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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Practically - How have I been loosing weight.

I get so many people asking me what I have done to loose the weight. Basically the short answer to that is eating healthy (watching calories) and exercising (going to the gym).  

The long answer is that I began by exercising 30 min a day 3 times a week, which turned into 60min exercise 6 days a week, which as I have gotten fitter and lighter has turned into about 2hours a day 6 days a week.

My calorie deficit (for those who count calories) is anywhere between 7000-9000 a week. As I have lost weight and my BMR (amount of cal my body uses normally in a day) has gone down - the exercise has stepped up to keep that deficit happening. My BMR now (at 69.5kg) is only around 1450 cal per day - so if I eat 1200 cal I need to burn about 900cal per day (for 6 days) in exercise (which is around 2 hours). Using this calculation I have lost about a kilo a week on average.

Excited to see there is muscle under
the fat!!

This is just me and I have made it a priority this year and life has been such that I have been able to do that. I know most people's lives will not allow for this, but ANY exercise is going to be good and aide the weight loss!! However, exercise is only 20-30%  of the whole weight loss thing. The main part of loosing weight the food side. A person who does no exercise but eats the right amount of calories will still loose weight. A person who does hours and hours or exercise but who has a really poor diet probably will not.

Planning when to do the exercise and what I am going to eat is important. There is a saying, "If you fail to plan - you plan to fail". Very true!! Putting the times in your diary when you are going to exercise, shop for food, and perhaps even cook at the start of every week... then sticking to the plan as much as possible. Sure - things happen to interrupt your week - sick kids / work hassles etc... But, each day is a new day - if one day gets stuffed up then either try and make up for it on another day or just forget about it and keep going with the plan!!

It is hard!!

I have been at the place where I have tried and failed to loose weight THAT many times!! I think the thing I have learned this time is that even a horrible WEEK of everything going out the window is not a reason to forget about "the plan". It is hard - no doubt about that - especially when you have failed so many times in the past!! I have never stayed the same weight, if I am not going down then I am going up!! (And even a tiny step backwards is very discouraging). Learning how to maintain will be my next big thing soon!!

It doesn't matter how long it takes - so long as you keep planning and exercising (however much you can) and eating the right type and amount of food - then the weight will come off!! I love that quote, "fall down 7 times - get up 8 times", because it is so true!! So long as you keep persisting - eventually you will get there. KEEP PLANNING AND KEEP DOING!!

Many people ask me what I eat. Think they are worried I am starving myself!! :-) Let me say - I do eat when I am hungry - I HATE being hungry!! Can't stand it!! I eat 3 meals a day and 2-3 snacks... so I eat quite often really!!

Pizza example: Use pita bread!!

An example of my eating day would be:

Breakfast: Porridge with honey.
Lunch: Home made pizza and salad (today's one has spinach leaves, pumpkin and fetta on it!!)
Afternoon: Fruit OR Yogurt OR Rice crackers 
Dinner: Tuna Mornay and salad/veg (Not usually a fan of warm tuna but Michelle Bridges Crunch time cookbook has a yummy recipe in it!!)
After Dinner: Fruit OR Yogurt OR Rice crackers 

The other night I went out with my husband for Thai and I got the vegetarian chilli and basil dish... YUMMY!! Just had to watch the amount of rice I ate... and not pick too much of his Pad Thai (which by the way is about the WORST meal you could choose at a Thai place if you are watching calories!!)... Hehehe... Mmmm.. Pad Thai.... mmmmm... (slap / slap / shakes head).... Ok... NO PAD THAI!! Not worth the 2 hours in the gym!!

Planning is good with eating too.. If you know you are going out somewhere which is different, do your homework.. Which dishes are going to be best for you to eat?? Is it a day outing where you can take your own healthy food?? Should you do a bit more exercise in the gym to compensate for the higher calorie foods you are going to eat??
So much of this is in the planning!!!

But whatever happens - KEEP GOING!! DON'T GIVE UP!!

You are more powerful, more beautiful and more amazing than you might think. Michelle Bridges.

Sometimes you just have to dig deeper.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Throwing out fat clothes.


I have been tempted to keep my "fat" clothes even now I have lost the weight "just in case". I hate to even think I might ever regain my weight, but if I did, and I had thrown away my clothes I'd have nothing to wear! There's a fair amount of money represented in my fat clothes pile - to go buy it all again would be SO expensive!! However, then I realised I would rather go naked in public than ever buy clothes in my fat size again. And since I am not inclined to walk around the streets naked - It has to stay off!! (Or else the people in Melbourne are going to get an eyeful!!)  So, the clothes throwing has begun.

I pretty much opened my wardrobe and gutted the whole thing!! I now own about 3 pairs of pants which fit, perhaps a half a dozen jumpers, a few shirts, and gym pants and tops!! My wardrobe is EMPTY!!

My husband is ecstatic - over the moon - dancing around the room kind of happy!! (He LOVES chucking things out!! When we went to buy our first house together the bank asked for the last 5 years tax papers only to find that he had chucked his out!!) Although, I must admit - when I mentioned the fact I would need to fill the wardrobe again - he was not so excited!! Hahaha!!

Me? I am a little freaked. I say the clothes throwing has begun because I just can't do everything right now!! So have put the size 16's in a suitcase to be thrown out soon. I don't actually own any 14's so this is the next size up I own... I will do it - just not now!!  I am still having problems believing I am in size 12 jeans - perhaps when I get my head around that the 16's can go!! :-)

The clothes throwing is going to be a good motivation to keep the weight off - (well, I hope it will anyway!!) nakedness will not be attractive.


Music + Exercise = Better Results!!

Gabriella Cilmi - On a mission (&& lyrics)
"I am a women on a mission, nothing can stop me I'm stronger than ever, I'm gonna see this through... I am a women on a mission, whatever it takes I will do what I gotta do... I'll never give up, I'll never give up I'm on a mission"...
This song has just become my new running song!! It is SO motivational and true for me!!

There has been lots of research done on the fact that you work harder and keep going for longer if you are exercising to music which you enjoy!! Studies have shown having enjoyable upbeat music on while you exercise can result in your perceived exertion (how hard you think your working) being heaps lower and your endurance (amount of time you can go for) being much longer.

When absorbed in music, your focus changes from what your body is experiencing to the music you’re hearing. This situation leads you to ignore negative feelings of fatigue and focus on the pleasurable feelings you get from following the music. It helps break the monotony of exercise and provide a distraction from the physical exertion.

When exercising to music, many people automatically match the speed of their movement to the tempo and rhythm of the song that's playing. If you want to go hard - get upbeat music.. If you are trying to relax (i.e. pilaties) then go with slower music.

Listening to music you like also helps with motivation because you’re more likely to return and do the exercise again. Listening to songs that you enjoy increases exercise adherence, which in turn leads to fitness gains over time.

So get some music happening (that you personally really enjoy) while you work out and you will increase your enjoyment of exercise, the intensity you can work out at and the length of time you can keep going for!!

Gabriella Cilmi's 'on a mission' is my new running favorite; but personally I always to find it amusing to be "Running to paradise" with the choirboys; "Dancing with myself" with Billy Idol; "Jumping" with Van Halen and singing along in the "Funhouse" by Pink!!! :-)

Other songs which I love running to include:
"Better" - The screaming jets
"We weren't born to follow" - Bon Jovi
"This is who I am" - Vanessa Amerosi
"Eye of the tiger" - Survivor
"Girls just want to have fun" - Cyndi Lauper
"Sex on fire" - Kings of Leon
"Teenage dream" - Katy Perry
"The look" - Roxette
"All fired up" - Pat Benatar

Couple of resources: (there are heaps if you google it though).

Friday, September 24, 2010


Today I had a group PT session with 3 other people who totally kick my butt when it comes to the exercise department. My private motto for the day (well - not so private anymore huh) was something along the lines of, "I would rather collapse and die than fall behind or quit"; and let me just say that it almost came to that!!! I only thought I felt like crap in the previous training session I wrote about... As Anne put it when we finished, "I only died twice!!" Except - I think I died 10 times... It was great!!

I swear all I could hear was myself - gasping for breath and groaning!! That's the problem with outside - at least in the gym music drowns that out!!  LOL.

Running, sprinting, burpees, jumpsquats, polymetric lunges, push-ups, more sprinting, tricep dips, raising weights this way and that way (mind you I had to pick the heavier ones, didn't I - won't be making THAT mistake next week!!), jumping backwards and forward, high knees, more sprinting, side jumps, a duck and a bear walk, crunches of various kinds, boxing with the weights in our hands, followed by some more sprinting... FOR AN HOUR!!! I was absolutely STUFFED after just half an hour!! :-) I don't think there was a single muscle which was not worked... Next week I won't be going to the gym to do my weight training before this session either!! Whoops!! THAT was a mistake too!! LOL

Bear: Walk along like this with your hands
on the ground without bending your legs.

When it came to jumpsquats she told me these were especially for me... I am SO going to kill my normal PT!! Sharing exercises that we especially hate among themselves - That's just cruel!!  AARRGHHH!!!  But, something my normal PT does not know is that there is something WORSE than jumpsquats... I can't STAND abdominal work!! (Now I guess I'll see if she actually reads this blog...) Hahahaha!! Hate it with a passion which is probably why I suck so bad at it!!

The PT today kept asking us if we were ok (see previous post: "PT yesterday and Anne")..... to which I said, "How am I supposed to answer that? Why do you ask that for!!??" Apparently people do actually say, "no- I don't feel so good"......  Well, I said I would probably collapse before that happened!! LOL Someone made the comment that if I vomited then they would know something was wrong!! And I am pleased to report NO vomiting and NO collapsing was to be seen!! I managed to hold it together - YAY! I came home all sweaty and with real dirt on me - my husband took one look at me and said, "Yuck, what have you been DOING!"

Next week we are apparently using tyres...
Should I be scared now??

Boot Camp Workout Idea (from today).

Set some cones out like a shuttle/suicide run.
Start up one end and do 10 of something (choose your killer exercise. e.g. push-ups)
Sprint to the first cone and do 15
Sprint to the second cone and do 20
Sprint back to the start.
Keep on doing it substituting all the various exercises from above into the killer exercise. e.g. Burpees, jumpsquats, polymetric lunges etc... (And there you have some of what I did today!!)

Another idea from another day.

Left foot on the bench (standing parallel to it - not facing it), right foot on the ground. Squat down as low as you can with your left foot still up on the bench. (I am short so there wasn't much squatting happening before my bum nearly touched the bench!!). Push up through your left foot (on the bench) which ends up lifting your right foot off the ground and raise up your right knee. Do this holding dumbbells : 7-9kg ones would be good (but again, choose what is good for you!!) Repeat this 12 times and then swap legs and do it all again. OUCH!!

Inspirational Clip: Just Do It!

Saw this on a post on the 12WBT forum and thought it was inspirational so thought I'd share it here!!
I LOVE the "Just do it" aspect....

I recently made a playlist on my ipod which is called "Just get it done". Then I read someone's post on a forum where they were talking about their bad day. Tired, grumpy, could NOT be bothered... C'mon - we have all been THERE!! Their PT said to them "Let's just do what needs to be done so it's over. Let's just get it done!!" I LOVE that!! I have that same mentality sometimes, "The quicker you do this, the quicker it is over and you can move on!!" Polymetric lunges?? Jump squats?? I SO can not be bothered with them!! "Just get them done" mentality makes it heaps easier!! Don't think - Just DO!!

The 12WBT which I am doing also has something similar - JFDI. Just do it (with an F in there)... Great Advice!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Encouraging Fitness Test Results.

ME 7 months ago
I recently did a fitness test for the 12WBT and I was really excited with the results! Especially given that 7 months ago I had problems walking to the red post box..!!

There was a 1km run outside, wall squat for as long as you can, amount of push-ups you can do in a minute, a flexibility test, and a test to see which level of sit ups you were up to.
The three levels in the 12WBT are beginner, intermediate and advanced.

1km running outside takes me about 6min which scored intermediate level. (Advanced is below 5min30sec).

Wall Squat

I wall squatted for 3min (anything over 2min is advanced). If I was actually competing with someone I would have pushed out a bit more time - it is SO no fun competing with yourself.

I did 42 push-ups in a minute on my knees (anything over 30 is advanced). I probably could have done more here too but my husband was trying to be encouraging and I had to stop and tell him to be quiet a few times because he was distracting me!!!

I got +7 in the flexibility test (anything over +6 is advanced).

The ab test was one which surprised me and I really didn't do very well!! There were 5 levels and I could only do level 2 properly!! (Level 2-3 was intermediate). I really shouldn't be surprised though - my hate/hate relationship with yoga/pilaties type classes really would not help!!

So, 7 months ago I thought I was going to die walking for 30min.... and now apparently I have an intermediate-advanced level of fitness!! I look forward to doing it again in a few weeks when I've got something to compete with (even if it is my own times!!) :-) It amazes me how quickly the body adapts to what you want it to do...
Doing the Happy Dance

I also recently checked out my resting heart rate. I did it about a month ago and it was around 62 which I was happy enough with. Last night and this morning I put the heart rate monitor on for a min and checked it out again... This morning it was going between 53-57bpm!! Woo Hoo... :-) So, an average of 55!!  I have got-ten fit-ter.... I have got-ten fit-ter.... Do dah... Do dah.... *Insert happy dance*...

According to this - I am actually kind of fit-ish!!! Really?? Seriously?? I don't feel that fit - but the figures make me feel good anyway. Perhaps I hang around to many people at the gym who are fitness fanatics - because compared to them I am SO not that fit!!! (I'm not really a competitive freak.... Noooooo... me?? LOL Amazing what you discover about yourself!!) It's good to continue to be pushed!!

SO excited! YAY! When I see these sorts of changes it really makes me WANT to go to the gym and tell the PT's... "Please, kill me MORE!!" BAHAhahahaha......

Cardio equipment work out ideas:

If I go to the gym and there is not a class on that I like or can go to, I really hate being lost for ideas of what to do with all the equipment. Yes, I have a program - but it really just says 20min treadmill / 15 min bike / 10 min rower / 15 min cross trainer... BORING!!! Having variety in your workouts is heaps more motivational than doing the same old boring thing; and I know personally if someone gives me a workout idea for the cardio machines I actually look forward to trying it out and doing something different!! (Not just because I like to compete either - most of the times I am WORSE than the person giving it to me!! I spend most of my time at the gym trying to catch up to people!!) Most of the cardio machines have their own programs which can be fun to play around with (and yes - I realise I used the word "fun" - and yes, I realise that is very sad!!)... BUT, here are some other ideas for people to go try if they feel like a change!! These are just some idea's I have gathered from both the internet and also other people at the gym.

Cross Trainer.
2.5 min - (Comfortable) eg 6
1.5 min - (Uncomfortable) eg 9
1 min - (Need to stop soon) eg 12
Repeat this a couple of times depending on how long you want to stay on it.. (Choose your own levels based on what you find comfortable!)
NB: Try and keep your speed consistent throughout all the levels. (Don't slow down when it gets hard!!)

Step machine.
1 min each at levels 7/8/9/10/9/8/7/8/9/10 or your equivalent level. (Just go up and down in the same increments of one).

15-20 min of:
8 sec sprint
12 sec recovery
(Spin bikes are best to do this on, otherwise put a bit of resistance on the other ones so it catches quickly when you stop sprinting).

Pyramid runs:
Warm-up jog for 5 minutes. E.g. Speed 8.
Go hard (a bit faster than your average pace) for 5 minutes. E.g. 9.5
Sprint for 30 seconds. E.g. 12.5
Go hard for 1 minute. E.g. 9.5
Sprint for 45 seconds. E.g. 12.5
Recovery jog for 1.5 minutes. E.g. 8
Sprint for 1 minute. E.g. 12.5
Recovery jog for 2 minutes. E.g. 8
Go hard for 45 seconds. E.g. 9.5
Recovery jog for 2 minutes. E.g. 8
Go hard for 30 seconds. E.g. 9.5
Cool-down jog for 10 minutes.

NB: Use your own speeds (you know what will challenge you!!) - they are just an example of the speeds you could try.

Got this from the women's health magazine:

Walk/Jog/Run OR Jog/Run/Sprint.
Do some interval training of a minute of each of these. Just keep repeating the sequence till you do the amount of time you wanted to!!
E.g. Speed 6 / 8 / 10 / 6 / 8 / 10 etc OR Speed 8 / 10 / 12 / 8 /10 / 12 etc


Sprints: 500m sprint/500m recovery. (From memory: 500m under 2min is a good aim. 1min 30sec is elite).

Distance: Try and get 2000m in under 10 min. (8 min is good/6.5 min is elite).

NB: Google indoor rowing technique and watch a video. The speed in the rower is a lot to do with the length of the stroke using the arms. (Especially if you have short legs like me). Leaning back and forward from the hips will get you more length and therefore more speed!! (But you can do it wrong - so Google it!!)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Some workout ideas: PT yesterday and Anne today.

Cafe Press T-Shirt - See right

I had a different PT yesterday than usual... Oh my goodness!! Good but HARD!! I was very surprised because at one stage I really felt like crap and a little light headed. I must have looked bad because she stopped asked me if I was ok! Out loud I said, "Getting a little tired." (But inside I was thinking - "Are you serious?? Crap me!! How much more to ...go!!") Can't quite remember how I did the rest of it, bit of a blur - but it's all good!! She's great. I am curious to know why both PT's and class instructors ask if you are going ok right in the middle of the session. What does that mean exactly?? Who is ok in the middle of a hard PT session or class?? Most people are tired, they hurt, sometimes find it hard to breath and think they are going to die... "Ok" to me is not tired, not in pain and able to breath without difficulty. So I really am never really "ok" right at that moment... But that is how it should be!!! How to answer that question?? (While gasping for breath and thinking you are going to die). I asked this on Facebook and the answer I got (from a PT and class instructor) was they just like to get a nod so they can keep killing us!! So - the answer - NOD AND SMILE PEOPLE!! Ok - skip the smile - Maybe a thumbs up??

Step up/Knee Raise

I got some good ideas out of yesterdays PT session though - for all you other sadists out there who like to punish yourselves. After I finished my warm-up "easy jog" (see earlier post) she led me to the bench (where you lie down to do chest presses - a park bench would work) and got me doing:
Step up/ 1 knee raise + 1 lunge
Step up/ 2 knee raises + 1 lunge
Step up/ 3 knee raises + 1 lunge
all the way up to 10... THEN SWAP LEGS !!
KILLED my legs!! Then at the end she says: "Ok, that was the warm-up"!!
Tip: In between each knee raise, touch the foot that is doing the raising on the ground. The foot on the bench does not move until you step down to lunge.


Then the rest of the time was doing super setting with weights - but she did 2 exercises of the same muscle group. Eg. So with the lat pull-down - we did wide grip then reverse grip straight away - no rest... OR Chest fly's followed by presses.. no rest!! KILLER!!


As I have already mentioned I train with another lady from the gym I go to and I am SO excited to say that today it was my turn to write the program and she looked DEAD after it.. (As did I - but I USUSALLY look like that!!) I even got a few Oww's out of her - which is unusual because she really is quite fit!! YEAH!! I now know what PT's feel like when they see their clients suffering. It was a proud moment!! :-) All my husband said was, "watch out next week when it's her turn!!" BAhahaha!! Well - she killed me last week!!
It's all thanks to the 12WBT though. I got heaps of idea's off the forums there, and I did Mish's rolling interval program on the treadmill with her. So, I can't really take any credit! BUT - It was great to say "Fast as you can - Go FASTER!!" and "No resting - keep kicking!!"

Jump Squat
A couple of things I got off the forums which we did were:
Run down and up a staircase + 1 jumpsquat
Run down and up the staircase + 2 jumpsquats
Run down and up the staircase + 3 jumpsquats
All the way up to 10 jumpsquats.. (Let me just say after running up hills and doing sprints this HURT!!)

25 Lunges (each leg)
25 sit ups
25 tricep dips
25 Burpees
25 knee repeaters (both legs)
20 Lunges (each leg)
20 sit ups
20 tricep dips
20 Burpees
20 knee repeaters (both legs)
Then 15 and 10... All the way down to 5...

Then some boxing:
Jab Jab Cross 1 Kick
Jab Jab Cross 2 Kicks
Jab Jab Cross 3 Kicks
All the way to 10 kicks (then do the other leg).
Swap equipment with your partner so they do the same
Jab Jab Cross Kick 1 Pushup
Jab Jab Cross Kick 2 Pushups
Jab Jab Cross Kick 3 Pushups
All the way to 10 pushups
Swap equipment with your partner so they do the same
By the end of all this. OUCH!

Feel free to ask me if you want to know what something is!! Or use google. I LOVE GOOGLE!!

Size 10-12 clothes... SO EXCITED!!!

Dec 2009

May 2010

Sept 2010

My size 16 pants looking were really baggy and it was not a good look, so I went shopping to buy some size 14's... I walked around and picked up all the various size 14 jeans, and when I say ALL - I mean ALL. I am not a huge fan of clothes shopping, so I want to get in and get out as quick as possible. Pick up all the different possibilities, try them on, pick which ones fit best and get out!! So, loaded up with about 20 (no joke) pairs of pants and a couple of tops I dragged my wonderful friend to the change rooms to begin the marathon changing event. After the first couple of pairs of jeans my friend said that 14's were looking to big and perhaps I should try the 12's... "Noooo - surely not" I said and preceded to finish trying on all the rest of the 14's... (Meanwhile - she went off and found some 12's)... When I had conceded that she might have a point I tried on the 12's .. they were a little tight - but they fit me!!! Oh my goodness!!! Next came the gym pants... I had picked up all size 12's of these - which I begun trying on and discovered that they were too big too!! So - my brilliant friend went and once more gathered all of the one's I had picked in the size 10's!! And amazingly THEY FIT TOO!! I am in shock!! The tops I had to go get a smaller size too!!
Anyway, I think it is going to take me a while to believe that I am in those sizes. I don't think I have been those sizes since high school!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Overcoming Weight Loss BS - Craig Harper

A Craig Harper Post - see link on right

So I'm wearing my Exercise Scientist hat today, and my Psychologist cardigan, and my steel-capped, ass-kicking boots. I will be blunt, but honest, and possibly politically incorrect. I will also possibly say what you don't want to hear.

Feel free to look away - now.

Hmm, still here huh?
Crazy kid.

Even though I've spoken way too much, for way too many years about getting in shape (in the course of my work) and I'm kinda over it, recent events have compelled me to write this post. It seems we're still missing the point when it comes to losing weight and fat (effectively and permanently). Permanent weight loss – there’s a concept! If you, or someone you know, needs to lose weight, pay attention and/or pass this post along.

Conventional Thinking
Conventional thinking tells us that losing weight is essentially a physiological process; lift this, run there, stretch that, get your heart rate up, increase your incidental activity, decrease your calorie intake, no carbs after three (‘cause that’s gonna do it) and increase your overall energy expenditure. Mostly good advice.

Traditional approaches (by the medical profession and the fitness industry) tell us that weight loss is essentially about three key variables; exercise, food and lifestyle. Oh yeah, and more education. And to a point, they are right. But only to a point.

I'm here to tell you that while exercise, food, lifestyle and education are indeed important variables in the process, without doubt, the biggest determinant of weight loss (or gain) is what's going on in that nine pound (four kilo) thing sitting on the top of your shoulders. For the most part, it determines success or failure.

The Psychology of Weight Loss
Interestingly, the psychology of weight loss is rarely discussed or taught (in any depth) by the experts and in my humble opinion, that's because many of them don't get it. ‘It’ being the head stuff that goes with the body stuff. If you have been, or are currently, overweight, then you absolutely know that losing weight is first and foremost a psychological and emotional process.

I was a fatty (200lbs, 90kgs at fourteen) and when I got my head in the right place, my body followed. I thought different, chose different(ly) and created different. For some people their obesity is merely a symptom of their thinking, their standards and their beliefs.

Q. What really determines weight loss (or gain)?
A. Attitude, thinking, self-control, mind-set and ultimately, decisions.

We know what to do. But we don't do what we know. We've never been more educated. Yet we've never been fatter. We've never had more resources. And we've never made more excuses (heard them all). We've never had more reasons to lose weight. And we've never wasted more time.

The Quick-Fix Society

Many people don't want to hear this message because it's too fundamental and obvious. And it requires real effort, sacrifice, work and self-control. “Whatever you do Craig, don’t mention the ‘D’ word (discipline) and please don’t talk to me about self-control again.” No, we'd rather talk about weight-loss theory number ten million or the latest 'breakthrough' pill, powder, potion, product, gizmo or gadget. Or that amazing new weight-loss book. 'Cause we need another one of those. We want quick, easy, convenient and painless. We are soft. We are precious, lazy and lack self-control. We are the quick-fix society. And the instant-gratification generation. And the fat generation.

We want an answer that doesn't require effort or sacrifice on our part. We don’t want to acknowledge that we are the answer – and the problem. And it is this mentality which keeps us (us, the society) fat. If the answer to Global obesity was in fact, more education, information or resources, then we would all be getting leaner by the day because we've never been more educated, informed or equipped when it comes to diet, exercise, lifestyle and all that 'obesity-related stuff'.

Some Food for Thought (no pun intended).

(You can still look away at any time).

1. External change needs to be accompanied (or preceded) by, internal change (for it to be lasting).

2. Most people who lose weight regain it (over 95%) because they haven't really changed their attitude or thinking. They change their behaviors for a while but deep (deep, deep) down they haven't really changed their core thinking, beliefs, attitudes or standards. On a subconscious level many people are waiting for it (the diet, the fitness kick) to be over, so they can go back to being 'normal'. And even when they do eat less and exercise more they (often) slide into a deprivation mentality - constantly telling themselves that they're 'missing out'.

3. If we tell ourselves that losing weight will be a painful, horrible process - it will be (for everyone). Attitude = outcome.

4. The sooner we stop looking for ‘easy’ and start looking for ‘effective’, the sooner we'll start to see real (forever) change.

5. Weight-loss martyrs are a pain in the ass - "I've been so good... I've been so good."

6. While food, exercise and lifestyle are important ingredients and variables in the weight-loss process, it is the thing on top of our shoulders which determines how we eat, exercise and live, which in turn determines our physiological state.

7. The fat person with all the knowledge, education and resources... and a cr-p attitude, will stay fat.

8. The fat person with limited knowledge, resources and genetic potential.. and a great attitude, will produce much better results every time.

9. The sooner we stop getting in shape for 'events' (weddings, birthdays, reunions, parties) and start getting in shape for life, the sooner we'll start to see forever results.

10. The fitness industry and medical profession often have a one-dimensional approach to weight-loss; physical. This is ignorant, naive and ineffective. Losing weight (effectively) is a complex, multi-dimensional process (physical, emotional and psychological).

11. Losing weight is not about finding the right program, diet, supplement or drug; it's about finding the right attitude.

12. Many (okay, most) fat people make excuses and tell lies. A lot. Just ask the ex fat kid. Yes, I know this sounds offensive but if you had experienced the thousands of conversations with as many fat people as I have, you'd know that I'm telling the truth. You can get offended or educated; it's a choice.

13. By the way, 'fat ' is not an insult (in this discussion), it's a physiological state.

14. The sooner we call fat what it is (as opposed to deluding ourselves by calling each other full-figured, big-boned, heavy-set and voluptuous) the sooner we will get serious about addressing obesity in a real, practical, no bulls**t way. Perhaps we should worry less about political correctness and more about heart disease, diabetes, bowel cancer and the plethora of other obesity-related conditions.

"Whatever you do, don't mention the 'F' word.. you might hurt her feelings; she's not fat, she's voluptuous!".

15. We love to play the blame game. We wanna blame someone or something for our obesity. It's a time thing. It's a genetics thing. As long as it's not a 'me' thing. Otherwise I might have to get off my ass and take responsibility for my fat self.
If you're still talking to me, let me know your thoughts on this subject…
Written by Craig Harper at
Motivational Speaker

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tips for non-runners to learn how to run.

Before April this year had not run for more than 200meters straight I don’t think!! As I said in an earlier post - I could not even do the C25K program in the beginning because I could not do more than 3 intervals of 60sec running!!! However - intervals are definitely the way to start to run. I probably should have gone to 30sec and 30sec if I couldn't do 60sec... That way I still could have built up. Eventually the C25K would have been ok to keep going with. (See link on right for C25K). I ended up giving up for ages, doing other stuff and by the time I came back to it I could do the 60sec...

I remember in my early days of trying to run my PT told me not to kill myself - just go for an easy jog.... I didn’t understand - I was mystified. What is an easy jog?!? All jogging is hard!! Jogging for 2 min killed me at that stage. A few months on I have some sort of inkling of where she was at even though I can barely jog for 20min on the treadmill!!! I'm guessing by 'easy' she meant - put the speed down and do a short amount of time... which I am absolutely overjoyed to say is a possibility these days! So, to all you non-runners out there - a few months is all it takes to understand the meaning of 'easy' jog!! :-) I remember telling her at one stage I was going to teach her how to teach someone like me how to run.

When I was researching this I ended up looking at a lot of marathon training stuff. Not because I wanted to run a marathon - but because 5min of straight running for me was like I WAS running a marathon. The mental tricks they teach people who are training to do marathons helped me to keep running and pushing to run more - and they are still helping!!

Things that are helpful mentally when trying to build up time running.

Realising that RUNNING IS HARD!! If it was easy - everybody would do it!! Yes - your legs get tired and your arms get tired... Well - Running tires EVERY part of your body out.. That's why it's great to do!! :-)  BUT it is possible with the right mental strategies (and believe me I have tried to research them all) time and practice!! I read the only way to get better at running was to RUN!!

Associative (thinking about yourself and what you are doing) and dissociative (thinking about other things) thought patterns which are basically things like:

1. Visualise yourself somewhere else, perhaps running along a beach on a beautiful day - Personally I don’t find this helpful, but a friend of mine does..
2. Repeat positive thoughts over in your head, - You have strong legs, this is easy, you can do this… etc…
3. Think about relaxing your shoulders and the action of lifting your legs (and perhaps slowing your breathing).
4. Another thing I do when it gets really hard which sounds dumb is count my steps.. It stops me thinking about the fact it is hard and stops me thinking dumb things like, “I am tired, This is hard, I can’t do this.” If I have even a hint of that while I am trying to run I go back to number 2, 3 and 4!!  Stupid - but it is working for me.. I am able to run for longer each week and each week what I did the week before seems easier - which helps step 2!!
5. Concentrating on music works now too - it didn't do it for me in the beginning because it was just SO hard to run that I couldn't focus on anything but keeping on going to the required number of minutes to build on the last time!!

Things I found helpful to know about learning to run.

The running program must improve the cardiovascular system (aerobic capacity). You should run at a speed where you can still talk to be improving this. At this pace you are training your heart and lungs to become more efficient at absorbing, delivering and utilizing oxygen. The harder you run, the faster your heart beats trying to deliver the oxygen demanded by the muscles. At some point, your need for oxygen will exceed what the heart can deliver and this is what we call anaerobic exercise (exercising without oxygen). In order to improve our aerobic capacity we must run below this threshold - avoid running to fast.

This was hard for me at the start because my heart rate was always to high - even at a low speed. I ended up persisting with the speed I wanted to run at and now my heart rate is heaps better. Most articles supported the stuff above - but there were some I read (below paragraph) which argued that anaerobic stuff is better for improving aerobic capacity so I felt ok doing it that way - and it seems to have worked!!

Running at this low intensity (aerobic building) is great for building an endurance base and for recovery between hard workouts, however, perhaps optimum improvements in aerobic fitness occur when running is performed at an intensity over 90% max HR (perhaps with interval running). This is because training at this high intensity targets improvements in VO2 max (lung capacity). Short bursts of speed stimulate the anaerobic metabolism and the aerobic system is used during the recovery phase.

A healthy and effective workout routine will combine both aerobic and anaerobic sessions. Start by incorporating 1-2 sessions per week of high intensity running (anaerobic) and 1-2 of continuous running (aerobic). Make sure you warm up well before hand and try to leave a rest day between running days. This will allow your body to recover and improve and reduce the chance of over-training or overuse injuries. (Trust me - I've had to put up with different tendons having a hissy fit at their level of use!!)

At the moment each week I do one run for as long as I can (and I try to do longer each time). I also do one interval day - pyramid runs are good for this. Before classes I try and fit in an "EASY" 5-10 min jog.. Hehehe.. I can say that now!! YAY!
Helpful stuff I learnt about running form.
Relaxing your shoulders is a big one. When it is hard I tend to tense up which seems to make it harder. If I think about relaxing my shoulders and lifting my legs a little more it feels easier to run and I can breath better. Things I've read talk about actually dropping your arms and shoulders and shaking your out hands.
You want to land on the balls of your feet - not your heels like with walking. If your heels are striking the ground first they are too far in front of your body.

I have never really understood this, but I think the general idea is that you use your diaphragm (deep belly breathing) and slow your breathing down. The times I have concentrated on the breathing side of things I end up dizzy - so I don't worry to much about it. It happens - I breath. :-)

Treadmill vs outside.
In a nutshell, the treadmill is heaps easier than running outside when the gradient is on 0 - it's equivalent to running down a hill. To train to be able to run outside you need the gradient to be set on at least 1-1.5. BUT I am only just doing that now!! I wanted to get the time I could run up first before playing with the gradient and making it harder!! :-)
Articles I found helpful.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Someone elses post off the cool running website which is so ME!!

This was off the cool running website!! Very funny and so true for me.

We get through the first few weeks of aching, stiffness & muscles threatening to hold their breath until they turn blue if we insist on dragging them off the couch even once more. Unfit but inspired souls that we are, we perservere. We grunt, sweat & strain a little longer, a little further every week. At some point, we are seduced by the thought of doing a 5K race. I put every ounce of blame I can muster up to fling at the good folks here at the Newbie Cafe. Yup - with most speaking of races they've done in the past or races they're thinking of doing or are going to do convinced me I should aim for a race.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear. I know nothing about racing. Zip. Nada. Diddly. Squat. NOTHING.

Ain't no way I want to embarass myself by lining up at the start not having a clue what to expect. I'm a voracious reader & figured the running sites online were a good place to start. It didn't take much reading to figure out that the nothing I thought I knew was nothing compared to the massive amounts of nothing I really didn't know. It didn't help that I got side tracked reading about marathon starts. There, I read about corrals for starters & how to be sure you got into the right corral area for the time you planned to finish. Corrals? I associate those with feed lots. I had mental images of an official calling for those in the 4:30 corral to be herded into the slaughterhouse in ten minutes or something. In any case, I'm doing a small & local 5K - no need for corrals but if some helpful race official has hammered a pole into the ground with a sign on it saying 'LAST', that's where you'll find me.

Racing bibs... um... do runners drool? Or do they think we'll slop Gatorade & sports gels all over ourselves? Oh the NUMBERS! Okay, I think I can manage to pin that to my shirt without doing some weird body piercing. Hubby rolled his eyes & said IF I got to that point, I could probably pin the bib to the shirt, THEN put the **** on. Oh. Yeah,. okay - but stop being so logical already. Timing chips - do they come in salt & vinegar or BBQ? I wouldn't know what a timing chip looked like to save my life. I just know that when I cross the start line, it starts ticking & considering my lack of speed, they'd better give me one that can tick long enough to cover a normal marathon time. I'll have to swallow my pride & ask an experienced runner how to fasten them to my shoe. Yeah, I'm that clueless.

Race manners, etiquette & protocol. Yup - better bone up on that stuff. If you're going to walk, move to the side of the road so you don't get bowled over or throw a runner off their stride. That sent me into a fit of hysterical giggles. Everybody is going to be ahead of me - this will not be an issue. Mind you, a two year old having fits because Mommy ran off without him COULD run me over at the 2 mile mark but I' figure I'll hear them coming. Don't line up at the front if you're slow - that's a no brainer. I plan to cross the start line dead last - at least following everyone else, I can't get lost. And I'll have multiple targets to chase. Whether or not I catch any is a different story. One burning question I've yet to find an answer for is... will I offend sensibilities if I run sobbing: "As God is my witness, I'll never go racing again!"? I'd be grateful for advice on that one.

I sit in awe at discussions about race pace. How do you figure that out when you've never raced? I only have three paces - turtle, sloth & snail. If they give prizes for dead last, I may be a shoe-in. I'm so far away from race specific training, those discussions and me belong in different zip codes... or continents. The notion of tapering the week before my first race is mind boggling. Personal best? Trust me, if I can stagger across the finish line, it will most definitely be a personal best. Speaking of crossing the finish line, does it count if you drag yourself across on what's left of your finger nails? Or roll? Would it be frowned upon if I arranged for my chosen undertaker to meet me just past the finish line? I'm trying to help him with his time management, after all.

Bathrooms... I was reading John Bingham's book - Marathoning For Mortals & he said the first thing one should do upon arriving at the race site is get in line for the PortaPotty. I like the way this man thinks. I was relieved to hear that was okay.

Wardrobe... I hope these races aren't fashion parades because I'm going to end up looking like I was dressed by a reject from Project Runway. The cooler the weather, the more bizarre I'm going to look. If word hits CNN in early Novemeber of a bizarre rash of suicides by Canadian stylists - you'll know why. They'll have spotted me running in khaki green long johns covered by blue running shorts. I've yet to figure out what I'll wear as a shirt and what hat or ead band I'll scrounge up but the potentials, judging by the contents of my drawers & wardrobe are frightening.

I can only hope the running community is as kind & patient with newbies runners as I've heard they tend to be... because from the time I show up until the time the start gun goes, I won't have a clue what I'm doing. To be honest, I won't have a clue what I'm doing when I'm running but as long as I'm on my feet, I can fake that. The only thing I'm absolutely certain I don't have to worry about is having a short & graceful acceptance speech prepared for when I'm presented the winning medal.

That's a relief.


Michelle has a little video on being motivated and Craig Harper has something similar in a post on his website which basically say to forget about being motivated. It's all about consistency and just getting on with it and doing it. While I do agree with this I also would prefer to want to go exercise than have to drag myself to do it!! Getting up and going straight to the gym is always helpful. I still remember one day in particular I was feeling very unmotivated to exercise. But because that is what I have been doing I got up put my clothes on and went to the gym. I still remember saying to one of the PT's there in the change rooms.. "Not quite sure what I am doing here today - but I am here!!" Then I just went and did stuff on the machines and an hour later had burnt 500 cal!! :-) Thanks goodness for habit when there is no motivation! Something I found particularly helpful in the beginning was just focusing on what I needed to do each day and each week to loose 1kg. I think I spent the first few months just doing that. Now that so much of it is habit - it is heaps easier.

Personally, I have found that SO much energy goes into staying motivated... Who would have thought it actually takes energy to create energy!?!?! I have pretty much grabbed at anything and everything I could possibly use over the last 6-7 months!!

- Looking forward to the group fitness classes where the instructor is fun and motivating. The step class, fat burner class and boxing class' I love going too for this reason!! The step instructor is always especially encouraging and I LOVE her for this!! She is always telling me I am doing well, I look freaking awesome, and she said she is proud of me... Means a lot and goes a long way to keep the motivation up!! (Love you Mel!!)

- Dragging any of my friends that will come to exercise with me. In the beginning I would arrange to walk anywhere and everywhere with people, I even went swimming with one friend. (Unfortunately I discovered I can't swim anymore and gave the lifeguard a heart attack - he stayed next to where I was for the rest of the time I was there!!). Nowadays, I either try and drag people to the gym with me or I meet people at the gym and then drag them to the classes I like!! :-)

- Somewhere along the line I met Anne and we started doing workouts together. As in planning them and writing up our own program for the day - we joke about pretending that we are PT's and we make each other work!! This has been the ABSOLUTE best motivation!! Anne is heaps fitter than me so I am pushed both to keep up with her and also to challenge her!!

- So, I started out with no PT, bumped it up to one session a week and somewhere along the way it turned into two sessions a week!! Extra PT sessions are great for motivation. I remember one session I was just feeling tired. I told my PT and the response was, "Well, we're going to do it anyway!" (Love her - MWAH!) She also helped me think about what my next fitness goal was going to be when I was feeling a little lost. I have always envied those people that just step out of their house and go for a jog around the streets. So - she told me I was going to do a "fun" run. I started training at least a month ago now, but it wasn't until last week I actually believed that I might be able to do it!!

- Hours goggling everything from motivational speakers and quotes, running technique and programs, reading different blogs and forums, and just finding different exercises to do to keep things interesting. Variety in workouts is good to keep the motivation up.

- Downloading new music and making new playlists. (Told you I grabbed at anything!! I went through I funny phase where I made this really ironic playlist and had songs like; "Dancing with myself", "Funhouse", "Jump"... etc. That worked for a week. :-))

- The Heart Rate Monitor is good to see how hard I'm working. Some days I feel like I am working hard and I then check the watch.. DOH!! Not actually working THAT hard!!! On other days it's very motivating to see the calories clock up quickly.

- Measuring myself was good too. I didn't do this till I got to the gym - but it would have been great to do from the start!! Very cool watching the measurements go down, having to get smaller clothes and after a couple of months people started to notice and comment. When I had lost 30kg my friend Jo gave me the coolest loosing weight present. It was SO thoughtful and generous!! (Thanks Jo!!) It does take a couple of months for this particular motivation to really kick in though - the first couple of months really are the hardest!!

- Weigh day have been motivating for me too. I have never had a week where I put on weight. If I lost a lot than obviously I was happy and this was a motivation to keep going. If I lost only a little than I was motivated to do better!

- Gym challenges / BLC challenges have also kept the motivation up. There was a gym challenge to do 30 classes in 30 days; and then one where there was a stupid amount of kilometres to do on all the cardio equipment which I finished (does that make me stupider for actually doing it!!). BLC (biggest looser club) forums have also had some good ones around exercising for a certain amount of days for a particular reward etc..

Running out of idea's right about now though!! :-) Next blog is going to be on tips for getting a non-runner to run..

The Beginning.

I decided to join the biggest looser club online which I had done a bit of in the past. I only signed up for 3 months given my previous track record with sticking to these things. (It's now been 7 months and has well and truly become my lifestyle!!) I remember joking with my friend about donating our money to them 'this time'. :-)

The program they gave me online was to walk for 30 min three times a week. Sounds easy huh... BAhahahaha!!! I started in Feb at 107kg (did get up to 111kg but lost a few along the way) and I thought I was going to DIE walking 30 min! I walked to one of those red post boxes - 15 min there, 15 min back. It was a warmish day but I was loosing liquid FAST - the sweat was pouring off me!! My legs hurt, I was gasping for air like I had just run a 42 km marathon, the sun was hot, I swear even my eyes hurt!! BUT I kept going out every day. The website kept increasing the exercise until I was eventually walking 1 hour for 6 days a week. I no longer thought I was going to die and was into a good habit of planning meals and cooking healthy.

After a couple of months of doing this I started thinking I needed to do something more than walking. I had heard people talking about the C25K program where you learn to run. Apparently ANYONE could do it - it was fool proof!! HA! So, I downloaded it and went to the running track (cause running where cars could see was beyond me) and tried to run. I actually made myself sick I pushed myself so hard - as in nauseous, headache, sore throat from gasping in the air - took me an hour to feel ok again. And guess what - I could NOT do it!! I think I got through the first 3 intervals of 60 sec running before giving up. So much for the body doing what the mind tells it to (Commando)... yeah right - if I want to have a heart attack!!

So I started thinking about joining the gym. I got a free pass for both curves and Fernwood for a week each, went and checked out a few others... and decided that Fernwood was GREAT!! No guys checking you out and laughing at your attempts in their weights section, nice clean bathrooms, FRIENDLY staff, and little stuff which makes it extra nice - facewashers for your hot sweaty face, toiletries, fresh fruit etc... BEST thing I ever did!! And no - I am not getting paid any advertising discounts!! HUH! I wish! (I actually asked today because so many people ask me what I do to loose weight - I FEEL like a walking advertisment - But I got a big fat NO answer!!)

They offer different packages; ie food coaching, personal training, or basic use of everything.. I started out with the basic the upgraded to the one with the personal training. This also has to be up with the BEST thing too (Love my PT!!)... So much more motivating... but that is the topic of the next blog.. MOTIVATION.

Me and my weight: Emotional eating.

I have never had a healthy relationship with food or exercise; I was overweight as a kid and starved myself thin as an early teen. Late teens/early adulthood was ok but that was probably because I was a poor uni student and had no money to buy food anyway!! :-) I was always coming up with reasons why I couldn't do PE at school and at home on a really hot day when the family was in the pool I was in my room reading!!

My weight became a real problem when I was pregnant with my 2nd boy. I had about 4 years where there was family crises after family crises and I developed the bad habit of emotional eating. I had 2 kids 10 months apart, (one who we found out later he has autism, the other had to go on prescription formula because he was allergic to everything), my parents got divorced, my brother had 2 serious road accidents in 2 years (the first he was in rehab for 3 months, the second for 13months - he is now in a wheelchair with an ABI), my mum had a few mental health issues and half a dozen kids at my work passed away within a 6 month period (kids with disabilities). Needless to say, I ended up with my own mental health issues and ended up quite depressed myself!! I put on between 35- 40kg over those 4 years through lack of exercise and emotional eating!! My friends were great though, they would tell me "Who needs "Home and Away" when I can call you.." !!

These were a couple of the photo's which really hit me in the face. I was gigantic!! I had tried to lose weight a few times over the 4 years but every time I would start doing something about it - something else would go wrong!! I was almost afraid to start doing something about it again this year in case I set something off and it caused another drama.. :-) (Which I KNOW is stupid!!)

Anyhow, I am still working on the emotional eating side of things BUT I have learnt the power of EXERCISE as a mood improver / stress relief and it really does work!! Just need to figure out what I can do when exercise is not an option right there and then!!

A few helpful resources: (which I hope to keep updating as I find them - feel free to leave your own as comments or email me with them).

Whether foods are truly addictive or not, there is no denying that food can affect the way we feel.

Stress is one of the most common reasons that women in particular overeat. Stress is alleviated by eating certain foods and many women get in the habit of reducing tension by enjoying these foods rather than dealing with the source of their tension.

The worst part about emotional eating is it actually causes your problems to multiply. Eventually, instead of avoiding the issues you're stuffing down with food, you've created another one altogether -- weight gain, guilt about eating, worsening health ... and then it starts all over again.