Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 - Adios!!

So the last day of the calendar year, whilst not actually different or significant in any way, is a nice point in time in which to look back at the good, bad and ugly in your life and provide a starting point to do things better. Except, I like to think of it as a continuation of the journey!

What have I learned in 2012?

That I don't ever want to feel the way I do about myself in this photo:

and that I don't want to go to my 30th school reunion looking like this:

I learned that if you eat crap and drink a lot of alcohol, you get fat. Simple as that.

Ever so close to 80kg - never want to see that number again!

Speaking of 80's, I learned that 80% of weight loss is diet. You can never outrun a crappy diet. But I like the running part.

I learned that consistency is key. I am human - I get sick, sometimes life gets in the way. But every day is an opportunity to pick yourself up and keep making good choices.

I learned that waiting for "motivation" to come along is a fallacy. Most of the time, I'm not going to feel like going for a run or chopping up veggies. JFDI!

And so for the last day of 2012, I JFDI, went for my tempo run. Crappy place to run, yes?

Max was keen, as always:

I had my knees on show for the first time in forever, in my new 2XU compression shorts:

I thought I had set my app to tell me only the time and also a tempo of 7:30min/km. It told me nothing, so I just ran to the end of the path and back. This is what I managed:

Very happy to have achieved 7:32min/km average and quite excited by that 6:50min/km for the 3rd kilometre! I wonder what I can achieve in the fitness test in a couple of weeks?

I'm also very happy to end the year lighter than I have been at any time during it. I won't start 2013 with a resolution to "lose weight" because I'm already doing it! But I will keep on putting one foot in front of the other :-)

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Back to it!

Well, after a rather ordinary week diet- and exercise-wise, I'm back into it properly today, starting with my "long" endurance run. This week was another 5.5km run (plus 5min walking for warm up and cool down).

I loved last week's run - it felt so good, I felt as if I could actually run for 10km. This week? Oh. My. God. It killed me! I did it at the same run pace as last week, but damn, it hurt this week and I really felt as if I was struggling the whole way:

It's bizzare to me that the same run, same route, same pace, on hour later (I slept in a little) can feel so different! I think even the dog felt it, because about halfway through he put his bum on the ground as if to say "nah, I'm not feeling it today". Unfortunately for him (and me) we had to get back to the car, so I encouraged him with an enthusiastic voice that I did not feel. I did lots of "disassociating" where I purposefully relaxed my shoulders and just listened to the words of the songs and tried not to think about running and how much I want to stop and walk. It did the trick and I got there (although I will admit to walking the very last 200m or so of the run interval - it was uphill!).

Perhaps the excess of Christmas has caught up with me (not that I was that excessive!) and certainly this bug I've been fighting off has knocked me for a bit of a six and I've been feeling very tired and washed out. But a nutritious diet, some vitamins and maybe some Yakult yoghurt will see me bouncing back, I'm sure!

And it was PACKED out there today! I knew there was a reason I meant to wake early and it wasn't just to miss the heat. Our little seaside town is overrun with visitors, which is great for the economy, but it makes for a very crowded footpath. Every man, woman, child, toddler, baby in a pram and their dog were out and about! And soooo many runners! And all of them faster than me (which, apparently, is not hard). At least I run faster than the walkers (gotta look on the bright side).

Home to a healthy, protein-packed egg-white omelette (it was OK, but yolks are sorely missed!):

Going grocery shopping this afternoon to make sure the fridge and cupboards are stocked up with the necessary ingredients to stick to the food plan! I have a relatively quiet week work-wise, so no excuses on the exercise front either!

Back to it, baby!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Post-Christmas post

Ahh. So this is Christmas!

That time of year filled with red flag days, food, wine, and stress. Not a great recipe for weight loss.

It has been interesting doing this 12WBT thing over the festive season. I wanted to keep my longer-term goals in mind, so I've been sticking to the program as much as possible.

I loved my long run (5.5km) on Saturday morning. Hubby came with me - it's been a while since he's run with me and I am just a little proud of my superior fitness (much less heavy breathing from me, especially uphill) and staying power (I got to run the last bit by myself).

I'm proud not because I want to be better than him, but because I have been working so hard on this and it is obviously paying off. Also really happy that the calories burnt (according to my HRM rather than the app) are over 500 for a run now and of my sub-8 minute pace!! Maybe speed and hill intervals really work!

I came home and spent the rest of the day in a house-cleaning frenzy! I reckon I burnt quite a few calories just doing mopping and tidying!

The last few days have been a bit off the rails. I bailed on my tempo run on Monday because I slept appallingly the night before and I had to start work early. My diet hasn't been bad as such, but just a bit all over the place.

Christmas Day! A lot of talk on the forums about following the recipes and Mish encouraging us to do a Christmas morning workout and post photos. Well, I don't have a photo because I didn't do my toning workout. My kids were up early wanting to open presents and I'm not going to put everyone on hold because I need to burn 300 calories. Them's my excuses, and I'm sticking to them. However, I did score a lot of good running loot (because I need more crap to run with!)

My menu consisted of half Mish recipes and half regular food. I made Curtis Stone cheese and proscuitto puffs (they were so yummy and turned out exceptionally well). Enjoyed prawn/avocado/tomato salad for entree. Made the spinach, cranberry and walnut salad and I tried to make her turkey recipe, but couldn't find turkey breast anywhere, so I just bought a pre-stuffed one and shoved that in the oven. We also enjoyed a beautiful blackberry and balsamic glazed ham. Also made the mini choc fudge cakes, but they were a bit heavy and stodgy. I totally enjoyed my couple of glasses of Grant Burge champagne - just divine!

Things went a little downhill after dessert. I was trying to enjoy a relaxing glass of white wine after all my hard work when I had a bad attack of indigestion. I just had to lie down and I felt disgusting. The guests left, afternoon turned to evening and as I lay on the couch, watching Harry Potter, I just felt worse and worse. I missed the end of the movie as I was busy throwing up.

I went to bed after that, but blissful slumber eluded me as I lay down with stomach cramps and body aches. I think it was after 2am when I finally nodded off. Today I feel as if a truck has run me over and my Boxing Day will be a very quiet one of blogging, TV, and a few cups of tea. Those hills can wait.

Given that no-one else appears to be sick, means I haven't poisoned my family - I actually think it may be my body rejecting crappy food and/or alcohol. This is the second time in a few weeks that I've suffered this and perhaps I just need to really eat and drink clean?!

Oh, so today is Wednesday, I hear you say? The scales told me 74.4kg (164.0 lbs) this morning. So a gain, but not unexpected and not too big. Looking forward to next week even more now!

We are halfway through our Round 4 of 12 Week Body Transformation - 6 more weeks to go. I'm going to give it a good nudge and see how what I can achieve.

How did you celebrate Christmas?
Were you "naughty" or "nice"?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Crap I run with...

You know how one of the great things about running is that you don't need much gear; you can just pull on your shoes and you're good to go?

Um. Me, not so much.

Now, I don't run "a lot". I am pretty proud of my 5.5km this morning - felt really good and I actually enjoyed that run (in stark contrast to last week's 4.5km where I felt I might just die a little bit). But damn, I seem to have accumulated a lot of "running stuff".

To go out for a little jog, first I need my compression pants (Performax crop) - these are great - they stop my wibbly bits from wobbling so much and apparently, they also increase circulation and oxygen flow to the muscles, providing maximum support and assisting in recovery time. Mine get hammered - I only own one pair (because they are ridiculously expensive) and need a wash after every sweat-soaked run.


I also own a few running singlets. I sweat so much, that just plain cotton singlets don't cut it - they get soggy with sweat and feel disgusting and chafe. So I go for "technical fabric" that wick away sweat. I LOVE LuleLemon tops - the only brand I've found that have looser-fitting styles for those of us who have a little tum-tum and don't want everyone thinking I'm running around the block 5 months pregnant.

RUN: Team Spirit TankRun: Light As Air Singlet

I also LOVE their running socks; no blisters, not hot and helps me remember my left foot from my right foot:

W Ultimate Padded Run Sock

So, shoes are pretty important - I don't recommend churning out the km's in a pair of Dunlop Volleys. A fashion statement they may be, but they don't give you much support:

After my Asics Gel Kayanos gave up the ghost, I ventured out to Athletes Foot, and came away with Mizuno Wave Inspire 8's (support for those that roll inward a bit and for those of us who are a bit, ahem, heavier) - so far so good!

So, all set? Um. Not quite.

When one is of the female persuasion, one needs to look after one's girls. So a sports bra is essential. I quite like my Triumph Triaction seam-free bra. It also gets very sweaty and mine no longer is bright white:

When going for a longer run, I like Bonds Invisitails because they don't scrunch up and rub, and presumably, they appear "invisible" for those poor souls behind me.

Bonds Invisitails Midi Gravel Green Grey
Yep. I look like that. Not.

OK. Got my clothes all sorted. Now the tech.

I run with my iPhone. I like the apps - I've used Couch to 5K, Ease Into 10K and am currently using RunKeeper, which plays my music, I can program in distance/time/repeats and it also has a GPS, so I can see how far I've run.

Now you can't just shove your iPhone down your bra (get's a bit sweaty down there!), so I use a Belkin Dualfit armband (and one day I'll use the small size hole - just you watch!):

I found normal earbud earphones just fall out all the time, so I got Philips ActionFit Sports earphones, which are sweatproof (good idea) and hook over your ears. They are very comfortable!

I am also now using a heartrate monitor to see how many calories I burn. I am currently borrowing my hubbies el-cheapo one from Aldi:

Aldi Heart Rate Monitor $19.99 from 29th August

It seems to work OK, but I have a Garmin on my wishlist for Christmas!!

Alright. Ready to run?

Um. Nearly. 

Just need to hook the dog up to the Halti collar:

and tuck a couple of poo-bags up those compression pants, just in case:

And then tuck my car key into the convenient little pocket in said pants and FINALLY we can run!!

I'm exhausted before I start! But most of this stuff makes my run bearable or maybe even enjoyable.

*This is not a sponsored post. But I'm not beyond accepting deals of free stuff, or better yet payment for trying out things in return for my comments to my vast readership!

Do you gear up, or are you a "minimalist" runner?
What's your favourite piece of running gear?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Hills Are Alive!

...with the sound of heavy breathing and the occasional f-bomb.

I don't like hills. I will search out the flattest place possible to run.  When I started running, I would get to the end of the path, which is just before the hill and turn around:

But I am proud to say I have a little personal heartbreak hill that I have conquered - instead of turning around and following the path, I just keep going...up. I usually walked it. Wanna see?

My own heartbreak hill.

But as I got fitter, I ran up some of the hill, then walked and then finally one day, I "ran" up the entire thing. Was so pleased with myself and was rewarded with this view:

Not too foul, hey?
OK. So far, so good.

Today was our first 10K program day of Hill Repeats. The instructions were to sprint up a hill for 2 minutes and walk or jog (depending on your fitness) for 3 minutes. Repeat 3 times. Then do the same for 1/1 minutes. Sure. No problem! Are you ready, Heartbreak Hill? Bring. It. On.

I had to walk up the last bits of the 2 minutes. My legs couldn't do it. I did the 1 minutes on the flat, on the way back. The second 1 minute could hardly be called a sprint. But I did it (mostly). And I can only get fitter, stronger and better at them. It was quite warm out today. The radio said about 95% humidity. That's Bali conditions, people! Yuck. It was 20C. That's OK. JFDI. And then walk back to the car to die.

Poor Max was so confused! Up, down, run, walk, turn around, run, walk. He had no clue what was going on! I like to keep him guessing! He just loves to run with me.

But I don't think I will ever love hills.

And in other news today, it is Wednesday. You know what that means! Time to see if all this running up hills has made any difference. Except I weighed in before I went for my run, but you know what I mean:

74.0kg - 163.1 lbs

Another small loss for me, one giant leap in the quest to get smaller!! I just need to keep imagining how much easier hills are going to be if I weigh 10kg less!

If you run, do you avoid hills?
Have you ever subjected yourself to hill repeats?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Exhausted or excuses?

It's Friday!!! Actually, because I don't work full-time, this doesn't mean much, because I have to work on the weekend. And now I'm not drinking (rarely), Friday night drinkies don't necessarily happen. They won't tonight.

I've been 'good' - following the eating plan, doing my workouts. Except for this morning. I'm just exhausted. I struggle to stay awake until 9pm. I'm yawning my head off during the afternoon. I'm grumpy and teary.

Perhaps it's hormones. Maybe I need to take my multivitamin on a more regular basis. I know that getting up early to exercise means I do need to go to bed early.

So this morning - the first morning in what feels like forever, but in reality is only 4 weeks, I didn't JFDI. I slept. Oh! It felt sooooo good! I feel much less like a cranky cow.

I had another reason not to get sweaty. An excuse, if you will. I had my hair done yesterday. I have two issues with my hair:

  1. I have premature grey. Like serious amounts of grey. A skunk stripe of regrowth.
  2. I have thick, frizzy hair.

When I go to the hairdressers, for one day, I have no grey hair and sleek, straight hair that doesn't boof out everywhere. So just for one day, before it gets sweaty, rained on, humidified or washed - I wanted nice hair. Vain much? Probably.

I will continue to eat well. And tomorrow I will get sweaty and wreck my hair. Because after today, I prefer a smaller body to perfect locks.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Feel the rain on your skin...

"No one else can do it for you
Only you can let it in"

6am: Alarm ringing because this morning because I had to be at work at 9am. Got up, weighed myself - lost 500g, bringing me to 74.3kg (163.8 lbs). Considering I haven't stuck to things 100%, I'm reasonably happy to see the numbers still trending downward - that's what we want to see. Would I have liked to see 69.0kg staring back at me? You betcha, but I'm realistic too.

While I was all naked-like and everyone was still asleep, I took my Week 4 Mini-Milestone measurements to see how I was progressing. Then I got dressed in my running gear, all set to blitz the 1km time trial.

Except it was raining. What the? It wasn't raining when I woke up! So I did the other bits of my fitness test and stared out the window some more. Checked Facebook (as you do). Checked 12WBT forums etc. Looked out the window some more. Was it lighter? Just a drizzle now? 

7am: Thought to myself "bugger it" and got the iPhone Runkeeper app ready and went out the door anyway. 'Twas just a light drizzle by then, but I felt really hardcore, waving to the old lady who was out for her walk in the rain too. Two old hardcore ladies - where were the youngsters? The first song up on my fully-randomised-shuffle was "Unwritten" - and yes, I could really feel the rain on my skin!

I did a 5 minute warm-up walk to the oval, 10 minute "jog" (more like a "wog" - I find running on grass hard work) and then was fully psyched for my 1km time trial. I really wanted to break into the 6:00min/km pace (I did 7:13 at the start of 12WBT). My app told me I was doing an average pace of 6:34min/km about halfway through. Pretty chuffed. Pretty puffed. So as Salt'n'Pepa encouraged me to "Push It" I really pressed on and kept the pace up. 

8am: Home again. I checked the pace for my 1km on the app - 7:07min/km. I cried. I am pre-menstrual, so don't think too much of it.

I really thought I'd nailed under 7!!! But I have gotten faster, so I guess that's one thing. I'm ignoring all those people who run 5:03min/'s not that I actually hate them, it's just that I prefer to think they don't exist and that my running actually looks like sprinting.

But I also improved on everything else, except for those crappy sit-ups who I also hate:

8:30am: Most of my work clothes were in the ironing basket. Did I dare try on those Size 12 pants that did not do up a few months ago (which also made me cry - I'm just a sooky-la-la)? Well, desperate times call for desperate measures, so I wiggled them up my sweaty legs and attempted to do them up. They fit! Let's 'push it' and see if the Colorado medium top fits as well - yes! Well, I would still like the belly to be smaller, but I've made progress! Shower time and then work:

I'm pushing it! And writing my own story...

"Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten"

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wine whine

One of my biggest issues in weight management is alcohol. 

Alcohol is such an insidious thing. It is such a HUGE part of our society. As a ex-high school teacher, there were 14 year olds just busting at the gate to go start drinking and "get maggoted". It is there at every social gathering. The answer to all of life's stresses, particularly as a parent, seem to be found in a glass of wine at the end of a long day.

I don't really remember when I started drinking every day. I know I started drinking later than most of my friends, after I turned 18 and then really got into the swing of things at university (there are harbour cruises I wish I could forget). But it was on the weekends and the body bounced back better then.

A glass of wine after a hard day's teaching was a very nice thing to look forward to. A glass to sit down with hubby and compare our days. A glass with some cheese and bickies. A glass while preparing dinner. Sometimes dinner never got prepared and it was vegemite on toast. A few glasses on a Friday night because tomorrow is the weekend and I don't have to get up. A few glasses to make the stress of the day disappear in a bit of a fog. Every morning I would wake up and say to myself "I'm not going to drink again tonight" and yet, as sure as day turns to night, that night would find a glass of sav blanc in my hand.

The trouble is, after a while, there was never a day off. And it became harder and harder to say "no" when hubby asked "glass of wine?" And he asked, so he didn't feel as bad because he wanted one (or three or four). And then it was never just a glass. It was nothing for us to polish off two bottles (that's one each) on a weeknight. Weekends were worse.

I knew when I started this 12WBT that wine was an issue for my weight. It is also a nasty issue for my high blood pressure. I don't even want to think about my liver (la la la la - if I just ignore stuff, it's not an issue). I don't always like myself when I've had a few wines. I knew I had to cut back seriously. Maybe even stop.

Hubby was with me. We were stopping until Christmas. We would support each other. It is often the case we will say this to ourselves, but then cave the minute things get busy, stressful or just a bit overwhelming. Which, apparently is often.

Even though I know for my health I have to do this, but alcohol is like a siren, calling "drink me". So much of our lives are hardwired to drink. It is a habit and a drug and it is very hard to say no and keep saying no.

I haven't been perfect. I have caved. But not often. I have whole weeks where I don't drink anything. And then when I do, Lindemans Early Harvest (low alcohol wine/champagne) is my crutch. Gin and diet tonics (less calories). 

I am noticing that I can feel the impacts of one glass so much more, now that my body is not inundated with the stuff. I can enjoy a glass. I don't enjoy four big ones any more. 

I have energy the next day. I get up and do my workouts. I am physically tired, not hungover tired. I sleep better. My face is less puffy. I don't have to worry that I stink of wine at work. I am there for my kids at the end of the day.

Or maybe don't drink that wine and keep running!

I am really hoping that I can keep at this and change a habit that been building over the last couple of decades (OK - now I made myself feel really old). I want to be healthy going into my 50s. I want to not shop in the larger ladies section. I want my brain and body to be able to function as well as they can. These are the things I want for my life. Wine is not going to get me there, so it will just not be able to be as big a part of my life as it was previously. 

If I am serious about losing weight, alcohol is not helping - the body processes alcohol before fat, protein or carbs. Thus drinking slows down the burning of fat. It contains a lot of empty, non-nutritious calories. 

Will I keep on this track? I can only try one day at a time. I may look back at this post and laugh at myself for me being so naive. But I hope not. 

Have you let alcohol creep into your life?
What's your best tip for drinking less?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Weekend wrap-up!!

OK! So it's Sunday night. And I just know that you are all sitting at home desperately waiting of news of my big Red Flag Day. So how did I get on???

Well, first up - let's remember Mish's words of wisdom: there is no "off the wagon" or "on the wagon". There's no "good" or "bad". This is not an either/or situation.

Bearing that in mind, I did pretty good!

My plan was to eat healthily and cut back on the wines consumed and I achieved that plan.

We did visit Maccy-Ds on the trip up for lunch, but I chose a Seared Chicken Wrap and water (363 calories). No fries!

At the party, I didn't pig out on chips, cheese and bickies, dip or bread in the afternoon. Instead, I placed myself away from all that food and just waited patiently until dinner. This is a biggie for me - I love myself some savoury nibbles! But I resisted temptation!

I had a chicken kebab and sausage and salad (not all clean and healthy, but not horrific either). I did not go back after dinner to the dessert table and consequently did not eat the banana cream pie or cheesecake. I think, given I did not prepare all my own food, I made pretty good food choices and flexed that willpower muscle with some mighty force.

My other downfall is usually alcohol, and I know I'm not alone here! I did reasonably well - drank gin and diet tonics, interspersed with mineral water and a few low-alcohol champagnes. This is over a period of between 3:30pm and 1am. I feel a bit dehydrated (and certainly tired) today, but this could have been a LOT worse. My calculations are a total of 470 calories on alcohol, which I'm pleasantly surprised about.

Blowing the budget on bubbles!

I estimate I ate/drank about 2000 calories - 800 over my daily limit. But I limited the damage and made some good choices, so all in all, I'm happy.

Back into it tonight with the Chicken Parmigiana we didn't have on Friday night (the week's all messed up, menu-wise) and then grocery shopping tomorrow as well as my tempo run.

How was your weekend?
Did you survive any social engagements without blowing your calorie budget?
What's your biggest weakness when eating out?