Thursday, February 28, 2013

WIWT 77.7kg and swapping to Cycle Two


This morning, after a week of the 17 Day Diet (followed imperfectly, I admit, but a pretty good effort) I was 77.7 kg, down 1.2 kg. A decent loss. I was down to 77.0 kg a couple of days ago but that was after a tummy bug so I'm not surprised it went up again.

I've stuck to Cycle One, the first 17 days of the plan, for a week; but the whole time I've been wondering if it was worth it. Losing weight is a good and important thing and I'm willing to go through a certain amount of unpleasantness for it. And "they" say it takes a while to get used to low carb. But I've felt so tired and a bit sad and like I'm living in a fog. I've had little interest in anything. I was halfway through the last book of a trilogy I was really enjoying, but set that aside as too much mental effort and turned to children's books like Alice in Wonderland -- I often do this when I'm sick. I go back to bed during the day. I watch morning TV. This isn't living!

I've decided to move on early to Cycle Two, which allows some carbs (and red meat) every second day. In fact I'm going to have limited carbs every day. I realise this can no longer be called the 17 Day Diet. I'm now on Natalie's 7 Day Diet. It is loosely based on the 17 Day Diet, but designed for my body. And I'm adding back "forbidden" fruit like bananas! And green grapes. How come I'll allowed red grapes but not green?

It will still be low-processed and moderate-carb.

I need more energy to exercise. And to just think normally. I had carbs at lunch time and it made me feel so happy.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Running all eight intervals


Woo hoo! I ran all eight intervals this morning. Pretty good improvement from only two a couple of days ago.

I had another very restless night, both from knowing I had to get up early and from having to get up to pee a lot. Got up before the alarm and dressed but Joe was here while I was still pouring a glass of water -- no time for breakfast! I think he was early, he said he had been up for an hour.

It had rained during the night but only the lightest of sprinkles as we set out. I strapped up my ankle and it felt ok during the run. Sopping wet grass again but I just put up with it and avoided complaining about everything. I actually felt much better overall than I had on Tuesday.

Joe had been telling me for a while that if I couldn't go the distance, just jog slower until I could. I felt I was already jogging very slowly, but today I really tried. I felt like I was practially jogging on the spot. I worked on relaxing my body and keeping my head up. My goal was to do five of the eight intervals, I thought I might reduce 3, 5 & 7 if I needed to. But I got through the first four, then six, and I only had two more to go! The last two hurt but I did it. Once you factor in my slow recovery walks in between, I probably could have averaged a faster pace walking briskly, but I'm working on endurance at this stage not speed. So I am pretty happy with that.

My ankle is a bit worse, which is a worry. I have it strapped and will rest it.

Ankles and yoghurt


The aftermath of the run yesterday morning was that my left hip and ankle ached a bit for the rest of the day (no muscle soreness at all) and then my ankle was worse today. It's the one I twisted months ago, and it's been a bit delicate since. I toyed with the idea of cancelling tomorrow's run but decided that backing out on the second time is really setting a bad precedent for myself. I'll go, and if my ankle is really sore I'll just walk the whole time. It might also be raining. Even if it's not actually raining at the time, the grass will be sopping wet again as it's been raining all today. Oh well, I managed to get my sneakers dry in a very slow oven.

I feel like everything else I can think of to say is very whiney: oh low-carb makes me tired, oh it's too humid with all this rain in summer, oh why do I have to get up early tomorrow. Boring.

The weight loss has picked up, I have lost nearly 2 kg in five days. But half of that was last night after a bit of a stomach upset, and probably doesn't count. Still, it's been a steady downward direction since that hiccup on day two. I think 2 kg in the first week would be awesome, and then I would be happy with 1 kg a week after that.

I haven't got through a 100% diet-compliant day yet. Red meat and chocolate, mainly. But I've stayed away from the carbs and I think that is the main element of this plan. Tonight we had a lovely chicken casserole with potato and some crusty bread to mop up the juices and I only had the chicken and non-potato vegetables. And a salad. So strong!

I seem to have found a yoghurt I almost like. Generally I think yoghurt is cold and slimy and unpleasant, and the fruity ones way too sweet and the low-sugar ones way too fake-sweet but the natural ones too tangy -- like milk that has gone off. Which maybe it is. But I occasionally eat it to be virtuous and this diet demands either yogurt or a variety of things even more revolting (like some kind of fermented sour milk thing I've never heard of) for pro-biotics. So I tried a few different brands and I've found I almost like the Roaming Cow natural yoghurt (neither low-fat nor Greek-style, just natural) with chopped up fruit mixed in. Real fruit provides just enough flavour and sweetness. Passionfruit, raspberries and strawberries are all good.

I am also drinking yakult every day, that little bottle of stuff that tastes like melted ice cream. Now that, I like. I've hidden it from the kids or I wouldn't get any.

I'd better get me to bed, I have to get up early tomorrow! My goal for the session, assuming my ankle allows, is to do better than yesterday. Ie, run the whole of more than two of the eight intervals. And not complain so much to Joe about having to get up early. At least it is light by the time I get out the door.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Re-starting C25K training


I usually get up at 7.30 but this morning I set the alarm on my iPhone to 6.45 and put it beside my bed (I usually leave it charging in the kitchen all night). I woke in the dark and checked the time: 4.30. Back to sleep. Woke in the dark and checked the time: 5.45. Still an hour to go. Couldn't get back to sleep. Why can't I just trust that the alarm will wake me! I always do this.

Finally got out of bed in the dawn gloom and got into my running gear, ate a nectarine and drank some water. Joe was at the door before I was really ready but I grabbed my stuff (iPhone, earbuds, tissue). We walked briskly to the oval -- as usual it was a real effort for me to keep up with someone else's brisk walk, not only is everyone else fitter than me but they are also considerably taller. I am only 5' tall (152 cm) and leg length makes a difference! But I pushed hard and kept up.

Once there I did C25K training, starting again from day 1 week 1. Eight 60 second intervals with 90 second recovery walks in between. I stayed in the running lanes. Joe was jogging around the outside of the oval continuously for the 20 mins at about 12 kph. The lanes are just marked on the grass, which is usually a lovely surface to run on but after days of rain it was utterly sopping wet. My shoes and socks were sodden before I started the first interval, which was a bit cold and uncomfortable.

I managed the whole 60 seconds on the first two intervals but after than only got to about 30 seconds before dropping to a walk. I am determined to get better, and I will, but I am just not a natural runner. I really struggle to get any kind of rhythm and it feels uncomfortable in a way that is different from just muscle tiredness. I haven't done many of these running training sessions, but this was possibly the worst so far. The low-carb diet may be contributing to that. Whether that is the case or not, I'll just keep trying and I'm sure I'll improve in time. We are going to do two mornings a week.

With walking there and back and the intervals and a bit of stretching it was 45 mins of exercise.

Joe has an interesting way of setting his goals for races -- he aims to complete the race in less than double the winner's time. The winner of any race is generally a pretty elite athlete, so this isn't as easy as it may sound. Some people can do a 5k in about 13 minutes!

The first female in the Verti-cool challenge last year did it in 3:26, which gives me a time of 6:52 to aim for. That seems achievable.

The first female in my age group in the Canberra Times fun run last year did it in 23:48, which gives me a time of 47:36 to beat. I certainly hope to do that, it's only about 5 mins less than my current best. But the first female overall did it in 17:23 and I don't think I can do 34:46. Whatever, I'll do my best! Looking up those times again just then I discovered another fun run in September to aim towards.

Whatever my results are, it is all good exercise.

Day 4/17: Compliance


I struggled a bit with complying to the rules of this diet for the first few days as I was trying to work around the fact that I had already planned and shopped for meals. Although I stayed away from all starchy carbs, I did have lots of red meat and some take-away rotisserie chicken.

I did the shopping this morning and should be able to follow the rules more closely. Tonight we had san choy bau, made with turkey mince instead of pork. I couldn't tell the difference. Lots of vegetables and wrapped in lettuce leaves. I chopped everything beforehand then did the run back and forth to the kids' activities then cooked quickly when I got home.

I did 45 mins of Dance this morning and got 5 stars on three more dances, only 11 to go. Getting up tomorrow to do my C25K training with Joe.

I'm not sure how I'm going with the fairly low-carb nature of this diet. I've been feeling a bit down, not sure if it's related. When I tried a really low-carb diet I was miserable and irritable, but this isn't so extreme -- I have two fruits a day and most vegetables. I haven't noticed any cravings except I would really like a bit of sugar in my tea! But overall my spirit is a little low. I'll continue to give it a go, but if I think it is affecting me adversely I will jump to Cycle 2 of the diet which allows some carbs (and red meat) every second day.

I don't think I am exercising with full energy either, but it's only for two more weeks so I am not worried about performance. I'll be having carbs by race day.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

I hate my scales


Yes I know I have only been on this diet for two days. But generally I drop a lot of weight in the first two days (I've been on a few diets these past three years, since just before I turned 40), it's when I lose all the water weight. So to lose only a few hundred grams in the first 24 hours and then PUT HALF BACK ON in the second 24 hours was really really discouraging. If I can't drop some weight at the very start of a diet then can I at all? I did so much exercise and ate so little!

Nevertheless I restrained myself from throwing the scales out the window, had a healthy breakfast and did half an hour of dance. My sore legs had disturbed my sleep again, waking me every time I moved (all that work in the past two days!) but dancing limbered them up a bit.

Then we tried to go to Canberra Show. But after trudging through the huge car park it started pouring rain when we were in the queue to go in and we all got totally soaked and cold. The sky was completely grey and very low so we gave up and went home again. Bit sad to miss seeing all the animals and the woodchopping and stuff, but we'll see it next year and might even go to the Sydney Royal Easter Show in a couple of weeks.

We got a rotisserie chicken on the way home, not a very healthy choice but at least I didn't have any chips. And it was delicious and warming. But I guess I shouldn't expect any weight loss tomorrow either.

Training Goals

more Saturday:

I just signed up for a 5K (the Canberra Times fun run) -- my first 5K. So now I have two things to train for.

The Verti-cool Challenge, a 403 stair race up Telstra Tower, is on 24 March -- 4 weeks from tomorrow. As I have no continuous set of stairs to train on, it is very difficult to set a realistic goal based on my current knowledge. I nearly died doing up + down in under 10 minutes yesterday, but I should be fitter than that by race day (and won't have any "down" to worry about). I plan to be. I looked up last year's results and the winner did it in 2:47. OMG, right? The first woman (12th place overall) took 3:26. She probably wasn't over 40, but who knows. The first 100 or so people did it in 5:00 or less. So that is my goal, 5:00. That may be unrealistic, I just don't know. It is something to aim for.

To train for it I will use the library steps again at least once a week, plus climb Mt Ainslie (only 50 or so stairs, but lots and lots of "up") with Caroline on Saturdays. Which means I may never get around to doing Parkrun on Saturday mornings, but I'd rather climb with my friend. If she can't go some weeks I could do Parkrun then.

The Fun Run is on 13 April, so I have 7 weeks for that. I am going to start up my C25K training again, this afternoon I organised with a friend to run at the local oval two mornings a week, getting out of bed a bit earlier than usual. He is much fitter than me (like most people!) and has even run a marathon but we'll just be doing laps of the oval so we don't have to be going at the same pace. It's just nice to have a companion to make sure you get up and do it, and keep you company.

Unfortunately we have storms forcast all week so I'm not sure how that is going to go.

I had a look at my C25K app to see how many weeks the training course was (it's 9, I only have 7 -- and only plan to do two days a week not three, but then I don't expect to run the whole 5K) and it's been so long since I'd done it a suggestion came up that I start again from the beginning! I'd only done the first two days anyway, so I didn't have that much fitness to lose.

Last year's results for this particular fun run included the first woman in my age group of 40-49 (91st overall) with a time of 23:48. Since my best ever time is about 52 minutes, and I still can't run eight 1-minute intervals in a row, I don't expect to get anywhere near that time. I have seven weeks to train so of course I will get better ... I'll set a goal closer to the time but atm I think 40 mins would be pretty good for me.

And on in-between days, I'll keep on dancing at home!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Day 2/17 Climbing Mt Ainslie


Last night my legs were so sore and I was so tired that I went to bed before 9.00 pm. I slept pretty soundly but woke whenever I turned over because my legs hurt, especially my calves and just above my knees. Who would have thought that only ten minutes of really intense exercise would exhaust me so much? And this morning I was very stiff.

The plan was to walk up Mt Ainslie with my friend Caroline this morning. It was raining a bit, so it was yes then no then yes. We didn't mind rain but were worried about it being slippery. We left an hour later than expected but it stayed rain-free for us. I had driven up Mt Ainslie once, to the look-out, but never walked up; Caroline had done it many times. She is much fitter than me.

I didn't have a really good idea of what to expect, I was thinking lots of stairs (particularly as Caroline had suggested it as good training for my Verti-cool challenge). Actually there were very few. The first two thirds of the climb is very steep, the path going on a straight line up through bushland with just the occasional rocky step. Then the next bit zig-zags back and forth so it's not as steep, then finally about 50 stairs at the top to the look-out with really magnificent views of Canberra and the lake.

The first ten minutes or so were the worst. My legs were already stiff and sore, and Caroline walks faster than me although I'm sure she slowed down for me. I was panting and sweating and trying to keep up. Then my muscles loosened up a bit and it wasn't so hard, but still very steep. After 30 mins we sat down briefly, Caroline thought we were more than half-way but it still looked like a long way to go. She asked if I wanted to stop but I decided to keep going. But shortly after that I said I couldn't go any further. We were up to the gentler zig-zags but my body was just so tired. Caroline asked me to wait for her while she jogged to the top (jogged! I was dying from walking!) and I decided to keep walking and I wouldn't turn around until she got back to me. But by the time she got back I had covered more than half the remaining distance on my own and was determined to get to the top. She encouraged me that it wasn't too much further and we walked up together, lots of stairs mainly which was pretty painful!

We got to the very top after 41 mins and 40 seconds of climbing. Maybe that doesn't sound so much to you, but remember it was very steep nearly all the way. After a few minutes we started down again. It was generally much easier going down, but the steepest bits were very hard on the knees. It took about 30 mins to get to the bottom.

I am exhausted. My whole body aches. I can forsee another very early night. But we are doing it again next week! Great exercise.

It was really good chatting time too. Well, when I had enough breath to talk.

Day 2 of 17 Day Diet. Started the day with hot water and lemon, fruit and yoghurt. Chicken and vegetable stir fry for lunch. No sugar in my tea. Being very good.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The 17 Day Diet


I'll talk about the diet in a moment, but first -- my day. I finished an editing project yesterday and had today off, so I made exercise my focus. I haven't done a lot of that lately. And the Verti-cool challenge is coming up fast. So, despite inclement weather, I walked into the local town centre (about 40 mins including taking the kids to school) and then ran up 400 stairs, 25 at a time.

Last time I did these stairs, a few weeks ago, I ran up each set of 25 then walked down the ramp; giving me a fairly long break between sets. And it wasn't too hard at all. Today I ran up each set then walked briskly down the stairs. I've never come so close to vomiting due to exercise. I walked up number 11 and 15 (out of 16 sets) but ran the rest. I was completely buggered. But I did it in under 10 minutes.

I went and sat outside the library, waiting for it to open, and drank half my bottle of water. Ten minutes later I stood to go in and my legs were trembling so badly I was worried I was going to fall. I made it inside and went to the bathroom. My face (more than 10 minutes after finishing exercise) was a rather frightening shade of magenta. I always go very pink when I exercise hard, but this was like an overripe tomato. If I was a bystander I would be worried for me.

I collected The 17 Day Diet book and recipe book the library had on hold for me and sat down to read for a while, getting the basics. 45 minutes later I checked my face in the mirror again, down to a mere flush. My legs were still a bit wobbly. Despite bananas not being allowed in phase 1, I ate the one I had with me. I definitely needed the calories to get me home. Then I walked home (a bit over 20 mins), at first with rain driving into my face but then it stopped and the sun came out rather dramatically which was nice.

After a very rushed lunch (chicken and broccoli) I showered and drove back to nearly where I was to have my legs waxed. I only mention that because now my legs are sore inside and out. My calves are really feeling all the stair climbing. A friend and I are planning to climb a mountain tomorrow, I just hope I'm not too stiff to walk! I have no idea how many stairs it will involve.

I'd been thinking about researching the 17 Day Diet for a while after hearing about it on TV. Maybe Dr Phil -- although I haven't watched Dr Phil since he went all "Jerry Springer" a few of years ago. Anyway, my impression of it was slightly wrong; I had the idea that the phases change completely every 17 days. This sounded good to me as I tend to get bored with any particular plan. Actually I get bored after a week or so so I was thinking about making up my own 7 day diet with different rules each week. I like having rules, but with change as well.

The real 17 Day Diet consists of four phases or "cycles", three of 17 days each and then maintenance. The first cycle is really strict, then you add in more things on the second cyle and more still on the third. Reapeat the three as needed. Maintenance means being good all week then eating what you want on the weekends. It is basically a high-protein low-carb diet. The first cycle has no starches at all.

I've decided to try it. The first cycle is similar to what I did recently; no sugar or processed food or wheat, but also no potato or corn or rice or even quinoa. Two fruits a day, from a restricted list; low-fat dairy; healthy fats; lots of water; lots of vegetables. The only bit I really quibble with is the unlimited amount of protein -- as long as it is chicken, turkey, fish, or eggs. You don't get lean red meat until the second cycle. I have yet to find any reason for this. I won't cheat on the carbs or junk food, but I may cheat a bit on the red meat. My family don't like fish and there is no way they are going to accept chicken every night for two and a half weeks, and I really don't fancy sitting down to some lemon sole while they are having steak.

Second cycle you can add red meat and some starches like potato and rice, third cycle more variety of fruits and more starches like bread and pasta (while reducing protein a bit).

It doesn't seem very complicated and I am willing to give it a go. As a pre-diabetic, I do need to eat regular carbs but I can get them from the fruit and vegetables and dairy.

I am calling this Day 1 even though I had a forbidden banana and I've already done the shopping for the next few days so tonight I'll be having beef fajitas (wrapped in lettuce not tortillas) which is also not canon. I'm not going to wait until Monday to start, so I will do my best with what I have. One big reason not to wait is that my weight has gone up to 78.9 kg and I need to stop that upward creep.

After the first set of stairs this morning I was feeling very strong and kind of fit, and then I saw my reflection in the library window. That is always a shock, especially side-on. In my own head I am just not as fat as I really am. It is still a shock every time I see myself. But I won't let it make me miserable -- I am doing something about it.

Oh, the 17 Day Diet suggests exercising 17 minutes a day, or twice a day. (BTW, I wonder why 17 days in particular. Two and a half weeks is kind of an odd measurement, it doesn't seem to come from anywhere.) Of course I want to do more than that. I've got my Verti-cool challenge to train for, and now that we are at the tail-end of summer and it's cooling down I want to start running again. I'm still on week 1 of the C25K!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Still flailing


Nearly recovered from stomach bug. Apparently it is going around. Still flailing around not sure what to do diet-wise. I've requested the latest fad diet book from the library and I'll let you know what I think.

Have booked in with a friend to climb Mt Ainslie on Saturday morning. Lots of stairs.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

What now?


Seeing as I continued to feel sick all day yesterday, and spent the whole afternoon in bed, and still feel a little delicate today, I no longer blame too much pork crackling.

Here's the thing. Yesterday I ate my when-sick comfort foods, like toast with vegemite and two-minute noodles. And I realised how much I love food made of wheat. This morning I put sugar in my tea. And it was fantastic.

So I have no idea where I am going with my self-imposed rules. Do I ditch them? Make up new rules?

The minimum is drink lots, exercise, moderate carbs (due to pre-diabetes). Do I continue to count calories? No processed food (or as little as possible)? Try to go back to no sugar/wheat on Monday?
I have no answers right at the moment.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Pork crackling


Last night I tried a new recipe, pulled pork. I thought it would be quite healthy (hah!) as there was no added fat at all, the marinade was orange and lime juice with about eight different herbs and spices. I just left out the salt. It had its three hours of slow cooking and came out of the oven all falling-apart tender.

So I started to pull it apart with forks. I had bought tortillas for the others, I was having mine wrapped in lettuce leaves. There were some crunchy overcooked bits around the edges, so I ate those as I worked. Delicious. And the crackling. It was on the top after the last turn in the juices so it was all nice and crispy. So I nibbled at that too. Just a bit here and a bit there. But the "pulling" process took longer than I expected and there was very little of the crackling left when I was done. I discarded all the semi-dissolved fat that was under the crackling.

You were supposed to strain off the fat and toss the remaining juices back in with the shredded pork, but I seemed to have only fat left in the pan. Indeed, when it congealed later it was all fat. So I didn't use that. The shredded pork looked pretty good. But I was feeling oddly full. And then I bit down on a whole clove. I know some people used to chew then to freshen breath or something, but I found it revolting. I really struggled not to throw up as I tried to scrape it out of my back teeth. Really horrid taste.

I at with the kids and had one tiny lettuce leaf wrap and I was done. Very full. And still a bit nauseous. As the evening went on I felt more and more queasy. I had a shot of Cointreau (orange liqueur) to settle my stomach and it helped a bit.

This morning I felt much better, although the smell of pork fat lingering in the kitchen still turned my stomach. I had a slice of watermelon and a cup of tea for breakfast. Now I feel truly nauseated. I've been fighting it all morning. Some dry rice crackers (not on my pre-diabetes approved list, but good for nausea) have helped a little but I still feel sick. I'm not longer sure it is just from too much crackling. Would the effects of that last so long? Maybe I'm actually sick.

That was a longer story about me feeling sick than I had planned!

Would pulled pork still turn out tender if I removed all skin and fat before I cooked it?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

WIWT: 78.5 kg


78.5 kg. I don't like that number. I don't like it at all. I was down to 77.7 just a few days ago but it's up and stubbornly staying up. I felt quite miserable about it this morning and didn't want to do anything but I made myself go for a long walk. Elderly couples and women in high heels were cruising past me. It took about half an hour before my body started to loosen up and I increased my speed and started to enjoy it.

My fluid intake has slumped, I'm back down to around six glasses a day and struggling to force down any more.

I'm not eating any of the foods on my banned list, and I'm not eating too many calories overall, but I'm eating too much chocolate. A couple of squares twice a week has gone up to four (large) squares every day.

I don't know if I'm tired and unhappy because I'm not eating enough carbs (I'm having plenty of fruit and vegetables, and a starchy food like rice or potato once a day, but it's a lot less than I used to have) or for some other reason. I had a headache all day yesterday. I don't have a lot of energy. Gravity feels too heavy. But I don't want to grumble and complain and give excuses all the time. I want to be cheerful and perky.

I don't understand the paleo diet. They seem to ban honey and grains, but paleolithic man would have had both, according to anthropologists. Neanderthals ground and ate grains. It's not science, it's just something someone made up.

Maybe I should become a fruitarian. Stop killing lettuce! The silence of the carrots! Only eat things that were designed by their creator to be eaten, like apples and cucumber. Things with seeds (the plant wants you to eat the fruit and poop out the seeds with some accompanying fertiliser). I suppose milk would be fine too, that is created specifically to be consumed. And honey. Sure, it's designed to be eaten by the bee (or drunk by the calf, in the case of cow's milk), but close enough. Isn't so weird that we find the thought of human milk distasteful after a couple of years old, but we drink milk from other animals?! We squeeze a cow's bosoms (or get someone else to, anyway) and drink that, but almost no-one would eat human-milk yoghurt. I think cancer patients sometimes drink donated human milk. Full of antibodies or something.

That was a bit of a tangent. But it cheered me up.

I'll work on increasing fluids and exercise again.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Trying to turn it around


After that fried chicken binge my weight was up 800 grams (about 2 lbs) the next morning. And it's only gone down a little bit today. Still working on it. It is very discouraging that one meal can undo a week's work. Not worth it! My husband also gained a kilo but lost most of it again straight away.

Yesterday I went for a long walk after dropping the kids at school, and then came home and did some dancing. Then went out to lunch with my husband -- we made healthy choices at a Thai restaurant but it probably still had a lot of salt. Then last night we had D&D and I ate a fair bit of chocolate. So even though I was within my calories, I guess there are good reasons why I haven't dropped the fried chicken weight.

Today I had planned to go to the gym for the first time in ages and do a Body Pump class and then try to work out the stepper. When I've tried before I get on and just sinks slowly to the ground. But I didn't end up going because I would have had to rush and I didn't want to rush. I wanted to sit and have a cup of tea and then put on some laundry as my son had no clean school uniform today and had to wear non-uniform shorts and we are nearly out of towels and the laundry is overflowing with dirty clothes, all on the floor because all the baskets are currently full of clean clothes in the bedroom. So I guess I'm doing more dancing today instead.

Then I'll be going out to lunch again with some colleagues for a catch-up chat but I know that the food there is greasy and not very nice so I am taking my own bit of chicken and salad (which will be fine at this place, the cafeteria at the museum).

I was up peeing several times last night -- trying to flush out the salt I assume -- and I'm feeling tired and blah today. But life goes on regardless, things to do! Fat to make cry!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Being good, being bad, and not giving up


Yesterday we drove to Sydney for my sister-in-law's baby shower. We had McDonald's for lunch on the way but I checked the carbs and calories online and Tim and I were both pretty moderate: six nuggets and a small fries each, no drink. Tim left the kids & I at the party and went off with the boys. The house had exploded with pinkness and sugar. The girls had descended and decorated everything, then covered all surfaces with beautifully decorated cupcakes, cookies, brownies and lollies (candy). There was even a table in the hall where you could make your own "party bag" as you left, with pink lollypops, pink jellybeans, musk sticks, pink smarties, raspberry licorice, and marshmallows -- plus the gingerbread I had made decorated to look like pink buttons (the theme was "cute as a button").

It was a lot to resist but luckily I don't really have a sweet tooth and everything was sweet! I still would have liked to have a few things but I only had a couple of pieces of chocolate and some watermelon, and also a piece of low-fat cheese that I had brought from home. Also two cups of tea from a gorgeous vintage English teacup, one girl collects them and brought them over for the occasion.

It was all very girly and ... pink. We played baby-shower games and gave presents and chatted and it was a really nice afternoon. The kids spent a lot of time playing their Nintendo or the iPad, I was amazed that I never had to drag them away from all the junk food. They had a few things but didn't over-do it at all. Aiden, who recently turned six, was the only male there and felt a bit shy, he spent a lot of time in my lap or retreated to the bedroom.

I actually thought to myself how lucky I was, for my powers of self-control, that it was all sweet and there was no chips to resist; then right at the end I noticed a pile of bags of chips and Doritos in the corner of the kitchen that had never been put out. So fortune smiled on me. I wasn't sorry, I was really glad. I wouldn't have eaten them anyway, but it's so much easier if they aren't even offered.

After the party the family and the party organisers went to a Chinese restaurant (which was kind of weird as my sister-in-law and her parents are Chinese so they have Chinese food all the time, but it was Chinese New Year so we felt it was appropriate) and again I ate moderately with only a little rice and a bit of everything else. Nothing deep fried. I guesstimate that I even stayed within my calories for the day, despite the party and eating out for two meals. We drove home late into the night while the kids slept in the back.

I don't know if it was the bad food that I did have, or the late night, or complete lack of exercise, or whatever, but my stomach rebelled during the night and I didn't feel so well. I really didn't want to get out of bed this morning to get the kids ready for their swimming carnival! And in the end I forgot to give Jasmine a towel. Whoops.

Anyway, by mid-morning I felt fine again. I worked hard all day finishing a project, no time for exercise unfortunately, then after school spent the next three hours basically ferrying children to their extra-curricular activities. Mondays are very busy for us and I still haven't worked out how to do it without take-away. Last week I at least tried to go for the least unhealthy option, but today I just dived head-first into the fried chicken. Hello salt and fat. I ate way too much, too, and after my husband got home and had his share I picked at the leftovers. I feel greasy and yuck. I'd been so good up until then! Maybe I had just used up all my resist-junk cards yesterday.

Afterwards I briefly had that feeling you get when you've broken a diet and you feel like you've done so badly you might as well give up. Major fail. But no. It is just one meal, just one slip-up. I entered the food into my tracker and didn't stress about the nearly 1000 calories for one meal or the carbs or the fat and salt. It is done, move on. Not only is tomorrow a new day, but this second is a new start. Or not even a new start, I don't need a new start. I never stopped. I tripped a bit but I am still going. A few pieces of fried chicken can't defeat me!

I think I have a couple of weeks now before my next big work project comes in so I'll only have little bits of work here & there, and plenty of time to exercise and plan healthy food and work out how I'm managing next Monday's hectic dinner-time. We have some cooler weather lined up so I can spend time outdoors. I need to do a lot of training for this Verti-cool challenge stair-climb and the best option I've found so-far is still the stairs near the library. I also want to do some running, and more dancing, and get back to the gym (where I haven't been for months, but they don't have childcare during school holidays) to do some weight training. I'm quite looking forward to it all. But sleep first.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Full not stuffed


I'm trying to work on portion sizes. In my quest to have healthy yet delicious and interesting lunches (with no wheat or processed food), I've been ending up with fairly elaborate meals that are as large as I would have at dinner time. Some say you should have the majority of your calories earlier in the day anyway, but since I like to have a big dinner I shouldn't eat so much at lunch time. Today I had a much smaller serve and was very satisfied: full but not stuffed. I feel much better -- sort of cleaner and more virtuous -- and hopefully won't get so sleepy in the afternoon.

Missed Parkrun again today but deliberately this time. As well as being a stinking hot day (although it probably wasn't too bad at 8 am) I am super busy getting an editing job finished and preparing for my sister-in-law's baby shower tomorrow.

I'll avoid all the cupcakes and gingerbread. I'll make sure to take some fruit so there is something I can eat and enjoy.

Back to work.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What I weigh today: 77.9 kg


I cut out sugar and flour  and salt last Thursday. Unfortunately it was one of the rare days I didn't weigh myself, but two days before that I was up to 79.6 kg so I am going with 79.5 kg as a starting weight. So:

Starting weight: 79.5 kg
Week 1: 77.9 kg
Loss: 1.6 kg
Total loss: 1.6 kg
Goal weight: 58 kg

I feel that is a great start. First week is always going to give the biggest loss, and I'm hoping for 0.5 -- 1.0 kg from now on. That is about six months. Wow, fit and healthy around my birthday!

Why is everyone so annoying today?


Got in half an hour walking and half an hour dancing, even though gravity seemed heavier today. And I should have been working. No, I should have been exercising!!

PMS, bit of a sore throat and an aching shoulder (often plays up with PMS). The world is too hot, my nose is so dry I had a nose bleed when I blew this morning and the dried snot peeled away from the nose lining even though I am drinking 10 glasses of water a day and I am sick of peeing so often, I may have a pimple on my cheek, and I'm feeling quite shouty. I've been holding in the shouting even though everyone in the world is REALLY ANNOYING. Especially my kids.

But I haven't turned to food. Only a little bit. Two unscheduled squares of chocolate. Otherwise very healthy food all day.

Monday, February 4, 2013



This is day six of the new regime. So what changes have I actually made?

I'm exercising most days, but still not all.

I have cut out almost all sugar, salt, and wheat -- and therefore almost all junk. There are exceptions. I am allowing myself chocolate a couple of times a week, so that has sugar of course. But it is dark chocolate which maximises the intensity with minimal sugar. I haven't added table salt to anything, but I have had things like soy sauce which are salty and probably has a little wheat as well, and salted nuts so I probably still need to reduce that a bit. But we do need some salt, most people just get way too much. Last night after taking Aiden to gymnastics, then Jasmine to dance lessons 15 mins away, then back to pick up Aiden, then back to pick up Jasmine ... we got take-away rotisserie chicken and chips and coleslaw. Which counts as junk in anyone's language, with huge amounts of salt and fat and also sugar in the coleslaw.


No sugar in my tea.
No salt on my dinner. I usually cover everything in salt.
Lots of water.
No bread or pasta or cake or biscuits or lollies (candy) apart from a little chocolate, even during a party, and no dessert even when we had visitors.
Low fat cheese.
Natural yoghurt with no sugar or chemicals in it, into which I stir some real fruit.
More than five serves of vegetables a day, and two of fruit.
Around 1400 calories a day. This is not actually my focus, but is has been easy to achieve due to what I have been eating.

I am still eating plenty of carbohydrate, in the form of quinoa, potato and other vegetables and fruit. Lots and lots of vegetables. But within my pre-diabetic guidelines.

I've lost over a kilogram.

I feel quite tired, but I often do so it is hard to judge if that is any different. I am still eating carbs, but I could be having sugar withdrawal.

I am drinking twice or three times as much fluids as usual, but paradoxically I am now thirsty all the time (this often happens when I drink more, it must turn on my dehydration meter whereas my body usually thinks I must live in a desert so it doesn't bother me with thirst) and also my skin has suddenly become very dry. I have dry patches on my face, the inside of my nose is getting sore because the mucus dries up (sorry for that image) and my hands are dry too. I am rarely in air conditioning as the weather has been quite temperate lately, so it isn't that. My body is weird.

So I couldn't say that I feel like I'm bursting with health or full of energy. Hopefully that will come.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Portion size


Today at the supermarket I heard a slender woman say to another (who I couldn't see) "I would be wearing shorts too if I had your legs." Isn't it sad that in our society it is impossible to be thin enough, to be perfect enough. Maybe it wasn't her weight, maybe she didn't like their shape or colour or tone; but in any case we are so hung-up on appearance that many of us are ashamed of our perfectly fuctional bodies. I certainly include myself. That lady wanted to be as thin (I'm assuming for the moment it was about weight) as the other woman, I want to be as thin as her, there are probably many people who wish they were as thin as me. Never content. Of course a lot of it is relative to your heaviest-ever weight. If you start at 400 pounds then I imagine 200 pounds feels wonderful. But if you start only 5 pounds overweight you still see flab. And if you are your goal weight then you probably hate your loose skin or your nose or your ankles or your too small/too big breasts or something.

While I need to lose weight for my health, I deserve to love myself as I am and be grateful for all the things my body can do. I am not only my bulges.

I've continued to do well with eating mainly natural healthy foods, but I still need to work a bit on portion sizes. I fill up my plate too much at dinner time, so much so that I don't always eat it all, and eat in the evening when I am not even hungry. I was craving salty/crunchy last night so had some salted cashews and ate far too many. I should have put some in a bowl instead of eating straight from the packet! I wasn't actually hungry to start with, just craving.

Last day of school holidays. Kindergarten started today, everyone else goes back tomorrow. It's been a long summer holiday.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Resisting temptation


It was Jasmine's birthday party yesterday so there was a group of kids here, primarily nine year old girls, plus some family who stayed the whole weekend. I served our usual party fare: an ice cream cake, decorate-your-own cupcakes, chips, lollies. But I didn't eat any of that stuff! I had quite a few calories but all of "real" food: cashews, cheese, and fruit. Nothing there to feel guilty about. I just chatted to the adults, organised stuff for the kids, and sipped a cup of tea (with no sugar). The thing that really tempted me, as expected, was the cheese & bacon balls (a chip/cheeto thing if you are not familiar with them). Even before I opened the packet I was imagining that wonderful fake cheese smell. But I resisted them, and felt pretty good about the party overall.

Because we had family here I had a slightly special dinner with cream sauce. As usual I don't check the calories before I eat it and was a bit horrified -- I probably added over 300 calories just with the sauce! Delicious though, and it was still real food made from scratch. And no sugar or salt or flour added, so I stuck to my self-imposed rules. I beat myself up about the high calories for a little while but then put it behind me. I didn't have any dessert, even though it was lemon tart. During supper while others were drinking schnapps and eating Doritos (drool) I nibbled at a few chocolates, which was part of my plan to stop myself feeling deprived. I did crave the Doritos but I knew that I wouldn't be able to stop with just a few, so they are banned. At the end of the evening the half-full packet was on the counter, gaping open. I deliberately left it that way so they would go stale, and this morning threw it out. I could have thrown it out last night but didn't want to look like I was wasting them.

This morning I did an hour of Just Dance 4. It was kind of weird because at the start it felt like everyone was watching me. But I knew that if I didn't do it first thing it would never get done. I did well for most of the hour then suddenly after one dance (Aiden was doing "The Final Countdown" with me) I felt a bit dizzy and completely out of energy. I dragged myself through two more dances, taking it easy, to make up the hour. If you feel nauseated, that means you're doing it right, right?

Tim had a bit more food than me over the weekend but that is fine, we are only reducing his carbs not cutting them out or worrying about calories.

In short, the new determination to get both myself and my husband healthy is going very well.

My dietitian friend was here for the party, as usual she promotes a very moderate line in dieting while at the same time trying very hard not to offend anyone. She is very much against low-carb diets and feels that sugar and flour have their place in a balanced diet that is otherwise mainly fresh fruit and vegetables and lean meat etc. But she didn't think I was being too extreme and I am happy with how it is going so I'll stick with it. The only time she has reacted strongly was when I was trying to stick to 1000 calories a day, briefly a couple of years ago, even then she was very polite about saying she didn't think it was a good idea. She agrees cutting out (or cutting down on) junk is a good idea and that is why removing sugar and flour can work -- it bans a lot of the processed rubbish which is full of sugar and flour. She did say, which I didn't know, that high-fructose corn syrup is only a problem in the US and we don't use it much here in Australia.

I am feeling hungry more, but I think that is a good thing. You are supposed to feel hungry just before a meal. I am certainly looking forward to my food, and I am trying to make sure it is still delicious as well as healthy.

Friday, February 1, 2013

A New Hope


I've had two whole days of eating cleanly -- yay! Yesterday I actually ended up only eating about 750 calories, which is really weird and certainly wasn't planned, but when you cut out sugar and flour and replace it with lots of vegetables you end up being full on very few calories. Who knew? More balanced today, with quinoa at lunch and potato at dinner, although I am a bit pissed off right now after plugging my dinner into my tracker. I had oven-baked salmon to be healthy, we don't eat fish much in this house and I had to cook something else for my husband and daughter, and it turns out my 200g fillet was 400 calories! It was quite a big serve, but still. It was FISH! It is supposed to be all healthy, damnit, not fatty and calorie-ridden.

My dietitian told me to stop having sugar in my tea six months ago and I resisted and resisted, telling myself I would cut down, buying low-GI sugar, even trying fructose instead. But I was just in denial. Yesterday I went cold turkey. "They" say you get used to it, and eventually prefer it that way. At the moment it still tastes a bit nasty. Oh well, I switched from a tiny splash of lemon cordial to a squeeze of real lemon juice in my water ages ago and I definitely prefer that now so I hope it does work out.

While in this slightly annoyed after-dinner mood I read a post from a weight-loss blog I follow and it was all about God loving us. It's her blog and totally her right to talk about her Christianity as she does sometimes, usually I think it's kind of sweet if deluded. Tonight I wanted to comment: yes, he shows his love with earthquakes and cancer, he embraces us with his bushfires. But I restrained myself. Earlier today I also stopped myself making a irritable comment on another person's blog. Hmm, seeing a pattern here.

Aside from this rant, I've been feeling pretty good. I thought I would have big sugar cravings but I haven't really. I've probably had small amounts of sugar in the soy sauce, tomato salsa, and splash of salad dressing I've had over the past two days. Anything in a bottle or jar is going to have salt and sugar. But I've cut down a lot. I didn't even put salt on my potato tonight, maybe for the first time in my whole life.

I'm never sure if tracking is a good idea for me. I get so calorie-focussed. Suddenly yoghurt, or any dairy, seems too high-calorie to fit into my day. Salmon is evil. I'm tracking for the moment because I do like doing it, but I'll keep note of how it makes me feel. I do need to keep track of carbs though.

I'm not really sure what my long term plan is. I'm cutting out sugar and flour (and salt) but still having other "white" starches like rice and potato -- in moderate amounts of low-GI versions. Chips (crisps) are my worst binge trigger and I don't plan on having any of those for a while but I will have some chocolate a couple of times a week.

I am feeling tentatively hopeful.

I wish I had weighed myself yesterday before I started, but I was up to 79.6 (or was it 79.7?) kg a few days ago. I was 79.0 kg this morning. It's a start.