Sunday, July 3, 2011

End of Semester 1 celebrations

Last week I completed my first semester of this degree!! It feels great!! My Director at work asked me if I think I passed everything… um … of course! Haha. That was my mindset in my law degree ‘P’s for Degrees’ baby, cos everyone gets the same degree in the end whether you pass or get distinctions. (Honours are great but not so vital in law, unless you have your nose up your bum and dying to get into a ‘top tier’ firm in which case you’d work your ass off only to miss out because you’ve failed to develop social/interpersonal skills from hibernating in your study den…) Sorry, I’m a bit scarred from that experience.

This time around, its like I felt when I was back in highschool – I WANT to study and achieve high marks, it makes me happy! But at the same time I’m not stressed out about it – its an entirely voluntary and positive experience. I’m taking control of my life and career and am doing this for ME :) *cough* NERD alert!

So now that exam block is over I have just under one month of holidays from uni and plan to fill July with as much fun as I can, highlights have been/will be:

1. Brunch with some of my fit friends the weekend just gone by– have you noticed that we tend not to be big drinkers of alcohol, but we all love coffee and breakfast foods? We had so much fun chat chat chatting and as usual time flew.
2. Yesterday I had a fitting for my wedding dress which has arrived in Oz – the one where I got to try it on with my shoes and special wedding undies (or lingerie if you’re fancy) !!! It’s the perfect length with my shoes and I chose a simple veil which I think I’m more in love with than the dress :P
3. Harry Potter 7 – part 2 of the Deathly Hallows comes out 12/13 July so we’re goin as early as we can - big potter fans so a bit sad this will be the last movie… there may be capes and wands involved!
4. My birthday on the 22nd – can’t believe I’ll be 26!!! I considered not celebrating my birthday this year given the hen’s night and wedding will be upon us so soon… Who am I to hog another of my friends’ weekends? Then I came to my senses, screw that! I’m worth it! Lol- so July AND August are all about me J
5. Hair trial for the wedding is on 23rd July. Up until I tried on my dress on Saturday I always wanted my hair down. But when I put on the veil I suddenly pictured it up in a high bun… now I’m confused, bah to decisions!!
6. Anti – climax to the month: Back to uni on the 25th July… I’m sure I’ll be rearing to go by then.

Have a great July!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Everyday Scones with jam and cream

......I wish!

I indulge in a scone every now and then. And actually I don't even wish I could eat them everyday because then they wouldn't be special. the more 'sacred' treats are the more discerning (picky) you become too, I've become quite the critic when it comes to a good scone and I refuse to try to make them myself either obviously they're deceptively difficult...

What's your favourite comfort food? As I get older (and eat less sugary foods) my once killer sweet tooth has taken a bit of a backseat lately. While I once loved milk chocolate and giant muffins, I now prefer dark chocolate with nuts. I was never a huge fan of icecream but thesedays I'd take greek yoghurt with cookies and cream protein powder mixed in anyday! Its not perfect but its progress! ;)

I've never been a huge fan of trying to copy traditional high fat high sugar dessert recipes with substitute ingredients and a bucketload of splenda. But sometimes, just sometimes you find a healthy version of a comfort food where you can replicate certain flavour combinations or the essential elements of what you're craving.

Cue my protein pancakes with 'jam' and 'cream'.

I hadn't made protein pancakes in years until I got sick this week and had a couple of days off. I didn't feel like fish and salad for lunch so I decided to get creative and revamp my old recipe. I thought, what would Jamie Oliver do to flavour pancakes (or any dessert for that matter) - add orange zest to it! Keep in mind I just ch
ucked things together and hoped for the best but here is the recipe I used which amazingly worked out quite well for 3 decent sized pancakes ( 1 serve):

Steph's protein pancakes
30g quick oats
3 egg whites
15g vanilla protein powder
80g cottage cheese
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 heaped tsp greek yoghurt
splash vanilla essence
orange zest
squeeze orange juice

Whizz together with a stick blender, getting a heap of air into those egg whites. Cook in non stick pan or use a couple of grams of my new best friend, coconut oil.

Here's my first one, the next two were a bit dark!

Now as yummy as that would be plain that's just not the way I roll, so I've made my own 'jam' by nuking 60g frozen strawberries) for 30 seconds, mushing them up with a pkt of splenda. Top with more greek yoghurt for the 'cream'. As you know, I like Black Swan. Maybe they should sponsor me, lol. Enjoy! xoxox
Ps Im sure you've already noticed this website but I've found quite a few cute meal/snack ideas there for someone like me who isn't dieting, and needs to re-learn how you can love your food without ending up the size of a house. yes that's how I'd describe my situation... lol!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A rant about oatmeal

It has occurred to me that if I want to blog more regularly (which I do) then I can’t wait around for inspiration to hit and not every post need be epic.

So I’m going to tell you about something that’s been annoying me the last few weeks…. It’s the fact that we can’t get many cool sugar free/low carb products here in Australia, that they have in America. Sugar free jam + low fat peanut butter + low carb bread??? Seriously what’s their excuse for the obesity rate? Lol.

Ages ago I ‘liked’ the facebook page – ‘Recipes for Gals in Figure and Bodybuilding’ and I found all these wonderful oatmeal recipes with awesome flavour combinations – made possible by the addition of flavoured drops or syrups – seriously anything decadent you can think of from Brown sugar cinnamon to white chocolate, apple pie and vanilla custard.

I constructed an online order and nearly fell of my chair when I saw the postage which was more than the price of the items… Thought about sharing an order with a friend but that doesn’t really help because the postage just goes up and up with more items you add.

I know the syrups are probably not great for you (artificial, sugar alcohols etc) but the fact that I can’t try them annoys the shit out of me!!

I’m loving my oats the way I have them at the moment, during the week I add blueberries but on the weekends when I get a chance to train right after breakfast I ‘carb it up’ by adding sultanas, green apple and extra greek yoghurt…. Heaven in a bowl.

Determined to try something from the page, I tried making a ‘baked oatmeal’ using just the ingredients from the recipe that I had (basically I added baking powder and some vanilla essence to above ingredients and I sprinkled the top with muesli). It was very nice for a change in texture…. But in my opinion not really worth the extra effort and 30min wait time. It looks rather big in the pic below but its really not, the firmer texture makes it seem like it doesn't go as far.. to me. And we know its ALL about making not much food seem like more! ;)
The yoghurt in the pic is Black Swan - Naturally sweet Greek style breakfast yoghurt" no lactose and no added sugar. I found it thanks to Charlotte :) There is a low fat verson but this one's already very low (there's not much difference actually) AND the low fat one has more sugar per 100g... don't trust marketing, read the labels!

So thanks for listening to my rant.

The Bottom line I guess is : You can’t beat natural flavours from real fruits and ingredients… but I want to find that out for myself!!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I missed you!

I’ve missed you!

I didn’t keep up with this new blog because although I had post comp stuff to talk about and wedding plans on I didn’t feel like I had enough to say…. But now that’s changed!!
I started uni at the beginning of the year and in 6 short months I have grown so much as a person… Its not that I wasn’t ‘genuine’ before but Im feeling a lot more comfortable with myself these days, thus I feel a lot more comfortable writing in this public forum.

I’m just about to complete my first semester of
Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition) at QUT :)

I’m on my way to doing a job I would do for free = a big factor of happiness in life I think. If you are lucky enough to know where your passion lies, I say go for it.

Since starting uni, I have felt… alive! Its reawakened my drive, curiousity and work ethic. I happy spend a great proportion of my free time studying. I spent a ridiculous amount of time writing a 30min script for 5 people to ensure our group scored a ‘high distinction’.

I truly believe I need to be busy AND have goals to be happy. Give me a goal that I’m passionate to pursue and I’m like a woman possessed – without one, I’m mope around in circles, get a bit depressed and eat a lot :S

Speaking of eating a lot, that’s exactly what I spent 2010 doing. My weight hit its peak (I do have a limit at which I snap out of denial) around our engagement party in January 2011. Though I felt beautiful in my new dress on the night, I cringed when I saw the pictures. Even worse, we had engagement pictures taken with our wedding photographer and I could only pick out one from the whole batch that I liked, because of my weight.

I bought my wedding dress in January, a size 10 which fit at this weight which probably goes to show a bit of body dismorphia going on. Since then I have lost 5kg and feeling a lot more comfortable. They’ll just have to lace my wedding dress up tighter won’t they….? haha. (I've just re-read my last post below from January 2011 and its clear to me I wasn't being completely honest with myself or anyone else, ahh retrospect is a great thing!)

I’m in a good place right now. I’m not dieting anymore because I find it incongruent with my study – I’m eating a really balanced diet which is very relaxed by my standards, and doesn’t exclude anything – I’m loving fruit and yoghurt, things I used to feel bad about eating – but I’m eating them at the right times ;) I know I have put on muscle in the past couple of years and I’m really enjoying mixing weights up with my new love, RPM. I feel that my metabolism is benefiting from extra food and some higher intensity cardio for more variety in my workouts.

The question now is, do I count my blessings that I have found this happy medium and continue maintaining? OR do I push out of comfortable zone, in these last 10 weeks to look [my version of] amazing on my wedding day? (Probably another 3kg would do it)

Are we ever truly happy with our weight to just want to maintain it!!!? Expect to hear from me at least once a week now! :)

Monday, January 31, 2011

time to refocus!

Well January is done and dusted, can you believe it? time for me to refocus before the start of the year really slips by. I was about a week into my new plan when the natural disaster hit… needless to say routine and structure went out the window! I couldn’t return to work in the CBD until late last week and training was a little disrupted as we usually train in the city now and don’t live near a Goodlife. But other than that we were SO lucky that our area was untouched, as were the homes of our family and friends.

Onward and upward!

Now that I’m back, its back into the routine, back into the cycle classes and back into blogging! I know its going to help me stay accountable while I drop these kilos in time for our wedding J Exciting progress in this department is that I have now ordered my DRESS (!!) which is due to arrive (from Holland!) in June… 6 months! The one I tried on at the store fit perfectly however, it is a corset lace up style back SO it will still fit when I lose weight, just lace it up tighter! I am cautious of losing more than a dress size though… so I may revise my goal to 6-7 kilos for the wedding and then lose the last few after that. I really loved being lean so my ultimate goal is to reach that and discipline myself to maintain it but the perks of holding onto a couple of kilos for the wedding are obvious – the chest department ;) and I also feel like my face can look “prettier” with some weight on it. We’ll see how we go!!

I just read the above paragraph back to myself and boy I sound vain! …But I’ve decided to STOP worrying about that… lol! And STOP worrying about what others think as well. Most people reading this know me and/or where I’m coming from - its nice to be about to think outloud here.

So, most days now I will be getting weights in before work and cycle classes done at lunchtime. Its hard to look good at work with this training schedule but oh well, I wear a little foundation, mascara and that’s it. So my carbs will be in the first 2-3 meals of the day before I switch to protein and fats. I like training after breakfast! Its cooler, gets it done for the day and there’s not too much food weighing me down.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Oops I haven't blogged in a few days, time to catch up.
Saturday was my Dad's 60th birthday so I was saving up my 'cheat meal' for his party. I did a hard legs training session in the morning followed by a short HIIT session in anticipation for it. My dad's partner organised the party - she is a great cook (lives for it!) and always go waaaay overboard so I enjoyed marinated chicken with all kinds of yummy salads (including my recipe below). Somehow I still had room for dessert - On top of the birthday cake was an assortment of desserts so I had small pieces of bday cake, baked cheesecake and apple slice! felt good until then, the belly ache hit.

I didn't eat much during the day on Sunday, rather than forcing in my usual meals I decided to listen to my body and take it light. Then we ended up going out to dinner last night, to an Indian restaurant. Ali and I ordered possibly the healthiest thing on the menu ( I hope) Chicken Tikka - tandoori chicken breasts and we shared a piece of roti bread which is plain. Would have preferred the garlic and cheese naan but trying to make better choices here (without missing out on dining out). Its no fun turning down social stuff cos of a diet, I'm not competing so don't intend on missing out with time with my friends.

Here's the recipe for one of the meals I brought to share at the party, everyone seemed to like it! Far from diet food but Healthy, good fresh ingredients and YUMMY:

Peel and cube 1 large sweet potato and 1 large beetroot
drizzle over olive oil and season
Roast on separate trays at 200 degrees, 45mins, beetroot closer to an hour
mix together on a nice platter
Sprinkle over walnuts and small cubes of fetta cheese
Bake in the oven to warm through the cheese and combine flavours

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The good the bad and the ugly

I’m looking forward to my next weigh in. Its going to remind me of the Simpsons’ episode where Homer gets stuck in the tube at Mt Splashmore and decides to lose weight. They play the music from the movie “The Good the Bad and the Ugly’ as he approaches the scale,“Ok scales, I don’t like you and you don’t like me but I’ve been very good this week, so you’d better treat me right”.

Yesterday was another day to plan. In the morning I trained Chest and Arms, I decided to put them together to try some supersets and without endless time to train, I’m putting more priority on the other body parts- back, legs and shoulders. I still like to go as heavy as I can though, just because I hold fat on my upper body doesn’t mean I have huge muscles there! Two of my goals in losing some weight are to regain “arm dents” and tummy pride” ie to feel good in singlets and (eventually) a bikini again. Tummy is the last place I’ll be happy with!
I did:
Incline bench press
Superset bicep curls with lying tricep extensions with an ezycurl bar (better on my wrists)
Flat DB press
Superset cable bicep curls with rope pushdowns

I think a lot about my yo-yo dieting and I think a part of the problem is I’m still working out who I am. It always comes back to self esteem. I think that if you try to fit yourself into a mould you’ll always fail, you just need to be the best version of yourself you can. I was talking with a friend recently about her dating and she went on a date and was so nervous that she acted completely ‘over the top’ and kind of scared him away…. She regretted it because she wasn’t being herself…. But then there were a few different versions of herself… (depending on who she was with). We all fall into this trap, we try to be all things to all people. Another friend told me she often felt too scared to share her opinion on things for fear of what people would think of her. We’re all so pc these days, its ok to disagree and its ok to be ‘different’!

I won’t define myself by my weight. Just because you’re in great shape doesn’t mean you don’t have any personal or emotional issues because weight is just one area where these problems can manifest. I’m resolving to respect myself by treating my most valuable asset (body and health) with care.