Posted in Health and Fitness, Life Advice

Through sickness and health, till death do us part – I do.

As I think back to our wedding last year and the vows we spoke to each other, the promises we pledged to each other and the commitment we made, I don’t think either of us anticipated the kind of support we would be soon providing to each other so early in our marriage.

I write this as I sit here at the dining table while Chris is in the kitchen preparing his own meals for the week. He knows now it is safe to be in the kitchen as I have finished my meal prep. “Is it ok for me to be in the kitchen now?” he asks as I am cleaning up. “Yep, it’s all yours” I respond as I waltz out of the kitchen with my 5th coffee for the day at 4pm in the afternoon.

This is our new normal. It has taken us some time, but during my preparation for my first body building competition we slowly worked out how to best manage my new priorities into our lives. Yes you read that right, MY priorities, that’s exactly what is was. You will hear quite often people refer to body building as a selfish – self-absorbed sport. You are of course ultimately being judged on your appearance at the end of the day and the preparation to get to that stage is grueling and intense if followed properly.

Your life ends up revolving around your training and your nutrition and the activities that support the success of those. For most people this is a strong shift in their daily routine and lifestyle and ultimately ends up impacting those around you. Your partner, your family, your friends even your work colleagues will all notice changes in you – both positive and not so positive aspects of it from their point of view.

As I am nearing the end of my first competition season – I have a mere 6 weeks in total left and then it’s all over, and I am starting to reflect on the past 18 weeks of official prep I have completed. I remembered what it was like for myself when I was supporting Chris through his prep and all the emotions and changes that came with that, and I started to wonder what it was like for Chris supporting me. Was it the same? Has he gone through the same struggles as I went through trying to support him? Have I been as crazy as he was at times or was I even worse? I figured for the sake of a healthy relationship that I should ask him and start to talk through how HE was actually feeling and how was HE coping given for the past many months I had for the first time – made myself my absolute priority. I was also very intrigued to see what it looked like from his point of view, as I don’t think I was ever THAT bad…. But I wanted to find out to be sure.

So here it is – for everyone’s reading pleasure, I interviewed Chris and have documented his honest un-censored responses. He has not been able to preview the questions, they have been asked point blank and I requested he answer immediately and honestly.

It’s worth noting that Chris refused to be interviewed until I agreed to play him in “Words with Friends” the online scrabble game…

Questions for Chris:

What’s the hardest thing you have found so far about supporting me while I have gone through this process?

“Trying not to eat a heap of shit in front of you because I know how hard it is when people do that. That is seriously probably the hardest part. I think also because you were heavily tracking during your offseason while I was in prep, once I finished I couldn’t just let loose you know – I still had to be mindful and keep myself on track for your sake. There were plenty of times that I just didn’t wanna hear about comp prep but sometimes you just have to pretend you are interested you know?, I didn’t want to bring your mood down and ruin it for you. You can still be supportive without being a blatant ass hole about things. Just because you are not interested doesn’t mean you can’t support someone, so I made every effort to still listen even when I didn’t want to.Chris interview

Was there ever a point in time you wished I wasn’t doing this?

“Yeah – when we looked at the bank one day and there was literally $50 bucks in there – that was literally the only time. Knowing the cost of comps, bikinis and traveling was still ahead of us was scary knowing that at the time we had just finished renovating our house and put it on the market and had little to no money to our name. The stress of worrying we would run out of money and the thought that you wouldn’t be able to compete when I was able to go through this when we had money and didn’t have to worry – that was a bit fucked up. This was your dream before it was mine and the thought that after all this time you wouldn’t be able to compete because of money upset me.”

Given you have competed yourself – do you think that helped you prepare for the type of support you needed to provide me?

“Yep – 100%. Knowing what training and depletion you would be going through at some point in time and knowing that once you are closer to comp how you’re mental and physical state would be. Knowing that there would be days that you would literally be too fucked to do anything and you just can’t think either. Knowing that dealing with stress would be even harder for you during this, it made me more aware of the threshold sort of thing.”

From your perspective how do you think my moods have been through this prep?

“Roller coaster ride *Lots of laughter* But reasonably good. You were good to laugh at… you know the cheese grater incident and the many times you would just stand in the kitchen lost. It’s hard to be prepared for ..those types of mood swings but you just have to expect it and pick it up and run with it”

I know it might be hard to recall…but what are some of the craziest moments you have witnessed during my prep?

The cheese grater was definitely a big one! (Chris then continues to mock me pretending to play out the whole cheese grater incident) *Imitating me* “THIS is a TRIANGLE grate and I want the RECTANGULAR one! WHERE IS IT!?? – THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING”

And the night you had a meltdown when you had to start being reversed (reversing is when you start slowly adding food back into your daily total calorie intake) with your food and just seeing you trying to deal with mentally eating more food when it feels like you should be eating less was hard. It was a big mental shift you had to overcome and it was hard to watch that.”

What are you looking forward to the most with me finishing up my prep and transitioning into my off season?

“Seeing how much you can grow in your off-season and being able to actually celebrate our anniversary and more SEX! And just a bit more of a relaxed vibe like we can just get up on a weekend and go out for breakfast or go to a movie and get a drink without having to worrying about what you are eating.

Do you have any tips for anyone who is playing a supporting role to an aspiring competitor?

“Well –  it’s like we were talking about the other day, it’s a two way role. The partner has to remember the competitor… they don’t just want your support they NEED it. This isn’t something you can get through on your own easily. You should do your best to support the person you love doing what they love whether you compete or not. You have to remember for some people it may be the only time they compete or some it may not be but you have to remember it’s not permanent. Treat others the way you want to be treated. You never know when you are going to need their support.

And finally – after all I have put you through, do you still love me?

Of course! I wouldn’t have married you if I didn’t love you. We got through this together.

End interview *queue soppy hugs and laughter*

Chris vowed to me he would be there – he inevitably signed up for this and he was forced to navigate his way through the highs and lows of the goals I had set out to achieve. It’s worth sparing a moment for those who didn’t sign up to this, the friends the family members the work colleagues, those who may not necessarily completely understand nor have they pledged their undying love for you but continued to support you the best way they knew how throughout.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Health and Fitness, Life Advice

It only takes one person to believe you can…and that’s YOU

“So tell me why you want to compete?”

I remember my coach asking me that question like it was yesterday. I also remember the answer I gave in that meeting over a year ago.

“I want to win, I am very competitive. I have no other priorities and I am willing to dedicate myself 100% to this. I love training and am addicted to seeing the results of my body changing.” Good answer I thought to myself at the time, you sound confident and sure of yourself. You know what you want and you have made it clear you are solely focused on this goal. Winning.

To this day my answer still makes me cringe.

My obsession began when I accidentally stumbled upon one of the competition teams training in my first week at the gym. I arrived slightly early for a class and I could hear a man yelling at the top of his lungs, “Instagram selfies and motivational quotes aren’t going to get you results! You need to do the WORK! MOOOOOVEEE!” His voice was like a freight train bellowing down the room. I stood there in awe watching the most intense class I had seen in my life full of incredibly strong and fit looking bodies – the buzzer went off and they all fell in a heap on the floor, most curled up in the fetal position struggling to catch their breath.

I could tell this was something different. This was an elite team of people. I could smell fear and passion in the room. The pain on each and every persons face told an immediate story of hunger, desperation, strength and determination.

“This is exactly what I need” I said to myself.

It wasn’t long until I told Chris that I wanted to compete, his response was not what I was expected nor what I wanted to hear – “don’t get ahead of yourself Kat.” That stung a little but I knew Chris was use to my mind running rampant with wanting to achieve things that were big but I was determined to change his mind and have his support so I decided to bring him along to the gym and see what all the fuss was about.

What happened next was unexpected and only now can I actually look back at the events that occurred over the year and truly appreciate them and all they have taught me. Going through everything at the time however felt almost mentally traumatic as dramatic as that sounds but I pride myself on being honest and providing people insight to the reality of thoughts and feelings that a lot of times seem irrational and just down right crazy. Things people normally don’t like the world to know because censoring ourselves and portraying an image of what we think is ‘normal’ seems so important.

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My body at it’s fullest in off season

We have all been there right? Feeling like you are the person that is always over looked, that you are never good enough, that nothing ever works out easily for you, other people are genetically blessed and you are not and so on… you get the idea. It’s so easy, as I have mentioned in previous blogs, to get so caught up in what everyone else is doing, everyone’s successes and the things they have and compare them to the things you don’t.

So you can imagine my total shock when Chris told me he thinks he wants to compete. I was surprised but also excited as the idea of me competing now seemed more achievable and even better, we would be able to do this together. We could train and do our food prep together and our priorities would both be the same. Prep and compete in our first body building competition together. Unfortunately it didn’t play out the way I had pre-planned our future lives in my head.

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The last page in my book of “off season”

To say that I was disappointed when I found out Chris made the next team and I did not is an understatement. Cue: Britney Spears style meltdown, I didn’t shave my head but I may as well have because I was not myself for a while. I felt rejected and truly at the time did not understand why I was not good enough to be put into the team. Not only that, but I now had to watch my husband live out my dream that I so badly wanted whilst also doing my best to be happy for him and supportive. I have to admit it was not easy and some days I am downright ashamed of the way I behaved. I would have sounded like a broken record to poor Chris posing questions to him that he was unable to answer:

“Is there something wrong with me? Am I ugly? Why am I not good enough? Do I really look that different from everyone else? What if I never make it? What if after you compete you are over it and my time will be ruined?”

It took me a while to realise his answer to those questions didn’t matter. It didn’t matter if he thought I was good enough. It didn’t matter if other people and friends believed I was good enough.  The only thing that mattered was if I believed I was good enough, and if I believed I was good enough then I knew I would do everything I possibly could to get to where I wanted to be. It doesn’t matter how many supporters you have, you are the only one that can actually get you there.

So that’s exactly what I did. I set to work. I spent Chris’s entire prep and competition season ensuring I was setting goals, working with my coach and achieving them. I had my eye on the next season and making that team and I knew it would be tough but I knew it would be worth it. I was so fixated on my end goal of making the team, getting my team shirt, stepping on that stage and winning – nothing else mattered. I had tunnel vision.

As much as I absolutely loathed the fact that I didn’t get what I wanted immediately, I can’t help but feel so incredibly thankful that I was denied being put into the team with the mindset I had going originally going into this. Now let me just clear something up, there were factual, logical reasons as to why I was not put into the team at that time. I was physically not ready. My physical body composition was not in a condition to start a comp prep and nor was my metabolism. My coach was willing to put A LOT of time and effort into me to get me where I needed to be. But who likes to deal with logic right?  It’s far easier to fly off the spectrum and be irrational, cry poor me and give up and walk away. Maybe even find another coach that would take me on so I could compete sooner rather that later.

“Go ahead and tell me I can’t do something – watch me go ahead and do it”

I wasn’t a quitter though. I never have been and if there is something I want to achieve I will relentlessly work towards it and attack those goals with everything I have. “I’ll show you I” I thought to myself. I set out to prove that I could do this, that I was worthy of being on the team, that I deserved to be on that stage – I just needed to work for it and now I didn’t care how long it would take. One way or another I knew I would eventually make it.

I spent a solid 34 weeks doing an “off season” under the critical eye of my coach. Each week we assessed my body and how it was responding and we worked tirelessly to build the muscle I didn’t have and the metabolism that didn’t exist. Each week I knew I was one step closer to achieving my goal and I recorded everything in a note book I titled “Off season”. During this time I watched and supported my husband going through the intense process with the team. I aligned my training and food prep to his and his needs were my priority while ensuring I was still achieving my own goals.

kat-and-chris
Chris winning both his divisions in his very first comp.

As I closely followed Chris and his team mates’ journey, I started to understand the process more. Everyone had a story as to why they were there, everyone started at different points of physical readiness– there were no two people the same. I was learning more about my body and nutrition as well as becoming more and more aware of my own self-image and how far I actually had to go still. Even though I was seeing results they were so incredibly slow there were many times I truly believed my body was actually not capable of looking ‘stage ready’.

During my serious periods of doubt I started reassessing what I was doing. Why am I doing this? Maybe I will be forever in ‘off season’ and I will never make the team and to me, at the time, making the team and winning was everything to me. Being denied initially turned out to be a blessing in disguise because going through a long off season process not only got my body in the right condition to start a prep but my mentality as well. I am forever thankful for the decisions my coach made, even if at the time it felt like he was putting me through hell.

I checked in with my coach again one day – I think it must have been about 15 weeks into my training with him. “I have changed my goals” I said sternly. “Oh yeah what are they then?” he says all intrigued. “I don’t want to win any more, I want to look like I belong. I want to get my body in the best condition I possibly can, get up on that stage and look like I deserve to be there. I don’t want to be that girl that gets discarded to the side.”

“Ahhhh – So we are having our first meeting all over again now” – he said with a grin on his face.

Fast forward to now and I have made it through my prep and am merely a day away from competing in my first ever bodybuilding completion. Just over 1 year later from setting my original goal. It is an overwhelming feeling making it to this point and looking back at the time that has passed it almost feels surreal.

I have no idea how tomorrow will turn out, I am excited but also incredibly nervous. Hours and hours of hard work, dedication and preparation have lead me to this one single moment. A point in time to showcase all my hard work and what I have managed to achieve.

Regardless of how I go though I know one thing for certain – I have already won.

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Posted in Health and Fitness, Life Advice

Where did my MOJO go?

“Just get out of the car Kat. Stop being a sook. You have come this far, you can’t give up now. After everything you have been through, every session you have already done and you choose NOW to give up. Do it, open the door and get out of the fucking car.”

It was 7pm on a Tuesday night and I was sitting in my car in the car park of the gym. I was mentally trying to talk myself into getting out of the car. I was exhausted, I was hungry, and my whole body ached. There wasn’t a muscle in my entire body that wasn’t sore. I wanted to be anywhere else but here – at the gym again. Even worse was that I had to train legs and I had zero motivation to get me through this work out.

I looked down at my phone to scroll through Instagram for the billionth time and realised it was now 7:20pm. I had been sitting in the car for 20 minutes, I realised I could have been part way through my work out by now if I had of gotten out of the car immediately when I had gotten there.

I screamed. I screamed so loud my face and throat hurt. I could feel the veins in the side of my head and neck straining. My ears popped and then I took a couple of deep long breaths. I looked back up and checked myself in the mirror. My face was red and my eyes were bloodshot. But it felt good. It felt good to let out that scream. A scream of sheer frustration, tiredness and mental and physical pain. I wiped my eyes and got out of the car.

Leading up to this moment I had completed well over 40 weeks of consistent training and tracking my food. Up until this moment I had never considered not training – I had a 100% attendance record. I had never missed a work out. It didn’t matter how sick I was, or what I had on. I have completed every single session every week. Now whether that shows my level of sheer dedication or utter stupidity I do not know…. Most likely a combination of both. I prided myself on my level of commitment and enthusiasm, I had goals to achieve and nothing was getting in the way of that.

Every day I would look forward to gym and be itching to finish work so I could go and train. All day I would run through my mind the exercises I was going to do and what muscle groups I would be focusing on. Now all of a sudden I dreaded the thought of training. It wasn’t exciting me anymore and it felt like a chore. Now I loathed that I HAD to go to the gym. Everything was irritating me. This wasn’t fun anymore and I was uncomfortable. I had reached a new level in my journey and it had gotten hard.

And just like that I had lost my Mojo.

Once I realised how I was feeling it made me feel even worse. What the hell is going on? Why do I feel like this NOW? Where did my motivation go? And how on earth do I get it back? Will it ever come back? My mind was in over drive, my body was numb and I was at breaking point. The honeymoon period was over and the shiny rose coloured glasses had come off. The reality of everything was setting in as I got deeper and deeper into levels of being uncomfortable.

The next couple of weeks were a blur. I felt like a zombie, everything I needed to do felt ten times more difficult than usual. I had a permanent ‘dead’ look on my face and the smallest things were annoying me. I remember one night my husband had plans where he was going out and wouldn’t be home all night till the next day. Great I thought – I will have the house to myself, I can watch TV eat my food and go to bed. When I had arrived home after gym he was home and he told me his plans had been cancelled. All of a sudden I was angry and annoyed. “You weren’t meant to be home!” I said to him in a stern voice. He then explained again that his plans had been cancelled and then asked me if it was a problem. I responded with “yes it is! I wasn’t expecting you home and I just want to sit on the couch and watch TV”. I knew as soon as I said it out loud it sounded dumb. I was being an idiot. He pointed out that I could in fact still do that, but I wasn’t being rational at this point. I wanted to sit in silence with no one around and enjoy my shows.

Incidents like this kept happening as I got progressively more miserable. My outburst when we were in the Bunnings car park because we had been out longer than I anticipated and I was hungry. My hissy fit at the gym because someone was on the machine I needed – and they weren’t even using it correctly. The meltdown I had in the kitchen when we had run out of zucchinis. The deathly looks I was giving people when they were just interrupting me or disrupting my routine in the slightest way. I didn’t want to talk to anyone and I was withdrawing heavily from the people around me. I wasn’t myself and I felt alone and disconnected from everything and everyone. The fact that other people around me including my husband could freely eat what they want and train when they felt like it was making me angry to the point that if someone complained about something in their life I would get right up on my high horse and have the attitude of “You don’t even know what hard is. You have no right to complain about anything.” I was getting so caught up in everyone else and what they were doing it had in turn messed me up mentally. I had fucked myself and I now needed to somehow un-fuck myself.

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Tired, sick and a sad looking face.

When friends started checking on me that’s when I knew I had to do something. “Just dropping a line to see if you are OK? You seem a bit off,” “Is everything OK? You have been a bit quiet,” and my personal favourite “I remember the days when Kat used to smile” my coach announced in front of the team while we were warming up for our team HIIT. He used to refer to me as “Captain Keen Bean” and now I just felt like a mung bean, just there for the sake of being there but no real substance to it, not very tasty and not something anyone is excited to see when it comes out on your plate. I didn’t want to be a mung bean.

You know what’s hard? Being 100% real with yourself. I had to start by acknowledging why I was feeling the way I was feeling. What led me down this destructive path? I had to start looking at the things that were bothering me and do a massive reality check on myself. I was choosing to feel this way. I was blaming other people’s actions and other things going on in my life for my lack of motivation and used them as excuses to justify not training as hard. Not preparing my day properly. Not doing everything I possibly could to get the best results I could. It was easier that way you know? It’s always easier to blame others, to find an excuse to make you feel better as to why you are at the point you are at in your life with anything you are trying to achieve really. Cause god forbid it’s not MY fault is it….

Life is always going to happen around you, people and priorities are always going to be changing and when a number of those collide and you run out of hands and mental capacity to jungle everything it’s only natural to try and take the easy road. Especially when what you are working towards has become incredibly hard. I imagine this happens to a lot of people and it has happened to me before when working towards things I have previously wanted. It’s that feeling of being uncomfortable and the effort you are having to exert to achieve it seems like a mountain – especially when it’s a goal that may take a while to achieve. Like saving for a house, changing careers, studying for a degree, starting your own business, working on a stale relationship or in my case prepping for a bodybuilding competition. You tend to hit a point when it’s so damn hard, you start questioning why the hell you are even doing this. Does it really matter? There are so many other things going on in my life that I am either missing out on or not being able to enjoy – is this really worth it? What if I don’t succeed? Was it all for nothing? Maybe I could just stop now, I am pretty happy with my body and what I have achieved so far, what’s the point of even competing?

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Looking at myself thinking I am not lean enough…

It wasn’t easy but I knew I needed to give myself the biggest slap in the face with my own advice. You know how in the back of your mind you generally know what you should do – you have just been choosing to ignore it, and even when someone gives you the advice you need to hear, you still ignore it? Because you want to hang on to your excuses and not actually put the hard work in? That’s what I needed to come to terms with first. Get ready to WORK Kat – I started operation “get myself back on track” and spent a good couple of days addressing a few key issues that were killing my motivation.

I reached out to a few key people, I had a big chat with my husband and discussed some of my expectations and support I really felt I needed, I got my comp prep book out and pre-wrote out a couple of weeks’ worth of training plans so they were ready to go, I looked back at old pictures of myself and reminded myself how far I had come, I re-read my own advice on my own Instagram posts and my previous blog posts and I also sat down and set some goals for my health and fitness to work on straight after I finish competing. Those were key to keeping me focused and to have something to look forward to after comp. One of the biggest issues I addressed though was re-focusing on myself and stopping myself from comparing my body and level of fitness to others. I was getting too caught up on other people’s progress and achievements and letting my insecurities get the better of me.

I went back to gym and completely smashed my work out, there was a fire in my belly and the adrenaline was all coming back to me. I felt good and strong and like nothing else mattered. I had my plan in hand, I had my partner and friends by my side and clear goals I had set out to achieve. I was on a mission.

It was 7:45pm on a Tuesday night, I had just finished my last set on the leg curl. I stood up and could see myself in the reflection of the huge windows of the gym “Who’s my biggest competition I said to myself – you’re staring at her sweetie.”

Posted in Health and Fitness, Life Advice

It’s You vs You

Since I have started bodybuilding my entire mindset about my body image has been flipped upside down – or maybe I should say it has been flipped the right way up? 

For many years I have been guilty of comparing myself to other people. Women in social media, friends, women in magazines, every woman that has walked in the Victoria Secret Show (Facebook kindly reminded me that a couple of years ago I posted a picture of Miranda Kerr on the VS catwalk with a caption stating: Using this picture as motivation!”), and even just random women that you encounter throughout your daily activities. 

“She is so thin, she is so pretty, wow look how amazing her butt is, I wish I had (insert every feature known to woman) like her”

I was constantly comparing myself to everyone else and in turn making myself absolutely miserable. It would leave me feeling inadequate and that I was so far away from resembling any of those things that I desired, I would mentally convince myself those things were unattainable. Then came the justification and excuses – “She is genetically blessed, she is naturally thin, she must have had work done, she doesn’t have a real job of course she has time to exercise and eat well – she probably has a bloody personal chef!” and then the excuses for myself  “I have hormone issues, my birth control makes me hold and gain weight, I am naturally bigger, I have asthma, I have a slow metabolism, I have tried everything  – this is just the way I am meant to look.”

These allowed me to feel better about myself so I could slip back into my little comfortable bubble and gave the justification I needed to just continue on as I was – “Those women are completely unrealistic and freaks of nature” I said to myself as I watched another year of the Victoria Secret Show hung over with my packet of Mars Pods and can of Pepsi.

There is a great motivational quote that has been around for a while stating: “When I lost all my excuses, I found all my results.”

It wasn’t until I started to be completely and utterly truthful with myself that I managed to start getting my butt into gear (literally). I made a conscious effort to actually do everything I possibly could in my power to get healthier and ultimately change my body shape. 

But how do you get yourself mentally there? How do you manage to stay consistent and grind daily towards what you want? Especially when it feels like the body I want is so far out of reach.

It’s no secret that I take a lot of photos of myself at the gym or at home or anywhere really. I have done this for a long time and I am really glad I did and still do this. I was scrolling through the photo folder I have in my phone titled “Gym” the other day and I had a huge “AH -HA” moment and I wanted to share with you as to what that was. 

Over the past year and half I have collected many photos of myself, at all different angles, different weights, different levels of body fat, different amounts of food consumption. However there is one thing in common with every single photo which surprised me. I am happy. In every single photo I am smiling or have a huge ridiculous grin on my face. I looked back at these and wondered why? Why was I so happy? I can clearly see looking back at these photos that I was still overweight then, I didn’t have any real muscle definition, I didn’t look ANYTHING like the women I aspired to look like. So why was I so happy? Why had I not given up when I was still in those pudgy out of shape stages? Did I really think I looked good in those pictures on those days? My instant thought was to think how blind I must have been. 

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One of my very first comparison photos I did. Over 2 years ago.

And then I realised what it was…..I had stopped comparing myself to others. Taking photos of myself finally gave me something to compare myself too, so I was constantly comparing my own photos from week to week. Then working on myself more and comparing a months worth of progress. Then 1 month turned into 3 and then half a year and, well you get the idea. I was addicted. I was addicted to seeing myself change. I was addicted to knowing that the work I was putting in was progressing me to where I ultimately wanted to be. Now I have photos that are even years apart and the transformations are literally breath taking – I literally have surprised and shocked myself in some cases. 

Your mindset around your body image can be an incredibly complicated thing – So don’t forget that you are the only person that ultimately controls how you are feeling and what you do with those feelings. 

It’s YOU vs YOU and nothing else

back-progress
Jan 2016 to Jan 2017

 

Posted in Health and Fitness, Life Advice

A day in the life of my stomach

I used to have such an unhealthy mindset towards food.

Food was my comfort but also my worst enemy. I had your typical love/hate relationship with food. I would eat when I was bored, I would eat when I was sad, I would eat when I was stressed, I would eat for the sake of eating. I would go through phases of starving myself as much as I could during the week and then getting to the weekend and being like – TREAT Yo’SELF. You have earned it by depriving yourself of basic foods throughout the week and going to gym 2 times a day everyday. The weekends were then epic food binges and they left me feeling miserable and hating my body, so naturally come Monday guess what mindset I started with? I needed to starve myself to try and be ‘good’ and eat less food because of how guilty and crappy I felt. Then the weekend came again ….. well you can already see the cycle happening can’t you?

My daily food intake during the week consisted of cans of Pepsi, toasted ham and cheese sandwiches, cupcakes, chocolate bars and takeaway.

I have mentally gone through a complete overhaul of my ‘relationship’ with food. Food is no longer a crutch, or used as a reward. Food is fuel. Food is important for my health and well being. Food enables me to function correctly and train well to improve my overall health and change my physique. This has taken an incredibly LONG time to do and I could harp on about this topic forever – maybe it’s something people would like me to cover more in depth or about how I have mentally over come this. But for now given it’s a new year and people are setting new goals and probably feel a bit sluggish and out of sorts after Christmas and New Years celebrations, I am going to share with you a typical day of what I eat.

Welcome to a tour of my stomach

Over time and by listening to my body, I have worked out what foods work best for me. This also includes when the best time for me to eat is to achieve the results that I want. I disperse my food throughout the day for when I need energy the most and to curb any cravings or feeling painfully hungry.

Breakfast – 5:30am
I used to bloody hate eggs – no joke they used to make me gag, but after slowly working it and incorporating them into my breakfast I now love them and wake up looking forward to breakfast every morning. I have 1 whole egg and about 60grams of egg whites scrambled in a pan with a chopped mix of shallots, capsicum, onion, zucchini and potato. I then drizzle a little reduced salt tomato  sauce. I accompany this with a big glass of water.

breakfast
Breakfast – each meal is always maximum volume

Morning Snack – approx 9:30am
My first snack of the day consists of approximately 6 – 8 plain thin rice cakes topped with smooth peanut butter, honey and chopped up banana. This is also accompanied with a side of strawberries and a black coffee. This  is a big carb hit to get me through a busy morning at work usually running around to meetings.

Lunch  – approx 11:30/12
Lunch lately has been the chicken taco salad that I posted the recipe of a few posts back. It is incredibly filling and everyone in the office is always jealous of my meal because is smells AMAZING.

Afternoon Snack – approx 2:30pm
Another dose of rice cakes, about 6 – 8 again topped with peanut butter and honey. Why? cause I bloody love them that’s why! They taste amazing and they curb that sweet craving I usually get in the afternoon. This keeps me going at work for the rest of the afternoon until I make it home for……

snack
I am definitely addicted to this meal

Afternoon Snack #2 – approx 5:30pm
Who said you can’t have 2 afternoon snacks? This snack has a very important purpose for me – it’s my energy to go to gym. Snack number 2 is a bowl of chocolate protein ‘zoats’ (shredded zucchini cooked into the oats) chopped strawberries and a drizzle of Walden Farms calorie free chocolate sauce. I noticed a huge difference in my training when I ensured I ate before going to lift weights.

Dinner – approx 6:30/7pm
A sirloin steak with salad, avocado and roasted potatoes.

 

 

One full day of eating – a boat load of food. I mostly stick to as many whole foods as I can as it means I get to eat a lot of food as you can see. Everything in this day I actually enjoy eating and I look forward to every meal. If I get bored of something I change it, it is as simple as that.

Until next time….

Kat

 

 

 

 

Posted in Health and Fitness, Life Advice

Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

It’s no secret that that what you eat and your daily habits and routine are major contributing factors to your health. It also can be one of the hardest things people find to take control over when they are trying to achieve a health or fitness goal.

“I don’t have time, I don’t know how to start, I don’t want to miss out on things, I’m good for a day or two then I eat the entire kitchen” – said every person at some point

It’s not like our environment makes it any easier for us either when we are constantly confronted with products that claim to be ‘fat free’, ‘low carb’, a ‘super food’, ‘full of essential good fats’ and my personal favourite ‘high in protein’ – yeah thanks packaging for drawing me in with your high protein pretty wrapper when you have 60 grams of carbs in you as well so I have just unknowingly consumed a quarter of my daily calories in one small bar or cookie!

Just to run this home a little more for people, for example the traditional burger bun at Grill’d has a total of 215 calories and the ‘low carb super bun’ has a total of 275 calories. So yes it’s super full of calories, not necessarily the better option for you if you are trying to manage your energy intake.

grilld-burger
Sweet Chilli Chicken on traditional is my fav!

Mind blown yet? I was. So how the hell are we meant to navigate through life and make healthier choices when so many things are misleading? The best thing I did was starting to educate myself about nutrition and a lot of that came from the amazing knowledgeable trainers and coach at my gym. Having gained the knowledge, I have continued to work on what works best for me as well as being able to make healthier choices on the fly if I need to – because you know, life.

I am going to share with you how I prepare myself for the week and how I ensure I stick to my healthy eating plan. Keep in mind this routine I have worked out over months of trial and error and what works best for ME while maintaining my lifestyle and commitments. Everyone is going to be different but this is how I get by and get the results I have gotten so far without killing myself or spending hours and hours in the kitchen. There is no magic secret or anything special that I am doing – what you will see is I have made it as simple and easy as I possibly can for myself which is why I have been able to successfully manage my food intake for the past 34 weeks without going bat shit crazy or binge eating!

Sunday – Prepping and Planning!

It doesn’t take me very long now to decide what I want to eat for the week. At the start it took a lot of brain power but over time and by trial and error you start to develop a good sense of foods you like and that work for you and you daily routine. I pull together my daily meal plans and take into consideration any events or planned dinners we have out with friends. I put those in first and then work my other food in around that – I use calorieking.com to create my meal plans and to keep track of my total daily food intake.

steamer
Our epic 3 tier steamer – possibly the most used thing in our kitchen. Bought from K-Mart

Once I have the plan I then prep the food. I only ever need to prep my lunches for Monday to Friday as the snacks I have do not require much effort to prep and are not complicated meals. My prep takes me around half an hour. I also cook up a 2kg bag of white potatoes in a steamer and keep these pre-cooked in the fridge for the entire week. They keep perfectly fine and I can then just portion out the potato I need for breakfast and dinners – this also greatly cuts down food prep time. When I was incorporating rice in my diet I would do the same with the rice and leave it bulk cooked in the fridge.

Monday to Friday

Ok – So the week has started and I already know exactly what I need to be eating for the week. I eat exactly the same thing Monday to Friday. So each day I am eating the same breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinners. Yes even my dinners are the same. This cuts down complicated prep time and reduces the amount that I need to think and also removes potential room for error when I’m heavily tracking my food.  So one week I will have steak every night for dinner, the next will be chicken and then fish.

I get up early enough to make breakfast then cart all my lunches and snack foods to work on the Monday. That way everything I need for the week during work is there and I don’t run the risk of forgetting anything and being left without food (that’s when bad impulse decisions are made.)

Keeping my breakfast, lunch and dinner essentially the same, gives me room to move with my snacks. I also can make minor tweaks here and there to adjust each of the meals as I feel like it. Some mornings I have curried eggs for breakfast, sometimes it’s an omelette, sometimes I add ham or even make a breakfast burger. It just means I make small adjustments to other meals in my day – and that’s the beauty of flexible dieting. If I want something I can have it.  Some weeks I have had homemade pizza every night and others I have had burgers every night.

I recall one particular week that I actually realised I had eaten 10 burgers in 7 days….. a mix of homemade and Grill’d and guess what I still lost weight that week because – SCIENCE!

I keep the snacks throughout the week relatively simple and that is because they taste good, they are filling, they hit my sweet tooth when I want it in the afternoon and they require minimal to no prep. Rice cakes, bananas, strawberries, oats, peanut butter, honey. That’s what I am currently eating as that is what I feel like. Every now and then I get bored or crave something else so I change it.

Friday nights however are always reserved for eating out at either Grill’d or Nandos or anything else I really feel like – but I can never pass up an epic burger and chips from Grill’d

prep
If I need to I can do epic preps like this depending on how busy my work week is.

Weekends

The weekends I generally keep unplanned or half planned – I will maybe plan out a couple of meals that I know I will be having at home or eating out. But I usually make sure I incorporate bacon and eggs or something different to my normal Monday and Friday meals. However I do tend to keep my snacks the same as they are easy to take on the go if I am out all day. If I am meeting up with friends or going to the beach I can easily prep my snacks and take with me. That way my food is always on hand and I am not tempted or get caught out being hungry and impulse buying something because I got desperate.

My key takeaways for you

So out of all that and what I have learned over the past year, here are my top tips to help you stay on track and avoid those food binges:

  • Make small changes each week. Some people find it hard to take the ‘big bang’ approach … and if you try to change everything at once it won’t feel like your normal routine, it will feel hard and unpleasant. Tackle one meal at a time and get that down pat in your routine then work on the next. Eventually you will have overhauled your whole daily routine. It’s about trying to create GOOD habits not bad habits (like getting a cake or chocolate bar every afternoon – guilty!)
  • Listen to your body. Plan your food around when you need the energy most. Start making mental or written notes of when you are getting hungry throughout the day then start being prepared for that when you plan your food out. That way when your hunger strikes you will have your food on hand.
  • Get educated, make smarter choices. I have a work colleague that has lost 17kg over the span of 6 months just by swapping his food for slightly lower calorie choices. All he did was compare what he normally eats to other options available and then repeated that every day. Start to understand what is actually in your food so you can make more informed decisions.
  • Keep it simple stupid. You really don’t need to over complicate it. You don’t need to do mass amounts of meal prepping if you don’t want to. Look at foods and options that fit your lifestyle and work commitments and create something that feels easy not something that you dread having to do.
  • Always know when your next meal is. This comes back to planning; I always have found that it is easier to avoid making bad impulse decisions or binge eating when I know exactly when and what I am going to eat next. It puts my mind and stomach at ease.
  • Don’t deprive yourself. Incorporate foods you love and you will be more inclined to stick to your plan and actually look forward to your meals.
  • Just start. Start now, start with one meal, one day, one week. You don’t have to be perfect and it’s OK to get it wrong. I am still learning, still tweaking and I am like everyone else and get caught out not being prepared sometimes – it happens and that is OK. I promise over time it gets easier, you get smarter, you get more efficient and eventually you don’t even need to think about it – because it became your lifestyle.

food-examples

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Health and Fitness, Life Advice

Motivation – I’ll have what she’s having Part 2

Following on from Part 1 of my post about motivation I am going to give you a wonderful insight to how my brain works. I really do get asked frequently how do I stay motivated or how do I have the time or energy to do all the things I do every day. While I have been doing a lot of self reflecting lately and really breaking down what actually motivates me – my coach put it pretty simply this week when we were discussing if it was possible to teach motivation and dedication:

You just want it more


Yep that pretty much sums it up. I wanted it bad. So much so that I do tend to obsess over things – In my psychological assessment after the car accident I was diagnosed with mild OCD and obsessive tendencies. It was something I had always thought I may have had but it was nice to have it confirmed. It is something I do need to ensure I continually manage otherwise I send myself into a overthinking obsessive mess. Having OCD certainly does help me in some aspects stick to my plan, but it also can work against me in incredibly bad ways.

So here it is in all it’s glory the full list of motivation aids I used to help keep me motivated ordered by how I go about my day (cause ya know…. OCD):

1. My alarm clock
OK so I am a huge fan of The Rock – Dwyane Johnson. He recently released this year his own alarm clock app and it is the COOLEST THING EVER. You can put in a goal you want to achieve, see motivational messages from The Rock himself and choose from a range of his personalized alarm tones. He has made all the alarm tones himself so I wake up every morning to The Rock singing “good morning sunshine – get your candy ass out of bed”… oh and by the way there is no snooze button, – The Rock doesn’t snooze – so once it goes off I know I need to be up and starting my day.
rock-clock
2. The entire Granite Conditioning Instagram
Like most people I start my day reading the entirety of Facebook and Instagram over breakfast. I regularly scroll through the Granite Conditioning Instagram to be inspired by the amazing people who are worthy enough to be posted. One day I will make it to being posted on this Instagram doing something cool and not just a picture of me laying on the floor dying.

granite-floor

3. My Vision board
This is new  – but I have started one to help me get through comp prep. It’s in the bedroom so I have a constant reminder of what I am working towards. I see it when I first wake up and when I am going to sleep.

4. My scales
I am not talking about body weighing scales. I am talking about food weighing scales. These are kept on the kitchen bench always and are never put away. We have 2 of them in case Chris is using one when I also want to use one (saves a kitchen fight happening.) I also keep a small one in my hand bag every where I go and there is one on my desk at work. This means that I have NO EXCUSE not to track my food. Even if for some reason I was suddenly not prepared I could easily buy something reasonable and track it no matter where I am.
Work scales.png
5. My clothes that get looser
This is a pretty obvious one. Noticing that your clothes are getting looser to the point that I now cant keep my work clothes on unless I clip them together with bulldog clips is pretty satisfying. Annoying. But satisfying.

 loose-clothes

6. My work mates
My team has become very supportive and invested in what I am trying to achieve. We spend a lot of our lives with the people we work with. So it’s nice to have the support of them as well. It just happened over time that they became more and more interested. So much so that they have kindly created a motivational window for me at my desk to constantly remind me what I am working towards.

7. Progress photos
It is perfectly acceptable to take a BILLION photos of yourself. Taking photos I have found has been one of the best motivators to see how far I have come and to keep reminding me why I am doing what I am doing.


8. My own Instagram
In the first Granite 8 week challenge I decided to start an Instagram to document my experience. Kitkats2fitkat was my space to post anything and everything I felt like around my health and fitness journey and I use it like a diary. It helps keep me on track an accountable to myself, I keep it real and authentic – there is no smoke and mirrors here. Just me sharing what I am doing or what I am eating to achieve my goals.

9. New gym clothes
C’mon – I don’t think I need to explain this one. Everyone loves new outfits. Especially new fresh gym clothes. Look good feel good.

10.Being able to lift heavy shit
I was one weak ass chick. I thought I was pretty strong until I actually started training properly and after the car accident I lost a lot of strength especially in the lower part of my body. I get so much enjoyment and satisfaction now out of being able to move heavy objects and track the noticeable progress. When I started after the car accident I could barely do an unweighted squat. I can now complete squats of 75kg without exploding my back and that to me is an incredibly achievement that I never thought was possible.

11. Music
There is no doubt that getting some good tunes together can put you in a good mood. I have a couple of playlists that I use depending on how I am feeling that day.

12. My gym diary
The book of everything I call it. When I transitioned to training with a coach and I had very specific goals I am working towards I created a book to track my “off-season”. For the past 32 weeks I have tracked every single work out – I have never missed a training session. Not one. Every single weigh in and my coaches feedback is documented and every food variation I made over those weeks is documented. I have found this process incredibly important to keeping me accountable and on track.

13. My coach and his wall of fame
I started out with having an amazing PT named Lacey at Granite. She trained me through my 8 week challenges at Granite and the weeks around those. She was the voice of reason, she kept me accountable, she pushed me and she gave me endless amounts of advice and support when I had many days of self doubt.

I have now moved on to a comp prep coach who has been guiding me through off-season training to better prepare me for when we start comp prep. His methods and his immense amount of knowledge have helped me keep on track through out this whole process. Having weekly check-ins has definitely ensured I stay accountable and every PT session I get to admire his wall of fame of successful competitors he has coached. Even on weeks where he has been away traveling I still go into PT at my normal time and weigh in as usual, then send him the results. This helps me keep on track. Just because he might be away doesn’t mean my goals and dedication go away.

14.People
I have managed to be lucky enough to have an amazing support network. It’s nearly impossible for me to mention every single person so I am going to group them:

  • My husband Chris is my absolute rock. He is always there pushing me and listening to and talking me out of my crazy head space some days
  • My friends – I have a small and close circle of friends who provide immense amounts of support even if they don’t have the same level of intense interest in what I am doing. Cause that is what good friends do
  • My new gym friends – I have met some amazing people and I am so thankful for the new friendships I have created. They help keep me motivated, we talk regularly, we train together and we eat burgers together
  • Granite – This gym is amazing and like no other I have ever been apart of. Granite is a family full of inspiring and motivating people.

15. Doing something for myself
Why spend all day working for someone else and not putting the time in to work on yourself?
I am now the priority. If wanting the best for yourself isn’t motivating enough then I don’t know what else is.