Monday, 17 June 2013

Delicious and Delectable Dahl!

Yummmmmmmmo!  I've just discovered the wonderful Indian dish Dahl.  It's hard to come up with something that is wrong with this dish.  It's cheap to make, it's filling, it's satisfying, it's flavourful, it's hearty.....what more could you ask for in a dish. 
Yes, you read right, I'm not kidding!  And if you put on a lovely dollop of Black Swan Fat Free Greek Youghurt, it still comes in under 300 calories.  Anyone with extra calories could easily add a piece of mountain bread to eat with it. 
I wish that I could say, I'd come up with this recipe myself, but no.  I wouldn't have gone near anything like this, because I've always been a bit scared of lentils.  In a moment of boldness - boosted by the inspiration of watching Janella Purcell make it on Good Chef, Bad Chef, I gave it a go.  There's no turning back now - I'm a lentil lover!  Full of protein and fibre - a fantastic meatless Monday dish.  Plenty of spices, which are wonderful for stimulating the digestive system and promoting weight loss.
Do you feel like cooking yet?  Alright - here's the recipe:
1tsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1tbsp coriander stems, finely chopped (I included these in my recipe, but don't think you  would notice if they were left out)
2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 tbsp each of ground cumin, turmeric and garam masala
1 carrot, diced
1 cup pumpkin, diced
1 cup whole lentils (or split lentils or mung dahl) cooked
500ml vegetable stock
1 kaffir lime leaf (I didn't have this)
sea salt to taste
lemon, quartered, to serve
In a large pot, saute the onions in the oil until soft and translucent.  Next add the garlic, ginger, carrot and celery and cook gently for a minute.  If using whole lentils, blend until slightly mushy.  Add the spices and stir together.  Now add the pumpkin.  The spices may start to stick to the pot, this is good.  You may need a little water to prevent them burning however.  Now mis the lentils throught the spices then fill the pot with the stock and the lime leaf.  Bring to the boil.  Reduce to a simmer and let it cook for about 20-30 min or until the lentils are soft.  Finally season with the salt if needed.  Garnish with coriander leaves and lemon wedges.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

A Body's Story

Can you remember how old you were the first time you can remember thinking something negative about your body?  The first time you felt let down by your body.  I was seven, in gymnastics class.  The coaches were picking girls to represent our club at a regional competition.  Everyone wanted to be a part of that, because then you got to wear a beautiful shiny royal blue leotard with a gold strip around the neckline.  Even at that age, I could sense the extra currency you had in gymnastics class if you were one of the girls wearing one of those leotards.  The coach had to choose between myself and one other girl.  I'm guessing you can figure out how things panned out.  She was picked.  I wasn't.  The message I took from this - I'm not good enough.  My body doesn't work well enough, I'm not as tall and slender as she is.  I wasn't even fat!  I was seven!  I was just a regular kid.

I'm not sure exactly when food became connected in this war which had begun with my body.  I do remember hiding tins of condensed milk from Mum's pantry under my bed and eating them in high school.  The shame was well and truly entrenched by then.  I still wasn't overweight - but the messages that had been reinforced repeatedly were that my body isn't good enough.

What happens, when you no longer have a little girls body, but that of one that belongs to a woman?  Total confusion.  Suddenly the sexual side of your nature is swithched on (I'm talking about in a completely normal developmental way), you begin to notice boys, boys begin to notice you - just the way its meant to be, right?  No, what actually happens is that your parents go into panic mode - because now you could get pregnant.  You know this panic is connected with your changing body.  As for the boys that notice you - its comments about the size of your boobs, whether or not you're on your 'rags' yet and how far are you willing to go with a boy.  For me, all of these conflicting messages resulted in me thinking the changes happening weren't good or to be celebrated or welcomed - they made people freak out; and that still, my body wasn't good enough. 

This story is nothing particularly dramatic.  But a book called 'A Course in Weight Loss - 21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering your Weight Forever' by Marianne Williamson has got me taking a really close look at my history with my body.  Although I've lost most of the weight I'd like to - my struggle with my weight isn't over.  Anyone who thinks everything will be sorted once they see a magic number on a scale is dreaming!  In some ways the hard work is just beginning - the work in my head.  Its this that keeps me coming back for another round and another round.  I know if I don't get my head sorted, more than likely, I'll regain all the weight I lost.  I've worked too hard to lose it, I don't want to have to start over again.

I guess my reasons for sharing this are to show that the journey to self loathing often starts early.  The pathways for those messages in your brain are deep.  It makes sense then that the journey out of a relationship of rejection for your body and into a relationship of self-love, self-care and respect for your body, is going to be a hard one.  It is going to take conscious effort and diligence to make new pathways.  I have learnt so much about nourishing my physical self through this 12wbt journey with exercise and good food.  The journey continues as I learn to nourish my mind also.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Numbers - naughty or nice?

Don't stress, I'm not about to embark on a maths refresher course (yes, you can wipe the nervous beads of sweat from your brow!).  I'm talking weight loss numbers.  Let me set the scene a little.  For seven consecutive days, I have busted my butt in every training session.  I've given all I had to give, every time.  I've tracked every single morsel of food that passed my lips, and kept to my allotted calorie count for the entire week - not one calorie over.  I'm feeling so pleased with my efforts, and as I go to sleep on Tuesday night, I know that when I hop on the scales on Wednesday morning, I'm going to see at least a 1 kilo loss for the week.  Right?

Being as smart a cookie as you are, you can probably see where I might be about to go with this, so I'll get right to it.  I'm naked, I've weed, I'm standing expectantly on my scales and the number that pops up..........drum roll please, is a GAIN!  What?!  Heres where it gets hairy.  Have you been here before? Do you visit this place daily (I confess - I have had a habit of jumping on the scales every day)?  What thoughts are instantly in your head when you see that gain?  Just pause here for a moment.  Is it - 'OK, well that's not quite what I was hoping for, but I know, that I've been consistent each and every day and made choices with my exercise and my nutrition that support my health and fitness goals, and although the scales aren't registering those choices today - I know I'm making changes to my insides every day, that improve my life for the long term.  And besides - I feel like a damn hot rock star for all the hard work I've put in, and I know the scales will catch up."  Or perhaps the converstation in your head is a little more like this, 'What the hell?  I've busted my butt, I've eaten all that healthy food and its all been for nothing!  This is ridiculous, I'm never going to succeed at this, I knew I wouldn't be able to lose this weight, why did I let myself think that I could?'  How far is it from that sort of thinking to a bag of chips or a block of chocolate?  Probably not too far.

Why is it that all the hard work we've put in, suddenly means nothing because of a number?  That work wasn't wasted, its freaking awesome that we worked hard, pushed our bodies, nourished them well.  The number is just that - a number.  We sure give them a lot of power sometimes.  Now, the maths is - it takes a 7000calorie deficit, per week to lose 1 kilo of body weight.  Sure, that is the maths.  But last time I checked - my body is not a calculator, and for all sorts of reasons - you might put all the right things into the equation, but not get the answer you were looking for.  Its that time of the month; you've been training with weights for a while now, and you've built some lean muscle(which weighs heavier than fat); you ate something really salty yesterday, and you're holding onto a bit more water than usual.  See what I mean?  All kinds of things can effect what we see on the scales.  If only we could peer inside ourselves, and see the changes we'd made on the insides that week - our hearts that pump blood more effectively because of all that cardio we're doing; our organs that work more freely now because they aren't covered in a layer of fat; the muscle fibres that are growing little by little every day that increase our metabolic rate because it takes more energy to feed muscle than it does fat. 

If you hop on your scales, tomorrow, anytime - and you've rocked your week - feel like the rockstar that you are - the number is just a number.  You're a superstar for making choices that care, nourish and support you - the scales will catch up.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Go-go Gadget Goals!

Aaargh - goal setting!  This task always has me stumbling.  What do I want to achieve?  Where do I want to be in 3 months time?  The scariest part of all.......looking at my last blog post about goal setting - and realising how many goals I didn't reach.   I guess thats a big red flag right there isn't it.  Why didn't I reach all my goals, what got in the way, what excuses did I use, what can I change to get a better result this time?

I will just take a little moment to recognise the ones I did meet - thats important too, right?
Bingeing on Wednesdays after weigh in - kicked that to the curb!
Ran my first Fun Run - what a buzz!

Did I finish my course - nope.  Did I reach goal weight - nope.  Did I get to wear that backless top - nope. 

Why not?  What stopped me?  A few things, that I'd really rather not admit immediately come to mind.
1 - I didn't keep my goals front and centre in my mind.  I wrote them out, and pretty much never looked at them again.
2 - I didn't have enough strategies in place to ensure my success - I didn't make time in my diary to study - no surprises that it never happened!
3 - I wasn't consistent, and persistent enough to see my plans through to the end.  I lost sight of what I'm really after, and let one bad food choice turn into two, and then four and then - well, here I am back for another round!

Round 2, 2013 - Goals
One Month:
Lose 8kg - weight @ week 4 - 64.6kg
Eat cleanly
Write a blog entry once/week
Finish 2 Interior Design Modules
Three Months:
Weigh 60kg (or less)
Be completed Interior Design Course
Start Personal Training Course
Waist measurement of 80cm or less

I'm onto it.  My committment is sticking up in my kitchen.  I'm printing my goals out and sticking them up too.  I've been afraid to do that before.  Afraid that I'll be judged.  Afraid that I'll fail. 
Suddenly the difficulties I have with this task are becoming very clear! My old 'friends judgement and failure'!

I say - bugger it.  This is my life, my choices, I can't control what other people think, and I'm not going to waste anymore time worrying about it.  I've got goals to go after!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Excuses, excuses, excuses!

For a teensy moment, I catch myself thinking, 'I don't have any excuses'.  What?  Why am I signed up for another round of 12wbt then?  Hello - regaining 8kg's doesn't happen without some excuses being involved, now does it?

Internal Excuses - here goes:
*I've got too much on my plate, I can't give the attention to myself that I need to to be successful. Response:  Remind myself that I can handle what's on my plate better if I take care of myself.

*I'm never going to be able to get to my goal weight.
Response:  By following the program and being consistent, I will reach my goals.

*I'm eating to cope, because that's how I've always coped, you can't expect me to just change it overnight!
Response:  I can cope in new ways.  I can exercise or read or take a walk or clean something.  Sure it might be hard to make new pathways and habits, but it can be done, and everytime I do it, the road to better coping gets clearer.

*I'm too tired
Response:  Yep, you are tired, but you never regret a workout - you always feel better afterwards.

*It's only one little bit, it won't matter
Response:  All the 'little bits' add up, and count, remind yourself what you really want - the 'little bit', or rocking those size 10 jeans with a backless top?

*I'm bored of these exercises, my body isn't responding anymore
Response:  Change it up for a bit - get some new dvd's, find some workouts on the internet, do things in a different order, or different location.  Try something new and challenging

External Excuses within my control

I really feel like I might have these ones pegged.  Dare I write that?  I really, truly feel that I have overcome any of these that I had.  I would have once said : It's too hot; the kids won't let me; I haven't got time.  I don't use these anymore - I've proven to myself, that they just don't cut it.  If one did sneak in, I know I can exercise inside if the weather is poor; I can involve the kids in something active if I can't get uninterrupted time to train; I have got time - I can make the time if I make the training a priority.

External Excuses outside my control

*Husband is too ill and I can't leave the house.
Response:  Exercise at home - do a dvd, wait until husband and kids have gone to bed, then train

I know so well that the battle is won and lost inside my head.  I plan on listening to my body.  Our bodies are meant to move, meant to be active, meant to huff and puff and feel physically tired, and stiff from am honest days work.  My body likes to move, my body love the feeling of having finished an awesome workout, my body nudges me to workout if I miss a day - I will listen to my body, and give it a daily gift of movement.  As for the chatter in my mind......can I get ear plugs for that?!

Friday, 1 March 2013

What you put your attention on grows stronger

I can see lightbulbs flashing and hear bells ringing!

"What you put your attention on grows stronger in your life".  This might be something that you all know about already - but it is a major newsflash for me, as Oprah says, an AhHa moment.  I love to read, and am currently reading a book called The Passion Test- The Effortless Path to Discovering your Life Purpose by Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood.

Now this line really got to me, let me share a little more.  "Develop the habit of giving attention to everything that supports your intention and being indifferent to those that are not."  I reckon this has real applications for losing weight and getting healthy.  So, my intention for this round of 12WBT is to finally get to my goal weight of 60kg (I get real close, and then put a few kgs back on) and to continue building muscle, so that I am leaner.  Hmmm, so every time I'm engaging with that negative dialogue that we all have "If I just have one piece, it won't hurt", or "Well, I've already messed up today, so I may as well eat whatever I want"  I'm giving my attention to what I don't want - gaining weight, all or nothing eating, letting food control me.  Oh.  The more time I spend giving my attention to my goals, surrounding myself with like-minded people that support me, eating healthful food that is delicious, challenging myself in my training sessions, looking at pictures of strong women with lean, athletic physiques, the better - the stronger my intention grows.  I like this!

Now of course, life is not one straight, flat road - bummer! What to do then with the mountains and sharp bends that come our way?  "Put your attention on all the good in your life, deal with situations that must be dealt with, and don't dwell on anything that doesn't support what you choose to create."

"Unfortunately, most people focus their attention on all the reasons their dreams won't come true.  Why?  Because they're afraid they won't get what they want.  When you are consumed by fear, when your attention is on the things that are going wrong in your life, you create inactivity and boredom, or even worse, you create the things you fear will happen to you."  I don't know about you - but I've sure been down that path a time or two!  For instance, I've recently gained 4kg.  I'm scared that I'll never reach my ultimate goal, and that I will have to be fighting with my body for the rest of my life, in order to maintain the weight I have lost.  So there is a lot of negative dialogue going on in my head - and as is shown by the 4kg weight gain - some accompanying behaviours - you know I'm talking about you Red Tulip Easter Bunny! to match it.

Now, I'm just wondering where they sell those blinkers that they put on horses, so they can't look anywhere except for where they're going!

PS - You can take a  free little quiz at the link below, about the Passion Test.   When I read the feedback for mine - it was like they were sitting watching me in my life, quite spot on.  Happy passion discovering.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Wheels ON Wednesday!

I don't know about anyone else, but Wednesday, after weigh-in is a big fat Red Flag for me.  Not because I have meetings or lunches or parties or anything else exciting to attend, but because something goes on in this little head of mine that says ok, you've trained hard, you've eaten clean, now you can eat whatever you want.  What?!

Today, after my quite mind altering declaration and letter of a couple of days ago, I'm especially determined that this is one battle that I, and not food will win.  On a side note......just referring back to my previous post, writing that letter to food (I know, its ok if you are questioning my sanity right now!), I have found some aggression - and I'll be damned if I'm going to let food get in the way of my dreams and goals anymore.  I might have to spend 98% of the day reminding myself that I am calling the shots now, but thats ok.  So if you see me muttering to myself, you know whats going on :)

Anyway - back to Wheels on Wednesday.  I thought it best to employ some strategies to ensure my success.  I need to bake today for my kids school lunches, and although I bake healthy stuff for them, licking the spoon, tasting just one, the calories add up.  So, I'll be chewing the mintiest gum I can find, while I'm baking, and as soon as they're done, I'm wrapping them ready for lunch-boxes and popping them in the freezer.  I've got a full and busy day planned:  washing, ironing, vacuuming, study, cleaning - and that's to keep me and my mind occupied, to reduce the chances of that conversation starting in my head, you know the one, it goes something like this, 'One little chocolate will be ok, I've trained, I've eaten well the rest of the day'.  Oh no we don't - not this time!  I'm also going to be re-reading my goals and visualising myself in the super toned bod that I'm working on.  As well - I've got a picture, of a fitness model - whose physique I admire, that I'm going to spend some time admiring......I want my thoughts and actions firmly supporting me and my goals today (and everyday!)

Finally - I'm going to have a little treat with a cup of tea tonight, because I've had a successful Wheels On Wednesday, in the form of a healthier than your usual chocolate chip cookie.  I found this recipe in and issue of Shape magazine last year - the recipe makes 60 (so, yep, I'll take out my two biccies, and into the freezer with the rest)  I'll share the recipe below:

Chocolate Chip Cookies - 108 calories for 2 biscuits (Recipe makes 60)

3/4 cup rolled oats
1 1/4 cup plain flour (I'll be making some of this wholemeal)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup extra light olive oil (I'll be using Rice Bran Oil, 'cos that's what I've got)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mini semisweet choc chips (I can't find these, so I'll be chopping up 70% cocoa chocolate)

Preheat oven to 180 deg C.  Spread oats on a baking sheet, toast for 10 min.  Remove and turn off oven (due to time constraints, I will probably skip this step).

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, beat together oil, butter and sugars with an electric mixer.  Add egg, egg white and vanilla beating until well combined.  Fold in oats, flour mixture and chocolate chips.  Cover and refrigerate dough for one hour (probably won't do this either - my biccies will just spread out more as they cook because my dough is softer).

Preheat oven to 180 deg C.  Place rounded teaspoonfuls of dough 4cms apart onto two baking sheets lined with baking paper.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are set and golden brown.  Cool for fine minutes on sheets; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

And look - a very bad, doesn't do the smell or taste justice - picture of my baking!

My baking notes:

I used 3/4 cup plain white flour and 1/2 cup wholemeal flour
I only chopped up half a cup of chocolate
and I reduced the sugar to 1/4 cup - kept the brown sugar @ 1/2 though.
I did end up toasting the oats, and just prepared the rest of the dough, and let it sit in the fridge for the time it took the oven to warm up and the oats to toast - saves heating the oven twice. 
Also, I reckon the oats only need 7-8 minutes until they are toasty.  Having done this - I'm not sure it alters the taste so dramatically that I would do it next time :)
One last thing........Use flat teaspoonfuls of mixture that are on the smaller side.  Doing this, I got 55 cookies - I don't know how you could possibly get 60, as the recipe states, using rounded teaspoonfuls.

If you give these a go, I hope you enjoy.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Dear Junk Food......You're just not meeting my needs anymore

Dear Junk Food,

I need to have a real serious conversation with you.  I'm going to get straight to the're just not meeting my needs anymore.

For a long time - too long, we were pretty close.  I know the relationship was working well for you - You took my money, you had me craving you, you made me feel sick, you even had me believing that I couldn't get by without you.  You were in total control of our relationship.  Now, everybody knows that if one person in a relationship holds all the power.....that is an unhealthy relationship.  Its taken me a while to realise how much control you've had over me.  But, as you know, these past couple of years have been rocky for us.  I've been fighting back, demanding more from you.  And you know what - you haven't delivered.  I've got my sights set on bigger things these days.  A lean, toned body, instead of a soft squishy one.  Good health and vitality, instead of aching joints and heartburn and lethargy.  And I'm sorry, but you just don't cut it anymore!  Healthy, life-giving food is what fits the bill nowadays. 

And do you know what else?  I don't actually need you.  I can live without you.  And I'm freaking tired of you being in control!  So enoughs, enough.  I'm taking charge.  I want more than you can give.  I deserve more than you can give.  Now, I know that you are very conniving and manipulative, and this probably won't be the last I see of you, but, although you may win a fight from time to time, I am going to win the war!

When we see each other - I will nod politely in your direction, but I won't be inviting you home anymore.  You can watch in awe at the things I am going to do, now that I am free of you.