Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Getting back on the carb cycle after a fall


Ok, lets try this again! I'm over my two days of PMS and ready to begin.

I think my PMS is getting worse. When I was a teenager I such horrible cramps I had to take a day off school each month. I was put on the pill and that helped a lot. I've always had a lot of physical problems with my cycle and have tried a few different pills over the years. I don't remember any emotional issues, or just a very rare weepy day in my 20s, until maybe the past ten years. Since I had children? Maybe before that, but not so bad it really affected my life. Now I generally have two days when the world seems a dismal place and I'm annoyed with everyone and everything. I'm both sad and snappy and try not to take it out of my family too much but I don't know how well I succeed. The best I can do is keep my mouth shut. If I let myself make major decisions on those days I certainly wouldn't have a puppy any more and I don't know what else. I don't want to think about it. I also eat too much and don't exercise. Maybe I need a strategy for that, but for the moment I'm just going to accept that I need to do whatever I can to get through those days without any consequences more dire than gaining a little bit of weight.

I'm ready to do more exercise than just walking Thor. I seriously considered joining the gym again - I have at various times in the past enjoyed BodyStep, BodyPump, the rowing machine, the elliptical and the weights machines, but I get bored with them within a few months so next time I join the gym it will be for three months instead of a year and wasting most of my money. But going to the gym is a huge time investment with all the driving and finding parking and changing twice and showering etc, an hour exercise takes nearly two hours out of my day. So for the moment I'm going back to dancing at home. I still have to change and shower but it takes travel time out of the equation.

I was inspired by a new TV show, "Bringing Sexy Back" (terrible terrible name!) which is like an accelerated Biggest Loser. Each week they show a new person or couple, and follow them over about three months with a personal trainer and help from a celebrity chef and a big makeover and reveal at the end. They do it all from home, fitting healthy living around their normal work and other commitments so it is a tiny bit more realistic than Biggest Loser where all you do is exercise.

I did some writing this morning (I have rewritten what was lost and moved on) and then an hour of dance. It went well. I'd dipped my toe back into dance a few times recently but had trouble keeping up with the energy levels and the choreography, neither my mind and body were cooperating. But today I was back in the groove. I'm working my way through getting 5 stars in every dance on medium difficulty in Dance Central 3. I love a goal.

Then I had my lunch, and took a cup of tea outside with the puppy so he could run around a bit without getting lonely. I did some work reading, then took Thor for a walk that went past the school on our way home. Thor is getting a bit better with walking. He still pulls a lot. The kids rarely ask to walk him now, it's not very pleasurable. Yesterday I started giving him food treats as well as verbal praise when he was behaving well, and it certainly keeps his attention on me more! My previous dog, a collie, was not particularly motivated by food and was very eager to please so I don't think I ever used food treats, just attention and praise. The working dog (sheepdog) temperament. But Thor, both sides of his ancestry from hunting/gun dogs, likes praise but it takes food to distract him from the exciting outdoors! He tries to chase birds, too, and points his little foot. Very cute. But he is much nicer to walk when you don't end up with the lead strap embedded in your hand.

Today is a low carb day. I've gone a bit over my very low carb allowance (36 - 90 grams) because I was surprised by a few things. My banana had nearly 22 g, the orange 17 g and the Yakult a very unexpected 11.6 g of carbohydrate considering it is a tiny 50 mL bottle. I know I could have checked before I ate things but I don't want to give up fruit regardless so I'm not sure how I'm going to get around that on low carb days. Maybe only one piece of fruit? The Yakult is a rare thing, just to help my gut flora rebalance. Apart from that, my carbs came from one slice of toast, four wholegrain crackers and lots of non-starchy vegetables. If I cut out any two things (not the veges) I would be under my limit. On high carb days I get 180 grams of carbohydrate, plenty for just about anything, but high carb days are low fat days so I still have to monitor everything carefully.

If you haven't tried Yakult it is a fermented drink full of probiotics that I expected to be like slightly nasty runny yoghurt but in fact tastes just like melted vanilla ice cream. Delicious. Full of sugar, of course. I don't get it very often, but I buy a pack after a stomach upset. And hide it from the kids.

... (A bit later.) I had a lovely low carb dinner of steak and salad. Then ate three chocolate biscuits. So, hmm. I'm still giving myself a B for today's healthy eating. Mostly I did very well. I ate at least five serves of vegetables. And I did an hour and a half exercise! And drank seven glasses of water! And wrote! Overall an excellent day.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Maybe not today

a bit later Monday:

I am getting the feeling that today wasn't the best day to start a new diet. That cranky time of the month, and leftovers still in the fridge. Cheesecake. Not very low carb.

What can I eat that will make me feel better?


Apparently people without food issues don't look to food to solve problems that aren't hunger. Isn't that a weird thought? Whereas I (and I imagine a few of my readers) look to food to solve sadness, anger, tiredness, boredom, frustration, and even an upset tummy. And it does kind of work, in the short term.

Tim and I both still have this stomach bug that we'd thought we got over (twice). It's a bit annoying, although I feel ok most of the time. It certainly hasn't stopped me eating! In fact I eat to settle my stomach. But it has stopped me exercising. Funny, that.

I haven't been sticking to any kind of diet for a couple of weeks. That doesn't mean binging, but I haven't been worrying if something is fried, I have some dessert if I want to, I take a chocolate from my hairdresser's reception desk. Last Thursday I was 81.8kg, about the same as I'd been hovering around for a few weeks.

Then this weekend was absolutely horrendous in terms of unhealthy food. We had family staying. I provided desserts and snacks. My sister-in-law brought dessert and snacks. I actually started eating junk on the Friday before they even got here because me and chips in the house? How have I not learned yet that that is a problem? I indulged in everything while they were here. I ate some leftover cheesecake after they left.

This morning, resolving to start over and needing to know the worst, I got on the scales. 81.8kg. No change. I was puzzled but I'm not complaining! The body can be weird. It doesn't do what you expect.

I'm calling this a new diet, starting today. A new plan. The old one has been dead for weeks. I'm doing it this way because I find I do better during the honeymoon period of a new diet. New rules to follow. Some people are better off refreshing the same plan. I like having something new. I just want to stress that I'm am not looking for that one perfect diet that will quickly and effortlessly make the weight fall off. I just enjoy researching and planning a new diet, it gets me motivated again.

That said, I'm thinking about carb cycling. Intermittent fasting is popular at the moment but I can't do that, I feel awful if I try to fast (as I have done for charity - I didn't make it through the whole 40 hours - or for a shorter stretch for medical reasons) - sick, tired, headachy, trembly, miserable and irritable. How can anyone work through that or do anything other than lie in bed? Maybe it's because of my insulin resistance. I also can't do very low carb, I've tried that too and feel almost as bad as fasting, which makes sense because it's the carbs that affect blood sugar. On the other hand, I lose weight if I reduce carbs. And I feel just as sick, in a different way, if I eat too many carbs. Really sleepy and bloated.

Carb cycling, as I understand it, alternates days of low carbs with days of higher carb intake. You eat more protein on the low carb days and very little fat on the high carb days. It was apparently developed by body builders to strip off the fat layer before a competition so all their huge muscles would show better. For me, it would mean 1200 calories on Mon, Wed & Fri (low carb) and 1500 calories on the other days (high carb). As with any reasonable diet, there is a focus on lots of fruit and vegetables, lean meat, and "healthy" carbohydrate (ie not cheesecake). There is a formula for how many carbs and protein grams I should be eating based on my weight that could be a bit fiddly to translate into daily meals - but isn't that what I want? To spend time on the technical aspects? Worth a try.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lost in the ether


I'm upset right now, although starting to get some perspective. Usually I only write about an hour a day but I was really fired up with inspiration, getting close to the end of my manuscript. I worked on my novel all day over three sessions. The third session was in an earlier section that I'd only roughed out yesterday, so I didn't notice until the end that all the work I had done in the second session was gone. Just not there.

I am as certain as I can be - say 95% - that I saved it and copied it over to my USB as I always do for backup. When I went to copy it I couldn't see the USB on my desk then realised it was still plugged in from earlier. I remember that moment. Hard to be wrong about it.

Unless I didn't save it, closed the document, and copied over the same document I'd copied earlier in the day without the new work? Wouldn't it ask me if I wanted to close without saving?

I should be telling myself it's no big deal. It was only about an hour and a half of work, what is that in the scheme of things? But it was a very emotional scene, basically a main character offering to sacrifice his life for everyone else. I'll never write it again the same way. Maybe better. But not the same.

I feel all empty inside and yuck and sad. I worked so hard today. Gone.

Not all gone. A third gone. Feels like all gone.

On the home stretch


I had a haircut today. I forgot to take a photo and I'm all tired now so you'll never see it salon-fresh. But I'll take a picture tomorrow if I remember. It's so short up the back and sides that my hairdresser (stylist?) used the clippers. But still longish at the front.

I love the little massage they give you first, and then my salon has a massage chair at the hair-washing sinks. But today the vibrating chair made me really need to pee! Even though I went just before leaving home - that was one of my mum's rules, you go to the toilet before leaving the house. But I had to ask to use their bathroom. And it's a shared bathroom with a couple of other businesses in the building, so I was wandering around holding a key with my hair all wet and the cape on and everything. I felt a bit odd.

My writing is going well. My novel is up to 65,000. I estimate the first draft will be around 80,000. Finished novel more like 100,000 once I flesh out some of the skeletal bits. There are only two more big scenes to write, plus the connective tissue between them. I'm thinking I might have the first draft done in around a month. I'm a bit excited and disbelieving about that - I will have actually written a novel! Finally! It only took me 44 years and a dozen false starts. But I can't celebrate yet. Not until I write 'the end'. Then I get to start the editing process, which I expect to enjoy because that part is what I do for a living for other people! It's the fun bit. Writing new material is the hard part.

Sleep well.

Monday, August 11, 2014



I am feeling really well finally today. It's amazing how good that feels! I thought I was over that stomach bug after its first bout but obviously I wasn't because I never got up to this happy place before it struck again. I just feel good. And even though I ripped the CPAP off half-way through the night again, I feel well-rested. I actually wanted to get out of the house for the first time in a week.

I was productive today. An hour of writing in the morning, the grocery shopping, read several short stories for an award I am judging, eventually won in a fight with my Kobo, and got out for a nice walk with my puppy and my husband who is home this week for a break between moving sections at work.

If it seems like I do the grocery shopping strangely often, I do. Whoever renovated this kitchen before we moved here seemed to think a small space for a fridge was just fine. We bought the largest fridge that would fit in the space, but that isn't very big. There just isn't anywhere else for a fridge. The pantry is already in the laundry. I don't know why, the house is a decent size. But it was an elderly couple and I guess they had different ideas than I do about storage space for food. To make matters worse, one of the shelves in the fridge recently broke so now we only have two shelves and a vegetable drawer. I checked with the company but they don't make that model fridge any more so we can't get a replacement shelf. I didn't really want to buy a new fridge when we'd only have to get another tiny one and we've been thinking of moving for a while now. When we have houseguests we turn on my little single-person fridge out in the garage (no direct access to the house, so not very convenient) and use a lot of eskies (insulated boxes). Christmas in the middle of summer here is tricky! But even with just the four of us, I shop twice a week and have to juggle everything around to cram it all in. We might just have to give in and get a new fridge.

I started tracking again today, something I haven't done for a while. And I made zoodles (zucchini noodles) for dinner - I like them but lately I've been eating pasta because I just can't be bothered making something different for me. But I don't claim to have eaten cleanly today - quite a few treat foods. Still, it's a start.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

It's back...


The stomach virus I thought I shook off earlier in the week? Not so much. I've been feeling pretty unwell the last two days. But aside from being annoyed at missing valuable weekend time, I'm doing ok. Just a bit sick of being sick.