Starvin’ Marvin

I am in food hell. I am literally craving so many different things it is making my head spin. I will go through my usual mental back and forth about why I should not eat those chocolate eclairs or chips and gravy but in the end my pregnancy ” get out of jail free” card wins out. So I buy what I crave and sit down. I unwrap it with eager excitement. After all, when is the next time I am going to have a virtually guilt free chocolate eclair? Just as I am ready to tuck in to the sugary sweetness , a huge wave of nausea washes over me and I nearly weep as I realise there is no way on earth I can eat anything now, not even a creamy, lovely eclair. Not so much as a sniff. It gets angrily handed over to husband and now we know why he puts on 20 kilos during my pregnancy and I put on nothing.

Tonight it was nachos. I wanted nachos so bad I think I must have been possessed by the spirit of an old Mexican man who died before he had a chance to tuck into his last meal. I ordered the nachos supreme. With shredded chicken. My mouth watered at the thought of all the melted cheese, sour cream, salsa and guacamole. I could almost taste the tang of the jalapeños and the creamy refried beans.

I opted for take away as in my mind, I saw myself chowing down on these nachos like a woman possessed and did not want to risk making a scene in the restaurant. They smelled so good in the car and I could not believe how well I felt. No sickness at all.

I got home, ran inside, sat at the table, opened the lid and nearly cried tears of joy at the beauty of what lay before me. I scooped up a large forkful of melty, gooey goodness and……

Immediately felt sick.

Are you serious?????

I threw down my fork, stormed away from the table and dragged my sorry ass upstairs to bed streaming a long repertoire of spanish expletives thanks to my hungry mexican poltergeist. Which is where I am now as I type. I am so freaking hungry and all I can eat are salada biscuits and water.

I swear sometimes, pregnancy is a cruel joke.

I am going to sleep now to dream of Cadbury creme egg ice cream. Yes it has finally been invented and the person who is responsible should be immediately awarded a Nobel peace prize, a Purple Heart and the order of Australia. Not that I will be able to eat some anytime soon. In my head it tastes amazing?

Rant over.

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The Irony Is Killing Me !

Oh irony, sweet irony. And I mean real, honest to god irony too. Not the non- irony of the Alanis Morissette song of a similar name where everything she claims as being ironic is actually just really, really unfortunate. Nope, I am living in a new dimension where there is irony at every turn, waiting there to point and laugh.

There may also be a little bit karma thrown into the mix just to add some variety but I will save my diatribe on karma for another day, another blog. But before I digress any further, allow me to explain my opening paragraph to you in some further detail.

My 12wbt days are officially over. No, my second round of twelve weeks has not quite come to a close but I have officially thrown in the towel. Don’t panic dear readers. I promise that I am not typing this blog whilst waiting in line at the nearest buffet or cramming a burger down my throat. I actually have what I believe to be a legitimate reason to throw in this particular towel in favour of something else.

Some of you may recall back in my early 12 week body transformation days that I spent a fair amount of time at the doctors, having blood drained and examined and all manner of other tests in an attempt to get an idea of my current health situation. Well , all that poking and prodding resulted in a lengthy diagnosis:

Fibromyalgia ( to explain the chronic pain and fatigue)
Costalchondritis ( spelling ? To explain the persistent chest pains)
Poly cystic ovarian syndrome ( to explain numerous other symptoms)

I returned home, relieved to finally know what was wrong with me and went along my Michelle bridges 12wbt way. I followed her program to the letter. For the first six weeks, I was stoked. I was losing weight. Slowly but surely. I had been told that it would be incredibly slow going due to the poly cystic ovaries but I persisted. 6 kilos in 6 weeks.

Then I hit a wall. I followed the program still, no more weight would come off. I exercised 2 hours a day instead of 1. The numbers would not budge. I tried more calories, less calories, nothing was working? One week, I exercised for three hours straight on the cross trainer, five days in a row. Nothing, nada, zilch .

The chest pains started to intensify, which was concerning to say the least. The chronic fatigue hit an all new level. It got to the stage that after a meal I would drag myself to the couch at the back of the shop and pass out for three hours. During the time I was so very lethargic that I could not even lift my arms.my entire body felt like it was made of lead.

I spent my Christmas holiday feeling like garbage, it was hard to enjoy the beach when roughly six hours of every day was taken up with recovery after meals. Once I returned home, I was to have some time to myself with my husband taking our daughter to see his parents for a few days. During this time I spent quite a lot of time reading and researching why I might be feeling this way. I felt that there had to be something more to it. There had to be a way for me to lose weight and not feel like absolute shit all of the time!

I stumbled across a website for people with food intolerances and started reading the stories of all these different people suffering exactly the same symptoms as I was. After three days of heavy reading I had a theory. Gluten intolerance could have been responsible for my fatigue but dairy intolerance or more specifically, casein allergy seemed to be causing my chest pains.

I decided to conduct a little experiment . For a week, I ate no gluten or dairy at all. Within 24 hours my energy levels felt restored, I felt like a new person. For the first time in 2 years, I had no pain in my body at all…anywhere!!!! It was the best week I have had in a very long time and to finish it off with a bang, my Sunday weigh in showed a loss of 2.7 kilos, in one week. That was previously unheard of for me.

Then I had a glass of milk. Skim milk. The chest pains came back, before I could even finish. I had heart palpitations and felt very anxious and jittery. It was horrible and scary and I had to wait a full 24 hours before it fully passed. Ok, I knew then that dairy was out.

Once the chest pains had passed, I ate bread. I had a breakfast containing much gluten. Immediately I was bloated. Like six month pregnant bloated. The fatigue came soon after and I spent the majority of the early afternoon in bed. Gluten was out too. No question.

So seeing as gluten was on the banned substance list in my house now, I stocked up on rice products. I had learned that rice was somewhat of a staple for gluten intolerant individuals such as myself. The only problem was that the rice was making me feel kind of sluggish too. Not in the same way as wheat but I knew that when I had say steak and salad, I felt much better compared to when I ate chicken breast, rice and salad.

Back to the Internet. What I found led me to the diet that I am now an avid follower of. And drum roll please……introducing….irony…..

The paleo diet. Yup, you heard me, the sticks and leaves diet that I spent so much time poking fun at in my earlier blogs is now pretty much the only thing I can follow and not feel like crap!!!!

I eat paleo, I feel great, I have no pain, I have energy and I lose weight. I eat as much as I want until I am satisfied and I exercise when I feel like it. I don’t count calories. I don’t count calories burned. I just stick to the foods on the list in whatever combination I choose and it works.

My skin is clearer than it has been in ages. My brain is no longer foggy and forgetful . I have avoided illness when everyone around me has been ill. I am converted. I am not a fanatic….I still reserve the right to poke fun on occasion. I will not disown anyone I know for consuming gluten or dairy. But I cannot gloss over the positive effects of this way of life. It is not a diet. It is a way of life. It has to be because there is no way I am ever going back to feeling the way I felt every day before I got on the sticks and leaves boat.

So fibromyalgia turned out to be gluten intolerance, costalchondritis is in actual fact casein allergy and PCOS is still PCOS but the symptoms are improving every day. Sorry Michelle bridges , I gave it a good go but your menu is a food intolerance nightmare.

Wish me luck people, I am hoping this year brings good results. I am off to have a twig salad for lunch 😉

The red flag and the bull.

Beware the dreaded Red Flag Days or RFD’s as I like to call them. Michelle talks about these early on in the 12wbt. Days that we should mark out in our diaries and calendars due to risk of massive blow out. Parties, dinners, weddings, travelling, you get the gist. These are days that we have to plan extra hard for to make sure we stay on track and not give in to the age-old excuse of ” I forgot to pack snacks for my trip so now I will have to eat burgers and fries for the next 3 days”.

There is a distinct difference this round compared to last round and it is 100% seasonal. Last round I had virtually no RFD’s. It was the first 12 week stretch for the entire year where I had no birthday parties, weddings, dinner dates or travel plans. There is also the phenomenon known as the surprise RFD. The ones that hit you like a sledge-hammer. These include unexpected illness, visitors and the like but I’m afraid it is the flexing of the will power muscle that will keep you out of trouble with those ones.

This round has been hellishly hard to stay on track so far. Forget marking the RFD’s in my diary, I am just going to colour my whole diary red, in permanent marker, front and back cover included. I feel like the red flag is being constantly waved in my face and by the time Christmas day comes around, I feel that I am going to be a very angry bull!

Work hours are insane, as business owners and manufacturing jewellers we CANNOT drop the ball. The rings and pendants that people have booked in and paid for months ago absolutely have to be made in time for Christmas. NO EXCEPTION.

Christmas parties are booking in fast, dinner with this person, drinks with that person. Then there are just the usual summer barbeques, the non-christmas related ones. We have new years, Australia Day and several birthdays in the new year.

The biggest red flag is the travel. We will be travelling over Christmas and staying in an apartment overlooking the sea ( bliss). I have planned a menu, shopping list and packed workout dvd’s. I am actually really looking forward to early morning jogging along the beach. The many cafe’s and restaurants will have to play their siren song for someone else this year.

So I have been staying on track. Literally hanging in there by the skin of my teeth but still on track. When I start to feel like I am getting snowed under and that things are getting “too hard” I take some time to remind myself of my accomplishments this year so far. I have already lost 6 kilos. Not a massive amount you might say, but an accomplishment for me in the face of many hormonal red flags. I have quit smoking and never felt better. The sheer relief alone is amazing. Not having to worry about electively giving myself cancer is a wonderful thing. Our household has become mostly chemical free and our eating is energy producing instead of energy depleting. Every weekend, we wake up and discuss what we will do whether it be to hike this trail or walk this one. We are so much more active than 3 months ago and it feels great. It feels healthy.

Those of you struggling with similar red flag issues, fear not. You are not alone. As a round 3 returnee I can say that this round is has got to be possibly the hardest round of the whole year.Take time to think about all of the positive changes you have made already. Hang in there, stay strong and laugh in the face of that matador and his silly red rag. When it comes to bull fighting I am always on the side of the bull anyways.

How many calories in the average diet book?

The answer is none. They are a vacuous black hole of information. For there to be calories there would have to be substance. Information that is usable in some small way. If anyone ever starts a book-aholics meeting program let me know, I’m in.

Hello my name is Amber and I am a book addict.

This is really not anything new for those near and dear to me. I have always had a healthy appetite for knowledge. I used to draw quite a few raised eyebrows from my early primary school teachers when they would come across copies of Jane Austen in my school bag. Truthfully I find Jane Austen incredibly dull but an addict does not get picky about how they receive their fix now do they. The problem is that my healthy appetite for reading has now turned into a voracious hunger that can never be satisfied. My brain is literally morbidly obese from devouring so much useless knowledge.

An unfortunate side effect of my overloaded knowledge stores is that I seem to have become some kind of strange ” go to guy” for people’s troubles. As if my steady diet of information and useless facts have made me into some kind of jack of all trades when it comes to problem solving. I have literally overheard people tell other people ” oh, you should ask Amber about that, she’s really smart, she knows about all kinds of weird things”.

This all came to a head about six months ago when I was approached quite out of the blue and asked by a lady I barely knew why her daughter whom I had definitely never met was experiencing discomfort ” down there”. Shocked, I asked her why she was asking me, last time I checked I was not a gyno or a urologist. Apparently I had been “referred” by someone else who had heard the mythical tales and legend of the woman who knew everything about everything. I then explained to the woman that I did not in fact know everything about everything and that her daughter sounded like she needed a gynaecologist or a general practitioner at the very least. Unsatisfied by my answer, the woman pleaded with me to throw her a bone, anything she could tell her daughter who was apparently convinced she had some kind of cancer of the lady bits. Shaking my head, I simply replied ” Herpies, cystitis, urinary tract infection, chlamydia, thrush, hypochondria, tell her to go see a bloody doctor for Christs sakes!” and walked away. Needless to say, I have spent the last six months keeping a low profile around the place for fear of another impromptu Q&A session.

I can and often do read a book a day. Sometimes more. Usually my choice of book will be directed by what I am currently interested in and as we all know, that is health and fitness at the moment. I have read and owned and ebayed many many diet books already and followers of my blog will know that I have an extensive knowledge of the different diet programs out there waiting for some poor unsuspecting overweight person to stumble across them. The problem here is that I am an addict. I cannot get enough of reading and it has gotten to the stage that I will read utter crap and nonsense even though I know from the get go that they are going to be utter crap and nonsense.

I am literally a book binger. Very similar to a binge eater. I know that the burger,pizza,fried chicken etc etc that I am shovelling into my mouth is nutritionally void and is doing nothing for me but am powerless to stop. I am pleased to say that I have been able to get a handle on the binge eating but the binge reading is getting worse. I shovel the information into my brain where it gets sorted and stored for me to dredge up at a later date. I read books that I know are informationally void and know thatI will never have a need for it ever again but I can’t stop. I just keep thinking that it might make a good conversation starter one day or maybe a good blog. I am beginning to worry that if I keep filling my brain with useless garbage that It will start to take over the useful information I have stored there in the same way that bad cholesterol invades the once healthy arteries of a junk food regular. The truth is once you read it, you can’t unread it. You would think that I would have learnt my lesson after the fifty shades trauma I willingly inflicted upon myself.

Sadly no, I am struggling to learn from my book bingeing mistakes and today once again, feeling a little down after a less than stellar weigh in, I treated myself to a little mindless reading. I knew that any book entitled ” the easyweigh to lose weight” was going to be questionable but it was like a train wreck. I couldn’t not read it. I had to know what snake oil was being peddled in this little parcel of false hope.

It turned out that after a whole book of being told that you can lose weight in no time at all simply by eating all of your fave foods any time you want and in any quantity, the book was right! You CAN lose weight easily by eating all of your favourite foods in any quantities and at any time. As long as your favourite foods consist of raw vegetables and no meat, dairy or animal products of any kind whatsoever. It wasnt a vegan book, it took vegan about ten more steps to the extreme. Ok then, have fun eating your raw onions and potatoes, I kind of like , oh I don’t know, cooking my food, but hey, maybe that’s just me.

In all seriousness, the principal was that seeing as we share like 99% of the same DNA as Chimps, the logical conclusion is that we should eat the same way that chimps do. Considering I have seen chimps literally reach around and grab the faeces from their butts and then eat it right out of their hands , I think I will pass, thanks but no thanks. So really all I learned from this book today was that if I ever met an avid follower of this method face to face, I should maybe think twice before shaking their hand.

Whilst losing copious amounts of weight, Boris the Chimp still cannot figure out why everything he eats on this new diet tastes like crap???

Shiny Happy People.

I wonder how my husband would react to the idea of an open relationship. Seems like an odd thing to ponder I know but the problem is that I have fallen in love. No, not like that. He doesn’t really have anything to worry about. The object of my new affections is a woman. One of the most amazing, inspirational women, for me at least.

She is strong and healthy. Philanthropic and involved. She takes my body to places it never knew it could go and just when I think I cannot stand the pain any longer, she manages to find a way to make me strive for more. She makes me hurt so much I want to curse her existence but just before I do, she releases me and makes me realise how truly powerful I am.

The woman I speak of is Jillian Michaels. Americas Toughest Trainer. You will know her as one of the original trainers on Americas Biggest Loser as well as first 2 seasons of Australia’s version of the show. I know the start of this blog makes me sound like some crazy fan girl, I’m not really, I was just playing with you dear readers…forgive me.

But seriously, this chick is fricken amazing and I am going to tell you why.

As far as personal trainers go, you will find many different methods of delivery. There are the boot camp, marine wannabe trainers who believe that the best way to get your clients to work is to shout and scream and belittle them. These are the ones who think that they have to break your spirit before they can break your bad habits. I do not respond to this style of training. I cannot justify spending money on 1 hour of being insulted. If I wanted that I would just find a group of teenagers to hang around for an hour.

There are the wannabe psychologists. You know, the ones who think a certificate 4 or diploma in fitness gives them adequate qualification to scramble around in your brains and drop many references to Freud and being orally fixated. Again, I do not respond to this type of training. My mother is a psychologist, with a hard earned, ridgy didge psychology degree. If I want someone to tell me that the reason why I over eat is because I didn’t get enough hugs as a child, it can be her.

Then there are the shiny happy people trainers. The ones who believe that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. That sugary sweet motivational clichés are going to get the bowl of M&M’s off my lap and my ass running around the lake. It’s patronising and annoying and it doesn’t work for me. I didn’t like shiny happy people when REM sung about them and I definitely do not like them when they are trying to motivate me to train. I don’t want to be told that half a push up is a marvellous effort and that I should take a moment to reflect and be proud of what I have achieved. I want to be told that half a push up is fine but where the hell are the other 5 I was asked for.

This is why I love Jillian Michaels and also Michelle Bridges. They are real women with similar reality based training styles.. They call it how they see and are not afraid to call out an excuse when they hear one. This is the kind of training I respond to. Now don’t get me wrong. If you personally find the other styles more to your liking then go right ahead. This is just what works for me. I would need a trainer I can respect and there is no way I could respect a trainer that is so easily placated that they allow me to do half a crunch and then cry for 15 minutes about my self-esteem issues. Work out now…cry later. Crying doesn’t burn enough calories. You wanna run half a lap and have a cry about how fat your feet look in your new sneakers? Guess what? Crying won’t fix that, running the rest of that lap will.I need a trainer who can tell the difference between a ” I don’t feel like running anymore” sore knee and an actual ” my knee cap is about to literally fall off” injury. No one wants a trainer they can outsmart that easily. Otherwise it would just be a waste of money.

I love the fact that Jillian Michaels is relatable. She used to be fat. She has PCOS. She knows what it means to have to train three times harder than anyone else because of that hormonal condition. She can relate to us therefore we can relate to her. She doesnt yell and scream randomly, all she asks for is for you to bring your “A game”, every single time. To not cheat yourself out of being the best you can be. She teaches us that women can use weights and strength training to build a lean, strong but still feminine physique. In fact, it the only way that we can tone up our trouble zones. I see myself as a strong woman therefore I respond well to other strong women. This is what works for me.

An ass kicking for every training session, Monday to Saturday!

Yep, I would let Jillian Kick my ass any day of the week. Maybe it is because I can see a lot of parallels between her and me. She has PCOS, so do I. She is the same height as me so I can use her as inspiration in my weight loss and training. Something to strive towards. She used to be overweight and weigh the same as I do now. She is brutally honest and calls it how she sees it. Something I have been known for even though it may not be my most popular personality trait at times. It is at least my most consistent personality trait.

So If I had the opportunity to meet any celebrity in the whole entire world, who would I choose?

Johnny Depp of course…what! you think I’m crazy????

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

That is my favourite quote.

” You must be the change you wish to see in the world” Mahatma Gandhi

The last few weeks have had me thinking a lot about change. Positive change, change for the better, it is a popular topic of thought and something we have all dwelled on at some point in our lives.

Personally I love change. One of my favourite things is moving house. Not the most popular past time for most people but the drudgery of packing and un-packing is surpassed by that awesome feeling of adventure. I love to explore my new surrounds and start over. It is a clean slate to arrange things the way I want and then sit back and reflect on my accomplishment. Until the inevitable clutter creeps back in. Then before the year is out, nothing is where it should be and the house never seems clean. It is about this time that my change itch sparks up and I start getting antsy to move on. It is one of the reasons I love day trips, driving holidays and getting away as much as money allows. I crave the stimulation of experiencing new places and exploring a new environment even if it just a temporary change. I change my hair colour and style as often as I change my mind, which is a lot. I also change the things that I am passionate about, my hobbies and interests just as easily. This love of change may make me seem flighty and unfocused which is why I have to work extra hard to knuckle down and complete what I start before I go off on my next tangent.

The idea of changing my diet and increasing my level of activity wasn’t a daunting thing for me. Because it represented a change and I was long overdue for one. My focus right now is to discover new and exciting ways to train. I have just discovered kettlebells and have fallen in love. Until my next love crosses my path. Crossfit maybe or Zumba? Nah…sorry, I draw the line at Zumba. Throw an 8 kilo kettlebell at me and I will blitz a workout, strong and consistent. Add an element of latin dance and it all goes to hell with itself. My brain is allergic to dance and I will most likely end up breaking out in hives as well as breaking an ankle.

Luckily for me my husband is a supportive kind of guy. He usually goes along with what I suggest, not for lack of having a mind of his own, he just wants me to be happy. I suspect that I frustrate the absolute crap out him most days though. You see, it is not enough for me to embark on this 12 week body transformation alone, I have to drag him along with me. I am an epic control freak, I admit, but this is not the reason why. It is because I want what is best for him and my daughter even if he doesn’t see it. I know how much better he feels when he is training and fit. I know it gives him extra energy and that it sets a great example for our daughter. I also know that it is partially my fault that he is overweight at this point in his life. Like I said before, he tends to go along with what I want to make me happy. And this meant pizza, chips, chocolate and burgers.

So my husband now rides his bike 16 kilometers a day to and from work and eats all of the 12WBT meals that I prepare for his breakfast lunch and dinner. He eats the snacks that I supply for him and listens to me endlessly prattle on about fitness, nutrition, Michelle Bridges this, Michelle Bridges that. This is a pretty big change for my Husband. What you need to know about him to put this all into perspective is that he is a classic Taurian male….a rut guy. We are talking about a man who until recently ate weet-bix for breakfast, every morning , without fail. he doesn’t like weet-bix, in fact after five years of me knowing him and watching him eat it every day he finally admitted to me that he hated it so much it made him want to vomit. I was astonished. Why eat it if you hate it so? He did it because he always had. Simple as that. The weet-bix rut. The thought of doing something like that baffled me. I’ve never been in a rut in my life simply because I never stuck with anything long enough for it to become a rut. Fancy Mr. Routine Rut Guy marrying Miss Flighty Never Finish What I Start. It is a pretty good match, I give him enough excitment to last a life time and he keeps me grounded so I dont end up living in a hippie commune located on an island owned by a nudist colony in my search for adventure.

So despite my husbands tendency to get comfortable in his drudgery, he has been making a lot of changes with me. Is this enough for me? Oh No! I want more. It is not enough that he rides his bike 16 k’s a day, I want him to do a kettlebell workout with me when he gets home followed by a 30 minute ab workout. If I could possibly manage it, I would get him doing yoga too. I don’t want him phoning it in either. I want explosive effort and sweat pouring off him.

Some of the joys that await my husband when he gets home from work.

We did a cardio Pilates workout together a week ago. It was more like a ” get fit with interpretive dance” workout. There were leotards, spirit fingers and jazz waves a plenty. I felt utterly ridiculous whilst doing this dvd and I knew my husband felt about as far from being a man as possible at that point. However, I had talked him into it so I had to go through with it. I can tell you, I never felt so much relief as when that dvd ended and I knew that was going directly onto my ” sell on eBay” pile of useless junk.

My husband would prefer “manly” workouts he tells me. You know, lifting mega heavy weights out in the gym and then standing around a mirror comparing how much pump you got from one arm to the other. Or simply running his ass around the block until his legs give out. None of this prancing about the living room to poorly mixed Mardi gras music. It seems that no matter how heavy the kettlebell, how challenging the workout DVD he cant seem to stop thinking of it as “aerobics”. Leotard and leg warmers optional.

Luckily, I have not encountered as much resistance on the diet front. He has enjoyed everything I have cooked so far. Even the minty, lemon, ricotta peas i made last night were a hit. They looked terrible, like something I had dredged up out of the bottom of the lake but he overcame appearances and ended up enjoying them. Is that enough for me? Oh No! My husband is a coffee drinker and I will not rest until he has replaced coffee with herbal tea.

Every day I drink about 8 cups of herbal and green tea. Usually rosehip, nettle, green tea with jasmine, chinese white tea, rooibos tea, lemon and ginger tea and sleepy time tea before bed. I love tea, I have an insane collection of tea and I enjoy sipping a cup of tea constantly throughout the day. I want my husband to also like tea and I continually bombard him with all of the health benefits of drinking tea. He tells me that he likes green tea with jasmine so I run out and buy him a box to have at work to replace the several coffees. He attempts to drink the green tea I have bought and then tells me it turns out it is not as nice as he thought.

Anyone for tea? A sample of my collection!

The problem is that my husbands only experience with green tea was after dinner at a chinese restaurant. The little pot and tiny little cups came out and everyone at the table happily sipped away. The reason why the green tea is so good after chinese is because the food is so loaded and saturated with salt, your body will drink anything to try to relieve the dehydration. You could serve up a lightly warmed pot of toilet water and the recipients would be slurping away all ” god damn, that some good tea!”

There is an art to preparing the perfect cup of herbal or green tea. Water too hot or not hot enough, leaves or bag, steeped quickly or for longer. All of these things will decide whether your tea is delicious and refreshing or bitter and horrible. And just to make it more difficult, every tea is different in its brewing requirements. When all is said and done herbal teas are a bit of an acquired taste. The more you drink them, the more you will love them. I served my husband a sleepy time tea before bed last night instead of his usual hot chocolate. He was a good sport and he did drink it but it was a slow process. When I asked him if he liked it, I was hopeful. Maybe he could be converted after all. He replied ” well it’s not too bad, if you like the taste of a sweaty gym sock steeped in boiling water”.

The pungent aroma of sock tea is an ancient chinese method of weight control. Drinking this tea has an immediate emetic effect.

Oh well, better luck next time. We then proceeded to have a conversation about how apparently ” real men don’t drink herbal tea”. I told him that was untrue and he asked me to prove it. So I must be off now. In order to win the battle of the herbal tea I am now going to trawl the internet until I find at least five celebrity males that have openly spoken about their love of herbal tea. Wish me luck 🙂

Math Smath…A lesson in how to defy the rules of science and math.

So it is weigh in day today for the 12WBT. I know, a little weird considering we only just technically started 2 days ago, but hey, I’m paying $200 for this and what Michelle wants, Michelle gets.

I will tell you that being impatient as usual, I actually started eating a controlled calorie diet about a week before kick off. I knew that we would be sticking to a 1200 a day calorie diet and I knew that we would be required to burn at least 400 calories a day through exercise so myself and many others decided to get a head start. I did not know what the nutrition plan was but knowing a fair bit about nutrition I decided to wing it and create my own meals for the week. Also knowing a fair bit about training, I decided to wing it for the week in my gym also.

Then come Sunday, I weighed in. I had lost 2.1 kilos in a week. Amazing. My hormonally challenged body finally did something right for a change. I did a ludicrous little mexican hat style dance around the scales and was brimming with motivation to dive head first into the first official week of the challenge.

Turns out this was one of those deceptively shallow pools and my head first dive ended up snapping my weight loss muscle leaving my results paralysed for the entire first week.

I ate everything on the nutrition plan. Every recipe was followed to the letter. Even though the calorie content was already counted for us, I am not one to leave anything to chance. I counted again. Every single ingredient was strictly measured and poured. My snacks were fresh, healthy and non processed. My whole diet for the last 2 days has been organic, calorie controlled, low in fat, high in essential vitamins and nutrients….perfect in other words. I drank gallons of water and herbal tea throughout the day, selecting teas specifically for their weight loss benefits and anti-water retention properties. I have a tea regime that is almost as complex as the nutrition plan.

I trained like a maniac. Literally. I must have looked like a lunatic because I strapped on my heart rate monitor and took my body to places it never thought it could go. I have pain in muscles that I did not even know existed. My enthusiasm was such that even my daughter would stand next to me and cheer me on in between intermittent periods of worry about why mummy was red-faced and foaming at the mouth in front of the TV. Shred it with weights: 30 minutes 300 calories burned. Six week six-pack: 30 minutes 200 calories burned. Power Yoga: 30 minutes 250 calories burned. I smashed my workouts and finished each one feeling both elated and suspiciously like I was going to vomit.

Extra calories were burned daily by the many laboured trips up the stairs to the toilet in between all of the tea and water. My quadriceps were so ruined that sitting on the toilet was a whole workout unto itself. The last week and 2 days have been obsessed with all things health and fitness. I have literally fallen off the social radar, not an uncommon thing for me at times but I suspect people shall be getting concerned shortly with my whereabouts. I will simply explain that I cannot go out for lunch as I have to spend an hour running around my back yard with a skipping rope and doing burpees. Watch how quick the psyche team are called when I tell them I have been doing “burpees” all day. ” Geez Carol, Amber has really lost it this time, she keeps talking about running around the yard burping? I think we better make that call”

For those of you unfamiliar with the “joys” of an exercise called Burpees, google it and attempt one. They suck so bad, you know they’re gonna work.

So there is a certain element of math and science to weight loss. The all important calorie deficit. The idea is that your body uses a certain number of calories just for existing. Being awake, walking around, breathing etc. This number is called your BMR, basal metabolic rate. The fitter you are the higher your BMR will be. My BMR is 1598 calories a day just to be out of bed.

So, to lose weight you need to create a deficit between the number of calories needed to function and the number you eat. If my body uses 1598 calories anyway, and I only eat 12oo that is already a deficit of 398 calories. So what this means is that even if I never exercise and only eat 1200 calories a day, I should technically lose weight at a rate of about a kilo every 2 to 3 weeks or so.

Add on to that, the exercise I do. This burns an average of another 600 calories a day. So my calorie deficit is now nearly 1000 calories a day. This equates to an approximate weight loss of just under 2 kilos a week.

Now that you understand the science and math behind losing weight, we can continue.

So before bed last night, I was hungry. That really annoying, picky hungry where you know if you start eating it will most likely end up in a binge of epic proportions. So I exercised my will power. Used my mind-set lessons and had a cup of sleepy time tea and went to bed. As I lay in bed asleep, I actually dreamt of being hungry and woke up hungry. Somewhere around 2am I had to convince myself that it was not worth getting up and eating something as it was weigh in day and I did not want to sabotage my results. I realised this morning that the reason why I was so hungry last night was because as delicious as the pumpkin soup was for dinner, it had no protein and that is something we really need in every meal to keep us satisfied.

I woke up this morning, keen as mustard to get on those scales and see how I was tracking. I jumped on the forums first to see how everyone else was doing and saw numerous posts about having lost 2 kilos in 2 days etc etc. Excitedly I made my way to the bathroom and went about my weigh in ritual. All the pain in my legs and abs and the hunger games I suffered all night were going to be sooo worth it, I knew it. After all, I had math and science on my side too!

I got on the scales and looked down and what did I find?

I HAD PUT BACK ON EVERYTHING I HAD LOST THE WEEK PREVIOUSLY!!!!!

Pardon my french but…What The F@#K !

Fat girl was laughing in a maniacal way and skinny Minny’s jaw was brushing the floor. How could this be possible? Fat girl had done it again. She had caught my body off guard and managed to trip me up. Granted she had to break the rules of math and science to achieve it but achieve it she did. I felt absolutely deflated and the idea of going downstairs and doing another vomit worthy workout was unthinkable. I lay in bed all night hungry when it would not have made a lick of difference if I had of eaten something and I had shredded my quads for what?

All of the old familiar excuses came rushing back. Fat girl was rubbing her hands together and doing her best evil laugh. This was the moment she had been waiting for. NO! Skinny Minny got up from her heap on the bathroom floor and took control. I was not going to quit. There were several reasons why the scales had shown this gain.

Hormonal levels, time of the month, water retention, muscle gain, who knows what else. I could not quit now. I could not let myself go another year being this over weight and feeling like a wreck. So I took my own advice from my previous post and reigned in my horse, got back up on him and rode downstairs to do my workout.

It just goes to show that even science and math can be cheated. Their equations, flawed. I might have all of the numbers worked out when it comes to weight loss but apparently I am going to need a lot of faith as well. Can I get a hallelujah!