Saturday, 31 August 2013

A monthly challenge…?

So, I haven’t come up with a monthly challenge for a while. 

I like the idea of a monthly challenge because I think it allows me to have a measurable goal.  Something achievable that I will help to build in a new challenge.  Usually I’ve made these monthly challenges something fitness related.

I was thinking some more about the fact that I’ve lost 7kg (15.4lb) in the last two months.  And Marion ( asked me if my clothes were fitting any differently. 

Well, they haven’t.  They don’t feel looser yet.  The waist band of my pants (slacks/trousers/insert-other-regional-variation-here) still sit very snugly.  Everything I wear is elasticated waist, because at least *that* has a little give. 

Now, as I was sitting around, pondering some more on this, I was trying to work out why there seemed to be no change.  Was it because:
a)      My current clothing size was probably on the side of too small and now they are fitting closer to what they should, or,
b)      I carry most of my weight on my belly and the weightloss hasn’t been centered there, so there has been no change in the fit of my clothes?

Rather than just sit around waiting for more weight to come off before my clothes started to feel looser, I figured there was probably something I could do about it.

Sit-up and take notice, because I’m about to reveal my September Challenge…




You ready?




Are you suuuuuuure?




Sure you’re sure?






I am going to do 600 Sit-Ups in September!!

Oh, you already worked that one out?  Oh.  I guess you don’t want to hear the details then?  Oh *shrugs* that’s cool then.  I’ll just be… over here…

Heehee, I jest, I jest! 

I really am going to attempt 600 sit-ups in September.

Why?  Well, because I like sit-ups!  Sit-ups have always been my ‘go-to’ exercise.  Because I do carry excess weight on my stomach, sit-ups are something that I find helps with that. 

Now, I know, that you can’t spot reduce.  Doing a thousand sit-ups will not magically make my stomach/gut area flat and streamlined.  I’m not going to create muscles that will spend their entire existence burning away my stomach fat.  And etc.

And yet, I find doing sit-ups does help.  If I do sit-ups regularly (daily) then, after a few days (approx. 5) I find that my stomach does sit flatter.  Some where on the interwebs (that I can’t find now) I think I read that although you can’t spot reduce, what does end up happening, is the ab muscles do build to a certain extent and they become stronger and are able to pull in the excess skin and fat.  Thus, this gives the appearance of flatter abs/spot reducing.

Whatever.  I enjoy sit-ups.  In high school, I used to do 100 a night.  And if there ever was an event coming up where I wanted to look my best and not have to worry about a sticking out gut, then I turned to sit-ups.  They truly are my go-to exercise, if I feel I want/need to be doing something fitness wise.

Now, obviously 600 sit-ups is a lot.  At the moment I can do 15 sit-ups.  By the 12th, I’m feeling it and have to push for the 13th, 14th and 15th ones.  Now you clever readers know your maths and realise that 15 x 30 days is ≠ 600 sit-ups.  This is indeed true, your maths knowledge has not failed you.  : )  So of course, given that if I stick to just 15 sit-ups per day, I will only reach 450 sit-ups, I will obviously need to do some more!  I feel that as I continue to do sit-ups and my muscles develop, I should be able to start increasing the amount of sit-ups I do.  I’m thinking every 3 days?

I think I worked out a gradual increase of every three days would go something like this:
15 – 16 – 18 – 20 – 21 – 22 – 24 – 25 – 27 - 30

So, the benefit to doing this is two-fold.  One, I will reach my target of 600 sit-ups and two, I’ll build up a daily habit that is good for me.  Well, actually three, I’ll be starting some form of exercise.  Guess it beats just sitting around on my arse.  Okay, that’s enough, I promise! :)

I’ll be keeping a record of my progress on the ‘Monthly Challenge’ page.  Might not update daily, but it will be accurate.  Feel free to check it out.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

There has got to be a better way...

On Sunday, I went grocery shopping.  My least favourite domestic chore.  Give me a room full of ironing instead.  A garden full of weeds.  A sink of dishes, or a clogged drain, or cobwebs, or a tank of scorpions, or dunking my hands in boiling oil or….  Sorry, got carried away there, didn’t I? :D 

(By the way, I take forever to get to the point in this post, so if you just want to read the “message” I got out of this experience, scroll down until you get to the purple writing)(but I’d be honoured if you read through the whole thing).

I find grocery shopping to be absolutely the most stressful task ever (yes, English teachers, I am hyperbolising).  I don’t know what it is, but it just doesn’t work for me.  I know the rules/strategies to make it smoother, and yet, NO.
·         I create a meal plan – for my dinners and lunches mainly.  I know my breakfast is going to be porridge or cereal. 
·         I shop my pantry & freezer first – what have I got that needs to be used up?
·         I scour the catalogues to see what’s on special
·         I write a list to buy just the things I need
·         I include on my shopping list what I’m making for meals in the week so I’m less likely to impulse buy.  (if it was on special and I wanted it, it would have been in the catalogue and made it onto my list already).  So when I'm looking at an aisle, and wondering why I've picked up an item, I check with my meal plan to see if I can aford or need to fit in the deviation.
·         I shop late in the day when there are less people around and more manager’s specials
·         I shop the perimeter of the store and stay out of the aisles when I can
·         I don’t shop hungry – I make sure I have eaten before I go.

I live on my own: I cook for one person.  I go shopping everyweek.  AND YET IT STILL TAKES ME OVER AN HOUR EACH TIME!!  This has always been a point of contention for me.  It takes me AN HOUR to shop for one person.  Each week!!  Argh!!  Exclamation points to make my feelings known!!

So, that’s enough backstory, right?  Sunday, grocery shopping, went with a list & meal plan.  

Now, I’m currently sitting a delicate balance between eating good healthy food and sticking to a budget.  I know lately that my shops have taken a little longer, because in the fresh produce section, I’m picking everything up, weighing it, then calculating the cost.  I keep a running total on my hand, so much so that by the end of my trip I look like this guy:
Well, my hand does anyway! I probably look a little odd for it, I'll be the first to admit.

I possibly also emanate a little whiff of ‘nutter’ by muttering to myself my sums.  $43-50, $43-50, 43-50, and then that’s $1.20, so I’m going to round that up to $1.50. 43-50 plus $1.50, 43-50 plus $1.50, that’s going to be ..... 45! 45,45,45,45.45,45...  All while walking back to my trolley and etc.

Sunday’s shop proved to be long and stressful as I was conscious of trying to stay within my budget (went over by $25).  By 5:40pm - mentally - I was done.  That was it.  I was tired and cranky and stressed and worried about getting home and cooking dinner and preparing lunch for Monday and still getting some reports finished for work the next day and ... ! I was over it.

Fifteen more minutes and I was finally in the last aisle.  And I admit, I was swayed by the ice-cream fridge as I walked past it.  Individual ice-cream cups of 200ml (6-7 oz? fl. oz?) were half price and only $1 each.  Bargain!  I could buy some to stock up and they could sit in my freezer and I could eat them in pre-decided portion amounts!  What could be neater?! (ß You can see where this is going right? Delusion City!!).  I’d been debating getting ice-cream anyway and at that price, who was I to resist?  (Mind you, I must have looked nuttier again as I got them, because the flavours I like best were at the very back of the top shelf.  Now, I’m tall, but I still had to stretch right up and then jump to get them.  I even had to use the tray they sit in to roll the very back ones forward.  I was determined to get that ice-cream!)  Now, as I walked back and forth with them, I started a conversation in my head. 


I’m going to put the voice of ‘my conscience’ – my Jiminy Cricket as it were – in blue, to distinguish between the two sides of my conversation.

As I looked at the ice-cream, I said to myself: I want ice-cream. 

But then just as quickly, I asked myself do you really? Why? Why do you want ice-cream? The weather’s not even that warm.

I know, but I just want ice-cream.

But why?

I want something comforting.
I feel stressed and anxious and I want to feel better.

So... you don’t really want ice-cream do you?

… No, I just want something to make me feel better.

Is ice-cream going to be it?

Ice-cream will make me feel better

. . . 

No; it won’t. 
I’ll just feel like I’ve eaten ice-cream, but I won’t feel any better.  I’ll feel sick from having had too much sugar and I’ll still feel anxious and stressed about work tomorrow, but I won’t feel better for having eaten ice-cream.  I’ll also feel guilty onto top of anxious, because I’ve eaten food with meaningless calories.  I’ll have eaten it for no benefit. It’ll just be (fat) gain.

Well, what will make you feel better and less stressed?

Taking 15 minutes to meditate when I get back home

… And, it worked!  I got home, dumped the bags on the counter and before I even unpacked anything, I sat out on the balcony (it was a beautiful, still, balmy night), put in my earphones and played my favourite meditation tracks (5 minute mindfulness followed by a 10 minute progressive relaxation).  15 minutes later, I felt calmer and more settled.

I was ready to tackle dinner, and lunch and everything else I had to do. 

And I didn’t eat any of that ice-cream! 

All the tubs are still sitting in my freezer, ready for when I am ready to eat one because I’ve budgeted it into my daily calories.  Not because “I want something to make me feel better”.

And I’m going to remind myself of that each time I open the freezer looking for food:  Do you really want that, or do you just want something to make you feel better?

Monday, 26 August 2013

It’s so close I can smell it… or is that just my feet?

Last week I didn’t lose any weight.  I stayed at exactly the same weight.  And I was fine in that, for the reasons mentioned in that post.  I did point out however, that I was going to tackle the week in exactly the same way I have been approaching this whole Mid-Year’s Resolution’ and that I was going to weigh and log everything.

And that’s what I did, even though I had a ‘hungry’ week.  Throughout most of the week I ate more than I should have.  I constantly felt that I wanted something to eat.  Most of the time I wasn’t hungry, I just wanted to eat.  I made sure I was drinking water, in case I was mistaking ‘needing to eat’ with ‘needing hydration’, but, whatever, I ate more on most days.

However, I stuck true to my plan and I weighed and logged everything.  I did.  Hence, why I know most days I went over my calorie limit.

Did it make a difference?  Well… yes it did...

So… I’ve lost some more weight.  Granted, only another 500g (1lb), but given how much more I ate in the week, a loss is a loss.

So, yes, I’m so close to getting under 100 kgs, I am so excited, you cannot believe ! Or maybe you can, because you’ve been there too :D  Maybe you are nearing a milestone mark in health or fitness or weightloss and you’re feeling that beamy excitement that’s going to be in the forefront of your mind to keep you going. 

So technically my next weigh-in is in September, being next Monday, but I think if I make it under 100kg, I’ll claim it as an August victory.  After all, all the ground work happened in August.  And I don’t really feel the need/compulsion to hop on the scale on Friday to see if I made it.  Okay… maybe just a little.  But! If I hold out until Monday that means not only that

a)  I made it under 100kg in August but also
b)  I’m starting off my next month in a new decade

Both are wins as far as I am concerned. : )

P.S.  You can check out my table of progress so far on the Weigh-in page

Saturday, 24 August 2013

So, a Saturday reflection... ...noiƚɔɘlʇɘɿ yɒbɿuƚɒƧ ɒ , oƧ

Okay, so I know I just posted earlier, but this I felt was more relevant and to the now.

I was thinking about how I didn't lose weight last week, and thinking on what I've done this week for that.  I mentioned that I was going to do the exact same as I had been in the first place, weighing and logging everything.  Which I've done.

I've also eaten a bit more than my calorie limit on most days.  Sometimes only 50kCal over, sometimes as much as 400kCal.  I noticed that my eating has been more erratic this week and I've been reaching for the higher energy foods.  I think there were a few factors for this.

  1. Busy, busy week at work this week. We've all felt it.  Many of us had mid-project reports due in and the stress/tension was making us all go a little nutty.  We had a pretty explosive department meeting; Last minute changes to our programming that were not communicated; The bloke who works next to me teaching himself a new computer system; I myself on Friday went a little silly by 'mooing' at my co-workers (hands as horns and all :-D ).   The two women who sit behind me (our chairs back onto each other) ate an entire 800g bag of Minties in one morning.   They cracked it open at 8.30am and by 11am they were all gone.       O_O
  2. Long, long hours.  I've been waking up early in order to get into work and do stuff before most others arrive.  It becomes a noisy workspace when we're all in there in the half hour before we start our day.
  3. The weather turned.  We've been having unseasonably warm weather this winter.  Some Most days have been much more like late spring/early summer.  So this week when we got our normal late winter weather, it's been a surprise.  And maybe a bit of a shock to the system so the body is trying to compensate by consuming/craving more calories. 
  4. I think my body might have been trying to make up for the fact that I ate way under two days ago.  So, whilst last week I managed to not over eat to compensate, this week it seemed I did.
  5. I didn't do my grocery shopping on the weekend, so I didn't have much in the way of fruit, or salad ingredients, or even vegetables to steam.  I had enough food in the freezer that I had stuff to eat, but I portioned up those foods in such a manner that I would eat them alongside a salad or vegetables (lasagne for example.  Not enough on its own, but with vege - makes a meal!).  My lunches were pretty sorry for themselves.  
So... I ate more this week.  *sigh*

I'm pretty determined to not jump on the scale before Monday morning though.  I have always been pretty adamant that your body has too many fluctuations from day-to-day, hour-to-hour even, that it just doesn't make sense to weigh yourself every day.  I've never understood the appeal or motivation factor of daily weighings.  Of course what you put into your body certainly does leave an effect the next day (alcohol, I'm looking at you...) but really, it's that cumulative effect that I'm really going to notice.  Hence, the big drops for previous weeks.

It's Monday!

Man.... I need to work out a better system to updating. I really love sharing what I've done in my week, but I never seem to get it all down "on paper" in time Monday evening.   Hmmm.... anyway!

Surprise surprise, no weight change this week.

I weighed in at exactly the same weight as last week - 101.2kg (223.1lbs).

The surprise surprise was sarcastic by the way.  I was kind of expecting, after losing so much so quickly in the last few weeks, that there wouldn't be a big change this week.  On top of which, there were some days in the past two weeks where I was sick and I ate barely anything.  Sometimes, not even half the calories I was supposed to.  If that happens 4 days in a row, of course there is going to be a flow-on effect from that.  I doubt my body "went into starvation mode", but it certainly wouldn't have metabolised as efficiently as it should have in the days following.  So, no loss this week.

At this stage, I'm not panicking.  If in another week I'm the same again, well, then I'll consider what I need to look at.

I think this week, I'll continue to eat as I have been, weighing and logging everything.  I've been making use of the recipe tab on MFP (myfitnesspal) as much as possible when I've been cooking.  The only downside is working out how many 'servings' I've made.  For some foods it has been easy, because I have been able to portion the food up straightaway, and weighed each one to get an average.  Other food has proven more difficult, for example the pesto salad I made myself for lunch today.

I made the pesto myself.  It was my first time ever trying to make it - just chucked everything into the food processor - whee! - and hey presto; pesto! (I love puns!) and then I cooked up some pasta and used some tomatoes and tuna to make a pesto salad.  It was definitely yummy!!  Yesterday I ate only 100g of it, as a taster, today I had 300g for lunch.  Easy enough to average those two amounts out over the last two days. But this amount you see here, it's 470g and I haven't worked out if this is a whole portion, or half a portion or even if I am going to split into 3 amounts.  Very frustrating

Aaaaaand, I'm going to leave this post here, and continue my thoughts in a follow-up post later today.  It makes more sense as I'll be writing it from Saturday's perspective, not Monday evening's.  

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Measurement Monday - Round 2

Urgh! I always plan to get online more frequently and to blog more, but it never seems to happen.  It takes me long enough to just log in my food to MFP.  I get so distracted by other webpages or TV that I don't seem to ever complete any writing.  :-S  So, I did actually take my measurements Monday and I didn't get around to posting them.  Oops

Anyhow, I've been logging some more this week.  Admittedly, my eating's been really poor in the last 7 days.  Thursday/Friday I was home sick from work.  Barely ate either day.  Saturday and Sunday were similar.  It's only today that I've started to eat "normally" again - still not great, but better than I was.

Start:               107.6 kg
Last week:        103.0kg
Current:         101.2kg
Weekly change:      -1.8kg
Total Loss:           6.4kg

As a result, I have lost weight since last week.  Not entirely sure how accurate it is.  Well, of course, it accurately reflects that I didn't eat for 4 days, but it doesn't really reflect my focus on good eating choices and watching what I eat.  It's a much bigger result than I was thinking.  Hopefully I can take something away from this week and concentrate on not overeating.  I don't want to compensate for the four days of not eating by eating too much this week.  I'm going to stick to my target as closely as I can and hopefully not such a drastic drop next week.  I'm definitely happy to lose weight at a slow pace, but a steady downwards trend.

At this point in time, I'm starting to feel that I am losing weight too quickly.  I only want? expected? to lose somewhere between 0.5-1kg per week.  (1-2.5 lbs).  In seven weeks, I've lost 6.4kg (14 lbs).  AND.... I'm an idiot.  I've just worked out the maths (my breain is so not switched on today).  If I average out my loss across the seven weeks since I started, I'm actually doing okay. 0.9kg/wk average or 2lb/week. Carry on...

Oh. My. Word.

I now weigh less than I did when I started at my new job at the start of the year.

I've only just worked that out as I am writing this post. Flicking back through my diary, I noticed I entered in my weight in January the day before my first day. I now weigh under that. That is completely unbelievable to me. I was 103.9kg that day (229lbs). (The week before was 104.1kg, so very much the same)(229.5lbs). And now I'm at least 1.5kg lighter than that (3.3lbs). Un-frelling-believable.

Originally when I started today's post, I was thinking I might reach under 100kg (220.5lbs) by the end of the month. Now, I'm wondering if I'm going to end up at my "starting weight" of 97kg (214 lbs). That's how much I weighed when I first started the blog, way back in April 2012. It's what inspired the orginal name, 27 Years Old and 27 Kilos Too Heavy.

Look, I'm not going to push for 97 kilos, but I definitely think I will be under 100. In only two weeks left (of August weigh-ins anyway), it's pretty unlikely to be 97kg. But I'll definitely be expecting less than 100 kg.


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Measurement Monday - Round 1

Okay, moment of truth time.

How has the last five six weeks of getting 'reserious' about my weightloss efforts gone?

On June 24th, I reached a new point, where I decided once again, to make a difference in the way I feel and the way I look. 
I weighed in at 107.6 kgs.  (237 lbs)  There on in, I started to be super careful with logging everything I was consuming.  I logged eveerything using MyFitnessPal and I was aiming for 1610 Cal a day.  I bought a notebook to write everything down and I used a digital food scale to measure everything.  I even took my digital food scale with me when I visited family for the week!  In that week, I didn't quite stay in my calorie limit, but across the week, I believe it averaged out that I was just under. 

The following Monday morning, back at home, I weighed myself and the scale flashed up 105.2kg (231lbs). 
Really?  Wow, I wasn't expecting that.   Did I really lose weight already? After just one week of trying to stick to a lower calorie level? Nah... Couldn't have!  In this week, I was much more careful about sticking to my calorie limit and I also managed to do some exercise - trying out the Couch to 5K program.

Monday 8th July, next weigh-in.  103.5kg (227.7lbs).  O_O     Hmmm... Okay, perhaps this lower calorie limit has some merit to it afterall.  This week I wasn't as careful with meal planning and logging.  I let myself get tired and hungry and then when I got home, I didn't make good food choices.  Or I picked up some fast food on the way home.  I didn't properly plan meals, lunch was a lazy affair, breakfast was skipped.  It was not good.  The next week followed much the same pattern. 

And it showed. 15th July I weighed in at 104.0kg (229lbs).  I didn't do any exercise in this week either and I had some sick days from work.  By 22 July I was sitting on 104.9kg again (231.2lbs).  

But, of course, on the 21 July I watched the Fat and Back documentary and it reinforced for me just how hard this journey is (urgh! what a cliché) and how easy it is to fall into bad habits that will not help me in my efforts to get healthy again.  

Started tracking & logging diligently again.  I've noticed that my tracking is becoming faster as I re-use many of the same foods in the database.  I'm only using the webversion, so there's no scanning of barcodes.  I just have to look everything up.  But stuff like steamed veges are usually floating around in the first three pages of recent food because I eat the same type of veges often.  And I'm getting better with portioning my food straight away, weighing those portions and putting it into the freezer straight away.  And I don't need to weigh everything out each time anymore.  My coffee for instance, I made & weighed enough times that I have a standard formula now of coffee:sugar:water:milk.  The milk varies slightly (±10ml), but I'm not quibbling over it, because a) long term I feel those wobbles balance out, and b) nearly half the time I make myself a coffee, I never finish it. 

Now, completely by accident I forgot to weigh-in last Monday.  I was really excited and looking forward to it too, because I'd just finished a week of careful tracking again.  I only remembered once I was halfway through breakfast.  I was going to weighin the next day, but I forgot then too, and by Wednesday I felt it wasn't going to be an accurate picture of the week. 

So I left it to this morning.

I weighed in at 103.0kg (226.6lbs). 

Woohoo, I think I'm losing weight. :) Finally. After 15 months of this blog and not really getting anywhere or doing anything. This calorie counting thing seems to be the way to go. I've lost this weight just by weighing and logging food. I've not done any real meaningful exercise in the past four weeks either. Just one walk of 40 minutes. It seems it's going to be possible and I can do this. I can lose weight and get healthy.

Excellent! :)