Thursday, April 29, 2010

Week 15 - 10 kilos lighter and lovin' it!

YES, I can definately say that 10 kgs is gone as I've just slipped past it now. I was rather stagnant there for nearly 2 wks - going back and forwards, but finally it's passed me by and I'm relieved. I was expecting a bit of a lull but I am hoping that being back into my gym routine with my PT really pushing me, that I will keep up the loss. A friend also recommended I try incorporating a good solid 45 mins of steady walking as well now to help up my ante - and this again reiterates my desire to get the school walk back into the timetable. So my goal this weekend is get my pram situation sorted out so that next week I can really get started. The weather is just glorious so I know I will really enjoy it.

I honestly can't believe what I've achieved (through the grace of God) and although I have still had my ups and downs, I'm really ecstatic that I am enjoying this way of life and seeing it pay off. I have NEVER stayed on any sort of diet this long. I have tried a million diets over the years and have a file full of all the latest "fads" from years gone past - but none have ever kept me on the straight and narrow like this "life change" has. Prob the only other diet I tried that helped me lose weight before my sister's wedding was the Tony Ferguson diet - with the shakes and soups. I enjoyed this because once again it takes all the guess work out of it for you and you always knew where you were up to, and what was for breaky the next day! I think it helps you to break the sugar addiction as well as it encourages you to get rid of it out of your diet and it is not incorporated into the mixes. However, I never excercised much back then and I now believe this is of absolute importance for not just physical health but emotional health as well.

Also, I really believe God has provided all the right nutrients in whole organic foods to give us a balanced and super-fuelled diet, and this is why I prefer now to gain benefit out of real food that He specifically created for us right from the beginning of the world. He knew what He was doing when He created the veges and the fruits and knew exactly how they would help us, so I will honour Him in using them to benefit my body. I am often reminded of the verse in the bible that tells us that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit - so why dishonour Him by polluting it with so much trash, rather than pure and perfect foods. Only the best for my Lord!

I have struggled with a shocker of a headache this week - it started on Wed arvo and died off Thurs arvo but reappeared at the gym Friday morning and absolutely floored me! Even tho I kept with a lower impact workout, I got home and collapsed - awful pain. And the reason - I believe it was the choc chip cookies I made for the kids. Yes, they had a little wheat flour in them, and some non-refined sugar but I actually think it was mainly the choc chips because they were just the cooking ones. If I'd had some better quality dk choc I would have just chopped that up but that is no guarantee it wouldn't have still affected me, esp as I scoffed down about 4 - that was just OVERLOAD. Anyway, it was a good reminder that if I want to be debilitated by these headaches - sure, eat as many as you like and then be out of service for 2.5 days! But what sort of life is that? It was another wake up call that yes, I can still have a taste of stuff but that is it - if I go back to my guzzling gertie life, I will be the one who loses out.

Ok, now would like to share a couple of recipes that I have used lately out of a cookbook my sis lent me - "Healing Foods - Cooking for Celiacs, Colitis, Crohn's & IBS" by Sandra Ramacher. Basically these are gluten and sugar free recipes - so a real plus for me. I made the next cake twice - the 2nd time was practically perfect and I got sooooo many compliments.

Citrus Cake
* 1 med navel orange, 1 lemon, 1 mandarin - place whole fruits in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 mins till the fruit is soft. Take out and cool, slice open & remove seeds, and then puree in blender.
* Beat 3/4 cup of honey and 6 eggs until light and fluffy. Fold thru fruit puree.
* Mix 2 1/2 cups of almond flour or meal with 1 tsp of baking soda, and then fold thru the egg and fruit mixture.
* Pour into a prepared round baking tin (lined with baking paper) and bake in a mod oven for up to an hour - checking with a skewer after 30 mins. Remove from oven and while hot, drizzle a little honey over the top to add a syruppy finish. Alternatively, completely cool before removing from tin and then make an orange caramel sauce to serve over top.

Orange Caramel Sauce
1 cup honey
200 g butter
grated rind from 1 orange
2 tbs fresh OJ

Mix all ingreds in a saucepan and simmer for 10 mins - sooooooo yummy!

I haven't had a Soup of the Week for awhile - but this one certainly hits the spot and was absolutely amazing.

Pumpkin and Macadamia Nut Soup
2 tbs olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
2 tsp fresh ginger grated
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 cup peeled cored & diced apple
1 kg p'kin peeled and diced
1 cup chook stock

Heat oil in a lge pot. Add onion, nuts, ginger & garlic, and saute until lightly browned. Add the turmeric and stir. Add the apple and pumpkin and stir for 2 - 3 mins and add chook stock. Cover and cook for 20 mins or until p'kin is soft. Process or blend until smooth and creamy.

*I also added some coconut cream to make it go a little further - just superb.

Anyway, will post this now while I remember and then will hopefully post some more soon. All very busy here in preparation for Bailey's 4th birthday party next Saturday so have been doing a lot of early cooking. Till next time!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Week 14 - The return of my nemesis.....

Phew! What a week, and so far, not much light at the end of the tunnel. It's been a seriously tough week struggling to get this depression monkey off my back. At the moment I feel like I'm madly trying to tread water to keep my head above the waves, but each day something new seems to add another weight to my shoulders, and slowly drags me under.

I was just robotically cleaning the kitchen this morning mulling over my desire to just lie down and sleep for 10 years, when it came to me crystal clear - "what is the difference between now and a few weeks ago when I was living the high and happy life?" And the answer of course is "the gym". I know all the studies that have been done to say that the endorphins produced while excercising and the "psychological" benefits of "improving" oneself are incredibly beneficial, but if I hadn't seen it happen to myself, I doubt I would have believed it. 3 weeks is a long time to deprive yourself of something that has been such a strenghtening force in your life. I am happy and relieved to say that I was back at the gym this morning, and even after 1 session the rush afterwards was just amazing.

However, I think it will take my body a little longer to still get those "happy" hormones rushing around again, as I did crash down again a little later. It's so difficult to make others understand how debilitating it can be to feel depressed, esp if they have not experienced it themself. My husband constantly struggles with this issue and unfortunately is still having to learn the small things it takes to bring me back from the brink. I was sitting at the lights the other day, thinking "why not drive round the corner and get "accidentally" hit by another car? Then I could have a long rest in hosp and not have to be constantly bothered and frustrated by 4 kids and all those issues building up and wearing me down!" Of course, with my kids in the car with me, I knew I wouldn't follow through but, it wasn't so much that, that then I suddenly started thinking of how inconvenient it would be, that I didn't have the energy to go thru with it! Now, I am not making light of having these compulsions, but it is so typical of mothers to think "I would love to just disappear for a little while, but...... the washing isn't up-to-date, I doubt if my husband could put a dinner together with the 6 bits of dried up veges in the fridge and 1/2 tub of yoghurt & tomato sauce, so maybe I should pop out to Mrs Flannerys to grab a few things......and actually I was going to make spaghetti anyway, so while I'm out........." And in a few mins you have lost yourself to the practicalities of running a home and a family (and heaven forbid - a job as well) and by the grace of God, can be distracted from any other spontaneous folly.

I know there are less dramatic ways to achieve a little balance in one's life but I spose that is why it is a neurological issue for us - that when things are out of whack, it is awfully hard to get them back in shape by one's own self-effort. Usually it does take a few days of taking a back seat to life, getting encouragement from the people that do "understand", and trying to get through minute by minute without freaking out about the millions of things going wrong or purposefully thwarting you. Also, it pays to look at the external circumstances (for me -too big a build up stress, not enough time with my husband, not enough time spent doing what I enjoy (gym, socialising more at church, doing hobbies that give me a release (cooking, photos, organising)) and then there are of course the internal issues - what you fill your body with and what symptoms they give you. But prob the most important area is the spiritual circumstances - normally depressive periods instigate a desert time when devotions are sparse and half-hearted, and there is just a general mumble occasionally that passes as a prayer. I believe whole-heartedly in a compassionate and loving God who gracefully holds us in close at these times and completely "gets" the fact that things are tough and that soon we will be back in closer relationship with Him. I thank God that even though I feel alone and hard done by, He is still with me and protecting me and my family. Even when I rant and rave and get angry at Him, He waits, and when I kneel to confess and crave His closeness again - He is faithful to forgive and affirm. Thank you Lord.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Week 13 - Eek! My shorts are falling off!

Well, with 9kgs off I have begun to finally see some changes. I almost lost my shorts at the park yesterday and had to kick myself that I didn't put my belt on. I'd been putting them thru the dryer in the hope that they would shrink some but it doesn't seem to be doing the job. I also tried on some of my "skinny" pants and was quite happy with how they looked. It's made me want to go thru my clothes and get rid of a lot of the fat, baggy, elastic stuff left in there. Yes, there are still a couple of maternity jeans in there that I loved the shape of, but now I don't need to be so scared of finding normal ones again!

The last time I was this weight was for Wendy's wedding 2 1/2 yrs ago but I still think my body looks way different from back then as I was not doing any gym training.

I haven't seen my PT for over 2 weeks now and I was feeling pretty low about it but I've just been so sick that I just didn't want to rush in and overdo stuff too early and get laid low again. I did do heaps of walking in Melbourne and had one weights session at the hotel gym - which I thought was pretty successful considering I was on my own. It was funny that day because I was sooooooo tired and just wanted to collapse on the bed for the arvo - but I actually realised that it was because I wasn't excercising that I had no energy, so I really felt motivated to thrash it out. Did me the world of good.

However, now that I'm better, Georgie's gone away for the wkend and so I won't be back at it till next Wednesday! Aaaaagh! But got my act together and have been doing an abs workout every wnd night. I doubt I could do a good overall weights session myself so just focussing on an easy target so that my muscles are still "working". A bit of rest is good for them so that they can start activating on the fat around them, but I feel like when I'm not working out regularly, they might go stagnant, as will my weight. And I can't imagine anything holding me back from getting back at it on Wednesday.

This week's been rather haphazard in the feeding department seeing as the week started off with me so sick. I wavered between not wanting to eat, and just wanting some comfort food - buttered toast dripping with jam (and yes, i do believe one day I gave into that dream!). I found I was craving the bread the most - it really frustrates me how hard it is to avoid bread when my family eats it alllllllll the time. And what's more, I am pretty sure it's what aggravates my dandruff. Just wish that I could release that craving......

One night we had Thai again and then Thurs night we got a night out at a new Turkish restaurant - not too much that I couldn't eat and I was able to just have a little taste of everything so that I didn't overeat. Steamed fish, leg of lamb, greek salad, squid, and a little taste of baklava - mmmmmm.......I miss baklava!

The night before I'd actually made kofta for our dinner and the kids had loved eating it wrapped in pita bread with coleslaw.

Mediterranean Kofta (adapted from Coles mag):

500g beef mince and 500g lamb mince

3 garlic cloves crushed

3 tbsp chopped parsley

4 tsps ground cumin

2 tbsp ground allspice

2 eggs, beaten

S & P

Blend all in processor till smooth. Mould meat balls around skewers and then let rest in fridge for awhile. Cook in a little oil in pan, and brown on all sides.

I did a lovely coleslaw to go with it and it was enjoyed by all! And there was enough leftover for lunch the next day. I've been enjoying some nice big lunches - omelette and salad, leftovers, and today - sauteed kale (in garlic, ginger, chilli) with baked beans. I'm still coping quite well in the mornings with my coffee and fruit. The pink lady apples up here are absolutely gorgeous and they are my fruit of choice at the moment. Every time I start one, tho, the bubba tries to steal it and sometimes eats it all up and I miss out.

Today I made the spice muffins that I got in my Easter gift from younger sis - it was like a pkt mix with all the sep ingredients (except milk) indidvidually packaged and pre-measured. So I don't know all the details but I did substitute the 1/2 cup of caster sugar with some extra honey and 1/4 cup of coconut palm sugar. They were very tasty muffins with buckwheat flour and an amazing mix of spices (not sure which). I decided not to make the cream cheese icing for on top but instead I drizzled the hot muffins with honey. Delicious.

Now, I don't want this to drag out any longer but I must just bring you uptodate on my ankles. I had the x-ray and ultrasound done on Monday and saw the dr on Wed, who confirmed I had an inflamed achilles tendon in my left ankle, and a calceneal spur as well. Nothing too serious so the dr just recommended I have some work done on it by a physio (much to the disgust of my chiro) and because I have suffered with it for over 3 months I was given an EPC for 5 free sessions. My ankles have been quite OK lately (prob due to lack of gym work) so will let it relax for now and get the work done when I have a clearer schedule.

And so, will now see how the weekend goes and if the next kg will stay off and not surprise me by sneaking back on. Strength is what I need!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Week 12 - Marvellous Melbourne

So, the biggest relief when I finally got home was that yes, I'd only put on a kilo. I was pretty happy with how I'd managed the trip away and still can say that I really enjoyed myself. However, because I was a little lenient in some things, I had a headache or icky tummy nearly EVERY day. Didn't enjoy that part! And I came home with the most horrific flu that hit me especially hard. I feel like my immunity may have been a bit weakened by the change in routine (I didn't have a lot of my powders and vitamins that I normally take) and the climate was so much dryer (and I wasn't drinking enough water to compensate).

But, my first priority when I got into melbourne, was searching out some good snacks for me to carry round everywhere. We visited Vic Markets on Sat morning and altho it took a lot of looking, I finally discovered the Organics area. Their Red Delicious apples were the most AMAZING I'd ever tasted and were usually my morning snack each day - a real treat! Also, stocked up on pears, bananas, almonds, org apple juice, eggs, dried cranberries and a nashi! Yum, I'd forgotten how great they were - crisp like apples, taste like grapes, exquisite with a slice of vintage cheddar! While at the markets, I couldn't not try their sicilian donuts - golden puffy with sultanas inside - very naughty but enjoyable. I allowed myself to taste a little of things I normally wouldn't just so I didn't deprive myself into a massive decline. I love all the little bistros, boulangeries, delicatessans and patisseries in melbourne and wanted to feel like I'd had a little taste of Paris while there!

I enjoyed my coffees each morning and must admit that I was quite quickly back on my 2 a day seeing as there were so many amazing spots to stop and partake (Brunetti's being the fave of course). We had breaky there one morning and I took great pleasure in nibbling on the kids' croissants. I also gave in to a canoli and florentine on our way to the airport - delish but way too much in the end and made me quite ill on the flight home.

Lunches were pretty easy and I usually found enough salads to keep me happy. The nicest was probably at the Museum (such an excellent cafeteria) and was rocket, pumpkin, asparagus, fetta with a satay dressing - sounds strange but tasted great. And there was a delish spinach salad I had with garlic prawn satays at Hunky Dory in Pt Melbourne. And on our last day I was able to put together a terrific salad of leftovers - boiled eggs, toms & cukes (from BF's garden) with some grilled chicken.

Easter day was magnificent! We visited a baptist church in Blackburn and what a glorious service it was - so joyful and the singing very uplifting. And lunch was a real feast. There was plenty of nibblies - hommous, cheeses, gherkins, veges, crackers - but I tried to hold back so I could really enjoy lunch. And what a lunch - slow cooked leg of lamb in the webber, the crispiest roast potatoes EVER, fresh made tzatziki, nice light salad, crunchy chicken wings, and bread. Wow, did we enjoy that feed. And we all had 2nds and 3rds ....... and didn't need any dinner! I did take some of their homegrown toms home with some basil and olive oil and had a very delish light salad. Nothing tastes as good as "healthy"!

And there was more feasts to be had at the br-in-law's with a big bbq, grilled eggplant, spinach salad, more chicken wings, potato bake and would you believe - tomato, mozzarella & basil salad too! I'm drooling just thinking about it all again! Unfortunately, there was pavlova as well but I managed just half a slice. I didn't feel the need for much chocolate but I did have a few little ones - the first 2 would be delicious but by the 3rd or 4th I was feeling ill and was able to easily end it there.

And on our last night there I also enjoyed a tremendous Eggplant Parmigiana at a Pub! And wasn't even tempted to partake in the amazing Brunetti's cake I'd bought to celebrate Ava's b'day with.

And that was Melbourne! It was a wonderful trip but there is a certain sense of relief at being back in a routine and being able to monitor my eating better again. Well, it won't be long before I blog again and update on how its going being back and being so sick..... so until then.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wk 11 - pt 2 - Happy Easter!

Well, it is that dreaded time of the month again and HANG ON - where was the PMT?????? I have not had my normal melt down this time and am so stoked (last thing I needed in all this chaos) and very thankful to God also. The only indication I can see from looking at the past few days was being a bit tearful on Sunday arvo - but that was only after discovering hubby had put my brand new Country Road silk top through the washing machine - sniff!

I have found the Lord placing some healthy reminders in front of me lately too. I am so thrilled at the progress I've made and how well I'm doing, but it so easy to rest on MY laurels, and think I'M great when what it really comes down to, is God showing me amazing grace and giving me unbelievable strength (when I let Him). I had to laugh at a verse on a bookmark I got in the mail with my "Insight for Living" newsletter (Chuck Swindoll) yesterday - "For physical training (or bodily discipline) is of some value, but Godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come", 1 Tim 4:8.

Oh, how true it is! And what a timely reminder - it would be so easy to turn this diet/excercise/self-control thing into an obsession but seriously, in eternal value - where would it help me???? I don't believe this is at all saying not to be concerned about training and disciplining your body - exactly the opposite in fact (it is of some value!) but on it's own or as my first priority, it will not be what benefits me the most in my present life and the life to come. However, I do believe that in controlling what enters my mouth and what I do with my body, it does directly affect the attitude I have for God - without all those chemical and artificial interruptions in my system, I am seeing more joy in my life and being able to appreciate God's goodness and His words for me. I understand I may not always feel this way, but I'm relishing in soaking in God at the moment, and in strengthening my faith now, while I can, and to hold me strong for when (undoubtedly) those harder times hit.

The other thing that has been heavy on my heart is how to "repay" God for all His goodness. Yes, I know His love is not conditional but I know if this is a 2-way relationship, I need to understand what my love response should be to my amazing Creator and Saviour. I came across this passage while killing time one morning before heading off to the gym:

Psalm 116

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.

The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me;
I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. (*I sure was!*)
Then I called on the name of the Lord: "O Lord, save me!"

The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me.

Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.

For you O Lord have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
I believed; therefore I said, "I am greatly afflicted."
And in my dismay I said, "All men are liars".

How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.
I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
O Lord, truly I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant;
you have freed me from my chains.

I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the Lord.
I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people,
in the courts of the house of the Lord - in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord.

Now, I am no great expositor, but I firmly believe in the Lord putting things on your heart as you read. And being so grateful to God, for saving me and hearing my cry for mercy, I will make known the message of salvation to those I know, who don't know of it. And I will try to fulfill my vows to God to make my family my most important ministry as well.

And that is what I hope you will pray for me, that I will continue to share this with everyone, especially at this amazing time of the year. I feel heartbroken when remembering Good Friday, but nothing beats the joy, amazement and thankfulness in celebrating Easter Sunday and the fact that we worship a risen and living Lord, not a dead cement statue!

Have a wonderful Easter!