Saturday, February 24, 2018

Fitness, running and feeling good

I haven't posted in over a month, due to all the running I've been doing. I have gotten right back into the swing of my running training and, let me just say, it feels GOOD! My weight is exactly the same (I guess I am lucky in that regard, it hardly changes) but my fitness has improved and I feel fantastic.

Yes, I am stiff and sore most days. My son even said to me "You are always limping nowadays, Mom" because of the way I walk after long runs. Hee hee. He asks me why I am running so much, and the short answer is because I have entered Comrades and that is my ultimate goal, but the new, more complex answer is that, even though running distance hurts, and burns, and gets really challenging, nothing beats the feeling afterwards. Wow, what a feeling of accomplishment I get after every long run. It's really incredible. I can't quite describe it, it's insane, and it's one I didn't realize existed. But it makes sense: I mean, why else would people willingly go and run marathons or even ultra-marathons? It's for that feeling.

A nice 5k or 10k run is awesome, and I've always done those (more 5kms, less of the 10kms) and I've enjoyed them, and enjoyed the "runner's high" afterwards. But now that I am capable of doing longer distances, I am realising that the feeling of accomplishment is that much greater with a longer run. I feel on top of the world after going a long distance. It's weird, I know. It doesn't make sense. But there you have it.

So, as a note to myself: I am finally back into my "fitness groove". I now realise that fitness and exercise is far less about the body and a lot more about the mind. It's a total mood elevator! I GET it now. I have never truly understood this side of being fit and active because I was never really active until my thirties. Yes, I was one of those teens who avoided PE in school like the plague, always faking some illness or the other to get out of it if I could. I hated swimming with a passion. I enjoyed Netball, but wasn't very good at it. I just never felt sporty. I was the nerdy, brainy one and I didn't realise I could be both.

It took having a baby and wanting to get into the best shape of my life thereafter, for me to seriously get into gym. And back then, I really got into that whole thing completely, and I remember this fit and healthy feeling. It was awesome. I loved it. But I wasn't sure if it was the fitness or the gym-diet that was giving me the good vibes. Now, I know. I no longer live in the gym, and I am not following any specific diet. I am running, I am avoiding sugar, and the rest is pretty much as I feel like. I don't eat many carbs, I just don't want them, but I am not super strict. I am listening to my body as much as possible.

BUT HERE IS MY POINT: Doing physical activity that raises my heart-rate and challenges me, really makes me feel good!!!!! I mustn't do it for the body, I must do it for the good feeling.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Hello 2018

Ah, I am slowly bringing my mind into the New Year. It's so lovely, actually, not having to do the school run in the mornings. I feel rested. Our time away in the Transkei was so restorative: I can't explain how soothing it was to have NO internet. Makes me think how the internet is very stressful at times.

Don't get me wrong, I love being connected, especially when I'm at home and not planning to go out. I enjoy YouTube very much, as I learn so much.

I love Instagram but I also find I feel very depressed, mostly, after scrolling. Which is why I have started my "smile" challenge on Instagram. I am posting silly, no-make up, totally natural selfies. I want to spread a good feeling on social media, rather than make people feel like they can't compete or keep up. An image is always, ALWAYS so very deceiving, and then, if you had to see that person in real life, you'd think "Oh my God, they're only human." I am hoping to try to show the human side of myself and get people to think "Phew". But heck, I am just one small little fish in the huge wide social media world. What impact do I have? But maybe, just maybe, I make one woman feel ok about the skin she's in.

I know I tend to think that there is a "magic" diet out there that can "cure" most of our ailments. But I fear that this is probably wishful thinking.

My word for 2018 is SIMPLICITY. I want to keep my life as simple and as stress free as humanly possible. I really do.

Currently I am not wearing make up and therefore I find I have no need to wash my face. Before you say "ew, how gross" hear me out. I DO rinse it with hot water, of course, when I am standing in the shower. I rinse off everywhere. But I don't need to use a cleanser, because there is no make up to remove. This in turn doesn't dry my skin out, which, in turn, doesn't then need me to moisturize.

I mean, think about it: how often do you scrub and cleanse the skin on your back? Or upper thighs? There really is no need. We all just need to rinse off. I do wash my armpits, of course. And my "bits". But I am just seeing if my face actually needs scrubbing, and it turns out, it doesn't. It's probably more beneficial for the skin bacteria NOT to be cleaned off constantly. Apparently we need those poor little critters.

So anyway, not spending money on face creams will be a huge plus. I am also moisturizing my skin less in general, and if so, only using coconut oil. I mean, who says a lotion helps anyway? It gives the illusion of moisture, sure, but I see that most older ladies, regardless of all the lotions in the world, have drier, older skin. There is simply no real cure. The best bet, really, is probably the nourishment you take in from the inside. And on that topic, there is so much debate that I really don't know what the answer is.

However, once again, I am being drawn back towards Zero Carb. I can't really explain it. Something about the way it made me feel. Peaceful, I guess. And the good feelings from it were memorable enough. At the moment I am not ZC but I am almost there. I am having miniscule amounts of non-animal foods. Like today, some nuts and a quarter avo. But that's it. I am not rushing to eat veggies. I am filling up on animal products. And I feel pretty darn good!

Ideally I'd love to give it a decent go in 2018. I am not going to overthink it this time, nor am I going to document every small change or perceived change. I am going to continue to just be intuitive. Let's see. I want things to be very easy this year. And practical. And I want to stop chasing things that appear to be ideals but are actually not. I just want to freakin' well relax!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Keto, the new year, and my current thinking

Firstly, I am thrilled to report that my stomach is settling down with the higher fat, and getting used to it. It was a bit "runny" and "rumbly" for the first 2-3 weeks.

I am enjoying my keto or LCHF again. I have tried it all, as anyone who knows me knows, but I really do like this way of eating. It's not that I can't have carbs - today I found organic apples at Woolies and so I ate one. But I just choose to have natural ones, rather than refined ones. I feel better for it.

I still have to manage my electrolytes though. I take magnesium and potassium every day. I don't know why I have to, with keto, but I have given up wondering about that. I figure, it's simple enough to just take the supplements, and reap so many other benefits. If I ever figure out why I feel weak and tend to cramp without the electrolytes, I will most certainly post my findings. But for now, I keep my mineral electrolytes up, and I carry one.

Well, I was thrilled to "celebrate" New Year's with hardly much of a celebration. We were away in a lovely and remote part of the Transkei, and I loved it, I was in bed by 9:30am.

Lately my soul is craving...I don't know how to quite put it into words, but my soul is craving...simplicity. That is the word. I am tired of "normal" life. I am tired of worrying about my appearance, and of "maintaining" my looks. I just want to simplify. And so 2018 will be the year I do that. I want to completely simplify.

So with that comes the desire to have dreadlocks, because I hope that it will be less fuss with my hair. Although, I also believe that there is maintenance to be done on them, like keeping them separated at the roots. But the lack of needing to wash often, no need to condition, and no brushing them, really attracts me. I hope that I won't find them a pain in the ass. Having said that, I have my dreadlock-starting appointment booked. Next week Thursday, six days from now, I will begin my dreadlock journey. I am SO excited. So 2018 will be a new year and a new me.

But this year, there will be no resolutions. I don't want to resolve to be anything other than I am, but I do want to simplify things.

Friday, December 22, 2017


It was inevitable, I guess....I had to, at least once in my life, consider getting dreadlocks. And that time is now. It just feels right.

I have stopped wearing foundation, for the most part, and am simplifying things, and that is feeling really, really good. I don't use anything nowadays to wash my face with, because I am not wearing make-up, so there is nothing to use a cleanser to wash off for. I mean, I sweat when I run, but a good rinse under the shower washes all that off. It's quite liberating.

Yes, I look a little older, with my skin showing it's marks, but it's OK. The liberating thing is that it's ok to reveal my true face to the world. Sometimes people might say I look haggard, but that's ok. So what? The joy and freedom in NOT doing so much beauty maintenance is SO FREAKIN' FREEING.

Hence the idea of dreadlocks.

Now, I know what your immediate thoughts are: they look dirty, messy, unwashed, weed-smoking hippie etc etc. I kinda thought the same. But upon doing loads of research into them (loads) I have learnt a few things: 1: you can absolutely wash them. And you should. So dreadlocks are simply condensed and compressed hair, which makes a ropey-like thing, but it's still a "fibre" like normal hair, and can be washed and treated as such. The only major CON to dreadlocks, in this scenario, is that they take LONG to dry because the hair is knotted into rope-like structures. But you can use a hairdryer, absolutely.

Dreadlocks can also be started off in a number of ways, which can influence their appearance. They can be started off mechanically, where you section the hair, and then knot up the strands within those sections, to create the start of what will become a mature dreadlock. If you section nicely, then the locs will look neater and more uniform than freeformed dreadlocks. You can also maintain and care for the locs, or just leave them to do their own thing.

The huge PRO's for me, and why I am thinking of getting dreadlocks right now: no need to brush or comb your hair. No need to "acheive" a silky look. No need to use any products on my hair other than the occasional shampoo.

So, what are my personal reasons for wanting dreadlocks?
1: I am going grey, but not very. So the few greys I have look weird in my darker hair, BUT I actually hate dying my hair. I just don't like the dyed hair on my head. It's never natural looking. I hate bleaching my head, even though the colour comes out better that route, it's never ending, constantly having to deal with touching up roots. My thinking is that, because dreadlocks look very earthy, my natural hair colour, with it's greys, will look cool in dreads. It's a way of growing out my natural hair colour.

2: Dreads just look cool. Now this is my personal opinion and of course, many will disagree. They look funky, arty, hippie, alternative and, in my humble opinion, rocking.

Cool looking, right? These are SO beautiful, in my opinion. 
3: They give the illusion and appearance of thick hair. I have extremely fine hair, so this one really appeals to me. Once the locks have matured and knotted up, the "ropes" thicken with the matted hair, and make the wearer look like they have thick hair. This is one reason I did actually like bleaching my hair: it swelled up the hair shaft, making my hair seem thicker. But I hated the drying effects of bleach, which made combing my hair a NIGHTMARE.

4: Instant hairstyles. To me, just dreads alone are a "style", let alone all the styles possible like dread buns, half buns, dreaded plaits, etc. You can decorate them with wool, ropes, beads, jewels, feathers, flowers....all these things are cheap and I can do them ON MY OWN. Which brings me to my next reason....

5: No more trips to the salon. I love my hairdresser, she is the best person in the whole world, I adore her, but I just don't want to go to hairdressers anymore. I am just over it for now. With dreads, there is the initial "dreading" session, which, by the way, I could, in theory do myself, but I won't, so I will go to a professional "loctitian" (yes, bet you didn't know there were actually dedicated dreadlock people, hey? Me either!) to start my dreads, but after the start, there is not very much I need to do. I don't need to go for haircuts. I can colour them if I want, or not. I just have to keep them separated, which is essentially me playing with the dreads, and apparently this is mostly in the beginning. Mostly with dreads, you just gotta leave 'em. Wash 'em, and let them be. HOW AWESOME? I really feel like I need a break and a change with my hair.

6: No brushing. No more fighting tangles. No combs. Not wet hair/dry hair breakage worries.

7: No worrying about wind messing up my hair. This is actually a biggie. I live in a VERY windy coastal town, with the wind constantly whipping my hair in my face and it's annoying AF! It's such a pain in the ass for me that I constantly keep hair ties and banana clips in my bag and car just in case I need to tie my hair up due to the wind.

These were created by the loctitian who will create mine. 

I think this is one of the coolest images I've seen. She looks so earthy and connected to nature. 

8: No hair in the shower/bath drains. This could end up being another big plus for me. My partner is often moaning about all my hair clogging the drains. Actually, it's my hair, plus my conditioner, that clogs up the drains. The conditioners are actually very slimy and don't rinse away. Ugh. I have cleaned many a slimy hairball out of our showers and it's gross.

9: Far less washing. Yes, you can and do wash your dreadlocks. No reason not to. However, you get to choose the frequency, because hair doesn't appear as greasy when it's in rope-like formations.

10: Shampoos are optional: Meaning, I have a friend with dreads who only rinses her out daily, but doesn't actually shampoo then other than once in a while. Makes sense. It's not like we ever needed all these fancy products to begin with, they have simply developed over time. Also, you can use plain shampoos, or even bar soaps for hair, which could work out cheaper.

11: I can just wake up and go. No worrying about kinks in my hair, or weird bed-head when my hair is "supposed" to be straight, because...well....locs are messy! Ta-da! I often take a while to "wake up" in the mornings and I am not very good with primping and preening before school drop-off time, so locs would, I imagine, suit me in this regards. My go-to with my hair now is to just always scrape it back into a ponytail.

So these reasons are what I am thinking I will enjoy about having dreadlocks. I do worry about people's opinions, but then again, I also know that they will soon get over it. They will write me off as "that chic with the crazy hair" or "that girl who can't stop changing her hair". Fine by me. Those who truly know me will get it.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Braids and keto

Two topics today: I have box braids! Yip, I am a white girl with box braids. My initial observations: not as sore as I expected, took quicker than I thought but they are not as soft as I thought.
Getting them done: there were two ladies doing them all the time. 

Day one of the braids

Day three: my own hair is starting to poke through the braided hair. Starting to look a tiny bit messy. 

Going on a sugar detox so I am treating myself to a cappucino with cream nowadays. 

 So I am enjoying the look of the braids. I got "thickish" ones and I think they actually look like dreadlocks. Which is cool. I've always loved the look of dreads, but never had the balls to let my hair dread. I am scared, to be honest, that society in general won't accept me with dreadlocks, not to mention my partner! He is braving the braids with me, but he isn't sure that he likes them.

Anyway, onto the matter of my hypoglycemia, I have quit sugar for now. I have gone back to LCHF for now, and am feeling infinitely better, mentally and energy-wise. Meaning, my energy is constant. In the past, on LCHF I have suffered with cramping, so this time, I am taking a potassium supplement every day, and using a bit of magnesium too. So far so good. I have even been for two runs, and that hasn't accelerated my cramping.

So my main point: I feel much better mentally on high fat, low carb. MUCH BETTER. No blood sugar swings. No worrying about crashing. And this time around, I am not worrying about my weight. I can feel that I am less inflamed: immediately my ankles look slimmer and less puffy. I haven't lost weight, I don't think, but then again, I am not weighing myself. CON: I have to get used to ingesting fat again so at the moment I have the runs now and again. But I know that should resolve itself soon.

Overall, I like the way I feel on this way of eating and it's not like dieting at all.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Jacqueline Eberstein: 2017 Ketofest woke me up

This post is a quick note to myself: and here is the link to the video, for myself, in case I am ever tempted to eat sugar again. I know I have been enjoying myself with "fun" foods, and I have been ignoring the health problems associated with sugar, but what I can't ignore is the fact that I suffer with HYPOglycemia, which is the low blood sugar reaction, after eating or drinking something sugary.

Case in point: I haven't been low carb or any diet at all for ages now, but I still have to watch that I don't have anything too sugary. Yesterday I had a cold mocha coffee thingy from Gloria Jeans - it was a chocolatey drink with crushed ice. I loved it. It was great. However, 2-3 hours later, I was crashing. My blood sugar was so low, I got grumpy and tired, I could hardly see properly and I was driving, which is dangerous, and when I got home, I couldn't focus or concentrate: I had to EAT SOMETHING NOW. You know that feeling?

If my system was working properly, surely I wouldn't have had that reaction? I don't know. All I know is this: I need fat to mitigate my carbs. Which is obviously a sign that I can't process my carbs too well.

It's not about weight, I need to regain a little control of my health. I can't be suffering from low blood sugar like that, it felt really really bad.

I have gone back to LCHF since yesterday afternoon, so basically a day and a half, and today, I am feeling that amazing "clear headed" feeling. I always get it day one of going without carbs and upping fat. I heard someone call it Ketophoria. Lol. Today I am ketophoric.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Current thoughts: my new higher weight

I am ok with gaining a few kgs. I have no idea how much I have gained as my scale has no battery and, to be honest, I don't really care, but I can see and feel that I have gained slightly.

The only thing I don't want is to have to buy new clothes, and this really is my only reason for not wanting to continue to gain. I also can't help but worry, due to my background as a Banter, about my health, due to the "fun" foods I have been eating. I have been allowing myself to enjoy cake, chocolate and whatever else, and it's really great, but I can't help worrying what it's doing to my blood sugar levels, my insulin and my heart. And therein lies the rub.

I don't care if people are fat or thin, short or tall, pink, purple or yellow....but I have to say...I am a little scared of having a stroke one day, let's say, or some other such horrid thing. My dad's sister died of complications after a major stroke, and she wasn't really overweight. But she did smoke. My gran had late onset type 2 diabetes. So there are health complications that I would like to avoid.

Having said that, I don't believe there is a single perfect diet that will cure ALL ailments. But I do see my belly expanding gently, and I am doing my best to love my belly but I do worry what it means.