Friday, December 19, 2008

Who moved my yoghurt?!

I just went to the fridge here at work to get my Danone Activia Apple & Muesli yoghurt, that I love oh-so-much and keeps me sane in the afternoons when my set of sweet teeth start bugging me, and.... it's gone... Somebody has taken it... Someone went to a fridge that I share with maybe 20 people, and took my yoghurt and ate it... It may seem a bit over the top but I almost started crying!

I plan my food so carefully, and even something that seems spontaneous (like the punnet of grapes I brought today) has already gone through a quick screening in my head to see that it fits in with my calories for today. I find the late afternoons at work to be the worst, just that time between 3-5pm when I'm starting to get bored and thinking about hometime (hope my boss never finds this blog!) and I like to bring a cup-a-soup for days when I have to teach, and a yoghurt sometimes to just silence that sugar craving.

I work with some people who think nothing of having dessert at lunch, or a few biscuits with tea, or popping down to the vending machine in the afternoons. There are also those who bring their few low-fat bits n pieces, so I could understand how a mix-up could happen. But how do you accidentally take the wrong yoghurt out of the fridge and eat it without realising: "I brought a rhubarb one but this tastes like apple..." And this is the second time this has happened. On a day when I could really do with a sugar boost.

Hence the emotional response.

Now I know it's not a rational reaction. I know that it's just a yoghurt. It's more the interruption in my potentially neurotic food plan that's causing my distress. Plus it's a nice yoghurt. Honestly, try one. I don't get commission or anything, honest!
Sorry for the rant.. just needed to vent....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happiness is Contagious!

I am absolutely buzzing today, grinning from ear to ear! Naturally my workmates want to know the reason, (and all about him!) but honestly it's more than just one reason. Ok, so I think Leo was the catalyst, he reminded me how good it feels to have those butterflies when you meet someone new, and he keeps showing me all these lovely reflections of myself through his eyes. After so many months of being self-deprecating it's a delight and a relief to actually feel good about myself! But it's not just the excitement of a romance that has a smile on my face, it's a multitude of factors, (including Christmas, and all you Fitosphere Bloggers to name but a few joys in my life!) and this feeling keeps having the most unexpected benefits!

Like last night when I went to Pilates, the last class before Christmas, and it went really well! I don't know if you can rock a Pilates class but it felt like I did! I was just in such great form going in there, I was totally relaxed and ready for the class. I was feeling slim and light after my last few days of liquids and my body seemed to be moving really fluidly (no pun intended!). After the first few movements I just felt like something had clicked into place and I was finally using the right pelvic/lower abdominal muscles for the exercises, and the rest of the class just went so well after that! The Instructor even complimented me on my Roll-Ups! Yay!!

Even my work is benefiting from my increased good humour, I'm more productive and efficient. I always knew that happiness could be contagious but I always interpreted that as being from person to person, now I can see it "infects" every part of your life. Things seem easier and more enjoyable when you're already in a good place to begin with. Life seems better and brighter.

Now, ever the cynic, I always err on the side of caution when it comes to a potential love interest... So in the same way that I'm not relying on my recent loss of appetite to lose weight and get fit, I'm not relying on Leo to be the reason that I'm happy. He's just a lovely unexpected bonus.

He's from the same town as me, living just around the corner, and does martial arts too. Jujitsu is his art of choice though, he retired from TKD a couple of years ago when he was preparing to run (and did actually run) the Dublin Marathon. I've known him (and fancied him!) for years, so long in fact that I am still shocked that he's actually interested in me. Every time I get a text message or an email from him I get a little shock! We've only been seeing each other less than a week, so it's very early days yet, but he is extremely cute, surprisingly sweet and just oh-so-lovable! I'll be sure to keep you posted... :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Missing Appetite: No Reward for its Return!

After the excessive amount of wine consumed last weekend, I knew it would take a while for my appetite to return... I didn't think it would take this long! It's been 5 days and I'm still not even craving food or sneaking snacks, I'm just not interested in food... Yesterday I nearly had an entire day of just liquids: a smoothie for breakfast; a bowl of mushroom soup for lunch; a cup-a-soup to keep me going while teaching TKD & then a quick bowl of cereal when I got home. That was it. Throw in a few cups of green/peppermint tea and that was yesterday's food diary. And I wasn't even trying. I just wasn't really interested in putting solid food in my mouth.

So perhaps the post-alcohol detox just gave me the right kick-start to clear that panicked craving for food that I had been feeling intermittently since the summer... Or perhaps Leo (the name that I'm giving the new hot guy that I've just started seeing!) is giving me such butterflies that I can't even think of eating....

Regardless of the reason for this recent apathy towards food, I'm glad that I'm finally feeling some control over my eating, and even if this is temporary, I hope I can remember how nice this calm feeling is. No mad cravings for food, and then no post-binge guilt! It's quite refreshing. Hope I can keep this going for a while...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

DO Try This At Home!

In an attempt to clear toxins from my body, (and also to clear my name from any alcoholic tendencies I seem to be displaying in the blogging world!) I decided to do a Yoga DVD last night when I got home from work. I hadn't used an exercise DVD in a long time, actually never as the last workout I did like that was on VHS (remember Jane Fonda's Workout!). I finally bought this DVD solely because I have not been able to find a Yoga class that suits location and times available... that and it was less than a tenner...

I've never been a fan of working out in an unstructured environment. Even on the days when I would train alone, I would have to have a plan laid out or else laziness would kick in and the time would be wasted, so I was dubious about how I would follow a workout DVD. After all, they can't tell how much effort I'm putting in (Nyah nyah etc.!) So I think I'm going to have to actually use some discipline to make sure I do this regularly.

The DVD I bought is Antonia Kidman's Ashtanga Yoga DVD and despite my intial scepticism (I just don't feel like it's working out unless I'm in a gym setting!) I did feel nicely loosened out after a few of those sun salutations, and even a little out of breath after a few fast movements through the stances. I felt a bit awkward and uncoordinated in the balance stances, and just plain weak when they started balancing on their hands without any wobbling! It's not a nice feeling, being a Beginner again!

I'm going to try to do this "class" as often as my roommate is out of the house thus leaving me with a chance to make a fool out of myself in private! I think it would be ideal in the mornings, so I'd guess I'd better stop hitting that snooze button...

Does anybody else use Yoga DVDs at home? Are there any you could recommend to a newbie? :) Or do you share my preference for a workout setting being designed for its purpose? I know there are a good few bloggers out there who are more than able to work out in their kitchen, so am I just being closed-minded in needing an entire gymnasium when I could do the same at home?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Don't Try This At Home: The Wine Diet

I finally found a way to curb my eating for well over 24 hours, almost an accidental appetite suppressant as it were. I would not recommend this for anyone, particularly not if you have plans to actually do anything productive for that period of time! I was attending yet another work party, this one was at my boss' boss' house, if that makes sense! This guy is the Chairman of our company, and is extremely generous, as demonstrated by the freely flowing wine on offer throughout the night... Well it would have been rude to say no... (Insert sheepish smiley here...)

Having consumed the best part of a bottle of wine within the first hour of arriving I was distinctly uninterested in the canapés on offer, and if that wasn't enough of a sign that something odd was happening to my appetite, then my complete disinterest in the buffet dinner being served should have set off alarm bells! And it did. Of sorts. Despite my increasingly hazy state, I knew that myself and Dee (colleague and partner-in-crime when it comes to nights with alcohol!) should eat something. I grunted and pointed at the different food in the buffet and was served a plate of something that looked and smelled quite nice. I just needed to work up a desire to put it in my mouth!

Mechanically I shovelled in a few mouthfuls of food, before leaving the plate down on the table for fear I'd lose control of it! Some kind soul didn't realise I was still actually trying to eat it, despite the slow nature of my productivity, and my plate was swept away to the kitchen. I took it as a sign that I'd clearly had enough to eat, and proceeded to drink more wine!
I knew that something was definitely amiss when the desserts (plural!) were served, and I didn't even notice.... To be fair, I was in the pool room with all the young 'uns, dancing up a storm, so were not exactly listening out for more food! Once I saw plates of pavlova and chocolate something or other I knew I had to at least try to eat something, if only to keep me going until Dee would be willing to go home, which I knew would be the early hours of the morning! So I ate a mince pie. It was delicious, but I had no inclination to eat any more. Back to the wine I went!

The moral of the story is... Don't do what I did!! Upwards of 2 bottles of wine (I am afraid to actually try to count the number of glasses I had!), caused me to move in a robotic state for nearly the whole weekend. I can still feel the remnants of that sensation in my head that was far too painful and severe to be callously described as a headache! And I can count the number of meals from the last 3 days on 1 hand! I'm still not really interested in food! Maybe all this time I was just thirsty.... ;o) I'm just kidding!!
It was a great night, and I really was very happy-drunk, and hopefully didn't make too much of a fool of myself! So I'm glad I did let go and enjoy the night, although I certainly won't be repeating it in a hurry! Plus, the disinterest in food may be partly attributed to the alcohol, but a certain young man, we'll call him Leo, may have to take some responsibility for distracting me over the weekend too! ;o)

Hope everyone had a lovely (but maybe not quite-so-merry!) weekend! :o)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

An Achievable Goal Please!

I used to train every night of the week, and not accept any excuses. In fact, if I didn't feel like going then I would be spurred on to make myself go, because I cleverly recognised that disinterest as being a downhill spiral. A few months, and a genuine reason for not training later, and now I don't know the difference between disinterest and genuine fatigue. I have allowed myself nights off that I probably shouldn't, and I don't know how to go back to being such a hard-ass on myself! I'm being too nice!! :o)

I'm sure that this is a good thing in some ways; I'm allowing back injuries to heal, I'm getting more time with friends and family & I'm not feeling so trapped in my training. Well I thought I was feeling more motivated... Last night, after an hour of Pilates, I was so tempted to go home, but I went to TKD, not necessarily because I wanted to, but because I knew I should. I'm trying to normalise my routine, and this is what I used to do. But I had no inclination to be there. My disinterest, and just plain boredom, was written all over my face. I think I actually sapped the other guys of their own energy!

I know I used to enjoy the classes; the challenge of kicking, continuously trying to improve upon flexibility and strength. I loved my position as a black belt, at the top of the class, leading by example. Before I graded for my II Dan in June I was training 10 times a week. No exaggeration or boasting. Just fact. I did 30-45 mins of practice in the morning at the gym at work, and then my normal 60-90 mins classes in the evening, on top of 4 hours of teaching during the week. I was also part of a Tag Rugby team at work, we had regular training sessions and matches, that I had initially intended to attend all of them but had to focus on TKD more with the grading coming up and only made 80% of them (Only!).

I knew I had a goal, a respectable yet achievable one, of grading to the next level of black belt. My weight didn't matter for this so I ate normally enough, but I was enjoying the training. I was very focused. Very driven. I think it's safe to say that I burnt myself out. I'm even getting tired now just thinking about how much I used to train! But that's not to say that my current lethargic state is an improvement, I think it's just the result of that over-exercising.

I felt that my motivation was lacking last night as I trained in the class. I can't kick as well as I'd like to, and I felt disheartened by that. I've been doing TKD for nearly 10 years, and though I've brought home a lot of dust-gathering silverware, I haven't actually won anything of note. I'm starting to wonder if I ever will. I know my levels of acceptable achievement are probably higher than a lot of my fellow students. I know that I took 2 silvers at the recent competition, without even preparing for it, and lost only narrowly to people that I've beaten in the past. But it doesn't seem to be enough.

My attempts to "normalise" aren't working. I'm getting frustrated because I'm looking to the past and want to turn back the clock. That's not the way to deal with this. I need a new normal, I need a new goal.

I've been reading Chris's blog updates on how his wife is preparing for a Fitness competition. As distinct from Bodybuilding competition it's more about feminine lean-ness, or so I understand so far. I've seen footage of Bodyfitness events before as well, ones with gymnastics and high kicks etc. I've never told anyone this but I think I'd love to do something like that... I've always been muscular (too muscular according to my friends!), and I love dancing... I'm not saying that this is my new goal!! First of all I don't think we even have anything like this in Ireland! This is just a fantasy...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Emotional Eating

I didn't originally intend to use this picture, but it seems poetic somehow, a chocolate brownie shaped like a heart: I heart food. I love food, but should food be a form of love?
As soon as I hit any kind of emotional incident, be it a high or a low, my appetite drastically changes. It's not always consistent either, it rarely makes sense, and is for the most part uncontrollable. Like extreme nerves on the day of a competition means that food is the last thing on my mind and I have to force a form of starch into my body for fuel for the day! Or bouts of giddy happiness which drive all thought of food away, and I am satisfied by the warm glow alone!

I find that even the negative events can cause me to be paralysed from eating, like when I'm terrified I've made a big mistake at work, I break out into a cold sweat and food is far from my mind! Strangely enough it's the days when I'm happy with my body that I'll snack a bit more (justified by my slim image in the mirror!) AND "fat days" where my clothes are tight and I feel like the marshmallow man! It makes no sense to me but when I feel fat, I feel compelled to eat!

I eat when I'm bored. I eat when I'm sad. I eat when I feel lonely or deprived in some way. My day seems to revolve around what I am or am not eating! Whether it's guilt for excesses or pride for depriving myself, every day's nutrition has some form of emotion linked to it.

Clearly I am not eating for physical needs, I seem to exist solely on an emotional appetite. I am not saying this for sympathy or even to complain, it's simply an observation.

Can I fix this? Can I re-train myself to see food as fuel and not as comfort? Is the solution to eat what I want or to monitor every calorie I consume?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Photographic Evidence

Ok, so someone had their camera set to the wrong format of time, but that was 2.46am! My make up must have been caked on with a trowel because I had it done nearly 12 hours earlier! I'll definitely be using that salon again! :)

Saturday night was my work night out, in the banqueting hall of a local 5 star Castle, and it was magical. I had a fabulous night, although I am still quite delicate. I think that going out on the Friday night as well was a big mistake... and the tequila shots were just plain stupid... but I survived! Yay me! :)

Strangely enough, I didn't actually drink that much, and even stranger still, I didn't binge on junk food! I woke up today feeling slimmer and lighter than I had before the weekend, which was when I realised that I hadn't actually eaten to excess, so even though I'd been prepared to deal with all the guilt this morning, I didn't have any! Nice start to the week.

Now if I could only find some paracetamol... :)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

In the Zone

I'm not referring to the famous diet, I'm talking about a state of Zen, a sort of meditative state of consciousness whereby I become entirely focused on exercise and simultaneously impervious to temptation. It is a powerful feeling, and a wonderful state of being. I got a flash of it a minute ago and it sent shivers (pardon the unintentional pun) down my spine.

When I am in the Zone, I feel no hunger, nor cravings such as sugar pangs. I drink water and herbal teas continuously. I refuse starchy foods, preferring fresh ingredients and as much vegetables as I can fit on my plate. I feel full of energy and completely guilt-free!

Strangely enough, when I'm in this mental state, I love to bake. I can maintain a sort of mental separation between the ingredients and myself (though I do admit I have licked my sugar & butter-covered-fingers on more than one occasion!). I think this just emphasises the fact that I don't bake for the finished product, I bake because I love the action of baking, and of course I love sharing the spoils with my colleagues/TKD buddies. Thankfully I have enough of them that I can't be accused of trying to fatten anyone up!

I think I'm going to bake Banana Bread tonight... It's a sweet loaf cake, made with bananas and walnuts. If I'm not already in the Zone, then hopefully this will push me in to it.

Does anybody else notice stark contrasts in their behaviour when they're training hard/restricting food? Or experience that zen-like state I'm referring to?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Permission to Diet?

(It's fairly widely accepted these days that the word "diet" is a bad word and should be replaced with "healthy living" or some other such term synonymous with the intention to reduce food intake and increase exercise. For the purposes of being understood, I'm using the D word in today's post.)

I want to know, why is it that in my skinniest days I was able to say that I was losing weight for competitions, but now that I have gained a few pounds I am not allowed to even mention an intention to cut back?!

The difference seems to be that when I was trying to lose weight for TKD, I felt I had a legitimate reason, one that was not based in a shallow desire to fit into a smaller size of clothing (that was just an unbelievable bonus!). So I felt I was given permission, in social situations, to decline all forms of treat food, acting as though excess calories were kryptonite to my system. None of my friends had a problem with my lunacy of 3 small meals and up to 3 training sessions a day. Even my starvation periods pre-competition were either accepted or went unnoticed as I cut back to close to between 100-500 cals a day to lose last-minute water weight. All of this was allowed because I was an athlete and this had to be done to make weight.

I was an athlete. One who would be nearly fainting as she got on to the weighing scales. One who would be barely able to finish a couple of rounds in the ring and would need hours/days of recovery time before eating or feeling normal. An athlete, a sparrer, who was lean and fit, but mentally unprepared for the fight.

Now I eat normally. I have learned from my mistakes of the past. I know now that in order to train hard and be strong I need to give my body fuel. Over the summer I ate more than normally. I took a break. I gained more holiday weight than I'd intended. I want to lose it. Without resorting to my old "tricks of the trade", I want to go on a proper, healthy, diet. But I can't say that. I can't go on a diet just because I want to be skinnier, it's just not allowed. I could lie and say that I have a competition coming up that I need to prepare for, but I'm too honest for that. Even if I could keep a straight face, my blushing cheeks would give me away. So I give in to the perceived social pressure and I eat normally, and then I feel guilty because I know I shouldn't be eating so much.

I know how to lose weight, I've done it so many times I could nearly write a book on it. In fact, I have written lengthy notes and diet/training plans for other competitors. So how do I give myself permission to diet, ignoring public perception, without slipping back into extreme mistakes of the past?

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

I really didn't expect to be in good form this morning. After a frustrating weekend of battling crowds of holiday shoppers (where did they come from?! I thought we were in the middle of a recession!), followed by somehow sleeping through my alarm this morning (7.30 already?! how?!!) and thus missing my cardio session in the gym (oh the guilt!), I thought a day of misery and foggy-headed muddling was ahead of me. But it was not to be! I am full of the joys of spring, albeit in the middle of winter! I had every reason to be grumpy on this cold and frosty morning. The roads were, and probably still are, dangerously icy today. I had to wrap up well in my winter coat and gloves to de-frost the car, only to be late for work, yet again. But I'm still smiling! And the reason is...

Christmas is coming!!! Woohoo!!! :o)

I started my gift shopping over the weekend, and this morning I am compiling and printing a selection of photographs of the family to send to my sister, niece and nephew in Dubai. There is nothing like the joy of giving, particularly a very personal gift, to outshine every other potential ounce of negativity in my life!

So even though I know it was a bit early to be playing Christmas songs, I stuck on a collection of the old classics, with Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, the Beverly Sisters, and now I've got them all running through my head, like an internal soundtrack! I love Christmas!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

The best gift of all

After my complaining yesterday and my attempts to unburden emotional and physical baggage, I feel humbled by Charlotte's post today. The human body truly is a magnificient achievement, it's a wondrous form of engineering, with so many uniquely personal attributes for every being on the planet. I'm carrying a few extra pounds of fat, and unfortunately it's stored around my ass and hips, but that couple of additional inches should not negate all the amazing things my body has done, and continues to do for me, and I should be grateful for that.
So I guess my body, like everyone else's, is pretty great, and here's why I'm thankful for it:
1. Flexibility - I'm kind of bendy. Some of it is natural, like the fact that I can lean back into the crab position from standing, and some of it is from TKD and Pilates, like fact that I can almost sit in front splits. I always forget that I'm fairly supple compared to "civilians" until I stretch with a friend at the gym, or with the team before a Tag Rugby game!
2. Photographic Memory - I'm not quite able to merely glance at a page and memorise its entire contents, but I'm not far off it. I used to learn essay questions off by heart the night before my finals when studying Law in University. It felt like cheating because I could turn the pages in my head during the exam!
3. Strong Muscular Physique - This is good and bad! It's a good feeling when I'm benching a decent weight, and I can see my delts and traps pop out with the exertion, but that's bad when you remember I'm a GIRL and it's hard to wear strapless tops when you've got shoulders like a rugby player! :o)
4. Quick Learner - Along with my good memory, I have a good aptitude to adapt to new methods or tasks, (this is starting to sound like my CV!). So thanks to that sense of co-ordination I find I really enjoy classes like Tae-Bo or Power Aerobics that give me a chance to challenge myself.
5. Abs of Steel - Ok, not quite, but I am fortunate to have a fairly flat stomach, with a girly two-pack, and more if I lose any bit of weight. This is all thanks to TKD, though the Pilates has been great in recent months for hitting the lower abs and pelvic floor muscles.
I think that's enough to be grateful for, any more and I might get an ego I can't handle! :o)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks?

Even in Ireland, Thanksgiving is upon us! I managed to avoid the Turkey/Cranberry Sauce/Stuffing Combo in the work canteen today, in favour of the home-cooked meal on offer this evening. I know I should restrain myself, and I know I will eat too much.
I have been eating too much lately. And not exercising enough. My clothes are snug and I'm scared to stand on a weighing scales. I know all the logical solutions to this, but what about the emotional side, how do I stop comfort eating? I think if I knew the answer to this then I'd be extremely popular among my friends, as I know I am not the only one who seeks solace in persistent snacking. Even as I type this I'm thinking of getting something from the vending machine to have with my cup of tea! These are not rational thoughts! I need to be shifting inches, not gaining them!
My dress arrived today, the one from Coast, and as I feared, it clings to my voluptuous hips... It fits perfectly on top, then clings to my ass and thighs bearing more than a passing resemblance to the bottom of an egg timer... I look ridiculous... The party is Saturday week, I don't think I can work miracles, even if I felt inclined to radically cut my calorie intake and actually start training properly! The wedding is at the end of December, not a great time to be hoping to be skinnier, but marginally more achieveable given that there are over 4 weeks to shift the excess baggage.
It's a beautiful dress... I just wish I had my old body back so that I could wear it with pride.
So I am saying this to my chub:
Dear Chub,
Thanks for the memories, for making me appreciate my former figure and making me feel ashamed for ever complaining about what I thought were excessive curves! Thank you for showing me how uncomfortable it can be to be in your own skin, and how that can completely ruin my self-confidence and sense of self-worth. Thank you for encouraging me to be more creative in how I dress, concealing you under artistic layers of clothing. Thanks for giving me something to snuggle up to at night, and thanks for keeping me warm in these cold winter months.
I think I can manage ok on my own now, I'm ready to let you go.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Cost of Happiness?

A colleague of mine snagged her tights this morning and despite using tippex to seal the damage, she was having to walk quite carefully to prevent the ladder from running! I had to take care of a few errands at lunch so while I was in the shopping centre I picked up a pair of tights for her and left them at her desk. I can't believe how nice it felt to do one simple little act of kindness, and the cost of this glorious warm feeling of contentment... about €3... :o)
I've been invited to a Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow evening, not a common occurrence in Ireland! These are long-standing family friends so of course we will not be attending empty-handed. My mother has already taken care of the "grown-up" gifts of wine etc., so I'm in charge of the offerings for the children, and for once I'm nervous about my choices! It's hard to choose for young girls these days, what's cool one week is passé the next! So I'm hoping that Bratz are still 'in', and if not, that the make-up that comes with the dolls will be satisfactory!
I love Christmas, birthdays, or any other excuses to be generous. I just love giving presents. I love choosing thoughtful, personalised gifts that will truly be appreciated and actually used. I know it's a bit early to be posting about Christmas, but I've already started ordering gifts online to make sure they arrive in time and I'm feeling very festive today indeed!
So is it really a self-less gesture when you personally get so much pleasure from the act of giving?
*Later that evening, full of the joy of doing good deeds, I found a €50 note at the supermarket check-out, left behind by the last customer. The look of astonishment on his face when I returned it was priceless.... I'm going to heaven so I am! :o)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Post Shopping-Splurge Guilt!

It's not exactly buyer's remorse, because I'm glad I made the purchases and I really did need everything I've bought... but I am certainly feeling the guilt in the after-math of my spontaneous decision to buy a lovely new Dell Studio laptop (a blue one!). I've wanted to get a new Windows-based laptop for quite a while. I do love my iBook, but the compatibility issues have been getting me down for a long time, so it will be nice to have a PC for a while, and actually be able to sync my numerous little gadgets for once! So even though I knew I had the money set aside, and even though there were numerous good reasons for me to make this purchase, I still woke up with a sickening feeling that I'd spent too much money, or that I'd made the wrong decision.
I know that all the doubts will disappear once I open the box and see my beautiful new (blue!!) laptop, with all its lovely extras and techie upgrades! I'm not quite gadget head but I do love my electronics!
My other recent purchase was a dress for my work Christmas party. Well, actually I've bought two dresses... :o) The black-tie event is held in a 5 star castle nearby, and my first choice of a full length silvery-white gown from Debenhams is beautiful but has serious bridal undertones! So I ordered a 3/4 length strapless dress (white with red flowers) from Coast, with the justification that I have a wedding to attend at the end of December so clearly this second dress would be used then at least.
I did feel a twinge of guilt as I finalised the purchase of the second dress on the Coast website... I'm just hoping that disappears once I try it on...

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Silver Lining to Every Cloud?

As you may have noticed from the recurring tone of my posts, I can easily allow negative situations to overwhelm and intimidate me, though I do believe that there is a lesson to be learned and essentially a positive outlook to be seen on everything that happens to us, it's just that sometimes it can be hard to see it. With my recent back injury/weight gain and the fears and insecurities accompanying it, I felt far from prepared to train fully in TKD let alone compete in a national competition, but somehow, yesterday, I did.

I'm not proud of my clumsy demonstration of Taekwon-Do, particularly in front of my own students. Having not prepared properly, either mentally or physically, I did not perform to my highest standard. Though I'm kicking myself for not doing things slightly differently in my bouts, I'm far more regretful of not showing my little protégés their instructor's full potential. I forgot things that I've known for years, and made a couple of rookie mistakes, but at the end of the day, I had won 2 Silver Medals for my efforts.

The awards themselves mean nothing to me, in fact I think I may have even left one behind at the competition in our haste to depart! The real "silver lining" for me was the look of awe and respect reflected in my young student's faces. It's easy to forget how much of an effect we have on other people's lives, even those who we do not interact with directly. In fact, one little girl, who I had never met before, came up to me and said: "Miss, you're my favourite black belt!" I nearly cried... :o)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thank Wispa It's Friday!

I'm in a retro mood today, after hearing they're releasing the Best of The Den on DVD! Now that means nothing to anybody outside of Ireland, but The Den was the main source of humour on Irish television for most of the 90s! In keeping with the retro theme, a friend of mine gave me a Wispa bar today! I always find it hard to decline edible gifts, particularly for fear of offending the gracious giver, but there was no way I was declining a Wispa bar! Another Irish treat I'm sure, Cadbury's only recently brought it back due to popular demand. After a brief glance at the nutritional information, I decided to allow myself this treat. It's Friday after all! :o)

Have a great weekend everyone! I'm heading down to the south of Ireland for the weekend to visit my family so I'm sure I'll end up blogging again at some point!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Whoa Girl!!

Yesterday was quite a varied day for me in terms exercise; a spontaneous 30 minute walk at lunchtime with a friend from work, 45 minutes of TKD patterns practice at the gym after work, followed by an Intermediate Pilates class which left my "core" rather warm! It's quite a difficult thing to do, letting myself go for a walk, or spending a whole hour stretching and doing core work instead of kicking pads and doing footwork drills at TKD class. I don't think I would even have considered taking up Pilates if it wasn't for my back problems, even though I do enjoy it I just wouldn't have thought I had the time with TKD every evening. But now it's helping my back so much that it's not a case of trying to find time for it, it's simply a matter of committing to the classes and regularly attending - no excuses allowed!

Similarly with the walking, in the past I would either have gone for a run, or just not gone at all. I never saw the value in walking, but again, since my back problems, I've realised that low-impact cardio like brisk walking really helps to loosen out my lower back/hips. My ego is unrelenting though, I still feel like I should have a sign on my back saying "I'm actually fit, I can run I swear!" as though walking is a sign of weakness!

How sad is it that it takes extreme pain before I finally listen to my body and slow down?! And how oddly contradictory that by doing less strenuous exercise, I am enabling my body to achieve more!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What happens when you're disorganised?

Absolutely anything and everything! I went to bed late, half-heartedly intending on going to the gym this morning. Somehow my motivation wanes when it's founded in a desire to take advantage of my gym access as much as possible! I woke up all nice and warm. snuggled up to my pillow, and gave myself 10 more mins... Then another 5... *yawn*... maybe just 2 more....
Finally got up, located gym gear, shower stuff, an outfit for work, my headphones and my ipod, no wait where's my ipod?! No time to look for it now. Out the door, felt the icy air and hoped, no prayed that the windscreen of my car wouldn't be frozen over... No such luck. Gear bag down, up the stairs to my apartment again, filling the kettle to defrost my poor frozen car. Minutes ticking by I finally am in the car, windscreen clear, gear bag ready, and I realise that without my ipod I'm really wasting my time going to the gym. At this stage I only have time for less than 30 mins of a workout so I accept defeat and vow to go this evening straight after work.
I thought music was a workout aid! When did I become so reliant on it to perform? I think there's a number of reasons for this, but the main one is that my ipod is like my invisibility cloak. When I am pumping the tunes into my ears I am blissfully unaware of the stares I'm attracting for my unusual TKD training moves. It helps me get into the zone, or at least helps me fake till I can tune everything out myself. Are iPods/personal music players that integral to everybody else?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Back on course

I haven't yet resolved anything or even spoken to "D", but I've certainly calmed down in the aftermath of that unexpected conflict. I've even managed to find a bright side in all of it - I don't have to worry about that website any more! It's not my responsibility now! Yay! It's strange to look at the site and notice new updates that I haven't added, but at the same time it felt SO nice to walk into my sitting room yesterday morning and not see that frustrating laptop there! I swear, that machine is unbelievably slow and frustrating to use. Particularly compared to my ibook! I would regularly have to practice breathing techniques in an effort to restrain urges to fling it off the balcony (no I'm not an impatient person!!).
Anyway, after a couple of tangential posts, and injury related training breaks, I seem to be back on course (no pun intended!). Though I'm not pain-free, I'm now actually able to complete a TKD class with minimal whingeing! That's pretty good for me! :o) My diet is going well too, with the assistance of Healthy Week in work, where they've provided nutritional yet yummy breakfasts - I had a plate of fruit, bowl of cereal and a smoothie today. Yum yum yum!
My newest worry (I could never be worry-free!) is regarding the gym at work. With all the recent cut-backs there are concerns about enforcing the separation between employees and contractors for fear the latter could claim equality *gasp*, and go on to then claim redundancy! I'm sure there are viable economic reasons for not wanting to give long-term contract employees a lump sum, but I'm not really going to get into that, I'm just disgusted because it looks like we won't be allowed to use the gym any more...
I find discrimination and segregation sickening, I'm not happy to accept a second-class citizen status. But more importantly, I'm not happy to lose my little gym space. It's so perfect, the 6 sq. metres with mirrors are ideal for my TKD work! As if it wasn't bad enough that I'm losing my friends, the parties and the free lunches, they've added this now as well. I think recession depression is more far-reaching than I'd imagined. Q. What could be worse than losing your job? A. Losing the reasons for working there in the first place. :o(

Monday, November 10, 2008

Calm After the Storm

As my predecessor in the role of webmaster, one of the Instructors (let's call him D) had been far too involved since the beginning. Tensions were increasing as my IT issues worsened, as this clearly "proved" my incompetence. It all culminated on Saturday night when we were supposed to be meeting to resolve the problem with the web-editing software and in fact he had decided he was taking the laptop. The whole encounter was extremely aggressive, unnecessarily so, and it has left me drained. I'm proud of the fact that I stayed clear and level-headed in heat of the argument and did not allow him to bully me or distract me with bullsh*t, but the entire experience was emotionally charged and has left me with a distinctly nauseating after taste.
I hate conflict and confrontation, particularly when there is no need for it. He could have simply explained himself to begin with, there was no need for him to treat me like a naughty toddler who didn't deserve their new toy, and that was certainly how he made me feel. I am left now with a distinct feeling of aggrieved injustice, frantically trying to think of a way for him to learn his lesson. This being a sporting association we do have Ethics & Discipline Committees, but I'm not sure that an incident such as this would warrant that route, though it might shock him into some form of reflection if he thought he had sufficiently crossed the line. Or I might just be further provoking a bullying beast.

Friday, November 7, 2008


There are many wonderful, and not-so-wonderful, aspects to being a control freak. I usually do things quite well, and I use that term generally because I do attempt nearly everything. If it's something that's physically possible for me to do, then I hate to achieve less than 95% (well, nobody's perfect!). People know they can rely on me to get a job done, and they know it will be done to a high standard. They also know that despite my best efforts to be a team player, I'm itching to take charge and implement my ideas and generally just tidy things up a bit, so it doesn't necessary help me to make friends!

I am very much aware that my need to maintain control over everything, and sometimes everyone, is extremely neurotic, and by meeting my need to be involved in everything I am simply attempting to silence my inner voices with their fearful chant - "They're doing it wrong! Fix it! Help them!!" It's not like I'm trying to take over just to rub my proficiency in other people's faces. That's just a bonus. :o)

The major downside to being a control freak, with its inherent perfectionist streak, is what happens when a mistake is made? When something goes wrong?! Even when it's through no fault of my own, the fact that it reflects on me is traumatic. I experienced that last night, and I think the best term for it is simply a Meltdown. I think that's the best way to describe my wailing down the phone to my TKD Instructor at 1am because somehow the updates that I made to the website not only refused to save, but the home page is now blank!! I nearly crapped myself when I saw it. This is the most public job I could be doing and I've just wiped the website home page. F*ck.

Now, regardless of the fact that this is clearly a computer error, and there was nothing I could do to prevent it happening, other than simply refusing to turn the thing on! Despite the fact that no-one should blame me for this, in fact they should apologise for giving me a crappy laptop to work with, with out of date web-editing software that crashes every 5 minutes! None of this matters, because my ego was the one crashing last night. I couldn't handle the fact that everyone who clicked on the site would know it was my job to maintain it, and would think I had messed it up.

All of this emotional turmoil has a terrible knock-on effect: An hour of crying results in extremely puffy eyes which no amount of eye make-up can mask and I couldn't get to bed till well after 1am, hence was unable to wake early enough for am gym session; and the associated guilt should ensue. But I'm not going to let it.

I'm not taking responsibility for this mess. I'm not going to let it bother me. I'm going to have an extremely productive day at work and then go to TKD tonight. And maybe hit some people. :o)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Recession Depression

I've just found out that my company are making serious cut-backs, starting with the frivolous expenditure like our lavish Christmas party being cancelled. (It's normally held in a 5 star castle, yes we like to be posh so we do!), but nothing cuts a budget like dropping head-count. :o( It looks like my job is safe for the time being, with the extremely fortuitous timing of my contract renewal, unfortunately my friends were not so lucky. Already 3 of my close friends have been given their notice, and it looks likely that at least 2 more will follow after them. There's talks of moving to Australia and Dubai, and plans for cancelling house purchases, and it has me thinking:
If I was made redundant in the morning, what would I do?
Well, after the initial sobbing and crying, I think I'd go back to school and do that Masters I've had my eye on for a while now. But could I really drop everything to do with the TKD Club, after all I teach 4 classes a week, and train with another 2, could I really walk away from it all? It's starting to look like I need a genuine plan, and this is no longer idle fantasy.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Photos as promised!

I wasn't sure if I'd show faces in the photos but they just looked ridiculous when I tried to crop them more! I hope the boys don't mind/find out that I've published pics of them on my blog! Oh and please excuse the Zoolander attempts in the first photo, we're such wannabe models!! :o)
Oh and yes, I am sucking my tummy in for the first pic, I've unwittingly let the pudge hang out for the second! Like I said earlier though, I still felt pretty, even though I was fairly self-conscious for the day!

Back in the gym!

Fueled by your words of support yesterday and a little nudge from my coach last night, I dragged myself out of bed this morning and went to the gym! I didn't go crazy, just did about 15 mins on the treadmill followed by 25 mins of weights/core work so the work out itself was nothing impressive, I'm just pleased that I was able to motivate myself to go. I think I need to draw up a new schedule for my training which includes TKD classes, my own personal TKD training, and my own Strength/Cardio training and ideally some yoga/pilates classes too. I work well when I have a plan. Unfortunately as a direct corollary to that I work very badly when there is no plan!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Silly Me!

I was so distracted by Lean November that I totally forgot to post about my Halloween! I'll have to add a photo later because I did something quite daring - I went to a costume party dressed as Princess Jasmine from Aladdin... yes, that's right, I showed my stomach in public! I've always been lucky in that I usually had a really narrow waist and my abs would show through easily, so even with all the recent weight gain and my ballooning ass & hips, my stomach is still reasonably flat. I still wasn't sure I'd be able to pull off the costume but it fit quite nicely in the end, and maybe bright pink works for me cos I felt quite pretty!
Photos to follow later...

Lean November Weigh In

Every year my company do a healthy month program called Lean November, no prizes for guessing when it's on! It's a group effort to get fit and lose weight before the gluttony of December sets in. The canteen serves leaner options, and pedometers and walking maps are provided for interested participants, and there is a general united effort towards making healthier choices. These are all rather enjoyable and innocuous aspects of the program, the scary part is the weigh in... There are 3 teams that weigh in at the start of the month and then again at the end of the month and the team with the most weight loss wins some lovely bottles of wine. I enjoyed participating in this last year, even though my team was not victorious, it was still fun. I lost about 3lbs and promptly put it on (and more besides!) over the month of December!
This year, however, you would have to drag me kicking and screaming onto that scales! It's hard enough for me to handle my weight gain without having to actually see the figures and then have to reveal the number to a colleague, regardless of her vow of secrecy. I do need to lose weight though, it's getting beyond ridiculous, even my 'fat' clothes are starting to feel snug! It's such a vicious circle - I feel fat so I don't feel comfortable doing Taekwon-Do and I have to work twice as hard just to motivate myself to train! I feel fat and it makes me want to eat!! And it doesn't help that my back still twinges regularly enough to cause me to hold back when training. I wish I was 100%, I want to really be able to throw myself into my training and feel that overwhelming exhaustion from really giving it my all. I need to ignore the fat feelings for now. I need to take care of my back. And I need to find a way to break through this invisible barrier and out of this vicious circle. I can do this.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Be Positive.... Me?

I haven't posted in a week, mostly because nothing exciting has happened to me this week, not sure if that's good or bad... I've eaten more or less "normally", you know some indulgences like pizza & chips on one night and a biscuit or three with a cup of tea (ooh that rhymes!), but I haven't had any crazy bingeing urges and I'm also not feeling deprived. I started back training last week, just easing myself into it gradually so I didn't take part in the sparring part of class last night, preferring to just work on my II Dan Patterns. They're really coming along, I can pretty much say that I know 2 of the 3 required, I just need to work on my kicking now... (I've been saying that for 2 years, someday I'll actually genuinely work on it!) I'm still pudgy, with extremely curvaceous cellulite-ridden thighs but I'm not hating myself so that must be a positive step of sorts.
So training is going ok, and my diet, although not exactly clean is not harmful, and I'm finding a sort of temporary acceptance of my chubbiness. How boring!! Where's the harrowing tale of angst, shame and despair which I seem to thrive on?! This really isn't right at all... I'd better find something to be miserable about quickly!! :o)
Seriously though, I am looking for balance, but not like this. Not some form of acceptance, like I'm settling for less. At least I'm back in TKD with some new-found enthusiasm, that is an extremely positive and encouraging thing for me. TKD is such a part of my identity, I really felt lost without it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Goal!!! Life ones, not soccer!

I'm a little bit inspired by Trisha's Goal Checklist, and I may add something to my page along that vein, but first I need to come up with some. Now if I start with the old S.M.A.R.T. principles it's not gonna be easy for me to come up with a list worth publishing, so I'm gonna just throw some ideas out there, and maybe find a way to tidy it up later. Suggestions for refinement would be much appreciated!
Short-term Goals:
  • Start using the gym at work again - varying between my personal TKD training, cardio and strength training.
  • Start running on the weekends (when it's actually daylight rather than the darkness at 7am nowadays!)
  • Drink 2 litres of water a day - I can do this!
  • Try and limit my treats to once a day so that I really appreciate them rather than using them as a food source.
  • Learn my II Dan patterns. (It's a TKD thing!)

Medium-term Goals:

  • Lose at least 5lbs before Christmas, if not more to allow for seasonal excesses.
  • Run 5 miles comfortably in under 40mins, ie. not in a race setting, just at a conversational pace.

Gotta go, but will definitely be adding to these later.

Ok, I think perhaps some of these are resolutions rather than goals, but if I can implement them then they'll help me on my path to my goals. Perhaps a new post is required... yay, I love posting! :o)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Newsflash: I am normal!

I had an emotional time in Italy, that's not to say it wasn't worthwhile, I'm definitely glad I was there, but it wasn't exactly an experience I'd repeat in a hurry. Though I experienced a few important lessons I think the most important, and yet the simplest one was that I am actually fairly normal. Yes, that's right, after years of coming to terms with all my differences which set me apart from everyone, all the reasons that I came up with for my interpreted sense of exclusion, I finally realise that almost everyone experiences a sense of isolation at some stage. I might even go so far as to say that everyone makes mistakes, or feels that they've lost control of their life in some way, even to the extent where they feel out of sync or misplaced in the world. Could this be true?

As I opened up my heart and soul to my room-mate over in Italy, the last thing I expected to hear was her not only understanding, but sharing similar experiences with me. Feeling de-motivated, feeling lost and out of place, feeling 'fat', ugly, stupid etc. Apparently these are normal feelings! I almost laughed at the notion that I've spent my adolescent/adult life trying to pretend to be perfect, trying to disguise any shortcomings, and then learning that a lot of other people are doing the same thing! Who was I trying to kid?! Life is not perfect. My life isn't anyway. My life is a great big mess. I could try and sweep all that under a proverbial carpet, or I could accept it for the way it is, and embrace its normalcy.

I am so glad that's over...

So I went to Italy. I managed to not cry when I put on my team tracksuit on the morning of our flight and realised that it was tight around my hips. I managed to not cry when a friend of mine playfully punched me in the stomach and said "58 kilo my arse..." I even managed to control myself when another friend commented on my currently curvaceous bottom. But I nearly lost it when I was standing next to my skinny little sister and someone made a distinct comparison along the lines of "I'd take your sister, she looks fitter". I know these were intended as jokes. And were said by incredibly light people who had been starving themselves for weeks to make weight for this competition. I'm not going to take it personally. But it was tough. Being there was tough. Watching everyone compete whilst I explained repeatedly why I wasn't taking part. But I'm hoping, really hoping that this horrible experience will help give me the hunger and motivation to start training again properly. I want the gold. I want the glory. And it would be nice to have my body back too.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ciao Mi Amici!

I'm off to Italia in the morning, my bags are packed and the taxi arrives at the painful hour of 5am! My previously agonising back pain has been temporary alleviated by the healing hands of my Physio. I think I love her in a way that is more than is required for a professional relationship!

I collected my baby sister from the train station earlier (she's 18, but still a baby to me!), and listened to her gleeful description of how her healthy diet in the build up to this competition has eliminated the hint of cellulite that she'd found on her thighs... I managed to restrain myself from kicking her out of the car on the motorway...

Honestly though, I'm ok with my chub. Well for now at least. I know no one can see it. It's like my own little private joke or something. It's a sick and twisted joke but I always did have a strange sense of humour!

You guys have been great for support through this seemingly overwhelmingly depressing time, but hopefully I'll soon get past all this whingeing about my body, and get on to complaining about something else!

Ciao for now!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Bigger Picture

I saw a photograph of myself yesterday that horrified me; I was refereeing at a TKD competition and was dressed in the appropriate attire of a black suit, shirt, tie & a pair of adidas TKD shoes, my hair was done nicely, and my make up was flattering, but all I could see was the shadow of a double chin!! I know I gain weight on my face first, and even at my skinniest I still had rosy cheeks that contrasted sharply with my protruding ribs and concave stomach, so I was dreading seeing this photograph. Just as I am dreading seeing the 100s & 1000s of photos that will be taken at the World Cup.

I fly out on Wednesday to Lake Garda in Northern Italy, to spend 5 days watching my fellow athletes compete, whilst I try to avoid comparing myself to them, or feeling their judgement for my recent weight gain. I am contemplating leaving the swimsuit at home, for fear I'd be forced to wear it over there and show people what I'll be hiding under a tracksuit for the duration of the competition. I'm even worrying about the after party, and how to hide my chub and still look reasonably well-dressed. I have only gained about 5lbs and it has taken over my life.

I sat down yesterday and took stock of all the improvements I have made on my life in the last few years, and they are plentiful. Never before have I had the combination of a Good Job, Nice Home & a New Car, all at once. I don't remember a time when I didn't worry about my weight, even at my lightest I was never happy with my thighs or my cheeks with their genetic pre-disposition to hold fat cells. But even now with all of these other wonderful things happening in my life, they are all overshadowed by that hint of a double chin.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Breaking the Fast

In case the title didn't make it painfully obvious I am, of course, referring to that all-important first (and my favourite!) meal of the day; Breakfast. It was on the tip of my proverbial tongue to post on the topic yesterday, and after checking in on Charlotte today, I decided to use my own blog for my verbal meanderings, rather than hijacking hers! :o)

You see, I love breakfast, and every kind of breakfast food item, with a passion that belies the simplicity of the meal. I heart Pancakes - fluffy American ones, or skinny Crepes; I adore French Toast drizzled in maple syrup; I'm partial to the Irish breakfast of bacon, sausages, eggs and pudding, and the Continental options of croissants and pain au chocolat. Apart from my clearly dangerous sugar/fat addiction, I love the healthy stuff too; the varieties of fruit; a big bowl of oatmeal with wheatgerm and honey; the numerous types of breakfast cereal; yoghurt in all its wonderful forms from greek-style to fat free. And those are just the American/European options, I'm not gonna even start on the Asian breakfasts, ok maybe just mention Roti Canai cos I used to love that in Malaysia with a big glass of Lime Juice. Yum!

Ok, so clearly I like my food. Preferably breakfast food. I even eat toast and breakfast cereal at night, craving them over everything else, partly for their simplicity and partly for their implied healthy attributes. I mean a bowl of All-Bran has got to be better than eating that pack of Pringles, right?! :o)

But there's more to it that just my nutritional preferences, it feels like the morning is a time I'm supposed to be hungry and I'm allowed to eat. After years of starvation & crash diets my signals are so screwed up that I can't tell what my body needs most of the time. But mornings are clear: I haven't eaten since last night so that feeling is hunger. I should eat now.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Growing Up is...

...doing things you don't want to do, because you know they should be done, and because you know you'll feel better when you've done them.
Example no. 1: Spending your Wednesday evening vacuuming and mopping your apartment, NOT because the immeasurable enjoyment derived from housework, but because of the indescribable sense of pride and pleasure in the finished result.
Now I haven't suddenly converted into a zealous, house-proud character reminiscent of Bree from Desperate Housewives, but I can certainly see the merit in the old adage that housework is good for the soul, as there was a certain sense of spiritual calm in my freshly-cleaned home last night.

Monday, October 6, 2008

You can't see it, but I'm smiling....

After a week of hideous weather, going running in the cold and rain with long sleeved t-shirts, tracksuit pants and even contemplating gloves at one stage, I was entirely unprepared for what hit us yesterday on the 7km(4.3m) Race - Sunshine. Yes, it was an unnaturally warm day in Ireland, the sun was beaming down on us, it was beautiful. Not exactly ideal race conditions though, I realised this as I licked my drying lips at the Start line. The route was also a lot hillier than I'd anticipated, which left my quads quite heavy before I'd even reached the half-way mark. I also mis-timed my last burst, meaning I only sprinted for about 10yards before the finish line when I could have given much more. Now that I have enough excuses to warrant a dreadful time I can proudly admit that I finished it in 34m10s, a respectable time of just under 8mins a mile. Oh and I forgot to mention that back injury too, that's gotta be worth some sympathy seconds! :o)
I was on such a high after the race, there's nothing like it, except perhaps winning the race! That honour went to a girl with a time of circa 23mins, she was so far ahead I didn't even see her! Trust my competitive nature to always be comparing myself with the best, no wonder I get injuries so often when I put myself under so much pressure. I rested this morning, but only because my back was screaming for a break and I suppose it was well-deserved! So I'll take it easy for a while, and I'm going back to my Pilates class this week, I find the core exercises are great for alleviating back pain.
Something has shifted in the past few days, I think it began with all that glowing warmth of last week, but my attitude is infinitely more positive this week. I spent the weekend clearing out clutter and organising my bedroom/apartment. I caught up with various tasks that I'd been putting off for a while (procrastinate? moi? so unusual.... ;o), AND I ate healthily, without even trying to! My tummy was super flat today, and I'm back down a couple of lbs.
So there is a great big smile on my face, and it looks set to stay for a while. :o)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Warm Glow of Appreciation

This is for all you guys out there in the Fitosphere; Thank You. I've been pretty down lately, but your blogs, and your comments on my meagre offerings, have really cheered me up and kept me going. You've all helped to put a great big smile on my face.

Today really has been a good day all round. My contract was renewed at work for 2 more years, with a raise (it's small but good in light of the recent economic downturn), and after a crazy busy afternoon my supervisor sent an email to our team telling everyone how much I'd helped her out. It was one of those warm-glow days where you really feel appreciated, and I wanted to share that with you all. :o)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Love Thy Self!

Someone commented recently on a blog (I think it was TA) that we seem to take better care of ourselves when we are working out a lot; we cleanse/tone/moisturise, we brush our teeth vigorously, and generally treat our bodies a bit better. I suppose it's all part of the same basic wish to keep our bodies in good working order, but it's also a very caring thing to do for ourselves. The idea of eating healthily and working out often gets side-tracked by the idea of improving body image and the fact that it's actually a nice thing to do for ourselves can get forgotten.
As a direct contrast, binge eating or "comfort" eating is a distinctly unhealthy and potentially a damaging thing to do our bodies, and is usually born out of fear rather than love. Our society seems to be all about how we're "worth it", all about pampering ourselves and having exactly what we want, when we want it. But even when I'm "treating" myself, I know that I'm not actually doing the right thing for my body, and that I will pay the price later whether it's emotional or physical.
So, I am going to take care of myself, not because I am suffering with serious body image issues at the moment, but because I deserve to be taken care of. I deserve good things.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I've been avoiding the Fit Blogs for the last week or so, I just felt like I didn't belong - I'd hurt my back so no training to talk about, and I was emotionally eating and ashamed to admit it to everyone out there in the Fitosphere.

I'm glad I'm checking back in now, even though I'm still stiff and sore, at least I'm doing something, and I feel a bit more like myself again.
I've decided to stop being so hard on myself - mentally and physically. I'm going to draw up new goals, and give myself realistic deadlines (yes, these will be SMART goals! :o).
And I'm going to be stalking all of you out there, cos I'm gonna be drawing support from you! :o)

Monday, September 29, 2008


Ok, somehow my Intuitive Eating plan became the Eat what I Want To plan.... And now I'm up a couple of lbs... D'oh... It's been a depressing few days since I hurt my back again. I felt like I was falling back into a familiar role of the injured victim, and comfort eating really didn't help.
I went for a short run this morning, just 2.5 miles, and it felt tough. I know that this is more mental than physical though, so I'm going to go again tomorrow morning and push for the 3 miles this time. I just want my old exercise routine back... :o(
I have this image in my head of who I want to be, and reality is just not matching up at the moment. Injuries don't help because they just create more questions.
Sorry, I know this post is a bit all over the place, but that's kind of reflective of my mindset... Things are a bit foggy at the moment... I feel a bit lost...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Intuitive Eating

I think I may be far too aware of the nutritive content of food. I admit I can be a bit scornful of people who claim they're trying to eat healthily yet clearly show their ignorance of what they're actually consuming, but sometimes ignorance really is bliss. As part of my Normal Eating campaign I'm trying to relax on calorie-counting and food diaries and just eat intuitively. Yes, that's right, eat what I feel like. But after years of telling myself "I don't feel hungry" or "I don't want chocolate" etc., it's kind of hard to turn those sensors back on.

Monday, September 22, 2008

On the road again...

I'm finally out of victim/injured mode. I reluctantly went for a gentle jog this morning. I say 'reluctantly' because it felt strange to not be pushing myself to achieve a good time, I really didn't feel motivated to get all my running gear on for no apparent benefit. It's typical of me that I can never just enjoy the exercise for its own sake, there always has to be a competitive motivation behind it. I'm glad I went, even if my time was so shockingly bad I was embarrassed to see it on my stopwatch. It was a lovely morning, really crisp and fresh, with a beautiful sunrise, and I think I even heard the birds and other country wildlife in between Rihanna and Britney pumping on my iPod... :o)
I've decided to take a break from my online Food Diary. I want to eat naturally and normally, I need to re-train my body to identify hunger and to meet those needs healthily and appropriately. I've also decided to withdraw my entry from the Taekwon-Do World Cup next month. That was a hard decision to make, based on numerous physical and financial factors, but in the end it just came down to the fact that I'm not motivated enough to be competing at that level right now. I'm still sitting at 60kg, 2kg above my competition weight of -58kg, and though I know I could easily lose that weight under pressure of a weigh-in, I really don't want to put myself through that right now. I've been making good developments towards normal eating, and I want to keep working on that.
I'm still going to run the Ladies Charity 7km race; partly because it is for a good cause, and partly because I'm enjoying this new-found running ability I seem to have developed from somewhere. I think it would be a shame to let that go unnoticed. I may as well see how I fare in a mildly competitive atmosphere.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bookshelves, Baking & Blogging

Ok... even I admit that I've taken the alliteration too far with that title, I'm sorry!! :o) But I did it... The 3 things I would do in my efforts to Be Present this weekend - I put together the bookshelves (ahem, with the help of my Coach!), I baked Oatmeal Cookies today with my niece, and now I'm blogging. Check, check, check. :o)

It hasn't been an easy weekend though; I still haven't done any training and I'm really feeling the depriving effects of endorphin withdrawals. I think I've rested my back enough; I'm gonna go for a short run tomorrow, gotta get myself out of this funk.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Slippery Slope...

I can feel that craving sensation... the one that makes me want food but that isn't ever satisfied... I try a variety of tastes - sweet, salty, etc., but it's still not hitting the spot. I even try being really naughty and indulging in increasing levels of "banned" foods until I'm eating large pieces of chocolate, but still the craving remains... Thankfully my common sense prevails and I'm prevented from outright bingeing, but I definitely feel like I've eaten too much, and the guilt is starting to set in, causing conflict between the two opposing sides of my mind.
I wish I could be normal. I wish food was normal for me. I'd love to be one of those people who say "Dessert? No thanks, I'm full" or "Biscuit? Just the one, thanks." I think the last time I genuinely ate without worrying about the consequences was about 10 years ago, when I was 15/16. The last time I was happy with my body, genuinely happy, was over 2 years ago, almost 3 actually, when I was competing at -52kg, and was keeping my body at a lean 54kg most of the time.
I had always been around 55kg, but I had never been so lean before. I loved the hint of a 4-pack on my stomach, the gentle curve of a bicep forming on my arms, and most of all - my thighs were in proportion! woohoo! I was a UK size 8, and totally proud of it. Suddenly clothes fit me perfectly! After years of trying on jeans and feeling disheartened when they would barely pull over my thighs, only to hang loose around my narrow waist - jeans now fit me. It was a momentous occasion. I was officially slim.
I competed at that weight for over 2 years, sticking to 54kg or thereabouts, then dropping the last 2 kg in the weeks before the competition. I wasn't much of a runner back then, in fact before last month just mentioning "jogging" would cause me to break out in a sweat. So I preferred to dehydrate and starve the weight out in the last few days. This involved long periods of fasting, whilst still training hard for the tournament, and finally cutting out all fluids for a certain amount of time preceding the weigh-in. And sometimes I got that wrong. It was a semi-public event, with at least your team-mates, if not other teams as well, watching as you stripped down to your underwear and sports bra and stepped onto a digital scales. The sheer humiliation of being over-weight, (even if only by 100g -there was NO allowances), was enough incentive to not have that gulp of water even when your mouth was parched with thirst.
So sometimes I'd stop taking in food/fluids a little earlier... without telling my Coach...until I went a little too far, not eating for nearly 5 days... and not drinking any fluids for nearly 3... I'm not even going to get into how stupid that was. I weighed in almost a full kilo under for that event. Almost of full kilo of water missing from my body that I sorely needed. That was the first time I'd ever taken my top off in front of a room of guys and heard "eewww........" It wasn't pretty. I actually did ok in the competition though... if you don't count getting a concussion in the semi-final after almost falling onto an opponent's right hook. My body, and brain, was exhausted. That was the last time I competed at that weight.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My First Race!

I am officially entered into a 7km(4.3mile) Road Race taking place on the 5th October. And I'm looking forward to it. These are words I never ever thought that I would be typing. ME, enjoy running, and voluntarily submitting myself to be compared against other runners, thus claiming to have some sort of right to be there!
Perhaps I'm getting a bit ahead of myself here, considering that I just left the Physio about 4 hours ago, but I'm sure that little niggling injury will be cleared up in a day or two. I'm hoping that having a deadline like this race will help to keep me focused through this bad patch, and give me something to aim towards for the next few weeks. As if the Taekwon-Do World Cup wasn't enough... :o)

Oh what a beautiful morning!!!

Don't worry, I'm not going to burst into song! But it really is a bee-yoo-tifull morning! The sun is shining, giving us a total of 2 days of Summer this year! :o) AND, I am mobile again! Physio sorted me out first thing this morning and I practically skipped to work after the magic of his healing hands. Unfortunately I'm also under his orders to NOT train for the next 36-48hours, AND I have to wear...oh god I hate to say this.... flat shoes...*gulp* I love my heels, in fact I looooove my heels. I like being 4 inches taller than my natural 5'6" frame. But I also like the feeling of professionalism I get from wearing them; I like wearing skirts, and dresses and generally feeling well-groomed at work. When I wear flat shoes I feel like I'm in my pyjamas! I can do this though. I can not train, and wear flat shoes, for 2 days. I'll deal with this like it's another challenge. Just 2 short days. No problem. But I won't enjoy it! :o)
This was my first time seeing this Physio, and he was really good, but it had been a while since I'd shown anyone new my body in any way. Thankfully I didn't have to undress at all, I was dreading that part. With all my worry and fear about people seeing and feeling my new 'chub' I had kind of forgotten that I have a bit more muscle than the average Irish girl. (I've been thinking a lot about the test of "Average" lately, check out the discussions on Mizfit the other day.) Anyway, he started working some of the tension in my legs and his jaw dropped, I was mortified, thinking he was disgusted by how big and squidgy my thighs had gotten, but instead he just laughed and said in the way that only an Irish medical professional can: "Jaysus your quads are rock hard, and your calves too, sure you're all muscle girl!!" I couldn't stop laughing, partly out of relief and partly out of pride, it was nice to be reminded that despite my recent weight gain, I am strong and fit, and maybe even above average... :o)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Sun is Shining!

Nope, I'm not making it up, the Sun is actually out in Ireland!! woohoo!! And I got to leave work early on account of my tense back becoming cripplingly painful as the day went on. So I get to blog from the comfort of my couch, looking out at the sunshine reflected on the lake near my home.

I am definitely a lot more cheered up since this morning, but worried now that this temporary disability is going to play havoc with my workout/diet regime. I was doing so well, but I'm very much aware of how my willpower dissipates the instant I hit a hurdle like this. It doesn't help that everyone assures me that I'm "tiny" and that I "don't need to lose any weight", and insist on feeding me up. I appreciate their concern and I know that a lot of that is to do with my unintentionally causing them to feel uncomfortable with their own weight, but this actually about Me! Not them! I am not comfortable in my body, and I want to be lean. I train so hard, and I just want a body that reflects that. I just wish I could do this in a healthy way. I always put it off until too close to a TKD competition and then it's extreme weight loss methods, excessive exercise and absolutely NO junk food until after the event... then the post-deprivation binge starts the cycle all over again. I just want to eat normally. I just want to train hard and see, as well as feel, the effects.


I am not in a good mood this morning!!!!! I went to TKD training last night and discovered as we were warming up that the crazy combination of strength exercises we had done 24 hours before had caused my lower back to seize up in a ball of tension. I was so annoyed, if I'm not going to be able to train properly then I'd rather be at home with a cup of tea, thanks very much! Making half-hearted attempts at performing kicks, then repeatedly contorting my body in an attempt to alleviate pain is not my idea of fun. I went to bed last night with a hot water bottle, reassuring myself that my run this morning would make up for that thwarted endorphin rush. Unfortunately I woke up a bit too early.. which meant that when I drifted back off to sleep I slept a bit too long, finally looking at the clock at 7.20am. I could have gotten up and gone for a short run but that would have felt frustrating, I would have wanted to push for more, but then been late for work. Plus I do have TKD training this evening, and I could always go to the gym after work if I wanted to fit in another session... I just had too many options running through my head and that apparently is not the best time for me to be making decisions! So instead I decided to take advantage of this enforced break, sleep on a teeny bit longer, and come into work early to start my day afresh. You know what they say about the best intentions... Well I don't know what time warp I'm living in, but every move I took today felt like it was in quicksand. My lumpy body wouldn't fit in my clothes quickly enough. My hair went frizzy and wouldn't dry properly. My eye make up got smeared and took time to make reparatory attempts. And I got into work nearly 20 mins late. Grrrrr!!!!!!!!!!

Oh yeah, I know this is all probably a good lesson in patience and accepting the little hurdles that life throws in our paths and about not letting them get to me... But right now I'm just pi**ed off and feel like hitting something!!
PS: Just stood up to get my breakfast, and realised that ball of tension is still in my back. Ow. :o(

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How I Became A Runner

I ran 3.5miles this morning in 28minutes. I am running 8 minute miles. ME?!! Just 2 weeks ago I could barely finish a 2.2mile route in under 20mins, and I'd been plodding along at that for weeks, if not months and years when you think about it. And now, seemingly suddenly, I can run for up to 5 miles (so far) and at a pace of 8min/mile. How did this happen?!*
A quick run-down of all the diverse factors which contributed to this:
1. I gained a lot of weight really fast. Seriously. About 4kg in 4 weeks. That's what happens when you eat like Michael Phelps but without the training.. I'm only half-joking. The weight gain didn't help with the running but it certainly gave me some good motivation!
2. I joined an online food blog - My Fitness Pal - it's surprising what a bit of support can do to motivate you. Ok, seeing as I've given them the plug...
3. I got a Polar HRM for my recent 25th Birthday - it brought out the best in my competitive spirit.
4. I ran later in the morning one weekend and noticed the benefits of my porridge breakfast meant I was bounding along much faster, so I tried to emulate that time and feeling of energy the next time I went for my morning run.
And finally:
5. I changed my route, changed my iPod workout mix, and tried to just relax at an easy pace.
I've emphasised relax simply because I think that was the most important thing that I changed. In all my years of attempting to run I've chosen the wrong partners, the wrong pace, the wrong route. Pish posh. It shouldn't matter. I should have ignored all those external influences and just stuck with what was right for me. This time it was different, I was running on my own, and I was pushing to go a little outside my comfort zone, so I worked hard at relaxing. Not an easy thing for me to do. But it seems to be working so far.
*I know this is not exactly stimulating stuff, but this is my blog so I can write about whatever I want. So there.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Self-Sabotage Sunday

The title of this blog is fairly self-explanatory, it's an expression of my attempts to find balance, and this weekend is fairly illustrative of that struggle. After my uber-productive Saturday of eating healthily, exercising, completing various housework tasks, socialising, grocery shopping and even managing to fit in an outing to the ballet (I'm cultured me!), I wake up Sunday at 1pm... I crawl out of bed and move at a pace of 2 mph as I attempt to make myself presentable to visit my brother. I eventually leave the house nearly 3 hours later, after consuming a bowl of porridge (good!), a bowl of fruit (also good!) a snack pack of oat cookies (hmm...) and 2 big pieces of white Toblerone... (uh oh...) I won't even bother detailing the rest of my nutritive mis-deeds for the day, as I already had to complete my online food diary and I don't fancy seeing it again! It seems to be all or nothing with me. I'm either eating like a monk and exercising like a demon (conjuring images of demonic monks there...), or I'm sitting sloth-like on my couch, stuffing my face with endless "goodies"... Although at the moment I seem to be exercising ok, thanks to my recent (and entirely unanticipated) running addiction. It's just those sugar cravings I need to curb.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

From Procrastination to Productivity!

Somehow, in the last 24 hours, I have become extremely productive! Aside from the good scrubbing I've given the kitchen, the numerous loads of laundry and other household duties, I managed to fit in a run this morning. I had intended to go for a 4.3 mile route but ended up doing 4.85miles in under 40mins! I was in a slight state of shock, but I still found some energy to get all that household stuff finally finished. If I knew how I had done this believe me I would share the secret, as it is I am just hoping to maintain this momentum long enough to get everything ticked off on my list!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Protracted Procrastination...

I've been a Blog-Watcher for over a year now and I'm very much aware of my lack of online presence. So I set this blog up about a month ago just waiting for the right event to begin my blogging with... well... enough procrastination, I'm just gonna start typing and hope for the best.