Monday, 25 March 2013

In pursuit of perfection...

After my last post, many people commented that my honesty was refreshing and that it was nice to hear someone admitting that they aren't 'superwoman.' Now, I have never claimed to be superwoman and, most of the time, I feel like the complete opposite. In my head, I am far from my idea of the 'perfect' mum, business woman, housewife, fitness professional. So, it got me to thinking about why I feel this way and why others seem to view things differently.

So many times in life, we see what we deem to be our role models as having the perfect life. They seem to have boundless drive in all areas, manage to juggle a million and one things, be successful in all areas, and never break a sweat doing so. When we aim to create that perfection within our own lives, we fail. Why? Because, it doesn't exist. 

Not a single person who has ever been successful has reached that point without failure, periods of self doubt, stress, lack of motivation, tears...the difference between those that fail and those that succeed, is perseverance.

It took me a long time to realise that. I spent years aiming for perfection every day, and failing every day. The moment I stopped aiming for perfection was the day I discovered how to succeed. Guess what, you're going to have days when training comes second to the rest of your life, you're going to have days when all you can manage is to eat and sleep, you're going to have days when your to-do list sits there accumulating and all you can physically and mentally manage is to check one thing off. But, if you get up every day and just give it all you have, you'll get there. No matter how slow, progress is progress and means you are moving toward your goals.

Since I found out I was pregnant, quite unexpectedly since I was told I was unable to have children, I've had to learn that sometimes you have to step back. I was so ill during pregnancy that I physically could not train and, with the onset of post natal depression, it took a long time for me to get back to training with any regularity. But, it was 9 months. 9 months, out of my entire life. Does it mean I failed? No, it means that I took care of what I needed to at the time; my health and my baby. It doesn't mean I'm any less of a fitness freak at heart, and the fact that my body is still not back to pre-pregnancy state does not mean I'm not living a healthy lifestyle. I'll get there and, if you keep pushing, so will you.

Fitness is a lifestyle. It isn't something that is determined by how you look, how often you train, how often you fail. It's something that's in your heart, something that you aim to work at every single day. Business is the same. You take small steps everyday toward where you ultimately want to be and eventually you get there. Learn to enjoy the process, the small victories every day. Whether that's lifting a weight you couldn't last week, hitting a few more 'likes' on your business page, seeing a little less jiggle on your belly, or finishing a task that you needed to all adds up. And, on those days when all you manage is to drag yourself from bed to sofa and back again, enjoy that day off, relish the quiet time, relax and really enjoy it then, back to work the next day.

Perfection does not exist. That guy you look at and assume has it all, because he's ripped and driving a lambo, has probably seen more failure in his life than you can even dream of. The woman with the amazing body, 3 kids, seemingly perfect relationship, successful business and 4x4 will still have all the same issues you have, and will have battled through hard times too.

Stop comparing yourself to everyone else and just start aiming to be the best YOU can be on any given day, forgive yourself failures, learn from them and keep moving. That's the key to success! 

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Learning to juggle...

I remember when I was pregnant and talking about my business and training plans, most people told me that I would "never find time for training" and that "business will have to wait". My reply was always the same, "I know I won't find time, I'll make time...for everything." I was under no illusions that it would take time to learn how to be a mum, business woman, fitness fanatic, student, fiancee and friend but, I also knew I would find a way to do it.

With all this being said, nothing could prepare me for the challenges of motherhood or the adjustments I would have to make. Everything changes. Suddenly, showering becomes a luxury, going to the toilet alone is a foreign concept and adult conversation is something only other people get. My life has been completely upturned and I can't even remember what it felt like before.

No new parent finds it easy, at least that's what I'm told, but, I had a few issues in the beginning that not everyone faces. Due to PCOS, my milk supply was so low that my baby was literally starving. I never thought I would resort to formula but, after 12 weeks of trying everything, including a 4 week stretch when Tolan refused to breastfeed and I was expressing 8-10 times a day for 20-60 minutes a time, I realised that I was one of the unlucky few who genuinely has incorrectable low supply. Had I known I could use donated breast milk when the problems first surfaced, I would probably have gone down that route but, Tolan is now formula fed and perfectly healthy. Through this period, however, if I let Tolan breastfeed without formula top-ups, he would literally feed round the clock. I was glued to the sofa for 15 hours, followed by feeding through most of the night. I couldn't do anything.

On top of this, I developed post-natal depression. I reached a point where I was genuinely petrified of being alone with my boy, leaving the house...even brushing my teeth became a task as great as climbing Everest, in my mind. I can't even begin to describe the feeling and would never wish it on anyone.

Around Christmas time, things started to come together. With formula feeding and Tolan getting what he needed, came the freedom of actually being able to put him down. Sadly, sleep has never been something that Tolan has liked the idea of and being 50 miles away from most of the people I know means Mummy is the sole entertainer for most of the week so Daddy can go to work.

Over time, I have learnt to play to my strengths and take each day as it comes. I've always been good at accomplishing a lot in a very short space of time which, when Tolan refuses to nap for more than 20 minutes, has come in useful. People keep asking me how I manage to fit everything in...the truth is, I don't always manage it. I have a list of everything I need to get done each day and, as opportunity presents itself, I start with the most urgent/important. I work on the basis that, even if I only get a fraction done of what I need to do, I've still done something and am, therefore, making progress.

My typical day basically goes:

Wake up after little sleep around 6.30, when Tolan refuses to go back to sleep.
Change, play and feed.
Attempt to get him to nap around 8ish - lucky if I get 30 minutes but, during this time I make a coffee and try to wake up whilst planning out the rest of the day.
Change, play, feed.
Training has been around 11.30am, usually dashing between sets to make Tolan laugh/stop him crying. The last few days I've even used him as a weight to keep him entertained.
Play, feed.
Around 1pm, I attempt to put Tolan down for a the short time I have, I respond to emails, speak to Tarkan, work on writing and studying.
Change, Play, Feed.
After around 3pm, Tolan invariably gets very fussy and will need 100% of my he gets it. We play, feed, watch TV/listen to music etc until Tarkan gets in around 6.30.
Around 8pm, we take Tolan in the bath, massage him, get him ready for bed and he's usually asleep by 9pm.
After that, I cook, eat, maybe work on more stuff, study, spend time with Tarkan, relax and invariably collapse into bed around midnight, only to be woken a few minutes later by Tolan wanting a feed. He usually wakes up every couple of hours through the night then...repeat.

So, yeah...for those who keep asking, that's how I do it. It's not easy but, it's getting there. It's starting to feel like things are coming together again. To all those people who told me I wouldn't do it, I would just like to say...I ALREADY AM!