Wednesday, August 31, 2011


At the start of August I posted here about what I wanted to achieve this month. I thought it timely that on the last day (today) I'd do a bit of an assessment and wrap up of how this month has gone. You all know that I had a slip up just recently but I'm not basing my assessment on this but on how I've gone on the other 30 days.

My goal to work on portion sizes continues to be a work in progress. Sometimes I get it right eating enough to satisfy without feeling over full, sometimes the food is just so bloody good that I eat more LOL. Looking at the big picture, its all a balancing act rather than clocking up perfect portions every time. Overall I'm pretty happy with where I'm at as I hardly ever stuff myself silly as I did previously. But I'll stay mindful of this knowing that nailing portion sizes is important for long term success.

A mindset that embraces all foods in moderation coupled with a belief that I'm fine just as I am and I dont always need to be trying to lose another 5 kilos has been my saving grace in my war against the Binge Monster. These two changes in my thinking have liberated me and created a state where binging becomes a non-issue (99% of the time). If anybody asks whats the secret to my success, these are clearly it for me.

The highlight of August has definitely been my discovery of Bikram (hot) yoga. Its taken me a few sessions to begin to appreciate the mind / body connection and I know it will only improve from here. I love how my body feels after yoga and I love the sense of peace and calm that follows. I'm now a devoted fan and trying hard to practice twice a week.

I've also been pretty excited about going semi-vego and feel pretty good (mentally) a result of this change. I think the term is "flexitarian" if you want to get all wanky about it LOL. But fancy words aside, its been interesting incorporating more vego meals into my diet and reducing my meat intake. In September I'll be eating kidney beans more often as there is a packet in my pantry ready for soaking and cooking. I can feel some Mexican inspiration coming on.

Finally I spent a little time today thinking about the month ahead and what I wanted to achieve in September. Here are my (sort of) goals:

1. Serene September. This month I want to really focus an keeping calm and serene. I know there will be times when chaos and madness will surround me but my aim is to let them rage while being the calm centre of the storm. My mantra will be "breathe, breathe, breathe" and think happy and positive.

2. Sweet-less September. This is a little misleading as I certainly have no plans to go sugar free for any marathon length of time. My belief is that life is too short to give up the foods you love and I DO have a sweet tooth. But my goal is to be more mindful of how often I have my sweet foods like biscuits and cakes - in other words LESS often. I'm past the need for a treat every day to practice moderation as I now practice it quite naturally but I notice that sweets sneek in quite a bit out of habit rather than because I really feel like having them. This will be an interesting endeavour as I try not to tip the opposite way and end up overeating on them.

In closing I know September will be an awesome month. Its Peter's birthday month and for us thats lots of celebrating with dinners out and also with the family. Its also Fathers Day and more celebrating with food so the M word will have to be foremost in my mind. Oh BTW, thats MODERATION :-)


Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Yesterday was a bit of a wake up call that a few things needed to change.

This morning I walked a different route just to mix things up a bit. Different scenery, different milestones for every 5 minute mark and a little stimulation judging my route to match my available time. I decided to have 2 oranges for breakfast today as I wasnt overly hungry but I am feeling a bit run down and like a lurgy wants to take hold. So in with the vitamin C (the oranges) and a zinc tablet and 2 garlic / horseradish tablets. I swear I was rattling after all of that.

Today I made a different lunch which had a salad as part of it and having just finished it I can say "yummo". My tastebuds are happy and my tummy is pleasantly satisfied. No more oranges though. I'm fast approaching my "had enough" point with them.

I've also chilled out a bit with work and not letting things overwhelm and stress me. There's still a lot to do but I'll work through it all to the best of my ability. Becoming a total stresshead helps NOBODY and NOTHING. I'm also remembering to breathe more :-) (Dont know why I so damn well forgot yesterday).

Although I wont dwell on yesterday there is one thing I must say and that is maybe I needed the shocking reminder of how bad I feel physically when I eat too much processed food. I felt awful last night and even this morning wasnt over it. I thought I'd left all that behind and essentially I have and now I know why I wanted to. NOBODY would want to feel like I did yesterday evening and that may be just what I need to not go there again.

Now lets just hope I can fight off this lurgy and bounce back as fit and as strong as I'm used to being.

:-) M

Monday, August 29, 2011


Click here for Katie's post so you know what I'm talking about.

I have to have a little chuckle at the events of the last 24 or so hours. Yesterday I posted about how well I'm going with my binge free eating and how achieving this has been so relatively simple. So lets look back over today and how it unfolded.

Up early as usual and out for a 55 minute walk. There was a very light drizzle but this did not deter me from my normal routine. Breakfast of sultanas, bran, oats, egg whites and LSA which has become a Monday staple (I'm such a creature of habit) and then a skim capp on the way to work and a little chill out time with Peter.

Arrive at work and the stress starts. I have a 10am meeting to prepare for and I need to prepare a document. I have 20 minutes before I'm in back to back meetings until 10. My computer takes its usual long time to fire up and in Word it takes even longer to acknowledge key strokes and commands such as copying and pasting from Outlook. I swear it feels like its going to die any minute and I'm starting to seethe with anger and frustration.

A minor crisis must be dealt with before 10am and I dont make the 9.30 meeting which could see me in a bit of trouble next week when our admin support person is on leave. The 10am meeting goes well but I'm left to clean up the coffee cups and its freezing on the floor where our meeting was held. The cold is making me feel very uncomfortable and I'm getting hungry as I've missed my 10am cappuccino.

Fast forward to noon and I decide to eat lunch early. I'm getting to the end of my batch of soya beans with brown rice and veges and I realise I'm really sick and tired of eating this now. It has no satisfaction factor both taste wise and in terms of filling me up. I eat an orange and feel no better. I eat some almonds but I still want more.

By now I'm finishing off a spreadsheet that is quite complex and then mailing it to people who'll have to work with it (fingers crossed they dont pick too many problems with it). And then I start on the first of two difficult letters that I need to write. I'm struggling with words, with sentences, with logical sequencing, with EVERYTHING. So what do I do?


After solidly powering along on my way to the summit and smugly feeling like going back to base camp was just not necessary, today thats exactly where I went LOL.

But you know what, life isnt perfect and I'm not perfect and I made a bit of a mistake that arose from some factors within my control and some not. The other thing I realise is that over the last couple of weeks my eating and meals have become a little erratic and this probably contributed somewhat to my situation today.

So when you combine: some missed meals, a boring and unsatisfying lunch, work stress, a sense of pressure to get a lot done in a little time, a lack of me-time to chill and smell the roses and a big dose of Mondayitis you get .... a trip back to base camp.

Never mind, tomorrow I begin the climb back to the summit and pray that the Gods help me exceed my last destination and make it that bit further up the mountain. Wish me luck :-)

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Wow I just saw that my last blog post was on Wednesday which is testament to how busy I've been. But here are the main things I wanted to catch up on.

Last week's training achievements were my best for a long time. The week before was marred by bad weather and a stupidly crazy work schedule and although work hasnt changed much, at least Mother Nature has been on my side. I managed to train for a solid 7 days straight including:

Saturday: 1 hour walk

Sunday: 90 min Bikram yoga
Monday am: 55 min walk
Tuesday am: 55 min walk; pm: 90 mins Bikram yoga
Wednesday am: legs
Thursday am: 55 min walk
Friday am: upper body weights with supersets to get through all major muscle groups.

I was mighty pleased with this effort :-)

I have on a couple of occassions snuck a little peek at the Metal Monster to see where the numbers sit. I dont really need to as I have the best gauge ever - a pair of size 11 jeans that have no stretch in the fabric. To wear them I need to be in the 65s and there is no negotiation on that. Well I've been wearing them for a few weeks now and true to form my peeks both showed my weight to be in the 65s so happy happy with that.

And as August draws to an end I'm another month along in my journey to be binge free and enjoying a wide variety of foods. I still marvel at how relatively simple its been since I stopped forever trying to lose weight, restricting my food, living with an all / nothing mentality and allowed myself to trust me.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011


So you know what I'm talking about

I arrive a little early to give me time to relax and switch off. The waiting / foyer area is busy and not as quiet as usual however upon entering the studio I'm enveloped in the silence and the wonderful heat. I lie in the corpse pose for several minutes and my mind is essentially switching off.

The class starts soon after and it is very full tonight. I begin the deep breathing exercise lifting my elbows as high as possible and push my head back until my neck hurts. With each exhale the day's stresses, frustrations, pressures and problems are released. I've already developed a good sweat so my body is cooling itself and detoxing somewhat via my skin as well as my breaths.

We move into the half moon pose and I push as hard as I can to feel the maximum stretch down my side. I execute the subtle twists until I can stretch no more and parts of my spine start to hurt from the exertion (not injury). The awkward pose follows and tonight I maintain the first part (squat) for the required time. My leg strength is obviously improving. We move to the option on our toes which is so much harder but all I can do is my best as I focus on balance as well as strength. Tonight I'm able to foucs harder then before.

The eagle pose is a winner for me tonight as I manage to wrap my leg right to the back with all 5 toes behind. I havent been able to do that before and I'm feeling quietly pleased with myself. The standing head to knee pose beats me, bringing me back down to reality. I cannot for the life of me lock all 10 fingers and slip my hand under my foot. I struggle to maintain some grip on my foot while keeping my supporting knee locked and trying to straighten my other leg. I think this is my "awkward pose" LOL.

The standing bow pulling pose works well as I only lose balance once and regain the pose quickly. Once again its my steely focus and concentration thats making the difference. I give it my best as I love to feel my muscles stretch beyond what I think I'm capable of. The balancing stick pose is comparitively easy.

The standing separate leg stretching pose is one I try very hard to achieve as its meant to be good for constipation. I've yet to get my forehead to the floor but I go as low as I can and my leg muscles are certainly stretching. The triangle pose is touted as an excellent cardiovascular workout and it actually is. My breathing is heavy and each second of it is tiring. The standing separate leg head to knee pose requires me to bend my knee as the most important part is the forehead touching the knee.

Tree pose really challenges my dicky hips and it takes some time for my knee to drop down and even then its not all the way. The toe stand is impossible for me and I stay in tree pose longer using one had to hold my foot and just keep one hand near my heart. This pose feels particularly calming once my bent leg stretches down to a comfortable position.

Finally its time for my favourite: savasana or corpse pose and we are given a few minutes of rest time. During the next part of the class we'll come back to the savasana between each pose. Each time we come out of savasana with a sit up touching fingers to our toes.

The wind removing pose feels uncomfortable on my dicky hips (and incidentally doesnt remove wind there and then LOL). This is followed by a number of back strengthening poses which I really like: cobra pose, locust, full locust and floor bow pose. I give each one my best effort and pray that they all do good for my back and the problems I've had with it.

The back stretches are next and I accept that my flexibility needs improvement. Fixed firm pose, ardha-kurmasana (a favourite), camel and rabbit which has me as a huddled rabbit rather than a stretched up one as shown in the gallery picture. Frankly, I'll take whatever rabbit I can get.

The final head to knee pose beats me every time as my dicky hips cant handle it, especially when my right knee is to the side. Oh the pain and total inability to get the knee anywhere even remotely near the floor. With time maybe .... The spine twisting pose is only a little better but at least I manage a reasonable version of it.

Finally we wrap up with the blowing in firm pose which claims to detoxify, cleanse, oxygenate, promote mental clarity and energise the body. Then I move into the last savasana, the lights go off, our instructor wraps up the class and wishes us "namaste" to which we all quietly respond "namaste" and I lie in total peace and calm. I reflect on the class and how I improved. I think of nothing else except how my body feels. My mind is empty. I'm a sweaty mess and my towel is wet through and I feel like 100% of my body has been worked to the max.


Monday, August 22, 2011


Who? you ask.


Over the last few weeks I've been having and enjoying more and more vegetarian meals. I never made a decision at a point in time to be vegetarian (and I probably never will) but its just evolved this way and I'm good with it.

I'm still ploughing through the soya beans that I cooked up in the last batch a few weeks ago. I had the best intentions to try new recipes but after one fail I lost interest and now just eat them plain with brown rice and tasty, spicy steam fried veges for my lunch. Its delicious and it never disappoints.

On Saturday for dinner I made fried tofu with a peanut sauce, the recipe taken from my WW Thai cookbook. It was really tasty and I enjoyed the leftovers tonight. I've also had a lentil burger (shop bought due to lack of time) done as part of a BBQ and have one more for dinner on Wednesday. My breakfasts are pretty much my oats/egg whites concoction or some form of eggs / peanut butter with toast.

There are a few of things I'm curious to see from this change:

1. Will it help me to be more regular?
2. Will it bring our grocery budget down?
3. Will I feel different / better from a diet with lots more vegetarian meals than meat ones?

Occassionally I toy with the idea of committing to being a vegertian but then decide that I wont give up oily fish (far too many health benefits and I just bloody love it) and my other reason for not committing is a bit unusual: We eat regularly with my parents who are oldish and Eurpoean. I could not inflict upon my mother the statement "I wont eat anything with meat in it." It would be unfair to expect her to cater seprately for me and she'd be at a loss for what to do week in, week out. Oh and I wont take my own (vegetarian) food to their place and insist on eating that (reeks of my comp prep days). So when we eat with them I'll eat what she prepares.

Wierd isnt it? If you'd have said to me a couple of months ago that about 75% of  my meals would be vegetarian I'd have laughed at you. So you never know where the winding path of life will take you.

Cheers all


Sunday, August 21, 2011


Today was my third hot yoga session and now that I'm no longer a newbie (LOL) I could really foucs on giving it my all. So I pushed myself a bit harder than the last two times seeing just what my body could and couldnt do. There is no doubt that I have weak legs as some of the poses requiring quad strength and balance just dont happen for me. But I'm happy to modify and do what I can, I am still a newbie after all.

I love the breathing exercises and find them especially therapeutic and cleansing. There's a lot to be said for deep breathing with the added benefit of a full exhale repeated several times. Today I really pushed myself to do the compression poses to the best of my ability. They arent easy and there is some awesome stretching required for some but well worth the effort, I think.

But probably the thing I love most about Bikram is the whole yogi atmosphere in the studio and how participants are straight after a class. For a start, the foyer area where people prepare and wait for classes has a sign reading "Please be responsible for the energy you bring into this area." There is no rowdy loud behaviour, nobody madly chatting, just a nice subdued, peaceful atmosphere.

At the end of a class particpants are encouraged to remain relaxed in the corpse pose for 5 - 10 minutes. The lights are off and talking is not allowed in the studio. Its total peace and calm as people take their time to slowly leave and even in the foyer area it remains quiet and peaceful. Outside the room people sit quietly regrouping, relaxing and recharging before heading off. There is a special energy that feels really good.

When I was instructing, I always chatted away with my participants and thought the energy in a standard gym was really addictive. I'm surprised at how much I love the peace of the yoga studio. Needless to say I come out of a class feeling tired but relaxed and peaceful.

After the class I came home and after showering I had a beautiful meal of bran, oats, sultanas, LSA followed by a mug of white (leaved) tea and an orange. I tell you, you couldnt have convinced me to put crap in my body after such an awesome workout that just oozed of doing me good.

I now have a 10 class pass so I'm committed to going regularly and I'm aiming for twice a week.

:-) M

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Well there's nothing like a bit more turmoil just to keep me on my toes.

We (all 3 of us) spent Friday morning in the Emergency section of the Women's and Children's Hospital with what could have turned into an emergency surgery for our boy. A visit to our local clinic got us a referral which guaranteed us an instant admission and in a few hours it was all over and we could fortunately go home.

I admit there was a moment there when I really worried about my boy going under the fog and the knife. Just the thought of him needing an injection(s) had me shuddering. He is totally terrified of them and I wasnt confident that I could keep him calm or keep myself calm when faced with his terror and pain.

But God looked down on us and said this was not the time and we could all breathe easy and enjoy the rest of the day. We headed out to a nice cafe where Peter and I had coffee, Peter had a cake, I had raisin toast (I'd had no breakfast til then) and our boy enjoyed a triple choc cookie. Life was good, as it should be, not being holed up in a hospital ward. For this I am truly grateful.

And to my boy's credit, a few hours on the couch at home and he had the speediest recovery so that by the evening you'd never have known what had gone down that morning.

So this truly has been the wierdest week and Peter and I are seriously looking forward to some sense of normality again.


Thursday, August 18, 2011


Wow I cant believe its Thursday night already. Where has this week gone?

Well here actually:

My senior colleague who is heavily pregnant has been ill for several weeks now and this week she was banned from coming to work so that she might finally rest enough to fully recover. She was managing a large project on a very tight timeframe with some critical activities scheduled for this week. On Monday I found out that I'd have to take over her role on said project and Monday evening was spent reading tender submissions. I managed a walk to work from my son's school on Tuesday but the walk home didnt eventuate as 1) I left work a bit late 2) I was loaded up with work for the next day as my boy was sick and unlikely to go to school.

I selfishly ignored the work on Tuesday night and headed off for my second hot yoga class. Like the first, it didnt disappoint although I sweated a little more and found some of the poses harder as I couldnt grip my feet properly. Nevertheless I finished strong after really giving it a good effort and then reaped the benefit of the wonderful calm and peaceful feeling that follows (which will be the subject of another post very soon).

On Wednesday morning I hit the computer at 6.15 starting on what I knew was going to be a time consuming report. I finished it at around 9pm last night although I did have to go in to work to attend a meeting about the project I'm now managing. Today has been a uni day learning business law for managers. My brain is mush and I'm REALLY tired.

So putting this report aside, how do I honestly feel?

I've had moments of yelling obscenities at my computer. I've had moments of "OMG I'll never get this report done and to my boss in time." I've had moments of feeling overwhelmed, short-tempered, under pressure, no clarity, brain just struggling to keep up with it all and feeling inadequate.

Yet despite all of these feelings, I still feel really good deep within myself. I've maintained my sense of humour (well at least some of the time LOL), I've paced myself, I've kept myself on task sometimes taking really small steps to get where I need to go. And finally I've not resorted to food or binge eating to dull the pain, to give me 5 minutes of gratification or to distract me from the task and how I feel. In fact I've probably eaten a bit less than usual due to yoga on Tuesday (couldnt eat dinner before and too late to eat dinner after) and being so busy yesterday (although not skipping meals). You know what - no big deal. It all balances out in the end (thanks to mum's home made pizza for dinner tonight).

This may be how life looks over the coming few months but I'm finally quietly confident that I'll manage ok and not come out of it 5 kilos heavier. When all is good deep within, the turmoil on the outside seems to matter less.


Monday, August 15, 2011


 A quick reference back to where you can see all the poses  here

So I finally got along to a hot yoga (Bikram yoga) class yesterday morning. Here's my critique of the whole experience.

Firstly I had to go on an empty stomach as they recommend you dont eat for 2-3 hours before a class. I'm ok with that as I'm used to doing my training on an empty stomach and I didnt wake up early enough to eat or too early and have to eat due to gnawing hunger.

When you enter the room the 40 degree heat hits you immediately and you can feel a large vent pumping out the hot air so the whole room is hot. Its a nice heat though as its dry and you sweat freely. I must admit, I felt instantly happy as those who know me know me + heat = happy :-)

The second thing that struck me was some of the awesome bodies (yes I'm a very visual, aesthetic person and I do appreciate bodies that are in great shape.). There was one woman in particular in the front row who had the leanest torso with beautiful abs, shapely arms and very lean legs. I was in awe somewhat although I thought her legs and butt were shapeless (compared to body building bodies). There was a good mix of people of all shapes, sizes and ages. It was comforting to see I wasnt the biggest there although I was probably at the upper end of the age spectrum LOL. It was a large class (approx 40-50 people) with about 5 to 7 guys.

Now as for the class itself. WOW!!! It was hard but doable. Even on the breathing exercises at the beginning, the instructor was reminding the class to lift their elbows high to feel pain in the shoulders. I surprised myself with the number of poses that I could do, even if they werent to the extent shown in the Bikram gallery. Needless to say there were also some that I didnt even come close to achieving (toes stand, eagle pose and fixed firm pose). The one I had the most difficulty with was the head to knee pose with my right leg to the side. This must be from my dicky hips / pelvis as I couldnt get my knee to the ground and lean to the other side. It was either knee right up or foot brought right back in under the opposite leg (which I had to lift to get my forehead to my knee).

In summary, I loved , loved, loved the class and cant wait to go again. It was a hard workout and I admit I have a newfound respect for yogis because I used to think " what good can a few wierd positions (poses) and stretches do for your body - the sure way to fitness is aerobic activity and lifting weights." But I can now see / feel how doing regular yoga can be good for building strength and flexibility (of course). I'm not convinced of it improving aerobic fitness though.

Finally, I pulled up ok today. I have a little discomfort at the back of my neck / thoracic spine but nothing serious at all. I thought I'd be a lot more sore so thats a testament to my regular weight training even if I dont lift with maximum intensity. I'm a yoga convert now and I'm planning how I can incorporate Bikram into my training routine.


Friday, August 12, 2011


snippett of footage?

Tell me your thoughts?

(If you dont want to watch the entire 20+ minutes, its obvious in the first few minutes, certainly within the first 5 minutes.)


Thursday, August 11, 2011


Today finished with a really important meeting. I spent all morning preparing for it. There were $100,000s riding on it for my organisation. I was so confident going in to it. I couldnt have been better prepared.

But in the end, I could have. It didnt go as we (my boss and I) had wanted. We walked out after an hour, dejected and wondering how we'd cross the next bridge. Its looking very rickety and like it'll collapse at any moment.

The only positive is that I accepted this situation and the feelings that went with it. I had about 15 minutes before I met Peter to go home together. I could have had a mini feast to commiserate, to make me feel better, to make me feel as bad physically as I was on a professional level, or for whatever reason I could dream up. This would have been my reaction before.

But instead I waited in our favourite coffee shop checking emails and playing with my phone. I passed on the wine and coffee and cakes and .... you get the picture. Dinner was lovely and I enjoyed every bit of it, shared with our extended family and finshed with some yummy locally bought almond bread.

Life wont always be a bed of roses where every day is fantastically wonderful and everything goes your way. But its how we deal with the challenges that determines whether we are winners or not. Tonight I go to bed knowing that I handled this disappointment as best I could with my sanity and self esteem both firmly in place and for that I'm extremely happy.

:-) M

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Despite writing the date many times today, the significance of it was totally lost on me until I was walking to my car at the end of the day.

On the10th of June I took my first step into trying something totally different that went against all I had believed in for the majority of my 48 years. I entered unchartered territory nervous with no clear path ahead of me, no light to guide me nor a set of clear directions or a how-to manual. Yet I knew it was time to give this a try. What I had relied so heavily on before yet had let me down time and time again was about to be given the boot.


Oh I could say so much about this last 2 months but I'll save it for a little further down the track. I still have moments when I wonder if / when it all might fall in a heap. There is no smugness about what I've achieved as I know its still relatively early days.

But today I celebrate a solid 2 months where I've had a balanced and healthy relationship with food and an absence of behaviours that used to upset me and make me feel ashamed. My weight hasnt skyrocketed, in fact I'm about a couple of kilos down on where I was 2 months ago and wearing clothes that I have avoided for years.

I havent felt the need to eat everything that was previously on my banned foods list. But I try to incorporate some treat food or wine every day to practice the art of moderation. I have eating freedom and it feels great. I'm more relaxed, happier, calm and balanced and Peter is loving the positive changes in me, as I am too.

So tonight I say "ROCK ON" cause if it aint broke, dont fix it.

:-) M

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Nothing earth shattering to write about today except a commitment to make good use of time.

On Tuesdays I pick my boy up from school and take him to an activity that lasts about 45 - 50 minutes. Parents dont attend this activity and last week we (5 or 6 parents) sat and talked until the activity was finished. However, I didnt enjoy the company of the group nor the content of the conversations (unusual for me as I'm a very sociable person and I love talking to and getting to know people).

So this week I decided to use that time differently and go for a walk instead. I packed my walking gear, got changed there and headed out with my iPhone music and a somewhat tired pace to my steps. I swear sitting at a computer all day is exhausting and only promotes aches and pains. But it wasnt long before I had a good pace going and my energy levels were on the rise - not to mention my disposition.

I walked for 40 minutes just up and down the local sidestreets and it felt so good. I still have times that I miss running but I'm growing more and more fond of a good walk. I guess there's something to be said for being grateful for what you have or what you can do rather than lamenting over that which you dont have or cant do.

So today I ticked 2 boxes in my "be active" goal. I did some weight training this morning and then the walk after work. Nothing of mega intensity. Nothing of marathon lengths or proportions. Nothing to cause major fatigue. Just good old fashioned movement that sweeps out the cobwebs and leaves you feeling energized.

If you're not already doing it, I recommend you give it a try.


Monday, August 8, 2011


For some time I've been meaning to share my home training set up at our new(ish) house. At the end of our back garden we built this shed which I call my training studio. Its not very big (our block is only 8m wide and it almost goes from fence to fence) but we've made it into a great functional space. I really wanted a double glass sliding door to it but the (frugal) project manager and maker of all things happen - my husband Peter, vetoed that due to budget constraints. I got a full glass door instead and it works almost as well to make the room light and bright instead of a dark hole.

Stepping inside my parlour and this is what awaits. I've had my own rack for a few years now and its priceless. With it there is just so much variety in how I can train and I need that to relieve the inevitable boredom we all feel at times. Everything has its place but can easily be accessed and there is just enough floor space in the foreground to work in albeit mindfully of your surroundings.

The side view shows Peter's rowing machine folded up in the corner. He uses this religiously, never complaining that it needs to be folded down and then folded back up again. The picture on the wall is my comp pic with my medals immortalised in frame and yes there is an ancient exercise bike in the other corner. We've started considering purchasing a spin bike which we'll probabaly do over the coming weeks. Mind you I still ride the ex bike sometimes and it still works on those rainy days when you dont want to be outdoors.

You cant have a training studio without entertainment facilities. Yes there is a TV, stereo, iPod dock (not shown) and DVD player. I always listen to music when I train but Peter will watch Sky News while he rows. Oh and yes thats the air conditioning you see on the speaker by the door - otherwise known as a fan LOL.

And finally here is the view of the other end which has sinced developed into a Scalextric racing track and a train track thanks to many hours of hard work by Peter. There's also a little work bench where Peter and our son make models.

At our last house we had oodles and oodles of space and all of this was spread out over many rooms or in a large garage. Now that we live compactly its a case of using the space wisely so that everybody's needs are met even if its with some compromise. I love this set up and have easily adapted to the less space. It lets me keep up some weight training without taking out expensive gym memberships that I would find hard to use due to time constraints. Any time I want to train, its a short walk through my back yard to this studio.

:-) M

Sunday, August 7, 2011


When I started writing this "Soaking Up" series , it was this post that really inspired me and made me want to write about it ... MY SUBURB.

I'm very lucky to now live in a fabulous suburb that is close to the city and my son's school. It has great shopping, restaurants, pubs and cafes, cinema and parks. Just about everything is walking distance, including work which takes me 45 minutes.

Come Saturday and one of my most favourite things to do is soak up my suburb. I always take a couple of hours of "me-time" to do the grocery shopping (I love it!) enjoy a coffee out and read the magazine section of the paper.

My Sarturday usually consists of: After I've dropped my boy at my parent's house I head back to my suburb and do the grocery shopping. Our supermarket is very popular. I often bump into people from work both current job and previous ones. Its not just the locals that shop there.

I often wander up the main street to a wonderful and very authentic continental deli where the owners make a lot of the produce they sell. The owner will encourage tasting of his olives or anything else that you may be considering buying but not sure about. I have an Italian friend who assures me that the olives I buy there are just like his mother used to make. You cant get a better recommendation than that. I often buy their home made almond bread and it tastes SO much better than the mass produced and packaged stuff. My mum and dad love it too as being older they dont eat a lot now but still like to have a sweet treat after dinner. The almond bread is perfect for that.

I have two favourite coffee places (and one more thats just a bit more out of the way) and my Saturday coffee out is a ritual that I dont ever want to give up. The home made stuff (even with a Nespresso coffee maker now) is NEVER as good. I savour that coffee while having a read of the paper and just lose myself in them.

The main street has so many interesting shops both old and new. There are some high end boutiques, a sports store that represents better value for money than any of the large chains, a bookshop (thats still doing a great trade) and many different food stores. Its never boring here.

Its vibrant. Its cosmopolitan. Its the sort of place you can just soak up and never get bored with. Like I said, I'm so lucky to be living here now.


Friday, August 5, 2011


Today's soaking up topic is .... MY CITY.

I have lived in Adelaide for most of my life. A few years ago we did a 2 year stint in Brisvegas which was intended to be forever but quite frankly the city disappointed and as soon as there was an opportunity to come home, we jumped at it (well I did and Peter was eventually convinced). The truth is, I'm an Adelaide girl through and through and a very patriotic South Aussie :-)

I work in the city and every day I travel from the eastern suburbs in to the western side of the city. I'd like to share a bit of going to woek journey with you.

Our family of three all leave for work and Before School Care together. After our son is dropped at his school its a short drive to our carpark and then onto favourite city cafe for a pre-work coffee together. The owners know us so well that we never have to order any more. They know exactly what we have. So Peter and I will chat about our day ahead, our son, our weekend or whatever while we have a coffee.

We then head towards work and walk together for about 1/4 of the way . After saying our good-byes I'm headed further west while Peter goes south. I often walk down Rundle Mall taking in the activity unfolding as central stalls set up fruit stands, juice stands, flower stands and newspaper sellers. The intersection of The Mall and Gawler Place is often a hub of activity. This week SAFM have had a couple's bedroom set up there while they (SAFM) renovated that room in the couple's house. They have been broadcasting from there and the announcers have been chatting with the public when they're not on air.

Today the singing man wasnt out in his usual spot at the end of The Mall providing his usual entertainment. Who's the singing man you wonder? He's a man of Asian origin (sorry I cant tell exactly where), quite well dressed, sometimes smoking, always carrying a bottle of water or a Boost Juice and he basically sings / chants in a different languauge in quite a loud voice. Some days the polioce come and move him along but honestly he's not creating a disturbance nor does he harrass anybody. He just sings :-)

I love the smell of breshly brewing coffee in the many cafes along the way. I look with dismay at the people hurrying along while scoffing down breakfast from a paper bag. Its not unusual for the arcades with the fast food outlets to have tables of teenage boys sharing burgers, fries and Cokes for breakfast before heading off to their (private) schools (VERY sad!!). More and more people shut the world out with their headphones in discreetly as they hurry along. More and more executives drag along their small suitcases on wheels no doubt bulging with work they took home to do in the night before. Even when its 5 degrees, there'll guaranteed be at least a handful of people out in thongs which is as good as being barefooted IMO.

I love my city. Its not a big, buzzing and vibrant place like many others but it has its own charm, its own character and culture like no other.

:-)  M

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

SOAKING UP (PART 2) ......

Today's soaking up topic is LEARNING.

Who doesnt like learning new things?

I've mentioned previously that this year I'm doing a management training course. Its a blend of 6 topics that each comprise 2 days at uni taught under adult learning conditions followed by an assignment. I have an exam in mid October and then there is a large work based project that I need to complete and present in January 2012.

I have 2 modules to go and the 4 I've already done have been really interesting, thought provoking and challenging. I can see how the stuff I've learnt is already helping me do my job better and thats ultimately what I want as opposed to climbing the corporate ladder into more senior positions (with the subsequent decline in work / life balance).

All of the modules have been presented by excellent teachers in a stimulating and engaging fashion and I've really enjoyed the intellectual workout. Our group is diverse and I've met some interesting people with backgrounds really different to mine. I love talking to them and finding out more about what they do, where they work and what their organisation is like and also just what makes them tick. Of course I like to share my experiences and prespective on things too LOL.

If there is one downside to this, its getting my assignments done on the weekends. I usually devote a Sunday, or two or three to them when I'd much prefer to be doing stuff with my family but everything good has a price.

I'm so grateful to work for giving me this opportunity and supporting me through it and I hope that I can give back accordingly.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I'm suffering a bit of Blogger's Block as I dont just want to write about food and eating every day. After all, its not THAT big a deal. Everybody does it (eat food) every day and honestly you can only analyse it and carry on about it so much before .... YAWN!!

On Saturday I had this idea for a blog topic only I've decided to turn it into many ideas and pick the themes or things that really matter to me. Its based on the idea of "soaking up" something around you or stuff that influences you, interests you or inspires you. My focus is to get away from food and exercise for these posts.

I've decided to start with "work." A challenging topic but in my usual "glass half full" outlook ... here goes.

When I soak up work I focus on the good stuff that happens there and the good stuff that comes from the work I do.

I like my job. I dont love the work but I like the people I work with, the people I report to, the people who report to me and my many and varied clients. I manage the asset and capital programs for a small government agency. If its to do with bricks, mortar, property and anything related, I do it with a tiny team of highly skilled and adaptable people.  In any given day I'll wear many hats as I project manage capital works, negotiate leases, procure various contracts, manage and support my staff, answer correspondence and prepare numerous briefings, plan and monitor the annual program for capital works and the list goes on. I cant complain that my days are repetitive and predictable, nor am I scratching for work to keep busy LOL.

I love the social aspect of work (surprise, surprise) and I take the time to talk to people and get to know them. Every Monday morning my team meets to talk about our diaries for the week and we always start with an account of our weekends. That time spent sharing our weekend activities is as important as sharing what we'll be doing that week.

I always try to stay positive and calm at work but when something gets me going I let it out (yes there is some swearing at times) and I encourage my staff to do the same. Better to vent and get it out than keep it to yourself and let it fester. Release the angst and then move on, I say. My door is always open to anybody needing to get stuff off their chest.

The work we do produces some brilliant outcomes for an exciting and interesting industry. We have some large, high profile projects on the go and some even larger ones in the pipeline. Our work environment is stimulating, challenging and rewarding. On the rare occassions we have jobs advertised we're usually swamped with applicants. I love being in a position to influence who is selected.

And finally on a totally selfish level, I love the lifestyle that my job gives me. Its beacuse I come to work every day that we live in a nice suburb, holiday regularly and can send our son to a good school. On the rare occassion that work is so bad that I think of chucking it in, I look at my son's school photo on my desk and I'm reminded of why I'm here. That and the holidays, the shopping and the rest and I suck it up and get on with it. Before I know it, all is well again anyway.

Are there aspects of your work that you genuinely soak up? (I bet there'd be some really good posts out there).


Monday, August 1, 2011


Hot on the heels of my Binge Free July, I'm now ready to take my next step forward.

The changes I've made feel pretty normal now and I honestly dont struggle with them. They are virtually second nature and therefore I have a level of confidence with this that I have NEVER had before. Whilst its still very much early days and I'm still quite a novice, I take comfort in the path I'm travelling and I have a fair idea of where I want to go. Slow and steady will get me there as opposed to setting huge insurmountable goals that have previously just broken me down.

So the next step forward is to better tune into how much I eat. I've always been a big appetite girl who loves her food. And when the food tastes good I find it REALLY hard to stop and often eat to feeling quite full. I want to work on this and learn to eat in more moderate quantities, especially when eating out or when food is served up for me. (Serving myself is usually not an issue).

Small steps, a little more challenging than before and requiring another shift in headset. This will be my focus in August as well as continuing the good habits I introduced in July - no weighing on the scales and continuing the daily treat. I have a plan of where I want this to take me and I trust my instinct to get it right.



.... wrapping up a binge-free July.

Despite my very helpful SP sessions from 2 years ago, I continued to struggle with binge eating to various degrees. Sometimes I'd be caught in the ravages of it finding it very hard to break free. Other times it was just a bit here and there but I was still unable to shake it. It was disturbing and debilitating leaving me battling a myriad of negative feelings. I SO wanted to stop it, yet over and over I failed to do so.

But on 10 June I took a leap of faith and tried something different, something that I had never dared to embrace before and something that took me to really unfamiliar territory.

I stopped trying to lose weight and I introduced a daily treat of a food that I would previously have deemed "off limits." No other rules. No other goals. Just a plan to change my all / nothing thinking  (the daily treat) and the focus on the scale number.

Well to say that was liberating is an understatement. I'm no longer hung up on "ooh I shouldnt have eaten that but because I did I may as well have ...." Its only been a relatively short time but it seems to be working because I have worked on changing my headset, my beliefs and subsequently my actions. And I have done this on my own (taking tips and advice from others) tailoring it to my needs and being accountable only to myself.

My weight has stayed fairly steady in this time and I know this not from jumping on the scales daily (heaven forbid) or even weekly. I just KNOW by how I look, how I feel and how my clothes fit. Thats good enough for me.

Yet whilst the outside is fine, the improvement on the inside has been the best. "Disturbing and debilitating" are words I no longer use to describe how I feel about my eating. Instead I'm calm, balanced and relaxed around food and (most) stressful situations. THIS is how I want to live my life and so I lift my proverbial glass of champagne and say "cheers to me."

:-) M