Farewell Dietgirl, and a new beginning

This is a long post but I promise I’ll make it worth your while.

Short version: I’m not stopping, just relocating! Plus, there’s awesome prizes to be won…

Twelve years ago today I started this secret blog. I was lonely, scared and convinced I was possibly the very largest person in Australia. I already had a blog, but thought everyone would disappear if I revealed the true shambles of my life. Who’d want to read about that?

I invented Dietgirl to hide behind; an alter ego far stronger and capable than I felt. I wouldn’t need her very long – for I had a spreadsheet! I calculated I could zap 80 kilos in neat weekly installments, so in less than two years I’d slip seamlessly back to my non-secret non-fat blog and begin a sparkly, skinny new life.

Do you reckon Me of 2001 would’ve freaked out if she’d known I’d be here in 2013? That the spreadsheet still isn’t “finished?”. Sorry 2001 buddy; it all got a bit messy. But messy in the good way! You took half a decade to lose the lard, then after a few years you found a big chunk of it again. Then there were unexpected adventures… a Body Pump addiction, a move to the other side of the world, a nice Scottish bloke…

Seems like yesterday…”outing” yourself in the paper, getting your arse kicked in your first and last kickboxing competition…

and whinging your way up some hills! (circa 2007. oh to be this fit and slinky again. I’m working on it, hehe)

… writing a book, re-learning to ride a bike

and discovering new shades of red. mwahaha.

… growing parsnips as big as cats, going to some brilliant blogging conferences, and shuffling 5K that years later sparked a groovy running community.

And of course, there’s all the kind, thoughtful, witty and generous people who read along and shared their adventures too. Incredible strangers who reached out over the interwaves just to say, “Dude, you’re not alone”. It was bloody awesome.

. . .

I was only 23 when Dietgirl began and now I’m a creaky 35… I’m no longer on a Diet and I’m certainly no longer a Girl! So after twelve years, today I’m hanging up the cape and will be continuing my adventures on my original blog at ShaunaReid.com.

I feel so giddy to be downsizing to one home for my web wafflings, whether that’s travels, lard busting updates, cake, perving on sportsmen or general happenings. No more compartmentalising or hiding behind not-at-all-secret identities. I’ve wanted to simplify things for about three years now but it’s taken me this long to get organised! I wasn’t kidding yesterday about the procrastination problem.

I’ll also be writing more often on the Up & Running blog, with my amateur bumblings providing nice contrast to Coach Julia’s Ironman heroics. We’ll be exploring the mind and body connection stuff even more this year, as running and fitness is about so much more than sweating! We’re also cooking up some exciting new stuff for 2013, including an e-course for those seeking a helping hand to start making exercise part of their life – basically what I wish had existed back in 2001.

So, from now on you’ll find me at ShaunaReid.com – complete with a whizz bang foxy new design!

Righto… if you made it this far, it’s time to CELEBRATE like crazy people!

For the past three years January 15 has meant time for cool prizes in the Dietgirl Birthday Sell Out, a way of saying cheers to everyone for reading. Today feels like the biggest celebration of all, I’m Selling Out once more! It all starts tomorrow at the new digs. So be sure to subscribe or stalk on Twitter or Facebook to find out when the first Sell Out post goes live. And the prizes are ace, I must say! UPDATE: The Sell Out has begun!

Thank you thank you THANK YOU to everyone who’s stopped by over the past twelve years. Thanks for your comments, emails, generosity, friendship and kindness. It’s been an unforgettable adventure and I’m excited to dive in to the next phase.

See you on the other side! »

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My word for 2013

Happy Monday to you! Be sure to come back tomorrow for some DG 12th Birthday goodness!

Do you have a Word of the Year? I always thought it was a frilly idea until I gave it a go last year. My word was present, and turned out to be a groovy way to set a theme, guide actions and remember an intention. Rather than a mega list of to-do’s or goals it’s a concise little thing to carry around. When things went astray I’d recall the word – whether in my head or muttering it aloud like a loony – and POW, it pulled my head out of the clouds.

Many times I forgot to remember the word (e.g. covered in cake crumbs… Oh yeah! PRESENT! D’oh.), but these things take practice!

Since 2012 turned out okay I’m calling the secret trial a success and have decided to say this year’s word out loud. There’s always that, “If I tell people, what if I cock it up?” fear but… accountability and all that, eh?

Wood pigeon and pals from earlier this morning

Wood pigeon and pals from earlier this morning

My 2013 word is Focus. It felt like a good one to build on the momentum from the end of 2012 and get that consistency happening. I know what I need and want to do, it’s just that tendency to procrastinate, self-sabotage, multi-task and wander down self-destructive and/or time-sucking side streets (e.g. Facebook Street, LOLcat Alley, Binge Boulevard, ho ho ho!).

So I’m focusing…

  • On what’s important, on what’s meaningful, on the little things that make everyday life feel good.
  • On only one task at a time.
  • On one browser tab or Word doc at a time.
  • And not focusing my energy on petty issues, perceived slights, drama that doesn’t belong to me, etc etc etc.

To give the Focus a bit of backbone, health and wellbeing wise, I picked three straightforward things:

  1. Write every day - basically the Morning Pages idea from The Artist’s Way book. Every morning you write three pages of stream-of-consciousness waffle. It helps shake out any deranged thoughts and set your compass for the day. I’ve been doing them for about eight months now but with no real consistency until this last two. It’s so helpful to get your ranty pants on first thing then just GET ON with your day!
  2. Continue the HAM Plan for the eating. Also watching portion size as that’s no doubt contributing to the maintenance ;)
  3. 3-2-1 Exercise plan - 3 cardio sessions, 2 weight sessions and 1 yoga session each and every week.

Two weeks in and it’s all going great guns. Focus is a great word for muttering under your breath… must be the F? Also, I’m amazed at how much work gets done when not Alt-Tabbing between a dozen apps and brower tabs. Hmmmmmm.

Apologies to the Up & Runners for having already been subjected to a version of these ramblings on the Forum! ;)

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2012 Wrap-Up

A final monthly wrap-up on the 2012 plans.

Why don’t I ever write the end of year wrap-up before the new one begins? I’m busting to get on with the 2013 jibber-jabbering but I want to send off 2012 in a flaming boat… there it goes, over the horizon. Begone with ye!

. . .

December review
The Christmas HAM Plan kicked arse! 31 days of blogging and mindful eats and exercise, done and dusted. I’d say I was about 80% compliant and it’s got me fired up for the new year. I wrote a big old post about the awesome lessons learned from the experience, if you fancy reading it. Thanks everyone who tuned in over the month!

. . .

2012 review
2012 was a tip top year and as I wrote in my mega non-fat annual review, I’ve really got nothing to whinge about. But a quick look at the health and fitness side of things… the main aim of 2012 was to “keep the mind attached to the body”. I wanted to stay present in tough moments and not abandon my structured mindfulness tools at the first sign of difficulty.

Was I successful? How do you definine and measure “success”? On one hand, I finished the year the same weight I started it. That’s not ideal with my dodgy knee and ongoing irritation at plus size clothes.

But I don’t want to get stuck in black/white all/nothing thinking. I’ve learned a lot in these two years of “regain maintenance”. I think that losing what I want to lose will start to happen once I practice what I’ve learned with greater consistency and focus. Practice practice practice. I feel empowered and squirmy all at the same time, knowing that it’s all in my hands.

Now on with the new year! It’s Bob Harper Week in the DVD Dust-Off and some fun things coming up. Stay tuned…

There was a sunny day a few months back ;)

There was a sunny day a few months back ;)

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DVD Dust-Off: Week 4, with bonus pointless stats

This is the 900th post on Dietgirl! The blog has been alive for 11 years and 11 months, or 143 months, or 621 weeks if you prefer. So that’s an average of 6.293 posts per month or 1.44 posts per week.

I also have an enormous spreadsheet that documents the weekly weigh-ins since it all began on 15 January 2001 (albeit with sizeable gaps due to travel, illness and/or denial). I could tell you my average weight loss over those 621 weeks but the number is so small you’d all have to go out and buy a microscope…

. . .

The Christmas HAM Plan is now 11 days strong and strangely enlightening! I lost weight in Week 1 while thoroughly enjoying cake-related festivities. I’m finding the HAM “rules” to be strangely freeing. I’m still blogging up a storm every day… swing by and say hello if you fancy?

. . .

Back to the Dust-Off. The Mothership emailed to “bagsy” the Tai-Chi video from last week. That’s one orphan with a new home.

Yogalates for Weight Loss10. Yogalates for Weight Loss with Louise Solomon (2008)

The instructor has a very odd way of saying the word “body” and she says it a lot in this workout. She elongates the bo then the dy fades away. Like BAHWdy. Bahhhhdy? Bohhhhdee. I was so busy trying to figure out just what she was doing to that word I wasn’t doing the moves properly and had to start over.

But once I got used to her voice I remembered that this is a fab workout; a hybrid of pilates and yoga as the name suggests. The first half is called Core Toning and features many classic Pilates moves and the second half is called Cardio Enhancer which is more lower body and ab stuff. It’s gruelling but her daughter does an modified version which I followed a lot. A worthy home substitute for a class.

Verdict: KEEP

Cathe Travel Fit11. Travel Fit by Cathe Friedrich (2009)

I always recommend this one if you don’t have a lot of space or dosh – a resistance band only costs a couple of quid. It’s 50 minutes of resistance band toning with short cardio intervals. Because it’s designed for hotel rooms, there’s no jumping around so it makes a great low impact workout. I bought a stronger resistance band to harden it up a bit.

There’s no repetition under the rules of the Dust-Off so I’m sad I won’t be doing this for awhile. It’s so good for when you can’t be arsed with equipment. It’s a good one to get in the download form for a laptop, phone or tablet for easy travels.

Verdict: KEEP

Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown (Amazon link)12. Yoga Meltdown by Jillian Michaels (2010)

This isn’t a traditional yoga workout – it’s more like yoga intervals. It’s fast paced and I was utterly knackered afterwards. It felt more like a body-weight resistance workout than yoga. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but if I’m in the mood for yoga I like it quiet and meditative. If I want something more intense I’d rather lift weights. Check out the Amazon trailer to see what you reckon.

Verdict: 
REHOME

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Monthly Check In: November 2012

Ho ho ho hello! It’s time for another monthly plan update plus the lowdown on the mighty December challenge!

Wow, I got quite a lot done in November. Not sure if it was the structure imposed by the challenges, or the fear of looking like a twit in public if I didn’t come through?!

Challenge #1 - Three Times A Lady Blogging Lady
I wrote 7 posts here, 2 on Pussycat and 1 on Up & Running for a total of 10. That does not average out to the targeted three per week. D’oh! But still, it’s a step up from my usual one-or-twice-a-month slackarse efforts of late and now I am feeling the writing love. Now let’s say a fond farewell to this low-res sexy Lionel…

Once, twice, three times a blogging lady!

Challenge #2 - The Great DVD Dust-Off
I’m going to carry on with this one. Decluttering is good for the soul. Coming up: Bob vs Jillian Smackdown!

And now for the December Challenge…
I’m blogging every day this month! Julia and I were chatting about how easy it is for things to go tits up in December with all the festive shenanigans. Also, my 2012 lard-busting results have been lacklustre (one measly pound off in November) so I want to finish strongly and not start 2013 with extra extra pounds. So for both our amusement and accountability we created…

The Christmas HAM Plan

(HAM = Happy And Mindful)

We set ourselves three simple habits to work on. Inspired by the Amsterdam experience my list includes sticking to three mindful meals and a minimum standards agreement on exercise, plus blogging the gory details each and every day. We each set out our HAM Plan habits here.

Five days in and the HAM rocks – it’s that structured mindfulness thing again. It’s also fun pretending to be one of those food blogger types for a wee while, even though I find it hard not to picture disapproving readers tsk-tsking at all the cake last weekend.

So if you fancy cheering me on, kicking my butt, or just want a stickybeak at how two ladies navigate the festive season (I’m personally addicted to this window on the running coach life), I am writing every day on the Up & Running blog throughout December. Fair warning for the coming weeks: There Will Be Cocktails!

 

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November Challenge #2: The Great DVD Dust-Off

How many workout DVDs does one woman need? Not this bloody many…

Workout DVD collection

Workout DVD collection

These poor buggers sit lonely and colour-coordinated on my bookshelf in their cosy blanket of fine dust. The collection is pared down dramatically from a few years ago – e.g. the rarely-used Billy Blanks Tae Bo was banished to the charity shop!

There’s another half dozen or so piled beside the DVD player – they’re favourites that I use over and over again while ignoring the rest.

While it’s nice having this retrospective of Cathe Friedrich’s changing hairstyles, the wastefulness bugs me. So many reminders of my old impulse purchasing ways. I’m sure half the workouts are totally unsuitable now with my dodgy knee. It’s time to de-clutter and get some variety into the DVD diet!

The Challenge: To use a different DVD every time I work out at home.

Duration: Continue until I’ve tried every DVD in the collection. This could see me through until summer! ;)

Rules:

  • Minimum of three DVD workouts per week.
  • No repeats.
  • Only one workout per DVD i.e. I can’t do all three levels of 30 Day Shred. One workout, then move on to a new disc.
  • Report each week en blog for accountability.
  • After each workout decide if the DVD winds up in the Stay or Go pile.
  • Thus we shall inch forward into a streamlined future!

Whatever ends up in the Go pile will go to the charity shop or I’ll give them away on the blog to happy new homes. If anyone is still using a DVD player by the time I’m done. I’m sure right now someone is working on the ability to download Jillian and Cathe directly to your eyeballs.

I started yesterday with Jillian Michaels’ Fast Fix Kickbox, a recent Favourite. Man, I’m going to miss that one. Only 20 minutes, just one set of dumbbells required, and there’s punching! Definitely in the Stay pile. Onwards!

Update: Here are the DVD Dust-Off Reviews:

  • Week 1: Kickbox FastFix by Jillian Michaels, Stretch Max by Cathe Friedrich and Element: Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners by Brook Siler
  • Week 2: Element: Ballet Conditioning with Elise Gulan, Zumba Fitness DVD Exercise Kit and Muscle Max by Cathe Friedrich
  • Week 3: Element: Tai Chi For Beginners with Samuel Barnes, Hardcore Series: Gym Style Legs by Cathe Friedrich and Low Impact Circuit by Cathe Friedrich
  • Week 4: Yogalates for Weight Loss with Louise Solomon, Travel Fit by Cathe Friedrich and Yoga Meltdown by Jillian Michaels.
  • Week 5: Cathe Friedrich Muscle Endurance, MMA: Boxing and Cardio Core Circuit
  • Week 6: Bob Harper Yoga for the Warrior, Body Rev Cardio Conditioning and Pure Burn Super Strength.

NB: Here’s the lowdown on November Challenge #1 if you missed it.

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November Challenge #1: Three Times A Blogging Lady

November is a brilliant time for a challenge – there is still one sixth of the year remaining so it feels like there is still time to make something of it, and if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere a challenge can distract you from the soul-crushing darkness outside.

I have a fitness challenge that I’ll post about next time but I also wanted a writing challenge to get some focus happening. I pondered a third NaNoWriMo but can’t face that 50,000 word slog again just yet. I thought of NaNoBloPoMo, where you blog every day for the month but I think that would be overkill for both me and any poor readers out there.

So in the spirit of moderation and baby steps I’ve decided to go for three posts a week. To butcher the Lionel Richie classic – once, twice, three times a blogging lady!

Just like NaNoWriMo, I’ve got a logo and everything. Except it’s crap!

Once, twice, three times a blogging lady!

The first post of the week Shakespeare at 35 is all about stray hairs, priorities, biological clocks and blog crushes.

Hope you have an ace weekend!

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Monthly Check In: September 2012

We’re 75% done with 2012. Time for another monthly plan update.

First of all I must report that I spoke too soon about the laundered Fitbit. It is officially deceased now.

. . .

In case the hyperactive witterings didn’t give it away, September was ace. On the lard busting front, I was happy with how I did in the USA and ended up maintaining on the scale machine. As per the recent travel pattern, the days were so full of grooviness that I didn’t really think about food.

I did guzzle vats of iced coffee, however. Now back here in Scotland, a sultry 8°C/46°F, it seems hilarious that anyone would ever get the urge to put ice cubes in coffee.

THUS ENDETH SEPTEMBER REPORT.

. . .

Now here we are at half-October and I’m getting back in the groove after an extremely shoddy start to the month that involved excessive amounts of chocolate. I could say, “I don’t know what came over me” but I know exactly what happened and I was even aware of it as I was doing it.

After feeling shitty and sugar hungover and doomed for a few days I got re-organised. I find the week after travel to be the danger time. You’re back to reality, you’re tired, there’s no food in the cupboard; your suitcase has vomited its contents all over the bedroom floor.

Now I’m back to my usual routine. What else can you do but get up and crack on with it? I’ve been walking. I made a big thing of wholesome soup. I did some pretend kickboxing with Jillian Michaels. I caught up on the washing (no gadgets were harmed this time).

I choose to kick arse for the remainder of the month. Stay tuned!

. . .

Finally, about these Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Cocoa Nibs. They’re so crunchy and earthy tasting and come in a dinky little tin that’s fun to rattle. The hinged lid is very satisfying to flip on and off. I feel like an eccentric old lady. My pills! I need my pills!

Anyway, it hilariously says on the tin, 1 Calorie Per Piece. I wonder if anyone ever says, “Oh just one for me, thanks”. They are the size of a mouse dropping. Or maybe a rat? Or a Tic Tac, let’s be classy.

I bought three tins on my travels. Since I don’t live in the USA I’d planned to ration them out, one dropping at time for the next few years*. But thanks to these past choctastic weeks there’s only one left.  Let’s see how long I can stretch it out!

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Nibs

This pic was my 2011 stock. It didn’t last very long either!

* Not really.

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Monthly Check In: August 2012

Time for another monthly update on my 2012 plans.

This is how I feel whenever I try to put my thoughts into words lately:

I still miss The Far Side.

I still miss The Far Side.

In a nutshell August was a cracker. Any month that includes meeting the rockin’ Jamie from Cranky Fitness for cake has to be goodun!

As per July, I work work worked on the structured mindfulness dealie. It’s turning out to be as I’d thought in January:

I think it’s just going to take practice. Everything I’ve read about emotional eating – from people as diverse as Geneen Roth to Jillan Michaels – all say in one way or another that eating mindfully is a habit that you have to keep working on. It takes practice to sit with crappy emotions instead of chomping them into oblivion. So I’m going to keep practicing…

Exercise and eating have been good. Slow weight loss (averaging half to one pound per week for the past 5 weeks) and consistent movement. The gentle life overhaul continues!

I dunno quite how it happened this past six weeks… I guess I realised that while nothing has been wrong compared to the shitstorm of 2011, things have been fine and okay and it dawned on me that I want more than that. It’s a hoot to admit but the Olympics were a big catalyst. Olympians and Paralympians are not people who settle for fine and okay, are they?

So I’ve been thinking about what needs work then actually doing the work, which makes a pleasant change from just letting life happen.

From spring cleaning to taking control of my finances to getting up earlier to spending more time with Gareth instead of working too much, lots of small changes are adding up to a sense of calm and purpose. And more I carry on with the changes, the less need I feel to overeat. Suddenly I want to do all this healthy stuff, instead of thinking I should. Very big distinction.

I’ve realised I’m one of these people who needs a clear long-term vision combined with short-term goals, otherwise I drift and fall back into the self-destructive patterns. I’m determined to stop tuning out of my own life. Party on!

(Apologies to my Up & Running alumni forum comrades for already being subjected to a draft version of this post! i love you!)

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Back in the groove

A belated Monthly Check-in post for July.

POW! There's been a quiet leap forward in the month since the previous belated Check In post. Last time I mentioned forgetting I wanted to lose weight, from a combination of contentment, complacency and daydreaming. I wanted to light a fire under my butt in a kind and gentle way.

I'm chuffed to say that I've actually been doing all the things I said I'd do to get my focus back! I know, I'm surprised as you are! To recap:

  • automating brekkie and lunch
  • tuning in to my hunger/feelings before eating
  • sitting down properly to eat, i.e. no spear fishing
  • regularly recalling my reasons WHY (head, shoulders, knees and clothes!)

I've also added:

  • getting more specific about what I want and setting some short term aims (thank you Olympic Challenge for the inspiration)
  • dusting off my beloved spreadsheets
  • strengthening up the real-world support network
  • recommitting to meal planning – shopping, organising and preparation
  • using the MyFitnessPal app – I've been mucking around with it on and off since Christmas (so addicted to that bar code scanner!) but now on it daily

All the above has seen a strangely focused yet relaxed/non-obsessed attitude sneak up on me.

What prompted a mind shift:

  • the DietSnaps app experiment – after just three days there was no mystery why I've been a master of maintenance this year. Portions too generous, some mindless grazing and not enough greenery. I won't be using the app in the long term, but it was a fab way to get back into mindful mode
  • a weekend in Paris – the weather was hot and I felt blobby and frustrated by my frumpy wardrobe. It's easier to ignore that discontent in Scottish climes.
  • Confronting the Wardrobe of Doom – tidying up a tangled pile of clothes, most of which don't fit, was another exercise in mindfulness. I didn't feel despair, just a desire to get on with it.

None of the above tools/plans are earth shattering – it's all the same structured mindfulness kinda stuff that I personally find effective. But making the extra effort to stay present, and keep remembering what I want and why, is helping the momentum build. Stay tuned!

Raspberry
A DietSnap snapped snack. Try saying that three times!

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