“I couldn’t roll just living in the shadows” not anymore.

Be the best that you can be then be better ~ Morne Gabriels

I couldn’t roll just living in the shadows, not anymore. ~ Morne Gabriels

I am the proud father of four boys. Their age ranges from five through to thirteen.  I currently work from home as a software developer and have been doing that for thirteen years. I enjoy reading when I have the time, but my absolute focus at the moment is on singing, song writing and performing. I have also developed a passion for working out and running, running, running.

The only fitness activity I remember being involved in as a child was playing with friends and riding our bicycles everywhere.  However, exercise and fitness were not emphasized that much as I recall. I indulged in comfort eating; mainly because my parents were going through a messy divorce.  I remember eating 6 or 7 chocolate bars at a time, loads of bread, cheese, etc, etc.  In my mind, I’ve always been overweight.

Hitting puberty somehow helped and I grew into a more proportionate version of myself.  I remember my friend’s sister (who I had a little crush on) telling me that I looked so different (which was a boost) and then her immediately saying and laughing, “you used to be so fat” (which just somehow destroyed my confidence).

I remember as a twelve or thirteen year old, starting to run and running long distances.  I’d say eventually I was running 5kms, two or three times a week.   I had two bricks in my room, which I used as dumbbells.  So mainly did curls until I couldn’t hold the bricks any longer.  I did lots of calf raises, which I did until I couldn’t walk. Yet, that all fell by the wayside when there was any stressful situation in my life, I would return to comfort eating.

I had a certain amount of passion of fitness but never realized my fitness potential, growing up.   Through high school I never took part in any sporting events because I was never fast enough,  strong enough or confident enough.   My main form of exercise in high school was walking to school and back, which was about 10k each way.   I actually loved walking, thinking about it.  It was a great stress reliever during my teens.   However again whenever stressful situations or events occurred in my life, I needed to eat food that made me feel good.So this was my pattern for life until about the age of 32.  Exercise, stressful event, comfort eat, depression, exercise, stressful event, comfort eat and repeat.  The word “Yo-Yo” springs to mind.

The main catalyst for change was the day I stepped onto the scale and it displayed a nice, round number of 120kgs (about 265 pounds).  That, for some reason, did not make me depressed but determined to change.   I initially went about it in the wrong way; starving myself which again led to Yo-yoing but eventually learning that there is a balance to it all.  Exercise, eating right and rest.  When I finally got it right I noticed that the more physically fit I became the more confidence, joy and peace came to my life. I started thinking more positively about my kids and giving them a positive example.  Music; I started writing more songs and performing; it’s a really big passion of mine right now.  Being positive in my thinking and actions makes a world of difference. I am more adventurous now and willing to trying new things, meet new people.  I’m no longer in the background.  A line from a Foo Fighters song always gets me, “I couldn’t roll just living in the shadows” not anymore.

Apart from the obvious health benefits, it is truly a lifestyle for me now.  “Sweat everyday” is a poster I’ve seen on the Socially Fit Facebook page and it’s something I am living by. But the feeling of lightness, strength, confidence and peace is so intoxicating.  I want to feel that every day.  My support system is amazing. Though my immediate family resides overseas, my “in-laws” as well as my kids are always encouraging me.  Family and friends have all given me very positive remarks and comments, which spurs me on to keep going. My hope is that I am an inspiration to people.  If I can do it anyone can!! Furreal!!

The hardest thing for me to date has been maintaining the proper diet. Being consistent. I’ve learned to deal with stress in a more positive way and that has had a positive effect on my relationship with food; not being a slave to it. I’ve said goodbye to comfort eating.  I’m really proud to say that 5 years ago I was 120kgs (265 pounds) and today I am currently 86.5kgs (191 pounds).  No more Yo-yoing.  At my heaviest I wore 44inch waist trousers,  I now comfortably fit into 34inch waist trousers. I can honestly say that on average I run 80 to 100km per week! These are my accomplishments and I am humbled by them.

My workout routine is simple. I run an average of 7kms a day.  On alternative days I work individual body parts with weights i.e. biceps, shoulders, chest and triceps using 16.5kg dumbbell. I’m not taking any supplements at the moment.  My meal plan for the last four months has been eating one hearty meal in the evening including anything I wanted but would gravitate around green vegetables, chicken, fish or beef, rice or potatoes.  Also having the occasional junk foods like pizza, fries, fried chicken, etc.  But for the most part stayed away from white bread and hard cheeses. 4 to 5 cups of green tea, 1 to 2 cups of coffee and about 7 pints of water a day. In the last few weeks however  I’ve had 3 to 4 small meals a day; Morning oats, with cranberries and cashews.  Lunch: Tuna or chicken with green leafy salads.  Evenings: Chicken or beef, vegetables, rice. Snacking on fruit and nuts during the day. This appears to be working for me right now.

I plan to enter a few races to keep me focused and pushing forward.  I’ll start with 5k runs and work my way up. I’d like to increase my lean muscle and most importantly get that flat stomach.   I’d like to add swimming to my exercise regime, meaning getting swimming lessons.  Then possibly giving triathlons a go. Baby steps. If you would like to get started I find reading positive messages on pages like Socially Fit’s Facebook page or motivational groups really does help keep me in a positive frame of mind and thus positive about my reaching my goals. Make daily affirmations:

Hard work pays

Sweat everyday

I can do it – I will do it

It’s not how good you are – it’s about how good you want to be

Be your own hero

Find your focus, find that determination deep within yourself that’s been lying dormant all this time.

Pain is temporary.

Get it done.  Get it done.  GET IT DONE!!

I remember when I started my recent journey to a successful me it was the middle of winter, here in the UK.  I was up at 5 o’clock in the morning, enduring the cold and sometimes snow to go running.  And I started with 5km most days. In the back of my mind I was thinking though, 5km will become your maintenance run.  And it did.  Then it became 7km a day.  Don’t be afraid to speak to yourself, positively.  I wake up in the morning saying “Today’s going to be a good day” even when I feel the opposite.   I remember things that I am grateful for and it changes my mindset.  Be positive to and about others as well ‘cause it will come back to you. I tell/ask my kids the following before they leave for school, “Be the best you can be and then?”  And they answer “BE BETTER”.  That can be used in any part of your life but in this case fitness.

When I first start running, I could only run for 10 minutes before I started feeling my ankles and knees.  120kgs will do that.   But I didn’t stop.  I would run for a minute and then walk for 30 seconds.  Repeating that.  Slowly I became better, stronger, faster.   IF I CAN DO IT – YOU CAN. It all starts up here (points to head). Start thinking right and positive. Visualize your goals; the body you want, the health you want.  Think about it, see it and feel it; then BE IT.

The only limits in life are the ones that you imagine!

https://www.facebook.com/morne.gabriels
https://www.facebook.com/groups/38546773592 – my music related page.
https://twitter.com/DukeSeven7

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Comments
  1. mjr511 says:

    Such a great post! Thank you. I’m probably in a similar place weight-wise as when you started your fitness journey, I’m really looking forward to getting back into exercise and feeling better. Thanks, Mike

    • Morne Gabriels says:

      Thanks Mike, glad you can relate to my story/journey.

      It only takes a moment to turn it all around. It obviously takes perseverence, focus, sweat and sometimes tears but you need that initial “kick up the backside” to change your mindset. I hope you’re well into you fitness journey 🙂

      I have to mention that over this festive season, that even though people have said to me, “…you can let yourself go a lil over this period…”, I’ve not over induldged as in previous years. And I feel so much better about myself and stronger mentally. Also helps that I am still trying to do some exercise everyday. 30 to 40 min a day and if I feel I don’t have time I do my “no excuses” workout inspired by the posts from Socially Fit. i.e. Jumping jacks, push ups, sit ups, moutain climbers and planking and repeat…15 minutes, 20 minutes tops.

      Lastly I walked into my local store this afternoon and the glass sliding doors closed behind me and I saw my reflection in the glass. I smiled to myself. I’ve never been in this good shape or this lean, it feels like, for ever. It and I can only get better in 2014.

      Remember keep positive despite negative circumstances. You can do this!!!!!

      Much peace and love
      Morne

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