Monthly Archives: April 2011

Details on ‘my plan for the rest of the year’

So, I mentioned ‘my plan for the rest of the year’ in my previous post. I thought it would be good to actually put down my plan here. In case I lose the file I have it in, or the backup…. It is always good to have things stored in multiple places 🙂

I started counting kJ a month ago. I am really happy with the transition. It took me a little while to get the balence right between what I am eating and how much exercise I am doing but I have a better understanding of it now. (Although I think that I have overcompensated this week because of Easter Monday…)

I started out with a 8000kJ target (1900cal). That wasn’t enough. So, over the next couple of weeks I increased that by having slightly more for breakfast, morning tea and lunch but not changing dinner. I was aiming for 8500kJ (2020cal). I made it work and it did work.

But I have lost more weight and I want to keep losing weight at about 1kg a week. I have spent some time working out how much I need to eat to keep losing weight at this rate, provided I keep the exercise up. So, from 115kg (253 lbs), which I hope to record officially on Monday, I will aim to eat 8200kJ a day (1950cal). Then, when I get to 110kg (242lbs) I will drop to 8000kJ (1900cal). Then there is another little adjustment at 100kg (220lbs). These little adjustments should keep keep my kJ intake at at the level to lose about 1kg a week – maybe a little bit more but not too much less. My hope is I will get to 100kg (220lbs) by mid October which is another 16kg (35lbs) in 22 weeks.

I know that life happens, hormones cycle back and forth, there are plans that get put on hold or changed without warning. I am not expecting that I will keep to this every day or that every week there will be a 1.0kg (2.2lb) loss. But I have managed to track my food for 16 weeks now and keep focussed. I believe that I can continue eating a healthy balanced diet and exercise most days in the week and that I will see the number on the scale going down.

So, once I worked out the numbers, and especially wanting to drop my food intake a little bit next week, I had to work out what to leave out from my weekday food. I usually have the same thing for breakfast, lunch and snacks 5 days a week. And the weekends are a mix of different foods and the normal foods. Working out how to tweak weekdays will give me confidence that it will be easy to go forward.

Dropping 200-300 kJ (about 50 cal) for next week is equivalent to not having 80g of grapes on my breakfast cereal. I was having 3 serves of fruit a day and I will just drop down to 2.5 serves of fruit to make this little adjustment. Then, when I drop another 200kJ (50 cal)down the track, that is equivalent to having 30g of cashew for morning tea instead of 40g. These individual changes are small and I can manage this.

Knowing how to adjust my food intake to get the results I want gives me confidence. Working all this out feels like I have made my own stepping stones to help me on the journey.

Good News Friday!

Yay! My test results are all good. My sugar is excellent, my cholesterol is excellent, my kidney and thyroid are fine. I have one liver hormone that is slightly elevated but it is not a big concern because that one came back a little high in 2007 as well. So it hasn’t progressed in the last 5 years. And it will mostly likely return to normal as I lose weight.

And my doc was impressed with how I am going. I had a copy of my excel spreadsheet stats so he could see how I have been going since the start of the year. I told him about my plan with weight loss and exercise for the rest of the year. I think he was a bit surprised – maybe he was expecting to have a different conversation with the fat girl??

He doesn’t want me to slow down, he did not suggest medication, he listened. These were the to extremes I did not want. I came out really happy with how things went.

Easter Monday!

Today is Monday but it feels like a Saturday to me – or like I am on holidays. With the Easter Holidays and Anzac Day today, I am not quite sure what day it is.

But I knew today was Monday because it is weigh-in day.

Starting weight: 140.9kg (310 lbs)
Current weight: 117.1kg (257.6 lbs)
This week’s loss: 0.9 kg (2 lbs)
Total lost: 23.8 kg (52.4 lbs)

I am really happy with this! On Friday I went to a music festival and had lunch and dinner there. I chose really good things to eat and was happy that I was able to avoid the fried, high carb and sweet things. Yesterday we had a party at our place and a meal at 3.30 in the afternoon. It was healthy but my eating was a little out of whack because my meals were at different times to what I am used to. And I was really happy that I exercised every day in the last except on Friday. On Friday I was on my feet alot, walking back and forth – so I was getting alot of incidental movement in, just not a planned block of cardio. Overall, I did 5 and a half hours of exercise over the last week. I am really pleased with that achievement.

This week, I really want to break the 25kg lost mark. I think that would be cool. So, I am going to watch my food and exercise and make it happen. I am aiming for 8300kJ a day which should bring me in just where I want to be, provided I get my exercise in every day.

On Friday this week, I have an appt with the doc to get my blood test results from a couple of weeks ago. The tests are kidney, liver, thyroid function, sugars and cholesterol. I think my doc wants to take a more proactive approach to my health – which is a good thing. It was about 3 months after I started the healthy food and exercise that my blood was taken so I am hoping that the results are good and we have a positive discussion about what I am doing.

Then and Now

What is different now compared to last year when I was gaining weight? I was wondering what kind of changes I had made, thought of a few and then all of a sudden, I was able to capture lots of good changes 🙂

Before: Snacks were bigger and more likely to be carb related (cake/biscuits/bread with butter and toppings/ chocolate).
Now: Snacks are nuts/yoghurt/fruit, all are portion controlled.

Before: I took two or more of something (chocolate, cake, bread, biscuits). One was not enough.
Now: Portion control – I take one or I take only the portion that fits into my day.

Before: Finishing the toddler’s food, eating crusts with more peanut butter.
Now: I don’t eat the toddler’s food.

Before: Dinners were more likely to be larger serves, especially with things like rice, pasta and wedges. I used more fat in cooking. There were more dishes with cheese or where cheese was added after.
Now: Rice/pasta/wedges are portion controlled and smaller serves. There is the same size of protein but less fat is used (more grilling or just less oil in the pan). Using leaner cuts of meat.

Before: We had frequent special breakfasts with cheese, egg, sauce.
Now: We still have special breakfasts but not quite as often and I am still working out what they are. They are not out completely.

Before: There was frequent baking of cakes and biscuits to have on hand.
Now: Cakes and biscuits are baked for an event – not just to have on hand in case I want something. And I have only baked 3 or 4 times this year…

Before: I would buy lunch at work or bring leftovers from night before, serves were likely to be larger. Lunch wouldn’t really have vegetables in it (unless they were part of the left overs) so mostly carbs with some protein. Snack time was all the time!
Now: I make healthy lunch for work the night before (healthy and saves me time in the morning). I bring healthy snacks to work which are portion controlled. I try to not eat morning tea or afternoon tea too early (drink water or have a cup of tea)

Before: exercise – I went walking maybe once or twice a month. Only walked on flat. Would park the car as close as possible to where I was going.
Now: exercise – I try to get 30 minutes in 6 days a week. And I go up hills. I try to get in more incidental exercise with parking car.

Before: I wasn’t hungry – even in the morning I wasn’t really hungry. Because I let myself eat all the time I never really got hungry.
Now: I am hungry in the morning, I am hungry for lunch, I am hungry for dinner. Not excessively ‘I will eat my own arm if I don’t get something’ hungry but aware it is time to eat.

Before: I didn’t drink much alcohol last year because I was breastfeeding but did have several drinks a week once the evening breastfeed was dropped in early december.
Now: I have maybe (on average of last 3 months) one drink every 3 weeks?

Before: There were no limits in relation to cheese or chocolate.
Now: I try to avoid cheese because it is something I don’t portion control well. I can have small amounts of chocolate happily without needing more.

15 weeks completed!

Only 5 more weeks till I am halfway through my 40 week commitment! I saw a friend yesterday whom I had not seen in a while. She said she did not want to make any comments about how I looked in case I was not on plan anymore (but that I looked good). I thought that was interesting – why would I not be on plan??? And I guess, that it has been 3 months and last year I lasted about 10 weeks before other things took over. And, more generally, it is not uncommon for people to get all fired up about health and fitness at the beginning of the year and then lose interest after a couple months. But I have made it through 3 months and I am still committed to my plan.

This weeks stats:
Start weight: 140.9kg (310 lbs)
current weight 118.0kg (259.6 lbs)
this week’s loss: 0.5kg (1.1 lb)
total lost: 22.9kg (50.4 lbs)

50 lbs is such a cool number to lose!!! I have now lost 50 lbs!!!

This past week had some struggles. I am back on antibiotics and I was not able to keep up with my exercise which was frustrating. But I did do something every day and I am really happy with that. And I tracked every day and my average kJ intake was 8330 kJ. I lost 0.5kg which is right on target for my exercise level and kJ intake this week. And I feel that I have a better understanding of kJ tracking and how to calculate my energy requirements.

On Saturday I went down to the shops and got some new clothes to exercise in. All the new clothes are a little bit snug but they are all size 18!!! Yeah Baby! And it felt good this morning to go walking in my new clothes. I don’t mind that they are snug, they will get me through winter and at the end of winter they will be loose!

I made some more progress in getting my reward organised. I have looked up the website for a day spa near me and looked at what I want. This week, I am going to pay for it – I won’t be able to get my massage for another few weeks but I am going to pay for it!

This weeks challenges include:
– getting back to exercise, I am aiming for planned exercise every day for at least 30 minutes
– eating well, aiming for within 200kJ of 8500kJ
– easter! Not that there will be any more chocolate (because it is not something we do) but there will be fruit buns. And we are going to a music festival on friday which will mean at least one meal that I buy. I am looking forward to it – I will take snacks with me and enjoy my meal out 🙂

Minced Lamb with Chickpeas

Tired tonight. I picked up an extra day of work this week and I have not been well *again*. I went for a simple meal tonight. It was good, my man liked it more than I did, but I liked it more than the toddler – well, he refused to try any so I am not sure if that is actually the case. I was just left feeling not quite satisfied and I can’t put my finger on why. I think some lemon would have helped. And some grated carrot would have worked really well too.

Actually, I think I will make it again to try including some preserved lemon with the meat. I will be putting some in the freezer for another night so I can try serving it slightly differently next time, too. It might make regular appearances on the menu 🙂

(Edit: very good with lemon. Going on the ‘dinner options’ list)

The recipe was adapted from the CSIRO Total WellBeing Diet Recipe Book.

Minced Lamb with Chickpeas
Serves 6

1 tbs olive oil
2 onions, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves
1kg lean lamb mince
2 tbs morrocan spice mix
1/4 preserved lemon, finely diced (I would include this next time)
4 tomatoes
250g tinned chickpeas, rinsed
salt to taste
pita bread or tortillas to serve
baby spinach leaves to serve
hummus to serve
grated carrot to serve (I would include this next time)

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Add the mince, breaking up any lumps. Cook until the mince is browned. Stir in the spice mix (this is where I would add some preserved lemon next time) and cook for 1 minute, then add the tomato and chickpeas. Season with salt (to taste). Turn the heat down, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the mint.

Serve with the spinach, hummus and grated carrot, using the pita bread/tortillas as a wrap.

nutritional info (not including the pita bread, spinach, hummus or carrot as it depends on what you are going to actually serve it with and how much):
total 8190 kJ, 225 g protein, 84 g fat, 57 g carb
per serve (6 serves) 1365 kJ, 37.5 g protein, 14 g fat, 9.5 g carb

I say ‘no’ to excess baggage

Weigh in day!

Start weight: 140.9 kg (310 lbs)
Current weight:: 118.5 kg (260.7 lbs)
Loss this week: 1.1 kg ( 2.4 lbs)
Total Loss: 22.4 kg (49.3 lbs)

Almost at the 50 lb mark!!! It is exciting when there are big numbers which tick over either in the current weight or the total lost stats 🙂

I am up to 15 days of consecutive exercise!!! I don’t every think I have done this before. Last week I averaged 45 mins a day. Last night I did not sleep well and I decided to only go for a minimum amount of exercise today which is park the car just over a km away from work and walk in. Which means I get two little blocks of exercise and I am happy with that for today.

And I increased my kJ intake to an average of 8130kJ a day (up about 400kJ from the week before). I was aiming to be within 200kJ of 8500 but due to getting the kJ content of rice and cashews wrong, I am a little lower than I had thought I was. However, I have lost 1kg and I think that is a good amount and I think I am starting to find a better balance in terms energy in – energy out.

My other challenge for last week was to set up a reward for having made it through the first third of my 40 week commitment. I talked about it with my man… so that is progress 🙂

I spent alot of time over the weekend calculating nutritional info. And in the end it felt like work. I did several meals and I looked at a whole day to get a picture of what I was doing. I think it is really handy to have the values for meals that we cook regularly (and there are only a couple now I am missing). And I am also pleased that I have looked at an average week day. It confirms what I am doing is good. But I would like a break now. It takes quite a bit of time to work out not just kJ but protein, fat, and carb values. I know I really do like the numbers – it keeps me on track, it keeps me motivated and I have a long way to go. I just don’t want to be building new bad habits to take place of my old bad habits. I have enough baggage I carry around from my past and I don’t want to pick up any more. I don’t want the counting and watching of numbers to stop me from living.

This weeks challenges are pretty much the same as last weeks:
– keep up the exercise
– try to get a little closer to 8500kJ a day
– organise a reward to celebrate how far I have come.

And I want to remember that I am moving towards a lighter plane of being – lighter in my body and my mind.

Macronutrient breakdown of a typical weekday

Now that I have swapped to kJ counting I was curious to calculate the macronutrient values of what I eat. Everyone has a different take on what you should eat to lose weight so I wanted to know what I was doing.

I picked Monday from last week because it had a typical dinner (my work days are the same up until dinner time and most dinners are a variation on meat and veg with some carb). It was interesting looking at the kJ content of what I ate because I tracked Monday at just under 8500kJ but now, working it out all again, I came just over 8000 kJ. My tracking is only as good as the values I enter. (Grrrrr!) I know where a couple of things have gone wrong (rice and cashews) and I have fixed them now.

I looked up the protein, carbohydrate, fat and fibre of what I ate on Monday and here is what I got (rounded):
kJ: 8025
protein: 122 g ( 26 % kJ from protein)
fat: 47 g (22 % kJ from fat)
carb: 232 g (46 % kJ from carb)
fibre: 38g

And looking at the serves, I had about 3 serves of protein, 4 serves carb, 3 serves fruit, 5 serves vegetable, 4 serves dairy and some cashews which I don’t know where to put.

The %s give an indication of how much of my kJ intake came from that macronutrient. I know they don’t add up to 100% but in cases where there was less than 1g of protein/carb/fat the information sometimes isn’t provided. But I got close. And doing these calculations is only to give me an idea – it doesn’t have to be exact.

I am happy with this. What I am doing is low fat, moderate protein and moderate carb, and it falls neatly between the two programs that I have been looking at in terms of protein and carb intake. I am getting enough fibre through fruit and veg to balance only having 4 serves of refined/simple carbs. My dairy is a little higher than I thought but I use reduced fat milk and have reduced fat cheese. Most of my fat comes from cashews and that is ok because I don’t actually get much fat into my diet any other way.

So, that is what I eat on a weekday. Weekends are more variable but as I still track my kJ and as nothing I am doing is extreme, it should not make that much difference.

Larb Gai with Mint and Basil

I posted about Larb Gai back on the 4th of Feb. I cooked it again, worked out the nutritional info this time and took photos!

It is for this recipe that I wanted to have a herb garden 🙂 I now have coriander, mint and basil in pots.

Larb Gai with Mint and Basil

100ml chicken stock
500g minced chicken or turkey or pork
1/4 cup fish sauce
5 cm piece of fresh ginger, cut into matchsticks
1 long red chilli, seeds removed, cut into matchsticks
1 tsp sugar
2 tbs lime juice, plus extra lime wedges to serve
1 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
1 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup coriander (cilantro) leaves, roughly choppped
1 eschallot, peeled and finely sliced
1 lebanese cucumber, thinly sliced
10g roughly chopped peanuts/serve (optional)

Heat the stock in a wok or large frying pan over medium high heat. Add the mince, fish sauce and ginger and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes, or until the meat has browned and cooked through. Add the chilli and sugar and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the lime juice, the chopped herbs and eschallot; fold through, allowing the herbs to wilt. Arrange the cucumber on the plates and, using a slotted spoon, pile the larb gai on the plates. Scatter with the peanuts and serve with the extra lime wedges.

Serve with lettuce leaves, rice, other salad bits and pieces (not included in the info below)

nutritional information:
(does not include peanuts – per serve add 266kJ, 2.5 g protein, 5.3 g fat 1.5 g carb)
total: 3858 kJ , 101 g protein, 41.5 g fat, 21 g carb
3 serves: 1286 kJ, 33.6 g protein, 14g fat, 7 g carb
total: 3735 kJ, 101g protein, 41g fat, 21 g carb
3 serves: 1245 kJ, 33.6g protein, 13.6 g fat, 7 g carb
total: 4104 kJ , 110 g protein, 47.5 g fat, 21 g carb
3 serves: 1368 kJ, 37 g protein, 16g fat, 7 g carb

20kg loss achieved – stepping stone goal reached

I have now lost more than 20kg!!! Woohoo! Yeah! Cheerin! Hurrah!

This morning I walked up the hill for my Monday morning walk. The light changed as the sun rose. As I left the house the light had a rosy edge and then it turned golden, then light yellow and finally clear. It was a beautiful morning, fresh and bright. I love this time of year. And on my way back down the hill, I told one of the walkers coming in the other direction that I had lost 20kg. And she was thrilled for me. It was the first person I told and it was so good to share my achievement. I got a little emotional after continuing on my way. Somewhere in my head I am still scared of failing, that I can’t maintain a healthy lifestyle or exercise routine, that I will put the weight back on. But I can do this.

This weeks stats
start weight: 140.9kg (310 lbs)
current weight 119.6kg (263 lbs)
loss this week: 1.9kg (4.2 lbs)
total loss: 21.3 kg (47 lbs)

This week I have decided to increase my kJ uptake by about 800kJ/day (about an additional 200cal) from last week. This works out to be about 8500kJ a day (just over 2000cal). Now that I am exercising 6-7 days a week I really need to be eating a little more. I keep saying I want to slow the weight loss down but it hasn’t happened yet. Part of me knows that I am losing more than recommended, part of me thinks that I am going to fast. And part of me is really excited and thrilled to see so much change so quickly! Part of me doesn’t want to slow down. But I think most of me agrees that a loss of 2kg a week is too much. So, this week, I am trying an experiment. I am increasing my food intake earlier in the day with an extra handful of cashews at morning tea and a slice of reduced fat cheese on my lunch in addition to what I was having. That comes to about an additional 800kJ. I think it is better to increase my daytime food rather than what I have for dinner. I will do this for a week and see how I feel energy wise and try to listen to my hunger and see what happens on the scale next Monday.

Next goal is only a short way off – to have lost 50lbs.

Challenges this week:
– keep exercising – I am up to 9 consecutive days now and I want to keep that going.
– I need to eat up to my daily kJ target every day. I might blog a couple days of food here as part of that.
– give myself a reward for what I have achieved! I am really bad at rewarding myself. So, my challenge is to set up a reward for myself to celebrate the commitment of 13 weeks of healthy living and a loss of 20kg.