Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter weigh-in, Stuffed Pepper Soup with Cauliflower Rice, and Spiritual Evolution

Happy Easter everyone! We've been to the in-laws for morning tea, came back home and had some lunch.  I had leftover Stuffed Pepper Soup, which was really tasty! Basically all the things you'd stuff in a bell pepper (capsicum) but in soup form, with shredded cauliflower standing in for the rice. Trust me, this was yummy.  I put a bit of shredded low-fat cheese on top and stirred that in before serving.



3 cups cauliflower rice (grate or shred 1/2 medium size cauliflower to resemble rice)
1 lb (500g) 95% lean ground (minced) beef
1/2 green bell pepper (capsicum), chopped
1/2 red bell pepper (capsicum), chopped
1 cup finely diced onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans (14.5 oz / 400g) diced tomatoes
1 3/4 cups tomato sauce*
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
salt and fresh pepper to taste

*Note that what Aussies call tomato sauce is basically ketchup. The closest thing I've found here to American tomato sauce is crushed tomatoes or passata. But if you're not following Dr Poon you could even use tomato soup.

In a large pot or dutch oven, brown meat on medium-high heat and season with salt. Drain fat if any, reduce heat to medium-low, then add peppers, onions and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, marjoram and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, then add the riced cauliflower and simmer 10 minutes more on low.


Before I get to the weigh-in, you may notice I've changed the look of the blog. The old format didn't always display well on mobile devices, and this one suits me heaps better. What do you all think? Plus I can have more menu items at the top, so I've given Photos their own page. I'll be adding new progress photos soon - having started at 287 pounds, I took pictures at 253 and again at 225, so now I'm hoping to get below 200 pounds for the next ones.

After weighing in at 93.0 kg (205.03 lb) last week I went back up to 93.5 kg (206.13 lb) and stayed there pretty much all week! Even after all the running and walking I've done, I didn't get a drop, and it was frustrating I must say. I wasn't expecting the monthly gain for another week, but then mother nature has been messing with me more frequently these days. Still, I am happy to report I have dropped this morning to 92.9 kg (204.81 lb). It's really not much of a loss at all from last week - 0.1kg (0.22 lb) to be exact. However, I have lost fat and gained water, so I'm guessing I'll soon have better results.  My loss to date is 37.4 kg (82.45 lb).

Having spent the last eight months working towards improving my health and fitness (evolution of body) and recently tackling some of my fears and the belief that I could never run (evolution of mind), I would like to focus on my spiritual evolution as well.  No, I'm not going to get all religious on you! Organised religion is so not me.  But if you've browsed my Shelfari bookshelf in the lower right of my blog, you'll notice that I'm interested in spiritual matters, it's just not been the focus of my blog. And I'm not saying it's going to become the focus, so don't worry if that's not your thing! LOL But I did title my blog "An Evolution in Body,  Mind and Spirit" because I'd like to experience self-improvement in all three areas.

Currently I've been drawn back to a book I've had for years. It's called "A Life Complete" - Emotional and Spiritual Growth for Midlife and Beyond - by Sallirae Henderson. I started reading it a few years ago, and found it interesting then, but now that I'm 50 the topic is even more meaningful to me. The Shelfari description reads:
"Once we reach middle age, the harder questions about how it actually feels to grow older -- and closer to the end of life -- begin to surface. Difficult as these questions may be, Sallirae Henderson assures us that our desire to find the answers is both a mark of maturity and an opportunity for growth. A Life Complete envisions midlife as a rich, reflective period that gives us the chance to begin a process of discovery. With Henderson's sensitive and knowing advice, we learn how to make emotional and spiritual choices that can help us confront the past and welcome what the future holds. A Life Complete offers six simple skills that guide us through this period of change and inspire feelings of satisfaction and joy: Befriending Yourself, Learning to Grieve, Recognizing that You Always make a Difference, Maintaining a Sense of Personal Evolution, Finding a Larger Context for Your Life, and Accepting the Help of Others. Remarkably wise and thoughtful, A Life Complete is an inspiring reflection on what may be the most meaningful period of our adult lives."
And an excerpt from inside the jacket: This book explains how the choices we make in midlife can become distilled and irreversible by the time we reach our last years. It offers a practical plan for healing in middle age so we can avoid elderly regret, unexpressed grief, and unresolved spiritual issues before it's too late. In a culture that ranks the fear of living in a nursing home above the fear of death, this book serves as a reminder that the end of life is also an organic part of life. It is an indispensable guide for those seeking to grow old gracefully, with a sense of meaning and purpose.

As I've said before, longevity is not something my family members have enjoyed by and large - and though I'm doing my best to improve my health, if I only have another 20 years or so on this planet, I'd like to ensure they are both happy and healthy - in body, mind and spirit.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday, good run, and purging wardrobe

So it's Good Friday and that means no work today ... and no 6am wake up call to get my run in. But of course I still wanted to run. And I once again attempted the eight minute intervals. Since I got a bit later start and it was a lovely morning I decided to go to the lake path. There were lots of boaters, swimmers, and other fitness buffs out today but I found a park and got started.

I was kind of dreading it when I knew the command to begin running was due soon, mostly because the idea of eight minutes still felt impossible despite managing to do it once on Wednesday. And in truth about 30 seconds in to that first interval I was already wanting to quit. It's hard! Of course it's hard, where would the challenge be if it was easy? LOL. But I kept going and when it finally said to walk I was so happy. I walked until she said I was half way and turned around even though I was nearly at the end of the path because the run interval would fall at the same markers on the path so I would know where the run would start and stop.

The second eight minute run began where the first had ended and for the first few minutes I just tried to get into the music and not think about how long or how far I had to go. When I was feeling like I couldn't possibly make it I could look ahead and think, "the end isn't much further than that next bend up ahead." That helped a lot. In the final stretch I employed my finish line visualisation again ... lots of people on the sidelines cheering me on saying 'you got this' or 'you're almost there' etc. then finally she said to begin the cool down. I had done it! Eight minutes ... TWICE! I ran 16 minutes total today and I felt amazing! I did my stretches, had some water and drove home feeling fabulous.

I got home and hubby and the dog were just heading out for a half hour walk and I felt so good that I went with them. So I definitely got my workout in today.

After lunch we'll be packing up some garments to post. I did a wardrobe purge recently and a lot of stuff went to the Salvos (Salvation Army for those who don't speak Aussie LOL) but some of the nicer stuff we decided to list on eBay. I'll have close to $100 which I can use for new clothes! My new size 16s are fitting perfectly now (they were snug when I bought them). And I've had more compliments than ever with most thinking I've lost more weight this week. I haven't ... in fact I have been up half a kilo (1 lb) all week from my weekend weigh-in. But I seem to have gotten smaller despite that so I'm not worried. The weekend will tell whether I get a drop this week or not. Until then I'm not gonna sweat it, instead I'll just be thankful for what I've got and how far I've come. Things are going well ... life is good.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Eight minute intervals ...did I make it?

Yes ... and no. I did the first eight minute run and it was hard! But I did it so I felt great. Then the five minute walk and I started the second eight minute run. I got about five minutes in and could feel myself slowing down, which normally I don't worry about because I'm going for endurance, not speed. But at that point I almost felt like I'd trip over my own feet and I just didn't have it in me. So I walked the next two minutes and ran the last minute before cool down started.

I am a bit frustrated because I didn't want to quit. But I know even seasoned runners have off days so I am not giving up. I will repeat today's training on Friday instead of trying to run 20 minutes straight. Probably Monday and Wednesday next week as well and try for 20 next Friday I think.

That's it for now, I just wanted to let you know how this morning's run went. Happy Hump Day everyone.

Monday, April 14, 2014

I made it through Monday! Ran 15 minutes!

OK not all at once - yet! LOL But today was three FIVE minute running segments with three minutes walking in between them and I made it. I did them all.  But Wednesday's EIGHT minute segments remain to be seen. LOL Off to get ready for work, I just wanted to check in quick to say I did it!!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Weigh-in, body image and Leigh's delicious Ratatouille!

Weigh-in stats first. I am 93.0 kg this morning (205.03 lb) and that is a loss of .4 kg (.88 lb) from last week. [Total loss to date 37.3kg or 82.23 lb.] I'll take it, though truthfully I had hoped for a bigger drop. Hubby reminds me that's almost a pound and that I tend to alternate smaller and bigger drops week to week now. Yeah I guess.

I would probably be happier about it if I were happy with my body shape right now. Yes, it's nice to hear compliments from friends and co-workers, and I'm delighted to have bought a couple of new outfits in size 16 now that, while slightly snug they do fit comfortably. I am shrinking so I buy the smallest size I can fit into now. I should be thrilled but truthfully I'm in a bit of a funk.

I want to put up new pictures soon, but when I take them I only see the fat remaining, not how far I've come. If I lay in bed and put my legs straight up in the air I am amazed how thin, sleek and shapely they look now. But standing up normally I only see the loose skin starting to gather on the inner thighs. Laying on my side I have an amazing curve shape, with a lovely dip from hip to waist that hubby loves to wrap his arms around ... but the fat that's left decides to gather in front and remind me that I have far to go yet and even once I'm at goal the belly region will never be pretty.

Getting such a large amount of weight off is much more important than any loose skin issues I may have, and I know that. Most of the time I feel fabulous about my accomplishments to date. But when I look at my body in the mirror or take photographs, I still don't like what I see. I'm not someone with body hatred issues, I'm secure in who I am these days and have a healthy amount of self-love, it's not about that. It just can be hard to see what others see. Hard to see how far I've come instead of how far I have to go. So sometimes ... just sometimes ... I get in a bit of a funk. So that's where I am today.

Last week's running intervals were three and five minutes, and I never thought I could do five but I did. That did give me a hell of a confidence boost, I must say. But what do I have to look forward to next week? Monday will be all five minute intervals ... three of them with three minutes walking in between. So far I have repeated each new level three times before advancing but not this time. Believe it or not Wednesday I'll be expected to run eight minutes! Then Friday ... 20! Seriously?! I mean I knew that I couldn't do three minutes, but then I did. Then I was sure I would not be able to do five minutes, but I did. And now I am equally certain I am not ready for eight, much less twenty! I'm tempted to stretch this week into three weeks by doing each level three days instead of one, but a runner friend advised me to try it rather than talk myself out of it. We'll see. It just sounds impossible right now.

Last night we made Leigh's fabulous Chicken Ratatouille and hubby and I both loved it! We had a choko (chayote squash) on hand so I substituted that for one of the zucchini, and used Lebanese eggplants in place of the regular eggplant. We really enjoyed this - in fact the only thing I would change is to cut the chicken into bite size pieces rather than leave the breasts whole. We had a couple of smaller pieces that I threw in and they seemed to absorb the flavours better so we'll try that next time. It was definitely delicious.

That's it for today, we're off to shop for a new electric wok and then groceries. Have a great weekend.

Monday, April 7, 2014

I ran five minute intervals! OMG

So clocks went back yesterday, and since I'm still adjusting I found myself up at 6 am instead of 7. I checked the radar ... rain predicted much of the day. But t was nice out at 6 am. So ... I decided to get my training in. I wasn't sure if I could do 5 minutes but decided to just move to the next level anyway and find out.

You'll recall I said 3 minutes was hard last week ... a little easier Friday, but still hard. Well today the first interval was 3 minutes and it was ... kinda easy! OK maybe not easy, but not hard. But after 90 seconds walking I had to go again and this time was 5 minutes. I focused on the music and just kept going. And I did it! I ran for 5 minutes! Then 2-1/2 minutes walk and repeated the intervals again. On the second go I was slowing a little in the last minute but I didn't stop. And when she said to cool down I felt like doing a victory dance!

Who would have thought less than 8 months into this journey I would be down over 81 pounds and running 5 minutes straight? Not me! The only downside was running from home rather than driving to the lake ... it's a busy road and car exhaust was not nice. Maybe if I get an earlier start I could get to the lake and back and still get to work on time? Not sure about that.

Now another conundrum ... do I keep getting up at 6 even on the days I don't run? If I don't it might be harder to get up early on the days I do. Right now it's easy but if I start sleeping in later on Tuesday and Thursday ... and I can always do something else, maybe stretching and strength exercises. We'll see how I go tomorrow.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Down 81.35 lb 7-1/2 months! And jogging ...

Yup, after holding steady last week due to TOM, I got a nice drop this week! There were fluctuations as expected during the week, had a drop early then went back up again, etc. but this morning I have fabulous numbers to report!

I weighed in at 93.4 kg (205.91 lb), which is a loss of 1.8 kg (3.97 lb) from last week. That brings my total loss to 36.9 kg (81.35 lb).

I didn't mention passing Milestone 6 in Happy Scale at the end of March! You may recall I entered 130 as my goal in Happy Scale, whereas it's 150 in my ticker. So being on Milestone 7 is awesome ... I'm 9% done with it, too! To complete it I need to get to 195.5 lbs, which it estimates will take 5-7 weeks.

I've been hoping to pass hubby these last few weeks ... he was 95-96kg for a while there, but each week I would think this is it, he would drop! He's not eating particularly healthy, but he has been walking more. So I thought once again this week was it. He came in at 93.2! So just 200g separates us. Surely next week will be the week! Lol

Speaking of next week ... time to increase jogging intervals again. This week was alternating 1:30 and 3:00 jogging (equal time walking afterwards). Three minutes was hard! By Friday it was a little easier. Only a little, mind you. But next week it's jog 3 min (walk 90 sec), then jog 5 min (walk 2.5 min). Am I ready for that?! Part of me wants to repeat this week, and part of me says you'll never know what you're capable of if you don't try! I don't want to sell myself short just cuz I think I can't do it. But 3 minutes is still hard! I don't know yet. I was very lucky with the rain again last week, with it stopping pretty much when I needed it to. Will I be so lucky next week? Who knows.

I do think part of what made it a little easier Friday was I put on some music to run to. That gave me something else to focus on, and the C25K app interrupts the music to give your cues. But twice now when using music and Sports Tracker (with or without C25K) the apps quit on me. That sucks because you have to take the time to set it up again and get back to where you were in running, and you lose your Sports Tracker stats entirely. I'm going to try with my work phone next time, as maybe it's just an issue with my phone.

Clocks went back an hour last night so I'm trying to adjust my schedule accordingly. It'll start getting darker after work soon, so I may have to consider running in the morning at some point. Anyway, that's it for today. Have a great weekend!