Sunday, December 31, 2006

Farewell, 2006

It's a rainy (again) afternoon in Wellington, on the last day of the year. I'm watching New Zealand struggle (again) in a one day match against Sri Lanka in Queenstown.

Seems like an ideal time to say goodbye to the old year, all ready for a fresh start tomorrow.

In 2006 I lost around 10kg. Actually, I've lost more like 25kg, if you count all the yo-yo-ing! This may not seem like much, but I feel I have consolidated the enormous loss from 2005. I have spent much of my time getting used to being a healthier, fitter person.

In 2006 I did my first triathlon. I also did a duathlon and walked a half marathon. I have got these types of events well and truly out of my system.

In 2006 I have watched my son travel through his last 'official' year of childhood - the end of his time at secondary school. He is a man I am proud to know.

In 2006 I have had the joy and privilege to meet many lovely people through blogland. Some of these meetings have been virtual and some have been actual. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and time with me. My life is richer for our meeting.

See you all next year!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas joy

Okay, I'm admitting defeat. Not over eating and exercise, but over keeping up with daily posts at this time of year. It's just too damn busy.

So, I may post a bit over the next week or so, but there are lots of other things taking my attention.

I will be back on New Year's Day (although I'm not promising what time!). Back with daily posts and a new vigour to shed my last few kilos.

Knee update - saw the surgeon on Tuesday and there is no significant cartilage or other damage that would warrant surgery. Hooray! But that does mean I could face another six months of slowly getting over this injury and building my leg strength again. Lots more aquajogging for me, some bike riding (no hills, no wind - something of a challenge in Wellington).

In the meantime...

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a happy New Year. Cherish your friends and family at this special time. Be safe. Have fun.

Lots of love to you all

Monday, December 18, 2006

The final countdown!

Yeehaw folks, just one more week till Christmas - and two blissful weeks off. I might even take an extra week if things stay quiet at work - I do have seven weeks leave owing!

Sitting in the Koru Club at Wellington airport on an absolutely gorgeous day - but I think I'm heading for rain in Auckland. I only have to go to Auckland for the day, so I'm doing gentlemen's hours - 8.30 flight up, 4.30 back.

Not much left to fit in on the Xmas Day preparation front - a few pavlovas to make during the week, then the rest can be done over the weekend.

The coloured lights are up in the lounge, it all looks very cheerful and Christmasy!

Sunday summary
Not the best food choices, but at least I didn't eat too much of what I chose!
Breakfast: yoghurt and fresh nectarines (I'm making my own yoghurt now)
Lunch: French toast with bacon and banana - but didn't eat it all
Dinner: chicken curry and rice with cauliflower and broccoli
Snacks: cherries - lots of them, carrot sticks and capsicum
Treat: a small cup of Wendys berry sorbet
Exercise: 35 minute aquajog

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Happy birthday Mum

Just think - this time laset year we were all gathered in Kerikeri for Mum and dad's golden wedding anniversary. And I was still managing to keep up my triathlon training. Oh, the days of pure commitment!

Weighed in yesterday at 79.5kg, so a 1.2kg loss. I need to work really hard to back that up with another loss this week, instead of the repeating loss/gain cycle.

My week was good overall with food and exercise wasn't too bad (considering how hectic things are), with just one planned session missed.

Decorated my tree yesterday (finally). Everything on it is consumable in one way or another. It's mostly foil-wrapped chocolate ornaments, but there are mini Christmas crackers, too. Now if I can just get around to getting the lights and other decorations up in the house today...

Had the MRI on my knee yesterday, too, now just need to get back to see the surgeon.

On the home straight to Christmas now - three lunches and one brunch planned for this week.

Summary for Saturday
Breakfast: toast with cottage cheese, banana, yoghurt
Lunch: chicken caesar salad
Dinner: steamed seafood gyoza
Snacks: mango, nectarine, green salad
Treats: two little chocolates
Exercise: 30 minute walk

Friday, December 15, 2006

Flat out like a lizard drinkin'

About now, all I can think is - roll on the 29th of December! Then all this Christmas insanity will be over and I'll be able to sit on the balcony, read my book and sip (swill) margaritas.

Well, look who sounds like the Christmas grinch. I really do love Christmas - it's just getting through all this stuff beforehand that's taking its toll.

We had a lovely dinner at the Auckland sister's house last night. It was great to catch up with Mum and Dad before the went to Adelaide, and with my brother and his family (who we won't see for Christmas).

So, a quick catch-up of the last two days.

Summary for Wednesday
Breakfast: cottage cheese on toast
Lunch: roast chicken, thyme and spinach salad
Dinner: some babaganoush on crackers before we went out and nothing else!
Snacks: bean sprouts, baby carrots, banana
Treats: 2 x gin and tonic
Slips: some mini M&Ms
Exercise: 30 minutes aquajogging

Summary for Thursday
Breakfast: bircher muesli (but at the Koru Club, not my yummy homemade one)
Lunch: Caesar salad
Dinner: steak, salad, mushrooms and onions
Snacks: no time
Treats: 2 x glasses of wine
Slips: 2 more glasses of wine, 3 little cubes of panaforte, 2 salmon wings, some crackers with dip
Exercise: hugging my lovely family

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Why did weightloss work this time?

It's the $64,000 question, really, isn't it?

If I knew exactly why my weightloss has been so successful this time, when it hasn't worked in the past, I would bottle it and sell it. For a whole lot of money. After I gave it to all of you for free, of course.

But, yes, I do have my theories.

Clearly, having a good programme to follow is an essential foundation. But there really has to be more to it than that.

It has something to do with heart. A good programme is nothing without your own motivation and commitment. It doesn't matter how much help you get from other people if you're not helping yourself.

Easy generalisations to make, but what specifically worked for me?

A road not lightly taken
I didn't wake up one day and go 'Right, today I'm going to change my entire life'. This wasn't like choosing a new shade of nail polish. (Got my Christmas nails done today; bright pink with just a smidge of fine silver glitter). Because I took some time to make the change, I was more deeply committed to it.

Using the tools supplied
You have to find and maintain your own motivation, but whatever programme you are using can still help you with that. Most programmes have great suggestions about managing your environment, getting yourself going with exercise and learning to listen to your body AND emotions.

Give it a go
I've mentioned my silly intellectual snobbery before. I always thought things like visualisation were just a bit too much touchy-feely bullshit for me. WRONG! When I first started exercising I really enjoyed picturing how I would feel striding along the road and up and down hills without puffing. I really looked forward to the day I would be able to walk in to Just Jeans and try on a pair of ' normal' sized jeans. Visualisation did help me keep my motivation going.
So, give things like that a go - but give them a good go. Don't just try them once and then discard them. They don't always work first time.

Last chance saloon
I had finally realised I wasn't going to live forever (in fact, at my size, I wasn't even going to live for very long). Losing weight wasn't something I could later. I need to get started on this rather extensive project, or it would literally be too late.

Summary for Tuesday

Breakfast: soy and linseed toast with banana and a smear of the delectable Cato plum and cinnamon jam
Lunch: left over chicken and mushroom from last night with lots of salad leaves added, a yoghurt
Dinner: homemade pizza topped with pizza sauce, cottage cheese and WW grated cheese, salad
Snacks: 4 vitawheat crackers, fresh cherries (for you non-Kiwis, there is no cherry as nice as South Island black cherries, trust me) and some more mini capsicum (for those who asked yesterday, these come from New World - about 10 to a box, about the size of an egg, in assorted colours. So crunchy and sweet, I just munch on them on their own)
Treats: gin and tonic
Exercise: upper body and core resistance, half hour walk

Monday, December 11, 2006

Back at it

What a lovely day in Wellington today. The sort of day that makes me believe summer might actually come before Christmas - but no doubt the shit weather will hit again later in the week!

Met my lovely Wellington sister for aquajogging this morning - a much better effort than the hungover version on Saturday.

Summary for Monday

Breakfast: bircher muesli with soy milk and craisins (lovely sweet red treats that they are)
Lunch: roast vege and feta salad - the dressing was too oily and I really didn't enjoy it that much
Dinner: stir fried chicken, mushrooms and courgettes, sprinkled with dukkah for seasoning and served with salad and followed by a diet yoghurt
Snacks: two bananas, 6 mini capsicum, a mango
Treats: a gin and tonic
Exercise: 30 minutes aquajog, 45 minute walk

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Yes, I did disappear for a few days, but more on that shortly.

Firstly, my apologies for the lack of comments on your blogs - on most of them I can't see the word verification, so I can't comment.

But enough about you, back to me.

I didn't quite vanish in the Bermuda Triangle, but my discipline, motivation and good eating did. Really. Completely vanished. Thin air, that sort of thing.

I ate and drank everything in sight and barely exercised at all. And put on 2kg. Here we go again, good week alternating with bad week, numbers on the scales going up and down.

It was a particularly busy week - work and socially. I was training a new staff member and had significantly reduced computer access. Because much of my day time was spent with the new chap, I was keeping up with my work at night - the time I usually spend in Blogland.

On top of that was an obscene number of Xmas things - culminating in our work do on Thursday and the annual golf day on Friday. That's the one where we pretty much drink all day in the Wairarapa and then catch the train back - still drinking all the way. I have the usual array of bruises on my legs from bouncing up and down the aisle (and climbing over the seats!).

We had this killjoy of a conductor who keep coming through the carriage and telling us to sit down, so I would just sit on the nearest person - not something I would have got away with two years ago.

My accumulated hangover really showed on Saturday morning when I only managed just over 20 minutes of pretty pathetic aquajogging - those of you familiar with my usual exercise geekdom will appreciate how unusual that is for me. An uncompleted exercise session? Unthinkable!

Anyway, where to with the Brutal Honesty Campaign? I'm not giving up on it. I don't want to give it just a half-arsed try and then decide it doesn't work. The concept is sound and I need to stick with it through the remaining three weeks of the festive season, to be well poised for a good start to the new year.

So, from tomorrow, a return to the daily posting of food consumed and exercise completed. And I still owe you a few 'emotional' posts, so they'll be coming up as well.

My coming week holds:
Monday: normal work day, 30 minutes of aquajogging and a 45 minute walk
Tuesday: normal work day (and second day in a row with no functions or other social engagements), upper body and core resistance workout
Wednesday: normal work day, 30 minutes of aquajogging and Jake's prizegiving at school. No two ways about it, this is going to be an emotional evening. This officially signals the end of Jake's school life PLUS his best mate will be giving his farewell speech as Head Prefect. I will cry. There is no doubt.
Thursday: fly to Auckland, girls' lunch with some of the Auckland office, then dinner at my Auckland sister's house - Mum and Dad will be there as they fly to Adelaide for Christmas the next day, and my brother and his family will be there too. No exercise that day.
Friday: another girls' lunch, fly home to Wellington, 45 minute walk

Pretty standard week, really!

Monday, December 04, 2006

So, how did I choose my weight loss method?

I've tried a few over the years. I haven't been a constant dieter, trying every new fad that comes along. But over the period of the last 15 years there has been:
Weight Watchers under the old exchange system. Lost about 10kg, got bored, bounced back up.
Jenny Craig. Lost about 15kg, learned absolutely nothing about healthy eating and felt like barfing every time I looked at the packaged food. Bounced back up and over.
My one attempt at a diet that really sounded wrong to me - Atkins - lasted three days till the caffeine withdrawal had me so sick I couldn't get out of bed.

That doesn't mean I only ever thought about losing weight three times in all those years. It was a thought that was pretty close to the surface much of the time. But it was easily pushed back down again - I'm not that fat, I'm happy the way I am, I'm too busy, diets never work. I had all the reasons (excuses).

However, once the decision was made that I finally had to do something about this, I knew this time the decision would stick. This was no impulse or knee-jerk reaction to one bad day. In the months I took to decide to make the change to my life, I also built up a strength of resolve that ensured THIS time I would make it.

Having decided to change, I needed to decide how to do it. The options were very quickly narrowed. Anything that sounded like a fad - not a style of eating I could see myself following for the rest of my life - was quickly off the list. JC didn't appeal again because of the cost and because it didn't seem real to me.

So, from early on, WW seemed my best option. But I'd been there before and couldn't face the thought of the meetings. Not that there's anything wrong with them - that's just not a form of motivation that works for me.

But then some web research found their At Home programme and I was set. This was just what I needed.

One thing I had to make myself do at the start was get over my misplaced intellectual snobbery. I needed to recognise that I was scoffing at things like visualisation not because they were silly, but because I was actually scared of trying them. And that was one of the traits that had let me down in the past.

And once I got over my discomfort, I found that these things really worked! When I was out walking I'd imagine how good it would feel when I could stride up and down hills without puffing (and wanting to pass out). I loved the buzz I felt getting on the scales at the end of the week and knowing it was MY efforts that had made that number drop (note to self: it would be pretty good to recapture that feeling about now).

Finally I was on my way - and once I had started it really wasn't that hard - and there was no holding me back.

The gabfest

Thank you to everyone who made it to the picnic yesterday. It was lovely to see you all - familiar faces and new ones.

How lovely that Upper Hutt turned on such good weather and I hope none of you are burned.

Special mention to Craig, of course, for being able to cope with all the cackling! And special thanks to Karen for bringing Rachel for a visit, even though you could only stay an hour and the baby slept the whole time.

Week Two Day Two summary

Breakfast: porridge
Lunch: salad with some cheese in it, yoghurt
Dinner: pasta with tuna and tomato
Snacks: banana, two plums, some celery
Treats: two glasses of bubbles at the picnic
Slips: a few lollies and half a sausage (from the boys' dinner)
Exercise: 30 minutes aquajogging with my sister, a bit of a walk

Sunday, December 03, 2006

What was my trigger to finally lose weight?

There really was no single thing that finally made me decide to lose weight, no particular lightbulb moment.

I actually built up to it for six months or more. Over that time, I think I took many small steps toward the final decision to change my life. There were lots of contributing factors, some of which were:
I was choosing what activities I joined in based on my fitness. If I knew I would have to walk a long way, or climb a hill or stairs, I wouldn't go. I was missing out on things because I didn't want people to see how badly my weight was affecting me.
I was careful about what I ate in front of other people - trying not to give them an excuse to laugh at the fat lady eating. This lead to me eating in private what I was denying myself in public - and more besides.
My clothing size was still creeping up. When I shopped at my favourite big-girl stores, I was at the top of the size range and starting to wonder what would happen when I was too big for their clothes. Kaftans, perhaps?
I didn't fit - at least not comfortably - in things like airplane seats, conference seating and other small spaces. I also felt I didn't fit in many social situations.

People often ask me why I decided to lose weight. I actually avoid answering that question when I can. It would be nice to say lots of profound things about my health and wanting to live longer.

The truth does contain elements of those things, but there is a healthy dollop of vanity in there too. I wanted to look better, I wanted to not feel unhappy when I looked in the mirror, I wanted to look my age or younger, not older.

I call it 'healthy' vanity, because in this case it was. It is very easy for vanity to become unhealthy - we just need to look at all the superthin movie stars to know that.

By the time my 40th birthday come around, the decision to change my life was basically made, and just waiting to be put into action.

It really is summer!

We had a gorgeous day yesterday, and looks like another one today for the bloggers' picnic.

I've been taking full advantage of the lovely weather - just in case this is all we get!

Spent the afternoon with my sister. We started off drinking tea, but the frozen margaritas soon came out...

Week Two Day One summary

Breakfast: porridge
Lunch: roasted tomato soup, bread, apple
Dinner: roasted chicken breast, kumara, parsnip and asparagus (it's been a great asparagus season this year)
Snacks: 2 plums, pear, yummy strawberries
Treats: WW cookies and cream ice cream
Slips: two frozen margaritas and then all downhill from there...2 bran biscuits, 2 pikelets with jam, some cheese
Exercise: upper body and core resistance (with all my weights up one notch from last week), 30 minute walk

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Why was I fat?

It's an interesting question, this one.

Why was I fat, why did I let it happen, why did I stay that way for so long?

Brief history.

After I had Jake (18 years ago), I weighed around 100kg. Over the next few years, this slowly dropped to what I estimate to be around 85kg (I never weighed myself, just guessing from the sizes of the clothes I wore).

In 1993 Mark, Jake and I moved to Auckland. We shared a house with some old friends of mine. When I look back, it was a very unhealthy environment - they were lovely people, but we all had very unhealthy habits. We ate large meals, mostly fried or roasted, drank plenty and certainly never exercised.

I quickly piled on the weight - I'm guessing I put on 10kg in the 6 months we lived there, and after that it kept creeping up. I think I probably reached 120kg in the late 1990s and stayed around that weight for a while. By 2005 I was over 130kg.

By then the unhealthy eating was well entrenched - large meals, lots of sauces, ice cream every night, sweet things at morning and afternoon tea, chocolate bars etc. General uncontrolled consumption.

So, there are the bare facts, but that doesn't answer the original question - why was I fat?

If I had to sum it up in one word - laziness.

Despite being a generally high-achieving person, I believe myself to be inherently lazy.

I knew I was overweight, but I was too lazy to do anything about it. Too lazy to properly apply the healthy eating principles that I knew were right. Too lazy to stick to a good exercise regimen.

But mostly, too lazy to examine what it was about my mental and emotional state that led me to behave in such a self-destructive way. I am still disinclined to embark on such an examination.

It was much easier to convince myself that I didn't mind being fat. Sure, I was big, but I could afford to dress well, I had a good job and a lovely family. My man loved me, I was popular at work.

All these things helped me suppress the shudder of disgust when confronted with myself in a shop window, helped me ignore my lack of breath at the top of a flight of stairs, helped me ignore my self-loathing at not being able to do all sorts of everday things.

My laziness made it easier to ignore these feelings, because dealing with them would be such hard work - by the way, it turns out I was wrong about that.

It's not that I was miserable - not all the time anyway. Mostly, I was happy with my life, so long as I continued to ignore my physical self.

Basically, it was easier to just NOT to anything about it.

The plan for Week Two

Okay, Week Two of the Brutal Honesty Campaign. What's the plan?

Food - just keep going the way I have been. Social events to fit in are:
Sunday: the bloggers' picnic, so I'm sure to be good for that
Monday: lunch with a girlfriend, it will be easy to just have a salad
Tuesday: same as Monday, different friend
Wednesday: same as Monday and Tuesday, different friend again!
Thursday: work Xmas do - at the new bowling lounge in Wellington - at which I hope to be very good, because tomorrow is...
Friday: the big annual golf day with one of our printing companies. The golfers head for the Wairarapa by train in the morning, us non-golfers go over at midday. We spend the afternoon at a vineyard with those who only played 9 holes, eating, drinking and play silly games. We are then joined by those who played 18 holes, for a big flash dinner, prizegiving and more drinking. Back to Wellington on the 9.00 train - with plenty of chillers filled with yet more drink. Then the hardened types (yes, me) go out on the town in Wellington! Phew! That will definitely be my free day. To end all free days.

To help make up for that, my exercise plan for the week:
Saturday: upper body and core resistance, 45 minute walk
Sunday: upper body and core resistance, 30 minute aqua jog (will the amount of talking we'll do at the picnic count for extra exercise?)
Monday: 45 minute aqua jog
Tuesday: upper body and core resistance, 45 minute walk
Wednesday: 30 minute aqua jog
Thursday: upper body and core resistance
Friday: walking up and down the train aisle making sure everyone has a drink

And new for this week - talking about stuff. I'm going to try and post each day about some of my weight and self-image issues.

And my week one reward is...

...a loss of 2.2kg!

A good result from my first week of the Brutal Honesty Campaign. The big thing now, though, is to keep up the good work. I've spent the last few months alternating good weeks with average weeks and bad weeks, watching my weight swing up and down the whole time. I'm feeling good about this though, really into the groove of healthy eating again.

Saw the specialist about my knee yesterday. Just waiting for an MRI appointment now.

Week One Day Seven summary

Breakfast: Grilled WW cheese on soy and linseed toast, 2 pieces, and a yoghurt
Lunch: salmon and tuna sushi
Dinner: a little pizza with blue cheese and lots of veges, a green salad with toasted sunflower seeds and a few slivers of avocado and Camembert
Snacks: a protein bar (I was starving and running between meetings, it was all I could fine), a glass of orange juice and a club sandwich at the school sports department shout
Slips: a piece of chocolate cake, also at the shout, that wasn't worth it
Exercise: none

Friday, December 01, 2006

Christmas picnic update

Hey everyone, guess what? The weather is going to be absolutely beautiful for our picnic on Sunday. It's true - warm and sunny, with just a gentle breeze to make sure we don't overheat.

Okay, I'm making that up. But the weather forecast is quite good, so fingers crossed.

The back-up plan is - the Mitre 10 Mega cafe in Bouverie St, Petone.

Email me if you want my cell number so we can check with each other on Sunday morning.

See you there, gorgeous girls!

Bowling along

He he, sorry, couldn't resist the dreadful pun.

We took our clients to play lawn bowls last night and it was a really fun evening. It's nice to do something like that, rather than just the usual drinking and eating. We were finished by 8pm, too, so everyone is nice and fresh for work today.

Knowing I had this function, I had designated yesterday as my 'free' day, but I still didn't go too overboard - although you always have to bear in mind that catered food is going to be loaded with fat!

Week One Day Six summary

Breakfast: bircher muesli and two nectarines
Lunch: pumpkin, cashew and feta salad
Snacks: two trim flat whites
Dinner: (here goes) four bloody Mary oyster shots, two spinach and feta mini fritters with rocket pesto, one mini smoked chicken quesadilla with coriander and gruyere, one mussel topped with tomato salsa and mozzarella, one pita pocket with falafels, hommus and lettuce, one mini steak sandwich, one skewered lamb ball (I know, the mind boggles!), one mini steak sandwich with caramelised onions, tomato relish and brie, some fresh and dried fruit, a few almonds and FOUR truffles. Oh, and two gin and tonics.
Actually, it seems quite a lot when you list it all out like that (it was finger food, so the servings were small) and lots of protein. Can you tell I chose the menu - that's how I know what everything was.
Exercise: None