Search This Blog

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Fighting the Flab - end of week four

Same weight, same waist size. I have plateaued now for what seems like forever. So, instead of whinging about my lack of achievement, I thought I would share my latest writing exercise with you. This week we are studying Point of View and we had to write a self portrait. Here is mine:

Self Portrait

I am so close to being 52 it is already a done deal. The day after tomorrow is my birthday. I don’t mind ageing, although I would prefer more control over my physical body. I am tall, 172cms, or 5’8” in the old language which, by the way, is far easier for me to think in. I had to Google “height conversion” to find my height in centimetres. I’ve done it many times before.

I am average weight at 73kg. I just fit into the healthy BMI range. But average weight doesn’t tell you that I’m unhappy about my weight. It doesn’t tell you that I wish I was the same weight as in my teens and early twenties. Average weight doesn’t explain how, even though I watch what I eat and exercise furiously every day; I still remain the same – average. I explain my obsession with weight by using the example of my mother’s diabetes as motivation to stay slim. She had late onset diabetes brought on mainly by weight gain in middle age and I am determined not to go down the same path. But my obsession is more than that. I am not happy with this ring of fat around my belly. It hampers my movements. I feel it when I’m sitting down. It is uncomfortable.

My hair falls just below my shoulders and is naturally wavy. When wet it becomes curly. I am growing it longer. I like the feel of long hair. At the moment it is dark brown with caramel highlights. But over the years it has been many different lengths and various colours.

I like my eyes. They are hazel. Now and again they look more green than brown. If I didn’t already wear contact lenses for sight I would think about getting coloured lenses to enhance the green. I don’t like my nose. It is too big. But it is the family nose. It is my father’s nose and it is the nose my three boys have.

I tan naturally and I love the sun and its warmth. I don’t like being cold and grey days make me feel sad. Knowing this I wonder why I live in Melbourne. But I love Melbourne with all of its greys and blacks and colours and quirks. I love the pace of the city, the energy of the people and the liveliness of the events. Melbourne is culture and multiculture, tradition and innovation, fashion and independence, sport and food, nightlife and family life.

I am addicted to my computer. I love Googling information and I Facebook regularly. I read as much online as I do books in bed at night or during lazy weekend mornings. I love AFL football. I love music and dancing, conversations and debates. I like shoes. I like fashion. I wish I could win a million dollars and spend thousands on a new wardrobe. I love the beach and the ocean. I love the calmness of the bay and I love the crashing of an angry ocean in the middle of the night. But more than anything I love my three sons, no longer boys but adults in their own right. I love my life.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Fighting the Flab - end of week three

No change! I’m still the same weight and still have the same waist size. I’m not happy!

So, I’m doing some research into different ways of increasing my metabolism. I also went to see my naturopath who gave me some detox powder.

I’ve changed my exercises with weights and also my bike sessions. I found some weight exercises in a health magazine at my physio therapist’s office and had the receptionist photocopy the page for me. It was an article on losing the last 5 kgs which is exactly what I want to do. The article also suggested “tempo” sessions for cardio so I’ve changed my bike sessions to “tempo” sessions.

Tempo sessions are similar to interval training but the length of time for the intervals is longer. So I’m spending 5 minutes warming up, 8 minutes at high speed, 5 minutes at a speed in between high speed and warming up speed, 8 minutes at high speed and 5 minutes warming down. Theoretically I should be spending more time on the bike but this is all the time I can spare at the moment. I do this 4 – 6 times a week. Another 3-4 times a week I put on the ankle weights and do a mixture of walking and jogging on the spot for 30 minutes.

I’m playing “hit and giggle” tennis once a week with a friend – we spend more time running into the next court to get our balls than actually hitting the balls, but it’s all exercise! I’m also looking forward to taking up some form of dance exercise like hip hop or Zumba, as soon as a couple of friends decide where and when they want to join up.

Hopefully by ramping up and changing my exercise routine I’ll be able to move some of this flab!!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fighting the Flab - end of week 2

This week I have neither lost weight nor inches, but I haven’t gained any either. I’m pretty happy about this because the last three days have been difficult in a kilojoule counting sense.

On Thursday night we had pizza for dinner. I’m not at all ashamed of this. I worked hard all day Thursday to finish and submit two assignments and once I had hit the last “submit” button I was way too tired to cook, or even think of what to cook. The boys both wanted pizza and I was also too tired to argue in favour of a healthier alternative.

On Friday night I went out with a friend of mine. What started as a few drinks and some Japanese influenced snacks, led to a small but satisfying dinner of Chinese dumplings. I had never tried edamame before but I’ve now added it to my list of foods I definitely like. The dumplings were wonderful, soft and light and perfectly cooked.

Last night I went out to dinner with some friends. We tried out a Nepalese restaurant and the food was delicious. We had mo mos to start with, which are a Nepalese style dumpling (it must have been my weekend for dumplings) and some samosas. This was followed by a chilli chicken curry, a prawn curry and a mushroom and spinach dish accompanied by saffron rice. After already leaving my diet far behind, I also indulged in dessert – a couple of atrociously sweet gulab jamin – semolina balls in a very sweet syrup.

Yesterday I spent 50 minutes on the exercise bike and another 30 minutes walking and jogging on the spot after a 30 minute weight session. Today I haven’t done anything much, but plan to do at least 30 minutes of cardio later on.

This coming week I haven’t any plans to dine out or get takeaway, so hopefully I will be able to stick to a lower kilojoule count!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

When a bit of knowledge is not enough!

My computer is driving me crazy. Not only is it running slow, there are times it decides to freeze. Even the mouse disappears and once the keyboard turned itself off. I’m going insane. So, as I have got two assignments to churn out before the end of this week, I know a little about computers and I thought I would be clever and run some diagnostic tests.

I should have held that thought for awhile.

I checked out the Dell site and found the instructions. I should have stopped there. But I didn’t. I made my first mistake. I started running the test on Monday night. According to the instructions the test was supposed to finish in an hour. I’m not sure which clock they were using to time the thing but the test was still running strongly on Tuesday morning. It finally finished around 9am. The error messages told me the mic wasn’t working. That would probably be because there is no mic!

Then I made my second mistake.

I found another test that looked at “system locks up”. I should have stopped there but of course I ran the test. It flew through the first few options and I was quite pleased with myself. Then it told me the next test would take 173 minutes! I got my son’s notebook and started working on that instead.

In the end, by late Tuesday night, the testing had finished. I could see there were certain tests that hadn’t made the “pass” grade but I couldn’t work out how to find the error messages. I pressed something and the screen disappeared and the computer restarted. I gave up.

Later on that night I wondered if the whole testing thing was just another way of procrastinating on my part. Perhaps I’m trying to put off writing these assignments?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fighting the Flab - end of week one

I’m not happy. After weighing and measuring myself this morning, I’ve only lost 1kg (approx 2.2lbs) and one inch off my waist.

Now before anyone thinks I should be happier than I am with those results and I’m sure there are plenty of you who will say just that, my head is still in my teenage years where I could easily lose 1kg a day or even more. So it’s obviously my mental state that needs to grow up and get used to being middle aged.

Of course I’m also not happy because I lost the bet I had with my middle son! He lost 4kgs this week to my 1kg. Next week I’ve told him we will be looking at percentage of body weight instead of number of kgs. I have to win next week!

Each day I’m doing a bit more research into weight loss and trying to find articles on losing weight in middle age. I’m adding flaxseed oil into my protein shakes, trying to have protein when I wake up (thank you mermaid gallery) – a couple of tablespoons of natural yoghurt – and playing around with my exercise routine. I’ve also started to end my morning shower with cold water (thanks again mermaid gallery!) in an attempt to boost my metabolism.

I’m attempting to drink a lot of water. This is not an easy task for me as I don’t drink much of anything normally. I have a large cup of black coffee in the morning and about ½ cup of pomegranate juice to wash down my vitamins and maybe a glass or two of water during the day. So I’m changing that and making sure I drink a lot more water. I’ve also read that drinking icy cold water can help boost your metabolism, so I’m only drinking water from the refrigerator.

I read yesterday that eating caraway seeds after a meal can reduce bloating and prevent constipation, as well as being a rich source of dietary fibre and anti-oxidants. I tried eating a handful after dinner last night and they were awful! So I’m going to see if there are any recipes that include raw caraway seeds that might be more palatable.

Hopefully next week I will be happier!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Parenting and Leadership

“You learn far more from negative leadership than from positive leadership. Because you learn how not to do it. And, therefore, you learn how to do it.
Norman Schwarzkopf

I didn’t realise that someone else had said these words. I always thought they were mine – well similar ones anyway. I’ve always believed that I learnt more from the way my parents brought me up because they did so much that was wrong, than I would have if they had been perfect parents. I hope I’ve been a better parent by learning from their mistakes and remembering how I felt when I was the child.

I learnt not to ridicule my children, not to call them names or point out their deficiencies. I tried to give them positive messages, even when I was aiming to correct something negative.

I learnt to let my children make their own decisions, although I always endeavoured to present all sides of the story to them first, making sure they realised the consequences of whatever action they decided to take. And I learnt to live with their decisions, even if I didn’t agree with them.

I learnt to give my children the level of independence that suited their age and I always attempted to hide my worry when they were out with friends or late coming home or putting themselves at whatever risk might come their way. I knew they knew I worried, so more often than not they would let me know where they were or when they were coming home.

I learnt to be honest and open with my children. I kept them informed at all times. I remember my parents making major decisions like migrating to another country and not telling me until our journey was under way. I was devastated. I remember that feeling all too well and I have always encouraged my children to be a part of any decision, no matter what their age.

My children are now no longer children. I can only hope that the lessons I learnt from my parents made their passage through childhood that much easier.

Similarly it has been the negative leadership I’ve worked under that I’ve learnt more from than the positive leaders I’ve had.

I’ve learnt it is better to be open and honest with your workers than it is to try to hide things from them.

I’ve learnt that in order to get the most out of your workers it is better to nourish them, help them develop their skills and be patient with them rather than ignoring them or ridiculing them or getting frustrated with them.

I’ve learnt that sometimes a leader has to make the hard decisions and have the difficult talks with their workers in order to prevent undesirable situations, even if they don’t want to.

I’ve learnt that leadership isn’t just about doing the things you want to do. It’s also about doing the things you need to do and the things you would prefer not to do, and doing them as well as you do the things you want to do.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In the Kitchen

Tonight my middle son helped me to cook dinner. We made Fettuccine Carbonara. It was great to have someone else in the kitchen helping me and chatting and just being there. Normally cooking dinner is such a lonely affair. The greater percentage of people worldwide who prepare meals for the family are females and the preparation time for me is one of the loneliest times of the day.

It is the time when we are almost all home at the same time and the time when my boys catch up on what they have done during the day. I usually feel left out, stuck around the corner, chopping and stirring and sipping my wine. By the time dinner is ready their conversation has finished and they can’t be bothered repeating it to me.

Cooking is such a great activity to do as a family. I remember when the boys were little and it took no effort at all to get them to help with baking cakes or cookies or even main meals. There might have been a gigantic mess left at the end of our efforts but it was only equalled by the amount of fun we had and the pleasure we got from eating our home made wares.

It was important to me that I taught the boys how to cook. They can all make a variety of main meals – steak, schnitzels, parmagiana, spaghetti bolognaise, hamburgers and stir fries to name a few. At least they can survive without having to eat out or getting takeaways all the time. I’m happy to say my eldest son often cooks for his girlfriend (or so he tells me…).

They can clean too. I made sure of that. Even though I do the bulk of the cleaning in the house, now and again I make enough fuss that they grudgingly join in. You wouldn’t believe how quickly the house gets done when all of us pitch in and help!

I’ve never believed in the division of labour according to sex. It’s not solely the female’s role to cook, clean and wash and it’s not totally up to the male to make the money. Life flows so much easier when all the burdens are shared. As for raising children, in my mind it is definitely a joint effort. Men who chose to leave the raising of their children to their mother miss out terribly.

My boys know well how I feel about the equality of the sexes. They often tease me, it’s easy to push my buttons, but in the end I believe I’ve brought them up to treat everyone equally and as they would like to be treated themselves. I hate that it’s a male dominated world but I hope that at least by teaching my boys that females and males both deserve the same treatment, the same respect and the same advantages perhaps I’ve done a little bit to change the world.