Sunday, 15 July 2012

BEing ME

I wrote this in 1997 & I came across it again last week. It has taken alot of courage to share such vunerability & personal truth with you all but the message is so important -

I haven’t quite thought of a title for this but it’s written from the heart to try and educate and touch people of a problem that is bigger than you would imagine.  Call it the disease of the 90’s, the slimmers disease, call it anything you want but understand it is a huge, it’s something that could be effecting the person sitting beside you on the train, the person you work with, the person in magazines etc. but the one thing about this is that you’ll probably never know.  It’s a lonely, sad, painful existence that is lived.  There are many forms of eating disorders not necessarily the highly publicized full blown Anorexia and Bulimia, how many of you feel guilty if you eat something you think might be bad, don’t eat because it doesn’t make you hungry, how many starve themselves all day then over eat, have fat days, refuse to put on those jeans and  what about having no control over food?  These are some small examples of warning signs and there is a big percentage of people out there that so feel this way!!!

 I am writing this as a sufferer for many, many years and one who kept this from the world, family and friends.  This is a story of a girl who had it all, yep almost a perfect life yet something inside made her hurt so deep.  It’s a story of survival and hopefully one of inspiration to many people going through a similar thing!

 I think it all started from a childhood dream, I wanted to be like Olga Korbat, like many young girls at the time she was my hero, such a wonderful athlete, great performer and so loved.  I took up gymnastics not so long afterwards.  Luckily I had potential and was taken by one of the best coaches in the country, my dream had began.

 I trained so hard yet it was more than fun it was a passion and I was good, by the time I was 10 years old I was in the National squad and I remained there for a further 7 years.  I never grew too tall, I was fit, flexible, strong and brave and to many of my friends I had it all.  I saw many gym friends go through a very private hell, they were growing too tall, they were developing and as a gymnast it’s a nightmare.  Not for the typical body image reasons you might imagine but because it made moves they had learnt years ago so much harder to perform, everything was changing, it took more and more effort, so what do you do?  You try to maintain the little girl that you’ve always been!  Meanwhile I hadn’t reached this point, but I could see it all around me. I was in my teenage years yet I still was a young girl, due only to the fact that I trained so so hard all my energy was on surviving and achieving, in all my years of gymnastic I honestly never saw drugs.  But my day came..... I remember the judges saying to my mum, “I think she needs to cut down on the bread and potatoes!!”, it was “starch” era.  Luckily my mum is a bloody good mum and told the fat, old jealous woman to not be so stupid.  But I’ll always remember.

 Unfortunately my gymnastic career was brought to an abrupt end, one that took me many years to come to terms with, I suffered a severe back injury and spent the next 2 years trying to get sorted out so I could live a normal life.  This created more dramas, “Ex gymnasts always go big and fat”, I was determined to fix up that one up and of course like a true goal orientated  person I was successful.

For the next few years I controlled my weight by eating low fat or more successfully by not eating for a few days even weeks.  It amazes me how easy it was, no one ever suspected a thing. I’d go through times when it wouldn’t be an issue but without a reason it would become my whole focus.  But I looked great to the outside world.  Looking back I notice a pattern, men problems, the odd words, the odd article of clothing would trigger me off.  But the worst was yet to come..

 I travelled and experienced some unbelievable places and people.  Once settling back into normal existence the fears returned.  I needed a kick so I hired a personal trainer who was a wonderful inspiration to me and success soon followed.  In fact more than I ever imagined, I was asked to make a team of 3 girls and we were going to conquer the world of Aerobics.  We trained like people possessed, we dieted to look the picture of a true athlete, I never realized the can of worms I had re-opened!  I was competing again, I was good and I had a goal, I was alive again.  But for how long?  Once a competition was over it was so hard to lose your “leanness”, “definitions” but  our bodies were at a stage that we could never maintain for a long period of time, but I wanted to.

 After 2 years we had become very successful as a team, but as you can imagine it was hard going with all the personalities.  We ended our Team as National and Australasian Champions.  In that time my body had become my measure of success, people judged me by it and it was my living.  The pressure to maintain the perfect body was intense and not having a goal to aim at made it even harder but I did.  I continued my strict eating and training regime, which brought me to another highlight.

I was offered a job as a TV personality in a new and exciting programme.  I was so thrilled, it gave me another goal but it also brought another box of trouble.  Being on TV makes you look 10 lbs heavier, yuk!!!!  Not wearing many clothes and men eager to point out faults, not ever mine but hearing people talking about someone’s “fat butt” made you wonder what they were saying about you!!!!  Yes it was a time for great insecurities for everyone and we all had different ways of dealing it.  They will stay private to those people.

In the year that followed it all changed, I slowly became a Bulimic, when we finished filming the Bulimia took over my life, yet it was still my secret but I was losing control.   The show was axed after months of uncertainty and a  heartbreaking  break up of my relationship brought everything to a point of no return.  I knew I needed help but where to go??,  let me say it brought me to my knees, I thought my life had ended!  I now know that life as I knew had.  I had to take charge, I found help and more importantly over time I found me.  I had to break down all the false images around me, I had to love the person I was and that’s the message I want to get across to even just one of you.  It’s not a food thing, it’s a self hate, lack of self-esteem, lack of self worth, it’s a deep pain within that has to be addressed not food.  So start with the smallest step and then in time your life will gradually be yours again to live to the full!!

 It’s taken time and I know that I will always carry this with me but I am me, uniquely me, I am so much stronger, happier and know that balance is in my life so please don’t ever feel alone, so please take the first step, the first responsibility and be free!!!

That was 15 years ago - wow it was interesting to read what I felt like then. Now my life is simple, balanced & happy :)

What would you say to someone like me?

For me I want to say to my younger self .... You are strong, courageous & I am so proud of the person you are everyday.

Have you found an old letter?

What would you say to the younger you?

Please share with all your loved ones especially our young generation boys & girls that struggle with simply being the wonderful, unique & loved people they truly are x

For anyone who feels they need support to move through this please call me 0414415902 or seek other professional advise TODAY

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Coach Bev Carter - July Marie Claire

How To Beat Stress

Feeling exhausted before you even get out of bed? We identify the burnout warning signs to help you beat the modern-day blues.
It’s a cruel twist of nature that stress saved our lives during caveman times, but in the modern age it’s wreaking havoc on our bodies and minds. We’re overexposed to stress. If you’re ending each week emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted, you’re probably headed towards a burnout, and it’s not going to be pretty.
The problem is all down to a couple of hormones called adrenaline and cortisol, which are produced by the body in response to stressful situations. “Biologically, when our fight-or-flight response is activated, adrenaline and cortisol enter the bloodstream, which was very helpful when we were fighting off sabre-toothed tigers,” explains Melissa Podmore, psychologist and yoga teacher. “But in modern-day life, long-term exposure to these hormones is harmful.” Think heart disease, high blood pressure and panic attacks.
The solution? It’s all about being aware of the day-to-day signals that we too often ignore, and then working in a few lifestyle adjustments for a happier and more productive life.

Red flag

You can't stop shopping
In times of stress, habitual behaviour becomes a way to derive a sense of pleasure and relief from relentless pressure. Under normal circumstances, a spot of retail therapy is a harmless enjoyment. It becomes a concern when it’s used to avoid a problem and you’re spending money you don’t have.
“Behaviours like shopping and gambling offer respite from anxiety and can lead to a vicious loop of wanting to engage in the addictive behaviour again and again,” says Podmore. Trans-cendental meditation is an effective way to slow down impulsive behaviour and helps you make more insightful decisions on a daily basis. Dr Tim Carr, who specialises in consciousness-based health care, says: “The body experiences deep rest while the mind remains active yet clear. The stress reduces and your brain starts to function like it should.”

Red flag

You’re making snap decisions
Feeling so frustrated you want to end your relationship or tell your boss to go to hell? It could be the worst decision you ever make. “stress changes the way the brain functions,” notes Dr Carr. “There is a reduction in brain activity in the prefrontal cortex, which looks after planning, motivation and judgement, and more activity in the back of the brain, which is more primal and reactionary.” So when you’re stressed, you act reflexively, without proper thought and consideration. “I recommend not making extreme decisions when you’re feeling stressed,” agrees Podmore. “You need to extract yourself from the situation and then make a decision when you’ve had time to reflect. You want to reduce the collateral damage and fallout from an overreaction.”

Red flag

You’ve lost interest in sex
stress can also play havoc with relationships. If you’re exhausted after a day at the office, sex is often not on the agenda. “Sex takes energy,” points out Podmore. “Many women suffer a lack of libido during periods of high pressure, which can lead to relationship problems and self-criticism.” Regular massage therapy can help shift you out of the stress cycle, helping you to unwind and reconnect with your partner, asserts Fiona Cosgrove, life and wellness coach, and national general manager of The Golden Door Australia. “Having regular massage is about caring for and honouring your body. We need to reframe what these activities represent and treat them as necessary maintenance on the body and a way to self-care, or even self-love.”

Red flag

You're having lunch at 3pm
Adrenaline from stress can act as an appetite suppressant, but it can come undone when your blood sugar dips and you can no longer resist that doughnut come 3pm. “3pm is often when the body is most active and hungry,” says Sue Zbornik, nutrition therapist and author of Find Your Happetite (Motivational Press, $19.95). If you’ve missed breakfast and lunch, you’re going to be more likely to indulge in something sugary, which then sends you back on the blood sugar roller-coaster. The trick is to have an eating plan in place for when life starts to get out of control. “I like to stick to the three, three, three rule when it comes to food,” reveals Zbornik. “Three meals, three snacks, three hours apart. And make sure you’re getting a lot of coloured foods in each meal: think sweet potato, capsicum and fatty fish, like salmon – all high in antioxidants to fight free-radical harm that occurs when you’re stressed.”

Red flag

You're exhausted but you can't sleep
Your old friend adrenaline isn’t about to let you rest after a day filled with nervous energy. Your mind stays alert, even when you’re physically exhausted and need to rest. Performance coach Bev Carter advocates daily exercise, preferably a mix of planned and incidental: “Incorporating exercise into every day isn’t easy, but the benefits are enormous. You’ll work off all that restless energy that keeps you up at night and you’ll encourage the body to produce endorphins, the happy hormone.” It can be as simple as going for a walk in the morning, taking the stairs at work, and a yoga stretch in the evening to help the body prepare for rest.

3 Simple Ways To Survive Stress

1. “Don’t avoid fat,” counsels nutrition therapist Sue Zbornik. “Just choose the right type.” Essential fatty acids are important for brain function, especially mood regulation, so incorporate good fats into most meals. “It’s as simple as adding an avocado to your sandwich and flaxseed oil to your salad dressing,” says Zbornik.
2. “If you know you’re about to enter into a stressful time, start taking vitamins B and C,” suggests performance coach Bev Carter. Vitamin B offers protection from adrenaline overload and keeps you brimming with positive energy more consistently throughout the day.
3. “If you’ve been frantic all day, you can’t expect the body just to shut down and go to sleep,” says psychologist Melissa Podmore. “You really need to start slowly moving into the restful state a couple of hours before bed.” So turn off the TV, switch off your mobile and run a bath – the change in body temperature will also help trigger your sleep hormones, helping you to get the best rest possible.

A simple, five-minute breathing exercise

Find a quiet spot without too many distractions and find your breath’s natural rhythm. Press your left nostril closed with your thumb and inhale through your right nostril. Remove your thumb and close your right nostril with your forefinger and exhale through your left nostril. Without changing fingers, inhale through your left nostril. Change fingers, exhale through the right. Inhale through the right and exhale through the left, and so on. Continue for about five breaths, keeping each inhalation and exhalation even and consistent. Focusing on the breath will calm the mind and help you get the most out of your day.