Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012


I went for a walk this evening and thought about my New Year's Resolutions. I will only deal with my health/weight-loss resolutions here.

2012 was certainly imperfect in many ways, BUT

1. Yesterday is not tomorrow. Yes, I know that Dr Phil says that the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour, but I can't live as if that was true for me or I'll never get anywhere. I am putting aside regret, shame and guilt for not achieving my goals already. Every decision is a new chance to make a better choice.

2. Exercise every day. 30 mins minimum. An hour would be better. Two hours would be wonderful. But if I can only manage 30 mins, then that is better than nothing. Much better.

3. Follow my pre-diabetic diet guidelines. Restrictive, punishing diets are not sustainable. But I will count my carbs and stay within my limits. I'll track again (just carbs) until I am sure I have a handle on that.

4. Hydrate hydrate hydrate! One glass of water with lemon and two cups of tea a day are not enough.

And that is all.

I've been feeling particularly yuck for the past few days. I've had sciatica (pains from my lower back going down my leg) since Christmas, probably due to compression in my back from so much standing in the kitchen. I've had it before, but never for more than one day at a time. Also lower back pain, I've been using the massage chair a lot which helps. And headaches and general yuckness from the heat and (probably) dehydration. I am so looking forward to feeling healthier. It isn't aways about the scale.

Goodbye 2012

picture by Alex Abion

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Looking back and planning forward


With only one more day of 2012 to go it is time to look back and to plan for the future. I don't feel like I achieved anything this year. In terms of weight-loss, this morning I weighed exactly 1 kg less than on 1st January. Better than gaining weight, but it doesn't feel like much of an achievement. I have bursts of exercise that slump back to laziness as soon as I hit an obstacle, and I haven't stuck to any healthy eating plan I've started.

I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes in August, and while I have an occasional panic I haven't really done much about it.

My paid work continues much the same, I don't work very many hours so I don't earn much. For various reasons working from home for limited hours is the best option for me right now, and I think I am good at my job, but it is lonely and I think this affects my mood.

I've stopped almost all social activities. I rarely go to my writing groups, never to my editing society meetings, often avoid gatherings with friends and hardly ever get to see the friend I would really like to see because she has gone back to work and has less time.

I don't think I'm particularly nice to live with. I've been strangely moody and often irritable.

But I have control over almost everything in my life, so if I'm not happy then I can do something about it.

What is important to me?

My weight and health are high on the list and they are very much under my control. I am certainly not saying it is easy to lose weight, just under my control. As this is my weight-loss blog, I am going to focus on that one here. I know that being thin wouldn't suddenly make my life perfect, but being miserable about the way I look affects a lot of other things in my life so I think it will make a difference. And of course pre-diabetes is a big health issue.

How am I going to achieve a 20kg weight loss in 2013? Less than half a kg (about 1 pound) per week. I'll get back to you on that one.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wrapping up Christmas


I got on the scales this morning with a certain amount of apprehension, but I had been right about not putting on weight. Despite holiday fare and no formal exercise, I am back down to 77.8kg, 700 grams less than six days ago. I was on my feet a lot and ate less than usual because I was so busy and tired.

Christmas Night I was again too exhausted to sleep well. The bomb going off every couple of minutes in the lounge room didn't help, and neither did waking early and thinking about what I needed to do for the day. I think I got about five hours, which isn't terrible but was the third night in a row of poor sleep, leaving me with a pretty big sleep debt.

Ten of us went to see The Hobbit, which was great. Tim's family are all fantasy nerds like us and there was some talk of dressing up but in the end it was just Tim's cloak and Matthew's Darth Vader hoodie. We left the children at home with my pregnant sister-in-law who said she would be too uncomfortable sitting so long (it was a three hour movie).

When we got home we had our traditional Boxing Day BBQ (very late, the movie finished at 2.30). I sent Tim out with the meat and quickly threw together the spicy vegetable skewers and fried some fish for those who weren't eating red meat. Since I'd used up my salad ingredients the night before, the skewers were all the vegetable I had and I don't think there was even enough for one each, I certainly didn't have one. We also went through a loaf of bread, I totally forgot about the garlic bread I had in the freezer. I made ice cream sundaes for dessert. A couple of hours later I just put out all the many and various left-overs for a light dinner, and made a simple pasta to go with it. No one was really hungry yet, but we had to feed the kids and get them to bed.

More games and fun, but the night did end on a slightly sour note with an acrimonious conversation about a disputed inheritance issue between a couple of the older members of the family. Tim broke it up after a while and we all went to bed, here or at motels. Tim and I lay awake for a while and talked about the inheritance thing and then about the movie to get our minds off the inheritance dispute. I finally got a good night's sleep.

Yesterday was the final day of visitors and I was so ready for them all to go home! Our houseguests helped us put all of the furniture back in its usual place and do a final clean-up (people had been helping all along, so while I did nearly all the cooking I did no washing up at all, just a bit of fussing around) then they went, and the rest of the family dropped in throughout the day after checking out of their motels. I heard the final pair arrive just as I was lying down for an after-lunch (leftovers) nap and I couldn't drag myself up to go and talk to them. I slept for half an hour before going out to say goodbye. And the Christmas celebration was finally over.

Despite another good night's sleep last night I am still feeling totally wiped out. I think it's going to take me a couple of days to recover. But it was an excellent Christmas, and well worth the work.

photo of boxes by scotproof

Christmas part 2

Still Thursday:

Ok, I was up to the present-unwrapping. It was a lovely time, family and presents and excited children. And the day before had been horribly hot (another reason I was so exhausted, especially all that cooking in a boiling kitchen) but Christmas Day was cool and comfortable.

Everybody was contributing to Christmas lunch and of course many needed some access to kitchen facilities to reheat and prepare. I needed about 45 mins, so I was glad when some other people got started early. But as the time scheduled for lunch came and went, one couple was still working away, taking up almost the entire kitchen. They said they were almost done but another half an hour passed before I got access to my oven. The puzzling thing was that they were making a salad! Admittedly they had to poach chicken for it and make a mango sauce in the blender, but still, two and a half hours for a salad? They are most definitely not regular cooks.

So, we were running behind time and I knew I was supposed to get the turkey in the oven straight after lunch, so dinner was going to be late as well. Still, I got a production line of helpers going for my vol-au-vents; cutting out the pastry circles and stirring the mushrooms and grating the cheese while I shredded the chicken that I had cooked the night before. We got everything on the table only an hour late. It was a lovely banquet that everyone had contributed to which made it extra special.

Two years ago we started a tradition of a MasterChef challenge where everyone has to make a dish with a key ingredient. I won the first year (lemon), my brother-in-law last year (raspberries) with probably the best chocolate mousse I've ever had (with raspberries on top, obviously); this year it was mango so we had a couple of mango salads and mango with prawns and a mango pudding but we had plenty of other flavours as well. A couple of us reserved our mango desserts for evening to spread them out a bit. We voted the next day and my brother-in-law won again with the mango pudding, 8 votes out of the 15! Yummy.

I jumped up after dinner and got the huge turkey seasoned and in the oven, then I only had to baste every hour or so for the rest of the afternoon until an hour before dinner when I'd roast the potatoes and prepare some salmon, so I had plenty of time to join in games and fun with everybody. I'd broken through the tiredness barrier caused by three hours sleep and was having a lovely time, even grooving along to music while I basted the turkey. Then as dinnertime approached I asked if anyone else needed kitchen facilities. No. No, because no-one else had anything. One dessert, that was all.

I think a couple of things I had expected at dinnertime went on the table at lunchtime, but also a couple of things that I was expecting did not materialise. People brought lots of snacks and drinks but very little real food.

Out of five main meals (not including breakfasts) for an average of 15 people, I had help with one.

I had a minor panic at this point. There was plenty of meat, with the turkey and salmon plus some cold ham left from lunch, but roast potato was the only vegetable I had planned on doing myself. And with very limited fridge space I hadn't bought anything I didn't think I would need for the holiday period. But I pulled myself together and made the Greek salad I had planned to serve with the Boxing Day BBQ, and found half a bag of frozen peas. It would have to do. Despite the brief panic the dinner all turned out perfectly with a fantastic turkey and gravy if I do say so myself. I think this was the only meal I over-ate at.

Then more games until bed time. I was completely wiped out and staggered off to bed at 10.30 but had to get up an hour later to ask everyone to be quieter. They were playing Pass the Bomb which involves not holding the bomb when it goes off. The bomb was horribly loud, even from in my room with the door closed. But I finally got to sleep when they moved on to another game.

I think I had better make a part 3. Sorry for the thesis-length posts, but I enjoy having all this written down for my own rememberings.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas! Part 1


It has been a fun but exhausting few days. We've had from 12 to 17 guests here from 2pm Monday to 3pm Thursday, so we've only just got the house back to ourselves. But it was a really successful Christmas period.

On Monday we cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. I was tired by lunchtime, but soldiered on. Family started arriving after lunch. All guests brought some food contributions for Christmas Day, but I was doing Christmas Eve dinner by myself. I made and served roast pork and chickens with various sides and then two desserts, for 12. Everything went smoothly. I was too exhausted to eat much, and I think I was the only person to only have one of the dessert options! I haven't actually weighed myself over this Christmas period but I don't expect to have gained weight, overall I think I ate less than usual although I did have desserts twice a day and some alcohol. Didn't snack much.

Anyway, other people washed up (as they did every day, I stacked the dishwasher a couple of times but didn't have to do much cleaning after Monday morning), we might have played a game but I don't remember. I really wanted to go to bed but we had another couple of people arriving in the evening so I waited up. They didn't get here until about 11.15. Then things went a little pear shaped.

I have just checked my old emails and about two months ago I told my husband's family that there would be no beds available and they would have to bring their own airbeds/mattresses (many people chose to stay in hotels in the end), the reply from this particular couple was that they could bring their own "if need be". The subject didn't come up again, for which I blame myself since it was a long time ago. I should have sent a reminder. Anyway, they didn't bring anything, and looked at me blankly when I asked them. I ended up giving them the spare bed and my brother slept on some couch cushions on the floor. This wouldn't be a big deal except my brother has some mental health issues and only comes to a crowded Christmas celebration at all on the condition that he gets the spare room so he has some space to himself. I felt really guilty about it but didn't see what else I could do. I briefly considered putting little Aiden in with us and giving my brother Aiden's bed, but Aiden is a wriggler and I desperately needed sleep.

Not that I got much. My whole body was aching with tiredness, my feet throbbing and my hips twinging. I had given my brother my own pillow so I only had a little hard cushion. I slept a couple of hours then lay awake for hours before I dozed off again; I estimate three hours sleep for the night. So I got up Christmas morning without much enthusiasm.

However, it was present time! No one can stay un-enthusiastic for long during a present orgy. There was a small amount of awkwardness as some of the family had been pushing for a secret Santa for years (where you only buy one present for one person -- everyone therefore only gets one present!) and the dissenters grudgingly agreed to try it this year -- sort of. We did a secret Santa with the wider group (husband's aunt and cousins & their spouses) but basically still exchanged presents amongst the closer members which was more than half the group anyway. The original plan was that we would be doing this before the wider group got here but some came early so witnessed the huge present giving. Oh well, they were the ones who opted out of it.

Of course the kids got huge piles of presents from everyone (they are the only children so far on both sides of the family), but I got a pretty good haul. My main present from Tim was a thingy that means I can record stuff from TV which I haven't been able to do since we got rid of the old video player a year ago. Also lots of books and CDs and DVDs, and a voucher for a Zooventure tour where you get to feed the tigers and bears and pat the cheetahs and stuff. And some ankle weights, and a food processor from my mum and probably some other things I have temporarily forgotten. But please don't think that we didn't want to give up the present orgy just because we wanted more presents, we love all the careful chosing and giving to others as well.

My son says it is his turn on the computer, so part two later.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Out to lunch


Friday was the last day of school, so the last chance for Tim & I to go out to lunch without the kids. We'd had lunch while out Christmas shopping a couple of times during the week, but wanted to go somewhere special so we went to one of our favourite places; Rock Salt. I don't know whether it keeps changing hands or they are just innovative, but everytime we go (maybe a couple of times a year) both the decor and the menu are completely different. It has got a bit more casual over the years, but still good.

Anyway, we had some garlic bread and both ordered the steak. And they were huge! We each only ate about half, we should have shared. It was nice (not nicer than I make at home, but I didn't have to cook it or wash up) but not worth how I felt afterwards, even after only eating half. I was sleepy and bloated for the rest of the afternoon. I feel a bit silly ordering it now, anyway, it is something I can cook quickly and easily myself but it was probably the most expensive thing on the menu. It's what I felt like eating at the time, but now I wonder why I didn't have something a bit more elaborate that I don't know how to make. Still, it was a pleasant lunch out with my husband.

I've spent most of the weekend cooking in preparation for people arriving tomorrow. One of the desserts -- the chocolate volcanoes -- took 3 blocks of chocolate, 2 dozen eggs, and nearly a kilogram of butter. I've also been grocery shopping and house-cleaning.

It's been very hot so I've been feeling pretty tired all day. We're expecting a cool change in time for Christmas Day, though, for which I am very grateful considering I'll have the oven on all day.

I'm really looking forward to Christmas. Two more sleeps!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Belated weigh-in and busy busy


On Monday my weight was 78.5 kg, up a whole kg from the week before. It went up for my ToM but it hasn't come down again. Bummer. Maybe something to do with all the festive snacking.

That afternoon I did an hour of Just Dance 3, in competition with my husband. It's even more fun dancing with someone than alone.

Then two days of no exercise. I blame spending all day Christmas shopping both days, then stuff like taking Aiden to gymnastics and having people over for supper. I still should have fit in exercise, but I didn't.

Today I got a lot done, including half an hour gardening (the area around the new outdoor furniture now looks really nice, with miniature fruit trees in pots) then half an hour dance (no new 5 stars, damnit), reading and reviewing two short stories, emptying and cleaning 4 kitchen drawers, finding and copying baby photos to take to a party, sorting through both children's end-of-year schoolwork that they brought home and deciding which things to keep for their memory boxes, and calling a tradesman to ask why he didn't show up a week ago or contact me. That was nearly everything on my list!

Only a few days until Christmas. I feel like we have everything under control. Tim is out buying a very last present, the house is half-clean, and the food shopping list is prepared. Bring it on.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A delicate flower


After a couple of weeks of almost no exercise (just a little walking most days) I have lost any fitness I managed to build up. I did 45 mins of very gentle exercise yesterday: I started with Kinect Adventures which is moderate intensity (or high, with some games) but quickly had to switch to Carnival which many would say isn't exercise at all. But it had quite a bit of arm movement (tossing rings and throwing balls) which mobilised my stiff shoulders and got some blood moving, so I felt it was a good way to get back into it. That afternoon I was sore around my ribs. It took me a while to work out it was the muscles, from the exercise! Arg! That made me sore? I really am delicate.

This morning I didn't get started for a while and in the end only had half an hour before other activities took over the day, but I did a mix of high and low intensity (Adventures) and was left tired and sweaty so at least I felt like I had done a bit of work in the time.

I've been going barefoot a bit around the house as part of my plan to start toughening my feet, and they get sore pretty quickly and the skin on one of my toes is cracked. Pathetic, huh? Being barefoot on carpet, super-low intensity exercise, and my body is protesting.

This afternoon was taken up with five hours of watching a couple of hundred children (including our own) doing their end-of-year gymnastics performance. I quite liked it, but five hours? That whole last hour, with a toddler screaming next to me because every other kid in the gym was getting a medal and he wasn't, and the hard metal bench making my behind ache, was moderately horrible. But both our kids did really well. It's great they have a sport they both enjoy, so that being active is fun.

Sweat is fat crying.
Toughen up, princess.

photo from Swem library

Thursday, December 13, 2012



Woo hoo, I'm done!

I just finished my current editing job -- at least as much of it as the client had given me up to this point -- and I'm on holidays! Kids are still at school next week but my husband will be home, we'll have time to prepare for Christmas and hopefully do some relaxing too.

My body is really suffering from the lack of decent exercise so I will get back into that. I'm not making any promises about eating better. That tray of mangoes by my side looks pretty good, but then so does the free box of chocolates my supermarket gave me today (they sent me a voucher, presumably for using my loyalty card a lot, they are good chocolates too not cheap junk). Some of each! Hmmm, you know it's hard to beat fruit dipped in chocolate ...

I managed to find the time to do a little clothes shopping this week, I only had one pair of shorts (that fit me) and I ripped them quite badly last week. Two new pairs of (long) shorts, four pretty blouses, and sunglasses that don't pinch my head -- the last ones left grooves in my brain. Still haven't got any sandals, they are next on my list. And I would like a dress for Christmas, but I find dresses tricky for my body shape. Not just that I am plump, but also very short. Maxi dresses drag on the ground, shorter dresses often become a very odd length on me, and I won't wear anything above the knee. Also my shoulder stiffness means I can't get in & out of anything too tight around the top or do up zippers by myself ... it is pretty hard to find the perfect dress. But I am happy with my new shorts and tops.

There is test cricket on the TV (each game takes five days, it is an acquired taste) and all is right with the world.

PS. Thank God It's Holidays

Monday, December 10, 2012

The one day detox


My clean eating plan went really well yesterday, I ate within my guidelines with fruit for snacks and salmon for dinner. But today, not so good. Maybe because I started the day with butter on my toast? I didn't have morning tea and was starving at lunchtime, my planned chicken and vegetable stir fry seemed too labour-intensive and bland (even though I love it when I have it, it isn't really bland at all) and I ended up having some reheated leftover pepperoni pizza. Then I had a mini Magnum (premium ice cream covered in chocolate) in the afternoon. So basically no vitamins have passed my lips today.

I also haven't been exercising much lately, for nearly two weeks I really haven't done more than short walks. I am trying hard to get some work finished by the end of this week so I can have a break before Christmas (BTW I was wrong about the kids finishing this week, they still have another week after that, but my husband has taken next week off). I know that busyness is no excuse, I have the same 24 hours a day as everyone else and a lot less to do than some. But still, I do struggle to fit in more than a couple of things a day, while the kids are at school. I can do grocery shopping plus editing work, or exercise plus housework, or review a book plus have tea with a friend ... I can't fit it all in. To do my goal of a couple of hours of exercise a day I would have to give up some TV in the evening, or sleep, or playing with my iPhone, or reading other people's blogs or something vital like that. At the moment Christmas planning and shopping has taken up a lot of time too.

Still working on becoming a better me.

picture of pizza by roccospizza

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tender feet and pre-Christms detox


I really need to toughen up my feet a bit. The problem is that I always wear proper supportive shoes with socks; generally I wear my crosstrainers, running shoes or walking shoes -- the only other shoes I regularly wear are only slightly less sporty. No heels, no sandals, never barefoot. As a result my feet are as soft and smooth as a baby's. I have certainly never needed one of those grater things that scrape dried skin off. But on the down side, they can't take much abuse. A long walk, or even a short walk in the heat, costs me a few layers of skin. So I have a campaign this summer to get a bit hardier. I spent a few hours this weekend barefoot, mostly inside on soft carpet but a little bit on grass. I plan to buy some sandals this year, and wear them for short periods at first to get used to the horrible discomfort of the rubbing. By the end of summer I'll be able to stride boldly over hot coals!

I managed to get in a short walk yesterday morning and another one this evening as the roast was cooking, but we spent most of the weekend driving to Sydney to see family and then back again. And eating. On the way home, after our second on-the-road McDonald's in two days, I resolved to do some kind of detox. There are five more work/school days before we are all on holidays a week before Christmas, and I am banning junk for those five days. I had a bit of trouble decided exactly what my detox would involve, but as my diabetes dietitian has advised me to eat a certain number of carbs per meal I have decided not to cut out all processed food; I will keep in bread and pasta. But no junk. My definition of junk includes chips, chocolate, biscuits, cake, deep-fried anything, butter, alcohol, cream, lollies. Pretty much anything from a jar or packet, laden with sugar and/or salt and/or preservatives. I will still have a small amount of low-GI fruit sugar in my tea; I am still slowly working on reducing that. Lots of fruit and vegetables and lean meat. I've found a surprisingly nice low-fat cheese, and I already use low-fat milk.

This is not a particularly drastic detox, in fact it is just a healthy diet that I should be eating the majority of the time anyway. I've been slumping into bad habits lately, yet with Christmas two weeks away I am not ready to commit to a "forever" kind of change. For now, I am committing to five days. I think it is achievable, although there are already some hurdles lined up. I'll let you know how I go.

picture of bare feet by smallestbones (not my feet)

Thursday, December 6, 2012



I'm staring at the blank screen trying to remember what I did yesterday. Nope, nothing. I mean, I did some editing work, but surely I did other stuff as well? Can't remember. I watered the garden. Well, the pots with the new dwarf fruit trees. And I ... hmm.

Ok, today I did more editing work. And cleaned the house. And had a friend over to morning tea. And went for a long walk and it was too hot and I think I rubbed the skin off the balls of my sweaty feet and it hurts to walk now. And reviewed four short stories submitted for a magazine I slush read for.

As I walked and wilted and eventually hobbled, I decided that it is definitely time to move the exercise indoors. I said this the other day but then we had a cold spell and it had only just warmed up again today. It wasn't even that hot, really, but too hot for me.

I'm trying desperately to think of something witty and/or interesting to say, but I still got nothing. So goodnight.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Super powers and muffin top


Haven't done a lot of official exercise lately. I had a sore leg on the weekend and had to ice and rest it. Yesterday was another shopping day -- got Christmas presents for my husband, then picked up the kids from school to buy them new shoes and they chose presents for daddy. Lots of walking around, but nothing strenuous. I plan to fit something in today, somehow.

I found that I have a super power -- low-light vision. I already knew I could block off my nostrils without touching my nose, I just use nose-muscles to clamp the nostrils shut. Like a camel. Only more inside, where you can't see it, so possibly a bit less useful in a sandstorm. It sounds like you have a cold when you talk. I had assumed everyone could do this, to avoid nasty smells, but apparently not. My husband can't. Our daughter can, though, so maybe it's genetic. Like wiggling ears or rolling your tongue.

I've often noticed that I can see in the dark much better than Tim, especially when going from a light room to a dark one or just after turning off the light. He is essentially blind for at least 30 seconds, whereas I take maybe 1 second to adjust. The other night when walking into a dark room I realised I not only widen my eyes, I actually consciously dilate my pupils. It is hard to demonstrate in the light but I was able to do it to show Tim and he said you can really see it. Can anyone else do this? I still can't see in complete darkness, but I adjust much quicker in low light.

It's kind of cool to have control of at least some of me. 'Cause other bits not so much.

I squeezed into freshly-washed jeans last night and was horrified at the enormous muffin top that exploded over the top. I haven't put on any weight, I guess they are always challenging when they shrink and it was after dinner too. But it looked awful, and I ended up putting on my larger size pair, which was disheartening. Then I went to the movies and ate popcorn and malteasers.

I really should be working right now, or exercising, or housework, so ...

photo by Zen cupcake

Friday, November 30, 2012

When shopping is exercise


Knowing that yesterday was going to be stinky-hot, it seemed like a good day to be in the shopping centre getting Christmas presents. It wasn't supposed to just be about my two kids, but that's how it turned out. I bought ... a lot.

Including a quick grocery shop at the end, snarfing down a late lunch burger as I pushed around the trolley as I was running out of time, I was walking around for more than five hours. Some of it standing still looking at things, of course, but also carrying heavy bags and pushing trolleys (three trips to the car); surely some of that counts as exercise.

By the time I got home I was truly exhausted, with aching legs and feet, and no desire to do anything more than sit in front of the TV.

Today I spent about two hours wrapping everything while the kids were out at a birthday party.

This morning we went out as a family to the shops and I managed to find things for my mother and brother. Now I just have to shop for my husband. And some other relatives. It all seems pretty under control.

Thursday, November 29, 2012



I had another good dance session today, an hour of Just Dance. I spent at least 30 mins of it working of "Forget You" which I also spent 45 mins on yesterday; I'm trying to get 5 stars on the difficult setting. It is so hard! Still haven't got it. I think it would be easier on non-carpeted floor. And it hardly ever hears me when I sing my chorus bits. But I'll get it eventually. And it's a great workout.

I had the air con on in the morning while I was exercising in the lounge room, then turned it off and sat in the cool house editing all afternoon until it was time to get the kids. I didn't realise how hot it was until I went out. A real scorcher today. I took the kids to gymnastics but it was too hot for me to walk -- I got as far as the library and sat in their air con reading a magazine. Back at the gym I had sweat dripping down my back. There seemed to some sort of cooling fan but obviously not very effective. The watchers sit up in the mezzanine and heat rises so it was worse where we were, but at least we weren't exercising. The poor children on the gym floor were suffering. They had lots of drinks breaks and Jasmine says they were even given ice but it's no joke exercising for 90 mins in those temperatures. We've only ever done gymnastics as a winter sport in the past so I have no idea if the gym always gets that hot in summer or if the air conditioning was broken or something. I think we'll be swapping to swimming lessons at the end of this term in three weeks.

Ice cream when we got home.

Even hotter tomorrow, but at least they don't have gymnastics. There will a heatwave in nearby Sydney, they were talking on the news about fears that people will die. More heart attacks, apparently, and elderly people can't cope with the heat so well. It's just an inconvenience to most people, but actually life-threatening to some.

I haven't been to my gym for ages. I really should just get a 3-month membership each time because that's about how long it takes me to move on to something else.

photo by jalalspages

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The magic sleeping tissue


I've been sleeping really badly for at least a week. Taking a long time to get to sleep, waking during the night, waking very early and not being able to get back to sleep. Leaving me an exhausted wreck, you may have noticed several mentions of afternoon naps lately. But last night the magic sleeping tissue wafted me to a great night's sleep.

Now you may argue that the heat has been interrupting my sleep (although I think the disruption started before it got really hot) and that yesterday's storm followed by a cool front helped me sleep. I beg to differ. I am finally realising the power of the tissue.

A few times in the past when I've had a bad cold I've ended up falling asleep with a tissue bunched in one exhausted hand (generally a clean tissue, at the ready). Somehow I have then slept soundly through the night despite coughs and mucus, and woken with the tissue still securely held like a soft little talisman.

Last night I didn't have a cold, but had a drink from my bedside cup of water and spilled a few drops. I wiped my pillow and somehow went to sleep still holding the tissue. And slept deeply and well for the first time in a week.

I'm kind of joking, but maybe I do get some kind of psychological benefit from holding something through the night, like a kid's security blanket. Something to look after through the night, while at the same time it looks after me.

45 mins walking and 45 mins high intensity dancing this morning, which I think is a good effort on a day I also had my son's school assembly (I had to go because Kindergarten was hosting today) and did some editing work.

I wrote to the dietitian at the diabetes clinic about my consistently low blood sugar and how I was eating less carbs that she had originally suggested and she said both were fine. So I don't need to worry about that as long as I stay consistent and feel okay. She thought I would probably get hungry between meals and need snacks, and I do, but that is fine too.

When I logged in today I found ads on my blog list that covered up things I wanted to read, and then when I looked at Monday's post it had random words linking to advertisements! Arg! I'm not sure what to do about it. But then I read someone else's blog and they had the same thing, so hopefully there will be huge outcry and it will be stopped and the spamming advertisers will all be jailed with the cockroaches and the rats and the malarial mosquitos.

photo by ajalfaro

Monday, November 26, 2012

77.5 kg


Monday shall be my weigh-in day from now on. For the moment. As long as I feel like it. Today I was 77.5kg. My daily graph is slowly creeping down. I have a month until Christmas, I would really love to lose 2.5kg to finally get down to my first goal of 75.

I walked the kids to school, it was already pretty hot outside, then went to the chemist to buy some more blood glucose testing strips. The pharmacist asked if I was a member of the NDSS (diabetics get a discount on related stuff) and I said no because I am only prediabetic. Aw, she said sympathetically. As I walked out I wondered if that was truly the appropriate response. Sympathy because I didn't have a horrible life-threatening disease? I'm happy to pay full price, under the circumstances.

I turned the air con on at home and did 30 mins of dancing, then 10 mins of high intensity River Rush. By that time I was dripping sweat and as red as a tomato. Even an hour later, after a shower and morning tea, I was very pink in the face. Despite feeling very hot, I was ok today. Not dizzy or anything.

I did the grocery shopping and some present shopping and then came home and did some editing before collecting the kids. All in all a pretty productive day. I managed to juggle everything. Ah, except housework of course.

photo by EikeR

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A problem to be solved


I hate the heat. I really really hate the heat. Today we had our first really hot day of the season, a week before summer. It got to 32C (I believe that is 90F). My husband doesn't even think that is particularly hot, he enjoys this temperature. But I sat around all day with a headache and napped in front of the TV. I felt listless and cranky.

It's going to be nearly this hot all week, and then get hotter. Probably a lot of the next three months will be like this or worse. It is Australia, after all.

I said the other day that I'll just exercise inside; at home or in the gym, under air con. But I was so uncomfortable and drained today that I didn't even think about working out.

I can't use this as an excuse not to exercise.

I think the most logical solution is to exercise first thing. After I drop the kids off at school -- or if it is too hot even inside then I'll have to get up early. Lately I've been waiting until the afternoon to exercise for various reasons; like I'm more productive with brainwork in the morning, and I can't put on a decent bra by myself after my shower so if I want to go out anywhere I prefer to do that first, and I'm lazy so I put it off. But so long as it's too hot to exercise later in the day, I'll have to do it in the morning when it is a little cooler.

Not negotiable.

picture by bikeracer

Shopping for outdoor furniture


We spent quite a bit of today out looking at outdoor furniture. We don't have any currently, and also we won't have enough chairs and table-space for Christmas so it seemed like a good time to buy something that could be brought inside for a couple of days and added to the dining table and kitchen table. We narrowed it down to a couple of sets of similar price, with each child loving a different one from each other and Tim & I liked both. We ended up getting the set that I liked slightly less but would be much easier to clean (the wicker one would have been a nightmare for spiderwebs). It will be delivered on Tuesday and then we have to work on making the area under the awning, which now just has the BBQ, inviting to sit in. I plan to dump some dead and/or dying plants out of a few pots and getting some new plants in to decorate the area. We've been paying a gardener for the past few months and the garden as a whole is looking a lot tidier. And there are quite a few things in our vege patch now.

We had a really nice lunch in a restaurant and did some clothes shopping for Tim, so we were out much of the day. When we got home I had a bit of a lie down.

I ran out of blood testing strips today which has stopped me turning myself into a pincushion. I did manage to test two hours after the restaurant and got an excellent result. I found a diabetes forum on the internet but I'm not really sure how reputable it is or if I've stumbled on a group anti-establishment rebels. I talked about my low blood sugar readings and they (about four different people) argued that the lower the better, diabetes associations set the numbers way too high when the blood glucose is already damaging your body, and that I should be on a much lower carb diet. This all sounded quite reasonable although different to the advice I was given by the dietitian. But then one person said they have about 20-30 grams of carbs a DAY which must mean no fruit and very limited vegetables as well as no bread etc. When s/he said they followed an Atkins diet they totally lost any credibility with me. Another person gave me a link to a site that said low GI is rubbish (because low GI foods have just as much carbohydrate you need to produce just as much insulin, just over a longer timeframe, which is true but doesn't mean that isn't better than having to produce a lot quickly).

I have been struggling to eat the 45g of carbs my dietitian recommended so I'll keep eating the 25-30g per meal that is comfortable for me + snacks and keep monitoring my blood sugar and how I feel. If I keep having worrying symptoms I will contact my dietitian. Not strangers on the internet.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Too low


At the moment, after my scare on Wednesday, my whole focus is on food. All day it's: what am I eating next? When? Does it have enough carbs? Too many carbs? Is it low-GI? Is it time to test my blood glucose again yet? Has two hours passed since I last ate so I can test my blood then have a snack?

Yesterday I was so paranoid about my blood sugar going too high that I didn't have enough carbs. My blood sugar was too low (not hypo-low, but within the range it should be before breakfast not where it should be after meals) and I felt tired and lackluster all day. Then I had pasta for dinner and my blood sugar went up appropriately and I suddenly felt much better.

I tried to eat a bit more carbohydrate at breakfast today but my blood sugar was stubbornly low two and a half hours later (I wasn't home to check at the two hour point). I am still waiting to test for lunch. Who would have thought it would be hard to get my blood glucose high enough?

I went for two walks yesterday, today I plan to do some dancing once I've digested lunch a bit. We've had a cool spring but it is starting to heat up now that we're only a week away from summer so I think I'm going to have to move the exercise indoors into air conditioning. The gym and the Kinect. I may end up putting off running until autumn, which is a bit of a shame, but my fair skin and I are not fans of summer. It's not really hot yet, so I could still do some running training. Exercise isn't wasted even if I don't end up doing a 5K race this year.

One of the best things about summer (still thinking about food, I'm afraid) is all the lovely fruit. Apples and oranges and kiwi fruit are nice enough, but then the weather warms up and the fruit bowl is full of mangos and peaches and nectarines and grapes and passionfruit and strawberries and watermelon. Today at the shops I bought a whole tray of mangos. Our neighbours over the back fence have a row of fruit trees that reach over our side. Last year they trimmed them all back hard and we got nothing (very disappointing) but the kids are already harvesting mulberries every day and I think there is going to be a bumper crop of plums. There is a quince tree too, I've never tried one but I understand you have to cook them because they are very astringent. Then again, some people say you have to cook tamarillos and I love them raw. I like my fruit tangy sour. I'll grab a couple of quinces if any come over our side.

photo of mulberry by Rosh Sillars

later: still low after my carefully carb-counted lunch, even lower after exercise during which I felt quite dizzy. If this continues over the weekend I will contact the diabetes people to get some help managing my levels.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


later Wednesday:

I just got a blood glucose reading of 10.8 mmol/L. Do you know when they call it diabetes? 11.0. Ok, that is 11.0 in carefully controlled circumstances exactly two hours after 75g of carbs with you sitting calmly the whole time after eight hours of fasting after three days of carb loading. But still, this is a horribly high number, the highest I've ever had. I am feeling really scared right now but that is a good thing. I need to keep this level of urgency, this determination.

I had a healthy lunch of chicken and salad. But I'm supposed to have carbs with each meal, so then I had some rice crackers that I bought before last Wednesday when I was told they were high GI. I wasn't ever going to buy more, but a shame to waste the yummy ones I already had, right? I had the amount of carbs allowed for the meal. Less than an hour later I started to feel a bit odd. It's hard to describe, but I've come to recognise a certain feeling as meaning my blood gluscose is high. I tested myself, and it was 10.8 mmol/L. Way above the "normal person's" high of 8 (which is what I aim for), above the "acceptable for a diabetic" 10.

I went to pick up the kids, feeling scared and trembly and very self-critical for my stupidity. When I tested myself again my blood glucose was down to 9.4. I'm not sure exactly what time I ate the rice crackers but this is probably around the 2 hour point.

I am absolutely determined that this lesson is now learned. It is not just the amount of carbs, but the type that matters. No high-GI foods.

The snack cuboard has gradually filled again since I last cleared it. Mostly stuff for the kid's school lunchbox, semi-junk like muesli bars and fruit sticks. But quite a few blocks of chocolate; my own purchases and left-overs. Chocolate biscuits (mine). The rice crackers (now gone, I gave the rest to the kids). A few random lollies left from Aiden's birthday. Marshmallows for hot chocolate. Chocolates that Tim gave me. It's embarrassing how much is in there.

D&D was moved to tonight and I will put out everything in that cupboard that isn't for the kids (I'm not really tempted by their stuff) and keep one block of quality dark chocolate for myself. Anything not consumed will be thrown away. I can't have it in the house. I already ate some of the Doritos I  bought for D&D when I found out it was postponed, I threw the rest away this morning because I didn't think an open packet would make it through the day.

I need to keep this level of panic. 11.0 might be a bit arbitrary for diagnosing diabetes, but at some point around that there is no going back. Prediabetes is reversable but diabetes isn't.

Another half an hour has passed and my blood glucose is 7.6 mmol/L, within normal limits. That's what high-GI means; a quick high then a quick drop.

later: I tested my blood glucose again after another half hour and it was down to 6, the bottom of the range (4-6 when fasting, like before breakfast, 6-8 two hours after meals). I should have had a snack. I didn't. I was just glad it was down. An hour and a half after that I was preparing dinner and I started to feel very odd, much like I did last week at gymnastics. I was trembling and it felt like my heart was racing. I felt very hungry, but dinner was only 15 mins away so that wasn't unusual. Then I started sweating heavily.

I went and checked my blood yet again. 3.9 mmol/L. I also, a bit later, checked the diabetes website. The definition of hypglycemic attack was under 4.0 and the early warning signs were:
*weakness, trembling or shaking
*feeling dizzy, light-headed
*tachycardia (racing heartbeat)
Four out of five. I was having a hypo. Presumably I did last week when I felt like this.

I had a chocolate biscuit and soon afterwards I had dinner. When I checked the website I found that chocolate is actually not so great because the fat in it makes it too slow-acting. Pure sugar, like soft drink or jelly beans, are better.

I am not a diabetic. I shouldn't be having hypos. Or peaks of 10.8 mmol/L. I am clearly getting worse.

Less than an hour after dinner I am back up to 8.2, a fraction too high but ok as long as it doesn't go higher. I am not getting this right. But I shouldn't have to be so careful. Very scary.

photo of blood glucose monitors by Bernard Farrell

I hate weigh-in Wednesday


It is just the worst day to weigh-in, right after my D&D supper binge. Which was posponed. So I ate the Doritos anyway. Sigh.

My weight had been under 78 kg for more than a week. But today it popped up to 78.2 kg. Bugger. I think I'm going to change my weigh-in day to Monday. Much more logical, and less soul-destroying. Or Sat morning maybe?

Still feeling a bit off colour today, and used my dentist appointment in the morning as an excuse to not do any exercise. I have a bit of a dentist phobia and a strong gag reflex, so it's always an ordeal that leaves me wrung out and exhausted. Today was just a clean but I was still in the chair for 45 mins.

An editing job I've been waiting for will come in a couple of days, so I will have to get off my padded behind and learn to juggle work and exercise. At the moment I get to the end of the day and wonder what I did all day. 1-2 hours of exercise (when I'm not sick) but where did the rest of the time go? I'm not even playing any computer games, although I do waste a lot of time playing with my iPhone which is pretty much the same thing. And I read a lot. And review books. And do a bit of housework, although you wouldn't know it to look around this place. But way too much of nothing much.

I do have one NSV (non-scale victory) to report. I have completely weaned myself off high-GI nutritionally empty cruskits for breakfast (and snacks), and I don't buy them anymore. My regular breakfast is now Milo-flavoured instant oats with some raspberries stirred in. I know instant isn't the best way to have oats but it is a huge step up from cruskits with butter and vegemite. I've tried rolled oats and steel-cut oats and didn't like either of them and they take too long to cook. Even on weekends -- I don't want to wait 40 mins before I get breakfast! So, anyway, I am happy with my instant oats for the moment.

Tomorrow I promise I will start the day with exercise. A training run if I am up to it, a long walk if that is all I can do.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Britain's fattest man


Well I had four days of feeling too sick to exercise (but not too sick to eat), where even walking the kids to school yesterday took all my energy, but I am feeling mostly better today. Not well enough to run, but well enough to return to normal household duties. So I need to build back to exercise from here. So hard to get back into a routine. I feel guilty for even writing that: oh, my life is soooo difficult. All difficulties come from within myself, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

I watched a show about Britain's fattest man last night -- possibly the world's fattest. He weighed nearly 57 stone which is around 800 pounds or approaching 400 kg. I think he hadn't been out of bed for eight years and had a carer for 12 hours a day -- four hours of which was just washing him. He needed bariatric surgery but they had a lot of trouble finding an ambulance big enough to get him to the hospital and they had to reinforce all the floors. The doctors had difficulty getting close enough to the middle of his stomach to do the surgery because of all of the folds of fat hanging off the sides of the table. They also had to cut off a huge roll of fat on his inner thigh because it was forcing his legs far apart and stopping him from walking even when he did lose some weight.

In the hospital before the operation they put him on a 500 calorie per day diet for a while. Don't you sometimes have crazy thoughts about doing a diet like that? Just for a while?

The thing about these really enormous bed-ridden people is that someone must be enabling them to get all that food. This guy was eating up to 20,000 calories a day. 20,000! He couldn't get out of bed to cook it or even open the door to home deliveries. I suppose his carer was just paid to do what he wanted, not make his decisions for him.

If it was a family member you loved would you keep giving them 20,000 calories a day, knowing how bad it was for them, letting them make their own choices ... putting another mortgage on your house so you could afford the food and the supersize bed and the carer ... or would you put them on an enforced diet that they couldn't do anything about? Tell them they could have bacon if they walked to the shops and bought it themself?

Obviously I found the show quite disturbing. Maybe because I know what a slippery slope weight gain is. Generally I think "I'm not that bad, sure a bit overweight but not huge" but then I see myself at an unflattering angle or, God forbid, naked; and I realise that I am seriously obese. I know I need to lose weight but I still eat junk food ... just this bit then I will get back on track tomorrow. Or next week. I need this food to make me feel better when I am sick, or sad, or lonely.

I'm not judging this guy. I'm terrified it would be so easy to be him.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Christmas is coming


My dizziness of Thursday is surely explained by the fact I am now sick with a cold. Or flu? Something, anyway. My main symptoms are fatigue, headache, and aching body. Nothing very terrible or serious. I spent most of yesterday sitting around, and this afternoon I even had a long nap.

As I've mentioned before, we are hosting Christmas this year. I love hosting, which we do every second year, but it takes a fair bit of planning. People bring contributions but I do the bulk of the cooking for 4 main meals (plus 2 breakfasts) for a up to 17 people. I've been trying out a lot of new recipes, mostly with great success. But I think today's trial counts as a fail. I've made passionfruit parfaits. We will have them for dessert after dinner but of course I licked the spoon and it tasted pretty good, like passionfruit folded through whipped cream. But to achieve this lovely but fairly simple taste I had to use three saucepans and make sugar syrup and sieve this and chill that and whip yolks over heat without ending up with scrambled eggs and stir constantly and it just wasn't something I want to make for 15 people under time pressures when I'd rather be socializing. Creme brulee is much easier. So unless these parfaits, once chilled, are the best dessert I've ever tasted; I think they will be off the menu.

I think I just have two new side dishes to trial, then I will have the menu set. Christmas is coming, whoo hoo!

Urg, I just sneezed all over the screen. Looks kind of pretty with the light shining through the droplets but still ... yuck.

Thursday, November 15, 2012



This morning I went for my first training run on the new C25K (couch to 5K) program. It involved eight 60-second sprints with 90 walking rests in between (plus warm up and cool down). I ran the first three intervals then skipped every second one after that (walking them). I miscalculated and thought this would mean I did the last sprint, but of course I actually skipped 4, 6 & 8. I was a little disappointed that I couldn't run them all, but I will work on it. I was certainly working hard, sweaty and exhausted. My last sprint (interval 7) wasn't the full 60 seconds, I think I only made about 40.

My book contact actually turned up at the meeting today, which was great. In particular I now have a sumptous "making of HBO's Game of Thrones" hardcover which I am enjoying very much.

In the afternoon I forgot to bring my gym card when I took the kids to their gymnastics lesson so I just went for a walk. I was walking very fast and strongly for the first half hour but then slowed right down and by the time I got back I was feeling quite odd -- shaky. I felt like I needed food, even though I'd had a low-GI snack just before walking. I wasn't near any shops by that point and hadn't brought any more food but I remembered seeing a half a dried apple ring left in Aiden's lunchbox when I picked him up from school so I went to the car and checked that it didn't look like it had been dropped in the dirt or anything (I sniffed it too, not sure what I expected to learn from that but you never know with a six-year-old's left-overs) then ate it. Then I rummaged in Jasmine's lunchbox and she had two dried apple rings!

I went inside, feeling increasingly trembly and weird. There was a snack machine in the foyer with a choice of chocolate or soft drink. It only took coins so I asked at the reception desk if she could change my note. I was even considering saying I was diabetic and really needed the sugar, but I don't think I would have -- I'm not very comfortable with lying even if I did really feel like I needed the sugar. Anyway, I didn't need to; she gave me some coins quite willingly and I bought a bar of chocolate. I was not in the mood to share it with the kids so I ate it fast, shovelling in the last couple of pieces when I saw Aiden coming. It's like I was almost in some kind of panic mode.

We still had half an hour to wait for Jasmine so we went up to the mezzanine level where there are benches. I still felt really shaky and found the stairs a challenge. I wanted to go home but didn't want to drive in that state. I also considered using the rest of the coins to buy another chocolate bar, but talked myself out of that. I knew it would take a while for the first one to hit.

Whether it was to do with my blood sugar levels or not, I felt a lot better after half an hour and fully better after getting home and having dinner. But it was very odd. I've had what I think were episodes of low blood sugar in the past -- or possibly low blood pressure? -- but it's felt a bit different. Whatever, I do too much self-diagnosing. Could have been anything -- cold germ residue, PMS, alien experimentation, government agent intervention, reaction to the drop in barametric pressure due to the approaching storm ... who knows?

Ate too much this evening. Probably self-medicating.

picture by ciokkolata

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wednesday weigh-in: 77.6 kg


My weight is continuing to slowly creep downwards so that is great. If it takes me two or three years to lose 20 kg, well that is still better than not losing 20 kg! My scales have been less temperamental, too, since I started leaving them flat on the floor instead of leaning up on their edge. They only vary by a few hundred grams when I step off and on instead of up to a kg.

I'm feeling much better today and I think I have shaken off the cold germs. I've had a pretty good year, illness-wise, compared to the past. The last few years I've been sick a lot through autumn and winter but I think this year was much better.

I had my second (and probably last for me) diabetes/prediabetes seminar this morning. This one was all about healthy eating. It went into more detail about food than last week. Again it mainly covered things I was familiar with, but it gave me some concrete targets. As well as the general advice of less fat, more fibre, lots of fresh fruit and vegetables; I should aim for around 45 grams of carbohydrate at each meal and around 15 grams if I snack between meals. Low GI foods are preferred, and no sugary foods in isolation -- so I can't have a cup of tea with sugar by itself, only with food, otherwise I have to use artificial sweeteners or give up the sugar. Protein with each meal.

Another thing I learned is that peanut oil is good (ie monounsaturated) so I can use it for Asian cooking -- I don't have to always use olive oil.

Something I found really interesting was how resistant people are (and I include myself here) to hearing and/or accepting things that don't fit in with their current understanding or that they don't want to hear. One very obese lady said she had never been told to count carbohydrates before. I don't know how long she's had diabetes but it seemed unlikely as that has been used in diabetes management for a long time. She complained that she couldn't have yogurt anymore because it was full of sugar. The dietitian explained that actually that was mainly lactose from the milk and some fructose from the fruit and it was low GI and healthy. But it was clear the woman didn't believe her, and was going to continue to avoid yoghurt. One man (also morbidly obese -- so there may be a pattern there of the kind of person who doesn't take advice) seemed rather proud of the fact that he doesn't have breakfast in spite of all advice to the contrary. He also liked the idea of snacking all day rather than eating regular meals, and dismissed the dietitian's concern that that method could lead to overeating and calorie amnesia. No, no, that didn't apply to him. Um, sir? Your girth contradicts you.

In my own case, the thing about the sugar in my tea came up at the last session but I managed to dismiss it's importance. Such a little bit of sugar, I said to myself, it can't be that important. That rule somehow doesn't apply to me. But I have got it into my head now. The tiny splash of milk is not enough to bring down the high GI of the sugar, so I have to eat something low GI with my tea.

More Just Dance today, conquered two more songs. Twenty to go, so plenty more hours of exercise before I'm done. I don't just do the difficult ones, I took some time at the end of the session to do a couple of favourite songs and just enjoy them. The gardener arrived as I was finishing and was trimming some plants outside the lounge room window; he didn't look in but I felt a little embarrassed anyway. At least it made me put a little extra oomph in even though I was tired!

I saw an add for another fun run yesterday, a 5k this time around Lake Burley Griffin where I like to walk/run. My first thought was that I wanted to do it. But it is in a week and a half and I haven't even restarted my training, so I'm totally not ready. And it's on a hard surface, which hurts my shins. I could just walk a lot of it, of course. But the deal-breaker for me is that you have to wear a five piece Santa suit, including a beard, which they provide when you register. I may not have mentioned it much here, but I really really really hate being hot, especially when I exert myself at all. Even a brisk walk in jeans is unpleasant, and a sauna-like Santa suit would just be a nightmare. With a hat and a big beard? No way.

There will be other races.

photo of santa fun run by VarietyAU

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pumping Iron


I went to BodyPump yesterday. My ideal is to do weight training 2-3 times per week but it's only been about once a fortnight recently. It has been easier to fit in cardio. I'm not too stressed about it, as long as I am doing some form of exercise most days I am not going to quibble about what kind it is. Anyway, I enjoyed the class and was still able to do the slightly heavier weights I moved up to last time (on a few tracks).

I was getting an odd thing where when I straightened up after bending or crouching I would see stars and feel very dizzy, but otherwise I felt fine.

When I got home I played Aiden's new Kinect game Rabbits which was good interval training, lots of jumping and ducking and running on the spot.

Later in the afternoon I started to feel unwell. Aiden has had a cold for a week and Tim has been unwell for a few days, so I guess I finally succumbed.

This morning I woke with a combination of the cold, sore muscles from BodyPump, and PMS cramps. So I cancelled my planned run and just went for a walk instead. It was a nice morning stroll (42 mins to be exact) which helped combat symptoms from the latter two problems. Walking always eases muscles stiffness and also helps PMS. If I feel better later I could do some more exercise of some kind, but at least I know I have done a little bit today.

I have discontinued my RunKeeper 5K training plan (although I haven't worked out how to cancel it without dumping the whole app which I don't want to do, so I am getting lots of sad face icons for missing training every second day), I think the plan was very flawed as I have complained about before. I have downloaded a proper C25K app and was going to start that today but I'll but it off a couple of days.

I have my second Prediabetes seminar tomorrow, this one all about food, so I will revise my food plans then.

Are we really nearly finished 2012?

photo by nataliesap

Saturday, November 10, 2012



I may not have done any formal exercise today but I am completely exhausted after preparing for, then hosting, a 6 year old's birthday party. He had a lovely time. Family are visiting too, which means more cooking but lots of helpers.

I was really happy with the birthday cake, a delicious Donna Hay recipe and frosted to look like the Ninjago Kai (a Lego ninja character) -- the cake was a yellow Lego man head with a red turban. Tasted great. I probably have a picture of the cake but can't be bothered.

Very tired.

picture of Kai by chilebeans

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Carrying a turkey


I forgot on Wednesday's post that it was my official weigh-in day. I was 77.8 kg, which is a nice number. All last month I bounced up and down between 78 and 79 kg, but for the first 9 days of November I've been hovering around 78kg. A definite improvement. Now I just need to keep the number going gradually downwards.

Yesterday I struggled with a lack of energy, but still did plenty of exercise even if it was low-intensity. I did half an hour of walking in the morning, including parking some distance away from a planned meeting with someone who passes on books for me to review. He didn't show up -- I think he has come to something like 4 out of about 10 arranged meetings, and he doesn't call me until afterwards -- but I give him a lot of slack because he recently had an operation on his brain. Pretty good excuse for forgetfulness, I reckon! I just sat in the library and played my new game "Hay Day" -- like Farmville for iPhones.

Then in the afternoon I tried some Dancing but couldn't get into it and gave up after about 20 mins. I was feeling very fatigued and lackluster. After taking the kids to gymnastics I went on a 50 min walk around the area, that was nicer but I still ended up with sore feet and aching hips and just generally not feeling at my best. Maybe I was fighting off some germs, Aiden has a cold and Tim has a sore throat.

Today saw a different kind of exercise. Tim said last night that he would like to use the car today (usually he rides his push bike to work) but I needed to do the shopping for the weekend including Aiden's birthday party plus family staying. So I combined shopping with exercise. I took my backpack and two shopping bags and walked the kilometre or so to the shopping centre. Four times. It took me all day, with rests at home in between. The third trip was the hardest, a whole (smallish) frozen turkey filled my little backpack and I loaded up the shopping bags too much so that my arms and shoulders were aching by the time I got home. But overall I felt very productive. Including the school trips and walking around inside the supermarket, I walked approx 10 km in about 2.5 hours -- an hour of that carrying a heavy load. It was pretty tiring and my feet and legs are a bit sore, but I got everything I needed.

Family are arriving this evening and I don't have any energy left to clean the house or bake cookies or anything. Oh well, Tim hopes to get home early enough to help.

Then tomorrow I have to bake a chocolate cake that looks like a Ninjago Lego head.

picture by Kirk Clyatt

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Prediabetes seminar


Diabetes ACT, the diabetes organisation for my state, holds regular information sessions and today I went along to "Introduction to Diabetes and Prediabetes". It was a small group, one other person with prediabetes, one who had recently been diagnosed with diabetes, and two who have had diabetes for a while. It was run by a dietician.

I've been doing a lot of reading so I knew most of it but it was good to have it confirmed. She did a very clear presentation of how diabetes works, using little wooden disks for blood glucose and keys for insulin moving around a model of a digestive system. We got lots of hand-outs to read at home but the keys points she put on the board were:

* Eat regular meals with approximately the same amount of carbohydrate in each one to keep blood sugar levels smooth, and choose low-GI carbohydrates. Don't go a long time with no carbs because then when you do have some your blood sugar will spike. Carbs with every meal.
* Eat some protein with every meal to slow down the speed of digestion (fat does the same thing but she didn't recommend eating extra fat, oddly enough) which means smoother blood sugar levels.
* Avoid or limit sugary foods, especially drinks like soft drink and fruit juice.
* Limit fat intake, and choose healthy fats like olive oil.
* Increase fibre -- as well as its various other benefits it slows down digestion.
* Exercise regularly.
* Lose weight.

Those last two are certainly not the least important!

I should be aiming to keep my blood sugar within 6-8 mmol/L after meals (4-6 mmol/L fasting, I've never had a problem with fasting levels). I am still going over this at times, like last night after D&D supper even though I felt I ate quite moderately.

Still doing Just Dance 3 at home for exercise. I'm giving my legs a break from running so that my shins can recover.

photo by Beth Rankin

Monday, November 5, 2012

Official results


I just thought to check the Fun Run website to see if there were any results, and indeed they were up.

My official time was 36:20. I was 249th out of the 673 people doing the 3.4 km race. In the first half of all the people doing that distance! I am pretty chuffed about that. In my category (female "masters" ie over 40) I came 20th out of 86. 20th!! After three weeks training! How can I possibly give up running now?

Ok, so a lot of the people behind me probably just walked it. And some of them might have been very old (I didn't notice see any particularly elderly people, but I didn't see much of the people behind me. Eating my dust!). I don't care. I did great!

I feel much prouder right now, after seeing those official results, than I did immediately after the race when I mainly felt tired and confused.

When I got home yesterday I ate a lot. Then a couple of hours later had lunch. Then had a nap. And felt exhausted all evening and went to bed early. I spent less than an hour exercising, but I guess there was a lot of tension and emotion involved as well.

I bought myself a new Pandora charm to celebrate.

Feeling a little bit like a champion.

photo by Rosa Say

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My first ever race


I was probably forced to run some races in primary school (grades 1-6), in fact I can remember a 400 metre race where I started out fast and was in the front group for a short time, then I burnt out and I don't think I even finished. In high school I don't think I even went to any of the athletics carnivals, which were nominally compulsory. So it's been a long time between races.

My goals were 1) To finish the race, 2) To not come last, 3) To get a decent time (for me), although I wasn't really sure what that would be. 30 mins would be a dream time, I though somewhere between 35 and 45 was likely. The race was 3.4 km.

The race was scheduled to start at 9.30 am so we got up at our usual time and were there by 8.30 which was the time I was supposed to pick up my bib by. I walked around and looked at my starting line and the finish, but then still had an hour to kill. The kids played on the nearby playground equipment and I went to the toilet three times, just in case. Yesterday had been cold and cloudy, but today was warming up nicely. I was feeling pretty terrified, full of nervous energy.

Shortly before 9.30 we walked down to the starting line. There were only a handful of people there, but going by the bib numbers we'd seen around there were at least 2000 participants doing the two races (the 6 km had a different starting point but the same finish line). People gradually trickled down from the oval where the finish line and all the tables were located, and joined the queue on the narrow bike path. I didn't want to be right up the front as I would be running slowly and then walking, but I didn't want to be too far back either, so I was in about the 5th row of people. There were several hundred people behind me, I guess. All ages including kids, and a few dogs. And we waited. There was one official there, keeping people behind the line but not doing much else. We waited some more. Ronald McDonald (spokesclown for the major sponsor) had some photos taken in the front row.

Finally a ute drove up and someone with a loudspeaker went over some race info and introduced the family of organisers. It became clear that they had started the 6 km at 9.30 then come to our starting line. Finally, 20 mins after the advertised start, the gun went and we were off.

I already had my music going (Tina Cousins) and had been poised for 20 mins to start RunKeeper. Despite the countdown I still managed to be startled by the bang, but I pressed start and I was away. I enjoyed running along with a big group, people started to spread out but we were still pretty clumped.

I walked a bit then ran again until I got to a sign that said 1 km, with an official beside it cheering us on. Surely that was too soon? It didn't feel like I had run that far -- if I had I was going to nail this race! I checked my RunKeeper shortly after and that said I had gone about 600 metres. I think the sign was for the 6 km race which joined the bike path at a different place and then did a lap of the whole lake whereas we went out and back. Anyway, it was a bit confusing.

At this point, after two quite long intervals of running (long for me, anyway), my body was feeling good except for my shins which really started to hurt. They were hurting a lot. My walking pace at this point fell below 5 km/h and I was trying to stretch as I walked -- going on tiptoe for a while. I continued walking for quite a while, I think, then up the steep ramp to the bridge. Just before going up, the first runner past me going the other way back towards the finish line.

About halfway across the bridge a little kid (maybe 7 or 8 years old) somehow walked straight into a metal street-light pole, face first. Maybe he had his eyes closed? There were tears. His mother was with him for cuddles and remonstrations ("remember at running school they told you to run with your head up?") so I just kept going and shortly afterwards they ran past me so he mustn't have been too hurt.

On the other side of the bridge there was a nice down slope, so I ran again until I got to the water station, had a few mouthfuls of water, ran a bit more. Looped under the bridge and back up the slope again onto the other side to cross back. I wasn't in quite as much pain now but for some reason I felt a little teary. I was about halfway now. I didn't see any distance markers except for that one erroneous 1 km one. As I was on the bridge on the way back, the last of the walkers in my race were crossing for the first time.

On the way back along the lake I kept bursting into brief spurts of speed, passing a few walkers each time. I wanted to do one big sprint across the oval to the finish line so I was saving a little bit for that. My running sements up until then were up around 8.5 km/h, I tried to keep the walking around 5 km/h.

Finally I got to the grass and ran for it (RunKeeper says I did 11.15 km/h which is excellent for me). The final stretch wasn't as far as I had thought, I definitely could have run further. There were a few people still cheering us on and I looked from side to side for my family but couldn't see them. I crossed the finish line, dodging Ronald McDonald (I realised afterwards he was probably trying to high-5 me) and there were my family, taking a picture.

I don't have an official time yet (not sure when I get that, if at all) but I remembered to stop RunKeeper after a short time and it said 36:48 at that point so I'll call it 36 minutes for now. An average of 5.74 km/h over the whole race.

I handed in my bib with its timing chip and got a certificate and scoffed down some watermelon. We didn't stay for the presentation, although they announced it as we were walking away, I felt my family had already been hanging around for a long time. Otherwise I would have applauded the winners, and had more fruit. I was starving when we got home and ate a lot of leftover chicken.

So in terms of my goals: 1) I finished! 2) I didn't come anywhere near last, although I might have been near the back of the run/walkers. Plenty of walkers behind me. 3) I got a time at the lower end of my guesstimate, so I am happy with that.

My shins hurt pretty badly during the race, probably worst during the second quarter but still painful after that. I feel I could have run much more if I didn't have that problem. As it is, I am still undecided whether to run again. I could run on grass to build up my endurance, but I hate the feeling that I am damaging my body every time I run on a hard surface. I'll take a week off running, and see how I feel after that. Really, aside from my shins, I could run/walk a 5 k race now and enjoy it. 

I did a race! And didn't suck!

random photo of a fun run by phonakin

All is quiet


The rest day before the race. It's such a short race that I haven't worried about carb loading or anything. I'm thinking 35-45 mins, considering I expect to walk most of it. I'll have my husband and children cheering me on at the start/finish line.

I think the training schedule I've been using sucks. It is just a free thing they recently added to my RunKeeper app, and it is very poorly explained. You have to work out for yourself when to run and when to walk. Training every second day with one set of intervals per week and the rest just walking -- no wait I should have been running? What? If I decide to continue with running after tomorrow I will use the proper Couch to 5K nine week training schedule.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Just Dance


Today I continued with the Just Dance 3 theme. It took me another three tries to get that B.Spears song, then I got the next one first time, then spent the rest of the hour getting two more. Even though one of the dances that I was doing over and over was quite a slow one -- not too energetic one would think -- I found myself really exhausted while dancing. At one stage I was almost nauseated with tiredness. Odd, since I felt fine the rest of the day. Maybe I was dehydrated or something, although I was sipping water between tracks. Anyway, five stars in four more dances, three of them pretty vigorous. That plus half an hour walking was enough for me today.

Some dances, when I finally get five stars, I think "thank God I never have to do that one again", but many of them I love and are a lot of fun. And not always the easy ones, either. I've asked for some more dance games for Christmas.

Apart from that, today I did the grocery shopping (I go twice a week so that I always have fresh meat, fruit & vegetables -- I don't like to freeze anything because I think it changes the flavour and texture) and did more Christmas planning. And ... that was about it, really. It's Friday, yay!

Good night.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Wednesday weigh-in: 78.4 kg


Yesterday I recalibrated the Kinect -- the sensor kept staring at the carpet -- and did some Just Dance 3. I was supposed to do a training run but it was too hot and Tim was out until late with my iPhone. It's the first training session I've skipped. I decided to do tomorrow's session today so that my legs would have a longer break before Sunday's race.

First I did some more Just Dance 3, which I am really enjoying. I had previously earned 5 stars in every dance on the easy setting, now I am working on getting 5 stars in difficult. As of this afternoon, I have at least 4 stars in every dance and 5 stars in about a third of them. I got stuck on "Baby One More Time", which I remember finding hard the first time round. I did it over and over, getting a slightly better score each time but not quite achieving 5 stars (my best was 9,958 -- I need 10,000). After an hour and quarter I was getting tired and my score was starting to go down instead of up, so it was time to quit for the day.

I had another awkward shower with my sports bra still on then took the kids to their gymnatics class and went to the gym. I was hoping the treadmill would be kinder to my shins than the footpath but it wasn't. Or maybe I'm just doing a bit more damage every time so it hurts more and quicker. I only managed to do 4 of the 10 running intervals, I walked the rest. My shins just hurt too much, and my knees and ankles weren't feeling that wonderful either. Maybe I'm too old/fat to run. Or maybe I can blame it on my technique, I run like a zombie hippopotomus.

I'm still committed to running (or more likely mainly walking) in this race on Sunday but that might be it for me. I'm not enjoying it and it is hurting me, which interferes with other exercise. I do enjoy dancing, and walking, and often briefly whatever interests me that month like rowing or BodyPump or Zumba. No one is making me run except myself. My whole lower legs are aching right now.

Do I need to mention my weight this week. It is much the same. Clearly this reasonably high level of exercise is preventing me from getting fatter, which is better than nothing. But I need to get control over my eating as well if I'm actually going to lose weight. I tracked carefully for a couple of weeks, its a good record if I want to show a diabetes-expert dietician or something, but yesterday I just couldn't be bothered so I guess that is over. I am trying to eat mindfully.

picture by robswakski

Monday, October 29, 2012

Running and eating


Sunday was another quiet day, no exercise at all. Played with the kids, did housework, relaxed. I have no excuse for not fitting in some exercise, I had all day.

Yesterday I had another training run scheduled, and this time I was determined to actually run as much as I could. I was busy in the morning -- including getting some inserts for my running shoes to try to minimise the shin pain problem -- and by lunchtime it was too hot to be exercising outside, so I waited until Tim got home and went out at 7 pm. I'd just had dinner, but that didn't seem to be a problem.

I can't really comment on whether the shoe padding helped as I was running on grass at the oval, I didn't have much shin pain but I don't think I generally do on grass. I ran each straight of the track and walked each curve; and after every lap I moved in one lane so they got slightly shorter each time. I did pretty well, I think. I tried to "run", not "jog" -- I think I need to remove that word from my vocabulary -- and keep my head up and stride smoothly and everything else. I did eight or nine running segments then walked the rest.

It was supposed to be a 45 min session, plus 5 min warm up, but I headed home a bit early. It was starting to get dark; and after the guy practicing his longjump into the sand left, and the last dog-walker disappeared, I was all alone in the gloom which got a bit scary. I did one sprint in a homewards direction then back to the safety of civilization and well-lit streets. Overall I was pretty happy with the session.

Our weekly D&D game had been moved to Monday this week so yet again I was faced with a table full of junk food. And I went to town on it. I provided watermelon and did have some of that, but I also had jelly snakes and chocolate and Burger Rings. Burger Rings and Twisties (two of my favourites) are the worst kind of chip for me because they are so highly processed they are super high GI. I shouldn't have them at all. (Potato chips are better, and corn chips like Doritos are the best in terms of GI -- of course they are all just as fattening.) This morning I guesstimated how much I'd had, and (not including the watermelon, which I fogot about) it all worked out to nearly 1000 calories and, worse, about 125 grams of carbohydrate -- mostly high-GI. I try to keep it around 30-45 grams of carbs per meal/snack. I tested my blood sugar last night and it was 9.0 mmol/L which is bad. And that is even after some great exercise, which helps lower my blood sugar. I can't keep doing this to myself. Last week it was 10 point something. People bring stuff, but I don't have to eat it.

My legs were a bit sore after the run, I think running is pretty hard on the body. And when I got up in the night to pee my ankle was hurting again. It's still sore this morning, and I've got the ankle support back on. Maybe running just isn't the right exercise for me? I'm still determined to do this race on Sunday, then we will see.

picture of burger rings by Kaptain Kobold

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Chocolate croissant and not much running


Yesterday was a bit of a day off, exercise-wise, just the half hour total walking the kids to and from school. I did shopping and various other errands, a tradesman came, then a friend I haven't seen for a while came over for afternoon tea and a chat.

Today was mainly a quiet day at home, with a BBQ/kids' birthday party at a park at lunchtime. I took a cheese and tomato sandwich instead of eating greasy sausages, but did eat plenty of snack food. Then I went for a 40 min walk.

My calories and fat/fibre/etc balance has been really good for the past few days -- until today. A bit too much party food, and way too much saturated fat. Chocolate croissants aren't entirely healthy -- who knew? I was going to have some icecream for supper but after adding up my calories for the day, didn't. I'm certainly not hungry. But one thing I noticed was that the sugary high-GI party food made me want to keep eating junk all day.

I'm a bit worried about the race which is a week from tomorrow (apparently the same day as the NY marathon, which BitchCakes is running in for the first time, mine is a little shorter at 3.4 km), my "running" training is mainly walking still. I'll get to the finish line eventually, but whether anyone else will still be there is another matter.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Weigh-in Wednesday: 78.8 kg. Or 78.3 kg.


Yesterday I did the newly habitual step on and off the scale a few times and then take the average or the most common number, whatever seems most appropriate at the time, and just accept that it isn't very accurate. I ended up with 78.8 kg. When I went to the gym later, I used their scales (after breakfast, after BodyPump class, no shoes) and got 78.3 kg. I like that number better. Not that much better though. I've exercised a lot these past couple of weeks and my weight just bobs up and down over a 1 kg range. I admit to binging a lot during my 5 day nightmare TOM.

Anyway, I did the BodyPump class and increased the weights a little on two tracks. I had been putting off doing that until I was doing weights regularly, but that hasn't happened so I decided to go ahead and increase anyway. As usual, the only muscles sore the next day are thighs and glutes, from the squats and lunges. I also did a short session on the rowing machine, and then in the afternoon I played PowerUp Heros on the Kinect. Also walked the kids to and from school, while they rode their scooters. Quite an active day, and no desire to binge eat at all!

Today I was scheduled to do some walk/run intervals so I drove to the lake. Since Floriade was over, I decided to park over the other side of the lake at the National Library, where I always used to park. Today the car park was full. The next public car park had a locked gate. I drove on to another spot and found another car park closed off with signs saying "authorised access only" but with a young family getting out of one of the two cars in the otherwise empty space. I moved on and found another car park beside the lake, further around from where I usually walk, this one had paid parking instead of free. I hadn't expected to need money on my walk, but I did have an emergency $2 coin in my pocket. The ticketing machine ate it. I decided the universe was against me, and went home.

After a restorative cup of tea and then an early lunch, I used the XBox Kinect to play PowerUp Heros again -- a really good workout with lots of punching and kicking -- but I couldn't get past the second boss Malignance X, so I swapped to Just Dance 3 and got my groove on. I was dripping sweat with 10 mins before I had to pick up the kids. I still had my training run to do while they were at gymnastics, so I wanted to keep my sports bra on (my shoulder stiffness means I can't put on a normal bra without assistance) but I didn't want to go up to the school and then to gymnastics all red-faced and sweaty. I compromised with an awkward shower with my bra still on. It took some contortions, but I did ok. Enough to feel a bit fresher, anyway.

With the kids safely in their gymnastics classes, I set off for my training run. I had finally remembered to transfer some more CDs to my iPhone so I had some new music to choose from (Tina Cousins today). It wasn't a great day for running, there had been a severe wind warning and although I'm sure it was worse elsewhere it was bad enough where I was, pushing into a headwind with dust being whipped into my eyes. And my shins started hurting on the first running interval. I ended up doing five of the eight intervals then just walking the rest, my shins were so sore. Not a good sore, like you can argue exercised muscles feel. A "am I doing serious damage?" kind of sore.

I'm having some serious doubts about the whole running thing. I'm mainly doing it because lots of other weight loss bloggers have said they never thought they would be a runner but now they love it. I want to give it more of a chance that I have done so far, and at least complete one 5K. This evening I read up on shin pain when running but there was no consensus of what causes it or what to do about it. I don't think it is overtraining, the main quoted cause, with three short running sessions in the past two weeks, and it hurt the first time from the first moment. My shoes aren't that old, but I will get some extra padding inserts anyway to see if that helps. The most likely thing is my running style, which is probably just all wrong and puts too much pressure on my shins. I'll keep working on it. Only a bit over a week until my my 3.4K, my first race.

picture of PowerUp Heros from iconicimage