Tag: Health and Fitness

Dealing with Stress

I’m not normally a very stressed person. Anyone who knows me, normally sees me as pretty cool, calm and collected. So last week, I had a bit of a breakdown and it scared the bejeezes out of me. I was trying to make my antioxidant smoothie bowl, made up of a handful of spinach, a handful of cos lettuce, berries, protein powder, ¼ cup coconut milk, maca powder, cinnamon, coconut oil, ¼ avocado and some ice (thanks to mademymia for the recipe) and my blender wouldn’t blend. So I pushed my hand in to smush the ingredients up and ended up slicing my finger on the blade. Normally this wouldn’t bother me, I’d just have a bit of a “what a dick” moment, but instead on that particular morning I found myself bursting into tears, and this pretty much set me up for the day. I struggled quite a bit last week, I was incredibly tired, stressed from work and it then mixed in with being a bit emotional…it didn’t work well for me.

There were a couple of things that I noticed – I haven’t been hungry, at dinner especially and I’ve been waking up at 4am nearly climbing out of bed before I’ve realised I still have an hour more of sleep to go. Work has been quite busy lately, and I was struggling to see how much longer I can keep going the way I’m going. (I will, coz I love my job, but last week was definitely the hardest so far)

I emailed my darling Mia who gave me some amazing ideas. Stress is such a horrible thing to deal with, and people deal with it in so many different ways. I go as follows: fine fine fine fine fine, not fine and crash. I’ll keep going till the very last possible moment.

I really needed to bring my stress levels down. Stress causes adrenaline, which makes your body think it’s going into survival mode – survival mode = body thinking “hey there’s no food so I better hang onto this fat that’s hanging around” which ain’t good, and this mixed in with adrenal fatigue is a recipe for disaster. You can read more about how I’m dealing with that here. So (thanks to Mia’s advice) I ran out and bought some Rescue Remedy. This stuff is amazing. It actually is instant relief. I left my desk and sat in a quiet room and did some deep breathing for 5 mins and then I was good to go. The tears came pretty freely during the 5 minutes, but man I felt better. I can remember using Rescue Remedy as a child before music exams, but never thought of using it as an adult. This stuff will be staying in my handbag from now on.

The other thing that’s been worrying me is my 4am wakeup. It’s never in a panic, I just kind of wake up and start getting up. Or I’ll wakeup already half getting up, or looking at my phone – that was the worrying bit. Anyways, according to Chinese medicine, certain hours of the evening link to certain emotional or physical issues – and 4am is linked to the liver and to grief/loss. I’ve been a bit homesick lately, and this might be my subconscious way of letting my body know about it. This might take bit of time to deal with, but at least I know what might be causing my interrupted sleep. I’ve also started drinking dandelion tea, which is great for the liver.

By the time Friday came around I was done. I just wanted to go home straight after work and cry in a corner. Technically, I needed to go to the gym, I had only had 2 workouts that week, and there was a tiny part of me that still thought it would be a good idea. But I rebelled. I went home and I think it was the best decision I could ever have made. So what did I do instead? I got home early and sat up with my future mother in law and had few wines and talked about my childhood. She’s a pretty spectacular lady who I’m very blessed to have in my life, she had picked me up from the train station and we had a good old gasbag about everything and anything. My boyfriend came home after work and we watched a movie (well I feel asleep and he watched it) it was perfect.

Saturday morning I woke up with a decision. I was going to take the weekend off – no stressing about food, exercise, weights, work..anything… I was just going to do and eat whatever felt natural.

Saturday my darling boyfriend took me shopping. Yep, he’s one of those boyfriends… He knew I was feeling crappy, and had discovered a new shop that he knew I would love, so Saturday he took me out for a green juice and then to shop. I ended up falling in love with quite a few of the clothes, and my poor credit card took a beating. BUT the best thing about this shopping trip? COMPLIMENTS. SO MANY COMPLIMENTS. The girls in the shop all complimented me on my figure and how good the clothes looked, random strangers told me I looked beautiful and my darling boyfriend made me feel like a million dollars. It’s been a while since I felt like this, and I embraced every second. The shop was called Retrobilia – you can check out their stuff here. I’ve always been quite a fan of the 50s and 60s rockabilly style – and it seems my body is a fan as well. I used to do a bit of burlesque dancing, so it was nice to get close to that again.  Burlesque was a fun time for me, and I would seriously suggest every woman gives it a go. It’s such a great way to become familiar with your body – and you really learn to love all those curves (as well as learn some saucy moves for the bedroom). Anyways, here are a few photos from my shopping trip.

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I also relaxed up a little bit on my food this weekend. This didn’t mean that I ate crap all weekend, and overate during every meal – but I ate what felt and tasted natural, and as it turned out – this was all pretty close to what I would eat normally (plus some cake and icecream). It was just so nice to shut off for the weekend and concentrate on relaxing and rejuvenating.

And now? I’m back in the gym with Mark and shit it felt good. My weight? Hasn’t changed. My mind however feels refreshed and repowered. Ready to hit it hard this week. I can do this, and I will.

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The Girl Who Lifts

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Fight the fatigue

Change is as good as a holiday…or so they say… But change has happened and now it’s time to embrace it. My trainer, Jake, has decided to move on to a different line of work so unfortunately won’t be training me anymore. I’m pretty gutted, as was really enjoying the journey we were on… BUT things aren’t as terrible as they could be, coz I’m back with Mark, my original trainer. We’ve had four sessions so far and they have been awesome. Mark’s dedication to the job and love for what he does is infectious – so it’s hard not to feel really motivated at the moment.

Me and Mark

The sessions are a bit different, lots more attention on my technique which means I’ve had to take the weight down a little bit but I’m still loving it.  I’ve been eating well, drinking loads of water and feeling pretty good. So I’ve made the decision (thanks to a slight push from my darling friend Kate) that it’s time to compete. Actually put my powerlifting into action and see where it can take me. It’s a scary but exciting step, and I know I have an amazing cheer squad who will be behind me every step of the way. The other night we did squats, lots of them, with 30kgs – and this time we went aaaaaaall the way down, instead of the ¾ squats I was doing before. Learning to engage my glutes, which will help so much more in competition.  I am still feeling it today…

Sunday night I caught up with my amazing nutritionist. She really is an incredible person and I feel so blessed to have her watching over me. Anyways, it seems my morning cortisol levels are really low. From what I have read (and please correct me if I’m wrong), cortisol levels rise and fall during a 24hr day, and it is normally at its highest between 6am-8am. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal gland and is often known the “stress” hormone as it is secreted at higher levels during the bodies “fight or flight” response to stress and is responsible for several of the stress related changes in the body. It helps support blood sugar levels and helps metabolism.

With my crazy hours and lack of sleep, my adrenal glands are under huge amounts of stress which is causing adrenal fatigue – hence the low levels of cortisol in the mornings. Adrenal fatigue is normally characterised by the following:

–        Feeling tired for no reason
–        Trouble getting up in the morning
–        Rundown or overwhelmed
–        Difficultly bouncing back from illness or stress
–        Craving sweet and salty snacks
–        More awake, alert and energetic after 6pm

The shocking and hard thing is – I’ve been feeling fatigued like this for a while, but just saw it as quite normal, until now. I’ve been commuting 2.5hrs each way to work for nearly 9 months now, and this tired feeling has slowly snuck up on me. It’s really hard finding a balance between making sure I have my life organised, spending time with my boyfriend and sleeping. I get asked so often how I do it – and I’m not really sure…it’s the choice I have made at this point of my life, so I just need to get it done. Fatigue is different from just being tired…it’s hard to concentrate, “foggy” feeling in the brain, and just a general overall run down feeling.

So what can I do? Apart from try and get more sleep at night (which is going to be difficult) I am now starting that mission to find the answer – will keep you posted.

For now, I’m making sure I’m staying as relaxed as possible, deep breathing, and today at lunch even did some stretching our meeting room floor.

BUT on a happy note my weight is slowly dropping, which is great. It’s such a satisfying feeling knowing I’m treating my body right, and it’s responding in a positive way.

BACK!! Show the guns!

The Girl Who Lifts
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Proud

Being proud of yourself is a funny one – but I think it’s something everyone should embrace. Even if it’s just looking yourself in the mirror and saying “You did good today” you need to congratulate yourself on the milestones. It feels a little bit weird at first, but stick with it. Being about to look yourself in the eye in the mirror and give a compliment is such a huge part of loving your awesome self. And trust me – you are awesome. Try writing it down on a piece of paper and reading it back to yourself, you won’t be able to wipe the smile off your face.
Today I am so unbelievable proud of what I have achieved.

–        I had a sneaky weigh in this morning and I sat on 88.2 – words cannot even describe how it feels to weigh this. 90kgs has literally stuck with me for months and months, and to see a number under that was incredible. Proud!

–        I also had a deadlift session tonight. About 12 weeks ago I reached a PB of 140kgs, but after Christmas and then injuring my back I struggled to get back up there. Tonight I made it – 140kgs. We then followed with 4 x 8 100kgs and then 4 x 6 100kgs. It ruined me and MAN it felt good. Proud!

–        I’m also LOVING watching my body change. I have a waist now, my legs are looking amazing and I’m noticing a change in my arms and back. Proud!

 

I think this means an extra $5 in the tip jar 🙂

SO – why are you proud of yourself?

 

The Girl Who Lifts.
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What I’ve learned so far

By the time the weekend hits, I’m pretty buggered, so I like to take some timeout to do some meditation, yoga and reflection. On Saturdays especially, I like to go out for a massive walk, and then come home and cook myself some eggs and a smoothie, sit and enjoy the morning. I can’t help but laugh at how much I have changed over the last month or so. Before, I would literally just eat toast with honey or marmite…all day in the weekends. I would feel depressed, gross and sink deeper into the unhealthy lifestyle. But now…BOOM! There’s no stopping me. I think it’s really important to take time to reflect on what you have learned when you’re going through a change. It makes it easier to realise just how far you have come, notice what you’re finding difficult and make a plan to overcome these difficulties.

Saturday morning walk

For me, my difficulties are when I’m tired, this is when my sugar cravings and fatty food cravings hit the hardest. So this is where being prepared is SO important. With my crazy commute to and from work every day, I’m having to have one night during the week where I cook and get to bed a little later than normal. It’s hard and I get grumpy, but I just have to push on through and remind myself WHY I’m doing it.

This morning I’m sitting down with my avo and cacoa smoothie (Thanks Mia) and having a think about what I’ve learned so far…

Support: There is no way I could do this without the support and love that I have. Don’t try and do it yourself. There is so much knowledge and advice out there, but you need to get out and get it. Ask questions, seek the knowledge and learn. Read my post on Reaching Out for more on this.

Be Happy: This is one of the most important lessons I have learned. You need to be happy, you need to enjoy what you are doing. Find what you enjoy and stick with it. For me – it’s my weight lifting. People actually think I’m crazy when they learn how much I lift, but for me, nothing beats that feeling I get after a big weights session. I think this is so important in all aspects of your life – have a hobby! Whether it’s scrapbooking, or collecting shells, doing puzzles or gardening, have something that is just yours, and makes your soul happy when you do it. Take time out each day to be grateful for what you have. It may feel lame, but after a while it just feels like part of your routine. Every morning when I’m having my cup of hot water and apple cider vinegar I sit, smile and be thankful. It sets me up for a good day every day. Read further about being happy here.

Life only comes around once, so do whatever makes you happy, and be with whoever makes you smile.

Learn: Take time each week to do some research. There are so many different ideas, diets, fads, success stories and things to try. RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH. Know what you’re doing before you do it. I’m very lucky to be working with a holistic nutritionist who I am learning SO much from and I love it.

Plan and be prepared: I can’t say this enough, PLAN PLAN PLAN. I read once that if you don’t plan you plan for failure. Man this is true! Use an afternoon in the weekend to plan and prepare your meals. Lately, I’ve also taken much pleasure in cooking my meals. It’s a real feeling of success when you look in the fridge and see healthy food that I’ve cooked. Be prepared for those moments when you want something extra – this really eliminates any chance of going to the crap food.

Find your motivation: I feel there are two sorts of motivation – external and internal. External being the people around you – for me it’s my trainers, my boyfriend, my parents, my friends and my nutritionist. Internal being the small things you have that you do just for you – I have my inspiration board, my tip jar, and the little bit of happiness that I get when I know that I’ve worked my hardest. I’ve written more on this here.

Breath: I never knew the importance of this until recently. Take a few minutes every hour or so to take 10 deeps breaths. That’s all you need to do – trust me, you’ll notice the difference.

Enjoy the process: Enjoy it, learn from it, live it.

I’ve also hit a massive PB on my squats – 120kgs x5. Weapon

Hot and sweaty after a gym session

The Girl Who Lifts

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Saying Less

The past two sessions have been absolutely crazy. I LOVE IT!

Yesterday:
Bike – 30secs on and 30secs off
Bike – 1min on 30secs off
Dumbell row and over-head press
Walking lunges and 30secs of steps
Finished with 4mins of 20secs on 10secs off on the rowing machine

Tonight:
DEADLIFTS (my fav) – Worked my way up to 120kgs. Did 2 sets x4 and x3
Barbell rows – 40kgs 5 sets of 10
Seated row – not sure how much weight but it was heavy. 3 sets of 8
Single arm row – 25kg dumbells 5 sets of 8

DEAD! But SOOOOOO happy! My fitness seems to be reaching a new level. Which is awesome. I have a love/hate relationship with intervals, but the fitter I seem to be getting, the more I seem to love it. And tonight I loved it.

So as you all know I’ve been working very closely with the amazing Amelia (verde-health.com) who has been helping with my diet. One of the things I’ve really been working on is being conscious of my eating – enjoying the food and really enjoying each new dish I’m eating. I’m actually really enjoying eating new foods and trying new things – it’s a big step for me.

I’ve made some YUMMY things – paleo bread, quiche, green smoothies, chicken dishes, chickpea fritters, shepherds pie with cauliflower mash on top… I’m loving it!

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But one thing I do still struggle with is turning down yummy stuff. Candy, biscuits, anything on the “you shouldn’t eat this” list. So I’ve learned a new trick, and it’s working out pretty well. Learn to say less.

So how does “saying less” work? WELL. Previously when I’ve been eating healthy (or on a diet) I’ll live by the principle of saying NO to everything that doesn’t “fit” in the diet, I’ll say no over and over and over again until I can’t do it anymore and I’ll end up eating well over what I should. So now, I’m saying less. Still enjoying those treats but learning to say less and be satisfied with it! We had biscuits in the office the other day, and normally I would say no, no, no, no, ohhhhhhhhh ok…grab a couple, and then suddenly I’ve eaten most of them. But now, I just say less. Have one, enjoy it (thoroughly) and then be done with it. It’s a step in the direction of self-control.

Now self-control is a difficult one, and something I REALLY struggle with. It’s like a switch in my brain just turns off and I just eat everything yummy. Everything I can see. I think by “saying less” I can set myself a limit and enjoy it. Binge eating was a regular event for me… like I’ve said before I would eat every time I felt some sort of emotion: happy, sad, angry, bored… looking back I’m quite impressed at how much I could eat (read emotional eating part 1 and part 2)

Today was pretty hard and it was the first time I felt those food emotions flood back. I had quite a stressful morning which turned into a rather stressful day. My yummy food brain clicked into over drive and I wanted food. Bad food. Now. BUT 100 points to me coz I worked my way through it and rewarded myself with deadlifts. BEST REWARD EVER.

So let’s continue with the “saying less” – eat less, weigh less, live more!

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The Girl Who Lifts

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Motivation – how to find it

I am back in the deadlift arena!! Had another epic session tonight and Jake and I thought we Being a noodle after trainingwould see how I went with some very low weight and just moved up from there. They felt AMAZING. Tight, strong and no pain (in my back that is – there was pain everywhere else) I’ve really missed them! We got up to about 70kgs and just did sets of 8-10 reps. They felt good… We followed this with some pull ups – now, these really aren’t my favourite thing to do. They never have been. I try and I try – but they just never get easier. I’m hoping that as I get lighter they will (as there will be less of my ass to pull up) but we will see.  As I did with my deadlifts when I first started – just have to push on through.

 

My wonderful nutritionist has been sending me some amazing recipes, and I am really really really getting into my cooking. For anyone that knows me – the furthest my cooking skills ever went was boiling an egg (although I struggled with that at 5am this morning), BUT last night I cooked myself absolutely delicious Kumara and Pumpkin fritters (with only a little bit of help from my chef boyfriend) and they were yummmmmmmmmmy. The fact that they are actually tasting good is making me more and more excited about cooking more things… I really should start taking photos of my skills (I know my mother would need a photo to actually believe I cooked anything)

I am also feeling quite blessed about the messages people are sending me – you all know who you are, but your support and love is so very much appreciated.

A lot of people have been asking me about my motivation, how I get it and where I seem to find it. So here are my thoughts…

I believe you create your own motivation – only YOU know what gets you going and what gets you excited. You need to find these things, and DO THEM.

I like treats – whether it be getting my nails done, a new pair of shoes, getting a massage or my hair done…I like to treat myself. So this week I made myself a motivation tip jar. The rules are simple – every time I have a good workout, or stick to my meal plan, reach a new PB or just feel happy with my results – I put a gold coin in the jar. When I’ve reached my first goal weight…I get to treat myself, with whatever I want (obviously this won’t be food related as I’m really trying not to reward myself with food) and I know I will have EARNED it.

Tip Jar!

I’m also a visual person – so I’m creating myself a motivation vision board. Bright, colourful, my goals are written loud and proud and I can see them every day. I have photos of things that make me happy, power words and where I want to be.

Self praise – I give myself a high five all the time. YOU KNOW when you’ve done a good job, so congratulate yourself!! Look yourself in the mirror and say “YOU DID AWESOME!” Say it until you actually believe it. This also ties in well with my post about Loving Yourself – if you haven’t read it, do. Loving yourself will give you all the motivation you need.

Keep track of your achievements. Photos, keep a diary, track your progress and your own PBs, once you see what you’ve done, you’ll want to do more.

Find your own cheer squad – people you trust who will help you when you’re feeling down. I am SO blessed to have the people I have around me through this journey. My trainers especially, and my boyfriend and family and friends – all who give me a wee sparkle of motivation when it’s needed.

Just do it. Sometimes it’s just this simple. A trick that I learned was that you give yourself 15mins. If after 15mins you really really don’t want to exercise, stop. Your body obviously needs the rest. But most of the time the endorphins will kick in and you’ll want to keep going and going.

 

The Girl Who Lifts

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Drama on the way home

So last night I took the wrong train home and ended up an hour outside of Sydney…in the wrong direction. I don’t know how I managed to go an hour without realising, I don’t even know how I ended up on the wrong train! I was pretty panicked when I realised and automatically I could feel my body going “EAT! YOU NEED TO EAT NOW!”

Before – I would have listened to my body and eaten everything I could see. But I now know, after reading Dr Libby, that this is my body going into survival mode – adrenaline is pumping and thanks to our caveman ancestors thinks that I’m running out of food and I’m going to starve – when actually all I’ve done is a REALLY stupid mistake.

I called my boyfriend in tears and he REALLY calmed me down. I did some deep breaths and we focused on working out what on earth we were going to do. We decided that I would get on the next train back to Sydney, and he would start driving towards Sydney (we live 2.5hrs south of Sydney, I was and hour north) and then I would catch the train towards where we live and we would meet half way. DRAMA!

Luckerly I had my dinner with me (due to my new healthy eating plan) so I slowly ate that and tried to work out how this had happened. I still haven’t answered this – I think it will remain one of life’s great mysteries.

Anyways, when I finally got to where I was meeting my boyfriend, I stepped off the train and there it was…chocolate.
My brain went crazy – so I slowed down and asked myself some very important questions.
Will this nourish me? – YES
Will this make me happy? – YES
Will I feel better after eating it? – YES

So I bought it. And I enjoyed and loved every small bite. And man I felt good afterwards.

The Girl Who Lifts (aka The Girl Who Can’t Use Her Brain)

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Staying emotional

The last few days I have been doing some mega research – online, reading books, talking to friends, family – EVERYTHING. And I have come to this conclusion.

My weight loss mission is going to be SO MUCH MORE than just eating better and exercising more.

One of my new found idols is Dr Libby – and I feel I’m going to be referring to her a lot over the next 6months. I’ve started reading her book Accidentally Overweight and already I’m feeling better. “By exploring the physical mechanisms of your biochemistry and the emotional driving forces in your life, you will understand what has governed the growing and shrinking of your body up until now” YES – now I’m getting somewhere!

I decided to take it back to the basics. How I feel and What I eat.
As I’ve said before – I love to socialise and eat. I love to go out for a meal, or get some cheese and crackers and sit and eat with my friends. This makes me feel happy. When I’m sad – nothing comforts me more than junk food and a movie and when I’m stressed I’ll eat anything. This is where my problems lie. It’s got nothing to do with being hungry – It’s literally just because it feels damn good.

I have always been this way  – It’s a very terrible habit I’ve gotten into. My mum has done all she can to help me with my weight – helped me cook, paid for a dietician, researched, rewarded and comforted. But this needs to come from me and only me.

My mum and stepdad are visiting at the moment, and my mother (being a former fatty) has over the last few years fought her own battle with weight loss and has recently got down to a beautiful size 10. She looks amazing. She loves to walk so we went on a massive hill walk to the Seven Mile Beach lookout in Gerroa, and of course our discussions ended up with health. It was great. I’m so intrigued by people’s ideas and answers, and for the first time in my life – I think my Mum and I actually talked about my weight with no argument, and without me getting defensive. It was great.

I also had the best soul hugging chat with my soul sister back home this morning. She is one girl who will back me no matter what I do, her heart and soul support me, so her ideas are first on my list.

So – where too from now?

1. Food diary – but a little more intensive. When I eat, what I eat and how I feel. I’m excited.

2. Naturopath – see what answers they have

BOOM! I also love emails – so if anyone has any ideas – email them to me 🙂 thegirlwholifts@gmail.com

The Girl Who Lifts

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Seven Mile Beach

Emotional eating

So I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed by support for this blog…I can’t really believe it. Many of you are loving the honesty behind this…so I’m gonna stick with it.

This morning I was woken by a message from a very old friend mine, I’ve known her since I was 5 tears old…so she knows me. She brought up the idea of emotional eating, and the emotional side of why I am the way I am. She suggested seeing a counsellor, to discuss my emotional habits which I am thoroughly thinking about.

I am emotional eater. I eat when I happy, I eat when I’m sad, I eat when I’m bored, excited, socialising, etc etc. I’ve never really thought about why though. I’ve seen counsellors before, and they have really really helped..so maybe this is a path I need to take to get me to where I need to be.

Whenever I read about weight loss stories it’s always “I woke up and decided to eat healthy and exercise and then I just lost weight”

Is it really that easy? So why has that not happened to me? This annoys the shit out of me..which I is why I want to look at every side of losing weight, coz surely it can’t be that easy for everyone. Stick with me and I’ll let you know.

P.S Today was exercise day so my boyfriend and I went out into the surf bodyboarding for about an hour. If you’ve ever waded through knee deep water in a strong current you will understand… It burns. I’m pretty sure it’s going to hurt tomorrow.

The Girl Who Lifts

Food frustration

So I went to the dietician today. We went through my food diary and talked about portions and then she said this…

“It looks pretty good to me”

What does that even mean?!! Obviously I’m doing something wrong otherwise I wouldn’t be in this situation. She must have picked up on my disbelief as she very quickly followed with…

“But there are some things you could change.”

Her suggestions: Have ½ cup of oats instead of a full cup and cut up some fruit in the evenings if I’m feeling like something sweet. Wow. That’s the best you’ve got? I’m sitting here, asking for your advice…and you tell me to cut up some fruit?

She finished up by telling me to “give it a go” and come back in 2-3 months.

So back to the doc I go to get another referral to another dietician for another opinion. I’m not going to stop until I get some answers.

After work I (luckily) had another session with Jake – 50kg bench press today. I’m still feeling pretty weak in my arms, and I feel it’s a real mental fight to push myself to failing point. Jake is amazing at getting me to my limit and tonight was one of those nights. We followed the bench with some incline dumbbell work, some overhead shoulder press and then a quick circuit (made up of kettlebell swings, skipping and abs) to finish off. Arms are def not my favourite thing to do, but I’m learning to love it.

I had a steak for dinner with my friend Rachael and caught the late train home. Again a perfect example of me using food to socialise, but it was the only chance I was going to see her…and it was a damn good steak.

The Girl Who Lifts