Sunday, December 14, 2008

New presents to myself!!!

Photo courtesy Fresh & Healthy

Today I bought myself my very own masticating juicer! No. Get your mind out of the gutter! It means 'chewing' and cold presses my juices with the least amount of heat and oxidisation. Which means my juice has more nutrients and a longer life. It does EVERYTHING! I'm so excited! I made some yummy vegetable patties with it and I'm planning on making lots of frozen 'ice-creams' and nut butters too.... I'm dreaming of natural nutella!

I've been detoxing a little today with lower energy than normal and a constant headache all day... it's a bit rough, but nothing I can't handle with some more water and a little lie down. I'm hoping it will sort itself out by tomorrow when I have to work, we'll see.

I have heaps more news, but sorry it will have to wait, can't chat... I've got to go and make more stuff with my new toy!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Three weeks raw and I feel a bit like I am being made over. My ideas about myself, they way I walk on the earth and nutrition are all changing. Some days I feel somewhat overwhelmed about it all. Big picture, I want to try to live as consciously as possible, but I find I’m falling short of my ideals. Slowly slowly I’m going to try to change.

The changes I’ve made recently:
• Buy from the markets and bulk foods and REMEMBER to bring my own containers and bags
• Make big batches of food for the week – prepare in advance as much as I can
• Try to encourage others to eat more fresh fruit and veg and explain my reasons for going raw
• Buy as many ethical products as possible, if in doubt, even if it’s a supplement, I won’t buy it
• Try new foods and ways of preparing raw foods – completely different to conventional recipes
• Eat consciously, not out of boredom, social situations or peer pressure
• Say no to stress by not taking too much on board at work and in my relationships
• Keep a journal of moods and foods to discover patterns of what my body does and doesn’t like
• Start supplementing with whole foods: bee pollen, maca, MSM, slippery elm, silica and include a wide variety of fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and fats.
• Eliminate processed foods including refined sugar, bread, pasta and packet foods and eat whole, fresh ingredients only

The most difficult thing has not been switching to raw surprisingly! The diet part is easy. It’s the mental shift I wasn’t prepared for. Trying to reconcile myself with what my husband eats has been hard! We sat down and had a talk and he agreed to try to be more aware of his nutrition, which is a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, I don’t think he really cares about his health as much as I do. When he’s hungry, he eats whatever is fast, which is a problem. The worst part is, he’s a personal trainer, you think he’d understand! He’s got a genetically very lean body, so he’s never had to worry about gaining weight, but then complains when he gets the flu and I don’t or he’s dead tired and I’m still full of beans. I’m hoping my example will eventually make a difference. We’ll see. Very frustrating in the meantime!!

I love the energy I have now! I can have all my lovely fruits and nut butters, fresh salads, creamy avocado and yes.... Chocolate! Yesterday someone at the office commented ‘Have you lost weight? You look good!’. I was surprised as I haven’t been weighing myself, but I’ve lost 3kgs and my skin is clearer and softer than it was before. Wheeee! How cool when people notice! Then I can get on my little soap box and share! hehe

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Experimenting on non-raw friends...

These are my mini fennel and tomato tarts with macadamia cheese. Don't they look yummy? So sorry, but they were wolfed down by my non-raw friends which I am VERY pleased about! The recipe is here. (I added green peppercorns to the base and I dehydrated the crust and tomatoes a little longer than recommended because I was using my oven to do it.)


This is my pecan tart inspired by Earthmother! (Here's her recipe.) I tweaked it a little bit (am fond of tweaking!) and added a pinch of salt to the crust and vanilla extract to the filling. I also dehydrated the crust by itself and the finished pie for a couple of hours. I'm still transitioning to raw foods, so the texture was a lot more like the cooked version. My friends gave it a biiiiggggg thumbs up (hugs EM!). For them, I served it with organic vanilla icecream.

So here's my dinner party menu:
Starters: Veggie crudites, flax 'crackers' (recipe and also fun website here) and avocado and cucumber dip, vodka and fresh orange juice.
Main: Raw dishes: Orange and onion salad, Moroccan cucumber salad, caprese salad, mini tomato tarts, big green salad with olive, mango and avocado. Cooked dishes: Thai chicken green curry with rice noodles, baked potatoes with lemon and garlic, red wine.
Dessert: Pecan tart (licks lips) and icecream.
Supper: Soaked honey pecans and almonds, various herbal teas.

It all went without a hitch! I ate the raw food and a small baked potato only and washed it down with a nice glass of cabernet. I really enjoyed my meal, despite it being raw (who says raw food is boring!), especially because I didn't get the groggy feeling one usually experiences after a big meal. The curry was a compromise: the chicken part was cooked, but the veggies and fresh herbs were just thrown in there briefly. My friends and husband aren't vegetarian, so I like to make something they'll recognise!

It took me a fair while to do all of the prep work, you also have to allow time for dehydrating, so the steps take longer than cooked food. I think as I get used to 'cooking' this way, it will become easier. Maybe the answer is to make things in big batches and freeze them?

The night before the party my hubby and I COULD NOT SLEEP. We were both tossing and turning, dreaming, getting woken by mozzies, by storms, by being too hot... ah the Queensland summer! We both must have only got about three hours that night. YET, the next day I was cooking and cleaning all day as per usual. Strange... hubby was wiped out and had to have a kip for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Me? Kept right on cookin'! Weird. Usually if I don't get a solid 8 hours, I'm useless!! RAWSOME! He made a comment about it today. Jealous? We'll get him eating his salads yet! (grins)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

WOW - did someone put something in my drink?

Image courtesy Jayne Anderson

Well today I AM BUZZING! This morning I really noticed it at about 10:30am. It felt like I was full of electricity, with a clear head, lots of energy and totally focussed in a very happy mood! Not just a little bit. A LOT. It was amazing!! As I've been about 95% raw for the last two weeks, which is not a particularly long time, it's strange to me why I'm feeling so good? I thought it would take longer!

Maybe it was my breakfast???
Breakfast: 3 macadamias, 1 carrot, 1 small piece of fresh coconut, 1 tab of chlorophyll in water... that's it!

Hmmm.... time will reveal if this is a consistent life change, or a freak wonderful day!!

It's funny I used to be (of the past year) a low-carb-high-protein-whole-foods advocate, but now... I feel completely different. I want to wait and see how this makes me feel in the long run before I give my final verdict, but I must have tried every diet out there (one of the joys of battling an ED). I've been a low-carber, endured aitkens, ate only whole foods, a soup and juice faster, work-out queen, low-fat, low-sugar, I've starved myself, drank litres and litres of protein shakes, counted calories, a weight watcher, a mono-food dieter, experimented with intermittent fasting.... the list goes on! It all seems to fly in the face of what my body has been telling me all along (I've been a vegetarian for most of my life and find it hard not to be)!!!!

As little interference and processing as possible! THIS has been my fall back when a particular 'diet' stopped working. Yet, sucked into the false promises, I continued to abuse myself again and again. I believe in God, and I cannot believe he would make SO MANY foods that we CAN'T eat! Or three types of fats just to confuse us! Use your noggin and eat them the way He packaged them... A lovely ripe mango that smells divine, simply discard the packet (biodegradable!) and enjoy! Beautiful creamy avocados, fresh macadamia nuts from the shell, delicious cacao and a spicy shiraz... diet, what diet?!

Sorry about the evangelical tone, I'm just so happy and high today! I wish everyone could feel this way too!

For dinner I'm making some Vietnamese summer rolls with lots of fresh mint and coriander with a lime and chilli dipping sauce... so I'm off to the chopping board! Chop chop!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

In the raw

My Dinner

Chop it up:
Bok Choy, capsicum, cucumber, avocado, red apple, macadamias, fresh coriander

Dress it up:
Sea salt, macadamia oil, flax oil, splash apple cider vinegar, touch of garlic, squeeze of lime

Yes, haven't you heard? Salads are de rigueur at my place! Raw food is easy, you can have a salad (let me count the ways... swoon), fresh fruit and veg, juices, smoothies, fresh coconut juices, wine and nuts, dehydrated vege chips and raw dips and pestos.... BUT I am always open to new ideas! Got any recipes? Send 'em 'ere!

Another silly snippet about me... it's been said I'm quite the nudist! Hence the tit-le (hehe) of this post! The reason? Last weekend I went away with my hubby of seven years to North Stradbroke Island (just off Brisbane's coast, Australia) and decided to do a topless sunbake on the beach. Hmmm... Not exactly risque you may say. WELL. I threw caution to the wind and decided to have a nice frolick in the waves... wait for it... also topless! It was absolutely lovely. The water was warm and aqua, the sun was hot, the waves were gentle. Perfect.

That being said, there were only a handful of other people on the beach at the opposite end! But I thought it was rather daring, nonetheless! My tan is coming along nicely too. Hel-lo vitamin D.

I must admit, being raw is throwing up a few challenges. My husband for one. He's a bacon and eggs, spaghetti bolognese type of guy. It's making things hard, especially when he expects me to cook them for him! If I make my food for him he eats it but grumbles, or pretends to like it and then gets more food at the drive-thru later! There's quite a bit of prep and cleaning up from my meals, let alone doing double all the time. I'd make him get his own, but he can't be bothered cooking after a hard day at work and if I don't make it, he'll just have toast for dinner! It's frustrating that he won't look after his health better.

Got any suggestions? Foolproof recipes to knock the socks off him?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It was the dog.


Photo courtesy Quaker Parrots

Hmm. This isn't so good. My raw diet has been having an unwanted and socially embarrassing effect on me. Yes, I'm a bit whiffy. All of this ruffage is giving me wind! I'm hoping it's a temporary phase or I'm going to have to invest in a charcoal cushion to sit on at work!! I'm pretty sure it's my body getting rid of all the gunk and adjusting to it's new fuel.... fingers crossed! After all I've only been 3 days raw.

My regular kefir smoothie, fruit, veg and brazil nuts through the day today. Tonight I had a scrummy dinner of a lovely salad! I reek of garlic now, but it was so worth it! (Maybe that will overpower my stinky pop-offs! hehe)

Red and Green Salad

1/2 a large avocado
1/2 a red capsicum
1/2 a punnet of juicy red tom thumb tomatoes
1/2 a lebanese crunchy cucumber
big handful of basil
big handful of mint

1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons of flax seed oil
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt

Chop everything up, mix and eat! Mmmm, mmm. It was divine!

For supper I had a couple of slices of watermelon followed by 4 squares of raw dark chocolate. So good.

Actually something strange happened today! At work we all were shouted lunch from Noodle Box. I didn't really want any (trying to have as much raw as I can) but felt very pressured to have some too. I ordered a vegetarian teriyaki salad (it still had noodles in it) but when it came there was beef in it, so I couldn't eat it! Maybe the universe was helping me out! haha I was really relieved, I didn't fancy eating all of that sugary dressing or the soggy noodles and got to make my own. Nipped down the shops and got a few fruit and veg and ended up having: chopped cucumber and tomato with sea salt as a salad, a handful of brazil nuts and a small pot of organic biodynamic yoghurt. Perfect! Well, the yoghurt was probably pasturised, but it was a fairly good compromise. : )

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More Raw

Photo courtesy Ecuadorian Organics

Day 2 of rawsomeness! It's a lot easier than I thought. By the way my eggplant 'crackers' came out FANTASTIC! I'm going to buy a whole heap and make them for parties instead of the real thing, I'm sure everyone is going to love them too! Maybe I'll do a garlic version...
garlic + eggplant = delicious.

Brekky 8am - Kefir, banana and blueberry smoothie, teechino tea

Snack 11:30am - Vine ripened tomatoes with a little sea salt, teechino tea (smug look, all my co-workers were noshing on lemon meringue pie at the time!)

Lunch 1pm- Celery sticks filled with a mixture of cashew butter, tahini and macadamia oil, cappucino over a work meeting (d'oh!)

Snack 4pm - Apple, dandelion tea

Dinner 7pm (at a friends) - 4 Nori rolls (as per yesterday, I bought from home), mini cupcake (d'oh! It looked so cute and was screaming "EAT ME EAT ME I'M CUUUUUTE") But, I DID say NO to the champagne! : )

Snack 10pm - nibbled on a few cacao nibs (see pic above), 3 macadamia nuts and 3 cherry tomatoes (I love going... pop!)

LOVE the cacao nibs! Nutty yumminess. I must be careful with those and not have too many, jussssst a couple when I feel a craving coming on. I'm surprised I've been feeling so good actually, I've got my period (thank you moon) and I've not had anything major yet... no ups, downs or cravings really at all. Luckily! I can't believe I was confronted with cake TWICE today. Almost escaped unscathed. Next time Gadget, next time....

Monday, November 17, 2008

The raw food adventure begins!


Photo courtesy Green Chefs

Today was my first raw food day. I didn't realise raw foods could be so delicious!

Here's my menu:

Breakfast 8am - Kefir (made with raw milk), frozen banana and blueberry smoothie with cinnamon, nutmeg and a teaspoon of raw honey... purple heaven... (drools)

Snack 11:30am - Pink lady apple and a handful of soaked walnuts (crispy nuts recipe from Nourishing Traditions)

Lunch 1:30pm - Dandelion tea, 3 macadamia nuts, 2 carrots, 2 prunes

Snack 4:00pm - Sundowner apple and a hazelnut teechino (look ma, no caffeine!)

Dinner 7:00pm - Vegan nori rolls filled with avocado, carrot, cucumber, sprouts, capsicum, fresh mint and thai sauce (1 tsp each of raw peanut butter, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, raw honey, chilli) They were so good I had 4! Very filling too (looked kinda like the pic above, but not as neat hehe). Then I had 4 squares of Rawganic's orange dark chocolate. Bit of a different texture to chocolate I'm used to, but very nice.

Well. How easy was that? I'm surprised at how filling it all was too! No walking today, it was raining cats and sausage dogs. Tomorrow I'm planning something along the same lines, but a salad for lunch instead of just carrots! I WANTED a salad, but ran out of time after doing the shopping at lunch. I got some yummy date spread, and raw cacao nibs to try... taste a bit like munching on a coffee bean, nutty and very chocolatey... I like!

There is a whole WORLD of raw food sites out there to help me. Yay! I bookmarked this one to review when I get time... it has demo vids to watch. What a good idea. I'm going to ask around to see if anyone I know has a vita mix or a dehydrator.... could come in handy for later... I saw a 'pizza' recipe that looked good I'd like to test out, but I don't really want to fork out for a dehydrator straight away. In lieu of my OWN one, I'm making some eggplant 'crisps' to have with dips in the oven right now... it's barely warm about 30ÂșC, I wonder how long they'll take?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Raw food

Photo courtesy Utopian Kitchen

Wow, I've been away so long this is almost a mupdate! (monthly update) This is partly because I stupidly started another blog... (which I am rethinking...), partly because work has been HECTIC and partly because my nutrition has been a little off. I hate to admit it but it's been less than stellar, in between social commitments and on and off bouts of fasting! Ugh. I think I need some consistency back and chuck the fasting out for now. My social life makes it too difficult to maintain and I keep cheating and restarting over and over. Wagon? Well there was one around here somewhere... I think it drove off about two hours ago!

Fasting is great for cleaning you out after a naughty weekend, but it is much to easy to use that as an excuse to eat badly. "I'll just have one glass of champagne and I'll detox on Monday with a juice fast." NOT a good pattern. I want to break the habit of reward and punishment and stop treating food as an emotional crutch. Easier said than done, right?

  1. My first step is to start eating regular meals again. (No more fasting to fall back on!) I'm aiming to consistently eat nutritionally dense foods.

  2. Restart my walking program. Nothing complicated, just 45 minutes every morning.

  3. Cut out coffee again. Yes it has snuck up on me again, these days I'm having a cup a day!

  4. Try eating a higher percentage of raw foods. Fresh fruits, vegetables, soaked nuts, raw milk and cheeses.

  5. Save alcohol for once a week only - weekend or special occasion. I'll work up to stopping this habit, it's lovely to have a drink, but all my willpower goes out the window and I mysteriously find a chippie or pastry in my hands with NO IDEA how it got there!
I've stumbled upon a few interesting raw food sites (check here for a goodie) and am thinking of giving it a go! I'm against a totally vegan diet (I spoke about this here) but I'd be having my raw milk and cheeses and sometimes some raw eggs. There's another raw food diet called the Primal diet, but I'm not sure I could EVER eat raw meat (I'm a vegetarian). I like the idea of natural hygiene, preventing the causes of disease through nutrition and regular exercise. There is something very appealing about feeling and looking great even as you age.

So if anyone has any interesting raw food recipes they'd like to share, please do! I found an awesome (rawsome hehe) chocolate pie recipe....

Chocolate Avocado Pie by Anand

Serves 12, takes 15 min

1 cup pitted dates – soaked for 20 min
2 cups desiccated coconut

2-3 avocados
3 Tbsp of Agave syrup optional
½ cup of coconut butter
10 Tbsp of raw cacao powder
2 cups dates (pitted)
1 Tbsp zest of an orange (optional)
2 Tbsp raw cacao butter (optional)
1 Tbsp desiccated coconut (optional)

Process the crust ingredients until a sticky dough is achieved. Press the dough firmly into a 9 inch pie dish. Put in the fridge to set. For the filling, melt, dehydrate at 45°C, or double boil the cacao butter. Process thoroughly the remaining ingredients into a smooth creamy, unctuous mousse. Add the cacao butter. Spread onto pie crust and eat right then or place in the fridge for later. Decorate with desiccated coconut and orange zest.

I'm going to get some avocados from the markets to try it out this week!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Anxiety, food and mood

Image courtesy

Coming from an eating disordered background, sometimes I get anxious about food. No, make that MOST of the time I'm anxious about food. Food, weight, my body image, the way others perceive me, how I measure up in my looks, personal life and work. I'm constantly feeling inadequate, weak-willed and inferior.

Interestingly, I recently did a diagram of the way I was feeling and contributing factors. I was feeling sad and unworthy and the reasons that came out of my head had a lot to do with how I feel other people rated my looks. For some reason I equate being 'thin and attractive' with being 'successful, popular, accepted and worthy of friendship'.

This is NOT a normal conclusion. In my childhood when Mum was in one of her 'happy and high' cycles (she suffered from bi-polar disorder) she would buy lots of clothes rapidly lose weight and entertain lots of friends in a whirlwind of social activity. She was mad and happy, popular and exciting. When she plummeted to incredible lows, she would gain weight, stay in bed for weeks or months, see no one and tell me she wanted to die. That was a big factor that helped shape my views about myself and how I feel about the way I look. Another factor could have been the social circles I was in as a teen and young adult. At least three of my friends openly discussed their eating disorders and dieting habits and tips. Then there was the 'popular' girls. Older than me, trendier and much, much skinnier. They were the 'cool' ideal that I was usually excluded from that I constantly wished to be. If only I could be thinner, they would like me more. If I was thinner they might want to talk to me or tell me about their new boyfriends.

For reasons unknown to me, I have carried these unreasonable ideals around like old suitcases my whole life. When my husband says "You really like Such-and-such, she's a big girl, do you think you wouldn't be friends with her if she got any fatter? Do you think if she lost weight you'd like her more?" I can see weight has nothing to do with it. I KNOW that my friends couldn't care less if I was 10kgs lighter or heavier!

That being said, my diet over the last six months has done wonders for my mood. When I don't eat I get anxious, moody, paranoid, I sink back into my comfortable quagmire of depression. Not-eating feeds my anxiety, my body needs food to regulate my hormones which in turn, regulate my moods. It's like a vicious cycle of self destruction. So I've been eating three meals a day plus some snacks and I feel so much better. More able to cope with day to day stresses and problems. I've cut out sugar and alcohol altogether (except for the occasional party or anniversary) and cut coffee down to one or less a day.

Here's a sample of my daily menu:
Breakfast - 2 free range eggs scrambled with parsley and a grilled tomato or eggplant
Snack – handful of almonds or a piece of cheese
Lunch – fish and salad
Snack – handful of almonds or a piece of cheese
Dinner - protein and steamed or stir-fried veggies or salad (protein will usually be eggs or tempeh)
Dessert - a baked apple with cream or natural Greek yoghurt (my one fruit and only sugar fix! mmm)

It is helping me so much to feel stable and NORMAL again. On advice from my Naturopath, I'm also supplementing with cod liver oil, B2, magnesium and Coenzyme Q10. Has anyone else discovered better moods through regular meals and lower carbohydrate intake? I'd love to hear what worked for you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

10 Reasons weight training doesn't bulk women up

Photo courtesy Living Beautiful Radio

I thought I'd take some time to debunk some common misconceptions about women and weight training. Most women think: "Eeek! I'm going to look like The Hulk if I start training!!!"

Er... no ladies, you will not. That is unless you EAT like The Hulk. Here's why:
  1. Women do not have nearly as much testosterone as men. Women have about 15 to 20 times less testosterone than men. Testosterone is the reason men develop muscle mass. Because men have more testosterone, they are much more equipped to gain muscle.

  2. The perception that women will bulk up when they begin a strength training program comes from the chemically-altered women on the covers of bodybuilding magazines. They are most likely pumped full of some extra 'juice'. This is why they look like men.

  3. For women, when the muscle is developed through training, their bodies becomed more 'toned' in appearance. This is essentially bodybuilding without testosterone. Since the testosterone is not present in sufficient amounts, the muscle will develop, but it won’t gain a large amount of mass. The 'toned' appearance comes from removing the fat that is covering a well-developed muscle.

  4. Muscle bulk comes from a high volume of work. The repetition range that most women would prefer to do (8–20 reps) promotes hypertrophy (muscle growth). BUT... a typical bodybuilding program will have three exercises per body part. For the chest, you'd have flat bench for three sets of 12, incline for three sets of 12, and decline bench for three sets of 12. This adds up to 108 total repetitions. A program geared towards strength will have one exercise for the chest—flat bench for six sets of three with progressively heavier weight. This equals 18 total repetitions. High volume (108 reps) causes considerable muscle damage, which in turn, results in hypertrophy. The considerably lower volume (18 reps) will build more strength and cause minimal bulking. So girls, you don't have to workout as hard or as long to get stronger!

  5. Heavy weights will promote strength not size. When lifting weights over 85%, the primary stress imposed upon the body is placed on the nervous system, not on the muscles. Therefore, strength will improve by a neurological effect while not increasing the size of the muscles.

  6. Bulking up is not an overnight process. Many women think they will start lifting weights, wake up one morning, and say “OMG! I’m huge!” This doesn’t happen. The men that you see who have more muscle than the average person have worked hard for a long time (years) to get that way.

  7. What the personal trainer is prescribing is not working. Many female athletes come into a new program and say they want to do body weight step-ups, body weight lunges, and leg extensions because it’s what their personal trainer back home had them do. However, many of these girls need to look in a mirror and have a reality check because their trainer’s so-called 'magical toning exercises' are not working. Trainers will hand out easy workouts and tell people they work because they know that if they make the program too hard the client will complain.

  8. Bulking up is calorie dependant. This means if you eat more than you are burning, you will gain weight. If you eat less than you are burning, you will lose weight. Unfortunately, most female athletes perceive ANY weight gain as 'bulking up' and do not give attention to the fact that they are simply getting fatter. Squats don’t bulk you up. It’s the ten beers a night that bulk you up. If you’re a female and training with heavy weights (or not), you need to watch what you eat.

  9. Most of the so-called experts are only experts on how to sound like they know what they are talking about. Most of the people who 'educate' women about training and nutrition have no idea what they’re talking about. Let’s face it—how many people do you know who claim to “know a thing or two about lifting and nutrition?” Now, how many people do you know who actually know what they’re talking about, have lived the life, dieted down to make a weight class requirement, or got on stage at single digit body fat? Invariably, so-called experts are also the people who blame their overweight on poor genetics.

  10. Lift Heavy. When you are lifting heavy and trying to lose fat you are doing two things: you are preserving muscle tissue so that you will burn as many calories as possible when you train, and you are igniting your fat burning mode by taxing your body in a way cardio will never do.

    Muscle is like a five year old; it never gets tired and consumes all your energy. It has high energy demands and unless you are really challenging it with sufficient amount of weights it's the first thing in your body to throw a fit! When muscle isn't challenged enough it is the first thing your body will waste away...way before those ugly fat cells you are sporting.

    Fat is like Jabba The Hut. It just sits there barely doing anything, looks like crap, and is hard to move. Your body is going to hold onto fat before and above all else. That's why when you eat in a calorie deficit you HAVE to strength train heavy or you lose more muscle and the ugly fat obstinately remains.

Speaking of... tonight I have an abs workout planned. I'm excited because we've been doing a lot of plyometrics lately, and tonight will be no exception, it's going to be hardcore!! We've got a new machine that has a station so I can do hanging leg raises.... Ooooh I can feel the burn already. : )

Monday, October 20, 2008

Emotional Freedom Technique

Photo courtesy Rita Thompson

Robyn (my naturopath) is always telling me to use the 'Emotional Freedom Technique' or EFT to help with my anxiety. The problem is I am a sceptical neurotic. She taught me how to practice it myself, at home, whenever I'm feeling anxious, worried or tempted. It's also called tapping. The site all about it is here. (You can download a free manual and watch a video to learn more about it.)

When she first showed me how to do it I had come to her in tears, angry at myself for gaining/not losing weight, feeling suicidal and hopeless. We did a tapping session and she had me measure my anxiety about gaining weight and my fear of eating on a scale of 1 to 10. I said my anxiety was a 20!! When we finished she asked me again, I rated it at and 8 out of 10. Again and it was down to 4. We kept tapping until all my fears had gone and I felt calm and in control.

I couldn't believe how much it helped. EFT makes you feel VERY silly, at first I couldn't stop giggling as I was imitating her tapping... but then I started listening to the things I was saying and realised I could let my fears go. It went something like this: "Even though... the thought of eating makes me feel out of control and guilty, and I'm afraid I'm going to get fat, and I feel like I need to hang on to my eating habits to have some kind of sanity, and I feel like I let myself down by eating, and if I stop these rituals I won't know what to do.... I accept and love myself." Then I'd exhale a really deep breath and relax. It was SO HARD to say those last words when everything inside me was screaming "NO YOU DON'T! YOU'RE A WASTE OF SPACE! A FAILURE! YOU HATE YOURSELF!" After about 5 or 6 repeats, I started saying the last phrase with some conviction. The fears I had been worrying about were what was making me fail and hate myself.

I've been thinking about it a lot and I'm going to start doing it daily. Every time Robyn calls and asks me if I've been doing it at home, I say "No, I just feel stupid" or "Oh, I forgot" or "It seems like a waste of time". (She puts up with a lot from me.) But looking back, it really did help me let go of my anxiety about eating. Actually, on that day I went home and ate lunch and dinner and started to nourish myself with real foods again. The day before all I had eaten was a diet coke. The week before I had eaten an average of 500 calories a day (I know because I kept journal upon journal of food intake, calories and exercise). After that breakthrough, I stopped my obsessive calorie counting, threw all of my diaries away and put the scales in the garage. I ate again.

Despite my initial misgivings, I'm going to ignore the sceptic inside with the loud voice jeering and caterwauling and start doing EFT myself. I'm going to focus on my exercise with EFT. We've been managing to do weights 3 times a week and I've been doing a walk/run about 2 or 3 times a week for 45mins. What's holding me back from doing more cardio? Laziness. I can't get out of bed (it's lovely and warm, the covers are so snuggly... just a few more minutes...)! Also my fear of getting sweaty and dirty. So I'm tapping on those things this week and I'll see if I can manage to step up the exercise a bit more. All I want is a little more intensity and a little more frequency, I don't want to overtrain, but I do want to get fitter, stronger and gain some serous Beyoncé Butt!

Has anyone heard of this technique? What are your experiences? Has it helped you to overcome an emotional hurdle?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Kefir for digestion

Photo courtesy Tot Snob

Oh how I love my kefir!

Since I've been drinking kefir (see here for more), taking coconut oil and applying it topically, my dermatitis has disappeared. I'm amazed. Nothing has worked for me like this! Also I've found my bowel movements have improved, I'm not as hungry, I don't get a bloated feeling and.... I'VE FINALLY KICKED MY FLU!! Oh and I've maintained my weight, despite the lack of training these last few weeks. It just goes to show that good nutrition is 75% of the battle when it comes to losing weight. "If exercise is the father of health, nutrition is his wife."

This has been the morning ritual:

Kefired Banana Smoothie

1 1/2 cups freshly made kefir
1 ripe banana
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon unpasturised honey
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch cinnamon
Handful of ice

If I know lunch is going to be late I'll also throw a raw egg in there too.

I wanted to give the body for life challenge a red hot go and I've lost the momentum from a few weeks ago. So, today (since I'm feeling so much better) I've decided to start my challenge over. I've got my first weights session in three weeks (...gasp!) - arms tonight. I wonder how I'll do? If I've lost strength or maintained?

Another little detail... because I've been so sick for so long, I'm going to kick start my training with a 21 day detox. I've just finished reading Dr Joshi's Holistic Detox. Hopefully it will give me the energy and build up my immune system against another unwanted relapse. (Yes, don't chastise me because I've read another nutrition book! I'm working my way through the whole library...)

To Enjoy

The emphasis is on lots of fresh akaline forming greens, proteins (I'm using vegetarian sources - fermented soy, cottage cheese, feta cheese, yoghurt, kefir and eggs), whole grains and legumes (avoiding wheat or yeast) and cold pressed oils.

To Avoid

Sugar, wheat, yeast, gluten, alcohol, coffee (caffeine), fruit (except bananas), red meat and all artificial or processed foods are not allowed. Dairy is limited.

I eat very healthy already, but this will step it up a notch to help me recover more quickly.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I ate a cookie.

Photo courtesy Dessert comes first.

I ate a cookie. (Ohhhhhh YEAH.... Cookie high)

No, it's not a reason to PANIC and jump on the treadmill for 4 hours! Why? Because "cookies are a sometimes food" (to quote the Cookie Monster).

I aim to eat clean 90% of the time and indulge in treats SOME of the time. I don't feel guilty, I enjoy it. That way, I never feel deprived and start eating mountains of rice crackers to fill the empty place that says "I want a cookie, I want a cookie, I want a cookie, I want a cookie, I want a cookie!!!!!" Rice cakes aren't cookies silly! So, I eat a cookie! But not rubbish low fat cardboard ones, I'll have the BEST ones I can find, made from real chocolate and butter just like Mum used to make.

Or maybe two. : ) I love free days.


Since I've had this cold the momentum of my challenge is seriously under threat! So when I'm better, instead of just adding more weeks on to the end, I'm going to start over, take new photos and get back into it. If something is worth doing, it's worth doing PROPERLY. Right?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Glandular Fever?

Photo courtesy Gringo Times

Wow I feel like I haven't been here for ages. Reason? I STILL haven't kicked my cold.

I've had a lingering sore throat for over two weeks now and I'm HOPING I haven't got Glandular Fever (also called Infectious Mononucleosis) back. I suffered with it in my teens but ever since I've had a real weakness in my throat. Forget expensive medicated gargles though, the only thing that ever worked was homemade warm salt water gargles. Dissolve 1 tsp of sea salt in a glass of warm water and gargle. Takes all the pain from an infected throat away instantly and lasts for at least half an hour.

I've been very careful to get plenty of sleep, eat lots of fresh vegetables and vitamin C rich fruits like papaya and blueberries and keep on top of my supplements - bio-available vitamin C, liquid zinc, chlorophyll, iodine, CoQ10 and cod liver oil.

Needless to say my training has gone out the window! I've got to give my body the best chance at recovery. The sooner I can get back into it the better, I've really noticed my moods have become worse since stopping... I'm feeling down and emotional much more than usual. My brain is missing my regular exercise! I'm not giving up on the challenge, I'm just going to tack a few extra weeks on to the end. I've had so many great benefits from this lifestyle, there's no way I want to stop now!

Which brings me to my latest idea. I've just finished reading "The healing miracles of coconut oil" by Bruce Fife which explains how beneficial the lauric acid in this MCFA (medium chain fatty acid) is for fighting bacteria and microbes. It is used for treating candida overgrowth, artheriosclerosis, bacterial skin conditions and low grade infections. Because the particles of MCFA are more easily absorbed than long chain fatty acids, they can get straight to work in the liver to produce energy and amino acids for repairing and rebuilding tissue. In effect this fat behaves more like a carbohydrate than a fat! Mary Enig has written extensively on coconut oil in her book "Eat fat, lose fat" along with the other invaluable book (the cornerstone of my nutritional beliefs) "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig. They also describe coconut oil's ability to restore health, cure degenerative disease and increase metabolism. I've been using the oil neat to treat a persistent case of dermatitis on my hands for the last few days and it has all but disappeared! Incredible when you consider I've been using expensive creams and cortisone medications on and off for the last year to try to clear it up!

So I thought, this throat infection... maybe I'll try supplementing with medicinal doses of coconut oil and see what happens? I'm going to take 3 tablespoons a day. Has anyone used coconut oil to treat disease or infection with good results? Did it work? I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The wonderful world of Kefir!

As a Kefir initiate, I'm so EXCITED to share with you this wonderful probiotic drink! I was lucky enough to be shown how to make it at my cheese workshop. Dinking Kefir (pronounced kee-fear) is like drinking a living zoo of microorganisms to help foster a healthy gut environment. Even more diversity than you would find in fresh yoghurt (although you need yoghurt too)! When your gut is healthy, YOU are. You can assimilate and utilise nutrients and energy from food better with no nasty bowel problems like gas or diahorrea.
For the low down on all that is Kefir check out Dom's site.

Elisabeth gave us our very own kefir 'grains' (not a grain but a culture that looks like grains, see picture above) to grow some of our own at home. It only takes 24hrs! I made some yesterday and drank my Kefir smoothie for breakfast today, put on another batch this morning ready for tomorrow's brekky. It's very easy, even easier than yoghurt because there is no heating of the milk at all.

So what does it taste like? Very similar to natural yoghurt with a sharper sourish aftertaste. Sometimes Kefir can have a slight alcohol content of about 0.5%, but not enough to stop you driving! You can drink it straight, very refreshing, or have it in a smoothie rather than milk. As it is a fermented food, the milk is much easier to digest, the bacteria in effect 'pre-digesting' the milk sugars. People with lactose intolerance might find kefir a tasty alternative to milk. You can use kefir as a started for sourdough bread, to make kefired cream and kefired butter. I've also read it can be used as a culture for making cheeses.

As for where to get good kefir grains.... I don't actually know! I was fortunate enough to be given some at the workshop, but as far as I know it has been handed down for thousands of years and originated somewhere in the middle east. Kefir grains multiply so the excess is usually shared around to members of the community. You can buy dehydrated grains, but I'm not sure what kind of quality they are. Previously, I had only read about kefir and had been unable to source it, let alone taste some!

So today I ate the fruits of my labour... well, not much labour really. I still made it though!

Kefir Blueberry Power Smoothie

1 1/2 cups cultured kefir
1 cup of blueberries
1 small ripe ladyfinger bannana
1 scoop cold filtered unsweetened whey protein (20g)
Tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Serve over ice.

It was HEAVENLY. I thought foods that are good for you are meant to taste bad too!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Week 4 complete!

Photo courtesy Kevin Cherry Art

I can't believe I'm a third of the way through already! I've only got another 8 weeks to go... better get my skates on.

Here's my week 4 results:
Weight -1kg
Bust -2cm
R arm -1.5cm
Waist -1cm
Hips - 0cm (this is always the last spot I lose from)
R thigh - 1.5cm

I'm not concerned by the amount of weight I've lost because I've lost size which means... I've definitely put on muscle! I'm up on all my weights in the gym so things are changing for the better inside. I'm doing 48kgs on the bench press despite a week's set back due to the flu. When I first started weight training (a few months prior) I could hardly lift the bar without popping a vein! Makes me feel so good to see those numbers!

So what have I learned?
  • I can eat like a friggin' horse and get results!
  • Planning. When I plan each day's meals, workouts and work, I can be organised enough so there's no excuses to NOT follow through.
  • I need 8 hours sleep if I want to train at my best and not hate every minute of it!
  • Set small goals each day. Eg: run up the hill, or just to the next lamp post, get to bed by 10pm, go for two more reps!
  • Scales are not an accurate reflection of REAL progress. Muscle weighs heavier than fat.
  • My body is an amazing machine, I can do so much more than I thought possible!
Tomorrow is my 4th free day and I've also learned some strategies to not make it a total write off!
  1. Have what I really want but buy just a portion, not the whole bucket of icecream
  2. Ditto for the champagne! I've been buying mini bottles, so cute yet still full of yummy bubbles
  3. Try to eat well even if you are cheating, keep having 2/3 plate veg, 1/3 protein, even if that protein is battered fish
  4. Drink lots of water to help with the sluggish feeling you seem to get after loading up on junk
I'm actually going to a cheese workshop run by a lady who specialises in permaculture. We're learning how to make cheddar, feta, cottage cheese, brie, yoghurt and kefir. Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea are provided, so it's a good thing it is my free day! Not that I'll be missing my protein snack with all that cheese! It's great because I drink raw milk (straight from the cow to me) and it's hard to find raw cheeses. I'll be able to make my own instead of tearing my hair out ringing every health food shop from here to Coonabarrabran trying to find some! (hehe remember that old Coon cheese ad?)

If you're interested, here's a great site all about raw milk and it's benefits.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

CRAZY 300 training!

I LOVE this!! So simple, such amazing results.

Wah! I couldn't get the video to work when I posted the html.... but here's the link to the original site. The first video is the one about 300 training. The others are good too, but the first one blew me away! Good read.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Skinny Bitch?

I'm on Day 24 of my BFL challenge. At the end of this week I'll be taking my first lot of measurements (fingers crossed). So far though, I don't feel very different (scratches head?). My pants are a little looser but I won't know for sure until then. I thought I might see results a little faster than I have been! A month can feel like a very long time... especially when I'm dragging myself out of bed at 6pm after a late night.

IF things are going slower than they should be I'm going to switch back to my vegetarian diet. Prior to the last 5 months or so, I'd been a vegetarian since I was 15. I decided to eat meat again in an attempt to build muscle and lose fat. If it's not helping me reach my goals, why should I? I've always loved animals and this has been a hard adjustment. It's not that I don't like the taste, just the thought of it is disgusting. I've been working very hard to adjust my thinking and try to enjoy my meals, if I start thinking too much, I can't do it.

I used to eat a lot of legumes, vegetables, some dairy and eggs. On my VEGETARIAN BFL plan (no, I'm not stopping... you calling me a quitter? No way!) I will still eat like that, my protein will come from whey and eggs rather than chicken, steak and fish. Still whole foods, low sugar.

If I could look as lovely as Sophie, I'd go back to it in a heartbeat!

Recently a co-worker tried the "Skinny Bitch Diet". She's lost so much weight she looks like a model! The diet is a whole foods VEGAN plan, with protein coming from soy - a big no-no. A big concern about going vegan would be muscle wastage and bone density loss. I'm pretty sure the reason why the diet works (initially anyhow) is because it promotes extreme calorie restriction. Another danger is the possibility of developing vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

As for my training, I've been spot on, did an abs workout tonight, I KNOW I'll be feeling that one tomorrow... pancake tummy here I come!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Need I say more?

Day 17 of the challenge... SEEMS to be getting harder. But that's probably due to certain feminine ...erhm... conditions. I've been bitchy and down all day, I even burst into tears when attempting my second set of standing rows. Why? I quote: "I'm a failure because I can't lift it!" My husband took me inside, gave me a big hug and told me not to worry about doing anything too strenuous today. He kindly rescheduled our training session for tomorrow. I love him... *Sigh*

Arrrrgh! I hope I'm not like this NEXT time around! I've still got about 10 weeks left! Thankfully, I've mananged to stave off any bad food cravings with choc-mint protein shakes and copious amounts of hot chickory tea.

The other problem... I have been CONVINCED these last couple of days that I'm eating too much. I checked and double checked the portion sizes and foods on the BFL website. Yes... I AM doing it right... and eating frequently enough, nicely spaced meals over the day... BUT coming from a not-so-healthy-regarding-food background, I'm having a hard time BELIEVING that it is OK to eat like this! My strength has improved, no doubt, and I've lost 1 centimetre from my waist and hips, but I thought my results would be more obvious. I'm on week three and visually, there's a minimal difference, if any. It's discouraging... although I know I just need to be patient! Easier said than done. Makes me feel like skipping meals or even just snacks. That would be self-sabotage, so I won't. Plus, I don't want to go through that pain to get skinny then put it all straight back on again if I eat any more than a pea. I enjoy my food and want to keep enjoying it!

Meanwhile... aerobics on your own with the DVD player is dead boring! Halfway through this morning I stopped that nonsense and vacuumed the house at a vigorous pace instead and found it was just as entertaining!

Aerobic workouts I DO enjoy:
• Sexercise!
• Dancing!
• Surfing!
• Playing chasey with the dogs!
• Shopping at stocktake sales!
• Jumping castles!
• Ice skating!
• Touch footy on the beach!
• Boxing!
• Cleaning the shower! (NOT)

Tomorrow is a new day. Consistency is the key right? I heard someone describe their challenge this way... "It's like peeling off one sheet per day from a roll of paper towels. Each day you might not notice the difference but at the end, if you put the cardboard core next to a full roll, the difference is obvious!" Bring on the spills, I've got plenty of towels to use up!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Mixing up the fitness routine

Instead of my usual cardio in the morning, last night was spent ice skating. So much fun! Not quite like the AMAZING moves in blades of glory (totally without wires, right?), but I can do one trick where I slide on one knee with arms outstretched... I call it "the proposal". Only my third time ever on the ice, so I was pretty chuffed. Great on the legs too... probably didn't help that I had a leg weights session right beforehand, but today, my legs are FEELING IT. Ouch!

We invited a large crew to come too (trying to combine fitness and social occasions as much as possible), some of whom were beginners. I'd assured them they'd be fine, have fun and not KILL themselves! Unfortunately one of these girls fell after 10 minutes cracking her head on the ice and was concussed. The other took a tumble as she was just getting the hang of it and broke her wrist! They were carted off to emergency in the same ambulance! Ironic? Yes. Me feeling extremely guilty? Yes. The rest of the (very late) evening was tensley spent in the emergency waiting room at the hospital.... Yawn!

DESPITE this I still bounced out of bed at the usual 6:30am. (Yay for me!) Took the babies for a nice long walk before breakfast. I'm loving the early exercise, it is so energising, keeps me chirpy all day long.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The perils of... walking?

Photo courtesy Trevor's Birding

Yesterday I was swooped not once but FOUR times.

Here I am, walking my puppies, it's a lovely sunny day... The grass is green and wet with shining dew, nice and quiet, no one was around. I was in the moment, soaking it up. Next thing I know, out of the blue, I feel a wind on my cheek and a snapping sound in my ear! I jumped about 2 feet in the air and screamed. (Must have looked funny because the dogs turned around and were eyeing me strangely.)

So I'm scanning the skies trying to figure out what just happened, when I spy a stealthy magpie sitting not far away on a light post. Aha! I started yelling at it and waving my arms like a crazy person while trying to walk away.... Despite my bravado, it was undeterred and hurtled towards me with kamakaze zeal. What does a sensible girl do?

I RAN. All the while screaming, jumping around, making empty threats and dragging the confused dogs behind me. Talk about a high intensity cardio workout!

The scariest part was how it kept snapping it's beak right next to my head. Some of my friends have had bleeding gashes in their heads from magpie attacks, so I was totally freaked! It must have been nesting in the park, the strange thing was, the area it was patrolling was the size of a football field, so you can imagine how hard it was to get away. Pure evil. But they do sing nice sometimes, I'll give them that.

I've been told they don't swoop if you have eyes painted on the back of a hat... but I think I'll avoid the area for the rest of the month!

I'm up to day 12, so far so good! My measurements are down by a centimetre on my waist and hips, although I've not lost scale weight yet. I'm not concerned, as long as my clothes are beginning to feel looser and I'm getting toned and terrific! I've got a legs session tonight and then we're off to ice skating, double whammy.

This morning we have our local farmer's markets, I'm dangerously low on veggies, it's amazing how much I've been eating! I'm like a hungry, hungry hippo! Should I invest in a bigger fridge? Strawberries are in season... last week I got 2kg for $5! Used them up in fresh strawberry smoothies.

Strawberry Super Smoothie
500gms hulled fresh strawberries
2 scoops of vanilla protein powder
5 big ice cubes
Pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg
1/2 cup whole milk
Teaspoon of honey

Blend. If it's too thick add a little ice water and blend to the desired consistency. SO GOOD. Pink deliciousness! Serves 2. (I drink it all by myself though...)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I got 'em... guts that is

Image courtesy Emerald City Comics

I feel like her a bit today! I did my new HIIT during my lunch hour. Despite my calves absolutely caining from the sprints, I'm so glad that I dug deep and just did it. Wow. This is a great feeling.

AND during my weights sess tonight I hit a new high on the bench press - 47 kgs!!! I'm seriously chuffed! I thought I was only going to be able to do 45! I'm gonna make a choc-mint protein shake to celebrate!

As each week goes by, my strength is steadily improving. I'm not the hulk or anything, but it gives you a reason to keep going and to try harder, you've got numbers to beat. I can't wait until November to see how much I'll be lifting by then! Aiming to be able to lift my own body weight at the least. Grow muscles.. groooow!

Night, night, I'm off to have a niiiice hot shower, got to get up early tomorrow - no excuses!

More of my eats

This is what I had for brekkie today, scrambled eggs (yes, WHOLE eggs), grilled eggplant and my grandma's homemade cauliflower pickles.

This is bug toast copied from Skwigg... toasted rye bread, natural peanut butter (no added nothing), grated carrot, raisins. Yummy!

I'll keep posting pics as I remember to do it. Does anyone else have any good pics or links for low carb foods?

Have I got the guts?

Photo courtesy Interwebjunk

I did a bad thing.

The alarm went off today and I hit snooze until 7:30am! Dear me, those late nights have been catching up! I've noticed if I get to bed by 10:30pm I can do the 6:30am start. If I don't I can't.

I'm an 8 hour MINIMUM girl. Always been that way. Mum used to tell me stories when I was just a baby, at bed time I would start crying on the dot, when they took me into my room I would start laughing and arching my back to get to the bed. Hehe I STILL do that sometimes!

So because I didn't work out this morning... I bought my gym gear to work, I'm going to do a HIIT (high intensity interval training) running session at lunch for 20 mins. Gives me 40mins to eat my lunch and get changed. I've never trained that way before but it goes like this:

Warm up 5 min (easy jog)
Sprint for 1 min
Then jog for 2 min (5kph)
Sprint for 1 min
Then jog for 2 min (5kph)
Sprint for 1 min
Then jog for 2 min (5kph)
Then... cool down 5 min (fast walk)

This is my plan:

• 3 times a week for four weeks
• Then add another sess to make it 4 sessions a week for four weeks
• Then next 4 weeks add another sprint jog cycle in

I'd have to leave the dogs at home, there is no way I could do it with all their sniffing! Besides, are THEY fit enough? (Sook in particular...) They'd still need a walk though, so I'd have to walk them as well. Unless I did that at night, or get up earlier and do both? It's only 20mins HIIT. Then half an hour walk with the dogs, only about 15mins extra. I'm going to use a polar watch and HR monitor... it will be good to know my heart rate, to see if I'm hitting it.

Do I have the guts to do this by myself? I'm used to leaning on my husband who is a personal trainer to push me hard. Gotta start from the bottom up I guess!

Got weights session - arms and back tonight! I'm going for a new high of 45 kgs on the bench press... I'm really looking forward to it! Shooting for 8-10 reps.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My Quotidian Diet - Day 9

Here's a pic of my daily eggies! Jamie Oliver eat your heart out! Eggs, parsely, feta, tomato and red onion... I'm making myself hungry.

Every day for the last few months I've eaten two or three eggs for breakfast. I like them scrambled, in an omelette, in a smoothie, fried or sometimes poached, but I save that one for when we go out for breakfast. I can never get it right! I seem to break the yolk or it gets everywhere... One day I will master the poach!

Eggs also fit in nicely with my new plan. This is the only thing that I take exception to on the BFL plan... I DO NOT eat egg whites! Why not? Yolks have all the nutrients! It's like buying cereal and then eating the cardboard box! Here's a great article explaining about eggs and their benefits. No more egg white omelettes. Besides, they taste like, well... nothing, unless you smother them in sauce or salt. Yuck.

Also I stumbled upon this article that adults who eat eggs for breakfast lose 65 percent more weight. If that's not a good reason to start eating them, I don't know what is.

But PLEASE make them good quality, free range eggs. Apart from the delicious taste, you are making sure that the chickens are looked after with a good quality of life. Cage eggs are cheap but the poor chooks suffer.

BFL day 9... already! I'm doing really well, not cheating and exercising once or twice every day. This morning I did a pilates video - ouch my abs! Last night was weight training - lower body, I smashed it. I'm loving it! Tomorrow - Wednesday - I have arms again and I'm going for 10 reps of 45kgs on the benchpress. Woot! It may not seem like a lot to all you buff bohemoths, but for a wussy little girl like me, it's huge. I'll let you know if I can hit it... or not. Either way I'm going to be putting on my ugly face!

Monday, September 8, 2008

I'll start exercising on Monday...

Bad habits. We all have them. From forgetting to floss to forgetting to let grandma out of the cupboard, they exert a negative influence on our daily lives.

They say a habit takes 21 days to form. So if you start now, by the end of the month you'll have new ones... right? Well... no. Most people sabotage their efforts before that happens.

When starting or breaking any habit we tend to tell our conscious mind we are going to change and it’s for LIFE. On the other hand, if you tell yourself you want to try something for a finite 21 days it seems a more manageable goal. It might sound a little strange to ‘talk to your conscious’... but what I mean is we all have conversations with ourselves inside our heads - should I go to the pub or should I not, should I go to the gym or should I not? There are a hundred conversations we have with ourselves every day.

Tell yourself (your conscious brain) that you are going to try it for 21 days. When you have completed 21 days, your neural pathways will have formed already and you will more than likely continue with your new habit. Just take it one day at a time!

So this sounds pretty straight forward... why do people fail to make the change?

Too difficult
. People set out with a lot of ambition and enthusiasm, and start out with a big goal. “I’m going to go to the gym for an hour a day!” or “I’m going to run 30 minutes every day!” The problem is that the goal is too difficult to sustain for very long.

Too many goals
. Often we set out to do too much. We want to stop smoking, and stop drinking coffee, and make healthy choices, and do our tax on time, and lift weights. Those are multiple goals, and you cannot focus on what is the most important if you’re trying to do all the others at the same time. Or you might start with one goal, but then get caught up in another goal (to stop procrastinating, for example), and lose focus on the first one.

Not enough motivation
. It’s not a lack of discipline, it’s a lack of motivation. You need to find your reason to keep going!

So how does one combat these hurdles...? There are four tools in your artillery.

1. Set one easy, specific, measurable goal

Write this down. If you don’t write it down, it’s not important. Don’t set a difficult goal. Set one that is super, super easy. Five minutes of exercise a day. You can do that. Work your way to 10 minutes after a month. Make it easy to start with, so you can build your habit, then gradually increase. Be specific, what activity are you going to do, at what time of day, and where? Don’t just say “exercise” or “I’m going to walk”. Make it an appointment you can’t miss. Stick to one goal for at least a month. Two months if you can bear it. Don’t start up a second goal during that 30-day period. If you do, you are threatening the success of your original goal.

2. Keep a daily journal

As you record each day, you will start to see your progress, and it will motivate you to keep going. And you have to make it a habit to log it right away. Don’t put it off, and say you’ll do it before you go to bed. As soon as you’re done working out, log it. Just the date, time, and what you did.

3. Tell others about your progress

Do it on your blog, an online forum, with your spouse, friends, family, a workout partner, a coach, a group or a class. However you set it up, make it part of the process that you have to report your daily workout to other people. It could be through email, or the phone, or just by telling your co-workers what you did this morning. But be sure that they know your goal, and that you are going to report to them every day.

4. Motivation - Keep it up!

If you miss two consecutive workouts, you need to look at why, and add a new motivation. Rewards, more public pressure, inspiration, whatever it takes. Think of ways to reinforce your new habits in a positive way. I read of a woman who would take her own extra soft luxury towels to the gym and put on her favourite scent as soon as she finished her workout and stepped out of a hot shower.

What are my goals?
• Get up every day (besides Sunday) at 6:30am and do some form of exercise before anything else. Even if it's only a walk. Every second day, weights.
• Consistently make healthy food choices for the next 12 weeks.

What is my motivation?
• I want to wake up and feel great at the start of each day
• My dogs get a nice walk
• Each day I'm getting fitter
• I'll have more energy to get through the working day
• I want to achieve a goal and be disciplined enough to see it through
• Feel great in my own skin
• Do something healthy that's just for me

Don't wait until Monday to start hitting your targets, start today!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

FREE Day!!

In case you hadn't guessed already, my poison of choice is champagne. I love the crisp finish, the slightly acid bite, the pale golden hue, the glassware, the way it pairs perfectly with strawberries... most of all the bubbles seem to appear from nowhere! Fascinating! When you are holding a delicious drop of bubbly and taking teasing sips, every occasion can be a special one. It's like choosing to add mood music when eating dinner, or candlelight. Ahhh... it's my favourite!

As I've reached my first milestone: FREE DAY no 1... I thought it was appropriate to open a bottle! Any excuse will do! No, I'm joking, I was saving it up just for today. I've been looking forward to it and now, it's allowed! I love this plan! I haven't been going crazy today, just having a little bit here and there. From what I can gather, free days are about little indulgences, rewards and satisfaction. When you eat so clean for six whole days, it helps to know you can relax one day and not get the 'guilts'.

The Guilts
Self talk... Maybe if I have one piece of cake today, it won't be so bad... I've been so good all week, it won't matter really. Besides, if I don't have some the others in the office will think I'm being unsociable. It's not that big a slice. Anyway, I deserve it. Oh, this is so good! The chocolate fudge icing is so rich! Wow, that was a big piece... oh, no, I wonder what I'll have for dinner now? Soup? I have to make up for this or I'll gain weight on my diet again! WHY did I eat it?! I feel sick and sluggish, my stomach hurts... I always do this, why can't I have any self discipline? I'm going to be a fat pig forever, no wonder I can't control myself! Every time I try to eat healthy THIS happens. I'm such a failure. I can't be bothered cooking tonight, I'll just get takeaway. It's no use trying to be good, this is not my fault, it's genetic.

Sound familiar? A lot of people have a negative voice dictating lies to them, steering them away from healthy choices. It's up to you if you choose to listen or not.

By following the body for life plan, I can have my cake and eat it too. No more guilts, no more calorie counting. It's simple, consistent and effective. There's a saying: "You don't have to take exercise seriously, just regularly". If you do that, over time your body composition will change and if you do have occasional indulgences, it's not going to matter much at all.

So this is what I had on my free day (wow, week one is over! :))
Meal 1: 2 free range whole egg omlette with grated cheese, parsley, tomato, red onion and avocado, chickory tea
Meal 2: Strawberry smoothie with protein powder (I got 2kgs of fresh strawberries for $5 at the local farmers' markets)
Meal 3: Leftover strawberry smoothie
Meal 4: Sprouted dark rye bread with cream cheese and pickles, handful of sprouted cashew nuts
Meal 5: French-style roast chicken (got this awesome free range chicken from my local butcher) with roast sweet potato, beetroot, capsicum, onion, pumpkin, 2 glasses of champagne
Meal 6: Strawberries with melted dark chocolate dipping sauce, chickory tea

Free day is also my day for a much deserved sleep in. Lovely. I also had a nana nap this afternoon. How naughty!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

More diet nonsense

It never ceases to amaze me how people can be so easily sucked in to believing the media when it comes to health. Just because something is labeled 'diet' it doesn't mean it's OK to guzzle it down! Nor does it mean these foods are GOOD for you. (Slaps forehead)

The health and diet foods industry make squizzillions from the gullible public. Why? People want to lose fat! Why do they believe psuedo-scientific lying hype? Because they want to do it the EASY WAY. I shudder every time I see an ad marketing Coco Pops to Mums as a health food. Sigh. It's immoral.

I'm sorry folks, but there is no easy way. If you want to lose fat, you have to move your butt regularly, eat right, get enough sleep and drink water. Simple.

Common quick fixes and their outcomes....

'Diet', 'lite' and 'low-fat' foods
Quick fix:
May help shed scale weight in the short term

Inevitable outcome:
  • Artificially sweetened and over-processed foods full of chemical additives place a toxic load on the liver and can lead to cancer. Unfortunately, the liver is the organ most responsible for fat burning.
  • Feelings of deprivation, leading to binges. Foods are 'guilt free' so more is eaten, even binging on 'fat free' foods results in excess daily calories.
  • Muscle wasting due to less protein intake (protein is relatively high in calories, so dieters frequently cut back) and higher sugar intake raises insulin - the hormone that tells your body to store fat (lite foods use sugar and corn syrup to make them taste good). Less muscle equals lower metabolism. You may creep up to your original weight but your body puts on fat easier than muscle resulting in a lower muscle to fat ratio.
  • Less value nutritionally depriving the body of vital nutrients responsible for healing, rebuilding and detoxifying resulting in lower immune function, tiredness and aging.
  • Hormonal imbalances - fat and protein help regulate the body's intricate hormonal network, unbalanced hormones due to less fat and protein are responsible for weight gain, mood swings, lack of concentration and irritability

Gastric banding, lap banding and other weight loss surgeries
Quick fix:
Rapid weight loss

Inevitable outcome:
  • Malnutrition - the body is unable to absorb nutrients, immunity is lowered,
  • Nausea and discomfort when eating
  • Bowel movements impaired due to lack of bulk in diet
  • Muscle wastes due to dramatic drop in calories
  • Over time stomach stretches back to original size
  • Complications can lead to death or extreme fatigue

Quick fix:
Immediate fat loss, the area is visibly more smooth

Inevitable outcome:
  • Fat cells have been permanently removed resulting in possible scarring and an uneven distribution
  • If a strict diet is not constantly adhered to any weight gain, even a minimal amount, will be lumpy and uneven. The problem areas initially targeted will look worse!
  • Nerve endings can be damaged resulting in less sensation
  • Severe bruising and capillary damage. Blood vessels closest to skin (in the dermis) are responsible for removing toxins that can cause cellulite and work in conjunction with the lymphatic system. They also help keep the skin looking young. When they are damaged the appearance of cellulite become worse, skin in the area looks prematurely aged
So don't be a sucker, PLEASE eat your greens and go for a walk... it is less expensive, not to mention much less painful! Every single person has an amazing body that is GEARED towards keeping you healthy! Daily, hundreds of thousands of cells are being built, repaired and destroyed. Fuel that machine with quality foods, move it around and take time to rest and destress, it will respond accordingly and become efficient and energetic.

Besides... bacon flavoured coke is just wrong on so many levels. Sheesh!

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Oh yeah, I can't believe I'm halfway through week 1 already! So far so good, my nutrition is stellar and I've not skipped an exercise session yet! I'm so proud of myself. (Pats self on back)

I'm really looking forward to my free day, not because I can eat whatever, but because I can have a well deserved sleep in! Yawn, 6:30am... arrrgh. My NEW habit will form soon, right? On sunday I'm not going to go crazy, I'll keep it clean, but I will have a glass of champagne and a baby cup of rich chocolate icecream.

This whole thing has made me so focussed, I have a goal in mind and I want to smash it! I've got a gorgeous lingerie model stuck on my fridge at the moment (my hubby is not complaining!) and when I complete the 12 weeks, I'm going to get a shoot done with exactly that pose, in similar underwear to show how far I've come. I can't wait! Rain, hail, shine, I'm going to do this!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Day 2 BFL Challenge

Well the hard part is over. Starting. Now all I have to do is take one day at a time for the next 83 days and I'll reach my goal.

Getting up today was traumatic. 6:30am is when NIGHT SHIFT workers arise! Arrrgh. I DID get up though, had a little pity party and then just did it. Took the dogs for a big long walk and made myself a leisurely breakfast before work, omlette with feta, tomato, basil, parsley and red onion, as per yesterday. Do you know what? I actually enjoyed it once I got moving. It was very pleasant, not many people around and sunny and warm, not hot. Beautiful.

They say habits take 28 days to form. 2 down, 26 to go!

Eating all of this food is a bit confronting, you start feeling really hungry, even though it feels like you just ate! I'm thinking of taking photos of my meals and posting them here, so I can remember them when I'm stressed or busy and can't think of anything to have. Not that I'm a food stylist, but I do like to think I can cook well, Donna Hay watch out!

Cardio tonight, I'll have to go off to bed a little bit earlier I think! I have to avoid as many negatives as I can so that I keep it going. Positive association. I read somewhere that a lady uses extra soft scented towels for her workouts and makes sure to have a relaxing bath afterward as a reward. Subconciously, we need thing like that to feel good when we are cultivating new habits.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Body For Life 12 Week Challenge

I thought it was appropriate to post an old school weight lifter chick, Rachel McLish, Ms Olympia 1980 herself, because I have decided I need to get back to basics. What a role model!

I'm ditching the Warrior Diet for a Body-for-Life type plan. Although I HAVE increased my muscle percentage, my body fat has only changed minimally. I enjoyed the freedom that comes from eating one meal a day, but wanted better results than I was getting. As I progress, I might go back to it, I think there's some very good science behind it. That's the problem I guess... there is reasonable science behind A LOT of different diet plans, that is why most people are hopelessly confused! Also, I'm afraid it is slowly wearing away at my resolve NOT to go back to my disordered eating. My attitude towards food of late has been less than stellar, and I was finding myself restricting again in an effort to speed up my fat loss. BAD IDEA, I know. *sighs* I really don't want to go down that self destructive path again, so I'm turning around now, while I can still see the forest, so to speak!

Based on Skwigg's great results (I've been a secret fan of hers for a long time) I've bit the bullet and committed myself to a 12 week Body for Life Challenge. That means lots of small meals, with emphasis on protein and workouts 6 days a week, 3 weights sessions, 3 cardio. There's a cheat day every week and a sleep in too. (Ahhh.... bed. I love my bed.) I'm not sticking to the BFL plan exactly, I'll use it as a rough guideline with most of my nutrition coming from whole foods rather than protein bars, shakes and products. I'll use a shake or two here and there but not every second meal! The whey protein I use is cold filtered and plain, with no flavours or sweeteners, mixed with water.

Unfortunately, because I'm from Australia, I can't actually enter the comp. So, I thought I might enter this one instead. Not quite the same prize pool (pity, the extra cash would have come in handy :)), but it is the same length and gives me something to work towards, a tangible goal. Besides, it's not about the money, it's about how I feel, setting and achieving goals, self esteem and discipline. I have never in my LIFE been able to get up out of bed at 6:30am! Not that I didn't want to or that I had no alarm, the reasons to get up just weren't good enough and my bed is so cozy and warm.... Ah, no, I'm NOT a morning person! So even if I can achieve THAT, this attempt will have been worth it.

I printed out a diary with every day for the next 12 weeks, workout plans, meal plans, actual meals, milestones and measurement goals. I've also taken some before shots and stuck them on the fridge with the date. As I complete each month, I'm going to take a new photo and stick it up there alongside the original. So motivating! I've outlawed banned substances such as biscuits and there is a strict edict that will be enforced regarding chocolate consumption and location. I've set alarms and reminders on my phone until DECEMBER (I've TRULY lost it this time), 6:30am wake up call for my morning workout, 10:30am snack, 12:30pm lunch, 3:30pm snack. They've only just been set today and already they were helpful, I got busy at work and almost forgot to have the mid afternoon mini meal! Whoops!

So Day 1, so far, so good! I'm feeling very motivated now I've committed to this plan. Anyone else out there doing it? Let me know!

Meal 1: 2 egg (free range) omlette with chopped tomato, spanish onion, feta, coffee
Meal 2: Protein shake, apple, water
Meal 3: 2 tandoori chicken legs, 1 cup of fruit (pineapple, strawberries), water
Meal 4: 1 cup of beef and vegetable curry, herbal tea, water
Meal 5: Steak, steamed carrots, roast beetroot, roast onion and tomato gravy, diet coke (slaps wrist)
Meal 6: Protein, piece of fruit, herbal tea

Today's exercise: 6:30am 45min pilates session, 6:30pm 45 min weight training - arms

Day 2 here I come! Yawn, got to go to bed, early start tomorrow. For once! haha