31 July 2012

The problem of overeating and comfort eating

Anyone who has had trouble with their weight will know exactly what I'm going through right now just from reading the title: Overeating and comfort eating.

Overeating, simply put, is to not stop eating when you know you should. I used to do this a lot. A lot. I would not stop because there was still food on my plate, or because I thought it was a waste to throw food away, or because I was convinced I should, but mostly because I thought I had deserved it (comfort eating). Eating for comfort could be seen as a disorder, and could be fuelled by emotional issues, stress or depression.

Before, I used to overeat because it made me feel better, even though afterwards it would make me feel worse. I know I used to comfort eat a lot when I felt miserable because I thought I deserved a treat to make me feel better. This type of overeating is often caused by emotional discomfort or depression, and in my case (and I think this is the case for a lot of people in this situation), I often got stuck in a loop: I'd feel terrible about  myself, eat for comfort, and then feel bad again because I just stuffed my face. Other moments, and these may even have been worse, I would stop myself from eating something because I knew I should not, succeed in convincing myself, and then reward myself for my great resolve... by eating that same thing I was not going to eat.

But I also used to overeat because I thought it was just part of my routine: I would sit down behind the pc to game (I play World of Warcraft) and I would grab a bag of sweets or crisps because I felt like that was part of it. I would have a bag or bowl nearby and every time there was a quiet moment in-game (during a raid after a wipe, or after a boss kill, or while flying from one spot to the other...), I'd reach for a treat without even noticing, emptying a bag in record-time just because I was on flight points a lot or because we were wiping a lot during progression raids.

This last week I have been stuck in a similar loop again and it is bugging the hell out of me. Even though I know I should not eat that one bad thing, I seem to have lost all self-control and even found myself thinking in old patterns again where I would reward myself with food. I polished off an entire bag of crisps in two evenings. I emptied a bag of almonds in one. I ate sweets for the first time in weeks. Last night after dinner, I went to put my plate in the kitchen and ate leftover pasta sauce straight from the pan. Even though I haven't touched it all week, I know there is a bar of chocolate in the cupboard with my name on it and even though the fact that it's been in there for a week and is still untouched is a good sign, I get distracted and cranky just thinking about it. And I know this may not sound terrible, but it is making me feel awful! These are old habits, bad old habits, and I have been trying so very hard these past five weeks to kick those habits and I thought I was succeeding, but I let my guard down for one week and I end up doing those exact same things all over again.

The lack of restraint has been showing in my weight, but it's not as bad as I originally thought. I have been bouncing like a kangaroo on a skippy ball all week (those with an imagination like mine, enjoy that image in your head), but I am still down 1.3 kilo from last week, currently weighing 104 kg, meaning I'm 8,5 kg down from my starting weight. My weight loss schedule has not been harmed. But I'm doing this to be happy and feel better about myself, so despite the apparent lack of impact on my weight, I'm really not happy with this situation.

The stupid thing is, I know where it comes from. I start a new job tomorrow. I'm unbelievably nervous. This is a job that I have no actual education or training in, that I only have amateur experience in, that I applied for based on the confidence others have in my ability to do this job. What if I fuck it up? I know that it's not a big deal should it happen, but I don't handle rejections and failure very well... (I am also a very bad loser at games. I once tore a pack of cards in two after losing a game of Mau Mau. This may be related...) Last week, and this week, I started receiving the necessary equipment and logins and passwords needed to do this job (I will be working from home) and there is now a phone staring at me from the corner of my eye, and software popping up and blinking with new messages. I am pretty damned nervous for tomorrow.

 So despite knowing the source of my discomfort and cause of my uncontrollable impulse to eat, I am having some real trouble stopping myself from eating... But I have come up with a new strategy. I am going to try and distract my mind with the Olympic Games and some crochet and see if this brings any good results next week. Hopefully I'll still have that chocolate bar, and a nice, sturdy crochet basket to keep it in!

23 July 2012

Post-workout musings

I don't know about you guys, but after a good workout, I am absolutely parched! That's probably why my favourite post-workout snack is this:

Grapes and ice cold water. Oh yes. Delicious, cold, juicy grapes... Oh how I love thee.

I had a tiresome workout today, and I'm not quite sure why. All I know is that I was absolutely spent after an hour and I still had some exercises and cardio left... I accidentally skipped my crunches (d'oh) because I completely forgot, and I only did 6 minutes worth of rowing, I think. Not an awful lot... Though I don't know for sure, since therapist Mark told me of the fishing game on the rowing machines and challenged me to break his record, so I'm more focused on playing the game than on how long one round of fishing actually is... It's so much fun, though. You are a medium-sized fish and you need to eat the tiny regular-sized fish and avoid getting eaten by the big fish because that costs you points, and you move your fishie up and down by rowing faster or slower. My record so far is 1470 points. The score to beat? 2120. I've got a lot of work to do still. He promised me a big bowl of blueberries though if I ever do, so I'm determined to beat his score. I'm a sucker for free fresh fruit...

I've been playing around with the cardio programming on the bikes and elliptical machine but it's throwing me off a bit. There's one called 'Extreme Heart Rate Interval' and holy mother of Bob is it Extreme. With a capitol E. It calculates your top heart rate (I think mine was at 163) and then builds up levels as you go to get you to that heart rate faster, and once you reach it, it makes you drop to a low rate by dropping levels again, in my case 123. But the problem was, I never got down to that lower rate! I was so frustrated, because I have a pretty high heart rate and it was pretty much impossible to get it down to that low rate! I tried again today and, following Mark's advice, also slowed down my pace and focused on my breathing to allow my heart rate to drop. And I did reach the lower level! It was a pain, though, to peddle at a speed that was waaaay slower than what I usually do. (I went from an average of 95 rpm to 80, it felt like I was standing still! (which I was, technically, since I was on a bike and a) it was a stationary bike, and b) I was sitting down.))
I've checked with previous recorded sessions on my heart rate monitor and the amount of calories burned was pretty much the same, so it did not have a negative impact, but still. It's weird to work out with doing way less than you're used to doing.

19 July 2012

Spicy garlic chickpeas

We were unbelievably uninspired at dinner time this week. It was almost painful to watch, I am sure, the way the BF and I were standing in the supermarket, staring at the coolers with meats and wandering back and forth between the veggies and the frozen pizzas... I'll be honest, I have not been feeling very well this week and to say that I wasn't exactly in the mood to do some actual cooking is an understatement.

So we settled. We had some pre-baked Egyptian pitas in our cupboard somewhere, and they're awesome with shoarma and garlic sauce, but that's not really a healthy option for me, so the BF took home the shoarma, and I made myself some spicy garlic chickpeas! It was an experiment, because I had read some recipes that sounded pretty great, but I did not follow one at all. They turned out so unbelievably delicious though, so I'm sharing the recipe.

Spicy garlic chickpeas

- 1 can of chickpeas, washed and drained (I used the 425 ml can from Bonduelle)

- 3 cloves of garlic / pre-minced garlic with olive oil
- olive oil (if you're not using the pre-minced stuff)
- 2 teaspoons of spicy curry powder
- rocket lettuce
- cherry tomatoes
- pita bread

For the garlic sauce

- 1/4 cup of Non-fat Greek yoghurt
- 1 clove of garlic
- pinch of salt and pepper

Wash and drain your chickpeas thoroughly. I don't know if this is typical for the brand, but mine always have this top layer of nice, loose chickpeas followed by a thick layer of squishy-looking peas in a jelly-like substance, which just looks grody. So rince thoroughly!
Finely mince your garlic cloves and add to a pan on medium heat with about half a tablespoon of olive oil, and let simmer for a minute or so. If you are using the pre-minced stuff (which I was using since the garlic in our supermarket looks like it's about to start talking), don't add any extra oil.
Add your curry powder and mix to combine with the garlic. Then add your chickpeas and stir to coat with the curry-garlic mixture. You can taste one to see if you need to adjust the spices. Keep to one or two though, if you're like me, your pan will be half-empty before it reaches the table...
 Keep the heat to medium/low and, stirring occasionally, cook your chickpeas for 8-10 minutes.
In the meantime, bake your pita bread, wash your lettuce and chop your tomatoes in quarters.

Then grab a bowl and make your garlic sauce:
Add the yoghurt to the bowl. Mince your clove of garlic, add the salt and pepper and stir to combine. Taste and adjust flavours to your liking. I love garlic, so I always add at least one more clove, but if you like subtle tastes, stick to one!

To assemble, slice open your pita like an envelope, grab a spoonful of garlic sauce and spread it around inside and up the sides of your pita. Then add a handful of rocket salad, a few quarters of tomato, and several spoonfuls of the chickpeas. Top with some more tomato and a few dollops of garlic sauce.

These make a delicious and easy dinner, and I can say from experience that it tastes even better the next day for lunch!


16 July 2012

4 weeks in: my first evaluation

Whew, those weeks have flown by! It's hard to believe that I am already 4 weeks into this whole.. thing.


Let's tackle that one first, shall we? I find myself opening up to people about this whole weight loss and health thing I've started more and more, and I like talking about all the stuff I learn (mostly from Pinterest), but the one thing I seem to have problems with, is actually giving the beast a name! What is it I am doing, exactly? Am I on a diet? Because really, it sounds like a bad thing to just call this a diet. Apart from that, calling it a diet also raises expectations and more questions about what kind of diet, whether there's a book they can buy, whether there's a program to follow, or a blog to read or video to watch. But I don't have any examples, since I'm doing this by myself and through my own program, my own recipes, my own 'handbook'. It's making talking about it difficult, because it is apparently hard for people to grasp the concept without resorting to asking me 'why'.

Talking about it like it's a diet also brings out the less than kind comments ("You don't need that! Are you nuts?!") and unwanted advice, and even though most of them are not meant as such, it makes me very insecure. I made this image in the first week, when I felt that the only one fit to reassure me that this was a good decision, was me.

So I'm not liking calling it a diet. It's far more than that, obviously, since I am also working on my health, on getting fit, on building up muscle instead of fat. But to call it a change in lifestyle also doesn't suit me. It sounds fine enough in English (albeit a bit fancy), but it sounds downright pretentious and, quite frankly, ridiculous when I call it that in Dutch. I'm still not certain what to call it. A change of habits, is what comes closest without raising eyebrows and questions. 

Anyway. This... change of habits. Four weeks in and boy am I feeling the changes! No, not really, to be honest. I think the biggest change I am actually 'feeling' is that my body seems to have become far more sensitive to sudden changes in daily diet, because, and I'll spare you the details, there have been some periods of.. less than regular toilet visits. I suspect it has something to do with this being the 'Summer' (I use this term lightly because we have had torrential showers and storms for weeks now) and, as a result, there have been several barbecues after which I felt less than stellar. As in, my stomach felt like it was out to kill me. Am I becoming more sensitive to badly cooked barbecued meat? (I hope not, that would mean I can't ever cook meat for dinner by myself again.)
Whatever it is that causes my stomach to get upset, it has put a few dents in my regular weight loss and it fluctuated heavily through the week, but it always ended up resolving itself after a few days and if I put my loss from week to week together in a graph, it's still a nice, fluent line!

That's right, you are seeing that correctly. That's a loss of 5.5 kg! I'm proud of me. Go, me! Yay! I made comparison pictures and I can see a bit of a difference, but I'm far too insecure still to show those on the blog... Sorry! You'll have to take my word for it.
People are beginning to notice some change in my appearance, friends that I hadn't seen for a long time who noticed immediately, or my brother's girlfriend. Since I don't see any difference, having them tell me they do (unsolicited, I must add) felt pretty good!

This weekend, I came to a realisation about my struggle with my weight and why it feels as though this whole lifestyle change is coming quite natural to me. It has been one year since I first went to the gym and I remember crying after I made the first appointment with a trainer for a training schedule. My first steps into that gym were tentative and slow, and I felt like it wasn't doing anything for me for the first months at least. But now that I look back on how this year has gone by, I can only say that I think it was all just ramping up to this decision I made a month ago. I think by the time I was ready to make that decision, I had built up quite a bit of mental strength along with the physical muscles. I am now in a position where I feel comfortable enough to ask my trainers for more exercises, exercises that target specific muscle groups or areas, or that help me with specific problems. I am aware of my shortcomings and know that I have miles yet to go, but I am feeling comfortable enough with the process. I think it's a bit of an understatement when I say that this realisation was quite liberating!

All in all, these first four weeks have been very interesting. In the next four weeks, I want to:
- Focus on expanding my healthy dinner options. I am doing excellent in the breakfast and lunch division, but my dinner-options are still quite lacking in variety. It's mostly chicken. And salad. Not that I'd have trouble with only eating chicken and salad, but there's a certain BF that would like some variation in his daily hot meals.
-Keep a better weightlog. I like making notes and the app I use to track my calorie intake does allow for comments, but I want to start keeping it in a notebook. I still have one I have barely used that's a lovely little size and perfect for the job, since that's not the only thing I want to keep track of...
- Start weekly measurements. I took measurements a few weeks ago, but I lost the piece of paper! I want to keep track of both weight and sizes since muscle and fat aren't interchangeable in size, after all. This would be far easier to do in something like a notebook or an excel sheet. But since I like jotting things down in notebooks... I'm going to make a weekly log of weight and measurements.
- Keep visual track of my progress. I have taken a few pictures, but I am so severely self-concious about my physical appearance that I won't post them online. However, I do want to keep taking those pictures so I can keep track of my progress in the easiest way I can: by looking at those pictures. I love the Tumblr Before and After Pictures of Weight Loss because it shows what those people were capable of. It's impressive! Whether they have lost 5 or 50 pounds, or even over 100, I love looking at those pictures and hope to one day have one of those pictures of my own progress.

This list may not contain an awful lot of changes compared to the last four weeks, but for now I simply intend to keep up the good work I have been doing so far.

Home Improvement, now with less painful comedy!

I'm sorry Tim Allen, but really, you were one of the most unfunny guys on tv in the Nineties. And I should know, I watched a hell of a lot of TV back then.

Anyway, home improvement time! I have several issues with our house that will need some serious addressing. Or have been in need of some serious addressing for some time already. I think it's time to put my shoulders under it and get some of that out of the way, and it's always fun to blog about this stuff, isn't it?

My biggest concern about my house is the lack of storage space in it. We have a small kitchen, with a small amount of available shelving space. There's odd corners and a weird layout that prevents us from getting more out of the space in the hallway. There were three built-in closets when we bought it, but we knocked the wall out between two of those to house our washer and dryer, leaving little space in closets to use for storage. There is still some spaces here and there that we could use for storage, but if I'm honest, I don't think I want to clog up what little space we have left with our stuff. We need to redo the storage spaces we have to provide us with the storage space we want. This is going to require some out-of-the-box thinking and tinkering, I expect, and I hope not too much in terms of expenses, but I am excited to get stuff going so we can make our house a better place to live in.

One of the spaces that has always bothered me, was the closet in our study. As you can see from the blurry picture below (sorry), it was a silly storage space. There was one shelf, to the top, and the rest of the closet was empty space. Not very efficient.

We had tried to build some shelving to the right of the door before for our printer and scanner and the toolbox, but they were not very accessible. The shelves were too close together for us to open the scanner on top of the printer easily, and there was no light, making actually seeing what you were doing a pain. The toolbox is a heavy beast, and heaving it in and out of the space was pretty tough.
The rest of the closet was occupied by an old server that the BF wanted to use for personal fidgeting, but the thing was enormous. The shelf you can see there, with the bottle and the Zyxel-box on top, is resting on top of the server. Just to give you an idea of its size. We had leftover crap like our old hoover, a yoga mat, my ironing board, and other bits and bobs hanging around there. This was actually taken after a thorough cleaning session, when I tossed out 6 plastic bags of crap and old shoeboxes and other nonsense. Within a week, there were backpacks, cardboard boxes and other nonsense stuffed inside on top of the piles you can now see here.

The plan was hatched to add shelving to this closet so we could make better use of the space, but it never really happened. You know how it goes. Then this Saturday, I went to an amusement park and came home to...

Surprise! Shelves!

The BF lured me into the study after I got home at midnight with an excuse ('there's something in the printer, could you get it for me?') and I think I was grinning from ear to ear when I found my new shelving. There's space in the bottom for a large crate where I can store soda bottles, empty or full, along with our old hoover and some cleaning supplies, three shelves where we've got space for crafting supplies, tools and toolboxes, and one that's still practically empty, and a new shelf where our printer now resides with enough space to open up the scanner without having to twist your neck to see if you're doing it right. There's space left to the right of the door between the wall and the shelves where my ironing board fits perfectly. I've got all sorts of plans to use this space even better, I'm going to move some stuff around and get some new boxes that fit between the shelves so I can move some more stuff around...

It's the beginning of something big, I tell you. Like the snowflake that started the avalanche.

10 July 2012

I am such a bad planner... Or: why I always pack an umbrella.

Last Sunday, I decided I wanted to go for a walk. I got up at 9 for the birds and my skin was giving me so much grief I couldn't go back to bed, so I got dressed, grabbed breakfast, grabbed my bag, left a note on the study door for the BF (who was still sound asleep), left the house... And went right back inside because I had failed to take notice of the torrential downpour of rain that was currently flushing our streets. I don't generally mind a bit of rain, but that was a bit much...

I tried again, after an hour, but it was raining even harder than before, and out of frustration, I got back into bed but couldn't sleep anymore anyway. I checked weather reports and radar images, but it seemed like my plan to get a bit of fresh air (and seeing as it was cold, some much-needed relief for my skin...) would have to be postponed. At 3 pm, it finally seemed dry enough to go out. I packed an umbrella, just in case, though.

There's quite a bit of green around where I live, and you can find little paths like these everywhere. You'd never guess that at the end of that path runs one of the main roads through our little city, or that not 50 metres to the left and right of me were residential areas.

I had hoped (and checked the radar before and that backed me up on this) that it would remain dry for the time being, but within 5 minutes of my departure I got gradually more drenched by a thin veil of rain that was already falling for a while before I truly took notice. By that time, though, the drops were getting bigger and bigger and I was glad I had packed an umbrella.

I happened upon some birds taking a bath in their roadside private pool, and a bit further, upon a family of swans on the (rather narrow) path that scared the crap out of me but thankfully they quickly moved into the water and left the road to me. I think swans are terrifying.. But that might have to do with me being attacked by one when I was young.

I followed a road I had never walked on before and it took me out to the back of the hockey fields and along a little track with football fields on the one, and a little fenced-off pasture on the other, until I crossed a bridge and ended up on a freshly paved road. There was a little overgrown lock to the side of the bridge and I don't know why, but it looked so pretty!

Onwards I went, following the path, since there was only one way for me to go besides back. (and there were still swans there, so onwards I went!) At one point I was sure I was lost, but since there was only straight on for me to go... I walked. And suddenly, I remembered exactly where I was and recognised a road I travel on at least once a week.

As I was nearing the end of the path and closer to crossing the road into a residential area again, the sun even came out for a bit and I even spotted some wildlife. Do you see him? Hiding to the right behind the overgrown lock? Yup, a stork. Fishing for little froggies.

I was glad to have gone out for a bit after all. I was only gone for about an hour, but it was very refreshing (literally, thanks to the rain) and relaxing to just get some fresh air and to clear my head. Supposedly, there are more of these tracks around the sports fields, so I think I need to head out and find some more soon!

9 July 2012

Silly workouts

If you have spent any time on the fitness board of Pinterest, you will no doubt have come across some weird-looking, unusual-sounding pins about health and fitness. I know I have. So for your entertainment, I decided to slap some together in a post and discuss the topic 'silly workouts' with you!

- Lazy Girl Fitness. Now, let's start by saying that this is obviously awesome. Workout while you do laundry, brush your teeth, wait for the microwave to ding, are cooking, or reading a book. But let's be honest too: It looks sort of silly to do lunges with a toothbrush in your mouth. Plus, I'd be mortified to fall down and accidentally swallow the toothbrush. Or, ew, a mouthful of foam. (Gross. Really. Ew.)

- Water workouts. Yay, summer! Yay, swimming weather! Yay, working out while swimming... In a pool filled to the brim with squirming, annoying kids, where there's hardly any room to hang from the side of the pool without getting kicked in the face, jumped on, pushed under water or bumped into. Because, by a show of hands, who among us has his or her own private swimming pool that they can jump into and do these exercises in private without all the above fears, plus the fear of looking like a tool? Not me, that's for sure.

- Ballet workouts. What's with the sudden fascination with ballet?! I did not see all these pins a few weeks ago and now, *POOF*, ballet workouts all over the place. Why?! Now, don't get me wrong, I know how much work goes into practicing ballet and what it can do for your body. I have never been a dancer, but have known several over the years and had a long conversation while on a school trip to a theatre with one of the dancers there about her daily routines, and GODDAMN that sounded like a lot of work. But let's be honest here.We all know what will happen thanks to these workout routines, and that's people with no stretch in their legs, or no ballet history at all, pliĆ©-ing all day long. I'm sorry, but the image in my head... Combined with the image below.. Is making me think that this is one of those exercise routines that should be done indoors, with the curtains closed, in a dark room. 

(Ballet workouts, image by Raymond Hom. Pinned here.)

That's about enough from me, now it's your turn. So share! What wonderfully ridiculous workouts have you found through the miracles of Pinterest?

6 July 2012

Life: an update

Whew, it's July already?!

I am truly sorry, bloggy friends, for the lack of posts on this blog. I have been busy with all sorts of stuff and it kind of drained my blogging inspiration...

- I organised my secondary school reunion. It was great fun! So nice to see everyone again, and it was fun to see that some relationships sort of picked up right where they were left 7 years ago. It had a good 'like old times'-vibe to it. I loved hearing what everyone was up to, completely forgot to actually eat, and was dead tired by the time I got home (at 00:30, so it wasn't that late...) I ended up with a lot of food left over so I donated it to my parents as a thanks for borrowing their car, camping fridge, party tent, tarps, and my dad himself because he helped me get everything set up, and we had a leftovers-bbq the following weekend at my parents! My dad has been working on a new woodwork project: an outdoor kitchen. It is looking stellar, even though it's not entirely finished yet, and he bought himself a shiney new Weber barbecue to go with it! He's planning on tearing down the old shed in the back garden and replacing it with a sort of porch to house the outdoor kitchen. Can't wait, I foresee many barbecues there in our near future!

- I broke my phone during the reunion. I was opening a door for my sister (she was coming over to take the pictures so I didn't have to do it), and one second it was in my hand, the next it was on the floor, a hideous crack running from the lower right to the top left corner... I may or may not have sworn quite loudly. Okay, it was so loud it echoed between the apartment buildings across the street. I'm not even exaggerating. I'm getting it fixed, which is a hassle, and expensive too, and I miss it so! My precious... My... preci. Eh. Sorry.

- We're teaching the birds a new trick and it's working great! We are teaching them to listen to certain words, starting with 'step up!' when they need to hop onto our arm or hand. We do this by holding our arm a ways away from their perch, holding another bit of food in our other hand, and tell them to 'step up!'. They hop on, get a few bites of food, we take the food away and let them step off our arms onto the perch, and then repeat the process. It's entertaining.
We've also let them fly loose more often in the entire living room, but they mostly fly to the one brick wall in the house and start nibbling on the bricks. I think they're enjoying it more than before, though, since they seem much more relaxed.

- I have been working like a monster on my new dieting plan, and it's going okay. I got a heart rating monitor and I'm pretty excited to use this starting Monday, since I want to do more cardio training programmes, I've added more exercises to my schedule to ensure that I leave no muscle group out of my training, and the physical therapist is making me do calf raises (which hurt like a dog, by the way) to strengthen and stretch the muscles. I would love to keep better track of my calories, but I used to do this on my phone and, well, since I don't have it back yet... I'm telling you, I am lost without it!
The whole dieting plan is taking up a lot of time, though, so much, in fact, that I have done absolutely zero creative things. I keep looking over at the cubbies full of yarn in my living room, and keep wanting to start something, do something... But I don't know what and why. Depressing.

- Plus, it appears that summer has finally begun over here! In fact, I am sweating out of my jeans right now. Not exactly comfortable, I can tell you that. The temperature in my house is absolutely ridiculous when it gets slightly summer-y outside, so I'm living in a bloody sauna right now. It's also caused my eczema to flair up, making me hate the heat even more.

- I applied for a job! A parttime job as a junior programmer at the company the BF works. Imma be a certified nerd, y'all! It'll be for about 8 hours a week (at first), leaving me the rest of the week to run  my translation business. It'll be a programming job, not something I'm used to, and the learning curve will be steep, but it'll be a job that will require a lot of thinking and I quite look forward to it.

So that's pretty much it, I think. Now you're basically up to speed with why I haven't been blogging!

5 July 2012

Upping my game

I seem to have hit a plateau. It's not a solid, sturdy plateau, since I see my weight bounce up and down a bit (I am still weighing every day and really should not do that...) but it's making me a bit annoyed. According to the BF, it's because I am now building up MAD MUSCLES YO, meaning that my weight might go down slower now that my body is adjusting to more muscle tissue. If so, this is of course a good thing. We'll have to wait and see. I have been taking down measurements this weekend and will compare next weekend to see if there is any difference.

Even though my mother (who I have casually informed of my change in diet and subsequent weight loss, as she came with me to the gym yesterday and I had to discuss it with people there) thinks she can see some difference in my tummy, I am not really noticing any difference in my overall appearance yet, though I have noticed a slight difference in a certain area. My boobs are not their bountiful self! In fact, if I have a couch-potato day (hey, we all have those every now and then, right?) they feel particularly tea-baggish at the end of the day. So yesterday I asked for some more exercises that target the chest muscles, to help them perk up a bit more while I lose weight.

That was yesterday morning. I am now really, really sore... Making me realise that I had little to no real exercises that target that area! It's a good thing I asked.

While the trainer was explaining my two new exercises, I asked him about planking since pins like these have been making the rounds on the fitness-boards recently and I was curious. According to various pinners, this exercise could also do wonders for your chest, but my trainer informed me that, while this exercise will engage a lot of different muscle groups, it is mainly meant to strengthen your core, and is not a good exercise if you want to build up overall muscle. He even told me that, with my training schedule and the 3 workouts a week I have planned, there was no real need to include workouts at home on the off-days. It was an interesting conversation, to say the least, because it was contradicting to a lot of things I had thought I learned over the past few weeks. I might keep up the sit-ups and exercises at off-days, though. It feels good to do them.

Another interesting conversation I had yesterday, was with my physical therapist. While I was doing calf raises to stretch my deeper calf muscles, the source of my injury, he was explaining about nutrients and how common knowledge about them was severely outdated. We have a saying in Holland (originating from a commercial from somewhere in the Nineties): 'Two ounces of veggies, 2 pieces of fruit, they'll keep you fit for a long time!' (that's a very liberal translation, by the way, of "Twee ons groenten, en twee keer fruit, dan hou je het een heel stuk langer uit!") However, the decline in nutrients in fruit and vegetables over the past years makes it so, that you'd need a hell of a lot more than two ounces of veggies and 2 pieces of fruit a day to reach the recommended daily intake of nutrients that are most common in fruit and vegetables. He thinks that it would be in anyone's interest to include multivitamins in their daily diet. Once again, interesting perspective on what I always thought to be common knowledge!

He also explained another up-side to my change in eating habits and diet that I hadn't actively noticed: due to the taut muscles in my calves, I got a lot of midnight cramps in my legs, at least as often as once a month. However, when I switched to a different diet and included a lot more nuts and fruit into my daily intake, I started to take in certain nutrients that counter this effect! I haven't had any crampy legs these past three weeks. (Though I must add, not thanks to midnight cramps. Those calf raises yesterday were killing, and my legs were so painful that it took a lot of effort last night to find a pose in bed to sleep comfortably.)

To make a long story short, I am still on the right track. With the help of proper exercises and therapy, I might just be able to make my goal of losing those 30 kg before the end of the year, but not only that, it'll also help me with other issues I did not even realise were caused by my bad health and habits! And that idea is making me pretty excited to see what the future will bring.