Archive for September, 2008

The formula for success!?

Christine rightly asked me, in a comment on my last post, how I am going to achieve my mini-goal of losing 5 lbs by the end of October. I’ve been thinking hard on this one and haven’t entirely settled on a plan. This is probably because whenever I have a very defined plan all goes swimmingly until life gets in the way – husband, family, friends, colleagues, emotions, hormones, unexpected events etc. As a result I’m wary of setting too rigid a plan because if I do and then I stray from it at all I am much too hard on myself and end up down in the dumps. Then because I am an emotional eater, I end up using food to medicate the situation.

On the other hand part of me wonders is that just a stupid excuse to avoid sticking to a set plan. I’m trying to go with my gut here (no pun intended) and my gut tells me that if I say an outright no to sugar/bread/chocolate etc for a month then the first thing I will want is those things. I know it’s not rocket science but it’s good to acknowledge it fully.

So what is my sort-of-plan?

  • Well for starters I need to keep up the exercise. I don’t see that being a problem. I’ve been doing well up to now so I aim to do more of the same plus I’m trying out a new weekly exercise class that incorporates weights which I hope will help me build strength and tone up. I also want to keep up the running and my goal there is that in a month or two I’ll be able to run 2/3 miles reasonably comfortably.
  • I want to keep up my water intake during the week but improve it at the weekend. I’m hoping this will help me avoid bloating somewhat though I know food has an impact on that too of course.
  • In terms of food I want moderation, portion control and unprocessed foods to be the key. I can’t say I won’t eat chocolate or processed foods at all but I want fruit, veg, low fat dairy, protein and wholegrain carbs to be the mainstay of my meals. I need my weekends to be better planned when it comes to food and I need to have plenty of healthy alternatives to munch on.
  • I’m considering giving up alcohol completely for the month but that might be unrealistic. Plus I’ve found a low cal alcoholic drink made with sweeteners that is a compromise in that regard. I know artificial sweeteners aren’t the best for me but I can’t win the war in one go. I need to choose my battles.
  • My biggest battle however is with my emotional eating, being aware of it and then stopping it. I find this so difficult. Food seems to be my answer to every emotion – when I’m happy, sad, angry, bored, tired etc, etc, etc I want to eat. I’ve even started to notice that I seem to have trouble staying/sitting still…. I need to fidget for whatever reason and I think food sometimes is part of that, it’s something to do. So I need to find a substitute in that situation. Maybe herbal teas, water, raw veggies?
  • I’m also considering keeping a food diary again – not counting calories or points or anything but just recording what I am eating, roughly how much and when. My problem with food journaling is that it can cause me to obsess more than ever about food and that’s something I’m trying to get away from. On the other hand it has also worked for me before but that was when using it in conjunction with WW points. When I bring points into it though the obsession is never far away. It’s hard to know what to do. I want to do what’s right for me. I think one way a food diary could help is just by allowing me to be totally honest about what I am eating. As well as sometimes thinking I’m eating better than I am I also have a tendency to think I’m eating worse than I am – like if I have some chocolate during an otherwise excellent eating day I would almost write the day off as a failure. Nuts I know!
  • Another idea floating in my brain is to change from weighing weekly to once a month. I dunno about this one though. It could go VERY wrong. I’m capable of doing a lot of damage in a month. I know the scale shouldn’t be the main focus but I need to monitor how I’m doing all the same. I’ve been taking measurements too so I can get a fuller picture of any progress I’m making and not rely totally on the numbers. I also know that feeling fit and healthy is just as important as any number on the scale.

Gosh, I didn’t intend for this post to be so long! It’s probably obvious that I’m still establishing my ‘plan’. It will probably be ever-evolving. I think though if I can hit some of the points listed here and I don’t go food crazy over the next month I can definitely achieve my mini-goal.

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I’ve been thinking a lot the last few days… well I’ve tried to anyway. In fact I fear a large part of my problem could be that I think too bloody much! I’ve become a much too introverted person. Any faults or what I perceive to be faults that I see in others I instantly think “do I do that?”, “am I like that but I just don’t realise it?”. It’s basic self-criticism I guess, it’s always looking for negative aspects of myself. I don’t think I was always like this and I’m not sure what happened to make me this way. Maybe as I matured and my self-awareness developed I just went too far and I’ve never really stopped. Trouble is I don’t know how to stop now. A lot of the time I don’t like myself very much never mind love myself.

Along with all this thinking I realised that since I started this blog, back in March!, I have lost a grand total of 5lbs in 6 months! That’s not even a pound a month and I probably lost and gained the same 5lbs multiple times. At first I thought how crap. Then I realised that I haven’t gotten bigger either. I still weigh less than I did in March so I must be doing something right, right? If I had stuck my head in the sand and done nothing I would be easily 20 lbs heavier at this point… but I’m not! Plus I’m fitter too than I was 6 months ago.

So I’ve decided to set myself a mini goal – to lose 5lbs in the month of October (and not put them on again). I think it’s very achievable and hopefully if I stop looking at the bigger, long-term picture I can concentrate better on the smaller tasks at hand.

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Quick update

Up 1 lb this week. Putting it behind me (no not on my ass!)… it’s partly bloating and partly deserved because of silly food choices during the week. It’s done now though so not going to obsess about it. It’s a new day and a new start.

Next week I will see if there are any changes in those measurements I took a few weeks ago. Very curious about that but will not get my hopes up as that would be a bit unrealistic.

Lots stills to do this week but the hectic-ness of the last few days is calming down somewhat so I can relax a little, have some me time and feel back in control.

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Hectic Days & Hormones.

Yesterday was just ridiculously busy for me! I felt like I was in a rush from the minute I got up. When I finally got to bed I was actually lying there thinking “must get to sleep quickly, must get as much sleep as possible” in a frantic manner! Talk about needing to take a deep breath and relax for a minute.

All that nuttiness mixed with some monthly hormones is no doubt the reason why I left a shop yesterday with a giant triple chocolate cookie that I practically inhaled back at my desk. I could say it just caught my eye when I went into the shop but I know in my heart that when I went in there I was longing for or felt I deserved something for how my day was going.

Similar circumstances led me to eat fried foods for my mid-morning break today and way more than I needed or even wanted. One day I’ll find that reset button somewhere on my body that jumps starts my brain back to making healthy choices when temptation strikes.

On the plus side (no self-deprecating pun intended) I have been exercising lots. I ran a mile today in just under 12 minutes which I know isn’t terribly fast but it’s good for me. I didn’t try to beat Monday’s 21 minute run because I just didn’t feel up to it today. It was touch & go that I went to the gym at all if I’m honest. But I did go and decided for today not to worry about how many minutes I could run but just to aim for a mile and a slightly faster pace if I could. Then seeing the goal approach I upped the speed on the treadmill to try to hit the mile mark before 12 minutes came up. If I was just counting minutes I’m sure I wouldn’t have gotten past 10. I also warmed up for 5 mins on the cross trainer which counts too!!!!

Also feeling bloated and big in my clothes today… the hormones again no doubt. I must look into some specific supplements that might help me with that. Something else for tomorrow’s to do list !!!!

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Weekend experiments.

So my goal this weekend was to try to have lots of healthy alternatives to snack on and make this weekend healthier than some of the recent ones have been!

On Friday evening I made a big batch of Rainbow Turk-a-Roni. I did as Roni suggested and went with whatever I had in the fridge plus some chilli flakes…. I’m not great for following recipes to the letter of the law anyway! It turned out quite yummy !!! A great, great, healthy comfort food and I had enough left over to use it for lunch the next day too! Plus my hubby has said he will try it if I make it for dinner for both of us some night. This is a major break through as he’s isn’t a huge fan of turkey mince OR vegetables. Fingers crossed he will like it!

Here’s a photo. Quality isn’t great as I used my mobile phone to take it. It doesn’t look quite as appetising as Roni’s but it tasted damn good. 🙂

On Saturday morning I made some Butternut Squash Soup based on Christine’s recipe. Again I didn’t follow exactly… just a bad habit of mine. I added extra celery and carrots. I also added some ground red pepper as I like things spicy. It still worked out great, looked lovely – such a beautiful colour – and tasted good too. I still have some in the fridge to have pre-dinner tonight. Hmmmm, I must find out how long it lasts for. Didn’t take a photo of this one for some reason, might try later.

One of my current food prep goals is to make a big batch of brown rice for freezing in individual servings. I like my meals to be quick and waiting around 40 minutes for brown rice to cook just isn’t going to happen even if I did buy a big bag of it with good intentions.

So I found a recipe for cooking brown rice in a slow cooker. The aim being to just put a big portion in on a Saturday or whatever, leave it cook away really slowly throughout the day without having to worry about it. Then once it’s done, let it cool and freeze it in small, healthy portions that I could microwave when needed during the week.

Here’s the recipe I found. Note the title…. Slow Cooker FOOLPROOF Rice. Let’s just say I’m feeling decidedly foolish.

It started out ok but I checked after a few hours and the liquid seemed to be practically gone and the rice was starting to stick to the bottom but still wasn’t cooked….. so I added more water…. and then more later on. I did have the slow cooker set to low but maybe my low isn’t low enough?
To cut a long story short what’s in my fridge right now looks a lot like porridge. 😐 It tastes ok but is a bit more of a mush than what I expected.

So my next attempt (probably next weekend) will be to cook the brown rice in the oven. I found a recipe for this called Foolproof Oven-Baked Brown Rice. I’m beginning to see a pattern here with the foolproofness.Worrying considering my first attempt at a foolproof recipe. It’s not even from the same web site! I wonder will I also see mushy rice again ?!

In terms of eating (rather than cooking) my weekend was ok. It was definitely better than some have been but my water intake could have been much better. It’s so much easier to forget at the weekends and is probably a partial cause of my post-weekend bloating. I got some exercise in though – a few nice walks – the weather was just lovely.

Speaking of exercise, I ran for 21 minutes today !!!!!!!! I’m so delighted with myself it’s ridiculous. 🙂 After the weekend break from running my shins didn’t react too badly. They twinged a bit but obviously not enough to stop me. One of them did feel like it had seized up when I finished so God knows what it will be like later on in the week! I’m sure I overdid it but I don’t care! I improved. At this rate I’ll be able to run a marathon – in about 10 years….. 😐

This quote that arrived in my inbox this morning and just hit home with me I guess.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one. ~ Mark Twain

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Small set-backs… hopefully!

So I didn’t attempt my 20 minute run at lunch time as I met a friend for lunch instead. It was a last minute thing. I then went and had fries with my lunch, not clever but hey it’s done now, in the past and all that. My intention then was to run when I got home which I duly set out to do. I had visions of outdoing myself and managing 30 mins or running the whole 3 mile route!! I am a little yellow rubber duck would be my mantra… (no I’m not gone mad, Andrew of Andrew is getting fit put me on to that one! See here).

Anyway within a few minutes of settting out my shins were not at all happy. My 15 minute run the other day must have annoyed them somewhat. Jeees it’s not like I’m running for miles and miles! Bold shins!!
They were sore enough to make me stop. I entertained the idea of running through the pain for all of 6 seconds! I guess I didn’t need much of an excuse to give in. My sensible side told me that doing anything while in pain will not make it better but only worse so I resolved to walk the rest of the way in a leisurely manner. Walking thankfully causes no pain.

My plan now is to rest up for the weekend, do my stretches and put some ice on them. I will get some easy walks in too. Hopefully by Monday I will be up to greeting the treadmill again, that might be easier on them than the uneven, hilly road. However the road is what I will be attempting to run on for the 7km run I signed up for. It won’t be an as uneven or hilly but I still think that just won’t be happening. I’ll try to run some of it and will walk the rest but I’m afraid 7km seems like a marathon to me and my shins right now.

Now I’m finally off to make some Butternut Squash soup and some Rainbow Turk-a-Roni as I have some turkey mince to use up and want to try something different for change.

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Weigh-in Thursday

Well I jumped on the scale a little while ago and was very pleased to see a loss of 3lbs! I’m sure it’s water weight especially after being so bloated the last couple of weeks but that’s just fine with me. I’m hoping now I can put in a good weekend which will really help me 1) avoid more bloating and 2) lose some more next week.
I’m also thinking of trying a 20 min run tomorrow. Dunno though. That 15 min one yesterday was tough and I wasn’t even going that fast. I’ll see how I feel tomorrow I guess. I find that for now I have to set myself a target for running. If I say I’ll do 15 mins then once that 15 is up my body just goes “right, that’s me done”! So maybe I should set myself the 20 min target for tomorrow and just do my best.

Short post tonight, lost of stuff to do!

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Outside influences.

Oh to live in a cocoon… that contained only healthy food and exercise equipment. Well it probably wouldn’t be much fun after a while. The hubby does have his uses after all 🙂

It’s so tough though when outside influences sabotage your day. I mean it’s hard enough getting it right without people practically throwing chocolate at me. I speak of a co-worker who is the closest I’ve probably seen to anorexic in real life. This person does not have a healthy relationship with food and regularly buys chocolate, biscuits, cake and basically forces them on the people around them. Forces may seem like a strong word but if you say no you get a “ah go on, do. it’s only small” or ” I won’t eat them so go on” and the chocolate bar or practically full packet of biscuits or whatever it is gets left on your desk!

Some days I can be resilient and say no firmly and take whatever it is back to them. Other days I take it and hide it in the back of my drawer determined not to eat it out of principle but that doesn’t last long. Then there are days like today when I just take it, say thanks and gobble it down. That doesn’t do much for my self-esteem either I can tell you. Sometimes I even go back for more. It’s like having a drug dealer that doesn’t charge.

This person has a stock of chocolate on their desk that they NEVER eat. On the days I’m craving chocolate I know it’s there. I mean I know this person has some sort of problem. I need to be tolerant and try to see it from their point of view. I know (hope) they aren’t deliberately trying to make me fatter but gimme a break. This weight loss lark is hard enough work without that kind of temptation.

Today I wasn’t even longing for chocolate. The idea hadn’t even entered my head and then there it was on my desk, unasked for. I know I shouldn’t have eaten it but that close I just can’t resist.

I did run for 15 mins on my lunch break though and did some weights so hopefully that will cover todays chocolate indiscretion. However if you hear of someone murdered, motive – chocolate generousity (pushing), I will be the one responsible 😐

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Eggs are my friends.

Of course I shouldn’t eat my friends but you get what I mean, right ?! I just made the yummiest omelette. Red pepper, peas, zucchini all fried up in a little pesto, a little chorizo added in for flavour, 2 eggs, seasoning and a little sprinkle of grated cheese on top. Mmmmmmmmmmm, it was delicious, even if I do say so myself. I think it’s a pretty healthy meal. It was also filling and I don’t long for sugar after it like I do with some dinners. Eggs are now something I buy regularly. I know there is some fat in them and cholesterol but I think they are worth it so I’m stickin with em 🙂

I did re-notice however that I am still eating too quickly and starting when the food is too hot. I need to take my time and savour every bite.

Thanks to Christine I’m going to make some Butternut Squash Soup nearer the weekend in the hope that it will be something quick & tasty to fill me up when longing to eat. I’ve never tried Butternut Squash before or any other type of squash for that matter! Here’s hoping I like it.

I did a shop today too and made a conscious effort to buy things that are healthier, that I can snack on instead of opening the fridge and cupboards and saying there’s nothing there.

I have zucchinis to make some of Roni’s Zucchini Pizza Bites. Yum! (must check out what else I can do with them!). I have some low fat cream cheese which I could use with some raw carrots or celery, lots of crunch. I have ingredients to make Butternut Squash soup. I have some dark choc broken into little pieces in my freezer only (fingers crossed) for when I’m really longing for some chocolate. I have turkey mince to make some turkey burgers for dinner some evening.

So as of now I have some sort of plan or strategy to help me eat better this weekend. Of course I had a plan last night for todays eating… wrote it down and all…. it went very off track at mid-morning break but other than that has been ok so I guess it could be worse.

The bloating also seems to have calmed down a bit and I’m drinking my water so I’m slightly optimistic for this weeks weigh in.

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What did I learn about myself today? That if I don’t have some sort of plan in place I dither and end up making wrong choices. In fact I don’t even dither I just go straight to the crap cause I haven’t specifically resolved not to!
I need to put up or shut up. I need to pick a plan and stick to it for longer than 5 days, not throwing caution to the wind when the weekend arrives. Or if I am going to go a little nuts at the weekend I need to plan for that too and find a compromise.

All logical thinking eh… just need to add in the action now!

I did get to the gym today as I promised myself I would and I ran for 10 mins straight, did some weights and also used the elliptical machine for 5 mins. Not too shabby for my lunch break methinks…. I don’t have a program as such but I’ll get to that in time. Any suggestions, in particular with regard to the weights, are very welcome.

So what’s the plan batman !?
Well I’m thinking my regular eating needs to cut back on the sugar, refined carb and processed food. To be honest I’m not doing too bad on this front already (not saying I couldn’t do better!). Well during the week I’m not, the weekends however are a disaster! I’m sure it’s the lack of routine. Whatever the reason I need to do some deals with myself I think.

Maybe allow myself a takeaway or a treat once at the weekend if I eat well the rest of the time ?
Or allow for extra eating at the weekends but plan for it – have healthy, tasty snacks to munch on ?
Get a 2nd job so I have no free time at the weekend and therefore can’t eat ?

Obviously I’m still working on this…… may take some time but then I’m a work in progress myself so that’s to be expected.

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