13 October 2008

What makes a healthy day?

Sorry, but this is going to be a long one. I'm looking over my behavioural patterns for a whole week to pick out the good and bad (and maybe ugly too!), concentrating on recognising 'healthy' behaviours. Sort of a 'how am I doing?' check.

Monday was quite a 'good' day. Not a great day, but not too bad, all told. Although I didn't feel great first thing and it was a particularly(!) stressful day at work, it didn't get me craving naughty stuff or skipping too much on the healthy stuff. Quite a success in a lot of ways but with a small caveat, a bit like those old school reports, "could do better".

Exercise included some abs/lower body exercises first thing, walking for just over two hours (no, no, not all at once - work gets in the way!), an hour of Chi Kung, which was wonderful, and (it should go without saying) the exercises the physio has given me. What I didn't do was get on the rower in the morning. OK, I've struggled a bit recently with knee and back pain, but really need to get back to it sooner rather than later.

Food was pretty healthy, breakfast of tea (with skimmed milk) and a banana on toast (no, I didn't use any spread - I don't actually like it much anymore). A lovely apple with my cuppa for a snatched break, mid-morning - tea got cold but there you go. Lunch was lots of crispy raw veggies: broccoli stalks (don't ever waste 'em!), carrots, mangetout peas, red pepper and celery, with a little pot of cottage cheese (suitably doctored with coriander and chilli), and a small handful of summer berries. It didn't get eaten all at once, sitting sensibly and enjoying each mouthful I'm afraid, so it fails the 'healthy' test here. That's beacause lunch was interrupted by meetings and crisis management. Oh well, at least I didn't head for the vending machines.

A couple of glasses of water through the day to go with that lot. So far, so good. Hmmm, dinner could have been better... but could have been a lot worse. We were away from home after my Chi Kung class and the only place open to get something to eat was a kebab shop. So, choose wisely girl. In the end I went for the chicken shish, WITHOUT the fries please, (flame grilled chicken and nothing fried = bliss), in a pitta bread with loads of salad and two big glasses of delicious Turkish tea. Would have been perfect if not for a) the splodge of garlic mayo I spotted under the salad (it's remarkably hard to scrape it all off shredded lettuce!) and I hate mayo at the best of times, b) quite a lot of salt, and c) the rice. Nothing wrong with a little heap of rice... except that I ate it as well as the pitta bread. Should have gone for one or the other, but not both. Gave a long, lingering look at the sugary, oozing baklava and walked away feeling virtuous.

And the ugly? Well, it had been a very stressful day and a glass of rum seemed like a great idea... at the time. Indigestion and waking at 3 a.m. with a raging thirst probably meant that it wasn't! Either that or there was more salt in that chicken than I thought.

Then there's Tuesday, which didn't pan out well. Healthy, in all senses? Nah, don't think so.

I woke feeling desperately sluggish - no inclination for exercise nor for breakfast. What I wanted was to pull the covers over my head, roll over and sleep... probably for a week, or two. A cup of tea revived me a bit but I skipped the exercise (aside from the physio stuff and a half hour walk). By the time I got close to work I hurt quite a bit and 'thought' I was hungry so stopped off for painkillers, tea and... er, a chocolate chunk cookie! What happened to the sensible choices? Well, I'm waiting, what did? Halfway through the cookie it seemed unbearably sweet, so did I throw it away? No. I wrapped it up and took it away with me. Ugly? Too right! What on earth was I thinking?

I actually had a break and stopped properly in the morning. Mostly because I was so dog-tired and really needed to gather my thoughts before attempting to clear the backlog of Monday's email. Did I have my lovely apple with my cuppa? No, of course not. I ate the rest of that blasted cookie. It wasn't even terribly nice for heaven's sake - just sweet, sweet and more sweet! More ugly!

I was supposed to go walking at lunchtime - it was going to be my treat to go to the botanic gardens and enjoy the autumn colours while it isn't actually raining. Well, I walked, but not surrounded by the beauties of nature. An hour trogging through town, in and out of outdoors-type shops looking for a new pair of walking boots as mine fell apart after 15 years of good service. Didn't find anything though. The up side? It was exercise. The down side? It wasn't much fun.

I ate my healthy lunch of berries, yoghurt and muesli, and very nice is was too. Not exactly relaxed, as I sort of worked and ate, worked and ate - not the healthiest way to do it. And then the cravings came calling again... I had bought a lovely loaf of granary bread while I was out. Trouble is, I could smell it, and it called my name. It whispered for a while, but then it started shouting. Wondering if it made it home intact? Actually, yes it did, and was perfect with hubby's lovely soup (cauliflower and fennel - delicious).

Wednesday started well for food but not for exercise. A good breakfast of banana on toast and tea again, but I now have two different and time consuming sets of exercises from two different physios for two different 'problems'. A little co-ordination would be nice, but... The sets take quite a bit of time, so it looks like the rower might be on the back burner for a while. Then the morning walk was interrupted by a need for painkillers - like right now!

Break came and went with tea and an apple, a snack of four dried figs (to counteract the, er, side-effects from the painkillers - nuff said!), and lunch is a box of assorted fruit - pineapple, melon, red grapes, apple and a few orange segments. This time... the botanic gardens for an hour of walking - heaven! It did wonders for both pain and mood.

A bit ugly when I couldn't resist a couple of (OK, five) spicy tortilla chips mid-afternoon, ugly but not a hanging offence! Another short walk in the evening and a healthy (but probably a bit too big) dinner of mushroom omelette with roasted tomatoes and sweet potato chunks. Yoghurt for pud - didn't really need it, but yum!

Thursday started OK, with the swathe of exercises then a tea and small slice of toast with a teaspoon of honey (again, no spread). Did the longer, prettier walk this morning as the sun was shining. Apple and figs at break with tea. Lunch was ham & rocket wrap, tomatoes and a yoghurt. No walk at lunch - stoopid, a missed opportunity really, but I just didn't. Still that small caveat then, "could do better".

Mother Nature began taking her monthly revenge on me for being female, and had all her usual knives out. At this stage I would usually kill for chocolate, but for some reason that didn't happen this time (phew!). Just in case the cravings came, I now have emergency rations in my desk, in the form of Caffe Nero dark chocolate covered coffee beans. They taste incredibly strong and rich so one or two should suffice if I do get the urge. Even if I ate the entire 25g box it wouldn't be a huge problem.

What might a problem is my daily dose of figs. I looked up how many calories there are per average dried fig, just out of curiosity, and nearly fell off my chair - they can be from around 30kcal to nearly 50kcal per fig! I've eaten six today so think I need to find another solution, and fast, otherwise they are going to add lbs to me before they address the problem I'm asking them to.

Pulses! That's another way of upping the much needed fibre. Added a tin of haricot beans to dinner - deliciously spicy lamb mince. Great, a plus point. The bad bit? Ate way too much bread along with it. Wonder if devouring the carbs is to do with dear old Mother Nature?

Friday brought an unhealthy mental attitude - very hard to shake it off. Not a brilliant night (woke in pain a few times) and then, in the morning, another carbs crisis. Breakfast was tea... and bread - not good at all. Didn't feel great about the exercises either. They take such a chunk of time and I just can't face getting up any earlier that 5am to do more/longer. Just have to grit teeth and bear it. Hard though - I'm still struggling and still no X-ray appointment on the horizon!

Mid-morning brought more cause for depression as hubby came back from the hospital having just been diagnosed with yet another medical problem. Poor lamb has more than his fair share already. We will not let it get us down though - we'll both fight the bloody thing.

Blue skies and the botanic gardens, then Ryvita and Philly cheese with a big glass of water for lunch, in that order, made for an improvement in the day. Knee and back behaved... mostly, so that's a bonus. Another bonus - lovely hubby came to meet me from work and we had a nice walk. More mince & beans for dinner and the day ended on a more positive note than it began.

Saturday was a very good day. See post from 11th about new jeans! Lots of walking, good food choices, beautiful sunshine and spirits high. Finally found a pair of walking boots too. Paid less ( a lot less) than I'd thought I'd have to, they've got full leather uppers, but most of all... they're comfortable! So, we are all set for our break in less than two weeks time.

Sunday brought the usual chores (how can two people generate that much ironing?) but still the exercises and food choices went to plan. A treat of a date and walnut wholemeal scone mid-afternoon (no, no butter), but not a problem as I took things easy on food for the rest of the day.

So, my 'how am I doing?' check over this last week is looking reasonably good. My weight hasn't dropped, but I'm still undergoing the 'bung-'em-up' side-effects from the painkillers. It is still possible that I'll make 74kg before we go away but, even if I don't, I'm sitting happily at 75kg and that was the main aim. Yes, I could still do better and need to sharpen my act a little if I want to keep losing, but I'm seemingly more back in control and will be pretty happy if I can hang in there.


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