Thursday, July 31, 2008

Unfair

Number One Son spots the school camp forms that The Middle Child has brought home, sitting on the kitchen bench.


N1S: Year 10 camp! Where's he going?

Me: The Gold Coast.

N1S: GOLD COAST?!! Not fair!! I never got to go to the Gold Coast!

Me: Uh...no-o-o ....but you DID get to spend a month and a half in Germany.

N1S: Yeah....but I never got to go to the GOLD COAST!

Me: .......

Get a grip! ...and cooking as therapy.

I think I reached meltdown point today. I got angry over the kids' bickering this morning. Then I got angry over traffic delays. Then I got REALLY angry over some poorly organised road works. My head didn't actually explode, but I thought it might.

So after I dropped The Baby off at school, I decided I needed to calm the hell down. So I stopped at the shops, bought the paper, visited the amenities (because after all, it was at least 20 minutes since I last went...), got back in the car and took several deep breaths before continuing on my way. And I found myself getting angry again because I was so late and the traffic was so bad and GAH!! I started to get all teary.

Pulling a sickie started to look really attractive. I could turn around and just go back to bed... but I'd arranged to do the lunchtime park cardio thing with my colleague, and didn't want to let him down. *sigh* So I continued on my way.

The day ended up OK. Food was all to plan. I did my weights workout first thing this morning, 30 minutes of crazy cardio at lunchtime, and then 40 minutes on the spin bike when I got home.

So I was in my pjs at 6:00pm, so what? Emails have not been answered (if you're waiting on a reply, sorry - tomorrow, I promise), the kids only got dinner because Bike Boy cooked a dish of lasagne before he went away, and I must have looked like I was about to snap, because Number One Son did the dishes. Without being asked.

Tomorrow I'm sleeping till 7:00, and apart from doing the school drop-off, I'm going nowhere. Definitely nowhere near road construction workers who couldn't organise a shag in a brothel. And there will be napping. Definitely napping.

****************

I just made a batch of Sara's awesome vanilla chai pruffins. I kind of improvised just a bit - left out the guar gum because I didn't have any, and then added some extra chai-ness by steeping a vanilla-chai teabag in boiling water, which I substituted for the plain water.

They look and smell GREAT. And they contain tofu - finally, I found a way I can eat that stuff!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Coming up for air

I've been flat out this week, getting my tax stuff all in order (ugh!), dealing with what seems to be an early Spring rush of online training enquiries, training my one on one clients, and doing all the usual admin "stuff". Plus running kids around, and trying to stay on top of the housework (which is a losing battle). Bike Boy has headed off on another interstate business trip, and things are moving slo-o-owly with the house building.

Amongst all that, I'm still hitting the gym daily and prepping my food, and things are tracking well on the fat loss front, as the big day looms ever closer. So there hasn't been a lot of time to spare. I could blog if I slept less.....but I doubt I'd survive on less sleep than I'm getting.

Got more to say, but I need to cook dinner, nag the kids to wash the dishes, answer emails, pack food for tomorrow and hopefully squeeze in an hour in front of the TV - I think House is on tonight? It is Wednesday today, isn't it?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Miracle cure or scam? ...or just a good food choice?



A couple of years back, it seemed that Himalayan Goji Juice was being touted everywhere as a miracle weight loss product and a cure for just about any health problem you could possibly think of. Being the big old skeptic that I am, I decided to do some research and find out the facts. Ha! I could not find a single independent, objective opinion on this stuff. I could barely find anything at all that wasn’t a blatant advertisement for the product. So I filed it in the back of my brain as some new age fad, probably a scam, and more or less forgot about it.

The product’s credibility wasn’t helped by the marketing methods used, which were basically a pyramid selling system. (Anyone who gets involved in one of these deals has to be incredibly na├»ve – it should be obvious that the only people who make money from these schemes are those at the top of the pyramid. I read an article recently about Amway, which stated that 97% of sellers don’t make enough money from their sales to cover their business setup costs. Hardly surprising.) I learned all about pyramid selling when I was about 12, and I refuse to buy anything that’s sold via those methods, or get sucked into selling products that way.

And just quietly, bombarding me with spam emails promoting the ‘amazing benefits’ of a product is not going to make it seem any less dodgy, OR make me buy it. Does anyone actually BUY stuff advertised via spam?

Anyway…. Goji juice and dried berries are now becoming available in supermarkets and health food stores. I saw the dried berries at Safeway the other day, which got me thinking about this ‘miracle’ product once again.

So I did a little internet research, and discovered that not much has changed: Almost the only ‘facts’ available are on websites run by those selling the products, and the evidence presented is all anecdotal – nothing backed up by hard scientific research. I found only one reference to a proper study, using a control group who received a placebo. The object was apparently to determine whether goji juice aids weight loss, and the results of that study were that there were no significant differences between the two groups. After a fair bit of searching, I finally found a Wikipedia entry and a few other snippets that allowed me to piece together some facts.

This is not a new fruit to the Western world. It’s been around for centuries, growing in south-eastern Europe, and being known by various names. It was introduced to the UK around 1730 and grows wild in parts of the country today. The most common English name is Wolfberry, and the fruit has long had a reputation for its health benefits, just like many other plant species throughout history.

There are a lot of claims about the almost magical properties of the ‘Himalayan’ goji fruit, but it seems that no such variety actually exists, as the plant can’t survive the inhospitable climate there. The fruit is popular in China though, and even has a festival devoted to its harvest. It’s long been a common ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine too.

I’m not going into all the supposed benefits of the plant – like many berries, the fruit is packed full of nutrients, but it has a bit of a unique nutritional profile in that it contains a number of amino acids, as well as the usual vitamins and minerals. Assuming that this is all true, there seems little doubt that it would be a good food to include in your diet, along with the 20 or so well-known “superfoods”. These vary a bit, depending on which expert you ask, but this is John Berardi’s list, which is very similar to most of those I’ve seen.

So, juice or fruit? Apart from the fact that I’m not a juice fan (I like my food in solid and stomach-satisfying form, thanks), the goji juice sold here is unlikely to be pure and is usually mixed with other fruit juices. Labelling does not usually state what percentage is goji juice, so you’re taking pot luck. There would have to be some loss of nutrients in the juicing and packaging process too.

The sketchy info that’s available indicates that the whole fruit is far more beneficial than any juice or juice mixture anyway. Unless you live in a region where the plant is grown though, you’re only going to get the dried form. There’s one caution with this: if the dried fruit is bright orange or red, it may have been treated with sulphites (a common practice with dried fruit), which can cause problems - particularly with asthma - for people who are sensitive to these chemicals.

Other than the sulphite thing, I can’t find any negative side to the stuff. Except for the unscrupulous sellers out there, who have: a) ripped thousands of gullible people off ($25 for a bottle of fruit juice – pfft!); and b) blatantly lied to people, with unsubstantiated claims that it can cure cancer or whatever… None of that is the fault of the product itself, of course, just the result of some nasty scammers who’ll grab any opportunity to take advantage of people and make a quick buck.

So, the verdict? I think I might pick up a pack of the fruit and give them a try. I’m not quite sure what to do with them, but I suppose using them in muesli or protein bars would work.

Has anyone else tried the berries, and if so, what do you do with them?


The Wiki entry is here, if anyone's interested.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

She's finished!

Bike Boy is very clever. Look what he made me!


I just took her for a spin, and she's FAST. :o) Now if I can just figure out how to work the gears.....

Friday, July 25, 2008

M & Ms as therapy

Especially for Bonnie....



I was having thoughts of chocolate yesterday. Lots of chocolate. And a bit of a desperate longing for wine too. I was going to hang out till Sunday for my high-calorie day, but I was beginning to doubt that I could make it that long. I had that teetering on the edge of a binge feeling.

So when I woke up this morning, I decided that today needed to be my high-calorie day, including a treat meal. And we all know that a treat meal for me must include chocolate... :p

So, my meals so far have gone like this:

1) Fruity pancakes (no starch in these) with yoghurt and sugar free syrup
2) Post workout meal - high-protein muesli, Protein Crunch, banana, yoghurt, honey.
3) Tuna with zucchini and potato patty thingies (basically a use-up-whatever-veggies-are-left kind of deal), stuffed zucchini and salad. Huge. Tummy-bursting from all the fibre kind of huge.
4) Dark chocolate M & Ms. A lot more than planned. But it was just what I needed....

And coming up is:

5) Chicken, roasted veg (parsnip, capsicum, garlic, onion), asparagus
6) Tim Tam Cornetto

Of course I blew my carb ratio right out of the water, but calories actually came in under my planned 2100, so not a big deal.

Only the wine is missing. I actually walked into Liquorland after buying the M & Ms at Coles, with every intention of picking up a bottle of cheap sauv blanc, knowing damn well I'd end up drinking 75% of it. I wavered, reached out for the bottle, then pulled my arm back... reached out again, and then turned around and marched out. The girl behind the counter probably thought I was nuts, but so what? The devil on my shoulder lost that battle of wills!

I feel much calmer tonight and not at all guilty, so it was well worth it. And with all that glycogen on board, I should really kick arse with my workout in the morning. :o)

**************

I was devastated to discover a sticker on the shelf at Coles stating that the dark choc M & Ms are a discontinued line. *sob* I thought about buying the entire stock, so I'd still be able to have them for a while, but decided that having 8 or 9 packs of one of my favourite treats in the house is probably not one of my more brilliant ideas.

Take no prisoners

I'm following Liz's advice on training:

Walk into the gym with the goal of becoming bigger at the forefront of your mind and don't take any prisoners when you train. You get out of it what you put into it.

This morning, I walked into the gym with a big, bad attitude. And I nailed those 4 unassisted pullups. Now to work on 5....

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Breathe, just breathe

I haven't imploded, and a few things are getting sorted out. The house situation isn't ideal... in fact we may well be moving VERY close to comp date... but we do have somewhere to live in the meantime. The agents weren't fussed at all about extending the lease on a monthly basis, so PHEW.

The builder has supposedly organised a large number of men to come and rip down the ceilings and some of the walls and fix the bodgy frame. So far they haven't turned up, but maybe tomorrow...

I slept reasonably well last night, and that will be my big priority these next few days. Like Shelley, I may have to implement the nana nap on days when I'm able to. I have a rest day on Sunday, and I plan to do something relaxing. Don't know what yet... breakfast out somewhere might be nice. Problem is, other folks' idea of breakfast time doesn't quite match mine, and nothing is open when I want to eat. LOL. Perhaps we'll have to go out for second breakfast then?

A few other pluses:

Bike Boy has assembled my new bike - it just needs some final adjustments, and it'll be good to go.

I spent 2 hours tonight on the couch with The Baby, watching mindless TV (David Boreanaz ...mmm, hunky) and getting many hugs and I love yous.

Food is still all A+ and training was AWESOME this morning. I banged an extra 10kg on the bar for my deadlifts and got all grunty. :o) I was lifting the equivalent of me. Now it's me plus 10kg.

My brain is still barely functioning, but improving (did this make sense?). On that note, it must be time for bed.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

OMG, wazzgoingonhere?

I am sleep-deprived, stressed, exhausted and flat-out busy this week. Hence the lack of blogging. Oh, and my good old overuse injury has decided to add to the fun.

What's up, you ask? Well, apart from the house of our dreams having become the stuff of nightmares, our contract completion date looming with no sign of construction being finished and our rental lease about to run out, my husband's worrying health problems, and the fact that we're bleeding cash, I find myself unable to sleep for more than a few hours at a time. Frankly, I feel a bit like poo on a stick. Huh, wonder why that is....?

But, amazingly, I am having no problems sticking to good nutrition, and training is going well. Fat is melting away and I'm focused and feeling good (apart from the constant low-level anxiety, which sucks a LOT).

So we may be living in a cardboard box in the local park from next month, but hey, as long as I know where my training gloves are, I'll cope. :o)

There's lots of other stuff going on, but my head is jammed so full of thoughts and ideas and Things I Must Do Right Now, that it may just explode. Assuming it stays in one piece, I might get to sort all that crap into some kind of order and then perhaps I'll post a sensible blog entry.

Meanwhile, this is all you get. Don't complain. At least it's spelled right.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Magic

Wow - Lia's new camera really is great. It managed to make me look pretty good, in spite of being in dire need of a haircut and colour, and wearing a pair of jeans that are all baggy.... Hmm, or was that Dallas' photographic skills? LOL.

This is me, Lindy and Lia, taken yesterday at the FitGenes seminar:



Now, if I can just figure out how to grow as tall as Lindy, I'll be perfect.

Thanks, Miss Lia..... :o)

Food-o-rama

My last food pictorial got a huge response, so I thought I'd repeat the whole thing with today's yummies. Just to prove that I really DO eat this way all the time.

Breakfast. Fruity pancakes with yoghurt and syrup (pre-workout):



Morning snack. Gourmet Nutrition gooey choc-chip muffin (post-workout):



Lunch. Beef & bean patties with spiced potatoes and a rocket and spinach salad:


Afternoon snack. Gourmet Nutrition apple-cinnamon bar:


Dinner. Boeuf a la Bourguignon (one of Bike Boy's specialties - I'll blog the recipe one day soon), with cauliflower mash, broccoli, carrots:


And this all fits into my fat loss nutrition plan. 1500 calories, or thereabouts.

What's normal anyway?

Bodybuilders in general are treated rather like zoo animals - a bit interesting, but definitely in a "wow, what a weird creature" kind of way. For FEMALE bodybuilders, this is multiplied a billion times. People don't comprehend why we want to do that, and have all kinds of odd preconceived ideas about what a female bodybuilder looks like.... none of them flattering.

A lot of women competitors aim to soften the reaction, or perhaps just to separate themselves from the "hardcore" bodybuilders, by calling themselves something else. Oh, I don't do bodybuilding, it's actually body sculpting (no, it's actually semantics, Sweetie). I quite like Figure Athlete as a description myself.

Anyway, whatever you want to call us, we're apparently a weird lot and I pretty much don't talk about the sport to most people I know, because I'm just over the horrified facial expressions and the stoopid questions. Whatevs.

So, yesterday I spent the day in the company of trainers, coaches and athletes, learning all about the application of genetic profiling to nutrition and training protocols to maximise health, performance and physique goals. More about that later, I'm still processing all the information... I was in good company, with Lindy and Lia there, as well as some elite athletes (including a young 2012 Olympic hopeful).

It was only after I left that it occurred to me, that when conversation around the room had turned to training, nutrition and sport, NOBODY had batted an eyelid at the whole female bodybuilder thing. There were some intelligent questions about pre-comp nutrition and training, and plenty of interest, but none of the wide-eyed "you do WHAT?" kind of reaction I've gotten used to. I'm sure that having Lindy, a world champion figure athlete, amongst us helped. But I'm still marvelling at how it was all just conversations between athletes from a range of sporting backgrounds, comparing and contrasting the different methods used from one sport to another and the challenges we face. Normal. I felt NORMAL.

Huh. Not feeling like a freak for once. Another defining moment.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Fame

I was trying to watch some of Le Tour, and struggling to keep my eyes open, so I decided it was time for bed. Of course, I had to shut down my trusty notebook first - and before I do that, I have to do a quick check around various blogs and websites (because I wouldn't want to miss something important...).

That's when I discovered that my 15 minutes of fame has commenced.


...and of course, dearest sponsor, I am taking my L-glutamine religiously, and it most definitely is top quality stuff. :o)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Anatomy lesson

Me: Ouch – I’ve pulled a muscle jumping onto that damn pullup bar!

Bike Boy: Whereabouts?

Me: Right here. *points under my arm* Not my pec, one of these small muscles, right here.

Bike Boy: Ah. That’ll be your Rexona muscle.

Short

I don’t usually mind being vertically challenged. I get to describe myself as Petite, I can wear high heels without looking down at the tops of everyone’s heads, and I save a fortune on sports clothes because I can buy top-brand stuff from the kids’ section at 2/3 of the price of women’s wear.

Sometimes though, it is a handicap. Reaching things on the top shelf at the supermarket is impossible. I always have to look around for someone taller and ask them if they’d mind getting that down for me, please. And I keep a small stepladder in the kitchen so I can reach the overhead cupboards.

My latest problem is trying to do unassisted pullups. The pullup bar at the gym is quite high, which is OK – after all, tall people have to use it too. But the little step thingy that you climb onto so you can grab hold of the bar is like, 10cm off the ground. Seriously, how much help is THAT? I stand on it, and my outstretched fingertips barely touch the bar. I swear, everything in that gym is designed for people over 7 foot tall.

So I have to do this weird kind of jump and grab manoeuvre to get myself into position. Geez, I never had any ambition to be a gymnast, you know. I jump and wriggle and grunt and reposition my hands, wriggle some more and then pu-u-u-ull myself into position. By the time I’m up there, hanging in space, I’m already tired…no wonder I can only crank out 3 of those things unassisted!

Next week I'm determined to make it 4! You heard it here first.

Stick-to-it-ivness

(Yes, I know that's not really a word) I was saying to someone yesterday, that I hear alarm bells ringing when someone asks me about how to lose weight, and in the next breath says "because I've already tried Weight Watchers, fitness DVDs, SureSlim, Lite n Easy, the latest celebrity fitness program.... and nothing worked".

*sigh* Any of those things would have worked (at least up to a point) if only the person had STUCK WITH IT. We humans are impatient creatures and if we don't see instant amazing results, we start looking for something new and improved that will take us from a size 18 to a 10 in ...oh.... 48 hours or so. *sigh* People, it takes TIME and PATIENCE. And you will fall down - but that doesn't matter, as long as you get back up and keep moving forward.

Looks like Craig Harper has been reading my mind (or was I reading his?), because part of today's post was all about that very subject. This is what he said:

Lesson for the Day - Perseverance.

Some of you have heard me talk about the fact that many gyms in Australia have an 'active membership' of about fifteen percent. In simple terms this means that for every one hundred current (paid up) members, eighty five of them haven't set foot in the gym in the last four weeks (for most, it's much longer). Have you ever wondered why gyms can sell memberships to way more people than their facility can actually accommodate? Because gym owners understand behavioural psychology, that's why. They know that the majority of people (new members) will make decisions that they will never follow through on (over the long term). They simply won't turn up. Once the initial rush of enthusiasm fades (and it always does), so too do the workouts for most people. It's what we humans do. It's a big part of why we fail. And a big part of our frustration. Time after time, we start things that we never finish. Great plans, good intentions... no commitment. When the going gets tough (or mildly uncomfortable)... we're gone. Great at starting... shit at actually getting the job done. We always find a way to quit. And then we find a way to rationalise our quitting. Again. And again. It's what we do. There's always next time.

If we really want to create forever change (whatever the goal is) then at some stage we need to realise that success often has very little to do with talent, skill, opportunity, resources, potential or even motivation (it comes and goes) and everything to do with finishing what we start. It's a simple but often overlooked success principle. Creating our best life ain't rocket science but we continue to find new and creative ways to waste our potential and make the process more complex than it needs to be. Plenty of talented people have spent their lives under-achieving because they never persevered. They almost achieved plenty.Don't be one of them.

Craig has lots more where that came from.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Staaarving!!




Seems my metabolism kicked things up a notch today, with the result that I was a hungry, hungry hippo all day. I could have happily hoovered up any food that came into my line of sight.

I ate breakfast, and an hour later, I was hungry. Had my snack early and half an hour later - hungry again. Scarfed down the tiny leftover portion of dark chocolate that was in my drawer. Hungry. I hung out till lunchtime, ate my chicken and sweet potato and massive pile of veggies and was still looking for food. Gah! 3 slightly stale corn thins were all that was left in my food drawer (must restock that!), but a hungry athlete can't be too picky, so down the hatch they went.

The rest of the day went likewise. Instead of my planned 1300 Calories, I devoured almost 1700, with carbs featuring a little more heavily than usual. That was my intuitive take on what I needed. I felt like my body was consuming masses of energy all day..... let's hope that I've become a lean, mean, calorie-burning machine.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Is it April Fool's Day?

They are kidding, right? Shane Warne, the musical????

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Not crazy

Thanks for all the kind comments - and no, I wasn't fishing for compliments. I'm also not actually (very) demented. I don't think I'm fat. I know by any normal standards, I'm actually quite small, and that's all good. But when it comes to stepping on stage almost naked, one does not need any cellulite, wobbly bits or excess flab anywhere. The bar is a LOT higher in the competition world.

I know that if I follow the plan and eat and train right, the fat will disappear, so I'm not at all concerned. In fact, I'm so not concerned about it that I cooked my oats in coconut milk this morning, then served them up with banana, almonds, shredded coconut, yoghurt and syrup. Yum!

**************

At Saturday's show, I saw some fantastic physiques. I also saw a few who really hadn't got the nutrition side of things right and were either still carrying too much fat, or had really overdone the dieting and had flat, sad-looking muscles. I don't want to be in either of those categories, but if I had to choose, I'd take a fat butt (with muscles) over skeletal and smooth any day.

Speaking of poor preparation, you hear some horror stories about figure girls existing on 800 Calories a day and being expected to do 2 hours of cardio. I just wonder how on earth you could expect to look or feel good following a punishing regime like that?

Nuh-uh, no thanks! I'm sticking with sanity and plenty of food. No going over to the Dark Side (dieting) for me. :o)

**************

And on the subject of sane fat loss, the scales this morning have juuuust dipped into the 54s. After a big food day today, that may change, but woohoo! anyway....

OK, OK....photo!

Somebody (I'm not saying, but her name is Sara and she resides in Texas...) is bugging me for progress pics. So... *deep breath*.... this was taken last Thursday at my session with Jo Rogers.



When I look at it, I see too much lower body fat (ugh!) and a LOT of practice required on posing.... of course, that's my completely skewed self-image there. On the plus side, there IS muscle showing through on them thar legs, and my upper body is looking nice and lean.

Anyway, there's still 82 days to go - so plenty of time! *hyperventilates a little*

************

Funny thing - I picked up those shorts for $20 at Lorna Jane at DFO last week. I almost didn't buy them, because they're too brief and show too much of my (fat) legs. Then I told myself to GET OVER IT. After all, I'll be wearing a lot less on stage. Eeeeek!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Quickie

It was a whirlwind weekend; lots of fun, but exhausting. There's so much to say, but I have a heap of work to get through tonight, before I get myself to bed super-early, so no time for long-winded posts.

The comp was great, but the highlight was meeting Liz, Shelley, KatieP, Shannon (and quite a few others) in person at last.

I'll get some photos from the comp up soon as I get a chance - I was a looong way away from the stage, so they're pretty ordinary, but I'll do what I can with them.

***************

I got some photos from my posing session with Jo Rogers today. All I can see is my HUGE fat butt and thighs.... thank goodness I have almost 12 weeks to work on that before I have to reveal all in front of an audience. Definitely a big incentive to stick with my training and nutrition plan.

Speaking of which, my copy of Gourmet Nutrition arrived today. :o)

***************

I have to have the obligatory "evil coach" whinge before I go: Liz made me do at least 7,000 chins on Saturday morning, and my abs have been completely useless ever since. This morning I sneezed and screamed out loud.

Ah, good times....

Friday, July 11, 2008

P.S.

I got busy and forgot to post the addendum to my tale of extreme strength of will in the presence of top-notch chocolate the other day.

There was one reason in particular that I wasn't fussed about getting one of everything right this very minute.... I had already planned a treat meal, and it involved peanut butter M & Ms. Yum! The kids had done some advance scouting and discovered them in a lolly shop that stocked US imports. Knowing my love of M & Ms and peanut butter, they couldn't wait to tell me about their find.

So I picked up one 45g bag and enjoyed every single delicious bite.

Max Brenner's? Meh.....who cares?

You big poser!

Yesterday I got to spend a couple of hours with Jo Rogers, who is fabulous, wonderful and entirely brilliant when it comes to teaching posing. So I spent the better part of that time wearing a pair of short-shorts, a crop top and ridiculous perspex platform "stripper shoes". Just to remind those who don't live in Melbourne - it's WINTER here. And the gym was FREEZING. At one point I glanced in the mirror and I swear I was a lovely shade of blue....

Anyway, Jo really did show me how to make the best of my assets and avoid showing my *ahem* flaws too obviously. I have a LOT of work to do.... among other things, I need to even up my hips, loosen my upper back, and try to make my flared ribs less obvious. Posing was a whole new experience in pain, made a lot worse for me by virtue of my extreme lack of flexibility in my thoracic spine, not to mention my still-crooked hips.

So I stood there, freezing and in agony and smiled like I was having a great time. Can't wait to see the photos. I think I've forgotten everything already.

I also settled on a fabric and colour for my bikini, and we had a discussion about decoration. I'm leaving it up to Jo, with strict instructions that it's not to be too "blingy". I'm a less is more kind of person. A bit of sparkle is nice, but crystal drops hanging off everywhere, or flashy starburst designs are just not me. Then it was time for a fitting to decide on the right cut and size. That's when I remembered that - oops - I have a waxing appointment this morning. Uh...perhaps I should have made that Wednesday? Oh well....

The weirdest thing was having my body not only assessed visually, but in a more hands-on way as well - I had my skin pinched and fat jiggled, and we discussed very matter-of-factly what surplus bits needed to be taped under my suit. And I didn't actually care in the slightest. The whole time, I was talking about my body in an objective way, as though it belonged to somebody else. And I didn't feel at all as though I was being criticised, I just appreciated the feedback.

I have come a long way.

***********

I put on my shorts and heels last night and Bike Boy's jaw almost hit the floor. He couldn't believe what a difference the shoes made to my legs, or how much leaner they make me look overall. I think he might like it if I wore them round the house all the time... :p


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Feats of super-human strength

Nope, I didn't manage some huge PB at the gym this morning (although I did OK....). But I took the kids into the city and left them at Melbourne Central while I had a meeting a couple of blocks away. Of course they headed straight for the Krispy Kreme shop. *sigh*

I joined them for lunch, and Bike Boy took some time out from work to come and meet us too. Then we wandered along to Max Brenner's and I scurried from one shelf to another, almost squealing out loud at the truffles, the gift-boxed tins, the individual fancy specialty chocolates, the VAT of molten chocolate...with the mesmerising stirrer blades going round and round and round and round..... *snaps out of it*

AND THEN I WALKED OUT OF THERE WITHOUT BUYING A THING.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Feel like pizza?

I made a wheat-free pizza base from corn flour for dinner...it was pretty good. I WAS going to use besan flour and rice flour, but couldn't find the rice flour.....

It was easy-peasy!

Go check out my creation.

More Q & A

Jacque asked a question too, re my food for a day pictorial below: Do you eat like this at work?? If so do you just make it all the night before and take in containers and re heat if needed?? The reason i ask is i struggle to re heat meat at work. something about microwaved chicken that isnt all the appealing. Any suggestions!!!

Yes, I do eat like this at work. I have infrequent days where I'm not well-organised and I just throw together whatever's handy, but mostly I do some preparation the night before. It makes my life a lot easier, PLUS it's not actually all that complicated.

First of all, I have a cupboard full of plastic containers in various sizes, and two cooler bags - one small and one larger one. The small one is usually adequate for lunch and two snacks, but if I'm going to need extra meals, or I have a lot of salads that take up more room than normal, I pull out the big "lunchbox".

The easiest way to go about this is to simply cook extra serves of whatever you're having for dinner. Eat one, pack one into a container in the fridge for lunch, and freeze any leftovers for future meals.

One thing I do regularly is have a chicken cookathon. We get a bulk tray of chicken breasts, which I divide up into individual portions. I freeze half in separate ziplock bags for quick meals when I need them. Then I fire up 'George' and cook the rest. One goes on a plate for my dinner or lunch or whatever I'm about to eat, and the rest go into a container in the fridge. Those 3 or 4 cooked chicken breast portions are the basis of many lunches....

If I'm cooking sweet potato, I do a whole one - one of those big orange ones. If we have rice, we make enough for a small army. Those things go into the fridge too. I cook whole bunches of asparagus and other veggies too. If I'm making a salad for dinner, I make double the amount and put some aside for lunch the next day (with dressings separate, of course). Our fridge always has supplies I can use to throw together a meal in minutes.

As for the reheating meat thing... I don't usually have a problem with it. Casseroles always reheat really well, so that's one solution. You can slice your cooked chicken and just have it cold in a salad (I'm quite happy to eat cold sweet potato too). But I find that if you slice up the meat and microwave it for a very short time, till it's just warm, it doesn't go tough and rubbery.

Today in the fridge I had:
- a small portion of cooked chicken (I ate the rest already)
- 1 and a half bunches of cooked asparagus
- half a bunch of cooked broccolini
- 100g of baked sweet potato
- many, many serves of the protein bars I made over the past couple of days
- a serve of tandoori chicken with rice
- a serve of apple pie oatmeal

Plus the usual yoghurt, salad veggies, other raw veggies, eggs, skim milk and some leftover ravioli I was eyeing off till The Middle Child snaffled it for his lunch. So no shortage of options for my meals today. And things are a bit lean - it's almost the end of our pay fortnight, so supplies are running low!

I did stop at the Indian grocery on my way back from training clients this afternoon, and picked up some besan flour.... KatieP has inspired me to have a go at a wheat-free pizza base. NOT using vanilla whey though..... :o)

Mmm, BBQ chicken pizza for dinner, methinks!

Sponsor care package

Whoopee!! The postie came this morning, with a parcel of goodies generously provided by my sponsor. It was a very handy box of whey, L-glutamine and fish oil caps.

The bottles of L-glut even have customised labelling. Look:



The one on the left says: 180 caps of YOU CAN DO IT L-glutamine ....And the other: Kek's super-special L-glutamine capsules.

I've been hanging out for some more Sana vanilla whey....can't wait for brekkie tomorrow to have some in my porridge. :p

Q & A

Look what happens when you post food photos: lurkers come out of the closet..... :o)

I had two questions in the comments yesterday, so I thought I'd answer them with a post, since I'm sure a lot of people have similar queries.

Scully asked: I was wondering, what does the Ladybird Crunch stuff taste like?




Crunch is one of my favourite things. Much as I luuurve whey protein, sometimes you just want something....different. And crunchy. It actually has no real taste to speak of - I doubt I'd eat a handful straight from the tub, but mixed into yoghurt you get that satisfying crunchiness with an added protein boost. And no sugar, trans fats or nasty additives, like you might find in many cereals or "health food" bars. You can make your own protein bars from it too - I sometimes do.

It looks and crunches pretty much like Rice Bubbles (Rice Crispies for those in the US). Hmm, what else do I do with it, apart from the yoghurt thing? Sometimes I add it to pancake mix (it softens up), make my own protein bars, and I have been known to throw together a trail mix using Crunch, nuts, dried fruit, and a chopped-up chocolate protein bar (the Aussie Bodies Protein FX Choc-malt one is perfect!). Of course that's a high-calorie snack, but good when you're burning plenty of energy and want something you can snack on that doesn't need cutlery. If calories aren't an issue, you could add some M & M minis. Not that I've ever actually done that.... *points at something shiny to distract everyone*

It really is a good product, and I've no idea whay the manufacturer doesn't export it - it would sell like crazy! Ah well, I'm just grateful that it's easy to get here. My local suburban health food store stocks it, and you can buy it online from various sources.


I also had this one from Top End Girl: Have a question about buckwheat, you suggested on Katie P's blog. I have learnt that I am very sensitive to gluten, so buckwheat is a new phenonenom to me. Is it gluten free?



You're in luck! Buckwheat is totally gluten-free. It's not actually related to wheat at all, so whoever named it in the far distant past should be beaten with a stick for confusing people. You can buy roasted buckwheat from healthfood stores, and Charlotte experimented with that as a porridge base yesterday. I've added it to home-made muesli myself. Mostly though, I use the flour as an alternative to wheat flour. It makes great pancakes!

The larger Coles stores stock buckwheat flour, usually in the health food aisle. Or you should find it at health food stores. It has a nutty flavour, so I tend to mix it with other things - it's not a bad taste, but when you're making a dough or batter that's meant to be bland so that other ingredients are the taste focus, you don't want an overpowering buckwheat flavour. Try oat flour (just whiz some oats in a blender or food processor till fairly fine, don't bother buying it) or rice flour.

Thanks for stopping by to say hello, Ladies!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Pictorial: Today's meals

Pre-workout: Vanilla yoghurt with mixed berries and Protein Crunch. Simple, light and yummy!


Post-workout: Apple pie oatmeal (with 1/3 cup skim milk, added after the pic was taken). The photo doesn't do it justice. The fruit is underneath, and it's topped with a crisp, sweet, vanilla, crust. Kind of a cross between pastry and a crumble topping. The fruit you can see is pink because I added strawberries.

Lunch: Grilled chicken, coated in paprika, garlic salt and dried oregano, with baked potato, veggies and a salad


A closer look:


My love of spinach is well-documented, but I am enamoured of this Rainbow Salad from Safeway/Woollies too! :p


Afternoon snack: PN Mixed nut bar, cup of green tea. These look just like brownies, taste quite like them too.


Dinner: More chicken, this time with corn on the cob, broccolini and garlic spinach (garlic, onion, olive oil, spinach)


Dessert: Fresh fruit salad with vanilla yoghurt (added post-photo). Strawberries, blueberries, apple and passionfruit. Hey, I found a use for those wine glasses!


1360-ish Calories. Protein 41%, Carbs 38%, Fat 21%.

So this is how I eat on a LOWER calorie day. Not bad, eh?

All running to plan

Yesterday was a lovely, lovely higher calorie day for me. I ate my way through what seemed like a mountain of food - all healthy (except my "treat" Cornetto) and all delicious. Almost 1800 Calories worth. And this morning, I've dropped 700g since last week.

OK, so I do need to factor in the unplanned GAIN I had last week, thanks to my insane eating the previous weekend. But still....a 700g loss, right after a big calorie/big carb day. You've gotta be happy with that!

I have a feeling the scales will be dropping again this week. In fact, I expect some fluid loss these next couple of days, so I'm keen to see the numbers around the end of the week.

And today, even though I'm restricted to 1350 Cals, I have oatmeal apple pie to look forward to when I get back from the gym. Ah, life is GOOD!

Hmm, gym - that reminds me - I'd better get moving!

***************

In case anyone cares, this what I got through yesterday - not a lot of meals, but some of them were huge! :p

Brekkie: Fruity pancakes with yoghurt
Snack: None - got up late, had an enormous brekkie and wasn't hungry between 8:00am and 1:00pm
Lunch: Soft chicken taco with tomato salsa, home-made corn salsa and natural yoghurt
Snack: Caramel Hokey-Pokey Cornetto (THAT was in the freezer for 3 weeks - or was it 4? Who knew I had such restraint?)
Dinner: Tandoori chicken, steamed rice, huge salad, 2 pappadums
Dessert: Oatmeal apple pie, vanilla yoghurt

Niiiiiiice!

Healthy food rocks!

I pulled out my copy of Gourmet Nutrition from my Precision Nutrition kit yesterday and did a bit of cooking. I whipped up Apple Pie Oatmeal for dessert last night. Oh my! That was divine. Even Bike Boy enjoyed it - and he often endures my healthy cooking experiments, eating a small portion with a pained expression on his face the whole time.

THIS time though, I'm sure he would have liked seconds, but I'd already called dibs on the leftovers for my breakfast this morning - and a spare serve, maybe for tomorrow's brekky. :p Honestly, I could serve that up to dinner guests and they'd have no idea they were eating (eeuw!) "healthy" food.

I also made some mixed nut protein bars (chocolate, almond, walnut, pecan *drools*), which I plan on trying today. I can't post the recipes - they're (quite rightly) protected by copyright, and besides, why would I give this stuff away when it's something I sell in my business? Do I look stupid? OK, don't answer that....

Don't despair, however. If you'd like an idea of the kind of foods you can eat on PN, there's a downloadable sample of the Gourmet Nutrition V2 cookbook here. With free recipes. And colour photos!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Good news and bad news

The good news: I'm dropping fat.

The bad news: I know this, because today I fit into my almost-smallest bra - a 10B.

Mmm, lunch!!

I'm having a day of trying new recipes today. I even made brekky AND lunch for Bike Boy. I'm being extra-nice to him because he's not well, poor love. :o( Aren't I a good wife?

I felt like a bit of spice for lunch, and came across a chicken taco recipe with home-made salsa somewhere. It wasn't quite right, from my perspective; too little spice and flavour. Perleeze! Mexican food without cumin? Whoever heard of such a thing? Plus, all that disgusting yellow oil in bought taco shells. *shudder*

So I used the recipe as inspiration and made up a better one. It was another fairly big calorie meal.... I'm loving today! Might have that Cornetto I've been saving for 3 or 4 weeks this afternoon....

No wheat? What do I eat?


I was interested to read KatieP's post yesterday about wheat sensitivity and the problems she's been having. Then this morning, Charlotte blogged about it too. I know that wheat-based foods are triggers for bingeing/overeating for many people, especially when combined with sugars in cakes, muffins and so on.

I discovered for myself a few years ago that wheat is not only a bad thing for me to eat because of the binge factor (I mean, really - who eats an entire Baker's Delight apple & walnut log? That is NOT normal!), but also because too much of the stuff sets off my IBS. In the beginning, I was all despondent - if I don't eat wheat, what CAN I have? At first glance, there's that whole wheat/gluten-free manufactured foods industry....but look a little closer and you discover that all of those foods are still: a) incredibly over-processed; and b) full of sugar, so basically things that we really don't need. Take a look in the supermarket "health food" section - it's all cakes, biscuits, sugary breakfast cereals and so on.

So I realised that it wasn't such a big deal. The no bread thing took a little while to get my head around. We're just so used to having a sandwich, or some substitute (roll, wrap, etc) for lunch that at first it's difficult to imagine alternatives. But I'm quite used to eating potato, sweet potato, rice, or fruit for my lunchtime carbs now, and I don't even give it a thought.

I'm luckier than some - I can eat wheat in small amounts with no ill-effects. So some multigrain bread (preferably sourdough), a small serve of pasta or cous cous, a little flour to thicken a sauce or in my pancakes, or the traces of wheat found in many products, simply don't cause me any dramas. If I allow my wheat quota to creep up past say 3 or 4 serves a week though, I quickly know about it. Bloating, incredible, gut-wrenching pain that can go on for days (I'm talking serious pain here, sometimes to the point of passing out), constipation, and did I mention bloating? The occasional nasty episode reminds me to be good and stay away from the evil grain - the cost is simply not worth it.

Oats and rice are the grains I mainly eat, with some buckwheat and quinoa thrown in. That works pretty well for me - and along with starchy veggies like potatoes, chick peas, sweet potatoes etc, that gives me plenty of choice.

Since I now have my licence to coach clients in using the Precision Nutrition system, I've been thinking about how to change some of my usual meals, to make them PN compliant. So this morning, I decided to have a try at a new version of my favourite breakfast pancakes. This is what I came up with:

Fruity pancakes

1 egg
1/2 a banana, mashed
1/2 a smallish Granny Smith apple, grated
30g frozen blueberries
30g vanilla whey protein
7g flax seeds (it was a spoonful and that's what it weighed)
5g flaked almonds
Cinnamon
20g oat bran

I ground the flax seeds in a mortar and pestle*, added the almonds and ground some more. Then I just mixed everything together and cooked it in a non-stick pan sprayed with cooking spray. It made 4 smallish pancakes and I ate the lot with a big glob of natural yoghurt. YUM!

The oat bran was a last-minute addition, because the mix was pretty sloppy and needed thickening. So it didn't quite make it as a PN-compliant meal, although post-workout it would be perfect (and I'd probably throw in some whole oats too). I'll think on it some more and see what I can come up with - it was delicious anyway.

This quantity would make a couple of perfect-sized snacks, but I ate the lot, about 430 Calories in total ....hooray for higher calorie days! :o)

________________________________


*I keep whole flax seeds in the pantry, because flax meal goes rancid pretty quickly. We can't digest the whole seeds though, so they need to be ground before you eat them; hence the mortar and pestle. It only takes a minute... Also, I would have used almond meal, but couldn't find it, so that's why I ground the flaked almonds.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Just remembered...

A few posts back I briefly mentioned the ouchiness of my new weights program, then promptly got busy/fell asleep/couldn't be arsed/forgot all about it (choose your favourite pathetic excuse).

So, here it is, days later and I finally have an opportunity to whine about it.

These are tough workouts! This morning, whilst trying to sleep in, I turned over in bed at about 6:00am and YOW! I was instantly awake because everything hurt. My back, my shoulders, my arms, my chest...and my shins. Huh? I still can't figure out the shins. My glutes, hammies and calves have pretty much recovered because I tortured them way back on Tuesday.

Anyways, you know that a leg workout that ends in "Squat jumps x 30" is going to be REALLY ugly. I got to 20 before my knees buckled and I thought Bugger this! and went home. I thought that was a pretty good effort for my first go.

Likewise on the back/shoulders/tris workout that ends with "Tricep pushups to failure". Ooh - tricep pushups, says I, My favourites! (Yeah, that's sarcasm there, folks).

Chest and biceps had some nasty stuff in there too, but thankfully, I have amnesia about it, so at this point I'm completely unaffected by that particular trauma.

***************

Take no notice of my griping, I actually love it.... Among other things, I'm working on improving my unassisted pullups, because at the moment, they suck. My mental dialogue goes something like this: Come ON, you don't even weigh that much - surely you can manage a few pullups? What are you, some kind of sissy-girl?

LOL -works for me....I get MAD and try harder. Is that nuts, or what?

Friday, July 04, 2008

Chocaholics ahoy!

The fabulous Koko Black's famous Royal Arcade shop is currently closed for renovations. But do not despair, chocolate lovers! They have a spanking new shop in Collins St (at the posh end), as well as the ones in Lygon St, Camberwell and Chaddy.

Just thought I'd mention it, in case you're in Melbourne and in serious need of some chocolate therapy. (Hint to all the girls coming down next weekend for the All Females.....)


I thoroughly recommend the hot chocolate, the truffles (including the chilli ones, and especially the champagne ones), just about anything from the glass-fronted case and...oh...pretty much everything on the sit-down menu. Ah, what the hell - just buy one of everything!

Take note, Sara - we are SO going there when you come over, so make room in your schedule. We may have to check out every shop, strictly as a quality control measure, you understand.... Hmm, you better set aside a week. There's some serious taste-testing required.

Karma

Some good advice: When you back out of a driveway and straight into a car parked opposite, make sure that the owners are extremely kind people who say: Oh, it's OK. Don't worry about it, we were thinking of getting rid of that car anyway.

Then wish them truckloads of good karma. And buy them a nice bottle of wine, just to stay sweet with the karma gods yourself.

P.S. If the gods of Karma are reading this, can you please arrange for me to go here? After the day I've had, I need a holiday....

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Perfect timing!

I just commented to Shelley that this seems to be freak-out week all around. I had my M & M incident last weekend, she's been having a major meltdown, and I've had at least 3 clients email me, chucking fits about losing the plot entirely on the nutrition or training front.

Then I clicked over onto Craig Harper's blog and found he'd written a great post, all about our self-imposed limitations, thanks to our beliefs about ourselves and/or certain situations. This bit of advice really struck home:

Here are five great questions to ask yourself about your beliefs:

1. What is my belief about this particular issue?
2. Where did that belief come from?
3. Does it empower me or limit me?
4. Is it based in logic or emotion?
5. Do I need to change it?

Now girls, this is what we need to do when we "feel" fat. Or when we "have to" have those choc-chip cookies we bought for the kids. Or just when we get an attack of the "I can'ts".

Go read the rest of the post. Craig's always worth a read. I'm sending this link to ALL my clients.

Q & A

Debstar asked a question:

Do you track how many calories you use up during exercise and on average how many would that be?

The answer is: Nope, I don't record calories from exercise. I have a daily food calorie target - at the moment that's 1500 - and I just aim for that, with the help of Calorie King. Then I go and train my butt off most days. I really don't want to be getting all control-freaky and obsessed over columns of numbers. Logging food is easy once you get the hang of it, and it keeps you honest. But keeping track of exercise too, and then going OMG - it's 11:00pm and I still need to burn another 273 Calories today! - That is just insane.

Plus, your non-exercise activity levels vary constantly, and your metabolism changes over time so continually trying to recalculate calorie needs would give me the irrits. Instead, I'm trying to be intuitive, take note of what my body is telling me (except when it tells me I need to eat that whole packet of Tim Tams... lies! It lies to me all the time!) and just eat a little more when I know I need it. For instance, if I'm tempted to gnaw my own arm off, I can be pretty sure I should eat something, whether it's meal time or not.

As for an 'average' of how many calories I burn in a training session... my bike tells me that in a one-hour tough spin session I burn something like 700-800 calories. But my HRM tells me it's more like 350. Hmm, which is right? Neither? I don't worry about it, any more than I worry about the silly body fat numbers my scale taunts me with. All those machines are programmed with various averages, and I begin to suspect that I'm not really all that average...

So the scales and mirror, plus the intuitive thing should be all that I need to tweak food when needed to stay on track towards my goals. And thus far it's working just fine. :o)

*Groan*

Got a new weights program this week. Can you say O.U.C.H?

Gotta run right now, but I'll blog about it later. Because I know Liz will be disappointed if I don't whinge at least a little....

************

P.S. (no, I haven't gone yet - I'm just about to. Sheesh! Bossy!) Weight is tracking downwards - a bit slowly, but at least in the right direction. This morning I'm (just) in the 55s. I expect to improve on that by Monday. The No Wine rule is working a treat. Now I just need to add a No M & Ms rule....

Reminder to self: This week my countdown ticked over into double figures (eeeek!!), so there is NO time for stuffing around.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Not that hard

Today was interesting. I'm trying out calorie cycling and it was a 1300-Calorie day - I thought it would be awful. It wasn't.

I spent a few minutes last night planning my meals in Calorie King, adding and subtracting ingredients and adjusting quantities to get the maximum bang for my calorie buck. This is the way my day panned out:

Breakfast: Oats, whey, skim milk, black coffee
Morning snack: 3 corn thins (the seedy ones - yum!) with a small can of tuna, plus cucumber, cup of green tea
Lunch: Chicken, baked sweet potato, broccoli and a pack of Steam Fresh veggies, cup of peppermint tea
Arvo snack #1: Banana pancake with peanut butter, green tea
Arvo snack #2: Another banana pancake with PB
Dinner: Chicken, baked potato, broccoli, carrots

6 meals, plenty of food, lots of fill-you-up veggies, and macros came out close enough to 40/40/20. Food wasn't terribly imaginative, but it was tasty enough and definitely filling. I was only a little hungry just before dinner. The rest of the day I was fine.

Back to 1500 tomorrow!

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Thanks to my lovely sponsor for reminding me that L-glutamine helps with sugar cravings. Seems you actually have to TAKE it - just having it in the pantry doesn't work so well. Oopsies!