Hello World

It is hard to come back and write a post which says I have been off the rails for 6 months. But I like this space. This space helped me last year to be accountable. I need that back.

Last weekend I had the most magical weekend away with some of the girls from my Up and Running group. Paula had come out from the UK to Australia and was meeting some of the girls in Sydney. I knew about it but had not been in touch since August. Three weeks ago I went back to the running forums with my tail between my legs. And they wanted me to come, they were overjoyed, there was no talk about the fact I had not been about and so shouldn’t be a part of the meet up. They welcomed me with such joy and acceptance that I was stunned.

The weekend was magical. We went running on Saturday at the Sydney Parkrun and it was hard (there is a bloody big hill in the middle of the course!) but I did it. And I did it with people cheering me on. We talked and relaxed and drank wine. And I talked about my struggles this year and was met with understanding, support and encouragement.

I had been thinking about my relapse for a while and I knew I was getting close to the point where things would turn around. Driving home, I let the love and acceptance these girls gave me wrap me like a blanket. And I decided I was worth the effort. I am valuable, I am special and my actions should reflect that. I decided it was time to change my ways.

And so on the drive back I made a commitment to myself. I committed to my today. I committed to my future. And I chose to change my path to one of nurturing my body with good food choices and exercise and nurturing my mind with regular times of reflection and meditation. And I accepted the logistics of good food choices with planning, prep and tracking, of exercise with scheduling and getting things ready to go and of reflection by going to bed earlier so I can get up earlier to have some time for myself. Commitment – heart. Choice – head. Accept – hand. Three different aspects, all relying on each other, all supporting each other to make a strong and powerful change.

A week has passsed. And I remember so vividly the thrill of last weekend and the drive home. I have had a good week and have reinforced this new state of being every day, several times a day. I am doing alot of journaling. Not just tracking food, but writing about my thoughts, how I feel and doing some Q&A to help me focus my mind. The Q&As look at things like why I want to be healthy when I am older, what I want to do when I am older, what do I mean when I say I want to be healthy, how do I feel when I am eating and exercising and how that compares to how I feel when I am not eating well or exercising. I want to build the evidence base so that when I don’t have the warm fuzzy glow of commitment that I have now, the evidence will still compel me to choose the healthy path. Some of the Q&A might end up here. That would be useful.

I have put some weight back on, but not all. Last year I went down 4 clothes sizes. I have gone up almost 2. My fitness is in a much better place as I am still running and walking. It is disappointing to have relapsed. It is frustrating. But I need to get over that and move on. I can’t let my guilt hold me back.

I commit, I choose, I accept. I commit to my today and to my future self. I choose to nurture my body and mind with healthy food choices, exercise and times of reflection. I accept the logistics required to make this happen.

And I am so much happier.

Running update

There has been running in the last few weeks and today is a good time to do an update on all things about running.

I was supposed to go to the Orange Running Festival in a town called Orange, about 3 1/2 hours from home, on the 4th of March. I had booked acccomodation and registered for the race but we had alot of rain the week before. We had so much rain that there was significant flooding across the state. (There still is and I need to check in with my sister who lives in a town where the river was peaking yesterday.) We might have been able to get to Orange but we would have been taking detours and there was a real possibility we would have had to detour 3 hours out of the way on the way back. If it had just been me I might have gone but we were all going and I was not going to put us through such a long drive.

I was really disappointed not to go to Orange. We were going up with Bella, one of the Up and Runner girls from Canberra and meeting another of the Up and Runner girls in Orange. There will be meetings in our future.

We had a couple of dry days then a couple more rainy days and I got out and ran in the dry and the wet. I run either first thing in the morning or during my lunch break at work. The days are getting shorter and I really notice it when I go out in the morning. Most of my run is in the dark and I get to see the light change as the sun comes up. Fortunatly, the paths I run on are all pretty even. I am looking forward to summer time ending and getting a little bit more light in the morning. When I run at lunch time I really only have 45 minutes unless I want to work a longer day. But that is enough time to get out and do a warm up, a decent run and then a cool down.

Last weekend we had a long weekend in Canberra for Canberra Day. I knew that a 4K fun run was being held and because I did not get to Orange I decided to go in it. My parents were staying with us so they came along to watch with my man and boy. I also got to meet up with Bella and do a race with her. It was cloudy but dry and nice and cool for running. The 10K race started at 9 and the 4K started at 9.05. Bella and I did a warm up walk and got to see that there would be a hill in the first km. Hills! I did not expect that. And in an out and back course! But at least we knew in advance. There were more people in the 10K and it was exciting to see them off and cheer them on their way.

The 4K run started and I waved to my people as I took off. My plan was to run a steady race and complete it without walking. I ran up the hill and down the otherside and tried to steady my breathing. It was a lovely picturesque course along the lake but a different part of the lake to which I usually run.

The first 2km were fine. I started to see people heading back and I cheered the first few people on their way. How exciting! They were doing so well and were so speedy! It is one thing I like about running in races is that it is much more an interactive experience. I saw someone from my old work who seemed surprised to see me but we had a nice little acknoweldgement as we ran past each other.

I turned around, headed back and waved to Bella who was a couple minutes behind me. She looked like she was doing well, running confidently and steadily. Heading into the 4th km was harder and then I had the hill again but I ran up and down and was really pleased I did. Once I was down, I concentrated on my form; leg turnover and posture. I did not really try to speed up, although that happened as I drew close to the finish line. I saw my dad and my boy standing about 80 m from the end. I held out my hand to my boy and we ran to the finish line together. He is 2 1/4 now and likes running but can’t run that far. But we did that much together and we finished and I picked him up and said ‘we are winners!’. My man was at the finish line taking photos and my mum was there too.

And then I got to cheer Bella as she was not far behind me. She did so well! She had a little tumble during the race just before I saw her and yet she looked so confident and strong! I thought she did an amazing run.

It was a lovely run. And I was so happy to have been there with my family and Bella. It was very special ending the race with my boy. My official time was 28.36 minutes.

This morning was another special run. I got up at 6 and was out by 6.15. I went up the hill that I used to walk up when I started out last year. This morning I walked up, did some stretches and then ran around the top of the hill. I was planning to run around once and then a little more to get to a different path down. This path around the top of the hill is mostly level but there are two stretches with ups and downs. And I ran the whole way, in total 3.27km. I was slow because it was dark and a little uneven so I was a little cautious. I was so happy to complete what I set out to do, on a route that shows me how far I have come from where I started. And I got to see the light change and look out over north Canberra. It was beautiful. And it is so quiet at that time of morning! It started raining a little as I came home. All in all, this morning I did 6km in 55 minutes, which includes the 5 minutes of stretching.

I have bought the next two rounds of the Bridge to 10K plans from Up and Running which gives me another 8 weeks worth of workouts. I am enjoying them. Some are longer, some are shorter but they are well designed and are helping me train at the 5K distance with a structured plan. For me, the structured plan helps me stick to the training.

The next race I am signed up for is the Canberra Running Festival in mid April. I have registered for the 5K race. There will be more people running in this one than I am used to so the atmosphere should be special. I know someone running in the marathon the next day so I am hopeing to go and cheer him on in that.

I like running. I think I might have said that before🙂 I really do.

long time…

I am here, even though there is an absence of posting.

Uni has started and all my spare time is being spent trying to do readings, listening to lectures, keeping up with the tuts and questions on the forums. The first couple weeks were very overwhelming. I think I am adjusting to it now. My eating has been crap. I am frustrated about this and complacent at the same time. I am going to start sticking up sheets on the mirror with reasons why I want to live a healthy life. Study gives me more every day – this week the lecture topic was hypertension and how obesity is the main nutritional component which impacts the development of hypertension.

I am finding the straight nutrition topics fun and interesting. Diet and Disease is harder because I sometimes take it a little to personally. I know that my weight has had a negative impact on my health and that damage has been done to my body. That is sometimes hard to reconcile with me being young and feeling like I have everything before me. But I am learning. And losing weight and building my fitness levels will make the risks of things like hypertension and cardiovascular disease less.

It does not help that my eating has deteriorated with my attention focussed elsewhere. I have kept running 3 times a week and that is time that I am really savouring.

So, my goal at the moment is to try and eat a little healthier, stay away from food while I do my lectures, keep up the exercise and not worry too much.

Oh – I made that poached salmon again for my mum last week and it was delicious again!

Poached salmon with ginger

Last night I prepared a lovely dinner! A dear friend was coming to visit and I wanted something new and special. I had the latest edition of the Australian Healthy Food Guide on the table and flicked through it while getting my shopping list together. One picture caught my eye: poached salmon atop peas and snowpeas in a bowl with broth and a wedge of lime. It looked so fresh and light! And finally, we have summer (only 2 months late). The last couple of days have been hot and clear.

I adapted the recipe a little. I bought some fresh shitake mushrooms which I knew would just be wonderful in this dish. I included asparagus as well to increase the variation with the vegetables. The result was a lovely combination of flavour and texture. While it was a little fiddly and hands on right to the end, which is not my preferred style of cooking when entertaining, it is something that I will definately make again.

The recipe below is written to serve two people, last night I served three (well three and a half). When cooking more salmon fillets you will need a larger saucepan to fit them all in at once, which means increasing the quantity of water, fish sauce, sugar and especially the ginger.

Poached Salmon with Ginger

1 tsp sesame oil
2 spring onions, sliced
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2x 150g skinless salmon fillets
1 tbs fish sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
1 cup water
100g shitake mushrooms, sliced
10 snowpeas
10 asparagus
1/2 cup frozen peas
coriander sprigs
lime wedges
1 cup cooked white rice

Heat the sesame oil in a large saucepan. Add the spring onions and ginger and cook, stirring, for two minutes. Add the fish sauce, sugar and water; bring to the boil and turn the heat down to low. Add the salmon. Cook for 3 minutes, turn the salmon over and cook for a further 3 minutes. Remove from the saucepan and keep somewhere warm.

Increase the heat under the saucepan. Add the mushrooms. Boil rapidly for five minutes. Add the asparagus, snowpeas and peas and cook for 2 minutes.

Pack 1/2 cup of cooked rice in a small ramekin, turn upside down onto a plate; the rice will come out and keep its shape. Prepare the rest of the rice in the same way on a second plate. Serve the vegetables on the plate next to the rice, top with salmon. Ladle some of the broth on top of the salmon. Garnish with coriander sprigs and lime wedges.

Nutritional information
total: 4139 kJ, 46.1 g fat, 76.8 g protein, 64.4 g carb, 8.9 g fibre
per serve: 2069 kJ, 23.1 g fat, 38.4 g protein, 32.2 g carb, 4.5 g fibre

the end of a busy week

It has been a busy week with a lot of little stress points. The result has been a lack of focus. My head is not quite in the right space and I have been a little relaxed about snacks.

I did not have the time till this morning when I got up early to go running to work out why my focus had faded. Once I started looking at the week I realised what had been going on, and that I have done very well despite all the varied stress.

– I had some sort of mild virus on Monday night. The symptoms (muscle soreness, tiredness, headache, back ache) only lasted for about 8 hours but it meant that things I was going to do needed to be put off.
– Our boy is transitioning from a cot to a bed and the novelty has worn off. Tuesday night he had a lot of trouble getting to sleep and then getting back to sleep through the night which meant that we did not sleep well.
– I was not able to get up early on Wednesday to go running and I missed it.
– My mum went in for emergency dental surgery on Wednesday. She is ok now, feeling better than she was. But I was worried and Dad did not call when he said he would so I spent Thursday morning quite distracted.
– I called the agent managing my unit and said I had decided to put it on the market. – Thursday night we were out at a friends place and I had more snacks than I usually would because I was still tired.
– And last night I was just hungry. I am not sure why (although I suspect hormones). So, I had some nuts, some more nuts and a hard boiled egg. And went to bed early.

So, lots of things on top of a busy work week and general home life. This is where having planned the meals for the week has really helped me. Last night we got home and dinner was easy and fast.

Today there is more to to. I decided not to go for the morning walk around the lake so I could do some cleaning. To get my run in I got up at 6 and did it early. It was a good run as well. My man and our boy have left and the house is quiet. I have done the meal plan and shopping list for the next week. I am about to put on another load of washing and start the cleaning. But it was nice to take 10 minutes out and reflect on last week and get my focus back. And to realise that even with everying going on, I did not overeat for comfort or stress relief. I ate a little more than normal on three evenings but it was not in excess.

Next week will also be busy and will have different stress points. That is ok. I know if I take the quiet time when I get it I will get through.

Jam

I am jamming again but this time I am doing it smart.

I am making spiced plum jam, the same as last week. The plums are Blood Plums and are from a tree at my boss’s house. I gave her a jar of last week’s batch and she offered me some more plums, the jam is that good. So, I am jamming again.

I make spiced plum jam by throwing in whole cloves, coriander seed, peppercorns, a couple bay leaves, a vanilla pod, a nutmeg, a cinnamon stick and some dried orange peel. Last week I threw all the spices into the pot with the fruit and then needed to get them out again before bottling. It was too hard to separate all the fruit from the spices (although I did try) so I ended up eating the fruit and spitting the spices out. Bad decision.

This week, all of the spices were tied up in some muslin and I could fish them out in one go. I also took out all of the plum stones before adding the sugar. It was much less appetising without the sugar!

The jam is almost ready for bottling. I know it is delicious, I have had maybe 2 teaspoons while checking to see if it has reached setting point. This is a huge difference to last week! I have several small jars and am giving some away to my colleagues. The rest I will keep to use throughout the year and to give away to friends when we visit or as thank you presents.

Hurrah for learning from past experiences! Hopefully I will remember next summer when I make spiced plum jam again.

Monday review

Another week is done in February! And I am happy with how the week went and what the number box said this morning.

This week’s stats:
Start weight (3/1/2011): 140.9kg (310 lbs)
Today’s weight: 95.4 kg (210 lbs)
Lost this week: 0.6kg (1.3 lbs)
Total lost: 45.5 kg (100 lbs)

There are many things I am happy about with this week.

My eating averaged out at 9330 kj a day, with some days over 9500 and some days at about 9000. There were a couple of special food things, we got takeaway last Tuesday night for Vday and it was nice to share a special meal with my man. On the not so good side, I made spicey plum jam last wednesday and ate alot of the fruit when I was trying to strain the spices out. It was wonderfully delicious but it was far too much sugar in one sitting for me. I need to start asking myself -how will I feel in 5 or 10 minutes?- before eating something. Apart from that, it was a highly successful week on the food front.

I exercised 5 times in the week, my 3 Up and Running workouts and 2 additional fast walks. And my 5K on Saturday! I am already up to 87km of running and walking in Feb!

I remembered my affirmation on most days. I tend to forget it on the weekend, I need to remember to say it then as well. I notice the difference when I do. Progress was made on the money front, too. I am getting organised and taking steps to make my financial situation better. Even taking small steps on this front is reducing my overall stress.

I am happy with the loss this week. I was hoping for more but I got back down to 100lbs and that makes me very excited.

This week I will stick with my target of 9500kJ a day and 5-6 workouts. This seems to be a good balance for me. I have already survived a work morning tea today and I did really well in sticking to my plan. I don’t know what else is happening but there will be things on the weekend, I am sure… I am starting to want to bake. I might need to investigate a cake option, and more importantly, cake disposal options.

It is almost the end of the month. This week I will start to think about my challange for next month. Still no chocolate for me so far!

Things are good. The upcoming week looks good. I am happy.