Marriage Is A Journey

Marriage is a journey.  I know this because I read it on the news feed of one of my favourite couples on Facebook.  I randomly stalk their page and each time I do so there is always something inspirational and heartwarming.  Today this is what I bumped into.

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Cynthia & Her Husband Sean

Marriage is like buying a second hand car. What attracted you to it was probably the shiny paint, the interior, the sound system etc, and it felt like a “new car” to you.
You then bought the car , entered into a relationship with it to start your own car journey experience. Your journey with the “new car” was an adventure as you began finding out things you never knew existed! 


You set off to go on your journey which is 1500 miles away, but it doesn’t bother you because you know the journey will be worth it! A third into your journey you hear a weird sound and you smell  something that wasn’t there before you can’t put your finger on it but you know something isn’t right!


You’re at a strange place with a now strange car and you’re faced with a dilemma!
1. Do you get the car checked out, fixed so you can continue on your journey? Or…..
2. Do you accept it as a loss, abort the journey forfeit your destination and find your way back to where you started? 


Marriage is a journey…


It’s an adventure, quite exciting and exhilarating at the beginning, but then the going will get tough at some point, you begin to see characteristics you never knew existed, you get disappointed, you feel let down, angry  feel like throwing in the towel.  You feel like it’s easier to just get a brand new car, but even those break down at some point too, so what will happen then??


You get to know your car  you get it fixed, you continue with the journey, it will be an experience, your own adventure, embrace it, focus on your destination!! It’ll be worth it.
Marriage is not for quitters, neither is it for the faint hearted!

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Cynthia is a Gym Addict and you can find her on Instagram where she always posts some mouth watering food and you can also find her on Facebook ,where she shares her fitness workouts.

Are you married?  If yes, what are some of the marriage nuggets you have to share?  Feel free to drop your thoughts in the comments section.

©MaKupsy 2017

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The Power of Social Media

It’s a beautiful feeling to know that I have a positive impact on people that I have never even met.  The other day I received a message which actually brought me to tears and I felt I had to share it with you.  It reads:

Having been a terrace member(members who don’t participate in the group) of several fitness groups with so much enthusiasm and at the start of it, a week or two after joining, I feel tired, drained and overwhelmed by the number of messages blowing up my phone. I mute the group because I cannot deal with the endless notifications, I’m high key irritated.

Months down the line, I have removed myself from the group having benefited nothing from it.

Having gone through so many fitness groups I became skeptical to join yet another fitness group and so it took a while for me to make a decision.

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It was during my decision making when it dawned on me that, I had been joining groups for the wrong reasons. Yes groups are there to push and motivate you but I lacked that within myself. I had not even an ounce of self drive or motivation to actually get myself out of bed and work out. I was looking for it in other people from those different groups. I ALWAYS had one excuse after the other. I didn’t really eat enough nor did I care about what I ate, as long as I stomached a meal at the end of the day. I ate one meal a day(throughout 2016) which was dinner simply because I had told myself that I did not have enough time to eat both breakfast and lunch.

Now how the hell did I expect to workout with such a diet? After months of body shaming myself and feeling out of control, I messaged Fitness Bae on Twitter in October 2016 out of desperation. I wrote down what she had said and turned into 2017 fitness goals. I realized that there was a lot of changes that had to be done. The first step was to apologize to my body for that is where the healing begins.

A few days into the new year, I got in touch with FitnessBae again, this time asking her to add me to the WhatsApp Fitness group. I was nervous because I had seen how obsessed she was with fitness while I was beyond unfit.

And so I joined the group “#RunWithFitnessBae”. Let me start by saying what a warm and welcoming group it is. Of the many groups I had been in, none of them where as warm and friendly(You would just join and only 2 or three members would welcome you). That for me was already a plus.

The group has an exciting twist to it and is not limited to fitness. What brought me to write this is how I have significantly benefited from the group in more ways than I imagined. Although most of the benefits are small they will go a long way.

I joined during the skipping challenge and my first skipping session was horrible, I could barely make it to 5 jumps. If I tell you now that I listen to the rope so much that I can skip on one foot from time to time you wouldn’t believe me. A week after joining I fell ill and was bed ridden for a whole week and a half. It felt bad and I was angry and moody. I was just there in the terraces doing nothing. My comeback was with the Old Mutual Run where I signed up for 5km bear in mind my longest distance was 1.5km

Then came the DT challenge, which ranged between 4km and 10km. I was nervous and told myself I would terrace on this one. But there’s something about the group that pushes you out of the terraces. People will post their workouts including their pace,elevation and total time (something I never cared about, but now, I look at all of those details) I found myself dressing up and going for the challenge each day. My body was in pain! I had never pushed myself so much in one week.

Im grateful for being part of the team. Even though my pace (which ranges between 08 and 09) and skips per minute are far behind, I’m at a happy place. When the team posts their workouts and I don’t post the level of guilt makes it hard to swallow sadza that night. And it’s because of this group that I found out that when I don’t workout I feel very cranky and moody. Once I get to workout, my mood changes. Not only do I workout, I eat healthy meals and portions too.

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I am still working on a few other things to catch up with the likes of Fitness Guru, Amy and DT😂 I have a long way to go but my motivation has significantly improved. I hope and pray that none of it is taken away from me by laziness, procrastination and all sorts of other distractions. It has taken so many falls,tears for me to get here, maintain and actually be happy. This is who and where I want to be for as long as I can.

Thank you again to the Team and these two quotes are what have been keeping me going;

  1. “Don’t listen to the pains, keep going”
  2. “Food is the most widely abused anti-anxiety drug and exercise is the most potent yet underutilized anti-depressant. Choose wisely”

You can find Leenah on Twitter she is such a happy soul and she has no idea how her message brought warmth to my heart.  Nothing brings me joy as much as knowing that my fitness craze has had people get up and do something about their health and wellness.  I live, breathe and sleep fitness and stories like this make me want to outdo myself each and everyday.  I am one person you can send a message to where fitness related issues are concerned and I will get right back at you because this is the stuff that fires my soul!

Thank you for the beautiful message Leenah and may you continue on your fitness journey with a positive attitude.

MaKupsy 2017©

 

A Journey Through Thick & Thin

We are investors in our lives, shareholders to the consequences of our actions. Shareholders because we never quite admit to all our mistakes, we apportion part of them to others.  Maybe that’s the reason why some people also lay claim to contributing to our successes when we do well.  That’s what l believe partly contributes to our natural denial as human beings.

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My denial for many years has been mostly about my state of health or rather “weight”. Growing up in an African setup the myth that weight signifies success is the very source of pride for many overweight people. We seek to hide using the complement of our culture giving respect to the large and hugely bodied figures who roam our streets. It is no accident that some even aspire to become bigger body wise while using the wrong route to getting there. However, my denial was slightly different from the normal African standard. I grew up in a middle class family that could afford to place before me a plate of sadza and meat more often than the average family in our country. We hardly lacked in resources and l was encouraged to finish my plate like “all good kids” are expected to. Unknown to my well-meaning parents is that l was consistently “slightly” overfed over a couple decades of my life as a kid and a teenager. During this process l came to be known as the chubby kid.

Chubby was a good thing and that was my means of standing out from the rest of the pack. The great irony is l never really sucked in sport, l made 1st team volleyball at all the schools l attended and l was on a good day, a descent goalkeeper. For me food became less about eating to live and more about eating to be always full. When you hardly lack you become very generous with your portions and portions eventually had me very rounded up. (So to speak)  My earliest memory of how much l was overweight was when as a 15year old l tipped the scale at about 80kg during a blood donation which l found to be quite amusing. Publicly l displayed pride that l was possibly in the top 5 heaviest students in our age group. Quietly though l was slightly embarrassed that l was one of the odd ones out. I wanted to belong not to become a freak show (no offense to my counterparts). By the time l reached University l had become quite obese. That phase of my life saw me pile on more weight due to the rigorous requirements of my program and my own share of laziness.

Fast forward to my 2012 l was weighing about 110kg and 2013 brought an extra 10kg onto my scale. By then my lifestyle revolved around long hours at work, a very outgoing weekend schedule filled with braais and not a drop of physical activity. It was amusing that even my workplace was located 200m from where l would drop off my lifts and l would use the elevator to our 3rd floor offices so that basically summed up an activity deficient lifestyle.

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Realities of being overweight

At one point in my denial that my situation needed a change, l got so big l blew open my work suite and had to ask my lovely girlfriend to buy a needle and thread for me. Yes you guessed correctly, she promptly delivered the goods and l had to sew up my trousers in the gents while she waited for me at reception in shock. She was always kind in her approach with me though she was getting extremely worried with each day passing. I had a challenge getting into high rise vehicles and there was always a risk l would blow a pair of trousers. I am a short guy, let’s just say am slightly below 170cm so carrying 120kg was a health hazard (this is the last time l will write the figure!) l was very huge. More shockingly l was on the chronic side of the BMI index. With time more realities started to settle into my life, for example during a boozers game of soccer l was out of breadth after every defensive play by the goals even if the goalkeeper is the least active player on the field. Whenever my work lift was not working l would have to remove my work suite jacket so that l could cover up my wet shirt by the time l got to our floor. It would be greatly embarrassing to face corporate clients in a wet suit. So the dry jacket covered up the wet shirt from the climb up. Soon even in winter l could no longer wear a suit without having a vest worn below the formal shirt. Sometimes l would sweat profusely if the air-conditioner was not working properly. Remember my point about denial? Yes, my denial only served to give me educated reasons on why all this was happening. I would blame the clothes and not the body. I would blame the air-conditioner, blame the flight of stairs, blame the hot coffee l just drank and sometimes blame the pressure of work on my state of sweat.

The wake-up call

There were a series of wake-up calls that came in slow succession which lead to some change.

  1. One day while l was on a business trip l ate so much l almost suffocated in my sleep. Seems as l was turning in bed after a generous meal the food found its way up my canal and l woke up without any air choking on my own vomit. Luckily the gag reflex we possess naturally assisted me somewhat to avert danger. This story is known by only 5 close people in my life, but it’s important that many more understand the dangers of over-eating.
  2. The next time l received my wake-up call was when my snoring got so bad that people l would travel with volunteered to have me get a private room to myself and not share the hotel room with them. I took that to mean more freedom for me but it was only when my cousins recorded me snoring on their smartphone that l saw how bad it really was. It sounded like l was dying, l was shocked and it was extremely embarrassing. The saddest part is l never had the maturity or enlightenment to do anything about it.
  3. For short stints l under ate because it seemed like l kept gaining. Soon l was hunting for trousers in the unlabeled area looking for old stock on the no size section of the department store. I would wear trousers for very tall people and have to get a tailor to cut almost half the length on the legs to get my fit.

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The unlikely invitation

I grew up in the lovely City of Kings, Bulawayo.  Late 2013 my job took me to Harare for a fixed term period to be part of a project at work. While there a brother of mine would ask me to meet him at his gym so l could grab a free lift home. It was during this period that his trainer became fond of me often encouraging me to come watch their sessions but l would laugh it off. With a society that does not see many thriving weight loss stories l stuck to television shows to get visual inspiration but l never amassed enough interest (read as courage) to start my own journey. Many weeks later my brother informed me that l had been offered free membership at his gym for a week and if l liked it then l would formally join and start paying subscriptions. Till now over 3years later, l have never tasted the hell l went through that week. The 1st day l could hardly walk, l was grossly unfit and l skipped the shower after and went to sleep in my brothers car. He found me snoring and till this day he tells anyone who cares to listen that l almost died at gym. But dying evaded me, the next day my joints were protesting, my lung capacity seemed hugely insufficient and l was begging to die. But my trainer assured me that l would not die! I never believed him, l cursed at him (in French) and l felt everyone in the class was showing off.

They say never compare your journey to that of others. There were figures in the gym that looked bigger than me and l never understood why they were having a good time while l was suffering. I have no academic reason for this but somehow when the week was over l paid for the whole month in one go. I never stopped attending and within two weeks l saw a lot of changes. An old pair of pants that l had decommissioned suddenly started fitting, l could go for 10minutes in class and not need a break then soon l could talk during the session. Interestingly round about that time Corporate24 opened their premises in Harare and they had a machine that could record height, weight, and temperatureplus body fat percentage. It was during my soon to be many visits there that l started seeing the weight fall away as their scale machine offered more privacy than the public scales out there. Soon my belt loops started moving backwards. I was ecstatic!However the process is never smooth, many before me claimed not to see the changes and many more felt it was a phase. Somehow the maturity started settling in and l needed less re-assurance from people and more assurance from my clothes that l had really shed weight. That is when the best days of my life became sculpted.

Research is key

Many myths exist on the road to weight loss. Many supposed scientific researchers exist in the world of fitness.

  • You will meet those who tell you not to take carbs as the means to real weight loss.
  • Some will advocate for a meat free diet.
  • Others will swear by a liquid only diet.

Put simply, you will bump into a lot of different theories.

When l successfully lost my first 15kg the situation changed for me. I could no longer sustain a good rate of weight loss on my once a day gym session and eat whatever l wanted. That’s when l taught myself nutrition through our dear old cousin Google, some books and expert advice through various trainers. I found that there is no one size fits all approach to weight loss. I soon found out there is no such thing as being big boned and small portions do not necessarily lead to weight loss (its actually the quality of your nutrition and of course limiting serving size that leads to long-term success).

 

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What my breakfast now looks like on some days.

l began doing morning runs, threw away my over –sized t-shirts l used for running and invested in fitness clothing even to the extent of buying my 1st running shoes. Starting at 3.1km l would finish that distance in 40mins. Soon the time started dropping; l asked my trainer to include me on his weekend schedule.  In 5 months l had lost a whooping 20kgs and l was more confident and focused.

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I rewarded myself with regular cheat meals. I started to challenge myself, increase my running distances and train the right way so as to avoid injuries. Soon even the skeptics began to throw good vibes my way. By the time l had lost 25kg l became swamped with enquiries and my trainer who was now a very close friend of mine was on the receiving end of new clients. Life changed, l fell from size 46 to 38, couldn’t remember when the last time was when l last wore trousers or shorts in the 30’s. By the time l moved back to Bulawayo l had a plan once back home.

  1. Within my 1st week l had joined a gym.
  2. I was now running 5km 3 times a week and using jump rope heavily.
  3. By the time l went below 90kg l was running 6km 5 times a week.
  4. l was doing morning runs, aerobics after and to top it up an evening session.

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I have to clarify that l hit 85kg 2years after l started my weight loss journey so take your time to build descent consistency. When l hit the 40kg lost mark l was now rocking size 34pants with descent loose skin. 78kg l became a 10kilometer specialist and then l became a competitor in distance races. 2015 October l ran my 1st competitive 10km race. March 2016 l ran my 1st 21km race the PPC Matopos Ultramarathon then July 2016 l ran my 2nd Half Marathon at the Victoria Falls Marathon.

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The realities of an unlikely journey

Yes l have fallen off the wagon, had bad weeks and many more better weeks. The art in this journey is to never quit. To be mature enough to take criticism constructively and to also embrace pain. There is a lot more happening in my life now, l’m busier with my job but l have created a schedule around all this chaos around me to keep fit. What many should know is keeping fit to maintain weight loss is a lifestyle. You can’t really take a year off this journey, it’s a continuous journey.

My milestones currently are that l do not snore anymore, so it’s safe to sit next to me on the bus on a long trip. Somehow l haven’t had a flue in 3years and l credit my morning runs for that. I have a totally new wardrobe now with much nicer gear than before. I have made friends through this lifestyle but the best part is l have become a positive influence on many individuals. Two friends l recruited have lost a combined 30kilos this year alone and it keeps getting better. I have a lot planned ahead and l look forward to doing more. Maybe run the Comrades Marathon one day, do the Ironman Race and participate on the Spartan Race. But before that l need to learn how to swim!

Unlikely journeys have unlikely results, l set out to lose a bit of weight to retain my old clothes. I ended up getting rid of my new clothes to purchase new ones. I hope this unnecessarily long biography helps someone out there who has no idea what to do; to believe and pursue lasting change.

I am not losing weight, I am getting rid of it.  I have no intention of finding it again!

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Feel free to get in touch on social media on either Instagram or Facebook for inspiration on how to go from obese to healthy and active.

Thank you to Chris for featuring on my blog today, you are a real gem!  I hope this inspires anyone going through a tough time with trying to lose weight.  It is possible to get the body of your dreams.

Have you gone through a weight loss journey?  What prompted you to finally make a change and get active?  I would love to hear from you.

 

©MaKupsy 2016

 

Save Time, Give Feedback!

Feedback : information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc. which is used as a basis for improvement.

I want to talk about feedback today.  I feel a lot of people forget how important it is in our day to day lives.  I will give two examples on my experiences with feedback.

I have been to one three many job interviews in my life and to be honest most of them just ended there, like right there on the day of the interview.  There was never a call to tell you why they didn’t choose me for the particular job, what I could have done to improve my chances of landing a job in that field or simply an apology to let me know that I had failed the interview and they had found a better candidate.  How does someone who is job hunting then know how to up their game and enter the job market?  It beats me to be honest.

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Anyways, the job interviews were not all so bad because l also had the pleasure of attending some where even after you didn’t get the job you got a phone call to at least know what went wrong.  I remember years back when I was still in college I applied for a job at the British Embassy.  I was called for an interview a few weeks later and when I left I really felt like I had aced it.  I am sure most people are familiar with the feeling, you even get this feeling after an examination where you know you did really well or you failed dismally before you even get the results.  I got a phone call a few days later to tell me that I had done very well in the interview BUT I was still in College and they encouraged me to first finish my programme and apply next time there was a job opening.  Years later I applied again and I got the job and I was completely over the moon!  A few jobs after this experience it was back to the no feedback interviews and when I landed my current job I made sure that once I had passed my probation I told my supervisor that it was important to let interview candidates know when thy didn’t make it for a job interview.  She was actually surprised and had never given it much thought before and since then whether you make it or not you are guaranteed to get a phone call from us telling you how things went and a few tips on what you can do to better your chances in future interviews.  To be honest it also helps you ease your frustrations and stop hoping that every call that comes through could possibly be news from an interview you attended.  Now isn’t that nice?

The second case of no feedback I have come to know through blogging is when you ask someone to help you with something and they go absolutely cold turkey on you.  I remember I had a time I would write interview blogs and the first people I asked to feature on my posts were from Twitter mainly because that is where I get most of my blog readership from.  I remember sending out emails and direct messages and some people would completely ignore me, others would agree to it and then simply go quiet when it was time for the actual interview and then a handful would have me send them all the questions and information I needed from them and they would never get back to me.  Talk about wasting my precious time!  (shame on you) I would like people to realise that it is okay to say “NO”.  It saves a lot of time and energy and no one will hold anything against you.  Saying no is actually feedback in case you didn’t know.

I hope someone reads this and learns a thing or two especially the employers who don’t get back to an interview candidate.  Waiting for never ending weeks with no feedback will play havoc with your mind.  Try and ease someone’s mind by just letting them know if they got the job or not.  It won’t take much of your time.

Have you had any experiences where you were never got feedback on something?  Let’s talk about them..

MaKupsy