Changing one’s mindset about weight loss

During my epic revamp last year, I changed my mindset about a couple of things to really bring about the change:

  • Carbs are not the enemy: Although in my case they kind of were, but I made the switch to low-GI, clean carbs such as oats and sweet potatoes, instead of cutting out carbs completely.
  • Protein is good: I spent a long time not really eating much protein, because I didn’t really care for meat and other protein sources were not readily available. I added protein powder to everything I could, in addition to eating lots of cottage cheese and chicken breasts.
  • Low-fat is wack: My whole life, I believed that low-fat was the way to go. This fallacy was taught to me at a young age, so for years I only drank fat-free or low-fat milk (even as a kid), and refused to add extra sugar or salt to anything. This while having unlimited pasta and potatoes. Point is, once I switched to full-fat milk and leaving the skin on the chicken once in a while, I found myself eating less and enjoying the little that I ate (relative to before).
  • Fat loss is not the same as weight loss: I managed to lose 25kg of body weight, but only lost 6% of my body fat. This is because losing fat is very hard, and that’s the loss that counts. What’s the point of losing a bunch of weight if it was all muscle and water? That’s what mostly happens when you follow a low-carb, high cardio diet.
  • Strength training is definitely for ladies as well: I can view the “only” 6% fat loss in another way – I gained 6% in muscle. Incorporating dumbbells and boxing into my workout was the best thing I could have done. You burn more calories at rest if you have more muscle, so what’s there to lose (besides fat)?
  • Cardio is fine – in small doses: For fat loss, you want to do strength cardio i.e. training which involves some weights which make you “work” that much harder, while incorporating lunges, flies etc at a faster pace so that your heart rate remains at levels you would normally only reach during cardio. Win-win!
  • Lose weight in the kitchen, get healthy in the gym: A lot of people try to make up for a poor diet with lots of gym time. The truth is, the amount of calories you burn in a tough gym session can easily be gained back by having that “healthy” Kauai smoothie and wrap afterwards. You need to eat filling, protein rich meals that are below your calorie allocation for the day, and combine it with exercise.
  • Eat less, move more is a lie: If you hold onto this catchy phrase, you will relapse into old habits as soon as you plateau. You will plateau. Accept it, and adjust your food and exercise schedule accordingly.
  • Cheat days are not a thing: Why do you want to hold onto the past? That’s what chips, sweets and processed foods are: a thing of the past.

I could probably go on a bit more, but I’ve run out of time.


Our epic revamp starts…today

Despite me trying to get this off the ground several times, I finally realised that the only way to do this properly is to return to the way I did it last year.

That is why today is the start of Our Epic Revamp. Similar to mine, this one will involve carb cycling and six days of exercise per week (different combos of cardio and strength for me and the SO), in a monthly cycle of 3 weeks Training, 1 week maintenance for 3 months. After each quarter the exercise and food pattern will be adjusted to account for gains.

As an example, today is LC.

  • Breakfast: Two high protein egg muffins containing ostrich mince, cottage cheese and mixed veg
  • Lunch: Two high protein fish cakes with stirfry veg and chunky cottage cheese
  • Supper: Protein smoothie
  • Snack: 2 tbsp double cream yoghurt with mixed nuts and seeds
  • Exercise: The Fitness Marshall for 40 minutes of hip hop cardio

I would add one of my homemade protein bars as a morning snack but I forgot to take them out the freezer:-/


Our epic revamp – an update

It’s going terribly. I honestly believe that’s because I am no longer tracking obsessively. That’s got a lot to do with all the changes I went through this year, but I cannot use that excuse anymore.

I’ve decided to return to the strict tracking I did last year which enabled me to lose 25kg. Now that I’ve put 9kg back on (sigh…), I have to get serious about things again. MFP’s site looks a bit better now as well.

I am concerned about finding a replacement for all the soy protein I was consuming last year, as that was a quick and easy way to boost the protein content of all savoury/sweet meals. I suppose that now my husband is joining me on the quest, buying whey protein in bulk won’t be so irritating now.

Also there is an excellent python library to scrape MFP data, which I am itching to get my hands into.


Casual Day 2016 – Upping my game

While I don’t have any sports clothes, I did put on a workout outfit and a natural makeup look (or as natural as I’m willing to go anyway)


Tonight is my older sister’s bridal shower, so fortunately since I already have my workout clothes on, when I get home I can immediately do a 30 min lower body workout, shower and get my glam on. I may update this post later with a photo, although this phone‘s camera is so, so very wack, I prefer not to take any pictures at all.

I miss you so much


A best-of-both exercise & food programme: Part 3

I really am not sure why I titled this series “best-of-both”. Both what? I have no idea.

Anyway, in part 2 I said my next post would be about the food and operations during Maintenance week and weekends. On weekends, one breakfast will be oats with plain yoghurt, and the other breakfast will be eggs and some form of protein, such as a pork chop or steak, with a small carb. Which weekend day it falls on depends on the schedule for the day.

Lunch on Saturdays and supper on Sundays will be a wrap filled with salads and a protein. Supper on Saturday will be a roti with curry or wholewheat homemade pizza. Lunch on Sundays will be a bit heavier because of the strength training and boxing session later in the day. This will be breyani, or curry and rice or something like that. Some weekends we will braai on the Saturday night, so that will serve as food for supper and all meals on Sunday.

During Maintenance week, the food is the same as Training week, except the low carb mash is replaced with either basmati rice or a small portion of pasta of some kind. The supper smoothie is replaced with a fancy salad or couscous with either chicken or beef, depending on what the lunch protein was.


The following distance: A revisit

I wrote this post over three years ago. The tone is ranty – no doubt I wrote it after some incident on the roads – but sadly the topic is still on point. Arrive Alive recommends a 2 – 3 second following distance as the bare minimum, increasing to at least 5 – 6 seconds during adverse road conditions when it rains.

I don’t think they realise that I would never make it home on time if I allowed that following distance. Certainly not in traffic – if you are not literally on the bumper of the car in front of you at all times, someone is going to turn their car into the 1/2 car gap you’ve left and force themselves in.

Even under “normal” road traffic conditions, it is unsafe to allow this following distance, particularly at off-ramps. As you are indicating and turning onto the off-ramp, someone is going to come from the fast lane, cross the solid barrier line and chip in next to you on the off-ramp. He (because without a shadow of a doubt, it will be a he) will probably have his indicator on though, because that seems to be the only time people use their indicators anymore.

We’re supposed to report bad driving because traffic officers can’t be everywhere. The other day, I watched a traffic cop sitting in his car, waiting two cars behind a taxi that had stopped in the left lane to pick up passengers. Why didn’t the traffic cop get out of his car and reprimand the driver for obstructing traffic?

Was he:

  • Afraid the taxi driver would shoot him?
  • Scared the passengers would shout out the windows at him for making them late?
  • Terrified that other drivers would get irritated that he was adding to the road obstruction?
  • Filled with apathy and laziness?

Who knows?


This is the one: Planning app (debate)

This is more of a horses for courses topic. I’ve tried in the past to use one productivity app for everything. I’ve somehow ended up the situation where I just throw a bunch of random, unorganised nonsense into OneNote – gone are the days of my meticulously organised notebooks😦

I then attempted to do the same with Wunderlist, and again with Trello. I then tried to link all my stuff with IFTTT and then with Microsoft Flow. I even tried just using my Outlook.com calendar and a spreadsheet. What I now have is bits and pieces all over the show, with nothing really to show for it.

I then realised that I was kind of already separating my workflows out into different apps. I tried using Trello as a shopping list – it was terrible. Wunderlist is definitely the way to go on that front. I tried using Wunderlist to keep my recipes – Trello’s card interface with checklist/description options and photos on the cards proved more suited for that use case.

I tried using OneNote to track the status of my ongoing projects at the overview level – why would I do something so insane when Trello is clearly made for that? I tried to use Wunderlist to keep notes about my tasks – as a OneNote user for over 5 years, I should know better by now. Or rather, Microsoft should know better.

Either way, just because I’ve been doing something a certain way for a long time, doesn’t mean that it is still the best way to do it. Currently, I do the following:

  • Trello: Track projects, recipes, meal planning, school assignments
  • Wunderlist: Shopping list, daily work tasks
  • Outlook.com calendar: Household activities, workout calendar
  • OneNote: Detailed project notes, school notes, everything else