Fighting Fit & Fabulous

I thought it was time to give you a little update on the 12WBT and my eating & exercise ect. It’s all terribly exciting.

We are into week 4 of the 12WBT and it’s going ok. 95% of the time I stick to my 1200 calories totally fine…and am never hungry. HOWEVER as I have started adding back in carbs (just at lunchtime as I generally exercise in the afternoon) I have noticed those days I generally exceed my calorie limit. I have looked at it and it isn’t that my meals with carbs in them are higher in calories (often they are lower)….but I am often starving again within 30 minutes and then end up essentially having two lunches. As I am far from an athlete and am not pushing myself too hard I am going to pull right back on the carbs again. I always end up bloated, feeling lethargic & mood-swingy … they just don’t seem to agree with me.

Exercise -no way I have even come close to doing the recommended 1hr a day and 1.5hours on Saturday. I do exercise at least 3 times a week (generally running) and most days I do workout 1 of my yogalates DVD. If I don’t exercise (like I didn’t at all last week) again I feel pretty irritable. I homeschool my kids & my husband works from home….my 30-45 minute run is MY time entirely. I never imagined being the person who looked forward to exercising, but I totally am now. The other issue is that it is absolutely frickin freezing in Melbourne. Especially in our little suburb which is right near the water and somehow is the most windy place in the world. Often when I have gone to run it is only 4 degrees outside…and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I wanted to join the gym that is literally 6 houses away (and is open 24/7) but almost $200 in joining fees stopped me. Then on Tuesday I saw a big sign out the front saying all joining fees were waived – so I am now a member of Jetts. I went and banged out 15.5km on the bike today to get some cardio into me.

So while I am eating 1200 calories most days and exercising more than I ever have in the past (and certainly more consistently) I haven’t really been following the program. A big part of that is when I started even the beginner training program was too hard. I had been in bed for two years…even with 21kgs gone I am still unfit. Then I started my running program and was doing my yogalates so I really only did the SSS (super saturday session) occasionally. Now that I am fitter and stronger I think I am going to start with weeks 1’s plans even though it is week 4 now. I am not really “in it to win it” I am in it to change my life and I know that is going to involve a lifetime of change, not just a race to the end of the 12wbt.

I have still been doing my measurements and fitness tests though and the results are in…I seriously can’t believe how big the changes have been in just 4 weeks.

So in 4 weeks I have lost 3kgs which is 3.5% of my starting body weight (starting the 12WBT overall since December I have lost 21.2kgs which is 20.38%). Which is totally acceptable but nothing to write home about…it’s pretty consistent and inline with what I was already loosing…but lets take a look at my body measurements and fitness test results…

In 4 weeks I have lost a total of 30.5cm’s from the measurements taken. Which I personally think is pretty awesome. I am noticing so many changes…including the fact that today I fit back into my CUE sz 14 pants (they were my wedding pants when I was working). I feel positively tiny (even though I know I am much bigger than is considered “socially acceptable” which I personally find bullshit…but tha’ts another post entirely).

But the fitness test results are what real made me squee. When I did my original 1km time trial at the start of the 12wbt it took me 8 minutes 33 seconds. I had mapped it out on google maps and it told me it was 1km. However when I got back inside and put it into the 12wbt stats I looked at my phone gps run tracker and it was only 850m. Whoops. I figured as long as I run the same thing next time it wouldn’t matter. Of course this time I set my run tracker to buzz when I hit 1km and hit the ground running (literally) as I jumped out my front door. I totally smashed my time taking 1 minute 43 off my time, while running a further 150km. I also ran it in two bits…by that I mean I ran and ran and ran…walked til I could mostly breathe again then ran and ran and ran and then it buzzed telling me 1km was up and I was jumping around the park grinning like an idiot in 4 degree drizzly weather when I saw the time was just 6 minutes 50. I think I totally would have scared all the kids in the park…except I was the only idiot there in the weather (and almost dark). Just for kicks I ran home (because I could) and did the rest of my fitness test.

Just four weeks ago I would attempt a push up on my knees, get less than halfway down and my arms would collapse. This time I managed a full seven push ups!!! Go me!!! I also doubled my wall sit time and took 7cm off in my flexibility test. The only thing I didn’t improve on was situps. I still can’t get more than my shoulders off the ground. So I am going to try to focus on core strength the next four weeks probably trying situps with my feet hooked under something (which you can’t do for the fitness test) as the ab exercises I have been doing don’t seem to be helping with that.

Two other things I have been measuring have been my body fat percentage (my scale does that) and my resting heart rate. Since starting the 12WBT my body fat percentage has gone from 41.3% to 38.2% (down from 47.1% in December). My resting heart rate has also gone from 80bpm to 75bpm in just four weeks. (more information on resting heart rate HERE)

For the first time in an entire lifetime I am loving my body. That includes my size and shape. I love what my body can do. It constantly surprises me and not surprisingly, it is always my mind that gives up first, never my body. In December I couldn’t walk to my shops without stopping to rest (it is literally 6 houses down) and now my body is running me all around. It jumps and bends and can do push ups. It’s amazing. I never really appreciated what my body could do. I had weak ankles growing up and terrible aerobic fitness. Then there was the media (and society) telling my body it was wrong for the size and shape it was. I tried desperately to eliminate any curves (I am currently a 12G and popped out four kids with no problems…I am curvy) so I could look like models. Models and celebrities I didn’t even find attractive. I never stopped to appropriate the awesome things my body could do. My body totally grew people…it gave the world four new (and awesome) people. It saw me through days of labour (times three…my shortest labour was 24.5hrs, my longest 6 days). Then it proceeded to provide milk for them…including two babies at once. It has walked me all over the place (I have never driven and my mum literally only got her licence 6 months ago). It let me body surf 6ft waves. Carry babies…and toddlers…and children. It has let me climb trees and playground equipment. My body is INCREDIBLE. I may be loosing weight and I may be getting fit…but the thing you guys need to remember is your bodies, not matter whether they run or walk or move your arms to push a wheel chair, are amazing. Treat them well and they will let you do even more. I encourage you to go out tomorrow (or stay in) and move your body. When I started I couldn’t do more than 5 minutes at a time. Now I can go a full hour. Don’t let where you are now get you down. If you can’t run, walk, if you can’t walk swim. Dance, skate, do jumping jacks, walk up and down your steps.

Has anyone gone back to look at my earlier posts compared to now? Where did that bitter angry person go? I am practically a hippy-lala compared to then.

project:girl

 

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This is not the post I intended to make tonight…

(10 points if you know which show the subject of the blog comes from)

Today I finally saw my doctor for the first time since I disengaged with the CAT team. I left shocked, angry & in tears. After a lecture she then proceeded to ignore me and talk to my husband like I wasn’t in the room. It seems my mental illness has gotten to the point where I am no longer deemed able to make a rational decision about my treatment.

I better back peddle a bit and tell you what has been going on.

Firstly sleep is amazing! I went almost three full weeks where I slept every night and was not only awake through the day…but able to function like other adults seem to. I would get up before 11 (the first week, then before 10 the second week and now before 9am). I would shower, eat breakfast, brush my teeth, get dressed, put make up on. All the things I always wondered how people managed it all. Then I would spend all day with my kids. Or reading. Or researching treating bipolar naturally. It seems when I sleep my brain actually works. I can understand medical articles and research papers. It seems when I sleep I am a happy person. A friend came to visit and she seriously said “Oh my god….you just smiled”. Yes folks she has known me two years and that was the first time she saw me smile. If nothing else the CAT team introduced me to an impressive sleeping medication that does nothing more than put me to sleep… I wake up refreshed, rather than groggy or stoned (like I have when trying other sleeping meds) and 3 weeks on they are still working (others have stopped working after 2-3 days).

I did have a few setbacks with sleep. The first one was after I did my nightrime routine (I know sleeping meds are only temporary so I am using the fact that I know I will sleep to my advantage. If I can build a routine in the lead up to my sleep then hopefully when I go off the meds I will be able to continue my routine and my body will just recognise its bedtime…at least thats the theory) about half way into my meditation/sleep app my brother called. I had forgotten to put my phone on airplane mode so it rang. It was 10pm and he never calls my mobile so worried, I answered. I ended up talking him through a horrible day (apparently his girlfriend – who also has a mental illness – had cheated on him while he was away working and he was 100km away and couldn’t get home and was a mess). But by then it seems I had missed my “window” of when the meds work and I barely slept all night…leaving me totally grumpy the next day. Then the very next night (I also should add that these three days in a row I was out of the house all day every day) a certain someone who I happen to be married too decided just after I got to sleep was the time to attempt to rebuild our, *ahem*, martial relations….I don;t think he expected to end up sleeping on the couch after that one. So of course I didn’t sleep well after that.

Then two days ago I ran out of sleepers and couldn’t get to the doctor to refill them til yesterday (I had to see a different dr as my GP wasn’t in) and I didn’t sleep at all for 36 hours. I was not only miserable but I seriously felt the whole day feeling like everyone would be better off it I moved out. It was this day that made me realise that maybe, just maybe, my bipolar is actually better treated with sleep than anything else.

For those that are wondering…I was diagnoses with chronic insomnia at nine years old. Not surprisingly it followed my dad moving out and me having a bipolar mother who’s world had just collapsed. It got even worse at 12 when my mums new boyfriend decided he was more attracted to me than my mother and visited my room nightly. I was 13 when my dad finally had a doctor do something about my sleeping and I went on sleepers for the first time. Of course no doctor that I have ever met thinks sleeping pills are a long term answer…they do however think antidepressants and mood stabilisers are.

I haven’t felt this good in years. At first I was worried I was starting to get manic as I was accomplishing more and more each day. I was tackling things I previously would have thought were impossible (like the sewing a skirt in one day) or batch cooking 4 different soups in one afternoon even though we only have one suitably sized pots. But then I thought again. My thoughts weren’t racing. I was able to concentrate on each thing I was doing. I wasn’t talking a million miles and hour and the real kicker…I was sleeping (my record for not sleeping around 11 days straight when I was manic). I was happy. I was smiling. I was socialising. I was still exercising, though not as much as I was busy seeing people and going places. I started to get a taste of how much life I had been missing out on. This was the reason I wanted to get off all the medications I was on last year … all it took was sleep.

Which brings me to my doctors appointment today. It started with a lecture on the fact that I haven’t seen her recently (my last three appointment were cancelled by the surgery as she wasn’t coming in that day). Then she wanted to know why I went to hospital. I barely got two words out when she started telling me I was now what was considered an “uncooperative patient” who clearly had no interest in actually getting better. (can I take a moment to mention here she didn’t ask me how I was going…otherwise she would know I have been doing amazing). Then she told me that my claim for disability payment would be denied unless I agreed to the “treatment plan” recommended by the CAT team and seconded by her. She then told me if I went on the medications recommended and then stopped (as I have done before) she would call centrelink personally to have my payment discontinued. So now not only was I being told I HAD to go back on medication (even though I am doing better) but she said she wanted to stop my sleeping meds. I wasn’t allowed to say anything in my defence. I was just told over and over again medication is the only answer and that if I wanted to get better it was the only thing I should be doing. Then when she was done she turned to my husband and ignored me completely stressing to him how important it was to do this…basically whether I liked it or not. She then bought up the fact that I hadn’t seen a psychiatrist. Even though she gave us two numbers…one ended up being a mechanic and the other was disconnected. We let her know about a month ago…she told us she was wrong and called the numbers in front of us (which of course went to a mechanic and the disconnected number). Then she said she would give us a call with numbers for others and then never did. As I wasn’t terribly keen on seeing a psychiatrist anyway (as his only job seems to be putting you on medication) I forgot pretty quickly. I have however become diligent about my vitamins, diligent about my sleep routine (which includes turning my computer off at around 8:30), become even more strict with my eating (I used to grab a lot of canned soups ect. now I make all my own to make sure there is no added sugars), I am exercising, I have booked in with a new psych who also allows me to talk to her via email until I can get in to see her (I was booked in for tomorrow but hubby made the appointment…and totally forgot I have tickets to see Annie with Miss 12 tomorrow…booked and paid for 3 months ago and in the calendar). I have done everything I can for my mental and pysical health EXCEPT go back on medications that I have tried in the past (and I have tried them for months – years at a time…not a week and then given up).

Before we were even out the door I was in tears. I was angry and terribly upset. This is usually where I would spiral down. Especially as it was pay day and we were at the shops. I am a compulsive shopper….especially when I am upset (which in the past has led to some dire consequences including us loosing a rental property). I bought myself a magazine….that was it. We got groceries for dinner. We got Miss 12 her first slip (she has a few new dresses that would IMO be immodest to wear without one. The only unplanned purchase of the day was drinking glasses. It’s hubbies birthday party on Saturday and we are down to 3 after one smashed yesterday. Target had packs of six for only $5 so we got some. Watch out big spender.

I ranted on twitter while I was out. I ranted to hubby while we were out. Then I got home. I remembered how great things were going. I decided right then and there this wasn’t going to suck me back in. I wasn’t going to let it. Then I reapplied my lipstick, fixed my hair and went for a run. Yup I had pretty vintage hair & red lipstick while I went for a run. For the first time in, well possibly a lifetime, I am happy. I am content with my life and not desperately wanting to feel better and thinking food/shopping/a new hair cut will fix it this time. I am just so lucky that last night I slept. I hate to think how today would have turned out otherwise.

So todays post was *suppose* to be about how great life is, how much I love baths and jazz music, how tomorrow I am taking Miss 12 to see her first “proper” musical at a “real” theatre, about how we have started to make the switch to local organic produce, how running is still amazing, how in 4 weeks my fitness has improved so I knocked a full 1min 43s off my 1km time trial…and have gone from not being able to do any pushups to managing a whole 7! How sewing is awesome, the things I want to knit using the vintage knitting pattern book I bought last year, how Miss 12 & I are planning to embark on making a quilt for her, some recipes…instead it turned into a doctors suck post.

So the hunt for a doctor continues. This one clearly didn’t work out (not sure if I mentioned it but she cornered hubby in one of his appointments to try to convince him homeschooling was a terrible idea and clearly I had come up with the idea because I was mentally ill). But I will not let this stop my progress forward. Life has been so amazing to live for the first time in forever…I am not giving it up without a fight.

project:girl

Becoming Scarlett O’Hara

Lately I have had so much more energy given that I slept every night for almost three weeks straight (then totally forgot that I was all out of sleepers last night and surprise, surprise I am still awake at 7am) I decided it was time to use some of the fabric stash Lady Demelza grabbed for me & the girls to play with and try my hand at a pencil skirt. The instructions I found online seemed easy enough and I really thought going it without a pattern shouldn’t be too hard….right?

skirt #1

For the first try I decided to use some lovely navy-blue-with-polka-dots jersey I had lying around. I figured with the stretch I could avoid learning how to insert a zipper and just pull it on. I followed this high waisted pencil skirt tutorial on youtube. Of course I didn’t have pattern paper…just regular A4 (I hit up the massive box we have where all our wrong printing goes…so recycling…sort of). I figured that would be fine…all I had to do was tape it all together into a big sheet. Except we didn’t have any tape. So I got out the stapler…of course it kept jamming. Then I dropped it on the floor and the bottom part snapped off. I wasn’t off to a good start. Eventually after much frustration I had my big sheet of paper, took my measurements and attempted to follow the tutorial. I didn’t quite follow and I ended up with 4 pieces with the hip curve instead of just the two edges – grrr. Then I discovered I hadn’t left a seam allowance. As I had a limited amount of this material I figured I would just stretch into it. Then I decided I needed to complicate things and add a waist band as I HATE skirts without waist bands. So I attempted to follow this tutorial on youtube. But of course my smallest waist measurement was on the bottom part, not the waist band…meaning I made the waist band even smaller (as well as missing the seam allowance). By now the skirt is getting kind of ridiculously tiny…but I soldiered on. By the time I was done I was ready to tear my hair out. I realised there was no way I could fit into it…it would barely go around one of my thighs. Especially as I sewed the grain wrong on the waist band meaning it stretched up instead of out and without an overlocker I had to make do with a zigzag stitch. It was so small Miss 12 (who is a total waif) could barely squeeze it over her hips. It was still long enough for me at that point so I took the hem up and she walked away with a brand new skirt that she is already styling with wide belts, cardigans and braces/suspenders….and of course I am jealous as that was my plan for me *sigh*

After that frustration I decided to try something else. I have around 30 cardigans (totally obsessed) but I have been dying to go from hip length ones to lovely cropped cardigans like this one from Brora Cashmere

I haven’t had much luck finding cardigans that finish at the waist like this but I did have two identical navy blue glassons cardigans, a pair of scissors and a sewing machine. I grabbed that needed the sleeve sewn up out of the cupboard, had a quick look in the mirror to work out roughly how many buttons I would need to chop off to get it right and chopped off the bottom ribbed part. then I lined the two parts up and sewed them back together. I even ended up having the buttons perfectly lined up with the button holes on the other side. It was seriously too easy. Not as pretty as the cashmere ones but $25 vs 300 pounds …. I think I will just pay a visit to cocolatte and grab every colour of $8 cardigans they have and go at it.

Glassons Navy Button up Cardigan…original length (which looks shit on me)

My cropped version (note the bigger issue in this picture is that I desperately need a bra that fits…the ladies need to be sitting high to really show off my waist)

That done and having gotten some lunch into me I decided to do some more research on pencil skirts and see if I could possibly find a free pattern. After all I had these super cute kitchen curtains Lady Demelza sent me and a spare navy zip…they were just begging to be used and the sewing machine was already out.

skirt #2 – My Scarlett O’Hara Kitchen Curtain Skirt

This time I roughly followed these instructions on the Cotton & Curls blog. But determined to add a waist band I decided my brain could totally figure out an “easier” way than the first waistband video. I cut a long strip of my kitchen curtains about 8in wide. Then I lined the patterns up with the big bit of material and sewed on a “band” at the top. Then I folded the material in half, then half again and followed the cotton & curls instructions. I then unfolded it once and cut to make two halves of the same pattern. I then cut the back panel in half (I made sure to leave an extra inch on the back panel when cutting it out) and basting stitched it together before following this tutorial on adding a zipper without a zipper foot (I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a zipper foot til I googled “how to insert a zipper”). Once the zipper was in I sewed the rest of the back seam again with a proper sturdy stitch. Then I lined up the join of the waistband to the skirt on the two sides and sewed them together. Then I made a “hem” at the top of my waistband all around in one go so it was even and did the same again with the hem. By this time it was 10pm and I had been so distracted I hadn’t even had dinner. I was totally sure it wasn’t going to go on as it had almost no stretch and it looked too small. But sure enough…apart from a little wiggling to get over my hips…it fit! Not only did it fit, it fit like a glove. Then I realised I could barely sit in it … or walk in it (I had totally forgotten the reason I did the basting stitch was so I could leave a slit at the back for walking). Also without my spanx I look more than a bit lumpy. But for my second attempt ever, having “drafted” the pattern on my own (which became more and more difficult as the day wore on as I discovered between lunchtime and 8pm I bloated out almost 10cm on my waist….every time I remeasured the measurements increased) and having never put a zip in before. I am really quite proud of it.

A few things I want to do or things that I will change in the future now that I understand a bit better how it all works

  1. Buy some butchers paper/tracing paper/cardboard in a very large roll
  2. Make a pattern of the above skirt with said paper so I can re-use it (maybe make it a touch bigger)
  3. Use heavier material. I much prefer a heavier material with little stretch to pull me in. I love pencil skirts in wool and I have a bolt of Alannah Hill wool I got last year from clearit.com.au that would be just perfect
  4. Learn how to line a skirt. Again…I like a lining in my skirts and dresses the same way I like a heavier material.
  5. Buy a zipper foot. Too many times the thread snapped or the needle snapped or I couldn’t drag the zipper through (as suggested in the video)…it became incredibly frustrating and I almost threw the sewing machine on the floor a few times.
  6. Remember that I am just learning…the perfectionist in me was absolutely devastated and wanted to give up after my first skirt that was suppose to be an adults sz 16 ended up a childs sz 8. I need to keep practising with all the spare material I have lying around. Practice makes perfect…even though I think practice is stupid and I just want to skip to the perfect part.
  7. Buy a basic pattern and try it. It has to be easier than measuring straight onto material and hoping for the best. I think I am going to get out the pj patterns (once again given to me by the lovely Lady Demelza) I have in the sewing box. Pj’s should be easy right? Another option would be an apron…I totally need one now I am wearing “real” clothes around the house AND cooking again.

project:girl

Pin Curling…and finding my groove

A few years ago when I came up with the idea for my “project:girl” I had no idea where it would lead. I hoped I would find my own style and some great looking clothes as well as learning how to do my own hair & make-up (beyond the pony tail & lip gloss). I have always admired vintage fashion and loved old movies but was never sure I could pull it off. Even then would I be able to give up my jeans? Or being able to shop at target? How the hell would I manage to do my hair so elaborately every day when some days I couldn’t find the energy to brush my teeth?

Last year I went to a vintage hair & make up workshop with a friend. I ended up being really disappointed. I felt I didn’t learn anything I couldn’t have found on youtube and I still couldn’t pin curl, apply red lipstick without looking like a clown or manage the winged eye liner. I tried a few times at home using online instructions but quickly became frustrated. At the time my hair was super long and given that I was still living my life in bed I had no energy. I could do maybe 1/4 of my head before my arms would be shaking. It seems getting fit, loosing weight and having more energy helps if you want to pin curl. After getting my middy plus hair cut done a few months ago (4.5in all over) I thought I would have more luck. Though I found I now had the opposite problem. My hair was too short for me to pin curl. Now clearly ladies in the past managed to do it at that length but as a beginner it was just too hard. So I forgot about it and got down to the business of exercising.

Then someone on the Fedora Lounge posted asking about getting Marilyn Monroe hair which led to these photos which show her and her fringe/bangs are put up in “standing pin curls”.  As I now had a very similar length hair to Miss Monroe I gave it a shot. I used this video from Lisa Freemont Street.

total crazy eyes…I was so excited I managed to put all my hair up in pin curls

And while I didn’t end up with Marilyn, I was super happy with how the set turned out

more 40’s peek-a-boo wave than Marilyn…but quite happy

But then I went for a run and my hair got all sweaty and I washed it out. Which led me to wonder how these vintage girls did it all. Did they really set their hair every single day? Again I turned to the Fedora Lounge where it seems everyone had their own “system”. Some people made their pin curl sets last days. Which got me thinking how many days could I get out of one set? Now for the sake of this “scientific” research I didn’t run for three days to stop my head from sweating…well that’s my story and I am sticking to it (I am sure it has nothing to do with the fact that it is 5 degrees outside and our ducted heating was finally fixed). I got three days without even really trying.

Day 1

worn with my 50’s headband/hat

Day 2

curls have dropped a bit…but still a really nice set with just a good brush first thing. Don’t ask about the face though.

Day 3

My hair was a bit grotty after two days of styling products to leave it down. But after a full year of struggling with upsweeps (also known as victory rolls) it turns out pin curling hair before hand makes a massive difference. I put the bottom of my hair into two little pony tails with ribbon & felt like “Dorothy” all day.

Knowing that I can get at least three days out of a set makes me much more inclined to do it. It also took about an hour the first time and only 25 minutes the second time. So I think with practice I can probably get it down to about 10-15 minutes. I do credit a few things to the lasting of the curls. Firstly I did a wet set. Meaning I had a shower, washed my hair and set the pin curls while wet and slept on them overnight (I wore a headscarf to protect them a little). Secondly I used my Lindy Charm School Setting Lotion which is amazing for setting hair (I spritzed it on each strand before I curled it up). Lastly my good old bryl creme (found in the mens toiletries aisle at coles) which I used for a bit of shine and to tame the frizz. I actually didn’t use any hair spray until I did my upsweeps and spent day 1 on the foreshore of Williamstown (windy) and Day 2 out in Point Cook (windier).

On day 1 I popped into my favourite dress that everyone always asks me if it is vintage (it’s actually only two years old and bought at target). It’s a really pretty 50’s inspired floral blue dress (flowers are red and pink) with a fitted bodice and full skirt. I threw on a pink cardigan as it was freezing, a red belt over the top to nip in my waist and put on one of my (ridiculously huge collection) vintage cardigan clips as a brooch. With my favourite 50’s headband hat and my hair I felt amazing. I popped on some brown mascara, some benetint pink blush and a little pink lipstick and I felt like a million dollars.

On day two I was forced back to reality as that is really the only vintage style I have left that fits me. So I threw on an old favourite Leona Edmiston dress (I have about ten), some stockings & my leather italian boots. I used to love the dress, but my stomach stuck out and made me feel like I shouldn’t be wearing it. But my tummy has almost gone and my boots finally do up around my calves again. It was the outfit I dreamed of wearing all last winter. But I felt miserable. I felt like I was wearing a sack. Not because it looked “bad” but because I wanted full skirts and cardigans and 50’s ballet flats. Hence the face in the day 2 photo. I felt ridiculous. For so long I avoided wearing the vintage look as I thought I would feel ridiculous, instead I felt at home. Happy. Like I had found a part of myself I have been missing so badly. In the modern clothes I would have died to look “good” in a year ago I felt wrong.

So it seems the further I progress with my “project:girl” I am discovering more about myself. I always imagined a wardrobe of modern jeans and dresses with a few vintage dresses thrown in to the mix for variety. Now I am rethinking my whole wardrobe. Of course the other issue is I can’t (well I guess I could…but I am not going to) run out and just grab a few things. This week I didn’t loose any weight at all…but I lost a full 4cm off my waist. Until my weight/size stops changing I don’t want to spend money on clothes that won’t fit me in two weeks. Especially as I have a wardrobe filled to the brim with sizes 14 -24. I have no physical need to buy clothes.

Instead I think I am going to use this “opportunity” to try my hand at sewing some pencil skirts. I have a bunch of tutorials, a sewing machine, tonnes of fabric (all my girls sew, which leads to tonnes of offcuts) and now I am sleeping at night and being awake all day I can use that time to do something productive. Then maybe moving on to a basic dress. If I can do those then really…I can make my own wardrobe.

But that wouldn’t be nearly as much fun as spending hours on etsy looking at vintage

project:girl

Sea Shepherd dot Org

I have to admit in my old age I have gotten…disheartened I guess would be the best word. There was a time when I was young and judgemental passionate and thought I could change the world. As I have gotten older I tend not to worry so much about everything, even though the world is clearly going to hell in a hand basket. I guess I stopped believing people could change the world. Which sucks balls…as I still believe one person can make a difference and that all the singles added together make a massive movement. Unfortunately until recently I have had little interest in sustainability or where our food comes from or even the environment. After all we don’t have a car…aren’t we doing the best thing for the environment just by not driving? Some of it was laziness, some was sticking my head in the sand, some was ignorance but a lot of it was I had so much on my plate just managing to survive from one day to the next I couldn’t possible take on another worry.

I have volunteered and done charity work since I was five. No one in my family was particularly surprised when I started my own (which is now running without my involvement successfully…it’s my legacy to the world I guess). I have attended rallys and made posters and ranted about how the world needs to change now. I have tried where I can to make little changes but the past two years saw me loose faith in pretty much all of it. But today I got a little bit of hope. Maybe the world can be changed one little bit at a time.

Today we organised an excursion for our little homeschool group to the “Steve Irwin” boat which is part of the Sea Shepherd organisation. Not all that surprising to me was it didn’t have as big a turn out as I would normally get for an excursion (like when I organised for us to visit HMAS Castlemaine – a WWII Navy ship. Our group was so big we had to be split into four smaller groups) I guess people don’t see the environment as something too important (there is the judgemental side of me coming out again…maybe I am not ancient just yet). But though the group consisted of just five families it was without a doubt the single best excursion we have done this year. The crew were engaging, didn’t mind the fact that some of our kids had special needs (ie. couldn’t wait for him to finish talking before asking another question…a few of our group have various Autism Spectrum Disorders including my Miss 11), answered every single question to the best of their ability, shared little bits of trivia, managed to get the kids to remember it by playing little games and did so for payment in fruit & vege.

I have to admit I felt emotional during some of the discussions. I don’t know that I was the only person about to cry…I wasn’t about to look up and risk totally embarrassing my girls (who are at the age now where my mere existence is an embarrassment enough) and myself. But I am an emotional person and hearing about a guy running over this hill because he heard what sounded like humans screaming (it was actually whales being slaughtered) was just awful. Did you know that whalers target mummy whales because whales are such tight family groups? The babies won’t leave the mums and the dads keep trying to protect the mums so they don’t even have to worry about herding them once they have the mums harpooned or on the shore. Being social animals as well…they have to watch their family members being slaughtered one after the other. Well I am only human and I found myself tearing up.

BUT the single most fascinating (and heart warming and hopeful and wonderful) is that they have made it so painful, so horrible, so awkward for the japanese whalers that often that the japanese are just packing up and going home early. They really think adding just once more boat to their fleet will make it almost impossible for those whalers to continue their “scientific” research. How amazing is that? In MY lifetime we might see an end to whaling commercially (and that is what they are actually doing with the whales as a loop hole requires the whales, that are caught “scientifically”, be completely used and not wasted…meaning they can sell it for food. Last season they had set out to kill 1000 whales and got less than 250 of them.

Another interesting (and yet saddening fact) about the UN charter that protects these animals is that they basically said “these are the rules…but we aren’t going to enforce them. Someone else will have to do that” *insert vague gesturing at the entire world*. That is when Captain Watson stepped up to the plate and said “I’ll do it”. Maybe it does take just one person to change the world?

I could ramble on and on about them as *I* learnt just as much as the girls. I also really appriciate that all their crew are volunteers. They don’t get paid a salary of any kind and when we booked our excursion they just asked that each family (assuming they could afford to) make a small donation from their WISH LIST. We bough a bunch of fruit & vege as a donation, but they were asking for everything from dolphin torch batteries to DVD’s to tofu (the crew are all vegan…they walk their talk). Because of these things they keep their administration costs right down and apparently 95% of cash donations go toward the campaigns (meaning fuelling the boats to head out to save some whales or sharks or bluefin tuna). The huge portion that some “charities” spend on administration costs and CEO salaries has put me off supporting lots of them but this is someone we are going to go ahead and try to support even if it just means dropping a few bags of potatoes off to the ship while it is in dock.

Now I don’t normally advocate much but I would really REALLY encourage you to visit the “Steve Irwin” if you are in Melbourne or are visiting Melbourne soon. They are currently docked in Williamstown and will be there for awhile. While they operate tours on weekends they said there is always someone there who is willing to talk to you. Just go to the dock and ring the door bell on their gang plank (yup they have a door bell on there). It is totally free to visit, but help them out and bring a bag of carrots or some metcards (or something else from their wishlist). Even if you are a sceptic or think there are more important things going on in the world go have a talk to them. Take your kids. Take your mum. Take your friends. They have some super cool gadgets (and they happily pointed out the helicopter donated by Bob Barker and the helicopter shed bought by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers) and show you all around the ship.

Lastly they are going to be showing some of series four of their show “Whale Wars” at the Titanic Restaurant in Williamstown every Wednesday starting on the 27th of June at 8pm. They are asking for a suggested donation of $5-$10 (but have said that if money is an issue you don’t have to worry) We are going to try to make it ourselves so we might just see you there.

project:girl

Endorphins & Running in the Rain

When I have exercised (half heartedly) in the past I really didn’t understand the endorphin thing people kept going on about. I clearly wasn’t pushing myself hard enough or for long enough or consistently enough for me to notice. Now…well now things are different.

I am now running about three times a week and exercising in some form or another at least five times a week. The hardest part is getting out of bed to start, but once I am going I not only love it…but the high that comes afterwards is amazing. If it’s been a few days (like it had been today) I get grouchy and grumbly and find everything and everyone annoying. I feel like a different person afterwards. My iphone app has little icons to press after the run to show how you feel and every time the smiley face just isn’t enough…I need a big giant goofy grin.

I haven’t done much this week as I was recovering from last week…ballet concert, birthday party, my mother in law (urg) and our 13th dating anniversary. We had play dates and excursions and given that the concert and Miss 11’s birthday were not something I could opt out of (like I often do with excursions and park day) I was left completely wiped. So I rested. And rested some more. Then the weather has been shit…so every time I would grab my runners it would start to rain and I would wuss out and go back under my doona.

Today was the last straw though…I had to get out of the house. I had to go for a run. it finally stopped raining and the blue sky came out so I raced out the door. Two minutes into my warm up and it was sprinkling…by the time I started running it was pouring. I was warm enough thanks to exercising and in the end it was incredibly refreshing. I knocked out 3km in 30 minutes and came home looking like a drowned rat….with a beet red face. I’m still smiling though.

In just two weeks I have slowly increased the time I can walk and run. I am covering more distance in a shorter period and my heart rate seems to be going lower each time…so I guess I am getting fitter. I keep worrying about hurting myself as I am almost blind without my glasses and have really bad depth perception so I run back and forth on the concrete path at the local park. I must look (and sound) like a mad woman walking 150m turning around and coming back over and over and over again but I can’t run on new terrain without being terrified of falling over. In the past when I have tried to run I have also come down with shin splints pretty quickly but now that I am 20kgs lighter (I cracked the 20kgs lost mark on Wednesday) and have proper running shoes that doesn’t seem to be an issue. My left knee clicks sometimes…but by the time I have warmed up and am into my second run it seems to have stopped…maybe it just needs the warming up.

With all the exercise I am doing I have added back in carbs. Not a lot, I am still keeping to under 100g of carbs a day (the carb amount per serve, not the weight of the serve itself) and trying to make sure most of that is no starchy fruit & vege. But I will eat a piece of bread every few days and have fallen back in love with beans and pumpkin…were chickpeas always this amazing?

I have disengaged with the CAT team and they have handed over to my GP…who I still haven’t seen as she keeps calling in sick (how dare she). I have gone a few days without antidepressants with no side effects (but I only took them for a few days). I have gone back to being religious with my vitamins and salmon oil and after reading more about treating bipolar naturally I have started a therapeutic dose of vitamin D3 on top of the multivitamins and the salmon oil (10g a day). I am still on my winning streak of sleeping….I think I am onto day 12 in a row now. I haven’t gotten up later than 10am in a week. Not only am I going to sleep, but I am waking up refreshed. It has been about twenty years since I have slept and woken up refreshed. I stopped believing it was possible. Not surprisingly…my mood has had a remarkable upturn since sleeping consistently. Every single night I turn off my computer by 9pm at the latest, take my sleepers and then get in a hot cleopatra bath, listen to jazz until I the sleepers kick in and then I go to bed and listen to a sleeping meditation app. I am rarely awake by the end of the app and the hubby has to come in and switch on my white noise machine for me.

So here I am. Lighter. Fitter. Happier. Healthier. Awake.

onwards and upwards

project:girl

Inspiration Board

This weeks challenge (on top of eating right and exercising) was to create an inspiration or mood board for our “transformation”. For me, I am trying to overhaul my whole life, I am not on a weight loss journey, and I think my board reflects that. I want to get back into photography. I dream of finding the perfect vintage 50’s little black dress. I want to go to Paris. I want to run…really run. I want to learn dressage & show jumping (or really just get back into horseriding at all). I want to learn to swing dance. But  more than anything, I want to be a better person. I want to transform from the inside out.

project:girl

ps – fingers crossed you can click on the image and view it larger. It may be hard to read otherwise.