Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Messy Middle

I just read Charlotte's post today about Survival of the Weakest. As usual it was a great post, but today this was actually beautifully timed for me. I have to quote this:"I'd much rather hear about those who struggle and fight and earn every inch of what they've got."

Nothing ever comes easy to me (except the speed-reading, coincidence?), so I have no interest in reading about people with all this natural talent. Show me the ugly duckling and the process she endured to become that swan. I read Kelly Holmes' (double Olympic gold-medallist athlete) autobiography and was totally disappointed - she ran, she ran fast, she trained hard, she won. *sigh* What on earth can I learn from that?

Every physical activity I do is a struggle for me. I can disguise that with strength and enthusiasm, but I lack the ease and grace of a "natural" athlete. It doesn't help that my little 18yr old sister also does the same sport as me, and I guess starting at 9yrs instead of 16yrs as I did, gives you a major advantage.

I'm struggling so much with my body shape and image at the moment. I broke down and cried, no actually I sobbed, on the phone to my Mum last night, trying to make sense of the disproportionate amount of suffering a few extra pounds can cause. It doesn't seem fair. I have friends in TKD that see that I have put on a few pounds but they also see weight-gain/loss as I used to see it: a purely physical process, you eat less and train more and the numbers go down. I have friends at work that see me as already being quite slim and try to reassure me that I don't need to lose weight, or that it's natural to gain some in your mid-20s.

Neither of these approaches are helping me. I need to hear about the messy middle. I need someone who understands that the reason I gained this weight, and the reason I am struggling to lose it is that it is not purely a physical process. There is some major emotional crap going on with me at the moment that I am clearly not dealing with too well. I need someone that understands that I need help. Not sympathy or reassurance. Just help.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Nobody's Perfect!

Ok, so I was far from perfect yesterday, but I mean, seriously who was I kidding?? Trying to be perfect can only last so long, and I always find that the more focus and attention that I give to a new healthy eating plan, then the less likely it is to succeed. The idea behind trying to be perfect for a week was to instill myself with the foundation of some good habits. And I think I managed that by making a few things feel normal again. Although all it takes is for me to forget my water bottle and suddenly my daily water intake drops to practically zero!

I baked Mocha Muffins last night. They were ok, then I made a Coffee Buttercream Icing, and they became satisfactory.

I'm nowhere near as proud of them as I am of the Chocolate Layer Cake I had made the night before. (You can see now where the temptation crept into my diet recently!!)

Despite all this decadent chocolate baking, I'm still eating high-nutrition food, and trying to take more inspiration from Sagan on her recent experiment. Last night I was in a rush to get some food together (all that baking does take time I guess!), and I just threw half an avocado onto some cooked quinoa and sprinkled soy sauce on top! Super quick snack, but absolutely delicious!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

TTBP: Day 8.. of a Week-long Trial!

I was just commenting on Sagan's blog when I realised I am on Day 8 of Trying To Be Perfect, ie. the week is over... Hmm.. It can't have been too hard if I didn't notice when it finished...Well, I suppose that may be due to the fact that I kind of blew that Perfection attempt when I went out clubbing over the weekend!! But I've really enjoyed this experiment, and even just the idea of adhering to the standards of a person that I would aspire to be.
So I'm not giving up today, I'm still going to try and stick to the rules I set down for myself last week, I'm actually going to try and keep this going for the month. I've incorporated some nice little habits for myself over the last few days, although I do need to find a way to get my sugar cravings under control. Might be turning to Sagan's experiment next for some help with that!

Monday, March 9, 2009

TTBP: Day 7 - Evaluating Progress

So I was doing great this weekend, right up until I wrote that last post I was eating well and hadn't succumbed to the temptation of the sugar cravings. I find Saturdays are the hardest day to stick with my good intentions, there's something about that 6th day of the week that feels like I've done enough hard work at being good and now I deserve a treat! So I think I'll make sure to have my cheat meal on Saturdays in future. Anyway, I was doing well and even though I decided to go up to Galway to visit my brother for a night out, I didn't have any junk food or even any excess food at all really! We did manage to eat a whole pack of Ryvitas between the two of us though! Definitely hit my dietary fibre requirements for the weekend!!

So is it a failure that I drank 1 beer, 2 vodkas & a baby guinness (it's a shot of tia maria and topped with bailey's to look like a little pint of guinness, very yummy...)??!!

I think that the fact I didn't give in to hangover cravings, nor did I feel that desperate "oh i've failed now i may as well just go nuts..." feeling is a good thing. It's almost a success. I really did have a great night with my brother, I had lots of fun on the dance floor and stayed up till the early hours of the morning talking about what we want to do with our lives! And overall, despite the alcohol buzzing through my system, I stayed calm. It was really nice to feel like that! I just drank my berocca, took a solpadeine, and carried on with my nutritional good intentions!

I still have today to get through in this 7 Days of Trying To Be Perfect, so I'll give a full recap tomorrow morning. I'm really glad I tried to do this though, success or not, I feel better for it.

I didn't weigh myself this morning, I'm trying to wait until Wednesday, my newly appointed weigh-in day, but my tummy feels super flat and I'm still feeling focused on my healthy eating. Still feeling calm and optimistic. Long may it last...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

TTBP: Day 5...

I went to a Yoga class this morning, a nice reason to get up early on a Saturday! It had been nearly 2 years since I'd done such a class but the Pilates I've been doing obviously complements it nicely because I was well able to keep up with the more experienced members of the class (not that I was comparing myself or anything... *ahem*). I left with that lovely centered feeling of being present in my body, that rare sensation of physical awareness from head to toe, similar to that experienced after a thorough massage. Mmm... lovely indeed... :o)

This week of Perfection is still going really well for me, although I admit I got hit with a couple of sugar pangs last night, and then I felt immensely hungry after that yoga class this morning and took ages to satisfy my ravenous appetite, but I'm calm again now. My de-cluttering is going well, along with my training and nutrition. We did lots of punching and kicking drills in TKD last night, perfect for letting go of unwanted aggression and frustration! My weight was down again today ( I know I shouldn't be weighing myself daily, it's just nice to see the numbers going down for once!!)

Ok, off to cook myself a super-healthy dinner and then I'll think about the potential activities for this evening....

Hope you're all having a great weekend!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Trying to Be Perfect: Day 4

Well it's Day 4 of attempting to achieve Perfection and it's actually going really well! My water intake has majorly increased, not quite hitting a steady 2 litres a day but not far off it especially when you count the herbal teas I drink. My low-carb and no-sugar plan is going nicely, I turned down a gourmet chocolate dessert when I visited my Mum, and even went to the cinema the other night and refrained from eating a gigantic tub of popcorn! That's normally the sole reason I'd choose to see a movie on the big-screen!! (Oh and it was the Shopaholic movie I went to see in case you're interested, such a chick flick but some good giggles in it too!)

I even made time last night to clear out my bedroom, filling 2 garbage bags with junk and old clothes that I really shouldn't wear again! I love de-cluttering, it's such a cleansing feeling.

AND I'm down a couple of pounds.. well 4 to be precise.. woo hoo... :o) This isn't the result of 4 days work though, that's more likely to have been a lb a week for the last month of high-protein and low-carb nutrition. I'm only about 4 more from my genuinely happy weight and I haven't even really felt like I've been putting much effort in so far.

This is the first time I've tried to lose weight by going low-carb and high-protein, and it's working really well for me. I'm never too hungry, I'm eating tons of food that I love, and cooking is really easy when it's just meat & veg! It's required a bit of forethought in terms of my work day but it's not much hassle especially in terms of the benefits, eg. the handful of frozen berries I bring to work every morning as a natural sweet addition to my oatmeal, yum!!

The weekends are always a killer as far as my eating & exercise regimes go, but I'm hoping that 2 hours of yoga tomorrow morning will help to keep me focused on my pursuit for perfection...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

"The Limits Are In Your Mind"

I attended a motivational talk today at work given by Hannah Shields, the first Northern Irish woman to summit Mt. Everest. She was an impressive woman, with a list of unbelievable achievements on her CV in addition to this historic feat, and an excellent public speaker too! She started with the above-quoted statement: The Limits Are In Your Mind.

This is so true. I feel it on a daily basis, how I constrict and restrict myself based on my own perception of how things should be. Instead of simply having the confidence to just be.

Here is a very simple example for you: It's 5pm, I'm at work, and I'm feeling hunger pangs. I have to go teach 2 classes at 5.30, then train in my own class until 9.30, so food would be very welcome right now. I have a tupperware container of protein-packed chilli in the fridge here, but I'm afraid to go get it. Afraid of my boss seeing me take an unauthorised break. Afraid of people seeing me eat and thinking that I'm indulging in a greedy splurge. Afraid of simply drawing unnecessary attention to myself.

This is ridiculous.

Time is ticking away and I am letting fear of other people's perceptions cause me additional hassle on top of an already busy evening.

No more limits. I need to eat.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

One Week of Perfection

Yet another one of Charlotte's posts has got me thinking. This experiment concerns people's perceptions of Perfection, and committing to attaining such a high standard for a minimum time, ideally a month but more realistically the goal is a week. One week, 7 days, of adhering to strict rule which ideally would already be part of everyday life, but hopefully would form a habit after the set time frame.

The more that I thought about my rules for being perfect, the more I realised how simple my requirements were. Tasks like using mouthwash, tidying away my TKD gear, drinking 2 litres of water, and going to bed early enough to get 8 hours sleep didn't seem so intimidating when I'd written them down. In fact, they're all very achievable. If only I would direct my attention to them on a regular basis!
Plans for Perfection

* Drink 2 litres of water every day
* Get 8 hours of sleep every night
* Eat a nutritious, high-protein, low-carb lunch
* Cook a nutritious, high-protein, carb-free dinner (my morning porridge is exempt!)
* Bring healthy snacks to work to stave off afternoon cravings
* Attend TKD training Mon-Fri
* Go running at least once at the weekend
* Stretch/Do physio exercises Every Day (!!)
* Eat NO junk food/refined sugars etc. (it's only a week right.... :(

I also have some non-nutritional/fitness plans:

* No unnecessary spending whatsoever (strict budget due to saving for college!)
* Thoroughly remove make up and cleanse & moisturise before bed

oh and my mum would love this one...

* Tidy my room and keep it tidy!

Yesterday was a major fail of a day. I made a Banoffee Pie yesterday for a friend's birthday, so not only did I have a slice of the calorific diet-busting dessert, I also didn't have time to eat my healthy nutritious lunch and ended up eating breakfast cereal instead! The sugar crash I experienced later in the evening meant I was too drained to cook my protein-rich dinner, instead eating an apple and a bowl of steamed garden peas.. (yes, I know, an odd choice!) So when I came home from training I was so hungry, and yet even weaker, so I ate a bowl of porridge but the demons in me added milk & sugar instead of the normal water & berries! Overall still a nutritional day but far far far from perfect.

So today is a new day. I have already drank one cup of peppermint tea and my 600ml water bottle is full and ready to be emptied at least once!