I am thrilled to have Valerie Klein as the first in a series of guest bloggers here on my blog. Valerie Klein is 38 years old and lives in Howick. Valerie is a wife, mother to three beautiful children, friend, daughter and Weight Watchers Leader. Born in Zimbabwe she moved here to Auckland with her family 8 years ago.
Valerie has been a tremendous support to me during my weight loss journey. As a friend and a Weight Watchers Leader (although not mine) she has been a tower of strength and encouragement. Her words of wisdom and support have really helped me; she has the knack for always saying the thing you most need to hear.
Having enjoyed the Land of Milk and Honey (aka New Zealand) for 3 years after immigrating from Zimbabwe with all the shortages and restrictions, my light bulb moment happened when I realised that my Mom, who was double my age, could do more physical labour without getting hot, sweaty and puffed than I could! So my journey to a fit and healthy life started…..
Acknowledging that I could not do the weight loss on my own was such a huge step for me. I knew all the “stuff”, for goodness sake I had studied it for 2 years, but I still did not have the tools to knock this demon on the head. So when a friend mentioned she was attending a WW meeting I tagged along, supposedly to share a coffee with her after her meeting but really it was a cry for help. 5 years, 30 kgs and another baby down the line, I have found a love of helping others find their healthy, fit life too.
Some of the truths that I have found along this journey are personal but most I have found to be pretty common to most of us in this game of life.
Weight loss and weight gain has so much more to do with your attitude, your reasoning, your mind-set, your head space (call it what you will) than it has to do with the food you put in your mouth. When you are in the wonderful space of motivation, success, health, love, with a flow of endorphins in your system it is so easy to choose the food your body needs and limit it at that. But when that space is cluttered with stress, sickness, pain, sleep deprivation and the like those choices are somehow skewed.
The modelling we have from our family over many years of our growing up, and subsequent years (for most of us) has a lot to do with how we cope with those times of stress, or pain. Food is used by mothers the world over and for generations as a comforter (think when you were sick as a kid), as a distractor (what happened each time you hurt yourself) and also at celebrations, family get-togethers. How many occasions are planned, and the first thing that is sorted out is the menu?
But also how our bodies react physically to that space of being in pain, stressed or sleep deprived, is also a thing of mystery to me. I have watched over the 2 years of being a leader how people can be “on the program” but only lose a little week in and week out, then suddenly something happens in their world outside of food and CLICK the weight drops off. The idea that you have to choose this for life is a wonderful thing. The choice is up to YOU. And this has to do with all aspects of health and fitness not just the food thing. The most wonderful gift you can give yourself is to be open to trying new things, learning, and growing. The old adage of “Learn something new every day” is a great way to get to a point of loving yourself and your healthy fit life.
Loving yourself is a great place to start, it is not a sin, and it is surely the logical place to start. We are brainwashed by society that being proud of yourself and your achievements is a giant no-no but for goodness sake, a lot of the great, good and just plain normal things we achieve in life take effort, time, practice and persistence, so why the heck not be proud of them. This includes but not limited to weight loss success, business success, having lovely kids, a beautiful home, or even just finding a lovely outfit that fits!
Our reactions to life experiences are also key, so find a way of dealing with your past, the good, the bad and the ugly. Especially the words that affected you as a kid and stick in your mind today are part of the journey. Knowing what it feels like to be fit, healthy and happy is where you will ultimately find it easy to settle when it comes to the numbers on the scales. Shaking past that and further down is the stuff that takes the hard, mental and physical work. The planning of your meals, the getting out and doing the exercise. These are the things, the work of weight loss that means people find it “too hard”. Dealing with the issues of life is the real work of weight loss as our bodies are machines – how it processes things (food/exercise) is dependent on how we have programmed it to do so. Reprogramming our bodies starts with reprogramming our minds and hearts.
Walking…… this is another secret that works for reprogramming us. By giving our bodies the time and space to do this most natural of exercise it gives our minds the time and space to move too. Whether you walk alone, with someone else or as a group, whether it is just 10 extra parking space distance from your car to the shops, or a planned road walk, or tramp. Moving in the air, in nature, with the wind and sun on your face and body are key to shifting your mind-set. So move more today than you did yesterday.
And on that note I need to get up and move ……