Monday, 29 August 2011

And...it's a false start

This is what happens when you work at a place where bank holidays do not exist! 

It's been a rather 'stupid' morning; I've woken up at the crack of dawn, tumbled out of my house, rolled into my car and sped down some strangely EMPTY roads only to realise when I almost got to the gym that it's a holiday today...which means the gym won't be open until at 8am, which means I can't go (because I will be late for work otherwise).  Damn.

This isn't the first time it's happened to me but I should have caught on when my road was extremely quiet (I live on a main road which is always busy).  So now I've lost out on sleep!  I feel so ...annoyed.

So what?  I didn't go to the gym and now I'm going to have a fat day?

NO WAY!

But I am going to have a nap now....Zzzzzzzzdog-nap

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Returning from bad to good health

I had to take a break recently due to health issues.  I guess I should fill you in.

From what I remember, everything was going smoothly back in June.  I wasn't losing anymore weight but I was beginning to actually enjoy running after three weeks of pushing, panting and puffing.  It was great because even though I couldn't see it on the scales, my body was changing and life just seemed OK.
It wasn't until one afternoon when I began to feel really strange; my bones hurt, I was trembling, my head was spinning and a huge wave of nausea came over me.  For the next few weeks I felt this chronic fatigue day in and day out.  So eventually I gave in and went to my doctor and within a few weeks I had done several blood tests and lucky for me everything came back negative.

chronic-fatigue-syndrome_article

So what's wrong?  I'm still unsure because I'm mostly fine now.  For those who have been following my life closely will know that this happened some time last year too except last time I could pick up coins and remember what I was saying.  This time round it was affecting my job and it made me cry a lot.  My doctor suggests that I was too stressed...perhaps anxious.  Therefore, he handed me a card which, of course, had the name and number of a place I could go to where I could 'talk to someone'.  

Perhaps I'm just too cynical but I just have never seen myself as a person who needs to go see a 'shrink'.  Of course I know it's the sensible thing to do and the doctor won't check up on me again until I have gone through with it.  Have I gone yet?  No, I haven't but that's simply because I haven't had much time, which I guess, is part of the problem.  counselor_385x261

Will I go?  Perhaps.  I'm not totally closed to the idea but I want to give myself some time before going. 

It's been a good month or so since this has all happened and I'm recovering nicely.  When I'm feeling anxious or strained, my joints burn with pain and I am so easy to lose myself in the moment to anger and frustration.  If I have a bad night, I will wake up feeling like I've been run over by a truck.  I still have my up and down days, but at least I don't feel as trapped as before.


So forgive me for my absence!  Nonetheless, I am here again and it feels good to be blogging.  In my experience it's always nice to have a break from whatever regime you have going on, it gives you time to reflect and allows your muscles to relax.... a bit like a summer holiday!

So you will be sad to know I'm no longer visiting the park for runs anymore because I just don't want to go back there anymore.  It was there that I started feeling unwell and I just want to go somewhere new.  However you will be pleased to  know that I am running in the gym!  I'm carrying on from where I left off on Couch to 5K on week 4 but this time on a treadmill.  What's great about going to my gym is that afterwards I will relax in the jacuzzi giving myself some cool-down time before I shoot off to work.  It's taken two weeks for me to settle into this manic morning routine but I know once I've done it for a while, it will become another part of my life.

One thing I hated about running in the park was that I was always sweaty and tired even when I got to work.  Now I get to wash and blow dry my hair and listen to music in the changing rooms.  I even arrive to work ready to have my breakfast before I start.  The trade off is that I  must sleep early and wake up at 6.00am.

I have not yet lost any weight but tomorrow is going to be my Day 25 and hopefully, we will see some results.  My body is changing already because everyone agrees (including me) that my butt has changed shape!0909-model-butt

The other great thing about this is that I get more 'me' time.  That is the key to my happiness I guess!

More of 'me time' and running later.  I must sleep but I will be updating you when I can :)

Much love,

Helen

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Day 24/2.0 - Weigh in #4

This week I weighed in at:

12st 6.8lbs

OR

174.8lbs

OR

79.45kg

Considering that last week I was 12st 7lbs, it sounds like I've lost a whole pound.  But in fact, I've lost 0.2lbs.  Basically it's nothing, which is weird and mildly frustrating.  It's been a month since I've been on this journey and I've only lost 1.6lbs - can you see why I'm so annoyed?

This time round, things really are slow.  I have not yet missed a run, I watch my portion sizes and I've been pretty good to myself since.  I hold my hands up to not being 100% with the calories but surely a bit more progress should be showing up on the scales, right?

Tomorrow I will be starting week three of Couch to 5k and I'm nervous because the runs are doubling in duration so I'm now running at 3 minute intervals as opposed to 90 seconds.  I know it doesn't sound a lot, but it really does scare me.  The run in total is almost half an hour rather than my usual 20 minutes, which means I definitely cannot be late to my runs, in fact I should probably try and go earlier.  I don't know if I can do it but I just have to, I really need to.

This week I must tighten on my calories and really watch what I do.  I want to lose a solid pound or two this week because I'm starting to worry and I'm beginning to feel hopeless.  I really cannot be counting every single calorie like a mad woman but I need to remember that everything adds up.  With that said, I need to go to bed.  Tomorrow is another day and I am going to work hard.

Good night!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Day 16/2.0 - The wrong weight

It's been a grand total of 16 days and I know I have not yet weighed in.  I am completely honest when I say that it's because I've just been too busy and I put it off until the second week, although of course I am two days late!  Either way, the show must go on...!

When I began 2.0 I was 12st 4.8lb...or... 172.8lbs ....or... 78.3kg.

This week I weigh in at ...

12 St 7lbs! 

or

175lbs

or

79.55kg

 

Like how I am catering for all my readers there?  Even the short sighted!

Before I even talk about how that is such a failure... there is something I missed out.  On day 2 I actually weighed myself again and I was suddenly 12st 8.4lbs.  I then weighed again on day 3 and it was still the same, as well as day 4.  So to confirm that actually I must have read the scales wrong.  How embarrassing.

I'm going to start this thing all again and above are the new measurements (yes, I weighed myself four times in different areas of the house just to make sure).

So by that token, in these two weeks I've managed to lose a pound or so and in theory that's not OK.  It's the smallest amount of weight I've ever lost at the beginning of any diet I've ever done - perhaps this is a good sign?

Reviewing back on the last two weeks, I know why I haven't lost a significant amount of weight and I'm completely at ease with it.  The first week I allowed myself to cook again, look at my nutrition intake and got the ball rolling.  I didn't want any pressure on myself so I didn't overwhelm myself.

Overwhelmed I wasn't, and on the second week I was happy to look at my portion size and start taking calories into consideration.  Again, I haven't been too anal about this whole calorie thing but I know what are my guidelines and my limits.  That's why the first week I would have lost 0 and this week I have lost a pound! 

On week three, I will be continuing calorie counting as well as keeping on with my running and therefore hoping to reap another pound or two off of this body!

On the exercise front, things are going fabulously.  I have completed my first week of Couch to 5k which means I have run three times now!  I run on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays before work and even though I have to wake up at the crack of dawn, it really helps to make the most out of my day.
I was really quite worried and nervous on my first week but I think I've learned to re-love running especially as this time round it's structured, less painful and I'm doing it alone.  A lot of people prefer to have running buddies and I did love having my Sister with me, but I love it equally alone because it gives me time to reflect and it keeps me strong and independent in the process so I know if someone gives me up, I won't feel like I should follow suit.

I really enjoy running in the morning; the mornings are peaceful and bright.  I love the park that I go to because I have a lot of nice memories there and it feels really safe and friendly.  I love running past all the happy dog lovers, the puppies and the babies; I even love being taken over by other runners because it keeps me going.  IMG_3207 IMG_3211 Above are pictures of the park I run at...isn't it beautiful?


The third time I completed the run I felt stronger and I know that I ran a further distance than I had previously.  I'm also quite proud that I didn't give up even though I felt exhausted.  In the end?  The day was energetic and positive.

Wish me luck for the coming week and good luck to you all,

Helen

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Day 13/2.0 - Keep on moving, don't stop, no...!

counting-calories-to-lose-weight1  It's a fact, to me, that counting calories is probably one of the most hardest things to do on a 'diet regime'. 
With some diets all you have to do is only eat things that are green or pink, then some you look up a book to see how many points it's 'worth' and with others there's liquidating everything that passes through your gob.  There's not too much thinking involved, where as calorie counting (at least at the beginning) can sometimes be so overwhelming and at times, impossible.  A lot of the times it's really called 'calorie estimating' and that's only OK if you know your calories well...and if you eat the same things day in and day out.   Calorie counting can really bug my brain, but I know it works so I better shut up and keep on moving...

It's technically been two days (excluding today) since I started counting these calories and I have already met a lot of obstacles.  It's the same story about being surrounded by those who are not watching what they eat... and that story about going out to socialise always involving calorific food and completely misjudged choices.  I went out for Japanese food last night and while I know I could have done a lot worse, it wasn't my greatest triumph; nonetheless I know that's not this week's biggest problem.  Tonight I will be at a steak house (with vegetarian options) and I can smell the fat in the air already.  Oh Lord, please have mercy upon my hips.

Today is Day 2 of Couch to 5k and while I'm excited to complete my second day, I'm nervous about getting to work on time and looking a complete sweaty, delirious mess.  The really daft thing is that my body is not recovering fast enough and I'm aching as if I did the run just yesterday evening.... maybe it's old age! 

Whatever the obstacles are, one must face them head on and know they are the fact of life.  Just like how calorie counting is a bitch.  And how not doing it could leave me another year as fat as the year before (or fatter).

Have a good day everyone,

Helen

Friday, 10 June 2011

The Super Porridge

This is a secret recipe, so please, handle it with care.  It's something you can learn to love because, yes, it is slightly grey and strange, but it's a morning punch in the face full of good fats, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, fibre and only about 260 calories!  This idea or recipe was passed onto me by a clever colleague, who at the ripe age of 55, swears by this morning meal and by looking at his healthy face, I really believe him.  Here it is and really, it's porridge, but it's amazing.

DSC07554

You will need for 1 serving:

*measurements are all approximations, measured as best as I could achieve

  • 25g of organic oats (approx. 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 tsp of ground black sesame
  • 1 tsp of ground almonds
  • 1 tsp of ground rye flakes
  • 1 tsp ground linseed/flaxseed
  • 1 tsp of ground walnuts
  • 150ml of water
  • 40ml of Oatly Organic Milk (optional, you can use other milks but bare in mind of calorie content)
  • 26 grams of natural dates (not sweetened, approx. 4pcs)
  • 10g of goji berries
  • 1 tbs of maple syrup

 

  1. Add all dry ingredients together in a saucepan, then add in water.
  2. Allow to cook on medium heat until oats are soft and mixture is creamy.  If you add the dates and goji berries earlier with the dry ingredients you'll find you'll add in less maple syrup as the natural sugars fuse in with the porridge!
  3. Add in maple syrup at the end and stir, then serve.

The reason why this combination is so great in the morning is because it's low calorie but really filling.  If you find this isn't enough, you can even have toast with this, or fruit or even a yoghurt. 

DSC07462

Black sesame is extremely high in calcium and I've found by eating this five out of the seven days in the week, my nails have become really shiny and smooth, as if I've buffed them with a nail buffer! 
The linseeds are high in omega-3s (higher than those found in nasty fish oils), fatty acids, and antioxidants. 
The goji berries are extremely high in vitamin A which really helps with our eye sight.  Where I come from, goji berries are frequently featured in our dinners and it's only now that I've come to use them myself at breakfast! 

There are so many goodies in this porridge and you can really mix this up, but this is what I eat and I guess it's subject to change!
Other things you might want to think about changing up or adding, would be ground brazil nuts for selenium, raisins instead of dates, soya milk if you want it creamier and to add in more protein and omega, and/or natural raw cocoa powder for a delicious antioxidant hum. 

Again, I know it's just porridge, but if you want to change up your high calorie and boring porridge to something skinny and nutritionally dazzling then give this a try!

Tell me how it goes for you, and good luck!

Helen

Day 11 of 2.0

Good morning everyone!

I am in extremely high spirits today...!  Yesterday I posted a quick video blog to voice my concerns about my exercise and how I feel like I need to start running again.  The reason why I did this was because it had been apparent to me how 'badly' I was doing at this weight loss thing over the last two days and it was starting to really bug me.  It bugged me in such a way that I was beginning to feel really insecure about my body image and this is a familiar feeling that creeps up on me every time I get to about this weight.  This is also a good feeling because I know when this happens, I start to lose weight again, at least temporarily.

However, this time at 2.0, I'm really going to give it a good thrusty stab and I will make sure I get to goal this time round.  I'm going through all the things I did last time (that I know worked) and giving it a go again.  So that means:

  • I'm calorie counting once again, using Calorie Count's Website and also the Andriod App.  I'm going to log in my foods when I can and if I can't I will write them down in a book that I shall take to work. 
    • As before I am giving myself a quota of 1200kcal a day.  This is recommended for my height and build as well as lifestyle, so when setting your quota, do not forget to find out what is best for you.
    • I shall drink 2l of water a day, period.
    • I am living on a mostly plant based diet and shall not be too anal.  I love that word.
    • I will analyse and monitor my nutrition levels
  • I am going to try and run three times a week.  It's going to be a rough ride with exercise to begin with but hopefully I will find something I enjoy and can fit into my schedule.
  • Sleeping is the key to successful weight loss as it helps with recovery and energy so I will try my utmost hardest to sleep between 7-8 hours a day.
  • ** Allowing time, minimum once a week, to review the diet and to write in this blog or make a video blog. 

That is it for now and I really hope I won't wonder too far from this plan because I think it's quite sound.  I'm going to go for my run later (possibly a few hours after lunch) and when I have sorted all of the things I need for this weight loss plan to work.

**I really do love day offs.  Which reminds me that a part of this plan really should have a guild line where I must allow myself time to be alone, sit and review this diet (as I am now) and refocus.  Yes, amended.

I am now going to doing other weight loss related things, stay tuned for an upcoming post about my Super Porridge recipe and everything about it!

Lots of love,

Helen

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Day 2 of 2.0

Do you know what I love about having days like today?  It's almost all about me.  I know it sounds selfish but I really do think everyone needs to give themselves a lot of care and attention.  I almost always forget about my needs and that is why my diet goes out the window and that is why every few months I have a small breakdown and I end up feeling depressed.

The sun was beautiful today and it was a perfect wake up call to food shopping and spending time with the family.  I didn't manage to eat my healthy breakfast because my lie in turned into more sleep!  I was in trouble because they all wanted to have the cheap 99p fry up at Ikea before shopping and so when I got there I was nervous to say the least.  In the end I chose to eat a brown bread roll, with some marinated swedish fish thing... I know what you're thinking too.  I did my best and that's all I have to say about that nasty slip up!  The good thing is that I said no to hash browns (which is almost unheard of for me) and no to milk in my earl grey!

Anyhow after buying lots of nice lovely things (including a new beautiful aubergine purple throw for my bed and little preserving jars) and stocking up the now bursting fridge full of healthy goodies, I continued the day with lots of cleaning and organising.  Tomorrow I will continue to tidy up and see my Godmother for her birthday dinner - it's vietnamese and I think I won't have too much trouble!

The last thing I have to report is something quite special. 

I remember when I was really into the whole vegan routine I was constantly happy, content, calm and I was always drifting about in this sense of strange euphoria.  I loved it and it's what I've been searching for since eating my horrible diet recently has made me quite stressed out.  Today I watched lots of new videos that I have missed out on Heather's HealthyVegan Youtube channel and I started to get that feeling again!  Perhaps it's contagious but I know for sure now that I am much happier vegan and when I am, I no longer have that horrid guilt when I'm eating and there is no anxiety related to what I'm consuming.  I even learned how to make my own rice and oat milk in which I will try once I finish all the ones in the fridge. 

I have to say, things are looking up.

I'm going to bed quite pleased tonight, I know tomorrow I will be even more focussed.  I am visiting a korean supermarket tomorrow so maybe I can stock up on some interesting things for my kitchen!

Good night!

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Day 1 - A willing start

I was sitting on the loo this morning and I stared at the scales for a long while, and I would be lying if I said it didn't cross my mind to ignore the fact that I had to weigh myself today.  Generally I'm not very afraid of the scales but what I am afraid of is knowing that afterwards, I have to accept that breakfast will be modest.  Oh dear. 

So this morning I weighed in at 12st 4.8lbs.  Again, oh dear.  For those who work in pounds, that's 172.8lbs or if in kilos it's 78.3kg. 

So I'm just under four pounds away from what I was last August when I began this battle, in other words, I'm pretty much back to square one.  Yesterday I promised to really give this a shot so Day 1 was all about preparation and no over-whelming myself.

I started off the day with a light breakfast of one slice of organic seed toast, with soya yoghurt and fruit.  Lunch was sushi which now in hind sight wasn't as controlled as it should have been, and dinner was black eyed beans and squash stew.  Not bad.
Breakfast and dinner were all modest portions and I even made sure to not snack on anything bad (in fact I didn't snack at all) and I got a bit of fruit in after dinner. 

Today's focus was preparation so I popped into my local health food store and began picking up my vitamins to make sure I give myself a fall back in case my diet goes horribly wrong.  The one thing about being vegan is that there is a concern about not getting your B Vitamins (namely B12) which is vital for your nervous system and brain function so I picked up a supply of those.  I have read that I can get B12 from raisins which, I'm not sure about, but I think I will try to include more of them in my diet.  I don't know if I should be taking them daily because I've heard lots of reasons why you should and shouldn't.  To be safe, I think I'll take it once a week to begin with.
I also got large bottles of quality Acai and Aloe vera juice to cleanse my body and give me great antioxidant hits in the morning.  I'm excited because while I'm used to drinking Aloe Vera juice every so often (I usually drink the one mixed with cranberry) I can now alternate and have Acai which promises me youthful skin for longer and an even stronger immune system - yay!

I also got a whole load of nuts and seeds because a colleague of mine was telling me about a breakfast he's been having for years that he swears has improved his health.  This man is in his mid 50s and he doesn't have any grey hair, he looks a lot younger than he is and still has bags of energy to work a crazy amount of hours and swim once a week.  Well, that's more than I can say for myself and I'm 22.  His secret, he says, is to mix his porridge oats with ground linseeds, walnuts, almonds, black sesame and goji berries or raisins and have that five out of the seven days a week.  He doesn't add any sweeteners either and suggests fruit or raisins (B12..?) sprinkled on top.
Another thing he suggests is to drink a large glass of water when you wake up and give your body time to wake up before you have your first meal.  I have heard this a lot before and so I'm going to give it a go - I'm still unsure as to why but hey, if it's going to make me healthier, why not?
So I got a whole load of those and ground them all up in a blender and stored them in little jars.  I even took advice from my bible, The Kind Diet, to toast some sunflower and pumpkin seeds and stored them in a jar too to sprinkle over my meals; that's my dose of Vitamin E, C, Magnesium, Fibre, and Zinc.  Apparently both these seeds contain phytosterols which reduces your levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol! 

It makes me quite happy to know my kitchen is armed full of healthy things, I do actually feel a bit more prepared.

Tomorrow I am going food shopping to keep my veggies stocked up.  I have to face a 'family' breakfast out tomorrow and I know it's going to be a bad breakfast...so I might wake up earlier to have my own meal before we go.  I just hope I don't end up with two breakfasts!! Wish me lunch...I mean, luck!

Monday, 30 May 2011

If at first you don't succeed...

Oh dear...I think I'm starting to look more pregnant than my pregnant sister...

I don't know how many times I've fallen off the wagon but I sure as hell know that this probably isn't the last time I'll have to pick myself up again.  I have no idea where I've been apart from lost in hell.

I wish I knew all the secrets; if you're asking me about nutrition, tips and tricks on how to be healthier and lose weight, I'm probably a fairly decent source to turn towards.  If you're asking me about how to stay on track and keep focused then I really can't help you.  For some reason I just haven't managed to stick to something without losing it halfway through.  This probably explains why I keep coming back and forth but one thing stays constant and that is my want for a skinnier body.  The only difference is is sometimes that want is stronger than other times.

Since I started this job over half a year ago, my 'diet' has slowly come to a halt and I can point my fingers at myself for giving into snacks and eating things that other people are also enjoying.  Bad things.  I know that because I work such long days, I also feel like I 'deserve' more food so needless to say portion control has absolutely flown out the window. 

My veganism is here one day and gone the next.  I am by no means a meat eater anymore; from time to time an adult will force upon me their meat offerings and to be polite I might try it but otherwise I have no desire for it.  I am, however, consuming dairy from time to time but otherwise that isn't too bad.
And processed food?   Gosh, I just don't know.  I have to say that I eat a lot of vegetarian substitutes these days because it's just quicker (i.e. vegetarian sausages) and find other strange things slipping into my diet that just shouldn't be there (jelly juice, anyone?).

You might remember that I started this journey in August 2010.  In that time I have lost about half a stone or so and now I find myself very close to my original weight.  I just can't believe it.  I sit here and think about how hard I worked, how much I ran and how good I was and feel so gutted that I've totally crapped all over that.  Oh gosh, now I'm really mad.

There must be flaw in the system that I used last time and I'm guessing it's just that I'm not giving myself more time to prepare my food and that I am saying yes to any food offerings.  I've become really greedy again.  I really am unsure about counting calories again but I know I must start somewhere.

Tomorrow is Monday and the great thing about this week is that I have taken four days off work.  I see this time as opportunity to restructure my life and give myself a chance to blog, prepare and re-educate myself.  I'm re-reading books that once inspired me to try to find that spark that will push me in the right direction. 

I will be back tomorrow with a full weigh in - which reminds me to always weigh myself once a week.  It seems that if I don't weigh myself, I actually forget I have a weight problem. 

Good night!