Whenever I mention quark in a forum, blog, email or wherever, I inevitably get asked: "What's quark?" So I'm pre-empting the response and posting an explanation of this food-of-the-Gods. I've introduced a few friends to it, and they're still thanking me. :-)
I'm not talking about the basic constituents of matter in particle physics. Hell, I don't even know what that means. Science makes my head hurt...unless it's biology, in which case I excelled at school. Yes, I know, biology is despised by REAL scientists who study incomprehensible things involving atoms and periodical tables and...um...stuff. Like this:
The quark I'm talking about is a soft, spreadable cream cheese that originated in Germany. It's also sometimes called quarg. There's a heap of info about it on Wikipedia. The one I use is made in Gippsland, by Burra Foods and is sold under the Blue Cow brand. It's sometimes available at Coles and safeway, but that varies from suburb to suburb and week to week. *sigh* The story of my life when it comes to food I like that's actually good for me.
It has a slightly sour taste, kind of like yoghurt or cottage cheese. Only without the disgusting lumpy curds-and-whey thing that cottage cheese has going on. Blah. Anyway, here's the nutritional stats on the one I use - you'll see why I love it (apart from the smooooth texture and the taste):
This is per 100g, which is a serve.....
So, as you can see, it's almost a perfect protein source, really. I'm doing my best to convert the entire world to eating this stuff. Perhaps then it'll become easier to find at the freakin' supermarket!
I add it to pancakes, banana bread, muffins, omelettes, frittatas, pizzas......or just do this: Chuck 1/2 a cup into a bowl, add 1/2 a cup of nice thick natural yoghurt (or low fat flavoured yoghurt, if you're a wuss), a handfull of berries of any kind you fancy and a sprinkling of chopped nuts. Mix and eat. Mmm!
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Whenever I mention quark in a forum, blog, email or wherever, I inevitably get asked: "What's quark?" So I'm pre-empting the response and posting an explanation of this food-of-the-Gods. I've introduced a few friends to it, and they're still thanking me. :-)
Jen came third. Adele took the crown, and I'm sure it was well-deserved. Looks like it's her year - she won the Arnold back in March too. Kim Klein came in second.
I know Jen will be gracious in defeat, but she must be feeling pretty blah right now. Apparently her routine was outstanding - can't wait for some photos to be posted.
I'm supposed to be going hunting and gathering (supermarket shopping, in other words) but I'm sitting here clicking the "refresh" button over and over, getting the latest updates on the Fitness Olympia from Bodysport.com. The one-piece, two-piece and routine sections are all done and dusted and the judges are about to give their decision.
I'm biting my nails here - come on, guys, make with the decision! The Top 6 are:
Just waiting on the final order now! Eeeeeeee! The suspense is killing me!
I've been following Shauna's efforts at re-learning to swim over on her blog, The Amazing Adventures of DietGirl. And that got me thinking about my pathetic (lack of) skills in that area. I actually got my Herald Learn to Swim Certificate when I was 9 years old...swam a whole 25 metres, if I recall correctly. And that was it - I never got any further than that, and although I spent a lot of time mucking around in pools in my youth, I didn't really do a lot of actual swimming.
So then I realised that I'm a complete failure as a true-blue, dinky-di Aussie. Here's the evidence:
- I'm a really crap swimmer
- I can't surf (don't live near the beach, but I'm sure that's no excuse)
- I don't like beer. Any kind.
- I have no interest in football (see below)
- And I'd rather eat almost anything than a lamington. Actually, pavlova doesn't really do it for me, either.
I got home from training a client this morning, starving as usual, and realised that I was out of quark. Damn! I was planning to have my favourite quark/yoghurt/berries/almonds combo as my morning snack. So instead I came up with this:
Banana protein pancakes:
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 2 tbs oat bran
- 1/3 cup rice flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbs Xylitol
- 1 scoop vanilla whey protein
- 1 egg
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 a cup of plain yoghurt...or thereabouts, I didn't actually measure it
- 1 banana
Give the oats a whirl in the blender for a few seconds then mix all the dry ingredients together. Blend egg, egg whites and yoghurt, add to the oat mixture and beat till combined. Chop the banana and mix it through the batter. Cook in a non-stick frypan (spray with cooking spray first) until browned on one side, flip and cook the other side.
And I served them up with a couple of sliced strawberries, a big glob of thick plain yoghurt (thanks Sara, for getting me hooked on yoghurt on everything!) and some sugar free syrup. Yum, yum, yum!!
By the way, I use rice flour because wheat and I are no longer friends. :-( You can substitute ordinary self-raising flour (leave out the baking powder) or wholemeal SR flour, if you prefer.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Apparently there's some sporting event on in Melbourne tomorrow. Something to do with football?
You may think I'm joking, but footy just completely bypasses my sphere of consciousness. I have zero interest in it. Don't have a team, don't watch it, don't enter footy tipping, don't care one little bit about it. Neither does Bike Boy. Evidently this makes us strange.
One Saturday some years ago, I went to visit my ill grandfather in hospital and was a little surpirsed at the almost complete lack of traffic on the roads. I got to the hospital and found Grandpa sitting up in bed, watching the footy. It dawned on me then that it was Grand Final Day (one must use capital letters for such a momentous event). I honestly had no idea up till then.
What I love to do on GFD is to go shopping. In the afternoon. The shops are completely empty, apart from a few footy tragics racing in at half-time to re-stock their supplies of chips, lollies and beer. I can wander around the supermarket with no kids tripping me up, no people propping in the middle of the aisle blocking my way, no queues at the register. :-) Yay!
I know that summer is coming, because I found mangoes in the fruit shop today - and they're not imported. I don't actually like mangoes. They look pretty and I quite like the taste...... and anything that sends rivers of juice running down your chin has to be a good thing..... but the SMELL! Eeuww!
Anyway, I bought 3 unripe ones because I decided to put in a request for Bike Boy's special Thai fish curry with green mango for dinner tomorrow night. So I'm rummaging through the pile of mangoes, choosing the greenest ones I can find. And the guy who owns the fruit shop comes over with a horrified look on his face and says "No, no, too green!" and starts to pick out some ripe ones for me. And I laugh and say "No, I WANT them green - for a curry". He gave me a really strange look, but obligingly helped me find another green one anyway.
I also spotted passionfruit and some early grapes. And the blueberries no longer require you to take out a second mortgage to pay for them.
Roll on hot days and juicy, ripe, summer fruit.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
My email this morning included a business enquiry, a couple of messages from clients, 3 spam messages (is anyone stupid enough to think that Jollity P. Excitement might be an actual person?), a forwarded joke AND the news that Sussan is having a sale today! :-D
Better leave my cash and credit cards at the office if I go out for a walk at lunchtime, or things could get ugly.......
Training this morning was gooooooood! I upped the weight on DB flyes and alternating DB lunges, and just for fun, threw in a couple of sets of reverse lunges off a step. I think I may actually be crazy. I mean, who thinks any kind of lunges are FUN?
I'm thinking about trading gyms at the moment. My girlie gym is nice, close to home and hardly anybody uses the free weights, so it's been working well for me. BUT...the downside is that they only have girlie weights. I'm using the biggest dumbbells they have for legs, and I'm running out of barbells too. So, the new year might just be the time to move on.
There's a new gym nearby that I'm going to check out next week, just to see what they've got to offer. The local Y's no good, although they do have a good pool - people are packed in like sardines in the weights room (ugh!). My other option is the skanky gym where I train clients. Plenty of equipment there, but also plenty of gorillas heaving gigantic weights around with really bad form. You can almost smell the testosterone......oh hang on, that might be sweat. And it's a bit further away, so more time needed for travelling.
I'll have to think about it and make a decision before Christmas. Which, by the way, is only about 12 weeks away.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
I took this photo tonight, and I've been peering at it, trying to decide whether I can see any increase in muscle mass since April (that's the April me below...or was it March?). The fact that I was very lean back then - and obviously I'm not now - kind of clouds the issue.
I think my shoulders and lats have gained a little size....but I'm really not sure. Of course I'm completely crap at objectively assessing my own progress - that's one thing I have learned along the road to fitness and fabulousdom. Fabulosity? Fabularity?
I was NOT about to don a bikini for this shot. Think I'll wait till I complete my next cycle of cutting the flab for that little treat. Whenever that may be.
So - ignore the bad hair and the slightly demented expression (hey, try taking photos of yourself and see how good you look!), but will someone please tell me that I'm getting somewhere?
Why did I not realise that gaining muscle was going to mess with my head and totally freak me out? *pokes self for being so ridiculous*
Ah, I'm over it. Eating's clean this week, training's great, and I'm even getting some cardio in. So all is well. Of course sleep is a whole other thing.
Off to beddie-byes for me shortly. Promise. *yawn*
Today I was a little late getting to the office (note: this is not an unusual situation). So at 9:45am, I'd just finished my second coffee of the day and was reading my email messages, but hadn't actually done any work to speak of, when the evacuate signal sounds. Groan. Again? This is the third evacuation we've had in 6 or 7 weeks. Very inconvenient, really.
I wasn't actually the least bit concerned about my work not getting done, but come ON people! - It's almost time for my next meal! I mean, how am I supposed to cut up my fruit and arrange it nicely in a bowl with my yoghurt and then eat it, while milling around at the assembly point at the local park? So I ducked back to my desk, grabbed my apple and ate that while trudging down the 3 flights of stairs and out the back door. I figured a piece of fruit was better than nothing. A gal has to think about these things....
It turned out to be yet another bomb scare. The bomb squad were called in, the police had the houses opposite evacuated and surrounding streets barricaded off and went through the building with a fine-tooth comb. Of course they found nothing, nada, zip, zilch. Some people obviously have too much time on their hands. Or a really bad sense of humour. Or perhaps one of my colleagues just wanted a longer coffee break.
The infamous dessert.
This monster was ominously called "Medley Mountain". You'd think that would have given me a clue as to the size of the thing. It was pretty much a bit of everything on the dessert menu - rocky road, choc chip cookie, cheesecake, choc fudge brownie, ice cream sundae...and probably some other stuff I've forgotten.
Do I look happy to be keeping company with Mr Humungous Dessert? Oh yeah!
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
The Goddess pic below triggered a memory of something similar.....I dragged up this photo from April 2003.
As I recall, I'd spent a hard day sanding and painting, and after a hot shower was relaxing with a glass of wine and a nice face mask. As you do.
Holy tuckshop lady arms, Batman!
I have come a long way.
What is up with Blogger tonight? I've tried to post umpteen times and keep getting poxy "can't find server" messages. *sigh* It appears to be working now....we'll see.
I'm too tired to think straight and now can't remember for the life of me what I was going to write. My mother would say that whatever it was I've forgotten "must have been a lie". Thanks Mum. So instead, I'll just post some photos of me with some hot guys. :-D
Here's Mr Million Dollars, Body for LIFE Grand Master Champion 2005, Aaron Ferguson.
You have NO idea how much persuading it took to get him to flex for this photo. He's really quite shy. And sweet - he brought me flowers once. Bike Boy has something to live up to....
Australian Ironman Body Blitz Champ 2005 (and all-round cutie) Jay Bonaretti:
I already posted Porter's pic....hmm, what other hot guy photos do I have?
This will have to do - here's me with the fab Jen Hendershott (not a guy, but still hot) :p This was at the Hard Rock Cafe, where I had the biggest dessert I've ever seen in my life. It was bigger than my head! I have photos to prove it somewhere....
I like this photo - I look like I have pecs. Low body fat + squeezy pose will do that....
The Olympia is this coming weekend. Wish ya luck, Jen! *crosses fingers and toes*
I thought about staying in bed this morning. Really thought about it. I honestly meant to get to bed by 9:00 last night, read my new Ultrafit mag for a bit, and be having sweet dreams by 9:30. Somehow I got busy answering emails and suddenly it was already 10:30pm. Crap. I got to sleep probably by 11:00. Consequently, I was a wee bit tired this morning when the alarm went off at 5:30.
I realised that moving today's training to tomorrow wasn't going to work, since I have an early client - unless I went to the gym in the evening (yeah, like that would ever happen!). So it would have to be Thursday....then I have to have a rest day before doing the next session, since both include leg workouts and I have clients Saturday and....aargh! It was just all too hard, so I just hauled my butt out of bed and went to the gym.
I feel good now. :-) Might need more coffee to get through today though. Ah well, we all have to make sacrifices.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Yes, I made it through the day, with the help of my friend, caffeine. Ah, lovely, lovely coffee! I had one at home this morning, one from Gloria Jean's, one from the work cafeteria, a cup of instant when I was flagging about 2:00pm, another when I got home, and I'm having one more now. Uh-oh, that makes 6, if my calculations are correct. Wonder if I'll sleep tonight? LOL.
I just realised how much "stuff" my husband and kids do around here. I got home from work, stripped the sheets off the bed (meant to do that on the weekend, but oops), removed Number One Son's washing from the machine and put it in the dryer, loaded my sheets and programmed the washer. Then I checked my email....only 12 today. Phew. Closed the curtains, fed the dog, opened the mail, checked the answering machine. Cut up the chicken that I didn't get around to yesterday, cooked 6 portions, bagged another 5 and put them in the freezer. Cooked a big pot of rice, chopped vegies for a couple of lunches. Peeled, sliced and cooked some sweet potato, put the extra in the fridge and served up my dinner. Washed the dishes and cleaned "the George" (my George Foreman Grill).
Hmm, out of all that, I would usually do...er.....the washing and the email? OK, enough me time. *waves hand imperiously and puts on haughty voice* Minions, return at once - your services are required!
I was surprised when I got home and found a business card stuck in the door. Huh, real estate agent? - Possibly. Debt collector? Nah, I've paid all the bills.
Handwritten on it in big letters were the words "CALL ME!" Bugger! It was my friend Gus, who lives a lo-o-ong way away - he was obviously in town and had dropped in on the off-chance that I was slacking off at home. Bugger, bugger, bugger! Haven't seen him for over a year (and feeling guilty about it), and now I've missed him.
All's well though - I rang him and he's in town for the week, so we've made a date for Thursday to have lunch. Yay! I love this guy, we go back years (we went to school together, hung out together, got drunk together, you know, fun stuff like that) so I'm really looking forward to catching up. :-D
I got to bed a little late last night, but was dreaming peacefully by 10:30. Then the phone rings at 11:30. Who the hell is ringing me at this hour? I answer unintelligibly: "Unh.....hlo?" It's Number One Son. Of course. "Mu-u-um, my car won't start, can you come and get me?". Ugh. It's my parental duty to collect stranded offspring at whatever hour of the day or night, isn't it?
So I drag myself out of bed, find my runners and lace them up, grab car key, house keys and phone and, still in my pjs, go to the rescue. He's standing in the car park at Hungry Jack's where he works, in the dark, looking mighty unhappy. "Can you have a listen to this, and tell me if it's the battery?" Yeah, like I'd know. He turns the key and the car sounds like it's going to start, but doesn't. I'm no help at all with cars.....wish Bike Boy was here. All I can offer is the suggestion that he leave the car, get some sleep and call the RACV in the morning. It's too cold and dark to be hanging around waiting for them now - especially since he's not a member, so will have to go through all the joining rigamarole over the phone.
I drive him home, listening to him whinge about the inconvenience and probable cost, and go back to bed, but I can't get back to sleep. Aargh. I toss and turn. It's 12:30 and my alarm is set for 4:30. Great.
I did manage to get up, trained my client, got through my back/triceps workout, have now had breakfast and I really should be getting ready for work. But I'm having trouble moving off the chair. Perhaps another coffee first.....
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Lookie what I made! No, over on the sidebar thingy. Yeah, the Photobucket Widget.......cool, huh? Look, I'm fat....now thin....fat again.....
- Slept in till 9:15.
- Went to the gym late - who knew other people actually go there? It's always pretty quiet at 6:00am. I had to wait for the cable machine!
- Flexed in front of the mirrors at the gym....and I didn't care who saw me. In fact I called one of the trainers over to show off my lats. LOL. Hey, I needed to check my progress and muscles always look bigger and better when they're all pumped up after a workout.
- Ate strawberries, blueberries and yoghurt for lunch. It's Sunday and I can eat my meals in any order I like. So there.
- Had an actual conversation with Number One Son. Here he is with his bestie, Bec....who calls me Mum, since she practically lives here. They're watching re-runs of Will and Grace. Or Friends. Or something.
- Folded all the socks. Anyone who knows me well, knows I LOATHE folding socks. I put it off and put it off until nobody has any clean socks left. After a week or two of waiting for somebody else to do it (as if!) and putting up with the whinges as the family rummage through the pile every morning, I eventually give in and have a marathon sock-folding session. I have no idea why I did this on a day when I could pretty much do anything I choose. Perhaps I'm insane.
- Surfed my favourite internet sites (well duh!). It's quiet today. Nobody's posting on forums - where are they all?
- Drank 5 black coffees. Better switch to decaf soon - if I want to sleep tonight.
- Gave myself a manicure/pedicure
- Watched the news uninterrupted. Did you know those newsreaders actually speak? I always thought they were just miming and somehow our TV was missing the subtitles. Oh, that would be explained by the lack of NOISE in the house.
For the rest of the day, I have some work to finish, 3kg of chicken breasts to cut up into 200g portions, some cooking to do so I'm prepared for the week ahead, and I really need to be in bed early, ready for another 4:30am wake-up call. Ugh.
This is my last week of full-time employment though. You can probably hear me cheering from wherever you are. :-D
Ah, Spring! The gorgeous blossom on the trees......er....make that on the ground. It's been SO windy the last few days. This morning we also had hail. HAIL. And my beautiful Spring flowers are now in pieces all over the ground. :-(
This is what's left of the camellia blooms by the front porch.
If it ever stops raining and hailing, I'll go sweep them up before they turn to slime and some Jehova's Witness or phone salesman sues me when they slip and break a leg.
On the plus side, all the work I've been doing the last few weeks has been worthwhile. Everything's growing nicely - should be looking good for Summer.
It's a little bare-looking, but it'll fill up as the plants grow.
Gotta work on the lawn though......"alleged lawn", I should say.
My tree fern, that was just a stump a couple of weeks ago, is unfurling nicely. And the big bird's nest fern I inherited from Mum when she moved looks happy where I planted it. My green thumb has been completely dormant for a couple of years, due to lack of time, but I seem to have found it again.
I must say I look ultra-glamourous when I'm working in the garden. Picture this outfit: One pair of size 14 stretch pants (paint-splattered) and a size L grey t-shirt (torn under one arm). I could actually fit a second bum in those pants..... Add my oh-so-sexy men's Blundstone boots, plus hair that's usually in need of a wash and that looks like I just got out of bed. Every time Bike Boy walks past me in this ensemble, he feels obliged to say "God, you're a good-looking woman!" - with heavy sarcasm, in case you didn't guess.
And of course, when dressed in this outfit, I always discover I need something urgently from the supermarket, and nobody else can possibly go. So I scurry in, grab what I need, run to the register....and ALWAYS manage to run into somebody I know. So how come, when I'm wearing my best frock and stilettos, with hair done and make up perfect, on my way out somewhere posh, I never run into anyone I know?
I have to report that the Pink Wish Tim Tams are actually pretty good. Not as nice as the original all-choccie ones, but still not bad. The filling is strawberry, in case you're wondering.
I'm a sucker for anything that raises funds for breast cancer research. I lost a very good friend to the disease last year, and will probably feel bound to buy pink ribbons, pink wrist bands, and do the Mothers Day Classic fun run till I'm too old and feeble for my legs to carry me. And then I'll make my kids push me in my wheelchair.
Come on girls - it's our duty to eat chocolate to cure cancer. How can you not buy them?
Saturday, September 23, 2006
- 1 pair pink velour pjs
- 1 pair fluffy bed socks
- 2 chick flicks on DVD
- 1 tub Sara Lee Rocky Road Overload ice cream
- 1 packet of Pink Wish Tim Tams
- 1 comfy couch with blankie (optional)
- The ability to sleep in next morning.....
I've had a busy day of training clients, dashing around the shopping centre in search of essentials like toilet paper, protein bars, probiotics and a hat for the Oaks (What? That most definititely is essential!). And I've just got home to a completely silent and empty house. On a Saturday afternoon? Here's why:
Bike Boy has taken himself and our two youngest little darlings off to spend some time at his parents' place. 350km away. For almost a week. :-D
I love it when my husband and kids disappear for a few days. No, I'm not a heartless, uncaring mother. I just enjoy some occasional time alone. After 20-something years of coupledom and parenthood, "me time" is a rare occurrence. For the first 3 days or so I'm all "Hmm, what fabulous thing shall I do by myself first?". Then the next couple of days, it's less of a novelty. And by about the 5th day, I miss them and want them to come home.
Right now I'm still firmly in the "Whoopee! I have the house all to myself" stage.
Oh....Number One Son is still around, but since he only comes home to sleep, shower and wash his clothes, and is a distinctly nocturnal creature, I'm not likely to run into him.
Suggestions please, for how I should use this valuable time.....
The Baby started karate classes a few weeks ago, and has really taken to it. He was so excited to finally get his Gi, so he looks just like all the other kids. Next he'll be dying to trade his white belt for a coloured one.....He seems to think he'll surpass The Middle Child (who has a purple belt) some time soon. I won't disillusion him.
And here's the Middle Child, doing what 13 year olds do best - reclining on the couch with several remote controls within reach.
Nope, no piccies of Number One Son - he's never home long enough for me to aim the camera at him. Unless I catch him sleeping. Mmm, maybe not - it's not a pretty sight: a snoring, drooling man. spreadeagled across the bed in his lairy Simpsons boxers.....
Friday, September 22, 2006
At lunchtime today I spotted the most gorgeous top in the window at Sussan, so I just had to go try it on. I put it on and realised that there was one of those angled mirrors behind me, positioned so that you can see your back view. I noticed that the hem was caught in the waistband of my jeans, so I reached behind me to fix it.....and saw my traps flex as my shoulder moved. Wa-hey! I can never see my own back, so of course I had to take advantage of the opportunity.
I must have spent a good 5 minutes standing there in my jeans and bra, flexing and posing. Even with a little extra fat on board, you can actually distinctly see my lats and traps. Looks like the hard work is paying off.
Guess where I'll be spending my lunchtimes when I need a bit of a confidence boost?
Chocolate from Koko Black.
Not to mention the divinely decadent chocolate desserts. :p
Lush, for everything that's lovely and smelly.
Their massage bars are fab, especially the Wiccy Magic Muscles. Perfect for massaging those aches and pains after a tough gym workout.
Ooh, they have gift vouchers... must start dropping some very un-subtle hints, since my birthday is only 2 and a half months away. :-)
Bubbles!! Of the sparkling wine variety, of course.
Some luverly Veuve Clicquot, if I'm feeling flush.....otherwise I'll settle for the local Domaine Chandon .......or if finances are embarrassingly tight, perhaps the bottle shop's $8 special.
Not that I wear perfume often, but this is one of my favourites.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
This morning I woke up at 4:20am, in a pool of sweat, and feeling like the Exxon-Valdez had sailed across my face during the night. Honestly, if a mozzie had tried to land on my face, it would have slid right off. I also have a pimple the size of Uluru sprouting from the middle of my forehead. Seems my hormones have gone screwy again – an annoyingly regular occurrence since my hysterectomy.
This might explain the bloating and cravings that have been going on lately. This afternoon I had an incredibly strong urge to eat…well, anything, really. I actually got out of my chair more than once to go in search of food. This wouldn’t have been a drama normally, since I try to keep a small stock of healthy snacks at the office. But I was out of nuts and protein bars, and when I went to the fridge in search of the ½ punnet of strawberries I’d left there the previous day, some #*&%@ had stolen them! By this stage, I swear I could actually smell the cakes and choccies wafting down from the cafeteria 3 floors above.
I somehow managed to withstand temptation, with the help of herbal teas, sugarless gum, and repeating my favourite mantra to myself over and over.......“eat clean and work out, eat clean and work out”. Oh, plus leaving the latest Australian Ironman mag open on my desk at the page featuring photos of the girls from the recent All-Female Classic helped.
It’s been 3 months now since I had the offending reproductive organ removed. I thought that my ovary (yes, I only have one) would have got its act together by now and things would have returned to normal.
Oh. I just had a horrible thought – what if this is normal? Aargh! Hand me that Boost bar, will ya?
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Tonight I was intending to call clients, do some program work, answer emails etc before bed. Ease the pressure on myself just a little, ya know. But I had a call from my bestest friend J (who, by the way, I've known for 26 years next month - where did that time go?), in need of a good long vent. So of course work obligations went out the window, while I listened, sympathised and was a supportive as a galpal can be.
And her problem got me thinking about reciprocation. Imagine a life spent giving to others - spending time with family and friends, doing small favours for them, cheering them up when they were down, inviting them to share a meal, being thoughtful about birthdays and so on. And for yourself? Well, you could eat well, exercise a little, take care of your health, be a bit careful with your money so you'd have something to live on in your old age. You would no doubt spend your later years, hopefully in good health, living in a nice home, surrounded by loved ones, leading a full, happy life.
Now imagine you never looked after yourself. You ate badly, ignored your health problems, smoked, drank heavily and didn't take your medication. You wasted your money on cigarettes, alcohol and gambling, never putting anything aside for the future. You sold your house to pay off debts and frittered away the remaining money. Worst of all, you never did anything for anybody. Never bought your grandchild a birthday present, never took your family out for dinner, never spent time with them, never even picked up the phone and called them....unless you wanted something. You "borrowed" money from them and didn't pay it back, never said thank you, just asked for more. You complained constantly, were rude, unpleasant, cranky and demanding and blamed the world for all your problems.
You'd probably end your days in a crappy under-staffed nursing home, in serious ill-health, with no cash to pay for the little extras that make life bearable. Miserable, bored and with no visitors to cheer you up.
The longer I live, the more I realise that you really do reap what you sow.
Something to think about.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Ah, it's always nice to know that even famous, beautiful, thin and wealthy women can look like a pig's breakfast sometimes.
Oh, one more thing - I'm off to bed to read a few more pages of Porter Freeman's Finally Fit at 50. I love this guy, got a photo of me with him somewhere.... ooh, found it! Yes, I look dorky because - as usual - I'm talking. I really must learn to shut up when a photo is being taken.
Anyway, here are two of his little Southern sayings:
You ain't never gonna find a diamond in a goat's ass, so quit looking; and
Don't try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.
Cute, but does anybody know what on earth they mean?
If I was a superhero, I would be.......MapGirl! Ta-daah!! Yes, yes, I would be a slightly nerdy superhero, but what can you expect from someone who spent 12 years as a Girl Guide? You see, I have this completely uncanny sense of direction (I always seem to know which way is north), AND I can just glance at a map and immediately figure out where I am in relation to, well....everything else.
I'm frequently told (by men) that map reading is something women are crap at. Pah! When Bike Boy and I go anywhere, I have learnt to never let him navigate. Any such attempts always end with a "shortcut" gone wrong, and then me grabbing the Melway and saying "oh, just give it to me, I'm MapGirl, remember?"
So, if I was a superhero, I could rescue lost tourists...or bushwalkers...or um...something. Anyway, I'd have a great costume, in earthy greens with a sky-blue cape (I see it billowing in the wind as I stand with my hands on my hips on a mountain top somewhere...) and a really cool rotating holographic image of Planet Earth on the front.....Oh, and of course it would be machine-washable.
OK, enough silliness. What got me onto this subject was Bike Boy calling me over to his computer last night, with the words "Hey, MapGirl, check this out, you'll love it!". And he was right. He'd discovered Google Earth, which is just TOO cool for words. He'd even pinpointed our house - he typed in our address and zoomed in on the sattelite image and voila! There's an aerial view of our house - I could see the roof, the driveway, the peppermint gum down by the shed, the almond tree.....WOW. Guess which site I'm going to be spending a lot of time on?
Gotta go, MapGirl has a mission to complete!
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Ever needed to know how to get motor oil out of a brand-new, never-worn, black cotton military-style jacket? Well read on - I have the solution.
Here's what happened: Number One Son came home to ask his father's advice on a funny noise his car was making. Bike Boy very kindly offered to help said son service the automatic transmission in an attempt to fix the problem. So they headed off to get the necessary supplies, bought a bottle of transmission fluid and put it in the car boot.....on top of said jacket, which had been left there by Number One Son's friend Bec. - Such a boy thing to do. Of course, Murphy's Law dictated that the bottle would be leaky. Gah!
So Bike Boy comes into the house holding this black cloth object that's dripping oil and hands it to me with the expectation that, being female, and obviously having the getting-stains-out gene (which, as everyone knows is recessive, and has no matching pair on the Y chromosome), I would Know What To Do.
Luckily, we had a visitor at that particular moment - a male friend who, in his younger days, used to drive his mother crazy with stuff like dismantling and cleaning carburettors on the kitchen sink. As I was standing there holding the jacket with my mouth open and a look of horror on my face, he just uttered these words: "Spray N Wipe". I looked doubtful, but it IS a solvent, so I sprayed, soaked and washed the jacket and crossed my fingers.
Whaddaya know? He was right.
Labels: Domestic tips
The other day I was out shopping at lunchtime, and bolted out the door of a shop and across the footpath to catch the pedestrian lights before they changed. And I was literally stopped in my tracks by a guy - a total stranger - saying "Hi Beautiful" and smiling at me.
Made my day. :-D
So, he was the guy selling The Big Issue.....and yes, he is a few sandwiches short of a picnic. Don't burst my bubble, OK?
I went to the gym this morning. I don't normally go on Sundays, but tomorrow I have a hectic morning with an early client and needing to be at the office early as well. Which doesn't leave enough time to squeeze my own training in. So today was the day for shoulders and legs.
As I started doing my lateral raises, I looked in the mirror and blinked. God, I was looking positively huge! Now, I know I haven't been eating all that strictly the last couple of weeks, but on Friday morning I recall I was actually pretty pleased with how I looked....considering. My muscles are coming along nicely and the flab was at an acceptable level. So what the hell happened in 2 days?
Let's see.....I had alcohol on Friday night. More alcohol on Saturday night - that was all Bike Boy's fault, he twisted my arm. Honest. Then there's the extra carbs I've eaten the last couple of days. Blueberry Danish for yesterday's meal 2? What was I thinking? Plus I remember commenting about how salty the food tasted to me at the restaurant on Friday night. Funny how I never noticed before that Indian food is chock-full of salt, but after a few months of eating a very low-sodium diet, I've become really sensitive to it. And I didn't really drink enough water the last couple of days either.
So, alcohol, salt, too many carbs, not enough water. Yup, that'd do it. I think I have the answer to why I'm suddenly all puffed up and squidgy. And the (obvious) solution. *sigh* Back to proper eating today.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Getting back to the theme of this blog.....what? You didn't realise there WAS a theme amongst all my waffling? Well, you see, it is supposed to be kind of a fitness thing.....
These days I train a little differently to the Body for LIFE method. Not that it's a bad method of training, far from it. But you can't do the same thing forever, can you? My meal plan is pretty close to BFL, although it isn't so strict about getting protein & carbs with every meal. Some are pretty much all carbs, others are just protein and vegies, but the ratios would be about the same. - Ish.
I went and got myself a trainer back in January - as I tell my clients, everybody needs a trainer. Even trainers need trainers. So Jane Tabban (that's her on the left - although she looks a little different now, being about two-thirds of the way through her second pregnancy) has been the one who keeps me on the straight and narrow, and lets me off the hook from having to think about what to eat or how to train. Yes, I admit it, I am basically lazy when it comes to my own programs.
My first 12 weeks really opened my eyes to what can be achieved with intense weight training, lots of moderate cardio and a really clean diet. 11kg disappeared...who knew I even had 11kg to lose? Bike Boy says I was too skinny, but I tell him that's just cos I needed more muscle. I liked my bodyfat percentage down around 12-13%. The no free meals sucked quite a bit, but it was worth it.
Anyway, I'm currently changing my weights program from 4 sets of 10 to 3 sets of 8, trying to get some muscle growth happening. Which means upping the weights. I actually surprised myself with Friday's back/triceps workout and made some decent increases in my weights. Since back is possibly my weakest body part, I was pretty pleased with that. :-D Tomorrow is shoulders/legs, so we'll see how that goes.
To top off last night's celebrations, we stayed up till almost midnight....we're such party animals .... and finally got to watch A History of Violence on DVD, with Viggo Mortensen.
It was good actually, although I'm not so sure about Viggo's acting abilities. He only seems to have one facial expression - kind of bemused. And I thought he was pretty hot as Aragorn, but as an ordinary bloke, he's just kind of....well, ordinary.
Come to think of it, I like Orlando Bloom much better. Minus the weird long blonde hair of course.
Getting back to the movie, there was plenty of violence - not as much as in a Tarantino film (that would be hard to beat), but enough to keep a man's interest.
Here's a little tip for free: Don't overindulge in alcohol (and food) and stay up late when you need to be up early to go train a client. I'm not sure that he noticed my lack of energy, pale face, or the forced smiles, but the continual yawns may have given me away. And perhaps the fact that my pants were on backwards....which I discovered about 4 hours later.
We went out last night for Bike Boy's birthday, had a great Indian meal, a little wine and some good conversation sans rug rats. :-) Then after stuffing ourselves with beef Vindaloo, chicken Tikka, naan, rice, and various other delights, we got back in the car to head home. I reached over to turn down the radio and noticed the time.....8:37pm. Yeah, we have just got to stop staying out so late...
So that was a bit sad to begin with, but then I realised that I was pretty much completely rat-arsed. Pissed on 3 glasses of wine? What have I become? :-(
Thursday, September 14, 2006
After trawling around trashy.com for a bit, I thought I'd share this super-trashy piece of apparel. I have a wee problem with the description:
This vintage corset features delicate bastille lace trim and has a lace-up back and hook-and-post closure front. It cinches in at the waist, giving you a full bosom. A full bosom?? She looks like she has a bare-arsed little boy stuffed down her front!
This corset is so beautiful it can be worn as an undergarment or as outerwear. Outerwear, sure. Maybe if you're a hooker. Or Madonna.
Then there was this waist cincher.
For the absolute in a tiny waistline, this waist trainer will do the job. The hook and post front make it easy to put on and the lace up back allows for as much or as little cinching as you desire. The satin covered boning adds to the slimming lines afforded by this must have! Um. I'm speechless.....this is 1806, right?
Good to see that we women have come so far in the last 200 years.
- The Metropolitan Ring Road in peak hour. There are some seriously crazy people on that road. Apparently, any raving-mad lunatic with a visual impairment and a bad attitude can get a driver’s licence these days.
- Ironing. I so did not inherit my Grandma’s love of this hideous domestic chore. The woman even ironed underpants!
- Bike Boy announcing that he’s going to do a little DIY. That’s my cue to leave the house. Quickly. The atmosphere becomes distinctly thunderous whenever power tools and especially flat-pack furniture are involved.
- Bad customer service. Listen up shop assistants, bank staff and others in the service industry – for the few minutes that you are serving me, I am the most important thing in your world. Focus your teeny-weeny attention span on me. Do not chat to your co-workers, wander off halfway through my transaction without explanation or avoid eye contact with me, or you’ll be sorry. You have been warned.
- Mice. This one needs no further explanation.
- Breakfast in bed. What IS that about? Nowhere to balance your plate, and you inevitably end up sitting on crumbs. Make me breakfast by all means, but I’ll have it at the table, thanks.
- People standing in my personal space. You there, behind me in the queue. Yes, you - the one breathing down my neck – back off!
- The phone ringing at 3:00am. That always has to be bad news.
- Anything that messes with my workout schedule. If I have to reschedule or (God forbid) skip a training session, you don’t want to be around me.
- Offal. My Dad always said “if we were meant to eat the insides of an animal, they’d be on the outside”. OK, so that makes no sense at all, but I’m still not eating that crap.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
This is especially for Sara, who I did warn about these fearsome critters some time back, but did she listen? No-o-o-o sir! She comes over here and swans about completely unprotected and oblivious to the danger.
Here's some reliable info on the infamous Australian drop bear: DropBear conspiracy
Disregard the disclaimer at the bottom of the web page - the writer is obviously deranged. ;-) Don't believe me? Look it up in Wikipedia.
Seems Marie-Claire's idea of "pretty" is.... well, a little different to mine. The title "Figure-flattering underwear for every body" should have been warning enough, really.
The photo of this delightful piece of...um...lingerie was accompanied by these words: Try a pretty girdle with side supports and high-cut legs under fitted pants and skirts.
Pretty? PRETTY? *rolls around laughing hysterically* Yeah, sure. As long as the fitted pants or skirts stay safely on. This would scare off the most desperate would-be lover.
Then they suggest extra-strong lycra bike shorts for trimming your hips.... Hmm. Maybe you're supposed to go ride a bike in them. That would trim your hips. Although maybe not by that date next Saturday.
This led me to search out some underwear that actually IS pretty (hey, you never know when you might need some emergency lingerie). And I came across trashy.com - with a name like that, I just had to check it out. Who knew that Americans buy sexy lingerie for Halloween? How peculiar.
Oh, and yes, they really are trashy - they even have a schoolgirl and a burlesque range. Wonder how much credit is left on the fantastic plastic?
I’m getting a lot better at recognising potential triggers, and have definitely built some good habits that usually get me through the worst moments. - Yes, there was that chocolate incident on the weekend, but I did say usually.
One thing that I’ve discovered about myself is that sleep deprivation and stress are the two things that are most likely to set off a comfort eating episode. Sometimes I can deal with it, sometimes not. Combine the two and I can almost guarantee a rapid downhill slide into food-aholic’s hell, where I can spend days or even weeks stuck in a cycle of poor eating and tortured self-loathing. One day I’m all “Yay, today I ate nothing but tuna, broccoli, strawberries and oats.!” The next, “uh-oh, I don’t suppose Mars Bars and pizza really qualify as carb portions, do they?” Bloody hell, I’m 45 years old – you’d think I’d be capable of behaving like a sane person by now.
Anyway, this week has not been a fun time. For various reasons that I won’t bore the pants off everyone with, I’m having to burn the midnight oil quite a bit lately. (Hint: It's all to do with my dual life as a mild-mannered minion of government bureaucracy and my secret identity as a go-get 'em personal trainer.....or is it the other way around?). Anyway, despite the late nights, I still get up at 5:30 to train. And there’s also a more-than-moderate degree of stress involved in the equation.
So my brain is doing that thing in the afternoons and evenings where it decides that if I won’t SLEEP and let it recharge, then it’ll try to grab some energy some other way. It starts sending me little subversive messages, telling me that I’m hungry or that I need some extra carbs because *insert flimsy-sounding excuse here*.
Next thing I find myself standing in front of the open pantry or fridge in search of food that definitely isn’t on my meal plan (toasted muffins with Vegemite, big handfuls of nuts, Bike Boy’s protein bars - stuff like that). Slim pickings, really – my cheats are normally a little pathetic, since I junk-proof the house pretty well – but it’s amazing what you can stuff yourself with if you try. The mental wrestling match that ensues with my inner sabotaging self sometimes results in a win for me, but sometimes not.
I’d say at this point in the week, we’re about even.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Sorry, couldn't resist the title. :-)
Since I've been steadily increasing my leg press weights the last few weeks, this morning I decided I'd go for 150kg. Wow, getting close to my all-time PB of 160kg! So I load up the machine with a mix of 5, 15, 20 and 25kg plates and get ready for my first set. I remove the safety and....ugh....lift. Geez, this is hard! Grunting and pulling the ugly face, I squeeze out 8 reps.
Hmm, that was harder than I thought. I check over the plates and add them up again. Holy crap! 170kg! Oops. Maths never was my strong point.
So I unload 15kg and try again with 155kg. Got out two more sets of 8, no probs. WOOHOO! I am an Amazon! Superhuman! Get out of my way or I'll kick your skinny arse! *ahem* Sorry, got carried away there.
Huh. New PB. I'm pretty pleased. Can you tell? :-)
Monday, September 11, 2006
I can't for the life of me recall how I found this site. *thinks* I know I Googled something.....several hours ago...... but anyway, whatever - it's hilarious!
Here's a little gem of Australian foodie culture:
Q. I have heard of a technique called "shotgunning a TimTam" could you explain how this is done? - Di, UK
A. Ah, Tim Tams - quite definitely the food of the gods.
Now, as for shotgunning a Tim Tam... some might not have heard the term before (it's also known as the Tim Tam Slam), but I know precisely what you're talking about, as I suspect do most Australians with Tim Tam experience.
I wasn't quite sure if this Tim Tam secret could be revealed to people who aren't Australian citizens, but today I've been on the phone to to the various interested government departments, and to Arnotts, and I have got the all clear to reveal all, provided you all find a packet and try it.
- Prepare a drink. It can be hot or cold, whatever your preference. Milk is my favourite, but coffee is good for those who like the stuff.
- Take Tim Tam from the packet, and try to resist the temptation to just scarf it all down.
- Take a small bite out of one corner. Let your tastebuds wallow in it for a moment, then take a small bite out of the opposite corner. Ditto.
- Dip one end into your drink
- Suck. Go on, SUCK!
- Your drink will come slowly up into your mouth, along with little bits of Tim Tam. Mmmmm....
- Keep going until the Tim Tam hull integrity is breached. You'll know this is happening when the whole thing starts to collapse in your hand. Gobble it up pronto, and allow your tastebuds to enjoy what is best described as a tastebud orgasm.
- Find the packet and return to step 2.
For more such fascinating info on language, culture, sport and all things Australian, check out Toxic Custard. I mean, who knew that there was a McDonald's on top of Uluru?
Funny, I feel like a Tim Tam now. Good thing I have none in the house.
I was helping Number One Son update his resume recently, and I made a discovery. You can actually take all your worst character flaws, put a positive spin on them and turn them into selling points for prospective employers. How cool is that?
You’re not impatient, you have a “get it done” attitude
You’re not stubborn – you’re determined and you never, ever quit!
You’re not boring and unimaginative, you’re solid and dependable
You’re not extravagant, you’re generous and giving
You’re not a gossip, you’re a great communicator - and fabulous at networking
You’re not a smartarse, you’re quick-witted, with a great sense of humour
See? Use this system and everyone will want to give you a job. Even if you’re a total loser.
I have this fab little calendar thingy on my desk. Well, it's not exactly a calendar, since it doesn't have dates on it....or anything useful, for that matter. It's more a flip-book of funnies. I select the appropriate page to indicate my mood, just to give my family a heads-up. It's only fair.
I'll show you what I mean. This is for days like today, when I've had one of those weekends where I just ate everything in sight:
I love this little book! Saw it at Deb's place a while back and just had to get one. If you're interested, the title is "That's Queen Bitch to You!" - Available at all good book stores. :-D
I always have a long list of movies I'd like to see, but somehow don't get around to catching most of them. Lately I've been making more of an effort to at least see the odd DVD - in fact, it's becoming a once-a-week event. It's official, I really am an old fart - my Saturday nights are spent at home with a rented movie.
This week's viewing was "Kinky Boots". I called at the video shop, and this was the first title I laid eyes on. Coincidentally, the lovely Sara had just emailed me to say that she'd enjoyed this little cinematic gem, so I figured that was fate, and gave it a whirl. Not bad - cute, funny and poignant and the good guys come out on top in the end. And it has Joel Edgerton - what more could you want?
A few others seen lately are: Inside Man (go, the Denz!), Jindabyne ....actually got to the cinema for this one.... Wolf Creek (eek!) and a couple of chick-flicks: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, In Her Shoes and there was another one....can't think of it now.
School holidays are coming up, and I'm told Stormbreaker is the Next Big Thing. Who knows, I might even take the kids to the cinema....
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Oh, spring came to my garden
And caught it unaware
Wearing just a few old leaves
And a dejected air.
But when spring left my garden,
Its work so deftly done,
Many, many Daffodils
Were dancing in the sun.
-Velma D. BATES.
Well, maybe not many, many daffodils.....but a few anyway. Things are looking decidedly purty around my garden after all my hard work. I put in a few more hours today, too. Can't wait to see it in a few more weeks, when everything's grown a bit and the trees have all their leaves again.
I was completely slack in the autumn and never got around to planting the big boxful of bulbs I mail-ordered back in February. I should have masses of Dutch iris, tulips and freesias blooming now. But instead I only have the few that have survived my neglect over the past few years. Oh well, there's always next year. I'll just put the box in the beer fridge for a few weeks, come Summer - I'm sure Bike Boy won't mind making room for them - and they should grow beautifully for next Spring.
I rang Bike Boy at work on Friday to tell him that I'm "mildly abnormal". To which he replied "And I'm supposed to be surprised?" Haha, funny bugger.
OK, to explain: Those are the words my doctor's secretary used to describe the results of my recent blood tests. I'm actually quite happy about only being "mildly" abnormal. I have these tests done every 6 months (sometimes more often, depending on what they show) to keep an eye on my iron and liver enzyme levels. The liver thing is a bit of a long saga involving these weird benign tumours which are related to my hereditary condition. Anyway, the liver function tests show that things aren't getting any worse, so that's good news.
The more interesting result was from the iron studies. Because of the frequent nosebleeds, I have a tendency to suffer from iron deficiency and occasionally anaemia....and no, they're not the same thing. I put off having the test done, because of the hysterectomy back in June. My haemoglobin levels were good going into the surgery, but my gynaecologist reported afterwards that I'd lost a lot of blood during the op - not enough to warrant a transfusion, but enough that I'd probably be very tired for quite a while.
Now, this didn't worry me particularly, but unfortunately, when he popped into my room to give me this piece of intelligence, Bike Boy was visiting. Uh-oh, talk about lousy timing. My dear husband is always concerned about my health - far more than I ever am - and continually tries to force-feed me steak (ugh!) because of its high iron content. Armed with this tidbit of info, I just knew he was going to be on my case for the next few weeks to eat more red meat. *sigh*
Anyway, I argued and sulked and managed to keep my red meat intake down to my usual twice a week. And I absolutely refuse to take iron supplements unless things get really dire. The side effects are just too distressing to live with. So I was actually secretly concerned that my iron levels would be a little low, which is why I waited 2 months to get the tests done (they were actually due in June). The outcome of the test? Normal. Yay!
Just goes to show that huge amounts of chicken and fish are a good thing. :-) Go, the high-protein diet!
A trip to the supermarket the other day made me realise something about myself - I’m a very judgmental person.
I was waiting at the checkout with my full trolley (as usual, there were 3 registers open and about a hundred customers waiting), so to pass the time I flicked through the trash magazines. Hmm. ‘Diets of the stars’, ‘How to get a bikini bod for summer’, ‘Fantastic new Hollywood diet’, ‘Nicole Ritchie anorexia fears’, ‘Kirstie Alley blows out’. *Yawn* That got old really fast. Who buys those things anyway?
So, I was idly looking around at the people waiting in line and I started looking at what was in their trolleys. MAN, people buy some crap! I’m eying off the giant bags of potato chips, family-sized packets of lollies, truckloads of biscuits, frozen pies and pizzas, economy-sized bottles of soft drink, tubs of ice cream…..and not a fresh vegetable in sight. Then I looked at my trolley: yoghurt, quark, fruit, cans of tuna, skim milk, veggies, rice, rolled oats, a few protein bars (they’re for Bike Boy), a truckload of skinless chicken breasts. And a lot of toilet paper – how come we go through so much of that? Anyway, I realised that I was pulling my “disapproving” face. And feeling more than a little superior. Er….does that make me a bad person?
Then I thought back to when I was overweight – did I used to shop like that? Funny, but no, I didn’t. When I was growing up, we ate good basic food. Sure, it was carb-heavy, and yes, it included a fair bit of salt, white flour and sugar, but it also included a lot of fruits and veggies, milk, meat and fish….. and some small treats. Soft drink and chips were for birthday parties or other special occasions, not an everyday thing. After-school snacks were usually fresh fruit. And once a week we got a small bag of lollies (if I remember correctly, it used to cost 5c….now I’m showing my age).
I carried over those habits into my married life and enforced the soft-drink-is-for-parties rule with my own kids. My weight problems resulted more from how much I ate (and OK, from not exercising) than from what I ate.
It seems that there is a whole generation – or maybe two – of people who have absolutely no idea about what constitutes healthy eating. And from the contents of most people’s trolleys, they don’t know how to cook either. It’s all frozen meals, ready-made sauces and so on.
Of course, when I shop for one of the kids’ birthday parties and buy the obligatory ice cream, chips, soft drink, party pies etc, I keep a watchful eye out for anyone I know, especially clients. After all, I wouldn’t want them casting a critical eye over the contents of my trolley and judging me.
So, what's in your trolley?
Yes, yes, this is a little silly, but it made me giggle, so I just had to share:
Thanks to Deb, who keeps me well-supplied with funny emails......
At least this one was clean - you should see some of the things my friends send me!
Saturday, September 09, 2006
The Olympia is on later this month - the last weekend in September, actually. While Mr & Ms Olympia don't do much for me, I love the figure and fitness divisions, and await the results with excitement.
This year I'd love to see Monica Brant take out the Figure trophy....she always gets pipped at the post since she swapped from the fitness division.
And in Fitness, I'm always barracking for the fabulous Jen Hendershott. She missed the title in the Arnold Classic in March this year, but I'm hoping she'll outshine everyone at the Olympia.
I'd love to look like Monica...but I'm not deluded enough to believe that's possible. For one thing I'm a little old to do outstandingly in the muscle-gaining department. And to look like that, I'd need some serious enhancement in the boob department. Uh, no thanks.
As for Jen, she looks fabulous, and is a very generous, sweet and wonderful person. But her level of fitness is something I can't even imagine, let alone aspire to.
Of course, to look like these girls, you have to be prepared to do some seriously weird dieting, and suffer all that goes along with it - fatigue, headaches, feeling cold, crankiness, cravings. Oh and did I mention the hunger?
That's what freaks me out and makes me not quite sure I want to do this. Well, that and hanging your bare arse out on stage in nothing but a G-string. In front of strangers. And people you know. Eek!
I have plenty of time to decide - I'm nowhere near competition-ready. I'm struggling to maintain my weight aorund 55kg - these short girls compete in the 42-48kg range! I can't even imagine being that size......
At least I have plenty of inspiration.
This is some of the work I've been doing around the garden. Still plenty to do, mind you, since I was almost starting with a clean slate in some parts of the yard:
This staghorn fern, I grew from a baby:
Some local wildlife:
And some slightly less "wild"life - my two youngest boys:
Originally posted on Friday 8th September:
This week has been a hectic one....I mean, I've been busier than a one-armed paper hanger (think about it...)
Let's see, I trained at the gym 4 mornings, went to the office 5 days, signed up 3 new PT clients and followed up with 4 potentials, trained my usual clients, wrote a couple of articles for the Amino Z site, got evacuated at work thanks to a bomb scare (false alarm, as it turned out), struggled to stay on top of the washing and housework etc, attempted to pay some attention to Bike Boy and the kids and tried to get enough sleep - almost succeeded too.
But here's the good bit: I'm finally back to all my old weights at the gym and have even increased some of them! :) Woohoo! So it's now almost exactly 3 months since my hysterectomy.......I never imagined it would take me that long to fully recover. Yes, apparently I really do think I'm Superwoman.
My strength is coming on in leaps and bounds - I finally got the leg press up to 135kg (that's almost 300 pounds, if anyone cares) for 4 sets of 10. Now, I know of women smaller than me who can press more than that, but I had a back injury two years ago and had to drop my weights waaaay down for a long, long time. My highest ever load was 160kg in July 2004, but that was only for one set of 6, so I'm pretty darn happy with this week's effort. :-)
I haven't hit my limit yet, either. Watch this space......
Originally posted on Saturday 26th August:
I came up with this list quite a while back, but I've updated it a little:
1. I was born in Melbourne, Australia and I’ve lived here all my life
2. My husband and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary this year
3. I have 3 sons
4. My collection of fitness magazines is threatening to take over the house
5. I was a Girl Guide for 11 years, but only have about 5 badges to show for it
6. I used to join in with the prayers at Guide meetings, then cringe and wait for the roof to fall on me....I'm such a heathen
7. I won an archery tournament when I was 17
8. I love scrapbooking and embroidery
9. My middle son and I share a birthday
10. My youngest son was born on Christmas Eve
11. My eldest son was born on Melbourne Cup Day
12. I hate camping
13. Mosquitos love me
14. I’m a personal trainer and also a part time public servant
15. I have Osler’s disease, which is a pretty unusual hereditary disease - the only thing I'm likely to inherit from my father....
16. I love, love, LOVE wine, especially sauvignon blanc and pinot noir
17. These days, I get drunk on about 2 glasses of wine
18. The day my youngest son was born, I weighed 93kg (204 lb)
19. He was a big baby – 9 lb, 3½ oz – but not THAT big
20. I’m very stubborn
21. I hate handling raw meat. Ick!
22. Luckily for me, my husband does most of the cooking
23. I learned ballet between the ages of 7 and 9
24. I sucked at ballet, so quit and learned piano for 4 years
25. I’ve never been convicted of a traffic offence. Not once in 27 years.
26. OK, so I once got caught by a speed camera, but wrote a letter and they let me off with a warning.
27. I have 3 sisters
28. My parents divorced when I was 6
29. They both remarried soon after
30. I have a stepbrother and a half brother
31. I am a serious chocolate addict and my favourite thing is Boost bars....or Picnic bars...or Tim Tams....or Pods.....Oh, hell, I'll eat anything, long as it's chocolate!
32. I was a blood donor for 20 years, but had to quit on doctor’s orders
33. I’m on the bone marrow donor registry
34. My poor Dad has dementia and is in a nursing home.
35. I’ve done 4 fun runs in the last year and a half, the longest 8kms....Me, the non-runner!
36. I did the 8km run in memory of my friend Jose, who died of breast cancer 2 weeks before the run
37. My parents were born in Australia
38. My grandparents were born in Australia – except one, who was a Kiwi, but that’s close enough
39. I have a dodgy back, and one leg is shorter than the other
40. I love gardening
41. I drive a black Honda Jazz
42. I’d like to drive a Honda S2000
43. I’m a keen photographer
44. My favourite flower is tulips. Or liliums. Or roses…I can never make up my mind.
45. My husband only ever calls me Kerryn when he’s angry with me
46. I have 8 nieces and nephews of my own, and another 5 on my husband’s side.
47. I love English Literature
48. I was never any good at sport at school
49. I'm a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan and have all the DVDs
50. I had meningitis when I was 27
51. I get nosebleeds. A lot.
52. I love girlie clothes, but I seem to live in trackpants and t-shirts
53. I hardly ever wear perfume
54. I’ve had surgery 12 times
55. I’m an internet addict
56. I actually like cooking – just don’t do it much
57. I can’t stand corned beef. Or silverbeet.
58. I love maps
59. My natural hair colour is dark brown. Haven’t seen it for years.
60. I have my ears pierced twice but it's been so long since I wore earrings in the second set of holes that they've closed up
61. I don’t like tattoos and will never get one
62. I love building Lego – thank goodness I have little boys.
63. I have low blood pressure – which is... um....interesting when I get up quickly after a bench press
64. I’ve never broken a bone
65. I have a family reputation for being clumsy
66. I worked for a bank for 20 years
67. I met my husband at work
68. I met my best friend at work
69. I hate brussells sprouts
70. I have a reputation as a fabulous dessert cook..…wonder where my weight problems originated?
71. I go a little crazy if I can’t work out
72. My eldest son is 18 – yikes!
73. My baby is 10
74. I’ve had stitches 3 times (see, clumsy)
75. I’m not nice when I get less than 8 hours sleep
76. I love Scrabble
77. I sometimes read the dictionary for fun
78. I’m a pretty good seamstress and used to make most of my own clothes
79. I have asthma
80. I have food “issues” (read: emotional eating) but am slo-o-owly learning to deal with them.
81. I’m afraid of heights...
82. ....And mice, but not spiders
83. I met my husband on the 2nd October 1979
84. We were friends for almost a year before we realised we had a “thing” for each other
85. I’ve travelled to every state in Australia, but haven’t visited the Northern Territory
86. I travelled overseas for the first time when I was 34
87. I’ve been to Fiji and Thailand
88. I’d love to travel a lot more, but will probably have to wait till the kids grow up
89. My house is too small and we have plans to extend it. Or maybe move. No, extend. Wait....move. Yeah, we keep changing our minds.
90. I hate ironing. Hence the huge pile of it in the laundry.
91. I love chicken. I’d quite happily eat it for dinner every day
92. My lemon tart is famous amongst my family and friends
93. I like to do crosswords. And Sudokus.
94. Emeralds are my favourite precious stone.
95. I’m not afraid of the dentist, and I can have fillings done with no anaesthetic. Hmm, does that make me brave, or just a psycho?
96. I have a pathological hatred of being late. Consequently, I'm always early, everywhere we go. Drives my husband nuts!
97. I have tennis elbow (and I don’t play tennis)
98. I’m really pedantic about spelling and grammar
99. I love hot weather, and absolutely abhor winter.
100. Whenever my scales show a weight gain, I have this ridiculous urge to EAT…..
Originally posted on Thursday 24th August:
Body-for-LIFE. Mmm, how I love Bill Phillips and his wonderful program. :-)
So, Monday 5th April 2004 was the day I began my first 12-week challenge. I had already gone from 80-something kg (83? 85? No idea, really) to 66.5kg since the previous June. Now I was really serious, and aiming for a number I hadn't seen since my early twenties - 58kg.
It was a lot easier than I expected, although it took a few goes to get the hang of the training. Free days were more than a little over the top, but you live and learn. I finished that challenge at 59.6kg, just 1.6kg short of my goal. All the intense training and clean eating had obviously addled my brain, since I decided to do another 12 weeks without a break. This time I only ditched another 1.4kg, but the visible difference was quite astonishing.
You can see my challenge photos on my BFL site, if you're interested.
The thing that most surprised me about my challenges was the impact of the 'warm & fuzzy' stuff that I'd thought was really corny at first. The Universal law of Reciprocation is a kind of 'Pay it Forward' deal, where you give support, help, encouragement or whatever to others with no expectation of return. The funny thing is, the more joy you spread around, the more benefits you reap yourself. Over the past couple of years, I've made some great friends through BFL, and have received all kinds of help, advice, and even some material things, which I never expected.
So-o-o.....from there I muddled along, living my new healthy lifestyle, hanging out at the gym, studying for my gym instructor's certificate, and then my personal trainer qualification. My PT business is up and running and doing very well, thank you. I've refined the whole diet thing, and now eat completely differently from the way I started off, go to the gym only 4 days a week, but train far more intensely, and at the moment I only walk for my cardio. But that's another story.
Long story short and all that, here's how it all turned out. This is me at my 40th birthday party (Yes, again! Avert your eyes if you have a weak stomach...) and a lot less of me, aged 45, taken early this year:
Originally posted on Thursday 24th August:
For health freaks with a serious chocolate addiction, I invented this pudding thingo last night and it was heaven on a spoon!
Chocolate cheesecake pudding
1 scoop Ladybird Protein Crunch
1/2 cup natural yoghurt (full fat is best for a creamy texture)
1 heaped teaspoon cocoa
1 teaspoon Xylitol
1 sachet of Jarrah Chocolatte....any flavour will do, I used the fudge flavour, but I think choc-caramel would be nice.
Mix everything together, place bowl in fridge for 30 minutes. If you can wait that long. Div-iiiine!
Originally posted on Thursday 24th August:
This was a pretty typical day from last week:
4:30am – Alarm goes off. Curse and hit snooze button.
4:39am – Alarm goes off again. Drag myself out of bed and pull on workout gear, lace up shoes etc. Attempt to tame crazy bed hair. Grab water bottle from fridge, an apple from the fruit bowl and gym bag from next to the front door. Drive to gym, eat apple while driving. Arrive at gym with a few minutes to spare. Sit in car with heater on and listen to the radio until I see my client parking her car.
5:00am – Greet client and have a brief chat about her week while she warms up. Put her through an intense cardio session, doing a few low intensity treadmill intervals alongside her to stay warm (this gym is friggen freezing!). Give her a 10-minute assisted stretching session, organise next week’s appointment, promise to email her some stuff on nutrition.
6:00am – Grab my water bottle, gloves and MP3 player from my bag and get started on my weights workout. Stretch when finished…..if I’m running late, this part gets a little cursory. Head home, stopping on the way to get petrol, milk and anything else we desperately need for breakfast.
7:10am – Arrive home, turn on laptop, open curtains, switch on kettle, put pre-soaked oats in the microwave. Take supplements, stir oats, nuke a bit longer. Wake my two youngest boys, finish making breakfast. Eat porridge and drink coffee while checking my email. Referee at least 3 arguments between the kids and wonder if there’s a limit to the number of times they can call each other “spaz”, “freak”, “retard” and the like in one hour. Check the latest posts on some online fitness forums and get caught up answering some newbie’s question. Realise that I should be leaving in 5 minutes and I’m still in my sweaty gym clothes.
7:50am – Shower in record time, apply makeup and forage through the wardrobe for pants and a shirt that match to wear to the office. Hunt for socks in the laundry basket, find 17 odd socks before finally locating a pair. Finish getting dressed, lock back door, grab cooler bag containing lunch and snacks from fridge, turn off lights and TV, lock laptop up safely. Catch sight of self in mirror and discover that I’ve forgotten to do my hair. Rush into the bathroom, find wax and quickly turn wild gym hair into something vaguely civilised. Realise that one child needs $6.50 for an excursion and another needs a note for being away sick the other day. Rummage through purse for change, write note and make second attempt to get out the door.
8:18am – I am horribly, horribly late. Wave goodbye to 13 y.o., yell at 10 y.o. to stop mucking around and just GET IN THE CAR. Drop him at the school gate, negotiate horrendous traffic to the freeway, then crawl all the way to the office. *sigh* Answer a client call while stuck in traffic and deliver an impromptu pep talk.
9:05am – Park the car and pay the attendant, scrabble in my bag for my building pass, race in the front door of the office and up two flights of stairs (I don’t use the lifts on principle). Stash bags under the desk, unlock drawers and spread papers everywhere so it looks like I’ve been working for ages. ;-)
9:45am – Realise I’m starving, so eat my pear and yoghurt, then go in search of strong coffee. My morning drones on…..
12:00noon – Is it too early to eat lunch? Will I be starving by 3:00pm? Hmm. I’ll wait a little longer….
12:05pm – Give in to boredom and go heat up my chicken, rice and broccoli. Attempt to do the Sudoku puzzle in the newspaper. Swear and give up. Go for a short walk. Get distracted by sale sign in dress shop window and go in “just for a look”. Come out with 3 items I don’t really need and a lot less money in my purse. Must remember not to take cash next time I go for a walk.
1:30pm – Get back to office. Has anyone noticed I was gone? Didn’t think so. More boredom ensues.
3:00pm – Drink my protein shake. Go find a friend who works on the other side of the floor and have a good old chat about kids, work and life in general.
3:45 – Oops, have to leave early to pick youngest son up from school play rehearsal. God, the traffic is terrible! Oh well, rehearsal always finishes at least 10 minutes late.
4:35pm - Arrive at school to find that rehearsal finished early and my son is the only child still there. Feel like a terrible parent. Flash the teacher an apologetic smile and escape quickly.
4:45pm – Arrive home. Get changed, unpack shopping bags, ask kids how their day was and what they did. Responses are “OK” and “Nothing much”. So much for quality time. I’m starving, so I grab a small handful of almonds and munch on them while I check emails, answer an enquiry and a couple of client queries, delete 17 spam messages and leave a couple of emails from friends to read later.
5:45pm – Bike Boy gets home all sweaty from his ride and puts something in the microwave to defrost (we’re hopeless - we never remember to do this in advance) while he has a shower. I get the kids’ dinner started, then he takes over when he’s all un-sweaty again. We have 5 minutes of conversation, before I get back to my work, leaving him to take care of things in the kitchen.
6:00pm – Do some work on a program for a new client, ring 2 existing clients and offer some advice on a) working around an injury and b) coping with cravings. Check my website stats and find out where traffic is coming from.
7:15pm – Make a salad to go with the grilled herbed salmon that Bike Boy has cooked for me. Eat dinner and manage a further 5 minutes of conversation in between mouthfuls. Try not to drool at the smell of the curry he’s cooking for himself. Escape back to the computer and leave him to take care of the dishes.
7:30pm – Look up some new recipes for a client, do more program work, make a couple more phone calls, write some notes for my next newsletter. Attempt to do some more work on my tax return. Give up in disgust after 15 minutes of wrestling with the finer points of asset depreciation. Scrounge around for this week’s receipts and enter details in my cash book spreadsheet.
9:00pm – Absentmindedly say goodnight to kids when they come to give me a kiss on their way to bed. Tell them I’ll be in to tuck them in shortly. Finish the program I’m working on, attach it to an email and hit ‘send’. Pick up a pair of dirty socks from the floor, put the kettle on, take clean washing out of the machine that eldest son has forgotten about. Put another load on, make a cup of coffee (decaf this time). Realise I’m hungry again….eat two heaped teaspoons of crunchy peanut butter straight from the jar.
9:45pm - Go to tuck boys in and discover that they’re already sound asleep (see, I told you - bad mother!). Pick up wet towels from the bathroom floor, turn off 3 lights that have been left on in rooms that nobody’s using, hang wet washing on the clothes horse over a heating duct. Quickly check online forums, but don’t post anything because my brain is all fuzzy and I don’t want to sound like an idiot.
10:15pm – Put on pyjamas, pack gym bag, fill water bottles, set out supplements for the morning. Put oats into a bowl and pour water on to soak overnight, organise lunch and snacks for tomorrow. Say goodnight to Bike Boy, who’s doing something clever with his computer and my old electronic piano. Get into bed and attempt to read a few pages of the latest fitness mag, but my eyes keep wanting to close. Smile as I realise that tomorrow I get to sleep in till 5:30am. Whoopee!!
10:40pm – Turn off light and lapse into unconsciousness within 60 seconds.
Originally posted on Wednesday 23rd August:
Where was I? Oh yeah, I'd just had an epiphany and reluctantly joined a gym.
So I nervously signed up for a year.....a year! An entire 12 months. Well, if I was paying out all this money, I was damn well going to get value. So I immediately started going to the gym 6 days a week. Some cardio, some weight training using the machines. I tried a few classes, but they were so not me. I was still sticking to my improved diet and the weight was slowly coming off.
After about 5 weeks, I was doing some seated rows one day, when I caught sight of my reflection in the mirror....there was something different, I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Then it hit me - my shape was changing! Holy crap! That had never happened before, no matter how much I dieted. My arms were a better shape, and I swear my butt was smaller. My enthusiasm increased, and the changes kept happening. By Christmas I was down 9kg. I decided I wanted to speed things up, so I signed up for a weekly personal training session from the end of January.
My trainer was a sweet girl named Michaela, who somehow managed to get me lifting more weight than I believed I could, and showed me a whole lot of different exercises with free weights - which soon became my new love. 10 weeks later, I was only 3kg lighter, but I could really see a difference in my size and shape.
That was where fate stepped in and Body for LIFE found me. I was flicking through a fitness magazine and came across an ad for the Body for LIFE challenge, which featured Debbie Rossi's before and after photos. If you don't know of Debs, check out her site - she's awesome! http://www.desirefitness.com.au/bodyforlife.htm
The photos blew me away, and over the next few weeks I kept going back to that page to look at them again and again. But those before/after photos weren't real, were they? Eventually, I noticed a website address at the bottom of the page, which led me to the Australian Body for LIFE online forum...where I discovered a huge group of people doing 12 week challenges. THIS was what I was looking for, the "wow" factor I wanted!
I bought Bill Phillips' book the next day, read it overnight, and committed to starting a challenge the following Monday - which was the week before Easter. Ha! Me, the chocoholic, resisting Easter eggs and hot cross buns! We'd see.....
To be continued...