Tag Archives: well-being

Sometimes I don’t JFDI

23 Aug

Normally I bang on about how I JFDI, no excuses, get up and out there, and how great I feel once I’ve started.

However there are days when I know deep down, intuitively, that getting up and getting out there is not the best thing for my body.

It’s a different feeling – a heaviness, a fatigue fog that descends, and I have absolutely no energy.

Interestingly when I feel like this there is no internal battle between good and evil ie “I don’t want to get up and exercise” vs “I’ll feel so guilty if I don’t get up and go for a walk, the gym or whatever”.

It’s like my body knows that I need a rest and my mind knows better than to argue with it.

This morning was one of those mornings.

I felt so tired and definitely feeling the fatigue fog.

Even the thought of getting up, dressed and out the door for a walk was tiring.

And I didn’t fight the feeling.

I need to rest.

So be it.

There is always another day.

Today I rest.

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Why do I exercise early in the day?

22 Aug

I admit, I have not always been a morning person – it’s a habit that I have had to develop over many years. But usually it’s the only time of day I can guarantee that I won’t be interrupted or have other commitments that get in the way.

It’s also the best time of day, once I drag myself out of my warm snuggly bed (this is especially hard in winter). There is not a lot of traffic, it’s quiet, and sometimes I get to see the most awesome sunrises.

Like this morning. The sunrise was absolutely beautiful. And when I saw the amazing pinks, and golds, and reds, I thought of Hawaii. Not that I’ve been there…yet. And not because Canberra is so much like Hawaii – I’m thinking not! But I’ve seen photos of Hawaii’s sunrises and sunsets and this morning’s sunrise looked like one of those photos. So I’m really glad that I was up to see it.

There there are the other mornings when its frosty with sub zero temperatures. It can look like a winter wonderland – the frost sparkling on the lawns, the gardens, even the weeds. When my breath hangs suspended in the still crisp air.

Or when the fog creeps in, weaving its wispy tendrils through the trees, around the shrubs, slowly enveloping everything in its path.

There are other reasons. I get my exercise over and done with first thing in the day so it doesn’t matter what else happens during the day, it’s done. No excuses. No continuously justifying why I don’t want to exercise at the end of the day, when all I feel like doing is go home.

I always feel great after going to the gym or getting outside for a brisk walk.

I really appreciate my breakfast after an early morning session :)

How about you? What time of day suits you?

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Cutting some slack

1 Aug

I wagged gym today. OooohwH! That takes me back to when We were kids – that’s how we’d respond if one of us had done something naughty!

But, do I feel bad? No.

We..e…ell okay briefly, I did beat myself up with the guilts. Then sensible, no-nonsense CJ took over, berated the over anxious, perfectionist, pain in the arse CJ for being so rigid and inflexible and then went back to bed.

Actually there was a reason. I’ve been battling something for about a month now and just haven’t been functioning at 100%. Some days are better than others. The last couple of days the-whatever-it-is has resurfaced and I feel like crap…again. So, even though I had my gym gear ready the night before and had my program organised, when I got up this morning the last thing I felt like doing was going anywhere, let alone to a gym. My head hurt, my body ached, and I was tired. For once though I actually listened to my body, decided to skip the gym session and go back to bed for another hour. Sometimes I just have to go with the flow and not stress about doing everything.

So yes, I cut myself some slack today.

It was the RSPCA cupcake morning tea today. Omg, the quantity and quality of the cupcakes was amazing. It was so good to see so many people baking for this worthy fundraiser and there was definitely no shortage of people wanting to buy them. I had made gluten free lemon surprise cupcakes – a vanilla cupcake with a lemon curd filling and cream cheese frosting. From all accounts these were delicious – I haven’t had one yet. Instead I had a gluten free carrot cake cupcake with cream cheese frosting, which was really, really, really delicious. Maybe it’s because it’s been a while since having a cupcake! (Since I wrote this post, I have had one of the ones I baked – one word.amazing!)

On the plus side, and it’s a huge plus, I am wearing a pair of work pants today that I haven’t worn for a couple of years and they fit comfortably. The best thing is they were a favourite pair of mine so I’m really happy about this. We are reunited! Lately I’ve had people comment on my weight loss so it must be noticeable now. I don’t really notice it – it’s only when I go to put on something I haven’t worn for a while and it actually fits and there’s no straining at the seams.

Finally, it’s no longer my clothes that are shrinking, it’s me!

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The work-in-progress me

25 Jul

I was reading an article by Craig Harper today titled ‘I’m a F**kwit sometimes’ and it resonated with me. There are so many self-help ‘gurus’ trying to sell their message to us that we should be awesome, amazing, living life to our maximum potential, achieving our dreams, and being super positive people all the time.

But you know, in real life yes, sometimes I am simply amazing (and believe me, you’ll hear about it) but sometimes I can be so ordinary, super boring, so utterly predictable, half arsed, lazy, well I could go on and on. I can’t be totally switched on, 110% positive, brimming with enthusiasm, and totally embracing life all the time.

And you know, that’s ok.

As Craig says, I am (we all are) a work in progress – totally human, fallible and imperfect. We can have our off days when things just don’t go to plan, as we can have our super awesome days, and every shade in between.

Anyway I was running late for the gym this morning. I had so much gear to organise for the gym, the shower afterwards, the walk at lunchtime (which didn’t happen) – all this so I could get to work early as I was meeting a friend for breakfast. Honestly, the things I do for good coffee, food and company!

And it was so cold. I made the mistake of having a peek at the weather report before getting out of bed. It was minus 5 degrees but apparently felt like minus 10. WTF! No way! Thank goodness I wasn’t walking this morning. Even so I had to tip warm water over my car windscreen, passenger windows and doors, as they had frozen shut.

Once at the gym it was a case of lots of shoulder presses, upright rows, triceps dips and bicep curls, with the odd set of push ups in there just to mix things up. Result? Jelly arms!

The planned 5km walk at lunchtime never happened today because of work pressures – it’s always the way. However I plan on doing the walk tomorrow lunchtime regardless. I’m sure they can do without me for about 50 minutes.

And I’ve been hungry today. Lunch never hit the sides (leftover Tandoori chicken) and my teensy mandarin certainly wasn’t going to hit the mark. Fortunately a work colleague gave me a kiwi fruit and an orange which helped fill me up. Then a little later I had an apple and some almonds. And tonight there’s been some snacking while preparing dinner and getting tomorrow’s lunch organised. Oops :0

So the work-in-progress me has had some hits and some misses today. But that’s ok. That’s life.

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Some kind of magic

8 Jul

I was driving to work this morning listening to the radio, as you do, when on came an ad for one of the many gyms here in Canberra. The gist of the ad was that there is no magic spell that will get you fit nor get your wobbly bits toned. And they’re right – it takes regular exercise, eating healthy, and commitment. It’s not easy, in fact it can be bloody hard work. After all if it was easy everyone would be doing it. And we know they’re not, otherwise we wouldn’t be experiencing an obesity problem and increasing prevalence of diseases caused by unhealthy lifestyles. And I’ve been guilty of complaining about having wobbly bits, not being fit and feeling like crap but not doing anything about it either. It’s easier to complain that to actually do something about it.

But it is magic when I do put the work in, eat healthy, and show up for my weights or cardio sessions, day in and day out. It’s when it all comes together and one day I realise that my wobbly bits are not so wobbly, my clothes are not so snug and I’m feeling so much more positive and healthy. That’s the magic! But there was no waving of a magic wand or sprinkling of fairy dust or saying a spell or two. It took sweat and effort.

This morning’s power hour at the gym involved a lot of upper body weights as I’m still banned from any lower body exercises until I see the physio again this Wednesday. So the session included push ups, dumbbell chest presses, incline chest presses, barbell upright rows, assisted pull ups and lat pull downs. The cardio portion involved 2 x 5 minute sessions on the xtrainer – the first 5 mins was a warm up to the session, and the last 5 mins was an interval session before I started the abs circuit. At least I had more energy this morning and not the overwhelming tiredness I was feeling on Saturday. It’s amazing what a couple of early nights and a sleep in can do!

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Eat like a man?

5 Jul

I saw the heading of this article about weight loss by Susie Burrell, a nutritionist and thought, you beauty, does this mean I can eat big portions, burgers and fries, meat pies and kick back with a beer or two? Ok, I am basing this behaviour on some males I know, not all of them, before you start getting all hot and sweaty under the collar!

Anyway I thought this article warranted further reading to find out what Susie really means by eat like a man when it comes to weight loss and weight control. But really, what can men teach us that we don’t already know?!

It would seem that when it comes to eating, for most women it’s a minefield of emotions, psychological and cultural programming, and rampaging hormones. Maybe it is for men too, but they seem less affected by these things. How many of us know of men who decide they are going to lose weight (and it’s usually for health reasons and not because they think they look fat) and they do – they stick to whatever program they are following, are not affected by what everyone else is saying and doing, are not coming up with justifications of why they can’t go to the gym or run or whatever, and then say they want a chocolate, muffin, ice-cream, etc because they deserve it. Or they don’t raid the pantry because they’re feeling sad, or bored, or angry. Or have one biscuit and then decide they’ve ruined their diet and may as well go for broke the rest of the day because of this, and will start again tomorrow.

And how many of us are guilty of doing this? Well, I for one will raise my hand.

Susie provides the following tips for eating more like a man:

1. Don’t think, just do – no excuses, justifications or rationalisations. It’s all about ignoring that little voice that slowly but surely chips away at your reserve of willpower until you do give in and not do what you had planned. This is where preparation comes in handy and, for me, early morning workouts. Its planning and preparing meals and snacks so you’re never caught short without healthy, nutritious foods. Its checking the menu before going out for a meal so you know what to order. It’s getting your workout gear ready the night before, and packing the gym bag so all you have to do in the morning is get up, get dressed and get going.

2. Concentrate only on yourself – by this she is talking about not being influenced by the opinions of other people. Everyone, and I mean everyone, suddenly becomes an expert on your diet and exercise choices but really, unless they’re being supportive, whose business is it anyway?! Don’t be swayed by others unless it’s in a positive sense.

3. Don’t blame your emotions – now this is a biggie for a lot of women! We cart around so much emotional baggage when it comes to eating and weight loss and body image issues. Gosh, even the number on the scales can be a minefield and dictate how you are going to feel the rest of the day – like a winner or the biggest, saddest loser going. Then toss in the hormones – that time of the month or menopause, and we’re ready to sacrifice everything for a bar or three of chocolate, a tub of ice cream, whatever, as long as it’s chockfull of fat and carbs, and liberally sprinkled with sugar! Do men do this? They may drown their sorrows in beer or alcohol of choice but in response to a less than impressive number on the scales? Does a man succumb to one piece of cake and then think, damn, I’ve totally blown my diet, I may as well pig out and start again tomorrow, next week, next month?! Susie suggests finding healthy ways of dealing with emotions rather than eating them, such as going for a walk, going to the gym, running, talking to someone etc. Eating our emotions never solves anything.

4. Make a plan and stick to it – this really relates to number 1 above, don’t think just do, which is so much easier if you have a plan. And it probably doesn’t matter what plan you follow, whether it’s the latest and greatest weight loss program, Weight Watchers, or 12WBT, for example. You need to commit to it and not try it for a couple of weeks and then get distracted by another weight loss claim or plan. There’s plenty of programs out there, some totally wacky, others that are not so bad. But commit and stick to it!

5. Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full – don’t eat just for the sake of eating. Is it head hunger or tummy hunger? Unless you are in an environment where food is scarce, food is always going to be available. Don’t eat as if that will be your last meal…ever. Also, don’t use food as a reward – exercise for the sake of being fit and healthy, not for the lure of a choc chip muffin at the end! I think this probably harks back to when we are children and food was used as a bribe, a treat, or reward (as parents, we’re all guilty of doing this at some stage).

6. Drop the food focus – Susie is saying that everything we do these days is tied up with food. Women, particularly, tend to make food a central part of social gatherings, a focus which can lead to over eating. Work morning teas, brunches with friends on the weekends, parties, special events, catching up with a friend for coffee and cake at the café, TV programs such as Masterchef, and magazines (I mean have you flicked through a Donna Hay magazine lately?!!!). Studies have shown that viewing food porn ie glamourised spectacular presentations of cooking or eating that we view in ads, cooking shows, and other visual media (think instagram, pinterest, facebook and recipe blogs), is contributing to the obesity problem. Pictures and discussions of food can tempt us to eat, and even to overeat – even in the absence of true physiological hunger.

So I think what Susie is saying, don’t complicate our weight loss/control. It doesn’t have to be hard or onerous. Do like the men do, and keep it simple…and straightforward (you thought I was going to say something else, didn’t you!).

And what have I done today?

Well, I went for an 11 minute jog this morning, purely as a warm up to my core strength exercises. you know, those exercises where I do like an aeroplane or superman! The cat finds this behaviour extremely strange, and she watches safely from a distance. I skipped using the swiss ball today for the exercises because mine is like a big comfy cushion so defeats the purpose of using it to improve my balance! Back to my short run, omg what about the wind?! It was blowing a gale so in parts I was pushed along but heading back home it was akin to running into a brick wall. So much resistance!

Breakfast was the apple and ricotta toast though I did have to vary it due to lack of a core ingredient! To supplement the very small amount of ricotta I had, I used some extra light cream cheese. Then I had some raspberries left over in the fridge, and in order not to waste them, I wacked them on top with the grated apple. Yummo!

Lunch today was a new recipe for me – the herbed ricotta and roasted pumpkin open sandwich. I was really surprised because I seriously thought this wouldn’t be filling but it was and it was also delicious. The recipe calls for sourdough but being gluten free that is off limits so I used half a Livwell gluten free baguette. The GF baguette went well with this topping.

Dinner tonight is at the mall as it’s our grocery shopping night. I think I’ll be having something from Sumo Salads.

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Early bird or night owl?

3 Jul

I was reading an article in this month’s GI News – the Official Glycaemic Index newsletter, about the body’s clock, which operates on a circadian cycle (Latin for about a day). The biological clock controls our circadian rhythm—the physiological processes that occur repeatedly on approximately a 24-hour cycle. Some of these processes in addition to alertness include body temperature, production of the stress hormone (cortisol), and cognition (mental alertness, memory, and intelligence).

And this got me thinking…

Are we naturally a morning person or a night owl? Are we one or the other or can we be a bit of both? If we are naturally, say, a night owl, can we learn to become an early bird or are we going to be forever fighting against our natural instincts?

I do know that I operate much better in the morning than I do in the evening which is why I was schedule my exercise at the start of the day, not at the end, when all I want to do is go home. However, by morning I mean around the hours of 7am onwards, not the uncivilised hour of 5.30am, but circumstances mean that’s when I have to get up and get going.

But I wasn’t always a morning person. No siree, there was a time when the thought of getting out of bed before 10am was anathema to my very soul. In fact, just ask my mum or other girls at the boarding school I went to, or when I was living at nurses’ quarters when doing my nursing training! In fact, just ask a couple of the charge sisters of wards I was working on at the time, when it came to punctuality and the…ahem…morning shift (7am start)! Yes, there was a definite pattern of struggling to get up early but I could party the night away with the best of them!

Of course, having children changed all that but even when the kids were a bit older, I still had to drag myself out of bed around 7am. And I had a multitude of excuses as to why I didn’t want to exercise in the morning…and basically, I didn’t!

Then one day, 17 years ago I decided I wanted to take up running and so I enrolled in a 6 week course that would get me ready for the Canberra Times 10km fun run. There were several challenges involved with this – running, running 10km, entering an event, and exercising. Shock, horror – it meant I had to do ‘training’ – that word I had always associated with other people, crazy people really, not some muggins like me who had this strange idea that maybe they could run 10km! And to do this training, because I had children, I really had to get up early to fit it in my day otherwise it was never going to happen. I won’t bore you with the details but it took a lot of coercion, persistence and grumbling to get me out of bed and out the door at some stupidly unbelievably early hour each day to do my training. And there were lots of failures to begin with. You know, the shouldas, couldas, wouldas, but didn’ts! Mr CJ was very supportive, not that I perceived it as such at the time – he would dig me in the ribs when the alarm went off to ensure I was awake and getting up.

But persistence eventually paid off. Gradually, over time I began to find it easier to get up, get dressed and out the door and once I was moving, I was really glad I made the effort. The payoffs were that I became fitter, I felt better, my health improved, I had more energy and I could run!

Over time, I proved that I could change to be more of an early bird. However it has meant that I am no longer a night owl. By the time night comes around I am definitely ready for bed though I have been guilty of burning the candle at both ends, to my detriment. Trying to get by on less than 6 hours sleep eventually catches up with me – I am constantly tired, I start getting sick, I tend to eat more and it’s not necessarily healthy food I crave, I drink more coffee and so it goes. It’s true what they – early to bed and early to rise makes CJ healthy, wealthy and wise!

The early bird CJ was up and on the bike on the wind trainer at 5.30 this morning. It’s been a while since I’ve been on my bike because of the location of the hammie tear – sitting on a bike seat was not comfortable up until now. As it is, I can’t use the upright bikes at the gym because those seats are a lot wider and this does irritate the injury. However I had no such problems this morning. The session involved 10 x 1min hard gear (1min easy spin) with a warm up and cool down. After this I then had 4 sets of 15 reps of push ups, 20 dips, and 3 sets of 12 reps of reverse crunches, straight leg scissors and scissors crossovers.

Whew! All that before breakfast! :)

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It’s what you do next…

27 Jun

It’s the usual story – I wake up and my first thought is, oh crap I really don’t feel like [select option] going to the gym/swimming/going for a jog/walk/doing weights, etc. (confession time: sometimes it resembles the opening scene from Four Weddings & a Funeral movie!)

It would be so easy just to turn over, pull the blanket up over my head to muffle the mumblings and grumblings and grab some more sleep.

After all, who would know? Who would care?

Morning tea comes and wouldn’t you know it, it’s a work colleague’s birthday so there’s food involved. I’d like to say there’s fresh fruit, natural yoghurt, and other healthy items but it’s a ‘special’ occasion so there has to be cakes, cookies, etc.

And of course there are gluten free options because everyone is so conscious of me not missing out on [select option] cake/slice/cookies/chips/dips, etc.

Go on, have one, it won’t hurt. You do so much exercise. You eat well most of the time. Go on!

Then I do start thinking, well, one wouldn’t hurt, or maybe two, or one of each? After all, who’d really care? Just this once? And they do look so delicious sitting there on the plates. Everyone else is having some so why can’t I?

I hit the mid-afternoon slump and have this overwhelming need for something to boost my energy levels.

There’s the charity chocolate box in the work kitchen. I seem to be making lots of trips to the kitchen presumably to get a drink, but that chocolate box has my name all over it. Not only could I have some chocolate that would give me energy but I’d also be donating to charity, surely that must negate the calories?!

Or how about a diet coke from the drinks dispenser downstairs? I really need something to give me a boost to get me through to dinner. Just this once? The walk down and up the stairs (74 steps in total!) would be good for me.

After dinner and all the chores are done. I’m about to sit down and watch TV. Hmm, I need a snack – I might just go and have a look in the pantry.

What was that? Have something healthy? Really?

Come on, it’s night time, I’ve had a long day, I’m tired, I deserve a treat! (cue whiny voice). This diet thing is way too hard – I feel like I’m missing out on all the fun. Why don’t I start again tomorrow? Or even better, I’ll start again next Monday. I’ve had [select option] chocolate/cake/cookies/chips, etc today, so I’ve blown my diet today, it would be better to start afresh next week, etc.

Sound familiar?
These are daily dilemmas and it’s what you do next that determines how you feel, how you look, how you function.

Yes, I can eat crap, I can decide not to exercise, I can justify until the cows come home why I’m not doing these things, I can listen to my ‘inner teenager’ or cave in to my ‘inner labrador’ BUT…and it’s a huge BUT, I also have to accept responsibility for the consequences ie weight gain, feeling like crap (eat crap = feel and look like crap), increase my risk of developing diseases as a result of an unhealthy lifestyle, suffer from joint pain due to increased weight and lack of exercise, and so forth.

So while I might grizzle, grumble and bitch sometimes about how hard it all is, I really believe the payoff is well worth it in increased wellbeing, fitness and good health.

But it’s not something that comes naturally to me; I have to work at this each and every day. I’m not superhuman, I’m not blessed with super strength willpower. To be quite honest, I’m a sloth by nature! :) And there are times when I not only fall off the wagon, the entire wagon collapses beneath me!

But back to today. This morning I had a weights session that focused on shoulders, back, triceps, hamstrings and calves. I’ve come to realise that I love back, arms and shoulder training because I see results so much sooner than I do with legs training.

It was very quiet at the gym today, maybe it had something to do with some footy game that was on last night? You know, something about state of origin or some such thing?! Anyway I appreciated the quietness because it meant that I had access to free weights and machines without having to wait for someone else to finish.

Breakfast today was berry bruschetta and for lunch I had corn chowder plus a home grown mandarin. For tea tonight we had kangaroo with mashed pumpkin and ginger and mango glaze. I’ve also received next week’s menu plan and I’m looking forward to banana bruschetta, herbed ricotta with roast pumpkin open sandwich, and lamb biryani, among others.

And remember, when faced with choices – it’s what you do next that matters.

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4×4

22 Jun

I’m not talking about 4wd vehicles or off-road capabilities, but rather the gym workout I did this morning. :)

The gym session was a 4×4 session involving 4 mini circuits. Each circuit consisted of 3 exercises (4 sets x 12 reps of each exercise) plus a 400m run. I can’t really do this at the moment so instead of the 4 x 400m runs, I did a 5min session of either the bike, xtrainer or treadmill at the end of each circuit.

Warm up
– xtrainer 5min
Mini circuit 1 was legs, i.e. step ups, lunges and squat presses followed by 5min on the bike.
Mini circuit 2 was upper body, i.e. push ups, bent over row and tricep dips followed by 5min on the treadmill (this included some slow jogging)
Mini circuit 3 was lower body, i.e. one leg bridges, calf raises and hamstring curls followed by 5min on the bike
Mini circuit 4 was abs, i.e. side plank raise, sit ups and planks followed by 5min on the treadmill (some more slow jogging)
And finally…
5min on the xtrainer.

I still can’t increase the intensity of my cardio workouts but at least I can do more than even a couple of weeks ago, so I can’t really complain. The danger now according to my physio is that I’ll start doing too much too soon because I feel so good. So it’s slowly, slowly baby steps.

This afternoon it was time for my monthly treat: mmmmassage! Mind you, she was also working on the hammie to prevent scar tissue forming but even that wasn’t so bad. The rest was bliss.

And tonight we had the Beef & Red Wine Pie with Potato Topping, with a few modifications. The recipe was for a Beef & Guiness Pie but that’s not gluten free so hence the red wine. I also reduced the amount of stock from 2 cups to 1 cup, added only half the zucchini and also added mushrooms. For flavour, I added rosemary, bay leaf, garlic and some balsamic vinegar. My pie had mashed sweet potato as a topping (not really keen on mashed potato as a result of being brought up on Deb mashed potato as a child, yuk!) whereas Mr CJ’s pie was topped in buttery mashed potato and grated cheese. I have to admit his looked delicious! However both were delicious and worth the cooking time to make them.

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How’s the serenity?

21 Jun

Oh boy, what a super chilly start this morning. It was certainly a very brisk walk around the block before doing my core strengthening exercises. There’s nothing like -2.5 degrees celsius, which felt like -4.9 according to the Bureau of Meteorology, and which I can attest to, to get the legs going and the arms pumping!

I also decided to leave my iPod home and go naked, i.e. without music, for my walk. And I enjoyed the quiet and stillness of the early morning. Of course anyone with any sense was at home, in their beds, snuggled under blankets and doonas! But the peace and quiet was appreciated and the time went really quickly. Before I knew it, I was back home again, inside the warmth of my house.

Sometimes it’s nice to go without music and other technology but just appreciate being outdoors, in the fresh air, participating in healthy activities. Even at 5.45am! :)

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What I dream about when it’s sub zero temperatures!

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