Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Time for the big guns



I'm still battling the lurgy, and don't seem to be making a huge amount of progress. I've been instructed to take a rest day today - at first I was disappointed, but now I'm thinking Yeah, thank goodness for THAT.

So I shall head out to the shops this afternoon in search of some Lysine, as the final and apparently most important weapon in my virus-slaying arsenal - the health food store here is a bit crap, but I'm hopeful.



Weight took a sudden upward swing this morning, causing me to screech You have GOT to be kidding! at my scales. (That's the PG version of what I said anyway....) Hmm, yesterday's rehydration efforts may have something to do with that.

Bah! Onward....

Monday, June 29, 2009

Snot-bug: 1, Kek: 0

But wait for the second half!



Not much to report here. My weekend was a dead loss - no training, no housework, no socialising, nothing but moaning and whining. And some sleeping.

Today my resident virus has morphed into a deadly snot-bug that's apparently trying to drown me from the inside, with frequent attempts to infect all around me via some violent sneezing. I prefer this incarnation to the previous one, where my head threatened to explode and my throat was so sore I could only swallow crappy food. That's my excuse anyway.

Things are on the up-and-up though: I got half a training session done this morning before admitting defeat. And even though I had nothing at all prepared in the way of food for today, I managed to eat well. Thank goodness for suburban Vietnamese takeaway shops - those chicken salads with extra chilli are just the thing!

My biggest hurdle the past few days has been drinking enough water - something I never usually struggle with, but there you go. Today I'm back to normal, having so far got through 4L.

Weight has gone more than a little ka-plooey, but I'm not panicking. Yet.

Coach has ordered a rest day tomorrow and I'm not inclined to argue. Come Wednesday though, I'll be fighting back. Meanwhile I'm hitting this lurgy with all sorts of stuff, on advice from my supplement guru Sara. Zinc, vitamin C, olive leaf extract (that stuff is not my drink of choice, let me tell you....).

Snot-bug, you're history!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Slight change of plans


This morning I forgot one of my clients wasn't going to be available. So there I was, at the park, with nobody to train. I could have gone home, but instead I opted to walk a 4.8km loop of hilly terrain.

I got through it in 45 minutes - that's a pace of 6.4kmh. Bloody good effort, considering I'm sick as a dog AND that hill in the middle is a whopper.

You learn something new every day


Yesterday I woke up with a sore throat, and a steel band around my forehead, which got tighter as the day went on. I was tired and mopey and just felt si-i-ick. I dragged my butt around all morning, achieved nothing, then fell asleep on the couch mid-afternoon.

I woke up at 5:30. Bike Boy was still in transit from Canberra, where he'd been all week, the big boys were at work and it was just me and The Baby. I felt all sick and sooky and just wanted someone else to take care of dinner, dishes and ME. *sigh*

Turns out, ice cream for dinner doesn't make you feel better at all. Who knew?





P.S. The sore throat? That's progressed to razor blades and broken glass level. Yeah, that made for a great night's sleep.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hmm....progress?

My scales appear to be stuck on the same number - or around 200g either side. This morning I'm up another 100g .....BUT the bathroom mirror told me that I'm getting leaner, so Mr Scales can go jump off the nearest cliff.

I may even do a Shelley and assist him on his way if he doesn't start to behave nicer.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

From cranky to awesome, just like that

Today I had a crappy day. I slept in, missed my workout, was late for work, had a booooooring day at the office, battled horrendous traffic both ways, and had to come home and play single parent again. Oh, and the scales went UP (....geez, not that way, you moron!)

I wasn't going to write a post tonight, because all I could come up with was endless variations on how sucky my horrible day was. But then Amanda reminded me on Facebook that tomorrow's Friday (yay!), I read Shar's hilarious post about the "wonders" of pregnancy, had a chuckle at a couple of other FB entries and then the phone rang and I got to have a good long chat with Liz.

So here's to my awesome internet friends - my crabby mood has been chased away now. The few squares of Koko Black chocolate that I ate after dinner didn't hurt a bit either. ;o)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cre-e-eak!


I've had lower back issues for years. Lately though, it's not been bothering me at all - thanks to some great advice from Miss Liz, some fine work from my osteopath (who's now done a runner) and a lot of hard work over the past couple of years.

I still get the odd achey or stiff day, but nothing I can't handle. So today when I woke up all stiff and creaky through the right SIJ region, I didn't worry too much. I did my prehab exercises like a good girl, then moved onto my weights workout.

Deadlifts were first up. I was cautious, warming up with only 30kg. That went OK, so for the next set I upped it to 40kg. Pfft. Easy. I increased to 50kg for my next two sets - I know can lift more, but since DLs haven't been on the menu for some time, I figure it's best to ease into it, work up to the heavier weights.

I got through those, then moved onto suitcase deadlifts and plate squats. Not a peep out of my dicky lumbar spine. So I grabbed a barbell for some push presses. I dip, drive upwards and hold ....hmm, a bit clicky. Then I start to lower the bar and OUCH. My back screams at me - I think it was saying something along the lines of "FFS! What do you think you're DOING?"

I reset myself, brace abs carefully and make sure my form is OK before trying again. I get the bar maybe a quarter of the way up before I decide that this is a very bad idea.

I've stretched and rolled around on a tennis ball tonight, and hopefully things will right themselves overnight. If not, I may actually have to do something about finding a new osteopath. Yeah, been meaning to do that for the past six months.

I really hate it when my body lets me down.

Passion

Chase down your passion like it's the last bus of the night. ~ Glade Byron Addams

I had a bit of a revelation the other day. There were some ideas lurking in the back of my mind, hiding in the shadows, but I couldn't seem to catch hold of them long enough to make anything of them. It was all centred around competing, and I had a slight sense of something missing, but couldn't put my finger on it.

I read Liz's post about her decision not to compete again, and Carolyn's, about her comp prep and how enthusiasm is eluding her this time around, and then discovered those slippery, murky thoughts were surfacing more and more.

On Monday, the thoughts solidified and I realised what was missing for me: passion. I'm looking forward to competing, I'm enjoying the process (in spite of the slo-o-ow progress), and I fully intend to get up there and have some fun with it. But it's not something I'm passionate about.

I didn't go into this with the plan to be a world champion - that was never going to happen, what with my physical problems, which prevent me from EVER displaying perfect symmetry. So what was I hoping to get out of it? Hmm ....a sense of achievement, the chance to prove something to myself, and putting in the hard yards to be the best I can be, not some judge's idea of physical perfection.

So, I shall once again strut my stuff on the figure stage - assuming that my body decides to get with the program and shift some of this blubber - but I'll be looking elsewhere for fulfilment. Back to sports-related goals for me, I think, and a shift in focus away from how I LOOK to what I can DO. I've always liked the form follows function philosophy anyway. I'm not saying I'll never compete again - I kind of like the idea of giving the Over 50s a go in a couple of years - but if I don't, I won't feel as though I have any unfinished business.

I said to Liz yesterday that I think perhaps I need to get my super-slick Subzero road bike OFF the rack on the garage wall and get my butt out on the road. I have some legitimate fears about riding on the main road here, but I'll see what I can do to get around that... So perhaps my next goal is already staring me in the face every time I get in and out of my car.

As for my true passion? That lies in just living a fit life, and even more so in helping other people achieve their goals. I'm looking at ways I can broaden my skills there, to be an even better coach for my clients. Lots to think about.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I came, I saw....

Dunno about conquering, but I trained, I ate, and now I'm off to pash plastic dummies.

Bye!

Monday, June 22, 2009

What happened to Sunday?

I have way too much stuff going on inside my head at the moment.

A chance reunion with an old school friend on the weekend who is training to be a life coach has me thinking about goals, reasons, getting there and the whole shebang - not just my goals, but my clients' as well. And some possible future directions in a professional sense. Hmm.

I also have a relative who's seriously ill and is now looking at a lung transplant, so that's got me thinking about the important things in life. Why waste your life worrying about trivial stuff....it could all be taken away from you without notice, any time.

Plus I spent an interesting Saturday evening with both my biological parents in the same room, which has only happened about twice in the past forty years. It was kind of like watching a fascinating but potentially lethal science experiment. But nobody lost a limb, so phew.

I think I need to turn my brain off for a day and give it a rest. Where IS that switch?

***********

In spite of resisting the charm of another bottle of Wirra Wirra Church Block (plus several other lovely wines) over the past few days, and passing on ALL the party food on Saturday night, the scales aren't playing nice. *sigh* I don't have the slightest urge to throw my hands up and do the old I give up routine. I'm happy enough training, eating and sleeping and watching things change in the mirror (and inside my bra....oh well) little by little.

But it would be nice to see a lower number for more than a day. Pretty please?

***********

The solstice is past, thank goodness. Summer will be back again eventually. Training in daylight - ah, I remember that fondly.

***********

Legs are trained, food is packed and I need to get moving. Monday again - how did that happen so fast?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Did they find a cure for Alzheimer's yet?


I'm at a client's house this morning and open my bag to look for my watch so I can time an exercise. I don't wear it in cool weather, because it's kind of clunky and gets uncomfortable under the tight cuffs on my hoodie. I rummage through a zip pocket: no watch. I check all the others. Nope. Feel in my jacket pockets. Nuh-uh.

I check and re-check - this is my Polar HRM watch I'm looking for, so I can't really afford to lose it. Argh! Can't find it. I remember checking the time on it in the car when I pulled up, so I decide it must be on the front passenger seat. I'll worry about it when I leave.

Five minutes later, I push up my sleeves and ...um ....I'm wearing it.

My client thinks I'm a moron.

This and that

Once again it's Saturday and I'm up early while the rest of the family get to stay snuggled up in their beds. On the one hand, I'd love to have the chance to sleep a bit longer, and not have to get up and go out into the freezing cold morning to train clients. On the other, I really enjoy this quiet time - I actually get up earlier than I need to so I don't have to rush around madly. Then I sit and check emails and blog updates while I eat my oats.

It's so silent that sometimes I can hear my own heart beating.

***********

My week's gone really well - training all completed as planned, nutrition right on track and although there's still been no whoosh, there has been a small steady daily decrease on the scales.

More importantly, there are other signs that my get-lean mission is succeeding: pants a bit looser, some visible changes in the mirror, and the other night Bike Boy snuggled up to me in bed, put his arms around my waist and said "you feel leaner". So yay for that!

I also played my treat meal card last night and had pizza with the family. There was a bottle of Wirra Wirra Church Block cab-sav/shiraz/merlot opened, but I was satisfied with a sniff, a swirl and a tiny sip from Bike Boy's glass. Treat meal and all, I still came in within my calorie limit.

I was trying to remember the last time I had pizza. I think it may have been when we moved house, so that's six months ago. Huh.

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

I'll leave you with a couple of quotes I'm loving at the moment:

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.
Aristotle


Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.
Robert Collier

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Awesome

Wednesday eventually ended, thank goodness, and in spite of feeling a little ill and a lot cranky (which seemed to be going around), it ended pretty well. Training was done, nutrition was right on track and nobody died. I'd call that a successful day.

This morning I was up early and got stuck into my leg workout. I'm feeling the love now.... Also, I got 7.5 hours sleep, and whatever lurgy was brewing yesterday has retreated. Yay for an awesome immune system!

Weight is not behaving quite as I expect - no idea what's up with that - but it iS on the way down. Slowly. (Come ON scales, where's that whoosh?)

Today I choose to have a good day. Just to be sure, I'm giving it the official seal:



Feel free to join me in having a brilliant Thursday. :o)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Whatever



Is there such a thing as Wednesday-itis? Because I think I have it. Why can't it be Thursday already? Or better yet, Friday?

*waits for a miracle*

OK, looks like Wednesday it is.

I shall ignore the slight headache I woke up with. And the fact that I was robbed of almost an hour's sleep for no reason I can figure out (why on earth would I wake up spontaneously at 4:40am?). And my distinct lack of energy. And the scales being stubborn in spite of my best efforts.

I'm focusing on the positives. Like: training is all done for the day and it was AWESOME. Also? My pants are getting looser, so nyah-nyah to the silly old scales.

No fun-sucking here. Wednesday has to end eventually.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I hate it when...

... I get to the gym and discover that I've forgotten my program notes. And it's a new program, which I've only done once so far, so I haven't memorised it yet.

At least I knew it was upper body. Got my chest and back exercises right, but forgot triceps. D'oh!

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

I was having a fat and frumpy day up until I went to the gym. In between sets I was hailed by a woman who I've chatted to before about the Body for LIFE challenge she's doing. I'd looked in the mirror earlier and saw only flabbiness and wobbly bits (and let's not talk about the scruffy hair and no makeup). SHE smiled broadly and commented that I looked really good, and asked when I was competing. Hmm.

As I was packing my towel and gloves back into my bag on the way out, I glanced in the mirror and saw no sign of fat, flab or wobbles. Just a small, slim woman who looks pretty good in a tight-fitting tank top and stretch pants.

I must remember to remove my fat goggles before looking in the mirror in future.

Monday, June 15, 2009

How did it get to be Monday again so soon?

One week of "official" competition prep down and things are chugging along nicely. All training sessions completed, food managed with no dramas, and I'm feeling on top of things.

Time management has had to be a priority to fit training in. Apart from having a reasonably busy week, Bike Boy is gearing up for the Around the Bay ride in October and needs to put in some serious time on the bike. Thanks to his work hours, far-too-frequent interstate travel and some crappy weather, the only sane way for him to do that is to use the spin bike quite a bit. So that's meant that I've had to make some adjustments...

So evening cardio on a couple of occasions and some earlier-than-normal starts have been required. Blah. But we're managing OK so far. Early nights will be the order of the day for the foreseeable future, but oh well....it's not like I spend my evenings at glamorous parties and gala social events. In my pjs, snuggled up on the couch by 8:00pm suits me just fine.

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

I had a go at my sweet potato/date concoction yesterday, but the recipe needs work. Too moist and a bit heavy. Tastes good though. :p I'll think about it and give it another try in the next couple of weeks. I'm sure it'll be worth the wait.

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

Training's all done for today - cardio on the bike, then legs. I still have DOMS from my last leg workout. New programs....oh, the joy!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lies, lies and....more damn lies

This morning I headed to the gym so I could do cardio on anything other than the bike. I used the treadmill on Friday, so today it was a choice of elliptical or stepper. Kind of like choosing between a rock and a hard place.

So I did my chest/back/biceps workout (and can I say OUCH - if I can get out of bed tomorrow it'll be a minor miracle), then headed upstairs to the cardio area. I glared at the ellipticals for a few seconds, sighed and climbed aboard. I had to do a minimum of 40 minutes. 40 freaking minutes on the piece of equipment I despise the most.

There was a lot of sooking and whining going on inside my head, but I managed to do my time, in spite of wanting to quit and go home the whole while. How?

1. Every time I completed 5 minutes, I reversed the motion and did a minute backwards. Hey, it's not much, but at least it's a little variety.

2. I told myself outrageous lies the whole way through. Like:

Just do 10 minutes, then you can switch to the treadmill or something.

OK, that's 10 down. Now backwards for a minute, then you can do another 4 minutes. 15 isn't so bad....

Ah, what the hell, you're at the 15-minute mark, may as well do 20. THEN you can do the rest on the treadmill.

Woohoo! Halfway. Come on: 5 more. You can do 5 more. 25 is a good effort, that's all you need to do.

Well, after that minute of reverse motion, it's only 4 minutes now to the 30-minute mark. Awesome. That'll do for today!

Pfft. You've got this far, you can do a bit more - come on, 9 minutes to go. No stopping now.


It's amazing how stupid I can be. I fall for that crap every time.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Off the hook

I have a few more D & M (deep and meaningful) blog posts in the works - at least the skeleton of an idea rattling around in my head. Gee, I must have way too much thinking time at the moment.

There are two ideas in particular that I've been mulling over recently and coincidentally, a couple of other bloggers beat me to it. Phew. I can relax now - all this thinking makes my brain hurt.

Clara wrote a thoughtful piece on taking responsibility and not allowing excuses to get in the way of your goals. Clara knows what she's talking about; she's achieved some pretty big goals herself and isn't afraid to step out of her comfort zone to get there.

Another thing I've been mulling over is the concept of happiness. I was thinking about how we choose to be happy or not, in spite of our circumstances (I also had some thoughts around avoiding the negative people in your life, but maybe that's another post altogether). Anyway, Craig Harper has posted the third instalment in a series entitled Changing Our Personal Reality. The topic? Happiness.

So I'll just go back to my coffee and leave you to enjoy the fruits of somebody else's labour. Lazy blogging? You betcha!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Living in the grey




Yesterday's "mountain" post was prompted by a few things: a couple of clients who are struggling at the moment (each for completely different reasons), a few blogs I've read lately, a conversation I had last week with another fitness professional, and my own personal experience with the ups and downs of living a fit life.

There's another point that I wanted to get across, more about the old black and white/all or nothing mindset that many of us fall victim to. That insistent (and incredibly WRONG) voice in your head that tells you that since you already messed up BIG time by eating those two Tim Tams, you may as well continue on and have X, Y and Z as well. What the hell, you've ruined everything anyway.

So on the one hand there's the white, where you do everything perfectly: train your butt off daily, eat 100% on-plan, drink seven billion glasses of water a day, sleep for eight hours every night, take all your supplements and walk around feeling virtuous. And probably a bit superior to the mere mortals who surround you.

On the other hand, there's the deep, dark black. Inhabiting that part of your personal reality means skipping workouts, eating crap - even though you may actually start each day with good intentions and a hot bowl of oats & whey - staying up late and drinking as much alcohol as you like because, hey; it's the weekend. Life's for living, right? And then you get to indulge in some serious self-flagellation by tossing a big dose of guilt, frustration, anger and tears into the mix.

The hard part for most people is grasping the concept that we actually live most of our lives in the various shades of grey in between those two extremes. We may have some perfect days, we may have some truly awful days, but neither is the norm. I've come to believe that the black days are useful, because hopefully you learn some important lessons from them. And as Bike Boy said to me once: You have to have a really crap workout now and then so you can recognise and appreciate a good one when it happens. I think that applies to life too.

We're human, we're imperfect, we lead busy and complicated lives and we should all aim to do our very best. That doesn't equal perfection. Sometimes perfection is what you'll get, but it rarely lasts. Mostly you have to accept good enough rather than perfect. Believe it or not, you can still achieve amazing things, living in the grey. And you tend to be a lot less driven or obsessed, and a lot more fun to be around.

Here's the important bit, so listen up: somewhere in the grey is the thing everybody's looking for: balance. And along with that comes an inner peace, acceptance of yourself - warts and all - and hopefully, happiness.

Now off you go and have a lovely, grey day.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

How to survive boring cardio

I loathe steady state cardio (yeah, I may have mentioned that before). It takes all my willpower to stay on the bike/treadmill/whatever for longer than about 20 minutes. The thought of doing 40 minutes or more of boring, BORING cardio makes me feel nauseous. So I'm particularly thrilled to have an entire week of steady-state cardio in my training schedule.

But I have found a solution. My spin bike is in my studio, so not near a TV. I'm not about to drag it out into the family room across our floorboards, and we don't happen to have a spare TV I can set up near the bike. Listening to music doesn't quite cut it for me, so the ipod has limited value.

But it suddenly occured to me last night that my laptop is useful for playing far more than just workout DVDs....

Two Buffy episodes and two cardio sessions in the bag! Nothing like some violent demon-slaying mayhem to get you all pumped up.

Getting up after a fall



You’re climbing your personal mountain and you’re doing great. You’re part-way up the slope – maybe even just about to set foot on the summit, when you lose your footing, slip and tumble back down. So there you are, if not back where you started, at least a good distance from where you were. You sigh. Stupid. You shouldn’t have let that happen. You stand up, dust off, and get moving again. That’s life – it has it’s ups and downs, but as long as you keep going, all will be fine.

But how do you cope when you just can’t seem to get going again? You look ahead up the slope and see the distance you have to climb. Again. You know that you’ve done it before, which should make it easier in terms of mental challenges. But somehow, it’s harder. There are all those feelings of failure to deal with – you’re angry with yourself for falling in the first place. Maybe you sprained your ankle in the fall, and you try and try, but it simply isn’t ready to handle the climb just yet and you keep sliding back down. Or what if it’s kind of comfortable down here? You know; climbing that slope is hard and painful and tiring. Maybe you should just stay here and rest for a while before you move on. The thing with that is, the longer you rest, the harder it can be to get going again.

I see many people who fall down the mountain at some point in their health and fitness journey. They get sick or injured, or life gets majorly busy, perhaps they go on holidays, maybe extreme stress is a factor – it doesn’t matter the reason, just that something has happened to prevent them from carrying on with their normal exercise and/or nutrition habits. Some jump right back up and start climbing again, but others just can’t seem to find the strength or commitment to start back on that climb to the top. They want to, but something always seems to hold them back.

They become increasingly frustrated with themselves, and every day that they don’t meet their exercise and nutrition targets only adds to the frustration. Each night they are determined that tomorrow will be the day. This time they’re serious – they’ll absolutely get up at 5:30am, hit the gym, smash that workout, then eat six perfect, balanced, healthy meals over the day before hitting the sack early. Each day that they “fail” to do those things, it gets harder and harder to even imagine themselves as the fit and healthy person they used to be. What is WRONG with me? they wail…. Why can’t I follow through on my plans?

How about a bit of a shift in thinking? If you’ve fallen a long, long way from your usual position as Ms Kick-arse Athlete, or Ms Scale Success or whomever you see yourself as, then perhaps it’s unrealistic to expect to transition back to that state from where you are right now, with just a snap of your fingers. Maybe a different approach is required.

Every time you set your lofty daily goals and don’t achieve them, you’re going to feel like a failure. And each time you “fail”, you deduct a little more from your already sinking self-confidence. So how about taking the baby steps approach? Set yourself some small and realistic goals that you can quite easily achieve. If you’ve been managing zero exercise, set a goal of going out for a short walk as tomorrow’s baby step. If you’ve been eating a steady diet of total crap, challenge yourself to make one healthy meal tomorrow. Get the idea?

You might scoff at the idea of a 30-minute walk as exercise, but here’s the thing: If you set that as tomorrow’s goal and you actually achieve it, mentally you will feel that you’ve succeeded. It might be in a very small way, but it’s still a success. And success breeds success – once you achieve that goal, set another. Build on your successes until you’re back where you want to be in terms of training and nutrition. It may take a short time, it may take longer, but just plan to add more small challenges each week until you get there.

Before you know it, you’ll be powering up that slope again.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

If only....

....I hadn't pledged to not buy any clothes this year, I'd be ordering one of these from lazypatch.com:



After my off-hand comment this morning, Sairs, Cinders and Em all dropped by to let me know that my dream winter wear is a reality.

Bwahaha! I cannot BELIEVE somebody actually made these!

31 days to go!



Can't wait! :o)

Better bring your warm socks and pjs, Selina....

Mid-week catch up

It's freaking COLD this morning. And wet. It's been pouring all night, from the looks of it. So getting up in the dark at 5:30am is particularly appealing right now. *snort*

Thank goodness my habits are so ingrained now that (mostly) it's no major battle. I did my prehab stuff at home and was at the gym just as they opened at 6:00am. It was so cold that I didn't even ditch my jacket at all. Usually, I have to lose that by the second or third exercise, but today my thermostat seems to be broken.

Ah, winter....and we still have almost three months of this to endure. I remarked to Bike Boy this morning (as I was trying to thaw my hands out over the gas flame while my porridge cooked) that I need clothes made out of doonas. Now there's a fashion idea.

**********

I have half an idea in my head for a sticky date cakey thing and I'm hoping to have a go at it on Friday. I bought the dates, plus a massive mutant sweet potato, and I'm working around those as the main ingredients. Could be fabulous, could be a disaster. You'll have to wait and see.

**********

I think my scales are playing a joke on me. They sold me scales with a nasty sense of humour. Wonder if I can get a refund?

**********

I've set my sights on the INBA state titles the last weekend in September, and am working towards that with the help of Miss Liz (otherwise known as Atilla the Hun's younger sister).

Probably should make myself one of those countdown thingumajigs.

**********

Better move it - got kids to drop off, a specialist appointment, a coffee machine to pick up (Hallelujah!!) and something else.... oh yeah - I have to go to work today. I'll fit that in somewhere....

Monday, June 08, 2009

Recipe alert!

We had Lamb Saag at an Indian restaurant the other night, so Bike Boy decided to try his hand at his own version for tonight's dinner.

Visually, this is never a delight - brown-green gloopiness abounds - but it most definitely IS a treat for the tastebuds. Flavourful, aromatic, and full of spinachy goodness. What more could you want?

Sometimes less is more


Over the past week I've put in the most consistent effort with training that I've managed for a few weeks. Boy, I'm glad I figured out the reason why I was feeling so crappy and performing well below par, and am on the way to sorting it out. It was far from a perfect effort, but I'm happy with what I achieved.

My aims for the week were to get enough sleep, be consistent with my nutrition, and to do some kind of activity each day, with the focus on weight training. This is what I managed to fit in:

Monday - Back and triceps, short walk at lunchtime
Tuesday - Legs, a decent walk; about 45 minutes
Wednesday - Chest and biceps, about 20 minutes of walking
Thursday - Cardio - aerobic session on the spin bike and again, a quick walk in my lunch break
Friday - I was a little pressed for time, so did what I called a "lip-service" back workout, plus around 15 minutes of high-intensity cardio at the gym.
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - 45 minute spin workout: Hill climbs, speed intervals, the works. It definitely wasn't my best effort, but it was the best effort I could manage on the day, so I'm content with that.

Given that I'd been really off my game, plus the fact that I had an extremely busy week, with Bike Boy once again away for a couple of days, I set the bar a little lower than usual. I really needed to give both the old brain and the body a bit of a break, without being too soft. The result? I feel successful because I met my goals, and I know I still gave my body a few decent workouts. I didn't fall in a heap through exhaustion or stress or a sense of failure, and consequently nutrition was right on track.

Mentally, I'm in a good place, and I know that over the next few weeks my strength and fitness will pick up - as long as I stay on top of the sleep side of things - and I'll be firing on all cylinders again in no time.

By the end of this week, I expect there to be an even bigger improvement. I know that I'll be back to feeling bulletproof in very short order.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Mouse house no longer

By the way, our resident mousey is GORN. Bike Boy was awake early and got up in search of water or some such, to discover Mr Mouse ambling across the floor in the kitchen. Very slowly. We suspect he'd been helping himself to the baits we have spread around the place and wasn't feeling too well.

It was slow enough that my big game hunter husband was able to catch it, kill it and dispose of it while I was sleeping. I do not wish to know the details, I'm just glad it's gone.

All clear for your visit, Selina! ;o)

The golden chain



Liz pointed me to a documentary on sleep deprivation that was on SBS the past couple of weeks and it was fascinating. Scary, but fascinating. It backed up what I already knew about the cumulative effects of too little sleep, and added a bit of new ammunition. I actually missed the first episode, only catching the second, but Bike Boy downloaded part 1 and I plan to catch it sometime this weekend. If you didn't see it, it's well worth a look.

My personality has undergone a radical change over the past week, thanks to the six nights in a row of uninterrupted Zs I've clocked up. Last week I was irritable, easily upset, my ability to think was decidedly impaired, and I simply couldn't cope with little everyday things that normally wouldn't bother me. My driving skills and reaction times were also a little off - now that's scary! I could feel myself sliding towards the big black hole again and I did NOT want to go back there, no way.

Coincidentally, Bike Boy was having a serious battle with insomnia, so ours was a very calm and peaceful and happy household....NOT.

I knew that I simply had to get my sleep sorted out, so I did a few things:

- I was more diligent about my post-op nose care. Yeah, nobody wants to hear about the stuff I stick up my nose ....I'll just say that it gives me a better chance of getting through the night without everything in there turning into concrete and preventing me from breathing.

- I made an effort to get to bed earlier, mostly managing a 10:00pm curfew.

- I cut coffee way down and cut it off entirely after about 7:00pm. *snort* Not so hard since the coffee machine is in for repairs!

- I rummaged through my supplement supply and added magnesium back into my routine. While looking for Panadol for one of the kids, I also came across my stash of 5-htp in the medicine cupboard. I had a lightbulb moment and threw that into the mix as well. (I'm hoping that the ol' 5-htp will help prevent the setting in of SAD this winter too).

- I invested 80c and got some soft foam earplugs (thanks for the tip, Sara). Bike Boy was snoring away last night when I got into bed, and I still slept like a baby.

I seriously feel like I've just had a long and relaxing holiday. Except maybe for the grey skies, freezing temperatures and rain, rain, rain. But still, all it took was just a few simple little additions to my usual routine and hey presto! Six blissfully undisturbed nights in a row. Sure,the fact that my nose is actually almost healed now might have played a part...

So, if your memory is failing you, you're having trouble concentrating, your appetite is out of control, your moods are just all over the place, you seem to be more clumsy than usual, and/or you're prone to every random illness going around, then maybe you need to take a look at your sleep patterns.

And if you have any doubts about the importance of sleep, go watch that show.

Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together ~ Thomas Dekker

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Awesome.....OR....

Awesome: Oats and whey and walnuts and skim milk for brekky.
Not awesome: The bug that decided to go swimming in my bowl of oats.

Awesome: Learning to do upside-down hanging ab raises yesterday.
Not awesome: The crippling DOMS that set in today.

Awesome: Sitting in the kitchen, sipping a coffee and chatting to your beloved while something yummy simmers in the slow cooker.
Not awesome: Almost having a heart attack when a freaking MOUSE runs through the kitchen. Eeeeeeek!!

Awesome: The people you meet through the internet.
Not awesome: Absolutely nothing at all about that...

Friday, June 05, 2009

Five simple things

"But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?"



1. I slept undisturbed till 6:15am.

2. Bike Boy is back home from another interstate trip.

3. The sun is shining (OK, so it's bloody freezing, but still: sun!)

4. There's a long weekend ahead.

5. I'm feeling in control, optimistic, enthused, and happy with what I've achieved this week. Believe me, those are MAJOR improvements on the past couple of weeks. Sleep is better than any medicine, that's for sure.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Fail to plan, plan to fail

Today I'll be stuck in an all-day conference. Yawn. These things can drag on a bit, and boredom being one of my triggers for eating when not hungry, I'm always mindful of planning my meals extra-carefully in this kind of situation.

Yesterday afternoon I was roped into a supermarket expedition for coffee and supplies for morning and afternoon tea for today's event. So there I was at Safeway, loaded up with value packs of Family Assorteds AND Assorted Creams, along with the milk, sugar, coffee etc. Then we spot the special: Tim Tams, two for $4. In the basket they go.

Tim Tams. Mmm. I could work a couple of those into my meal plan, but do I really want to? On thinking about it, I decided that I actually don't. But I need something appealing to eat while everyone else is stuffing sugary, over-processed treats into their faces.

So last night I was organising my food for today. Chicken, veggies, an apple for lunch. Not exciting, but it'll do. A serve of yoghurt-berry crunch for one snack. Hmm, what to have for the other...? I definitely had bickies on my mind, so I baked a batch of Spiced Vanilla-Cranberry cookies.

They can have their Tim Tams and (ugh!) instant coffee. I'll be enjoying my cookies and lovely cup of green tea.



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

Training today? Chest and biceps. Done and dusted.

And again, a full, undisturbed, wonderful night of sleep. Aahh!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Infectious

No, not the swine flu (or the Pigpox as my friend Kate calls it)....I'm talking about passion.

Have you ever had a chance meeting with someone who is deeply passionate about the same things that matter to you, and whose enthusiasm is so tremendous, you feel as though you can reach out and touch it? You talk and swap ideas for hours, although it only seems like minutes, and you still have so much more to say. And then you go home feeling a renewed excitement and an even stronger commitment to the things you believe in.

And you realise that the emotional tiredness, the disappointments and disillusionment that you've allowed to drag you down a little; those seem to have evaporated and you're suddenly full of new ideas and can't wait to test them out.

That happened to me yesterday. I feel as though my batteries have been recharged.

Yeah, baby!


My week is shaping up pretty well. Apart from the coffee machine breaking down. Being under-caffeinated has to qualify as a medical emergency, right?

Training has been all good and I have the DOMS to prove it. Nutrition has been outstanding; even lunch out yesterday was no challenge at all. I have now had two - count 'em TWO - uninterrupted nights' sleep in a row and I'm beginning to feel almost human again. And the scales have stopped playing silly-buggers, which they've been doing for over a week now *pokes scales* and are showing a much more sensible number, thanks.

I'm even back to my usual pattern of waking up at 5:15am without the alarm.

At this rate I may actually be behaving like a sane person by the end of the week.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

“Men trip not on mountains, they trip on molehills”

Chinese proverb
I've had several horrid days in a row and no inclination to blog at all. Actually, the inclination was there, but the words that came to mind would have sounded like Eeyore had taken control of the keyboard. So I simply chose to shut the hell up and sulk in silence.

Nutrition has been right on track - with a lovely meal out on Saturday night (yum, Indian!). But my sleep has been massively disrupted, and my motivation got misplaced. No idea where I left that, but it resulted in zero training getting done on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, although it was the last thing I felt like doing, I dragged my miserable self out for a walk. As I tell clients all the time: when it comes to exercise, something is always better than nothing.

Yesterday I hauled myself out of bed at an insanely early hour and did a weights workout, even though it was about the last thing I wanted to do. As usual, that helped push me back a little more towards centre. But I was still having a major pity party, until late in the day I realised that the old sleep thing was blowing everything out of proportion (again...). Things aren't that bad. My challenges aren't as huge as I think they are. Nothing is impossible.

So I put myself to bed early, and unbelievably, I slept the entire night through. I suspect that a few more nights like that will be required to really reset my equilibrium, but it's amazing how much better things seem when you're not totally exhausted.

This week's #1 goal, therefore? You guessed it: some more early nights.