16 November 2009

To Blog or Not to Blog:

That is the question. It seems that the blogging bug has bitten, left the building and the bite mark is no where to be seen. For now I think I'll give the blogging a rest and concentrate on growing this baby that has taken up residence. Thank you all for your kind words and support over the last year, creating this space to rant and rave has exceeded my wildest dreams. No doubt I'll see you here again in the future when it's time to hitch up the weight loss wagon and get going again.

29 October 2009

Cravings and Aversions.

Image: norwichnuts

So in my mind I thought, being newly up the duff and all, that I'd be begging Kenj to get up at some ungodly hour and make me something like the picture above. That I wouldn't be able to carry on without my crazy food fetish. I've seen the movies, watched the TV shows, read the magazines. Preggo chicks like eating weird shit right?

Well it seems not so with me. I've been hungrier than ever before but not really craved anything in the tear down the walls give me my coco pops and tomato sauce kind of way. This is mildly disappointing. I was totally ready for it, I have a pretty varied diet, I was imagining combos that would make even Andrew Zimmern squeamish.

So no cravings, what about aversions? Yes, and this has been strange.... chicken is off the cards, even looking at it in the butcher makes me feel wrong. Sadly, and much to my shock and horror vegetables are no longer the love of my life...... bland, boring and cardboard like they seem. I push them round my plate, stick them on and off my fork and generally do anything to not eat them.... eeeeek.

So here I am, imagining my unborn child starving of nutrients in the womb..... I know, I know, don't worry everything will be alright, but I am of the family way, it is my right to freak out, freaking out is right up there with wanting pickles and ice cream at 4am, I'm just allowed to do it.

I'm trying different things... vege juices are OK, although sometimes even a mouthful makes me want to yerlch all over the kitchen. Today I had success, I hid the veges. There they were lurking in a tomato base with lots of cheese, pour that over some brown rice and I'm more densely nutritious than Gillian McKeith as she screams at some poor woman about fish 'n' chips with mushy peas.

As I was chopping the veges as small as I could, so as to get them sliding straight down my throat without nary a blip on the boring foods radar, I had a thought. Maybe this is preparation, maybe this is my body's way of saying "look lady you better work out how to make veges taste good, because no kid worth their weight in rusk sticks is going to be interested in your steamed vege garbage, it ain't gunna happen".

Who knows, but whatever it is, I hope I can put cheese on it, because cheese fixes everything.

22 October 2009

Where have I been?

Well, that's a very good question... I've been off inhabiting a place inside my head, roaming around, wondering. Oh yeah, I was also in Japan.... but only for 3 weeks so not much of an excuse.

The real reason for my absence? I am up the duff bun in the oven the stalk is in a holding pattern pregnant. Yes you read that right, of the family way. This came as quite a surprise, especially to me..... aren't I the overweight, over 30, hypothyroid, borderline PCOS type that is bound to have difficulties? 8 pregnancy tests later I finally believed those two blue lines. This is really happening.

I'm still here, hungry, needing to pee and dreaming the most crazily profound dreams ever.

15 August 2009

Progress pic, some goals and a pumpkin pie

OK, I know. You can't really SEE much of what's going on under all of my layers here, dontchya love layers :) But for me this is progress. If you look at the detail, I'm wearing a skirt, Yay! And said skirt is technically above the knee, double Yay! This is progress, people, outfits are getting more colorful, the smile is getting wider and that's how things are getting measured around here these days.

So the whole not having a job thing kinda sucks. I seem to be over my curl up on the couch and block out the sun phase and have moved on to..... hmmmmm now what? Last year I gave up my career as a cardiac nurse to pursue some stress free happiness, the art school job came along and was a perfect fit, I stopped searching aimlessly, and settled into a sort of routine. I felt like I had got somewhere, made some progress, but now it doesn't really feel like that because here I am back at square one.

I'm taking this as a hippy dippy sign from the universe that I wasn't quite on the right path, that I needed to have a little wander along to see if I was headed in the right direction, and while it was nice and sunny, it was not leading me to where I am destined to go, wherever that is!

No doubt something will happen, it always does. Meanwhile I thought I'd just focus a bit more on healthy living while I wait for that gold nugget to drop out of the sky and into my bank account.

The gorgeous Hanlie who is always such an inspiration, is extra so this month. Embarking on a month of raw foods, Hanlie's green smoothies and sprouting bonanzas have got me thinking more and more about about my diet, and I've decided it's time to cut the crap and ditch the sweeties.

I work really well with goals, but I also don't work too well with total restriction, so I've set myself some goals this week, that aren't too obsessive, have some planned exceptions but are still a challenge. In case you were wondering, here they are:

  • No processed sugar (except for two slices of pumpkin pie today, as part of the best pumpkin pie in the world competition, more on that later)
  • No processed foods (except for one bowl of ramen noodles)
  • Exercise daily
  • One Yoga class
So there you have it. I've been working on the no sugar, no processed foods, exercise daily goals for a while now, years in fact, and it feels good to be working on them all at the same time. For me I think it's important to keep in mind my long term food/life/fitness goals and keep chipping away at them consistently. I may not be a clean eating, yoga doing, muscle bearing machine as yet, but I'm taking steps towards the idea, and that is a start.

The Pumpkin Pie thing is a long story, one I plan to elaborate on further over at NinjaEats, but I'll tell you this, my dear friend Chicorolls and I have had a lot of trash talking going between us about who can bake the best pumpkin pie. Today we are going head to head in an attempt to out bake each other, the oven mitts are off and the spoons are out!

Happy weekend lovelies :)

11 August 2009

New Beginings.....

Image: d'n'c

Today I lost my job. My little job, the job that I had loved, the job that had taught me that work isn't all bad. It sucked. I cried, ate some ice cream as well as my beloved o sembei and watched my favorite movie.

They didn't want to let me go, offered me a few hours a week to keep me around. But my heart just wasn't in it, the delivery was abrupt, no hint of thanks for the hard work I have done getting their business off the ground, treated a bit like an anonymous factory worker rather than a friend working in a creative venture to bring the wonder of art to children. So I declined and wandered back to the drawing board staring at the blank page.

I'm old enough and tough enough to know that as one door closes another opens, but I'm kinda left thinking maybe it's time to build my own door, one with a kooky knocker and a peep hole so that I can see exactly who is out there before I let them in.

Tomorrow IS another day.

07 August 2009

Exercise and a new blog.....

So the sugar crazies seem to have left me..... ahhhh. Now that normalcy has returned and I'm not stalking the streets in search of my next fix, my mind drifts to that other healthy living thing. You know the one, that thing that makes all the difference, that thing that has you zinging from head to toe, the wonderful, the amazing, EXERCISE!

I seem to have lost my mojo when it comes to exercise at the moment. The personal training group has disbanded and I'm left feeling pretty unmotivated. It's too easy to slip into my procrastination outfit and just trundle along convincing myself that walking to the train station is enough. Hmmmm.

It's really interesting to stop and see what's going on, the patterns the changes, what works, what doesn't. I hoped, maybe foolishly, that exercise would just happen but it hasn't. I still very much need structure and planning, and this is a needed step towards being someone who exercises regularly and perhaps even effortlessly.

Instead of beating myself up and moaning about not wanting to exercise, I figure I just need to do what I need to do and that's ok. This is where I am, I have direction and I'm heading there, at my own pace, in my own style and I will get there.

In other news, the blogging bug has well an truly bitten and I'm starting another. Ninja Eats is an exploration of all things food, authored by little ol me, Kenji (AKA The Boy/The Boyf) and the elusive, anonymous, Ninja. It's all very new and finding it's feet, but that's the great thing about blogs they just grow and find their own way. Hope to see you there sometime soon!

04 August 2009

Constant Cravings

Image: jelene

Arggghhhhk. Today was a disaster day...... apple crumble with ice cream, hot chocolate, salt and vinegar chips, chocolate after dinner and another ice cream just to cement the worst day in a long time.

I'm bloated and gassy, is that classed as over sharing I wonder?? I feel like I'm sliding down the greasy slippery slope desperately trying to grasp onto something, only to find myself gaining no traction, floundering as I slide on down into to a refined carbs mess.

It started last week with bread. Bread that I proudly made myself, but bread nonetheless. White bread, that golden crisp warm straight out of the oven kind of temptation. Generous dollops of butter melting into the white warmness. I could feel something inside kick over, some kind of insanity, something other taking control. I couldn't stop at one slice, two, three, four, half the loaf gone, the horse was out of the gate, bolted.

From that day on I've had these insatiable cravings...... for what? Anything junky, as today's menu attests. Thinking back on the last few weeks, I've slipped into a predictable pattern of mine.... feeling good, feeling like I'm getting there, subconsciously freaking out and then mindlessly pigging out so that the status quo ante is well and truly returned to. Yo-yoing!

Eeeek...... refined carbs will always do it to me, it's like the more I have the more I want and on and on and on. So to cold turkey it is for me.

I guess it's good timing really, I've had the whole cholesterol matter knocking around in my head recently. Ignoring it, as you may well know, really isn't the answer. So here we go people...... 6 weeks from now I will rock up to my darling doc and get the test. In the meantime I'm going to get this jonesing under control and regain myself.

31 July 2009

What happened to cooking?

Cooking is one of those things that we, as a society, seem to be doing less and less of these days, and I can't help but wonder what impact this has on our quality of life, health and relationships.

At a time in history where we have more time saving technology around us than ever before, our work hours are steadily increasing. This has a huge impact on cooking and what we eat. We're tired, stressed and hungry. We want to eat, we want to eat now. So we do, reaching for the microwavable, the packaged, the take-away, the convenience.

A woman's place is no longer in the home, she's out and about, carving out a career, picking up the kids and keeping up with the boys in order to prove her so called equality. The kitchen is empty, the cupboard bare, the local take-away is on speed dial and the knowledge, skills and awareness of food and cooking are being lost faster than a Greenpeace boat in pursuit of an illegal whaling ship.

So should the girls drop the ball, get back to the kitchen sink and lace up their apron ties? I think not. But there has to be a solution, a way for all of us to sit at the table and share a meal that was cooked with love and care. Maybe it's about priorities, encouragement, experimentation. What do you think?

28 July 2009

Progress, it's all in the outfit.

Image: Bill Brown

Now that I have said my farewells to the Scale, I've been thinking more and more about how to measure my progress. I really need achievements to be proud of to keep me going in this whole thing and while I don't need to be a number on the scale anymore I do want to see myself moving forward.

I've been taking tape measurements since the start of this adventure back in November and I have found this to be a good way to see how things are changing.

By far the best way for me really is in the clothes. Having gone from a baggy sized 18 pants being tight, to falling off when I run is surely a triumph worth celebrating. Being able to once again button up my favorite red winter coat really does put a smile on my dial, and watching my all time fattest pair of shorts get so baggy in the arse you could call me MC Hammer, is pure bliss.

I really wanted to post a progress pic today but after running around the house trying a gazillion self portraits, I've conceded defeat. I'll await the return of The Boy for a less arty shot.

So there you have it, progress measured in a way other than the scale. Here are some numbers for those of you that get into that kinda thing, the first number being the starting point and the second number where I'm at today.

Bust: 115/114cm
Waist at belly button: 114/105cm
Waist at narrowest point: 95/89cm
Hips: 127/121cm
Upper Thigh: 76/72cm
Knee: 49/47cm
Upper Arm: 36/34cm

Total centimeters lost so far: 31cm. That's more centimeters than on the 30cm ruler I used in primary school!

24 July 2009

Dear Scale

Dear Scale,

Our time has come to an end. For years we have have kept our thing going, you looming around each corner, me obsessively seeking you out. This recent time spent apart has had me thinking about you a lot. How you have ruled my life for so long, how you've tormented me with your numbers, teased me with your smooth neutral appearance.

For some you are just that, neutral, benign. But for me, and I know you know this, you are a malignancy that knows no bounds.

So dear scale, I will not miss you, or even think of you. We both know it's better this way, we can get on with our lives and enjoy our days in peace.

Good luck
Berni x

19 July 2009

Home Sweet Home

Traveling is always fun, and one of the greatest things about it is discovering new ways to see and love your life at home. This trip was no different, and I'm pretty happy to be back, enjoying the clear blue winter skies and all that home has to offer.

So, weight loss and traveling. This combo seems to work for me, pants are sliding on a bit easier, tops not so clingy, the dreaded roll over the top of my jeans does seem to be a little smaller. The trick is to keep things moving in this direction.

Life on the road is full of obstacles, yet I seem to navigate them so much better away than when I'm at home and all is within my control. I think the biggest thing is that when I'm away I stop caring so much. I just go with the flow, eat when I'm hungry, eat what I want, and find that I'm so distracted by the adventure that I don't really think about being fat at all. Huh, who wouldda thought? Having fun and enjoying what's there to be enjoyed has me getting thinner without, counting, depriving or stressing about whether or not I've done this or that the right way.

I'm always dreaming of a life of full-time travel, and while I'm working on that plan, I also need to live my life now, and it seems that living as if I'm traveling may just be the way to do it. So off I go into the wide blue yonder in search of adventure right here in my own backyard.

24 June 2009


This trip is proving to be a pretty solitary experience. The Boyf's work has been extended by 2 weeks, and his monster days mean that I'm left to wander the streets, explore many many ye olde buildings, trawl the museums and hunt out the good eats on my lonesome.

All this time to myself has left me feeling pretty lost for words so I thought I'd share some of my photos instead.

22 June 2009

Weight Loss Weekly

Another week zooms by and it's time for Weight Loss Weekly, a collaborative blogging experiment where Sunny, Joie and I discuss our efforts at weight loss. Lately the gals and I have been talking about exercise, which at times is evasive, other times right there under my feet tripping me over.

My goal has been to incorporate exercise into my life each and everyday, and so far I've been able to do that. My main source of exercise has been walking, and bit by bit I'm adding in some simple body weight exercises, squats, sit-ups and my Everest of exercise, push-ups.

Push-ups have always been an enigma to me, and it seems they are keeping their mystery for now. I've been working on the hundred push up challenge consistently for a month and I don't feel like I've got any better. Persevere I will, I'm taking this as an opportunity to prove to myself that I can keep going, commit to something and put the effort in order to enjoy the rewards. If anyone has got any pointers on pushups I'd love to hear them, shout out in the comments.

Doing daily exercise is important for me, it keeps me on track and makes me feel energised and motivated. I think the key to sustaining this is that it's moderate exercise, nothing too strenuous or draining. Right now, it's all about doing something, moving and enjoying it.

My goal this week is to keep up the daily walking, squats, pushups and situps, which I do every second day. I am going to add in some more body weight exercises on the alternate days, some back exercises, more leg work and holding plank, hopefully the core work will help with the pushups.

Don't forget to check out and cheer on Joie as she exercises through her week at Joie de vivre: An amateur gourmet's guide.
Sunny is off on her family vacation this week, enjoying some sun and will be back next week to check in.

15 June 2009

Weight Loss Weekly

"Follow your inner moonlight; don't hide the madness"
Allen Ginsberg

I look in the mirror and I don't see rock hard abs nor thighs of steel, but what I do see is someone who is trying and that makes me smile.

Weight Loss Weekly is a collaborative blogging endeavor. Sunny, Joie and I get together to talk goals, with exercise being the theme for now. Check out how the girls went this week with their exercise goals.

Joie: "Summer for me means cute dresses and tank tops. And what do tank tops reveal? My arms, which are looking more toned!" read more at Joie de vivre: An amateur gourmet's guide Joie de vivre: An Amateur gourmet's guide

Sunny: "I've been feeling a little bit lazy this week. I started out good, I actually stepped foot into a gym on Wednesday..." read more at at That Extra 20 Pounds

I'm still exercising every day, I've even upped the ante a bit this week adding in squats, sit-ups and yoga to the push-ups routine, which has been a good challenge, not just in a physical way but also in that comeongirlyou'vecommittedtothisyoucandoitgogogo type way.

Being away from home has actually made it easier, which is a much welcomed surprise. Life is much simpler when you're on holiday, sleep, eat, explore and repeat. The Boy has been busy working, working, working so I have been left on my own which has been kinda nice, there's something about having to rely on yourself that has it's own kind of quiet appeal.

On our last day in York I was lucky enough to score the work hire car to myself, and in an absolutely uncharacteristic impulse, I drove off down the hedged countryside roads sans map, and on a mission to conquer my usually overwhelmingly strong lack of direction.

My spontaneity was well rewarded when I stumbled upon Fountains Abbey and my exercise for the day was well and truly sorted. I wandered around the grounds of the now ruined monastery, amazed at the grandeur and peace of the place. The walk through the surrounding gardens and forest was like stepping into one of my childhood story books and I couldn't help but grin at my fortune, what a life!

This week, I'm feeling determined and most of all willing. If you didn't catch Mizfit's post on this wonderful word, I urge you to check it out, get inspired and get exercising!

10 June 2009

Greetings from the UK

"The air was soft, the stars so fine, the promise of every cobbled alley so great that I thought I was in a dream"
Jack Kerouac

It's such a joy to be fortunate enough to travel. I love everything about it, the challenges, the surprises, the opportunity for contemplation and yes I do love airplane food. Some highlights so far.....

A wonderfully, sunblessed wander through the countryside, complete with wildflowers, historical buildings, meandering streams and of course a Sunday Roast with Yorkshire Pudding all washed down with locally brewed apple cider.

Wandering and more wandering, getting lost on the little streets and being gobsmacked by the history and architecture of York.
There's so much more, The National Art Gallery, Trafalgar Square, the people, food markets, the endless daylight, the way I feel like I understand Australia in a whole new context.

The whole exercise thing has been a breeze, walking, walking and more walking is the order of the day and I've even managed to keep up with the push-ups as well as adding in a bit of yoga, such is my enthusiasm for the traveling life.

Thanks again for all your comments and encouragement, I feel so lucky to have stumbled upon this little corner of the internet, I really feel like I can do this, and I think that it has a lot to do with all of you. Happy travels.

08 June 2009

Weight Loss Weekly

Image: vegm8383

"Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our regular routine"
Shunryu Suzuki

This week was definitely harder, and it's got me wondering if every day exercise is too much?

Weight Loss Weekly is a collaborative blogging endeavour. Sunny, Joie and I get together to talk goals, with exercise being the theme for now. This week Sunny is off to celebrate her 5th wedding anniversary and is having a week away from WLW. Congratulations Sunny enjoy your break. you can catch Sunny's adventures over at That Extra 20 Pounds.

Be sure to catch up with Joie and find out how her week of walking went. "Hooray! I hit a breakthrough this week!" read more at Joie de vivre: an amateur gourmet's guide

I did manage to exercise each day, but it was a struggle, I needed a great deal of persuasion to get up and get going and what constituted as exercise became a bit less intentional, a gentle wander with the dogs, sprinting for the train. I spose these things fit into the something is better than nothing category.

I'm hoping the next week will have a bit more structure. The flight to London was tiring, I think I'm still running on pure excitement and as a result the definition of exercise has become even more vague. Today we have a walk in the countryside planned, which I'm really looking forward to, I'm hoping it will restore my exercise ambition and that I'll be able to prove to myself that I can keep on with my basic habits no matter where I am and what I'm doing.

So to plan to plan or not to plan this is the next question. I guess I will go as far as to plan my push up days, which will be Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but the rest is left up to chance for now, much like this whole trip.

As far as the exercise everyday goal goes, I am pressing on in an effort to make my day to day life more active and inspired, to get me feeling more able to leap out into the world and move forward. I'm feeling like this trip is a great opportunity for me to demonstrate to myself that I can do this, anytime, anywhere.

I'm curious, are you able to stick to an exercise plan when your routine is totally changed? Any tips on keeping on keeping on with it all when on holiday?

01 June 2009

Weight Loss Weekly

"Resistance is useless"

Dr Who

Monday is Weight Loss Weekly time, when Joie, Sunny and myself get together and talk weight loss. The gals and I are focusing on exercise at the moment, going forth and creating new, wonderful, healthy habits.

Check out how the ladies went this week:

Joie of Joie de vivre: An amateur gourmet's guide

Sunny: "The second week of my exercise plan! Ugh, and it was so much harder for me to stay motivated this week..." keep reading at That Extra 20 Pounds

Another week of daily exercise, can you believe it? I'm amazed. I even did push ups! Despite the crazy week, I managed to exercise every day yet again. This week was a challenge, being at The Folks' place and helping Ma organise doctor's visits and the like, left me feeling pretty tired and unmotivated. All in all I think I proved to myself that I can do this, I can make this a habit and I can stick to it.

I think what really helped me this week was deciding that exercise was my priority, I planned, I got up early and I got it done. It was also nice to think that I was showing my Mum that doing exercise every day isn't really that hard, she joined me on a few walks and it was great to get off the couch and into the fresh air together.

I've always loved walking, and this week I was reminded how much I love walking in the bush. My goal for when I get back from Europe will be to get out of the inner city once a week, find some green and walk til my heart's content.

This week the exercise plan is incomplete, I leave for London on Thursday and I'm not sure what the weekend will hold. My idea is to approach the rest of the week with a spirit of adventure. I usually have no problem exercising when I'm traveling, I really enjoy walking around and exploring, but the real challenge will be keeping on with the push ups.
  • Monday: 3omin elliptical trainer and day 1, week 3 pushups
  • Tuesday: Personal training
  • Wednesday: 1 hr walk and day 2, week 3 pushups
  • Thursday: 30min elliptical trainer and day 3, week 3 pushups
So, for me, the exercise continues, how about you? Have you got an exercise plan this week?

28 May 2009

Guest Post: So you want to lose weight and keep it of?

Image: kharied

Let me introduce you to the fabulous Rebecca of
Chow and Chatter. Rebecca is a a dietitian, personal trainer, writer, mother, wife, cook and blogging extraordinaire. She's taken some time out of her day to share with us some of her tips on losing weight and the elusive keeping it off.

On the surface it seems simple to lose weight eat less and be more active however the number of overweight and obese people continues to rise. People try many strategies in an attempt to lose weight often the latest Hollywood diet or fad. How often do you hear the words I am on a diet or I’ll eat what I want before I start my diet, many times losing weight while on the so called diet only to re-gain it and some when they return to their usual eating habits. This yo yo cycle isn’t healthy for mind or body. Thats my Bernie's Blog yo yo no more caught my eye as she understands. She blogs with Sunny of that extra 20 lb and Joie of Joie de Vivre who inspire each other and folks around the globe with great tips and their personal stories.

The best approach is to work towards a healthy lifestyle and make long –term changes, also be patient with yourself it won't happen over night, there will be good and bad days along the way but you can do it one step at a time. It's also of great benefit to work with a dietitian to give you that much needed support, or consider using the services of a personal trainer.

Consider these questions before beginning

  • How ready am I to change? if you are thinking about it but still not all that motivated brainstorm the health benefits and focus on how much better you would feel
  • Break down your barriers to change-write a list and work through them, develop good time management and prioritize time for you to cook and be active
  • Do you eat when hungry or for other reasons such as emotions, habit or boredom. Try keeping a food diary and recording when and what you eat and how you were feeling, or write a blog. Work towards a regular meal schedule and listen to your bodies cues to eat when hungry
  • Do you perceive certain foods as good and bad and follow dieting rules? Re-program your mind and have a healthy relationship with food there’s no good or bad foods you just need to get the balance right
  • Eat slowly – it takes time for the brain to get the message that your full
  • Develop effective emotional coping strategies try not to use food for comfort, break the cycle of eating when stressed then feeling guilty. Call a friend, take a walk, pray, have a hot bath and try yoga.
  • Increase physical activity try to find activities that can be worked into your daily life you don’t have to join a gym. Take the stairs, walk on your breaks, try pilates and yoga at home or take a class, get some weights and lift at home, try tennis with friends and family or get a bike, find lots of activities you enjoy and have fun!

Overtime as you work towards a healthy lifestyle and face each challenge in a positive way you’ll slowly start to feel stronger more in control and enjoy better health.

27 May 2009

A fork in the road......

Image: webmink

"Do or don't do..... there is no try"

I have had an interesting experience this past week, a glimpse into my future if you like. My dearest Ma has been in hospital twice in the last two weeks, her blood pressure through the roof. I've come to stay with The Folks to give support, translate the Dr speech and maybe just maybe give Ma a gentle nudge in a healthier direction.

It got me thinking about me. What I do in life that keeps me from being my healthiest, what choices I make which mean that true change is kept out of reach, and I can see that I'm not that different to my wonderful Ma.

I remember when I was still nursing I often wondered about the road my patients had walked before they got to me. When, if ever, they got an early warning sign of their impending demise, what they did at this time, what choices they made, what areas of their lives they prioritsed. If, given that time again, would they do anything differently, would they stop eating the junk, start exercising, give up the smokes? I often imagined them at a fork in the road, much like the fork in the road my Ma is standing at now.

This morning I went for a long muddy walk out into the bush, it really is paradise here, the green that stretches on for as far as the eyes can see, the streams and rivers, the animals, the calm. There amongst the tree ferns and the still of the morning air I realised I too am at a fork in the road.

I can continue on with my half-assed attempts to get my cholesterol down, my inconsistent eating habits, my sporadic exercise and I will more than probably end up somewhere right about where my Mum is when I'm her age, or possibly even younger. I could take a left, walking down that muddy path into the green, the peace, the calm and alter my destiny, reach that true state of change. I know which way I need to go, which way I will go. Do you?

25 May 2009

Weight Loss Weekly

Image: Earthwatcher

"The most important thing about having goals is having one"
Abert F. Geoffrey

So I did it. I exercised every day last week. Yippee! The whole plan thing actually worked really well. I wasn't able to stick to it to the letter but I think having the intention is what really counts for me.

Weight Loss Weekly is a collaborative blogging adventure where Sunny, Joie and little old me set some healthy lifestyle goals each week and document our progress together.

Check out how the other gals went this week with their mission to get things moving.

Sunny: "I guess I don't hate exercising as much as I thought I did. I did pretty darn well this week, for me..." more at ThatExtra20Pounds

Joie: "Monday's inner monologue: "Uggh! Six o'clock already? What was I thinking?" Did I achieve my exercise goal? Find out at Joie de vivre: An amateur gourmet's guide

Rain seemed to be the big issue but I managed to negotiate the weather and get things done. My favorite exercise moment this week was a long muddy bush walk with the Soul Sistah yesterday after getting flooded out from The Folks' place and finally making it here amongst the mist and the trees.

Here are a few things I found helped me reach my goal this week:
  • Planning when I would fit in my exercise for the next day.
  • Realising that something is better than nothing
  • Exercising in the morning, gets it done, gets me moving and gets me feeling good all day long
  • Making the plan, I felt it set me up for the week with a clear goal in mind
So this week the daily exercise goal continues and this is my general aim for the week:
  • Today 30min on stationary bike and Day 1 week 2 onehundredpushups
  • Tuesday bush walk
  • Wednesday bush walk and Day 2 week 2 pushups
  • Thursday 30min stationary bike
  • Friday 30min elliptical trainer Day 3 week 2 pushups
  • Saturday 1hr walk
  • Sunday 1 hr walk
Share away in the comments, are you setting some new goals and working towards reaching them? Let's cheer each other on and make those changes we know we really want.

24 May 2009

Guest Post Gallivanting

If you feel you need to read more of my ramblings at a different address, wander on over to Rebecca's fab blog Chow and Chatter, stay a while look around, I'm sure you'll enjoy.

22 May 2009

5 Things I'm Proud Of #17

Image: taivasalla

Oh no! I should do something..... but I'm already in my pajamas"
Prof Farnsworth. Futurama

If you'd like a double dose of my ramblings today, check out my musings on exercising at home over at the baby incubating, wonder woman that is Fit Fig.

Friday is the day I like to reflect on my week and think of 5 things I've done that I can be proud of. This exercise has really helped me to get out of my self doubting rut, recognise the small achievements I make in my day and generally become an annoying Positive Polly, I ain't apologising one bit!

So here are my five things. What about yours? I'm sure you did something this week that made you smile. Dare to share below?

  1. So far sticking with my exercise everyday goal that I set this week.
  2. Not letting the rain and my lack of motivation to go walking stop me, long live the elliptical trainer and being able to wear my PJ's whilst exercising.
  3. Literally kicking my way through training this week, despite being given the option to cancel.
  4. Living it up spontaneous style and booking a ticket to London, leaving in 2 weeks, wooo hooo!
  5. Drinking less caffeinated beverages and drinking more herbal tea.

19 May 2009

My New Shoes

Image: ericsnels

"There's nothing like putting your bare feet into fresh cow dung on a cold day, it's great"
Makhaya Ntini

I really should be writing something about cholesterol but I'm just so excited about my new shoes. They're called Vibram FiveFingers® and they totally rock.

I'd read about these shoes a while back and admired them on a few feet but alas alack they weren't available in Oz at the time. Fast forward to not long ago when I saw them in a shop window and haven't been able to stop thinking about them since. I love being barefoot, a stilleto shod lady I am not, so the idea of being able to get around, protected from the ground, but feeling like I'm shoeless is like heaven to me.

Vibram FiveFingers® have a flexible vibram sole and individual toe sections that keep your toes separated and able to move independently. It's an unusual yet logical concept. There are a variety of styles to chose from, ranging from a neat slip on to a cold weather enclosed shoe.

The theory is, as it turns out, that our feet are designed to carry us. A lifetime of shoe wearing not only weakens the muscles in our feet causing problems such as plantar fasciitis but has ramifications the whole body over resulting in postural imbalances and back problems. Everyone has seen and been shocked at the old lady foot, her strange misshapen toes, bunions and corns often the result of tight shoes.

I have the makings of some of these problems, and wonder if it's my sore feet that have lead to my dodgy knee. That's part of the reason I finally forked over the cash and got myself a pair. I'm hoping after a few months, my feet will feel stronger and less stiff, time will tell.

As soon as I put them on I was amazed at how comfortable they were. I feel like I have more balance and more control, and feeling the ground under my feet is fantastic. I haven't done any long distance walking in them yet, but general getting around and about has been no trouble at all.

Check out some reviews at:
The Four Hour Work Week
A Passion For Running

birthday shoes, a site dedicated to Vibram FiveFingers® and bare feet.

What do you think? Interested in getting back to nature with some high tech rubber between you and the world? Happy with your faithful trainers? Let me know, comment down below.

18 May 2009

Weight Loss Weekly

The gals and I are shaking things up a bit with Weight Loss Weekly. While we love hearing each others take's on different issues, we felt it wasn't especially action based blogging, and we're all about the action!

In order for us to get up and get doing we thought we'd pick a theme and then set our own individual goals within that theme and talk strategy and such.

This week's idea is scintillating, it's sassy and of course it's supersonic, it's exercise, yippeee!

Don't forget to check out what the gals have got to say on this one.

"My goal this week is to walk for 20 minutes for 4 days this week. It doesn't seem like a huge goal, but considering it's been a month (or longer) since I've accomplished this feat, I'm a little nervous!" read more at Joie de vivre: a amateur gourmet's guide

Sunny "If you read last week's WLW post, you probably know how much of a slacker I've been when it comes to exercise! But I've set two goals this week..." Keep reading at That Extra 20 Pounds

For me exercise comes and goes, I go through stages where I feel like I've got it all worked out, and then for no obvious reason I hit a wall and just can't seem to get into it. I've smashed up against said wall these last few weeks and I'm determined to get out of my rut and back on the wagon. You know that feeling, when you pull on your jeans and think "hmmm something's not right here......" Well I'm getting that vibe and I need to snap out of it. An upcoming trip to the UK is the motivation, I do not want to get on that plane feeling flabby and disappointed.

My goal this week is to do some kind of exercise each day. It doesn't have to be formal sweatercise but just something, movement, action, doing.

In some areas of my life I am a crazy planner, but I've never tried to apply this to exercise so this week I am going to plan out my exercise and see if that helps. Fig of fitfig does this and I've often admired her plans and wondered if that would work for me, well wonder no more here we go.

Monday: Elliptical trainer 30min
Tuesday: Personal training with the girlies
Wednesday: 1hr walk with the Luscious L
Thursday: Yoga
Friday: Walk to work 1hr
Saturday: Elliptical trainer 30min
Sunday: Bush walk

So there you have it the happy plan. With it all written down so neatly like that, I feel like I'm sure to get it done, let's see.

How do you make sure you get your exercise done and dusted week to week? Have you got it all planned out? Or do you just let it flow?

16 May 2009

5 Things I'm Proud of #16

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be"
Lao Tzu

Running late with this post, seems to be a theme I've had going all week. Nevertheless there are things I'm proud of. I feel like I've strayed off course a bit lately but jumping back on as of today and keeping on keeping on.

  1. Remembering that I don't like working weekends, and keeping it that way.
  2. Finally writing a post on fat and cholesterol
  3. Meeting the Luscious L for an early morning walk
  4. Restarting the 100 push-up challenge
  5. Getting back on the elliptical trainer after a few weeks of absence
What about you, climbed any mountains this week?

14 May 2009

Fat and Cholesterol

"It's a scientific fact your body will not absorb cholesterol if you take it from another person's plate"

Dave Barry

Hey hey, today I'm also guesting over at the fantabulous, the funtastic, the free thinking, MizFit Online. Check it out here.

As I continue along the road of The Great Cholesterol Challenge, I find my self tripping over, falling down and getting up again, confused. Where did that hole in the road come from and why is it full of Ferrero Rocher chocolate?

Nevertheless, onward I go, Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was the perfect diet.

So, the whole cholesterol and fat thing. Not so simple. As many of you know there's fat and then there's fat and then there's transfat just to make things interesting. Some people say avoid all fats, some say it's just saturated fat that is bad, then there's those that believe that saturated fat isn't the culprit at all.

Mary Enig PhD is a big advocate for the conscious inclusion of saturated fats in our diets and has written extensively on the topic. If you're interested, her article, written with Sally Fallon, The Skinny on Fats, is well worth the read.

Another great read is from Harvard School of Public Health and talks more about eating the right kinds of fats.

Enough of that, on to practicalities.

Saturated Fat

Saturated fats are found in a variety of foods, and the general consensus is that these fats contribute to elevated cholesterol levels and should be enjoyed occasionally. These foods include:
  • Beef
  • Chicken with the skin on
  • Processed Meats
  • Butter
  • Cream
  • Lard
  • Chocolate
  • Ice cream
  • Pastries, biscuits and cakes
  • Fried foods
  • Full fat dairy products-milk, cheese, yogurt
  • Coconut oil

Trans fat

Trans fat or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, was once considered the bees knees. Not so any more. This oil is used in many processed foods and should be avoided at all costs. Denmark is leading the way in banning the use of these oils in Danish food. Hopefully other countries will follow suit. Darya at the wonderful Summertomato directed me to this recent study that further indicates the role of trans fat in cardiovascular disease. Read your labels and ditch the trans.
Foods likely to contain trans fat include:
  • Biscuits, cakes and pastries
  • Fast food
  • Fried food
  • Margarines and spreads
  • Donuts
  • Check your labels, it can be hiding anywhere

Dietary Cholesterol

To eat eggs or not to eat eggs? That is the question. While the concept that foods that contain cholesterol will raise blood cholesterol makes some sense, this idea is no longer considered the rule. It appears that the effect dietary cholesterol has on blood levels is not as great as once speculated.

The folks over at Harvard recommend enjoying eggs as part of a heart healthy diet, while of course exercising that wonderful notion, moderation. Although eggs and other cholesterol containing foods are now considered off the "bad" list it seems that there are some of us who need to continue being vigilant. It appears some individuals blood cholesterol levels do increase when they consume cholesterol containing foods, which include:
  • Eggs
  • Organ meat-liver, heart, brain, kidney
  • Butter
  • Prawns
  • Caviar

Good Fats

Just as fat can be bad, fat can also be good. Monopolyomegapaloooza so many goodies to be had.

Omega 3 fat, a type of polyunsaturated fat, is considered a goody, found commonly in:
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Herring
  • Anchovies
  • Sardines
  • For those not interest in the fishes, try flax seed, chia seed and walnuts for your omega 3
Polyunsaturated fats. The word from the American as well as Australian Heart Foundations is that these fats are considered heart friendly and can be found in:
  • Canola oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Nuts and seeds
Monounsaturated fats can also be considered good and you'll find them in:
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Avocado

Final Word

There is much talk about fat and while there are all sorts of lists, guidelines and recommendations, I tend to stick to the principles of whole foods. For me this means, I do eat chicken skin, I do eat full fat dairy and the occasional serve of golden butter from grass fed cows, and I also value the many health benefits of the humble coconut and the misunderstood egg. I make a pretty serious attempt at moderation most of the time, and I also include plenty of foods that help to lower cholesterol.

The verdict seems to be that we need fat in our diets, it's about making the right choices and not over doing it.

What do you think? Are you a fat free devotee? Or, like me, is fat something you feel you need?

12 May 2009

I got an award!!!!

I got an award! I love awards. The fabulous Rebecca of Chow and Chatter gave me this Awe-Summmm award. Rebecca is a Registered Dietitian in the UK and USA and has a wealth of experience and knowledge that she shares very generously on her blog. She also posts some damn delicious looking recipes for you to try if you dare. Be sure to check out her blog, you won't be disappointed that you did.

As part of this award I am meant to share 7 awesome thing about myself so here goes *blush*

  1. I once ate a fish eye ball to impress The Boyf. I think that's pretty awesome.
  2. I'm interested in people and their stories
  3. Always up for adventure
  4. Positive
  5. Easy going
  6. I once won a challenge at the gym on the rowing machine.... I was pretty pleased with my awesomeness that day.
  7. I LOVE dogs, I know that's not amazingly awesome, but I bet all the dogs I pat or say hello to in the street think I'm awesome!

In return I am passing this award on to some wonderful bloggers that keep me laughing and inspired all the day long.

Joie, Sunny and Nurit, my Weight Loss Weekly buddies, who so kindly invited me to join them on their fantastic collaborative blogging adventure. Their blogs are delicious, inspiring and they themselves are pretty darn cool too.

Spring Girl a fellow Aussie blogger who writes wonderfully about weight loss and all the amazing self discovery she's having along the way.

11 May 2009

Weight Loss Weekly

Image: kevindooley

"I don't exercise. If God had wanted me to bend over he would have put diamonds on the floor"
Joan Rivers

Weight Loss Weekly is a collaborative blogging effort between the fantabulous Joie,Sunny and myself. As Nurit explained last week she's decided to leave us for WLW. Be sure to watch out for her delicious and insightful posts at 1 Family Friendly Food as well as Good Food Bad Food.

This week I asked this:
Exercise is something everyone should be doing for general health and fitness. Do you have any tips for keeping your exercise routine fun and most importantly sustainable?

Check out the gals and what they've got to say.

Sunny: "Exercise... that is a subject I've been trying to avoid and not think since I began my weight loss journey a few months ago..." keep reading at www.ThatExtra20Pounds.blogspot.com

Joie: "It seems that no matter how fun I make exercise, I have trouble with the sustainability part. Is it a momentum thing?" Read more at Joie de vivre: An amateur gourmet's guide

Friends, flexibility and reality are the three things I try to keep in mind when exercising. I don't really have a routine to speak of, and this, I am learning, is actually my exercise style. Change is what keeps me going and the more I build exercise into everyday activities the more likely it is that it will be something I can maintain.

Exercising with friends is not only fun but sets up a scenario where you have a responsibility to turn up. For the last month or so a group of friends and I have been meeting with a trainer in a local park. We sweat, cheer each other on and laugh through the 45min of 'fun' and then it's done. This is something I can keep doing week after week, mainly because I'm doing it with the girls, it's like we're a team, and I would never want to let this team down.

Flexibility is a must when it comes to exercise for me. Rigid timetables and routines just don't work. I exercise when I can and when I want to. For the last 2 weeks this hasn't been all that often, a mix of not the right time and not really wanting to. But I feel like it's just been a phase to go through and after yesterday's hot yoga class I'm ready to get back into it. It's taken me a long time to realise there are ebbs and flows in all areas of my life, including exercise and sometimes you just have to go with it to find your groove.

Reality is important. For me this means, realistic exercise with realistic goals. At the moment a gym bunny I am not, so to pay the ridiculous joining fees and rock up in my most clean of workout wear would not be realistic at all. So I walk, I walk to work, I walk to the shops, I walk for fun, I walk to clear my head. This is absolutely realistic for me.

I can't talk about fun, sustainable exercise without mentioning The Wonderfully Fandangled Exercise Machine, or the elliptical trainer as it's known in the real world. This piece of engineering genius has been the best investment I've made in years. I have it set up in my lounge room and The Boyf has rigged up a laptop stand on it so I can watch all my favorite geeky DVDs as I sweat myself into oblivion. The best bit is I can do all this in my pyjamas/underpants/apron/dressing gown. I LOVE it.

I think in the past I've had an idea of what exercise "should" look like, I thought it involved lycra and group classes and all things pump and body blast. When I couldn't do that I thought I was failling. Now I'm trying to find the me in exercise, what is my exercise groove, my style, my fun.

What's your exercise groove? Do you have any tips or tricks that keep you on the straight and narrow. I'd love to learn more, this exercise newbie needs all the help she can get!

08 May 2009

5 Things I'm Proud Of #15

"Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all"
Harriet Van Horne

This week I have a theme of which I am proud of, and that theme is cooking. To know the men in my life is to know brilliant cooks, cooking for them is a daunting, nerve wracking experience, but I have vowed to overcome it and join in on the fun. So this week I am super proud of the dishes I created all on my own.

  1. Buddha's Delight, a Chinese vegetarian dish that traditionally includes 18 varieties of vegetable to represent the 18 Buddhas.
  2. Steamed whole Barramundi with ginger and shallots. A whole fish seems such a treat, but it's actually really easy, especially if you leave the gutting and scaling to your local fish monger.
  3. Cooking a traditional Vietnamese stock for the almighty Phố from scratch. Three days of boiling and toiling paid off with a deliciously aromatic stock, the perfect background for the fresh herbs and powerful flavours of the offal.
  4. Creating juicy juicy Thai style Gai Yang (ไก่ย่าง). BBQ chicken wings, which were cooked outdoors over the coals as part of the Phố extravaganza.
  5. Making Thai style fish cakes from scratch as part of the Phố feast.

How bout you? Cook anything exciting this week? What about other steps you've taken that mean you are living the life you want? Time to get proud.

05 May 2009

What foods help in lowering cholesterol?

"Let food be thy medicine and let thy medicine be food"

Back to The Great Cholesterol Challenge. I thought I'd leave it up to the National Cholesterol Education Program, The Mayo Clinic and for some Australian figures, The Heart and Diabetes Institute to explain what healthy cholesterol levels are. This is also a good thing to talk to your Doctor about because there are different reference ranges related to your risk of cardiovascular disease.

On to the exciting stuff, food. I am constantly surprised at how powerful food has been in my life. Be it cutting back on sugar and loosing the crazy mood swings or eating more protein and having more energy, the relationship between what we eat and how we feel both physically and emotionally isn't something to be sneezed at. The case of cholesterol and food is no different.

The Lipid Management Guidelines for Australians and New Zealanders recommends that dietary management of elevated cholesterol levels be tried before any drug treatment. Unfortunately, as Darya at Summer Tomato points out, most GPs as well as cardiologists aren't well versed in nutrition and most can't offer us much more advice than; eat less meat and eat more veges, as my Dr told me.

There's much more to it than that and this is what some of it looks like.

Foods to enjoy

This list is far from exhaustive, but it's a start. Not only are these foods specifically heart healthy they are also packed with nutrients that can benefit all of us no matter what our state of health. How many of these foods did you eat today?

Avocado on Foodista

04 May 2009

Weight Loss Weekly

Image: heather

"How easy for those who do not bulge to not overindulge"

Ogden Nash

Hello Monday! Monday is when the WLW gals and I get together and share thoughts about weight loss.

This week Nurit asks:
You’re about to go to an event - party, wedding, potluck, etc - where there’s going to be lots of (free) food. What are you doing about it? What is your strategy?

This is such a great question, I can't wait to hear what the gals have to say, be sure to check their musings out, no doubt there will be some tips and ideas that will get us all into action.

Joie: "I wish I could tell you that I always behave well at potlucks or buffets, but sadly, I can't. There is a reason why I am overweight! But I do have some tricks to help my best intentions along." Read more at Joie de vivre: An amateur gourmet's guide

Nurit: "An imaginary scenario: you go to a party, you see all the wonderful food, you either decide “I’ll only try just one bite of some dishes that look good”, or you don’t even think about it and just go with the flow. The result – you feel over-stuffed, you think “I ate too much. Why did I do that?” Does this sound familiar?" Read more on 1 Family Friendly Food

Sunny: "When it comes to free food, forget it! My strategy? Unfortunately it's Eat, Eat, Eat..." keep reading at www.ThatExtra20Pounds.blogspot.com

Now here's what I'm thinking about this one:

Lots of free food did you say? I'm there. That about sums up my love of the event/party/wedding/potluck food related scenario. Lots of free food is like, well, lots of free food, does it get any better? But is it really free? (see where I'm going with that.... ohhh the witty intelligence is too much). My answer to this question is a very loud NO!

You know how it goes, the food is laid out, you pick up your plate, determined to sample a tiny bit of everything, you go in with the best of intentions, and sit down to find your plate groaning from all that is piled atop it. Then out comes more food and more and more and more and you find yourself thinking, "well I did say I was going to try a little bit of everything, it's a party after all, time to celebrate." And what do you do? You eat more.

Finally once the last drop of sticky delight has been squeezed out of the bottle of dessert wine and the plates and glasses are clinking, sink bound, you gather up your bloated self and start to waddle out the door. This is what I've always done, each and every time there was some kind of food related socialising going on, which is very often in my world.

But no more, I have strategies and surprise surprise they work!

  • Don't go to said food feast hungry, have a snack before you leave, arrive feeling neutral in the hunger stakes, not stuffed nor frothing at the mouth like a rabid animal on the look out for the first morsel
  • Position your self away from the food, or if possible in front of the healthy options, you know the ones, the salads, maybe even the vege sticks
  • If you're worried about there being no healthy options to get positioned in front of, and it's appropriate, bring your own
  • Be mindful of how you're feeling and remember you don't need to try everything on offer, you will get a chance to eat some of these foods again one day
  • Most importantly, have fun, these times are usually about some great celebration, so celebrate. Catch up with old friends, make new ones, enjoy and savor the food
So there you have it, my ways to survive the free food without having to undo the top button of my pants half way through the event. How about you? Any ideas, tips or tricks?

03 May 2009

The Don't Go Hungry Diet Update

Image: val'sphotos'

"The pleasure of eating is not in the costly flavor, but in yourself"

A big HELLOOO to anyone who's wandered on over from Dr Amanda's newsletter. I hope my little stories help, inspire or at the least entertain you.

I've consistently been following the principles in Dr Amanda's amazing book The Don't Go Hungry Diet for a month or so now and I've noticed some nice changes around here. If you'd like to find out more about Dr Amanda and her research you can read what I think about it all right here.

The Don't Go Hungry Diet isn't really a diet in the traditional sense of the word, rather it is what our bodies do naturally and if we listen to them we may just find they've got something to say that is well worth hearing.

Here are some of the changes I've noticed since I've tried to eat when I'm actually hungry and eat enough so that I'm satisfied.

  • I don't really have any mad cravings
  • I don't feel as though I have to exert will power of steel to resist temptations
  • My most hungriest times of the day are 1130am and 4pm
  • There are many types of hunger, some for a meal and some for a snack
  • It doesn't take that much to fill me up
  • I can lose weight without feeling deprived and deranged, even when I'm faced with a month of celebrations and chocolate!

Like anything, this is a process, and I am far from having it all worked out. I still let myself get too hungry sometimes, and yes, I still overeat every now and then, but not as often and I don't have all the guilt and failure with it. I really feel like this is a missing part of the "lifestyle change" puzzle and if I can master this who knows what will happen, maybe I really will yo-yo no more.

01 May 2009

5 Things I'm Proud Of #14

Image: rwangsa

"Excuse me while I kiss the sky"
Jimi Hendrix

Well it's that time of the week again, time to remember all the little steps you are taking towards your bigger goals, or even the steps you are taking everyday to make your life what it is right now. Today I realised how far I have come in my thinking about weight loss and health and I believe it has a lot to do with these posts. Taking some time at the end of my week to think about the things I have done that have been positive is, well pretty neat if I may say so myself.

I've spent many years of dieting focusing on the negative, all the things I didn't do, all the things I should do, the "bad" food, the lack of will-power. I'm thinking this may have just been the bigger thorn in my side. I guess I never truly believed that changing the chatter going on in my head could have such a big impact. But it has, I'm totally loving proving myself wrong for once!

So here it is people 5 Things I'm proud of this week. Don't forget to think about yours, you can even share them in the comments if you like!

  1. Finally taking myself off to try a "hot" yoga class. I've been reading it can be beneficial if you have joint injuries and so far so good.
  2. Enrolling in two more subjects for my Herbal Medicine course
  3. Eating at home more than eating out
  4. Taking The Beasts for a walk despite the torrential rain
  5. Last but not least, jumping on the scales for my monthly weigh-in this morning. I've lost 0.4kg this month.

This last thing I'm proud of is one of the things I am most proud of ever. For the first time in my life, a small loss didn't send me in a downward spiral into the great black hole of despair. I was happy, pleased, proud. I didn't force these feelings, they just came. I can't begin to describe what an achievement this is for me, my normal, and not so long ago, reaction to losses like this has usually been pretty bleak. I guess this is what you'd call an NSV (Non-scale victory), for me it's the most humongous, amazing, supersonic victory ever. Yipppeeee!!!!!