Hard Days Week… No excuses

It has been a tough 10 days. A few little setbacks along the way, some soul-searching, and a reality check have all been in there.  I had a great fun day with friends today and I am doing ok, but instead of a hard days night it has been roughly 10 days worth of crap. But the point of this blog post is not to gather sympathy, it is to be real with myself and my readers…

I may blog about some of the crap that has gone down later in the week; and while it is safe to say while I am doing a lot better with all the obstacles put in my way, I have fallen off the food wagon a little.

I am writing this post, because some people assume that I have all of my food and eating patterns together now. Well people, that is a fallacy. I still have my days where I lean towards eating through emotions…Most of the this behaviour is in the past, But compounded issues on issues resulted in me taking a side step into this dangerous territory.  Ice cream is not my friend, and it slides through my band like hot butter. With all its evil sugar, carbs and calories.

The hardest part is I am not supposed to run at the moment until I get a medical clearance (Thursday can’t come quick enough)… And running makes me feel good, helps me deal with stress and as I have stated many times re-aligns my head. No running equals Naughty Lin trying to come out to self sabotage with ice-cream and carbs. Not helpful.

A friend had on her Facebook the other day this little gem of a statement (thanks MAE)

This is truth… It is about making wise choices everyday.  So what if I can’t run at the moment… I can walk, and I can walk for hours if I need too, I can lift weights, and go to yoga… Running may be my favourite exercise, but I can go low intensity for a while. Everything else is an excuse, I have had enough excuses for a lifetime, I am done with them… So my resolution, me being accountable to me (and anyone who reads this),  I intend to choose wisely again, focus on me again – and let all the other crap fall to the way side.

Till next time, Lin xox

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Crazy…No just committed

Love this Quote

I got called “Crazy” tonight. Just because I wanted to go home after shift and run, and that it was likely to be still raining,. Many of you know that I have a habit, a pattern of coming home after shift and doing my running then. I have blogged about it, I have talked about it, I like it. Running in the wee hours of the morning works for me. I can unwind from work, push it all out and leave it on the pavement.

It was wet again tonight. I am not a fan of working in the rain. I work outside and wear 5 – 6 layers of clothing which consists of wool thermal tops, singlets, hoodies, t-shirts, and wind/water proof jackets. Whilst I don’t like spending hours walking around the city in the rain, I make every effort to stay as dry as possible, no one wants to be wet for hours, then drive home wet and cold.

But running – that is different. It is a time framed thing. I did 5.5km this morning. When I got home it wasnt raining, by the time I changed and walked outside it was the slow steady drizzle rain that soaks you through. I ran anyway, I said earlier I would run, even if it was raining. I did. I like it when it drizzles like this. I feel that my body stays cool, it is not crazy – it is committed. Plus when you get back home and you can deal with the wet then…

Crazy is sitting on the couch making excuses.

Crazy is the way i used to live, – if you could call it living, looking back i can’t, it was more of a sad existence. I was sick, tired, obese, stuck and making excuses… That was what was crazy, that Lin was lost – She was crazy and all her systems were unhealthy.

SO – if i tell you about my training, it is not crazy, it is committed. If I tell you about my events coming up and trying to squeeze them all in, it is not crazy it is taking life with both hands and living it with vigour.

I am not crazy – I am committed – committed to living a full and healthy life, having fun – and realise that to have a healthy mind and emotional life I first must live a physically healthy life. Running in the rain – that is just the tip of the iceberg. Being stronger and healthier is my goal… weight loss is the natural by-product of living a committed healthy lifestyle.

My goals at the moment are to work towards getting back to running a 10km before the 15th of May, strengthening my core, and improving on my shoulder and upper body strength after surgery. I am still having a little discomfort and pain with the arms and tummy… Not all the time – but strength is the key and working with the physio is helping.

So dear readers, find your commitment, call it crazy if you like… In fact I think I will embrace the word crazy now – Yep call me crazy; crazy about being healthy, fit and strong enough to live the life I want.

BTW the run was awesome! the key when running in the rain is getting home, stripping off the wet gear straight away and jumping into a warm shower. Now for sleep…

Till next time, Crazy Lin xox

Gastric (Lap) Band – Part 1; What is it?

Gastric Lap Band Illustration (the port at the bottom right of pic is what is stitched to the muscle wall under the skin)

Part of understanding my journey is knowing that I had a Gastric (Lap) Band surgically implanted around 4 years ago. I realized that I haven’t written a lot about the Band, why I had it, what is does, and why I chose that path.

This first post (in this series) will look at what the lap band is, and how it works. I get a many questions about this and hopefully this post will be able to clarify some of the more popular queries.

A Gastric Band is a device that is placed around the top of your stomach. Looking at the picture to the right we can see that there is a plastic ring which on the inside has a silicone tube, this section is adjustable via saline solution being filled into the port.

The inner sections are adjustable with saline solution via the port and when filled contracts more around the opening of the stomach section is adjustable. From the band a tube runs down to a port, this is how the saline solution is injected into your band, essentially filling the silicone up and tightening it around the top of the stomach.

The lap band is inserted into you body via keyhole surgery.  The surgeon places the band around the top section of your stomach, where the stomach meets the esophagus. When adjusted the band creates a small opening into the stomach.

The band works in two ways;

  • It causes the brain to believe that you feel full, with a very small amount of food or sometimes even when you don’t eat. The band stimulates the nerves that sends these messages to the brain.
  • The band also physically creates a small pouch like stomach above your stomach. The food that you must chew well slowly enters the stomach. This makes you feel full and you don’t consume as many calories.

The port of the lap band is stitched to the muscle wall of the abdomen under the skin. After surgery your doctor / surgeon adjusts it with using a needle to inject saline which travels up tubing into the band tightening it. The adjustment is a simple procedure, seeing a doctor at their rooms like a normal consultation, I am usually in and out in 5 – 10 mins after a quick weigh in and chat about my progress.

The lap band can stay implanted indefinitely as long as are no issues. As it is adjustable all the fluid can be removed and you will have no restriction if required.

The Gastric Band is not an easy solution, you can cheat the band, eat all the chocolate, ice-cream, mushy food and anything liquid you like, they slide right on through and the calories on these add up quick. The band does have some issues however, sometimes I can’t keep food down, I can have days where I feel a bit more restriction than others and the band feels tighter and when happens food gets “stuck” and won’t go through the band – it can be painful and results in food coming up (not quite vomiting more like a painful swallow back up).

The Band is an aid in weight loss, it doesn’t do the work for you, I have worked hard to watch my portions, my food choices, and then there is exercise – a lot of exercise. For me the band was the tool I needed to get off the bulk of the weight to allow myself to begin to have success reprogramming my former failure mentality and be able to engage in physical activity.

In my next post I will discuss why the band worked for me, what I have struggled with, and would I recommend it, etc – If you have any questions please feel free to leave it in the comments section and I will do my very best to answer them…

Till next time, Lin xox

The Best Medicine (is half an hour)

23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health? – YouTube

Seriously, Watch the link above, it is a great watch; I love an easy to follow, informative animated presentation – and I am not going to write about the ins and outs of the video – Just watch it, it is better than any summary I can write. Surprisingly  it does touch on a post  I wrote a while ago in relation to TV and health…But If you don’t watch it the premise is that one half hour a day is the best medicine for us, it’s free (ie walking) and will save us our health and hip pocket!

I just got the big thumbs up from my surgeon this week to go ahead with exercise. I had reconstructive plastic surgery of a tummy tuck and arm lift 6 weeks ago. He let me know I can get back into everything: slowly building up my running and weights… I did my first 2.5km run back after 6 weeks off this week – I Loved it, I went without my Garmin running watch which calculates distance, pace, heart rate etc. I went just for the love of running and not looking at numbers allowed me to relax and let my body go at its natural pace whilst I continue to recover and build up.

Exercise for me is not just about losing more weight or weight control. For me exercise just makes me feel really bloody good! I am addicted and get a bit of a high off it 🙂

Exercise has improved my quality of life and improved my overall fitness. It gave me my life back, and I would much prefer to live a 21 -23.5 hour day (giving the balance to exercise) than ask for more hours in a day – Honestly there ARE enough hours in a day; and I am willing to bet that a large majority of people who would ask for more hours would end up giving those hours over to their TV habit anyway. 😦

We cannot change the clock to give us more time (unless you have the DeLorean with a flux capacitor in your garage), but we can change our priorities, our lives, families and communities by becoming healthier. Every minute counts, and it is up to us what we do with them.

Till next time

Lin xox

Surgery, My Valentines Present to myself!

I haven’t blogged a lot over the past few weeks, and I apologize for this. I have felt caught between a rock and a hard place over the past few weeks, and this has been because I have been getting ready for reconstructive plastic surgery.

Under the Knife - Happy Valentines Day!

I have been dealing with a variety of different emotions over the past months as I have been meeting with doctors, surgeons and my psychologist in getting ready for this, the next part of my journey.

With losing a huge amount of weight, I also lost any chance of my skin being able to bounce back, I lost all skin elasticity and therefore kind of looked like a deflated balloon when all the clothes came off. This was not something that I was happy with, part of me felt deflated too, it wasn’t boding well for my self esteem; Moreover it was causing me medical issues, especially when it came to exercise and physical training.

After speaking with my GP and referrals and appointments with Reconstructive Plastic Surgeons, I decided that the best way forward from this point would be to undergo 3 separate surgeries over the next 18 months. This would address most of  the issues and allow me to move forward emotionally and physically. It would also give me the best chance to have good outcomes without stressing my body by trying to have everything done in a short time frame.

I haven’t exactly hidden the fact that I am getting surgery, I have told friends, colleagues and family what I am doing – just haven’t blogged about it yet. I have had extraordinary support from everyone I have told.

I have had some crazy moments, moment of being so scared and paralyzed by the thought of what was happening, but have been supported through all these emotions by amazing people in my life; I am blessed to have such great friends, family and support.

So on Valentines Day this year (2012) I went into Hospital to for the first of 3 surgeries (Or as i jokingly call them to my friends – the slice and dice) I am now recovering from a tummy tuck / lateral thigh lift and a brachioplasty (arm lift) still in Hospital and will blog a bit about the journey that I have been through over the coming days… It has been a rough couple of days in Hospital, and the recovery has been slow! But I am happy to share it now, I was scared to write about it at the start, to share it – always for fear of being judged! – But now I know that I need to share it, because if this helps one person who is going through something similar, then this is how I pay it forward…

Will write more soon , Till next time

Lin xox

Food Day Tuesday – Mango Salsa with Pork

Mango Salsa & Pork (sorry for the bad iphone image)

In the Summer Time when the weather is Fine, you’ve got salad, you’ve got salad on your mind! Well Hey I have salad on my mind… and there is no salad like a salsa when it’s hot.

On Monday night I was cooking for a friend at her place, so I needed something quick, easy, and tasty.. I had made this a month or so ago and posted a photo on FB, Jules liked the photo so I thought I would cook it for her.

I love the idea of different types of Salsa’s. A good Salsa is fresh with a zing. In this case the mango and avocado work together with the crunch of corn, capsicum and sping onions, the Zing was proudly brought to you by the juice of  Lemon and Lime… All the players came together to form the prefect accompaniment to the oven baked (slightly spicy) pork.

I got my Pork from Woolworth’s – it is a ready to go vacum pack called –  Butterflied pieces of pork with herbs and spices. I set the oven to 180c and then pan fried the pork sealing each side, then popped it on an oven tray (with some baking paper on the bottom for easier cleaning) & wacked it in the oven for about 30mins (note if one piece is thicker than the other you may need to put it in for a little longer taking the thinner pieces out to rest.)

You could use other Pork, like a cutlet and marinate it yourself…                                     Don’t like Pork – You could also do the salsa with lamb or chicken.                                                                       If you are vegetarian or vegan – tofu would be nice (you could rub a little chilli and lemon on it and pan fry it quickly) add a few cashew nuts to the salsa too. Just make the salsa before quickly pan frying your tofu!

The alternative to cooking in the Oven is the BBQ. I like the Oven method it makes it juicy – the BBQ will do the same if you are a good BBQer – and the trick is again to seal it on the BBQ and then turn it down to cook slowly and not burn or dry it  out.

Now onto the Salsa – While this is cooking in the oven, I grab a big bowl and put the following in..

1 can of Corn Kernels (420g) drained

1/2  Large Red Capcium (or 1 smaller one) (diced into small pieces)

3 Sping Onions, finely sliced (into rounds)

1 Mango – slice off the cheeks, then cross hatch and scoop out of skin with a spoon, chop other bits off the mango as you can (before hitting the stone) into cubes.

1 Avocado – Halve lengthways and then take stone out (with a sharp knife hit the stone, twist and it will pop out) then cross hatch each half and scoop out with a teaspoon.

Juice of 1/2 lemon & 1/2 Lime (or a full lemon if you have no lime) this is important for zesty flavour and also to stop anything from browning.

Stir it all together gently, the avacado may breakdown a little but will add to the citrus dressing. I put a little crack of sea salt over it too. All ready to go!

So when the Pork is cooked I let it rest for a few minutes before slicing it, plate the pork with some rocket leaves (for a peppery flavour) and the salsa – I use the salsa as a bit of a condiment with the pork… Very tasty and ready in around 35mins – Love Summer!        This is quick and If I can say so myself tastier than take away!

Oh BTW  the Packet of Pork (approx 700gm) and the Salsa recipe will feed 4 people

Till next time

Lin xox

Rest is not an Option – it is a Requirement

Just a little tired?

I think I possibly only have two gears – All or Nothing. I don’t think this is good, and I need to work on this… Leading up to Christmas (without realising) I upped my running too much. Basically I was enjoying my running so much that I forgot to track what I was doing, and increased my km’s from roughly 18 – 20km a week to 32km. My hamstrings, ITB and calves went out on protest, and I couldn’t figure out why I was so tight… then sitting in the physio’s waiting room (to get him to look at the hammies)  and playing with my Garmin watch I realised my mistake…

I wasn’t tracking my running and running to a plan… I wasn’t giving my body enough time to rest, or have rest days from running, and as I saw that I had run 32km in that week I cringed at the thought of having to admit this shortly to my physio.

SO I rested, for 2 weeks over Christmas I rested my legs, and they thanked me. This resting was not easy – I felt antsy and wrong – all I wanted to do was run…  But with further physio, work on the foam roller and no running, my legs gradually improved and I got my range of motion back….

Then I went for a run, it was hard after a break – the fitness dropped a little, it was hot even at 5am, but i enjoyed it and pushed out 4.5km…. then i got sick – Pushed myself too much and came down with a mild tummy bug, still went to work and thought I was OK – But still deciding that I needed to exercise, have fun and make the most of my summer, off I went water skiing….Got to the lake only to realise I was still not 100%, had a go anyway and learnt that this is not a good idea when you can’t keep down fluids. (Throwing up whilst clad in a wetsuit, floating on your back and skis in the air is not fun)

This lead to spending the next 5 days under the weather, short on sleep, long hours at work and quite emotional… All my fuel tanks felt low and I was a bit of a mess.

Why am I sharing all this? Good Question really – and I think this is why…

As I said, I only seem to have two gears – all or nothing  – and what I am scared of is if I start to do nothing (because of illness, injury, lack of sleep, work etc) then this may lead me back to bad old patterns, but what I need to find more of is BALANCE.

BALANCE with my workouts, balance with sleep, work, rest days etc… When I moved to Mordi I walked everyday, now with improved fitness and the ability to do more, i do do more… Sometimes I think I might do too much – leading me to a place where I am doing more damage than good. I need to have rest days of walking and swimming to give my body time to recover from the hard days when I exercise for 3 hours or more. Rest is important to building muscle and cells regenerating and I know this, but I have this thing where I think If can do more I should do more… BUT  with proper rest I am more likely to not become sick or injured and be able to maintain a good workout schedule. So for now that is the aim. Still be active everyday – but for it to be OK to listen to my body, have a gentle walk or swim and not think I need to break myself down and hit it hard every day…. So I will see how that goes.

Till next time, Lin xox