What on earth is Operation Skinny Cow?

Operation Skinny Cow was born after a few of us in Blogland decided it might be nice to lose some weight and/or get a bit fitter. We decided it would be even nicer if we encouraged each other along the way.

You can read about how it started in this post.

If you want to be part of the fun and add your own posts to this blog then send an e-mail to Emily Sue at reachingforgreen@gmail.com and she'll set you up as an author.

Friday, October 28, 2011

By the way... (ES)

Lest you think I've become a spinach-smoothie swilling exercise freak, I thought you'd like to know I just had a packet of Zig Zag Twisties. The big packet. 376 calories.

They were good.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Health and Strength (Emily Sue)

I have no idea what I weighed last time, but today I weigh 72.8kg, which is down a bit. And that's good, but I've had a bit of a brain-shift about how I'm handling this.

I have spent most of my life with body image issues and related disordered eating. I feel like I've been following diets and food rules my whole life, and I'm always feeling guilty about eating 'bad' foods or not exercising enough. (How much is "enough" anyway?) So I must ask myself... is that any way to live? I'm thinking NO.

It occurred to me recently that having a weight loss goal is not helping me. By that I mean, having weight loss as my ENTIRE goal. It means that every time I exercise, I see it as a means to lose weight. When I eat something 'healthy', it's to lose weight. When I deny myself something 'bad', it's to lose weight. This is probably not news to anyone, but that is not actually enjoyable. Further, once I lose weight I know I will stop exercising, stop eating healthy food and go back to the 'bad' foods. Even calling them BAD foods is so unhelpful. Food is not good or bad; it's just food.

So my goal has changed. I'm still counting calories and staying within a specified amount that will help me lose weight sensibly, but weight loss is not my ultimate goal. I am aiming to be healthy and strong. God gave me a body that works well (knees and eyesight not withstanding) and it is a JOY to be strong enough to do things like walk to the shops instead of drive, or walk up a big hill because there's a fantastic view at the top. It's a joy to be able to pick up my podgy cats (they're pretty heavy). It's a joy to know my body is capable of doing 50 minutes on the treadmill - I certainly wasn't capable of that a year ago, and now I feel strong when I finish.

Having this little mind-shift has been incredibly helpful. I've just discovered green smoothies (basically it's a mix of 60% fruit - whatever you like - and 40% green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale or chard, plus a cup or two of water, blend until smooth and drink) and I'm loving them - not because they are a 'weight loss' food, but because they taste great and I honestly feel fantastic when I start the day with one. I know they sound horrible, but they are soooo good. And you can't taste the spinach. This morning's smoothie had apple, orange, pineapple, banana, almond meal (for protein) and spinach. It was delicious.

I've had the same mind shift with exercise. So this morning when I was doing a workout from a DVD I wasn't thinking, "Keep going, you need to lose weight"; I was thinking, "Hey, I can do this one a bit more easily now. I must be getting stronger. Awesome!"

This doesn't mean I leap out of bed every morning all excited about exercise and healthy eating. I still have to employ the 'don't negotiate with terrorists' method to get me out of bed. I still eat chocolate and chips and other things, and sometimes I still have a total calorie blowout. But I am no longer punishing myself, and I'm no longer obsessed with the NEED to lose weight. I'm concentrating on health and strength and if it leads to weight loss, that's great. If it doesn't, I'm still going to rejoice in the things my body can do, and in how healthy I feel.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I'm back LLL

Hi All,
I have been doing other things and forgetting to post. My weight dropped below the magic 60kg and that was my next target. So to celebrate I had cheesecake, would you believe 3 times in one week. That didn't have the desired effect.
I have also had 2 trips away the first in a caring role was ok, but the Sunshine Coast for 2 days wasn't and they have a gelati shop which needed visiting, twice. Then we added a church fete and the baking and eating involved there. Add to that lot a lack of motivation and guess what you have?
Fortunately, well there has to be an upside for the last 6 days I have had a tummy upset that was persistent to say the least, and that lost me 900g. Even though I haven't walked for a week.
So I have had ups and downs and today on a bounce I weigh 59.8kg. I have really settled on the target weight now and that is between 56 - 57kg so that means another 3 kg to go. I really feel like forgetting the whole thing, but if I don't keep going now I fear the starting again won't happen, so onwards.
How much can I lose before Christmas? That's me for now.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Swimming with and without terrorists

I'm back into swimming, praise be given the long cold winter is over!  Yeah yeah, I could have used the little indoor pool with its lanes of unspecified length, but seriously?  Winter, swimming, me?  Don't want to not going to do it.

Now that the 50 metre pool is open again, I've been going every Monday with a "Don't negotiate with terrorists" attitude.  After my first aborted attempt at going, that is.  On that first day, it was cold and drizzly, and there were no parks in front of the pool, beside the pool, over the road in the carpark designated as overflow parking for the pool, the council carpark adjacent to that, or up the street.  I could have parked in the shopping centre or library carpark and walked to the pool, but the fact that all the carparks were full indicated that perhaps the pool was packed too.  So I let the terrorist beat me that day.

I've been surprised to see that I've picked up where I left off before winter.  30 laps, which is 1.5km, and completing it in nearly 30 minutes.  This is 30 minutes on The P'ool Clock, which I spell with an apostrophe in my mind because it is about as accurate and keeps time as well as The Playschool Clock, necessitating the apostrophe.

My Personal Trainer, okay, my good friend who is really knowledgeable about nutrition and fitness who is studying to be a Personal Trainer, said that to build up fitness and go further, going 10% further each week is a good rule of thumb.  I don't see this as an infinite possibility, but today I decided to try 33 laps, just to see if I survived.

A funny thing happens as I swim.  The first lap nearly kills me.  It's my freestyle lap and I tend to go a bit hard first up, because I'm cold in the water and want to get warm.  (I also wear flippers to give extra resistance - excessive cardio kills me and I like to mix a good amount of strength training into anything I do.  The flippers work lots of muscle groups in my legs, and help me actually move forward in the pool, unlike my tiny size 6 feet - about as effective as paddling a canoe using butter knives.)  The second lap is breaststroke, and it's my favourite in the set of 6 laps I repeat, but the third is where I put on my hand paddles for extra resistance and go hard at freestyle again. The third lap is usually when I start questioning whether I'll make it to 10 laps, let alone 30.

By laps 12, 13 and 14, I'm a bit depressed I'm not half-way yet, and wonder if I should stop at 20.  But by 18, I know that I'll make the distance.

Today though, but the time I got to 26, I knew I had more than 4 more laps in me, and I also knew I'd make it to 33 easily.

Better make it 34, I thought.  Don't want to get out at the deep end, and walk in the wind down to where my towel is.

But then after 34, I knew I would make it to 40.  By that stage I'd abandoned my usual set of 6 laps and ditched the hand paddles and kickboard laps.  I was just doing freestyle and breaststroke, and I noticed that as I did my freestyle laps (35, 37, 39) I started wondering if I'd do 40 laps.  I was getting pretty exhausted by this time.  But the breaststroke laps encouraged me - during 34, 36 and 38 I knew I could make it.

And I did!  I swam 40 laps, 2km!

How about after I do 50 laps (2.5km) I treat myself to a pair of swim fins?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Exercise Terrorism (Emily Sue)

I can't even remember when I last posted... I know it was after a brief burst of enthusiasm. :) I think I'm about 300g lighter than then. But that's not what I want to share today.

I read a lot of blogs, and today there was a great post on Mia Freedman's blog about exercise. The link is here but I'll quote my favourite part for you. It's longish, but worth reading. (She's quoting a conversation with Michelle Bridges, one of the Biggest Loser trainers.) 

Like the rest of us, Michelle doesn’t adore exercise when she’s doing it and she doesn’t particularly look forward to it. And it’s this myth – that we should LOVE exercise and be inspired to do it – that so many of us use as an excuse not to.

Michelle says she’s asked about motivation all the time because people assume she is a motivation machine. But she’s not. “I don’t wake up, pump my fist in the air and go ‘YES! I’M GOING RUNNING! RUNNING! YESSSSSSS!’” she insists. Just like she doesn’t wake up and go “YES! I’M HAVING A SHOWER AND BRUSHING MY TEETH.”  Or “YES! I HAVE A DENTIST APPOINTMENT!” It’s just what she does.

If you wait for motivation to magically appear? You’ll still be sprawled on your couch watching The Real Housewives in a decade. The clouds do not part. Inspiration does not strike. You will probably never be overcome by the urge to exercise. You. Just. Do. It.

Accidentally, I’ve taken this approach to exercise for a long time. It’s also known as the Don’t-Negotiate-With-Terrorists method if by ‘terrorists’ you mean the self-sabotaging parts of yourself that would prefer to sleep-in or go for drinks after work instead of moving vigorously until parts of your body hurt and get sweaty.

I don’t negotiate with myself about exercise. Ever. I’ve done the same thing for years. And years and years. Exercise is one of the most boring and predictable things in my life but also one of the most important. Without it, I’m Moody McBitchface. The way I sidestep the need for motivation is to remove as many variables as possible – I exercise indoors so weather doesn’t matter. I exercise alone so I’m not relying on anyone. I don’t have a trainer or do classes so it’s not budget dependent. I always exercise in the morning and always on cardio machines. The morning part is crucial. It means I don’t spend the day having those exhausting debates in my head about whether I will or won’t do it after work. Exercising in the morning is as much a part of my routine as getting dressed.

I just love the "Don't Negotiate With Terrorists" method. It's my new mantra... because those 'terrorist' thoughts get me all the time. "Oh, I can't be bothered. I have insomnia so I should sleep when I can. I will do it tonight. I'll be late for work. I'll go for a walk at lunchtime. I don't have any sports bras clean." You name the excuse, I've probably made it.

This afternoon I desperately wanted a nap. Daylight saving started this morning so I lost an hour of sleep and my body was protesting. I was on my computer and I was almost nodding off as I typed. I was soooo tempted to sleep... but I thought, "No. Don't negotiate with terrorists." I pulled on some exercise gear, put in a workout DVD and did that for 40 minutes. Then, feeling still inspired, I put on a Star Trek DVD and walked on the treadmill for an hour while it played. ONE HOUR. I walked 5.5km and I felt great at the end. Of course, I don't expect to do that amount of exercise every day but I hope to do SOME.

Don't Negotiate With Terrorists.

I love it.