Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Watch This Space

Hello everyone!  As you may have noticed, the 28 Days To Confidence has taken a break.  Perhaps I should have called it "28 Steps" instead. 

I had unforeseen events that have prevented me from continuing.  I had to help out my family and I'm in the process of sorting out a few areas in my personal life.  I'm perfectly fine and so is my family.  I am very busy though, I hope that you can appreciate and understand. 

I will be returning as soon as I can. 

Watch this space :)

Love and miss you all, 

Melanie xxoxx

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

28 Days To Confidence - Day 8

28 Days To Confidence - Day 8

This could either be breaking a bad one or creating a good one.  This can't be done in one day, but you can start now.  Imagine if you did it for the rest of this challenge and it became habit. ;)

Remember to try and be mindful of the other days challenges, like posture and showing your beautiful smile.  Work at them until they become habit, confidence can be a habit if you work at it.

How did I go?

The bad habit I'm trying to break is not drinking enough water.  I struggle with this one all the time.  I was really good at it for a while and then I got slack, didn't work at it and it all went down hill from there.  

I wake up and think of a nice warm coffee to lure me out of my covers, especially during the colder mornings.  But, it dehydrates and that really isn't what I need after not having water for about eight hours.  Water is one of the best things you can put in your mouth in the morning (not the funnest *wink*).  So, I've decided to make it a double challenge and make myself drink about 600 mls of water straight up (I keep it next to the bed so I can still stay in the covers hee hee).  

I'm a little bit of a princess when it comes to water, I didn't drink water for the longest time because I didn't like the taste.  For those of you that say it doesn't taste like anything, my inner princess can taste it.  So, I invested in a filtered water bottle to give me incentive to drink more.  I find with a water bottle I can take it with me everywhere, rather than just drinking from glasses.  I find that glasses of water will just sit there and I'll forget about them.  With a bottle I can close the cap and it's easy to grab.

I make sure that I have a bottle with every meal.  So, if I'm drinking one as soon as I wake up, that's 600mls, breakfast 1.2L, lunch 1.8L, dinner 2.4L.  It adds up pretty quickly then and if you have it there with every meal, it's easy to become habit.

I'll be completely honest, I really didn't do the best at this today.  It's something that I have to work on. It started off well and I forgot as the day went by.  I'm putting these steps in place from now on though and I know that I can turn it around.  I hope these tips help if you are wanting to increase your water intake.

What habit are you changing?

28 Days To Confidence - Day 7

28 Days To Confidence - Day 7
Day 7: Go It Alone

I don't know why it is perceived that there is something wrong with you if you are alone.  That you're a loser, a loner or just don't fit in. (Now the Raggy Dolls theme song is playing in my head, anyone remember that? Link here).  So often we find comfort in the company of other people or distractions that we forget how to be alone and be happy about it.

Today's challenge is to do something alone that you would normally do with someone else.  It could be anything at all, going to the movies, a cafe, shopping, a party etc.  But, I don't want you to rely on your phone or other distractions for comfort.  I think it's important to just be...alone. :)

Can you go it alone?
How did I go?

I used to hate and would avoid going to restaurants and cafes, even food courts alone.  I thought that everyone would perceive me as that loser/loner that didn't fit it, so I just avoided the situation all together.

How did it change? I did.  I decided that I was going to face this ridiculous fear of mine and just do it.  Not only that, I decided that I was going to stay off my phone, off social media and not have my head buried in any form of reading material.  I threw myself in and decided to enjoy the experience, the surroundings, the people, all of it. 

I know that to some of you, this isn't a big issue for you and that's why I want you to choose your own confidence building scenario.

The Paleo Place - Chicken Carbonara
I had some time in between appointments, so I decided to stop for lunch at The Paleo Place (not sponsored).  I had the Chicken Carbonara (chicken and bacon carbonara served with zucchini pasta) and it was pretty delicious.  I think it's the best meal I've tried from them yet.  It was the first time I've tried zucchini pasta (I know, I should be ashamed of myself considering how long I've been Paleo) and I was surprised how tasty it was.  I really have to make this at home!

I was really comfortable and I think that if I had distractions, I wouldn't have enjoyed the meal as much as I did.  You know what? Now I really don't care if people think that I'm a loser, a loner and I actually don't mind not fitting it.

What are you afraid to do alone?

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

28 Days To Confidence - Day 6

28 Days To Confidence - Day 6

Day 6: Give Yourself A Boost

Today's exercise is really simple.  Remember the last time you received a great compliment? How did it make you feel?  When you've received a compliment re read or relive that experience and it will give you a little boost. 

It also doesn't hurt to give someone a heartfelt compliment either, try it. :)

Some of the many amazing comments from one of my Facebook posts (40kg weightloss)

How did I go?

I feel extremely blessed that I have so much support from all of you, seriously feeling the love!  Thank you so much!  I could not have come this far without you, it's true! xxoxx

I find it really overwhelming (in a good way) when I read through all of your comments, it's amazing!  It still blows my mind when people say that I inspire them, that makes me so happy.  The whole point of this blog was to help others who have issues with weightloss, so I'm going to keep blogging as long as I'm helping people.

Reading these comments helps keep me going and helps me refocus on my weightloss goals.

Love you! xxoxx

Sunday, 14 June 2015

28 Days To Confidence - Day 5

28 Days To Confidence - Day 5
Day 5: Take Ten

You have 1440 minutes in your day, all I'm asking for today is 10.  
Yesterday I briefly discussed meditation and how it helped me face my fear (blog post here).  I wanted to elaborate on it in today's post for those of you who may find it useful.

How does meditation equal confidence?  Not only did it help face my fear, I also use it when I feel pressured, stressed or unproductive.  To me, it's like a reset button.  When things seem overwhelming, I take ten minutes of meditation and I'm refreshed and ready to go.  It's not only for times of stress or pressure, I try to do it every day.  In fact, right after a meditation is when I had the idea for this blog post series. 

Calm app
How did I go? 

I've been using an app called Calm for the last week.  There are several meditation apps you can download, I've tried a few, but I prefer Calm (not sponsored).  The reason I prefer it is because you can choose your own background sounds or "scenes".  

The beach <3

It has everything from rain to falling snowflakes.  My favourite is Sunset Beach because the sound of the beach relaxes me, I grew up near the beach and used to fall asleep to the sound of waves crashing on the sand.  I chose the meditate program of 7 days (the 7 days is free), each day teaches you meditation techniques.  You can also choose a guided meditation or just sounds to a timer.

Not only do I have jaw problems, I have issues with my neck/shoulder and back muscles.  Everyday I have to stretch these out as well.  I noticed that as the day went on, my shoulders were really tight and giving me grief.  I had to pull myself away from what I was doing and relax.  

To stretch out my shoulders, I place a rolled up towel or foam roller between them and lie down.  This forces them back and stretches out the muscles (recommended by my physio, for my particular needs).  During this time I like to use this app, I'm just lying there anyway.  

I've already finished the 7 day program, so today I chose a guided meditation for ten minutes.  It really helped with my stretches because it made me relax into it more.  It also cleared my mind that was a bit of a mess due to pain and thinking of all the things I had to get done.  I was able to come back and really focus on the day ahead. 

It's ten minutes, do it and thank me later! ;)
What helps you stay focused and relaxed?

Saturday, 13 June 2015

28 Days To Confidence - Day 4

28 Days To Confidence - Day 4
Day 4: Facing your fears

Today is another one for mental strength, facing your fears.  Not all at once, unless you want to. ;)  Just focus on one fear today and face it.  It doesn't have to be big, it can be something really small, just to start off with.  It can be anything you like.  

  Fears don't magically disappear and you don't just get over them, you have to work on them.  If you never face your fears, you will always have them.  So, be brave! :)

I'm warning you now, this is a long blog post! If you don't like long posts and aren't interested in the back story, just go to the "How did I go?" section.

Getting ready for the MRI
My Story

I remember my first MRI (read about MRI's here), it's when I was first diagnosed with Chiari 1 Malformation and after that MRI, my whole life changed.  I was told to have an MRI due to daily debilitating migraines and a whole host of nasty symptoms.  I had no idea what was happening to me and when I was diagnosed with Chiari, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

It was really hard to take on because there isn't a cure.  The only way to solve this issue was with some pretty serious surgeries and with not a great success rate, as far as I knew.  It's also a rare condition and not much is known about it.

MRI Machine - Image source: Wikipedia
The first MRI itself was a horrible experience for me.  I don't like being in tight enclosed spaces as it is, and you can't see out of the machine.  However, when I had this MRI, I was a lot bigger, almost 150 kgs! (I'm about 103kgs now). Lucky, it was only a head scan, because my arms almost didn't fit through the machine!  As it was, my arms were pressed tight against the machine the whole time, it was not comfortable and you have to stay completely still for the hour.  Don't even get me started on the noises the machine makes during the scan!

It was soon time for my second MRI, this time it was a full body scan, not just the head.  My heart sunk, a FULL BODY! That meant that I had to be fully inside that whole tube from head to toe!  But, I had now lost about 20kgs, so I was hoping like mad that this would be much more comfortable than the last.  Thankfully, I fit in the machine! It was a pretty big win for me, however, it was still a bit of a squeeze and not much room between my arms and the machine.  It was less horrifying, however, I was still pretty anxious during the whole scan.

I then started having a heap of really horrible symptoms, as well as my current ones.  These new symptoms were quite terrifying as they were all stroke like symptoms.  My resting pulse was way up in the 100's (it's around the 70's now).  I had chest pain.  I was short of breath and wasn't able to walk a few steps without being almost out of breath.  I felt weak, exhausted and my days were spent in bed because I couldn't do much else.  

Muscle weakness got so bad, that a pen felt heavy to hold in my hand.  I felt like I was going to black out whenever I stood up and almost passed out when I would have a shower.  My hands turned blue at one stage and the doctors were worried about the low oxygen levels in my blood.  I got numbness in my left arm, leg and half my tongue.  It got so bad that sometimes I could barely walk or speak.  I was also diagnosed with Wolff Parkinson White (WPW read more about it here).  I was in and out of hospital with these horrifying symptoms but I was always told that it was not WPW causing this, that it wasn't heart related.

Normal Heart (L) and Wolff Parkinson White Heart (R) - Image shource; Wikipedia

I kept pushing for answers because I knew that this had to be something to do with my heart.  It wasn't all in my head and I needed to get to the bottom of it, no matter how many Cardiologist said it wasn't my heart or WPW.  No matter how many times I was sent home from emergency, still suffering, with them telling me it was a virus.  I finally found a great private Cardiologist who was willing to listen, she didn't know what was happening to me but she wanted to do as many tests to help me get there.  It was now time for my third MRI.

The third MRI was a Cardiac MRI.  By this stage, I had now lost about 30kgs and fitting in the machine was no longer an issue.  However, I was still anxious.  This time I had to hold my breath on and off constantly for the hour.  It is pretty challenging normally and especially when you're short of breath, but I was determined because I needed those results.  It was really uncomfortable the whole time.  The test results came back clear.

My Cardiologist suggest I then have an Electrophysiology Study (EPS read about it here), to see what was happening with my heart and if required, have an ablation to resolve the extra pathway due to WPW.  I did end up having the ablation (while fully awake mind you, painful as!).  I now haven't had any of these horrifying symptoms since.  I've also resolved my migraines through physio.  It turns out that I also had jaw joint issues - TMJ (read about it here).  I still have to see my physio every month or so and I still get headaches and a few symptoms, but so far not migraines.  I'm able to manage them through daily stretches.

So, it was now time for my fourth MRI, a spinal MRI. Due to the Chiari, there is limited space at the base of my head and specialists are concerned about there not being enough space for the cerebrospinal fluid (more about it here) to pass through.  If there is a problem with the flow of fluid, it can lead to a lot of complications, so this MRI was to ensure this wasn't happening.  I've just had the MRI, so I'm still awaiting these results.  However, I feel fantastic, I'm fairly positive that these results will come back clear.

How did I go? 

What was this blog post about again? Oh, that's right, confidence. hahaha ;) 

I found out that I was going to have this MRI after I had already started this confidence challenge on my blog.  I thought what a great opportunity to really test myself and make me face one of my fears (head on hee hee), for myself and for all of you that read my blog.  Do you see what I put myself through for you guys? ;)

Usually I spend the whole week, morning, day etc before the MRI, dreading it.  But, I thought I'd try something completely different and look forward to it.  Why would I look forward to this horrible experience?  It's all about perception.  I decided that I was going to find something positive about it, no matter how hard I had to struggle.  

Recently, I have been practicing some meditation techniques (I never thought I would do meditation, like EVER... who am I?), just to relax each day and get my head clear.  I'll go more into this later in this challenge, but during the meditation, I have been focusing on my breath, just my breath and nothing else.  I decided that I was going to apply what I have learnt over the last week and test myself.  I looked forward to the MRI now, because now it was a challenge, an opportunity.  I thought about how I was going to tackle it and it was an opportunity to relax as well.

I gave myself plenty of time to get there and arrived early.  This meant that I was more relaxed and wasn't flustered before.  I filled out the forms and waited for the nurse.  I was now back in the same room where I had my first MRI.  The memories came flooding back, I remembered how nervous I was, how different I was.  Back then I had him with me, this time I was alone.  This time I was perfectly fine with being alone and I didn't need anyone to hold my hand, to reassure me.  

I remembered last time when they sent me to the change room and I didn't fit into the largest clothes they had.  I was so embarrassed and humiliated, I had to change back into my clothes and ask for larger ones.  I ended up having a tie up gown, because that is all that would fit.  Remembering all this it made me proud.  Proud of how far I've come, proud of my struggle, proud of me.

I was so relaxed going into the MRI, laughing/joking with the staff, this time not from nerves.  The MRI started and I relaxed my body and started just concentrating on my breath.  There were times when thoughts tried to creep in, but I told myself that all I needed to do was breathe.  I didn't need to worry about anything, I didn't need to do anything, I just needed to relax and breathe.  

It worked! I was surprised when the MRI was over because this time the hour didn't drag.  I was so relaxed the whole time, that when I came out it felt like I'd had an hour long, refreshing nap!  I was so happy with myself.  I'm now going to apply this with for other stressful situations.

So, congratulations if you made it to the end of the post! Sorry it was a big one, but I haven't fully explained what was happening with me. 

What are your fears?  How are you going to face them?  Let me know! ;)

Friday, 12 June 2015

28 Days To Confidence - Day 3

28 Day To Confidence - Day 3
Day 3: Dealing with failure - Learn from it

The last two days have focused on physical changes, today is all about building mental strength.  How we feel and think about ourselves makes a huge impact in all areas of our lives.  It's easy to be positive when things are going well, but the real challenge is to see positives when things aren't.  

Today I would like you to think of a time where you weren't so confident, where things didn't go as you would have hoped, a failure.  I want you to take yourself back there and relive the experience, not to make you think negatively, but rather to find positives.  There is no way that we can predict every situation, outcome and how we will react.  This is not an exercise to beat yourself up for not being perfect.  You can't learn from perfection, there is no room to grow, develop, or change.  Change is exciting, take it with you next time.  

Think of what you learnt about yourself from this situation, what you learnt about life and what you would do differently.  You can't change the past, but you can change you.  If you learn from your mistakes, you can prepare for similar situations in the future and therefore, be more confident.  If you can turn a failure into a win, you never fail. :)

failure quote
The only mistake you can make is not learning from them
How did I go?

I recently had a situation where I really didn't do my best at all, in fact, it was probably the worst I've ever performed in this situation.  I thought I was prepared, but if I'm completely honest with myself, I should have prepared more.  It started out well, but because I wasn't prepared enough, my nerves got the better of me and took over.  I froze up, my memory blanked and basically rendered me useless.  
I'm actually remembering it again as I'm typing this and smiling.  I can smile about it now, but at the time it was horrifying!  After the event I was in a state of shock, I felt sick, embarrassed, I was so upset and angry at myself.  I definitely let it get the better of me and I went into a self loathing stage.  At the time I tried to see the positives but I was too overcome with emotion and it clouded any positive thoughts.

How can I smile about it now?  Because this was the perfect example of what NOT to do in this situation.  When it's such a blunder, you know exactly what you need to do next time.  I now see with clarity that this opportunity really wasn't right for me and it wasn't what I really wanted.  I'll be placing myself in a similar situation soon and I'll view my previous experience as practice.

I'm already preparing for the next opportunity and I'll be that much stronger and confident for it.

How are you going with this challenge? Remember to carry on the previous lessons with you. :)