Week two, day one: Nuts, seeds and cheesecake
Being the only challenger who lives in Fujairah, I have to travel an hour and a bit to Dubai and/or Sharjah for my nutrition, life-coaching and fitness sessions at least three times per week. This makes planned meals and snacks a little more "challenging". However, knowing what I plan to eat makes packing healthy snacks easy. I find eating at restaurants easier, too – I simply ask for what I want. Most restaurants are happy to oblige when it comes to diet-specific requirements. Packing snacks for the road, like in the attached picture, that are healthy have proved a hit with my hubby and daughter too. No longer do we stop at the convenient ENOC and ADNOC stores for choccies, chips and colas (I have to interject and mention that the ENOC on Al Awir Road stocks an excellent selection of fresh and health-conscious snacks). I'm happy to be influencing their health and wellbeing positively for a change.
The only downside to today's nutrition update is the dessert I succumbed to. Following a short, but powerful session with Carolyn (where I learned an amazing technique to conquer stress, negativity and self-doubt), I wandered into the Nando's at The Greens. I ordered the delicious and healthy grilled chicken and vegetables served on a larger skewer. It was amazing! After polishing THAT off, I spotted the dessert menu and, before hubby could ask for the bill, slipped in a quick order for the tempting caramel cheesecake served with ice-cream and chocolate swirls. It even sounds crazy scrumptious doesn't it? I fell off the wagon with a resounding ka-thunk! It was certainly worth the 30 minutes of sweat time on the treadmill this evening.
The lesson for today: if you want to enjoy the dessert tray, go ahead and do it! It's no use beating yourself up about the odd piece of chocolate, or caramel cheesecake, that crosses your lips. Just be sure to get back on that wagon pronto!
Week two, day three: The jeans don’t lie
Today I took some time to manage my bulging wardrobe. I try, but just can't seem to get rid of anything. As a result, I have things in there that haven't seen the light of day for over five years. Bearing in mind the Style Network mantra of "If it doesn't fit, toss it", I tried on at least a dozen jeans, skirts , dresses and tops from my skinnier days. I'm not usually this organised or enthusiastic about a closet detox, but I had an ulterior motive. Feeling so positive about my new and improved mental and physical state, I wanted to clear the mess in my home as well. My closet was the obvious place to start. (Confession… I was also hoping to wangle a trip to the clothes stores in order to feel even better in new clothes.)
So after an hour of tugging, pulling and shoving my bits into various items of clothing, success! Dear friends, I am happy to report that these size 14 jeans fit! They were a pre-baby purchase that had languished in the back of my closet ever since. And not the tight, muffin-top inducing, lay-on-your-back-and-get-hubby-to-pull-them-up-jeans actually fit! But proper the-way-they-were-meant-to-fit fit. YES!! After two weeks of sacrificing nearly all sugar, and eating sensibly, I have dropped a size! I haven't challenged this hypothesis with the scale, but I feel slimmer, so that counts, doesn't it? And the jeans don't lie!
So it seems I'm going to continue to rediscover my love affair with my clothes. The malls will have to wait as I am definitely not tossing any of my smaller clothes just yet. My credit card, hubby and bank manager can all breathe easier now!
Week two, day three: Culinary Goddess
Today I tried one of Christina’s recipes for fish and sweet potato. I seasoned the fish with my new kitchen heroes – cayenne pepper, light garlic salt and extra virgin olive oil –added some sliced bell peppers, and wrapped it in foil. After about 15 mins in the oven, the fish was done. The sweet potatoes took a while longer, but left enough time to prepare a lovely garden salad.
Hubby and daughter looked at me askance when I presented this as our lunch meal (Me? In the kitchen? I understand the sceptism). A half hour later, they were licking their chops and complimenting me on a wonderful meal. I puffed up with pride – only to rapidly deflate when hubby asked, “So, what’s for dinner?”
According to Christina most people eat their heaviest meal at dinner time. I have changed this pattern at home. We now eat our heavy proteins, carbs and starchy foods at lunchtime, and have a lighter meal at around 7:30pm. As a family we feel more energetic and even hubby’s lost a kilo or so.
Exercise is still a problem. I haven’t officially started at Fitness First as I still have to get the go-ahead from my doctor and physiotherapist. It’s frustrating since I want to get to the part when I really start to lose weight. Physiotherapy is all about getting basic motor functions back to a normal level. So far, so good. I am walking unaided, my speech is almost back to normal and most times people can’t even detect the facial weirdness (or maybe they think it’s a “look” I’m going for!). Maybe in a day or two I’ll get the longed for medical clearance so I can have a proper go at working out.
Week two, day four: Zap that zit!
Argh! Woke up this morning with a zit on my chin the size of Vesuvius! I don’t know what’s going on – my body think’s it’s sixty and my skin thinks it’s sixteen again. I was feeling pretty down about this sad state of affairs until I opened an email from Louisa about my upcoming colon therapy session. In essence, colon hydrotherapy is when they stick a whatsit up your wazoo and flush away all the gunk, you know, up there. That’s not what’s got me excited (excuse me!), the bit that got my motor revving was this : “Not only is it brilliant for your health in a multitude of ways (including better digestion, brighter healthier-looking skin, less bloating, detoxing, weight-loss and more…” Yep, next week I have TWO colonic therapy sessions scheduled with Kay Vosloo. She’s South African too and I hope this will encourage a gentler session. I’m looking forward to having my skin back to normal and flushing all the baddies out.
Week two, day five: Gym Bunny?!
Yay, me! Both my neurologist and physiotherapist have cleared me for take-off! I can officially start going to gym. I can start looking for workout clothes (unless baggy sweatpants and hubby’s t-shirt is de rigueur at Fitness First? I think not!) and really start working on working out. There is a smart gym with treadmills and whatnot in my building and I have been for a couple of slow walking sessions since my stroke, but usually feel a bit underwhelmed by the whole gym going process. I hope that Fitness First’s beautiful, pink ladies gym at Safeer Mall , Sharjah will inspire me to new heights of fitness.
Week two, day six: No paparazzi, please!
Today I had a taste of the impact the Life Challenge has had, not just on me, but the people who read Aquarius. On the way home from Dubai, we stopped at a Burger King for something to eat (I had the Lite Chicken Burger, no fries and some juice). As we waited in line, the cashier next to ours let out a gasp, spun around and headed to the kitchen at the back of the store. A few minutes later, she was at our table with a copy of this month’s Aquarius! “Is this you, Madam?” she asked, pointing to my picture. Embarrassed I nodded. “I love this magazine,” she gushed, “I also want to make my life better and I like reading about you in your blog.” (I promised I’d mention her in this week’s blog, so here you go Anisa!). She asked me to sign her copy of Aquarius, and went to tell her manager. He came over with a voucher for a free meal at our next visit. By this time I was a red-faced, gibbering wreck. Two more ladies came over to our table to congratulate me. Aquarius, you really have the nicest readers!
Unfortunately I had my camera charging at home so couldn’t record this amazing day. Next time.