Today I am struggling

Today is hard. It’s got nothing to do with food or exercise- although I suppose it has everything to do with food and exercise, really. I’m feeling incredibly down today. Not emotional, not moody, not flat- I’m feeling low. I thought I’d already written about the moods and emotions I’ve been experiencing over the past two weeks, but I just found the draft of that post in the trash folder so I guess I never got around to finishing or publishing it. Emotionally the last two weeks have been a journey, but I think today’s the hardest.

As my body’s gotten used to reduced sugar, refined carbs, dairy and fats I’ve gone on a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions and moods. I’ve been short tempered, and I’ve been a bitch to those who are supporting and helping me, but for the most part I’ve been aware of it and remotely in control of it. I’ve felt up and down depending on the day, how much exercise I’ve had and what I’ve eaten- and depending on how I felt about all of that. too.

Yesterday afternoon I got angry about something (too angry by reasonable normal standards, but fairly in line with ‘Challenge’ me) and it put me in a bit of a ‘light fog’. That’s how I’ll describe it- a light fog that made me feel down a bit. The fog stayed with me until I’d nearly finished cooking dinner, at nearly 9 pm. Thank goodness for cooking- it lulled me out of the fog. It’s such a meditative process for me, when there’s no time constraints and no-one around to disturb me. It’s just me and the veggies and the chopping board. A bit like writing, actually.

This morning I woke up and, as my day started, the fog started to roll in again. I know why, but the reason doesn’t matter. I’ve sat at my desk not really achieving anything, flicking between screens trying to find something that inspires me to do something. Anything. Work stuff, non-work stuff- none of it’s worked. I went for a walk at lunch time, and far from my usual power-walk through the city, my feet dragged. Everything felt heavy. My usual fix for a crap day is food of some kind- normally unhealthy food, too. Today I can’t turn to a hot chocolate or a piece of cake- not that those things ever particularly help anyway. And not that I normally feel this down, either.

This afternoon I’ve put my headphones on and I’m blasting some Mumford and Sons. It’s helping to block out the world, and it’s making it all a bit more bearable. The fog’s lifting a bit.

It’s really hard to tell what’s a chemical response in my body right now and what’s a genuine reaction or feeling. I suspect that most of it is genuine emotion that’s being amplified by changes in my body. But then the little voice in my head says “is your body really changing? Are the chemical reactions real? Probably not… it’s just a great excuse….”

And so the battle in my head goes on.

Time to step up the exercise

day 21
day 21

Well, weekend #2 is down and I’m officially heading into week three- I’m up to day 15!! Time’s kind of flown and it makes me worried that I’m not trying hard enough, not pushing myself hard enough. My food’s been pretty great- the only thing I wasn’t completely happy with over the weekend was dinner last night- Indian takeaway. Having said that, I didn’t have any rice or bread- curries only- which means I was consuming veg and meat (all good) and a bit too much oil (not so good). As far as ‘bad’ meals go, that’s not too bad. Especially when the rest of my weekend was very good- I even said no to garlic bread on Saturday night. Garlic bread!!!! I was so so so tempted to just have on small piece with my pea and ham soup, but J was great and kind of talked me through it. His support has been so awesome over the past two weeks, I wouldn’t have got this far without it.

On Thursday night my trainer weighed me, and told me I’d lost 800 grams since Monday night. What!? 800 grams in three days?! That was pretty exciting. I’ll weigh in again tonight, so it will be interesting to see where I’m at post-weekend. I’m feeling a bit frumpy, and I’m a bit worried that nothing will have fallen off over the last couple of days (then again, I was feeling this exact same way last Monday and ended up having lost 500 g across the weekend).

So why am I feeling like this? The answer = exercise. I normally have a PT session on Friday night, but last week he couldn’t make it. He left me with exercises to do, but life got in the way and I didn’t make it to the gym (I would have had to cancel my session with him even if he’d been around). That meant I’d done three days of training in the week so far, my old benchmark, so I definitely needed to do some moving and shaking over the weekend to make sure my days were up from 3 to 4 or 5. Needless to say, it didn’t happen. It’s not like I sat on my bum for two days- I was busy the entire time, doing ‘weekendy’ stuff. Visiting a market, spending time with the family, all those kinds of things.

But three workouts in a week is not enough any more. One of the habits I want to kill is thinking that three in a week is enough, and one of the habits I want to kickstart is getting at least four workouts happening per week. For the duration of the challenge, it should really be a minimum of five.

I’ve been reading the forum on the Challenge website. Some people have shed more than 7 kg in the last two weeks. That seems pretty dramatic weight loss in a quick time to me, and I’m wondering whether some of them are becoming truly active for the first time at the same time as changing their diet, which is leading to such dramatic weigh loss? For my own part, last time I weighed in I’d lost upwards of 2.5 kg in less than the two weeks, and I was stoked. I guess I’m just at the point where I actually know I’m capable of more than that, and if the scales don’t show me what I want to see this afternoon then I’ll be really disappointed in myself. Honestly, whatever they show I’ll be disappointed in myself- because I know I could have done more to get a better result.

But I didn’t, and the lesson is learned. I’m heading into week 3, and it’s time to stop making excuses. Food’s doing really well- time for the exercise to match it.

Two small days of achieving big

Good morning!

Before I head into a couple of big meetings for the day, I want to share with you two small days of big achievements. It’s Wednesday today- three days since the challenge started- and for the first time in my life I can say that for two days straight I have eaten exactly what I intended to eat. No cheating, no blow-out snacking, nothing ‘bad’, just healthy food.

I have met the challenge for two days. 82 left to go.

I also started my new gym habit last night, with a self-guided gym workout (no PT involved). It was cardio night so I did some time on a bike, then spent the rest on the rowing machine. Probably not as long a workout as it could have been, but I had to get home in time to make it to the fruit and veg shop before it closed. That’s compromise for you. I’m going to take a rest day today- it is not my intention to rest on Wednesdays, but if i’m adding two cardio workouts to my week that weren’t there before (on top of the pre-existing 3 days of weights training), then I need to work into it. I really don’t want to burn out on week one.

For that reason I’m also going to allow myself a piece of raw vegan cheesecake tonight. Not that there’s anything bad in it- some fruit and nuts really! The worst is some coconut oil and a little bit of golden syrup, but per slice it’s really not bad. If it tastes any good I’ll share the recipe here soon.

So that’s it- I have achieved big in the last two days, by my standards, and I’m proud of myself. Oh, and I’ve lost some weight! (a little bit. Not much, not enough to share numbers, but still- I’m moving in the negative direction)

It feels unnecessary sharing this on here, but then, that’s why I started this blog- to share my difficulties and to celebrate my successes.

What’s that countdown?

If you’ve visited this blog before, you’ll have seen that I’ve been counting down to something. Well the countdown has finished, that ‘something’ has arrived, and a new countdown has begun. Today marks the first day of a challenge I’m taking. It’s a 12 week challenge (but don’t worry, it’s not Michelle Bridges’ 12 Week Body Transformation. I’m not paying $19.99 a week for this one). The challenge is affiliated with a brand, but seeing as I have pretty much no intention of buying their products at this stage, I’m not going to name them here. That only seems fair. The challenge is free (because presumably they’ll make a heap of money from entrants purchasing their products along the way), but it does provide eating and exercise plans along the way.

could take their eating and exercise plans and follow them to the T, but for me that doesn’t seem particularly sustainable so I’m going to be adapting and changing things up as I go along. Having said that, I’m going to stick to the basic premise of the meal or workout as much as I can, just making changes to suit my tastes and preferences. To me, if they’re saying “eat 100 g chicken with steamed veggies”, I’m reading “eat 100 g of lean protein, with vegetables in some form”. So I might go a chicken stirfry.

So, why am I doing this? If you’ve read my first couple of blog posts you’ll know why I’m taking action, but why am I doing this particular challenge? The answer is this: I am a creature of habit, and I have some habits I need to kick. By committing to a 12 week program of eating and exercising (and committing to write about it on this blog), I’m giving myself a chance to change some habits for good. They say it take a minimum of 21 – 66 days to begin to form a habit, so I’m giving myself 84. 84 days of great eating, and as much exercise as I can.

As I think I’ve mentioned before, food’s my big problem- so food is my focus. I already do three sessions a week at the gym with my PT (leg day, arm/back day, bit of everything day), so I’m going to make a concerted effort to add as many cardio sessions as I can per week. I’m not a huge fan of cardio machines in the gym, especially treadmills, so I’m going to mix it up a bit- probably a mix of rowing machine, cross trainer and the stair machine thingo that I’m not fond of at all, but which I know is good for me. So I already have the three-a-week habit when it comes to exercise- if I can increase that to a steady 5 days per week with a sixth thrown in there when I can, I’ll be really happy. Especially if that’s a habit that I can maintain post-challenge.

In terms of food, I need to go all-out. Lapsing is not an option for me. I’ve formed some terrible habits, and I really need to kick them. Honestly, if I can kick those habits and pick up just a few small new ones, I’d be happy (although I reckon I can do better than that). Habits that will be kicked in the next 12 weeks include:

  • The 3 pm chocolate bar at my desk;
  • The ‘because it’s easy’ focaccia from the cafe at work;
  • The “because I brought my own lunch and need something to do in my break” vanilla slice;
  • The constant defaulting to eating out at dinner time
  • The ‘inability’ to find time to purchase and prepare decent food
  • Food FOMO (aaaaaaaaalll of the food fomo)
  • Saying yes just because it’s there/offered to me (hello Mum’s fruitcake. I don’t even like fruitcake)

I think the biggest barrier I’m going to face over the next 12 weeks (gosh that sound shorter than 84 days, doesn’t it?!) is time and convenience. I’m a really busy person, and it’s so much easier to pop to the cafe downstairs and buy a focaccia than it is to buy and prep my lunch the night before. Same goes with dinners, and mid-afternoon snacks at work. If I can get a handle on that stuff, I think I’m going to be ok-ish. It’s not going to be a breeze, but I can handle it.

Has anyone else out there in blog land ever done something like this (what a silly question! Of course you have!). How did you find it? How did you keep a healthy balance between kicking the bad habits and forming the new ones?

I weigh how much?!?!

I’ve always prided myself on having a pretty realistic view of my body. I know I’m not tiny, and I don’t try to squeeze my way into clothes that are too small for me in the desperate hope that fitting into a size 8 means I actually look like I’m a size 8. That’s not to say I’m beating up on myself about my size either- what I know about my body is that, in reality, I am ‘average’. My dress size is average, and my shoe size is average (how do I know this? There’s never any sales items left in my size. All the other average sized women have already gotten in ahead of me and bought those average sized clothes). Over the past few years I’ve learned, more or less, how to dress to best flatter my body.

And for that reason, I’ve never been too fussed about my weight. “It’s not about the weight, it’s about the shape” has been a common thought flitting through my brain. Similarly, “I feel pretty good, and I exercise regularly, the weight’s not an issue” and “I’m tall- I’m supposed be heavier than someone that’s shorter than me”. Funny. As I write this, I know I still believe these things, but seeing them written down also makes them sound pretty lame. They look like excuses right now. The only one that doesn’t is my firm belief that weight is not an indicator health- you can be heavy but that weight can be made up of muscle, not fat, and therefore you’ll be extremely healthy and fit despite what the scales say.

Anyway about 12 months ago I got myself a personal trainer. I imagine I’ll write about him a bit in this blog- let’s call him PT for the sake of ease. When I first saw PT I had goals besides weight loss- I was mainly wanting to focus on injury recovery. Despite that he weighed me, we set some secondary weight-related goals, and I assumed that without changing my diet, if I added exercise into my week I’d probably see some weight loss happening. It didn’t. When he weighed me 12 months ago I weighed 75 kg, and when he weighed me week after week, I still weighed 75 kg. There were some weeks when I put in a really concerted eating effort and would drop a couple of kilos, but inevitably I’d stay at 75 kg. During all of that time I was really upping the exercise- over the last year I have consistently done 2-3 PT sessions per week, focusing on strength-building and weights. I lift weights. I’m not afraid to lift more than 1.3 kg just in case I build muscle. In fact, I want to and have built up some muscle in the last 12 months, and as we know, muscle is heavy. So in my head, while my weight has stayed the same, I’ve been thinking “yeah but I know I’ve put on muscle, so I must be losing fat”. Nuh-uh.

Last week, following a hiatus on the weighing-in and my spending some time in the USA, PT decided it was time for me to weigh-in again. Now, I wasn’t expecting anything amazing. I wasn’t expecting miracles (despite that little voice in the back of my mind that says “maybe we’ll have miraculously shed some k’s” every time I jump on that scale), but I was expecting that I’d still be at that stable weight of 75 kg. Not this time. This time the scales flashed up a number I truly wasn’t expecting… 85 kg. I weigh 85 kg. I am a 26 year old female, and I weigh 85 kg. I’m definitely not that muscley- this is fat, and it’s got to go. Seeing that number flash up actually took my breath away for a second. I shocked myself with just how much I was kidding myself.

Technically speaking, I could lose 25 kg and still be within a healthy weight range for my height. I say technically because if I lost that much I’d look sick and out of proportion- I once did weigh that amount, maybe even slightly more than that, back at the end of high school, and looking at photos I don’t look good at all. I am not on a mission to become as skinny as I can- I’m on a mission to get healthy again.