The diet starts tomorrow

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Days 11-13 – Bleh. April 2, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — dernhelm @ 5:12 am

I think the title sums it up for me.

I did some major fails over the weekend.  What bothers me the most is that I didn’t even care.  And if I don’t care, whats stops me from giving up entirely, again?  I didn’t exercise at all and alot of my food wasn’t great.  Again, it was really my attitude that bothers me now; that I so easily abandoned everything I had worked hard for up to that point.

I don’t want to entirely condemn myself because I did some positive things too, but I think they were mainly because I was being held accountible and was with my bf who knows I’m not eating sweets etc.

So, Friday night was really what kicked it off.  I stupidly drank some tea (weak but still, plenty of caffeine which ain’t great) and  I was feeling a bit stressed at the tail end of work and my bf asked if he could let himself into my apartment because he was tired etc.  For some reason, I got strangely annoyed at the idea and by the idea that he didn’t offer to stop and get stuff for dinner even though he was already at the store and I was running late.  I fumed all the way home, stopped and got dinner stuff and bought a petit four.  Not a box or anything, but a good sized one and scarfed it down in my car on the way back.  I don’t know why.  It just seemed like a good idea at the time.  We proceeded to have a healthy dinner and I said I didn’t want to go running which he was ok with since he was tired too.  But, I insisted we go tomorrow for sure.

Yeah, that didn’t happen either.  I started the day well with oatmeal and apples but then spent the next few hours working very hard in a practice counselling training session, feeling tired and mentally worn out by the end.  I felt tired, spacey and then ended up going shoe shopping for new running shoes, which they didn’t have in my size.  Crap.  Because I hadn’t eaten lunch, I had to get a sandwich from Costa coffee shop and opted for the healthiest option they had which was chicken pesto.  Adding a decaf skinny coffee to the mix and 8 euro later, that was that.  On the way home I got really grouchy because we started trying to decide on what to have for dinner and I was of planning food.  Sooo, we decided to make something simple and comforting and had Bangers & Mash.  Now, this has to be one of the best comfort food dishes of all time, especially in Ireland where the sausages are heaven.  I never used to like sausages but when I came here, I was converted.  After a nap and some wine, my boyfriend sensed my need for relaxation and offered to make it for us which was very much welcome.  So, our evening was lazy, food-filled and well, not quite perfect in Eat to Live terms.

Sunday was much better.  As tradition dictates, we went to his family’s house for lunch where I generally am prepared to eat what I’m given.  I did come prepared with decaf tea bags but then watched in horror as his mother started frying up fatty bacon in dollops of oil and then a handful of sugar to the tomato sauce.  Then as usual, serving it with white pasta and white bread… 🙁  But I had a bunch of salad, a small-ish portion and just dealt with it.  Then she brought out the chocolate cupcakes and I wanted to cry.  When I announced that I was trying to cut back on sweets, the look of confusion just spread on their faces.  My bf backed me up and reprimanded his mother when she said, “Well, just have a little one then..”  Luckily she backed off but I sat there and smelled the wafts of chocolate goo coming from them all and pretended to be indifferent.  If the bf hadn’t of been there, I likely would have one, and probably not a small one.  Earlier she had mentioned she had dug out the deep-fryer from the attic to make homemade chips and I was VERY thankful I wouldn’t be there for dinner.  Instead, I went home and made the leftover bangers & mash for dinner, eating far too much and feeling too full and upset with myself.

So here I am this Monday, not having exercised since Wednesday maybe?  I didn’t stick to my fruit-only breakfast and stupidly had another cup of weak caffeinated tea.  Why?!  Anyway, I’m looking to get back on the horse tomorrow food-wise and have big plans to finish off Week 1 of my C25k tonight, finally.  I have 8 weeks until the wedding and I am dress shopping this week which I’m praying will not reduce me to tears.

To make things worse, Easter weekend is upon us and so will be lots of chocolate temptations, Easter dinner and other things that are so hard to resist.  So I’m feeling a bit disheartened today but I know I can just start again and all is not lost.  My body will thank me when I’m pounding that pavement again tonight!


Days 9, 10 – Oops, I did it again.. March 30, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — dernhelm @ 3:04 am

Crap.  I kind of messed up last night.  Not badly, but enough to annoy me and get a little panicky about the 8 1/2 weeks I have left to look my best for this whole wedding ‘do.

I want to start by saying that I’ve got ‘the hunger.’  It started 2 days ago, kind of suddenly I might add, and it’s been really annoying.  My appetite has been pretty level since I started and then it switched into a near constant feeling of hunger.  Not ‘true’ hunger I suppose, but that feeling in your stomach like it’s going to start growling any second, except it doesn’t and just kind of maintains that feeling.  Like a stomach cramp, maybe?  I haven’t really changed anything but yet, there it is.  I’ve been eating just fruit (apple, blueberries, raspberries, some grapes and an occasional banana) and still starting off with hot water and lemon.  Yesterday I had tons of steamed veggies with baked yam (YUM) and snacks of carrots, red pepper crudites and tried to stay hydrated.  Now, it might have been a bit od dehydration and possibly not enough protein or something but, crikey, it’s really annoying.  I felt a bit better after lunch but I’m really missing that stable feeling I had last week.  My energy levels and mood are still better after being off of caffeine/sugar but this kind of sucks.

Oh, I forgot to mention my shameless cookie-gobbling on Wednesday night.  I was asked to bring some snacks to a group thing and since most of us are off of sugar (they’re doing it for Lent, me not so much – the difference between me and them is that after Easter, I’ll still be avoiding cake and chocolate), I brought lots of strawberries and a small packet of chocolate chip cookies…really just for my boyfriend.  The night i bought them he had opened them to have a few before dinner (as he does) and so they were just…sitting there.  In my house.  Crap.  I only had one after my healthy dinner on Wednesday, but then, after the group event, I was asked to take the remainders home.  I was feeling really hungry, the hunger-weirdness had been happening some of the day, and so I just dove into that container of cookies.  To be honest, they weren’t even that great.  And I love chocolate chip cookies, but these almost weren’t worth it.  I didn’t eat 10 of them or anything, but I felt bad about it afterwards.  🙁  That’s what happens when I have baked goods near me – my resolve seems to disappear.

So then yesterday, after a day of more stomach pains, I finally mustered up the courage to try out this whole ‘high-intensity’ circuit class.  After I parked, I could immediately hear insanely loud techno music coming from an underground parking lot where the class is held.  Well, no trouble finding it in that case!  Couldn’t miss it.  When I got down there, I felt relieved to see other women there and that it was well spaced out and people were truly doing their own thing and not paying attention to each other.  The hugely-muscled trainer bounded over to me and we had to nearly shout over the music to have a chat.  “Is this your first time here?” he asks and I kind of roll my eyes inside because it is SO obvious I have never been there.  He goes on to explain that although it is very rare, because I’m not on the e-mail list, I wouldn’t have been contacted to be told that the 7pm class was cancelled for the night.  He apologized profusely and I said it was fine, which was true because inside I was thinking, Woohoo!  Anyway, we chatted briefly and I felt a bit better to have been able to scope the place out and know what to expect.  Not as scary as I thought but I have to admit that the music is totally obnoxious.  I don’t dislike techno – in fact, I was quite the raver girl back in the day and will often work out to techno.  But it’s ridiculously loud… like, painfully loud.  So, that should be interesting.

I had plans to meet a friend for a drink afterwards but instead asked if he was free to meet earlier and perhaps for dinner.  My plan had been to eat after the workout and just have soup at the hotel restaurant where we were meeting but I just went into screw-it mode and decided to treat myself to some real food.  I was getting so sick of cooking for myself and just wanted to be served and to enjoy something different.  When I looked at the menu, the best thing I probably could have had was baked cod with veggies but it was nearly 20 euro.  I thought, well I have cod at home I could make myself.  I’ll order something I DON’T make.  So… I ordered a cheeseburger.  But not a crappy fast food type one.  A homemade, fancy burger with cheese and salad.  It only came with like, 8 chunky french fries so portion was not a huge issue here.  I indulged in a decaf coffee afterwards and shared a Guinness with my friend (for the iron content, of course..).  It was wonderful.  So, for ‘cheating’, it wasn’t too bad, but certainly not on the recommended list. Then I went home, made some decaf tea with rice milk (not great, I have to say..) and enjoyed not feeling the hunger pains for the evening.

So today, I managed to stray a bit already again.  There was a box of Smart cereal lying around at work and I ate a good bit of that (it’s loaded with brown sugar and glucose, boo) which wasn’t a clever choice.  I think I’m just feeling a bit lazy and hitting a small wall.  But I won’t stop or anything – I have my fruit, chickpea soup and veggies for lunch and am planning some sort of healthy dinner for the bf and I tonight.  He’s going sailing all day so he’ll be ridiculously hungry which means I need to come up with something substantial.  Hmmm.. good thing I have some whole wheat pasta lying around.

It’s the weekend as well, which means it’s a bit harder for me to be strict.  I’m just feeling a bit frustrated because I can’t seem to tap completely into that vigilant place where I’m exercising more and building it into a new routine/habit.  I know it takes time, patience and dedication but today I just want to load up a cereal bowl, make some real coffee and order pizza for dinner.  But I know it would make my body feel terrible, and that it would make dress shopping less enjoyable next week.  So, that counts for something.

I’ll be doing my Day 3 of C25k week 1 tonight and starting Week 2 this weekend, woo hoo!  I’m going shoe shopping tomorrow to finally buy some new running shoes.  I’m actually really excited about it and I’m hoping they’ll be used very well in the coming weeks.  I really, really want to step up my exercising game a bit more and just wish I’d have the discipline of commiting to classes or whatever.  I just feel like I have such little time and don’t want to neglect other areas of life for the sake of it.

Ok, I’ll end on a positive note.  Even though I indulged a bit in the last 2 days, the majority of my meals/calories have been nutrient-rich and I DO feel good overall and much better by eating wisely.  My body does feel good when I exercise and I can practically hear my body singing choruses of ‘Yes! Yes!  Thank you, finally!’ because it’s being used and is helping me become who I should be.  It wants to be challenged.  And after enough time passes and wise choices are made, it will uncover the ‘real me’.  It will.  There’s enough proof out there to see that it can and does happen to those who try and do.


Day 8 – Don’t Eat Your Heart Out March 28, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — dernhelm @ 4:10 am

I have just spent the morning being completely inspired, scared and motivated to a different level.  I’ve gone through this kind of thing before with seeing slaughterhouse documentaries, looking through all of my fat photos, or by reading a new diet book that will suppposedly ‘finally’ change it all for you.

This isn’t entirely different, but it’s based on something that can be justified as a ‘life’ change instead of a temporary diet change.  I’ve been reading this book called “109 Things You Can Do to Prevent, Halt & Reverse Heart Disease” by Joseph Piscatella & Barry Franklin, Ph.D.  I saw it at the library and thought I’d have a thumb-through because I’ve been a bit concerned about my cardio/heart health recently.  I’m 30 years old and have a few decades of fast-food eating, sedentary lifestyle, ex-smoker and other naughty things from my youth working against me.  Sometimes when I exercise my heart seems to be working too hard and might even hurt a bit, and I can only imagine that I’m at risk for some sort of heart disease.  I know it’s preventable and treatable but I’d love to nip it in the bud and prevent it as much as possible for later years.  It’s scary stuff.

So, I read about 1/2 of the book in one go and was so pumped by it that I had to blog about it.  It’s got some great tips, background info on heart disease and what kinds of things to check with your doctor to see where you’re at, what they are and why they matter.  After doing a risk assessment, he gives you hope by giving a comprehensive list of action points and why they help.  Heavy on the list is EXERCISE – which is helpful because I need more motivation here.  Of course healthy diet, lowering your stress and anxiety are other factors too, as well as your personality type (which was very interesting – I’ve learned I have a Type A/B personality which is quite accurate).  This book helped me shape a mentality that this ‘diet’ is for life, as is the physically active lifestyle I’m trying to embed into my brain and wiring.  And now I can see why it matters, and that it matters for more besides looking better in my dress or reducing the double chin.

Speaking of my diet, it’s still going well, though I’m getting cravings/more hunger for the first time and I don’t know why it’s happening just now.  Proper hydration, sleep and exercise all factor into this I’ve noticed, but, I need to keep tweeking it until I find the right balance for me.  I’m trying to get more leafy greens in, which is easier in this warmer summer weather (I hate eating salad in the winter – I want hot, starchy food), as well as watching my amount of carbs.  I’m only meant to have 1 serving of starchy foods a day (like quinoa, rice, yams or breads) but it’s been around 2-3 (although modest portions, and wholegrains).  I’ll have to see over the next couple of weeks whether or not it impacts me or if it impedes my weight loss goals.  On the other hand, if my exercise increases, I may need the carbs.

Yesterday’s weather was amazing – I spent some time at the beach which was just very calming to the soul, and managed to stay diet-friendly after being invited to a friend’s for lunch (pitas with chicken, salad).  My bf went with me for Day 2 of the C25k (doing the proper timings this time) and we had salmon, yams and steamed green veggies for dinner (sooo good; still wondering if soy sauce is allowed).  He snacked on some cookies before dinner which nearly killed me but I happened to have some sugar-free mint dark chocolate (thank you Health Store) around which satisfied me.

So, I ditched the high-intensity class for now and did the run, and did pretty well.  I was a bit nervous because I had only done 30 secs of running at a time before and it was now double that.  But I did well and only got tired in the last 2-3 runs but not to a detrimental point.  Jogging seems safe too because you’re surrounded by other joggers and no one pays attention to you because you ‘blend it.’  It’s great to have my bf there because he times it for us, jogs with me and we’re loving the shared activity.  Then we stretch together, have a healthy meal and I feel very pleased with myself.  So, I’ll do the scary circuit class on Thursday evening and tonight I’m only going to have about 30 mins to do something, so it’ll be stairstepper and some mini-circuits like jumping jacks, jogging in place and maybe some free weights.  I have leftover veggie chili with salad for lunch and will be making a veggie omelette tonight with some yummy strawberries afterwards.  I might even have a decaf tea today as a ‘treat.’

I’m starting to dread the weekends in a way because I often veer a bit then.  When I’m at work or home, it’s not too bad at all because I have a routine as such but when I’m out, I find it terribly hard to be good.  But I’ll do my best and will strive for more exercise this weekend and should be starting my 2nd week of C25k.  I’m going dress shopping next week for my friend’s wedding with my future in-law, and I’ve accepted that it makes sense to buy something that fits now, but that might look even better with a couple inches off if I achieve that.

I’ve been craving sugary cereal, pizza and ice cream like crazy.  I was surrounded by ice cream cones when I went running yesterday.  Boooo!  But I’m proud of my resolve so far.  What’s that old adage people say?  ‘Nothing tastes as good as being slim feels.’


Day 7 – Food is a privilege March 27, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — dernhelm @ 2:07 am

Well, I’ve survived the first week and I’m feeling quite happy about that.  Yesterday I didn’t feel amazing, mostly because I realised I only had about 1080 calories and was also a little dehydrated.  It was a gorgeous, sunny day and I didn’t drink nearly enough water, nor did I eat enough for dinner.  I’m trying to be careful with that – it’s not like I wasn’t hungry, it just got very late and I didn’t want to eat that close to bed.  But, I don’t like dipping that low on the calorie count because I’ve read many times that the body might go into starvation mode and that’s not terribly healthy.  I had an annoying headache and was pretty tired too, and also felt cold going to bed.  Luckily, I managed to get to bed early (11:30pm is early for me) and got 7 hours of sleep and feel much more rested and energetic today.  My lower back is fine today but my thighs are still a bit stiff from running the other day.

I realised I did the C25k wrong – whoops!  I was only running for 1/2 the time I was supposed to be (30 sec at a time instead of 60 sec and walking for 60 sec instead of 90) so I’ll have to change that this week.  Oh well, I needed to ease in anyway.  No wonder if felt easy!

Tonight I might be braving this circuits class – I looked up some of the equipment they use and it actually looks great (but difficult).  They do heavy ropes training, TRX suspension, kettlebells, bag training and other weights.  It’ll kick my ass but that’s what’s needed here.  If it doesn’t work out tonight, I’ll do Day 2 of my C52k running and try and extend the walk.

I had a thought last night.  I was walking to the train after a meeting, well past dinnertime and I luckily had an apple with me to enjoy for the ride home.  I passed a homeless man on the street and started thinking about food and the blessing of it.  I’m so ashamed that I’ve spent most of my life eating like a glutton, thinking I ‘deserved’ to fill my body with shit (to be frank).  That I was ‘rewarding’ my self; that I ‘deserved’ it.  Well sweetheart, look where it got you.  There are so many people in need around us and here I am mourning my cupcakes, chai lattes and pizzas.  So, I ate my apple, feeling very grateful that I had a piece of whole, nutritious food to really and truly ‘reward’ my body with.  And that I have money for food at all, and that I can afford healthy food (because it does seem a bit pricier than junk food which is so unfair).  I’m hoping it will bring me some perspective over the next while as I retrain my brain and body to love and cherish good, healthy food and allow it to (hopefully) undo some of the previous damage.

I’m going to enjoy the sunshine today and am finding that my body is really looking forward to the physical activity out there.

Speaking of which, that’s another blessing I find myself feeling grateful for.  My neighbour/landlord is a dear friend of mine and last year she was diagnosed with a brain tumour.  She’s only 38 years old and has an 18-month old daughter which she waited years to have.  She is one of the most positive, extraordinary people I’ve ever met and I cannot believe it happened to her.  Luckily, after chemo and radiotherapy, she’s made huge progress in just 5 months and the tumor isn’t viable anymore.  But she has gained a massive amount of weight from the medications and was recently telling me how depressed she is over it, and how she is grieving the loss of her ‘former self.’  Not having been through something like that, I can’t relate but I could only imagine the hardship that must be.  That she literally cannot physically exercise and that she has bigger health concerns that trimming fat.  So, I am grateful and thankful that I have the ability and option of exercising, living life the way I know it and that I can choose to try and keep things like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other bad diet related diseases as far from me as I can.  Not everything is in our control but I can certainly be responsible for what is.

So, thank you God for my life and health, and for all that I have today.  1 week down, forever to go!


Days 3-6 March 26, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — dernhelm @ 4:05 am

Well, I survived my first weekend on this whole eating well extravaganza.  And I have to say, I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself because I exercised, stuck fairly well to the food thing and have lost a few pounds along the way.  And, it wasn’t entirely miserable.  This may actually work!

So, I went to Zumba again on Thursday night and got another decent workout.  That particular venue had younger, more competent dancers in it so I stayed in the back and got thoroughly annoyed when some of the next class lingered at the doorway and watched us wrap up.  Ugh, like I need an audience.  Anyway, I did my best, sweated my ass off and felt pretty good afterwards.  I used to have this fear about not eating enough before working out and thinking I’d pass out from hunger.  Well, I’ve learned it’s not entirely true and that a few veggie crudites or an apple and some water will satisfy me until afterwards.  Plus, when eating after a workout, even though you’re pretty hungry, you’re more unlikely to eat anything naughty because you’ve just invested an hour and serious work into shedding your previous mistakes from last week.  So far, so good.  I had a class on friday night and Saturday all day so, it required some extra planning since we were being fed lunch, and lots of tea breaks.  I brought my decaf tea bags and felt some relief when they offered fruit and veggie soup for lunch with brown bread.  But there were chocolate and biscuits being offered and I hate to say, I caved in and had some both days.  Not alot mind you, but I wish I hadn’t.  I paid alot of attention to how my body felt after I ate the big cookie too – I felt really shaky, irritable and not good at all.  I wanted to remember that so I wouldn’t do it again.  But to redeem myself, I started the Couch to 5K experiment when I got home, on a beautiful evening by the ocean.  My boyfriend was brilliant and came with me, timed me and jogged with me when it was time to jog.  And I did really well.  I don’t jog usually, I actually always hated it but it felt very relaxing in a strange way and I felt so good doing it.  My very supportive bf then made me a health-friendly dinner of chickpeas, brown rice and lots of yummy spices which ended up being very tasty.

Sunday was our day off together and I managed to stay fairly good despite being out and tempted everywhere.  I had sort of predetermined when I started all of this that I would allow myself a bit of freedom once a week (generally on Sundays) if I’m out or at his mother’s house for a meal.  I’d try and give myself the best option possible but not go nuts about it either.  So, we went out for lunch and I had a veggie quiche and baked potato (which pushed me past my starch intake a bit too much but oh well) but avoided all desserts and teas.  We went to see Hunger Games after that and I allowed myself to share a non-buttered popcorn with him at the cinema because I just really love that part of the movies.  I had an interesting chat with him before that when I had thought out loud about the idea of looking for some sugar-free dark chocolate to have there too.  In innocence, he said ‘Wouldn’t popcorn be enough?’ and I started sulking and had to explain to him that you don’t say something like that to a woman who’s sensitive about her weight.  But he was right and I didn’t need it, but it wasn’t the point.  We had a good chat about how I’m making my food decisions and he seems to have a better idea of where I’m coming from, which is important.  Dinner was vegetarian chili, one of our new favourites and I had to watch him pile on the cheese while I had none.  No problem, I thought, my heart doesn’t need all that.

So, back at work today, feeling a bit hungrier than usual in the mornings but not terribly depressed about food cravings yet.  I did my weigh in today and I have lost over 4 lbs 🙂  That’s pretty encouraging and I should certainly think I have lost that much because I’ve been working pretty hard.  I’ve got big plans for exercise this week – I’ll be continuing the Couch to 5k experiment, I’ll be trying out this new ‘high intensity’ class and might even try my local Fitbox class which looks fun.  The weather is amazing this week and with the clocks just changed, we have more light and sun which makes it more tempting to be outside walking and enjoying life instead of staying inside and eating comfort food.  Hurray!

The downside is that my lower back went out yesterday completely randomly.  It just kind of happened.  It’s not too bad but I’m worried about running or doing any weights with it that way.  I don’t want to mess everything up by pushing myself.

On the other hand, I now have 9 weeks until my friend’s wedding and until my trip back to the States to see everyone.  I want to lose another 14 lbs by then if at all possible (and maybe more if I can) and keep going after that point too.  But I’d be quite pleased to be down that much by then.  My friend has asked me to sing at the wedding (as well as give a reading) so now I’m even more nervous.  My ex will be there, as well as my bf’s ex and I have a feeling it’ll be an emotional rollercoaster for lots of different reasons.  To reward myself, I’m planning to buy a new dress and pay to have my hair/makeup done for the occasion.  Seems to be a nice incentive.  Let’s hope I can do it.  My goal for this week is to lose at least another 2 lbs (am currently at 184, so 182) and to not be a coward with the whole exercise class thing.  And to complete week 1 of C25k by Friday, get started on week 2 this weekend.

It seems like such a long road ahead.  How does one stay upbeat through this experience?


What the shizz is my stomach doing?

Filed under: Uncategorized — dernhelm @ 3:37 am

I don’t know if it’s all the fruit and veg transition (going from lots of carbs and yummy food to whole foods and grains), but my stomach has been very questionable lately.  I don’t mean to bring up something so undesirable to talk about but it’s just been quite an interesting thing.  There’s been sounds of World War 3 going on in there and it’s not at all what you want when you’re in the middle of a quiet class/lecture and something serious is going on where deep concentration is needed.  It’s most impractical.  And distracting.

Luckily it seems to be tapering off a bit but I’ve been thumbing through my diet books and looking for sections on ‘detoxing side effects’ and so forth.  I think I recall reading about this sort of stomach unpleasantness somewhere along the way but, I am starting to get a little annoyed by the whole thing.  It’s really just so impractical.  It’s bad enough I have to load up on pre-prepared food all the live long day.  Let’s see how long this thing lasts.


Day 2 – Feeling good (but mourning eating out) March 22, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — dernhelm @ 5:18 am

I love going to sleep and feeling that you’ve really and truly earned your rest.  I remember very quickly drifting off but not before thinking, ‘Hey, I did pretty well today.  This is actually working..’  zzzzz

My food choices were pretty good yesterday.  I had a hard time getting alot of raw veggies into me but I feel good about the fact that 90% of my calories were all nutritious.  I might have had an apple & raisin muffin (it was small-ish) but to be honest, if I hadn’t had it, my calorie count would have been under 1200 (which I’m trying not to do, especially with workouts involved) and so I can justify it.  But other than that, no caffeine, bad sugars, dairy or other naughties.  Hurray!  I’ve appreciated fruit alot more now that it’s my sweet-fix, and I’ve been learning not to fear ‘hunger’ as I’m learning that it’s more about my body detoxing and craving bad food.  So, I’m learning to ignore it and just feed it good things instead.

I went to Zumba class after alot of uncertainty.  Truthfully, I’m not always a big fan of group exercise, especially since I’m coordination-challenged, but, I quickly remembered that it’s actually pretty fun and you spend 1/2 the time with a smile on your face.  I worked up a great sweat and even managed to last the whole way without having had dinner first which is usually a big no-no for me.  The hour flew by and I was really proud of not having to take a break even though I wanted to a couple of times when my calves started burning.  I’m going to go again tonight as I have a pre-paid voucher for it (and it expires this week) and then will try something different after that.  But it’s a good workout and truly is fun, even though I couldn’t do some of the dance moves properly (but then again, neither could 1/2 of the class).

I’ve heard great things about this whole Couch to 5k thing.  I have 2 friends that did it and found it useful, and I think I need the basic structure it provides.  It would be a great way for me to experiment and see if jogging is a helpful exercise for me.  Plus, the 1st week sessions are only around 20-30 mins so I can justify trying the whole 6am (or maybe 6:30 for that week) malarky.  Either way, I can make it work.  I’m also trying this ‘high intensity’ circuit training class next week.  I bought a month pass on a deal (around 25 euro for 1 month of unlimited classes – a great deal) and apparently it has lots of different circuits including kettlebells, weights, training ropes (?!what is that?) and other things I don’t know about.  I’ve been assured its a mixed abilities class but then I also found out you train pairs.  This got me a little worried.  It could go one of 2 ways – I could horribly embarrass and frustrate my stranger-partner or it could be a helpful motivator and find it to be a good thing.  Anyway, I’m a bit nervous about it, as I usually am when I try a class for the first time.  It seems to be quite a guys’ gym and it could be a bit intimidating.  It would be great if it worked out well though – it sounds like it could be great cardio/strength training and a bit of help in structuring a workout suited to me.  I’ll report on my findings!

Today I feel good – no more detoxing symptoms which is nice.  I feel lighter, happy with my efforts and more clear headed.  I’m still tired but don’t feel the need for caffeine to give me a boost (the fruit still does the trick, as does the hot water with lemon).  I have a stash of herbal teas (I like Rooibos and Nettle teas) and decaf tea for real emergencies.  I bought my first pack of unsweetened Rice Milk to use with tea to see what I think of it.  Not cheap or entirely practical if you only use it once in awhile.

I also did a huge pile of shopping last night and was shocked at the amount I spent and bought.  I’m really hoping that the constant buying of produce won’t be too much more than my previous food budget.  I hate that less-healthy food is cheaper; it made life a little easier.  I suppose I need to learn the art of shopping wisely and being creative.  But I did feel great bypassing the bakery, free cheese samples and loading my cart with colourful veggies and other nutritious things.  I want this feeling to last – the genuine desire to choose these things over my old favourites.

I’m taking an interesting supplement recommended to me by a health food shop person.  I went in awhile ago asking for something natural that helps curb cravings for sugar or big appetites.  She recommended a product called Triphala which are apparently legendary in India for their healing properties in many areas.  But it’s mostly taken for aiding efficient digestion and detoxing the body.  But she rec’d it for me because of its ‘taste’ because apparently it has sweet, sour and something else I can’t remember that is supposed to naturally satisfy the body’s desire for those in other foods (like cake).  I haven’t been taking the max dose because I don’t necessarily need to ‘aid’ my digestion to the extreme, and also because the 20 euro bottle only lasts about 3 weeks if you do it that way.  So instead of 6 caps, I’m taking 2-4 a day.  Now, to be honest, I don’t notice a major difference in cravings.  I seem to be doing ok naturally anyway but it could be the caps and I don’t even notice.  I suppose I may not know until I stop taking them.  But I’m hoping it’s somewhat detoxing me over the next couple weeks until my supply runs out and I’ll see if its worth taking more.  The reviews online are really good for the product, especially from people who have irregular BM’s.  Luckily that isn’t my issue but that’s good to know for future reference.

So, today I am pleased because my fridge is filled with good food and I made the time to plan out today’s meals so that it will be easier to stick with it.  I managed to find a Moroccan Chickpea soup in the store that didn’t have any added sugar or bad things so I’ll look forward to that for lunch.  I have quinoa and lots of veggies for dinner and think soy sauce will be good with it.  I adore soy sauce as a dressing but am worried it’s a no-no for the salt content.  Oh well, it’s better than lots of oil I suppose.  I felt like a mule going to work today – I had to bring 3 different tupperware boxes for all of the produce for the day.  No travelling lightly with this diet!  Perhaps another reason to get onto this juicing idea.

There’s a friend who I always go out to dinner with.  We both really love going out to eat and so that became one of our things since not many of our other friend’s wanted to.  I had to tell her that I just can’t eat out right now, and probably for awhile, because it’s just too hard.  Last time we went out I had a greek salad and some salmon with veg.  Both dishes were covered in oil. sauces and other dairy products and it’s just entirely too hard to plan for it.  Plus, she loves her dessert and that sucks to have to just sit and watch her eat it.  Luckily, she’s understanding about it and so we’ll just have to do different things when we’re together.  You know, that whole ‘not making your life revolve around food’ business.

The key now is trying to find joy/comfort in other things as well.  Food always brought me extra joy and comfort, and I’d look forward to the next meal everyday for what it had to offer.  So, I am trying to rewire my brain into taking joy/comfort from healthy food, but also in exercise and other external things like hobbies and relationships.  It’s the only way I can see this becoming a lasting way of life.  But there’s no way I think I would have ever ‘gotten’ that when I was a teenager and just wanted to look like everyone else, no matter what.

Man, I’m so glad I’m not in high school anymore.


The 6am dream March 21, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — dernhelm @ 5:05 am

I have this dream – to be one of those people I see who are out jogging before work everyday.  I don’t even like jogging.  Not yet anyway.  But it’s free and good cardio.  I work 50 hours a week and am at work by 8am so my bigger challenge regarding exercise is getting lots of regular cardio in.  I’m often busy with commitments after work during the week so it’s too late to go out and do it then.  I’m trying to squeeze in exercise classes (things I can’t do on my own like strength training – I’m dying to try kettlebells and Fitbox) in the evenings or weekends but would love to get the cardio in.  So, the only way I can think to make this happen is to get up an hour before work and just go do it.  Meaning, up and gone by 6am, home by 7am and then get ready for work.

Problem 1: I’m a night owl.  I’m rarely asleep before midnight during the work week and usually get by on 5-6 hours of sleep a night.  I manage, but I know it’s not doing me any favors.  I just need the time to get stuff done!

Problem 2: I snooze like you wouldn’t believe.  I probably snooze my alarm for about 45 mins each day before actually getting up.  Its a bad habit I’ve had since I was 19 and it’s ridiculous.  I seem to need the time to ‘prepare’ my brain to actually wake up.  So, every time I try and set it early, my body seems to know it’s not necessary to really get up and then I risk oversleeping completely.

Problem 3: I’m not a morning person and morning workouts first thing seem to make me physically ill.  In the past when I’ve tried this whole 6am thing, it hasn’t gone down well.  I’d love to change this; really not sure how.

So, you see the problems.  I am thinking I’ll give it a go tomorrow or Friday but it depends on how late I get to bed as well; rest is important too, especially while I’m still officially detoxing.  Maybe the weekend will be easier to try but I don’t want to keep putting it off.  I’m so impatient.  I have to remember it took me a very long time to get this fat, and it’ll take time to get it off again.

I realised the other day – I had gone down to 170 lbs (a real first in years) at Christmas 2010 and looked pretty good; people back in the States kept complimenting me and everyone said I looked so ‘skinny’ (if that’s skinny, what would 120/130 be?!)  Anyway, I started a new relationship and also started driving more, meaning less walking (I averaged an hour a day, just getting around) and my weight crept back and I managed to gain 18 lbs in the past year.  Relationships always seem to do that to me – you feel secure and happy and eat more, plus we were spending less time hiking together and spending more time kissing and being that flirty, nauseating couple that everyone hates.  But that really scared me – almost 20 lbs in less than a year!  In May 2010, I weighed over 200 lbs and got down to 170 in about 6 months (without being horribly strict all the time) and was extremely proud of myself; it was the first time anything had worked so well for me.  So, I refuse to get back to that 200 lbs and am working towards that 170 (or less) by my friend’s wedding in May.

Yet another reason why this whole 6am dream needs to become a reality.  Or some sort of alternative, anyway.


Eat to Live – Day 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — dernhelm @ 4:49 am

So here we go – Day 1.  I’ve read the ETL book all the way through and really found it helpful.  I’ve read lots of other health/diet books before that were similar (Skinny Bitch, The Beauty Detox Solution, You Are What You Eat) and they all have a pretty similar theme which I buy into.  They advocate plant-heavy diets with healthy whole grains, legumes and very little animal/dairy products.  They also advocate discontinuing caffeine/sugar and whites (simple carbs) which I find makes me always feel my best (by not eating/drinking them).  I will *always* get withdrawal symptoms when I stop caffeine or sugar, which signals to me that my body is addicted to them (which I don’t like).  I like to read them with an open mind and then experiment to see what suits my body and it’s needs.  When I exercise more, I often find I need to increase the grains/calories and I feel it helps.  Bodies are so unique and I think these books are all helpful guidelines but not always an exact science.  Spending years experimenting with various things (Atkids, South Beach, meal replacement, Herballife, Weight Watchers etc), this Eat to Live seems to make my body happy, although it’s very hard initially.

Yesterday I was really hormonal and had a headache all day, which didn’t help the detox process.  I did really well though – I kept my calories at 1200 and had no sugar or caffeine.  When I had to buy a sandwich for dinner, I bought the healthiest option possible at Marks & Spencers which is a real feat – that place has the best baked goods in the world and the shop smells like butter.  I stayed hydrated and exercised when I could throughout the day despite feeling like crap.  But I was really tired, crabby and would have loved coffee at some point.  But I didn’t.  And that’s awesome.

Today I feel much better.  I’m finding it easier to avoid decaf tea too because there’s a vicious cycle involved with that.  You have the tea which requires milk, and I always associate tea with a cookie (because that’s how they roll here in Ireland).  So, my new favorite is hot water with fresh-squeezed lemon juice which is supposed to be very cleansing to your liver first thing in the morning, as well as helpful for your metabolism.  And it’s nice and refreshing.  I had fruit and a handful of special K for breakfast, which is cheating a tad but a huge improvement.  I have a spinach salad and spicy lentil soup for lunch, and plan to have a veggie egg-white omelette for dinner.  Hoping to go to my Zumba class tonight but I’m always nervous about going because I always feel stupid trying to follow someone else’s dance moves.  I always try and stay at the back too but it never works out that way because everyone else has the same idea.  Luckily I quickly remember that no one else is watching you – they’re all watching the sassy dance instructor impersonate Beyonce to ‘Put a Ring On It’ and nervousness subsides a bit.

The other thing I hate doing is all the preparation and planning ahead for eating well.  It takes alot of effort to set yourself up not to fail.  Buying tons of produce, preparing it and cleaning up after it always seems to be just that bit more work.  But I’ve learned if you don’t do it, you’ll go off the rails even faster.  I have to say, it feels good to see a cart full of healthy food.  It makes me feel great, like a peek into the future – that I am genuinely ‘that’ person who you see at the store buying healthy food (while you’re laden with brownies and cheese).  I would love to buy a juicer soon but am dreading the inevitable cleaning and mess involved.  I must remember – it’s all worth it.

My other task this week is to find tasty, healthy recipes that I can make that will make my boyfriend happy too.  He’s great about this whole thing and wants to support me, but he’s a typical Irishman who has lived off of amazing dairy, Irish sausages, potatoes and his mom’s mouthwatering desserts.  Going to their house for meals is my kryptonite.  I can never say no (which is hard to do anyway because people expect you to eat their food when you visit) but I must.  And without making a big deal about it.  I hate, hate, hate announcing that I’m on a diet or doing anything that draws attention to my weight or losing it.

Anywho, the bf likes meat and all the good stuff but says he’s happy to eat whatever I’m eating as long as there’s plenty of it.  He works in the outdoors so his appetite is ridiculous.  I know what he says but I don’t believe that rabbit food would really satisfy him.  So, there’s been some experimenting.  Last weekend I made us vegetarian chili (which we put in corn taco shells) and put spinach, salsa and avocado on top.  We both *loved* it and it made great lunch leftovers; plus it was easy and healthy enough  (**The recipe was found in Patrick Holford’s ‘The Optimum Nutrition Cookbook*)

I’m loving lentils, kidney beans and quinoa these days for my grains/protein but want to find some good ways to use them in recipes for us both.

The other challenge is eating big salads.  I don’t mind raw vegetables but am still trying to wrap my head around the idea that salad is to be a main meal twice a day and not getting sick of it.

Which reminds me – must buy a salad spinner.


The diet starts today

Filed under: Uncategorized — dernhelm @ 4:21 am

For years, the joke in my family was always, “The diet starts tomorrow.”  We’d all be at our usual family gathering where there was the obligatory junk foods, birthday cake, what have you.  Someone would be lifting the forkful of cake to their lips and out would come the joke.  I’ve inherited that joke for years.  Yeah…not so funny anymore.

I’ve been told that anger is a sign that change is needed.  And it’s true – I’ve been angry for a good while at the type of diet and lifestyle I’ve let myself lead.  After I left home at 18, I was finally free to eat whatever I wanted and could afford to go out to eat all the time, go drinking with friends, etc.  I drove everywhere, rarely exercised and lived my ‘free’ youth life as I pleased.  Over the years, the pounds piled on and even though I felt more comfortable with myself than I did in high school, I hated always being the fat one in my group of friends.  I can’t stand looking at pictures of myself in my early 20s.  Even though I’m alot healthier now, I’m still at an unhealthy weight and have years of damage to shed.  I have a wonderful, supportive boyfriend who loves me how I am but I would love to stay attractive to him and keep up with his outdoorsy lifestyle.  I’ll sometimes have reoccuring nightmares of still being fat in my wedding pictures.  I really, really don’t want that to happen.  And I’d love to be at a healthy weight if/when I ever have children.

So, here we are.  Today.  We can only take charge of today, in the here & now and to learn from the past. I owe myself and my future better than what I’ve given it.


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