Friday, July 31, 2009

Share your weirdness



The other day, my husband opened the cutlery drawer and rummaged for a spoon for his cereal. It seems all the dessert spoons were in the dishwasher, so he grabbed a soup spoon and to my absolute horror, sat down and ate his cereal with it.

I cannot eat cereal or dessert with a soup spoon (or soup with a dessert spoon). I just CAN'T. It's wrong. I would get the right utensil out of the dishwasher and wash and dry it if need be. And The Baby has exactly the same weird spoon obsession.

Neither of us thinks it's weird, but Bike Boy thinks we're both nuts.

So I'm wondering ....what weird little habits or phobias do other people have? Anyone care to share?

Plan B


I'm still nutting out some exact details, but my Plan B goes pretty much like this:

1. Get myself back on an even keel health-wise. This one seems to be resolving itself, helped along by a few days off from training, several nights of continuous sleep, and the sheer relief of having made a decision. As a priority, I also need to find myself a new physio in my area and get some of my cranky muscles and joints sorted.

2. Drop another 1.5 to 2.0kg over the next four weeks or so to put myself firmly in the 55-56kg range, which is where I ought to be. And then practice maintaining that. I need lots of practice....

3. Drop another couple of kg temporarily for a photoshoot, probably in October or November. I'm planning a website revamp and need some updated photos. Plus it'll give me a nice mini-goal to focus on and prevent me getting too complacent now that the comp pressure is O.F.F.

4. Pick at least two events to enter over the next twelve months. I could go nuts and do a dozen, but in the interests of sanity, I'm keeping these goals low-key. So far I have the Mothers Day Classic in mind waaaay off in May, and Bike Boy and I are looking at doing Amy's Ride in Geelong in January - one of the road events, not sure which yet. I may do a fun run in late Spring or early Summer too, I'll see what appeals.

5. Competing is not off the menu, it's just been postponed. The new plan is to do a nice long, slow prep next year leading up to the 2010 INBA All Female Classic. Meanwhile, along with all the other stuff listed above, I'll be working on building a bit more muscle. My ambition is to have glutes of steel and lats I can unfold like bat's wings. ;o) Or at least an improvement on what I have now. LOL.

I have a number of business goals too, and this new plan should give me the time and opportunity to work on those, without having to become a stressed-out, fun-sucking hermit.

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

Operation Even Keel has begun today, with the following:

- A full night's sleep. Check!
- A decent, but not hard-core leg workout (treading warily with the back still...). Check!
- Sane eating. All planned, and no problems expected there.

Still to come:

- An aerobic cardio workout on the spin bike in just a tick. No mountain-climbing today!
- Some foam roller work and stretching.
- A relaxing evening with something entertaining on the TV. The Baby and I have recently worked through two seasons of Buffy, one of Dollhouse and one of Angel. We may have to do a repeat viewing of Serenity next. Or give up the Joss Whedon obsession.....


Positivity challenge update: everything is positive today, no need to go looking! :o)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Change of direction


You know when you have an either-or decision to make, but you just can't decide which way you should lean? Sometimes it helps to just stop thinking so much about it and wait for the answer to come to you.

My competition prep has been rocky, to say the least. Oddly, last year's was a breeze - although it didn't feel like it at the time - in spite of an enormous amount of personal stress and upheaval. This time around, my life is quite calm and settled, so I honestly thought I'd be cruising. Ha! Enter illness, stage left.

A couple of weeks in, I caught the cold from hell. My weight went up, it went down a smidge, it sat there and lazily refused to budge. I switched to Paleo, and down it went (hooray!). I came down with a mystery digestive problem and up it went (boo!).

And of course, the sleep issues I was having weren't doing anything to help me. I was struggling to cope, and not really having fun at all.

On Monday this week, I was sitting at least 2kg higher than I need to be at this point, with just under nine weeks to go. I might still be able to make it, but it would mean cutting calories significantly and probably increasing my training commitment further. I'm all about balance and doing comp prep the sane way. So dieting hard and cardio-ing my legs off goes entirely against my principles.

So I sat back, shut up and listened for the right answer. Which was bloody obvious anyway, when it came to me last night. I'm not doing the INBA comp in September. Neither am I doing the ANB comp two weeks later. I had a brief moment of disappointment ....but I'm fine with it today. I've known in my heart that this was the right move for a while now, I just had to let my brain catch up with it.

I had a quick chat to Liz this morning, and her suggestions for new goals for me eerily matched what I'd come up with myself.

So I'm now operating on Plan B. Oh.... what is Plan B? Stay tuned. All will be revealed. Right now I have stuff to do.

Fake food

I was in the supermarket the other day, and I was struck by the huge number of new “healthy” products on the shelves. Low-carb this, gluten free that, low-fat everything. I picked up a few and read the nutrition panels, especially the ingredients list. It was no surprise that most of these foods had all sorts of additives, artificial sweeteners and chemicals featuring pretty prominently. It always disturbs me when ingredients don’t even have names, just numbers.

I’m not overly fond of imitation foods. You know the kind I mean: “healthy” versions of favourite calorie-laden treats, made with a whole lot of artificial ingredients. Other than my whey protein, which contains an artificial sweetener, I mostly avoid those sorts of foods. For one thing, they don’t usually taste very good, and besides, I’d rather eat real, unprocessed food most of the time than fill up on nutritionally valueless imitation crap.

I know that many people like Skinny Cow ice creams, or various protein bars, or low-fat, low-carb wraps. Me, I find that particular ice cream has a nasty aftertaste, most commercial protein bars either taste bad or are filled with trans-fats and other icky stuff, and as for those low-carb breads….I may as well be eating shoe leather.

Luckily I can usually find room in my week for the real deal when it comes to treats. If I want raisin toast, I’ll have it. A scoop of Baskin-Robbins choc-PB ice cream is almost my idea of heaven – without the cone, it’s a decent but not obscene 324 calories, which I can fit into my day, no problem. And a small amount of 85% cocoa chocolate goes a long, long way.

If I find myself eyeing off the wares at Muffin Break, I keep in mind that 700 Calories is almost half my day’s allowance if I’m on a fat-loss mission. That turns me off pretty quickly. Instead, I save myself for a 300 Cal Chocolate Dream from Brown’s bakery (which is far more delicious anyway). Or a 35g bar of Green & Black’s Maya Gold.

When it comes to making my own food, my tastes have really changed over the past few years. I rarely want a super-sweet meal, finding that adding fruit to my pancakes gives them plenty of sweetness. I don’t feel the need to eat pasta, bread or potatoes with every evening meal, and when I do, it’s a much smaller serving than I used to have. I like the sourness of natural yoghurt and cottage cheese. There’s almost nothing I’d rather eat for breakfast than rolled oats cooked in water, with some whey added. I’ve become more adventurous with my veggies, adding quite a number to my regular menu that I previously hadn’t tried. And the quantities of veg that I get through still astounds my family. Oh, and I drink my tea and coffee black and unsweetened.

But all of that didn’t just happen. It took a lot of perseverance to get to this point and in some cases, numerous attempts before I could stomach some things. But I made small changes and then more small changes and kept building on them until one day – wow! I found that I’d achieved total nutrition overhaul.

There’s food and there’s food ….I know that there are a billion studies that conclude that when it comes to weight loss, total calorie intake/output is the only thing that matters. But that simply isn’t true. There’s a big difference between eating 1500 calories worth of complete rubbish and the same calorie value in good, whole foods, with a bit of attention paid to ratios of protein, carbs and fat. Sure, eating under your calorie threshold will take you a certain distance, but for most of us at some point, it’s going to get a bit more complicated.

And as the saying goes, Rubbish in = rubbish out.

Come on: focus!


I did a lot of introspective thinking yesterday, and will reveal the results of what I thunk later, but I was obviously distracted from what I should have been doing, because:

- I got to work and couldn't find my glasses. They eventually turned up under the car seat, but that was after I'd spent the entire morning squinting at teeny-tiny print.
- I lost my ATM card. *Ahem* By leaving it in an ATM. I'm campaigning for moron of the year....
- I went to the supermarket, bought a few things, and realised after I'd left that I didn't buy the thing I specifically went there for.

I was a little worried about driving home. Distracted and ditzy behind the wheel in heavy traffic? Uh... I left work and remarked to the boss that I'd try to remember to bring my brain tomorrow.

Onto today's positives:

- Once again, I slept all night without disturbance. Three in a row - yippee!

- The back twinge has diminished to barely even there.

- I got to have some quality DVD time with The Baby on the comfy couch last night. With blankies. You gotta take time to appreciate the small things. :o)

- In spite of having a few frustrations yesterday, I stuck to my meal plan and ignored the voice that was whispering: Eat chocolate....

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Positivity: a bright umbrella on a rainy day



In the interests of keeping myself out of the doldrums, the blahs, the land of fun-sucking, I'm setting myself a small challenge: I will aim to find at least one positive thing in every single day.

Being human, I have a tendency to allow the negative stuff to inflate in my mind until it's completely out of proportion to reality. Well, sure, sometimes the negative stuff IS a big deal, but you know what I mean. And apart from making yourself miserable, when it comes to blogging, nobody wants to read a whiney collection of rants. Not all the time anyway. LOL.

So, my self-set challenge is to mention something positive each day - or at least on days when I blog. Non-blogging days are exempted and I don't have to find extra positives to make up for them. It's my challenge and my blog and I can make up any rules I like, so there.

Today hasn't begun well, because I seem to have sustained a minor injury. On my very first rep of my very first set of my very first exercise. *sigh* It's annoying and painful enough that I had to can training altogether this morning.

I could whinge that I got up at 5:30am for nothing, that it's cold and dark and if I can't train, then I ought to be still in bed snoozing, but I'm all about finding the positive. So here's today's lot:

- I've had extra time to read blogs, enjoy my porridge at my leisure, and to have a second coffee. I'm thinking about a third....hmm, maybe not.

- I slept like a log again last night. It's amazing what a good night's sleep will do for your outlook. I feel almost normal again. Hooray!

- I took the time after dinner last night to prep all my food for today, so I have plenty of good meals to look forward to, with zero effort on my part this morning.

- I'm reasonably confident that this pain in my back will be troubling me very little tonight, so I plan to get on the bike and put in a decent cardio effort. It may not be the planned leg workout, but as I tell my clients, something is always better than nothing.

Huh. Not bad for my first effort.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Positive steps



I’m feeling a whole lot better, and it’s all as a result of a few pretty simple things….

• Today I did NOT get up at 5:30am. Instead I stayed in bed till 7:00am to maximise my sleep. Lovely! :o)

• This morning I got my tax return done. It’s one of those things I hate doing, and will procrastinate about forever if I can. So this year I decided to take the bull by the horns and rang my tax agent way back in early June to make an appointment for the end of July. That way, I had no choice but to get my act together.

• Instead of doing the washing and vacuuming, I played in the kitchen and tested out a new recipe. Hmm. I won’t say it was a flop, but it’s definitely a work in progress. Ah well, trial and error is the only way to perfect these things…and at least I had some fun.

• I took Coach’s advice to train if I felt up to it, but to rest if I didn’t. I decided that a rest was really in order.

• I saw my doctor and had an annoying spot on my forehead frozen (bye-bye Fugly!). Oh, and I got a thorough check-up re the belly pain too, of course. No diagnosis, but a couple of things to try, and she doesn’t think it’s anything dire. It’s probably one of those mystery things that will never be explained, but will disappear and not bother me again. Kind of what I already thought myself, but having a professional medical opinion confirm it – even a “probable” - lifts a load off my mind.

• I also received some lovely supportive messages from some very caring people via blog, Facebook, email and phone, and that was probably the best medicine I could ask for. So thank you, you’re all awesome!


As a result of all of the above, I’ve had a subtle but significant mindshift back to the positive side. Funny how just one or two little seemingly minor events can tip your equilibrium one way or the other.

It's all in the way you look at things. Same glass, same water level - but is it half-empty or half-full?

Where did it go?



My positivity has deserted me and I'm being assaulted on all sides by doubts. I'm reminding myself that a couple of weeks without a decent night's sleep will do that. So will living in constant pain.

Last night ended with me in tears when all I wanted was to go to bed and sleeeeeep, but my stupid nose and stupid gut both turned traitor on me. Ha! Think you're gonna sleep? No sleep for YOU!

The fact that my weight is up way beyond where it ought to be for this point in my prep was playing on my mind, training for today was once again looking like a bust and I'd had no dinner because I was afraid to introduce any kind of food into my dodgy digestive system.

A few comforting words from Bike Boy plus some drugs and a feed of raisin toast, and I was feeling a bit better. I took a few minor precautions and actually managed to sleep undisturbed for almost eight hours. So I have a bit of a stiff neck from the extra pillows, but I can live with that.

The sleep has helped, but the doubts are still hanging around. I'm not making any hasty decisions yet, but time is running out here.... Seems I have some thinking to do.

No time for that today though, I have to finish this paperwork and get my butt to the tax agent this morning.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hey! I'm not here for entertainment value, you know



Sometimes I think that there's a group of sick and twisted higher beings who control things. They like to watch us struggle and squirm, and every time things are going along nice and cruisy and we get a bit cocky, BAM! they pull the rug out from under us. Then they stand around pointing and having a good old side-splitting laugh at us as we lay flat on the floor, gasping.

After a really tough week of suffering constant pain and enduring terrible sleep, I was congratulating myself on doing so well in the training and nutrition department. I'd managed to withstand numerous onslaughts from my inner crazies who apparently thought I should just lie around and eat crap instead of getting on with my comp prep. Of course, that old saying about pride and a fall always seems to come true...

Saturday I had a very disorganised and busy day, and was particularly sleep-deprived after being woken eleventy-thousand times during the night. I overslept, had no time for food prep, no time for a catch-up nap and not really any time for ME. The result - unsurprisingly - was that my "beast" got even more persuasive and there was a fairly ugly scene late in the evening involving a large amount of chocolate.

I'm a bit sick of re-learning this particular lesson over and over. *sigh*

It's disappointing when you fail to live up to your own expectations, but sitting around wallowing never helps, so I moved on. Yesterday I got up and hit the spin bike, doing a particularly long and intense hill workout. I ate well, I organised all my food for today and at some point I discovered that my pain had finally gone. Yay! I was feeling cautiously optimistic. Bad move...

This morning the inevitable weight spike is subsiding, but unfortunately the pain is back. Dammit. I had to cut this morning's cardio session short because of it. There's zero chance of being able to finish it off tonight, because I have a weights workout to do then. Plus get dinner for the kids and myself, since Bike Boy won't be home till late. God, I detest Mondays. *grumble*

As for the higher beings.... I'd really like to get hold of whomever's running this show, because quite honestly, I think their management methods leave a lot to be desired. I think a shake-up of the board of directors is in order.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sometimes you have to listen

Well, something is going right...today I'm feeling lean and mean.

Could be because I had a great workout this morning (in spite of the minus-two reading on the mercury). Could be because I had a decent night's sleep. Then again it might be thanks to the apricot slice and the souvlaki I ate yesterday. :p

Yesterday I was extra-tired. Then I went out at lunchtime to get a few things from the supermarket. I staggered back to the office (which is only maybe 300m or so), carrying something like 8kg of groceries. No biggie on any normal day. I got to the fire stairs, which I always use to go up and down the two floors to my desk, and I knew there was no way I was walking up there. So I took the lift.

At 3:00pm I went back downstairs to pick up my dry cleaning, and I felt as though I was moving in slow motion. It was like trying to walk through thick mud. Once again I took the lift up to my floor. My brain wouldn't focus either, I kept losing the thread of what I was writing - and it's not like I was trying to do anything complicated, just a simple admin task. Hmm.

This was one of those times when I really DID have to listen to my body. A sugary apricot slice and a strong black coffee helped. So did a fresh white pita with my dinner.

Today I'm all carbed-up and feeling bulletproof. If I owned a tank top with a superhero "S" on the front, I'd have worn it to the gym. I had to settle for my LJ Try and stop me tank instead.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I can, I will


Following on from yesterday’s post, I spent a good chunk of the day reflecting on why I do what I do. I kept a sheet of paper next to me all day and scribbled notes on what I was thinking at various times when my mind wasn’t occupied with a myriad of pointless important tasks.

I had a few conversations with the lazier, less focused, more negative me and this is the result of my self-interview
:

Q. Why does it matter if you skip a day of training or good nutrition? A missed day doesn’t really make a big-picture difference, so why exhaust yourself when you’re already tired; push yourself hard when you’d rather be lying on the couch with a bag of Pods? Anyway, you can always start over tomorrow.

A. It matters, dumb-arse, because life is made up of single days, individual hours and minutes. And what we do with those days, hours and minutes has a cumulative effect. To a large degree, becoming a better athlete (or human for that matter) comes down to building habits. The more you do something, the more it becomes part of who you are, and the easier it is to stick with it.

Starting over is never a good idea. If you’re always starting over, then you’re never finishing anything. You miss out on the sense of achievement and pride that comes with completing something important. It’s not always the results that matter – finishing the journey against all odds can mean far more than any prize for outstanding results.

Besides, it’s about living up to your principles. You know - the values that are at the centre of who you are and what you stand for. And if you just crumble every time there’s a minor problem, then how on earth are you ever going to get anywhere?

Q. But surely, if you really don’t feel like it, you should listen to your body…?

A. There’s something to be said for listening to your body, yes. If you’re sick or injured, then you have to be sensible and take time out from training, or work around the injury, whatever’s required. If you’re seriously under-eating, then cravings or hunger are probably happening for good reason. But the “listen to your body” line gets trotted out as an excuse way too often. Sometimes our bodies lie. Outrageously....

I quite often don’t want to train. I quite often want to eat pizza, washed down with wine and followed by large amounts of chocolate. Does that mean that I should? Sometimes, you have to draw on your inner strength and tell the voice that’s whispering in your ear to get lost. Then you just do it, as the slogan goes. Do your training, eat your veggies…. whatever it is that you’re not feeling like doing, just get it done. What I feel like is irrelevant.

Honouring the promises I’ve made to myself is important to me. If I’ve set a goal and committed to a plan of action, then sticking to that matters, the same as if I’d made a promise to family, friends or work colleagues. At the end of the day I want to feel proud of myself and satisfied that I’ve done my best and achieved some worthwhile things. I want to know that I've been true to myself.

Q. So how do you get through these times when everything sucks? What keeps you going? Not the numbers on the scale, that’s for sure.

I remind myself that I’ve been through tough times before, and that bad days always pass eventually. In the meantime I aim to focus on actions, not outcomes. That means that I put my head down, fuel my body with what it needs, get through my workouts and have faith that very soon I will find the joy in the process once again. It might be a day, a week or longer, but I never doubt that it will happen.

As well, based on past experience, I have a strong belief in myself and my ability to complete what I set out to do. It’s not blind faith, it’s the knowledge that if I train, eat and sleep as per my plan, the results will happen. Those things I can control – fat loss will just follow.

I also try to work on some positive thinking, which means that first-up, I do a bit of thought-editing, removing can’t from my vocabulary and replacing it with can and will. That’s usually enough to scare off the negative monsters that live within.

Hey. Where’d you go…?

OK. I guess we’re done here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Handy household hint #32

If you burn your dinner, just call it Cajun and pretend you made it all black on purpose.

Not listening!!



This morning I have my fingers firmly shoved in my ears and am making lots of la-la-la! noises in an attempt to drown out the sound of some of the inmates of my headspace, who are being a bit vocal. You know, the ones I don't really like. The less sane and rational ones.

Ugh. It's way too early for this crap.

I stupidly went to bed a bit too late last night, so wasn't all that keen on waking when the alarm went off. Tired and a bit ground down by this annoying pain ....not a good way to start the day.

Then I headed into the bathroom and stepped on the scales. After a couple of days of heading downwards, suddenly weight is inexplicably UP 300g since yesterday. Straight away the negative voices kicked in, all with the same Less than ten weeks to go. You'll never make it theme. My already low mood sank even further.

I got dressed anyway and got myself on the spin bike. Five minutes in, it got hard, and I'm not talking about my legs and lungs. I had to argue with myself - out loud a few times - to stay on the bike. I wasn't enjoying it, I don't really like cardio anyway. I was tired. I was struggling to hit my usual high points. And anyway, what's the point because I'm not going to make it.

How do you beat your own negative side? Today, none of my usual tricks were working, so I focused on how bad I would feel if I quit partway through, as opposed to how good I'd feel to finish, even if it wasn't my best ever effort.

Am I a quitter? Hell, no!

I got through it, and I'm choosing to ignore the voices, whatever they tell me today. I'm up for an all-out fight if they want to make something of it...

Bring it on! I feel like a good old-fashioned smackdown!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Want it!

On the up and up



Today I'm celebrating the small wins. Things are improving, but as usual I'm impatient for everything to be GREAT. Right now, thanks. So I'm taking a moment to recognise what I have or WILL achieve today.

1. I got enough sleep last night. Uninterrupted too. Hallelujah.

2. My weights workout was a top effort.

3. I've reduced the mountain of washing that was piled up in the laundry and tidied the house a bit. THAT was getting me down....

4. In spite of not feeling my best, I'm still eating well and have not succumbed to the persuasive subconscious voice that tries to lead me astray.

5. Weight has dropped a little more, and I'm sure I'll be back at my previous low point in a day or two.

6. I'm about to go throw something delicious into the slow cooker for tonight's dinner.

7. I'm wearing clothes that looked awful on me just a few weeks ago, and feeling GOOD. :o)

8. The pain in my side may not have gone, but it's diminished to an annoying niggle. I can deal with that.

9. It's mid-winter and I don't need the heating on today. :o)

10. I'm going to find some time today to give myself a bit of much-needed pampering. I've been feeling really fugly the last few days. Time to send the fug into exile!


Better go get things happening in the kitchen!

Recipe alert!

I came up with this on Sunday, when I was sick, miserable and out of bananas. I give you the Paleo Pancake Mk II:



I also invented a pineapple-passionfruit parfait last night, but being extremely impatient, I didn't wait for the pudding to set a bit before layering it up, so it doesn't have that attractive layered effect that a good parfait should. I'll work on it and try it again in a couple of weeks.

(It's sooooo not Paleo. Shh....)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Reaching up



I woke up at 5:30 this morning, rolled over and was not pleased to discover that the gut pain is still with me. Huh. At least I slept well. And it's eased off to a really irritating niggle, like a pin sticking in my side, instead of the feeling that someone's tying my intestines in knots.

I briefly thought about staying in bed, but having missed training yesterday, my conscience wasn't about to let me off the hook today. So I was up and on the spin bike at 5:45 for a rather long session. I'm glad I made the effort now.

I also had no food packed for today, since I spent all day yesterday in my PJs doing nothing. A quick forage in the fridge, freezer and fruit bowl though, and I have the following all ready:

- Cottage cheese, banana and walnuts.
- Grilled chicken (a bit measly on the portion size, but it'll do), half a bunch of asparagus and an individual pack of frozen mixed veggies.
- Fruit salad - orange, apple and blueberries.

I'll upsize my protein a bit at dinner, and that should see me right on target.

Weight is down a bit, and I expect that to continue over the next few days. I'm still not happy about where I'm sitting, but I've done everything I can do, so there's no point griping about it. I'm stomping on any negative thoughts that pop into my head (the ones like OMG, only 10 more weeks and you're nowhere near where you should beeeeee!!), because those never do me any good....

I'm feeling a bit low on energy, even for a Monday morning, but I know this will pass. An early night or two and staying on track with nutrition and training should see me in a better position and feeling a lot better by the end of the week.

The only way out of here is UP, and that's where I'm going.


A man is but the product of his thoughts - what he thinks, he becomes.
- Mahatma Ghandi

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bad days happen

I'm not on speaking terms with my digestive system at the moment. All last night and this morning, it's felt like somebody has a voodoo doll Kek and is sticking a knife in its side. And then giving it a twist for extra evil laughs. Training isn't looking good for today, unless a miraculous improvement happens, pronto.

On top of all that, the scales have taken an upward turn these past two days, in spite of sticking to my plan like glue. I'm thinking that a bad case of DOMS and some extra salt are probably responsible, but I'm not thrilled about a gain of 800g in two days. Especially since that puts me in an impossible position for meeting the goal I was aiming for tomorrow.

Consequently I'm a bit down in the dumps today.

There's a tiny little voice whispering in my head, telling me that because I feel bad I "need" a treat to cheer me up. And that because my weight is up anyway, it won't matter. Some ice cream would be nice... I could take The Baby out - he loves to go out with Mum for a sit-down ice cream or cake session. Maybe a few wines with dinner tonight too. Or just some raisin toast with peanut butter. And a side of wallowing with that, thanks.

But the rational me knows that none of that will help - there will be a temporary sense of pleasure, but inevitably disappointment and a sense of failure will follow. Also, further weight gain, which is self-defeating, really.

So instead I'm choosing to remember how good I felt last night in my favourite tight-fitting size 8 black pants; to remind myself that the weight gain is only fluid and will reverse in a few days; to just take some damn pain relief drugs for now and look forward to feeling better tomorrow; and to take pleasure in small things. Like being able to sit in the sunshine, drink tea and read a book.

Bad days happen to everyone, sometimes a string of them at once. I don't always succeed at staying strong, but even when I stumble, I always get back up eventually and begin moving forward again. And that's the "secret" to success. It's easy to assume that successful people have had an easy path. Or that they have some superhuman ability to smash through obstacles that would defeat most others.

The truth is that the road to success is never linear. It goes up and down and sometimes does weird zig-zags and U-turns. There are steep climbs and rattly old decrepit bridges along the way. Occasionally there's a roadblock that stops you for a while. But as long as you don't let those things become permanent deterrents, success will eventually be yours.

So the whispering beast can just take that ice cream and shove it. I may decide to take a detour to Treatsville later in the week, but for now, I have my personal GPS firmly locked onto my original destination, thanks.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Signs



I went outdoors for a run today (well, run/walk intervals, but don't lets get technical here) and the pants-hitching was still going on. And I was wearing a smaller pair of pants than yesterday's. I'd better ferret through the wardrobe and find my even smaller sizes. I know I have a few pairs of LJ pants in size tiny somewhere...

Also? My abs have made a reappearance. Thank goodness for that. I was beginning to think they'd maybe packed up and emigrated to Mexico or something.

Then there's the case of the disappearing cleavage. The less said about that, the better. Moving on...

And of course, the scales are showing lower numbers consistently now. Plus the spouse-ometer is always an accurate gauge of leanness. HE notices small differences even when I can't see them. Even The Baby hugged me last night and told me I feel like a stick-Mum. I think that was a compliment...

I'm feeling pretty good about myself - happy with where I'm at, even. I like what I see in the mirror. I like how my clothes fit (except for the falling-down workout pants). I like how I feel.

Somebody remind me of this when I get back to this point post-comp and I'm feeling FAT, please?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Question

If you find that you're constantly having to hitch your pants up during your insane cardio workout, does that mean:

a) that you shouldn't do burpees? or

b) that you need smaller pants?


Personally, I'm leaning towards a)

Is it still winter?

Because it's mighty hot in here.

Oh...that would be thanks to the totally BADASS cardio session I just did. My legs may function again eventually, but I'm not making any predictions on that front.

A paleo pancake with raspberry coulis (thanks for the idea, Liz!) and chopped walnuts is just the thing to aid recovery.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sucking it up



Weight took a bit of a hike over the weekend, which wasn't exactly unexpected. Not that I went nuts, but a few of the competitors lollies may have made their way into my mouth on Saturday. And I did have toast with my eggs-n-veggies at lunch, plus a few extra calories over the day. Given that my day began at 5:30am and I staggered into bed at 2:00am, it wasn't an inappropriate amount of food though. I also had a lovely treat of two magnificent Koko Black truffles on Sunday night, and the day included a couple of not-quite Paleo meals while we were out and about in the city. Still good choices though, and within my calorie limit, but a bit of extra starch makes a difference.

Add to that the fact that I simply didn't get time to drink as much water as usual on Saturday, and I was carrying a bit of fluid by Monday morning. Apparently about 600g worth. I was not pleased to see 57.5 staring back at me. *sigh*

Time is ticking away and I need to push my weight down, down, down. I'm well and truly back on the Paleo wagon and weighing practically every morsel of food I eat as well, as there is no room for error here. And Liz has set me a goal of being sub-56 by Monday. Eeeek!

Consequently, cardio has been stepped up a notch. Several notches, actually. Hence my she's trying to kill meeee! comment the other day. ;o)

So this morning when I was woken at 3:15am by my very insistent bladder demanding to be emptied, I was half grumpy and half Yay, there's evidence of more fluid disappearing! However, I did not enjoy the part where I went back to bed and lay there wide awake until almost 5:00am. Grrr!

Imagine how thrilled I felt when the alarm went off at 5:30. I didn't even consider not getting up though. I'm on a blubber-busting mission here!

So today I've ticked all the boxes: Weights done. (Seriously nasty) cardio done. Nutrition - couldn't be better. I even went back to bed for three lovely hours this morning.

As for the scales? Today they've finally decided to come to the party with a nice 800g overnight drop, which puts me at 56.7. Another 800g to shed by Monday? Pfft, I can do that.

I'm still tired, I'm sore everywhere and I have my moments when I'd really love to just open the fridge and eat whatever's there, without all the preparation. But there's no time to play the precious princess, so I'm sucking it up.

Tick-tock, tick-tock.

My plan for world domination

My mission in life is now to introduce the entire world to the joys of the Paleo pancake. Those who doubt the tasty goodness of this piece of caveman cuisine* need only try a bite to be converted. Just ask Liz, who didn't reeeally believe that something so simple could be so delish. Until she took a bite.

Even cold, they're pretty sensational. Served warm, they're divine.



I'm planning on having one of these every day for the foreseeable future. That involves going through a scary amount of eggs ...maybe I should think about keeping chooks?



*So perhaps cavemen didn't exactly have electric mixers, but I'm not actually planning to go live in a cave, so you'll have to allow me some 21st century improvements.

How much is a cavewoman-sized serve of veggies?

Half a cup? One of those little 150g individual bags of frozen veg? Ha! Not in my world....

Yesterday wasn't one of my best efforts - sometimes I manage to squeeze veg into breakfast and/or snacks. But it wasn't too shabby. This was lunch:

150g of chicken, 150g mashed pumpkin and a mountain of stir-fried red cabbage, red and green capsicum, onion and some garlic.



And dinner:

100g of salmon with almost half a family-sized bag of frozen mixed stir-fry veg and a bunch of fresh baby bok choy.



A small pile of peas and corn, or three little florets of broccoli looking a bit forlorn on the side of the plate? Pfft. That's what's known as "man-veggies" in our house.

I can be a bit slack at times, but Paleo is forcing me to shovel in those veggies, since that's where a big chunk of my carbohydrate has to come from. It's suprisingly easy, really.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Q & A

FlowerGirl asked a comp question yesterday: why does everyone get such a dark tan? a light tan looks just as lovely..is it because of cellulite??

The tan shows up muscle definition, and under the strong stage lighting, a light tan would be useless. Competitors who don't use a dark enough tanning product look pale and pasty next to everyone else. This is one case where more definitely is better.

It's certainly not to disguise cellulite - hopefully by the time the girls get to the stage, there isn't any of that left.... It does cover stretch marks and scars pretty well though.

Big week ahead

Phew. After a hectic, exhausting, but fun weekend, it's back to normal for me. Which means chilling and kicking back, right? Oh wait. No, it means braving the chilly temperatures at 5:30am and kicking my own butt every day with training. Close. Oh well, there'll be plenty of time to rest in October.

Yesterday I tested out my other new Spinervals title: Aerobase Builder VI. ONE HOUR of aerobic work on the ol' spin bike. Mmm, my favourite... *snort* It was actually a great workout, and although my mind did wander a few times, the hour flew by.

Today, it was legs first up. My bum is definitely feeling the lerve.... I still have to do cardio, but I'll be stuck here for a bit, waiting for a parcel delivery for my eBay-addicted spouse. Yes, more bike parts. *rolls eyes* It better come early, I do NOT want to be facing a cardio session at 5:00pm.

Last night I got my training schedule for the week and it's official: Coach is definitely trying to kill me this time. I swear, I had nightmares last night about weird transformer-type elliptical and treadmill critters chasing me down. Looks like I'm going to need some seriously early nights if I'm going to survive.

Right now I'm off to plan today's menu. The pumpkin last night was just the thing to tame the old Hungry Hippo. Think I might have it again today, just to keep him at bay - perhaps just good old mashed pumpkin this time.

*Smacks the hippo right in the chops with a giant pumpkin* Yeah, take THAT, Tubby!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Recipe alert!

I needed a Paleo-friendly accompaniment for our chicken balti tonight. Rice is fine for Bike Boy, but not for this little black duck.

So I came up with a tasty veggie alternative: warm pumpkin and green bean salad. Easy, too!

Behind the scenes

The figure girls onstage make it all look so easy, but quite apart from the weeks of training, tracking food, monitoring weight and measurements and practising posing, a lot goes on behind the scenes on the day. You don't just show up looking all glam, unfortunately - it takes some serious work.

You start off looking a bit odd, with weird dark orange skin everywhere except your face. The tanning process necessitates wearing nothing but black clothing - unless you want everything to have nasty brown-orange stains. You also need plenty of layers, because with not much fat on you and not a lot of carbs in your system, you're going to be COLD (and yeah, welcome to Melbourne, Queensland girls - winter is FUN).



Then it's off early to the hairdresser, to start the glamourising process.



Remember to take your food. Cold chicken and sweet potato: Mmm-mmm! By this stage ANY food tastes fantastic. Note: Do NOT drop your last bite of chicken on the hair-covered floor.



Ta-dah! The look is coming together.....



After arriving at the venue and getting through registration, it's time for makeup.


A helper with half a clue about this stuff is very handy. Don't look at me, I'm useless....although I can attach a false eyelash now without glueing eyelids together. Go, me!



Then you get naked and stand in the cold dressing room (where a steady stream of people keep opening the door and letting a freezing cold draught in), while your helpers apply cold Dream Tan. At least the slapping gets your circulation going.



Don't let your lack of clothes or Coach's tanning efforts stop you from getting those lollies, though! Sugar laid on free - and it's legal!



And remember to scoff a couple of rice cakes with honey. Don't forget to pack your wet wipes, that stuff is sticky. If your rice cake crumbles and falls on the floor, the two-second rule most definitely applies!



Then it's time to suit up and practice some poses. Shannon:



Selina:



Casey:



And pause for some quick photo ops for the annoying slapper who keeps thrusting a camera in your face...



Make sure you schmooze up to the coach...



Then get those free sponsor's outfits on for a quick shot.



If you're smart, you keep your toes warm....



FINALLY, it's time to hit the stage and strut your stuff.







To the victors belong the spoils!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

2009 INBA All Female Classic



3rd place Figure Intermediate


CONGRATULATIONS, SELINA!!

Oustanding job, girl - you looked awesome and performed like a pro.

Congrats to Shannon for taking first place, and to Casey, who did a brilliant job in her first appearance in Figure Novice. And of course, to Liz - nice work, Coach, all the girls did you proud.

I'll post more photos when I have time. This afternoon, I have to help Selina celebrate. ;o)



P.S. I have 300 photos, including quite a number of the other competitors, so if any of the girls are reading and would like copies, just email me.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Today's the day!

We'll be heading off in about an hour - first stop: hairdresser, then registration at the venue. There are a few things to do before we go - more tanning, pack food (all prepared last night), check off everything from the multiple lists - but we're well organised.

Selina's looking good, but she still has the remnants of her cold, I know she's a bit tired and she's at that "I wish it was all over" stage, the poor little sausage.

Can't wait for the start of the show, that'll get the adrenalin pumping again.

If I could only get that Facebook/phone thing working, I'd post live updates, but my computer and/or phone don't seem to want to co-operate. :o( You'll just have to be patient and wait for the results later tonight.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Uh-oh



I don't know what's up with me, but today has been a Hungry Hippo day. I woke up starving, and couldn't think of anything but my breakfast throughout my leg workout - in fact, I swear my growling stomach was drowning out my ipod.

Every two hours, it's been like an alarm goes off - in my stomach. I've restrained myself and stuck to my planned meals so far, but it's not quite 2:00pm and less than an hour and a half since lunch, and I'm already looking for more. And I only have two meals left.

I hope this means I'm burning calories like a raging furnace.

I'd better eat something before I head to the airport. If we get to the shops and I'm this hungry, I won't be responsible for what eventuates. I'm just saying.