If someone ordered steamed fish, a side plate of steamed vegetables and hold the rice. Wouldn't you get the message they might have a preference for their meal not to be drowning in butter?


I'd had a treat for breakkie (a large toasted banana cake) and another treat for lunch (huuuuge yummy toasted avocado, pumpkin, mushroom, cheese & pesto sandwich) and wanted something ultra light for dinner. Infuriatingly I would have requested "no butter", but for the fact this is the very same meal I had last week (bar the absence of rice) in the very same restaurant - last time there was no butter.

Even more infuriatingly, I didn't send it back.

Sorry, I'm turning into such a broken record with my failures to order healthy food. Note to self: learn to be more assertive in restaurants!

I'm also starting to spin out and stress about my project. I didn't get any work done over the weekend and I'm now very behind and can't see the wood for the trees. After I'd done so so well last week *sigh*

the unknown

Oh how I wish I knew what I weighed right now.

It would be great if I were one of those strong types who could be happy just knowing that I've been eating clean and so eventually my waistband will start to loosen again. But I'm not. No, I really need the reassurance of a number; a cold hard fact.

While I was out shopping yesterday, I trailed the town for a pair of scales and couldn't find any. None of the pharmacies I visited even had a coin operated set. I toyed with going to the bathroom section of the department stores just to "try out" the scales for sale. But unlike when I did this in the States last summer, it had turned rather autumnal here in Perth yesterday and so removing my boots and winter woolly coat would be rather less inconspicuous than slipping out of my sandals was in Seattle.

My GoWear Fit's telling me I've had enough of a calorie deficit to have lost 1.3kg over the last week and a half. I'd so love to put that to the test.

the key

Look who's been shopping....


Tiffany's have opened in Perth since I was last here, it seemed only fitting I should pay them a visit. How can any girl resist those magical little blue boxes with their pretty white bows?

I'm not generally one for extravagant impulse buys, but this gorgeous key was calling me, after a lengthy indecisive dither between the entire range of keys and their assorted chains, tried on in every possible combination, that is.

I may not have the key to life, happiness and weight loss yet, but I'd like to think I'm on the right track.

taken the evening off

This evening is the first evening I haven't worked for quite a wee while. It feels right good to be doing nothing (and I'm so far successfully fighting off any guilt thoughts at what else I could be doing). The formal presentations and workshop part of this job are over - phew! I've never pushed myself so far outside of my comfort zone before, three whole solid days of it. Next on the agenda, I have a few meetings and then I have to write up all the results and findings in just two days (hmm, a document! - we really don't get on) before moving on to the next part of the project next week.

There are so many things I would like to have written about over the last couple of weeks. My GoWear fit arrived. I've been wearing it religiously and so far, it's done a great job of showing me just how sedentary my stress days really are. Seriously! For example, on days when I worked crazy hours, I didn't even top 3,000 steps and burned no more than about 1,700 calories the whole day (no deficit left so no loss). Top that with the hormonal upsets of lack of sleep and increased stress and it's no wonder I don't lose when I'm like this.

I made it to the gym again this morning. I only did about 20 mins on cardio machines, but it's something. I've managed to keep my eating on track, tonight I had a mushroom and spinach curry with saffron rice and a side of eggplant crush (even got heaps of leftovers sitting in my mini-bar fridge and had the hotel leave me a microwave so I can re-heat tomorrow).

I'm still stressed, I'm still not drinking enough water and my ankles are swollen. But right now I'm counting blessings - not beating myself up over negatives.

Anyhoo, must go to bed now or my evening off to re-coup will be wasted. Night all.

getting through it

First of all a HUGE thank you to you all for your words of encouragement. You never fail me, even when I'm blatantly ignoring my blog reader and sitting in a hazed fuzz of stress-induced nonsense, you had kind words of support and advice for me.

Thank you xxx

I've made it to the end of the first day in Perth - a place I couldn't even envisage yesterday while sobbing uncontrollably to my poor hubby, not wanting to get on a plane and questioning why I'm doing any of this.

Today's been a personal triumph - I woke up early (helped by the time zone difference) and went downstairs to the hotel gym (yay!!). I then got through a whole day of delivering presentations and workshops to an all male technical audience. Not as slick as I might have liked but I got there. For dinner I had steamed snapper with coriander rice and a side of steamed broccoli. No excesses, no binging, no stress-eating. The toblerones, dairy milks and boxes of pringles chips remain untouched in the mini-bar. I might actually take hubby's advice and have the hotel remove them from the room.

Result! Day 1 down, 12 more to go.

It bemuses me how well I must outwardly mask my fear and stress. The folk around me at work see a competent professional. One of my colleagues even jokes about what a demon I turn into on client site. He has absolutely no idea of the stress and self-doubt I put myself through. If he could have seen the tiz I've been working myself into these last few days he'd be horrified. Why can't I see myself like others do? Instead of letting their perception of me alter my own, I just let it add to the pressure I put myself through - fearing constantly they'll find out the truth of my incompetence at any moment.

Tomorrow the workshops start getting a little more in-depth and focused and I'm even less prepared - I foolishly put most of my effort into preparing the first day, thinking that I would be able to prepare subsequent days in the evenings (d'oh!!). But that's for tomorrow. Today I'm proud of myself for making it through.

not great

I'm in a hole. I hate typing self-indulgent-woe-is-me posts so I'll try to keep this brief. The first week in Sydney is over, but after 16 hour work days, two 4am starts, four flights, zero exercise and a whole heap of stress (not to mention 2 binges) I still can't yet see the light for anything other than an oncoming train.

I now have to fly to Perth on Sunday and I'm still nowhere with my preparation. I'm crazy with stress. I'll be staying in a hotel for two weeks (yet more chances for nasty kitchens to serve me greasy fried oily salmon steaks when the menu said "steamed" thanks Sydney hotel for that one, my lack of resistance-energy meant that was the catalyst for binge number, two when all the large bars of chocolate from the mini bar fridge disappeared) , I haven't even contacted my friends to say I'll be back in Perth (my home for five years) as I'm not anticipating I'll have any time to see them. Just as I did with Sydney I'll take my gym clothes, but just as I did in Sydney I don't hold out much hope of actually doing any exercise. And I've gotten to really love my exercise.

I haven't lost any weight for over two weeks now. I'm tired, like REALLY TIRED. We didn't get the rental house we applied for so we're also still looking for somewhere to live. I had a training session this morning for the first time in nearly two weeks and it was tough. I was exhausted. I couldn't do anything near the weights I'd been doing and all I wanted to do was cry. To add to all this hubby's just heard his job is going to a 9 day fortnight which is a 10% pay cut and a lot of worry for how bad it might get in the future.

Told you this was going to be self indulgent misery. I'm just tired of it all. This job is taking everything out of me and jeopardising all that was going so well for me. But with lay-offs all around, I can't see any options and alternatives.

I also can't help but feel like it's me, not the job. It's me that lets myself get this stressed, it's me that takes on all the responsibility and won't say "no", and it's me that's failing to cope while all those around me look peachy.

p.s. I'm sorry I haven't read a single blog for a week now, I really hope you're all doing better than I feel at the moment. I miss you all. I really need to see about finding the time to catch up in the midst of all this, as the inspiration, support and boost is invaluable.

the best laid plans

Wasn't I supposed to be increasing incidental exercise, decreasing stress and increasing sleep?

So far it's a big "wah wah oops" on all three. Oh and water and formal exercise have fallen by the wayside for good measure.

Yesterday I had to fly to Sydney to back-fill on a project at the 11th hour. If it wasn't enough recovering from the upset and stress of Wednesday, Thursday brought with it a whole new gamut of emotions. There are a lot of clients and projects who've just lost their key people and those of us remaining will have to pull together for a while. Call it survivor guilt if you will, but I spent the whole day feeling like I'm about to get found out at any minute for being not up to par; that everyone's going to wish it had been my name on Wednesday's list. I just felt really inadequate.

I'll be back in Sydney all next week and then for the fortnight after that the next job is in Perth. The knock on effect of this is I've had to cancel all my personal trainer sessions at the gym, I'll be eating hotel and cafe food for three weeks and my stress-levels have soared, not only due to the pressure of this project and the awkwardness of replacing someone who's been made redundant, but also because the Sydney job has stolen all my much needed preparation time for the next one. Very very stressed!

How's this for spooky though? Turns out my body clock keeps perfect time.

The night before Sydney, I didn't get to bed until some time around 11pm having spent most of the evening trying to get a rental application together, hey, when life's not complicated enough, why not add a house move into the mix? I'd set my alarm for 4am (*yikes*) but in my fuzzy-headedness I didn't notice it was only set to go off on Saturday and Sunday. Now I don't normally wake up at all throughout the night. I'm a sound sleeper, right through, no bathroom breaks or anything. Yet on the morning I needed it, I woke up on the dot of 4am!! No alarm. Spooky huh?!

I may be a little bit scarce (blogging and reading) for the next three weeks. I'll do my best to check-in when I can. With all the hotel food, stress and lack of exercise opportunity I'm surely going to need it, plus I've missed you all the last few days of blog-silence.

p.s. nearly forgot - major NSV in the midst of all this - on the flight to Sydney I sat in the middle seat of three, reasonably comfortably and with plenty of seatbelt to spare. Result! When I fly again on Monday I must remember to try out the fold-down table. I'll be sure to report back.

the falling hammer

Yesterday was the very worst of days.

We had lay-offs at work. The atmosphere in the office was suffocatingly tense as we watched colleagues go downstairs for meetings with their managers and not come back; all the while hoping with all hope that we weren't about to get a meeting request ourselves.

Not nice. Not nice at all.

The good news is I still have a job. I'll admit I did catch myself wondering if I wouldn't rather the decision had been made for me to force me into a change. But in the current economic and job market, I don’t think that would have been a good idea at all.

The even better news is that stress of the day didn’t drive me to comfort anxiety eat. I will admit the thought did cross my mind, but I managed to stop it from settling in my head as a potential option. I should be proud of that.

I’m not looking forward to today. I have to prepare for a two week packaged client job where I’ll be delivering workshops, demonstrations and reports within a period of 10 days. It’s my first time tackling this and I have to learn all the presentations and demonstration scripts, get my head around the aspects of the subject I don’t yet know and familiarise myself with the report documents I will be required to complete – and we all know my track history with documents (both here and here)!

My thoughts are with all those who lost their jobs yesterday. And with their managers who had to be the messengers.

checking in: hyc week 18

HYC weigh in day already:

today's weight: 98.9kg / 218lb / 15st 8lbs
loss of: 0.1kg / 0.2lb - i.e. "nothing"

total loss this year: 17.1kg / 37.7lbs

Can't pretend to be overjoyed with that. My eating has been close to healthy-heaven perfection all week, and on the exercise front I can report 3 personal training sessions, 2 spin classes and 1 walk in the park.

The thing is, in between all those 30 - 45 minute intense bursts of energy, the rest of my days have been nothing short of sedentary. It's a 10 metre walk to the car, then probably no more than 100 metres from our parking space to my desk. Where I've sat ALL day ALL week. I'm on the 7th floor and can't even take the stairs without setting off the emergency alarms.

I've recorded what I've eaten and exercised for the last six or seven weeks religiously. This week's calories and formal exercise are almost identical to previous weeks where I've lost a kilo or more. So where's the difference?

How about all the incidental exercise I don't note? Walking to client meetings, meeting my man for lunch, walking to his office after work on a Friday, running errands, shopping and household chores. Haven't really done any of the above this week. And of course there's my stress levels - high - and sleep levels - low.

And this is where the GoWear fit comes into the picture. Yes indeed, I bit the bullet and ordered one. Woooohoooo! It's going to tell me e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. How many calories I'm burning in my workouts as well as in general everyday life, how many steps I've taken, even how much quality sleep I'm getting. Cannae wait for the number crunching to begin!

In the meantime, while I'm waiting for it to arrive, for the coming week I'm going to concentrate on the incidentals - going for a walk at lunch, taking the stairs (where I can) and going back on the cardio equipment after my weights sessions.

Have a great week everyone.

update: "Can't pretend to be overjoyed with that." Why do I do that? Why can't I just be honest and say "I'm pissed!". It doesn't change anything, I know I'm doing really well, I know I'm not going to let it derail me, I know it's not all about the numbers. I'm still allowed to admit I'm not happy about it.

learning to dream

I mentioned yesterday that I've been doing a lot of thinking about how my emotional reserve may be holding me back, in weight loss and in life. Unfortunately, at this point I've got more questions than answers, but in the spirit of 'identification being the first step' I'm going to put my questions out there and hope to work through to find the answers.*

My first question is about dreams. Cammy commented in response to my post,
Writing about your hopes and dreams is an excellent way to get them sorted out!
And that’s exactly what I want to be able to do.

I've found my mind wandering and daydreaming recently about getting slim and becoming a Mum. It really scares me to have such thoughts. I have a real issue with dreaming. I never let my mind go to places I don't trust or believe I can find in reality.

I've said before how I've always had problems envisioning myself slimmer. I just couldn't let my imagination take to me to a place of such immense hope, only to fail and have that hope painfully shattered. A couple of years ago I got so close and now that things are back to going well again, I catch myself imagining getting even closer. It lasts all but a fleeting second before I put such thoughts back in their place: either that I'm not going to get there, or that when I do, my 159 kilo's worth of excess skin will put pay to any chance of feeling good about it.

Now that I've reached my OK-to-start-trying-for-babies weight I've also been looking at young families and daydreaming about that being us one day. My next thoughts are then often around everything that could possibly go wrong, I'll get twinges in my tummy and be convinced I'm about to have early onset menopause or I'll fear that I'm just not fertile. I won't let myself dream without putting it back in its place.

I was the same with my wedding. I have been a guest at over 50 weddings throughout my life, and yet never ever let myself dream about my own big day, not even as a young girl. My own wedding dreams didn't start until I was engaged and knew it was actually going to happen - it's no wonder then that I drove myself to distraction with the pressure and stress of perfection during the planning.

I think it's all a part of my over-developed sense of self-protection. The same parts of me that would rather numb emotions than let myself actually feel and process them, would also like to protect me from the crash landing of a failed dream. I know it's held me back with my weight loss and I suspect it holds me back from pushing myself to find a new career too.

When I read this out to my hubby, he agreed and said how difficult he finds it that I will never share aspirations with him, never push ourselves towards a bigger house and a better life. He despairs about how much I'll worry about bad things that may never happen and yet won't get excited about the good things that also may or may never happen.

How do I learn to let myself dream?

I can't expect to achieve my dreams, if I won’t even let myself dream them.

*Sorry if you had high hopes about insightful observations, it's nothing but question marks here :$

dog cats and reservations


I've just gotten back from spin class, (no Aicha today but still plenty of Phil Collins and a spot of Jai Ho thrown in for good measure) picking up a skinny cap on the way home of course. As I drove up the road, one of our cats recognised the car from a few doors down and ran full pelt up to the house, he knows how to make a girl feel loved hey.

The other cat was waiting at the door. He followed me in, watched patiently as I took the lid off my takeaway coffee, then pounced to get to the froth left on it. Having removed the lid from his reach, I finished my coffee and made a start with the laundry, only to hear suspicious noises coming from the next room. Our caffeine addled cat had climbed completely into the bin under the desk, trying to fit his whole face into the empty coffee cup to lick the very last dregs.

Our boys have issues.

They seriously don't know they're cats. One of them even plays fetch. He proudly brings his bouncy ball back to us and even drops it on the floor at our feet ready to throw it again. There are slight cat tendencies involved though, in that he'll only do it when *he's* in the mood and certainly not when we want to show him off to other people. He likes to make the point that he's not here for *our* amusement.

We can't leave muffins or cake cooling on the counter. The time they helped themselves to the defrosting sausages my husband had been looking forward to all day was certainly one to remember.

But enough about the cats, they get far too much attention as it is in our household. I intended to write about something entirely different. I've been having a lot of thoughts recently that all seem to have a common theme - my emotional reserve, both conscious and subconscious. I've come to realise just how much I struggle to let myself dream or feel good about my achievements and I think I need to learn.

I've tried to write about it for a while, but it's all been such a mess of tangled ideas that I've found too hard to unjumble. I started on the subject in this post but it became extremely long - no, really Ani? so unlike you - so I think I'll break it into a couple of entries over the next couple of days. I'm not sure where I'll go with it, but it feels important for me to find out.


A fabulously lazy and stress-free Saturday. It's a good job I made it up for spin class this morning, because ever since then I've barely ventured further away from the comfort of my sofa than the kitchen. Ani, you sloth!

Such a lazy Saturday, in fact it feels more like a Sunday. We even had our traditional Sunday pancakes this morning, and what a palaver that was. Living with our cats is like having dogs who not only beg, but can get up onto the counters. One's busy distracting me with his offensive on the pancake mix while the other sneaks in behind to get his face right into my coffee. I thought cats were supposed to be fussy!

I've been trying on clothes again. The pink floral dress I'd flagged as being next in reach, finally fits. Full-on future girliness awaits. My suit jackets are just about there and I can even do up one of the pairs of trousers, but it'll be a couple of kilos more before they actually look flattering.

It does feel amazing to fit back into my smaller clothes, but what I'm most excited about is the day when I can start throwing out my bigger ones again. I have a small bag of my hugest monstrosities set aside (size 30 jeans, size 28 tops) for goal-day comedic value, but apart from that everything else has gone to Good Sammy's.

Despite my recent clothesless weight-gain year, I fully intend to continue this endeavour. There's absolutely no reason for keeping my fat clothes. If I let myself rely on the knowledge there's a safety net ready to catch me, I'd be giving myself permission to take my eyes off the trapeze.

Oh and the reason for my lack of stress....?


a year in the life

In honour of my ani-blogoversary, I started to read over my early posts. Some of them have surprised me in their level of introspection, others have surprised me by how hidden my true feelings still were. There are posts that read like there’s a real bounce in my tone, yet I remember the level of despair I felt at the time of writing. I've spent so much of my life bottling up my feelings in food, I guess it's hardly surprising I'm only just starting to learn how to let them out.

This time a year ago, I was a newlywed, married four months, living in Perth and preparing to move interstate. It was a spur of the moment thing, we'd applied for jobs the other side of the country and decided that if we got them, we'd go for it. We both got them.

My new husband went ahead to Melbourne, he started his new job and had begun to look for a place for us to live. I was serving out my notice period at my own employers, arranging for our cars, motorbike and cats to be picked up, our furniture and belongings to be packed up and our house to be rented out. I was also slowly imploding.

For years up to that point, I had been losing weight and working through my food issues. I had gotten down to 84kg from my all time high of 159kg. But now I was starting to unravel, and unlike the stress I put myself through in the run up to the wedding, I could no longer keep it totally under the surface and the weight was creeping back on. I started the blog to keep me accountable. Things looked up for a week or two but before long, my lose grip loosened even further. The blog entries disappear.

A month or so goes by. By then I had moved to Melbourne and since flown to Seattle for a month's worth of training. While there, I continued to implode, this time a little less slowly.

I was bingeing badly and drifting into depression. My anxiety levels had gone through the roof, I swore f-ing and blinding at a poor post office worker for heaven's sake (any one who knows me will know how crazily out of character that is). Two more blog posts then again I disappear.

By the time I find my voice again in December I was in a deep dark pit. I had now regained over 30 kilos and the potential reality of re-gaining every one of my lost 75 kilos was looming overhead. Something inside of me knew to click into self-protective action. I started posting again, I ventured back to the gym and I called and reconnected with my old counsellor from Perth. The bingeing continued for a while but eventually I started to get a handle on my food intake and turn myself around again.

The rest, you know already. I'm still here. I've had my bumpy moments but I've blogged through them and I'm still finding my way. I still haven't learnt what it was that helped me turn it around - the magic formula that got me out of the pit and back on track again. Even though I wrote most days, I don't see it. I can't bottle it up for future use.

Life surely has many more twists and turns ahead for me. Stresses are in store that will be far greater than getting married, moving and starting a new job. I still don't know if I am strong enough or well equipped to get through them without resorting to my food demons. What I do know though, is that with the help of this blog, any time I start heading down that wrong way again I no longer get so far that I can't find my way back.

This blog has been more than just an outlet for my thoughts. It's a level of accountability and the doorway to a support network of loving and wise people, some of whom have become very dear friends. You've never let me down.

I would love to have written a wise retrospective of all that I've learned over the last year, but I just don't yet have the distance or the clarity to know what that is.

Whatever it is, it's working. I plan to keep on doing it.

p.s. how's this for a freaky coincidence? At my first blog weigh-in I report being 97.3kg having lost 1.7kg. Meaning my blog starting weight was the EXACT same weight I am now: 99kg. Spookiness!