A sort of pledge

I wrote this post, then I wasn’t sure I’d post it. But to hell with it, I think. I might as well – only self consciousness is holding me back and when that stopped me going to the gym I beat it with my ipod so everything is fine now.*

I’ll be honest, I’m heavier than I should be. I don’t feel within myself that I’m as heavy as I am, and people are often suprised when I tell them my weight because they underestimated. I’ve been heavy since I went to Scotland on exchange when I was 16 and the sudden change in diet as well as stopping all the sporting activities I had at home kinda didn’t help me out.

In the past I’ve wanted to lose weight. It hasn’t worked, and I’ve developed some very unhealthy habits. I eat when I’m anxious or stressed. And when I’m anxious or stressed I generally eat bad things – chips are the main culprit because I love love LOVE the crunchy texture of them. I don’t exercise as much as I should and I don’t make good choices for dinners etc. I often skip meals due to feeling nauseus in the morning (No I’m not pregnant, it’s just that I don’t feel like eating first thing). Being incredibly busy at times at work also makes it difficult, because I either skip another meal or end up eating convenient food in the car – e.g. McDonalds.

It’s never worked. I’ve managed to stop from gaining any more weight, but the few Kgs I have shifted when I’ve stuck to my plans have always come back so I generally fluctuate a few kilos around a set point.

At the moment I have an exercise plan and my physical health has improved (greatly) but my weight remains. If I felt perfectly healthy and fit but stayed the same weight and shape I’d be happy. This is because I am at a point in my life where I appreciate and respect myself and I’m no longer so body conscious. I think that has a lot to do with my wonderful Gary, who loves me no matter what and has made me feel so comfortable in my own skin. However, carrying around extra fatty tissue isn’t health, so I need to change something. I’ve increased my physical effort, and I’m happy with my progress. Now it’s time to step it up a notch and make some lasting changes to my diet.

So here’s the thing. I’m biting the bullet here and using a combination of motivations to get my health goals achieved. I figure if I put this out in public I’ll feel more pushed to make the changes I need to make. I hate the idea of restrictive diets or reigiemes, and the thought of counting calories or losing creativity from my cooking kills me. So I am going to set myself “guidelines” with the understanding that it’s ok if I don’t do everything perfect every day, and that a step backwards always allows another step forwards. I’ll throw in a Red Vs. Blue quote here: “We are not retreating. We are advancing towards future victory!”

The other part is that I’m always banging on about self care in Social Work. Health and fitness is an important part of making sure I’m capable of doing my job well for many years to come.

My Overall Goal:
To focus on improving my health and fitness and to lose some weight as a secondary objective.
Fitness goal: complete challenges – we are doing the trek in Nepal this October. Next year we intend to do Kokoda. More locally, though, I want to compete in the Rutherglen Triathlon next year and also the Nail Can Hill Run. I’d also love to turn up at hockey training for the start of next season and shock everyone with my improvements.
Weight Goal: Lets start with dropping 5kg. Over time I think I’d like to lose maybe 15kg then reassess but I’m working with 5kg increments.

My Overall Plan:
* Eat less unhealthy food
* Eat more healthy food.
* use a variety of exercises on a regular basis to improve health and fitness
* keep myself motivated with this blog, support from other friends with the same goal, as well as “physical challenge” goals.
It’s pretty simple really: eat good, be active, and keep positive.

Specific guidelines to achieve overall plan:

Food
– eat breakfast every day.
– Pack my own bento-style lunches daily (when possible)
– reduce carbs at dinnertime. I love them too much to cut them out completely but reduction is key.
– keep healthier choices for snacks in my desk at work, instead of running to the canteen and eating chocolate or chips.
– start every day with a cup of tea – peppermint to help settle my stomach when I feel I cant eat, or other herbal teas.
– reduce intake of processed food. I don’t eat that much at the moment but it cant hurt to cut more out.
– keep eating heaps of fresh veggies.
– plan meals on a weekly basis – include one vegetarian, one fish, one chicken, and the rest can be whatever. Mostly for variety.
– rely on fruit for quick energy boosts rather than chocolate or coffee.
-reduce dairy intake – look for alternatives. My body doesn’t like dairy anyway. I just like the taste of cheese
– Thursday is my rest day. I can indulge a little then.

Exercise:
– Thursday is my rest day.
– Use a variety of exercises. My current preferences include jog/walk with a friend, gym (cardio and weights), water aerobics, and walking/running/riding with Gary. I’m also itching to throw the kayaks in the water again and spend a day on the river.
I aim to train at least 4 days a week, and I’m going to have to shift my plans and add sessions now that hockey season is over.

so I guess that’s pretty much it. It’s a long post, and it will be a big task but I’ve managed to stick to some changes to my exercise patterns so it’s just a matter of building changes in small steps. I’ve already noticed that I often don’t buy softdrink at the supermarket anymore because I know I have my soda stream at home and I can get the fizz from plain soda water and the fizz is what I’m craving anyway… Anyway, I’m optimistic this time and I’m about to head to the gym to try out the new stair machines!

This is what I’m talking about

* Let me explain – I used to hate going to the gym because I felt conscious and felt others were judging my lack of form or health. I hated it to the point where I signed up at a 24 hour one and went at wierd times so there would be nobody around, and going to the gym was mentally painfull. Then I started listening to my iPod (usually listen to Disturbed because it is AWESOME powerful gym music) and now I can just smash out my workout without even thinking about anyone else in the popular gym I now go to. No more self consciousness!

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why am I still awake?

I have no idea. I feel so tired but I have no desire to sleep, and the mess in the house is irritating me. So I have done all the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, put some bread mix in the breadmaker, and only just stopped myself from getting some orange marmalade started.

So anyhow, this is another attempt at procrastinating sleeping. I am kind of strange sometimes, hey?

In other news, I cooked salmon for dinner tonight. I was intending on cooking cous cous with it, but I got as far as boiling the stock and cooking some peas and corn to go through when I realised I didn’t have any cous cous left.

So instead I steamed some more of that fresh garden broccoli and sliced and steamed some cabbage too. Then I mixed the cabbage with a bit of butter, salt, and pepper. I did the salmon in the frying pan and got it nice and hot to make the skin crispy.

Nom Nom Nom.

anyway, I’m going to go to bed now.

Why I love our garden.

I was going to post about Mother Dearest’s 50th birthday which I attended on Saturday, however I seem to have misplaced my camera and the story wouldn’t be as good without it. Suffice to say that Woodfire Pizzas were the order of the night, I had a cake disaster (I made a vesuvius Cake. It was originally a Chocolate orange Cake but it was an epic fail. Thanks, Shitty Oven.) which I then fixed with Plan B – a flourless chocolate cake.

I also made a fabric-covered photo board, and spent the majority of the night leaning into a woodfire oven to cook pizzas… I now have blisters in uncomfortable places due to having to take my synthetic (and therefore melty) cardigan off and dealing with the oven in a short sleeved, little-bit-low cut top. It’s all good though, my Aloe Vera plant is doing it’s job well.

SO ANYWAY… tonight’s post will be about what I did when I got home today, and Mother Dearest’s birthday report will have to wait.

I love our garden. I wanted a veggie curry for dinner tonight, so when I got home from work I trundled out the back to bring in the washing, say hello to little Zephyr dog, and forage in the garden.

Here’s what I brought inside:
1 large spring onion (complete with flower)
a decent sized head of broccoli
a bunch of rainbow chard/silverbeet
a few turnips, complete with greens.

I’m going to add this to some carrot from the fridge and some bean curd puffs, cook it in a nice red curry sauce with the addition of some leaves from our kaffir lime tree, as well as a few leaves from the vietnamese mint plant out the front, and dish it up with some medium grain brown rice.

I love the ability to walk out the back door and feed myself. I love that when our garden is in full swing I pretty much only have to buy bread and milk and a bit of meat here and there. I also love how easy it is, and how fresh it is. Nothing ever tastes as good as a strawberry straight off the plant, or a fresh basil pesto that was in the ground 20 minutes ago and is now tossed through homemade pasta… Ok so I haven’t combined homemade pasta and fresh basil pesto, but when summer comes again my mortar and pestle and my pasta roller are gonna get a hell of a workout. and Broccoli… Don’t even get me started on how much I love broccoli.

Nothing is ever as good as baked beetroot, chopped and mixed with spring onion, goats fetta, fresh mint leaves, raw walnuts, and balsamic vinegar, served next to delicious honey mustard chicken skewers and beetroot leaf quiche. It feels so satisfying to create your own food. For me, the entire process of creating meals is a joy. Now there’s more of a connection to my food and to the sense of pride in growing, harvesting, and using our fruits and vegetables. Granted, Gary does most of the garden work but I do the cooking and I weeded a small section today! I also water it when it’s warm and he’s on afternoon shift.

Oh my goodness. I am making myself hungry. But Now I’m off to the gym, then I’ll cook my delicious curry.

UPDATE: the curry was delicious, particularly the broccoli.
Also since I picked the silverbeet/chard before deciding to throw turnips in as well, I didn’t use the turnip greens in the curry. I did, however, thoroughly clean them, chop them, and briefly cook them. I then let them cool then packed them into some zip lock bags and labled them for freezing. Now that I’m discovering the wealth of ways to use them, that lot will be available whenever I need some tasty greens.

quick update, and a recipe.

So I’m not great with keeping up with this whole blogging thing when work gets busy…

but heres my latest Goings On…

1) My gym work is clearly getting me somewhere. I came home frustrated on Tuesday, went to the gym and SMASHED out my workout. 20 minutes on the elliptical, set for a low intensity warmup that turned into a fairly intense cardio session because I was angry and listening to disturbed and that always pumps me up for exercise. Then I got straight on the stair machine for half an hour and did 142 floors.

But here’s the thing – I found myself grinning like a madman. Because it struck me somewhere along the way that in regards to my abilities at the start of my gym attendance, I was beating the crap outta my gym work. So there I am, dripping sweat everywhere, drinking a litre or more of water, listening to angry Disturbed music, grinning like a maniac and feeling like I’m made of awesome. Then I did some work on the weights machine and some crunches and went home to eat Venison steaks with Sweet potato mash and silverbeet from the garden.

2) I love my honey mustard marinade. It’s so delicious. I have adapted it from….. somewhere. Anyway, here’s my recipe for it:

Honey Mustard Marinade (great on chicken destined for the BBQ)

equal parts wholegrain mustard and honey.
I use about a quarter of a cup of each for 500g of chicken.
A generous splash of good olive oil.
A few cloves of garlic (about 2 should do for this amount – you only want a hint of garlic)
juice of half a lemon.
a dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

Mix all together and marinade for a few hours – overnight is best.
personally, I think this marinade is best used on chicken which is then BBQ’d – I usually chop chicken breast into chunks and skewer it once marinaded then grill it. This week I marinaded chicken wing pieces and basically baked them by putting them on a tray and closing the lid on the BBQ.

which leads me on to my next point:

3) I love our BBQ. It’s so much nicer than trying to use our oven. and there’s nothing like quite like coming home from the gym (on Tuesday) to the smell of venison steaks cooking on the BBQ… or stepping out of the shower (Wednesday) and smelling the sweet honey mustard chicken smell… Also there’s much less mess and it doesn’t heat up our kitchen too much.

4) I feel really crafty so there might be a “finished projects” post coming shortly.

5) Those surprise seedlings are basil! HELL YES! delicious basil. I’ve already told them they need to grow up big and strong so I can smash them to a pulp and make tasty tasty pesto.

and that is that for the time being.

Oh, wait, I also discovered Pinterest. I quite like it.

Spring is coming

If I was in Game of thrones, and I wasn’t a random warrior maiden, I’d totally be a member of the Stark family. Everything about them suits my ideals of a medieval time – honour, duty, tradition. They worship the old gods. They live in harsh lands. The defend the north and they live by the rule of the one who decides the sentence must carry it out. Yeah, I’d totally be a Stark. And if I was a main character, I’d totally be Arya. Then I could defy gender stereotypes and learn sword fighting and spend my days exploring castles. Also I’d get to hang around Gendry while he practices his sword fighting with his shirt off. And I’d totally get a direwolf for a companion. Flip yeah!

Anyhow, this is all an unnecessary lead up to the title of my post. The Stark words are “Winter is coming”. But at the moment, winter is fast fading and I’m seeing spring popping up all over the place.

so my words today are “Spring is coming.” check out what’s going on in our garden.

Gary has some little seed greenhouse things.. Apparently these seeds are a surprise for me – can anyone give suggestions for what they might be because Gary is neither confirming nor denying anything when I guess.

The asparagus is coming up. And yes, we need to weed and mulch our veggie garden again.

I’m planning on using some of this delicious looking cabbage this week – any suggestions?

Garlic!

Our little apricot tree is starting to bud…

I can’t wait for this beetroot to be ready. It will be delicious

we have two specific spots in our backyard where rainwater pools and doesn’t drain for ages. Our solution – Swamp Banksia!

We harvested some of the turnips (and we roasted them with venison for dinner)

don’t they look delicious?

we have heaps of these down the path out the front.

These Hyacinths smell amazing. They are now one of my favorite flowers.

We have these ones, the pink ones, and white along with daffodils and paper daisies under the magnolia tree. And they smell so good!

Ding! Level up!

Ok so on occasion I declare myself to be a “food wizard.” Generally I consider myself at least a level 10. Yesterday I believe I leveled up. (Yes I play Dungeons and Dragons and regularly refer to it in my everyday life. For anyone who knows me well this should not come as a shock). 

 

I made my own pasta! Now this may seem like a small task, but it was the first time I have made it, and it was perfect. I used this recipe which I googled (because Google knows everything). The only change I made was I used 4 eggs. When I started making the dough it seemed a little too dry, so I cracked another egg straight onto it, creating a huge mess which eventually came together. I think I might have kneaded the dough for about 12 mins or so until it got all nice and elasticy. Yes I think I just made up a word. No I’m not going to apologise for that. 

Honestly the most difficult thing was rolling it through the pasta machine, because it takes 1 hand to feed the dough in, 1 to catch it, and 1 to turn it. 

I don’t have that many hands.

Somehow, however, I managed and hung it up to dry over my giant cooking chopsticks balanced over my big stockpot, as well as some hung off a clean coat hanger because I was running out of space. 

I whipped up a bit of a carbonara sauce, using evaporated milk and eggs. I cooked some bacon, mushrooms, and chopped asparagus, heated the sauce, and tossed that all together to warm the sauce through (with a good sprinkle of cracked pepper and a dash of chili flakes) while the pasta cooked. Fresh pasta only takes a couple of minutes to cook – I reckon it was about 5 minutes for mine (fettucini cut) 

then the pasta went into the bowls, topped with the sauce, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. 

It was pretty good. I’ll make sure to take decent photos next time and do a proper post about it, but for the time being you’ll have to make do with imagining me with an apron getting my hands stuck into a pile of flour and eggs on a kitchen bench. 

 

Ding! level 11. Acquired new spell: Summon Greater Pasta. Earn Feat: extra hand.