Aug 23, 2009 10:14 PM
Cashew Cookie Larabar from last night. Is there any better way to commence a post?
I really, really shall try to be brief, as for some reason the race today has taken a lot out of me and I’m struggling to keep my eyes open. It really was tough: the heavy, achy-limbed feeling lingered over from yesterday and when the race started at 11:00am, it was 24C / 75F and extremely humid. Storm clouds were gathering in the distance though the sun was blazing down on us, but thankfully there was a slight breeze to cut through the stale air. To any international readers those kind of temperatures must seem a little pathetic, but I really don’t tolerate the heat well at all. The Chevrolet run was 19C/66F, which for me was a perfect temperature.
The day started at 7am with a pre-race warm up of Davina McCalls DVD (Abs and Boxing) As I’ve mentioned on previous recaps, I have to get in an hour of activity and stretching beforehand to funtion optimally in race conditions…or even to be able to run at all. Sitting in the car after lying down all night is a recipe for disaster in terms of stiffening up and joint/back pain.
Organic Food Bar Omega 3 Flax, Banana
Review: Organic Food Bar Omega 3 FlaxThis bar is essentially for functional purposes only. It takes a lot for me to eat something just for fuel with no emotional attachment whatsoever, and I thought this bar would be a good challenge in that respect. I knew I’d savour the Active Greens with Chocolate more, but just for once I didn’t want that kind of indulgence…I wanted to eat something just ‘average’ and then get on with the task in hand, rather than reminiscing endlessly about how lovely a bar was and how I’d rather have another one than run like I did at the Chevrolet (even though ‘I’ would rather run any time…it’s the OE voice that wants me to be a great blubbery couch potato) Anyway, I hadn’t tried this bar before but didn’t anticipate that it would be anything special. It wasn’t. It had the slightly odd initial taste that all these bars have…sort of sweet and ‘grassy’, and the occasional chwey crunch of the flax seeds was a little offputting / unpleasant. The texture was nicely soft though, and the raisins added a nice contrast which really saved the day. The bar was a little rich and greasy, and to be honest 321 kcal for 70g of bar is slightly disturbing when 68g Nakd Bars only have 220 ish. I suppose it’s the equivalent of a Larabar in the same size though! I wouldn’t buy this flavour again, but it served its purpose in terms of being filling enough to last four hours through the journey/race/aftermath but light enough not to upset my stomach. 5/10
Although I met the challenge of eating the bar, its less than stellar taste put me in a bad mood. The presence of my Dad huffing and puffing all the way to the race and shouting (incorrect) directions at my Mum didn’t help. However, once we got to the race I bounded away from him to go and warm up by jogging round the running track at Billingham Marsh Harriers’ club ground/stadium. The atmosphere was warm, informal and very friendly. I felt comfortable and more at ease than at any of the bigger, more pretentious events. Everyone from the club seemed so nice and it did make me re-evaluate my view of running clubs that has been in place ever since a bad experience with a few sessions at Durham RC. I think in future I’ll veer more towards these smaller events, if the welcome of this one was anything to go by. I did have a minor panic attack at the revelation that we’d be running on LIVE roads (i.e they weren’t shut!) and briefly considered backing out, but then shut the negative voice up and left my Mum with the camera so I could line up at the start.
And here I am…the happy little dwarf in the black baseball cap. Yep, told you I was a midget. I always feel like Gulliver in Brobdingnag
at these starts.
Another plus point for this run = no ridiculous warm-up led by some lycra-clad idiot (Bupa Run) and no long preamble (Chevrolet). Actually, the starter set us off two minutes early with no warning whatsoever. He caught me by suprise and I feebly fumbled for my iPod to start the custom playlist I made while being jostled by runners a foot taller than me from behind. Right at the start I picked a lady who I knew paces at around 39 minutes dead and managed to stick with her right up until the 5K drinks station. It was, as I said, tough. She seemed to be breezing effortlessly along and it took all of the dwindling strength in my stubby legs to keep up. I thought I could tail her…but it seems that having mastered the art of drinking on the move from a bottle I still have to learn how to do so from a plastic cup. I inhaled the water and, coughing and spluttering, almost had to stop. After that I lost her and there was no catching up. The negativity from the Chevrolet 10K wasn’t as pronounced, but after that I was struggling not to cry from the 6K mark onwards. I kept slowing and slowing and it was obvious I’d been overambitious in tailing her: I’d gone off too fast, something I’ve never done before.
At the 9K mark, it was as if someone had waved a magic wand: my energy came back! I tried to power through that final kilometre, despite brushing past a huge patch of stinging nettles (youch!) and being elbowed by some great bully of a man onto the pavement. There wasn’t much space on the road and some of the race etiquette wasn’t fantastic (come on, elbowing and bulldozing past a short, wheezing girl isn’t very gentlemanly). I did move aside to let some faster runners past…but probably wouldn’t have done had they been female ; ) I do have some competitive edge. As I kicked for the finish I was determined to beat that bully of a man. Hence the shot my Mum took of me…it really needs enlarging for the full effect.
Yes, that’s me about to overtake him! It’s nice to charge someone down at the end instead of it being the other way round.
And I’m a sweaty mess by the finish. Ye Gods, why are all of these post-race pics so fugly? I really shouldn’t smile…
In the end I finished in a time of 40:45
, 64th overall out of 370, 6th female and 1st unattached. The club’s website
has the full results list under ‘Race entry forms and recent results,’ NOT the results tab on the top bar of the screen. No prizes for me though (aside from a t-shirt). I always feel so disillusioned when I read all of the US blogs where bloggers place in almost every race. I’ve only ever come 3rd once in a 5K Race For Life last year, and there was no acknowledgement or trophy : ( I think my time for that one was 20:15…but 5Ks really aren’t long enough and are an irritating distance for me so I’m giving them a miss this time round. Meh, mixed feelings about that one…conditions weren’t great and it was more undulating/hilly than the Chevrolet, but I still wish I’d done better.
I had an Apple Pie Larabar in the car on the way home to distract me from the hip, knee and back pain I was experiencing…and because after the race nausea wore off I was ravenous. My body wasn’t happy about this race at all, even though it was fine all the way around the course and I warmed down with some circuits of a nearby field and tonnes of stretching. Sitting down at all was horrible, let alone being in a car for 50 minutes. I knew if I sat for much longer at home I’d be in agony, so I did 45 minutes of Tae-Bo Cardio (DVD) as soon as I got in the door. This loosened things up nicely and I began to feel a little better.
The usual…lusciously juicy white nectarine this time!
Baked sweet potato with cinnamon & sunbutter. It wasn’t very sweet at all and a bit ‘meh’ tasting, so because I was just too hungry to wait for another one I added a little agave which improved things greatly.
In the afternoon I went for a walk (3 miles?) to keep things moving, then reached for a snack.
Tentation Apple, Outback Animals Vanilla & Chocolate Cookies
Then I did 90 minutes of my Geri Body Yoga DVD to stretch out, as it seemed to help the last time I raced. Dinner was a repeat of last night, sans roasted pepper. I had planned something else, but the polenta was so delicious that I threw the plans out of the window (v.difficult for me!) and made what I truly wanted, savouring every gorgeous bite. Later I’ll have a Pulsin Coffee Brownie for a snack…I’ve been saving one for tonight as they’re pretty expensive and I can only order them online…well, that’s the case with all of my snack foods! Darn my digestive system and useless food outlets where I live. I thought I’d appreciate it more if I didn’t have one for a few days, though.
Overall, a decidedly mixed day. I managed to ignore my Dad’s sarastic comments and just get on with it without being provoked into an argument, which was a plus. I still feel somewhat jaded towards racing despite the lovely people at the club though. No matter how far I push myself I’m so far behind the winners it’s a joke (1st place=36:00…Aly didn’t run this one!) and I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I just want to be able to see inside their heads and find out how they eat/train…it doesn’t help that all 5 of the faster women were thinner than me, which just feeds into the ‘you’re useless because you’re fat’ mentality. I seem to be dreading races rather than looking forward to them because of the expectations I set for myself. I only have one chance to break 40 minutes and that’s on September 6th for the Middlesbrough Tees Pride 10K…it’s unlikely, as it starts at 9:30am so an early car journey will equal feeling dizzy and nauseaous for at least the first 3K. Still, as I said, I have my dream…
Hope everyone had a great, relaxing Sunday : )
Aug 22, 2009 10:07 PM
For anyone who’s curious as to the nature of SuperTed, the cartoon character who leant his name and brand to the vitamins I used to eat like sweets as a child, click here ; ) I loved that cartoon so much and I think it was one of the biggest influences on my formative years aged two to five. I even had a little red cape that I wore to jump off the side of the couch and pretend I could fly. Ah, memories. Actually I haven’t grown up much, because I still look forward to taking my chewable vegan calcium supplements every day. They taste like crunchy vanilla sweets…yep, I’m that sad and food obsessed that chewable vitamins brighten my day.
Excuse the frazzled nerves: I’m terrified about the race tomorrow. You’d think that after a certain number of them the night before and the preamble would get easier, but sadly not. I might have run a personal best last time but mentally I was all over the place and deserved to finish a good twenty minutes behind where I did. I’ve noticed that my pyschological state has deteriorated over the course of the last two races and can’t put my finger on why: it’s like I’ve lost my joy, or that my ‘race face’ has been stripped away, leaving only the negativity and self-doubt that seems to form the core of my being. I have never wanted to just stop running more times than during the last race. Perhaps it’s because I pushed it to the limit, but it didn’t feel that way…I slowed far too markedly in the final 500m and just felt…apathetic? lethargic? Probably both of these things, and around the 3K and 6K marks I actually felt downright depressed, something that never happened until the Bupa Great North 10K earlier in the summer (July). I’m so scared that these thoughts are going to overwhelm me tomorrow and I actually will stop, not because I want to, but because emotionally and phsyically I’m pretty exhausted. I really do believe that 70% of running is down to postitive psychology, so if I can’t give my head a darn good talking to before tomorrow then I’m doomed. On the plus side, my new iPod shuffle (aka my best friend and running buddy) now has a playlist I’ve compiled with a view to a sub-40 finish (I can dream, right?), so at least I won’t have to keep skipping over songs I don’t like and losing my focus like I did last time.
Also, my Dad is coming to the run. Yippee. I’ll just have to try to ignore him and get on with what I have to do. I’d really rather he wasn’t there but apparently I have no say in the matter…perhaps I can just imagine I’m running away from him and then I’ll go that much faster. Okay, I’m aware that I really do sound like a three year-old now.
Evening Snack (last night ~ 21/08)
Apple Pie Larabar ~ as if there weren’t enough pictures of these on the blog already.
Aug 21, 2009 10:07 PM
Reading back through my last post made me realise that I come across as an arrogant, conceited little madam. I’m so sorry if my talking about my exam results came across as showing off, because I most certainly have nothing to brag about in my life whatsoever. I only mentioned it because the shock of the mistake in terms of taking the ‘wrong’ test paper seemed so incongruous with the result. Such garbage comes out of my mouth in social situations because I’m horribly nervous but on a blog there really is no excuse. Anyway, the point was to emphasise how much of an achievement it is to get through such exams, particularly with the grace not to broadcast it to everyone when I took the dreaded things four years ago.
Today has been another one of those ‘panic attack because my clothes feel too tight’ days. I have certain ‘safe’ items that as long as they fit, I don’t feel the compulsion to jump on the scales that I used to. Not weighing has been such a difficult task, particularly when up until a couple of months ago I’d be hopping on the scales at least three times’ a day. But what do I expect? Tight clothes certainly don’t equal weight loss and seeing some hideous number will only distress me further. Nothing is achieved by using scales, nothing (at least not in my case: when weight gain is necessary for recovery from a restrictive eating disorder there obviously is a very real ‘point’ to weighing at designated intervals) except the misery of a gain or the creepingly addictive nature of a loss.
The problem is that I just do not trust myself. At a psychological assessment I was once told that the reason I covet thin bodies and yearn for an underweight appearance is because I’m trying to retreat from the responsibilities of adulthood and want to look like a child. I think that’s a bit of a cliché and a reductive assessment too often levelled at people with disordered eating. I already had a pudgy, baby face. I am 5ft 3. I already look many years younger than I am. People still take me for 13, not 23. Why, if I wanted to be a child, did I also want to grow 7 inches? Adulthood still scares the living daylights out of me 5 years into my numerical ‘coming of age’, but I have absolutely no desire to go back to my childhood. I had problems with food even then…I don’t think my relationship with it has ever been ‘normal.’ My earliest memory in this respect was when I was five, and I ate an entire bottle of SuperTed orange vitamins because they tasted like sweets. I wasn’t one of those idiot children that drink bleach because they think it’s blue Cola: I knew that they were vitamins, but because my Mum had rationed and/or removed all the sweet things in the house (to stop me from rotting my baby teeth) I ‘binged’ on the only thing that was in my reach: vitamins which in excessive consumption, certainly did produce a laxative effect. Later, at seven, I burst into floods of tears in the lunch queue and started shouting and screaming because the teacher I had at the time always let the class out late for lunch and I knew I’d have to eat disgusting Spam fritters and wobbly Angel Delight instead of the tuna & pasta bake and meringue with spray whipped cream that I wanted (because my tastes were that sophisticated at seven). None of the other children cared about food this much, only me. It seems engrained into my consciousness to be obsessed with food, not something that only developed when I became unable to deal with my phsyical ‘development’ at eleven and desperately wanted to lose weight at the expense of everything else. The lunch problem was solved when I became vegetarian soon after and started taking packed lunches, but the food issue remained.
I was always an ‘old’ child…I wanted to converse with the adults instead of being left with the other sticky, noisy children. I made up fantasies that at some points became reality for me, and became a source of trouble at school because I couldn’t socialise on any level with almost anyone. I was withdrawn, listless and cried a ridiculous amount. It’s an odd paradox that I desperately loathed having no independence or responsibility then, and when I was offered with it I couldn’t deal with it. Today perhaps people might accept that a child of five could be depressed and suffer from anxiety, but then neither teachers nor pupils did anything constructive at all, and both were equally cruel. So would I want to be some Peter Pan perpetually stuck in childhood? No. I crave thinness because somehow it looks ‘right’ to me and I feel comfortable with that kind of body type (well, ‘felt’, as I certainly don’t have that now)…perhaps it’s because it looks androgynous, I don’t know for sure. The point is that I don’t trust myself or my body because my notion of ‘normal’ eating is so skewed that it’s never been present at all, and tight clothes merely reinforce the horror that I’m moving further and further away from a comfortable body type for me.
Blah, apologies for the repetitive nature of my musings…I wish I could make some sense of this and move on. Anyway, at least my run this morning was a speedy 8 miles mercifully free of hip pain.
1/2 cup rice/millet porridge, 1 cup rice milk, 1 cup pumpkin, cinnamon, agave, raisins, banana, sunbutter swirl…plus three huge handfuls of raisins while I was waiting for it to cook on the stove. Hunger once again got the better of me.
I finished reading my Henry James collection of short stories and practiced keyboard for a while in the morning. Also, I scratched several huge marks into the skin on my face. Every day I do this…it’s been a problem since I was eleven and it’s usually a reaction to stress and the self-loathing of having overeaten (not that I was too full, but raisins are incredibly calorie-dense so I wouldn’t be) It’s such a destructive behaviour and one I’d dearly like to kick: not only does it wreck my skin (and I’m allergic to make-up so I’d get some lovely eczema if I tried to cover the spots/scars up) but it also wastes time…I get stressed about being unproductive and the sheer amount of research that I have to do, then waste 30 minutes picking at my face. Counterproductivity at its finest. Perhaps I should wear mittens all day.
Body Combat was a great break and stress-reliever. One of those horrible women (these are the same gang/clique who take the bikes by the window at spinning) who make weight-related comments was hogging the space in front of me in a crowded room of twenty people (it’s a TINY studio)…if she’d just moved a foot to the left or right then some of the people in the back row could have actually done the class properly instead of almost kicking each other in the face. I had enough space in the middle row, but in an attempt to give the poor souls at the back more room I shifted forwards and in the process very nearly punched her in the back of the head. Ohh, if I’d only been a few inches further to the front…
Repeat of Wednesday: chickpea/carrot/tomato salad, fruit plate (nectarine, apple, grapes), GF bread with Pure Spread
Usual walkies and manic house cleaning in the afternoon, followed by a side of research. Ye Gods, this is getting so repetitive. At least any insomniacs out there who are reading must be thoroughly cured.
Apple & Outback Animals Vanilla & Chocolate…with a side of ‘Devil Bones’, the new book I’m reading. I don’t usually buy this kind of thing (it’s a forensic thriller) but it was free in Waterstones with my Henry James book and ‘The Shack’, which I finished a while ago and I’m not one to pass up free reading material in the current economic climate.
Then I did my standard 90 minutes of Geri Body Yoga and heated up some leftovers for dinner.
Another repeat: Sofrito & Peas
At least there’s something new on the horizon: I’m looking into booking some driving lessons for next week, as I’ve finally found a female instructor with a Vauxhall Corsa (the type of car we have) who will do two 1 hr lessons instead of only being able to teach in blocks of two hours, which is too painful for my back. I’m excited and nervous all at the same time: the problems with my Dad have given me a thirst for independence but I’m so scared of driving…I had a bad experience when I was 17 when I was nearly hit head-on by an articulated truck on my third lesson and haven’t been near a steering wheel since.
Aug 20, 2009 10:03 PM
Firstly, congratulations to all those UK bloggers who received their A and AS-Level results today! I certainly wouldn’t want to revist that experience again…not that I wasn’t pleased with my results, but the trepidation and horror while waiting to open the envelope was probably one of the most emotionally draining moments of my life. GCSEs and AS-Levels were the worst, because I’d taught myself both sets of exam syllabuses and had no idea how effective my ‘teaching’ methods were…plus I was entered for the wrong paper on the wrong day for one of the AS English Literature papers, so I had to quickly wing something about the Taming of the Shrew having only read it in passing. For some unknown reason I got 100/100 for that exam, a few marks higher than the ones I actually revised for…I still think there was some kind of mix up and some poor genius ended up with a D or something similar.
Secondly, I was bowled over by the support and understanding I received in response to my last post. I wish that moving out was an option, I truly do…but I’m neither financially nor psychologically stable enough to consider living alone. My Mum has been so sympathetic and understanding too. My parents have always had a slightly turbulent relationship, and I think if it wasn’t for our issues with money they might have split quite a while ago. Basically, my Dad has total financial power and control and sometimes I think he likes to wield that as some kind of weapon or chain. His response to my Mum’s ED is little better than his approach to my bipolarity, social anxiety and OE: he basically treats her like a naughty child that won’t eat it’s tea and tries to blackmail her into eating, which is singularly unhelpful. Apoligies if going into so much detail seems inappropriate…I know most bloggers are a lot more private than I am, but I just don’t have anyone to talk this through with in the outside world and typing it out is quite cathartic, like an exorcism of all of the worries that I’m holding inside.
Today was hot, sticky and dull. These type of days are usually migraine triggers, so I tried to be particularly mindful of what I was doing in terms of not spending too much time reading or by the computer…difficult when you’re drowning in a sea of research. I took it easy with one of my less challenging DVDs: Tae-Bo Cardio Circuit 2, before getting ready for spinning.
Doves Farm Cornflakes, Sultanas, Rice Dream, Banana
I didn’t deal with the heat too well at the gym and was a dizzy pool of sweat by the end of spinning. I just don’t understand why amount of sweat>amount of effort, calorie burn and cardiovascular strain for me…I’m dripping like a hefty great bodybuilder even when I’m not particularly exerting myself and the other women are bone dry, despite wearing double the amount of clothes that I do. At least I’ve had the sense to suck up my fears and wear a crop top and shorts instead of bundling up in tracksuit bottoms and a thick top then almost fainting with heat exhaustion. I still hate exposing so much skin though, not only due to self-consciousness but also because the women at the gym notice every single minor fluctation in weight of everyone who attends the classes (and even some people who don’t, and keep their workouts for the actual gym equipment). Wearing so little leaves me particularly open to their scrutiny, and although I know I shouldn’t care what they think, no-one likes to be told they’re putting on weight (I love the way they say it as if the poor person they’re taunting doesn’t KNOW that it’s the case. Ugh, I can’t stand how so many females of the species are so poisonous and linguisticallyh toxic). Thank goodness there were multiple fans going upstairs, because there certainly wasn’t much air to be had in the clammy humidity outside. I managed 35 minutes on the elliptical (sandwiched in between TWO fans. Score!) but only 7.2K in 35 minutes on the treadmill as opposed to my usual 7.5. Meh, doesn’t bode too well for Sunday’s race.
Aug 19, 2009 10:58 PM
I’m so happy that Minnie’s post was well-received; I passed all of the complimentary comments on to her and needless to say she’s now strutting around the house as if she owns the place, which of course she does. The reason I called her ‘Minnie’ was primarily due to needing a variation on her old name, which she’d learnt to respond to…but I didn’t want to keep something that someone who’d treated her so badly had bestowed upon her. ‘Minnie’ reflected her petite frame and large ears, which at the time reminded me of Minnie Mouse. Now her face has filled out a bit they aren’t as prominent, and she suits the moniker ‘Chickpea’ (my first choice) better in my opinion. Ah well.
Seriously, the internet seems to be hemorrhaging blogs with every passing second. Is there something rotten in the State of Blogland that I’m missing? How many more blogs will bite the dust? How many times can I use the word ‘blog’ in one paragraph? It’s becoming like the online version of a Wild West deserted village. All we need now is some digital tumbleweed.
Last Night’s Snack:
Was supposed to be Pulsin’s
Berry Burst ‘Bar’ (well, disc)
Hmm, looks a little diseased, no? Like it has a case of goji berry measles.
Product Review: Pulsin’ Berry Burst
Shortest review ever: it’s the texture of plasticine and tastes like Play-Doh. I actually had to spit out the bite I took, and that’s saying something. It was bland, almost tasteless and the little flavour there was came from the horribly bitter berries. Superfood or not, I am never going near anything Goji-based again. Thankfully, the Coffee Brownie
version of Pulsin’s discs was there to save the day and I had that instead. 0/10
~ simply inedible.
Another day, another wonderfully sunny morning today. I’ve been so spoilt with the weather recently…I’m dreading the winter, which always equals heightened levels of depression and usually weight gain. Rain I can cope with, frost…not so much, and the anxiety of not being able to run at the crack of dawn always gets my day off to a bad start. I’m savouring every day of summer while I still can. Twas an easy 5 miles, after which I found a use for the very unexciting Pecan Pie Larabar still in my possession…and dated August 09.
Pecan Pie Porridge: 1/2 cup rice/millet porridge, 1 cup rice milk, cinnamon, agave, dates, banana, crumbled Pecan Pie Larabar.
I spent the entire morning going through the University’s online catalogue and maxing out my loan limit reserving books for my MREs dissertation. Sadly, the one text, the key text that I desperately need seems to be unavailable at every library in the region…my options are to plead for an inter-library loan or to spend £135 on my own copy on Amazon…which I don’t have. Ah, the joys of research. Luckily my Mum very kindly offered to pick up the books which do exist when she’s in Newcastle on work-related business, so it saves me lugging them all home on the train. They know her at the Uni anyway, because she basically communicated for me for the entire first and second years of my degree when I didn’t say a word unless an academic question was asked of me. I suppose sometimes I need to recognise how far I’ve come in that respect instead of focusing on how far away I still am from being ‘normal’.
The stress of trying to locate the elusive Christopher Marlowe: A Critical History (1995 edition…the library had the 1973 version but it’s been updated since then to include more contemporary thought and most of the critical views in the 1973 text are outdated. Argh!) needed some serious venting at the gym. A sweaty hour of cardio on the elliptical, stepper & bike and some weights/stretching later, I was feeling much calmer…and hungrier.
Chickpea, carrot & tomato salad, Fruit plate (nectarine, apple, grapes) & two unpictured slices of GF bread with Pure Spread.
Walking on my own in the afternoon, I started to experience a level of anxiety and sadness that I haven’t had in quite some time. My Dad and I haven’t been on speaking terms for over a week, when he said that he’d be perfectly justified in hitting me if I cried in front of him ever again or put his blood pressure up on the basis that I need to learn some self-control and shutting me up is preferable to me ‘killing’ him through stress. He has shaken me and thrown me around before when I’ve been in one of my howling/sobbing moods and has never once apologised or accepted that his reaction is disproportionate, hurtful and inappropriate. So I decided not to stand for it any more and told my Mum about what’s been going on for…oh, ten years? Then he accused me of lying and trying to drive a wedge between them when really he’s bullied my Mum for even longer and there’s a big enough wedge there anyway to hold open the door of Westminster Abbey. Anyway, the upshot is that I now stay away from him as much as possible and get out of the house whenever I can. I really don’t want to be alone with him any more.
At least this has forced me to face me fears and walk through ‘rough’ areas of my area alone…living in a rural setting, they’re also quite isolated. Listening to my iPod, I was scared not only of being jumped on, mugged or beaten up by random people but also, inexplicably, of bullies from my past suddenly popping up. I still sometimes see them, or think I do, when I’m out alone…then I panic, hyperventilate and exhaust myself emotionally while running as quickly as I can for some kind of safe spot. It’s bloody embarrassing when it happens in the middle of New Look…anyway, I know that however much I like to tell myself that if I saw them again I’d perform the verbal equivalent of impaling them with a rusty spear, in reality I’m still a victim and they’d just walk all over me like they did all through primary and secondary school. Then my iPod reminded me why I never invest in people emotionally any more with Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters, which never fails to make me cry. It’s fortunate that I don’t feel anything for most people and am generally misanthropic, because when I do I become so completely absorbed and head-over-heels for that person that I not only make an idiot out of myself but also feel heartbroken about it five years later. The person I’m referring to used to play that song on his classical guitar…I never used to have a ‘type’ but now I basically judge everyone (male!) on the basis of how much they look like him. Yes, I really am that much of a cliché.
Morose Jessica= comfort food, shameful though it may be. After I’d done another 25 minutes of weights I munched my way through this:
Last few scrapings of the Hazelnut Raisin Butter (literally like a teaspoon left), Banana
Product Review: Monki Hazelnut Raisin Butter
I love the fact that there are only two ingredients in this: hazelnuts and raisins : ) I was hoping for some kind of equivalent to PB&Co’s Cinnamon Raisin Swirl, which I have seen (and lusted after) on US blogs and clearly has whole raisins in it. Sadly, this nut butter did not: the raisins are blended in with the nuts to form a sweet, soft yet crunchy paste. I felt that the taste of this was a little watery and insipid, and verging on the sickly in nature. I would have liked the hazelnut flavour to be stronger and I’ll always prefer smooth nut butters to crunchy…and if there are ‘bits’ in it then they need to be actual chunks of nut, not little semi-ground pieces. This sounds quite harsh considering it’s actually quite a pleasant novelty and great if you have a sweet tooth…I just wouldn’t buy it again. 6/10
Then I went to an hour of Pilates at the gym to rectify the pain in my back from tripping over a pavement edge while freaking out that bullies might be hiding around corners.
Stir-Fry Veggies, Sushi Rice, soy sauce/agave
This is the wheat/gluten free soy sauce I use…technically I’m intolerant to soy and shouldn’t have this, but my tum will let me get away with it as long as it’s only once or twice in a week.
Off now to scrounge an Apple Pie Larabar and catch up on the wonderful blogs that do still exist. I hope you’re all still there tomorrow!
Aug 18, 2009 9:44 PM
Greetings, human readers. Today Beyond Bananas has a new face (and paws) behind the keyboard: me, Minnie, Jess’ one and only pet. I’ve hijacked the blog to let you all know that there is something in the world that Jessica adores more than Larabars…me! Originally she wanted to call me Chickpea, but I responded better to something that sounded like my old name. I’m the love of her life, the reason that she’s here today. I’ve pulled her through some of her darkest times and put up with her relentless whining (seriously, why are your species so down on yourselves?) when no-one else would. She’s been trying to photograph me since she started the blog, but although I’m gorgeous, I am also camera-shy. New objects and noises terrify me for reasons I’ll elaborate on later, so it took her a while to allow me to become accustomed to the whirring of her Sony Cybershot. I’m a very active feline and hate to sit still, so getting a shot of me has been proving quite difficult. Jess and I have so much in common: we both love to run outside in the sunshine and turn into moody, depressed souls when we can’t, we both have histories that have had negative impacts on our respective psyches, we’re both shorties (I’m really the size of a large kitten) and we both wear ou hearts on our sleeves…if I had sleeves.
My day typically starts thusly:
Yes, I sleep on Jess’ old duvet. She adopted me from the Cats’ Protection League ten years ago when I was only five months old. I had already been signed over to them by the person who owned my mother…she didn’t want me or my brothers and sisters. We were called Eeenie, Meenie (my original name), Miny (ie?) and Mo. I was re-homed first (because I was the most spectacularly beautiful, of course) but the lady who took me was a nurse and didn’t have time for me at all. I was left alone all day and never fed. No-one paid any attention to me and I was victimised by the other cats in the house because I was so small. Eventually, the lady returned me, along with all her other pets. I was malnourished, scared, cold and psychologically traumatised by the whole experience. I didn’t think I deserved love or kindess. The only people I’d ever known had both rejected me. If Jess hadn’t come for me, I don’t think anyone else would have: I was terrified both of people and of other cats. At first, I’d hide for hours in the corners of her house, I’d snap, hiss at and bite anyone who came near me. Slowly but surely, I came to see that she wasn’t going to abandon me as the others had. She loved me for who I was, stunted growth, high level of anxiety and all. She didn’t care that I wasn’t affectionate and wanted to be out of the house on my own most of the time. Eventually, I settled down and we became the best of friends. I was there for her all through the worst times in her life, and I know she feels terrible for worrying me with all her noisy crying and tear-filled hugs…but we got through it together. I’m still very anxious, although I’ve mellowed a little with age (ssh, I’m nearly eleven!)
Yeah, here’s a ‘moody’ shot of me. I hate other cats, dogs and strangers. I don’t like noises or crowds either. That’s another thing we share…we’re both highly antisocial ; ) I spend most of my day outside, playing and roaming my territory.
I’m ready for my close-up…I wouldn’t get too close to me, though…I’m a killing machine. I took down a blackbird once, and also I’ve presented Jess with countless mice and fledgelings…oh, and also a shrew…and a baby stoat! I wonder why she didn’t look too pleased? Unlike her, I’m no vegan and I’m a parsimonious eater. Most of the time she has to coax me with plates of food delicately arranged around the house. Oh, and I only drink Evian water out of a glass. Spoilt, me? Not at all.
Ahh, I love my scratching post…
I’m also a contortionist but have very weak bones (seriously, Jess and I are twins…only she’s the ugly one! We even share the same missing left front tooth. I didn’t get a nice implant to replace mine though. So unfair.) due to malnutrition as a kitten. I have arthritis in both hips, but I don’t let it stop me from climbing trees and chasing ickle birdies…
In the evening I like to wind down by watching my homosapien friend blog.
And by making her laugh with all of my crazy poses.
Now that you know a little about me, I’ll leave you with a recap of Jessica’s day. She was up at the same time as me and running out of the door before I could say hello…how rude! After her 8.5 miles she came back and greeted me with a big hug (about time! I hate to be left alone as I still have abandonment issues) and then made herself breakfast:
1/3 cup Rice/Millet Porridge, 1 cup rice milk, 1 cup pumpkin, cinnamon, agave, raisins, banana, hazelnut raisin butter
I consoled her most of the morning when she discovered that her favourite athlete, Yelena Isinbayeva, finish outside the medals for the first time in over six years. I also watched her ploughing through hours and hours of research, before I found the tedium of it unbearable and went outside to kill some wildlife…I mean frolic amongst the daisies. I love living out in the country! When I returned to my domain Jess was jumping about like a maniac, jiggling along to 60 Minutes of her Tae-Bo Advanced DVD. I’m still more active than her, though…and infinitely better looking :P
She fed me (though I was still full of mouse) and then heated up some munchables for herself.
How she doesn’t get bored with this grape/nectarine/carrot combination I’ll never know…
Aug 17, 2009 10:45 PM
Firstly, thanks to everyone who gave me advice about the social situation, both empathetic and kick-in the rear in nature. It’s so beneficial to have many, many bright, vivacious, quiet and introverted people to reach out to and just proves that there’s a place in life for everyone, every unique and gorgeous individual out there (because I know full well you all are). Really, the anxiety, pressure and feeling of expectation heaped upon my shoulders were once again produced by myself. It has no bearing on my academic ability whether I go to an enforced social event or not: it’s not part of a course to foist intermingling on students and I don’t think that was the intention of the course leader anyway. Typically, I interpreted it in the worst way possible and misconstrued it as something that should worry me greatly. I will be practicing saying ‘no’ to random reflections of myself though (it’s certainly worth a try, so thank you Kate
!) just so that my Mum doesn’t have to phone the university and say that ‘Jessica can’t come out tonight’ ; )
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve been glued to the coverage of the World Athletics Championchips…when the Olympics were on last year I barely slept, or even blinked as I witnessed the greatest resurgence in British althletics since the days of Linford Christie (erm, disgraced as he is now!), Roger Black and Sally Gunnell. I used to watch them as a child and dream of being able to achieve at the level they did, to excel to the point of worldwide recognition. At the time I was definitely an armchair sportswoman, but now that I run myself (albeit at a highly amateur level!) I can appreciate even more the lengths that these athletes go to to reach new heights and pursue their dreams all the way to that gold medal. For example, the winner of the 10,000m finished her 10K a full 10 minutes faster than my personal best…and that was a ‘slow’ race. It just makes me realise how awe-inspiring these women (and men!) are. The highlight for me came yesterday when I watched Jessica Ennis win the heptathlon. Eighteen months ago I watched a documentary about British athletes training for the Bejiing olympics and saw her terrible foot fracture and the ensuing pain caught on film. Injuries are my greatest fear in the world, and to see such pain and agony manifest themselves in a beautiful woman whose entire life was shattered at the same time as three tiny bones actually made me pretty tearful at the time. I’ve been following her progress ever since not only because of that incident and the fact that we share the same name, but because she is an exception among her competitors in the respect that she stands at just 5ft 4ins. Granted, that’s still an inch taller than me, but commentators never fail to point out how ‘short’ she is, and in a field where most of the women are 5ft 8 plus she certainly stands out. She’s also very slight and lightly built, yet can throw a shot with the best of them. My own height is something I really, truly loathe (particularly since, due to scoiosis, I’m likely to lose several inches as I age beyond forty) and I often think that life would be very different with four extra inches to my name (no dirty jokes, please). I feel so childlike and intimidated being such a shortie and I really think it contributes to my inability to assert myself…not that it stops many other little people: several of the tiniest individuals I’ve ever known had enormous personalities to compensate, I’m just saying that, for me, being short has held me back. My Mum, bless her, always points out that, Aly aside (she’s 5ft 1!!!), everyone who finishes ahead of me in races is far taller than me…I think her words were ‘they have longer legs…it’s an unfair advantage!’ I couldn’t help but laugh at that, as it was so sweet. But seeing Jess Ennis win proved to me that height is no barrier to athletic excellence, and I’ve been using it as an excuse for my failings for far too long. I did cry this time when I saw her being presented with her medal…I’m not overly enamoured with our national anthem but in this particular context it was just so stirring and poignant.
Back to my own more humble exercise goals, I equalled my longest distance run this morning at a little over 8.5 miles. The sun even peeped out for a while and honoured me with its presence (is the sun genderless? People always seem to personify it as male…) By the time I returned home I was…ravenous, just for a change.
Doves Farm Cornflakes, Banana, Rice Milk, Dates
I received the most wonderfully helpful e-mail from my research supervisor in the morning, so I was able to really make some headway with that. It’s so hard to get anything significant done when you have to get up and stretch every half an hour though…darn you scoliosis. I also continued reading The Turn of the Screw
for a bit of light relief. I’m enjoying this story so much: it far surpasses the dire television adaptation my Dad insisted that I watch last year. I think it may even surpass some of my beloved Poe tales…Henry James truly is a master of the novella-length tale, where as Poe, in my view, couldn’t sustain the dizzying terror of his works beyond the stereotypical boundaries of the short story. The creeping malevolence, suspense and chilling turn of phrase, repressed within the clipped, rigid tone of his era truly makes Turn of the Screw
an elegant, sophisticated tale that the writers of today’s gore-fest horror movies could learn a lot from.
I lifted a few weights at home…then Body Combat at the gym was enjoyable as always : ) Then I was back home for a lot of blog reading and a little (NOT!) lunch.
A very overripe mango and carrot in all of their orange glory
Hazelnut Raisin Butter and Banana Sandwich on GF bread, rest of banana with more HB on the side.
My stomach really objected to eating a mango that ripe. I think the fermenting sugars resulted in the unpleasant cramping which followed. It took quite a while to settle down, but I was able to walk off the spasms and continue with my research. If there was an allergy or intolerance involved, the reaction would have been far more severe. When it did eventually calm down I quickly ate a snack before my evening gym classes, as I knew it would have to last me 3.5 hours until dinner.
Jazz Apple, Chocolate Coconut Chew Larabar
Yep, it’s calorie dense. But oh so tasty!
And healthy: Dates, almonds, walnuts, unsweetened cocoa powder, unsweetened coconut. That’s it.
Review: Chocolate Coconut Chew LarabarA thousand thank-yous to Aisha for sending me this bar! I haven’t had one in over a year since I couldn’t find them online and have never been able to locate them where I live. Anyone who’s been reading for any length of time will know that if something is based around chocolate, then I’ll generally like it…oddly enough, I don’t like actual chocolate (unless it’s melted) as the texture and sticky feeling around the teeth and gums is…offputting for me. Cold, hard chocolate is even worse because it just doesn’t taste of anything in particular…my preference is for soft textures, and this bar fulfills every one of those preferences. It’s not quite up there with the cocoa-based Nakd Bars: the deep cocoa flavour doesn’t hit you straight away, and it comes through as more of an aftertaste/afterthought. Initially, I was disappointed with the lack of cocoa ‘punch’ and could predominantly taste dates and almonds, but this bar truly does build in terms of flavour with every bite. The coconut adds a wonderful moistness, and there’s no greasy or sticky fingers to deal with…only deep, sumptuous chocolatey goodness. I actually like these even more than I remember, because I used to freak out over the fact that they were the highest calorie Larabar…because 41 calories more than the Apple Pie version is really significant and will make such a difference *rolls eyes*. I really didn’t want this bar to end and savoured it for a good ten minutes as it’s probably the last one of this variety I’ll ever have! It’s moved up the rankings to push Cashew Cookie down into fourth…only Peanut Butter Cookie and Coconut Cream Pie can better it. 9.5/10
The Larabar/apple combo held me reasonably well through two hours of Pilates and Body Balance and a little weight training, but by the time I was home I was a hungry beast again (what’s new?)
Roasted Courgettes…regular old supermarket ones this time, but still lovely.
Baby sweet potatoes, lentil/date bolognese (SO delicious!) and peas
I think that tomorrow’s post may center around a certain furry member of my family…I’ve finally got a shot of her in all her gorgeous glory and I’m hoping to take a few more if she’ll allow me ; )
Aug 16, 2009 11:41 PM
My last post was a little…aggressive in tone! I didn’t mean it to be that way, but I suppose after so many years of being a doormat I’ve taken the standing up for myself issue a little too far and turned into a snorting, steam-spewing black bull. Perhaps I was reacting against the pressure to go out because I know deep down that it’s my most epic failure as a person: going out makes me miserable, but so does staying in. When I’m alone I feel guilty and like I should be with people, but when I’m with people all I want is a nice, long stretch of quiet solitude. As I have mentioned before, I have tried to enjoy socialising. Heck, for a year a accepted every single invitation and opportunity to go out. Trying isn’t my problem: I volunteered for a local Wildlife Trust, an RSPCA cattery and for the League Against Cruel Sports…oh, and Friends of the Earth. I went to life drawing classes, German classes, even an amateur dramatics group (suggested by a psychologist who thought it would ‘bring me out of my shell’…uhh, never mind my complete inability to act…then again, neither could anyone else in that particular group :P) I did all of the things you’re ‘supposed’ to do aside from drinking (too many reasons to list for why I don’t but the main one is that my body essentially rejects alcohol. One tiny sip or trace and it’s like the projectile vomiting scene from The Exorcist). Just ‘going out for a drink’ with people never works because I won’t drink fruit juice (acid=tooth erosion, empty calories & upset stomach) or diet coke (bad memories of this being a ‘meal’) so I have water…which some smarty pants always either comments about or, in one instance, spiked with vodka. I never enjoyed a single moment. That’s what I meant in terms of not being able to measure progression: although ostensibly I was a ‘normal’ girl at that point and had progressed, I had not progressed progressed…even after close to eighteen months of pretending I still hated and dreaded every minute of it. I enjoyed the voluntary work I was doing but just couldn’t stand the people I was with. The lack of time for exercise took its toll on my back and also my weight. Therefore, I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t: I can either be alone, desperately wanting that one person to understand me (because all I need is one) and heavier than I want to be, or out and about faking it and never making it and ending up WAY heavier than I want to be. I think the vehemence of the post was mostly borne from frustration at myself, and I’m amazed at how restrained and understanding many of the comments were. I wouldn’t have been surprised if you’d given me a typographical poke in the eye.
I had a fantastic run this morning (8 miles)…I finally caved and downloaded ‘Stronger’ to my iPod…along with ‘Everybody (Backstreet’s Back). No shame I tell you, none at all. But my eclectic tastes do include the occasional bit of manufactured pop and utter cheese. It was interesting to listen to Britney Spears followed by Cradle of Filth, then the Backstreet Boys preceeding Metallica and Marilyn Manson. Life doesn’t just have to be defined by one ‘sound’ though! I also have bands such as Nickelback, Nirvana and Bon Jovi who sit somewhere in the middle. Just because a person is primarily a metal fan at heart, doesn’t mean there isn’t room for a little unoriginal tat for some light and shade. Bad news came in the form of my poor iPod shuffle finally ‘shuffling’ off this mortal coil. Well, it has been through years of getting drenched either by rain or sweat.
Aug 16, 2009 1:24 AM
The title of this post derives from a statement uttered by the coach on my Geri Body Yoga DVD. Profound, huh? It actually never fails to elicit a snort of derision from me, but it did get me thinking yesterday about how one measures ‘progression’ anyway? Perfection is, for me, easier to define in the sense of representing the ultimate form of satisfaction either with oneself or a specific achievement. The individual definitions of perfection may be subjective, but we generally know for ourselves when we have come close to it…though it’s clearly impossible to achieve it short of a 100% exam mark. Life isn’t an exam, and so perfection enters a blurry area. However, we generally have a definite idea of what form it takes, whether it’s in relation to body image or a piece of art. Progression, not so much. I hope I don’t come across as a failure, but I’m not like the other bloggers that I see making huge strides all at once and forcing themselves to get out and stop ‘isolating’. If I did go out to this pub social after the MREs induction, I’d be forcing myself to because I feel pressure to emulate the steps taken by others. Where is the progression: in the going out or in the enjoying the experience? If one has to force oneself to socialise in the first place, it’s not true progression…that would manifest itself in the form of accepting one’s natural personality and dislike for certain social environments rather than socialising to conform because clubbing/partying is what is expected of a young woman/man according to this society’s expectations and ideology. If you’re a natural extrovert, great…but why isn’t there a place in the world for introverts and individualism? Progression might just be following your natural instincts, regardless of what others think. I’m not saying we should all live in a cave and never see anyone, but at the same time pressure to get out and socialise simply for the sake of socialising to me seems counterproductive to progress in terms of self-acceptance.
I really need to start sleeping more. Ah, if only I could. Still, I managed to drag myself out of bed at 6:45 for the usual Davina McCall (Aerobics & Pump sections) DVD. As usual, once I got moving I was fine. Sitting around in the morning only makes me even more lethargic…tis why I like to mobilise my body as soon as possible. Luckily, binge was averted last night by some serious deep breathing and reading a nice, disturbing Henry James ghost story. Works like a charm. I did have an Apple Pie Larabar though. I’m making it my mission to eat as many as possible before they disappear forever. General Mills basically fobbed me off with an automated reply to my e-mail asking/pleading/begging them to reconsider their decision or at least allow UK Lara lovers some kind of online ordering system, so it looks like no more Laras for me as soon as the supply runs out *shakes fist at huge business conglomorates*
Alara Gluten-Free Muesli with raisins, rice milk & banana…I still have another darn box of this to use up. It’s not horrible enough to waste, but not tasty enough to really enjoy. Grr.
I think today was the single sweatiest experience at spinning and the gym that I’ve ever had. While I was on the elliptical after the spin class one of the guys who works there complimented me on my ‘six pack’ (yeah, right. But the compliment was nice!) and then proceeded to follow me into the weights room and say I was their ‘fittest customer’. Umm, has he forgotten about the semi-pro atheletes who train there four hours a day? One of the women I know has become a spin/Body Pump/Body Attack coach and she is the most obsessive person about exercise I’ve ever seen (yes, you did hear me say that) She’s taken on so many classes that she now teaches for four hours straight in the evening (5:30-9:30pm) and also gets up at 5am to run. Yes, I can’t compete with that. Actually, many of the other coaches are worried about her because she’s gone from being ‘ripped’ (no fat, toned muscle) to…well, wasted…no fat or muscle to speak of. Plus, she’s always going on and on about how much she eats in terms of saying she eats a TONNE of food at every opportunity. Hmm, I honestly don’t believe that. It does make me feel pretty, well, inferior. She has a job as an engineering lecturer too and it’s so irritating to see someone with a ‘functional’ ED who can live a life, have a job, have a fiancé, go on holiday and still maintain total control. Did my best to ignore such thoughts though.
Cocoa Orange GF Nakd Bar. I decided that, still feeling a little down from yesterday, mindfully eating some of my favourite ‘comfort’ foods when hungry (which you’d better believe I was!) would be a more positive pick-me-up than feeling ashamed that food has this kind of emotional influence and then bingeing. Hence, a few bites of utter perfection. Heaven in a bar.
Fruity plate…except for some reason that white Nectarine was hideously bitter. The grapes made up for it.
Sweet Potato with Hazelnut Raisin butter.
I was going to use Sunflower Seed butter but upon trying it…well, I wasn’t sure. It has a very savoury taste, far denser and more pronounced than peanut butter. My Mum was about to throw it away, as she knows if I feel obliged to eat something I don’t really like it’s a recipe for trouble in terms of OE. I know she’s trying to do what’s best, but I sometimes wish she had a little more faith in me in that respect…but caution is key with my bingeing tendencies. I managed to save it from the bin though, and actually regretted not having it: sweet nut butter and sweet potato is a little overwhelming even for me! I might try the Sunflower Seed on my porride tomorrow.
Walkies (on which the heavens decided to open and drench me) and a little (well, 90 minutes) of Yogalates later…(oh, and a lot of researching and pestering tutors via e-mail):
Pink Lady apple (I don’t believe I used to dislike these!), Vanilla Rice & Rice dessert which I meant to warm in the microwave and add cinnamon to but in the end I was just too lazy :P
Then I read for a little while (The Turn of the Screw), did yet more research, played keyboard, lifted weights for about half an hour and…then it was dinner time.
The ubiquitous roasted courgettes…I just told my Mum’s friend to keep ‘em coming.
Chickpea, carrot, date & tomato tagine, brown rice, peas.
Yep, I’ll be having an Apple Pie Larabar later on too. I only have six left…out of a box of twenty.
Aug 15, 2009 12:26 AM
One of the perils of having bi-polar disorder / clinical depression, which are entirely different and separate illnesses with vastly different symptoms but for some reason may both apply to me depending on which psychologist (or psychiatrist, as one of them was) you believe, is the way a day can swing from being full of sunshine and rainbows to being suffused with sulphur and hellfire. Case in point: today. I woke up and it took me quite a while to get moving, where as usually a bit of stretching and I’m ready to go. On my run, everything suddenly kicked into gear and I bounded across the grass and over the pavements with what I’m sure was one of the most ridiculous grins you’re ever likely to see. Once home, I ate breakfast, played keyboard, researched, toddled off to Body Combat, still smiling inwardly. For no reason, everything seemed ‘right’ despite the atmosphere in the house and the ear-splittingly loud cry of the television downstairs…my Dad has hearing issues but refuses to wear an aid, so it’s a little difficult to concentrate with the constant sound of horse racing blaring in your ears (don’t even get me started on that: it’s on a par with fox hunting to me in terms of perpetuating greed and sheer mindless cruelty. I absolutely abhor it).
Once home from Body Combat, after lunch…something just sank, like a water wing that had been popped or a deflated hot-air balloon. And what I can’t understand is the relationship between internal and external triggers for such a nosedive, because I still can’t recognise which preceeds the other. Initially, I was doing a reasonable job of holding off the ‘you’re a waddling hippo, go on
*insert diet / restricted amount of calories here* to fix it’ thoughts, but then other worries started to creep in: what am I going to do for money / a job, even if I do get driving lessons, there won’t be enough money to buy my own car, how the Hell am I going to cope with this MREs, why am I so tired all of a sudden? Because I am tired, and that’s worrying me. This kind of exhaustion usually happens before a meltdown…a Jessica-style meltdown involves doing virtually no exercise and stuffing her face until she wants to throw up…and then carries on eating more anyway. They come on and seem to just ‘happen’, until a few days and several pounds heavier I suddenly snap out of them and think ‘dear Lord, what have I done to myself?’ The last one several months ago ended up with me eating both dairy products and fish, breaking my years of veganism (and half a lifetime of vegetarianism) and leaving me so guilty that I wanted to scratch out my own eyes. I neither wanted nor craved these foods, but I didn’t feel in control of my own body and that scares the living daylights out of me. This episode followed a three-day long period of mania, where I was high as a kite and felt like I could do anything: I wrote thousands of words of my newest novel (which is now on hold due to the worst case of writers’ block I’ve ever experienced), painted for hours, ran faster and further, stayed up for hours through the night. I don’t want a repeat of last time…not exercising is never the answer to anything, and why my reaction to these mood swings has to always centre around food I do not know.
The point is that I don’t know what came first: the sudden change in tone from gold to grey or the negative thoughts themselves…and then external factors came into play with more detailed timetable information for the MREs. The first session for enrolment is a Wednesday, 4-6pm…this cuts across a pilates class, which is the most rational of all my exercise-related dependencies. My physio ‘prescribed’ at least two taught classes a week (not DVDs) and they’ve been so incredibly helpful with my scoliosis. I don’t want the agonizing back pain to come back…it only disappeared when I started these classes and left University, where I had been sitting for far too long at a time. Also, after the induction, apparently everyone is reconvening at a local pub. Aside from not drinking, pub environments really are a step too far. If the meeting was during the day, in a coffee shop, fine. Noisy, crowded pubs in the evening absolutely terrify me. They’re not an environment I’d choose to go anywhere near even outside of my social anxiety disorder-created problems. I hate small talk and just get downright bored. So consequently, I have the choice of once again marking myself out as the antisocial freak, or going, hating the whole experience and then coming home late, tired and miserable (which I will: every time I’ve challenged myself in this kind of way I’ve always been proved right and loathed every minute of it…also, after the train home at 6:20pm, there isn’t another one until 9:30pm…which means I’d be walking home through a pretty unsafe area in the dark).
I desperately want my independence but I’ve no idea how I’m going to fit in driving lessons as well as keyboard and the MREs sessions, particularly if they insist on a load of mindless socialising…yes, I’m aware that I sound like a misery but life is totally overwhelming me right now.
Aug 12, 2009 9:43 PM
I’m no Britney Spears fan but I’ve had her song ‘Stronger’ stuck in my head all day, partially because it seems to play on some kind of endless loop at the gym but also because something happened yesterday evening which really did make me feel more empowered as a person. I don’t discuss everything that goes on at home on the blog (although I’m sure it must seem that way most of the time!) but there are some issues that really needed to be addressed. When you’re treated a certain way for your entire life, you come to accept that it’s the norm, that certain behaviours are acceptable because you’ve never known any differently. I never had a very wide social circle, not even as a child, so I wasn’t shown any other parental relationships in any great detail. I’ve been a victim my whole life, first at home, then at school, then of my own head. I’ve never stood up for myself in any of the aforementioned situations. The second one is in the past, and cannot be rectified. The last is a work in progress. The first is something that has been like a lead weight bearing down on me, making me smaller and smaller in terms of confidence and self-belief. The only way I can describe it is as the psychological equivalent of the medieval torture method whereby a criminal or witch would be placed under a heavy wooden door, their spine resting on a pointed stone underneath. Rocks were then placed on top of the door, until their weight either forced the individual to confess or they were crushed to death. I’d listened to all of the negative, cruel, hurtful things that were said about me for so long that I’d come to believe them myself. I’d accepted the situation, even though it was, I now realise, unacceptable. Implied violence is unacceptable. Repeated verbal abuse is unacceptable. Blaming a person for having a clinically diagnosed mental illness is unacceptable. But I didn’t have the courage to speak out about what was going on, what’s gone on since I was old enough to comprehend language because it involved standing up for myself, doing something that was potentially explosive and that could uproot the established routine and equilibrium of my life. Believe it or not, despite the nature of my last few posts, blogging has given me the greatest self-esteem boost I’ve ever experienced. I’ve realised that I don’t have to be a victim any more, not of myself and certainly not of others. I won’t go into exact details, but things are now very much up in the air, now that certain facts have been laid out in the open. Without the love and support that you have all shown me, I would still be a victim, accepting that I’m worthless, believing that I deserve the vituperation and vilification of others. Without blogging, I don’t think I ever would have had the courage to stand up and speak out against what, until today, was happening. The instant that I did, the cloud of self-loathing lifted, just a little. I realise that this may seem odd on a blog that is primarily related to food and exercise but the comments that I have received have helped me immeasurably with so much more than that…
Making peace with myself is difficult, but the cathartic effect of yesterday evening made me realise that, even though I’d like to tell my body to take a running jump for ‘wanting’ to be at a weight I’m not happy with, I can’t let my dissatisfaction with it completely rule my life. I’ll fight against it’s natural tendencies, whatever they are and I won’t accept that I’m simply ‘meant’ to be a certain shape, but the unchangeable aspects, such as my height, aren’t worth berating myself over. I received the kindest, most understanding reply imaginable to my e-mail to the course leader for the Masters Research Degree in English Literature, and I feel so relieved that they still want me on a scholarship basis and are willing to work with me on situations that I find overwhelming or intimidating. I’m still terrified that I’ve ‘lost it’ academically over the holidays and I’m not up to the demands of the course…and that I’ll disappoint them, but all I can do is try my best to take advantage of the opportunities, both academic and social, that this degree presents.
I apologise sincerely if some of what I said in my last post was upsetting or insulting: I can see that some of my views were both controversial and immature, and I did not mean to imply that I value other people on the basis of their weight. I would never, ever judge someone else for their size, aside from some element of jealousy if they were extremely slim. I really only apply those judgements to myself, because of how uncomfortable and disgusting weight gain makes me feel and for a long time I’ve been told I have no right to feel that way by people who have never had weight problems in their life and are never likely to, so they don’t know how it is because they’ve never experienced it themselves. I hate the way society condemns a slight hint of cellulite but praises jutting collar and hip bones, and I hate that I can’t stop buying into it. All we can each do is to try and feel comfortable in ourselves, and that struggle often seems overwhelming.
Aside from the constant arguing and trying to work things out at home (which was necessary: things could not and should not have remained the way they were), I managed to fit in an easy 5 mile run, gym (45 minutes elliptical, 10 rowing machine as the stepper was broken and I figured that a little rowing wouldn’t be too detrimental, and 10 minutes on the exercise bike plus some weights and stretching), a longish walk on my own, some weights at home and a lovely, calming pilates class.
**Blogger currently hates me and is refusing to upload any pictures, so I’ll post a recap of the day’s eats with images as soon as possible**
*UPDATE: We have pictures : )*
Apple Pie Porridge Mark 3: 1/2 cup Rice/Buckwheat Porridge, cinnamon, 1 cup rice milk, agave, sultanas, banana, crumbled Apple Pie Larabar
Package from http://www.veganstore.co.uk
: Organic Food Bars (Active Greens with Chocolate and Omega 3 Flax) as pre-race breakfasts for my remaining 10Ks in August & September, 5 Nakd Cocoa Orange GF bars, 4 Gingerbread Nakd GF Bars, One Pecan Pie Nakd GF Bar, 5 Pulsin’ Coffee Brownies, One Pulsin’ Energy Bomb and One Pulsin’ Berry Burst. That’s a nice chunk of the money I was owed gone…ah well.
Lunch: was an exact repeat of yesterday, only with a Pink Lady Apple instead of Jazz.
Chocolate Rice & Rice Dessert Pot, Jazz Apple
Chickpea stir-fry with brown rice
Distance shot with more gorgeous roasted courgettes
Once again, I can’t thank you all enough for making such a huge difference to my life.
Aug 11, 2009 10:07 PM
I know I always say this, but it really is going to be an uber-brief post. I just feel utterly drained and I wish I could write something more provocative and inspiring. I feel like I’m trapped in a paradox whereby whatever I do, the only outcomes are negative. I can feel weight gain on every part of my bod, particularly my legs. When I look in the mirror, they’re creeping closer and closer together to the point where soon there will be no gap between them at all. I don’t need to gain weight, I don’t want to gain weight. Medically, no doctor would ever tell me to: my BMI is not even in the ‘underweight’ category. I haven’t been near the scales in weeks, so lord knows what it’s up to now. Yet I continue to eat enough to gain, despite my level of exercise. I’m not stuffing myself to the point of being overfull, but I can’t trust any hunger signals that I might have. It feels as though my greatest fear is inevitable and there’s just nothing I can do about it. It’s killing me. And I can never break out of my routine because then I’ll gain even more…a layer of fat on top of the huge quads I’ve overdeveloped in the past two years of upping the running mileage will just look terrible, creating to great tree trunks with cellulite six inches thick. I don’t know how to go about shrinking muscles, or if it’s even possible without some kind of drastic muscle-wasting illness. Even if I did have friends, even if I wanted to do the MRes, I couldn’t because I need to stay constantly active, and even then I’m still getting bigger. I have to choose between having a ‘life’ and being fat, or being stuck where I am for the next twenty-three years and being slightly less fat: that’s no choice at all. How I can trust my body when this is happening to me I don’t know: naturally thin people and people in recovery with hypermetabolism can work towards building a normal relationship with food because they don’t have to worry about it. They can afford to be normal and will still end up with a 17.5 BMI at the most. Anyone who says that weight doesn’t matter and / or define you as a person…well, it tends to be people who have never had to struggle with a body that constantly wants to gain who say that. I’d like to see them preaching the same thing if they suddenly gained 20lbs ~ would they still love their bodies so much then? I can’t trust my body or myself. I want this to stop, I want to take back control, but my strength has just evaporated. Most people could just cut their intake to compensate for any missed exercise, but not me. I don’t know where this is going to end and I’m scared as Hell.
I managed a distance record for me this morning…I’m estimating just over 8.5 miles.
Doves Farm Cornflakes, Rice Milk, Raisins, Banana
Painting and keyboard in the morning…the usual, basically. Also an hour of Tae-Bo: Everybody Get Ripped.
Aug 9, 2009 9:56 PM
Does anyone from the UK (or the US for that matter) remember a ‘band’ called Tatu? They were a pair of Russian girls that traded on the gimick of kissing each other on the premise of being gay, something the media latched on to in the sickening way that they do. They had but two songs in the charts, one of the lines from which forms the title of this post. It’s my ‘guilty pleasure’ track amongst the many bands on my iPod that have actual talent. The point is, as this song streamed into my ears approaching the 1K marker today, I realised that the biggest battle I would have to fight during this race was with my mind. I haven’t been enjoying my races this year nearly as much as I would like (Raby Castle 10K being the exception) due to the constant plague of negative thoughts which my brain likes to subject me to. To break things down:
Start to 3K: I managed to push myself only four rows back from the start line. I only saw two other women so far forward, both of whom were over 5ft 8ins and uber-skinny. Most of my mental energy was expended trying to fend off the desire to curl up in a ball and cover my legs, which were exposed in gratuitously short shorts (practically hot pants) due to the 23 degree (celcius) heat and blazing sunshine. The promised breeze never manifested itself! The first 3K were tough, mentally and physically. My breath kept catching in my chest and for a while I kept coughing. I had a metallic taste in my mouth and was terrified that it was from blood. I wasn’t sure what was going on but I ignored it and managed to latch on to a tall, tanned, bald man who was going a little faster than my ideal pace. Both of the thin girls breezed past me, which didn’t do much for my morale.
4K-6K: Things settled down a bit as my body got into its stride. It was lovely to be able to breathe again! Plus, this section of the course was mostly in residential streets with a little shade from tree-coverage. My mind still wasn’t in the right place…the race is run twice around a course/loop and even the usual ‘5K down, 5 to go~ you’ve already run the route so you can kill the last half!’ mantra wasn’t working. I felt tired, despondent and worthless. Another very slim girl passed me. By this point shutting out the voice questioning why I was running the race in the first place was becoming almost impossible. It was contantly telling me to give up, that even with pushing myself to the limit I’d never look like those girls and all running was doing for me was bulking my huge thighs up even more. Thank God I had my iPod to distract me.
7K-9K: I was still going strong with my bald companion, and the negativity was starting to wain as the finish became a closer prospect. I was starting to overheat a little (okay, a LOT) and my pace slowed. Each kilometre seemed longer than the last. I was flagging.
9K-Finish: Turning into the home straight I saw the huge digital race clock broadcasting ’39:54′. I was astounded. I thought that my time was going to be terrible, and the relief that it wasn’t spurred me on a little. However, once Mr.Bald sprinted for home and I thought no-one else was close enough to catch me, I did something I’ve never done: I eased up, thinking that because it wasn’t possible to break 40 minutes, a few seconds wouldn’t make a difference. This pathetic, quitter attitude is something I haven’t had since I was a teenager. As it turned out, a young man finished so strongly that he overtook me and I dervingly lost a place. I was furious with myself. Needless to say, I didn’t see Aly for dust. She won the race of course, in a stellar (but slow for her!) time of 34 minutes. My provisional time was 40:40, but I’ll post a link to the official (chip) times once they’re up…which could take a while, as last year they weren’t exactly prompt in releasing them.
My Mum and Dad came to cheer me on and although they were proud of me, I had mixed feelings about the race and my inability to solve my attitude problem. Mum would have had a picture of me running for the finish, but my lack of spine meant that the young man ran right in front of the shot and you can’t even see me (well, apart from my legs). There are a couple of shots right after I finished, but I’m only posting one:
Excuse the bra straps going south from under my crop top. I really don’t take a good picture, do I? So unphotogenic, and this was the best of them! Now, I should be a good blogger and say how grateful I am to my legs for being strong and carrying me so far to a personal best time. On one level, the sane level, I am…but I am truly ashamed of this picture. I can’t stand how bulky my legs are. I’ve always had a complex about them ever since I was nicknamed thunderthighs all through secondary school and subjected to ‘Jessica’s arse is wider than a…(insert huge object here)’ games every break time for two years until they eventually got bored with it and switched to asking me if I got friction burn every time my thighs chaffed together walking. I hate them, and I feel so huge compared to all of the other tall, slender bloggers out there. I’m sure I need a slap round the face ~ I know I should be grateful to have legs at all, to be able to run at all! It’s just this damn negative voice will not shut up. I don’t think my vision is distorted, because when I was underweight I did not think I was fat ~ I was actually proud of my legs, because for the first time ever they ‘matched’ my top half. Ugh, why do these thoughts have to spoil every achievement I should have?
Mum had packed my camera away, so I don’t have shots of breakfast or my post-race snack. I was up at 6:45am to do the Abs and Boxing Sections of Davina McCall’s DVD to stretch out before the race: sitting in the car is terrible for my muscles and joints and I wanted to be sure that I was properly warmed up.
For breakfast I’ve concluded that anything more than a bar and a banana is too much for my stomach to handle pre-race, but since cutting out oats my digestive system has been so settled that I didn’t want to risk a regular Nakd Bar. Larabars aren’t sustaining enough, so I went for the Active Greens With Chocolate Organic Food Bar that Veganstore mistakenly sent me. I know, when I reviewed this bar before I hated it so much that I threw it away. However, I’m so pleased that I gave it a second chance on the basis of needing fuel, not something tasty, because it WAS tasty! The small bite I took of the first bar had no chocolate chips in it, and they make all the difference in transforming the bar into a decadent treat! In fact it was so rich and dense that it became a little sickly by the end. I can’t fault it for disgestibility (although my stomach did ‘bubble’ for a little while due to the soy lecthin in the chocolate chips…odd for a bar that proclaims ‘soy free’ on the front!!!) and it seemed to infuse me with energy ~ perhaps there’s something to these greens after all. It was very energy dense at 320 kcals, 13g of protein and 13g of healthy fat per 70g bar, but I’m definitely ordering more for breakfast before future races. I’d give it 8.5/10. I’m not a fan of protein-stuffed bars any more, which is why I probably won’t be eating them outside of race scenarios ~ I think protein is over-emphasised and can become quite an obsessive issue, as I found out when I used to live on Trek Bars and went into a panic attack because I didn’t have the funds to purchase any more Sun Warrior.
Post-race food was provided by Subway…who gave finishers greasy chocolate and white choc chip cookies. No thank you ~ I always feel nauseous for a good hour after a race anyway and these most certainly weren’t vegan. I don’t think I saw a single woman eat one, while the men chowed down happily with huge, goofy, chocolate-stained grins. If there’s ever a moment that epitomises the disparity between how the sexes approach weight/food/exercise, this was it. After we walked back to the car and I’d stretched I ate an Apple Pie Larabar on the way home while my Dad demolished the cookie.
Fruit Plate: White Nectarine (disappointingly under-ripe), Tentation Apple, Grapes
Monki Hazelnut & Raisin Butter and banana sandwich on GF Bread, rest of banana with a huge scoop of more Hazelnut Butter. (review to come once I finish the jar)
You’d think that logially I’d eat less after feeling so huge, but I tend to do the opposite now. I really shouldn’t moan unless I intend to do something about it: the amount I get through is obviously obscene, otherwise why am I this size when I exercise the way I do? I really have no right to complain.
In the afternoon I went for a walk and kept moving with a 40 minute Tae-Bo Cardio DVD to make sure that I didn’t stiffen up. Minor argument with my Dad, but it was quickly resolved by some serious communication and clarification: neither of us are great and saying what we really mean and phrasing things appropriately, which often means that my poor Mum ends up playing referee. Thankfully we understand each other better than we used to so conflicts don’t stretch over days or even weeks any more! Well, rarely anyway…
Two bananas’ worth of soft serve, lifted by cinnamon and vanilla essence. Texture is spot-on, but I’m still looking for a way to mask that slightly bitter ‘freezer burnt’ banana taste. Still lovely though.
Finally, to completely stretch out I did 90 minutes of Geri Body Yoga. Keeping moving really helps with stiff, aching muscles so hopefully I won’t be too sore tomorrow.
Mushroom and Chestnut risotto with brown rice, peas and carrots.
So sorry to love you and leave you, but I can’t stand looking at that picture any longer. I’m off to get a cashew cookie Larabar and then do some reading…I just realised I ate 4 bananas today. Way to live up to my blog’s name.
Aug 9, 2009 2:56 PM
Hello! Hope you’re all having a delightful Sunday : ) I’ve just returned from the Chevrolet Darlington 10K and my time…well, according to the clock it was 40:40, and I hardly took any time at all to cross the start line so I’d assume that’s pretty accurate. I’ll post the chip time as soon as I get it. When I turned into the finishing straight I saw a huge ’39:54′ above me and I was both elated and a little frustrated at the same time. I’ve knocked about 90 seconds off my personal best, but I couldn’t help thinking if I’d pushed just that little bit harder that sub-40 minute time would have been mine, mine I tell you! Never mind…Aly finished a minute SLOWER than last year in about 34 minutes…and she was disappointed. Yeesh. What I find incredible is that she’s 5ft 1ins and beats 6ft plus men into the dust…she’s a little powerhouse! Will be back later with a full race recap, including a pleasant surprise for breakfast involving a product whose review will certainly need adjusting.
Anyway, here are my 10 honest facts:
1.) I am an only child. Big surprise, isn’t it? People always, always guess that I don’t have any brothers or sisters, and I worry that I come across as spolit or attention-seeking as a result. When I was younger I thought being alone was fabulous, but in recent years I miss the companionship and bond that so many people share with their siblings. Granted, I wouldn’t wish living with me on anyone and I’d feel sorry for any poor soul who had to endure my huge mood swings, but I do sometimes pine for an older brother specifically: someone who can protect me from the world and loves me for who I am. A sister would have been a nightmare though: too much comparison on the basis of appearance…I can forsee that there would have been a lot of fighting and jealousy. As one lady I know so tactlessly put it: the curse of the only child is having to bury both parents alone.
2.) I have only been abroad once. It was a school trip to France and I was violently sick on the ferry over there. I had a migraine for the entire week and it was not an experience I’d like to repeat…plus it gave the people who bullied me yet more ammunition. I’d love to travel though, but I’m utterly terrified of planes and flying. If I could get over this phobia (unlikely!), I’d love to ski on snow, visit the USA (New York! Florida! Boston! Chicago!) and see the spectacular scenery of Canada.
3.) I went through a Gothic phase when I was fifteen where I dyed my hair black. Yes, black. It took two years to grow and bleach the dye out and completely wrecked the condition as a result. It’s the only time I’ve died my hair (it was originally intended to be red…as in, crimson, but the dye faded too quickly and the black was intended to cover it) and I will never do it again: I’ll stick with my natural colour thank you! Dressing in black, wearing New Rock boots and spiked collars, it was a reflection both of my love for rock/metal music and a desperate desire for people to ‘see’ how psychologically I was in a huge amount of pain. It’s the same reason why I craved a desperately underweight body: if you look ‘healthy’, people expect things of you, responsibilities are foisted upon you…it’s just not something I could handle. Plus, I was trying to conform and fit in with people who shared my outcast status…bit of an oxymoron but there you go!
4.) My childhood ambitions career-wise run as follows: Fireman at five, vet from ages 7-14 (found out it would break my heart if anything died and I would blame myself!), graphic designer at 15-18, writer from 19-22, back to artist at 23! The vet-related decision decided to tie in with my vegetarianism, then a later transition to veganism occurred at 19 to the present (exempting three OE/ED-enduced screw-ups along the way)
5.) I was a total tomboy all through my childhood…but still loved to play with My Little Ponies and Puppy in my Pockets. Really I defied all gender stereotypes and the reason (one of many) I couldn’t fit in was the fact that I’d be just as happy with a Hot Wheels set as a Barbie. The fact that I was so androgynous and dressed in boys’ clothes but still hated getting ‘mucky’ and couldn’t play football to save my life meant that I was rejected by both sets of children. I only had one friend, who was a boy, and both pupils and teachers used to make inappropriate comments about it, sexualising our friendship at the age of eight. Even now it disgusts me that grown adults could act in such a way.
6.) I dropped out of school and taught myself for the duration of year 11 (GCSE year 15-16) due to the fact that I was suicidal by that point and liable to walk in front of a car without people watching me. The Local Education Authority kicked up an enormous fuss about it but I was still able to take the exams and achieved 5 A*s, 4 As and one B. I have the testimony of my psychiatrist at the time to thank for that: it’s the only time I’ve ever felt supported or grateful to anyone in the mental health system. If I’d had to stay at school I wouldn’t have any qualifications at all, let alone A-Levels, Advanced Extensions and a Degree. Hell, I wouldn’t even be alive.
7.) I used to be a serial ‘giver-upper’ of hobbies. These included: judo, skiing (stuck with for five years), trampoling (loved it but gave up due to bullying), playing the clarinet, tae-kwon-do and many more.
Aug 8, 2009 10:53 PM
I apologise in advance for the potential brevity of this post, but I have a serious case of the pre-race jitters and can barely string two words together coherently. Also, I have a lot of elements to cover in this post so my usual verbosity may be temporarily absent. I’m sure it will make a return tomorrow ; ) The aforementioned nerves are worse than before other recent races, as I’ve run this course before, it’s more or less completely flat and the weather forecast is ideal…20 degrees celcius with a light breeze. Consequently, there’s no excuse for me not to run well. One of my tutors at University once said that my biggest fault was my crippling self-doubt. I could run a list off of ten thousand worse faults of mine, but I sometimes wonder if he has a point. I spend so long worrying about everything and have such a huge, overwhelming fear of failure that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and I set myself up to fail through anxiety alone. Will try to breathe deeply and embrace tomorrow no matter what it brings…in terms of racing anyway!
Firstly, I was elated to be given this award by both Jemima and Katie. I could go into a long, tearful Oscar-style speech about how much this means to me, but I don’t want to induce any waves of nausea into the blogging world. However, I simply have to say that it isn’t just the award that touched me so deeply, but the fact that I admire and respect both of the beautiful girls who gave it to me beyond almost anyone else in my life. I’ve been reading their blogs since their very first posts in November 2008 and February 2009 respectively, and was always too timid and shy to even comment. Eventually the warmth and strength that shone through their posts encouraged me to tentatively comment, then inspire me to blog myself. Blogging has given me so much that to think that anything I say might be well-received is just such an amazing feeling, and I can’t think of a better boost for my morale tomorrow than this award.
The conditions of the award are as follows:
‘This award is bestowed on a fellow blogger whose blog content or design is, in the giver’s opinion, brilliant. This award is about bloggers who post from their heart, who often in times put their heart on display as they write from the depths of their soul.
There are three rules that need to be followed on accepting this award:
1. Brag about it!
2. Select seven blogs you find brilliant and link back to them.
3. List ten honest things about yourself.’
There are so many amazing ladies out there who I would love to pass this on to, but thankfully my task has been made a little easier by the fact that quite a few of them have received it already : ) Therefore, my seven bloggers are:
1.) Lauren of Rediscovering Lauren, for her love of running and Nakd Bars, but also for her ability to know when to rest and her maturity in dealing both with recovery and with her recent hip injury. She has a wise, sage head on young shoulders and I am constantly learning from her approach to life.
2.) Aisha of Bambi’s Fat Loss, for her unwavering honesty with her struggles with food and the related guilt and for proving that it’s possible to lose weight in a healthy and balanced manner. Oh, and for her wonderful variations on banana soft-serve. She’s on holiday right now and probably won’t get the chance to read this, but I still love her too much not to pass the award on.
3.) Jaime of Fearless, Fabulous and Full of Life for being everything that her blog title says and more. She’s one vivacious lady with the most inspiring attitude and stellar sense of style.
4.) Edie of Gypsy Moth. Although she’s so new to the blogging world, her posts have such a high level of searing integrity that she is totally deserving of this award. Plus, she takes the time to write such amazingly heartfelt, poignant comments that she has more than compensated for her lack of quantity (time-wise) with the quality of her writing.
5.) Laura of Laura’s Worthless Words, for sticking with recovery through everything and for recently turning a corner in overcoming her disordered thoughts.
6.) Ellie of Inside I’m Still Dancing, for her wonderful personality, thoughtful considerations, brilliant ‘what I’ve learned this week’ feature and for maintaining a positive outlook despite having some heartbreaking news in her life recently.
7.) L. of WWLD, for her funky, individual style of expression, effortless style and challenging herself on so many levels every single day.
The 10 things may have to wait until tomorrow or the day after, depending on how long my race recap is! However, I have thought of ten things to share so they will definitely make an appearance at some point. I feel so flattered by this award…but I’m not sure I deserve it! On the basis of this post probably not ~ I wish I had something more thoughtful or poignant to say….
Well, it was just your typical Saturday for me: an hour of Davina McCall’s DVD (aerobics and pump sections) followed by a new breakfast:
Alara Gluten-Free Muesli, rice milk, sultanas, banana
Review: Alara Gluten-Free MuesliHmm, I really should take better pictures of my cereal so that you can see what it actually looks like! This muesli was, well, average. It’s difficult to say much about it because nothing really stood out as being either good or bad…I just felt indifferent while eating it. The rice puffs and corn flakes seem to have the same texture, odd though that may be, and there’s just a hint of flavour from the hazelnuts and sunflower seeds that I expected to really ‘pop’ out and take the muesli to the next level. There is plenty of fruit in it and the nutritional stats are excellent for a gluten-free product, but it’s just not ‘special’ enough for me to purchase again. It’s light yet quite filling, so despite the blandness it’ll make a good pre-spin breakfast for the next few weeks. 6/10I then headed off to a sauna…I mean spin class and stayed to do 40 minutes on the elliptical and a few weights afterwards. It was such a shame to be indoors when the sun was shining so brightly, but I knew it was necessary to give impact exercise a break before racing.
The muesli held me over reasonably, but by 11.30 my tummy was most definitely rumbling. The relief of true hunger and being able to satisfy it was so refreshing.
Apple Pie Larabar
I painted for a while (the next fair is at the end of August and I have a lot of requests to do!) and then compiled an e-mail to send to the head of the MRes course, who has no idea about my problems. I’m trying to be more proactive in fixing potentially damaging situations before they arise, rather than reacting to them (or over-reacting to them) once it’s too late to change them or do anything about it. During the interview her and her colleague (who runs the history equivalent) bombarded me with so much information and worrying possibilities (travelling up and down the country with one of the lecturers, attending numerous conferences, organising events unsupervised with fellow students) that I basically went into a blind panic and nearly turned down the opportunity to do the course. I feel it’s only fair to let them know about my mental health issues, and then if they still want me on a scholarship basis we can work together to resolve them. I would feel terrible if I couldn’t take the pace and someone else could have had the opportunity instead of me. Just knowing that people may understand if I suddenly have to leave a room makes a panic attack less likely to happen, rather than trying to appear ‘perfect’ and then making a complete fool of myself by bursting into tears in front of everyone like I did in my first year.
By the time I was done it was past lunch time!
Dark Chocolate Dreams & Banana Sandwich on GF Bread.
Last of the DCD jar and the rest of the banana ~ not as much as it looks (I know the jar still seems half-full but even I’m not that bad!)
Review: PB & Co Dark Chocolate DreamsThanks to Aisha, I was finally able to try this product after salivating after it on many US bloggers’ daily eats for so long. I generally review a product as soon as I try it, but with nut butters I wait until the end of the jar as, unless they’re truly disgusting or utterly delicious, my opinion can change from multiple servings and I need to know that it’ll have ‘staying power'; that I won’t get bored and still have half a jar to use up. Initially, I was a little disappointed with this, as the chocolate flavour just wasn’t rich, dark or prominent enough for me. It was peanut butter with a lot of sweetness and a vague aftertaste of chocolate. I suppose I was blinded by childhood memories of Nutella, which I was obsessed with before I became vegan. However, I forget that my tastes have changed. This did grow on me, and was particularly delicious melted on top of pumpkin oats for a little savoury contrast, but I’m still not sold on the ‘coated’ feeling it gives your teeth afterwards, as if there’s a fine veneer of sugar covering them. I suppose I believed the hype too readily…it’s still very nice, put I prefer my cashew butter and regular PB (PB & Co brand only, of course! English PBs with palm oil added are vile!)
Some gentle walking and weights later, I was ready for another snack…I’ve certainly been snacky McSnackerton today. It’s for the race, I swear ; )
Pink Lady Apple, Two Against the Grain GF Choc Chip Cookies
Review: Against the Grain Chocolate Chip & Hazelnut CookiesTwo words: utterly gorgeous. These cookies are quite large, very crumbly (only one out of the entire packet wasn’t broken! Boo) and fragile, but melt-in-the-mouth divine. Again, I couldn’t believe they were gluten-free. The hazelnut came through as an aftertaste but the texture seemed slightly coconutty for some reason, not that I’m complaining because it made them ultra-moist. The chocolate was nice and dark, slightly bitter and contrasted wonderfully with the sweetness of the biscuits. Ingredients and nutrition be damned, I can’t wait to try these dunked in tea : )
90 minutes of Basic Yoga For Dummies later (as a final stretch-out)…
Mushrooms and chestnuts in gravy, parsley mashed potatoes, peas, roasted red pepper half (that looks like a dismembered heart…)
I also see another Apple Pie Larabar in my near future. Yes, I am addicted. Right, I’d better try to get some sleep before the race (yeah, right!) Night everyone and hopefully I’ll be back with a better, more inspiring post tomorrow!
Aug 7, 2009 9:49 PM
Once again, huge hugs to everyone who comments! And one mass hug for all of the new people who have de-lurked. I love receiving comments from everyone, new readers or ‘old’ (old being relative of course) and if anyone else wants to poke their head in and say hello, they’re more than welcome : ) It’s odd to think how far I’ve come in this respect: six months ago I’d been reading blogs since their inception however many years ago that was, but was still too terrified to even comment, let alone start my own. I couldn’t even e-mail anyone without writing it, re-writing it five times and then deleting it because I was so scared of saying something offensive inadvertantly or being rejected outright. I’m still suffering from severe social anxiety disorder in the ‘outside’ world, but online I’m making a lot of progress and actually love experiencing interaction with people I don’t know…I appreciate it’s not much and still a ‘solitary’ activity, but it’s a start!
On the subject of comments, it appears that blogspot and Google hate me. Every time I try to view my blog (not post, just view or look at my comments) I get a page saying that my computer is sending out ‘automated messages’, which obviously relates to spyware. I am still trying to fix this, but coming from a family that shuns technology (my Mum and Dad are complete technophobes and won’t even come near my laptop) and being somewhat dense in this respect myself, it may take a while. I’m not sure if the problem extends to commenting on WordPress, but all Blogspot blogs seem to be blocked at the moment, so massive apologies! I really, really want to comment and reply to all of the lovely messages I received, and will do so as soon as humanly possible. I haven’t forgotten anyone and feel totally awful about the situation and my inability to resolve it.
When I was younger, I was a total technology geek and understood everything, but in recent years I’ve fallen out of touch with so much and now feel so isolated and backward compared to everyone else my age. I don’t know how to use HTML, I have no idea about all the gadgets and gizmos on expensive mobile phones, I love my iPod Nano but can’t fathom out how to use the Touch version (I won one in an article-writing competition but sold it because it confused me so much), I’ve never even held a Blackberry and I do not understand the current fascination with Facebook at all, though I would like to. The games consoles I used to spend hours on have gone far beyond my capacity to play, and quite honestly I feel as though I’m a generation behind where I should be. Being a ludite isn’t much fun, particularly when you’re looking to move forward with your life.
However, not spending hours every day frying your brain and getting repetitive strain injury in your thumbs playing Sonic the Hedgehog has its advantages, like being able to savour a sunny morning with a great 8 mile run. I’ve decided to keep exercise as a feature of the blog, as I enjoy it so much that I really wouldn’t be ‘me’ as a whole without it and I really want to keep things as honest and ‘real’ as possible.
For breakfast I tried to create an apple pie-esque experience. Apples always make my porridge very watery and alter the texture in a negative way for me, and there’s no way I could have a breakast that doesn’t feature banana. Therefore, only the Larabar, raisins and cinnamon were representing the orignal concept, but it was a spectacularly tasty bowl nonetheless: the addition of agave really kicked it up a notch in terms of flavour.
‘Apple Pie’ Porridge (1/2 cup Rice/Buckwheat Porridge, 1 cup rice milk, cinnamon, agave, raisins, Apple Pie Larabar crumbled on top, banana
Because of the upcoming run this Sunday, I decided to give Body Combat a miss and do a Nell McAndrew Ultimate Challenge DVD instead. The current routine for Body Combat is very high impact, with a lot of jumping in the air and smashing your feet on the floor, and I didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks with my mercurial, capricious little madam of a left hip. More progress! I never, ever like to make concessions with exercise because I feel weak if I do, and negative thoughts come crowding in calling me lazy, worthless, blah blah blah. No more. I did feel guilty about it, but there’s no point in potentially jeopordizing a run that has huge potential for a personal best (course is almost completely flat) because I just HAVE to do Body Combat on a Friday on the basis that it’s what I normally do as part of my ‘routine.’ Nope, nope, nope. I squashed the guilty voice and got on with the DVD.
I wish I could be this rational about running, but I suppose it’s because it’s so freeing and wonderful for me to be out in the open air, flying along without a care in the world for an hour or so. I wish I wasn’t having nightmares already about the winter, when the pavements are frozen and it’s impossible to run outside first thing when the sun comes up. Personally, I don’t mind running on a treadmill but it’s just not the same, and over the 30 min mark at the speed I usually run I start to get a ‘dead leg’ on the right hand side. I’ve no idea what causes it and neither does my physio. It just goes weak, floppy, completely unable to support my weight. This only happens on a treadmill. Last winter was one of the worst ever for me in terms of depression, not only due to SAD which I get every winter but due to the extreme weather conditions in the UK. I had horrible runs on the treadmill, terrified of falling off every step and dragging my right leg along in the final stages…but not running would have been even worse. I don’t know why having to wait affects me so badly, but the longer I have to go before I can run, the worse I feel. Just doing a DVD first thing doesn’t seem to have the same effect, and it got to the point in December where I would wake up and cry every time the pavement was coated with ice. I know it’s pathetic, but it just emphasises how much running is my therapy…I can cope with one or two rest days involving cross-training, but for someone who suffers from claustrophobia not being able to be outside in the open, travelling long distances under your own steam, it’s a major cause of anxiety. Plus at Christmas the gyms are shut so I might not be able to run at all…funny how one tiny negative thought spirals into a huge tirade. I have a case both of verbal vomit and emotional bulimia. The trouble is I always gain weight in the winter so that contributes to the anxiety ~ I know I should just eat less to compensate for the possibility of doing less exercise but unfortunately with me, it doesn’t work that way and it lays me open to breaking down and bingeing. The strategy backfires. I suppose that’s my worry with the MRes, because rationally a little less exercise shouldn’t make a difference, but with my metabolism, it does. I wish I could trust my body more…I suppose we both abuse each other’s trust in a sense.
Anyway, after some more keyboard practice I was *genuinely* hungry for a change. Hallelujah!
Usual fruity goodness…well, technically carrot doesn’t count but it was so sweet and delicious that today I declare it an honorary fruit.
Microwaved Sweet Potato, Smooth Operator PB & Co, Cinnamon
After my last success with sweet potato and almond butter, I decided that it was far too long since I’d had this decadent combination. The addition of cinnamon put it into the stratosphere: it was too delicious for words.
After some blogging (when times were good and Google was actually working!), walking and cleaning, I settled down for a snack.
Aug 7, 2009 4:47 PM
Tae-Bo:Everybody Get Ripped & Leah Bracknall: Yoga & You
Tae-Bo:Get Ripped is a DVD I’ve owned for five years, and it’s still part of my regular rotation. It contains a basic workout, 8-minute workout (the same one featured on the later release ‘Everybody Get Ripped’), instructional workout and advanced workout. The standard choreography is present, with the basic workout introducing the staples of the front kick, roundhouse kick and extended roundhouse kick, as well as more familiar aerobic moves and punches, uppercuts, etc. Obviously, it’s not particularly challenging but I’d rate it as the best basic workout in terms of improving technique. If you’re really new to Tae-Bo, the instructional workout runs through the moves at an even slower pace, breaking them down individually (all Tae-Bo DVDs include some variation on this feature). The advanced workout builds on what you’ve learnt in the basic version but at double the pace. It’s not quite the sweat-fest of ‘Everybody Get Ripped’ but that may be because I’ve become so accustomed to it over the years. It’s still a great low-intensity cardio session and it took me quite a while to master some of the moves with *correct* technique, so there is a level of challenge there. As ever the crew are bright and ebullient, and if staring at Shelley’s amazing abs for an hour isn’t a motivation to exercise, I don’t know what is. 7.5/10
From one end of the spectrum to the other, we have Leah Bracknall’s ‘Yoga & You’. I must admit, I would not have purchased this DVD had I known that its creator is a proponent of Hatha Yoga (aka yawn yoga), which is far too gentle for me and I never feel as if I’ve achieved any more benefit than if I had simply lain on the floor for an hour. I shoved the DVD in fairly resentfully, expecting to be bored senseless. Well, I wasn’t bored but it certainly wasn’t my beloved Ashtanga practice (some of which is featured in Geri Body Yoga) Fine, there was downward dog, some bridge poses, a few lunges, triangle and forward bends, but there was also a heck of a lot of mountain poses and lying down. I really should have read the details on Amazon more clearly. It’s very relaxing and good for stretching muscles, but it’s not really what I’m looking for from my Yoga practice. I’ll be saving it for days when I’m just too frazzled to do anything else.
9/10 if you want a relaxing DVD.
5/10 in terms of challenge.
Gaim: AM & PM Yoga
For something which has Rodney Yee on the front, this DVD is seriously unimpressive. I would hesitate to even call it yoga, as downward dog is basically the only recognisable pose featured. I feel very cheated by this DVD, as it proclaims that the running time is 1hr 30 minutes odd, but the a.m workout (the idea is to wake up and be invigorated in the morning and then wind down in the evening with the p.m section) is 15 minutes long and the p.m is only 20 minutes. Where the other hour went I don’t know (apart from the redundant ‘how to use props’ section. I know how to use a mat, belt and blocks thank you very much. Even ‘Basic Yoga for Dummies’ didn’t patronise me on that level!) There really isn’t anything new or challenging here at all and unless you haven’t moved from the couch all day for over a year you’ll find this DVD both monotonous and bland in its style of presentation. Shame on you Rodney Yee and Patricia Cornwell. 2/10
Tae-Bo: Ultimate Boot Camp
Having already reviewed the basic version of this DVD, there really isn’t much to add here other than to say that I don’t notice much difference between the two in terms of difficulty. It’s still a great circuit featuring extensive use of the infamous ‘Billy Bands’ (modified resistance bands that loop around each shoe) and a killer sequence of abs that really makes you feel as though you’ve worked them the day after. A good, solid DVD. 8/10
Aug 6, 2009 10:10 PM
I appreciated every single comment I received in response to last night’s post. They helped me to appreciate that, despite my initial impressions, there is no typical ‘case’ to use a reference for disordered eating. There are only people, and the pain such disorders cause on an individual basis. I was so scared and worried that I didn’t ‘fit in’ and people would only accept me on the basis of conforming to the ‘recovery’ blog template, and I was upset that yet again I seemed to have given the impression that my problems were that of the restrictive nature, of the fear and loathing of food. Thank you so much for accepting me, whining self-loathing rants and all. Sometimes I wonder if I go on these self-destructive kicks in reponse to something good happening, or because I actually feel a connection to so many of the lovely ladies out there who blog (you all know who you are)…pathetic though it may seem, I trust you more than anyone in my life apart from my parents. I haven’t been able to do that for…well, ever. And then I get a nasty, nagging little voice saying ‘this isn’t how things are supposed to go. You’re disgusting, people hate you. They always have, they always will.’ I’ve never been in a scenario where I haven’t been rejected on one level or another, and I can’t articulate in words how much that means to me.
Still, I wonder about the direction and nature of this blog…I’m sure my life must seem extremely boring, monotonous, sad and ruled by routine. I do hope it’s not too boring to read about…and I’m not sure if continually posting about exercise is a good idea. Perhaps it doesn’t seem right the amount that I do, and on the surface it might look obsessive…but it gives me so much and it’s the only thing that makes life worth living for me at the moment. I don’t post to show off or brag and I would be horrified if someone felt guilty about their own fitness regime (or lack of one) because of me. I just thought that showing exactly how much food I get through would balance it out, because I experience the same feelings of inferiority reading blogs of those who might work out less than me, but also eat a heck of a lot less. If I left out talking about running or gym or classes then I’m not sure what would be left…it’s something I’m really passionate about and really, it’s my life. I’m a little torn about it to be honest. It obviously seems excessive but I’ve never viewed it as overexercising because mentally and physically it makes me feel good, where as cutting down even a little wreaks havoc not only on my mind but also my body, which becomes tired (odd, I know), achey and stiff. It just no-one’s ever picked me up on it before and at the gym I’m surrounded by so many women who are semi-pros, training four or five hours a day on top of their jobs, that I suppose I don’t have the same perspective on it that other people do. The only time I don’t want to do something is when I’m in the deepest depths of depression, and then nothing can reach me. I always, always regret missing out on a run or a class, but never once have I regretted going. However, if it’s irritating to read about then I’ll have to think again. If blogging’s given me anything, it’s a view outside my bubble, the little world I’m used to living in. I really am drifting at the moment, not completely taking everything in, seeing the world through some sort of warped haze…
Rewind to last night. I did have a snack, and enjoyed every bite.
Pulsin’ Coffee Brownie
Aug 5, 2009 10:49 PM
Today hasn’t been a great one. I’ll separate the issue I’ve been wanting to discuss from the main post, as it doesn’t sit well with pictures of food…the combination seems somewhat of an oxymoron and horribly ironic. I headed out for a 5 mile run this morning with hideous ‘what’s the point’ thoughts running through my mind. These only occur when I’m in a black phase, which almost always follows a manic mindset like the one I had yesterday. ‘What’s the point in exercising?’ ‘What’s the point in getting out of bed?’ ‘What’s the point in doing anything other than eating?’ Thankfully I did see the point in running, and the sunshine was simply beautiful.
1/3 cup Rice & Buckwheat Porridge, 1 cup pumpkin, 1 cup rice milk, cinnamon, agave, raisins, banana, Smooth Operator PB & Co
Morning consisted of catching up on blogs and playing keyboard. Mid-morning, a letter came with written confirmation of my place on the MRes degree with a full scholarship fee waiver. I should have been happy, but all I could think about was how on earth I’d fit my exercise in, how I’d find time to run and gym and blog and paint and learn piano and go to classes. I wished I could just go back to the time when I was strong and could cope with the 8 hour days of my first year without eating. I worried about how I’d cope in the winter, about whether the induction week would involve long days or 9am starts when I’d have to be up at 5am to run (which I enjoy, but takes its toll physically) I can’t do less, because I can’t stop eating. I took out my anxiety at the gym with 30 minutes elliptical, 18 minutes stepper and 15 minutes on the recumbant bike, then finished with some weights and stretching.
Home-made baked beans (haricot beans, creamed tomatoes, tomato purée, cinnamon, paprika)
GF Bread w/pure
Standard grape, carrot, nectarine fruit plate
Walked and lifted weights in the afternoon. Nothing exciting really.
Jazz apple, chocolate Rice&Rice dessert pot.
Review: Rice & Rice Dessert ~ Chocolate
At 155 kcal per 100g pot, these are certainly more calorie dense than their Alpro Soya counterparts. However, they are vastly superior in terms of taste and texture. The chocolate variety is rich, creamy and velvety, with none of the gelatinous ‘wobble’ that accompanies the Alpro versions and no aftertaste of plastic or soya ‘beaniness’. It’s like a decadent chocolate mousse combined with the inside of a chocolate fondant. It’s so sweet and sinfully rich that the tiny pot is a perfect serving size. It truly does taste like liquid, molten chocolate chilled slightly, and although corn syrup is so high on the ingredients list and it’s essentially nutritionally void, this was a truly delicious and lovely treat (although my ‘treats’ seem to have become daily occurrences)
9/10 (8 if counting nutritional value)One pilates class later and it was time for dinner.
Roasted veggies in tomato sauce, corn spaghetti, peas
And although I won’t be hungry I’ll still be having a snack later because I really am that vile and greedy. God, even when I measure things in cups it’s always on the ‘heaped’ side.
Aug 4, 2009 10:35 PM
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a weepy, negative post despite the title. Basically I just needed to clarify that when I referred to the relationship between the media and eating disorders in my previous post, I don’t believe that I presented my views correctly or articulated what I wanted to say very well at all. Also, I’m just speaking from my own experience and certainly didn’t mean to generalise or suggest that I regard the perceptions of eating disorder sufferers as some kind of collective consciousness or conglomorate mass. Unfortunately I think my brain was utterly frazzled at the time of writing from expending so much mental energy on fighting with the voices in my mind that I did not concentrate fully on what I was typing, which is inexcusable. Many apologies of the poor quality of the post. To be clear: I never, ever believe or have believed that what caused my descent into ED thoughts and behaviours was media-orientated, nor do I aspire to look like a particular ‘celebrity’. I hate the whole celebrity culture and couldn’t care less what Victoria Beckham is wearing or what diet she’s on. In fact, I find people in reality far more aspirational in ED’s eyes because they’ve achieved their look themselves, with no airbrushing or personal trainers or chefs. Katie voiced what I’m struggling to say far more eloquently than I ever could:
I am all about control, whether food, body, mind, academia, relationships, the dishwasher (seriously!). That feeds into academic stuff because I feel I have to obsessively study and hand coursework in a month before it’s due!
Issues behind EDs are immensely complex but I identified with this comment so much: I too want control over anything and everything in life. Uncertainty terrifies me, but once I have a concrete ‘plan’ set in my mind I tend to cope with things quite well within my own anxious sphere. I handed in my dissertation three months before it was due and technically had it completed at Christmas when the hand-in date was in May. I nearly killed myself doing it and yet there were other students who received equally high marks who just sauntered in the day before the deadline and plopped their work on the desk at the School of Arts & Social Sciences office. I completely lose my mind when the television doesn’t work or the internet won’t connect for no reason ~ if a certain error message comes up, I can take steps to fix the problem. When it’s unknown, I’m powerless. I rebelled against my body when it went into adolescence because the changes were (in my eyes) negative and beyond my control unless I restricted my food to compensate. I can’t deal with relationships or even friendships because I can’t tell what the other person is thinking and I can’t control it…and I’m also paranoid that they hate me and think I’m not worth their time. Nothing in life gives instant gratification, but at least there is some certainty in watching a number fall, because at least then I’m not disappointed in myself, in life in general. What I was trying to suggest is that somewhere along the line, something has hardwired our brains into using food and thinness specifically to cope
Aug 2, 2009 4:15 PM
So good to be back : ) Thankfully a good night of sleep (5 hours is exceptionally good for me) seems to have cured the looming migraine so I can finally post about the gorgeous eats I enjoyed yesterday and this morning.
I really enjoyed hearing all of the different perspectives on raw food resentment/anxiety and I think one of the few positive effects of having an ED is that it really forces you to analyse the motivation behind your thoughts. I used to just accept negative, or even aggressive feelings without stopping to think where they were coming from or why exactly what someone else was putting in their mouth was evoking such a disproportionately strong response. I think we’re a very self-aware and analytical bunch, which is why therapy can have mixed results ~ therapists/psychologists are used to helping people understand why they act the way they do, but not so proficient at successfully identifying how to stop the negative behaviours and silence destructive thought processes (CBT didn’t help me in the least). I don’t think I’ll ever be able to read a ‘I’m converting to high-raw’ post without a stab of jealousy and resentment, but I can at least remember the reasoning that has led to these feelings and try my best to feel comfortable in myself, no matter how many remarks I get about what (or the amount) I eat. I think part of the appeal of raw food is the mixture of control and balance, and the envy it provokes in others through the illusion of perfection. That said, I really did love the banana soft serve (which is actually Jemima’s idea! She posted about it months ago before it even hit the blog world ‘mainstream’…give the lady the credit she deserves lol) and it was surprisingly filling: I actually had to wait and have my dinner at a later time because I wasn’t hungry…I am becoming more open minded and willing to try some raw recipes, but I think it says it all that the ones I’m most intrigued by are all desserts ; )
Yesterday morning I bounced out of bed to do an hour of Davina McCall’s DVD (aerobics & pump) and then ate this:
Mesa Sunrise Cereal Flakes, rice milk, raisins, banana
Spinning was fabulous ~ there was yet another new instructor covering (well, not ‘new’ exactly but I’ve only seen him once before) and guess which song he played as the final track? Yep, ‘It’s My Life!’ I nearly burst out laughing and couldn’t resist singing along, despite my out of tune voice and the gang who like to comment on my (and everyone else’s) weight staring at me. I was just too energized by the song to care. Then I followed this up with 40 minutes on the elliptical, some weights and stretching. Sadly when I was moving one of the bikes nearer the open window (I sweat like a pig, seriously…there’s another lady who complains that the room is ‘freezing’ and always wears a jacket and long tracksuit trousers) I pulled something in my shoulder. It doesn’t hurt when I actually exert it, but it’s a killer to type with…bizarre. I always seem to injure myself on my left hand side.
When I came home I wanted lunch, but there were some meaty aromas coming out of the kitchen, so I didn’t want to go anywhere near there until they’d dissipated. Consequently, I was in dire need of a snack:
I couldn’t wait any longer…
Stellar ingredients list…
Pretty good nutritionally…not much protein & very sugary…but the fats are all healthy ones and to be honest I didn’t care…I just wanted to eat it!
Look at it…I’m salivating just uploading this picture.
Review: Cocoa Orange Nakd Bar (Gluten Free)
Oh. My. Goodness. I am SO elated that I was kindly given free samples of these before their official release because they are indescribably delicious. If they were liquid, they would be ambrosia. This surpasses the Coco Loco Nakd Bar in every imaginable respect. The texture is smooth and velvety, with just a little bit of occasional soft crunch from the nuts. It breaks apart perfectly, with none of the greasyness that sometimes accompanies Larabars. The flavour is so, so rich and decadent, with the slight bitterness of the cocoa pairing perfectly with the sweet dates and raisins and a perfect amount of subtle orange coming through at the very end. It tastes so much like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, without the sticky sweetness. I found myself inhaling the aroma from the wrapper afterwards. Words cannot articulate how much I enjoyed this bar. If I had two in my possession, I would have devoured another one, although the small size of the bar is probably appropriate because they are so beautifully rich. I will put that theory to the test at the first opportunity when they’re available to order online. I may go through a box within a week. The demise of Larabars is still fresh in my mind, but my lament to them may be a little less intense now that I know Nakd have produced what is, in my opinion, a superior product. Gluten-free and vegan, it’s fabulous that almost everyone can enjoy this bar (huge hugs to any nut allergy sufferers!) 15/10
: It’s impossible to express numerically exactly how utterly divine this bar is.
I then meandered around for a while before deciding to play keyboard, as the kitchen was still occupied. I played for two hours! I went into a ‘zone’ with it where everything was going well and I really invested emotionally in the music. By the time I snapped out of it, it was way past my normal lunch time and I hadn’t thought about food or hunger once! I made up for it later in the day, but just to have that time where something mattered to me more than food was so precious…it’s huge for me, and I haven’t had that happen in…perhaps eight years, aside from when I’m running or in a particularly taxing exam. When I did get round to making lunch I was ravenous though ~ I really needed two of those bars ; )
Pear, Nectarine, Grapes
Second half of my carrot / almond soup from yesterday
Usual GF Bread with Pure Spread
In the afternoon I walked in the sunshine with my Dad, did some more weights and painted like there was no tomorrow. I love productive days like this one! I thought I’d post the treat my Mum picked me up from Sainsburies:
The last Larabars they had! She actually asked someone to check in the stock room and then bought me the whole box! Good thing Apple Pie is my 5th favourite flavour (after PB Cookie, Cashew Cookie, Coconut Cream Pie and Chocolate Coconut Chew). Honestly, her kindness and generosity astounds me…I just wish she could be so loving towards herself. I also feel a little guilty that she buys me so many things because she hates herself for ‘inflicting’ (her words, not mine!) her ED on my Dad and I, and I’ve told her to actually treat herself for a change but she never listens. She only seems to be happy when she sees me smile…
Eek, I hope I get through all of these ~ there’s 20 in that box!
I resolved to make the GF Nakd Bars last, but after the sheer decadence of the Cocoa Orange flavour my resolve cracked at approximately 5:15pm.
Tentation Apple, Ginger Bread GF Nakd Bar
Review: GF Nakd Bar ~ Ginger BreadThis bar had a lot to live up to. I was very hesitant to try it, as there are two flavours of Larabar I dislike to the point where I’ve been forced to throw them away: Cocoa Mole (chilli+chocoalte=why!?) and Ginger Snap (so bitter, such an overwhelming flavour of cloves, so many almond skins trying to choke me). All of my fears were baseless: this bar is simply delicious. It’s not of the calibre of the Cocoa Orange, but it’s very, very moreish nonetheless. The texture is smooth and sticky, just like authentic gingerbread. The balance of spices is perfect, and the warm, comforting aroma of ginger hits you the instant you break the wrapping. The nuts mimic the texture of cake perfectly, slightly reminiscent of crumbs and the bar has a wonderful sweet savouriness to it that I find hugely appealing. Anyone from the UK (Yorkshire in particular), this is so much like Parkin it’s unreal. I want another one!
9/10 (point off for lingering bad memories of the Ginger Snap Larabar!)
I then stretched and relaxed using my Geri Body Yoga DVD for 90 minutes ~ this is by far and away my favourite yoga DVD…why aren’t there classes like this where I live *sigh* ?
Peppers stuffed with rice, tomatoes, pinto beans, sweetcorn (tinned, not raw lol), tomatoes, parsley and almonds. Peas (lots!)
Then I sat and continued with my research…for too long. How anyone can stare at a computer screen for more than an hour without keeling over is beyond me.
After Friday’s oats bender my tummy wasn’t happy with me, so before breakfast tomorrow I decided to give the Rice & Buckwheat Porridge I purchased from Sainsburies ‘Free From’ a trial run because it’s not a good idea to try a new product for the first time when you’re ready to chew your arm off with hunger, as it’s difficult to be objective and/or cope with the situation if it’s inedible. Thankfully, this was lovely ~ I cooked it for far longer than instructed (chewy rice flakes? No thank you, I don’t like my porridge al dente) and used more rice milk than the package stated, but it produced something akin to a hybrid of rice pudding and oatmeal. It doesn’t have quite the texture or nuttiness of oats, but it’s nice enough in its own right and I don’t mind having it as a replacement at all. Blood test is arranged for Monday…not tomorrow, the week after, and it’s technically the doctor’s appointment but they’ll take the blood then and there if if the GP ‘agrees’ (the NHS actually works!) so the results should come back soon. Until then, I’m just going to avoid oats for the short-term. I put a huge squirt of agave on my porridge (1/3 cup GF mix, 1 cup rice milk, cinnamon) and went to bed with a huge, satisfied smile on my face (after trying and failing to post…difficult to smile through a potential migraine but I managed) Oh my…I’ve just realised that my ‘snacks’ are the size of most people’s breakfasts…
Today the migraine failed to materialise (thus far!) and I went for a glorious 8.3 mile run in the most wonderful weather conditions ~ not too warm, lots of sunshine, a strong, cool breeze. There was no hip pain and even my shoulders felt a little better. I couldn’t wait to dig into my rice/buckwheat (which is inappropriately named as it contains no wheat whatsoever) porridge.
1/2 cup Rice/Buckwheat mix, 1 cup rice milk, 1/2 cup water, sultanas, cinnamon, banana, 2 tbsp Dark Chocolate Dreams PB
Why ED thoughts crept in here I don’t know…I was so anxious about the extra calories the larger amount of liquid might add that I used water to replace the 1/2 cup rice milk excess, and it didn’t taste as good as it would have otherwise. With the amount I get through, since when will a dribble of rice milk make any difference? Honestly. Still, I really enjoyed it and you can’t go wrong with melted DCD.
So far today I’ve done a Nell McAndrew Maximum Impact DVD, eaten lunch, tried to catch up on comments (getting there!), walked and will soon be leaving for keyboard tuition. There are never enough hours in the day, and I get to manage my own time!
Wishing everyone a sunshine-filled Sunday
Aug 1, 2009 11:11 PM
To announce that we are experiencing some technical difficulties. I wanted so desperately to respond to all of the wonderful replies I received yesterday and also to get today’s post together, but I’m afraid my eyes are coming out on stalks, they need scaffolding to hold them up and other such metaphors. It’s my own fault for spending the entire evening reading 17th, 18th and 19th century British newspapers online for my research (MRes dissertation)…and I’m still only 1/5th of the way through the University’s online archive! Huge, huge thanks to you all and I’m so sorry not to be able to respond more quickly, but I’m having trouble focusing and if I spend much longer staring at the screen I’m worried it’ll turn into a migraine. Normal service will resume tomorrow and I promise I’ll get round to commenting first thing in the morning.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s recap of today (odd grammar?) which will include reviews of two flavours of Gluten-free Nakd Bar…let’s just say that Coco Loco may just have lost his crown. Which flavour usurped him? Ah, now that would be telling ; )
Jul 31, 2009 10:06 PM
Friday again? Honestly, the days are just whizzing by at the moment in a blur of paint and 19th century newspapers and periodicals, which are absolutely ruining my eyes. Well, they’re deteriorating more than they do anyway: I’m too short sighted not to wear glasses but not short-sighted enough to wear them. Perhaps the itty bitty Victorian text will tip me over the edge? More huge hugs need to go out to everyone for such magnificent advice about the situation with my Mum and for the sheer kindness with which both recent posts have been received. I know I sound like a long playing record but I really do mean it every time and it’s so hard to verbalise the gratitude I feel: usually these emotions just stay in my head and fester until they manifest themselves negatively either through disordered thoughts around food or through episodes of mania and depression, but being able to express and ‘talk’ about them is so, so cathartic. So thanks for letting me waffle on ; )
My 8 mile run this morning was fabulous ~ beautiful, sunny and cool again and the extra stretches from the physio seem to be working wonders on my hip *everything crossed!* There was only mild stiffness afterwards, although my speed was a little slower than usual…I blame the desire to soak up the scenery and indulge myself in the sunshine. Luckily that shouldn’t be a problem in the race as it’s a road race through residential streets and last year it poured with rain! Sadly today’s breakfast creation wasn’t as wonderful as my surroundings :
Jul 29, 2009 10:45 AM
Tae-Bo 5 – Active
I think I’ve owned this DVD for five years…that makes me feel so incredibly old :P I’ve grouped these two DVDs together because they are essentially exactly the same: the only difference is that ‘Energize’ has an extra 8-minute workout on it (slightly shorter and easier than the one on ‘Everybody Get Ripped’) I wasn’t a happy bunny when I purchased ‘Energize’ only to discover that it wasn’t any different from ‘Active 5′ and I think it’s very misleading to package it as a completely new programme, complete with different pictures of the workout on the back to those featured in ‘Active 5′. However, this gripe aside the basic workout is well-choreographed and provides a mild range of exercises to work muscles in both the arms and legs (particularly glutes) and also a mild cardio challenge. The advanced workout isn’t fantastic, as in my opinion it spends too much time on the floor doing fairly easy ab work and there just isn’t enough fast-paced movement to justify the true cardiovascular workout claim that features on the back of the DVD case. However, if you’re having an ‘off’ day but still want to get moving, it’s great in terms of motivating yourself to get up and go because you know it’ll go easy on you and once you’re into it, you may feel able to do more afterwards. Both DVDs = 7/10
Jul 28, 2009 10:43 PM
And it’s now or never…I ain’t gonna live forever. I would post more lyrics but I don’t want to be sued (not sure about the copyright regulations on these!) but I’m addicted to this song. All through my 8.2 miles this morning I was running along mouthing (and sometimes singing…or what passes for singing with me!) the lyrics to the chorus of Bon Jovi’s It’s My Life and doing random actions that seemed to correlate with the mood and essence of the song, an example being throwing my arms out wide at the line ‘I ain’t gonna live forever’ in a ‘come and get me / bring it on / do your worst’ gesture…probably not a good idea when crossing a main road. I did listen to other songs, but this is the one that has truly captivated me at the moment and when I like something, I listen to it constantly until I’m so sick of it that the thought of hearing it again is like exquisite torture, so it’ll be alternating with Nickelback’s Burn it to the Ground and Nymphetamine by Cradle of Filth for a while longer (the last song is still going strong from a year ago!) The left hip started acting up again halfway, but managed to sort itself out by about mile 6…the physio reckons it’s just a trapped nerve caused by my scoliosis so I have even MORE stretches to do…the series I have to do every morning is already twenty minutes long! Joints and muscles tend to stiffen up while stationary or lying in bed so it’s really essential to stretch them…people at Uni thought it was bizarre when I’d randomly stand up to stretch in lectures or seminars (was tempted to once in an exam, but didn’t want to risk it) but it’s just not worth the pain to continue sitting for too long without some relief.
I’m not the greatest fan of Bon Jovi’s music (can we say cheesy?) but the lyrics really speak to me and are so motivating not only for running but also for life in general. It’s made me think about what I want, how I want to live and how it doesn’t correspond to the general consensus on what constitutes a ‘life’. I don’t want children, EVER. I’m quite happy with cats, thank you very much, and if I ever managed to own a dog I’d imagine it would be more than enough for me in terms of responsibility (it’s not an option now as poor Minnie is terrified of them) Do I want to ‘go out’ and have that kind of social life? No. If that makes me sad or a freak, then fine. Living life is so subjective and although I’m sure most people would find my dreams unfulfilling, that’s their perogative. I dream of expanding creative horizons, knowing as much as it’s possible for me to know, achieving as much as I can athletically, never settling or accepting anything when I know it’s possible to do better and ultimately making a living that challenges every part of me creatively, in whatever capacity that may be. I don’t need lots of people around me, but I do need one, just to keep me sane. Finding that one person may be hard, but it’s an attainable goal, however impossible that may seem right now in the dark moments where I visualise myself with my parents gone and being left completely and utterly alone.
Jul 26, 2009 9:25 PM
This is the original Tae-Bo workout and one of the earliest to be released on DVD. I originally had this on video, back in the days when I’d struggle to do one measly roundhouse kick without falling over, and it’s been so much fun to really ‘grow into’ the workout. It’s not at the intensity of Everybody Get Ripped
but I’d say it comes a close second and some of the strength and balancing work in the final fifteen minutes is still quite challenging. Also, there are some fast sequences of roundhouse and side-kicks that really do tax the hamstrings, quads and glutes. Finally, a reasonable proportion of the 60 minute workout is spent moving, whether punching, kicking or in aerobic sequences, which is infinitely preferable to the endless ‘marching/walking it out’ of the later DVD releases. 7.5/10
Nell McAndrew ~ Peak Energy
This was the first Nell McAndrew DVD I purchased (three years ago I think?) and it’s still one of the toughest, if not the toughest workout DVDs on this planet…if I had the privilege of travelling to other galaxies to provide some basis for comparison, I would declare it the toughest in the Universe. The first time I placed the disc in the player was straight after a spinning class, with literally ten minutes between finishing the class and arriving home. Still drenched in sweat but eager to try it out, I was expecting a moderate workout in terms of pace and perhaps even an easy rise, as I’d always been suspicious of ‘celebrity’ workouts and previously stuck religiously to the Tae-Bo DVDs. I only bought this one on a whim because it was on sale for £5 and I thought I had nothing to lose. By the end of the 80 minute running time I was ready to pass out on the floor: I can say without hyperbole that this DVD kicked my butt. I would have been in a better position to do it had I not just come out of a spin class, but it’s still a toughie even now and it took me several months before I could get through the weights section without taking a rest (the lightest weights I have are 3lb-ers and to be fair the ones Nell and the crew are using look lighter than that). After the warm-up you’re thrown into 40 minutes of almost constant running, squats, star jumps, knee-lifts and generally jumping about at a very fast pace. I feel ambivalent about the bar along the bottom of the screen that’s divided into teeny-tiny notches which turn green as the workout progresses, showing the percentage you’ve got through so far. On the one hand, it’s encouraging…on the other, when you’re not in the best of moods the notches seem to go green at a snail’s pace / painfully slowly. I am a bit of a clock-watcher on the treadmill and can’t understand why people place towels over the screen so they don’t have any measure of their progress, so I suppose the bar is a good thing. However, it may be telling that it’s not re-used in subsequent DVDs and the later Nell releases are easier than this one (even the mammoth Ultimate Challenge, while longer, isn’t as intense) Many people seem to have a problem with the distinctly un-aesthetic setting of an old aircraft hanger, but I’m really not bothered as long as I get a no-frills, no-nonsense, grit your teeth and get on with it workout. Nell is a participant and leaves the talking to her boot-camp coach, as always. The 20 minutes of weights and 15 minutes of core work and stretching are challenging, and I’d defy anything in the ubiquitous Shred to compete with them (disclaimer: haven’t tried the Shred, would love to if it was released over here, but it would have to be exceptionally tough to compete with this) Brilliant DVD, just a little repetitive in terms of choreography and exhausting after spinning beforehand! 9/10
Jul 25, 2009 9:21 PM
Well, it’s over. My Mum returned home three hours ago and the feedback from the craft fair where we were exhibiting and selling my paintings was positive. There were lots of lovely comments and compliments, and even though only two paintings were sold, the organiser told me not to be discouraged and we would be welcome back next month. My work was placed at the top end of the price range for what is typically sold there (handmade cards and jewellery mostly, but a lot of the stalls are actually franchise as opposed to individual artists) so overall it went reasonably well. Children in particular seem to love them (I suspect it’s because they’re miniatures) and a lot more would have been sold if pester power had won their parents’ over! However, I have received many requests for commissions and people enquiring as to whether we’ll be returning to the fair, as due to the price they wished to have time to consider and think about it before purchasing. So many people asked if I had a website that I really need to look into setting one up, but I’ve no idea how to do that! I’d be looking to establish something similar to Angela’s Oh She Glows Bakery, but selling artwork as opposed to Glo Bars obviously (not that I wouldn’t love to try a Glo Bar!)
Mum had my camera for the day so no food pics apart from dinner, but she did manage to snap a few shots of the table set-up and how my artwork was displayed (the fair is basically in a huge village hall and our table was placed right in front of the stage):
If you squint I’m sure you can see a few of them in detail ; )
Jul 24, 2009 10:08 PM
Well, not really. You didn’t think I could go a day without eating at least one banana, did you? The title refers to a less than stellar banana-related experience which I will elaborate upon later in the post. I wish I had something exciting to report but days are so quiet at the moment…which worries me a little because I’ve settled into a nice routine of exercising, blogging, researching, painting, practicing keyboard and reading…and not much else.
It’s difficult to be more social when you don’t have any friends to start with (no need to bring out the violins ~ I’m pretty much a loner anyway!) and never have. I’ve been to numerous activities and clubs in the past but never connected with anyone…I’m most definitely not a person who needs other people to validate their own sense of selfhood, but being completely alone scares the daylights out of me and although I have my parents now, they aren’t going to be around forever. At University, I could get on with most people on an ‘acquaintance’ basis, but social situations tended to revolve around nightclubs, bars and drinking (at University? Shock! Horror!), none of which interest me remotely. Alcohol triggers migraines and I’d be no fun or use to anyone blacked out in a corner after one sip, and whatever anyone says, you’re always excluded if you go out and don’t drink (I tried this in college and don’t recommed it!) Obviously people did other things too but if you didn’t want to go on ‘nights out’ you were automatically considered weird and/or stuck up and precluded from anything else. Two psychologists have tried to force me to ‘challenge’ myself and go out anyway, pretend to be normal and alter my personality to try to fit in. I tried to fake who I was for three years as a teenager and it nearly killed me, or led me to endanger my own life. What is ‘normality’ anyway? Normal is such a subjective concept that the mind boggles as to why psychologists feel they have the right to define it: the activities of the masses define what is acceptable behaviour and, as George Orwell rightly put it, ‘Madness is simply being in the minority of one.’ Forcing onself to do something that one clearly doesn’t enjoy and that causes anxiety and misery is, in my opinion, counterproductive to emotional healing. However, that still doesn’t solve the problem of emotional connection…I just wish I had some long-term friends to rely on, friends from as far back as primary school like most people seem to have. Right, enough of the pity party. This rant ends here.
Routines are notoriously difficult for me to break, but if all goes well then I should have some new challenges with the MRes in September anyway. However, I still haven’t received written confirmation of my place so now I’m terrified that they’ve changed their minds and don’t want me. This is what too much time to think does to me: it manifests itself via anxiety over anything and everything. My concentration is and always has been terrible: I’ll paint while watching television, read while listening to music, split a film into three parts because I can’t pay attention to anything for more than 45 minutes. It takes a huge amount to keep my mind occupied and focused, which isn’t great when negative thoughts start creeping in.
Thankfully this also translates into the ability to zone out while I run! The pain in my left hip, while still present, lessened during my 7.5 miles in the sunshine and I came home feeling refreshed and ready for some fuel.
1/2 cup oats, 1 cup rice milk, raisins, cinnamon, 2 tbsp Dark Chocolate Dreams, banana
Now this is the way to enjoy DCD ~ I should have known that I’d love this combination as I adore chocolate raisins and I always liked my chocolate slightly warm or melted, never room temperature or *gasp* straight out of the fridge (my Dad does this with his chocolate ~ for me it just ruins the taste! I’m not mad about ice cream, vegan or otherwise, for the same reason. It just tastes bland to me, as if the cool temperature has somehow dulled the intensity of the flavour) When the DCD melted onto the raisins it was like taking little bites of heaven.
Lunch (After 60 sweaty minutes of Body Combat):
Lentil & Apricot Sauce with Buckwheat Udon Noodles (I dug some to the top just to prove that there were some under there!)
Also a nectarine, grapes and cherry tomatoes that I ate too quickly to take a picture of :P
I just walked into town and back, did a Tae-Bo 8 Minute (20 minute!) workout DVD and read blogs for the rest of the afternoon! How extremely productive. Things didn’t improve much when I felt peckish and reached for…
Jazz Apple, Banana Bread Nakd Bar
Review: Banana Bread Nakd BarI’m so, so sorry Nakd, but this is without hyperbole the worst bar I have ever tasted, and I’ve eaten chocolate covered Turkish Delight (vegan version, but still disgusting). I’ve eaten this once before and came back determined not to waste anything from my sample box. I couldn’t believe there was something made by Nakd that I didn’t like, but it’s no use living in denial. The characteristic texture of the Nakd bar is still there, but it smells so sweet, sickly and artificial that I was hesitant to take even one bite. There are no nasties in the ingredients list, but it tastes like synthetic banana (anyone remember those foam banana-shaped sweets from when they were a kid? This tastes just like those) mixed with the bitter aftertaste of Stevia. I seriously had to choke it down, then just gave up. I never throw bars away, ever, but this one just got the better of me. It may just be my aversion to cooked banana (ew! I’ll never understand why people like to mash their banana and cook it in with their oatmeal!) but I don’t think anyone could stomach the sheer overwhelming sweetness of this bar. Let me know if you can and I’ll send you a medal for bravery. 1/10 (because it was still breakable and mercifully only comes in the mini 30g size!)
After such an unsatisfying snack I was rather hungry for dinner, which came after 90 minutes of Basic Yoga for Dummies DVD (so appropriate for me). Case in-point: even Yoga doesn’t relax me and I stress constantly over getting the poses perfect / not being bendy or flexible enough. Don’t even get me started on meditation.
Another modified version of ‘Summer Stew’ from Vegan Cooking for One:
Red lentils, carrots, spinach, peas, oats
Snack later will be a 68g Coco Loco Nakd Bar…yes, I am a complete creature of habit. It will also help me to forgive Nakd for the travesty that is the Banana Bread bar. Hopefully my life will go somewhere one day ~ I haven’t heard anything from the children’s literary agents I marketed my novel to about a month ago and I’ve already been rejected by all of the adult ones. I’m just desperate for my paintings to sell well tomorrow…
Oh, and I may put some images of them up at some point when I’ve sorted out the issues surrounding artistic copyright. I’m hoping to eventually start an online business with them and I’m paranoid about internet fraud…that and I’m scared everyone will think they’re terrible and I have no talent whatsoever….
Hope everyone has an exciting weekend : )
Jul 24, 2009 11:39 AM
Okay, firstly: the Trek Protein Flapjack giveaway is open until Sunday. All entries still gratefully received and very much welcome. N.B I have decided to nix the extra entry for outside linking rule, after it was brought to my attention that such rules encourage blogs to be created solely for the purpose of linking to giveaways and also discriminate against non-bloggers. Many apologies to those who have already linked! This is my first giveaway and I will endeavour to manage them more efficiently in the future : )
Everything is in a bit of a whirl now getting ready for Saturday’s fair. I have everything in place; flyers, business cards, stands, the table arrangement…basically I’m doing everything that doesn’t involve interaction with anyone and then Mum is taking over! She’s much more of a ‘people person’ than I am and brilliant at selling things, so she jumped at the chance to man the stall with my paintings and I’m so grateful to her for agreeing to do it. I’d probably scare any potential customers away…
Aside from craft-fair preparations, there was much sketching and researching yesterday, as well as a Tae-Bo Basic Boot Camp DVD at 6:45am. Then I dashed into the kitchen for some breakfast.
Doves Farm Chocolate Cavities (Stars), sultanas, rice milk, banana
Then I went to the gym for a spin class, follwed by 7km on the treadmill in 35 minutes and 35 minutes on the elliptical. The left hip twinged a little but overall I think my body coped well with the workout and I was sure to send it positive thoughts, and also thank it for taking me through the session almost pain-free! I then caught up on some blogs and threw together some more food.
Carrot, Nectarine, Grapes: the usual suspects
Jul 23, 2009 3:56 PM
Another quiet post for Wednesday ~ it’s a hump day for many (argh ~ hate that phrase! I may have to poke myself in the eye for using it) but I always find it a lull in the week. If things are going to go wrong, it’s usually on a Wednesday. I have no idea why. Not wanting to push my luck after my longer run on Tuesday, I settled for a nice easy 4.5 miles (which took me 45 minutes, just to illustrate HOW easy I took it). The weather was nice and sunny at that point, so I was in the mood to try out one of my new Nakd products in the form of:
Tropical Oats ~ 3/4 cup oats, 1 1/2 cups rice milk, cinnamon (not so tropical! But you can’t have oats without cinnamon; it simply isn’t allowed), Nakd Pineapple Raisins x2, 1/2 Oskiri Coconut Bar crumbled on top, banana. If that’s a long description it’s because the bowl of oats was HUGE. I never learn.
Close-up of the raisin oasis (if bananas can count as palm trees?)
I had mixed feelings about this bowl ~ I suppose I prefer autumn (fall?) and winter flavours as opposed to fruity/citrus tastes. The star of the bowl was actually the cocount bar! After moaning that it wasn’t sweet enough it’s really grown on me and counteracted the extreme sugaryness (it’s a word…I think) of the raisins. I ate the lot but probably should have used 1/2 cup oats…oy.
Product Review: Nakd Raisins ~ Pineapple Flavour
Ingredients list: I’m intrigued to know how it’s possible to ‘bake’ raisins! Also, I’m not particularly enamoured about the inclusion of citric acid in the ingredients and I’d like to know where those ‘natural flavours’ come from.
Blimey, that’s a lot of sugar. I think I meet the RDA for sugar in a day from my dried fruit and banana consumption alone….
Front of the packet shot. When I opened these the first thing that struck me was the offputting scent. It smelled like a My Little Pony. I was almost too scared to use these but in the interests of being professional in my approach to reviews I hesistantly nibbled one before additing them to my oats. It wasn’t bad! They didn’t taste anywhere near as strange as the smell would indicate but they certainly didn’t seem ‘natural’ to me. There was a hint of pineapple going on but primarily they tasted like marzipan, more cherry-like than the essence of pineapple I was expecting. They also leave your teeth feeling sugar-coated, which is never desirable, and the sickly flavour threatened to overwhelm my bowl of oats so much that I ended up eating round them. They’re quite a fun product and it’s always good to sample new things but really they’re a little artificial for me and probably better in small doses. That said, I have some ideas for how to use the other flavours: Chocolate Orange Oats, Lemon Pie Oats and Berry Cherry Oats may soon be on the menu. 5/10
Review: Oskiri Coconut Bar
As I have previously mentioned, on first opening the bar the most immediately noticable quality was how the coconut is an odd mixture of sticky and crumbly. Breaking it into pieces small enough for maximum meltage into oats is quite difficult, and despite the rice syrup which holds it together the bar is quite dry and has the tendency to stick in the throat that puts me off most coconut related products. Obviously the saturated fat content is quite high, but there has been research done to suggest that plant-based saturates are nowhere near as damaging as those from animal products and don’t have the same cholesterol-raising properties, so this doesn’t worry me greatly. Due to the aforementioned dryness and slightly bland flavour (I was expecting sweet coconut ice!) I wouldn’t eat this bar by itself, but once it melts into oats it takes on a wonderful, creamy texture that’s perfect when paired with either agave or dried fruit.
On its own: 4/10
As a topping for oatmeal: 7.5/10After a session at the gym (30 minutes elliptical, 18 minutes stepper, 15 minutes recumbant bike, weights & stretching) my mammoth bowl of oats was starting to wear off. I couldn’t wait to try my Dark Chocolate Dreams in sandwich form.
Grapes, Nectarine, Carrot
Dark Choc Dreams & Banana toasted sandwich on GF Bread, rest of banana with more DCD. Yum! Although my poor teeth weren’t too happy…I wanted to brush them again! For me the flavour of the DCD is a little too subtle and I’d like something more intensely chocolatey. It’s still lovely though, just not quite as to-die-for as my Biona Cashew Butter.
Jazz Apple, Two Mejool Dates, Almonds
The afternoon was spent with my Mum in town, sorting out my finances in a bank. After the never-ending plethora of forms was filled in and filed (I swear they try to catch the numerically challenged such as myself out with these forms!) Mum had more errands to run so I just walked the three-ish miles home (luckily dodging the rain that was forecast), did some weight training and ate the snack pictured above. Then it was off to pilates and home for dinner.
Dinner:Corn Spaghetti with roasted veggies (carrot, red pepper, courgette) in tomato & oregano sauce, peas
Before I went to bed I had my go-to comfort snack: a Coco Loco Nakd Bar, which I did take a picture of but I’m saving it for the full bar review. Okay, here’s where the ‘storm’ part comes in: I have a pretty good idea of when I’m truly losing my grip on my depression. I can feel the clouds gathering, anticipate the breakdown to come. One of the worst parts is anxiously waiting for the eventual ‘snap’ to occur. It’s a frightening experience, becuase I truly feel like someone else has taken over my body, an out-of-body experience in the sense that I seem to externalise the rational ‘me’, the ‘me’ that is floating somewhere near the ceiling, watching the manic demon below behave like a rabid dog, or certainly something sub-human. Screaming, wailing, crying, breaking things, beating the floor, bouncing off the walls, tearing out hair, pummelling itself in the legs until they’re covered with bruises…actually it sounds more like a two year-old mid-tantrum. These incidents were once a daily occurrence and I swear I don’t know how my parents didn’t throw me out of the house. Now, because I know (most of the time) when they’re coming, I can throw myself into bed, bury myself under the covers and lie still in the darkness until ‘I’ can return…sometimes three minutes later, sometimes three hours or more. 90% of the time these episodes are triggered by the perception that I’ve gained weight and the horror and anxiety that comes with it. No amount of affirmations or rationalizing can get rid of the feeling that everything you put on is too tight, that your backside resembles two inflated watermelons, that your thighs are touching and chafing together. The downside of not weighing myself is that I don’t have any security, any concrete number to confirm that I haven’t turned obese overnight. This results in constant body-checking, making six different ‘diet’ plans and far too much time wasted in front of the mirror. I broke down this morning and dug out the scales. The result wasn’t as bad as I had feared, but what’s upsetting is that, had the number been higher, the ‘temper tantrum’ would have manifested itself at it’s worst. As it was, my mood lifted significantly. I apologise if any of this was triggering, but I needed to get it out there and admit that I’m not sure I’ll ever see a time when my happiness is not intrinsically linked to my weight…I can’t separate the depression from the disordered eating and as a result I feel like a fraud on both counts. If the depression comes from a chemical / hormonal imbalance then why is it so profoundly affected by an external influence such as a scale number? If I have an eating disorder that makes me desperate to lose weight, then why do I eat so much? Do I want to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, to turn myself into the fat whale I believe I am because deep down I hate myself and want an excuse to be the failure I fear that I’m destined to become?
In other news, what set my mind racing in the first place was the fact that I’ve been experiencing pain in my left hip. It’s nothing severe, but injuries are my worst fear (literally) and although a sensible person would rest it or reduce activity, I don’t want to because then I’ll lose the freedom of eating intuitively…hungry Jessica=bingeing Jessica. My appetite doesn’t decrease with less exercise and I’m useless at sticking to lower intakes now anyway. It scares the hell out of me that if I ever do break a bone, or suffer stress fractures, I don’t have the willpower anymore to consume less to reflect a reduced activity level. It’s a catch 22: I either rest and gain weight short term, or push through and risk gaining weight long-term. Other people have dealt with reduced cardio levels by reducing their food intake and claiming it’s appetite related but I really don’t believe that: the food intake has been reduced to compensate for the reduced exercise. I’ve seen some big blogging role models do this and although either no-one will read this or I’ll be shot down in flames, but I’m sure that when exercise increases, everyone feels ‘allowed’ to eat more.
Right, none of this is even making sense now so I think I’ll stick to reviewing my favourite bar and calling it a day before I get myself in even more trouble…
Jul 22, 2009 11:40 AM
I’m sure you saw this coming but I now have some wonderful Trek products to give away. I’d be snaffling these myself in the blink of an eye if I didn’t have such a sensitivity to soy, but there’s no way I’m letting them go to waste and I’d love to share them with the blogging world.
I used to eat Trek bars every day for breakfast when I was at University…I practically lived on them in the first year (I think my record was four in a day!) before I discovered that soy was part of my tummy troubles. Although I haven’t had one in a while, I remember the taste distinctly and my favourite was always the Peanut & Oat flavour, which tastes like a moist, dense, non-greasy peanut butter cookie and for me infinitely surpasses the Larabar version (9/10). Next came the Cocoa Brownie ~ not quite as delicious as my beloved Coco Loco Nakd Bar, but still rich and decadent with a lovely crunchy, biscuity element from the soy protein crispies ~ reminded me of a healthy Boost bar if any UK people have had them (8.5/10). I really liked the Mixed Berry flavour too but I’m not wild about fruity bars compard to PB or chocolate and it is an incredibly sweet flavour. However, the berry element is very natural in taste, which is something that most bars fail to achieve, and it’s just as filling as the other flavours but the lowest in calories for 203kcal as opposed to 239kcal for the Peanut (7.5/10) Overall I think Trek Bars are great and extremely sustaining (2.5 hours is a record for me with any bar!) Sadly I’ve never tried the flapjacks but I’d love to hear the opinion of whoever wins!
How to Enter: Just leave a comment on this post ~ you could answer the question ‘what’s your all-time favourite bar?’ but you don’t have to : )
Jul 22, 2009 10:40 AM
It’s Wednesday already? Time must fly when you’re doing nothing. Well, not nothing
exactly but working to your own schedule. Thanks so much for all the supportive comments on my last post ~ I didn’t weigh myself in the end and hopefully I don’t plan to. The numbers just mess with my mood too much and I don’t need any help in turning a good day into a manic, disordered thoughts-orientated one. Recently I’ve noticed my mood swinging to extremes more than it used to within the course of a day; it’s always vascillated wildly from postive and productive to dispondent and tearful but for the past week it’s seemed to shift every couple of hours or so. I think it’s to do with the fact that I’ve been trying to follow all of the wonderful advice I’ve received about challenging negative thoughts: before, if I started crying at 10am I wouldn’t stop until 11pm (well, obviously there would be lulls in it but the depression would still be there). Now, from taking active steps to override the darkness which seems to close in at certain times of the day, I can hold it together for an hour or two before it gets the better of me…then I’ll pull myself out of it again and the cycle continues. It’s exhausting, but hopefully I’ll get to the stage eventually where the light outweighs the darkness. I genuinely think there’s something to the self-aware approach which advocates challenging negative thought processes and interrupting them before they take over: I’d never have considered this before entering the blog world and sometimes I think there are certain ladies out there online who have more wisdom in their minds than all of the world’s therapists put together. If you’re not going through the same processes, or have been through similar problems, I don’t think you’re in as strong a position to help and many therapists and psychologists come at it from an outsider’s perspective: they’re too pragmatic. It’s like an actor who has to feign an emotion he’s never experienced: his performance will never be as ‘true’ as the performance of a person who has deeply felt the emotions he’s trying to portray in real life. I hope that makes sense!
I was full and happy all through my lengthy keyboard practice from my gorgeous breakfast, and after a couple of hours I decided to do my Tae-Bo Advanced DVD to keep my muscles from stiffening up after my run. Actually, they seem to have dealt with it quite well and there was only a slight twinge in my left hip and hamstring which appears to have disappeared this morning. Fingers crossed!
Chickpea, carrot & tomato salad
Roasted Butternut Squash. It tastes better slightly charred, honest!
Grapes and a Nectarine
In the afternoon it decided to rain again. The weather in this country is like my mood: capricious. One minute it’s sunny, then showers, then sun again. My Dad still wanted a walk so we went about 2.5 miles anyway and came back utterly soaked. I ended up sitting by the computer reading blogs and researching whilst drying my legs off with a hairdryer. Still, it really makes you appreciate being warm and dry! I love to get out in the winter when it’s freezing cold, as it heightens the pleasure of being snuggled up next to a radiator or cuddling a hot water bottle to warm up again. Sadly, the weather really does affect how I feel and the rain literally put a dampener on the day…until…
What could this be?
That’s one heck of a promise. What could possibly make such a claim?
Ahhh! Sorry to be so inarticulate but for the second time in two days the arrival of the postman (or DHL courier in this case!) completely put the spring back in my step. Naomi of Natural Balance Foods
, the company who make my beloved Nakd Bars, send a double-decker sample case of products after I enquired as to whether the new gluten-free line would be available in a mixed case. I can’t wait to do a full review on all of the Nakd Bars and raisins and you’d better believe that when the gluten-free bars do come out I’ll be writing a dissertation on each of them! I can’t believe how kind and generous the company were in sending me this and I just have to say THANK YOU so, so much Naomi for giving me the opportunity to review so many delicious and healthy bars.
However, unfortunately for me the Trek Protein Bars contain soya protein, and the flapjacks have both soy protein and soy flour. Given my reaction to the now infamous Nana’s Cookie, I’m just not willing to risk tasting the Trek lines despite my eagerness to sample the flapjacks, which look so indredibly appetising! Stay tuned for a surpise relating to these in my next post (well, I’m sure you can guess what it is!) I am incredibly grateful to have received these but my tummy is just starting to truly settle and I don’t want to aggrivate it again ~ a little soy sauce every now and then is all I can get away with and even that’s sometimes pushing my luck.
All of the excitement relating to this package meant that I found myself running late for my Body Jam and Body Balance classes so I had to slam this down far quicker than I would have liked (and I forgot to take a picture until I’d eaten most of the apple!)
Jazz Apple (or what’s left of it) and two pieces of GF toast with agave (which all ran to the bottom slice) and Pure Spread
Dinner (post Jam & Balance)
Two Baby Potatoes, Lentil Bolognese, Green Beans & Peas
Oh, I can’t wait…I’m going to get the next post up straight away!
Jul 21, 2009 1:02 PM
Morning all : ) Yesterday was ‘research day’ and I’m actually quite pleased with the amount I got done ~ I’m terrible for procrastinating but once I get started with something I’m generally okay…the first sentence is definitely always the hardest. It’s a miracle that I achieved anything though because after ‘cookiegate’ I was feeling extremely down in the dumps and just generally ‘blah’…or ‘bleh’…really a mixture of both. What really annoys me about myself is that as soon as a hint of appetite comes back I’ll gobble up a full meal and even when my tummy feels ‘off’ I carry on eating reagardles. Damn my emotional reliance on food. I’ve also gone a week without weighing myself (longest time in forever) and now I’m too scared to go anywhere near the scales becuase I feel so incredibly huge. I don’t know whether this is true or not but it still doesn’t stop me from eating…in fact I don’t think anything does. Anyone else would have barely touched a scrap when they were dosed up on nausea-inducing antibiotics but I barely reduced my intake at all. I’ve been a good 25lbs heavier than I am now (or was when I last weighed myself) and I really, really can’t face going back there again. Unfortunately these thoughts were with me most of the morning, lessened in the afternoon/evening and are back with me now. I wonder why they tend to be at their worst after breakfast?
Breakfast (delicious despite the guilt):
1/2 cup oats, 1 cup rice milk, cinnamon, 1 chopped mejool date, banana, two more dates with 2 tbsp cashew butter on top. Simply decadent.
I was still moping around sniffling and staring at the walls (okay, and body-checking) when this package arrived and cheered me up considerably:
Jul 20, 2009 12:07 PM
This DVD features my fitness nemesis: resistance bands. These bands are somewhat wider than the Tae-Bo version and smell like a helium balloon. The DVD was *supposed* to come with bands to use as part of the workout but they were sadly lacking in my order (thanks Amazon!) so I had to buy some separately. Because my legs are so much stronger than my arms, I have to use the lightest ‘strength’ of band which results in a killer burn for my biceps and triceps but very little work on my legs. Sadly, the exercises are intertwined so that it’s impossible to change band mid-flow and certain sequences are drawn out for so long that I’ve twanged (it is a word, I swear) myself in the leg or (in lying poses) face several times. Band-pinging aside, there are some wonderful stretches in this DVD which are mostly conducted in the supine position (i.e lying on the floor). There’s no prone work and only minimal standing, so the workout is by no means strenuous. I would debate the ‘fit’ and ‘firm’ elements of the title but this DVD will definitely improve flexibility and the guided relaxation at the end is one of the most calming and quieting that I have experienced, whether via DVD or in a class. My main issue with most yoga DVDs is that they’re just too long: I’m going to be more pressed for time soon and I really need a DVD that incorporates a full workout into 60 minutes or less, hence my preference for the Pilates Conditioning for Weight Loss and the Pilates For Dummies DVD, which are both 40-45 minutes long, where as all of the Yogalates series are 90 minutes and Geri Body Yoga is 95 minutes ~ I’d rather do a full programme than just a few sections of a DVD, as I never feel ‘compltete’ or satisfied if I do that. 5/10
I basically covered almost everything there is to say about this series when I reviewed the Weight Loss Yogalates DVD, but I would like to add that I feel that this edition is a more worthy programme in terms of bearing the title ‘Yogalates’. Nevertheless, I find that name deeply irritating and detrimental to the perception of both disciplines. Despite my reservations about the name, this DVD provides 90 minutes of gentle yoga and pilates exercises with a good balance between the two. There are three sections, one concentrating on abs, one on legs and one with standing postures. The latter is the section I enjoy the most because it gives me a chance to work on the technique and positioning of my warrior poses without having them part of a flowing or complicated sequence. Once again, this is primarily a relaxation and stretching DVD and those looking for a challenge should probably steer clear, but I really enjoy some of the seated balancing poses and genuinely felt that my limbs had been lengthened and my posture improved afterwards. 6/10
Nell McAndrew ~ Ultimate Challenge
Talk about going from the sublime to the ridiculous: this DVD is as intense as a home workout can get (without cheating by using gym equipment lol). It’s the antithesis of the Yogalates DVD’s in the respect that it’s fast, furious and set to pumping dance music (which I’m not a fan of, but you can’t have everything). This truly is an ultimate challenge and at a whopping 105 minutes in length (including the extra workout at the end) I don’t recommend this DVD if you have a short attention span! Actually, the choreography is so simple that I just zone out a lot of the time and let my body get on with the routine. As always, there’s a lot of repetition involving jogging, running, star jumps and enough squats to turn your legs to steel (I wish!) The weights section is of medium intensity and functions best for me if I use 2.5lb weights, and the abs workout is tough without being excruciating. The ‘extras’ are a bit of a gimmick, as they basically consist of a one-minute elbow plank, sit-ups and eight minutes of stretching, but after the rest of the DVD an eight minute stretch is actually a blessing. Nell’s trainer is verbose as always (not! But I still like the guy’s Boot Camp attitude) and the DVD seems to be located in an industrial warehouse, but it’s still a lot of fun. I don’t do it too often as the sheer length of it can sometimes be a drag, but it’s still worth a look. 8/10
Jul 20, 2009 11:07 AM
Any Metallica fans out there get the title reference? I’m a dedicated follower of the band and love to run to their music…even though I’m slightly ambivalent about how I feel towards them as the guy who introduced me to them hurt me quite badly (in an emotional sense!) and I’m still not ‘over’ him. Actually, 95% of the music I listen to is either rock or some metal sub-genre but then my ears decide to have a complete aberration and I start bopping along to Elton John like an embarassing Dad in a disco. My musical tastes are eclectic to say the least…I’m Still Standing is a fabulous running song!
Apologies if this is a dull post but yesterday was a pretty uneventful day and I’m really trying to finish as many paintings as possible for the fair next Saturday, plus I really need to get started on some preliminary research so I don’t look like a *complete* idiot when I get to meet my supervisor for the MRes.
The weather was beautiful on Sunday morning and I was happy to take advantage of it with a wonderful 7.5 mile run in my best training time so far…well under an hour.
The pumpkin oats are back! The fibre in the pumpkin was a suspect for bothering my stomach, but since discovering the culprit was actually soy (I’ve known about the wheat/most gluten issue for years) pumpkin has come back into my life and I couldn’t be happier!
1/3 cup oats, 1 cup rice milk, 1 cup pumpkin, cinnamon, raisins, 2tbsp cashew butter, banana
Then I spent the morning doing the activities mentioned above, practicing keyboard (I’m improving…very…slowly), blogging and cooking another cauldron full of lentil bolognese, this time with apricots. Meh, it didn’t turn out how I wanted: I think I took it off the heat too soon and the lentils didn’t break down properly. Oh well, only eight portions to use up before I can make some more *sigh*
Then before lunch I decided to do Nell McAndrew’s Ultimate Challenge DVD. Ultimate Challenge is right ~ it’s 1hr 45 minutes in length!
Jul 19, 2009 12:03 PM
Firstly, I want to thank everyone so much for your wise words, congratulations, advice and support regarding the MRes: I’m incredibly blessed to have such wonderful people to reach out to at times like this and I can honestly say that without some of the comments I received I would never have been able to take a deep breath and consider this rationally. It’s a wonderful opportunity and I can’t let my tendency to panic and attempt to finish the final research project (that’s due a year from now!) before I go back in September. Heck, I haven’t even met one of my supervisors yet! I think I’m putting too much pressure on myself too early: if I try to complete a 25,000 word research dissertation in two months of course I won’t have time for anything else! I just need to manage my day more efficiently. However, I also think I should make the programme leaders aware of my problems: I hid all of my psychological and physical issues until the third year (although in the first year I had a lot of comments regarding my frail appearance, when I was in a bit of a relapse) when I finally had to explain some of my actions to my old guidance tutor, who was incredibly kind and understanding. I need to ask some serious questions about this symposium (it really is physically impossible for me to sit for eight hours with only a few opportunities to get up without being dosed up on ridiculous amounts of Ibuprofen) and also inquire as to whether the full range of periodicals are available online (thank you so much Marty
for giving me hope with this!), in which case I could conduct the bulk of my research from home.
Also I received an amazing piece of advice from a very special lady about my attitude towards life:
‘If you constantly allow yourself to find something wrong or bad about every little situation then how could you possibly ever be happy. I think that if you were to just TRY to sqaush a negative thought with a positive thought that maybe you would see a difference. My mom is a big believe that a great life and happiness are achieved by choice. If you CHOOSE to live in an unhappy world then so be it but if you find that you are dealing with some problems then you need to find the remedy so that you can get out of it. Life just isn’t worth it when its filled with self deprication, sadness, and no fun.‘
This touched me more than anyone could ever know: the only thoughts that came into my head about this Masters were of the things I couldn’t do. I imagined every negative scenario I possibly could and did nothing to actively rectify the contributors to these scenarios. I only saw problems: not solutions. I do genuinely try not to let these thoughts affect me but often I simply don’t persevere…sometimes I wonder if I wallow in my misery to much and actually start enjoying it, bizarre though that may sound. I can make this degree work. There, I said it. Just because I’m doing this doesn’t mean I have to get a desk job at the end of it but I’d be throwing away an opportunity people would kill for and could come out with a great qualification at the end of it. I also need to stop being a people pleaser and putting up a facade of perfection until I crack and have to admit my problems because I’ve pushed myself to the brink. I’ve always been this way: turning up for every lecture, getting projects in months in advance…when I was five I admitted to stealing some sweets (which I hadn’t taken!) because the teacher threatened to punish the whole class unless somebody owned up…it’s a silly example but it just shows how I’m a sucker for saying ‘yes’ to everything and taking the fall for everyone else. I’m not perfect. Nobody is. I need to stop trying to convince people that I am and stop worrying about what will happen if they ‘find out’ that I’m not. I’ve been inspired by so many people to squash these ridiculous thoughts and without the blog world I would have been overwhelmed and quit before I’d even started due to my crippling fear of failure. THANK YOU ALL! We can do all the things we dream of, it’s just so important to have some self-belief. Right, corny rant from me over.
Also, I just realised I was too busy moaning about how hungry I was to review the buckwheat noodles I tried yesterday for dinner, so:
Review: Clearspring Organic Buckwheat Noodles.
I absolutely loved these, although my Mum hated them and said they tasted bitter (mind you, she says that about most things!) I’ve been looking for a wheat/gluten-free alternative to regular soba noodles for a while now: rice noodles are lovely but are so incredibly light that they have no substance to them and don’t really ‘fill out’ a meal based primarily on veggies, which my stir-fries are. The soba noodles are thick, dense and more wholesome than their rice-based counterparts and don’t stick together during cooking. They need a good ten minutes to get as soft as I like them (i.e like mush) but once they’re done they have a beautiful, nutty, prominent yet delicate flavour and pair wonderfully with chickpeas and soy sauce, but I’m sure they’d be perfect with tofu or a satay-style sauce as well. My only gripe is that they still aren’t filling enough and, for a volume eater such as myself, I would prefer the bulk of brown rice: 7/10
Yesterday I was up bright and early at 6:45 for some of Davina McCall’s Aerobics and Pump..DVD style.
Tooth rotting cereal…I mean cavity central…I mean Doves Farm Chocolate Stars with rice milk, banana and a chopped mejool date.
A more angular view…
Because one mejool date is never enough…
I was worried this would be too much (the two mejool dates’ extra threatened to push me over the edge in terms of pre-spin fullness) but actually the breakfast fuelled me perfectly through another sweaty 50 minute spin class followed by 40 minutes on the elliptical and a few weights/stretching. I was dripping in sweat by the end though: the class is held in a tiny room with only a few windows and they somehow manage to fit fifteen bikes in there. Fifteen sweaty people + one buff male instructor + tiny room= sweat city. Plus there are a gang of people who hog the bikes by the windows and don’t work as hard as the rest of the people in the class. They also make snide comments about people’s weight, both to their face and behind their back. I almost became too afraid to come to the class because I was scared of what they’d say about me for gaining back 10lbs last year that I’d lost (unhealthily) in the first year of University. I turned up for the class half an hour early and they were STILL there! Seriously, I think they take up residence in the gym overnight. They’re the sort of people who stay for four classes in a row, then drive to another sports centre and take more. They also love to brag about how little they eat. Ugh. Anyway, there was a spare bike by the window but one of the women had stuck a towel on the seat to ‘reserve’ it for her friend, so I was banished back to the hottest corner of the room as usual. It was still a great class, though.
When I got home I was peckish, but not that hungry. However, there were still two hours to go before I could get into the kitchen for lunch (my Mum was in there cooking meat for my Dad and the smell / sight of the stuff makes me feel sick, so I just avoid the area whenever it’s going on) so I reached for a Nakd bar. Then I realised I really should try some of the new snacks I’d purchased.
Doves Farm Tropical Oat Cereal Bar
I was incredibly disappointed in this bar. The texture was so solid and chewy that I could hardly break it (I’m a bar breaker and have to separate them into bitesize pieces or it’s just not the same!) and the flavour was just non-existent. It was so bland and uninspiring. I couldn’t even taste the coconut or pineapple that’s meant to be included in there and the occasional bite of synthetic-tasting dried banana only worstened the experience. Nakd bars have an appetising aroma but this had no scent at all, and the chunks of tasteless dried mango did nothing to heighten the experience. The only highlight was the occasional bite of brazil nut and for 196kcal this bar was not worth it in any respect. I finished it all because I’d eaten too much of it by the time I discovered it wasn’t going to grow on me to get anything else, but it was no more filling than a piece of fruit and to be honest, the nutritional stats are pretty damning: 2.6g protein, 15.5g sugar and 2.6g saturated fat? No thank you! I will definitely not purchase this bar again: 2/10
(because technically it wasn’t inedible
Sadly I was starving by the time lunch came round so I dove into my stash of nut butter. Another fail then ensued: I really don’t like what Meridian have done with their hazelnut and cashew butters. There used to be oil on top that would require stirring in but since they’ve amalgamated it into no-stir nut butters the flavour has been sacrificed and all of them have an incredibly sour, ‘off’ aftertaste. I just couldn’t stomach it so my Mum took it off my hands to eat half a teaspoon at a time (I think it took her a year to get through the last jar of this) *rolls eyes*
Thankfully Biona‘s Cashew Butter saved the day ~ incredibly expensive, but worth every rich, creamy, roasted bite.
Nectarine, carrot, cherry tomatoes
Cashew Butter & Banana sandwich, banana with more CB!
In the afternoon I just walked, practised keyboard, read up on some musical theory, blogged and did some weight training and finished up with a Yogalates Energizer DVD for 9o minutes. I also snacked on a Jazz apple and some (okay, LOTS of) grapes.
Lentil, mushroom and carrot bake with mashed sweet potato
Left-over stir-fry veggies that wouldn’t fit on the other plate.
I really tried to relax and have a positive evening. I spent many hours painting and was pretty satisfied with the results: the first craft fair where they’ll be sold is next Saturday so I’m really trying to produce as many as possible without sacrificing the quality of my work. Then I laughed my socks off at Dara O’Brien and Frankie Boyle on Live at the Apollo while eating a 68g Apple Pie Nakd Bar (to make up for earlier!!!) and eventually went to bed…where I actually managed to sleep a little : )
Happy Sunday all!
Jul 18, 2009 2:00 PM
It’s Saturday! Although since I graduated University time has been relative for me and the week-ends don’t mean as much any more. I still look forward to them though and I love having my mum home for two days ~ she’s a workaholic so I basically don’t see her a lot during the week.
The rest of yesterday was really quiet ~ I was so distracted by the scholarship issue that I barely noticed what I was even playing on keyboard and constantly misred the choreography in Body Combat. It was nice to beat the living daylights out of some imaginary opponents though. I always visulise…myself when I’m punching or kicking, or rather the negative elements of myself. I love body combat and the chance to release the aggressive elemnent of my tension, yet I also cherish the inner peace that comes from yoga, Body Balance and Pilates. I think the two provide a great balance, it’s just a shame there’s no exercise class for decision making.
After Body Combat I had a rather unusual lunch:
Gluten-free bread with Pure spread
Lentil bolognese (I needed something warm! I was still chilly after this morning’s run)
Nectarine and a Forelle Pear
The monsoon continued all day and my poor cat Minnie was going stir-crazy being stuck indoors. She’s a very active cat and hates the rain, so she decided to deal with her cabin fever by attacking my legs at every opportunity. Poor girl was abused and neglected as a kitten so she’s a little eccentric (aren’t we all!?) and certainly unlike any other cat I’ve ever met. She’s highly strung, independent and not particularly affectionate but I love her to pieces anyway. It makes earning her trust all the more rewarding and the occasions when she does purr or go to sleep on your lap really worth the wait. We’ve had her for ten years (since she was six months old) and it took her so long just to stop hiding behind curtains or in boxes at every opportunity. It breaks my heart to think about what happened to her…the lack of nourishment stunted her growth so she’s about half the size of a normal cat, hence her name. I keep trying to get a picture of her but a) she won’t sit still for more than ten seconds and b) she’s scared of the camera so I’m not going to keep traumatising her unnecessarily. If she becomes more comfortable with it then perhaps I’ll take one eventually when she’s asleep.
Since it was impossible to walk in the afternoon (half the streets were flooded!) I just did the legs and abs section of Davina McCall’s DVD and then had a snackie around 5:00pm
Apple and a Doves Farm Apple & Sultana Flapjack
I tried one of my ‘scary’ foods, although it was so hard not to just grab a Nakd bar. Nakd bars are something I rely on so much becuase they’re not only delicious and healthy but also extremely filling. I’m so scared of being hungry and bingeing that I’m a total volume eater and hate small bars with higher calorie values and/or ‘suspect’ ingredients. This flapjack had no nasties in it but the nutritionals weren’t great and I seriously debated whether to eat it. I’m glad I did!
Review: The flapjack was perfectly sweet and nowhere near as greasy as most bought flapjacks. The texture was soft and chewy, and the plump sultanas combined with the pieces of dried apple still made the bar taste ‘healthy’ while being decadent at the same time. However, it was NOT filling and for 176kcal for a 40g bar I still would have enjoyed a Nakd bar more. Nevertheless, I have another one in the cupboard and I will eat it. I would buy these again in terms of taste, but I’m not sure I’m comfortable with them in terms of satiety.
I didn’t want to spoil my dinner though so even though I was quite peckish after the flapjack I decided to do the Geribody yoga DVD to stretch out my back. By the time dinner was done I was starving!
Chickpea stir-fry with buckwheat noodles and soy sauce
And I was *still* hungry after this! Argh! I really don’t understand how that’s possible but I wanted to wait a while to make sure I wasn’t just sulking becuase I hadn’t had my usual size of snack. Once I got into my painting I became less aware of the ‘hunger’ and two hours of acrylic mess later the feelings had dissipated significantly. Lesson for Jessica: often your ‘hunger’ is all in your head. I revised a little music theory and then decided I was truly hungry enough for my favourite snack in the world:
Jul 15, 2009 10:06 PM
Phew! I’m back from shopping and I certainly managed to buy enough bars to last more for…a couple of days maybe ; ) My Mum was so kind and allowed me to basically get whatever I wanted ~ when I started to put some items back she said I should keep them as her treat and we actually managed to spend an entire afternoon almost
comment-free. Usually when we go out it’s like a contest to see who can read the most labels and agonize over calories for the longest duration of time but thankfully there was only one remark about the amount of sugar in my diet (yes, I know I get too much) and that was the end of it. Other than that, it was a bright, sunny day and I actually made an effort with my appearance for the first time in months, which made me feel a little better when strolling through a town where 80% of the female population seems to be vastly underweight and almost 6ft tall. Perhaps I have ‘thin-goggles’ on and only see the emaciated people but it’s like I’m drawn to them, wondering how they do it and going from being quite comfortable in my own skin to wanting to curl up in a ball and hide in a dark corner. What I don’t understand is why their hair isn’t shedding in clumps and their skin is blemish free. How do they get away with it? I end up envying their self-discipline and feeling weak and useless, measuring my self-worth by the size of my thighs all over again. Right, I’m squashing those thoughts now before they turn this into a downbeat post. Aside from the body image issues, it was an enjoyable afternoon.
Lunch (packed up and eaten in the car):
In that vast array of boxes we have:
- Diced mango
- Grapes and leftover roasted aubergene
- Chickpea, tomato, carrot & pepper salad (so huge it needed two containers)
- Two slices of GF bread with Pure margarine
Getting something vegan to eat out in Newcastle is pretty much impossible and with my list of intolerances it would be a nightmare (the options are: hummus sandwich on wheat bread or something stuffed with enough onion, garlic and chilli to rip my insides out for a week). Plus my Mum hates eating anything she hasn’t prepared herself so it would just cause undue stress for both of us. After strolling around Marks and Spencer, Holland & Barratt, Waitrose and Almonds & Raisins (wonderful little out-of the-way health food store) I came home with the following haul:
(L-R and back to front):
- Libby’s canned pumpkin (I’ve been missing my pumpkin oats!)
- Biona Cashew Butter (had a bad experience with Meridian brand CB, whose Almond Butter I love, and hope this one is better and doesn’t taste like bitter sawdust)
- Meridian Hazelnut Butter (new product, can’t wait to try!)
- Doves Farm Tropical Oat Bar
- Doves Farm Low-Fat Fruity Oat Cereal Bar
- 68g Berry Cheeky Nakd Bar
- Doves Farm Apple & Sultana Flapjackx2
- Oskiri Coconut Bar (should be delicious on oats á la the Inside I’m Still Dancing blog)
- Nanas Wheat-Free Choc-Chip Cookie x2
- Nanas Gluten-Free Chocolate Cookie
- Buckwheat Soba Noodles (been wanting to use these in stir-fries for ages)
- Doves Farm Choc Chip Rice Cereal Bar x2
- Pitted Mejool Dates (my favourite!)
- 68g Coco Loco Nakd Bar x2 (seriously, you didn’t think I’d go an entire trip without buying some?)
- 68g Apple Pie Nakd Bar x3
The Nakd Bars were buy one get one half-price so I went a little crazy. Big surprise there! Getting all of this food was a personal challenge of mine: Jaime
posted a couple of days’ back about the practice of indulging mindfully. I have NEVER been able to do this, not even as a child. I am an all or nothing person and am actually terrified of having these foods around (aside from the Nakd bars, pumpkin and noodles) in case I go mad and binge on them as I have in the past. Too much choice generally puts my brain on overload and I want to try everything at once, overeat horribly and then try to restrict afterwards when I see the results on the scales. It’s not usually safe for me to have one type of nut butter in the house, for example. I also have a ‘rule’ about finishing what I’ve bought in one round of shopping before I can purchase any more. In the past I’ve resorted to my Mum rationing everything I have and hiding the food or taking it to work with her. This not only sets up a negative power relationship between us but also heightens my lack of faith and self-disgust. I want to achieve a balance so badly, I want to have the foods I love in the house and not binge on them, I want to ENJOY them as opposed to shovelling them in in secret. For a long time I have just not bought the food because it scares me so much but I need to take control in a positive way. Fine, I’ll probably eat the whole one of those giant 100g cookies but that’s not a reason to beat myself up and as long as I’m hungry for it and enjoy it, that’s what matters. I just hope to God I don’t go completely out of control. Wish me luck, I’m going to need it!
When we returned home I did a quick 30 minutes of weights using 3lb, 5lb and 10lb dumbells and my weights bar. Then I had a quick snack before pilates:
Two 30g mini Berry Cheeky Nakd Bars ~ I have another two left in the pack and would feel more comfortable eating them up before I move on to the ‘scary’ foods.
Moroccan vegetable tagine (chickpeas, tomatoes, cinnamon, cumon, carrot, apricots) with brown rice and the ubiquitous, omnipresent peas.
I’m incredibly tired right now so I’ll just get some commenting and blog reading done and then I think another snackie might be in order. Will probably be the last two of those Nakd bars but will update if it’s anything different. No sleep for me tonight…interview nerves….my other choice today is to allow my ear piercings to close up. I never want to go through another experience with them getting infected again and I only got them pierced in the first place due to peer pressure before I realised that fitting in wasn’t the most important thing in life (and to be honest I was fighting a losing battle with that anyway!)
Wishing everyone a lovely day and a relaxing evening
Jul 15, 2009 10:49 AM
I decided to combine Tuesday and Wednesday’s posts owing to the fact that they’re both likely to be pretty uneventful apart from the last stretch of frantic revising for the dreaded interview. Yes, after tomorrow you’ll never have to hear me moaning about it again…until I find out whether I got the scholarship placement or not. In other news the dressing is gone! And no more antibiotics to take, so I’m a very happy camper right now. Yesterday I cycled down to the surgery so the Nurse could change the dressing on my ear and it’s finally stopped bleeding so I was able to wash my hair for the first time in a week…it wasn’t a pretty sight. After I’d washed it it seemed a lot thicker and fuller than usual though, so perhaps it likes seven days of being a greasy mess. Basically what happened was one of the piercings in my ear had been flaring up with infections since I had it done (err, ten years’ ago!) and about ten days’ ago it got really out of hand, resulting in an excruciating two hours spent in A&E with doctors fretting about my temperature. My ear swelled up like a balloon and turned purple, which was certainly an interesting experience. I didn’t sleep at all and the painkillers made me feel horribly drowzy and lethargic so I’m very relieved to get them out of my system.
Luckily this morning my 7.5 miles was completed without event or any deviation from one of my normal routes. Now that the antibiotics have worn off I’m even hungrier than usual though!
Jul 13, 2009 10:16 PM
Billy Blanks’ Tae Bo Cardio
I don’t have much to say about this DVD other than I doubt it would provide any element of a cardio workout unless you were seriously unfit to start with. It’s only 44 minutes in length and spends a lot of time at the end on stretching, which is a plus if you’re using it to unwind from a run as I was. I believe that this has potential as a toning DVD, and the slower pace of the exercises compared to the older Tae Bo workouts allows you to really work on technique and balance for some of the more complicated roundhouse and side kicks. It’s a nice enough addition to the series, but I do still yearn for the fast-paced, heart pumping element of ‘Everybody Get Ripped’ and other earlier releases.
Basic Yoga for Dummies
Okay, so the title of this DVD is highly accurate: it’s so basic that even a yoga novice such as myself would find the lengthy explantation given to the core ‘daily dozen’ poses a little excessive. Nevertheless, the poses are held for a sufficient length of time to provide an excellent deep stretch and it’s great for the purposes of unwinding without having to stress about keeping your eye on the screen and watching for quick shifts between poses. I mainly use this DVD for the extra 25 minute intermediate sun salutation at the end, which is slightly more challenging and provides an excellent, flowing yoga sequence once all of the individual components are built in and put together. I love Sarah Ivanhoe’s sunny, warm manner and although some of the explanations may seem patronising, she appears to be genuine, sincere and not too ‘stiff’ (verbally and facially) in front of the camera. A good DVD to start with if you literally know nothing about yoga and are desperate to ease yourself in to the discipline. The ubiquitous ‘for Dummies’ graphics and fun facts are still present, and I believe that this series is great value for money compared to some far pricier DVDs.
Jul 13, 2009 1:15 PM
Well, the official chip time is in at 42:07…so close to breaking that 42 minute barrier but yet so far! Given the circumstances, I’m still reasonably happy with the time (although my ultimate aim is to break 40 minutes so it’s hard not to be a little disappointed) and I placed 4th female out of 5000 runners, which is my highest placing so far. Results are here if anyone’s interested (my number is 1769). I was particularly pleased with my 3K split, which is bizarrely fast considering how terrible I felt for those first couple of miles.
The day started out at 6:30 with a quick 8-min Tae-Bo work-out to stretch out my body (it might seem odd to do this before a race but I find I stiffen up very quickly if I don’t do something first thing and the car journey plays havoc with the scoliosis in my back, which is worstened by sitting down for any length of time). The race started at 9:45 and I needed to get to the start line by 9:30, so I quickly did some more stretching and headed out the door with my Mum and Dad. They love to come and watch me race ~ I suppose it’s the only setting where they can see me being ‘normal!’ I always want to do well for them and I cherish their love and support so much.
By the time that we got to Sunderland I wasn’t feeling well at all: the antibiotics I’m on induce nausea, particularly in the mornings. Luckily I only I have one day of them left to take and then I can get the dressing removed from my butchered ear. Yay! Anyway, after the warm-up I really, really thought I was going to throw up. I’d eaten a Coco Nakd Bar and a banana just before the warm-up and I truly believe that I’ve I’d had anything else I wouldn’t have been able to keep it down. As it happened, this light breakfast (well, for me!) was the perfect fuel for the race so another big thank you to the Nakd company ~ the mixture of slow-release carbs from the oats in the bar, protein and fat from the nuts and the simple sugars of the banana held me over very well until I got home for lunch at 12:15. I went off as quickly as I could but by mile three the sickness was getting worse. I just pushed ahead and relished the cushioning my recently purchased Asics Gel Nimbus shoes were giving my joints (I wore my poor New Balances out in three months!) By mile four the nausea finally wore off and I was able to up the pace again ~ at this point there was also a wonderful station / booth on the road that was an option to run under, which would shower you with cold water. It wasn’t a hot day but I seem to have an internal furnace which flares up like a volcano when I run so I was more than grateful for the makeshift waterfall. The last two miles were tough but as I mentioned, I pumped my body full of positive thoughts, targeted several people ahead of me to catch and sprinted for the finish. I managed to pass all but one of them who was a club runner and just too good for me.
At the finish we were given goodie bags and drinks (water or Powerade ~ I chose water!) and directed back through to the family meeting area. I enjoyed the race so much and it was a real victory in terms of squashing my negative thoughts ~ I had a fair few in the early stages, thinking I was too fat to run any more, that I felt sick becuase I’d eaten too much, that everyone was looking at me and being disgusted by my body, that I should just give up…but they all disappeared the minute I crossed that finish line. The race was so well-organised and the freebies they gave us were actually very good. Sadly the bars weren’t vegan but my Dad was happy to demolish all three samples in the car on the way home. I was particularly impressed by the staggering at the start line, with runners arranged with colour co-ordinated numbers according to previous personal best times. There was a bit of bottlenecking and burly men shoving me (I’m only 5″3 so I tend to get squished easily) but nothing anywhere near as bad as other races I’ve attended. My pilates teacher finished in 46:04 and my Mum’s friend from work in 49 minutes, so it was nice to see other people in a vaguely social setting and connect on a fitness level. Roll on Darlington Chevrolet 10K!
Here I am at the finish (looking slightly pained!) Please forgive my pallour…I only wear so little because I get really hot and do feel incredibly self-conscious in such a skimpy outfit!
And then later at home (just to prove that I do smile!)
The remains of the free samples…why couldn’t they have given us Nakd or Larabars!?
Lunch (sickness gone and hunger in full force!):
Almond butter & banana sandwich (GF bread as usual), other half of banana with more AB
Gorgeous Nectarine, carrot and grapes
I caught up on blogs, walked around and did some easy Tae-Bo and Yoga DVDs in the afternoon so my legs didn’t seize up. Then before I knew it it was time for a snack:
Jazz apple and a Pecan Pie Larabar (sniff, I’m going to miss these so much!)
Dinner (doesn’t look appetising but I promise it was!)
Leftover mushrooms and chestnuts with parsley mashed potatoes, carrots and peas.
Snack (after keyboard / piano lesson which didn’t go too well…but that’s negative so it’s not going to make it into this post!):
Last of my Lizi’s granola with rice milk and sultanas
By midnight I was tuckered out so I stopped desperately reading about Christopher Marlowe, Cultural Materialism and the Messianic percetpion (for my interview) and promptly crashed into bed. Hope everyone else had a great week-end and here’s to a positive week : )