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I am not perfect

For years, and even now I suffer from something called Imposter Syndrome.  It is really hard to acknowledge this.  I do not see my success, only my failures.

This syndrome is where you criticise yourself and cannot see how good you are at what you do.

For years I was a workaholic, striving to do better. Learn faster, create better training faster than anyone else.  My close friend, who is also a colleague would tell me over and over how I learn faster than anyone she has ever met, and that my standards and quality of work was higher than the client expected.

I never took it in, did not listen.

Why am I telling you this?  

This affected me achieving my goal.  I learned over the years to always look confident and in control but inside I was upset and felt like a failure.

No matter what I was told by the people I was training or coaching, or those who had hired me, I could only see where I needed to improve.

Last week one of my coaches ask the question, what are you afraid of?

That question floored me, I really thought about it.  Was I afraid of something?  Then it came to me. No, I was holding myself back because I was the one who criticised myself the most.

When someone was telling me that I had lost a lot of weight during my weight loss I would reply there was still a long way to go.

When I had lost weight and even yesterday evening someone said I had lost a bit more weight, my reply was not thanks so much, but oh no, that can’t be a good thing.

Self criticism can hold us back from achieving our goals, it can stop us from changing our mindset and becoming the person we want to be.

This is one of the reasons I love motivational mantras.  They help me to remember how far I have come.  That I am worthy and that I have done some amazing things.

When I feel myself criticising myself I have started to say these mantra’s, because I am worthy of success.  Just like you are.

What is your favourite mantra?

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How we view a situation can make a huge difference

I have taught adults for over 20 years. I started out answering questions my colleagues had, they pushed me to become a trainer at a training company, then I went freelance in 2001 and work on projects where new software is being upgraded, updated, implemented or new features and processes introduced.

Sound boring?

I love seeing how people go from dreading the change to being able to work better than they did before.  This past week I have been training people on a new process as well as answering questions in two countries about the process I am training them how to use.  This has reminded me of what I have learned over 20 years.

The people who go into the process who have negative thoughts about it have a harder time then those who do not.  Even those who are resigned have an easier time.  This shows how your thoughts towards change can make a huge difference.

When I started new diets I would think of it as a chore, dread doing it but think that it was temporary and something that I had to “put up with”.  

One day I realised that I was WRONG!

I needed to stop thinking that I had to have a temporary change, in order to meet my goal I needed to think of it as a lifestyle, making changing that I could live with for the rest of my life.

Healthy food I could love.

Activity I like to do and with people I enjoy being around.

Work I love to do.

This does not mean I don’t have a glass or two of wine, or a piece of chocolate once in a while.  It means my life is more balanced.  When I drink that glass of wine or chocolate I do so slowly and savour it.

I am more thankful of good food and good friends.

How has your thoughts held you back?

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Finding the right motivation

As most people who know me now know, I like to run.  I am not a motivated runner but one who is more of a social runner.  Running with others is great.  Running on my own is not as much fun unless I am in a race where I get a bit of Bling at the end.

Before lockdown I used to run with a wonderful non-competitive running group.  We would meet up and do long runs, the people like me who are turtle runners would be at the back and the faster runners would go ahead then loop back.  

No one would push us to go faster, we were allowed to run at our own pace.

Lockdown changed all that.  

Self motivation.

The keyword became self motivation. For running I am not so good at that.  I am motivated to stay a normal body weight but my runs became more walks and very short.  I made excuses not to go out.

Someone might look at me, worse they might get too close and I could get sick.

I needed to have something to help me.

I was reminded of Virtual medals.

They are amazing motivation tools!  You sign up to them and do your race on your own time.  You need to record the activity, once you have completed the activity send the proof to the virtual medal company and they send you your medal.

Not Just for Running!

They are for walking, running, cycling, swimming and more.  I get such a high opening the envelope and then adding it to my medals.

I feel even better knowing that the virtual medals that I sign up for all give some of the money to charity.  It is like doing a charity event.

So great.

Is there an activity you like to do that you could sign up for a virtual medal?

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Footwear

Back, knees, and feet do not have to hurt.

A short walk leaves your knees achy and your back sore.  Being larger means that more pressure, weight is on your body.

I remember when I was starting out walking that my knees would hurt for a long time after I stopped.

I wanted to quit but I wanted to be a normal size more.

The hurt had to be good right?

Wrong.

I was walking in the wrong shoes.

My legs had no support or cushioning.  Walking straight n the had surface.

So many people said to put up with the pain and just continue but it just makes you want to give up.  Sit on the sofa instead.

There was a sale on walking shoes.  So I went in and tried what seemed like all of them on.

Would I ever find a pair that were comfortable?  Eventually a wide fitting pair were brought out and they were like walking on a cloud.

I purchased them quickly.  The clerk in the shop said I would have to break them in, even though they were comfortable in the shop to wear them in the house for a day or two before wearing them outside.  Then wearing them for longer trips.

I went home and wore them all evening.

They were great so I wore them to go to work the next day.

Too much and they rubbed a bit, I got a blister but I was used to those so I put on some compeed and continued.

After a week they were comfortable the whole time I wore them.  My knees were less painful, my back didn’t scream for me to stop.

The right shoes made a huge diffference!

What I have learned since is that sometimes shoes can seem great in the shop but you need to wear them in a bit to see if they are really any good.  Wear them around the house so there is no wear and tear and you can return them if they are not good, or buy on sale.

Some peoples feet prefer solid, inflexible shoes, other people prefer flexible sock like shoes.  I used to think that it was normal to get blisters every time I went for a walk.  Then one day I bought a new type of running shoes and only have blisters very rarely.  Do try other style of shoes out if you get blisters.

The right shoe is amazing!

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Ready to bloom

Let yourself bloom.

Hiding away and not letting the world see the real you.  How you really feel. Like a flower hidden behind a bush, not reaching for the sun but hiding.

Your smile is your armour rather than showing true joy. You deserve more.

I was like that.  I used my smile like a shield. Not showing how I really felt.  Not really experiencing much happiness.  Hiding the real me, even from myself.  Telling myself that work was everything, that someday I would live how I wanted to live.

Decide to be happy.

One day I made a decision to start doing things that made me happy.  Not to wait until that far off time when life was going to be perfect, but now.

I went out and did the activities I wanted to do, saw sites and had experiences.  

Started living, rather than existing,

Became happy.

That was when I started to bloom.  People made comments about how great I looked, had I lost weight, at that point, no. But the more I started living the life I wanted to live the happier I was and the weight started to come off.

I was not the flower hiding beside the bushes scared of the sun, but a flower reaching for the sun.

What can you do today to start living your life how you want to?

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When I am thin I am going to…

I said this so often, not living a full life, doing what I wanted because I was waiting to live when I had lost the extra weight.

Life will be so much better when I am thinner.

For many long years I told myself this, I did not do the activities I wanted, and mostly stayed at home.

Life will be better when I am thinner.

I found myself repeating it often.  The only hope. It was like looking through a keyhole at another world.  

A world I wanted to belong to but could not reach no matter how many diets I went on.

I had lost about 14 to 20 pounds out of the 160 I needed to lose when I was told to stop waiting, live now!

What?

I was told, “Why wait until you are thin, travel, do the activities you want now.”  

I was sent to Washington DC for work, I took an evening off and went on a walking tour, then walked around the city.  I went out with work colleagues for dinner, and had a great time.

I lost weight.

The more I started doing the activities I wanted the more I enjoyed life and the more the weight fell off.

Why wait?

Live now, enjoy life!

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How I started my weight loss journey

Like most people I did not gain weight overnight, but losing it was more difficult than gaining it. I tried lots of diets and exercise programs. Had personal trainers, tried low fat, low calorie diets. Diets so low in calories that you were not allowed to exercise while on them.

Diets and Exercise programs were ok to look at but there were some things I had a block on and refused to look at.

That is what stopped me from losing weight. Doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result means failure. I needed to look at other tools.

Diet and exercise are two tools that are looked at and used by people. Are they permanent? Does everyone who goes on them lose weight and keep it off? No.

Tools are there to help us and the more tools we use the more permanent the weight loss and the easier it is.

So what made me change? Why did I look at other tools?

I was at the end of my rope, unhappy and desperate to live my life not just exist. Work had become my life.

Talking to a normal weight person who had successfully lost weight 7 years before and had kept it off was what set me on my new path. She had an active life doing activities I had always wanted to do and was happy.

Photo by TeroVesalainen on Pixabay

In order to have the same happen to me, I needed to change my thoughts and opinions. Changing how I thought was very difficult.

I did research, searching the internet for information about weight loss surgery. Was it an easy option? How many people did it fail on? How long did it take to lose the weight?

I was sure that there was something wrong with me and that if I had weight loss surgery that I would not lose the weight and I would be the percentage that failed.

But what were my options? Stay large and be unhappy, existing rather than living or I could take a chance and maybe succeed.

Live my life!

I took a chance and changed my life, but weight loss surgery was not the only tool I used. More about that next week.

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How Goals Helped me Succeed with Weight Loss

I am a very goal oriented person. I never used to be, I was more of a dreamer. Wishing and meandering through life. I saw some lovely places but was in a job I didn’t like and lived in a place I didn’t like either.

Goals sorted that all out.

Then when I found myself unhappy and extremely overweight I used goals to get me out of that position.

I was a size 10 in 1997 when I arrived in the UK. I wanted to be that size again.

Knowing what didn’t work for me helped. Because I had been overweight for many years I know what diets that I had only lost 5 pounds or so on. So they would not work.

When I decided to have weight loss surgery I researched the average weight loss, the length of time it would take me and calculated what my weight loss should be each month. One site mentioned that most people lose 75% of the weight they want to in a year.

2 months in I was not on track, in fact I was not even close to meeting my target. If I had not had the monthly milestone in mind I probably would not have know that I was so bad at the weight loss. Because I did not reach my goal I called my dietician and discussed what I was eating.

She helped me see what food issues I was having and put me on the right path. I slowly changed my eating and over months it changed drastically, just with the small changes I made.

Exercise had to change as well. Since my bariatric medical team insists that weight loss is sustained for life through a healthy diet and exercise it meant I needed to exercise.

I was walking 10,000 steps before my operation and tried to do that right after. That was not a good idea. My energy levels went down 2 weeks after the op and I felt I was walking through sand.

I over did it. I was not eating enough for the amount of activity I was doing at work.

Steps Stairs Up Staircase Stairway
Free-Photos / Pixabay

By dropping my daily step goal to 1,000 and taking the bus more as my diet improved I slowly increased my steps. So I set a goal to reach 10,000 steps again.

I added 250 steps to my step goal each week. It was an amount that I could add and not notice during a day, maybe an extra trip to the tea point and an extra trip to the toilet.

Some weeks I felt well enough to add another 250 steps mid week.

As my fitness increase and my diet became more nutritious I lost a lot more weight. The fat was sliding off me.

I reached my goal in 7 months, that was just over 150 pounds lost.

I now set more goals and am more conscious about making the milestones short enough that I can reach them within a couple of months, hopefully shorter.

Take a look at the 3 day course on goals if you would like to reach your goals faster.