Showing posts with label Meals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Meals. Show all posts

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Dropped 2.2 kg this week; nearly 5 pounds!

So this week I followed essentially the same pattern as last week - eating Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday; fasting Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Only instead of light meals Wednesday I only ate one meal in the evening. Actually I was feeling that good and really wanted to go three days in a row, so I fasted during the day and I really didn't want to eat that night. But I'd already planned our menu for the week and it was nice to have a meal with my hubby. But I could easily have gone three days in a row, maybe longer. And I felt great! And I lost close to five pounds this week! So the stats since I started this new fasting routine are:

You can bet I'm going to keep doing this as long as it works - I can't even tell you how thrilled I am to see losses again. So I mentioned I eat very light on Wednesday, in the middle of the fasting periods. On the weekends, I eat normally - not pigging out. I stick to low carb meals, generally starting the day with an Atkins shake and/or snack bar. Lunch is often tuna or egg salad with a green salad on the side, mayo and Dijon mustard combined is my favourite salad dressing. Then I have a low carb meal for dinner followed by an Atkins bar (and sometimes some nuts).

I was toying with the idea of trying to go the full five weekdays without eating, but it is nice to eat with hubby once during the week. Plus this is working right now, so maybe I'll reserve that option in the event I stop losing this well.  We'll see.

Anyway, my citizenship ceremony went very well, we did not go out afterward which made the fasting very easy. I was thinking we had to go up and say our pledges one by one, so I kept trying to memorise it, but when the time came we stood as a group and said it, so it was no big deal. So I'm now a dual citizen! I would never give up my US Citizenship, and fortunately it's not required. But I'm officially an Aussie now, fair dinkum! Aussies will understand. :)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

A smaller drop, and what I'm eating

So when I last checked in I was 76.7 kg (169 lb), and as I predicted, my next drop wouldn't be quite as big. I am now 76.0 kg (167.5 lb), a loss of a pound and a half, and that's fine with me.

What's made it really easy to follow my new plan is having quick, easy breakfast and lunch options I can just grab and go without having to cook.  Breakfast is usually a protein shake, and I frequently have tuna for lunch with an individually wrapped cheese stick to bring up the fat content a bit (and because they're so tasty) or just some cottage cheese and pickles.  So really the only cooking I'm doing is for evening meals, on the days I eat them. I have been having some form of dessert every day such as an Atkins bar or ice cream treat which of course are made with artificial sweeteners. I would like to reduce my use of artificial sweeteners but have relied on them throughout my weight-loss journey because they do make it easier and my view is whatever helps you get there is OK.

I never thought I'd be a fan of these flavoured tunas as growing up we always had just mayonnaise in tuna. I still like it with mayo and often have it that way on a big bed of salad, but these little tins of flavoured tunas are so quick and convenient to grab for lunch that I have been using them a lot more often. My favourite flavours have been Zesty Vinaigrette and Sun-dried Tomato and Basil.  I'm not a fan of fish in general, so tuna is about the only way to get me to eat fish.

They're so convenient and I really like them, but I've always heard you shouldn't eat too much tuna due to the possible mercury contamination. I know several people in Australia that eat tuna every day and tell me they're not worried about mercury at all. One said she feeds it to her children every day as well and she's never even heard of any mercury worries.  I have heard recommendations to only have tuna once or twice a week, but if you go on the websites for the companies that produce it, they claim they monitor mercury levels very carefully and there is no cause for concern. Do most people still worry about mercury contamination in tuna?

Not much else to report - hope you all had a Spooktacular Halloween.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Changing things up again

Hi guys. I had hoped to write that I'd broken through the stall since returning from the States, but that's not the case. I'm maintaining, thankfully, not gaining ... but I must get things moving again. I continue to read and research, as I always have. I came across another woman doing LCHF and intermittent fasting but it wasn't working for her since she'd entered peri-menopause, and I thought maybe that's my problem, too. What was working for me during the last two years of this journey just isn't working to get me across that finish line, so I'm changing things up again. No, I'm not going to eat only steak and eggs -- I couldn't stay on that very long, and while it may be great for male bodybuilders, I'm not convinced it would work for a woman of my age approaching menopause.

So here's the plan. As much as I have loved NOT having to count anything for the last two years, I'm going to start again, at least for awhile, just to see what I'm actually eating. So the diet will stay LCHF, and rather than a complete fasting day, I'll be skipping dinner every other day. I've planned out my foods for the next week in FitDay and set my goals for about 1200 calories (on the days I eat dinner), with less than 30g (10% of calories) from carbs, and about 80g (60%) fat and 90g (30%) protein.  I won't fall exactly on those numbers every day, given I'm skipping dinners on alternate days and find it hard to keep protein under 30%, but I've come very close. And I am eating something in the evenings, even if it's a Greek yogurt (no sugar added), I'm just not having a main course. Let's give this a go next week and see what happens.

I've been getting plenty of exercise, too -- we bought some new folding bikes and take them to some of our favourite trails to ride -- I'm talking 1-2 hour bike rides. We still get in walks several times a week, and we've also been ripping out an old pool in the back yard. This involved tearing down the old one (so not easy), digging up the support posts which were cemented in and connected to each other by metal bands, and removing the old fence that circled the pool. The fence posts were seriously cemented in but we found a great way to remove them easily using a level, but over all this process has been hard labour. I'm feeling muscles I haven't used in a long time, but it feels really good. So the exercise will continue, we're really enjoying the new bikes!

That's it for now -- I'll check back in next week or so and let you know how it went.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Down 121.7 lb (55.2 kg) ... loving ADF!

Sorry for the late post, I wanted to wait for the monthly water weight to pass as I suspected I’d see a nice drop today. I was thrilled to see 75.1 kg (165.57 lb) this morning. I’m just over the moon! That’s a loss of 1.1 kg (2.43 lb) from my last weigh-in and a total loss of 55.2 kg (121.7 lb) to date – and it means I have only 7.1 kg (15.65 lb) to go to reach goal! How cool is that?

I am really adapting well to alternate day fasting (ADF) and just amazed that I feel great and never get hungry. Even the morning after a fast day I often don’t eat until lunch time because I am just not hungry. I think I could easily go two days in a row but right now this is working for me.

A friend asked for more information about how I do the ADF – I’ve already mentioned most of this, but I thought I’d recap briefly. It really is just this easy – I only eat every other day. While many fasting plans say women can eat up to 500 calories on a fast day (600 for men), I find it much easier to eat nothing than to eat a little. That’s just me – if it works for you, by all means eat something. I do think if you’re going to eat on your fast day, it’s better to have all your calorie allowance at one meal rather than space it out throughout the day because it’s the long periods without food that keep your insulin levels low and kick your body into fat burning. So if you eat small amounts throughout the day that might interfere with that process. But as with everything, experiment and find what works for you. Complete fasting works best for me and I’m having great results.

Now fasting means just avoiding food – you can have all the calorie-free beverages you like on a fast day. It’s cold so I often have a mug of hot tea with a bit of stevia to sweeten, especially at what would normally be considered meal times – otherwise just water or diet soft drink. The next morning I may break my fast with an Atkins shake or small can of tuna (lemon and cracked pepper or zesty vinaigrette are my favourites), or I may have nothing at all until lunch time as I’m not usually hungry.

When my fast day falls on Sunday, I don’t want to have to cook that night but I still need something for lunch on Monday – so I have two standard go-to meals to choose from. I can either grab some Chicken Tikka bites from Woolworths (they’re meant to be an appetizer for four, but they’re low carb so I just have them all) or I mix a can of no-drain tuna with some chopped celery, onion, pickle and mayonnaise and serve it on some salad greens and tomato. Either way I grab a pack of veggies from the store to have on the side which just needs to be microwaved a few minutes – sometimes it’s fresh pumpkin chunks which are really tasty, though a bit higher in carbs, and sometimes it’s frozen veggies in cheese sauce. These are quick, easy lunches with no cooking the night before.

Throughout the Dr Poon phase of my weight loss I cooked large meals so I’d have lots of leftovers to eat throughout the week. But with eating every other day, I can’t really make something that gives me five or six portions leftover unless it’s something that freezes well because it would take me twice as long to go through the leftovers. So I tend to cook just two dishes each week that make four portions each, and that gives me lunches and dinners for feast days. I’m not following strict Dr Poon on my feast days, though I do often make the same meals I did while on that plan, but my meals throughout the week are still low carb. When a feast day falls on Saturday I go out to lunch with my hubby and have whatever I like. Last weekend we went out for Thai, and I had chicken satay. I only ate a small portion of the rice that came with it, but otherwise I didn’t worry about the carb count for that one meal and just thoroughly enjoyed my lunch. It’s very freeing and so far has not triggered any cravings – and hubby and I are both very happy to renew our tradition of going out for lunch together on Saturdays, even if it’s only every other week.

That’s really it – I must confess that I haven’t been doing any exercise other than my daily walks, mostly because it’s winter and when I get home I just can’t wait to jump into my warmest sweats and relax. But then I’ve always known that while exercise is very good for you and has many benefits, weight loss really isn’t one of them. There are many experts in the field saying that very same thing these days, and that’s also been my own experience. I do still get in at least one walk every day, and if it’s rainy or too cold I just do it on my treadmill, but that’s about it.

Anyway, that’s it for now – I’ll check in again soon.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

I did it! I've reached 50 kg (110 lb) GONE!!

Another week spent tracking everything I ate and every workout, and I'm pleased to say I have finally hit my Milestone - 50kg GONE as of this morning, or 110 pounds. It feels amazing! This has been a long time coming. Those of you who have been following my journey from the start will know that up until August I was dropping steadily week after week. But for the last four months it's been slow going, two steps forward, one step back, etc. So it feels really good to finally pass 50 kg.  I've stayed mostly Phase 1, meaning I do have occasional tomatoes or a bit of pumpkin which are Phase 2 foods, and made it a point to ensure I'm drinking 3L of water on average every day.  And I'm getting in a workout every day as well.  I now have just 12.2 kg (26.9 lb) to go to reach goal.

I'm loving my new walking route, it takes about an hour all up, and there is a steady 23 minutes minimum of incline on this walk, depending how far I go. Most of it isn't too steep, but it is constant. If I take the full route it's an hour and a half, but usually I have a turnaround point that makes it a one hour route. The turnaround point is just a short ways past this amazing, massive tree that I simply must show you. Here's a panoramic shot my husband took today - this baby is massive and has clearly been there for a century or so. It's gorgeous! Click to view it full size.

Anyway, that 23 minute incline portion I was doing walk/run intervals on the way back down. Well Friday I decided to just go as long as I could, and ran the entire length back. It took 12 minutes, and I felt great afterwards. It's been months since I was running for 30 minutes three times a week, and I'm not sure that I want to return to that entirely, but I do like how it feels to run for more than a few minutes. So I think I'm going to keep doing this for the coming week and then maybe try going further before running back to increase it to maybe 20 minutes of running.  We'll see.

Having hit my next milestone before Christmas feels wonderful, so now I've just got to be really careful during the next couple of weeks so I can stay here. The only indulgences I plan to have on Christmas day would be some nuts and maybe an Atkins caramel nut chew bar. A little indulgence on Christmas isn't a problem - but indulging for weeks before and after Christmas I can't do.

I'm still finding it difficult to get in two strength training AND two Callanetics during the week in addition to all the cardio, and I really enjoy both of those workouts so I don't want to give either one up. I may try doing both of them on the same day - they are both muscle workouts, just of very different types. I could do one right after the other, or just do the strength training after work and save the Callanetics for later in the evening. I've always said I find it relaxing and almost meditative, though a great workout, so that might work. I'll check in and let you know how I go.

Anyway, off to enjoy what's left of the weekend while I can. You can find my meals for last week below (click to enlarge). Hope you're having a lovely weekend.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Lost the monthly gain and just a bit more!

OK so the monthly weight gain ended early in the week, so I expected to see a drop this week in any case. I also was mostly back in Phase 1 and eliminated the Atkins bars this week and I was tracking everything I ate.  I'll share that below, but lets get this week's stats out of the way first.

One week ago I was back up to 83.8 kg (184.75 lb) from my low weight two weeks prior, which was 80.8 kg (178.13 lb). But this morning I can say I've dropped the extra weight and just a bit more. So I have a new low weight of 80.6 kg (177.69 lb).  That's a drop of 3.2 kg (7.05 lb) from last week and leaves me 3.69 pounds from being merely overweight (BMI 29.9) rather than obese. Currently my BMI is 30.5.

So I'm going to do the same thing next week, and keep tracking.  I also did plenty of walk/jog intervals and intended to get in 2 strength training and 2 Callanetics as well, but I ended up taking a rest day Friday planning to catch up Saturday evening after the Christmas and birthday parties we had to attend. But there have been some recent changes at work that have me relocated to a new area away from the people I've worked with for years, and there were a couple of things I wanted to discuss with the boss. I had to leave the party early to attend a family birthday party, but afterwards I was stewing about it so I just grabbed an Atkins shake for dinner and headed back to the party. I'm glad I did, I enjoyed talking to everyone and may have even created some new opportunities for myself, which is always a good thing.

So I didn't get in those extra workouts, and this morning I really wanted to do walk/jog intervals so that's what I did. I went for a long walk today, just over an hour and a half, and I took a new route with some nice scenic views and less traffic. This road is a long one and mostly an incline - not too steep, but pretty constant, so it was a good workout.  On the way back I did my walk/jog intervals. This road has very long blocks, and I was aiming to run for 2-4 blocks, then walk for 1-2, then repeat. I would say the intervals lasted about 20 minutes or so, and I really enjoyed it.  Next week I'll be sure to get at least 2 each of the strength training and Callanetics. The one Callanetics I did this week was so enjoyable! Can you believe me saying that about exercise? Well I really enjoy that workout. I've written down the exercises and do them on my own rather than follow the video because they waste a lot of time explaining things and once you know the moves it's easy to do on your own. Plus I got to listen to a nice 70's light rock station on Pandora as I did it. It's a deep muscle workout that gets amazing results, but done slowly so it's actually relaxing and sort of meditative. I love it!

Here's some of the scenery from today's walk/run intervals, followed by my menus for the week. The pictures don't really do it justice, it was lovely.

(You should be able to click to enlarge.)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Should you work out when sick? And Leigh's Chicken Ratatouille

I thought I'd share what we had for dinner tonight because it's one of my go-to favourites, so easy and really tasty. Suitable for Phase 2 on Dr Poon due to the tomatoes, it's Leigh's Easy Chicken Ratatouille. Hubby and I both love this stuff.

I needed something quick and easy, too, because I've been feeling like crap all day. The flu has been going around at work with several people off with it this week, and I just started feeling a bit of a cough and sore throat coming on as I left Wednesday. By that evening I knew I had it too. So I stayed home today - I hate when sick people come to work anyway and infect others - I mean, that's how I got it, so I wasn't going to do that to anyone else. But what awful timing! I'm in the middle of the 30 Day Shred! I definitely do not want to miss any workouts at this stage, when I'm seeing and feeling results, and I have just 13 days left. Whenever I get a cold or flu, due to my allergies it almost always turns into a full-blown sinus infection. I can see signs of it, but will know by tomorrow, and if that's the case I'll have to go in for antibiotics. So what to do about working out?

Well, I slept much of the day, but I just can't stay in bed all day, sick or not. So at 4:00 pm I made a decision. Hubby was a bit worried, but I decided to go for it. Maybe it would  actually help to work up a sweat! LOL So how'd I go? Honestly, it's only 20 minutes and went by pretty quickly as usual. There were only a couple of ab exercises during which the chest congestion was bothering me. I just took it easy on those exercises. By and large I didn't feel any worse for having done the workout, so I'm glad I did it. We'll see how I feel tomorrow. Ordinarily I would have no problem skipping workouts on days I don't feel well, but now? Right in the middle of the 30 Day Shred? It's not that one day would make that much difference, it's more about having committed to the 30 days and wanting to follow through. Some of the tougher moves have really gotten easier in the last couple of days, so I know it's making a difference.  I used to get frequent sinus infections but I haven't had one in a very long time now. So I'm off to bed, it's early but I'm fighting to keep my eyes open right now. I really hope I'm feeling better tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Monday, May 12, 2014

I ran 25 minutes!

Seriously, how is that even possible? I don't know but I gotta do it twice more this week. It was getting dark by the time I got back to the car but I felt I had more energy waiting 'til after work. Anyway, gotta go make Chicken Ratatouille for dinner, just thought I'd check in.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Up this week, bummer!

Yes, I was up a bit this week. I shouldn't be surprised after dropping nearly three pounds last week despite my cycle, and given the two day fast prior to the procedure ... but since I remained in Onederland through the week I thought I might possibly be there to stay. Well not just yet, my friends. Now that the weekend has arrived I'm up. Not heaps, mind you ... but as there was no buffer to speak of between me and 200 pounds, it didn't take much to push me back over. Of course I'm disappointed, but not stressing over this little bump in the road. I'm still standing at the border of Onederland with my passport firmly in hand, and I'll be crossing back over again real soon.

So this week I'm 90.9 kg (200.4 lb) which is up 0.5 kg (1.1 lb) and that gain was half fat and half water according to my body analysis scale. In the 38 weeks I've been on this program there have only been four weeks in which I have gained or stayed the same. That's not too bad really, I can hardly complain. All I can do is keep doing what I'm doing. Eat right, exercise, and I'll get there. I'm planning out the meal list for the coming week and was hoping to make Leigh's Lazy Cabbage Casserole but we'll be going to visit my mother-in-law later so I won't have time. I may make a big pot of soup instead. I've been enjoying the Stuffed Pepper Soup but recently found a recipe for Cabbage Roll Soup that I think I'll try instead. If I like it I'll share the recipe. Cooler weather always makes me want to make soups and stews so I'll probably be doing that a lot more in the coming weeks. That's it for now, Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Down 84 lbs! And facing the 20 min challenge.

Yes, a nice drop this morning, though it's only Friday ... 92.2 kg (203.27 lb) bringing my total to 38.1 kg (84 lb) gone. I will check in again but we have a lot going on this weekend, including a big 50th party where there will be a lot of food.  Hopefully I'll find some suitable things but as it's at a club restaurant you never know how much salt and fat there will be in any low-carb choices they might have. Ah well, it's only one day and if I eat healthy early in the day I shouldn't be overly hungry.

Oh yeah, how'd I go today? On the big 20 minute running challenge day? So sorry, I thought you would have heard my loud cheering even from where you are! That's right, I freaking did it! I ran 20 minutes and I still can't believe it myself. It feels amazing to be able to say that! I was worried because the weather report said scattered showers all day, and the radar looked like it might start very soon, but I was determined to get this run over with. So far in this training the 'rain gods' have really been working with me, so I decided to chance it. Hubby got the dog ready, I got my gear on, grabbed some water and we were out the door.

On the drive over to the lake I was worried a bit and caught myself thinking just do the best you can, if it's too hard and you can't do it, that's ok ... but then I thought this is Anzac Day. The day Australians honour war veterans who fought and sometimes died for the freedoms we all enjoy today. That was hard! This is nothing in comparison so harden up and keep going!

As usual the first minute or two were difficult and I wanted to quit, but a few minutes later I fell into a groove and just kept going. At the ten minute mark I was nearly to the end of the lake path so I kept going to the end before turning around. Drinking water was harder with no walk breaks but I only needed a couple of sips to wet my mouth. Then suddenly, with maybe 5-6 minutes left my music stopped! I didn't know if the C25K app had quit or what was going on so with nothing but the sound of my own breathing to accompany me I kept going thinking I would just try to end about where I started. A few minutes later the next song started so I knew the app was still going. Blissfully a few minutes later she said to begin the cool down. That's when I raised my fists in the air and cheered (or screamed) loudly, not caring if anyone was behind me.

I walked the five minute cool down, did my stretches and when I was nearly done, hubby and the dog had caught up with me. Just as we were headed back to the car it started raining lightly. We'd just made it! I thanked the rain gods and drove home. I still can't believe I ran for 20 minutes! :)

Hubby was taking pictures of the ducks, and then snapped one of me before we headed back to the car. I knew I'd look awful but at that moment I didn't even care. This is me, hot, sweaty, tired, and with rain falling on my face after running 20 minutes at 203 pounds. Oh, and the picture of the ducks he wanted to share as well. :)

After a hot shower I made a yummy lunch with what leftovers I had in the fridge - so easy and yet delicious! I put one egg and about half a cup of egg whites in a bowl and microwaved for 30 seconds, then stirred and gave it another 40 seconds. Then I topped it with a bit of vintage cheddar, three slices of low-sodium ham and a small amount of leftover chicken, and heated another 30 seconds. I put a spoonful of dijon mustard on top and stirred it all up. Sort of a Dijon cordon-bleu omelette kind of thing - it sure was yummy! :)  Enjoy your weekend, folks.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter weigh-in, Stuffed Pepper Soup with Cauliflower Rice, and Spiritual Evolution

Happy Easter everyone! We've been to the in-laws for morning tea, came back home and had some lunch.  I had leftover Stuffed Pepper Soup, which was really tasty! Basically all the things you'd stuff in a bell pepper (capsicum) but in soup form, with shredded cauliflower standing in for the rice. Trust me, this was yummy.  I put a bit of shredded low-fat cheese on top and stirred that in before serving.



3 cups cauliflower rice (grate or shred 1/2 medium size cauliflower to resemble rice)
1 lb (500g) 95% lean ground (minced) beef
1/2 green bell pepper (capsicum), chopped
1/2 red bell pepper (capsicum), chopped
1 cup finely diced onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans (14.5 oz / 400g) diced tomatoes
1 3/4 cups tomato sauce*
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
salt and fresh pepper to taste

*Note that what Aussies call tomato sauce is basically ketchup. The closest thing I've found here to American tomato sauce is crushed tomatoes or passata. But if you're not following Dr Poon you could even use tomato soup.

In a large pot or dutch oven, brown meat on medium-high heat and season with salt. Drain fat if any, reduce heat to medium-low, then add peppers, onions and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, marjoram and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, then add the riced cauliflower and simmer 10 minutes more on low.


Before I get to the weigh-in, you may notice I've changed the look of the blog. The old format didn't always display well on mobile devices, and this one suits me heaps better. What do you all think? Plus I can have more menu items at the top, so I've given Photos their own page. I'll be adding new progress photos soon - having started at 287 pounds, I took pictures at 253 and again at 225, so now I'm hoping to get below 200 pounds for the next ones.

After weighing in at 93.0 kg (205.03 lb) last week I went back up to 93.5 kg (206.13 lb) and stayed there pretty much all week! Even after all the running and walking I've done, I didn't get a drop, and it was frustrating I must say. I wasn't expecting the monthly gain for another week, but then mother nature has been messing with me more frequently these days. Still, I am happy to report I have dropped this morning to 92.9 kg (204.81 lb). It's really not much of a loss at all from last week - 0.1kg (0.22 lb) to be exact. However, I have lost fat and gained water, so I'm guessing I'll soon have better results.  My loss to date is 37.4 kg (82.45 lb).

Having spent the last eight months working towards improving my health and fitness (evolution of body) and recently tackling some of my fears and the belief that I could never run (evolution of mind), I would like to focus on my spiritual evolution as well.  No, I'm not going to get all religious on you! Organised religion is so not me.  But if you've browsed my Shelfari bookshelf in the lower right of my blog, you'll notice that I'm interested in spiritual matters, it's just not been the focus of my blog. And I'm not saying it's going to become the focus, so don't worry if that's not your thing! LOL But I did title my blog "An Evolution in Body,  Mind and Spirit" because I'd like to experience self-improvement in all three areas.

Currently I've been drawn back to a book I've had for years. It's called "A Life Complete" - Emotional and Spiritual Growth for Midlife and Beyond - by Sallirae Henderson. I started reading it a few years ago, and found it interesting then, but now that I'm 50 the topic is even more meaningful to me. The Shelfari description reads:
"Once we reach middle age, the harder questions about how it actually feels to grow older -- and closer to the end of life -- begin to surface. Difficult as these questions may be, Sallirae Henderson assures us that our desire to find the answers is both a mark of maturity and an opportunity for growth. A Life Complete envisions midlife as a rich, reflective period that gives us the chance to begin a process of discovery. With Henderson's sensitive and knowing advice, we learn how to make emotional and spiritual choices that can help us confront the past and welcome what the future holds. A Life Complete offers six simple skills that guide us through this period of change and inspire feelings of satisfaction and joy: Befriending Yourself, Learning to Grieve, Recognizing that You Always make a Difference, Maintaining a Sense of Personal Evolution, Finding a Larger Context for Your Life, and Accepting the Help of Others. Remarkably wise and thoughtful, A Life Complete is an inspiring reflection on what may be the most meaningful period of our adult lives."
And an excerpt from inside the jacket: This book explains how the choices we make in midlife can become distilled and irreversible by the time we reach our last years. It offers a practical plan for healing in middle age so we can avoid elderly regret, unexpressed grief, and unresolved spiritual issues before it's too late. In a culture that ranks the fear of living in a nursing home above the fear of death, this book serves as a reminder that the end of life is also an organic part of life. It is an indispensable guide for those seeking to grow old gracefully, with a sense of meaning and purpose.

As I've said before, longevity is not something my family members have enjoyed by and large - and though I'm doing my best to improve my health, if I only have another 20 years or so on this planet, I'd like to ensure they are both happy and healthy - in body, mind and spirit.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Weigh-in, body image and Leigh's delicious Ratatouille!

Weigh-in stats first. I am 93.0 kg this morning (205.03 lb) and that is a loss of .4 kg (.88 lb) from last week. [Total loss to date 37.3kg or 82.23 lb.] I'll take it, though truthfully I had hoped for a bigger drop. Hubby reminds me that's almost a pound and that I tend to alternate smaller and bigger drops week to week now. Yeah I guess.

I would probably be happier about it if I were happy with my body shape right now. Yes, it's nice to hear compliments from friends and co-workers, and I'm delighted to have bought a couple of new outfits in size 16 now that, while slightly snug they do fit comfortably. I am shrinking so I buy the smallest size I can fit into now. I should be thrilled but truthfully I'm in a bit of a funk.

I want to put up new pictures soon, but when I take them I only see the fat remaining, not how far I've come. If I lay in bed and put my legs straight up in the air I am amazed how thin, sleek and shapely they look now. But standing up normally I only see the loose skin starting to gather on the inner thighs. Laying on my side I have an amazing curve shape, with a lovely dip from hip to waist that hubby loves to wrap his arms around ... but the fat that's left decides to gather in front and remind me that I have far to go yet and even once I'm at goal the belly region will never be pretty.

Getting such a large amount of weight off is much more important than any loose skin issues I may have, and I know that. Most of the time I feel fabulous about my accomplishments to date. But when I look at my body in the mirror or take photographs, I still don't like what I see. I'm not someone with body hatred issues, I'm secure in who I am these days and have a healthy amount of self-love, it's not about that. It just can be hard to see what others see. Hard to see how far I've come instead of how far I have to go. So sometimes ... just sometimes ... I get in a bit of a funk. So that's where I am today.

Last week's running intervals were three and five minutes, and I never thought I could do five but I did. That did give me a hell of a confidence boost, I must say. But what do I have to look forward to next week? Monday will be all five minute intervals ... three of them with three minutes walking in between. So far I have repeated each new level three times before advancing but not this time. Believe it or not Wednesday I'll be expected to run eight minutes! Then Friday ... 20! Seriously?! I mean I knew that I couldn't do three minutes, but then I did. Then I was sure I would not be able to do five minutes, but I did. And now I am equally certain I am not ready for eight, much less twenty! I'm tempted to stretch this week into three weeks by doing each level three days instead of one, but a runner friend advised me to try it rather than talk myself out of it. We'll see. It just sounds impossible right now.

Last night we made Leigh's fabulous Chicken Ratatouille and hubby and I both loved it! We had a choko (chayote squash) on hand so I substituted that for one of the zucchini, and used Lebanese eggplants in place of the regular eggplant. We really enjoyed this - in fact the only thing I would change is to cut the chicken into bite size pieces rather than leave the breasts whole. We had a couple of smaller pieces that I threw in and they seemed to absorb the flavours better so we'll try that next time. It was definitely delicious.

That's it for today, we're off to shop for a new electric wok and then groceries. Have a great weekend.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Caprese Chicken and 3rd Turbo Jam

Another new recipe we tried this week, Caprese Chicken - suitable for Phase 2. This was really yummy and so easy to make!

I've completed my third Turbo Jam workout this week since it's still raining out. I alternated between the three Cardio Party mixes, and tonight's was the most challenging. Not because it was a difficult workout per se, but because the choreography was difficult to follow in this one. And it's a shame, because it could really be a very good workout if it wasn't so confusing at times.

Anyway, that's three Turbo Jams and I'm feeling it in my sides, my abs, my arms and … heck everywhere really. They say it may rain again tomorrow but then it should be lovely Sunday and Monday for the long holiday weekend (Australia Day). I hope so, I'd like to get out for a nice walk/jog this week.  Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pork chops and Workouts

Wow, this was quite tasty! Tonight we had Rosemary and Thyme pork chops with some stir fried chunky cauliflower, broccoli and green capsicum (bell pepper). I found the recipe on Karen's site, Living Low Carb ... One Day at a Time. It was so quick and easy to make and hubby and I both loved it. This is definitely going in the rotation.

It's been raining this week so Monday I did Turbo Jam Cardio Party Mix 2, and tonight I did Mix 1. Both are heavy on ab work, punches and kicks, and I'm feeling it for sure, but it it's all good. Meanwhile I've been reading more about the Couch to 5K (C25K) program. I was under the impression it required running every day in order to be able to run 5K in just 9 weeks. Fortunately it's only three times a week for about 30 minutes. I wonder how many people who start it actually complete the program.  I wonder if I could?

From what I've read people quit due to injuries or they just get bored with it and realize they're not runners. That's cool. I don't really see myself as a runner, it's just something I'd like to try to see if I can do it. And if I like it and it helps me tone up so there's less loose skin as I get closer to goal, that would be cool, too. So I think I will give it a try at some point, and I'll go at my own pace even if that's slower than suggested. And if it's not for me that's OK, too. Cuz I'll see it as a victory just to have tried it. Me ... jogging ... in public!

I've been thinking more lately about how for most of my life I've let my weight or just plain fear hold me back from doing things I really wanted to do. I'll talk more about that soon, but since this is meant to be about my evolution in body, mind and spirit, I think it's time to start focusing on more than just my weight. More to come ...

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A nice little drop this week and Pulled Pork

Yes, I said a nice little drop, but I wasn't expecting a big one. I weighed-in at 104.7 kg (230.82 lb) today which is only 0.4 kg (0.88 lb) down from last week, but I'll take it, as I said, I wasn't even expecting that really.  Firstly, I had a big drop last week ... 1.4 kg which was over 3 pounds. That and all the signs pointing to TOM's arrival in the coming week meant I wasn't expecting much so really I'm happy with that.  This brings my total loss to date to 25.6 kg (56.44 lb).

I use a body analysis scale, and in addition to weight mine happens to measure of body fat, water and bone mass. I know these things are not totally accurate and are meant to be used more to track your progress, so I've only concerned myself with the fat and water so far. But I now wonder if I could be losing bone mass. At the start of this program my bone mass came in at 6.9% and lately it's been 6.4%. That may not sound like much difference, but 6.9% of 287.3 pounds was 19.82 lb, whereas 6.4% of 230.82 lb is 14.77 lb. Could I really have lost 5 pounds of bone mass?

I did some Googling and there are several articles about how losing weight can lead to losing bone as well, and they tend to stress the importance of getting enough calcium and exercise. Some even said calcium supplements have shown not to be nearly as effective as dietary calcium. I do have some very low-fat cheese each day, and lots of veggies, including those with calcium like kale, spinach and broccoli. Should I be worried? I am 50 now, and not yet pre-menopausal (mom was 55 when she went through the change) but I wonder whether I should be concerned about this?

I also went walking four times this week to make up for very little exercise last week.  Since I return to work on Monday, I'll be trying to get back into my routine of 3-4 workout videos per week.

Last night I made a nice BBQ Pulled Pork modified slightly from a recipe I found on Veronica's blog. I had found some pork tenderloins on sale and thought I'd give it a go.  It was nice - not overly BBQ flavoured but then I was using only a small amount of a no-added-sugar (low-carb) BBQ sauce. I added regular BBQ sauce to the sandwiches I made for hubby and he said it was really good! I love finding new recipes that we can both eat. :)  As you can see, I've got both tomato and red capsicum (bell pepper) in the salad, so still adding occasional Phase 2 foods to my meals.

Anyway, glad to report my first loss for the near, even if it wasn't a big one.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Turbo Jam this morning, Mexican Chicken Tenders tonight!

Yes, I was up at 6 AM again today and instead of race walking I decided to throw in Turbo Jam Cardio Party Mix 1. It's getting easier to do which is good, and I don't get sore anymore, but I still feel it, it's a great workout!

Dinner last night was something new - I get inspired by hunting for recipes that look easy to adapt, and this one was really easy! You can watch the video below, but in case it doesn't show up for you, the recipe is posted below as well. This was really good!

Mexican Chicken Tenders with Roast Veggies

If you're doing Phase 1, be sure to use allowed veggies - the red capsicum would be Phase 2, and probably the squash as well.

500g (1 pound) chicken tenders (about 8 or 9), tendons removed
1 packet reduced-sodium taco seasoning
1 large red capsicum (bell pepper)
4-6 yellow button squash
non-stick spray or olive oil to lightly coat the baking dish

Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Empty your taco seasoning into a large plastic bag. Add the chicken tenders, twist the bag shut and shake or mix well to coat the chicken evenly.

Lightly spray or oil a 9x12" rectangular baking dish, and add the chicken tenders. Cut the veggies into large chunks and add them to the pan, stirring to mix so some of the seasoning gets on the veggies as well. Then arrange everything so it's evenly distributed in the pan and the chicken is in a single layer as much as possible.

Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is done, and serve. I got three serves out of this, with a small rocket (arugula) salad on the side.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Down 3 lbs overnight! And chicken tenders with an Italian flare

First let me say wow! I have dropped 1.4 kg (3.09 lb) overnight! I don't know if this is my reward for the extra workouts last week but whatever the reason, I was pleasantly surprised! That puts me at 108.5 kg (239.2 lb so I'm out of the 240s)! Woo hoo! It also means my total loss is now 21.8 kg (48 lb) so I am THAT close to 50 pounds gone that I can taste it!  Tonight I've done a Walk Away the Pounds 3 mile workout as I want to keep the workout habit going this week.  :)

I'll share the recipe we made Sunday night below as it was really nice. Since I'm 1/3 of the way to goal I've been adding small amounts of some foods allowed on Phase 2 of Dr Poon's diet ... this week that means tomatoes, as in this recipe, and a bit of carrot standing in for beans in my Chunky Chilli planned for Thursday.

This chicken dinner was really nice ... I just served mine with a side salad, whereas hubby had his over pasta. It makes it much easier for me that he can eat the same meals with the addition of some bread or pasta. While I'm coming to believe grains are evil, he's not there yet so this works for us.  You can click the title to watch the video, or just follow the recipe below.

Herb Chicken Skillet with Spinach and Tomatoes

Prep Time: 5 minutes    Cook Time:  25 minutes    Serves 4-6

Note: if you're following the Dr Poon diet, choose low-salt or no salt added tomatoes, and use half-salt or 50% reduced sodium salt, or omit that entirely. Note tomatoes are allowed in Phase 2 of the diet.  Also, while I didn't say so in the video, you'll probably want to remove the white tendon from your chicken tenders before cooking.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 pounds (750g) chicken tenders
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (400g) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon Basil
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package (6 ounces / 170g) baby spinach leaves


Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 10 minutes or until browned. Add onion; cook and stir 5 minutes or until softened.

Stir in tomatoes, water and seasonings. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 3 minutes or until heated through.

Stir in spinach; cook 2 minutes or until spinach begins to wilt.
Serve as is for a low-carb meal, or over pasta or couscous for those not following Dr Poon's diet.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Surpassed 20 kilos! (45 pounds down)

I've been wanting to hit this goal for the last couple of weeks, and today is the day! Not only have I hit 20 kilos, but surpassed it! I am 109.9 kg (242.29 lb) this morning, down 1 kg (2.2 lb) from last week, and 20.4 kg (44.97 lb) overall! Woo hoo!

Of course 20 kg is a nice round number in Australia but I still think in pounds, so I'll probably get excited again when I hit 50 pounds gone. :)

Now, that Turbo Jam workout ... Oh am I feeling it this morning! Mostly cuz of the Capoeira moves which you'll see at the very start of the clip I shared yesterday ... It's like you're about to turn to the side to do a cartwheel but then you come back up and go to the other side, so you're bending right, then left, back and forth repeatedly. My sides are exactly where I'm feeling it.

So that was three workouts this week, increasing in intensity, and this morning I went for a half hour brisk walk. I was quickly reminded of why I prefer to get my exercise indoors, as today is officially the start of Fly Season, or Summer as they call it here. You have to swing your arms as you walk to keep shooing them out of your face!

I just made a lovely lunch of heart smart rump steak which I cooked in a grill pan then spread a bit of Dijon mustard on it. On the side I had a large salad of kale, cucumber and a bit of tomato and yellow capsicum (bell pepper) with a fat free very low calorie Italian dressing. I've started to let a few Phase 2 foods in, but mostly still eat Phase 1. But I do love the yellow and red capsicums so much, raw or cooked. Mmm mmm.

I have found a new recipe to try this week that should be Poon friendly if I leave out the salt ... it does use a can of tomatoes though, and I doubt I can find that without salt. I wonder how many fresh tomatoes it would take to equal a can of diced ones? I could always chop my own. Anyway, I'll share the recipe soon. I'm off to do my grocery shopping for the week.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Another drop while eating away from home!

Very pleased to see another drop this morning, down .6 kg (1.32 lb) and this isn't my official weigh-in day yet. I'm closely monitoring it during a week of eating away from home where I don't have my Poon approved meals handy. Eating what others cook, be it someone else's home or a restaurant, means I have less control, so I have to be careful about my choices. So that puts me at 111 kg (244.71 lb) and 25% through Milestone 4 already! My loss to date is now 19.3 kg (42.55 lbs).

Rebecca commented on my last post that she'd like to see a typical day's meals and asked whether I snack. I do not snack between meals, mostly because I don't get hungry. Sometimes I have to remind myself to stop work and have lunch. If you tap the Recipes link in the top right of my blog you will see the meals I make most often. I like casseroles best but sometimes it's just meat and veggies or my favourite, burgers on salad. Yum!

Breakfast is almost always scrambled eggs with ham and cheese, and a protein shake. I put one whole egg and half a cup of egg whites in a microwave safe bowl, add fresh ground black pepper, stir and microwave one minute. Stir again and cook another 30 seconds. Sometimes it needs a little longer but if it's mostly cooked I tear three thin slices of low-sodium ham into pieces and spread on top, then add Poon-approved very low-fat cheese (about 1/4 cup shredded) on top. Then microwave 20-30 seconds more and let cool slightly while I make my protein shake.

I'm allowed one shake per day and the only one available here that fits Dr Poon guidelines is Atkins. I mix one cup unsweetened almond milk with one scoop chocolate shake mix, and shake very well as it doesn't always dissolve completely. During the week I have it after my eggs, but on weekends I might have it after dinner as a dessert.

Lunch and dinner are recipes from the Recipe page on my blog. I make Leigh's Lazy Cabbage Casserole nearly every Sunday and have leftovers for lunch Monday through Thursday. Then I'll make other meals from my Recipe page in the evening and often share with hubby, but making sure I have leftovers as the week draws to an end so I have lunch for Friday and a meal or two leftover for the weekend. I don't always have the Lazy Cabbage Casserole for lunch, I might swap my leftovers around and have it for dinner, and some weeks I don't make it at all, but it's definitely my most frequent meal as it makes a lot so I can cook less often.

Saturday and Sunday I might not eat three meals ... I sleep in later and might go for a walk when I get up ... it's more of a brunch meal plus dinner, so often only two meals on the weekend but only because I don't get hungry. If I am hungry, I eat something.

This week has been quite different as I'm away from home but I've still been having the eggs every morning. The store here only had the pre-mixed Atkins shakes, not the powdered mix, and they are more expensive and not as good, so I only bought a 4-pack and have one when I feel like it. Whatever meals they make, I either only have the meat with some salad and veggies, or when they made a stir fry using a sweet chili garlic sauce over noodles, I made a separate stir fry in a smaller pan with water, a little soy sauce, garlic and ginger, and had cauliflower rice instead of noodles.

We have gone out to lunch a couple of times, first to a place called Grill'd where they do gourmet burgers and chips (thick cut fries). I had the Tuscan Delight, which was a grilled chicken breast, roasted red peppers, basil pesto, cheese, salad and herbed mayo. I just had it in a bowl instead of on a bun, so it was a bed of lettuce, a couple thin slices of tomato, the chicken and cheese, with the herbed mayo on one side and pesto on the other. The mayo and pesto were both so delicious I just dipped my fork in each as I ate and it was enough. Hubby used most of the mayo as chip dip.

Today we went to a different place, I don't recall the name. But when the waiter realised I was trying to pick the lowest carb option and swap out the rice for extra veggies, he offered to make a custom meal to ensure the sauce would have no carbs. It was grilled chicken medallions, grilled veggies and a delicious creamy mushroom sauce. I am sure the restaurant meals have more fat than I should be having on Dr Poon, but they didn't seem salty and I'm not too worried as I still lost today and most meals I'm eating are home made where I have more control. And Sunday I'll be back to my normal menu anyway.

Life throws you curves, holidays and travel happen. You just gotta make the best choices you can and get back to normal ASAP afterwards. So that's what I eat. I hope it's helpful.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Mustard Pepper Steak and now 26 lbs gone!

I tend to weigh every day, though I only post my weekend results. So after yesterday's results showewed I was up in water I wanted to check again today. Well you could have knocked me over with a feather, I saw 118.5 kg (261.25 lb) which is now a loss of 1.5 kg (3.31 lb) since last week. And that brings my loss to date to 11.1 kg (26.01 lb).

Oh, and that's 1.6 kg (3.6 lb) of fat down since last week, which means a minuscule water gain. I am so thrilled! I was a little worried about water weight after the delicious Mustard Pepper Steak we had last night, because after I tasted it I detected a bit of saltiness. It wasn't overly salty, I'm just overly sensitive to salt now that I've greatly reduced my intake. Turns out the Dijon mustard I buy does have higher sodium than regular mustard so I may use a bit less next time, but this was SO good!

I modified the recipe from The New Dieter's Cookbook. Hubby had his as a sandwich, and I had mine with salad and broccoli on the side. It was tender and so delicious! The changes we made to the original recipe were to use stevia in place of brown sugar, and we used rump rather than flank (don't see anything called flank steak in Australia, cuts of meat are often named differently here). We removed excess fat, cut it into portions, and lightly pounded it to flatten a bit so it takes less time to cook and fits his bread better. In the original recipe they didn't pound it but rather thinly sliced it against the grain after cooking.


2 Tbsp Dijon-style mustard
1 tsp stevia
1/2 tsp coarsely cracked black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
500g (1 pound) beef flank steak (we used rump)

For the non-Pooners in the family you'll also need hoagie rolls or bread, lettuce and thinly sliced tomato to make sandwiches. Hubby also adds cheese slices to his.

In a small bowl stir together mustard, stevia, pepper and garlic. Set aside.

Place the meat on the unheated rack of a broiler pan (Aussie translation, use the griller, and put meat on a foil lined tray to make cleanup easy). Brush meat with half the mustard mixture and broil 4-5 inches from the heat 6 minutes. Turn and brush with remaining mustard mixture, and broil to desired doneness, allowing 6-8 minutes for medium. (If you pounded to flatten a bit like we did, you can probably reduce cooking time by a minute on each side.)

The family can have theirs on bread or hoagie rolls with lettuce, tomato and cheese if they like, and Pooners will have the steak on its own with veggies and/or salad. This served the two of us (I had half the meat, but he got two sandwiches out of the other half), so if you need more serves, increase amounts accordingly. Yum!