Spar Women’s Race – 17 March 2013

I would not under any circumstances class myself as a runner.

I shuffle.   I sort of stumble along.  I cannot run for very a very long time, or at a particularly fast pace without making people wonder how on earth my knees manage to move at that particular angle.

I tend to do short attempts at running, and spend the rest of the time trying to walk really fast.  There is also time that I set aside for dry heaving, as my body (and mind) do not enjoy exercise in any shape or form.

People keep promising me that my endorphins will be taking over and I will love it.  So far, there have been no sightings of endorphins or porpoises or Nemo for that matter.

I loath exercise, before I do it, whilst I am doing it, and especially when it is over.  I usually give thanks that it is over, and I can just go home.  I really do not sit there with a big smile on my face telling people how wonderful I feel.

The fact that I do it at all, speaks volumes about my ability to “just put my head down and get the fuk on with it” …..

I do enjoy running downhill (I can’t run uphill, and am suspicious of people who can – the human body is not designed to do that).

I like the way the sheer weight of my body propels the rest of me forward at a bit of a pace, creating the illusion of speed.  As my body hurtles down, usually at a speed slightly faster than my legs can move, towards the end of what ever lies at the foot of a hill is quite a thrilling sensation for me.

I am always surprised that there are not bodies strewn along the side of a hill when I run.  I definitely would be motivated to strew myself there if there were other bodies to keep me company.  But there never is, so I tend to take a deep gasping breath and just keep on moving — until I can fall down later.

I have been afraid of entering anything that has the word “race” or “run” or “event” in it – partly because there is this assumed perception that I am going to have FUN, and also that there might be pressure to wear a running vest.

I cannot think of anything more cruel to on-lookers or my sense of style that me donning a vest.   Vests are for people who beat their wives and convicts  no one else in the civilized world should ever wear a vest.  Just say no!!

Even with this knowledge I entered the Spar Women’s Race.

I decided that the best course of action was to do it by myself.  That way I would not need to feel responsible to someone else, and the “togetherness” that we must share.  I figured I could run/walk at my own pace, or chicken out and of all of this with no outside pressure what so ever.

I tend to ignore things, it is my coping mechanism.  Kennith kept asking me the route and other probing questions that only people who regularly enter outdoor activities would know to ask.  I kept telling him that other than the fact that it is sponsored by SPAR, I have no information, and was happy to remain uninformed, so that I could concentrate on other important stuff likes which hat went better with my ponytail!

On Sunday I went along to join the 10km run/race/event.  There was a great energy and music playing – Kennith and Connor came along to see me start and then to be there as material witnesses to prove I finished, should there be an enquiry.

I have never had to run/move in such a large crowd so that was a bit frightening.

I was scared of falling .  You know that if all you can think about is “don’t trip, don’t trip, for god sakes don’t trip” then you are inevitably going to pull a Zola Budd (for those born after the 80’s please google Zola Budd and Mary Decker — it takes falling on your banana to an entirely different level).

I concentrated on where I was putting my feet, and kept my hands ready to push anyone to the ground who got in my way.

There were so many people.  People who ran faster or slower than I was going.  Kennith said it took more than 20 minutes for the people who were waiting to start to move past the start line.  Holy crap that is a lot of people!  Fortunately our “early bird gets the worm” philosophy put me about 15 metres of the front, so I can’t imagine who overwhelming it must have been right in the middle of that packl.

I ran more than I thought I would or could, or believed I should!

I realise that if you had seen me at any point, you would have asked “when exactly did you run?”  I do admit my running is probably slower than my walking pace, but you would know I am running by my very red face, and the funky way I was moving my arms in an up and down sort of motion.

I have a Garmin running watch, so I can see how far I had moved, what my time is and my pace, so that really helped.  It helped because I constantly wondered if I had covered 7 kilometers yet, but then was always stunned that it was only 700 metres, like maybe!!

I was really happy with the way it went – mainly because I did not fall. I did not end up having to use the porta loos along the way.  I only drank one gulp of Fanta Grape along the way, and nearly projectile vomited.  I thought it was coke – I hope it was going to be coke.  After that I was really suspicious when ever anyone tried to give me anything along the way, which is probably a healthy approach if you are ever in Sea Point Main Road.

I was glad I finished the 10km – not exactly flying, but I will take 1 hour 22 minutes as a win or at the very least a finish.

Thanks Spar!!

It was a well organised run/race/event, goodie bag was pretty awesome.  Thanks for the free muffins.  I was really impressed with the  sms’s I received before and after the race.   The race marshals were really great and were a constant source of fun and good cheer along the way.

I still have not seen my endorphins though.


Atkins serious rethink …

I do not want to get into a furor about whether the Atkins Weight Loss Programme works for thousands of people, I am sure it does, else there would not be so many people who felt so strongly about this programme.

I have realised that people feel a zealous belief in this programme which makes me feel slightly suspicious, and uneasy.  But that is not the issue.

I wanted to remain in the Induction Phase for as long as possible.  I have been doing Induction for three weeks, and have followed it religiously.  I follow the foods allowed, I weigh my food so that there is not this sneaky “larger portion” issue – if it is not allowed, it does not pass my lips.

I have not so much as nibbled on a NikNak chip since I started.

I dropped wine, milk, bread, pasta, and anything that in any way had refined sugar or carbohydrates. I have been eating salad greens and meat like a person possessed.  I have consumed enough eggs in enough varieties to at the very least get me my own cooking show on Channel No-One-Watches.

I have not been hungry since I started the programme, but at the same time I have not felt the “Atkins Edge” that the four books I have read keep telling me I will.  I have felt the Atkins Sadness that no one mentions.

Someone mentioned that maybe I was not mentally ready to do Atkins, I am starting to think she was right.

I decided to continue with blind faith as I was sure the hard work, persistence, blind faith and sticking to the rules would have a result on the scale.  I really do not give as much of a {delicious pumpkin with cinnamon and sugar} fritter about whether my cholesterol changes, my blood pressure and all the other health benefits – right now my focus is the numbers on the scale.

That fellow Atkins devotees is all I am interested in right now.

I started Walk/Run for Life about three weeks before I started Atkins, and go along to that three days a week.  This programme works for thousands (hundreds of thousands) so again I decided that I would fit into the programme and do how and what they said.  I walk when they say walk, and I run when I think I can and they suggest I could.

So far so good.  I go three times a week, and though I am in no way “enjoying” it – as I really loath exercise, I do it as I know there is a bigger picture at play here.

This week has been a very despondent one.  I started to get angry that I was not eating much other than salad and meat.  Though the programme allows for a large variance in food, fat and protein that you can consume, at the end of the day most dishes are either eggs, meat, or eggs and salad, or meat and salad – work that into as many combinations as you like – and I have!!

I started to feel like I was restricting myself. Then angry with myself as I hate being told I can’t have something.

I weighed myself this week and my weight was pretty much unchanged from my first weight in.  NOT SO SILENT SCREAM.

I decided to also go and have a cholesterol blood screening done, you fast fr 8 – 12 hours, have blood drawn and they do a triple cholesterol test.  I was a bit smug, as I assumed I would have no cholesterol issues.  My blood pressure is 100 over 60, which pretty much classifies me as dead, so I figured if I have no issues around high blood pressure, I was pretty much home free on cholesterol as well.  I made an assumption, based on zero scientific fact or connections between the two.

I was a bit shocked when my cholesterol tests came back and it seems I am wrong.  I do actually have a cholesterol problem.  I spent three days throwing around my stroll into Atkins, how I felt so deprived (not hungry, just deprived) and how I just wanted to drink a glass of wine or eat a Niknak without feeling I was committing a cardinal sin, and would be sent to Hell.

Atkins does not view slip ups or cheats in a casual light.

The books are written in a very “pick up that chocolate chip cookie and rue the day you were born …. it is not worth it ….. you will ruin all your hard work …. you will need to repent to the diet gods and you will actually feel sick …. eat that cookie as your own peril…”

They don’t actually use those words, but that is the gist of the situation.

Friday, I was having a real “fuck it I am getting annoyed with this situation” as I prepared yet another salad and meat” meal …. I decided that Atkins and I are going to part company.  I am not knocking Atkins, as said with that many devoted followers it must be doing incredible work.

For me right now -I need to eat a cookie without feeling I am contributing to the downfall of an entire civilization  I do need an eating plan, I do need something that has boundaries, I do need something where I can keep a food diary and a list.

I am off to find the nearest Weight Watchers.  I do realise I am out of the circle of Atkins, but there you go.

First two weeks on Atkins ….

I have read a few books on the Atkins Nutritional Plan, and I liked the sound of it.

I really need something severe to step in right now.  I am in the downward spiral to a lard arse, and there is no way I am able to stop myself by the usual “eat less and healthier” means.

I have been unhappy with my weight for the last four years or so, and each year the kilograms seems to find friends that can join them, and I get more and more despondent every time I look in the mirror, and try to squeeze into my clothes.

The final straw was when I bought a swimming costume about four weeks ago, that would be something my granny would wear —– it really is time for a severe HELP plan.

I decided to get my arse off the couch eating a bag of LAYS and a bottle of wine, and start Atkins.  I have also started Walk-for-Life and really hope to be up to running, albeit very short distances come February.

I had read loads of reports that people tend to feel a bit ill in the beginning with Atkins.  I believe your body goes through a bit of an adjustment and this may leave you feeling a bit dizzy, icky and shite.  I haven’t really had any side effects that I have noticed.

The big “thing” is that you remove processed carbs and sugar from your diet.  Not gradually, but cold turkey immediately.

The first two weeks (Atkins Induction – Phase 1) have a very limited “range” of vegetables and salads you can take in, and this is where you are getting your carbohydrates from.  Protein is not an issue, and you are encouraged to eat as much bacon, beef, chicken and what ever-once-had-a-heart-beat as you please.

I have never been a bit protein fan, and can go days without meat, so this was a bit of an adjustment.

The amount of fresh vegetables and salad stuff you need to take in does have you at the fresh section of your local Pick ‘n Pay or Woolworths quite regularly.

I must confess that I have found switching to an Atkins Nutritional Plan has been quite expensive.  My house is stuffed with rice, pasta and tons of other food but everything is off-limits, so the result is that I have had to really sit down and figure out what I can eat.

I have pretty much had daily trips to the grocery store to hunt around for what I can eat.  I know that on the Atkins Nutritional Plan you do get to add more carbs as you move along, but it never gets to a point where it is okay to sit on the couch with a bottle of wine and a LARGE slice of meringue red velvet cake.  Yep, I don’t think that point ever comes.

I am definitely not starving on Atkins, you eat a fair amount of protein and fat, so the result is you never sit around wondering what else you jam into your pie hole.

I also do not eat meals because I am hungry, I tend to say “Okay, best make something as you should eat a meal now….”

Fortunately I am not a big snacky-snacky person, but that being said I have also realised how many handfuls of marshmallows/biscuits/chips and assorted other things I usually put in my mouth, whilst I am in the kitchen,and not even aware of it.  I have to consciously say NO to myself when ever I enter the kitchen that my hand does not “steal” something and shovel it in.

This is what I had for lunch today: 20g Rocket, 55g Snap Peas, 1/2 Haas Avocado, 70g Orange Pepper, 150g pork sausages and a few sprinkles of beetroot sprouts — so in no way am I hungry after this. (I burst the porkies about 2 minutes after I started cooking them …. so they aren’t all silky and shiny, but crikes porkies are brilliant)

I was really elated that in the first week I had lost 1.5 kilograms, but then I got on the scale earlier this week and it was all back.  Aaah fek!

 I decided that I needed a kitchen scale and to do it properly and not “estimate” portion sizes – hence the reason for the grammage control.  I just figure if I am going to do this properly I don’t want to be blowing it because I can’t judge the correct portions.

Ballooning weight …. alarming waist line …. and a fat arse!

I have never had a good self-image.

Even when I weighed 50 kilograms, I hated my body because it was too skinny.  I am 1.75 metres tall – so I was pretty damn skinny.

My nose is too pointy, my knees are too knock kneed. I used to hate/loath the large birthmark on my left hand side.  There is very little about me physically that I like.  Funny (not so much) how we are our own worst enemies.

I have always been an erratic eater, and eat when food passes me rather than have planned set meal times. I seldom eat breakfast.  I gorge on Chuckles, and Pasta, and can easily quell the dreams of a bottle of wine.

I will go a day without eating anything, other than drinking tea, then at 19h00 realise “Hey I am hungry” – open a packet of Plain Lays and eat that whilst I sip two or four glasses of wine.

Not a great meal plan by any one’s standards.

I don’t really eat vegetables, but I eat salad, so I don’t get too worked up about it.  I love pasta in almost any shape or form.  I get wildly excited by NUSSFIT spread thickly on top of white bread. I can do 4 slices of that for breakfast, lunch and supper with a thick chocolaty smile.

Any the who, I have been adding kilograms slowly to my frame.

When I had Connor (2001) I weighed around 55 – 58kilograms.  When I had Georgia (2005) I weighed around 65kilograms.  When I had Isabelle(2009) I did not even bother getting on the scale, it was close to 69kilograms and I felt like a heffalump.

I can honestly say that my weight has little to do with the pregnancies, but all to do with the way my eating habits changed when I was breastfeeding.  Before I had Connor I ate small meals, after Connor I started tucking in to starters, main and dessert.  Breastfeeding meant I could eat almost what ever I liked and did not add weight.  But then I stopped breastfeeding, and continued to eat the same calorie intake.

This year has been the worst, and I have ballooned past 70 kilograms, and nearly shat myself when I realised my weight was sitting at 77 kilograms, which means 80 kilograms was not that far off.

I hate seeing myself in photographs. I despise seeing my reflections (our bathroom has a full wall of a mirror, so it is tricky to take a crap without having it in full living colour reflected back at you).  I know I am on route (already there) of being fat, and I can’t seem to maintain the will power not to eat 4 slices of white bread with NUSSFIT.

I am very reluctant to stand up and say, so I am on a diet, or I am on this exercise plan, as I like to fail quietly, not in the full glare of public scrutiny.  I have realised the sooner I accept that I am making some changes, and incorporate them into my life, my blog, what I do, the better it is for me to keep going with the,

I need a life style change, and not just a ‘flash in the pan’ diet.  I think I am past where a diet can help me – the idea of a gastric bypass is looking more and more attractive.

I have been reading several books (at once) on the Atkins Diet.   I am finding little in the way to fault it right now. I do appreciate if I googled “what’s wrong with Atkins” I will be killed in the flood, but for now I am focussing on what works about it.

I decided to start and not stall any longer.

I started on Tuesday, 6 November – and I am following what they recommend as the Induction Plan which is meant to last two weeks.  My feeling is that I will see how I am faring in two weeks, and make a decision whether to remain on the Induction Phase or move to the next phase.

The food I am eating is a totally brain shift – it is food I eat, but food I would not naturally consume without a side of potatoes, pasta or rice – in short the Atkins Diet is a bit prohibitive (understatement) of Starch.  It is pretty freaky about Sugar too, but I would say it has quite a focus on eating a particular level of protein and fat – and moving your diet dramatically away from Refined Starch and Sugar.

I don’t feel bad in any way.  I am not quite skipping around saying I feel great, but my usual diet does not include sugar, full cream milk or loads of junk food, so it is not really a huge reach shift – but it is still early days.

I have my food diary, and I am still busy reading through three Atkins Diet Books to get my head around how it works.  My water intake has increased, and unfortunately alcohol is prohibited during the Induction Phase, so I am missing my glasses of wine rather acutely right now.

A lifestyle shift does require me to move my arse off the couch.  I decided to quietly join Walk for Life.  So me and a few dozen ladies whose mean age is probably 65 head out for a bit of a walkabout on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning.

I do want to get up to runing – I just need to get there again – and I like the way the programme takes it really s — l — o — w.  I figure that I will just stick with what they prescribe, and walk until they say I am ready to run.

I weighed myself this morning, and the scale did show an improvement — I am fine with slow progress, as long as it leads to permanent weight loss. What ever happens I seriously cannot remain in the condition and the weight that I am.

So if you are looking for me I will be the one in the corner eating copious amounts of meat with a side order of rocket, olives and sprouts and sipping my water as I eye your wine!

I have a pretty glass water bottle for my desk …..

I am probably the world’s worst eater according to a schedule person.

I seldom have breakfast. I often skip lunch, and if I don’t feel like eating for dinner I don’t.  Food, right now, is not a high priority in my life.  I am not sure why, but I seldom feel an overriding need to eat.

It is more of a “I choose to eat” and often I don’t choose to.  And I can sometimes get past two days and realise I have not eaten anything.  I just forgot.

One would think I would be über skinny.  Sadly no.  I sense that not eating but drinking copious amounts of wine, probably cancels out the low calories on the one hand.

I bounce between feeling super wired and hyped to being so lethargic, I just want to lie down … for a long time.

I hate drinking water.  I drink a lot of Earl Grey tea.  I put ice in my wine, and that counts as water intake.  I often forget to eat.  I often forget to go to the bathroom.

Last night I met with Lizel who is going to become my “better health, better diet” coach.  Bless her, I am not sure she fully understands the uphill journey she has ahead of her with me, but she is very positive.

We chatted about eating and life, and how it impacts your body, and your everyday life.  The realisation that many common illnesses are diet related.  I nodded, and then leaned over to sip my wine.

I am starting on some Herbalife products tomorrow.

I figure worst case scenario I start and if I drink 3 x shakes in place of meals (that I am not eating anyway) at least it is a start.  Gets protein in, and is very little effort, as long as I don’t make a song and dance about it.

The main point for me right now is to find an alternative for food that I can get in, so that at least my body is getting some sustenance, rather than doing this “famine/feast” thing it has got going on.

I have also bought a really pretty glass water bottle and placed it on my desk, with my cheap-arse glass and it is my aim to drink water during the day.  For me that is a bit of a revolutionary behaviour.

I usually don’t drink any water – at all – so the fact that there is a bottle on my desk is already quite an achievement.  I figure to start I just need to finish one bottle a day – 750ml.  If I can do that, then maybe I can graduate to 2 x bottles of 750ml, and we can see where we go from there.

Part of the aim is to lose weight, I’d like to lose about 10 – 12 kilograms.

But I also just want to feel better.  I don’t feel better right now.

I really need to find a way to get some energy back.  My energy levels are all over the show, and probably directly related to my eating habits.  If I can get that down to some sort of “order” then my blood sugar stabilises and logic tells me it will assist with my mood, my energy levels and maybe help me with my depression and anxiety disorder.

I get that a shake = a help for depression is a bit of a stretch. But right now I am willing to give it a whirl.  I am also hoping that my IBS/Spastic Colon gets some support as well.  Lizel has suggested some Aloe stuff to take in the morning.  She promises is it lemon zesty and I will really like it.  I am always pessimistically suspicious, but I am giving it a go.

I promise never to wear a pin badge “Lose Weight Now, Ask me How!”  If I do, I give you permission to take the badge off my shirt, and stab me between the eyes with the pin part.

So that’s my plan. Herbalife.  Water.  Shakes as meal replacements.  Not amending my wine intake at all.

Day 1 is tomorrow, so here we go.