Fear, Faith, and Commitment

Yesterday I was listening to a Jillian Michaels Show podcast on how to overcome fear. I found it very interesting, and Oh so true! … so, I thought I would share my take on it …

Firstly, a description of the content of the program …

Jillian first talked about her experiences snow boarding for the first time. She explained that you have to point the nose of the board down the mountain and lean into it, which causes the board to pick substantial amounts of speed very quickly (very scary). Our natural inclination, when we are afraid, would be to lean back, away from the board, right? Her instructor explained that this is the wrong thing to do as it causes the board to slide out from underneath you, and you end up flat on your butt (or worse, with broken bones and other nice things!)

So, instead of leaning back, you are supposed to commit, allow the board to pick up speed, be patient and wait for the board to straighten out and at the right time turn it, which gives you control. This requires faith that you will be ok and won’t hurt yourself. Very scary. Not sure I could do it.

Jillian then goes on to explain that her instructor talked her through how she needs to have faith in her abilities, commit to pointing that board down the hill, and be patient in waiting until just the right time to make her turn, all while feeling the fear of falling off and being hurt.

Snowboarding, Jillian says, or more accurately the fear of snowboarding, is a great analogy for life. In anything we encounter in life, in anything we fear, we need to have faith in our abilities, commit to the task at hand, be patient and wait for the perfect opportunity to take action.

I agree with her. Anything that we are scared of but also really really want, we need to “feel the fear and do it anyway” … have faith, commit, be patient …

Think about it. What happens when we don’t commit? If we look at relationships for example, the more fear you have, the less faith you have, the less patient you are, and the less committed you are … the more likely you are to create exactly what you fear. You may call your partner constantly, which can result in him or her becoming “sick” of your “clinginess” and eventually walking away. Isn’t this what you feared at the beginning? This is what happens if you allow the fear to control your actions, if you don’t commit, if you hesitate. And this can be translated to every area of your life. 

If you allow fear to control, you eventually create exactly the situation you are afraid of …

So, how do we do this?

  1. Prepare – learn and educate yourself about the task. Get the information you need and create a gameplan.
  2. Think about a time when you have felt confident/successful. Each of us has at least one area in our lives where we feel confident. Whether it be in certain aspects of our careers, real estate, parenting, or whatever. Draw on those experiences and remind yourself that if you can be successful in those endeavours, then you can do it in THIS area as well!
  3. At the opposite end, think about a time when you have been unsuccessful/failed, and then got up, made changes and went on and achieved your goal. Remind yourself that you lived to tell the tale and have learned some lessons. What did you learn from this experience? This is how we learn and grow.
  4. Look and study other people who have been successful in the area you are working on right now. What did they do and how did they do it? Then copy and paste it into your own endeavours.
  5. Build a support system around you. This is absolutely imperative for your success. This is the “if they can do it, then so can I” theory 🙂

One last thing to keep in mind. Failure is a comfortable state of being. It takes a lot of courage to step out and make the decision to be brave. A LOT of courage! So, to help yourself along the journey, try choosing your tasks wisely. If you are afraid of something, then focus on those things that will improve your life. After all, why would you bother doing something unless it was really important to you and it would help you improve your life in some way?

What do you think of what Jillian said? I really like it, personally! Just think about your own experiences. If you are participating in the 12wbt, isn’t this exactly what we are doing? And if you aren’t, think about some other experience you have been afraid of …

Ali 🙂

Self imposed lmitations

I’ve been thinking quite a bit today about the limits that we put on ourselves on a regular basis.

I did some training on my x-trainer today, and before I got on I was determined to do at least 20 minutes (previous record recently has been 12 min 30 sec) of high intensity, with 6 intervals. I did a 5 minute warmup, first 30 second interval, 1 min 30 sec lower intensity (during which I had several fleeting thoughts of “I can’t do this”, with several variations). Told myself I COULD do it, so did a second 30 sec interval, and then my mind went nuts and I caved, stepped off the machine. Had my heart rate close to 156bpm too! I sat down for a few minutes and paused my HRM, waited until it slowed down to about 90, then got back on. HR went right back up to the mid 140’s. Did another 3 intervals, pushing HR to the 160’s, then gave it away. Total 17 minutes 13 seconds, with 5 intervals. Ave HR 142, max HR 162, calories burned, 217. Time in fat burning zone, 3 min 15 sec, time in fitness zone, 13 min 58 sec. Several minutes better than my previous sessions, but not what I had planned in my head.

Given that I had planned at least 20 minutes in the one session, what made me give up before I had achieved what I wanted?

My mind. Seriously. I consciously recognised several unhelpful thoughts as they ran through. “I’m gonna die”, “this is too hard”, “I can’t breathe”, “I need a rest”, “I need to catch my breath”

I had great plans (before workout) to come here and post about how I had beaten my mind, pushed myself and accomplished a GREAT workout. And yet here I sit, acknowledging that this time, my head won the battle to keep me comfortable. 

The thing is, I KNOW that I am capable of a lot more than I am achieving at this point. Considering that my resting HR is usually in the mid to high 60’s, isn’t that an indication of the health of my heart? I know I can do more. I have yet to do any strength training. My mind keeps telling me that it’ll be a pain in the butt to swap and change all the connections, that my HR will go down too low and my body will cool down by the time I figure out what I need to do next. And yet I know that without taking the time to figure it out, I’m not going to get any quicker at it. Go figure.

I need to make this happen. I WILL win this. I WILL get this done. And I WILL smash the 500cal burn per session. 🙂

Self Love …

What is self love? I’m sure if you asked 100 people, you would probably get 100 different responses. Acceptance and unconditional are two words that come into my head when I think about it …

I have a very long history of not loving myself. Of believing that other people are more important and ultimately somehow
“better” and more deserving than I. Encouragement of others and assisting them to better themselves has been my primary aim for more years than I can count. Often to the detriment of myself. No big surprises there.

Instead of loving and taking care of myself I treated myself with neglect and abandon. Sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy food, and few accomplishments. Self sabotage whenever the opportunity for something better arose. And in addition, I allowed other people to use me and my generosity to the point where I had nothing left to give. As I type this, I am wondering whether, had I put boundaries in place years ago, I would have ever gotten to the point I am now, needing to turn away people I love from my home, in order to get ME back. Or, more accurately, to FIND me in the first place!

In fact I am now questioning whether I really was able to feel love for real. I am realising that it is only in more recent years, as I begin to value myself and appreciate the support network I have and the gifts I possess, that I REALLY begin to love myself. And as I do that, I genuinely love those around me.

Self love means really appreciating my own unique gifts and talents, allowing them to shine. It means valuing myself enough to respect my need for self care, which means being aware of my needs and placing boundaries when other people attempt to cross them. It means putting myself FIRST, before the needs of others.

As I type that paragraph I get teary, because this is something that has been sorely lacking in my life. And I know I need to do it if I am to flourish. In all areas of my life.

So, the next step …. to take action 🙂


Death …

Yesterday I felt as if I was surrounded by death, not for the first time …

I have had my share of experiences with loss and grief. My step grandmother died November 1993, my father in January 1994, age 49, my mother in October 2002, age 55. More recently, my brother in June 2009, age 38. Last year, 2011, 3 people died. My maternal grandmother in June, my best friend’s 9 year old son in June, and my cousin in October, age 43.

Those are the actual events personal to me. And of course i’ve also had the childhood experiences that you don’t really remember, with my other 3 grandparents.

So what was it about yesterday that got to me? My best friend sent me a book of poetry about her experiences, and that of her family, surrounding caring and grieving for her son. Friday I was talking to someone who is preparing for her son’s imminent death (single parent whose entire life revolves around caring for him). And last week I had another friend who lost her grandmother, and buried her on Friday. This friend called me Thursday night and was a mess, understandably so. Told me I was the sanest person she knew.

I’m not sure what my purpose here is in sharing this with you all. I understand how grief works. I get some of its complexities. Yesterday’s experiences brought up some of my own grief, partly to do with reading those poems. Very raw emotion. Yesterday I felt like I needed to get away from it. To get a break and do something completely different. I didn’t do anything.

Blogging Challenge …

Well, I have come across this blogging challenge from a thread on the 12wbt forums and thought I might like to join in. Once a week questions will be posted and we need to answer them on our own blogs. The 12wbt started this past Monday, February 13th. So, here is the week 1 challenge:

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.  What makes you, you? – I am regular kind of girl, a couple of months into my 40th year of life. I’m passionate about what I do professionally (help people overcome their difficulties) and absolutely love supporting others. I’m a very gentle soul and have a calm nature (people often say they feel calmer just being in my presence). I am a deep thinker and am very intelligent, witty and can help people to feel comfortable with ease.
  2. Why did you decide to do the 12WBT? – For as far back as I can remember, I have NEVER been a “normal” weight. I use ” ” deliberately, since there really is no such thing, but it IS a word most people are familiar with. The past several years have seen me make a number of changes in my life, amongst which has been “weight loss surgery” (again the use of the ” ” is deliberate). Following surgery I was able to donate 60kg to the universe, which then stalled as my health was no longer my complete focus. When I started working again I started using all my excuses (too tired, too busy, no time etc etc) and avoided doing all the things I knew I needed to be doing. In recent months I became dissatisfied that my health was as it was, and decided it needed more attention. But I didn’t DO anything about it until my sister invited me to join her in participating in the 12wbt.
  3. What are you hoping to achieve through the program? – I’ll tell you what I DON’T want, and that is to become obsessive about a “diet”. Diet’s do NOT work. For me this is a complete lifestyle change. This is about learning how to manage and balance intake V’s outtake. It’s about learning to LIVE in a way that supports the things I want to do with my life. It’s about gaining energy and fitness, the ability to move easier, to participate more fully, to be able to passionately participate in all things physical. Basically, to LIVE, rather than simply exist.
  4. Why have you decided to blog about the 12WBT? – Blogging is something that has appealed to me for a while now. And when I saw that a lot of the other participants were doing it, I decided that I would give it a go too.
  5. What will be the main focus (eg, food, exercise, a bit of everything?) – My focus here will be self care. I have a long history of not taking care of myself, in a lot of different areas, of which health is just one. I’ll post about achievements, failures, uncertainties, fears, panics, breakdowns, breakthroughs. Anything that I feel is helpful/instrumental for my own self care and self respect.
  6. How will you be exercising this round? Gym, home, outdoors or a mixture? – Mostly at home. I have a X-trainer, functional trainer (weight machine), incline bench, DVD’s, hand weights. I’ll be getting a fit ball very soon and that should set me up pretty well.
  7. What is your greatest strength that will help you? – My determination and the knowledge that I CAN do this. After all, I’ve done it before. Last time I donated 60kg. While the numbers on the scales are not a priority for me, they can be an indication of some success. Also, the knowledge I have about how the mind works and the previous work I have done in changing my mindset have, I believe, set me up to do this well.
  8. What are you afraid of? – Paradoxically, I am afraid of success. Yes, I know I can do this. But what will be expected of me when I do? I know this is my mind playing tricks on me to keep the status quo, and I just need to DO IT anyway.
  9. What are you looking forward to the most over the next 12 weeks? – The changes in my mindset and ability to do things physically. Greater fitness. More stamina. Less lower back pain. Ability to stand on my feet for longer periods. Stuff like that.
  10. What is your downfall? Food? Exercise? How will you overcome this? – Food probably. I am addicted to sugar (and probably fat). I won’t keep the trigger foods in the house, and I need to get myself organised and pre-prepare meals so I can “grab and go”. I know my tendencies to wake up late and then have to rush through getting ready, leaving no time for breakfast. I also know that when I get home from work I am rarely in the mood to cook, and those are the times I tend to want the takeaway. So, it’s really important that I am prepared.
  11. If you had to pick one word to motivate you over the next 12 weeks, what would you choose? – I need to think about this one. I’m not sure I have one particular word. What motivates me most is seeing and feeling the support from those around me. I tend to thrive on positive energy. So I need to surround myself with like-minded people.


Control … or the lack thereof

Why do people find it necessary to control others? …

I think that it mostly has to do with them feeling like they are out of control. The thing is, the more they attempt to control others, the more the people being controlled fight back and ultimately the less control they have! Funny how that works …

Some people like to call that Karma! I call it a reflection. People like to control because they seek it themselves. Often it comes out with shouting and screaming, name calling, or sometimes even physical violence. And basically it comes down to a lack of self worth.

Consider this. Think of the people in your life who are happy, healthy, vibrant and confidant. How do they treat others? I bet it is usually with respect, courtesy and love, right? Now think of the people in your life who are unhappy, angry, hurt, depressed and who generally don’t feel good about who they are. They will usually either internalise their behaviours and not take care of themselves (e.g., eat crappy foods, drink a lot of alcohol, maybe self harm), or they bignote themselves, make themselves look better than everyone else, whilst attempting to make others look bad (essentially, the tall poppy syndrome).

So, I think the question then becomes, if someone treats us badly, how can WE change it?

This is a big part of the story of MY life! For so long I allowed other people to control me. I would do everything that was asked of me. I would “loan” out money. I would run errands. I would chauffeur people all over town. The list is almost endless. I would get screamed at because I didn’t vacuum the floor QUICKLY enough. Called lazy and a fat whore because of it.

Do I do that now? Nowhere near as much as I used to. I think the key for me has been that i feel better about ME! I know I DESERVE to be taken care of.  And of course I now KNOW, that if I don’t take care of myself, then nobody else will! I have realised that if I want to be taken care of, then the ONLY person who can do that is ME.

I have done a lot of work on WHY I need and WANT to take care of me. Really gotten in touch with my personal values and ethics. And I believe that because I know WHY, it makes it much easier to do the HOW! I use those assertiveness skills that are so useful. I stand up for my rights and when someone starts shouting and arguing with me, I put a stop to it quickly. I don’t deserve that kind of drama in my life, and the only way I can stop it is to not engage with it when someone else starts it. If necessary I walk away. People find it extremely difficult to argue with themselves, after all  😉

Bottom line, I deserve BETTER than to be treated like a piece of dirt. And *I* am the one who needs to make that happen!


My mind

My mind has been in my way the last 24 hours … the usual thing I’m used to … most of the time I’m not aware of what goes through and I don’t take the time to listen to see what turns up. Mindlessness versus Mindfulness …

How do you all go with that?

our greatest supports …

Where do we usually get our greatest support from?

Today when I got home from work my 10 year old niece said to me (after I had been to the supermarket and had bought a couple small chocolate bars), “Could I have a chocolate bar? I’d be helping you cause you’re not allowed to have them” (i’m paraphrasing slightly). Funny girl!

Just a few minutes later my 11 year old niece came to me and said that she would like to help me do my workouts and train with me! On both my functional trainer and xtrainer. My heart literally melted! This girl reminds me so much of myself at her age. So self conscious and unsure of herself. I had to disappoint her with the weight machine since it isn’t designed for kids and she could get hurt (though im sure she could push me to work harder. She has a determined streak in her that one!). I then told her that I would love to have her help on my “machine” (xtrainer). 

I had been noticing that I was avoiding the topic of my efforts to get healthier around the house, but obviously the kids have picked it up anyway (or their mum had a word to them, which is likely). All 4 of them have been amazing so far and the season hasn’t even started yet!!

I love these kids!

So, where does your greatest support come from?


Why am I here?

I had a random thought just pop into my head. Why AM I here? On this earth I mean. What is my purpose?

An interesting question to ponder, don’t you think? So many possible answers.

In the process of developing my career I have discovered that my current profession is definitely where I am meant to be. I get a lot of fulfillment out of helping others to work through their “stuff”. And I am good at it. The feedback I get from clients has been nothing other than positive.  And I have learned so much about myself that given the chance to do things over, I would NOT do anything different. I wouldn’t be where I am today had I not been through the lessons I’ve been through.

So, career wise, I believe I have found my purpose.

So what about personally? My life has not exactly been an easy one.  A lot easier than some, I have no doubt. But still, it hasn’t been without challenges. A pathway that has been hovering in my mind for a while is the possibility of using the life lessons I am learning about self care and helping others with their own journeys. Kind of like Adro and some of the other TBL contestants. Adro has begun his own retreat style clinic to help people over a certain weight and from all accounts is having some pretty phenomenal success. You never know, I might end up joining his “hand picked” team as their psychologist! That would be cool. But the idea of having my own wellness centre appeals to me. Particularly one that caters to teenagers as well as adults.

I’d love to work with teenagers. A colleague told me the other day that I should be working with this population because I have an insight and compassion into what they deal with. I was filled with all kinds of warm fuzzies when she said that! And working with teenagers with weight issues is very appealing to me. I have no doubt that I need a lot more training in this area to be able to do it properly, but I believe it could definitely be an option.

What do you guys think?

I just realised that I went back to talking about work and moved away from my “personal” purpose (go figure)! Learning lessons all the time 🙂

Blessings …

One of the things I believe is important in life is gratitude. To count our blessings and be thankful for what we have. The last few years I have been discovering, more and more, just how many people love me! It never ceases to amaze me when that thought pops into my head, possibly because for such a long time I wondered why they would even want to. I was, after all, unlovable, right?

Apparently not! My work colleagues have been a big part of this realisation. I have had nothing but support and encouragement to try out new skills in my workplace and this freedom and support has helped to increase my professional confidence in a VERY big way. As I start on this 12wbt journey, share and speak with other 12wbters, once again I am astounded at how many people “seem” to value my contribution. 

All this is adding to the evidence that says I DO have value.

I would like to thank everyone who has valued my opinions and look to me for inspiration. It warms my heart and fills me with emotion to know just how lucky I am to have these people in my life. 

I am very grateful for all of you!