Se7en’s Blog: It’s Been a Year of Working Out With SSISA

Se7en’s Blog: It’s Been a Year of Working Out With SSISA

Can we just have a quiet celebration and say… It has been a whole year of working out with SSISA… a whole year. The first thing folk want to know is numbers and stats… so 20kg lighter, 20 minutes off my slowest ParkRun time… I cannot tell you how many dress sizes smaller. More than all that, there is a spring in my step and a sparkle in my eye that I thought I had lost forever. It has totally been worth every single very early morning workout.

A year ago exactly, I began a journey back to healthy living. I was tired of not being able to keep up with our kids, I was tired of eating all the wrong things to try and keep up with our kids and to be honest, I was just tired. Really tired. Motherhood can do that to you. The one thing I have learnt, I am purposefully putting it right at the front of this post… I really want to catch you before you click away… the one thing I have learnt from this year is: Don’t Ever Give Up on Yourself. My dreams have gotten bigger, my goals have stretched further. And if you think you can’t start moving – for whatever reason – chances are you can, and the sooner you start, the better.

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So This Is My Story… In Se7en+1 Points

I will never forget that email from Sports Science saying, we would like to work with you. This was a dream come true for me, I had wanted to work out there for years… but the reality was I hadn’t worked out for years and I wasn’t the athlete I used to be. I had taken off a couple of years to have kids and that had quietly morphed into twenty years of very little activity. I was faced with a decision to hide behind the fact that I was a busy mom of eight kids, and lose the chance to get moving again… or say, yes I can do this and step forward and sign up. The decision took less than a moment to make and the anxiety over “what have I let myself in for… ” is still just a little bit there.

 

1. Ground Zero

Twenty years of evening ambles, and beach walks with the kids, and a couple of hikes a year was just not enough. It didn’t take me very far into my fitness assessment to know that I was in more than a little trouble. The obvious thing. I hadn’t stood on a scale in twenty years either, and I was far from ecstatic when I did. But it was really chatting with a sleep expert that made me realise just how very far from healthy I was. The good thing about the fitness assessment was that I knew that I had absolutely no reason not to start working out immediately. The bad thing about it… I was literally at ground zero.

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2. You Need Your Own Why

And start I did, my first day in gym and I sat on a bicycle for twelve minutes and went home and slept for the entire morning to recover. I know it seems extreme, but I was really that unfit… not to mention completely unaware of how sleep deprived I was and how badly I needed to exercise to help me get my sleep back on track. My very first goal was just to get moving… I was battling with everyday stuff, just tying my laces, and dashing up and down the stairs at home, had become things I thought about before I did them. In fact hiking, my first love, had become something I slightly dreaded… because lets face it, to climb any mountain you have to go up. So any excuse had become a good excuse to miss a hike. I really just needed to get moving again, for my life.

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3. Impossible isn’t Really Impossible

When I began gym classes, honestly, I can just say ALL THE THANKS to my fantastic biokineticist who never said a word and just patiently waited for my body to catch up with my brain… when I was told, “Walk around the track.” I nearly died. When they said, “Walk around the track twice.” I nearly cried. When they said, “Run around the track.” I said, “Impossible.” I quickly learnt that impossible is really just another way of saying… I am just going to try this… and then just keep on trying. All the things that I thought were impossible and would never in my life do again… turns out I just had to try them and keep on trying. A year on and I don’t even think about running around the track. Does it matter that my entire gym class run faster than I do… not at all. I am happily running around a track that a year ago I couldn’t walk around. There are still so many things I can’t do… but there is so very much more that I can do!!!

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4. It is a Slow Journey

It is crazy really what your body can do, crazy in a good way… a year ago the only cardio machine that I was happy on was the rowing machine… put me on it and I could row all day. I knew I could never climb onto a step machine, let alone use one… and now I start every day on one. Did I lose weight? Yes I did, not initially… I had to get my sleep way under control, before I saw the results of all the exercise. Initially I only worried about moving, and because of that I had to sleep better, and slowly but surely as I felt better, so I ate better. This is definitely a journey… there are long stretches where I see hardly any improvement. And while it has never been about the scale, that is what gets measured… to stay the same weight week after week when you are working hard is distressing(!) but we never look at how much fitter we are getting or how our body is changing shape for the better. To be honest the thing that keeps me on track is the best dietitian on earth, that always has something encouraging to say. Always has a new tip to try, and always says be kinder to yourself. So, I just keep on, and then suddenly when I least expect it I find myself losing kilo’s, moving better, faster, higher. I have completely changed shape and if losing cm’s was a measure of whether a programme is working for you… then the Healthy Weight Programme definitely works for me.

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5. That Guilty Feeling

My biggest hurdle, was what about the hours that would take me away from my kids… I specially took the early morning class so that I would be able to leave home while the rest of the family were still sleeping. I worried about how they would cope if I wasn’t there to make breakfast, or there to get my husband’s lunch ready… well two mornings a week became four mornings a week and they have yet to miss me. Turns out there is really no such thing as indispensable, and that ridiculously guilty feeling that I wasn’t there to get breakfast rolling in the morning… Really my kids are all quite capable, and they actually like having a mom who is off at gym and doing her own thing. It’s okay to be yourself… no one is going to mind!!!

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6. This is Not Me Time

When I am at gym and I love it, it’s not actually me time. It’s not escaping from the world, I am not taking a break from work or kids or any other responsibilities. I am working out, the word WORK is very much a part of it. This is for my health, it is as important as sleeping right and eating right, it’s not a gift I am giving myself or some sort of reward for meeting a deadline. Working out is essential to my well being. I am a much better person for it; I am more confident, more able to get work done, more able to just have fun with my kids… the spin off is huge… but it is work. Me time, means sitting having a coffee, reading a book with a beautiful view. The fact is, we still live in a world, where going to gym is seen as a lucky break, or an escape from a drudgy day. it might be that… but working out is actually as necessary to your health as staying hydrated.

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7. It’s Really Not About Me

Healthy living is a lifestyle, and we don’t live in isolation… Since the start of my journey at SSISA my family has joined me in the Park Run almost every Saturday morning (we are almost at that illusive 50th run). It has been a good measure of our fitness… you do get better, you do get frustrated when you don’t get better, and you do work harder and harder at it. It is a new kind of normal that on a given evening the whole family goes out for a run, little ones matched with big ones and faster ones helping slower ones… even my husband, who has never run before is joining the tribe. As I have lost weight, so has my husband… matching almost kilo for kilo, all the way. As I have slept better, so my whole family has become much more conscious of how they sleep, in a house full of teenagers this is an achievement. Healthy living for me, has meant much healthier living for our whole family.

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8. Can I Just Relaunch My Whole Life

I think the most surprising thing for me, was really how unconfident I felt, and I didn’t even notice my confidence sliding away. I have always just thought I could do stuff, over the years as things got harder to do they just went onto my “That’s impossible” list. Turns out, why wait, my confidence to just step out and be me… is not so much about the shape I am in, which is better than before but far far from awesome(!), but it is a lot about how great you feel when you work out… I come out of every workout feeling like an athlete, if I didn’t walk past a mirror there would be no reality check whatsoever!!! I feel great, I have worked out, my body is working for me and for the first time in the longest time I am confident to try new things.

A year ago, I could not have dreamed of who I am now… I had no idea that I would be climbing mountains with enthusiasm, going snorkelling and seriously thinking of running races. A year ago none of this would have happened. The fact is, there comes a time when you just have to make that decision to make a few changes… and I can tell you every morning at 5:30, I still have to decide if I am going to get up or not… and every morning I make that decision to get to gym, because I am so much better for it. I do have SSISA and the Healthy Weight Programme, and my encouraging family to thank for getting me moving again. It is up to me to keep going and to be my personal best.

 

More about the SSISA Healthy Weight Programme

You can find out more about SSISA’s Healthy Weight Programme by following this link. Their next programme is kicking off on 23 April 2018 (testing on the 18th).

This could be the change you’ve been looking for…

 

You Can Read About My Journey From the Start


se7en

Email: se7en@se7en.org.za
Twitter/Instagram: @se7en_hoods
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Website: www.se7en.org.za