Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead!

It seems everyone is on a get fit campaign at the moment.  A lot of women in my network are doing the Michelle Bridges 12WBT, the Lose Baby Weight 28 day challenge or even going to compounds in India to spend days meditating and cleansing their body and soul!

I’ve always struggled with my weight.  Always.  When I met my husband 10 years ago, I was a size 10 thanks to the aid of ‘fabulous’ diet pills.  It turns out that although they helped me lose weight, they’re actually not so fabulous.

About a month ago I was tossing and turning trying to find the Sandman, when I hopped out of bed and lay on the couch to watch some late night tv.  I stumbled across a documentary called ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’ by an Aussie entrepreneur called Joe Cross.  It was a lightbulb moment.

He juiced his way across America, drinking nothing but fresh fruit and veggie juices for 60 days.  After dropping about 40kgs, he’s continued to maintain his weight and also inspire others.

The truth about weight-loss is that there is no single fix for everyone.  You have to find what suits you, your lifestyle, your budget and most importantly your mindset.

I’ve been juicing for a few weeks now and feel amazing!  I’ve lost some weight and my energy levels have skyrocketed.  Admittedly I’m not following the Joe Cross method down to a tee, but I’ve adapted it to my life.  I drink a juice for breakfast and lunch (Celery, Kale, Apple, Cucumber and ginger) and have a tuna salad for dinner.  I also don’t beat myself up when I fall off the wagon.  I’m going on a winery tour with some girlfriends this weekend and I’m certainly not taking any pre-prepared juice!  I’ll jump straight back on the wagon on Sunday.

Here is a short video of ‘Fat Sick and Nearly Dead’.  Check it out, it may just be the thing that helps you.

What have you found that works for you?  Share it here so that perhaps someone else can benefit

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No regrets

I was just reading a discussion over at Essential Baby asking: if you had your original wedding day again, what would you change? I can honestly say: not a thing.

We had a simple wedding, with only our nearest and dearest present (about 40 total).  It was on New Year’s Eve so it could just be the best party we ever staged!  I had no grand plans of a large-scale European wedding (despite the fact both of us are European) and I laughed, danced and drank with some wonderful people that night.

I find regret to be such a toxic emotion.  It eats away at you, ruining any chance of happiness while you’re wishing something was different.  I know this because there are many things in life I regret.  I wish I didn’t, because I lay awake at night stewing over them, but it’s part of my nature as a card-carrying member of Overthinkers Anonymous.

I regret not taking more care of my body.  I regret offering some land to a family member.  I regret not spending more time with my kids.  I regret the way I deal with every friendship in my life.

I don’t regret my wedding day though, not for a second.  That was a brilliant day.

Do you have any regrets?

The Organised Housewife

Just stop for one minute, and listen!

Last Sunday a voice started to speak to me and I could no longer ignore it.  Not one of those crazy voices in your head (although I’m not immune to them).  It was my body telling me to slow down and it hit me with an almighty thump!

I’m a pretty healthy person.  Overweight, but active and generally able to avoid the bugs that sweep through my little family without even the slightest sniffle.  On Sunday I noticed what I thought was a spider bite on my neck.  By Monday is was pretty gross so I took myself off to the Dr who declared they thought it was Shingles!  That’s basically the Chicken Pox bug coming out and rearing its ugly head months or years after you’ve overcome it the fist time.  “Have you been stressed?” the Dr asked.  I looked at her with those wide blinking eyes as if to say: “Um yes!  Of course”. Mother, worker, wife, friend…stressed!

So I bunkered down.  Cancelled appointments and stayed away from any public place for fear of passing on my lurgy to any one of my many pregnant friends.  I had to wait three days for the results to find out if it was in fact Shingles.

Those three days were spent at home.  With my boy.  The two of us together and me finally listening to my body.  I rested, I slept.  I filled my body with veggie juices full of Kale, celery and ginger.  If you don’t know what Kale is, you’re not missing out on anything.  It’s green and leafy and apparently has loads of nutrients but no flavour that they’ll ever discuss on Master Chef or My Kitchen Rules. Blergh.

I was antsy and annoyed that I had to cancel several client meetings, but there was no way I was breathing any germs around the town so I fidgeted and waited for the results to come back.

It turns out I don’t have Shingles.  It was probably a spider bite but I’ll never know.

What I do know is that it was my body telling me to just stop for one minute and listen to it. SLOW DOWN it yelled at me and I finally listened.

As mothers, employees, wives, employers and women we tend to keep going until we simply can’t take another step.  We ignore that voice in our head that yells at us to slow down and we mask it with a couple of panadol in the hope we can keep going for another minute, hour, day.  It’s time to stop.  Listen to your body and take stock of what’s going on.  The human body is a miraculous collection of Mother Nature’s finest and it requires care.  Ongoing care.

Next time you feel that niggling from within, stop and listen for a moment.  Take the time to care for yourself as it’s the only way you can continue to be of any use.  Don’t wait until you’re wiped out and huddled under the blankets.

Do something for your health today.  Perhaps go and get a Kale juice…or not!

 

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It’s ok to ask for help

Dashing from appointment to appointment, toddler in tow, mind racing with all the things that need to be done before school pick up and dinner isn’t even in the equation.  Making business calls with your foot against the office door so the kids don’t come barging in mid-sentence, realising you forgot to shave your legs this morning but you’re wearing a skirt, sending out invoices way too late!  Does it sound familiar?

Yesterday I dropped in to see a friend to pick something up.  She asked if I’d like to stay for a cuppa.  My initial instinct was to say “No, I have too much to do” but a voice came out saying yes.  I’m not sure who it was, but apparently it came from my mouth.

Sitting down at her table and chatting about everything and nothing for half an hour rejuvenated me yesterday.  It’s so easy to run the race of life at a million miles an hour and forget to take 30 minutes to sit and smell the roses – or the coffee in this case!

When I was about to leave and pack Mr3 into the car to race off to the next errand, she asked if he’d like to stay.  I’m not good at asking for help and I’m not good at accepting it.  Knowing I could dash to the next port of call without bundling my little man in and out of the car on a hot day was so appealing…

I said yes.  Thank you.  He stayed and I was able to race off and quickly get an errand out of the way and accept some help.

It had me thinking, why do we find it so hard to ask for help?  I know I’m not alone in this, and I also know I am more than happy to help friends when they reach out.  So why do we soldier on until we simply can;t walk under the weight of it all?

In my case, it’s partly to do with my upbringing.  I’m from a family of martyrs.  We’ve been told our whole life we shouldn’t be a burden on anyone.  That word burden grates on my nerves and I can’t really get my head around how people can be a burden to those who love them.  However, I guess it’s a bit like Pavlov’s dogs; I’ve heard so often throughout my 35 years that you have to do it all for yourself and it’s wrong to ask for help so I’m finally conditioned to that way of thinking.

Well yesterday I began to change.  I can’t do it all.  I do need my friends and I welcome their support.  It will take time, but I’m going to start asking for, and accepting help.

I challenge you to ask for help this week.  Accept a helping hand from a friend or loved one and see how much easier it makes your life, and also the joy your ‘helper’ gets from being able to lead a hand.  Do it.

 

 

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It’s ok to admit defeat

The day starts, she feels as if there’s a heavy weight on her shoulders.  Something is not quite right but she can’t put her finger on it.  Trying to shrug it off, she goes through the motions of the morning: breakfast, pack school bags, referee kids fighting, shower everybody, dress kids, feed pets, remember to pack file for meeting, referee kids fighting again, ferry kids to school and drive to work…the feeling is still there, whispering in her ear and she can’t seem to shake it off.  A feeling of dread and a feeling of failure.  In the middle of the night she often wakes with thoughts of all the things she should be doing swirling through her head.  This also makes the mornings harder…groundhog day. It all starts again.  Something’s gotta give!

There are times when you simply can’t see your way out of the hole.  You’ve buried yourself so deep in it, there seems no way to claw back to the surface and the sunshiny happiness of your life.

Something’s gotta give.

For me, it was a part of my business.  It was so scary to admit defeat.  To give in to the voices in my head telling me I was a failure and to shut down a core part of my income stream.  But the second I did it, the moment I decided to remove that element of my daily struggle, the weight on my shoulders began to lift.  I immediately felt lighter and happier.  Mr Handyman looked at me that evening with a quizzical look on his face and said (out of the blue) “We have our wife and mother back, don’t we?”  He could see it too.  The change was immediate.

It’s ok to admit defeat.  It’s ok to say we can’t do it all.  People say ‘just change your definition of having it all’ but the truth is, you simply can’t have it ALL.  By definition, you can’t.

What you can have is an incredibly fulfilled and balanced life.  You can be happy at work and happy at home.  You can ride over the speed bumps of life and survive the journey.  You can have wonderful relationships and enriching friendships.  You just need to admit defeat sometimes.

Look at the 80/20 rule and apply it to your life.  The 80/20 rule tells us that 80% of our time is taken up by 20% of our clients/friendships/activities.  It also says that 80% of our income/happiness/joy comes from 20% of our work/activities/friendships.  When I look at that, I found there are some things I’m doing that are eating up my time, but not giving me much in return.  Certain work, friendships, relationships.  I needed to do a stocktake of everything in my life and remove the elements that were sucking the life out of me and not really giving anything back.  I won’t lie – it was HARD.  It was also worth it.

I have admitted defeat and I’m now feeling the sunshine back on my face.  I see my smile reflected on my family’s faces and the tension seems to have left the room.

It was hard, but it was worth it.

If you ever feel things are getting too tough, please phone LifeLine.  It’s a wonderful supportive service manned by compassionate Australian’s who are there to listen 13 11 14
The Organised Housewife

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Songs for every occasion – even my funeral!

I’ve spoken before about how music is my drug.  It lifts me to the highest of highs and the tinkling of a piano can also sink me to the lowest depths of despair.  Songs have the ability to be an aphrodisiac and also put me to sleep!  So the fact that I’ve already thought about which song I’d like at my funeral doesn’t seem in the slightest morbid to me.  It’s simply a part of life.

Since seeing Love Actually and watching the Bay City Rollers blare through the church speakers singing “Bye Bye Baby” I’ve thought that there’s one song that I would love to play at my own funeral.

The only problem I have is that I’m not 100% confident about the background of the lyrics and I want to make sure my perception of the meaning behind the song is not vastly different to the general public.  My sister attended the funeral of a friend who died in tragic circumstances leaving behind a young wife and child.  In her grief, the wife chose “Better Man” by Pearl Jam to serenade her late husband.  No one told her what it actually meant, and I pray to any God who will listen that she never finds out the real meaning behind the words. It would crush her.

The song I would love played at my funeral is “Thank you” by The Whitlams.  I LOVE that song!  I want to be able to give thanks to the fabulous people who have made their mark on my soul and enriched my life.  As long as that’s what it means!

My favourite line is:

“Thank you, each and every one of you, for loving me at my worst!”

 

What do you think?  Are you with me?  It is an upbeat song celebrating true love amongst friends…please let it be so.

I’m linking up with Eden again this week.  Head on over and see what other people have chosen as their last song.

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Boosting my inner vitamin levels

Nuffnang Australia and Tourism Queensland are running a competition for Bloggers to spread the word about VitaminMe.  ‘What’s that?’ you ask.  Read on and you’ll see what I think VitaminMe is, and where you can rejuvenate your stores.

As the sun rises each day, it’s easy to get caught up in the mundane and feel like a hamster running in a wheel.  Wake up. Get dressed. Get kids fed and dressed.  Clean house. Do washing. Cook meals.  Work. Rinse and repeat.

Same. Old. Stuff.

Your soul can ache when it’s filled with all that ‘boring’.  It yearns for fun, sun, excitement and something different every now and then.  It becomes weighed down with the same old routine and lack of life!

About 2 years ago my heart was heavy and my face was bearing the marks of stress.  The kids were enveloped in my sadness and I just couldn’t see a way to claw my way back to that sparkly happiness I used to exhude…then my sister arranged a family holiday.  My father, his four daughters and our children all packing up and going to tropical  Port Douglas.

The flame in my belly tried to shine through the ‘blah’ with that exciting news but it was working overtime to stay alight!

When I stepped off the plane at Cairns airport, I immediately felt my shoulders rise and fall with a deep calming breath.  The sun kissed my skin and my neck seemed less tense.  The magic of a holiday had started to work its wonders on me. The magic of Queensland.

By the time we had arrived at our destination there had been the tinkling of laughter, animated chit-chat and the priceless sound of hysterical cackling from the children in the car.  The glorious feeling of sun on our skin after the cold Melbourne winter must have immediately boosted our vitamin D levels!

Meandering down to the beach, with not a care in the world and a great coffee in hand was the start to most days.  We’d dip our toes in the sea while the children filled their pockets and their mouths with sand!  Following an afternoon siesta we’d find somewhere to sip on mocktails and cocktails while the sun set, then fill up on fresh seafood while chatting away and not thinking about the mundane life we had left behind.

This was taken on Port Douglas beach

I’m not sure what it is about a holiday: the sun, the sand or the utter indulgence of spending entire days playing with the ones you love that makes you feel so rejuvenated.  There’s something spectacular about that feeling of freedom that enters your soul as you taste the first specks of sea-salt on your lips from the fresh sea breeze.  You can’t replicate it.  You just can’t fake it.  It has to be real and it can only be discovered when you’re truly relaxed. Queensland call this VitaminME.  It’s the vitamin that you need to feed your soul and can be found in abundance in the North East corner of our gorgeous country.  That’s where I found it.

I returned from that holiday with a spring in my step.  The tropical Queensland weather had lifted my spirits and melted away the angst I’d felt before landing on the soft sandy shore.  My VitaminME levels are dropping again, and I need to pack up my family and head back to boost them – to rejuvenate…

 

 

‘Kids of working mums more likely to be sick or injured’

Through the bleary morning haze, before my caffeine IV had kicked in, I saw a segment on Sunrise last week that jolted me out of my morning slump.

“Kids of working mums more likely to be sick or injured” read the headline.  WHAT?

As I tried to quiet the kids so I could hear what Dr Ginni Mansberg had to say on the matter, my defenses automatically kicked in.

“Crap” I thought (so eloquent first thing in the morning).

“Another bogus study.”  Trying to make myself feel better…

The study focused on 89,000 children aged 7-17 as well as drawing on 20 years of data (“fair sample size” I thought begrudgingly).  It found that children of working mothers were 200% more likely to be hospitalised, have asthma attacks, suffer serious injuries or be poisoned!

As a working mother, I think that my kids are well cared for, they are suitably supervised and just as likely as any other child to fall ill…apparently not.

After the steam stopped coming out my ears, and I actually listened to Dr Ginni Mansberg and her take on the study, it was apparent that there are some increased risk factors to the children of working mums.

The working mother is more likely to brush off a mildly sick child and send them to school which can result in a more severe illness or reaction.  For example in the case of asthma.  A working mother is also more likely to have a latch-key kid who can burn themselves or injure themselves in the period between when school ends and the parents get home.  A working mother is more likely to put off a Dr’s appointment until after an important meeting if we don’t think our child is particularly ill.

That’s a hard pill to swallow, but it also rings true.

I’ll never forget driving home from an insane day at the office once, my daughter was aged around 18months and my husband had picked her up from childcare.  He called me in a panic because he realised she’d taken one of his tablets that had been sitting on the bench.  Normally medication was stored up high, but we’d both been busy that week, our daughter hadn’t been sleeping and subsequently neither had we.  I was stuck in Hoddle Street traffic in a panic and my husband was trying to work out if it had only been one tablet or two that she’d swallowed.  I phoned the poisons hotline and was assured she’d be ok.  It was a tense 10 minutes and never again have any medication been left at child-height.

That’s how easily it can happen.

We’re busy, we’re tired, we have important meetings and we’re human.

I could find you a dozen studies telling us the children of working mums are more healthy in order to make us all feel more at ease, but instead of brushing this one-off, let’s use it as an opportunity to be more aware of the possibilities.

We’re all just doing the absolute best we can as women, mothers, wives, partners, colleagues, friends and employees.  Let’s take a deep breath and not be alarmist about this study, instead make sure we take an extra moment to lock away the poisons, teach our children home safety and check their temp before bundling them off to school.

What do you think?  Are your children any more or less sickly than those of non-working parents in your circle?

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Music is my drug

From an early age, I realised that music was my drug of choice.  It could raise me out of a funk better than any illicit substance, and it could also transport me to a deep, dark place.  I use it to my advantage and when I’m feeling particularly mojo-less, I’ll whack on a bit of Black Eyed Peas as loud as is possible without bursting the eardrums of my little people.  I’m not sure what it is about songs: the beat, the words, the memories they bring to the fore…there’s something about music that can swing my emotional pendulum from withdrawn to elation in an instant.

This morning I was watching Sunrise and they announced that Coldplay will be performing on their show this month.  A snippet of this song was played and it transported me back to 2003.  My eyes immediately filled with tears, before my brain could compute why such a strong emotion was taking hold.  A few seconds later and my head caught up to my heart, remembering a small online mother’s group I was a member of whilst pregnant with Stinky.  We would share our updates along the journey of our pregnancies as we were all due at the same time.  One day, at around the 24 week mark, one member sadly announced her beloved baby girl had been born too soon and passed away.  Maybe it was the heightened pregnancy hormones, or the loss of such an innocent life, but after hearing that the song ‘The Scientist’ by Coldplay was played at her funeral I’ve never been able to hear it without welling up.

 

 

Conversely, on a day when my mojo seems to be lost at the bottom of my makeup drawer, I can turn on this Black Eyed Peas song and dance around the kitchen with wild abandonment and the funk seems to fall out the end of my spirit fingers!  It works just as well in the car, although I can’t have it quite as loud as I’m usually transporting little people and their ears are somewhat sensitive to ridiculously loud music.  So, to pep you up on this humpday, here is a song to make you dance like no-one is watching…

 

 

 

Are there any songs that make you cry or smile?

Meditation and the art of relaxation

There are very few clear memories I have of my childhood, but one that stands out to me is of meditating in primary school.  I know, right?  A child of the 80’s and we were meditating at school!  We used to go into the library, lay on the carpet amongst the shelves of books and be whisked away to a place of calm.  I still use the exact technique I was taught all those years ago, especially when I can’t sleep.  We were told to lay flat on our back, arms by our sides and legs uncrossed.  We had to visualise a bright ball of light in the centre of our chest which would slowly find its way down one leg, then the other, up our chest and down both arms.  Eventually it would go up through our neck and face pushing all the ‘bad’ out through the tops of our head.  For me, it doesn’t work unless I actually ‘see’ the light.  I have to push everything else out of my busy mind to accomplish this, and it can be tough.

That’s my understanding of meditation.  It always leaves me feeling calm and at peace.  I have a lot of trouble sleeping (I hate night-time and the darkness) but this technique helps me to quiet my busy mind and eventually fall asleep.

That is what we learnt in the 80’s and I’m no expert, so I asked my very clever friend Sam Bell to guest post today on her experience with meditation.  I really believe it helps to focus when things get crazy and overwhelming at work and at home.

I’ve been running my Social Media business for 5 years – nearly 6! A year ago, I was inspired by a friend, Jan Stewart, to meditate at the start and end of each day. Funnily enough, it must have been the right time as in the past I’d dabbled in meditation and done a lot of yoga – though never thought I could do a year of daily meditation. 

I meditate as soon as I wake in the morning and it’s the last thing I do at the end of the day. I find it gives me so many gains in life and that it is routine now that I have very rarely thought of it as a chore or needing to fit it into my schedule. 

I do between 10-20 minutes meditation. You may decide to do 5 minutes. Whatever works for you.

Here’s my steps:

1. Get comfortable – for me that’s cross-legged in bed or on a chair or the floor. If it’s noisy, I might put earplugs in as I’m mindful I’m still a meditation beginner who can be influenced by noises around me.

2. (Optional – For Twitter users, I tweet from @SamBe11 that I’m meditating and for others to join me – the Twitter hashtag is #deepdive)

3. Set the iPhone timer to 20 minutes and start.

4. Close my eyes and focus on going deeper inside and broader in my mind… I let my thoughts go. Many people talk about what this means so there’s much written about it and this is the point I receive most questions about. It’s really that I’ve found my own way – and you can find yours – to quieten the thoughts – trust that you can. When my mind is very busy, I concentrate on going ‘down’ in my subconscious – sometimes it been focusing on a point in my mind. I’m apologetic that I can’t describe it any better. Trust yourself to find your own.

5. And after 20 mins, of struggle / calm / freedom from thought… it’s over with the harp sounding from my iPhone. 

Jan has many years of experience in meditation and yoga. She’s been learning about other people’s forms of meditation that’s not sitting still – many find it through sport – running, swimming, cycling. It’s whatever works for you. 

I find swimming is great too and I also appreciate the practice of sitting still to slow thoughts.

All in all, it’s been a wonderful experience for me as my brain is very creative and thinks of many ideas, things to do and concerns to have. Meditation has allowed me clarity of what to do next, easier mind and way of being in life, and wisdom that when things are seeming hard or not right, that always, everything I do is positive and always heading the ‘right direction’.

Meditating enhances my flow in life. May it do the same for you.

You can find Sam travelling the world, skiing whenever there’s a drop of snow, running social media seminars through Runway Digital and so much more.  Perhaps she fits so much into her schedule due to the calm she finds through mediation.

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