I am never one to do things the usual way, and I never write short, so I have not used the prompts from week 1 of the Round Three blogging challenge exactly as they are given. If you want to know the facts, check out my ‘About Me’ but this is a ‘me’ blog, so I never quite know where I am going when I start …

Describe me in 50 words – shouldn’t be hard at all! (note: there was more than a tinge of sarcasm there;) ). Not many weeks ago, I would have used words like unhealthy, fat,  boring, lonely, dull, sad, I would have said I never look in the mirror because I hated what I saw but just to not be totally negative I would have added something like ‘I like my eyes’, or that I am a good listener.

Now a couple of words still apply but less so than before. Sitting at work in the middle of the night I am tempted to write ‘tired’ etc but really when I think of words to describe me I think of excited, proud of myself, enthusiastic, healthier. I no longer think of myself as a person who merely exists but now I am looking forward to the future; a future where I will be healthier and much smaller but more importantly I will like myself and I will be happy.

Life is a journey (profound huh?) and over the last 51/2 years my life’s journey has had many hills and certainly as many valleys as I have struggled to live a life that I didn’t want and really wasn’t sure how to survive. Eventually, you get to a place where you realise it’s time to move forward and I have been getting to that place over the last year or so. It has been slow with often more steps backwards than forwards, but  I am coming to realise that I can do this. I can live, and be reasonably content, alone. I have learnt the power of negative thoughts but more importantly I am learning that positive thoughts are so much stronger. I am learning that I can do pretty much anything. I just need to believe in myself and actually try. Starting 12wbt took my journey and shot me forward much faster than I ever imagined. Yes, the food plans are very important and I have to say, I LOVE the food. The exercise component is also fabulous, but for me the most important part was my mindset. I learnt to believe that I AM worth the effort, that I DO deserve the best and that I CAN do something about the way I was living and yes, existing.

I look back over the last 16 weeks (that includes 4 weeks of pre-season) and I cannot believe the transformation that has taken place. I have gone from a person who struggled to get out of bed in the morning (both physically and mentally), who avoided going out because I felt so bad about how I looked, who couldn’t walk one kilometre, who ate when she was happy, or sad, or bored or depressed – you get the idea, to someone who now is awake early and ready to go immediately, who will go out walking or do an exercise DVD before anyone else is up, who excited about food again and is rediscovering that food actually has a taste when I stop long enough to notice, who can look in the mirror and not shudder, who can stand tall and not try to blend into the background, who enjoys going clothes shopping much more than ever before and who is getting out and doing things she never thought she could. I am proud of what I have achieved. Next to my bathroom mirror I have a picture of me with the words ‘I am beautiful’ and I am training myself to say it out loud every time I look in the mirror. Finally I am beginning to believe it.

Now I know that given time and some hard work that I will change even more – of course physically – but more importantly I am becoming the person I was meant to me. I often say I am finding me again, only a better version of me.

Reading this back, it sounds like everything is going fabulously and it is all so easy. Of course I am thrilled with what I have achieved so far and fortunately I really don’t struggle too much. I am lucky that my son cooks most of my meals but I do struggle with my work hours. I plan and organize and am sure it will all work, but then I get a few nights into the seven and I get tired and suddenly the planning all falls down. I don’t feel like the food I have organized, or we get too busy at work. Now I know these are all excuses and most of the time I just tell myself to get over it, and although it is a struggle every 2nd week, I will not let it beat me. I keep pretty close to the 1200 calories although I don’t eat as clean that week, but I have made peace with that. I have decided if I eat 95% clean one week, I can cut myself a little slack the other week and let it drop to 80% if needed. This is for life and it has to fit with my life style and no matter how I am doing I am still doing about 200% better than I was a few months ago.

The other thing I really struggled with early in my journey was exercise. After many years of abusing my knees with excess weight, they were objecting and walking was the only thing I could manage. It seemed like everyone on the support groups was doing huge amounts of exercise and burning massive amounts of calories. I realised I had to run my own race, that I couldn’t compare myself to others and I could only do what I could do. So I got rid of my heart rate monitor and I started small. By week 8 I was walking 4 – 8 kilometres a day and feeling great. Unfortunately then I got sick and dropped back but now I am getting back to walking and doing an exercise DVD every day. (Confession – on my working week my exercising usually drops to 4 days a week, but like the food, I can live with that).

With this new round, I have decided I can no longer use my age and my health as an excuse and it is time to step it up, so I have committed to doing SSS with the Western Sydney 12wbters at least every second week (my working week I will see how tired I am) and next week I am going to a couple of classes. If I don’t die, the plan is to go 3 -4 times a week. I am totally terrified, but also excited, about doing these classes. My co-ordination is terrible and I am still pretty unfit, but I am determined. I figure that everyone will be concentrating on themselves and I will do what I can do and I can only improve. Although I do hope someone notices if I do die 🙂

I was lying in bed this afternoon, trying to sleep and thinking about the future, about what I want to do over the next 12 weeks, about some goals for me to work towards. And you know, my mind was blank. I am so used to not looking to the future that I found it hard to imagine my life any different. Of course I want to be slimmer and fitter, I want to be able to walk into any shop and buy what I like without worrying about whether it will fit me. I want to be able to do things with my kids without them having to wait for me to rest or worse go without me. But other than that I can’t see my future any way other than like it is now. I think I am afraid to dream. John and I had dreams and plans and when he died, they died with him. I think somewhere deep inside I think if I plan and dream, that something will happen and I am afraid to let go, even a little bit, of this feeling I have now. I am afraid that I will sink back into that dark hole that I lived in for several years. I am tired of being alone and lonely but I am afraid of changing, of putting myself out there and maybe being hurt, of taking chances.

But I know that as I get smaller and fitter and grow more confident, that will change. I will be less afraid and more willing to feel and trust and explore any and all possibilities. Meanwhile I will fall back on that great expression and ‘fake it ‘til I make it’ and get out there and just do it.

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