My thoughts on the current “Ultimate You Challenge”. October,2016

And finally it is my turn to start out on this
awesome journey of self discovery…

I have been reading the comments made by Eric Chowles
on the demographics of the SG community.
I have to agree that if 85% are women,
then the majority of the issues that are going to be “discussed”
are going to be about that demographic.
That being said, there are men in the group, and I include myself,
who have “issues” of how we look. We live in a South African society
where to have a big (read huge) boep is often seen as a sign of success
and where “skinny” guys are perhaps frowned upon.
Not all of us can be on the front cover of a fitness magazine, but then again, do we.
Years ago I worked with a personal trainer who wanted be to enter body building competitions, something that REALLY is not my thing…it was his need and not mine.
I still have an issue with how I look, but going back to my competitive running/triathlon days,
I can now see that not much has changed…and probably never will.
(I did not have abs then and I still don’t have then now)
I will never be a Bruce Fordyce, neither do I want to be built like Arnie.
I just want to be healthy and self confident.
It was all brought home to me when I looked in my mirror last night…
I took a long hard look at my reflection and spontaneously said out loud
“Not to shabby for a 63 year old”.
Today I took myself off to a professional photo-shoot that will feature clothes that actually fit me properly…nothing baggy to hide in.
I have a long road ahead in order for me to totally be confident in my skin, but I am working on it.
This message is for the 15%…be proud of who you are and what you have achieved.
Don’t compare and more importantly, do not become despondent.
Just do your best…or a little better than your best. Let you push you…no one else.
At the end of the day, you set your goals and you are the master of your own destiny.
To the 15%, you are awesome and you have a voice…use it


I have been watching from the sidelines this past week,being laid low
 did not make me feel very motivated. 
However, reading the comments did keep me somewhat focussed. 
That being said, there are people who seem to be uncertain if they should start, 
if they should eat clean and more importantly when should they get involved. 
I have been thinking about all of those things and I have come the conclusion
 that exercising is a lot like your email in-box. 
When last did you clean yours out? 
People seem to think that is is a sign of being busy if you have hundreds of emails
…most of which could be deleted without even being read! 
By the time we come to actually delete them we have to spend HOURS 
wasting time clear out the rubbish that would have only taken a minute
 if we had done it every day.
 It is the same with exercise and by extension, eating. 
We “allow” ourselves to get to a point where it takes us months to get into shape.
 If only we did “something” on a daily basis, it would be so much easier. 
And I speak from personal experience having been a competitive runner
 who gave up because work got in the way(that was my excuse anyway). 
Treat yourself like an in-box and delete all the spam 
and non essential emails on a daily basis.
 Yes, there will be days when you cannot empty your in-box,
 but do not use that as an excuse to allow it to become too full. 
Even though I have not been able to run at all this week, 
I have continued to do light exercises every day. 
Otherwise getting back into a routine can be a real effort.
 And excuses come easier that actions. 

This morning I did the Joburg 10km run through the streets of Johannesburg
and for the first time in a long while I felt like a “runner” again.
Many of you know that I did a 21.1km several weeks ago
and although it went according to plan there seemed to be “something” lacking.
I could not quite put my finger on what the run lacked…
I had done it for all the right reasons and, as I found out post race,
the difference in my time this year to when I last ran it 22 years ago was only 1 minute!
But still I was not a “runner”.
I did a 5km race two weeks ago and finished strong after having run 10km to get to the start
…but still there was something lacking.
Then at the race this morning it all kicked into place…
in my mind I had become a “runner” again.
The high of a good finish, the fact that my time was exactly what I had set myself
and more importantly, I got to share my excitement with my wife over brunch.
I HAVE RETURNED! Not to run marathons or ultra distances again
( been there and done that…but I no longer have the t-shirts)
but with a new vision for my running future going forward.
10’s and 21.1’s are now going to be my goal and I have set times for each of those…
which I WILL achieve in 2017.
But why am I sharing this with you?
Because of this letter that I found from my business mentor Mervyn Niland
( the man who invented Flight hand cleaner) I failed to complete an Iron Man( my third)
and he had taken the time to write this letter to me.
Mervyn was probably the most positive man I have ever known and
even when staring terminal cancer in the face he told me that he would beat it.
Unfortunately, that did not happen and Mervyn died from the disease several years ago.
But, somehow I still feel his presence and it encourages me on a daily basis.
And that brings me to the reason for sharing…you WILL have tough times,
you will falter and fall, but if you are motivated and supported,
then they will just be “stones in the road”…hurdles that can be overcome
and not huge insurmountable obstacles that will cause you to give up in despair.

Getting healthy and into shape is NOT a perfect science and
YOU should not compare your achievements to those of anyone else.
YOUR goals and aspirations are exactly that…YOURS.
I am grateful and blessed to be part of this “family”…

 I have noticed that many of the current SG’s are married with children who are watching 
and learning from Mom or Dad to exercise and eat healthy.
I my case it was the other way around.

 If it was not for my daughter, I would probably still be sedentary, watching TV and “wishing”
 that I could lose some weight and get running fit again.
Her email to me suggesting that we try the “30 Day Healthy Habits” challenge together 

was the turning point that has got me off the couch and back on the road again.
As parents we tend to forget that we ARE getting older and the natural scheme of things

 is that we will die before our children. 
But how long we can “stay around” depends on how well WE look after ourselves.
 It is all well and good being motivated by outside influences,
 but what about from within our own families? 
When your child says: “Please stay healthy for me”…we should listen to them.
 My Dad never did any exercise, and I was brought up in similar vein…
I only started running when I was 34! 
My Dad was 78 when he died of a massive stroke on October 6th 2004, 
and that was what was in the back of my mind when Jayne Batzofin asked me to join her on this journey. Since then we have completed two Challenges together,
 but I am “on my own” for the Summer UYC as she finds herself currently
 very busy and not able to give her full attention to “our” team commitment. 
But I will soldier on, making certain that I eat clean and exercise on a daily basis. 
And, of course, at my age, making certain that I have a yearly physical exam…
very important to make certain that I am healthy enough to train at my current levels.
I suppose what I am trying to convey is that fact that we need to participate for ourselves

 AND those who love us.
Remember; “If it is to be, then it is up to me”…

Why do we try to be so negative when many of us have issues around weight specifically?
And this is true for both men and women.
It is easy to ridicule, but we should take a moment to think before we speak.
We can say sorry, but words once spoken can never REALLY be retracted.
They hang around, like smoke at a braai, often permeating those who stand too close.
Rather be there to offer a “hand up”.
Help people to reach their full potential.
Both in our SG family as well as in the “real world” we we all live and work.
You will be amazed at what a kind( not a condescending) word will achieve.
It seems that many of us are “unable” to accept a compliment.
This can be caused by a number of factors, one of the main ones being “I am not worthy”.
If, like me you have issues around how you look and how that makes you feel,
hearing someone say “You are really looking great” or something similar,
might trigger the “Are you talking to me”? response.
Given the fact that you have embarked on the SG road to self change,
they probably are, and if that is the case, don’t question the motive behind the compliment,
just accept it with a gracious “Thank you”.
More importantly, you do not have to offer an immediate compliment in return,
you can do that later.
Giving and receiving honest compliments is something that we should
all strive to become adept at.
There is NOTHING better that being acknowledged for your achievements…
whatever they might be.
Go and stand in front of a mirror, look at your reflection and say
“Thank you” out loud.
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