Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Exercise simplification

There is no doubt, when my exercise is going well and I am happy about it, I am much more in control of my eating.

However, with the short winter days, frequent nasty weather and my somewhat unpredictable life at the moment, I am finding it difficult to stick to the formal training schedule I had written for the half-marathon walk. Then I get pissed off with myself and my eating goes off track...

So, no more schedules, no more specific types of training on specific days. My new plan is this:

Every day, I will walk a minimum of 15,000 steps.

That's it, it doesn't get any simpler. I will not average 15,000 a day, thereby giving myself license to have lazy days followed by days of frenzied catching up. I will do a minimum of 15,000.

And I can get to the number whatever way I like, giving me the flexibility I need just now. So if I go to the gym in the morning, I won't need to go for such a long walk at night (or if I spend the whole day rushing around like an idiot I might be able to collapse in a heap when I get home). All I really need to do is make sure I chuck in a couple of good long walks (like 15km) before the half-marathon and it will all be sweet!

Of course, the lazy day might come when I find myself needing to fit in 13,000 between dinner and bedtime...

Friday, May 26, 2006

12 inch flares and paisley shirts

Yes, folks, today I get to trade the big hair and leg warmers of the 80s for the much more appealing fashion styles of the 70s.

Finally, finally, finally this morning the scales gave me a reading that didn't start with an 8!

I am now 79.7kg. And the 80s are not going to make a comeback!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Wonderful winter weather

I’ve been walking at lunchtime lately, taking advantage of being at an office which has a shower.

Yesterday I walked to the top of Mt Victoria in the rain. It’s a fair climb – took me half an hour to reach the top.

Today I had a flat walk planned, around Oriental Bay, and Wellington pulled out one of its cracker winter days. So, as I walked, I got to look at views like this:

It was still slightly cool, but the harbour was completely calm, with a few wisps of mist drifting about. As I rounded the point toward Evans Bay, the whole glorious harbour opened up before me.

Weather like this brings out all the lunchtime runners, joggers and walkers. All sorts of ages, sizes, types of people, all going at different paces. As well as the fitness types, there are lots of people enjoying their lunch in the sun – office workers, family folk, construction crews et al.

There is one type of lunch-eater who fits in a slightly different category. These are chaps who sit in their cars to eat their lunch. I always assume they are Sales Reps – they all look like they’re driving company cars. If I were a more charitable soul, I would think it was lovely they had managed to grab some time out of their busy day to have a leisurely lunch in the lovely weather and gaze at our beautiful harbour.

But I know damn well they were actually thinking, “It’s a sunny day. I’m going round to Oriental Bay to watch the joggers”!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Things you could do to piss me off today

  1. If you're the doctor's receptionist, sigh loudly when I say Jake can only come at 11.30 or noon on Wednesday. I know I should just let my son cut school like everyone else.
  2. Scratch the side of your nose and then use that hand to TOUCH THE MEAT YOU'RE BAGGING FOR ME.
  3. Look at me as if I've grown another head when I ask to see the manager so I can complain about the hygiene standards.
  4. Stop suddenly in front of me, in the middle of the footpath.
  5. Expect me to apologise for bumping into you.

If none of these suggestions appeal, wait till next week when I'm premenstrual - then breathing within spitting distance of me will be enough to piss me off.

And I do spit.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Just a twitch

This morning's weigh-in saw the scales twitch slightly downward with a 100 gram loss.

At least it was down.

Although I have to admit I was tempted to wait half an hour, go for a pee, then see if I'd managed to drop below the 80kg mark.

Maybe next week I'll be a 70s girl.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Silver lining

When I started my laptop at work on Monday morning, I saw those dreaded words "Fatal hardware error".

My faithful companion, which has worked at around 8 of our offices with me, in Wellington, Auckland and Sydney, had sucked the kumara.

So there I was, stranded. I have no direct line in that office, so I use a 3G card all the time. I couldn't just grab a spare PC and plug it in. I was left with no choice to base myself in our main Wellington office until my new laptop arrives.

I am now on the opposite side of the city from my clients, instead of being just one level up in their building. I can't just whip down the stairs to get something approved or to check that I have understood their sometimes garbled instructions.

But the great thing is - their building is about 2500 steps from mine! And the last two days I've gone there and back twice! I've racked up over 20,000 steps both days. I've got to be on track for a 100,000+ week.

It may sound like a waste of time to walk it all the time, but I reckon it's faster than walking to the parking building over here, driving across town, parking in the parking building over there and then walking to the client's building.

This is my first week of training for the half-marathon walk. My schedule is for 6 walks a week. I've broken them down into: the two shortest walks are speed training (fast as I can), the two 'middle-sized' walks are strength training (up and down lots of hills, never a problem in Wellington) and the two longest walks are stamina walks (self-explanatory).

The dog, of course, is loving it! Although I have to admit on Monday night, the weather was SO disgusting (7 degrees, pissing rain, howling wind) that I couldn't face pounding the streets. I scarpered off to the gym and used the treadmill instead.

I'm enjoying being back on a training schedule again. It helps me be more disciplined about keeping up with my exercise.

I hope everyone is having a great week!

And, in case anyone has managed to miss it this man is my hero. I have been lucky enough to hear him speak at a function. Truly inspirational. And let's face it, if he can climb Everest with two artificial legs, what's losing a few more kilos for me?

Sunday, May 14, 2006


I detest acronyms. They are stupid and dehumanising and often used to make other people feel thick.

I have been known to threaten to kick people out of meetings if they don't stop using acronyms. In one of my more endearing moments I once screamed at a colleague "They're not a f**king FTE, they're a PERSON". (FTE = full time equivalent)

This week, however, I find the acronym NAG fits my mood and my situation rather well.

For instance, it can mean Not A Gain, which works this week, because I neither lost nor gained.

But then, it could also mean Not Approaching Goal, which pretty much sums up my progress of late.

When in a more positive mood, I can have it mean Nearly At Goal. While I still have 6 or 8kg to go, percentage-wise that statement could be true.

As acronyms go, it is simple, versatile and rather endearing.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Strange child

Long-time readers will know that Jake the Jock (my 17 year old) plays underwater hockey. He used to play waterpolo, too, but gave it up this year to concentrate on his pre-season fitness for rugby.

Playing watersports is complicated for Jake by the fact that in the last couple of years he has developed a sensitivity to pool water. Within a few hours of being in the water he has a full-blown hayfever-type reaction - sneezing, blocked nose, streaming eyes. Poor baby. The only thing that seems to stop it is using prednesone (sp?) and we're not going THERE on an ongoing basis - it's pretty evil stuff.

So this season we started experimenting with ways to prevent it. Nasal sprays help a bit but not enough to justify the vile taste in your mouth.

The best solution - sorry, this is gross - is for him to stuff earplugs up his nose. I kid you not. Stopping the water getting into his nasal cavity does the trick. It can't be a very glamourous look, but that's compensated by the fact that he can snort them out of his nose, at his friends, after a game!

He ran out of earplugs last week. And forgot to ask me to get more - being in the printing industry I have a good supply of them. So the first I knew of it was when I got home last night and he was lying on the couch instead of working at his after-school job. He feels gross and can't work. And spent all evening blowing his nose and sneezing mightily.

So, this morning's text conversation (written in real-speak to make it legible) went like this:

Him - Can I stay in bed, like, all day?
Me - Why?
Him - 'Cause I feel like shit and my eyes hurt even in my room where it's really dark
Me - You realise that staying home won't actually help you get better?
Him - Yeah, but I feel gross
Me - If you don't go to rugby training today you'll probably be on the bench on Saturday
Him - I've got study first period, I'll go to school after that

Just got to push the right buttons.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Injured. Drat.

Having finally given in to the increasing pain behind my left shoulder-blade, I went to the physio on Friday.

Of course it has nothing to do with my shoulder - I have four vertebrae in my lower neck/upper back which are out of alignment.

Drat. Bugger. Blast.

It has something to do with my posture when I carry things (like bags of rugby gear and my laptop). I carry with my shoulder and neck, using my upper and middle trapezius muscles, instead of my back or lower trapezius. I always like to have a 'name' for these things!

None of this is helped by the fact I always lift and carry with my left arm. This is because my right arm is officially 'weird'. Remind me to show you that scar some time...

So you will see my exercise plan is somewhat saner than usual this week. It's probably about time I had an easier week, anyway. I'm sticking to walking and yoga for most of the week. I'll try the gym on Saturday, but won't do my full workout if things don't feel right. While I'm there I'll get Dale to give me some 'lower trapezius' exercises.

I'm trying to be particularly conscious of my posture, as my 'office-worker slump' is not helping matters.

Lots of walking was always going to be in the plan from next week anyway, when I will start my six week training for a half-marathon walk on 25 June. I was originally toying with the 10km run in this event, but my knees really aren't up to that distance. So, it's the 21km walk for me. I walked 13km last Sunday and felt great afterward.

I've decided my biggest obstacle will be to walk for over three hours and not die of boredom. So I've conned a girlfriend into doing it with me. She is recovering from abdominal surgery, so our aim is completion rather than a certain time.

Of course, an event like this in Wellington in winter holds the likelihood of its own special challenges. Unless we fluke one of those fabulous days when the harbour looks like glass, there's every chance we'll be hammered by a freezing southerly or a howling northerly. In fact if we're really lucky we'll walk the first half into a southerly and then it will change to a northerly for our return trip. With a bit of horizontal rain thrown in for good measure.

Anyway, great to have another event to look forward to. I'm off to the physio.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Substance abuse

Mark and I went to a 40th birthday party last night. Yes, we do still have friends that young!

We had a lovely time catching up with everyone and I may have drunk a little much champagne.

Somewhere in my drunken musings I came up with the following theory. It may be overly simplistic, but it struck a chord with me.

In the group of 100 or so, there were several people who have substance abuse problems, and have faced them to some degree or other. The man who hasn't had a drink in over seven years. The man who has not only overcome his problems with drugs, but now competes in marathons and Ironman competitions. The man who has stopped betting on the horses and is now trying to kick his replacement addiction to the pokies. The woman who is still taking major pain medication some four years after she broke her leg. The woman who had little or no control over her food consumption for many years.

That would be me.

And the thing that struck me about all of this, apart from the fact I have some wonderful, strong friends?

The difference with these addictions is that I cannot give mine up completely. The absence of alcohol or drugs will not kill them (although it may feel like it will), but without food I will starve to death.

I am not belittling their problems or the enormous struggles they have had. But there is quite a difference here. I need to learn to cope with my problem without being able to banish it completely.

Realising this shows how important the 'mental' side of my lifestyle change is. No matter how much I learn about healthy eating, exercise and portion control, the long-term solution to my particular brand of substance abuse lies in recognising why I overeat and stopping that behaviour.

I still have some internal demons to banish.

Friday, May 05, 2006


I've certainly had a better week - a loss of 2.2kg. But recently each good week has been followed by a bad week, so I need to keep the mental discipline going.

My progress in my three focus areas:
Water - drinking plenty, but still want to up my evening consumption (gin and water doesn't count).
Steps - lots of these. Daily average over 12,000 - I'll post my week's worth on Monday when I update my exercise plan. Two benefits from wearing the pedometer - I like knowing how much I'm doing, and it prompts me to do a bit extra, like going for a walk at lunchtime.
Scales - clearly my scales have a borderline personality disorder. I ignore them all week and they're much nicer to me on Friday.

I tried yoga for the first time this week. As I'm a complete novice, I got the WW yoga and pilates (haven't tried the pilates yet) DVD - it was on special. I really enjoyed it and discovered which parts of my body are REALLY inflexible. I think I will get bored with this basic level one fairly quickly, so I'd love any suggestions from you yoga girls out there about what DVD to get next.

Another highlight from my week was meeting Felicity (and Janine very briefly too). There is something so special about meeting bloggers in the flesh. Felicity has obviously been having a great (and very active) holiday. I wonder how she'll ever find time to write about it all on her blog!

Sorry about the lack of comments on your posts lately - I've been reading as you update but haven't had much time to comment. Please don't think I don't love you anymore!

First real game of the rugby season for Jake tomorrow - I'm probably more nervous about it than he is! It's always good to get into the proper season after all this pre-season stuff. Last week I learned how to strap his thighs for when he's lifted in the lineout - including strips of foam rubber under the tape to make little 'handles' at the front. The funniest part was watching him take all the tape off afterwards. He takes it off very, very slowly, because he doesn't want to lose all the hair off his thighs - and there is a lot of hair. He really doesn't want to turn up to underwater hockey in his speedos with big bald patches on his legs.

Mark is picking up his new bike today and is beside himself with excitement. We'd better get some fine weather in the weekend - if he can't ride it he won't be much fun to live with.

So, another week of discipline for me should see me through this slump/plateau - the 70s are looming!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Action plan

I have identified three areas I want to concentrate on. They're not necessarily things I'm doing badly, but things I could do better. Monitoring them will help me get back into the habit of mental discipline. And then that habit will spill over into the rest of my life.


Most days I drink plenty of water. But I don't drink it right through the day. I drink 500ml as soon as I get up. I drink plenty while I'm working out and (mostly) during the day at work. Often I drink none at all in the evening (and not much of anything else either).
Action point: drink a glass of water as soon as I get home from work, one while I'm cooking dinner and one about an hour after dinner.


I have never bothered with a pedometer before. I do get lots of exercise - but how much and how consistently?
I'm also interested to know how much exercise I get APART from my planned exercise. Does running up and down to the courier room a couple of times a day help much at all? Am I doing 6000 steps when I take the dog out, but only 600 steps for the rest of the evening?
Action point: hook on that pedometer. Every day.


How did I go from being a once-a-week to a once-a-day weigher? Weighing every day has a negative effect on my eating, no matter what the number. If my weight is down from the day before, I subconsciously relax my attitude to eating and allow myself extra because I'm doing so well. If my weight is up, it's easy to slip into thinking the week is a write-off anyway.
Action point: weigh on Fridays. Any other day, the scales are just a big pile of dust in the corner of the bathroom.