Monday, May 31, 2010

the afterglow...

How great would it be if we could capture the afterglow of exercise - that time when everything feels great and we feel totally "on" from a good old sweaty workout - and bottle it and use as required when our attitude to exercise is lackluster. We have had some really rough weather this (3-day, yay!) weekend so Mr C and I have had to resort to the gym - I'm not sure if its a result of being cooped up during the day but afterwards we've both commented on how good we've been feeling. 

Today, after a fairly intense trip to ikea that only lasted 20minutes because the place was completely overrun with children and women in "the family way" - Mr C and I were sure we would be beaten to death by wee blighters with some appropriately swedish sounding utensil while their mothers screamed at them to Hurry Up, Put that Down and Ask your Father - I was in a bit of a mood - I had blamed the funk on being super gassy (we had chilli beans for dinner last night which are super delicious and worth the gassy aftermath) but who really knows why, what I can say though is that it had nothing to do with being hormonal because I am indeed superwoman and those monstrous fluctuations in mind and mood altering chemicals do nothing to impact me :)

Anyway, the exercise promptly ironed those wrinkles right out of my psyche or chemical imbalance or whatever it was that was putting me in said mood. Not only was my mood improved but I just felt so good. I was in the shower afterwards (with the beneficial use of Dr Bronner's peppermint body wash) thinking that if only I could keep some kind of grasp on that feeling after exercise I would do much more of it. 

But my grip is tenuous and I know, before long, it will slip and tomorrow I will have to conjure up some serious self-talk to get back to it. You never know though, exercise might not hold this mystical power if we always looked forward to it.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

are you there jillian? its me rachel...

I started exercising with some seriousness and regularity only a few months ago. Or maybe I should say re-started, some minor explanation...

I've long been an exercise bike lover and shed some serious poundage sitting on my glorious bike watching any variety of tv show that would hold my attention enough to take my mind of the constant circular motion of my legs. At first I got the exercise bike because I thought I could reliably want to watch at least one tv show each day and I had a rule that I would exercise for the first show of each day. It worked really well for me, even when I didn't get in until late I would watch a show and de-stress, add some exercise to that and the de-stress effectiveness increased exponentially, plus the bonus of fitness and weightloss.

Last year lots of things changed for me and I let exercise take a back seat; actually imagine we're in a bus and I'm the glamourous host presenting your tour of day, telling you the most interesting things about your surrounds and pulling off a combination of intriguing factual info, witty humour (with nary an ounce of cockiness) and impromptu story telling, all while holding your attention with ease and aplomb and not sounding like I've told all these stories and used all these lines at least three times already today - where was I? how is me being a tour bus host relevant (which I'm not by the way)? - Ok, so last year, we're on on the bus, I'm up front doing my thang, Mr Fun, Mrs Excitement, Dr Travel, Monsieur Romance (oh la la) and Study Jr are up front, Master Diet is somewhere in the middle, along with little Miss Getting-8-hours-sleep-a-night, Professor Writing-letters-to-those-I-love and Count Keeping-up-with-current-news, Exercise is sitting on the back row (without a title) where the speakers crackle and people look at each other hoping the important information will be conveyed and recognised by judging everyone else's reaction to what's being said. Exercise and I got disconnected.

The only exercise I did get in was several hikes with Mr C and the occasional 27min session with my trainer, Jillian. 30 day shreds are great because they can be really tough and you kinda feel invincible after surviving some time with Jillian, if it is not obvious, she is Serious Hard Core :)

This year when Mr C and I got serious with making healthy changes we started walking because we love to walk together and chat about the day - the walk involves the 40min trek to his work, him in the morning and me in the evening, and our 40min trek back home again together - I listen to my ipod on the solo-segment. I have a problem listening to music on my ipod in public; I always want to sing along. And I know I shouldn't care about what people think of me but I'm really quite sane and don't know many people here, so becoming The Singing Walking Lady is just not for me right now. 

So, destiny stepped in as I rediscovered weight loss blogland and I found the fabulous Two Fit Chicks podcasts to listen to during the walks. I was quite far behind with the podcasts and had about 10 or 11 to catch up on to begin with. I found listening to them was informative and enjoyable and not only did they motivate me but I felt like I'd been through a good session of therapy after listening to them. It was a match made in pod-blog-heaven. 

And. Then. I. Ran. Out. I was beside myself, Mr C and I discussed whether we could afford to pay Shauna and Carla to make me a podcast a day. But, low and behold, the answer was right there all along in the Fit Chicks' podcasts - one of the reasons they started making the podcast in the first place - the end of Jillian's radio show on Sunday morning. I had listened to zero of these shows and found them on itunes and downloaded a bucketload of them and have been overjoyed with them - seriously, the throes of emotions podcasts can put a girl through!

So Jillian comes on my walks now, we have become very close and she has taught me alot about calorie intake, interval training, "mixing it up" and I have come to adore her, even when she rants and says things that I would normally dismiss, if Jillian says it, I will listen with patience. I do her shred workouts too - I love her little sayings and how she praises me through the tv, who knew when she made the dvds that she could see how well you do and give you feedback :) She is one busy lady and I love that she has found her passion in life - she is changing people's lives and is certainly present while I change mine.

Its always a surprise when I see her on tv now - especially training other people - I can't deny the green eyed monster rears up a little. I've gotta learn to share her around, she has enough ass-whiping for all of us :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Why the blog name Rachel? Well, I have the biggest butt many people have ever seen, bless its heart...uhhm, er...cheek? I'm trying the whole "see everything in a positive light" mental project and one of the good things about having said butt is that it provides a soft place to land where ever I may fall - and I do fall, I'm clumsy and a bit un-co, so I'm certainly grateful for a bit of bounce when I take a stack. So you see, landsoftly, is a tribute to the butt, clever you say? Aye that it is, but thats the way the butt wanted it so lets direct all the applause to the blog's deserving namesake.

A little more about my butt you ask? Sure...My unique combination of mismatched hip and waist sizes means there is nothing else for this part of connecting body to be than this marvelous big butt. It really does the best job you could ask of a butt to connect a top and bottom half that you would never think to pair together. At times in the past I have referred to it as a shelf - if I didn't sit down occasionally it's depth is suffice to provide the perfect place to arrange a display of family photographs, and, to be fair, even then it still sticks out enough to hold the odd nicknack. I did contemplate calling the blog The Shelf but that name doesn't sound quite so well loved. 

The big butt has been getting some new digs lately, some new jeans, some cargos (whatever will the butt and I do with all those pockets? we have been thinking we should take up orienteering just to do the pants justice and fill the pockets with compasses, maps and all kinds of outdoor frivolity) and some tremendously chic black pants. In fact, the black pants were quite the nsv and prompted me to let the Two Fit Chicks about them. It was letting those amazing idols of mine know about it (and Carla's completely gorgeous reply) that got me thinking more seriously about beginning this here blog.

The butt can be quite opinionated - it has an absolute distain of skimpy knickers and a love of proper undies, thunderpants are by far its favourite - they may look like nanna's britches or, for those who remember the days of Kylie Mole, the epitamy of bogan undies - but in the butt's opinion the most comfy undies ever. And, you know, I think it knows what its talking about. They come all the way from the N of Z and they're not budget buys but what this butt wants it tends to get :)

So on the one hand I have a big butt, there is no camouflaging it with appropriately long tops or drawing attention elsewhere; this I've tried and it seems that highlighting something else only makes the butt show off even more and take the limelight right back. But on the other hand I have a big butt that provides portable cushioning and, should I ever need to display a line of goods to the people behind me, a perfectly good shelf :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

a muffin broke my heart...

So this morning I felt a familiar pang of desire for morning tea, a coffee and a muffin was the essence of the pang's focus. I've given this particular habit the boot for a while now, bad habits die hard and this is one that regularly rears its ugly head and I usually have no problem batting it away or at least distracting it long enough for lunch time to emerge. Chocolate is another story altogether but lets stick with what I can do rather than what I can't. 

And this, my friends, has been no easy feat - I fondly recall mornings of drifting through the isles of the cafe with the heady wafts of freshly baked croissants for company to select the most perfect patisserie to pair with my latte while the baker placed a baguette in the oven so that it would be just right for lunch time...ahhh, those were the days...ok they were just coffee scrolls or donuts (with pink icing and sprinkles no less) and while I am a supreme coffee snob I would sometimes succumb to the allure of a farmer's union iced coffee (I am a south aussie after all). But this morning ritual was something the bff and I did for many a long while - there are few things we like more than chatting and pairing liquids and solids, be it coffee and cake, bellinis and eggs, alicante and, well, anything :) We were both miserable sods dragging our feet through postgraduate study and these moments in the morning became our salvation and were the beginning of the bff-ship. After we no longer worked together this ritual had a whole big beautiful life of its own and seemed to be so engrained that not completing it everyday might leave me distraught, rocking in a corner murmuring to myself.

So, back to today, I get the urge and decide that if I can find The Right Thing the ritual will be undertaken and completed. I head to my local QFC, which has a huge range of healthy, not-so-healthy and just plain dangerous baked goods. I circled the department eyeing off this, that and the other, knowing without looking further that the donuts and cinnabons-knock-offs would not fill the bill. The local baker-shelf-fillers noticed me wandering and urge me to move on and not hover around their precarious display of bagels longer than they'd like. I was undetered though, I would find The Right Thing or there would be no morning tea. And then I saw them...Almond and Poppyseed muffins, they even pass the nutritional content scrutiny which frankly, in and of itself makes these muffins pretty darn miraculous. The calorie content sealed the deal - a smallish muffin was 270calories, totally doable. 

The four pack come home with me, we made a cup of tea to make the perfect pair and oh my, we made a happy little trio. Seriously, almond and poppyseed are a match made in the muffin world. So much so, that I figured I truly enjoyed the muffin so much that another would complete the union. And while 2*270calories is not great for mid morning treat it is something that is rare for me and I wasn't looking to repeat it everyday. So I had it and I loved it - my belly was telling me it loved almond and poppyseed too and the urge was completely placated and reset for many-a-day of resisting such urges.

About two hours later I was in the kitchen and decided to put the remaining muffins in the freezer - Mr C might like them at some point or they might be just the thing for The DragonLady* when she visits. Like with everything I freeze I like to write the calorie content on the freezy bag - and did so for the muffins - I was just double checking before I wrote it down and you know where this is heading don't you...the calorie content was per serving size and the serving size? half a muffin. My little sojourn down morning-ritual-memory-lane cost me twice as much as I had thought. Bugger....

*The DragonLady is my Mum - it is a name she gave herself a long long time ago when she first met Mr C - she doesn't usually do the name justice, but the potential is there and its a sign of respect that we continue to use this truly foreboding name :) Oh, and she is coming to visit us in July/August and she is a lady with a taste for cake :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

if only...

I get that weight loss is a result of a simple calculation between calories used and consumed but I often think there should be a few extra rules such as, workouts on saturday nights should burn double the calories, and birthday cake should have zero calories, oh and when you make really good choices at a restaurant where everyone else is having fries and burgers you get a bonus on the scale the next day, and when you sensibly portion out delicious haighs chocolates their calories shouldn't count at all, oh oh, here's a good one, when you're celebrating something really big, like a graduation or something you can have whatever you want....

Hang on, isn't this how people get into to trouble to begin with? Using food as a celebration, overcompensating for exercise and generally grabbing hold of any old reason to justify letting go of control of what you're eating. The rules to weight loss are tough but they're pretty simple really and there isn't any getting around them, ah well...


Thursday, May 20, 2010

mushrooms...meat for vegetarians...

Just had a delish meal of stuffed mushrooms. The meal was a left over from the meal plan of when our visitors were here (they are vegetarian so I resisted the urge to just serve frittata the whole time and this was a meal we didn't get around to having).

I used big portello mushrooms and stuffed them with a mix of ricotta, parmesan, diced sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives and parsley. Actually, "stuffed" might be an exageration; I just cut the stems off, placed them top down in a tray and put a big dollop of the ricotta mix on top. Dolloped Mushrooms might be a better title. We had them with a tomato, cucumber, basil and capsicum salad dressed in a dash of hazelnut oil, balsamic and lemon juice and a good pinch of salt and pepper. We followed it up with tiny bowls of cherries (purchased for the drool worthy skinny latte cherry bomb smoothie which I made with almond milk and was divine) topped with coconut and a little chocolate pudding. 

The good meal followed a great work out and now, combined with a peaceful house, I'm feeling pretty content. I'm just cooking up some oats to have ready in the fridge for breakfast. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

a little difference can go a long way

We've had visitors over the past week and its always dangerous when you've got people in "holiday mode" around. I tried to make as few differences to my diet as I could without being a control freak and I feel really good about how it went.

I pretty much always have a meal plan for the next week or so, so I just made sure the things on it while our visitors were here were a little more indulgent or unusual. When we went out, I managed to choose pretty good options. And, big step here people, I told them that I was watching what I was eating and they were great about it. 

There was a little more "discussion" about food and my shrinking booty than I usually feel comfortable with but it was worth it for the scale-victory (0.5kg down since last post) and the non-scale-victories :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

the bff

So I told my dearest friend about my blog - I call her the bff in jest (because we are far too mature for that kind of term :) ) but she is in every sense of the term that to me. It was a big deal because I have been running around quite ashamed of this body and the extra poundage it carries. I know its dumb, but its one of those things where you think if you don't mention it no-one will notice. Like no-one will notice the double chin if you have long hair, and no-one will notice the flabby arms if you wear long sleeves - these illusions we create just to deal with what we're ashamed of.

I half thought about keeping my blog a secret from everyone, convincing myself it was a place "just for me" and not for other people in my everyday life to know about. But, I know the real reason is shame and I'm determined to work on that just as much as I work on my diet and my booty. Mr C runs around telling everyone that he's on this weight loss health kick and I cringe into the corner thinking "don't point out that we're overweight you ninny". 

But you know, people are always so supportive when he tells them, not judgmental at all, no-one has ever said "well how the hell did you get to the point of needing to lose weight". Well, I am making a change and trying to look at this body as one on its way to healthy-ness rather than one with extra baggage. Its what I do now that matters, not what I've done to get here. 

I tell the bff basically everything in my life, but I didn't tell her how much my weight was an issue for me, how extremely overweight I was and how far I still have to go. She knows I've been getting more serious about weight loss and getting fit because, as I said I tell her everything, when I tell her I've been on a hike or cooking this, that or the other its pretty clear. And, bless her to bits, she notices when I lose a gram and showers me with compliments.

I'm not about to put my blog on the front cover of my local newspaper, baby steps here people, but I'm owning up to whats going on and letting the most important people in my life know about it. And, of course, she responded exactly as I knew she would, full of praise, love and said she only wants me happy and healthy - so here's to happy and healthy.

mix it up

I had a feeling I overdid it last week, which was partly sparked by the unchanging scale. I had that heavy leg feeling and pretty much everything hurt, the usual pep in my step was more like a pip. So I've been taking it easier the past 4-5days. I have skipped my dvd workout (its usually Jillian's 30day shred) but kept up with weights and walking and just concentrated on making these really good, positive workouts. 

Plus I switched up my meals a little, added in oatmeal (ala overnight oats) for variation in the mornings and some creative ways of getting more vegies at lunch and dinner. 

Anyway, it seemed to do the trick, the scale shifted; weigh-in was down 1kg. Yay! 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

frustration circles...

I've been having one of those months where my scale is just not telling me what I deserve to hear. Its rough when you rely on the scale to reflect the effort you know you're putting in and I have to admit I had a tantrum about it and even some tears. I do know there are better ways to gauge short term weight loss than the scale every day - Mr C assures me I am trimmer and I swear my clothes are looser by the day. But, darn it, I want to see the kilos dwindling. I'm channelling every word of wisdom I've ever read on other blogs about not focussing on the numbers quite so much.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

guest letter no. 1

Dear Mother Nature,

I had to write to you about the host body you paired me with and all the things she is doing to me. She has long talked about wanting to do something about me - she has droned on and on about how wobbly I am, how I have something called cellulite and how I am supposedly "stubborn". She has even had the gall to call me "saddlebags", I know! the horror of it! If I was going to be a bag at all it would be a lovely one carried on the shoulder or perhaps all ladylike-like in the crook of one's elbow, but most certainly not on a saddle.

Seriously, does she not know how important I am? I am serving a really good function (I am aren't I?) and give her a shape that is feminine and perfect for narrow waisted dresses. She doesn't see how she makes the perfect pear and that is exactly what she's meant to be.

But dear Mother Nature, I never thought her words would lead somewhere - she is exercising and toning and doing all kinds of things I can't even describe! She goes walking all the time, and I'm not talking about dainty constitutionals, she is relentless and even when I ache she won't stop. And, I feel a little worried about where this might lead, oh my'oh'my, but I like it! I love it fact! I am getting smaller mind you, but that hasn't changed my resolve to be shapely and give her a soft landing where ever she may fall.

You and I are well aware that she doesn't need me, that the old adage about "energy storage" in the event of starvation doesn't really apply anymore and my kind aren't thought of as highly as we once were. I know though that you paired us together for life and you have your reasons for that. I just wanted to keep you aware of the changes. I am still committed to this woman and, besides, I think being smaller and more toned suits me. 

Yours faithfully,
Rachel's thighs

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

the basics about me

Who am I?
I'm Rachel, an Aussie living in Seattle with my husband, Mr C, who is beyond supportive of this entire embark. I'm currently having a year out of my usual job and thought this was a perfect time to get serious about being healthy.

What am I doing?
I'm trying to be healthy, not change my life or be something I'm not. I'm actually really happy with the person I am - I have achieved some really great goals in my life and have it filled with wonderful people. But I have always been overweight and I feel its time to take responsibility for my health, inside and out.

So I'm working on eating healthy and getting this body to do what it was meant for. I'm lucky enough that Mr C is doing this all with me. We both have limits on our calorie intake and I log everything I eat in a small notepad I have in the kitchen. What we eat seems to be evolving as time goes by to incorporate more health-ful foods and less of those foods that are really just a lower calorie substitute for the foods we were used to eating; I can't tell you how different a day's worth of food looks now compared to just 12months ago.

Mr C and I walk pretty much every day - about 5-6kms on week days around our neighbourhood and then one walk on the weekend somewhere in the great outdoors, usually for a couple of hours. We do basic weights twice a week. I also do a dvd workout twice a week.

Why the blog?
I have been a lurker of several blogs for a long long time. Without even knowing it, these inspiring people (skinnylatte, dietgirl, misfit, laura is motivated to name a few) have got me re-motivated when the scales haven't been echoing my efforts, they have helped me create amazing healthy meals, have prompted me to find an exercise that works for me, have given me the courage to start weights training, have taught me it can be done and have reminded me I am not alone in this.

I am not a writer but I am finding this journey amazing and even if this blog only serves my own indulgence then I'd like to try to capture some of the moments I experience along the way.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

the beginning...

So here I am, finally doing the blog I have talked about for a while now.
I am just a geeky girl at heart and it came naturally to write up the plan and the results thus far as follows...its pretty bland information, and thus the bland presentation is justified. However, I do have moments of creativity and I'll try to add those into my blog as I go.

To be healthy, including
  • achieve a healthy weight (forthwith refered to as X)
  • increase fitness
  • improve sleep quality
  • improve skin condition
  • improve digestion
Limit calorie intake, aiming between 1400-1800 calories daily, recording daily food
Exercise 6/7 days

Subject: Me
Age: 34
Measurement preference: metric, baby
1st Beginning weight (Jan 2005): X + 50
2nd Beginning weight (August 2009): X + 33
Current weight (May 2010): X + 23

Keep on going, this is just the beginning...