Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tempting, tasty, tantalizing treats

It's 6pm on Saturday night and you've just turned up at your friends place for dinner. After a day of cleaning, shopping and then going for an afternoon stroll at the local park you realise that you're actually pretty hungry. Dinner is a fair way off, so you begin by chatting over a pre-dinner drink. On the table sits the appetizer, just a wee little snack to get you to dinner. What do you do?

This is something I have been wondering about for months and seeing as it's the weekend, what better time to ask. Depending on where we are, the snacks vary from sweets at my in-laws, salty nuts at my parents, bruschetta with dip, cheese and crackers, those puffed up rice snacks or on the very rare occasion, chopped up veggies. Often it's food that should be eaten in moderation or something that would not cross the threshold of my house because it's too tempting.

I've noticed that when served at our house the snacks disappear very, very quickly. I watched bemusedly last weekend when over pre-dinner drinks I needed to top up the crackers repeatedly and the carrot sticks were left nearly untouched. The outcome was pretty predictable - when the call to the table was made everyone looked sheepish and mumbled that they weren't really very hungry any more.

I wouldn't see a problem if this was an occasional splurge, but if you are doing this most weekends, then up to 2 out of 7 days becomes a problem. I'm speaking from experience here - we have a full dinner with my family every weekend on top of socialising with friends. Sharing food with family and friends is very pleasurable and I like long multi course meals that start out with casual banter over a drink. So the traditional dinner becomes a tug-a-war between being conscious of what I'm eating while still enjoying the moment as well as the effort that has gone into the meal.

So what can you do as a guest? Not turn up so hungry. Yes. Use self control. Absolutely. Randomly wander around friends houses with drink in hand asking about each painting, picture or knickknack until dinner time? Sure, especially if they are renovating (Note to self: make friends with more people who are renovating).

But what about when you are the host? What I want to know is as hosts do we have a responsibility to our friends and family regarding what we serve them, particularly before dinner? Or is it up to each of us to be adults and take responsible for what we put in our mouths regardless of temptation? Do you serve pre-dinner snacks and if so what are your favourites?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Frustrated to the core

There are two types of people in the world; those who like pleasant, fun and enjoyable activities like walking or running or riding a bike; and then there are those who enjoy repetitively lifting, pulling or pushing lumps of steel of various size. I am not one of the latter people and I would like to take this opportunity to publicly declare that I hate strength training (at least now that the novelty of admiring my biceps has worn off). I was going to add a third category of people who don't like exercise at all, but I figured they don't exist right!?!

Begin rant: After an hour working on the fit ball dutifully following the instructions of my paper trainer I was not only exhausted but totally frustrated. I cannot for the life of me find a more boring way to exercise than to do 15 reps x 2 on each side of exercise after exercise. It's like being the machine in Ikea that pounds the chair 5 million times to prove the durability. Up, breath in, down, breath out, up, breath in, down, breath out! It's more boring than staring at the ceiling because at least then I get to think....other than one....two....three.....snore...I mean four....and I was even listening to the radio which although interesting didn't improve the situation at all.

By the end of 500 reps of all the exercises I couldn't shake the feeling that I had just wasted a whole hour of living! And one other thing, no make that two - why does the fit ball like to over complicate simple exercises that done on the floor are doable but done on the ball crush one knee into the floor while cramping other parts of the body that aren't even a part of the exercise? Yes, I'm looking at YOU ball!!

The second thing is the 5 million various exercises that work all the little bitty bits of the body. I hate sitting on the ball reading pages and pages of instructions to end up in a tangle of arms and legs uncomfortably propped up against the ball only to find that I the leg I am supposed to awkwardly be raising at an odd angle is stuck under the other one. All I can say, is thank goodness I'm not a multi armed or legged deity!

End rant: The only good thing I could glean from it is the fact that today I am really sore. And I actually love the feeling because it means I've worked. There has got to be a better way to strength train that lifting, pushing or pulling weights and please, please oh ever knowledgeable and wise bloggers tell me that its yoga!

Which category do you fall in - do you love weights or cardio? Have you found an enjoyable way to strength train?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mandarins, possums, passion fruit and strawberries

So much juicy goodness

The mandarins are now ripe, so while siting on the front stairs waiting for my mom to arrive I finally picked one. It was ripe, sweet and juicy and so fresher than fresh that I could feel my cells dancing with joy just like when I drink juice. I love the surge of excitement or happiness or ove for something that I enjoy doing. That's how I feel about my garden and the things that grow in it. It's a fair bit of work and the grasshoppers seem to be getting a disproportionally large share but I just love that I can grow at least some of my own food.

The evidence

I went to the back yard and noticed something unusual just by the compost bin - a passion fruit skin with a whole in it. This was clear evidence that the possums had been dining at their local restaurant last night. No wonder they thrive in suburbs! We have at least 2 living in our ceiling and they often eat fresh scraps from the compost bin which is about 20m from where they exit the house. What do they do the rest of the night then apart from making babies! We've had our fair share of those too.

Going out for the evening?

Anyway, I was confused by the skin as we hadn't thrown away any intact passion fruit recently. To my delight, I looked up and there in the mulberry tree was a passion fruit vine that had crept over from the neighbours with 4 deliciously ripe fruit dangling within reach. Heaven. They too are sweet and tantalising on the taste buds.

I hope there more!

Finally, it's time to plant strawberries. We bought 10 plants in a little bundle from the markets last weekend and hope to have a strawberry patch by our front door. They are 'Camarosa' variety which should produce big, red juicy fruit towards the end of the season. It's not an heirloom variety unfortunately and since it crops late we might have to procure some other types to have strawberries all winter long.

The new strawberry plants getting settled in.

Do you grow any of your own food? Ever had that surge of pride from eating something that you had put work into?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Establishing a routine....gulp

Before I have time to change my mind about this 5K thing, I'm committing to a routine. You should know, that I absolutely despise routines so sticking to one may actually be harder then training. I wrote yesterday about not wanting to do it because of flawed motivation but since committing I realised I am ubber excited by the prospect of me being able to run for 5 whole kilometres. I think it is something I used to dream of in high school. It's time I got on with it then isn't it!?!

So the training plan comes from Cool Running: The Couch-to-5K-running-plan. The tittle sold me, but apart from that it seems simple enough to follow. Later down the track, there are also free training sessions through the race organisers so I hope to join in with those. Now for the really boring part, the actual plan:

Monday - Running training
Tuesday - Cycling & Body Balance
Wednesday - Running training
Thursday - Walk & Fit ball workout
Friday - Running training
Weekend - Walk one day, rest other day

Wow! That feels great just writing it down, I could physically feel the excitement (or was it anxiety) rippling through me. One minor detail - I don't have a suitable watch or distance measuring device (so not tech savvy if you can't tell) other than a trundle wheel (just kidding). Any recommendations on one that may be easy to use? Is following strict times or distances actually necessary? Do you have any training advice?

Monday, May 25, 2009

All talk and no action

No figs where harmed during the photo shoot. that's a different story!

Wanna know what cake we have this week? Probably not but that's not going to stop me! Again we have a layer cake that stands at over 10cm high. This week we have chocolate sponge top and bottom separated from the vanilla sponge by a layer of whipped cream with little jellies in it. And if that wasn't bad enough, we also received a handful of figs stuffed with white chocolate and dipped in dark chocolate. As my Mom packed these treats in a box for us I moaned that I would get sooo fat from all of these sweets. She brushed me off with a 'well if you only have a little piece each day' comment to which my husband promptly responded that the cake and figs were for him anyway! Ah my family is so helpful.

Anyway to the point of this post: a few months ago I decided I needed a fitness challenge. In my typical style I dreamt big - a bit like stating that I wouldn't even have a tiny piece of cake during the week. Yes, I went off and found one of the most physically challenging races I could - an adventure race - and suggested that as an option. Alternatively if the race was only to involve running, then the least I would train for was 10K. No small steps here - unless you're living on the edge you're taking up too much space is my motto!

Mainly because of the difficulty of the challenge I proposed to tackle, I began over analysing the situation in my head. Eventually I came to various conclusions and drafted a multitude of excuses why I shouldn't participate in any race or indeed train for an event. The main one that sticks out is the motivation behind trying to get super fit which has much less to do with health and much more to do with wanting love. I've keep meaning to blog about it (wanting love as motivation) but I haven't come up with a solution to the issue so it just pings around in my brain occasionally. In any case Charlotte at the Great Fitness Experiment wrote a perfect post about it last week. After all, if the motivation for exercising was more about others than myself and I didn't enjoy the process then trying would be bad. After extensive over thinking I have even worked out all the negative consequences I might face if I trained, most notably having higher expectations for my fitness in the future.

So, should the flawed motivation underpinning my desire to be fit enough to run a race stop me from actually training for one? I've finally reached the conclusion that it shouldn't because regardless of the reasons for it, the desire to improve my fitness is alive and kicking inside my head. So I've chosen a 5K run to participate in at the end of August. It's in my diary, it's on the blog so it's too late for thinking. Now I have a few months to train for something that is still a challenge, but not such a far cry from anything I have ever done before that it seems like climbing Mt Everest. I'll finally be taking little steps and not biting of more than I can chew.

Which brings me back to dessert. Little steps right?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The cake is calling to me

Last week it was a rich, fudgy chocolate cake. This week, it's a Polish layer cake that stands at over 10cm tall a slice. The top is covered in chocolate icing and the next layer down is chocolate poppy seed sponge. After that I have no idea, because I was too busy eating my slice on Sunday to listen to the rest. It was delicious, although not as good as last weeks cake. The sad thing is, that I will probably never eat a slice of this cake again. My sister only cooks a recipe once...ever...and although a hefty piece lies invitingly on a plate in the fridge and calls to me, I won't eat it. I'm practising willpower and it hurts a lot. Mainly because I'm not very good at it.

Each week after dinner with my family we bring home some dessert, which usually last a day or two. But then by the second or third night, we've had a taste for sweets after dinner so the ice cream comes out of the freezer or chocolate or maybe some biscuits. Eventually I discover that I am actually eating a lot of sweets even as snacks on the weekend when I'm hungry and we are working on the house or landscaping. So I decided last week to stop having sweets during the week. I've tried every method that I've ever heard recommended to reduce sugar intake, but it simply hasn't worked. So now I am down to willpower, which isn't supposed to be very effective. But last week I got over my plateau by resisting chocolate cake so each time I am about to walk over to get a sugar fix I remind myself about that. I'm not sure how long I can keep my willpower muscle flexed, although it might just hold out until my husband finishes all the sweets in the house!

I'm curious, what are your secrets to controlling your sweet urges? Is willpower really hopeless or is it a show of strength? Isn't willpower supposed to be a good thing?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Myth busting exercise

If you are anything like me - a bit of a novice in this exercise business - then perhaps you are also confused. The confusion stems from the amount of 'helpful' articles written about the best times, activities and speeds of exercise to get you well on your to getting your ideal body or getting over the plateau. And far too often I've trusted those articles that have told me that my exercise programme isn't working because it's not before breakfast or it's not in the optimum fat burning intensity. I've trusted the experts because the more I've learnt about exercise and specifically fat loss, the more confused I've gotten. Forget the 'just do it', because there is a right time and a right place and I obviously don't know what they are otherwise I wouldn't have plateaued. Right? Wrong and Choice is here to de-myth all the things I have believed about exercise and not in a fitness magazine type way. Most of their articles are by subscription, but this little gem isn't so you can read the whole article here. So, lets get to myth busting - here are my favourites.

1. My favourite fact: Chocolate = 1250kJ. One hour walk = 1250kJ. Chocolate here I come. And that's how we all gain weight. Why? (Please someone tell me I wasn't the only one who didn't know this!) Because sitting writing blog post for one hour = 625kJ. So walking only constitutes an additional expenditure of 625kJ over the amount I normally expend.

2. My least favourite fact: The reason I walk is because I'm in the optimum fat burning zone. Yup, that's the reason. It's got nothing to do with being lazy. And it's true that low intensity exercise burns more fat as a percentage of energy burned, except that the total amount of energy is really more important. So increasing intensity and leaving the zone will not only get me fitter, but also use more overall energy.

3. Not justify my hunger fact: If I exercise in the morning my metabolism is increased all day long. Which explains why I'm always hungry after morning exercise. False! While after burn does happen (known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) it is generally overestimated. For a meaningful after burn you would have to work long and hard, so my increased hunger is probably unjustified as is exercising in the morning for the sake of the after burn if it doesn't fit well into my routine.

4. The myth that changed my routine: Exercising on an empty stomach burns more fat. You hear something enough times and you believe it. So during my plateau I figured that if I exercised before dinner instead of after breakfast I would be home and hosed. Again, it's true that after fasting you burn more fat, but the total amount of energy expended is more important that whether it's fat or carbohydrate. Which is wonderful, because now I don't have to feel guilty for not wanting to get up at 5am!

5. It's a shame it's almost winter fact: I've always heard that swimming is not helpful for fat loss, not that I ever understood why and spent countless laps trying to work it out. Anyway, it's false as long as you don't eat more because you just spent lots of time in cold water and you work hard enough.

How about you? Did you know all of these already? Got any more of your own?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Thank you

I don't think I have written very much about my downs over the last few months, mostly the ups. That isn't to say that there hasn't been plenty of bumps and doubts and feelings of failure, but mostly I wanted to focus on the positive on stuff that could be useful to others. And partly because I've been frustrated recently with this blog the focus of my animosity.

I haven't exactly been measuring my progress by kilo's lost but by how I felt about myself and exercise and food. Looking back the changes have been phenomenal. One year ago I certainly wouldn't have imagined that I would love going for a walk each day so much so that if I had a tail it would be wagging furiously each morning in anticipation. But despite the really good changes, I haven't been able to move past the desire to lose weight. And unfortunately that just stopped happening aka the plateau.

Trying to write in this blog reminded me of that every day and I felt like I was failing and it annoyed me a lot. I didn't want to be here, because I didn't want to think about how nothing was happening. But because of you dear readers I didn't want to give up on this blog, which would have meant giving up on myself too. It would have meant that I probably would have returned to my old habits because I could justify that this was just the way my body was and no amount of exercise or diet could improve it. I've finally pushed past the plateau although it did involve sacrificing my share of the most divine chocolate cake, but now I think it was worth it. I'm so glad I didn't give up and I wanted to thank you all for reading. Knowing you were out there has made a big difference and I really appreciate all your nice comments. I hope I can return the favour. Have a wonderful weekend :-)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

There's no sense in not liking yourself

I woke slowly, my consciousness returning after a long, deep sleep. My first thought was the same as every day; 'I don't' want to get up, it's so nice and warm in here.' The second; 'Hey look, I'm still here! Same thoughts, same issues, same me!' No, I don't' usually acknowledge my state of being when I wake up, except fro hunger that is.

Before I went to bed, I had looked up some song lyrics from an Aussie musical comedian - Tim Minchin - that I had watched a documentary on a few weeks ago. I've been to his performances before and he is a wonderful entertainer, with a dark sense of humour. Anyhow, the song was "Not Perfect" (check out the full song, it's great) and the lyrics I was interested in where these:

This is my body
And I live in it
It's twenty nine and twelve months old (Note: Will remember this line for when I turn 30!)
It's changed a lot since it was new
It's done stuff it wasn't built to do
I often try to fill it up with wine
And the weirdest thing about it is
I spend so much time hating it
But it never says a bad word about me

This is my body
And it's fine
It's where I spend the vast majority of my time
It's not perfect, but it's mine

So here I was again, another morning in the same body. And I bet tomorrow will be the same too, because I like Tim spend most of my time in my body, except for the occasional out of body experience obviously.

Now, just think about the pointlessness of not liking what you have been give. It might not be perfect, but hopefully I have a long time on this earth and if that's the case then I better get used to what I have, because quite frankly I'm kinda stuck here until I take my last breath. Unlike a bad marriage or job for example, I can't leave which give me two options; a) keep pointing out all my faults and make each day just that little bit more unhappy; or b) learn to love it.

Making the most of a bad situation then? Well, when you put it that way, perhaps the reflection is much better than I first thought!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Almost ripe for picking

Every time I peer outside I see these little suckers that, when bathed in morning dew and the first rays of morning remind me that cold winter nights are coming . When we first moved into the house we planted the front yard out with a lemon, mandarin, orange, lime and grapefruit tree in the hopes of being self sufficient one day. Our little trees started out with a hard life, being planted at the start of the drought, where the grass and plants around them turned to brown and crisp. We rarely watered them after planting figuring they would have to learn to survive on their own. This wasn't the first drought and surely wouldn't be the last.

With the rain in spring last year, our mandarin flowered for the first time. Soon after tiny fruit appeared all over the little tree that in three years had grown barely one metre. The mandarins teased us over the summer, happily drinking in the hot summer days unchanged. Finally with the cooler days they started growing and then stopped.

Suddenly in the last few weeks the flush of orange has tinged their skin. It's like watching a sunrise in slow motion. I'm dreaming of our first freshly picked, juicy mandarins from our little tree, but they are keeping my waiting. For the time being, whenever I see them I am filled with the desire for a healthy, juicy life that's full of flavour just like them.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Juice and a dance of joy

A colleague was once walking around the office, looking for a suitable distraction to pass the time away until 5pm. He had just finished one conversation and happened past my desk, books in hand. Being bored myself I was delighted with striking up a discussion and those books seemed like an easy topic. One had lots of juicing recipes and the other was "Slim 4 Life" by Jason Vale. 'Wow, what a promise,' I thought, 'gotta borrow me that book.' So borrow I did and read and read and read until there were no more words left by the following day. I was thrilled and in awe because I finally had the answer. All I needed to do was drink freshly squeezed juice for breakfast each morning and eat nothing but fruit and veggies until lunch. And better yet, there was absolutely no way I wouldn't lose weight!

The very next we began our new juicing regime after sneaking to my mom's place and taking her juicer. We bought huge bags of cheap apples and oranges and drank to our hearts content. Life couldn't have looked peachier, except that by the time I got to work I was starving. When 10am came around I'd already drank 5 glasses of water to try to fill my belly along with numerous cups of tea. Unless of course tea wasn't allowed. Thankfully, I don't remember any more. By 11am I wasn't able to think about anything except eating and lunch wasn't happening for another hour.

Convinced that this 'diet' was infallible (I was after all going to lose weight, right?) this continued for the whole week. The big positive was that once I got through the morning I could eat anything I wanted and eat I did! It was also either in the book or I just deluded myself that once my body got used to just juice in the morning it would stop screaming at me.

I must have made it up, because after a month of awful mornings, we gave up and went back to coffee and muesli for breakfast. Needless to say, I didn't lose any weight but probably gained some as my lunches got bigger to compensate for the hunger filled mornings. For a long time after that we didn't juice.

Recently on one not so special morning I decided I felt like some fresh juice. So after buying some fresh fruit and veggies from the markets we juiced after many years. It was as delicious as always but I couldn't help that old feeling of virtuousness. The book had promised that my cells would be dancing with delight at these morning concoctions and from the first sip I could feel it. The nutrients rapidly being absorbed and distributed to the far reaches of my body where the cells started shaking their hips and doing the salsa. It actually feels really odd but each time I drink juice I can't shake the feeling.

Any food or drinks that you feel very virtuous for eating? Does healthy food make your cells dance with joy?

Monday, May 11, 2009

The impact of Communism on my cooking

I feel like an outsider. At some point when the western world got the memo that we were all way too busy to cook, I must have been in France. I didn't get the memo and sometimes when my mind is particularly not busy it muses over the fact that their must be something wrong with my life. I mustn't be doing enough because the truth is, I do have time to cook. And what's more, I don't love it - the obvious conclusion most people verbalise - it's because I enjoy the flip side of cooking, the eating part. And I always get stumped by that statement 'I don't have time to cook' because in my mind, if you don't cook what do you eat?

I've always been puzzled by this, as well as the Slow Food Movement, because who needs to join a movement when we already practise what they preach? Right? Well it turns out that I have made two false assumptions, one of which I only found out recently. The first is that pre-prepared food like frozen meals are pretty normal in most households and cooking is in the 'don't have time' basket. Well, I've known that one for a long time, since meeting my husband and finding out that his sister can live exclusively on steamed frozen vegetables and fish fingers.

But the second assumption was busted just a few weeks back when I read on a blog (and I apologize that I can't remember which one) that convenience and processed food started being introduced in the 50's. I had mistakenly thought it was a recent phenomenon which was why I was puzzled by how frequently my peers admitted to not knowing how to cook and were amazed that I knew how to cook 'from scratch' a term that I found really peculiarly when I first heard it (At the time I actually hadn't know that there was any other option). Apparently their parents hadn't passed on those skills because they weren't doing it themselves. Domestic culinary life had changed much earlier than I had thought which was why it turned out my upbringing was so different to most of my friends.

My parents grew up behind the Iron Curtain under communism in the former USSR. While I don't' know much about what it was like, I always remember my grandmother's stories of people queuing up in the street for hours when certain products hit the shelves of a particular store. Just before my birth, times were especially tough with families receiving ration cards. My parents would trade their cigarette cards with friends for additional food cards to better feed their kids. Obviously with scarcity in food, little variety and being cut off from the west, processed food was something that was never part of my parent's upbringing. By the time we moved to the West shortly before the Iron Curtain fell, cooking in my family was the way a person fed themselves.

Growing up, processed or pre-prepared food never entered our household and dinner times were always sacred. I remember once on a shopping trip suggesting a jar of pasta sauce instead of making our own that week, but my mom turned it down because she didn't like the taste. It would seem that if you were accustomed from childhood to home cooking the stuff in a jar just couldn't compare taste wise. When I was young I was enamoured with the convenience factor and always looked at the pasta sauce jars wistfully as we passed them by on our weekly shopping trip. I cooked for the family one evening a week (and it was usually pasta) but my family simply would not accept a compromise in taste over my convenience. Obviously years and years of this have rubbed off on me too, because now when I do the bulk of the cooking, I choose to shun the jars and even occasionally go to the lengths of making my own pasta. So these days apart from all the other good reasons like avoiding preservatives, that is why I cook. I do it, because as far as I am concerned, no matter how busy life is cooking is a daily part of living, like taking a shower or sleeping.

Because food is something I am passionate about I often wonder what my generations kids are going to be like in the kitchen. Is cooking something that will one day be left exclusively to others or will programs like the Slow Food Movement resurrect the forgotten art? Is it possible that the economic woes will drive people back to the kitchen simply for financial reasons?

What's your attitude to cooking? Has your upbringing affected your time spent in the kitchen? Do you wish you had more time to prepare your own food? Or are you perfectly happy to leave it to others?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

'The thigh bone's connected to the knee bone'

So it turns out that the anatomy lessons in primary school were right. Who would have thought! And with the lyrics of that song which is "Dem Bones" (in case you, like I didn't know) ends my vast knowledge of human anatomy. On the bright side I have promised to me the loan of one anatomy textbook for my reading pleasure which I will no doubt serve to enlighten (with somewhat more accuracy) future blog posts. Anyhow, the point is that I have no clue as to the intricate workings of the human body, movement or exercise - apart from being the proud owner of an 80's model that is! But it doesn't stop me from wanting to learn all the intricate details, especially when stuff goes wrong.

Conveniently (for my learning) stuff has gone wrong. I have a pain in the butt and it does not involve any leather today. Rather when I stop cycling and put my leg down on the ground I get a very bad cramp in my hip. After cycling one day and then doing a balance class, the cramp was excruciating in some of the yoga standing strength poses. What a wonderful opportunity then to grill (I mean politely ask just one or two questions) of the instructor. And guess what, I learnt that primary school anatomy was right; the thigh bone is indeed connected to the knee bone, which in turn is connected to the shin bone. And because of a tiny bit of inferior muscle strength in my gluteus medius (yup apparently there's more to the butt than the gluteus maximus) my whole leg is out. That's the technical term. When I stand my left foot is typically placed at a 45 degree angle and whilst walking my left knee falls towards the outside of my foot which I noticed after it started hurting a few weeks back.

OK, so my exact bone alignment isn't interesting to anyone else but me and perhaps the physio that I may need to see if the Jane Fonda type exercises found at Summer Fitness that I shall be doing to help strengthen that medius muscle don't solve the problem. But what I would like to leave you pondering is the incredible body that we all have. The fact that it is an amazing system where everything is linked and when one thing falls out of whack or isn't as strong as it should be, then all the other parts of us suffer as well. And that's not just applicable to the body or even health, but to all of life.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

'Because I look good in leather'

Yes, yes I do. Or at least I will (have to). I got a role, I got a role and my theatrical debut is of a jilted bride turned man hating crusader who coincidentally gets dressed up in bondage gear! What an ideal role for me, except of course now comes the tough decision of choosing an appropriate outfit from my wardrobe. Just kidding!

Of course the first thought that came into my head when they asked if I will be comfortable in such a costume on stage was 'Hello Motivation'. Naturally it is motivation to kick my soon to be leather clad ass (in front of an audience of thousands...well maybe about 100) into gear and umm actually do that interval training, as well as weights and say no to cookie number 2. Oops, I hadn't mentioned I was a slack ass had I?

Apart from being pretty shallow (because we all know my fabulous acting talents are what will really carry me through) I have no doubt that leather pants and an audience seated at butt height is a fair reason for wanting to shape up, but it turns out that 'motivation' is flawed. The problem is that when using an event as motivation the timeline is too finite. It goes against slowly changing one's lifestyle to following a regime for a set period of time. At best once the goal is accomplished the exercise gets ramped down and multiple cookies re-enter the diet or the goal is not achievable in which case all too familiar feelings of failure and frumpiness loom on the emotional spectrum. So what to do then?

a) Set a goal and work hard for the next 3 months;
b) accept how I look in leather now and just keep doing what I am doing (2 cookies accepted);
c) or work harder without a time frame because I have just confessed to being slack anyway as well as eating at least 2 cookies each day?

What are you working towards? Have you got a clear time frame or goal in mind? Has motivation worked for you in the past?

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