Nationality: South African
My overall aim is to… to get back to being me.
The area of The Life Challenge I’m most looking forward to is… The life coaching. There’s so much I have to go through and so many areas of my life that I need to address.
The most difficult part of The Life Challenge for me will be… Getting organised with my eating and meal plans.
When I first entered the Life Challenge, I was very eager to get started and make some real change. Now that it's happening I'm feeling rather anxious. Can I do this? What if I disappoint everyone? What if I just... fail?
After speaking to my life coach Carolyn, my nutritionist Christina and Tarek from Fitness First, I feel even more frightened! They are all so positive and encouraging! The only person doubting me, it seems, is me.
However, I have never backed down from a challenge and don't intend to start now.
After meeting the other (rather lovely) contestants, we all seem to be in agreement over one thing: being chosen as one of the six is a prize enough. What was also wonderful when meeting all the ladies was that no matter how together you look on the outside, everyone has something they feel needs work. This was encouraging since I am my own worst critic and was sure that I was going to be the biggest mess in the Challenge.
My main aim will definitely be to improve my health and improve nutrition. I gained almost 25 kilos after the birth of my daughter and have become somewhat of a takeout aficionado. I eat whatever's available, whenever I can. This might surprise those I work with, but I am very disorganised at home. Meal planning is not a strong suit, as much as planning, scheduling and analysing are at work. Christina helped me see that part of the battle of losing weight is organising. Making a plan for what I'll eat, and when.
So, with this in mind, and Christina's very stern voice in my head, I started having breakfast. I haven't eaten breakfast since... I can't rightly say. Breakfast usually consisted of a strong cup of coffee and a ciggie. Since quitting smoking a month ago, it's been two cups of black coffee instead. Lunch would be whatever was available at the café (usually zaatar and cheese pastries) and a cup of green tea (a feeble attempt to keep calories at bay!). Supper would be ordered from one of the many excellent fast food establishments in Fujairah. All snacks would be courtesy of Cadbury's, Galaxy et al.
Now Christina's limited me to 1264 calories a day and I am suffering. She did warn me the first few days would be hard. Giving up sugar is the toughest. I have to use a sugar substitute and suddenly coffee's not that enjoyable. Honestly, water tastes better, dirty dishwater at that!
Today is day five of the healthy eating and I’ve had a healthy, low fat turkey sandwich and a glass of freshly-squeezed juice for brekkie. Delicious! Lunch is planned too. Grilled chicken breasts and salad. And dinner? Well let's just say that KFC has lost a customer.
I already feel tons better, more in charge of what's going into my body and I’ve started exercising. Wheezing through 30 minutes on the treadmill and gasping while finishing 20 minutes on the stationary bike never felt so good!
So, I guess Dortothy Bernard had it right when she said, "Courage is fear that has said its prayers". ‘Cos all I need now is a healthy dose of courage and a whole lotta prayers.
Week one, day three
DIY salad á la Karin
I fell off the wagon a couple of times this week. It's harder than I thought to give up on my old friend sugar. However, thanks to my local Choithram's store, I’ve found sugar-free sweets and chocolates (is it just me or are they just as sweet as the regular kind?). I’m still skipping meals and can't imagine how it will be when I return to work, but I’m feeling very hopeful about Christina's very do-able meal planning and I even bravely ventured to a restaurant this week. Remembering Christina's rule number nine, which is to never go shopping when you’re hungry, I popped in at the local Lulu's Coffee Junction for a quick bite. I was horrified at the amount of deep fried food they served there. So, I took matters into my own hands and convinced the chef to combine the green salad with the chicken tikka and the results were spectacular. The freshly squeezed kiwi juice topped it all off nicely and I went off to do my grocery shopping feeling both physically satisfied and self-satisfied.
A small mistake this week was me thinking Tang was OK as part of my water quota… Christina wasn't very impressed! I definitely have to learn to read the labels of food more carefully.
Week one, day four
Love for the experts
I haven't officially started my exercise regime yet, but I’ve met Mike, my personal trainer at Fitness First, Sharjah. He is a hulking mass of muscle and, frankly, a bit scary. But, he does seem to know what he's doing – especially when I mentioned my recent (mild) stroke and ongoing recovery. He suggested low impact workouts with a balance between yoga (which I lurve!) and pilates (which I haven't ever tried). I hope that it will be enough to shift my love handles and back-fat! I had to send him my food diary too and since I haven't heard anything I assume he's not that impressed!
I was very impressed with the Fitness First Ladies’ Gym. Granted, I know very little about gyms due to a lifetime of active avoidance, but it was very neat and clean and the staff were super friendly – especially the lady at the Core cafe. The Balance smoothie she whipped up was delicious! I can't wait to go back for more of that. I am due to see Mike again this week and then my journey really and truly will begin.
This week I had my first life coaching encounter. I have to confess certain misconceptions I had harboured about the process. What I had gleaned from the (not-very-reliable) internet and a few friends who undergone the NLP/Life-coaching process had in no way prepared me for what really happens during a coaching session. I walked in with all the confidence in the world, thinking I had all the answers. I remember (blush!) telling Carolyn that I was “no way, no how, going to do any past-life mumbo or rebirthing-jumbo!" To her credit she resisted laughing out loud and at no time did I see her do any eye-rolling.
An hour later I was sobbing my heart out as she very matter-of-factly told me how it was. She helped me move past the mental blocks I had put up regarding life coaching. She helped me understand by explaining the very real, very scientific thinking behind the "mumbo and the jumbo" and I came to understand how learning styles affects communication style, and also how the way I said something probably affected the results it produced.
I was familiar with most of the terminology and practices regarding behaviour management and learning styles, as my job rather depends on me knowing what I'm talking about, but as Carolyn said "It's time to walk the walk, missy!"
I have another appointment with Carolyn this week and I’m looking forward to it. I guess as long as something makes sense to me, I can go with it. And I’ve learned that NLP does make sense from my rather excellent life-coach.
Karin’s nutritionist, Christina Doublichevitche, health and nutrition manager at Unilever, says:
“Thumbs up Karin! I am very impressed – great changes so far – but I couldn’t help but notice the TANG!!! I believe it’s because of your sweet-tooth, but, anyway, I can see that you applied many changes and that’s really great, Hope you’re feeling better. When you feel like something sweet, you can have a low fat fruit yogurt as a snack, you can top it with a tablespoon of oats, or muesli, and then it’ll be super healthy, sweet and filling.”