Tuesday, 27 March 2012

How soon we forget....

A week ago I confessed to having had a little bit of a binge week. That meant chocolate, ice cream, frozen yoghurt...and the list goes on. Yes my taste buds loved it, but my body didn't and I felt horrible. But, as many of you have experienced I could not stop the craving for more sugar! I understand everyone is not like me...but many are.

Five days into eating right and four days into working out again and I feel so much better and I want to remember this feeling next time I am tempted to put too much sugar and junk into my body. I am down two pounds on the scale this morning and my jeans are thanking me for their decreased need for stretching.

Yesterday my husband and I went for a walk, mainly to clear our minds, not so much for the physical benefits.

This morning we ate the buckwheat for the first time, if you are on a restricted nutritional plan and are sick of Quinoa, you might want to try Buckwheat. It is gluten free and not really a "wheat".
Porridge: Buckwheat groats with Blueberries, cinnamon and unsweetened almond milk, sweetened with Stevia. a Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Dairy free alternative.

I cooked this in my rice cooker with almond milk and cinnamon. I prepared and cooked the night before, so in the morning all I did was add blueberries and stevia and heated the porridge up with additional almond milk and there we had breakfast.

If you are not a fan of porrige, then here is another alternative:
Banger sausage, Scrambled eggs, Veggies and fried Tomato

A word of caution, look at the labels. I found that this sausage was the only Gluten free, sugar free sausage in the whole grocery store. If you think bacon is sugar free...think again. Look at those labels.

Muscle soreness has gone away now, thankfully...I am looking at what my next adventure will be...I have some very pivotal meetings this week which will shape my direction...I love being in this place. Oh the possibilities and opportunities! 

What is your next adventure going to be?

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Switching Gears

Everything hurts....putting a sweatshirt over my head while getting dressed is really painful, I am feeling the effects of working out yesterday, particularly in my upper body.... I guess doing deadlifts with 155 pounds may have something to do with that. So I am back to training and the nutrition plan is going well.
It felt really good to be training again and within 24 hours of getting back on track with my eating I felt so much better. (Remind me of this next time I am tempted to indulge in too much sugar)

In addition to being back in the gym I got weighed and measured too. I was surprised that the eight weeks I had invested in training and strict nutritional plan, together with the supplements paid off. Had I not have done so, the damage would have been much worse. 

I am so excited to have found a Russian bakery and grocery store in our neighbourhood. So this is what I bought:
Buckwheat:Today, buckwheat is widely produced in Russia and Poland, where it plays an important role in their traditional cuisines.
Buckwheat. From Russia...(above)
This is one of those grains that is mistaken for being wheat, but it is in fact gluten free. This is going to help me vary my diet when I get tired of Quinoa.
To learn more about the benefits of Buckwheat click here.

Progress Report 
by Igor Klibanov of Fitness Solutions Plus
Yesterday, we did Mel's first post-Siberia measurements, and to her surprise (but not mine), she had not regressed as far as she thought.

Although she gained some minor amounts of body fat, overall, her measurements stayed steady and she even lost a bit in some areas.

Before continuing with strictly fat loss training, we're changing gears for 2 weeks towards training oriented at adding muscle. Why? Because muscle helps burn fat, so the more of it we can get on Mel, the easier the subsequent fat loss phase will be.

Friday, 23 March 2012


The first step was to train for eight weeks to be ready for my Siberian Adventure. Now, I'm back and I had a great time. I will admit that for a week after I got back I did not pay attention to what I ate, or how much coffee I drank, I was just too jet-lagged to care. Now what happens when you let down your guard? DOWNHILL SPIRAL...it is so easy to fall into the trap..thinking, "diet starts on Monday"...and then you make sure you eat all the food you can't have once you get back with the program. It happens....the thing is to not let it go on too long. So...it is time to face the music...er...scale.

What is the hardest thing about getting back on to your nutritional plan once you have been off it for a few weeks? Well it is your mental state. If you are not mentally ready to make the right choices, then you will not succeed. I struggled with it for a few days thinking, "My program is too strict, I can't maintain that!"
I just could not continue to just eat whatever I fancied...which was a lot of chocolate and CARBS! Finally I came to the conclusion that I had to make a decision... I asked myself these questions:
1. How badly did I want to avoid being over weight?
2. Could I comply with a nutritional program for only 2 weeks?
3. Did I want to continue to be a slave to sugar?

Answers: Badly,yes and no.

So with that in mind, why wait until Monday to start back on plan? So I started today. I had quinoa for breakfast with berries and goat's milk. I added some Stevia for sweetness. Lunch was a steak salad. Dinner was Spaghetti bolognaise without spaghetti.

Day one completed!

I realised one thing...my adventures are not over...and if I want to be ready for whatever comes my way...I need to look after my body and stay fit!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Smitten with Siberia!

I'm back and I am glad to say that I am ALMOST over my jet-lag. I applaud my patient husband who has endured me nodding off at 8pm every night for the last 5 days. I think I am coming to the end of the jet-lag though, I was able to watch a movie last night without falling asleep and made it to bed much later than 8pm for the first time this week.

So you want to know how it went? How do I cram three weeks of wonderful experiences into a few words? Best I let some photos tell the story!

Here I am in the centre of MOSCOW! (Red Square) Loved that city, and I was glad to have someone with me, because I would have been lost within 10 minutes. 
Moscow 2012
 You are supposed to toss a "penny" and I gather, make a wish, but I wanted to take my "penny" home with me, so I didn't toss mine!

We walked around Moscow for a couple of hours in the cold and thankfully due to my training it was manageable.  As my journey unfolded, it turned out that I did a few walks that were at least an hour long.It was in Moscow that I ate my first truly Russian meal.  I think Igor will approve of my attempt to at least stick with the diet on my first meal. Well...everything except the pasty. If you have only one chance to try something ...I say go for it! There is always time to get back with the plan when you get back after you have gotten over your jet-lag.

So here I had Fish with Buckwheat...on the side a beet and fish salad....and then a small pasty to finish off with. My first RUSSIAN MEAL! All of which was delicious. Hey, I had been walking around Moscow for 3 1/2 hours, I was hungry!

It was really strange for me to be rendered illiterate! Suddenly I could not read the signs and I could not understand most of what was being said. Although on two occasions that day people just came up to me and started chatting to me in Russian assuming I could understand them, and not only that, but that I knew Moscow well enough to give them directions!

(below: Cold Fish and beet salad and cherry pastry)

(right: Fish, buckwheat and tartar sauce)
 One of the most recognisable spots in Moscow is Saint Basil's Cathedral with it's colourful soft-serve like domes! I was able to go in to Christ the Savior Cathedral too but we were not allowed to take photographs at all. A pity really, because the walls were painted with the most beautiful frescos and the domes rich with "end times" depictions of the return of Christ. The art work was breathtaking.

Below: Christ the Saviour Cathedral behind me. 
Christ the Saviour Catherdral - Orthodox.

One thing I have to say is that I was grateful for the few phrases I had learned from Igor. I also learned really quickly. I came home with quite a few phrases embedded in my brain and a strong desire to speak Russian more.

From here we flew to Irkutsk and then on to the remote villages without running water. From them on we ate what our gracious hosts put before us and I am thankful that my metabolism had been prepared for their generosity. If that had not been the case...I think I would have put on ten pounds. 

( below: Andrew and myself after a walk!)
After some long days we went for one hour or longer walks to get some fresh air. The air was frosty!

Three of my team mates were training for the Lake Baikal Ice Marathon and so they would go out for the occasional run, but as a team we went on several long walks too. I was pleased that I was able to keep up with those fit marathoners!
Without my increased endurance and stamina a trip like this would have wiped me out. We got an average of six hours sleep a night and were busy late into the night.

Thanks to Igor, I coped and I coped well! 

On a few occasions I was exceedingly grateful for the increased strength in my quads when having to use the "facilities" which were outside and in -20C  temps. Let me just say, I was able to rise above the challenges!

I fell in love with Lake Baikal (Siberia) and its people. There is so much more I can say, but I think that is enough for now. More to follow. In the next blog I will post photographs of the Lake Baikal Ice Marathon.