Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Well, tomorrow my Greek man is leaving Dubai. Tonight we are having a joint leaving do. Today is my last day of employment. My landlord is being a jerk about giving me my deposit back. As if that wasn’t mentally strenuous enough, my good friend went into intensive care last night and I am pre-menstral. Not a good combo at all.

On the plus side, I seem t have lost weight, and I think I might be able to fit into my holy grail UK size 10 jeans very soon. Well, I hope so, anyway.

That’s all for now, I think. I might update again later.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Eating My Greens

I am rediscovering the joys of eating well (okay, only most of the time… the veggie burgers are still sneaking in). I am going to eat a mostly vegan diet for the time being, and see if I want to go the whole hog again. I’m also trying to eat more raw foods. I don't feel deprived at all, which is great. I feel energised and healthy.

So, yesterday I made an awesome green smoothie; celery, spinach, kiwi, cucumber, pineapple and water. It tasted great! I’ve barely been exercising over the past few days due to lack of time, but I have been losing weight because of my eating plan. I hope the weight loss can last; usually as soon as I treat myself even a little, the weight goes right back on again. It’s just not been sustainable. Hopefully this time, going back to the drawing board will prove fruitful.

Today I had peanut butter on wholemeal toast for breakfast, and have nibbled on edamame as a snack. I’m off for lunch at Lime Tree, which serves awesome smoothies, so I will just have one of those and some fruit and nuts for lunch. It seems like a small lunch, but if I’m not losing weight then obviously there is room for lowering my calories, and I have been reading a lot about the raw food diet; you can thrive on so much less than you think you need to. Most of the time I’m not that hungry anyway, so that seems like a good indicator that I can lower my portions.

Yesterday I drank a green tea and a celery and spinach smoothie for dinner. I’d had a big couscous salad for lunch and been quite slothful all day, so it was plenty. I didn’t feel sick in the morning, which I often do if my dinner hasn’t been substantial enough. Hopefully this is my path to weight loss. I am getting frustrated about not losing! This flitting between 60kg and 63kg drives me mad. Just have to keep trying and tweaking.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Food for thought

Today is my first day of being a vegan again. But, I might just do it gradually; eating most meals as a vegan. I don’t know if I’m ready to fling myself fully into it yet – I guess my upcoming holiday makes me want to be a bit flexible. I will reassess post holiday.

Today I have had muesli and soya milk for breakfast, and a banana and a veggie salad for lunch.

I’m thinking about dabbling in raw food a bit, too. I don’t think I want to follow a diet that is quite as strict as that, but it can’t hurt to introduce a lot more raw food into my life. As it is, I usually have a raw lunch, but everything else is cooked. I want to try it out of curiosity – there is a LOT of hype surrounding it. I also want to challenge myself to think of more interesting recipes, to lose weight and to feel healthier. If it helps clear my skin – which has exploded into a colourful range of weird bumpy spots and massive red angry ones, that would be a bonus too.

I have spent so long writing this entry that I have now eaten lunch as well. I had a leafy salad with tomatoes, sweetcorn (which may well have been tinned stuff, so not entirely right for the raw food thing), cucumber and a bit of vinaigrette. I also had a banana. And then a fruit salad and another banana spread with palm-oil and sugar free peanut butter. Yum!

Also, I am drinking water like it’s going out of fashion. This is actually a bit of a concern, as I can’t seem to drink enough. It’s 2pm here and I have already drunk about 3.5litres. I’m still thirsty. I had a massage yesterday and the therapist told me I wasn’t drinking enough water; I told her that I drank at least 3.5 litres every day. She was surprised and asked me if I had a hormone imbalance. She suggested I might have a thyroid problem, which was concerning. I read up on it, and it would be consistent with the fact I am finding it ridiculously hard to lose weight, despite working out all the time, and the fact that my periods are very irregular. They just stop and start for a week or so each month. Of course, it might not be anything to do with my thyroid, but I think I will get it checked out. I know for sure it’s not diabetes because my friend tested me the other day (he is diabetic).

Anyway, it’s a bit weird to be going to the loo every 30 minutes, but still be gasping for water, isn’t it?

In other news, my landlord is an arsehole. That is all.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Turning Veganese, I really think so

Hello. If anyone is reading, I hope you will understand that my lazy blogging is because I am getting ready to leave Dubai and move to Bangkok.

But today I felt like I must blog. I think walking around Safa Park clears my head and gets my thoughts in perspective.

Today I decided to go back to being a vegan. I have been vegetarian for 20 years, and vegan for six of those, until I gave up when I found love and wanted to stop having so much trouble in restaurants – sending food back and explaining to every person I ever met about why I was a vegan. Sometimes you just want to eat your food in peace, you know?

But, I feel as though, like it or not yoga has made me more aware. I’m much more in touch with my body since I became serious about yoga. I know I am allergic to onions now. I feel hungover the day after I eat them, and I can taste them for a full day afterwards. It hasn’t made me give them up, but it certainly makes me think twice about them.

I’m also more aware of my body’s natural cycle. For the first time I know when I am ovulating (sorry if that’s too much, but I find it amazing that I can now realise this when I never did before), I know when I am due on – thanks to chocolate cravings and being a bit short with my ex boyfriend – and most other people. I’m more aware of my libido, and my appetite, and my hydration levels, what is important to me and what makes me feel good and what does not. Dairy does not. It makes me feel sluggish and phlegmy (and my blood pressure seems to be lower so that I get very lightheaded and faint when I’m a veggie, not a vegan..?) Also – I’m doing it for the cows. It was one of Alicia Silverstone’s Tweets that made me take the plunge.

Perhaps I won’t be vegan forever, or perhaps I will follow a mostly vegan diet so that I can be flexible and avoid the inevitable troubles and attention the diet brings. But I know at the moment that I feel wretched after eating a pizza last night. Nothing about me felt right this morning. I worry I’m feeling that about alcohol too. I like alcohol, but I fear it doesn’t like me. I’m not going to give it up, but two pints of beer made me feel HORRIBLE even the night I drank them. Not drunk in any way, but I could taste them in my mouth until well into the next day. Ick.

Last time I became a vegan, I gained weight. I think this is down to my love of chips and bread. Great separately, even better together. This time, thanks to my job as a journalist, I am much more informed about nutrition after interviewing loads of nutritionists. And being more in tune will help too. So, no more chip butties (or at least not nearly as many), this time veganism is going to mean tofu smoothies, pistachio and date tabbouleh, wild rice salads and the like. I have no desire to eat one last tub of Ben & Jerry’s. I have a desire to purge!

In exercise news… well, I’m leaving the country, so there are lots of goodbyes to be said, and lots of 6km runs are being missed. I’m fitting in exercise around the tête-à-têtes, but it’s like walking up a downwards escalator. I’m not getting anywhere. Holidays are coming – I’m off to Istanbul on 4th April, and I ALWAYS lose weight on holiday. I’m a freak of nature. I think it’s because I don’t walk much in Dubai (there are few walker-friendly areas, it’s too hot and I work 10 hour days), so sightseeing holidays are a shock to the system! When I get some routine back, my new aim is to burn 1000 calories in a day. It’s easy when you can squeeze in two sessions; a morning run and a dance with weights in my room, for instance. Today, though is a lost cause on that front – leaving drinks tonight. Say a prayer for my waistline.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Just read that last post back – I even talk about ‘forcing myself’ to walk slower! Not a great way to de-stress, and certainly not a non-harming thought which I think is the first step on my path to inner peace.

Another thought occurred to me in my walk today. While I was walking I realised how much I miss grass and greenery and nature while I am in Dubai. The smell of flowers, grass and autumnal soil is so rare that when you catch a whiff, you want to fill your lungs up to bursting point with it. It made me consider that perhaps I would like to live somewhere a little less hectic. Perhaps somewhere beautiful and sedate would be nice (although when I think about it practically, I know I would get bored in days). It made me laugh for a second that I am pursuing a more peaceful life by moving to Bangkok – which must be one of the most hectic, polluted and crazy cities on the planet! I suppose inner peace can thrive whatever your exterior, though.

But actually, in direct contrast to what I just said – I spoke to a psychologist about clinical depression for a feature I was doing last week, and she said that you must take into consider both internal and external factors when finding what is at the root of depression. She said that to take somebody out of their environment was only looking at one piece of the jigsaw. With that thinking then of course if you live in a stressful environment then you are more likely to be stressed. My heart still beats for Bangkok, though.

This is my church

As usual (lately), I am stressed out to the max. I had a massage the other day and was told that I have knots all over – even in my wrists. She said this was much more than a normal person.
I admit that I haven’t really taken any steps towards de-stressing (unless you count the Kinder chocolate bar I ate yesterday – I decided it would be more effective than pills, which I hate taking). But today, when faced with the prospect of a lunchtime run, I decided it was too hot. I also decided that I did not want to stay in the office. So I compromised and went for a walk.

I’m so glad I did. It was wonderful. I began walking the periphery of the park, and was hit by the beautiful smell of cut grass. I took my shoes off and allowed myself to meander (instead of my usual power walk) around the park. The running track under my feet, the sound of the birds and distant traffic, the smell of pollen and cut grass and the feeling of the sun on my skin were just what I needed. I felt a knot or two drop out of my shoulders, and my breathing become deeper. I took a detour inside the park so that I could feel the grass under my feet too. It sounds so small, but my feelings are running high with the knowledge that my time in Dubai is nearly over that it made me cry with relief to feel so happy and calm for an hour. I think I will force myself to walk slower more often – it’s really incredible that power it has to slow your mind too. I am constantly trying to multitask – chatting on the phone while making dinner, writing a feature and checking Facebook, eating and watching TV. The result is that I never relax into one task. I’ never mindful.

Even when I take activities that should be for myself, I manage to turn them into a challenge. Moving to Thailand has become daunting, exercising becomes about pushing myself further and harder, yoga becomes a competition with anyone stronger and more flexible and social events become a test of my conversational skills and story-telling.

Today was incredible. Until I got a text that smacked me right back into code red stress levels. Tomorrow I am leaving my phone behind and taking my camera. And Exhaaaaaaaaale.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Oh Plateau

I haven’t blogged very much lately because of a bit of a combination of things:

I am leaving the country, so I am fairly busy making plans
I was worried that I had started to get a bit too hard on myself with food and exercise and it was making me unhappy
I have been going through that time of the month when you just want to eat chocolate and then cry because you look like a whale.
I have plateaud and it makes me sad when I have been working my arse off.

But, my period is over, I have started making some headway in The Move and most importantly, I got talking to my friend – who is a Muay Thai/ Kickboxing/ Kung Fu fighting machine and trainer and he gave me some motivation.

Tomorrow, the detox will start. I am going to give my system a bit of a break by eating simpler foods for a week. It’s not going to be starvation, like a typical detox – I don’t see the point in that. Instead, I will eat a lot of fruit, veg, whole grains, beans and tofu and drink lots of water and green tea. I will cut out the alcohol, bread and chocolate as well as all the other little vices I have for that week too. Even then, I will only reintroduce things slowly.

Also, the exercise routine will be refreshed. My fighting machine friend said that I needed to shake up my routine, ignore the numbers on the scales and concentrate on building muscle – once I have that, he said, the weight will drop off.

My fitness is definitely at an all-time high. I can run further than ever, but my shape isn’t changing. My body (and my brain) is bored of the running and the swimming and has embarked on a silent protest by halting my weight loss.

When I started losing weight, I was 70kg. I lost weight fairly steadily until I got to 64kg, and then it stopped again. I ramped up the fitness and got to 61-62kg where I seem to have stopped again. The lowest I have got down to is 60.5kg. I want to lose 10lbs and then I will be happy to just maintain my weight.

I am aiming for 56.5kg. I think this is healthy and achievable.

The plan is to do at least one hour per day of intense exercise that will make me ache. I want to wake up aching every day – this way I will know my body has been challenged instead of just having gone through the motions. I will do this by including the following in my routine (and maybe others if I think of some):

Stair sprints interspersed with recovery runs
Walking fast with weights (can be done on walk into work)
Running (increasing distance or speed)
Fartlek running
Weights at gym
Home routine (press ups, squats, reps etc)
Skipping with rope
Dancing (in room to radio)
Beach running (soft sand)

So, the aim in a nutshell is to eat more simply, work out for at least an hour a day and make sure I push myself every time.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Scale Scare

Hello, I have been busy since I last wrote.

I’ve been busy almost finishing my weekly goals but not quite, (okay – 20 lengths, 6.5km and 1 hour of strength training off – BUT I had an ankle injury).

I have also been busy at work – 14 features in 15 working days to do. Great. AND for reasons like the sentence before this, I quit my job. Yes, I finally did it.

I have no job to go to, but I feel so liberated. I can’t wait to go and see some more of the world. It bothers me that it’s there and I know it is, but I can’t get to it. Now I can.

I will tell you more about my plans in the next month, but today I want to confess that I have had a day of eating nothing but sugar. Tomorrow I will be good as gold. Today I have eaten:

1 Frijj chocolate shake
2 slices of toast with peanut butter
1/3 of a big honey flavoured pot of goat’s yoghurt (I ate the other 2/3 last night)
A fruit and nut bar (somebody left it as a present on my desk)
A piece of fudge
A salad
A load of plums

I am also just about to eat a nut bar.

God help my waistline.

The problem is twofold. Firstly, it’s flooded in Dubai. My yoga class was cancelled last night and it’s not possible to run or swim, or even get cabs to the gym. So, I was lazy two nights running. This scares me. I don’t want to remember what lazy nights feel like… I know they feel good and I don’t want to get lazy again.

Secondly, somebody told me I looked thin, and I started to realise that maybe I am - so I guess it made me a bit complacent. I think I am a UK size ten on my bottom and a size 8 on my top. I still feel fat, though. I know I’m not. But I think in the same way that when you are 26 and you still feel like a geeky teenager inside, when you have lost weight, your brain still thinks of you as chubby. Does this sound like two opposing thoughts? It may do, which gives you an idea of my scrambled brain at the moment!

I am trying to quell any unhealthy food thoughts, but it’s hard. I notice more and more what I eat, and I think of things in terms of whether they are carbs or protein etc, and I hate eating carbs at night because I can see it on the scales in the morning. This is bad, and something I need to nip in the bud. But preferably without becoming a hippo. Hard, hard, hard.

It’s weird because really recently I was way more interested in just being fit and healthy. Now I have a near obsession with getting below 60kg. I’m still 61kg, although today I don’t want to weight myself. I think I will cry if I see the effect the chocolate has had.

I think that maybe it will just sort itself out when I have a new focus. Like a boy, or a new country and job. And preferably all of those things! These are not the thoughts of a yoga teacher. I need to think holistic and long term health, not plummeting weight and food fears.