Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sickness and fainting

Well, those of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook know I've been sick for 5 days now with what I think is the flu. Symptoms have been the following:

  • fever
  • skin sensitive to touch
  • cough from hell
  • light headedness
  • tiredness
  • general blah feeling (yes that's the technical term)
And as of last night, one new symptom which I hope to goodness was a one off ... fainting. I've come close to fainting a couple of times in my life, but this was the first one where it actually happened. I'm hoping that writing it down will stop it replaying in my head

This is how it happened:

My throat is dry so I've been drinking water like it's no tomorrow, through the day and through the night. Glass empty, I got up out of bed and went to the ensuite. Whoa, I don't feel so good all of a sudden, put glass down on counter, lean on counter. Dots start appearing before my eyes ... uh oh, I think I'm going to faint if I don't sit down, go towards toilet to sit ... ow, why am I falling out of bed .. ow ow ... how did I manage to fall between my bed and the bedside table ... pause .. wait, why didn't Brian wake up and hear that ... pause .. oh, I'm in the ensuite on the floor next to the toilet ... I just fainted ... ok quick what is the first aid for someone who's fainted ... um ... put feet up ... lay on tiled floor with feet up on step for bath ... the tiles are cold, refreshing ... I can feel my heart pounding

So I lay there for a while then realised I'd have to get back to bed. Was scared that I'd faint on the way back to bed, but I got there ok. Looked at clock, 2am and now I'm wiiide awake, mulling over what just happened. Very restless sleep for the rest of the night.

Today, still not feeling the best, some friends of mine nagged (oops, I mean convinced) me into making an appointment with my doctor. They aren't in today, but will be tomorrow. I have the feeling they are just going to say rest and fluids, but will go just to rule out anything more serious.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Making a difference

Well, the day by day thing seems to be going ok, yesterday only had one glass of wine, today so far, zero. Getting a bit more brave with my running, did 14k yesterday. Was hard work too, especially with a hangover. Felt ok whilst I was running (apart from wishing for an extra lung), but as soon as I stopped and sat down in the car I started bucketing sweat and felt quite ill and lightheaded. Sipped on some water and made my way home, started to feel a little better as time went on. Peak hour traffic meant it took me an hour to get home, my body certainly didn't want that straight after a big run, stiffened up big time.

As for motivation for training others, I'm actually getting more motivation and joy out of training friends and 12WBT peeps than my gym clients at the moment. I think it's because I know that they've made a commitment, I know that they are working to better themselves and make good food choices. Plus, I really do honestly care about them as friends, it's a deeper bond I think than with my gym clients.

I like to think that I'm making a difference. At a time when I'm not feeling like there is much purpose to my being on this planet, I'd like to think that in my small way I can help people. Help them get fitter and healthier, help them feel better about themselves, help them spend some time looking after themselves.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Day by day

This is not going to be a super happy post, so if you are looking for a positive lift, you may want to click away now ....

It's been a weird few weeks, I must say. I've been feeling kinda low for a while now. At first I thought it was because 12WBT had finished, but I don't think that is it. I let my diet and exercise go to the point where I started to put weight on again, and was over the weight range I've set myself to stay in. And it affected my self confidence, in every aspect of my life. I've started not looking forward to going to work, as I don't know what I can give to these people. If I can't look after myself, what right do I have to tell others how to look after themselves.

To attempt to pull myself out of it, I set myself a big goal, to run the Blackmores half marathon. Physically, I see no reason why I shouldn't be able to do it, providing I train right. Mentally and emotionally though, I don't know that I'm tough enough. I'm hoping that as I continue to train that the mental toughness will come.

Yesterday I did the food shopping. Hubby has been sick and he put down on the shopping list "treat for Brian" "treat for Amanda". I bought him a chocolate orange as that's his favourite and I knew he'd like it. As for a treat for me ... you know I don't really feel like I deserve a treat. Was tempted to eat Maccas, but all I could here in my head was Michelle "really? That's how you are going to treat yourself, by putting bad food into your body?" *sigh* looks like her influence is still alive and well ... I would like her to think well of me, so I didn't have the Maccas. Into Coles I went, bought some healthy food, then went down the chocolate aisle for Brian's treat. Stopped at the Kingston creams ... picked them up, held them for a while, then thought to myself "really think about what this decision means, do you really want them?" Put them back on the shelf.

I did buy mostly healthy stuff, did crack and buy apple pies and ice cream though. Then went to Dan Murphys and bought a six pack of Chardonnay.

Last night I drank until I blacked out ... again ... *sigh* I guess I get sick of feeling low and just want to not feel for a little while. But, I know this is not healthy. So back on track today, I'm going to take this day by day, and continue to fight to get back to being healthy. Maybe at some point I'll believe I deserve it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Snow Pea Salad with Hot Chilli Dressing

Tonight we are off to a friends house, people we haven't seen for a few months. Where does the time go?? Anyway, they asked if we could bring a salad. This recipe is one I've done tons of times, and always goes down a hit. Plus, it's healthy, yay!

Snow Pea Salad with Hot Chilli Dressing

  • 200g snow peas
  • 125g button mushrooms
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 4 shallots
  • 2 cups snow pea shoots
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp raw sugar
  • 1 tbsp sherry
  • 1/4 cup water

Trim snow peas and cut into bite size pieces. Slice mushrooms, capsicum and shallots and place in a large salad bowl with snow peas and pea shoots.

Dressing: heat oil in a saucepan. Add chilli, garlic and seeds, and fry until golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add all remaining ingredients, and mix well.

Immediately spoon dressing over the salad ingredients, toss, and serve.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Handmade pasta dough

So on the weekend I made lasagne, at hubby's request. It's been a while since I've made it (not exactly a healthy dish) but it is one of his favourites. I decided to make the pasta sheets from scratch. I've done it quite a few times before, you can't beat fresh pasta, so much better than store bought.

Here's the recipe and how you make it. Recipe comes from Urban Graze, a cooking school in the Kellyville area.


200g 00 Italian flour
4 egg yolks
2 eggs


Place flour in a medium sized bowl or directly on the workbench. Make a well in the centre.

In a small bowl, mix egg yolks & eggs together. Pour all eggs into the well in the flour.

Begin to mix slowly, drawing in flour from the sides gradually to begin to make a paste. This can be done with your fingers or with a fork.

As the mixture begins to thicken up, begin to mix with your hand. Once the dough begins to incorporate all of the flour, clean your hands and begin to knead the pasta dough

The dough will become very smooth and elastic. This will take from 5-15 minutes (when you press a finger into the dough the indentation doesn't stay, it springs back out)

Cover and set aside for 30 minutes to rest. (I tend to cover the dough in flour, cling wrap it and put in fridge for this part).

Once you are ready to cook whatever pasta dish you are making (in my case lasagne) remove dough from fridge and roll through pasta making machine

Cut into sheets the size of the dish you will be baking the lasagne in. Before long you will have enough sheets to use, yummo!
Happy cooking! :)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Quiet weekend for me

A very quiet weekend is in store for me. Literally, as I've lost my voice!

I had thought my cold was getting better, but as yesterday went on, I noticed my voice was getting a bit hoarse. Uh oh! I've lost my voice in the past a couple of times, and I know that's usually a precursor symptom. Still, I went out to dinner with some friends to a local pub. Not the smartest move, in hindsight. I guess I just thought I'd had enough of being cooped up at home, and a good night's sleep would take care of things. Nope! Woke this morning to find I can't manage anything above a whisper.

Annoying as I had plans today. I was supposed to be going out to brunch with some of the ladies I used to work with at IBM. I've been looking forward to it for weeks, but there was just no way I could go. Nicely they are rescheduling, so that I can come. Very sweet of them to do that.

I also had a session with a client this afternoon, but a personal trainer without a voice isn't terribly useful, so that got rescheduled.

And tonight I was supposed to be going to Parra Stadium to watch the Eels take on the Broncos. I haven't been to a game for a while, so was excited about going. But, if in hindsight it was not smart to go to the pub last night, going out and sitting in a cold stadium for a few hours would be close to stupid.

So, it's 12.30 and I'm still in my PJs, I've been reading, and I'm downloading the first episode of True Blood to see if I like it. We'll watch the footy from the lounge tonight, I'll rest, relax, and hopefully this illness will take the hint and leave me!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Random thoughts

Head is all over the place today, due to not being well, and it is the first day where I've actually had a chance to stop and think. I've taken the day off work, to rest and recover.

Had a workshop up in Tuggerah on Monday (or so I thought). Hubby and I decided to take advantage of it and stay a couple of nights at the Crowne Plaza in Terrigal, where we've stayed before. We went up on the Sunday. I was exhausted, Saturday had been such a big day/evening, I felt like I'd been hit by a truck. Got up there with no panic attacks, very happy with that, considering how tired I was. Had a great dinner with old friends/relatives on Sunday evening. Monday morning I had my tomtom all set to go, and I got to Tuggerah in 25 minutes. I was quite chuffed as I had arrived early and was looking forward to the workshop. However on arriving there the reception staff told me it had been moved to Erina, which is just 5 minutes or so from Terrigal! A few hurried phone calls confirmed it had indeed moved, and I ran for my car. Ended up arriving about 20 minutes late, I hate being late for things! Rest of the day went smoothly, learnt heaps.

I'm feeling quite flat after Round 1 of 12WBT. Part of that I guess is because I am sick, but part is just sad that it has ened. There are heaps of people going on to Round 2 and Twitter and Facebook is full of people talking about it, and how excited they are about it all. I made the right decision not to go on to Round 2, but I miss it. I miss being part of the community, and I think gradually I'll be left behind. I half thought of signing up again, but really, by the end of Round 1 I wasn't following the exercise or nutrition, so what would be the point. Time for me to cheer on from the sidelines.


A couple of things I've read today have really hit home. There's been a pattern of being hurt by people I have been friends with, once I have opened up to them, and let them know the real me. I have been told a few times now, that it's just "too hard" or "too much effort" to be my friend. Ouch eh. Everyday Stranger had a post today about forgiving people who hurt you. Part of what she said really resonated, as follows:

"If you hurt me then I won’t give you another chance to hurt me because I can accomplish that just fine on my own, thanks. If I forgive then it means that what happened is inconsequential."

And that's how I feel. I don't want to forgive past hurts, as what does that mean, that it was ok for them to do that?

As I see it, I have options .... I can retreat, and only show people my positive side, keep them at a safe distance. I really can't cope with being a negative influence in someone's life, that's not what I want at all.

Or, I saw an amazing quote today on Twitter by Janine Shephard:

"It's impossible." said pride. "It's risky." said experience. "It's pointless." said reason. "Give it a try." whispered the heart

I could try again.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

12WBT Round 1 wrap up

Well, Round 1 of 12WBT is now officially over. Yesterday was a HUGE day with a workout in the domain and a party at Cargo Bar. I thought I'd write down my memories now, before they fade.

The day dawned bright and sunny. I was weary as I hadn't slept well, a mixture of nervousness and excitement. I ran around like a mad thing getting everything ready I needed to take for the day.

Driving into the city is still a big deal for me, but I got there in one piece, and with only one panic attack as I neared the Lane Cove Tunnel (not a fan of tunnels, or freeways for that matter). I've changed a lot since the beginning of the 12WBT. If you'd told me a couple of months ago that I would have the confidence to drive myself into the city I wouldn't have believed you.

It took less time than I thought to drive in and get a park near Mrs Macquaries Chair. I walked up and met Amiee, who had invited me to be a helper for the big group ex session. We met up with Mish, Amelia, Tash, Amy, Tim, Rachel and the photographer guy, and headed over to the Domain. I was nervous about being a helper as I didn't want to stuff it up. Michelle is such a role model for me, I did NOT want to look like an idiot in front of her, or let her down in any way.

I had the advanced section to help look after, and oh man, my fitness was tested with the first section with Amelia. Sprints are definitely not my thing, I'm more of an endurance runner, so that was interesting lol. My HR got up to about 200, which is kinda big for me!

The next section was with Michelle. I got to demonstrate exercises with her!!! I'm still pinching myself. How on earth did I get lucky enough to be able to do that. I tell ya, I was listening so hard when she was describing to me what we were about to do, to make sure I understood. I got to join in with the exercising and had a lovely person to partner up with, Lisa I think her name is.

The next section was with Rachel. She didn't need my help, and Michelle called me over to demonstrate with her again. I was in heaven at this point! Exercising! With Michelle! The lady who has inspired me to no end, who was part of the reason I became a PT. I can never thank her enough.

After the exercise session I made my way across to the Radisson, with some difficulty as my GPS thingy kept losing signal, plus there was crazy traffic. Gaaah! Got there half an hour late, but it turned out to be all good. Julie Hoffmann kindly let us use her hotel room to get hair and makeup done. So many laughs and I think everyone in the room talked non stop for about 3 hours!

Jess and I made our way over to the Cargo Bar to drop off some of the prizes, then back to the Radisson, to walk back over with the rest of the girls. There were a few grumbles about the walk (NO, we can not take a taxi, it is not that far!!), but we got there in good time. Met up with a few other 12WBTers once we arrived, then it was in to the party. Each of us got to have a professional photo with Michelle, which was nice, then we were handed a drink and a showbag. I had such a good night, catching up with old friends and new, so many laughs, so many hugs :)

Then we were on to the prizes. Quite a few people got prizes, was great to see Hoffy get up on stage, she's had an amazing journey over the last 12 weeks. I was lucky enough to get a lucky door prize, yay me!!

Sue was sitting next to me, adamant that wasn't going to get a prize. I was adamant she was, as Amelia had asked her to email her after photo to her. And it turned out I was right! Sue won!!! WOO HOO!! Go girl! Seriously this woman was on a mission from the get go, her focus and determination was amazing and inspiring. She gave a lovely acceptance speech, I got a big mention as her trainer, was very humbled and blessed. I've been more than happy to help her, push her to go just that bit further with running.

After that, a couple more drinks, more chatting to people, more photos, and then I was off home.

So thanks 12WBT, for an out of this world experience, I have done so many things that I never thought I would.

Special thanks to the Parramatta crew, Jess my co-organiser, Sue the machine, the two Michelles, and Jo, we had some fun that's for sure!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mughlai Chicken

I cooked a new dish on the weekend, something I haven't done for a while. Must get back into it, I do love cooking. This recipe comes from Nigella Lawson's book called Feast. As one would expect from a Nigella recipe, it's not exactly the healthiest thing on the planet, but it is yummy.

It serves 8-10 as part of a feast. I did a rough calorie count on it, and it comes out at 373-298 calories per serve, not as high as I expected it would be actually.

One tip that Nigella has is to make this the day before, this way the flavours develop overnight. Don't be put off by the extensive ingredient list, it really is simple to make, and quite delicious, well worth making.


  • 2.5cm fresh ginger, peeled
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli
  • 4 tbsp ground almonds (I used almond meal)
  • 125ml water
  • 5 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1.5kg chicken thigh fillets, each cut in 2
  • 2 onions
  • 250ml Greek yoghurt
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 125ml double cream
  • 100g sultanas
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 75g flaked almonds, toasted (to toast nuts, simply shake them about in a hot dry pan until scorched in parts)

Put the ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander and chilli into a food processor, and blend to a paste. Add the ground almonds and water, then blend again, and set aside.

Put the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and cloves into a small bowl.

Heat the oil in a large pan and add the chicken pieces - in batches so they fry rather than stew, and cook them just long enough to seal on both sides, then remove to a dish.

Tip in the bowlful of spices and turn them in the oil. Peel and finely chop the onions, add to the pan of spices, and cook until softened and lightly browned, but keep the heat gentle and stir frequently, to avoid them catching. Pour in the blended paste, and cook everything until it begins to colour (mine didn't change colour, so after a few minutes I got bored and moved onto the next step). Add the yoghurt, 125ml at a time, stirring it in to make a sauce; then stir in the stock, cream and sultanas.

Put the browned chicken back into the pan, along with any juices that have collected under them, and sprinkle over the garam masala, sugar and salt. Cover and cook on a gentle heat for 20 minutes, testing to make sure the chicken meat is cooked through.

It's at this stage that you take the pan off the heat and leave it to cool overnight (I chucked mine in the fridge after an hour or so, as I didn't like the idea of the chicken coming up to room temperature).

The next day, reheat, scatter over the toasted flaked almonds, and serve.

Bon Apetit!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Life of a PT

Hard day today ... struggling physically and emotionally at the moment.

First client at 8am, last client at 8pm. 6 sessions spread throughout the day, plus follow up phone calls, and program writing.

2 of those clients weren't paid sessions and they won't be coming back for more sessions. How it works at my gym is that when a member joins up they get an option to buy 3 sessions with a PT for $80. The member's details goes to the PT manager and he assigns them to one of the PTs. The PT doesn't get paid for these sessions (the money goes to the gym), it is up to us to find out their goals, find out what they need, design and put them through the 3 sessions, then see if they'll continue on as paying clients.

The 2 I had today both said that the sessions had been really good, and I'd tailored them to their needs/goals, but they'd rather go it alone and see if they could achieve their goals without my help. That's the way the cookie crumbles. The good thing is they liked the sessions, so if down the track they are struggling and want help, they may well come to me.

A positive from today. I've got a client who I've been training for 3 weeks. She needs to lose a serious amount of weight and has tried various things in the past, including gastric band surgery. She is stressed to the max, due to family not being supportive, and each time she comes in she has a million things going through her head. However, she is trying really hard with changing her eating habits, and she told me today she feels so much better when she comes in and exercises, as it wipes her mind completely of her worries. She's already lost a couple of kilos. This is why I became a PT. I hope, in my small way, I can positively affect and help people, and make a difference in their lives, so they can become healthier and happier.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hello? Is this thing on?

Well, here we are, attempt number 4,000,000 to blog on a regular basis. I'm just going to pretend I haven't been totally slack in blogging, and continue on from here ...

So what is happening in my world at the moment ... to recap on the last 6 months or so ...

I've now been a PT for 6 months. It is mostly good, I really really really don't miss my office job. I love that I don't have set hours (even though I'll never love getting up at 5 in the morning, it's still night time then people!! lol)

The only parts that aren't good are just down to lack of confidence on my part from time to time. I keep expecting someone to tap me on the shoulder and say "Who are you kidding, you can't be a personal trainer, you're NOT GOOD ENOUGH!" Why yes, I do struggle with self esteem from time to time, something I'm working on.

Also, let's see, for the last 3 months I've been doing an online 12 week body transformation challenge. It's run by Michelle Bridges who is one of the trainers on The Biggest Loser, Australia's version of Jillian Michaels. Why did I do this, in that I had/have no weight to lose? Well, it's not just for weight loss goals, it can be any fitness or health related goals. In my case I set myself the following goals:

  • Do 5 unassisted wide grip chinups (a strength goal)
  • Get to 12.1 on the beep test (a fitness goal)
  • Lose 3% body fat to get to see definition on my abs (also known as the vain goal lol)
  • Go 12 weeks alcohol free (see if I can kick alcohol demons goal)
Which of these did I achieve?

Smashed the chinup goal, I actually surprised myself and got to 8 chinups!

Beep test goal went by the wayside. A couple of reasons why ... Through a combination of healthy eating/no alcohol/increased exercise my weight dropped a little. Then I got a stomach bug for a few days, at which point my weight dropped to 52.4kg. I looked gaunt and unhealthy and to be fair I was a little alarmed. I dropped off the cardio drastically and once over the bug decided to concentrate on my strength goal.

I lost 2.8% body fat. Very happy with this, my weight ended up at a more healthy 55kg, and I had the definition I wanted.

The alcohol goal - did I kick my demons? Well, I did go the 12 weeks alcohol free (except for my anniversary which I was allowed one day off for to celebrate). You see, I gave my word to Michelle, and my fellow 12WBTers that I wouldn't drink ... so I didn't. So I proved to myself that if held accountable then I can do it. However, now it has finished. And I have to say I crumbled like an ill built stack of cards. Last weekend I went back to the alcohol like I was trying to make up for the 12 weeks without. For 3 nights I drank to excess, to the point of being sick the next day.

So, it appears demons not conquered, just pushed to the side for a while. I'm hoping that blogging will help me to work through what I obviously haven't addressed as yet. What I'm trying to hide from, what I need to escape from, from time to time.

Feel free to come along for the ride.