Winter – the serial killer of motivation

It’s almost 1pm on Saturday afternoon. I’ve just managed to pry myself off the couch and out of my jammies. I’ve also just finished half a family sized block of milk chocolate… And I’m considering going back for the second half.

“Nooooooo!!!!” You cry. “How have you slipped so low???”

Not even this will help.

Not even this will help.

If you are regularly reading my blog, then you’ll know I have been absent for the last few weeks. I’m sure you noticed and you’ve been missing me.

The problem is Winter.

Well, actually, it’s Autumn but I lump them both in the same camp.

You see, I suffer from SAD. Seasonal Affliction Disorder for those of you not in the know. SAD is a quasi-scientific affliction which causes sufferers to become grumpy, unmotivated, hungry for baked goods, a giant pain in the ass to be around and blame Mother Nature for her complete lack of respect of the need for sunshine.

And boy oh boy have I got it.

Sometimes SAD announces it’s arrival with the precise change of seasons, and sometimes it sneaks up on you when you’re least expecting it. One day you’re fine and you easily get up at 6am for your 5km run followed by your kale smoothie. The next day your favourite pair of shoes are your slippers and you don’t even remember if they were meant to be grey?

What do you mean I can't wear them outside?!

What do you mean I can’t wear them outside?!

I’m probably being slightly over dramatic (yet another symptom of SAD). It’s not like I’ve completely gone to the dogs. I’m still going to yoga 2-3 times a week, loving my weekly personal training session and climbing up some mountain every weekend. But now, when I indulge in a few pieces of chocolate and lie completely prone on the couch like a statue, I don’t wail in distress and leap off the couch and into a series of lunges. Instead, I break off another piece and sink myself lower into my butt groove.

The great news about SAD is that it’s not permanent.

The moment the sun comes out for more than four consecutive seconds and the wind dies down enough so that my hair isn’t accidentally styled into a mohawk, I’ll start feeling like a fully function human being again.

There are other things you can do to counter the effects as well. Here is my list of five things to help you out of your SAD slump.

  1. Eat comfort food. There is a good reason why they call it ‘comfort’ food. Delicious food really is good for the soul. I’m not for one second suggesting you go out and buy two litres of Coke and a packet of Twisties. That is NOT comfort food. That is called eating your feelings. I’m talking about a good, real, honest, home cooked feast. Try this Molten Lava Chocolate Cake from the Paleo Mom. I DARE you to not to feel better.
  2. Buy good looking gym pants. And then wear them on the couch. Seriously. I bought this incredible pair of yoga pants from Lululemon and they are the epitome of comfort. Lying on the couch has never felt this good. And strangely, it actually started to motivate me to leave the house. It’s like voodoo.
  3. Be grateful for Winter. Now this is tough. It can be downright impossible to find things that make you feel great about the fourth ‘100 year storm’ in one week. But there really are some things about Winter that aren’t completely awful – falling asleep to the rain outside, mulled wine, extra woolly socks, ear muffs, skiing/snowboarding (if you are that way inclined… I am not), all types of soup, and not having to make an excuse to stay in doors and watch a Simpsons marathon. See? That’s just a few to get you started.
  4. Watch Jenna Marbles. If you haven’t seen a Jenna Marbles video then I just don’t know who you are. This girl has 13,000,000 subscribers to her Youtube videos!! That is cray cray! There is a good reason for it. She’s hilarious. A couple of my favourite videos – How Home Workouts Work, Better Names for Animals and Drunk Makeup Tutorial (which, by the way, has been viewed more than 18,000,000 times!!! So I’m not the only one who enjoys it). You’re welcome.
  5. Be kind to yourself. As easy as it is to fall down the hole of “I’m the worst person in the world because I haven’t showered for two days and I’ve abandoned kale and quinoa for white bread and coffee”, you’re actually a perfectly awesome human being. Let it go. You’ll come right. This is only temporary. Buy yourself a nice pen and a warm pair of socks. Maybe get the Pharrell album and play ‘Happy’ on repeat a 100 times.

So there you go. I hope I’ve been forgiven for neglecting you. I promise to write another post soon… While I wait for my fondue to cook. Until next time, enjoy the ride. x

 

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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

Surviving a healthy hangover… Or a zombie apocolypse

I fell off my healthy wagon at a wedding recently. I ate a chicken wing. And had a margarita. Then some deep fried cheese. And I topped it off with too much sparkling wine and a bout of Gangnam Style.

I’m not perfect. I’m so ashamed.

Actually, I’m not. I needed a good blow out. I needed to vent some pent up frustration from sitting at my desk chewing my cucumber sticks while less then 10 metres away the Strategy team eat their team lunch of fried chicken and chicken salt seasoned fries. No, I’m fine with it. Honest.

My point is, I’m not a quinoa obsessed, kale devouring, natural food robot.

As good as I felt at the time and as outrageous as my dance moves were, the next day I suffered like I have never suffered before. My body went in to what I can only describe as sugar, wine and cheese shock and made it it’s mission to purge the evil from my body in any way possible.

This resulted in me lying incredibly still, face down while trying to negotiate water into my mouth.

Hangover face. Is this my best side?

Hangover face. Is this my best side?

Had this been the way I spent the rest of my day, I probably would’ve been ok with that. But it wasn’t was it. Ooooh nooo siree.

Early the day before – pre-wedding – I had loftily suggested that Jeff and I go for one of our hill walks seeing as he was driving that night and I wasn’t going to be drinking that much (reformed booze hag alert) We’d both be feeling great the next day and we may as well make the most of it.

Well, one of us was feeling great.

‘Live and let live’ is not one of Jeff’s life mottos. Nor is ‘Let the person having the worst hangover ever lie on the couch and be alone with their remorse, self loathing and headache’. Jerk.

Jeff managed to get me out the door by about 11am. On any Sunday morning that’s impressive. He waved painkillers in front of my face like a carrot until he got me into the car. He’s tricky that Jeff.

To save you from a mostly uneventful, yet lengthy story, I’ll get to the good stuff.

Everything was going perfectly fine and I was actually feeling almost back to normal. We got to the top of the aptly named Boulder Hill. I took a photo –  standing on a boulder. I took several more photos of boulders. We even ran back down to the half-way marker. Damn my reoccurring smugness.

I suggested we try a different track back. We hadn’t done this track before but it couldn’t be any more challenging than Boulder Hill. Because we were feeling so bold, we ran for the first couple of kilometres. Over the streams, around the mud puddles, through the swarm of cicadas (I screamed), down one hill, up another. Go team go!

After about 30 minutes, I started getting pins and needles in my finger tips and an overwhelming craving for apples. Odd. I looked down to see two giant lumps of ham staring back at me. My fingers had each swollen to the size of a dog roll and the skin was bursting like sausages cooking on a barbecue.

Did I panic? Of course I panicked! Did you read the bit about my fingers the size of dog roll?!

With no idea how far we had to go, no cellphone reception and no epipen or antihistamine, it’s pretty fair to say I panicked.

Jeff on the other hand, was cool calm and collected. There wasn’t really any other option than to keep going. I was mostly worried about the reaction becoming anaphylactic. The last time this happened I ended up with a tennis ball sized lump on my ass from an adrenalin injection.

After what seemed like the longest walk of my life, we reached the car and headed straight to the emergency department.

Several hours of observation and a prescription for industrial strength antihistamines and the nice doctors let me go home to singlehandedly eat a family sized chicken.

There is probably a good moral here somewhere. Don’t over indulge. Always carry a survival kit. Make sure you’re wearing clean undies on a bush walk, just in case. But I actually think it’s this:

Sometimes, despite all your best efforts, you have a blowout. It might be sugar; it might be three large pizzas with stuffed crust in one sitting; it might be one more glass of wine that turns into five or it may be ditching the run to watch a marathon of Breaking Bad.

Whatever it is, give yourself a break, and get back on the horse tomorrow. You’re not a chia munching, coconut water gulping, tofu loving robot after all. Enjoy the ride.

TOP HEALTHY HANGOVER TIPS

  • Coconut water smoothies – raspberries, strawberries, coconut water + blend = done.

    Boulder Hill. Winning.

    Boulder Hill. Winning.

  • Run up a hill. That will sort you out.
  • Wear your awesome shorts and you will naturally feel better.
  • Lie in the sun and soak up the Vitamin D goodness but wear a hat and plenty of sunscreen.
  • Let the dog lick your face. I’m sure that I once read dog saliva fixes hangovers (maybe not science).
  • Eat a nice, juicy apple.
  • Stay in downward dog until the urge to vomit goes away.
  • Flick through one of your healthy cookbooks for an hour trying to find something to cook and then instead,  eat almost a whole ready-cooked roast chicken with nothing but a fork and your determination, while standing in your kitchen. It’s protein. Shut up.
  • Don’t have an allergic reaction and end up in A&E.

This time next year…

On the 1st January 2014, I was the heaviest I’ve ever been. Now, I know what you’re thinking:

  1. Why would you weigh yourself on New Years Day? and;
  2. Big deal.

You see the scales were right in front of me and since I didn’t own any at home I was curious. Well, curiousity quickly turned in to depression. Staring at the scales in front of me was the heaviest weight I had ever been. Turns out that last bit of cheese at midnight may have been one slice too many… of many.

Anyway, for me it was a big deal and the reason this caused me so much anguish in this particular moment was actually, more than one reason.

I’ve always been quite small. I’m 5 foot 3 inches on a good day and I come from a family of small Swiss and New Zealand people. So most of my earlier life was trying to put weight on! Being at my heaviest meant that according to my Body Mass Index (which, let me add I don’t usually care about, EXCEPT for in this instance), I was now classed as ‘overweight’.

‘Overweight’ was not exactly what I wanted to hear when I had a wedding to plan. Granted, at the writing of this post, I still have 10 months until my actual wedding so panicking my have been a teeny overreaction. But if I’m honest, I knew things had been going South for a wee while.

You see, only a couple of months ago, I was the heaviest I have ever been. So you’re starting to dig my vibe now right?

What exactly about the 1st January 2014 triggered the catalyst for change, I’m kind of unsure about. Whatever it was, it sparked off something in me that WANTED to change. It actually wasn’t even about weight. It was about realising the amount of processed food and rubbish that I fed myself on a daily basis and wanting to stop.

So here I am. At the beginning of my journey to put away the Burger Rings, chocolate biscuits, sausages and white bread, cream donuts, white sugar, iced tea, milk in coffee and chocolate crepes, and pick up a cup of quinoa.

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