Sunday, 2 December 2012

fresh start

I would call the first two weeks a half-arsed effort. I started off really well and was energised, super keen, etc. etc. Then the decline began and I began making excuses (and believing them). I have become a little disengaged. I haven't been blogging much, and it's been a while since I was on the 12wbt forums. I have not been recording what I eat nor have I been paying attention to portion control. I haven't exercised for a few days now.

Time to get back into the groove and settle into a routine. Did the routine ever really begin in the first place? I've just sat down to watch the videos beginning at week one. The motivation video really hit home... the idea of consistency could apply to many areas of my life. Time to settle into this routine and not over-think or over-analyse. I need to trust the program!

This week I will:
Drink 2L of water per day
Exercise one hour per day
Prepare meals from the meal plan in advance
Pack a lunch box complete with healthy snacks to get me through the day

Back to basics. This is not hard. It is not easy either, but is achievable.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

this week

I've begun a summer internship this week. I work eight hours each day, but by the time 5pm rolls around I feel so mentally drained. There is so much to take in and learn. It's just for three weeks and I really want to make the most of it. My evening routine right now is to exercise, cook and eat dinner then do an hour of study, followed by trashy tv shows.

Tonight I've come home and it is stinking hot and my air con is broken. I don't feel like doing anything right now. I am typing out all the excuses in the world and deleting them again because they sound lame. Maybe I will wait a couple of hours for this cool change and do some exercise then.

So far, so good on this program. I have lost a couple of kilos and will be at my goal weight soon. This program is a really great kick up the arse. I have never eaten this many vegetables (or ricotta) or exercised this hard in my life. Is this what healthy people do every single day?

One thing letting me down is not being prepared to cook my meals. I sometimes forget to buy an ingredient, so I swap one day's dinner for another... then I few days later I don't know where I am at. This week I didn't print off the recipes and have been reading them from my phone. A hassle because I can't just ask my partner to do the cooking instead. Must get organised!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

feeling flat

I began this week really well. I was exercising and eating well and enjoying the program. Then on Wednesday I started feeling sore. As usually happen when moving muscles I haven't moved for a looong time.

Wednesday I did the workout regardless. Thursday I took a rest, convincing myself that I would substitute my rest day and workout on Sunday. Then Friday I got to the end of the day, realising that I hadn't done my workout. So I told myself, that's ok, I'll workout Saturday morning and Saturday evening and Sunday. Then today, Saturday, I went to visit family in country Victoria. We left early in the morning and got back for a late dinner. I ate sugary junk on the trip there and back, and I overindulged in sugary junk at lunch.

I haven't eaten sugar all week and now I feel myself drifting back to old habits. Usually we get snacks for the road trip so I find it hard to say no to things that have become second nature. Approaching Christmas this is going to get so much harder too.

On the exercise... I don't know why I didn't get it done. I wasn't too busy (though that is a crappy excuse anyway). It just didn't happen. I will try to get back on track tomorrow.

Monday, 19 November 2012

first day

It has been a great day! I feel so energised and ready to do some work. Meals today were delish and I felt satisfied while sticking to 1200 calories. At the supermarket this morning, 12wbt shopping list in hand, I met someone who is also participating in the program. She was also holding her shopping list so we had a bit of a laugh about that.

My partner joined me for the cardio workout this afternoon. The first part of the workout was to jog 25 minutes. Normally that would be my complete workout for the day. But I kept on going and followed the rest of the program to the letter. I have chosen to do my workouts at the nearby footy oval. The footy boys were there, starting their pre-season training. As we were doing crunches just off to the side of the oval, they ran past doing laps. One called out "good abs" each time the group went past. C and I had a bit of a laugh about that - it's nice to hear some encouraging words!

I am looking forward to tomorrow.

before photo & measurements

Here are the bra 'n undies shots. I took proper photos with the newspaper and my full body that I uploaded to the 12wbt website. I don't feel entirely comfortable posting those pics to the internets, so these headless ones will have to do.

My current weight of 63.2kg is down from my pre-season starting weight of 65kg. Hopefully in twelve weeks I will be posting some kick arse 'after' photos.

Weight 63.2kg
Chest 87cm
Waist 83cm
Widest 99cm
Distance from knee 32cm
Right thigh 54cm
Left thigh 54cm
Right arm 27cm
Left arm 27cm

Sunday, 18 November 2012

bits and pieces

The eve of 12wbt round four. I can't wait to begin tomorrow morning. Here are a few bits and pieces I have been up to recently in order to get ready for the program:

The pre-season tasks are mostly complete. The only thing left to do is take my "before" photo.

I bought the Michelle Bridges No Excuses cookbook last week and have been cooking a few meals from it. This was my plan to get my partner on board with the 12wbt meal plan. We have tried thai fish cakes wrapped in lettuce leaves and a potato, egg and bean salad with a delish dressing. All the dishes were hits so we are both enthusiastic about the week ahead.

Perhaps I am in the minority when I say this, but I am so pleased that the week one meal plan has a number of vegetarian dishes. While I am not a vegetarian, I do enjoy vegetarian meals for dinner a few times each week.

Today I went for lunch at the Provincial Hotel, Brunswick. I had a beef burger with chips and alioli and washed it down with a glass of riesling. It turned out to be a 'last hurrah' lunch. Then later in the afternoon I went to Monsieur Truffe on Smith St for a iced chocolate. Very indulgent. I apologise to those who are in healthy eating / calorie counting / diet mode and reading this. But I enjoyed it very much.

Here I come Tough Mudder Melbourne, January 2013! I can't wait to get started on the program tomorrow. Especially as I have this event to work toward.

On other fitness news, I now know what a burpee is. Ouch!

I am so ready for this. I am ready for this program to change my perspective on healthy lifestyle. I want to be challenged and to redefine what I believe I am capable of. The next twelve weeks are all about establishing good habits. This will require 100% dedication. I don't want to make excuses and say 'there will be bad days' or 'slip ups are inevitable'. The only way to begin is with the mindset that everything is possible.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

catch up

I can't believe I last wrote a blog post five days ago. This week has flown by and I feel a little disorganised. The things on my to-do list from five days ago are still outstanding. Now I have an additional (and final) pre-season task of taking my measurements and uploading a "before" photo. So I have dedicated Saturday to getting pre-season stuff done.

The program details for week one have been released and I am really looking forward to getting started on Monday. I anticipate that week one will be a huge success - I will have finished uni exams and have a free week before I start full-time work on the 26th. Plenty of free time to prioritise my workouts and to cook healthy meals! And blog! And clean the house! No excuses.

I've checked out the meals for next week (yum) but haven't downloaded the exercise plans yet. I am too scared to look. I feel a little nervous because I can't remember the last time I worked out for longer than thirty minutes. That is not going to cut it anymore. And Super Saturday?!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

fitness test results

1km time trial: 5 mins 29 secs
push ups in one minute: 7 on my toes and 32 on my knees
abdominal strength: level 2
wall sit: 50 seconds
sit and reach: +15cm

I was so excited to get my 1km time trial completed in less than 5 minutes 30 seconds. I just scrape through to the 12wbt advanced program. My push ups and sit & reach test also place me in the advanced category. I bombed out in the wall sit and abdominal strength wasn't much better. I was so sure I could get a respectable time for the wall sit. Around the 45 second mark my legs started shaking and at 50 seconds I collapsed in a heap.

There are a few other pre-season tasks to complete. I need to buy a hat before I can consider myself properly 'geared up'. And still a bit of work to do on my kitchen clean out. My biggest challenge here will be convincing my partner that reduced fat dairy is the best choice. I haven't yet diarised all my workouts but I think early morning will be the best time for me. My schedule is changing shortly as I wrap up uni exams and begin full time work later this month. During January I will take some time off, but I am still keen to get my exercises done in the morning before it gets too hot outside. And I don't quite know what February will look like yet!

Friday, 9 November 2012

exam meltdown

Three exams down and one to go.

This week started off reasonably well. Each day I either ate well or exercised (but not both on the same day). On the days that I exercised I would have a light breakfast then head out for a run. When I came home, I felt that I deserved something substantial to eat after my workout. So I had a big cooked breakfast. A couple of bad snack choices later and I was left feeling guilty about my calorie intake. Did you know that a Bakers Delight almond and custard scroll is 634 calories? Nope, neither did I until after I ate it and looked up the nutritional information.

As the week progressed I spent more time studying and less time looking after myself. I should have placed good nutrition and exercise at top priority but I did no exercise and ate poorly. I was especially worried about yesterday's exam; the subject has a high fail rate. Beforehand I felt like a lamb going off to slaughter. Luckily the exam wasn't as bad as I anticipated and I did a decent job of it.

I've spent this morning catching up on a few 12wbt pre-season task videos. I've got some work to do! Today will be a bit more balanced than previous days. I am planning to clean out my kitchen and do a grocery shop to stock up with healthy food. I will do some study for my final exam next Friday, but I will also make time to go for a jog.

Monday, 5 November 2012

i commit...

I commit to learning what it takes to lead a healthy lifestyle... and the best way to learn is to do; slowly good habits will form

I commit to trying every 12wbt exercise, challenge and recipe at least once and giving it my all... even if I don't believe I am capable

I commit to running a 10k fun run in the next three months... no excuses

I commit to this blog being a place of 100% honesty... a place where I can record both triumphs and set backs and everything in between

Sunday, 4 November 2012

more running

I had been doing the same run for a little while now, always stopping to walk at the same spot. I have been in my comfort zone a little too long. This morning I challenged myself to run the entire distance without stopping for a rest. And I did it! I ran 4.5k without stopping in a time of 26:30 minutes. The last kilometre was awful and my legs felt like jelly. I need to remind myself that it is ok to feel out of breath and uncomfortable and sweaty.

My fiance, C, also joined me for the run. He ran the first 2k slowly with me, then sprinted ahead because he is a bit of an athlete and wanted to challenge himself too. Or maybe I just slowed down? Once he had finished, he ran back to meet me and ran the last 500 metres with me. That gave me a real lift. Mostly I prefer running by myself, as when I am out of breath I struggle to maintain a conversation. It was a nice change to have a running partner.

Another reason for this morning's run is that I wanted to be sure I was ready for the Bridge to 10k phone app training program. I think the requirement for this program is to be able to do 5k fairly comfortably. And while I did a little less than 5k, and it definitely wasn't easy, I think the program is just what I need to push myself.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

shopping list

If I am going to do this right, then I need to have the right equipment. Simple.

I plan to exercise mostly outdoors as I am lucky enough to have a footy oval 50 metres from my doorstep. There I can run laps of the oval and do fitness circuits. I am really excited that it is so close to home and I don't need to get in the car! One thing it doesn't have is a staircase to sprint up and down, so I might have to substitute another exercise or find another place for stair work.

My back-up will be exercising at home when the weather is bad or when it is late at night. To make this work I will buy fitness dvd's and a portable step (preferably an adjustable one), as per Michelle Bridges' recommendations. The last time I did fitness dvd's was years ago doing Aerobics Oz Style when it was on free-to-air tv. I enjoyed doing that at the time... hopefully the dvd's I pick up will be good to follow along and will make the time exercising fly by. I already have at home 3kg hand weights, a mat and skipping rope. And I have enough fitness clothes and shoes... but I could do with another workout top and a hat.

I am not sure if I can justify the cost of a heart-rate monitor. Perhaps it will be encouragement to push myself more during training? Perhaps it will just be interesting to observe but not change my training habits a great deal? I am reluctant to buy stuff just for the sake of it and overcomplicate my training. Often I find a simpler approach suits me best. Something to consider at least.

So, on the shopping list for this weekend are fitness dvd's, a portable step, a new top and a hat! And speaking of shopping lists, I am really looking forward to our weekly menu plans which begin in a couple of weeks. I am a sucker for good food photography but the meals look so yummy. And what a timesaver to have supermarket shopping lists ready to go. Can't wait to officially begin!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

fitness goals

I was going so well for a couple of days there. It feels as though I took one step forward and two steps back. I've gone back to old habits due to the stress of upcoming uni exams. But today, thinking of my fitness goals, I feel inspired to make better choices. I am sure that exercise will break the monotony of study, too.

I have started with my twelve-month goals, and worked backwards. In twelve months I will...
Have lowered my total blood cholesterol by 10%
Maintain my body weight at 58-60kg
Run the 2013 Melbourne Marathon
Be self-disciplined!

And here is how I will get there...

Checking my cholesterol means a trip to the doctor and a fasting blood test. I will ask for a cholesterol test at my annual check up. In the meantime I will...
Eat well by reducing saturated fat intake and eating more fruit and veg
Use plant sterol enriched margarine
Eat more omega-3 fatty acids (found in seafood, especially salmon which I love!) and take fish oil capsules

Goal weight
In one month I will have lost 2kg
In three months I will be at my goal weight of 58-60kg
In six months and beyond I will maintain my goal weight
And to get there... I will stick to the 12wbt program.

Run the 2013 Melbourne Marathon
In three months I will run a 10k fun run (with the iPhone app training program, Bridge to 10k)
In six months I will run a half-marathon
In twelve months I will run a marathon

Be self-discplined
I have committed to the 12wbt and now I want to make the most of the experience. I've always gone it alone (with limited success). In three months I hope to look back and be proud of myself for sticking with the program.

For every day that I (1) complete my exercises and (2) stick to my calorie limit (+/- 10%) I will put a gold star on the kitchen calendar. Thank you Jackie who suggested that I track self-discipline by recording how many days I stuck to the program.

A few notes on cholesterol...
The Heart Foundation have tons of information available on reducing cholesterol. It's all very straightforward and easy to understand. My plan to reduce my cholesterol is based upon their recommendations.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


I am growing more and more confident in my own abilities in recent days. All of a sudden, I feel that getting fit and changing around my lifestyle are achievable. This morning I did a session at the gym. Rather than look at my watch and find a reason to leave after 45 minutes, I did my complete exercise program and really enjoyed the process (with no excuses). I felt confident enough in my strength and fitness to do another set of reps and to do a cycling sprint for an extra two minutes. When I go for a jog I push myself to run a little further before I take a break to walk. Sure, it's only an extra 500 metres, but I am slowly improving.

My diet is slowly changing too, mainly because my ideas about food are changing. This week I am holding back on the sweet treats... rather than every day, I am having a couple each week only. I am also eating dinner every night at the dining table, rather than on the couch in front of the tv.

I have just watched Michelle Bridges' video clip on setting goals for one month, 3, 6 and 12 months. I am considering what matters most to me and I keep returning to this idea of self-discipline. But how will I know when I get there? How do I break it down? I am thinking of ways to convert this lofty goal of self-discipline (and a goal that can potentially be never-ending) into something a little more measurable. I want to be able to celebrate when I achieve it!

It's really important to me that these goals are well thought out, as I want to stick to them and hold myself accountable. I think I might sleep on it and put up a blog post tomorrow with my goals listed (and how I plan to get there).

Monday, 22 October 2012

excuses, excuses

Pre-season of 12wbt has begun this week and the program seems to have stepped up a notch. Our first "assignment" is to examine the excuses we make time and time again that justifies our inaction.

The major excuse that I use is that I am so tired. I have a long commute each day and often I head off before the sun rises, and get home long after the sun has set. So yes, I am tired. To overcome this I will need to think back to better times, when I was fit, and remember that exercise gives me an energy boost. Rather than the traditional Sunday off, I will exercise throughout the weekend and take a break from exercise on one of these long days.

Did you know that I am also busy? Ha! Isn't everyone?! But really, when I think about it, I am more disorganised than busy. I have enough time each day, and each week, to get everything done. But I choose to leave things to the last minute. For instance, last week I was aiming to complete 30km of running/walking/cycling. By Saturday evening I had completed 20km and had grand plans to get the 30km finished on Sunday. I also had an important assignment that I hadn't yet finished due Monday morning. The assignment won over, and I didn't go for a run. But when I reflect on the week, I know that if I had planned for everything, I could have fit in both study and exercise. I feel disappointed in myself for letting this slip. Is diarising the answer, or is that over-engineering the issue? Maybe I just need to get on with it.

Here are some more excuses I use not to exercise:
It is raining. It is too hot. It is too dark outside. My gym clothes are in the wash. I can't be bothered. I am comfortable on the couch and I don't want to get up. My favourite TV show is about to start. I need to go to bed soon and I want to wind down. I haven't seen my fiancé all day and I want to chat with him.

I am thinking of my excuses in the context of not only exercise, but also having the motivation and time to prepare healthy, nutritious meals. When it comes to healthy eating, often I take the easy option, or alternatively, I take the food that is in front of me, regardless of its nutritional status.

Some more excuses regarding healthy food:
I need some comfort food because I feel like crap. I don't have all the ingredients. I am hungry now. We are having guests over and they will be expecting something nicer. I am craving something sweet. I don't want to offend my host by not eating everything on my plate. Healthy meals means more dishes to wash up. I deserve a treat.

Pretty lame, right?

Sunday, 21 October 2012

my week in calories

My average calories each day last week was around 1700. This makes sense, seeing as I've maintained my current weight for the last six months. I know what I should be eating but sometimes doing is harder than it should be.

The good
Coming home late and remembering I had a healthy meal in the freezer for dinner.
Lemon poppy seed muffins, a really nice and easy Weight Watchers recipe.
Just one alcoholic drink this week! I had a glass of red wine last night and really enjoyed it.
Just 1215 calories consumed on Wednesday, because I chose healthy food throughout the day that left me feeling satisfied.

The bad
An average of one piece of fruit per day on average, and only two serves of vegetables.
Maxing out my sugar and saturated fat allowance six days out of seven.
Forgetting my water bottle when heading out for the day.

The ugly
Four Magnum icecreams.
Monday's 2400 calorie effort.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

good morning yoga

A few years back I was a regular at a local yoga studio. It didn't look much from the outside; it was in an industrial area on a busy road with McDonalds nearby. But inside it was as though I had stepped into another world. A carpeted room shut off from the outside and scented tea light candles scattered around. What followed was one hour of bliss and when I left, I felt as though I was walking on a cloud.

I was so happy to find a fifteen minute yoga sequence via this blog. Just looking at these images makes me feel so calm already.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

menu plan

A few weeks ago I made a commitment to pack a healthy lunch and snacks each day. To be totally honest, this hasn't happened. Mornings at my house are a crazy rush to get ready and out the door. Usually I throw together the same old sandwich of processed meat, cheese and a few limp salad leaves. Yuck. So I've decided to get my act together. Today I spent twenty minutes googling recipes, followed by a big supermarket shop.

Here is what I am eating this week:

My usual (yoghurt, muesli and fruit)

Rye wrap with smoked salmon and cucumber
Egg salad sandwich on wholegrain bread
Aranchini balls with homemade hummus
Homemade sushi

Grilled chicken breast; chickpea and fetta salad; salad leaves
Jamie Oliver pork and prune stew from the 'Jamie Does' cookbook; steamed rice; steamed veg
Baked salmon; leftover chickpea and fetta salad; steamed veg
Turkey and green onion meatballs with chinese broccoli

Lemon and poppy seed muffins
Hazelnut oat slice
Homemade hummus and vegetables
Fresh fruit
Mini pretzels

I am not planning my meals around calories and calorie counting. In fact, I was standing in front of the cream cheese at the supermarket today, and I had the choice between full-fat, light, or extra light. I did think for a moment, 'what would Michelle Bridges' do'... but I went with the light option, which is what I would usually select. Extra light seems a bit extreme to me right now.

I am focussing on preparing food with plenty of fresh vegetables. Food I know that I will enjoy. I will by writing down everything I eat and tracking it on the 'My Fitness Pal' app which will give me a daily calorie summary. I will be interested to see the results.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

write it down

The 12WBT challenge this week is to document all food intake for seven days. This morning I downloaded the free iPhone app, 'My Fitness Pal' and have been using it to record what I eat. The great thing about this app is that it forces me to be precise and record exact serving sizes. It also tracks my calorie intake as well as specific nutrients such as sodium, fibre and calcium.

So far today I have eaten my usual breakfast (yoghurt, muesli and a piece of fruit), lunch (salad and cheese sandwich on wholegrain bread) and morning tea (six squares of Cadbury chocolate and a 250ml iced coffee - not my usual fare but it was being given out for free at the train station). I was having a great time logging it all into the app, until I saw the calorie count creeping up and up and up. It is 12.30pm in the afternoon and I am already at 1028 calories. I am also over my saturated fat and sugar allocation for the day. Gah! How on earth did that happen! Actually I know darn well why I am over my calorie count and I think it has something to do with the iced coffee and chocolate...

As suggested in the 12WBT challenge email I will try to resist adjusting my food intake to hit my calorie target. I want to get a real picture of what I eat this week. Surely I will be horrified with the result, but shock tactics may be necessary to inspire me to take action.

For someone who has never bothered with counting calories this is going to be an eye-opening week.

Thank you to those who commented on my blog entry yesterday. It's so great to have your support and words of encouragement. You have also inspired me to use the spell checker.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

sunday afternoon reflections

Sometimes I get to the end of a day and feel guilty for not doing enough. Not making enough progress on my university work; not sewing more; not spending time doing "fun stuff". Sometimes I get to the end of the day, and I struggle to verbalise what I have done. I might have slept in and wasted time looking at blogs and internet sites, then procrastinated when it came to university work. I look around the house in the evening, and of course, it is a mess. My notebook page has today's date on it but not much work. And to top it off, I have no idea what to prepare for dinner.

This weekend I tried to make the best of my time. Not only did I write up my university Immunology notes and help C with his upcoming exam, I also made time for a beachside walk with C and a night out at the movies on Saturday.

C is about to head off to work so I will shortly have the house to myself. Tonight I want to spend an hour or so cleaning up the house, make a menu plan for dinners for the week ahead, listen to a few lectures I have skipped and get some sewing done. Gee, that's a lot now that I see it typed out.

I also want to squeeze in a 3km run. Following Michelle Bridges 12WBT challenge to move 30km this week I have done 27km thus far. I am really keen to tick this challenge off as I haven't gone well with the others. I need a 'win' to keep me motivated.

Monday, 8 October 2012


I used to be a runner. I ran 10km fun runs regularly and once I even ran a 15km fun run. All without stopping for a walk or a breather. Then I registered for the 2011 Melbourne half-marathon. But I didn't work hard enough in the lead up to the event. Two weeks before the event I knew that I was not fit enough and was at risk of an injury... so I pulled out. And I have hardly been running since.

Since registering for the 12WBT program I had a sinking feeling that the program would include running. This was confirmed with an email yesterday morning challenging me to move 30km this week. I simply don't have the time to be walking for 30km this week... I need to run (and cycle) at least some of this distance.

Last night I went for a 5.6km run down my street and back. I had anticipated that I would have to stop for breaks constantly and be panting and wheezing. But it wasn't that bad. I ran further than I thought I would. Yes, I still stopped for a few breaks, and I did walk part of the distance. But I felt really good for having challenged myself and for not making excuses.

That this challenge has been assigned to us during week three of pre-season makes me worried for what is to come. The program has not even begun yet. This is going to be the hardest I have ever worked.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

upping the ante

This morning I received an email with the Week Three 12WBT challenge: move 30 kilometres this week. My first thought was that this is a typo. How on earth am I going to accomplish this? Here is my plan:

Monday  4km jog
Tuesday  4km jog
Wednesday  8km at the gym (bike; cross trainer)
Thursday  rest
Friday      2km swim; 2km jog
Saturday  5km walk
Sunday    5km walk

I have also had time to reflect on Week One and Week Two challenges. Honestly, I haven't been taking these challenges seriously. But I have come to a realisation that if I want real results, I need to push myself outside my comfort zone. I am not as healthy as I would like to think. To get where I want to be I need to make a change. Today is my first real day of change.

For Week One, "make one small change", I chose to pack a nutritious lunchbox on weekdays. I usually don't pack enough healthy food and I am tempted by fatty fast-food options. Today in my lunchbox is a salad sandwich, two pieces of fruit and a homemade muffin.

Week Two, "halve your non-water drink intake", I instead chose to drink more water. Before the challenge I drank 1L per day. Today I have packed a 500ml water bottle and I am aiming to drink two litres by bedtime. Now that I think more about the original challenge of drinking less non-water fluids do I realise its importance. Sure, I don't drink soft drink often, and I don't drink coffee, but there are certainly changes I can make. So, starting today, I will drink one cup of tea each day, and one glass of alcohol once a week.

Friday, 5 October 2012


My most recent post might have been overly optimistic... this is going to be so, so hard. Who am I kidding? Last night, mere hours after I had signed up for 12wbt I was feeling hungry on my way home from uni, so I bought a potato cake. A greasy, fatty potato cake. And this is not a rarity. Often at uni, or waiting around for my train, I buy things like this. Because I am hungry, and fried food is cheap, easy and comforting.

So, in light of this, I have decided to dedicate my 12wbt Week One warm-up challenge to preparing a nutritious lunchbox to take out for the day in order to avoid the pitfalls of the fast food shops. For Monday lunch I will prepare a delish sandwich on wholemeal bread, fruit pieces, healthy snacks (not quite sure what they will be yet...) and water. The challenge we have been set is to make one small change. I think that this might be one small change that delivers big results.

Week Two warm-up challenge is to halve my intake of fluids other than water. But truth be told, I don't drink much fluid other than water and cups of tea. I am considering swapping my tea for green tea, as I've heard that green tea has substantial health benefits, but I want to research this first. In the meantime, I've decided to double my intake of water. I estimate that I currently drink one litre of water per day. Having a water bottle will help so much with this challenge so I plan to buy a water bottle this weekend. And while I am at it, I had better buy a lunch box.

I am old enough (29) to be a little set in my ways and doubtful of my ability to change my habits. But also old enough to know that if I do commit to change that I will benefit in so many ways. So my emotions are a little mixed. I will throw myself into this challenge but I anticipate there will be set backs. So I am doubtful, yes, but also hopeful. I would love to go into this challenge, all guns blazing, but I must be honest with myself. Wish me luck.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

post gym pain

I am hurting today. My session at the gym may have been too much, too soon. Maybe it is as simple as not stretching enough before and after gym. Maybe I should just suck it up.

Today I will do some simple stretches and go for a walk so that I am at least moving.


Yesterday I committed to Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation. I have been looking at her website for a couple of weeks now, googling for blog reviews and generally um-ing and ah-ing about whether or not I would join. I wasn't sure if it was right for me. I want (need) to develop healthy habits but don't have a lot of weight to lose. Regardless, I think it will give me structure, and take some of the hard work out of planning and researching the best healthy diet and exercise options, so that I can spend my time doing.

The program officially kicks off on Monday 19th November. In the meantime there are tasks and challenges to get into the right mindset. I am nervous about what may be around the corner. I don't know what my goal weight should be. I don't know if I won't collapse from exhaustion from so much exercise. I don't know if I will feel satisfied eating a low-ish calorie diet and I wonder if my stomach won't be growling from hunger in the evening.

I want to put myself 100% into this program and not second guess the advice. The hardest thing I think for me will be balancing my commitment to the program while also listening to my body. I am determined enough that I will make time for the exercise and food preparation. I can afford to buy basic exercise equipment to complete a good workout. My partner is encouraging and supportive. I just need to arrive at a happy medium where I am eating well and feeling strong, and my weight is stable. While I  am not quite sure what the numbers (calorie intake and body weight) will be I hope I know when I get there.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012


Last year I had a membership to the university gym, but let that lapse over the summer holidays. This year I made excuses that I was too busy with class and study and commuting, and that it wasn't worthwhile, so I didn't rejoin. Though it is the final four weeks of class for the year before exam period begins, I decided to return to the gym today as a casual visitor.

Gosh, it was hard work. I haven't sweated in such a long time. Though it was hard I feel good for having done my workout. Unfortunately since it has been such a long time since my last visit, the gym no longer has my exercise program. So, I tried my best to remember what to do, and what weights to use. For my cardio routine I used the exercise bike and cross-trainer. Strength exercises were done using various machines and small handweights. I also completed lunges and stretches. Total time spent working out: 50 minutes. I could have spent more time but I ran out of ideas on what I should do, and I didn't want to continue cardio exercises.

I have 3kg handweights at home that I think I will begin using more of. I will google, or look at Pinterest, for ideas on what exercises to do with handweights to ensure I tone my whole body and not just select muscles. And I will continue going back to the gym once or twice a week when I have a two hour (or more) break between classes.

Monday, 1 October 2012

inbox is (officially) sorted

My most recent post, a few days ago, I commited to only publishing a blog post when I had done something. Up until now I had endless plans and aspirations but very little action was being taken.

Today I cleared out my personal and student email accounts. This blog is so good for me. It keeps me 100% honest. Finally, I can see all of my emails at a glance on the one page. It seems my timing was spot on as logged onto one email account I hadn't been too for a while to find an email from a previous employer with an offer for more work!

Not only was I deleting emails and creating new folders, but also unsubscribing from mailouts that I now consider spam. I hope that managing my inbox becomes a habit. Bit by bit I am clearing away the clutter to make room for real change. Maybe then by blog posts will become slightly more interesting...

Friday, 28 September 2012

lights, camera, ACTION

I pledge that all blog posts of next week will focus upon ACTION. Not plans or daydreams. Concrete actions that contribute to improving my life somehow.

Just typing this gives me butterflies in my stomach. I feel really excited.

lifelong habits, not goals

Sometimes it is so hard to know what the right path is. I can't help but feel I need to stop worrying about what the future holds and just settle down into life. I need to put effort into my chosen career and be enthusiastic and passionate about what I do. And it is a great career; I am fascinated by the field and its complexities. However I do wonder about what might have been had I made a different choice, and what my next step will be. I have always looked ahead to the future; sometimes too far ahead. I think this is the perfectionist in me; the belief that there is something for me that is 100% perfect and 100% right.

I wish I gave myself over to my hobbies and interests, particularly at a young age. That was my time to experiment with different ideas but with relatively low risk should I make an error. I wish I had the courage to stand out from the crowd rather than blend in. I wish I wasn't afraid to voice my opinions. I wish what people thought of me didn't dictate my actions. I wish I believed in myself enough to try difficult things and to believe that I would not be mediocre.

So today I need to press the "reset" button. I will not seek out novelty or change for the sake of change. I will commit to my current circumstances, though they may not be 100%, 100% of the time. I will not look forward too far ahead when I can look at this present day and be grateful. I will work hard and go to bed exhausted every night from the effort that I put in to make this life work.

I have sometimes felt that the only hope for me to contribute to this world is to be a good mum to my future children. To make sure my children do not make the mistakes I have made. I need to move on from this view and invest in myself. I just wish I were not full of self-doubt. But I must try.

I will study and really learn the material. Not just for the sake of passing an exam, but for the sake of my professional self.
I will exercise daily. I will eat right. I know what is required and now I just need to put my thoughts into action.
I will take time to connect with people I love. I will maintain friendships. I will be selfless and kind more often.
I will take pride in my home.
I will have a creative outlet in sewing and make some garments that I can be proud of.
I will get a job that is related to my field of study. I will contribute financially to the household.

When I posted my 30 by 30 challenge I listed a bunch of items that I wanted to achieve in the next six months. Things that I could tick off a list. And looking back at this list is seems a little trivial. These goals are a little different. These are not goals as such but habits that I need to form to have a life I can be proud of. While I will work on both lists, achieving my 30 by 30 goals will give me something to gloat about, achieving the ones listed above will bring me the most pride. Wish me luck.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

brown rice and vegetables

Today I put away my wristwatch and I can feel such a shift in my day and my priorities. Too often I look at my watch and scold myself for sleeping in (again) or taking too long sipping my cup of tea or not getting enough housework done. It is calming just to go about my day in a way that feels right. Eating when I am hungry. Standing outside for a few minutes to enjoy the warm breeze between hanging up clothes on the clothes line to dry. Enjoying company rather than focussing on what is on my to-do list. What a luxury. Perhaps it is obvious I am on a one week holiday from my usual life right now. Regardless, I am thinking of how I can incorporate these ideas into my day-to-day life.

I spent 30 minutes (28 minutes more than usual) preparing brown rice and vegetables for lunch. Corn kernels, grilled eggplant, spanish onion, cucumber, parsley and a yummy dressing. Too often it gets to 2pm in the afternoon and I am starving, so I reach for the easiest thing to eat or I go to a local take-away food shop.

Of course, this is easy to do while I don't have the everyday responsibilities and commitments. What I need is the magic recipe for making this (good nutrition, exercise, enjoying the day) happen in the busy-ness of life. How does everyone else do it? I have considered before that I am just plain lazy. Too much time daydreaming or fussing around rather than putting time into activities that are worthwhile for myself or those around me.

In light of the 30 by 30 challenge I posted yesterday, I want to get a start on one of the items: a recipe book of favourites. I need to streamline this process of good nutrition somehow.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

30 by 30

It is so much fun to think of goals that I can achieve during the next six months. Usually when I think of goal-setting I consider way-off, lofty goals that require a massive time and/or monetary investment. Instead I have put pen to paper and created a list that is a mixture of goals that is fun, challenging and necessary. These goals are all achievable by April 2013. I have all the resources to make this happen. Now I just need to get out there and get it done.

Bake a birthday cake for someone I love
Learn to change a lightbulb
Establish a herb garden
Sew a "capsule wardrobe"
Make my own sushi
Paint all the trim in my home
Create a 2012 photo album
Reconnect with my aunt
Spend a whole day at the State Library reading room
Donate blood
Send Christmas cards in the first week of December
Bake a loaf of bread
Be a tourist in my own town for the day
Have a pedicure
See my doctor regarding feeling fatigued
Run a half marathon
Subscribe to a favourite magazine
Find the perfect red lipstick
Read a classic novel
Create a recipe book of my favourites
Try scuba diving again
Decide if I want to be a church-goer
Read an entire weekend newspaper
Spend a day in my pyjamas
Create a budget
Attend a music festival
Buy a basket for my bicycle
Organise my university notes
Knit a scarf

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

back to running

Yesterday I went for a jog for the first time in a long time. There is nothing like pushing yourself and realising exactly how much stamina and form you have lost.

Rewind twelve months ago when I was running five kilometres every Saturday morning. With a couple of shorter distance jogs in between. I was frequently running 10k fun runs - and enjoying them!

Now I am panting and huffing and wheezing after just one kilometre. What a turn around for the worse. I went to the local athletics track yesterday morning and ran for one kilometre (2.5 laps) then walked one lap. Then a bit more running and a bit more walking. Repeat. I jogged a total of two kilometres.

I did enjoy being at the athletics track and think I will return to run there more often. It is so satisfying to know exactly the distance you have jogged, and so comforting to know my water bottle in close reach at the completion of each lap.

Monday, 24 September 2012

either way, you pay

I was speaking with C over the weekend; pondering if I could justify the cost of a gym membership, online fitness and nutrition plan, more hand weights from the sports store, etc. His advice made me think about how I prioritise my health and the excuses that I make.

"Either way you pay. You pay to maintain your fitness, or you pay when you suffer the effects of being unfit. But either way, you pay".

Right now I am considering whether or not to sign up for an online program, Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation. Complete fitness plan (including plans for exercising at home or at a local park) and complete nutrition plan plus week shopping lists. The cost is $199 which at first sounded like a good deal but the more I think about it, the more expensive and unnecessary it seems. Perhaps I need to think a little less. 

The reason I am reluctant to sign up is that I am not sure how it will cater toward people who wish to maintain their weight, such as myself. I wish to lose five kilograms at the most, however the promotional website seems to focus on major weight loss. Yet I still feel I would need the support of the  plan and the online forums to maintain some really good habits. The next "round" begins in November so there is still plenty of time to make a decision. There are a few Australian bloggers who have documented their progress with 12WBT so hopefully I can find a blogger in a similar situation to myself and send an email with some questions.

I'd like to think that I could "piece together" my own fitness and nutrition plan. I have a heap of healthy cook books and the internet is littered with exercise plans. But life is so busy and I think right now I need to put all my efforts into the doing.

Proof-reading this post now I can't help but feel the excuses I am making are particularly poor excuses. I can't help but feel I need to sign up for the sake of my health. Either way, you pay.

Sunday, 23 September 2012


It is such a good feeling to be moving again. C and I went to the local pool for a Sunday afternoon swim. It is the start of the Victorian school holidays and there were screaming kids everywhere. Luckily the outdoor 50m pool had just opened for the summer season the day prior so we were able to swim laps in relative peace. I found swimming freestyle to be tough going. It started off well however I found myself later gasping for breath every two strokes. So I opted for the kick board. Still hard work, but in comparison to my poor freestyle stroke, much more enjoyable.

I would be lying if I didn't say the main reason for our trek to the swimming pool was to try out the new water slide. Seriously, so much fun. This thing goes on and on forever and I completely lost my bearings. Well worth while all the same.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

the beginning

The big question... where to begin...

When so much needs to be done, how does one take that very first step? A deliberate step that will bring a sense of calm and happiness. Perhaps those feelings will come later and right now I just need to put my nose to the grindstone and start working.

I want to address mostly my health and fitness. While I may look reasonably healthy to others I worry about what is going on internally. I have high cholesterol and a family history of heart disease. My diet is high in refined sugar and I am dreading my next visit to the dentist. I lack any sort of fitness and want (need) to start moving again. A recent ski weekend was not as much fun as it should have been. This summer I am looking forward to hiking and swimming and a whole bunch of activities. I don't want it to be a struggle.

This weekend I shall clear the (physical) clutter in my house and make room in my mind for new ideas. And maybe I will get this show on the road and go for a jog.

Friday, 21 September 2012

life at present

Present day life is ok. Not particularly bad but not particularly good either. Mediocrity feels a little dull. I am ready to take control of my present and my future. But I can't get past the daydreaming phase to get on with the actual doing. This blog is to become the space where I can indulge myself with 10-15 minutes per day of planning, list making, reflection and gaining inspiration from other bloggers. The rest of the day I will dedicate to activity. Not merely sitting down and taking in the view while life passes me by.

I feel as though I have hit my rock-bottom. Granted, it could be a lot worse. None the less, it must be upwards and onwards from here.

So to daydream for just a moment, here is what my ideal day looks like:
I wake up early and feel refreshed and energised. Following an outdoor jog I sit down with my family to a healthy breakfast of bircher muesli and freshly squeezed juice. The house is tidy and everything I need for the day ahead is at hand. I go to work to do a job I love. Dinner is followed by time on various projects or connecting with my husband. I read a chapter of the book on my bedside table to wind down before bed. I sleep well.

Simple, but good.