the wanderer returns

He came home!

The day after I'd leafleted the neighbourhood and the morning after I cried myself to sleep fearing we'd never see him again, our daft wee cat turned up with a big whinging meow at the bedroom door. Such a relief. I've no idea where he'd been, he was hungry and covered in scratches and scabs but thank goodness he's home and safe - and grounded!

I let the cat traumas take over my life for the last week or so. What with Higgins' absence and Alfred's constant care, medication and vet visits, everything else had been put on hold and that included exercise. There was a lot of walking around the neighbourhood, but not a lot else.

There was some VERY good news in all this though. Despite all the stresses and anxieties, for once I didn't emotionally eat. I stuck to the plan religiously. I think the main thing that got me through is that I'm not doing this alone. Hubby and I are on the same eating plan. I'm doing the shopping and preparing both of our meals; what he eats, I eat (albeit slightly smaller portions). Tempation to veer from the program feels so different when it's not just me I'm accountable to. It's made such a difference. I've shared healthy eating and diets with friends before (and bloggers of course), but for the most part you're still on your own with your own actions. It's always great to have someone to share the stories and let off steam with, but when it comes to the food and daily grind, in the past I've only ever been responsible for myself. This feels completely different and I really rather like it.

Another thing that happened last week in the midst of all this cat-nonsense, is that I met the lady I'm going to be home English tutoring. I meant to write about it but had to rush straight home to take Alfred to the vet, then that was the night Higgins went missing. My new student is from Eritrea and has only been in Australia for two months. To thank me for volunteering my time to teach her, she and her sister treated me to a traditional Eritrean Coffee Ceremony and meal in their home. The whole experience was amazing, enriching and incredibly humbling. Being so new to this, I'm still quite nervous about the lessons themselves but I felt so very welcomed it most put me very much at ease. After all, what's not to love about turning coffee into a ceremony? They're my kind of people.

if it's not one thing...

|'s the other!

Alfred is home after his operation and hobbling about. The injury was a lot worse than the vet had originally thought, but after a weekend living in a makeshift kitty-hospital in our bathroom, he's starting to walk again and the vet is really pleased with his progress.

However, our other cat, Higgins, is now awol and hasn't been seen since yesterday. I'm already totally frantic, he always comes home for dinner without fail. Only exceptions were one time when he was stuck on our neighbour's roof and another time when he managed to get himself trapped in an empty half-renovated house a couple of doors down. He's a total homebody and quite the wuss, he'd never stay out if there were any way of getting home.

It's only been a night but I'm honestly an emotional wreck right now. I don't do optimism very well. I just can't tell myself everything's going to be OK and allow myself to relax for fear of having let my guard down to the alternative outcome. I don't know why I do this, it's just as much of a rollercoaster whichever way you look at it. I don't know why I so often chose to fear the worst. It's definitely all part and parcel of the same issue I have with goals and dreams. If only I could get a handle on my emotions.

One day.

In the meantime I just want my daft wee cat to come home.

busy being good


For once my few days' absence is not attributable to a slippery slope slip to a downward spiral. Nope, I've just been rather busy, and busy being good n'all.

A lovely girlfriend of mine was visiting from overseas. Just about every waking hour was filled with shopping, sitting in cafes, shopping some more, sightseeing, shopping a little more, interspersed with ever more frequent cafe coffee breaks. Despite getting caught out in the worst hail storm and flash flooding Melbourne has seen for many years, it was the very best of times. I talked so much I lost my voice (hubby would say this is hardly surprising, but I think he rather enjoyed the mini-break himself - from me, I mean)

I'll admit that I had fretted a little before her arrival about how I'd be able to keep up my clean eating and exercise, but I'm glad to say I took the sensible option and told her upfront. We ate well and she even joined me in a combat DVD on Saturday morning. So great to share that smug "we deserve everything we eat from now on" feeling.

Now it's back down to earth and the regular routine. Well almost routine. Today's going to be a difficult one in terms of pantry picking and emotional eating; our furbaby Alfred has an operation this afternoon to try and repair the skin and tendons on his leg after coming a cropper yesterday. We're not sure if it was a car or what caused it, poor wee kittyboy. My plan of attack is to distract myself as much as possible, eat only pre-planned meals and snacks and keep drinking so much water there's constantly something reassuringly near my mouth. Get well soon Alfred.


Yesterday I had lunch with my most lovely friend Miss Milo. It was a fabulous highlight to an otherwise underwhelming day.

Truly underwhelming: I'd freaked myself out by looking at jobs in the local paper; disappointed myself by purchasing size 20-22 (sob!) PJs in the Target sleepwear sale - only to find they still clung to my belly; picked on nibbles for the rest of the afternoon when I should have recognised the signs of thirst and anxiety, not hunger; and finally, and most disappointingly, ruined a perfectly good ham and made a revolting dinner - which I still ate, why did I do that?

But back to the lovely Miss M. She wisely recommended that I write this post when I said how I'm feeling, blogwise. That is, I'd told her how very selfish I feel now that I'm posting again but still not really visiting other people's blogs. Sure, blogging is a great means of journaling and outpouring, but I used to find the real value was to be found in how it opens the door to a whole community. The support and inspiration received from others was worth countless more than any amount of self expression.

I just don't know where my head is at right now. I want to be an active part of this community, to offer support, feedback and appreciation to others. I used to feel kinship with those who struggled, be inspired by others' successes, pick up tips and fantastic ideas from folks' experience and experiments, and generally feel good to be part of a loving and supportive community. But now, even after 10 days of being good to myself by eating clean and exercising, I'm still struggling to read other people's blogs. It doesn't matter whether they're fighting to keep themselves afloat or rejoicing at the top of their game, I'm getting the same internal reaction. I feel edgy and anxious, self-disappointment, self- hatred even. Above all, I think what I feel is shame.

I thought it was only my friends and family in the UK and Perth I was hiding from. I hadn't realised how much I was hiding from my virtual friends too. Strange really, these are people who don't know my real name, haven't even seen my whole face, and who I've known only a very short time. But in their presence the emotions are very much the same.

I need to deal with my issues because no matter how much writing this blog is, by its nature, all about me; it's only worthwhile when it's also a gateway to you. Has anyone else felt this way? How did you get past it?

don't lose your head


I really hadn't wanted to do my exercise today. But as I settled down to procrastinate in front of the TV, a piece came on the breakfast show about obesity; containing (of course) the ubiquitous montage of headless fatties.

My recurring dread of one day recognising my own torso on the telly was MORE than enough to whip me back into focus. Exercise done.

p.s. something else I've been procrastinating about is to update the sidebar with my current girth since getting back up to 120kg again. Until I can bring myself to do so, I apologise for the false advertising.

*update* simply fixed by removing the numbers altogether, d'oh! why didn't I think of that?

domestic goddess


I think I've been bodysnatched by a 1950's housewife!


Whoever has the real Ani, please look after her. This alien-Ani's having a ball and might not want to leave.

You see, lately hubby's upped his own exercise and has been following a pretty serious programme of weights and cardio. With it comes a nutrition plan, which, until recently, he'd been largely ignoring. At the weekend I sat down with his plan and my fab kikki.K meal planner pad and worked out the week's food for the both of us.

picture borrowed from kikki.K website

I figured out my shopping list and trotted off to the supermarket, filling my trolley with a wide array of food and multi-size food containers.

I realise this may be very run of the mill for many folk, but for me - a non-cook; sure I'll bake a cake from time to time, but meal-preparation is not a task I've ever really enjoyed - this is bizarre and unusual behaviour.

  • awoke at 6am to blend a beautiful mixed berry and banana smoothie to start us on our day
  • dropped hubby at the train station complete with a lunchpack containing turkey, ham & pickle sandwich (made all the more perfect by the delicious homemade sourdough bread hubby was busy creating while I was with the girls on Saturday night) and a handful of pecans for attacks of the nibbles
  • slotted in an hour's exercise before returning to the station to catch a train into the city for my volunteer position, resplendent with my own lunch pack and ham sandwich (no free-food lunch panics for me today)
  • arrived home with just enough time ahead of hubby to pre-make the homemade turkey burgers (using, of course, breadcrumbs from hubby's sourdough) and started prepping veg before it was time again to return to the station for "how was your day dear?"
  • after a yummy, (and very healthy), dinner, it was back to the stove to grill chicken breasts, dice feta and create a salad for hubby and my lunch today. The pride I felt at the sight of his perfectly compartmentalised salad container (salad in the main part, grilled Portuguese chicken breast in another, feta in a wee pot and a snug little space for more snacky pecans), should honestly not be allowed.

  • began again with another fabulous breakfast and even more exercise
  • with Dr. Phil providing background noise, I spent the next short while roasting pumpkin for homemade soup; experimenting with a few spices along the way even (this is getting exotic now) and working up the perfect hunger for my own grilled chicken salad lunch
  • with the soup ready for tonight (more sourdough naturally), all that's left to do is make the tuna bean salad, and more importantly pick out the perfect storage container, for tomorrow's lunch pack.

And the moral of this story?

So long as it involves fabulous stationery and can appeal to my creative (and perfectionist) tendencies, I really can do anything.

every day a new day

I wouldn't quite go so far as saying I had a spring in my step, but I certainly awoke a little chirpier today. I caught up on my exercise, even doing pull-downs in the rain on our rusty old gym equipment, and I've eaten clean. Tonight I'll be meeting with some of the lovely lady bloggers of Melbourne for dinner. All up, a good day to be had.

ups and downs

Struggling a bit today.

There are a number of possible reasons and I'm not sure which are the symptoms and which are the causes. Prime suspect at this stage is the simple existence of a To Do list and how much that's filling me with anxiety. I'm procrastinating badly.

I'm also suffering with a few aches and pains; a strained shoulder, stiff knee, and general muscle fatigue, all adding up to the reason I haven't exercised today. I'm pretty sure it's more likely to be just my flatness that's really preventing me, and not the twinges, they're most certainly not insurmountable.

I ventured back out to blogland to see if I could take some inspiration and catch up with a few old friends, I don't think I'd opened my reader for about 6 months. This brought with it mixed emotion; some good, some sad and some just a bit too much for me. I certainly wasn't mentally prepared to stumble across someone who had been heavier than me last May, but has since reached a slim and healthy goal weight. She looks amazing. She deserves every inch of that illuminating smile.

Problem is I'm now struggling not to turn the positive emotion I feel for her into negative energy towards myself. What she has done, I once almost did... and then f*cked up. What she has done, I've been recently failing to do. These are things I can't change. I'm not her and she's not me. Why waste my energy on things I cannot change? Truth is I'm not sure I know how to make that choice.

I have no particular message, no conclusions or lessons learned from this. I merely wanted to document where I'm at and to get back into the habit of facing up to the downs. You'll have seen by now I am far more comfortable baring the ups in public, the downs get eaten mostly in private.

So far no eating....

the clean continues

Another couple of clean days gone by and I've even managed some exercise. It wasn't a pretty sight. My 120kg body has a strong memory of what it could do at 85kg and gym-fit, and forgot to adjust for the extra blubbiness factor.

I was doing my best to follow a DVD program when my legs simply gave way and I collapsed in a slow motion heap on the floor. I'm sure it would have been the funniest spectacle, I flayed about and tumbled, somehow simultaneously banging my knees and falling on my backside. The entire movement was reminiscent of one of those mechanical contraptions where it starts with a ball-baring rolling down here, which tips the cup over there, which then hits the cog thing somewhere else and eventually that tiny first movement crescendos into the big whoop bang crashing finale; only instead of the ball-baring and a bunch of mechano, there lay a fallen Disney dancing hippo.

I sat on the floor for a moment and then like a toddler, in shock about what had just happened, I bawled my eyes out.

But what happened next is no doubt the reason I've been flying high ever since: I walked my knees out to loosen them again, changed the DVD to a simpler program, and knocked off a 30 minute workout. 'Course in it's evilness the darn new program would have the very same exercise that had me flying in the first place, but I managed to take it easy and make it all the way through.

When I awoke this morning all my muscles gave me that reassuring scream of post-workout glory, read: pain! Muscles that had forgotten they even had a purpose in my body are now smugly letting me know they exist.

It's a small step, but so very very huge in its significance. Thank you for sticking through it with me, and giving me your support.


Only got a moment to write - and it's going to take longer than that to reply to the wonderful comments I got yesterday. There was a lot of truth and wisdom in them, I even showed my hubby, thank you ladies (and no you were neither offensive, blunt nor babbling) - but just wanted to speed-blog to say that I've had 3 clean days. The day after yesterday was just fine.

I recognise there's a process at play here. By the time I'd come to post my shame, and before anything had come good, it had already begun. The same every time. If I could only burn it to disk and make a handy play button ready for next time, then I wouldn't have to go through this cycle for more than a day. No more 10, 20 or 30kg weight gains EVER again. That would be bliss.

Night all. Day 4 here I come.....AGAIN

yesterday - a case study

It's been a while and my brain's been over-working. I've written so many blog posts in my head, but nowt translated into actual keyboard action. Now that I'm here though, I risk taking you on a messy path through a whole lot of self analysis in one giant befuddled muddle, and we all know how much you'd want to read that. So instead I'll narrow the focus down just a little:


As with every day, I woke up with plans of how to get through the day in a healthy manner. All the while trying to hush the hateful thoughts directed towards myself in my head. Carefully considering how to find a balance:
  • getting a little exercise without risking overdoing it and setting myself up for non-perfection failure;
  • eating healthily, but not so restricted that I feel deprived, now that I'm out of the habit.
Balance is most definitely the key that has worked for me in the past. I was aware of the potential danger points:
  • supermarket shopping,
  • going out without breakfast,
  • being forced to venture into a cafe then being swayed by yumminess if the healthy options are less than yummy.
I planned counter actions and avoidance.

So that was the plan. How did it work out?

It wasn't the best of starts, I found myself running late for the train and left without breakfast - wa wa oops! But with a clear head I popped into a cafe and ordered a coffee (small) with a slice of banana bread (on the large side, and a tightrope trigger that could have gone either way). I ate half, decided it was enough and threw the rest in the bin - woohoo!

Arriving at my destination I felt pretty good. I settled down contentedly into the morning. This was my first day in a new volunteer role; a bit daunting but so far so good. At lunch time, so it transpired, all volunteers get fed for free. Danger, Possible Diversion Ahead! I waited in line, holding my plate with a lot of trepidation, I'd seen a plate of pies being carried in ahead of me. This was a charity after all and they serve whatever has been donated that day. To my relief I was able to fill my plate with steamed rice, vegie stew, roast carrots and potatoes and a small side serving of tomato salad, a potential minefield overcome - woohoo!

Problem was in that word "fill". I felt full. I'd deliberately ensured I had enough to eat so that I wouldn't go hungry but instead I'd gone the other way. Sure it was good and healthy, this was the kind of full that feels extremely satisfying during a smug healthy kick, but my brain wasn't going to be fooled. Oh no, my brain connected all the dots and spelled out b-i-n-g-e. Yeah I know, totally wacko crazy right. Don't go looking for logic round these parts.

So what next?

Well I went to the nearest food court and systematically ate my way around it of course; cheesecake, pancakes, apple pie, cookies, even some strange savoury sausage donut construction. BINGE.

I know it makes no sense. I know what I have to do. I know what a mess I am. I know how good I could feel. I know a lot, and much much more. If there's one thing my career coach and previous counsellors are all in agreement about, it's how self aware I am.

I know, right.

So why am I not doing?


If I ever told the whole truth about what's on my mind, it might look something like this:

* and if you do happen to know me on Facebook please don't mention a thing on it, I find it hard enough opening up in private, I'd be gutted if anyone joined the dots.

the meaning of life


Career coaching is going really well. My homework for this week is to set myself a vision. I have a worksheet to fill in, covering questions about my passions, interests and purpose in life.

I've never had much direction, I'm sure I've spoken before about how hard I find it to make goals. Previously in my career, as in my life, I've merely followed the twists and turns in the road as they open. For someone like me, this exercise is no mean feat. To help with the task of defining how I want my life to look, my coach gave me a "Life Purpose Guided Meditation".

So this morning, after dropping off hubby at the train station, I settled down in a comfy chair and started to listen. The meditation took me to a gorgeous beach with pristine turquoise sea, not at all difficult to let my mind go there, it was already 33°C and barely 7am, I really could have done with dipping my toes in the ocean. In a beautiful rockpool I was to start seeing a glimmer of how life is going to look in 10 years' time; where is home and what does it look like, what occupies my time and keeps me busy; what does work look like, what kind of people, what type of atmosphere?

I could picture exactly what I wanted my home life to look like, but I really did struggle somewhat with work. I tried to imagine walking in somewhere and saying "good morning" to my colleagues - what type of people were they, what kind of a building is it, am I office based or where am I, and most importantly (of course) do we have coffee breaks or is there a nice cafe nearby?

All my answers were rather vague.

As the meditation finished, I filled in a couple of questions on my questionnaire then had an overwhelming desire to do some gardening. Believe me, my husband will have just fallen off his chair as he read that. Ani - gardening - unprompted?!! I did mention the crazy hot temperature today yeah? I whipper-snippered the lawn until the funny plastic red string ran out and stopped me in my tracks. Then, undeterred, and despite not being quite inspired enough to get my butt into gear and go to Bunnings to buy some more, I moved my energy inside and hoovered the whole house instead.

I'm now feeling somewhat smug, and so far not at all inclined to overeat, I've even worked up quite a sweat. So there you have it, my life purpose is to do chores and housework, hubby will be delirious ;-)


Happy New Year! I hope you're all doing well out there and 2010 is bringing good things.

Christmas hiatus is over and here I am jobless and not quite sure what I should be doing. Should I be running out there to do this and that, poking my head into every crevasse in case it might become an opportunity or a direction clue? Or should I be taking it easy, having a break and learning how to relax, trusting that all good things will come in good time?

The stress and anxiety hasn't lifted and I'm scared that with no focus it wouldn't take much to turn into depression. My weight is still on the up. Life is a constant battle to overcome procrastination. One teensy thing at a time I'm getting through it, but I know I'm not functioning on all cylinders. I keep putting off everything, writing here in the blog for one, I even have some Christmas presents still not yet sent. Most of all I've avoided making resolutions - at least that way I can't break them hey.