Saturday, April 25, 2015

Home again


I'm home! It was a challenging weekend in terms of diet. I think I did ok.

We had McDonalds for lunch on the way to Sydney yesterday. Six nuggets and medium fries. We went to my brother's house for afternoon tea, the main reason for going to Sydney this particular weekend was to get some paperwork regarding mum's estate done. As usual, Darren was annoyingly pedantic (he has obsessive compulsive disorder) but we got it done. We took cake because it was his birthday three weeks ago, I had about three bites of mud cake and a cup of tea.

The weather was closing in fast so we left a bit earlier than we had planned, trying to get to my brother-in-law's house before the storm. But about ten minutes after we left the hail hit! We were stuck on the motorway. Everyone drove very slowly and carefully, the hail was like snow all over the road but at least the individual pieces were only marble-size or smaller so the car didn't seem in danger. We got through it ok. The kids thought it was great fun!

I avoided most of the pre-dinner food, then enjoyed my dinner and dessert and had nothing afterwards. It certainly wasn't an ideal food day, even for a so-called "free day" but kept the eating relatively restrained and I think it compared well to other weekend trips.

During the evening chat with family, my father-in-law mentioned he is planning on moving away from Sydney now that he is wrapping up his business. We already knew that my brother-in-law Nick and his wife are likely to go and live in China for a while soon (Ping is Chinese). My main reason for wanting to move to Sydney was my mum, but she is gone now. It feels like any reasons we had for moving to Sydney are being taken away. Also Tim's allergies flared up as they often do when we visit Sydney - I drove all the way home because his eyes were sore. We are feeling a bit adrift about where we want to spent the next stage of our lives.

Ping and I went to bed early, leaving the boys up to chat. But my father-in-law Des is so loud! I could hear every single word loud and clear. He gets very excited about politics and basically shouts at people even when he is agreeing with them. I wandered out sometime after midnight, when I'd been trying to sleep for a couple of hours, and hinted (with facial expression, I didn't need to say anything) that it was time to end the discussion. Even with Des gone home it was a horribly restless night on that uncomfortable bed that I have ranted about before. We are going to buy a foam mattress to put on top next time, we can just leave it there. It was Ping's parents who chose the concrete slab. All the beds in China were the same when we visited.

And no CPAP. I know I said even travel wouldn't stop me using it, but there is just nowhere to plug it in where I sleep. My fitbit stats show I got some good solid sleep in between 2 and 4 am, so that is something!

Today the diet started off a bit rocky. I was expecting Ping's usual offering of bacon, eggs, fruit, crumpets and cereal, as a buffet - lots of choice and easy to fit into my diet. But today she decided to make French toast for everyone, made with soft white bread so basically pure sweet carbohydrate. My children both tasted and rejected it and I didn't feel that I could. Her toddler was screaming, she was stressed, I wasn't going to ask her to find something else for me or insult her by offering to cook something myself. I know that my health is just as important as not hurting her feelings but sometimes that's a choice you make under the circumstances. I only had one slice.

I tried to get the day back on track and stick as close to my rules as possible, and the rest of the day was fine (high carb day).

Water was a big fail yesterday. I don't like to drink much on car trips because finding a rest stop every 20 minutes is inconvenient and sometimes impossible. I tried to make up for it a bit later but not so much I was running to the bathroom so I didn't catch up very much. Dry sore throat all night. I used to drink that much or less all the time and never felt thirsty! But now my body is used to getting more. Today again very little before/during driving home, worked on catching up when safe in my
own house. Ten glasses, so I should be rehydrated.

I have no idea what the scale will say tomorrow.

Report card:
Diet: Good. I'm happy with how I stuck to my plan, but I think I could do better, maybe taking along snacks next time.
Exercise: Poor. It was a busy weekend, but I made no effort whatsoever to fit in exercise.
Water: Poor yesterday, good today.
Sleep: Terrible.
Mental health: Good. It was mostly a nice weekend.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Bumpy day


There is a fun run coming up on Mother's Day that is raising funds for breast cancer research, so there are ads on TV and conversations on my Facebook feed about it. Every time I see the pink ribbon or a pink Tshirt I am reminded that my mother just died of breast cancer three months ago. I am definitely not ready to be involved in something like this, and I also really wish I didn't have to see it and be reminded all day long. I think about my mum often anyway, usually something like "I need to tell mum that, oh I can't" and feel sad but not too horrible. For some reason all this media about breast cancer hits me much worse. Maybe because they are talking about trying to save people but they couldn't save my mum. Even if they find a cure it will be for other people, too late for mum. It's like a punch in the stomach every single time.

Of course I want them to find a cure for other people, and who knows maybe me and my daughter one day, but I just can't deal with it right now.

I also have stuff about mum's estate still going on - nothing bad, it just takes so long! Seeing my brother tomorrow about it and had an email from the probate lawyer today. It's all normal but it means I can't put that financial side behind me, it's not over yet, it feels like it will never be over. Filling in endless forms and getting photocopies certified and discussions with the executor and this is all for a fairly straightforward uncontested Will. I just want to put it behind me. To be able to think about my mother without the taint of money hassles or the slap of remembering how she died.

I had one of my more restless nights so I am feeling tired today. It is very grey and cold. We spent the morning shopping - shoes for Aiden and myself (walking shoes for me), winter clothes for Jasmine - then grocery shopping. The kids got hungry and I am trying to cut down on holiday junk food, especially with the less-controlled weekend coming up, so we went to the fruit shop and bought some grapes for them. I didn't have any, no fruit on a low carb day allowed after breakfast. I knew I would be ok until lunch time, a stir-fry I made at home.

Eating normal amounts of healthy food can feel strange sometimes. I will finish a meal feeling no longer hungry, but not exactly full either. It is vaguely unsatisfying, I suppose because it is not what I am used to! Last night I had a big serve of really delicious casserole and I must admit I do like that full feeling. I knew about three quarters of the way through my plate that it was time to stop, but I didn't. So warm and cosy and filling. I think winter is going to be tough, but as long as I make sure I am eating lots of vegetables I should be ok. I am definitely more hungry today, not sure if it's the cold or if it's because I'm on second low carb day in a row.

Bit of confusion tonight. Jasmine had been invited to a sleepover which she thought was in two weeks, because that is when her friend's birthday is. But I got a text from the mother after dinner asking if Jas was coming... tonight! That is what happens when you let eleven-year-olds email back and forth to arrange something! So Jas had already had dinner and also we'll have to pick her up early tomorrow, but the girls still wanted to do it so Tim is driving her over now. It's not that close either, 20 minutes, because the friend has recently moved away from our suburb, so she'll be getting there close to her usual bedtime and leaving at breakfast! I suppose they'll still have all night to giggle in.

For various reasons I am really struggling with cravings tonight. Being strong so far, but not as confident as I have been this week about staying clean. Chocolate is calling me. I have made the firm decision "no" but the desire keeps coming back. I just have to hold out until tomorrow. Maybe I could stay up until midnight then it will be my treat day.

Report card:
Diet: Good. Maybe great. It's hard to believe it was great, today, the way I feel right now.
Exercise: Poor.
Water: Good.
Sleep: Good compliance, poor sleep.
Mental health: Poor.

Edit: about three seconds after posting this I went and stuffed myself with chocolate. And instantly felt a bit better emotionally, as well as physically feeling a bit sick. Well, it happens. This is not a diet fail. I am putting that behind me and moving on.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Painting miniatures and planning ahead

Thursday CC#4:

I managed about 22 minutes of dance this morning, after breakfast today. Very sweaty. I admit I am a little surprised at just how much more energetic it is than Fantasia. I mean, I knew it was, but not how much. I suppose Fantasia is about as energetic as a brisk walk, but using arms instead of legs. Dancing uses the whole body as is probably twice as exhausting as a result. My heart-rate got up to 130. The other possibility is that reduced carbs (even high carbs days are pretty low carb compared to government guidelines) are reducing my energy levels. That is ok if true, I'll adapt.

The kids and I bought more paints for the Warhammer figurines yesterday and the owner/guy-who-works-there (who reminds me of Stuart the comic book owner from Big Bang Theory) offered a painting lesson so we went back today. I was never interested in Warhammer which is a table-top war game with little armies, but I did like paining the miniatures which we also used for Dungeons and Dragons. I did quite a lot before we had kids and I think I was quite good at it. But now there were four or five different kinds of paint instead of one! So I listened when Matt talked and took along a little horse to practice on. For example there is a runny ink-like paint to do shading, we used to just water down the normal paint for that. I have an elaborate figurine of a princess on a unicorn that I never got around to painting 12 years ago so I'm doing that at home. The kids are very excited about painting, and that became the afternoon activity at home after the lesson. Aiden has a fairly relaxed casual attitude to keeping paint on the designated areas, but Jasmine's are amazingly good for a first try. Or even not for a first try!

Last night I realised I was at 8,500 steps for the day. Within reach! I was watching my favourite TV show but I got up every ad. break and walked the loungeroom/kitchen loop over and over. At bedtime I finished the final 150 steps up and down the hall before I got into bed. So I am quite proud of that. Unfortunately today I'm still under 5,000. This morning it was lovely and sunny while we were in the shop painting, but by afternoon it was dark and raining again and we missed the window for a walk.

We have a trip to Sydney this weekend. Usually that means fast food on the way there, unhealthy afternoon tea, dinner with family, breakfast with family, fast food on the way home. Too much! Saturday is my treat day, which helps, but I'm not bingeing all weekend and undoing my good work when I am finally seeing some progress (1.5 kg in three days, goodbye water weight!)! So what do I need to change? Well, dinner and breakfast with brother-and-sister-in-law is fine. I don't know what they will cook but generally it is real food. Last time, frozen lasagne, was unusual. Often it will be a roast, or BBQ and salad. Easy to eat reasonably. I need to rein back snacking though, they often have chips and stuff out.

The main thing I need to change is fast food in both directions. It's not even as if I like McDonald's! Yuck! But there is so little choice on the long drive. It is basically McD or the worst KFC in Australia. We try it out of desperation once every two years or so, hoping they will have new fryers or new cooks or something, but no. Chicken so greasy the coating just slides off into the box and horrible floury chips. I generally love fried chicken, it is my fast food of choice, but not this inedible naked slimy stuff.

I have in the past sometimes prepared a picnic for the trip there. But we have had some bad weather lately, atrocious in Sydney, and there are more storms forecast. And cold through the mountains! I suppose we could sit in the car, but I don't know if cold picnic food in the car will go down with the family on a freezing stormy day. McDonald's will probably even look good to me, as long as it is warm! And we can't really time the trip to avoid lunch. Maybe my treat day will just have to include fast food. Bummer. Such a waste of calories. I was really looking forward to the cheesy nachos I was going to make! Oh well, next Saturday instead.

The way home I think we can manage to have lunch before we leave Sydney, either with family or at a proper restaurant. So Sunday should be ok if I am careful. I think I can manage the weekend without too big a dent in my plan. I just have to be mindful about it instead of throwing moderation to the winds.

I finished re-reading the Carb Cycling book. There are a few rules that I'd forgotten that I am not going to follow - like take digestive enzymes before meals and other vitamins (a good diet should have all important nutrients anyway), not put milk in my tea (because milk is both fat and carb and you're not supposed to have both at the same time, but honestly I just put in a splash and I don't care), and do his particular exercise routine. But I am following the diet pretty closely and feeling fine. No cravings or hunger.

Report card:
Diet: Good. Day four (low carb day) accomplished.
Exercise: Good. Less than half an hour, but it was reasonably intense. But too much sitting the rest of the day.
Water: Good.
Sleep: Good.
Mental health: Good.

Another solid day.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

House hunting and fire alarm


I was a bit foolish yesterday. I went browsing for houses online even though we're not ready to buy. And of course I found the most perfect house ever in a lovely location and in our budget. Of course it might not be exactly like the photos, I've been fooled before (looking at you, castle house!). And it's not even in Sydney. Lol. I was looking where we often go for holidays in a smallish seaside town. We were there just after mum died, so there are some photos on my blog from January. So, lets see, we could stay in Canberra where Tim's job is, or we could move to Sydney where family is, or we could just ditch both and live near the sea! With no job. Living off savings indefinitely. And we'd have to sell this house first or organise a tricky loan - tricky because the bank expects Tim to have an income before they'll give us money. So the dream house would be gone by then anyway. Who wouldn't want to buy it? Oh well, I can look at the pictures and torture myself if I want to, can't I?

I did some exercise first thing this morning, before even breakfast, to make sure it got done. About 25 minutes dance. Very hot and sweaty, which is good, but it did make my shoulder ache, probably being completely un-warmed didn't help. (I warmed up as part of the dance routine, but that wasn't really enough straight out of bed.)

My left shoulder has been troubling me for some time. I hurt it somehow 3 or 4 years ago, I tore the tendon completely off the shoulder attachment. Very painful. I rested it and wore a sling for a while to let it heal. It is a lot better than it was then, but it still hurts a bit, a lot of the time. It aches if I lift my arm over my head for any length of time, it wakes me up if I sleep in the wrong position, I can't reach behind my back to do up my bra. Too much exercise or too much computer use hurts it. I struggle to put on a jacket or backpack because that involves rotating the shoulder - I have to do that sleeve/strap first or I can't put it on at all. It impacts on my life quite a lot. I've just put up with it assuming it would get better eventually, putting off investigating further. But shouldn't it be all healed up after several years? I've booked in to see my doctor and maybe get another ultrasound on it to see what is going on. I'm suddenly dumbfounded I've let it go on so long.

Edit: I looked back through my posts and I found the first mention of pain in my left shoulder on 5 September 2010, saying it had been hurting for a couple of months. Four and a half years.

I spent the morning booking appointments. The doctor for me, dentist for the kids, carpet clean, eye test. I have a list of 12 things ticked off! The calendar is pretty full for the next two weeks, something nearly every day. But still plenty of time to go to the gym in between, once the kids are back at school. I successfully put my gym membership on hold for one of the two weeks of the holidays (need a medical cert for more than one week any 3 month period). It is their fault for not having crèche in the holidays.

In the afternoon we went back to the indoor playground at the airport because the kids loved it last week. Invited along another family but they didn't end up coming. We paid our money and the kids took off their shoes and I literally hadn't sat down yet and the fire alarm went off. We were ushered outside (that was pretty funny, actually, the staff member got on the PA and rambled on for ages about she hoped we were enjoying our play before mentioning that we had to evacuate the building). Everyone in the whole shopping complex was out in the car park. Two fire engines came, and burly men in uniform. But they couldn't find any fire so after about 20 minutes we were let back in. Luckily the weather wasn't too bad today. There was no way I was leaving unless there was a real fire after paying $30 and getting nothing for it!

I got Chris Powell's carb cycling book from the library today and I'm refreshing myself with the rules. The website doesn't have very detailed information. But I'm happy with my first three days. High carb day today - which meant about 100 grams of carbs instead of about 50! Still not very much, but enough for me. One serve with each meal and snack (like one slice of bread, or an apple). About 100 more calories today than yesterday, which is fine.

Report card:
Diet: Great. (I'll get a fantastic when I eat more vegetables!)
Exercise: Good.
Water: Good.
Sleep: Good.
Mental health: Good.

Not a fantastic day, but nicely consistent across the board.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Stormy weather


My dad was supposed to be visiting this week but can't because he's sick, and has been for weeks. Not sure exactly what with, he had some tests done yesterday. I'm trying not to worry too much. My dad lives quite a long way away and he usually visits every school holidays for a few days. We hardly ever go to him, it's tricky with Tim's work and too far for a weekend visit. He's got his girlfriend there looking after him (my parents divorced when I was six, and dad's second marriage ended years ago), but his health hasn't been good for a few years now. I always thought he'd die before mum, but he's held on through heart bypass and diabetes and who knows what else. He brings a box full of medication when he visits, and washes the pills down with wine. It's hard not to worry.

The kids and I had a busy morning, visiting the library and various shops. It is really windy outside, some trees down here but much worse on the coast. In Sydney it is complete chaos with major storms and three people have died and houses have been washed away. Here last night the wind was raging outside. Even today, it is a lot calmer but not pleasant. Not a day to spend outside, we hurried from place to place. The kids spent the afternoon anti-tidying the interior of the house. I did some deskwork and huddled in my jumper.

I made things difficult for myself with water intake today. I had a cup of tea with breakfast and then we were out all morning. At lunchtime I still had a whole day's drinking to go. But I just kept refilling my glass over and over and right now (just after dinner) I've had seven cups of water, three cups of tea, and a bowl of soup. Not bad! I'll easily have another glass of water before bed. That's pretty much what I did all afternoon; drank, and wore a path in the carpet back and forth to the bathroom.

I realised this afternoon that I wasn't feeling miserable. Isn't that nice! I've had a few hard days lately, but I feel good today.

I just recorded my food for the day all at once on fitbit, and it told me I'd gone over by several hundred calories. I was dumbfounded, I thought I'd done really well. I checked down the list and there it was right at the bottom; 250 grams of zucchini (I made zoodles to have with bolognaise instead of spaghetti) - over 500 calories!! Are you kidding me? There is no way zucchini has 2 calories a gram, more than most meats. I had chosen the first entry, just "zucchini" with no modifiers. I went back and changed it to "zucchini - raw" (I had weighed it raw) and it told me 250 grams of raw zucchini was 25 calories. That is more like it! 536 vs 25 for the same thing. So what on earth was the other type of zucchini? Marinated in duck fat?

Report card:
Diet: Great. Second low carb day achieved. High carb/low fat day tomorrow. I'm interested to see how that affects my hunger levels.
Exercise: Poor. Didn't do any. Around 6,000 steps going about my day.
Water: Excellent.
Sleep. Good compliance. It was bad night's sleep turn, though. I would love to start getting more than six or seven hours a night, and for the good night to be more than every second one.
Mental health: Good.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Trying again


Ah, Monday. Another new week with a clean slate and no mistakes yet.

I think it's a good idea to tackle one health aspect at a time. But I need to start on diet, right now. My weight is not just back to where it started (again), it is up and over. All the other health aspects support weight loss but diet is the one that has the real effect. And I am too unhappy at this weight to continue leaving it until I get other things under control.

It's school holidays with kids home, my dad is probably visiting this week, we have to visit Sydney soon, yeah there is no such thing as a perfect time to start. It is always hard. I have to do it anyway.

I feel a bit paralysed, partly because every single diet plan contradicts every other one, which makes choosing hard. I like some guidelines and structure, so just counting calories isn't enough for me I think, but not too prescriptive about exactly what to eat each meal or cutting out whole food groups. Low carb makes me lose weight, but also messes with my brain. I ended up choosing carb cycling. It was that or stay frozen in indecision forever.

But the real problem is not so much that, it is fear of failure. Again. I dread the thought of making a promise to myself, in front of you all as witnesses, to commit to something and then in a week, or two days, or maybe by the end of today breaking that promise and failing again. So this is what I am going to do. A little promise. Not a weak promise, but a short time-period promise.

Two weeks, or rather a little over two weeks. My next dietbet weigh in is 6 May, the Wednesday, with a 48 hour window. Until I officially weigh in for month three, I will stick to carb cycling. It is only 16 days. I am not expecting to win this month's stage of my dietbet. I doubt I can lose more than 6 kg by then! That is not my goal. I am not in total control of how much weight I lose, anyway. But I can 100% control what I put in my mouth.

If you haven't heard of carb cycling it alternates low carb days with high carb days ("high carb" is a bit of a misnomer, more like moderate carb days). Every day you have some carbs at breakfast, but the rest of the day (eating five times over the day) is either low carb/high fat or high carb/low fat. And protein with every meal and snack. I'll be doing the turbo cycle which is L/L/H/L/L/H/freeday. The idea is that you get the benefit of eating low carb but without the depression and lack of energy that comes with it, because you still have some at breakfast and every third day. And a free day once a week so you don't feel deprived. I tried it once before but gave up after a couple of weeks when I wasn't getting the results I wanted. But I think I was a bit too free on my free day. In any case, I am giving it another try. If I'm not happy with it after 16 days, I will chose something else, but I'm giving it a fair trial. That is my commitment to myself.

I've been noticing my body's response to various breakfasts. On a few days I've had just bacon (and a cup of tea), two rashers, nothing else. And I'm not hungry until lunchtime and could even consider having lunch later than the dot of 12. On days when I have mainly carbs, like oatmeal or toast, I feel full for a little while and then hungry. Two hours after breakfast I want to raid the kitchen for whatever I can find. Definitely need a morning snack. It makes such a difference. Yet I don't think bacon every day is a healthy lifestyle. And is it the protein that is filling me up or the carbs that are making me crave? Today I had one bacon rasher, one egg, plus one toast. And I was easily full until lunchtime. So I can have that slice of toast as long as I have plenty of protein with it. Which fits well with carb cycling, luckily.

Tim took the car today because it was stormy (with a wind warning) and I didn't want him to ride, so the kids and I were stuck at home. They did some painting, I did some Fantasia in a lacklustre sort of way, I let the kids watch a movie on Foxtel. It certainly has come in handy these cold rainy holidays! Foxtel and homemade popcorn.

I've been wearing a fleecy vest for a couple of weeks now, but today for the first time I put a jumper on. Even with the heating on, it's not very warm in here. The vest had the benefit of a high collar - I can't wait for my hair to grow long enough to keep my neck warm! Chilly. At the moment I need either a high collar or a scarf.

Report card:
Diet: Good. I stuck to the plan, but ended up having more calories than I think is right, by about 100. No big splurge, but things like nuts and steak added up over the day. Might need to reduce portion sizes a bit.
Exercise: Good. Very tired today even though I had a good night's sleep, really would have preferred to be napping but I sleep-walked through some gentle exercise. I'm ok with that, at least I did it.
Water: Fantastic.
Sleep: Great. Don't know why I'm so sleepy today. Maybe the cold weather?
Mental health: Resigned.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Thinking, not honking


Quiet day at home. My daughter was at a sleepover that went to about 5:30 this afternoon so there was only three of us all day. Cold and rainy outside. Nice to be inside. Tim and Aiden spent quite a bit of time building and painting Warhammer figurines.

I was thinking (no, auto-correct, I was not honking) about how to work on mental health, and one way is to return to gratitude blogging. I have a blog where a write about three things that made me happy that day. Apparently being grateful builds some great happy pathways in the brain. I need to return to doing that regularly.

Report card:
Diet: Good.
Exercise: Good. An hour of Xbox games (Fantasia and Just Dance).
Water: Great.
Sleep: Good.
Mental health: Good.