Mar 222013

This morning came very close to not happening. I had interrupted sleep thanks to the Spare, unable to drop off for almost 3 hours in the middle. The boys were also going to the Easter Show (for the UK think Ideal Home Exhibition plus Alton Towers). I was supposed to follow on after Bootcamp. Pros to Bootcamp include great workout, 100 points in the Foxy Challenge 2013, and gradually building up consistent training. I’m also in a great group of women who I’m happy to see. The same can’t be said of everyone.
Cons, felt severely sleep deprived, apathy, partner in crime wouldn’t be there, having to dig deep to then get in a bus to join my family. So, I had a cup of coffee. I had some veggie juice (not as revolting as it sounds), took my medicine (should blog that some time) and just kept moving. Helped get the boys ready. . Had a shower. . Still not sure. Finally got my water, towel, foxy challenge log book. . Said goodbye to the boys. Got in the car. Drove to oval.
Found I’d left my sneakers at home.
I drove home, got them, and went to Bootcamp.
I have to imprint this morning on my brain. If I could get there this morning, I can do it again. Anytime.

*apologies for any typos etc., blogging on my phone, on the bus :-)

 Posted by at 11:19 pm
Mar 212013

..and the sky is grey. Well, not quite. The leaves are barely starting to turn here in the Southern Hemisphere (did that need capitals?), and it’s still blue, blue, skies, but it feels like “back to school weather”. The air is definitely a few degrees cooler and cuts through the heat rather than adding to it.

We’re doing the pyjama dance this week, jumping back and forth between sleeveless tops, pyjama shorts, long trousers and (in my case) a moth-eaten old cashmere jumper thrown on when the Spare wakes me up at 2am because he’s freezing, and the best remedy is to use me as a hot-water bottle. I usually find this exasperating, but I relish the small thrill of wearing clothes for the first time in a year and finding them a little better fitting. Easily pleased, me, but it helps spur me on too.

I don’t know if it is because I associate it with the new academic year, but the drop in temperature always prompts more activity from me. All those magazine articles about getting out in the summer sun, making the most of the long evenings.. it makes me want to lie in a dark, air-conditioned room, until the season passes into either an Indian Summer, or even better, The Fall, which has always found me busy and more content.

Despite all my good intentions at the beginning of each school year, I never did have the hand writing, or the drawing skills to live up to those crisp new exercise books, or the carefully highlighted timetables written in 5 different colours. But for some reason, when it comes to exercise and household chores, Autumn feels like my New Year, ripe for resolutions that I’ll actually stick to. For a week or two at least.

This may be the first Autumn that finds me ahead on my plans, because I’m already 2 months into my new eating and exercise efforts. I really don’t know why it’s working better this time, but it’s something to do with patience.

You know how the beatific writer or personal trainer will say “doesn’t matter if you slip for a meal/a day, just get back on with the diet”. YOU know how some people actually have the opposite reaction and, having found themselves at the bottom of a packet of biscuits, will look for a pint of ice cream to inhale. I know it can’t just be me. Because if we all were that kind to ourselves, we wouldn’t have an emotional relationship with food to begin with.

But this time. Hmm. I think it’s, as I’ve written before, partly to do with the cravings having more or less disappeared. Partly the portent of ill health slows me down and I really do understand that it took years to get me here, it will take some time to counteract it. Lastly, the very nature of IF is that you only have to hold it together for one day at a time.

Still not sure why I’m sticking to the exercise more than before. Maybe because this time my life depends on it.

Mar 212013

every gram of carbohydrate you consumes “holds on” to 3 grams of water. That’s not to say don’t eat carbs, but explains clearly my very dispiriting weight increase last week.

To be frank, I had a wobble about the validity of IF (Intermittment Fasting) especially given my increase in exercise, so I went back to eating low calorie every day, rather than almost nothing on diet days, and generous amounts on exercise/non-fasting days. This gradually slipped into eating things that aren’t so good for me (that’s me, not necessarily you), and meant alot more carbs. Which explains why I managed to put on 2kg almost over night.. that miraculously disappeared a couple of days later when I went back to my new-normal routine.

and no, it wasn’t cycle related.

So, by eating several packages of GF snacks, adding extra slices of toast/bread to my daily intake for a few days, it is easy to see how that plus the water (plus just straight calories) added up so easily, and so instantly.

I went back to IF on Tuesday and felt SO much better for it. Big sigh of calm.

I still don’t understand the mechanisms properly (not sure if even the scientists do) but I feel calmer, more energetic, and useful by-product, more in control; although that last is probably because I’m thinking about and controlling what I’m eating rather than misery-random eating.

Onwards and upwards!

Mar 172013

Weird but exhilarating.

About, ooh, 9 years ago, I got married. A few months later we had a second wedding party on this side of the globe for those who couldn’t make it to London. (TMI alert, don’t say I didn’t warn you). Between the two celebrations, I became pregnant. And then I wasn’t. It was pretty unpleasant.

When I was getting ready for the Aussie wedding bash, I chose a dress that not only was loose-fitting, it was a size too big. This was because I had put on a lot of weight, and for some reason, despite the pregnancy ending in the 1st trimester, I still had a pretty noticeable bump. Well, noticeable to me anyway.

The dress was lovely, and it looked right, and it was a great evening, but I still have been very aware of the circumstances surrounding it’s purchase, the few times I’ve worn it since.

This afternoon, I was having one of those manic “what to wear” moments. The boys were ready to go, and they were all prissied up in shirts and such. I spotted the dress that, last time I tried it on, barely fit over my stomach and hips.

Today, it fitted pretty much the way it did 9 years ago. It was almost too big and swivelled around me in a very satisfying manner. Last time that space and swishiness was a disguise and cover-up. This time it felt as if I was keeping a happy secret underneath. I’ve still got a long way to go, but in a few weeks I will buy a new dress, with the old dress firmly in mind. And this time it will fit perfectly, and have only happy memories to go along with it.

 Posted by at 8:13 am
Mar 172013

Yesterday I went to an 8.30am bootcamp, but only because it attracted alot of extra points in the Challenge competition. Well, that’s not strictly true, I liked the idea already, but it was the points that got my out of bed and into the car.

It wasn’t the toughest class I’ve ever encountered, but maybe because I’m getting a tad fitter.

Unfortunately I did battle through with a slightly sore foot, knee and hip, which actually started to creak on Friday. This morning it was more of a scream, as I stood up out of bed I couldn’t put my weight on the one side. So, I gritted my teeth and decided to listen to my body, and give it a day of rest. Being a Sunday it has been exactly that. I don’t mean I didn’t do anything, groceries, family birthday tea, cleaning, but nothing over and above family maintenance.

Despite my recent distance from religion, church, and anything faith – related, I will never lose the feeling that Sunday is different, and almost by default I am more reflective and more likely to look at issues differently on this one day each week. So, despite being near to tears of frustration, I texted my partner in crime, and said I wouldn’t be at Latino Blast, and neither would the protein shake I promised her for afters. I hate letting people down, and today, for the first time in a very long time, I felt as if I was letting myself down by not doing something active.

It all still feels very unhappy late this afternoon too, but I’m sure that by tomorrow morning my joints will have settled down and started to behave again.

I was bitterly disappointed to be texting in my week’s points tally, at 375, instead of a potential 410-435, but as the Slavedriver said, it’s only week 1 and there’s a long way to go yet.

Mar 162013
In case you don't know what chickpeas, or tabbouleh, look like

Quick one this, just wanted to draw your attention to this helpful legume, available in many forms you may not have considered.

Obviously, the pre-requisite is that you don’t have an aversion to chickpeas, or that you haven’t some trauma associated with them. In which case, look away now.

Otherwise, can I draw your attention to the humble poppadum? gluten free, low gi, very yummy (if a little high in salt), super fast to cook, and more or less fat free (double take, eyes on swivel-stalks – fat free you say?).

If you take a poppodum (or two) and put them in the microwave for up to a minute they cook, puff, crisp like nobody’s business, and you haven’t been near the oil. They get top marks for fitting into my particular dietary requirements and a good scoop for all sorts of things (although I’ve only tried them with hommous, avocado, salsa, I’m sure there must be others). Just so you know, not crash-hot with taramasalata.

So they go to the top of my snacks list.

Meanwhile, if you are lucky enough to need a bit of a calorie boost (curious, but those people do exist), I recommend Gathia, or chickpea snacks as they are more prosaically termed. Gathia seem to be chickpea paste (from gram, or chickpea flour), extruded to produce a tri-noodle effect. I realise tri-noodle is not a real word, but I hope it gives some idea of the shape I mean. Can be eaten mindlessly by the bagful, or mindfully, measuring a handful out into a bowl and eating them slowly whilst doing almost anything.

Finally, of course, there is the pea (bean?) itself. Frankly I could write a whole recipe book in honour of this little beauty, but no one would buy it. Meanwhile, throw some into tabbouleh, add to rice and seasoning for a balanced vegetarian meal, eek out the meat in a sauce with a can of chickpeas, or just drain them, drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, and ground cumin and/or ground coriander.

In case you don't know what chickpeas, or tabbouleh, look like

In case you don’t know what chickpeas, or tabbouleh, look like

I thought I was going to sleep, apparently I was going to write an Ode to the Chickpea. Expect the unexpected I always say.

Mar 162013

So I’ve had a couple of friends say “I just heard about that fasting thing on ABC this week!” well done me for missing it.

Fortunately it’s available in podcast form, and while I’m here I’m going to give you the link to the original UK documentary too – so you have even more inspiration/stuff to not watch.


Argh, frustratingly they’ve removed all links to the full video online.. that makes me think that they have a DVD, or at least in the works. Bother. Ah well, start with Richard Glover :-)


Mar 152013

When I signed up for the 12 week Foxy Challenge, I had a little running commentary in my head, thus –

“So, for Monday I’ll get really organised, and then I’ve got PT, and food coaching, and I’ll start doing BodyPump on a Thursday..mmm.. how will I fit in something on Tuesday or Wednesday when I’ve got the Spare with me? “… Not that my youngest (aka the Spare) won’t go to the gym creche, but it’s another hurdle… anyway.

And then there was actually doing it. Monday, fine, full of exhilaration, but what for now has become a routine – PT on a Monday, and I even added a flying finish of 30 minutes of white-hot rowing.

Tuesday and Wednesday completely bombed (see previously) as I physically could not get to the gym… and then Thursday I made it to Bodypump. So far so good. But THEN I did the Weekly Challenge on Friday which was boxing, jabs, punches, right hooks, lunges, skipping, and my first introduction to Tabata (which seems alot like Fartlek to me, maybe with a less ridiculous name?).

I nearly threw up. I hurt. Really hurt. My chest was going to burst all over the running machine, and as for the skipping. I haven’t skipped since I was 9, and even then it was lazy long-rope skipping where you joined a queue and jumped through for a couple of seconds every tenth girl. I remember fluffy clouds, hard asphalt playgrounds, and realising that in the fight for boy attention or a cola cube from your new best friend, the cola cube won every time. (Which may explain why I am where I am today, needing to do the Foxy Challenge. All those cola cubes).

This wasn’t that. This was awkward (carpet, sneakers), undignified (total support sports bra? Not so supportive), and killing.

And now I’m awake the very next day about to go to Book Camp, and not sure how to will my muscles to go on. Curiously I’ve managed breakfast for the Heir, colouring in and a good chat about diving under water with the Spare, but the thought of getting back out there. Omgoodness.

The only reason I’m going is that I bullied a friend into going too. So I have to. I’m also scared the minute I stop, I won’t start again. I  realise I’ll have more confidence in a few days, but in Week 1? If someone offered me a recliner, and the box set of Friends, I’d be very tempted to sit still for the next few days.

I keep thinking of those people in The Biggest Loser and wondering when they hurt – they seem to be exercising ALL the time – do they ever talk about pain? I’ve only ever seen a few minutes at a time so maybe I missed the whining. So I thought  I’d whine myself.

Here’s hoping I don’t in fact throw up this morning. I’m past embarrassment, but I won’t have time to stop and brush my teeth afterwards before joining in again.

Mar 142013

Quick re-cap on how I’ve been losing the weight in the last couple of months. I realise it’s a bit tedious because you want to know to know how much is due to IF, or how much is due to eating apples, blah blah blah, but it’s not, it’s lots of things.

1 – Intermittment Fasting – Does work for me; has tempered my appetite, and of course I’m eating less over the week. IF has also stopped my obsession with having breakfast 1st thing. I KNOW it’s practically carved in stone on the Holy Grail, but you know what? If I start eating, I keep eating. If I wake up not hungry, I’m now not prodding the sleeping monster (my appetite).

2 – Low GI – Also has helped strip away my cravings. I’ve spent my entire life either about to think about food, thinking about food, or just having thought about it, and I swear it’s stopped. The other day I forgot to have lunch. That deserves a blog of its’ own. Low GI is also difficult to pig on.

3 – Weights/exercise. You’ve heard the facts – if you train with weights 2x a week for 3 months you’ll have enough new muscle to burn 150 calories. Or something equally mind-numbing. If that’s all it did I’d pack my tent now. But it’s not. I can’t be the only person who eats healthier food after going to the gym? For at least a day or so I am determined not to undo my good work. I think it also makes a good appetite suppressant, but I’ll have to look that up.

4 – Support. I probably should’ve put this first. Because I have a plan, and because I’ve told a handful of people my plan, I feel stronger in my otherwise quitter-moments. DH texted me today – “How was the gym”? Made my day (well, made my day until I found out I’d lost a stone, then it had to budge over and make room for a new high). Thanks Sweetheart :-)


Mar 142013

I started today with a fabulous omelette. Hyperbole, no, it really was. Partly because it had mushrooms in it, partly because I didn’t have to cook it myself, and partly because it came with a sideorder of nice chat with one of the women at Cafe Santis. Love this place, secret retreat of the well-informed. That now includes you (if you can find it :0)

There is no way of knowing, of course, how many eggs went into it, but I’m still making this an IF day because despite the Bodypump, I’m really still not hungry (4.30pm and counting). So, I’m going to guess at it being a 300 calorie omelette, and maybe dish up a 300 calorie feast in a while. Normally you would want a total of 500, but on a day like this.. and I’m losing weight, so I get to bend the rules.

So Belinda aka the Slavedriver, was sure I could be brave and take on a Bodypump class, given that I’m now doing some “proper” weights with her. I ventured in nervously and found that, yes, I was allowed to use the weights bar without any actual weights on it. So that’s what I did. Plus a couple of kilos for legs stuff.

It. Was. Amazing. I. Was. Amazing.

I tried this a couple of times some fifteen years ago and was slightly underwhelmed; I think the problem was that I was so weak. Not enough iron weak. Working a 40-50 hour week weak (ha!). So here I am, on the wrong side of 40, all supplemented with iron etc., and I managed the whole hour, and didn’t miss a rep. (Rep. is a very important gym-ish word that makes you sound like you know something. It’s just a repetition. But you probably knew that).

Also, I’ve lost a bit more weight.. this morning I was 77.2kg (down from 83kg, 2 months ago), so just shy of 6kg. In old English that’s 13st 1lb down to 12st 2lb. OMG, that’s the first time I’ve worked it out in old money, that’s nearly a whole stone.!! Wow. Good job I’m writing, because I’m actually speechless.

On that happy note I’m going to stop there and have a cup of tea. (I guess cake is out).