Archive | February, 2012

Tales from the scales #4

24 Feb

A fantastic week!

Last week: 18st

This week: 17st 11

3lb lost!

I am so, so happy!  There may even have been a victory dance after I hopped off the scale… Sticking to my meal plan and keeping plenty of easy foods around for lunches seems to work really well for me.  Such a simple idea, but if there’s good and easy food available then I am less likely to go raking through the old snack basket looking for a cereal bar or chocolate.

I have also hit one of the mini goals I set for myself.  I am now under 250lb!  (249 to be precise.)  Only 6lb to go until I hit 3 stone lost.  I think that might get me doing cartwheels.

The coming week will be tricky.  We’re away this weekend and I’ve had a look at a few restaurants and have found some that have Primal-sounding dishes.  I’m not going to be too picky about it, because I rarely go out to eat, but I would like to keep away from grains and legumes so that I don’t feel dreadful the next day.  I have a cold, I don’t need food to make me feel dreadful, too.  Looking forward to it, though!  Especially if I can talk Lucas into trying a Brazilian restaurant… I quite fancy something spicy to sweat this cold out!



Baby got back!

22 Feb

I like big butts and I can not lie…  Oh, Sir Mixalot, how I love thee… You did more for big-bottomed girls than Queen.

Now, I’ve always liked my ass.  It’s huge, yes, but it has a nice shape to it, and for years I’ve gone around thinking that it was, well, in good shape and I didn’t need to do any specific exercises for it because the occasional squat covered everything.  Apparently Not.  It turns out that ‘out of sight’ really is out of mind.

Recently, my doctor referred me for physiotherapy as I have what can be kindly described as a ‘dodgy back’ and would really like to avoid spinal surgery, ever.  I had an MRI in September—OMG, I love MRIs.  Am I weird?  So bizarrely relaxing—after about five years of on and off again back pain, ranging from oh, my back’s a bit sore today to I would be screaming if I could actually figure out how to open my mouth.  It turns out that I have three prolased discs in my lumbar region (L4, L5, SC1), one of which has fallen backwards and is intermittently compressing my sciatic nerve, which has left me with (aside from the back pain), a weird patch of altered sensation on the top of my right foot.  Did you know the sciatic nerve is the longest in the body, running down both legs?  That goes some way toward explaining why sciatica hurts so bloody much.

We don’t know how I prolapsed all these discs (but I’m pretty convinced that it happened during Lucas’s birth which was fast and unmanaged), and we certainly aren’t going to have a surgical intervention unless I start spending a lot of time flopping around on the floor in spasm (I have no plans for this), so the best thing seemed to be some intensive physiotherapy.  Hence the referral.

Enter Janet, my tiny physiotherapist.  I’d imagine that you’ll hear a lot about Janet in the next few months…

I went into the appointment expecting lots of poking and prodding and to them be given loads and loads of ab exercises.  It didn’t quite turn out that way… After ‘gently examining my back’ which felt more like The Mighty Thor was smacking his hammer down my spine, Janet  asked me to do a bridge.  So I dutifully did one and thought that I’d done quite well, until she said, “Now, do it again, but this time don’t brace your arms and really clench your buttocks.  Stop cheating.”  So I tried… and tried… and eventually managed to get my ass about an inch off the bed.  Clenching one’s buttocks shouldn’t be the hardest thing ever, should it?  It would appear that my glutes have gone into hibernation (which is a nicer thought than my muscles atrophying.  They’re just asleep.)  We won’t talk about my pitiful attempt at a one-legged bridge.

I then discovered that my sciatic pain has two sources.  The prolapsed discs and apparently, my sciatic nerve runs through my piriformis muscle instead of alongside it, which has irritated the nerve!  Wonderful.  Wikipedia tells me that 17% of people have thie lovely mutation.  My husband is beginning to wonder if I am still under warranty for returns…

In good news, I am really flexible.  She couldn’t stop talking about it, in tones of absolute astonishment.  I couldn’t quite figure out if I was astonishingly flexible or astonishingly flexible for a fat person.  Either way, Janet the Physio is Astonished.  She also tells me that I have really strong abs which is nice.  I look forward to revealing six-pack abs when I hit goal.  There’s a lot to be said for contracting your abs every so often and isometrically squeezing them.  I do it whenever I remember (guess what I’m doing right now?), while I’m standing in a queue at the supermarket, when I’m waiting at the traffic lights.  Like I said, whenever.  Mark Sisson wrote a post about this a few years ago, here.  I am now trying to do the same for my ass which is really hard as I seem to be clenching the hamstring and outer thigh muscles instead.

The upshot of this appointment is that I need to do lots and lots of bridges, pelvic tilts and clams to start strengthening the glutes and also work on my overall core strength by spending time sitting on a Swiss ball.  (Apparently I get to work up to doing bridges and crunches on the ball.  Yay!)  I dutifully trotted out and bought one last night and after the hilarity of blowing it up (Dave drew some very expressive squeaks and wheezes from the pump) spent a very wobbly ten minutes on it before bedtime, trying to lift one foot off the ground and well, not fall over.  My living room is now accessorised by a large shiny silver ball that makes me simultaneously think of Barbarella and a Sontaran spaceship.  I suspect I resemble a potato-headed alien more than I do Jane Fonda…

Oh!  Oh!  And in a few months, when I’ve got some strength in my glutes, I can join the hospital gym for their “Back to Fitness” group!  Geddit?  Geddit?   Janet told me about this while I was sitting on a Swiss ball.  Nearly broke my neck laughing.  I do love a good pun…

Meal Planning Monday #3 (20 Feb)

20 Feb

Hello, Monday!

Half-term is over and Lucas (and I) are very excited about the first day of school.  He’s looking forward to seeing his friends again and I’m looking forward to some peace and quiet.  And maybe a nap.  Hey, naps are totally primal!

This week I am fearsomely organised.  I actually made my meal plan on Saturday night, added the resulting shopping list to my second brain iPhone, and then hit the supermarket first thing on Sunday morning.  After I played Fridge Tetris, I made some salsa egg muffins for Dave’s breakfasts this week, followed by an Italian turkey meafloaf and a batch of cauliflower mash for his work lunches. So, he’s all set for the week and my halo is shining as brightly as any angel’s.

We’re off to London this weekend for the London Super Comic Convention which promises to be lots of fun.  I love London and going there is always a blast!  It’ll be good to see some of our old friends and make some new ones!  Eating properly will be challenging, but I’ll do the best I can and hopefully all the walking around Excel and the riverside will help with whatever damage does get done.

M: Moroccan Meatballs with cauliflower pilaf

T: BBQ chicken pizza (cauliflower crust!), sweet potato fries

W: Pork tenderloin wrapped in pancetta with sage, onion and apple; roasted sweet potatoes or carrot-cauliflower mash. Haven’t decided yet.

T: Leftover Moroccan Meatballs.  Mmmm… meatballs.

F: Out for dinner

S: Out for dinner

S: Chocolate chilli, cauliflower rice, sprinkle of cheddar cheese

I’m linking up with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday again.  Always fun to see what other people are cooking!

Tales from the scales #3

17 Feb

A much better week!  I think the lack of high-stress (or high-anxiety) situations really helped to keep me on an even keel.  My car, a significant source of stress lately, is on its last legs and at least now that I know what is wrong with it, I can fret less.  Fear of the unknown, I guess, or fear of expense.  Cars are such money pits!

Last week: 18st 4

This week: 18st

A loss of 4lb–w00t!

I am really proud of myself for getting right back to eating properly.  It helped, of course, that I felt dreadful after eating so much rubbish; I don’t fancy feeling like that again for a long time, if ever. I started off the week well with a 2.25 mile walk with Lucas–mostly uphill, too–and after doing that there was no way that I was wiping out my good work by over-eating good stuff or eating rubbish.

So, on to another week!  My little monster will be back at school on Monday and I’m looking forward to getting some more exercise done.  If the weather stays half-decent then I plan to walk to school to pick him up rather than drive.  I’ve been enjoying walking a lot lately, and I even found myself turning down a lift the other day so that I could clear my mind with a walk.

Chicken, pea and pancetta ‘risotto’

16 Feb

Cauliflower is a wonder vegetable as far as I’m concerned.

When we first started eating primally, I was astounded at how well it substituted for rice alongside curries.  Okay, so it still tastes of cauliflower and you’ll never convince anyone that they’re eating actual rice, but it eats so well alongside a blisteringly hot curry! It’s a delicious mind-trick that I will happily go along with for the rest of my life.  (And it is so nice to not feel bloated after a curry any more.)

After a few weeks of cauliflower this, and cauliflower that, I began to wonder if cauliflower rice could be used to make a risotto.  After all, I’d already done mash, rice and couscous with it… So I began to experiement and was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked.

This flavour combination is a nod to an Angela Hartnett risotto that I used to make quite regularly in Past Grain Times.  The main reason I loved her risotto was the way the gorgeously sweet peas contrasted with the incredible salty crunch of the pancetta.  Pea and ham had always been an awesome combination but this really stepped things up another notch.  I added some cooked chicken thighs to up the protein level to ensure tummy-filling happiness.

A few notes on alterations you might wish to make.  Pancetta is awesome (especially if homemade), but really, you could use any bacon you have to hand for this dish.  Just chop it up and get it nice and crispy.  I’d say that this risotto is about 80% Primal as the Philly soft cheese is rather on the processed side.  If you can find some old-fashioned cream cheese from a deli, I’d totally go for that instead and perhaps add a sprinkle of dry herbs in with the onions at the beginning.  To make this paleo rather than primal, you could try replacing the cheeses with a few tablespoons of coconut cream or coconut manna–I haven’t tried this myself, just speculating here!

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Don’t burn your bras, donate them!

15 Feb

The infamous NZ bra fence, by (nz)dave on flickr

Today I decided to treat myself to a new sports bra, something which was long overdue.  I’ve had my trusty Enell for years.  I think I actually bought it before we got married, as part of my pre-wedding slim down campaign.  Which makes it… (oh dear) 9 years old.  No wonder it wasn’t particularly supportive anymore.

Anyway.  After I got shoehorned into a new super-tight sports bra–zero jiggle!–I thought I’d ask them to check the fit of my regular bra as the underwire wasn’t fitting as closely as it should.  Half an hour later, imagine my surprise to be wearing a bra that was 6″ smaller!!  Considering that I bought some new (and hideously expensive) bras in November, that is pretty good going!  The lady who fitted me said that I had a tiny ribcage; I can’t remember the last time anyone said that anything about me was small, let alone tiny.

I am so pleased.

A few people have commented on my weight loss which always gives me a warm, glowy feeling of accomplishment (coupled with a feeling of shame, at having become so fat in the first place), but it is really hard for me to see the changes in my own body.  Holding up the old bra against the new one has driven it the message home a little.

For the record, I’ve gone from a 42GG to a 36HH.  I fear I may look like Jordan when I’ve lost the rest of my weight!!

So, what to do with my old bras?  Well, I could turn them into fetching hanging baskets and grow tomatoes in them.  I’d be the talk of the street!  Or… I could donate them to charity instead. runs a Bra Appeal, collecting old (but still in decent nick) bras, which are then sold in Third World countries and a little bit of the money from this ends up with a British breast cancer charity.  I’m going to parcel up mine and send them off this week.  (Which means that I have to keep dieting as I’ll have no bigger clothes to wear!)

Book review: Doctor Who – The Silent Stars Go By

15 Feb

I grew up on Doctor Who in an age before TV series were repeated ad nauseum or easily obtainable on DVD/Blu-ray.  So, in the dark half of the year when I couldn’t get my weekly fix of Who, I made to with the Target novelisation of each serial.  Luckily our school librarian was very understanding and made sure to buy every single one.  After Who limped off our screens with the truly dreadful Survival, I started buying the BBC past Doctor books and following the TV movie, the 8th Doctor books.  These newer offerings had much more complex storylines, excellent characterisation and did a wonderful job of keeping the series alive for fans.

When New Who burst onto our screens with much fanfare I was ridiculously excited about the prospect of new novels.  I grew to like (but not love) the 8th Doctor through the novels, and was looking forward to doing the same with the 9th.  Oh, how bitterly I was disappointed.  The new novels that followed Series 1 (and I wasn’t thrilled about the re-numbering either) were clearly aimed at the Young Adult market and felt dumbed down in comparison to the novels that had done such a brilliant job of keeping the series alive while off-air.  Michael Moorcock’s The Coming of the Terraphiles, published in a separate line from the regular tie-in novels, was an improvement but very much lacked The Doctor despite having more grown-up writing standards.  So, if I’m being honest… the only reason I decided to read The Silent Stars Go By is because it had proper old school villains, the Ice Warriors.

I should probably stop reminiscing and talk about the book, huh?

The Silent Stars Go By has a Christmas special feel to it, but in a good way.  This is mainly due to The Doctor initially trying to get Amy and Rory home for Christmas, but also because the TARDIS materlises on a Winter world.  The ice planet or Winter world is a familiar trope to sci-fi readers/viewers (hello, Hoth!) and personally, I adore it.  You can always have so much fun with it.

The settlers of this inhospitable winter world are the Maintainers, who have struggled to build lives for themselves on this new Earth and indeed, to build the Earth itself.  They are terraformers.  Life has been hard for them, but lately it has been even harder as they seem to be in the grip of an ice age.  Winters have been getting colder instead of warmer and now animals and people are disappearing.  When The Doctor and his companions arrive they are treated with a great deal of fear and suspicion.

Abnett has a great sense of comedic timing and several times when reading The Silent Stars, I found myself bursting out into gales of laughter.  His characterisations of The Doctor, Amy and Rory are spot on with nice strong character voices.  I’ve read some reviews that criticise the book for having Amy and Rory relegated to the periphery of the book; I very much disagree with this.  We follow Amy and Rory separately on several occasions and my belief is that this is a Doctor Who book, rather than an Amy and Rory book, so it’s balanced just right.  It was great to see the Ice Warriors getting a new lease of life in this book.  I had hoped that when Steven Moffat took over the reins that he’d use them on-screen, but alas, it was not to be.  They have such menace, and the details added about their society and culture made for compelling reading.  My only complaint is that the final act of the book feels rather rushed, everything seems to be resolved at breakneck speed, but on the whole I found it a fun read with a slightly more complex storyline than the regular line of new Who novels.