Cerveza Por Favor

I LOVE YOUSE ALL. That ESP thing totally worked. I have returned from four days in Valencia, Spain for the glorious spectacle that is the Motorcycle Grand Prix and not one single meal was chocolate. Bravo! Bravo!

Allow me to divulge the yummy stuff I DID eat in Valencia. Ooh la la. Like last time, the highlight would have to be the orange juice so fresh and tart that your face screws up like a cat’s arse. Then there was paella, tortilla, chorizo, bocodillos with amazing ham and cheese at the race, fresh fruit and one gelato cone. That does sound rather lardy when it’s all in one sentence, but it was over four days and was not consumed in a gluttonous manner! Sensible portions, and only eating things that I really wanted to try.

I also tried some churros, as I’d read about ’em on YP’s blog yonks ago. I shared a tiny one with Gareth, a two-inch chunk that I dunked in my tea at breakfast this morning, which is kinda sacrilege as they apparently belong with a cup of thick hot chocolate. I heard they were sort of donut-ty so wasn’t expecting to like them, but this little baby was light and crispy and fabulous.

We were traveling with a mate of ours and two of his friends. These two fellas were very fond of a drink so I’d been worried I’d end up guzzling alcohol out of some sort of perceived peer pressure. But they were too pissed to care what I drank, ha! I did not have one single alcoholic drink all weekend except for two sips of beer when I ordered one because I had a temporary brain freeze and couldn’t remember the word for water! I just blurted, "Beer for me too, please!". I took two sips and remembered that I’m not a beer person, so palmed it off to the lads and finally recalled it was agua I wanted. Derr. Sin gas! No bubbles!

It’s all about priorities. By not frittering away calories on booze and drinking water all weekend, happily indulged in the food, which is what I had really come for. Aside from the bikes!

Now I’m back in Scotland and it’s 5pm and pitch black. D’oh! Stupid End-Of-Daylight-Saving. Yesterday I was roasting under a blue sky, 32’C. The post-holiday blues are kicking in but I am feeling good about how it all went.  I’d written to Lainey last week about how I was looking forward to the holiday yet worried I’d forget my goals and eat and drink myself into a major setback, as I have done after so many trips. But we brainstormed some Survival Tactics and a line from her email really stuck in my head all weekend, Think how smug you will feel if you come home and it’s not all turned to shit!

And now I am home and it’s not all turned to shit. The food in Valencia was too damn fine to just sit there with a plate of lettuce, and I did eat way more calorific stuff that I would have at home. But it’s nice to feel like I got to enjoy the local tucker (which is the best thing about travel, I reckon) without being a total piggy. Rock on!

. . .

Thanks everyone for the comments and emails on the Ranty Knee Entry! I had to skip the country after I wrote it; I always feel self-conscious after a big spiel. Ooh, a special cheers to Wilma. As I’ve been tapping out this entry an email just came swishing into the Inbox with some tip top info about how she handled a similar injury. A godsend I tells ya. I’ll write back very soon Wilma!

I’ve been mulling over Grendel’s comment since I got home. I dunno if you’re still out there Grendel! I tried to respond to you directly but my email was returned with a Mailbox Unavailable message. If you’re out there, do you have another account? I’d really like to respond.

Til next time, comrades!

Kneecrap

I’ll be away for the next few days so if you get a spare moment please send me the following message by ESP:

CHOCOLATE BARS ARE NOT A MEAL!

Thanks, comrades!

. . .

I’m a wee bit guilty of censoring lately. I’m just at the point where I don’t feel like writing if it’s going to be something whiny. There’s nothing worse than going away for a few days and leaving a woe-is-me essay at the top of the page, creating a fabulous impression for any first-time visitors.

That said, I need to rant about my frustration with my stupid knee. I’ve cocked it up again! Pain, crunch, grind, kapow!

Not that it was ever fixed, but it was getting somewhat better.

How about a quick recap! A Kneecap Recap. Haw haw!

May 2005 – First hurt knee during The Great 5K Training. After my race saw a physio once, who put it down to overuse and weak quad/hamstrings. Stopped running, did Spinning instead, did not go back to physio because I saw stupidly myself as Fat Wannabe Athlete who didn’t warrant medical attention. Big mistake!

May 2006 – Knee worse! Particularly bad after attempted comeback at Body Combat class. Grinding noises like plunging your hand into a box of Rice Krispies. Saw doc who sent me to lovely sports physio who basically gave it the same diagnosis as the 2005 dude. But now it had a name, patellofemoral maltracking. Treatment: More exercises and banned from all weight bearing activity – no running, no Body Pump, no Spinning classes with heavy resistance. Basically I’d been making my knee worse for almost a year, so we had a lot of work to do to calm it down.

July 2006 – Knee not better. Limped for a week after doing a set of pushups. Cue depressed blog ranting and raving and a total ban from ANY cardio.

August 2006 – Knee finally FINALLY getting a little better. Was determined not to screw it up so exercised cautiously and wore sensible shoes. Could now walk up and down hills with minimal pain. Could sit at desk without knee cramping up. Could move to standing position without knees catching painfully. Could to kneel to scrub bathtub without pain! Not that I did that very often. Hehe. Could also resume cycling for the almighty duration of twenty minutes!

September 2006 – Physio and I part company for four weeks, with me to continue building up my exercise and him aiming to discharge me at our next meeting. Hurrah!

October 2006 – Did two swimming lessons and one aqua aerobics class in attempt to get variety. Knee felt alright after first class, since I didn’t actually swim anywhere. Starting hurting day after second class. The following week during the aqua class I felt it twinge when we had to "run" down the pool and when we did kicking drills. Remember thinking at one point, I should stop. This ain’t quite right. But then… Surely it’s nothing! I’m in an aqua class and we’re the only ones under 75! It can’t hurt me!

But by the weekend I was limping. Knee horribly tender to touch. It was like the bad old days — couldn’t sit longer than five minutes before it ached and seized up when I tried to stand. Painfully slow to walk down stairs. Couldn’t sleep on my side coz it was agony. Blah blah blahdy blah.

So I went to the physio last Tuesday and he was just as crestfallen as me that he wouldn’t be dismissing me and my creaky knee after all.

I had a minor breakdown and blubbed, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME, will it ever get better, will I ever Squat again, will I ever walk down a hill again, did I need surgery? But he felt there wasn’t anything more sinister going on than the patellofermoral thingy, and rather that the swimming – particularly the breastroke kick – and the pool running re-aggrivated it. It was the only thing I’d done different in the four week break, and I’d had weeks of minimal pain before that. Seems the knee is still sensitive and the lateral movement was too much. But he assured me it was an acute episode and I have not undone months of work. He even offered to treat me for FREE until it calms down again. How noice is that? He is a true Prince amongst Physios I tell you.

I dunno why I didn’t write about this before. For starters, I was quite embarrassed for hurting my myself doing Granny Sports. I only tried swimming because after all these months I was so sick of plodding away on an exercise bike, I thought my knee was ready for something different.

Second, I hate being a whingy git as it may read like a flimsy excuse for my mediocre results in the Going For Gold challenge. It’s affected my morale more than I’ve been willing to admit. I froth with jealousy when I read blogs of people running and kicking and general MOVING. Since I started physio in May, I’ve been losing and regaining the same three kilos. There’s not much room for error with your food when you’re not doing as intense cardio. It’s just been a very frustrating time.

Thirdly, every time I write about my knee I get people emailing me with alternative diagnoses, which are always well-intended but I feel bad because there’s always more detail to these things than what you can express in a blog entry. I really have had various medical opinions and feel confident we know what’s wrong. It’s a common as muck knee problem, just a bit of bitch to heal.

A week later the ol knee is already feeling less tender and easier to move, but I’m taking it slow. Mr Physio says I am really going to have to focus over the winter and do my exercises every day. Consistency, grasshopper! I need to build up the muscles around the dodgy knee, they are so pissweak compared to the left leg.

I am also to stay oot of the pool and stick to cardio "in a straight line" for the forseeable future. Zzzzzzzzzzz. So it’s back to simply walking on a flat surface, cycling with low resistance, and upper body weights.

This whole entry was inspired by the lovely Smaller Sue who’s having knee woes of her own. I really admired her positive attitude in that post, so I decided to have a wee rant and think things through and figure out how to get through this. Thanks for the inspiration, Sue baby!

So no more shortcuts, no more premature "comebacks". It’s been 16 months of this dodgy knee shit and I am so tired of being patient, but I need to be so now more than ever.

On A Stick

This week the scales were back down to 81.3 kg. Which is 0.6kg or 1.5lb lost. Which is just the same bloody amount I gained last week.

All I could do this time was laugh and shake my head, you know in the way that some parents do when their little darling is smearing chocolate all over the couch or slashing somebody’s tyres. Oh you crazy kids. You know, that look? Oh you CRAZY scales! You kill me!

The thing is, on both Saturday and Sunday the scale was down to 80.4, which I feel is more reflective of my efforts over the past four weeks of Going For Gold. I don’t know what happened while I was sleeping on Sunday night, perhaps the pumpkin soup or the salad or the delicious braised cabbage I’d consumed over the weekend had suddenly turned to lead.

But you know what? To hell with the scale. I will keep going. There’s only eleven weeks left in the challenge, many of which involve Chistmas and calorific events. I will be extra vigilant and make sure I keep the momentum going. It will take extra effort to get the rest of this blubber off. So I can’t do things like, make apple crumble for dessert on a Monday night because there were heaps of apples needing to be used up and it was Weigh Day so I can get away with it especially if you have it with yogurt on the side. No! I can’t do that kind of thing. I just have to suck it up and work harder.

. . .

I am off work next week so I vow to write entries of higher quality then. Sorry things haven’t been particularly profound lately. 

In the meantime, behold this latest wonder of food manufacturing! Pancake And Sausage On A Stick. Together at last!

tasty

Going For Tin

I couldn’t post yesterday as I was incandescent with rage. Such a nice phrase, but I wish I didn’t have to use it. I gained 0.6 kg (1.5lb) which meant after three weeks of Going For Gold I am 0.3 kg heavier than when I started.

Before anyone suggests I’m self-sabotaging or stalling, let me assure you this is not the case. Nor is it a plateau. I don’t believe in plateaus, not for me anyway. Besides, a plateau suggests that one has levelled out from some sort of height. I haven’t even got off the floor yet! Trust me, I want to get to goal. I am determined and I have been working hard, but it just wasn’t reflected on the scales.

So I managed to talk myself down from the ledge. I know last week was a Good One. But the week before was a shocker. Sometimes the true crapness of a Crap Week takes longer to properly show up on the scales, just as a Good Week doesn’t always show up instantly.

(I am also bloated like a mofo. That should be over with by the end of the week, hopefully without me taking any prisoners!)

I have also been at this long enough to know it is dangerous to focus too much on the dreaded machine. All I need to do is have another Good Week, and then another and another. Consistently staying conscious of what I eat and how I move my wobbly arse. Until I rack up a whole bunch of Good Weeks in a row I can’t expect to see great movement on the scale. So I have to keep going and not panic!

Have to admit though, despite the fact that my trousers feel looser and my waist is smaller and I could lift heavier weights this week… as soon as I stepped on the scale I felt completely shit for awhile there; that sinking realisation that my goal was now even further away.

But I got on with it, and as soon as I started flinging around some dumbells and admiring my so-called biceps I was reminded again what this is supposed to be about. Gettin’ healthy! Being strong! Pushing myself! Why do I forget that so easily?

Onward and downward!

System Status

Going For Gold Status Report! Things are going well this week. I have been feeling completely overwhelmed by things lately so taking it One Meal At A Time seems to be helping.

My swimming teacher had to cancel last night and I contemplated crawling into bed with a book. But I did Cathe’s Pyramid Upper Body instead. The woman is not paying me to say this, but her goods work well for me coz it’s the bossiness of a Body Pump class without having to leave the house and your crappy breakfast-encrusted t-shirt. PUB is my Lazy Day DVD because it only uses dumbbells – I just reach right under the bed for em. As opposed to workouts that use the barbell, which involves moving furniture and futzing around changing the plates. You have to be in the right mood for that sort of palaver!

So it’s lazy, but it’s hard. You start with 12 reps at the lightest weight, then 10 with medium, 8 with your heaviest, then work your way back down through the pyramid. Its very fast, simple and efficient. You just whip through each body part – chest, back, shoulders, triceps, biceps – and before you know it you’re a crumpled, whimpering heap on the bedroom floor. But then you have to recover for the abs section.

I only did the 30-minute Pyramid Up last night, but I think when you feeling out of sorts it’s better to do something, anything, exercise-y, rather than sit on your arse. I have to keep the momentum going and keep moving forward. Pow!

I also wanted to say cheers for all the lovely comments and emails of late, they are soooo appreciated. Thank you. Thank you…

A lot of people have mentioned deep-water running, would anyone mind saying a bit more about that? Google is rather vague. My gym only has Old Lady Aqua classes on weekday mornings, obviously nae good to me; so is this something I could pursue on my own?

Hope you all have a tops weekend 🙂

Shauny Get Your Gun

Dude, I’m a top athlete. I’ve tried two new sports in the past week!

Well I dunno how sporty these sports are. The first was clay target shooting. It was part of that whole team building thing. There were 14 of us shooting and I was the only chick on the day. Normally it doesn’t both me how testosterone-heavy my workplace is, but as soon as I had the stupid gun in my hand I felt so out of place and wimpy. And I was soooo rubbish! Out of 25 shots I only hit one stupid bit of clay, and that was only because the instructor told me when to fire.

He was a nice enough bloke, encouraging; but a tad patronising at times. He’d tell me to lift the gun higher, that I should be able to do it because it was only four pounds. Grrr. I’d began the day with a positive attitude, determined to Have A Go and all; but as it dragged on I let my confidence dissolve and just wanted to go home. I was cranky at myself for being so crap at it, and for letting myself feel intimidated. Grrrr.

I also just didn’t like the feeling of brandishing a weapon, even if it was just a clunky old shotgun. The recoil made my dodgy shoulder burn. And I couldn’t help thinking of how hard it was to hit a target, and how there were millions of people out there with guns who may be as just a lousy shot than me. Scary!

When we were done the instructor said how well we’d all done! We were naturals! We should come back for further coaching!

But then he added with a grin, "Except for you, Shauna. I don’t think shooting’s your thing. Maybe you should try waterskiing or something?"

I’m sure shooting would have been my thing if I could shoot at close range. I wondered if he’d volunteer to be my target.

Tuesday night’s sport was far more dainty – Aquarobics!

The lovely Lainey once again gave me a guest pass to my old Fancy Gym, woohoo! Good lord, I felt like a right dork, splashing and thrashing and kicking and jumping. It didn’t feel at all grueling at the time, which disappointed me as I like my exercise to be torturous and humiliating.  I said to Lainey maybe I would give it another chance when I turned seventy. But my muscles were singing when I got out of the pool, and even more so the next day. I will never be quick to scoff again.

(My stupid knee hurts too, despite me being sooo careful during the kicking. I’m not going to even talk about my knee on here because I’ll only get cranky. Let’s just say I had hoped I’d be capable of far more than 20 minutes of plodding, resistance-free cycling and would be well and truly back Spinning and Body Combat-ing by now, but alas, I am not. Which really makes trying to bust lard So Much Fun.)

. . .

I was saying to Lainey afterwards how cool it is to meet up with someone for exercise, instead of eating. Social engagements so often revolve around food. There’s always a cup of tea, at the very least. And maybe some cake. Or twenty beers. Then a curry. So it’s good to catch up with a friend and do something good for your health at the same time!

I used to prefer the company of food to people. I’m currently reading Marian Keyes’ book Under The Duvet and there’s a story about her being an alcoholic. She writes about how the addiction grew and grew, and she crossed the line from drinking too much when out with mates, to preferring to stay home and drink too much by herself. It was much easier and she could avoid the scornful stares too.

Oooh that story was a real slap to the chops. I realised I’d one reached that point with food. When I’d go out for dinner and try and think of an excuse to leave so I could buy a second dinner on my way home. When friends would come over I’d wish they’d leave so I could get on with the leftovers and stop pretending everything was just fine. Or when I finally stopped contacting friends altogether, so I could draw the blinds and be alone with my food. I didn’t want people around, getting between us and looking at me with disgust. Happiness was a two-litre tub of ice cream and spoon, and the comforting knowledge that the pantry was loaded with more of my good friends — chips, bread, chocolate and cheese. In case the ice cream wasn’t enough.

I’m just glad that I prefer people again.

The Demon Drink

Yesterday afternoon I looked at all those words of wisdom in the previous entry and thought, Who is this reasonable, level-headed person? What a smug bitch!

Oh yeah. I had pretty ordinary week, people. I had put my big hoof right into all those Social Landmines that I’d vowed to avoid. Result: 0.4 kg gain this morning, just under a pound. Arrgh!

Where did it all go wrong? I went on a team retreat type of thing last Thursday and Friday. There were fairly healthy food options, but I just ignored those options much of the time.

And the drink. Oh, the demon drink. I am not into alcohol to be honest. I don’t see the point in wasting calories on liquids. If I am going to indulge I want something I can sink my teeth into, literally! For all the travel and social events I’ve ponced through this year, I’ve averaged less than one drink per month according to my spreadsheet.

But I had about three drinks on Thursday night, because there was port and it reminds of Christmas and trifles so I couldn’t resist. And then we had our night out in Glasgow on Saturday. I am hopeless in any sort of nightclub situation, I just don’t feel comfortable. So before we even left our friend’s flat I’d already had two glasses of wine to calm my nerves. Normally it takes me about two hours to drink one glass, I’m so slow. Once out, I got locked in a round-buying thing.

I just cannot keep up with Scottish people. Do you all have cast iron livers? People assume because I’m a tall, sturdy lass that I can knock it back, especially since I’m an Australian tall, sturdy lass.  In truth, I’m hopeless with anything more than one tiny drink. So on Saturday after three vodka and oranges spread over three hours, my stomach was churning. Gareth and I were lined up at the bar when my head started spinning and my vision clouded. I stumbled to the loos and of course there was a queue, there is always a queue! I felt like a hapless sixteen-year-old who’d sneaked in past the bouncers; I looked so pale and pathetic and bedraggled. Finally I got into a stall and just sat there feeling sorry for myself and clicking my heels in a There’s No Place Like Home fashion.

But I splashed my face with water and ventured back out, and drank nothing but water for the last couple of hours. I actually quite enjoyed it once I’d sobered up a bit, but I couldn’t help calculating that I could have eaten a whole bar of Green and Blacks for all that booze I’d guzzled!

Finally at 3am we were lined up in the world’s longest taxi queue and everyone was walking by with polysterene boxes piled with greasy chips, kebabs, spring rolls, mysterious meats and slippery noodles. I had never known such longing.

Thankfully I resisted, because I had already done quite enough damage to my week. Yesterday afternoon I was feeling so porky and miserable for screwing up the 16 Week Challenge. But then I gave myself a stern pep talk; it was just a blip and not the end of the world. I got off the couch and did a blistering upper body weights workout and then sat down to a healthy dinner cooked by Gareth (roast vegies, sauteed curly kale, Quorn sausages and vegie gravy. Noice!).

So order has been restored. This week will be better. Or else!

300 Weeks

In the kick ass October Rules post, Fat Blogger also mentions an old entry from April 2005 called God I Hate Being Fat. It’s one of those entries that attracts a tonne of Google traffic, and over a year later the comments thread is still buzzing with people venting about how much they hate themselves and hate their fat. It really is a fascinating, heart-wrenching, horrifying but ultimately inspiring thread, in no small part to FB’s encouraging comments throughout.

What struck me most were the commenters with large amounts of weight to lose, and the overwhelming sentiment that it’s too hopeless, too much, too bloody impossible. It made me want bawl because I understand that feeling so well. I just wanted to write a wee something today for anyone out there who’s in that position.

I remember how it feels to truly loathe yourself. I’d grab handfuls of flesh and want to hack it off with a knife. It seemed like there was no way out of this lardy prison. Even when I did finally get up the nerve to start fighting the flab in 2001, I still often felt I was in a hopeless situation. In some ways it was worse, because I now knew the cold hard statistics – 351 pounds, with at least 185 of them to lose.

I’ve told the story a million times before how after a month  I decided I had to start exercising. I only managed to shuffle to the end of the block before my lungs wheezed and rattled in protest. I remember thinking bitterly, What was the point of that? How is walking fifty metres ever going to add up to anything? What’s the point of any of this?  It’s never going to get any better.

But — *insert soft-focus montage of the past five 3/4 years, sweat, tears, caramel shortcakes* — as we all know, these seemingly tiny changes do add up over time. And the more little changes you make, the easier it gets, giving you the confidence to you make even more changes. And the more you do it, the more you feel good about yourself and those negative voices are hushed.

I know the numbers can be overwhelming. I know it feels like an impossible mountain to climb. But if it seems too much, don’t try and fix everything all at once. Don’t try some fancy diet. Just pick one thing this week. Walk to end of the street and back. Cut out the teaspoon of sugar in your tea. Just try one tiny little thing for seven days. Then when you’ve done that for a week, add another tiny little thing for the next.

I know this approach is not quick enough for some. Where’s the gobsmacking results? Where’s the meal replacement shakes and the deprivation? Where’s the dramatic statistics? I’m always having people tsk-tsking at what I eat – whether it’s some toast or the occasional chocolate – and saying things like, “You’ll never get to goal eating that! Carbs are bad! Last year I lost 20 pounds on Trendy Diet Of The Month, why don’t you do that? “.

Never mind that the person usually has put back on those 20 pounds plus more. How can you say a diet Works if you gained the blubber back? I’d rather enjoy real food and take longer to get to goal in my slow-ass bumbling way, than crash and burn on a Trendy Diet and wind up with even more pounds to lose.

Sure it sounds BORING to take it slowly. But just add up all the time you’ve spent losing and regaining pounds on Trendy Diets. How many weeks or months would that be? Imagine if you’d used that same amount of time to lose half or one pound a week? Would you be heavier or lighter than you are now?

I was moaning about my own excruciatingly slow progress the other day. I’ve now been Busting Lard for five years and nine months, which is roughly 300 weeks (fark!). And I say roughly, coz I am shite at maths. And now for some statistics:

300 weeks
78.3 kilos (172 lb) lost
A paltry average of just over HALF A POUND (220g) per week.

But… imagine if I’d gone the other way? What if I hadn’t changed anything? What if I’d maintained my addiction to ice cream and cheese n bacon rolls and family blocks of Cadbury’s Black Forrest?

If you think a pound or a half a week sounds too slow, or if you think your walking around the block or switching to wholegrain bread or doing twenty squats or increasing your veggies isn’t going to amount to anything… don’t worry. Be patient. Don’t give up. Take all the freakin’ time you need. Sure, it might take 300 weeks or more. But at least it’s 300 weeks in a happier direction.

Strip n Weigh

It was so strange weighing in on a Monday again. It really does make you think twice about what you put in your gob over the weekend.

And it’s quite a nostalgic too, recalling the heady days of 2001 when my sister and I would drive to our WW meeting on a Monday evening. I’d sit there on the loo for ten minutes, trying to pee out another half pound and wondering if I could have worn lighter shoes.

After we weighed, we’d ditch the meeting and go to Woolies to do our grocery shopping. We’d always cook something extra yummy on Monday nights, a post weigh-in treat. My favourite was Burger Night. Australian style of course – with beef, bacon, cheese, grilled pineapple, onions, etc etc. I  worked at a fish and chip shop during university – coincidentally the period I stacked on the most lard – so I knew how to make a mean burger. But of course we’d healthified it – extra lean mince, extra lean bacon, wholegrain buns, and a spritz of cooking spray instead of oil. Lordy, they were tasty.

But Monday weigh-ins aren’t as much fun now, since it’s just me at home at 6.45AM. I don’t have time for theatrics or fancy food, otherwise I’d miss my train. It’s just Strip ‘n’ Weigh, baby! 80.9 kilos (178lb) which means I lost 0.7 kg (1.5lb).

Woohoo! I’ll take that. I had a good, clean, sensible week so I must plough forward and do it all over again. I have already had my chocolate ration this week – one Marks & Spencer Caramel Shortcake. It was tops. There are some major Social Landmines coming up, foodwise; but I will do my best to stay aboard the good ship LardBust. Ahoy!