Thursday, 23 July 2015

One microwavable rice meal at a time

I've volunteered for things since I was a kid.  I'm sure my neighbours went running every time they saw me walking down the street as a 12 year old, as I was always collecting for the MS Readathon, Red Cross, World Vision etc.  I was not only on every committee, council and in every volunteer group all throughout high school, I created groups, like my school's Environment Club. I was that kid forever spruiking "donations over $2 are tax deductible" and being the diligent student rep for everything under the sun.  The volunteer / community section on my CV ended up longer than my career history.  

Over the last 10 year or so though, I've had to scale back.  I've done bits and pieces; kids hospital, soup kitchen, food van, nursing home, charity shop...but they've all been one off things.  I still manage to find myself on every committee wherever I go (!) and I'm a Justice of the Peace and a range of other things, but I haven't had the time to do anything significant, or ongoing, to help others.

As I'm sure we all do, I have a longing to help the entire world.  Everything and everyone.  I want to help everyone.

This photo is me back then, as I'd just lost 25.5kg, so that's how much I donated in food, too. Seeing it laid out like that and trying to carry it was really meaningful to me. And others got to benefit from it: win/win!

But sometimes big dreams are so big that they can overwhelm us to the point we don't do anything.  And that's how I've been about changing the world!  I'm just one person, Kate from Brisbane.  How can I actually help?

I thought about starting a food drive, and started dreaming it up in my head.  Back in 2012, a lovely friend at our boot camp at the time organised for us to donate our kg's lost, in the form of food, to charity.  Obviously helping charity was the great part, but actually seeing (and holding) how many kg's we'd lost made it interesting for us and gave us reality checks on how much we'd actually been physically carrying around. 

I thought about doing a similar thing now...but then felt discouraged.  Collecting a bit of food isn't going to make a difference to the world.  

That's when I remembered Loren Eiseley's starfish story.  (See picture).  

It helped me reason that if I can't singlehandedly take on the world, I thought I'll do the next best thing and do SOMETHING, even if it's small.

The starfish story made me think of what difference even one packet of microwavable fried rice, or one tin of pasta sauce could do for just one person.  I've seen stuff and personally experienced times that helped me know *just* how much that just one item could make a difference to one person.

It's not feeding the entire world, but feeding one person, knowing what joy that could give them, is just as important.  I'm sure there's a quote about helping those close to you, one person at a time.

I want to give a bit of spark back to people who need it in my own community, and give them a bit of Christmas .... just in July. So I decided to set up a donation drop off point where I'll collect food goods to then have distributed to charities to get to some of these people, just like my friend did for us back in 2012.

Long term readers will know what I'm like...I dream up big things and there's a bit of magic in my dreams where I innocently just believe everything will be fine and work out.

But in reality, things are not always easy.  This food drive ended up so complicated and took me a lot longer to organise than I could have imagined.  I ended up having to speak to organisations...there were permits, regulations and so much unexpected red tape.  It was actually so disheartening and there was one point I was close to tears because I couldn't believe how difficult it was to do something so simple.  On the inside I was screaming that I just wanted to help people!

But I perservered and it's happening! 

I got the amazing charity OzHarvest onboard, and they'll be collecting the food and distributing it to the people around me who really need it. 

So if you're in Brisbane, please feel free to donate!  It will be like Christmas in July (the donation drop off date is even 25th July!) 

The details are all below on the picture, as well as a short list of just some of the items that we'd love to collect.  Any food is welcome, but keep in mind that we won't have refrigeration on the day, and they don't like to accept shellfish.

I'll be there for the hour, so that people can drop by at any time within that hour, with their donations.

Donations don't have to be weight related of course!  I'm also sharing this within my personal circle and am collecting items at work as well.  The weight lost / kg things is just a bit of fun to keep it interesting for my fitfam!

I've also raised the challenge for people who don't live in Brisbane, or who can't get there on Saturday, and have encouraged them to check out their weight loss in food items, and donate them to a local charity.  I've had a few people do this on Instagram so far, so if you're reading this blog post, then I encourage you, also!
My #12wbtmayround donation

I got my donations ready tonight, and laid out 8.7kg worth of food in front of me: the amount that I've lost during the May round.  This is my pic :)

I don't know how many donations we'll get on Saturday.  I was getting worried until I remembered the starfish story again.  No matter how many people turn up, every single item will make a difference...and that's all that matters.  There's so many people who are closer than we know, who could do with some assistance.  They're our own neighbours and people we walk past on the street.  When I think about one microwavable rice meal at a time, and how that would feel, I know that this small thing is certainly making a difference.  It's not just a whole bulk of food being collectively shipped to another place and not really making much of an impact. Instead, it be an actual person disadvantaged for whatever reason, looking down at a microwaved rice meal as if it is edible gold. 

I'm going to live by the starfish story from now on. 

Details for Saturday

My May Round results

Today was the final weigh in for the May Round.

And here are my final stats!
My May Round results

To take a quick snapshot straight from my Instagram post I just wrote up:

That pretty much sums it up!

Feeling proud is only a new thing though.  I only became proud and happy with my results yesterday, when I looked at the big picture.  I guess I looked at it and asked myself, did I genuinely try my best this round?

Letter to myself
And I absolutely did.  I've had a couple of rounds where I've lost more weight etc. than this one; but this round saw me have the biggest mindset shifts than I have had previously.  I was committed and I know that I worked hard.  I achieved all of my mini milestones and weekly challenges and changed things to suit me.  I went stronger with no stuff ups for the longest  than I ever have before.

I did consistent cook ups and had regular star stickers on my star charts. 

Early in the round I wrote myself a letter, and using this cool website: (thanks to Sarah.Z for telling me about it), I actually had the letter automatically emailed back to me on my nominated night, tonight.

It's too personal at this stage to share in it's entirety, but here are a few snippets from it that I thought I'd share.  The bottom right corner snippet really explains how I'm feeling the best:

"If you're reading this in Week 12 and have achieved what you set out to (or at least put in the effort to achieve it, even if you fall slightly short), then be proud, Kate.  Be very very proud."

And I did put in the effort. :)

Thanks so much for your support throughout May round.  There's plenty more to come as I'm still on this journey (eg. August Round!) :) so watch this space. xo

P.S. Throwback Thursday to my cook-ups / meal prep through the weeks: :)


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Reach for those goals....all 24 of them!

So this is the Queen of goals just checking in, seeing as it's now the middle of Week 12 of the May Round. I've got weight and measurements loss and fitness and habits gain to update on too, but one thing per post!

Now, the 24 goals I mentioned in the blog post title?  That's just 24 for this round.  Of course!  Are you actually surprised?  I have goals coming out of every pore of my body.  Sometimes I'm not very focused, but when I am, I push mountains.  I probably have "too many" goals, but really, who sets the standard?  And really, the way I see it, if I have 100 goals and achieve just 50, well I'd much rather have achieved 50 that than not having any goals at all.

The 24 I mention here aren't actually 'goals' as such: they are 12x mini milestones (because I can't just do the suggested 3) and 12x 12WBT weekly challenges for the round (because I was determined to do the round properly and do everything part of it).

And I'm excited to say, this has possibly been my best 'achieving goals' round that I've ever done.  I usually push out so many goals to the next round because I don't do many of them.  But this round I've been so determined.

Some I've shared how I've gone and some I haven't yet.

So, here's an update!  (By the way, there's many photos on this post!)


The long version of what each goal is / why I chose it, is on this blog post: My plans for 12WBT May Round 

The short versions are:

Getting organised
Week 1: Get organised
I did, and I've stuck to it!  In Week 1 I reset a few habits that I'd let slip.  I did a clean out, I cleaned out my gym bag (I had sparklers (?) and other strange items in there!), I bought a new clothes organiser to lay out my workout clothes each week, I redesigned the emergency snacks box I keep in my handbag, and I went back to making meal prep and cook-ups a weekly habit, week in, week out.

Week 2: Girl in Blue
This actually deserves a whole post to watch this space.  (In short for now though, after over a year of making this goal for myself, I actually started it :)  It's been prolonged a bit because of my knee, but I actually started it!

Week 3: Start water running
I did!  Well actually, I changed this goal somewhat from "start water running" to "try water
running", as in the end I decided that it wasn't something I wanted to consistently do.  But I was still determined to do it at least once, so I did.  

I didn't realise the local pool closes over Winter: I found this out 2 days before it closed.  So I quickly made plans and one (cold) June Friday night after work, I detoured on my way home, and turned up to the pool.  It was very weird and a bit scary (cold water, at night, in Winter, I'm scared of swimming at the moment and being in public in a pool makes me nervous).

Like most of my goals, I don't think through every logistic or how it's actually going to feel, until I get there. 
Week 3's goal.  Selfie at the pool.
And this goal was no different.  It was about 5:30pm and the pool closed at 6pm.  The lady at the entrance only charged me $5 instead of $10 because it was almost closing time.

There were primary school kids having swimming lessons indoors, and their parents were sitting in the dark, outside, waiting.  And then there was me.  I was the only one there, and I suddenly freaked out about getting in the pool in front of all of these parents.  I don't wear togs (I wear clothes!), and happened to be wearing pretty dumb-to-swim-in clothes...what were they going to think of this weird, fully clothed adult hopping in the dark pool by themselves.... and then running?

I was so nervous and procrastinated a bit.  I took a photo of the pool....I texted my friend Courtney....I was just so nervous that I decided I couldn't do it.  

Just at that moment, the 'pool man' came over and I realised he was putting the covers on the pools for the end of the day.  Ok...I actually couldn't  do it now, even if I wanted to!  I was too late, they were packing up.  Just as I started feeling relieved, the lady who took my $5 came running over and spoke to him, and pointed to me.

No no's ok!  I didn't want to make a deal of me being there.  "Let him put the cover on, it's ok".  I thought.  The pool man saw me and came over and said I could hop in.  I said it was fine if he was packing problem with me!  He said he was only packing up because he didn't think anyone was there, and he insisted I get in.

Stones Corner parkrun

Because the money lady and pool man had made a specific (and kind) effort for me, I now felt like I had to get in.  I was determined also...I simply wanted to achieve this.  So I sucked it up, took a deep breath, and hopped in the water, blocking out the parents (who were probably not even aware I was there...I think too much).

I 'water ran' for a while............ and loved it.  I actually felt my body work, and I was so glad that I tried it.  I'll do it again...when it's not Winter.  I felt so rejuvenated when I got out. :)

Week 4: Try a new parkrun
I did this too!  I wrote a blog post about this it was a bit of a rough one for me.  (Great organisers etc., it was just my own issues).  But I was so glad to do this.

Sandgate parkrun

I actually went above and beyond with this goal though, as I actually tried another parkrun on the weekend just gone!  Go me haha.  I tried out Sandgate parkrun- just another one that I'd been wanting to try.  I did it with my friend Claire who I met through 12WBT.  It was her first parkrun and it felt good to be by her side for it.  It wasn't as emotional as Stones Corner was for me - this one was just normal!  And beautiful by the water.

Week 5: Walk home from work
And, tick!  This one has probably been the most beneficial out of all of my mini milestones.  I surprised myself by loving doing this so much, that I've since changed my whole exercise
Walking 8-9km home from work
routine around since, to do this regularly!  Well, partially, twice daily!  It's not practical to do the entire walk (8-9km / 2 hours each way) to and from work, but I worked out a compromise.

Instead I've started parking halfway between work and home, and 4x a week, I now walk to and from my car, 4km each way.  It's increased my commute time and changed my entire daily and weekly routine, but as I've started to implement it over the last few weeks, I'm refining how I do it, it's been going well and I can see the benefits...(8km of incidental exercise, 4x a week: yes please!)

I wrote this Instagram post about the actual walk all the way home that first night: Week 5 walk recap.

Week 6: Learn how to curl my hair
I FINALLY MASTERED THIS!  It may seem like a strange thing to have as a mini milestone, but it's related to making me feel better about myself by taking care of my appearance.  And it's something that I've never been able to do....until Saturday!

My boot camp team had a formal awards night party (which was so cool - how cool is my boot camp?!)  I thought it'd be a perfect time to try it out.  I'd tried half heartedly on and off for years to master the art of curling with my GHD but had never been able to figure it out.  The first half an hour almost saw me give up again.  This was my result of curling:
Curling attempt #1: fail


I tried a few more tutorials and videos and voila, half an hour later, I had a curl, and then another!!!  
Getting there!

I'm definitely no stylist and it will take a lot more practice, but I was pretty chuffed...(and here are (many) pics of the end result).  (More boot camp party photos at the end of this post too)!
Playing around


Ready for boot camp awards

Boot camp awards outfit

Week 7: Walk to work
I actually decided not to do this goal, because of how Week 5's goal has changed my daily
commute...I now sort of do this every day or two now anyway.  I don't walk the entire way, but I think that what I do more than makes up for it.  I had trouble "changing" this goal as I'm so determined and do things to the letter: I.Must.Do.Everything.I.Set.Myself.

I talked myself out of being so annoyingly strong willed and stubborn though, by soothing myself with the knowledge that I have already exceeded this goal by doing the halfway walks almost daily now! #calmdownkate #letitgo

Week 8: Research sugar
Yep, tick!  When I set the goal, I knew it wouldn't be crazy in depth research by any means, and I assumed I wasn't about to join the banning sugar movement.  Only for the fact that I'm just not the type of person who cuts out whole food / nutrient etc. groups.  

I may be an all or nothing person by nature, but when it comes to food 'groups', I've never banned myself completely from anything eg. carbs. It's just not me.

But this whole sugar thing (finally) had me curious, just to see what all the fuss was about, for my own personal knowledge.  

Watching That Sugar Film
I watched 3 documentaries: one was awesome, one was ok, and one was pretty bloody boring.  The awesome one was "That Sugar Film".  I watched it across 2 flights when I went to Sydney last week.  Brisbane-Sydney-Brisbane: a perfectly timed return trip to watch this. :)

And I really liked it!  I took notes for myself, and I was so intrigued by the aspect of what it said happened to low fat products when they started becoming more prevalent.  I pondered a question to myself: I buy low fat products....why wouldn't I buy low sugar?

I'm not that interested that I want to read the book, but I think the whole premise is interesting and I feel for now that I've taught myself enough for what I wanted to know.  I also researched Australian recommendations for sugar consumption and I downloaded the sugar app
associated with the film.  While I'm not going to take it to an extreme and ban sugar completely or anything; it's definitely going to make me more aware and I'm going to start considering sugar in my daily intake.

A quick thank you to Sarah.F and Leanne.M for your suggestions on how I could research it and achieve this goal. xx

Week 9: Play a game of baseball
I'll combine my report of this with my next goal:

Week 10: Walk one of the Redcliffe bridges
I did these two goals on Saturday morning!  Saturday was a 3 pronged exercise event morning as I visited Sandgate parkrun as I
mentioned above; then did the bridge walk and then played baseball!

The bridge :)
The bridge was the Ted Smout Bridge.  A few 30+ crew friends joined in and we walked across the bridge and back again.  It was great.  After doing parkrun, walking the 6-7km (?) round trip made me feel it in my legs, so it felt good to be burning calories (even though my heart rate monitors are still not working!)

30+ crew'ers on the bridge
It was extra special for me as my little brother had a small part in the design of it - that's what made me think of doing it in the first place.  I took a selfie for him while walking across. :)

When we finished the bridge, the plan was to play a game of baseball.  Like a lot of my goals, I don't always think of the planning too far in advance, so the night before saw me rushing into Big W to see if there were any baseball bats in the kiddie section....and success!

I haven't played baseball / T-ball / softball since I was in primary school, and I thought I'd be happy to just hit a ball around.  But the girls who came along: Tanya, Toni, Marilyn (and Claire who did the bridge) were incredible: they knew all the rules, and we actually played a (casual, non scoring) game!  I had a ball and we actually want to do it again.  I scored home runs and we laughed and it was just something different.  I loved that game as a kid and it was no different on Saturday. :) 

  Week 11: Do the steep hill next to my old work
I have this scheduled to do this Saturday morning!  So I will update!

Week 12: Ice skating
And this one, I also did. :)  I did an update about the night here
Ice skating!
Aside from it making me feel about 80 (physically and nervous system wise), it was actually so much fun. :)

Way more photos at the end of this post...

Margaret, me, Court and Pais


I've also tried to be really committed and do the 12WBT weekly challenges.  I miss the old ones where we had to do stuff like inspiration boards and make videos, but this round I wanted to be as committed as I could be to help me overall, so I included the weekly challenges in my habits.  Some I changed up to suit me personally, but I tried to knuckle down and be very focused regardless.  And I did pretty well:

Week 1: #12wbtletter
As green thumb as I get
I loved this challenge - write yourself a letter.  Actually writing this blog post made me remember that I used a website that sends it back to me on a date that I nominated!  I completely forgot about this! :)  I think I got it organised to send to myself today (last weigh in day) or Sunday (last day of the round) so I'll have to keep an eye on my Inbox.  I'm excited now!

Week 2: #12wbtstepup
I can't do step ups because of my knee injury, so I incorporated this into a hill walk that I was doing instead; and did the goal steps that was set, justup via a hill. :)

Week 3: #12wbtgreenie
I bought myself a herb plant from Coles and felt like a lady of the land gardener for the 24 hours that I kept it alive!  I do not have even a little bit of a green thumb...but I was determined!  I used it in one meal so that was enough to tick it off for me. :)

Week 4: #12wbtbuddyup
I buddied or teamed up with 12WBT people for 6 of my 12 mini milestones.

Week 5: #12wbthydrate
12WBT tea
Ok so this is one where I very much changed it to suit me.  My version was that I had to have one cup of tea each day this week.  I rarely drink it and would like to drink it more!  Day 1 went well.  Day 2, well I am so not used to drinking hot drinks, that I picked up my mug roughly, forgetting that I'd just put boiling hot water in it, spilt it and burnt my hand!  Doh!  
#12wbthydrate fail

Week 6: #12wbtchangeup

80 going on 13
Trying something different: this was my iceskating!

Week 7: #12wbtmeditate
I want to do this a few more times this week, but I did start to do it.  I really need to learn how to make relaxing a habit, so this was a good one for me.

Week 8: #12wbtextratime
I already get up as early as I can to exercise most mornings, so I
turned this challenge into having to go to bed a little earlier than I do...because that's moreso my problem.  I combined this with Week 11's challenge, and for a few nights have gone to bed slightly earlier, put my phone down, and started reading.  I need to turn these two things
My version of walking a dog!
into habits, but it was definitely good practice and a good start.

Week 9: #12wbtwalkadog
This was another that I changed to suit.  I'm scared of all animals and have zero interest in them so this challenge freaked me out!  However we have dogs that go to boot camp so effectively I do train with them (just not walking) that ticked this challenge off for me. ;)

#12wbtpushup selfie
Week 10: #12wbtpushup
Did it!

Week 11: #12wbtswitchoff
See Week 8 :)

Week 12: #12wbtfeast
This is going to have to be one that I change dramatically to suit my own life.  I don't have time to host a dinner party right now.  I'm lucky to have one night off a week at the moment, and I'm not staying on top of my own stuff.  However...I cooked my friend 12WBT Cheeseburgers twice last week as our quick dinner before we rehearsed (I'm producing a play, it opens next
week: augh!) so that can be my #12wbtfeast - because I did cook 12WBT food for a friend!
I finally let go of the side

So there you go.  24 mini milestones and weekly challenges for the round....21 done, 1 in progress, 1 to do on Saturday, and 1 goal changed (and a few personalised to suit me).  I'm very very proud of myself!  In 13 rounds I don't think I've ever achieved all of my crazy goals I set myself.

Wow what am I going to do with my August round goals?  I'm actually going to have to think of new ones, instead of carrying over ones that I don't do previously! ;)

Actually, no joke, I just remembered I have already set them...I had so many goals when I set up my ones for May Round, that I had enough for August Round.  Ok, I'm all set I guess.

Are you even surprised? ;)

30+ friends who came ice skating
I'll be back soon as I have so much to update you on!  My end of round results (aside from these goals!), my Christmas in July food drive, an #operationpolkadotdress update and my running ---- just for starters!

Talk soon!

Love Coco "Loves Her Goals" Girl xo

Court and I

Ice skates


Trying out a new parkrun on Saturday

Gloves I found in my wardrobe

The start of the bridge

Walking the bridge

The water wasn't brown like it is in Brisbane!

30+ ... I can and I will

The bridge my brother built.  Haha he only remotely helped design it, but I am a proud big sister and I told him that in my eyes, he built the entire thing with his bare hands.  LOL

Doing my goal

Claire, me, Tanya, Toni and Marilyn

Laughing at my shot

Our water bottle base

Playing baseball :)

Tanya on a home run

Laughing again

Boot camp awards night: Kat, Marg and me

My beautiful mug I got on the night

Lyn and I at the boot camp party


My mantra xx

Our boot campers