Saturday, June 19, 2010

KESC13: Pinangsia Review

Tragedy struck early in the night as Elsie was forced to pull out to fight a lurgy. I had recently heard reports that lurgies might be forthcoming as a result of eating at Pinangsia, also. However, 4 challengers faced up last night to eat Malaysian style noodles.

We ordered a rice dish which had a fried egg on it, an egg noodle with beef and veg, a peanut sauce piece of chicken,

and a sort of chilli laksa soup with chicken and egg and rice cubes in it.

Also, wontons, which were disappointingly not dumplingy at all, they were big crunchy chips with a tiny piece of meat rolled in the corner. OK in their way, but not what I wanted.

And the "highlight" of the night was the specialty beef balls. Or as we will forever remember them, big balls of fat. They are big balls.
The food was really cheap and fast. $8 for the meals, about $4.50 for the couple of beef balls or "wontons".
Highlights were: the noodles were very well flavoured and had nice crunchy cabbage all through it. The service is fast. The food is cheap and tasty. Also, you help yourself to tea and water from the corner, and the tea is quite nice. Good black tea.
However the food is cheap quality, not much meat really, tending to be oily.
About 3/5 overall. Until next time, challengers!

Choose your walk.

Walks. The body advances, while the mind flutters around it like a bird. ~Jules Renard

On my birthday in March I took some photos of my commute, which is a 30 minute walk each way. I was into appreciating the wonderful things God has given me, and it really was gorgeous in the autumn light.

When choosing a walk, consider the following things:
  • directness (use google map > get directions)
  • hills (avoid)
  • footpath quality (esp width, if you have to share the path)
  • prettyness (for the soul)
  • traffic (pedestrian and polluting)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Lyric writers note this:

I think music today is lacking something. It is missing a certain quality. The words don't have enough… non-words.

Bring back the na naah, the la laaah, the boom-she-boom ye-lalalalalalalalalala, the dooby-dooby-dooby-do-wop-wop, the things that everybody can sing!

I think the success of certain current songs is based mostly on the parts that go "Ra ra, ooh la lah, ga ga" and "po-po-po", etc.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Life-sharing, hospitality, and other thoughts.

I found this post very honest and encouraging. Cathy and Steve have put real effort and thinking into how to use their home and family life in ministry.

A lot of people (like me) say they want to use their home for ministry, but it doesn't fit in conveniently very often, and a lot of people (me) just don't, or think they can't, so it is good to see what it looks like when a family actually work out how to share their lives sacrificially, and give it a red hot go, regardless of not always being in "Christian hospitality mode".

Hospitality is a ministry which I often think is limited by my situation, ie many people from church don't live nearby me, or I'm not a very good cook, or I only have 3 plates cos I broke one, or I have no dining table, or I have to arrange it with my flatmate(s), so it's just too much effort to have people over for dinner. But if you think outside the square, hospitality is basically life-sharing for the benefit of others, not just dinner parties. So there are a lot of little opportunities for life-sharing ministry. If I was to make a list of them in my life, like Cathy did, it would include Eat Street, obviously; and also meeting up with friends to walk or go swimming, or teach someone how to bake a cake or sew a skirt. Even grocery shopping has been valuable time spent with some women. So I'm challenged now, to make the most of these opportunities, even though I don't have a dining table.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Billabongs: How to eat there.

In Maitland, at Easts Bowling Club, there is a place, a special place, called Billabongs.

Billabongs is a buffet-style family restaurant, legendary among the people of the Hunter Valley. It is an Eat Street Challenge all by itself: seafood, salads, carvery, BBQ, chinese food, soups, ice-creams, desserts and slices. A hundred tables and a dozen bain maries, and scenic views of lawn bowling. What Maitland lacks in good thai it makes up for amply in Bowling Club All You Can Eat $16.50 lunches.
The aim of a trip to Billabongs is to eat as much as you can without feeling sick. If you want to uneat, you have gone too far. You just want to be as full as you possibly can get, without sweating and groaning.
My tip is, start with salad. Get some lettuce into your stomach as a healthy cushion, and then put all the meat you like on top of it. You may think that this is wasting valuable stomach space, but it primes the digestion for the meat that follows. This theory has been affirmed and validated by my sister who said she heard somewhere that you should always eat roughage first, so it must be pretty true.
Secondly, if you bite into something disappointing, don't waste valuable stomach real estate on it—put it aside.
Finally, be careful with the desserts. A mix of ice-cream, pavlova, coconut slice and mudcake, sprinkled with mini-marshmallows, looks wonderful… but it doesn't sit so well on top of all the chinese food, seafood, BBQ pork, etc etc that you just ate. Restrain yourself at this crucial point and you will be able to roll back to the carpark fat and happy, with no regrets.

OR, if you want to eat lots of ice-cream, restrain your self with the pork-chops. Choose one or the other and plan ahead.

Oh, a bonus tip for hardcore, buffet pants wearing Billabongs junkies: lean to the right. This won't make you feel better, but if eating a lot is your priority you will be able to eat more, because you are encouraging your stomach to empty quicker. Lean to the right. This is actual medical advice my other sister received in hospital when she had intestinal surgery, and it seemed applicable for buffet situations.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bright colours for winter

Ever since Jess G pointed out it's good to wear bright colours in winter, I've noticed how people do wear lots of black and grey during the colder months. Especially if you catch public transport (in particular the trains in the CBD) during peak hour and look at what people wear. It's a sea of dull.

Today is a lovely warm winter's day. This is how I injected some colour into it:

I really liked it. I really liked wearing bright colours, and seeing bright colours while catching my reflection in shop windows. Jess G is onto something here: bright colours are great for winter. I do like black and it is very smart colour, but for this winter, I will try to wear it as little as possible.

Wrapping up presents.

Sometimes it is as much a treat as the present itself, and sometimes you know it doesn't matter because the present is the thing. I wrapped my sister's birthday present up by holding it behind my back last Saturday. Reasoning (or excusing my laziness) that she had asked for the Wicked soundtrack, and if I wrapped it up she would see that it was CD shaped and know straight away anyway, so the behind-my-back-wrapping was actually more surprising and special.

The most povvo gift-wrap is the bag you bought it in. I like to think that sticky-taping the bag around the present is like wrapping the present, but saving on paper and better for the environment.

Monday, June 14, 2010

KESC. Pinangsia Noodle House. Friday 18 June.

Okay poppets, next KESC is happening THIS Friday. Details:

6:15pm Friday 18 June 2010
Pinangsia Noodle House
319 Anzac Pde
Kingsford NSW 2032

To whet your appetite, check out the following reviews from:
Once again, please let me or Jess know if you're coming so we can save you a seat. Judging by the reviews, Friday 6pm is peak time.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Memory Verses.

Bible memorising is an excellent thing. It can require work to learn big chunks properly—a lot of repetition. But I've found that I can remember quite a lot of small fragments just through familiarity, key verses which come up a lot in Christian contexts and have put themselves in my brain with no effort at all. And why not, pop songs* and funny lines** from TV shows get into my head all by themselves, so why not the bible, if I expose myself to it enough? It should come naturally, not just be some big thing that super-memorisers do. Like walking every day, even if you aren't representing Australia at the Olympics for power-walking.

The ESV online bible was released a little while ago, and I don't have an iphone so I'm not going to use it as a bible I can access anywhere, but it is very useful in many ways. I have made it my homepage and set it to open at the memory truth section. This page opens with a verse or two, and every little while it progresses to the next verse, so that you can re-read a small, easily digestible bit of scripture regularly and build it into a larger memory verse. Also, you can listen to someone read it, and ears are a faster way to the memory bank than eyes.

* "Hello hello again, she-boom and hopin' we meet again."
** "I don't belong here! I'm baldING! Why does nobody honour the ding!?"

Combating comfort eating

I have a tendency to comfort eat when I am stressed or tired or both. I have noticed I don't comfort eat when I'm angry or sad. I'm not sure about boredom - I haven't had that luxury in a while.

I've learnt that if there is an open packet of snacks in the house (such as a box of rice crackers), the desire to eat them when I'm stressed and tired is strong. Even if I hide them away in the cupboard, if I happen to open that cupboard for something else, and see them, then I want to eat them (see Jess' related post on fighting cravings).

So this is my plan to combat comfort eating:

Get all the snacks out of the house.

Clearly at this stage for me, I haven't learnt to deal with my stress/tiredness without turning to food and eating more than I should. Until I learn it, the snacks stay out of the house. It may mean that they never return, and I'm fine with that. There are always opportunities to eat those kinds of foods in other situations (church morning tea, parties etc). Give the snacks away or chuck them in the bin. Don't let them hold you back. Would you rather have the food sitting on your stomach as fat, or rotting in the bin? I know what I'd pick.

Go make my bed.

To me, there is something serene and calming about a made bed. Making the bed will distract me from wanting to eat, and I will have ticked one thing off my to do list.

Lie on my made bed and listen to Lifeblood by Manic Street Preachers.
Manics are probably my favourite band. Lifeblood has become one of my favourite albums. I find it very soothing. Or I'll listen to some other music.

The hard bit? It's putting it into action when I'm stressed/tired. I can easily get rid of the snacks. The hard thing is when the stressed/tired emotions hit, you're so used to soothing it with food, it can be difficult to find the strength to make yourself fight it. You really feel at your weakest at that point. But I'm committed to changing, and I will do my best to put my strategy in place.

Having said that, I'm not 100% convinced that comfort eating is entirely bad. Sometimes a little bit of comfort food is so soothing when you're stressed/tired. But we don't tend to stop at a little. We tend to overeat in order to stop these (and other) feelings from surfacing and needing to deal with them (a topic for another day). That's when comfort eating is bad.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A tip to help you sleep better

I have struggled for with my sleep a few years now. I would yawn constantly throughout the day (just ask any of my ex-housemates or good friends). My yawns were loud and epic. I felt tired, lethargic, had trouble falling asleep and absolutely hated waking up (because I wanted more sleep). I used to wake up as late as I could - I'd never see my flatmate in the mornings.

My health has had a huge turnaround. Now that I'm eating better and exercising nearly every day, my sleeping problems have pretty much disappeared (I don't know if weight loss is linked to it as well). I don't yawn anymore throughout the day. This is really amazing to me because I could not get through the day without yawning. Now I rarely yawn. I don't have trouble falling asleep anymore (except for the odd occasion), and I can wake up easily at 6am. In fact, I even see my flatmate in the mornings now!

However, I have noticed that when tiredness hits in the evening, I sometimes delay going to bed because of all the things I have to do before I can hit the hay (or is it sack?). I need to change into my jarmies (pyjamas), wash my face, brush my teeth and make my bed if I didn't do it in the morning. That seems like such a huge hurdle when you're tired. So I delay going to bed instead of riding that wave of tiredness into sleepland.

So this is my tip: get changed into your jarmies and do your pre-bed routine way before you get tired. For me, this would mean straight after dinner (don't like the idea of cooking and/or eating dinner in my jarmies. Don't know why. Just don't. Happy to snack in them though! I digress...).

That way, you can still do stuff before bed, but as soon as the first wave of tiredness hits, you can drop whatever you're doing and ride it all the way to the land of nod.

KESC 12 - GT Review

There was much anticipation leading up to the Golden Tower challenge of last Friday... the chance to eat at one of our favourite places in Kingsford almost coinciding with a one year anniversary of jelssie. In spite of the floods and storms there were 9 challengers, thanks to everyone who came, regulars and randoms all. Now to the review.

Golden Tower is most notable for its plastic food in the window:And it's Shan Dong chicken for $7.80:
Enough said. It's a wonderful place.

I wrote some notes but lost them, so this is the gist:

The portion sized are pretty good and they don't "fill" with noodles—there is plenty of meat and veg. Someone said something funny like "if the meal was any bigger it would be eating you". They do chinese food in bento boxes, which is nice. The shan dong was delicious, the pork dish was a little bland maybe, the noodle dishes were enjoyed. It was crowded and noisy, but that is not unexpected since it is a small room and there were nine of us! There was also a party of oldies.

The service is good, they tried to time our meals the way we requested although there was a mis-communication over how much extra it cost to have tomato rice. I have been accidentally upsold on rice there too on occasion, so be very clear about your rice order.

The value is good, $8-12 meals which are more than enough for one.

Overall, 4.2/5!

Afterwards, at Elsie's pleading, some of us went to Mochi, which does all sorts of waffles including with beef ones, also gelato and tofu pudding. We tried the gelatos and tofu pudding, but were not very impressed. They play movies and music videos though, and maybe the waffles are good, they smelled nice.

Self-care on a budget

We are good at giving
I suspect that many of us are good at giving of ourselves. For those of us who are Christians, we do this because we love Jesus, we follow his example and give of ourselves to church, to work, friends and family. We also give because we're highly capable people, and we want to use our God-given abilities to make Jesus known. However, I also suspect some of us aren't very good at self-care. We aren't good at looking after ourselves so that we don't burn out, and so that we can continue giving.

Why aren't we good at self-care?
For me it's either because I find it hard to say no or at the time I agreed to something, I couldn't forsee how much it would cost me (and I don't mean in the financial sense). We feel guilty when we say no because it feels selfish. But we need to remember: we are human. We may be highly capable in our minds, but our capability is limited. We can only give so much before we are drained and unable to give.

So how can we look after ourselves (and on a budget too!)?
Note this is written from a female perspective, so men, apply the principles accordingly. I do make some assumptions about women here, so apologies if these generalisations don't apply to you. This is not a definitive guide, but just some thoughts and suggestions.

Block out time for yourself
Make a time for yourself, non-negotiable. It is a non-moveable appointment in your diary. You've got an appointment with yourself and it is important. I don't care if there's some great Christian event on, you say no (unless that event gives back to you. If you're the type of person who finds lots of people and big events draining, just say no). You say no to everything anyone asks of you during this time. The one good skill I learnt while being a ministry trainee was saying no to Christian things on my day off. Since it was my day off, I felt empowered to say no.

You don't need to make yourself available to people 100% of the time to serve them. That's why you say no to things that clash with your me-time. Even Jesus had alone time, where he sought out desolate places to pray. [There is another incident where Jesus withdraws to a desolate place after hearing the news of John the Baptist's death, presumably to grieve.]

Look good
There's a link between looking good and feeling good. I don't know why, but it's there. There's even a cosmetics industry initiative called Look Good...Feel Better which helps female cancer patients deal with the appearance side of things as they undergo treatment.

But that sounds so shallow...almost anti-Christian!
Firstly, I want to say, I absolutely affirm the following truths:
  • Our self-worth is found in Jesus, not in beauty or looking good. God considers us precious enough that he would send his beloved son to die a criminal's death on the cross, so that we might be right with him (and not for us only, but for his own glory).
However, I still believe taking care of your appearance has a role in self-care. When you are taking care of your appearance, you are taking care of yourself. Even in Jesus' instructions for fasting involves taking care of one's appearance. I understand in that example it is to counteract against those who make a big obvious show that they are fasting, but the point is there: it is not wrong or sinful to do something about your appearance or to care about your appearance.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not talking about having plastic surgery or a full on makeover (although in some situations either may be warranted). I'm talking about little things that make a big difference. This is how I want to suggest we take care of ourselves by looking good. It will vary from person to person. The important thing is to enjoy the process as well.

Do your hair
Do whatever makes your hair look and feel great. It might be as simple as washing it, or straightening it or putting curls in it.

I'll be the first to admit I find washing hair, especially long hair, a hassle. It takes time, and you have to collect hair at the end of your shower. But I love the feeling of clean, freshly washed hair. Nothing beats it. And I always receive the most compliments for my hair when it's been freshly washed. Take the time to do your hair, to make it look pretty.

If you're going to wash your hair, you may as well have a shower. Hot water may not be great for your skin (it's too drying), but a warm shower feels great in winter.

If you're going to have a shower you might as well do your whole skin care routine, whether it be shaving, tweezing, waxing, scrubbing, moisturing, whatever it is. Do it. Do your nails as well if that's your thing.

Jess G says,
I realised last year that personal grooming was a discipline. Being a slob isn't actually a symbol of godliness, it just looks like laziness. Presenting yourself well takes effort, and it can be more a matter of discipline than vanity. So I started straightening my hair because it was quick and effective. You're right that hair is a big difference.
Remember, you're doing your hair for you.

Your prettiest outfit
Put your nicest underwear on. Even if you're the only one who sees it. You know you're wearing it, that's the important thing. Put on your most favourite or prettiest outfit. I don't care if it's a little more dressier than usual. Just put it on. Take care as you put it on. Enjoy it.

Brighten up your face
Most women own some form of make up. Put on a bit of lippie or try that new eyeshadow colour you've got sitting there, waiting for a special occasion. That special occasion is now. While you're at it, lightly spray on your favourite perfume. Use it while it still smells good.

If you're on a really tight budget and have no make up, visit a makeup tester counter, such as at The Body Shop, Priceline or even a department store.

Make sure you put some SPF 15+ because you are going to get some...

Sunshine on my window
Makes me happy
Like I should be
If Spiderbait sang it, it must be true right?

Get out there, with your gorgeous hair and outfit and get some sunshine.

Here's what I might do to get my sunshine: walk to the library, borrow some mags that I will enjoy reading (be it a health and fitness one, or music, or home organisation), find a sunny spot at a nearby cafe and enjoy a hot drink in the winter sun.

This would suit me because I like my own company and sometimes, it's too much effort organising doing something with someone. But if you're organised, you could go on a...

Self-care date
Alternatively, go on a self-care date with a friend. A friend whom you don't find draining, but who re-energises you, and gives back to you. Make a date with a friend where you agree to doll-up and do something fun and nice. Maybe it's going to the movies, or having a picnic in the Botanic Gardens. Perhaps jelssie should organise a girls' day out on town where we do doll up and do something fun, like have high tea at a classy hotel? Or a picnic in the gardens? Visit an art gallery?

Look after yourselves people because you're worth it!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New body, new mind?

I've talked about having to mentally adjust to a healthier body before. The thing is, you are grateful for your healthier body, but at the same time, it is still really weird.

I feel mentally disconnected from my body. It's the little things, such as not recognising my shadows. I sometimes like to sleep with my hand on my stomach, but now even my stomach doesn't feel the same anymore. When I stretch my legs, I can feel fibre or muscle, which I never felt before. I can feel my hip bones when I put my hands in my coat pockets. All this is new. I look at pictures of me, and I've never looked that healthy before. How can that be me? Who is that person in the photos? I don't know how to view my body anymore.

There's not much literature on the internet (that I could find) on this topic. The closest I came to was Coping With Emotional Changes After Bariatric Surgery. It talks about the mental disconnect I feel. This is what it has to say about it:

Get to Know Yourself After Surgery

It is common for overweight people to disconnect from their bodies. Some avoid looking at their bodies and many withdraw from life. Once thinner, some people still view themselves as obese. Adjusting to your new body size can be difficult, especially if you have spent years thinking of yourself as a fat person. Give yourself time. In a sense, it is like getting to know a “new body.”

Exercising more may help you develop a healthier body image. Support groups may also help as you struggle to accept the new, thinner and healthier you.

It almost sounds laughable doesn't it? That you need a support group to help you as you accept the new, thinner and healthier you. But it's true. It is a struggle for me that I didn't expect. My mind is so used to thinking of myself as an unhealthy, fat person and now that I've left that lifestyle, it doesn't know how to adjust. I guess time will help me to adjust. The new physical me still unsettles the mental me.

It's also made me realise how much we look affects the way we view ourselves.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bra-buying on a budget.

One of the many, many, many, many trials of being a woman is Bra Shopping. There is no avoiding it, because the alternative is worse. But the bra section is almost as bad as the feminine hygiene aisle at the supermarket; nobody wants to stand there for too long too often in case they're seen. Unfortunately the worser thing about the bra section is that sometimes women bring men in there with them. And then I feel invaded, caught with embarrassing evidence in my hands and all around me. I am a prude about these things—men should stay away from the bra department. That's what husband chairs* are for.

And the range is baffling. I try and go back each year to find the same one that I bought the year before, but there is always a new selection of things I don't want so I have to spend ages again comparing elastic, padding, strap width, colour, and finding the right size. So many variables.

However, the system I have works as well as it can within the circumstances, minimising expense and frustration.

1) Go bra shopping at Myer during the winter stocktake sales. You get good quality, but at 30% off, which makes the prices reasonable. Cheap bras are terrible in so many ways.
2) Buy 2 or 3, to last you a year. Buy a skin tone t-shirt bra, then a black bra and a sports bra.
3) Look for wide, strong elastic around the back. A bra is only as long-lasting as its elastic.
4) Don't wear your new ones yet, cos it's winter. You are probably OK in your old bra cos you are covering it with layers. Save them till summer.
5) Don't go back to the bra section for another 12 months! Woo!

*Husband chairs are the benches up the middle of shopping malls where husbands and boyfriends are left marooned while women "quickly duck in here, can you mind the bags". Why these men agree to go clothes shopping with their wives in the first place is beyond me.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pull yer boots up!

It annoys me seeing my boots flop down like this when I'm not wearing them:

I originally stuffed them with newspaper to keep them upright, but I didn't really like the thought of newspaper in my boots. Not sure why. Plus it would be a pain to have scrunched up newspaper lying around while you're wearing your boots. So I starting brainstorming ways I could keep them up.

I thought about those inflatable boot inserts that you see at shoe stores. I googled the term and discovered you can get Bootlegs or Booty Shapers. I was surprised I couldn't find any Chinese knock-offs on eBay (note to Asian manufacturers: there is a gap in the eBay market!).

Lo and behold: Vogue Forums to the rescue! Clearly some other women have thought about this vexed issue. Suggestions included using:
  • rolled up magazines
  • empty water bottles
  • cut up pieces of pool noodles
All were fantastic, economical solutions. So this is what I did:

Heh. A Shape bottle keeps my boots in shape :)

Aah! Much better! I can hold the other one up with a rolled up magazine until I finish a litre of milk or find an empty bottle else where.

Ways to bless those who are needier

I want to share with you ways friends have blessed me when I was financially needier (especially when I was a ministry trainee):
  • Friends gave me free driving lessons
  • Friends paid for my share of lunch or dinner when we went out
  • If I went on holidays with friends who were earning a higher wage, they insisted on paying a higher proportion of the accommodation cost
You don't need to be rolling in moolah to offer something to those in need. You just need your thinking cap on and a prayerful heart. Think about that person's needs and your gifts, skills and your ability to give. Ask God to inspire you and to give you wisdom about your friend and your ability to give.

Do you know a lot about bikes and they want to get a bike? Go bike shopping with them to offer advice. Are they bad at cooking decent meals for themselves? Why don't you cook a bit more for one of your meals in the week and drop off a home cooked meal for them? Do you love going for walks and they need a bit of spurring on to exercise? Arrange to go for regular walks together. Are you a good listener? Perhaps you can allow them to rant and debrief to you in confidence and you could pray together.

I hope this inspires you to bless those around you! However I know some of you give and give and give already, and you don't have any more room to give. To those of you who have given of themselves to the point of fatigue, I say thank you for giving so much of yourself and fill the well.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Salmon gives me muscles

It's rainy weather, so I have been relying on Jeanette Jenkins' Kickboxing-Bootcamp DVD to keep the exercise up. There's a couple of sections in the DVD that involve hand weights, but I've never used them.

The other morning, I decided to employ a well-known trick: using household items in your workout e.g. 500mL water bottles. Even Michelle Bridges uses water bottles as weights in her Crunch Time Workout clip below (around 1:14 and 2:12).

So I grabbed 2 x 415g tins of salmon from the pantry and used them as weights.

Wow! What a difference it made! I couldn't believe it. A lot harder than holding nothing, which is just what I've done in the past.

Songs for Galoshes

Songs to sing when you are walking around deserted rainy streets and nobody can hear you sing.

On the street where you live (for ANY walking situation)
I have a shelter in the storm
How firm a foundation (esp verse: When through the deep water)
Raindrops keep falling on my head
Don't rain on my parade

Cook without washing up

The other day I discovered a bottle of teriyaki marinade at the back of the fridge. It was a month past the best before date. I gave the contents a sniff and contemplated chucking it out. Then I checked the ingredients. The first two were sherry and sugar I think. "Alcohol and sugar doesn't go off," I reasoned. So I used the marinade on a piece of chicken drumstick fillet (cheaper than thigh fillet!).

After I left it to marinate overnight, I had to cook it. I didn't want to cook it in the contact grill (sandwich press type thing). I didn't want to heat up the whole oven just to cook a little chicken fillet. I wasn't keen on cooking it on the stovetop because I'd have to use a lot of oil to keep the sugar from burning and sticking to the pan (which would be so much fun to wash up!).

And then I thought of this:

I tore a little piece of baking paper, and heated up my saucepan. When it was hot enough to cook, I carefully placed the baking paper onto the saucepan (without burning myself) and cooked my chicken on top of it.

Minimal mess, minimal fuss! All I did was give the saucepan a wipe afterwards. Perfect for when you really don't feel like washing up. And you save on using fat here to cook, so you can enjoy your fat elsewhere (e.g. peanut butter ice-cream!!).

The benefits of exercise

My Facebook status this morning reads,

Ahh, the benefits of exercise: fresh air...oh look! There's a $5 note beaming at me in the sand. Morning exercise will pay for dinner tonight in more ways than one!

The exercise this morning will help eat up the kJs I consume tonight, and the money I found will help pay for it :)

This isn't the first time I've found money while exercising or generally while out and about. I found $5 (or was it $10?) on the ground at Big Day Out this year. I found $10 outside my place while returning from a jog. And that's just the most recent two incidents I can think of. Keep your eyes peeled peoples! That's my tip :)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

You don't bring me flowers

Don't bring masses of flowers to me at my funeral and my grave, but bring them to me while I yet live, so I may partake in their beauty and fragrance with you.
I read it here.

Bony changes

When you're about the start the healthy life/weight loss journey, you can be pretty excited at the beginning. Impatient even. When you have 10+ kg to lose and you've lost 3kg so far, you're just ITCHING to get there.

I knew my body would change, but I wasn't mentally prepared for it. I've been overweight for the vast majority of my life, so an overweight body is what I know. I don't know what my body as a healthy weight body should look or feel like. When it changes, and you're not mentally prepared, it can be quite unsettling.

Firstly, if you're exercising regularly and continually upping the intensity, you'll get fitter. This one didn't take me much mental adjustment. When I run for the bus, or back to class, I love that I don't get out of breath. I love that running is natural movement for me now.

The really mentally unsettling changes for me were the bony ones. All of a sudden I could see and feel BONE, instead of the fat padding I was used to.

When you lose a significant amount of weight in a relatively short period of time, your mind needs to catch up to the bodily changes. I wasn't mentally prepared to see my face become angular or see my ribs stick out when I'm doing my hair. I was shocked to feel bone when I had put my hands on my hips.

Those changes really freaked me out because I didn't know how to process them. I've never recalled seeing my ribs. I've always known myself with a round face. I didn't know what to make of these changes. They really unsettled me.

So how to prepare for the changes?
  • Before the change occurs, be aware that you will look differently, and it may surprise you.

  • If you do get freaked out when the changes occur, acknowledge that it freaks you out.

  • Accept these changes because this is what a healthy body looks and feels like.

  • Accept that it's foreign to you.

  • If it really freaks you out, go see a doctor to make sure you aren't losing too much weight or to get peace of mind.

  • If it helps, share the freak out with a friend
(You can read more about the bony changes I've experienced here)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Search me, try me, consume all my darkness ...

... Shine on me, shine on me ...

Guess which song. If you know the answer you were a Christian in the late 80s or early 90s.

Someone at work (I shall allow them their anonymity for obvious reasons) has imported The Very Best of Graham Kendrick into their itunes (not just the best, the very best, but I disagree because a lot of the classics we sang the most are missing).

I had a lovely moment listening to Shine Jesus Shine. It is very uncool now, but when I was 12 I taught myself to play this song on the piano, and it was a stepping stone for me musically—I began to learn to read music, and I began to play modern chords. One third of the lines are very good, the rest are very cringey.

I confess: I wouldn't be sorry to sing it again in church, just once.

Running distractions

Running for exercise can be hard work. Sometimes you need to distract yourself so before you know it, you've reached the end of the street, or you've run a little further than you expected.

Here are my favourite distraction techniques:

Enjoy the view!
I'm blessed to live close to the ocean. So I enjoy watching the waves crash along the coastline, surfers paddling out, the sun rising or setting and I adore looking at the horizon. It reminds me of God and I praise him for his creation. And all this he made through Jesus! (John 1) If you can run in a pleasant environment, it can help a lot.

I employ this technique especially when going uphill. Instead of thinking how my legs feel, I focus on my breathing. In and out. In and out.

Check your posture
I also like to think about my posture and how I'm running. Am I running upright? How are my feet hitting the ground? How are my arms?

This is what Australian Biggest Loser trainer Michelle Bridges says about running technique on pg 98 of her book Crunch Time:

Watch your technique: remember to keep your abs pulled in, chest lifted, shoulders back and down, neck long, chin in, face relaxed. Try to land softly without thumping your feet. The heel should strike the ground first and then naturally roll onto the ball of the foot. Use your legs like shock absorbers and try to keep your knees aligned with your toes, rather than having them roll or save in. Think light. Swing your arms and get yourself in a steady rhythm.

Look at the cute doggies!
This is similar to the first technique. There are lots of gorgeous dogs along my route, so I am always looking at dogs. Sometimes I say hello to their owners too!

The tricky thing is, if you are running to push your fitness levels, make sure you don't get distracted from keep your heart rate up. If you are just running to maintain current exercise levels, then distractions to get you through are great!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

No news is good news.

I have cut out news television almost completely. In general, no nightly news bulletins, no Sunrise, no Today Show, no 7pm project. I can hear the news headlines on the radio, which is like a news tweet. Clear and short. Whereas watching a half-hour of TV "news and information" is sometimes like being stuck listening to someone prattle in your ear, stopping every 7 mins or so to shout in your face about 24 months interest free at harvey norman and Macdonalds family meal deals (have you noticed that red box has devil horns?).

Actually, there was a big reason. The last straw was actually the media coverage of the death of Carl Williams. It was all hype and self-promotion (mostly Underbelly) and Channel Nine canceled my favourite show, The Mentalist, to dedicate an extra hour to commemorating his pathetic life. I was furious. NO MORE, I said.