Thursday, September 29, 2011

Told you so!

Image source: The Age

If you've been around this blog for a while, you'll know that I'm always saying that there are no short cuts to weight loss, fitness or "toning". And that gimmicks that sound too good to be true usually are. (Yeah, remember Power bands?)

So this story in today's newspaper about Reebok's Easy Tone shoes made me just a little bit gloaty. If you're not familiar with the concept of "toning shoes", this quote from the article sums up the claims the manufacturer made about their product:

Reebok falsely claimed that walking in EasyTone footwear had been proven to lead to 28 per cent more strength and tone in the buttock muscles, and 11 per cent more strength and tone in the hamstring muscles and calf muscles than regular walking shoes....

The US Federal Trade Commission found that there was no evidence to support the claims, and Reebok have been ordered to pay refunds totalling $25 million to customers who bought the shoes. Bad luck for all the folks who thought they could short-cut the process to a great butt - looks like it's back to the gym for you!

I do love it when I'm right.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fear and gratitude

I'm short on time this morning, so I'm cheating and linking to some other blogs for your reading pleasure.

I came across two posts this morning on facing your fears, and they're worth a read. First up, a beauty by Craig Harper all about feeling like a fake. Then there's this one by inspirational blogger Angela, who's lost 40kg following Michelle Bridges 12-week body transformation program.

I was going to stick to the topic of facing your fears with my links, but while cruising around the net, I came across this post from Susan Niebur which wasn't what I was looking for at all, but should be compulsory reading for anyone who's suffering from a bad case of "it's not fair". Next time I feel like whinging about some minor annoyance, I'll try to remember this.

If you don't have time to check them all out, please read that last one. You won't be sorry.

Gotta fly - have a good one!


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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

You can't have it all

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has said to me: I don't know how you manage to fit in all that training, or words to that effect. They comment that they just don't have the time, or that they "can't" get up early, or that they're simply too tired after their busy day.

I always tell them that it's just a matter of priorities. That if something is important enough to you, you'll find a way to fit it in. They shake their heads or pull a face and wander off, back to their desk to read a magazine in their lunch break, or home to spend two hours sitting on the couch watching TV.

Of course it isn't as simple as saying: This is important, and then suddenly having extra hours appear in your day. (But that would be great, wouldn't it?) No, the thing with prioritising tasks is that some of the less important ones usually end up not getting done at all. For me, it's a matter of choosing the things I must do; those that I should do; and those that won't stress me out if they don't get done.

That usually means that my house is a lot less clean and tidy than I'd like it to be, but I've learned to live with it. I also conscript the kids to do some basic housework and since they were quite young, they've had to be responsible for things like making their own school lunches. I've always worked, and I'm not their slave...

The way I try to weigh things up is to ask myself: If I was on my death bed, looking back at my life, would I be wishing that I'd spent more time doing  < insert task here > When it comes to housework, I can honestly say Nope. 

Yes, it's a cliche, but it works well for me. My personal priorities are Family; Health (and that includes fitness, nutrition & sleep); Financial security; and I'm not sure what to call this one, but taking time for recreation, relaxation and just chilling. Anything outside those parameters that I manage to fit into my days is a bonus.

I'm curious about how other people decide what has to be done and what can just be ignored... What are your priorities?

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Veggie Power!

I've calmed down a bit from the excitement of having a NEW BLOG DESIGN - squeeee!!! (*ahem* Sorry, just had to get that out of my system.) Right, back to normal blogging business...

I've set myself a challenge to eat mostly unprocessed whole foods for the next couple of weeks. I don't generally eat a lot of processed stuff anyway, but there are some bottled curry or pasta sauces, a bit of bread and the odd protein bar etc that sneak in for convenience reasons. There's nothing wrong with those things in moderation, however when you're aiming for fat loss, it really does help to clean things up and cook from scratch most of the time.

When I've done this in the past, I feel better and the kgs just drop off. I find that I need to eat a lot more fruit and veggies than usual to get the amount of carbohydrates I need, and whilst that's no punishment since I love fresh produce, it does mean being a bit better organised than usual.

So today I made a huge salad for my lunch, which I threw some cooked chicken breast into. The salad was so huge that I have two more in containers in the fridge for work lunches. Then tonight we cooked a roast chook and I stuffed myself full of sweet potato, carrots, asparagus, corn and beans as well. I made extra so I have plenty of leftovers that can be the basis of lunches over the next couple of days. I'm also munching on raw carrots at work regularly because they're no effort at all - I just wash, trim the ends and eat them. I don't even bother peeling.

It does take effort, but it isn't a lot of effort. Any idiot can do it (thank goodness!). I'm thinking I might keep a photo diary of my meals one day this week, just to show how easy it is to fill yourself up on good, delicious, wholesome food that's just what your body needs.

Get some delicious, nutritious veggies into you!

Has anyone else had major success with weight loss when they've stuck to the same calories, but upped the veggie content in their daily nutrition?



By the way, there's still some work to be done to some of my pages here, but I've had no time to think about it this weekend. I had an unexpected outing to the ballet yesterday afternoon and then we were out for dinner, which pretty much took care of my entire day. Today, apart from a ripper RPM class this morning, I've spent my time doing food prep and mundane housework type stuff, so again no time for bloggy things.

Be sure to check back over the next couple of weeks though, there's more to come.


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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Check me out, Baby!

Looky here at my pretty new blog!

Hasn't Katrina done a brilliant job of the design? See, she can renovate other stuff, not just horrid old run-down houses on reality TV shows.

I'm thrilled with it. It's just what I wanted: Fun, fresh and a bit funky. And I have fancy-pants stuff like buttons that link to my Twitter account and Facebook page.... Those ones over there --- >

There are navigation tabs at the top, custom fonts, a signature...I'm dizzy with excitement at all the lovely new features. And in case you missed it, I've moved to a custom domain, and even have a dedicated email address for the blog.

I haven't quite finished - if you click around, you'll see there are a couple of pages I haven't added any text to as yet. I also need to play around with the sidebar a bit more, add some more content to the Recipes page and do a few other things as well. But it's midnight now and I need to get myself into bed, so the rest will have to wait till tomorrow.

Explore a bit, then leave me a comment and let me know what you think!



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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Words to remember:




There is nothing in this world 
as strong as 
your belief in yourself



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Traps for the unwary blogger

As I've mentioned, there's some blog re-vamping going on here, with a whole new look and some other changes too. All will be revealed shortly. Ish.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to brush up my very rudimentary technical skills so that I can revamp my other blogs myself, and (fingers crossed) eventually DIY a long-overdue website overhaul. Working with a Mac does make many things a lot easier...

I've begun with some easy stuff, just playing around with templates - if you've visited my food blog in the past couple of days, you may have noticed some changes over there. It's far from the finished product; just the start of my self-taught crash course in bloggy stuff.

The point of this post though, is to warn anyone else who might be playing around with free templates (other than those provided by their blogging platform). I found a cracker of a template online, just about perfect for my needs. It had the look and the colours I wanted, plus tabs, slideshow banner and all manner of fancy-pants features. So I downloaded and installed it, then played around with widget placement and so on, and it was looking GREAT.

Then I noticed the tiny fine print at the bottom. You know, the bit that says "Template by Tom The Template Tinkerer" or whatever. Amongst the text in the credits was a series of links, apparently for v1@gr@, used cars and real estate. O_O Not exactly the kind of ads I want my recipes to be associated with.

It's a good thing I saved the original template, so it was an easy job to just put things back the way they were. I'll keep looking for the perfect template, but from now on, I'll be checking all the fine print very carefully.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Par-tay!

It's been a massive weekend around here, with a party to mark Bike Boy's birthday on Saturday night. The weather was extremely kind to us, there was the usual food, drink, speeches, gifts.... and a full band playing in the lounge. Hey, when we party, we REALLY party.






The boys pitched in and helped, which made everything just that bit easier for us.

Number One Son was delegated speech duties, and spent the evening winding me up about what he was planning to say. Given that he was also chief barman, he wasn't all that sober by the time the cake-cutting and speech-making came around. I needn't have worried though - he did a brilliant job, and as he loudly proclaimed afterwards "See, Mum? I didn't even say "f**k" once!" Yeah. Thanks, son...

The Middle Child was roped in to play bass in the band, much to his delight. He really loves old fart's music. He carried it off well though, working his way through Mustang Sally and Keep Your Hands to Yourself with only a slightly pained expression.

The Baby helped me clean and organise the house beforehand, and then played waiter during the party, handing round trays of food to the crowd.

It all went off well, and there wasn't even much mess to clean up afterwards. There is, however an awful lot of cake left (not a single Sugadeaux cupcake though - those all disappeared FAST). Looks like morning tea at work today is taken care of.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thank God it's... Thursday?

This morning I've overslept, missed my box fit class, can't get 80% of web pages to load because the kids have burned through our entire month's download quota in only 15 days and my neck is killing me. But I'm not letting any of that bring me down, because it's the end of the working week for me. Yippee!

Besides, I figure I needed the extra hour's sleep, I can do some training tonight or switch my rest day (haven't decided yet), I can always commandeer the wireless modem for net surfing, and my physio can straighten out my neck at my session this afternoon.

Also, it's Bike Boy's 50th birthday today (Happy birthday, Baby! xx) AND the sun's shining.


Have a GREAT day!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hello hump day!

This week is considerably less jam-packed and crazy than the last one, but I'm still short on time and short on sleep. Boo! So I'm unusually pleased to be saying hello to Wednesday - that means I only have to get through today and tomorrow before a lovely long weekend, since I'm once again taking Friday off.

We have a Big Event happening on Saturday to celebrate Bike Boy's half-century (which he's completely in denial about), so I need the extra day to finish get started on the arrangements. There are specially ordered cakes to pick up, other party food to shop for, a bit of cooking, plus a LOT of cleaning to do around here.

Meanwhile, I have to get through a full-day, boring and utter-waste-of-time conference today. Given my current sleep issues, I can't afford to guzzle coffee all day to stay awake, so my strategy is to find a nice quiet spot near the back of the room where my nodding head and gentle snores will be less noticeable. Let's hope.

On the positive side, this week has been excellent on the training and nutrition front, and in spite of my lack of sleep and crazy hormones, I'm feeling quite sane and not too stressed. Unlike the weekend just gone, which we won't dwell on...

Right, I'm outta here. Have a good one!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Is this thing on?

Don't mind me, I'm just testing some "stuff".

Hmm. It seems when you try to get clever with html, but you don't actually know what you're doing, you end up with annoying issues. My blog template is apparently way out of date, and doesn't support some things I'm trying to add. And if I switch to an updated template, I'll lose my blog header that took me so long to make - and I have neither the time nor the patience to figure out how to add it back again.

Not to worry, the header will be replaced soon anyway - this here blog is about to get a major overhaul, thanks to the clever Katrina, who actually does know what she's doing. And yes, she's the same Katrina of Katrina & Amie fame from The Block.

So if you see some funny goings-on around here, like my blog disappearing and reappearing (poof!) that's what's happening.

Back to what you were doing...

Friday, September 09, 2011

With thanks to our sponsors

Friday is brought to you by: the pelting rain (yay! It's been a while and our tank is dry), an uninterrupted night's sleep, time for cuddles before getting up in daylight, a great cup of coffee and a seriously adjusted state of mind.

Have a good one!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Abdicating responsibility

Sometimes you've gotta leave the dishes, switch off the phone, ignore your email, walk away from the pile of washing and just do something you want to do instead. Read a magazine, watch a TV show, paint your toenails, snooze on the couch. Tonight was one of those nights.

Meh. It'll all still be there in the morning.

Rolling with the punches

I've had a couple of not-so-great workouts this week, and I'm doing my best not to be all Mrs Grumpy-pants about it. Sometimes everything runs smoothly in life and sometimes... well, the gears need oiling and they creak and groan and eventually seize up.

It's partly my own fault. I stupidly agreed to reschedule some client sessions from times that suited to me to times that, quite frankly, were a huge inconvenience to the whole family. So I was facing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of working all day at the office, then rushing home, throwing dinner together, and then training a client. After that, there would be just about enough time to tidy up, answer a couple of emails, pack my gym stuff and get to bed. Three nights in a row? What was I thinking?

On top of that, I have an osteopath session booked tonight, so make that FOUR nights in a row of no time for me. Yes, I probably am a bit stupid. Moving on...

I started the week feeling a little bit stressed OH MY GOD, HOW AM I GOING TO GET THROUGH THIS WEEK???!! Then the night-time hot flushes decided to return with a vengeance. Thank you sooo much, sole remaining ovary; I hate you! No sleep on Sunday night left me feeling like a wrung-out dishrag. The last few nights have been better, thank goodness.

By the time I got home last night, I was exhausted and quite frankly, having a good old fun-sucking self-pity session. I moaned to Bike Boy as he walked in the door that the last thing I wanted to do was train a client; I simply wanted to collapse on the couch and switch my brain off. He took over cooking dinner while I sat for a bit and talked myself out of my bad, mad, sad mood. I'd managed to psych myself up to get through an hour of PT-ing, when the universe answered my prayers in the form of a text from my client, cancelling the session.

After an early night, I thought I'd be all smiles this morning, but my body had other ideas. My left piriformis has tied itself into a huge knot, and a tentative run on the treadmill caused jarring pain through my lower back. After dicking around switching from tready to elliptical and back, I decided that cardio wasn't happening this morning, and instead spent twenty minutes getting friendly with a foam roller and a tennis ball. That seems to have helped a lot, and I'm sure tonight's osteo treatment will have me all straightened out again.

I'm choosing to be in a good mood anyway. I'm grateful that I have enough sense to know when I really need to skip training (as opposed to when I'm just being a sooky-la-la). I'm grateful that the sun's shining again and I'll make sure to get out for a walk and soak it up at lunchtime. And I'm REALLY grateful that it's almost Friday.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Fathers Day - part 2





Fathers' Day

It's just over two years since I lost my Dad, and I'm missing him especially today. Luckily though, I have Bike Boy to make a fuss of. He's a wonderful father to our three boys, and I love that he has such a great relationship with them all.

As the boys get older, getting everyone together at the same time for a family celebration is becoming more and more of a challenge. None of the kids are up much before midday on a normal weekend anyway, and this particular weekend, Number One Son is away on a buck's weekend and The Middle Child is staying at his girlfriend's house. So once again, the logical solution was to organise a Sunday afternoon tea. Bike Boy loves my scones, and if I add some ribbon sandwiches, it substitutes as lunch for my slackarse kids.

If you're spending any part of today with your Dad, Grandad, or husband, have a lovely day and be sure and tell them how much you love them.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Taste vs habit

I subscribe to Science Daily, and have all articles they publish on health and living well delivered to me via my feed reader. There are always a whole lot of fascinating studies going on, if you're into that kind of thing.

This one caught my eye recently. The study demonstrated that moviegoers who habitually eat popcorn in the cinema will eat it even when it's a week old and stale. You can go read the article if you want more details, but the conclusion was that "When we've repeatedly eaten a particular food in a particular environment, our brain comes to associate the food with that environment and make us keep eating as long as those environmental cues are present..... People believe their eating behavior is largely activated by how food tastes.... But once we've formed an eating habit, we no longer care whether the food tastes good. We'll eat exactly the same amount, whether it's fresh or stale."

It's an interesting point, and confirms something that I've observed over the years. When I was in the early days of retraining my eating habits, I realised that I'd become used to eating whilst watching TV in the evenings. A few biscuits, some chocolate, a plate of toast; all surplus food that I didn't need after a perfectly adequate dinner. But breaking the habit seemed difficult - until I decided to get off the couch and take myself out for a walk, or keep busy doing something other than propping in front of the TV.

So if you're finding it a challenge to put the brakes on your unhealthy eating, take a look at the situations where it occurs and see if you can change your environment, at least for a while. That just may be the solution you've been looking for.


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Update on the choc mousse: My recipe needs a little refining. Debstar will not be pleased to know that it did taste quite noticeably avocado-ish.

Meh, I ate it anyway. I'm renowned for eating weird food. Back to the lab...

Friday, September 02, 2011

Horses for courses

I'm often bemused by the way different people choose to eat. Giving up this or that for other than health reasons just doesn't compute with me. There are things I prefer not to eat, but only because they make me feel like crap, or because they're made up entirely of crap.

For instance, I don't eat a lot of wheat because it makes my digestive system unhappy. Things like sugar or alcohol in large amounts are (obviously) bad for my health. And your average takeaway, donuts, mass-produced cakes or packaged snacks are in general made up of things that don't even resemble real food. Other than that, I'm not a fussy eater. If I came to your place for dinner, you could pretty much serve me anything and I'd eat it.

My view is that we are meant to be omnivores - our teeth, digestive systems and our bodies' nutrient requirements all point to that conclusion. But whatever... if other folks have ethical objections to eating animals, or simply don't like the taste of meat, what do I care? All the more for me. As for those who think that meat causes cancer, or that carbs make you fat, or that cooking food is the devil's work, well, as long as they're happy with their choices, I don't give a bugger. Each to his or her own, as long as they don't preach to me.

All that aside, I'm more than happy to try new stuff, and enjoy the occasional vegetarian or vegan meal. One of my all-time favourite recipe creations is my chick pea burgers. I haven't made them for ages because Bike Boy isn't a fan of chick peas, but I'm going to whip some up very soon and blog the recipe. And thanks to Sara's recent ice cream experiment, I Googled and have come across some fabulous recipes for sweet mousses using avocado and I'm all set to give those a try.

I'm trying to broaden my food horizons, and some of my inspiration has come from food blogs I stumbled across that in the past I may not have given a second glance. Like this mango and chocolate concoction from Girl on Raw. Then I found this rich-looking choc mousse over at Girl Gone Primal - I'm so making that one! I also love the sound of this avocado mousse with strawberry puree from Jeanette's Healthy Living.

My lesson of the week is this: Even if I'm totally at odds with someone's viewpoint when it comes to nutrition or other lifestyle choices, there's almost always something I can learn from them.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Springing into September

Quickie this morning - I'm back to work today. (Starting back on a Thursday is awesome, because I only have to work a 2-day week.) So, in brief:

- Hurrah for the start of Spring! :) Looks like we have a few decent days lined up, if the folks at the BOM have got it right.

- Training is going along very nicely, thanks. This morning I spent an hour with Coach Troy, and whilst there was plenty of sweating, there was nary a peep out of my inner lazybones. No little voice whining that it was too hard, or that it suuuucked, or anything else along those lines. Just one more sign of my improved fitness. Go, me!

- I've trimmed off some of my winter layer of fat, and have had a number of people comment on my weight loss recently, which is all good. But the past couple of weeks, I've gotten a little distracted on the weekends, and things have slowed to a crawl. So the start of a new month and a new season is a good time to start pedalling a bit harder in the nutrition department and really rev up the fat burning.

- I tested out Sara's banana ice cream last night (well, my own version, because my avocado turned out to be way past its best) and it was FABULOUS. If bananas weren't still so expensive, I'd be eating this daily... It's inspired me to put my creative chef's hat on and try out a few new things. So expect some new recipes over the coming month.

That's about it for now. I'm hitting the shower and then hitting the road. Happy Spring!