Monday, May 20, 2013

Healthy Girl Project: Check It Out!

Have you got a niggling issue that you keep meaning to get checked, but just never get around to it? Maybe you have a sore tooth, or a bad knee, or a weird bump that you're monitoring but not committing to seeking medical advice for yet? Oh, my friend, you are in fine company. This is a thing. People just don't make the time to check things out. Here's my story. Two and a half years ago, while doing data entry at work, I started noticing that I needed to squint my left eye every now and then. A few months later, I was needing to close my left eye when reading small writing below me on the desk. Not longer after that, I realised that anything that wasn't a few feet in front of me was blurry because my left eye just couldn't focus on it. My once-perfect vision was no more. But do you think I did anything about it? Nope. I battled on through the data entry, squinted at the screens at Church when I sang, and kept telling myself "next week I'll book that eye test". I can't even use money as an excuse because we have health insurance, and I knew that I was entitled to a free pair of glasses every year.

Well, finally, as you can see in my stylish photo above, I did it. I booked a test at my local spec savers (bulk-billed, FYI) and within minutes I was told I have an astigmatism and... what do you know... I needed glasses! A couple of weeks later my glasses arrived, and my life changed for the better. Just like that. Because I took 20 minutes out of my life and finally got an eye test.

The moral of the story is - go to the doctor/dentist/optometrist/allergist. My tale is fairly harmless, but there are some pretty devastating stories out there of people with serious illnesses who put off going to the doctor until it was too late. This one caught my attention just this evening, and after a quick Google search there are too many accounts just like it.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Healthy Girl Project: Keeping It Clean

Well, today I accepted the fact that I am not going to keep counting Weight Watchers points. Before the Weight Watchers haters out there roll their eyes and say "Took you long enough to work that out" I want you to know that I believe in Weight Watchers as a program. It is sustainable to people who are disciplined enough to keep counting their points, and it's an amazing program which allows you to eat anything without 'breaking the rules' provided you track it - to me, that's a healthy outlook on living a healthy life-style, because it's realistic. Even the healthiest, fittest people I know want to have a piece of cake every now and then, and Weight Watchers says "That's totes fine!"

Anyway, the point of this post isn't to talk about Weight Watchers, but rather to let you know what I'm trying next - Clean Eating! Like Weight Watchers, Clean Eating is a lifestyle rather than a diet/strict program. Without going into too much detail (my knowledge is a bit limited at the moment), Clean Eating embraces whole, non-processed foods, lean meats, less dairy, etc - basically eating foods that are as close as possible to their natural state.

I've been following the Clean Eating Recipes page on Facebook for ages now, and decided to download their app this morning. The app offers recipes, helps you understand the concept of clean eating, and provides a list of suggested things to keep in your pantry to get you started. As I was planning a shopping trip today, I decided to check this list first so I could start stocking up. Scrolling through, overwhelmed-ness hit me. Items like spelt flour, quinoa flakes, almond milk, grape seed oil, cauliflower rice and coconut sugar smacked me in the face as I scrolled through, and I decided right then to give up because there was no way I would be able to find all this stuff at the store and make all these crazy substitutions! So I promptly closed the app and made my usual weekly meal plan.

Going through the recipes for my meal plan, I realised something. Most things that I was planning on cooking with were actually already clean - things like chicken breast, chick peas, fresh vegetables and greek yoghurt. Curious, I re-opened the app and realised I would only need a couple of extra things to keep my already-planned meals completely clean. Hallelujah! Of course, I wasn't necessarily sure I would find those things, but I noted them on my list anyway. And you know what? My shopping trip went better than I expected! I'm so used to picking up the products that I am familiar with, that I haven't even noticed the clean/healthier alternatives sitting right there next to them! Things like wholemeal cous cous, spelt pasta, grape seed oil, buckwheat - right there on the same shelves I've been shopping from for years!

So as you can see in the photo above, today I bought some clean things. I have to issue a disclaimer right now and let you know that I'm not completely 100% eating clean yet - there are some products that I won't be able to get without visiting a health food store, and I still need to put in some solid research before I know enough to do it completely. But I'm happy to do it a few small changes at a time.

Amazingly, this blog post isn't intended to pull you onto the Clean Eating band wagon with me! But if what you're doing right now isn't working, I do want you to broaden your scope and try something new. It might be something small, like a new exercise DVD, or like me it might be something big like a complete overhaul of your eating. But don't stay stuck in a rut! There's just no reason to be unhappy with yourself in an area that you have the complete power to change.

If you are interested in checking out Clean Eating, these are some resources that I'm going to be burying myself in over the next few days:
- The Complete Idiot's Guide To Clean Eating
- Clean Eating Magazine
- Ashy Bines (if you haven't seen her ads pop up on Facebook, you're living under a rock)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Healthy Girl Project: Let's Go Nuts!

Recently I've started adding raw nuts and seeds to my diet... admittedly, I wasn't super keen on consuming them in their raw form when I've grown up snacking on their tasty salted & roasted cousins! But knowing they were good for me (I'll explain in a sec!) I resolved to make myself eat a handful now and then... and amazingly within only a couple of days I started enjoying them. Heck, I'm craving them right now just writing about them!
So here's what I've been learning about nuts and seeds (the following info is from this website - visit it for a more detailed description):

- They're the NUMBER 1 source of plant protein!
- They are high in fat - but it's the good kind. While they can contribute to weight gain and should be carefully portion controlled if you're trying to lose weight, they're great for your heart. A study showed that people who consumed a serve of nuts just 5 times per week reduced their risk of heart disease by 35%! What!?
- They're an amazing source of energy (hence why you should be careful if you're trying to lose weight)
- They're filled with a whole bunch of minerals and even a couple of vitamins!

And check this out (from the same website):
"A study published in the April 2002 Journal of Nutrition had people replace half the fat in their daily diets with almonds for six weeks. Researchers found that the almond eaters’ bad cholesterol went down six percent, and good cholesterol went up six percent. In addition, blood fat dropped 14 percent." [source]

So what's a good portion size? According to a couple of websites I browsed through, a good daily serve is 1 ounce (30g) - I measured it out and it was a little less than a 1/4 cup. Nuts and seeds are super versatile - you can mix them through your muesli in the morning, snack on them at work, sprinkle them on a salad... get creative! The important thing to remember is that they're at their best in raw form.

I also found this site which has a list of nuts and seeds and an extensive look into each individual one... seriously each nut and seed has its very own page packed with information! Worth a look.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Healthy Girl Project - The Sheepish Face

Is this sheepish enough for you??? It's been a while since I blogged, and honestly, the reason why I'm dusting it off and jumping back in is because of the people who have (sometimes forcefully!) been suggesting I get back into it! I'm really sorry I got so slack... I think that making this project a 365 was a terrible idea! I started running out of ideas, losing motivation, putting way too much pressure on myself, and once I'd skipped blogging that first week I thought to myself "Well, I'll never catch up on that 365 now" so I stopped trying. For that reason, while I do plan to blog as regularly as possible, I'm taking the pressure right off, ditching the "365" and renaming this the "Healthy Girl Project". Now I can blog every day... but I don't have to. And probably won't.
Anyway! What have I been up to? Have I been sticking with it? No. No, I haven't. But you'll be pleased to know that I'm not completely off the band-wagon. Some of the things I've been keeping up:
- Eating more fruit
- Avoiding coffee. And it's amazing how well I've been sleeping!
- Eating avocado on an almost daily basis
- Drinking more water

Yay me! But, let's be real. I've also been travelling terribly in other ways, or I wouldn't have gone into cyber-hiding all these months. For one thing, KFC just opened up at our local shops. You know I love my KFC. Some nights I can smell it from my front yard. Resolve, I need you! But I can't pin the blame entirely on KFC either. I've been planning some pretty atrocious meals*, letting my portion sizes slide back up there, and don't even talk to me about exercise... But guys, from tomorrow it's back on. I'm crawling back asking for another chance. Have your good intentions slipped since the new year? Is the colder weather inspiring you to load up on carbs and plop down on the couch with little other plans than to watch My Kitchen Rules**? Make this your week to start fresh too!

*Example: tonight's dinner was chicken stuffed with bacon and cream cheese, wrapped in puff pastry. I think that roughly equates to 500g weight gain per bite!
** Seriously babes.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 43 - Try Something New Tuesday!

No, I don't exactly intend to "try something new" every Tuesday but I guess the last two weeks have had me feeling particularly curious on Tuesdays. I've been meaning to try this baked grapefruit from A Beautiful Mess for a while now, and decided that today was the day. It's super simple - just cut your grapefruit in half, sprinkle some brown sugar on each half, rub it in, and bake for 15 minutes at 200C. I guess I was hoping that this would be the secret to enjoying grapefruit for me... I'm not a lover of grapefruit, it's just too bitter for me (though I love grapefruit juice!) and even baked with brown sugar it was just overwhelmingly bitter. Maybe some people are just genetically inclined to find grapefruit too bitter, as others are with celery and spinach? Hmmm! So I won't be making it again, but if you're a lover of the grapefruit, well, you may just enjoy it!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 42 - Pickle Goodness

Do you have any food fetishes that your friends and family judge you for? I do. Soda water, tinned mackerel fillets and pickles (specifically polski ogorki) spring to mind for me. They were all part of my childhood and I can't help but love them! I love pickles because they are 0 Weight Watchers points and they're crisp and yummy - perfect when I'm looking for a salty hit! I always have a jar in my fridge and I raid it pretty constantly. Tonight we're having dinner with Chris's family and I grabbed a pickle as a snack to tide me over until dinner time. Yum!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Days 38-41 - Oops...

I've been AWOL for the last few days, and though my 365 has been on my mind A LOT, I just haven't been able to think of things to take photos of. Why? Because I've kind of stumbled. The last couple of weeks have been difficult for some reason, and it will continue to be until my new healthy changes become habits, but for some reason my will power has just not been as strong. This weekend I've also been feeling under the weather which doesn't help with the motivation. So now I'm crawling back with lots of fresh ideas and ready for a new week to start tomorrow. I did consider scrounging together a few days worth of ideas and pretend that things were on track, but a very lovely friend convinced me to be honest with you all even if it sounds totally lame. As my support team you definitely deserve to know that I'm not always the pillar of strength I try to come across as! It's easy to blog about making healthy changes, it's another thing entirely to follow through all day, every day. Anyway, onward and upward!

I mentioned in my start-of-February post that I would be giving up soft drink this month and well, that day has come! I have been very much in the habit of cracking a can with dinner, buying fast food meal combos with 600mL bottles, stopping by the vending machine at work for a Diet Coke, ordering two soft drinks when I go out for dinner... and soft drinks can be pretty nasty! I know, it's not exactly breaking news that soft drinks are super high in sugar and have zero nutritional value, but studies are constantly coming out linking soft drink consumption with heart attack and stroke risk, obesity (duh), cancer, kidney damage, elevated blood pressure, tooth decay, increased risk of diabetes... the list goes on, depending on which study you're reading up on. Just google it! I found this article great as a starting point. And I'm sure we've all heard bits and pieces on the dangers of aspartame, the artificial sweetener used in diet soft drinks. So, these are my reasons behind my decision. I think I will probably still have a glass of soft drink on very rare occasions, but certainly not on a daily, weekly, or hopefully even monthly basis going forward.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 37 - Sweet Treat!

Last night we had our lovely home group over for Bible Study and I got all house-wifey and yearned to bake something. A couple of other girls in the group are working on healthier lifestyles too, so I wanted something that wouldn't screw us all completely. I ended up making a Mixed Berry Friand Slice. I'll put out the disclaimer right now that there's a difference between something being healthy, and something being not bad for you. This slice falls under the latter category - something to eat when you want a treat that won't throw your whole day off, but not something you should eat four pieces of in one sitting. So we're on the same page? Cool. I got the recipe from a Super Food Ideas magazine a couple of years ago, so it's not my own invention but heck, I'll share it with you anyway...

Mixed Berry Friand Slice
(Makes 16 pieces)
1 piece = 4 Weight Watchers Pro-Points

1 1/4 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup almond meal
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
150g low fat margarine spread, melted and cooled
4 egg whites, lightly whisked
150g frozen mixed berries
Icing sugar, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan-forced. Grease a square baking tin and line with baking paper.
2. Sift sugar, flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in almond meal and lemon rind.
3. Make a well in centre. Add spread and egg white. Stir until just combined. Pour into prepared tin. Sprinkle with berries.
4. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean. Stand in tin for 10 mins. Lift out onto a wire rack to cool. Cut into pieces. Dust with icing sugar. Serve.

Healthy Girl 365, Day 36 - Try Something New Tuesday

Yes, I'm aware that it's not actually a Tuesday but because I keep falling behind, this blog post is all about Tuesday, a day on which I tried something new - chickpeas, or garbanzo beans (who knew they were the same thing!?) I mean, I've tried chickpeas before; maybe twice in my life. But lately I've been really curious about incorporating them, as well as trendy things like quinoa and polenta, into my diet. So on Tuesday night I cracked my very first can and made Jerk Chicken with Chickpea and Carrot Slaw from Master Chef Magazine (and apparently, Taste!). Guys. Why have I believed for all these years that I don't like chickpeas?! Before cooking the meal, I shook the can of chickpeas in Chris's face and declared "I'm sorry, but I'm giving chickpeas a go". And he said "Why are you sorry? I love chickpeas!" So apparently I'm the last in the family to catch onto the greatness. Call me a slow learner.
As for the recipe I linked to, it was super delicious and perfect for Summer - but I would recommend skipping the 1/4 cup olive oil in the slaw - there's already quite a bit of oil in the jerk sauce/dressing and you don't need to add more than maybe a tablespoon. Yes, a tip. You're welcome.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 35 - 'Ave An Av!

Blimey. I love avocado. Avocado is proof that people change for the better. Two years ago I hated it. Now I can't get enough of it. My love of avocado seems to grow exponentially, to the point where I'm consuming it daily. Maybe it's replaced my coffee addiction?
On top of being ridiculous delicious, avocado is rather good for you too. Yes, it's pretty high in fat compared to other vegetables (or is it a fruit? Hmmm) but it's the good kind of fat - apparently, there's such a thing. Fat content aside, avocado helps prevent cancer and strokes, protects eye health, lowers cholesterol, is good for your heart, assists with nutrient absorption, and is the richest source of Vitamin E (which promotes general overall health). Also its antioxidants help prevent aging, which for someone who'll be turning 30 in less than 3 years is good news! Haha. I'm just kidding. I'm super young. I just don't feel it sometimes. This site basically says everything I've just said, but with a bit more info than I offered. There's lots of info out there, because avocados are great! Avocado power!

Healthy Girl 365, Day 34 - Meal In A Box

I never wanted to be one of 'those dieters' - you know the ones. They tell everyone within listening range "I'm being good", they won't eat your delightful home-baked cookies in the name of weight loss, they fill their freezer at home with frozen diet meals, they strap on their pedometers at the start of each day, they start running... you know the type. Well since starting this project, it's dawned on me. Guys. 'Those dieters' are the ones who are losing weight! No, it's not a recipe for success but I'll be damned if those things don't contribute to successful weight loss. I mean what's the alternative? Instead of "being good", you tell everyone "I'm being bad" and you eat McDonalds every day for lunch to prove it. Instead of avoiding cookies, you chow down on at least 3 before lunch in appreciation of the home-baked goodness, plus 2 more for afternoon tea. You fill your freezer with mini pizzas and pies and dim-sims, so on the days when you don't have the energy to cook, your meal choices are fatty, fatty and fatty. Instead of monitoring your exercise and trying to squeeze more of it into a day, you feel satisfied with yourself for taking so many trips down the hallway to speak to a co-worker, instead of emailing or phoning them. Yes, 'those dieters' are a cliche but it's for a reason. Now, technically I'm not keen to use the word 'diet' because I'm making permanent, sustainable lifestyle changes but that doesn't mean I shouldn't be implementing some of the tactics I mentioned above. This past weekend I was feeling pretty crappy. I hardly left the couch, except to celebrate a friend's birthday for a few hours. Cooking? Not a chance. I didn't even force myself out to the grocery store. Luckily for me, in a fleeting moment a week or so ago I'd made the brave decision to stock up on some Lean Cuisine for times like this. I haven't eaten a frozen meal since before I got married. This is some serious re-programming here people! This past weekend, instead of scrounging together whatever comfort food I could concoct into a meal, I ate a Lean Cuisine. Was it delicious? Heavens no. But it did save me from consuming way more fat and calories than I wanted to. And that's good enough for me!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 33 - Soda Star!

I'm a girl who is very accustomed to drinking a can of soft drink with main meals - mostly dinner, but I've also accompanied many a lunch with a can of Pepsi Max. Funnily enough, as I've mentioned before I'm also a bit rubbish at getting enough water in me day-to-day. Enter my buddy in the photo above. I know that soda water is an acquired taste for lots of people, but luckily for me I grew up drinking it as a treat at my grandparents' house... they had a few of those old-school soda syphons (exactly like this one I found on ebay just now) and I thought it was amazing fun pouring myself a nice big glass of it. Naturally, I therefore had to drink the nice big glassful so as not to be wasteful and so I came to love the stuff. The soda syphons disappeared (probably in the bin, because they were dangerous beasts with their little gas bulbs) when my Grandma moved into a nursing home and for years I mourned the ability to make fresh soda water when I wanted to. Store bought wasn't the same. When I discovered there was a device creeping into the market called a Soda Stream, and I got one for Christmas a couple of years ago, my life was changed! Free, delicious soda water at three pushes of a button. Lately I've been drinking a lot more soda water and a lot less soft drinks, so I'm thinking this device is going to be a pretty big part in both my attempts at drinking more water AND at giving up soft drink completely later this month. Refreshing!

Healthy Girl 365, Day 32 - One month down!

Is it just me, or was January a blur? I find it crazy that we're already one twelfth of the way through the year...! January was a month of learning curves for me. Some of the highlights for me:
- I experiment with green smoothies
- I found some friends to walk with on a weekly basis
- I tracked my food intake
- I gave up coffee. Sniff!
- I lost my first kilo!
- I shared a recipe for yummy mushroom mini-pizzas
- Due to some pretty slow progress, I did a re-focus
- I shared a bit of my story (how I came to be so unhealthy)
- I talked about how my faith plays into this journey to better health
- I tried green tea!
Overall this month I have lost 2.4kg - almost all of which was in the last week after doing my re-focus. Also, since giving up coffee I have noticed some differences, the main one being that I now sleep all the way through the night most nights, which never ever happened before. Here are some little goals for February:
- More intentional exercise
- More weight loss
- More salad
- Give up soft drink
- Start a skin care regimen (cringe. This is something I have never done, and I'm going to be so old and wrinkly soon).

To the people who have been checking in each day so far, thank you! I hope that February can be a month of fresh ideas and inspiration for anyone who pops by. And as always, I would love any suggestions of things that I can blog about - 365 is a lot of days to fill up!!!!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 31 - I Love Me Some English! (The muffin, not the accent)

How great are English Muffins? They are delicious! Last week I pretty much had them for breakfast every day, in fact on one of those days I enjoyed an english muffin at both breakfast and lunch time! I like them because they're kind of like toast, but a bit smaller than committing to two pieces of bread in the morning. English muffins are heaps versatile! Here are some ways that I like to enjoy them:
- With a smear of mascarpone, a drizzle of honey and some fresh fruit
- With poached eggs and asparagus
- Homemade McMuffin-style!
- With lean shaved ham and avocado
- Mini pizza-style
You can make an english muffin into a low-fat healthy breakfast with ease! Now excuse me while I go add them to the shopping list...

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 30 - The Green Tea Pact

So sorry for the delays this week! It has been a CRAZY one, so I'll be playing catch-up over the next couple of days.
So I'm a tea lover. My sweet friend Hayley learned one day that I had an extreme aversion to tea, and bless her, she made it her mission to change my attitude with her special tea-making method. My life has turned full circle since she put in those hours of effort with me, and I will be eternally grateful to her. Sniff.
Anyway, this post ain't about your average run-of-the-mill cuppa tea. As I mentioned in my last post, this week has been our annual staff retreat. The lady in the photo above is someone I've mentioned before - her name is Gen, and she's the receptionist who stocks lollies at the front desk like she was born to do it. On the first day of the retreat, it came about that neither of us had tried green tea before, but both of us were keen to check it out. So we made a solemn pact that the next day at morning tea, we would try it together. And so we did! The word on green tea? It tastes kind of like grass. I spoke to my sister, a once heavy-user of green tea, about the phenomenon and she explained that yes, it still tastes a bit grassy even when you're used to it but most people drink it for its health benefits. Because green tea is a healthy brew to get into you! I could do the research and tell you some facts about it, but earlier this month my friend Bronwyn posted this so I thought instead I could just direct you over there!
Am I completely against picking up another cup of green tea again? Nope. I can see myself begrudgingly getting used to it. I just wanted to put a warning out there that despite its health benefits, too much green tea (like a few cups a day) can cause severe stomach issues so don't overdo it!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 29 - Prayer and Reflection

You would be forgiven for forgetting that at some point when I was starting this project, I promised it wouldn't all be about weight loss. I've kind of largely focused on that, I guess because it's the most urgent part of my journey that needs fixing. Anyway. Because I work at the most amazing place in the world, I get to go on an annual staff retreat in Mandurah! 2-3 days of bonding with my co-workers, good food and a little bit of vision/planning sprinkled in. Chris and I are so lucky! Today we were given an hour of personal prayer/reflection time after an all-staff catch-up over cake and hot beverages. Now, I haven't brought my faith into this blog yet (other than mentioning that I work within a Church office) but today I will and I hope not to alienate anyone by doing so! I believe that God can and should be my ultimate source of strength in all areas, including my attempts at gaining better health. I've clearly demonstrated throughout the years that I'm weak in this area, and so I am trying to lean on Him through prayer. I absolutely fall short, but I try. Prayer and reflection time is something that I admit I don't engage in nearly enough. Today's time was good. I found a bench near the resort where the retreat is being held and I sat there for an hour, reading, praying and listening. I spotted a bird flying over the water, and instead of gliding gracefully through the air it was flapping speedily the whole time. It occurred to me that birds are designed to fly without very much effort - they flap their wings and hold them at the right angle, and they literally glide through the air before having to flap again. They have some kind of aero-dynamic system built into their design. I don't know how it works so that's as science-y as I get! This bird wasn't relying on its built-in aero-dynamic support system. It was just flapping crazily and energetically, putting all the effort of flying solely into the movement of its wings.
All I can say is... I seem to be flapping a lot, and my arms are going to get tired sooner or later if I keep going in my own strength... Through this journey I've got an amazing support system of friends, many of whom are travelling similarly at the moment! That in itself is an amazing start support-wise but still doesn't compare to doing things in God's strength rather than my own.
If you believe in God, then I encourage you to bring Him into your journey of health! He knit you together before you were even born, and His intention for you is not that you trash your carefully designed body by being overweight and unfit.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 28 - Once You Pop, You Can Totally Stop!

This afternoon Chris had some man-time with his friend Steve. They played video games and chilled in the air-conditioned living room while I hid out in the bedroom, reading and preparing a photo collage that I have to present at our staff retreat this week. An hour or so after Steve arrived, I made the executive decision to be an amazing lady-of-the-house/hostess and pop some popcorn. Also, I really wanted some popcorn. Now, keep in mind that all we keep in the house is the full-butter full-fat kind - none of this flavourless air-popped garbage for us. Seriously, does anyone enjoy that??? In the interest of being good, I pulled out a little bowl of my own and claimed a small portion of the salty gold, and I gave the boys free reign on the rest. None of this constant reaching into the big shared bowl, fooling myself into believing that I'm not eating that much popcorn! While it wasn't an ideal treat for someone on a healthy kick, I know that I at least didn't go overboard and stuff my face with the stuff. And today, that's good enough for me.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Days 26 & 27 - A Piece Of Me & A Wisely Chosen Snack

Day 26: There are going to be days in the project that I won't have anything healthy to post about. I'm hoping those days are going to be few and far between, but Day 26 was one of those days. A friend suggested that on such days I begin sharing my journey with you, pieces of me and a story of how I got here. So here it is, part one...
I was 9 years old when I realised that I was heavier than my class mates. We went on an excursion to the zoo, and in the African Safari section you could sit on a scale and it told you which African animal your weight most closely matched. All of my classmates generally weighed in as the same animal - I can't for the life of me remember what that animal was. But when I sat on the scale, I was one animal up from them - a cheetah. At the time, I thought that was pretty cool because cheetahs were a favourite of mine. But when my younger sister came home from school some time later and announced that the biggest, chubbiest boy in her class weighed in at the same weight I did, my brain started ticking over, and weighing myself suddenly became a ritual. I was 10 years old when I decided to go on my first diet. The sad thing is, I wasn't even overweight back then. I was one of the tallest kids in my grade at school, so it made sense that I would weigh a little more than most of my friends. When I was 12, the family doctor prescribed me to be within a healthy weight range for my height. But my "overweight" mentality had already kicked in, and these things can become self-fulfilling prophecies...

First let me say, this might actually by the worst photo of anything that I've ever taken, ever. Can you even tell what's packed in that bag? All will be revealed...

Day 27: Today I had a movie date with my mama! I think we were the only two people left on the planet who hadn't yet seen Les Miserables, so we decided it was high-time we fixed that! As we walked into the cinema, the salty smell of popcorn hit me in the nose in a delicious way, and Mum was craving a choc-top icecream, but we manned-up and got in the "tickets only" line which meant no Candy Bar for us! I had packed myself some cherries (a fave Summer fruit of mine!) and an iced bottle of water at home before we left, and not only did I therefore save calories but I also saved me some dollars! Cherries are a pretty great movie snack by the way, I thoroughly recommend them!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 25 - Klara 1; KFC 0

To the untrained eye, this might just look like an ordinary dinner of crumbed fish and salad. But today it represents one giant victory for me! Chris is out at the basketball tonight and I stopped at a friend's house on the way home from work. By the time I was heading home, alone, it was after 6.30. I was hungry, and was faced with all of my favourite takeaway restaurants on the drive home. Painful. Nasty. The toughest to drive by was KFC - basically the worst of them all! I was facing a major inner battle. I'm not going to lie - I decided 10 times in the space of a couple of minutes to just blow it and get KFC for dinner. But luckily, I also managed to decide 11 times not to! I knew I had some leftover salad ingredients in the fridge and some crumbed fish in the freezer, and somehow I made it home without the dreaded white plastic bag filled with greasy chicken and chips. And you know? The fish and salad was freaking delicious. I'm counting tonight as a huge win!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 24 - Day-To-Day Resistance

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person out there who struggles day-to-day with temptation. You can do everything to make sure you don't have treats and indulgences in your fridge and pantry at home, and you can prepare yourself to make good decisions on the occasion that you go out. But when you work a 9-5, it can be pretty easy for your resolve to break down during the course of the day! It might be a quiet period, where you can't help but turn your mind to food (I'm a total bored-eater!), it might be a particularly stressful day that can be numbed with sugar, or you might frequently visit the receptionists and find yourself facing the "welcome lollies" perched on the front desk. For me, it's all those things and more! It always seems that someone's baking treats for everyone to share in my office, and our receptionist is a whiz at stocking an array of sweet treats for visitors, volunteers and co-workers alike. For me, this can mean the difference between eating the perfect amount of points in a day, and thoughtlessly blowing my points by chowing down on snacks that I forget to track throughout the day. This week's temptation was Milky Ways, and you'll be pleased to know (I'm assuming, because you're supportive of me) I didn't indulge. I had one on Tuesday which I incorporated into my points allowance, but the rest of the week I bravely avoided them. I'm always going to come up against temptation, if not at work then at parties, or at the movies, or out with friends. Avoiding temptation is a strong, healthy mind-set to get into, but one which is going to require some work. Join me!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 23 - Glowing

This morning I had big plans to post a photo of the office chocolate supply today, and tell you how clever I was for avoiding eating it all day. And I was clever, I did avoid eating it all day, but something even better happened. I work at a Church office, and my co-workers are the greatest people one could ever work with. I mean, it's their business to care about people! A few of my co-workers have been keeping up with the blog, and today was filled with encouragement and energetic discussions not only about my efforts, but their own efforts and weaknesses. It seems that everyone I know hopes to be healthier, not necessarily to lose weight but to look after themselves better. We all see room for improvement in ourselves. We all connect over this pursuit of personal health. And those who have gone before us and have achieved their goals love egging the rest of us on and giving us good, real tips that have worked for them! Today I felt happy to be doing what I'm doing, and honoured that so many people are on board to encourage and hold me accountable. It was a glowing day.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 22 - Less is More, Baby!

Tonight's dinner might have been ugly as heck, but it was freaking good. I cooked Martha Stewart's Chicken and Dumplings for the first time and am in love. It's tasty, it's comforting, and I could eat bowls and bowls and bowls of it if I wasn't desperately trying to lose weight! My problem is that full-ness isn't ever an obstacle... if I like something, I can eat it enough of it to feed an Italian family reunion in one sitting, knowing that the worst consequence I'm facing is possible uncomfortable full-ness for half an hour, max. Flattering, I know, but you need to know where I'm coming from. I don't have the 'full' switch, which means that I can't really trust my stomach to tell me when I've eaten enough, because the bitch lies! Couple that with the fact that I'm a passionate foodie and well... we have a fairly obvious problem. The solution? Controlled portions! I'm really trying to work on my portion sizes, and while I still fail every now and then, I'm picking up some good ideas that I wanted to share, for those who might have a similar struggle:
- Serve your meal in a smaller bowl/plate so that the smaller portion still looks like a full serve
- Consciously stop eating halfway through your meal and assess whether you are still hungry
- Have someone else serve your food to you (I'm a sucker for adding 'just a little more' when I plate my own food!)
- If you're starving, drink a big glass of water just before serving your meal - you'll be less hungry and less inclined to go for a bigger portion
- After serving your meal, take one scoop and put it back in the pot!
- Stretch a "serves 4" meal to serve 6 instead (leftovers make the greatest lunches!)
This article has some other great tips about portion control.

The chicken and dumplings I cooked tonight was perfectly healthy provided I didn't pig out on it. It was full of vegetables, lean chicken and homemade stock. The recipe says "serves 6" but I could easily have split it into 4 serves at the size I would normally eat. In fact, I might have even eaten that portion AND gone back for seconds! Suddenly, it's not looking so healthy any more. Tonight I made sure I had a "serves 6" portion and of course, I didn't go back for seconds. Was I full? No. But, was I hungry after finishing dinner? No! Smaller portions may not leave you feeling bursting full, but it actually doesn't take much food at all to leave us feeling satisfied. My problem is often just controlling how much food I put on my plate in the first place!

If you've reached the end of the exceptionally long blog post, well done!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Days 20 & 21 - Incidental Exercise Strikes Again and A Bit Of A Re-Focus

Day 20: Sunday was a perfect mix of productivity and recovery time with Chris. We deep-cleaned our bedroom, started watching Ed right from the beginning (yep, circa 2000), and ate a hearty, delicious dinner of BBQ'd tandoori lamb shoulder with naan bread. It was definitely one of those perfect, cruisy weekend days that we all need once in a while! In amongst all the TV-watching, I picked up the weights Chris gave me for my birthday and did a few reps of a bunch of different toning exercises. Easy, incidental exercise that certainly won't help me lose weight, but over time I'm hoping it will help tone my arms a little.

Day 21: Today I did a bit of soul-searching. The last 21 days have been good, and I can recognise some great changes I'm making, but I'm just not seeing results yet. It was definitely time for a big re-focus! I love lists, so today I made a list of things I'm doing right, and things I'm doing wrong, and as you can see the 'wrong' list is unfortunately quite a bit longer. I'm finding that I'm tracking points every day, but will be tempted to grab "just a spoonful of yoghurt" and "just a couple of lollies" here and there throughout the day... so on paper it looks like I'm eating the exact right amount of food, but in reality I'm actually sneaking a lot in there! I need to exercise more than I am, I'm eating too-big portions... the list goes on. I've stuck my list up on the fridge to help remind me of ways that I can improve... and hopefully soon enough I'll start being able to shift items from the right column into the left! It was definitely a great exercise that left me with a clearer picture of what I need to do if I want to succeed. So if you're stuck in a rut, or if what you're doing just isn't working for you, I highly recommend list-making!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 19 - There's an App For That!

Today I wanted to share a pretty brilliant app with you! A couple of friends put me onto this during our weekly Saturday morning walks, and this morning I downloaded it for myself and was pretty chuffed with it! The app is Lorna Jane and it's free! Basically you use it to track distance and time when you go for a walk, run or cycle. Plus, it lets you know how many calories you're burning based on your height, weight and activity type. Pretty spiffy! The screenshot above is from our walk today. I'm really excited that I can now compare my times each week!
I like the idea of sharing useful apps on my blog occasionally. Yay apps!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 18 - The Art of Uber-Planning

Welcome to one of my dorkier sides. One thing that I love about working in finance is spreadsheets. Organising data is fun! Yep, I just said that. So anyway, even though I'm disorganised in a lot of ways, in other ways I'm over-the-top in my desire to organise. One of the ways that this comes out is that I plan our meals every week - breakfasts, lunches and dinners. I find this is helpful not only when I go to the grocery store (because I only buy exactly what I need!) but it also means I don't end up being tempted to get takeaways on a whim after a long day at work because I know exactly what I've planned, and I have the ingredients right there in my fridge! Planning meals in advance also helps me know how I'm going to be 'spending' my Weight Watchers points during the week. It can take a little getting used to, but it's a great habit to be in for so many reasons! Tonight I planned out our meals all the way up to next Friday, and tomorrow after "walking club" in the morning I'll be heading to the shops with my detailed list. Spoiler alert: my shopping list is as uber-organised as my meal plan. And with that, you know me a little better...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 17 - It's Incidental!

Ha! Yep, I'm cool. My shadow is all "peace, dude". Today I wanted to talk to you about incidental exercise. It shouldn't be used to replace a good 30-minute work-out or walk, but it helps prevent laziness and gets you moving. Chris and I work for the same company but across two different offices, which are about a block apart from each other. Walking between offices is actually quite nice - there's a footpath with lots of leafy trees. So today when I finished my work-day and it was time to leave, instead of getting Chris to come pick me up in the car, I decided to walk to him. It was the perfect weather for it - a nice super-mild Summer day!
Incidental exercise is all about finding ways to push yourself to move a little more in your day-to-day dealings. Parking in the spot furthest from the shops. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Walking to a co-worker's desk to ask them something, rather than picking up the phone. We've heard them all before, and while they're not big-time calorie burners, they're all good ways to combat sluggishness and get a little more activity into your day. How can you grab some incidental exercise??

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Days 15 & 16 - Mushroom Mini Pizzas, And The Importance Of Water

Day 15: Sorry I got a day behind guys! Yesterday was a crazy one. I still took a photo though! Yesterday I officially committed to focus on my water intake. I mean, considering how hot and muggy it was yesterday, it was a pretty easy commitment to make!! Water is important for so many reasons, especially in the Summer when you're losing more of it through sweat. I found this site had some great info, so check it out! There's lots of opinions out there as to how much water we should be drinking, but the general consensus is 8 glasses per day. However, if you want an accurate idea day-by-day (based on weight, weather, etc) you can check out this Hydration Calculator I found! I'm going to do a few posts over the next couple of weeks with some ideas on how to drink more water. As you can see in the photo, I'm starting by carrying a water bottle with me wherever I go. You can buy a huge pack of them and pack one in your handbag each day. Often I get thirsty when I'm out (especially at the shops!) and resort to buying a bottle of water at retail price! So now I can even save a bit of money.

Day 16: Recipe time! Tonight we worked a bit later than usual so I wanted to cook something quick and easy (and of course, healthy!) for dinner. I browsed through Pinterest while waiting for Chris to pack his things, and stumbled upon this recipe which I decided to adapt a little. In short, you make little pizzas but use large flat mushrooms instead of traditional pizza bases. Luckily we're big mushroom-lovers in this house! Once you've chopped all your ingredients, these are so quick and easy to assemble. Perfect week night meal that I think I'm going to be pulling out fairly regularly! You can choose your own toppings, otherwise here's what I did...

Mini Mushroom Pizzas
Makes 4

Olive oil spray
4 large flat mushrooms, stalks removed
1/4 jar tomato-based pasta sauce
Handful baby spinach leaves
1 chorizo sausage, diced
2 thin slices prosciutto, torn into shreds
1/2 red capsicum, diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
Handful of shredded pizza-blend cheese
1 tbs oregano (dry or fresh)

Preheat oven to 180C.
Spray olive oil in a non-stick pan. Add chorizo, prosciutto, capsicum and onion. Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until onion and capsicum have softened a little. Set aside.
Lay mushrooms on a baking tray, under-sides up. Spread pasta sauce on under-side of mushrooms.
Lay a few spinach leaves on each mushroom. Top with chorizo mixture. Top with cheese. Sprinkle each mushroom with oregano.
Bake 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Serve with a salad. Which I didn't, but totally will next time!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 14 - Yeah, He's Good...

Today was my birthday and it was wonderful. I love my birthday - it's the best excuse to spend heaps of time with those I adore, and generally I get to do what I want all day. Yep, I'm one of those birthday girls who makes sure to take the day off work and plan things that will make me happy. Today that meant going to Sayers for breakfast, getting my hair done and having a make-your-own gourmet burger night at my parents' with my whole family and my besties! And then, there were the presents. The amazing presents. I guess I kind of struggle with materialism a bit! Today I just loved everything that was given to me - each and every present was so beautiful and thought-out. I love that my friends and family know me so well! Anyway, I brought up presents just now because my incredible husband outdid himself this year - aside from a brand new laptop and a big set of new pyrex dishes, he also gave me some gifts to encourage me in my new fitness journey - wrist weights, little dumbbells and a yoga mat and block. Chris is an amazing gift giver, and I am so excited to start using these! Major husband points, as always... what a keeper!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 13 - One kilo down...

It took me a bit longer than I expected, but today I celebrated my first kilo lost since starting this project! I've lost weight quicker in the past, but I'm doing better than I would have been if I wasn't trying at all. Plus, I'm not looking for a quick-fix weight loss. I'm trying to adopt a healthy lifestyle that I can sustain, and each day is still a learning process. So, here's to the next kilo... and the one after that... and the one after that...!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 12 - Stir Fry Saves the Day!

OK, it's probably going a bit of a stretch to say that this stir fry is day-saving BUT it sure was handy today. I'm going to a friend's house for dinner tonight - this friend is a freaking amazing cook at the best of times, and tonight she's putting up a Mexican feast! Mexican would have to be my favourite cuisine. I'm acting pretty cool, but I'm sooooo super excited for tonight! I do plan on being smart and not blowing out with huge portions, but I also plan on enjoying the amazing food on offer. Who enjoys having a friend over for a meal only for that friend to eat like a bird in the name of dieting? Nobody! So, knowing that I'm going to be indulging tonight, I opted for pre-damage-control options for the rest of the day. Breakfast was fruit and tea, and lunch was a vegetable stir fry - packed with capsicum, snow peas, pak choy, onion and bean sprouts. I added some Chang's Long-Life noodles and splashed in a bit of ketjap manis, hoi sin, sweet chilli and vegetable stir fry sauce for lots of flavour. You could even remove the noodles altogether and it would still be a pretty tasty dish! So, having eaten healthily today, I'm ready to enjoy myself tonight pretty much guilt-free!

Healthy Girl 365, Day 11 - Walkies!

Happy Friday everyone! Just a quick post this evening. Today we capped off a heck of a work week with a Donovan family walk. Walking (and running!) is so much more fun with these boys! It was the perfect way to end this mild-weathered Friday. My heart is happy.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 10 - A Refreshing Summer Drink

Tonight's dinner was pretty basic - french toast with asparagus - so for a treat I asked Chris to whip me up a soda lime and bitters. He's the drink mixin' man of the house. I love lemon lime and bitters, but lemonade has so much sugar - this is a great alternative that I've just started getting into. A glass of soda water with a splash of lime juice cordial, a shake of bitters and a handful of ice... perfect! I love a good refreshing drink in Summer. If you struggle with drinking enough water in the day, this is one way you can mix it up and still get a glass of water in, though obviously you should also drink plenty of water without the extra ingredients. This month I do actually plan to commit to drinking more water - more on that early next week!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 9 - Lovely Light Lunch!

Today I wanted to share a light lunch idea with you. After being inspired by a friend who had fruit toast with mascarpone almost every day for breakfast at her favourite restaurant on a trip to Melbourne, I wanted to give it a go. I tried this for breakfast yesterday, and it was so good that I decided to have it for lunch today! All you need is:
- an english fruit muffin
- 25g mascarpone
- honey
- fresh fruit
Just toast the muffin, spread the halves with mascarpone, drizzle with a little bit of honey and top with any fruit of your choosing! The fruit I used today was banana and pear. I liked the pear best... I'm also really keen to try strawberries and blueberries!

If you tend to have the same thing for lunch at work day after day, try mixing it up by reading menus online of your favourite restaurants and cafes... more often than not, you'll stumble across ideas (especially in the breakfast and appetizer sections) that are easy for you to recreate with minimum culinary skills AND are fresh and tasty.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 8 - Farewell, Coffee!

Well. This is a sorry sight. The photo above is the coffee I made for Chris this morning. Normally, you would see a second matching cup right there next to it... but not today. Or tomorrow. Or even the day after that. In order to slowly work toward a healthier lifestyle, I've decided to choose just one thing to give up each month, and this month it's coffee. You should know that I'm only a 1-2 cups per day kind of girl, and I never drink it in the afternoon, but I want to stop before it becomes a full-blown addiction. Aside from being addictive, coffee can also be pretty unhealthy (especially the way I have it, with plenty of milk and a teaspoon of sugar). Coffee apparently has some health benefits - a few websites I checked out say it lowers the risk of some cancers and type-2 diabetes. But my research has come up with more benefits for those who give it up. Though delicious, coffee can be responsible for:
- Restless sleep
- Sluggishness and lack of productivity (except during a coffee buzz!)
- A less-than fabulous smile (coffee stains teeth!)
- High blood pressure
- Increased anxiety
- Depression
- Slower metabolism

While I'm not saying that everybody should give up coffee, if it's something you might like to look into there's heaps of info out there! A couple of websites I found helpful were Give Up Coffee and Healthy Happier You!

I'm really going to miss my regular cups of coffee in the morning... Have you considered giving up anything to boost your health?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 7 - Track it! Track it all!

Why yes, a screen shot totally counts as a photo! Today I'd like to talk to you about the importance of recording what you eat. I'm following Weight Watchers which is all about tracking your food. I'm sure we all know the basic structure of Weight Watchers right? Rather than counting calories in food, you count "Pro-Points" which have been calculated through various means over the years, but are currently calculated using protein, fat, carbs and dietary fibre. Weight Watchers isn't for everyone, but I like the flexibility of the program, and the fact that it's so personalised. For paying members, there's an AMAZING app which I find exceptionally handy (I won't bore you with the details, but for info click here). Above is a screenshot of my daily tracker (I know, a pie... but it was home-made and filled with vegetables!)

For those who aren't on Weight Watchers, I hope I haven't quite lost you because the point of today's post was not to convert you to the Pro-Points system but to let you know that anyone who's trying to lose weight can benefit from keeping a diary of the food they eat each day! People have done studies, this is legit info! Whether you track things like calories, fat content, etc is up to you, but even just keeping an ongoing list of the foods (and drinks!) you consume each day can keep you accountable, and shed light on patterns between what you eat and how much weight you lose/gain each week. You can keep a notebook on hand, a list on your computer, or find a great app to keep track on your phone (there's a lot of free ones out there) - whatever works for you! But if you do keep a food diary, track the bad days too - you should find it helps get you back on the straight and narrow in no time! Google "Food Diary" for some great ideas and even templates you can print off and use.

Also, on a side note I wanted to point you to a great little post on A Beautiful Mess today, called "10 Super Healthy Recipes". After reading it I'm pretty keen to brew up some infused water and bake some grapefruit!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 6 - An Eating Out Challenge!

One thing that I find super-tough about trying to live healthily is eating out. I'm a total foodie, and the temptation to pick the biggest, most indulgent-sounding meal on the menu always overcomes me. I'm not one to order salads, or grilled fish with steamed vegetables, or vegetable medleys. And as I said the other day, it's OK to indulge once in a while without hurting your health. Last night I went to a wedding and I ate exactly what I wanted (though I was careful to eat a light breakfast and lunch in preparation). Today I had lunch in the Swan Valley with some amazing ladies, and I was faced with a pretty exquisite menu - chicken saltimbocca, lamb in puff pastry, creamy pasta... I was drooling. But I was also conscious of the fact that everyone knew I was on a health kick, plus I'd had an indulgent meal the night before, so I found the strength to order the bruschetta. Now, it came out with feta and pancetta and shaved parmesan, but not a large amount of any of these so I was happy with my choice (it totally fit into my Weight Watchers points for the day). Also, it was served on two chunky pieces of white bread but I'm not at the stage where I'm avoiding white bread yet!! No, this wasn't the most exciting meal on the menu but it was tasty, and after I'd finished eating it, what did that matter? The meal was finished, and I was just as satisfied as I would have been if I'd ordered the creamy pasta (but much less bloated-feeling).

I can definitely see eating out to be an area that I need to be very disciplined in, so I'm counting today's lunch as a win. This evening I've been googling ideas for choosing healthy meals at restaurants and found this article pretty good - it includes a basic list at the bottom of healthy and not-so-healthy options for a variety of cuisines.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 5 - Ladies Who Walk

This morning while the sane were sleeping, I forced myself out of bed at 6.30 (yep, on a Saturday. There was whimpering) to meet my friends Ali and Bec for a walk. We met at Bibra Lake, which is kind of central for us, and walked around the whole lake (a total of 6km!) I had such a great time! We talked the entire way around the lake, which I'm sure burns extra calories, right? Ha! The hour seemed to go by so quickly! When we reached the end, I felt great. Then I got in the car and both my feet seized up with cramps. Currently I'm in a fair amount of pain but am already keen for my next walk with friends. It's a lot more motivating than walking by yourself, though I was worried about slowing them down with my terrible fitness level! We've decided to meet up weekly and encourage other friends to come along too.
After the walk I downed my second green smoothie for breakfast. Yum! Now I'm off to wash my hair and get ready for a wedding. There's something so good about exercising and washing your hair in the morning - I'm all set to feel great today!

Healthy Girl 365, Day 4 - Weightloss Tools 101

I'm a bit of a veteran Weight Watchers member. I've attended numerous meetings in my time and have picked up all kinds of ideas - some good, some not so much - from other members during the discussion time over the years. I've forgotten most of them - but this one handy little trick has stuck with me, and tonight I employed it. I'm one of those people who won't eat anything once they've brushed their teeth - it makes everything taste bad, and it destroys the carefully executed cleanliness of my mouth! Tonight I was being tempted by a rich, gooey chocolate caramel tart that some friends left with us after a dinner party last night. Straight after dinner, it was all I could think about. I opened the fridge door, stared at it, and in a fleeting moment I realised that I wanted to have a small victory, not an indulgence. Now don't get me wrong - I believe that a healthy lifestyle can totally incorporate the occasional indulgence, even when you're actively trying to lose weight. You can strike a healthy balance. However, tonight wasn't one of those times that I felt good about indulging. Without giving myself a chance to think twice, I slammed the fridge closed and high-tailed it to the bathroom to brush my teeth. I have to admit, the idea of having this little victory to blog about was a huge motivating factor! Since starting this project, I've received so much encouragement from people and have even inspired a few people to focus on their health. My blog has been averaging 100 hits per day since January 1st. My friend Bronwyn has even started blogging her own journey! These things keep me excited and motivated to do what I'm doing, to show those supporting me that I'm not all talk and that I can commit to this long-term. So if you're one of my friends who's been encouraging me, or even just reading my blog each day, you're already a part of my long-term success and I'm grateful for you! Thank you :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 3 - The Green Smoothie

Yum! My sister Hannah recently put me onto the idea of green smoothies. Basically it's a fruit smoothie, made any way you want, with spinach added. I gave it a go for the first time this morning - mine has banana, peach, yoghurt, a bit of honey, a splash of milk, and a few mint leaves, plus a handful of spinach. Not only is it completely delicious, I've been doing a bit of research this morning and I wanted to let you know of some of the health benefits:
- Spinach reduces the risk of ovarian, bladder, liver and lung cancer
- Spinach has loads of Vitamin K in it, which is really good for your bones
- Spinach decreases your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure

Because I'm a green smoothie first timer, I don't think I added enough spinach so if you try one yourself, aim for it to be a bit greener than mine! (Google Image "green smoothie" for a better idea) Don't like spinach? Don't worry, because you can't even taste it!

For more in-depth info on the benefits of green smoothies, I found this site helpful.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 2 - The exercise. It begins.

I hate Summer. I hate being hot, I hate sweating - it makes me pretty pathetic. This morning I had plans to see a lovely friend for coffee at the local shops, and I did something that I've not done before. I walked there. I braved the heat (which I admit was milder than it has been the last couple of weeks!), stuck on my running shoes (that I forgot are a little too big for me and I normally wear much thicker socks with) and I walked for the first time in months. I came home sweaty and with crampy feet. I can't say I enjoyed it but I can say it feels good to have done it! One thing I love about exercise is that it inspires me to eat right the rest of the day - no point in wasting all that effort, right?!

Healthy Girl 365, Day 1 - Oh look. It's me.

I hate having my photo taken. I never thought I would be 'that girl' who hides away from cameras, but in the last few years that's exactly what I've become. I should clarify - I like super duper close-up photos of my face, that I have carefully taken myself and have edited to look a little artsy. But anything more than that, I hate. Anyway, day 1 of each month of this year's 365 is going to be a selfie, so just know that I am really challenging myself here! Chris took a bunch of awkward photos for me this morning, and while I much prefer the blurry one on the right (blurriness = distracting. Right??), I've sucked it up and posted the one on the left too. I'm going to optimistically say that today, I am the unhealthiest I'll be for the rest of the year. I've dusted off my Weight Watchers Online subscription, I've made a whole bunch of plans, I'm feeling inspired. I'm also really excited to discover that a bunch of my friends are focusing on their health this year too! Here's to 2013 being a year of amazing change...