Thursday, 4 July 2013

Dear Gorgeous Girl

I had a phone call tonight from a friend.  I haven't been able to stop thinking about it so I felt the need to write this blog post, dedicated to her.  I will call her Gorgeous Girl, because she is.

Dear Gorgeous Girl,

Thank you for your phone call tonight.  I am so glad you rang.  I didn't realise you thought that or felt like that.  Let me explain.

Just 2 days ago I was crying at how pathetic I am.  Can't stop self sabotaging, keep stuffing up.  Keep falling down, keep going backwards.  As I wrote in my last blog post, yesterday I started over.  Again.  513th time lucky.

You told me that I am amazing and that I don't realise it and that I need to have more faith in myself, because those around me do.  We talked about how I may come last in events but I do them anyway.  You said you admired the stuff I do and that you want to do these things too.  You told me that I am awesome.

This morning the 30+ Crew did a little project.  Started by this blog and encouraged by our Ruth, a stack of us put together these photo collages to say that we "are fucking awesome and so are you."

I did it because it seemed fun, not because I thought I was particularly, if at all, awesome.  But as I put it together, and saw everyone else's, I started to actually believe it.  I am fucking awesome.  (And so are you).

I also read comments on here from two of my ever supportive readers (and brilliant bloggers themselves!), Greg and Carol.  (Greg, yes, can I please take you up on that support offer?)

Anyway, all of that, topped with your phone call, has really made me think that I am ok.  I am pretty cool.  I am 'fucking awesome'.  So with all my heart, thank you for your major part in helping me realise this.  Today, a random day, I finally 'got' that I am.  With all my faults and imperfections and bad habits - and unshaved legs - lol - I am awesome. :)

But there's something more that grabbed me tonight, and that is that you said what you wanted.  You want to lose weight and you are feeling overwhelmed about it.  You said you doubt yourself and don't have faith in yourself.

Gorgeous Girl, I want you to know that you can do this.  I know you can, because I heard it in your voice.  People who don't really care, don't sound like that.  In your voice I could hear passion, determination and fear.  And fear is not a bad thing - in fact, it's the opposite.  Like what I said about the crazy events I enter.  I don't think about them until the day before, realise what I have entered, and freak out.  And then the next day, do it anyway.

And likewise for you, with this, I know you're terrified, but that's ok.  You can do this.  I want to help you.  I am no guru, I have no qualifications in this area, I am no expert.  But here are my suggestions, for you, Gorgeous Girl, and for anyone out there who may be struggling - wherever you are on your journey.  Take them or leave them, take some and refute the rest.  It's up to you.  This is just what has worked for me, or what I have learnt.  

Thank you Gorgeous Girl, Greg, Carol and Ruth, for kickstarting a major change of how I see myself. And for Gorgeous Girl, and all the other gorgeous girls and boys out there, who want to do this so bad, and are stuck, for whatever reason, never give up the good fight. No matter how long it takes you. 

Kate xo

for Gorgeous Girl (& all the gorgeous girls (and boys)

1. START. Just start. Whether you've never done this before or you've tried before and failed, just start.  It doesn't matter if you've tried once, three times or 513 times like me. It took me 3
times to quit smoking. On the third attempt I actually quit. Failing the first two times doesn't negate the fact that I am now an ex smoker. I've been cigarette free for 18 months - that's what I think about, not that it took me 3 attempts. Just because you may have failed before doesn't mean you will this time. One time you will get it. Why not this time?

2. DON'T START OUT 'PERFECT'. BECOME 'PERFECT'. Try not to be overwhelmed. It's easy to be - there's so much to focus on! Nutrition, exercise, meal planning, mindset stuff, cooking, shopping, goal setting, fitness, weighing, not to mention the rest of your life (work, family etc.!)  It IS overwhelming. But take one thing at a time. Even if the first week is simply about nutrition. If that's all you can focus on, then do that. You can add other things in later. You don't have to do everything perfect from Day 1. Then add in the next thing, and the next. Doing one thing at a time slowly is better than trying to do everything and stopping because it's too much.

3. NO MORE, NO LESS. Eat 1200 calories a day. If you want to lose weight, much less is too little. Much more is too many.

4. BEAUTIFY YOUR FOOD. Get excited about your food. Make it colourful, present it nicely, make people in your work kitchen turn heads. If you feel like you're treating yourself, you're more likely to stay on track. It's about nourishing your body, but also your mind. Let's be honest, that brown mush from the freezer is not going to cut it long term and you'll start to look elsewhere. Healthy doesn't have to be boring or ugly.

5. EAT WHAT YOU LIKE. I don't mean eat whatever you want; but eat what you LIKE - what you enjoy. Don't eat apple on warm muesli if it makes you gag. Why would you do that to yourself? Find foods you like to eat and stick to them. As per No.4 above, if you don't like the food you're eating you're not going to stick to it, as much as you swear to yourself that you will.

6. BECOME A KITCHEN MILITANT. Do cook ups, freeze meals & prepare food for the
week. It takes a while but it's worth it. When I prepare my food, like cutting up snacks and portioning things, it takes the daily guess work out and I just grab my prepared food and run. Not trying to liken yummy food to this, but it's like hospital or aeroplane food. You generally don't get a say in what you get. It's just presented to you and you eat it. Same if you prepare
your food. It's just what's on the menu for today, no thinking and no deviations. Except with your food you get to choose what you eat!

7. LOVE YOUR TRAINER. If boot camps or personal training is for you, find a trainer that you love. This is almost an essential. Trainers should NOT make you feel pathetic, or make you push through serious injury or ignore your needs or wants. Yelling is ok, belittling is not. They should encourage, support, and help enable you to do your best. If you have one who doesn't, leave now. There are plenty more out there. Nothing will bring you down fast enough like a trainer who doesn't believe in you. Find one who's been where you are. Or someone who pushes you when you want to stop. Ask for referrals from friends. Whoever it is, the choice is yours. But don't fork out your well earned $ to someone who doesn't deserve it. Don't fall into the complacency trainer trap. I'm lucky I've found a few over the past year who inspire, motivate and believe in me. They have had the most massive impact on my training and subsequent weight loss. Find yours.

8. ONLY DO WHAT YOU LOVE. If group or personal training isn't your thing, find YOUR thing. Do exercise that you enjoy. You don't have to enjoy running. Or gym classes. Or cycling.
There are no rules :) You can do whatever you like! Just MOVE and burn those calories. I thought I loved cycling and pushed and pushed with it to the point of many a tearful breakdown. It wasn't until a friend said "you hate cycling" that I realised she was right. It's easy to fall into a belief that we have to like something just because all of our friends are doing it. I did an event last week and all I could think about during it was "I'd rather be running." And I daydream about boot camp too. There's my answers, right there. Definitely try everything you can, seek it all out, do it all if you can. But if you're not motivated or happy while doing something, there's probably a reason. Don't waste your precious time. :)

9. BE GENTLE. Don't be too hard on yourself. Gorgeous Girl and Carol taught me that :) You are not going to lose weight any faster by berating yourself or all of your shortcomings. As hard as it is when you falter or fall, try to be kind to yourself. Celebrate how far you've come. Even if you've just started, well, my dear, YOU'VE STARTED! Celebrate that! Would you berate a friend if they went off track? Would it help them if you called them names and told them over and over that they're a failure? Ahh, no. So don't do it to yourself. Be gentle.

10. PICK YOURSELF UP. 513 TIMES. Get it in your head right now that you're going to fuck up. Whatever you'd like that word to mean, it's inevitable so get used to it now. I'm sure there's perfect people out there ;) but my generalised assumption is that most people fall at some point. To what degree and how often is personal but from my experience its pretty much a given. I truly hope you don't, I really do. But if you do, just accept it. It comes part in parcel. If doesn't matter why you fell, what matters is that you get up again. Someone who falls down 11 times and gets up 12 will get there quicker than someone who falls once and stays there. Pick yourself back up and KEEP GOING. Don't stop. Yes it is bloody hard. If it was easy I would have been at goal 512 attempts ago. :) For an all or nothing / perfectionist like me, this has been my hardest lesson.  You've got to keep at it.  2 steps forward and 1 step back is still 1 step forward.  There's a saying that anything that is worth having is worth any hard work that you need to do to get it.  So don't give up.

11. YOU JUST NEED ONE. Find someone who supports you. It breaks my heart when I hear that people don't have support around them, or even worse, that they have people who bring them down. It makes this journey so much easier if you have someone who has your back. You only need one person. Just one. And there will be someone, you may just have to look for a while. If you truly don't have anyone then message me and I will be that person. See? There is at least one. Try and steer clear of the people who don't treat you right or bring you down. My bullshit radar has gone into overdrive this past year. Anyone who doesn't treat me right? I'm outta there. I don't have time for them anymore- I now focus my attention elsewhere. I am beside myself with gratitude that I have so much support around me and believe that this has been the major drive in how I have been able to keep going.

12. DO ALL OF THE PROGRAM. Do Michelle Bridges 12WBT. Or a program that works for you. I do 12WBT and love it. This is the program that has worked for me and I can not recommend it highly enough. If you're doing it then do it - do it all. Follow all of the program, use all of the recipes, access all of the forums, join all of the Facebook groups, watch all of Mish's videos, do all of the live chats, meet all of the people. Embrace it all. You have to give your all to it - this is your new lifestyle. Lifestyles don't come and go, they are for life. So treat this program (or a program that suits you) that way. Do it and you will love it. But you gotta do it all.

13. BEND AND STRETCH. Be flexible. Your goals that you set at the start will most likely
change. Be adaptable, be flexible and change your goals as needed. Reassess at every opportunity. I feel so refreshed and refocused when I do this - do it as often as needed.

14. MAP YOURSELF. Have goals in the first place! If you don't know where you're going....well...  They don't have to be goal weights. Make it a goal pair of jeans. Or a goal yellow dress. ;) Or a fitness related goal. Or measurements. Or an emotion. But plan on where you want to go or how you want to be and then chunk it down into mini goals so it's not overwhelming. 

15. SURROUND YOURSELF. Inspire yourself. Surround yourself with as much inspiration as you can. Make an inspiration wall at home. Put a photo in your wallet. Use graphs. Put a Post-It on your desk at work with one word written on it. Wear a special wrist band, or ring. Wherever
possible, place reminders of what you are doing. Remind yourself at every opportunity.

16. BECOME AN ACTOR. Fake it until you don't have to. You don't have to 'feel ready' to start. I wanted to do this but I was terrified - I didn't know if this was the 'right time'. Pretend you are ready. Just start living the new lifestyle and your mind will catch up. Be the actor in your own life until you become that person.

17. SPILL. Share. Tell people. Make yourself accountable. When I started this I didn't tell a soul. Now I have undies photos on the Internet. I didn't just jump to that point though! It was a very slow process that I am still working through. The first time someone accidentally found out about what I was doing sent me into a fit of near hysteria - feeling hot all over and breaking down in the work toilets. It's like people seeing you naked. it's exposing something so deeply personal. But I share more and more as time goes on because it helps me. Because you know what? People are actually really nice! They are happy to help. They want to help. People love supporting. Find your own cheersquad. They can be on the Internet, you don't have to know them. You'll be surprised at the support you can get and how it can spur you on. Open up and share...slowly, and in your own time. It might take a year before you tell the first person. But take it from me, the more you feel comfortable, the more you share, the more support you get, and the more you feel you can just forge ahead. Because there is freedom in sharing- and once you have this freedom, you will fly.

18. WORK AROUND LIFE. So you've managed to get into the groove. You've got it all in check. Everything's going swimmingly. A few hiccups, but that's ok, you're managing them.
You're starting to think you're doing pretty damn awesome and you have 'got' this! Then BAM! You'll lose your job. Or break your ankle. Or get hit by a car. Or be betrayed by a friend. Sometimes all in the same day. This was not in the plan!!!! Some things happen and they knock the wind out of us. Just keep going. Get through it as best you can. Yep, it might stuff up your perfect plan... :) You may need to change things around now. But you can do this. Just sit down, restock, replan, ask for help, do whatever it takes to get you through this patch. Your brilliant plan THAT YOU LAMINATED?!....may need to be edited. Your road map will probably change. Plan as best you can and deal with what you get. Just know that you will get through the other side. And be stronger for it.

19. "THAT'S THE LAST ONE." Ahhh...4 familiar words. If someone does an event, but
comes through the finish line last, did they still do the event? Of course they did. This is a lesson I am still learning. :) Don't let the fear of coming last, hold you back from trying. I hold
the grand title of being the last through the finish line at many events. As my picture above says, sometimes I have even had a police escort. I'm the girl who gets talked about. Who takes 7 hours when others take 3. Once I singlehandedly held up the entire Brisbane City Busway because I was so slow. If the finish banner is still standing when I finish an event, I see it as bonus. I cry, I grit my teeth, I dig my finger nails into my palms, I hyperventilate out of sheer disappointment. I've even considered hiding mid course sometimes until everyone leaves, just to hide embarrassment. Once I was in an event and another event started after mine. It overtook me. Yes, the entire event overtook me. Every single person. I still have trouble dealing with this when it happens. Yeah I know you do events for yourself, and it doesn't matter where you come, blah blah blah. The reality is though, I'm human. And when you're last pretty much every single time, humans do get sad and they do cry a bit. But I still try. One, because I like medals :) and two, I guess because I want to do the event. I just grit my teeth and know that one day I will be somewhere in the middle. Maybe! Maybe not. But I'm still going to do the event. Don't let it stop you from entering. Coz events are fun. And as someone wise once told me, pain is temporary but stories last forever. The best stories happen at the back. Do it anyway. :)

20. ENJOY. Enjoy this process. For every minute of hard work, I've had an hour of fun along this journey. Who would have thought that the process of weight loss could be enjoyable?

Seriously I enjoy the process just as much as the results! The experiences I have had, the people I have met, the things I have done, are phenomenal. I have never danced, laughed, felt, cried, slid, climbed, moonwalked, fallen, jumped, skipped, ran, giggled, flew, partied, screamed, experienced, loved, and LIVED as much in my life as I have over the past year. You start this journey thinking its about weight loss. You soon realise its about life. ENJOY IT.

So Gorgeous Girl(s and boys), there are my favourite ideas for what has worked for me. I didn't invent these things; the process stuff I was taught, and the feeling stuff I learnt over time. I learn more each day and always will. I just want you to know that you can do this.

Oh, and Gorgeous Girl, you know how I said I wanted to start going to bed early because I need to get more sleep? And I was going to try the night you rang me? Well, I didn't. This post has now taken me 3 days to write, around work etc. And I haven't gotten to bed early yet over those 3 days. I'll try again tonight. That's Number 21: Try again. Always try again.

You've got this.


  1. You are amazing Kate - YOU are my hero xx

  2. Oh honey, if you only knew how much I needed to read this tonight. Your 20 tips. I've read them twice. I stuffed up royally today, secret eating in the car all the way home after work, 40 minutes of eating, then I got home and cooked a delicious 12wbt meal! ha! Who was I kidding, one does not negate the other.

    I think I'm even going to print your top 20 things to remind myself every now and then.

    So you Miss Kate, you have much to teach everyone. No one knows it all, we just keep gathering it from every quarter. Thanks beautiful girl.


  3. Love number 19... you may be last but you're still freakin' fabulous!!
    Plus, I'm pretty sure that being overtaken by a second event means you took part in two events - in the same day! ROCK STAR!

  4. Great post, how encouraging and truthful! Thank you Kate, you have helped me today more than you will know, thank you :)

  5. Totally AWESOME post Kate!!! You have captured the Magic formula to losing weight here, it's not easy or quick it requires a lot of heart but it's achievable, as long as you get onboard Step 1.

    <3 <3

  6. Kate, you should you don't have to ask for any support. Just give me a bell anytime you need a chat, cuddle or kick in the arse.

    So I set you a task/mission that I will tackle as well. We have 5 weeks until finale to work hard, eat clean and train mean. See if we can do that.

  7. You truly are amazing Kate!!! So inspired everytime i read your blog!

  8. Kate. You nearly bring me to tears. You are incredible. I feel so blessed to have met you & love that you share your journey with us with such honesty.

  9. So. Bloomin. Insightful.

    Thanks for the wisdom.

  10. Wicked!!! You rock :)

  11. Darling you have forgotten one thing from your photo collage, you are beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. I suspect you dont see it yet but trust me, as an objective observer, you are beautiful!
    Suse N-S

  12. you keep me going in my journey which has felt like a disaster the past 8 weeks thanks so much x

  13. Wow, Kate thank you so much for this. I needed this after signing on for the next round and then straight away thinking arrrrrgh!! what have i done?! as my last round wasnt a great success. And maybe some of thats to do with the fact that i am painfully shy and dont have a great support network just people who think, ' oh again? why bother.. you can never stick to anyting!' but stories like yours, where you just keep going, no matter what - that is true inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing your journey <3

  14. I dont usually comment on blogs but I felt like I just had too. And with what im about to say I really mean it.

    I have never read or heard any advice that has reached me like reading your wise words have just done!! I will cherish them through out my journey. Im going to print them and stick them on the wall to start off my motivational wall. But I can tell you now I will never find another bunch if words that move me like what you have just wrote. Thank you so much!!

  15. I have to agree with Amanda, I'm not one for blog commenting either but you have a way with words!! They're so very real. The struggle is hard and you're a strong woman Kate! Thanks for the motivation! :)