The slide…

My last post was so, so smug. Look at me, all happy in the achievements of my goals and not having to worry about them any more…Since then (over a month ago) I believe I have started what is referred to as ‘the slide’. It is the one you begin innocently enough, maybe eating something you haven’t had for a while  (*cough, Nutella)… and end up in a few years time right back where you started, only this time with pictures of yourself which show your descent into madness. No I haven’t put on weight (have been the same for ages now…that 3 kgs I thought would melt away by reverse psychology of ‘not wanting to lose more weight’ hasn’t eventuated..), but I HAVE ditched many of the healthy food habits I had been gently introducing and started some dangerous eating behaviour.

1. Doubled Up Afternoon Snacks.

Yes, it’s a good idea to have a snack between lunch and dinner to avoid starvation and blow-out at dinner time. But is it a good idea to have two afternoon snacks? One consisting of nice healthy cup of tea and trail bar or piece of fruit and low-fat yogurt – and then another, only an hour or so later, consisting of bread (wholemeal, but no doesn’t make up for it) smothered in something delicious (*cough, Nutellla). Or raisin toast with butter. Or a milo and tablespoon of peanut butter. These are ‘not really hungry’ snacks which are so, incredibly pointless and calorie dense. But I can’t seem to help myself! Even as I stand there waiting for my toast I am thinking ‘this is a mistake, I don’t need this. I won’t be hungry for dinner if I eat this. What am I doing? Stop it, stop it, stop – oh well toast has popped…’.

First step: Identify the problem.

  • Boredom
  • Opportunity
  • Not having a big enough lunch
  • Not having a big enough first snack

Second Step: Plan of attack

I think a large part of the problem is boredom and opportunity. Opportunity as in: we stock Nutella in our pantry. BIG MISTAKE! When hubby came home with a jar and a smile on his face I  was like “what?! why did you buy that and now lets eat some out of the jar with a spoon”. Since I can’t convince him to stop buying it, I need to start a blanket ban, just like hot chips (yep, 10 months and counting without). NO MORE NUTELLA!!! I REFUSE TO EAT YOUR HAZLENUT GOODNESS. No Nutella November I’m calling it (nice ring to it?). OK, that’s done. Next. Plan activities IMMEDIATELY after work. This seems to work for me on days I actually do it, I plan a gym session, run, MTB ride or similar straight after work so there is no hanging around thinking, hmmm guess I’ll read my book and have a snack’. Nope, no more. Finally: Don’t skip healthy afternoon tea. Make sure I have at least a piece of fruit before I leave work for the day.

2. Grazing and Snacking After Dinner

I am going to lay the blame once again at Nutellas door. But biscuits and dip have just as much to answer for. This is again boredom eating I believe and possibly also a result of poor meal planning for dinner. I have let my ‘five serves of veggies’ habit well and truly lapse and my lunches and dinners have suffered for it, meaning I am less satisfied after meals. For shame!

First Step: Identify the Problem

  • Boredom
  • Less satisfying dinners
  • Habit and expectation

Second Step: Plan of Attack

Blanket ban on after dinner snacks. If I MUST have something, I can have a tea, or piece of fruit. Also, ramp up the veggies woman! They take a long time to eat, have so many nutrients just waiting to make me feel a million bucks and can be super tasty.

3. Last-Minute Lunches

I have been…lazy lately. No other word for it really. But I also partly blame my husbands shift work for often disrupting our routines which mean grocery shopping and the start of the work week are often out of sync.  Nevertheless I have had a subway meatball sub TWICE in one week as well as a chicken schnitzel burger. My other lunch was a microwave meal and a take-away chicken sandwich on WHITE bread. The horror. Sounds really bad when I put it all together like that. Back to organisation stations!

First Step: Identify the problem

  • Lack of organisation
  • Laziness
  • Mecca of take-away food in near vicinity of workplace
  • Lack of lunch ideas

Second Step: Plan of attack

Get organised! No matter what is on, I should be able to spare and hour for grocery shopping at SOME POINT on the weekend. Just pick something healthy and make it. Also, start going to the farmers markets again! Much nicer way to shop plus locally grown. This week I am having wholemeal wraps with boiled eggs, mayo and lettuce with carrot sticks OR left-overs, apricot and almond muesli bar and fruit. Breakfast will be porridge with strawberries and dinners have been planned out including a veggie rich spaghetti bol. TICK.

Other things out of control:

  • Portion sizes
  • Cheese control (amount of cheese added to meal)
  • Soft drink in take (yes its Coke Zero, no its not a better choice than water)
  • Eating out
  • Chocolate consumption
  • Caffeine addiction
  • Wine and cider consumption (I LOVE pear cider)
  • Eating what my husband eats (i.e. ice-creams and chips…)

Yep. Should really  nip those in the bud ASAP.

My exercise regime has been intense lately and I have really stepped my fitness up a notch by discovering a high intensity sport I LOVE to do (more on that soon) and think it is the only reason I haven’t started stacking it on. So get your s$#@t together self and work out what is important. Nutrition is definitely on the important list so: MAKE. IT. HAPPEN. Right after this magnum ego…

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Snow Hangover

Who dares, wins. It’s been a slow start to the Australian snow season this year and, when we made the decision to drive the 8 hours there, snow was literally thin on the ground. Ah well, we consoled ourselves, we’ll have a nice catch up with my cousin and family and get plastered on some schnapps. But the night we got there, it started to snow. Thredbo (where we stayed) got 60 cm of fresh snow and, although the whole mountain wasn’t open, we had some great runs.

I also got to put my new camera (a Contour video cam which attached to my helmet) through its paces. I had used it before when we first got it but not in a setting like this. It was so much fun to board in a big group (despite the extra waiting around time) and even more fun to watch back the videos at night of all our ‘stacks’ and ‘chews’ (agreed vernacular for falling over). The only problem with being the camera lady is that ALL of my stacks were captured…a bit of snow/sky/snow happening there.

Photo taken by my talented photographer cousin. You can see my little camera on the side of my helmet!

Photo taken by my talented photographer cousin. You can see my little camera on the side of my helmet!

I’ve started playing around a bit with the footage and put together a condensed version of a run to begin. I want to put together a stacks reel just showing everyone falling over because it is truly HILARIOUS. I missed some of the best ones though which is a shame. Can’t be everywhere at once unfortunately. Filming also challenged my boarding skills to be more controlled and follow behind people, but I did enjoy the times the camera was off and I could just hook down the mountain as fast as I could. Also tried some jumps this trip which were super fun, confidence builds slowly but once you have done a couple it definitely gets easier.

OK, confession time. My diet (as in the general collection of food I eat, not a restricted ‘I only eat rockmelon’ type diet) took a beating. We did some groceries before the snow and it was pure indulgence. Our basket included: chocolate, cheezels, salt and vinegar chips, iced coffee and more chocolate. I was almost trying to think of stuff I would never normally eat and just load it up. I was embarrassed to check out. It is also IMPOSSIBLE to eat healthy when on the slopes. Here is an example of the possible choices on the mountain:

Hot chips anyone?

Hot chips anyone?

So basically anything with chips (currently on my banned list). We ate soooo much crap and I really capitalised on the excuse to eat whatever I wanted. I have no doubt that I far overcompensated for the calories actually burned boarding. I even broke my McDonald’s ban since it was that or nothing on the way home from the snow. I got a side salad and was pathetically grateful for the fresh, crisp, juicy lettuce! When we got home I felt ill, almost nauseous for the whole next day and am only feeling better now after having gone for a run and doing some lovely relaxing stretch yoga (I hurt my neck a bit on one of my ‘chews’ so was nice to stretch out).

Next time, I am NOT going to do the same thing. I am going to remember how sick I felt after a weekend of poor food choices and, instead, try to fuel my boarding with healthy and nutritious meals. Most of the restaurants have soup so that is probably better than the nachos and meat piesI ate…. And I’ll probably have chocolate, I’m only human!

NEXT POST: Barefoot beginnings! My Vibrams toe-socks (FiveFinger Seeya) have arrived and I am in the process of breaking them in. First impressions coming soon…

Chumbawamba Style

I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never gonna keep me down. Worthy words to live by sung by a british pop/punk band in a pub rock anthem about binge drinking. Classic.

This week I have had a few little bumps which have knocked me down somewhat. It’s funny how you can go from feeling completely in control and smug about how great you’ve been health wise, to feeling like all your good work has been completely wiped away. The trick is, to know that it is OK to fall off the health wagon momentarily – as long as we jump right on back.

Social Eating

Sometimes, there is just no getting around it. We are social animals and in social situations sometimes it is not acceptable to refuse food or to suggest an alternative. And why should we? This weekend was FULL of social eating for me, here is a taste (pun-tastic) of my decisions/experiences:

  1. Date night! A lovely night out with my husband at a local, small, intimate Spanish Restaurant near our house. We had some amazing tapas and delicious red wine. When we rang up for a booking at the last-minute we were told we had to wait an hour and a half. No problem we sez, and did an hour-long workout together at home (p90x shoulders, biceps and triceps) before heading over, biceps flexed.
  2. Movies with my sister for a girly afternoon. We had popcorn and choc-tops…but we also had a salad from Grill’d for lunch instead of a burger.
  3. Dinner for a friend’s birthday to a Teppanyaki restaurant. So fun! Also SO full of salt and oil…so instead of drinking wine I had soda water with lime to reduce calories.
  4. Out to dinner for a family birthday. Shall we share a bottle of wine? Sounds go to me! I’ll order the fish and veggie option for dinner. Deal.
  5. Finally, the baby shower. Cake, mini-sandwiches, quiches and more sugar than you can poke a stick at. Did I eat the cupcakes? Yup, and how! When I got home I went for a 60 minute jog.

Lots of losses there but the small wins I had made me feel like that I was still in some sort of control and that I hadn’t completely fallen off the wagon.

Rain

Winter has started with full intention this year. Cold. Wet. Windy. Not the ideal ingredients for getting out and exercising! My alarm went off to walk my dog on Friday morning and I just couldn’t drag my self out of bed into the cold rain in the dark. Even Melvin couldn’t have been less interested, curled up in a little ball under the bed – he barely cracked an eyelid when my alarm went off and I checked out the window to see if it was just windy or windy AND rainy. But I got into work and my boss HAD gotten up and walked her dog. Hmmm, maybe I need to take a teaspoon of cement and harden up? Or maybe I should just tell myself she is crazy…What am I afraid of? Getting wet? Cold? Odds are it will be raining tomorrow morning. Can I do it? Or, more importantly, should I do it? To get my 70 minutes of exercising in a day…. YES, I should. I guess I’ll break out my wet weather gear :/

Its been a biiiig weekend and I will have to work extra hard this week to get my health goals back in line (I did not drink anywhere near enough water this week OR make my veggie OR exercise quota. Tut tut.). But City 2 Surf training started today and I went for a lovely long run in the extremely chilly winter air. It was invigorating! I think I’ve reached a running fitness level where my lungs don’t hold me back anymore, I’m more likely to stop because of knee or ankle pain and blisters than struggling to breathe. It’s a good feeling 🙂

Thirsty Work

If you start to feel thirsty, you are ALREADY dehydrated.  Or so I have read.

A friend of mine has said she believes that the difference between feeling great at one work out and struggling at the next could be your level of hydration (possibly also fuel in your body, timing meals and workouts is super important apparently. Not an art I have mastered at this stage).

Water is good for your skin and…well I’m not really sure what else. Getting enough sleep or something? Probably, maybe I should Google it….

“Water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues. Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.“ – SOURCE: http://www.mayoclinic.com

Good to know.

In any case there is a recommended guideline for how much water is ‘healthy’ to drink so I am going to assume that the people who came up with that know what they are talking about! A good discussion I have found was written by HFG Australia and can be found here.

Pure, sweet water

My husband is convinced whenever I get a headache that I haven’t been drinking enough water. And maybe he is right. Time to either squash that myth or concede he was right (sigh).

THIS WEEKS GOAL: 5-6 GLASSES OF LIQUID A DAY + sweat replacement

‘Liquid’ includes: Water (duh), tea, coffee, milk, juice (according to HFG guidelines)

It DOES NOT include: Wine. Or alcohol.

I have 2 cups of tea on an average day, a half juice/water at lunch and a smoothie for breakfast. That’s 4 glasses, so I am going to add in two full glasses of water on top of that while at work PLUS at least a drink bottle of water per 30 minute workout. I will work at increasing to an extra glass of water (3 a day). If I miss a cup of tea or have toast instead of a smoothie, I will add in another glass of water, etc. Deal.

Oh yeah, and I am cutting out soft drink COMPLETELY. I don’t drink it frequently, I have maybe one to two Coke Zeros a week but its pretty pointless. Lime and soda or half orange juice/soda water is a better choice when out at the pub/for lunch etc.

Progress

Still aiming for 5 serves of veggies a day, probably achieving that maybe 4-5 times a week. Needs constant improvement! I am getting more in the habit of eating veggies at lunch though which is progress.

I did 77 minutes a day of exercise on average last week so still going strong on the 70 minutes of exercise a day. Feeling good too. Fit. I shaved 4 minutes off my 8 km run and I threw in a sizable hill to boot…but at 56 minutes it needs improvements. Still, I did run the whole thing so trying not to lose sight of how far I have come.

Cycling is going well, I have been for a few MTB rides and have been increasing my road and gym riding. I did a gorgeous sunset ride yesterday around my beautiful city. About 10 km and a good 35 minute workout. I felt really invigorated afterwards and would like to work at improving my time on the same route.

My weekly measurements (waist, stomach, hips) are showing a definite change (1-2 cm) and my clothes are feeling a little loose so I am on track for a loss come June 1st I believe. But I don’t really mind if not. I mean, I’ll be disappointed of course but I am feeling pretty happy and confident in my body at the moment. Last night we went round for a roast at my parents and my mum made a delicious lemon meringue pie from scratch. I had a huge serving and enjoyed every mouthful. I still feel no regrets. I am confident I know how much I can and can’t have at the moment. I’m feeling quite empowered actually. Hopefully it isn’t false confidence.

Overall, feeling great and loving it!

Next post: My City2Surf training plan. Starting to get exited/terrified at how close it is…

An unhealthy obsession with health?

Nah. Although I do find that I get sick of thinking about if I’ve met my health goals for the day (have I had enough of x and too much of y?), or mulling over if eating that chocolate will really have any negative impact on my overall health and well-being.

My aim is for healthy living to become second nature, and I am hoping that by gradually adding healthy habits to my life they will become a part of who I am without constant need for thinking about it.

Recently, my husband has started night shifts and is developing some unhealthy eating habits involving binge eating – which I totally understand because shift work is so, so hard on your body. He did the shopping and, along with our usual haul, bought WHITE BREAD, CHIPS (Salt and Vinegar god help me), CREAM BISCUITS, CHOCOLATE and SUGARY JUICE.

I was completely horrified and my reaction/resulting lecture to my poor, tired husband made me realise that, actually, I have developed some healthy habits which are now second nature and, when faced with alternatives, I can make the right decision (or use my super-hero power of ‘iron will’ to resist what I know to be poor choices).

Your sugary goodness doesn’t tempt ME

Healthy habits I have already established:

SECOND NATURE

  • 2 pieces of fruit every day (too easy, I love fruit)
  • Eat wholemeal bread. White bread now seems like a junk food to me!
  • Drink low-fat milk and eat fat reduced version of other dairy (yoghurt, cheese etc) EXCEPT I indulge in a full fat slice of cheese sometimes at lunch (portion size controlled, more protein so keeps me full for longer. Plus its damn delicious) and think eating parmesan is pointless if its fat-reduced.
  • Don’t add sugar to tea
  • Only drink juice if it has no added sugar and dilute with water
  • 2 alcohol free nights a week. Actually I don’t drink much, most weeks I won’t have any alcohol although I will have a beer or glass of wine (sometimes a couple) maybe once or twice a month.
  • Check labels before buying a new product to determine overall impact on health
  • Exercise regularly and Include both weight training and cardio

A BIT MORE THOUGHT INVOLVED

  • Order salad or veggies and fish when eating out.
  • Avoid McDonalds, KFC or Hungry Jacks like the plague (1.5 years so far without)

WORKING ON IT

  • Avoid hot chips (5 months in…)
  • Eat 5 serves of vegetables a day
  • Exercise 70 minutes a day

NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN

  • Stop eating chocolate

 

I have a whole list of planned weekly health goals for the coming months but I think I need a consolidation week! I don’t want to push ahead too far and slack off on previous goals.

NUTRITION

I’m getting sick of eating carrots at lunch and need to spice things up a bit to keep some momentum forming my 5 serves a day habit. My plan of attack for this week is to make an eggplant sambal curry which gives 4 ½ serves of veggies in ONE GO for lunches this week (thank you Healthy Food Guide). I’m also going to work on some different veggie recipes. Having them steamed or raw will only keep me interested for so long! I visited the local farmers markets this morning and bought up a bunch of fresh, local, delicious looking veggies…I’ll figure out what to do with them later.

farmers market fun

Vegorama!

Vegorama!

EXERCISE

Last week I set the target of 70 minutes a day of exercise. I probably should have made it ON AVERAGE because I needed a rest day! So in a way I didn’t reach my goals…but in another way, if I do a bit of sneaky math, I did 😉 I actually did almost 80 minutes on average every day. I did up a little spread sheet (I heart excel, lol) to show my exercise week. I’ve colour coded it to show moderate (yellow), medium (orange) and high (red) intensity workouts. Yeah, I went there.

workout calendar may

It’s good to know I can have a day off and still meet my exercise goals. Looking forward to a week of consolidation and figuring out what the hell I’m going to do with all those veggies…

One week down, (n-1) to go

n being the number of weeks left in my life. Meant to be motivational (i.e.making  life long changes) but now I think about it is kind of creepy and morbid…never mind. On with the show.

LAST WEEK: 5 serves of vegetables a day

My weekly goal last week (other than getting my blog up and running) was to eat 5 serves of vegetables a day. After doing a bit of googling I found this useful website http://www.gofor2and5.com.au/ which might be a 90’s throw back website but had some indication at least of what constitutes a serve.

What’s in a serve? A carrot by any other name would taste as sweet…

I think I managed it, although part way through the week I started to worry a little I was eating TOO MANY vegetables.

I don’t eat organic vegetables. As a chemical engineer I don’t think agriculture without fertilisers and pesticides is sustainable in our modern world of ever-increasing population. Eating organic (I believe, I could be wrong of course) is a selfish western pretension. Plus the name is stupid, everything we eat is organic since it’s made up of carbon, just like us.

So I started to feel a little ill after each big serve of veggies and I thought… maybe there is something to this organic caper? Surely my body isn’t rebelling against eating what I’ve been told is just the right amount of vegetable matter? It might just be the pesticides on the skin? Normally I would peel the carrots I eat but have read that the skin retains a lot of the nutrients. Catch 22.

I am going to keep up the veggie game but maybe start giving them a much better wash before eating. If that doesn’t help I will consider trying ‘organic’ (stupid).. but I’m hoping it’s just my body getting used to eating more vegetables.

PRO’s: They really fill me up and I feel so, so full and not able to eat too much more really after eating a few serves. I also feel pretty smug eating a plate of veggies in front of guys at my work stuffing their faces with hot pies, chips and burgers washed down with coke and iced coffees. Bahaha, I will live so much longer than them. Probably. Man I could go a burger.

CON’s: They make me feel a little sick (as discussed). Also, they take a long time to eat and prepare.

THIS WEEK: Excercise a minimum of 70 minutes a day (moderate intensity at least)

I’m kind of cheating here because I already mostly do this. I take my dog for a 40 minute walk or bike ride each morning and normally go to the gym in the evening for at least 30 minutes (although those are easy to fob off. Not so this week!). Weekends are harder as I sleep in and only do one workout for max 1 hour so that will be interesting. When I say moderate intensity I mean heart rate > 140 BPM and can only just hold a conversation. My morning walks are generally pretty cruisy so I need to step that up and make the most of the fact that I am already up at 6 bloody am.

Along with my ‘NO CHIPS’ and ‘INCREASE CYCLING FITNESS” long-term goals and continuing my 5 serves of veggies a day…I think I’m going to smash this week! That, or, keel over part way through and go troppo on a Big Mac.

I will never regret exercising, I will regret NOT exercising

Someone has to be first….

My first post! Apologies in advance, this will be entirely uninspiring…

I am currently working on my blog to get all the pages set up before I begin blogging in earnest. I mainly wanted to make it pretty first before trying my hand at some writing (Procrastination? Possibly. Not a good start I suppose…) but I am mostly happy with it now, although I expect it will change as I frequently change my mind.

Here are some goals and motivators I am currently working on:

THIS WEEK: Eat 5 serves of vegetables a day

Oh so much harder than it seems, plus I am still relatively clueless as to what constitutes a serve. I’ve been cutting up cucumber and carrot at lunch and having beetroot juice (on first sip I’m like ‘blerk’ but after that it really grows on me). We also go out to dinner more than is possibly wise (in terms of money and healthy eating) but I am aiming to order only salads or fish meals since I don’t eat enough of either and that also increases veggie uptake.

THIS MONTH (May): Increase bike fitness

I very recently took up trail riding and love it…but my fitness is nowhere near where it needs to be for what I would like to be doing. This month I will be focusing on riding as much as I can, on the road, in the gym, spin cycling, on bike paths as well as some trail riding. I don’t have a very good bike though at the moment and feel it is holding me back in terms of trail riding (it changes gears without warning right at the worse moments, i.e. struggling up an incline  or trying to pick up speed before a drop) and is possibly downright dangerous…so will save my trail riding goals for a time of better fitness. I did a spin class on Monday and almost died, burnt 590 calories in 50 minutes which is a record for me. So thats gotta be good right?

THIS YEAR: No hot chips

Last year I gave up McDonalds which was a lot easier than I thought considering we live very close to one and often used to use it as a last-minute meal choice. This year, I am upping the ante, I can have McDonalds now (but don’t want to) but I won’t have hot chips. Not fish and chips, not restaurant meals that come with chips, any sort of takeaway or deep fried chip is now literally off the table. 4 months in and I’m going strong, it makes it easier to choose salads when I can’t go for the chip option. It is a little demotivating that giving up hot chips hasn’t lead to sudden and dramatic weightloss (I guess I didn’t actually eat that much of it) but I think in the long term it will help me automatically choose healthier options when eating out. I intend to do what I did with the Maccas thing, i.e. give it up completely for the year and up the ante next year. One step at a time.