Grief, rejection, depression…Oh My!

You know how people tell you not to make any major decisions like cutting your hair when you are angry? I wonder if that rule applies to blogging. I am not angry per se, just sad but all in all it is probably not a great frame of mind to blog in. In fact I should probably warn you that if you want your day to stay all shiny and happy (assuming it was going that way already) you should probably stop reading now. I have no end goal in sight with this blog. I am in a less than stellar frame of mind and I have no idea where this is headed. If you choose to read on, consider yourself warned.

I find it utterly incredible how swiftly our emotions can shift from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other. I do not suffer from depression in its clinical, heavily medicated form but I am just as prone to a touch of situational depression as the next person. This I get, I understand it. Bad things happen, sad things happen, it affects you on a core level and you feel the appropriate emotion for the situation. It is completely normal and in no way requires mind numbing medication. In fact if things like the death of a loved one did not upset you then that would be abnormal.

It is not the depth of the emotion that astounds me but how fast our brains can go from a place of utter contentment to absolute despair. It must be the manic-depressive in us all. I think what it really goes to show is just how little control we actually have over the day-to-day running of our lives. You can think you have got everything sorted. Your plan in place but sometimes life steps in and just takes the left turn instead of the right you had intended to take. Quite often a chain reaction of events is sparked which ends up washing you up in a place that is maybe not totally unfamiliar but none the less still not where you had planned to be.

The other thing that astounds me is the ability at the ripe old age of 31 to still feel an overwhelming sense of crushing, gut wrenching rejection. I would have thought that all of those years at primary school, then high school and then finding my way in the world as a young adult would have toughened me up but apparently even in our 30’s we are still entirely capable of being made to feel like the only girl at school who didn’t get an invite to the popular girls party.

All of this reflection comes amidst the sadness of my best friend losing her dad to cancer last night. She would also be feeling these swift, pendulum like swings in emotion herself at this very moment. She is very dear to me and my heart aches for her and the grief she would be experiencing along with her family. I can only hope that she was given the opportunity to say the things she wanted to say and hear the things she needed to hear before he passed.

So in closing today, I would like to request something of you, my loyal blog readers, I promise it won’t take up more than even 1 minute of your time. Just realise that every moment is precious. Tell the ones you love how you feel. Even if it is awkward and uncomfortable. Even if you don’t get the response you were hoping for or if you don’t get a response at all. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that if for some unforseen reason, that happened to be the last time you ever saw that person, you would always know that they knew exactly how much you cared for them.



By the power of Greyskull…..

It is astounding how much our kids influence our lives. There are the obvious ways but it is the not so obvious ones that make me laugh. Like for instance, my 3-year-old daughter discovered He-man and She-ra quite by accident one day while playing around on my phone on you-tube. She seemed to like it so I found the animated ” Secret of the sword” movie and off she went.

Now weeks later she is hooked. She runs around with anything even remotely resembling a sword playing he-man and yelling out ” by the power of Greyskull” as loud as she can manage. Of course she is always He-man in her games. This must be a genetic pre-disposition as when I was a young girl the game of choice was Star-wars. I was always Luke Skywalker of course and my younger brother was Leia. I wouldn’t let him be Vadar, he had to be the princess. And even after all those years of forced female role-play my brother is now a normal, functioning heterosexual male so that puts an end to the nature versus nurture debate.

I think the gravitation towards the powerful male characters in our young role-playing games is somewhat symbolic of the fact that all of the women in my family are strong, independent and self-assured. Even as children we asserted ourselves by assuming the most powerful roles in the games we played. None of this damsel in distress crap, hand me my light sabre dammit!

My daughter is always He-man because even though She-ra was created to be He-mans female equal, it is still quite clear in the cartoon that she is not as physically strong as he. He-man is muscular and buff. Tanned and rippled in his strange furry underpants and barbarian boots. Even in his “normal” Prince Adam persona, the muscles cut through the lovely pastel pink and purple tights and vests. It is obvious even to a child that he represents power and strength. A child sees nothing out-of-place with pink and purple tights complimented by furry jocks and this is precisely the reason that we dress our children rather than letting them pick their own outfits every day.

She-ra in her every day persona of Princess Adora is overly slender, with no real muscle tone to speak of. When she unleashes the power of the sword and becomes She-ra she changes outfit but is still overly slender with no real muscle tone to speak of. She has a flying horse which is pretty cool and all but nothing like having a raging battle cat. Seriously, tiger wins over horse any day. She still portrays the weaker sex, even if the shows producers were aiming for the opposite. Let She-ra have a six-pack I say and some sexy definition in the bicep region as last time I checked, cleavage was not the measure of a womans strength. Muscles are definitely not reserved only for the men any more.

So this blog is a perfect example of how my daughter has influenced me. I have just spent 446 words writing about He-man. Something that would have been most unlikely had I been childless at the time of writing. Probably even funnier is the amount of times the He-man theme music goes through my head while I am working out. I won’t tell you exact figures, It is more than a little embarrassing.

But for now, I will be off. My daughter is playing a Lion king game in her room with all of her stuffed toys. In her version however, Simba saves Mufasa from falling to his death and they live happily ever after. She is Mufasa right now hanging from the edge of a cliff ( her bed) and I have to play Simba who comes to her rescue. She always wants to be Mufasa as he is the biggest and the strongest of the pride. So I will go and save the lion kingdom from the wrath of Uncle Scar and then make some delicious rice paper rolls for lunch.

For those of you having problems with the rice paper, here is my Nigella style cooking tip for the day. Use warm water, not hot and only soak them for 30 seconds. Even if they still feel a little stiff, they will soften more as you are making them. Enjoy 🙂

Until next time…Hakuna Matata.

Coconut water…Natures sports drink?

Week one of the 12wbt round 4 is done and dusted. I reckon I feel pretty good about my efforts this week. Got my training in plus some extra. Ate to the plan except for todays little mix up. In my desperation to organise and diarise, my fridge has become somewhat of a paper mill. I have shopping lists, menus, recipes and millions of cute little hand drawn pictures from my daughter hanging from the front door of it. I read off the wrong menu and made the Thai beef salad for lunch today but never mind…it was delicious, even dear 3 year old ate it without complaint. Just watch that fish sauce. DO NOT, under pain of death, get it on your hands. Man Oh Man…that stuff stinks to high heaven and seems strangely soap resistant.

So I have been reading a lot of health and fitness magazines of late and I keep getting bombarded with all of this “literature” ( read: advertising) on coconut water. It is supposedly high in potassium and electrolytes. Touted as being “Natures Sports Drink” it is meant to be a supreme re-hydrator and useful after a workout or when stranded on a desert island.

There are several brands available, some flavoured, some plain. Make no mistake 12wbt buddies, this is not “water” in the traditional sense and it contains calories and often lots of added nasties. For this reason I decided to give coconut water a try, but without all of the marketing hype. From my recent blogs, you will know that I now avoid marketing hype if possible.

I took my 3-year-old daughter to the supermarket and we bought a coconut. A real life, brown and hairy coconut. She was most excited after having been watching a pirate cartoon that contained many coconut laden palm trees to actually have a real one to play with. We went home and showed Husband. It was to be his job to crack the oversized, furry, brown nut when we were finished with it. Daughter went off into the backyard, happily carting her new coconut friend in her little dolls pram. Had she been Tom Hanks, coconut would have been Wilson. Yes, my daughter is an only child and occasionally makes friends with inanimate objects.

Arrrr, me mateys, Why is the rum always gone?

After an hour or so of being rolled around the back yard, it was time to open up ” Wilson” and sample the miracle waters contained within. We gently placed him in a vice and squeezed him till he cracked. We caught what the magazines called “natures Gatorade” into a cup and split it into 2 servings. One for me and one for Daughter. We took a sip.

We spluttered and sprayed “natures Gatorade” all over the ground and looked for the nearest water source to rinse out our mouths. The bucket of dog water with the nice thick layer of slime on the bottom looked inviting but less than hygienic so we opted for tap water instead. Turns out natures sports drink tastes more like natures armpit sweat. And that is if nature is an exceptionally dirty hippy.

Turns out there is a reason why the coconut water companies add all of the sugar and flavours to their product. No one would drink it otherwise. I always thought that people died when they were stranded on desert islands because they didn’t know there was an amazing life source contained within the hard shell of the hundreds of coconuts hanging overhead. Turns out they do know about it but would just rather die than drink it.

Trust me 12wbt’ers. stick with plain old water. Tap, filtered, spring, whatever. Who cares, just stay hydrated. Especially for those new to the program. It seems hard to drink all that water and is tempting to reach for alternatives to add some flavour. Before you do…look at the nutrition panel on the side. Some of these “sports” drinks can have as many calories as a meal. No thanks, I’ll drink H2O and save my calories for real food!

The most wonderful time of the year. For most.

I love Christmas. Always have, always will. This year is especially awesome as my Daughter is 3 and this is the first year that she will be fully aware of the “existence” of Santa. She has been going on and on about the jolly  fat man and presents. Reindeer have been a new addition to the hilarious and nonsensical little stories she tells me and she can’t wait to spend her Christmas at the beach this year.

Ever since Target and Big W started selling the Christmas stock ( which was somewhere around January 1st or at least it feels like that long) my Daughter has been harping on about putting up a tree in our shop. I usually go a bit nuts with the decorations at work but I try my best to delay putting them up until the 1st of December. Even then I seem to cop extreme criticism from the locals and other business owners alike about it being “too soon”

Why, just today, I have had at least five customers grumble about the appearance of my tree. My excited and usually popular daughter requested to give one female customer a tour of the tree she helped decorate with much pride. The response was to tell my 3-year-old that she did not even want to think about Christmas. To which I escorted her out of my shop with an audible ” Bah Humbug” For the love of all things Christmas, she is 3 ! Have a heart or if that is not possible do not venture back into my store again.

So maybe a lot of my fellow 12wbt pals are concerned over the placement of Christmas, seeing as it is nearly smack in the middle of the program.  Don’t stress friends. Just try to remember this. Christmas is only a day. ONE day. Not a week or a month.

Even if you have a slip up of epic proportions, it is only one day. You can get back into it the very next day and you still have the second half of the 12 weeks to redeem yourself.  And if none of that helps to motivate you to behave this festive season remember this. Christmas Day is the day before weigh-in. Before you reach for that second or third plate of goodness just think about what that scale is going to look like the next day…GULP……

Try the new Christmas diet…You eat nothing but air all year round but stuff yourself at Christmas….Ho Ho Ho

The anniversary edition.

Today is my wedding anniversary. Four years married to my best friend. It is a good thing he is my best friend too, not just my husband. Because I don’t remember at any stage making vows that included snoring, bad jokes and strange bodily smells that will outlast religion. But you know what they say..You break it, you buy it.

About three and a half years ago I distinctly remember trotting around Melbourne looking for my wedding dress and vowing to myself that I would not be a fat bride. I had weight loss on the mind in a big way. That kind of pre-wedding weight loss that is more like a religious cult for those involved in it.

Somehow we manage to forget all of the other ways that being fat makes us uncomfortable and it becomes all about the wedding. As if it would not matter if I spent the rest of my life being mistaken for Jabba the Hut, as long as I was skinny in the wedding photos. Is it right? Nope. Is it logical? Nope. But it just is what it is.

Turns out I was not a fat bride. I was a pregnant one. Whoops! Never mind. The photos turned out great and we had a blast that day. Of course it did not go without its quirks. Like the celebrant who turned out to be a Nazi control freak. The best part was when he forgot what he was saying half way through and made my Husband repeat his wedding vows. I have memories of literally hiding from the photographer so I could actually eat some of the food that was being served. Hours and hours of photos was not how I had envisioned spending my wedding reception but they are great shots. Even if they did take a year and a half to make it into my possession after the wedding. Note to potential brides: Do NOT pay for the photos up front. Pay half now and half later otherwise they suddenly lose their motivation once all the money is safely in their bank account.

Just remember girls, all of the things you are stressing about don’t really matter. It did not matter that my garden wedding was moved indoors last-minute to cater for the fact that it decided to hail. Literally. In November! It did not matter that my mother-in law had a few questionable moments. The huge hairy spider that followed me down the impossibly steep staircase did not even matter.

All that matters is that he was there, I was there, the rings were there and the certificate got signed. We had a beautiful day with our friends and family and I now have priceless video and photos of my dad, pre-brain cancer that one day will mean more to me than any possession I could ever own.

The moral to this story is that as important as a wedding seems, it is one day. Thats it. It is every day that comes after that one day that really matters. It is the life that you build together, the children you have together ( if you choose to) and the things you achieve together that really matter. NOT whether you have a double chin in your photos.

So for any of my 12WBT buddies that may be doing the program as a 12 week pre-wedding blitz, take a moment and put it in perspective. You are building your best body and re-claiming your health for life. Not one day but for every day that comes next. So take a chill pill, follow the program and accept that when it comes to your wedding day, what will be, will be. That being said, do not be afraid to give your celebrant a kick in the shins if he is being a twit. God knows, mine had it coming!

Did it just get hotter?

* Warning: Fart Jokes Ahead *

Before I begin, my most sincerest apologies for my extended absence on the blog scene. I don’t really have a great, exciting and dramatic excuse. It’s just that life kind of got me all caught up in its web these last few weeks. You know, work, kid, husband, more work and so on.

So round 3 is over. Where did the time go? Those of you who are following me from the start know that I came up against some medical challenges along the way. After a bit of a burn out at about week 8 it was all I could do to eat well and stay as active as possible and not put any of my hard-earned weight loss back on. So I lost 6 kilos. Not the 12 I wanted but any loss is good and I am not going to punish myself any longer about it.

I have signed on the dotted line and am back for round 4. Maybe, just maybe I can get a few extra kilos off before I go traipsing around the beach at Christmas. After all, Greenpeace volunteers like having christmas dinner with their families too, not being called out to help the “stranded whale” on the Lorne main beach.

But wow, this last month or so before Christmas is mega hectic at the shop and Husband and I are running around like headless chooks to get all of our work done before we close up for a hard-earned break. Combine all of this with the usual work/ home stuff and it can get a little bit overwhelming to think about exercise and eating right.

To keep things simple, I bought a protein powder. The idea being that having one or two shakes a day as my snacks would help me to stick to my calorie limit. However, having weight trained and known many pro-powder devotees, I also knew that protein powder can come with some not so nice side effects. Such as the power to kill any animal located down wind with a single flatulent release. Yup…forget beans, protein powder makes you fart.

I had a boss eons ago who was very short and very mean. The latter having much to do with his stature I’m sure. He fancied himself a bit of a health nut and consumed protein shakes everyday. It was a small workshop area. I fear that my olfactory system will never be the same. I did not work there long.

It seems that no matter how advanced the formula, there was no powder on the market that could promise to do away with the unfortunate and most times embarrassing side effects of digestive bloating and gas build up. Until now…supposedly. As many of my friends and family know, I am trying to include as much natural, organic and whole food into my diet as possible. So artificial sweeteners, genetically modified soy and high fructose corn syrup are strictly banned. These are commonly found in a lot of commercial protein powders and then lets not even get started on the hormones fed to the cows blah blah blah.

I came across this new powder somewhere in a magazine of some description that promised the world. Well, a world with slightly less methane anyway. Basically it was as close to an organic protein powder as you could get with the whey protein sourced from organically fed, hormone free cows. Naturally sweetened and 100% money back guarantee to be fart free. My visa came out of my wallet at frightening speed, BAM, purchase complete. After much anticipation, it arrived in around 2 weeks.

I opened the tub, so far so good. Smelled ok, like normal vanilla. I followed the instructions and mixed up my first shake. Taste wise, it claimed to taste like melted ice cream. Like a dessert that was so delicious that you could not help feel guilty whilst consuming it. Apparently somewhere in America, there is a store selling ice cream and desserts that taste like old sweaty socks. It was horrid. Naturally sweetened with what exactly? Perhaps they meant ” Naturally Sweatened”. The sweat from a thousand homeless men in every tub. Guaranteed!

Now all of this aside, the taste is something I can look past. Bottom line is all pro-powders taste bad and it is easily side-stepped with additions such as frozen fruit and yoghurt. But then something horrible happened approximately 15 minutes later. My tummy started gurgling in a manner that I usually only hear from my husband’s stomach after a hard night of too many beers. Then it began. The fart to end all farts. The Mayans said the end was nigh and now I am inclined to believe them. Except we may not have to wait until December and the epicentre of the destruction will be at my house.

Fast forward 48 hours later and the carnage was still unfurling. I was running around my shop waving towels and frantically putting on the air-con before any customers came in. I was not sure that the public liability insurance covered asphyxiation and did not want to take any chances. I feared for my sanity, my business, my marriage. I feared it would never end. I felt the ambient temperature in my immediate area raise by a degree or two. I assume this was due to my intestinal upset having burned a new hole in the ozone layer located directly above me. I felt a strange new affinity towards the cows in the paddocks along the side of the road as I drove by. And then finally, after 2 days of hell, for me and my family, it was over.

Now it has been a week since that “event” and life is returning to some semblance of normality. The fragrant oil burners are no longer running around the clock. Needless to say, I have accepted the offending powder company’s money back guarantee and the powder is on its way back to the hell from whence it came. I feel that the box should have been labelled as flammable or explosive but no mind, if anything happens to it while it is in transit it will be on Australia posts shoulders now.

The moral of this story is that we should never, ever believe the advertising hype that we are bombarded with every day. And unless you believe that being more cow-like will turn you into some sort of Indian deity and bestow super Hindu powers upon you, take my advice and stick to real protein. The kind you have to chew.

Until next time, welcome to my round 4 12WBT. Let’s get Moo-ving 🙂

What’s that smell you say? Don’t look at me!