Where motivation, exercise and food meet

Last week both my PT and my partner were away. My PT offered me a replacement for the week, but to be honest he sets the standards pretty high and his replacement in the past just hasn’t been up to scratch, so I said no and promised him I’d train myself. Except that I didn’t. I did pack my gym bag and put it in the car three days in a row, but twice I got held up at work and on the third day… well on the third day I got lazy. With no PT appointments and no partner around to tell me to suck it up, I just didn’t get off my bum and get to the gym.

While I was busy not being at the gym, I was also busy being absolutely crap at being an adult about my food intake. I fell off the bandwagon, I ate what I shouldn’t have, I showed no restraint and I generally decided that I’d start again next week. Or something. I was also busy reading all the fitness blogs, and looking at all of the fitspo, and generally thinking about how I want to get stronger… and I was doing nothing about it. I chose foccacias for lunch, and chinese takeaway, and I ate chocolate in the car on the way home from work.

Yesterday morning my PT was back in the gym, and so was I. It was a good session, I worked hard, and I enjoyed it. The funny thing was, for the rest of the day, and for the first time in a fortnight, I found it easy to make good food choices. I bought a salad (which I enjoyed). I didn’t eat chocolate in the car on the way home. There was no afternoon snacks. So it made me realise something. If one good choice leads to another good choice, then it makes sense to find the good choice that is easiest to make, and always prioritise it, knowing that putting that first will help the rest of those good choices to flow freely.

In this case, clearly I need someone else to motivate me to work out. Whether it’s paying my PT or working out with my partner, exercising that way comes a lot easier to me than making that choice by myself. But making that choice seems to lead to me choosing to exercise more often, and to choosing better foods. So for now, my choice is to continue to prioritise my finances to pay for a PT, and to choose to start to schedule more workouts with my partner.

Starting with one good choice, which makes the harder choices easier to make.

Workout 7/02/2016 – a bit of a fail

Yesterday’s workout was a hike – about 9km. Except that it wasn’t. It was a training hike for our Bogong summit (just over a month away!) so we’d planned lots of hills in our local area, including a HUGE killer one. For various reasons the group couldn’t do our standard Sunday morning, so we moved it to Sunday arvo – but we didn’t really take into account the weather. It was scheduled to be 30 degrees but ended up quite a bit higher than that, and there was absolutely no breeze, and given that we started at 2 pm there was no shade either.

Long story short I got a couple of k’s in before feeling very nauseous, ended up stopping and getting picked up, and cutting my hike short. Ultimately I think it boils down to not eating enough of the right stuff beforehand, and not hydrating properly. I’d had a huge smoothie late morning, not been hungry and then eaten some carrot and dip at lunch, and although I’d drunk a heap of water it clearly wasn’t absorbing correctly.

Lesson: eat enough of the right food before hiking (right food yet to be determined). Hydrate with adequate salt content. That’s it.

5:2 fasting day #10 – when calorie counting goes wrong

sad panda coffeeYesterday was my 10th (full) fasting day, which means I’m about to head into my sixth week of 5:2. Hooray! Yesterday was a great fasting day – I actually didn’t feel hungry, nor did my brain start to fade, until 4 pm – so I didn’t eat anything (besides a cup of coffee) until 4 pm. Unfortunately my morning didn’t start off so smoothly though. Yesterday, I learned what happens when calorie counting goes wrong.

When I first started considering 5:2, the very first food I checked on CalorieKing was coffee. After all, a day that starts with coffee is manageable no matter how few calories you can have. A day without coffee… not so much. So I distinctly remember looking up the calories of the coffee itself, and being surprised to find that there’s pretty much zero calories there, then looking up skim milk. A 220ml (small) coffee with skim milk is approximately 70 calories.

sad_coffeeUnfortunately for me this seems to be the point where I got myself confused. At home we always have Paul’s Pure Organic Unhomogenised Full Cream Milk in the fridge. It’s delicious, and from the start I assumed I couldn’t have it on fasting days- but I looked it up anyway. I think what I probably did at this point was get the 70 calories confused with the milliliters of milk in the drink, thus looking up 70 ml of milk and finding it had about the same number of calories. Which means for the last five weeks I’ve been consuming an extra 100 calories each fasting day, bringing my total to somewhere around 600 calories. Bugger.

Anyway, the fix to this is easy – switch the full cream milk for skim in my morning coffee on fasting days. Done! That’s an easy 100 calorie swap, and without even noticing it (I normally order skim lattes when I’m buying them anyway) I’ll have dropped down to 500. The interesting thing will be to see what effect taking that extra 100 calories out has in terms of weight loss. The 5:2 is definitely having an effect, although it’s very slow. Don’t get me wrong, slow and steady is great, especially because it’s sustainable, but I did think there might be some faster changes at the very beginning. Maybe this change of 100 calories will make the difference!

5:2 fasting day 9.5 – my day on a plate

After I wrote my blog post on Friday, my fasting day took a bit of a change of path. By change of path, I mean I decided to go out for dinner, halt the fasting day, and recommence (re-do) the following day. I was completely fine with the decision – it meant I’d still done a solid portion of the day with minimal calories and no refined carbs or sugars (just a coffee and some raw veg), on top of my full fasting day the next day.

That meant that yesterday was my first attempt at a weekend fasting day. I wasn’t nervous about it, but I also wasn’t sure how I’d go. Turns out, if I have a (reasonably) busy day, the weekends are a great time to fast. I got to eat different food to my normal fasting lunch, I didn’t get hungry, and at the end of the day I still had leftover calories for some fruit. Here’s my Saturday Fasting Day on a plate:

lunch

Lunch: chilli tomato and mushroom zoodles

dinner

Dinner: green veg stirfry with soy and red onion sauce

pearblueberries

Dessert: a medium pear and a punnet of blueberries

At this point in time I’m still triple checking my maths to make sure everything I’m eating is actually keeping me on track – I find it hard to believe sometimes that I can eat this much food for only 500 calories. The pear and the blueberries last night felt like a treat – it’s the first time I’ve had fruit on a fasting day, and I could only have them because I skipped the morning coffee. Given that that’s something I can do on weekends and can’t do on weekdays, it’s a good incentive to keep trying weekend fasting! Another plus was the massive plate of zoodles I had for lunch – well worth it, and much more satisfying than my normal ‘grazing box’ of raw veg at work.

Panic, procrastination and food

Do you know that feeling, way down in the pit of your stomach? That feeling you get when you put off doing a piece of work, then you put it off some more, and some more again, until finally it’s due tomorrow (or yesterday)? And because you put it off you now have to rush it through, right at the last moment? It’s that feeling of panic, that seems to attack your brain and your stomach at the same time. You kind of feel sick, and you feel anxious, and panic sets in.

I’m a procrastinator, and this feeling’s not unusual to me. I felt it throughout high school, I felt it throughout uni, and I feel it at work. For me, it’s about finding that sweet spot between last minute and overdue. It’s about balancing the adrenaline of the last minute, without hitting full-blown panic mode. When I hit that sweet spot I’m really productive, and I produce my best work. When I go too far into the panic zone, I procrastinate more because I get myself worked up to the point that I don’t even know where to start.

As I said, this is not a new phenomenon to me. What is new, though, is the situation in which I’ve recently felt the panic set in. I knew my eating wasn’t going to be great over Christmas. I accepted that, and honestly, I embraced it a bit too much. Christmas came and went, and the start of the year was busy. It was hard for me to put in the time for food preparation, so I stuck with convenient eating. And because I was eating ‘conveniently’, my brain justified that it was ok to eat the crap. The chocolate, the cheese, the soft drinks, the junk food- they were all ok, because I was eating for convenience. As soon as I ‘started eating right’ again, all that stuff would go.

The problem is, it’s nearly March and I’m still eating ‘conveniently’. Not because I need to in terms of a busy life, in most cases, but because I’ve hit the panic zone. I’ve passed the sweet spot- I kept saying “next week I’ll start again. Next week…” but there was always a reason not to start next week. I was busy on Sunday and couldn’t make lunches for the week, and Monday morning would role around and I didn’t have breakfasts ready for the week either. Oh well, back to the convenient eating (read: buy all meals from the café downstairs at work)- I’d start next Monday.

This morning I realised that I’ve had that sinking, sick feeling in my stomach recently. Part of it’s to do with work (where I’m struggling to find motivation), but some of it’s also to do with my continual putting-off of getting my food back on track. And as if to justify the fact that I’m not eating the right foods, I’m eating more of the wrong foods. I’m pushing my body into a worse and worse state, because it’s easier to keep saying “this is my last binge” than “say no this time, and say no next time, and things will get easier”. As well as eating bad foods when I have no choice, I’m making poor choices when I do have a choice.

There’s no answer or solution to this post. If you’re reading this and you know the feeling, I’d love to hear about it. I guess I’ll self-resolve, although I’m concerned that this is the start of a bad ongoing cycle. I’ve got to give myself a wake-up call. Problem is, just thinking about trying to find that wake-up call sets off that panicked feeling inside me- I’m in so deep, and I don’t know how to find it.

Dadspiration

I had a conversation today with my dad. While we were chatting the topic rolled around to diet and exercise, as it so often does. I’ve definitely inherited (learned?) some of his habits and attitudes when it comes to eating and exercise, both good and bad, so it’s very easy to relate to the stories he tells me and to talk to him about the challenges I face.

Today we were talking about celebrating the small wins. We talked about changing tastebuds- he told me he had a lunchtime win the other day, bypassing fast food for a bowl of homemade soup, and I told him about my win at work today.

I didn’t think it was worth blogging about, but talking to him reminded me that that’s exactly  why I set this blog up- to celebrate the small wins, as well as talking through the tough bits.

Today I was at a work function with a fully catered morning tea featuring delicious looking sandwiches, amazing smelling pies and sausage rolls and pies, and an assortment of sweet stuff. Normally it would be the pies that would get me, followed by the sweet stuff (I have serious FOMO when it comes to food- gotta get to the sweet stuff before it runs out!) closely followed by the sandwiches.

Today I had a coffee, then after half an hour of smelling the food (it was lunchtime!) I had one small quarter sandwich because I was starving.

Yes, I had a small sandwich made of wheat bread when I’m trying to avoid it, but I also chose (chose!) not to eat any of the pies or sweet stuff- and I didn’t got back for another sandwich either. I let that one sandwich that I ate ‘go down’, realised that it was enough to get me through to my pre-prepared lunch waiting at my desk, and left it at that.

That’s a win.