Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A balanced diet

What’s your definition of a balanced diet?

Does it have to be perfectly balanced every single day… or the average of a weekly intake? I’m starting to doubt it. What if some days all I felt like was cereal, milk and fruit whereas other days I ate meat and vege?

After over thinking it for ages I’ve decided to define it simply as a variety of whole foods from all the food groups. I figure that this (+ a good quality multi vitamin) is the best way to maximize your chances of hitting your required levels of vitamins and minerals and stay healthy. Its so sad that many diseases acquired later and life can be attributed to nutritional deficiency over time (B vitamins are a common one) but are just accepted as a normal part of growing old!

I’ve enjoy reading some blogs lately (eg Skwigg, KellyO, Chelle) about letting go of diet rules. I can certainly relate to that! Eg I would say that for at least a few years now I have religiously eaten a protein meal every 2 to 4 hours. This rule sounds fairly straightforward but in practice takes a lot of planning and discipline and has a habit of getting in the way of life! I think the ultimate goal for all of us would be to easily and intuitively choose the foods that meet our bodies’ requirements and help us to get strong and stay lean – without stress! Ah, we can dream. I like the recognition coming through that a one size fits all approach is never going to cut it for long term results.

I’m certainly not in a place where I can throw all of my ‘rules’ away. The idea is intriguing but freaks me out. But having said that, being a perfectionist means that having a plan to follow and then not following it 80% let alone 100% of the time drives me crazy! Its like setting yourself up to fail. Previously, posts about ‘finding out what works for you’ meant little to me and I actually found that advice really frustrating. A lot of people want to be told exactly what to eat and when and so did I. In my opinion, this is the only way to prepare for a figure competition. But now I understand that this process is absolutely necessary to maintain a healthy mind and body.

I guess the key as always comes back to balance between the results you want, health and maintaining peace of mind. I’m never going to get as lean as I’d like to without a bit of diet stress. To be honest, sometimes I wish I didn’t know what it feels like to be that lean. So while I’d still like to trim down I need to think about what is and isn’t working FOR ME and what I can happily live with.

Ps. Weight stayed the same during ‘week 11’ of OSB :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I’m putting a positive spin on ‘ho hum’ daily routines or things I frequently do by renaming them as ‘rituals’. What do you think? Do you have them and are they beneficial to you? Or do you prefer to be less predictable and more spontaneous?

We are all creatures of habit to some extent. One ‘ritual’ I enjoy is:
- if we train on a Saturday, we’ll go to garden city first, have a teriyaki chicken for lunch followed by Gloria Jeans at Borders while we read the magazines. Training is so much better after the combo of carbs, caffeine and a boost of motivation by reading oxygen!

Rituals also help us get through things that we don’t do because they are enjoyable but because they simply need to be done. I have an obsessive habit about doing as much as possible in advance. For example, I can’t sit down of a night time to eat dinner until I’ve prepped everything for work the following day – I feel like once I relax, it won’t happen!

I think the problem is that we are all a little pressed for time and the weekends are too darn short.

I’m usually stuffed on a Friday night, Saturday mornings are devoted to sleeping in and cleaning and Sunday afternoons I’m usually cooking up a storm for the week ahead. All of that leaves a small window where I decide to either go out and be sociable or flop on the couch with a dvd. I feel like Homer Simpson when he said, “I used to rock all night and party every day… then it was every other day… now I'm lucky if I can find half an hour a week in which to get funky”.

Monday, April 19, 2010


First things first, ‘Week 12’ saw me lose 300g on the scales. Initially, I think the process is just a case of ‘reining it in’ because stopping the weight gain was the first hurdle! Set realistic goals and you shall prosper, lol! Week 11 is going moderately well so although painstakingly slow I should get these three kilos off eventually!

I’ve decided that boredom is a huge factor holding me back at the moment. Boredom is of course entirely all our own fault. But what do you do when you’re in a comfy rut but don’t have much to look forward to?

I’m also scared and acutely aware of BEING boring. I think I’m having a bit of an identity crisis… people tend to define themselves according to an aspect of their lives eg job, family duties, sport. I think the problem is that I don’t feel passionate about much at the moment. Training used to be a good distraction but now its more just a part of the routine.

The good news about training is that I met Steph at our gym last week and trained back with her, which was great. We were both on the look out for a training partner so hopefully we can do more sessions on a semi regular basis and learn from eachother. Steph has a great muscle base by the way, not knowing who she was, I had admired her biceps the previous week hehe!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Treat yourself

Tuesday has become ‘sushi day’ for Ali and I lately :) If you’re a fan and live in Brisbane you may have heard of the place in the CBD called ‘R Sushi’ that is so good, people will queue out the door and around the corner!

I’m rediscovering the importance of incorporating healthy off plan meals into the week as options when out and about or when we need a little break from cooking. My favourite healthy off plan/convenient meals are sushi rolls, subway, Nando's chicken salad, teriyaki chicken with rice and (at home)... scrambled eggs on Burgen or Helgas toast! Nothing fancy. Although it’s a wonderfully nerdy idea, I don’t have off plan meals at set times/days of the week but having them as options, say up to 4 meals per week (10% meals) keeps me satisfied and gives me a break from eating exactly the same thing everyday. What are your ideas?

Also, due to the generosity and flexibility of my meal plan, I don’t need to plan out a cheat/treat meal anymore but I can assume that one may inevitably occur, so allow once per week. So when ‘someone’ suggested a Maccas run late on Friday night last week I joined in, guilt free. While I did enjoy it, afterward it felt like a bit of a waste of a treat meal though – going to hold out for something better this week!

The fabulous Chelle is helping me look at the next 12 weeks not as a diet or challenge but simply a means to get back on track to eating in a balanced and healthy manner in REAL LIFE. I realized today that even though I haven’t been on a diet for some time, my head has still been in ‘diet mode’. This means that eating in a less than ‘perfect’ way has been resulting in incredible guilt and fueling the restrict/binge cycle. No more!

Making a start is always the most difficult part. Its scary to make a commitment to yourself, let alone publicly to change purely for fear of failure. I’m feeling a lot more light hearted about everything, like a load has been lifted off my shoulders. You’re only truly a failure if you stop trying. I’m not any physically different yet but the attitude adjustment is already doing wonders for my self esteem. When I look in the mirror I’m starting to be able to see the positive things first, rather than focusing in on flaws.

Fern put it very well in her comment on my last post, a healthy lifestyle is all about having respect for yourself :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Week 12 wrap up and my 'inner fat person'

Well I finally took the plunge and weighed self and I’ve put on about 3kg since I last weighed in… I am now sitting at about 9kg over “comp weight”. Now I know that doesn’t sound like too drastic a situation - the real issue has been that I came off a diet, started gaining weight healthily but then just couldn’t stop…

As I’ve mentioned, its not so much the looks aspect but that my sense of feeling in control, disciplined and motivated had disappeared. I honestly reached such a low point mentally over the past few months that I was afraid that I COULD eventually end up obese if I didn’t drastically alter my headspace. I’m not trying to be dramatic. I think most people who have never had weight issues may look at obese people and wonder how they came to be that way/how they let themselves go that far. Physically, it’s a case of poor habits and eating excess calories over a prolonged time. Mentally, its feeling powerless to change. I know that my 4 months and few kg’s has the potential to turn into ten years and forty kg if I don’t consciously work at this.

Now that I’m thinking clearly again and am back on board the OSB train, I know that it is all up to me. I can observe negative thoughts and let them pass and if I slip it doesn't matter, I'll just keep going – how did week 12 go? It was far from perfect… which I’m actually happy about! I stuck to my plan (which is not too restrictive) four days out of seven, I had one treat meal and three healthy off plan meals. The off plan stuff was all Fri- Sunday so it felt like a nice relaxed weekend of eating. This was a test though, to my all or nothing attitude and propensity to binge once I get going…. I passed! I realise weight loss may be slow on this kind of approach but mental health is definitely more important J Babysteps.

My workouts have improved too. I trained shoulders yesterday, they feel like I have been wrestling and am all bruised …! I did DB shoulder press, side laterals and supersetted hammer strength rear laterals with front raises using a plate. Later in the week I will do military press and DB rear laterals (extra focus at the moment).

In other news, my sister and I went to see ‘Kick Ass’ on Friday night. I had no expectations but from the ad I had seen assumed it would be quite a ‘silly funny’ movie aimed at kids… um.. no! It was REALLY violent… so actually much better than I anticipated – haha!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Week 12 (counting backward)

Thanks guys, I feel lucky and spoilt that I can neglect blogland for ages then jump right back in and get the same great level of support as ever. Lauren’s right when she says that at times we have to ‘dig ourselves out of the holes we’ve created’. That’s exactly it feels! In my ups and downs I always spend the first few days of a new plan feeling so guilty for the fact that the reason I have to diet again now is for all the indulging I’ve done - all my own fault, can’t blame anything or anyone. But at some point you have to shake off this mindset and get on with it, the quicker the better! Continuing to beat yourself up over it only makes the job harder. I actually woke up this morning excited about the changes I’m going to make. (My picture's title is 'get excited about life' Ive posted it before, makes me laugh every time)

I haven’t even weighed myself (yet) and Im not sure if I want or need to do the whole ‘before’ photo thing. I already have that photo from June 2008 and when I look at it I get upset because I thought that I didn’t know that person anymore. Its distressing that since the ‘high’ of comp, in only 6 months I am the most uncomfortable with what I see in the mirror than I have been since June 2008. But scarier than that is the loss of my sense of control over my habits and ability to change my body. So I’m concentrating on getting that back by putting an end to complacency. I’ve been ‘eating intuitively’ for the last 4 months but it ain’t working for me. The quest to find a nice balance between intuitive eating and the “all or nothing” dieting continues. My colour coded calendar is a nice shade of “compliant” yellow so far, but my measure of success is no longer that I had a ‘perfect’ day but that I was satisfied with the choices I made. Because off season life involves dining out sometimes and also having to use portion control when you haven’t carefully weighed out whatever you’re eating!

So week 1 is going well, all things considered. I’ll try my best to blog regularly even where there is nothing good to report. Every now and then I get extremely self conscious about the fact that I blog openly about such personal issues and I feel like I’m opening up my diary for anyone to read. But at the end of the day, this is me and the support we give eachother is more important than a fear of being judged.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Redefine yourself - as you wish!

Its been just over 6 months since the comp, as you know I’ve been struggling immensely for about the last 4. I wanted to be able to continue to eat well just for me, rather than to meet a goal but as we know this is easier said than done.

So after many false starts, I am joining in with Chelle on part 2 of her twelve week challenge which started on Monday. We discussed how breaking the twelve weeks up into three x four week blocks may help make it seem more manageable. I’ve got my own colour coded calendar and everything, lol! What happens after the twelve weeks? Well maybe thats an excuse to pause, celebrate how far we've come and then just keep going... maybe the key is to have a never ending goal, broken up into segments....! It reminds me of when personal trainers/group fitness leaders saying five more reps when they really mean ten. Its amazing what the body can do when the mind is convinced.

I spent some time rereading over some of my old posts and I’ve realized that the best thing about being in shape is the way you feel inside. The person I want to be (who has been MIA lately) is proud, confident, calm and inspiring. This person also advised readers NOT to go on diets or 12 week challenges! So over the next 12 weeks I will be continuing to work on personal challenges and rebuilding that self belief rather than just watching what goes in my mouth! :)

For incredible info, advice and support- get involved!