Friday, March 28, 2014

When you are down, there is no place but up

I haven't left the house in 6 days as our household has been hit with the gastro bug.  Interestingly, it's given me a lot of time to think about this blog and my journey and my recent self-sabotage (which hasn't quite stopped yet). 

This blog is supposed to be about my journey from fat to thin(ner).  When I first started it less than two months ago, I was filled with enthusiasm and a strong belief that 'this was the right time'.  But when I started writing (without a plan), just writing about my feelings and my experiences, I realised that there is a lot of darkness or emptiness in my soul.  And that's what I've been writing about.  And that's authentic and true to how I'm feeling.  But is it actually helping me?  I don't think that it is.  In times of darkness, I need light to surround me and guide me in the right direction. 

I need to stop making this blog just about the negative feelings that I'm having.  But also the positive emotions, the uplifting interactions that I have with people around me.  I don't mean to have a constant message that this journey is all about shitting rainbows and unicorns (because it's not and won't ever be)....but there needs to be something positive, something to be (eeek) gained from this. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Feeling flat, overwhelmed and tired

Help!  Where has my motivation gone?  I'm self sabotaging and it is making me feel so bad about myself.  I feel like a failure writing these words.  How easy it is to go from feeling in control and making a change to feeling like I am useless and unable to change.  It almost feels like I don't even want it.  I don't even want to put the effort in to make the change. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Oh Poor Poor Me

I really struggled with motivation yesterday, and it feels the same way today.  It didn't help that, confession time, I ate the last piece of caramel mudcake yesterday and I had a (much needed) sleep in yesterday so I didn't get on the treadmill either. 

This generally blah feeling carried on until dinner time and instead of sticking to my usual high vegetable intake, I just couldn't be bothered.  So I ate chicken nuggets and dinosaur chicken things for dinner. 

So now this morning I've woken up still feeling blah.  So blah that I wasn't going to put this in a post.  I feel sluggish and tired.  Our two year old was awake at 3.40am this morning.  I've managed to get him back to sleep but it's a tough gig getting up that early. 

I think that the blah feeling is because I'm feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment.  We are having a birthday party for the kids (they turned 2 and 4 this week) and we have gone a little overboard with the invitations.  There are 21 adults and 15 children expected to attend and that makes my feel very stressed!  I'm worried about the food, whether there will be enough, whether anyone will actually eat.  I'm worried about the birthday cakes.  Our 4 year old wants a ballerina cake and I'm no Martha Stewart.  I was more thinking about a chocolate fudge cake covered in smarties. 

Then there is the getting ready for the party.  The house needs a good clean today and I need to work out what I need to buy from the supermarket.  Plus our daughter has two dance classes this morning that I'm probably not going to be able to watch. 

It's funny isn't it, how your brain makes things into something bigger than they are.  That I act like I'm the one that has to shoulder the whole burden of this birthday party.  When in reality, that's not true.  My husband (bless him) has done so much this week already to get ready for it and my mother-in-law will be coming over today to help as well.  So why do I feel like it is all on me?  Is that because I'm looking for attention, I'm wanting to play the victim?  Is that what I do? 

Is it because I'm lazy and would rather groan and moan about everything there is to be done?  Is this a case of the 'oh poor me' bs.  Now I'm feeling frustrated with myself for not just getting in and getting started.  Instead, I want to make up excuses as to why I'm feeling this way. 

Or am I in a perpetually bad mood? 

Monday, March 10, 2014

It really is a learning journey, isn't it?

It was our son's birthday yesterday.  My little not-a-baby-anymore boy turned two.  I can hardly believe that it was two years ago that we welcomed him into our family.  I also can't believe that I'm still carrying all the cough-cough baby weight two years on!

So in celebration of his birthday we had to have cake, right?  Well I didn't make a cake but I did make something just a sugary and filled with fat - I made cinnamon sugar popovers.  Now if you are an Aussie, like me, you are probably thinking what on earth is that.  If you are familiar with popovers, than you probably can't believe I made those as a birthday cake.

So here's a picture of these delicious not-so-little treats!

They really are a very occasional or rare treat because they are made with lots of butter and sugar. Here's the recipe if you want to try them out for yourself.

I found a blog yesterday and I can't remember what it was called but it was about a lady that fell pregnant and gained a huge amount of weight.  For two years she had been working out and working on being healthy, yet she had lost only a fraction of the weight that she wanted to lose.  The point that she was making was that she had to celebrate the little successes and to just keep on going.

That hit a chord for me.  I (and you too probably) am constantly beating myself up for all of my imperfections.  I am measuring myself against an impossible standard.  Impossible to ever reach the lofty heights of what is 'perfection' in my mind.  Constantly comparing myself, not only to other people around me, but to this unrealistic, invisible perfect me.  This doesn't just limit itself to physical attributes like my weight and my hair but also to the intangible - my relationship with my family, my friendships, my work.  Even this little blog - I'm constantly comparing it to other blogs and realising that it comes up short.

The problem with doing this is that it makes me want to give up.  If I can never reach this vision, this 'goal', then what is the point of continuing.  I realise that this is totally messed up.  But this is what I fight against every single day.  I don't know how to stop the self-loathing and practice self-love. 

Recipe: Cinnamon sugar popovers

This recipe is from David Lebovitz

Makes 6 regular popovers and 9 muffin tin popovers.

for the popovers:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs, at room temperature (I used jumbo eggs)
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon salt (I used Maldon)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup flour

for the sugar coating: 
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 210 degrees C and liberally butter a popover pan. If you don’t have a popover pan justnuse a standard muffin tin. Note: You will want to heavily butter your pan, even if it’s a non-stick popover pan, otherwise the popovers will stick and be hard to get out.

In the blender, add 2 tablespoons melted butter, 3 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar and blend for a few seconds.  Don't add the flour yet!

Add the 1 cup flour and blend for about 10 seconds, just until smooth.

Pour the batter into the popover cups filling them 1/2 to 2/3rds full. If you’re using a muffin tin then divide the batter among the 9 greased molds, filling each to 2/3rds full.

Put the popovers into the oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until the popovers are deep brown. Do not open the oven door during baking, as this will cause the popovers to deflate.

While the popovers are baking, prepare your sugar and cinnamon mixture by combining 2/3 cup of sugar with the 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in a large shallow bowl and mix the two together (I used a fork).   Cut the butter into small pieces, so it melts faster, and set it in a ramekin or small bowl. Set these both aside until the popovers come out of the oven.

Remove the popovers from the oven, wait a few minutes until they are cool enough to handle, then remove them from the pans and set them on a cooling rack.

Melt the butter in the microwave and brush a popover with the butter.   Then roll the popover in the cinnamon sugar mixture and place on a wire rack to cool. 

We ate them straight away and they were more than delicious!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Recipe: Salmon with Cauliflower Curry and Beans

I have never really liked cauliflower.  Except if it has been cooked in a really really cheesy sauce that kinda takes away the purpose of eating cauliflower!  Our kids like their vegetables plain, no sauces at all.  Just steamed.  Even cauliflower. 

So cauliflower is in season in Australia at the moment and I grabbed an enormous one from the fruit and vege shop with the intention to steam it for the kids.  But before I could make that happen I decided to do some research into meat-free monday.  It's been something that has been on my mind for a while.  I think that I could definitely reduce the amount of meat that I eat but I'm not sure how I would go transitioning to a full vegetarian diet.  So I looked for vegetarian recipes on Monday to see if there was anything that tickled my fancy. 

And I found a cauliflower kedgeree (?) by Jamie Oliver.  I thought that it would be the perfect way to use up the massive cauliflower and try something different at the same time.  We were also cooking steak and sausages so this wouldn't be the main meal.  And just for note, the cauliflower dish has been eaten for dinner on Monday, Tuesday (which is the salmon, above), Wednesday nights and I'm taking some for lunch today.  Yes, it was that big. 

My mother-in-law also made some curried baked beans.  They are divine.  I don't have the proper recipe for them though, so I will have to post that separately. 

Cauliflower Kedgeree

Blend - 2 garlic cloves, a small knob of ginger, fresh chili (if using), 6 spring onions (trimmed), bunch of coriander (stalks only). 

Cut - cauliflower into one centimetre sections and 'fry' without oil in a pan over med-high heat until it starts to turn brown. 

Remove cauliflower from pan.  Add 1tsp of tumeric, 1 tsp of mustard seeds and a tsp of oil and cook the spices.  Add the spring onion mixture to the pan and cook for a minute or two (until it becomes fragrant). 

Add either 2 chopped tomatos or a tin of whole tinned tomatoes. Then add a tin of light coconut milk.  Mix together. 

Throw in the cauliflower, put on the lid and let it simmer over a lowish temperature until the cauliflower is cooked to how you like it.  I like mine a little crunchy. 

To serve, top with lots of fresh coriander leaves. 


We used frozen salmon fillets and cooked them in the oven.  My husband likes his food to be cooked well, so I thought that they were a little overdone, but they were delicious still. 

To serve, just take a large handful of mixed salad leaves (I use rocket and baby spinach leaves); place salmon on top with a good squeeze of lemon juice.  The vitamin C in the lemon juice will aid in the absorption of iron in the green leafy vegetables. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

20 minute treadmill workout for beginner runners

Running, to me, is exhilarating.  The way that you have to get all parts of your body working as one, together.  But running is really hard when you are unfit.  Trust me, I'm feeling it.  Too many years ago to count, I used to be a better than average runner.  I ran all through high school and university and then on and off again throughout my working life.  Back then, I wouldn't say that it was easy.....but the challenge was more around pushing myself to better my time or to run further.

Right now the challenge is just to run - for any amount of time. I hear a lot of people tell me that they can't run at all.  But I would challenge that way of thinking.  Running is doable, but you have to take it slowly.  Very slowly.

Go too fast and your body will be aching and sore and you won't want to get back into it.  A colleague at work in his 50's decided that he wanted to get fit.  He had never run in his life but that day he put on his running clothes, laced up his shoes and jogged to the mailbox and back.  Then he went inside, put away his clothes and patted himself on the back for taking, literally, the first steps.

Every day he would put on his clothes, lace up his shoes and go a little further.  Day two was to the first light pole and back; day three was the second light pole and so on.  By the time I met him, he had been running for years and was a marathon runner.  And a good one at that.  Running was his thing.

My Dad did a similar thing.  He has been pretty fit his whole life - very competitive with himself and others and when he sets himself a goal, well he does everything in his power to achieve it.  He plays squash competitively and wanted to raise his level of cardio fitness so that he would 'run all day' on the court.  So he took up running.  He dedicated himself to running - starting off slowly - and eventually was able to run 10 km non-stop!  I'm pretty proud of that.  Plus, he also got my Mum into running as well - something I'm sure she never thought that she would do.

So, running is contagious!  It's amazing.  Even if you don't think you can do it, just give it a try.  If you haven't exercised in a long time, then just go for a brisk walk for the first week or two.  Then, in week three, try jogging for just 30 seconds.  Then rest (while walking) for a minute or two and then do another 30 seconds or a minute (if you can).

Once you've been doing that for a while (how long depends on your own body and level of fitness), try out my beginner workout.  Although I work out on a treadmill (it's easier to find the time to run on a treadmill for me), you could easily adapt this to an outdoors run.

This is what I've been doing over the past week or so.  It's not always 20 minutes, it's been 18 minutes and 22 minutes.  But this is just a guide.  Have a go at it and change it if you need to so that it suits YOU.

To use it, print it out and put it on the treadmill so that you can refer to it, if you need to.  

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Date, oatmeal and walnut balls

Lately I have been only eating three meals a day - and it is really hard some days, especially when I have gone for a run in the morning.  Plus I need something for my daughter to snack on in between her dance classes on a Saturday morning.  We had a meltdown last week when the hunger monster overtook all sense and reason (and that was just me!). 

So I decided to jump on the ol' bandwagon and make some raw balls.  I know that most people, who converted to this way of living waaaaay before me, use fancier ingredients like medjool dates and organic produce. 

I have made these using the garden variety, available at the supermarket ingredients.  It's more economical - which is really important for us because kids can be expensive! 

So, these are around 80 calories per ball.  The exact calories will differ each time because you may need to add more dates (for example) to get the mixture more 'wet' so that the balls combine well and don't fall apart. 

So I put around 24 dates (just the normal kind), 1/3 cup of walnuts and 1/3 cup of quick oats (oats that have been ground up a little so that they cook a little faster) in the blender and blended until the mixture came together. 

Then I the mixture into little balls (this time I made 15, normally I would make 12) and put them in the fridge to set hard.

You could vary the ingredients - try almonds instead of walnuts or try adding some coconut. 



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