Time to Change – Day Sixteen

Today was one of my good days.  I felt a lot less gross and crampy than yesterday, and I got a bit more sleep than I’d been averaging over the last week (I resorted to sleeping tablets, though they were a different brand to what I’m used to and definitely not as potent.  Still, they did the job enough for me to not feel like a zombie).  As I said yesterday, I was willing to give myself a day off from exercise, so I skipped my morning walk.

I ate a healthy breakfast of weetbix and chia seeds with honey, which is fast becoming my favourite option for my first meal of the day as it is easier to prepare than eggs and healthier than toast.  By the time lunchtime rolled around, I was in one of those weird moods where I’m kind of hungry but not enough to eat.  This lasted well into the afternoon.  I nibbed on some BBQ Shapes but wasn’t really into it, and put them away pretty quickly.

Thankfully my appetite came back for dinner, and I made up the rest of my daily calories then.  I was feeling pretty good, the best I’d done in over 24 hours, and the weather outside was cooling down after another hot day as the sun was sinking.  My dog was carrying on, obviously upset that I hadn’t taken her for her exercise, so I decided that I wasn’t going to skip it today after all.

It’s funny, even now I don’t really feel guilty when I eat the wrong thing (okay, maybe slightly, but nothing I can’t easily overlook), but when I think about skipping exercise – even for a legitimate reason – I can’t bring myself to do it.  I wouldn’t say I enjoy it…not consciously, anyway.  I hate feeling sore and sweaty and out of breath.  I guess on a subconscious level, though, my body is enjoying the benefits of my new routine, and because of that, I feel really lazy and gross if I don’t make the effort and go.  I remember feeling the same way when I started a gym routine a few years back…I’d just forgotten about that feeling up until now.  It’s good that it’s happening, because if it wasn’t, I know for a fact I wouldn’t have made the effort tonight.  Even with the guilt, I was still on the fence about it.  What tipped me over was just how beautiful an evening it was.  Daylight savings had finally kicked in, so it was getting darker later, and the air was still warm from the day, without the sun to make it unbearable.  The sky was tinged with pink and the breeze was soft and welcoming.  I walked a little slower than usual just to enjoy it a bit longer (and also because walking on a full stomach wasn’t the greatest life choice) and got home right at the sun was disappearing completely.

Despite the pretty night, I think I’ll try to go back to my morning routine tomorrow.  Like I’ve mentioned previously, I think it’s best to get into the habit so when I start working full time again, it won’t be such an effort to go beforehand.  Plus, as safe as my area seems, there’s always a lingering doubt about walking around as it’s getting dark.  It’s a sad world when females have to think like that, even when there doesn’t appear to be any immediate danger.

Hope y’all had an awesome day too!

-JD

Time to Change – Day Fifteen

Today was another tough day.  I slept horribly (again, it seems to be becoming the norm…which isn’t totally uncommon), woke up hot and uncomfortable and it didn’t take long to work out it was that time of the month.

Urgh.

The first and second days are always pretty rough for me.  I get cramps, I’m grumpy, I’m perpetually tired (not helped by my shitty sleeping patterns of late) and I usually get pains elsewhere as well.  Now, as if this wasn’t bad enough, daylight savings kicked in at 3am.  While I love daylight savings and having the sun out for longer at night…I did not need to lose an hour in amongst all this.  Oh, and did I mention that I decided it was a fantastic idea to stay up til midnight last night?  For no reason?  Yeahhh.  My body clock refuses to let me sleep past 7am (it doesn’t seem to understand that I don’t need to get up for work any more), so I was up and moving at 8, thanks to daylight savings, but feeling like death.  Achingly tired and crampy and gross.

Today is going to be a skip-exercise day.

That’s what I initially planned, as I stumbled around my house in a sleep-deprived coma.  I jumped on the scales and saw something that shocked me back into reality – despite having a bad couple of days just 48 hours prior, I was back to where I was before that!  I was back on track!  How did that happen?  I’d put almost a kilo back on and now it was gone again.  I know hormones probably had a bit to play in it, and maybe I didn’t actually overeat as badly as I thought I’d done, but either way, the aches and pains seemed slightly more bearable.  Slightly.

I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.  I felt horrible.  When I get cramps, they aren’t just in my tummy, they radiate down my legs and into my back and just make me feel overall rundown and exhausted.  I knew it would be too hot to exercise later, and I also knew if I put it off until then it just wouldn’t happen.  So I made one of the toughest decisions of this journey so far – I got up off the oh-so-comfy couch, pulled on my shoes and walked.  My weight loss was more important than an hour of feeling sorry for myself.  The sun was warm (warmer than yesterday because I’d left later) but it was okay.  There was almost no wind, which was a nice change.

About halfway through the cramps came back with a vengeance.  It came in waves of pain, then nausea, then feeling faint.  There was nothing for it though, I was halfway and as far away from home as I could be.  I had to soldier on.  I knew I wasn’t going to die, so I just planted one foot in front of the other and imagined my soft, comfy couch that was waiting for me at the end of this torture.  I survived.  It was the toughest walk I’d been on by far, and realistically, giving myself a day off probably wouldn’t have been such a terrible idea, but I did it.  Another day I can successfully tick off.

I’ve spent most of the day dozing and reading.  It’s days like this I hate being a girl.  I’m just glad I didn’t have plans, because I don’t know if I’d have made it to them.  We’ll see how tomorrow goes.  If I’m feeling just as crappy, I probably won’t be exercising.  But we’ll wait and see 🙂

-JD

Time to Change – Day Fourteen

Today was a good day.  There’s nothing quite like the anticipation of a beautiful, warm spring day, especially after a cold winter.  I won’t go into too much detail, as I already talked about it here.  It really put me in a good headspace, which after putting weight back on wasn’t exactly where I was at yesterday.

I woke up at 6am after a crappy sleep again.  My neck was sore from all the tossing and turning I’d done, and I’d had weird dreams with a Vanessa Carlton backing track (true story).  Normally after a night like that, it completely throws out my day as I struggle to shake off the grumpiness.  I don’t do well when I’m tired.  However, I knew I needed to shake it off and get my head in the game if I had any chance of dropping the weight I’d put back on.  Instead of going back to sleep like my eyes were pleading me to do, I got up, pulled on my shoes and took the dog for her walk.  The temperature was supposed to be really warm and I didn’t want to fall back asleep and wake up when it was too hot to go.

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The other reason I made myself go so early was because I knew at some point, this would probably have to become the norm for me, once I start working again.  As much as I don’t like that idea (especially because it will probably be right on dawn as it’ll be daylight savings), I’ve done it before, a few years ago when I lived in an apartment that backed onto a beautiful lake and walking track.  I’d get up before work, pull on my Nikes and do a full loop of the track (being extremely careful to give the angry geese a wide berth…those things were terrifying!).  I really miss that walking track, it was always so peaceful and beautiful.  I lived there prior to getting my dog, and I know it’s absolutely out of the question to have stayed there with her.  Still, pictures like this come up in my Timehop and my heart sinks just a little bit.

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No filter needed!  Still, the estate I’m in now isn’t without it’s charms and it doesn’t have any crazy geese.  None that I’ve run into yet, anyway!

Anyway, I digress.  What was I talking about?  Oh right.  So the early morning walk went well.  It was a beautiful day.  The sun was already out but it hadn’t started warming up too much.  It was windy, but nothing out of the ordinary.  My nan refers to the area as “the windiest place on Earth”…while she has a knack for exaggerating, it’s hard to find a day where there isn’t a strong breeze.  By the last kilometre, my legs were really sore…a lot more than usual.  I suspect it was because when I go for my walks later in the day my muscles have had a chance to stretch and warm up a bit prior…they didn’t get that chance today and it never occurred to me to stretch before I go.  I know you’re technically supposed to do it before any exercise but a light walk is hardly what anyone would call strenuous.  Lesson learnt.

The rest of today was spent reading other people’s blogs, soaking in the tub, enjoying the fresh air and watching the season finale of “Finding Carter”.  It’s not often I get into shows like that (they’re so American and the cast is always so goddamn beautiful it’s painful to watch) but the storyline of this really sucked me in and the plot twists were fantastic.  So now I’m left hanging and already dying for it to come back…which is why I don’t let myself watch shows like this.  Ah well.

I feel like I haven’t eaten the best today but MyFitnessPal seems to say I’m tracking okay, both calorie-wise and in terms of my carbs/fats/protein portions.  I’m going to give it an even better go tomorrow, now that I’ve eaten through a majority of the junk food that was leftover from when my friend was here.  Time to get serious about shifting the weight again.  I’ll probably go for another early walk tomorrow as it’s gonna be pretty warm again.  Plus, getting it out the way before breakfast leaves the day wide open to enjoy, instead of putting it off and procrastinating.

Hope everyone else enjoyed the weather like I did!

-JD

Time to Change – Day Thirteen

So, I fell off the wagon.  Instead of going out to eat a few days ago, we made the mistake of going to the supermarket when hungry and when my friend was going through a rough point in her life.  We bought too much junk and she stayed over for a couple of days, and between bad food and alcohol, I’m almost back to where I started (though not quite thankfully).

I’m back on the diet and exercise now, and I’m even more determined this time.  Now that I know how easy it is to give in to temptation, I’m going to do even more to avoid it.  I made sure I went for my walk today even though it was warmer than it has been in a very long time, and I’ve stayed under my calorie limit by a fair bit today.  I also made sure I focused mainly on protein to make up for the extra fat and carbs I’ve eaten over the past couple of days.

I’m also going to make sure I write as much as possible – it was very easy to allow myself to fall off the wagon when I wasn’t writing because I didn’t have to acknowledge it.  It was like slipping straight back into my old habits, and while it tasted amazing, putting weight back on that it’d started to shift didn’t taste as good.

I got some good news yesterday – I’ve most likely landed a full time job in a fancy new store.  I’ll get a definite answer yes or no early next week, but I’m so happy about it.  I was glad I was offered something last week but I was nervous it was only a casual job.  A full time job is ideally what I need as it’s guaranteed hours, which I need to make sure I can pay my rent and bills!

Tomorrow’s temperature is supposed to be even warmer than today so I’ll be going for my walk early.  Not ideal to start a new job all sunburnt!  I’m also going to keep planning my meals in advance.  I’m not going to let a couple of bad days drag me down!

-JD

Time to Change – Day Ten

Well, I’ve officially hit double digits in my challenge!  I’m feeling really good today, much better than I have for a little while.  I think the healthy eating and regular exercise are starting to help, I feel cleaner and healthier than I have in awhile.  It’s a weird feeling to describe, but I guess my body was so used to junk that I didn’t know any better.

I went for my walk nice and early today, and it was perfect weather for it.  Cool but not cold, overcast so the sun wasn’t burn-y, a slight breeze.  For the first time in four days, I enjoyed the exercise instead of just doing it because I knew it had to be done.

I got some cleaning done today too, which for me, is no small fete.  I fucking HAAAAATE cleaning.  Like, I’ll avoid it at all costs, even if it means I’m surrounded by grossness.  People ask me how I can stand it.  Honestly, I just don’t really notice it.  I know that must sound crazy to most people, but it really doesn’t concern me at all.  Safe to say, if I was a sims character, I’d have the “slob” trait.  So for me to feel motivated enough to clean is saying something.

I guess I feel so good today because when I stepped on the scales this morning, I was officially under 91kgs!  Not by much, but still!  I’ve almost lost a kilo, and although it’s definitely a slower process than I’d like, at least all my determination and hard work is finally starting to reflect on the scales a little bit.  Next aim is to officially be out of the 90s, which is something I haven’t been in at least a year (possibly two).  I’m so close, I’m sure I can manage it!

The other reason I’m feeling good right now is that I signed my contract for my new job today.  Like I mentioned yesterday, it’s not the ideal job, but after hunting and being knocked back over and over again, it’s finally nice to know someone wants to give me a chance.  I dealt with the Regional Manager for both my interview and again today, and she’s one of the loveliest people I’ve met in a long time, all smiles and compliments that you can tell are actually genuine.  I’ve had a very different experience with Regional managers prior to this, so I’m looking forward to the new change.

I’m picking up my best friend tonight and we’ll probably wind up eating out.  This is going to be my first big cheat meal since I started this, and while part of me is concerned I’ll fall off the wagon afterwards, I’m determined not to.  Like I said in one of my first posts, my rule isn’t “absolutely no junk ever” – I’m just going to have it sparingly, and when I’m out.  After 10 days of eating healthy, I know one meal isn’t going to hurt too much.  Plus, I’ve allowed for it by having smaller meals earlier today and leaving more calories left over for tonight.  No guarantees I’ll stay under my daily limit, but hopefully I won’t completely blow it out either.

Hopefully y’all had a great day too!
-JD

Time to Change – Day Nine

Today wasn’t great.  It wasn’t as bad as yesterday though.  I slept horribly last night, I’m not sure why.  I was just restless and woke up heaps of times and struggled to get back to sleep.  Due to this, I was really tired all morning and felt very unmotivated.  I was hungry but couldn’t be bothered eating.  In the end, though, I gave myself a talking to and decided that – sleep or no sleep – I was going to get through today, just like I did yesterday.

I forced myself to eat a banana for breakfast, then went out on errands that I really didn’t want to go on, and that I’d been avoiding for awhile.  I got lost on the way there (completely normal for me) and wound up doing three separate U-turns. Needless to say, I was pretty frustrated and it wasn’t a good morning.  I got home and all I wanted to do was sleep, but once again, my body was like “hahaha no”.  I once again found a bunch of excuses as to why I wasn’t going to exercise today, and once again, I refused to let myself give up.  The sky was overcast but the temperature was nice and it wasn’t too windy (which is a small miracle where I live, because it’s almost always windy).  I couldn’t bail on my walk today with the conditions so perfect for once.  So I dragged my weary body off the couch and out the door.

Isn’t it funny how exercise should make you tired, but actually does the opposite?  By the time the walk was over, I was wide awake.  I guess the fresh air did me some good.  I felt pretty good, even towards the end, where I tend to slow down and convince my feet to keep going.  I think it helped it was overcast – I didn’t feel overheated and gross.

I got some good news later in the afternoon – after about 15 different interviews and a month and a half of frantically looking, I finally got offered a job!  Not one I’d ideally have chosen, and only on a casual basis, but after so many rejections it’s a step in the right direction.

I kept up my healthy eating for dinner, and I may even try a 7-minute workout later tonight if my energy levels don’t crap out on me (which there is a risk of happening).  I don’t know why I struggled so much with healthy eating before.  Granted, it takes some effort and planning, but it’s not difficult.  Other than fruit and a couple of naughty little after-dinner treats, I’ve pretty much cut out sugar.  I’m only drinking water and milk (six months ago, I’d drink diet coke with most meals).  I’ve completely cut out take away (six months ago I’d have it 3-4 times a week).  I think now I’m rejoining the work force I may find it all a little bit harder, but I think it will be okay.  I just have to be extra meticulous at planning ahead and I can’t let myself get lazy.  I think I can do it!

-JD

Time to Change – Day Eight

Today was hard.  I don’t know why specifically.  I just felt extremely unmotivated.  All I wanted was a pizza and to sleep on the couch.  Honestly, I was close to doing just that.  Previously, I most likely would have.  I decided I wasn’t going to fall into that trap again though.  I’ve come this far, and this will no doubt be the first of many “low days”, and I had to find a way to get through them.  It was time to dig deep and find the self-control and self-motivation that, up until a week ago, I didn’t have much of.

I ate an okay breakfast (although I traded vegemite for honey) and a high protein lunch and dinner.  I also made sure I went on my daily walk, even though I really wanted to bail on it.  I even went so far as to say “it’s Sunday, I can rest today”.  While having a rest day wouldn’t hurt, I knew if I started giving into my pathetic excuses, it would snowball as always.  Plus, my dog was giving me her puppy eyes and I couldn’t tell her that I couldn’t be bothered.

The walk seemed tougher than usual too.  I think it was because it was quite a warm day and I was already feeling pretty flat.  The reason why I like walks so much (apart from the fact they make my doggy happy and I get a tan at the same time) is that once you start, you have to keep going no matter what, or you’ll be stranded.  It’s easy to throw in the towel with exercise equipment because you haven’t actually gone anywhere.  If you’re on a walk, it’s either keep going or sit on the side of the road until you decide to keep going.  It means I’m not risking my self-motivation giving out, and it usually does.  I know for a fact it would have today.

I hope tomorrow is a little easier.  Even if it isn’t, I got through today and I’m sure I can do it again tomorrow.  It will all be worth it soon enough!

-JD

Time to Change – Day Seven

Well, it’s officially been a whole week.  I’ve surprised myself with how disciplined I’ve been.  That’s always been an issue of mine – I have no self control.  That’s not just with food either, I also burn through money given half the chance.  The amount of stuff (aka crap) I’ve bought off CatchOfTheDay over the past three years is unbelievable.  I’ve also never been very self-motivated away from work.  At work I could motivate myself to do almost anything (even waking up at 5.30am to go in and do stocktake once a month), but the second I got home, all that went out the window.  I had no motivation to cook a proper meal (hence the take away I’d get on a very regular basis) and no motivation (or energy) to exercise.  I will admit, when I eventually land another job, I’m worried I’ll fall into the same trap, but I’ll cross that bridge when it comes.  For right now, I’m sticking with this lifestyle change.

I guess the best moment I’ve had this week is checking how I tracked overall in MyFitnessPal and seeing this.


Look at that! Almost bang on target!  My calorie intake never strayed more than a couple of hundred over either, and for the most part also stayed right on the app’s recommendation.  I’m so proud of this in particular because previously when I’ve counted calories, it was always next to no protein and hugely over in carbs.  I’ve really made an effort to plan my meals and make sure I’m eating the right kinds of food and the right portions.  Like a lot of people, I really struggle with potion control, and even now I’m still adjusting to it but I think it’s getting better.

I’ve also made it a goal to get at least 30 minutes of exercise in a day.  For the most part I’ve been hitting 40 minutes, with the exception of two days where I only managed 20, but they were harder workouts.  I’ve found my Apple watch incredibly helpful with all this, as the fitness tracker in it works beautifully.  It monitors step count, calories burnt, time exercised, heart rate and distance.  I’m averaging over 3kms each day in exercise, which I know isn’t record breaking, but considering just a week ago I was lucky to make 1000 steps each day, it’s definitely an improvement.

Unfortunately the scales still aren’t being too friendly, and I’ve only lost about half a kilo, which is still better than nothing but given my weight has always fluctuated by 2 or 3kgs isn’t great.  I’m not going to let that bring me down though.  Even if the weigh only comes off slowly, it’s better than not coming off at all, and I know I’m going to feel better for the diet change and exercise anyway.

Bring on week two!

-JD

Time to Change – Day Five

Today was an okay day.  Not fantastic but I feel better than I did yesterday and the day before.  I have kept up on my healthy eating.  I know I’m not even a week into it, but for me to have lasted this long and only having one small hit of actual sugary goodness is pretty impressive.  Part of the reason (a large part, probably) that my previous attempts at dieting failed was because I’d reward myself with food.  It’d tell myself “hey, you ate well yesterday, it’s only one bad meal, it’s fine”…and I’d be right if for the whole rest of the week I kept eating healthy.  But no, the next day would come and I’d go out to lunch with a friend and say “well, I’m out to lunch, may as well enjoy it” and again, I would eat unhealthy.  The worst part was, I didn’t even think twice about it.  Oh sure, there was that annoying little voice in the back of my head squealing “you’re supposed to be dieting!” but over the years I’ve become accustomed to tuning it out.

Tying into that, I also used MyFitnessPal…wrong.  I’d track my meals and exercise (what little of that there was).  The thing with that app though, is that if you don’t eat all day then binge on Maccas for dinner, you can still stay under your calorie limit.  Obviously, that’s not what the app is aiming for and yeah, you don’t meet your protein needs by doing that, but it’s easy to tell yourself “the app says it’s fine!”.  I have also used Noom to track meals, and overall I believe it is a better app as it breaks foods down into “red, yellow and green” and tells you how much you can eat of each.  This actually taught me a lot about nutrition that MFP never could.  My main issue with that app (keeping in mind it may have had updates since I last used it) was that it didn’t link up to fitness trackers such as my Jawbone wristband, which I was using last time I tried dieting.  This was a major drawback as it was a real pain trying to correlate your step count with your diet manually.  This is why I’ve gone back to MFP – I have an Apple watch and it links up beautifully, taking into account my steps and working out an overall picture of how my day has gone.  This time around, though, I’m being careful not to cheat.  Just because the app allows for it, doesn’t mean it’s right!

Anyway, I digress.  What was I talking about again?  Oh right, rewarding myself with food treats.  This time around, that ain’t happening.  I’m not having “cheat meals”, which seem to be all the rage and part of every diet plan these days.  I’m not saying I’ll never eat unhealthy, because that’s ridiculous, but I’m making a rule that the only time I’m going to eat unhealthy is when I’m eating out.  Given I’m unemployed and my social life is hardly what anyone would consider raging at the best of times, I think this will work out okay.

I’m still feeling hungry most of the day but it’s considerably less so than yesterday. It’s there but it’s not in the forefront of my mind continuously like it was.  I’m also trying to snack more instead of having big meals, which is probably helping a little.  The cravings are still there, but it’s mostly when it’s bought to my attention – through ads on the TV (“what I wouldn’t give to have those Maccas chips in my hand right now”) and emails (“Oh, Dominos have a promotion, I’ll just have a quick look!”).  I never realized just how successful advertising was.  I mean, I knew it had some success over both me and the general public (otherwise they wouldn’t waste big bucks doing it), but I didn’t fully comprehend to what extend.  It really only takes an image of some of my favourite foods for my mind to jump from the healthy eating train to the junk food wagon.  Luckily, I haven’t let myself give in.  I can eat a pizza now and fall off the diet and stay fat forever, or I can push it out of my mind, snack on something healthy and stay on this journey.  I know which option I’ll be thanking myself later for, and it ain’t pizza.

I’ve been keeping up with exercising, taking the dog for a long walk each day.  Surprisingly, I’m already finding the walks easier each time.  I knew eventually they’d make me fitter, I just didn’t think I’d feel the change so quickly.  Each day I’m doing the track faster, and feeling less horrible at the end.  Another sign that everything I’m doing is working!

-JD

Time to Change – Day Three

So, I’m three days into my health kick.  I’ve been eating well, monitoring my calories (I know that’s not an ideal way to lose weight, but I find it helps to track what I’m eating and plan ahead) and exercising.  Not exercising as much as I’d like, I’ll admit, but moreso than normal (which up until recently, was none at all).  The scales haven’t started reflecting the change but I’m not going to let that worry me just yet – it’s early days!

I felt okay for the first two days.  Not really any different to normal.  Today, though, I felt lethargic, easily stressed and found it hard to focus.  On top of that, I started getting a migraine around midday, which isn’t completely unusual for me, but I haven’t had one in awhile.  I believe this is my body having sugar withdrawals, and it isn’t fun.  The only sugar I’ve had for three days is natural stuff in fruit, and I guess my body knew it wasn’t what it was used to.

I know this is potentially only the beginning of the adjustments my body is going to go through, and while I’m not looking forward to it if it’s anything like today, I know it needs to happen.  As much as it sucks, it tells me that my diet is having an effect, even if the scales haven’t picked up on it yet.

So far, I haven’t been overly tempted to eat sugar or fatty foods.  Oh sure, I see donuts or chocolate at the grocery store and think for a second how easy it would be to grab it, but I know if I’m going to have any success this time around, that I can’t do that, even if realistically one thing here or there won’t hurt.  As soon as I let myself have one of those moments, everything starts to fall apart.  I know at some point I’m going to have to cross that bridge when I’m out with friends, but I feel that the longer I can completely avoid it, the better off I’ll be.

I’m actually a little surprised that I haven’t had cravings.  That was a lot of my eating issue – I live by myself, and if I felt like eating something and I got it into my head that I wanted it, then I’d go out and buy it.  While I was heavy prior to living alone, I feel like it has exacerbated the problem because nobody is there to say “that’s not a good idea” or give disapproving looks.   Not that it’s up to anyone else as to what I put into my mouth, but it certainly helped to worry that someone is judging you when you binge eat ice cream or order in a pizza.  This is why I have to be super careful not to fall off the wagon, and why I’m going to keep writing updates.  It helps to keep myself in check!

More updates to come =)

-JD