Dedicated to…

4 years ago I started working at the local water board as a summer job, it was there that I met the most amazing, inspiring and beautiful person I have ever met (and will possibly ever meet!) This funny, bubbly, bouncy, boob-a-licious babe named Nicole Lawler.  We were seated next to each to each other and felt a connection straight away, we would spend the days delaying work while laughing and generally just having a great time the two of us, seated away from everyone else (personally I think it was because we were the loudest!)

We had a few dinners outside of work, Nicole came to a few of my house parties (oh good lord!) and then I met her husband Ryan. It is extremely rare that you forge a friendship with someone, to go on and then have one with their partner that is equally as strong. So i guess this is dedicated to both Ryan and Nicole.

We all have the same sense of humour and find the same things funny. Ryan is one of the first straight guys that I was able to have a friendship with and it is great.

Even though they have moved away (three times now!!) it never feels like we are apart. Nicole and I have a weird connection, the type where someone says something and we know what each other is thinking. It is so good having that with someone.

Through Ryan and Nicole I also got to meet her sister Hayley, who is just as much fun and hilarious as Nicole is. Add in Pete and Deb, Tania and John, Meredyth. Shawn and Chantelle, Mark, Rob and Lachie and a solid group of Canberra kids was born. All of these peeps have added such value to my life and I treasure the times that we get to see each other (even though it is very rare!)

We have had so many amazing moments together, we have all been through so many changes through deaths, births, job losses, overseas living (yeah thanks for that bitches!) I had my first visit to “rural Australia” feeding cows and riding quad bikes with EPIC feats hosted by Mama Deb aka Whoopi. Nicole tailgating a car through parking because we were too cheap to pay the $2.50 ticket, watching movies, and my favourite activity – eating pastries with double cappuccino in our pj’s.

I really could not ask for more supportive, more loving and more amazing friends like the two of you. Your wit, your energy, your love and nature make this world a better one to live in and I hope you know how much I adore you both (and your new giggling bundle of joy!) Thank you for always being yourself, for always telling me how it is and not what I want to hear. You are inspiring and I am so grateful to have met you.

 

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Dreams

The last couple of weeks I have had a couple of strange encounters. Last Saturday night I woke up at 2am as I heard my front door unlock and someone walk up the stairs in my apartment. I was convinced it was just my housemate and lay down again, realising that my same house mate has a small child so there would be two sets of footsteps and a lot of complaining I realised that this was not her. I became paralysed with fear and reached over and turned my phone torch on, I crawled to my light switch, turned all the lights on, opened my bedroom door and crept out into the hallway. I called for my housemate a couple of times, already knowing full well she was not there. I got to the hallway light and flicked the switch, the light flickered and blew. I crept to the bathroom, turning that light on and then proceeded to check every corner and room of the apartment to make sure I was not alone. The whole time I could feel like there was something behind me, just hovering over me and everytime I whipped around, it would whip around too. 

Once the apartment was clear I got a drink of water and went back into my room, it felt like someone was in my room. I had already checked it and confirmed that I was definitely, 100% alone (like I needed a reminder!) and as I lay down in my bed I heard a distinct female voice say in a thick heavy accent “It’s ok, rest darling, rest now” and with that I sank into a deep slumber and didn’t wake up till morning. 

Throughout the last week I have felt a presence following me around, and it sounds really creepy but it’s not a bad one. It doesn’t want to harm me, it doesn’t want to hurt me, it does love waking me up at 3am most mornings, and I cannot for the life of me figure out why. It is the same time every day for the last week and then last night (Saturday night) one week exactly that this has been happening for it happened again. This time I knew it wasn’t my housemate, I sat up in bed and said “Ok 3am call what is going on, what do you want” and I heard my reply as clear as day, not aloud, but in my mind “I want you to be happy dear one” Seriously? For someone following me around for a week you think that I am unhappy? “What do you mean?I AM happy” I replied. “It is time you shared your life with someone, it is time you stopped sleeping with your phone and slept with a person. It is time you stopped being so scared and you need to open your heart to someone and stop inventing excuses as to why you cannot be with another person. It is time my darling, it is time.” I sat for a few seconds processing every sentence, mulling over every word, dissecting it and inventing more excuses to reply with. 

Instead I sunk back into my bed, moved my phone to the floor and fell back asleep, within 30 seconds of me doing this, I heard my bedroom door open and close, footsteps go down the stairs, the front door open and close again. I sat up and rubbed my eyes and felt completely alone again, whoever it was following me around had said their piece, surveyed my life and had now moved on. I grabbed my body pillow, wrapped myself around it and went back to sleep. 

The whole thing just feels like a cruel dream, but the more I reflect on the last week in my life, the more I cannot help but think that this is a sign. I went to IKEA with some friends to help them move into a new apartment, the whole time I was getting angry thinking that this whole shop is built for couples and designed to make single people feel alone and depressed, the same thing happened in Coles and Thomas Dux later in the week (not even candy spiralled pasta could make me happy!) 

I am a HUGE believer in the supernatural when it comes to cool things like haunted houses and freak occurrences, but not so much when they happen to me. I know I have felt things around me before but I have ignored them and not much really came of them. I have to believe though that what happened to me was real and it is definitely a sign that I need to have an open heart and share it with other people. It is scary to open yourself up to someone else, especially after all the batterings my heart has been through, but I must do this and while I am not going to marry the first person I meet (sorry boys!) my attitude towards this topic definitely has to change. 

 

 

I’m Still Alive!

That’s right I am still alive! It has been a while since I updated and so much has happened! I am now officially living in Sydney, I lost a few friends, but for everyone I lost I gained a few more so it’s more like I have been losing deadweight. My best friends came home from America, my trainer went to America and while I kind of took a rest from hardcore training and dieting I have still managed to lose another 2 kilos. How? I have no idea! But I’m happy either way.

Life has changed so dramatically, to the point where I barely recognise myself anymore. I am happy, I am content, I am learning, I am growing, I am moving forward and I feel like the person I was this time last 6 years is dead and buried, with no chance of re-emerging as a zombie and I find myself right back in the place where it all started.

This time around however I find myself making completely different decisions that are accelerating me in a different direction and it is the most amazing feeling. I no longer feel trapped or tied down by what other people’s opinions are of what I should be doing, or where I should be going. This time it is purely my decisions and the feeling of independence and not caring what other people think of me is so freeing, I love it.

I feel like I am living my life to the full and taking in as much as I can. The more I reflect on it, the more I am surprised that I spent so long caring about what other people’s opinions were and making life altering decisions based on other people’s opinions of what I should be doing, but I digress.

I guess the point is to say I have had a little rest and I am back into it. I have spent the last week fighting sickness and am ready to get back into it. I have had to find a new gym here and although it will never be the same as my old one, it has amazing views of Sydney Harbour, the opera house and the Harbour Bridge (also it hopes that there are barely any straight guys there!)

This week is going to be a challenge to go back to cutting and hardcore gym work, but truth be told I am looking forward to the feeling of the pump and sinking into my bed at night, my whole body aching from pushing myself.

Dedicated to….

So often in life it is easy to get caught up in ourselves that sometimes we need to take a step back and look at others that make our lives so enriching, so joyful and happy. This person for me is without a doubt Hannah Bird. This bootylicious babe is not only one of the prettiest and hottest females I have ever met, she is also the bubbliest, happiest and most positive person I know.

Hannah is studying at uni to be a primary teacher, a job that would suit her perfectly. She is warm, loving and kind and everytime I talk to her, I am left feeling happy and uplifted.

She has this knack of finding the perfect houses to live in. Since I have known her she has lived in 3 houses, and each one has a sense of cool and atmosphere about it that I just adore. Plants and herbs adorn the gardens, eating areas and kitchen and it makes such a difference. Many talks over cups of tea and booze we have shared talking about boys, uni, life choices and friendships. I will always treasure these times. Massive feasts of organic, market bought vegetables with fresh sourdough and some good conversation really shows the simple things in life really are the best.

Hannah has a smile that could stop traffic (and those boobs!! the lucky guy that get’s those puppies hahaha!) combined with her winning personality make this babe one of the greatest friends I have ever had. I will always treasure our times together and love that no matter if we don’t see each other for a few weeks (or months!) we can still reconnect and it is like no time has passed at all.

Thank you for being amazing, for always being yourself, for always being a friend. I love and adore you.

 

And the winner is….

10292463_754604687903954_934740430959668191_nIt has been a few weeks since the challenge ended and while my exercise regime has continued, my eating well has definitely not. Gorging on beautiful food has been my reward for this and I must say I can feel days when I eat clean and feel good, and then ones in which there are no holds barred and I feel like absolute arse.

So let’s get to the actual point of this post. The night finally came for the winners to be announced for YNB, I had a room full of supportive friends and was convinced that no way on this actual earth would they ever pick me as the winner for this. So many others have lost so much more weight than I have, and I told myself in my mind that even if I don’t win, I already have. I started this to lose weight and I achieved that, and if that was all that came of it then I would be happy with that.

The photos were being organised and displayed on a massive projector on the wall and the thought of everyone seeing this freaked me out. No-one had clearly drank enough to see these photos!! The name’s were called and as I made my way to the front I realised that this was it, the moment I had been waiting for my whole life, the moment to make a difference, to be something had finally arrived.

The list of name’s were called out and the winner’s announcement….Alaisdair Dewar. What? Seriously? I won the competition for my club? Are you serious?!?!?! I am sorry to say that my speech was fumbled and everytime I tried to do it properly I started crying so I made it short and sweet and stumbled back to my place in the crowd to process what the actual fuck had just happened.

I took photos, smiled, and my reaction was just stillness and complete shock. I went to the bathroom for a few minutes just to sit by myself and process everything. I had a little bit of a cry and realised that it was still all too much to deal with right now. I washed my face and headed back out into the room and lost myself in the laughs and conversation with my friends.

It wasn’t until I got home that what had happened really hit me. I bawled like a little baby, not just a little bit, a lot, full ugly cry, and it was not pretty at all! I had been holding onto so much over this competition and so much in my life has changed, I hadn’t given myself time to process everything just yet. Everytime I tried to stop, the tears just kept coming and it felt like all of the poison, all of the shit, all of the depression, all of the lonlieness, all of the pain was oozing out of my body through my tears and falling away, never to return. As this thought dawned on me I pushed out as many as I could and began mentally letting go of every little naggy thing I was holding onto. Old grudges, bad attitudes, regrets, fears, all kinds of things were pouring out and I was determined to not miss a single one.

As I reflected upon that night and realised that after this whole thing just how much my friends circle, my family situation, my work situation, my personal situation has changed dramatically. I no longer accept bad friends or dodgy, lying backstabbing creeps. I only welcome those who support, uplift and are the very definition of a friend in front of and behind your back. I have successfully gained people in my life who are genuine and care about me and I about them. I am a lot closer with my family now and am feeling the love and support of all of them around me like I never have before.

So I guess this is the lesson – be careful who you let in your life. They can appear genuine and caring and they say all the right things but when push comes to shove they have a completely difference face. Driving back to Sydney I started crying (again!) and I made myself a promise. I promise myself that I will no longer accept this kind of behaviour from people, I will no longer tolerate users and liars, I will distance myself far away from them and to use one of my favourite author’s Elizabeth Gilbert’s analogy of treating our minds like a harbour, I share with you this

I’ve started being vigilant about watchng my thoughts all day, and monitoring them. I repeat this vow about 700 times a day: “I will not harbor unhealthy thoughts anymore.” Everytime a diminishing thought arises, I repeat the vow.

The first time I heard myself say this, my inner ear perked up at the word “harbor”, which is a noun as well as a verb. A harbor, of course, is a place of refuge, a port of entry.I pictured the harbor of my mind – a little beat up, perhaps, a little storm-worn, but well situated and with nice depth. The harbor of my mind is an open bay, the only access to the island of my Self. The island has been through some wars, it is true, but it is now committed to peace, under a new leader (me) who has instituted new policies to protect the place. And now let the word go out across the seven seas – there are much, much stricter laws on the books about who may enter this harbor.

You may not come here any more with your hard and abusive thoughts, with your plague ships of thoughts, with your slave ships of thoughts, with your warships of thoughts – all these will be turned away. Likewise, any thoughts that are filled with angry or starving exiles, with malcontents and pamphleteers, mutineers and violent assasins, desperate prostitutes, pimps and seditious stowaways – you may not come here anymore either.

Cannabilistic thoughts, for obvious reasons, will no longer be received. Even missionaries will be screened for sincerity. This is a peaceful harbor, the entryway to a fine and proud island that is only now beginning to cultivate tranquility. If you can abide by these new laws, my dear thoughts, then you are welcome in my mind – otherwise, I shall turn you all back to the sea from whence you came.

That is my mission, and it will never end.”

I love this quote, I relish this quote, I have been reading it every morning and moulding my thinking in a similar way. So this morning I woke up and decided that the time for tears was over and the time for celebration was to begin. I spent the morning with my new friends exercising, breakfasting and chatting and I sat back and realised that I am actually unbelievably happy right now. I don’t need pills, I don’t need food, I don’t need material things to keep me in a state of happiness, all I need is me. The enormous and empty void that was in my life has shrunk down to nothing now and I feel like for the first time in my life that this the person I am meant to be.

This is the Alaisdair that should have been awakened years ago, this is the Alaisdair that will look after himself, this is the Alaisdair that won’t take your shit any longer, this is the Alaisdair that is going to succeed and be somebody. This is the Alaisdair that is ready to head out into the world and be a fighter.

So I will stop ranting now and leave you with this, it was not until last night reflecting upon photos that I could see a massive difference in how I look. I feel like a completely different person, and while I still have my “feeling fat” days they are few and far between now. My fitness journey is FAR from over and I am hoping for defined abs and some form of pectoral muscles in the next 6 – 8 months (once I go back to clean eating!) So stay with me, I will be updating here still but for now I farewell the 12 week challenge and am excited to move in to the next chapter of my life.

An Open Letter to Frances Abbott

The Australian Independent Media Network

OpenLettertoFrancesAbbottDear Frances,

First off, I want to say that I feel really sorry for you this week since the news broke about your $60,000 scholarship to study at Whitehouse Institute of Design. As your passion was to study design, you should be commended for following this passion, and for applying yourself to your studies and graduating with Distinctions. Well done. No one is suggesting that you didn’t deserve to graduate with high grades, and no one is suggesting that it was unfair for you to be accepted into the course in the first place. But what people are upset about, including me, just so we’re clear, is the speculation that you got this opportunity to study without paying for it through your dad’s job and his connections. If this is true, we’re upset with your father. And I should imagine that you would be really be upset with him as…

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After The End

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So it has been 3 days since the challenge ended and I agreed with my trainer that I should take a week off and give it a rest (but continue training). I tried eating normally on the first day and I made myself sick. I tried pastry and double cappuccino for breakfast, a chicken schnitzel sandwich for lunch and chilli con carne for dinner (complete with sour cream, avocado and corn chips!) It really was a fitting feast, but alas my poor old body could not handle it. I was on the toilet throwing it all up and questioning what the hell has happened to me?

The same thing again happened the day after and so today I went back to oats and a chicken and salad wrap for lunch. My body accepted the small amount of food and was satisfied. What the actual fuck? Meanwhile I am sitting here waiting for thai food and I have a bag FULL of Kartosh bakery waiting for me to watch with Offspring tonight as a treat.

I wasn’t feeling happy when the photos were taken, everyone around me had tans and flat stomachs and all I did was shave my chest and stomach. Make up was being drawn around stomachs to try and make the look of abs appear and I just found the whole thing off putting. This is why I don’t do competitions, I don’t like photos, I don’t like this kind of fierce competition and trickery. I think because also maybe this competition stripped me down not only physically but also mentally and spiritually and I wanted a photo of me, exactly how I am. In fact if the situation wasn’t so weird I would have loved a completely naked photo. This may sound a little weird but it is exactly what I wanted to see.

I can’t stop exercising and sitting idle for too long drives me crazy. The day after the photos came through is when it hit me that I had finished and how much weight I had lost (peep the photo above!) Messages of love and support came flooding through my Facebook page and messages from friends and family made me realise how much this has not just impacted me, but everyone around me. So thank you to everyone who sent a message, a like or comment it has encouraged me greatly.

From now my biggest challenge starts, normal life without the confines and support of the challenge. Going to training and eating properly without having anyone to be accountable to but myself. It is a little scary but for the most part I think I can do it and I am excited for what my future holds. I am giving myself my own personal 6 month challenge, to lost the belly fat completely and have defined abs. Sounds tough and I already know how tough it is going to be. So stick with me! I will still be updating this blog with my progress and anything else I fitness related I can get my hands on.

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Dedicated To…

We all have people in our life that influence it, the ones that have such a profound and lasting impact. We don’t always get to acknowledge and appreciate them so I am using this as an outlet to let the people in my life know how much them mean to me and how I and other people see them.

The first person I wanted to talk about is Levi Valvo. I have had the pleasure of only knowing Levi for 6 months now and our friendship started out as a gym – client thing and then evolved into a friendship. Levi is the kind of person that everyone likes, almost instantly. He is funny and smart, has a loud personality and as much as he is easy to muck around with, and make fun of, he is actually one of the most genuine guys I have ever met.

A firefighter, a personal trainer, he works hard in the community. This afternoon we were driving to the shops and there was a car accident in front of us. Immediately he jumped out of the car and started helping pushing the cars out of the way and making sure everyone was ok. Meanwhile I was waiting impatiently in the car because the shops were going to close soon and I wanted a drink. This is just the kind of person he is, and is someone who I aspire to become.

We is always up for a joke and a laugh and I must admit that a lot of my jokes are at his expense, but he always takes it in his stride and throws it right back at me. As much as we joke around, I always hope that he knows that I am not in the least bit serious. We always have a great laugh and it is only recently that I discovered that other people think the same as I do.

A party, a few strangers, a few friends laughing, having fun and as I was sitting down taking the lid off my next drink I overheard them saying how funny and great he is and that he was the kind of person that everyone likes.

Levi is someone who has given me advice about people and situations in my life and has never steered me wrong. He understands me better than I think he does and find my usual tricks and avoidances are no longer working on him and he can see right through me. I can delete burpees sneakily from workout plans, “accidentally” throw protein shake on him and then cover him in water to “wash it off” and yet he still manages to show up to training and still be nice to me.

As much as we all like to joke and laugh around, more often than not at his expense, he is one of the most caring and inspiring people I have ever met. He goes out of his way to make everyone feel included and has never made me feel like I was an idiot (although at times I am 100% sure it was true!) He believed in me, even when I never believed in myself and for several weeks of the challenge was the reason that I am still here. I am so thankful you are who you are and the role you play in my life. I know we have a lot of fun busting each other up, but I hope you realise just how much of a great friend you are, not only to me but the people and community around you.

I hope this post has inspired you to start spreading the good words about your friends and the impact they have on your life. The internet is so full of negative stuff, let’s try and combat it with some positive stuff.

 

Final Essay

Has it really been 12 weeks already? It feels longer some weeks, shorter some, overall the whole thing has flown by, and thankfully so have the results. I remember when I started this thinking holy shit, how am I going to do this? I have been abusing my body for 10 years and it is going to take a lot more than 12 weeks to undo that damage. Those were my initial thoughts, after the first few weeks I would find myself either really happy or really sad. Not sad in a depressed way, but sad in a completely exhausted, ravaging for junk food, training, sweating, smelly mess. All I wanted to do was collapse in a heap and sleep the weekend away in bed – instead I had to do boot camp early on a saturday morning, followed by p.t’s and what seemed like ruthless, never-ending exercise. What I realised this morning is that this has now become a habit, I see my Saturday as an important fitness day for my body, instead of a day off, and this is one of the most noteable changes I can muster to date.

I am no longer the hungover, depressed, gorging mess I was when this challenge started. I don’t relish getting off my face every weekend and spending the weekend recovering with greasy food and movies. I would rather wake up early and spend the morning on the beach, or in a park exercising with friends. I did not think after the first few weeks of walking in bleary eyed, tired, hungry, desperately needing coffee that I would ever stick to it – in fact even look forward to it. As much as I do still complain now 12 weeks later (god help them in winter!) it is something that I won’t give up.

It is no secret that the trick to this challenge and to weight loss is diet. While I cannot lie and say that I never cheated (because um YEAH I DID!) the improvements in my diet are astounding. Who knew I could actually enjoy oats for breakfast? Brown rice with chicken breast and brocolli for lunch? Eating more during the day and less at night seemed like the strangest concept to me and I am proud to say that I think I have my portion sizes right for the first time in my life.

As far as actual exercise and weight loss go – I have put my body through the ringer and pulling it back into line has been no easy feat. I am a whinger by nature (stop nodding and laughing RIGHT NOW VALVO!) My mind gives up long before my body does and mastering that is still a work in progress. Consistently losing both kilos and centimetres off my stomach every week has been the propellant that has fueled my fire during this challenge. Without it I would have given up weeks ago. Consistently heading to P.T sessions, group classes and individual gym sessions has been setting a routine for myself that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

I have gone from an XL to a M in shirt sizes, a 38 – 34 (possibly 32 soon!) in pants sizes. My face is considerably slimmer as is my side fat which I am happy to say is pretty non-existent these days. Yes I still have a bit of a belly, but rome wasn’t built in a day. Getting fit is a long term commitment and 10 years of abuse magically go away in a mere 12 weeks.

Internally I have never felt such clarity, I have never felt more together. During the 12 week challenge I left a horrible, shitty job that was dragging me down emotionally and professionally, and plucked up the courage to apply for a job I want and is a career. Fortunately for me after a couple of weeks of horrifying unemployment I was accepted into the position and am now back on track in the career that I want. I have started dating again and am not ashamed to be myself. I love being around people again and don’t feel like the fat, ugly lump everyone is obligatory nice to. I am no longer embarrassed to be seen in public and in photos and it is something that I never thought would happen again.

Like any challenge as much as you do by yourself, it is the people that you surround yourself with that help you on your journey. I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by some of the best people on the planet who have helped me through this journey. If I have forgotten you I apologise in advance.

Levi Valvo – the trainer, creepzilla extraordinaire himself! I am sick of writing nice things about you. So all I will say is this, until I met you I thought I only had one brother. Now I believe I have two. Your patience, your energy, your humour, your belief in me, especially when I didn’t believe in myself goes beyond what anyone else has ever done for me. Thank you for pushing me, while making me laugh the whole time. Never stop believing in the power of what you do and who you are because it is inspiring and I am so glad you are in my life. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

Corinne, Sophie and Tahlia – you girls have given me the harsh truth when I needed it (I never did get that schnitzel!)  given me encouragement and kept me sane between exercise and catch ups. It is so good to have honest friends who tell it like it is. Thank you so much.

Hannah Birdy bird – you girl are amazing! So beautiful, so talented, so sexy! You are friends with me through everything and nothing changes that. Thank you for being there for me through fat and thin and my life is so much better because of you.

Pinny & Grant – no-one encourages me with weight loss and to be myself as much as you guys have. It is hard to believe that we have known each other for 5 years now and you have always been there and encouraged me through everything and I will always treasure our friendship no matter where we are in the world.

Dante – your journey started way way back and seemed so impossible when I thought about doing it. Thank you for listening to me when I was frustrated and being “the gay inspirational guy”

To my brother who took my phone calls and is another “harsh truth” person I love you, and I am so happy to say that my pant size is smaller than yours now hahaha! MY sister you crazy freak you make me laugh so much!

To my parents who love me if i’m fat or thin, your encouragement during this and support, even when i was tired and cranky. Thanks for making profiteroles with homemade chocolate sauce and whipped cream and then telling me they didn’t taste that great anyway, then for not saying anything when 2 mysteriously disappeared overnight because I gave in to my cravings.

Crazy Carol – Girl you are the hardest working fitness freak ever! You have worked so hard in this challenge and am so proud of what you have achieved in such a short time with everything else going on in your life. Don’t ever stop because you have an amazing story!

Michelle & Bianca – for keeping me in check when Una’s and Messina were crying out to me. Thank you for eating pizza in front of me and thai…and chocolate…yeah thanks bitches! haha

Before things get too mushy I have to reflect on where I came from. Before this started my whole life was a mess, I was working in a dead end job, I was addicted to Zoloft and would spend my whole existence in a foggy haze in which I never really felt like I was existing. I drifted from day to day in a moody non-existence, where my feelings were controlled by the amount of food I ate. I drifted away from society finding solace in video games and movies, in which I could just sit back and watch and not have to interact with the outside world. Some would call this agoraphobia, I don’t think I was that bad…or maybe I was. I pushed so many friends away through this illness and have lost many treasured relationships because of the way that I was.

This challenge has brought me out of my shell, to be the happy and loud person I know I really am. I am no longer too shy to hi to people and make new friends. This is always the person that I wanted to be and was when I was younger. 2 years ago I was standing on top of a mountain ready to end it all, I was controlled by medication I was told was going to help, unwilling to help myself and ready to take my own life, I knew that I had to give my life one more shot. I had to find something that worked, I had to find something that would heal me that didn’t involve medication. I spent the next year eating my feelings and remaining stagnant. My dose of the anti-depressants increased and I lost everything. I moved back home with my parents as I lost my job because I had no concentration or reliability. I would spend my nights just in a vacant haze playing video games or watching movies not wanting to interact with the world.

I had to start work again because I thought maybe it would be the thing that would pull me out of my situation. Did it? Of course not! But I kept at it because it got me out of the house and justified my weekends locked away in my room watching movies and playing games. Eating whatever I want, I was consistently putting on weight every week and not caring about what this was doing to my body. It wasn’t until one day at work when I caught myself in the mirror and thought “wow! you are really fat!” and that was the thought that changed my mind. I found a gym on the way home from work so I would be accountable for going, I found a trainer who knew what he was doing and knew about nutrition and could understand and care about my unique situation.

I started going to the gym for a while and was still taking my antidepressants, when this challenge started I took my last one the day before and threw the rest and my prescription away. This was one of the most scariest things I have done in my life, I was leaving myself completely to fitness and to my own mind. I had no idea if I would be ready, would I turn to alcohol and food again as a coping mechanism? The whole idea scared me out of my mind. During this time I could feel my brain getting stronger every day. I poured all of my sadness and depression into my workouts and little by little the wall that was up in my brain, starting slowly deteriorating. It wasn’t easy, there were days when I didn’t want to get out of bed and exercise, I had to force myself out and even when my brain was telling me to cry and lock everything out, I pushed through and forced myself to keep going. I did have support from friends and family but I still believe that the willpower and effort it took me to do this is the biggest breakthrough of this challenge.

So where do I stand now? I don’t even think about the pills anymore, I am not 100% happy all the time but I am happier. I know that I have the strength to overcome anything, I have a strong and healthy core and it can weather any storm that life throws my way. I keep active and fit to stay healthy and this contributes to my happiness, but is not the sole factor of it. This challenge has shifted my brain and my body and I can finally start living again. I have emerged from my self-imposted cocoon of sadness, I have busted through the shell, fighting the whole way and am ready to fight and live an inspiring and meaningful life. This challenge does not stop here, my attitude to food and fitness has changed and I will keep the lessons I have learned here for the rest of my life.

Here is to a happy life, a healthy life, a fit life, a life that is worth talking about, a life that is worth writing about, a life that will hopefully inspire and help someone else. Before this challenge I believed it impossible that fitness could help depression, now I believe that along with counselling, healthy eating, supportive friends and family it is the reason I am still here today. I didn’t wait for someone to save me, I was the sole administrator of my own rescue.

I am stronger than depression, I am larger than loneliness and NOTHING will ever exhaust me.

 

Food For Thought

Last night I had the hunger, the hunger for SCHNITZEL! I wanted it and there was no escaping this craving. I tried exercising, I tried eating my brown rice and chicken breast, praying that my body would accept it as a schnitzel substitute. Ha! Yeah nice try idiot. I barely slept as my stomach growled and begged me to feed it schnitzel, or at the very least more food!

This has NEVER happened to me before, I have never been kept up, deprived of sleep just because of food! What the actual hell? Are you for real brain and body? You seriously haven’t synced up together now and realised that this challenge is real? Also that it is nearly over! Hold out another 11 days you impatient fool. Schnitzel is coming !

I finally fell asleep with only 2 hours before I had to get up and go to work. I stumbled out of bed in the WORST mood I have been in a VERY long time. I apologise now to anyone I had to work with today for my grumpiness and bitchiness today, but I really needed schnitzel!

As I got to work I started to get angry at the challenge, angry that it was restricting from letting me do what I wanted. I got angry that I couldn’t just walk up to a shop and buy a schnitzel wrap. I seriously sat at my desk and nearly cried because I couldn’t have it. I really wish I was joking about this.

I wrote an angry Facebook status update (rookie mistake!) and received comments about putting crushed almonds on chicken (seriously? EW!) and after a vent, a cry and a coffee the world started to look like a better place. I can’t believe I got THAT upset over schnitzel and that I went to this crazy place of cursing out the challenge, fitness and what I am trying to achieve.

I stuck to a chicken salad for lunch and as I finished it I actually began to feel normal again. My body had accepted that this was the food it was getting today and it just had to deal with it, as it has for the last 10 weeks. I hurried back to work with a fresh juice and cried for the second time today because I think I realised that I am a completely different person. The old me would have had a schnitzel last night, doubled it up with bacon and eggs in the morning followed by pasta for lunch along with whatever pastries I could get my hands on during the day. But I did not do this, yes I cried, yes I got upset, yes I questioned myself but I didn’t give in .

Holy crap I have changed, this has actually had a positive effect on me. Really? Wow. After the blind rage and fury I was feeling this morning, it had all gone away because I didn’t go there and instead of chose to make those good food decisions that I have been lacking for the last 30 years. When put into that mentality, it really did shift my thinking and although I am not quite up to almond chicken yet, my friend did give me an amazing recipe for fruit sorbet.

This is what I have come to realise today, food and appetite are linked to your brain, that’s right your brain. Your body can trick your brain into thinking I need schnitzel, or ice cream, or comfort but I have to have the strength to say no, no you don’t! Have this salad and like it god damn it ok! Control your thoughts, control your body.