Tag Archives: Life

Life lately: Measuring macros

Strong-woman

When I discovered paleo a little over a year ago, I excitedly swore off rice crackers, low-fat yogurt and calorie counting and had never felt better. In the last few months though, I’d been considering doing a Whole 30, sugar detox, or some other reset program to recalibrate and rediscover that sense of inside-and-out wellness.

As it often does, the universe was listening in and by September 1, I was roped in for a 12 week challenge at my gym, Gritshed. With a focus on bodybuilding-style nutrition, the program involves a 4-week metabolism-boosting period, 4 weeks of gradual carb reduction and then a final 4 weeks of carb cycling.

I’m just starting week 7 now and while I’ve been encouraged to eat some less paleo-friendly characters like brown rice, oats and a couple of supplements, I’m lifting heavier, gaining muscle and dropping body fat all while never feeling hungry. Bit of a win! I’ve always been curious about macros and I’m always willing to try something new for the sake of an experiment.

Things I’ve learnt so far:

  • Carbs post-workout are important for recovery – it’s not just about the protein
  • How many calories I need to eat to keep on keeping on
  • Eggs are far better when they still have a yolk
  • Counting calories and staying on top of your macros takes a lot of time
  • How much protein/carbs/fat are in the foods I regularly eat
  • Bodybuilders have to eat a lot. A LOT.
  • Approximate grams to portion sizes of different foods
  • I can survive without chocolate and hot chips for weeks at a time (sometimes it’s good to be reminded of that)

All that said though, it hasn’t taken me long to be over lean turkey mince and egg whites and craving roasted chicken thighs and homemade mayo! I’m looking forward to closing out Week 12 so I can start following Steph’s teachings in my recently purchased e-book, The Paleo Athlete.

Photo credit: kReEsTaL via photopin cc

Quick wins for a better life #1: Hold out for lunch

#1: Hold out for lunch | Quick win for a better life| lizniland.com

Original photo by By Rayi Christian W

It’s 11.15am. You had a good breakfast, even downed a coffee an hour or two ago, but now you’re hungry. Legit hungry. Hungry like that fruit bowl/emergency nut stash/co-worker’s lolly jar is not looking like it will survive much longer.

Thing is though, lunch is coming. You know you only need to hold out for another hour and you can chow down on your beautifully balanced, nourishing lunch.

Can you wait? Can you make a cup of tea or refill your water bottle and just hold off eating until lunchtime?

Of course you can.

You might not want to believe it, but you can. If you can keep doing continuous power cleans until the bell, if you can keep running until you reach the end of the street, if you can keep nodding and smiling through that horribly awkward dinner date; you can wait another hour for lunch.

It’s that well-known battle of mind over matter. With our instant gratification culture, we’re always wanting more before we’re done with what we’ve got. Yeah you could scarf a handful of nuts (healthy fats right?) or get a treat from the fundraising box (it’s helping the children, afterall!) but really, what’s another hour?

Stick to your plan.

Sarah Wilson does good words on why unnecessary snacking is bad news for both body and mind. She refers to it as “pre-eating” saying:

“…it could have a lot to do with being scared of restraint and lack. Many of us fear that feeling of missing out and the feeling of ’emptiness’, for a whole quagmire of really messy reasons. We shove food down on top of hunger, hoping it will silence all other emptiness or flutteriness we might be feeling.”

If you’re ravenous all the time though, that might be another story. Steph from Stupid Easy Paleo has great tips for making sure your diet is doing its part of the deal.

This week I’m working hard to actually be hungry when I show up to my meals. I’m making sure I’m hydrating adequately and checking in with myself to make sure I’m really hungry (& not just stressed or bored). It also gives me an incentive to put more effort into making sure my meals are worth the wait.

Are you a snacker? Or do you prefer to stick to three solid meals. I used to graze constantly but since moving to a paleo eating template and upping my protein & fat intake a bit, my blood sugar seems to have really evened out which helps me avoid the dreaded hangries.

How do you… (fashionably) prepare to turn 30?

It’s only a couple of years until I hit 30 and while the number certainly doesn’t bother me, there are one or two things I’d like to have ticked off before I blow out those candles.

After reading 11 things to buy before you turn 30 though, Harpers Bazaar would have you believe I need a longer list if I wish to ring in my 30s as a ‘fashionable woman’. Not wanting to relinquish my fashionability, here’s my scorecard on where I stand.

1. Classic shoe
It took until I was about 25 but I can now confidently say that cheap pleather treads have no power over me, whatever the disposable trend I could achieve by handing over a $20. I flash my Wittner card with pride and revel in my classic leather insoles.

Score: 9/10 (Mainly because 9’s my shoe size – in case you were wondering)

Wittner shoes

2. A great suit
I’ve got a nice pair of Cue work slacks… Will that do? Honestly though, I don’t think I’ve spent even a minute pining for a great suit. I’m yet to see how I’d justify the investment.

Score: 5/10 (I’m halfway there with the pants right?)

3. A signature flower
So firstly, really? I mean, really?? Do people truly need a signature flower? I’m stoked with a bloom of any variety!

Score: 6/10 (…provided my signature flowers can be a randomised posey)

4. A beautiful timepiece
I have quite a nice watch. It’s a chocolate brown Kenneth Cole with rose gold flashes & a partially transparent face. While I regularly get compliments about it, I certainly wouldn’t call it a ‘beautiful timepiece’. It’s a nice watch.

Score: 7/10 (Hey, it may not be a Hermes but at least it’s got a leather band)

5. A go-to lip colour
Does paw-paw cream count?

Score: 1/10 (Head straight to the MAC counter, do not pass GO, but do collect $200 – you’re gonna need it)

6. A personal scent
So I think I’ve got this one down: while I certainly dabble, my one true scent has been the original DKNY. I chose it based solely on the pretty bottle at age 14.

Score: 10/10 (C’mon, I gotta get a 10 for something!)

7. Jewellery you never take off
The example in the Bazaar list comes in just short of $17000. While I can’t compete on dollars, my grandma’s hand-me-down sapphire & diamond ring is a regular on my right-hand.

Score: 7/10 (Room for advancement but I’m ticking the box!)

8. Original art you love
We’ve got this IKEA print of some fish on a plate. It’s in the kitchen.

Score: 2/10 (Shut it, I know)

ikea fish print

9. A forever bag
Santa left me a beautifully soft black Mimco bag this Christmas. It’ll be as ‘forever’ as I can get it to be.

Score: 9/10 (Just in case I ever score some wild designer IT bag)

10. A killer winter coat
I bought a black leather bomber in 2007 and it’s still going strong. I’d love an amazing coat but as a coastal-dwelling Aussie kid, there’s really not much calling for swathes of wool, even in the depths of winter.

Score: 6/10 (& unless I move to New York, that one ain’t improving)

11. The perfect little black dress
A sculpted black dress with cream peplum detail was an investment early last year. I wouldn’t say it’s the ‘perfect’ LBD but it certainly saw me stylishly through a bunch of functions.

Score: 8/10 (Points off for the peplum)

So what’ve we learnt from this exercise?
There are people who have a signature flower! If your name isn’t Poppy, Daisy or Rose and you aren’t a botanist, why?? How have you given flowers this much thought?

We also learnt I need to put away the paw paw & befriend an artist.

Eh, I’ve still got 2-and-a-bit years.

Things I Love Thursday: Nov 14

The things rockin’ my socks lately:

  • Coming home to a massive case of wine… Woohoo!! Michael has signed us up as ‘Angels’ for NakedWines & this was our first delivery. Can’t wait to sample some new Aussie delights! Naked Wines
  • Sex addicts. Hear me out. For someone that doesn’t watch a whole lot of TV, let alone ‘reality’ rubbish, I’ve surprisingly been a bit obsessed with Sex Rehab with Dr Drew. There’s something about the incredibly tragic lives of these people that’s just so interesting to watch (and not just in a car-crash/it-hurts-but-I-can’t-look-away kind of way). 
  • Workplace wins – it’s always good when work (that you’ve been chewing your nails over) finally gets somewhere.
  • All the love, love, love that has been floating about lately – Spring this year appears to bringing out engagements, weddings & baby announcements all over the place! And speaking of…
  • I almost have a nephew! & judging by my sister-in-law’s belly, he doesn’t need too much more time in the oven! This is what I made for the recent baby shower – an Eeyore Nappy Motorbike! (I already have a Christmas present sorted for him too. Oh dear.) Can’t wait to meet the little guy! Nappy Motorbike
  • Gritshed! While getting up to a 5.20am alarm isn’t my idea of a good time, throwing heavy weights around, sweating my butt off & doing 50-odd burpees before breakfast is a pretty rewarding activity. Hunger-inducing, but rewarding! The awesome Rita Ann Kerr has been doing her thing photographing us Gritters. It’s fantastic to have professional shots of everyone’s progress – it’s really motivating & helps you see how far you’ve really come. This is my favourite of the shots she’s captured of me:   Gritshed
  • Kind words in unlikely places… Like finding this message on our table in a Thai restaurant.thaispiration
  • Wisdom from Leo Babauta. This article on clearing resentment and this one on developing selfless compassion have both rocked my week. Nothing like a good kick in the emotional teeth to get your butt into gear & your head out of mopesville.

The next chapter: Hello Paleo!

There’s change afoot in our household.

For the last 3 weeks, we’ve been eating to Paleo rules. That is:

  • Lots of vegetables & fruit
  • Plenty of meat & eggs & seafood too
  • A good dose of nuts & other healthy fats

Sounds good right?

Well, there’s only a slight catch. Excluded from paleo eating are:

  • Dairy
  • Legumes
  • Grains
  • Sugar (mostly refined – some occasional honey & real maple syrup are cool)

So, other than for a couple of celebrations where we indulged a little, we’ve binned the tinned chickpeas, left the dairy farmers in the lurch and kept the bag rice buried in the top of the pantry.

“But for what incredible benefit would you now avoid blue cheese??”, I hear you cry. Well, we’ve been really surprised at the benefits of eating this way and, to be honest, how easy it’s been to stick to.

For the last few years, I’ve had a gluten intolerance so that’s kinda helped us get used to the no grains bit a little but, don’t get me wrong, we did have brown rice, polenta and oats queued up, along with tins upon tins of cannelini & kidney beans, lentils & corn kernels.

Like I’m sure many young women do, I’ve always tried to stick to low-calorie options, squirming whenever more than a quarter of an avocado came my way & trying to think happy thoughts when chowing into fat-free tuna in springwater with cucumber on paper-thin 60-calorie wraps.

It feels positively wild putting 150 grams of chicken and half an avocado in a hearty salad at lunch time but you know what, it fills me up so much more than the traditional low calorie, low fat diets we are normally pushed towards for optimal health. I no longer snack between breakfast & lunch. I have a pre-gym snack before I leave work in the afternoon & a recovery mini-meal post-gym. And then it’s dinner time. We haven’t given up the two squares of quality dark chocolate after dinner but beyond that, we’re paleo all the way, baby!

We’ve lost a couple of kilos, actually feel hungry by meal times but never hangry (a major issue for me previously!) and, this is purely our experience, but we’re finding our tastebuds have been totally re-invigorated.

This is merely the beginning – we started out thinking we’d stick to it for a month & see how things went but now, after 3 weeks, I can’t think of eating any other way.

I’ll post more about our paleo adventures here. Don’t worry, it’s not all zucchini and beef: there’s some seriously indulgent things you can do with a bag of almonds, a handful of dates and an avocado.

You might have heard of caveman style eating? This is it. Forget all processed “food”; if it needs more than a quick steam or a sizzle in the pan to become edible, there’s a very good chance it ain’t paleo, sister. If you want to read more about the whole deal, hit up paleo gurus Robb WolfStupid Easy Paleo or Eat Drink Paleo for more information.  

Melbourne: 19-23 June

For my birthday this year, we escaped to Melbourne for food, footy & adventures. We stayed at The Grand Hotel (lives up to its name!), bought Hawks scarves to fit in with the locals at the AFL & ate beautiful food at Rosetta, MovidaCumulus Inc, (& boozed at it’s upstairs brother, Cumulus Up) and plenty of other quality locals. That’s one thing about Melbourne – you really can’t go wrong!

Off the wagon, on the rollercoaster

This has been an epic week of everything. I started it off in a slight mess over an ill-fitting bridesmaid dress (why don’t clothing designers give a girl enough room in the bust?) & as I write this, I’m patting an old blind poodle to sleep (he wouldn’t eat his dinner & instead sat in the doorway in the hope his family would return & replace this unfamiliar house-sitter).

Things I’ve learnt this week:

– Never assume anything- especially in business. As my boss at my first job always would say- To assume makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’.

– Sleep is vital & I finally can tell when that’s exactly what I need. I know I don’t just need a pick-me-up sugar/caffeine hit – I need proper rest. I had to move house and am now located 30 minutes drive from work instead of 4 minutes away. So now not only am I getting up earlier, I’m also getting home later, having dinner later & subsequently getting to bed later. My energy has been low for gym sessions & when I do eventually hit the hay, I can’t even keep my eyes open long enough to read a magazine, let alone write a blog post. Although I’m poodle/house-sitting until next weekend, I really want to & need to make the effort to get more sleep.

– My body is strong & powerful (even more so when it isn’t sleep-deprived!) & it’s finally starting to look that way. I guess this kind of connected to that last point but I’m really starting to feel like I’m getting on top of understanding the way my body works & what it needs. It’s an obvious point but eating properly (& for me that’s mostly gluten-free with minimal sugar & plentyyy of veggies) just makes me feel so much more able to tackle life.

– Don’t leave the holder for a GPS in your car- even if the unit & charger are safely tucked away inside your house. Why? As I found out this week, desperate people will smash your car window in the hope the unit will be in there somewhere. Nothing was taken but they left a mess & cost me $500 to repair. Lesson learnt.

Happy Friday

Kebabs, punk-rock, wild texting & late night cartoons in a made-too-well hotel bed: good Friday, good Friday.

Plant the seeds

No one has ever grown a garden. (The universe/God/Mother Nature does that.) But they have planted the seeds, held a vision, and cared for it, day-by-day-by-day.

Thoughts Become Things (One of my life secrets to daily positivity, inspiration & gratitude)

Partying on a school night

A Chinese feast, a bottle of Sangiovese rose & one of the best gigs I’ve seen in a long time add up to one fabulous Monday night!

Tweet of the day

“If something doesn’t happen the way you want or on your timetable, don’t get disappointed, the Universe is cookin’ up somethin better for ya.”

Via @theLifepreneur

Getting older, getting wiser

My mum has always told me that I don’t know the difference between my needs and my wants. I admit, I have been known to say that I neeed those leopard print shoes.

Now that I’m fast approaching 25 though, I’m finding that the things I really want, are the things I really do need. While I’m still obsessed with clothes & shoes, I know there are plenty of other things I actually need.

Wants are nice to have and to fulfill but needs, well, need to come first; even if they are something money can’t buy.