Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sunday weigh-in: 79.5 kg

Sunday, 1 January 2012:

I didn't weigh in last Sunday as it was Christmas Day but I was approximately the same as today. The Sunday two weeks ago I was 78.7 kg; so I'm up 800 grams since then. Not too bad considering we had the Christmas and New Year festivities in between.

I might chat about my non-weight-loss resolutions occasionally, but I will review my weight-loss goals every Sunday with my weigh in.

To review, my goal is to lose half a kilogram (about 1 pound) every week. I will achieve this by exercising five days a week and sticking to a low-calorie plant-focussed diet five days a week. I will track my food every day, even the days I don't stay under the calorie limit. I will also concentrate on drink 6-8 glasses of water (with a squeeze of lemon juice) every day.

Any week, day, or even moment can be a new starting point; but the New Year has a certain glamour to it.

I know this is a bit of a rehash of yesterday's post, but I want to reinforce my goals and plans in my own mind.

At a starting weight of 79.5 kg, it will take me 9 weeks to get down to my first goal of 75 kg. A few days after the end of February. Slow and steady is fine, much better than my previous track record of ... fail. This is the year to win!

Friday, December 30, 2011

What I learned in 2011 and New Year Resolutions


New Year's Eve, 2011. Time to look backwards, then forwards.

What did I learn in 2011? Weight-loss wise, I learned that exercise alone is not enough for me to lose weight -- at least not at the fairly reasonable intensity of an hour five days per week. I gave it a good go for about four and a half months, and lost not a gram nor a centimetre. Of course I'm sure if I exercised three of four or more hours a day there would be a different result; but one hour five days a week seemed to me to be achievable consistently even with work and family to consider. There are health benefits to exercise other than weight loss, but if weight loss is what you are after then exercise is not enough.

Anything else? I love love love to read. I already knew that, obviously, but the knowledge has been reinforced recently. I've had a hectic reading schedule as a judge for a fiction award -- at the moment I need to read a book every two days for the next two months -- some are great but some of the books are atrocious and I certainly don't want to be reading those ones. I look forward to this committment being over. Why? So that I can get back to the long list of books that I want to read that aren't part of the award! I want the time to plunge back into the George R. R. Martin series, to re-read some old favourites, to read a new-found 'Anne of Green Gables' prequel (not by the original author) in the bath. To find new interesting bloggers and read their entire archives. I want to finish this batch of reading so I can do some more reading!

I've learned I'm not such an outsider in my mother's extended family as I have always felt. They are all fit and tanned and athletic and not at all academic. Always lovely to me, but I've never felt really comfortable with them since I was a little kid. There seemed a long period when I just didn't fit in. Whether I am more secure now with my own little nuclear family, or they have all grown out of sulky teens/tweens now (I am one of the eldest of my generation), or some other reason; Christmas was really comfortable this year. I had seen them more often than usual due to several events like my cousin's wedding (I live in a different state) so maybe that helped too. Maybe the change is in me.

I have learned that working from home is hard to juggle. I get easily distracted (I'll just stack the dishwasher/check my blog feed/ pop up to the shops/watch this segment on TV...) and have trouble separating work time from home time. When you are in an office you are away from other things that need doing and also have the "police" of your workmates and boss. At home, if making a cup of tea takes 20 mins there is no-one to care but yourself. And, eventually, your client. So managing that issue will be one of my resolutions.

Which leads neatly into ... 2012 New Year's Resolutions

Since this is a weight-loss blog, I will start with that. There is some acronym I can't remember that says goals need to be measurable and achievable and accountable and a couple of other things. Whatever. I will start 2012 at approximately 79 kg (174 pounds), and I want to get down to 58 kg. That is 21 kg to lose -- but as I've said before I may be happy with 63 or something around there. We'll see when we get closer.

*I'm not going to make a final long-term goal for now. For the moment, I am only looking at the short term. Two months, four kg. By the end of Feb, I will be 75 kg. Earn my first glitzy weight-loss charm at last. When I've done that, I will look at the next bit.

How is this to be achieved?

Firstly, continue/get back to the exercise. An hour of vigorous exercise five days a week. More would be fine. Until the kids go back to school at the beginning of February, this will mainly be using the Kinnect. Dance is good, and some of the games on the Adventures disc are really high cardio. I've been doing well on this front so far, the trick will be not to slack off and get lazy with it. Five days a week! I can go to the gym on the weekend to get some weight training in.

Secondly, sort out something with my diet. Very restrictive diets certainly make me lose weight, but I can't stick to them. I don't want to give up my "treats". But I quite liked the meals I made for myself when detoxing; so my plan is to modify meals to reduce fat and calories. Cutting down on calories will probably mean cutting down on (but not cutting out) carbs. Less, not none. Tonight I made fajitas -- lean meat marinated in spices and lime juice, lots of vegetables, a little bit of oil. But the two tortillas added about 300 calories and plenty of salt. I will, in future, wrap my fillings in lettuce leaves instead. Just as delicious; far fewer calories, no artificial preservatives or added salt or sugar. I'm sure I can make modifications like this to many meals, yet still have some chocolate when I want to. And stay under my calories limit of 1340, five days a week.

Non-weight-loss goals?

*Organise my work time better so I am doing paid work in the hours allocated for it. My time while the kids are at school will include exercise, lunch (and tea breaks), and work. Other things are for outside work hours. Oh, except grocery shopping is much easier without the kids, so I will be doing that in school hours. And things like hair-cuts and waxing ... you see how easy it is to fill the hours with non-paid-work? But not TV or blogging or housework. If I'm going to make a real go of this freelancing business then I need to devote a reasonable number of hours to it. Three billable hours a day.

*In 2012, I am not going to over-commit myself. No work scheduled for school holidays. One week buffer between projects to allow for illness and emergencies and rush-jobs for special clients (I started doing this a few months ago and those buffer weeks fill up quickly!) I am not going to judge any awards in 2012 -- this year's 66 entries meant hundreds of unpaid reading hours. No free proofreading or manuscript critiquing for my writing guild. I need to take a year off all the volunteer stuff to make time for some other things. This doesn't mean no volunteering ever again, but in 2011 it has taken me away from my family and my own writing and paid work so much that it has become a huge burden and I need a break from it. I will continue reviewing the free books I get -- I get to choose which ones -- and slush reading for ASIM magazine as that only means a couple of short stories a week. So I guess I am still doing some unpaid work. But not nearly so much. I remember the good old days when I had time to volunteer at my kids' school; helping out with the home readers and in the library. When I could spend time with my family on the weekend instead of catching up on work. When I could play computer games in the evening without feeling guilty about it because I had so much work to do. In 2012 I am pulling back a bit.

*My own writing. My novel. My word-child. 2012 will be the year to finish the first draft. I have paid work projects booked in until the end of March. I have blocked out the first two weeks of April to do some writing; then it is school holidays. I stress about booking out May to write my novel; it would mean that if I get an enquiry now I would have to put them off until June, five months away! That is a long time for someone with a finished novel to wait for an edit, and I would likely lose their business. So I am undecided about that one. If I get an enquiry soon I might give them May and block out June for myself. I like to have a couple of clients lined up.

I also want to do some incidental writing. Chuck Wendig has some great short story prompts on his blog, they used to be every Friday but I'm not sure if he has kept up with that. It's good practice, and would also be great if I could get some short stories out there.

Well, that is enough non-weight-loss rambling for a weight-loss blog. In 2012 I want to be a better wife, better mother, better friend, better person, re-start learning the guitar, sing more, help Jasmine with learning the violin, get the house and garden in order, have more fun ... but my four measurable goals are:
1) Lose 4 kg in 2 months
2) Work smarter
3) Stop trying to do too much
4) Finish the first draft of my novel

See you in 2012

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What makes me happy


I decided two days of detoxing was enough. And ate quite a few of my Christmas treats -- little fun-size packs of things Santa put in my stocking. Yummy.

I dropped nearly a kg (2 pounds) in the two days I ate so carefully. Strangely, this kind of depressed me. Partly because I know it was really just water weight or whatever they call it which will probably go straight back on as soon as I start eating normally again, but mainly because I feel like that lifestyle is so unsustainable. Is that how thin people have to eat all the time? Do you get used to it?

As far as I can remember, I have lost weight only a couple of times in my life (the rest has been a slow and steady increase). Just before my wedding, nearly ten years ago, my mum paid for me to go on SureSlim; a low calorie, no junk food, very low-carb diet with weekly one-on-one chats with a counsellor. I stuck to it reasonably closely for quite a few weeks, lost 5 kg (11 pounds), and was tired and cranky and miserable the entire time. Tim vowed never to let me go on that kind of diet again.

Then just before I turned 40 I lost about 2.5 kg in two weeks. I got up at 5.45 am every morning in the freezing dark in the middle of winter to go to the gym, doing intensive exercise like BodyStep, and restricted my calories. Then I hurt my shoulder.

These last couple of days I have lost weight by cutting out just about every food I like. Do I want to live like that?

What I really want out of life is to be happy. So what makes me happy? I think that being thinner would make me happier: healthier, more attractive, fit into nice clothes, more energy etc. But chocolate also makes me happy. And twisties. And KFC. I feel good when I eat fatty/salty food. "Occasional treat" is not at all the same as "whenever I want" (not that I eat junk food whenever I want anyway! But clearly I eat enough to keep me at this weight). So I have to give up a lot of happy to gain another kind of happy. Sometimes it feels worth it. Other times, not so much.

Brown rice and vegetables


The healthy eating thing is going pretty well. I am at the end of day two. I did have one little hiccup but mostly I have been eating very healthily: lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, brown rice and quinoa instead of white rice or pasta, small amounts of meat and dairy and olive oil, almonds, vegetable soup -- nothing processed, no salt, no sugar, no refined carbohydrates. I do feel good, both physically and mentally, but I have been craving sugar/carbs/fat and this afternoon I caved in and had a piece of raspberry marshmallow slice left over from Christmas. Definitely not on my "healthy food" list. It did quell the cravings though!
I did consider just giving up and eating more junk, but I resisted that. Back on the wagon. Come on, people, how hard can three days be?

Surprisingly, I haven't been craving salt. I have used things like lemon juice, garlic and chilli powder to flavour meals. I expected to really miss my salt, but the only thing I found I really wanted it on was a corn-on-the-cob. It was totally boring with no butter or salt.

Exercise-wise, Tim's new Kinnect was set up quite late yesterday so I only ended up doing 15 minutes of dance and had not gone to the gym. Today, though, I have both danced and done the Adventures game which is fun and really physical. Tim & I are planning another go of that once we have digested our dinner.

I have been trying to drink more (water with a squeeze of lemon juice) but it makes me need to pee so often! It is ridiculous. Today I have had three glasses of water and two mugs of clear soup, which is not really that much liquid, yet I have been to the bathroom at least every hour. Maybe more often. Usually I only have two or three glasses a day, so maybe my body has a lot of salt to flush out. Most days I am not thirsty at all, but oddly the more I drink the thirstier I get.

I feel that this is a good ending to the year and much better than pigging out then starting again on 1 Jan.

photo by babe_kl

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas and detoxing


We just spent three days revelling in the gastronomic debauchery that is Christmas. Had a lovely time with family and food, but it is time to turn the page.

I have made a committment to only eating healthy food for the next three days. That is; lots of plant-based food and a small amount meat, dairy and (good) fat. Nothing packaged or processed, no salt or sugar. I've felt pretty yuck after all the junk of the past few days so I just feel I need to let my body recover. I feel much better already after an apple for breakfast, garden salad with some pepitas and a little cheese for lunch, and a big fruit salad in the afternoon. It isn't many calories, but I haven't really been hungry for more. Lots of fat reserves to draw on! I have been craving junk a little bit though; I still have treats left. I have put them away where I don't see them. Tonight I will have more vegetables with quinoa and a small steak.

Christmas was on Sunday so I didn't weigh in, on Saturday I was 79.2 kg, this morning I was 79.7 kg.

photo by tuchodi

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The mojo has not left the building


I think I have my mojo back. There is such a huge difference between getting hot and sweaty and exhausted exercising because you are working hard, and getting hot and sweaty and exhausted exercising because you are unwell. I feel back on track, despite all the pre-Christmas food.

On Monday I went to BodyPump, using my old lighter weights. It was hard work, but only because I have lost a bit of fitness and muscle in the past month. Lifting weights made me feel strong and powerful again. Tuesday I had a haircut so missed the 9.30 class, so I just used the treadmill.

Today I did a lap around the lake. It was great weather for it; cool and cloudy like we've had most of the summer so far (really odd for December in Australia). I found being out in the fresh air lovely. Trees and grass and lake and lots of ducks and swans. I took the iPod for the first time and listened to music which really helped me keep the pace up. I didn't have my watch or heart-rate monitor on so I couldn't time myself properly -- it was 1 hour 10 mins from car to car but that included extra distance down to the lake from the carpark and back, and quite a long diversion around some roadworks near one of the bridges. I think it was probably about an hour once I remove those. I am very happy with that, considering.

It is Jasmine's last day of school today; Tim has finished work for the year and Aiden has finished preschool and childcare. Holidays! I have an editing job to do over the holidays and more than 30 books to read over the next two months, so I will still be pretty busy. But Tim is home and can help with the other stuff, like housework and childminding, so we should be able to carve out some fun family time. And Christmas in four days!

photo by Rowan Atkinson

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday weigh-in: 78.7 kg; down 0.6 kg


So; no exercise, lots of party food, finally lose some weight? Oh well, I am hardly complaining.

I did well over an hour of fairly strenuous gardening yesterday, cutting back an out-of-control youngberry bramble. A youngberry is the delicious offspring of a raspberry and a blackberry, but unfortunately it has the growth habits of the latter. Which I didn't know when I planted it in the barren pocket beside the garage. It is the first thing that has ever grown successfully there. Now it has completely filled the space and you can only approach it from one side so I spent some time hacking a tunnel into it so the kids and I could get to the berries.

No exercise today; yet another kids party then we finally finished all the Christmas shopping. I am going to the gym tomorrow. I am definitely fully recovered from my flu or whatever it was. I will start working on rebuilding my fitness. Not looking forward to those lunges!

Oo, I do like being under 79. Onwards and downwards.

photo by leibolmai

Thursday, December 15, 2011

All better, I think


Aiden and I saw the movie "Arthur Christmas" on Wednesday (I had wanted to take him for a bike ride but I was feeling particularly unwell Tuesday night and Wednesday morning so I needed something less active). I spent half of Thursday doing more Christmas shopping (I am finished now, Tim still has a bit more to do this weekend) then we had Jasmine's school concert, this morning was Aiden's preschool concert then I drove Tim to work and ran some other errands ... it's been a busy few days but with no exercise.

On the up side, yesterday and today I have been feeling pretty much all better. I feel myself again, which is great. Both healthier and happier.

I haven't exercised at all for a week, and before that I had only done limited walking for about three weeks. Wow, four weeks of ill health and very little exercise. I bet I have lost all my fitness and whatever muscle strength I had built up. It is just a few weeks out of a lifetime though.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Forward planning


Still not well, still not exercising. Still eating though.

Tomorrow is my very last Wednesday home alone with Aiden who is going to kindergarten five days a week next year. Of course we will have school holidays, starting in a week, but that will include my daughter as well. This will be my last day with just me and my baby. So even if I feel better (I certainly hope I will) I am not going to dump him in creche to exercise. And if that shows a lack of commitment to my health, I just don't care. I want to spend the day with my little boy, although I haven't worked out what we will be doing yet.

Less than two weeks to Christmas, three to the end of the year. Time to think about some goals and new plans.

Short term: to get over whatever germ is holding me back. Rest, fluids, healthy food that will help my body get over this. Not exhausting myself Christmas shopping then eating junk. Start at least walking again, hopefully on Thursday if I am up to it. Maintain my current weight if I can't lose any. Enjoy Christmas with the family. Get out of this funk.

2012: January is school holidays all month. Nevertheless, I will be back to vigorous exercise for at least an hour five days a week. I don't want to get up early but I will go to the gym when I can; like on weekends, if a friend can take the kids for a playdate for an hour, or the occassional creche session when that opens again. Use some of the other-people-minding-the-kids times to get back to jogging around the lake. Use the new Kinnect to dance for an hour (I think that will be more exhausting than a gym session!) -- with the kids! -- and if no-one gets me an exercise game for it for Christmas I will buy one for myself. Get the garden under control -- that won't count as vigorous exercise but it will be extra. Eat healthily, under my calorie limit five days a week. When we go for our week at the beach, be active every day.

In February, when the kids start school, I will continue all this (and will be able to get to the gym more often); but I am also considering joining Weight Watchers because there should finally be a meeting time I can get to. I think the support and accountability will help. And a new way of tracking food is always exciting.

My goal is to lose half a kilo (about a pound; I think 1 kg = 2.2 pounds) per week, 2 kilos a month. Slow and steady, but will get me there eventually. A year to lose the weight. A long time, but I will be a year older by then whether I lose weight or not. I want to be at my goal weight next Christmas. I can do this. Despite all evidence from the past.

The upper limit of my healthy weight range for my height is 58 kg and that would be great; but I remember feeling pretty sexy at 63 kg. Even 69 kg, for my wedding day, wasn't too bad -- although my body was a different shape back then, before children; an hourglass not an apple. It was gradual, but I really started to be miserable with my body at around 75 kg. I'm now 79, down from a high of 83. Although that scale was a bit nasty and I might not have been quite that high. Anyway, my first goal is 75 kg; just 4 kg away. And my medium-term goal is 69 kg by my birthday at the beginning of July. I could probably live happily at 69 kg, although of course I don't plan to stop there. But at the moment my biggest motivation is weight loss, I think from 69 kg down it will be more to do with enjoying being fit and active rather than hating my body.

I have basically lost no weight over the past five months, since I started exercising regularly (this time). First mark on my graph was 79.6 kg on 17 July, today I was 79.1 kg on 13 December. Half a kilo, one pound, and it fluctuates day by day so that half a kilo is meaningless. Depressing. But I was reading again this morning that exercise alone is shown again and again to have no effect on weight loss unless diet is also tackled. People just eat more to compensate. My husband has lost weight, cycling for an hour & a half a day, without "dieting"; but his calories are restricted -- he takes a healthy lunch and two pieces of fruit to work and that is all he has all the long day. Sure he has a big dinner at home but he is not eating freely all day like I do. I need to get the eating under control.

I still struggle every day with the short-term wanting the party in my mouth now, and wanting to lose weight. Weight loss is so slow, so not "right now". And you have to resist the food over and over. I will work on it.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Trauma at the dinner table


Last night, after having people over for BBQ lunch and feeling sick all day but then having a nice nap while Tim took the kids out Christmas shopping, I made roast beef for dinner. Sunday night is always roast night, and although I wasn't really hungry I was looking forward to it. I found the cooking process pretty tiring and I was feeling a bit worn out and grumpy as I got up from the table to get myself a drink after dishing out for everyone. When I got back to my seat, I saw a huge fly take off from my plate. I was pretty sure it had been on my roast beef. Gross, I thought, deciding not to eat that end of the slice.

I sat down and looked at it. At the squirming pile of tiny fly maggots writhing on my roast beef. OMG. With my hand over my mouth, I thrust my plate away and fled from the room, yelling at my husband to get rid of it for me. I sat on my bed and had a hysterical cry. I guess I was already overwrought from the exhausting day, and the shock of revulsion was just too much. Tim came in and I managed to explain what was wrong; he went and looked then came back to say he couldn't see anything. I went out and showed him, they had spread out a bit but still obvious to my horrified eyes. So he threw it out for me and that was dinner over with for me. I did have a couple of pieces of potato later, but I couldn't face the beef even though it was nicely covered in foil the whole time it had been out of the oven.

I know I am very lucky to be able to be so precious about having pristine food. Apparently 75% of Australians are in the top 10% of wealth in the world; and we are certainly in that demographic. I can afford to throw away food that a fly has laid its revolting babies on. And I will.

photo by Gerald Yuvallos

Sunday weigh-in: 79.3 kg; up 0.3 kg

Forgot to mention this in today's post. Don't know why I bothered, really.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas BBQ


The general unwellness has continued. I did Christmas shopping on Thursday, did two half-hour walks on Friday, 2 kids parties and a swimming lesson on Saturday, and today we had a Christmas BBQ here. I felt vaguely unwell through most of those days, but particularly last night and this morning when I felt really bad with stomach pains.

I was lying on my bed this morning in between trying to get the house ready for guests thinking that although I don't like being sick and hope I get better soon, I find "definitely sick" easier to deal with emotionally than "maybe a bit sick". With the latter, I have the negative self-talk of "you aren't sick, just fat and lazy; you should feel very guilty that you are not exercising vigorously." When I am clearly unwell, like with bad stomach pains that make it hard to stand up for long periods, at least I don't have that psychological trauma!

I am worn out from preparing for and then being sparkly hostess during our BBQ; so time for a nap. Tim is taking the kids out Christmas shopping for presents for me so I will get a nice quiet house.

I have been worrying lately about finding time to exercise during the six-week school holidays. For half of that time they don't even have creche available, and when they do it would cost me $10 per session total for the two kids (I get four free per month, only two with both kids) -- that would add up very quickly. The only way I could think of was going really early to be back before Tim goes to work. But we are getting a Kinnect for Christmas and the dance game so maybe I can do that with the kids every day instead.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Where is my exercise mojo?


I went to BodyPump on Monday. Found it pretty hard going, even with the lighter weights. And it sucked. What has happened to my mojo? I used to really like BodyPump, not so very long ago. It made me feel strong and powerful. Now it is hard and depressing.

Tuesday I spent the entire school day Christmas shopping. I only covered one section of the big Civic centre, so I guess I didn't even walk all that far. Was exhausted by the end of the day though. And I forgot to pick up ingredients for dinner so we had pizza, so the next morning (today) I was up to 80 kg, probably water retention from all that salt. We had people over in the evening and I was struggling to follow the conversation, even though I didn't feel sick. It was like my brain was elsewhere.

This morning I felt pretty awful. My husband got up very early to catch a plane and I didn't go back to sleep until it was nearly time for me to get up so I felt yuck when I was re-woken. Then on the way to dropping my daughter at school I suddenly felt really nauseous. My mouth filled with saliva, like it does when you are going to puke. I pulled over and got out of the car for a minute and felt ok again, more or less. I was determined to go to the gym, but I scaled it down from a class to a walk on the treadmill. I walked for 30 mins, slowly. And even that was hard. WTF is going on with my energy levels? They are zero. Am I sick? Am I not yet recovered from the flu? Am I just experiencing general tiredness and need to get on with it?

A contributing factor (look away gentlemen, if you like, from a bit of TMI) might be my period. I skipped my last one to try to change the date of the next so I wouldn't have my period during our upcoming week on the beach. This is quite acceptable practice and there are even instructions in the box of contraceptives on how to do it. I've done it before with no ill effects (that I remember). But this time; about the time my period would have ended, 'breakthrough bleeding' started. I have basically been slowly leaking menstrual fluids for two weeks now. I may be affected by such a long menstrual period. Am I aenemic from blood-loss? Am I affected by hormonal changes? Whatever it is, I hope it is over soon.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The end of a big day

More Sunday:

I didn't have much food at the kids party I attended in the morning, although a little piece of birthday cake ends up having a lot of calories, but my calories for the day were completely blown out by lunch at Kingsley (like KFC). I only had two pieces of (fried) chicken and a few chips, but that was half of my daily allowance of food! For dinner I had a plate piled with roast lamb, one little piece of potato, and nothing else. Not a healthy day. When I tallied up my calories for the day it was over 2100; and worse, 52% of calories were from fat!

Even my days off need to be enjoyed in moderation. I definitely could have made better choices.

No exercise today, by the time we ferried the kids to two birthday parties and did some Christmas shopping and then I made dinner I was too exhausted to even go for a walk. The kids have been pretty hyperactive this evening, I hope there isn't a devestating post-sugar crash before they get to sleep. My little girl is especially prone to peaking then crashing after sugar binges and ending the day in tears.

Another Monday tomorrow -- back to healthy food and exercise. I weighed in at 79 kg this morning, I am determined to get under that and stay under it. End of this hovering around 79 for three months!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sunday weigh-in: 79 kg; down 0.3 kg


Yesterday I walked to the local fruit markets and back (with a backpack full of fruit) then also did 45 mins on the treadmill at the gym -- so about 1 hr 15 mins in total. A couple of short jogs on the treadmill. I also stuck to my calories. I had plenty of my allowance left in the evening so was able to have some chocolate. I broke off a row -- 4 squares -- and sat at my computer. Had 3, and that was enough. I had that one square sitting there looking at me but it didn't make me crave it, or eat it even though I no longer wanted it, it just made me happy because I knew I could eat it if I wanted to. I didn't have the sense of deprivation from the previous day where I wasn't allowed.

Today will have to be one of my "off diet" days. Kids party in the morning, lunch out while we are Christmas shopping, and roast lamb for dinner. I don't think I will be under my calorie limit! And I foolishly started the day with eggs on toast. Nothing wrong with eggs or toast, but it was about twice as many calories of any of my usual breakfasts. Less left for the rest of the day. And I didn't even really enjoy it. I seem to like eggs less and less lately. Maybe they aren't so good without bacon on the side! I get free range so they should taste the nicest. But I guess I've never really been a huge egg fan. My husband likes scrambled eggs when he is feeling sick, but the smell turns my stomach if I am unwell. The last thing I would want to eat. Vegemite on toast is the way to calm an upset stomach. My grandparents, and then uncle, had a poultry farm until 20 years ago; the nicest egg is one you have picked up seconds after you watch the hen lay it and then you cook it straight away.

While on the treadmill yesterday I tried to work out how long my pace is. I'm sure it varies a bit (or a lot), and being on a treadmill is different to being outside, but it is better than my original guesstimate. My stride for a double step (one of each foot) is something like 1.3 metres. 70 paces takes me about 100 metres. Good to know. It means last time I did the lap of the lake, I ran more than 1 km of the 5 km, in 100 metre bursts. Exciting. I didn't know I was running that far. I look forward to getting back into doing laps of the lake. For a while there I was all about BodyPump, now suddenly I want to run! I was definitely one of the sceptics who thought I would never run -- but I already am. A bit.

Friday, December 2, 2011


I rambled on earlier today about craving food and wanting to feel full, amongst other rants, and I feel like adding more.

I ate quite frugally all day and then had a big dinner -- fajitas. All home made and healthy but quite high calorie in the end with two tortillas, meat, & oil in the marinade. Also lots of vegetables and spicy sauce. Good blend of everything and very filling. Probably more food, in fact, than I needed; considering how full I felt afterwards. But as I said earlier, I like that full feeling; so I was happy. I plugged in the ingredients into my calorie counter and it was lucky I had eaten carefully all day because it was a big chunk of calories. It took me up to within 24 calories of my daily allottment after allowing for the exercise I did today. 24 calories left over. Excellent.

Then the thoughts started.

I can't have any more food today.

I am very full, very satisfied.

But I can't have any more food today.

I went and looked at the label on some Lindt dark chocolate. Can I have one square, later, after anticipating it and looking forward to it for a while? No: 36 calories.

I am not hungry. Not at all.

But I can't have any more food today!!!

How do I stop wanting wanting wanting?

How do I stop thinking about food? Stressing that I am not allowed food? I know I can have a baby carrot or some herbal tea if I need to put something in my stomach. But that isn't what I want.

Thursday, December 1, 2011



I went to BodyPump this morning but I really struggled. I tried the heavier weights, dropped back to the lighter weights, still struggled. Still not 100% well, I guess. I was feeling a bit dizzy so I left near the end; I still got about 45 mins plus the 7 mins on the treadmill I did first.

I ate well most of yesterday but had lots of junk food and a couple of drinks at D&D supper. It was planned, I guess. If that makes it ok. Today I have been eating heathfully all day, so that is good. I have worked out that I feel unsatisfied by merely 'not hungry'. I want my stomach to be full. Overfull! That perfect spot between stuffed full and actually feeling nauseated. Not a healthy spot, not a weight-loss spot; but somehow a comforting spot. When I am only 'not hungry' I feel healthy and virtuous; but I don't feel satisfied. The body hunger is satiated, the other hunger is not.

I don't even know what that other hunger is about. How is it satisfied by food when it isn't really that kind of hunger? Is it just that our bodies lag behind cultural evolution -- humans (in first world countries, anyway, of course there are some parts of the world very different to where I live) no longer need to gorge like lions do to get through the lean days; but maybe our bodies haven't worked that out yet. We still crave fatty food although we have clothes and central heating to keep us warm, we still want to feast even though there will no shortage of food tomorrow, our bodies cling on to every molecule of fat just in case we need it. So maybe I don't need to search for some kind of deep psychological or emotional disturbance that causes me to eat more than I should. Maybe it's just normal.

I've been feeling a bit depressed for a while now. Not all the time, but quite often. Nothing like so bad as when I had PND, but I am tired and sad and listless and short-tempered. Struggling to cope. Trying not to snap at the kids. Trying to muster the energy to work, to cook dinner, to chat to my husband. I don't know if it is caused by internal or external factors. I am unhappy with how I look and frustrated by my lack of weight loss despite all my exercise. I hate that my shoulder is still so stiff I am not even close to being able to do up my own bra, which means that after the gym and my shower -- when I have no-one to help me -- I have to wear the front-fastening granny bra I got from a mastectomy clinic because it was the only place I could find a front-fasting bra that wasn't for barely-developed teenagers; and it makes my breasts look flat and saggy and old under my clothes. I can't even wear a crop-top style bra because wriggling into it would be too difficult as I can't get my elbow higher than my shoulder. I can't shop for clothes after having been to the gym because everything looks awful over this bra. I am unhappy that my husband spends all his time at work at the moment and either gets home as the kids are going to bed or else much later; and he is tired and stressed and has high blood pressure and I don't know when this stage of his job will be over. I'm not enjoying anything very much at the moment and now I am even taking food away? Today, I feel like everything sucks.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Back on the treadmill


I went to the gym on Monday and walked very slowly on the treadmill for half an hour. By the end I was sweaty and tired, and I had a bit of an illness relapse that afternoon. So I didn't exercise Tues or Wed -- yesterday was the first day I was feeling myself again. I went to the gym this morning and walked for an hour at a medium pace on the treadmill and it was fine so I think I am back to normal. Yay!

It is the first day of December, the first day of summer here, just over three weeks until Christmas. My weight has been stable for the past three months, which is very frustrating. I hope to lose at least one kilogram by Christmas. No, not hope. Plan. It is a tricky time of year, of course, but I can indulge a bit at parties without binging all month.

I will exercise five days a week again. I can't help having been sick for past couple of weeks, but it is time to get back on track. I will do classes at the gym and work on getting my lap of the lake down to 45 mins. I don't have a goal date for this achievement, I think it might take me a while. I might set a date after doing a few more trials.

I will also diet five days a week. I will track my food every day, and stay under my calorie limit (1340 plus extra for exercise) five days a week. It is the perfect time of year for eating lots of healthy fruit; at this moment in the fruitbowl I have nectarines, apricots, plums and grapes as well as the more mundane bananas and apples. This plan allows me to go over a bit on the evening we have D&D and on one day of the weekend. Like my exercise target, this will get me a bracelet charm after a month. I think this will help me to not give up if I have a bad day -- I still have wriggle room to get back on track.

I don't know why I thought I could trust myself with chips in the house, I bought some yesterday for D&D tonight. Then after my husband called to say he would be home very late from work (he ended up getting home just before midnight, poor darling) I sat in front of the TV and ate half the packet. I suppose I can count it a small victory that I only ate half! A couple of times recently I have kept eating until the packet was empty even though I felt quite sick.

I try not to sink into the mire of hating my body, a part of my self, but it is hard not to. I am very unhappy with how I look. My bulging stomach, in particular, is hard to disguise with clothes and it is what I see first when I look down or in the mirror. The top bulge, just under my breasts, is particularly unsightly; and actually makes it difficult to fit into many clothes that would otherwise be my size. Apparently I am the wrong shape, even for a fat girl. Depressing.

Well and so, it is never too late to do something about it! So I am doing something.

photo by Maxey

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday weigh-in: 79.3 kg


I felt a bit better on Friday but worse again on Saturday. Recovering today. I'm not sure what is wrong with me; I have -- at different times -- had bad headache, sore throat, backache, and nausea; but my main symptoms have been extreme fatigue and muscle soreness. Flu I guess, although I haven't had a runny nose. I went for a 20 min walk this afternoon and found it very tiring, I'll see how I am tomorrow. My sore shoulder has been troubling me at night too, it is always worse when I am sick.

It is troubling to have this many days off exercise (especially without my appetite being much affected!) but life goes on.

I saw the latest Twilight movie last night -- Breaking Dawn pt I. I guess I can no longer complain about my childbirthing experiences!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A bit sick again


Unfortunately I started feeling sick on Tuesday night and have been lounging around feeling wretched since then. I don't expect to go to the gym tomorrow either, although I am much better this evening and should be able to get some work done tomorrow. Oh well, life has its ups and downs. I had a nap yesterday and then still slept for ten hours last night, which was lovely in a way. Uncomfortable dreams, though, the past two nights while I wasn't well.

Once, not so long ago, having three days off exercise would have been a major derailment of my fitness regime. I am confident now, though, that I will get right back into it as soon as I am well enough. I expect to start on Saturday with a long but gentle walk on the treadmill while the kids have their swimming lesson, then I'll go from there.

A blogger I follow has just had skin-reduction surgery, which is gross but fascinating. I don't expect to need it as I only have a total of 25 kg (50 pounds or so) to lose, but people who have had huge weight loss sometimes end up with a lot of loose skin, especially if they are older when they lose the weight. I'm glad I won't have to go through that.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Stupid bastard of a heart rate monitor


We were away all weekend again so no exercise then, but I have calculated that I can still earn my November exercise charm if I exercise 9 days out of the final 10 (including yesterday and today, which I have). I'll just take Sunday off and exercise every other day. The weekend away was filled with party food and junk while travelling but my weight remains stable, 79.0 kg on Saturday and 79.2 kg on Monday -- no official Sunday weigh-in again. It is the last weekend away until Christmas, but we still have various parties coming up in Canberra so more food challanges there.

Yesterday I did BodyPump with my heavier weights and it went well. Today I took on the lake again. We'd had a heat wave at the end of last week but today it is cool and cloudy again despite being only a week until summer; it wasn't actually raining so great weather for a jog. My two goals were to beat last week's PB of 56 minutes and to run/jog 10 times, longer each time than last week. Previously each jog had been about 50 paces long or less -- I call a pace a step on each foot and guesstimate it to be about a metre but I would love to get an accurate measurement of this -- today I went for 70 paces each time. I found this really pushed me and I walked more slowly than I liked in between while I recovered. By number seven -- up the slope of the second bridge, with my shins starting to hurt (they weren't as bad as last Thursday) -- I seriously considered giving up at 50 paces but no! I kept going to 70.

I did my 10, then realised it was going to be a close thing as to whether I made it under 56 mins and beat my previous time. Up until that point I had been fairly sure I wasn't going to make it; but I had about 4 mins left and not far to go. My heart rate was still up but I pushed into a jog again. My body reacted much more than any previous jog; I could feel my face going red and hot, and my heart rate leaped up over 160. I made 70 paces and slowed again. Walked as fast as I could. With about 30 seconds to go I threw myself forward again. 40 paces and I was at the finish line. I stopped the timer in an unseeing haze of fatigue and the display immediately went back to time and date. Had I been just over or just under 56 minutes? I staggered up to the car and got out my notebook to write down my stats, before I had even had a drink.

And pressed the wrong button. It started timing me again. Muttering "no, no!" in horror, I stopped the timer. But too late. The monitor only shows you the last exercise session, which was now about 3 seconds of me standing there panicking.

I don't know my time. Or how many calories I burned. Or what percentage I spent in the cardio zone. Or anything. I wanted to cry.

I know it's silly, but it felt as though that hour of exercise, all that effort, had been wiped away with the loss of the stats. As though it was all wasted. Of course it wasn't. My body still got the exercise.

Whether I was just over or just under 56 mins, I presumably beat my previous PB by half a minute or so -- I didn't write down my exact time down to the second last time but it must have been over 56 mins. So a good effort. Especially since there was some work being done on the path and I had to go round and went the wrong way and had to double back. Another minute or so right there.

Stupid bastard heart rate monitor.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Personal Best


I decided to go for my 1 hour lap of the lake attempt today. I got there quite late after taking my husband to a doctor's appointment (more on that later) but it was a cool and cloudy morning so good conditions for a walk/jog. Do people even talk about jogging anymore? Or is it all running? What I do could possibly be called running, some of the time. Or lurching, when I get really tired. But I think jogging describes it best.

I parked at the library, started my HR monitor, and set off. From the first jog my shins hurt. They had hurt a bit on Tuesday, but much worse today. So as much as possible I jogged on the grass beside the path, which was better (although it did mean getting attacked by one duck daddy protecting his family). Going over the bridges was good too, I like running on the gentle upslope. By about halfway round my time was really good and I had done 10 jogs; all probably less than 50 metres. From there on, though, I started to slow down. I kept lurching into a jog regularly and ended up with 23 jogging "sprints" (or possibly more, I lost track a couple of times and was conservative with my calculations) but in between my walking pace was much slower than in the first half. The clouds cleared and it became quite hot, and I was getting very tired.

Crossing Commonwealth bridge, near the end, I saw lots of police standing along the roadside and realised that half of the road (the half I wanted to drive on to get home) was empty of cars. Obviously it had been cleared for American president Obama -- visiting Australia for a couple of days -- to drive on. Do they do this in America, everywhere he goes? That must get inconvenient. We don't do anything like that for our Prime Minister, but then probably not many people want to kill her. There were helicopters overhead too, and a few people were loitering to watch him drive past but it didn't happen while I was beside the road. I resolved to take another way home.

Nearing my starting/finishing point, I realised that I was getting close to the end of the hour. I jogged a bit more but right at the end I walked. I wanted to run that last bit but my body just wouldn't comply. I made it back and stopped the clock -- 56 mins! Yay! 7 mins less than Tuesday. Quick drink and then headed home, only to get caught in a traffic jam on a different road, we all sat still for about 20 mins while (I assume) Obama was driven through an abandoned city centre. I just read the book I had with me until we could go again. I was pretty hungry though. When I got home I loaded up with rice and tea with lots of sugar.

For comparison:

Tuesday Thursday

63 mins .................... 56 mins

zone 0: 73% ............. zone 0: 36%

zone 1: 21% ............. zone 1: 36%

zone 2: 5% ............... zone 2: 22%

zone 3: 1% ............... zone 3: 4%

zone 4: 0% .............. zone 4: 2%

160 cal ..................... 181 cal

average HR 104 ..... average HR 114

peak HR 172 ........... peak HR 176

I was really sore all afternoon on Tuesday so I am expecting that again today.

Tim's doctor's appointment was about his blood pressure, and he has finally been put on medication for it. Scary that his blood pressure is that bad, but good that he is doing something to address it. It seems to be from work stress, so I am hoping that will be reduced in the new year.

photo by The Happy Rower

Monday, November 14, 2011



I tried to get up early to work today but my 5 year old (I can't believe he's 5!) was already up and he insisted on chatting to me, so we went back to bed for a cuddle instead.

I hadn't been back for a walk around Lake Burley Griffin for a while but I've wanted to, and today it worked out that I could give my husband a lift to work near there so it was a good day for it. I wore my expensive joggers and my expensive moisture-wicking socks (for the first time on a long outdoor walk) and my gym pants with the pocket for my keys and sunglasses and sunscreen and was ready to go.

The other three or four times I'd done the walk had all taken around 1 hour 15 mins. It is approximately 5 km (I think, I plotted the walk on a mapmywalk thing), so I was only walking an average of 4 kmph. Not very fast. Um, I have short legs? My goal (for a Pandora charm) is to get that down to 1 hr. My goal for today was to jog 10 times during the walk; around 50 metres each time. I know that isn't far, but it's what I can do right now. I had never done that much jogging -- I think 2 times or possibly 3 in one session was my record. So 10 was a lot. But I did it! By about 2/3 of the way round, after 7 jogs, I was pretty tired; but I kept going. I noticed I was slumping forward and slowing down and staring at the ground; so I made myself straighten up and walk faster. And I got back to the car after 1 hour 3 mins! Excellent time! After I nail this one, I am going to try for 45 mins.

I guess, after all, I must be quite a bit fitter than last time I did that walk a couple of months ago. It is happening so slowly I often feel like all this exercise isn't achieving much -- but it is. I wasn't sure if I could jog that much, but I could. I managed to jog around half a kilometre in total. Amazing.

After my walk, I got my bag out of the car and sat in the shade to eat my fruit salad. By the time I drove home and got out of the car my legs had stiffened up and now I can hardly walk! Ouch. But at least my feet didn't do that thing where they swell up and get really painful, so maybe the moisture-wicking socks really worked.

... I was feeling quite proud of myself until I just went back over this and looked up distances and worked out how slowly I was going before. My 5kmph average today doesn't seem that great. But it is great, a great improvement. It is an achievment for me, and that is what matters. So what if a couple of skinny women passed me with their prams, stopped in the shade to feed their babies, and then managed to pass me again (at a walk!) about a kilometre later. So what if their walk is a lot faster than my walk plus jog? I can't compare myself to them -- only to the earlier version of me.

Now stop procrastinating and get back to work.

photo by spelio

Cake and yoghurt


Ok, maybe my cake-making skills aren't quite up to the one pictured, but I made a chocolate stegosaurus and a vanilla apatasauras and they weren't too shabby at all. Somehow I forgot to take any photos of the cakes or the party -- a bit annoyed about that -- I will have to rely on my brother-in-law who took photos all day.

I felt sick all Saturday but was ok by evening and fine on Sunday. My baby celebrated his 5th birthday with nine little friends plus his sister. Apart from some organised games, the boys ran around screaming in a mob and the girls sat in Jasmine's room (with the door closed) playing with a iPad. Lots of parents stayed and chatted.

What with one thing and another I had three days in a row without exercise (unless you count hours of house cleaning) so it is going to be hard to catch up to earn my November charm. I went to BodyPump this morning and reduced a couple of weights due to last week's scare but it was fine.

Tim called at around 8.30 tonight, just after I had got the kids to bed, to say he wouldn't be home any time soon, and I immediately turned to the Toblerone. I definitely eat my emotions. Nom nom nom. I'm not mad at him, I know he's not out partying, but I get lonely. Chocolate is my friend. I was careful to get rid of all the leftovers after the party -- sending them home with family or tossing them out -- but I did have some extra Toblerone that I had bought to make the spines for the stegasaurus cake.

Someone or other said "If hunger isn't the problem, food isn't the solution." Very wise. Very deep. And, in the extremely short term, wrong. For that brief moment in time, food is comforting and loving and makes me feel good. Someone else said "You love twisties, but twisties don't love you back." Ah, but they fake it very well.

I forgot to weigh myself Sunday, with all the party preparation and people sleeping on my loungeroom floor and all; Saturday I was 79.7 kg, today I was 79.1 kg. Take your pick.

I started a new editing project today and got up at 6.30 am even though I am not yet at the frantic end of the work timeline. I was awake, as usual, so I thought I might as well get a head start on it. I am still tired in the afternoons but I am not feeling quite as exhausted as I have been, which is great.

My husband eats yoghurt nearly every day. I don't like it much but eat it sometimes because I imagine it is healthy. I find it very sweet though (we have fruit-flavoured ones) -- the ones with artificial sweetner are even worse. So today I tried some natural yoghurt (Jalna greek style). A bit tangy and nasty. I added some raspberries. Better. Not something I would eat for pleasure, but edible. I had some and felt all virtuous. Then plugged it in to my calorie counter and found that it had MORE calories that the stuff with sugar! About 125 calories for half a little tub -- not even counting the raspberries! I could have enjoyed a big chunk of cheese for that cost and still got my dairy. Gipped.

Every Monday I start using the calorie counter again. But when I crash and burn, that afternoon or in a day or so, I give up until the following week. Nothing special about Mondays. I will start again tomorrow.

photo by Jamie Anderson

Friday, November 11, 2011



I was flat-out finishing a project yesterday and didn't get to the gym -- but I did get the month-long project finished in time which was great. I walked to pick up the kids and had hoped to get out for a dusk walk but my husband didn't get home from work until nearly 10 pm so that didn't happen. I can't wait for him to finish doing this job in a couple of months -- he works such long stressful hours and his blood pressure is so high he will probably need to go on medication for it. Its been tough for the whole family -- the kids barely see him.

I ate poorly too; I had been shopping for party food for the weekend and ate some. And got bored and lonely in the evening after I put the kids to bed and ate more. My body was aching a bit, but I attributed it to being hunched over the computer all day with no exercise.

At 2.30 am I woke feeling horribly nauseous. Not just a bit queasy, but "about to throw up" nauseous. The ensuite toilet is next to my side of the bed so I wouldn't have far to go but I didn't end up vomiting, I lay and felt wretched for about an hour then went back to sleep and totally forgot the incident when I woke up feeling normal in the morning.

Then after breakfast today, while trying to clean the house in preparation for the party, the nausea came back and I was hunched over the toilet dry retching. I feel weak and queasy now. And have four houseguests coming in a couple of hours and then 12 little kids (and their parents) coming for a party tomorrow morning. The house is a shambles. Tim is running around trying to get everything done while I slowly do tasks I feel up to -- like washing up, where I don't have to move or bend much. We've been so busy lately that I can't really say this is the worst time to get sick, any time would be inconvenient. And I'm not incapacitated, if I stay feeling like this I can cope. But still.

photo by textlad

Wednesday, November 9, 2011



On Monday I increased some of my weights at BodyPump (I had already increased for other tracks over the past few weeks) and rated how I felt during each track -- all either hard or f*ing hard. But manageable. So that was good.

Tuesday I didn't have the car so couldn't go to Zumba but I had to walk the kids to and from school and childcare which totaled an hour. I was way more exhausted than I should have been from two half-hour walks (half of each at child-speed!), but it was extremely humid. I hate humidity. It isn't usually too bad here in Canberra -- inland and up a (little) mountain -- but we have had both hot weather and storms which is a humid combination. It just seems to sap all my strength.

Wednesday was BodyPump again, I was really struggling. Despite air conditioning, it was hot and humid in the gym. The instructor's microphone wasn't working so she had to shout and it was hard to hear what move was coming up. I did the first couple of tracks at my new weight then dropped back to the old weights. I was even toying with the idea of leaving early even though Pump is my favourite, but pushed on. The tricep track was extra-difficult because I was lying down and couldn't see the instructor. I would be straining to hear, doing the moves and suddenly realize we were supposed to be doing something else so I'd quickly change -- although I didn't feel any pain then I may have jerked my shoulder with a sudden switch.

Anyway, next was biceps. I picked up my very light weight and lifted -- ow. Tried again, carefully -- ow. Not my left shoulder, with the healing rotator cuff tear, but my right. I have ten years of history with my right shoulder, but not this sharp pain. I did about four lifts, then stopped. No way I was going to risk tearing this one -- or making it worse if I already had.

I put away my stuff and had a shower. I was still getting sharp (mild) pain when I moved my arm. I went to reception and asked to report an injury. They seemed a bit surprised and I have no idea if anyone else has ever reported an injury in a gym, but they filled out a form for me and gave me an ice pack. They were very nice about it, and rang down to the creche to say I would be a little late picking up Aiden. I had no intention of sueing the gym, but after having lots of time off work with RSI years ago, and years of hassles with lawyers and Comcare, I just wanted a paper trail if I needed it.

It seems fine now, thank Gods. I think it was a false alarm. But I am not ashamed of being concerned.

Thursday, today, was my baby's 5th birthday. He had presents this morning and french toast with raspberries for breakfast, then went to preschool -- I made a triple batch of cupcakes yesterday for him to take and share. I worked all day (no gym today after yesterday's scare and also project due tomorrow) then walked to pick the kids up, yummy afternoon tea and special dinner of his choice (lasagne). He is having a party on Sunday.

I am about to go for a short walk now, with the kid pick-up that will add up to a decent amount of body movement. I will probably need to get a bit more work done tonight. No time to edit this, so I hope there are no typos.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Weekend away


I was away all weekend so didn't weigh myself today, but yesterday I was 79.2 kg -- up 0.3 kg. Same old same old.

You may remember a few weeks ago my jeans split and I accidentally bought new ones a size too small. Looking back through old blogs, I found that I bought my last pair of jeans almost exactly a year before they split. So I had been wearing the larger size for a whole year but had blanked out that fact. The new jeans are in the drawer, still with tags on, waiting for me to loose weight -- I amateurishly sewed up the split in the old ones and I am still wearing them.

Yesterday I was wearing my black jeans, also in the larger size, and they split. Same place they always do -- the seam that gets eroded by my thighs rubbing together. While I will also try to sew up these ones so they last a little longer; I now have no decent jeans. And I wear jeans nearly every day. I don't wear dresses (except for very formal occasions) as my thighs rub together causing a very painful heat rash; I now have one pair of shorts (long enough to cover the knee fat) and one pair of grey trousers that I wear when meeting clients. That's it. Apart from gym shorts and a couple of formal dresses, that is my entire bottom-half wardrobe.

Now the conundrum is: do I go and buy some new stuff in this unhappy size, or do I keep hoping for some weight-loss soon? At least it is finally warm enough to wear the shorts. I have quite a few clothes that would fit me if I drop a size. I am very resistant to accepting that I will continue being this size for long enough to need new clothes, even though I have been this size for a year. And haven't lost weight in four months of exercise. But adding more clothes for the current body shape would feel like giving in.

We drove to Sydney for the weekend and left the kids with my mum while Tim and I went to his cousin's 30th party. It was a geek party which was fun, Tim & I didn't have to look far to find suitable clothes! He wore his Goodies T-shirt and mine read "I appreciate the Muppets on a much deeper level than you". That part of the weekend was good, but we drove for hours each day and ate a lot. Chinese restaurant Saturday lunch, steak restaurant dinner, party, cafe bacon & eggs Sunday morning, McDonald's lunch on the drive back. I ate almost nothing at the party, but had 2 alcholic drinks which have plenty of calories, and no snacks apart from 3 strawberries and a mango all weekend. I wonder what I will weigh tomorrow.

No exercise yesterday but went for a walk after we got home this afternoon. Or preevning, as Sheldon would call it (pre-evening: after afternoon but before evening).

I spent much of my walk thinking about diet plans. Ok, first a disclaimer: I don't watch much daytime TV, but as I work from home I do have the TV on while I have lunch or a cup of tea. So I see bits of Oprah, The Doctors, Ellen Degeneres etc. But I don't sit around in my PJs watching TV all day. So that out of the way; I saw on Dr Phil that he has been pushing something called the 17 day diet. I don't know all the details, but the idea is that you change the rules of the diet every 17 days so that you don't get bored with it. As I get bored with a diet after about 1 day, I was toying with doing my version of a 1 day (or 3 day) diet. So I would change from low-carb to low-calorie to CSIRO etc. Always, of course, aiming to consume less calories than I expended. But the idea seemed kind of silly when I actually tried to plan it out. I am just searching for some way to help me to stick to a healthy eating plan.

I was chatting to a friend about dieting and all that, and she commented that I seem to be an "all or nothing" kind of person, and that maybe I should try little steps as being more sustainable. Yes, yes, but I want to be thin now! Yesterday! Tiny changes with tiny results don't seem motivational. But ... I have changed from cordial to water with a slice of lemon without any problems. A little change, but healthy and easy. No noticable results, of course. But maybe I can keep adding other little things like that instead of going all-out for a couple of days then lapsing.

I am going to focus on two things; drinking enough water, and eating my fruit and vegetables. These are both things I need to work on, they are positive goals (things to do, not things not to do), measurable, achievable. And filling myself with things my body actually needs might just help me stay away from the other stuff.

On the exercise front, I need to up the intensity a bit. I am increasing weights for BodyPump this week, but I am still not getting much intense cardio -- mainly walking and a bit of Zumba. I've been too busy on the weekends to get to my Step classes, and that is going to continue for a while, so I need to find some other way.

I just had a look at my gym timetable and saw that there is an RPM (spin) class on Thursday morning, when I currently don't have a class. Oooo. I shrink away from spin. Leaning forward on the handlebars puts too much weight on my shoulder (the instructor last time said that this is preventable if I just activate my core ie my non-existant abs) and it is ... just ... well ... hard work. Spin is hard.

Ok. This week, I go to spin. Urgle.

photo by pillowhead designs

Tuesday, November 1, 2011



I went to BodyPump on Monday morning as usual. It was Hallowe'en but we don't really celebrate it in Australia despite mounting pressure from the shops with all their spooky decorations. I happened to be shopping with the kids after school and it was a dieter's nightmare with lollies and chips and chocolates all extra cheap. I bought a little more than I strictly needed for upcoming events. And one bag of wrapped sweets just in case anyone came by trick or treating but of course no one did.

Tuesday was supposed to be Zumba but I was just too tired so decided on a walk instead. It was a beautiful morning and I would have walked outside but wasn't equiped for it (no sunscreen, wrong shoes, no pocket in gym pants for keys) so walked on the treadmill at the gym. At least I had my headphones with me for once so was able to plug into the TV. I walked briskly on an incline and did feel like I got my quota of exercise in. I went home and tried to work, but ended up napping on the lounge for part of the afternoon. I am getting a bit stressed about how much work I have still to do before Christmas.

This morning was BodyPump again. While definitely not easy, the weight I have been lifting has become very managable, so time to move up a bit. I will increase warm-up weight from light to medium and back-track weight from medium to heavy (for me) next week; but for today I added light weights to the bar for the chest track where I previously had a naked bar. I had two short rests but it went ok and didn't hurt my shoulder -- I could feel the strain a bit but it was ok. Then on the shoulder track -- where I had already been using the bar with light weights and doing wall push-ups -- I added my own very light hand weights from home to those sections where we use hand weights and I previously lifted empty hands. Shoulder is coping well with the increase.

The lunge track is near the end of the routine, and it was more than half way through the track, so I was getting fatigued. I was doing well though. The instructor helped the form of the new person next to me then looked at me and said "perfect". After a moment tears welled up and I spent the rest of the track feeling very emotional and trying not to cry. I am feeling a bit teary now. It was just so weird and awesome to get that praise, particularly in lunging which I have only been able to do all the way through for about a week now. I was overwhelmed. I don't know whether the instructor had noticed my previous struggles and improvement, or was just commenting on my general form; but I was doing it right. Go me.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday weigh-in: 78.9 kg; down 0.1 kg


I was absolutely exhausted on Friday night and could barely keep my eyes open for the finale of Britain's Next Top Model. On Saturday morning I slept in until 10 am, but still felt very tired all day. I slept so heavily on Saturday night that I didn't hear or wake when my daughter was feeling sick and called out, and my husband got up to get her a bucket just in case (she didn't throw up, and was fine in the morning). I missed it all. But this morning I woke much refreshed and I think I have caught up on some sleep.

We went out in the morning and bought my Pandora bracelet and my first charm: it has a lovely little rose motif. On the drive to the shops I felt undeserving, that I hadn't done enough to earn it. I never feel like I have done enough. But now that I have it on my wrist I feel quite proud of myself and I love the charm.

Aiden's best friend Finn had his 5th birthday party today. It went from 11 to 1 so I was expecting some kind of lunch to be served; and we had been at the shops all morning (we also bought Jasmine some clothes) so we hadn't eaten since breakfast -- I was hungry. But there wasn't any lunchy-type things at the party other than one plate of sausage rolls and one of sandwiches -- it was all the kind of things I would serve at an afternoon tea-time party -- so not the best environment for a hungry dieter. I had chips and cake and lollies and cheese as well as fruit and a sandwich quarter. Then 2 minute noodles when we got home.

On the up side, Tim said he was going for a walk so I went with him; leaving the kids at the party. Half an hour of exercise and a nice chat with my husband away from the food. We were discussing whether to move house or renovate. It was the only exercise I got this weekend, so it was good to get out in the sunshine and fresh air and move my body for a little while.

My weight is much the same this week.

photo from the Pandora website

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The rewards of virtue: bling!


Big news first -- I just completed my 'exercise five days a week for a month' challenge! I have officially earned my first Pandora charm (and of course I will have to buy the chain to put it on). There are still three days to go in October, but I am calling four consecutive weeks a month. I don't really have time to go shopping today -- so tomorrow morning it is. Then start working towards my next one.

I was still feeling all PMSy this morning and it felt like everything was wrong. I got up early to work but the kids got up too (as they have started doing) even though I was as quiet as I could be. I don't need silence to work, but it helps; and if I am going to try to work with the kids playing nearby I might as well just extend my work day into the afternoon after picking them up from school rather than dragging myself out of bed early! One benefit of everyone getting up has been that we've been getting to school on time every day for the first time ever; but getting up an hour early is not worth that. Especially since I don't actually get a whole hour of work done.

Other silly things this morning included not being able to find a shirt in the four baskets of clean clothes that need to be put away, and realised just as we were about to leave the house that I hadn't made the kids lunches yet. So it was a bad start to the day.

When I got home from the kid drop-off I took a while to get to work, but finally got some editing done and then forced myself out for a walk. I drove to the nearby lake (not the one I have mentioned before with all the public buildings, this is a local one mostly surrounded by a thin strip of bushland and parks) and walked for half an hour. When you add walking the kids to and from school (so actually, since I haven't picked them up yet, I haven't finished my exercise for the day) this takes me up to more than an hour walking.

I have complained a bit lately that exercise doesn't make me feel good, but that isn't true of walking. I have very tense muscles with RSI problems, and a brisk walk loosens me up and makes me feel both relaxed and invigorated. So I guess there is an exercise that makes me feel good (still no endorphins, but nice all the same). After the walk, feeling much better and less crampy, I worked out that I have earned my bracelet and felt even better.

I am still not in control of my eating or my weight, but I AM in control of my exercise.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Early mornings


Time to catch up on the past few days. Tuesday morning was so cloudy and gloomy that I didn't realise that it was morning, and didn't get up early even though I was awake. Got to the gym well before Zumba so decided to use the treadmill and elliptical machine instead, and was able to get home and started work earlier than usual; and I also worked a bit in the evening. I have so much to do for the next couple of months that I am a bit stressed about it, but just need to keep chipping away. Food intake was reasonably good, but had a bit of an afternoon tea blow-out that included biscuits, cheese and chocolate as well as the two peaches I had originally planned for.

Wednesday is my day with Aiden. I got up early and did some work, then went to BodyPump, the library, haircut for Aiden, bought a present for his best friend's birthday, and grocery shopping. He had a bit of a runny nose and was a cranky and teary in the afternoon so we spend an hour cuddled together on the lounge watching a cooking show and I dozed off.

I found BodyPump a little bit easier than in the past, just like Monday. Again, I was able to do all the lunges -- so it wasn't a fluke! Yay! I actually did some power lunges ON THE STEP! And I do a lot of the shoulder work now (modified a bit and generally without any weight, but still) and I stay for the abs track and do isometrics -- basically just clenching muscles rather than actually doing crunches. I am not quite ready to lift heavier weights, but will experiment with that soon. I have some sore muscles now -- but only when I poke them.

Usually everyone starts BodyPump surrounded by different weights plus their Step and mat and training towel ... and gradually sheds things as they go. For instance I use a 5 kg weight for my squats, holding it on my chest because I can't get a bar up onto my shoulders; I put it away straight after that track as I don't use it for anything else. Everyone knows the routine of what you need when; and there is usually time to put something back on the rack between tracks while other people are changing weights on their bar or whatever -- not like my BodyStep class with the water Nazi not letting you leave your place. Generally most people put their Step back after the tricep track because you don't need it again. But after half the class had put theirs away (I had put back the bricks under mine but not the actual Step yet) the teacher said we needed it for the lunge track. I did the power lunges from my low Step -- you start on it then step back and down into your lunge. Then I put it away, along with most of those who hadn't already got rid of theirs. Rather belatedly, the intructor then told us that we needed the Step for our shoulder track to do push-ups on. A room full of people retrieving their Steps. I didn't bother, I do wall push-ups anyway. Finish that track. Put the Steps away (for the third time, for some people). THEN the instructor mentions we need the Steps to help with our sideways crunches in the abs track! Arg! Sense of timing, woman! Maybe she thought it was funny. I didn't get my Step back, I don't do crunches, but I don't think anyone else bothered to get theirs back either. The only people still using one were those who don't put their equipment away until the end anyway.

Last night we had D&D with the usual supper of junk food. Look away, nothing to see here.

This morning I got up nice and early, fired up the computer, did 15 mins of work, and went back to bed. It is "that time of the month" and I feel tired and bloated and yuck. I feel rather doubtful that I will get to the lunchtime BodyStep class, but I did make myself walk the kids to school which was a small win.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Change of plan


After complaining last night about having to get up so early for my new plan of going to the gym before everyone else got up, Tim came up with a novel suggestion. If I got up an hour early (instead of nearly two hours early for the gym) I could do some work then, and then go to the gym at my usual time of 9.30 after getting the kids squared away. The primary benefit would of course be that I don't have to get up so early, with a knock-on effect of not having to go to bed so early, but with a secondary benefit of having a break in my working day -- important for my RSI. The only down side is that there is more intense cardio at 6.15 than at 9.30.

After a very disrupted night (my shoulder was very sore after all the driving and sleeping on a narrow futon on the weekend, and also Aiden woke 2 or 3 times), I was lying awake anyway so it wasn't too hard to get out of bed early. I only ended up getting half an hour work done but I will get up a little earlier tomorrow; and it worked out well.

BodyPump was kind of weird today, not from any change on the gym's side. I was zoned out for most of it, I guess from tiredness. When lying down doing the bench presses I felt practically asleep, despite the fact I was still lifting the bar up and down as per shouted instructions. My brain was tired, but it seems my body wasn't -- it had been a week since my last Pump class and squats had been getting really hard but today they were almost easy. I have noticed before that I do better after a short break. But the biggest astonishment was when I realised that I had got through the entire lunge track without a break! This is the first time ever. Even if it was an easier track today or something, usually I have lots of breaks -- maybe up to eight rest stops in that one track. Today I was bobbing up and down like a robot, in some pain but no more than when exercising other muscles, and then the track was over! Maybe shutting the brain off actually helps. I think my technique is getting better too.

I planned today's food last night and stuck to it and I feel good about that. It helps that we bought a tray each of mangos and nectarines from a roadside stall on the way home yesterday, so I had snacks that were tasty and nutritious. I am feeling more hopeful and better about myself today. I need to learn not to pin all my self-worth on how my diet/exercise is going, but I will enjoy it while it lasts.

photo by Tatters:)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Weekend of fat and salt


I had a fairly debauched weekend -- food-wise at least. We drove to Sydney yesterday for a friends 40th party. On the way I had chips for afternoon tea. Then at the party I had a couple of glasses of wine and some snacks but tried to focus on catching up with old Uni friends rather than the array of food. I nibbled on the fruit platter quite a bit, which was pleasingly heathly yet delicious. I did have various other less-healthy tidbits too.

Sunday was worse. Bacon at my mum's for breakfast, a biscuit for morning tea, McDonalds on the road on the way home. Then when I got the leg of lamb out to roast it for dinner, it looked ... green. Not all over, but any green on your lamb is a bit off-putting. I called in my husband to have a look and then we both scanned the internet, which gave conflicting advice. The meat didn't smell bad, and it was within its use-by date, but I have had bad experiences with lamb before. In the end it wasn't worth the risk and we threw it out and ordered pizza.

Tomorrow is (yet another) fresh start. Yay for tomorrows! I am going to get up early to go to the gym, and try that for a week. That means an early night tonight.

I expect a weight gain overnight as my body retains water to deal with all the salt I ate today, so I will try not to freak about the scales in the morning.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Early weigh-in: 79 kg; down 0.8 kg


Somehow my exercise schedule had morphed into a endless run of BodyPump with hardly any cardio. I need to redress that. I went to Zumba yesterday instead of swapping it for BodyPump as I had been doing lately and I quite enjoyed it; especially as the instructor asked the class if we had any favourite tracks so I got to ask for my Bollywood one. Dancing that one is fun, not just exercise/work and I wish they were all like that! I only have one other favourite (an Irish sort of themed one). I am there to get fit, but it helps if I enjoy it.

I won't have the chance to get to the gym this weekend so I went for a walk this morning. I may not be anywhere near any weight-loss goals but I am determined to get my first charm for a whole month of exercising 5 times a week! Only a week to go on that one. I did some window shopping both in person and on line and have decided Pandora is definitely the way to go.

I am staying at my mum's house tonight so I weighed myself a day early, back down to 79 kg. Better than up.

I am really struggling to get my work done while going to the gym nearly every day. I only have school hours four days a week, so an hour at the gym plus showering and travel time really takes a big chunk of my day. If I add anything else, like shopping or getting a hair cut, I barely get any work done at all. So I am seriously considering doing the early morning classes -- 6.15 am. Urg. That means getting up at 5.45. On the positive side; I've been waking nearly that early anyway (and just wasting time tossing and turning), it will probably be light and not too cold now we are well into spring, and it will get exercise out of the way very first thing. I will go back to having four whole days (school hours) to get some work done. Oh, but I hate getting up early!

It would mean two Pump Classes, two Step, and one Attack. Plenty of cardio there. I might need a rest on the weekends.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

In which wonder who is stealing all my endorphins


I haven't been posting every day because nothing has been different or noteworthy. I go to the gym most days, I start out each day trying to eat well but end up stuffing myself with chocolate and half a block of cheese, and I feel a failure. Nothing new there.

I did seven days of exercise in a row this time but my knees have been hurting a bit (one of the reasons I didn't cycle much on Sunday) so the last two of those days were just walking. And today was a day off. I spent the morning looking for a dress to wear to all the events coming up and eventually managed to find one I don't hate myself in so that was a win. I don't look anything like how I want to look, though. The struggle is to find clothes I don't look terrible in; not to find clothes I look great in. That just isn't going to happen. I looked about eight months pregnant in one dress that had looked lovely on the rack.

I also got my fringe cut today (bangs in the US), which I only mention because of something that happened in the salon. I was walking past a brand new salon which had only opened yesterday and they were handing out discount vouchers outside -- I really needed to get my fringe trimmed so decided to go in. I was the only person in there so had two staff ask me if I wanted tea or coffee and then a woman massaged my hands the whole time the other woman was cutting my hair. Nice. Anyway, the hair-cutting lady went off and brought back a spray bottle to wet down my fringe and the hand-massage lady stopped her from spraying me, saying that that bottle held cleaning fluid! Glad that didn't go in my eyes. I think the staff need to get up to speed about what product is kept in what bottle. I don't think I will be going back.

Both children noticed the "haircut" when I picked them up from school, even though it is only a change from pinning my long fringe back for the past month or so. Husband didn't. Oh well.

I am sick of being tired all the time. I think I have been constantly tired for nearly nine years now. It made sense through pregnancy, breastfeeding, and young children waking through the night; but why now? I talked to my doctor about it a year or so ago and had some blood work done but it only showed low vitamin D (for which I took supplements) and high cholesterol. I thought regular exercise might help but it hasn't. I eat plenty of red meat so shouldn't be iron deficiency (and that should have shown up on the blood work anyway). Today I had a nap on the lounge in the afternoon, I just couldn't concentrate on work.

Of course it could still just be that I am not getting enough sleep. Last night, for instance, we both went to bed reasonably early (10.20 pm) -- Tim usually goes to bed much later than that but he was very tired as he has been working long hours. Anyhoo, I woke at some point after an unpleasant dream. I tried think nice thoughts and go back to sleep, but the same dream kept starting back up. It wasn't anything about real life either, I suppose it was an anxiety dream but I have no idea why. I worked on rescripting it for a happy ending but tossed and turned over it for a long time and kept waking. And then Aiden woke us around 6.30. If I had slept for the eight hours I was in bed, presumably that would be enough. But I wasn't. I have never been a good sleeper, but as a child I just remember a lot of trouble getting to sleep -- not the frequent waking I am experiencing now.

Sleep, or lack thereof, has been shown to have a significant effect on weight. It comes third on the list, after diet and exercise. It think it has its own effect on the body, but it also affects behaviour. I know that when I am tired I can't exercise at optimum intensity, maybe resist exercising at all, and I also turn to food in a search for energy to keep myself awake. (Other things in the top ten list include medication and living in a temperature-controlled environment -- we no longer need to burn calories to heat or cool our bodies.)

So what do I do? I already exercise regularly. I go to bed at much the same time every night. I don't read or watch TV in bed -- sleep and sex only. I don't drink caffine after mid-afternoon (and only tea, I don't drink coffee or cola). I try to have the room at a comfortable temperature -- not too hot. What else is there?

I am not blaming my obesity on my poor sleeping skills. I am just saying it doesn't help.

On to the next bit of my tired rant. Yesterday I was talking to my friend Caroline who was raving about the endorphin rush she gets from exercise. A lot of people seem to get that. My husband does. I don't. Caroline questioned if I exercise at a high enough intensity to get the endorphin release. A fair question in regard to some of my work-outs, I don't always go all-out. But sometimes I do. Particularly on the weekend, when I do group classes that leave me feeling weak and limp. I feel like I give everything. But no endorphin. Just exhaustion. And sometimes depression. People say "I feel so good after exercise!" I don't. Just tired. Maybe it comes eventually. Maybe 14 or 15 weeks isn't enough yet. Maybe I am a sad freak of nature. Maybe my continuing poor eating habits are sabotaging my body's ability to sleep well and feel good from exercise.

But come on, my diet isn't that bad! I'm talking about butter on my corn and a few squares of chocolate every day and fast food maybe once a fortnight. I don't have McDonalds three times a day or anything like that. I eat fruit and vegetables and dairy and protein and even a few wholegrains. Just a few too many indulgences as well.

I'd better go to bed before this rant gets any longer, or I will even start to bore myself. Onwards to tomorrow and a better frame of mind.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The bike ride

Sunday afternoon:

We went out to a nearby bike track. It took a long time in preparation; Tim had to take the front wheels off my bike and Jasmine's so that we could fit the three bikes in the car and boot (no chance of fitting Tim's as well), and the kids ended up squished in with the frame of my bike. We need a bike rack. Then they all got put back together at the track. Pushing my bike through the car park, it felt wrong -- like the brakes were a bit on. Tim had the first ride and agreed and fiddled with it for a while but couldn't fix it. It was ridable, but hard work.

The bike park has a few different areas including a little kids area and long hilly tracks and BMX stuff; but we stick to the sealed loop. It's kind of like a skinny oval (1.2 km around) with a wider bit at one end so that you're not doing a hairpin turn, and a much wider interestingly wavy loop at the other end. When I went up to the sign to see how long the track was, I could see from the map that from the air the track is actually in the shape of a penis and testicles. Long shaft, bulbous head, two testicles. Who designs these things?

Anyway, while Tim was running along beside each child in turn as they practised with no training wheels, I set off. Riding a bike is still very scary for me. It's hard to remember the confidence I had as a child. I did one lap with a stop in the middle -- going quite slowly and even braking on the gentle down slopes. I had a rest and admired the kids' improvement then timed myself on a full lap. 9 minutes to do 1.2 km; that is only 8 km per hour. Kind of amazing that I wasn't going so slow I tipped over -- that is how Jasmine still rides. Oh well, I can only improve.

Not much riding for all that hassle getting the bikes there, maybe we will stick with the bike tracks near home for a while. But it is a nice spot.

photo by billhd