Sunday, January 19, 2014

nutrition :: hair, skin & nails

just to add.

another bonus of this change in nutrition thing (i suspect specifically the increase in protein) is that my skin appears to have improved texture and condition overall AND my nails which since having kids have been rubbish (peeling, splitting...) are strong and healthy again AND my hair is getting better too...

I seriously rate this nutrition thing. My body overall just seems healthier...

Thursday, January 09, 2014

food glorious food :: what has my new way of nourishing me looked like?

let me start by letting you all know. I am NOT a foodie. kind of wish I was, it might quite fun - getting amongst food shows, making recipes with exotic tastes, feeling very at home with wild crazy food... but also fairly glad I am not. the huge advantage I think I have here over all you foodie types is that I don't get particularly fussy on it. I tolerate most things even if they are - well - decidedly average. im not worried if the taste doesn't blow my mind. if its food, and im hungry, i'll most likely be happy with it.

{just as an aside - at least one of my kids is a potential foodie - and im fairly sure at least one is definitely not. I know which one is easier to deal with as a mama!}

but on with the post. ive had a few people ask how my nutrition has changed. ive given a brief idea in earlier posts, but will give more of an idea of what ive actually eaten here..

As part of my 8wk challenge we received nutrition guidelines which I worked within. I won't be posting that as that is completely unfair to its author the beautiful Brooke. However, the boundaries I am working within go like this.

  • eat small regular meals - like 5-6 per day. and every 2.5- 3hrs (sometimes it might be 2hrs - im getting better at reading my signs of needing food). there are digestive and metabolic reasons which I wont get into, but also a BIGGIE for me is so I avoid getting to a state of desperate hunger and therefore never feel the need to inhale food cause I feel so depleted.
  • include protein in each meal or snack. why? your body needs it to build and maintain muscle and cells. protein also is much better at quelling appetite and helping you feel fuller for longer. for me protein I consume includes ::
    • whey isolate protein powder (see note below)
    • cottage cheese
    • yoghurt
    • almonds other nuts (not roasted/salted however)
    • eggs
    • lean meat, chicken, fish (although also being budget conscious, there hasn't been much fish). I have also used lite tinned tuna, and have been introduced to "chop chop chicken" a tinned chicken. also available in lite options.
    • protein bar - especially good to have in my bag when im on the go. I have mainly used the horleys carbless bars which are available at all supermarkets in the health section.
    • peanut butter (but in small amounts is probably best). other people would say use almond butter or another alternative. being practical, I have 4 kids and the budget goes only so far...
  • reduce/stop eating high sugar, high GI foods. these include your cakes, biscuits, sweets, treats etc etc. my biggest area of cravings!
  • I continue to eat carbs with my meals and over the initial 8wks found I needed more carbs than others perhaps. I don't tell many people (and didn't tell Brooke even - and here I am writing it on a public blog for the world to read ha-ha) im still breast-feeding asha 1-2 times a day. this ultimately has to increase my daily calorie requirement. however, the carbs I do eat are low GI where possible. this is how carbs has looked for me ::
    • fresh fruit. especially kiwifruit (I appreciate the fibre).
    • pumpkin and kumara - NOT potato.
    • rolled oats
    • cruskits
    • vogels bread or molenberg - sandwich width. basically wholegrain, low GI. although my bread consumption has dramatically dropped. like HUGELY!
    • rice - I use jasmine, brown would probably be better - but I wasn't too fussed. main thing was to decrease my serving size here.
  • decrease carb intake at dinner/supper. so that you aren't heading to bed with a whole lot of energy that will be unused in the evening as you head to bed...
  • lots of veges/salad. LOTS!!! prepared and eaten fairly nude. tsp of olive oil (maybe mixed with lemon juice) to dress if anything
  • drink LOTS of water through the day. 2L at least, more if you train.
  • I tried stevia as a sugar alternative for coffee - ultimately, I go sugar free now. I do however love mochas and found the weight watchers hot chocolate good (but pricey). avalanche brand also do a good sugar free one. I hide it from the kids though ;)

so heres an example of my day...

breakfast for me is now a daily ritual/habit/routine {and not being a foodie and being a busy mama who doesn't want to think too much in the morning, im good with this...}
into the blender goes::

  • 1/2 cup of oats
  • 1 cup of water
  • scoop of protein powder (currently using choc NAR LABS brand)
blend it all up, and it turns into something similar to a chocolate milkshake - seriously yummy. comes out best if I allow the water and oats to soak for a while first.

at the beginning I had a different brand of Protein Powder (MGN pure isolate - vanilla) I would put the oats and water in the microwave for 2mins and then mix in a scoop of PP. vanilla porridge. again, yummy!
other alternatives, might be eggs and toast... just get the protein in there with the carb. you get the idea?

morning tea :: my favs have been cruskits with cottage cheese with a combo of the following - tomato, cucumber, avocado, often just marmite. OR a pot of yoghurt and a piece of fruit...

lunch :: often rice (left over from last night) tuna or chicken and spinach leaves. steamed kumara with lettuce and whatever protein OR a good salad sandwich with a meat option - some days just hummus if no meat is available (oh yeah, hummus is also high in protein)...

other snacks :: almonds, fruit, vege, carrots and hummus, carbless bar

dinner :: meat/chicken/eggs plus salad/vege. I started having carbs here also (kumara, pumpkin, or rice) as I was feeling low on energy. it helped.
  • a favourite for me now is a roast vege salad. think kumara, pumpkin, eggplant, beetroot, carrot, capsicum, mushroom, brocoili, anything really... dry roasted for about 30min at 180deg. toss with baby spinach leaves, low fat feta, pine nuts/almonds, tsp olive oil and sprinkle on herb and garlic salt. DELICIOUS!
supper :: this would usually be my biggest craving time, and it helped that I got some yummy ideas. my favourite is to mix about a cup of low fat (blue top) Cyclops yoghurt, with a scoop of vanilla PP, this is pretty good as is. but best of all is to add in some frozen berries. simply divine!

small aside
the protein powder has been a new experience for me, but ultimately a good one.
the first brand I used was MGN pure whey isolate in vanilla. loved it - delicious, mixed well.
now using NAR Labs lean whey complex. this one has a thermogenic in it as well (fat burner). chocolate and vanilla both good. chocolate is my fav though, also mixes well.

the NAR labs is purer apparently, but I don't think it tastes quite as good as the MGN one I used. it is cheaper however and quality wise is right up there, and overall im not complaining. foodie husband however prefers the MGN one. the only reason I changed brand is because I got it through Brooke, rather than direct through the supplier, and that's what she has... :)

to conclude...

so I realise that is a lot to take in. I am absolutely bound to re-read this only to realise I excluded vital details. ah, might just mean another post.

to anyone reading this who is on their own journey to living healthier, im with you! you can do it. the biggest thing is deciding you are worth it and its your time to just muck in and do it. starting is the hardest place. would love to hear your stories.

strength and love to you.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Summer shape up 8wk challenge results

today was the final weigh in and measure for the 8wk challenge I have been doing. it has been a great experience and kick in the pants for me. the biggest change for me has been in my nutrition. Exercise has also been the easy part for me. I don't find it hard to get motivation to get out and exercise. giving up the sugar however has always been much harder for me. essentially this has been about cleaning up my eating. removing the rubbish carbs, eating good clean carbs and increasing (dramatically) the protein in my diet... I am using and enjoying protein powder. it certainly hasn't been a perfect road, and I am pretty realistic about this being a whole of life change not just a fly by the night 8wk thing.
look! I grew definition and biceps in 8wks!
the classes that Brooke runs are simply amazing. they are hard and they always challenge me. they are always different and push me to my limit. im good with that. and I can see the results starting to appear and pay off. as of todays weigh in, I am 1.5kg off my pre-children weight and 6.5kg off 16-21yr old Vania who was playing basketball for Auckland...

so, heres my results

cms lost over 8wks on my:

(r) arm:        2.5cms lost
(r) thigh:      4cms lost
chest:           6.5cm lost
waist:           14cm lost
hips:             7cm lost


19/10/13 89.9kg
15/12/13 84.5kg
Total loss over 8wks: 5.4kg

week 8 summer shape up challenge 14/12/2013

week 1 19/10/2013 (left), week 8 14/12/2013 (right)
week 1 19/10/2013 (left), week 8 14/12/2013 (right)
Again, putting the word out for Brooke and her business FITmumz (although there are plenty of women there who aren't mums) all the info is in the link. classes currently in alfriston, the gardens and Clevedon, west Auckland in the new yr and I hear there are plans for east Auckland and the shore too :)

Friday, November 15, 2013

almost halfway

I have been doing this summer shape up challenge now for a day shy of 4weeks. At tomorrow mornings class, Brooke will be weighing and measuring each of us. this has been my progress so far on the scales...

Start: 89.9kg
end of wk 1: 88.95
end of wk 2: 88.5
end of wk 3: 86.85

so in the first 3wks I had lost 3.05kg. pretty good going I think.

im super curious as to how tomorrows weigh in and measure will go. I have been continuing to eat pretty clean and haven't had any major upsets this week in the food department. my training has been going pretty well. I have been at FITmumz sessions 3 times a week, and in between have been getting up a local track (lots of stairs and good incline) at least twice a week, AND have added in a game of netball on Mondays as well.

the thing is that although I have been keeping to the plan, my scales don't seem to register the same numbers as Brookes - so I don't know what hers will say in the morning. I can see physical change in my shape so I know things are moving on, but I honestly wonder if there will be a loss this week? I do wonder if I built more muscle than I lost in fat over the past 7 days.

tomorrow all will be revealed I guess.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Day 17

just checking in.

a week ago now (last Wednesday) the muscle which runs down the front of my shin (tibialis anterior) started cramping up after the one of the classes. by the end of the day it was super painful and I was limping. I rested Thursday, then trained Friday, Saturday and Sunday. not really giving it a rest right? yesterday I played two games of netball which was lots of fun, but halfway through the second game I could feel the pain settling in. and of course - I kept on playing... last night it was super sore and achy even in bed. today it felt improved, just achy still.

I think I need some new trainers. the impact is particularly unhelpful and I don't think my shoes are cushioning it sufficiently anymore. I am going to go to training tomorrow morning I have decided, but I will need to be disciplined to avoid the impact stuff - like the squat jumps (just squat instead) and the burpees (will step it instead), and running to warm up... hoping to be able to continue the discipline of training and not go under due to injury...

nutrition plan is going well so far this week. just need to stick with it.

and that's it for now :)

Sunday, November 03, 2013

the numbers

ok, so numbers usually freak women out. sharing them that is. the numbers that relate to weight are the numbers I am referring to to be exact. I have thought about whether I should share my numbers here. its scary. if I share the numbers I KNOW that someone out there will be comparing their numbers, to my numbers and then making a judgment about me, or a judgment about themselves. comparisons only cause us to feel smugly better about ourselves at the expense of someone else OR they make us feel negative about ourselves. as if knowing someone elses numbers sheds light on our situation...

I have decided to share my numbers. not so you can compare your numbers to my numbers OR so you can make any form of judgment on me. I will do it to create a record. so the story becomes more complete. my numbers don't change who I am. they don't define me, but they do help to shape the story.

My first number is 187. I am 187cm tall. that equates to approx. 6ft 2.
in my late teens/early 20s when I was playing a lot of competitive sport at rep level my weight was 78kg. fast forward to my mid 20s and early marriage. weight went up to 90kgs (put that down to contentment) and then back to a comfortable 83kgs.

over four pregnancies my weight went up and down. my heaviest was when pregnant with Isaiah - hit 110kgs, and in between pregnancies the lowest it returned to was 85kgs.

and now at the beginning of this SSUC, my weight: 89.9kg that puts my BMI at 25.7. that's just outside the healthy range of 20-25.

so that's the numbers. im not sure which is scarier. numbers or those ugly truth initial pics I posted last night. but im not interested in pretending to be someone im not. I just want to tell the story and hopefully take some pride in setting a goal, making a plan and staying the course.

My FITmumz summer shape up 8wk Challenge

I wish I posted two weeks ago so I could have kept a record of the whole of this journey. ah well, it is not to be.

I am now 2wks in to a summer shape up challenge (SSUC). it is being run through FITmumz a relatively new local business in our area. Brooke who owns FITmumz and takes all the sessions has huge experience in the fitness industry and is such a great chick. the SSUC is an 8wk thing, including training, nutrition, weigh ins and measurements. my goal (chosen by me) is weight loss. I specified a goal of 4kgs over the 8wks. partially because I don't want to disappoint myself and partially because I know from my own background that healthy weight loss shouldn't be greater than between 0.5 and 1kg a week - so I rolled with the lower end of the weight loss scale. like I said, im being cautious.

the nutrition plan can be summed up in the following.
  • eat regularly - like every 2.5-3 hrs
  • eat 6 small meals/snacks a day
  • include protein in every meal/snack
  • no simple/refined sugar
  • lots of fresh veges and fruit
  • reduce carbs esp at night
the training program includes unlimited FITmumz classes which are a structured mix of circuit/resistance/cardio using simple equipment like free weight, kettle bells, mats and weighted bags. every session is different and challenging for everyone regardless of fitness level. I am going to 3 classes. wed @6am, fri @6am and sat @8am..

so. week one.
the first four days. exhausted. where is my bed??? I am unaware of why until the fatigue lifts on day 5. then it clicks. I have had a significant shift in my diet. I haven't consumed sugar in the refined form for the last four days. my body clearly freaked out at the change.. I notice other changes. including my. ahem. bowel habits. everything is moving much more - freely shall we say?

the first exercise session is hard and I can't actually even do some of the exercises. burpees.(I hate!) and I can barely get my legs out straight behind me, never mind jump them back in. my back feels like it will cave in because my abs are so weak. 4 kids will do that to a woman! the first class leaves me in pain for the next four days. it is a struggle to lower myself down to sitting. all I can do is laugh and enjoy this feeling. haha...

I weigh in on Saturday at the end of the first week and I have lost a whole 950g. that's almost a whole kg. time to celebrate! I get my bestie reuben to take the before pic which is now 1kg less than it should have been...

week two rolls on
starting to feel like I am in the groove. my discipline feels unbreakable. my resolve is strong. post Wednesday mornings training session I develop pain in my left lower leg. ive strained a muscle and it cramps up through the day getting more and more sore. I push through it for the rest of the week making sure I get myself to the other 2 FITmumz sessions - though getting out of bed is a mission and I am grumpy as heck.

food wise my resolve weakens. my failing begins on Halloween when sweets make their appearance in our home and the chocolate somehow makes its way to my mouth. how did that happen? reuben laughs at me when my reaction to chocolate passing my lips is one of pure ecstasy.. and then it happens again over the next two days with birthday cake and more chocolate. once again conveniently asking to be eaten.

I am sure this weeks weigh in will show a gain as I hesitantly get on the scales. lucky me its a loss. I am more than happy! and a reasonable loss of 450g. I feel that in some way I have been redeemed... a stern encouragement from the lovely Brooke to stay strong in the eating dept and I am again motivated to see this challenge through.

to date, 1.4kg lost. beginning to feel a little stronger. stay tuned. now that I have started to document this journey and I am sure to continue. and it helps I just discovered a great photo app too :)


Thursday, July 11, 2013

the gift of "suck it up"

I caught the bug last Friday night. we had guests and I knew I was feeling tired, but by the time bedtime arrived my sides had started to ache and I was starting to visit the bathroom a little too frequently. all that night I slept restlessly. stomach cramping.  my electric blanket cranked as high as it goes and yet still wanting it hotter. and as the fever sat over me I prayed. "oh God. there is so much on tomorrow, please make me better by morning..." morning came and if I was sensible I would have stayed beneath my sheets and slept the bug off. but my girls netball team needed a coach. and my netball team was short players for its two games that day. so I forced a piece of dry toast, sipped water and downed panadol. it was awful. mercifully, I didn't need to run off the court to the bathroom during my own games, but I had nothing. no energy, zilch. and the sulphuric sick burps that continuously kept coming up were, well, just disgusting to be honest. I pity the opposition that that encountered me that day. I felt like a train wreck. I lay on the side of the court when my coach pulled me off in the last quarter.

however. although I felt awful, I had my game face on. which means I smile and do my best to carryon with what needs to be done. for goodness sake. I turned up to play. that just seems ridiculous in hindsight.

I was also planning on going out that night and I told reuben that there was no way we were cancelling. after game number 2 however, I knew there was no way I could go anywhere else but my bed and there I stayed. and slept. Saturday night I slept approx. 14hrs. sunday morning arrived and the bug was gone. I was left tired and weak. in that 24hr period I lost around 2kg.

and here is the point of my post.

because I seem to have a rather large ability to "suck it up", I can be internally scathing when other people have little ability to do the same. I know this has been breed in me from childhood. our family motto was "johnstones never give up". I know I still carry the legacy of that. its a good legacy, but there is a negative side to it as you can see! there is probably some pride in there that needs to be dealt to. AND a bigger issue is probably that I just need to learn how to listen to my body and rest when I need to rest, and say no, when I need to say no.

I think I am going to start working on NOT sucking it up when a healthier response would be to rest, say no, or something else. I think that might help me have a little more authentic empathy for others when I currently think they should just "harden up" a bit? or maybe sometimes people can just be a bit soft?

hmmmm... *scratches head...