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!!