Five signs your healthy life style has gone too far

This morning I completed my first ever Xterra trail run.

By all accounts. I should’ve loved it.

What’s not to love?! The short course (which seemed like a good place to start), is 6km of uphill, through gorse, onto clay, down gravel, up again, down again, up again, down again and finally – when your spirit is destroyed – another 1km on the flat to the finish. Fun right?!

Looking way happier than I felt

Looking way happier than I felt

Weeellll… Actuallly… Not so much.

Perhaps I’m being a party pooper or perhaps I just don’t like being passed by a 10 year old, but I can’t say it was my best or my favourite run ever.

I can’t really put my finger on it. It wasn’t the 3km of steep uphill on treacherous clay. It wasn’t the gorse I seemed unable to avoid which gave my legs a good shredding. It wasn’t the bone grinding vertical downhill or the grassy slip and slide or the nearly assing it right over the side of a cliff or the up where there should have been down.

It wasn’t specifically any of those things.

I think my problem is that the millions of things I’ve signed up for – salsa dancing, hot yoga, hatha yoga, climbing and burlesque to name a few – are beginning to feel like a bit of a chore.

Once we got through the gauntlet of serious runners – who obviously missed the “We’re all here to have fun” briefing – and made it to the finish line, I turned to Jeff and said “Shall we sign up for the next one?”

Am I mad?! Seriously!? That’s crackers!

This got me thinking, how do you know when your new healthy lifestyle has gone too far?

I used to think that when my friends came over for dinner and said something like “Ooooohhh I see you’ve bought another cookbook dedicated to quinoa” that they were impressed with my enthusiasm for the superfood grain (it IS very versatile you know).

Upon reflection however, they may have actually been thinking “Oh god are we having quinoa in every dish again?!!”

So here are five signs to help you recognise when you’re enthusiasm has become maniacal obsession.

1. Your pantry is full of health foods, whole foods and supplements that you don’t know what do with… And it reflects in your bank account. I’m yet to find a recipe with Maca Powder that doesn’t actually taste like dirt. Maybe it’s supposed to taste like dirt?

Now where did I put the cactus root?

Now where did I put the cactus root?

2. You can’t attend a social occasion without first providing the host with a detailed description of what you can and can’t eat –

“I’m not eating orange coloured fruits and vegetables at the moment but I do eat green vegetables on Wednesdays and red fruits on Fridays. There’s only a couple more things: No wheat, dairy, yeast or soy. No fruit after lunch time, carbs after breakfast, protein before 5pm. I’m only eating foods which I have physically collected myself. Is this a problem? What time should we come round?”

3. Likewise, your social life is determined by when and where you have the next event you’ve signed up for –

“Mum, I would love to catch up with Aunty So-and-so and Cousin What’s-his-name, but I have a yoga retreat/ultra marathon/salsa competition/insert sporting event that I just cannot miss.”

4. You own industrial strength kitchen machinery for your blending, processing, mashing, mixing and general healthy food preparation which is worth as much as your car. Maybe more. I want to be buried with my cherry red Kitchenaid mixer… And blender… And food processor.

5. Your nicest clothes by far are exercise clothes. This makes it somewhat awkward when Jeff wants to take me out for a nice dinner of gluten free tacos and I ask if I can wear my yoga tights. Lululemon you have a lot of answer for.

Don’t get me wrong now. I love the healthy me. I really do. But sometimes it’s important when to know you  need a break.

If you want to eat a Lindt chocolate bunny instead of your organic sugar-free date bar, that’s totally fine. If you want to lie on the couch for the weekend and watch a Breaking Bad marathon while drinking margaritas, do it. And enjoy it. Most importantly, enjoy it.

Enjoy the ride! x

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What a bunch of losers

I am not a person who wins things.

When I was four years old, I won an Easter egg painting competition. That’s been it for almost 27 years.

Don’t feel sorry for me. I mean, I’m totally ok with it. Who really wants to win a years supply of red onions anyway? No thanks.

It’s gotten to the point where I enter competitions for the thrill of knowing I’m not going to win. Win six months supply of adult nappies? I’m in! The chance to win a free Eiffel tower tattoo on your back? Hold me back!

My luck is just not great when it comes to competitions.

I do have very good luck at being the person at a restaurant who will have their meal forgotten though. Or, the person most likely to be on the flight where the pilot will have to slam on the brakes at the end of the runway. But near death experiences aside, actually cool competitions where you want to win and feel a sense of success, pride and accomplishment? Nope.

Over the last six weeks I’ve been participating in the HR Biggest Loser with my amazing workmates. We each put in $10 a week and were subjected to weekly weigh-ins (“For the last time – Leave the scales where they are!!!”), substitutions (“I’ll have a glass of red thanks, there are too many calories in white wine”), and weird food experiments (“Chickpeas in cookies are a crime against nature”).

Early on it became less about the money to be won and more about how we were going to celebrate at the end – mostly this involved a lot of talk about a bucket of KFC chicken skin or two litres of ice-cream.

As we continued through the six weeks, we formed something of a support group for each other. It wouldn’t be unusual to hear a conversation in the lunch room go something like this:

Workmate #1: I am going to do terribly in this weeks weigh in. I completely lost it and ate a bunch of curly fries on Saturday (said with head in hands).

Workmate #2: You’re going to do absolutely fine! One little blowout won’t ruin all your hard work. And if anyone is going to do terribly, it’s me. I demolished a cream donut in front of the TV on Sunday. I didn’t even regret it at the time. That’s me out of the competition.

Workmate #1: No way! You’re doing so well! You’re totally going to win.

Workmate #2: No YOU’RE going to win. You’re the best.

Workmate #1: No YOU’RE the best.

For an outsider watching with a bag of popcorn, I’m sure it was just as entertaining as the show, but we actually lost weight the healthy way – check out this depressing article about the show – and without the psychotic, soul destroying personal trainers.

Now six weeks on, since we began in January, the eight of us collectively have lost about 30 kilograms (about 66 pounds or almost five stone). Everyone worked incredibly hard and it’s paid off.

The most amazing thing is… I won! I’m still shocked. I lost 8.17% of my body weight and I can hand on heart say that the chickpea chocolate chip cookies are delicious.

Post competition, I’m continuing with my healthy lifestyle. It was always so much more than about the weight. The removal of processed food and refined sugars has actually changed my life (cue – Oprah moment). Without trying to be cheesy – it just comes naturally – I win everyday when I have more energy, can run faster, sleep better and get a thrill out of making delicious treats like beetroot brownie! I’m not going to lie though, it felt amazing to win.

Sometimes it’s great to win. It’s absolutely ok when you don’t. It just means that when you do, it will mean so much more.

To B-Lal, BooBoo, Flick, Miss M, Sneilson, Flossey, and Miss Page – I totally dig you guys. Thanks for the fierce competition. You’re all losers in my book.

I didn’t eat my two litres of ice-cream, just the two scoops for me. Enjoy the ride x

Inaugral HR Biggest Loser - Winner 2014

A healthy, happy Valentines Day

This post is dedicated to things I love.

Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day!

Sometimes, in a moment of desperation or despair, it can be easy to obsess about all of the unhealthy things I once had a passionate love affair with.

Things like fondue, garlic bread, Milky Ways, McDonalds cheeseburgers with added mayonnaise, strawberry daiquiris, crunchy nut cornflakes, Doritos, raspberry ice tea, cookie dough, chocolate chip bacon waffles and teriyaki chicken donburi.

That last one brought a tear to my eye.

But this post is not about the things I miss, it’s about the things I love. So here goes:

  1. The new me. Boom.
  2. 85% cocoa dark chocolate.
  3. Fluro. Any fluro but fluro gym gear DOES make you workout harder/run faster.
  4. Coconut water.
  5. Beetroot in smoothies.
  6. Yoga on Saturday mornings with my amazing friends Karen and Jen.
  7. Buckwheat pancakes.
  8. My Food Bag.
  9. Supportive workmates.
  10. IMG_20140208_085159Homemade muesli.
  11. Gluten/dairy free options that don’t make you hate life.
  12. Soy custard.
  13. Hill walks with Jeff and Chuck the pug… and her shoes.
  14. Insanely motivating personal trainers – here’s looking at you Elly.
  15. My mum who sent my blog to her ukulele group.
  16. Snack sized cucumbers.
  17. Red wine.
  18. Kale. Honest.
  19. Lululemon.
  20. Wellington “Summer”.
  21. Anyone who reads this blog.

Love yourself. Send yourself a card even. Like your own photos on Facebook. Honestly, that is all you need.

Wishing you all a very healthy, happy Valentines Day. May your days be full of carob powder, calf stretches and beetroot smoothies. Enjoy the ride.

IMG_0183

Motivation is a pair of shorts

Motivation comes in all forms. For me, it comes in a pair of shorts and a fancy pair of socks.

I’ve been feeling pretty proud of myself lately. My change in lifestyle has been going really well. I’m now a fully committed healthy person.

Recently, I made myself a cauliflower pizza base with capsicum, spinach and tomato while Jeff had his pizza with seven different meats, three different cheeses and on a deep dish base. I swear mine tasted EXACTLY like real pizza…… Ok, you got me. It didn’t taste anything like real pizza, but it was YUM!

Just like a bought one!

Just like a bought one!

I also signed up for a gym and a bunch of personal training sessions. I will mention at this point that in the six years I have lived in Wellington, this is  the sixth gym I’ve joined (not all at the same time), so let’s not get excited yet, there’s still a chance I could flake out.

In addition to the pizza substitutions and my new gym bunny status, I’ve also been experimenting with a bunch of foods that until now I’ve been too scared to try. Foods like kale, black rice and silken tofu. Maybe it’s because I drunk the Koolaid, but these foods make delicious meals. Look, I’m as surprised as you!

All in all, I’m pretty impressed with myself. So what better way to celebrate the impressiveness that is me, than by buying some new gym gear.

It’s scientifically proven that buying new gym gear makes you want to work out. You can understand that this is a huge relief to me to hear given the small fortune I have just forked out at Lululemon for the latest, greatest and swankiest new gym gear. You can’t argue with science.

Now I know that Lululemon have gotten themselves a bit of a bad name. They seem to be constantly embroiled in some controversy or another. I’ve read more than one article referring to them rather unpleasantly as akin to a cult. The Scientologists for yoga fanatics if you will.

But for all that, damn they make good clothes.

Unfortunately for my rapidly diminishing bank account, Lululemon has opened up an outlet right next door to where I go to yoga. Every Saturday after yoga class I stop in there to have a quick browse and walk out with one of their brightly colored, reusable bags with at least a $20 pair of socks and a top that says “Running is my ohmmm” stitched on the inside. It’s an addiction. It could be worse I suppose, it could be crack, or chocolate.

There comes a time though when if you you’re going to take this whole health and fitness thing seriously, you need to own a pair of shorts. And you have to leave the house in them.

I’ve always been reluctant to run or do any sort of exercise in shorts. It makes me feel kind of exposed. It’s bad enough that I’m all flailing and gasping when I run let alone being half-naked while doing it. If I wasn’t so clumsy I’d happily run in a onesie.

On my latest trip to Lululemon I decided to get brave. If millions of people around the world can wear shorts, then so can I.

The pair that was recommended to me came in a variety of bright fluro colours. The battle was half won. When I went to try them on however, I noticed something that seemed a bit unusual. Shorts with built-in undies. That just made me feel weird. I’m not a harlot! I didn’t think this was going to work out. Despite my deep seeded discomfort, I tried them on (double undies thank you very much).

Goodbye paycheck.

Goodbye paycheck.

Well strike me down. I have never known comfort such as these shorts. The freedom… The perfectly stretchy waist band… The soft, breathable fabric… The sneaky key pocket! I was pretty sure they’d actually make me run faster and longer too.

I bought them. And then I bought another pair in black. Soon I may be the owner of three pairs. What do you know, they DO make me run faster and longer.

I exercise almost everyday, whether it’s yoga, running, walking up hills or going to the gym. Just the thought of putting on my snazzy running shorts is enough to motivate me.

Feeling comfortable in gym gear is one of the biggest hurdles to exercising in my opinion. Buying gym gear doesn’t have to be expensive, an ordeal, or a significant purchase (socks can do it!), but you do have to feel good about yourself.

Buy a new t-shirt with wicking in it and see how quickly you try it out because your curious to see if it really does absorb all your sweat!

Until next time, enjoy the ride. And by the way… I love my built-in undies.

Goodbye Giant Undies

Dear Giant Undies,

I’d like to wish you well for your retirement.

You’ve served me well over the years, but I’m no longer in need of your services.

We’ve been good friends you and I. You’ve hidden my muffin top and dealt with my butt cheeks admirably. I fondly remember the time you held it all together underneath the clingy green dress of doom.

You never complained when I asked so much of you. I stretched you too the brink at times but you took your job seriously and you concealed all the wobbly bits with a sense of pride and confidence.

I know you often compared yourself to Bridget Jones’s granny knickers, but to me you’ve been so much more than an unsightly undergarment. You’ve been a huge support, I could easily rely on you to be behind the scenes while I took the glory and you’ve backed me time and time again.

There have been so many times that we’ve laughed together, like that time Jeff saw you poking out from under my running shorts and wondered what you were! Oh the good times.

It’s not that I don’t still want you in my life (because I do), it’s just that I have running shoes in my life now and it has meant that I don’t have the same requirement of your services.

You will always hold a very special place in my memories, and I will be forever grateful for your contribution to my life.

I would love to say that I hope we’ll meet again, but I don’t think we will.

All the best, and thank you for your service.

With kindest regards,

Pia

Retiring giant undies thanks to fluro running shoes

Retiring giant undies thanks to fluro running shoes