Saturday, March 28, 2015

Holding steady, and a big hike today

Just holding steady this week, bouncing between 77 and 78 kilos (169-171 lbs). I'm going to be mixing up my fast days next week and attempting a 4:3 fast rather than 5:2. So that means 3 days fasting. I'm finding it much easier to fast on weekdays when work keeps me busy rather than on the weekend, and I just want to give it a try for a week and see how I go. If it's too much then I can go back to a 5:2 but just keep them weekdays.  We'll see how I go.

Today we took a huge hike - we've been looking for interesting new trails to walk lately, and this one through Mt Keira ring track looked very scenic. We didn't know until we got there just how challenging it would be, at least the first half ... they recommended hiking boots and now we know why. Still, it was great exercise with lots of climbing and negotiating through thick vegetation in a rainforest setting. These are not my pictures, they're from a state conservation area website, but this is the area we hiked. But the vegetation was much thicker in many areas than what you see here, and there were pockets of mud to traipse through as well. It claimed to be 5K but it felt like more than that. It took about an hour and a half so it was definitely slow going in some parts.  Still, quite lovely and scenic. (Click photos to view larger.)





Not much else to report this week, it's been great weather this weekend so we gotta enjoy that while it lasts. Daylight savings time ends in another week or two -- mornings have been darker, and once the time changes it'll start getting darker sooner after work as well. Won't be long until winter is here -- hope you all have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Aging’s Effect on PCOS

I've been doing some interesting reading the last few days regarding how PCOS is affected by aging. I've noted before how after years of having an extremely irregular cycle, for the last couple of years I've been regular like clockwork ... if anything it's too frequent, and when weight loss has already slowed down as I approach goal, it's really frustrating dealing with monthly weight gain every 3-4 weeks. Here's some of what I learned:

As women age and transition through menopause, estrogen levels naturally decrease.

According to new research, it appears that reproductive hormones in women with PCOS differ from women who don’t have PCOS after menopause. In fact, the reproductive life span in women with PCOS has been found to extend beyond that of women without PCOS due to higher adrenal and ovarian androgen levels.

Surprisingly, women with PCOS are more likely to experience regular menstrual cycles as they age because of the natural decline in androgen levels that occurs in response to menopause. Women with PCOS reach menopause later than women without the syndrome and differ in reproductive hormones.

Older women with PCOS reported less hot flashes and sweating than non-PCOS women but reported significantly more hirsutism (64%) compared with controls (9%). Hirsutism symptoms such as unwanted hair growth and balding worsen with aging. These dermatological effects can be detrimental to a woman’s self-esteem and body image.

So basically I'll likely experience menopause later ... but when I do there should be less unpleasant side effects. That part's ok. On the other hand, the unpleasant side effects of PCOS will only get worse.

It's not enough I could never have children? That I have had to cope with years of hirsutism, insulin resistance and weight struggles, and now hair loss as I age? I've had weight issues my whole life but now, when I've finally gotten it under control, when I'm finally approaching my goal weight ... PCOS just has more unpleasantness in store for me? I keep hoping at least I'll be rid of my monthly visitor soon, but it would appear that's not likely. Ah the joys of PCOS. Well I'll try to focus on the one good thing ... when menopause finally does come, less chance of hot flashes. Hopefully.

Monday, March 16, 2015

I ran 40 minutes? What was I thinking?

I assure you I wasn't thinking I could actually do it. But as increasing my speed wasn't working so well for me, today I decided to try increasing my run time instead. I had no delusion that I could actually run 40 minutes, even with a one minute walk every ten minutes. I thought I'd keep it at 8kph and go as long as I could. Surely I could get through the first three sets ... I'm already running 30 minutes.

When the fourth set started I remember thinking I would try to get through three minutes ... then my music ran out and I wondered how I'd keep going because I sure didn't want to just watch the timer for seven minutes. So I focused on the part of the display that features a loop of dots that light up one by one to mark your distance. Once around the loop is 400 meters. So I watched the dots light up and did not look at the count-down timer until it got 1/4 of the way around. That made it much easier and before I knew it I'd finished!  I ran 40 minutes at 8kph with three 1-minute walks in between. And I felt freaking awesome!

You don't know what you're capable of until you try. All up I went 6.8 klm, about 1.3 klm of that was walking so that means I ran 5.5 klm. I can finally say I ran 5k.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

I'm in the 160s! Less than 20 lbs to goal!

I'm here, and couldn't be better! Sorry I didn't update last week, life was a bit busy, but it doesn't matter, it gets a little boring to write the same thing all the time anyway. As in "I'm still running, still doing Callanetics, still fasting twice a week but it's that week again, every four weeks where I stall or gain." But I'm back and happy to report a drop this week. I weighed in at 77.1 kg this morning which is 169.98 lbs. I'm in the 160s!! Just barely but I am! That brings my total loss to 53.2 kg / 117.29 lb. Very happy with that.

It seems surreal to say I have less than 20 pounds to go to reach goal. Wow. Can I do that in the next five months I wonder? I am going home for a visit in August this year, so it would sure be nice to be at goal then. We've been looking into airfare and it's looking like right around $1500 each at this stage. It's such a long flight from Sydney to LA, then on to Chicago (then a few hours drive as well). So we were talking to my sister-in-law yesterday who suggested we stop in Hawaii for a couple of days to break up the flight. What a lovely idea! Neither of us has ever been to Hawaii, and I really do hate that long flight. We've talked about not making this just a trip home to visit family, but also to see sights we've never seen before, travel around the country a bit, etc. So why not see Hawaii?

There is a part of me that worries about all the foods I will have access to again that I haven't had here. There is no Taco Bell here, and I can't remember the last time I had a Reuben sandwich -- those are SO GOOD.  Will I continue to fast twice a week once I'm home? I don't know - we'll see. I think whether I fast or not for those few weeks isn't as important as that I eat the right foods as much as possible. Is it realistic to think I won't try anything that has sugar or junk carbs? Maybe ... we'll see. I think a few onion rings is in order no matter what, they just don't have those in Australia (except the dehydrated formed ones you would find at Burger King, which is known as Hungry Jack's here). I really miss onion rings. But by and large I hope to stick to my new way of eating even while in America. I can always make low-carb Reuben cabbage rolls - basically Reuben filling stuffed in cabbage leaves. Wow, those sound good actually.

As for running, I haven't done so well increasing my speed this week. I haven't had as much energy for some reason. I tried both Monday and Wednesday going to 8.1 but about 20 minutes in I had to back it down to 7.8 kph. In fact on Wednesday I didn't even make the full 30 minutes, I just didn't have it in me and went back to a walk after about 23 minutes. But yesterday I did the full 30 minutes at 8.0 kph so maybe it was just a bad week. I will probably try 8.1 again this week. Hardly seems like .1 kph could make much difference, but it was my 'gain' week so maybe that had something to do with it. Alternatively I could start the 10K training -- the first day of that is 40 minutes, but you run 10 minutes, then walk one, then repeat three times. I don't know, we'll see how I feel on Monday.

The Callanetics are still working, I can feel myself getting stronger -- especially the abs. My saddlebags are shrinking slowly, my waist is smaller. I still have enough fat on my body that I can't tell if my abs are getting flatter but they sure feel stronger. It's getting much easier to do the exercises. I can curl up further on the stomach exercises, sit up straighter doing the behind exercises, and bend over much further on the waist trimmer. I can also see my legs getting slimmer, including the inner thighs. I love this workout! I use the original Callanetics from Callan Pinckney, not the newer versions.

Anyway, I've just come off a fast day and there's nothing here for breakfast, so I may have to take a walk to the store and get some eggs. Hope you all have a great weekend -- I have still been reading blogs last week even if I didn't update mine, and I'll check in with you all again soon.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Put a stop to limiting beliefs

I started learning to run because I never believed it was something I could do; I wanted to stretch my boundaries, face my fears and give it a go. It wasn't easy and I had to start with my own shorter intervals as one minute was too hard back then, but I eventually completed the C25K program. Once I ran at 8.2 kph, but on average my speed was 7.8 kph. When I restarted the program this year I was running 8 kph for the smaller intervals but as I had to run for longer periods I worried I couldn't do it. I didn't believe I would be able to run at 8 kph for 20 minutes or more, so I'd been setting it for 7.6 the last few weeks.

So for my first run since finishing C25K I decided to start at 8 kph and see how long I could go before reducing my speed. I thought just get to 15 minutes ... then it became just till the end of this song. Before I knew it I had five minutes left and thought I might just make it after all. And I did! Why did I doubt myself?

How do you know you can't do something if you don't try? Limiting beliefs can really hold us back. What might we accomplish if we only believed we could? I don't know, but I'm thinking I might just stay at 30 minutes for awhile and try increasing speed by one point each time ... who knows, in a few weeks I could be running at 9 kph! One of my treadmill programs had me doing a few intervals at 9 kph for three minutes, and it was quite challenging. Why can't I work up to that for longer runs? I'm going to find out by giving it my best go. Wish me luck.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Down 52.4 kg (115.52 lb) ... the stall is truly history!

First, a weigh-in ... this morning I got a new low of 77.9 kg (171.74 lb)! That is down 1.1 kg (2.43 lb) from my last update, and that's after a night out with friends including dinner at the club. All around me there was pizza, chicken parmesan drenched in cheese, hot chips (plank fries), bruschetta and other appetisers. I very much enjoyed my grilled rump steak with salad and steamed veggies. Yum!

That brings my total loss to 52.4 kg (115.52 lb)! I am so happy to be moving again I feel like I'm walking on cloud nine. I've not only completed Milestone 10 on the Happy Scale app ... I'm 10% into Milestone 11 (of 12). The finish line is within sight!

I'm moving my fast days to Tuesday & Saturday this week. I'd rather be eating on Sunday since I usually do my grocery shopping and cook a big meal to have lunch leftovers through the week, so I'd rather fast on Saturday.

As for exercise ... I've completed my second round of C25K but this time I was 25 pounds lighter and completed it in 8 weeks instead of the 12 it took me the first time. Having the treadmill was great, I didn't miss a day due to weather and I could ensure a constant pace. I can watch scenic run videos, or my favourite music videos to help the time pass more quickly. I love that!

So now I'm trying to decide what my next goal should be ... I may run for half an hour but it's not 5k for me. It's more like 4k. I can run 8 to 10 minutes at 8 kph but for 20-30 minutes I tend to run 7.6 kph. So where should I focus next?
  • I could continue to run 30 minutes for a while trying to increase speed,
  • I could try the programs on the treadmill (speed and incline intervals), or
  • I could not worry about my speed and just build my endurance, possibly moving up to the 10k trainer to do longer runs.
I'm not sure yet but I may just alternate the first two options for a week or two and see how we go.

Definitely still doing Callanetics on the days between running and I can both see and feel my body changing. Hubby feels it too ... he can't keep his hands off me! Don't worry, I'm not going to over share here, lol. I'm just saying it's nice to drift off to sleep while someone gives you a relaxing massage, and he'll stop and caress my arms, hips, waist, thigh or backside and say how much smaller, tighter or firmer I'm getting. Between running and Callanetics I am seeing and feeling amazing changes in my body and I love it. My new jeans are getting loose!

Well, off to break the fast ... I'll check in again soon.

Monday, February 23, 2015

I'm no longer obese! At least, not today!

I didn't update my weight over the weekend because TOM wasn't done with me yet - I wanted to wait for my drop. But after yesterday's fast, I've had a nice one. So maybe I should do my official weigh-ins on Monday now since Sunday is a fasting day. In any case, last Monday I was 79.8 kg (175.93 lb) and today I am 79.0 kg (174.17 lb). So that's a loss of .8 kg (1.76 lb). That makes my total loss 51.3 kg or 113.1 lb.

But what I'm really excited about is my BMI - if you look at my ticker up there you'll note that it's 29.9 today. Under 30. That means, my friends, that I am no longer obese! I am just overweight! HOORAY - I want to shout it from the rooftops.

I gotta rush off to work but I'll check in again soon. Just had to share the news! :)