Cooking, Renovations and Fun Stuff

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tuesday

Today's food

2pm spring onions and mushrooms sauteed in a little olive oil then made into a frittata with silverbeet, kidney beans, eggs, egg whites and goat cheese; fish oil; skinny flat white

6.15pm (arrive home from work) cottage cheese mixed with cocoa, stevia and peanut butter

8.30pm stir-fry with chilli flakes, garlic, curry powder, chicken, onion, celery, broccoli, silverbeet, tamari and almond butter

Meals are less frequent but bigger. First one wasn't quite big enough and I still felt a bit peckish so added the coffee and that helped. Felt nice and full after the last two - love being full at night.

I was a little bit grumpy at the end of the day today though - not enough carbs. Will adjust my non-training days to have a touch more carbs in the form of legumes and fruit and see how that goes.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Can You Relate?

'I didn’t like how my life became centered around my diet, and I was starting to get fed up with my own behavior. The constant meal preparing, the obsessiveness about eating the perfect meals at the right time, and the way I sometimes made excuses not to participate in social gatherings in order to meet my calorie and macronutrient goals for the day.' Click here to read more.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Eating Strategy

From Precision Nutrition:

'Think about your daily eating strategies. What's working? What's not working?'

'you have to find the strategy that you can stick with, one that helps you manage your calorie intake psychologically, and one that ultimately, brings you results.'

My preferred style of eating has always been to eat more at night and less during the day. This is what I always go back to, especially in winter time. I've decided I'm going to just let myself eat this way, instead of making my body fit a 'standard' diet. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A couple of today's meals

Tomato soup with chicken and goat cheese


Cottage cheese with cocoa, stevia and natural peanut butter

Friday, June 25, 2010

Nom, Nom, Nom

Tomato and thyme soup heated with diced goat cheese and cooked chicken mince. Smelly, gooey and tasty. Sorry no pics, I'm at work.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Marshmallow Test

I thought I'd reproduce part of The Marshmallow Test post from Martin Berkhan's blog as I found it quite thought-provoking.

The Marshmallow Test

In the early 1970s, a psychologist named Walter Mischel conducted an experiment involving four-year-olds. He placed each child in a room, where they sat down at a table. In front of them, a marshmallow. Mischel then made each child an offer. He could eat the marshmallow right away or wait for a few more minutes and receive another one. Almost everyone decided to wait. Mischel then left the room for twenty minutes.

While a few of the four-year-olds were able to resist the temptation for up to fifteen minutes, many lasted less than one minute. Others just ate the marshmallow as soon as Mischel left the room.

This was a test of self-control. If the child wanted to achieve the goal of receiving another marshmallow, then he needed to temporarily ignore his feelings and delay gratification for a few more minutes. What this study showed was that some children at the early age of four were much better at this than others.

What I found interesting are the strategies the successful children employed in order to endure the experiment. They kept themselves distracted. Covered their eyes, played with their hands or just entered a trance-like state where it seemed they were lost in their thoughts. Their attention was elsewhere.

The failed strategy of the unsuccessful children was the complete opposite of that; in essence, they fixated on the marshmallow almost as if attempting to stare it down, actively fighting the temptation.

How does this translate to the various strategies used by the fitness crowd?

When some people are dieting, they are DIETING. They treat it like a full-time job and they're in the gym every day, sometimes twice a day. Their spartan diet is meticulously planned and carefully dispensed throughout the day. They are the ones that fixate on the marshmallow.

Others take a more balanced approach. Diet and training is part of their life, but it blends in beautifully. They are the ones that tries to forget about the marshmallow. It's background noise to them.

I'll give you a concrete example to show you what I mean. Some people schedule a weekly cheat day, which usually involves a day on the weekend when they can eat what they want. In practical terms, this often means that they pig out and end up on the couch in a torpor-like state. This day becomes the high point of their week. They restrict calories severely throughout the week in order to allow themselves the cheat day. Their training typically includes hours of cardio. On Thursday they start planning their shopping list for Saturday and on Friday they lie sleepless in giddy anticipation of the forthcoming food fest. They are fixating on the marshmallow, making it the center of the world.

I could give you a similar example when it comes to training. The overly enthusiastic young guy embarking on a 6-day-split that ends up overtraining and sick or hurt. He too was fixating on the marshmallow.

The solution then is to stay distracted.

You shouldn't buy into the myth of what it takes to achieve your goals. Don't get me wrong, it takes dedication. Sweat, yes. But that needs to be maintained as a regular, long-term commitment. And that's impossible to do if you're constantly thinking about it. It needs to be part of your daily routine, but it needs to blend in. Again, background noise and balanced. Or else you won't last.

If you're too fixated on the marshmallow, you'll eat it sooner or later. In this context it means you'll screw up your diet and/or training, burn out and lose all motivation. The more physical and mental energy you invest in your training and diet, the more likely you are to fail.

And that's why some of the busiest people are the most successful ones when it comes to reaching their physique goals. They have other things to think about.

Guidelines and attitudes to live by

* Spend too much time focusing on your goal and you will end up sabotaging yourself. This may not hold much ground in other areas of life where, in order to be successful, focus and time investment is of critical importance; such as building a business, managing a large corporation or becoming a highly-competitive elite athlete. But it's definitely one that applies to diet and strength training for the average Joe. Stay distracted. Have hobbies. Have a life. If diet and training become the sole focus of your daily routine, the road to your goals will feel like a very long road indeed.

* Commitment and dedication dispensed over a longer time period is superior to more focused efforts. The latter has a higher rate of failure and greater chance of backfiring on you and is why people fall off the wagon. This is my personal experience, but it's also backed up by studies. A good example of this are the numerous reformed health enthusiasts that pop up after New Year's Eve. They go at it hard for a few weeks, but are often back into their old patterns of sporadic training and a sub par diet by February. Another example is the rebound that many competitors experience after contest dieting. Avoid this with a balanced approach without extremes.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Magnesium, Meals and a Change of Scene

I started taking magnesium again yesterday. At the start of the year I was taking it for muscle cramps, but I noticed that I also felt quite relaxed while taking it. I've been finding it hard to relax lately so decided to start taking it again. Had some before going to bed last night, slept really well and feel much better today.

I'm doing an experiment with the timing of my meals this week. If it works out, I'll describe it in more detail next week.

I'm working at Lonely Planet again this week and next. There is a little gym on site so I've trained there a couple of times this week after work, and have really enjoyed it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cat Stevens concert

Did heavy leg press for the first time in ages on Thursday evening. Woke up feeling pretty stiff on Friday morning and my quads were quite uncomfortable by Friday evening. Luckily the Cat Stevens concert on Friday night took my mind off things. The concert was awesome - his voice still sounds great. He did a few of his new songs but most of the concert was made up of his older songs, which we enjoyed singing along to.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Magazine Recycling

I have quite a few magazines - fitness, food, lifestyle etc. Today I spent some time sorting them by month, after reading this post. Now I have a bunch of 'new' magazines I can read each month and I'll save some money by not buying more magazines.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Homemade Nutella



Method
In a small bowl, mix together 2 Tbsp smooth natural peanut butter, 1 Tbsp cocoa powder and 1/8 tsp stevia powder. Spread on toast as required. Enjoy!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Grapefruit

I've been enjoying eating ruby red grapefruit lately - I find they are a bit sweeter than regular grapefruit, and they are such a pretty colour!



According to the Miss Organic website, grapefruit have the ability to aid many ailments and provide various health improvements:
- Eating grapefruit increases the flow of gastric juices, eases constipation and improves digestion (first thing in the morning is perfect grapefruit eating time)
- Eating grapefruit strengthens blood vessels and capillaries and reduces the accumulation of atherosclerotic plaque and reduces the risk of heart disease.
- Scientific studies have shown how eating grapefruit helps reduce bad cholesterol, eliminating the need for statin drugs including lipitor. Grapefruit has been proven to heal without the long term side effects of cholesterol lowering medication.....(Grapefruit is to be avoided on these medications as it enhances the toxicity of the drugs!!). Lipitor reduces the body's ability to produce good cholesterol which is needed to protect your cells.
- Grapefruit pectin has also shown in studies to halt the spread of prostate cancer and breast cancer cells.
- Grapefruits also help reduce fever and soothes coughs and sore throats and reduces fevers.
- Grapefruit is said to be a fat loss promoting food too!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday

Started the day with coffee again this morning but had a change from eggs. Instead I had sprouted grain toast spread with fish oil and topped with spicy tofu, tomato, cucumber and alfalfa sprouts, plus half a ruby red grapefruit.

Morning tea was a protein shake made with choc rice protein, peanut butter and mixed berries.

For lunch I had a bowl of organic carrot, ginger and coriander soup with some cooked turkey mince mixed in. I also had some pineapple, and some fish oil in a shot of pomegranate juice.

In the afternoon we walked TJ to the supermarket and back.

We had friends over for dinner so there were seven of us tonight - six adults and one child. I made "Roast" Pork with Apple Sauce Gravy in the crockpot. We had it with sweet potato and broccoli (and some wine). For dessert I did a gingerbread steamed pudding with marmalade topping, which was absolutely delicious!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Saturday

Rob's elbow was sore from BJJ training the other night so he had a rest day today. It was nice to have a sleep-in then coffee in bed.

Breakfast was sprouted grain toast spread with fish oil and topped with scrambled eggs, plus a side of salsa and a mandarin.

After that we walked to the supermarket and back with TJ. Coles had half-price organic carrot, ginger and coriander soup so I had a bowl for lunch with some cooked chicken mince mixed in. I also had some pineapple, and fish oil in a shot of pomegranate juice.

Some of Rob's friends came over this afternoon to watch the rugby. While they were drinking beer I had a hot cocoa made with milk and stevia.

For dinner I made us all 'spicy style' Mexi Pizzas, using:
•gluten-free wraps for the bases
•Old El Paso refried beans
•Old El Paso spicy bean salsa
•Nando’s hot peri peri sauce
•oregano, cumin, chilli powder, black pepper, garlic powder
•low-fat pizza cheese
•jalapenos
•red pepper
•onion

For dessert I had some Green & Black's 85% chocolate.

Upper body is quite sore today so it's nice to have a rest from the weights. Looking forward to training again on Monday though.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday

I'm enjoying getting back into exercise again. Doing a little bit each weekday is nice and manageable, rather than a chore.

Today's food and exercise:

coffee with milk

walk, 20 mins

sprouted grain toast drizzled with fish oil and topped with scrambled egg and egg whites; salsa; gold kiwifruit

mix of choc rice protein, mixed berries and peanuts

chicken patty and salad (mixed greens, pineapple, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber), dressed with fish oil, pomegranate & blueberry juice and balsamic vinegar

coffee with milk

upper body pull workout

choc rice protein, oats

kangaroo and vege stir-fry on brown rice, fish oil

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Have a great long weekend - I'm off to cuddle my dog, he's shivering from the cold!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thursday

After eating quite a low-fat diet for a couple of weeks, then increasing my fat intake I’ve noticed an improvement in my skin. Satiety is better too.

Today’s food and exercise:

coffee with milk

foam rolling

sprouted grain toast drizzled with liquid fish oil and topped with scrambled egg and egg whites; gold kiwifruit

mix of choc rice protein, mashed banana and peanuts

chicken patty and salad (mixed greens, pineapple, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber), dressed with fish oil, pomegranate & blueberry juice and balsamic vinegar

upper body push workout

choc rice protein, oats

kangaroo steak, sweet corn, beans, salad with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and capsicum, fish oil and balsamic vinegar

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday

I’m restarting my fat-loss efforts, and to help with that I’m going to be increasing my fish-oil intake for the next four to six weeks.

Today’s food and exercise:

coffee with milk

sprouted grain toast spread with liquid fish oil and topped with scrambled egg and egg whites; gold kiwifruit

yoghurt mixed with grated apple and pumpkin seeds

kangaroo and coleslaw (cabbage, pineapple, carrot, red onion) dressed with fish oil and apple cider vinegar

‘hummus’ made with refried beans, carrot sticks

leg workout, walk 20 mins*

large hot chocolate with milk

venison, sweet potato, cabbage, bok choy, fish oil

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*missed my walk this morning so tacked it onto the end of my workout instead.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Where Was I?

So, four weeks off the gym. Two weeks of good eating. Two weeks of way-too-much eating.

I’ve started back into my exercise again and it’s helping me to be more focused with my eating. I’m walking in the mornings (following a walking program from the June Australian Women’s Weekly) and doing weights in the late afternoon. I like eating starchy carbs in the evenings in winter time, so I figured I’d train in the late afternoon so my body can make some use of the food I’m eating in the evenings.

I’ve also figured out that I like eating carbs to help me concentrate and stop me getting grumpy, but I like a little bit of fat along with it, otherwise I don’t feel satisfied and just keep stuffing my face full of food.

Tuesday’s food and exercise consisted of:

coffee with milk*

foam rolling (felt so good!)

sprouted grain toast spread with liquid fish oil and topped with scrambled egg and egg whites; gold kiwifruit

yoghurt mixed with grated apple and pumpkin seeds

lean corned beef and coleslaw (cabbage, carrot, pineapple pieces) dressed with avocado oil and balsamic vinegar

upper body ‘pull’ workout (short and sweet!)

large hot chocolate with milk*

kangaroo sausage, baked potato, broccoli, macadamia oil

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*I’m back on lactose-free milk again

Quiet Achiever


Abraham Elzaibik
pic: Australian Muscle

Abraham and I train at the same gym, often at the same time. He trains hard, rarely stops to chat, but is always friendly when people say 'hi'. In the 3.5 years I've trained at at Bell St Fitness, Abraham has always worn track pants and a sweatshirt while training, even in the middle of summer. We often wondered what he looked like under those clothes. Now we know!

The following text is from the Leader newspaper

ABRAHAM Elzaibik is 120 kilograms of pure muscle.

The Mill Park beefcake started bodybuilding when he was 12 when he made it his goal to compete professionally.

“I always told myself as a kid that when I reached 120 kilograms I would start competing,” he said.

At 28 years old, Elzaibik trains full-time at Bell St Fitness in Coburg. And after much hard work and sacrifice he entered his first bodybuilding contest - the [NABBA] Internationals at Darebin Arts Centre last Sunday - and took out the second-class division.

Elzaibik has now set his sights set on a world title. He will travel to Malta on June 19 to compete for the second-class trophy.

“I’m hoping to win first place and I’m going to make sure I look my best and go there shredded to the bone,” he said.

Bodybuilding contests involve competitors lining up and performing a series of compulsory poses and quarter-turns.

Elzaibik has had to make many sacrifices to reach peak body condition, forced to avoid temptation along the way.

“It’s about discipline and in my mind I just keep reminding myself of my goal,” he said. “Sometimes I’ll be driving past KFC and want to make a u-turn but I can’t.”

Instead, his strict diet consists of eggs, chicken, beef, oats and protein shakes.

Elzaibik spends six days a week in the gym and his ultimate goal is to be crowned ‘Mr Olympia’ - the top world honour in bodybuilding.

“I’ve still got a long way to go,” he said.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Feeling my Way

Last week, to make things a bit quicker in the mornings, I switched from oats to Protein First cereal. It's taken me a few days to realise, but I think I haven't been having enough (even though I've been eating the same caloric amount as my oats) - I've been ravenous throughout the day and eating a lot of extra food at night. I had a bigger bowl this morning and have managed to last longer before eating my other meals.