Monday, April 9, 2012

Does my bum look big in this clutter?

I owe the wisdom of this post to my beautiful Ange, who only has to open her mouth briefly to spout forth unexpected and perfectly timed words of wisdom and nourishment (I love you, Goddess!). So, last week's week of nourishment turned into a week superbly hijacked by Fatty McFatty, who I am going to call my 'inner fat demon' (yes, student husband dear, those demons are indeed pesky :P).

The week started well, I got up early every morning to go to yoga. Trust me I was surprised too, if you know me well you know that I 'don't do mornings'. Even my boss knows not to plan 9 am meetings where I need to be 'en forme'. In fact my last boss, when I told her I wanted to start taking advantage of rostered days off by coming in an hour early every day, actually laughed at me. Anyhoo, you know I was having a tough week last week. I'd had terrible days where I was eating way too much, an old bad habit that I've used as a coping mechanism for way too long. After adding in the early morning yoga, which seemed to kick-start my metabolism and have me hungry all day, I was pretty much on the 'seefood diet' last week, you know, where you see food and eat it? This was very poorly timed with the disproportionate amount of baking and social functions that went on in our office last week and let's just say that my inner fat demon was very happy. To the point where there was no way I was going to weigh myself.

I was stressed out all week and couldn't stop eating and just kept focusing on the Easter break as the time when I would get my head straight and get back into control again. Seriously, I was so bad during the week that both my Mum and my brother told me I was just using stress as an excuse to eat (shock, horror!), to which I replied, 'but I can't stop. If I could I would but I can't.' It all culminated by the end of the week with me actually having a cry out the front of work on the phone to my brother (for some reason I always cry when I talk to him), and a big outpouring of all the emotion I'd obviously been hanging on to for the last couple of weeks. Luckily for me, he will be here in 4 more sleeps to hug me (no doubt I will cry, ha ha!).

Anyhoo, I realised today that my bum was indeed looking big in my clutter. Ange was telling me about a book ages ago, with a similar title, about decluttering and the effect of clutter on your health, weight, etc... I totally got it at the time and thought the whole concept was fabulous (the premise being that if you declutter your house and pantry and life in general, you will eat less junk). I didn't do this intentionally but I realised that this occurred simultaneously to me sorting my shit out this weekend (sorry for swearing, Daddy).

This weekend I got on top of a whole pile of things that I'd had floating around in my head due to my hectic past few weeks. I cleaned my house, I have been working non-stop all Easter on my study and I have got my schedule clear in my diary of what I need to do when for uni. It ain't pretty, but now I know what I'm up for. And I think that was the whole problem. Not having it clear in my head what I needed to do. My bum was looking big in the clutter of my head. It was so messed up in there that I was eating to cope with it. Good Friday I started to study and I still ate more than I planned to but it was drastically better than during the week. Saturday I started back on Cohen's and went out and got a HUGE task done that had been hanging over me for at least a month, and Saturday arvo and all day Sunday I studied. This morning I got my schedule straight and that's when a sense of relief hit me. I am officially decluttered. Hilariously, my clean house keeps getting messy again each day (I've been doing too much washing) but I've been making myself tidy each night. It's like I've been wrestling with it all weekend. Hopefully by the time my beautiful Jacquie arrives for a visit (from Canada!) on Wednesday it will be finished. But funnily enough, I've stuck to my Cohen's diet for (almost) 3 days, and my house was the cleanest it had ever been when I did Cohen's last year.

So my enormous lesson out of all this is not to let my head get so cluttered ever again. Because yes, my butt does look big in this clutter.

Happy Easter everyone!

M. x

P.S - I ate all my sugar-free Easter chocolates (spread over the week, not all at once - no thanks to Fatty McFatty) without taking a photo of them (wtf??? I was clearly in a strange place not to take a photo at least), so I'll post the recipe next time I make them again.

P.P.S - My stress doesn't seem to have affected Bella, who I busted taking an afternoon snooze on my computer chair this arvo. And yes, that's a jumper she is wearing. It's cold here and she had a haircut last week, so she is all bald and funny. :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A week of nourishment...

"Life is most froth and bubble, but two things stand like a stone; kindness in another's trouble and courage in your own."

Princess Diana said that. My Nana used to love Princess Diana. My Nana was a smart lady!!!

I thought it was a perfect quote for this week because I have been in struggletown for a few weeks now. And it's going to take a whole lot of courage to keep myself from ending up in a heap on the floor. Work has been crazy with the culmination of almost a years worth of work coming to fruition last week. We're not quite 'there yet' and I expect the madness to last another month, but work has stepped up about 50 notches in the past few weeks.

Then there is study. Did I tell you I am going back to uni?? *insert gun to head picture here* ... Well, I am. Despite already having done honours (and a PhD) before, I have done an about-face and decided to go back and study honours in Psychology. Which means I have to write another thesis. *insert another gun to head picture here* ...

I had a reality check during the week (ie. an almost-mental breakdown) when it struck me the sheer volume of work I am going to have to do this year. I mean I already knew, I had called my last honours year, 'my year of hell' for several years. Jacquie - I'm sure you'll back me up there! Boy was it tough. And yet something made me think I could attempt it again, whilst working full time at the same time. *INSERT HUMONGOUS FREAKING GUN TO HEAD PICTURE HERE*

Anyhoo. I had a crisis. I kicked. I screamed. Then I called my Mum. In true Mummy fashion, she had me sorted out in no time. The truth is, I'd be silly not to do this. I've always wanted to be a psychologist and I've somehow managed to scam my way into honours when (a) I practically failed my degree (hmmm... this sounds like last time!!) and (b) my degree is now 11 years old and technically you only have 10 years in which to continue on before having to repeat it! Not to mention the fact that nobody else would even let me in to do the course because of my terrible marks and they are letting me do it for around $6,000 - everywhere else I'd have to do the $14-$15,000 Graduate Diploma version. So, I've had to suck it up and get on with it. But it's been hard.

I've buried my head in the sand a bit. I just can't talk to people about my problems when I am experiencing them. It's like I am being drained by the problems already and I can't afford to divert any more energy into them by talking or writing about them. Except to my Mum, who seems to not fit into the conventional pile, and who I ring almost every day for a bit of nourishment. (Poor Mum - although I think even she got a few days off last week). I've had a pile of emails I haven't answered and a whole pile of friends I've been neglecting. I found an email that my student husband wrote to me that I hadn't responded to for about 2 weeks, a beautiful email from my Aunt that I hadn't answered and texts from my bestie saying, 'are you ok???? I haven't heard from you all week!!!' Then there is the lovely Mrs Majstorovic that I've been meaning to call for about a month. Sigh. And she's not the only one!

So this week is going to be all about nourishment. I've signed up for an intensive yoga class for the week. Slightly insane plan in that the classes start at 6:30 am and I don't normally get out of bed until 8 am (and even then I am tired - I hate mornings), but I love yoga and I think it will set me up well for the week. Hopefully it isn't too bad given daylight savings mean that I can tell myself class really starts at 7:30 am...

And as for food! Well, all I want to do is eat all of the things I shouldn't. And sometimes I have, sometimes I haven't. But this week I'm going to focus on nourishment and not eating sugar. Speaking of which, I made some amazing sugar free 'chocolate'. Perfect for Easter. Will post a recipe during the week. :)

Hope you have a fabulous week and may you all have courage in the face of trouble, and kindness in the face of others' trouble.

M. x

P.S - Speaking of nourishment, that chicken soup was made from scratch and with my own chicken stock. Exquisitely nourishing.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cooking up a storm!

Well hello!!! I am sorry I've been a bit absent, thanks to all the people who have sent me messages to check on me. :) I have had an extremely busy couple of weeks but hoping things settle down a bit now. My weight has fluctuated a bit over the past few weeks. I put on some weight as I started to include bread and sugar back into my diet, have had a few ups and downs due to big nights out and other assorted celebrations, but have stabilised and seem to be maintaining quite easily, albeit about 1.5 kg up from where I was. My plan is to have a few weeks of diet and then a few weeks of maintaining, so we'll see how that goes. I find that as soon as I start eating carbs or other non-cohen foods I have a great deal of trouble stopping. It's like it kicks in a mother load of cravings which makes not eating everything in sight very difficult. So I'm focusing at the moment on not creating that carb vacuum (that makes me want to make up for it later) by focusing on balance rather than denial.

I have been cooking up a storm over the past 2 weeks and even took a cooking class last weekend! There were 4 x 45 minute classes on Vietnamese, African, Lebanese and Indian food and my my, it was fabulous. I didn't learn as much as I was hoping but I did pick up a few little tricks here and there. I don't have any photos (other than the spice photo above) as it was total chaos! Fun and messy.

I've had a few requests for more recipes, so here are two yummy things I've made recently....

Thai Turkey Salad

This is an old staple recipe of mine that I normally make with chicken, but had turkey on hand and it was just as fabulous. It came from a fabulous friend of mine who I can give most of the credit to for teaching me to cook. She got the recipe from her boyfriend. I think he got it from his work...

- 250 g bean shoots
- 1 bunch coriander
- 1/2 bunch mint
- 1 long red chili
- 2 spring onions or 1/4 red onion
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 500g chicken/turkey mince

Wash and cut up all the salad ingredients. I usually find that one long red chili, de-seeded, is plenty hot enough for me. My friend would probably use about 4 of the little hot buggers, but I am a wimp when it comes to chili (as my student husband would attest). Cook the mince on high heat and continually break it up. I give a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper as I cook it. Once cooked, stir all together, pour over fish sauce and lemon juice and serve! Serves 4. Also fabulous on a bed of steamed basmati rice... which helps it to go further also if you have more people to serve.

Organic Basil Beef Burger

You really can make burgers with whatever meat and whatever ingredients but my basil plant was getting huge so I went and got some organic beef mince...

- 1 kg mince
- 1 bunch basil
- sprinkle of chili flakes
- sprinkle of garlic powder
- sprinkle of salt and pepper

Combine ingredients and then separate into 125 g balls and freeze in snack size snap-lock bags. Defrost when ready to cook, form into a patty and grill! I made 8 patties and then used the leftover mix to make a bit of a spaghetti bolognese, to which I added fresh tomato and zucchini and cooked off immediately. YUM!

The burger looks huge but I actually made it with a dinner roll so it is the perfect size. As for the pasta, it's actually Slim Pasta, made entirely from vegetables, as mentioned in my last post.

Enjoy! x

My all time best lucky find I ever found in the whole of today!

OK, so probably only my family will get the Red Dwarf reference, but I think you get my drift. I have hit jackpot! Twice. YAY!

On my quest for balance over the past month or so I have found 2 fabulous things that have made things much easier. The first is...... *queue drumroll*....

SLIM PASTA!!!! Made from a vegetable, it looks like pasta, it tastes like pasta, it even smells like... well, it doesn't actually... but it's got no calories, carbs or basically anything else except for fibre. Get it inta ya. Now. :) Some health food stores sell it but I got mine at Woolworths! Click here for more info on Slim Pasta.

My next all time best lucky find is the Lindemans Early Harvest wine range. I've tried a low joule champagne before, Yellowglen Jewel, and I thought it was awful. The Lindemans Early Harvest Semillon Sauvignon Blanc is particularly lovely, as is the Sparkling. Especially the Sem Sav Blanc, I literally had no idea it was low calorie or low alcohol. I have tried the Shiraz too - it tasted yummy, exactly how I wanted it to taste and yet almost slightly watered down. It was a 2010 so I wasn't expecting too much depth but I would say overall that it was lovely, just not rich. The sparkling was a little weaker too I guess, but I didn't notice with the Sem Sav Blanc. Calorie wise, you can pretty much have 3 glasses for the calories of 2 normal glasses. Which I think is just fabulous! There is also another range of low calorie/alcohol wines that have teamed up with Weight Watchers (the points are written on the bottle!), the McWilliams Balance range. I'm yet to try them, but I'll let you know.

Enjoy! x

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sexy Muesli & Sumptuous Soup

Yum.... I love food. Perhaps a little too much, but then that's probably obvious given the general topic of my blog. ;)

First recipe is for sugar-free (and just general 'junk-free') muesli. I used organic stuff where I could and used unstabilised oats, meaning they haven't been heat treated and are much better for you. I prefer toasted muesli but apparently when you heat nuts and seeds past 160 degrees celcius they lose most of their great properties, so I heated it to 150 degrees celcius. ;) Yum.

Mel's Sexy Toasted Muesli
- 1 and 1/2 cups unstabilised organic rolled oats (Woolworths Macro brand)
- 1/2 cup oatbran
- 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/3 cup raw macadamias
- 1/3 cup raw almonds
- 1/3 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup dried goji berries
- 1 tablespoon Black Label Queen's Vanilla Concentrate
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- olive oil spray

Mix all of the dry ingredients together except for the berries, oat bran and coconut. Drizzle Vanilla concentrate over mixture and stir it all together with a spoon. Add the oatbran and then lay out in an oven tray. Give a good spray of olive oil and pop in a 150 degree oven for 30 mins. I stirred it every 10 minutes and gave another spray of oil (see photo). Once cool, mix in the berries and the coconut. Voila! I served mine with natural yoghurt (as shown above). 1/3 cup serve is about 45 g - the usual serving size for muesli. You can substitue whichever seeds/nuts/fruit you prefer. :)

Salwa's Sumptous Soup
- whatever vegies you have in the fridge. In my case it was (roughly):
   - 1.5 carrots
   - 1.5 zucchinis
   - 6 stalks celery
   - 'a dirty big onion' (as my Nana used to say)
   - 2 spring onions
   - 1/8 of a cabbage
   - 1 head brocolli (and stalk - the best bit IMO)
   - 1/3 tomato
   - 4 mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- garlic powder
- vegetable stock cube (took me ages to find sugar free stock cubes but I finally found one!)
- 1.5 L water
- 1 cup red lentils
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- salt to taste

Sautee onion off a bit with coconut oil and a good sprinkle of garlic and salt and then start adding the veggies in as you chop them! I kept a cup of water handy and added a bit when my chopping was too slow for the cooking. I didn't peel anything and was throwing in whatever I had, celery leaves and all. You really can throw in whatever you have in the fridge, it's a great recipe for using up the veggies you have on hand before they get manky. I really only guessed the water amount but once I had added all the ingredients, I topped up with water and added a bit extra to take into account the lentils. I didn't add the salt or cumin until I'd blended the soup. I like to do that bit by taste. This is a very filling, healthy and delicious soup! It freezes well too. :) This recipe was inspired by a beautiful lady named Salwa, who i met through my brother.

Enjoy! xxx

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A semblance of normalcy...

Happy New Week! I weighed in yesterday morning as usual and was down 0.4 kg from last week, which is exactly where I was when I started adding in 'normal' food again. When I did my 18 day 'refeed' on Cohen's I maintained the same weight throughout so this was expected. I begin this week both excitedly and nervously as I endeavour to find a balance. I am using the Weight Watchers ProPoints system to make sure I don't overeat, but am sticking to maintenance guidelines mostly.

I am nervous because I am not weighing myself this week so I don't know how it will go and just have to put my trust in the points tracker! I feel like I am eating a lot more (like I did on refeed!) and not sure if the points system will work for me but I am going to stay off the scales and try to use it as a lesson in maintenance nonetheless. What I would love is to stick to this method and throw in the odd week strictly on Cohen's plan with the hope that I get the benefits each time of the huge weightloss week. If I can keep coasting down in the meantime that would be lovely, but I don't expect a big loss this week. I will be happy to maintain for a week but thrilled with a loss if it happens.

I made some super sexy muesli on the weekend, I will post the recipe and the pictures soon. Hope you all have a fabulous week!

M. x

P.S - I am loving the freedom of maintenance - having toast and bacon with my egg was so exciting! I even had a bacon and egg salad for dinner this evening. How outrageous.

Friday, February 24, 2012

An early post for an early refeed.

Woop woop - first big goal of the year down, YAY!!!!! I still don't weigh in until Monday but I thought I'd check in as I've started easing into maintenance early. Original plan was to do 2 weeks on Cohen's but I've started introducing a couple of things (like an unofficial refeed for all you Cohenites that know what I'm talking about). I'm going to add in bread tomorrow and I'll still weigh in Monday. This is because I've decided the focus for me next week is going to be to go a whole week without the scales.

I've always been conflicted about the scales. Lots of evidence suggests that people who lose weight and maintain it often weigh daily, however there is also lots of evidence to suggest that doing so can get you down, especially when you've had an indulgent day the day before. At the start of Cohen's weighing daily is great - you lose a lot! But when things start to slow down the scales can stay the same for a few days which can be frustrating. We are told that these are the periods where our bodies are readjusting their shape and that there is a period of weight loss followed by periods of reconfiguration and that this is normal. They suggest that you only weigh yourself once a month and use a tape measure weekly, but few are able to keep off the scales. In my case, lately I've been on the scales about 5 times a day. In the morning and then before dinner, after dinner and before bed. Just out of curiosity at first but now it's driving me nuts. When you refeed you have to weigh daily to see if there is anything your body overreacts to, which is why I've started adding things in now so I have no excuses to jump on for a peek next week. As of Monday morning weigh in - the scales are going in the cupboard until the following Monday morning.

Eeep! I am telling you to help keep me accountable but I do admit that I am worried. Often when I can't see the scales I start to sabotage by overeating or snacking because I can't see the damage I'm doing, so this is going to be a big challenge. Wish me luck!!!

M. x