Sunday, January 13, 2013

You're Fired!

Well, I am here to Fess Up, and tell you that all the things I said I was going to do.... I didn't do.
and as usual I started with the berating of myself, the "You're Useless", "You never follow through" blah blah blah, makes me feel worse and less inclined to actually get back on track.  Why do I always let myself down?
I mentioned in a previous post that I have recently started a new job, and my new boss is so inspiring. She is super-fit  and healthy.  We often talk about healthy eating and exercise, and I feel so inspired, and although we do both succumb to the very occasional 3pm sweetfix (ok for her its very occasional, for me a bit more often) in general terms she is a very good influence on me.
We were joking the other day how we could include weigh in results in my KPI's, because I am very conscientious at work, a perfectionist, and if my 'Boss' wants me to do something, I would do it, and do it well.... Obviously it would not be acceptable by our Human Resources department to actually do this (... I mean what workplace would judge your performance on how much you weigh?), but it got me thinking about how I will do whatever if takes to avoid letting down my boss, but I don't bat an eyelid to let myself down, time and time again.

I have realised that if I was the boss of me (erm, excuse me what? I am the boss of me) and I had hired myself to take care of this very important project (my health and body) and I (employee) had made excuses, not turned up when I said I would, made a half-assed effort, cheated, played on Facebook when I should be working, and basically not done anything that was expected of me, then I have no doubt that I would have fired me by now!

I need to start looking at my personal life as a business, or at least a workplace. I am in the business of getting fit and healthy, and I am working on myself  The results are easy to measure, and even though the results are their own reward, maybe I do need to 'pay' myself when goals are achieved.  I don't get to go to the movies until I have done my work.
Essentially what I need to do is consider myself self-employed in all hours that I am not at work, and hold myself accountable for what happens in those hours.
It means I have to embrace my split personality more, Healthy me is the Boss of Unhealthy me, and I have drawn up a contract with myself to outline what is expected.
Now, as a Boss I am aware that I need to grow and develop my employee, she is not going to know how to do everything straight off the bat, she needs clear guidelines, appropriate coaching and support, and all the tools she needs to succeed.

As with a new employee, or an employee on a performance management plan - which is more of what we are dealing with here - it is important to clearly state what is required, by when, and what the consequences will be if these goals and deadlines are not met.  To start with we will have short contract terms, 'review periods' so that we can monitor the progress.
I don't intend to micro-manage my employee, I will meet weekly to discuss performance, results, issues that occurred  and to set the new goals for the upcoming week.
We will set the initial 'probation period' of  6 weeks.  My Contract with myself is now written and signed, and you can view it here.

Well my new job being responsible for this body starts tomorrow, better go and get prepared. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Did I say New Years Resolution?

Well if I did, I'm now 6 days in and have not been perfect. (Perfect was never the goal remember, just better - improved - Swap it not Stop it).
To be completely honest, i never actually intended to start this until January 7th, for 2 reasons... we have had family visiting, and they leave for home on the 7th, so we have been having a lot of lunches and dinners out, plus TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY!, so I had to have cake! (See in essence today is the 'New Year' for me)

Yes that's right folks, its been a whole year since the Latin themed 40th Bash, and I am now 41 (and at the time of writing still deciding whether to adjust the name of the blog to suit). Right now I am sitting here with my belly so jammed packed with the massive lunch today, no need for dinner.
I have one more day off before I head back to work, and back to the old routine....errrr, actually the old routine for the past few months was bad, so its back to work and a NEW ROUTINE.

Tonight I will be planning, and organising my days ahead to make sure I get through as easily as possible.
First on the agenda is FINDING A GYM.
I have decided that the time has come to become a Gym Bunny again. I realised I was spending $16-$20 a week for 2 exercise classes, and as good as they are, it seems more logical to pay $15-$20 a week for unlimited classes, plus treadmills/bikes/cross-trainers on tap.
I've been checking out the options - What I need is a Gym - Close to home or, with lots of classes, with long opening hours, preferably without a 'lock in' contract, not to overcrowded, a good atmosphere, and ideally a pool as well.... and I can tell you, this does not exist.
The gyms really close to home are 24 hour Gyms, without classes.  The next closest is Goodlife, a nationwide chain, with good hours, and a lot of classes, and priced between $17-$25 per week, the cheapest being a 12 month contract for one branch only, the dearest being a flexi-contract for all clubs in the chain.  I have been to this Gym before and the classes were always really busy/crowded.
Another option is half way between work and home, which is handy because I will be primarily visiting before or after work. Looking at the class schedule, there are almost twice as many class options in the time frames I can go (before work, after work, and weekends), and I have heard that the pricing is $15 pw, two month contract. I haven't experienced it myself, and have both positive and negative feedback from friends, but this is looking like the front runner right now.
Then there is another option, further out of my way, not as many classes, but it does include a pool.  No pricing information on the website... will have to find out more.
Anyway my point is that I really won't know which gym is right for me until I go and try them out myself... and as luck would have it there is a great website called Gym Link where you can download free trial passes for most gyms, so that is what I am going to do.
I'm going to try these gyms (and suffer through the pushy sales pitches) until I find the right fit for me.

As luck would have it, as I was researching Gyms, and checking out their respective facebook profiles, when  I saw that a friend of mine liked a page for a new local Chicks Cross Fit Class.  They had on offer a 7 day trial pass for $7, and I have paid my $7 and booked in for 3 sessions... GULP.   I am quite petrified about this but I am serious about completing this journey so I am going to give it all I have, (for at least 3 sessions anyway).

On a side note, my parents have been here on holiday,(my first Christmas and Birthday with them in 7 years), and the other day my Husband asked my Father what he had enjoyed most on his holiday so far, and he said that it was seeing me so happy and healthy!... that made my spirit sing, and guess what... He aint seen nothin' yet!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I'm Back

Well, firstly I'm guessing you have fallen off your chair with shock that there is a new post in this blog that has been laying dormant since October, and if you have, I don't blame you.

I'll be honest, I haven't blogged because I fell off the wagon, and now that it is the New Year, and one year since this journey began, I thought I had better get back on the horse!

My reasons (excuses) for falling off the wagon? - Really only one. I started a New Job in April, and the weight loss successes slowly came to a halt. I hated the job, it was stressful, and I regretted taking it, and I ate my way through the emotions of self pity. I was always tried and grumpy when I got home (so could not / did not exercise) and was too tired to get up early... Blah Blah Blah, all EXCUSES I know, but they did feel like valid reasons at the time. I really lost myself, that woman I had fought so hard to bring to life was disappearing, and the old one was returning.
2 weeks before the Christmas break I started a new job, which I LOVE and I am starting to find myself again.

The Bad News is that I have put some weight back on, the Good News is its only a third of what I lost.

So here we go again... starting over,new year, new focus, new goals, and the return if the new me.
The facts... I started at 99.9kg this time last year, and got down to 79.2kg. A total loss of 20.7kg.  Weigh in on Wednesday had me at 86.9 a re-gain of 7.7kg.  It could have been a whole lot worse, and it would be if didn't pull myself into line now.

My plan this year is to get back to basics. I'm trying to eat 'Paleo' (aka Caveman Diet, Stone Age Diet, Hunter Gatherer Diet) In essence I am trying to eat like a caveman would have; Fruit, Vegetables, Nuts, Seeds, Meat, Fish, Poultry, eggs, -  trying to steer clear of anything processed.
 I do, however,  live in the real world, and although I will try to go organic where I can, or try to not eat anything that comes in a can, or from a factory,  I am  realistic and know that personally I would not be able to sustain this type of diet when I consider that I have a family to feed, and budgets to stick to.  
So in conjunction with this I will be following the advice of Jon Gabriel, who similarly believes we need to eat like our ancestors, with natural unprocessed foods, but also believes that as long as you are fuelling your body with all the nutrients it needs, it will be 'satisfied' and not have the need to store fat.  Basically when we are missing anything essential from our diets, the body 'thinks' its starving, and stores fat.
I will also be taking the advice of Phil Clayton, former Iron Man Champion and current coach and mentor, who came to speak to us at work as part of our 'Be Well' program. He recommends cutting out as many chemicals as we can in our lives, and choosing organic options and using natural ingredients. The modern diet consists of foods made in labs rather than grown in gardens, and the human race is the unhealthiest it has ever been.  He believes in the 'Phil'osophy, (excuse the pun) of 'Swap it, don't Stop it' like the Australian Govt Campaign, meaning to make small changes in your lifestyle so that you can maintain them long term. Drastic huge life changes will make you feel deprived and be harder to stick to.

 One small change I intend to make is tied into when I am unable to sustain Paleo eating. I am going to eliminate WHITE. If its not naturally white, and it is white, then it has been bleached.  Bleach = Chemical.
So IF...When I do eat Bread, Rice or Pasta, I will be choosing Wholegrain, or Brown.
I will be trying to cut out sugar, but I do expect the odd slip up here and there on this one, and if I do need a sweet fix, I will try to opt for something naturally sweetened.  I have read that artificial sweeteners, although containing no calories, actually make your body crave fatty foods, and besides artificial sweeteners are chemicals.

I am not going to spend any money 'signing up' to healthy eating programs, or pay for diet advice. There is plenty of this available on the web for free.
I personally love the new Special K campaign.  I won't be eating Special K often (as its processed) but the new campaign focuses on what you have to GAIN by eating healthy, rather than what weight you want to LOSE. I love this! In all other aspects of the word Gaining in preferable to Losing, except weightloss. In weightloss, a GAIN is terrible thing. For someone like me who believes in trying to focus on positive, I don't like to be verbalising loss all the time, so to switch it up and focus on what you gain from a healthy diet is so refreshing.

I want to gain Health, Strength, Confidence, Fitness, Pride, and a lot of Participation medals from Fun Runs, Obstacle Courses and Half Marathons. 

So there it is folks, my intentions, my New Year Resolutions.... I also resolve to blog regularly to keep myself accountable.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Spring, Sunshine and Superfoods.

Here in Australia, it's Spring - only 9 more days and we're halfway through Spring I've been told (My Daughter's birthday falls on the same day).
Today was a brilliant day... Heat wave almost, and we spent the day in the Sunshine and Water.  I'm still coming to terms with the smaller version of me walking around the water park, and feeling confident, and climbing masses of stairs with a ride tube above my head without almost dying.  My kids enjoying the fact that I riding the slides with them, and not sitting on the sidelines like I used to.  
Today just felt like happiness.  I can't ask for more than that!

The other thing I wanted to write about today was Superfoods. About a year ago, I was lucky enough to go to a Superfoods seminar, and it really opened my eyes to some amazing foods that I previously didn't know existed.   Superfoods is a buzz-word that has been around since the 90's and was sort of synonymous with new age hippie types. The foods themselves were only found in health food stores and the like, but in the past few years these superfoods have begun to find their way on to the regular family dinner table.. including mine. So what makes a superfood? What Criteria are we looking at?

Essentially a Superfood :
  • is Especially potent in Nutritional Value - being high in antioxidants, and essential nutrients that our bodies can't produce.   
  • has Health benefits like lowering cholesterol, and blood pressure, preventing cancer and heart disease, protecting the organs from toxins and helping to regulate metabolism and reduce body fat.
There is no official list of Superfoods, (so beware of marketing of products using the term without evidence to back up the claims), however many of the superfoods on the 'unofficial' list are already regulars on most families shopping lists, like Tomatoes, Brazil Nuts, Berries, Broccoli, Natural Yoghurt, and Tea. 
Anyway, this little seminar I attended was run by Ronaldo Fulieri, and with his enthusiastic Brazillian flavour, he inspired me to try a couple new 'Superfoods', which I am happy to say have been staples in my kitchen ever since.

QUINOA (pronounced keen-wah),

No longer just in Health Stores
The small grain like seed before its cooked

Quinoa is a grain-like edible seed, high in protein, dietry fibre, phosphorous, magnesium and iron, and is gluten free. 
You cook it sort of like rice or couscous... 1 part Quinoa to 2 parts liquid (water or for extra flavour try Chicken Stock).  Bring it to the boil, and then slowly simmer until the little tails come out. You can also microwave if you prefer!
Then add whatever you like, finely chopped onion, tomato... whatever you like the taste of, and voila! Quinoa Salad!

I have also recently been collecting recipes for Quinoa Porridge, Quinoa patties, even quinoa crumble, and I'm slowly trying them all.

CHIA SEEDS (pronounced chee-ya)
Chia seeds contain protein, essential fats, dietary fibre, phosphorus, manganese, calcium, potassium and sodium. 
Super easy to use... simply sprinkle a pinch of the tiny seeds into anything from a stirfry to a casserole. Add to baking or sauces by making chia paste first, which is adding a spoonful of chia to water and leave to form a gel like substance.  Such an easy way to add masses of nutrients to your diet.

Chia Seeds - so easy

ACAI BERRIES (pronounced as-eye-ee) and KALE
My next goals for Superfoods is to introduce these two into my diet. I have been seeing all about these just about every where I look recently, and the health benefits sound amazing.  I am yet to find these on my local supermarket shelves so I am thinking a trip to Mrs Flannerys is in order.

I'll let you know the verdict! and I would love to hear your tips.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Go Jump off a Cliff!

Seriously... Do it!
If you are anything like me, you will shake, almost cry, freak out, get over it (the edge and the fear) then cruise to the bottom, because you don't know how to stop!  
If you haven't guessed yet, today I went abseiling. 
This is not me - I didn't have my camera when doing it...
The last time I did it was approximately 29 years ago, at Form 1 camp ( I think - my memory isn't what it used to be, but it was about then) same age as my eldest daughter is now.  
If I had been like she is, I would have wholeheartedly thrown myself into the challenge and tackled the fear head on, but no.. I avoided it, cried, tried to quit, and eventually realised that they were not going to let us out of it, so I did it... and from what I remember I actually enjoyed it. 

For years I have said that I'd like to do it again, but it took until today to make it happen.   A few weeks ago I saw a scoopon deal for abseiling (with instruction  for $19 (normally $39) and with only a few hours to grab the deal, I bit the bullet.  Well ok, I first had to coerce another crazy fool to come with me... Cass agreed, and we booked in with RiverLife to walk over the edge of a cliff at Kangaroo Point.

I need to point out that I have a fear of heights, actually that is not technically correct, I actually have a fear of edges... that fear gets worse the higher I get, but essentially I don't like edges even a foot off the ground.
My children enjoy torturing me when we walk to the end of piers or jetties, when I walk smack down the middle, don't go near the edge, and freak out when they do.  If I get to the edge, I get vertigo, get shaky... you get the picture. So why oh why am I now going to lower myself over the edge of a cliff?... Feel the fear, and do it anyway.  My new mantra to make sure that I no longer deprive myself of experiences, just because I'm scared.

So today was the day, we travelled over an hour by train and foot to get there, and we were surprisingly calm, even after climbing the hundreds of butt-screaming stairs to get to the top of the cliff, and still when standing at the top of the cliff with harnesses and hardhats on.  We learn how to hold the rope behind our backs as the brake, and to bring it out to the side for the accelerator...seems simple enough.
We split into two groups and we watch the first girl go (first timer, a little nervous, but no problems). Then we turn around to see the other group with the first guy over the edge with his feet i the air!  How the hell...? Oh great, this does not instil great confidence.

Anyway back to my group, 2nd one to go, a cocky know-it-all guy who has obviously done it before leapt of the edge and was at the bottom in seconds flat... shit, that means my turn is closer.  Next guy goes, newbie, no probs.
Next girl, she's nervous... phew, I think... I will be better than that, I don't even feel nervous. 
Then its Cass's turn. I watch her heart rate monitor jump from 94 to 140 in the seconds when she climbs over the railing and walks out to the edge (Safety harness attached of course). 

She looks anxious, a bit grey in the face, and she looks at me with a look to say "you got me into this"... and over the edge she goes.

Oh god, now its me. Stepping over the railing, and out to the edge was hard. I held on tight, and Proud (the instructor - yep thats his name) could obviously see i was already struggling.  He reminded me to breathe, reminded me that I was attached to him, and that he had the other rope that could take control if necessary. "Now just slowly walk backwards towards the edge"... Shuffle, shuffle... I'm staunch, I can do this...."bit more, bit more, lean back, right on your toes, bit more"... Oh God, this rope won't hold me, I'm going to slip and fall face first into the rock... I looked him in the eye, and said "I'm Scared". 
Then I leaned back, lowered my butt until i was almost horizontal.  That is by far the hardest part, having to let all your weight go on that rope. I stopped thinking and just listened to his instructions, and "there you go" he said,  "Rock and Roll", one step then another.

But I did have my camera after and took this shot afterwards

Once I got moving it was actually quite easy, but halfway down I realised that no matter how hard i squeezed that rope, and tried to pull it behind my back to brake and slow down, I couldn't get my arm back there. I wasn't going too fast, but a part of me wanted to stop for a second and refocus, but because I couldn't figure out how to stop, I decided to just go with it, and actually started pushing off the wall and swinging out a bit, like what the real abseilers do... yeah, yeah, I probably felt like that, when in reality it probably wasn't like that at all. 

And there I was, at the bottom. Only seconds after finally getting over the edge, I was at the bottom. 
The muscles in my right arm were screaming, from the intense grip I had been using, and my legs were shaking, but most of all the feeling of 'I did it and I did it without a fuss' was enveloping me, and I was so proud of myself. 

We could have climbed the stairs for another go, but both Cass and I agreed that once was enough. It was far scarier than I expected, and I still did it. 
Now, 8 hours later, I'm wishing I had had that second go... isn't hindsight wonderful, and just like with childbirth, I've forgotten that terror I felt, and looking forward to the next time. 

Anyway, while there are a lot of the goals that I set earlier in the year that I haven't achieved, I can proudly say that I have achieved this one. 
And you know what... if my Mother now says "If all your friends were jumping of a cliff, would you?"... I would probably say "YES!!"