Today is my birthday and I am the grand age of 37! I am unfortunately at work today, I did hope to have a long weekend break with the Aussie and Naomi but I am owe holiday to my employer and will be taking two weeks of at Christmas so we celebrated my birthday last Saturday instead!
I have been compiling a list of things I have achieved and / or learnt in my last 37 years which is below. A lot are health related because this has been a massive change for me over the last two years.
1. Lost over 50 kilograms! About 10 years ago I lost 4 stone which is about 25 kilograms but put it and some more back on because I didn’t change my lifestyle enough, returned to my old “normal” eating habits and didn’t exercise. This time round I have completely adjusted my diet and exercise and it is really showing (I think anyway).
2. Qualified as a Solicitor in England and Wales, the Northern Territory and Queensland.
3. Obtained a Law degree in the UK and successfully returned to study in Australia so that I could qualify as a Solicitor.
4. Moved from England to Darwin and then Darwin to Brisbane. I miss my family and friends in the UK A LOT but with their support and understanding I have settled into Aussie life and love when they visit or I can travel home to see them.
5. Raised money for charities. I have participated in sponsored walks for the RSPCA, Heart Foundation, Leukaemia Foundation, Colour Run, MS Society. I really love the fact that my health and fitness enables me to raise money for some amazing charities.
6. That I have amazing parents and brother. I know it’s not easy being so far apart but they are just always there for me, cheering me on and listening to me. I hope I am the same for them. I absolutely cannot wait to see them at Christmas and to spend time with them all.
7. Become a permanent resident in Australia! The Aussie has sponsored me so that we can be together. It was a long, intrusive and often frustrating process of about 4 years. On 14 February 2018 Immigration finally confirmed I can remain (subject to their rules) and as from 14 February 2019 I can apply for citizenship which I am now gearing up for and hope will be much easier.
8. Learnt and understand how to take photographs in manual mode quite successfully. I love photography but its not a hobby I can fit in at the moment. I hope that in time the passion will return and I can do that more and more.
9. That I love working out A LOT! I hated sport at school and would do everything I could to avoid it. I think it is a shame that PE operates the way it does at school because it really put me off. I now wake up most days excited to go the gym and actively look for walks and workouts and feel the difference.
10. That I have participated in the Commonwealth Games! It was held on the Gold Coast this year and they ran the Gold Run event for members of the public to walk/run 5km. It was tough and extremely hot but an experience I will never have ever again, plus I have a medal.
11. That you have to eat enough food, as long as it is balanced and healthy. When I started working with Felicity my weight had plateaued, I was eating between 1300 and 1500 calories a day but there was still processed foods in there which meant I was starving between meals and I was not loosing any weight. My first time talking to her about what I was eating she said you are not eating enough and that seemed crazy, I was trying to loose weight, how could I eat more food! Felicity puts together my meal plan, at times it is tough but it is short term because it changes weekly or fortnightly. However I am now rarely hungry because I eat frequently, healthy whole meals and the results were and are that I lost weight.
12. That I share a birthday with Tina Turner and also that on my birthday in 1983 the Brinks Mat robbery took place. Here is a list of historical things which happened on my birthday each year!
13. Climbed a mountain! You can read about it here and I am hoping that we can do some more of this soon.
14. That clothes shopping is fun (and addictive) now I am smaller. Before I lost weight I would have to buy what fit and hope it kind of looked decent. Now I can wear so much more clothes so my wardrobe has expanded and shopping is so much more fun.
15. That I am extremely lucky to have friends literally around the world who mean the world to me. I am still friends with people I went to school and uni with and who I have worked with in both the UK and Australia and it is wonderful to catch up with each and every one of them.
16. Become more confident driving. I didn’t learn to drive until after I finished Uni and wasn’t overly bothered to do so. Then it took 8 attempts to pass and even then I commuted to work so never had to drive very much. Moving to Darwin and the rural area initially meant a 70km commute each way to get to work or the city and the Aussie and I drove one way each, each day. Over time my driving has increased and we have done a few bigger trips since being in Brisbane and so it has ended up that I drive almost all the time and love to do so.
17. I have learnt that I am not a partying on a Friday night kind of girl! I didn’t do the Friday/Saturday night thing through school or uni often because when I did I didn’t love it. I always preferred dinner out with friends but that wasn’t the thing to do. Over time I have learnt that it is more than ok that I don’t enjoy partying and luckily everyone else has caught up with the dinner nights instead!
18. That whilst I simply have to exercise for my wellbeing in combination with a healthy diet, that rest is also essential. If I don’t rest the obvious things like tired and crankiness happen (sorry to the Aussie) but it does also impact on weight loss and my life in general. I have worked out whilst exhausted and aching so much the work out is not effective and now I have to recognise that if I need to rest, I need to rest.
19. That I am self-competitive. I hate group work out sessions but if I am working out on my own or with a friend I love to push myself and see how much I can achieve and to try and beat what I did last time.
21. That it is ok to like music, films, people that others don’t. I remember being very aware at school about liking the right bands, films etc. but over time I have loved discovering what I think is good. Plus a bit of a difference of opinion can bring about some friendly debates.
22. Met and hugged (several) Koalas! Dream. Come. True!
23. That I don’t have to drink alcohol to have a good time! I wasn’t really a big drinker growing up but in Darwin we would go out a lot and I would drink most of the time (as well as eat whatever I want). When I started focusing on my healthier lifestyle I switched over to water whilst everyone else was drinking and I found there was no difference to my enjoyment of the night out. I still now 99% of the time just drink water when we are out and I love being there.
24. That I am excited for and looking forward to having surgery to have my excess skin /fat from weight loss removed. If someone had said you’ll have surgery as part of this “journey” I would have told them no way. Over time my mind set has shifted, particularly as there is not really anything that can be done about excess skin other than to remove it. I have seen a surgeon, know what is required and would have the surgery tomorrow if I could.
25. Kept this blog running! There was a year or so when I was very quiet and I entirely blame the study! I just couldn’t get my brain in gear to work full time, study part time and then write blog posts. I have been back for over a year now and love putting my posts together and sharing my life.
26. That even if I can’t sing, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it and love it. I am definitely one of those people who you will see singing along to the radio in the car. I love music and singing a lot.
27. Learn(ing) that not all people in your life are good for you and that is ok. This is a tough and ongoing lesson but I now understand this and I work on it.
28. I love a good countdown! I have a countdown app on my phone and when something is happening that I am excited for I will put an entry in the app and check back to see how long it is until the event happens. Currently I have our trip to the UK and the Gold Coast Marathon (we are doing the 10km event next year) amongst a few other exciting treats. I know the Aussie and our friends find it amusing but there is something about counting down the days.
29. Growing my gym confidence. When I started getting healthy I did only cardio and never had the confidence to lift weights. When I started training with a PT in Brisbane we worked out twice a week with weights. Even though I no longer work with him I still train with weights three times a week and I am really seeing the results. It can be and is still sometimes intimidating to go into the weights section but I blast my music, head on in and get it done.
30. That being told I am inspiring blows my mind and trying to learn to accept that I have done something that lots of people want to do by loosing weight and hope that if I am inspiring, that it does actually help someone make changes. I have been told that I should write a book now, is that something you would want to read?
31. That I really want to get a tattoo. I kind of know the design I want so now just have to save the pennies, narrow down the design and find an artist in the style I would like.
32. Learnt to be happy in my own company. I don’t love being on my own all the time but I am so much happier to be on my own now if/when I need to be. A few years ago the thought of being home alone would give me dread but now if the Aussie needs to go away I am more positive about it and enjoy some me time (don’t do it too often though!)
33. That I am a morning person after all, or I have trained myself to be! I used to be a night owl up until late but the only way to fit the gym in when I have enough energy is before work so I get up at 4.30am 5-6 times a week to work out and then am ready for bed by 9pm. I even wake up between 5 and 6am on days when I don’t have to get up for the gym which is crazy but I do get a whole lot done on those days.
34. That as of today I will have been alive for 13,515 days or 324,360 hours or 19,461,600 minutes! That is pretty cool!
35. That small changes mean big results. I didn’t suddenly change my eating and start working out 6 days a week. I did it gradually a bit at a time and because it was small changes I have kept it up and it is now a lifestyle for me.
36. I have learnt to celebrate myself and what I am, what I have achieved and to embrace that I am not wrong for wanting the very best for me in life
37. That 37 is a lot of things to think of and I am glad I didn’t decide to do this when I turn 40.
On that note, Happy Birthday to myself!! Here is to an amazing 12 months to come.