Oct 17, 2016

Week 1 weigh in

I was so glad when I stepped off the scale today. So glad. I made a lovely loss of 3.5kg (7.7lb) this week, week one on the 8 week Blood Sugar Diet. How good is that? I'm so jazzed, and excited to keep this diet up!

But in the hours since I have managed to put myself in a terribly destructive mood. I have prepped some dinners (bring on the chicken lime laksa!) and also made a baked cheesecake. The cheesecake is a from a recipe I found online, and is a low carb version, using stevia instead of sugar, and with a blitzed cashew and macadamia nut base. I've never made a baked cheesecake before. Are they meant to start off really runny? This one did, and I'm not sure if I put in the wrong quantities, or if it is the recipe, or that is just how it is meant to be. But that's how it was, nevertheless. So I have been stressing over this dang cheesecake, having a go of myself for wasting some very expensive ingredients, convinced that I am a bad cook. But I am actually not a bad cook at all. Mostly I say this because I know good flavour when I taste it, and my cooking never seems to fail. (Hey, how have I managed to get so heavy? My delicious cooking, that's how!) But maybe I have failed this time? Peeping back into the oven I wonder if in fact I was just being a little dramatic. The cheesecake resembles a baked custard of sorts, and does not look too runny now. How quick I am to mentally bash myself up without actually having any set evidence that I have done something wrong.

So I won't know how the cheesecake actually tastes until tomorrow, for my Dad's birthday. I'm crossing all my fingers that it is delicious. Or at least tasty. I think for now I have to refocus my silly brain on the fact that I lost 3.5kg. Three point five fricken kilograms! Let's celebrate the win and not focus on the maybe flop.

I've got this, yeah?   
It must be time for delectable dinner!

Image from the Internet Archive, via Flickr. pp462 of "St. Nicholas" (1873)

Oct 10, 2016

Day ONE.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. It's an awfully trite statement, but it is also true. Today I started on The 8 Week Blood Sugar Diet. And for the first time ever, I am actually excited about this new (diet) path! It is quite an unusual feeling, finding joy in a weight loss program. But this one feels like a winner.

What is the Blood Sugar Diet? In a nutshell, it is a low calorie, low carbohydrate, Mediterranean style diet. Essentially you are restricted to 800 calories per day. Which isn't much food, if you see my sample MyFitnessPal log below:

I've planned my week ahead to help with the grocery shopping. This is Thursday's snapshot.

(While I think of it, lets become MyFitnessPal friends! I'm hanging out here.)

It's not much food, but it will be enough. And that is the most important thing.  The diet has been popularised and promoted by author Dr Michael Mosley. Mosley, himself a diagnosed type 2 diabetic, has thoroughly researched the diet, and has the backing of doctors and professors the world over. (I feel this needs a footnote, but you'll find many supporters listed throughout the book, I promise!)

When I first heard of the calorie restriction side of the diet (the crux of the diet, really) I was sceptical. We have been educated, 'crash diets don't work!' and 'you'll just put the weight back on, and some!'. But the text really allayed my fears. It's absolutely worth a read if you are struggling with insulin resistance, type two diabetes, poly-cystic ovarian syndrome, or excess weight. I'm not saying that this book will change your life (maybe it will), but what I AM saying is that this book confronts some long ingrained 'science' and offers new, sometimes alarming facts. What we have been taught to be healthy is actually making us sick. So even if you don't decide to spend 8 weeks on this plan, maybe you will alter your current diet to reflect this new information. I'm not a diet pusher, but I really see that this diet has benefits for me. And if it might work for me, it also may work for others.

On the back of the book is a lovely red banner: AVERAGE WEIGHT LOSS 14KG IN 8 WEEKS. Challenge accepted, Mosley, challenge accepted! I'm going to aim for a 14 kilo loss in these next 8 weeks. This number is ever so slightly confronting to me. I still have that old information running through my head about the safety of 'diets like this'. But after cramming this book into my noggin over the past two days, I have come to realise that it diet offers exactly what my body needs! I'm going to say goodbye to my 'pregnant' belly, and say hello to less fat around my struggling internal organs. I think they will be thanking me for it!

For the first week I have not been very brave, I'm going with simple foods, and not really all that much cooking. As I plod along I plan to incorporate more variety into the foods I eat. Unless something in particular is really working for me, because I don't mind repeating meals that I love.

So that's that, then!

You can buy the book here, if you are interested. (Not an affiliate link, I just want to share the gospel according to Mosley.)

NB; For those of you playing along at home, you might be concerned about my blood pressure. Never fear, possums! I will be monitoring it daily, and I will certainly book in to see my GP if there are any changes.

Book cover obtained for review purposes. Published by Short Books, 2015.
Strawberries obtained from Flickr Creative Commons. Page from 'Fruits of America' pp 361. (1848)

Oct 4, 2016

Shit got real, yo.

That's so true, vintage headline. So true.

In the twelve months (!) since my last post, things have really gone down hill for my flesh ship. I'd posted about how proud I was to be a healthy fat person, but that I was going to do something about it. Well, try as I might, something was not done. And with dire consequences. Okay, so not completely dire, but certainly shit house, certainly not good, certainly creating a perfect storm in my plus-sized-teacup. In the past few months I have had medical diagnosis reveal the poor state of my health, and really highlight the neglect I have done to my body. My first thought is to not share this news with the interweb, as it is a poor reflection on me (in my mind, anyway.), on how I have cared for my soul temple, of the lack of progress I have made.

This fellow was featured in yet another diet proclamation post of mine.*

So what's the DL, you ask? I have been diagnosed with hypertension AND type 2 diabetes. That's right, in 12 months I have managed to travel down the proverbial creek without a paddle- a creek diverging into Willy Wonka's chocolate river. I am now medicated, and awaiting an appointment with a diabetes educator. Also today I had an appointment with an exercise physiologist. (More about that in two shakes of a lambs tail.) My GP has discussed the long term effects of having these illnesses, and yes, the consequences are in fact dire. Oddly enough, I want to keep my eyesight, and all of my limbs. Something has to give. (Oh, and the thought of daily injections down the track sucks balls, so I'm going to work my way to not going down that road. After having daily injections for blood clots I can safely say it is not something high on my future 'to-do' list.)
Fortunately/unfortunately I cannot put my head between my legs.

Recently a friend had gastric surgery, and I have to admit, I am slightly jealous of her. If only I was placed in a situation where I was forced to limit my food intake. That would be awesome! My Mum told me about a segment she saw on TV about free lap band surgery, and my first thought was 'Sign me up!'. But it's not that simple for me. Simply reducing the size of my stomach would not change the psychological aspect to my eating. It would not change my taste buds, it would not change my attitudes.

Food is a big part of my identity. It is a big part of my very core. I love eating, dreaming, cooking and researching food. I love eating at family Christmases and big birthdays. I watch cake decorating YouTube videos while I drink diet shakes. (I'm not sure that this does not indeed double the calories of said shakes...) I love to eat. A banded stomach would take away my ability to over do it for these big events, and I wonder, with such a love of food, is this a quality of life issue? (And indeed, would I manage to eat so much as to undo the effects of the surgery?) Is my best bet to take away my ability to over do it going to solve the problem? I'm tending towards no. I think I simply (or not so simply?) have to go back to the concept that I have mentioned before- calories in versus calories out. I can restrict my calories as though I had my stomach size reduced. Or even to close to that. Or still yet, live on a restricted diet that does not even come close to a stapling or banding, but nevertheless equates to weight loss. Calories in, calories out.

The reality...
That picture right there, that's me, 10 kilos ago. In my mind, with that 10 kilos gone, I still look the same. I cannot see any change- yet. I am sure it is coming. I have found myself looking at weight loss success stories on Instagram and Facebook to fuel my motivation. That will be me, in mere months, the after shot. Yes, it's hard now, but it's going to get easier. Slowly I will adjust to the changes I am making for my body within my mind also, and it won't always be so hard.

The handsomest pupper in Melbournetown.

A couple of months ago this handsome fellow came into our lives after the sad passing of ancient Tess. We weren't looking for a new puppy just at that time, but how could we say no to such a beautiful face? And Karl (he was originally named after a Pokemon character, that, oddly enough, did not stay when he moved in with us.) has been a god-send. I get out of the house because of Karl. Twice a day, I move my body, and all because of him. I think that if he weren't in our lives I would not be walking at all, because I am indeed a lazy person. But look at that face! How could you say no to that face if he wanted to go for a walk?! (It is simply not possible, I have tried, resistance is futile.)

I like to think that the stick figure on the left is bending his back in an inhuman way to start his laser fire.

So today was my first appointment with an exercise physiologist. I was really reserved about the whole thing, as I am wary of people who like to exercise. I actually had a great appointment! He was really encouraging about the positive changes I have made and successes I have had to date. He told me all about how exercise causes our muscles to burn that stray sugar, and opens up the valves or arteries or whatever. (I was listening, but there was a lot to take in, some of it has slipped out already, so if you know the correct idea, please let me know.) He gave me a stretchy band for resistance training, and some helpful stick figures to remember techniques. He didn't make me feel like a fatty (probably my biggest concern), and he acknowledged that not everyone has the exercise bug. But he did give me some good reasons to move my body, so I'm going to listen.

So I'm not yet brave enough to say how much I weighed in at before I got back on track. But here's a hint, when my kilos fall back into the 'under 100' phase, I will tell you my starting weight. But not before. Oh the shame. I managed this time around to get to the heaviest I have ever been. I do not plan on going back there.

I've set up an incentive, too. Not only will we be rewarded with a happy, sleepy puppy, and a new figure, but also I will be rewarded financially. I have a savings account entitled 'Vintage Weight Loss Rewards', which, as the name alludes to, is for vintage style clothing. I'm saving $10 per kilo lost to go toward a new wardrobe. I have always loved vintage styling, but my clothing purchases have simply been the cheapest options (thank you Kmart) of clothing that fit. In the past I would make my clothing purchases telling myself, 'This is just until you lose weight, so it doesn't matter what you wear, really'. And I got so wrapped up in hating my body that I didn't give a flying fuck (French totally manditory descriptor.) whether I looked good or not. I simply needed to be clothed. Sure, I picked out some lovely plus sized tops, but I wasn't about defining my style, I was about hiding my bumps. I have really assessed my attitudes to fashion and clothing, and discovered that they were not terms that were synonymous with my identity. But they totally should be! Back when I blogged every day in May 2014 Sunday (Sally Harris) of LoveHappyDaily (which no longer exists, So sad!) did a guest post on my blog about refining her style. I was super inspired! I set up my own Pinterest board, and have since been pinning fashions that emulate the vibe I'm going for, future, fitter me is going for. I've also pinned a bunch of sewing projects I want to get on to. So every dollar I save is going toward vintage style dresses and accessories, fabric and sewing patterns. I'm going to embrace my body and express my style! And I have quite a few kilos to lose, so that equates to more dosh in the fabulous kitty.

A snapshot of my Style Inspiration board. Do you think I am having a love affair with stripes**? <3

I'm not aiming for a number. I'm aiming for healthy. My gynaecologist, endocrinologist and cardiologist (basically all of the 'ists' out there) have all said that losing a little bit of weight, just a tiny bit, will lead to great outcomes for health. So being 10 kilos down I think is a great start! I have lost the little bit, but I am still having to take medication. I can do better than that! Maybe one day I will be medication free? Maybe I won't, too. Who knows what the future holds? But I know that I am pretty firmly cemented on this journey now. I haven't given up chocolate (I suppose I will find out if I have to when I see the diabetes educator) but I have said a firm 'goodbye' to eating because of self loathing. I am now self loving. I'm doing this for me. I'm doing this for better outcomes. I'm on the path, and I'm proud of what I have achieved so far, and excited to see what I can achieve in the future!

I've got this.

*February first, 2015. Read about my initial proclamation of diet and lifestyle changes here
**I'm a firm believer that even fatties can wear horizontal stripes. I live by the stripe! 

Sep 7, 2015

I am fat.

I am fat. Capital F- capital A- capital T. Not only am I fat, I'm not good at getting thinner. I love food. I love food until I feel full (too full), I love baked goods, and I'm a mean home cook. I've made many attempts to reverse the fat over the years. Some would say I have a problem with willpower. To that I would say "yes, my friend, I do!" I also eat for comfort. I eat as a social activity- I catch up with friends and do brunch, because brunch is awesome.

I've flirted with the fat acceptance movement. "Why yes, I'm fat! Yes, I'm healthy!" I've been proud of the fact that my body is not showing signs of being brought down by this fatness, proud that my cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure results come back as fine. But for how long? I take medication that can cause increase cholesterol levels, and I have seen some iffy results in the past, but further tests have shown a healthy result. How long will this continue, though? How many more slices or raisin toast will it take to kick my results over the unhealthy abyss? Further to this, babies might be in our future. I want to decrease the risks my obesity poses on an unborn child, to decrease the risks of complication for myself, too, as baby making is riskier for the overweight woman.

Those of you reading along at home might note that this is not the first time I have made this fat-loss declaration. I don't plan on changing the method for which to lose weight, but I do hope to change the psychological aspect of the journey. So the song hasn't changed, but the tune has to. I have one simple goal. I want to decrease the size of my pregnant-not pregnant belly. As it decreases of course other areas will also, too, which will be a win! So I'm starting again. Me and my tummy are going to rock this shit. And if I fail, I will start over again. I'm always going to have a butt that goes for miles. I'm always going to be curvy. Hell, I may even always be overweight. But I can do it in a healthier way.

I'm starting again.

Image credit: The Library of Congress, via Flickr

Feb 1, 2015

The journey, not the destination.

I know it's been a while. Sometimes life just gets in the way. Things have been mostly pleasant! But lets cut to the chase. I'm here to talk about being a fatty. I'm normally a private person, I'm quite selective in the things I share about myself in life and on the internet. But I cannot hide this 'secret' from anyone, it's pretty obvious, I'm a chubster. I have been a chubster my whole adult life, save a short few months where I was sick. I don't like being obese. I see fat acceptance champions and I think, “you guys are just awesome!” And they really are! But for me it's all about being a healthier me. I want to know that I can sleep at night and not keep my husband awake with my snoring. I'm currently not in any risk factors for 'fat diseases', and I want to keep it that way. I don't want to be one of those 3 in 5 Australians who make up the overweight/obese statistic.  Actually, I want to amend that. I'd be ok with being 'just overweight' rather than obese, I think this is a reasonable goal! I want to not jiggle so much when I move. And I'd really like to purchase clothes from a 'standard' clothing store.

I have two options to bring my BMI* into line. I can grow to be much taller, or I can lose weight. Looks like weight loss is the path I'll be taking! The Heart Foundation Australia's BMI calculator  has me checking in at a BMI of 37. I vaguely recall at my heaviest being a BMI of 43, so it is amazing so see I have come quiet a way already! The Heart Foundation website also tells me that I should be looking at weighing in at 53-71kg. I'm not aiming for this right now. In the short term I'm just keen to see numbers drop, and in the long term I am aiming for is a waist measurement of under 88cm, and from there, a measurement of under 80. This is recommended as ideal for avoiding those weight- based illnesses. I have so far to go on these measurement goals that I haven't even started documenting my progress. Right now I just have to focus on 'calories in vs. calories out'.

I've tried many diets in the past. Most based on extreme calorie cutting. I recently ended a year long stint with Weight Watchers. Not that I didn't like the program, in fact I though it was rather user friendly. I did question how not tracking fruits and vegetables saw my over all calorie count for the day. So now I'm on to MyFitnessPal. I am working on clocking in at under 1700 calories per day. This number will decrease as I do. I'm generally recording under my calorie goal without too much fuss. This is partly thanks to a little help from calorie controlled shakes via the Celebrity Slim Program. I certainly do not plan on the long term use of a shake based program, but I'm using them as a little boost to my weight loss. It certainly helps me control the calories going in. In the mean time I'm educating myself on low calorie meals and snacks. I'm quietly enjoying the idea of calorie counting. I'm still feeling hungry quite a lot, but I'm drinking metric buttloads of water as a way to counter that.

So far so good! I feel like I am doing something good for my health and for the future. I try to remind myself of this when I have hunger pangs. I've not been so positive about exercise, however! Exercise is a major bug of mine. I go the gym three times a week, and each time I grumble. I haven't been able to see exercise as I have my diet changes. I begrudge it! It's certainly something I need to work on. I've read a bunch of success stories where people have lost a tonne of weight through diet and exercise. These people are now running marathons! Doing boot camps! So there is a long way for me to go just yet! It's certainly the journey, not the destination.

Are you on a diet and/or exercise journey? How is it going for you?

*BMI might not be the best calculator, but it is an industry standard. Check out this article.  
 Image credit: Library of Congress, Walter Miller via Flickr

May 31, 2014

Day Thirty One

Day 31, Saturday: Gratitude. 

I have a lot to be grateful for. I'm certainly grateful for the new friends I have made by taking part in Sunday's Blog Every Day in May Challenge. 

I am grateful for all the things I that make me happy! 

   My people. (My husband, family & friends.)
   My furpants cat, Coco, and cats everywhere.
   Getting into my pajamas after dinner, sitting down and watching a show.
   (And sometimes pajamas in the day time too!)
   Chocolate, and things chocolate flavoured, especially ice cream. 
   Snuggles in bed, at any time of day.
   Cups of tea, or any warm beverage, really. Hot chocolate specifically.
   Warm porridge on a cold day.
   Warm sun streaming down, or a cool breeze in summer
   Feeling content
   a really good book or even just an ok one.

I am also grateful that I live in a safe, comfortable country and home, and wish that this is the outcome for all mankind.

What are you showing gratitude for today?
(Keep in touch!)

Image credits: The State Library of New South Wales via Flickr 

May 30, 2014

Day Thirty

Day 30, Friday: Best advice you’ve received lately.

Just start. And once you have started, just keep doing.

It's something I have heard in a few different forms from a few different places. Start, then do.
But sometimes the 'start' part can be scary. And the 'do' part that follows is no kettle of fish either.

So what must I do? I must start, then just keep doing.

Everything will be alright.

Image credit SMU Central University via Flickr 

May 29, 2014

Day Twenty Nine

Day 29, Thursday: What have you said ‘yes’ to today?

Today I have said yes to my psychologist, yes to an extra weight watchers apple bar, yes to the cat eating her tuna, and yes to the supermarket checkout assistant & yes to the petrol station attendant.  

I shall also say yes to smiles and warm hugs and snuggling under a blanket watching telly. 

Image credit: George Eastman House via Flickr

May 28, 2014

Day Twenty Eight

Day 28, Wednesday: Family.  What do you love?  Best traits? What crazy genetics do you have in common?  Fave photo?

 *not my family. 

I'm one of six kids. -Divorce, marriages, whatnot. I grew up as one of four. My folks certainly had a good sense of humour, raising us! Of course they did a marvellous job. We all see each other once a month, give or take, where we still make a raucous sound across the dinnertable. I love them all very much! No crazy genetics that we know of, though individually we certainly have some unique quirks! I did think at one point when I was in my pre-teens that I was adopted. See, I was the only blonde in the family, to me it was case closed! I had all the evidence I needed.

And of course I have my new little family which is compact and just as loving. A lot quieter than my own, a house full of storytellers, 'yarn spinners'.

And of course there is my fur pants, kitty Coco, who will always be part of the family, too. Her skills include leisurely naps in the sun and having an ear for the tuna tin before it is open.

Photo credit: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland via Flickr  Family details unknown.

May 27, 2014

Day Twenty Seven

Day 27, Tuesday: Share a project you’ve been working on.

I've been working on this poor ol' blanket for a couple of years. I was inspired to do a granny square project after a short class I did, where we worked with granny squares & embroidery and focused on the mindfulness of crafting. (Crafting is so good for the mind! A form of meditation, if you will.)

Much of the wool for this project has been remnants and leftovers from here and there, so some squares are thicker or bigger than others, But I kind of love it's mismatched, uneven beauty. I'm now working on crocheting along the edge of the entire blanket to finish it off.  

I really like to crochet in front of the TV. Watching something that I have already watched, so that I can focus half on the telly, half on my crochet. And of course I prefer to work on blankets when it is cold! I should get this blanket finished this winter, then I might think about learning how to knit. 

I do have another project that is new to the works, I've been asked to complete a piece to exhibit at a gallery for a show! This is quite exciting, but it is also quite intimidating, as I feel lately as though I have lost my creative spark. So I have a short amount of time to convince myself that I can do it, then my piece will be needed. 

Have you seen my spark lying around? Any words of advice for a loss of the 'knack'?

May 26, 2014

Day Twenty Six

Day 26, Monday: Invite someone to guest post for you.

Welcome to Shimmer and Glow Sunday of Love Happy Daily!

 At the moment I'm really making a committed effort to wear my Fitbit every day and try to get my number of steps up each day.  This means that I've had a few days when I've arrived home after work and quickly strapped on my sneakers and have gone for a walk to help get my numbers up.  Something that helps convince me to get out the door is having a podcast to listen to as a I walk. I use them all the time as incentives to get me to spend time cleaning or exercising as they distract my mind from whatever it is that just needs doing.

Last week, while listening to the latest edition of the Joy the Baker podcast on my walk, Joy was talking about how a friend of hers put together a mood board to help her to refine her style.  As I'm doing 12 new pieces for 12 months this year, choosing pieces that really work for me and set me up with a clear style are something that is important.  I haven't bought an item of clothing since March, so I have an April purchase and a May purchase to make.  As it is getting colder here in Melbourne, I should really be choosing items that will get me through the winter months.  But what to pick?

Inspired by Joy, I decided to have a go at making my own mood board.  I've decided that my style is possibly best described as Bright Preppy Sparkle

Here are some examples of the kinds of things that appear on my mood board:

You can check out my full board (in progress) on Pinterest

How would you define your style?  

Thank you very much for your guest post, Sunday! Your have inspired me to set up my own Pinterest board to help me define my style. One pin so far!

May 25, 2014

Day Twenty Five

Day 25, Sunday: A list for the week ahead.

To do:  Love lots, be mindful, smile. Also, READ MORE.

 Image credit: The Graphics Fairy

May 24, 2014

Day Twenty Four

Day 24, Saturday: If you could have 3 people to dinner tonight, who would you invite?

Yet another tricky challenge from Sunday.  As I sit saddened by the fact that I have finished my lunch time bowl of porridge, I can't help but feel stuck, yet again. Lost for words. 

So, both fictional and non fictional characters blended in together, the sort-list off the top of my head would include:
My grandparents
Prime Minister Tony Abbott (For fiery dinner table arguement!) 
Elsie Larson & Emma Chapman (To ask them what it is like to live the dream)

If Sunday had have said 'four people' that would have been so much easier. I would have picked the ladies of our bridal party. It would be nice for an excuse to fly everyone in to catch up!

Image credit National Library of Ireland via Flickr

May 23, 2014

Day Twenty Three

Day 23, Friday: Write a post about a particularly good or controversial comment someone left you.

I'm really lucky, I've only ever received the kindest most thoughtful comments while blogging. I cannot pick out my favourite for comment.

 I wonder if I were to change my tune a bit, would things be the same? If I spoke about how I felt the Australian government were really mistreating the poor, ill and downtrodden with it's latest budget? Maybe my stance on other controversial issues? Maybe then I would attract some mean spirited people. I have seen some truly thoughtless comments in my time on the internet.

I do think that we should treat others the way we like to be treated.

Do the things we say on the internet reflect how we are in real life, or are we are hiding behind the anonymity of our screen?

Be kind to one another! 

Now here is a picture of a kitten to make things more sunshiney.

Image credit: George Eastman House via Flickr

May 22, 2014

Day Twenty Two

Day 22, Thursday: Share a video clip that you are loving at the moment.  It could be as simple as a song on YouTube or an inspirational speaker on TED Talks.

I had a good time researching for the topic of the day. I certainly don't watch as many TED Talks as I would like! But boy, are they inspiring! Above is a short talk by Dan Gilbert, "author of Stumbling on Happiness, [he] challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want. Our "psychological immune system" lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned." Ten years on, TED have contacted Gilbert. He has some interesting words to say in regard to his TED Talk of 2004, well worth a follow-up read, I think!

I also found this little gem hereBrother David Steindl-Rast speaks -quite beautifully- of happiness. He suggests happiness is born of gratitude. He asks us to be mindful in our lives, to look for those little moments. A short clip I think most of us would find truly inspiring.