Thursday, October 31, 2013

Some unresolved issues


I grew up very close to my mum's side of the family, some lived in the same street and all of us had Sunday dinner at Grandma's every week. I was the oldest girl. I moved cities around 15 years ago so I've gradually met up with them less and less, now it's every second Christmas plus weddings.

In those fifteen years I've put on a lot of weight. And they haven't. I have three aunts in their 60s who could all star in an infomercial about the latest abdominal toning equipment or miracle face cream. My cousins (male and female) are all toned and tanned and slender and athletic. They play sport and watch sport and coach sport and at least one has done some modelling. My mum and I are the only overweight ones.

They are lovely people. They have never done anything to make me feel bad, not deliberately. But in contrast to them I feel short and fat and dumpy and inadequate.

No other group makes me feel like this. My husband's family are all shapes and sizes and I feel very comfortable with them. I am probably the fattest of my friends, but that doesn't bother me. But I am growing to dread every second Christmas. About six months before I generally go into a bit of a diet panic. Six months is long enough to make a difference. Then the months pass and I haven't lost any weight and I feel worse and worse and more desperate.

One of my younger cousins has just got engaged. She's having an engagement party in a month, and I felt like we should go even though I was never close to her, she is nearly 20 years younger than me and she was only little when I moved away. Her big sister is my favourite cousin. But I was dreading it so much that I was lying awake for ages last night agonising about it. Thinking I'd have to get something new to wear but no matter what I bought I would still look dumpy. Not fitting in with the beautiful people partying on a rooftop in the middle of the city. Feeling awkward and clumsy and FAT.

I said earlier in the week that I'd had a bad dream and started the day off badly. At the time, I didn't connect the dream to this. I do now. In the dream I was at my grandma's place with all my cousins and I was being ostracized by everyone. I would try to play with them and they'd slip away and I'd look out the window and they'd all be outside. So I'd go outside and they would leave again. My identical twin sister (who in reality died when we were babies, but she was alive in my dream) was standing up for me a bit, but it was obvious she was just tolerating me to be nice. My grandma was being horrible too.

Nothing like that ever happened in real life! As one of the oldest children I was the leader of the girls. I was the one inventing the games, with the younger ones following me around. And, as I said, they are all lovely people. When I woke up I was sad and upset but I didn't think it meant anything. But I guess that is how I feel inside about my relationship with them now. Despite their best efforts to include me, I feel excluded and just not good enough.

After stressing about it half the night, I told my cousin this morning we couldn't go to her party. So now I just have Christmas to worry about. It makes me think crazy things like "maybe if I only eat vegetables and nothing else between now and then ..." and I know that is stupid so I just want to give up on trying to lose weight altogether.

I have lots of reasons to want to lose weight. This isn't a good one because it doesn't motivate me in a good way. It just makes me feel depressed and desperate and a failure. I've sort of worked through my feelings, last night and today, and I'm ok but completely exhausted.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

View from the hill


Two really good writing sessions the past two mornings. Both times I went to the National Arboretum. The trees are all still pretty small but at least they have Spring-green leaves on them now, and the view from the café, on top of a hill, down to the lake with the mountains behind is just beautiful. Very inspiring.

I've invested quite a few hours over the past couple of days organising our holiday over the Christmas break; hotels and flights etc. We're going to Surfer's Paradise which is a beautiful beach-side city in sunny Queensland. It is also the theme-park capital of Australia so we'll be going to Sea World and maybe Movie World. We tried one of the water parks last time but it was mainly huge water slides and rides much too scary for me and the little kids. Tim went on a couple, the queue for one must have taken about an hour! But Sea World is awesome, dolphin shows and baby polar bears and an amazing aquarium and pirate ships where you squirt the other ships with water canons as you sail around and lots of rides suitable for smaller children.

Holidays yay! Still a couple of months away though.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Comfort breakfast


I woke this morning after a sad and upsetting dream that I found really hard to shake off. So I ate the wrong kind of breakfast. And felt worse. "Comfort food", stop pretending you will make me feel better. You are not really comforting at all! A big hug from a real person works much better.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Dungeons and dragons


Having a quiet weekend home with the family. We decided to introduce the kids to Dungeons and Dragons. We don't let them play violent computer games but they watch us play some (nothing too bad) and they're allowed to play games designed for kids, some fighting but no actual blood. The younger child is about to turn seven. D&D, if you don't know, is a game of the imagination. One person, the DM or "Dungeon Master" (me, in this case) creates an adventure and the other players create characters and decide what to do. You have certain skills and you roll dice to add a luck component to actions. [So for instance, to see if you could balance on a narrow bridge over a ravine, you would add your dexterity to your training in acrobatics and roll a 20 sided dice to add a random element. If the total number is high enough ("high enough" determined by the DM) you walk over successfully, not quite high enough means you stand still wheeling your arms for balance and can have another try on your next turn, a lot too low and you fall into the ravine.]

I made a short adventure where they had to rescue some people from kobolds (little lizard people). It involved fighting, but nothing too scary or adult in theme. It's good maths practice for them, lots of adding and subtracting.

They loved it! We played for about four hours on Saturday afternoon, and they wanted to play again today so I worked out another little adventure and we played for another couple of hours, this time not finishing the story yet. Tim and I play every Tuesday night with some friends and have done for years, it is a great game. A campaign, or long adventure, can go on for years. I've heard some Christian groups object to D&D because it has supernatural elements, but most people play as heroes, defeating the forces of evil, so I don't see how anyone can object to that. It's like getting to be a superhero.

The only bad thing about D&D is that it is nearly always accompanied by junk food!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Novel


I've mentioned before that I've taken some time away from paid work to write a novel. It's something I've always wanted to do and planned to do but never made time for. I've made a few starts before but never got past a chapter or two - I'd say that 10,000 words is the most I've ever written on one project.

I started this novel at the beginning of July and gave myself until the end of the year, six months, to show it was something that I could commit to and make decent progress on. I hoped to have a first draft written by then. I can only type for a couple of hours a day, with my RSI, but it still seemed do-able.

I am making some great progress, much better than ever before. I am about to hit 25,000 words. But that is not where I'd planned to be by this point! Nearly four months have passed, I should have written twice that much or more. But I write nothing during school holidays, or all those weeks when I was sick, or if I am busy ... some days I have to choose between writing and exercise. And on days when I do write, it's generally for one hour not two. I'm still not managing my time well enough to fit in all the things I want to do in a day.


I'm still very excited to have got this far! 25,000 words seems awesome to me. That's a quarter of a book, more or less. I'm definitely pushing on with this. I am going to get this done.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013



At supper last night I ate more than anyone trying to lose weight should, but still not a great deal by my own standards. I felt a bit nauseated quite quickly, so maybe my body still wasn't used to junk. I made people take away leftovers. I didn't sleep as well as I have been and still felt a bit yuck in the morning. I think my face has been a bit puffy, too, these past few days. Gluten? Could be anything.

Had a good, productive day; writing in the morning, doing some reading for a short story comp I'm judging over lunchtime, then some exercise. I'd planned to do some more Just Dance 2014 and I'd left myself plenty of time. But then I realised I had to put on the casserole for dinner so I did that. Then I spent about half an hour trying to download a free song (Katy Perry's Roar) on the Xbox and it kept freezing and rejecting and being annoying. I eventually gave up and didn't feel like dancing anymore so I switched to PowerUp Heroes. All that kicking and punching and blasting magic missiles might make me a bit sore tomorrow, it's a very different sort of movement. I can feel it in my upper back muscles. Near the time I had to stop to shower and go pick up the kids, the Xbox informed me that the song had finished downloading! I switched back and did that and a couple of other songs on "On Stage" mode which was fun - the focus is more on singing with easier movements. All up I only got in about half an hour of exercise today. Still felt like a good day.

(image from PowerUp Heroes)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Back to normal


Still feeling happy and healthy. Did about 45 mins dance yesterday and a bit over an hour today. I've very much enjoyed eating foods that were not allowed on the Whole30, like cheese! Mmmm, cheese. And potato. I'm trying to still eat sensibly and not overdo it with the carbs, but we did have pizza for lunch yesterday.

I forgot to say that I weighed myself Saturday morning, before "going off" Whole30, and I weighed a bit over 80 kg, so I'd lost about half a kg (1 pound) in that week. I admit I'd expected a bit more for such an extreme dietary change, but then I was eating huge amounts of meat and fat instead of the grains etc - I certainly wasn't reducing calories!

Good day today, fit in both exercise and writing. Still haven't done my tax though - here in Australia our financial year is 1 July to 30 June, and tax is due in by 31 Oct, so I've got a couple of weeks. In the olden days I used to have my tax in within days of 30 June. But now I'm self-employed it is a bit more of a hassle and I put it off.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Energy and happiness

more Saturday:

I can't believe how much better I feel. After a week of barely managing to walk slowly for 30 mins each day, this afternoon (after choc-chip cookies!) I did an hour of vigorous dancing; and what is more, I really enjoyed it! And I would have done more except I ran out of time before dinner!

The Whole30 talks about getting "tiger blood" (ie lots of energy and feeling great) after two or three weeks of their program, well I got it from eating a little bit of sugar/grains/caffeine.

I know this doesn't mean I will thrive on junk food, but it does mean I feel much better eating a normal balanced diet with all the food groups instead of depriving myself and obsessing every second about food.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Whole30 Da...... and it's over


Tried to stay positive moving into week 2 but I was feeling pretty out of sorts. For breakfast I made everyone bacon and eggs (my expensive bacon was Whole30 complaint, theirs wasn't) and I had some potato* leftover from last night's dinner when I didn't eat any.

*as explained in previous post, I decided to eat some potato even though it is not Whole30 approved.

Lunch was 2 lamb chops, carrot, cucumber, tomato and a couple of dried apple slices.

We tried to go out in the afternoon but it was too smoky. Fire-fighters are burning off around Canberra. A neighbouring state has lost hundreds of homes to bushfires in the past few days, the season has started early. So the fire-fighters are making it safer for us here which is great but means it's not very nice to go outside. Even in the car my eyes were starting to itch.

Staying on Whole30 was a real struggle. Sick of thinking about food all the time. Had removed a big source of joy from my life by eating such a restricted diet. I felt like I'd been tired and headachy and unhappy for most of the week. My six year old earnestly told me it wasn't worth it. I toyed with the idea of downgrading to a NoGrain30 so I could have some dairy and sugar. I bet cavemen had honey every chance they got.

And then I just decided to stuff the crazy Whole30 diet. Bugger it.

I went from grumpy and miserable to happy and full of energy in about 2 seconds. Made choc-chip cookies with the kids and ate a handful of choc-chips. My husband said it was the first time he'd seen me smile all day. Ate three cookies and had a delightful cup of tea with milk and sugar.

Do I feel guilty or disappointed in myself? At the moment, not at all. I feel like I have been released from the chains from a silly self-imposed prison. My brain is blissed out on chocolate. My whole family is happier because I am happy. I just can't see that as a bad thing right now.

Need to find a more sensible way to get healthy.

Whole30 - review of week 1


I got through a whole week of Whole30! No grains, dairy, sugar, alcohol or legumes.

Alcohol was easy, I don't drink very often and when I do it makes me very sleepy so I wouldn't cry if I had to give it up forever. Legumes have always upset my stomach and I was actually told by a doctor years ago to avoid them. I eat podded legumes like snow peas (which are ok on Whole30 because they are mostly pod) and I do have peanuts and peanut butter (not while I'm on Whole30). I've had to give up satay for the time being.

Giving up grains was a bit harder, but I have never been a "carb addict" like my husband so it hasn't been too bad. I can be satisfied with meat and veges, but if I don't serve high-carb foods with dinner both my husband and daughter will be cruising for toast or something afterwards.

Dairy and sugar have been the hardest. I want my sweet white tea! I didn't think I was addicted to sugar either, I don't eat lollies much and many things other people think are nice (like sugary drinks or commercial yoghurt) taste disgustingly sweet to me. But still, I love chocolate, and sugar in my tea. I've almost given up caffeine altogether this week, black tea is nasty. I've found myself craving a bit of sweetness after meals sometimes. At least I can still have fruit! Dairy is hard to give up too, I love cheese and milk and butter and cream and even plain yoghurt with fruit mixed in.

Where can I do better? I've been snacking a bit between meals, approved foods, but the thing is I'm not actually hungry. The meals are very filling. I'm just in the habit of grazing all day. So I need to curb that a bit.

Also my exercise has been very gentle this week because I've been feeling a bit yuck from detoxing. Time to ramp that up.

I feel that I haven't been getting enough carbs. This is not supposed to be a low-carb diet, but I just can't stand the carby vegetables (pumpkin, squash, sweet potato) that are allowed. I've tried, I really have. I have decided to take the controversial step of reintroducing some white potato. I pondered this long and hard, I am worried that it is a slippery slope to meddle with the formula. BUT on the Whole9 website they give reasons why you can't eat all the other things they ban, then for white potato they say "This is a bit arbitrary..." so I feel that they are not as strongly opposed to it anyway. I think they just think it's fattening? Not much info on the website and I'm still waiting for the book from the library. Other paleo sites seem to say you can eat white potato "only if you are skinny".

I know from experience that low-carb makes me miserable and also unpleasant to live with, my body just doesn't like it. And low-carb isn't the intention of the Whole30. So there, I've talked myself into it.

Whole30 Day7


A bit less tired today. Bacon and eggs and salad for breakfast, then I did the grocery shopping. Felt a bit sorry for myself, all the things I couldn't buy and gorge on, but I got through it. Roast chicken and vegetables for lunch. Watermelon and cashews for afternoon tea.

My email provider is still having problems, but I was able to access my emails through their website today so I caught up with three days of motivational Whole30 emails. I really love reading them. I brings a real sense of community and support (that I also get through the forums).

I counted up the days and realised that it will be son's 7th birthday (and party) on my Day30! I can't give up a few hours early, and have to say "I did Whole29.5 but gave up with the finish line in sight" so I guess I'll be putting aside a slice of birthday cake to have at midnight! And some chips. And chocolate. Hmmm.

Dinner was disappointing. Fish always is. My husband and daughter won't touch it, but I occasionally cook salmon for myself (to be "healthy") and for my 6 yr old son who loves the stuff. I wasn't even allowed to have potato with it, so I had a sad plate. Oh well.

I tried orange sweet potato the other day and hated it, today I found white sweet potato so I tried that. Still yuck. Luckily the broccoli and asparagus were yummy and the parsnip was at least edible. A bit of cucumber and tomato completed dinner.

And that is Day 7 accomplished. A whole week!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Whole30 Day6 - tired and craving chocolate


The fatigue has hit right on schedule. This morning I really really didn't want to get out of bed. In a kind of nice way, though, bed was so awesome! Soft and warm and snuggled down. I'm yawning constantly and very sleepy. Apparently I can expect a couple of days of this. I don't know how people who work in an office (or worse, with heavy machinery!) would get though this stage! The advice is to take it easy and sleep when I can. The idea is that now, after five days without grains etc, my body is doing the work to switch over to getting energy from fat rather than carbs. Should get my energy back soon.

Yet another W30 dream. In the others I was frustrated and guilty after eating something not allowed, but last night I dreamed I'd had a glass of milk and I just thought "stuff it, I'll eat whatever I want and start again tomorrow"! I had a big hunk of cheese (and felt a bit sick), someone came round with Easter Eggs and I took a handful and gorged on chocolate, and then there was a bake sale in the hall and I was going to go and buy cupcakes and eclairs when the dream ended. Quite a nice dream.

My jeans had felt good yesterday but I thought that could have been because I'd worn them a few days in a row and they'd stretched a bit - they were really tight and uncomfortable the first day. But today I put on clean jeans and they were just as comfortable so it really is me not the elasticity of denim! So yay.

Breakfast was leftovers from last night - pulled pork in lettuce leaves with salad. I'm getting used to having protein rather than carbs for breakfast.

I got in my (gentle) exercise by walking to the local shops to get a few things I needed before my big shopping trip tomorrow (like herbal tea and some lemons). Lunch was a feast: some leftover chicken soup then a piece of lamb fillet, a rasher of bacon because the lamb was so lean, roast parsnip, broccoli and carrot, a couple of pieces of dried apple. I am eating really well these days, but planning and cooking is very time consuming.

Crashed in the afternoon and had a nap until it was time to pick up the kids.

I've been really frustrated that I haven't had email for nearly 48 hours now. The message on my provider's machine says they are working on it with highest priority. Really annoying. Despite having internet access, I feel a bit cut off from the outside world.

Went hunting for food in the late afternoon, more from boredom and frustration than hunger. I managed to stay away from banned foods but still ate a lot - a punnet of strawberries, a hard-boiled egg, some dried fruit, and finally the last of the chicken soup that filled me up so much I couldn't possibly eat any more. Was left feeling uncomfortably over-full and yet still bored and frustrated! Odd huh? Is it possible that if hunger isn't the problem, food isn't the answer? Who would have thought.



Well, I've had a miserable afternoon and I wrote that line and had almost decided to give up (maybe just staying off grains but plunging back into sugar and dairy, scarfing down a chocolate bar before dinner) and then I went and read Just Jennifer's blog and she's about to go on medication for depression. I know what depression is like, I had PND for 10 months after my first baby and it was horrible. What I am feeling now? Some frustration at the world, some food cravings, a bit of tiredness. Nothing. No, not nothing, but nothing I can't deal with. If I decide to stop Whole30 it won't be because I haven't had access to email for 2 days.

Dinner was steak and salad.

Day 6 accomplished.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Whole30 Day5


I went to bed last night debating the wisdom of this Whole30 plan. Still headachy and deprived of treats. Woke up much the same, so I had a think about what it is I am cranky about.

#1 I'm sick of this headache. Is that a good reason to give up? Not yet. It is supposed to only last for a couple of days and it's been less than 48 hours. I should start feeling better soon if I stick it out.

#2 I miss junk food. Definitely not a good enough reason.

#3 I miss mindlessly snacking when I am not hungry. Definitely not a good enough reason!!

#4 I feel like I am eating too much fat, it is both a health concern and makes me feel a bit yuck sometimes immediately after eating. I queried this on the W30 forum and the moderator said that I wasn't eating too much fat, but suggested that instead of having fatty meat + vegetables cooked in fat all together I should try salad or raw veges if other elements of the meal are fatty. So I'll try that.

#5 I want milk and sugar in my tea. I am not enjoying black tea at all. Strangely enough, this is actually the biggest deal for me. Maybe because tea is so much less appealing that I am having a lot less of it, so I'm probably going through caffeine withdrawal as well as everything else. Still not a good enough reason to give up. I'll either get used to tea black, or I'll get used to no/less caffeine. And it is only for 30 days.

On the other side of things, my jeans are suddenly a lot more comfortable today, so I might have lost a little bloating around the stomach. Aside from the headache, I feel quite well today and not like I have the flu. The headache itself keeps coming and going, when it's gone I feel pretty great but when it's back I feel all cranky again.

Breakfast was a mushroom omelette with prosciutto again. Reasonably quick and easy when I don't have leftovers to eat. Lunch was chicken and vegetable soup, an apple, and a piece of roast chicken. Probably not enough vegetables, but I was full after that. Did a bit of snacking in the afternoon even though I wasn't really hungry; almonds, cashews and a banana. Dinner was pulled pork - the others had theirs in tortillas I wrapped mine in lettuce leaves with other salad ingredients. I didn't mind not having tortillas but I missed the salsa. I know how to make fresh salsa but I'll have to find a recipe for something similar to the stuff in a jar, just without the sugar. Overall I've had less vegetables today than other days, I'll work on that tomorrow. Cup of peppermint tea to finish the evening meal and I'm done.

My email has been down since yesterday evening so I haven't received today's inspiring Whole30 email yet. I need it! I got some writing done today, as my headache was much reduced in the afternoon - still wacks me in the forehead when I bend over though.

I had some tricky moments today when I just wanted to eat mindlessly but I never really came close to quitting. It's actually easier to have strict rules (no sugar! no dairy!) than to just say "eat healthier food". My nutritionist friend has recently got out of that whole area of work because it was so frustrating. Everyone wants a magic bullet, no one just wants to be told to eat a bit better and exercise a bit more. She is very much a believer in moderation. I haven't told her I'd doing the Whole30 but I did tell her I had a headache because I was detoxing from sugar. She said "eat some sugar then". I can totally see her point of view but I have struggled so much trying to, for instance, just eat treats less often. It is a slippery slope, so for the moment I am going for perfect.

Day 5 accomplished.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Whole30 Day4


Definitely dealing with some kind of carb-flu or sugar withdrawal today. Headache, fatigue, clammy. Nose a bit runny. Teeth aching like they always do when I have the flu. Very thirsty and peeing a lot. Hopefully I get through this phase quickly.

We had plumbers come early this morning to eel the drains and then I got the kids to school (the short walk was exhausting today) so I'd been awake for two hours before I got around to breakfast. It was good, though, an omelette with prosciutto, mushrooms and spinach.

I had yet another Whole30-related food dream last night; at a restaurant with my dad and they didn't have a single thing on the menu I could eat. An hour after everyone else had finished eating I finally ended up with a handful of berries on my plate.

I spent a chunk of the morning out in the garden, weeding and watering the vegetable patch. I thought that the sun (cool but bright today) and all the stooping might make my headache worse, but I actually felt much better afterwards. Bit of fresh air and sunlight did wonders. And I'll count it as exercise for the day, with walking the kids to and from school.

Lunch was steak and salad with kale "chips". Kale is hard to find here, and expensive, but I bought a bag of baby kale to try these chips I'd heard so much about. Being baby leaves, I think they were a bit too thin, they were extremely crispy and fragile even though not burnt. Pretty tasty though, tossed in oil and salt and cooked in the oven.

Headache back full force in the afternoon so I had a nap before picking up the kids. We had a play-date after school and I had a herbal tea, a kiwi fruit and a handful of cashews.

Dinner was spicy roast chicken with some veges. Not enough veges, because they were too greasy after roasting in the olive oil etc spicy marinate plus chicken juices. I love me a bit of chicken fat, but I am having fat with every meal and it is starting to pall.

The formula for this W30 diet for every meal is protein + veges + fat (+ spices). Like most people, I'm sure, I usually try to cut down on fat in my diet. Now I have to make sure I have fat with every meal! The good fats, of course, for a given definition of good fats. In this case including olive oil and the fats from healthy free range animals. But several meals, like breakfast yesterday and dinner tonight, have made me feel quite greasy. Some days I doubt the wisdom of the W30. Headache is getting me down. But sticking with it.

D&D supper tonight and I ate nothing! It was my first big temptation challenge. The brie looked good, the chocolate even better. But I sipped my mineral water with a squeeze of lemon, in a wine glass, and got through the evening. Another day down.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Whole30 Day3


Kids back at school!

More Whole30 dreams - I had eaten most of a Freddo Frog (small chocolate) when I realised it wasn't allowed and I was very cranky with myself because I was going to have to start the 30 days over again. I was very relieved when I woke up that it wasn't true.

For breakfast I had leftovers from last night, roast pork and vegetables. Although I only had a very lean bit of pork, the vegetables had been cooked in the pork fat so they were tasty but a bit greasy. As I finished breakfast, I suddenly felt very nauseated for a few minutes. Luckily it didn't last. Very filling breakfast, I certainly didn't need anything else until lunchtime.

After getting the kids to school, I did the grocery shopping. Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and a huge amount of meat. I suppose the cost evens out as I'm not buying any pricy junk food. I asked at this different deli and found sugar-free bacon at a reasonable price, so that is great. I bought ice cream and topping for the rest of the family, but nothing else bad.

I'm not missing any specific food, but I do miss being able to nibble at whatever I want whenever I want. Evenings are hard. I wander aimlessly around the kitchen, not hungry but wanting to snack anyway. Aside from that, I guess dairy is what I would like to reintroduce. Just a splash of milk in my tea! I'd love some yoghurt with berries, or of course cheese. But I haven't had any strong cravings at all.

My TOM has started a day early (on the forum some people's started days early and went longer than usual, changes to hormone balance with the change in diet). Considering I'm presumably dealing with sugar withdrawal and PMS I think I am doing pretty well. Not too much mooching around this morning, after shopping I did some housework then spent quite a lot of time making lunch.

Lunch was a huge salad with lamb. I usually have cheese as well, but not today. Fat in the home-made dressing (I have to have protein, fat, and veges with every meal - even if it is a snack). Also had some strawberries, which I had before the salad so it wasn't "dessert". This salad is a bit time-consuming to make as it includes grilling the capsicum and letting it cool so I can pull of the blackened skin and cooking the lamb and cutting up everything finely. But it's yummy and full of goodness.

For exercise, I went for a walk before collecting the children. Feeling a bit old and creaky today. My left hip has been hurting a bit when I walk for the past couple of months - since I got the flu - and I was hoping it would improve now that I'm not sick any more but it doesn't seem to be getting better. It's worst when I've been sitting for a while then get up and move. It never hurts very much, certainly not enough to stop me walking, but it shouldn't be hurting at all. Might have to see someone about it soon.

Watermelon and a cup of chicken soup for afternoon tea. I don't think I was actually hungry but today I really wanted to have something. Mid-afternoon slump, a bit tired and almost depressed.

At about 4.30 a headache started to develop, and it just got worse. By 6.30 it was making driving the kids home from Jasmine's dance lesson difficult and unpleasant. That was probably the peak of pain, but it is still nasty now at 8.30 pm. I assume it is sugar withdrawal, they say to expect it. Not fun at all.

I made spaghetti bolognaise for dinner, with zoodles (noodles made of zucchini strips, with a special tool I bought on the weekend) for me. The zoodles were great, really yummy.

Another day got through! I can see myself snacking tonight, but I'll make sure it's compliant food like cashews and an apple. Or I might just crawl into bed early and try to sleep off the headache.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Defining success


I was thinking this morning about what I want to achieve from doing 30 days of clean eating; and not just unprocessed but cutting out things a lot of people think are healthy and even essential - dairy and grains and legumes. The Whole30 is close to a paleo diet, although the authors stress that they base the rules on health not history - they don't care what cavemen ate, they care what the science says is good for humans now. Of course their science is in direct opposition to many other diet gurus, and the government's diet guidelines in both Australia and America which heavily push dairy and grains.

I figured since everyone tells me a different thing, I can only know what is best for me by experimenting on myself. It is only for 30 days. (The Whole9 guidelines relax a bit after the 30 days, you can start reintroducing things and see if they make you feel worse again.)

So how will I know if this nutritional plan is good for me?

It is not specifically a weight-loss diet, but most people do lose weight and I certainly hope to. How much in 30 days? I really don't know.

The diet is supposed to help inflammation issues and general health including insulin resistance. I will be happy if my joint pain is noticeably lessened, the dark circles under my eyes lighten, my sleep gets better, I have more energy, and/or my insulin resistance improves.

Whole30 Day2


I went to bed last night feeling a bit out of sorts (and had vivid dreams of a big fight with my brother!) but woke after a long sleep feeling good. I lay in bed for a little while then got up and made myself the baked eggs with spinach and tomato I'd been looking forward too. Yuck!! I couldn't eat them. Texturally horrible, rubbery eggs sitting in a puddle of water that had risen from the tomato and spinach. I also had three tries at making myself a cup of tea. I'm used to having it strong, but I'm learning that without milk and sugar, strong means bitter! The third try, teabag only jiggled in the cup instead of sitting in it, was much better.

So I sat with my cup of black tea and took a few deep breaths and started again on breakfast. A mushroom omelette, as I would usually make it but without any cheese grated in. Two eggs, lots of thinly sliced mushroom, shallots, fresh chives from the garden, salt, pepper, paprika, a tiny dash of chilli. Yay, success.  I also had half a slice of my uber-expensive prosciutto on the side. Not as much like bacon as I'd hoped but quite nice.

After doing some blog and forum reading, I did 30 minutes of dance. I was feeling pretty tired and hot and a bit nauseated after 20 (so unfit!) but pushed myself to keep going a bit longer. My shoulders started aching too - I have some trouble with tracks that make me swing my arms around a lot. I got a bit cranky with my husband when I realised he had turned the heater on while I was exercising! Here I was dripping sweat but he was cold because he had shorts and a T-shirt on so his solution was not to put warmer clothes on but to expensively heat up the whole house. And he only turned it off again with much reluctance.

A couple of days ago I bought a new Xbox Kinect dance game - Just Dance 2014. How they can call it 2014 I don't know, I'm pretty sure that even the songs I don't know aren't from the future. But I really like the music on it, both old and new. Some hilarious oldies like the theme to The Love Boat. Much better than the last one we got, which was Dance Central 3, full of music I don't know and don't like (probably American rap hits). I haven't even bothered with that one after a couple of sessions.

Lunch was chicken and broccoli soup that I'd made the day before. I blended it and the chicken didn't blend very well, leaving it kind of weird. A bit bland, but ok. Also an apple and a couple of slices of dried apple and some cashews. I'm full but struggling with not feeling emotionally satisfied by the food. I think I'm starting to feel the lack of starchy carbs and sugar.

Here are a few lines from the website about the Whole30 program that particularly struck me:

It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.
Don’t even consider the possibility of a “slip”. Unless you physically tripped and your face landed in a box of doughnuts, there is no “slip”. You make a choice to eat something unhealthy. It is always a choice, so do not phrase it as if you had an accident.

I've been spending a lot of time reading through the forums, other people's stories. If fact today has been almost totally food preparation, planning tomorrow's shopping list for food to come, and reading about other people's Whole30 experiences. It is very enjoyable but I won't be able to spend this much time on it every day! Back to work tomorrow (my current work being writing a novel, but it's still work).

I had a cup of tea (black of course) in the afternoon, no snack. Apart from tea I drink water with a squeeze of lemon. I had a slight headache which went away after the tea so either the caffeine or the liquid helped.

Tonight I made roast pork with crackling - yum!
(photo by adactio)
My husband had made raspberry banana muffins in the afternoon, didn't bother me. He & the kids had jelly (jello) after dinner, not a temptation. But those potatoes roasted in pork fat! Oooooo. But I stuck with my broccoli, onion, carrot, parsnip, zucchini and celery (also roasted in the pork fat) and some cucumber (raw). I tried both butternut pumpkin and sweet potato, as I do every so often, still didn't like either of them. Couldn't force down more than a taste of each. It means getting enough carbs is going to be tricky. But I certainly had enough fat with this meal. I finished with half an apple to clear my palate a bit after all that grease.

Day 2 accomplished!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Whole30 Day1


I have the feeling this is going to be a long post, it isn't even lunchtime yet but I wanted to write some thoughts down. I'll add more at the end of the day.

Last night I went to bed worried about breakfast. I'd made plans, a recipe for baked eggs with spinach, tomato and chilli. I thought I had plenty of eggs, more than a dozen. But by last night we were down to eight eggs, for six people. Even if the kids only had one each, that wasn't enough. I was so stressed about it that I had weird Whole30-related dreams. I dreamed my mum ate my steak so I didn't have anything for dinner. I dreamed I was halfway through a choc-coated muesli bar then realised I wasn't allowed to eat that (I hardly ever have muesli bars!) and panicked. I think there were more food-related stress dreams too. I read in the Whole30 timeline that a lot of people have these sorts of dreams - but much later in the process, around Day 12, not before you even start!
In the morning I abandoned my fancy-egg plans and just soft boiled them and had two for myself on a bed of lettuce with salt (a kind of pared-down poor-man's Caesar salad). My brother wasn't even out of bed, Aiden didn't want one and the others only had one each so there ended up being three left over ... all that pointless worry! My breakfast was rather boring and not at all the start to Whole30 I had planned. Oh well, plenty of room for improvement. I also had a cup of black tea, and water with a squeeze of lemon. Then afterwards I realised I hadn't had any fat, supposed to have some with every meal, so I had a few cashews and almonds.

Lunch will also need a rethink as I had planned my favourite chicken and vegetable stir-fry but only realised last night that I can't have either soy or oyster sauce (oyster sauce is full of sugar) so I'll have to change the seasoning. Did I really think I had a handle on this process?

Did 22 minutes of energetic dancing so well on my way to my goal of 30 mins of exercise every single day.

Oh, I did my start-of-diet weigh and measure, 80.75 kg and 102 cm around the waist (at belly button). Not allowed to do this again until the end of the 30 days.


Felt some sibling-rage when my brother got up just before noon and monopolised my kitchen making himself breakfast at a time I was wanting to start lunch. I think I was just really over having visitors here! Arg! Give me my house back! My mum had gone out to the local shop to get herself some stuff and bought me another dozen eggs, which would do for my husband making some muffins for him and the kids (not me, obviously) and us having the baked egg thing for breakfast tomorrow morning - but my brother was going to have ... well I don't know how many eggs. He got out six pieces of bread and said he was going to fry eggs two by two until he had had enough. I said he wasn't allowed as I needed the eggs, and also mum had wanted to leave to head home about an hour before he even got out of bed, so he settled for three eggs. And scorched my frying pan (there was NO WAY I was cooking for him, I'd made eggs for the house hours before!).

I was feeling quite frustrated and cranky and hungry, so as soon as he was done cooking I started making lunch. I was still ripping apart the raw chicken when they finally left. So glad to have the house to ourselves again after more than a week of almost constant visitors (some more annoying than others!).

Felt much better after getting some chicken and vegetable stir-fry into me. Since I couldn't use soy or oyster sauce, I added chilli flakes as well as the garlic I always put in. Not the same, but nice. Cooked in olive oil. Then half a big apple.

I'm obsessing over food a fair bit, but I do that anyway. At least I am obsessing over healthy food.

Tim and the kids and I all walked up to the fruit markets (and there is the rest of my exercise for the day) for a few things. I asked in the deli about their prosciutto as I'd heard you can get that with no sugar, as an alternative to bacon. I wanted something to add a bit of sparkle to some dishes, not to eat a slab of bacon for breakfast. Of the three kinds of prosciutto they had, they had no idea of the ingredients of one and one of the other two had sugar. So I bought a few slices of the third. At $56 a kilogram! Nearly $9 for four wafer-thin slices. Ridiculous, of course. But I will have it one slice at a time (or maybe half a slice!) crispy fried and crumbled into an omelette or whatever for that added zing.

Also bought a julienne peeler to make zoodles ("noodles" out of vegetables). And an avocado to see if I like it yet. Not been a fan in the past.

Had a banana for a snack when we got home. Tim and the kids had Turkish Delight. Yuck, pure sugar. Then I realised that I'm supposed to have protein and fat even with a snack. So ate a bit of cold chicken and half a teaspoon of cashew butter. It felt silly and counterproductive to do that, I was no longer hungry at all, and eating so much at 4pm made me less hungry for my delicious dinner.

Dinner was lovely, a big T-bone steak with fried mushrooms (in olive oil), fried leek and celery with chives, and salad. It was basically what we often had, I only had to make a few minor changes. No corn, and I couldn't use the "steak seasoning" as it has rice flour in it, but I read the label and sprinkled all the other ingredients (salt, pepper, paprika, onion, garlic, and chilli powder) on my steak before frying. It tasted pretty much the same as usual. After a somewhat fraught day, food-wise, it was great to have something delicious, easy and familiar.

We hardly ever have dessert, but I guess I do like a taste of something sweet after dinner because I would love a square of chocolate right now.

So how did Day 1 go? Despite some problems, I got through it with full compliance as far as I can tell - assuming I get through the evening! Should be ok. I feel a bit out of sorts but that has little to do with the Whole30 and a lot to do with feeling like I haven't had a moment to myself for a couple of weeks. I'll be glad when school goes back on Monday and I have six hours of peace and quiet every day. I may be a bit low on carbs and missing sugar, but I do think at this stage that isn't affecting me so much as other things.

My husband just showed me how to upload photos now, so this is me today:
I feel that it is a pretty accurate photo - this is what I look like right now. Usually I hate looking at photos of myself, and this one isn't particularly flattering, but I am strangely feeling very accepting of it. This is me, tummy and all. I don't think I've ever posted a photo of myself on this blog, so it is about time!

And here is a photo of my kids at the Tulip Gardens last weekend:
They are a bit far away to see clearly, but you can see how pretty the gardens are. I'll be posting lots more photos now that I know how to do it again!

Whole30 Day 1 is more or less over. I had a few moments where I thought things like "WHY can't I have a glass of milk, again?" but I'm feeling strong.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Whole30 Day0


I'm starting Whole30 tomorrow - 30 days of no grains, alcohol, legumes, sugar ... and no cheese! My true love cheese! Day 0 is supposed to be prep for the days to come. My shopping trip yesterday included compliant foods for the weekend, I'll need to plan again for Monday onwards. I've also spent some time going through recipe magazines, looking at all my flagged recipes and seeing which ones I can use or adapt.

I haven't done the recommended pantry and fridge purge because I live with three people who aren't doing the Whole30 (and still have two other houseguests) but I'll make sure I don't have any of my trigger foods in the house. That will probably just involve offering around (and eating) some chocolate tonight.

Today I read a timeline of what to expect when on the Whole30, including some headaches in the early days as you get used to no sugar/grains. I am a bit worried about getting enough carbs without grain. The Whole30 is not deliberately low carb, but the high carb vegetables on the list are mainly ones I don't like: the whole pumpkin/squash family and sweet potato/yams. I already know that low carb makes me miserable so I am going to have to make a big effort to eat carby fruit and vegetables.

I thought I'd make a note of how I feel now so I can compare it to later. Both of the last two days I've been very tired in the afternoons and had a nap. I did 20 mins of vigorous exercise this morning and felt completely trashed afterwards. Otherwise I'm feeling quite good. I've been trying not to binge just because I'm going on a diet tomorrow, but I have had various things.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Too much sugar


I am actually really looking forward to starting Whole30 on Saturday. With guests here, more sugar and refined carbs have crept in. Two desserts so far this week, I made chocolate macarons for afternoon tea (and they lasted over three snack times, so I had quite a few), wine and cider, the usual D&D binge supper. Lots of cheese because I am giving it up in a couple of days. I've been feeling a bit over-sugared. My tongue got sore after eating macarons.

My dad's girlfriend is the polite kind who will only let you make her a cup of tea "if you are having one yourself" so I ended up having more cups of tea (with sugar!) than usual. I already mentioned my wide-awake night after having a cup after dinner. I'm just not used to that much caffeine. I didn't do that again, but I was having up to four cups a day.

Yesterday before they left we were chatting before lunch and it came up that garlic upset her stomach. I had been told this before, but had forgotten. And she also mentioned that she didn't like chilli. I had a sudden panic (not showing on my face, I hope!) as I had steak marinating in chilli and garlic in the fridge to make Thai beef salad! Not much chilli, I wouldn't serve something spicy when I don't know the eater's tolerance, but there was still the garlic. Luckily I had a chicken in the fridge so they went for a walk to the park with the kids while I got that bird hacked up and oven baked in about 30 minutes. I'm sure they would have been fine with sandwiches or anything, but it was a real stress moment for me until I worked out my lunch alternative. I am the planning kind. And I really didn't want dad's lovely girlfriend to feel like she was being "too much trouble" so I couldn't mention the problem.

So, anyway, they've gone and my mum and brother are coming today for two nights. I had originally planned two desserts and other stuff but I've toned it right down. I've bought ice cream and raspberries (the same as we had earlier in the week) for dessert one night, and I will make a batch of chocolate cookies as my mum can't have preservatives in most bought stuff. Apart from that we have plenty of fruit and I'll make normal healthy meals. I do not have to add cream to everything just because we have visitors! My mum is always a challenge to cook for because of her extensive food intolerances (it's me who spends a lot of time on it, she'd be happy to have the same thing every visit) but I've got that sorted.

And on Saturday (they'll leave after lunch, but I'll start first thing in the morning) I'll be on Whole30 and I bet my body will thank me for a break from sugar and alcohol and refined grains. Going to miss cheese though!

While shopping this morning I looked at every brand of packaged bacon and every one had sugar. I usually buy from the deli but didn't trust them to know whether it had sugar or not. Sigh. But I read somewhere the idea of dipping asparagus spears into a soft-boiled egg and that sounds really nice.

Monday, October 7, 2013


more Tuesday:

I was looking up on the internet whether you can reuse peanut oil and a couple of the responses that came up were "thank goodness you can otherwise frying a turkey would be too expensive" and a recipe for chicken-fried bacon. Really, people? Who deep-fries a whole turkey? Or dips bacon in batter before deep frying that? You want some more fat with your fat?

Ok, so I had used the peanut oil to fry some chicken wings (for an Asian recipe that I will never make again, too greasy and didn't like the flavours) so I can't really talk. But the mental image of a fried turkey really boggles.



Tim is back at work today after a week off (plus it was a public holiday yesterday - Labour Day to celebrate when the Unions negotiated eight hour working days). He set his alarm which he never usually needs to do, but we just started Daylight Saving on Sunday so with that and being on holidays we've been sleeping in until about 9.30 every day! Back to the daily grind.

My dad and his girlfriend came to dinner last night and I served an entrée of melon cubes with freshly squeezed orange juice poured over, casserole with mashed potato and salad, and a small serve of ice cream with chocolate and raspberries. Right up until about 2 seconds ago I thought that the Vienetta (ice cream with chocolate flakes) wouldn't have many calories because we only had a small slice each, but I just went and had a look at the empty box and even that was 250 calories! Dessert is definitely a "sometimes food".

After dinner I had a cup of tea with our guests. I have no idea why, I never drink caffeine after about 3pm. If offered, I will decline and say it keeps me awake. But last night I was just in automatic social mode and had a cup. And it most certainly did keep me awake! Still staring at the ceiling at 1am and after.

I am going to do Whole30, starting on Saturday which is when my mother and brother leave after their visit. The timing will mean there are a couple of big parties near the end of the 30 days, but I figured that if I got that far it would be easier to resist junk near the end than if I tried to start now with school holidays and houseguests etc. I've signed up for the daily motivational emails.

I don't know if I 100% agree with the Whole30 diet principles, but as you know by now I like trying new things and reading up on this stuff. There is lots of info on the website and I've ordered the book from the library. It's only 30 days, so it won't do any damage even if humans are meant to eat grains after all. I have a lot of issues with inflammation so I am hoping the food restrictions will help me. I suppose I'll put the calorie counting on hold for the month, or maybe keep track just for interest sake. I'm not supposed to weigh myself during, just at the start and the end. I've gone from weighing myself every day (for 3 years) to once or twice a week, but I think if I feel like I've lost weight I'll want to check and see how much! So that might be hard. I'll have to remember to take other measurements and a photo too. We took photos at the Tulip Gardens so I do have recent ones (can't seem to post any pictures to this blog though! Annoying, I used to be able to) but you're supposed to have an underwear one. (No way I would post that one even if I could!)

Saturday, October 5, 2013



Today we went to the Tulip Top Gardens. It is less than half an hour away, a private garden out in the country. When we first saw it, ten years or so ago, it consisted of plentiful but slightly boring tulip beds laid out around a house on a large property. Over the years the owners have gradually cultivated the valley below the house and now it is a beautiful protected area with tulips and pansies and flowering fruit trees and sweeping lawns and a waterfall and gravel paths. The area around the house itself is no longer accessible, so they have their privacy back, but for four weeks a year the valley is open to the public (for a small fee). It is really lovely, and it was a great day for it.

They can't make a lot of money, certainly not enough to pay for all the work that goes into it, and they even let kids in free and had a free sausage sandwich at lunchtime and free tea & coffee and a two-piece jazz band entertaining the visitors!

Tim's father was still visiting so he was with us, we had a picnic on the grounds and wandered around for a couple of hours then grandad went back to Sydney and we came home. My dad is arriving tomorrow. He thinks. Plans are still a bit liquid.

I am fully well again (yay! I was only sick for a couple of days this time) but Aiden is still recovering. We thought he was better yesterday but after an excursion to ten pin bowling and then a play in the park he had a bit of a relapse and went to bed very early after a couple of bites of dinner. He seems ok today so maybe he is over it now.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Halfway through the holidays


Well the first week of school holidays is over. My husband will be back to work on Tuesday. We haven't done a lot this week, both Aiden and I have been sick (yes, again! so frustrating). My father-in-law is visiting for several days at the moment, then my dad and his girlfriend will come for a couple of days, then my mum and brother, so we are pretty much booked up for the rest of the holidays with houseguests. It's nice to see them all, but a bit tiring, when I'm not well I'd really just rather sit around and watch TV and read rather than have to be social. Luckily they are all family so I have a fair bit of leeway on how I behave! Tim has done most of the housework and some of the cooking so that has made it a lot easier.

Yet again I am napping instead of exercising. It makes me sad and angry and frustrated and I have to keep reminding myself that my very minor illnesses are a mere blip in a great life.

On the up side my new contraceptive pill seems to have fixed all the girly problems.

I find having houseguests very challenging in terms of my diet. I am learning, to my sorrow, that I am a food pusher. I use guests as an excuse to cook fancy (unhealthy) food to impress them. Afternoon tea. Dessert. Supper. I get cranky with my dad when he doesn't eat my dessert because it's got cream in it (poison!) as he washes down his heart medication with a bottle of wine and then eats half a block of chocolate. I go to a lot of trouble cooking for people instead of spending time with them. I need to get a handle on that. It's not good for my diet, or for theirs! Why I am forcing unhealthy food on people? I need to keep all that celebration food for Christmas.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Calorie counting


For variety, I'm going to switch to counting calories. I tend to think that any efforts towards weight-loss are helpful; whether it's following a specific diet or counting calories or whatever. No method is perfect but they are all useful tools. I'm not very good at being consistent so I'll just keep changing the plan whenever I get bored with the last one. I'm the same with exercise; I'll be really into using the rowing machine or dancing or whatever then after about three months be bored with it. And that is ok, I think, as long as I then move on to something else.

Calorie counting is a very imprecise tool. My understanding is that they work out how many calories are in something by burning it to ash and seeing how much energy it gives off in the process. But this would mean that wood or coal would be rated as high calorie - it doesn't take into account how the human body digests the substance. A beaver might be able to live on wood, but I think a human would have trouble extracting enough calories to live on, even if we disregard the whole issue of nutrients. You would starve to death while chowing down on thousands of calories of tree trunk a day.

But I don't plan on eating wood, and although I don't believe in a straight calories-in vs calories-out equation I think it gives a good enough approximation for the purposes of trying to manage weight. And it gives me something to track, which helps keep me mindful about what I am eating.

Calorie counting forces you to reduce fat and starchy carbs and processed foods, and eat more veges, just because of the calorie load of different foods. Tomato soup for lunch!