Desert musings

I’m loving Morocco – the people, the sights, the smells (well ok not all the smells). Food is a bit better here although its still mainly bread and sugar for breakfast. Exercise wise though things still aren’t going to plan. There isn’t as much walking on this tour as I would like. Apart from a 2.5 hour walk through Casablanca on my own (I got completely lost hehehe) and a fabulous guided walk through some of the 9000 alleyways in the Fes old town souk it’s been mainly on the bus. Starts are fairly early (6.30) and I don’t feel comfortable donning running gear and running around the streets or even around the desert at that hour. Am looking forward to getting a run in around Kensington park when I get back to London. My body is starting to object to the lack of exercise too. Sooo bloated!!!

Will hopefully post some more photos from Marakesh. I really am fortunate to be here. It’s gorgeous! Haven’t found scales but will do some measuring when I get a chance.

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Too much of a good thing

The view from the top of St Pauls in London

The view from the top of St Pauls in London

Marching with the Grenadier Guard Band

Marching with the Grenadier Guard Band

View from the top of the tallest tower while walking the walls of Dubrovnik

View from the top of the tallest tower while walking the walls of Dubrovnik

with my gorgeous friends at the "Big waterfall" in Plitvice National Park

with my gorgeous friends at the “Big waterfall” in Plitvice National Park

I’m currently halfway through my travels and have been having a fantastic time. I managed to keep things pretty well balanced while I was in London I believe – I kept up my morning training with pushups, situps, squats, and biceps ticeps and spent my days walking, exploring the city and climbing everything in sight – including all 500 steps in St Paul’s Cathedral. I was really pleased to be able to do it all with no ill effects – no jelly legs after the steps, no having to stop to catch my breath etc. Sure my feet hurt by the end of the day but I was able to do so much more than I have done on previous holidays thanks to my improved fitness. In the evenings I enjoyed socialising with the friend I was staying with, enjoying a couple of drinks and a nice meal guilt free.

Once I met up with my Sydney friends and joined the tour for Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia though the balance went out the window. Here I was with my old drinking buddies. We hadn’t seen each other for 6 months so the first thing we did was go out for a drink and a nice meal… and I feel like we haven’t stopped since! In no way am I blaming my friends for this – each one of us has been living a much healthier lifestyle prior to this trip but it seemed once we got together it all went out the window. It has been great to see them though, and they did notice my weight loss which really felt great. I feel like I have put on weight this week though. Hard to tell exactly without scales but I just don’t feel as light as I used to.

Partly I think it has to do with the style of tour we are on. Usually if I do a tour, I do a small group one which utilises local transport and involves a lot more walking and carrying of your own bags. This trip though is a larger one, with it’s own coach. Bags are picked up from your hotel room and delivered to the room in the next hotel. The bus picks you up at the hotel door and drops you off at your next location. Yes there is a walking tour in each city for about an hour, (not fast walking at all though and a lot of standing around – a good pace for the majority of the tour who seem aged 60+) and yes I have managed to do some walking in our “free time” but it’s still been way more sitting than moving. I’m actually missing exercise. I even found myself doing planks on a bench while we had a toilt break at a service station yesterday!

Food wise we have been trying all the local cuisines – very heavy on the meat, breads etc and very light on the vegetables.All washed down with copious amounts of the local vino. I think I’m drinking less than I have on previous trips – 2-3 glasses most days but its still a LOT. We are all craving veggies. Last night we went to a restaurant recommended to us by a taxi driver that serves traditional Slovenian cuisine and for the first time we had veggies that weren’t massively over cooked or drowning in butter. It was heaven!!! I’m really missing eating clean, as much as I am enjoying the new taste sensations I’m experiencing.

The tour finished yesterday so my friends and I headed up to Lake Bled. On a gorgeous spring day we were able to do a bit of walking in the fresh air including a 20 minute climb up some stairs in the side of a mountain to view a gorgeous waterfall. It felt good to move again although I’m disappointed that I seem to have lost a bit of fitness as my hips are a bit achy this evening. We had a very late lunch so have opted to skip dinner tonight. We are still meeting for farewell drinks though. I think having a stomach that isn’t overly stuffed for a change will be great. I’m not worried about drinking tonight as it is the last time I will see these girls for a while and I head to Morocco tomorrow. I’m not anticipating drinking much at all there especially as I don’t know anyone else on the tour. Hopefully the food there will be more focussed on veggies and a little less oily too.

Travelling really does make me realise how lucky I am. My tour passed through some of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the effects of the war there are still so evident. There are houses that are still in ruins – their occupants have not returned. Other homes have had the internals parts and roof restored but the external walls still have missing render and holes where they have been sprayed with bullets and shrapnel. These families were able to return home but have not had the money to restore the outside of their homes (government and aid paid for essential repairs only). Some homes have been restored completely and repinted in an effort to move on with life but the devastation is still evident. Cemeteries are filled with gravestones of those that died in 1991 – 1995. So many cut short in the prime of life – late teens to early 30s. They had no chance to live long healthy lives. It makes me appreciate what I have –  a home in a country that i love where I don’t live in fear and have never known war in my homeland; a body which while yes overweight, is still healthy and intact and able to take me into a healthier future; the opportunity to make the most of my life; and the financial ability to travel and see sights which both amaze and move me. I am indeed lucky.

I have 2 weeks before I head home. I’m hoping I can move more and eat / drink less in the next 2 weeks. I’m having a great time but missing my new home lifestyle.

Challenges of long haul air travel

Arrived in England after a long 22hours plus in the air. I’ve discovered that after eating predominantly clean for the last 9 weeks that poorly cooked, over seasoned, pre packaged food really doesn’t agree with me anymore, especially when combined with a pressurized cabin. Whilst I managed to sleep most of the first (9 hour) flight, the second one (13 1/2 hours) proved incredibly uncomfortable. Not only was my stomach totally bloated, I found my body just doesn’t like to sit still for that long anymore. – this from someone who’s movement pattern prior to 12WBT could have been likened to a sloth!

Friday I managed to keep my calories under control for the day. I opted for steamed scallop and vegetable dumplings for dinner at the airport. Idid have a small glass of red wine when I got on the plane (to celebrate and to help me sleep) but after that it was water all the way. Not sure how many calories I’ve eaten over the last 24 hours though. Plane food is not only crap it is hard to count. I tried to opt for the healthier meal choices, but I did have the bread rolls that came with the meals – mainly because I was hungry. The serving sizes are small (good thing) but there was very little protein or vegetables. Most if the tray was starch. 😦 I didn’t make a great choice for my first meal in England though – curry. I let the girl I’m staying with choose it and we ended up with a creamy, nutty one. I did keep my portion size small though and instead of washing it down with wine, I stuck to water.

I think that’s the way I’m going to deal with food a lot of the time – portion sizes. For me, part of the joy of travelling is experiencing all the local specialties. Indian curries are a big thing in England so of course I wanted to try one. I’ll also be going for a pub meal or 2 while I’m here and trying the pork sausages or pork pies or whatever is recommended. I’m not going to feel guilty about it either. I don’t want that sort of a relationship with food. I’m just going to control how much of it I eat and make sure I move my body

To that end, this morning, when I woke up, I started the day with 10 push ups (toes), 30 crunches, 20 bicep curls with resistance band, 20 tricep things with resistance band (both each arm) and 30 squats. I’d like to have gone for a walk / run but my host is still asleep and I don’t yet have a key to get back in to the apartment. I’ll be doing a fair bit of walking today so that should help too. Hopefully if I start every day with that little routine (or similar) I won’t lose too much strength.

Anyway I’m off to start the day and check out the London zoo!

The adventure begins :-)

Today is the big day! I’m off on my trip. I had an extra weigh in this morning so I know exactly where I am starting my trip from weigh in wise. I had wanted to get to 15kg lost by the time I left. Well as of this morning I have lost 14.9kg so I’m taking that as a WIN! i can’t wipe the grin off my face 🙂

I had an awesome bootcamp last night with loads of boxing (I even volunteered for extra boxing rounds as we had uneven numbers… yes me the girl who used to think she hated any form of exercise!). Only downside to bootcamp was that it completely undid the fabulous job the hairdresser did with my hair hahahahah (oh well colour is still good) and it left me too tired to pack. Lucky for me I have a late start at work today so was able to pack this morning. It seems I pack differently now. Yes there are still 2 bottles of wine in there (gifts for the friend who is putting me up in London), but there are also, gym shoes, a resistance band, HRM, workout clothes and even a measuring tape for week 12 measure up task! Never before have I packed workout clothes for a holiday. Never. What’s more not only are they packed but I have EVERY intention of using them! Space in my backpack is way to valuable to pack something I wont use.

I just weighed my backpack. It weighs 16.4kg. If I took the 2 bottles of wine out, it would weigh the amount I have lost. There is a bizarre concept. That thing is HEAVY! And huge! (well ok by backpack standards it’s not massive – 65L but still it’s not small). Now I know fat is denser than clothing etc, but still when I look at that backpack, and think I have lost THAT much weight it totally blows my mind. I can’t help but be proud of myself and it really spurs me on keep going and get the rest off. I highly recommend finding a visual representation of the weight you lose. It can really help if you have trouble accepting what you have actually achieved.

I’m not sure how my internet access will be while I’m travelling, but I will endeavour to update when I can. I probably won’t be able to weigh in, but I will measure up and report in on the training I get done. I hope I will be even smaller and fitter by the time I get home!

The basic essentials. All I need to keep my fitness up while I travel - well that and willpower!

The basic essentials. All I need to keep my fitness up while I travel – well that and willpower!

This bag weighs basically what I have lost... and it is HEAVY!

This bag weighs basically what I have lost… and it is HEAVY!

Can’t be disappointed

Today is once again Weigh In Wednesday. I really wanted to have lost 15kg before I fly overseas on Friday. I knew it was a big ask with my small losses the last couple of weeks so I didn’t hold out much hope this morning. Instead I was just hoping for a good loss. I got a little less than I wanted – 900g. I can’t be disappointed with that though. Looking back at the week, I did have those 2 chocolate binges so the fact I lost anything is fabulous. Also, although I may not have lost 15kg, I have lost 14.1kg since I started this journey (14.3% of my body weight), and that is nothing to be sneezed at! Add that to the fact that I can now run 1km without stopping (and outdoors too!) and I am so far from my old self I’m almost unrecognisable! In the 9 weeks since the 12WBT kicked off I have lost 8.5kg or 9.2% of my body weight. I’ve done that whilst still enjoying my life – dinners out, weekends away, lunches with friends etc. Sure I don’t eat out as much as I used to but I haven’t become a recluse – far from it. I’ve also made some great new friends, and spend more time with people than I have in years. It’s just that instead of eating, I spend time with other people exercising. Interesting though, that whenever I have gone to write todays weight down, I’ve started it with a 9 instead of an 8. No idea why. I guess for some reason I am having trouble adjusting to being in the 80s. I’m not far off the 70s so I hope my head catches up soon!

I picked up my visa for China today and as I was flipping through my passport (something I love to do), I looked at the photos. In particular I looked at how round my face used to be. The photos in the passport aren’t even from me at my heaviest! To try and help my headspace I thought I would take a comparison shot. Now I know passport photos are never flattering, so the comparison shot is equally bad – harsh lighting, no makeup etc but I think I can actually see a difference. The photo on the left is from my Brazillian visa. Taken at the end of 2011… when I’d actually lost a bit of weight before travelling. (too scared to actually weigh in though). The pic on the right is me this morning. A long way to go but there are definitely less chins, and a more defined shape around the jawline I think.

photo

MASSIVE FIST PUMP MOMENT!!!

Just a quick update to let you all know that this morning, for the first time, EVER, in my life, I RAN 1KM WITHOUT STOPPING!!!! I feel incredibly proud of myself. That was one of my 12 week goals and I did it!!! I shared the moment with another lady who ran 1km for the first time in years, and then did the Bay with a friend and she conquered the iron cove bridge running it without stopping for the first time ever. Such a joy to be able to share these special moments with fantastic people! Before 12WBT I couldn’t run… at all. I’m talking not even 50m. I can’t wait to see how much more I can achieve as I go on. I really want to be able to complete a fun run (5km) without stopping. Not because there is a particular one I want to do, but because I want to know that I can do it. Hopefully more running will help slim my legs down too… especially the calves 😉

Refocussed and feeling On Top Of the World! (week 8 Fitness test)

As you know I had a bad night on Wednesday… Looking back on it now, it’s not as bad as I thought it was at the time. Well not compared to the old me anyway. My “binge” consisted of half of a 200g Cadbury chocolate rabbit. So 100g of chocolate. Yes that’s over 500 calories I did not need to put into my body, but when you consider that for the last (almost) 40 years, I would have eaten the WHOLE thing in one sitting and thought nothing of it, then it looks slightly better. What still does concern me is that I ate it even though it was making me sick. Even though I had to wash each mouthful down with water because it was too sickly sweet. Even as I was asking myself why I was doing it, I just kept eating. It scares me to think that I can still get that out of control. I’ve done a LOT of work on myself over the last few months and I had hoped I had moved past that sort of behaviour, but I guess it just goes to show i have to be ever vigilant, and I still have a lot of work left to do. My binge didn’t end on Wednesday either.

On Thursday the other half of the rabbit disappeared into my gob as well. It wasn’t quite as out of control and maniacal as the previous night though. Although it definitely wasn’t enjoyed, or a “I want chocolate so I will plan to eat this” type of thing. In a way I think I was punishing myself. I know that doesn’t make any logical sense at all, but that is how it felt. Kind of like that old-fashioned method of parenting where they’d catch a kid smoking then make them chain smoke a whole packet until they threw up so they would never want to smoke again. Not a healthy way of dealing with the situation at all. Funnily enough though, as soon as that rabbit was finished I felt ok. It was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders (and put back on my butt perhaps). When it was gone, I felt in control again and able to move on. The other kids rabbits haven’t een touched. Safely tucked away in the cupboard. I don’t want them. Reading back over my blogs I realised that I seem to fall into a hole just before the fitness tests / mini milestones. Whether that is a psychological response to the upcoming test, or whether it’s just coincidentally times with my hormonal cycle I am not sure. Either way I have now identified that pattern so will be on the look out for it. Hopefully having that little bit of knowledge will help me handle it better in 4 weeks time.

This morning I was up before dawn to meet some fabulous 12WBT ladies to do our fitness test. When we met at the park it was still dark. Our 1km route was in complete darkness for half the path. We could have used that as an excuse but we didn’t. On our warm up lap torches were out to check the path as we went. I did discover that I had been going longer than 1km on my previous tests (doh!) I therefore expected that my time today would be better just based on doing the correct distance. I didn’t expect the improvement I got though! The extra distance would have accounted for no more than 30 seconds of time. I SMASHED my old time by 1min 30 sec! What’s more, of the 1km I ran at least 900m of it (ok jogged but still!) I had 2 really quick walking rest breaks in the middle but the rest of it I ran. I was so bloody proud of myself! I now believe that if I manage to keep up my training while I’m away I will be able to run the whole km by the time I get back. (which will be the first fitness test of Round 2). For someone who could barely run 20m at the start of the year that is a huge improvement. I definitely still struggle with my breathing, and I’ll talk to the doctor about that when I get back I think. I realised the other day that in order to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth I have to consciously change the position of my tongue or close my mouth in order to block the airway in my mouth. My “default” breathing seems to be in and out through my mouth. Possibly thats due to having a blocked nose for most of my childhood. No idea. Will be interesting to find out if it’s changeable though.

My run was by far my biggest success in the fitness test, but I improved in all my results:

run: 1min 30sec faster than week 4, 2min 17 faster than week 1

pushups – 5 more on my toes than week 4 (none on my toes in week 1). I did less on my knees than week 4, but overall I did 2 more in the timeframe than week 4, and considering the extras on my toes I’m happy with that!

ab strength: I held my plank for 6 more seconds than week 4. On my toes. Can’t really compare it to Week 1 as I did that one on my knees, but an improvement on week 4 toes time so happy 🙂

wall sit: Only 2 sec longer than Week 4. Little disappointed with that today. My legs were like jelly from the get go. It was an improvement though and 13sec longer than Week 1

sit and reach: Bigger than expected improvement here too. 5cm more than week 4. 6cm more than week 1. Very happy. I think the shrinking gut contributes 😉

So all in all I’m really happy with my progress. There’s a long way to go on this journey yet, but I’m well on my way 🙂164258_613059338707614_1441537442_nmotivation 62