Tuesday, 31 January 2012


Igor is doing a great job preparing me for my trip to Siberia in terms of eagerly packing on the weights each week and making the workouts more challenging each time. (Igor sneaked on a few more pounds when I was doing squats and hoped I would not notice!) I say, "Bring it on!"

There is nothing like feeling satisfied with your hard work when you wobble your way on your jello'ed legs to the car after a workout. As per my request after last week's discovery of my intolerance for low glycemic berries, I immediately introduced supplementation based on the recommendations by Igor Klibanov. So for the last week I have been very careful to eat the right things and keep on track so that today's measurement would be a true reflection of how the supplementation was affecting my weight and measurements.

Based on today's measurements, my weight went up a half a pound. One of the most liberating things that I have discovered in the last few weeks is that the scale really is no indication of fat loss. For the first time in my life I am not afraid of the scale and it does not put me in a bad mood when the number goes up. Rather I know that I am gaining lean muscle mass, which not only takes up less space than fat, but also burns more calories.

Pan seared Tilapia with citrus salad

This is what I had for dinner (on the right) ...by that you can guess what the results were before you read on.

As far as the measurements went, yes the callipers did their pinching routine...
All in all a sensational start to week six, I am encouraged to see positive results and improved strength and stamina too.

Today I will start to introduce grapeseed oil into my cooking. It has many benefits. Read more here.

I will let Igor give you his progress report here:

After 5 Weeks Progress Report
by Igor Klibanov.

Today we measured Melony's body fat. Ordinarily, we measure body fat every two weeks, but last week, we found that her body fat decreased nicely, with one area that actually increased: The Supra-iliac, or in otherwise known as the love handle area.

How could that be?

From previous writings, we know that different areas of fat deposition are indicative of a person's hormonal profile. This methodology is called "biosignature." The love handle area (supra-iliac) is correlated to insulin. So Melony's insulin had started misbehaving. Why might that be? Well, the primary reason is that we introduced the berry family into her diet to see how she handles a little extra sugar. Apparently she didn't handle it as well as we would have liked, since her supra-iliac area actually increased.

Not her fault. Her compliance was great, and she didn't "cheat" at all. So we had to look elsewhere for the answer. Very often, if insulin is misbehaving despite eating an extremely clean diet, there is some nutrient deficiency. We introduced the following adjustments: supplementing with zinc, magnesium and chromium.

Zinc is a mineral that is synergistic to every other mineral, meaning that it makes them work better.

Magnesium has many effects on the body, one of them is the improvement of insulin sensitivity (the amount of insulin released in response to a certain dosage of carbohydrates).

Chromium is a mineral that is often deficient in most food, and it helps the body use the insulin that it has.

By implementing targeted supplementation, Melony's measurements showed great improvements after just a single week. Her love supra-iliac area in particular dropped by a very good amount.

Now don't take this to mean, "if I take zinc, magnesium and chromium, my love handles will disappear." It's not quite like that. First and foremost, it's a combination of exercise, and nutrition and supplementation. Since Melony's exercise and nutrition were on par, the only place left to look is supplementation. Furthermore, these were the right nutrients for Melony, but they may not be for you (and may not help your particular love handles). Everyone is different, and exercise, nutrition and supplementation recommendations should be given with that in mind.
Thank you Igor.
With this report in mind I am now allowed Clementine, oranges and grapefruit. I hope next week's results will be just as positive.

 "That first Clementine tasted sooo good!"- Melony Teague (left)

Today I did some cardio High intensity training to finish off my workout. To be exact it was 26 min on the Elliptical. I am such a stranger to that particular machine, but that was what the trainer ordered, so I complied. Another note to self: Do not think of something funny while lifting heavy weights! If you are like me, when I start to giggle I loose all strength. I have to force myself NOT to laugh when working out, or I would just collapse. 
Laughing between sets, however is allowed and encouraged, although I am usually trying to drink water and catch my breathe rather than laugh!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Let's talk about SLEEP baby...

Tuesday marks the start of week 6 of my training for Siberia. (Three weeks to go!) That means that Igor will continue to pack on the weight onto my high intensity weight training equipment. On Friday I did dead-lifts with 90 pounds...that means by the time we are done with them I will be lifting 100 pounds! Now that is something that I never thought I would do. 

We had to make a slight adjustment to the knee lifts on Friday and the hanging knee twists on Saturday because I pulled a muscle in my abs. Now that is a first for me! I had the pleasure of doing RUSSIAN TWISTS on the exercise ball with a weight in my hand. I had never done those before, and I don't know which are easier, those or hanging knee twists. I am sure the knee twists will be back since my abdominal muscle seems to have recovered. It amazes me how quickly the body recovers from a hard workout. Rest is as important, if not more important in working out. It is the process whereby the body repairs itself and gains more strength.  

I have requested another weigh in and measure this week to see if my body is responding to the supplementation we have introduced to combat my intolerance for the berries. Well, I should not say "intolerance"...more that I am not metabolizing the sugar as well as I should and therefore storing it. I must admit that being this long without sugar is very challenging. I have been as creative as I could, all in the endeavor to NOT cave and cheat. That would only make things worse. 
I owe it to myself and to Igor to stick to my eating plan.

Today I had the most delicious Butternut squash and Costa Rican pumpkin soup with unsweetened coconut milk. It was delicious. I also prepared roast pork with sliced onion and blackberries. On the side we had steamed vegetables. Last night I roasted some red peppers, removed the skin and accompanying the soup I served open sandwiches topped with goats cheese and the roasted red peppers for my guests who were over for lunch. I did not have any of that, I just ate the goats cheese and peppers with my steamed vegetables.

I hope that if my body is responding to the supplements that I will be able to introduce the next thing on the list: Clementine or tangerine and oranges. 

I stumbled across a low carb grocery store and bought some cookies there which are sugar free and gluten free and my husband says they are taste free, but I disagree. To me they taste great. Even if you go to a health food store or a supposed "low carb store" keep reading the labels and know what the ingredients are. They may say "NO SUGAR" on the package, but that could just mean no cane sugar. Or it has some other form or derivative of sugar. Check out the misleading names that can be listed which essentially are SUGAR here.

Let's talk about sleep.
Last week my calf measurement went up, I would like to think that was because of the exercise, but Igor attributes it to my lack of sleep. In weeks prior I had plenty of rest with no disturbances and night and decent bedtime hours. Last week, well let's just say the wheels fell off in that department. Between my son waking me up at 3am with bad dreams, the neighbour shovelling his driveway at ungodly hours, and late nights caused by deadlines...well my calf measurement showed the effects. 

According to Wikipedia:
Sleep deprivation is the condition of not having enough sleep; it can be either chronic or acute. A chronic sleep-restricted state can cause fatigue, daytime sleepiness, clumsiness and weight loss or weight gain.

I am queen of the bags under the eyes when I am tired and have not had enough sleep! There is a fancy name for that: "periorbital puffiness".

I got the last of my rabies shots today. Thankfully no more needles until June.

We were given free movie tickets today and spent the evening watching a 3D movie. Now, a night out without the kids was just what the doctor ordered. It has been a long and busy week. This week I plan to get more rest. Igor will be happy.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

ALL A's, but no C's; What to do with my box of Clementines?

 Lesson: Don't Peel your Tangerines Before Weigh and Measurement Day
 Does anyone know the difference between Tangerines and Clementine?

I do, only because I asked the guy at the market.
Tangerines have seeds, Clementine don't.
They tend to be very easy to peel, like a tangerine, but are almost always seedless. For this reason they are sometimes known as seedless tangerines.

Thankfully my son likes them, coz I am not going to be eating them any time soon! 

Although I have lost some body fat and lost a few cm's here and there, it is evident from my calliper readings that I cannot tolerate sugar, even low glycemic index berries yet. I say YET, and that is the most frustrating part. I did not cheat at all, even on my anniversary when we went out for dinner, I had steak salad, no carbs, no sugar added.

I am thankful that I have someone like Igor to help me find ways to overcome this challenge. AND this proves what I have said all along, (SUGAR IS NOT MY FRIEND) it is not WHAT I DID OR ATE (...well, except for that occasional daily chocolate bar and bag of chocolate almonds..) that had caused me to put on weight....there is a definite imbalance of nutrients. 

If I can follow a rigorous training program, adhere almost 100 % to a nutrition program and STILL be dealing with "love handles" then clearly I have a problem with carbs and sugar that needs to be solved or I will be fighting a losing battle with my hormones and body chemistry unless that is dealt with.

Igor has advised me on which supplements to include in the next two weeks of my nutritional plan. Hopefully my body will learn to be more tolerant of the berry family of fruit.So although I got all A's on my nutritional compliance chart...no C's...er...Clementine or tangerines ..YET!

One thing that is sure is that I have put on some lean muscle mass and my endurance and strength are advancing. Between sets I require minimal rest, that has to count for something!

I look forward to the next two weeks of intensified training, yes... I kid you not. I LOVE WORKING OUT and working hard! Today I did 4 sets of 85 pound deadlifts baby!

Report after 4 weeks:
By Igor Klibanov
Today we measured Melony's body fat again to see how she is progressing. Over the last 2 weeks, we increased her carbohydrate allowance both in quantity and in quality (higher glycemic load) by adding in the berry family.

We incrementally increase the number of carbohydrates she can eat to determine her carbohydrate tolerance (which is the number of carbohydrates a person can have before starting to put on fat, and a very good predictor of risk of diabetes).

Sure enough, most of her sites decreased, but a couple of them increased, meaning that the extra carbohydrates, even though they're coming from healthy sources, may be slowing things down.

As explained in some of my other writings, the sites where you store your fat are indicative of your hormonal profile. Melony's increase happened in the love handle area, which correlates to insulin. So, from this we know that the extra carbohydrates were a bit of a challenge for Melony's body.

After hearing that explanation, Melony retrospectively said, "I knew sugar has always been a problem for me. When I have a chocolate-covered almond, I can't have just one, it has to be the whole bag."

So the plan of action for the next two weeks is to keep the berries and add in specific nutrients that enhance insulin sensitivity.

This should be a lesson that you can't control fat loss. You can only control the behaviours that can affect fat loss. So focusing on the outcome can be discouraging because you don't have full control over that. But focusing on behaviours is much more important, because you have full control over that. And as far as Melony goes, you couldn't ask for behaviours that are better-suited for fat loss.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Phase two completed, next up oranges and tangerines if my weigh in and measurements are on track.

Today I completed week 4 of my training with Igor Klibanov.
85 lbs baby!
This week our exercise sets have been changed and we are doing each exercise at a different tempo. What this means is that we prolong the lifting or pushing part of the exercise (weight bearing) for 3 seconds. I discovered that walking lunges are really as bad as they look. I also discovered that I can do dead-lifts with 85 pounds! I know, I did not believe Igor when he told me how much I was lifting.
I asked Igor what the reason was behind the change in tempo and this is what he said: "When you prolong the lifting portion of a lift, you generate more lactic acid, which triggers the release of growth hormone. Contrary to its name, it doesn't make you grow (it has that effect on children), but it breaks down fat."
Tuesday's weigh in and measurement day will be the test and will show three things:
1. How much fat loss there has been if any.
2. How much lean muscle mass has been gained.
3. Whether my body is tolerating the berries I have been eating.
And the almond butter cookies I made. 

( Left: Almond Butter cookies made with no flour at all.)

If everything is on track, then I will be able to introduce Oranges and Tangarines.
(Right) Cold quinoa avocado salad with walnuts and pumpkin seeds.  According to Wikipedia avocado's are also considered a berry and are native to central Mexico. A ripe avocado yields to gentle pressure when held in the palm of the hand and squeezed gently. The flesh is prone to enzymatic browning; it turns brown quickly after exposure to air. To prevent this, vinegar, lime or lemon juice can be added to avocados after they are peeled. The trick to making meals interesting is making sure you have a variety of textures. The Feta cheese just adds that little bit of saltiness that compliments the creamy avocado and the crunchy walnuts and pumpkin seeds.

The is no reason to feel like you are on a restricted diet if you use your imagination. Variety is the key. One night I prepared chicken curry and it was delicious. No rice, but Quinoa on the side. The children had brown bismati rice with their dinner.
(Left) Dill weed encrusted Baked Salmon with crisp vegetable salad make a delicious dinner. My children had their salmon in whole wheat wraps with ranch dressing.

When I get hungry during the day I reach for a hand full of nuts.  Nuts are beneficial to good health, particularly if you want a snack that is not sweet, but is satisfying. Learn more about nuts here. I keep a jar fully stocked with a variety of nut, NOT PEANUTS and they are also a great snack to keep in a ziplock in your purse as a snack on the run. Try to get natural, unroasted nuts if you can. I usually go for the unsalted ones, but since I am sweating it our in the gym, I mix salted with unsalted to minimise the sodium content but still get the sodium I need.

I wonder what week 5 will bring? I get my second Hep A and B shot tomorrow, and unfortunately I know it is going to hurt! It is just the nature of the stuff inside the shot. One more rabies shot to go on the 29th Jan and then I will be so happy to have my inoculations for my trip to Eastern Siberia up to date. 

It is currently - 32 C where I will going. Brrr!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Red and White

Yesterday Igor introduced me to week 4's program. Igor warned me that the exercises would be different and that the tempo of the exercises would be different. We were slowing down the speed at which we did the reps. I was worried that it was going to be quite difficult...so I prepared myself for the worst.

We started on the first set of exercises and after each exercise Igor said, "Not heavy enough." So that meant that the next round through the set the weights were increased. Again, Igor said, "Not heavy enough!" (Sigh, that is what happens when you are honest and don't fake huffing and puffing while doing a set.)

Third time around with the increased weight, wow...much tougher. It was a good introduction to what I will be doing next time around. I am glad we started off with lighter weights and added more weight, rather than try a heavier weight and have to decrease them due to my lack of strength. This way it was a positive adjustment.
So on the first set of dead lifts I did something like 45 pound, second set 65 pounds and on the last set, 75 pounds! yikes! Igor was happy! I was finally huffing and puffing, no faking required.
One thing about training with anything in life is you have to be honest with yourself. If you don't do your best, push it to the point of fatigue, then you are really doing yourself a disservice. When you have had a good work out and you have worked hard, as much as you might feel like a lump of jello, you will feel good and have a sense of accomplishment. You owe it to yourself to make the most of that personal attention and guidance you get in the gym with your trainer.

Now I have started eating Quinoa, and some have said it is tasteless. I disagree.
If you use some imagination, get both red and white Quinoa for variety, you will learn to love it. If you are eating instant oatmeal in the morning you are really not getting the benefits that a whole grain cereal will give you.
(Left) Red whole grain Quinoa added blueberries and walnuts and a little Stevia. I had it hot with goat's milk.

Quinoa is an ancient seed which has the best amino acid profile of all grains and it is gluten free. Be sure to was the seeds and rinse them in cold water before preparing. It really only takes 15 minutes to prepare this delicious and nutritious and very satisfying breakfast.

(Below) White Organic Whole grain Quinoa with berries and pumpkin seeds, sweetened with a little bit of stevia. Most grocery stores have stevia nowadays. I use it, but sparingly.
Quinoa provides fibre and is rich in Iron too.
Quinoa is very versatile. You can have it instead of rice with beef and vegetable stew too.

Use it instead of couscous too, the texture of quinoa really is very pleasing.
It would also make a great accompaniment to curry.

The trick is to keep your plate colourful and full of texture. That way you will not bet bored and feel like you are " on diet".

Whether savoury or sweet, I am loving my quinoa at the moment.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Watermelon is an African Berry!

WATERMELON, a Fascinating Berry.

You would have thought that since I grew up in South Africa that I would have known that watermelon is technically in the berry family. It is considered by botanists to be a berry with a hard, thick rind (exocarp). It originates in the south of Africa where it is found growing wild, but it's high on the glycemic index. A watermelon contains about 6% sugar and 92% water by weight. As with many other fruits, it is a source of vitamin C. So it is not included in my list of foods this week.

The first two weeks of my nutritional program I was required to have 1 teaspoon of High Potency Omega 3 Fish oil every day (three times a day). Igor told me that the Fish oil contains fatty acids, called "EPA" and "DHA" (if you're curious, they stand for eicosapenatenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid). Most people are deficient in these fatty acids. Your cells have receptors to which these fatty acids attach. So after the receptors are saturated, there's no need to take the same quantities of fish oil.

Although rice, wheat and oats are grains, they also contain gluten, and are high on the glycemic index, so they're out for a little while. I am so excited to have Quinoa for breakfast tomorrow. It only took me 3 weeks to clue in to the fact that Quinoa is a seed and that I am allowed to eat it!

I have been very creative with meals this week:
I have had some delicious and satisfying breakfasts. Boiled eggs and broccoli with goat's cheddar cheese is one of them.
Green tea is the standard morning drink and then I switch to Rooibos or any other herbal tea.

It is winter after all so some comfort foods are in order and so I made some curried black beans over steamed cauliflower. It hit the spot well on a chilly night. 
I also made a Steak and Oregano soup which the kids liked too. I added pasta to their soup.

For lunch: Steak Spinach salad with strawberries and nuts and it was scrumptious. (Photo below)

One thing to remember when following a nutritional program is to allow yourself something special without breaking the rules. Such as Perrier water with your dinner or a nutritious berry smoothie when you feel like a treat. Here's a tip, to make smoothies really satisfying , add pure pumpkin puree to it and the kids or your husband will not even be able to taste it. Pumpkin puree is naturally sweet, filling and contains beta carotene. Don't forget to add ice- cubes instead of the ice cream. I used a little stevia to sweeten the smoothie a little.

There is no reason to cheat on your plan if you plan your meals ahead and think creatively. Break out of your mentality that says you have to have bread or rice with your meals. Particularly if you are trying to keep your blood sugar consistent and eat low glycemic foods.

In The Gym
I have completed week 3 of my training with Igor Klibanov of Fitness Solutions Plus. This week we had to do 3 sets of all of the exercises and it was challenging, but very rewarding to see results. I am getting stronger, my endurance and stamina is improving and I am loving it. I am a big lump of jello when I am done, but I make sure I have proper recovery nutrition after my work out and make sure that I drink a sufficient amount of water.

Igor has informed me that next week we change the program altogether in terms of what exercises we do and at which tempo we do them at. I guess I will have to see how that goes. One thing I know is that I really am getting my mental training in for the trip and I am practising it in the gym. When I have 3 more reps to do and my arm is about to fall off for instance, I really use my mental focus to squeeze out the last 3 reps. Focus is a big part of achievement in anything you do in life and you have to believe you can do it. You really can you know, you are stronger than you think. Your body has been wonderfully made. As soon as you doubt that and say to yourself, "I can't do this," you are done and you can almost feel your strength ebbing away.

Finally this week we have got some cold weather and I am happy about that. You know, besides dressing for the cold, a lot of handling the cold is mental too. When I go out on a -17C day, I don't think of it as "sooooo cold."  I say to myself, "Hey, this is like spring in Siberia, so I'll enjoy it !" and suddenly it doesn't seem so cold.
Funny that?

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Berry Happy!

The Body Transformation plan that Igor has designed for me based on the numerous questionnaires I filled out is three fold:
1. Exercise (What you do).
2. Nutrition (What you eat).
3. and Supplementation.(What you supplement your diet with).

Based on my results my food plan was to eat Protein (not Soy), eggs, nuts, (not peanuts) vegetables, seeds and legumes for the first two weeks. No coffee (and we discussed why in a previous blog). I was allowed goats milk or goat's cheese.

I just have to admit one thing, this morning I really wanted a piece of toast with peanut butter, but...not bad enough to cheat.

This week I introduce two things, with Igor's permission of course. Goat's milk yoghurt and berries. Click here to read about the benefits of berries.

The Exercise part of the program is going well. Well at least I think it is...today I did 3 sets of exercises and the third set was tough.
I got to hear one, "Igor is happy" so I must be doing something right?

As far as the supplementation goes I am still taking my ladies multivitamin and my high potency fish oil. (Omega-3)

Coming soon:

Today was weigh in and measurement day and I will let Igor give you a progress report for that. I think it is safe to assume that IGOR IS HAPPY?

Progress Report after 2 weeks
By Igor Klibanov

Today was Melony's much-anticipated measurement day. Melony is the dream client. Perfect compliance (you tell her that she can cheat 10% of the time, and she replies "I won't cheat at all." And she didn't), shows up on time, consistent with her training, has a supportive family, so we expected to see some significant changes. And sure enough, we got them.

She lost 2 inches from her waist, an inch from her hips, and her body fat skinfolds went down almost everywhere. She also lost 4 pounds of weight. We don't focus on weight all that much, because it doesn't tell the full story, but nonetheless, it can be a helpful guide when used in conjunction with other methods.

Her endurance has also improved tremendously. In the first week, she was huffing and puffing by the end of the first exercise (whoever says that you don't get cardiovascular benefits from resistance training wasn't right). We had 6 exercises to do. Today, she didn't stop until her third set.

All in all, it's looking good. Since we're only training for 8 weeks, it won't be enough time for a 6-pack stomach, but you'll certainly see a leaner, sleeker physique. Before and after pictures will be up at the end of these 8 weeks.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

What lies ahead?

No-one can entirely predict the future, and certainly not me.  Had you asked me 8 months ago that I would be going to Russia I would have said, "What for? Why would I go there?" Here we are 5 months after I heard about the opportunity to go and I am going, tickets are paid for and I am headed to Russia soon. Yes, in mid-winter. I can't wait.

I have to admit that I like to have my week planned in advance with my appointments all scheduled and accounted for. I put reminders in my calendar and when I know what is happening so that I can prepare myself for it.

This week there are a few things to prepare for:
1. The kids back to school and I am back to work.
2. I have a few deadlines for articles which are due this week.
3. Another week of training with Igor. (I am pretty sure he will jack up the intensity)
4.I get my weigh in and measurements done on Tuesday. I can't wait. 
5. I have some reading up to do to prepare myself mentally for the cultural climate in Russia when I go on my trip.
6.I have presentations to prepare.
7. I start swimming again after the holidays.
8. I take my typhoid medicines this week. 
9. I get to introduce berries into my meal plan.

Tomorrow I will be posting some more meal ideas.

I am so blessed to be able to say that I have an exciting and interesting life. 
I have such a supportive husband and children and they are behind me 100% of the way.  Wow!

Yes I like to have a schedule, but I always leave room for the unexpected. You just never know where life may lead if you are open to opportunity and meet challenges head on.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Session 3, week 2 - Check.

Today was session 3 of week 2 of my Body Transformation Program with Igor Klibanov of Fitness Solutions+. One thing that I like to hear is the phrase."Igor is happy." I will not reveal how much weight I have lost yet because my weigh and measure day is next week. I have seen good results so far with my exercise program, supplementation and nutritional changes.

I have been as close to sugar and carbohydrate free as you can get and I think my glucose levels in my blood have stabilised. How do I know that, I don't have sugar highs and lows and crave sweet things any more. Also my multivitamin is taking care of the chocolate cravings. Igor told me today that cravings can be a symptom of a nutrient you could be lacking. So taking a Women's Multivitamin covers any of that, especially during weight loss. For instance, women that are lacking in magnesium often crave chocolate at certain times of the month. When they are taking a multivitamin that contains magnesium, those cravings are reduced.

Next week I will feel like a pin cushion. I will possibly have to get my tetanus booster. For more information on the tetanus vaccine click here. In addition to this I will start a course of Rabies vaccines, I have my second Twinrex shot on Jan 23rd and in addition to all this I will be taking Typhoid vaccine, but it is administered orally.

Dr. Angela Lee of VitalChecks: The Preventative Health Clinic gave me the following advice for travel:

"Here are some basic tips before you go so we make sure you come back just as strong:

1. Taking a good quality multi vitamin daily will help with any nutritional deficits while travelling.  
2. Melatonin can help with jet lag and sleep cycle transitions...3-6 mg, 1 hour before bed. 
3. Start a pro-biotic now... so you have a strong gut flora to help with your immunity. 
4. Consider taking Astragalus 500 mg daily as a prevention protocol and immune boost. 
5. Bring an anti-viral/anti-bacterial such as Oil of Oregano... just in case you do get ill.... start taking it as soon as you feel symptoms of a cold or flu... the directions on the bottle is usually adequate."
 Thank you Dr. Angela Lee.

A note to those who are watching what they eat. READ THE LABELS! There are so many things hiding in the ingredients list. Like "Tapioca Dextrin"...that is still a type of starch or carbohydrate. If you can't pronounce it , best not eat it! And Remember, try support local produce as much as you can! after all, good things grow in Ontario.

(Right) Here's a meal idea:
Pepper Squash with Kale chips and Goats' cheese and sun-dried tomato steak.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

My spaghetti got a New Look too and I got a High Five from Igor!

Actually, to be honest, all my meals have gotten a "new look" but it was the spaghetti that was the most surprisingly satisfying. My breakfasts now look like this:(left) and to make things easier, I just boil a few eggs at a time and pull them out of the fridge whenever I need one.

For the Spaghetti sauce, I used ground turkey and made a large pot of it. I used "No Salt  added" ingredients and kept a container of it in the fridge for quick reheating. I poured it over salad leaves at lunch time and when the rest of the family were having pasta for dinner, I blanched some julienne broccoli and some sliced carrots and this was my pasta with a new look and a great taste. It was very satisfying. ( see below)

My husband is loving having more vegetables in the house than ever before and because he has seen my dedication in eating well and sticking to the plan, he has cut out sugar too.

 Instead of pasta I had blanched julienne broccoli and sliced carrot.

As far as the workouts are going, today was session 2 of week 2. That meant I was required to do hanging knee raises! Remember those exercises that had me resting and panting after 5 knee raises the first time? Today, I did 15 knee raises without stopping and earned my high five from Igor. Now if that is not proof of progress, then I just don't know what is?

The other thing that was great was that the first time I did bent over rows they were really hard... today not so much.  I also did 20 hammer curls when the plan was to only do 16, but since I was still doing well and keeping my form we did 20. ( well not "we"...but me with Igor counting away)

Now for those of you who know me from the swim team, you will agree that I have a problem with counting. I thought that Igor had been skipping numbers while he was counting and I teased him about it. So he started taking particular care to count correctly, or so I thought. Turns out it was ALL MY FAULT! My brain, it seems, is like a cd or Dvd player and if I have a thought...(yeah it happens) while we are counting... then my brain skips and I think Igor has missed a count when in fact I have stayed on the same count twice!  Oh boy, we chuckled about that. Sorry Igor! You were right (this time at least!).

Igor is one of those guys that knows so much about fitness. If you would also like to get his newsletters go to: Igor's Newsletter  or email him and ask to be included on the email list. Mention that you found the link on my blog. Topics include "Stretching the Truth" and "Unstable Surface Training".

Today was rather chilly in the GTA. The perfect opportunity to test out the warmth of my parka for my trip to Siberia. It was warm and toasty, I have to say. I noticed many people stayed home because it was -17C ... really? I did not find it to be uncomfortably cold. I was out and about all day, no biggie. Good practice for Siberia in Mid-February. I had better learn a few more Russian words.
 I now know how to say : "good/kind morning", "yes" and "no" and "thank you" in Russian. Igor taught me how to count to 5 too, but I was too oxygen deprived to remember it. In return I taught him how to say "thank you " in Afrikaans. I wonder if he will ever have to use that!

Until Thursday,
Stay warm and safe folks.

Monday, 2 January 2012

I was right...

Yesterday I was wondering just what Igor Klibanov, my "Body Transformation Specialist" had in mind for week 2. I had a feeling that Igor was going to ask me to do 2 sets today and I was right. Can you say JELLO! I felt like a giant blob of Jello when he was done with me.

BUT... I did it!

I asked Igor why I was required to cut out coffee and not green tea. His answer was that coffee affects the adrenal glad (the gland that secretes adrenalin). This gland then affects other hormones in the body too, such as cortisol. Green tea on the other hand, although it contains caffeine has other benefits that outweigh the effects of the caffeine. Green tea, which originates from China, contains poly-phenols and catechins which can improve your health. In addition Green Tea is rich in antioxidants and flavonoids.

Here is proof that I am actually pushing (or here I am pulling) weight.
Lateral pull-downs!

The workouts are tough, but I am loving it!

Sunday, 1 January 2012


Tomorrow morning I start on week 2 of my training with Igor Klibanov. I wonder what he has planned, he said it was something different... Oh boy, I wonder just what I will be doing? More reps? Heavier weights? Different exercises? Maybe HIT...? I will soon find out!

Aside from the anticipation of the week ahead, I look back at the week that has past and what have I achieved?

I learned the following:
  • I could achieve all A's on my Nutritional Compliance. 
  • It is possible to perform 10 knee lifts without needing to rest!
  • I lifted heavier weights than I have ever done before.
  • Weight lifting can take your breathe away... I had to catch my breathe a few times after doing a set of squats!
  • That there are more than 4 ways to do squats and lunges. (who knew?)
  • That I could survive a week without coffee.
  • That I could go a week without sugar.
  • How to say "Thank you " in Russian.
  • I was able to stick to the plan even at a New Year's Celebration. (Well, except for the hidden banana in the curry sauce)
  • That losing weight did not have to involve counting calories and experiencing cravings!
  • I could live without carbs and chocolate for a week!~(this one is huge!)
There are so many more benefits that I could name, but these are the ones that stand out to me.

The look of my meals has changed.

AND.... what has been the best thing so far is that my family are benefiting from the nutritional changes.

One week down, 7 weeks to go....and I started off the New Year one week into the program that is producing results.

How did you start your New Year off?

 HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL ... Make it count!