Healthy?

Healthy is one of the most subjective phrases in blogging I think I’ve ever seen, what I may consider healthy has evolved over the years from following a well known diet club plan to Paleo, to a medium place which feels good for me but I find hard to manage. I see bloggers post “Look at this healthy XYZ” food and I think hang on, that’s entirely what “It starts with food” describes as “Sex with your pants on”, it may be made with oats and almond butter and maple syrup but it’s still a dessert, still a sugar fix, it’s not promoting good health it’s helping you make less unhealthy unhealthy choices. I try and be careful about this although I’m sure in the past I’ve failed, I’ve educated myself more since then. If you put “Healthy” in to Pinterest you get all manner of things I’d never consider healthy!

It is harm. Not just physical harm but it plays on my mind afterwards for some time, I get the need to check what the calorie intake was, I punch the numbers in to myfitnesspal to see what the “damage” is. It’s a challenging time after to get myself in the mindset that I’ve not ruined the whole day so I might as well keep going. And you know, this:

Food is a struggle. Eating a salad in a restaurant feels like a waste of going to a restaurant! I’m loathed to do it but its going to have to be the way because every day is real and counts towards my goals and every day will make a difference to or away from them. There are so many things I want to do with my life, I feel like I have an exciting future, I don’t hate myself or my body anymore, so I have to fire up some other way and what I see now is that my body doesn’t reflect who I am and that frustrates me, it shows who I was, what I was trapped in but not what I am now and so for that reason I need it to change. For the most part I don’t feel like a giant monster anymore but sometimes I do get bogged down in my appearance and how this compares with my colleagues and friends, of course I do, but its not my driver anymore, I’m no longer punishing my body with the gym I’m feeding it, Im a much more gentle person now and much more kind to myself and thats a positive thing, I’ve allowed myself to become much more vulnerable and gentle.

I’m going to be setting myself some very ambitious targets next week, some people may not agree thats healthy, but I’m hoping they will allow me to focus myself fully on what lies ahead and find a more middle ground for the long term. It’s something I want to prove to myself that I can do. If I fall down I’ll deal with that along the way but its just one week and it will set me up for many weeks after that. The cravings are going to happen and thats ok. I’m not a failure for having them (as I’ve sometimes felt I was) but it’s not problems that maketh the man it’s how they deal with them.

I’ve decided not to weigh in until the end of the challenge, again people may decided it’s healthier for them to weigh in daily or weekly, I decided that I would rather focus on my habits than the end result, I’ll know if weight is going on or off, I can feel and see it in my body now, it’s intuitive, so I’ll be happy to see a focus on habits rather than outcomes and its far more where my mindset is leading me, it seems a healthy place for me to be.

The WLC Challenge

Well the Whole Life Challenge is well underway and while it’s had some technical challenges I’ve had some personal challenges of my own to deal with!

Its been a tough few weeks with my personal life being turbulent and needing to spend a considerable amount of time helping my 7 year old adjust to the changes in his life, everything else has taken a back seat (including blogging as I’m sure you’ve noticed) but what it has done has provided me a chance to review my life and really think about what I’m getting from it and what I really want. It’s changed dramatically over the past year or so from what I thought it was.

I started the challenge on Saturday already knowing that my food choices for the day were out of my hands, 5 points lost (if you want to see how it works check out here but you basically start the day with 5 points for nutrition, stay on plan you end the day with 5 points, get off track and you lose points). Sunday we started out fantastically but ended the day after unplanned massive drive losing a further 3 points and not managing to get a workout done.

The beginning of this week I’ve managed to do everything but get my diet on track. Same old story I know. It frustrates me no end because in my head I’m screaming just put it down but actually its as simple or as hard as I make it and I have to start making it simple for myself.

I don’t eat those things right now. Thats just how it is.

Whatever I do though I’ve been honest and I’ve been completely upfront about my failings on the challenge. I hope that I can start to acknowledge and turn a corner now things should be settling down a bit.

I told myself today that I was going to get all 5 points and I’ve dropped one on a drink. I’ll take that. I’m off to the gym now with my man to sweat out some of my feelings from the previous week and try and get myself into a routine.

(Oh and the very observant will notice my new twitter handle! @BeccaRocksLife – come say hi!) 

What’s Been Going On

Well theres been some personal stresses recently, coaching my son through a difficult part of his life has been both heartbreaking and a test of patience and resolve. Add to that the feeling of failure that my summer plans kinda fell apart and I’ve been pushing since last week to get myself back on track properly. I’m pleased to report it seems to be going ok, theres been some ups and downs but I’m happy with how its gone so far. I hope to be heading back to work on the 17th at least having maintained my weight over the summer (in reality it’s spiked and I’ve fought it down again but moving on….) .

We went to an amazing Pickle Shack pop up at the Real McCoy in Exeter, sat under sparkly lights outside a vintage cafe with music and a pop up bar was ace and the food even better! Tapas served over a few hours in the late summer warmth was so much fun and the cocktails were amazing. We took my best friend and her husband along for the ride too so fun all round.

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What have I been up to though? I’ve been owning the gym in preparation for the Whole Life Challenge which starts September 13th. You still have time to join, you can read all about it via Ayesha’s WLC blog and sign up there too. I’m really excited about it and will blog separately about it later this week.

I made these amazing truffles, but learnt very quickly that they can’t be in the house, lots and lots eaten later and I’m waaaay over my calorie count for the day even with a workout! They’ve got my brain whirring though about my Christmas menu which in turn got me so excited for my first Christmas as a family with Olly and Charlie by my side.

 A “Clean” Christmas is on the cards for sure and I’m so looking forward to being inventive and experimental over Christmas and making treats that aren’t going to destroy the years work! While I may have given up my big weight loss goal this year I still have one, to reach my lowest weight by the end of the year. I think secretly I’d like to see wonderland but I’m actually somewhat scared of not being able to do it. I’ve been wandering around the 70 lbs lost mark for a long time, I get there more or less but I can never seem to make it stick. This has been a pattern throughout my weight loss journey, with the big round numbers being tricky to break through.

Sorry I know Christmas talk in September is a bit much but I’m excited about it ! Moving back to the present day we’ve been lucky enough to have a few days of beautiful weather, sunshine, warmth and hazy September summer, its been beautiful from sunrise to sunset.

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Theres still lots of fun to be had this year it seems and heading into my favourite time of year I couldn’t feel more positive about my future.

Whats been happening for you? Are you excited about Christmas yet or do you have your fingers in your ears!? 

{Review} Nuband Activity Tracker

I recently got given the chance  to try out a Nuband activity tracker and I jumped at the chance after seeing the cost was only £49.99 making it competitive in the marketplace for trackers right now.

The Nuband looks tidy and is comfy to wear, I wore it for two weeks straight and didn’t notice it really. I have medium wrists and it fit me comfortably with a little bit of give around the outside. The silver cap covers a connector which plugs in to your smart phone in order to sync the device. From the associated app you can set your Nuband to vibrate every 30 minutes of sedentary behaviour to remind you to move, plus you can set up alarms to wake you up in the morning (without disturbing your partner) for that early morning workout.

You sync through the Keep Fit app which is free to download and you can share directly after the sync, it tells you your active time, how many steps you’ve done, how far you’ve travelled, etc, you’ll get reports after 7 days, allowing you to try and beat your weekly target week on week, and you can see up to 28 days of data on the app.

The Nuband fully charged lasts for around 10 days of average activity. The sleep mode allows you to track how well you sleep at night and review how many hours quality sleep you’re getting.

So all of that sounds ace. I have a few niggles with it though. Once the alarm went off it was random the amount of taps which would turn it off again. The sleep mode is activated and deactivated by tapping on the device and again this could sometimes be hit and miss. My biggest issue was the accuracy. I tested it on a treadmill and outdoors and neither times did it match the distance travelled or the steps measured by my clip on fitbit. It is a general complaint of all wrist based pedometers that they tend to log more steps than their clip on contemporaries as they tend to log “steps” from arm movements.

So the Nuband didn’t get me to change from Fitbit but the price tag makes it super affordable and accessible for a number of people and it could set them off on a journey of improvement for them.

*** I was provided the Nuband in return for a review, I always write honest reviews and the companies never ask me to say anything in particular about their product ***

{Recipe} Paleo and Clean Madras Curry

I love Curry, and making a curry that is both great for paleo and clean eating is a total bonus, this was my first shot at a Madras and I’m so happy with it that I’m going to share it with you. Now I made this in a slow cooker but you can make it on the hob and those are the instructions I’m going to give you. If you want to slow cooker it you just need to bung everything in the slow cooker after you’ve browned it off and voila. Pin now and make it later, you don’t want to forget this one!

Curry is all about the spices so there is a lengthy list here but don’t be intimidated, you may be able to pick up spice packs if you’d rather not make your own, I love making my own as I make them to my taste! You’re gonna think this is hard but its really really not and it’s very worth the effort! I love that you can prepare nearly all of this in advance and then just bung it on to simmer! All freezable and reheatable too. Thank you gods of lunch!

madras

 

You’re gonna need: For Four People

600g Chicken or Lamb Diced
2 Onions – One finely chopped, One thinly sliced
5 Garlic Cloves – Roughly Chopped
1 400g Tin of tomatoes chopped
1 Lemon
Ghee
2 Sweet Potatoes
200g Spinach
2 Tomatoes
{Blend 1} Blended together 1 tbsp of : Chili Powder, Coriander, Cumin, Turmeric, Mustard Seeds, Cinnamon, Ground Cardamon
Gram Masala
Two Whole Chillies, dried
{Blend 2} Blended together: a teaspoon of each: Mustard Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Fennel, {Optional} Asafoetida
{Blend 3} Blended together: a teaspoon of each: Coriander, Cumin, Turmeric, Chilli, Fennel and Black Paper

And if you aren’t Paleo

200g Full Fat Natural Yogurt (not Greek or Set Yog)
{Blend 4} Blended together: Mustard Seeds, Mint, Coriander (balance of these is up to you to taste)

What to Do with it ..

Stick the tinned tomatoes in a blender with a teaspoon of salt, a squeeze of lemon juice (half a lemon) and blend one with 200ml of water. Blitz until its all smooth.

Heat a little oil (your choice olive, coconut etc) and a tablespoon of Ghee and fry the chillies, they’ll begin to darken after a minute or two on a medium heat, add the roughly chopped onion, 1/2 the garlic and fry for another couple of minutes. Then add the Lamb/Chicken and allow it to brown. Pour the tomato sauce over the top. (If you are slow cookering pop all of this in the slow cooker on low now!)

Bring to the boil and simmer all together for around 30 minutes or until the meat is tender. The lamb will take longer than the chicken. The sauce should get all thick and there may be red spots of oil on the surface.

While thats cooking…

Chop the Sweet Potatoes into cubes and roast for around 20-30 minutes at around 170-190C.

In a separate pan heat a splash of oil and a tablespoon of ghee, add Blend Two and fry for a minute or two, they might pop and jump around! Thats ok. Add the onion and fry until its brown and soft, add the remaining garlic and the spinach and cook for a couple of minutes until the spinach starts to wilt (well cook to your preference, I only like it a little cooked but you might want it more). Add the Tomatoes (chopped) and 1 tsp of salt along with the roasted potatoes and blend 3.

Cook them together for around 10 minutes covered and then 10 minutes uncovered, the liquid should largely evaporate. If it looks  too dry too quickly add some water.

For the not paleo bit add Blend 4 to the yogurt and mix, pop in the fridge till serving.
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August Round up and September Goals

August has been a challenging month but it’s also been a month of reflection and understanding of myself, September is the new January afterall! I’ve had a chance to think again and review the chances of meeting my goals before the end of the year. I’ll be amending some bits and bobs as I go along.

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Lose 52 lbs

This plan is very much beyond achievement now before December 31st. I accept that and my aim now is to ensure that I am down on where I was at the start of  the year. This year has thrown a lot at me, I’ve buried several friends and family, I’ve gotten divorced, I’ve started a new relationship, I’ve had a stressful time with my son, very busy working life and so on. Not excuses but they are all things that have highlighted to me that I  still struggle to maintain/lose weight when my life is turbulent, I’ve still got to figure out how to manage that better and next years resolutions will be more focussed on my habits than what I want to achieve I think. Its good for me to see that and revise my methods. I’m slowly working down a few pounds, I’ve gone up and down more times than an elevator this year so I’d like to see myself at my lowest weight for the year by Christmas.

Plan for September

Whole life challenge is going to be my main focus, you can read about it here and join if you want to!

Run a 5k Without Walking

This is another one that I’ve decided is unrealistic. I’ve hammered running this year, I’ve tried really hard and I have to accept that my weight is holding me back. Maybe if the above resolution was going better I’d be more on this one but thats just not how its worked out. What I’m going to work on instead is getting my 5k down to a good time for me. Regular improvement is now my focus. I’ll get a 5k down at the beginning of every month and hopefully see some improvement.

Plan for September

Work out and improve my general fitness
Do a 5k at the beginning of the month

Improve my Money Health

Despite some things beyond my control which have led to me having to tinker with my already tight budget I’m doing really well here. I’ve paid some debts off and I’m making headway into my life so that I might have a secure financial future ahead of me. There are lots of tough decisions to make in my future and I’m going to do the best I can over the next year to ensure I get there.

Plan for September

Keep monitoring my credit report
Save pennies on non essentials

Improve my Mental Health

I’ve absolutely loved this resolution this year and next year I’ll be much more specific about how I tackle this one. One of the most useful things I’ve realised is that regular exercise is a big factor, as is journalling. Journalling regularly has been a way to work through whats happening in my head in a positive way. Anxiety around perfectionist traits has been a things that I’ve become more aware of over the last year and thats something I’m tackling head on with a change in attitude and approach to the coming months.

Plan for September

Continue to set realistic expectations for myself
Journal regularly
Workout

Get my grown up shit in Order

I’ve let this one slide a little but I’m on it again. This month is going to be super productive! Theres something about summer which lets me be lazy but I’m happy to be making progress again with this one. My list of stuff is nearly done and I’m happy to have made such an impact on my life with them.

Plan for September

Clear off 3 things from the list!

 

Decathlon Triathlon in the Gym!

How do you fancy winning £200 of Decathlon vouchers without even leaving the gym? Plus even more awesome, it’s not a race, you just have to complete it. Super easy.

To be in with a chance of winning, simply complete the following set of triathlon activities at your local gym then submit your times using the form:

• 2k on a rowing machine

•5k on a cycling machine

• 3k on a treadmill

You can complete these activities in any order, and don’t worry if you’re not matching the times of your favourite athletes – you can still be drawn as our lucky winner or runner up. It’s the taking part that counts, although if you are lucky enough to be the winner or runner up we may need to confirm with you where and when you took the challenge.

Entries will be accepted until 7 September, 2014.

I will be completing my gym tri early next week and I’ll share how I get on with you! I’ll be using it as a bench mark workout which I’m really looking forward to improving on, possibly doing it once a month to see how it goes.