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Times change and we with time… Ramblings Part 1

This post is OT to most things I’ve written and very much AT ( AgzyM-centric topic).

Be warned, it’s soapbox heavy and filled with honest ramblings that may induce severe headaches.

 For some, this may well be THE most boring post I’ve ever written (and that’s saying a lot!).

In other words, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m indulging myself and I will be back with more reader-friendly posts once I get this chain of thought out of my system.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about change recently.

Whether it be inspired by news of new RA projects, each more demanding and different from the last, or the natural flow and ebb of the fandom, not to mention the stories of change that my friends within the fandom share with me, and I get emotionally invested in.

I’ve been going through my own bunch of (somewhat) cathartic changes myself, so let me bore you a little on this subject.

I remember my late teens and early to mid- twenties being governed by the need to go, see do.

I felt like my feet were on fire (no, it wasn’t athletes foot…) and as soon as I would come back from one adventure, I’d be planning my next big escape.

The mere thought of holding down a job for a longer period, getting a driver’s license and car, any indication of stability would have me in cold sweats, checking for cheap airline tickets to London or NY.

Fast-forward 10 years later and I was positively stuck.

Not that I knew it, of course.

I had a thoroughly cushy life, with I job that I liked (and still do), financial and emotional stability, a life devoid of too much stress or worry.

Sure, there were things I wanted, but there just came a moment where things were OK as they were, my life was somehow set in stone, the trajectory set, me obviously heading down the road that I thought was destined for me.

The thing about being comfortable, stuck in a nice not demanding life is that you have no impulse to actually stretch yourself, try new things, take a risk on the off-chance that you’ll made an OK life a Great life.

I was convinced 20014 would be a kick ass year, but it started out rocky by kicking my ass instead and things happened that doused me with a big old bucket of icy cold water to snap me out of the rut.

By the time I was processing what was happening, many things I had read and learned in the past 5+ years had kicked in (see, you should never give up on educating yourself…) and gave me the impulse and tools to climb out of my comfort zone and start working on that life I was sure would someday come, but was doing nothing about so someday would be now.

Although this is much too big of a topic to write about in one post, let me skim through the key points and share the smart stuff that helped me on the off-chance someone else may be feeling the same way and is looking for that wake-up call/guidance to jump-start their life again (because, you know, this is it, we only go once on this carousel…).

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Today I’ll be tackling a difficult issue: The Body

I’ve probably complained/bitched/worried about my issues with the ol’ carcass on a number of occasions.

Long story short, after countless attempts to get that perfect body, I was none the slimmer, none the wiser and hell bummed.

Diets? I have tried them all.

Who cares you feel faint all the time, at least you’ll pass out in a cute dress, right?

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I had reached the point where I was actually researching gastric surgery.

Sure, maybe that would be a way out if it wasn’t for the fact that no sane doctor would ever operate on someone whose BMI wasn’t even in the “obese” category (not to worry, I had a cunning plan- I’d just plump myself up on purpose for a few months prior to the consult, play the old “I have a bad back card” and hope for the best).

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In other words, I had reached a point where I wasn’t thinking clearly anymore and I had been disappointed, or worse still, had disappointed myself so many times, I lost faith in any ability to change.

I was so hellbent on focusing on my body, I completely stopped to thing about the ol’ noodle (and I don’t mean the noodles in a stir-fry).

If I’m going round in circles, doing the same thing over and over again, how the heck am I expecting different results?

feel crap – crash diet – lose weight – go back to old eating habits – gain weight – feel crap… and so on…

I realised I had spent so much time focusing on the results (and it’s hard not to when they are glaring at your from your mirror reflection), but I had never wondered why.

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I must admit I was quite fortunate- reading up on healthy nutrition has been a pastime of mine for a while, but I had never really implemented what I knew and here’s why:

I was a compulsive overeater.

Yup, I found it a head scratcher when Milka introduced a chocolate wrapper that you could seal up again.

Seriously? Who opens a bar of chocolate, eats a few pieces and leaves the rest for another day?

I’d eat little all day, functioning on coffee and cigarets, but once the evening feast began it wouldn’t stop till it was time for bed.

When you wake up and you are still digesting food, you’re doing something terribly wrong.

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Everything I ate was processed, came in a plastic wrapper, box or can and the living daylights processed out of it, not to mention a ton of crap added.

Overweight and malnourished/starved because you’re filling yourself up on empty crap is an interesting mix.

You eat when you’re happy and celebrating, eat when you’re sad, depressed, worried, stressed, eat to fill that empty hole and chase it with more food to clog up the hole being overweight has created.

Then you actually use your dissatisfaction with your body to actually not do stuff (added bonus- you have more time to eat…).

As I type out the eating sins of the past (and the list is by no means exhaustive!) I’m sure that at least a handful of you are nodding in acknowledgement of this painful truth.

I knew if I was to make any changes in my life, I’d have to start with my relationship with my body and with food (spoiler alert- the ripples of the change have affected many many aspects of my life…).

Here’s how it all went down.

I started to confront my eating problems and this is what has worked for me:

I acknowledged that diets don’t work.

Nope, not one bit.

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I have had countless arguments with people who swear by the ………………. (insert diet name) diet, they lost weight last year, so they will do the same this year.

If diets worked we wouldn’t have to spend a fortune, year after year, trying new low-this, high-that diets.

If you need to come back to a diet a year later, it actually means it did not work i  any meaningful way.

Chances are a year or so on, you’ve not only gained it all back, but I’m guessing that boomerang weight actually brought along a few additional kilogram buddies (hey the more the merrier, right?).

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What works is a complete permanent shift in your eating habits.

All of the slim people I spoke to gave similar answers to me bugging them about *insert whiny voice* whyyyyyy are you skinny and I’m not :

they eat breakfast

they eat when they are hungry

they stop when they are full

(btw, most didn’t even realise that what they were eating was considered a healthy clean balanced diet- they just saw it as food that fills the belly)

None of those points had ever occurred to me.

I started with tackling the problem of breakfast, which I have never eaten before, apart from those buffets in fancy hotels which I would hit with a vengeance…

I started out by taking vegetable juices to work with me and sipping them throughout my classes.

Belly full, vitamin/mineral intake- check!, problem of no time to sit and eat- solved!

I’ve learned that hen to eat is important, but what to eat is key.

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If you’re reliant on processed food, let me just urge you to read the book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss.

I’ll be writing more about this book in a post for my April 52 Books in 52 Weeks post, but I am obligating everyone to pick it up.

This book made me furious, both at the audacity of food manufacturers, but also at my own stupidity.

Although I had already switched to a diet of 80% veggies and fruit by the time I read this, it helped me eliminate any cravings for things like Diet Coke.

See, we are hooked, we are processed food junkies and about 90% of the stuff in the supermarket was carefully designed that way.

No strong will, no inner strength? Bummed you let yourself down again?

Wrong and WRONG!

“Food” on offer is created to make you want more, keep crawling back (and loathe yourself in the process).

Until you wean yourself off the crap food corporations have addicted you too (hello sugar, salt and fat, my old friends), you are powerless to ever experience a healthy relationship with food and your body.

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Nowadays when I go shopping I have a clear list of what meals I’m shopping for, I start with the tea aisle and stock up on herbal ones, then I go to the nut/seed aisle, a quick stop at the diary and fish section and then the bulk in the fruit and vegetable part (OK, I usually stop off at the clothes section, my excuse- I’m not going to work in baggy jeans!).

You won’t see me in any other food aisle because those big wig food manufacturers are not going to rope me in.

I’ve identified my food triggers and have worked around them.

I’ve eliminated rice, pasta and grains as they trigger overeating, I buy fish/salad mixes that are a perfect serving for 2 so I don’t make the portions too big, when eating I stop every couple of mouthfuls to let my brain assess whether I’m full, I eat meals at specific times and I try not to skip any.

It really is so easy that I’m kicking myself for not getting my head straight years ago (but also feel fortunate I didn’t learn all of this 10 years from now).

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I make sure to eat a balanced meal- fish, an avocado, nuts/seeds, eggs at least once a week.

I experiment with veggies and fruit that I would never have tried before, stay clear of anything processed, avoid situations which can trigger me.

For those who suffer from cravings, I came across a very good method to free you from them, but make sure you do the following exercise a number of times:

Close your eyes and imagine your guilty pleasure, say chocolate.

How it feels, melts in your mouth, coats the tongue.

Then press your thumb and little finger as you….

 imagine that the chocolate had melted and strands of hair had melted in it.

Seriously, there’s hair in the chocolate stuck in the chocolate and with each mouthful of chocolate you keep putting hair, nice long strands of blonde hair, into your mouth.

(I’m gagging as I type…)

The next time you get a craving for chocolate, just press your thumb and finger and you should automatically recollect this nasty sensation (it works, I’m programmed for hair-filled crisps, redhead and onion flavored, anyone?).

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OK, enough with the nasty…

Some of you will be wanting to know the bottom line, the numbers, statistics, feasible results (and I’m much too vain not to mention them).

Before I do I just want to underline again that this is not a so-called “diet”, this is a complete permanent overhaul, so weight loss has been a side-effect to the journey I’m on which consisted of ridding myself of food addiction, of nourishing my poor starved body, boosting my energy so I go out, do more, experience a fuller life.

Since I eliminated processed food I’ve dropped 13 kg but just like you can never watch a kettle boil, this has very much happened in the process of other things.

I have about 4 kg to go to the weight I would ordinarily boomerang from (and, conveniently, the size where all my skinny clothes fit).

The plan is this: I shall still monitor my weight to reach that benchmark, once I do I will let my body decide which weight is the healthiest for me (for a change).

If it wants to go lower- great, if not I will be more than content!

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Getting into those jeans isn’t the only benefit of eating a non-processed diet.

I also have energy to spare (yes, for those who know me in RL, I can chitchat for hours more now without even breaking a sweat…).

I’ve felt so good about myself that I’ve actually done something I never thought possible.

See, AgzyM doesn’t run.

She’s freakishly strong and I’ve always known there’s an athlete in me even if it was somewhat weighed down, but running? You must be joking!

Well, the jokes on me as I’ve engaged on a 5k training to get me in even better shape.

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Yes, I have allowed the madness of Zombies, Run to wash over me and I am helping the settlement of Abel out while they try to survive the zombie invasion in the post-apocalyptic world.

Hell, I AM Runner 5!

This 5k app is the absolute bee’s (running) knees and it’s perfect for anyone who has never run before.

Seriously, you can’t run for 15 seconds (week one)? Have you ever tried?

It’s gotten MagzyM and I so motivated that we get up at 5.30 am to do the run three times a week.

On Friday I felt like Wonder Woman as I strolled in to work- on top of the standard training I ran 10 minutes non stop.

(disclaimer for those who run marathons, I know it’s not a big deal, but for me this was huuuuuuge!).

And let me tell you, this is just the tip of the AgzyM iceberg!

Changing the way I eat was just the first habit that I changed, but one that allowed me to wake up,  get back control, to gain the strength and courage to do other things, to start dreaming again.

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OK, I think I have bored you enough, but for those who are on their own journey and would be interested in watching/reading more, here’s a tiny list of things that may help you make changes:

Food Matters by Mark Bittman

The Gabriel Method by Jon Gabriel (requires a bit of an open mind)

Watch Forks Over Knives HERE

Food Inc

The Weight of the Nation

There’s another rambling coming along soon, so run, hide, save yourselves!!!

 

A Very Weird Whining Wednesday with a Dash of Irony

This wasn’t the Whining Wednesday post I was planning on writing this week.

It was supposed to start with the stats.

After a little over 1 month I’ve lost 5,5 kg (a little over 12 lbs.), which bummed me out until I realised that not for one second of that time was I hungry or  felt deprived.

On the contrary, I’ve been eating very yummy vegan dishes.

There’s still much room for improvement with portion control and regular exercise.

I haven’t had a cigarette in over a month, nor am I likely ever to.

With each passing week second-hand smoking bugs me more and more as it really does stink something awful.

Let me tell you, it sure tasted better from the cigarette straight to the lungs 😉

I was going to recommend that you watch the documentary Fat, Sick & Almost Dead (extended trailer at the end of the post) which I found very motivating.

It’s a story about Joe Cross who confronts the consequences of his terrible lifestyle and embarks on a 60 day juice fast.

Highly motivated by what we saw, the plan was to go on a juice fast starting Monday.

It all went terribly wrong on Sunday afternoon.

I started feeling very dodgy, with a huge headache ready to burst my head open, and I had blurred vision and light-headedness.

I just felt off, which is not something I’m accustomed to.

The next day the fast began.

I wasn’t feeling very well, but soldiered on, and battled through the nausea.

The nausea won big time!

By the afternoon I had my head stuck in the loo like a greenhorn on board a crabbing boat in the Bering Sea (can you tell I’m a huge fan of Deadliest Catch?)

It was a disaster and quite frankly it freaked me out.

I hadn’t felt this bad in ages, and I’m usually quite smug about having a very strong healthy body that might not look like it belongs to  a Brazilian supermodel, but it’s built to last!

I finally reached the conclusion that I need to get my blood pressure checked as my dad has been battling high blood pressure all his life and it’s one of my greatest fears. All of the symptoms apart from the Dehi Belly pointed to this problem.

I figured that although all my results had always been perfect, maybe the changes I’d made came too late and I’d have to pay the consequences of a lifetime of sins.

Turns out….

I have extremely low blood pressure.

It’s almost like all my life my body has been doing its best to keep it healthy and balanced despite my horrible eating habits and smoking.

When I eliminated these two vices, my organism struggled to maintain the proper blood pressure.

As my BF Max put it:

Sh*t, you smoke and eat junk, they tell you it’s bad…

You’re trying to be good, you get ill!

You can never win…

Don’t worry, I’m still going strong and WILL NOT be going back to either smoking or a diet of fat, sugar and meat.

I just need to readjust my body a bit.

Maybe I’m still going though the nicotine detoxification, which is a very scary notion.

Unfortunately because I reacted so badly to the juice I drank, the thought of going on a fast is nauseating.

Maybe one day I’ll be able to come back to the idea, as I think it has merit.

By the way, this is a HUGE victory for my sister Magzy as I’ve been trying to get her to limit her coffee intake.

The whole situation has just shut me up 🙂

Time to whip up some artificial Thorin coffee-like powder to perk up my day!

Here’s the extended trailer to the documentary I recommend you watch:

Want to lose weight? Have a cigarette!

As you may have gathered, I was a bit naughty with the title of this post because, like a mentioned earlier, I have given up smoking.

Nevertheless, I simply adore the Lucky Strike vintage advertisements that encourage you to smoke to lose a little weight.

My favorite slogan is: “your throat protection against irritation, against cough.”

I haven’t had a cigarette in a while and I still have a dry smokers throat.

Maybe I should have smoked Lucky Strikes instead of my usual favorite brand.

Back to the ads.

I actually had two authentic “It’s Toasted” ads framed as a present for my sister, and they are hanging in her study.

Enjoy!

Lucky Strike cigarettes are perfect for keeping that happy mood too!

By the way, the reason why I’m confident I’ll never smoke again is I understand the lie used as a slogan in the following ad:

Just one more means going back to a packet a day.

No thanks!

A Good Documentary on a Whining Wednesday

I’m still going strong and enjoying the process 🙂

Yesterday I introduced exercise on top of my alternative vegan and vegetarian days.

There’s just one more huge hurdle for me, but I’ll write about that some other time.

It’s important to keep that motivation high, and I’ve come across a few documentaries that are a must-see!

The first is Food Matters.

“Let thy Food be thy Medicine and thy Medicine be thy Food”

-Hippocrates, the founding father of modern medicine.

Food is nutritionally depleted foods, with chemical additives and we rely on pharmaceutical drugs to treat what’s wrong with our malnourished bodies.

Modern society is getting sicker.

This documentary is an eye-opener and makes you question the way we look at curing diseases.

The next documentary I’d like to recommend is Food, Inc.

It’s a look inside America’s corporate controlled food industry, and shows at what it is we are supporting each time we go shopping.

Don’t be fooled into a sense of security because the documentary is about the US.

I’m sure the same processes occur worldwide.

I’m really don’t bug meat-eaters, usually the opposite is true that I have to defend my choices, but if you’re supporting a system, you should at least know what the reality is.

The next documentary is a must for anyone who likes their fast food.

I saw Super Size Me a while back and it actually put me off McDonald’s, even when I’m naughty.

By the way, I understand the importance of self-responsibility, but at a time when a burger costs less than a bunch of broccoli, it’s time to make changes.

Whining Wednesday on a Saturday and the Dreaded Fat Pants

I was meaning to write this post as part of a Whining Wednesday cycle, but it turns out it’s been pushed all the way to Saturday.

Whining Saturday doesn’t really sound as good, does it?

My summer is well and truly over, which means the usual shift from countryside to city.

It’s back to work, back to RL.

It’s also time to face and start tackling the consequences of a care-free 2 months.

There’s nothing quite like that feeling of putting away your casual sport’s clothes, sweatpants/tracksuit bottoms, stretchy T-shirts and tank tops, and trying to squeeze into work clothes.

Dear dear me!

I really have indulged myself this summer!

Even my ‘fat pants’ are filled to capacity!

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of ‘fat pants’ here’s an explanation.

My weight fluctuates terribly, meaning 65% of my wardrobe are my skinny clothes.

There are the dresses, skirts, tops I’ve been collecting for years, all designed to simply pull out of the closet, put on a sashay away to work.

They are accompanied with cute high-heel shoes and adorable accessories.

I used to refer to them as my ‘normal’ clothes, but I haven’t actually worn many of them for a while now.

Then we have the collection of clothes a size or two larger, for those periods when you’ve indulged a little too much and you need a fabric or cut that is more forgiving.

Then there’s the last category, the dreaded fat clothes, the thorn in my side.

These are my go-to clothes when I’m on the verge of changing my lifestyle yet again, the ones I am so happy to discard when I’ve been a good girl.

Oh, the dreaded fat pants!

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed myself immensely this summer, and I take responsibility for reaching the point where, yet again, I need to serve up a dose of tough love instead of a bar of chocolate.

I’m an extremist.

I’m either very good or very VERY bad.

After being a naughty girl this summer, it’s time to shift gear and actually be kind to myself!

I have the knowledge, I’ve been down this path before, and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle are evident.

It’s just sticking to it that’s an issue.

I’m a cheater.

In my case it’s connected to food and exercise

I love the thrill that cheating brings.

Sneaking in something naughty, skipping exercise they; all provide a short-lived thrill that I may well be addicted to.

After 6 months we finally figured out how the TIVO-style function works, and we’ve been taking advantage of it.

At the moment I was making changes, I came across a program that resonated with me.

It’s an OWN production called Addicted to Food.

It’s a documentary series which follows the recovery process of 8 people addicted, in one way or another, to food.

I’m not obese, and contestants of The Biggest Loser drop more weight for a weekly weigh-in, but it’s all relative.

The show sheds light on the strange relationship between me and what I stick in my gob.

It’s made me  analyze why I constantly find myself in the same spot time after time.

Anyway, I hope to use this space to write about the issue, as well as mention things that work or motivate me.

The first that I’d like to mention is a blog I came across called Raw Girl in a Toxic World.

It’s a blog written by a vegan, and there are plenty of useful information.

She disspells the myth that going vegetarian can help you lose weight.

From my experience I tend to exchange meat for pasta with lovely creamy sauces.

By now I think we ALL know diets don’t work, so it’s time to implement a lifestyle with lasting results.

That’s what I’m planning to do, and I hope to write more about the steps I’m taking!

Jillian Michaels- Sadist. Me- Masochist…

 

Jillian Michael, I have decided to take your challenge and embark of The Body Revolution.

Yes, I seem to be a masochistic fool!

That’s alright, because Michaels is a bit of a sadist, so this works out perfectly.

Shame I don’t work out perfectly 😉

If you haven’t heard about the system, check it out.

I have already done a few days of Ripped in 30 Days and 30 Day Shred.

Loved it!

But I flaked out, taking a day rest, because I was in so much pain and was walking around like a bow-legged  cowboy.

Then one day turned into a week, then Fanstra 3 hit and excesses came easy.

Now I’m back!

The system is separated into 3 Phases, each lasting a month, 6 days of workout and 1 day of rest.

As I didn’t start on Friday, my rest day will be on Thursday.

Yesterday I did Workout 1 from Phase 1 in the morning (5.30 am) and Cardio 1 in the evening.

This morning I moved on to Workout 2 from Phase 1 and I still have Cardio 1 to do.

 Lucky me…

So, how is it?

Hard, but doable. I am following the easier versions of exercises and not ashamed of it at all.

From the exercises I have tried, Cardio 1 is my least favorite.

I live in a block of flats and jumping up and down on a hard wooden floor would probably send my neighbours to the loony bin, so I’m trying to modify the movements.

 And don’t get me started on “suicide run”.

Really, Jillian? REALLY???

But, as always, Michaels delivers exercises that will make you sweat and motivates you to see it through.

How the hell does she know you’re about to quit?

Witchcraft is my guess…

My goal is to loose 10 kg, which is about 22 lbs.

Doable, me thinks.

May the force be with me!

I’ll keep you posted 😉

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