Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The path to happiness isn't always easy.

Overall, the happiness project is going really well. Last week was just a little less productive than I'd anticipated, due to the record heatwave, with temperatures between 43°C and 46°C, a double brick house and an ineffective air-conditioner. Many of the decluttering tasks were ignored, while the kids and I spent most of our time locked up in the only room that has air conditioning.

Sleep was also a problem, as my room was around 25°C to 35°C at night. The lack of sleep for over a week has affected my mood, and I'm feeling quite lethargic. I was rising at 5.30 every morning to tend to the animals before it got hot, and it was torture going out later in the day to check on them again. We only lost one chicken in the week, so I guess that's very lucky given the conditions.

Yesterday I met a friend at the pool to have a swim. The kids had a wonderful time playing on all of the inflatable equipment, giving my friend and I a wonderful opportunity to catch up after quite a while between visits. Another friend came over last night to watch a movie with me, and we ended up having a wonderful chat until almost midnight. I feel very blessed to have such wonderful friends, and one of my goals for the year is to spend more time doing things with them, and less time interacting with them via social media.

Today, I woke with a terrible headache, that was niggling at me last night, and a sore ear. I suspect I got water in the ear yesterday, and I'm hoping I don't end up with an ear infection. Spending the day with a pounding headache isn't a great way to start a happiness project day and really affects my happiness level. It's allowed some anxiety and concern to creep into my head also, which is not conducive to happiness.

A major part of my project is to work on my health. To nurture my body, mind and spirit. I am happy to report that I am trying much harder to fill my body with good wholesome food, filled with good nutrients to help repair my body. However, with the good, I'm still overindulging in the bad. yesterday at the pool, I hit up big on sugar, eating far too many lollies. The sugar is affecting me today, every muscle in my body is hurting, I'm tired, lethargic and as I previously mentioned, not as happy as I'd like. 

As my three loyal readers would already know, I have lost a lot of weight, mostly with 'programs' that I don't really like anymore. I still beat myself up for handing all of my power over to another person, especially one who is giving information out that is outside the realm of their education level. I vowed never again to do a program or take nutritional advice from a Personal Trainer. Especially one that advocated for the use of foods in the program that I knew were toxic to my body, and were in stark contrast to the foods that a nutritionist had been telling me to eat.

I'm still a very big believer in exercise, but only for fitness, toning and to make me feel good. I do love the endorphin rush I get after a run, or the fun I have playing tennis or going for a swim. I don't believe that it has a lot to do with weight loss, unless it's done in extremes like I was doing a couple of years ago. On my first round of 12WBT, I was eating the very strict 1200 calorie diet, which left a lot to be desired - and working out for up to 3 hours a day. I didn't lose a great deal of weight (although 12.5kg in 12 weeks is nothing to sneeze at) but I lost an awful lot of cm. 97cm to be precise!! The majority of the fat I lost during these workouts, was unfortunately, the wrong type of fat.

The body has 3 types of fat. Structural fat, which is the fat your body needs and uses, to protect your organs and is the type found on hands, feet, arms and legs and the fat on your face, neck, shoulders etc. then there is reserve fat, which is the fat that our body has historically used to be burned later. It's the stored calories from the excess food we ate throughout Spring and Summer to help us get through the winter. Then there is abnormal fat. It generally collects around the middle. It is not required for the body to function, and it's the fat that is the precursor for many diseases, including diabetes - of which I have a strong family history.  It is also the LAST type of fat your body burns.

So when I did 12WBT and tried various other programs, ate the wrong diet, worked out far more than I should have and lost enough cm to make me start to look different, I was still fat. I lost weight from my face, my neck, my chest and under my boobs (you could see my rib bones under my boobs!!!) my arms and my legs. You could see muscles and bones in places. I showed my before and after photos to friends, who all commended me on my super efforts - but no-one mentioned the elephant in the room...... or the one around my stomach.

You see, even with a 1200 calorie starvation diet, and 2-3 hours of exercise a day, I didn't lose the abnormal fat from my belly. Granted, it did get smaller - because I burned off all the reserve fat, but the abnormal fat stayed there stubbornly. Calorie in Calorie out programs don't deal with the types of fat, just that if you expend more than you consume all the fat will go away. This is obviously not true!

I have been studying the works of an Australian Nutritionist for over a decade, she has been practising for over 30 years. She's also studied Anthropology and Pre-Med - so she knows a lot about human evolution and biology. I trust her. I am doing a protocol, that while it seems is controversial, is built on the principles of nutritional medicine, orthomolecular medicine, and tailoring your diet to foods that your body can handle.

She is a very outspoken woman, and has taken on the Australian Heart Foundation and other medical practitioners for their support of using low fat, low calorie and processed foods. She has earned the respect of some of the countries leading nutritionists and she travels the country and the world educating people about food and how to use it to be healthy, happy and filled with energy.  She has NEVER taken a pharmaceutical drug, not even a panadol - and she has her own probiotics and supplements made for her company, as she wants them all natural and organic. She is an amazing woman.

If you're interested in learning more about Cyndi O'Meara and her programs, products or articles, her website is here or you can follow her on facebook here - I can guarantee, you'll learn lots!!

Yesterday, I began a protocol to target my abnormal fat around my middle. As with a lot of programs/protocols, I was advised to begin with taking measurements and photos to help track my progress. The protocol also requires daily weighing which terrifies me - sudden weight gain is usually a sign of inflammation which is caused by food intolerance. I have done my before photos so many times now, and I have a bunch of pretty after photos that show all my hard work. Then the weight comes back, and it's time for another set of  before photos for the next program.

The reason I'm scared, is because I don't want to fail at THIS protocol. The protocol itself is incredibly difficult and requires willpower like I've never had to have before. It has a high failure rate as many people can't stick to the protocol. It is hardcore and intense by anyone's standard - and that scares me. 

I never had faith in Michelle Bridges as a person - I believe she's profit driven, and my anecdotal knowledge of the program  is that it has a high failure rate. Of the hundreds of people I know personally who have done the program, only 2 have managed to keep the weight off after 12 months. This doesn't disappoint me, as I didn't like the program when I was on it, so wasn't surprised that people gain the weight back - it also makes me feel slightly better about my own failure to maintain the loss I had on the program.

However I do believe in Cyndi, and have followed her for 10 years, I've read her books used her recipes and followed her online. I believe in her protocol.  If I fail at this, I can't say it's because the program is flawed, because it's a brilliant protocol. There is hardcore science to back it up, and the results some people have achieved are phenomenal. If I fail at this, it's on me. That terrifies me.

I know that by the end of the day today, I will have a brand new set of 'before photos'. I will record my measurements. I hope it's for the last time ever. I am scared. I am terrified. I am so anxious. Sometimes the path to happiness, is paved in pebbles - and we need to walk it barefoot.

The reason I'm sharing this with my three loyal readers, is because sometimes when we share our anxiety with others, or our fears - we realise we're not alone. Others share them with us. Even though I feel all alone right now, I'm hoping that there are others who understand my fears, and maybe they'll be here along the way to support me.

Ultimately, I hope that this protocol helps me to find some more energy, more vitality and overall, good health. If I end up with a super schmexy body - that's honestly a bonus!
I'm hoping the feelings of vulnerability pass - and I really need a hug - so if you have any spare love or hugs to send into the universe for me, I'm waiting with open arms. 

Love to you all,

M x

EDIT:  I have taken the photos and it was hard. Really horrible in fact. I think my before photos this time are even worse than the ones I took 18 months ago. Of course I'm upset and in tears - it's a painful thing to have to acknowledge. I really need hugs now!

Onward and upward - the road to happiness isn't paved in feathers.


  1. Big hugs to you. It's so confronting seeing ourselves, I still feel the same. And yes! I still have the fat roll around the middle. It gets smaller (sometimes bigger) but it's still there. Thanks for the link up to Cyndi O'Meara, I've never heard of her, but will definitely be having a read. I'm still following the 12wbt program loosely, and I will sign up to the next round, but mainly to get the half marathon support, more so than the diet. But I love your honesty. {{hugs}}