Sarah (David’s wife and a co-director of 360 Degree Fitness) has decided to write some blog posts about her health and fitness. These posts will live here and be uploaded in chronological order as she writes them. We hope you enjoy the insight into her journey and that they help you in some way.
30/7/2019 – July Achievements…
So, here’s what I achieved in July;
My biggest success would be swimming. I have rearranged my routine to make it part of my work day. Out of the possible 19 days I had available to swim I swam 13 times. I went from hardly being able to complete a length to now completing 38 lengths in 35 minutes. The distance I am accomplishing is 760m. I have developed a wee routine to keep me on track and now graph my success thanks to my magic watch that gathers lots of stats for me while I swim away.
The six days I couldn’t swim consisted of getting a head cold, having a massage one morning, and the other days prioritizing my child.
Being a working Mum and finding that balance is a constant discussion that flows through my head. I am regularly giving myself permission that’s its OK to leave the house to go exercise and then the other discussion is “it’s OK not to swim today my child has asked me to have breakfast with him”. It’s a frequent discussion and my emotions feel like a roller coaster. In the end though, I know swimming gives me a chance to “be”, a chance to take a breath, move my body, and re-energize myself. Those days I prioritize my son, I try my best to be present and pay attention to the myriad of things he has to tell me (mainly paw patrol related events). Then there is just that dumb seasonal head cold that has to be annoying.
Overall I’d say its been a successful month swimming wise. Next month, I’m going to swim further and try and increase my speed. Overall though, I’m a slogger, always have been, I’m not a fast, sleek fish, but I am determined and willing to put in the hard work.
Physically I have noticed I am standing up much straighter, my back feels supple and my shoulders don’t feel like a second pair of earrings hanging off my ears. Having a massage also identified less stress in my back, but she did find some pain points under my arms now that I’m swimming.
With my eating habits I haven’t always been that great but I have been trying to complete 16/8 intermittent fasting. I have noticed the more I eat in a day, the more I feel bloated, and that pizza is not my friend. So, good protein and lots of fruit and veges are definitely in my plan moving forwards. This month I’m going to try and be more “intentional” about what I eat and continue to stick to the 16/8 process. It’s easy to follow, I just need to reduce my hot chocolates really. Sigh
Meanwhile, I haven’t started running yet. My only excuse is laziness. However, my child and I have got into dancing in David’s gym. So, I have found some great dance exercise routines and will incorporate that into my routine and it’s a chance for my child to join me as well.
Just wondering as a parent, what ways you incorporate exercise with your kids, especially during winter?
Anyway, have a great August and talk again soon
26/6/2019 – Excuses…
So here’s my excuses for the past 6 months….
The upshot of all of this is that I’ve done very little exercise. What I have successfully achieved is a recovery from a small operation removing my gallbladder. We have also moved house, and I am currently changing contracts.
As for my weight, prior to the surgery I was on a very restrictive diet and lost 6kgs over 9 weeks. However, after the surgery, I’ve pretty much put all that weight back on. I have definitely grown more and more tired, flat and stressed. The only me time I have managed to get is a massage about every 2 weeks for the past couple of months.
I have learned (or relearned) that I need to have a plan that is just part of my everyday routine for both food and exercise otherwise my excuses are just too strong for me to overcome. For my stress levels, sanity, and mental and physical wellbeing I need to exercise. It’s my way of getting away from everything, to do lists, people and just chilling. I have also realised EXCUSUS actually suck. It’s amazing the talk that goes on in your head.
So what are my plans now…..
Firstly, I am building a new daily routine which includes:
- Swimming four mornings a week on my way to work
- Begin my C25k (Couch to 5km) programme again (I loved that last year, I’m going to achieve it again this year) this will include one run at night and one in the weekend
- Sticking to an intermittent fasting plan (I’m starving right now but feel better already). I have lots of friends who have successfully used this eating plan to manage weight and health issues. Watching this YouTube video a few weeks back motivated me to get started.
My food intake requires a bit more planning. We are currently having fruit, veges, meat and eggs delivered by homegrown.kiwi. Its seasonal food, great quality and the eggs are delicious. This has motivated me to have less processed food and create yummy meals on the weekend for my whānau to avoid takeaways and Uber eat deliveries. Pumpkin soup, bacon and egg pie, chicken cacciatore and David has made us slowed cooked BBQ brisket too.
David and I are also keen on spending more time in nature and taking our son for bush walks in the weekend. We haven’t started yet but are definitely running out of excuses why.
Lastly, I am going to start blogging again. Because exercise is my time out from the world blogging helps keep me accountable by writing about my progress or the hiccups I face. This works for me and hopefully it might help you too 🙂
9/12/18 – How to keep going even after bombing
A letter to myself…
Hey girl (it’s what I call myself no idea why)
Well, you have accomplished running 30 minutes straight and you have completed that run 4 times now.
But and yep it’s a big but, you have not been consistent or intentional with:
- Putting yourself first (in regards to healthy living)
- Or any of the above
You have had a good first session of boxing with your husband which was heaps of fun and really enjoyable. You even went on a work trip and walked to and from work, even lugging your suitcase (it has wheels) up a small hill. You also got up early one morning and went for a 30 minute run.
So you know you can do this, you have planned another weekly meal, you even tried a protein shake with almond milk this morning and you drank it all without pouring it down the sink.
You can do this, but don’t let any more excuses come in. Like Saturday, were you crazy? Instead of getting up and going for a run instead you fixated on doing the photo book of Toby. Yes I know you usually have that task done and dusted by now for Christmas but hey going for a run first and then doing it would not have mattered. Stop talking yourself out of doing the thing that is best for you, you know exercising….
Meanwhile, what’s up with all those lollies at work. Are you nuts? Well actually eating a handful of raw nuts would be so much better than lollies from the dairy. Stop it, you are only hurting yourself.
In saying all this, I’m glad you stopped and had a picnic with Toby at Eastbourne today, watched him play on the slide and then had an awesome swim with him at Eastbourne pool. I’m also glad you decided not to wear the shorts and just wear your togs. It’s your body, you know its made up of chocolate shakes from when you were pregnant, lollies, junk food and biscuits ever since then. But hey your husband and kid are proud of you and so am I. Those other women and little girls may have looked at you and thought good on her, they also may have thought other things but in the end who cares. You have never let what other people think stop you in the past and I very much doubt you will now. You love the water, your son loves the water so own it, enjoy it and keep living life.
Right now, you need to buckle down (ha ha ha who says that, am I a cowgirl?), make good food choices, exercise more, use your fancy watch, see it even works in the pool.
Some weeks are bad, some days are good, just keep at it, you will get there. JUST DON’T GIVE UP. And NO Christmas is not an excuse either. Just keep going.
Love you, proud of you, Sarah (the inner voice has spoken)
13/11/18 – Holidays and preparation
Sorry for the delay in posts. I am still trying….
Our family went on a little holiday, and while on holiday I usually leave my watch behind to enjoy life rather than stick to a schedule. I usually just laze about and use every excuse not to do something. But this time it was a little different. I took my watch and went for 3 runs on the hotel treadmill while I was there. I tried to walk whenever possible (managing over 10km on the days I completed a run as well) and succeeded in watching what I ate by having lots of salads. I also didn’t stop myself from a little indulgence (Amisfield Pinot Gris was a definite favourite).
Well, the good news is I arrived home and had actually lost some weight.
The other good news is that I can now run 25 minutes non-stop. But it was a bit of a battle in my mind to keep going. I used different methods to distract me while I ran, counting the trees in the picture behind me that reflected in the mirror, singing (mainly in my head) and doing a few punches in the air for 30 seconds after every 5 minutes of running.
Also counting down in chunks of time – 5 minutes, 3 more, 5 minutes to go etc. I find that distracting myself from the actual task at hands stops me from listening to that voice that is really trying to get me to stop by saying it’s too hard, your not going to make it, etc.
Don’t get me wrong I do analyse any niggle or discomfort I might get in my feet, calves etc. But I check whether it’s just a little niggle or discomfort, or is my body trying to signal something serious. Every time I did this I realised my body was OK, I was just working it hard. I made sure to have a warm down and stretch what ever muscle was talking to me during the run.
One session a guy came in and jumped on the treadmill right next to me. I found that quiet competitive streak inside and realised that I had up’ed my game, that I occasionally sang out loud (I’m not easily embarrassed about stuff like that but it amused me), and that the time seem to pass by much quicker.
So all in all I’m pretty proud of what I achieved while we were away. Meanwhile back home, it’s time to sort out my eating. We went to the Sunday market and bought heaps of vegetables, came home and chopped them all up and put them away in the fridge in tupperware and systema containers. Then I got on the internet and looked for a few meal options to give me a little variety. So far so good, I had a lunch box full of fruit and vegetables with a little cheese and ham. Dinner was all protein and vegetables with very little carbs. Now just to cut out the snacks and I’m on my way.
A little bit of organisation helps. This weeks goals are: to eat all the vegetables in the fridge, drink more water and finish my running schedule (3 runs to go and I’ll be running for 30 minutes).
26/10/18 – Sleep, oh precious sleep
So too much sleep can cause me to want more sleep. Being tired causes me to be lazy. But sound sleeping is something I dream of.
You may have read a previous blog post by David about the benefits of sleep for recovery from exercise. I recently read an article about “when tiredness becomes part of your life” and totally understand that tiredness can also be linked to a medical condition. But for me it all boils down to:
- Eating well
- Drinking water
- Time for me
- Maintaining a healthy work life balance
- Less screen time more reading time
- Not taking on all the responsibilities for the running of house (cause I actually don’t need to with my supportive husband) and
- Knowing that my 4-year olds sleeping patterns (waking once or twice a night to be resettled about 5 times a week a total of 10 minutes tops each time) is only a phase and it will get better.
So on a scale of 1 (poor) and 10 (fantastic) across all 8 categories I would rate myself (as honestly as I can) on average a 4. Wow that took a bit of thinking about to honestly rate that.
I’m naturally a planner, if I have a plan that I can execute and prioritise I will accomplish it. In writing this blog I am developing my plan.
- Continue to be intentional about my eating, making good choices to refuel my body
- Water, water, water – take a water bottle everywhere
- More exercise (read previous blogs about my approach for this)
- Make time for me intentional, put it in a diary, put the screen down, take a bath etc
- Consider all the things I have on the go and see if I am making the right choices for me right now
- Get into a good book, my eyes and brain will appreciate it
- Ask for help more (me talking to myself “and its ok David does it his way, who cares, it gets done doesn’t it”)
- Continue to be consistent with resettling the boy and remember he will be a teenager in no time so appreciate the 3am cuddles while they last.
All of these things effect my sleep. My Pilates instructor has given me some excellent breathing techniques and my doctor always says get out of bed read a book and as soon as you start drifting off go back to bed. I also take a natural sleeping tablet with magnesium and other good things which definitely relaxes my body and I never wake up feeling like I’m exhausted. I just feel tired.
Feeling tired in today’s world seems like the new greeting. I was discussing this with my Pilates instructor and how busy our lives are that we automatically default to saying “I’m tired” or “I’m really busy”. I believe words do have power so I’m going to try change my vocabulary around this and stop saying “I’m tired” and just be truthful “today I’m good”, “today I have a few things on”, “today I’m ready for break” and when I start getting really confident “today I’m ready for a 5km run” ha ha ha can’t wait for that day!
It will come.
19/10/18 – When life interferes with “being intentional”
Its two weeks since my last blog post and I hit the usual roadblocks – mainly “life” and a big bucket of laziness.
That bucket of laziness incorporated a lot of excuses – “my muscles hurt”, “I didn’t sleep well”, “I don’t have time”, “I’ll exercise later”, etc.
I managed to complete two runs and then fill my life up with lots of “busy-ness”. I managed to track a whole week of food under my target kilojoules so that was a good effort. What I didn’t accomplish was doing the stair challenge at work, I just forgot most of the time. Lame excuse.
Then I was on a trip to work. It was a lot of driving and overall I didn’t eat too bad other than the wine intake. I managed to get 3 full nights sleep and took advantage of not being woken at 5am. However, there was very little exercise and I didn’t track my food. I also didn’t take my watch that tracks my steps mainly as it wasn’t appropriate for the trip I was on. So that was it, I allowed life to interfere with me being “intentional”.
What have I learnt? I learnt that I actually miss running. I learnt that although I packed my togs to go for a swim I was put off by one silly comment. I should have taken my running gear as there were facilities to run either inside or out, I just needed to pack my bag more efficiently. I definitely could have made the time to exercise. I should have tracked my food as it would have given me a real indication how good I really was.
Well that was the last two weeks. What about now?
This weekend I played with my son at the park which included me running after him for 10 minutes while he rode his bike (he’s getting very quick, I literally did have to run) and then played soccer. I also took my son to the pool today and swam around with him. I did some gardening too, which involved lifting two 40kg bags of dirt up two flights of stairs (I could feel my quads). Its incidental exercise but it’s a start.
I also began intermittent fasting. I had researched this a while back, I have a colleague at work who has been very successful and my new friend from my road trip also does it so it has given me the motivation to give it a go. Three days in and all is going well (except I still need to track my food).
With the weekend shop, I made ham muffins with carrot and courgettes, two slow cooked meals: Irish stew with beef and Guinness, and chicken and eggplant parmigiana (without the cheese) with cauliflower rice. We brought lots of fruit as well and I’m prepared for the week ahead.
Exercise wise I will complete at least 2 runs, go to my Pilates class, and complete 2 strength sessions with David. I also need to get on with my stair challenge at work and whether someone is available or not doesn’t stop me from trying.
It’s another week and another chance to be “intentional”.
5/10/18 – Motivation and small achievable goals…
I heard on a podcast this week that it takes 21 days to change a habit. I have heard that phrase before – 30 days, 1 month etc. But this advice was very timely as I found it hard to stay motivated this week. I was working 10-13-hour days as well as doing my part of family life. I found it hard to stay on track. To find motivation I broke every day into small achievable goals.
I have got to the end of the week and wow, I accomplished some good goals and didn’t flake like I usually do.
My first small achievable goal was tracking my food for 7 days straight and eating under my target KJs all week. This included eating out, takeaways and having a couple of treats. It doesn’t sound like good choices, but for me it’s an achievement to realize that if I am having that takeaway I need to think seriously about what else I am eating that day.
My most enjoyable meals were homemade salads, once with tuna and once with sirloin steak. Taking the time to think about what I am doing and what I am enjoying I realized the more natural the food the more I enjoyed it.
Hmmm simple really. What stops me though is that ongoing issue: time. But I decided that if I’m ten minutes later than usual, does it really matter? What’s more important is that I am feeding my body energy and life-giving food. Now don’t worry I’m not going paleo or anything like that but there’s a reason God gave us fruit and vegetables and why they taste good.
My second small achievable goal was incidental exercise. Taking a brief walk at lunchtime, walking 4 floors at least twice a day at work as well as my other goals of running and pilates I had a good week. My biggest goal through all this was running 20 minutes non-stop. I really struggled mentally with the big run. One, to get out of bed and do it (I put it off all week) and secondly, I had to break it down into small achievable goals as I ran: 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 14 minutes, 15 minutes, 17 minutes 18 minutes, 19 minutes and I made it, look that’s me after my 20 minute run.
My third small achievable goal was to take the time to reflect on what I am doing and what I have achieved so far. I was amazed that I have done so well moving the last 3 weeks. Closing the move circle (red) and the stand circle (blue) each day is usually achievable on a daily basis without much effort. The exercise circle (green) one is a bit different and takes intentional effort to close that one. I have been on this journey “officially” for 3 weeks, and on 6 of those days I have closed the exercise circle. This has given me motivation to work towards closing that exercise circle at least 5 times a week. I got close 3 times in the past 7 days but with a little extra effort I could knock this out.
In summary next week’s goals are eating more natural food, remain under the KJ target, increase my incidental exercise and close that exercise circle 5 times. To achieve these goals, we went to the vege market this morning and I got a bag full of food I can add to salad’s or just munch away at. I intend to keep an eye on that exercise circle and increase my physical exercise to close it. Also I’ll continue to track my food and eat within my KJ range and run 22 minutes non-stop.
28/9/18 – Being “Intentional”, and physical activity – not exercise…
Have you ever noticed how you react to certain words?
For me exercise is something that makes me think of extreme workouts like iron-women etc and I just don’t want to do it. What resonates more with me are the words physical activity. To me this means moving my body throughout the day.
This week I accomplished two runs, one Pilates session and a few flights of stair climbing.
For my running (really its plodding) I use the C25K app. I have been very gradually progressing with this app and just completed week 4 (2 x 5 minutes runs, 2 x 3 minute runs and walking in between). I like the app because its easy to follow, I don’t have to concentrate on what to do next, it tells me. Its taken me 3 months to complete 4 weeks but that’s because I have not been “intentional” about being active.
I also attend a personal Pilates class, on average 2-3 times a month due to work/personal commitments. I love this session as it provides me the opportunity to work on problem areas as well as build strength and stability. I particular like stretching out my back and shoulders after a week of sitting at a desk typing.
To add additional physical activity into my week, I created a stair challenge at work. So for the next 12 weeks my colleagues and I are going to “intentionally” walk up the stairs. I created a gradual increase chart for this, as I am all about slowly progressing to prevent injury rather than having a “bull at a gate” attitude. I know myself, I am more likely to succeed by being gradual about the process. So this week we successfully completed 3 floors at least twice, sometimes 3-4 times a day. Next week its 4 floors and the week before Christmas we will have successfully completed walking up 14 floors. (Even though our building only has 10 floors that won’t stop us as we can go to the top, back down 4 floors, then up again!)
The other tool I use to support my physical activity is my watch. It tracks my exercise, movement and standing time. On an average day I usually accomplish the movement and standing goals but unless I am “intentional” with my exercise I usually don’t succeed with that goal. I like how my watch reminds me to move or stand and its easy to see what progress you are making throughout the day. The exercise goal is a little harder. It tracks 30 minutes of physical activity, however, even after my 30 minutes on the treadmill plodding and walking my goal for the day is still not complete. So although its a tad frustrating. I know that I need to keep moving throughout the day to accomplish that goal too.
My other goal for the week was tracking my food within 100+/- my goal intake. Well I failed, but I was still intentional with my eating and tracking and I checked the scales and I have started going downwards in weight. I definitely notice a difference in my eating habits and an added bonus is that I am saving money on food.
This week I have purposely used the word “intentionally” as that’s been my word of the week. I am being “intentional” in my eating and physical activity habits. By being “intentional” I have also thought about what time I have to accomplish my physical activity goals. I talked with David this week about how the only time I actually have being totally alone is in the car to and from work (once or twice a week). I cherish that time to think, to pray, to just be, to listen to pod casts. I have now found that going for a run on the treadmill provides me that same solace yet I am accomplishing my physical activity goal as well.
Being “intentional” has provided me the opportunity to explore what works for me and why. It even meant rearranging our Friday morning routine so I could go for a run before dropping Toby to daycare and having breakfast with David. This is big for me changing a routine to fit in time just for me. I’m very good reorganising my time to accommodate others including work, but not often “intentional” about time for me to do my thing. No one has ever stopped me, I do it to myself, but now that I am more aware of what I need and why, I am equipped to be more “intentional” is carving out time for physical activity and solace.
Its a great word feel free to use it – “intentional – done on purpose, deliberate”
Goals this week: keep being “intentional” about what I eat, track my food and physical activity, complete 3 runs, 1 Pilates session and at least 2 x 4 floors of stairs for at least 4 days next week.
Time to be “intentional” ….
21/9/18 – Tracking, tracking, tracking…
This week my goal was to record the food I ate. I’m not one to deprive myself as I know through my own journey that just leads to regular blow outs. So instead I used an app called EasyDietDiary (as a nutritionist has told us it more accurately records Kiwi foods) to record all my food.
By taking this one step and being purposeful recording my food intake each day, I definitely changed some of my eating practices. I also realised what works better for me and my lifestyle. Here are the three things I learnt this week:
Tracking my food each day is a useful tool to make good decisions. By doing this simple task, I started measuring my cereal and milk, having half portions of servings and manged not to deny myself. Now I know though that over time that I need to become more purposeful in this area, but its a start.
Secondly, I noticed by reducing my portion sizes and eating small amounts regularly I had plenty of energy and little or no digestive issues. I also noticed I wasn’t that hungry, just thirsty. I also managed to increase my water intake on most days but totally need to do better there.
Thirdly, my goal for the week was to record my food intake every day which I accomplished. There were only 2 days I was under my daily intake goal. One day I was more than 1000kj over my daily goal, the rest just above. It was an effort to remember, but I’m lucky I have workmates who are concentrating on being healthy right now too, so we get to encourage each other.
This coming week I have two goals:
- Keep my food intake as close to my daily intake goal as possible +/-100Kj
- Go for 2 runs on our treadmill
One thing I did notice was how everyone had an opinion about what I should and shouldn’t eat. In the end I know that vegetables are better than chocolate. I also know for me to manage what I eat I need to work out what works for me. So don’t be discouraged by other people. If you need a piece of chocolate, fine, just make it a very small piece and just have one, and remember to record it. Every bite counts.
14/9/18 – The journey of a wife…
The journey of a wife, mother, business consultant, board member and Director of a personal training fitness business
All my life weight has been an issue for me. At the age of 3 I wore a cute yellow bikini with blonde hair and cheeky grin with a gorgeous puku sticking out. That is the first and only bikini I have ever owned.
Age 12, I wore women’s sized 12 clothes and was self-conscious about my weight. I was an active kid outside on my bike or skates. It was back in the day where you could disappear for hours on a bike without parental oversight, no cell phone and nothing too horrific ever happened. That’s the beauty for me growing up in small towns throughout Aotearoa.
First year at Victoria University I lived in a student hostel, I ate my way to 99kg. The biggest I have ever been.
By reducing what I ate I lost a few kgs. But it wasn’t until I was 27 years old I made a concerted effort to really lose weight. I joined Jenny Craig’s, was living on my own, went for a walk every night, trained and played social netball and if I couldn’t walk I would do pilates. I lost 13kg and made it to 67kgs! I looked and felt terrific. Note I wasn’t skinny but I felt healthy and looked healthy.
Then life happened, I lost my hero – my Dad, and my weight slowly crept back on. I managed to maintain it between 70-72kg by walking home from work, and when living in Bali I walked every morning as well.
Then, back in Aotearoa I tried weight watchers, I tried the gym, walking home, but ultimately my eating habits were and are my worst enemy.
I then got married to my amazing husband and the primary Director of our personal training business. I was 76kg on my wedding day, not at all the weight I wanted to be but had the most awesome day marrying my soul mate, in the end weight didn’t matter that day. Now though I do admit when I look at the photos I wish I had tried harder. One regret. Move on.
I got into running with a good friend of mine and really enjoyed that. By running I mean plodding along Oriental Parade first thing in the morning. I didn’t lose weight but I accomplished two long Wellington organised runs and loved being outside in the fresh air. It did so much for my mental health as well as physical health. I miss those days.
Then my beautiful son arrived. I managed only to put on 12kgs which was mainly chocolate milkshakes. That was four years ago. On and off I’ve tried getting back to eating right and exercising but like anyone I have a myriad of excuses.
Today, I weight 89kg (I’m pretty sure I do, I don’t like looking at the moment so its around that number) and am sick of it. I’m sick of the digestive issues I have, sick of being lazy (with exercise, I’m pretty busy otherwise), sick of not being able to wear half of my wardrobe and most of all not feeling comfortable wearing togs – just togs, nice togs, on the beach with my son. I love the beach, I love sunshine and I want to enjoy it.
So that’s the beginning of my story. I don’t want to be skinny, I don’t mind curves, but I do want to be healthy and feel healthy.
Today I started tracking my food again. Watch this space to see what I do next if you want to join me on my journey. As one of my favourite writers says Maya Angelou “Nothing will work unless you do”
If you want any support or advice feel free to contact David, he’s awesome, supportive, understanding and knowledgeable. And if I can help in anyway let me know.