31 March 2009

Finally, movement

Image: Ti H20

It's happened people, the number has moved, there must be something in this eating slower thing because I got on the scale this morning for my monthly weigh-in and I'd lost 2kg (4.4lbs) Yippeeee!! I'm trying not to make a big deal of this, trying to remember all my pledges to not get caught up in the numbers, but it's still a pretty sweet feeling to see that number getting smaller. So I deemed it time for an update of the numbers and here they are.

Starting point 13/11/08
Weight: 109.9kg
Bust: 115cm
Upper Arm: 36cm
Waist #1 (narrowest part): 95cm
Waist #2 (at belly button): 114cm
Hips: 127cm
Upper Thigh: 76cm
Knee: 49cm
Calf: 46cm

Today 31/03/09
Weight: 105.6kg
Bust: 109cm
Upper Arm: 34cm
Waist #1: 89cm
Waist #2: 104cm
Hips: 120cm
Upper Thigh: 71cm
Knee: 45cm
Calf: 44.5cm

"I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking"
Derek Zoolander

29 March 2009

Tea for two

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I decided it's all about having yummy things at home to keep me satisfied and entertained. Tonight I indulged my love of iced tea. The whole iced tea experience really hit me on my travels through South East Asia. Each country I visited had it's own style involving some kind of black tea, limes or lemons, ice and a healthy dose of sugar syrup. Don't even get me started on the iced coffees with sweetened condensed milk, oh and the pearl teas of Taiwan...... ahhh beverage heaven.

This one was pretty easy to make and is a great distraction when you're pacing the kitchen looking for something, anything.

1 tea bag
Juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon of honey
Fresh Mint leaves

Steep the tea bag in 1/2 cup of boiling water until desired strength is achieved.
Add the lemon juice and honey, stir until honey dissolves.
Top up with cold water.
Add mint leaves- I find adding the fresh mint once the cold water is added prevents many of the tannins being released and keeps the tea tasting fresh and minty.
Add ice if desired and serve.

For this brew I used Manuka honey, which has strong antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties as well as being a great adjunct treatment of Helicobacter pylori. I don't bother straining the mint leaves, and usually chew on them as I drink the tea. Mint is great for digestion and soothes and relaxes the colon, being a great aid in alleviating IBS symptoms as well as nausea and vomiting.

There is much talk of the health benefits of green tea and it can be easily substitued for a milder flavor. Black tea, however, also has a myriad of health benefits including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and lowering cholesterol absorption. Black tea also contains high levels of antioxidants.

I had a go at baking these delish yet healthy treats, and they turned out really well. Tea and cakeish type things, I'm feeling pretty stocked up for the week, prepared, ready to face the world.

"If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty"
Japanese proverb

27 March 2009

5 Things I'm Proud Of #9

Hmmmm, Friday came around awfully quick this week. Was there even time to be proud?

  1. Meeting with The Terrier for the first time, she's small, she's muscly, she's energetic and she sure doesn't take no for an answer. My thighs thank her in some strange sadistic way.

  2. Doing a 10min jog today. The physiotherapist advised 'testing' my knee out to see if we've made any improvements. I could have easily not done this, but I did, I'm impressed, and keeping my fingers crossed.

  3. Recognizing that somedays it's OK to just let yourself feel a bit sad and bliss out in front of a movie, rather than push through it.

  4. Keeping at the eating slow thing, it's harder than it looks, and sometimes I totally forget until I have one mouthful left, but as the wonderful Ms Netherlands says, I'm trying, and that's what counts.

  5. Stepping out of my comfort zone. I won't bore you with the details but let's just say, it involved me, a receptionist and a lost appointment time. I stayed true to my niceness, but I ain't getting pushed around no more no more no more.

"Jogging is very beneficial. It's good for your legs and your feet. It's also very good for the ground. It makes it feel needed"
Charles Schulz

25 March 2009

Exercise update

You know that road I talked about yesterday? Well it might be time to start running on it again. Over there somewhere on the right in the About Me section I talk about good health professionals being worth their weight in gold. Well I think my physiotherapist is well worth that and maybe even more, she's tiny.

After some truly agonizing massage and not so exciting exercises, she thinks it's time for me to start jogging again, slowly. I'm all about the slowly.

I'm excited, nervous and a little bit like fantasizing about my long lost running career. Ha! Well more like hoping that I can include some regular laps around the park in the Wonderful Workout Experiment. Here's hoping.

More news on the exercise front. The girls and I met up with our personal trainer last night. She's like a little terrier, a total ball breaker, and I love it! When she left we were like " yeah bye yeah we feel great, thankssomuch, see you next week" smiles and waves. As soon as she got out of sight we collapsed to the grass and discussed how at various points during the session we had all thought we may pass out/vomit from the exhertion. All in all an excellent first meeting.

"Fitness to me isn't about a crunch or a push up, it's about taking your power back"
Jillian Michaels

24 March 2009

Musings, or random stuff from in my head........

Image: Jasmic

I realised things were changing, when last night I found myself tucked up in bed flicking through Women's Strength Training Anatomy by Frederic Delavier. Here I was, me, lying in bed after making myself do my cardio and arm work-out, reading a book about exercise. Can you believe it?

At times this road seems very long and even monotonous, the same scenery goes by day after day and my destination seems not to get any closer. The scale is moving very, very, VERY slowly, some days I wonder if my engine is even switched on, maybe I am 5 years old again, sitting in my Dad's truck pretending to be careening down the highway at full speed, but in reality I am sitting in the driveway with the door open and my dog asleep on the ground below.

But I am getting somewhere. Picture it, me, this time last year, night shift, food as a way to stay awake, no exercise except walking the corridors like a zombie doing my rounds. When I think of this I can see the wheels are turning, I am moving forward.

There are so many ways to measure weight loss, many of them have nothing to do with actual weight lost. In the last few months I feel like I have found so many new ways to travel on this road, sometimes I gain speed and turn a corner, feel the wind in my hair, and other days I stop and rest under a tree, have a little snack, a snooze, and watch everyone else zoom on by.

The best bit about being where I am on the road right now is that I'm on the road. I'm not planning the road, thinking about the road, ignoring the road, I'm here standing in the sun, looking ahead at the twists and turns to come and back at the mountains and hill's I've climbed, and it is here I realise I've made it to my destination, the place I'm meant to be.

"All journey's have secret destinations of which the traveler is not aware"
Martin Buber

20 March 2009

5 Things I'm Proud Of #8

Image: davesag

I've been doing this exercise for a while now. Today I realised, it doesn't make me feel icky anymore. Gone are the feelings of "being proud of yourself? That's just lame, you're not worth being proud of." The five things come easily and without much effort. Could it be? Could it be that I'm starting to see myself in a different light? In a soft appropriate light, nothing like the harsh, unwanted, shadow inducing beams of a Kmart change room of old?

Comment if you will, share if you like, but most of all remember what you've done that makes you proud.

  1. Finally doing my exams. Distance Ed can be such a struggle, all part of learning how to be self motivated

  2. Doing the exercises my new fabulous physio has given me for my dodgy knee, I will run again, I will run again, I will run again.... well jog... well maybe it's just walking really fast....

  3. Trying out some HTML, with help from Roni at SkinnyMiniMedia. It seems so scary, but really not so

  4. Eating S.L.O.W.L.Y I'm amazed at how slow I can eat and what a difference it makes to portions. Hmmm maybe another key unlocking another door

  5. Saying YES to sharing a personal trainer with the gorgeous JRose and friends, as much as I love my solo fitness efforts, having a group to be accountable to is going to really up the ante

"You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection"

17 March 2009

The Plan

Photo: k.Akagami

For someone with such a free form existence I certainly love structure, and it seems that structure loves me. Setting up a routine with my exercise has really paid off. I'm now doing 30min of cardio every day with the regularity of a timepiece. Now that I have worked out a schedule for my resistance exercise I'm in a state of elation as I complete each task according to plan.

There is just that little matter of food. I mentally did an assessment of what I eat today and it's not so bad, lot's of antioxidants, good protein sources, not too much processed crap. The problem is I eat way way way too much. I eat like I am on the brink of an apocalypse, I eat to keep myself entertained, I eat as a procrastination, I eat, I eat I eat.

Part of this problem is the fact that I eat at the speed of light, I am the Superwoman of eating. I could easily make a three course meal disappear in the time it would take a "normal" person to begin to contemplate their entree. There they would be savoring the smells and presentation and I'd be there tapping my fingers thinking "hmmmm I wonder if that great dessert place is open down the road".

Now any dieter worth their weight in Cadbury Creme Eggs knows that over eating and eating too fast is a combination that equals weight gain like no other. I think part of the problem is not having a clear picture in my mind of what I should and could be doing to get that scale edging in the right direction.

My usual attempt at a solution goes like this:
Hmmm I eat too much, I'm going to eat less.
Hmmm I eat too fast, I'm going to eat slower.

I was sitting there thinking these exact thoughts today when I realised something seemed very familiar, I'd been down this road many times before and where had it got me? Here. I had a long hard look at here in the mirror and realised it's not where I want to be. I want to be there, in the land of no back fat, slender thighs and shapely arms. I want to be over there, where looking in the mirror isn't quiet so painful.

So I have devised a plan. Like my new exercise routine, I am going to start slow, be accountable and be consistent. This is my plan, it is long, overly detailed, and probably totally boring for you, but this is part of being accountable, now you know what I'm doing. For all those who know and eat with me in the real world feel free to pull me up if you see me with the crazy eyes, inhaling plates of food like a tornado let free.

To combat eating too fast I am going to eat slower, to do this I am going to:

  1. Chew each mouthful until I have munched recognisable food bits into oblivion.

  2. Pause after swallowing and take two deep relaxing breaths.

  3. Not reload my fork until steps 1 and 2 have been executed.

To combat eating too much I am going to eat less, to do this I am going to:

  1. Observe above guidelines and ask myself after each mouthful if I am still hungry

  2. When I stop being hungry I will:
    a. If out, get up, go to the bathroom, wash my hands, look at myself in the mirror and tell myslef I am finished.
    b. If I am at home, take my plate into the kitchen and wash it up. I will not sneak extra bits while I am there.

  3. If eating out and sharing a variety of dishes, predetermine portions before they arrive at the table and eat accordingly, remembering to continue to abide by above guidelines.

There it is, you've seen it, I've seen it, time to do it. Any suggestions would be muchly appreciated. Watch this space for a report in the coming weeks.

"Innovation is not the product of logical thought, although the result is tied to logical structure"
Albert Einstein

*Note: Much love to Roni at SkinnyMiniMedia for her posts on HTML for beginners I made headings and lists, yippeee!

14 March 2009

Weekend Adventures

While I stayed at home studying, The Ninja went out on a food adventure, returning with hand made delights from a local butcher that has been smoking and curing meats on site for 25yrs.

We sat down to an afternoon treat of fried speck, hot salami and some fabulous cheeses, not to mention a little *cough* glass of Lambrusco to wash it down. It was so delicious we were lost for words. It reminded me of the stark contrast that dieting is and further set my resolve to never ever diet again.

I've been inspired by Joie, Nurit and Sunny and their amazing culinary feats while losing weight, and thought it was high time I connected with the kitchen and got my creative on.

Maybe there will be some recipes to come.... maybe just straight up food pr0n, who knows.........
Happy weekend people, may you relax and rejoice.

"What garlic is to food, insanity is to art"
Augustus Saint-Gaudens

13 March 2009

5 Things I'm Proud of #8

Photo: Elfleda

I'm not sure if it was the full moon or all the kim chee I ate last night, but I had some very strange dreams, resulting in me feeling a bit like a zombie this morning. I tried some old shorts on in the hope that them falling off me would make me feel a bit more awake, bit alas, they still fit. I couldn't help but have a little "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?" moment. I guess slow and steady wins the race right? Right? Right??

Despite the zombie like state of being and the lack of items of clothing miraculously falling to the ground, I'm still proud of a few things this week. How bout you?

1. Taking MizFit and Kelly O's advice and mixing it up to avoid a work-out plateau. It's amazing, I didn't even realise how automatic my cardio had become. Feeling sore and exhausted again yippeee!

2. Keeping on keeping on with the exercise despite my journey into food chaos, with a stop-over in binge land.

3. Realising that just by letting it happen, I've created exactly what I wanted in my life for maybe the first time ever.

4. Having absolutley no regrets about leaving my hard earned career behind me- I thought there might be a tinge of nostalgia by now..... nup!

5. Having the first meeting of the gals for our little sing-a-thons, new people, new ideas, new sounds.

"Genius is eternal patience"

10 March 2009

Totally unrelated post

We interrupt the usual broadcast of weight loss whining to share a little idea found out there in internet land that could make a big difference.

Tim Ferriss wrote an inspirational book, The Four Hour Work Week and continues to inspire with his living outside the square approach. His latest project is raising money for DonorsChoose.org. A US not-for-profit raising much needed money for resources in the US public school system.

What Tim is offering is $3 donated to DonorsChoose.org for every new follower he gets on twitter in the next 2 weeks. Check out his post for more details. Follow Tim on twitter and let's see what happens.

"Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world"
Nelson Mandela

09 March 2009

Forward then back

Photo: tanakawho

Things have been sliding a bit here in Yo-yo no more land. Not for any particular reason, I have no real excuse. I guess it's just the natural up and down of things. I remember a teacher of mine talking about life. He described life not as a straight line from one place to the next, but as a continuous spiral. It's really the two steps forward one step back principle. The concept that life does not flow always in one direction, we are constantly moving forward and backward and forward again. I'm in a backward phase right now, but the good thing is that soon there will be a forward stage, if my teacher's theory is right.

I wonder how people keep on track? How do you keep your goals in the forefront of your mind and not let the chaos of life drown out what you are trying to do? I wonder?

"I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest, I do not judge the universe"
Dalai Lama

06 March 2009

5 Things I'm Proud Of # 7

Image: Laurie :: Liquid Paper

Friday, pride time. The wonderful Roni posted about finding balance in your life this week, and she linked to another great post about your right to brag. It further reinforced what I am trying to do here on Friday's, it's all too easy to focus on the bad stuff and in doing that all we see is the negative parts of our lives, some would say even attracting more negativity into our lives.

I'm all about changing the self talk and this is a big part of it. Share in the comments, break the cycle, be proud of yourself. This is your life and you are in control of how you feel, why not feel good?

Here are my five for this week.

1. Keeping on with this post. I was feeling a bit like it was boring, for me and for you. Who cares if I cleaned my house? Well I do, and it's not really about the things on this list, it's about making this list. If it works for me it might work for someone else, try it see how you feel.

2. Writing an article for the soon to be MizFitMag. I said I wanted to be a writer so here we go!

3. Organising my exams, one step closer to not failing my studies due to laziness.

4. Not cleaning the house. I'm mixing it up here, I always use cleaning as an excuse to not start something, I hate cleaning, it takes me days to psych myself up to do it, and those are days I spend not doing what I need and want to get done. This week, I left it all and focused on the things I needed to do, and now they're done and I can clean the house. Yay!

5. My relationship. The Ninja and I are totally in synch right now, it takes work and mindful effort, but damn it's so good when it's good. Happy Birthday!

"Maybe it's easier to like someone else's life, and live vicariously through it, than take some responsiblity to change our lives into lives we might like"
Tish Grier

04 March 2009

Artificial Sweetener. Friend or Foe?

Photo: Katalyst

I developed a Diet Coke addiction some time ago. I had never been a soft drink drinker and it was the day I came home with a carton of DC cans that I realised something wasn't quite right. I gave it up after that, mainly because I was sure that drinking a black liquid full of chemicals couldn't be good for me.

Some time later I started looking into the effects of artificial sweeteners and their use, the Dietitian at the hospital I was working in was a huge advocate of diet drinks especially for diabetic patients, and I became more and more curious as I saw the cans piling up in my patients rooms.

There is much controversy surrounding the use of artificial sweeteners. An intriguing documentary produced by Cori Brackett, Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World, looks at various case studies related to neurological symptoms and aspartame, a very common sweetener found in various "diet" products.

There is much speculation about the FDA being corrupted by the dollars of big corporations when it comes to the approval of artificial sweeteners. While this speculation is indeed engaging, and worth doing your own research on, I have become more and more interested in the actual physiological effect of artificial sweeteners and whether they can help or hamper weight loss.

One study done way back in 1986 found that over a one year period the use of artificial sweeteners did not assist in weight loss nor prevent weight gain.

Some interesting data from the San Antonio Heart Study suggests that the more diet soft drink consumed the higher the chance of becoming overweight or obese. For each can of diet soft drink consumed, those in the study were 65% more likely to become overweight over the next 7-8 years and 41% more likely to become obese!

There is also talk of artificial sweeteners increasing appetite, stimulating overeating and leading to weight gain.

Taste conditioning is also something to be considered when reaching for that sugar free gum, mint or drink. When we taste the sweet flavor what happens in our brains? Some researchers speculate that we learn to associate taste with the calorie content of foods, and therefore regulate our calorie intake through taste to some degree.

So when we eat foods that are low in calories, because artificial sweeteners have been used, we may associate this taste with low energy foods. Our brains are tricked into believing that the sweet flavor means lower calories. In a world where most of us are conscious about consuming less calories this can play havoc with appetite, inducing irresistible cravings for sweet foods.

So what to do? I try to focus on eating whole foods with as little processing as possible. That way I find that many of these diet foods don't find their way into my home.

What about you? How do you feel about artificial sweeteners? Please share in the comments, I would love to know what you all think.

"In real life, unlike in Shakespeare, the sweetness of the rose depends upon the name it bears. Things are not only what they are. They are, in very important respects, what they seem to be"
Hubert H. Humphrey

02 March 2009

The day I climbed the wall.......

I'd done a few climbs, almost reaching half way. My arms were aching already and the rush of actually being there was still running through my veins. We moved onto one of the easier sections of wall, The Soul Sistah determined for me to reach the top.

I started slower, taking my time, I passed the half way mark and marveled at the psychological challenge this presented. Just as I negotiated the next section, feeling more confident that I could do it, the Soul Sistah called up, "maybe you should come down real slow."

I had visions of my gargantuan girth straining the support rings, dust falling downward as they were ripped from their rivets. I was going to fall, all my fears were going to be realised, I was too fat for this. I asked a little shakily "Why? Why should I come down?"

The Soul Sistah could see the worry in my eyes, even from that height, and casually and calmly remarked "Well the rope's just a little twisted and maybe you should come down and we can start again."

The relief was instant "I'm not too fat for climbing, I'm not going to break the wall, the footholds, aren't going to crumble under my weight, it's all OK". I let the rope lead me down, down, down to the padded floor below.

Looking up at the wall again, I felt overwhelmed, I can't do this, it's so high, and my arms have lost their will. Maybe I should just try to get to the top next time. The Soul Sistah smiled and said "you're going to get to the top, you can so do this."

I started again, feeling a lump in my throat as I grabbed onto the holds and hoisted myself up the first few sections of the climb. I got to half way, feeling unsure, unsteady, weak. I paused, saying to myself "you can do this, you CAN do this."

On I went, reaching the last hold and gripping over the top of the wall. The lump in my throat broke and I felt tears form in my eyes. I looked down at The Soul Sister as she grinned up at me, giving me the thumbs up.

Down, down, down back to the floor below. I'd done it. I felt all this emotion well up inside as I realised what I'd done. I'd got to the top of the wall. I'd gone rock climbing, something I'd wanted to do for years, something I'd put off because I felt excluded, too fat, not allowed.

I'd gone against every fiber of my cynical self, walked into that air hanger like space, pulled on that harness (that fit!), clipped myself in and changed something inside of myself forever. I can do this, I can do whatever I want. I don't have to fit into a certain dress size, be a certain number on the scale, I can just be me, living my life right now.

"You can never conquer the mountain. You can only conquer yourself"
James Whittaker