This post has been kicking around in my head for a while. Fuelled by my body getting used to it’s ‘new normal’ over the past few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about what change means in my life and how I’ve finally been able to change the channel and start to get some shit done. For me.
I’m not sure yet whether I can put this down to some epiphany that I may or may not have had around turning 40, I think the timing is coincidental, however, a lot of things definitely fell into place around the end of April this year;
- I turned 40
- Dave and I went Samoa – sans kids
- 6 months of successful keto and 10kg lost
- I joined F45
The decade that was my thirties, was tough. We were still adjusting to life in New Zealand, namely the incredible expense of living here, Dave was nearing the end of an apprenticeship, we had very little money, HUGE financial pressure, I endured a missed miscarried which really fucked with my head for a long time, my Dad, was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma and passed away 9 months later, we purchased our house with my Mum and began 8 years of living as an extended family (which was bloody amazing and I highly recommend it), and we welcomed Nixon to the family – along with his basket of medical complications.
I was a very tired birthday girl when 40 rolled around lol.
When my maternity leave was up after having Nixon I made the choice NOT to go back to working outside the home. This was the first big change in my life. The blog work was becoming more and more steady so I took a gamble and decided to go all-in (compared to now when I feel like I’m pretty much all-out lol). This paid off for around 3 years. I was able to generate a good income, work with some amazing partners and reap the benefits of working at home and being around for the boys. But, there’s always some sacrifice and for me that was my health – both mental and physical. I worked babes and I worked hard. My bum was literally glued to my office chair for 4 years straight, not a pretty sight, and I’d say, living and breathing that insta-life 24-7 had a massively detrimental effect on my already precipitous mental health. All my priorities were jacked up and backwards and I was making zero good decisions. August last year was also when I ripped every tendon in my right ankle and sheared two muscles as a bonus. What exercise? What healthy lifestyle Melissa? Where did these 15 bonus kilos come from?????
And so, in October 2018, after hating my body throughout an entire perfect family holiday in the Sunshine Coast (header image), I researched the keto diet and made the second BIG change in my life.
This is when I began to realise that change is some serious shit. And that the kind of change I was looking for was going to require a little more effort than simply going through the motions. I’m not just talking the old ‘lose some weight, physical transformation, #fitspo change, I’m talking ANY serious life change that may creep into your head and fly a flag every now and then. It could be a career change, quitting drinking, personal development, seeking medical attention – whatevs, but, the common denominator is that to successfully implement change, you’re going to have to work, and cry and then work again and again. Over and over.
Oh yeah, and it’s going to be REALLY, REALLY HARD.
I’d been kidding myself for years about my fitness. I could smash out a respectable 5km when needed, I was doing a reasonable amount of walking and I nodded my hat to some healthy food habits – some. But I was also totally full of shit. I knew that running a couple of 5kms each week had zero potential to shift the weight I needed to lose. Yes, it was better than nothing, but for me, it was essentially anaerobic exercise, with zero fat-burning potential. I know enough to read my Fitbit stats and shake my fist at the sky, but I was totally unable/unwilling to slow down and stretch those runs out to at least a 10km to get some fat burning in. To this day I’ve only ever run 10km ONCE.
This was all moot anyway as between August-January 2019 I was unable to exercise at all because of my ankle injury.
However, I was having some diet wins. Hard fought wins ’cause keto is no walk in the park. Putting what you eat under a spotlight and recognising that your ‘healthy’ breakfast and lunch is completely undone by the amount you consume over the 3pm witching hour, your portion size at dinner (of both wine and food!) and then the chocolate bedtime treat you hide in your nightstand is confronting! This is when you feel the hurt and the difficulty of change. It’s literally as simple as what you put in your mouth, duh WE KNOW, but succeeding at a lifestyle change requires changing habits (hard), changing your attitude towards food (hard), learning and educating yourself around your WHY and also HOW to implement these changes (hard and time-consuming), changing the way you feel about and deal with food in social situations (publicly hard) and then staying the course – hardest.
I had the best summer last year. I am the least body-positive person in the world and honestly don’t know if I’ll ever be on that bandwagon, but, I’d been working on those keto changes and what I did have for the first time in YEARS, was control. I felt in control of my eating, in control of how I looked and how I felt, and in control of future Melissa – I was on track, I knew where I wanted to be and I had a plan in place. God that felt good! Control and change saw me swimming at the beach more than I had in probably the past 10 years combined! It was liberating and fun and the mental load of such a massive change in diet was beginning to lessen as new habits solidified.
I found an amazing acupuncturist who, after a couple of months of intense work healed my ankle, so after Dave and I returned from Samoa it was go-time. Time to get to work with F45. For me, this was the hardest change of all. Keto was a mind game that I was ready and open to – it also helps that I love the food so I don’t feel deprived. Exercise, however, especially group exercise is where it hurt. I have joined so many gyms……….and quit. Purchased home exercise equipment………….and never used it, joined boot camps……….never to return, I was not at all convinced in my ability to keep showing up.
And guys, F45 is F*cKing HARD. It hurts. This is a change that physically HURTS. For weeks. The realisation that my muscles were working and functional after such a long period of neglect was great and it reminded me every second of every day how much I needed to keep going. BUT IT HURT SO BAD. It hurt during class when I would feel like throwing up and that my lungs were going to explode, it hurt when my arms hated myself so much for introducing this burpee nonsense to my life, it hurt when I discovered there is something worse than a burpee – the half burpee. But, after 6 weeks I started to feel the mental shift in my attitude towards classes. I wasn’t sitting in my car until the very last minute, I wasn’t hating every second, I wasn’t wondering every day if I’d be able to make myself go back again the next day. New habits were forming and it felt good!
I’m four months deep in this F45 Massey madness and the results blow me away every day, but for me, the biggest success is that I keep showing up. I literally high-five myself every morning for just getting through that door. That’s how hard this has been for me, and I’m still proud as hell for just getting my ass there lol.
I guess what I’m rambling on about is this; if change is what you want, how hard are you prepared to work for it either mentally or physically? Because I know now, that for me if it’s not hard as hell and if it’s not hurting me in the form of mental discipline or sacrifice or muscle fatigue, then quite simply, nothing is going to change – the proof is in the static life I had been living for the past decade.
It sounds ridiculously hardcore (it’s not really!) but put it in context; I’m not training for an IronMan here, I was just an overweight housewife who had been kidding herself for years about the effort she had dedicated to positive change and self-improvement.
And then I decided to do something about it.
And it hurt!