Seeing is believing (when it comes to progress)


I may have been quiet about it, but I’ve been getting to the gym really regularly for the past 3 weeks, determined to spend more time getting my body in shape and dropping the stealth almost-20lbs I’ve gained over the past few months.

I’ve been focused on weights again after a long time away from the lifting and I’ve also been determined not to get frustrated by slow weight loss. It’s funny how you can know that slow weight loss is normal and that week 2 weight loss never matches week 1. You can know but still want to see the immediate results. As much as I tell The Boy not to get frustrated, I find myself getting frustrated and then get annoyed at getting frustrated. Luckily, I’ve managed to stay pretty much on track for almost a month, so bonus!

I know that I’ve been feeling better and stronger again but I haven’t wanted to shout it from the rooftops yet, since I figured I haven’t lost much yet and it’s not that noticeable. But I was wrong! I had a session with my trainer today and he hasn’t seen me in a month since he’s been away. He immediately noticed that I was stronger and got super excited, pulling over the 12kg kettlebells and 10kg weights instead of the lighter weights he’s used to needing. He kept asking if things were too heavy and I think he was expecting me to complain but I was on fire. Plus he noticed I’d dropped weight and he was massively impressed. I walked out of the session feeling awesomely strong, massively fatigued and tempted to lie down on the side of the road and just sleep.

I didn’t, don’t worry. Instead, I walked/shuffled the 15 minute distance home, munched on a muesli bar and basked in the glow of feeling stronger everyday. Yes, I’m sore and tired and really want to nap but I’ve picked up some freelance work so that’s not on the cards. But I feel awesome and motivated, even if the scale is only moving slowly. Muscles, it’s nice to meet you again!

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One week down … 51 to go


How did you all go with your resolutions? Have they fallen through the cracks in the couch already, never to be seen again (at least until resurrected next year)? Or are you still going strong?

So far, thanks to Health Month, I’m staying on track and more so than I ever would have expected, especially since I’m fighting holiday-mode.

  1. Drink more water. This is not too challenging since it’s frigging hot here and I’m thirsty all the time so I’m easily getting my 8 glasses of water in, more if you count my green tea (which I do since it’s good for me and all).
  2. Get at least 30 minutes exercise 4 times a week minimum. Considering the dreaded Holiday-Mode monster and the heat, I’m happy to say I’m at 3 times this week and I’ll go again tomorrow sometime and make it an even 4. I managed to get a deal for a casual week’s membership at a gym near my parents’ place which, while not cheap, is worth it and I’m actually using it. I’ve been there twice this week and gotten in more exercise than I would have without it, especially since it’s stinking hot today. Yay me!
  3. Eating less white flour – this one has been okay this week. I set myself the target of allowing white flour 3 times a week and I’ve had it twice so far. I’m allowing for it tomorrow night at Shabbat dinner (I can’t say no to challah thank you very much!) but I’ll still be within my target.
  4. Writing and meditating more – this has been more of a challenge being here I think. I need to work on the OM time and the creative time. It’s all important for my health. I may lose some life points on these rules but overall, I’m pretty happy.

I have to say, I think using Health Month has been good so far. It’s somewhere to go and tick off how I’m going everyday and I’m not trying to change everything all at once. By setting weekly rules, I’m allowing some flexibility and I think that might make it easier to stay on track than being all or nothing.

So, how are you going? Did you make any resolutions?

 

Fantastic weekends


Fantastic weekends include Bailey’s milkshakes on the balcony with The Boy.

They involve enjoying the first barbeque on the in-laws’ new barbeque – sausages and coleslaw and kids running around.

Fantastic weekends involve brunch with out-of-town friends and enjoying catching up over eggs and toast.

They involve sitting on the couch with the doors open, enjoying the sunshine and napping and half-watching weird television.

They also seem to be involve a lot of eating and drinking and result in a Sunday night of feeling QUITE bloated.

And while I don’t regret anything from the weekend, I hate this feeling on a Sunday night. I hate the promising of diets on Monday and EXTRA intense workouts all of next week.

I know that I enjoyed the weekend. I know that I could have eaten less and still enjoyed it though.

So next weekend, I will enjoy the weekend WITHOUT the bloating.

Keeping Busy


After all the excitement of the past few weeks/months, I’m at a little bit of a loss. I came home to no work on my plate and not much to keep me busy. All my projects finished up nicely (ish) before the wedding and it was lovely to be away not really worrying too much about work at all, but now the email is quiet, the bank account emptying and the boredom mounting.

So, in the interests of keeping my butt off the couch and my brain from melting into oblivion, I am getting back on course with the whole healthy living thing. Yeah, that. Remember when I used to exercise, like, ALL the time? And eat right? And think about muscles and weights and running a 5k one day? Yeah, I know, it was a long time ago but I’m getting back there.

I picked up some awesome deals thanks to Grab One and Groupy, the New Zealand Groupon equivalents and this week, I set about using them. First up was a voucher for three box fit personal training sessions at my gym for $49 – which is about how much one session would cost alone. So I booked in for that. Next up was a great voucher for some reformer pilates sessions at Peak Pilates, which is a brilliant Physio and Pilates chain right up the road from me (literally actually, it’s 2 minutes away!) which would usually cost somwhere around $200. So I signed up for that.

I had my intro class on Monday and I’m hooked. They worked one-on-one with me, looking over my posture (not good thanks to that whole right leg being longer than the left) and went through a bunch of important positions and moves, correcting me along the way. I really enjoyed the attention and knowing that I was in no danger of getting hurt by doing things wrong. That’s what I hate about the big classes where you’re one of 20 people and the instructor has no way to correct everyone.

And then I had my first actual class on Wednesday. At 7am. Yes, it was tough getting up for it. Yes, I contemplated staying in bed. No, I don’t regret it at all. I am OFFICIALLY addicted. The class was small – they always are a max of 5 people but there were only 2 of us – so we both got tons of attention. I knew I was working my muscles hard and properly and I felt it. It was an hour class and we worked every part of the body. I’m so not a morning person but this was a great way to wake up. Of course, I was so paranoid that I was going to oversleep that I woke up at 5am and then every 20 minutes after that. But no matter, I booked in again next week and once my 3 sessions are finished, I’m going to sit down with the budget and work out if we can afford me doing more. Because I might be in love with pilates.

But that was not all I did on Wednesday. No no. I had my first box fit session and Mae kicked. my. ass. My heart rate rose right from the get-go and did not drop the entire time. I guess 2 months of no exercise at all means you’re one unfit, puffing billy at the gym. We did sprints. We did speed pyramids, with “rest periods” of wall sits – apparently the gym wall needed a lot of propping up – and then more speed pyramids. We did crunches and jumping jacks. We also cursed Mae out repeatedly. And booked in for next week and more hell.

So today my body is aching, but in a good way, a way I haven’t felt for a while and I’m loving it. Because seriously, my brain might be turning to mush while I’m out of work, but my body certainly will not.

Happy Thanksgiving to my U.S. peeps and enjoy the turkey!

Presenting to you … Mrs The Boy


As you may have gathered since my last post just before the wedding, I am now a married woman.

Got my debit card in my mail today with my married name and it’s the first official piece of the married puzzle. I was slightly excited by it. The Boy smiled but I don’t think he got my excitement bug there. I feel rather grown up now.

The wedding was amazing. Beautiful. Perfect even though my dress snapped open at the back on our way to the photos and no number of safety pins could fix it. At least the zipper stayed up and there were no wardrobe malfunctions to speak of! It was amazing even though I was so excited that I could barely eat and I missed out on all the yummy food – thank goodness for the menu tasting, otherwise I would never have known the deliciousness that was the Moroccan Chicken or Twice cooked Prime Beef.

We danced the night away and suddenly it was over, my shoes were off and my flip flops were on. We were at the hotel and I was pulling out all the millions of hair pins the hairdresser used. It was over. Amazing how the time flies, don’t you think? I mean, I know everyone told me it would fly by, but it seemed so fast. I remember putting the running sheet for the night together and it seemed like a loooong night and then it was over. But it was awesome so that’s okay.

What wasn’t so awesome was that my dad had gastro so he was under the weather, my mom got shingles on her nose a week before the wedding (although we didn’t know what it was until after the wedding) and my uncle came down with gastro the day after the wedding. His was a lot more serious than my dad’s though, since he’s diabetic and apparently (unbeknownest to him) had kidney damage already, which was exacerbated by getting dehydrated from being sick. He ended up with close to kidney failure and in hospital for a week. Luckily he’s on the mend now, but boy, was my wedding weekend memorable for him!

The Boy and I headed off on honeymoon and had a blast. I’ll post about that later though. And now we’re home, having opened all the wedding presents and settled into routine life. I have no work on my plate at the moment – at least until January – so I’m a little stressed, but I have wedding presents to put away, old stuff to give away, and honeymoon weight to lose (tapas in Barcelona was awesome, paella was yummy), which I’m ONTO. My healthy living vision board is done (I’ll post a photo tomorrow) and I’m focused on getting back on course, with no wedding nonsense to get in the way.

So this week – honeymoon posts to come (including Chasing the Blue Bus in Barcelona and a Jazz Funeral in New Orleans), vision board post to come and I have a massage on Tuesday. Oh, and US Thanksgiving with Michelle, Mary and Kepa! So I’m excited about that.

Less is (apparently) more


I’ve been fighting with my skin for a while now. We’ve had a love hate relationship going on and to tell you the truth, it’s been slightly abusive at times.

I’ve abused my skin with cleansers and toners and moisterizers of all kinds. I’ve tried those for sensitive skin, normal skin, dry skin and combination skin. Each option produced different  (and sometimes worse) results. I used and abused my skin.

And then I was reading a site where someone posted about how they stopped washing their face altogether – just rinsed with water – and I was shocked. SHOCKED I tell you. This is sacrilege! Everyone knows you have to cleanse, tone and moisturize or else. (Or else what I’m not sure). I rolled my eyes and moved on.

But it got me thinking. So I started a little experiment. I tend to wear makeup and/or get my sweat on during the day, so I stuck with washing my face at night with something gentle, but I decided to stop washing my face in the morning. I would splash it with water in the shower and moisturise if I needed to, but no washing. I have a couple of spots which have been taking FOREVER to clear up and I figured I’d judge by those. If they got worse (or got friends), I’d go back to washing and abusing my skin. If there was any improvement AT ALL, I’d give it a little longer.

People. People. The spots are going. The redness is going. My skin is not paperthin dry or weirdly oily. It’s super soft. It’s not angry red at all. My pores are not clogged and my blackheads are going bye-bye.

This is a revelation. Now, I’m not advocating embracing the sweat and grime, but for me, this seems to be working. Two weeks in and my skin is going from strength to strength. Sure, there are still areas for improvement. But it showed me that sometimes, less is more. Less product, more result.

And in my round-about-way, I’m applying this to life in general and healthy living specifically. Sometimes we get so caught up in eating perfectly and working out perfectly that we get caught in a cycle of doing all the “right” things and achieving nothing other than getting frustrated. Sometimes it takes less – less stressing – to achieve more. Maybe you’re overtraining or undereating in your quest for perfection. Perhaps you need more than 1200 calories to lose weight – eat more, lose more. Or working out less – try not working out 2 hours a day everyday and see how that works for you. I was doing all the right things but they weren’t right for me. They were right for someone but not me. Sometimes it takes a while to find your “right”.

And in the meantime, be open to the idea that less could be more.

Hope all my US readers had a great 4th of July and are enjoying the long weekend!

Making an Investment in Something Worthwhile


Eating properly is not cheap. It’s easier to buy processed food and fast food. It’s often cheaper, depending on where you live.

Buying exercise clothes, joining a gym, taking the time to exercise is not cheap or easy. It’s an effort. It’s easier to put it further down the priority list, to prioritise everything else above it. It takes effort. It takes time. It takes money.

But isn’t it a worthwhile investment?

Isn’t it worth every penny and minute you put into it in order to be healthy – mentally and physically? Am I being naive here? I know I’m lucky not to have to worry too much about where my next meal is coming from, or how I’m going to pay my bills. I’m fully aware that I’m lucky like that and not everyone is in the same boat. I’m also aware that my situation could change at any time.

But being healthy has never been a cheap or easy option for me. My asthma means I have monthly medical expenses. My specialists charge an arm and leg to look after my lungs. I can’t get coverage here for my asthma as it’s a pre-existing condition, so I pay.

But I’m also hyper aware that this is my body for life. One body. One life. And so I make my health a priority. By doing this, it impacts the rest of my life. I’m healthier, happier and more able to cope with stress. Sure, it takes effort to plan my meals, to cook in bulk, to avoid those processed crappy foods. It costs me to join a gym, to take the time out from my day to workout but it’s worth it.

Now, obviously gym fees can be ridiculous and I’m not saying that you have to spend money you don’t have. Time is a cost too. Taking the time to workout, to cook, to plan. It’s about you being top of the list.

If we don’t prioritise this, what use is all the rest?