Waiting for the sun

Spring has unsprung here in Scotland. Last week I'd started an entry about sunshine and gardening and daffodils jumping out at you from every corner. But now? Snow! Sleet! Rain! All the daffodils have been flattened by wild winds.

Dr G and I had been busy getting the garden sorted but it's looking a bit rough now. Grrrr. At least these little leek seedlings were safely inside.

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If you're scared of carbs LOOK AWAY NOW!

Hehe. We planted some potatoes in old compost bags… great if you don't have much space. Of course the poor buggers have probably drowned or frozen to death now.

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I'm slowly getting to know the local wildlife. There's a cranky robin, two feuding blackbirds, some extremely destructive rooks  P1010804_2 and swarms of Eating Disorder Pigeons. The EDP's like to hang out in the field behind us.

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Meanwhile inside Crooked House there is still crookedness to admire P1010820. After replacing the stinky carpet we've been laying low on the home improvement front. The walls are blank and furniture is sparse but I have a SPICE DRAWER so I don't care.

A shallow drawer under the hob/stove/whatever you call it in your country was just the right size for a dusty collection of useless spices. I stuck a shoe box lid in there to keep them tidy. After decades of rummaging I have to say this made me spew with happiness! I'm actually using them now I can find them. I tried turning the labels down so you could just see the lovely spices, but then I sprinkled cumin on my porridge instead of cinnamon so am reconsidering that idea.

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This is the kind of minutiae that blogs were made for. Mwahaha.

The Virgin Soufflés

In the last podcast I mentioned I'd been emulating George Costanza and doing The Opposite. In one of my favourite Seinfeld episodes George decided his instincts were crap and decided to say and do the opposite of what he would usually do. It has been a sometimes fun sometimes awful experiment!

One thing I tried was a life coaching session. Life coaching is something I was always cynical and dismissive about but it proved mind-bogglingly helpful. I've been dealing with Deep Stuff these past couple of months so a more practical session felt great.

I was given a wee bit of homework to, "do something that I've wanted to do for a long time but never made the time to do". Of course I had a handy list of full of such things, and decided on lucky 13… Make A Soufflé.

Yeah baby! This would be ultimate metaphor… the rising soufflé! The edible phoenix rising from the ashes!

I settled on this Easy Chocolate Soufflé, as easy and chocolate are two of my favourite words. It was also less OTT than most recipes at 222 calories per serve.  I thought that sounded reasonable for a sweet treat and should prevent too many people sending cranky emails that I was ruining their life with my chocolate talk.

So I separated the eggs and made the base then whisked the whites like a mofo. It was so bloody simple and enjoyable and as always with these little things you put off, I thought… Why did I pissfart around for so long?

Now this is what it was supposed to look like:

Good-souffle
(image used with permission)

And here's what mine looked like:

Souffle-flop

A flat and lifeless FLOP. Two little farts in two little dishes! Let's not go down the metaphor road with these specimens.

Och well. At least they were tasty and I enjoyed the process. I'll attempt again in the future but there is no "OMG must analyse why I FAILED and spend three weeks researching perfect souffle techniques" sense of urgency.

Hmm… I have no deep and meaningful end to this entry for you as it's two weeks since I started writing it and the train of thought has chuffed off into the distance. Basically I'm having fun doing The Opposite and mucking along with life. Any soufflé cooks out there? Any favourite soufflé recipes?

EASY CHOCOLATE SOUFFLÉ

Serves: 4
Source: RealEpicurean

100g/3.5 oz good quality dark chocolate
50g/1.75 oz golden caster sugar
4 egg whites
2 egg yolks
10g/0.3 oz butter

  1. Pre-heat oven to 150°C (300°F)
  2. Rub the inside of four ramekins with butter. Set aside.
  3. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of heating water.  This will allow chocolate to melt without burning; stir it to help the process along.
  4. Whisk the egg whites in a bowl. Start off slowly, speeding up once the eggs start to thicken. Now slowly pour in the sugar while continuing to whisk. Stop once the eggs form a glossy, thick mix which forms fairly stiff peaks.
  5. By this time your chocolate should be melted. Take off the heat and mix in the egg yolks, then stir in one spoon of your egg white mix.
  6. Add the chocolate mix into the remaining egg whites. Slowly fold until combined, being careful not to knock out too much air.
  7. Spoon into the ramekins and smooth the edges with your thumb (this helps them rise evenly).
  8. Put the ramekins in the oven for 25 minutes.  Don’t open while they’re cooking or they’ll collapse.

Per souffle: 222.8 calories. Click here to see the nutrition facts.   Souffle-stats

Episode 10 – It’s All In Your Head

Mirror Today we're tackling questions from your head about your head. You know, the mental side of things. Then we attempt to answer from our own heads.

These are real can-of-worms topics; the ones that tend to raise more questions than they answer. We'd love to hear your own thoughts on these too…

  • How do I overcome my mental barriers to exercise?
  • How can I tell the difference between deprivation and moderation?
  • How do you prevent passing on your weight and body issues to your kids?
  • Plus a really thought-provoking one about body image and internal vs external validation

Also today: Carla reflects on her half-mara hijinks and Shauna attempts to meditate.

Here's how to listen:

If you have trouble with the above, here is an alternative download link and another in-browser player below:

10 It's All In Your Head

Let us know if you have any problems listening – our technical support team is standing by!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Many thanks to our Blogger News contributors:

Today's don't-forget-your-sense-of-humour outro tune is Fat Children by Jarvis Cocker.

A huge thanks to those who got in touch about the quiet volume on Episode 9. It should be sorted on this one! Please don't be shy to tell us about any technical issues or topics you'd like us to explore further or if we've missed your Blogger News etc etc. We are still learning so your feedback is always appreciated!

If you'd like to get in touch, email us at hello@twofitchicks, pop a comment, tweet @twofitchicks or say hi on our Facebook page. Cheers for listening.

Sermon on the Blog

Sermon Last week I got emails from three different people saying they'd dug up an entry from four years ago called Things I Have Learned.

I re-read it myself and found it very reassuring, like the Ghost of Shauna's Past telling me DUDE we've been here before so don't you worry bout a thing!

In light of the aforementioned mushy brain I thought I would re-post it today for the new-school readers.

2006 Disclaimer:  This is not smug lecturing or advice or a dietary Sermon on the Mount. It's just a wee list of lessons learned over the last five years. And so many of em took almost all that time to learn. I'm a bit slow.

Disclaimer Update 2010:  Yep. Still learnin'!

  • Laugh at yourself. Especially when you screw things up!
  • Don't compare your progress to other bloggers, instead be inspired by them (ie. steal their ideas!)
  • Try to reduce the self-loathing. I'm not saying you have to look in the mirror and chant, "YOU ARE A WINNER!", but it really doesn't help to stand around yelling at your thighs.
  • Remember that the weight loss industry exists to make money, whether it's Weight Watchers or Slimming Magazine or the CSIRO or Dr Gillian McKeith. Even though they all help in their own ways, they don't have all the answers and they really want you to buy the Choco Crisp Bars or send away for the Pilates DVD. Take bits and pieces from what they tell you and clobber it together to make your own way of doing things. Don't let anything be a substitute for thinking for yourself.
  • Don't put things off until you Get Skinny. Try something crazy and new. If you fail, just don't blog about it!
  • Deal with The Past.
  • Look at the Big Picture or look at the Little Picture. Whichever is easiest to stomach at the time!
  • Don't disappear up your own arse. Losing weight seems to bring a lot of introspection and lightbulb moments, but don't let this journey take over your life.
  • Accept that you are moody, inconsistent and full of contradictions. What worked for you yesterday may shit you to tears tomorrow, and for no reasonable reason!
  • Never eat lentils before you do squats or lunges.
  • Just because you think everything is about your weight, don't assume everyone else sees it that way. Often other people are much better at seeing past your fat than you are.
  • Just because you lose weight doesn't mean your old fears and problems will disappear. Example: If you were scared of rollercoasters when you were 350lb you may still shit your pants at the thought of them 160 pounds later!
  • Total Greek Yogurt is the best thing to come out of Greece since Plato.
  • Things won't change overnight. It takes time, trial and error to forge a healthy lifestyle and figure out what works for you. The difficulty of this task increases by tenfold increments depending on how many times per week you used to visit McDonalds Drive Thru.
  • Don't let the fear of loose skin, belly rolls or flabby arms stop you. Do you think Oprah worried about her bingo wings? No. She just flap-flap-flapped and flew away to world domination!
  • If you're still worried about your flabby arms, move to Scotland. You can get away with long sleeves for about 364 days a year.
  • Even when you royally screw up – over and over and over again – you can pick yourself up again. As long you never stop believing you will get there in the end.

Excuse me, my brain is full

Brain At last I can report that I'm backing up my words with actions, hoo bloody ray! As mentioned month I'm tackling the big issues instead of getting distracted by surface things (e.g. my lard).

Turns out dealing with big issues is really bloody hard. I'm making lots of connections and while there's initial smugness when you figure something out, it's swiftly followed by deflation, like a punch in the guts, as you see how you let these things affect your behaviour and decisions and whatnot over time. I want to curl up under my desk and hide just thinking about it. Urgh.

I've been trying to write an entry for a week but my brain is mush. So I am just going to give up for the moment. In summary: life is really bloody good. I may not be able to string a sentence together but the sun is shining and I'm lucky to have wise and hilarious friends and Mad Men is on tonight. Giddyup!

What is the right way to run?

RunThis post was imported from the Two Fit Chicks and a Microphone podcast blog.

Linda had a running question for Ms Julia Jones:

I've been reading and watching You Tube videos on running. It seems there is a wrong way to run and a right way. They say once you start running incorrectly it's hard to adjust. What is the right way to run? Do you have any tips or links I can follow up on? 

Forwards! I say. But the wise Julia has a better answer:

I wrote a book in Italian on women's running and I just translated the first section: running style! The english has not yet been corrected but it's still readable 🙂

Running Style – A first approach

One of the most frequent questions asked by beginners is: how should I run? A lot of people compare themselves to elite runners they see on television (no matter what the specialty is, from the 800 metres to the marathon) or to a friend that already runs, without realizing that the way they move is very, very different.

They want someone to watch them run correct any errors that they’re making. They want to know if their feet should be positioned further ahead or if their shoulders are too far back. They think that with a couple of suggestions and simple corrections they’ll be able to run perfectly.

The human body is amazing. It adapts perfectly to whatever environmental conditions it’s give, using whatever available resources it possesses. Even though as human beings we’re very similar to one another, in reality we are all very unique in our physical and mental characteristics. The way we move, even while running, is influenced by our body proportions, any physical activity done during the years, by mental models that each one of us constructs and builds through our own experiences. In running, the way you place your feet, the position of your upper body and your stride length are all regulated by inborn and acquired qualities. What has to be looked at is whether what you think is a incorrect way of running (compared to an ideal model) should be corrected or just left alone.

Have you ever seen the British World Class athlete and marathoner Paula Radcliffe run? Every four steps her head inclines forward as if she’s nodding. The faster she runs the faster she nods. Look out when she has to sprint to the finish! And yet she’s declared that it would cost her more energy to work on modifying this “defect” rather than try and live with it to her best ability. With her “wrong” way of running she holds the world record time for the Women’s marathon distance!

My advice to beginner runners is not to concentrate too much in the first few months on your running style. Initially, it’s more important to build an aerobic base and be able to “move yourself” for many miles without stopping. Once you’ve reached this goal you can read the next chapter and concentrate more on how to improve your running technique and style. For now you can just follow these four tips to achieving a natural running style:

Look straight ahead.
Don’t put your focus on the the ground or on your shoes. Look directly in front of you with your head straight. Enjoy your environment, you can look left and right, or concentrate on a focal point or the general view in front of you.

Keep your shoulders straight and relaxed.
Be careful not to tense up in your shoulders or hunch over while leaning too far forward. It might help stretch before starting your run with your hands high over your head. Another trick is to left and then release your shoulders six or seven times in a row. Sometimes when I feel a lot of tension in my shoulders I’ll slow down my run for a few minutes and do these same exercises while I’m running.

Your elbows should be at a 90° angle.
Your arms should be relaxed and follow the natural rhythm of your legs. Make sure to keep your hands relaxed, with your fingers slightly closed but not in a tight fist.

Mid-foot striking and landing
Not on the tips of your toes, not on your heels. Your feet should cushion your land and roll as you push off, trying not to brakes the movement. Landing with your heels makes you brake sharply and thus puts a lot of traumatic strain on the lumbar region, which is when you hear complaints about back pain.

Now the men pay attention to me again

The Before and After photo thieves are at it yet again – this time I'm flogging diet pills in Germany!

Thank you to all the lovely German and Swiss readers who got in touch to let me know I've been popping up on GMX, a big Hotmail-ish site. With help of a legal eagle I've contacted the company and asked them in grand paragraphs of German to just bloody stop it.

I better hear back soon otherwise we'll be forced to unleash the threatening ping-pong kitties again!

There's quite a few different versions of this ad. Apparently one claims I'm happier and have more confidence and another translates to "I lost 35 Kilo. Now the men pay attention to me again!". Once again I've had nothing to do with these adverts and did not take any pills unless you count the occasional gobful of M&Ms which didn't exactly speed up the process 🙂

Diet pills... just say no!