Sunday, January 31, 2016



I weighed in for my next dietbet. I'm up 200 grams since yesterday. My starting weight for the dietbet is actually a little higher that my "true" weight because I have to be clothed for the photos!

Really exhausted all day. Probably a combination of bad food and the usual tiredness I get from hosting a dinner party. I had several mini-naps (too noisy to sleep with guitars and children and everything) but could hardly keep my eyes open.

I was definitely craving fresh healthy food. I tried the poached eggs function on my egg cooker and it worked well. Eggs, cucumber and a nectarine for breakfast.

Tomato soup for lunch.

A cup of tea in the afternoon (still no sugar!). I wasn't very hungry all day. Then around 5 pm as I was preparing the roast for dinner, I was suddenly ravenous! No wonder, I'd only had around 300 calories so far. I could have had a little snack to tide me over, but I knew there was a delicious dinner on the way if I waited so I did! And I piled up my plate. And wolfed it down. I didn't eat quite all this, because the kids stole half my diced mixed vegetables (curses that they ever discovered how good that is!).

Hopefully I'm now fully recovered from the excesses of yesterday.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Birthday party


Jasmine's 12th birthday today! My little baby girl, so grown up. As usual we started the day with presents in the big bed. Her main present was an iPad, which I wouldn't have considered giving a 12 year old except she needed it for school. She said that she was one of only three people in her school who didn't have one already! (Not sure how she knew that.) Oh well, that is the world today I guess. Or the danger of moving into a fairly affluent area? A beautiful house has gone up for sale around the corner, five bedrooms and a pool! I wish. No I don't, who wants to clean all those extra rooms? You'd need a maid. Be nice to have a pool though. Maybe one day.

This morning I weighed 80.5 kg. Which means I've lost a total of 4 kgs (8.8 lbs) in just under 5 weeks. Not bad! And with a wonderful NSV (non-scale victory), when I put my new weight into my Plant Nanny app it said I have to drink one less glass of water per day than I did before! It bases it on your weight, so I've gone down a level. Awesome.

The continuing weight loss made me feel very conflicted about eating treats today. In theory, I am very much in favour of the occasional treat and celebration meal. But I am doing so well right now I didn't want to break this winning streak. Well, the plan was to eat a bit extra, not too much.

For breakfast I made the others French toast with raspberries, while I had yoghurt with raspberries. I thought this would be a bit of a struggle, but it wasn't at all, not even a tiny bit. The thought of navigating the choices for the rest of the day made me even more inclined to start the day with something light and healthy. I felt like if I had huge slabs of sourdough bread fried in sweet eggyness, then I would feel stodgy for the rest of the day. Didn't appeal.

For lunch we went out to a café.

I had the Thai beef salad. I'm not sure where the "Thai" part was supposed to come in. Mainly mixed lettuce and beef slices with a sweetish dressing, but it was ok.

Then I had a dessert, a mini lime meringue pie. It was very yummy.

But shortly after that I started to feel headachy, and tired, and heavy. My body was not enjoying the change from clean foods. I had a half hour nap. For afternoon tea had half a mango and one chocolate biscuit and felt ok.

I spent the rest of the afternoon preparing lasagne, Jasmine's favourite, for fifteen people. About an hour before they were due to arrive, another violent storm rolled in. I'd pretty much decided no one was going to be able to come! But half an hour later all was clear again, and people started arriving. Ping said her workplace had a complete blackout, which would have been scary as she is deep within a shopping centre, and she also had to drive home with the traffic lights not working in that area. Daniel showed me a photo of his street flooded. The storm was short but dramatic! But everyone managed to get here for Jasmine's birthday.

Here is Jasmine showing off her new iPad to Uncle Matt.

I had a few nibbles before dinner, a couple of crackers with cheese, not much. Then at dinner I only had half my lasagne (as usual too busy and not hungry when hosting). I forgot to take a picture. I also made a garden salad, coleslaw (actually that was bought from the supermarket), and some steamed vegetables.

The birthday cake was Jasmine's favourite ice cream cake, in lurid green, yellow and pink. I didn't have any.

But I did have half of this little piece of s'mores brownie that Veronica brought. It was rich and sticky, very nice but a couple of bites was enough.

Here is our table fully extended! Looks like the last supper.

We finished the night with a game of Imaginiff, which Jas was given as a present. The cards say things like: Imagine if (Jasmine) was a dog, which breed would she be, and gives options and you have to vote. It was fun. I had one Fererro Rocher chocolate and an alcoholic apple cider.

I definitely ate more than usual over the day, but more importantly it wasn't "clean" food and my body let me know how it feels about that! (Update, in the morning the scales showed I had put on 200 grams, which is nothing, but how I feel physically is a better indication of why I should limit sugary foods.)

I didn't like any photos of me but here is one anyway. Tim is looking weirdly protective.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Looking ahead


With my weight continuing to go in a downwards direction, I'm starting to wonder where this will lead. I needed to lose at least 25 kgs (more than 50 lbs) from my starting point. I can easily imagine losing around 10 kgs, because that is how I see myself anyway. Overweight, but not as big as the woman I see in photos and mirrors. I'm still shocked every time I see the truth.

I wasn't always overweight. I always describe photos of myself as a child as looking like an "abandoned waif" - slender with big worried eyes - and it was only yesterday that I realised that "abandoned" was quite likely how I was feeling at that time. All in one year my eldest brother died in an accident, and my other brother's long hospitalisation with burns meant I didn't get much attention for a while, and then my parents divorced. Of course they tried their best but it was a traumatic time for everyone. I probably felt very lost. Anyway, I wasn't overweight then.

I was a bit curvy from puberty, but didn't really put on weight until I was about 25. Then two things saw me pile on the kilos. Firstly I was in a job I hated, so that I was eating a lot of junk (and drinking cola) to get through the stressful days. Then straight after I got away from that I went on medication that I'm sure made me put on 10 kg in a year. Up to just before my marriage, I don't think I'd ever been on a diet, but my mother encouraged me to do the SureSlim program and even paid for it so I'd look good on my wedding day. I lost 5 kg, but was miserable every second and was unpleasant to live with.

Fourteen years and two children after that, the weight has continued to creep up despite endless attempts to lose weight. I have never ever lost more than 5 kg at a time (and that only twice, the other time was with Weight Watchers), and always put it back on straight away. Well I'm approaching that point now, not quite yet but soon. I still feel I'm going strong with this attempt, eating Mediterranean is filling and relatively easy even though I'm on restricted calories. What if I really do it this time? What if I lose 10 kg and really look like I look in my imagination, then keep going down? What then? May sound silly, but it's an almost scary thought.

I went for a walk this morning, I only had time for 20 minutes. So ironic that when I didn't need to get up, I was waking ridiculously early, now that I have to be back at a certain time I am sleeping in! Well sleep is very important to me, I'm sleeping until 7 while I can. I could always exercise later, but it is summer here and it's hot and muggy already early, I'd prefer to go out then while it's at least bearable.

Some cute mushrooms:

Cauliflower soup and tea for breakfast. I was going to have yoghurt but I only made it overnight and it wasn't quite set yet.

Cashew and celery stir fry for lunch, with leek and snow peas:

It was hot and sunny when I did the grocery shopping in the morning, but after lunch a storm rolled in. Rain poured down and there were immense crashes of thunder directly overhead. Lots of storm damage in other areas of Sydney.

Then it all cleared up and was sunny again. I had a lovely afternoon. I watched US Biggest Loser - I have no idea which year it is from, whether old or recent, but Bob has a hilarious mustache that makes him look like he should be on Miami Vice.

Then I did my guitar practice until my fingers were too sore to continue. I love this picture of the two guitars. So cute.
Dinner was supposed to be snapper and roast vegetables. I was pretty sure I'd had snapper before and that it was one of the "ok" fish - I'm not a big fan of seafood but I'm trying to eat it around once a week for the health benefits. I baked it in the oven with some lemon zest and spices and it was just horrible - partly because it had a real "fishy" smell but mainly because I'd overcooked it. Way overcooked. It was dry and rubbery. I don't have a lot of experience with cooking fish! I can usually do salmon well enough. Anyway, after I gnawed away for a while I decided I couldn't eat it. Everyone else was having pork chops, but I only bought three so that wasn't an option. So I had a square of cheese, a couple of pieces of potato (that was mainly comfort food for the disappointment of a yucky dinner) and my roast vegetables. Still came to about the right calorie count, but it didn't feel like a proper satisfying meal.

I also burned my arm on the oven. :(

I got my winnings from my Dietbet - I invested $30 and got back $40.61, not a huge profit but I don't do it for the money! I reinvested in another Dietbet starting on Sunday.

Tomorrow is Jasmine's birthday and I intend to eat some of the things, but not all of the things. We are going out for lunch then having a family dinner for 16 at home. Lasagne was Jasmine's choice! I am looking forward to it.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Back at school


My little girl's first day of High School!
Here High School is years 7-12. She hopped on the bus all excited. The High School is on the same grounds as the Primary she went to at the end of last year, and they've had lots of visits over to the big school, so she was confident. Apparently they spent most of the first day working out their timetables and getting lectures on what is expected of them.

I walked Aiden up to his first day of Yr 4 at his school, not that he needed me either, which meant he had to ride his bike very slowly! But I wanted to be there on the first day just in case. And I got in my walk for the day.

Then it was off shopping at the big Miranda centre. I had to get a few more school things, and presents for Jasmine, replace a Christmas present I got for Ping that wasn't the right one, and also do the grocery shopping. I did over 10,000 steps and was exhausted by the end! Miranda is a bit tricky to get around because it has been enlarged several times and not all the elevators and escalators go to all floors - you have to go up in one elevator, get out and walk a while, then up again, then back to where you actually wanted to be. And the lifts are so slow! I often walk out into the carpark and up the ramp, but that is also only good for one level. It's big and sprawling and I still don't know where everything is. I got most of what I wanted but was too tired to do a proper grocery shop, I just grabbed some steaks and salad ingredients and came home. I had half an hour before the kids got home so I lay on the bed but my next door neighbour was mowing his lawn not far from my window! I drifted off to sleep anyway, somehow.

For breakfast today I had leftover roast beef, onion, mixed vegetables, and a cucumber.

Ping couldn't make lunch after all, but I needed to get something while I was out. I stayed away from the food court and went to the restaurant area. I did a lap, looking at the menus they post at the door, but couldn't really find anything suitable. You don't realise how much everything is based on carbs and fat until you are trying to minimise them! I ended up in a rather pricey Asian restaurant, chicken and cashews. Unfortunately it had no vegetables except a couple of pieces of shallot. I bit into one thing, thinking it was a bamboo shoot, but it turned out to be a huge square of ginger! Yuck. Had to spit it out. I quite like it as a flavouring, but not a mouthful. I ate about 2/3 of this plate. I have no idea how many calories this would be. To track it, I copied a frozen chicken and cashews meal, and added sugar and fat.

Reviving cup of tea and an apple at home. Still no sugar in my tea, fourth day in a row which must be something of a record.

Steak and salad for dinner. The plate is so messy because I shared a steak with Jasmine, and cut it on my plate.

I don't really know how I did for calories today with the unknown lunch, but certainly the rest of the day was on point. A lot of meat though! I've been drinking more lately but not today, didn't want to run to the bathroom every 20 minutes (and find one first!) while out shopping.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Dietbet win!


My dietbet weigh-out was either today or tomorrow, I needed to be 81.1 kg. I jumped on the scales this morning - 81.2 kg - only 100 grams over! So close! So I waited around a while until, ahem, I used the bathroom, then weighed again. 81.3 kg. What the? How is it possible that I gained weight? I waited for another hour without eating or drinking and weighed again, 81.1 kg! Yay I win! Weigh-out submitted and approved. So I've lost 3.4 kg in just over 4 weeks.

The only problem with dietbet is that it's easy to think, "I won - the dieting is over!" Of course it isn't. I still have lots left to lose. I am going to join another dietbet, I love the chat and encouragement on the activity boards. Harder now that I've already lost the water weight, but I'm going to try.

By the time of my second (too heavy) attempt at a weigh in, Tim was about to leave for work so I couldn't go for a walk (I don't leave the kids alone, although they are probably old enough, and they weren't ready to go out), decided to do something later. We had quite a busy day planned getting school stuff finalised for tomorrow. I don't usually leave things last minute like this. We were out getting tap shoes and pencil cases and extra school shirts and all sorts of things. Still quite a few things we haven't got yet - like apparently Jasmine is supposed to have her own laptop or iPad! This is at a regular government school, they say they need to keep up with technology.

In the afternoon we walked up to the library, so that was my exercise done.

I had some store loyalty points to spend and I ordered a stick blender and an egg cooker, and they arrived the other day. I tried the egg cooker this morning. I made two "soft boiled" (actually they were steamed) eggs and they came out perfectly. I usually struggle to get the timing right so it was really good to have a machine to do it for me. I wasn't sure what to do with them without toast, so I just ate them by themselves, with some vegetables on the side. And a cup of tea.

Aren't they pretty!

Any suggestions on what to have with eggs when I can't have toast? I don't like smoked salmon or avocado which seem to be in a lot of breakfast recipes. The same machine will do "poached" eggs, you crack them into a little tray which sits above the water like the "boiling" method, so they are actually steamed too. Or would you call that coddled eggs? I'll try that another morning, it would be nice not to burn my fingers peeling hot eggs. Of course you can also hard boil.

Lunch was some rotisserie chicken and salad. You may have noticed I say salad when I actually mean a couple of raw vegetables cut up and served apart, not mixed up in a "salad". Same difference.

In the afternoon I had an orange and a cup of tea (maybe I'm getting used to no sugar, a bit?), then dinner was a lamb chop, zucchini, broccoli in cheese sauce, and a bit of tomato for colour. About 60 calories over today. But cheesy broccoli is so delicious! Dairy is good for me, right?

I feel like that was another good day. Very happy with the dietbet win. Tomorrow might be a bit more of a challenge, I'm probably having lunch with my sister-in-law near her work as I'm going shopping there for birthday presents for Jasmine. I'll have to make very careful choices. I can't believe Jasmine will be 12 in a few days, and in High School tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Australia Day


Today is Australia Day, which for most Aussies just means a day off work and maybe hearing who has been named Australian of the Year (typically someone doing charity or humanitarian work). Indigenous Australians see it as an offensive celebration of white people stealing their land. We didn't have any plans, but last night we were invited to a BBQ for lunch today. Tim ended up taking Jasmine, but Aiden and I didn't go, for me mainly because it is just so hard sticking to my diet with these constant celebration meals! I'd managed a one-day winning streak and after a week-long stall finally lost some more weight overnight, and did not want to surround myself with treat food yet again. Treat food should be "sometimes" food, not three times a week plus leftovers! Why put myself in the way of that much temptation (again)?

I dragged myself out for a walk first thing in the morning. It's getting harder to find streets close by that I haven't walked down. I'll need to make my walks longer. I was sad to see one of those poor little dogs bred to have a squashed nose, it was trying to enjoy its walk while being almost unable to breathe. The wheezing could be heard from the other end of the street. I thought from the noise it was going to be a dog choking itself pulling hard on its lead, but no, just a dog bred for human vanity.

Taco salad for breakfast, half the size of last night's dinner. Didn't bother to have tea.

Cauliflower soup for lunch. I made it with half the amount of cream today, still good. I'm still amazed that I like something mainly made of cauliflower, and also that soup can be so filling.

But perhaps not quite as filling as I would like! In the afternoon I had some cashews and grapes, and a cup of tea. Didn't really enjoy it without sugar, but I didn't want to go through caffeine withdrawal at the same time as other diet struggles.

Mid-week roast for dinner so we'd have leftovers for Tim going back to work tomorrow. As I've always been told, my eyes are bigger than my belly (and that is saying something!). I was very hungry when I dished this out, but I left a lot of it on my plate!
I served myself some potato, which is a bit carby for my current diet, but I told myself I would only eat it if I finished the rest of my plate and was still genuinely hungry. I certainly wasn't! The potato got left. I enjoyed my beef, broccoli, cucumber, and half the mixed vegetables. And gravy!

The kids start school on Thursday. I am looking forward to it! After six weeks school holiday, I need some peace and quiet. I'll get some writing done, and maybe get a bit of time on the guitar! With four people all wanting to practise, there is constant strumming. I had to try to sleep last night to the sound of "Greensleeves" over and over. And the kids will happily play while someone else is playing the other guitar, so it can get a bit chaotic. After my walk and breakfast I wanted a turn on the new 3/4 size, but I waited and waited and waited while others kept playing. Just before lunch I finally got to play, only to find that Aiden had been using my profile for the app and I was nearly out of free time for the day! Arg! Tim has paid for unlimited time so I can practise on his profile, but it's not the same as getting personalised lessons and progressing through the levels. I don't really want to pay for unlimited yet as I can't play for long anyway, until my fingers have developed calluses. We use steel string guitars and they are hard on the fingers. Ten minutes twice a day is about as much as I can manage. It's addictive though.

Being strict with my diet after a week of eating all sorts of things is hard. Going through the low-carb hunger all over again.

We were going to go for a walk after dinner, but it's raining again.

Two day winning streak! Dietbet weigh-out tomorrow or the next day. It's down to the wire.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Phase two


I started today with renewed enthusiasm and commitment to my blood-sugar stabilising diet. I went for a walk before breakfast. It had been raining all night and was nice and cool, if a little moist. I walked a loop that went up the hill (every direction is uphill from here, we're in a valley) and past Aiden's school, then back through some side streets where Google Maps saved me from getting lost.

I had home made Greek yoghurt with two nectarines for breakfast. Also a cup of tea: milk, no sugar. I've been going back and forth on that one; normal sugar, half normal, none. No sugar today, but I only had one cup. Just doesn't have the same appeal.

I made a chicken stir fry for lunch. These are the chopped vegetables, ready to go (for four people).

And yum!

For dinner we had tacos. I didn't have the shells, just piled up the salad, topped with beef, cheese, jalapenos and salsa. It was so good. I didn't actually eat all this. But most of it.
And I made it through the day sticking to the rules! Go me.

In the afternoon we went out to buy a guitar. This has been a bit of a saga for me. Tim gave me a guitar around five years ago for Christmas and I practiced daily for quite a while, then not quite so contentiously, then I hurt my shoulder again and didn't play at all. Then Tim started playing it and after a while far overshot my ability. I was really jealous and I struggled with that. He's been practicing on and off for several years now, and although I could have started again when my shoulder improved, I didn't. I felt so far behind. It was sometimes physically painful for me to listen to him play, and not because he was bad!

Then just recently Tim found an app that helped teach guitar, with feedback, a bit like the game "Guitar Hero" but with a real guitar. The kids got interested and both started learning, although the guitar was a bit big for them. Aiden had to lie it flat on his lap. I wanted to join in but was too jealous. Isn't that silly. Well, I did play a little in secret when they were out. And of course I'd forgotten everything. So much calendar regret. And a bit of resentment that my guitar had been taken over by everyone else. But because I am very short and rather plump, I found the full size guitar difficult to hold comfortably, so I made the suggestion that we buy a 3/4 size guitar so that I could start playing again. Tim then suggested we get it for Jasmine for her birthday! Oh boy. I felt so selfish and such a horrible mother, but I didn't want that. I didn't want to be borrowing someone else's guitar, not even my daughter's. So I kind of insisted we get a "family" one. We went out and chose one. Turns out Jas likes the full size one better anyway, so Aiden and I will use the little one. It is so much more comfortable for me to hold.

Came home and I played one song with the app then it kicked me out, saying free time for the day was up and I had to wait 12 hours before I could use the app again unless I paid for premium! Time to give up?

I always wanted to be able to accompany myself when I sing. I may not be able to play a musical instrument, but I have a nice singing voice.



Today was a big fail in terms of food. I was feeling completely wiped out, and exhausted plus leftovers in the house is not a good combination. I sat around all day, ate too much, went to my sister-in-law's for dinner and ate too much of all the wrong things then lay on the lounge watching TV until it was time to go home. Can hardly keep my eyes open now, but I really want to watch the final of the  cricket that is on tonight! It's the short form of the game, only three or four hours instead of five days, and very dramatic and exciting. And the Sydney team made the final after coming dead last on the table last year! Well, I'm recording it so if I have to go to bed I can watch it tomorrow morning (avoiding spoilers on the news!). I not sure if I've got another hour in me.

I've completed the first four weeks of this 8 week diet kickstart, approximating and varying the rules as it suited me. Just imagine what could happen if I actually stuck closely to it for the next four weeks?!

Saturday, January 23, 2016



We had a lovely housewarming party lunch today. The relatively small number of people just meant I got to spend more time with each one. I did eat a bit more and different foods than usual, but I mainly focussed on the people. Actually, as usual when I'm hosting I am too busy cooking to eat much. This evening I put together dinner out of leftovers but we were all to tired (or full) to eat much.

Two of my old High School friends came. We didn't see each other for many years but then reconnected on Facebook and I've seen the one who was my best friend a few times over the past five years. It was interesting to catch up. My uncle and aunt brought my 97 year old grandad, he's a bit deaf and finds stairs a challenge, but he still lives alone in his own house and is going strong. They were the only ones from my side of the family.

Now we have a house full of leftovers and unhealthy snacks. And I'm not going to throw the treats away because it is Jasmine's birthday next weekend and I can use them then. But it's going to be a challenge.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Tracking calories

I wanted to add some thoughts about tracking calories. I've been tracking, on and off, for many years, but consistently these past four weeks. Sometimes I guesstimate calories if it's something I'm eating regularly but usually weigh everything, and usually log it straight away. A couple of times tracking has saved me from a binge, but not for the reason you'd think.

Like today, I was a bit behind in recording my food in my tracking app, and I'd eaten a few things I probably shouldn't, and I was thinking I was way over and maybe it wouldn't make much difference if I had a bit more. But first I sat down and recorded everything I'd eaten. The bad things were: a handful of potato gems at lunch. One of the chocolate chip cookies Jasmine made. And I licked the spoon and the beaters after making a toblerone cheesecake. That is all. The rest of the day was good. So how much was I over my limit? Around 250 calories. I'm not saying I should do that every day, but it's no reason to write the day off and dive headfirst into a bag of burger rings! So I'm really glad that I did take the time to track and see I didn't have that much after all.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Party prep


Spent much of the day getting ready for the housewarming tomorrow. Shopping, cleaning, baking. It's funny to think that at Christmas only a month ago I thought 20 was so many people... now it seems like an easy casual get together compared to the big party we had planned. It's all relative.

Only four days left in my Dietbet, or three really as I weigh in the morning. I don't know if I'll make my goal for it, depends if I let tomorrow get out of hand! I still have nearly a kilogram to lose which is a big ask. But the dietbet was just for a bit of extra motivation and support, it is not my end goal. I will be continuing on regardless of the result.

Excuse me, I need to go and make the filling for my lemon tart.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Circus Oz


This afternoon we went to see Circus Oz, an acrobatic-style circus. Just fit athletic people doing amazing things, no animals. It was an hour drive away and we didn't know exactly where it was, we drove around nearby streets looking for parking and found a good spot about 1 km away - anything closer had a 1 hour parking limit. 1 km is a negligible distance except that it was really stinking hot. By the time we got there I was feeling pretty overheated. We followed some other families up a side street (not actually the advertised address, although only a couple of hundred meters away) to the Big Top set up in grassy area surrounded by a water park and restaurants - and also a multi-story car park! Oh well. The mini tent antechamber was about 50 degrees C so we all had ice cream. Medically necessary I assure you! Then they let us in the Big Top where it was thankfully air conditioned, so only uncomfortably warm instead of "I'm going to need an ambulance in a minute" hot.

The circus was great! It was fairly small, about 12 performers, and we were in the second row so quite an intimate experience! They had a unicyclist carrying a girl in various lifts, a girl with a dozen hoola hoops, acrobats, trapeze, juggling, most of it with a bit of humour added. We weren't allowed to take photos (I assume it's dangerous if you distract a trapeze artist at the wrong moment) except when one guy came out to pose specially for us. He said he was a triple threat: not singing, dancing and acting; but gay, indigenous (Aboriginal) and adopted!

Long drive home in lots of traffic, we picked up Chinese for dinner. We made it home just before the rain started, hopefully it cools everything down a bit because it is sweltering here right now.



I am regretting this whole housewarming party thing we are having on the weekend. Nearly all of Tim's family are coming, which is great but the party wasn't really for them - they have all seen the house numerous times including duringbig Christmas celebrations. Out of all my extended family, no one from my generation is coming; one uncle is bringing my 97 year old grandfather (who I love). The rest do have good excuses, most of them are actually overseas on holidays or at least interstate. Or have prior engagements. I guess we picked a bad weekend. From the friends we recently left behind in Canberra, as far as I know no one is coming. Not everyone has responded. We invited old friends from around here, we used to live in this city until 15 years ago, one of my old school friends is coming plus one maybe arriving late. Out of 73 invitees, we have 14 acceptances (18 people including the four of us), nearly all of those Tim's family who we see at least once a week anyway. I am very glad they are coming otherwise it would be an embarrassing three or four people. It is really disappointing. Oh well, at least I don't have to worry about the catering. A BBQ lunch will be easy.

All the skin sloughed off my sunburned knee in the shower last night. Kind of gross. Still very sore, but I can walk more easily today. Stayed inside away from the horrible burning sun.

Delicious mango and yoghurt for breakfast. This is one way in which I don't stick to the official diet plan perfectly. I'm supposed to have fruit that is less sugary, like berries and apples. But mangoes are nearly at the end of their season and for the first time are a reasonable price. I figure one a week or so isn't going to derail me. I also have the occasional small serve of potato. I don't like putting any food entirely off limits. Problem is I have a few of these adjustments. I am steadily losing weight, but not as fast as I probably would if I stuck to the plan exactly. So I'm looking at things I am willing to change. Today I had my tea without sugar, trying that for the billionth time. Usually I last a day or two then find I can't be bothered drinking tea if it doesn't taste nice, so go back to sugar because I love the ritual calmness of tea. We'll see how I go this time. I didn't have an afternoon cuppa! Not the same appeal. Sigh.

Lunch was a modified Caesar salad. Totally delectable, even in a smaller portion and without any croutons. I piled up the lettuce in mine. It is my husband's favourite lunch in the whole world, he said today. Even vegetables are tasting pretty good to me at the moment, that is what genuine hunger does for you! Dinner roast chicken with broccoli and asparagus, and some roast potato.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Recovery Day


My sunburn was very sore today. Jasmine and I stayed inside away from the sun all day, except for a quick trip to the shops for me and Aiden who needed a haircut. I have one particular area which is extra painful and looks a bit different to the rest, I think I have damaged a lot of layers there. Because its my knees, it hurts to walk.

Jasmine's burns are less intense but more widespread. I worry more about her burning, frequent sunburn in childhood puts you at high risk for skin cancer. She is so extremely fair skinned that she burns often.

Good food today, I feel like I have a handle on that at the moment (but I'm not complacent!). Even so indeed to tighten some things up a little. Like my portion sizes. Water intake has fallen away and exercise is pretty much non-existent. I always have an excuse, waaa waaa it hurts to even walk how can I exercise? I'm doing my meditation every second or third day, I need to be more consistent with that. And sleep is terrible as usual. I'm doing ok, but I can do better. Progress every day.

The kids start their school year in the middle of next week, I need to be prepared to get into a routine of writing and exercising. I've had some ideas for fixing the problems in my novel, but actually getting the work done is a different thing! Still not sure what I'm going to do about exercise. I sent a email to a local Tai Chi studio but they haven't got back to me, they may not be open for the year yet but should be in another week. Tai Chi is a kind of moving meditation, gentle exercise with slow movement and stretching. The reason I'm going for that rather than yoga is that it is all done standing up (I think). This place has two daytime sessions a week. I've always wanted to try it.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Beach day


We wanted to go and stay down the coast for a few days but we left it too late to book anything. Luckily we don't live far from the beach here. The weather forecast for the coming week was a mix of stinking hot and storms, but today looked perfect beach weather so we had plans to drive over to the nearest city beach (30 mins) first thing in the morning before it got too hot. Unfortunately I woke with a sore throat, like trying to swallow a golf ball, plus sneezing and runny nose. Bleugh.

After getting up a bit later than usual and having a light breakfast, passionfruit and yoghurt, I decided I wasn't going to let some puny cold in the head stop me from having a good time. I wasn't feeling up to walks along the promenade, or swimming, I didn't even put my swimming cossie on, but I went.

Armed with hats, T-shirts and sunscreen, we braved the Australian sun. For the first hour, while Tim and the kids splashed in the gentle surf, I sat on the sand. After a while I pulled a towel over my legs because I could feel them burning.

I was getting much too hot, so I retreated to the shade on the grass under some trees, and for the second hour read a book or watched the waves.

Turns out is was a very wise move to get into the shade, but not soon enough! Apparently the shorts that cover my knees while I'm standing up applying sunscreen DONT cover my knees when I'm sitting down. Ouch. This is when we first got home, before full colour had set in. I'm disappointed that yet again, despite care, I have got myself sunburnt. I just can't go into the sun at all. Jasmine too. She is a bit pink all over after two hours in the sea. As usual, the boys with their slightly darker skin are fine.
Tim's cousin Matt lives near the beach, he walked over and met us for lunch. He suggested a favourite café first but I looked at the menu and every item was carb-heavy so we walked along the mall a bit and ended up at a tiny Indian restaurant. We like Indian, and also I wasn't up to walking much further. Still sore throat and a headache. The food wasn't ideal for a dieter, I ended up with a big plate of meat with Vindaloo sauce on rice. Delicious, but no vegetables at all. I didn't eat the rice except the bits actually stuck to the beef. It was very strong of me because that saucy rice looked so yummy! And I didn't touch the naan bread.

Then on the short walk back to the car we stopped for ice cream and I was strong again! Nothing for me. The chocolate gelato looked so good and cool and chocolatey. And it's hard when everyone else is eating. One thing that helped me was knowing I'd just told Matt I was on a low-carb diet. Another was seeing an extremely large woman who came in to order. I am fighting for my health!

Came home, discovered the burned knees, slept for an hour in front of the TV. Tim made schnitzel for dinner so I made a modified crumb-free version (ie, steak) for myself, plus salad. I had more salad than this. Really yummy dinner.
I had to guesstimate lunch calories of course, but I think I did well today.

Here are my knees again, with the colour deepening over time:
Half an hour of unprotected sunlight was enough. They are quite painful. On the bright side, as Tim pointed out, they are distracting me from my sore throat!

Over the bridge


I got myself out for a walk this morning. I walked up the street to this pedestrian bridge I'd noticed, it looks a bit like the Sydney Harbour Bridge in miniature.
Up and over.
The shady path on the other side.
Through to the park where we went for Christmas carols.
Then home through twisty little back streets. It took 45 minutes in all, partly because I couldn't get through where I thought I would be able to. I walked slowly, but was still a bit tired by the time I got home. Body-tired, rather than sleepy. The best thing about it was getting it done. For all the rest of the day, I knew that my exercise for the day was already completed.

Home for breakfast of chicken, cucumber and tomato, grapes, and tea.

The extra food yesterday didn't do my weight loss any harm, nice drop in the scales. I should relax my intake more often! Actually that is a possibility to consider as a valid part of the plan. Some people protest against "cheat days" or "cheat meals" because if you are eating properly then it's a sustainable lifestyle and if you want to "cheat" then your diet isn't properly sustainable. I hate the word cheat for that reason, even if the diet includes "cheat meals" it makes it sound like you are doing something wrong. A planned indulgence is different, and I do think a healthy relationship with food can include them. They are part of the sustainable lifestyle, not outside it. Problem is, once you ease up the tension on the reins the appetite can bolt.

The Mediterranean plan I am following is based on a book by Michael Mosley, and is designed as an 8 week strict period to stabilise blood sugar levels. He has also written a book on intermittent fasting called the 5:2 diet or the Fast diet where you eat "normally" - healthy food but more calories - for 5 days and "fast" - only around 500 calories - on two days a week. Just like interval training in exercise (where you exercise really hard for short periods interspersed with recovery periods), this on/off method is supposed to have greater health benefits than steady diet or exercise. Dr Mosley suggests moving on to the 5:2 diet after the 8 week plan for continued weight loss at a slower rate as well as all the health benefits of intermittent fasting. I'm thinking about it - but 500 calories is so low! I suppose it's better than a total fast. It would be nice to be able to eat more on the other days and still lose weight. He still doesn't promote indulgence meals, the extra food from the Mediterranean Diet of low carb, lots of vegetables, moderate protein and fat, almost no processed food. Why isn't there a cake diet?

Some friends of mine went on an extremely strict diet for a while, I'm not sure exactly what the rules were other than being super low carb, but it had one indulgence day a week when you could eat anything you wanted. It was supposed to shake up their metabolism so they didn't go into starvation mode (or something like that). They lost a lot of weight, the first time I'd ever seen my friend quite slender, so restricted eating 90% of the time then binging every Sunday did work, but the husband fainted once (or was it twice?) at work and hit his head on the wall and had to go to hospital. So that sounds a bit extreme to me.

Lunch was two bowls of tomato soup (saving a few calories for afternoon tea).

Then I made time for my meditation Headspace, which I haven't been doing every day.

We had some visitors for afternoon tea, I offered a mix of healthy and unhealthy and had a bit of each myself. A few grapes, one biscuit (cookie), one mini chocolate.

Then family over for dinner, roast leg of lamb and mixed tomatoes (pictured) plus roast potato, pumpkin, carrot, zucchini, broccoli and cauliflower.

Ice cream and raspberries for dessert. I served myself a half-size portion but then my sister-in-law asked if she could have that one. Instead of dividing up one I'd already dished out, or just eating half, I ate a whole portion. If I had no ice cream at all, I would have been good for the day. So I ended up a bit over.

Overall a pretty good day. And feeling much more optimistic.