You are Only Human

So last weekend I ran the City- 2-Surf, a 14km run in Sydney that goes from the CBD to Bondi Beach. It was the first time I have ran over 5km in over a year… this is pretty scary considering my half marathon is in 6 weeks. I was really happy with my time but what came after was disappointing.

I fell of the wagon, that is to say in my post City-2-Surf hunger I indulged in a packet of lollies and a Powerade. T hen at post city to surf celebrations ice-cream and berries and so it began a week of sugar! I ate lollies more lollies at home that night then through out the week I could not stop! I wasn’t eating packets of lollies everyday but I did indulge in various sugar loaded goodies like cranberries, “healthy muffins” and chai lattes. Here is the worst part- the more I ate, the more guilty I felt and then the more I ate. It is an evil cycle and really hard to break! I was amazed at how lethargic I felt and how moody I was, I obviously didn’t realise how good being sugar free made me feel. 

Over the weekend I spent some time reflecting on the whole situation. There is no problem with having sugar from time to time, indulging myself. I went into quitting sugar with the intention that it wouldn’t be seen as a diet or a pact but more of a lifestyle change. Obviously over the weekend I forgot this and then fell into what I call “the guilt eating cycle”. I had to remind myself that I am only human, I’m not going to mess up some times and that is ok. It is ok to celebrate an achievement or spend a week relaxing. Instead of worrying about what I was eating I probably should have been celebrating my achievement, albeit small, and using it as motivation for my future goals. 

It is a new week and I’m ready to refocus! The weather outside is terrible but I won’t let that stop me, I’ve gone back to my sugar free and I’m working on new challenges. Persistence is key!

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P.S. Thanks to Lululemon for the awesome top, it was a great surprise!

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Healthy Living

Now I have always been pretty healthy.  Being an elite gymnast ensured that I was usually eating right and always exercising, but it also lead to intense diets, overtraining and a lot of stress. Luckily my mum is really into health foods and had always educated me on how to eat well so everything was going alright. However a year of travelling left my diet in shambles and my fitness got lost somewhere in Barcelona. My first semester of uni was not much better, filled with delicious asian food, late night study snacks and little exercise. Plus I spent a ridiculous amount of money buying food on campus.

If you can just picture my situation right now…there is a girl in front of me eating what looks like a delicious pizza teamed with a slice of garlic bread in all its buttery glory, while munch on some unsalted cashews. Do I want that pizza? HELL YES! It seems a little silly though to spend the money on something that isn’t good for my body and will probably make me feel sick. I just can’t justify it and I can always get a pizza when we go out on the weekend. So I’m going to munch on my cashews proudly.

This semester it’s all about a healthy lifestyle for me… no more bought lunches, healthy snacks and loads of exercise. Over the break I completed the I Quit Sugar 8 week program and this was a really great way to kick off this change. I am not going to lie to anyone quitting sugar is really hard, especially when you have to cut out fruit, but it is so worth it. Firstly it forces you to cook for yourself, secondly, it forces you to think about what you are eating and best of all the less sugar you eat the less you crave crap. It is a bit boring at times and there are those days when you just want to eat crap for sheer enjoyment and this is where balance comes in, I think its fair to eat crap sometimes if it makes you happy or the social situation calls for it.

I’m cooking my meals for the week…. not only that I’m making delicious nutrition dense food. I am falling in love with kale, spinach and quinoa…they really are as great as everyone says. I’m  running, swimming, going to classes and doing yoga. I am staying organised too make everything a little less stressful. Best of all I am making time to do fun, new and exciting things with the people I love.

I sound ridiculously corny and overly positive. I promise to post about the negative sides as well because I’m not a robot but I just wanted to share how happy and positive I really feel!

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Confessions of an Over the Top Goal Setter

I am the sort of person who finds myself lying awake at 3am because can’t stop thinking. I seem to develop my best ideas, plans and goals when I’m supposed to be asleep. This goes hand in hand with 1000 ideas of things I want to write in my blog. I could rattle off a list right now but I’m just going to post as many of them over the next month. So todays idea is….. getting organised! Some people find this utterly disinteresting but I love to get organised and set new goals!

It is the start of a new semester and like before I find myself unemployed (almost), longing to jump on a plane to some unknown destination and all round disorganised. By that I mean;  I haven’t seen the floor of my room in the past month and organisation in my study means piles of paper. My break consisted of socialising, sleeping and spending money I don’t really have. Sounds like the typical life of every student I know and your probably wondering how I can call myself a goal setter. 

Well, I got a little bit over this disorganisation and lack of direction. I love a bit of mess for a while, its relaxing not to be working towards something ( especially after 15 years as an elite gymnast) but after a while I start to get an itch. I seem to always get this itch, it;s the want to achieve, try something new and challenge myself. Now travel would fix this but unfortunately I’m not in the financial position to travel so I have to set some goals! To be honest even when I travelled I had goals. 

So a quick phone call to my friend and I have a long list of things I want to achieve in the next six months: make my bed everyday and keep my shit organised ( sounds simple but I’m terrible at this), floss EVERYDAY ( another simple task), make my lunches every week, write in  my blog regularly,  get a distinction average and get into law ( this is probably my biggest goal), run a half marathon in under 2 hours, do a triathlon, swim a 1.5km ocean swim , get a job and save to travel (anywhere!). Now the world nows maybe I will stick to some of them. 

I already have my training plans down  and I’ve made my bed 3 days in a row plus this weeks lunch is made… so far so good, it’s just keeping up the enthusiasm. I usually burn out when things get busy and the little goals get lost.

Is anyone else an avid goal setter? I am all for goal setting it has led me to do some great things like compete for Australia, hike the Inca Trail and self fund a trip around the world. Has anyone else done something amazing?

Stay tuned for pictures of the Inca Trail. 

Que Travel Plans

It safe to say with the semester almost over I can no longer claim “I am just getting back into things”. No, I should be well and truly into the swing of “life” by now. If I am being honest, I have settled a substantial amount. I have found my “routine”,  new everyday habits which seemed to vanish during my travels. However it’s not exactly exciting. Next week I’m off interstate to my last ever gymnastics nationals- I couldn’t be more excited! I’m not excited to compete, I’m excited to finish because it opens up the prospect of international travel again.

When I left for my trip I told my parents I was leaving for the first time one my reasons was that it would make me settled, I’d have travel out of my system and be ready to settle down and focus. Anyone who has travelled before is probably laughing at this. I was so very wrong.  The travel bug is real. Its is an insatiable need. The word need is imperative to understanding how it feels.  I have been able to move past this want until the weekend. My boyfriend took me to see an exhibition of the international nature photographer of the year; a glorious collection of phenomenal photos which would compel anyone to travel.

So to no ones surprise I am planning another trip. This time it is a short 4 week adventure through Vietnam and Cambodia with my friends. High on the list is Halong Bay, Angkor Wat, the killing fields and a nice warm beach.  I would like to ask all those travel experts out there what they recommend?

Tea my Saviour

This morning it took me twenty minutes and some convincing from my boyfriend to decide that I would actually brave university today. It was warm in my bed, I was tired from last nights escapades at the pub and an hour and a half in public transport seemed rather unappealing.  I finally made it to uni and to my delight a new coffee shop had opened on campus. A slightly rustic looking , small, hole in the wall spot that serves organic gourmet foods.  The best part is they can make tea well. It seems silly to say this but usually if you buy tea its barely brewed or over brewed, there is usually too much milk or so little there is just no point. I sound picky, but its really not hard to make an alright cup of tea.

I took my cup tea for a random morning detour through campus. I realised that the campus is actually quite beautiful especially with the autumn leaves beginning to fall. The sky was clear and vibrant and the air crisp and fresh. I have to say it was a rather enjoyable way to start the day.

Now I am slightly less elated as I sit in my economics lecture but I am much more appreciative about being here, all because of a well made cup of tea. A good cup of tea can make any day better.

 

A New Perspective

With everyone beginning university in the last month, a lot of things have changed for my friends and I. Although in Australia uni life is notoriously known as being easy, fun and a time to party,  we so far have yet to experience this and for the first time have actually had to make a concerted effort to see each other.  So Saturday night was deemed girls night, dinner and a movie.

We went to see The Monuments Men. The movie hasn’t received great reviews but for me I thoroughly enjoyed it, it wasn’t overly complicated or dramatised, it wasn’t particularly art house or wrought with plot twists. It was easy to follow with beautiful cinematography ( taking me back to some of my travels), with a great balance of comedy, drama and romance and an added dash of action. Of course like any other film their a criticisms I could make however I think it is better to look at the film purely from the perspective of enjoyment.

The film actually had a profound impact on me. I haven’t watched a good war film in the past couple of years, particularly since travelling. It was the first time I fully emotionally grasped the scale of World War 2.  There were a few symbolic moments in the film I found that really pulled on my heart strings and I even found myself shedding a few tears.  The quote from the film “You can wipe out an entire generation, you can burn their homes to the ground, and somehow they’ll still find their way back. But if you destroy their history, you destroy their achievements, then it’s as if they never existed.” has resonated with me ever since I saw the trailer a few months ago, my travels would not have been so amazing if it were not for these things. What would Paris be without its Eiffel tower, its Louvre, its Museums of Modern Art or the Notre Dame?  What story would it tell and where would it’s culture lay?

It is ridiculously scary to think that one man  is capable of causing so much devastation. That one person has the ability to murder thousands of people and attempt to destroy their culture. The sad reality is things like this have happened all over the world, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur to name a few.  It makes me feel very small, almost helpless.

The positive in this? We actually are not helpless. If one man can cause such devastation, then one person should be able to create positive change on the same level. I find this actually rather inspiring.

 

Free Time

On my flight home I could not have been more excited. The thirty or so hours in transit were worse then usual because all I could about was being home in my own bed.  As I made my way through border control a smile took over my face. Hearing the familiar twang of the typical Australian accent and the stereotypical Cheers and Mates (stereotypes for a reason) throughout border control and customs told me I was home.  The warm humid air outside brought to me the smell of Australia, countries really do smell differently, I was definitely.

As I walked into my room for the first time it felt foreign yet familiar all at the same time, my bed perfectly made as I left it. My first night in my bed was not as enjoyable as expected, my bed was now strange, way too comfortable compared to the budget hostels and camping of the past six months.  It took me only 2 days to unpack everything and have my room back in perfect working order, it took 3 days for me to get over my jet lag and fall back into the swing of the household and a week to see everyone I really needed to see.

Now a month on and I almost feel although I have never left. I had a picturesque vision of arriving home and everything having changed, my life was going to be amazing. In my mind I would immediately find a job, become the fit, rebuild my finances and be attending awesome social events every weekend. I was going to be doing new and exciting things all the time and preparing for another trip by the end of the year.

This fabulous fantasy I built up in my head was very wrong. Not much in my house or my family has changed. We still have the ugly, worn out, straw foot rest, my brother still sits in the stuffy study cramped up in front of the computer every night and I seem to settle in to my old spot on our cushy couch in front of our TV every night. Everyone has there same jobs and most of my friends still enjoy the same parties and night spots. The problem with all this is, I have changed. Not the massive type of physical visible change that everyone comments on, it is much more internal then that. The ratty foot rest now annoys me, sitting in front of television makes me restless and frustrated, I’m unemployed, I’m broke and partying seems a waste of money.  

I have to look for work, prepare for university and get into life again.  The waiting is the hardest.  Now I’m not saying that travelling has destroyed my ambition or turned me into a wannabe wandering nomad, in fact it has done the opposite. I am more ambitious and driven then ever,  travelling taught me that you have to take advantage of every opportunity- not everyone is so lucky. So the problem exactly?

In reality there is no problem, it is up to me to entertain myself to find something to work for. The issue is only temporary, once I start university and get a job I will be complaining about my lack of free time so why not make the most of it now? To be honest you need to have too much free time to appreciate being busy and vice versa, so it’ s even more of a good thing.  My main point is travelling does change you, even if others don’t see it and it can be hard to assimilate into normal life again. I think its important to stay true to these changes and there is no real reason to not be doing something you find new or exciting everyday. Life is too short to waste free time.