Category Archives: health
So an overdue update on my health-spiration change. I’m absolutely ELATED to tell you that I’ve lost 8kg since starting out in late November. I truly cannot believe it, namely because a) my thyroid condition makes it damn DAMN hard to lose anything and b) I have not even started an exercise plan. I’ve joined a gym, but haven’t even set foot in it. I know. Lame, lame, lame.
But…I’ll be getting in there shortly (I’m aiming for at least twice a week in the name of being realistic), so am hopeful that it will help change things up even more once the eating thing settles in and I hit any plateaus.
The best things I’ve learned (I take no credit for these by the way, they are tips and thoughts from others who are helping me on the way):
- there’s no point in a diet, only a lifestyle. It can’t just be “I’m gonna eat well until I get to my goal.” It has to be a change for good.
- reframe what you think is “good food.” For example, on the cruiseship, I was bemoaning how hard it was to be in front of all this amazing array of good food (dessert buffet anybody?!) and not able to eat it. My fellow comedian (and extremely buff and healthy guy!) Mad Mike Bennet challenged me on what I thought “good food” was. Once I started viewing the foods that were healthy, wholesome, clean and helpful to my body as “good foods”, it was a heck of a lot easier to stick with the plan!
- I pay attention to how foods make me feel. And…the good food DOES make me feel good. Lighter. Not bloated. Cleaner. The other day on my cheat day, I started eating some chocolate and honestly, I couldn’t even finish it. THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED. I felt so ill. It was great!
- I have just started another DietBet. The first one I won and more than doubled my money. I think I’m just one of those people who NEEDS competition – or at least accountability with the bonus of my money being on the line – to succeed!
- protein, protein, protein and veges, veges, veges. If I had to sum up the one principle I’m basing this whole eating lifestyle on, it’s just prioritising these every time I eat.
- cut out sugar (replace with stevia). I haven’t completely cut out fruit, but I am minimising it.
- drink water, drink water, drink water. Even on days when I’ve slid on the diet (particular over Christmas), I’ve made an effort to keep drinking, no matter what.
- eat regularly, even when you don’t feel hungry. Just eat the good stuff!
- find substitutes. For instance, I have a soft drink habit (diet ones, Coke Zero, etc. but still. Not great for your body!) which, while not eliminating it completely, I have cut down MASSIVELY by replacing with soda water. My fridge is always full of it now, I add a bit of lemon, some mint (if I can be bothered making the trek out to the garden. I am beyond lazy, I know) and it’s working. Apparently all I seek is fizz and I feel suitably treated.
I got an email from a friend the other day asking me if I could share some of the eating tips I’d been raving on about, sent to me by my friend Dave. With his permission – and his disclaimer that he’s mainly paraphrasing other peeps who now what they’re on about – I’m sharing his email below. I need to stress that I have absolutely NOT followed this diet strictly, nor have I followed any “diet”, but the principles have helped massively (e.g. protein/vege rich, having a cheat day, drinking heaps of water, etc.) I would say I’ve stuck to his advice about 85% and have had AMAZING results even just with that.
Over to Dave:
If it’s weight loss, you might want to consider trying something that I used to drop a lot of weight this year, a modified ketogenic diet. Essentially it’s a diet that lowers the amount of carbs and sugar consumed, which makes your body burn fat and protein instead. (Think Aktins without the nasty side effects.)
The goal is to keep your blood sugar and insulin levels from spiking. When your body releases insulin to combat ingested sugar and carbs, it starts storing anything it can find as fat.
Try this for say 2 or 3 days and see if it works for you. If so, you can give a shot for reals. If not, nothing lost. When I’m doing it full on, I give myself 1 day a week to eat whatever I choose (helps with cravings etc).
So, for 2 days, eat nothing with sugar added. This includes lactose (milk sugar) etc. For breakfast, have 30 grams of protein (your choice), a handful of veg (avoid carrots and tomatoes), 2 eggs however you choose, and either beans or lentils (for the added protein, plus this is your carbs…)
For example, I have 2 fried eggs (yes FRIED!!! with butter), refried black beans, a handful of spinach, and chicken.
For lunch and dinner, I have protein (30gs), beans of some kind, and veg. I’ll skip the beans with lunch usually.
Because you’re not consuming lots of carbs, the fat in the food you’re eating will keep you full until your next meal, so you won’t feel like snacking. If you do, and can’t stop, try pepperoni (make sure it has minimal carbs and no sugar), and a small handful of almonds or cashews.
Just before bed, you can have a small spoonful of peanut butter (to regulate your blood sugar through the night. Also, LOTS of water. Try for 2 litres a day. (You can’t drink much else, so why not!). Artificial sweeteners should be kept to a minimum, but a little splenda in your coffee/tea or a diet coke won’t hurt.A glass of red wine is ok too.
There’s more to it, but try that out and see how it works. If you avoid sugar for 2 days, you should see your weight drop like crazy. My first week I was down I think 7 pounds. After 6 months, my cholesterol levels are fantastic, and doctor’s check up was great. (I need more vitamin D, but you shouldn’t have that problem in sunny Oz).
Exercise is fine, but real weight loss is diet based. If you go hard on cardio etc, you’ll need to eat more to compensate, (and most people grabs carbs, which completely ruins the effect.) So if you do hit the gym, go easy on the cardio, or have something carby 30 minutes before.
You need to know a couple of things:
1 – the initial giant weight loss is the result of you burning up your glycogen stores (sugar your body stores). You won’t see a massive continual drop like that, but it’s a great way to start.
2 – every 7 to 10 days, you’ll need to load up on carbs in order to raise your leptin levels (we don’t want your thyroid to start shutting down). This is what we call “cheat day”. It’s wonderful. From wake up to bedtime, you can eat ….anything. Yup. anything. In order to limit some of the damage, a bit of exercise 90 seconds before eating and 90 minutes after (like 1.5 minutes worth) will help. Try to poo that day as well. Coffee helps, or prunes, or magnesium.
Apart from helping with cravings, cheat day raises the amount of calories your body expects, so that you don’t plateau (body gets used to less calories, stops losing weight). After cheat day, it might take a day or two for that glycogen to drop off, don’t panic.
Drinks LOTS of water still.
3 – If you want the full meal deal, the program I followed is called “The Four Hour Body” by Tim Ferris. Don’t worry, he’s not a diet guru or anything. He’s a bored rich guy who started experimenting with weight loss etc. This is his results.
Other good reading is “Why We Get Fat” and “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes. It explains the whole slow carb theory, and such.
Even after 9 months, it amazes me that I can eat like this for a day or two and lose 2-4 pounds (after a cheat day).
Hope that’s helpful, let me know what your’e doing! If there’s one thing that’s helped me stay committed on this journey it’s having other people to support, encourage and commiserate with!
When it comes to weight and body image, I constantly flit between “If I’m gonna be in showbiz, I’ve gotta be slim!” and “Bugger it. Look at Adele!”
The thing is, I don’t want to be somebody who’s constantly unhappy with their body. I don’t want my daughter to grow up seeing me criticise myself for not being in the shape I think I ‘should be.’ I don’t want to wish my life away dreaming of the alternative ‘me’ that exists out there in some realm that I could reach if only I wasn’t so lazy and undisciplined.
But…there’s a fine line between that mindset (all of which I still stand by) and justifying a descent into chronic unhealthiness.
Early this week I noticed on facebook that one of my Adelaide cabaret chums had accepted a bet on Dietbet. Intrigued, I followed the link. Basically the deal is you chip in some $$ into a prizepool, each of you committing to lose 4% of your body weight in 28 days. ANYBODY who does so wins a share of the pot. Meaning of course, that if all of you in the bet achieve your goal, you get your money back. If only one person does, they score 100% of the winnings. And so on. Being my insanely competitive self, I decided to give it a whirl, but in a pretty half-hearted “oh well, this could be interesting!” kinda way. It was only when I did my official weigh-in that my mind boggled at how far I’d let things slide. It wasn’t just the number on the scale (though of course, that was the major thing staring me in my shocked little face). As I stared at that number, I sadly thought about my body and just how CRAP I feel on any given day. Tired. ALL THE TIME. Achy. ALL THE TIME. In pain ALL THE TIME (though in fairness, that is injury-related). As I stepped off that scale, my motivation finally kicked in. It’s now or never. GAME ON.
I truly cannot believe it can be true, but perhaps my body is just adjusting to this new plan of attack in a massive way? I stepped on the scales this morning – I think 5 days after I started – and I have already lost 3kg. Truly. I’m questioning if my scales are broken. (My hubby checked and swears they’re not). I’m so thrilled…SOMETHING’S WORKING.
There are a ton of amazingly healthy people in the world to be in awe of, but honestly, the one who’s inspiring me the most right now? Pink.
As a performer, seeing how her physical form translates into her being able to give 110% of herself to her audience (talk about your body being your instrument!) and really allowing her to totally fulfil her potential onstage…I don’t think anything has inspired me so much to get in shape EVER as this:
I’m also a long-term follower of Sarah Wilson’s blog (note below one of my major tactics in this quest is to cut out sugar, in no short way inspired by Sarah’s indepth explorations of the topic), and am in real life, inspired by my friend (and fellow Betty) Kate Mackie who lost a ton of weight (I think it’s well over 40kg?) through Michelle Bridges’ challenge. AMAZING. I need to know it is possible!
Cut out sugar. Replace with stevia. I’ve also been told rice malt syrup is awesome, haven’t been able to find it at my usual shopping haunt but will hunt it down and give it a go!
Cut out wheat (which is recommended for my thyroid condition anyway).
Replace softdrinks with mineral water with lemon and mint.
Stretch as often as I think of it.
Drink water as often as I think of it.
Focus on protein and veges at each and every meal.
Eat often (snacking obviously on healthy alternatives, celery and cottage cheese is my go-to right now).
Any more complicated and I give up.
Knowing my WHY:
I’ve realised how important it is to sustain any motivation whatsoever, that I am clear on the WHY of this undertaking. Why bother? Why make the effort? Why get healthy?
I’ve really been mulling this over and over in my mind these past few days and I think I’ve got it down to this:
I want to fulfil my potential as a performer, as a mother, as a human being. I want to wear whatever I want onstage and off, I want to be able to have the energy, stamina and flexibility to do what I want onstage and off, I want to make this engine run at its full capacity.
Since my car crash I’ve had to come to terms with pain and its presence in my everyday life, as well as the limitations that are now just part of my body. BUT…that doesn’t mean I can’t still make the most of what I’ve got. I’m still walking, I’m still standing, I’m still here, damn it. And to do all the crazy shizz I’ve got in mind in this lifetime I really need to have at my disposal a clean and firing-on-all-cylinders body.
So yes. Unexpectedly – but excitedly – I shall be henceforth blogging this new journey as part of our regular CM updates. To help keep me accountable and hopefully sharing some lessons learned along the way if nothing else!
If you’ve got any inspiration, tips or advice, please feel free to hurl it towards me, I am one of those people who LOVES reading umpteen health magazines (and usually expecting to feel fitter by osmosis) but point is, I really dig the motivation that comes from hearing other people’s thoughts.