments later I realised what i’d done. This time last year I would have eaten that cupcake. Not all your progress can be quantified. 

Take stock!

In the valley of despair I have really learned to change my mindset and work on my habits. I have some way to go but I realise that, had that weight just dropped off with little struggle I would still have the same poor habits and a weak mindset. Some things are meant to be tough and like my PT Robbie always says; – most people think that starting is the hardest thing. But trudging on and doing your best even when you can’t “see” the results, that’s hard! – I would agree. 

Huh?!?

Now most of us have done this, we’ve been wallowing in the valley of despair for so long we decide enough is enough. Fair enough! But going back to the same habits that got us in this situation in the first place is plain silly. If you’ve had enough of the valley of despair and want to quit! Go ahead, but choose another strategy, don’t give up completely and lose all the hard work that you’ve put in. 

Pause 

In the valley of despair, there are lessons to be learned. The longer you’re there the more there is for you to learn. This applies to many areas of our lives! Keep hope alive; reassess your goals and strategy but whatever you do, don’t give up! You’re no longer the same person that started this journey, you’re better, stronger, healthier. 

Stay blessed! 

  

“The audacious hope of rooted things

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“The audacious hope of rooted things

I walked into PoundStretcher (bargain store chain in the UK) one day after work and found rose shoots selling for £4 each. Curious as to whether they could actually take root and grow, I started looking for a couple I could take home. Then I overheard a conversation between two ladies nearby. Like me, one of them wanted to buy, curious as to whether, at that price you could actually raise a rose bush. But her friend said, “You get what you pay for, you know. Do you honestly think that these could take?”

And with that, I decided not to buy any, that day. But it stayed on my mind. Eventually, I went back and got two shoots: They did take root and have even flowered in their first year. It reminded me of a passage in Cynthia Bond’s novel “Ruby” 

“Ruby had felt it then. The audacious hope of rooted things. The innocent anticipation of the shooting stalks, the quivering stillness of the watching trees.” –Cynthia Bond, Ruby

  
These plants reminded me that it’s not about how people perceive you or what value someone places on you. We all have this intrinsic power within us to Be! I had doubted myself and made a decision on someone else’s perception. How much discouragement we allow to change what are often intuitive decisions! But if it’s what we really want, we need to go for it. No decision is set in stone.

I find great joy in tending to my flowers and vegetable patch. I love the anticipation of waking up to a new plant; vulnerable but strong. It is amazing that a small seed covered with a little dirt grows to become a plant that feeds, shelters, provides beauty. 

 I want in some way to be a rooted thing, audaciously hopeful in my ability to grow into something of great use. 

  

Gogo’s Cove

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My Gogo with her brother and sister-in-law


 It was a small room, probably four by three metres but it was a treasure trove for my young curious mind. Clothes, handbags, jewellery, photographs, unfinished sewing, beading and crochet projects. All these were housed in my grandmothers bedroom. 

Looking back, my grandmother was probably a functioning hoarder. She had two wardrobes plus a makeshift clothes line (mutariro) full of possessions. To think that this room had once contained her and my grandmothers clothes! But for a 9 year old, it was the like a portal into another world. Every drawer and shelf revealed a piece of my grandmothers’ life. Her hopes, dreams and talents; all of which she had plenty, resided in each item she kept close to her. 

Being sent into her room to find something presented an opportunity to take a peek at some of these treasures. I recall a large envelope on a shelf filled with black and white photographs; young versions of our relatives . They were always well dressed, having made the trip to the local photo studio. How times have changed!

She had these two beautiful red handbags that hung up on the wall. The bags were for special occasions, Sunday church or a family gathering. Over time, she used them less and less only to serve as her “secret” cash stash. I remember at the end of every school holiday right before our parents came to collect us, she would ask one of her grandchildren to get her handbag. If it was one of the red ones, we knew we were in for a large payout. A crisp note was guaranteed! I loved that she knew not to give us money in front of our parents. 

When she passed away, as is with Shona custom, her possessions became those of her “relatives”. Bit by bit, the room that held memories of almost 8 decades was dismantled and handed to one person or another. The beautiful clothes she never wore, the shoes, the unfinished projects; they all moved on and into someone else’s home to start a new chapter. And with it, her spirit moved on too. As time passed I could no longer smell her or feel her presence. 

There’s a longing embedded in my memories of her. She lived through an interesting time and I would have loved to hear those tales and relate them to all her possessions. I often wonder who got those two beautiful handbags and if they’ve treat them with the same love and care that she had afforded them.  

I’m listening! 

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Inspiration comes from many places but it is so easy to be dismissive of some sources in this hierarchical and classist society. The beauty of life is that we’re all gifted with experiences and from these flow wisdom. Each of us carries a wealth of wisdom born of every choice we’ve made on our life journey. 
When we take the time to listen to people we tap into their wisdom. We can get the advice, help or assistance that we need for the challenges that we face. In some cases we find inspiration for things we didn’t even know we were passionate about! 
It is so easy to be dismissive of people, sometimes unintentionally, after all we know better than anyone what we want, right? But as I have grown to truly open my mind, I’m finding wisdom in the words of all the people that God is directing into my life. 
It’s a great exercise to reevaluate everyone in your life; to look at them with fresh eyes and hear them clearly without the preconceived notions about them. After all, that is what we want: to be heard. 
Humility is indeed a treasure. 
Blessings!

 

Fitness Hustle: My Journey 

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Fitness Hustle: My Journey 

Bank Holiday Monday and I found myself in the gym.  Actually I made a choice to catch the bus into town for my session.

When I stated this journey, I only had one objective, which was to make it to a session. That has since grown into turning up, learning and applying. What’s been interesting is how much my objectives have changed since I began. I had an image in my mind and a number to achieve but experience is a good teacher. While I was convinced I was going back to an old body that I thought was ideal; my journey has revealed something better. I am building a new body, a healthy one and in this process I am also dealing with the issues that got me here in the first place.

There are four barriers I have had to deal with in this journey; 

1. Emotional issues – there are a number of things that get you to that unhealthy weight. Dealing with these issues is essential. This is where you find your why, “why am I doing this”; your motivation. Answers  like,” I want to be toned”  don’t cut it here because one could still ask why you want to be toned! Something like, ” I’m embarrassed by my body, I find it hard to find dresses that suit me. This has led to me going out less and as such I don’t have much of a social life which makes me sad.” A response like that leads to motivation because you are dealing with your true feelings. Please note we cannot judge this stage and try to psycho- analyse it. We have to be honest about how we truly feel about things in order to resolve them. Sugar coating my feelings only led me to a place where I still felt unhappy with my body.

Let it burn! 

2. Physical pain – working out is a physical exercise, the more excess weight you have coupled with limited mobility, the harder the workouts are going to be in the beginning. You should expect this and as you get better at the exercise you do start to feel less pain. But this is when you need to push yourself; make the moves  more difficult with more sets, reps or weight. You need motivation to keep going, motivation you get from understanding why you are doing this. Without motivation, it’s easy to talk yourself out it.  This one is intertwined with the next. 
Mind over matter 
3. Mental strength  – I say this one is intertwined with physical pain because it is the physical effort that gives rise to that burn in our muscles (commonly referred to  as lactic acid) that sometimes determines whether we continue with a specific routine or increase the repetitions. Starting out, it was always at this point, when my muscles were “burning up” that I always gave in. This is where your mental strength must kick in. I have learned to breathe through this burn and focus on my routine in order to complete my reps. It’s not easy, but it’s essential in order to push yourself further. I still struggle, especially when I am doing a new routine but you can do it. It’s not going to kill you, in fact if you’re feeling that burn you’re doing better on that routine and thus creating the desired results. 
Focus honey
4. Other people: This could be people in the gym with to-die-for abs, people on a weight loss journey who just seem to be dropping pounds, people who don’t see what the problem is with your current weight. While I call this barrier ” other people” this is really about you. I came to understand that this was my journey. You could go into this as a group or pair but this is a solo adventure. It is essential for you to understand what you can share and who you should share it with. If you’re open to every opinion, you are going to struggle to settle into a routine and with that, results will elude you. Most important,  is your perception of what other people think of you. Most people have a lot on their plate to be concerned with your progress and those that do bother to make it their business are probably not about your progress; ignore them. Simple words, but you’ll have to work at it. 
It’s a marathon baby! 
I have watched people lose the same amount of fat  that I want to drop within record time and in the past, this would have set me back. But the reality is that some people will do “better”  than me. Their emotional issues, pain threshold, mental agility and perceptions mean that we cannot have the same results. Stick to your lane and run your race; you’ll get there: That’s what I continue to tell myself! 
To a healthy you.