The Elephant in the Room

I think before I speak any more about my ascent to the enlightenment that is ” primal living” I first need to address what is, at least for me, the huge chocolate eating elephant hulking in the corner of the room. And no people, I am not talking about myself in the third person, I may be unhappy about the amount of weight I am currently carting around with me but I have not yet begun referring to myself as a giant hulking pachyderm.

I am of course referring to the irony of the fact that the paleo lifestyle seems to be the only way of eating that agrees with me but also is the one “diet” that I have teased mercilessly on more than one occasion in previous blogs from days of yore.

Is it conspiracy that I have enjoyed many a laugh at the expense of my sticks and leaf munching counterparts only to become one myself? I don’t know, maybe, maybe not but I do just want to clarify one little detail here and now…..

In every organisation , religion or group there will always be the people who choose to follow the general “plan” whilst keeping their family and friend life balanced and then there will always be the ” extremists ”

Even the paleo movement has extremists. You will know these as the weird guys running barefoot over broken glass and used syringes through Central Park because cavemen didn’t wear shoes. This is no joke, there are literally people that do this. Someone needs to explain to them that cavemen didn’t have hepatitis or numerous other manky diseases either but keep running barefoot through New York and you soon will!

These guys eat their meat raw, including offal. Just take a moment to let that one sink in………..yeah….that’s it….gagging yet? They only wear clothes made from natural fibres that would have been around back in the palaeolithic era and refuse to shampoo their hair yadda yadda yadda….you get the picture! Funnily enough they seem able to justify living in apartments with running hot water and electricity but that’s the thing with extremists, they are able to twist and turn anything to fit in with whatever agenda they are pushing at that time.

The point I am meandering towards here is that I may eat paleo but I am not going to actually try to “become” paleo. I swear on my life and the life of my children that I will never ever wear a pair of those creepy toe shoe, foot glove things and that I will always make sure my meat is cooked to food handling and safety requirements….except my steak, I leave that stuff bleeding!

I will also indulge from time to time in some rice or rice noodles because as you know I have previously lived for pasta and a life completely devoid of noddles of any kind if simply not a life at all. The sentence right there would be enough to send a devout paleo nut into conniptions. Besides, I am almost certain that wheat is the root of all evil and the cause of all my problems so a little bit of rice as a substitute is fine by me.

Most importantly , I will still make fun of paleo. And myself. And anything else that stands still for long enough. It’s who I am, it’s what I do and if you can’t have a good laugh at yourself from time to time then you aren’t really living.

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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.

The truth of the matter.

I have a few common sayings that I throw around in my daily conversation a lot. Maybe a little too much. One of them is “to be honest” as if it needs to be clarified when I am being honest or when I am stretching the truth a little. Another favourite is “at the end of the day”. This one is on the verge of over-use and should be retired. But the one that gets thrown around most often is “the truth of the matter is…” I figured that seeing as I say it so damn often, I should actually own the saying for once and tell you once and for all….

At the end of the day, to be honest, the truth of the matter is………this 12wbt means a little bit more to me than I may have led you all to believe. Even more so than the first round that I did ( round 3 2012). It is confession time people. In the spirit of Michelle’s ” say it out loud” mindset task I am going to write about why this next 12 weeks means so much to me. At this stage there is a high likelihood that I will chicken out and relegate this post to the draft folder, never to see the light of your computer screens.

I am 31 and as a side effect of entering my thirties I am experiencing a rather bothersome symptom. It is the very loud and very ominous sound of my biological clock ticking. Now I know that a lot of you might think me crazy to be concerned about this is my very early thirties. Two of my best friends were in their late thirties to early forties when they had their children and even my mother was in her late thirties when she had my younger siblings. That is all fine and well for some but I seem to be reproductively challenged.

If you are familiar with my blogs you will know that I am part of a very special group of people with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Apart from the joyous symptoms including enough facial hair to participate in Mo-vember, weight gain and thinning of head hair, early miscarriage is another common problem. One that I have become familiar with.

I have a daughter. She is 3. She is my life and I love her desperately. It took me about 7 years to conceive her and after about 8 threatened miscarriages, quite a few hospital visits and a thoroughly entertaining c-section she was born. From the moment she entered the world, my brain went into overload. I had no idea that we as human beings could be capable of loving someone so much. I literally felt that my heart would burst. I remember calling my mother 3 days or so after her birth. I was in quite a state because at that moment it dawned on me that at some point in her life, something or someone was going to hurt her. She might fall, she might get sick, she might have her heart-broken and I was not going to be able to stop it. I was beside myself at the thought and I had to ask my mother the question that all new mothers inevitably ask….

How the hell am I going to be able to protect her from the world? And then the second most common question…When do we stop worrying so much? I needed to know, I felt my brain would spontaneously combust at the thoughts of all the bad things that could happen. If there are any expectant mothers reading this, spoiler alert……The answers were in no way comforting. You cant and You never stop worrying.

As I settled in to those first few months of motherhood in a zombie-esque fashion, I doubted that I would be capable of managing another child. I felt that the love for my daughter was so strong and all-consuming that it may not be possible for me to love a second child as much. Now three and a half years have passed and my daughter is going off to kinder next year. I can finally sit back and recall with strong mental clarity, all of the experiences we had during those first few months. Now that I have finally emerged from that fog of first time motherhood I am able to actually laugh at the things we did.

Like the time that my child had a nappy leakage event with a clean-up operation that rivaled that of the Chernobyl disaster. I recall discovering my child in a strange olive-green jumpsuit that I was certain was originally white. What disturbed me more was the fact that the strange colour change had taken place from neck to knees. Did I run for some paper towel? No. A wash cloth? Nope. Run a bath? No way.

I ran for the phone and called my mum, 4 hours away. Not to ask for help but just because I simply had to tell another person who would appreciate the massive clean-up I was about to undertake. Only another mother could take a phone call like that. I also recall how my sometimes difficult child would only take her bottle whilst hanging upside down from her fathers knees or the time that we literally walked up and down the hallway all night long, tagging in and out like a very long and boring wrestling match.

I think about all of things now and I laugh. And then when I finish laughing, I get sad. Because I want that again. I want another baby.

I think I will be able to audibly hear the gasps and questioning of my sanity from my family even from 400 kilometres away. This admission might come as a surprise. The reason being is that I have had failed attempts over the last few years. Miscarriage at 2 weeks, 3 weeks, 4 weeks. I don’t care how many weeks. It hurts. And I absolutely cannot help but to feel like maybe it was something that I had done wrong. Like if I wasnt so overweight, maybe I would have been able to carry to term.

I would shrug it off. Make out like it wasnt a big deal and that I was expecting it to happen. But man, oh, man. That feeling when the cramping starts is like the ground just falls out from underneath you. Then when you see the blood, you know it’s all over before it even really had a chance to begin. Then you wonder what might have been. If only….You can lie to your friends and your family about how you are fine. You knew it was a high possibility blah,blah, blah, There was still a part of you eyeing the baby clothes at Target. You still couldn’t help looking into the spare room and mentally calculating where the crib would go.

I have spent so long pretending that I did not want another baby. I figured if I faked it long enough eventually the longing would pass. But it didn’t. And life is too short to live a lie. So there it is. This is what the 12wbt means to me. My doctor says that if I can lose 10 kilos, I will find it easier to conceive and have a higher chance of carrying to term. And I have figured out the dilemma about having enough room in my heart for two. It is not that you have to share the love over two children. Quite simply, your heart just gets bigger. The love for your child is infinite and unconditional. Even if she is laying next to me in bed right now asleep and tearing shreds off my legs with her Freddy Kruger style toenails, something she inherited from her father of course.

Happy Size 12 Day

Today is like my birthday. No scrap that. Today is better than my birthday ( sorry mum). Today is Happy size 12 day and it is probably pretty self-explanatory but never-the-less I am going to bang on about it for a good 500 words or so because it is my size 12 day and I’ll rant if I want to 🙂

I bought some new pants and they are…yup, you guessed it…A SIZE 12!!!!!!!!! I seriously cannot remember the last time I was in a 12. It has to be at least 6 years ago but probably closer to 10. For the longest time I have been a 16 and now I am going to let you in on a dirty little secret. Shortly before starting the last round of 12wbt, even the 16’s were getting snug. I couldn’t swallow the idea of jumping up to an 18 pant. It was just far too much to comprehend. The tightening of my waist band along with the deterioration of my health were what sparked me to join Michelle Bridges on her quest for a healthier world.

So I finally experienced the sweet feeling of victory when I got into those pants and they fit. I mean really fit, nice and comfortable like. No seams straining under the pressure of my bulbous butt. No fears of an incredible Hulk like episode as my ass emerged from my pants in an explosion of torn fabric and busted zippers. It was easy, breezy, beautiful. I feel like today should always be my size 12 day. Ideally celebrated with a 12 layer cake, served with 12 different flavours of ice cream and 12 sparkly candles on top.

Nah…if I did that it would become the day I fit into a size 12 for all of five short minutes. The day started out stressful. We braved the local shopping mall to do the Santa photos. My daughter is gorgeous but she is rough as guts. I always find it amusing how she can be obsessed with weddings and fairies and mermaids. She wants to wear the most dainty, pretty dresses and loves it when we pretend she is a princess. She also loves to crawl along the ground. Outside. In the rain. In the mud. In her dresses. Getting her ready for Santa photos was easy. Keeping her clean in the interim between getting ready and actually being photographed takes planning and military style precision.

I managed to time her bath, hair washing and my shower perfectly. We blow dried together, dressed together and I made her sit, perfectly still on my bed while I finished getting ready. So far so good. As I straighten my hair I look over my shoulder and see her using the delicate lace bow on the front of her dress as a tissue to wipe her suddenly snotty nose. Ladies and gentlemen, conniption fit number one.

In the 2 seconds it took me to fish the car key out of my purse, she managed to get in with my rather large, long-haired and incredibly dirty German Shepherd to celebrate international hug a wet dog day. Conniption fit number 2. This was my fault for not thinking to have the car key already in my hand.

Because I freaked out over the near miss with the dog and the white lacy dress, my daughter became confused and thought she was in trouble. So she then did what only a 3-year-old only child can do best. Enter into an immediate sook position, crouched in childs pose on the ground. The dusty, dirty car port ground. Yeah, you know whats next. Conniption fit number 3.

Apparently as soon as the calendar flicked over to December, the entire population of this town, all 100’000 of them, decided that they had to do their christmas shopping. Immediately. Whilst eating ice creams and donuts and carrying overly full fluorescent pink milkshakes and walking directly at us but looking in a completely opposite direction. We ran the gauntlet of food colourings and arrived safely and more importantly cleanly at the gate for Santa. We were first. I began to relax, a little. Until I realised that the girls working the photographic equipment were looking a little strung out. Oh dear God, sweet Jesus, the camera was not working.

We waited, and waited, 10 minutes turned to 20 and the girls started talking of sending us all on our way to come back another time. Feeling sheer panic start to bubble up in my chest, I start thinking of the logistics it would take to get her here again tomorrow in one piece, still clean and tidy. I had no hope. I closed my eyes and prayed that some angel with an IT degree would swoop down and fix the camera. I am not a religious person but desperate times call for desperate measures and all that. Behind my closed eyes, I sense a flash has occurred and I peek out from between my lids to see a look of relief from the Santa girls. It was working. Thank you , thank you, thank you.

Ava

The photo happened, It was adorable, it was perfect, my daughter was beside herself to meet the most important man in her life right now and I no longer gave a rats backside what happened to the damn dress. Or her hair for that matter. My child could roll around on the ground until she resembled Bob Marley for all I cared. I had pulled off one perfect moment and had the pictures to prove it. I decided to celebrate with a new pair of pants seeing as all my old ones kind of now resembled baggy parachutes due to having lost considerable size from my lower body ( yay).

That was when I discovered it was Happy size 12 day. So is it worth doing the 12wbt you ask? Would I spend the money again if I had the choice? Is it really that different from all of the other programs and fads on the market today?

In the words of the most suave and sophisticated man on TV, Mr. Big…….Abso-fucking-lutley 😉

The not so bottomless pit.

Ok, I have pulled myself out of my pit of despair from the other day. It is so funny how that pit feels so bottomless at the time but after a few days of thinking about things like a normal logical human being, you realise that you were only buried up to your knees. I did learn a few things in the last few days though so my sojourn in the pit was at least useful on some level. I learned not to take other people’s inadequacies to heart. You can’t change someone who doesn’t want to be changed or doesn’t think they need changing. All I can do is just be true to myself and try to recognise when it is time to stop putting my heart on the line and setting myself up for a disappointment. I also learned a valuable lesson about whipping dead horses. That particular lesson was years in the making but I may have finally figured it out.

So today I did something. drum roll please……………..I ate pasta for lunch. “Gasp….Shock…Horror….” Yup that’s right, you heard me, pasta. My kryptonite. A big, juicy, cheesy bowl of the stuff. Now my abdomen resembles that of woman at around 4 months gestation and I think it is entirely possible that I won’t eat for the rest of the day/night/weekend. But here is the thing….I dont regret it. Not one bit. Today I had a bit of a light bulb moment.

I ate pasta. I chose to eat pasta. I planned to eat pasta. Pasta did not just happen. I did not trip over and land mouth first into a giant bowl of pasta faced with the choice of eating my way out or perishing in the parmesan. It was my treat meal and I looked forward all week to going to my favourite little cafe and enjoying some traditional Italian cuisine. I figured if you are going to have a carb overload, it had better be worth it. None of this dolmio crap….it’s gotta be authentic all the way. The break through here is that usually a meal like this would be driven by emotion ( usually negative) and then washed down with a nice big cup of guilt followed by the dessert cart of regret. Not today. And that is a big thing for me. Trust me, emotional eater of the decade over here!

I also had another light bulb moment in regards to portion sizes today. I am currently reading a book that is suggesting that the portion sizes in restaurants in this country have tripled in the last 2 decades and are directly linked to the rise in obesity. I would have to say that there are other factors at play here to when it comes to obesity but yes, portion size is a major player. The bowl of pasta I had for lunch today cost me $18 and was equivalent to roughly 4 12wbt meal sizes. 4 !!! Breakfast, lunch, dinner and then breakfast the next day all in the one meal! It is no wonder that we start to emulate these portion sizes at home. It also does not take our incredibly stretchy stomachs to come to think this amount of food in one meal is the norm. Eat like this for a while and then switch to a proper portion size and it is no wonder people think their throat has been cut for the first week until their stomach adjusts.

So, i am aware that some of you are shaking your heads right now and looking at me with the kind of pity usually reserved for that hopeless addict who tells you with a desperate look in their eyes that they totally capable of having just one drink, cigarette, etc etc. while they pour or light with shaking hands. I swear to you, this is not the beginning of my decline into Dantes Dolmio Inferno. I have got a handle on this. Really, truly.

Anyway, whats not to be happy about? Work is running on schedule for the first time in like 3 years, it is the first day of summer and 21 days until I am sitting on a beautiful beach with my husband and beautiful daughter enjoying our first Christmas as a family where she actually understands what Christmas is about. I have been exercising faithfully and eating clean as a whistle and how is this for the view I have been enjoying on my nightly walk/run around the lake…..

lake

Like I said..what’s not to be happy about? Until next time….Happy first day of summer and first official day of the Christmas season 🙂

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!