Saturday, July 31, 2010

Made it!



Making that goddamn skirt was a major drama and in the end I'm not 100% happy with it, but whatevs.... It'll have to do.

I love what my hairdresser did though - she's a freaking genius!

Testing, testing...

Today I tested a few more foods, including....



My preference is always for the 85%, but Priceline had the 35g bars on special, and this was the darkest they had.

So far, so good. I'll be testing dairy in a couple of days, grains will be waiting a bit longer. Those, I have my doubts about but I'm open-minded - I could be totally on the wrong track.

*yawn* I'm getting bored with this blog theme. What I ate today is always way too dull day in, day out. Lazy, lazy blogging. And Tales from my intestines isn't exactly the sort of thing you want to read over your morning cereal and coffee. I'll have to make an effort to come up with something more interesting.

Maybe a report on Cinders' glamming-up efforts might be forthcoming over the weekend. I need to go visit my fairy godmother this morning first though.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The spice of life

Who knew you could get so excited over a simple pork steak? Or some sauteed onion? Or a couple of eggs?

Those were today's tested foods, along with an apple. And I had no noticable reaction. Phew. Although maybe I should wait for the onion to work its way through my digestive system a bit more before I start celebrating... I'm loving having (a little) variety back in my meals.

Tomorrow's lot will be chicken (safe, I'm sure), mushrooms, walnuts and green tea. I'm soooo looking foward to that cuppa!

I'm obviously a sad, sad caffeine addict. Twice this week I've stepped into the gourmet tea and coffee shop opposite the supermarket and just stood there inhaling. I don't think the staff noticed. :)

Finally! Elimination - Day 6

The last day was a bit of a breeze, really. Apart from being a bit bored with my food, there were no other issues. Weight dropped another 300g from the previous day though. Hmm.

No headache, and the only aches and pains I had were my neck, which has been plagueing me for a few weeks now, and the old tennis elbow. Thank goodness it's physio day today. I cheated slightly and had smoked salmon for breakfast (hey, it's only salmon and salt) with some sweet potato. Lunch was Atlantic salmon with the usual veg and I almost forgot to eat my pear before I left work, I was so not hungry. Dinner was lamb and veg again. I do love lamb, but I'm looking forward to having something different today.

Starting today, I'm adding three or four foods back into my meals each day, aiming for mainly those that are unlikely to be a problem, with one that I think might be. I'm keeping a journal, listing my food and noting how I feel, to see if I can spot a connection.



As for the ball gown progress, I think I need one of these at the moment:

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Elimination - Day 5

Nearly there. Hurrah!

Day 5 brought a much-reduced headache. In fact it was nothing more than a minor annoyance, and I managed to ignore it all morning before it finally disappeared mid-afternoon.

I can't say I had a great sleep, but that was due to the insane DOMS in my legs and glutes. Plus it was bloody freezing! I woke up at 3:30am to go to the loo, and in spite of being dressed in velour pants, camisole, hoodie and fluffy bedsocks, I had to add an extra blanket to the bed to feel warm enough.

There was no hunger to speak of, and nothing else to report, really. Oh, except that weight stabilised, so I think I've jettisoned all the excess fluid now. Maybe I can sleep all night now?

Last day today.... well, last day of the "clearing" phase, anyway. Then I have to get through the "testing" phase, gradually reintroducing foods, but I've worked out that I ought to be able to do that in under two weeks.

Based on the withdrawal symptoms I've suffered, it seems that there are some foods that I need to avoid. I'm interested (and just a bit apprehensive) to find out what they are.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Putting the pressure on

I'm going to a ball on Saturday. I've known about it for some time, but somehow overlooked the fact that I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR. Since I'm being all frugal at the moment, I really don't want to go out and spend hundreds on something that will most likely hang in the wardrobe until it goes out of fashion. So, being a total procrastinator, I decided on Sunday that I'd make something.

Good plan. I spent all day Sunday playing giant Lego with my new IKEA purchases, I'm working all week, I have a client program to write, and I'm going to make a BALL GOWN???

It's not as insane as it sounds. Some years back, I made a gorgeous two-piece outfit, and the style was classic. I rummaged around in suitcases and finally found it. The top is a pale gold brocade, and the skirt cream delustred satin. I actually wore it to this same corporate ball, about ten years ago. I know it's been a long time, but I don't want to turn up in the same thing, and I really think the cream looks a bit bridal anyway.

I tried on the top and it fits, so I only need to make a new skirt to go with it. Pfft. Easy. I grabbed three metres of teal satin, a zip and matching thread from Spotlight on my way home from IKEA on Sunday ...and that's as far as it's got. Luckily I already have gold shoes, handbag and a gold satin wrap, so no panic shopping is necessary.

I do set myself some ridiculous goals sometimes. Stay tuned to find out if Cinderella ends up going to the ball in a brocade top and jeans....



P.S. The original dress cost me $9. The fabric was leftover from a wedding and bridesmaids' dresses my Mum had made, so all I had to buy was a zip and a button. Oh - and the pattern, forget what that cost now. This one's cost me about $35. Still not bad.

Elimination - Day 4



I woke up without the alarm and feeling completely rested. There was no sign of the headache and I thought: Phew. That's over. Nuh-uh. On my drive to work, it resurfaced, and by the time I got to my desk it was bad enough to require some pharmaceutical assistance.

The hunger has definitely subsided; thank goodness for small mercies. Breakfast was fish and sweet potato, lunch leftover roast lamb and veg, a pear was enough for my afternoon snack, and I cooked up some more lamb and veg for dinner.

I also had a nasty case of DOMS in my glutes, traps, rear delts and some other muscles down the middle of my back (I never was good at anatomy). The result of a tough workout? Nope - it was all from my IKEA shopping and assembly. Ha!

Weight's still dropping, no doubt due to the low calorie consumption. I'm not trying to under-eat, I just: a) can't be bothered cooking; and b) get very sick of the same old thing all the time. I really do love variety in my meals.

One thing that I'm supremely grateful for is the deep and satisfying sleep I'm getting. That's been the case since I decaffed myself. And I thought I didn't have a problem with caffeine.... I can't remember the last time I felt like this - waking in the morning feeling rested, or getting through a boring afternoon at work without struggling to keep my eyes open. The difference is amazing (and some of the dreams have been hilarious).

I really do feel like I've been visited by the sleep fairy.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Elimination - Day 3

Headache: Still there, but well and truly faded.
Hunger: Not so bad.
Tiredness: So-so, but I slept solidly again and woke up feeling well rested.
New symptoms: Muscle soreness. Um ...from what? I've done nothing.

I'm sure the nasties really are subsiding, but I managed to seriously distract myself from them with a trip to IKEA. I've hatched a plan to (finally) finish furnishing and decorating the house with the minimum of expense, and IKEA figures pretty heavily in it. Bike Boy hates the place with a passion, because he really doesn't do crowds. Or queues. So it was a solo expedition; fine with me.

I drove there in record time (gotta love Sunday morning traffic), got a carpark right near the entrance and armed with my shopping list, executed my plan with military precision. I was only mildly distracted by the goodies in the market hall, and had my trolley loaded with flatpack boxes and was through the register in no time. Loading everything into my little hatchback was a breeze (love the Jazz's magic seats!), and I was back home in plenty of time to start the assembly.

The distraction plan worked like a charm. In fact, I kept myself so busy with screwdrivers and alan keys all afternoon that I forgot to have lunch. Oops.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Elimination - Day 2



Yesterday started with lamb and veggies for breakfast. A bit odd, but it seemed to keep me going. I had planned to have fish for lunch, but simply couldn't be bothered, so I grabbed some pre-made veggie patties out of the fridge instead. I also had a pear as a snack, and that was it till dinner time. I was starving, but just couldn't make the effort to eat.

Dinner was the best meal I'd eaten in two days. Bike Boy picked up a boneless leg of lamb from the butcher and chucked it in our new Scanpan roasting pan, along with chunks of sweet potato, parsnip, carrot and zucchini. The veggies cooked up beautifully in the little bit of fat from the lamb. Heaven!

The headache still hung around, so did the tiredness, and I had to put myself to bed in the afternoon for a two-hour nap. I also got through four litres of water, which is quite a lot for the middle of winter.

Once again I slept like a log - apart from the obligatory 1:15am trip to the loo. Fluid loss has gone a bit nuts, as expected. I'm down 1.2kg in two days.

I barely even glanced at the coffee machine this morning. Maybe the craving is disappearing...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Elimination - Day 1

I can sum up yesterday in one word: AARGH!

I was warned about the likelihood of nasty side effects, but still smugly thought this six-day restricted diet thing would be reasonably easy. After all, I like all of the foods I'm allowed, and I'm quite used to eating meals that consist mostly of meat or fish with veggies.

Um, did I say easy?

I suffered from gnawing hunger most of the day, even though I ate large portions. The worst part by far was the crashing headache that set in around 10:00am. I resorted to Panadol, but that barely touched the pain. And even though I drank my usual quota of water, I found myself incredibly thirsty from late in the afternoon. I was also ridiculously tired, and would have given anything to just curl up in bed after lunch. Unfortunately, I had a couple of appointments and some errands to run, so that didn't happen.

By the end of the day, I'd lost all interest in food and just wanted the headache to stop. I managed to plough through this lot, though:

Breakfast: a pear
Lunch: a small lamb steak with a couple of large patties made from mashed sweet potato, grated carrot, zucchini and parsnip.
Afternoon snack: another veggie patty
Dinner: Steamed fish with a cup of mashed sweet potato and another pear

I spent the evening on the couch in my pjs with a couple of blankets and some episodes of Burn Notice. It's always good to watch something you don't have to think too hard about when you're feeling blah.

I suspect the headache is mainly due to having cut out my single daily coffee. From recent experience, I'm pretty confident that will disappear by Day 3.

On the plus side, I slept for an uninterrupted 8+ hours and I've dropped a heap of fluid. That always makes me feel better.

This morning I decided to get over my dislike of non-traditional brekky foods, and made myself this:



I'm hoping that the protein will keep me satisfied for longer, dialling down the rampaging hunger a bit. We'll see...

D-Day

Today is Day 1 of my elimination diet.

Observation #1: No coffee first thing (not even decaf) sucks.

Observation #2: I do not like fish or meat and veggies for my breakfast.

I don't mind going low-starch at times, but come on! Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, and how can it be any fun at all if it consists of a pear and water? Hmmph.

Yesterday I attempted to list all the foods I eat regularly, plus as many as I could think of that I have occasionally. I thought it was a good idea, since I have to add my usual foods back into my meals gradually - and if I don't have a list to work from, it might be tricky to keep track. Do you have any idea how hard it is to list all the foods you eat?

I must have become a bit obsessed about it, because as I was lying in bed last night, drifting off to sleep, I suddenly thought: PINEAPPLE! And CANTALOUPE! And what about HAZELNUTS? Then I lay there doing a mental inventory of the pantry and fridge. Aargh!

I may need some serious distraction this weekend. Perhaps a mega-shopping trip is in order.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Saved

Yesterday started badly, with the pounding headache and lack of sleep. Then I was ten minutes late leaving for work and hit all the school traffic, which meant I got to the office about 25 minutes later than usual. THEN, as I was unpacking my stuff, I discovered I'd left my glasses at home. I said a few rude words and wished I'd stayed in bed.

But thank goodness for the $2 Shop. I was saved by a pair of those cheap magnifying reading specs, and I could barely tell the difference between them and my $300 prescription glasses. Plus, they have a row of diamantes along each side.

I may be cheap, but I have style....

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

There's a man in my head. With a hammer.

My week so far has been rubbish. Bah!

I've developed some post-op thing that has me headachey, a bit dizzy and feeling a little hot and cold. I suspect a slight sinus infection. Grrr. This happens to me about 80% of the time after one of these procedures, so I'm not rushing off to the doctor - especially since I have an appointment on Friday anyway.

So training has been a big fat ZERO for me. Food's been brilliant though, and sleep is improving, so it's not all bad. The only activity I've been getting is rushing around the shops at lunchtime - I have a home decorating mission at the moment, and when I get an idea in my head, there is no stopping me....

I was going to post something about sugar and sweeteners, but can't seem to gather my thoughts together because of the pounding in my head. Oy. So that will have to wait.

Instead, you can go read Sara's post about the wonders of Vitamin C while I attempt to disarm the hammering guy inside my skull with some Panadol. Off you go.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Nothing much

Training this week will defintely be on the low-key side, due to my non-functioning schnoz. I find intense cardio difficult with a breathing handicap, and as you know, my weights workouts are already somewhat subdued.

There's the lack of sleep (due to the nose issues) to deal with too, so I'm cutting myself some slack. If all I manage for the next few days is a morning walk, I won't be feeling guilty.

Oh, last Thursday's physio session was a shocker. He gently poked at my right forearm and I almost jumped off the table. Then we had a repeat of the same behaviour when he attempted to assess my left shoulder. So he stuck a bloody great needle in each spot and went off and left me for a good ten minutes - which seemed like an hour. By that time, the pain from the needle in my right elbow was referring down to my wrist and I was extremely relieved when he came back into the room and pulled it out.

I'm expecting this week's session to be a bit less unpleasant. Fingers crossed.

Dull post today, but to quote Peter Cundall: That's yer lot for today!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Uh... OK, then.

It’s Friday night and we’re watching “Chaos” on DVD with the kids.

Me: Oh that’s Ryan Phillippe.

Bike Boy: Who?

Me: You know, he was married to... er... whatsername?

Bike Boy: No, that’s Jason Statham, remember – he was in "Snatch".

Me: *directs a withering look at Bike Boy* NO, I’m talking about Pretty Boy there. Ryan Phillippe. You know, he was married to ...um ...oh, what’s her name...?

The Middle Child: Maybe he was married to Shut Up And Watch The Movie?

Me: Reece Witherspoon, that’s who it was.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Clogged up and cranky



Yesterday I spent the afternoon in a backless hospital gown and a jaunty red paper hat, having another of my nasal cautery treatments. My surgeon tells he "spot-welded" six lesions and didn't even have any bleeding to deal with, so from his perspective it went perfectly. (It's also been fourteen months since my last procedure, so that puts me in the "lucky" category for this disease; some people go through this every six to eight weeks.) I had a nice deep sleep, got a sandwich and a cuppa afterwards and was home in time for dinner.

That was the easy part. This morning I feel as though my nose is seven times its normal size. It's also completely useless, since I can't breathe at all through it. And then there's the constant dripping, and the whole thing where I'm not allowed to blow it for several days. My lips hurt, my tongue hurts, and even my teeth hurt after breathing through my mouth all night.

Although this is all normal and I expected it, I absolutely loathe going through this recovery phase, and I reserve the right to whinge like an overtired two-year-old.

It's a good thing I caught up on all that sleep over the past week and a half, because I won't get a decent night's sleep now for at least a week. Blah.

Friday, July 16, 2010

What would you do?

You receive your end of semester school report and it's less than glowing, especially in the behaviour department. "Easily distracted", "Makes inappropriate comments", "has failed to complete all work", "Disruptive", "Homework tasks not handed in". Oh, crap.

It's the last day of term, with two weeks of holidays stretching ahead of you. You know that your parents' favourite punishment is withdrawal of computer privileges. Two weeks of holidays and no Facebook, no online games, no Youtube, no ipod downloads...?

Hmm, what does a 14 year old do? You "accidentally" leave the report in your locker of course. Phew. School holiday disaster averted.

He might be overly social, a bit cheeky and with a tendency to laziness, but nobody said he was lacking in smarts.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Decaffeinated

My caffeine levels have seriously decreased, and I'm coping quite well on a daily ration of one long black and a couple of green teas. Sleep's back on track, with a full week of unbroken sleep behind me now. I'm training daily, eating well and feeling calm, rational and ....something else that's been eluding me. What's this feeling again? Oh yes: Happy.

I've been wracking my brain to try to figure out just how much coffee I was drinking late last year because, hey - perhaps that's part of the cause of some of the problems I was suffering. Anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, irritability, lack of energy, inability to cope, mood swings and general misery are symptoms of stress and depression, but they're also symptoms of too much caffeine.

Even if it wasn't the underlying cause, I'm sure it was an aggravating factor. I can be a slow learner at times, but hopefully this particular lesson will stick.



Edit: I'm really hoping that my elimination diet pinpoints a couple of foods that I react to badly. You know, ones that make me cranky and slightly ill, and well... just a bit mental. Because then I figure that if I stay away from them, I can live a life of serene happiness. Only, please God - don't make one of them chocolate. OK?


I've been reading up on the effects of caffeine and have come across some info on caffeine allergy. It's fascinating stuff. Stay tuned for a future post on the subject.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Get moving!

Craig Harper has posted something this morning that struck a chord with me. If you're stuck in a place you really don't want to be, but really don't seem able to take that first step to pull yourself out of it, go read his ten suggestions for creating momentum.

This was my absolute favourite and pretty much describes what got me off my expanding butt exactly seven years ago:

Consider the cost of not changing. Visualise your life (or an aspect of your life) five years from now if you fail to take action. Ugly

Adventurous spirit



Bungy jumping, paragliding or white-water rafting may not be high on my list of must-do activities, but don't be fooled - I am a risk-taker.

Just yesterday, I grabbed the skim milk from the fridge and before pouring it on my porridge, squinted at the use-by date. Uh... 8th July? Hang on, today's the 13th. Hmm.

I unscrewed the top, sniffed the contents, shrugged and poured it into my bowl anyway. And here I am, still here to tell you about it.

Evel Knievel, eat your heart out.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Not the same thing

As I may have mentioned in passing, I can't stand atrocious spelling or poor grammar. I'm not talking about those infrequently-used words that you type and then think Um. That doesn't look right... I mean common, everyday words that so many people get wrong. Wrong spelling, wrong context, wrong tense, whatever.

You see a lot of it on blogs and forums - not everybody is a top-notch speller, and I suppose not everybody cares about it anyway. But I see more and more rubbish spelling and grammar on websites promoting professional services, and in magazines. Charlotte and I discussed this the other day, and she told me that when she reads a fitness magazine these days, she wants to put on her editor's hat, grab her sticky notes and make corrections everywhere. I understand exactly what she means.

Here's a tip for publishers: When you appoint someone as an editor, sure - maybe it's appropriate to choose someone who understands the subject matter, so that they can check the content of articles. But if they have zero skills in writing plain English, they're not likely to be capable of fully carrying out the editing part of the job, are they?

Anyway, back to the spelling nazi....

I don't really think that synonyms are all that difficult to sort out - these might sound the same, but they have different meanings:

Kerb/curb. You might curb your appetite, but you step over the kerb to get from the road to the footpath.
Rapt/wrapped. *sigh* You may be rapt in your man, but being wrapped in him sounds like a contortionist trick. Or a sex act.
Compliment/complement (tricky). You can pay someone a compliment on how well their shoes complement their outfit...
Their/they’re/there. I'm not even going to explain these. If you don't know the difference, you're beyond help.
Loose/lose – hell, they don’t even SOUND the same! One’s a long vowel sound, the other’s short. I have actually seen the phrase "loose weight" in a magazine. And the author wasn't talking about a bag of dumbbells.

There are plenty more, but you get the idea.

My pet hate at the moment is this: The French word "voila" is not spelt "Wallah". (How could it be? You pronounce the V sound).

I’m not trying to offend anyone, but this is like a festering abscess with me. You know: it’s a blessed relief when you just lance the thing and let it all out. I blame texting - it's made people lazy. Come on, if you're not using your tiny phone keypad, It isn't that much more effort to type "you" instead of "u".

Sometimes I just get my cranky on. I’ll be fifty at the end of the year – that must technically make me a crusty old crone, and surely it’s compulsory for crones to be cranky?

Any other spelling nazis out there? Hit me with your pet hates in the comments. Please.

Monday, July 12, 2010

That’s not an argument


I’ve had this post in the works for a week or so, and after reading Liz’s blog this morning, I was inspired to drag it out and polish it up. So here you go.

When it comes to nutrition plans and exercise programs, we can be really defensive of our pet programs, our favourites - which usually translates as: whatever you’re currently doing. It's common to have a gut reaction to any sniff of criticism, but what’s that actually about?

We shouldn’t be afraid to have an open and healthy discussion/argument about something we care about. ‘Tis so! ...‘Tis not! kind of arguments are unhelpful – and as the Monty Python boys would tell you: That’s not an argument, it’s just contradiction. But a rational conversation, where we argue the actual merits of one way vs another, backed up by evidence and not just emotion, is a whole other thing.

What often happens when people get defensive is that they see the question or comment as a criticism of them personally. We don’t like to be told that we’re wrong, after all, and if someone came up to you and shouted YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG, YOU MORON, well, you’d have a right to be miffed, because that’s just plain rude. ;) But concerned or curious comments or questions, posted with the intention of making us think about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, are a whole other thing.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve vehemently believed in something in the past, or alternatively, scoffed at it loudly, only to find myself a few years down the track doing a U-turn and eating my words. That’s usually because I’ve learned more about it, or about myself, and have been prepared to admit I was wrong. I call it evolution. On the flip side, if you’re not evolving, then what are you doing? Stagnating...? Interesting thought.

Think about this though: Just because something “works” doesn’t make it a good idea. I mean if we’re talking fat loss programs, starvation’s pretty effective... But if you’re seriously recommending THAT, you better get yourself to a shrink, quick smart.

There are certain basic scientific principles that have to be followed in both training and nutrition* – whether for weight loss or for performance or some other goal (I’m a big fan of science, and not so much of what Sara likes to call “ju-ju”). But there are literally hundreds of small variations you can make, within the boundaries of science and good sense. The really great thing about that is that pretty much everyone should be able to tweak things just a bit, to make it suit themselves.

Things like cutting out whole food groups is silly and unnecessary. Eating under 30g of carbs a day is …well, it’s crazy (and I suspect very, very difficult to achieve. I mean, what do you EAT? Protein and ...protein?). Eating only one real meal a day and swapping the others for a shake and a handful of pills, blah. What habit is that retraining again? Eating, perhaps? And I’ve yet to find any solid scientific evidence supporting things like food combining, or not drinking liquids with your meals or many other things I’ve read about people doing.

But adjusting the proportions of protein, carbohydrate and fat in your meals can be tailored to your own preferences, within reason. Going heavier on fruit and veggies and lighter on grains suits a lot of people. Cycling calories or your macronutrient ratios seems to be a favourite, and is quite OK – if you can be bothered. Count calories, or not... As long as it works for you, I see no problem with either. And of course there are many other ways to vary nutrition that aren’t harmful or just plain crazy.

Extreme programs scare me. Most are unsustainable and teach you nothing about how to change your nutrition habits for life. Many are ridiculous and some are downright dangerous. But exercising personal preferences within the guidelines of sane and scientifically sound principles is what it’s all about. One size does not fit all, because we each carry around a load of likes and dislikes, we live different lifestyles and have different goals. We’re also each in a different place in terms of size and metabolism, and those things need to be factored into any plan you adopt.

Just don’t decide to follow a particular path, based on the fact that others are doing it and it’s “working”. Ask yourself a few honest questions about it first. Will I enjoy doing this? Is it based on sound science? Will I learn something from it? Am I prepared to do this - or a modified version - pretty much forever? If the answers are predominantly NOs, then keep looking.

If it’s something you’re intending to do only temporarily to reach a goal – and I’m talking major overhaul here, not just reducing calories slightly or doing a few Paleo days as part of a bigger plan – then rethink it. That right there is what’s known as going on a DIET. So what’s going to happen when you go OFF your diet? Remind me to ask Sara to blog about some of the scarier diet studies she’s been reading in her uni course ...it’ll give you nightmares.

At the very least, take a look at the people who’ve done this diet before you, the ones who are now finished with it. How have they coped? If they sailed on into a lifetime of balanced nutrition and emotional harmony, great. I bet though, that post-diet, most of them battled with bingeing, weight gain, emotional distress and worse. And trust me, you do not want to go there.

So before you let your gut reaction dictate your response to a comment from a concerned bystander, stop and take some time out. Try to put aside the emotion and think clearly about what's been said before responding. It's OK to disagree, but be sure that you know why you're disagreeing.

Come on, let's see some rational argument.



*I’m sticking to nutrition here, to keep things simple – crazy training practices is a whole post on its own anyway.

Caging the beast

Perseverence.... keeps honour bright
- William Shakespeare


I’ve sworn off alcohol entirely for the month of July. I made a bit of a late start, only deciding last Monday that I’d go alcohol-free, but oh well...

Then on Saturday night whilst I was out with the girls, we made a late night stop at a tapas bar. While we were um-ing and ah-ing over the menu, a couple of the others decided to have a glass of wine, and instantly the voice in my head started up, as one of my beasts decided it needed feeding:

Ooh, a wine! That would be nice...
But I’m not drinking.
Just one won’t hurt. The wine here is GOOD.
I promised myself.
Nobody needs to know. Anyway, you can start again tomorrow.
I’m driving.
Just one. Go oooooonnnnn.

I seriously wavered. I could have had just one and been OK to drive. But after all, you have to live your own values, the ones you spout to other people, don’t you? I made a commitment to myself and I have to honour it. I didn’t need a drink. I had good company and there was good food a-plenty, and that was more than enough to add up to a fun time.

I reminded myself that the desire is always momentary, although the effects of overindulging usually last quite a bit longer, and that it’s not that hard to distract yourself long enough for it to disappear. So I turned my attention to the conversation and food and abstained from drinking, and (of course) there were no twinges of regret the next day.

That particular beast is back in its cage now. I plan to keep it there for several weeks, and then if I do let it out, put it on a very short leash.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

From the horse's mouth

Who needs a good memory? From the INBA's Facebook page....

SportsModel Class 1

Justine Switalla 1
Zoe Daly 2
Jaime Stevenson 3
Poh Lin Lian 4
Maddy Bindon 4
Rosemary Sciacca 4


SportsModel Class 2


Stacey Hansen 1
Lucinda Keily 2
Michelle De Klerk 3
Ase Brandel 4
Andrea Cooze 4
Elyse Atkins 4
Alysha Cliff 4

SportsModel Overall

Justine Switalla

Ms Fitness

Samantha Kinnish 1

Physique Open

Fern Punturiero 1 Yay, Fern!
Debbie Urquhart 2
Wendy Sole 3

Ms Figure Novice Class 1

Johanna Mountfort 1
Christy Reedy 2
Kathryn Lee Betts 3
Helen Milton 4
Lauren Badman 4
Jay Goodwin 4

Ms Figure Novice Class 2

Evelyn Bolanis 1
Donna Innes - Irons 2
Lauren Clayton 3
Felicity Boyd 4
Andrianna Filipovska 4
Leesa Langley 4

Ms Figure Novice Class 3

Nikki Smith 1
Mandy Francisty 2
Caryl Browell 3
Michelle Dunne 4
Mandy O’Bryan 4

Ms Figure Masters 40 - 49

Debbie Andrews 1
Elizabeth Dando 2
Sussan Ussher 3
Rae Cattach 4

Ms Figure Masters 50 +

Kay Wiseman 1
Lynne Eastlake 2

Ms Figure Intermediate

Casey Winsor 1
Julie Pilioglou 2
Kim Dowling 3
Sharon Williams 4
Tanya Carver 4
Maya Young 4
Lisa Keyte 4

Ms Figure Open Class 1

Skye Cushway 1
Violetta Trajcevski 2
Simone Moore 3
Michelle Witomski 4

Ms Figure Open Class 2

Kara O’Halloran 1
Sara Symonds 2
Natalie Bartle 3
Sandra Carpanzano 4

Ms Figure Overall

Skye Cushway

All-Female Classic 2010

Yesterday afternoon I picked up Charlotte and we headed into the city to meet Selina and Shannon. It took us a while to find them ...somebody needs to remember to switch her phone back from silent. Meanwhile, we wandered around some shops, had coffee and tried to stay out of the howling wind. I was very tempted by the raw cacao powder at Evelyn Faye Nutrition and the huge range of teas at T2 in the Galleria, but managed to spend nothing. I've become a champ at not-spending. Yay, me!

Eventually we tracked the girls down and we piled into the car and headed off to Caulfield to see the All-Females, only stopping for a burek (and to watch Selina and Shannon devour the biggest cherry and chocolate slice I've ever seen).

Anyway, less talk, more photos....

Sportsmodel: These are the winners of each of the two classes. I'm hopeless with names, but the brunette won....cute, cute, cute!



The Physique girls were up next, and Fern shone like a star. She not only presented the best physique, but she performed beautifully, and her happiness and excitement were visible to the whole audience. She had a pretty loud cheer squad too. ;)



We knew she had it won almost the instant she stepped onstage.



Long after the presentations, she was still pinching herself. Here she is with her loot, and a trophy that's almost bigger than she is ("Look at all my STUFF!"):



Everyone wants their photo taken with the champ....

Shannon, Fern, Selina (don't you girls look whiter-than white?):



Fern and Charlotte:



Masters lineup. The two ladies on the right were competing in Masters 50+. The winner is on the far right. The 40+ winner is second from the left. Rae, in pale pink, was graceful and elegant as usual and took out the best routine award.



The novice division was so large they were split into three classes. I was actually very disappointed with the overall quality - there were a few stand-out physiques, and some who have the potential to develop into stunners, but quite honestly, the number of girls up there who were nowhere near stage-ready was just embarrassing. As we all said last night, it's easy to be a critic when you're sitting in the audience, and I know that all of these girls would have put their heart and soul into prepping for the competition, and maybe they're only in it to have some fun.... But this is the INBA's top figure competition in the country, and harsh though it may sound, I think there should be a minimum standard.

If any of the girls I'm referring to had a coach, he/she should be ashamed of themselves... if they didn't, uh... maybe they ought to find one.

At the very least, some of these girls need someone to advise them on bikini (never seen so many unflattering suits in my life), hairstyle (if you're a bit masculine-looking, ladies, don't scrape your hair back severely. GOD!), makeup, tanning and posing. *sigh* Posing was woeful. It was obvious that some competitors had never had a lesson in their lives. There was also a noticeable absence of smiling - what was with the scowling? Yes, you're nervous, and yes, you have to concentrate and work hard at posing, but plaster that big old fake smile on your face anyway, girls and LOOK like you're having a good time, even if you're not.

End of rant....

I don't have any pics of the intermediate division - I think I was still in shock from the novice experience and forgot to take any. But here we have Open short...



....and tall.



This is the lineup for overall champion. The final contenders are in the front row:



The Open Short winner was my pick for overall, and turns out I was right. As I said, I'm hopeless with names, but I think it's Skye? Selina can tell me.....



I love this - she was so honestly surprised to win:



The show ran a bit late, but we managed to squeeze in a bit more eating, drinking and chatting. Well, I stuck to water, but we popped into Movida Next Door, which is the cutest little tapas bar on Flinders St and ate just a few tiny but tasty morsels.



Oh wait, I meant these:



OK, so I did have the churros con chocolat....



We got the waitress to take a photo of the four of us before we left. I promise I wasn't hiding on purpose, but THANK GOD it turned out that way, because eeek, my hair! At 1:00am at the end of a long day, and after several hours of walking around in gale-force winds, I look like craaaaaap!



Late night, exhausting, but absolutely brilliant fun. Thanks for such a fabulous evening, girls!

xx

Clearing a blockage


Most bloggers would know what it's like to experience writer's (blogger's) block.

You just don't have anything to say today. Same goes for the next day. Before you know it, a week's gone past and you've written nothing.

Or you have things to say, but can't make the words flow. How many times have you had a dozen, twenty, fifty draft posts sitting there, but none of them are even close to finished. Some are only a sentence or a phrase - you get that far, think "This is rubbish" and walk away in disgust.

Or maybe you're going through a crappy patch in your life and don't feel as though anything you have to say is likely to be of interest to others. Or that if you write about what you're thinking and feeling, people will judge you.

So your blog sits there, neglected. The longer you go without writing anything, the harder it gets to start. Been there, done that. But here are a few things I've discovered:

1. To get past a blockage, you just have to write. It doesn't have to be brilliant, it just has to be words. Every post doesn't need to leave readers gasping at your creativity and humour. If you're really stuck, repeat that joke someone emailed you that made you snort coffee out your nose, or share that photo you took on the weekend; the one of your cat being dorky, that made you smile.

2. Write about your feelings anyway. If people judge you, that's their problem. So what if a couple of them delete your blog from their feed reader? A lot more people will probably relate to something you say and add you to theirs.

3. Read more blogs. Other people's blogs are great for provoking thoughts and ideas. Respond to something you disagree with, expand on something you agree with, jump off at a tangent, whatever comes to mind.

4. Try to write something daily. Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes. If you do have a day where you're overflowing with ideas, get them all out, but save them as drafts and go back and pull one out at some future time when you're stuck.

Do NOT run away from your blog, avoid everyone else's blogs, and then wonder why nobody is talking to you. Don't be an idiot.

Got any other ideas? What works for you? Care to share?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Through the eyes of others

We can be our own worst enemies at times. In our minds we call ourselves words we would never dream of applying to anyone else in our lives: stupid, hopeless, pathetic, and worse. Something doesn't work out the way we'd hoped, we don't live up to our own (often ridiculous) expectations, and we let loose with the self-flagellation. I'm a loser, a failure, just not good enough. Why can't I do anything right?

Is that helpful? Does it motivate you? I'm betting the answer is no. It probably just makes you feel worse and drives you to repeat the same patterns of behaviour that led to this whole self-hatred scenario in the first place. Round and round and round you go....

If you're not enjoying this particular merry-go-round ride, then you need to get off it before you get so dizzy that you puke. That's usually easier said than done, because you've probably spent years developing all that negative self-talk, and you're unlikely to stop the habit just like that.

Here's something that I learned some time ago, that helped me to change some negative thoughts I'd worked really hard to cultivate over the years. Mmm, yeah, I was a champion at it. It's a simple principle, although it's harder than it sounds in practice.

Think about the people who love you, like you, value your skills and opinions, respect you. We all have a number of them in our lives: family, friends, work colleagues, members of sports teams or clubs we belong to, neighbours. At least some of these people see something worthwhile in you, and they can't all be idiots, can they?

Take some time, find somewhere quiet, close your eyes and pick one of them. Imagine they're standing in front of you, looking at you, and think about what they see. They don't see you as stupid, lazy, incompetent or hopeless. They see a person with a kind heart, or the ability to make people smile, or an incredible intelligence. They see someone worth loving.

And if the people you love deem you worthy of their love, respect and support, who the hell are you to argue?

The next time you catch yourself out starting in with the negative talk, stop and ask yourself: what would [insert name of husband/boyfriend/best friend/sister here] say to me right now? Aim to see yourself, and the situation, through their eyes. I can guarantee they'd be a lot kinder, more understanding and more forgiving towards you than you are to yourself.

Keep it up, set aside some time to see yourself through the eyes of others on a regular basis and eventually you may just get off that merry-go-round.

Friday, July 09, 2010

I've been to rehab



Seems I'm through the caffeine withdrawal nasties. I slept like a baby last night and woke up this morning at 8:00am. Which is late for me as a rule, but a huge improvement compared to the past couple of weeks, when I've been comatose from 6:00am till 10:00am after a disastrous night's sleep. There was no 3:00am wakeful, restless period, no middle of the night headache, and I feel calm and positive this morning.

Remind me never to let my coffee consumption creep up like that, EVER again, would you?

I'm powering along just fine on two cups a day, but will be cutting out the mid-afternoon one from Tuesday when I go back to work. That'll leave me on one-a-day for about 10 days before D-day gets here. I should be able to handle quitting without too much drama then, surely?

For the first time in days, I don't feel like going back to bed and hiding under the blankets. I'm not looking hopelessly at the piles of stuff I have to do and feeling overwhelmed. The sun is shining and I'm about to head out for a walk, then it'll be head down till after lunch, when I have a hairdresser's appointment.

It's amazing what an effect one decent night's sleep has.

Oh - I'm off to the All Female Classic tomorrow. Got a date with Selina and Shannon (the newly crowned ANB Asia-Pacific Figure Champion. Woohoo!) and there are some other gorgeous ladies to catch up with too. Should be fun!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Knowing me, knowing you

WARNING: Long post ahead. Strap yourself in...

Prologue

I’m going tell you a little story – you’ll see the point if you manage to work your way through to the end of this post:

About 30 years ago, I was on holidays with a friend. My friend needed cash (there were no ATMs back then – and yes, dinosaurs were roaming the earth. Shut up), so we went into a bank. She joined the queue and I sat down on a chair to wait, putting my largish tote bag on the floor at my feet.

As I was idly looking around, I saw two young girls walking towards me, making their way to the other end of the bank. It was a narrow building and I realised that there wasn’t much room between the queuing ropes and my seat, and that my bag would be in their way. Having been taught manners by my parents, I picked it up and moved it to the side of my chair to leave room for them to pass.

As they passed me, one girl said to the other: "Did you see that? She didn’t want us to touch her bag". The girls were aboriginal. I was gobsmacked that they could even think that of me, and stupidly embarrassed too, even though I had no cause. Geez, I was just trying to be polite; their racial background hadn’t registered on me at all; it wasn’t the slightest bit relevant. All I saw was two humans needing to get past my crap.

But of course, it had nothing to do with me, and everything to do with their self-image, and their life experience - which, sadly, had apparently bestowed upon them massive shoulder chips.


You Think You Know Me?

You read a blog regularly, over months or years, and you think you know the author. After all, you know their favourite colour, the kind of work they do, their fashion style (or lack of), how many kids they have, that they never got over the bust-up they had with their BFF in year 8, and that they have a weird phobia about toenails. They express opinions on all sorts of things, and you usually agree – or maybe you disagree, and that’s what keeps you coming back, because you love a good argument.

Whatever, you know how they think, what they feel and have filed them in one of your mental slots: fitness nut, doting mum, crafty homebody, extroverted party girl, shy and tortured (but incredibly smart and sensitive) type. Maybe you’ve developed a real relationship with them, exchanging regular comments and emails, or maybe you’re just a lurker or an occasional commenter.

The thing is, you may not know that person at all. Bloggers share what they want to share about themselves. Sure, some share everything, warts and all (sometimes I find myself thinking “Whoa, dude! Too much information. This blog should come with a warning...”). Others confine themselves to writing about a specific subject, and keep things superficial when it comes to their own life. Most of us share some, but not all of our lives, our thoughts and our feelings. That’s our right – maybe we’re shy, or maybe we respect our family’s privacy, or maybe we just prefer not be continually defending our opinions or lifestyle choices.

And yet we judge people by what they say, even though it may not be the full story, or by what they don’t say – we fill in the blanks with assumptions. And you know the old saying about what happens when you assume. We can get a bit miffed if we comment regularly on a blog, but the author doesn’t return the favour. But you know, maybe they haven’t been offended by something you said, maybe they don’t dislike you, or think they’re Ms Hoity-toity-better-than-you. Maybe, just maybe, they simply don’t have time to read every blog in the universe, or to comment on every one they do read. Or maybe they’re dealing with their own shit and don’t have the energy to deal with yours or anyone else’s.

My point is, we don’t have any idea what’s going on in someone else’s head. And yet we still assume... So what are we doing when we make these assumptions? That’s an interesting question.

I’d say that when someone goes all “Waaah, she hates me! It must be because I’m [insert hangup here]”, what they’re doing is projecting their own unhappiness and insecurity about themselves. Like the little aboriginal girl all those years ago, that person is walking around with a major chip on their shoulder. And when something somebody says or does disappoints them, they immediately jump to conclusions about that person’s intentions.

In the end, it’s all about YOU, not about anyone else. If you’re constantly worrying about what other people think of you, chances are the real issue is that you don’t like something about yourself.

My advice: Stop the whining and blaming and change it.

Epilogue: Assume Nothing

I don’t read or comment on some blogs for dozens of different reasons. In many cases, I’ve just never got around to bookmarking the site and have forgotten about it. Mostly, I don’t have enough hours in the day – I read many, comment on a few and get on with my life. (And if people don’t comment on my blog, I’m not about to get all depressed about it... )

Of course, there are some blogs I choose not to read, because I violently disagree with most things the author says and I have better things to do with my time than read stuff that makes me want to throw things at the computer screen. I also can’t stand poorly written, misspelt and grammatically disastrous pieces... unless the content is outstandingly good, in which case I might overlook the shortcomings. Probably not, though; I'm a spelling and grammar nazi. Boring tripe isn’t going to hold my interest either – we all write banal stuff at times, but there are blogs out there that are just filled with utter, utter drivel (definitely not yours, Deb).

And the ones I hate the most? Endless pages of negative, whiney, misery. Go ahead and vent now and then; if life is really terrible, let it all out, go on. But you know what? People get mighty sick of reading “Poor, poor me” posts, day in, day out. That’s usually the reason I take a break from blogging – because I’m struggling to find my happy place and anything I wrote would turn into a great big whinge. And who wants to read that for any length of time? Not me, that’s for sure.

What provoked this post? Well, yesterday I was accused of avoiding somebody's blog because she's fat. To quote the blogger:

"...when I was right into the diet and fitness.. I had quite a few comments and words of encouragement from the likes of KEK ... but now?

See ... being fat is not 'socially' acceptable.. and no one really wants to know a fat chick.
."

For the record: I do not avoid any blogs because the blogger is fat. Hell, I used to be a fat chick. I don’t give a rat’s arse what you look like, as long as you write something that interests or entertains or touches me. If you don't though, why would I stick around?

It's true that I don't read that particular blog any more, but it's for one of the reasons I've mentioned above. I'm not shallow; I am discerning.

The End

Bah!



Ever have one of those days that's just a complete write-off?

Yesterday was a bad, bad day. I was sleep-deprived, in the middle of caffeine withdrawal (yes, the headache hit again in the afternoon), and completely unmotivated to do anything at all. I didn't get out of bed till after 10:00 and was still in my pjs at 12:30.

I spent a couple of hours lolling on the couch watching a DVD, ate some things that I rather regret now because - yuk - my digestive system is still rebelling, and finally got off my butt around 4:30pm to begin organising dinner, return movies and pick up some bacon for the hamburgers-with-the-lot I'd promised the kids. I also ended up with a tub of ice cream The Baby conned me into buying. Why do I take him to the supermarket with me?

I did no exercise and ate about 1000 Calories too much (guessing here, because who logs ice cream and M & Ms?) and the only decent food that passed my lips was dinner. I achieved zero out of all the things I'd intended to do, and was grumpy and sad all day.

When I do a bad day, I do it extremely well. I wonder if there's an award for that?

But today's a new day. I'm still sleep-deprived, still feeling the caffeine blahs, but I'm going to push myself to do a few things anyway. Motivation is distinctly absent, but I'm not allowing that to stop me. As Liz said to me last night: Action precedes motivation (or something like that anyway).

In other words, I'm just doing it.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Foodcam

A certain someone was complaining today that there's not enough bloggy food photography going on, so in response to that, I plan to post a few food pics over the coming weeks.

Tonight's dinner was a Kylie Kwong recipe from the current issue of BBC Australian Good Food (no, I don't get the title either...). It's a pretty simple one, but needs a little planning as you have to marinade, and then bake, then there's a bit of resting before serving. We just happened to have all the ingredients on hand, which is why this one was chosen.

Anyway, here it is: Chicken thighs roasted with olives, preserved lemons and rosemary.



It also contains olive oil, verjuice, parsley and sea salt flakes. That's about it. Luckily we picked up a bottle of verjuice on our winery jaunt back in May:



And I don't have sea salt flakes, but I do have this, also picked up from a winery up in the Ovens Valley:



They're a pretty pink colour, and while you're enjoying them you're also helping the environment by contributing to the de-salination of the mighty Murray. Win-win.

Oh, how was dinner? Excellent. The lemon and olives and verjuice are a brilliant combination with the crispy chicken skin. Yum!


P.S. I'm working my way through this magazine issue - the sticky date pudding on the cover was the drawcard, and it was sensational. Then the beef paprikash was calling "Cook me! Cook meee!", and that was awesome. Smoked paprika is one of my favourite things.... I'll keep you posted on any other yummies I try.

Food detective

I've danced around the idea of doing an elimination diet numerous times in the past. Usually when I've been in the grip of a particularly nasty bout of gut pain, or when my eczema has flared up badly (remember this?), or I've had some other tiresome and weird symptom causing me grief. I think about it, decide it's a good idea, but somehow never actually do it, because it just seems a bit too hard.

Well, crunch time has come. I need to do the detective work and figure out what foods, if any, are making my life hell. Sara has pointed me in the right direction and bestowed upon me her gems of wisdom based on her own experience. I've done hours of reading on the subject, and you know what? It's not that difficult. I've done Paleo, I've done strict Body-for-LIFE, I even did a nutty diet about four years ago that restricted me to a dozen or so foods - and I stuck that out for 16 weeks!

So how hard can it be to follow a plan that allows mainly fish and veggies with a little fruit for SIX DAYS? Of course, then there's the longer process of adding foods back in to see if anything causes a reaction, but the hardcore part is less than a week. Pfft.

I can't actually do it for a couple of weeks as it turns out, due to social commitments and impending minor surgery, but I figured the worst part was likely to be the caffeine withdrawal. So I thought I'd get a head start on that and deal with it now, weaning myself off coffee gradually. Good plan.

I only drink three cups most days, so I thought I'd see how I went with one yesterday morning instead of my usual two, and then maybe I wouldn't even need another in the afternoon or evening. Yeah, right! I got to about 3:00pm and was ....shall we say.... irritable? *ahem* And then there was the crashing headache. A long black dispatched that within about 10 minutes, so I think I can safely say it was caffeine withdrawal.

Maybe I actually drink more coffee than I think?

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The magic cure



I've written before about the importance of sleep. How can your mind or body be at their best if they're not rested and refreshed adequately? Yeah, that's not brain surgery, right?

Yesterday I was doing some research into the causes of chronic inflammation (thanks Sara for planting the seed). I started off looking into food sensitivities, and refreshing my knowledge of foods known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Ah, those Omega-3s, wonderful things! Among other things, I should definitely eat more cold water fish, take my fish oil, continue with the daily portion of walnuts, keep up my love affair with berries and green veggies, and break out the turmeric once again. I also need to cut back the caffeine, stay off alcohol and keep sugar and refined grains for occasional treats.

There's a lot more to learn, and potentially an elimination diet to try. Yep, I'm really looking forward to that. *insert rolling eyes here*

I pulled out my genetic profile and re-read the bits where my genes are a little bit mental when it comes to inflammatory response and detoxification. All my dietary recommendations as a result of genetic testing line up perfectly with what I've been reading about food and inflammation. Hmm.

There was a nagging thought pinging around in my brain. Inflammation.... something else is a factor here.... not food.... something.... Aha! I've got it: S.L.E.E.P.

There are squillions of studies on the link between inadequate sleep and inflammation (Just Google sleep + inflammation and see what you get). Chronic inflammation is known to be a contributing factor to all sorts of diseases - type II diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, many auto-immune diseases, just to name a few. I knew this, but filed the information in the it doesn't apply to me section of my brain and ignored it.

I'm still reading, but it's becoming more and more obvious that perhaps I should have been paying attention to some simpler things when it comes to sorting out my injuries. Consistent sleep, less stress, and some minor adjustments to nutrition may just make the difference I've been looking for.

I suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Recipe Alert!



Bloody cold weather we're having here in Melbourne. I remember what winters used to be like, and I'm not enjoying it!

On the plus side, hearty winter meals are most welcome, and I just invented this chicken, leek and mushroom pie.

The official taste tester has given it his seal of approval, so that's a guarantee that it's not weird-arse bodybuilding food. ;o) Try it and let me know what you think.

Cranky elbows (and other joints)



My ultrasound results are in and apparently, it's good news. I have no tears, no major damage at all, in fact. My shoulder has a small pocket of fluid, located exactly where I feel the pain, which my doctor tells me is not anything to worry about; it's just a sign of inflammation. In fact, the only thing the scan showed was inflammation in all the areas I've been complaining about.

So the plan at this point is to have weekly physio treatment, continue with my rehab exercises, rest and ice anything that gets a bit ouchy and go back for a review in a month. If things don't improve much, the doc will refer me to a sports medicine physician and we'll see what they can come up with.

I've been fairly patient really, but I've put up with the right elbow injury for five years now and enough's enough. I'd like to able to drive the car, fold towels and stir whatever I'm cooking without pain - not to mention get back into proper training.

Here's hoping.

Getting what you need



There are many things in life that we have to do, not because we like doing them, but because they're necessary. Cleaning bathrooms, disciplining kids (remind me to tell you about the missing school report...), weeding the garden, getting those yearly medical tests done. But when it comes to training, I'm so completely over doing anything I dislike "because it's good for me".

If I don't love it, I'm just not doing it. Unfortunately, at the moment I can't do a lot of the things I love. I'm unable to do any upper body weights work due to injuries, or any heavy leg stuff because my arms and shoulders can't handle holding the weights. The weather is making outdoor training a bit difficult, and the extra hours I'm working don't leave a lot of time for going to the gym.

That all left me floundering for quite a while, because I couldn't quite figure out a way around all the obstacles. Plus I had a severe case of the sulks because I couldn't do all the things I usually do. But as the Rolling Stones pointed out, you can't always get what you want....

It's taken me a while, but I've come up with a plan that gets me what I need, and that I don't hate. I began by forgetting about what I couldn't do, and listing all the things I could do, and went from there. Here's what I'm doing for now:

Leg workouts using bodyweight, or holding a plate to my chest or using a pair of light-ish dumbbells or my kettlebells. Bodyweight squats, box squats, step-ups, lunges of all kinds, one-legged squats and glute bridging all work, just to name a few.

Core work. BOSU, stability ball, Pilates mat work exercises are all good.

Rehab work for upper body. Wall pushups (activating lower traps and serratus), chest stretches, painful work with my foam roller, seated rows with a band, external rotator strengtheners and other such feeble efforts. At least I feel as though I'm doing something.

Cardio. My spin bike is my best friend here, but I can finally run again, so weather permitting, I'll be fitting in a little of that on weekends - my only chance in daylight hours. I also have some DVDs that I enjoy doing, and I can throw together some of my own B & B (brief and brutal) combinations too.

Walking. The weather sucks, but I have warm coats and scarves and gloves, so no excuses.... unless it's pouring. I can even do this in the dark - just as well, since sunrise isn't till 7:35am or something stupid.

Put together into a training schedule, it works pretty well, and there's enough variety to stop me going insane. Best of all, I'm not doing anything I hate just "because it's good for me".

So, how's your training going? Love it? Hate it? If you're not getting what you want, then maybe it's time to look at things from a different perspective. Chuck out the "I should" and "I can't" thoughts and start from scratch - you never know what you might come up with.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

R & R

I've been on leave since last Friday and yet somehow still haven't found the time to blog. Hmm. I have, however done the following:

- Scrubbed both bathrooms till they gleamed. Which is a total waste of my time and energy, since the kids will make a disgusting mess again in no time, but hey, even I have minimum standards.
- Taken my boys out for lunch. Do they ever outgrow Macca's?
- Read a book.
- Sorted out the linen cupboard, including stacking tea towels, flannels and other small items in baskets to keep them tidy, and labelling the shelves. Yes, I am an obsessive neat freak.
- Finally got my elbows and shoulder scanned.
- Had a long bubble bath. With champagne.
- Watched a couple of movies.
- Tested out my dodgy hip with a bit of running and HALLELUJAH! It's fine....
- Cooked lots of warm winter food.
- Stayed in bed till after 8:30am every day.

I'm beginning to feel rested and recharged, which of course is the whole point of a holiday. That's all good, but I have stuff I need to get done, so tomorrow I plan to write a to-do list and steadily work through it over the next week. It's mostly pretty dull stuff (make a hairdresser appointment, ring our super fund to clarify something, chase up the builder again about an outstanding job, things like that). But amongst it, I have one or two things to blog about. I just need to sit down and do it.

Maybe I better add that to the list.