Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rest Day


I am so glad for a day off exercise today. I was pretty exhausted after Saturday's efforts and completely wiped after Sunday's class. I am definitely not yet ready for six days a week -- let alone seven! I don't know if I will ever be ready for seven. I still have two more weeks of "warm up" before I go really hard, and I am on schedule. Eight gym sessions in 15 days is pretty damn good, and they are getting more intense.

I did better with the food yesterday, I did eat a little after dinner but only before 8 pm. Today I had lazy nachos for lunch (corn chips with salsa and lots of cheese -- no meat) which wasn't so healthy.

We went for a drive yesterday afternoon, looking for snow. There wasn't any near us (Corin Forest is only 45 mins away, they had snow there 2 weeks ago but not yesterday) but we walked around a bit, up and down a steep hill. My legs actually felt better for the stretching, they were worse when I sat still for a long time.

I had a headache all yesterday from when I got home from the gym, and still had it this morning but it seems to have gone now. It felt like a sinus headache -- my husband has the sniffles and I hope I don't catch a cold from him.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Two week mark


I was worried that I might have gained weight this week with all the extra eating I am doing, but I am at 79.4 kg. (previous weekly 79.6 then 80.0) I am very happy to be still under 80. With all the exercise I am doing, I am sure I will lose weight if I just cut down on the extra food a bit. New rule: no eating after dinner. Last night --even though I wasn't at all hungry -- I had some cashews, a glass of milk, a big piece of cheese, and a square of Lindt chocolate. My stomach was bloated and uncomfortble for the rest of the evening and still felt full this morning. I think I was eating because I was so exhausted -- searching for energy.

I did the 50/50 class this morning -- half aerobic half step. I became tired much quicker than yesterday, still feeling the effects of the last class. My leg muscles were fatigued and it was quite hard to get them to move at times. But I pushed through.

My stats were: 57 mins; 2% in zone 0 (this class has no slow sections, and only a very short stretch at the end); 34% in zone 1; 63% in zone 2; 1% in zone 3. Excellent work, me! 247 calories (best yet!). Average HR 127, peak HR 147. I love having these figures to look at.

I am proud of having worked so hard two days in a row, but I am very glad I don't have to do it again tomorrow!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Working to exhaustion


I went to the gym after lunch and worked maybe the hardest I ever have in a gym class - certainly in the top five. It was Step, which is always high intensity. In the last couple of aerobic tracks I was so exhausted I was nearly in tears and slowed right down, but then thought: bugger it, I can do this, and just pushed myself harder. After that we lay on mats to do some ab work and I could barely move, the ceiling was spinning. I didn't do much of that track, some of the leg moves but mostly just lay there, and when I noticed my heart rate had dropped under 100 I turned it off. I got up for the stretch track.

My stats were: 50 mins recorded; 8% in zone 0, 18% in zone 1, 63% in zone 2, and 11% in zone 3. How amazing is that! So much higher than anything else so far. 63% in zone 2!! And 11% up in zone 3! I am so proud of that.

217 calories, average HR 128, peak HR 152. Pretty awesome.

All this, mind you, was on a step with no extra risers and never doing full-on jumping - always taking the "easier" option. I am not starting from a point of fitness. I think I worked as hard as anyone in the room. Harder.

I am still feeling exhausted. Tim has taken the kids out for a while and I need to get some work done, but I really want to just lie down and sleep. I am kind of dreading doing it again tomorrow morning. But I know I can.

Slow Friday


Worked today. Finished one project. No exercise other than walking kids to and from school (I often take the car, so I suppose this was good). Ate fairly poorly. Freezing day with frost on the ground. Very tired. Glad it's the weekend, even though I will still have to work.

I plan to go to two gym classes on the weekend.

I found out a couple of days ago that I will be judging the Aurealis (Australian fiction) Awards again this year - fantasy novel category. Last year there were 53 entries in this section, so that means reading about 2 books a week from now on. Free books! But lots and lots of reading.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Good and bad


Tonight is the usual D&D evening and I bought a bag of potato chips to contribute. But I ate them. After working for an hour this morning, I ate half the bag. And two chocolate biscuits. Later, after going to the gym and doing a Step class, I ate some chicken for lunch, then the other half. And some chocolate. There are now about ten chips sitting sadly at the bottom of the bag.

I have to stop telling myself that I can't resist chips. Or chocolate. I can, and I will.

I couldn't weigh myself today because I didn't have time before the class. My stats were: 49 mins (I didn't stay for the stretches, I was feeling all tired and yuck - no wonder after all that junk); 13% in zone 0, 70% in zone 1; 17% in zone 2. I am happy with those percentages. 166 calories. Average HR 117, peak HR 131. Would be good - except in balance with the hundreds of extra empty calories I have already eaten today, before the actual supper tonight.

In A Game of Thrones (or the second book, I think), a pirate becomes a hero. They cut all the fingers off one of his hands and make him a knight. They don't weigh the bad against the good and come up with some kind of average - the bad and good are separate things to be dealt with on their own merits.

I woke up today feeling very tired and sluggish and my diet certainly hasn't improved things. I feel yuck and headachy. Need a nap.

I need to concentrate on the good. I went to the gym today, the sixth time in a week and a half. I am on schedule with my exercise. I am in control of my own life, my own actions, and what I put in my mouth. I can do this.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011



Whether exercising is making me hungry, or the cold is, or I am having my usual panic about dieting; I am eating a lot more than usual at the moment. Sometimes I am hungry, but other times I am just eating anyway. I need to get that under control. I wouldn't be surprised if I gain weight this week, the way I am going. Not surprised, but unhappy.

Monday, July 25, 2011



I did a zumba class this morning. It was fun and quite sweaty. It makes me feel quite sexy, too, as long as I am not looking into the mirror.

My stats were 1 hour 3 mins, 41% in zone 0, 42% in zone 1, 17% in zone 2. 172 calories. Average heart rate 111, peak HR 141. I must have been very close to zone 3 at times.

I am not really happy with how long I was in zone 0. The start of the warm up would have contributed, and pauses between some tracks were quite long; but the main cause would have been the last few tracks. We did 2 slow toning tracks with weights (I didn't actually use weights due to my shoulder) and then the cool-down track. I am excited about being in zone 2 for 10 minutes.

Zumba is billed as a dance class, not an exercise class. I really enjoyed it, which is important. I will be doing a variety of classes, and get my peak energy expenditure from Step classes.

The class was in the upstairs gym and I couldn't find scales there so I didn't get to weigh myself today.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Back to work


I had a lovely orange and a kiwi fruit for breakfast, dropped off the kids at school/childcare, and flew through some editing work. The brain juices were flowing, no-one was interrupting me, the work was getting done.

Then I had some left-over beef bourguignon with mashed potato. It was yummy. But afterwards I found it much harder to think. A lighter meal at lunchtime seems to be indicated.

I had to do a little shopping with the kids after school and we bought twisties for afternoon tea. And now I feel very tired and lurgy.

This isn't really new information: the wrong food makes you sluggish. I knew that. I just don't act as if I know that.

Saturday, July 23, 2011



I'd had thoughts of going for a walk in the morning but it was 0 degrees C (freezing) and foggy so I didn't.

We went to a three-year-old's birthday party at lunchtime, it was a BBQ in a park. By then it was 2 degrees C (nearly freezing) with a light drizzle of rain. Lovely. I had one sausage sandwich, a few chips, a tiny muffin, one lolly snake. Quite restrained, really. Stood around in the cold and chatted to other parents standing around in the cold, all of us trying to cheer our freezing children. There was play equipment, but little playing was done. We were one of the first families to arrive, and the first to leave.

A repeat client asked me to do a couple of hours work for them this afternoon, and despite being very busy already (and it being Sunday) I said yes. It will be easy work compared to the other manuscripts I am toiling over, and it is good to keep repeat customers happy. So that will be my afternoon. Then roast beef tonight. Mmmm, hot and tasty. Still waiting for my toes to thaw.



I wasn't sure if I was well enough to exercise today, I decided not to go to the Saturday Step class and delayed a morning walk to see if I felt any better later. I felt much the same in the afternoon - ok but not great - but was determined to go for a walk anyway. But then my husband decided to take the kids to the pool, which is the same building as my gym, so I ended up going there after all.

I nearly brained a personal trainer who was inexplicably crouched behind the door to the room with the scales in it, then weighed myself at 80.0 kg. Blah. Too much binge!

I got on the treadmill but it was really hard going. I struggled to get my heart rate up, and my legs started to ache. I gave up after 15 mins and switched to the bike, where at least I got to sit down. I battled on for 22 mins on the bike before my stomach was feeling so bad I stopped. I had no energy. Obviously wasn't ready to go back to exercise yet. I am still proud of myself for trying. One of my problems in the past has been to take the easy 'no' if I'm not sure I'm ready. But this time I gave it a go.

My stats were: 39 mins (that includes switching machines); 79% in zone 0; 21% in zone 1; 91 calories; average HR 101; peak HR 114.

I will just go for a walk tomorrow, devote myself to work on Monday, and do my first gym group class on Tuesday.

I started tracking calories today. allows me 1340, plus more for exercise (although it grants me a lot more calories burned than my monitor does, I need to take that into account. Today my monitor says I burned 91 cal, CalorieKing says 228 for the same time and distance! Way more than double!). I will try to keep within that.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Binge and consequences

As usual, we had people over for supper on Thursday (last night) - we play Dungeons & Dragons. It is my binge night, unfortunately I always seem to give myself permission to stuff myself with junk.

I had spent the afternoon baking with the kids. I had bought some raspberries so we made banana raspberry muffins, some with choc-chips (the kids had a couple for afternoon tea, I didn't have any); then raspberry creme brulee, planned for dessert tonight; and with all the leftover egg whites I made lots of little meringues with cream and raspberries on top. We had some for dessert last night then the rest were my contribution to the D&D supper.

I ate one when they came out of the oven, two for dessert after dinner, and I think another three over the course of the night. I don't usually have much sugar - I'm more of a salt and fat kind of girl - and by my sixth meringue I was feeling a bit nauseated. I also had a lot of twisties. I had a cup of chamomile tea which I thought helped.

My digestive system rebelled. It has been delicate since the stomach bug picked up in China a month ago, and I had my third relapse last night. At 2.30 am I was up with stomach cramps and diarrhoea. If it follows the path of the other relapses it will last 12-24 hours. My abdomen feels bloated and crampy, and I'm amazed that there is anything left in me but apparently there is.

I stayed in bed until 10 am, the kids have been playing computer games all morning. I don't think I will be taking them anywhere today; a sad and boring end to the school holidays.

On the up side, maybe my body didn't have time to absorb all those millions of calories before my body rejected them?...

The school holidays have been full of junk food. We had fast food twice, lollies at the movies twice, biscuits at home, treats when we are out shopping. We always have some stuff, but a lot more than usual these past two weeks. So unhealthy for all of us. It is no "treat" to feel sick and fat and unhealthy. I just have to remember that.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Picking up the pace

I went to the gym again this morning, putting both children in the creche. It was my third 'every second day' which is great. I weighed myself and was a bit disappointed that I was back up to 79.9 kg, but I know that it will fluctuate and of course I am still in my warming-up weeks so I am not exercising hard yet - or dieting at all. And it's not all about the scales. Still, Thursday is my binge evening so it is bad that my weight was up BEFORE the stuffing-myself that will occur tonight.

I did 30 mins on the treadmill then 30 on the recumbant bike. I thought I had set up my heart-rate monitor, but after 10 mins I found that it was showing my heart rate but not actually recording my exercise. Bummer. Oh, well, I'll call that my warm up. I have stats for the following 50 mins.

Average heart rate 112, peak at 129. I had 9% in zone 0, 89% in zone 1 and 2% in zone 2. Exactly the sort of figures I am going for at the moment. 169 calories. Probably 200 when you add the first 10 mins.

I kept an eye on the monitor when I swapped machines. This was not an instantaneous process - I had to wipe down the handles of the treadmill, grab a tissue from the lunch room to blow my nose, pick a magazine that I hadn't already read, and get myself settled on the bike. At least a couple of minutes. My heart-rate slowly dropped from about 113 to about 107 and I started cycling fast to keep my rate in zone 1. My pace dropped a couple of times on the bike but when I noticed my heart-rate falling I sped up again. It is really keeping me working. I am definitely working harder than I did without it.

When I got home I looked at the group class timetable and worked out a more detailed exercise plan for the next few weeks. It will probably change as I go along, but I felt very purposeful writing it all out.

In essence; week 1 (nearly over) is 4 x 60 min sessions of treadmill/bike. I wasn't feeling quite ready for classes yet, and I had the kids at home.

Weeks 2-4, with the kids at school but me very busy with work, I plan 4 x 60 min sessions of group classes; 2 Zumba, 1 BodyStep and 1 Step/Attack. All aerobic.

Weeks 5-8 are blocked out for me to focus on exercise. Weeks 5 & 6 I have 7 x 60 min group classes (every day), adding in 2 BodyPump classes and another BodyStep. I have to start using my shoulder some time. Maybe some walking as well. Weeks 7 & 8 ramp it up even more, with 2 things a day. More Zumba, a Chi Ball class (which I haven't tried) and walks of 30-60 mins.

Weeks 9-12 I return to working life and go back to one 60 min class per day. After that is school holidays again. I think 12 weeks is enough to be planning ahead. The weather will be suitable for me to start riding my bike by then.

One thing I'm not sure about is whether to have a day off. If I do, I think it will be Saturday. We already have some other activities on that day. It's probably a good idea to have a rest day. I'll see how I feel when I get to week 5. One reason I haven't scheduled in an official rest day is that I feel it's likely I'll end up with a few unofficial rest days for whatever reason. My week starts on Sunday, so I guess if I get to Saturday without having had a day off, that will be it.

I still haven't thought about my diet/food/nutrition. I am focusing on getting my body moving.

And my goals? To have a fitter, healthier, more active, more comfortable body. And thinner. In 12 weeks I would love to lose 10 kg and get down to 70.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Heart Rate

Today I remembered to take my heart-rate monitor to the gym. It is still school holidays, but I put one child in his regular childcare and the other into creche at gym. We were rather slow and lazy this morning getting ready and I ended up with less than an hour of creche time but I made the most of it - 50 mins of treadmill and bike at a low-moderate intensity. I am really determined not to injure myself or burn out this time.

I had a quick guide for my heart-rate monitor but after I got back from the gym I downloaded the full manual from the internet. One important thing I found was that it calculates my heart-rate zones differently from the zones I found on the internet the other day. The other site had 4 zones, and I kept my heart rate around 105 which I thought was zone 1. (My base rate is about 80 and zone 1 started at 90.) I was surprised to find that the summary from my monitor only put me in zone 1 for about 40% of the time, the rest was below (in what I will call zone 0). Turns out my monitor only has 3 zones not 4, and starts zone 1 at 106 for me! My monitor has more information about my age, weight & level of fitness, so I will trust it to guide me. And I need to pick up the pace a bit. Just working that little bit harder will at least put me into zone 1 - I must have been just below for much of the time.

So my resting rate is about 80, my zone 1 is 106-125 for basic fitness and weight control, zone 2 is 125-142 for aerobic fitness and endurance, then zone 3 is 142-160 for peak performance and not to be strived for all the time. Above 160 is bad, 178 is my max heart rate. It is really good to have these figures so I can push myself a bit more. I am feeling quite motivated and excited about it all. For the moment, I want to be in zone 1 most of the time while exercising with a few sprints putting me into zone 2.

I weighed myself, only 2 days since the last time, and am now 79.2 kg which is a drop of... can't remember. But a few hundred grams. Which is great. Unfortunately they changed the scales since Sunday, hopefully they won't keep swapping them around. I need a consistent scale!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I went to the gym this morning for the first time in well over a month. Probably 2 months. I realised when I was nearly there that I had forgotten to bring my new heart-rate/calorie monitor. Damn. 30 mins on the treadmill and 30 mins on the bike - fairly gentle exercise. The machines said I used more than 275 calories; but in reality it was probably less than 200. When I say it like that, it feels like a waste of an hour (plus travel time) but I can't think that way - I need to get my body used to exercise and not injure myself again. Starting slow and steady.

I weighed myself at the gym - I will only use the gym scales from now on, not my unreliable home ones - and I am 79.6 kg (175 pounds, I think). Not a bad starting point. Under 80 is good for me at the moment.

As per my plan, I have about 4 weeks of heavy editing workload (3 customers at once!) when I will be trying to squeeze in exercise when I can and get my fitness up from zero; and then I have kept 4 weeks clear to really get stuck into fitness. I had originally said 6 weeks; but another client wanted me and I felt uncomfortable asking them to wait until mid-October in 3 months (including 2 weeks for school holidays). So I gave them second half of September. I'm hoping that 4 weeks dedicated to exercise will be of some help to getting my body craving exercise. It will then be spring and hopefully easier to keep going, even while working.

I have no current plan for my food intake at the moment. I know I need to think about that.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The plan

Woke this morning feeling all full of snot. You know how it runs down the back of your throat all night, making your throat sore and your stomach queasy? Yeah. Why aren't I better yet?

Anyway, last night I was trying to come up with some kind of plan. It is July already, half the year is gone. And a whole year since my 40th birthday when I started this blog, with little to show for it. I was watching Biggest Loser US and thinking that it was (comparatively) easy for them, it is like their job just to exercise. So...

I am snowed under work for the next 6 weeks, but I have decided to block out the 6 weeks after that. I won't accept any freelance work or commit myself to anything else. And I will devote much of my 4 days a week (school hours) to exercising. I'm not saying I will exercise 5 hours a day, but I will try for 2. Or even 3. Say a long session in the gym plus a brisk walk. It will be the start of spring and hopefully I can have some lovely walks around pretty Canberra - and Floriade (the flower show) will be on too. And really get some use out of my deluxe gym membership!

I will still do some editing work for my ongoing employer, who I have been neglecting, they are short jobs measured in hours rather than weeks so I can fit them into my exercise schedule. But I am not going to worry about how much money I am making/not making. We don't rely on my income anyway. And my health really needs urgent attention. I can't use work as an excuse not to exercise.

Hopefully I will get my body into some kind of shape and routine. Then I have to maintain it, and improve on it. It will be warmer then, maybe it won't be so hard to get out of bed early.

Now I just have to work out how to exercise in this current 6 week period, I can't do nothing. But how to fit it in?

Friday, July 8, 2011


My weight has been down since I got back from China a week and a half ago; variously 81.4, 80.1, 80.7, 80.9, and today 80.2kg which is pretty great. I hope it's not just from all the illness! Probably is, but maybe I can keep it down. Nearly under the magic 80 mark. And that is my home scales, which always weigh more heavily than the one at the gym. Of course I haven't been to the gym yet.

My stomach was still unsettled yesterday but today I think I am back to just my head cold: runny nose, headache, and sore throat.

I am really busy with my freelance work; I suddenly have 3 clients, 2 due at the end of the month and the other was too but I managed to move him back a couple of weeks. I'vew lost some time through illness. So I will be doing some work on weekends. Trouble is, school holidays have just started so my child-free time has gone out the window - how did I get into this mess? I'll just have to work when I can.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Apparently this is post 100 for this blog. Cool.

Well, I went to bed 2 days ago full of good intentions for the morrow, then woke at 3.30am and spent the next 18 hours on the toilet. I feel much better today, after a good sleep last night, but am still only getting about 10 seconds notice that I have finished the digestion process...

So, still not able to exercise.

I did, just before I went to bed the night I got sick, play with my new heart rate monitor and worked out how to turn it on etc. I also looked up heart rates on the internet and worked out that 90-107 is my fat burning zone, 107-125 is my comfort zone (whatever that is), 125-143 is my aerobic zone, 143-161 is the threshold, and 161 is my no-go zone. So the numbers I want to remember, for the moment are 90 (starting to do some good) and 125 (working hard). I don't want to go over 143.

I got these numbers from putting my age into a calculator - it took no account of my current fitness level. I think my heart rate monitor (which asked for a bit more information when I was setting it up) might have its own zones but I'm not sure what they are. Obviously I haven't got to exercise with it yet, but I did jump up and down for 18 seconds to check it was working and it seems to give information at the end of the workout that includes percentage of time spent in various zones. I look forward to using it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Back from China

We just spent two weeks in China. Lots of food, but also touristy walking. Spent the last couple of days there (and then the plane trip home) toilet-bound with a tummy bug, then after being home a couple of days got a nasty head cold. So I've been home a week and felt wretched the whole time. No exercise, no diet plan. My weight is down a little but I blame that on diarrhoea.

I was thinking about joining weight watchers, I read a blogger who has had great success with that, but there are no meetings at a convenient time for me at the moment, and the group support is what I would be going for. So I just don't know.

As soon as I am well enough (tomorrow for a gentle start maybe) I will return to the gym. Jasmine gave me a heart-rate monitor for my birthday last Saturday, I haven't had a chance to try it out yet. I asked for it because I wanted some external judge of how hard I was exercising. I often worry about this. Like the guy who was "working out" 3-4 hours per day after being sent home on Biggest Loser but couldn't do 5 minutes with Michelle in the gym. I guess walking very slowly doesn't count as an effective work-out.

I have managed to set myself up for big work pressure this month, yet again I forgot about looming school holidays when I set myself a deadline. Somehow I have to find time to edit a novel that needs a lot of work while looking after two small children and exercising regularly... looks like some evening work coming up. And I have been slow getting started on it due to being sick. Arg!

I don't pretend my life is harder that anyone else's. I just like to have a bit of a whinge.