New Years Goals Check-in: July

I'm doing monthly updates on my New Year Goals.

July highlights

  • Exercise consistency – giddyup! July's initial motivation was a slight SHAME JOB! feeling – the Summer Up & Runners have been busting their arses 3x week and I didn't want to feel slack! But the motivation is now, "coz it feels good and it makes me less grumpy". Can't go wrong with that.
  • Cycletta training – I had a few weekends away so alas it was mostly on the spinning bike, but I was consistent and I can feel my fitness improving.
  • Seeing a lovely osteopath about my dodgy knee and lower back – after "working around" the pain for about five years. Good to finally understand what's going on.

July lowlights

  • Feeling rotten after the first osteopath visit due to these humbling realisations:
    • the obesity/weight loss/regain rollercoaster has taken its toll on the bod
    • denial/"working around" the problem for years made the knee so much bloody worse than it had to be
    • kickboxing is off the cards for now.

But I got past the gloom pretty quick, and now focusing on what I CAN do. It doth suck that kickboxing and kettlebells are out for the momemnt (all the squat-esque kettlebell moves anyway)… but Pilates, cycling and upper body weights are IN, baby!

I might look into a punching bag to help with the kickboxing withdrawals. Or just gently clobber Gareth to save money. Not really. Don't call the cops!

August plans: Cleaner eating. There's no getting round the fact that my joints would be happier if I was 20 kilos lighter. I've held steady the past two months and I'd like to make some more progress now. No crazy schemes, just making sure I check in with those portion sizes and hunger signals. I slackened off with that a bit in July.

New Year Goals Check-In: March

I'm doing monthly updates on my New Year Goals. One quarter of the year has passed, for feck's sake.

March highlights:

  • I started to properly enjoy kickboxing again, instead of spending the whole class fuming about my lack of fitness.
  • Pilates is fantastic. Some moves that killed me in the first week are getting easier.
  • I lost a couple more pounds.
  • Food diary still going great guns.

Things that didn't go as well:

  • Once again I lost momentum with my eating at the end of the month. The pattern is now clear: I plan the meals for about two weeks, then the groceries run out, then I get busy and tried and just buy bits and pieces here and there, and the meal choices don't end up being quite as healthy. The plan for April is to set a reminder to re-shop. I do it online; so I could really just click one button and they'd deliver me the same stuff as the previous order… it's really not bloody hard!
  • Once again my exercise frequency tailed off at the end of the month. I simply did not make it a priority and that cannot go on. I have the time, I just have to make the time.

Example: A few weekends Julia and I were feverishly working on Up & Running over Skype. After awhile she announced, "Okay I'll be back in an hour, I need to get in my bike ride".

What!? I felt rather indignant. What about all this work we had to do? When she returned later all refreshed and energised, the words were blurring in front of my eyes and my bum was numb.

And what had I been editing while she was away? A post about the importance of making time for exercise. For crying out loud šŸ™‚

These past few weeks I've been marvelling at the lovely Up & Runners planning their schedules, ditching excuses and truly committing to themselves and their training. While I had been skipping workouts and not getting enough sleep.

This has been my pattern for a long while now. I'm not being harsh on myself here when I say I find it very easy to find "very important" reasons not to exercise. Some of it comes from worrying about what other people think if everything's not perfect and wonderful, but a huge part of it that I really quite enjoy spending hours in front of the computer in my tracky dacks, instead of going outside and working up a sweat.

I need to take a leaf out of Julia's book and put the exercise first. She plans her exercise, then she schedules in her work tasks, then she sticks to the bloody plan. She thinks highly enough of herself to keep that committment.

I know I do better work when I make time for physical activity. I know it helps my lard-busting efforts but most importantly it keeps my mind clear. And althought I'm not a runner, I don't want to be a hypocrite and cheer on all our lovely Up & Runners for making time to exercise when I'm not bloody doing it properly myself šŸ™‚

So in April it's all about working smarter, not harder. Let the glacial progress continue!

I’ll huff and I’ll puff

Man, it truly sucks not being as a fit as you once were. When I was on my way down from 350 pounds, I'd only ever known being unfit. I graduated from last place in school running races to later wheezing up staircases and needing a rest after hanging out the washing. So when I lost weight and walked further and lifted heavier weights, it was all new ground! I'd created a version of myself that hadn't existed before. Shauna Version 2.0 was so bloody amazing compared to the creaky, red-faced model I'd always known.

But now I'm in this new situation where I am looking back longingly at this previous, speedier version. Shauna Version 3.0 is just not there right now.

I'm talking pure physical fitness here – pleeeease don't write to tell me I'm putting myself down. Let me explain.

At the moment I am working on making exercise a healthy, regular habit again. As I said in the podcast on Monday my kickboxing attendence has been very shoddy this year. Partially because of my Zumba love affair but mainly because I was traumatised by my 120 seconds of competition fighting last November. I never managed to fashion that hilarious humiliation into a blog entry.

But anyway! After that girl clobbered me I was terrified of kickboxing for a long while. I felt ill every time a punching glove was waved in my direction. I literally ran away every time Coach said it was time for sparring. Up the stairs and away home, as fast as my trembling legs could carry me!

Months passed and I was down to one or two classes a month. But I was really missing my comrades and punching things. Pads, kick shields, speed balls. Not people, you see. It occurred to me that HEY maybe I could just go to the classes for the friends and fitness and learning new moves… and just not do the fighting part at the end? Why throw the baby out with the bathwater?

(Funny how hard it was to admit that the fighting wasn't for me. You'd think wanting to vomit every time I faced an opponent would have been a clue. Hmm!)

So I was really chuffed about this revelation and rocked up back to class ready for action… only to find that holy crap, I have lost a lot of fitness. Gaining weight has not helped… everything wobbles when I do jumping jacks; a most unpleasant sensation. And I don't have the stamina in my shoulders for long periods of punching. I can't kick nearly as high. My push-ups are wimpy. My once infatigable abs give out after 10 reps.

What is amusing stroke ego-crushing is that in my MIND (o'erbrimming with Comeback Enthusiasm) I expected to proceed as before! I would throw myself into a move and then be stunned (and whining in agony) when BODY SAYS NO. You are not Version 2.0 anymore!

I will admit, there have been some classes where I am fighting not to sob all over my gloves, feeling so angry at myself letting it get this bad. It was hard enough getting fit from a place of complete unfitness, but trying to get fit knowing you once were pretty fit but you cocked it all up? That is hard to swallow!

Especially when your team mates, who were already way fitter than you even when you were fit-ish, have been attending angellically all year and are now even fitter than they were last year which makes your current unfitness even more unfit! Does that even make any sense?

But dudes. I am being very zen about this. I do love kickboxing – I really missed it and I love being back there. When I think about exercise now I am thinking about the habits I want to carry into old age, and punching things is part of that plan. So for now I am just gritting my teeth and getting on with it. Okay I am not really gritting my teeth because I am too busy gasping for breath… but I am sticking with it.

And on that note must nick off for tonight's class šŸ™‚

UPDATE: I said in the comments below that I had a dĆ©jĆ  vu re the "previous versions" of oneself and thought PastaQueen had said something similar before. Turns out she had… whoops! Here is the entry in question.

Excuse me while my head explodes

Stinky Summary of recent events:

  1. Dr G and I bought a house!
  2. Upon collecting the keys we discovered it stank. In the literal sense.
  3. We’re frantically trying to de-stink before the move on December 9*
  4. Some bright spark said, “If we’re ripping up carpet, we may as well re-paint!”
  5. On Sunday I was most comprehensively defeated in a kickboxing tournament
  6. It was one part life-altering thrills, one part Dear Lord Sign Me Up For  A Lobotomy To Erase The Horror.

* ETA: We’ve yoinked all the carpets out now and the smell seems to have departed with them! They were old and manky anyway, so I’m glad to be rid of ’em! Glad but broke.

Tea, coffee and biscuits provided

A flyer whooshed through the door this week for the local Fitness & Friendship Club. Check out the bicep on this smiley face!

The F&F Club is basically fitness classes held in various community halls. But it's not all about sweating…

There are few phrases in this world that give more comfort and joy than TEA, COFFEE AND BISCUITS PROVIDED!

Alas there were no refreshments at Squad Training this morning. "Squad training" is what our coach calls convincing all us kickboxing dames to get up early on a Sunday* for three hours of torturous activity:

  1. One hour of running
  2. One hour of old-school exercises (cardio/strength mixed up in painful ways, stuff like squats to burpees to jack jumps, punches, evil push up variations, evil ab moves, etc etc etc)
  3. One hour of sparring… pow!

Followed by collapsing into a pile of whine for as many hours as you please.

(It feels rather nice to be part of a squad, I have to say. We are getting team hoodies and everything. With our name printed on them!)

* UPDATE: Just to clarify in response to some emails, this is not something we do every Sunday! It's 3-4 times a year, tops! Most Sundays I am lounging around watching the MotoGP.

Instead of running outside, today we did an hour-long cardio machine circuit in the gym. I hate running, but cardio machines rank even higher on my CardioSucksOMeter. But this session was actually quite cool! We only had to do five minutes on each machine, so just when you were starting to foam at the mouth with rage, you could disembark and move to the next machine.

I need to do more cardio, so this might be something to adopt for the winter. Maybe a 30-45 minute circuit, some groovy tunes on the iPod… it would be over before you can say how the hell do you work this fecking stair machine. Of course I'd have to do it when the gym was quietish so my machine-hopping wouldn't be too annoying.

I can feel my body seizing up from today's efforts. Ow ow ow. But it was goooood… exercise has been helpful this week. Last week it was a messy, weeping my way through every class sort of affair. So onward and upward, dear pals.

Any cardio nerds out there curious about the circuit we did, I'll post it in the extended entry šŸ™‚

Continue reading

Red Hot and Blue

I settled my debts at yoga! I was on time and wore correctly-fitting trousers, too. I apologised profusely for doing a runner last week and I think it's all cool now. I bought a six-class card to clearly establish that I'm not a crook.

Later on we were doing a twisty move and the teacher said kindly, "The other leg, Shauna" (I had left and right mixed up as usual). Then she said, "Wow, it's only your second week and I remember your name already! I'm normally rubbish with that."

"That's because she didn't pay," grinned one of the classmates. "You'll never forget her name!"

In other news, I scored my blue belt at kickboxing on Sunday!

I almost called in sick but that would have meant doing the grading another day, which would mean having to retain the moves in my brain for longer. Plus I wanted to progress with my Belt Buddies. We've been together since White… you can't break up that party!

It was ninety minutes of hell, comrades. Of course you should expect it to be harder the higher the grade but, man. It was hard to tell if it was the lingering cold or just the grueling-ness of the task. It was difficult staying upright at times; a punch would start out strong then wilt by the time it reached the target. The hardest part was concentrating on the instructions long enough to execute the moves. We finished with six one-minute rounds of sparring, a blur of thrashing arms and watery eyes.

Afterward we got our individual feedback from the coach. He was very kind and said I did well but I, rather knackered and delirious, kept interrupting with tearful rants. I coulda done better. I don't feel well. I can kick better than that. I'm always the dunce of the group. I HATE being the dunce of the group. Rah rah rah!

This illness has been much like the stage of drunkenness when your mouth takes off and way down in the background your brain is faintly pleading, BE COOL, MAN… but noooo, the mouth keeps going, so all you can do is listen to your own voice then cringe later on.

The fever is gone now but I feel high as a kite. It's a year since the first grading and I can't believe I've now got a blue belt. I love the whole kicking shebang so much. The people, the learning of new stuff, the general feeling of kick arse-ness. It's so addictive and empowering, even when you're Full of the Cold. I'm determined to work harder and more consistently and be fitter and stronger by the time we get round to Purple next year.

I've been recuperating since Sunday, belated doctor's orders. That is aside from the yoga class. We had to stare into a candle and meditate at the end. It was odd but lovely to let the mind go quiet and listen to the tumbleweeds up there.

Dry Your Eyes

The fever is giving me weird dreams. Last night I played tennis against World #2 Andy Murray. The court was made of dirt – not nice Roland Garros clay; more outback Australia dust. Andy was whipping my arse and I couldn't figure out why, until I looked down to see I was playing not with a tennis racquet but a TEASPOON.

"It's not fair," I whined, "How'm I supposed to beat you with a teaspoon?"

"That's the least of your worries!" said Andy Murray with great contempt, "DRY YER EYES!"

That's another brilliant phrase picked up in the UK. Try it next time someone is being a big moany wussypants. Summon as much disdain as possible as you sneer, "Ahh, dry your eyes!"


I went to the doctor today who said I might feel shit for another couple of weeks, which isn't handy with our kickboxing grading on Sunday. Might need to see if I can postpone. Anyway, at least it's definitely not swine flu!

Now back to bed. Bon weekend, comrades!

Under Construction

I'm starting a yoga class on Monday. Woohoo! I was Googling around and found one that slots in nicely in the wilderness hour between work and kickboxing. It's a short walk from work to yoga then enough time afterward for the short walk to kickboxing. Giddyup… such convenience and efficiency gives me a thrill. I normally spend that hour mucking around at home doing very little, so I may as well get bendy.

Also, I was sold by the sexy animated .gif on the yoga website:

Forward bend with sexy hairstyle

If fashion is currently embracing the 1980s, then surely in Internet Years we are due for an animated gif revival?

Under Construction

Get Out Of Your Own Way

Recently our kickboxing coach went crazy with Microsoft Word and a laminator and made some Motivational Posters. I used to see bare studio walls as I huffed through the jack jumps and high knee jogging, but now there's a bounty of cheesy inspiration:

  • Pain Is Just Failure Leaving The Body
  • Over Prepare So You Don't Under Perform
  • It's Always Too Soon To Quit
  • Pressure Is A Challenge To Meet Rather Than A Threat of Defeat
  • In Case Of Fire Our Evacuation Meeting Point Is Adjacent To The Bus Station.

This is the one that's plonked in my direct line of vision:


I get in my own way all the bloody time. I should have feet full of holes from all the times I've shot myself there. Some days it doesn't matter how much confidence someone has in my abilities, it's nigh impossible to believe it for myself. If you gave me one reason why I could do something I'd give you nine why I'd be rubbish.

Our coach deserves a knighthood for services to self esteem. The lassies on our team are a rich variety of ages, shapes, abilities and backgrounds. Whether you're a prize fighter or a galumphing amateur, he has utter faith in our ability to achieve. He quietly pushes us out of our comfort zones and sees no reason why we can't kick arse, literally and figuratively. I love observing the determined flush a well-time compliment can bring. You can see the posture straighten and the punches sharpen.

Personally there's been occasions when I've said "I can't do that move" and Mr Coach will say "Yeah you can!" so I do it, albeit clumsily. Then I see that the only real obstacle is my own mind – the insecurities and doubts and self-imposed limitations.

I talked about this stuff with a fellow foot-shooter and we reckoned that an important step towards getting out of your own way is to figure out why the hell you keep doing it in the first place. But it's still exhilarating to recognise when it happens, push the fears aside and go forth regardless. Even if it results in getting punched in the nose!

Green News

  1. BroccoliI passed my Green Belt grading at kickboxing yesterday! It was hell! Sweet, punchy hell. It hurts to type now. I managed to screw up the bits that I'd been feeling confident about, and do well at the things I was worried about, which meant it all evened out nicely. Woohoo!

    Somehow in the sparring I managed to kick my opponent with my big toe, despite the gigantic padded Mickey Mouse shoes. It bent back very painfully. I still suck at sparring, but otherwise I'm on a total high and amazed at the power of the human brain to learn stuff. A few weeks ago I was chucking tantrums trying to do a spin kick but I managed six in a row yesterday. If only I could apply my kickboxing dedication to other aspects of my life I would be unstoppable. Limping and quite ineffectual in a dark alley… but otherwise unstoppable.

  2. In other Green developments, last week I made The Best Broccoli Of Your Life, an Ina Garten recipe as seen on the Amateur Gourmet. People are so free and easy with superlatives these days… how many volumes of those Greatest Rock Album In The World… EVER! albums did they bring out in the 90s? But this easy recipe truly awesomizes broccoli – oven roasted with garlic then lashed with lemon zest and juice and a wee bit of Parmesan. The original calls for lots of olive oil but I only used a dribble and accidentally forgot the basil and pine nuts but it was still brilliant. Even Gareth who has just three adjectives to describe anything in this world (Not Bad, Pretty Good or Alright) went cuckoo. I cooked almost two pounds of broccoli and we guzzled the lot of it. Oh it was lick-the-bowl good. Let me know if you try it! Come join the broccoli cult!

    Warning: I know I said in the last entry that there's no need to worry; that your digestive system adjusts to a vegetarian diet. However, if you have never consumed a pound of broccoli in a oner before, you can expect the only thing you'll give your partner on Valentine's Day is the Gift of Fragrance.