One of the Best Decisions I Ever Made

Signing up for regular personal training sessions was one of the best decisions I have ever made.  It’s right up there with deciding to take my health into my own hands.  Of course, one wouldn’t have happened without the other.

We are our decisions.  The good ones, and the bad.

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Together, they all add up – hopefully, with the good ones outnumbering the bad.

But when you make a really good one – and follow through with it – you get a bucketload of sweet life bonus points that torpedoes you toward your ultimate goal.

To be healthy.
To be fit.

To take charge of my own life, and make it what I want, rather than let things just happen to me.

Personal training has been so empowering.
The weight and measurement changes are a happy bonus.

I’m using free weights on my own now – something that terrified me to do with the trainer when I started.  I’m learning to read my body, understand correct form, and have the confidence in myself to know when I can (and can’t) do something.

I have core strength.  Long have I ignored my core.
Ab work?  What’s the point when I have a hefty 10kg to budge?  
A strong core helps everything work better.  Those free weights… can’t handle those babies without decent core work, too.

And I’m a giant sweaty sweat monster at the end of every session now.  Every session.
Previously, nada.  Nothing.  Vilch.

Sweaty, and wobbly legged, I leave every session feeling like I’ve done a job well done.
Like I’m another step closer to my ultimate goal.
Like I’m on top of the world.

These training sessions give me confidence, endorphins, and a reason to be proud of myself.
Worth every penny.

I’d even go as far as to say priceless.

#100happydays

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You’ve probably heard of it already – #100happydays is a challenge to look for the good in your everyday life.  A photo everyday for 100 days.

A simple, powerful concept.

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It’s difficult.
Challenging.

Rewarding.
Empowering.

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If you’re interested in following along – or joining in – you can find me on instagram.
Just call me peonut.

(And for those of you more interested in my words than photos, stick with me – life’s a little crazy right now, but I’ll be back with regular posts soon!)

IQS: Week Seven – What Next?

There’s not a lot to Week Seven that hasn’t been covered in the earlier weeks.  The point now is to really solidify those habits and make sure that you know how to deal with going “off track” – because it will happen.  That’s life.

For me, this means experimenting more.  Getting familiar with more foods and recipes that will keep me on track.  Finding ways to prevent myself from getting distracted from this cleaner way of eating.  To keep myself excited and interested.

The last thing I need to is to get bored, distracted and wander off down the sticky, sweet, sugary path of relapse.

This week is going to be about finding ways to keep me on track long term.  Beyond the end of Week Eight when the plan officially ends.

I’m going to keep going.  
And I feel good about this. 

Official Weigh-In and Measurements – April 2014

20140408-203710.jpgThis evening was my first official weigh in, measurements and new plan since starting my personal training with Cath.

It went really well!

Keeping in mind that my IQS journey is a lot further along than the posts I’m releasing on the blog (remember that I delayed them by 6-7 weeks), I don’t feel that my diet has been doing much for me in the way of weight loss. I definitely feel better limiting my fructose intake, but it’s not dropping the kilos the way it did early on.

Listening to my body, I feel like tonight’s results are from my training – not from the food I am (not) putting in my belly.

I’ve dropped a kilo. To the nearest 100g. A full kilo.

You could comment that it’s ‘only’ a kilo, but that’s not a good attitude to take. Positivity please.

I’m proud of this kilo because of my measurements. The measurements are where the magic is.

Everything has shrunk.

2.5cm off the chest.
2cm off the waist.
1.5cm off each thigh.

And a full 4cm off my hips - my stubborn spot and where we’ve been focusing a lot of our efforts.

I am so happy with these results!
I am proud of myself.

Slow and steady wins the race. My next official check in is at the end of May, and I’m looking forward to kick some more (shrinking) butt between now and then!
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IQS – Weeks Five & Six: Feelin’ Good!

It’s been a bit difficult finding stuff to post about in the fifth (& then sixth) week, because at this stage these habits I’m trying to develop are starting to feel normal;

Reading labels and avoiding food with too much sugar?  Normal. 
Explaining to nay-sayers why I eat this way?  Normal. 
Not chasing every meal with a sweet-treat?  Normal. 
Cooking my own food:  Normal.

Then there are the really good parts that stood out at first that I now expect of my body;

Not dealing with the mid-afternoon sugar crash?  Normal. 
Trusting my body to tell me when it’s hungry?  Normal.
To be able to eat dairy without issue?  Normal.
(That last one’s a big deal for me – more on it in a later post!)

The weight-loss has slowed, with no notable loss over the last two weeks, but my body has changed so much.  A lot has to do with the training I’ve been picking up – but a lot also has to do with the way I’m listening to my body.  If it’s hungry, I eat.  If it’s not hungry, I’ll wait a bit before starting dinner.  

I have not been counting calories.  I have not been worried about my portion sizes.  I eat until I’m full, and I don’t feel guilty about leaving food on my plate.  Any leftovers just get packaged up with lunch the next day.

I have a confidence in my body – and in my understanding of my body – that I didn’t have six weeks ago.  I love that!

The one thing I’m struggling to give up is artificial sweeteners in my drinks.  Namely Coke Zero.  But I’ve found ways to reduce my intake from what it was.  This is a slow part of the journey, and I’m happy to take my time – as long as I don’t go backwards.

Headed into Week Seven, I don’t know if there’s much that will be different from Week Six.  So much of this is habit now, that – apart from these posts – I’m not actually thinking about the process as separate, individually identifiable weeks.  They’re all just part of the process.

Here’s to keeping up the habit!

IQS: How I’m Snacking

When all you want is a piece of delicious, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate, there isn’t a lot that will fill the void.

This fact messes with your head even more than the initial craving and – if you don’t cave – it can send your enjoyment of the evening plummeting downward until it crashes and burns somewhere between Gimmiechipsville and Stuffitimgoingtobedopolis.  The further you can get from the first one, the better you’re doing.

But what if you don’t want to just give up or give in?

This evening I was faced with this exact situation.  I had a nice peppermint tea in hand, ready to settle down for the evening and bang I wanted chocolate and nothing else.  Straight away I hit Google to find me some nice recipes to use the 100% cocoa powder  I had in the cupboard.  Straight away I found hundreds of thousands of recipes.  Some of them even fit within the plan – making the most of stevia and coconut creams.  But none of them were quite what I wanted.

What was it then?  What exactly was I after if it wasn’t a cocoa-based recipe?

The familiar comfort of melting a piece of creamy chocolate in my mouth.  I wanted to be able to melt it across my tongue so it was heavy and thick, until I was ready to swallow and get my next piece.

I wanted the habit.  The ritual of eating a piece of chocolate.  Not necessarily the chocolate itself. 

So how could I replicate that feeling, that process, the ritual without a piece of chocolate?

I had no freaking clue until I was standing in front of my pantry, scanning the shelves as if chocolate would magically appear and all my thinking was over.  Thankfully, no chocolate was spotted (because I would’ve broken down and scoffed the lot!).

Instead, I found the next best thing.  Almond butter.  

This stuff is perfect.  It’s thick.  It’s creamy.  It’s got a rich taste that leaves you savouring it as it works its way across your tongue.

As an added emotional bonus, this stuff is ridiculously expensive here – so it has the feeling of luxury, too.

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Paired up with some appropriate crackers, or with a bit of cheese, it makes a great dessert.  If you want it a little earlier in the day, dip into it with carrot sticks or celery.  If you’re not cutting out all fructose, then pair it with a crisp green apple and be prepared for your tastebuds to weep at the sheer perfection of the combination.

Peanut butter’s tasty.  But almond butter makes me squeal.

What’s your favourite ‘go-to’ snack when you’re about to fall off the sugar-crazed wagon?

Fluffy Pumpkin and Chia Muffins

IMG_1119Baking without sugar is something that take a little experimenting with to get right.

If you have Sarah’s ‘I Quit Sugar’ book, you may have already tried her Fluffy Pumpkin and Chia Muffins.   I made them this afternoon, while the weather was deciding what it was going to do.  It was the best decision I could have made because these were delicious.

The muffins are quite dense, even though they’re referred to as ‘fluffy’.  The eggs add a fluffy-touch, but these things could still break windows if thrown hard enough (but nothing like Lucy Liu’s Chinese Fighting Muffins)

IMG_1120The best thing about these babies is that they’re made from real ingredients.  I have absolutely no issue putting any one of the ingredients into my body.  Even the sweetener is natural (stevia), and not manufactured in a test tube.

While I can’t replicate the recipe here, you can find a copy of Sarah’s recipe over here.

If you’re interested in giving them a go, please do.  You’ll be glad that you did (even if it’s so that you know you don’t like them).

These beauties are quick to make, tasty, portable for a breakfast on the run, and I’ve been assured that they freeze well.  I’m certainly looking forward to munching on these over the next few days!

Yum, yum!

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What’s Sugar Doing To My Body?

It’s a recurring topic here – and it will continue to be.  Sugar.

Sugar can do crazy things to your body, and not everyone’s aware just how crazy those things can get.

Sugar is an addictive drug.
Legal, yes, but still addictive.

” 94% of rats that are addicted to cocaine chose sugar over cocaine “

For the visually inclined, I offer you this:visual.ly.sugar-vs-cocaine

Am I the only one worried about this?

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On Tuesday my trainer set me a new small goal: 1,000m on the rowing machine in under 5 minutes.

It might now sound like a lot, but for me… That’s hard. Especially after a bucket-load of squats and lunges.

Today… Success:

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4 minutes, 30 seconds.
Smashed it.

Now to keep it up for my next trainer session on Tuesday!