As the rain cleared today we went down to the local park next to the lake to let Gareth and his friend burn off some energy. It was a fabulous day and I stopped at the shops for ice-creams for the kids. We watched the clouds race across the sky and in the distance saw a big dark cloud form. Minutes later it appeared to be racing towards the shore. The kids laughed and pointed and said how it looked like a cloud from a movie. Then the wind picked up and went from a gentle breeze to a mini tornado in about 60 seconds. The water whipped up on the lake and the girls hair flew wildly about their heads. Even the ice-creams couldn't take it and were literally blowing off the sticks!
The kids stood there, laughing and leaning into the wind and letting it take their weight. They whooped and shouted with all their might into the wind only to have their words whipped from their mouths before they could be fully formed. As we felt the first few rain drops hit our faces we turned and ran to the car for shelter. By the time we got the doors open the rain was pelting us and we sat laughing and out of breath as the rain drummed on the windows. It really was fun to see how the young can be so brave and so fearless. I loved the Amelia Barr quote I found for my photo. It really sums up how the kids were today, facing the storm and defying it with joy and abandon. I truly hope that they will learn to continue living their lives like that!
The second week of my new healthy eating regime and I'm feeling good. The two days of fasting (Mon 21st/Tues 22nd) were much easier and with no headaches this time around. I still felt the urge about 4pm to jump into the fridge and eat everything but I found it was just a matter of being disciplined and drinking lots more liquid.
Last week I spread my calorie intake between three meals (100/100/300 calories) This week I chose breakfasts that were about 160-170 calories (bigger than the first week) and just had Miso soup at lunchtime (30 calories) and had a 300 calorie dinner. I found that this worked better for me as I was leaving a 12 hour gap between my meals eating at 6.30am + 6.30pm.
According to the research this is the best way to get your body to turn to its own fat stores. The body chooses to get its energy from the food consumed in the previous few hours but if the food intake is reduced then it turns its own fat stores into fuel (yippee!) A by product of this process is ketones which are excreted in the urine. These can be tested for using a urine dip-stick which are available through pharmacies. We got a box of these sticks when Byron had his kidney stones as a way of seeing if the blood in his urine was resolving. It was very satisfying to test during the fast and see the ketones appearing in the evening of the first fast day and continue to be present right through the second fast day.
One of the main aims of intermittent fasting is to reduce levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) which is the growth hormone currently being studied for its involvement in Cancer and Alzheimer's and Dementia type diseases. It is possible to have your IGF-1 levels tested through a simple blood test. In Australia it costs $130 (after you get your Medicare rebates) You would need a minimum of two blood tests, one at the beginning of the program and at least one a few weeks or months down the track to see if you are reducing your levels. If I had a spare $260 I'd be happy to have these tests done but for now I have to content myself with the cheaper ketone testing, weighing scales and how I feel in myself.
So far I feel that I have challenged my attitude to my "need" for food. I have always believed that I needed to eat small regular snacks or I would get "wobbly" and get headaches etc. The first week reinforced this belief as I did get headaches and wobbles both days. It made me question if this form of lifestyle change suited me and if it could be a long term way of improving my Dementia, Stroke + Cancer risk factors. This second week was much, much easier. The hunger grumbles never got unbearable and were easily dampened down by drinking a glass of water. I had no headaches this week and the more I read about Dr Michael Mosley and the research he has been studying the more it strengthened my resolve to really give it a good go.
As a weight loss diet I can't say that I have had a huge change in the numbers on the weighing scale. Day to day my weight has fluctuated wildly but I have to remember that after the fast days I have significantly less waste product working its way through my intestine (giving very exciting readings on the scales) but over days 3-7 as the amount of waste product returns to normal levels then obviously the scale readings reflect this. Over the 2 weeks I have lost about 1kg but I really have been eating lots on my non-fasting days and I haven't done any exercise. As I settle into the rhythm of this new eating pattern I would like to re-introduce some simple exercise and maybe cut down on the muffins and chocolate and all the late evening nibbles that we find ourselves tucking into in front of the tv on days 3-7!
I want these changes to happen gently and get used to one step at a time. Although I have felt better this week during my fast days I do not think that I would have enough energy to exercise on these days. I think it would be more sensible to spread the exercise over days 3-7. If I want to follow through with my plans to be healthier as I turn 40 in August then I can't just go mad with new eating patterns and a big exercise plan because I know that a couple of months in I will fall over exhausted and return to bad habits.
I really hope that these changes will be sustainable into the long-term future as this is not really just about loosing the wobble on my waistline. This is about trying to learn from cutting edge research on how to massively reduce my chances of developing Dementia, Stroke, Cardiac diseases and Cancer. For anyone reading this who wants to know more I really recommend watching the BBC documentary Horizon: Eat, Fast and Live Longer or reading Dr Michael Mosley's book The Fast Diet.
I will continue to let you know how I get on over the coming weeks, especially as I make more of an effort to start some simple exercise too. The kids go back to school over the coming week which will leave me with no excuses! It's good telling all you lot about my resolutions as I feel I want to be able to have friends to be accountable to! Watch this space...
Happy Australia Day one and all!
I am practising the art of extreme self control by sipping my miso soup from my favourite cup as the kids make cake pops from chocolate mud cake, smarties, white chocolate and coloured fondant.
I will stay strong.
I will stay strong.
I will stay strong...!
As I drive my car around my local area being taxi to my kids and their social lives I have sometimes caught a glimpse of something strange on an electricity pole. Every time I pass it takes me by surprise and I make a mental note to stop and take a photo next time we are driving through. Is it a collection of something natural or man made? Giant Aussie moths? Or maybe some wacky art?
My breakfast was a simple boiled egg (80). Lunch was a banana (100) and tea was a generous fillet of steamed white fish with a good serving of steamed broccoli seasoned with sesame oil and a Thai drizzle of chilli, garlic, lime juice, brown sugar and fish sauce (242). The hardest time of the day was between 4pm and 6pm. This was when my body truly seemed lacking in energy and my head started the familiar throb throb throb in my right temple. I drank and drank and drank tap water, some black tea (blaaagh) and also some miso soup (30). Bed was a welcome relief and I could happily have gone to sleep ahead of the kids!
Talking about the kids. They persuaded me to bring them in to our local town and while there cajoled me into visiting a cake shop. I sat there with my book clenched firmly in hand and watched on as they tucked in to sugary delights. It killed me to watch them offer me a lick of their spoons but I stayed strong and drank my bottle of water dry, squeezing out every last drop and then feigning interest in recipe section at the back of my book as my stomach growled at the injustice of being empty when food was so clearly just a sniff away.
This week is proving challenging...
Now that I have got to the bottom of the second box of Christmas Quality Street can you guess what my primary New Years resolution is going to be this year?
I eat fairly healthy meals but have a weakness for chocolate, muffins and all things home baked. I don't exercise as much as I should. I have the equipment but like many other mums who balance running a home, caring for kids and part time work there just never seems to be the time. I find that when all the essential parts of my day are accounted for there is only ever the smallest time window left for extras. For me extras involve writing this blog, trying to make home-made cards, reading, exercise, keeping in touch with family and friends overseas, spending time snuggled on the sofa with Byron and...sleep zzzzzzz.
It was while snuggling on the sofa the other night that I watched an episode of Horizon. It is a BBC documentary series that has been running for many years. Made in the UK it was being shown on the satellite channel BBC Knowledge. This episode was about the UK obesity epidemic. It talked about exercise and what types are best at actually losing weight and boosting health. Many of the findings were a bit outside the box and not what I expected.
The next evening I had a long overdue phonecall with my friend Cathy in the UK. We drifted onto the topic of health and she asked if I had seen any of the recent Horizon episodes. She talked about an episode called Eat, Fast and Live Longer. It radically challenges the concept of healthy eating and suggests that drastically cutting your calorie intake on two days a week to 500 calories then eating normally for the other five days can not just lead to weight loss but can halve your risks of cardiac disease, stroke, cancer and dementia.
You really would need to watch the one hour documentary to make your own mind up. I have done a lot of on-line research and have bought the book The Fast Diet to learn all the science and read the research before I dare start. I'm really not a person for fad diets. I know I need to eat less and exercise more so that my jeans can be buttoned easily. But protection from cancer? Heart disease? Stroke? Dementia? That's a whole different ball game. As a nurse I see tangible examples of the negative impact of these diseases every shift and it scares me.
I'm not scared of turning 40. I don't mind the fine lines that are etching themselves on my face. But I am scared of growing old, of loosing my health. I think that this lifestyle change is worth trying. I know it will be hard but I am looking forward to growing old in a healthy body....and hopefully the bonus of squeezing back into those skinny jeans again!
Have you heard of this? (It's also called the 5:2 diet) What do you think of the claims? And if you have tried it have you any tips or advice for a novice? I'll hopefully let you know how I am getting on as the weeks go by...
And this was what we made when we finished our picking at the farm...
1½ cups self-raising flour, sifted
½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup blueberries
1 egg, lightly beaten
¾ cup milk
90 g butter, melted
1 teaspoon grated lime rind (optional)
1. Mix flour, sugar and blueberries in a bowl. In a separate bowl lightly whisk egg, milk and
2. Pour the liquid ingredients into the flour and stir with a spoon until ingredients are just
combined, do not over mix.
3. Spray muffin pans with cooking spray and fill muffin pans with mixture, level with the
4. Bake at 200°C for 15 minutes, until muffins spring back when lightly touched.
5. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack.
Don't over mix the muffins or the may become tough and rubbery. Best eaten same day made
but will store in an air tight container for a couple of days
It must be time to go to the Blueberry farm!
This local pick-your-own-berries farm has become an annual trip each January as we have gone to pick our own fruit in...
and 2009. (The year it rained...!)
The owners did a huge prune back of the bushes in 2010 and had no crop. The 2011 crop was small and was reserved for local restaurants and finally now in 2012/2013 there is a bumper crop available to the public once more. It was an overcast day in the high twenties. A welcome relief after the 43 degree day yesterday.
We picked just under 2kgs of fresh juicy berries and came home ready to get stuck into some blueberry muffin baking. The results of which will be on a future post if I can photograph them before they get scoffed!
Today was a lovely day spent in the company of relatively new friends. 18 months ago we knew two other local families to smile to but due to the different ages of our kids we had never really spent much time socially together. Then something magical happened to tie us all together with a thread that I hope will never be broken.
There was an exchange of phone numbers with a heavily pregnant lady after church one Saturday. A phone call late one night for help. A friendship that went from polite to real as each contraction strengthened. A baby born in an ambulance. A beautiful baby girl who was baptised with two Godmothers. And that is how we three women became friends and our three families have become intertwined.
Today we got together in one home. There was swimming in the pool, a delicious BBQ and a glass of white wine that went down ever so easily. There was watching nine kids from toddler to teenager play together. Finding the balance between letting them work things out and kissing sore bits when they fell off the swing.
Byron loves cricket. Come to think about it he loves to watch anything that vaguely falls under the title of sport, preferably in the company of other like minded blokes and while holding a cold beer! And so on a boys night out back in December someone mentioned a trip to Sydney in the New Year. Today was the day. Five of them set out bright and early and by 10 o'clock they were sitting happily beer in hand ready for 8 hours of watching men run around in ridiculous heat. Their idea of perfect!
Sian and myself babysat my brothers three kids tonight while he was at a wedding. They were all staying with Grandma who lives near us so we opted to look after them there where beds, cots and all the nappy changing paraphernalia were close to hand. Byron joined us there on his way home from work and we were all hands on deck playing, feeding, bathing and putting to bed these three little live-wires!
I have loved photography for many years. My point and shoot camera has been wonderful but I have secretly had lens envy when I see the great photos taken by friends with their SLR cameras. This Christmas Byron treated me to a beautiful new Canon SLR and I am in heaven! Nervous heaven I should say as I am petrified to get the camera out of the box in case I damage it or don't do it justice.
As the kids splashed in the pool and Byron sat relaxing and supervising I tiptoed out into the recently watered backyard. I took a few photos and tried to remember what the different settings were for. What I saw when I got back indoors were a whole heap of blurry images and the occasional beauty! Byron of course asked if I had read the manual? Manual? What manual? Manuals are for wimps. Well I suppose it wouldn't do any harm to flick through it.
I'm really looking forward to learning and experiencing a different level of photos over 2013...
...5 cousins and Uncle Joe in the swimming pool. (While Aunty Rhonda and Gina look on from the dry comfort of the seats!)