Archive | December, 2010

Quinoa Porridge with Banana!

29 Dec

Remember my Merry Try-smas post?  What a clever little name for a post.  By George, it’s genius!  Anyhoo, enough about my marvelous wit.  Within that post I stated that I would be making quinoa for breakfast in the Christmas holidays and today that little mission was completed!

I present you with my recipe for Quinoa Porridge with Banana!  Enjoy!

Ingredients (serves 1)

1/4 cup of rinsed quinoa

3/4 cup of almond milk (you can use any type of milk you prefer)

1/4 cup of water

1 teaspoon of brown sugar

1 drop of vanilla extract

Place your rinsed quinoa in a medium sized pot.

Add the almond milk and water.

Add a drop of vanilla extract.

And a teaspoon of brown sugar.

Bring to the boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cover for 20 – 25 minutes or until it reaches a porridge consistency.

Keep your eye on it though!  I turned my back and mine boiled over EVERYWHERE.  So make sure you keep it on a low heat.

Transfer to a bowl and stir through half a chopped banana or use what ever fruit you like!  Strawberries would be a dream.  You could even add some chopped nuts for crunch.  Drool.

I thoroughly enjoyed my quinoa porridge and will definitely be making it again.

Since my Merry Try-smas post I have also mastered the protein smoothie, have trained every morning down at the beach and have been as gluten-free as possible.  I am absolutely LOVING my Christmas holidays!

Coming soon… 2011 goals.  Have you started thinking about yours?

And So That Was Christmas…

28 Dec

I had been preparing for Christmas Day and Boxing Day for a few weeks as you may know from recent posts.  I knew that there would be an endless supply of food and grog and I had to formulate a plan so as not to over-indulge.   So how did I go?

The Feast

Considering the amount of food available to me I believe I went really well!  I did not go back for  seconds and I stuck with my rule of tasting only a small amount of everything.  My only downfall was the desserts… I found myself skimping on the main meals so I could have more dessert.  But can you blame me?  Custard, warm Christmas puddings, apple pie and Lamington cake… Drool.  Seriously.  I’m only human.

Meet my nemesis...

I’ve also trained every day except for Christmas Day.  And I’m not talking just a short run or a walk around the block.  I’m talking hardcore circuit training.  The kind of training that leaves you walking like you have a stick permanently shoved up your butt.  I’m not kidding – I have been walking around like I just got off a horse for 2 days now.

My trainer Nat and I have been heading off to the beach bright and early every morning to get in some quality training time.  We’ve been taking it in turns devising the training sessions.  One day we follow her plan and the next day we follow mine and so forth.  It was my session that left us with legs of lead… I think I was trying to teach her a lesson.  That totally backfired.  Well, maybe it worked because she’s sorer than sore but I also got sore in the process!

She’s on holidays right now and in 2 days is going to Tasmania for 2 whole weeks.  I don’t know what I’m going to do without her!  She has left me with a workout plan and I’ve also got a copy of 30 day Shred coming in the post (thanks Fit Girl!) so I think I might JUST cope.  Just.

I’ll do a review of 30 Day Shred once I start it.  Has anyone else given it a go? What did you think?

Healthy Cherry Ripe!

23 Dec

My favorite chocolate bar of all time is Cherry Ripe. I can’t go past the rich dark chocolate and the gooey cherry / coconut centre. Devine! I can’t remember the last time I had one and I all of a sudden got an intense craving for one yesterday.

After milling about my kitchen trying to make the craving go away I remembered – I have dark chocolate! I have cherries! And by god, I’ve got coconut! And from that, this delightful, antioxidant heavy dessert was made.

Note: 10 cherries comes to a total of 200 calories. Multiply recipe below to make more to share!

Ingredients

25g dark chocolate
10 ripe cherries
2 tsp of desiccated coconut

Break up the chocolate into small pieces and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in bouts of 30 seconds until completely melted.

Dip cherries into chocolate and sprinkle a little desiccated coconut on each.

Place cherries on a plate covered with baking paper and put in fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Once the chocolate has hardened they are ready to DEVOUR!

The Dog Days Are Over!

22 Dec

source: weheartit.com

The Fit Girl posted a lovely little “Year In Review” post and I thought, “What a novel idea!  I’m going to casually steal that idea and make it my own!”.

I’m a huge fan of reflection and acknowledgement.  How can you ever truly achieve your goals if you don’t acknowledge what has already been achieved?  It’s the final piece of the puzzle, the icing on the cake, the cherry on top, the bees knees… it’s all about looking back and saying, “You know what?  I did that!  Fuck yeah!  I am AWESOME”.  So here is my year in review.

This Year…

  • I lost over 10kg and a total of 46cm from all over my body
  • I got over my fear of food, stopped dieting and starting eating nutritionally balanced and healthy meals
  • I fell in love with the world’s best trainer and got over my fear of exercise
  • I started this blog which has been fundamental in my weight loss success
  • I cut down on alcohol and limited it to only social gatherings (very hard!)
  • I truly understood what it means to be motivated to achieve something
  • I went off the pill and said goodbye to gross fake hormones and hello to my libido!  (TMI anyone?)
  • I stopped over thinking EVERYTHING and got out of my head and just let my body do what it was meant to do
  • I ran my first 9km fun run and then ran a 10km fun run
  • I discovered that running wasn’t actually that fun…
  • I fell in love with quinoa!
  • I tried hip hop dancing and failed
  • I did a fashion shoot for Cosmopolitan Australia (hitting stands in February!)
  • I tried Zumba and failed
  • I overcame insulin resistance
  • I made a commitment to leading a healthy lifestyle which means even when my weight loss journey is over I will never, ever go back to old habits

I want to thank…

  • First and foremost, my trainer, Nat Carter – you are my inspiration, my support, my cheerleader, my dietician, my motivator, my psychologist, my drill sergeant, my own personal comedian, and most of all, my friend.  I can’t thank you enough for what you have done for me this year – you gave me a new life.*
  • My husband – I don’t even know where to begin.  You’re my number one supporter and you’ve been there for me every step of the way.  Every whinge about muscle aches and pains, you’ve listened to.  Every crazy new health food item I’ve cooked, you’ve eaten (maybe not twice but you at least tried them all once!).  And now you are starting your own fitness journey and I couldn’t be more proud.  We’re going to be so fit and hot I can’t even STAND it!
  • My training buddies – we’ve shared so much sweat over the past year it has been absolutely disgusting!  But it has been awesome to share the pain with you!  Pain shared is pain halved right?  Does it work that way?  Maybe not.
  • My friends – your words of encouragement have spurred me on along the way and I’m so thankful to have such a great group of girls to call friends!
  • My blog readers – I don’t know many of you but I feel as if I do.   I’m still amazed that there are so many people who actually read this dribble and would want to support someone they have never even met but that is the power of the healthy bloggers community!  You guys are all amazing and I wish you all every success in the coming year.

* I may or may not have got a small tear when I wrote that!

I turned my life upside down this year, pulled it apart, put it back together and started afresh.  Everything I thought I knew about weight loss I discarded.  I made way for new knowledge and I devoured it.  I changed myself inside and out for the better and I will never look back.

So here’s to 2011!  May every dream, wish or hope that you have for the year come true – make it happen!

 

 

Diary of a Week in Christmas Party Hell…

20 Dec

Dear Diary,

Last week was intense.  I am extremely pleased it’s over and would now like to crawl in a hole and not see anyone until Christmas day.  Do you think this is possible?  Sigh.  Probably not!  But one can only dream.

Last Monday my touch team received a mighty flogging.  I think the score was 12 nil.  These guys we played against were super quick and our defense was terrible.  It was the last game of the season so we totally went out with a bang fizzle.

Tuesday called for group training and then beers and cricket with colleagues.  I had 2 beers.  They weren’t even light beers!  Guilty is my name.  But I had lunch beforehand (a lovely quinoa and lamb stirfry) which meant I didn’t have any of the BBQ chicken, creamy salads and white rolls on offer but I did have some BBQ Shapes. We played cricket FOREVER though so I didn’t feel TOO bad about my BBQ Shapes indiscretion.  Mind you, I suck at cricket.  Like, I only hit the ball once.  Yeah – I’m THAT bad.

Wednesday I had personal training and then a work Christmas Party at night.  I made a conscious decision to have a few drinks to celebrate with my colleagues.  By conscious decision I mean that I didn’t enter into the night and start mindlessly drinking – it means I put a limit on how much I would drink (6 drinks max), spaced it out over the night, drank slowly and didn’t feel guilty about my decision.  This also meant that I didn’t get too drunk but it somehow meant that I did have a whopping headache the next day.  All day.   I had a great time though and the catering was excellent – lots of grilled garlic prawns and seafood.  Delicious!

One of my very gorgeous training partners & me

On Thursday I had one of the most painful experiences of my life.  I had a jaw massage.  It was seriously fucked up.  That’s the nicest way I can put it.  My masseuse put on a rubber glove and totally violated the inside of my jaw.  There were tears, there was screaming, there was hand crushing (his).  But afterward I felt such sweet relief.  I’m a serial jaw clencher so it needed to be done but I am not looking forward to having it done again!

 

Then guess what I did at night?  I went to ANOTHER Christmas party!  We went to a lovely sushi restaurant prior to the party and I had a beautiful udon soup and some sushi so therefore didn’t eat any of the food on offer at the party but I did have 2 light beers.  Why?  I’m really not sure.  I could have gone without them but I think sometimes I get so caught up in the party atmosphere that it’s hard to say no.  See, I’m not perfect either!  I do have my moments of weakness just like anyone else!   But excuse me, can we talk about how I look like a body builder in this photo?!

 

Hi, my name is Miss Olympia! I will CRUSH you!

Holy moly!

Friday finally came.  I was absolutely exhausted.  I had a group PT session in the morning and then we had a farewell lunch for my Manager. And… I drank a few glasses of wine.  Again, why?  Clearly I had issues last week with self-control!

I did stick to most of my survival tips though – I didn’t drink to excess, I exercised portion control, I stuck with my scheduled work outs… And I think I would have been happy with my decisions if I drank only on one of those days but unfortunately I chose to do it on all four.   Ah well, all the parties are over now and I did what I did.  Time to accept, move on and get back to being awesome!

I finished off the week with training on Saturday morning and visiting my mum and brother who live 3 hours away on Sunday.

And EXCITEMENT – I only have 2 more days of work and then I can focus on my holiday goals!  My trainer just sent me through my holiday fitness programs too.  Do you think she is hinting at something?  😉

Do you have issues saying no to festive drinks?  Do you try to exercise control and put boundaries in place or do you just enter the party season without a care in the world?

Merry Try-smas!

15 Dec

I’m starting to get abnormally excited for my Christmas break.   No, it’s not because of the delicious food.  No, it’s not because I don’t have to go to work.  No, it’s not because of all the boozy parties.  No, it’s not because of presents (okay, maybe a little bit).

It’s because I am going to have 2 and a half weeks to totally focus on health and fitness!  What a freak!  But my, oh my, I am so excited about all the things I am going to try!

I am going to try quinoa for breakfast:

Source: theceliacmaniac.com

I’m going to try almond milk:

Source: nandyala.org

And, oh my god, maybe I’ll even cook the quinoa in the almond milk and add bananas?  I don’t know!  I’m feeling that crazy!

I’m going to make protein powder smoothies:

Source: womensabworkout.com

Mmm blended berries, yoghurt, ice and protein powder!  Hello!

I’m going to try and be as gluten-free as possible (tummy issues – I’m looking glaring at you):

Source: sensitivediner.com

AND I’m going to train at the beach every morning:

Source: blogs.people.co.uk

Weee look at me go!

Although some people might not agree, being on holidays is a great time to focus on your health and fitness goals.  You’ve got no excuses!  Time – you have plenty of it!  Work – sayonara!  Bored – time to try new things!

What new things are YOU going to try this Christmas holidays?

Muscular Thick Thighs

13 Dec

It was measurements day last Friday.  My most dreaded, yet at the same time anticipated, day of the month.

I didn’t do too badly… but it wasn’t a rockstar result by any measure.  Well, that’s by my incredibly high standards that I reserve solely for myself.  Although, one thing to celebrate is that since keeping this chart I have officially lost 10kg!  When I started this whole new lifestyle at the beginning of the year I was about 85kg so I’ve lost MORE than 10kg!  Winner!

I prepared this comparison for you.  Actually, it’s more for me because I was thinking, what does 10kg look like?  But you can look at it too.  I’m a giver and a sharer, you see!

Feb 2010 and now

Now it’s time for the figures:

So, if my crappy math is correct, I lost a total of 6cm.  Okay okay, that’s fairly reasonable.  I was expecting more though, to be honest, because when my trainer took my measurements at the end of our 12 week Saturday group training sessions I had lost 4cm in 3 weeks from the navel.  Seems I put 2cm back on!  I was attending a course all week last week so had more rest days than usual and also my diet was a little off kilter so I would have to put it down to that.

But I’m happy that I finally got some movement on the hips (which includes my bootylicious derriere)!  If only the message would get passed on to the thighs I will be happy.  The thighs have toned up a lot though so even though they haven’t lost as many centimeters the fat on them is being replaced with muscle.  More muscle means more fat burning so pass the muscle please!

Is this about my muscular thick thighs?

On a side note, there’s only 2 weeks to go until the end of the year!  It’s time for reflection.  Here’s a great post by my trainer on that topic.

So, don’t forget to set some time aside for yourself to reflect and assess 2010!  I’m looking forward to sharing an awesome 2011 with you all!

 

Cheering for Sour Cherry Juice!

9 Dec

About a week ago I posted the following on my Facebook page (you should totally press ‘like’!  You won’t regret it, I swear!)

A recent study found that insomniacs who drank two 235ml glasses of sour cherry juice a day for 2 weeks fell asleep 20 minutes faster and slept more soundly through the night.

Of course, being the health nut that I am, I have been on the lookout for sour cherry juice ever since.  I was lurking around in my local fruit and vegetable shop yesterday (you know, admiring the lettuce, smelling the coriander, as you do) and I noticed they had it for $1.99 for a liter. I wasn’t sure if that was a reasonable price or not but all I knew was that I was going to buy that juice and by god I was going to blog about it.

First comes the research.  I did a little Google on the interwebs thingy and it told me many interesting things about sour cherry juice besides the fact that it is good for insomniacs!  I shall present a few of them to you in bullet point for your reading pleasure and ease:

  • Drinking a glass of cherry juice a day offers the same health benefits as eating 23 portions of fruit and vegetables!
  • 250ml of the juice contained more antioxidants than five portions of peas, tomatoes, water melon, carrots and banana!
  • Sour cherry juice may offer relief to people suffering from arthritis or gout!
  • Drinking sour cherry juice immediately before and after exercise can alleviate muscle pain!

(Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1062831/Cherry-juice-hailed-superfood-equivalent-23-portions-fruit-single-glass.html#ixzz17brFme99)

So after reading all the fantastic benefits it was time to pour myself a glass:

Firstly, I love the gorgeous deep read colour.  Made me think I was drinking a glass of True Blood.  I felt incredibly vampire-ish for a good moment there.

Taking the first sip I noted the tartness.  Not quite as tart as cranberry juice but still a lovely sour taste.  Sour yet sweet.  A nice balance of flavour.  This is beginning to sound like a wine tasting!  “Mmm yes yes, full bodied yet not too heavy on the nose.  Lingers on the plate.  A sensory delight!”.

What I’m trying to get across here is that I love the taste.  Kind of like a cross between apple juice and cranberry juice.  Delicious.  Could even make a great accompaniment to vodka!  Not that I encourage or endorse drinking but I don’t mind the old celebratory tipple! Moderation is key!

I’m not sure if I am feeling any benefits yet, this is only the second day I have been drinking it, but I will try drinking it before and after my training session in the morning and will advise you all if I see any difference.  Even if I don’t notice any benefits I will still continue drinking it!

Have you tried sour cherry juice?   Noticed any benefits?

Fitness Tests, Red Dresses and Reflections

7 Dec

I have been a bad blogger.  A very very bad blogger.  Feel free to give me a good spanking – clothing optional!  Did I just say that?! Oh no I didn’t!  Oh yes I did!  Grrrraaoowww!

You see, I forgot to update you all on what my results were for the second part of the fitness test I undertook in September!  And I don’t remember what the results were either… I did have an email saved at one point but it’s gone to email heaven.  That shit happens sometimes, even to highly efficient people like yours truly.

But never fear dear bulge battlers!  I did ANOTHER fitness test 12 weeks ago and completed the follow up test on the weekend and I have the results in my hot little hand or rather at my hot little fingertips!

25/09/2010 5/12/2010
Squats 54 60
Pushups (on the knees) 47 55
Plank 1:40 mins 2:19 mins
Run (approx 1.5km) 13:15 mins 11:58 mins
Burpees 24 28
Lunges 46 62
Tricep Dips 80 98

 

I improved in all areas of the fitness test!  I am incredibly stoked with myself.  Plus, over that 12 week period I lost a total of 7cm from my navel!  I’m excited now (but still nervous) to see the rest of my measurements on Friday.

Another extremely satisfying thing that I wanted to share was that I have borrowed a friends dress to wear to a wedding on Friday.  That might not sound exciting to some but for me it’s a huge deal.  I haven’t been able to just ‘borrow’ an item of clothing from a friend in a good ten years.  Nothing ever would have fit me!  But I am borrowing my best friend Chanel’s gorgeous red size 12 dress and it fits me well!  Maybe even a little roomy!  Mind you I should add that it’s now miles too big for the svelt Miss C!  Here’s a sneak peak:

Strike a pose! Don't mind the messy bedroom!

I’m feeling so happy and confident at the moment but I still have a lot of work to do!  The year is winding up and I’m starting to feel the strain.  I’m exhausted both in body and mind.

This year has been HUGE for me.  The biggest year of my life.  I’ve changed so much – physically, mentally and emotionally.  But all the pain, sweat, tears and tiredness has been worth it.  Not just for aesthetic reasons but for also for my health.  It’s been almost 2 years since I was diagnosed with mild insulin resistance and PCOS and I’m happy to report that I conquered insulin resistance earlier this year and my PCOS is now under control.  That was my main goal this year and I achieved it.  Now to get to 68kg!

If you had to reflect on your health and fitness regime over the last year would you say that you have achieved your goals?  If not, what do you need to do to put your health first and how will you do it?

P.S. Have you become a fan of my Facebook page yet?  See right and click away!

These Are a Few of My Favourite Teas!

1 Dec

“When hunger strikes, when workouts sting, when I’m feeling saaaaad, I simply drink one of my favourite teas and then I don’t feeeeel sooooo baaaaaad!” (yes, I made that up.  Catchy, yes?  You love it!)

I love tea!  I love drinking it, brewing it and smelling it.  ‘Green Tea’ by Elizabeth Arden is one of my favourite scents!  I like to browse tea sites and fantasise about teas I might like to try.  Yes, I’m that into tea.

Let’s start with my FAVOURITE tea right now.

Chai Latte

Chai is a traditional Indian tea (‘chai’ means ‘tea’ in Indian) and has many health benefits. The usual base for chai is black tea to which spices are added (ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, cardamom and nutmeg).  The tea is then blended with milk and honey or sugar to make a sweet, creamy drink.  You can also buy the chai spice blend and have it without black tea for a non-caffeinated version.

The spices in chai have been used in Eastern medicine for centuries :

  • Ginger is excellent for a variety of ailments including sore throats, cold and flu symptoms, upset stomach, nausea and aches and pains
  • Cloves are good for promoting proper circulation
  • Cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar levels and is also known as a stimulant
  • Cardamon is used for easing indigestion and has calming properties
  • Pepper aids digestion
  • Nutmeg helps lower blood pressure and sooth a stomach ache as well as stop diarrhea and (in low doses) helps detoxify the body

Chai is definitely better for you if you blend it yourself rather than buy from your local Coffee Shop so you can control the sweetness.  Look for the chai spice blend in health food stores and have it with skim milk to save calories.

Green Tea

Read this.  Nuff said.

 

Chrysanthemum Tea

My friend Nat and I tried this at work the other day.  One of our Asian colleagues swears by it and made a big pot for Nat to try so she poured a cup for me.  It’s naturally quite sweet and very herbal tasting.  It’s really refreshing and has a truckload of health benefits!  I’ll definitely be adding it to my tea rotation!

The following are the health benefits attributed to chrysanthemum tea:

  • May help lower blood pressure and consequently also help in the treatment of other related ailments, i.e. angina and other heart problems
  • May help relieve headaches
  • May help in the treatment of colds, fever and the flu
  • May help in the treatment of tinnitus
  • May help in the treatment of such skin problems as acne, boils and sores
  • Is believed to contribute to clear vision
  • May help in the alleviation of dizziness
  • Is believed to contribute to alertness

(source)

Ginger Tea

 

Source: tankitchen-dessert.blogspot.com

I touched on the benefits of ginger in one of my earlier posts however to recap:

Ginger is good for:

  • Upset stomach
  • Cleansing the colon
  • Keeping menstrual cramps under control
  • Improving circulation
  • Regulating the metabolism
  • Regulating blood sugar levels
  • Improving mental alertness

You can buy ginger tea in tea bags from your local supermarket however it’s so much nicer when you make it yourself!  Want to know how?  Read this.

Peppermint Tea

Source: buzzle.com

Peppermint tea is so delicious.  I love how it’s an instant mouth freshener too (especially good after meals containing onion!).  It instantly perks me up and livens my senses.  Just inhaling that zingy scent gets me all revved up! Woo hoo!  (Too much?  Sorry.)

Peppermint tea is great for digestion issues and soothes a bloated belly.  It’s also known to be an appetite suppressant so it could even aid in weight loss.

It has a wide variety of uses which includes anything from stress relief to boosting immunity.  You can read more about the wonderful benefits of peppermint tea and how to make your own by clicking on the image above.

 

I also love black tea which is choc-full of antioxidants (as are most teas).   Most teas are generally good for you and I find they are a great hunger distraction.  Whenever I feel the usual afternoon peckishness come on I reach for one of my many packets of tea and I forget that I was hungry in the first place!

Are you crazy for tea too?  What’s your favourite tea?