Saturday, 27 July 2013

Fat and Back: A Follow Up

I was orignally going to just respond to Marion's comment, but I decided to extend things into a full post.

Basically, I was excited that Marion found my post interesting, because I love to read what she writes, so it was nice to think I could show her something new :)

I also felt that I just didn't do the doco enough justice. For starters, in explaining PJ's story, especially as he was gaining weight; and also the impact it had on me. I think the effect of what I saw is going to stick with me for a long while.

I really wish I could link to full documentary, because it was fascinating watching, and as I mentioned last week, scary and confronting. Really put a mirror up to me (and my mind) and gave me a reality dose. A mental Gibbs' slap if you will.

However, because there doesn't seem to be the full documentary online anywhere, I have tracked down some youtube clips that cover some of what I talking about last week. 

For starters, this youtube clip from the documentary's website is a pretty good summary of the entire doco.

Oh! And this one!!  Here you see one of the diary entries where he was not happy with himself.

Additionally, these are some further youtube clips for him that I think covered pretty well what was happening in the 'gaining' phase of his experiment.  <-- The Morning Show (AUS)    <--  Good Morning America (USA)
And a 3 part series for the same TV program here in Australia.  I couldn't track down if there was a fourth part...

By this video, I guess all the information is starting to be repetitive, but there may still be something interesting you may get out of it, especially for American readers.

Overall, I'd have to say, I found that first part of the documentary the most fascinating.  To see how his mindset to food completely changed.  How much he found food to be a comfort.  And food was the biggest factor for him in his life.  Those first two videos really cover what this documentary meant to me. 

It was just such a shock to see this fit, healthy guy, whose life is all about being fit and in great shape, go from that, to a blob, so quickly.  And that he had those same characteristics of overweight people - lethargy, curve in the lower back from all the weight he was carrying, the "Oh sure, I'll just a eat a little of that".  He underwent the same feelings and mental stuff that I do.  I don't think it matters that he only did this in 6 months, while I've gained over 6 years.  The point is those mind games your body does with food are real.  He was still picking up that mentality and food addiction of someone who eats too much.

I am really glad that I watched that documentary.  It was sheer luck I found it, because I was channel surfing and it's on a station I don't normally watch.  

So lesson learned from the doco?  Bad food habits are easy to make and hard to break.  But they are not unbreakable.  I can do this well if I start slow but stay strong and stay comitted. 

I mentioned last week that I stopped being as diligent as I should be with the food journaling.  So all this past week I've started journaling & weighing everything again.  And yes, honestly I've eaten some foods that I probably shouldn't have and I have not been under my calorie goal for every day, but I'm confident that I have been a heck of a lot closer to my calorie goal across the week than I was in the last two weeks.

Monday is my next weigh-in morning. If I can find where I put my tape measure, I will take some measurements too. Maybe even create a measurements page. This Monday marks 5 weeks that I've started to relook at my efforts. 3 weeks of good eating mixed with 2 weeks of poor. We'll see what happens and let the results speak for themselves.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Fat and Back

I am in the process of watching a documentary on T.V., as I write this so this post will be a little bit disjointed.

The doco I’m watching is called“Fat and Back”. It is both fascinating and terrifying. It’s an Australian documentary focusing on PJ, a personal trainer, who decided that for the space of one year, he was going to gain 50% of body weight and lose it again.

A personal trainer, PJ, made the comment that one of his overweight (obese) clients had cancelled for the third time in a row and it made him annoyed that the client was “giving up”. PJ rang him and said, “just follow what I say for 3 months and after that you’ll see how easy it is.” The client replied with “live like I do for 6 months and then you’ll see how hard it is.”

That was the starting point.

From the first of January PJ made the journey to go from 80 kilos to 120 kilos. He did this by stopping exercise and by eating junk foods. It was surprising to see how quickly he turned to food. He was noticing that because he wasn’t getting the energy burst that he used to from exercise, he was relying on food. When he did his grocery shop, he made the commentary “oh, see, they put this food and the end of the aisles to get you sucked in … and it works” (he grabbed one for his trolley). He also saw chocolate bars on special “oh I don’t really need them … oh, maybe just one”. It was that easy. He just kept picking up the food and putting it in the trolley

It was especially strange/scary to see how easily he forgot how much food he was eating. He went through a Hungry Jacks drive-thru and as he was there, ordering his food, he kept adding“just one more,” and “oh, I more thing”. When he got home and was talking to the camera, he tipped his chips (fries) out onto the table to eat them, when one of his mates (filming) pointed out they weren’t his chips. It took a while for PJ to believe him, because he had completely forgotten that he had eaten his in the car. That was scary to watch him realise that he had no recollection of having already eaten.

The doctors/nutritionists/psychologists that were part of the doco also mentioned things like this. That when obese people recount what they've eaten, they appear to have eaten less than fit/healthy people. But when it came down to it, obese people didn't even realise sometimes when they were eating.

By April he’d gained 28 kilos. And he was struggling. He was depressed and unhappy with himself. He pointed out that his arms were coming up in bumps – the toxins from the food he said. Like tiny pimples. I get them too and never realised that there was a connection to what I was eating. PJ also brought up how one night he went to bed, and without anything seeming to trigger it, he felt his entire left side go numb. He freaked out, thought that maybe he was having a stroke. He was even contemplating calling his doctors to find out what was wrong. When he did get up, he noticed it was better, he was okay, but, the thing he went to was more food, jelly snakes. He even wondered if they might have been the cause of the incident because he’d had some earlier in the evening, but then changed his mind after he ate some more.

He got to the point where he had reached his target goal of 120kg. But he couldn’t handle it. The pressure he felt at what he was doing, and how awful he felt was so much that he became reclusive and wasn’t leaving the house or answering the phone. He ended up going overseas for a couple of weeks, just to get away. And he pointed out on the camera diary, that that was it. He’d had enough.

I’m going to try to not write a whole review of the doco (it’s finished now – I’m a terribly slow typer!) but the reason I wanted to write about it was because it shocked me just how similar what he was going through as he was gaining the weight is how similar I feel now, at this weight.

His next 6 months involved him getting fit again and taking on an overweight client to motivate and lose weight at the same time. That started off okay, but by the end, she wasn’t someone he could help. She stopped coming & didn’t have the commitment. She also felt that he wasn’t the right person to motivate her because she felt that even though he had gained all this weight, he still didn’t get what it was like to be a fat person. To be someone who has always been fat and has felt the mental struggle with overcoming that.

She also felt that he was more interested in the doco than helping her, which I felt was unfair, and maybe only slightly true, given that we didn’t see how he was with other clients.

In the end, PJ did get back down to the weight he was at the start of the year. But it was a struggle for him. On the very first day he was to change (1st July), he “eased back” into exercising. After just two minutes on a treadmill, he was puffed. He struggled to sit up after being on a weight bench. PJ mentioned he actually felt like some junk food. Right there, he wanted to stop training, just to go get some junk food. Later that day he was caught trying to sneak some pizza. This was after having two meat pies for lunch. That just goes to show how easy it is to get into a food addiction and just how hard it is to switch off. This is a guy who is a personal trainer, who has won some titles and photo shoots for being “Mr Fitness Muscles” (or whatever those titles are). His life revolves are fitness and eating well. In 6 months, he has picked up so many bad habits, he couldn’t just bounce back into it like he thought. And that scared him.

What was also scary was his weigh-ins. He wasn’t finding out the results. I think part of the deal was he had to ‘wait and see’ in December what he would be. PJ just guessed based on how his body felt and how he could see how his body looked. His guesses of where he was at, were nearly all 3-5 kilos lowerthan what he weighed in at. He honestly thought losing the weight would come quickly and easily once he got back into routine. It took him nearly 12 weeks to lose 10 kilos. Granted, towards the end as he got fitter, he was losing more because of course he had more energy to keep exercising. A self-fulfilling cycle. But the very beginning was a terrible shock for him.

I found this doco confronting. It shocked, saddened, upset and terrified me as he was going through the putting on weight phase. The physical and mental issues that he was dealing with were way too familiar and hit too close to home. It was awful to realise what I am doing to myself. It was upsetting to see played out on the screen in front of me, just what I had done to myself over the past 5 years. How easy it is to fall into those mind traps of “this food can’t have that much calories, surely” and so on.

This just serves to reinforce how much further I have to go and how much more work I need to do mentally.

Four weeks ago I started tracking diligently what I was eating. Two weeks ago I stopped being so diligent and started being careless and sloppy. Tomorrow is my weigh-in day.

Let the results speak for themselves.


Friday, 5 July 2013


One of the reasons I am keen to get started again is all because of an event I did a few weeks ago. 

On the 16th of June, I was part of an inaugural funrun in Brisbane, called City2South.  It was a 14km race which could be run or walked or wheel-chaired.  It was 14km of pain!  Haha, not really, but it was long!!  The course started from the city CBD, wend itself around the river, through the university, to finish in a park on the other side of the river.  The early morning stillness and quiet was wonderful!  The hill that went from 12-13th kilometre was not wonderful.  The karaoke station in which the sponsoring bank would donate $50 for every person that sang was great fun!  (Crocodile Rock).  :D

Actually, yes, I was in pain by the end of it.  My new shoes (which I had bought 2 ½ weeks prior and thought I had already broken in enough) gave me blisters.  Only on the one foot, but man, did that make the last 4km or so slow going!  It was right on the ball of my foot, so that meant I was walking quite wobbly for a bit!

I saw a link for it on a news website back in March and I decided it was a great way to get myself motivated and kickstarted to get myself fit again.  I even convinced a friend to enter it with me. J  She’s gotten very focused on her health lately and has lost some weight in the process.  She’s stopped eating the foods that were making her sick, and has really upped her running.  She’s big into running now, which she enjoyed when she was in high school.  I didn’t know her then, so it’s so cool seeing her get into it.  J  Anyhow, she’s one of my motivator buddies here.  Because I know she’s taking better care of her health, and lost some weight in the process, as well as juggling work and family, it makes me feel I can too.

So, we signed up!  I had to keep emphasising to her that I wouldn’t be able to run it, but I think we kept up a pretty good pace.  Especially in the beginning.  We were dodging crowds for the first 5km or so as we were powering through.  At about the 8km mark however we slowed right down.  And that was because of me.  I hadn’t gotten in as much preparation as I had wanted and the longest distance I had covered in the lead up had been 8km.  My legs, back and FEET! were aching.  I had to keep stopping to stretch my feet.  And then of course, I worked out further along that I was getting a blister.  But I didn’t want to stop.

I had two goals while completing this race:

1.       I didn’t want to be the last one crossing over the finish line.  I knew I was going to be slow, especially after that halfway mark.  I was very conscious of the fact that I am overweight, and finishing last and slow was just going to draw unwanted attention to myself.  I didn’t want that.

2.       I wanted to finish within the allotted cut-off times.  There were three points along the course where the organisers were watching for the stragglers.  If you were late for the cut-off point, then you would have to forfeit the rest of the course and make your way straight to the finishing point.  I didn’t want that.  If there was going to be anything more humiliating than finishing last, it was not getting to finish at all.

Luckily for me, I didn’t let my friend down, nor me.  I do think my friend was a little frustrated with me and how slow I was by the end, but she kept shrugging it off.  She’s a runner, so I guess she’s more used to the longer distances.

But, how’d I do?  I think I did okay J

75th last – woohoo!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Mid-Year's Resolutions

Oh-No! I found this post lurking in my drafts folder. Please pretend it went up on Monday 1st July like it was supposed to! Then there will be another post following...

Okay, so, once again, I stopped blogging for a little while. Okay, a long while. And during the last five months, when I haven’t been blogging, I haven’t been as motivated to get fit & healthy as I could have been. Work here has been a lot busier than I expected it to be. Life too, I guess. And that has meant that I haven't been taking care of myself as much. But, I think I'm starting to get a better hang of my life here and my routines. Balancing out work commitments, life commitments, friend commitments and family commitments. It's been tough, but something I am starting to be better able to do.

The knowledge that I am unfit and unhappy has been on my mind this whole time. I hate being fat and overweight, not fitting into my clothes, people seeing old photos of me and going 'Is that Kathleen?! But she was so skinny!' *sigh*I hate it.

So, I trying, once again, to do something about it.

I’ve kept up with dancing, but I had to cut it back to only 2 hours a week. Tuesdays & Thursdays. And even then, I haven’t been able to go each time because of work commitments. But I’ve been very glad of it, I missed dancing when I lived back in my old town, so I’m certainly making the most of the opportunity I have here. Unfortunately, that has meant I’ve also taken opportunity of the takeaways and convenience foods not 10m from my doorstep, and haven’t been eating well.

But I realise that, and I guess, as long as I do realise that, there’s always time to start over again, right?

And what better time than the start of the month? Especially when it starts on a Monday? In the middle of the year? That’s why I’m calling this my mid-year resolution!  Cheesy, I know. :-S

Now, what exactly are my mid-year's resolutions? Funnily enough, not too different from my New Year’s resolutions.

· Consistently complete a food journal – including calorie counts.

· Attend dance lessons twice a week

· Walk to work at least once a week

· Lose 20 kgs by the end of the year

· Maintain work-life balance
I’ve already started to make progress on these.