Monday, April 9, 2012

Does my bum look big in this clutter?

I owe the wisdom of this post to my beautiful Ange, who only has to open her mouth briefly to spout forth unexpected and perfectly timed words of wisdom and nourishment (I love you, Goddess!). So, last week's week of nourishment turned into a week superbly hijacked by Fatty McFatty, who I am going to call my 'inner fat demon' (yes, student husband dear, those demons are indeed pesky :P).

The week started well, I got up early every morning to go to yoga. Trust me I was surprised too, if you know me well you know that I 'don't do mornings'. Even my boss knows not to plan 9 am meetings where I need to be 'en forme'. In fact my last boss, when I told her I wanted to start taking advantage of rostered days off by coming in an hour early every day, actually laughed at me. Anyhoo, you know I was having a tough week last week. I'd had terrible days where I was eating way too much, an old bad habit that I've used as a coping mechanism for way too long. After adding in the early morning yoga, which seemed to kick-start my metabolism and have me hungry all day, I was pretty much on the 'seefood diet' last week, you know, where you see food and eat it? This was very poorly timed with the disproportionate amount of baking and social functions that went on in our office last week and let's just say that my inner fat demon was very happy. To the point where there was no way I was going to weigh myself.

I was stressed out all week and couldn't stop eating and just kept focusing on the Easter break as the time when I would get my head straight and get back into control again. Seriously, I was so bad during the week that both my Mum and my brother told me I was just using stress as an excuse to eat (shock, horror!), to which I replied, 'but I can't stop. If I could I would but I can't.' It all culminated by the end of the week with me actually having a cry out the front of work on the phone to my brother (for some reason I always cry when I talk to him), and a big outpouring of all the emotion I'd obviously been hanging on to for the last couple of weeks. Luckily for me, he will be here in 4 more sleeps to hug me (no doubt I will cry, ha ha!).

Anyhoo, I realised today that my bum was indeed looking big in my clutter. Ange was telling me about a book ages ago, with a similar title, about decluttering and the effect of clutter on your health, weight, etc... I totally got it at the time and thought the whole concept was fabulous (the premise being that if you declutter your house and pantry and life in general, you will eat less junk). I didn't do this intentionally but I realised that this occurred simultaneously to me sorting my shit out this weekend (sorry for swearing, Daddy).

This weekend I got on top of a whole pile of things that I'd had floating around in my head due to my hectic past few weeks. I cleaned my house, I have been working non-stop all Easter on my study and I have got my schedule clear in my diary of what I need to do when for uni. It ain't pretty, but now I know what I'm up for. And I think that was the whole problem. Not having it clear in my head what I needed to do. My bum was looking big in the clutter of my head. It was so messed up in there that I was eating to cope with it. Good Friday I started to study and I still ate more than I planned to but it was drastically better than during the week. Saturday I started back on Cohen's and went out and got a HUGE task done that had been hanging over me for at least a month, and Saturday arvo and all day Sunday I studied. This morning I got my schedule straight and that's when a sense of relief hit me. I am officially decluttered. Hilariously, my clean house keeps getting messy again each day (I've been doing too much washing) but I've been making myself tidy each night. It's like I've been wrestling with it all weekend. Hopefully by the time my beautiful Jacquie arrives for a visit (from Canada!) on Wednesday it will be finished. But funnily enough, I've stuck to my Cohen's diet for (almost) 3 days, and my house was the cleanest it had ever been when I did Cohen's last year.

So my enormous lesson out of all this is not to let my head get so cluttered ever again. Because yes, my butt does look big in this clutter.

Happy Easter everyone!

M. x

P.S - I ate all my sugar-free Easter chocolates (spread over the week, not all at once - no thanks to Fatty McFatty) without taking a photo of them (wtf??? I was clearly in a strange place not to take a photo at least), so I'll post the recipe next time I make them again.

P.P.S - My stress doesn't seem to have affected Bella, who I busted taking an afternoon snooze on my computer chair this arvo. And yes, that's a jumper she is wearing. It's cold here and she had a haircut last week, so she is all bald and funny. :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A week of nourishment...

"Life is most froth and bubble, but two things stand like a stone; kindness in another's trouble and courage in your own."

Princess Diana said that. My Nana used to love Princess Diana. My Nana was a smart lady!!!

I thought it was a perfect quote for this week because I have been in struggletown for a few weeks now. And it's going to take a whole lot of courage to keep myself from ending up in a heap on the floor. Work has been crazy with the culmination of almost a years worth of work coming to fruition last week. We're not quite 'there yet' and I expect the madness to last another month, but work has stepped up about 50 notches in the past few weeks.

Then there is study. Did I tell you I am going back to uni?? *insert gun to head picture here* ... Well, I am. Despite already having done honours (and a PhD) before, I have done an about-face and decided to go back and study honours in Psychology. Which means I have to write another thesis. *insert another gun to head picture here* ...

I had a reality check during the week (ie. an almost-mental breakdown) when it struck me the sheer volume of work I am going to have to do this year. I mean I already knew, I had called my last honours year, 'my year of hell' for several years. Jacquie - I'm sure you'll back me up there! Boy was it tough. And yet something made me think I could attempt it again, whilst working full time at the same time. *INSERT HUMONGOUS FREAKING GUN TO HEAD PICTURE HERE*

Anyhoo. I had a crisis. I kicked. I screamed. Then I called my Mum. In true Mummy fashion, she had me sorted out in no time. The truth is, I'd be silly not to do this. I've always wanted to be a psychologist and I've somehow managed to scam my way into honours when (a) I practically failed my degree (hmmm... this sounds like last time!!) and (b) my degree is now 11 years old and technically you only have 10 years in which to continue on before having to repeat it! Not to mention the fact that nobody else would even let me in to do the course because of my terrible marks and they are letting me do it for around $6,000 - everywhere else I'd have to do the $14-$15,000 Graduate Diploma version. So, I've had to suck it up and get on with it. But it's been hard.

I've buried my head in the sand a bit. I just can't talk to people about my problems when I am experiencing them. It's like I am being drained by the problems already and I can't afford to divert any more energy into them by talking or writing about them. Except to my Mum, who seems to not fit into the conventional pile, and who I ring almost every day for a bit of nourishment. (Poor Mum - although I think even she got a few days off last week). I've had a pile of emails I haven't answered and a whole pile of friends I've been neglecting. I found an email that my student husband wrote to me that I hadn't responded to for about 2 weeks, a beautiful email from my Aunt that I hadn't answered and texts from my bestie saying, 'are you ok???? I haven't heard from you all week!!!' Then there is the lovely Mrs Majstorovic that I've been meaning to call for about a month. Sigh. And she's not the only one!

So this week is going to be all about nourishment. I've signed up for an intensive yoga class for the week. Slightly insane plan in that the classes start at 6:30 am and I don't normally get out of bed until 8 am (and even then I am tired - I hate mornings), but I love yoga and I think it will set me up well for the week. Hopefully it isn't too bad given daylight savings mean that I can tell myself class really starts at 7:30 am...

And as for food! Well, all I want to do is eat all of the things I shouldn't. And sometimes I have, sometimes I haven't. But this week I'm going to focus on nourishment and not eating sugar. Speaking of which, I made some amazing sugar free 'chocolate'. Perfect for Easter. Will post a recipe during the week. :)

Hope you have a fabulous week and may you all have courage in the face of trouble, and kindness in the face of others' trouble.

M. x

P.S - Speaking of nourishment, that chicken soup was made from scratch and with my own chicken stock. Exquisitely nourishing.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cooking up a storm!

Well hello!!! I am sorry I've been a bit absent, thanks to all the people who have sent me messages to check on me. :) I have had an extremely busy couple of weeks but hoping things settle down a bit now. My weight has fluctuated a bit over the past few weeks. I put on some weight as I started to include bread and sugar back into my diet, have had a few ups and downs due to big nights out and other assorted celebrations, but have stabilised and seem to be maintaining quite easily, albeit about 1.5 kg up from where I was. My plan is to have a few weeks of diet and then a few weeks of maintaining, so we'll see how that goes. I find that as soon as I start eating carbs or other non-cohen foods I have a great deal of trouble stopping. It's like it kicks in a mother load of cravings which makes not eating everything in sight very difficult. So I'm focusing at the moment on not creating that carb vacuum (that makes me want to make up for it later) by focusing on balance rather than denial.

I have been cooking up a storm over the past 2 weeks and even took a cooking class last weekend! There were 4 x 45 minute classes on Vietnamese, African, Lebanese and Indian food and my my, it was fabulous. I didn't learn as much as I was hoping but I did pick up a few little tricks here and there. I don't have any photos (other than the spice photo above) as it was total chaos! Fun and messy.

I've had a few requests for more recipes, so here are two yummy things I've made recently....

Thai Turkey Salad

This is an old staple recipe of mine that I normally make with chicken, but had turkey on hand and it was just as fabulous. It came from a fabulous friend of mine who I can give most of the credit to for teaching me to cook. She got the recipe from her boyfriend. I think he got it from his work...

- 250 g bean shoots
- 1 bunch coriander
- 1/2 bunch mint
- 1 long red chili
- 2 spring onions or 1/4 red onion
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 500g chicken/turkey mince

Wash and cut up all the salad ingredients. I usually find that one long red chili, de-seeded, is plenty hot enough for me. My friend would probably use about 4 of the little hot buggers, but I am a wimp when it comes to chili (as my student husband would attest). Cook the mince on high heat and continually break it up. I give a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper as I cook it. Once cooked, stir all together, pour over fish sauce and lemon juice and serve! Serves 4. Also fabulous on a bed of steamed basmati rice... which helps it to go further also if you have more people to serve.

Organic Basil Beef Burger

You really can make burgers with whatever meat and whatever ingredients but my basil plant was getting huge so I went and got some organic beef mince...

- 1 kg mince
- 1 bunch basil
- sprinkle of chili flakes
- sprinkle of garlic powder
- sprinkle of salt and pepper

Combine ingredients and then separate into 125 g balls and freeze in snack size snap-lock bags. Defrost when ready to cook, form into a patty and grill! I made 8 patties and then used the leftover mix to make a bit of a spaghetti bolognese, to which I added fresh tomato and zucchini and cooked off immediately. YUM!

The burger looks huge but I actually made it with a dinner roll so it is the perfect size. As for the pasta, it's actually Slim Pasta, made entirely from vegetables, as mentioned in my last post.

Enjoy! x

My all time best lucky find I ever found in the whole of today!

OK, so probably only my family will get the Red Dwarf reference, but I think you get my drift. I have hit jackpot! Twice. YAY!

On my quest for balance over the past month or so I have found 2 fabulous things that have made things much easier. The first is...... *queue drumroll*....

SLIM PASTA!!!! Made from a vegetable, it looks like pasta, it tastes like pasta, it even smells like... well, it doesn't actually... but it's got no calories, carbs or basically anything else except for fibre. Get it inta ya. Now. :) Some health food stores sell it but I got mine at Woolworths! Click here for more info on Slim Pasta.

My next all time best lucky find is the Lindemans Early Harvest wine range. I've tried a low joule champagne before, Yellowglen Jewel, and I thought it was awful. The Lindemans Early Harvest Semillon Sauvignon Blanc is particularly lovely, as is the Sparkling. Especially the Sem Sav Blanc, I literally had no idea it was low calorie or low alcohol. I have tried the Shiraz too - it tasted yummy, exactly how I wanted it to taste and yet almost slightly watered down. It was a 2010 so I wasn't expecting too much depth but I would say overall that it was lovely, just not rich. The sparkling was a little weaker too I guess, but I didn't notice with the Sem Sav Blanc. Calorie wise, you can pretty much have 3 glasses for the calories of 2 normal glasses. Which I think is just fabulous! There is also another range of low calorie/alcohol wines that have teamed up with Weight Watchers (the points are written on the bottle!), the McWilliams Balance range. I'm yet to try them, but I'll let you know.

Enjoy! x

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sexy Muesli & Sumptuous Soup

Yum.... I love food. Perhaps a little too much, but then that's probably obvious given the general topic of my blog. ;)

First recipe is for sugar-free (and just general 'junk-free') muesli. I used organic stuff where I could and used unstabilised oats, meaning they haven't been heat treated and are much better for you. I prefer toasted muesli but apparently when you heat nuts and seeds past 160 degrees celcius they lose most of their great properties, so I heated it to 150 degrees celcius. ;) Yum.

Mel's Sexy Toasted Muesli
- 1 and 1/2 cups unstabilised organic rolled oats (Woolworths Macro brand)
- 1/2 cup oatbran
- 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/3 cup raw macadamias
- 1/3 cup raw almonds
- 1/3 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup dried goji berries
- 1 tablespoon Black Label Queen's Vanilla Concentrate
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- olive oil spray

Mix all of the dry ingredients together except for the berries, oat bran and coconut. Drizzle Vanilla concentrate over mixture and stir it all together with a spoon. Add the oatbran and then lay out in an oven tray. Give a good spray of olive oil and pop in a 150 degree oven for 30 mins. I stirred it every 10 minutes and gave another spray of oil (see photo). Once cool, mix in the berries and the coconut. Voila! I served mine with natural yoghurt (as shown above). 1/3 cup serve is about 45 g - the usual serving size for muesli. You can substitue whichever seeds/nuts/fruit you prefer. :)

Salwa's Sumptous Soup
- whatever vegies you have in the fridge. In my case it was (roughly):
   - 1.5 carrots
   - 1.5 zucchinis
   - 6 stalks celery
   - 'a dirty big onion' (as my Nana used to say)
   - 2 spring onions
   - 1/8 of a cabbage
   - 1 head brocolli (and stalk - the best bit IMO)
   - 1/3 tomato
   - 4 mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- garlic powder
- vegetable stock cube (took me ages to find sugar free stock cubes but I finally found one!)
- 1.5 L water
- 1 cup red lentils
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- salt to taste

Sautee onion off a bit with coconut oil and a good sprinkle of garlic and salt and then start adding the veggies in as you chop them! I kept a cup of water handy and added a bit when my chopping was too slow for the cooking. I didn't peel anything and was throwing in whatever I had, celery leaves and all. You really can throw in whatever you have in the fridge, it's a great recipe for using up the veggies you have on hand before they get manky. I really only guessed the water amount but once I had added all the ingredients, I topped up with water and added a bit extra to take into account the lentils. I didn't add the salt or cumin until I'd blended the soup. I like to do that bit by taste. This is a very filling, healthy and delicious soup! It freezes well too. :) This recipe was inspired by a beautiful lady named Salwa, who i met through my brother.

Enjoy! xxx

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A semblance of normalcy...

Happy New Week! I weighed in yesterday morning as usual and was down 0.4 kg from last week, which is exactly where I was when I started adding in 'normal' food again. When I did my 18 day 'refeed' on Cohen's I maintained the same weight throughout so this was expected. I begin this week both excitedly and nervously as I endeavour to find a balance. I am using the Weight Watchers ProPoints system to make sure I don't overeat, but am sticking to maintenance guidelines mostly.

I am nervous because I am not weighing myself this week so I don't know how it will go and just have to put my trust in the points tracker! I feel like I am eating a lot more (like I did on refeed!) and not sure if the points system will work for me but I am going to stay off the scales and try to use it as a lesson in maintenance nonetheless. What I would love is to stick to this method and throw in the odd week strictly on Cohen's plan with the hope that I get the benefits each time of the huge weightloss week. If I can keep coasting down in the meantime that would be lovely, but I don't expect a big loss this week. I will be happy to maintain for a week but thrilled with a loss if it happens.

I made some super sexy muesli on the weekend, I will post the recipe and the pictures soon. Hope you all have a fabulous week!

M. x

P.S - I am loving the freedom of maintenance - having toast and bacon with my egg was so exciting! I even had a bacon and egg salad for dinner this evening. How outrageous.

Friday, February 24, 2012

An early post for an early refeed.

Woop woop - first big goal of the year down, YAY!!!!! I still don't weigh in until Monday but I thought I'd check in as I've started easing into maintenance early. Original plan was to do 2 weeks on Cohen's but I've started introducing a couple of things (like an unofficial refeed for all you Cohenites that know what I'm talking about). I'm going to add in bread tomorrow and I'll still weigh in Monday. This is because I've decided the focus for me next week is going to be to go a whole week without the scales.

I've always been conflicted about the scales. Lots of evidence suggests that people who lose weight and maintain it often weigh daily, however there is also lots of evidence to suggest that doing so can get you down, especially when you've had an indulgent day the day before. At the start of Cohen's weighing daily is great - you lose a lot! But when things start to slow down the scales can stay the same for a few days which can be frustrating. We are told that these are the periods where our bodies are readjusting their shape and that there is a period of weight loss followed by periods of reconfiguration and that this is normal. They suggest that you only weigh yourself once a month and use a tape measure weekly, but few are able to keep off the scales. In my case, lately I've been on the scales about 5 times a day. In the morning and then before dinner, after dinner and before bed. Just out of curiosity at first but now it's driving me nuts. When you refeed you have to weigh daily to see if there is anything your body overreacts to, which is why I've started adding things in now so I have no excuses to jump on for a peek next week. As of Monday morning weigh in - the scales are going in the cupboard until the following Monday morning.

Eeep! I am telling you to help keep me accountable but I do admit that I am worried. Often when I can't see the scales I start to sabotage by overeating or snacking because I can't see the damage I'm doing, so this is going to be a big challenge. Wish me luck!!!

M. x

Monday, February 20, 2012

Je suis en forme! Or..... Skinny Mel is back!

"First say to yourself what you would be;
and then do what you have to do."

I am back 'en forme', woo hoo! I lost 3.5 kg this week, oh how I love Cohen's. I am now only 200 g away from my first goal, which I plan to smash this week. :) My plan was to do 2 weeks on plan (so I have another week left) and then 2 weeks using the maintenance guidelines. After that I'll see what happens depending on how much I am losing just doing maintenance. I've partly called this blog post "Skinny Mel is back", not because of my weightloss but because I've got my skinny mojo back - good focus and attitude and I feel strong mentally.

I've been feeling good and in the zone this week. I've had cake shoved in my face on multiple occasions (with it staying on the table at work ALL DAY), but I've been able to resist because I keep telling myself it's just for 2 weeks. I keep trying to think of it as sustainable long term and I think having a few flexible weeks with the odd week on plan will work well for me when I am at my goal weight, so I will keep trying this method while it works for me. I am trying to fix the mental part of me that forbids me from eating certain things, which is the exact same little demon that comes out to haunt me when my resilience is low. I eat a bit of something I'm 'not allowed' when I'm depressed, then I eat a whole stack of whatever because I figure I've stuffed it up anyway. So I'm trying to make everything ok but only at certain times, which is the key to maintenance.

I remember one day in the last few months when I got home from work and could have murdered a glass of wine. I was so stressed but told myself I couldn't have it. I resisted and resisted and then ended up eating chocolate, yoghurt, fruit, crackers, dinner and muesli. Apart from the chocolate that doesn't sound too bad, but it was about 3 times what I was supposed to eat. I think if I'd just had the wine I would have been ok. So... I need to adjust my thinking. I got home on Friday night last week and wanted wine but resisted, because it was just a 'I'm stressed and it's been a big week and I'd love to relax with a glass of wine' thing, rather than a huge stress that was getting the better of me. So, I have to pick my battles, especially if this is going to last this time!

Hope you all have a fabulous week!


P.S - In the mornings at my French school when I came in looking a little hung over, my teacher would ask me, 'Melanie, est-ce que vous êtes en forme?' And depending on how I was feeling I'd either say, 'Oui, je suis en forme' or 'non, je ne suis pas en forme, j'ai mal à la tête!' Which roughly translates to, 'Yes, I'm good to go' or 'No, I have a headache.' :)

P.P.S - Photos are of Crazy Cheesy Goodness - basically cauliflower and spring onion with mozzarella, cumin and salt; and Asian Tofu & Veg, which I put a bit of Tamari, garlic, ginger, chilli and lemon juice with. Yum yum yum.

Monday, February 13, 2012

2 Weeks on Plan

"The beginnings and endings of all human undertakings are untidy."
~John Galsworthy~

I just found this quote and found it amusing given the past few weeks. I am beginning 2 weeks on plan today and my progress update is untidy. I am 0.5 kg up from last Monday morning, which is brilliant given my weekend indulgences, but 2.7 kg up from a fortnight ago. That reduces my total progress for the year to a 3.9 kg loss since the beginning of 2012.

I also missed yoga twice last week as I was in Adelaide. I find my whole body starts to tense up when I don't go, which is a great motivation to keep it up. :)

Feeling good about 2 weeks on plan, I don't have any social events planned that could potentially intefere with my progress. Hope you are all well and happy!

M. x

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Just call me Sabotagey McSaboteur.

Well hello! Surely you can guess the topic of this blog post from the title! My little sabotage demons have come to haunt me this week. Well, I think they've been haunting me for a couple of weeks but this week they have dug their heels in and refused to budge.

I've decided it's the pressure I put on myself. I basically assumed I'd lose weight at the same rate as last time I did Cohens and therefore had target dates and weights accordingly. As soon as I missed one, my demons came out. I'm also really close to my first goal weight and putting myself under pressure to lose extra so that I can relax for my Dad's birthday weekend and I think the pressure has beaten me.

So - I'm changing tactics. I'm going to maintain for 2 weeks. Yep that's right - I'm not going to try to lose ANY weight for 10 days. I just hope that I don't put on much over Dad's weekend. I've just lost 6.6 kg in 4 weeks, so I'm going to stabilise and then start again when I get back from Adelaide and weigh in on Monday Feb 13th for a new start date. Then I am going to do 2 weeks on plan - no excuses and no deviations whatsoever. After that I will reevaluate my next step.

Wish me luck!

M. x

Monday, January 30, 2012

Week 4 Weigh In; or... A time to refocus‏.

Hi all! Happy Australia Day! What a crazy week with all the protests and what have you, I feel like we are not meant to celebrate Australia Day or something. To me, Australia Day is more about friends, BBQs and the Hottest 100! Which is exactly how I spent my day. That and eating! Ha ha.

I lost 0.5 kg this week, which is fabulous given that despite my good intentions, I pretty much had a 'normal' Australia Day. I went to a BBQ and although I took my own food, I allowed myself to be encouraged to eat some other food too. Bits and pieces and not too much of anything, but I had some non-allowed stuff like some potato and a small piece of cake. I also indulged in some champagne, which was lovely. I'm pretty excited that I've been able to maintain my weightloss while still leading a relatively normal life, as opposed to last time when I shut myself away for 5 months. But - it is going much slower. I'm 1 kg up from the weight I wanted to be at this weigh in, but I think that's a small cost when compared with the fun that I've had.
I am going to try to stay on plan for a couple of weeks as I have my Daddy's birthday at home in 2 weeks time and don't expect to be losing weight that week. I'm also going to try not to weigh myself this week until weigh in day. Not sure how I'll go with that (I like to peek at my progress) but we'll see how we go.

Hope you all have a fabulous week!

M. x

P.S - Photos are of my lazy Sunday morning breakfast and my well-intentioned Australia Day kebabs. :) x

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Week 3 Weigh In; or... Watch out for peaches!!

Hi all - happy happy Sunday! Sundays are my favourite day of the week. :) This week, I lost 0.8 kg - yay! I suspect it might have been more if I had not had a day where I ate 3 times my fruit allowance (oops), hence the, 'watch out for peaches.' Let's just say they were good! I think I have found a good balance this week with my food and 'the rules'. I didn't have any alcohol this week but I have been a bit more relaxed and feeling a lot less anxious about the whole thing than I did last year. I am actually enjoying it, there is something lovely about cooking or preparing 3 wonderful meals for yourself each day. I take care of myself much more when I am following Cohen's and I am very much treating this as a forever thing, rather than a diet thing.

I am 1.5 kg away from my first goal, which is exciting. Would love to do it in one week but we'll see how we go. I am going to a big Australia Day BBQ on Thursday and it's BYO meat. That suits me perfectly because I will just weigh out my meat and veg allowance and make kebabs with it. Then I can just eat them and try not to eat anything else. Might eat a bit of extra salad or something but I will take something nice to drink with me so I can stay away from alcohol. The fact that I will drive makes it much easier!

I love Saturday mornings. It's when I usually buy all my vegies and wash them all ready to put in the fridge. Always feels like such a great start to the weekend - all that freshness just sitting there waiting to be eaten. I made fish and salad for lunch yesterday, and prawn and bok choy soup for dinner. Wonder what I am going to have today? I think I am going to have a hard time going past that fish and salad... yum! Maybe feta and cauliflower soup for dinner...

Hope you all have a fabulous week and that you are all well and happy. :)

M. x

P.S - If any of the people who are reading this blog but not following it have a blog of their own, please send me a message so I can follow your journey too!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Week 2 Weigh In; or I have a confession to make...

Woot woot! I lost 1.6 kg!! That's more than I lost on my first round of Cohen's (1.2 kg). Funny though, because this time I am doing a more relaxed version using the plan as the main framework but sometimes having a bit of extra vegetable or even a non-allowed vegetable, and this week - vodka!

Last week I had some beautiful baby beetroots from my lovely Uncle and Aunt's garden. I had a few left over when I 'got back on plan' and thought, 'There is no way I am wasting these!' and so I ate them! I realised afterward that they are a carby vegetable, but oh well. I think I ate them 2 or 3 times last week. I just tried to eat less crackers to compensate.

As for the vodka, a friend from work asked me out for a drink after work early in the week (at 4:55 pm - totally unplanned) and one of my best friends broke up with her boyfriend this week and so we went out on Saturday night. I promised myself that I would do it differently this time. I'm not doing Cohen's through a clinic like last year so I'm not having blood tests and don't have to worry about Dr Cohen not giving me my refeed diet or whatever, so my focus is on making this work for life, rather than making it work while I'm on plan. Last time it worked brilliantly while I was on plan and then as soon as I got off it... well... obviously it didn't go so well or else I would not have had to start again!!!

I must admit that this has been my intention all along, I was just a bit too scared to write about it because of all the Cohenites that follow this blog. I know it looks like I only have a couple of followers (see right), but my blog gets hits from all over the world and I get many private messages from people currently doing Cohen's and I have been concerned about admitting it publicly in case it throws anybody else off track. But then my best friend reminded me that this blog is for me, and it is best to be honest for myself. And so there you have it. I would like to say however, that I don't know how long this system will work for me. I remember when I was getting closer to goal weight last time, any little blip would throw me out. There was a month where I was almost the same weight (on average) for 4 weeks, so.... please don't try this at home, kids. ;) There will more than likely come a time where I will need to do it properly as I get closer. Please don't let what I am doing change what you are doing.

I just finished reading, 'Why French Women Don't Get Fat.' It is a wonderful book and revolves around the principle of not denying yourself. I'm still not sure I could eat the way they do and stay at my goal weight, but I will be giving it a try when I am in maintenance. One of the main things they do, which I have tried to incorporate into my new lifestyle, is what the author refers to as 'robbing Peter to pay Paul.' As in, if they are going to indulge, they restrict themselves the next day. Or if they have a big lunch, they have a small dinner, etc... All rather simple but something I've never quite been able to master. They don't weigh themselves the next day and say, 'Oh dear, I've put on weight!', they just don't eat as much bread/potatoes/dessert the next day. Because they already know and don't need to weigh themselves. In fact, most French women don't know what they weigh - they go by their clothes. I, on the other hand, indulge, weigh myself the next day, freak out, try to be good all day and then end up sabotaging myself at some point.

Like I said earlier, when I ate the beetroot (carbs), which I know is restricted on Cohen's, I ate less crackers so as to minimise the impact. When I had vodka in my system after work earlier in the week, I had a prawn stirfry for dinner. Because I know that when there is alcohol in your system that your body cannot burn any fat. So I didn't put any fat into it. In the future I might, but not during this phase of my diet. The vodka did cost me some weightloss though (I stalled for a few days), but I was not upset as I had prepared myself for it and am committed to this taking a bit longer and me having a life too.

So on that note I shall go and get back to my life - I hope you have a wonderful week! :)

M. x

PS - Check out my fish cakes - they are amazing. Just put all my veg/fish allowance into the food processor with herbs and spices and voila! Bought a kilo of fish and made 9 batches (blended them all individually for correct weights) and froze the mixture in little snap lock bags. Made 2 flavours; tomato/basil/spring onion/zucchini/cauli/garlic/S&P and coriander/spring onion/chili/lemon/zucchini/cauli/S&P. Delicious.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Week 1 Weigh In

Can I get a, 'woop woop', can I get a 'woop woop'? 3.7 kg - BOOYA! So excited, can you tell?? First week down and I smashed it. On track for all of my goals and very happy indeed.

I actually don't have much else to say! Maybe because I've been rambling a lot this week. However, I'd like to mention at this point that I had a beautiful friend of mine over for dinner last night and she drank and I didn't - YAY! I never actually planned to go 'back on plan' after France, instead I was hoping to use the maintenance guidelines to wiggle my way down but just couldn't get my eating back in control at all. So when I made this decision to go back on plan I made it on the proviso that I didn't say no to any social events because I was on my diet. Last year I literally shut myself away for 5 months (boy, were people shocked when they saw me!) and it was incredibly lonely. I was just too scared to eat out or go out and not be able to 'not drink' but this time I am going to find a balance. This is for life, not just for a few months, so I have to learn to go out and pick a Cohen's friendly dinner and keep things in moderation. So it might take a little bit longer, but what does that matter if I maintain forever??

Hope you all have a lovely Sunday!

M. x

P.S - Photo is of a Turkey Burger Salad. Turkey mince/lemon juice/chili/coriander/celtic salt and salad. YUM!

Friday, January 6, 2012

New lifestyle choices; or No more morning tea for me!

I have mentioned in the past (several times in my last blog) that there is a staff morning tea every Friday morning at work in our office. During my first stint of Cohen's I managed to avoid it by eating my crackers right before it and sitting there sipping on a herbal tea or a coffee, but was quite excited at the prospect of being able to 'join in' again when Cohen's was over. I planned to build it into one of my treat times. My consultant kept saying, 'don't plan on eating at those morning teas!' but did I listen? Clearly not.

I went straight to France for 5 weeks after Cohen's and there wasn't a morning tea before I left. Had there been time for one I assume I would have treated it with caution, however by the time I got back from France (all nice and plumped up again) I did not treat them with caution at all. I went straight back into sampling bits of everything!
Here is what was at morning tea today:

1) Lamingtons with cream in the middle;
2) A sliced nectarine and some strawberries (unusual to have any healthy stuff there!);
3) Spinach/feta/spring onion muffins;
4) Banana and date muffins;
5) Sugar-coated jam donuts from some famous place (everyone was raving about them);
6) Pumkin, cashew and basil dip;
7) Bagel chips;
8) Normal smoky flavoured chips;
9) Little pretzel shaped pastry biscuits covered in sugar; and
10) Little hazelnut/chocolate wafer squares.

Let me just add at this point that most of the stuff was still on the table for most of the day. Morning tea is at 10:30 am and the photo attached was taken at 2 pm! So it's not just a case of not eating it when everyone else does, I have to avoid it all day.

Today I basically sat there not feeling like eating much of anything. I ate a piece of nectarine but other than that didn't want anything (except for the strawberries which I'm not allowed). It got me thinking, why can I sit here easily now and not eat this stuff when I sat through 7 morning teas after France last year, each time having promised myself I'd 'be good', and yet was unable to stop myself from eating a bit of everything. Ok, maybe it was less than I might have eaten before (or was it?), but I couldn't control myself. So how did I do it today???

I think the biggest reason is that I know Cohen's works and I don't want to stuff up my diet by eating something I shouldn't. So then I thought - what would I eat normally? I'd probably eat the dip with the bagel chips (god i love them), a couple of chips and some of the spinach/feta muffin.

That's when I realised... it's not about avoiding morning tea when i'm on the diet, it's about avoiding morning tea FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE! I'm normally not hungry, I just eat it because it's there and everybody else is eating it and I want to taste it. Not to mention it's usually all abolute junk (todays quality was much higher than normal). If I went and chose a dip to buy from the shops it would be a different flavour and the muffins always smell better than they taste - so why waste a treat time? I'm far better off having my favourite chocolate bar after dinner than eating random bits of stuff at a morning tea. Or chocolate I don't really like.

So that is my learning for today. Don't deprive yourself of treats, but don't just eat random crap because it is put in front of you. Choose a fabulous treat and have it at a more appropriate time (see below).

Hope you are all having a fabulous day!

M. x

P.S - Anyone who has done Cohen's (and I know a lot of you who read this are doing it now or have done it before) knows the maintenance guidelines encourage you to eat treats just after a meal that contains specific things (I won't write it here because I can't give away Dr Cohen's secrets). This makes it almost impossible to indulge at a morning or afternoon tea anyway unless you have breakfast at 10 am or lunch at 3 pm. So I've decided that in the future if somebody bakes something particularly irresistible that I want to eat, I will take home a little slice and have it for dessert. No more morning teas for me!

P.P.S - The sexy beef salad at the top is just steak (marinated in lemon juice, garlic, chili and celtic salt) with cucumber, tomato, thai basil and coriander. Uber yummy.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Day 2/3 Update‏; or OMG I've actually started!

Wow! Day 2 of ‘proper Cohen’s’ is almost over. I say Day 2 because even though it is Day 3 of the New Year and of my diet, the first day was more what I’d like to call, ‘Cohenesque’ than actual Cohen’s.

All I can say is, ‘wow.’ It really is all about the headspace. I guess I always knew this but couldn’t work out a way to actually get myself back into the good headspace I was in when I did Cohen’s last year. I tried several times to get back into my diet after my trip to France, but all attempts failed and I actually gained weight. I wish I could say that I have a way to teach you how to create it but I can’t. All I can say is that I think it is mostly to do with the preparation. Mental and physical. I think the best points I can make about how I am going to try and replicate this in the future are these:

1. Make some rules. What you can and can’t eat/drink. For me it was to get back on plan and all of the rules that came with that.

2. Set a start date for when you have a couple of days up your sleeve that you can control. For example, when you have a couple of days alone or a few days where you can control your temptations.

3. Start removing all of the foods on your ‘don’t eat’ list from the house and ensure there are none left by your start date.

I think before Christmas I was making wishy-washy rules with myself and then I’d go to work and see chocolates on the table and think I’d start again tomorrow. Because I was on Day 3 when I went back to work today, I’d already lost 1.6 kg and had 2 days of good eating under my belt so when I walked into work this morning and saw chocolates (see photo) and the biscuits in the barrel (see other photo) I could say, ‘no thanks’, because I’m on a bit of a roll and am excited about my progress and want to keep going!! If I was starting today, I’m quite sure I would have ended up thinking, ‘stuff it, I’ll start tomorrow!’ And I’m sure you know the rest of that story…

So, I guess my biggest ‘wow’ is coming from the fact that I’m not really hungry. I mean, I have gotten a bit hungry here and there but if I distract myself it goes. Last time I started this diet, the first few days were hard and I was starving. I guess my body knows what to expect now. I just can’t believe how easy it actually seems now that I am doing it. YAY! It’s such great salad weather too, had a prawn salad for dinner last night (see above). I love what I eat when I am on Cohen’s. I put so much more effort into making tasty things and enjoying them. If you are only allowed a small amount of food then you have to make the most of it!

Hope you all had a good first day back at work or are enjoying your holidays if you are not back yet.

Mel. x

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 - The Year of New Beginnings

Well hello there! Can’t believe it is 2012 already. I thought I should start a new blog for a new year. I have entitled this blog, ‘2012 - The Year of New Beginnings,’ keeping with the theme of, ‘2011 – The Year of Mel.’

I have learned a few lessons over the past year and want to use the opportunity of the new year as a good time to review where I’ve been, where I’m heading and where I am at. I sat down this morning on the first day of the year and wrote out some goals for 2012. They fall into 7 categories; weight, fitness, career, finances, French, boundaries and friendships. I won’t list them all here as some of them are a tad too personal, but I will list my weight goals as part of my declaration to get me on my way to achieving them.

1. Get back to my post-Cohen’s weight by 25 March 2012;
2. Get to my goal weight by 22 April 2012;
3. Go to France for 2 weeks to prove to myself that I can keep the weight off; and
4. Be at goal weight on my birthday (August) and at Christmas of 2012.

I've based my goal weights/times around how long it took me to lose the weight last time, so I think it is reasonable. The second goal weight is due to me refeeding early after my first stint on the Cohen’s Lifestyle Program. I refed early to go overseas, and then completely lost control of my eating as the meals were provided at the school I was studying at. That is why I want to go again when I am at my goal weight, and prove to myself that I can face challenges like that and cope with them in the future. The last goal is simply to maintain that weight (obviously!) but I thought that putting a few dates in would help to make the whole thing more powerful.

This year is all about defining who I want to be for the rest of my life. Powerful, accomplished and able to say no! Learning to say no is one of my goals under the ‘boundary’ heading of my 2012 goals. You’ll note that I didn’t write thin; I wrote powerful. That’s because I know that people love me the way I am. Plenty of men are attracted to me, but I’m not attracted to myself. And when I am attracted to myself, I feel powerful.

So… watch this space! I didn’t start back on Cohen’s today as I woke up at 11:30 am after a big night on the town for the NYE celebrations, meaning I couldn’t have 3 meals, 5 hours apart with the latest one being before 9 pm. So I have done a bit of a compromised version today. I had a (very soft) boiled egg salad for breakfast (see photo), with 2 eggs instead of 1, and will have a thai beef salad for dinner, with slightly more beef than my allowance. So 2 bigger meals instead of 3. I also went through my cupboards and fridge today and made sure there was no food in my house that isn’t Cohen’s-friendly. I’d been working towards using it all up or chucking it out over the last month (to prepare for today), so there wasn’t much to do.

I am posting this as both the first post on my new blog and the last post on my old blog. My old blog address, for those who are interested is:

Until then – enjoy the new year! May you all achieve everything you set your minds and hearts to achieving this year.