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.
Improve my cardio
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.
(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)
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 🙂
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?
Over the last week, I’ve been playing with the idea of food FOMO. I have it. I’ve got food FOMO. I’ve been thinking about what it is, why I have it, what it means for me, and how to get rid of it. Then it occurred to me that food FOMO might just be another name for ‘total lack of self control when it comes to food’. Having said, that, I think perhaps it isn’t. I think food FOMO is it’s own thing.
Food FOMO = fear of missing out on food.
Sometimes it’s a fear of missing out because there’s finite food available in that circumstance. That’s the most obvious version of food FOMO, and I also think it’s the easiest to deal with. I think though there’s some deeper food FOMO happening, and it (probably) relates to how I’ve thought about food for a very long time. Now, it seems to have morphed into a thought process where I think “well I’m going to get my eating back in line really soon, so I should/can/want to eat X (x = cookie, cake, burger, chips, etc etc) because I’ll miss out on it soon”. Similarly, “well I wasn’t allowed to eat this growing up, and I’m an adult now, so I’ll just treat myself to this today”. Or, “that person drinks wine every night and they don’t carry extra weight, and I don’t drink much, so I can have wine too”.
It’s funny, but I often have the conversation with myself that were I to give up the crap, and start committing to eating better quality food, I actually wouldn’t be missing out at all – I’d be gaining better taste, and most likely better health. But then, there’s that little chocolate bar that sits on my shoulder saying “but then you couldn’t eat me….” and the miniature packet of salt and vinegar chips that yells “me too”. And it’s not about junk food per se- it’s about refined carbs that I know make me feel lethargic and bloated, and sugar that makes my heart race, in plenty of forms. I’ve weaned myself off those things once, and I felt better, and I was enjoying the food and find there was plenty enough sugar in it without the extra added, and yet here I am having just eaten a cookie from a wrapper.
I was going to write a very large blog about this, and try and make some resolutions or find actions or conclusions. But the reality is that I’m finding it incredibly hard and confronting to write. I’m feeling ashamed, pretty fat, lumpy, embarrassed, and not able to take action and make some change. I know it needs to come from me- I’ve seen enough people try and fail without their own motivation to know. I know it’s time to change, I know I’m risking an awful lot by staying like this… but here I am. Food FOMO is in full fling, and not sure what to do next.
I’ve had a lot of thoughts about what I was going to write about here this week. I want to tell you that I went hiking last weekend, and I want to tell you that I wore two-piece bathers (swimsuit? togs?) and felt comfortable in them for the first time in my life. I want to tell you about a discussion I had with my colleague about growing up as a ‘not very active’ kid, and about my idea to just smash out the clean eating for one week. Just one week- baby steps!! I guess I’ll talk about it all, at least for a little bit.
Last weekend had the Australia Day public holiday tacked onto the end of it, so after only a week back at work I got a long weekend. With some friends I headed out to the Cathedral Range State Park to do a day hike- and what a day hike it was. The hike was part of our training in preparation to climb Mt Bogong in March, so we knew the day would be a tough slog, but it turned out to be a tougher slog than expected. For a variety of reasons, the walk that we’d estimated to take 4-5 hours ultimately ended up taking 8. You know what though? Physically I was fine – in fact I was great. It was a long day of walking across 12km and very varied terrain, but I pulled up really well at the end of it all. About 2 km from the end we faced a huge staircase uphill, and for some unknown reason I ran up the entire thing. I guess I had energy to spare!! Ultimately a full day hiking through beautiful countryside is definitely not a bad thing at all, as long as everyone’s safe and happy. Which we were!! I’ve put a map of our hike further down in this post, in case any of you care to follow in our footsteps (perhaps next long weekend!).
The long weekend was warm, so as well as hiking I ended up at the beach. It was just an afternoon trip to take a dip in the ocean to cool down, but I still managed to pack two sets of bathers. When my friend and I parked the car a decision had to be made: should I wear the one-piece with the built in support that hides my podgy tummy, or should I accept the fact that the only person I was going to see that I knew was my very non-judgemental friend, and therefore wear the halter neck bikini? I thought about it for a bit. I put sunscreen on. Then I sucked it up, put on the bikini and a huge hat and sunglasses, went swimming, and promptly forgot to care about how I looked. Lesson learned.
I think I might save my discussion on growing up ‘not very active’ for another day- there’s probably a lot more than half a post’s worth of musings and discussions in me on that topic, I reckon!
So, on to the week’s worth of eating clean. I was doing great last year. I cut out the refined carbs and refined sugars, was limiting the amount of unrefined carbs I was eating, and once I got through the week 3 withdrawal craziness I felt really good (and I was losing weight). Then stuff got busy, Christmas happened, and suddenly I can barely remember the last time I brought my own breakfast or lunch to work. It’s time to get back on it. I find it a bit overwhelming thinking about getting back into it all- I still feel like I don’t have much time, and honestly my habits have slipped badly. I’m back on a freddo-a-day habit. So in an attempt to #SayNoToFreddo I’m thinking I might start out with a week of hard line healthy eating, and go from there. Plan it all out, do some cooking, make no excuses- just for a week. I can handle that. I hope! I really do hope, because I’m really not sure. Except I’ve done it before, for longer than a week, so I can do it again 🙂
I’m not starting today, or tomorrow, so watch this space- and in the mean time I’ll attempt to be kind to myself by easing my way into it all.
I just had a sudden thought. I know I want to be better at blogging, I know I gain satisfaction from writing it, and I enjoy reading other people’s blogs. So this year I will commit to writing at least one blog post a week. I just had a little panic when I decided I wanted to do this and realised it’s the 7th of January, but I guess that counts as being in the first week of the year. Having said that, I’m going to go by calendar weeks (Sunday – Saturday) so I guess I’m behind… whatever. We’ll all deal with it, I’m sure!!!
Well, the holiday season has come and the holiday season has gone. Yesterday was my birthday, which I tend to count as the official end of my annual food and drink overload, which means it’s time to start the discipline again. The wine and cheese has been wonderful, but it’s time to return to reality. Over the season I’ve gained some weight, which is unsurprising, but really the collateral damage is a lot less than it could have been. I’m up about 1.5 kg, which puts me 7.5 kg (ish) above my goal weight. Blegh. But it’s ok- that goal weight is not exactly a “I must hit this weight!!!” goal- realistically I want to get about 5 kg off in the next few months to feel healthy again. I definitely don’t feel healthy right now. I feel a bit bloated, my clothes are tighter, and I don’t feel as strong as I did. My energy is down, but I know that’s all food related. I actually stayed relatively active across the break, doing plenty of hiking and getting lots of km under my feet, but it’s just not the same as doing the hard weights-based workouts.
I’ve also found that over the holidays my bank account’s got a bit unhealthy too- which is also not surprising. But when I think about it, there’s several things I can do that will improve both my own body’s health, and my bank account’s health at the same time. At the moment it’s not so much a “I could do this” as a “I must do this”. So here’s what I’m going to be doing:
Cut back from 3 PT sessions a week to 2 Having said that, I will not do this if it is going to compromise the exercise I do each week. Part of this action is learning how to self-direct and self-motivate in the gym, particularly on the weights floor. I still want to be doing weights 3 times a week at the gym and doing a bodyweight/cardio workout twice a week at work as an absolute minimum.
Cook/prepare more food I was getting really good at this for a while last year. It was saving me money, and it was helping me eat the kind of food I wanted in my body. But life got busy, and it all slipped, and next thing I knew I was spending upwards of $22 just on breakfast and lunch, and eating out way more than was reasonable for dinner. So that’s going to stop. I’m going to pre-prepare breakfasts and lunches again, and think ahead for dinners. If I don’t have the time to cook, I’ll make sure I’ve got food in the freezer.
I’ve never done week-ahead meal planning before- I tend to be an on-the-day buyer and cook, but I can see how much that will help save money and food wastage.
On Monday night I cooked my first proper dinner for a long time. When I say ‘proper’, I mean a meal that I though about ahead of time, looked up a recipe for and didn’t just slap together. I think there’s a big difference between cooking to eat and cooking to nourish (both body and soul). I really enjoy cooking when I have the time and space to do it, and that’s what I mean by cooking to nourish. It’s cooking with some love in it (nawww, that’s a bit corny!!).
Anyway, I made the most incredible Thai salad/raw pad Thai that I found over at elsaswholesomelife. I’ve included some photos of my version here, but seriously go check out hers- they are much much prettier! Thanks Ellie for this great dish- I’ve just finished eating it for lunch, and I’ll be making some more tonight. This stuff is addictive.
Raw Thai salad with ginger chicken
For the raw thai salad check out the original recipe– I pretty much followed it to a T, although I used rapadura sugar instead of coconut sugar, and omitted the edamame beans in favour of ginger lime chicken.
Ginger Lime Chicken
1 heaped tsp crushed garlic
1 heaped tsp crushed ginger
3 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine ingredients in a bowl. Add chicken and stir, then allow to marinate for as long as you can (half an hour minimum). Place chicken on a lined baking tray and discard marinade. Bake for 20-25 mins at 180 degrees.
Well, the official results are in: since I started the 12 week challenge on 28th June, I’ve lost 6 kg. I’m super happy with that result- I set out to start a journey of weight loss and changing habits, and that’s what I’ve done. I never said it out loud or wrote it down, but it was an assumed for me that I wanted to do this in a healthy, sustainable way. I’ve lost an average of half a kilo a week, and I feel like that’s a healthy rate of weight loss. There were weeks when I lost a lot more than that, and there were a couple of weeks were I definitely didn’t lose 500 g at all. In fact, if you take into account the week I was sick and maintained the weight I was at, and the week that I put on 2 kg, I reckon I’ve done pretty well.
That 2 kg week is a giant bugger, really. Imagine what I might have done without it?! Then again, without that I probably wouldn’t have learned some lessons that I really needed to learn. My ‘2kg week’ as I’ll call it provided me with a huge lesson in triggers. It showed me that unless I’ve really mentally prepared myself, if I got into a situation that holds one of my triggers then I’m likely to fold and eat the food I shouldn’t. It also showed me that one bad week does not a Challenge make. It was 2 kg, it’s taken me nearly a month to shake it again, but it’s not the end of the world. My 2 kg week also reminded me of exactly why I’m choosing not to eat certain foods. It proved to me what happens to my body when I eat processed carbs and sugar, and it was an amazing reminder of how far I’ve come in terms of how I feel, not just how I look or weigh.
So the 12 weeks is over, and it’s my intent to continue on this path. Over the last few weeks I’ve had ‘slips’ with my food- a sneaky few chips here, a piece of cake there. Nothing earth shattering, and nothing of huge impact, but enough to prove what a slippery slope it could be if I don’t stay focused. To keep myself of track I’ve set some new goals- I think timelines and finish lines are what keep me going.
I want to deadlift my own body weight. That means I’ve got to increase my deadlifting weight by about 10 kg, and decrease my body weight by about 7 kg, both of which are perfectly doable. I’ve played with the idea of aiming for doing it before the end of the year- I suspect that mightn’t be entirely achievable, but maybe I’ll be close
The Stampede. I’ve signed up to do the 10km Stampede in Melbourne on the 29th of November, and you’ll notice that that’s my new countdown on the side bar of my blog. I want to have a go at all obstacles, and I do not want to reflect on that event thinking that I didn’t give it my all. You can walk around any obstacle you want at Stampede- I don’t want to do that.
Eureka Climb. I only heard about this event today- it’s like a fun run, but instead of running for a distance you run/walk up the entire Eureka Tower. All 88 floors. I reckon I could do that- but the catch is, it’s in 3 and a half weeks time on the 16th of November. Can I train hard enough to do that? I think I could get some decent stair climbs in at work on my lunch breaks- my building is 16 stories tall, so building up to doing that building 5.5 times would be the goal. I won’t register yet, but I’ll start training and see how it goes.
Meanwhile, 12 months ago there’s no way I would have even considered tackling the Eureka Climb, let along The Stampede. That’s pretty exciting progress, I reckon!!
Well, my 12 weeks challenge is officially over, as of today. I’ll be weighing myself tonight to find out how I’ve done, although I suspect my final number may not reflect the true amount of change that’s taken place. I know I’ve lost more fat than the scales will indicate, because I know I’ve gained a whole heap of muscle and strength over the past few weeks. Despite that, I think my total weightloss for the 12 weeks will be somewhere around the 6 kg mark which I’m really happy with. I had great weeks and I had weeks where I didn’t do so well, but overall I feel like I’ve lost weight at a safe and sustainable pace, in a safe and sustainable way.
My real challenge now is keeping focused when it comes to eating. I’ve been slipping a bit recently, and letting any old excuse do. That can’t keep happening- I know I’ve changed some habits, but I’ve got some more to go, and I don’t want to let the hard work be undone. This is permanent.
I’ll update with the final numbers in a couple of days but in the mean time I’m about to remove the Challenge countdown and put up a new one, counting down the days until The Stampede. I’m 6 weeks out, and I’ve signed up to do the 10km event (eep!!). I think the thing I need to work on the most right now is my running (blegh), but 6 weeks is enough time to get that up a bit. I’ve found the Stampede’s recommended pre-training, so I’ll start doing that once a week when I can. There’s a few things I’ll need to alter in there, but I always knew I wasn’t going to be able to do it all. The great thing is that I feel like I have that capability and know-how (and confidence!) to alter a training program myself now, so I can get out there and just do it.
The last fortnight has been busy for me. Super busy. I’ve been away from home a lot, and I haven’t had a lot of time to prepare meals. In fact, for a few days there everything I ate was completely out of my control.
For the most part I’ve been really good- what could have easily turned into an excuse to eat McDonalds every night for dinner for a fortnight instead became a love-fest for apples, carrots and capsicums. In the last two weeks I’ve consumed a minimum of 14 apples, 7 raw carrots and 7 raw capsicums- and that’s just been the contents of my dinner. My protein intake’s been a little bit low as a result, but overall I’m much happier for having eaten huge amounts of raw veggies than I would have been if I’d eaten maccas.
For the first half of last week I was on a campsite. Like, the kind you go on for school camp. The site I was at does pretty good food by campsite standards, it’s not entirely gross, but unfortunately it didn’t fit in very well with my current diet at all. I’ve been going to this place for years, but I’d never quite realised just how many wheat-based carbs they pump into their visitors. Cereal and toast for breakfast, sandwiches and wraps for lunch, pasta and pizza for dinner, and scones, cakes and biscuits for morning tea and supper. On top of that I was incredibly tired and gave out to some nasty old snacking habits.
I just hadn’t had time to mentally prepare myself for my time away, so I hadn’t psyched myself up to pass on the morning teas and suppers, or to say no to the copious amounts of lollies and chips that were being passed around. I did fine at breakfast, eating fruit and coffee instead of the wheat-based carbs, but by morning tea I was on the bandwagon and eating the sweet stuff. Lunchtimes were fine- I passed on the rolls and wraps and chose to have the salad and proteins by themselves, but that’s as good as I got. Lolly snakes were my major downfall, as was a late afternoon box of TeeVee Snacks chocolate biscuits.
Couple all of that eating with a grand total of zero exercise, and by the end of day three I’d put on a whopping two kilograms. Wow. Not only was I heavier, but I was feeling revolting. For the first time I truly understood the meaning of the word ‘bloated’- my tummy felt bloated, as did my arms, legs, face, feet….. I just felt really blown out. Without going into too much detail my bowel was seriously confused, and I was letting off some pretty foul smells. For the first time I realised just what a huge impact my dietary change is having on my body.
Upon returning home on Wednesday I was immediately back into my preferred eating habits- lots of fruit and veg, enough protein, minimal carbs, and no wheat. Within half a day I was feeling better. Despite being tired I hit the gym three days in a row, and by Saturday morning (just 48 hours after I’d weighed in at 2 kg heavier) I’d dropped 1.25kg again.
What a freaky lesson in, well, everything. The importance of listening to my body, the importance of exercise, and the impact that refined carbs and refined sugar has on my body. I’m back on track again, and with only 2 weeks until the conclusion of The Challenge I’m hoping to be very close to having lost 8 kg by the time it’s over.
P.S- a few blogs ago I wrote that I was aiming to deadlift 60 kg soon. On Saturday I managed to do just that- and do a set of 10!! Pretty stoked, and looking forward to smashing some more PBs in that area 🙂
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.