New training goals

Happy New Year! A lot of people bring new goals or new habits to a new year – I’m not a fan of that. Unfortunately the countdown to the next adventure happens to coincide with the new year though, but that doesn’t matter! In March we’re heading back to Mt Bogong to do the Conquestathon again. This time last year we’d been training for a while already, but this year it just hasn’t happened. With 8 weekends and 10 weeks to train, there’s not a huge amount of time – but there’s definitely enough.

With that in mind, there’s two things I need to do to improve on my time and performance from last year.

  1. Improve my cardio
  2. Lose some weight

Getting the weight off means there’s less weight to lug up (and down!) that mountain. Improving my cardio means that I can go longer, go stronger, break less often, and break for shorter amounts of time. I was quite happy with my recovery times last year, but I was still stopping too often for my liking. I want to move more, stop less, and be still for less time when I do stop.

I haven’t mentioned improving leg strength in those goals. Although I can always do with improved leg strength, I also know that I have enough to get me up the mountain. More would be better, but it’s not the main focus.

So with all of that in mind, I’m aiming to get to the gym at least four times per week in the lead up to Bogong. Between PT sessions, workouts with J and a few of my own ones thrown in, plus our practice hikes, I think I’ll be fine to maintain that. Fingers crossed for some results.

4/01/2016

  • (70 kg deadlift x 3) x every minute for 5 minutes
  • (40 kg deadlift x 10) x every minute for 5 minutes
  • 5 minutes rowing (at a pace where I can still breathe through my nose)

Cutting the crap: kicking some goals

cut the crap

I haven’t posted on here for a while. The 5:2 kind of faded away – there were a couple of weeks where it just wasn’t possible, and without the gains (aka: losses) happening that I’d hoped to see, the inspiration to get back onto it was sparse. I intend to come back to it, but with some alterations to the 5 part of the 5:2. I was getting my two days right, but the rest of my week was letting me down.

A couple of weeks ago something clicked, and I started acting. I was going to write ‘I decided to change’, but that’s not right- all I did was starting acting the way I need to. Put simply, I cut the crap. To elaborate, I cut the refined sugars and refined carbs. Non-refined carbs and sugars are fine – I’m eating the sweet potato and corn, and I’ve actually upped my fruit intake, but the processed stuff is (mostly) gone. There’s been a few days in there where stuff has slipped through, but it’s been a conscious (and planned) decision. The result? I’m down 1.6 kg since 5th October, and down 3.5 kg since the start of August (around when I started 5:2. This ‘eating real food’ thing seems to work for my body, and I think that once I get the 5:2 happening again it’ll kick start it even more.

I’ve also kicked some goals in the gym lately – I’ve leg pressed 180 kg, and deadlifted 85 kg for three reps. I’m super happy with that, and now I’m aiming to lift 100kg by Christmas. My trainer thinks it’s possible, as does J who’s been planning out a bit of a training strategy to get me there. I don’t know why 100kg is so momentous, but it is. And it’s only 15 kg away.

In other news – I’m heading to Bali in a couple of weeks. I absolutely cannot wait, but I’m also starting to do some mental prep. Do NOT eat all the rice. Do NOT drink all the cocktails. Some rice, some cocktails. Moderation is the name of the game 🙂

Food confusion. Seriously, what should we eat?

help!

Whole foods. Paleo. No sugar. Low Sugar. No carbs. No processed carbs. No fat. High Fat. Low carb, high fat (LCHF).

I literally have no idea what I should be eating.

I think I’ve managed to flood my brain with concepts, theories, science, ideas, and talk from very passionate and committed people. I didn’t set out looking for a ‘new’ or ‘better’ way to eat, it kind of fell into my lap, but regardless of how it happened I now find myself mightily confused. Cut out sugar? Makes sense. Cut out refined carbs? Makes sense. Cut carbs completely and eat large quantities of fat? Listen to enough science, hear enough anecdotes, and it makes sense. Once you get your head around it.

So then, Paleo. Cut the carbs, cut the sugar, eat lots of good fats but not crazy high amounts (as opposed to LCHF, where you really up the Fat content), don’t have dairy, etc… So do you go with Paleo or LCHF? Or just go with cutting sugar like Sarah Wilson did? But then, where do you draw the line with the sugar cutting? It is ultimately removing processed sugars only? Natural sugars too? Removing carbs too, because they convert to sugars? And if that’s the case, are we back at Paleo? But if LCHF is right, then aren’t you better going that step further than Paleo, cutting carbs completely, upping fats, and letting your body enter Ketosis and burn fats for fuel? Is LCHF right, or is Ketosis damaging the body?

And, the biggest question of all – how do you do whatever it is you do that works for you, and keep a healthy and sustainable weight, while keeping your sanity? How to do you it without obsessing over it? Without spending every spare moment thinking about? Without becoming a nutritional evangelist? Clearly you have to spend time on food preparation to succeed on any of these ways of eating – how do you do that without it becoming all you think about? Without it becoming part of your identity? What if you just want to keep being you, keep your normal identity, without being the person that’s Paleo/LCHF/Sugar-free, etc etc?

I’m confused. Quite confused.

A slightly delayed update

There’s a distinct possibility that I wrote this post on Friday and forgot to hit publish. Oops.

 

I’m 6 kg down. Booyah!! That means I lost 450 grams between Monday night and Thursday night- and I’m really really happy with that. If I can keep that up, I’m going to keep kicking goals in a major way! I think the major factor this week has been an extra high-intensity workout on top of what I normally do. Sure, I ate an icecream sandwich on Tuesday night, but besides that my eating’s been great. Add onto that an extra workout and it seems my body is very very happy.

It really confirms what I’ve known all along, but haven’t been actioning- that changing my diet is a huge contributor to weightloss IF (and only if) I do the right exercise along side it. Every time I add an extra day of exercise my weight drops at a greater rate, so the lesson here is that I really need to keep that up. These new exercise sessions with colleagues at work are going to make it a lot more simple to get my extra high-intensity workout in each week- I don’t go as hard as I might with my PT, but by the same token I also work a lot harder than if I go to the gym by myself.

So, 6 kg down, and another 7 kg (ish) to go 🙂

In other news, today I registered for The Stampede, which is an obstacle course/mud run similar to Tough Mudder. I’m registered for the 10 km event, which is a bit scary- I can’t even run an entire 5 km fun run, after all!! But I’m assured by those who have done it before that you don’t run for long patches at all, and you then spend time standing around waiting to have your turn on the challenges/obstacles. Besides which, it’s the obstacles I’m doing it for, not the running! Being able to do those obstacles (or most of them, at least) is really going to be a measure of how far I’ve come since I started with my PT, especially in terms of my dodgy shoulders.

It’s also proof of how far I’ve come mentally in the last 12 months or so. I’ve gone from having very little confidence in my body (for good reason!) to feeling capable and ready to give stuff a shot. I also know where and when to push myself, and how far is too far when it comes to preventing injury in my shoulders.

If the skirt fits… (and it does fit)

Some time, about 12 months ago, I bought a new skirt. I bought it to wear to work- it’s a pencil skirt, which is a miracle in itself- my body doesn’t tend to lend itself to the pencil skirt design. They never (ever!) fit. But this one did, and I bought it. I wore it a bit at first, but I found that it tended to ride up a fair bit when I walked, so  I started to not wear it as much. Slowing down on the wears inevitably meant that I forgot it existed, until one day a few months ago when I came across it in my wardrobe and put it on.

But what was this? The zip was hard to do up. The front of the skirt was tight across my stomach and hips, and the lining was a bit too snug for my liking. it was harder to walk in, and it kind of felt like I was wearing spanx. As much as I hated to admit it, this was just another sign of the weight I’d been gaining.

Consequentially the skirt was relegated to the ’emergencies only’ section of my wardrobe- the place from where clothes only emerge if I’ve forgotten to do laundry for a few too many days. Tuesday was one of those days. My washing basket was overflowing, and I’d worn everything else in my wardrobe that was work-appropriate already. It was time to pull out the skirt. But low and behold, when I put the skirt on, it actually fitted. In fact, it’s a bit loose at the hips. It still rides up when I walk, but I’ve accepted that as just part of the damn thing’s design.

Having the skirt fit is a small victory. It means I’m back(ish) to the size(ish) I was about a year ago (yay), but the reality is that I was not happy at that size. I was heavier than I should have been, carrying excess weight (fatty weight), and I was unfit. Since then I’ve worked hard to built strength, and that’s built muscle, and that’s why I say I’m back to the size I was a year ago, not the weight. Regardless though, I’m still too big and I’m still too heavy. I’m still carrying fat in dangerous places, and I’m still trying to break some bad habits… but I do fit into that skirt again!

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.