Monthly Archives: July 2011

Dinner parties, cheese and champagne

It was a good weekend. We had friends over for dinner and there was cheese and champagne. I cooked Kangaroo Massaman and made the curry paste with a mortar and pestle. Not the lightest meal but you don’t take big servings and I also had a vegetable curry which did not use coconut milk. After our friends left, I guestimated how many kJ I had eaten and it was 2000 above my target for the day. The meal itself was not too bad. It was the cheese and crackers and champagne that put me over. But, you know, it was a great night. Overall last week, I averaged out at 8281kJ/day, and that is including the dinner party. I was aiming for 8200. I exercised for 6 and a half hours last week. I made sure that on Saturday I ate lightly to help with dinner and on Sunday I did the same. I did lose weight this week, not as much as I had hoped but that is ok. I had a good week being on plan and exercising and I had a great dinner party. And being able cook for my friends and enjoy good food is something that I need to be able to incorporate into my life.

And today I am wearing a size 16 shirt that I bought years ago for when I could fit into it. That attempt, I did not get there. I am wearing it today and I look good.

Stats:
Starting weight; 140.9kg (310lbs)
Today’s weight: 106.4 (234lbs)
This week’s loss: 0.7 kg (1.5 lbs)
Total lost: 34.5 kg (76lbs)

This week I want to do resistance training at least twice. I have not yet made it a habit and I am more likely to do cardio than resistance. But I want to incorporate it into my routine.

I am also baking for work on Thursday but I will factor that in and that is ok.

Other than that, I now have a teapot at work to help me out with stress management there.

That is all.

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stress management list

I am a list girl. I like making lists and having action plans that I can call on when my mind stalls in indecision. I am working on a list of stress management options.

– tea: the process of making a pot of tea is a ritual that is soothing. Get the teapot, rinse it out, select the tea of choice, put the tea leaves in the infuser, boil the kettle, light the tea light candle that sits under the teapot, pour the water over the leaves and watch the tea infusing. Even at work, without the glass teapot, I still have two or three different kinds of loose leaf tea. And I think I might get a teapot just for work because it will help me manage stress during the day. And then there is the drinking of the tea! Making tea gives me a chance to take a break when I stop and take time for the whole process.

– exercise: exercise that is physically draining can get me quickly to a place where my conscious mind steps back and my unconscious mind takes over, it is all about one foot in front of another, breathing, checking the path ahead, breathing and expending the excess energy. At the moment I use power walking to get me to this place, I think jogging and running will also do it. And walking/jogging outside in the fresh air with the sun is an important factor for me, too. But regualar exercise has also helped me…

– journaling: when I am working through an issue, it helps me to write about it. I can vent my frustration, disappointment, anger in a safe place. Sometimes what I write is private, sometimes I make it available to friends or publically, depending on the situation that I am working through.

– talking: for the same reasons as journaling, talking about what is going on helps me manage stress. But I need to pick my person to talk to. And I usually don’t start talking until I have high stress levels or I have already put some thought into what is going on.

– relaxing baths: for the same reason as tea and exercise, taking a bath is about taking time out from what ever else is going on.

– crocheting: I like to crochet, it gives me things to do with my hands (which is not eating) and I can make something at the same time. And it is an activity which allows my conscious mind to step back and the routine take over.

– change of activity: at work if there is something getting to me about a particular activity/task, one way to manage is to put is aside and focus on something else. That means I can do little bits of the stressful task but keep my stress levels from not getting too high.

At work I have the following options: tea, change of activity/task and exercise (during my lunch break). I try to take a good lunch break every day and 3 of my 4 lunch breaks I go walking. This helps with the ongoing stressful environment. When I need to manage the stress of an immediate situation, I will go walking on my own and really push myself hard to help clear my head.

Hmmm… there are 3 different strategies I use: process, time out and general ongoing maintenance. That is really interesting – I hadn’t realised it till I started writing. For flare ups I need to take a break from it and allow the energy to dissipate. When I am living with a stressful ongoing situation/environment and my stress baseline is raised above normal I need to manage the underlying stress levels by processing the issue with journaling and talking. And then there is the general ongoing maintenance of healthy heating, getting enough sleep and regular exercise which helps me keep my stress baseline low.

I like this. I can use this! I have ways of managing different kinds of stress. It gives me options. I have some ideas for flare ups which require immediate action. I have some ideas for situational or ongoing stress which require processing. I will keep thinking about other ways I can manage my stress. And the only place food features is in the day to day and that is about healthy eating.

Three things today

Three things today that were initiated outside me:

A colleague said that I had inspired him to get out his exercise mat and do some exercise on it.

A friend said that I was looking good and that what I was doing was obviously working.

I was asked by another friend about how I keep motivation going with regards to exercise and, not dwelling on last week, I said that I have made it fit into my life and I enjoy it. That makes it easy to do and there is an immediate pay off.

And three things that I have accomplished/initiated:

I am tracking my food and eating within my kJ target and am feeling better for it.

The alarm did not go off this morning but I woke up anyway, got up and chose to do my exercise.

I started thinking about how my core value of respect relates to my healthy journey goals. And that made me feel strong and empowered.

Stat update

No commentary today, just the stats:

Starting weight: 140.9 kg (310 lbs)
This weeks weight: 107.1 kg (235.6 lbs)
This weeks gain: 0.9 kg (2 lbs)
Total lost: 33.8 kg (74.4 lbs)

Stress and comfort eating: stumbling along the way

This has been a hard week.

I am finding work really difficult at the moment. A month ago I decided to start looking for other positions and I had ways to manage some of the difficult things to keep going in the short term. Well, this past week things unravelled a little more and my eating went out of control.

I decided on Wednesday afternoon that for the rest of that day I did not have to have my healthy living goals in view. I did not have to be aiming for them. I gave myself space for the rest of that day. I ate what I wanted to, aware all the time that I was seeking relief from the stress. That was ok because I had some plans to manage some of the work stuff on Thursday and I was also completing a job application and submitting it.

Things did became a little easier at work on Thursday as I implemented my plan but my eating did not fall back into place. On Friday I woke up not feeling hungry but I still had a substantial breakfast. On Saturday I started with good intentions but there was no follow through.

My exercise also disappeared last week, but that was partly because the weather was so bad. A convenient excuse to have this week…

This post is not really about beating myself up (well it is a little bit). I need to write about it and reflect on my relationship with food and stress and try to learn through this.

It is obvious that food is my main stress relief strategy. The reason I have been able to get through so much at work already is because exercise has helped me to manage my stress levels. But in a week that was really difficult, with my lunchtime walks all converted to siting down for lunch, I just was not coping. And so I ate. I ate so that I would not feel the stress anymore. And then I kept eating. I ate till I felt unwell. I ate so that I did not feel hunger between meals. I just wanted all the frustration and ambiguity and disappointment and struggles with work to stop; eating made it stop for a little while. Eating dulled everything for a little while. These are old familiar patterns and it worries me how easy it is to slip back into them.

Pulling out of the comfort eating was hard. I knew I was taking very fast backward steps in terms of my weight. I kept saying to myself that this week was already a write off so why not really write it off. And then part of my mind would swing into the positive self talk and the goals and motivations. I felt trapped in the stress, by my goals and in my body. But I knew that if I had one day of eating well, I would feel better and I would be able to go again. And if that one day was before the start of the new week then I could start the week off in a better place and leave this past week behind.

I weighed myself yesterday morning and am up at least a kg on last weeks weight. It was good to see that on the scale, to get confirmation of the backward steps. I went walking yesterday, I did a 70 min walk with my fam and friends in the morning and I walked to the shop and back in the afternoon. I felt alot better after my morning walk. The other thing I am pleased about with this walk to the shop is that I did not buy something to eat on the walk home. I struggled with that. I really wanted something. I argued with myself and I walked away empty handed. Yesterday I was already in a better place and was starting to be accountable again.

This morning I woke up hungry. I had my normal cereal and milk for breakfast and I tracked it. I went out with my toddler in the morning but took a banana and an apple bar to have for morning tea, and I tracked it. I bought a good lunch option and I tracked it. I had afternoon tea at a sensible time to stop my blood sugar from plummeting before dinner and I tracked it. And I have tracked my dinner. I am back to chewing gum between meals because that way I am chewing something. I have stopped my comfort eating. I have relaxed this weekend and I feel better for nurturing myself in healthy ways.

I currently have a headache. It is a low sort of buzzy headache that I associate wth quitting smoking. It is a withdrawal headache – my body is missing the refined carbs I guess. I ate alot of refined carbs in the last 4 days. The good thing about this headache is that it shows me that going back to plan today has made a difference to my body. The other good thing is that I know that tomorrow the headache should be gone and I will feel better in myself, with my energy levels and general wellbeing.

The last week has been a struggle. While my old patterns are very easy to fall into, I also see changes. I pulled out of my comfort eating in 4 days. I recognise my headache for what it is, I recognise how much exercise helps me. I know that I need to do nurturing things for myself to help me manage the stress of work. I am not going to look back and feel bad about the lack of control, I am going to get up tomorrow morning, weigh myself, do my exercise and look to the new week.

Success is not what I achieve at any given moment (although walking out of the shops yesterday empty handed was a victory), success in terms of this journey is improvement from where I was, most of my choices being healthy ones, respecting myself and my body. I am already a success. I will keep being a success.

I am ok.

6 months!

I have been watching what I eat and exercising for 6 months! People say that they are impressed I have kept at it and I was thinking about that because it feels easy for me. But that is one of the reasons I have been able to keep at it. Some of the key things for my plan are that it fits into my life now, I enjoy the food I am eating, I enjoy the exercise I am doing, it is easy to keep track of what I am doing, while I have a balanced diet I do have treats (whether that be chocolate or alcohol or biscuits) and I don’t feel deprived. There is flexibility and variation.

I also have some really clear goals; some are short term (this year), some are medium term (in the next 5 years) and some are life goals. Some goals are weight related but most are fitness and health related. And I really want to reach my goals. I really want it. My commitment to my future self supports my present self in making the decisions which will get me to my goals. And again, I don’t feel deprived.

I don’t feel overwhelmed by how far I have to go. I was overwhelmed at the start and a couple of times throughout but usually it is not an issue. On most days, I only look at what I need to do on that day. On weekdays, the only thing I need to think about is dinner because exercise and all other weekday foods are routine. Planning generally helps with that as well. On weekends I have a little more time and as long as I track as I go I can keep to target. A couple times a week I have a look at how I am travelling for that week in terms of exercise done and average kJ intake. Based on that I can make some decisions about what how I manage the rest of the week. And then occasionally I look at the short term, which I am doing at the moment. I am revising my goals for the rest of the year and celebrating my achievements so far.

It is constant. I put alot of work into setting up my plan at the beginning of the year and again 3 months ago when I moved to counting kJ. So, when I say it is easy I don’t mean that I don’t think about it or that I only think about it occasionally. It is constant and my food and exercise choices are conscious choices. But with my goals in view, enjoying the journey and not feeling deprived it means that I am happy to accept the constancy of watching what I am eating and counting the kJ. And occasionally, going above my target is ok but I really try to make it a conscious choice rather than mindless eating.

This weeks stats:
Starting weight: 140.9 kg (310 lbs)
Todays weight: 106.2 kg (233.6 lbs)
This weeks loss: 1.2 kg (2.6 lbs)
Total lost: 34.7 kg (76.3 lbs)

75 lbs – that is a cool amount to have lost. And I am also 2/3 of the way through my 40 week plan. In the last 13 weeks I have lost 13.4 kg. I have exercised 81 of the 91 days.

So, here is to another day, another week, another trimester and another 6 months of healthy living. And to icreased fitness and decreased clothes sizes as well 🙂

2nd Trimester wrap

On the third of April I wrote “A 40 week plan has to be split into 3 trimesters”. Well here I am, wrapping up the second trimester.

These last 13 weeks have been a period of finding my own path and consolidation of good healthy living habits. I started counting kJ at the beginning of April and needed to increase my food intake as I realised I had not been eating enough. I then looked at an average day of food in terms of the macronutrients I was getting to make sure my intake was balanced. What I am eating now is a good balance for me, nothing extreme and nothing denied. In working all this out, I developed a much better understanding of how exercise impacts my energy requirements. As a result, my weight has loss slowed in the last 13 weeks from an average of 1.5kg a week in my first trimester to an average of 1 kg a week in the second. I am really pleased with this.

I have kept building my exercise routine as well. In April I challenged myself to exercise every day of the month. In May I started parking further away from work to increase my incidental exercise. In June I started resistance training. Somewhen as well, I started including jogging intervals during my walks. I now aim to exercise 5-6 days a week and to spend about 5 hours a week exercising. And I have done this pretty consistently over the last 13 weeks. With winter coming on it was also important to find ways to keep exercising and so I am doing more inside now. I use my exercise DVD 2-3 times a week and am really pleased that I have it. Most mornings at the moment are below 0’C and I don’t want to go out walking when it is that cold and it is also dark. But I am looking forward to August when it will be light enough in the morning to go walking… I miss my early Monday morning walks.

Work also changed for me in April, I went from 3 days a week to 4 days a week and I am still adjusting to that. The four days are better for work, the three days were better for me and home life. Working the extra day meant that I had to plan meals a little better and plan exercise a little better. It also means the cleaning is done less frequently and things are left lying about…

I am still participating in the Get Healthy Program. The next call is my last call as it is only a 6 month program. I really enjoying getting calls every 3-4 weeks from a health coach. It was like having my own little cheer squad. And there was always something to think about after the call.

It is really good to realise that I have also not been sick as much in the last 13 weeks. I know that as I increased my exercise in the first third of my plan that I was not eating enough. I think that I really was pushing myself too far and my immune system was struggling. I was also exposed to alot of germs as my toddler bought home every sniffle and cough from daycare. The combination of all that meant I had 4 colds by April and a couple of nasty infections as well. But since then, I have had no illnesses to complain about. I am so pleased that I moved to kJ counting and started eating more!

So, what do I want to work on for the final 14 weeks of the plan?

I want to run. I am going to register for the Up and Running Online Course (www.upandrunningonline.org) starting Sep 5. It is an 8 week course and will give me a goal that ends after my 40 week plan which I think is really important. So, until then I want to work on increasing my fitness with jogging intervals in my walks and with resistance training.

I want to keep eating well, cooking new things, enjoy the occasional baking and track my food and exercise.

I want to think about what motivates me and make sure that I have things in place for when my 40 weeks is up. I will still be about 30kg from my goal weight and that means I can’t stop. Actually, stopping is not an option I think about. These changes are not ones I have picked up to lose weight and that I can stop when I am done. At 70kg overweight I think I will always need to keep an eye on what I am doing. This doesn’t scare me like it did once. Tracking my food and making sure I eat a balanced kJ aware diet and planning in regular exercise seems a small cost for a healthy life.