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 talk....it 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.


Monday, December 4, 2017

My current thoughts: aging

Aging is SO hard when you're a woman.

I will be forty next year. I wish I were more relaxed about it, but I can't help freaking out just a teeny tiny bit.

I was never much into looks until I got married. Then I felt like I had to "please" this man and look good for him. I guess I also wanted to see how good I could look, if I had the money to spend on my appearance, which I did. I have done a lot: dyed my hair, nose job, boob job, Botox, lip filler and teeth whitening. I have done my nails. I dieted and gymmed.

At thirty-five I looked twenty-five.

But now the wheels are falling off. They just are. I can't fake it or hide anymore. I am my age, and I don't want to keep up the exhausting work it takes to look younger/thinner/blonder than I really am. I just don't want to anymore.

I am doing the opposite of what a lot of women my age do, which is, as they approach forty, they suddenly join a gym to lose weight, or something along those lines. I am "undoing" now that I am reaching forty.

My current thinking is this: I have EARNED THE RIGHT to my wrinkles. I have earned the right to look my age. And the feminist side of me says: why do men get to relax as they age, but we don't? Sorry, but eff that!!!! When do I just get to relax into my own skin? When am I allowed a tummy? When am I allowed to just look like I am without covering up or faking it? Sometimes, being a woman takes so much energy that there is nothing left for much else. No wonder I can never just sit down and write a freaking book. I am so busy running around doing things to improve my appearance! Well, I say, no more.

I will do things that I WANT to do from now on. Only things that I love. If I want to wear make up, then fine. If I want to dress up on a particular day, fine. But that's it. Nothing over the top. I am done making other people rich based on my insecurities. I am done spending ridiculous amounts of money on Botox and fillers. I will NEVER go for a facial peel again - did it once, it hurt! Felt like a thousand ants were biting into my face. What for?

From now on, exercise is for joy. For the sheer pleasure of moving my body (and it IS pleasurable, just think of dancing, or running for fun like a puppy tearing around the garden, or sex). From now on, I also want to eat with/for joy. From now on, denial has no place in my life.

I am happy to be aging, actually. Yes, I am a little terrified that people are gonna say "What's gotten into her?" "She's lost the plot!" "She's just let herself go!" "She used to be so pretty, so thin, so....etc, now look at her!" So yes, I am a bit worried, I won't lie. But I don't really care either. Those who know me will love me. Those who don't, well, does it matter?

I think most people will learn to love and accept the "new" more relaxed me. I think if I am more relaxed I will enjoy myself more, I will laugh more, I will smile more and hopefully, those around me will see that I am growing into a BETTER version of me. The new version of me might be softer, rounder, older, with a few wrinkles and the start of (gasp, yes, I saw them) jowls. But so what? So what? So what?

Thursday, November 23, 2017

I loved my changing-room reflection...

...for the first time EVER.
Oh yes. Today was truly a momentous day for me.

There I was, in Ackermans, trying on their summer dresses (such lovely dresses at amazingly good prices) and I was dreading the 360 degree mirror view under that harsh lighting. Usually I hate seeing myself in changing room mirrors with their yuk lighting.
But not today. Today all my body-loving, body-positive talk has paid off! My body looks no different, in fact, I've put on a bit of weight, but I loved what I saw. I loved what I saw because I saw that it was just a body.

My body is just a pile of meat, bones and flesh and it's not me. It's not who I am. My butt is a little softer and my tummy is a bit rounder, and THAT'S OK. I now know that I can love me, with all that. I can love the softness. The softness is not a reflection on who I am as a person. Duh. It's so obvious but I have always allowed my reflection or my weight to dictate how I feel about myself. Not today. Today I loved my softer ass.

This is amazing. I wish this feeling for every single woman in the world.

In fact, I am also looking upon women with softer, kinder eyes too. I am no longer comparing: am I thinner than her? Am I younger looking? How do my arms/thighs etc compare to hers? Nope, now I am looking at all women and imaging how awesome they all are. I FREAKIN love it. So ultimately, I didn't have to change my body in order to love my body, I had to change my "goggles" or my way of seeing. I had to put on body-positive love goggles!

Another happy co-incidence: the batteries in my home scale have died, so my scale is no longer working. It happened after I went away and read the most amazing body-positive book called Things No One Tells Fat Girls by Jes Baker. Old habits die hard, and I still wanted to weigh myself after three days away. But when I stood on the scale and there was nothing, I was actually kind of happy. Now I have gone over a week without weighing myself and I haven't collapsed in a heap from lack of information. I now can honestly say: I don't CARE what I weigh. I am letting go of that every day.

Does this mean I will completely "let myself go"? (Horror of horrors!)
The honest answer is: maybe. Maybe I will indeed let myself go a bit. It sounds so freeing, though, doesn't it, that phrase "let myself go". Let go. Letting go. Freedom. And so maybe dieting is less about weight and far more about control.

I have run this week, when I felt like it, and these past two days, I have not run. I have eaten when hungry, stopped when full. It's such a new experience for me, to allow myself to eat. I honestly don't know when I'm actually full, and when I'm truly hungry. I have controlled what I eat and ignored my body's cues for so long that I am a bit out of touch. But it's ok. I'm learning.
I love seeing ads like these, not because I want to put on weight (I am trying to let go completely with regards to expectations around weight) but because they remind me that body-ideals are so subjective and completely fluid and can change with the times. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Food guilt be GONE!

I know that, at any given time, a gazillion women are on some sort of diet. I get why. We all want to feel the best in our skins. We want to be seen and be healthy.

But I am, for a huge change in my life, going on the "anti-diet" diet. No more dieting for me right now. No clean eating. No Banting. No calorie-counting. I am going on the "no guilt around food" diet.

Don't get me wrong, diets can and do work. Both strict clean eating and Banting worked for me. I think Banting is healthier long term, but I am no doctor, so who am I to say? And if these diets work for you, that's fantastic. I really mean that.

BUT for me, what I found was this: my mind is a sneaky thing and started to control EVERY bite of food that I wanted to put into my mouth. So all day long, I'd be thinking about food. Food thoughts have dominated my mind and my thinking for the past...six years? Around the time I joined the gym and got serious about doing my first ever competition (bikini comp) I have thought about food constantly. It's not healthy and I still find myself doing it out of habit. It's really hard to break.

Before I fell pregnant, I was a normal weight, and didn't give food too much thought, other than to not overeat. Simple. Like every woman, I was "watching my figure", but not hectically.

During pregnancy I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted within reason. I gained weight. I was happy to gain it. It was the one time in my life when I just felt free to eat and it was lovely!

Breastfeeding helped me lose weight, and thereafter I made the fatal mistake of joining the gym and following an eating plan. And competing. I say "fatal" because that's when my eating became super strict and super controlled. And I had to do it for my competition, sure, but the problem is that the mental side-effects have lasted and are still with me. It didn't help that I did another two competitions in quick succession, and then, last year, another one. That last competition was my last one. I will NOT ever be stepping on stage again.

The reason is for my mind's sake. I am a bit of a control-freak at times, and dieting and training for competition is something that I went banana's with. It's all about control, all the time. I have a really hard time letting go of control. I guess a lot of us do, but for me, with this, it's been bad.

It's only now that I am seeing how bad I was, now that I have been introduced to the world of "body-positivity." When I read the awesome book "What No One Tells Fat Girls" by Jes Baker, it blew my mind! Here was a very fat girl, and she wasn't interested in dieting or exercising to lose weight. FUCK! "Is that even possible?" I thought. "Am I even ALLOWED to not care about my weight?" 

The resounding answer, of course, is YES! You DON'T HAVE to worry or care about your weight. Society makes us THINK we have to. And the latest craze or wave of thinking is that being overweight is "unhealthy". I hear so many women say "I don't want to be skinny, just healthy". And I hear them, I do. I get it. But we need to be very careful with bandying words like "healthy" around because it is also possible to be healthy at a heavier weight. Just saying. In times past, there were advertisements for women encouraging them to GAIN weight.

The real truth is this: healthy people can be both fat or skinny. Unhealthy people can be both fat or skinny. That really is the truth peeps! I get it now.

So your health is one thing. Your weight is another.



What I need to do for myself now, is to free my mind from the GUILT around food. For too many years now I have labelled food "good" and "bad" or "healthy" and "unhealthy" or "clean food" and "cheat food". And then I have felt HEAPS of guilt for eating the bad, unhealthy or cheat food. And I have found that it's the guilt that really makes me binge, it's the guilt and bad feelings that cause the intense cravings, and the guilt that makes me eat so fast I don't stop to breathe and enjoy.

The guilt is what keeps these insane food thoughts looping around my head all day long.

Yes, you might say it's "easy" for me to talk as I don't have weight to lose. You might be right. I might very well feel differently if I were 20kg's heavier. But, I have read other body-positive women's accounts, and the feeling behind it all is the same.

Which is this: NO MORE GUILT AROUND FOOD. Choose to eat the things you want to, but please don't beat yourself up with guilt.

At least, that's what I am trying to do for myself now. Let's see how I got.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf

My current read on my kindle right now is The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf.

This book is F@#$%& blowing my mind, you guys! Blowing my mind.


I found this book after it was recommended by the kick-ass blogger Jes Baker of www.themilitantbaker.com (who is a body positive warrior, you have to read her and her work) and I am loving this book. From my Google search, it was published in 1990, which is six years before I even finished high school! So it's an "old" book, but it reads like it was written today!

The basic premise is that "beauty" is not objective, and it's a totally mythical construct in that it is something made up and manufactured as an idea/ideal in order to sell women beauty products and to keep us feeling inferior. Think about it: if you were totally, completely and one hundred percent happy in your own skin (if you have no idea what that feels like, think back to when you were a child, of say, 10), would you need to buy all the bullshit products we are sold on a daily basis? Would you want to go for plastic surgery where they cut your body open? Would you even wear make-up?

I realise that this "problem" of women and "beauty" is not a new one, and this one book clearly will not change the world, but I still urge all of you to read it and be aware of how this social construct called "beauty" is sabotaging our self-esteem and robbing us of our hard-earned money and making us feel less-than and like we are all in competition with one another.

It's part of why I braved posting a "real" pic of myself on Facebook the other day. There IS a new wave of reality out there, where real women are showing themselves for who they truly are, in their real skin. It's wonderful to see!

So yes, because I am now 39 and will be 40 next year, I guess my unavoidable signs of aging are what are getting me to question all this. I am struggling more and more to "look pretty" and am tempted to spend more and more money on my face and my body than ever before. But I have always sensed the bullshit, it's just catching up to me now that my looks are "letting me down". But the truth is, my looks are NOT letting me down. How sad and fucked up that I even could think that about my own body and face? My body and my face are just that: a body, and a face. They are just doing what EVERYONE's will do: age. It's normal.

But do you see how our media has poisoned us against our own precious selves? The poison is so very hard to escape because it's in our own minds, deeply embedded there. To hate your physical form for being itself is a maddening way to live.

And even worse, is that there is this subtle "war" amongst women in terms of beauty. If she is beautiful, she is winning, and if I am aging, or, heaven forbid, gaining weight, I am losing. And so, then, when we do gain some weight, or get wrinklier, we feel like losers.

I say, enough with the madness. This has got to stop. I can't live like this anymore, hating myself for being a human being.

The truth is, I don't yet know how to truly love my physical self. It's not easy. I have been conditioned since fairy-tale days (think Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty) to believe in the myth of beauty. But I hope to free myself, one small, tiny step at a time.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Dear Woman Friend

You may be a real-life friend of mine, or an internet "friend", but PLEASE know this: I think you are goddamn beautiful. Just the way you are.

Please read that again. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL EXACTLY AS YOU ARE.

How do I know this? I know this because beauty is, for me, all about what is on the inside. It really is. Truly.

So I know that you love hard, that you have the same fears and insecurities as I do and that you are doing the very best you can every single day. That is beautiful. I know you are kind and mean well, and that the world and the hardness that life throws at you, and at me, can be crushing sometimes.

I know your body seems to be betraying you by storing fat in all the places you wish it wouldn't (along with some places you are happy about - yay bigger boobs and butt). But our bodies are NOT our enemies. This brand new concept for me is blowing my mind but it's helping me so much. My body is not my enemy. My body is simply a vehicle that is carrying me around on this Earth. Think about it: when you were born, you had no control over what body you were given. You entered with this baby-body, and that was that. The genetic coding of that body is nothing other than that: genetic coding. So if you end up tall, skinny, short, missing a limb, darker or lighter skinned, straight or wavy haired, chubby or very fat...it's not your doing. Which means, for us as a society, and especially as women, to judge each other based on our "spacesuits" is just plain silly. It's silliness.

Yet I have done it, and mostly I have judged myself. I am sure that if you are a woman, and you are reading this, you too have done it. You have found your physical self lacking in some way. I know the feeling.

But you are still beautiful regardless of what you see in the mirror and regardless of society's arbitrary standards. Yes, you might not look close to the "ideal" image of beauty that we are fed (think of any popular model/celeb) but I promise you, if you looked at yourself through the eyes of love, you would see your beauty. And that, my friends, is where beauty lies. In the eyes of the lover. In the eyes of the one looking upon you with love.

How can I be so sure of this? Because it happens to me time and time again. When I see someone's soul, I suddenly find them so freaking beautiful. Do you know what I mean?

Let me give you an example: when I was studying Graphic Design at Tech, there were all sorts of students in my year. All sorts of looks. Some were "ugly" by the societal beauty standard, yes. But as I got to know all my classmates, that quickly disappeared for me, and I soon saw all of them truly. For their natures, for their hearts. And the "ugly" ones became so beautiful, and some of the "pretty/hot" ones were kinda ugly in their unkindness.

See?

And then add to that a deeper layer of complexity: even the traditionally good-looking kids are still beautiful in their unkindness because when you look closer, their actions of unkindness are born out of their own insecurities and fears. And we see the truth of someone, with their vulnerabilities, they become, at least to me, anyway, very beautiful.

I am definitely someone who falls in love with people's vulnerabilities and their humanness. Their "realness", so to speak. And when that happens, the big nose, or the crooked teeth, or the wrinkles that they possess become so lovely to look at. Maybe it's the artist in me, but when someone is open and vulnerable with me, and I see their truth, then suddenly all their flaws look so amazing that I could stare at them for hours and hours. Every pore on the skin, every stretch mark....everything!

So you who feel that your thighs are too wide, or your nose too big or your wrinkles too deep, please stand in your own light and own your true beauty. See it! Please dear woman friend, SEE it. Because I do.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

My new thing: body positivity!!!

Why all of a sudden this about-change from gym-chic to body-loving chic?

Age.

As I age and get softer, no amount of gym training will change that. I may stay mobile, active and strong, but my flesh will soften and wrinkle and I need to learn to love that. Also, I can't subject myself to such rigorous exercise anymore. I just can't.

Maybe I burnt out. I don't know. Or maybe I'm just tired of placing so much value on the outside, when what really, truly counts is the inside.

Maybe I just want to enjoy my food, and enjoy my exercise. So maybe, I don't want food to be either "good" or "bad" and maybe I don't want exercise to be "a grind" or "work" or a form of "burning calories" and I don't want to do what I have heard women say, and what I thought I might be doing, which is to "run so I can eat". No. I LOVE running, mostly (yes, it gets tough, but it's a way of digging deep inside myself and that is part of the enjoyment) and I don't want to see it as part of an equation. I want to run for enjoyment. I want to eat for both fuel AND pleasure both. And if I don't feel like running for a time, I might stop.

Are you getting my drift? I don't want to suck the joy out of things anymore. I have done that before, and become obsessed.

But wait, didn't I love my gym-training and my competing? Yes, I DID! But I honestly believe that if I were to continue competing, I'd need to take something (you all know what I mean) and I just don't want to. I take my hats off to all athletes who do what they do. I am glad I got to peek into their world. I am so glad I learnt what my body could do, but I don't want my mind to fall back into obsession-mode.

I have realised that I have a son to raise and I need him to see me act NORMALLY around food. I need him to also see his mom with a healthy attitude towards her body. I am afraid he hasn't seen that yet in his young life, and it kind of saddens me. He has seen me weigh myself daily. Sometimes more than once a day. He has seen me with a tape measure, jotting down my measurements. He has seen me demonize some foods. He has also heard me obsess about "being healthy", but even that can become a weird obsession, where I freak out about "unhealthy" foods. I don't want to act so freaky anymore. Clearly, I have a tendency to become obsessive, as you can see.

Probably I'm heading towards some body-positive obsessive behavior, but heck, if it promotes self-love AS WE ARE, then I guess it's going to be ok.

I am, unfortunately, so overly-conditioned to hate what I see in the mirror and to want to always, always look younger and thinner, that my thinking around this has become automatic.

But when I delve deeply into my soul, into my true essence, I know that my body is irrelevant. It's totally irrelevant. And here I have invested HOURS and THOUSANDS of rands on it. And yet I could be in a car crash and lose use of my body. Or I could get cancer and have to cut parts out and off. And then what? If I have focused solely on my body, on my outsides, I will feel really lost.

Now, don't get me wrong, there is NOTHING WRONG with exercise, and nourishing your body, and all those good things. My father was a dedicated Comrades runner and I saw how it gave him joy, hope and purpose and lifted him out of his tendency towards depression. When I exercise I sleep so well, and I feel those post-exercise endorphins, but that should be the focus, not on "fat burning".

For me, it's all about the WAY I have gone about things in my head and THAT is what needs to change. If you have hated your body for as long as you can remember, like I have, then please click on these awesome links. Check out these awesome pictures of naked females for body loving inspiration. And this blog here.

More than anything, I want every woman, myself included, to have the power of loving herself AS SHE IS. She could be an athlete, a couch potato, or someone inbetween. She could be rail thin, or fat, or thick, or short, or missing a limb, but each one of us deserves to feel self-love. I believe that. I really, deeply believe that. And each one of us is beautiful in our own way. I also deeply believe that. Even if we are not traditionally beautiful.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Confession: I have a fear of fat!

I have a fear of fat!

Well...duh...you might say if you know me or if you have read my blog before. DUH Louise, I coulda told you that, you would scream.

Seems like it is something I have been hiding from myself though. In my endless fitness and diet pursuits, I have veiled them in the squeaky-clean image of pursuing "health" but the truth is, as much I believe in being healthy, what I always really wanted as a side outcome, was to be thin. Lean. Low body-fat.

Since my competing days, especially my first two competitions (for those that don't know, I competed in bikini divisions of bodybuilding competitions for a brief moment in time) when I was ultra lean, the leanest/thinnest I have ever been in my whole entire life, I have yearned and struggled to get back to that state. The problem is, getting so very lean is hard work. It's flippen' hard work. It takes focus and dedication and doesn't "just" happen. At least, not for me. I am not that type of person who battles to gain weight. Even though I look like that type, it's been hard work and watching what I eat that got me so lean and has kept me in shape.

And the thing is, when something takes all of your mental energy, as well as physical energy for workouts, it leaves very little for anything else. Yes, I was still a good mother then, but I was a shitty spouse. I'll admit it. Can you imagine being married to a chic who only feeds you lean steak/chicken and broccoli for supper night after night? A chic who constantly watches what she eats and eats every meal according to a plan? Who never drinks? Sounds anal, right? Well, that was me, for a good two years. Yes, I had a cheat meal/day once a week but that was scheduled. And sure, I had small breaks in between where I didn't diet, for like a week or two. But I was mostly in diet/training mode, and even when I wasn't, I was thinking about it all the time. Even my "cheats" were controlled and part of the plan. Very little was left to fun and chance.

So yes, it worked and I got the body that society tells us is the "goal". I achieved MY best body. But...wait for it...but...I honestly wasn't any happier than I was before. I wasn't any happier at my leanest than I have been when I was heavier. If anything, I was more miserable. Yes, I was happier with my body but that's it. I was more confident wearing skimpy outfits. I was happier when I went shopping for clothes, definitely, and oh boy did I go shopping for clothes back then, because I finally felt my body was good enough. But I wasn't any happier with myself in general and my relationships were no better.

If I examine deeply what was really going on inside my mind at that time, if I think back and place myself back in my shoes those five and bit years ago, I can see that my mind was totally fucked up. I was totally body-obsessed, spending nearly ALL my mental energy on that one thing. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with taking care of your body, and yes, I learnt a lot, and it was an amazing journey for me who has hated her body for so long, but looking back on how obsessed I was,  I can honestly say, it wasn't healthy. It isn't healthy, and I say "isn't" because I still find myself obsessing, now and then.

For those who know me, you will know I then became a Banting Coach. Banting, for me, became just another form of obsessing over food and body. Yes, I certainly believe it is a healthy way of eating, but for someone like me who didn't need to lose weight, and who was already so super obsessed with every inch of her body and body-fat (thanks to the bodybuilding competitions and criteria) Banting was just a different way for me to obsess.

So yes, I am terrified of letting go and gaining weight. But for my mental health, I have to let go. I can't wake up every day and think about food and calories and the scale or the tape measure anymore. I really, really can't. Well, let's put it this way: I can, but how exhausting. And what a waste of mental energy. Really! And the odd thing is, I can see fat on other people and I think they're beautiful just the way they are, I really, honestly do, but I hold myself to a different standard. Why? Why am I so hard and harsh with myself? Why do I not see myself as beautiful if I am fatter? I blame society. I really do. I know it's conditioned into us, this fear of fat, and this whole crazy obsession with being thin. And so when I got so lean/thin, I felt like I had finally gained society's stamp of approval. And the saddest part of all is that everyone around me confirmed this. People would ask me for diet advice. They complimented me. They praised me. They ALL told me how good I looked.

It's sick, and I am seeing that now. But maybe the really sick one is ME and my mind. Because I let the opinions of others feed me and my insecurities. The truth is I was just as beautiful and VALID even when I was a bit heavier. But I didn't believe it myself. And so I took this journey and I believed the lies. And then I went and confirmed to myself that society prefers me lean and thin by accepting all the praise.

BUT...I have to ask myself one hard question: what did my lean body benefit anyone? Did getting lots of picture "likes" and "thumbs ups" help me or them? No, it did not. In fact, I was just perpetuating the very myth that was trapping me into an obsessive mind.

So what has brought me around to this way of thinking?

Well, I was paging through the November issue of Good Housekeeping and I saw what looked revolutionary to me: real, normal, healthy, curvy women posing in their swimwear feature. And the feature didn't even say "plus-sized" even though these are plus-sized models. (They are actually pretty normal women, but hey! in fashion anything over size zero is considered plus-sized.) I was gobsmacked and blown away. I haven't bought magazines for a while now as I am generally SO OVER them, and their bullshit but I bought this one because the actors from "This is Us" were on the cover and I loved that show.

So anyway, the one curvy model is a young woman called Marciel Hopkins, and the editor's column suggested we go follow her on Instagram as she has such a body-positive account. I read those words, and thought "body-positive"? What is that? So I went to check out her Instagram and discovered a whole world of body-positivity there! What really blew me away and got me thinking was this: she dieted and trained (just as I did when I was competing) in order to be slim enough to fit the Miss South Africa beauty pageant mold. But it wasn't sustainable for her and after a time, she relaxed and let her body return to it's curvy self. What really, really blew me away though, was that here was this GORGEOUS young girl who was happy and accepting of herself with all her rolls, curves and cellulite! And she looked stunning and happy and when I paged through her Instagram, looking at her when she was at her thinnest, and her at her happy weight, she looked MUCH HEALTHIER and better with the extra weight. I promise you. I honestly thought that. 

I was even more thrilled to read her words, and to hear her say: every body is healthy at their own different weights. Yes!
She has some lovely hashtags that all resonated with me: #nowrongwaytohaveabody #bodydiversity
And my favourite quote of hers "If you have a body, then you have a bikini body". YES!

And so I realise that some people will look at me and say "But Louise, you are thin, you have nothing to worry about, your body is awesome for a bikini." But my body is aging (I turned 39 this year) and things are softening and sagging, and my butt is a bit wobblier and it's time to focus on other things now. How my body looks should be the very least of my worries. And yet, I still want to wear a bikini. So Marciel Hopkins' message resonated with me because, hey, even if you have a wobbly butt, you can still wear a bikini.

I am tired. Tired out. I just cannot "pursue" #bodygoals anymore. I can't do it. I have to relax a bit. I have to take a break. I have to just breath and let it all hang out and let my body do what she wants to do. And so I hereby declare that I am going to teach myself how to love my body as she is, right now, here, today. She is worthy. She is just a physical vehicle. If I can look at other women and see their beauty in all their shapes and sizes, why can't I see mine?
This is Jade Beall, an awesome rock star photographer whose work brought tears to my eyes. She is teaching self-love and practising it. 

Image: Jade Beall - from her FB page
Jade Beall Image - how beautiful? These women look like paintings to me, like works of art! 

Lastly, to end off this very raw, stream-of-consciousness post, please go check out Jade Beall's photography page. She is this awesome photographer whose images celebrate the beauty of the human form WITH all it's imperfections. I stared at her images of round, curvy soft and thin women, and saw that all of them looked like famous paintings. They looked like Renoir and Rembrant and other famous artist's models.

Her images actually had me sobbing in front of my laptop as I gazed upon them. Tears just came and were streaming down my face, and I didn't quite understand them, but then I realised that I was crying for myself because I have been so hard on myself. I have not loved myself. I have extended love and compassion outwards to others, and seen their beauty, but how could they ever believe me when I hold my own self to unrealistically high standards? How could other women relax around me and feel my love for them if I am withholding that very soft, compassionate love from myself? And so my heart broke, for myself, and I cried for myself and for all the ways I have been cruel to myself and critical to myself and I promised myself that I can learn how to love myself even if....gasp...I put on some weight.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Family Holiday: Cape Town

We just arrived back yesterday from a family holiday - three of us - to Cape Town, and I have a few thoughts to share.
1: Family holidays are intense. You are with each other, as a unit, ALL the time. We did bicker and rub each other the wrong way, which is probably normal. My partner and I ended up bickering quite a bit. I turned into a grumpy bitch.
2: We were a bit too busy and over-scheduled, but we wanted to see it ALL and do it all. We didn't build in much rest time. We should have.
3: I believe that perhaps humans are born explorers. We were probably meant to be nomadic. I am just musing here, but every day, we had the urge to go out and explore Cape Town. We didn't WANT to be cooped up in our hotel room. We wanted to walk around, to see things, to experience things, to taste things. Which ended up exhausting us somewhat, but we wanted to do as much as we could. The strange thing is, even my partner, who normally naps every day and doesn't want to do much, was on the go all the time in Cape Town. He found his inner child a bit. It was truly wonderful to see.

So maybe this explains why we humans love to run Comrades, and do trail runs, and triathlons. We are probably born explorers.

Wine tasting at Spier. We look super happy but tensions were running high at times during our holiday. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Running time

Just a log for me:

12 Sep 2017
5km Lilicrona - time 29mins 36 secs. I only walked twice, very very briefly, ran 99% of the way. Ran in my pink Vibrams, but straight after I ate something. Legs were still a bit stiff and tired from Sunday's 10km.
Wed 13th Sep 2017
4 km time trial route 24:30
Walked a total of three times, for the count of a few seconds only. Hilly course, tired legs.

Sunday 17th Sep 2017
15km long run.
Around 2hr 45mins. 

Friday 29th September 2017
9km
52:44sec
New shoes, Altra Torin. First time in them. What a noticeable difference running in those to the Vibrams. In Vibrams, my lower legs, feet and calves do a lot more work. In these, it feels as if my thighs and hips have to work more. Shoes feel chunkier. Loads of cushioning. Not sure if I like it, but I like them better than my Asics. So far.

Saturday 30th Sep
5km Parkrun
28mins 54secs
Wore new yellow Vibrams. Loved them.

Sunday 1st Oct
19km training run
2hr 7mins
Wore Altra's - felt very heavy, felt slow, feet hurt - I wore thicker socks. My toes felt like they were rubbing against the socks. Not a pleasant run. Felt ill and very sore at the end, back was sore, everything was sore.

Monday 2nd Oct
4km
no time.
Ran at mom's house, just quick round the block. Loved it. Wore my new yellow Vibrams with the toe socks. Felt free, felt fast, even though I am not sure I go much faster.

Wednesday 4th Oct
5km - Lilicrona
28mins5sec - PB!
Wore yellow Vibrams with socks. Under big toes was only place that rubbed.

Friday 6th Oct
9km (to the beach and back)
Didn't time it

Saturday 7th Oct
8km (ran to gym, did a workout, then ran back home.)

Sunday 8th October 2017
21km with Striders (training run)
Didn't time it. About 2 and half hours.

Wednesday 11th October 2017
7km - 5km PB (27min 3 secs) and hill training.

Thursday 12th October
11km in wet, windy rainy conditions

Sat 14th October
5km - ran, walked jogged - 32mins

Sun  15th October
27.5km Munster run - 3hours, 10mins. Got hot, felt quite thirsty towards the end, battled a lot the last 5km.

Wednesday 18th Oct
5km Lilicrona - PB - 25MINS50SECS
Yellow Vibrams, big toes hurt underneath. Even though I ran fast, I felt fat and heavy.
Plus about 1.5km hill work - did the hill 3 x

Saturday 21st (Seth's birthday)
6.5km run - down to beach and not all the way, then back again.

Sun 22 Oct
Color Run - 5km easy, walked.

Wednesday 25th Oct
4km Time Trials - PB -21mins 28secs!


Sunday, September 10, 2017

I have re-kindled my joy of running/being active

This post is a reminder to myself.

You see, for ages now, I have lost my gym mojo, my active-lifestyle mojo. I have just been going through the motions, not sure of what  I am doing. I think it's because I have had no fitness goals, and I am someone who loves goals.

So I stopped working out intensely, and then about 2-3 weeks ago I got really sick with the flu and couldn't work out at all. I did nothing for two weeks. I was actually enjoying the break, even though I wasn't enjoying the flu. Doing nothing was ok, until the end of week 2 when I started to feel really "blah". I even felt just as stiff and "tired" in the mornings as I did when I would exercise, and I realised that not exercising was not helping me much. So the next day I went for a run, and experienced that lovely post-run euphoria, and wow, all of a sudden, I remembered how good it can feel to exert myself physically!

And suddenly I fell back in love with activity.

I had been feeling mixed feelings about my exercise for a long time. I was even not sure if I wanted to exercise anymore. I was beginning to think that I should just quit the gym, stop running, and throw in the towel completely.

But my run (5km) had me feeling so good that I changed my mind right then and there.

I am vital and alive, I thought, so why would I just stop and sit around? I mean, I don't have to train like a world champion, but I love nothing more than that post-run euphoria, and I am still young and fit and capable. Why WOULDN'T I want to use my body?

I think that competing in the body-building competitions have messed with my mind. They've made the whole focus of me being active all about how I look, when, really, it should be about how I feel. I should be active because I like how I feel, not because I think it should make me look a certain way. Before I did those bikini contests, I simply enjoyed running and dancing for the sheer joy of doing them. Now, I do things with "weight loss" or "cutting" or "building" in mind and if I am not "getting anywhere" I tend to feel like it's pointless. But when I enjoyed that little run so much I realised that I could be denying myself such joy by not moving.

So I will exercise if I feel like it. And I will move to feel good. And for now I am setting a little running goal of completing a 21km half marathon. Just a goal for fun.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Brasil Cacau Hair Treatment Review: Day 1

Brasil Cacau keratin treatment. My hair looks straightened but is actually just blow dryed here after the treatment. 

My hair immediately upon getting home after the treatment. My hair felt very smooth and was super shiny. 

So two weeks ago I got a Brasil Cacau (the brand name) brazilian hair treatment. It's not actually a straightening treatment, it's an anti-frizz, keratin treatment for the hair. It tames frizz by replacing, or sealing in, keratin, into the hair with a flat iron. Then after that, you go to the basin, get rinsed, get a masque put in for ten minutes, rinsed again and then my hair was dried off. No flat iron and yet my hair came out pin straight.

I am not actually looking for pin straight hair, but rather, for manageability. My ends from about mid length down are so fried from previous bleach, that it get's very dry in winter and hard to comb. My hope was that the Brasil Cacau treatment will help with that.

I can report that it has helped somewhat, but this is not a smoothening/manageability treatment, so it doesn't actually make it easier to comb. That wore off very quickly. I can still see the treatment in my hair in that my hair dries straighter, and looks less frizzy, but it's not all that easier to comb. I would say it's probably a strengthening treatment more. I will see how it goes and see how long it lasts, which will determine if I feel it's worth doing again.

I am using their brand of shampoo and conditioner, as I feel that if I spent so much money and time on the treatment, I may as well not take any chances of ruining the treatment with cheap shampoos and conditioners that could possibly strip out the keratin. At least, that is what the warnings are - that you need to follow the after care protocols to make sure the treatment lasts.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Note to myself: diet related once again. Here we go.

1: Clearly I am a little diet-obsessed. Wish I weren't, but I am a bit. Sorry.
2: I can still let go though, and enjoy a holiday. We just went away for three nights to Cathedral Peak Hotel in the berg, and it was LOVELY and I had a blast and I ate whatever I felt like. (Gasp!) I only gained 500gms, over the holiday, so I feel good about that.
3: If left to my own devices, I will not overeat.

4: However, if I start to try to manipulate things too much, like I did yesterday, I will over-compensate, like I did today and go the other way.

Here is what happened. We got back from our holiday, I was happy with my lack of weight gain, so the following day, it was my period, and I ate a shit ton of chocolate and some cake. Oops. But so what, right? I weighed myself, which is not the right thing to do around my period, and then felt bad at the weight gain. Then, even worse, I went shopping at PnP clothing, and the lighting and all those mirrors had me feeling really, really shitty about my body. I have gained weight lately and I don't like how I look, and I am feeling pretty miserable about it and seeing it reflected back at me was not pretty. I got a heavy dose of reality. I was zero carbing yesterday in order to lose some weight. I did lose weight - 500gms to be exact. From yesterday to today.

But after zero carbing yesterday, I was craving carbs like crazy today. I had bought a packet mix chocolate cake that I was intending to bake with my son over the holidays. Today is the second last day of the holidays. I decided to bake it with him, and eat a tiny bit of cake.

Well, I went bat shit crazy and ate a ton of the cake. You see, it broke up into pieces, because it stuck to the crappy cake tin, and so it was all bits and pieces. We made the icing, so my son and I just iced random bits of cake and ate them. He is a typical healthy child: he stops eating when full.

I could hardly stop. I did stop, eventually, but I must have eaten about three people's serving of cake and icing. Goodness it was delicious. Now I feel full. And a bit sick. But also happy.

I simply cannot diet. I CANNOT diet. I cannot follow any single particular diet anymore. I can't eat high fat. I did it yesterday and it was great, I felt good, but then today I just wanted carbs.

I also cannot cut fat out of my diet either. I have learnt that the hard way. I did it quite well during my gym days, but it made me deranged. I didn't well on very low fat, and suffered frequently with hypoglycemia.

My only sane solution now is to eat a balanced mix of fat, carbs and protein.

If I Bant, which is healthy, I have to Bant on the carbier side and eat sweet potatoe, butternut and the like. And not drown food in fat.

I have to unwind my mind, now.

I think I may have stuffed my mind up when it comes to food.

I am not normal anymore.

I go crazy.

I need to stop weighing myself. I need to stop thinking about diets. I need to simply aim for healthy. I know that what I just did now, which it to eat my body weight in cake, is NOT healthy. I COMPLETELY pendulum swung. I know that I need to simply be normal. But I don't quite remember what normal is anymore.

I can only follow my own internal plan. I can't keep living with this fucking obsession. I need to stop reading diet and health books and magazines and TRUST my body.

Louise, I am you. If you read this again, let me remind you to trust your body and to listen to your TRUE needs. Your body needs healthy food, not cake. But cake now and again is ok. In SMALL amounts.

Today you read about a mechanism by which the body can store dietary fat. Of course it can. The body can store fat, protein and carbs. I believe it. I believe the body can do all these things.

My belly is getting fat and flabby and I believe it's from messing about with my diet. I believe it's time to clean up my diet and get healthy now. I know what healthy eating looks like. Time to implement it.

Friday, June 23, 2017

My current headspace: Quit Social Media

I am quitting social media. For how long, I have no idea. But for now, I have saved my Instagram pics that I wanted to keep and I have deleted that account, and am going to do the same with Facebook. I watched this simple, yet powerful video but a guy called Dr. Cal Newport, who has never had a social media account of any kind. No Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram. He makes a good case for quitting social media.

The point that hit home for me was this: social media is designed to be addictive. It's meant to keep you scrolling, to keep you on that screen for as long as possible.

This hit home for me, along with an episode of Carte Blanche I watched a couple of weeks ago which makes Facebook seem quite creepy: even if you have never used Facebook in your life, it has collected information on you. Scary. It has some profile on you.

Here is a freaky thing: I deleted my Facebook account around three years ago. I was off it for about six months. It was great. Then I found I had all these photos on my phone and didn't know what to do with them. So I reopened a Facebook account because it's so easy and convenient to upload pics directly to Facebook from the phone. I was using it as a sort of photo storage thing. Same with Instagram.

But now with Google photos, my photos all get stored automatically, in chronological order if they are dated, and it's private and easy. Well, they are private to me.

I google searched myself and the images that came up were from my blog. So my blog pics are all public. Which is fine. Cos I obviously chose to share those.

The main point and reason that I, personally, am quitting social media is so that I can focus my mental energy on things that really, actually matter. I keep talking about writing a book. I have started many books. I have never finished one.

I want to actually finish writing a book in THIS LIFETIME.

To be honest, even blogging is a distraction, but it's also a form of writing practice.

I already feel clearer being off Instagram, and I have deactivated Facebook until I can get my pictures downloaded.

Lastly, I feel it will be setting my son a good example to be off Facebook. He already talks about "posting" pics and videos. It's not entirely healthy, I don't think. If I want to share a pic of him with my family, I can email it to them or I can whatsapp them.

So long Facebook.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Comrades, and a get together.

Taken by my son
I am staying with my mom in Durbs for a night so we can go watch my brother run the Comrades. This will be his second run, and it's an up run this year, meaning they start in Durban and finish in PMB.

It's always nice to see my family and for them to see my son.

Yesterday afternoon I caught up with three of my closest, lifelong friends from primary school - we stayed friends during high school too, but we all met at primary school. The four of us catching up together doesn't happen that often now that I live in a sleepy coastal village, but now and then, when we do catch up, it's great.

I couldn't help but notice how we all are aging. The wrinkles. The grey hair. The extra bit of weight on all of us. The stress too, etched in our faces. I can see that we are all at the most stressful point of our lives. Three of us have kids, one is a single career woman who takes on far more work than she should. We all have pets and homes to look after. We all have huge financial loads to carry. I mean, we ended up talking about finances - life insurance - for goodness' sake! On what planet do four women get together and talk about the benefits of life cover? But we did.

It's a sign of our age and I just thought "I am really and truly middle aged now."

Our parents are aging. Two of us out of the four have deceased fathers. Two of us (not the same two) have three children each! Not me, clearly and I once again knew in my heart that having one child was, for me, the right decision.

Not only is education ludicrously expensive nowadays, but life in general is so costly. And things break and don't last, so now, you get families who constantly have to factor in buying new cars, new laptops, new appliances, all the time. I mean, on what planet do people replace their cars on a yearly basis? But one friend's husband wants her to do that.

In my dad's house is an old fridge/freezer that he had since he moved in to the house 28 years ago! Where do you get that nowadays? Modern life is crazy and greedy and too busy and nuts. It's also beautiful and vibrant, but mostly, it's nuts.

My one friend told the tale of her cousin, a gorgeous blonde woman, mother to three kids, who is going in to rehab for a cocaine addiction. I mean, what the....? And none of us were that shocked. This is the tale of modern life.

My other friend likes her wine. Heck, I like my wine too! I even know women who drink in the day.

I just thought to myself "We all have our coping mechanisms," and some of us cope worse than others, but at this stage of our lives, we really are all just coping. I don't think any of us has it easy.

I think the only way to stay sane is to realise that we are ALL going through the same shit. Different shit but the same, essentially. We need to be super kind and super gentle with ourselves. We need to throw judgment out of the window. We need to also let go of a lot of "stuff" we carry with ourselves.

It was so, SO good to see them again. These are the women I measure my life by. Not in a judging way, but in a marking-of-time way. As time moves us on, I see that we are all the same and none of us can escape the stress and the aging and the shit that life deals us. And yet, it was beautiful too. The one friend had her brand new four-ish month old baby with her, and his fat chubby cheeks and Gerber baby mouth were such a reminder that out of our old tired bodies comes new life.

And we reminded each other, in talking about the passing of a friend who is our age, 39, that our lives are fleeting but so precious.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Google photos and playing around.

From when our Frenchie was a tiny pup. 

I



I haven't posted in a while. Personal busy-ness. Life gets busy all the time, no matter what.

But on the plus side, I have deactivated from Facebook for a while. And from Instagram. It's giving me more time. I discovered Google Photos! A free photo storage place just waiting for me to use it! Duh. So now I am experimenting with dragging and dropping photos onto my blog. So this is a playing around blog post.

My brother is going to run his second Comrades tomorrow. He is really inspiring me because he was the teenager who would NOT get up until around midday. Lazy was an understatement. But now...he is doing this amazing thing. I cannot believe it.



From Nov 2016 - the white bikini I took with on our cruise. Oh how I would love to go on a cruise again. 

Things are wrapping up with my Dad's estate. His house sold. It makes me feel relieved and sad both. With his house gone, there will be nothing left of him in this world to show he was here. His house was still something of his that was a protection for me. It was my home. I lived there on weekends and during my Tech studying days. In fact, I lived there until I moved in with my husband. That house has been in my life 28 going on 29 years. Can you believe it? And even though it's old now and needs a revamp, it's been a good home. Solid and stable, just like my dad.

Sorry this post is just a ramble. I guess it's indicative of my emotions right now.
















Saturday, May 13, 2017

Rust en Vrede 1694 Classification review - red wine

So after watching two videos on You Tube where the presenters both raved about this wine called 1694 Classification, from wine farm Rust en Vrede, I decided I had to simply try it once in my lifetime.

It has an exhorbitant price, for sure, but not more than a dinner out, and seeing as the hubster and I hardly ever go out, and seeing as I have my inheritance from my late father, I thought now is the one time in my life where I can buy myself this bottle of wine.

A nice little surprise is that it came in a lovely wooden box, with a paper wrapping around the bottle. Very classy. I love small things like that.

And it didn't disappoint. Oh, it lived up to every expectation I had for it. It was silky smooth, fruity but not sweet, no trace of vinegar at all, which I often find in wines.  This wine wasn't chocolately, or mocha tasting, it was more fresh tasting, but very satiny. I don't know how to describe it, but it had nothing sharp. No pointy edges on the tongue. It tasted the way a good wine tastes in my head, but this time, I was drinking it FOR REAL. Bliss.

And luckily for me, this wine arrived on a day when a cold front hit. So the weather was perfect red wine weather. I sipped it slowly and savoured every drop, which, with this wine, I could.

The only downside is that I have laid off alcohol for the past two weeks, pretty much had nothing, so this wine hit me hard. This morning (the morning after) I can certainly feel it! I only had half a bottle, which is two glasses, and I feel dehydrated, and ill. Even though I took Panado's before bed. Even though I had water in between sips of wine. I am SUCH a light weight when it comes to drinking.

The other downside (with all alcohol, and by no means anything unique to this wine) is that it made my appetite HUGE. I have noticed this. I eat far more when I drink. I get far hungrier.

We had supper as a family last night, and I dished my portion and ate. An hour later, I was standing by the fridge, raiding the leftovers, eating again. And the alcohol also makes me crave sweetness, or carbs the next day too. I wake up hungrier. I lose all appetite control.

So I will enjoy the rest of this bottle but I will not buy it again. I don't think it's worth spending that much money, even on the best wine I have ever tasted. Perhaps only again for my fortieth birthday, or some such milestone. But I am really glad I got the opportunity to splash out and buy this for myself.

I believe that sometimes, such an experience reinforces your sense of self-worth. You say to yourself and to the universe that you CAN and you DESERVE such nice things. I fully believe in things like that. But never beyond your means. I also fully believe in having no debt.

Cheers to Rust en Vrede. If I ever go to Cape Town, I will go to that wine farm.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Writing, glorious writing

I love writing.

I am really such a nerd when it comes to that. I love to sit and type and describe. Well, duh, it's obvious because I have a blog. I mean, who else CHOOSES to write but those of us who love to?

I was the type of child who actually used to LOOK FORWARD to school projects that involved a lot of writing. Because I just wanted to sit and write so much. I relished essays. I relished any sort of book project. I even enjoyed debating and orals for the writing part - the fact that I had to write out the oral excited me no end.

I am a dreamer, a bit of a "head in the clouds" type of person. I am not very practical at all. I can't fix anything that's broken. I can't take a machine apart and then put it back together again. No, not my talent, that.

But ideas. Concepts. Words. Now THOSE are my playground. Even images. Which is why I am an artist too. I can do stuff IN MY HEAD. I am good at formulating ideas. Communicating my ideas.

As a child, I created book after book. Character after character. My first story book, I wrote and illustrated at the age of seven, and it was called "Murtle the Turtle".

My son is interested in robots and robotics at this same age.

So, it's clear to me that I MUST follow this path, and write the book. It's about damn time. Soon I will be old and then dead, and my book will die within me.

I have always put too much pressure on writing. On my writing. I get such pleasure from doing it, that I haven't wanted to spoil that by making my writing my source of income. Perhaps that was right of me, I don't know. I could have possibly made money from writing by now. But in a way, I am glad I have kept my writing as a hobby. Something I do for fun and for me.

My art has made me money and it's causing me to hate my art. Sad but true. I hate that I have to paint what I am told to paint, instead of what I WANT to paint. Because, if I were free to paint anything, I'd love to paint bright stuff. Bold and bright. But anyhow.

So the whole point of this blog post is this: I love writing. I am nearly 39 and I believe that I am probably now old enough to have something of value to say. And it's probably time now that I put something on paper and say it.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Blood sugar and wine post

Blood sugar
Yesterday I had a smallish piece of cheesecake out at a coffee shop. I then tested my blood sugar when I got home, and it rose to 9.2 mml/dl. It stayed that high for about an hour or so and then slowly dropped down.

So even though I have been having the odd carb, this rose my blood sugar higher than I expected.

This morning I tested my blood sugar after a piece of toast with butter. The highest it rose to, after 45mins, was 6.3mml/dl. An hour later it was back down to 5.5ml/dl. Which is a very normal blood sugar. The body likes to remain within 4-6mml/dl generally, so it only rose above that very marginally. Phew. So one piece of toast, for me, is not a big deal.

But this just goes to show me how bad SUGAR is. If white toast, which is the most ground up and refined carb you can get, only does that to my blood sugar, but a tiny piece of cheesecake, which didn't even eat the crust of, raises my blood sugar and keeps it so high, then the main difference and culprit is the sugar. I am SO glad I did this little experiment and test. I will continue to test my blood sugar after a whole wide range of foods and drinks. I am seeing that anything with sugar in it is very bad. But carbs - whole oats, for example, or sweet potatoes - don't really raise it that high.

Wine
I had two tiny glasses of wine last night to finish off a bottle I had opened a while ago. I find that you can't leave a bottle open for too long else it tastes a bit yuk. Anyway, after not having wine for a good while, I realised how bad it makes me sleep - I battled to sleep nicely the first half of the night, and then this morning I felt puffy and just...not myself. A little irritable, actually. Just shows you, once you clean out your system, and then you re-introduce a toxin, how you feel it's toxic effects more. And it's amazing how quickly you get used to the toxin as well!

I definitely notice that I get a crampy-leg feeling the day after drinking. Drinking is really not good for me. Sometimes it takes pulling back from something to show me what it really is.

So yes, I will still enjoy the odd glass of wine now and then, but I will most certainly cut down.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Weight, health, work...

What goes into making a life worth living?

That is a big question. I don't really know the answer, but as I get older, I do know this: there are seasons for everything in life. I didn't realise that when I was younger, I thought I had to EVERYTHING NOW. But actually, I didn't. I don't. There really are some things that are better to do when you're young, and some things that are better when you're older. And things change. And your feelings about things change too.

I never realised when I was younger that my feelings would change so much about certain things. But how you view yourself and the world certainly changes as you get older. And it's good. It's very good. Getting older, which seemed a bit terrifying, truth be told, when I was younger, is now a welcome relief. I am naturally letting go of so many things. I am, slowly, painfully slowly, starting to let go of my body image. My looks. Not entirely, sadly. I still worry about how I look, and my weight and how other's perceive me.

I think having a neat appearance is good - so, not to let go of oneself, totally is a good thing. But letting go of this obsession with looking a certain way is VERY GOOD.

Back onto the health train...I am still somewhat confused about Banting but I know it's the right direction. I just want to know, for someone active like me, why I get cramps when I Bant. Still haven't figured that one out.

My weight went right up this past week or two, after eating carbs, but it got uncomfortable, so now I am losing the weight again, or at least, I am trying to lose the weight. I didn't like feeling so big, even though it's only 2kg of weight gain. For me, that's a lot, and I didn't like that feeling.

Work: I might quit doing illustrations. I am feeling like it's time for that to come to an end. It's a season that is now ending. There are many reasons. But the main one is that I no longer get any joy or satisfaction out of the illustrations. I no longer care. Not at all. Not one bit. It's not right and so I must end it. Art should feel good. I want to try my hand at other things. I want to explore earning money doing other things.

I am currently enjoying NOT preparing for or doing any bikini competitions. I think for me, the season for doing that might have passed too. I am not prepared to take any stuff to make me grow muscles, and so, my body is showing signs of it's age. Without steroids, females over a certain age do look less toned. It's nature. I think I am ok with that.

I really am maturing as I age. It's wonderful.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Nose vs Mouth breathing

Watch this video and be educated!

It has all the basic info on mouth vs nose breathing. In a nutshell, we are MEANT to breath through our noses, not our mouths. I have battled, for as long as I can remember, to breath through my nose at night. It just seems to get stuffy and closed up. I have to sleep with a glass of water by my bed to quench my dry mouth at night.

But after this video suggesting that you can even tape your mouth shut at night with micropore tape to train yourself to nose breathe, I decided to try my darndest to do it naturally, with no tape. I spent a good half an hour or more last night, before bed, blowing my nose, trying to clear it, and just holding my mouth shut to "force" myself to breath through my nose. It wasn't easy but after a while, my nasal passages opened up and I was able to get air through both nostrils. And...I am super chuffed to report that I managed to sleep the whole night with my mouth shut.

How do I know? Because the twice I awoke for a wee, I could feel my mouth shut. I didn't need to drink as much water. And when I awoke this morning, my mouth was still shut and not dried out as usual.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Who are you? And yes, you need to SAVE!

I know I have one or two readers, even though I sometimes think I am the most ordinary person with the most ordinary blog, so who on earth would want to read this, right?

But I see that there a few regular views every time I post: I'd LOVE it if you left a comment, just to introduce yourself, or let me know who you are. I love connecting with fellow humans, and would love to say hi back.

On another note: my father's greatest legacy is this: he left me with investments. His own and some in my name. And they are teaching me that it's NEVER ever too early, or too late, to start saving. It's really something we don't do enough of. All of us. SAVE.

If you read this blog today - PLEASE start saving. I repeat: start saving. It can be as simple as a savings pocket linked to your bank account. BUT DO IT. You see, I had one investment in place, only one, measly little investment. Then my dad passed away last year, and I see that he had quite a few. He had retirement money and some extra investments. I have NO retirement money. Just that one measly investment. I had, up till now, nothing. What did I think I was going to do when I got older? I have no clue. So now I can set up something for my retirement. Thanks to my father.

So I beg you, please think of this. Think of this, and realise that it's about you paying your future self. You have to. No one else is going to pay the 65 year old you. The you of TODAY has to pay the you of tomorrow.

GO DO IT NOW.

Capitec bank, at the moment, has a great five year fixed term savings plan. I am sure there must be others like it. Please go do your research and go do it. It's the best thing you can do with your time and money.

Friday, May 5, 2017

No wine for a month

I must stop drinking wine on the weekends. I don't overdo it, but it's becoming regular: every weekend. I am now starting to rely on the wine to relax. That is NOT good. I need to learn how to relax in my own home without wine.

I never ever thought I'd say that I need to cut back on alcohol but....I do. I love a good red wine, I have to say. I really do enjoy the taste, and savor it's flavour especially with a nice meal out. However, I have started to have a glass here and there, more than I used to, and that's not good. I know it's not good because I have been feeling grumpy the next morning. Foggy. Just generally not good.

So then I watched this video on Youtube and realised that I was generally feeling crap and perhaps, just perhaps, it had to do with my wine drinking. Not excessive by most people's standards, but I realised that perhaps my sleep was suffering, my metabolism and my liver. Small knocks to the body can add up.

So I have cut out wine for just a week and already I feel better. More positive, less snappy and more "myself". I don't say I will never drink again, but I will definitely

I am now in a process with gym where I am "bulking" for a challenge. Very, very scary for me, as a woman, to "bulk". Because obviously, although I don't want to gain fat, in order to put on muscle, I cannot starve myself. I can't cut out carbs or calories - in order to maximize any small bit of muscle growth that I can. And, let me tell you, growing muscle is HARD. The body has it's genetic muscle potential, and to push past that takes either steroids, or working really hard in the gym to push harder than you normally would. You have to activate muscle fibers that don't normally get activated.

So I am fine with pushing hard in the gym, I like it, and that is fun and "easy", mentally, to do. But to eat more food and gain weight...that is not easy. I am not Banting right now. For six weeks, no Banting, no cutting out any foods. It's scary cos I can see I have gained some fat and water weight in a week already. BUT - it's put me ahead in the challenge.

I need to learn to be ok with my body changing and also to be ok with a little extra body fat for now.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Checking in with myself and Nitro's leg update.

Nitro is doing well, and has just one week left in the metal pins. They are quite something! I tell you, this has been a rough and hard road. It's been difficult to keep him confined in a cage - it's just NOT a thing you want to do to a puppy full of energy. We are now letting him out more and giving him more freedom but we still do try to keep him as still as possible.

His right leg is always going to be shorter than the left one, but it is growing at the moment, and so we hope it will be enough for him to use it. At the moment, it sure isn't hampering him. Yesterday he took off chasing the hadeedah's outside (something he should not be doing just yet, oops) and he went as fast as any dog I've ever seen!

My Dad's estate is starting to pay out to me and wrap up. I am really feeling all sorts of mixed emotions that I just don't know how to express. I feel grateful, and I feel guilty, and I feel sad still, and blessed and ... it's really hard, actually. It's hard to receive this gift from my father when I am unable to say "Thank you" in person. It's hard to not be able to speak to him and tell him how I appreciate it. It's hard because our relationship was a bit strained and even though I really tried to bridge our gap, it never really became easy between us.

I STILL want to know where the consciousness of a person goes when we die. Where? Where is my dad?

On a lighter note, it's back to school again today! Hooray. The hooray is more for back to normalcy. I love the week days. I don't love the weekends so much. I WORK more on a weekend, or in this case, long weekend, than I do during the week, because I am constantly tidying up after my family and sorting out food for them. Right now is the first quiet moment I have had in five days.

I need to just calm myself and my whole energy. Calm down. Breathe in and out. Aaaah, that's better. I notice that I sometimes just forget to breathe deeply.

And that's all for now.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Nitro's leg, and roots, and my mom.

Here is a pic of Nitro's leg and the "bionic" metal pins. I have to clean the holes every day to every second day. It's quite a process but I am getting good at it. I could be a nurse! The trick is to not stress about hurting the "patient" - just be confident with what you are doing.

Shame, poor pup, he has about two more weeks, then we go back to the specialist and see what he says.

My mom came to visit for three days - I am helping her with her car repairs. It is always lovely to see my mom. She really is a light in my life. An interesting little tidbit: my mom has Banted, or followed LCHF since April 2014, when I introduced her to the concept and I started as well. She hasn't once deviated, or doubted it. Yes, on the odd occasion she has had a bit of a dessert, but not often at all. Her weight dropped very slowly, but steadily, and seemed to stop around 56/55kgs. She was thrilled with that as, previously, she was around 70kgs. Now, all of a sudden, her weight has dropped to 53kgs. It's like her body has just shifted again. Perhaps her hormones are balancing better. Just shows you, never give up on your healthy diet.

And after a nice three month break of not doing my hair, I got my roots touched up. I think I quite like the darker roots although, I also like the blonder look too. What are your thoughts?
See, no make up. I am getting braver with going without make up these days. 

After a THIRD bought of tongue thrush, I have decided, that's it, enough is enough, NO more sugar for me. EVER! (Until I cave and eat cake again....I am an addict, I realise that now.)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Nitro our puppy is home

I brought Nitro home last Wednesday.

Keeping a puppy calm is NOT easy. Their natural inclination is to jump around.

He has been kenneled at the vet for two weeks - he has been kept very confined.

My clever husband built a cage for him so we keep him mostly in there but we take him out often for walks and food and toilet. The walks have to be calm and controlled. We did try let him off leash, but then he is liable to just take off in a run, if he sees something of interest.

I have to clean his pins (the huge metal screws going in and out of his leg) every day or every second day, depending on the puss that comes out.

Now, it's Sunday morning, and I have him calmly lying at my feet in the lounge. I have the other dogs outside except for the calm Pekinese. The Peke is a young dog but he acts like an "old soul". He is calm, he is sensitive to tones of voice, and he is my shadow. He just watches Nitro and doesn't excite him.

Sitting calmly with the puppy here now is making me feel very meditative. It's a beautiful Sunday.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Vibram Five Fingers for running

Below are the pair of Vibram Five Fingers shoes I have. I watched reviews on Youtube on all the Vibram shoes, and everyone had positive things to say. I saw runners raving about running in them. So I figured I would try a short run here and there, and the novelty would soon wear off, and I'd probably go back to running in my thick, cushioned Asics, right?

Well, to my surprise, I was wrong! These Vibrams are dream shoes to run in! Let me explain:
My first run in them was just 3km, down the road and back. I made the mistake of running almost the whole run up on my toes, not really letting my heels down to touch the ground. I say mistake, because you are not supposed to do that, you are just meant to run naturally. But I must say I was scared to let my heels touch the ground.
Anyway, the next run - which was a 4km time trial, I realised I could just run normally and naturally in these shoes, and whilst, yes, the ground was more "felt" - I also felt I could just run in a freer and faster way. Thereafter I had a long run coming up, and I was scared to try it in these Vibrams, so I wore my heavily cushioned, padded, motion-controlled Asics. Well, I had to drop out the run at 18kms due to hip and knee pain in my right leg. It's my "typical" injury - I always get tightness and soreness in my right hip/butt/leg. So I stopped running at 18kms, even though my muscles could have carried on, I didn't want to force it and seriously injure myself. The pain was pretty intense. I rested and asked around for the name and number of good chiros and physios.

Now, an aside: I have had this recurring injury for years. I have been been to three chiros over the last 12 years for it. It has never been solved, it never goes away. I have noticed one thing, that my right butt muscle is weaker than the left - so I focus now on not favoring my left leg, if I realise I am doing that.

Ok, so the next run that I wanted to do with my running club was a 14km route. I had rested four days after the long run in my Asics, and the hip/leg/going to my knee pain was pretty much gone. But I didn't want to exacerbate it - what to do? I was scared to run in Asics, but also nervous to use the Vibrams as I had only gone maximum of 4kms in them. Eek. Well, Vibrams it was. I decided to see if the hip/joint pain would come back in the Vibrams. I wanted to know if the pain was due to the distance I had run, or due to the shoes. And there was only one way to find out.


And the short answer: the joint pain in my right leg didn't recur. I just felt a slight tweak in my right knee, but nothing serious, and that could have been because that knee gets affected when my right hip gets sore - so it could have been left over from the previous run. But after running my best and strongest 14km in Vibrams, even though my muscles in my lower legs, especially the springy ones under my calves, were SORE, it was a muscular pain, a pain that, by the next day was less, and is easy to recover from. But no sore hip, no sore knees. No joint issues. I could not quite believe it.

Running in Vibrams feels completely different to running in traditional running shoes. There is NO help from the shoes. Your feet and legs have to do ALL the work. But that's also better, in that you build up foot and leg strength. Up hills is easier, I find, as I just go up on my toes, taking short little toe push offs. My feet are more sore after running in Vibrams, but it's a good sore. I now realise how little work my feet actually did in my Asics, which makes me think that the Asics makes me move from my hips rather than from my feet, which is where the movement is supposed to start from.

It's only been two comparison runs, but so far, the comparison is amazing. In the Vibrams I feel springy and natural. I feel like a kid set free. I ran that 14km at the front of the group, keeping up with the faster three men! I even had a little energy to do a small sprint at the end! I am beyond amazed. I never quite expected to enjoy the Vibrams so much. So...whilst I can't say that they have solved all my running problems, I feel, at least, for now, that I am onto the right track. The barefoot-running STYLE is certainly one that suits me. And it would appear that these shoes are the ones that allow me to move in a better way. Related image
The pair of shoes I have run in