Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The Food Patrol 90 Day Challenge: Exercise

Image from here
I have now completed six weeks of the Food Patrol* challenge. I lost another 1.5kgs this week, with a total weight loss to date of 10.4kg. So far I have focused on my food intake (and I think I have got that pretty much down pat), but there is a whole other side to this challenge that I need to engage with.

I have always been pretty motivated to exercise. My weight fluctuations have rarely been associated with lack of exercise. I think in a sick kind of way I enjoy exercise. My weight issues are definitely about my relationship with food, not movement.

On average, I exercise 2-3 times a week. I have been running for a couple of years now, play soccer when there is a comp on, will walk as often as I can and I don't mind a bit of cycling either. I am not really one for the gym (although with the unpredictable weather, it would come in handy!), but do a Yoga or Jillian Michels DVD from time to time.

Since doing the program I haven't done much differently in the exercise department. I have tried to train three times a week routinely, and I am more cognizant about looking for exercise opportunities (like walking to the train station instead of driving), but I haven't really stepped it up on the exercise front.

The Food Patrol encourages resistance training. Resistance training builds muscle, and muscle improves metabolism. It totally makes sense to me on a scientific level but I am terrible at resistance training! I can barely do a sit up to save my life. My post-baby tummy is not helpful in this matter. I also feel really silly doing push-ups, squats and lunges. I creak in the knees.

But I think to get the ultimate body transformation on this program I need to commit to doing some resistance training, on top of my usual cardio. The Food Patrol outlines a simple program to follow at home which includes sit ups, push ups and squats. I am committing to doing it this week, and next, just to see how I go.

Do you want to join me? Can you commit to doing six sets of sit ups, push-ups and squats (until you can't do another) everyday for the next 14 days?

* The Food Patrol is a sponsor of And then there were four.
** For those interested in the fine print, I now weight 76.2 kg.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

So I met this woman at the park

Image from here
The kids and I were enjoying a decent Summer's afternoon one day last week by whiling away the afternoon at one of the local parks. It was superb on all measures. Beautiful weather. Happy kids. Happy Mum.

There was a woman and her young daughter there too. They hailed from Ghana. The young girl was stunning. I couldn't help myself but comment and the woman and I got talking. She was such a warm person and we connected immediately.

She was fascinated with my twins; specifically how different they are, in both looks and personality. She said that she had a strong family history of twins and worried a bit that she might conceive twins herself if she were to try for another child.

We talked about her family. Both she and her husband are seventh children. She is one of eleven. He is one of ten.

Her grandmother had a set of twins.

She has twin brothers.

Her sister also has a set of twins.

Her auntie had a singleton, and then four sets of twins. Four! One of the twins died, so there are eight remaining children in that family. We discussed this at length. My hat goes off to this woman, both for surviving four twin pregnancies but also for living through the death of a child. Unbelievable.

Her cousin had twins (one of the twins from above I think), although sadly she and one of the babies died at birth, followed five months later by the other. Such tragedy. It is barely imaginable huh?

There is little wonder that she has stopped at one child, don't you think?

Are you a multiple Mum? Do you have a family history of multiples?

Monday, 27 February 2012

Writing it all down

Image from here
One of the things about going away for a little while, is that someone has to step into your shoes while you are gone. All of those little things you do to wrangle your tribe need to be documented, scheduled and handed over.

It is an interesting exercise. All those little details that you keep in your head, like, when you make a salad for dinner, which child eats what. None of the kids will touch capsicum, Nugget and Doo Dah like tomato, cucumber and carrot but the Minx only like cucumber and carrot (not cooked) and Dew Drop tomatoes and cucumber.

As the Mum, you just know that stuff. For anyone else, it is a mind field of fussy, whiny people to deal with.

So I am making charts. Lots of charts.

There is the "who needs to take what on which day to school" chart.

And the "who can do what for themselves and who genuinely needs help (as opposed to pretending so they get extra attention)" chart.

And the "where and when to pick up children from daycare" chart.

And the "what tasks/chores are expected of each child chart aka the morning and nightly routine" charts.

And the "what shirt to put the school kids in for their school photos" chart.

And the "when to do an essential load of washing to ensure sufficient school socks for the whole week" chart.

And the "how to manage the daily requests for lollies and other treats, asked one by one ad infinitum" chart.

I just know I will forget something. Probably a lot of somethings. Because as the Mum you just know stuff you don't realise you know.

What charts do you think you would need if you were heading off without the kids for a week?

Friday, 24 February 2012

Weekend Rewind - The Zen edition

Welcome Rewinders. I hope you all enjoyed your weekend off as much as I did last week? I spent much of the weekend chasing the new chickens* into their coop. Turns out I am not adept at picking up chooks. Turns out their flappiness freaks me out. Sigh.

Lucky for me, Nugget has taken the reigns as the chief chicken whisperer. We are reducing our 'return to coop' time daily!

I was thinking this weekend we could have a bit of Zen in our lives. I am getting organised for a week relaxing in Bali in a few weeks. Sans the kids**. The Geege and I are beside ourselves with excitement and fear. I am trying to focus on the fabulous, but anxious thoughts keep sweeping into my head too...

I need the calming influence of my blogosphere friends to get me ready.

So? How about it? Link up a post that is a little bit Zen. It could be a beautiful picture. A lovely snippet of prose. The story of something positive. Whatever your take is.

The rules of the meme are the same each week. Link up your post from your archives that suits the theme, share some comment love with your fellow linkers, slip me a 'follow' if we are not already connected and Bob's your uncle. We appreciate usage of social media to share lovable posts and to encourage others to join in the fun.

Here is my little bit of Zen... Living a contented life

Now show us yours...

* We got three - Shadow, Rainbow and Fluffy. And Quill and Ink Handmade, there is absolutely no 'petting' going on here! Eeek!
** I know. Squeeeee! I pinch myself daily.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Food Patrol 90 Day Challenge: The barrel person within

Image from here
After five weeks on the Food Patrol program, I was a little under-prepared when I hit a wall.

The whole time I have been following the program I have been without hunger. I have felt in control of my intake. I have not been unhappy with the menu, or the structure, or the reduced choices, once I got used to it. I have felt empowered.

And then along came Saturday.

It started like any other day on the program. Protein shake porridge. A protein snack for morning tea. Some vegetables, chicken breast and basmati rice for lunch. And then, instead of being content after my afternoon snack, I became ravenous. I tried to ignore it but eventually succumbed to some A LOT of cheese and crackers with the kids. I was still ravenous, but I resisted. And then I brought dinner forward. And then I went and bought some 'sugar free' lollies to snack on at night.

I struggled. Big time. I couldn't stop thinking about food. I found myself standing in front of the pantry door (several times) and in front of the fridge too. Looking. Canvassing. Just like old times. And then, when I succumbed to the urge, I ate quickly, without savouring the flavours. And then I felt guilty.

Same old shit.

The Food Patrol has a term for this: "The Barrel person within". They talk about people, including yourself, who try to sabotage your efforts. Telling you "You've lost too much weight too quickly". "Just *try* it".  "You're boring now you are on a diet". "Why *can't* you have a few snacks?".

My inner barrel had a field day with me on Saturday.

The bad news is that I gave in. The good news is that I got back on the wagon the next day and ignored any silly urges that reared up from time-to-time. My inner-barrel got bored by Monday and it has been smooth sailing again.

I learnt a lot this week. I learnt that, despite my excellent results, I still have a long way to go to gain 'control' of my thoughts and behaviours. I also learnt that if I slip up, I can get back into it. It is not 'all' or 'nothing'. The end result will not be determined by a blip on Day 34; rather a consistent effort for the duration of the 90 days.

I wasted a day, but I have 50 odd days to make amends.

In the end I lost 700g**. Not unhappy with that.

Have you met a 'barrel person' during your weight loss journey? How did you manage?

* The Food Patrol is a sponsor of And then there were four
** For those interested in the fine print, I now weigh 77.7kg. Total loss since Jan 16: 8.9kg

Monday, 20 February 2012

Food Patrol Giveaway winner...

I am delighted to announce that the winner of the Food Patrol Super Starter Pack is Miss Penny from Photographer Mum! Please send me your contact details Penny and I will forward them to the guys at the Food Patrol. You will not be disappointed.

Thanks so much for all of you who entered the giveaway. You were all full of amazing advice for weight loss and I have included a list of some of my favourites below:

  • Track your food intake
  • Everything in moderation
  • Watch what you eat at night
  • Eat 'clean' food - if it didn't grow like that, it shouldn't be on your plate!
  • Look after yourself first, you deserve it
  • Eat better, move more.
  • Save sugar for special occasions.
  • Drink lots of water
  • Stop eating junk food!!!
  • Detoxing kick starts the weightloss - like a 48hr detox (no longer or you'll get icky headaches!)
  • Dress for exercise everyday when possible (ie. weekends, home days) - down to sports shoes. It makes you feel healthy & ready for any incremental exercise!
  • Don't have any 'naughty' food in the house!

I will be back with regular blogging once I nip the BAS for my hubby's business in the bud!

So how is YOUR weight loss journey coming along?

Friday, 17 February 2012

Weekend Rewind Free Weekend

Hi Rewinders. I am having a Weekend Rewind free weekend. Apart from being exhausted from life, we have a busy line up this weekend (nothing too exciting I can assure you!). We have chooks to purchase and settle in, soccer 'grading', children's birthday parties, and a BBQ with friends to enjoy. Please stop by again next weekend when I will return for regular Rewind action. But before you go, tell us what you have planned this weekend?

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Food Patrol 90 Day Challenge: The Day Off

Image from here
Another week, another 1.1 kilos lost*.

Week Four on the Food Patrol** program contained the first of the designated days off. The first two meals of the day you can consume pretty much anything you want. The rest of the meals of the day continue with the Food Patrol program.

The Food Patrol team sent out a reminder email about this via their VIP e-mail support and encouraged me to plan my meals.

The idea behind the Food Day Off is that if you are following the program properly the rest of the time, the day off helps to accelerate your results by resetting your metabolism at an increased level. Days off are scheduled at the end of weeks 4, 6, 8 and 10.

I remember when I first read through the program, I encountered the concept of the food Day Off. I thought that I would be DYING for these days during the program, and, honestly, if I had have had the chance at the end of Week 2 I reckon I would have eaten for Australia. The reality was quite different.

When the day arrived on Saturday, I approached it tentatively. I planned it, as suggested, opting for homemade Bacon and Eggs for breakfast and a Thai green curry for lunch. I felt nervous about branching out from my routine; a routine that has proven to provide excellent weight loss results for me. I was worried that I would fall off the wagon for good once I had a taste of sugar, salt and oil again.

Those Day Off meals were flavoursome, without a doubt, but I struggled to finish them. I savoured them, knowing that I wouldn't be indulging for another fortnight, but I was happy to return to my new routine. They were special. But they were enough.

Funny thing is, I felt bloated and yucky the next day and for the next two days too. A food 'hangover' of sorts. I was happy with my weight loss for the week, expecting it to be less because of my guilt-free indulgences. We will have to see if it shows up on the scales next week.

If you had a Food Day Off, what do you think you would eat for breakfast and lunch?

Would you like to try out the program? Why not enter my giveaway it closes on Friday?.

* For those interested in the fine print, my starting weight was 86.6 kg (16.01.2012) and I now weigh 78.3kg.
**The Food Patrol is a sponsor of And then there were four.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Baking for school lunches

One of the things I want to do this year is bake my own treats for the kids' school lunches. They love a little biscuit or cake in their lunchbox but I don't like the price tag, over-packaging or level of preservatives you get in the pre-packaged ones.

So far I have made bacon and cheese scrolls, blueberry muffins (but I added a few white choc chips), cupcakes and today's piece de resistance, chocolate brownies (no nuts).

It has been a big commitment for me. I don't rate myself as a baker. It isn't really my style. I like to free-range in the kitchen; rarely using a recipe. But baking is different to cooking. All that precise measuring. Lists of necessary ingredients (I lack the flare experience to switch up ingredients if I don't have exactly the required ones).

And it is a whole different set of implements too. Sister A once made a cake for Nugget's birthday in my kitchen*. When it was my birthday five weeks later, she bought me a new set of measuring cups, mixing bowls, wooden spoons etc. Mum bought me a set of electric beaters. I detected a theme.

I must admit that having the 'right' equipment does make a difference. It makes baking easier. Achievable.

I am starting to feel a little more accomplished with this precision cooking business, although I still don't know what to do with the kids when they want to 'help'. They are getting a bit tired of tipping flour into the sifter or into the mixing bowl!. Next thing I will be buying myself one of those flashy Mixmasters!

Do you have a fairly fail safe recipe that you could share? Or a suggestion for what I should attempt next week (it has to be nut free because of the school's policy). Even better if it is something I can cook in bulk and freeze. And tell me, what do your kids do to 'help' you bake?

* That is not the only cake Sister A has baked for my children. She whipped up the twins' three year old cake pictured above too. 

Don't forget to enter my Food Patrol Giveaway. Open until Wednesday February 15, 2012.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Weekend Rewind - The blog hop edition

Just for something different, I thought I would make the Weekend Rewind a blog hop. I am not sure if it will work, but it could be fun to try? Add the code to your post, tweet and Facebook the link and see if we can't get a relay style Weekend Rewind happening?

There is no particular theme this week, just link up a post that you would like to re-air.

The rules remain the same if this is your first time playing. Become my friend if we aren't already acquainted, link up your post and comment on other posts in the list. Share ones that you love with your community and, while you are at it, give the Weekend Rewind a bit of a plug too (we always welcome new folk to the fold).

Here's my post this week... How twins are made

Now show us yours...

PS: I have a giveaway going at the moment, which is so unlike me that you really should support my poor attempt effort! Click over to check out what is on offer and, if you like what you see, enter!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The Food Patrol 90 day challenge: A giveaway

After three weeks on the Food Patrol program I am feeling great. It is starting to be 'routine' and let's face it, the results are motivating! I lost another 1.2kgs on the scales this week*.

So I was speaking with Rhys at the Food Patrol Headquarters and we cooked up a little deal for And then there were four readers. The Food Patrol is willing to give away a Super Starter Pack worth $249.00.

The Food Patrol's "SUPER Starter Pack" includes everything you need to achieve absolute Maximum results in your 90 Day Body SuperChallenge...
  • Food Patrol - "Secret to Maximum Fat Loss in 90 Days" 2nd Edition Book.
  • Food Patrol - Nutrition & Exercise Diary.
  • Food Patrol - "Guilt FREE Dining" Cookbook.
  • Food Patrol - UBT Formula (1 kilo - 25 serves).
  • Food Patrol - UBT Formula Samples x 3 (Samples will be the flavours that were not selected for the 1kg tub).
  • Food Patrol - Super Shakers x 2.
  • Food Patrol - UBT Snack Bars (box of 12)
  • Food Patrol - Official pen.
  • Food Patrol - 90 Days VIP Email Support.
The included "90 Day VIP Email Support" will ensure the full support from Commissioner Anis and the Food Patrol Team. Once you have purchased this pack Commissioner Anis and the Food Patrol Team will be available to you, via email, for the duration of your "90 Day Body SuperChallenge". Any questions or queries you encounter will be promptly answered by The Food Patrol support Team.
This package also includes weekly emails (relevant to your Challenge) to help further your knowledge and motivation throughout your 90 Days..
Allow 24 to 48 hours to receive your M'Ship number, and instructions in regards to your communication procedures.
The support is excellent and they really help you tailor the program to suit your needs. I have been stoked with the results AND the level of involvement from the team.
So if you want to win this, you will need to follow the prompts below.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Being a speech pathologist again

Image from here
I have a training session to do tomorrow with a group of trainers on Voice Care. It was arranged some time ago and, me being me, I failed to slot it in my diary. There was a long pause on the phone today when the Organiser called to check what I needed for my presentation. Hmmmm... I thought. I need a presentation! Eek!

I can talk the talk with my brain in low gear (thankfully, after 10 years of working in the field the information is embedded in my cortex) but I just don't have access to all the materials anymore to be able to 'throw together' a workshop in a moment. Images of larynxes. Statistics on vocal problems in teachers/trainers. The latest warm-up techniques. That sort of thing. That stuff has gone from my hard drive.

I got off the phone, screamed a little, rearranged my diary and contacted some of my old speech pathology mates. They shared some PowerPoint slides they had used in recent times. I was so grateful. I had a starting point and not the dreaded blank page. That teasing cursor that blinks at you when you don't know what to write.

I spent a lovely hour this afternoon putting together my presentation. Reminiscing about the days I spent working with voice clients and running workshops for teachers like the one I was putting together. I had a little pang as I thought about how long ago it is now (4 years) since I did this kind of work. I loved it. I loved it every day I did it. Until I didn't anymore. And then I stopped.

A little piece of me will always be a speech pathologist. Let's hope I can channel her tomorrow and produce an awesome presentation for my group.

Have your changed professions? How do you feel about your 'old' role? And tell me, what do you know about looking after your voice? Mums are another high-risk group you know.

Monday, 6 February 2012

It is surreal, but it is real. In an internet kind of way

Image from here
I’ve never met Miss Pink. We’ve been reading each other’s blogs for quite a while now. I have an impression of her. I have an impression of all the people whose blogs I follow. I suspect she is about 5 feet 6, thin in a lanky sort of way, with bright blue eyes. I don’t exactly know why I think that. It is just how I imagine her.

She and I are very different; in so many ways. She found motherhood early in her life. I became a Mum when I was 31. I squeezed in four by the time I was 35, and there was nothing ‘young’ about my mothering experience.

Miss Pink seems to bound through parenthood with endless energy and ideas. She seems to enjoy it! I tiptoe through my parenting journey, hoping that I make it through another day. Lathered in sleep deprivation and kilos I am trying to shed. By the end of the day I feel every one of my 38 years.

Wanna read more? Click over to my guest post at The Mummy Autobiography. Don't forget to say hi when you get there. Miss Pink is lovely. I just know you will become happily acquainted.

Thanks for having me Miss Pink!

And tell me, do you have lots of friends you have never met in real life too? Do you talk about them with your other friends?

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Just another rambling weekend

Image from here
The rain stopped for the weekend. I thought all my Christmas's had come at once. My brain was starting to get damp and that just makes me cranky.

I am not the only one. Our kids have become progressively more feral the more rain we suffered.

I noted on Friday that I was yelling like a banshee before school. I knew it wasn't going to be pretty by the afternoon. In the end we were saved by an invitation to play at one of Nugget's classmate's place (his Mum and I run together sometimes). It was a lovely way to fill the time between school and swimming lessons.

I thank swimming lessons for the 'early' night our children had (sadly we saw the return of 'the running man' legs). I went to bed early too, which meant that when Saturday rolled around, all blue skied and warm temperatured, we were all ready for a better start.

My day started with a bath with the twins while I swatted the end of one of my day overdue library books. I was happy I had.

We returned our library books and got ourselves some new ones. I am sure I saw the librarian cringe a little when we entered with me giving the usual 'you need to be quiet' pep talk.Afterwards, we visited the Geege at his store and had a bit of lunch. We then slipped to the park for a play and a scoot, where we met up with another of Nugget's classmates. Dew Drop found a giant puddle to play in and one thing lead to another. By the time we went home they were covered in mud from head to toe but they were full of stories and happiness and working so well as a team that I just couldn't be mad.

Our day didn't end there. We popped over to Sister B's for a play and a swim. Well, Doo Dah had a swim. Nugget wasn't into the cold water (apparently salt water feels 'different' to a connoisseur). And then it was home and another good night's sleep for all.

Today started with a bike ride and then a trip to a local grower's market. We got some stuff done around the house including, drumroll please, finishing the chicken coup and setting up the compost bin (which was given to us by the talented Mum who runs the eco-garden at the school). I baked for school lunches and played Scrabble with the boys. A bit of Young Talent Time, yet another nit shampoo (the Minx and Nugget have now been infested while patient A (Dew Drop) and myself seem to be in the clear) and the weekend is complete.

Except it isn't. They have all been put into bed. And they have all been back out. Going to the toilet. Complaining about being hot/cold. Needing a drink of water. Any excuse.

It is so draining, but all part of the picture of this little home.

And how was your weekend? What did you get up to?

Friday, 3 February 2012

Weekend Rewind - School days edition

Last week's Rewind was all about your most popular post (statistically speaking). I was hoping to uncover the secrets of SEO but alas it is still a mystery! I really enjoyed reading through the posts though especially this one by Lisa and this one by Yvette.

This week Doo Dah started school. And it has rained. And rained. Raincoats on. Raincoats off. It is enough to drive a person insane. Just quietly, if the rain continues as forecast for the entire month of February, I think I will be needing a dose of Prozac to get me out of bed.

The beginning of school is a very exciting time for a little fellow. Doo Dah has been very happy with himself indeed. Loving his uniform, massive school bag and lunchbox. He is all big eyes and big stories. On Thursday, he was gushing about the fact that he had made a friend. Today, that boy has already been dropped.

 It will be a long year!

This week's Weekend Rewind is inspired by Doo's grand entrance into his school days. I want you to link up a post that has a "school" flavour to it. Maybe it is about your child's school, or your own school experiences. Maybe it is a school reunion post or perhaps just a lesson we can learn. I don't mind. You choose.

What you do need to do is link up the 'school' post, become my friend if we are not already acquainted, and comment on the posts of others (this is really important because it is how we get to know each other and it is comment love that keeps us bloggers happy. Right?). If you can, invite your friends to join in and Tweet, Facebook and Stumble your post and others that you enjoy so we can spread the word about the 'world's easiest linky (#weekendrewind).

Now it is over to you...

Thursday, 2 February 2012

The beginning of a long road

Doo Dah hit the school yard this week. He is already too cool for school. I pity the teachers trying to knock some sense into the little munchkin.
When I first started having babies, people told me to savour the early years. "You blink and they are gone" they said. And as I suffered Groundhog day syndrome year after year, baby after baby, these words resonated in my ears. I tried to savour, but really I think I was just surviving.

He slipped into his uniform on Tuesday morning and became a school boy before my eyes. As we dropped him off in his kindergarten classroom, I realised that somewhere in my sleep deprived haze I had indeed blinked and my little boy grew up a whole lot. 

I miss him but I am so proud of him and so excited for him.

The beginning of a long road. A road of endless possibilities and opportunities with a lot of Groundhog day thrown in.

Does your school have an awful gold polo shirt like ours does?

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Food Patrol 90 day challenge: what I have been eating

Image from here
Week two on the Food Patrol program and I am feeling great. Motivated. Not a bit hungry. I lost a kilo this week*. Six kilos in just two weeks. You have got to be happy with that.

A few people contacted me after my spectacular beginning last week and wanted to know what I am eating. Karen wanted to know if you can do this if you are a vegetarian.

You sure can.

The program is a high protein, low GI carbohydrate (carb) nutritional plan. It isn't all protein (nothing like the Atkins diet). They really encourage you to eat LOTS of vegetables, three times a day. And you have some low GI, high energy carbs like basmati rice at each meal too. The other three meals/snacks are protein shakes (with added oats) or a protein bar. There is no measuring involved. You just let your appetite do the talking.

The focus of the program is balancing protein and carbs. You can eat any lean proteins. Lean beef, chicken or pork or fish or egg whites or legumes or tofu or TVP. It is about healthy protein choices, so no processed stuff just clean, whole foods. It isn't all about meat.

I realised this week that my previous diet was so carb loaded that I didn't really stop to eat much protein at all. The fact that I was vegetarian for about 15 years and can't digest red meats has contributed to this I suppose. The addition of protein at each meal has been the biggest change for me in the make-up of my meals. Maybe my high-carb, low protein diet has been the reason for my struggle with my weight?

I am loving the Food Patrol program. I feel strong. I feel in control of what goes into my mouth. 

So tell me, do you eat protein at every meal? How do you like to prepare it?

The Food Patrol is a sponsor of And then there were four. Tune in next week for an awesome giveaway opportunity from the Food Patrol for one lucky reader of And then there were four.

*For those interested in the fine print, I now weigh 80.6kg.
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