Knitting Is The New Yoga
Read about my experience discovering the power of knitting to bring me into a mindful state and a whole host of other life and well-being benefits.Read More
I've just been contacted by a well meaning consultant selling food replacement products from another new M.L.M. (multi level marketing company), from the USA.
This has prompted me to make a clear statement about my Undiet (new term I found which is quite apt) approach to The Shape of Kate. I am choosing to eat whole foods (fruit, vegetables, meat and nuts and seeds) and where ever possible organic.
I do not choose chemically engineered food replacements for a wide range of reasons including that I want to enjoy a life eating tasty whole foods and the independent research conducted on these products is alarming. I encourage any person contemplating using these products to google independent reviews and research.
I am also working with a qualified Nutritionist and Biochemist - Elaine Bracefield of Embrace Max Health who I choose to work with for her expert advice. Elaine is getting my genomic test (DNA) processed and with the detailed results she will be able to guide my future nutritional choices with well researched advice.
This post may stir up a bit of controversy. I'm up for that. I think the diet industry has been making shed loads of money from women with dubious products and diets that don't work for too long. If you've read this far - thanks! What do you think about this subject? Love to hear your thoughts.
I have been drinking coffee since I first started work at 18 years of age. It all started with Nescafe Classic granulated and apart from my poor student years when we used to drink coffee out of a vending machine (refer student poverty) I quickly moved on to lattes when at age 25 and not long out of university the coffee revolution started in New Zealand. Cafes were popping up everywhere and a wonderful business opened next door to where I worked. They even invited us to bring our own coffee mugs. Bless them!
Now this love of coffee and particularly milky lattes continued over the years. Life in Auckland over the last decade or so has included many friendships with wonderful baristas who I got to see on a daily basis when I called in for my latte fix. Of course I would enjoy a chat with them and get to know about their lives. I've even helped some of them with their careers.
My life has been populated by occasions over coffee; coffee with friends, coffee meetings, ordering takeaway coffees for meetings and of course coffee with my breakfast. The first hit of the day. I have to admit I am completely addicted - I love the taste and social experience of drinking coffee and it's a crutch I lean on regularly.
The crunch has come since I had hormone tests done a while back and found out I have something called estrogen dominance. This means that my body has way too much estrogen and not enough progesterone and this condition impacts on my ability to lose weight. It makes it more difficult to lose weight than normal. Hand slap to forehead with frustration right! This is because coffee impairs estrogen clearance through from my body. Now I am not the expert biochemist but I did get this message.
I had a realisation this week that I have to deal with one big thing at a time on this project - in order to be successful about making change happen. And frankly giving up coffee has felt like a HUGE thing to do. I was scared I couldn't do it.
So in taking my next step with The Shape of Kate I spoke with Elaine Bracefield my Nutritionist about the impact of coffee on my body and weight loss. I needed the hard facts to help me with my motivation. I asked her for the down and dirty on what my sometimes as many as 2-3 latte a day habit was doing to me and what I would be gaining by giving it up. The table below gives you the highlights.
Because I am overweight and I have estrogen dominance this means that I have to give up coffee to succeed at my goal of achieving weight loss and reclaiming my health and wellbeing. This is not the recipe for everyone and I am certainly not anti coffee. I am working with what I am learning about me and making the necessary changes to create great results for my body.
So on Thursday 4th August 2016 I had my last latte and I made the commitment to myself, Elaine and all of you that I am giving up coffee. This felt a bit like jumping off a cliff. I am totally out of my comfort zone and trying with faith in myself to make this change. If you want to keep up with my progress I am posting daily on Facebook with the details of each day and how I am feeling. Your support is welcome and appreciated. Thank you!
I was talking with a good friend recently and was describing something I call “secret eating”. It’s the name I came up with for when I’m having a food craving and I’m on some type of food plan or diet (which let’s face it has been most of my adult life) and the food I crave is outside of the rules of that diet. I know what I’m supposed to be eating and I know I shouldn’t but I’m craving for sugar or carbohydrates or a combination of both.
An example of secret eating is when I am out in my car and I might be stopping to buy a latte and I also buy a chocolate pastry or a peanut slab or jet planes. These are all sweet treats and the sort of thing I crave. I eat it and immediately feel guilty and ashamed about being so out of control because I have failed my commitment to my diet of the moment. I’d normally never confess to this. It’s my guilty little secret. This is the sort of thing I used to do regularly. My friend totally agreed with me and said she buys chocolate bars while at the supermarket and eats them before her kids can see them. It seems that a lot of us are secret eaters.
Secret eating by the way is different from eating dessert when you are out to dinner and everyone is ordering dessert. While it may not be on your diet or food plan this kind of eating is socially acceptable. You can eat the dessert and feel a lot less guilty and talk about it afterwards.
Because secret eating has plagued me for years, I told Jane the psychologist about my behaviour and how much of a problem this has become for me. I asked her what I could do to help myself stop doing this. I was a bit dubious about how she might help because this is a powerful pull inside my brain.
Jane suggested we try something called narrative therapy and externalise secret eating. I was intrigued. Jane then asked me to visualize secret eating as a person sitting in another chair and asked me what sex secret eating was. Male I said. She then asked me to give secret eating a name and a personality. After feeling a bit weird about this idea I got into it and I named him, Sleazy Alan the car salesman. Jane asked me to give voice to Sleazy Alan the car salesman. What would he say? This was not hard at all.
Imagine a sleazy ingratiating and persuasive voice saying, You know you want it – you love it Kate. It’ll make you feel good the moment you pop it in your mouth. It will give you such pleasure. Don’t worry about your diet. Enjoy the moment. What does one pastry matter?
I was getting right into the Alan character. Jane explained that in reality Alan was the world’s worst motivational speaker in my mind and that he is a liar and a con man and not to be trusted.
Then Jane got me to think of another character and put them in another chair facing Alan. This character was to be a person whose behaviour aligned with my goals and values which are to make healthy food choices and look after my wellbeing. Now this was easy. Immediately I thought of a wise, calm and elegant woman with positive personal power, one who walks her talk, makes good choices and enjoys the respect of her friends and family. I called her Katherine both because that is my name more formally - which felt good and I was visualizing Katharine Hepburn. She was so elegant and strong I have always admired her. Anyway Katherine it was.
The next step was for Jane to play Alan and I was to be Katherine. Jane sat in a chair facing me and began to be sleazy Alan the car salesman. Kate, you know you want it. Just one pastry. Go on. It’ll be delicious. And enjoying the power of the role play as Katherine, without turning a hair, I said – Fuck off Alan! Katherine obviously doesn't mince her words and there are moments when only a well targeted expletive will suffice. It felt so empowering to say that and I meant every syllable of it. Ha! Take that Alan.
This moment was amazing because it was both so powerful and funny. I was suddenly in control with a tool to use anytime sleazy Alan the world’s worst motivational speaker enters my mind. I can’t tell you how many times I have used this technique since, because I have lost count. A lot is my best answer. I have used this to stop myself from buying a lot of sugary treats over the past weeks and it never ceases to amaze and delight me how powerful it is. And the best part is that I have a laugh which changes my state from the craving old me to the light hearted me. The big positive out of this is that I am rewiring my brain by repeatedly taking this action. I love it.
Thank you Jane for this gold!
You can use this technique on any habit that is not serving you. I have shared this tale with a number of friends and they are now texting me to let me know when they have given Sleazy Alan a send off. This makes my day.
Check out this fascinating article about the root cause of addiction being a lack of connection. It has positive implications for individuals and society and my situation.
It makes sense to me and ties in with my food addiction in my opinion. Without self love working for me I can let my own feelings about lack of connection lead me into a victim state where I use food to sooth myself.
Yes - that's a very short and simplistic conclusion and it bears more exploration but part... of my psychological journey is to rewire my thinking to be kinder and more compassionate with myself while I work on aligning my choices with my long term goals.
Basically that means I'm no longer making short term choices that include food that is for instant gratification - a kind of addiction. This decision means powerful feelings can come up when I choose not to sooth myself with food.
And I'm working on building a sense of connection to help me cope with these feelings and rewire my brain. For example after dinner when I'm craving for sugar - I'm making the choice (a coping strategy) to phone a friend or family member or invest that time in writing my blog instead of watching tv to ensure I'm creating opportunities for healthy social connection in my life and taking action that is about self love.
What do you think about this research?
At the beginning of this epic journey of mine (in early June) I started exercising with a vague sense that I might become injured along the way. I knew in the back of my mind that my being overweight and under fit was an ideal recipe for strains and injuries when I started moving more than I had been for some time. I didn't think it would happen so early on though.
I had begun walking regularly and doing my PT sessions twice a week. One evening a couple of weeks into The Shape of Kate I was out walking along the waterfront from Mission Bay to Kohimarama. It was a full moon and I love to see the moon on the water around the bays. Anyway enough about the moon - my right knee started to hurt like crazy and I was hobbling by the time I got back to the car. I stretched it heaps on the rock walls along the footpath on my return but to no avail. I was hurting. Ouch!
The following day I called Kath Broad the Owner of Active Plus Physiotherapy Dominion Road and told her about my knee strain and The Shape of Kate. I have known Kath for many years. She is a skilled physio and a wonderful human being who has grown her own business with a focus on prehabilitation. Kath was wonderfully positive about both The Shape of Kate and about joining my support team to care for my strains and injuries. Yay! I was booked in to see her straight away.
I was made to feel at home from the minute I walked through the door - the staff are all so friendly. And going in for my sessions has been revealing. I am fairly bent out of shape and tight and sore in a number of places. To start with my knee was assessed and treated which has included the surrounding leg muscles and my back and core. It's all connected and Kath has given me exercises to improve my strength as she works on my knee. She also gives me acupuncture which gives me such relief from the tightness that is all part of the knee strain.
Kath was the one who recommended I get into the pool as I had to stop walking with my knee causing me to hobble about and I've followed her advice. First of all I tried water jogging - I'm not so hot at that although as a social activity it's a lot of fun with a friend, and then gave swimming a go. I'm loving the swimming and it's definitely helping. When I first got into the pool I was clinging to the ladder as I crept slowly down the steps being super careful of my knee. Now I'm much stronger and I'm working on gradually increasing the number of lengths over time.
I am on a regular programme now of the treatment sessions with Kath (as I need them), exercises to build my core and knee strength and balance along with my swimming. Thanks to Kath for her wise advice and her great treatment sessions.
MHSC (Physio) Hons, PG Cert (Voc Rehab), PG Cert (Acupuncture), BPhty
Kath's special physiotherapy interests include acupuncture, sports physio and orthopaedic medicine and muscle balance assessment and management. Kath is also a certified PINC Cancer Rehabilitation Physio, delivering rehabilation to women during their cancer journey.
I am passionate about helping people. I enjoy the process of finding out what makes people tick and the flip side of that – what holds them back. I don’t want to be the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. I believe in prehabilitation.
Because I want to help to break down the physical barriers to achieving your goals. I admire what you are doing by putting yourself out there and I want to help you prevent injuries along the way.
I feel others can watch your journey and take inspiration from you and I want to contribute to that process. So other people can take heart and watch you step by step as you achieve your goals. One big journey is achieved by a series of little steps.
Kath's business Active Plus Dominion Road is in a very central Auckland location. I encourage you to contact Kath's team the next time you get an injury and/or need a physio. Phone: 09 631 0010
Jane Gabites is a Psychologist who specialises in evidence based programme(s) relating to weight loss. Jane is working with me on The Shape of Kate and prior to our first session I asked her the following questions.
Why do you do what you do?
Because I love it. I believe that people should enjoy food and live fully and consciously.
I do what I do to share my love of food and in a way that will enrich peoples’ lives and not be harmful to them.
I think it’s really amazing to look at our relationship with food. It’s really good to understand unhealthy patterns. In the Western world we don’t do ‘hungry’ and it doesn’t hurt to feel a little bit hungry between meals.
Why do you want to help me?
Because I think you are an awesome person – dynamic, exciting and interesting and I’ve seen you struggle with your weight since I’ve known you. I’ve seen you slim. I have the tools and I want to help you. Without understanding the psychology of weight loss and using diet alone - successful weight loss often cannot happen long term.
How can other people benefit from going along with my journey?
If other people want to lose weight they can see how you will learn to accept and like yourself more; acknowledge the enduring you and live a healthier life. And that may inspire them to live a healthier life if they want to.
It is time to face my current physical shape with some before photos. I'm going to borrow some language here - which for the purposes of this stage is perfect. This shit is getting real!
My name is Kate Nankivell and I am 48 years old.
I have struggled with my weight since my university years when a poor diet and too much social beer drinking added on the kilos. I lost around 15 kilos at the end of university through Weight Watchers (felt at a good weight and fit) and kept that off for approximately 2 years. Since that time I have tried Weight Watchers several times more and had great success twice with this method but the weight piled back on and then some. At the start of 2008 at the age of 40 years and at 130 kilos I combined a well known pre-prepared food diet with regular exercise (cardio and strength training with an awesome personal trainer) and lost 40 kilos. Again I felt fit and strong.
Professionally - since 2008 I have been through corporate restructures and three job changes and was focused on work not on myself. During 2011 I broke my foot and was on crutches with a moon boot which meant limited mobility for some time as I recovered. I've had a series of foot injury issues since the broken foot and struggled to get back into being more active as a result. I then started my own business in 2013 and have thrown my energy into this without a healthy or consistent focus on my well being.
I can see upon reflection that I gave up my good exercise habits over time, had stopped the pre-prepared food plan back in 2009 (not a long term way to live and eat either) and have piled on the weight again with poor eating habits and sporadic exercise. I race around in my new business and look after my meetings not myself. I describe the above professional circumstances as big things that happened to me – AND I also acknowledge that the responsibility for my physical state is mine. I let the stress I was experiencing be an excuse for giving up personal responsibility for my health and weight management.
The symptoms and discomfort of overweight are many. I have lower back, hip and now knee pain that I manage on a daily basis. I can’t buy clothes I like as the sizes are limited and so have a small and limited wardrobe which drives me bonkers. I am also not fit enough to do a wide variety of activities that I used to do at the drop of a hat. Socially being overweight is not acceptable either and I feel this deeply and am self conscious about it. Although I do try to not let this get to me too much. I have learned along the way that I am estrogen dominant and that this is the cause of what I experience as hormonally induced depression during my menstrual cycle. My weight is making me unhappy on many levels.
A couple of months ago I weighed myself and discovered to my horror that I was sitting at about 150kg. I’d never been this heavy before in my life and I’d never felt so unhappy about it. I was tired and sluggish and finding it difficult to find the motivation to exercise and when I did my knees started to ache after doing some hill walking. I had hit the lowest point physically and emotionally and I decided enough was enough. I had to take big measures to lose this weight, get fit and create well being and great energy for living my life.
My circumstances created a great and exciting idea based on the belief and dream I have that my life can be better. I had been thinking about something like this for a while but had put it down to crazy thinking until recently. I spoke about this with a couple of close friends and they encouraged me to go for it.
So I decided to gather a team of fitness and health professionals around me to help me to embark and travel on the journey to weight loss, wellbeing and great energy for life AND to shape this as a project I could share with the world of people who are or would be interested in healthy weight loss and wellbeing.
This is how The Shape of Kate was born.
Since making this decision in early June, I have brought on the following professionals into the Shape of Kate support team - who are all giving their professional skills and time as supporters and sponsors of my project. They are:
You can read about each of these professionals and their businesses and why they are doing this on the Support Team page.
Hi and welcome to the Shape of Kate. My name is Kate and this is my journey of transformation from being unfit, overweight and lacking in energy to creating a full, rich life, well being and a strong and fit body.
The science of diet and exercise says that applying the principles of eating less and exercising more should create the changes I am seeking - however I have found in my 48 years (and many of my adult years have been spent trying a wide variety of diets) these changes are not sustainable without the right mindset, thinking habits and beliefs. I've not achieved those changes so far in my life.
In fact repeated dieting coupled with my habitual thinking, and body image issues have really mucked with my beliefs and eating behaviours and as a result I am starting this project at nearly 150kg.
I know the keys to my success will be based on me learning how to think differently and growing a new and healthier relationship with food over time. Only then will I be able to leverage the power of food and exercise lifestyle changes that will create the new me for life. I am working with a Psychologist on the Shape of Kate in order to ensure I achieve these changes successfully.
This is going to mean identifying, exploring and changing the stuff that is not currently working for me. My negative self image, my wonky beliefs about myself, my damning thoughts and self judgement and all those things we don't normally talk about. I'm going to share my inner most thoughts with you and how the expert psychological help will enable me to eliminate, manage or resolve these negative thoughts and associated behaviours.
I'm excited about escaping the diet trap and and mentality and reclaiming a new healthier relationship with food and life. And I'm excited about the potential this has for leveraging the great work I'll be doing with improved food choices and regular exercise. The combination of all these factors will be my key to successful change.
I invite you to join me on my exciting journey as I explore new ways of thinking and behaving to achieve my goals. I hope that you find a sense of common experience in my stories, enjoy a few laughs along the way, plus gain new ideas, information and inspiration for your own life and well being.