Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Week that Was.. Christmas is just one day!

Christmas 2011 004 copy

Christmas Day!  It is just one day but it seems like it provides an excuse to indulge for weeks before.  And then afterward we have to find a way to ‘stop’ which isn’t always easy.  We get into bad habits, lose our good habits and momentum.  We get used to making excuses again and our willpower muscle loses form.  But it is now over.  I will not dwell on the mistakes of the past, except to say that I will looking at some better strategies to handle Christmas next year!  First one being to arrange appropriate childcare for the monsters!

I will keep this post short.  It is mostly to say that I forgive myself for the weeks leading up to Christmas and the few days afterward.  I am not perfect and I acknowledge that I did things incorrectly – but it is okay.  I am not a bad person, I do not need punishing.  It just is what it is.  I learnt some valuable lessons – I need to arrange childcare for the kids in advance, I need to plan my meals, and I need to go shopping.  I need to JFDI, set my alarm in the morning and I need to deal with my poor sleeping habits at the moment!

So what is the damage done? 

57.15kg  - 28.7% fat!

It’s not pretty but it should be fairly easy to lose: easy come, easy go!  Oh Yeah, I am confident today! 

Seriously though, I am thinking that the first couple of kilos should drop off fairly easily as I know I am bloated with water weight.  I had better go do some measurements for today though!

Bust (naked): 86cm

True Waist: 77cm

Waist (the fat bit): 87cm

Hip: (the fattest bit): 95cm

Thigh: L – R 52cm –50cm

The only measurement I am worried about is the fat bit of my waist – measured at the belly button.  This is the really bad part of my body – it is out of shape, makes me look pregnant, and represents visceral fat (the worst kind)!

So lets bring in the New Year with positivity!  I will achieve a loss on the scales this week, I am eating normally (healthy normal) and exercising regularly.  The weight is coming off already!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Goal Setting: An art unto itself

flat-stomach-185x114It really does seem so.. inconsequential really, to actually sit down and write your goals.  I mean, what difference does it make?  I know I don’t want to be fat anymore, I don’t want to be unhappy or feel lazy and slovenly.  Why do I need to write that down?  It is just so, well, corny!

But it is the secret to success.  Your goals are those things that make you crawl out of bed at 5am on a cold winter’s morning to train for a race that is 3mths away!  It is what drives us to sacrifice in the short term for long term gain – but that long term gain needs to be firmly in our sights!  We need to know that we will get there and if we don’t even know where there is… well.. it is easy enough to get side-tracked by that yummy chocolate donut!  But with your eyes on that prize you probably wont even notice the donut!

So what do I want?  I want to be lean – I have defined myself as small for ever. I was always tiny and it is so much a part of my identity that I don’t feel like myself, I feel like I am wearing a fat suit!  Even right now, I feel the bloating and stretching as something that is covering me rather then within me. 

Pictures speak a thousand words: Visualisation is a powerful technique for training the mind and I plan on taking advantage of that.  When I imagine this goal in my mind, I see a midsection as pictured above – I see a defined waist, I see not so much a 6pk but a flat stomach with some definition to the musculature underneath.  I love the elongated belly button rather then the deep cavernous bottomless pit that currently exists!

Specifics:  It is great to say I want to be lean, but what exactly is lean?  How will I know when I reach my goal?  I’ve been looking at this for a while and I pretty much reckon I have it pinned down to a number.. 48kg.  That’s a BMI of 20 for my height.  I would like my body fat to be around 20% and my true waist around 65cm (not sure on that last one as I don’t know what is possible!).

I want to be strong and fit as well.  I don’t want to lose muscle mass while I lose fat so I need to maintain that strength that I have while returning to my cardio.  I want to do weight training at least twice a week for muscle maintenance.  I want to be able to do five chin-ups and get a full minute in of proper push-ups (and get that 50kg bench press at some point!).  I want to do abdominal workouts 4 days a week to ensure my core is stable and to be able to do a sit-up.  I want to run in a 10k race in close to an hour, and bring my 5k race time down to 25mins.

And mostly I want to be able to balance my family life, my PhD work, and my health!

Nest blog I will look at getting those goals down onto a time line!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Life Makeover: Sleep

sleepWe all need it, 8 hours of sleep a night, but for some reason I am finding it difficult to give up each day to sleep.  I am staying up later and later and it has totally ruined all that I have done so far.  I wouldn’t even mind if I were productive in these hours but I merely read forums or watch tv.  Even then, that would be fine if it were the only time I got to do those things, but I am doing them during the day – it is holidays! 

And I think that is the problem, I don’t ‘have’ to get up to take the kids to school.  But want to wake up to go for a run in the mornings, I don’t like being tired – I am not doing anything with the kids because I am simply exhausted from going to bed at 3am, and waking at 7-8am.  I’m putting off getting dressed and ready in the morning so it is near lunch time before I am doing anything productive.  I get a bit of cleaning done but even then, because I haven’t gotten dressed, I can’t complete things – taking the rubbish out, hanging out washing, sweeping out the front, etc.

I’m not getting to the gym (I can barely function let alone workout), am only just keeping up with the habits I have laid out so far and not at all with the ‘eating dinner at the table’ habit!  So at this point I have to stop and take a reality check.. I need my sleep!

I’ve done a fair bit of research on sleep in the past, the layman type research anyway, and have learnt that one of the best ways to get into a good sleeping habit is to simply set your alarm and wake up at the same time everyday, no matter when you go to sleep.  At night, go to bed when you are tired, a warm shower a while before hand is good as it mimics the bodies drop in temperature, warm milk as well – there are proteins in milk that help to induce sleep.  I think tidying up my room might help as well and honestly, I really need a new mattress!  But I will start at the beginning by setting my alarm for 6am.  I think that is a good time to wake up each morning.  I will have the time to go for a run, come home and shower and dress, and have time to get the kids ready for school and get some housework done!  Bedtime would have to be 9pm –10pm to make sure I am getting enough sleep! 

Habit: Wake up at 6am no matter what!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kitchen Makeover: The Ultimate Goal

finish2cqphysioWe cannot have direction without a goal.  A finish line gives us a path to move along, something to strive for, and a place to stop and rest.  Without a finish line, we wonder about aimlessly, expelling energy but never really going anywhere – or worse, jumping from path to path and ending up going round in circles!

The easiest way of getting where we want to be is to emulate someone who is already there.  Do you know someone who is healthy, someone who you admire?  What does their kitchen look like?  How do they organise their food?  What are the basic healthy kitchen habits of healthy people?  These are what I have seen or read about that I feel would be essential to living the healthy life that I want!

  1. Simple: KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) is the premise for everything in my life.  Frankly, if a system is based on a complicated and intricate web of ‘have-to-do’ items, them is fraught with potential failure.  I need for my kitchen to be easy to look after, easy to work in, and my meals easy to cook. 
  2. Clean: Perhaps the most important aspect of a healthy kitchen, is that it is clean.  You cannot have a healthy kitchen if it is dirty messy, or just plain gross!  I want to be able to walk into my kitchen for each meal and have a clean slate to work from!
  3. Healthy:  And by Healthy, I mean fresh!  Fresh food, healthy food, overflowing from the cupboards and fridge!  You cannot eat healthy food if it is not there already!
  4. Organised:  All the above things require organisation to work.  To keep things simple we need to know exactly what we need so we can get rid of superfluous items.  We need to stay on top of the cleaning tasks, and we need to plan our meals and shop regularly.  By staying organised we can keep our kitchen simple, clean and healthy!

Now, to break them down further into tasks that I can set and achieve for myself:

    1. Simple
      • Storage containers need to be minimised
      • Appliances need to be minimised
      • Cooking equipment needs to be minimised
      • Cleaning equipment needs to be minimised
      • Recipes need to be simplified and fast!
    2. Clean
      • Cupboards need to be emptied and cleaned
      • Fridge needs to be cleaned
      • Pantry needs to be cleaned
      • Drawers need to be cleaned
      • Sink kept shining and clean everyday
      • Dining table set and ready to use every meal
    3. Healthy
      • Recipes need to be healthy
      • Shopping needs to be done regularly
      • Fridge needs to be kept up-to-date
      • Storage of leftovers and fresh food needs to up-to-date
    4. Organised
      • Meal Planning with Shopping Routine
      • Cleaning Routines
      • Recipes organised for ease!

It is easy to see from that list that there is a lot of cross-over happening.  I basically need to clean out my kitchen, tossing what I don’t need, organising what I do need, and setting up a routine to keep things clean and organised.  So easy!  Not!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kitchen Makeover: Stage three

The family that eats together, stays healthy together!
my bday 009Okay, so that is not the exact phrasing of the quote but, it is true none-the-less.  It is no surprise that research supports the fact that eating at the table is important, not only for family harmony, but also for our health.  Families that are overweight are more likely to not own a dining room table, or at least not use it – preferring the comfort of the couch and the television while dining.
We do usually eat together as a family at the dining table but I have noticed that that habit has been wavering (a lot) of late.  Take out is moving in, and the tendency to not clean up after dinner with it.  So now that my sink is getting cleaned each night, and I am planning my meals, if only for a day at a time, I think the dining table has to make its come back – right now!
To make this work, we need to work in two habits..

1. Eat at the table for every meal**

2. Clear the table after every meal

**Note to self:  This means:
  • No eating at the computer or while watching television
  • No eating in the car while driving (if you get take-out, either eat-in or take it home and eat it at the table!)
  • No eating on the phone
  • No eating at my desk
  • No eating in bed while reading or watching television
From that list, this is a pretty major change wrapped up in a deceptively simple little habit!  I think I will focus on the habit itself rather then the ‘do not’ list as it seems a lot less daunting!
I am expecting I will love the follow-on benefits from this.. it is lovely to sit with my family at the dinner table and to see that my children are eating healthy meals (if somewhat less healthy mine!).  It is a great opportunity to catch up on the day, especially as my boys get older, and to work out some plans for the family!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Week that Was…

Good things happened this week.  I felt on top of things (some of the time) and achieved great results at home, in the lab, and in the gym!  I need to move forward a bit now and increase my expectations of myself when it comes to nutrition!  My birthday is now over so there is no ‘red flag’ until Christmas Day! 
This week I began my ‘new life’ and so far so good.  I’ve been checking in on the 12wbt forum each day, I’ve been shining my sink each night, and now have my ‘on the fly’ meal planning board – aka the fridge – clean and working for me!
What I haven’t mentioned is that I have also been going to the gym everyday this week!  While it was the last week of school, I trialled a schedule where I did a shorter workout (30mins) and fit it in after dropping off the kids.  Provided I dropped the kids off at 8.30am, I could get to the gym, do a 5mins warm-up, a few sets of strength exercises and then get to uni for 9.30.  When I start back at it next year (when school starts up again) I will need to take work clothes and a shower cap so I can have a quick shower and get changed once I am done! 
This is part of my goal.. to get my training down to two segments: a 3-5km run in the morning, and then 30min at the gym.  Only problem is that I usually wash my hair each morning – if I do this I will have to wash it at night.  Huge change of routine there!  But it will leave me more time in the morning to get ready – making lunches and getting housework done!  I do like this schedule though so I will work to make it happen!  I’ve got the gym part working, now to wake up and run each morning! 
Time to set my alarm to 6am!  Eeeek!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Kitchen Makeover: Stage Two

The Fridge!!
9th december upload 093
My sink is under control!  I have cleaned my sink each night before bed – too easy!  The follow-on effects are great as well.  The area where I make my breakfast (and the kids lunches) is clean each morning so my day is starting off on the right foot and I am in a good mood!  that makes me much more inclined to eat a healthy breakfast!  So it is time to move onto the next mission!  The fridge!
The fridge is where all our fresh food is kept – how can we be healthy if our fridge is not healthy?  Not only can an unhealthy fridge be a breeding ground for germs that cause upset tummies, it can also mean we are wasting foods and, of course, we are less likely to eat our healthy fresh produce if it is going icky in the fridge after 24hrs!
So today I have a mission:

Clean the fridge!

  • take everything out and toss anything out of date or obviously unhealthy!
  • take out the shelving and drawers and wash them, let them dry while wiping out the inside of the fridge (a bit of lemon juice in the water is great for killing germs and getting rid of smells!).
  • Put it all back, wiping the bottom of jars, but lets try some organisation. 
Organisation: The things you want to eat more of need to easily accessible and visible!  You can buy fridge organisers which are great for holding sauce bottles and spreads to keep them together.  And lastly, look at how you are storing your fruits and vegetables in the fridge.  I am trying out some vege bags to see if they help keep things fresh, but I am more inclined to try and make sure I eat it all so I don’t need it to last as long!  And don’t forget to do your research… look up how to to best store your favourite fruits and vegetables, and invest in some containers to keep your leftovers in!
At the moment I am struggling with a fridge that is way too small for my family, it is really only big enough for a family of two, not five!  So my goal is to get a new fridge in the New year – not an easy task given the Christmas spending period is upon us, we need to pay for some repairs at our rental house, and the costs of heading back to school as well!  So this week I am going research fridges and work out which price bracket I need to be in to get what I want!

My new habit for this week:

A “What’s in the fridge” board!

a.k.a. Family meal planning on the fly!
The idea is to grab a white board marker and, provided you have a nice white fridge, you are free to write all over it.  You can write what is for dinner, what leftover’s need to be used, what fresh fruit and vegetables you can eat or have planned!  Each night, after I have cleaned the sink, I can go through what we have and work out what to do for breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner.  I can get out what needs to be defrosted and put it in the back fridge so it can defrost slowly (and without risking food poisoning!).  My leftovers can get used, and the boys and hubby will know what to grab from the fridge without opening it twenty times before deciding there is nothing to eat!
So my tasks are complete and I have added a picture of my '”What’s in the fridge” board!  I will update with how it goes at the end of next week!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thought for today: What is the attraction?

Why is it that 5 teaspoons (or even half a cup) of milo with my milk seems so much better then the 3 teaspoons which is meant to go in there?
A properly made milo tastes delicious, is a little high in sugar but with the milk, is a pretty decent snack in a normal healthy diet.  So why do I feel the need to overdo it.. spoil myself, reward myself, have a treat… by doing something over-indulgent.  Why can’t the normal milo be enough of a treat?

Mindset Lesson:  Enjoy things as they should be.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Kitchen Makeover: Stage One

Let’s start with the kitchen sink…
So what does the kitchen sink have to do with losing weight?
There is a certain group of people, myself included, who have never quite grasped the concept the housework.  In this day and age, it is often a life skill that is looked down upon and many even brag about their ineptitude at basic cleaning.  And the issue for many a person (especially one who cares for a number of people) is washing up. This is how it goes.
  • Busy day at work
  • Cook Dinner
  • Too tired to clean up so leave till the morning
  • Rushing to get to work.. leave cleaning till the afternoon
  • Get home from work
  • See the pile of dishes
  • Clean up
  • Too tired to cook dinner so call take out or cook something ‘easy’
  • Way too tired to clean up
  • Begin cycle again.
Sometimes we love to cook, have the ingredients we need, have a great meal plan, but if our kitchen is not clean – if we have do that work before we even begin to cook – we are setting ourselves up to fail.  Now this concept is not unique.. many years ago I joined a website:  It is a fantastic resource for anyone who has housework issues and the first thing they suggest is to ‘shine your sink’.  I recommend you head over there for more detail but I will repeat the basic concepts here.
If our sink is clean, we can wash up.  If the dishes are washed, the benches are most likely wiped down – the kitchen is ready for you to prepare your healthy meals.  So the first step we have to take to a healthy lifestyle is getting that kitchen sink under control by creating good habits.
My challenge is to create a habit – thirty days is all it takes to cement a change.

Habit:  Shine my sink

– each night before bed, no matter what.  It should only take 5mins, and it doesn’t even matter if I don’t wash up!  Just get my sink shining and keep it that way.
Note: to ‘shine’ your sink, give it a good scrub, making sure you clean the icky bits around the edges of the drain, the faucet, and the sink itself.  Rinse it of thoroughly, dry it off and then spray on some window cleaner to polish it up!
So here we go… the first steps to changing my life.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Today I start my new life.

I started a new life all those years ago when I had my first panic attack which led to agoraphobia.  Today I start my new life without agoraphobia.  Where do I start?  Before my agoraphobia I was a different person.  I drank.. a lot, I used recreational drugs, I sought the approval of everyone (the wrong everyone) and in the process gave up my safety, my self respect, and eventually.. my mental health.


The question is now.. Who am I after fighting agoraphobia for 15 years? Am I a different person?  I can’t say that I “found myself” over that time, that there was some epiphany where I suddenly realised who I was and what I wanted.  I have aspects of myself that stayed.. my drive to achieve in science and my sense of respect for those who seek education and self-improvement, and in truth, my essence is still there.  I am the sum of my experience.  I am still the same the person, but I have chosen a different path.  I have chosen to accept the fear, to accept that some people will not like me, to accept that bad things will happen and that is okay.  I am important to me and to the people I love.  I have decided to be a person that I respect.  I didn’t have to '”find myself” – I just had to choose to be myself.  And I have say – I like me!

So now is the time to let me shine.. really shine.  I hope you all have some sunglasses because I will be blasting you all with shining rays of awesomeness!  Look out!