Category: health

Endometriosis.

I want to have a little chat about endometriosis. Because I have just been diagnosed with it and, quite frankly, I am still learning about it. In some ways it’s a big relief to know I’m not just being a wuss each month – when I’m not leaving the house when it’s at its worst, and dreading my period like you would not believe. In other ways, it’s tough because it’s a relatively new problem to me (it seemed to get really inflamed a few months ago – going from a really small ‘not seen as a problem’ cyst to my current diagnosis) and I just want it to be gone.

So what the hell is it?

Here’s my most concise definition, gleaned from my basic internet research (i.e. Wikipedia – my old uni lecturers would not be happy haha)…

“Endometriosis is a disease in which tissue that normally grows inside the uterus grows outside it.”

Simple right? Apparently my main issue is the endometriosis in my left ovary.

Here are some of the symptoms I’m primarily dealing with…

  • Bad cramping both before and during menstruation.
  • Very heavy period – to the point where I can’t even comfortably leave home for a few days. Trust me, you don’t want to know.
  • Obviously it’s not helping with fertility (I feel like that’s an understatement).
  • Social and psychological effects. I’ve been a hermit recently, when I’ve had symptoms, and it does get you down. Also, talking about periods all the time is considered to be quite gross, so it’s a bit embarrassing. You don’t want to be all, “Sorry everyone – can’t make it to that thing because I’m BLEEDING EVERYWHERE.” Thank goodness I at least have a name for it now. I also feel really guilty because I often don’t know how well I’ll be until the day of an event, which makes me look like a big flake when I have to cancel at the last minute. I hate letting people down and I hate the fear I have of being excluded next time or not having people understand. I also suffer from a lot of mummy guilt because it can affect whether the Little Mister gets to do fun stuff with me or whether he gets stuck at home too. Another psychological issue is the pure dread I feel about getting my period. It weighs on my mind for at least half of my cycle because I know it will disrupt my life so much and it affects the choices I have to make and how I plan my work/ school mum/exercise routine/social life. I don’t like it taking up so much of my time, energy and brain space. It’s stressful – things feeling like they’re up in the air, pending more symptoms, when I know my period will be due on certain dates (although I’m grateful to have a fairly regular cycle).

As you can see, the psychological stuff is what I’m struggling with almost more than the physical stuff right now.

I am booked in to have laparoscopic surgery for it next month. I’m nervous, but I am starting to really come around to the idea, because I just want my life back. I am really hoping it will help me. At first, all I could think about was the fertility side of things, but right now I just want to feel better each month. I guess we’ll figure out the rest later. If I let my mind dwell on the setbacks, it’s not a good place to be. I’m trying to just take all of this one step at a time.

If you have any of these symptoms, don’t feel like you have to soldier on like it’s normal. I’m lucky I’ve been closely monitored, but if I wasn’t already having really regular check ups/scans, I probably would have been less kind to myself, thinking I was just not matching up to those girls in the tampon ads – the ones who can do kickboxing and go clubbing in white pants, even though they have their periods. It can be hard enough to do the shopping or turn up for work sometimes! I can’t give you medical advice, but do get things checked out if you feel like your period is ruling your life.

If you have a friend who has a similar diagnosis, please be kind and patient. She’s not just being a princess complaining about her period. It probably is everything she says it is. Every case might be a little different, so try not to compare her unfavourably with others. Try to find other ways to make her feel included, if she has to cancel on stuff or feels like she can’t commit, knowing her period is due. Don’t stop inviting her out. If she’s like me, she might be feeling insecure about being a lousy friend. Check in. We need to have more conversations about stuff like this and shake off the awkwardness.

Thank you so much for reading. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that I am better by the weekend – I have a super rad trip to Sydney coming up and I plan on enjoying it!

Have you ever had endometriosis? Just wanna vent about being a lady in general? I’m all ears/eyes x

Kez Gets Physical: Time to challenge myself.

So I’m going to make a pretty big (for me) declaration. I am challenging myself to kick my own arse. For a month or so (minimum), I am going to make a strong commitment. Something that I hope will help me to get back on track, mentally and physically. I feel like I’m at a crossroads where I need to do something or I’ll feel utterly disappointed when I wake up at the end of 2016 wondering where the time went!

Isn’t this year going by scarily fast????

I want to put good habits back into place and I feel like I need to be really pro-active. Kind of force the issue with myself. I say this all the time, because I’m really against the whole ‘fad’ thing so excuse the broken record, but I want to make it clear that I’m not talking 30 days and then stop and binge eat/laze around. I’m talking a month or so of being really disciplined and getting used to healthier behaviour again, so that it starts to feel like more of a normal daily/weekly routine and not that rare thing where I occasionally have a healthy meal and maaaaybe get outside for a run. I need to flip everything to the opposite of how it is now, basically!!!

Y’know what I mean?

I always feel like I’m shit at explaining this stuff. Which is probably not great seeing as I’m a blogger haha.

I guess I should just get to it, even though putting it down in writing is a little bit scary because it means I’ll have to be somewhat accountable…

I am going to:

  • Stop pigging out at dinner time and eat a normal, healthy sized portion. This will be really hard but it has to happen. I will use a smaller plate and everything. Pray for me!
  • Exercise properly at least every second day. This means an intense work out or at least meeting my 30 active minutes target, tracking it with my fitbit.

I think that just those two things will make a massive difference in only a few weeks. I am hoping that seeing progress during that time will spur me on further.

Here are the benefits I think I’ll enjoy (based on previous experience):

  • Weight loss. Which means fitting into my clothes a lot easier. Feeling less bloated around my middle (which is a really uncomfortable feeling).
  • Being more toned. I love how strong I feel when everything tightens up a little!
  • Better skin. I really love sweating out all the toxins.
  • A better mental state – less anxiety. More overall self confidence.
  • Better metabolism. I’ve been feeling it slowing down and I am not happy with that.
  • An all around feeling of smugness ?

So. Fingers crossed, hey? I hope I’ll be able to share some of my progress with you down the track.

Do you have any challenges you want to set for yourself? Let me know and we can keep ourselves accountable and cheer each other on! x

Kez Gets Physical: How did 2015 shape up?

This year I started a series called ‘Kez Gets Physical’. Basically, the mission was/is to improve my physical and mental health, to document it to keep myself accountable, find inspiration (hopefully inspiring others who feel they can relate) and to find more of my tribe. There was no specific diet or weight loss plan or anything in particular that I was trying to sell or preach about. I just wanted to share my story and my own personal approach to improving my health. No judgement, no fear.

I feel like 2015 has been a fantastically big year when it comes to working on my physical and mental health. In fact, I’m pretty proud of the way in which I have tried to make it a priority in my life. I have learned so much about myself, from both the ups and downs of this – sorry but the cliché is coming – JOURNEY.

Here is my review of the year…

Things I achieved/learned

A stronger focus on self care

This year I gave myself permission to take the time I needed to look after my health. I had to fight the guilt at first. A lot. But eventually, it became an expectation I held for both myself and my family that I would be taking time out to exercise when I needed it. And guess what? Everybody was just fine (even if there were a few grumbles at times).

My overall mental health has improved

I still suffer from anxiety at times, but the severity and frequency seem to have decreased somewhat. I put this down to regular exercise and creating life habits that help me to cope better. I am not afraid to talk about it anymore. I recognise the warning signs. I know that sleeping well, unplugging from things that trigger me or make it worse, literally walking/running it off, and telling horrible thoughts to basically fuck off (i.e. giving myself a positive reality check when I have lost perspective and the negative self talk starts) is always a good strategy. I also know that when I am overwhelmed I can say ‘no’, I can turn to organising my life better, and I can ask for help. I have also discovered that some ‘off’ feelings just don’t need to be overanalysed. I just let them be and get on with things. A big deal for an over thinker like me.

It is not very often that I just sit alone, stewing in my anxiety and eating foods that make me feel like crap anymore (because that was so helpful in the past – not). That is definitely a big improvement. I do positive things now. I make action plans when I know I can feel it coming on. It can be as simple as telling someone (not carrying it all alone), having a rest day full of self care or it can be a hard fought battle where I work hard to attack it from all angles. Either way, I have learned that I can always do something positive about it. I hate the need to ‘fight’ but I know I’m stronger than I’ve ever been and knowing that I’ve managed to decrease the amount of time I have to spend fighting it is very reassuring.

My confidence grew and I got #InThePicture more

As I got fitter and stronger, I started to try harder to get in family photos. In fact, I demanded it! I wanted proof that I was having fun with my family and feeling good about myself. I stopped freaking out that I looked pregnant (when sadly that hasn’t been the case), with a bloated belly. I stopped fussing over my appearance as much. Knowing that I was exercising and doing fun things took the focus off the superficial and made me feel a confidence I hadn’t felt in a long time. I stopped being as embarrassed about taking selfies – there might be (a very first world) stigma but who else is gonna take it? I don’t have a very willing Instagram Husband haha.

I want memories recorded. I don’t want to hide anymore.

My body has changed

I have probably only lost about 2kg since the beginning of the year (with some fluctuations in between), but my body feels so different. I feel like I have a shape. I feel strong. I lost some fat from my lower back that I had begun to think would be there for the rest of my life (since having the Little Mister). I feel so much better in my clothes. I managed to fit back into some clothes I hadn’t fit in for a long time. The last time I weighed this much, I definitely did not look as toned or feel as strong. I feel really excited when I see the difference in photos or when someone in my life notices the difference. I have started to look for the good things when I face my mirror, instead of zooming in on the flaws. I never thought I’d feel like that, without being a stick figure first. I guess my mind has changed too!

I’ve made exercise a routine part of my life

I admit that prior to this year, exercise was just the thing I did to lose weight by a certain time or it was just a ‘phase’ I went through. This year, it has become a necessary and regular part of my life. It is the rule, not the exception. Of course I have rest days and setbacks, but that’s all they are. I miss exercise when I can’t do it. I know when I’m not feeling as good, that it’s something I need to do to maintain a healthy balance. I fit it in when I can. It is no longer a ‘luxury’ or a ‘quick fix’ phase. I am proud that I have been able to create this habit and maintain it.

Things I loved

Finding community

I have enjoyed each and every comment on my blog or Facebook page since I started ‘Kez Gets Physical’. I love knowing that some of you are reading and sharing your own experiences. I also joined the awesome Facebook group (founded by Chantelle of Fat Mum Slim) The Good Life Gang. I also have a couple of great friends on Twitter  and Snapchat – we chat back and forth about our exercise plans and habits. We keep ourselves accountable and we encourage each other. I also had fun making Fitbit friends and taking part in challenges. Sadly, my Fitbit has bitten the dust for now, but it still played a big part in my year. It’s so great to find people who are like minded. I love that no-one I have surrounded myself with is militant, trying to sell a product or obsessed about it. We just do what we can, when we can and it’s really inspiring and a safe place to be ourselves. Thanks to everyone who I’ve mentioned above 🙂

Learning to run/challenging myself 

I never thought I’d enjoy running. I mostly end up on my treadmill (time/weather/other factors), but it’s great. It’s like my form of mindfulness. I go into some kind of zen state on good days. It seems to have such a positive impact on my body. I use the C25K app and it’s perfect for me. I like that sense of knowing I’m improving bit by bit. I can measure my progress really easily.

Stuff to keep working on in 2016 and beyond

Nutrition/portion sizes

I have improved things overall (not pigging out at lunch time has been a big change), but I know that I am not always fuelling my body with what is best. I still have eyes that are bigger than my belly. I don’t always stop when I’m full. It’s a constant struggle for a food lover, but something I will have to keep working on.

Continued weight loss

I want to be at a healthier weight for me and I know I have about 6kg to go before I’m at least in the ball park. Obviously, the above point about nutrition/portion sizes is a big factor. I am so pleased with how my body has changed so far, but there is still a way to go. I want to feel lighter.

My progress with these issues has been verrrrry slow and steady. A part of me is glad about that because I feel like the long term habits I’m creating are going to stick – it’s not been a quick fix – but I think I’m now in a better position to step it up for an even better 2016.

Progress from August 2014 at my heaviest (the last time I had a photo taken of most of my body) to November 2015. I know there are several factors that make it not the best before and after/during example (type of clothing, lighting etc etc) but I know that the person on the right is so much happier. Note: Photo has been retouched really badly to protect the identities of others x
Progress from August 2014 at my heaviest (a photo that made me do that whole “OH MY GOODNESS – I NEED TO DO SOMETHING” freak out) to November 2015. I know there are several factors that make it not the best before and after during example (type of clothing, lighting, how close I am to the camera etc etc) but I am not really trying to convince anyone of my physical progress so I don’t mind. I just wanted to show you that the person on the right is so much happier and dresses herself to show who she is, instead of hiding in whatever fits like the girl on the left did. Note: Photo has been retouched really badly to protect the identities of others x

How did your 2015 shape up? 

Kez Gets Physical: #NoExcusesVember

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I need a kick up the bum, so I am taking action. I have been eating my feelings for a few weeks now. I have been unable to exercise properly for a little while too. I am still doing fairly well in terms of my weight (well – considering) and how I feel in my clothes but I know that if I don’t get back on top of things, these things will happen:

  • My weight will creep back up and my clothes won’t fit which will be really really annoying and will make me feel disheartened.
  • The lower back fat I worked so hard on losing will return. I won’t feel so toned anymore.
  • I will start to feel sluggish from eating badly.
  • My mental health will suffer.
  • The urge to give up will become stronger.

So, I’ve declared this month #NoExcusesVember – clever huh? Bit bummed to discover I am not the only one who thought of that hashtag but the other two guys on Twitter seem to be using it for fitness purposes so I guess we can share haha.

Nothing’s going to be 100% perfect, but my aim for the month is to be really disciplined and to force myself to walk away from bad choices (literally – GET OUT OF THE POTATO CHIP AISLE KEZ) and run towards really good ones. While I don’t believe in temporary or drastic diets/exercise plans – I believe our health should be an every day lifestyle thing full of balance – I do believe in a kick up the bum when needed. I have no intention of giving up after a month, but I think I need to work a lot harder at remembering the habits that are better for me.

I feel like by telling myself that it’s just 30 or so days of the mentally hard stuff, it will seem easier by the time December rolls around. I have had fairly good habits through the year (compared to the past Kez) but I just need to slot myself back into that groove. I don’t think making excuses to eat my feelings or letting myself have lots of time off is working. I’m not getting the results I want so I need to get back to putting in the work. It’s not really only a month long challenge I’ve set myself, but more of a rehab of sorts.

There will be exceptions. Times when I don’t have many healthy food options or when I want the Little Mister to see me sharing a little birthday cake with him. But I will be making those moments as few and far between as possible. I want to do everything I can to avoid my old excuses (trust me – they’re getting old).

This is not about being mean to myself. It’s about being kind. I won’t be shaming myself. I won’t be doing this so I can suffer. I won’t be doing this because I don’t like myself. I will be doing this because I love myself enough to.

So here are the specific things I will be doing (and it’s scary to write it down and make myself accountable but I think we all know I need to):

  • I will plan my lunches (they are my weakness sometimes) so that they are healthy and of a good portion size. I will exercise much more discipline than I have been.
  • I will eat less dinner – using a smaller plate. I truly do not need to eat as much at night as I do at the moment.
  • I will not impulsively buy snacks that are not conducive to my efforts. I will walk RIGHT PAST that stuff at the shops.
  • I will work out wherever/whenever possible. If I cannot get on the treadmill, I can do a quick weights work out or a hip hop cardio work out while in the same room as the Little Mister. Daily would be good, but definitely 3-5 days a week minimum.
  • If I feel really hungry emotionally and/or physically I will have some lean protein to get me through until the next meal time (that is what seems to work for me).
  • If I am in a take away food/eating out situation, I will order the healthiest choice available and/or have the smallest portion available.
  • If I should slip up at any point, I will NOT GIVE UP or slack off. I will do better at the very next opportunity I have.

Basically, I am going to force myself to do the right things. It sounds funny, but I’m going to treat this as a physical thing. My mind might try to make bad decisions, but I can tell my legs to walk on by!! Once I’ve walked away or shut my mouth (haha), I’m going to do a lot better! I can journal out my emotions, use my support networks and give myself non food related rewards after that haha.

Those are just my own goals and what I think will work for me. What works for somebody else might look a bit different.

I know that once I see the good results – my mental health, my weight, how I feel in my clothes, how energised I am – I won’t want to stop after November. I can’t wait.

Are you going to join me in my #NoExcusesVember efforts – what will your NoExcusesVember look like? What are your goals? Are you an emotional eater too? 

Kez Gets Physical: Active Wear. When should we wear it?

So there’s this video going super viral at the moment. You might have seen it already. It’s funny. It’s clever…

I mean, I laughed! But the thing is, I have a confession. I wear active wear. I exercise in it – promise! But sometimes I wear it all day before I can get a work out in and I don’t give a damn who has a problem with that! I don’t mind having a laugh at myself about it either. What normal person sees that in their future? Haha.

Why do I wear it all day sometimes? Because hell, that’s what works for me. I am not going to compromise my motivation levels for anyone who can’t stand to see activewear on a human being for longer than the time it takes for them to work out. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

I tell myself that if I’m wearing it then I have to work out before the day is out. You know, so I’m not THAT person.

Also, I know that if I’m already wearing the stuff, I’m not going to tell myself that I can’t be bothered taking the time to get dressed for exercise when that time of day rolls around. Excuses be gone!!

So next time you see that chick who looks like she’s been wearing her gym gear all day, with no sign of a work out (YET), go easy on her. She might be me! She might be biding her time until her husband comes home from work or her kid is in school or whatever the reason may be. It’s called efficiency, y’all and if I’m feeling pretty frickin’ comfy at the same time – why not?

So to answer the question I posed in this post’s title? When should we wear activewear? WHENEVER THE HELL WE NEED TO.

Feel free to laugh at/with me, because I am unapologetically wearing that stuff all day long if that’s what it takes to get me fit, mother f*cker!

😉

Do you wear activewear? Do you love it or loathe it? Can you actually really tell if another human being is wearing it for the right reasons just by looking at them? Isn’t that video hilarious? 

 

This is just a silly post, but I do send the message that you shouldn’t let other people’s stereotypes or judgements stop you from doing what is best for you x

Kez Gets Physical: Loving your body (and yourself) NOW.

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When I say ‘love’, I don’t mean that you have to be head over heels, loving yourself sick and thinking you’re the sexiest beast to walk the planet every time you look in the mirror – no improvements needed (although you are totally a sexy beast – just saying). I mean the act of love. The ‘being kind to yourself’ kind of love. The kind of acceptance for yourself and your body that you would give anybody else that you care about, but somehow forget to give yourself. The remembering that you are more than what you look like. That kind of love.

I used to be of the mentality that I would have to work hard to get the body that I want and THEN I could love myself – you know, when I got really hot. And you know what? I was MISERABLE. I was all about the destination and not about the journey. Holding off my happiness and acceptance of myself was not the best idea I’ve ever had. In fact, it turned out to be really counterproductive.

Also, WTF. How shallow is that?? I would never treat somebody else like that. Why do it to myself?

The funny thing is, it took me being the heaviest and most unfit I’ve ever been in my life to actually start loving myself (this was only a few months and a couple of kilograms ago). I think it’s because I had to accept that if I got myself moving and really made an effort to improve my health, it would take a lot longer than it ever has before. It wouldn’t be a quick fix (and nor did I want it to be). That’d be a really long time to wait to be happy.

For me, the happiness I feel when I’m saying nice things to myself, is what actually motivates me. I’ve made so much more progress in my journey to better health since I decided to be happy with myself NOW than I was ever making when I made the choice to loathe who I saw in the mirror each day.

How do I love myself and my body NOW

I used to think that there was no point buying nice new clothes because I’d be heaps smaller and slimmer one day, so what’s the point? May as well make do with what I had until I was ‘hot again’ and then I could spoil myself. That was a HUGE mistake. Each day I faced a wardrobe filled with things that didn’t fit anymore. Stuff I was waiting to fit back into. See, I never got rid of that stuff because I thought that if I did, it was like telling myself I’d never wear that size/style again. I thought it would be like admitting I was giving up. Thing is, I was also subconsciously telling myself that I didn’t deserve nice new clothes that fit and flattered, because I didn’t think I was good enough how I was.

Each day I would have to wade through the stuff that I couldn’t wear anymore. I would feel sad and annoyed (it also was a big waste of time). Every day. I would put on some drab piece of clothing – probably something super floaty I could do nothing but hide in and hope I blended in with. It was often a few seasons old or it looked overly worn out. I never felt good.

I also never worked out. I told myself that until I was ‘hot’ enough to wear gym clothes, I shouldn’t buy any, like I didn’t have the right to buy it because I wasn’t ‘the real deal’ or experienced enough. But then I would never be able to exercise the way I wanted, because I didn’t have the right clothes or I felt frumpy and out of place when I improvised! Funny that.

So one day something snapped in me and I went into a little bit of a frenzy. I packed all the stuff that didn’t fit me into bags. One for charity and one to put aside somewhere just in case (in a container to be stored away so I didn’t have to see it every day). My wardrobe looked quite bare, but suddenly there was room for new stuff. Stuff I deserved to buy myself. Best decision I ever made.

Now I go clothes shopping when I can (which is not often but I make it count) and I put some effort in. I deserve it. I deserve to look and feel nice no matter what weight I am or where I am in my progress as I strive to be healthier and stronger. I have a couple of aspirational clothing items but I keep them to a minimum and they are realistic aspirations – not crazy dreams of a size 6 mini dress – the kind worn only by Hollywood socialites on the red carpet (socialite in mini dress I am not)! If I ever get small enough for that kind of thing (and someone invites me to a red carpet event haha), I’ll go buy it when I need it. For now, I’m happy to dress for where I’m at. Yes. Happy. I’m gonna be sexy NOW damn it!

The more I exercise and eat better, the less I care what people might think of my appearance. Because there’s something magical about knowing your truth. If I’m doing all I can, people can think whatever the fuck they like. When I was miserable and secretly eating my feelings every day and hiding in grey muu muu dresses, I thought that any negative thoughts people had of my appearance would be all I deserved. It wasn’t and to be honest, I don’t think other people thought much of anything. I was just projecting my own feelings about myself onto them. Deep, huh?

Another thing to do is to find inspiration (and perspective) in people who are more like you, physically. I know heaps of beautiful girls of all sizes and shapes who look AMAZING to me all the time and not once have I ever looked at them and thought bad things about them just because of how they carry their weight (or any other physical trait). In fact, I see who they are shining through more than anything. If I don’t judge them, should I be judging myself? Hell to the no! That’s also a good indicator that other people probably aren’t judging me either!

Now when I look in the mirror, I look for the good things. Sure, I might do a quick ‘does my back fat look too obvious in this’ check (old habits die hard), but I look for the little differences in my muscle tone since I started exercising more. I look at the things I like about my outfit or my body. Because I put love into my body and my wardrobe NOW, it is much easier. I’m proud of a ‘look’ I’ve achieved, rather than relieved I can blend in for another day (or horribly anxious that someone will ‘out’ me as not being good enough).

Even if my clothes aren’t fitting great (and the stuff in the shops is not helping either), I find ways to pamper myself. Cute accessories (they’ll always fit), colourful shoes, getting my nails done (or taking the time to do them myself). It doesn’t matter what size I am. I know I’m working hard and things will improve. I am kind to myself because I deserve my own kindness NOW (or at least I am working really hard on it).

Because what’s more motivating? Someone bullying us and saying we’re not good enough or someone telling us they care and that they’ve got our back and they know we can do this because we’re worth it?

Don’t be your own bully!

You are beautiful in so many ways RIGHT NOW!

The big question: Do you believe me?

I beg you not to burn + Banana Boat Giveaway.

Products supplied by Banana Boat for review & giveaway

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While I wouldn’t exactly say that spring has completely sprung around these parts (it’s a still a bit cool for my liking), the sun has definitely been showing its face around here a lot more lately. I’m already planning so many more outdoor activities – beach time, more outdoor running, spending time in the garden, working on the outside of our house, trips to the playground, socialising and more. Yay! SUMMER IS COMING!

*stops happy dancing and puts on serious face*

Only thing is… with summer comes more risk of doing damage to our skin. While we can still do damage on cloudy days, it’s during the summer that I start to see disturbing images on social media of people with pretty bad sunburn. Usually captioned with silly emoji and a bit of a light hearted, “oh – whoops – burnt again – silly me – hahaha!”

Some people even seem proud of it. Sometimes there’s even talk of how they hope that after their skin burns, they’ll be brown and tanned.

I’d be lying if I said that I don’t worry about it. I’d also be lying if I said that sometimes it doesn’t frickin’ annoy me that they’d potentially mess with their lives just for a tan.

Look, I get it. Sometimes we can be forgetful. We can fall asleep in the sun after a couple of beverages, forgetting to find shade or reapply our sunscreen. We can be so absorbed in a rousing game of beach cricket or a productive day in the backyard and lose track of time. We can unexpectedly find ourselves outdoors for a prolonged period and realise we have nothing to protect us.

But I am appealing to you all to stop getting sunburnt. Make it your mission this summer (and all year round). My own family has experienced tragic loss to melanoma. It’s real and it’s happening to Aussies everywhere. Our lifestyle and our weather put us at more risk if we don’t take precautions. It doesn’t just happen to “other” people. Believe me when I say this.

Ever since our family’s very sad wake up call we try to keep up with our skin checks (you might be super scared to do it in case the results are bad but trust me – not knowing won’t change the reality of a situation – it will only steal away the time you could have been treating it). I have my house, handbag, and beach bag stocked up with sunscreen everywhere. I have it in roll on form, spray form, cream form, formulated for children, stuff for sports activities, water play. You name it, we’ve got it. Wherever we are. It has to be easy or we forget.

We cover up as much as we can. This spring/summer I’m on the hunt for the perfect wide brimmed hat. I am terrible with hats (so not a hat person), but I want to protect myself better and set a great example for the Little Mister. I urge all of my fellow non hat people to give it a go too. There’s gotta be something flattering out there for us!! We just have to commit to the search. Vanity just can’t be an excuse anymore.

Wear your sunglasses. Protect your eyes. I have been making a huge effort to remember my sunnies everywhere I go. See, during the Little Mister’s first year of life, I kept forgetting them. I was completely consumed by what to pack for the baby, that I put myself last. I don’t know why but sunglasses always went to the bottom of the list as I ran out of the door. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but by the time the Little Mister was about 18 months old, I realised the damage. In just that short amount of time (after years of being dedicated to wearing my sunnies for most of my life), I had sun spots around the corners of my eyes. They look a bit like I’ve made a mess of my eye make up. At first I thought that was what they were. I rubbed at them, thinking I’d stained my skin with eye liner or mascara. When the realisation dawned on me that it was the sun’s doing, I immediately changed my ways. I admit it started with vanity, but it showed me just how quickly you can do irreversible damage. It doesn’t take long. I promise you that. Wear them when you’re driving, walking around outdoors, any time your eyes are exposed to the sunlight.

I want my family and friends to take it seriously, because I want them around for a loooooong time. I’d rather they all be a little bit pale and perfect than burnt, leathery and flaky (and potentially sick). Tell me, which is the better look?

So that is my plea to you. Please don’t be weirdly proud of your sunburn. Do not increase your risk in the hopes that you’ll tan. Protect yourself when you’re out and about. Protect your precious children. Let’s teach them good habits now that will pay off later.

Let’s prevent the heartbreak of you or your family suffering from melanoma. Let’s not forget to look after ourselves (I know it can happen easily if we don’t put self care at the top of the list but it’s so important). Let’s stop laughing about sunburn like it’s a funny joke and start having meaningful conversations about preventing skin cancer.

This is an issue very close to my family’s heart and I want to help you to get your family’s sun protection routine in order, so I’ve arranged a little something to get a couple of my lucky readers started! I am a big fan of Banana Boat and I am so stoked to be able to run a Banana Boat giveaway right here on the blog!

You can win either a kid’s pack (4 items as below):

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…or an adult’s pack (2 items as below):

 

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How to enter…

Leave a comment right here on the blog, telling me which pack you want (kids or adults – if you don’t mind which one then let me know that either would be fine) and what you plan to do to make sun protection easier for you and/or your family this summer. Any great tips for my other readers? 

T & Cs

  • There will be two separate winners. One winner will receive the kids prize and one winner will receive the adults prize. While prize preferences of competition entrants will be taken into consideration, it is not guaranteed that they will receive the pack they preferred, should they be named a winner.
  • Giveaway ends at midnight WST on Sunday the 4th October, 2015.
  • The prizes will be sent out by a 3rd party. Products may vary slightly from what is pictured.
  • Winners will be chosen based on the quality of their entry comments. My choices will be final.
  • The winner will be notified privately via email and be announced on my Facebook page (click to follow).
  • Giveaway only open to Australian residents (so sorry my gorgeous foreigners).

GOOD LUCK!!! 🙂

Kez Gets Physical: A weighty topic.

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I don’t really like the idea of talking too much about weight loss anymore (ironic I know when you consider the topic of this blog post). I think it’s because everyone focuses on it so much. It really isn’t everything when it comes to being healthier. Am I excited when I see a loss on the scales? Of course. But my reasons for wanting to see that decrease has changed drastically over time.

It used to be all about my looks. I would be so ashamed of my appearance that I would cry before leaving the house (how embarrassment). I’d be so worried that everyone would think I couldn’t pull off an outfit because I was too overweight. Or that they might mistakenly think I was pregnant (a big ridiculous phobia which has sadly been proven to be valid on occasion because people can’t shut their mouths and mind their own business).

Now it’s about much more than my looks. Do I want to see the numbers drop on the scale? Absolutely. Am I going to end up talking about it? Yeah. But this time it’s about being healthy and feeling better physically.

This body was not built to be chubby. I have a small, Asian frame and when I carry too much weight I really feel it. My thighs chafe. My feet hurt more when I walk. I physically feel like shit when I’ve been filling my body with the wrong things (weight gain being the obvious side effect). And for reasons that are entirely practical, if I don’t keep my weight down, my clothes (currently size 12) don’t fit and I know that I cannot go up any more sizes because those sizes are made for taller people and I wouldn’t be able to find anything in the shops (I’m only 5 foot tall yo).

I want to be a healthy BMI to avoid type 2 diabetes in the future (as well as decrease my chances of complications with gestational diabetes in any future pregnancy). I want to feel agile and not heavy when I move.

Yeah, I do look forward to the side effects of weight loss when it comes to the superficial side of things, but I am very careful not to let it be my focus. Since working on my health, I haven’t worried anywhere near as much about whether people think I’m pregnant when my stomach bloats up or sticks out. I know I’m working on my fitness and it makes me feel like anyone who accuses me, or subtly implies, that they think I am ‘with child’ (without a shred of evidence because duh I’m not) can go jump off a bridge, while I smile and wave to them because I have the comfort of knowing I’m making healthy choices, regardless of what they think it looks like.

I’m not going to preach to anyone else how to lose weight (that’s up to the experts and it’s not up to me to tell you that you need to do anything – you do you boo). I just know that I am not going to let my self image be defined by what numbers are on the scales.

My weight is just a part of my journey to better health. There is so much more I am working on too.

So when you hear me talk about my weight loss goals and celebrating little weight loss milestones, I am only talking about a part of my experience. I am enjoying the mental health benefits of exercising more. I love when I can rush about during the day without feeling like I’m going to collapse from exhaustion. I am so glad when I feel good after eating foods that aren’t filled with the junk that makes you feel sluggish or nauseous (I am not by ANY stretch of the imagination saying I do not indulge regularly haha). I get excited, the closer I get to having a BMI within the healthy range (as opposed to currently being in the overweight category). I love when there’s evidence (guys I’m talking about regular poops hahaha) that my metabolism is remembering what to do.

I am sick of seeing the media and pop culture so singularly focused on what a (usually female) celebrity weighs. On what a woman looks like after giving birth. We are so much more than that. It’s insulting that women feel compelled to show their post-pregnancy-bodies off. To prove how great they are at shedding the baby weight, or conversely to prove what ‘normal’ looks like. Why do we even care at all? We are so much more than that. We are warrior women, no matter what any of us looks like.

Shouldn’t we be talking about the important things? Yes, reclaiming our bodies is a journey after birth (even almost 4 years on as is my case), and it can be so great to celebrate that, but it should be for the right reasons. For us as individuals – not to match some stupid, superficial standard that society seemingly has for us.

That is why I scroll past the ‘such and such flaunts her post baby body’ headlines. Um…that famous chick just went to the supermarket a relatively short time after having a baby. WHAT? That’s why I don’t buy the magazines. I am not even slightly tempted. That is why I won’t be joining any ‘movement’ to post photos of my ‘real’ belly any time soon (or ever). I simply do not care and I wish that more people would join me in my ‘not caring’. It’s liberating.

The feminist in me says, let’s stop oppressing ourselves and each other in such a demeaning way. Let’s say no to those who try to do it to us. Women are so much more than their appearance or what they weigh. How are we allowing ourselves to be defined in such a limited way?!

Sure, we’re humans and we like looking at pretty, shiny things. Sometimes we even like to become pretty, shiny things. There is nothing wrong with that, but it isn’t everything. It’s not even the most important thing. Not even close.

Let’s focus on who we are and how we feel mentally, physically and spiritually. We have so much more to offer than an obsession with the bathroom scales or how fast we lose weight. Let’s not forget that weight loss can be unhealthy and disordered too. It’s why we do it, how we do it and the way we choose to talk about it that really matters.

 How do you feel about the way the media portrays women? Have you struggled with your body image?

How I cope with winter illness stir-craziness.

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I am not a winter person. I have learnt how to embrace it and try to enjoy it anyway, but it is a time fraught with danger. Germs flying about everywhere. No place is safe. No person is safe!

It’s just par for the course, really. Winter = cold and flu season.

As an adult, I’ve been getting a flu shot annually and while it doesn’t work for everyone, I feel thankful that it has seemed to work quite well for me. Mr Unprepared seems to have mixed results, but nothing too full on has hit him since he started having them, so that’s probably a positive sign.

But the Little Mister? Germ machine.

Since he started day care this year, he’s had a cold almost every second week. Some strains seem really mild and give him nothing more than a snotty nose for a couple of days, others seem to linger forever, along with an annoying cough. I am so lucky I work casually and can be flexible when he needs to stay home, but it’s starting to get a bit inconvenient! If I don’t work, I don’t get paid damn it!

BUT…

I am very passionate about not knowingly spreading germs around. I hate when I hear about work places that pressure their employees to turn up sick. I hate when someone turns up at the playground or social gathering, casually saying, “Oh man! I/my kids am/are so sick right now!” while their child is practically slobbering all over you/your child or you’ve just agreed to split a plate of finger food with them. A little warning might have been nice!

WHAT THE HELL? GO HOME. Is your FOMO really that bad that you’re willing to infect ALL the people??

I mean, sometimes it’s not a super big deal. Germs are everywhere, anyway. It’s just nice to know ahead of time so you can make an educated choice on how you choose to protect yourself or your child (we personally had to warn my family this past weekend about the Little Mister’s cold and blessings were given for him to turn up with a few extra precautions taken)! But generally? If you’re all germy, then don’t turn up! These things are unavoidable. People will get over it.

I even keep my errands to an absolute minimum. You’ll only ever see the Little Mister having a little cough at the shops if I have absolutely no other choice, but I promise he’ll be coughing into his sleeve, keeping his hands to himself and that pocket sized bottle of sanitiser I keep in my handbag will be making an appearance!!

But I get it when people say they’re stir crazy. It starts to feel like you’ll never leave home again. You can feel very isolated and it’s not great for anyone’s mental health. Not to mention, when your child is bored and unstimulated and it feels like the days are moving at snail’s pace. I was talking to a friend about this and she was saying they hadn’t been out in weeks, due to her son having a lingering cold. I myself had only just emerged from a loooooong week in myself. I remember the days when it would go on for months if you had a bad run of it!! I never feel comfortable asking for babysitting so I can get out either, because I don’t want the Little Mister to infect anyone else! So, everyone at home it is.

It messes with your head. Especially if you get a sick partner too (they always seem to go down first right?).

So I’ve decided to share some ways that I try to minimise the stir crazy factor…

Get some fresh air…somewhere we can be alone together.

If it’s a sunny day, I like to grab the Little Mister, rug him up in his coziest clothes and take him down to our local beach. It’s a great spot that is never highly populated (much less in winter) and we can go for a walk or build a sandcastle together. Obviously we have to avoid anyone getting wet and cold, but it’s totally doable. No-one else gets infected, we get a bit of Vitamin D and the Little Mister feels like he had a fun outing just for him. In turn, I feel like the best mum ever again.

Phone calls/internet time.

This can be a double edged sword. Sometimes these things can make you feel worse, with FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) rearing its ugly head, but sometimes being able to chat online with your mates and feel connected can be a lifesaver. You can commiserate with your friends who are also stuck at home and keep each other company, virtually!

I also catch up on my favourite blogs and immerse myself in tales of the outside world when I get a bit of down time. Usually, when the Little Mister is snuggled up watching a movie. Gotta love movie time on sick days, right?

This week I joined Periscope (user name @KezUnprepared) just for the hell of it. Yet another new thing to eat up my down time and get me feeling creative. I feel like this should be its own little point too – try something new (read a new book or learn a new skill you can practice at home or research some stuff or plan a new project you could try during or after the current illness jag).

I like to have a good chinwag on the phone with my mum too. It’s nice to connect. Speak to an adult.

Clean EVERYTHING. 

Usually, I am no domestic goddess. But when everyone’s been cooped up for a while and the germs are so irritating, you swear you can see them having a party on every single surface of your home (living or otherwise), it’s cathartic to just start washing and cleaning and tidying ALL THE THINGS.

After the last outbreak of gastro, I went nuts washing bedding, towels and anything my husband had ever touched. Afterwards, the house looked and smelt nice and fresh. Psychologically, this really gave me a boost. I stopped seeing my house as a tiny, claustrophobic germ incubator and more as a sanctuary again.

I will be doing another vigorous cleaning session this week, after dealing with the Little Mister’s latest snotty, coughy situation. It’s gonna be great!

Obviously, it’s a good way to minimise the chances of reinfecting everyone over and over.

Have a secret stash of ‘sick day’ activity materials.

I have a craft box full of cheap stickers, pipe cleaners, cotton wool, kids’ craft glue, coloured card, felt animals hidden away for when the Little Mister gets really really bored and I start to feel like a crappy mum because we haven’t done anything but sit around for days. I also have colouring books and other activity books sitting around that he’s not really aware of. I pull something out when things are getting dire (I’m talking all out desperation) and it can keep him amused for ages! None of those things cost a lot and I just throw a little something in my shopping trolley when supplies are a bit low or I see something on sale.

Snuggle. 

Just give in. The Little Mister snuggles more when he’s not well. He gets so docile and cuddly. I just try to forget everything else and sit and snuggle with him when he needs it. It’s nice. I swear it is easier when I stop fighting it (‘it’ being my busy mum brain).

 

Kids are such troopers, aren’t they?

Look, my go-to strategies might seem a little obvious and might make you feel pretty stabby if you’re feeling at the end of your tether. Trust me, I get it. Sometimes I try all of these things and I will still feel like absolute shit. Hang in there! It won’t be forever. Summer will come again!

You got this! x

How do you survive lengthy winter sickness jags? Any advice you can add for other stir crazy parents?

Kez Gets Physical: Some weeks are better than others.

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I’m just gonna come straight out and admit that in the past week I have SUCKED at exercising. It started because the Little Mister was sick and I couldn’t get many moments to myself to do some great work outs. Then (of course), I started to fight off his cold too, which made me feel more drained and icky than usual. This did not do wonders for my motivational levels. Add a couple of later-than-usual dinner times (although it is not ideal I try to work out after an early dinner – the only time I can get to exercise daily) and a few bad work outs (endorphins – where the f*ck were you when I needed you?!?) and conditions have been a bit less than satisfactory.

And I never thought I’d say this, but sometimes the cold weather makes me not want to work out. Even though I work out indoors on my treadmill or to a video on YouTube. Lame Excuse Queen right here! I can’t help it! Cold weather makes me want to snuggle down. Not get my kit on and get sweaty. Which goes against logic. Because exercise warms you up.

I am also aware that at this stage of the game, it’s a make or break. This is the point where I make a choice. Give up because it’s hard to sustain new habits or push through. So I’m going to push through. A bad week does not justify me giving up.

I’m feeling a little frustrated because time to myself is at a premium lately. Moreso than usual, that is.

I’ve tried working out with the Little Mister in the room, but it is definitely more challenging!

I have just tried to eat better to compensate (my name is Kez and I haven’t bought any much junk food for like over a week) and I am going to come back stronger and more motivated than ever!

Until then, I will laugh about it because what can you do? It’s real mum life!

So I shall leave you with this video which made me giggle. This woman has nailed it. Behold the Real Mom Ab Workout.

Can you relate to the video? How do you motivate yourself when time is tight and children are everywhere?