Could You?

“Could you accept yourself overweight?”  This was a question asked on the Daily Apple forums recently.  The original question was posted by a person who had no significant weight issues during their life (lucky bastard…)  Quite a number of the responses came from the same view point, that of someone who had never really had any significant weight issues.

For the most part, regardless of whether or not people had battled with their weight, response was mostly “No, I could not accept my self overweight”.  A couple said they’d be able to accept themselves overweight only if they were healthy at the same time.

It’s funny, but I can’t really remember a time where I didn’t think of myself as being overweight.  When I was around 9 or 10 I put on a little weight prior to a growth spurt.  Kids being kids can’t resist making fun of an easy target, and the fat kid was always an easy target.  So, I became convinced that I was fat, a perception that has pretty much stuck with me ever since.

Anyway, I was going through some old photos with my beloved fiancé recently, and I was surprised by how damn skinny I was back then, compared to me now.  It’s amazing how our perceptions of ourselves can become skewed.  Right now I feel justified in feeling fat, as I’m about 30kg overweight, but that wasn’t always the case.

So, perhaps the lesson today is that I shouldn’t accept myself overweight as I have for so many years.  Or, perhaps more importantly, I shouldn’t accept myself unhealthy.  It’s an unfortunate fact that I’m terribly out of shape right now, compared to what I used to be.

I’d like to think that I’ll be around for many years with my family, and I’d like to think that I could be healthy and active, instead of plagued by illness.  So, perhaps the time is right to stand up and say “No, I will not accept this, I will do some thing to be healthier, and I will lose all this extra weight I’m carrying.”  After all, what do I have to lose, other than some extra weight, and the chance of an early death through heart disease?

Oh Bread, How I’ve Missed You…

I’d just like to get this out in the open right now: I love bread.  Bread is probably the one thing that can tempt me away from eating primally.  It’s the one thing I really regret that I can’t eat.  I used to love nothing more than a nice egg and bacon roll.

I’ve tried a few primal bread replacements before, ranging from okay to oh-my-god-I’m-never-making-that-again (I’m looking at you, carrot and walnut bread…).  But one thing they all had in common was that they made small, dense loaves, and couldn’t really be used to make a sandwich, or a nice egg and bacon roll.  All that changed this week, though, when I found a very easy to make almond meal bread recipe.

Not only is this bread recipe tasty, it is suitably light and fluffy, and is incredibly quick and easy to make.  This one comes courtesy of the Mark’s Daily Apple forums, and was posted by Rivvin.  I am incredibly grateful to have discovered it.  So, enough rambling form me, here’s how to make it:

1/4 Cup of Almond Meal
1 Egg
1 Tablespoon of Butter or Coconut Oil
1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder

Now comes the fun part.  Mix all of that stuff up and pour it into a flat bottomed, microwave safe container.  Shove it in the microwave, and nuke the sucker for 1 minute and 20 seconds.  Depending on the size of your container, you’ll either get one slice of bread, or one thick slice of bread that can be cut in half to make two slices.

Damn easy to make, and takes all of 5 minutes to make a couple of rolls.  They work well with burgers as well, and judging by the response on the Daily Apple forums, the recipe can be adjusted to make a sweeter bread, suitable for desserts.

Food for Thought

I’ve been thinking a lot about food over the last couple of days (and I just couldn’t resist throwing in the puntastic title).  I find it rather interesting that so much of what is standard fair these days has such negative health impacts  (gluten and lectins anyone?).  But, I’ve been surprised at what else is lurking in what I would have considered perfectly healthy food.

I was reading the Marks Daily Apple Forums today at lunch, when I found an interesting thread, talking about nightshades.  I found it interesting for two reasons.  Firstly, there was the wide range of foods considered to be nightshades, and secondly, there was the effect that they can have on people (if you’re wondering what I mean by nightshades, check this page, as it sums it all up very nicely).

Despite having read about nightshades in the past, I was still surprised at the amount of nightshades in my diet.  Tomatoes? Check.  Capsicum? Check.  Chilli? Check.  Cayene Pepper? Check.  Paprika? Check. Potatoes? Check.  The list goes on, but these are the ones I tend to eat the most.

This is all very interesting, but why is this a problem?  As it turns out, nightshades have been linked to such things as osteoarthritis and other joint issues and auto-immune conditions.  Reading through the thread above, you could be forgiven for thinking that we’re doomed to a miserable life of pain if we don’t give them up, but like all things in life, your mileage may vary.

On a related note, I found another interesting thread, “Your Brain on Weight Loss”, talking about how our brain plays such a large part in how we lose or gain weight, and what we can do to make things easier for ourselves.  The most important message I took from what I’ve read so far is this: “To be healthy you must stop worrying about being healthy”.  So, I think I’ll take a page from another forum member, whose approach to eating, and life in general can be best summed up as “If it grew or moved, then I ate it, I lifted some heavy stuff, put it back down and ran a bit, that’s it”.

I had thought of cutting out nightshades for a while and see how I reacted, but on second thoughts, I like the simplicity of just eating good healthy food, doing a workout here and there, and just not worrying about it all.  Seems like a much better way of going about it…

Challenging Challenges are Challenging.

So, apparently trying to do a health challenge when you’re preparing for your wedding is really difficult.  Who’d have thought, hey?  The way things are going for me right now, I’m going to put my day by day challenge on hold until I’m back from my honeymoon.

I’m still in two minds about this, as it’s almost like I’m wimping out, but lurking in the back of my mind is that if I do too well, I’m going to look crap in my wedding photos, as my suit will be too big.  Of course, I’m not using this as an excuse to go on an all out binge either.  I’m planning on eating the best that I can, but if time or money are short, I won’t beat myself up because I indulged in something quick and easy, but not healthy…

A Mixed Bag…

Today’s post is a mixed bag of things that I’ve been doing or thinking about recently.  For starters, Yesterday was a pretty successful day, as far as food goes.  I managed to keep the urge to snack at work under control, thanks to rationing out my dark chocolate through out the afternoon.

Last night saw a bit of a splurge, as I’d intended to have steak with sweet potato chips as a bit of an indulgence.  In the end I gave the steak a miss (as my fiancé was rather sick, and didn’t feel like it), and just had the chips.  Not exactly the best, but it could have been a lot worse.  I figure that can be my 20% for the next couple of days.

This morning was a challenge, as far as food is concerned.  Unusually for us we have a loaf of bread in the house (as it was all my fiancé could stomach…), so it took all my self control not to make toast for myself.  In the end I decided to skip breakfast, and do an intermittent fast until lunch.  Possibly not the best decision, given that I’m still trying to get over the carbs, but what the hell.  I’m a bit peckish right now, but with less than an hour to go until lunch, I’ll survive.

This last week I’ve been reading the forums at Mark’s Daily Apple, which I’ve not done for quite some time.  Something that caught my eye was a thread about being health vs weight, when it comes to being primal.  I won’t go into details, as the interesting things is that it made me really think why I’m doing this, is it just to lose weight, or is it to be healthier?

I’ve been rather unhappy with the fact that I’ve regained all the weight I took off when I first went primal last year, along with the fact that I don’t feel as fit as I used to.  After a bit of thought, I’ve decided that while both are important, I’ll take healthy and perhaps a bit overweight over losing weight at the expense of health.  I’d like to think that if I try to be healthier, then the weight should take care of itself anyway.  I’m going to continue my habit of not weighing myself very often.  Instead I’ll rely on other aspects, like whether or not I can go back down to the smaller belt hole again, to track my progress.

I tried the cold shower thing again this morning.  This time I didn’t start with warm water then add cold, I started with half the hot water I normally would have, and then cranked the cold up all the way.  It was hard work actually staying under the water long enough to wash, but I managed it with a bit of positive thinking.  While the cold shower is turning out to be a great wake up, I’m still not 100% convinced it’s worth the effort.  More perseverance is needed, I think.

Getting Back On Track, Part 2…

So, after a fine start to the day yesterday, things again didn’t go to plan in the afternoon.  I’d been doing well for the most part, but around 3pm I got some major carb cravings, which I gave into.  I might not have indulged quite as hard as I did if the bakery across the road hadn’t brought across a whole heap of free sausage rolls and party pies.  Free food is just too hard to pass up, it seems.

In the grand scheme of things, today’s another day, and I get to try all over again.  I’ve got a nice filling lunch, so hopefully I can get past the urge to indulge in a sweet snack this afternoon.  I think I’ll also try having some dark chocolate instead of the sweet snack, and see if that helps get over the cravings…

I also continued my experimentation with cold showers this morning.  I didn’t try turning off the hot water this morning, instead I cranked up the cold water as hard as it would go, and then dropped the hot water back until it was just uncomfortably cold.  It still wasn’t a full on cold shower, but it did leave me feeling more awake than I normally would.

Back on Track…

Well, after my last 2 or three days of indulgence, I have finally managed to get myself back on track again.  After 3 lots of fast food over the last couple of days, I figured that any lingering feelings of sickness were probably from the crap food, rather than as a result of a hangover.  So, with that in mind, I went the whole hog with last night’s meal.

I wanted something unquestionably healthy, so I went for a huge salad.  I started with a Cos lettuce, chopped up, along with a green capsicum, a couple of roma tomatoes, half a cucumber and an avocado.  I made up a vinaigrette from apple cider vinegar and some olive oil, seasoned with black pepper, cayenne pepper, ginger, turmeric mustard and a bit of salt.  I tossed all of that together, then topped with some BBQ chicken and crispy bacon.

Tonight’s meal is going to be one of our favourite quick and easy meals, chicken thighs stuffed with cream cheese, and wrapped in bacon.  Takes all of 5-10 minutes to prepare, and just needs to be baked for 35-40 minutes.  Again, we’ll be making enough for the following day’s lunch, so that we have less work to do in the morning before leaving for work.

Oh, following up from yesterday’s little aside about the 30 day cold shower challenge, I decided to give it a go this morning, at the end of my normal shower.  Bloody hell, talk about a shock to the system.  I started off slowly, by cranking up the cold water, which wasn’t too bad.  Time to turn down the hot, I thought.  Only problem is, I turned the hot water completely off, and lasted all of 5 seconds under the cold water.  Oh well, I guess I’ll try again tomorrow…

The Challenge Continues…

So, after one day of my ongoing Primal Challenge, I’m well and truly off track.  The weekend was a complete wreck, but in my defense, it was my Buck’s night on Saturday, so I guess I’m allowed one last splurge eating and drinking crap.  I guess in hindsight I should have thought about that, and just started the challenge after I’d recovered from the Buck’s night.

So, here I am, still feeling seedy from excessive alcohol, and the greasy takeaway food that I used to recover from it.  I’m really not sure whether my continued sick feeling is still from the alcohol or the crap food now.  Oh well, I’ll not be doing any of that again in a hurry, so I look forward to feeling better over the next few days.

I’m thinking that I need to kick start my challenge by making a supremely healthy meal for tea tonight, so I’m thinking of grabbing any salad stuff available from the supermarket on the way home tonight and making a massive salad that I can take to work for lunch tomorrow as well.  I’m thinking cos lettuce, baby spinach, capsicum, tomato, maybe some avocado if there’s any there, all topped with crispy bacon.  Finish it off with a vinaigrette, and it should be awesome.

As an aside, I stumbled across a link to a 30 Day Cold Shower Challenge.  I’ve tried the whole cold shower thing before, but could never last beyond a few seconds before cranking the hot water up again.  I’m led to believe that cold showers are actually more effective as a morning kick start, so I might have to play around with this as well…

The Challenge…

So, over the last 12 months or so, I’ve been trying to follow the Primal Blueprint with varying levels of success.  Early on I seemed to be able to follow the lifestyle easily enough, even going so far as to be able to resist the urge to pig out on junkfood in my regular gaming sessions.

However, somewhere along the way I fell of the wagon, and I’ve been unable to back on track ever since.  I tell myself that I can eat the right things, but something always seems to come up.  It might be a bad day at work that makes takeaway for tea much more appealing than cooking something, or even just the urge for a sugary snack in the afternoon.  Still, the end result is that it seems harder to give up the bad stuff each time I indulge in something.

All the more reason not to indulge, of course, but I’ve not been able to find a way to successfully give up the bad stuff.  What’s really frustrating is that I know I can do it, because I’ve done it before, and have had remarkable success (I lost 7kg over the course of 4 months or so).  So, I’ve been thinking of ways I can keep myself eating better, and hopefully not fall in a screaming heap at the first moment of weakness.

So, with that in mind, I’ve decided to set myself a challenge.  I’ve seen people do 30 day challenges before, where they try the primal lifestyle for thirty days.  My challenge will be along these lines, except that I have no defined length of time for the challenge.  My challenge will be to start each day thinking “Today I will try to be 100% primal”.  Even if I do slip up and indulge in something unhealthy, I’ll always be starting the next day with that thought.

I’ve taken the rather unorthodox step (for me at least) of starting this challenge from this morning.  When I woke up I had no intention of doing so, but seeing as I’ve managed to last until lunch time eating properly, I may as well continue the trend.  It will be nice to break the habit of afternoon snacks that I’ve got into over the last few weeks.  Then again, even if I do slip up, tomorrow is another day, and I can try again, and hopefully it will be a little bit easier next time around…

The Great Web Host Saga

This post was very nearly titled “CWI Hosting are a Pack of Festering Arseholes, Who Deserve to be Shot, Hung, Drawn, Quartered, Run Over by a Tank, and Then Really Hurt”, but I thought it was a bit too long.  The story starts halfway through last year, when I received the yearly renewal invoice for my web hosting.  I was surprised, to say the least, to see that my web hosting had increased by 15%.  Upon further investigation, this was due to the 15% “Environmental Surcharge” that had been tacked onto my bill, without my knowledge.

I immediately contacted my host at the time, CWI Hosting, and asked them why there was this new charge, and why I had not been informed of it.  I received a response indicating that the new charge was because of rising energy costs for their servers, and that they had informed me of the charge the previous month.  Well, I checked my email records, and I had no such email from them.  I checked the records of contacts I’d had from them on their own support site, and there was nothing there, either.  So, I reluctantly paid the extra fee, seeing as I wanted to keep my hosting, and resolved that I’d move to a different host before the next renewal was due.

Fast forward to May this year, and I’d found a new host, who were here in Australia, which was a big bonus, as it means less bank fees for processing foreign currency, and a decent chance of getting phone support.  I looked into what was required to transfer the domain, and found that I first needed to unlock my domain, then submit a transfer request.

I also found that the transfer would take around a week, due to the way global top level domains (i.e. .com etc.) are handled.  No problems, I’ve got over three weeks until renewal is due, that should give me ample time to get this sorted out.  Well, wasn’t I wrong.

It turns out that CWI’s response times for support tickets goes from under 24 hours to a week when you want to move away from them.  A week after requesting the unlocking of my domain I received the advice that it was unlocked and ready for transfer.  I duly submitted the transfer request, and sat back to wait.

At the end of a week, with no sign of a response from CWI, I contacted them, and asked about the progress of the transfer.  I never received a reply to this request.  The week after submitting that request my hosting renewal with CWI became due.  Perhaps I’d unconsciously been expecting CWI to mess me around, but I’d made sure that my credit card did not have enough credit to cover CWI’s charges.  Just as well, because they have consistently tried charging me 5 or 6 times a week since that date.

In total I have tried contacting CWI about 15 times, through various means.  In the last two and a half months, I have been promised, via their support chat, contact from a supervisor within 24 hours on no less than four occasions.  At no stage have I received any such contact.  In fact, I have received exactly one response.  I had contacted the administrative contact for the domain, asking if the transfer process could be completed in a timely manner.  I received a response to this email, asking for further information, which was duly supplied.  This email, and a subsequent one were both ignored.

After over a month of inaction, I ended up taking matters into my own hands.  I contacted Tucows, the wholesaler for my domain at the time, and outlined my tale of woe.  Their response was heartening, at least.  They enabled me to first change the admin contact for my domain to my own email address, allowing me to respond to a transfer request.  When I found that I required an authorisation code for the transfer, which was being held by CWI, Tucows came to the party, and after giving CWI one further chance to actually do what they were supposed to, they provided me with the means necessary to transfer my domain.

To cut a long story short, CWI hosting effectively took what should have been a two week process, and dragged it out over 9 weeks (65 days from when I requested the domain to be unlocked to when I had full control of it again).  In doing so they have charged me for a service which I do not want, require, or even have any more (a month after renewal was due they canceled my hosting, effectively killing my main email account and website).  Apparently they are unswayed by my arguments that their lack of action is to blame for this, and to this day are still trying to charge my credit card.

Fortunately, there is one bright point to this whole sorry tale.  My new hosts, Webcity, have been nothing but exceptionally pleasant to deal with.  Response to email support requests have been prompt, and in addition, I have the ability to phone them and talk to a real person, in the event that something requires urgent attention.

The saga continues, in Part 2.