Friday, July 31, 2009

Could it all be in the hormones?

A very interesting article about women and testosterone.

I am not a fan of supplements and it seems the best natural way to increase testosterone is to exercise, especially life weights.

So this is how to increase you testoterone naturally.

Yep, pretty much the same as what nutrionalists and physicians have been trying to tell us for awhile.

Number 2, is probably the biggest change to my diet this time round. Number 6 is the biggest change to my exercise routine.

Getting stronger

A while back I was training a lot and I was training hard.

I was trying to build my speed so I could pass the shuttle run test for the defence force. I could run for miles, I just didn't run them very fast. The shuttle run involves continuous running between 2 lines set 20metres apart, in time to recorded beeps that slowly speed up.

I was determined, this was not going to stop me getting in. I had learnt how to do push ups, I could run for 8 kms, after starting at less than 1km, but I couldn't get to level 7.5.

I made a fatal mistake, I started to overtrain. I have good endurance and I approached getting faster with an endurance mind set. Everyday I would start with the shuttle run, then do my normal 5km run, trying to go faster and further than last time. I added in a hill climb, just to try to get that extra strength.

I have never had a sports injury before in my life. Not once. Probably because I have never really done full on, high intensity exercise before.

The approach was all wrong. Eventually I pulled a muscle in my bum. Not a huge issue, I kept running. A few days later on the same leg, my knee gave out. No problem, I kept training.

Until it hurt too much. Iason told me I needed to rest. I rested.

Iason suggested we focus on just doing short bursts of high intensity sprints. To help bring up my speed. I stopped the shuttle run for awhile, which involved turning, put more strain on my knee. I started the sprints.

Iason took me to the shop to buy really high quality runners. You see, I didn't realise it, I wasn't an unfit geek any more, I was one of those fit people, who have to get the right gear to exercise in or they might injure themselves.

My knee healed and I passed the shuttle run, just.

I had to watch my knee from then on. I noticed that it actually hurt more after long periods of standing or walking. Not just my knee, my hip and ankle both hurt too. I am certain it all happened because I pulled that muscle and kept running. I think my body tried to take pressure off my glutinmous maximus (bum) and my knee got the brunt of it.

An interesting thing has been happening. While doing lower body weights exercise I could feel small muscles near my knee working. Not wanting to hurt my knee, I was very careful to watch my technique and not push to hard.

Those muscles that support my knee have gotten stronger. My knee is feeling stronger. I can stand for hours, without a dull pain starting in my knee. I am starting to push harder in those exercises.

I also get neck pain, a common problem for us geeks, too much time on the computer, too much time lugging around said computer (the bag weighs 7kgs including books). I am hoping as my back strengthens that this pain will lessen as well.

Of course, I could just stop carrying so many things around or volunteering in the canteen to stand on me feet for several hours. I could just not get out of bed in the morning.

Nah, I have things to do and being strong means I can do them better and in less pain.

Feed the premenstrual woman.

I am not sure if anyone reads this, but if they do they are probably quite grossed out with all the intimate detail. I just don't see the point blogging about changing the way I live, eat and exercise, if I am not talking about all the issues and for me these things are major factors.

No point pretending that it doesn't effect me, because it does. It won't help me to pretend I am able to just ignore it and I suspect it won't help the people who read the blog. (my apologies if you are male, but you might garnish something)

So plan cover all bases when menstruating has been going quite well.

Now I don't have regular, exactly 4 weeks apart periods. Mine are more like a ninja assasin ready to pounce when you least expect it. They like to either wait so long that you start to wonder if maybe you are pregnant or mix it up by coming a week early and ruining your new underwear. I have learnt though to look for the signs and have gotten pretty good at predicting when it is coming on.

This morning I woke up and because I was aware that any day now, my period was going to begin. I gave my body what I thought it might need to cope. ( At least I am in tune to my body, it did indeed begin today)

So breakkie, was my usual yoghurt and museli followed by a protein shake 2 vitamin C supplements and a coffee.

Vitamin C is essential for processing iron in food. No point having food high in iron if you aren't getting any vitamin C. Also, I remember reading a theory a long time a go that sugar cravings, might be your body wanting more vitamin C, because in nature all sources high in vitamin C usually contain sugar, oranges, apples, tomatos you get the drift.

Obviously, women need more iron when they menstruate. Could my sugar cravings be my body trying to prepare for my period? So I decided to test it and while the results may not be conclusive, if it works, it works.

The rest of my day was pretty much the same, except I did sit down to enjoy my 20grams of chocolate. That and a mandarin seems to have held the cravings at bay.

I haven't been drinking enough and I ran out of vegetables today. My children raided my vegetable supply last night. Who am I to stop them? So I had better go and chop beans to have with my dinner.

Off to the gym again tonight. Weights this time. It will be interesting to see if I have gotten any stronger. Might jump on the assisted chin up machine and see how hard it is.

No menstruation doesn't mean I stop exercising, in fact it usually helps with it a lot.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Women's business

There are some things about being a woman that suck.

One of them is that your hormones fluctuate over the month. You go from feeling like yourself, happy and satisfied, to feeling somehow off kilter.

I have noticed every time I have taken hormones for medical reasons, big changes in the way I feel and think. I notice that my memory is effected, my ability to rationalise and be logical is less. I am someone who uses these 3 things a lot in my life, because my job is in a technical area.

It is especially frustrating to feel different. In a way I feel like a different person just before I menstruate.

It bothers me so much that, I am getting pretty finely tuned into the changes. The changes I resent.

A week before my period my skin breaks out. Now with a change in diet, those pimples are just small white heads on the surface of my skin, while previously they were deep and painful.

My sexual appetite drops, well sort of, I am not going to go into the details but the overall way I feel sexually is different.

My bowel movements change; just before it, I am constipated, just after diarrhea. What is with that.

On the first day I am sometimes, not always, assailed by cramps. Sometimes they hurt and I need to take a pain killers, other times I find keeping active drives it away.

I get hungrier. I crave sweet things. I have been suspecting of this for awhile, with almost every diet I have been on has been blown as I approach my period, only for the cravings to disappear almost as soon as it begins.

I wasn't sure of this, but I haven't had any trouble maintaining my diet until now. Now I am breaking out in pimples etc.

Of course, I have a strategy and that is to let myself indulge a little, in the hopes that it means I don't need to indulge a lot. I have already had an extra piece of chicken today and 20g of dark chocolate.

Might sound like cheating to some, but it is all about keeping to something I can achieve. If I plan to eat some chocolate, then when I eat it, I haven't broken my plan. While my calorie intake will be higher than it probably should be, I am hoping I won't end up binge eating and then taking a few weeks to refocus and get back on track.

I used to suffer more from mood swings, which I guess I still do, but instead of me just swinging from being angry to being depressed, now I tend to just feel like everything is just a little out of place.

I think all men should see what it is like, just for a little while. Then we might get a little more respect.

Then of course we get smacked with menopause, yay, can't wait for that!

Menstruating is a part of life, it is part of what make us women. I have to deal with it, just like every other thing. So with chocolate in the cupboard and a daily allowance of 20grams a day set, feminine hygiene products at the ready, I get ready to deal with it.

In other news, I ran my 15minutes at level 9.3 yesterday as well as keeping my heart rate up for the full 50 minutes. Cardio is harder to face than weights, but it is satisfying to be reaching those goals.

The gym was packed last night and the little competitor in me was pleased to see that I ran faster and longer than even the gorgeous girls. I rode on the bike further in the same amount of time and I didn't leave after a quick 30 minutes work out. Some people are just blessed with good genetics I guess, or haven't abused their body as much or as long as I have.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

mmmmmmmmmmm avocado.

I think I finally get it.

A diet isn't what you don't eat.

A diet is what you do eat.

It doesn't matter so much that you don't eat chocolate pudding and french fries, what matters is that you do eat vegetables, fruit, food high in protein, wholegrains, calcium and good oils.

Focus on putting on putting good stuff in and you will find you don't want as much bad stuff anyway.

Afternoon munchies hit, even though I have already had my afternoon tea. I think about the usual options, toast, fruit, museli bar, trail mix, yoghurt. All pretty good, but then I see the 5 avocados I bought yesterday.

So, salad with a table spoon of avocado it is. Followed by a coffee, most likely and lots of water.

Gym tonight, time to try level 9.3 for 15minutes. Btw I am easily doing 2.4km in 15 minutes, now to get it down to 14 minutes, then the ultimate goal of 13 minutes.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The daily grind.

No sooner do I wonder if my metabolism isn't speeding up because I am not getting hungry, that I get hit with the munchies something fierce.

We did takeaway again last night. I haven't been so well prepared in the dinner department. I am going shopping today to fix this problem.

Anyway, the takeaway was proper takeaway, hamburgers chips etc. I choose grilled fish and garden salad. It was super yummy. I did not have any chips.

Chips are so yummy. Their starchy goodness, the crisp fat covered outer followed by that mushy high GI centre. How do I not eat them?

I compromise, you want carbs body? OK, have carbs, but not chips.

So, no chips for me, instead I had 2 pieces of rye bread and cottage cheese. Filled me up fine.

Went to the gym, did weights. Came home and was hungry. Again!

At first I tried to ignore the hunger pangs, by drinking lots. Didn't work so I considered having a protein shake, which I decided I didn't need (extra protein that is).

Instead I settled for one handful of trail mix. I have been for a week or so having a smaller serve of trail mix to what I normally have, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to have a bit more. More importantly if it stopped me from feeling hungry then I wouldn't further over eat.

Worked a treat.

Was the shake a better option? Certainly the shake would have been great nutrionally and as I had just been at the gym doing weights the protien wouldn't have hurt. It did have slightly more calories than my trail mix, although I don't have an accurate measure of what my trail mix is because the ingredients keep varying. On my trial mix, it is usually at least 50% cashews or macadamias which are really good for you. While they are high in fat it is the same sort of fat as is found olive oil, the sort that helps your body fight cholesterol. Both are also high in anti oxidants and are a good source of protein. So while they aren't the losest calorie snack food, they do fill you up and provide you with lots of nutrients. More importantly, they are low in sugar/carbohydrate, which I think is a major culprit in my high body fat percentage.

The thing is I like to eat things. I use shakes because they are convenient. I have never found a meal replacement program to work well for me. After awhile I just miss eating, as opposed to feeling full. I have seen some people get great results, the best program seems to be herbalife if you are interested in trying something like that.

There is a link between chewing and lower appetite. Experts are now recommending that you chew gum to lower your appetite. I don't think this works for me. The artificial sweetener makes me want sweet things. On the other hand crunchy vegetables and chewing your food thoroughly all really do seem to help me.

Still feel happily on track. I am nervous about my period coming up soon. It will be interesting to see if it causes any changes.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Food - survival in suburban jungle.

So how is the modern day amazon surviving in a suburban jungle?

With vigilance she ignores the constant messages to overeat. With focus, motivation and well practised moves, she dodges familiar patterns to binge eat. Ok, serious now.

I bought some rye bread today and cottage cheese, which is much yummier than it sounds or appears. My fave breakfast is natural museli that has almonds and cranberries and puffed wheat, it is awesome and available from aldi.

I usually have this with 100g of low fat fruit yoghurt. It is really yummy and very satisfying. While there are lower calorie breakfasts, I find this one works well for me. I love to indulge in the carbs for breakkie.

So why the rye bread? Because I don't want to get bored of my favourite breakkie. I am going to have toast with cottage cheese and some 100% fruit jam. Slightly more calories than my normal breakkie, but nothing that can't be handled.

Ohhh, Iason is massaging my neck. Wonder what I did to deserve that?

opps back to the journal.

I am not getting very hungry, which is good, right? Well maybe not, real hunger at regular intervals indicates a fast metabolism. Mine doesn't seem to be speeding up. On the other hand I don't think I am eating too little, so hopefully my body will respond soon.

I also bought dried cranberries to go in my trail mix, except I didn't notice that they were sweetened. Shouldn't be a huge problem, but I will look for unsweetened ones next time.

I am going to chop some vegies for the week ahead, but I am procrastinating, because that will require me to go into the kitchen and face the mess in there. V8 tetra packs are good for packing in my lunch, but chopped vegies are better and cheaper. See that there is planning ahead, an absolute necessary.

I indulged a little yesterday, with a thai chicken burger. It had a mayo style sauce, but the chicken breast was grilled and I enjoyed every last bite. Lots of compromise has been made on getting friday takeaway, with the childers, wanting their usual weekly junk food instalment. In a change in attitude for me, I decided that this was not going to work. Sure I can get a healthy alternative while they eat, but I feel a bit ripped off and secondly why can't they benefit from a healthy eating as well? No good reason. Fast metabolism and active life style aside. Eating Maccas or KFC isn't good for them. If they want to eat that they can do it when I am not around.

So we got chinese takeaway. I had beef and black bean, boiled rice, steamed vegies (heaps and heaps) and a tiny serve of noodles. Everyone enjoyed the meal and I love chinese vegetables.

Just because I want to eat well doesn't mean I need to sabotage myself or let others sabotage me.

I am happy with level of strictness to my diet. I really feel it must be something I can maintain and isn't making me feel deprived.

See bad eating habits is a giant problem for me, but women can defeat these things. Just don't give up.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Has pack horse tendencies.

I bought 6 text books today!

Big text books and they hurt. Thats not even accounting how much pain it was paying for them.

You see I don't park close to things because I don't like paying for parking and I think the exercise will do me good. Actually, I just don't like driving round looking for a carpark.

At uni I park a good 1o minutes away. So being the very clever well planned individual I am, I decided to go to the book store at 9am and buy my books straight away. You know making sure it didn't interupt with the rest of my day. Except, I hadn't considered how bloody heavy the books would be. I brought an extra bag, so I knew on some level I would be carrying a lot, but it didn't quite sink in.

Ug, carrying the books and my laptop around all day and then to the car was pretty darn hard. Still at least I get the benefit of having done more exercise today.

Incidental exercise they call it. Incidental exercise cannot replace proper scheduled exercise, but it does help. I think it is why I never got really obese.

My tendency to volunteer to help, never afraid to walk somewhere, happy to go out of my way and inconvenience myself for the saving of a dollar or to help someone else.

Babies, bikes, folding chairs, music gear, text books. Yeah I love to lug things.

Do it, look for more ways to increase the incidental exercise you do everyday.

Outer meet Inner - progress report.

I reckon being an Amazon is all about your attitude, or more accurately I think living healthy is all about your attitude.

So while I have the attitude of an Amazon I don't yet have the body.

So has this new change in attitude produced results?

Well sort of.


I started at 59.4kgs while dressed and wearing shoes. I now weigh 58.2 kgs while dressed and wearing shoes. I lost the first kilogram in a few days, the remaining 200grams took over a week.

I am running slightly faster than my first time at the gym.

I have made serious in roads in the amount of weight I am lifting. I am definately getting stronger.

I am not getting very hungry, except just before meal times. More importantly, I haven't suffered any serious cravings. I hope this is because I am eating a more balanced diet. I have upped my vegetable intake, although I could still eat more of them and I seem to be going to the toilet more regularly and without added fibre. Another indication that I am eating reasonably well.

I was a little upset to find out my body fat percentage was 27%, but it confirmed what I always suspected. This threw me a little, but I remained focussed. I haven't had any huge issues staying motivated, I blame the blog.


Great news, my weight isn't going up and while I am not getting any huge losses, I am confident my diet is balanced and healthy. This combined with the fact I am definately getting stronger means that I must be building muscle. As muscle weighs more than fat, my fat percentage must be starting to drop. I have stopped that gradual creep of extra weight.
Finding a daily diet that statisfies you and is still healthy takes a bit of time, but I seem to have worked it out. The diet isn't hard to stick to. Even when I have challenging days, the combination of following my routine, remaining motivated and not suffering seriously strong cravings has kept me on track.

I have been to the gym 3 times this week. We alternate cardio with weights. I am happy with the 3 times as my body has had plenty of time to recover and get strong. I am tempted to try for 4 times this week, but I am thinking we can meet that goal next week. Although, my gains with my running are only small, I have to also acknowledge that it is always easier when you have had some time off to push hard. When you are in the thick of a regular exercise routine, your body can get tired. Hence, I am not in a hurry to go 4 times a week.

I did feel bad about confirming that I was skinny fat. It is a hard balancing act to feel good about yourself and yet be honest about where you are. I stopped feeling bad about it as I know I am doing exactly the right thing to overcome it. This is the best way to feel good about yourself, when you find something you don't like, change it. I find it empowering. (did I just say empowering?)

Also, a haircut helps when you don't feel pretty. Hair looks much better now.

Today I am going to the gym and my goal is to run level 9.2 for 15 minutes. I am sure I can do it.

Good luck all. I hope you are feeling positive about yourself too.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Skinny Fat

Which of the following has more than a quarter of their body weight as fat?

Trick question because they all do. Personally, they look pretty good to me. I would say that I am flabbier than all 3.

I found a home body fat test, that will give you an approximate estimate of your body fat percentage.

My result was not very good. Still it is exactly what I expected. My estimated body fat percentage is 27% and should be between 15% - 23 %. The women above have from 29% to a whooping 39% body fat. One way of determining if you have a high fat percentage is that waist to hip ratio. A healthy amount of fat is akin to a ratio of less than 0.8. Being skinny but having a high fat percentage is called skinny fat.

I am skinny fat.

Yep, I am my ideal weight, but I am too fat. I keep saying it, being fat isn't about a single number, it is several factors. I am getting fitter, but I have a way to go. I think even at my lightest my fat percentage is still relatively high.

Previously, I had always lost weight focusing on my diet. Sure I exercised, but not like I am now. Now I am going hard. I break into a sweat and don't stop until 50 minutes later. I push my limits until failure point. This time I will build muscle and lift weights. I have to say it feels great.

I was watching Biggest loser and several contestants had a bad week, Jillian pulled them aside and it was revealed that they hadn't eaten enough that week. They had starved themselves, further slowing their metabolism.

Eating is important, if you are embarking on a diet, make sure you are eating plenty of food. A diet should not be hard to maintain because you need quite a few calories to survive and those calories add up to a lot of food if you are eating well.

So, I am going to make sure I am eating lots and keep exercising. This is great statistic to have gotten as I think it is a much better measure for want I want to achieve.

27% and there I was feeling good about myself. 27% body fat and only about 58kgs. The scales lie! Maybe not lie, but it really isn't the whole picture.

I ran at level 9.1 for 13 minutes yesterday. I have come so far and yet I have so far still to go.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Breaking the habit.

Operation family dinner.

There are two types of family dinners; the mum family dinner and the dad family dinner. Ah, the joy of broken families.

Unfortunately, both my Mum and Dad are guilty of eating badly at different times.

My Mum, just doesn't do food the right way, she is one of these people who will eat a slice of cheese cake and then not eat the next day to make up for it.

My Dad, has a sweet tooth which he decided to pass on to me. Which is fine if I got the super fast metabolism to with it, but I didn't, instead I inherited the metabolism of a slow moving slug.

Growing up I learnt to associate good food, with comfort, security and family.

As an independent woman I go about my day to day life, eating really well, until I am thrown into a family dinner.

Why is it that a self confident, independent, intelligent woman reverts to her childlike self when at a family dinner? Could someone teach said child that a double servings of dessert, that feels fantastic on the way in, will not feel so good later?

As I said previously, I had a family dinner to look forward to. This time it was of the Mum variety. These are actually a lot easier than the Dad family dinner, because at least my Mum appreciates that I might want to watch what I eat. She is the definition of a yoyo dieter.

Being a master tactician I of course planned a strategy to deal with this upcoming meal and I am pleased to report that the family dinner went really well. It was of course a very cunning and complicated strategy, break the habit, by not doing it. Pure Genius!

Ok, I admit, it wasn't exactly rocket science, but it worked. I spent most of the dinner, looking at old photos and laughing.

The garlic bread smelt great and I think this was my greatest challenge. I defeated the fat infused garlic bread in single handed combat using nothing other than a low joule soft drink. Before I knew it we were being served our main meal. Ravioli, tomato based sauce and salad.

The gods rewarded my efforts, by surprising me with a favourite weapon of mine to lower cholesterol, avocado. Yummy avocado!

Everyone, but me, had danish for dessert with low fat custard. Well I thought, I can have low fat custard. I had a very small serving of custard, which meant I didn't sit there watching the others eat their danish. Fantastic!

All in all, a great night out.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Self Image - Body Image.

Lets take a break from all the really interesting stuff, like diet and exercise and get serious. I am sure you found those stats particularly interesting, but it is time to discuss the real issues.

Today, I want to talk about self image and body image because in my opinion the two go hand in hand and I am wise in such matters.

As you can probably tell I have a pretty good self image, I am pretty comfortable in my skin and generally like myself. I am after all a 5 foot 2 Amazon, what isn't there to like?

I guess, I have few different self images. There is of course the "mum" image of myself, the "wife", the "daughter", the "sucessful career woman" image. Yeah I have a few, I have listed all my favourite ones because I feel pretty good about those ones.

I have a few unfavourite ones, the "selfish fat bitch" one for instance. The "mentally disturbed, nobody could love me" one. I don't really want to list all of negative ones. They make me feel ick just thinking of listing them, but they are there.

So, I have a few images of myself, with those images I build a picture of what that person looks like. That is my Body image.

Now if I paid particular notice to my self images that were negative, I might not think that I should look attractive. I might think that I should have greasy hair and be fat because I don't like myself.

Lets say that I do have greasy hair and I am fat and I have these negative thoughts about who I am, that say I am bad, that I am selfish and that I am fat. Sure enough when I look in the mirror, I look like that person.

The way I look reinforces that negative self image. More importantly the people I meet, see me this way and will treat me like that sort of person. Again reinforcing my negative self image.

So lets say, you finally bite the bullet and lose the weight, but don't do anything about the way you feel about yourself. You look in the mirror and you now don't look like the person you think you are. This could be a good thing. Your appearance no longer reinforces your negative self image and you might start to think of yourself in a positive way. This is what I tend to do, being the model of great mental health, Amazons don't hate themselves (much).

But, some people have such little self confidence that they just don't believe what they see.
This is really unhealthy, the worst. It can lead to eating disorders or unconsciously sabotaging all your good work. The way we treat ourselves is reflected in the way we look.

So what am I trying to say?

You need to have a positive self image. You need to feel good about yourself. This doesn't necessarily happen before you lose weight (or gain weight or whatever you are changing), but if you are going to keep it off you need to have a positive self image.

My problem wasn't that I had a bad self image, not always anyway. Positive self image didn't stop me from being overweight. I was pretty happy with my self and my life, until I saw a picture of myself and then I was saddened. Not because I looked unattractive, but because I didn't look like how I thought I looked. I didn't look like the person I felt like.

Around this time I had just had my second child. I strongly identified with being a mother and being maternal and caring. I had an image in my mind of what that would look like. It wasn't slim as such, but it was curving and voluptuous. Nigella Lawson is a pretty good example of how I wanted to look.

Did I mention, that I have size A breasts? For those of you who don't know Australian measurements, that means I have teeny tiny boobs.

For the longest time I wanted to lose a bit of weight and get breast implants, so that my body image reflected my self image. For about 10 years I wanted bigger breasts. Even when I was down to my ideal weight, I still wanted bigger breasts. I am after all a bottom heavy kind a gal.

You know what, if I had the money I would have done it and I think it is perfectly acceptable to get plastic surgery to make the changes to your body, that you can't get any other way, so that your outside matches your inside. So that you look like who you are.

Strange thing is just recently I haven't wanted breast implants any more.

Two things changed. Firstly, I have been able to maintain my ideal body weight improving, the way I look and improving my mood.

The second thing is; My self image has changed. I am now connecting more to the Tom Boy inside of me. The girl who loves to play with action figures, is good at math and is now in the army.

I don't want to be the mother figure anymore, now I want to look more like Zeva from NCIS.

No oversized mamory glands there.

Which makes me think, so while it is ok to get plastic surgery if there is no other way to look like the person you are, perhaps you should also consider changing your self image slightly.

You think you are sex on legs, but you don't have the legs? Perhaps you need to see yourself more as a Marilyn-esque style siren or let go of that image altogether, surely you have worth other than being sexy?

Body image is all about being yourself. Self image is all about choosing to be your greatest self.

Those inner demons that tell us we aren't beautiful or aren't deserving of being beautiful need to be exorcised. Do they have priests for that?

"My name is Father Dominique, I am here to tell you that you are beautiful, you are kind, you are smart and you don't need chocolate to help you get over a heartbreak."

No, I guess they don't.

How we feel about ourselves determines how well we treat ourselves. How we treat ourselves changes the way we look. How we look affects our body image and how we feel about our body image affects how we feel about ourselves. It's one big circle or is it a spiral? Either way we get to choose which direction we head in and you can change direction at any of the points.

Know yourself, your true self. Love yourself. Be your greatest self, don't settle for less. Be prepared to learn.

I said I was wise. Wise as a woman who has stuggled with her body image since she was in puberty.

Lift weights, be strong

So today we did a weights session. Iason (my hubby and now known as head torturer) and me that is.

We have noticed that I am the only woman we have seen using the weights at our gym. In fact, it seems that in general women don't like doing weights.

I guess, even I was a bit intimidated. Especially when Iason decided I should do the shoulder press at a higher weight. I could feel my neck tensioning and I was suddenly afraid. An incredibly huge fear born from vanity. What if I get a giant neck?

I don't want a giant neck.

Well, of course these things are reversible. If I get a giant neck doing the shoulder press, I can stop doing the shoulder press.

Is this what stops women from doing weight?

Maybe it isn't the only thing.

Once I had stopped being so silly and got into the workout. Iason started pushing me harder. It wasn't long till I was doing some exercises till failure point. Where your muscles refuse to push anymore. He of course did the spotter thing and give me just a tiny bit of help at this point. Still we pushed. I grunted, I groaned and I felt strong. Although, truly the weights I am doing aren't exactly the sort of weights someone strong would be doing. Still, you get my point.

Maybe women don't like the grunting or the pain. It really is about pushing your limits a little each time.

Certainly don't over do it, but I know myself that I would prefer to take it easy. Go to the gym and only get a bit sweaty because it hurts when I push hard. My muscles shake, my breathing is hard, sometimes I get a stitch, but this is where the real gains are gotten.

I am afraid of pain, which is silly because I have given birth to two children and done numerous things where I have needed to push through the pain barrier.

Gah, am I saying no pain, no gain? No, I don't think I am.

I am not saying you can't lose weight or get fitter without it. In fact I know you can. I have dropped several dress sizes just by walking daily and eating right, but if you want to reach that next level, you need to work to it.

I guess it is a bit of a process, push hard till that is easy, plateau and then push hard again. That process may involve a bit of pain.

I am approaching my 40's and I don't want my health to stop me from living my life. I have chosen a career path that requires that I keep fit, so for me it is a necessity (Army). I am pleased it is as I get all the other benefits from good health, such as looking good.

Doing weights is a great way to exercise. You build muscle, you build strength. Women lose muscle as we age and this leads to all sorts of problems.

Best of all, the muscle mass you have the more calories you burn. Trim and lean, hey that would be pretty good at almost 40.

So I am not going to complain when Iason pushes me hard when we do weight training.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I am fit strong and healthy.

Well, I didn't do weights, I left the sheet with our statistics from last time at home.

So, we did a pretty strong cardio session. 10minutes of warm up and 50 minutes of somewhere to 60- 80% full on .

I ran level 9 for 15 minutes and covered the entire 2.4 kms in 17 minutes. It is going to take me awhile to get that down to the time I want, 12.5 minutes. 15 minutes might be a good interim goal.

Weight isn't really dropping, but I do feel trimmer and stronger.

Back to the gym tomorrow for a weights session, then maybe cardio on Monday, but I might give it a break till Tuesday.

I am enjoying the rowing machine, it isn't as hard as the first time I tried a rowing machine years ago. Just shows that I am indeed stronger than I was then.

I am happy with my food intake. Still not having 4 serves of vegetables a day, but I managed 3 yesterday and have already had 1 today and know that there will salad at dinner tonight.

I am going out to my sisters place tonight. Time to prepare for a family dinner.

Remember that it is all about breaking the routine. If I stop overeating when I am at family dinners, eventually I will stop associating the family get together with eating too much or more importantly eating dessert.

Tonight I know exactly what is on the menu which makes it easy to prepare for.

I need to avoid the garlic bread and the dannish. Also if any unexpected yummies turn up, I just need to remind myself of my goals. I am fit strong and healthy. Fit strong and healthy people don't eat junk. Fit strong and healthy people don't comfort eat. Fit strong and healthy people don't binge.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Back to the Gym

My exams are over, so it is time to get back into my exercise routine.

Currently I am only going 3 times a week. I want to get that to at least 5 times a week.

The only times I won't make the 5 times will be when I am sick, some emergency comes up or exams (0r the equivalent) are on.

That means if I plan to go out or have a special event fall at a time when I would normally be at the gym that I reschedule my gym time. I want to do this evertime I think to do something. At the time while I am considering saying yes.

I need to ask myself, will this activity effect my diet? will this activity effect my exercise?

Anyway, tonight I am getting back to it and I am starting with the weights because I did cardio last time.

Trail mix

My trail mix is a combination of dried fruits, pepitas, goji berries and nuts. (no peanuts)

I am certain that I have a larger serve of this than I am really accounting for. I am not going to change this unless I find that I stop getting results.

Weightloss is not my primary goal, but being healthy is.

My trail mix is at the moment an important ingredient. I take exactly 2 handfuls (I have small hands) and it is full of great nutrients oils and a little protein. More importantly it fills me up and doesn't leave me feeling hungry unlike a lot of other snack foods.

Museli bars are all about the carbs.
Fruit is all about the fructose.
Vegetables are great, but don't initially satisfy.

I only have one serve a day and it works for me.

Sometimes it isn't about the calories. Sometimes it is about what those calories are made of.

So I am going to keep having my snack, unless I stop getting results.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Feeling sad

Sometimes, I wake up sad.

There isn't any particular reason or maybe it is those days that personal problems choose to raise their head, which I normally happily ignore.

Being sad is different to long term depression, but they are similar, but unlike depression you can shake off sadness.

I do it a couple of ways;

Get out of the house - not happening today I need to study.
See other people - as above.
Eat comfort food - yikes that might make me feel better today, but not tomorrow.
Hide from the world, play PC games or watch movies, read a book - also not going to happen.

So what do I do? I have to get on with things, but I don't feel up to it.

I know, perhaps I should read my previous entries and see if that gives me the motivation I need.

Or is it enough to address that I am sad, stop mulling on those things that make feel sad. Well it is worth a try.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Weight today

I weighed myself again today.

Note that my goal is not necessarily to lose weight. My main goal is to become fitter and stronger.

Mind you being thinner, trimmer and more toned would be very nice as well. Luckily I can achieve both.

So, already the scales have shown a change and I haven't done that much exercise or been that strict on the food.

I am now 58.4 kgs in the same clothes I weighed myself in when I started the blog. Which was 59.4 kgs.

Now, my weight can fluctuate up to a whole kilo in one day, so I am not going to put a lot of stock in the number, but it does show that I am not gaining weight.

Anyway it is good to see some change, something quantifiable, that affirms that what you are doing works.

Now to eat some vegetables.


Eat more of them.

I think very few people eat enough vegetables.

Do you eat 4 serves a day?

1 serve is equivalent to 1 medium tomato or 1 carrot or a cup of broccoli or cup of beans.

Think about it, how many have you eaten today.

No don't count those potatoes. Potatoes are a vegetable but nutritionally they are closer to a traditional carbohydrate, like bread or rice. Same with corn.

Have you eaten, 1 to 2 serves of leafy green vegetables?

I can say no to both questions.

When I eat enough vegetables and that doesn't have to mean 4 serves a day, usually 2 or 3, I find a lot of my cravings for junk food go away.

I could throw up a heap of theories to say why, but I don't know why for certain, I just know it is true.

Try it, eat more vegetables.

I eat at least 1 serve of vegetables a day usually with dinner. My guaranteed 1 serve is actually better than a lot of people. I often have a snack of vegetables when I think about it, or drink a V8 tetra pack, to try to bring it up my vegie intake.

I don't think you can eat too many vegetables. ( not including potatoes )

If you have reduced your calorie intake and are having hunger cravings, eat vegetables.

In fact be careful about any diet that leaves you feeling hungry. If you are eating a balanced diet you should be eating a heap of food everyday and you shouldn't be hungry.

Yesterday I ate:

natural muesli and skim milk
instant coffee with skim milk
2 handfuls of trail mix (nuts and dried fruit)
1 ham and low fat cheese sandwich on wholemeal bread.
1 tomato, chopped cucumber, chopped celery.
skinny flat white
1 mandarin.
cous cous, chicken and snow pea
a tub of low fat yoghurt.
Lots of water.

That is a fair whack of food and the vegetables were an important component. My daily intake of vegetables, 2 and 1/2 serves.

Yesterday was a good example of how I would like to eat everyday, but I could still eat more vegetables.

Eating vegetables doesn't mean not eating meat, in fact you don't have to give up anything to eat more vegetables. Most vegetables have a very low calorie count and some take more calories to digest than the give you.

Personally, I think every vegetable gives you so much dietary gain, that they should be considered a free food, a food you can eat as much of without consequence. Just watch out for the dressings and cooking them in fat.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

You can't have your cake and eat it too.

I was recently taught about opportunity cost, which really is a formalised way of saying we face trade offs in life.

Opportunity cost is the cost of something including the cost of not doing what ever your next best option is.

Lets take a diet example, the cost of a slice of cake is maybe $5.00, the opportunity cost is the extra calories you ate that day plus the $5.00.

I was wondering about why so many people are overweight, when most would prefer not to be. I have been overweight and I have been thin. I achieved my weight loss by setting goals and focusing on them.

Sometimes I put some of it back on. When I start to feel less good about myself I set new goals and start again.

For me, it is always about the goals. My whole life has goals. I am a very optimistic happy person, setting goals isn't about being unhappy with my life, in fact quite the opposite.

I have enough belief in myself to think I can achieve these things. Each time I achieve a goal I feel great about myself.

Falling into bad habits, I think happens when I have achieved a goal, but haven't set another one firmly in mind.

Bad habits, this is what I was going to post about.

I think that some people struggle because they don't yet get it. You can't have everything. If you want to look great and feel great you have to work at it. There will be sacrifices.

Of course, I believe those sacrifices are well worth it. I am quite an addict to success, I am happy to give up a night of drinking and junk food, because the benefit of not doing those things outweighs the benefit of doing it.

It isn't just about thinking positive and remaining motivated. You have to be prepared to give up time, junk food, cigarettes and alcohol. Not all the time, but more often than not.

Sure we all have our weaknesses, but make sure they are managed and don't undermine what you really want to achieve.

I know their are people to whom this doesn't apply, people who are food addicts or have hormone imbalance or other medical/pychological reasons for not getting on with it, but I think for some people out there, they haven't quite understood that the goal is well within their reach, if only they just do what they need to do.

My goal.

You know those women, those impossibly fit women. Not the ones in the movies or magazines, no those real women that prove it can be done. I want to be one of them. You see them in the mall, you see them at your gym, you see them on the push bike in the bike lane next to you as you drive to work. Those women who contradict the voice in your brain that say it is ok that you aren't very fit, no one is really that fit. Except there they are everyday people keeping fit and looking great. I want to be one of those people. I am not overweight, I am not unhealthy but I know that in 2 years I will be in the military and expected to do my job under extreme conditions. I need to be fit and I want to be fit. So I can feel strong and so I can feel confident about the way I look.

Everyone needs a goal. It should be something personal, something that makes sense for you. I indentify strongly with strong women, usually tom boys, who are independent and do things for themselves.

I hope though to focus more on what I need to do to achieve my goal and maybe anyone else who struggles with motivation, no matter what their fitness goal, will get something from it.

Canteen duty - busy days

How did I go today?

Today, I have eaten the correct calorie intake, but I could have had a more balanced diet.

Instead of having breakfast within 3o minutes of getting up, I headed straight out of bed, 4.30 am and headed straight to the airport. As I had a busy day ahead of me, I came home and went back to bed to get more sleep. A few hours later I woke up, trying to eek as many minutes sleep out as possible I got up at the last moment. A quick shower and an up'n'go breakfast shake and I was out the door.

9.30am I was at the footy club canteen selling absolute junk food to the local punters. OK, not all the food is terrible, but it ranges from not so good, to bloody terrible for you.

I refused to eat anything there and told myself that I would go somewhere nice for a nicer meal later. The good side to this, is that while it isn't exactly cardiovascular, I am on my feet for several hours (4 1/2 hrs) , which is good for me.

I was home by 2.00pm, where I grabbed a handful of trail mix.

3.00pm I was in a cafe having my breakfast. Now I didn't make the healthiest choice on the menu, but seeing I had eaten next to nothing all day I sat down to a big breakfast. This meal would be fine if it wasn't for the buttered toast and the bacon. Poached eggs, orange juice, tomatos and mushrooms are all pretty good choices.

As that meal pretty much used up all my Calories for the day, I satisfied my night time cravings with a protein shake (no sugar, low carb) and some vegetables.

It was a challenging day, which could have been dealt with better, if I had bothered putting some planning into the day. Usually, I would have started the day with a proper breakfast, taken some healthy snack options and a protein shake for during the day and finished with a proper dinner at night.

Overall, I am happy with the way I handled it.

I do wish the gym was open later on the weekend as I was unable to attend the gym and won't get an opportunity to go until probably thursday night. Oh well, study and children do happen.

Waist to Hip ratio.

I was watching an interesting documentary called the Statue diaries. It was looking at female image and ideas of beauty. The venus de milo, fertillity statues and the like.

An interesting fact that came out during the the docu, was that throughout history women with a hip to waist ratio of 0.7 are considered beautiful.

Obviously, we can't all meet a ratio, but a ratio has a freedom that strict hip or waist measurements don't have.

It is OK if one is bigger as long as the other remains in proportion. So if you are carrying a bit more round your waist, as long as you are carrying even more on your hips then you will be considered beautiful.

The reason given to why this ratio is considered beautiful, is that most women who have a ratio close to it are healthy and will be a good fertile mother.

Women need to stop worrying about whether their hips are bigger than the woman next to them or what size jeans they fit into, but look at the whole package.

For instance, I am short, with shorter legs and a longer body, have small breasts and wide hips. No amount of exercise or diet will change these things. I also seem to weigh less than a lot of women of a similar size. I would attribute this to either little muscle or possibly low bone density.

While I won't be judging my sucess by a ratio, it certainly will be interesting to monitor that ratio, which for me is closer to 0.8 than 0.7 at the moment. So, if I my waist thickens while getting fitter, because my primary objective is strength and fitness and not beauty, this hopefully will be matched by my hips also becoming bigger.

I am expecting to build muscle and possible become a less feminine shape, which is fine by me. On the other hand if I can do 10 chin ups, run 2.4 km in 12 minutes and do 60 pushups and still look feminine I won't be complaining.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Losing the weight for life?

Kristy Allen before and after gaining it all back.

Why is keeping it off so hard?

I have been there 3 times now, although the last time has seen the greatest amount of change in my attitude and daily behaviour.

I am lucky, I don't have the same problems some women do. I am watching Oprah and Kirsty Alley talk about losing the weight and then gaining it back. A really brave thing to do and I am glad they did, because I often beat myself up, when those kilo's start to creep back on.

Taking a good honest look at yourself is the first thing you need to do before you can start looking after yourself again. You can't do this if you are busy thinking of yourself as the worst loser in the world. Remember each time you have sucess you learn something, more importantly, each time you fail, you can learn even more.

I think their problem was they left it so long before they admitted they had lost focus.

I don't leave it so long, in fact I am certain that my focus is lost only at certain times. After stress or at that time of the month. I really struggle just before my period, with sugar cravings and binge eating. A week later I am better and I usually get back to my normal diet which is reasonably healthy.

What do I tell myself when I binge?

"its OK, it's only this once. "
"Tomorrow I will be good."

and the truth is these statements are usually true.

The problem isn't that I take the occasional day off or that I have the occasional slice of cake the problem is that these situations aren't coming about because I have made a logical choice. Instead I am making an emotional choice and justifying the choice with logic afterwards.

Funnily, this is not so much true for exercise, but more often with food.

So how do I manage this?

How do I manage these emotional pressures to not exercise or eat a block of chocolate?

Honestly I am not sure, but I am going to plan for these feelings and try a strategy that I think will work, if it doesn't I am going to look at where it failed and try another. Until I find something that works for me.

Hurdle number 1:
Study, especially exam study. Sitting still at my desk working and thinking. The problem is that I want to eat lots of sugar. The other problem is that I usually throw my exercise routine out the window, because every minute of study time counts. Lets think about the sugar issue. I am finding if I study away from home and at university I don't even think about food, so I am going to try to study at the library as much as possible. The problem is that is that going to the library is not always an option. I have kids and I need to be at home to look after them sometimes.
If I have a bottle of water with me I tend to not be anywhere near as hungry. Another thing that might help is chopped vegetables, giving me something to eat that won't add to my kilo's.

As to the exercise routine. When I am studying, I am studying. In the week leading up to an exam it is OK, if I don't do my usual exercise. After the exam I will be back into the swing of things.

So the strategy is:
Get away from the house if possible.
Prepare a bottle of water.
Prepare a snack of chopped vegetables, go to the shop and buy some if there are none in the house.
Exercise can wait until after the exam.

Hurdle number 2:
Stress, I am not sure what to do with this one. There are times when you can't get enough sleep and your body gets run down. There are times when the last thing on your mind is what you eat and whether you have done enough exercise. I think this one will need a bit of change in thinking to deal with it.

So the strategy is:
When under stress, I need to look after myself.
I need to eat as healthy as possible.
So while I need not limit my portion size, I will choose to eat healthy food that is high in nutrition.
Try to get plenty of sleep.
Remember that the craving for sugar is probably due to being tired, if you can't get sleep choose a sugar free caffeine drink to help give me a boost.
While I might not find the time to exercise, if I can go. Do as much or little as you feel like, but most importantly go.

Hurdle number 3:
Menstruation, Those chocolate/sugar cravings due to the changing hormone levels.
So the strategy is:
Firstly recognise that you have a craving due to changing hormone levels.
Indulge that craving with some high quality dark chocolate.
Limit serving to 50grams.
Drink lots of water and eat some vegetables.
Take a vitamin C supplement.
If still craving sweet stuff, try a protein shake and see if that helps.

Hurdle number 4:
Eating with my family. For some reason when I go out with my family I tend to eat dessert when normally I wouldn't. I think the best strategy here is to break the cycle.

So the strategy is:
Before I go to a family dinner remind myself that I have chosen not to eat dessert.
Think about what I need for my daily intake of different foods.
Stick to it.
Come home and congratulate myself for not overeating while with my family.

Well that is all I can think of at the moment, but I am sure more will come up and I will have to think of more clever ways to deal with the problem. See motivation is all about tricking your mind into to doing what you want it to do.

The toilet matter

OK, lets not be squeamish here. We all need to poop and if you want a good indicator that you are improving your diet and health, then your bowel movements are a good indicator.

Keep in mind I am not a doctor, so make sure you get your own advice if you are concerned about something.

The frequency, apparently this varies from person to person. A minimum of 3 times of week is the least I have heard quoted. A lot of people say at least once a day and I am of the same opinion for my body.

I once had a severe case of constipation, which lead to haemorrhoids and being very uncomfortable. It happened after the birth of my first child, one of those things that people don't tell you about. My diet near the end of my pregnancy and after the birth of my first child was not as good as it could have been, that combined with the huge loss in fluid during child birth, left me constipated. I was told to eat more fibre, that though was not my problem, my problem was a lack of fluid. So even though I ate 1 to 2 bowels of bran for breakfast every day, I still didn't do a bowel movement. I didn't for an entire month. I was drinking a lot of tea and very little water. When I did eventually do a bowel movement, my bowel tore. It continued to tear every time I went to do a number 2. The straining to go caused the haemorrhoids, although I think pregnancy also contributed. Eventually I got some good practical advice (not from a doctor) and the haemorrhoids have all healed up.

I had to make going to the toilet a priority and it is now something I continually monitor.

If I don't go once everyday, there is a good chance I am constipated.

As soon as you need to strain to do a bowel movement, you are constipated. Constipation occurs when you don't digest your waste fast enough. The waste becomes firmer and harder to pass.

Your stools should be soft and squishy, like toothpaste.

If it isn't you need to change your diet, but changing your diet won't necessarily help you go straight away.

If I miss a day, I take a fibre supplement and drink lots the next day.

Fibre supplements are great, but you shouldn't need to take them everyday. Remember moderation is the key.

It should be enough to change your diet to have long term improvement. Change from white bread to wholemeal, eat lots and lots of vegetables matter and reduce your red meat intake. Drink lots of water and drink more water if you drink coffee, tea or cola. 6 to 8 glasses a day is a minimum, you may need to drink more in hot weather or after exercise.

Monitoring my poo, is part of my weight loss program.

How often am I going?
Is my stool hard or am I straining?
How much is there after I go?

I don't exactly check the colour, but if you notice the colour become reddish, or look particularly unusual, go to your doctor.

I find exercise increases how many times I go a day. A good indication to me, that the more I go, the healthier I am.

One other thing I do, that is related to bowel movements, is that I flush my system. Nothing particularly radical, but if I have a splurge on some particularly fatty or sugary food, I drink a lot of water afterwards and may even take a fibre supplement to help move it through my system.

I have no idea if makes any difference to the amount of calories my body takes in from the food, but at least the toxins don't get a chance to build up in my system.

I guess, what I am saying is, when you change what you put in your mouth and change the amount you exercise, you should see a change in what comes out. If you don't notice a change, then you may need to overhaul your diet plan again. Bowel movements are like a litmus test, if you think you are healthy but you find it hard to do a number 2, then you probably aren't as healthy as you thought.

You need to know your own body, first and then look for improvement.

New goal for me, get to 2 times a day.

The Gym work out 1

So we went to the gym. Hubby is feeling sick so he took it pretty easy.

We probably wouldn't have gone except we had to sign up today to get an offer where we don't have to pay the join up fee.

I need to change the mentality that just because Hubby isn't going I don't go. I like going with him, but it won't hurt to go occasionally with out him.

It is up to him if he goes when I can't.

I'm not a big believer in working out no matter what. You need to listen to your body, it will get stronger, faster and leaner without breaking it. A bit of pain, the sort where your lungs start to scream or your muscles start to shake is OK, but other pain is not. I often feel a bit sick if I work hard, also not a real problem.

Sharp shooting pain, like pulling a muscle is not good and can lead to long term problems, some times in other parts of your body.

I recommend stretching and massage. MMMM I love massage, but it can get expensive.

Tonight, I felt a bit sore, probably because I had been rock climbing with the kids during the day.

Now when I say I have been rock climbing, I only climbed twice myself. The rest of the time was spent spotting the kids, belaying them. Even so, I worked my muscles, especially my upper body as I have been feeling it ever since.

So, when I jumped on the treadmill like I normally do, my legs felt heavier than normal, tired. I didn't do level 9 for 13 minutes, instead I did it for 5, then dropped down to 8 for the rest of my run.

Next I jumped on the bike, 15 minutes, level 6, 95 rpm and I pushed my heart rate up to 160.

Still I didn't feel like I had worked that hard.

Next, my Nemesis, the rowing machine. I like this machine because I feel it works my entire body, but I am in no way good at it. 10 minutes on it, swapping from the normal grip to an underhand grip to work my biceps.

I still felt bad for not going hard on the treadmill. At this point though hubby had stopped, he was feeling ill and had a slight headache.

5 minutes on the elliptical machine, this time I pushed hard. level 6 again with a speed of 11 - 12, I felt my breathing become heavy, ragged. I kept going, my throat now hurts. I am not sure why but that happens when I work to my extremes.

2 minute cool down and a quick stretch. Mostly for the muscles that I worked while rock climbing.

I feel great now. I have achieved what I wanted to achieve. I did come home hungry, so I made myself some untoasted muesli and low fat yoghurt.

Diet could have been better today, but wasn't too bad. My only big mistake was my white bread toast, margarine and honey, for breakfast. I love it, but it is a lot of kilo joules. There are better breakfasts.

I had a double handful of trail mix for a snack, 1 mandarin, lean chicken and salad on wholemeal for dinner and a cheese and ham toastie for lunch.

3 cups of coffee, my usual daily intake, which I have no intention of changing. I love my coffee and always will.

Now time to relax.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Where I am today

My current statistics:
Weight with shoes and clothes: 59.4kgs
waist measurement: 78.5cm
hip measurement: 101cm
bicep: 30cm
calf: 38cm
and two spare tyres around the waist.

My plan:
Exercise more eat less.

I have joined a gym and I am beginning with going 3 times a week.

2 cardio and 1 weights session.
Currently I can run at level 9 for 13 minutes and cover 2.18kms in 15minutes.
Goal is to run 2.4kms in 12.5 minutes so I have a way to go there.
I want to be able to do the shuttle run to level 10. I can currently can scrape in at level 7.5.
My upper body strength is not great and I want to be able to do a chin up or possibly 10. Currently I can't lift my body weight. :(

I will be following the weight watchers points plan, which is as good as any other plan.
I may supplement the plan with a protein shake as I find that these can help a lot with controlling hunger while exercising. They also provide a lot of basic nutrients.

I am going to minimise the amount of carbs I eat, by having at least 5 serves to a maximum of 7 serves a day. 1 serve is equivalent to a slice of bread if you were wondering.

Sugar, ahhh, my nemisis. What to do about sugar.

There are two options the complete abstinance approach or the only in moderation approach.

I am going with the moderation approach. There are times when nothing will suffice other than chocolate, but lets make sure that chocolate has a high cocca percentage and keep the amounts small.

So, tonight I am off to the gym to pound the treadmill and row on a machine.

I believe that the trick to doing anything is to make it as easy as possible to motivate yourself. So you have to know yourself well.

I can't stand the frosty mornings where I now live and the nights are cold too, so my usual exercise routine of taking a jog round my neighbourhood is not happening. So I have joined a gym knowing that it is easier for me to face a drive to an airconditioned gym with my favourite show on the telly, rather than deal with the cold.

I also know that I love a routine. Once going to the gym becomes a routine I will find myself going there with out thinking.

Secondly, I don't want to give up time with my husband to exercise, so he is doing it with me. Luckily right now he is keen. His motivation is worse than mine and we are both guilty of enabling our bad habits. It only takes one of us to cave for us both to cave in, in either our eating or our exercise. This is something I will need to address.

I am not one of these people that love exercise and I can think of a thousand more fun things to do.

Lets face reality here, being unfit and unhealthy does nothing for your appearance or your mood. Being fat and cranky is not my idea of fun. So all those other fun things I can think of doing will all be 100 times better doing them while fit.

I have made huge amounts of progress in the past few years, but I can feel some of that progress going backwards. So it is time to recommit and refocus.

I assume if you are reading this, it is because you are on your own journey to getting fitter or healthier. It doesn't matter what your goal, it matters that it is enough to get you started.