Monday, November 24, 2014

Exercising twice


I've been waking much earlier than I need to just about every day since getting Thor, even after he was gone and I no longer needed to wake up to take him outside, even when it was still dark outside at that hour, even when I was exhausted and really needed more sleep. It has been very annoying. I've thought a few times about getting up early but up until now I've been trying to break the habit of waking, and sometimes I do get back to sleep. And by the way, I see no particular virtue in getting up early. Sleep is more important to me, and going to bed earlier in the evening would mean seeing my husband even less than I do now.

This morning I gave in and got up (after lying in bed for a while). Yesterday was horribly hot and it was still uncomfortable in the house even though there had been a cool change overnight. I went for a 30 minute walk in the lovely coolness. This is my street.

I don't really have any decent "exercise music" as my taste runs more to ballads and musical theatre (Glee!) so while I walked I downloaded an app called "Rock my Run" which has lots of music compilations of different lengths for exercising to. You can make a list of the ones that appeal. It seems to be very American so I had to skip past lots of rap and bands I've never heard of, but there was plenty to choose from even so. For my walk, I chose two 10 minute compilations; some 70s disco which was surprisingly fun to walk to and then some current pop, finishing with "All about that bass".

I got up a good sweat and the house felt very hot when I got home. After getting the kids off the school, I went to the gym. First time I've been back for a while. Since I'd already done some exercise, I just did 30 mins on the elliptical. I used Rock my Run again, and hiked through Californian forests. I had it on a difficulty level of 4 but it isn't steady - when hiking "uphill" the difficulty goes up to around 7. I was pretty tired by the end.

Then I had a shower and did the grocery shopping and came home exhausted and had lunch.

Have I griped about the showers at my gym before? Tiny little cubicles, nowhere to put your towel so it won't get wet, you have to stand right in the boiling/freezing stream of water to reach the handle to adjust it, no space at the tiny sink array to do hair and makeup (which doesn't bother me but it must be a real problem for the crowd of women who do an early session before work then have to get ready there), and they didn't even have soap dispensers until I asked for them to be installed a couple of years ago. I got sick of taking in my own soap. They agreed to do that, which was nice of them, but to my other comments they said that "it wasn't a boutique gym" and I suppose there isn't much they could do without major renovations. But it was very poor planning. This isn't a small cheap gym, it is a huge well-gleaming place spread over two floors. With the toilets on the ground floor permanently locked for some reason. Anyway, unless I am going straight somewhere else after my workout like today, I prefer to drive home all sweaty and shower there.

Aside from the stupid showers, it was a good day.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Stealing mulberries


After my first week of dietbet (final weigh in will be on a Tuesday, I started a bit early) my weight was 82.9 kg this morning, down 1.3 kg. A good start, I need to keep that going and improve in some areas. My average needs to be 0.8 kg per week and this first week included water weight loss.

The four pillars of weight loss are sleep, diet, exercise and water. I don't include metal health/head space as a pillar - it is the foundation!

My diet has been good this week, a reasonable number of calories each day and a few treats like the lemon tart I bought from the bakery on Friday. Sleep has been decent, I've managed to keep the CPAP on most of the night on most nights. Exercise has been bad, almost none. And water has been terrible. Yesterday was hot, yet I only had two cups of tea and two and a half cups of water. And one and a half of the water was close to bed-time, trying to catch up a bit, which meant I was up three times in the night.

Today I've tried to get a head start on my water consumption, four cups by 11:00.

Summer fruit has suddenly come down in price and up in quality. Yay for fruit! I've been eating a lot of grapes, which are one of my favourite foods but only when they are crisp and fresh. This morning I had a mango for breakfast and this for morning tea:
Mulberries! From the big tree over our back fence which has a couple of branches hanging into our yard. Especially if you grab the end and gently pull them over. I was standing on the little step ladder we use to get onto the trampoline, wondering if the new neighbours would mind (we knew the previous renters but haven't met these ones) and then looked into their yard properly instead of just at the fruit.

It is a huge wilderness of overgrown trees and waist-high weeds. I'm not even sure, now, if there is someone living there at the moment. I haven't seen anyone for a little while. I haven't spent a lot of time out there since we rehomed our puppy. Anyway, I doubt they are going to care if we eat all the mulberries we can reach. The ground is covered in the dropped ones. Later in the year there will be little yellow plums - there is a whole row of fruit trees along their back fence. None of the fruit grows very big because the trees aren't looked after, but it's all very tasty.

In case you are wondering, I miss our little puppy Thor a lot. It was the right decision but I miss him. We have had the option of going to visit him at his new house but Tim and I both feel it would be too painful for us. And maybe confusing for him. I feel a bit sad about it sometimes, remembering his funny ways and his joy in life.

Today is going to be scorching hot. It is a week until summer but it definitely feels like summer here already. I will be staying inside in the air conditioning all day. And we had our Sunday roast last night instead so I wouldn't have to have the oven on today. I'll have to really start rethinking menu choices. It's tricky because things like roasts and casseroles have such good leftovers for lunch the next day. But hot meaty dishes seem a bit less appealing, and I definitely don't want the oven on for six hours in summer.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014



My dietbet is going well so far. It is officially Day 2 but since I weighed in at the earliest possible moment I have had an extra 48 hours. I've eaten very well and have lost my water weight (and hopefully a little fat), it will slow down from here but I've made a good start towards my 3.4 kg in four weeks.

I don't find it stressful and I enjoy reading everyone's comments on the website.

Yesterday the plumber was here all day - eight hours - doing expensive things. But we now have a new hot water heater and the water pressure fixed and the toilet fixed and I just hope we don't have to spent any more money for a while or we won't be able to afford Christmas!

I couldn't go to the gym yesterday because of Mr Plumber and I wasn't willing to prance around the lounge room in my lycra with him here. So no exercise. I haven't been to the gym for a couple of weeks due to being unwell, I did put my membership on hold for a week but it's back on again now. I'll go tomorrow, no car today. I still don't feel 100% but I've been looking after myself with rest and good food so I need to start easing back into it or I'll still be sitting on my behind until the New Year. Aiden is back at school with just a bit of a cough, he has certainly bounced back a lot quicker than me.

I went for a walk just before lunch. These are flowers in our garden, I thought they were interesting with the two different colours on the same plant.

And this is not very clear, but those two splashes of red are birds - Rosellas I think.

So I got a bit of fresh air and gentle exercise today. I need to work on my water consumption (as usual). But I'm feeling good about my food intake.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A bit of chaos


My really busy Monday has been thrown off course by a sick child. Aiden has come down with a sore throat and "don't feel well". Since I'm on the tail end of two weeks of the same thing, I know how he feels! I've let him stay home. It means chaos today, though.

I drove the car up to the repairer as soon as it opened and walked home (around 20 mins walk, hurrying) so that Tim could leave for work - he is planning to come home very early so that I can pick the car up before they close and do some grocery shopping or else we are having cheese on toast for dinner (obviously I can't walk to the shops because I can't leave a sick eight year old (or even a well one) home alone).

The car repair man rang after looking at the car and he said the drive belt has fallen off (so that was something falling out of the engine on the highway!) and also the alternator belt is badly damaged. None of that means anything to me, except that he can fix it today for around $300.

I cancelled my glucose tolerance test, and remembered that I cancelled the original appointment five months ago because Aiden was sick then too. It's a strange coincidence because he isn't sick very often. I'll book another one later. Since they no longer require three days of carb loading it's no big deal. Also my blood sugars have improved a lot since I started feeling better so I think it was being sick that was messing them up.

The plumber coming this afternoon to fix the hot water heater flooding the laundry is unaffected by having my baby home sick, thank goodness. So everything other than the glucose tolerance test should still get done, as long as Tim can get home in time.

[Edit: I spoke too soon about being relieved the car repair was only $300 - the hot water system will be nearly $3000! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!]

My dietbet starting weight has been approved and I am officially in weight-loss mode.

Last night I had my CPAP on for around seven hours, which is excellent. I woke during the night but didn't take it off. I think I got a good night's sleep.

Dietbet weigh in


The very moment that I was allowed and had the code word, at midnight in PST and therefore 7pm here as we are 19 hours ahead in Australia, I submitted my weigh in photos to dietbet so I could officially get started.

If they are approved, then my starting weight is 84.2 kg and my goal will be 80.8 kg, a loss of 3.4. Nearly a kilogram a week is quite a lot to do consistently for four weeks, but do-able I think. I will certainly try! And I will feel good about it at Christmas.

Good luck to everyone trying to lose weight this holiday season.

Friday, November 14, 2014

My cousin's wedding in a heatwave



Yesterday was my cousin's wedding. We left the kids with a friend for a sleepover, taking them over before school so we could drop off overnight suitcases. Then Tim and I set off for the four hour drive. It was a stinking hot day, 37 degrees C (98.6 F). And an hour into the trip there was a weird rattle from the engine, a bit of plastic may have fallen out (or I may have just driven over a bit of plastic on the road, not sure), and the steering became very sluggish. I pulled over and we looked at all the tyres and under the hood but there was nothing for our inexperienced eyes to see. I drove on cautiously and we realised that the air conditioning was no longer working. And Tim connected this to the resistant steering wheel (power steering gone) and that something must have gone wrong with the electrics. Not much we could do on the road in the middle of nowhere.

We continued on, the steering seemed safe enough it just took a lot more strength than usual to turn the wheel, especially at very low speeds like trying to park. Losing the air conditioning, on that particular day, was much more of a problem. The car got hotter and hotter. Opening the window was like opening an oven door, and the fan just blew hot air around. We had drinks, but I felt very dehydrated and horrible.

We got to mum's, dripping sweat and exhausted. There was no option of a different car as mum's had recently been rear-ended and hadn't been fixed yet. A drink and a quick cold shower was the best we could manage before getting into our wedding gear and back into the hot car. Tim had a stressful 45 minute drive through unfamiliar territory but we found the church and made it just before the bridal party.

The ceremony was nice if very short (less than 15 minutes, cut to the bare bones - it was a Catholic church for the groom and I would have expected something much longer) then we stood outside under the shade of trees for as long as we could bear before Tim and I with mum and my brother headed off to a nearby pub to sit in the air conditioning and have about six cold drinks.

Mum was coping amazingly well with the heat, considering. Actually she was getting cold easily and carried a shawl around. She has been really tired again lately. Very worryingly, her whole abdomen has swelled up and is hard and uncomfortable. She looked pregnant. Her GP (family doctor) had no idea what was going on so she is waiting to see her oncologist (she has breast cancer that has spread to her bones) in two weeks to have a new round of tests.

The reception was at a restaurant right in the middle of the city, almost directly under the end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Poor Tim had to drive us through the middle of the city in heavy traffic as people left work for the day. It was nice being right on the water, by that time we were starting to get a little breeze as relief from the horrible heat. My outfit looks hot but actually it was light and floaty with air vents and I don't think I was much hotter than in shorts and a T-shirt.

The reception was nice with good food, funny speeches and a good band. I didn't overeat and I drank a lot of water as well as some juice and a couple of soft drinks. I was chugging down liquids all day but hardly had to go to the bathroom at all, I guess my body wasn't willing to give up any of that precious fluid! No alcohol, it only makes me feel a lot hotter.

Of course my cousin looked lovely. And very slender.

Almost as soon as the formal part of the evening was over and the dancing started, mum said she was tired and the music was too loud and she was ready to go home. So we drove back in the much cooler evening and stayed at mum's house. She tried to check we had everything we needed but after she went to bed I found I didn't have any sheets. I was sleeping in the spare room (where my kids usually sleep) and Tim had the tiny futon that we usually share all to himself. I just draped the quilt thing over one leg and that was fine. I was too tired and hot to care.

Today was much cooler, thank goodness, and we made it back to pick up the kids before lunch. And came home to find our hot water heater had sprung a leak and the laundry floor covered in water. I rang and organised someone to look at the car Monday morning and Tim rang and organised someone to come and fix the hot water tank Monday afternoon and then we both collapsed.

The new expansion for the computer game World of Warcraft just came out on Thursday. We tried to log in then but there was a long queue because so many people are playing, and I went to bed before we got to the front of the line. Tim stayed up and played a little bit but we like to play together, as a team. As soon as we got home today we logged on to get in the queue. That was two and a half hours ago. Tim's computer currently says "Position in queue: 2121. Estimated time: 822 minutes". So I don't know if we'll get on before tomorrow! Oh the estimated time has changed to 316 minutes (it changes a lot), so maybe tonight? It will all settle down in a week or two, usually there is no queue at all, but right now everyone is excited about the new content. We'll get to play eventually. I just glad to be home in the cool.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Diet bet and the perfect diet


I am planning to try a diet bet, starting on Monday. I've read of a few other people doing them and it all seems legit. No idea if it will help me or not but I'll give it a go. What happens is you join a group (or start your own) that is starting on a day that suits you and you pay the ante - generally around $25. If you lose the requisite amount of weight (4% of bodyweight in 4 weeks or 10% in 6 months depending on the group) you get to share the pot. It seems that on average around 40% of people succeed so after the facilitators take their cut you get between 1.5x and 2x your money back. If you don't lose the weight you lose your ante. At my current weight I would have to lose 3.3 kg (7.3 pounds) in the 4 weeks, which I would love to do before Christmas and it seems like it should be do-able. Any extra motivation would be awesome.

I felt quite unwell again yesterday, maybe too much running around the day before, but I rested up and I'm mostly better again today. I did some more clothes shopping today and bought a couple of pretty tops for Christmas. As it is always very hot here on the day, middle of summer, dress is casual. I found something I was very happy with today. I am so glad that I am not hating my body at the moment. Of course I want to lose weight, I wish I was 25 kg lighter right this second, but that is no reason to hate myself as I am. I am still me and can still look quite nice. I picked up my tailored pants (with the legs shortened for me) and I also lightened my hair again, all ready for the wedding. Ready to face the extended family and pretend I don't feel like a hen amongst flamingos.

With worries about my pre-diabetes possibly getting worse - my blood glucose levels have been consistently high for days after even moderate amounts of carbohydrate - I revisited my recommendations for the diabetic diet. It is all so confusing. My diabetes nutritionist told me to eat regular doses of carbohydrate at every meal and snack, in amounts that seemed bewilderingly large to me although some other people in my class still didn't think it was enough, to keep my blood glucose steady. The official guidelines seem to be the same for Australia, US, UK etc. But there is a huge community of diabetics out there on the forums who say it is much better to eat almost no carbohydrate at all. They eat less in a whole day than the dieticians say to eat in a single snack. There is a lot of support for LC/HF (low carb/high fat) diets. These people say that low carb is much better than moderate carbs for keeping blood sugars low. On the nutritionist recommended diet they seem to expect you to gradually get worse and need various medication, that is the normal progression. And the LC/HF people say that of course that is the progression if you keep eating lots of carbs!

I personally don't like eating high fat, it makes me feel sick and greasy. And I am unwilling to approve any diet that greatly restricts fruit and even many vegetables. But I don't think lots of carbs is good either (and I'd never lose any weight, which is very important for diabetic health). Is there a compromise?

I think I have a pretty clear idea now of what I think the "perfect" diet is (for me, at least), and it is summed up by Michael Pollan's "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."

"Eat food" means to eat real food - vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy and meat. Nothing that has a shelf life of several years - if it won't rot, it isn't real food. And mostly plant food is healthiest, lots of fruit and vegetables of as many varieties as you can get.
I don't ban fruit from my "perfect" diet even though it has natural sugars. I don't ban grain even though it has gluten. I don't ban dairy even though it has lots of fat. I don't have sensitivities to any particular foods so that would be an issue for some but not me. But there is very little room in my perfect diet for anything heavily processed. Basically anything that comes in a packet. If it needs a label with nutritional information on it, I probably shouldn't be eating it. And there needs to be portion control even with the best of foods.
So why don't I follow this perfect diet? Because the other junk is so tempting! Still working on it, every day.
I saw a bit of a documentary the other day about meat consumption and they were saying that for environmental sustainability (with the world's population continuing to expand but the land available remaining the same) we should be consuming around 100 grams of meat per person per day. I eat a lot more meat than that. But we are running out of forests to cut down to make more farm land for our cows and sheep so rich people can keep stuffing themselves with meat. It's another thing to take into consideration.