It hurt, but I kept going anyway

I didn’t get a chance to do my SSS yesterday – so SSS on a Sunday it was.

I have been doing the Advanced Lean & Fit program – modified because I have gone over on my ankle twice in the last four weeks – and not while exercising! I have bought a you beaut medium heavy duty support bandage and have been working around the injury. I had planned to do the 10km run training program this round, and the good news is I can comfortably run and jog on a treadmill for over half an hour – so I am going to give the 10km running training a go outdoors this week. I thought I might have to start at week one – but I just looked at the week five program and I think I will be able to do it. And I am planning to enter a fun run on Saturday – so that fits nicely with the training schedule.

But back to the SSS today.

It began with a warm up walk on the treadmill at a steep incline – and then rolling intervals on the treadmill for 25 minutes.  My treadmill measures distance in miles – so it says I did 2.7 miles, which is actually 4.2 kilometres. I can hardly believe I went that far in that time with the amount of walking involved in the warm and during the intervals themselves.

The intervals were in blocks – with the final minute in each block a recovery minute where I walked at a pace of 3.7 m/h. During the working phase of the intervals my top speed was 7.5mph (10km/h) – I can hardly believe I was able to run that fast on the treadmill. But I just printed out the plan from the 12wbt and said to myself JFDI. The intervals were I was jogging at a higher incline were a killer, my legs were burning by the end of the last set.

And this is what I looked like at the end of the rolling intervals.  I love the feeling of the first drip of sweat on my forehead, because I think “now I’m really working” and it reminds me of the saying “Sweat is fat crying”.

Mr G. took the photo for me – I was too bust trying to catch my breath to smile. But I was happy. I can’t believe how great it feels to push yourself to do something further than you thought you were capable of achieving. When I looked at the plans and saw the top speed was 10km/h I thought “I can’t do that” – and then I remembered that the first three letters of can’t spell can.

After the rolling intervals it was time for the AMRAP workout of the training session – upper body and abs.  There were three working phases. In the first working phase I completed 3 circuits and managed to do a couple of reps of a fourth circuit.  The second phase three complete circuits and got half way through the reps of the second exercise. The third working phase I thought this time I was going to go for four complete circuits – and I did it. I told myself I was going to do it and worked out how long I had to do each set of reps. I have a nifty app on my iPhone for timing AMRAPs and a beeper goes off when there is one minute to go. When I heard that beep go I knew I had to dig deep to make the time limit and keep good form.

And the result 653 calories gone! And a whole bucket load of fat crying. Gotta be happy with that!

 

 

Blogging Challenge Week 5 (Yep, two weeks late!)

FOOD!

I am sure that word has your attention. 😉 For this week of the blogging challenge Jayne has asked us to think about how our food habits have changed since starting 12wbt.

What were your old food habits like?

What were you like before embarking on this journey to become a healthier version of yourself?

How did you feel?

Before joining 12wbt I know I would have like to have thought my eating habits were healthy. But I was kidding myself. As the Commando said to Graeme in the 2012 The Biggest Loser, “You don’t get to be over 200kgs by eating salad!”  

I have battled with my attitude to food most of my 47 years.  Through the preseasons tasks I have completed over the last three rounds I have come to realise part of the problem is I see it as a control thing. While other aspects of my life are out of control – I can choose to control what I eat, which meant eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.

I went on my first diet at the age of twelve. It was 1977.   I clearly remember though, on our first day of high school we were dismissed at lunch time. So we raced home, changed out of our new uniforms and went straight to the local take away shop and bought ourselves a big feed of fish and chips. After weeks of feeling deprived, and feeling empowered by starting high school, we felt we were taking control by having whatever we wanted. We were in control. We could choose. And we chose something unhealthy. And this led us to decide to abandon the diet we were following. Probably in itself not a bad thing with the benefit of hindsight in 2012 – but for years I told the story of my first dieting failure at the age of twelve.

From 1997 to 2006 I was a Weight Watchers leader.  Not surprisingly, I thought I knew everything there was to know about weight loss.  But, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing when combined with an unhealthy attitude towards  eating. I certainly learnt more about eating clean and having  healthy attitude towards food in my first nine weeks of following the “Crunch Time Cookbook” and then 12wbt principles than I did in nine years of leading.

In the weeks before I joined 12wbt I was having “diet” food from a well known company delivered to my door.  I was eating the 1800 calorie per day program – and – eating extra because I never felt satisfied. That combined with the fact that I was not exercising more than three times a week meant my weight loss from October 2010 to August 2011 was 10kgs. Most of the foods I was eating were processed and high in sodium.

And I felt terrible. I had no energy. I was tired all the time.

I was bursting out of a size 26 – and wondering where on earth I was going to find clothes to fit when I needed size 28.

My doctor weighs me monthly.  This time twelve months ago she was still encouraging me to have lap band surgery. I was morbidly obese. All the tests showed no problems, but we both knew there would be a time when I would begin experiencing serious health complications. It felt terrible that my doctor felt there was no hope for me except lap band surgery.

And despite my thinking that eating whatever I liked was being in control of my life – I felt like I had no control over my life.

I often felt uncomfortable because I had eaten way too much at one sitting.  I also had terrible digestive problems with a type of reflux. This was worse whenever I was laying down.

Was there anything you struggled with but have over come?

The first thing was not having starchy carbohydrate based foods every evening. When I first looked through the Crunch Time Cookbook during preseason of Round 3 2011 I closed it again and thought “I could never do that! Is Michelle Bridges serious?” And of course, I did it and continued to do it.
I decided during my first preseason I would give up alcohol for the twelve weeks of the round. Not just because each glass would use valuable calories  and the fact that having alcohol in your system affects what your body chooses to metabolise. I mainly chose to give up alcohol because after a couple of glasses I know I have a tendency to not worry so much about what I am eating. I am now half way through my third round and the only time I have chosen to drink alcohol during a twelve week round was during my Thredbo weekend. (Well you can’t visit an alpine region and not have schnapps! And of course a glass or two of bubbles.)
I tried to give up Coke Zero and Diet Coke and Pepsi Max during my first round in 2011, but my resolve didn’t last long. My reason for drinking it was that if I had a “sugar craving” it would satisfy it. I decided on the 27th December, 2011 I would give up artificially sweetened drinks.  I decided going “cold turkey” was the best option for me. The first few days were tough, especially when I was buying petrol, as it was a habit for me to grab a bottle when I filled the car with petrol. By the new year the “sugar cravings” were gone, and I have since found out that the chemicals within Diet Cola drinks actually contribute to such cravings.
Now chocolate – that is something I am working on. My current strategy is to break off two squares and get Mr G to hide the rest from me.
Hopefully soon I’ll be writing a post about how I can break off two squares and put the rest in the cupboard and not think about it again for a couple of weeks.
I don’t know when, but I know for sure it will happen.

Yoga is as yoga does

I go to a yoga class now on Wednesday nights.  I tried a teacher at the end of January – I went for three weeks and decided her teaching style was not for me.  So google to the rescue – I found another teacher and her website really appealed to me.  Tonight was my second class with her – and I’m hooked!

There is a large range of abilities in the class, from me – not much flexibility and balance – to very advanced students who look like the proverbial pretzel at times.  She already knows my name – and checks on me and makes sure my posture is right and I’m “comfortable” – though her definition of comfortable is not the equivalent of lying on the lounge.  We can use blocks, belts and cushions to make sure we can either do a particular pose safely or do it in a modified manner.

We begin with relaxation, then a 70 minute yoga class, then 15 minutes or so of deep relaxation in the end.  I just kept my Heart Rate Monitor on during the 70 minutes – and burnt 295 calories (and 40% of those were from fat).

And what’s more important I feel so energised and relaxed at the same time.  I’m so glad I didn’t give up on yoga altogether – it was just a matter of finding the right teacher for me.

What I Ate Wednesday 25-1-12 Total Calories 1121

Breakfast

Banana Bruschetta

297 calories

12wbt recipe

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morning Tea

McDonald’s small skim cappuccino

71 calories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunch

“Sushi Bay” Sushi Train – three items – total calories 311

Miso Soup – 91 calories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuna and Salmon Sashimi – 160 calories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seaweed Salad Battleship – 60 calories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Afternoon Snack

Popcorn – had some of Master G and Miss G’s popcorn at the movies

I estimate about 171 calories worth – when I thought I had had enough I told Master G (the keeper of the popcorn) to smack my hand if I took anymore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner

Spinach and Mushroom Frittata

271 calories

12wbt meal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My day on a plate, and a wrist band and an iPhone

Yesterday was a day with two red flags!  Eek!  Breakfast at McDonald’s with the family and then lunch out with Miss G (ten) and Master G (13).  Now I can tell right now you’re thinking – have a healthy Mish breakfast before you leave home.  Cut a healthy sandwich and put that in your backpack.  Well – I want to share in the treat with my family (since when did I really regard the Golden Arches as a worthy treat???) and I was packing snacks, and water bottles etc in my back pack so didn’t have room for a sandwich too.  However, I can no show you that I survived this Red Flag day on just under 1200 calories.  Don’t believe me?  Then take a look.

The reason for McDonald’s?  We had an early start – had to have Mr G to Drummoyne by 9.00am on a Monday.  So kids weren’t ready to eat when we left.  And I really wanted a coffee (a big coffee) and Mr G wanted a hot chocolate – yes full cream!  And we wanted it quick, the clock was ticking.

My choice is a tall McCafe cappuccino made with skim, a plain English muffin and vegemite.  Miss G nearly had kittens when she went back to the table with Mr G while I was waiting for the hot drinks, and she unwrapped the plain English muffin and thought that was all she was getting.

My question – what happened to the Uncle Toby’s Oats they used to sell?

 

 

 

 

A quick snack in the park near the Spit Bridge before we begin our walk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time for a snack break on the walk.  I wasn’t really hungry, but I figured a little hit of protein wouldn’t go astray.  This is about 10g of pepitas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here is the walk we were doing – and no we didn’t get air lifted out at the 4.5km mark.  This when we stopped for a breather – or a snack break, and the Master G and Miss G wanted to know how far we had come.  I’m glad they did – as the iPhone was almost out of power – so I switched runkeeper off as we needed the phone to rendezvous with Mr G in Drummoyne later in the afternoon.  We ended up walking right around the coastline to Manly Cove ferry wharf to catch the ferry back to Circular Quay.  Its a fabulous walk, and if you live in Sydney and have never done it let me assure you it is well worth while.  If you’re visiting Sydney put it on your list of things to do!  The first half has a lot of ascending steps when you start at the Spit Bridge end of the walk.  But your efforts are compensated.  Won’t say anymore than that!

 

 

 

 

Lunch for me was a Sushi lunch box with lots of lovely salmon.  As you can see I only just remembered to take the photo for this blog post that I had in mind.  And I was a little bit shaky, would seem I really needed the carbs!  IMy guess is this Sushi Box is about 330 calories.  And honestly, I would have been satisfied with something a little smaller.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was at that point that Miss G asked what the time was – and I realised that what I was looking at was my heart rate not the hour of the day.  So I quickly took a photo of my calories burn for the walk, and then told Miss G the time.  So, the HRM was running about fifteen minutes longer than it should have at the end, and I don’t think I stopped it on our first snack break, but I think I did stop it on the second one when Master G and Miss G were playing on the beach which is along the walk.  Honestly, I’m not worried, as I’m sure I did 2000 calories in a little over two hours of walking.  I’m not eating the calories back, so it doesn’t really matter that I was forgetful.

Remember that I weigh in at 133kgs last Wednesday – that’s half the reason I could achieve a burn like that.  The other reason is that I am able to successfully maintain my heart rate at 80% of the maximum for the entire time I am walking, with occasional spikes to my maximum while I’m going up stairs and really pushing myself.  I like to keep the readout on the heart rate while I’m training – it helps me decide when I think its hard work whether I’m being a sooky la-la or whether I can push myself a little bit harder at that moment.  I only look at the calories at the end.

 

A well deserved coffee on the drive home from Drummoyne.  Mr G was desperate for a Frozen Coke from McDonald’s.  Well that’s my excuse anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner – a 12wbt recipe. Crumbed Fish with Smoked Paprika Sweet Potato Wedges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So the total calories for the day with two Red Flags?

1179 calories

 

By saying no thanks, I’m saying yes to something far more valuable

One aspect of the 12wbt program I really like is that it challenges us to think about the choices we make and how they contribute to our health.  Its not just about numbers on the scales each Wednesday morning.

At the beginning of Round 3 2011, I made the choice to cut out alcohol, caffeine, chocolate and diet soft drinks.

I remember clearly having my last alcoholic drink on the Saturday night before Week 1 began.  My agreement with myself was to give it up for just the twelve weeks.  And I’m pleased to say I did it, I lasted the 12 weeks, and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be.  And the really good thing about giving it up completely for those 12 weeks is that since the end of round 3 (apart from the Finale Party), I have indulged in true moderation.  I decide how much I’m going to have before I pour the wine – and I stick to it.  So giving up for 12 weeks worked for me.  I have already decided on the 13th February 2012 I will say no to alcohol for another 12 weeks.

But the chocolate, caffeine and diet soft drinks?

Gave in on the coffee within the first couple of days.  But I’m happy to say that I reduced the number of skim cappuccinos I had every week and generally when I bought one it was a small size.  I started drinking a lot more green tea and dandelion tea.  I’ve decided I’m happy with that level of consumption and will continue with how I went last round.

Chocolate – I think I may have lasted 10 days.  I tried to give myself  calorie controlled portions – but it was so hard.  Its so hard for me to stop once I start.  And the “trick” to have Dark Chocolate instead, because it’s more intense and you don’t want as much?  Doesn’t work for me – I can inhale it the same way I inhale milk chocolate.  I’m still not sure what to do about chocolate this round.  Have to think about it.

And diet soft drinks – I may have lasted two weeks if I was lucky before I picked up that habit again.  There’s a few reasons I want to stop drinking diet soft drinks altogether, but there is one really important one. It comes down to helping my weight loss efforts.  I find that instead of helping to satisfy a sweet craving, the diet soft drinks actually make my sweet cravings worse.  And that leads to me blowing my calories or just feeling plain deprived.

So I made the decision on 27/12/11 to go cold turkey on the diet soft drinks.  For good.  The ticker on the right will show you how many days its been so far.  Its now the 11/1/12 and I realised yesterday that I don’t have the sweet cravings anymore.  It may not be the right choice for everyone, but I know for sure it’s the right choice for me.  It helps that I’ve always liked sparkling mineral water – I used to be a big fan of Taurina Spa mineral water in the 1980s.

We are all individuals, and what works for one person may not work for everyone.  So the question is – not whether you are going to give up alcohol, caffeine, chocolate or diet soft drinks for 12 weeks or for good.  The question you have to ask yourself, is what change, or changes, am I going to make to be a healthier version of me?

The Giant Staircase

I have lived in the Blue Mountains for more than 15 years and I have never done this particular bush walk before.  And to be honest, I’m not in too much of a hurry to do it again – though I will do it again when my fitness levels have improved.  In fact, I have challenged myself to walk it again this time next year – with a “few” extra stairs for good measure.  I have been encouraged by someone who did the walk with me last Thursday to give it a go over Easter this year.  Maybe.

The walk starts at Echo Point, Katoomba – near the Three Sisters.  After a short walk down a track we hit the staircase.  About 910 stairs down into the valley.  Some of them sandstone, some of them steel, pretty much all of them narrow.  When I get to the top of the staircase I realise why I may never have attempted this before.  Me and my stomach just don’t like heights.  Can you see my white knuckles? (I’m the one in the middle – clutching the handrail as if my life depended on it.)

To add to my dislike of heights is the fear that I am going to do my ankle an injury on this walk.  The steps are quite narrow and uneven.  So why am I going through with this you ask?  After all I could have turned back at the top of the stairs.

For me this journey with 12wbt is all about moving out of my comfort zone and challenging myself.  I knew I was in no danger – the worst thing was I felt bad that I was holding the group up because I was so slow.  There were times when going down the stairs I wasn’t having the most fun of my life – but getting to the bottom of the staircase was a wonderful feeling.  I proved to myself again that I can do anything if I set my mind to it.  And it proves that having the support of other 12wbt members is invaluable.  (It also helped that because of my fear of hurting my ankle, my eyes were pretty much watching my feet all the way down – which meant I wasn’t overtly aware of the heights involved!)

The other reason for doing it was to gauge the improvement in my fitness over time.  It’s what Michelle Bridges would refer to as a milestone event.  As I said in the first paragraph in this post I will be doing it in the future – and I know through consistency in my training I will be stronger and fitter – and the stairs won’t be half as difficult for me as they were last week.  This is us at the bottom of the staircase.  I was so relieved to get down there!  The challenges you may take on as part of this transformation will vary from this particular one – but positive feeling you get when you have achieved it is worth all the effort.

And my final reason for doing this – six other 12wbt members were doing it, I was on holidays and I only live 25 minutes away – how could I say no?  The picture on the left show s the seven of us at the bottom of the staircase – official photographer was the partner of one of the members in the photo.  The companionship and encouragement helped me through this challenge.  And the chance to have lunch and coffee at the end of it all was pretty good incentive.

But the walk isn’t over yet!  We then headed along the track towards Scenic World.  It is about 2.5kms to Scenic World from the bottom of the Giant Staircase.  The plan was to catch the Scenic Railway back up to the cliff top.  It was a great walk along the track – and I have never done a bush walk at such a fast pace! It took one hour and fifteen minutes from the top of the staircase to the Scenic Railway platform.  I burned 543 calories in that time – so I was very happy with that.  Three of us took the railway back up to Scenic World – but just before we came to the platform we came across the Furber Steps.  Five members of our group chose to take the stairs back out the valley – and then walk the two and a bit kilometres back to Echo Point.  Given my jelly legs – I didn’t even give that option any consideration.   I really admire their tenacity and their willingness to take that option – one day in the future I’d like to do it too.

I am so glad I did it.  However, the next day my thighs were really sore – and walking up and down stairs (or ramps) was excruciating.   Needless to say I didn’t do a workout on Friday – but I pushed through the lingering soreness on Saturday to do a 5.5km walk, a Sh’Bam class and an hour workout on cardio equipment – it was SSS afterall!  And actually getting some exercise on the Saturday did help to relieve the soreness.

So, if you plan to do this walk next time you’re in the mountains my advice is don’t do it alone and take plenty of water.  You can park at Echo Point (about $12 for three hours) or for free at Scenic World.  The trolley bus operates a shuttle between Scenic World and Echo Point ($2.10) and the ride back up on the Scenic Railway is $11 – you pay at the top.

My thanks to Jayne for the photos – I was way to scared of my phone falling down a cliff to take any photos of my own!

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