Sunday, 1 January 2012

2012 - The Year of New Beginnings

Well hello there! Can’t believe it is 2012 already. I thought I should start a new blog for a new year. I have entitled this blog, ‘2012 - The Year of New Beginnings,’ keeping with the theme of, ‘2011 – The Year of Mel.’

I have learned a few lessons over the past year and want to use the opportunity of the new year as a good time to review where I’ve been, where I’m heading and where I am at. I sat down this morning on the first day of the year and wrote out some goals for 2012. They fall into 7 categories; weight, fitness, career, finances, French, boundaries and friendships. I won’t list them all here as some of them are a tad too personal, but I will list my weight goals as part of my declaration to get me on my way to achieving them.

1. Get back to my post-Cohen’s weight by 25 March 2012;
2. Get to my goal weight by 22 April 2012;
3. Go to France for 2 weeks to prove to myself that I can keep the weight off; and
4. Be at goal weight on my birthday (August) and at Christmas of 2012.

I’ve based my goal weights/times around how long it took me to lose the weight last time, so I think it is reasonable. The second goal weight is due to me refeeding early after my first stint on the Cohen’s Lifestyle Program. I refed early to go overseas, and then completely lost control of my eating as the meals were provided at the school I was studying at. That is why I want to go again when I am at my goal weight, and prove to myself that I can face challenges like that and cope with them in the future. The last goal is simply to maintain that weight (obviously!) but I thought that putting a few dates in would help to make the whole thing more powerful.

This year is all about defining who I want to be for the rest of my life. Powerful, accomplished and able to say no! Learning to say no is one of my goals under the ‘boundary’ heading of my 2012 goals. You’ll note that I didn’t write thin; I wrote powerful. That’s because I know that people love me the way I am. Plenty of men are attracted to me, but I’m not attracted to myself. And when I am attracted to myself, I feel powerful. 

So… watch this space! I didn’t start back on Cohen’s today as I woke up at 11:30 am after a big night on the town for the NYE celebrations, meaning I couldn’t have 3 meals, 5 hours apart with the latest one being before 9 pm. So I have done a bit of a compromised version today. I had a (very soft) boiled egg salad for breakfast (see photo), with 2 eggs instead of 1, and will have a thai beef salad for dinner, with slightly more beef than my allowance. So 2 bigger meals instead of 3. I also went through my cupboards and fridge today and made sure there was no food in my house that isn’t Cohen’s-friendly. I’d been working towards using it all up or chucking it out over the last month (to prepare for today), so there wasn’t much to do.

I am posting this as both the first post on my new blog and the last post on my old blog. Here is the link to my new blog:

Until then – enjoy the new year! May you all achieve everything you set your minds and hearts to achieving this year.


Monday, 21 November 2011

Broken Promises...

Fail, fail, fail... and more fail. That pretty much sums up how I feel about my food intake at the moment. I keep promising myself I'll be a good girl and then I eat something I really don't need to eat. I break promise after promise after promise. I'm not putting on weight but I'm not losing it either. I have a couple of good days, then undo it all with a bad day.

It's got me thinking... what is with that??? What is frustrating is that I understand what I am doing. I know that I tell myself that some foods are bad and some are good, thereby enhancing my desire for the bad and my self-punishment for eating them afterwards. I know that I obviously don't consider myself worthy to keep the promises I make to myself. I know that small, correctly proportioned meals can fill me up and leave me satisfied and yet I keep using the slightest twang of hunger (or boredom, or thirst) as an excuse to eat more food. I know that I have put weight on and if I don't lose it again fast it will be harder in the long run. I know that I have the willpower to watch other people eat food and not need to join in with them.... and yet I am not backing all of my knowlege up with the correct action.

Knowing the path is different to walking the path. Yup, got it. So why is it so freaking hard to walk the path again, when I know without a doubt, and have in fact, tested this myself, that the path makes me HAPPY! It makes me feel:

- in control;
- powerful;
- attractive;
- confident;
- alive;
- sexy;
- like I can take on the world.

The path I am currently on makes me feel:

- fat;
- unworthy;
- unhappy;
- totally out of control;
- frustrated;
- self conscious;
- unattractive.

So WHAT THE F*&K AM I DOING??? This is 2011 - THE YEAR OF MEL!!! I only have about 5 weeks left, and I'm undoing the amazing achievement that I worked so.freaking.hard to accomplish.

OK - I am going to say this, I need help. I need encouragement. I need you to remind me that I can do this, because I seem to be able to forget it in an instant, conveniently when faced with cake. Any random texts or emails will be appreciated, because sometimes, despite my own (and popular) belief, it's hard to do this stuff alone. So, please help me be accountable to somebody else for a little bit, because I am totally failing at being accountable to myself.

Love you all.

M. x

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Finding a Balance...

Hello again! I thought I would post, mid-struggle, as opposed to post-struggle, as is the norm for me. I'm not good at asking for help or letting people know when I am having a hard time, so I figure I might as well try something different! :)

The last 2 days I have been eating practically everything in sight, which is not helped by the fact that there has been food on the table at work all day long. I'm just grazing all day, rather than waiting until I am hungry and only having 3 meals. I find that I'm either on Cohen's or off Cohen's. I like my idea of staying on Cohen's but having the odd treat or night out (which is mostly like maintenance but with plan weights for most meals), and I balanced it well for the first 3 days, but then it all went pear shaped. Have to get back on the wagon but having trouble again, so I thought I'd come and admit it to you and then hopefully sort my sh!t out...

I think this is the crux of the whole issue for me. If I can master this then I will be OK. I need to master the grey. I've mastered the black and white this year, but now I need to find the balance.

Wish me luck!!!

M. x

P.S - the photo is of my Mojito and some snacks at the famous Hotel de Paris, just outside the Monaco Casino.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Back on Track...

Well hello again!

I must say that it is feeling good to be 'back on plan', even if I have eaten cake twice already, hahaha! I am feeling much more in control of my eating which is brilliant. The first day I stuck to it perfectly, then on Day 2 and Day 3 there were cakes at work and I had some both days. The difference has been that I am not punishing myself for doing so because this is actually how I planned it. By using it more as a structure than an actual diet, I've been able to have a bit of cake for morning tea, and then go on to have a normal lunch and normal dinner afterwards. In the past I would have had an unhealthy dinner (with wine) because I'd already stuffed up that day. Each night I was craving a glass of wine (BIG TIME!) but I managed not to have any and stick to my normal Cohen's dinner and I've lost roughly 0.5 kg a day, so 1.5 kg in 3 days. Much like I did on the first week of Cohen's last time. I know it won't work as well this time, I have drinks on Thursday night and dinner out on Saturday and my first week weigh in is on Sunday, but I know it is going to be much better than it would have been had I kept eating the way I was when I got back.

I must stress to those who read my blog that are on Cohen's for the first time - don't follow what I am doing now. What I am really doing is a combination of the maintenance rules with plan weights and if you eat cake or sugar or anything like that when you are mid plan, it will severely disrupt your hormone balance. So, 'don't try this at home, kids.' ;)

I am feeling much better about myself already because I feel like I am in control again - a feeling that I lost when I was in France. I totally got that I stopped loving myself when I lost control, and that is what made it so hard to get back to some reasonable eating structure.

By writing this down and making myself accountable to the people who read this, I feel I owe it to you, rather than myself, which is how I was able to get started without much self-love in the first place. But as I saw myself transforming and became proud of myself for achieving such a big thing, I started to love myself again. I lost control in France and then stopped with the love, hence it getting worse and worse.

So the past 3 days I've been making an effort to love myself. I cooked myself some lovely food, like stewed apples for breakfasts, Cohen's friendly marmalade for my crackers and prawn stirfrys for dinner. I brought myself flowers for the kitchen, I did my nails and other little things to make myself feel pretty, and it works! It's all about feeling like you are worthy. If you don't think you are worthy, you will stuff your face forever trying to make yourself feel better about it.

So that's my hot tip for the week - find a reason to love yourself. Do nice things for yourself. Treat yourself to a pedicure. Or do one yourself!

Hope you are all having a great week!

M. x

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Back to Basics...

Well, it appears 5 weeks of sheer indulgence has caught up with me. ;) I am updating my blog today to signify that I am going 'back on plan'.

I have so much to tell you, where do I even start? The bottom line is that I've put on about 8 kg and am a total of 10 kg higher than my lightest weight during Cohens. 2 kg I put on before I left for France, and 6 kg I put on (pretty much in the first week) in France. Since then I've been yo-yoing up and down 2 or 3 kg depending on what I eat each day. I made a deal with myself that rather than panic, I'd enjoy the rest of my trip (and the food), and sort it out when I got back. Well, I've been back a week and have not had any luck so far in the 'sorting out' department. So, here I am.

You can see from the photo that the extra weight makes a big difference. It's not the most flattering angle for me but I feel bulky again and after feeling skinny for a while, bulky just doesn't work for me anymore!

I've been struggling a bit with the fact that it's not practical for me to go back on plan at the moment because of the number of social activities planned leading up to Christmas. I was so committed when on plan the first time, to the point where I didn't have any meals outside of what I made for myself for almost 5 months. Not only do I have Christmas/Social activities planned, but I always return to Adelaide and catch up with all of my family/friends over the Christmas break and it will be impossible to stay on plan, not to mention the fact that I just don't want to be at that point in time. So I've been half trying, allowing bits of this and that, and the day starts well and ends badly. So I'm going to try something new.

See, one of my biggest problems is that with diets (and in many other facets of my life), I only see black and white. That's why Cohen's worked so well for me - there were so many rules and I knew I couldn't bend them. Other diets, where I am given freedom to choose, I tend to fail at because I bend the rules too much and push it to the point where it doesn't work well. That's what I've been doing this week too.

So I am going to go 'back on plan' but inside of the commitment to honour myself, rather than the diet, while I am at it. What I want, is to get this nipped in the bud before it gets out of control again. I want to lose weight while still being able to catch up with friends and have a night out here and there and go to all of the Christmas lunches that are coming up without panicing about how I am going to bring my own lunch to the zoo on an upcoming work excursion. See, the fact that I have social activities planned was what was stopping me from going back on plan. Now I've decided to do it anyway, because hell, it's better being on plan for a month and having 5 social meals where I try to eat Cohen's friendly and have a couple of glasses of wine, than being off plan for a month and not getting anywhere. I accept that I am not 'doing it properly' and that it won't work as well, but I am going to use the structure to get myself back in control of my eating, and make it work for me. So here is what I am going to do:

1) Do 4 weeks of 'on plan' with weighing all food and obeying all the rules again; and
2) Start refeed on Sunday 4 December so I'm done by Christmas; with the following exception...

I will still attend Christmas/Social outings, as well as have dinner and drinks with my friends but I will make sensible choices.

The reason that I am writing this all out is because I need myself to understand that this is how I have planned it, and that there is no self-sabotage (or binging) required after a lovely (Cohen's friendly) meal and a couple of glasses of wine with a friend. I know that it will slow my weightloss, but I am choosing that over missing out for the moment. I've already been there and done the period of total sacrifice this year, so now I am going to try to make it work for me again and get used to normal eating again, after the crazy blow out of carbs galore in France. Cohen's is a great training program for the kinds of food that one should eat to maintain their weight, and I need to get back on that train right now before it leaves the station without me.

Wish me luck! I feel like I need it this time.

M. x

PS. I am actually terrified of posting this, because like I said, I have been trying to get on top of this for a week and to no avail. But I feel like I am more successful when I have to 'report in' to you guys, so I have to bite the bullet and trust in myself that I can do this again, despite the amout of times I've tried and failed this week!!!! xxx

PPS. I will put up more posts about France (and the food) when I get time, for now I just had to get this part sorted. ;)

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Ma Vie à Villefranche

Bonjour mes amis! I can't believe that I have been in Villefranche for a week already. It's gone by so fast. I have been having such a good time and been so busy that it has been hard to find time to stop and write about it.

After school on Wednesday I went to get a drink with some other students from school and by the time we went for a walk along the water and had dinner it was 10 pm when I got home! Thursday night we all went on a boat trip to Monaco and Friday night there was a party at the school so it's been quite busy.

The boat trip to Monaco was great but I felt sick after a while. The sea was very choppy and the boat wasn't that big so I enjoyed about the first third of it and then wanted to go home! The view was extraordinary and on the way back I literally saw a red sun setting behind Villefranche. I have never seen anything like it - a huge red sun. I tried to take a photo of it but the camera couldn't pick it up and it didn't last long but it made the sea sickness well worth it.

The people on the course are great - a diverse group of people from many walks of life, mostly older than me. There are a few younger people here but I would say the average age is 50. On the first morning we all took a test and our name and age was on the front page and on a quick glance around my table of 8 people, there were four women in their 60s. There is one man here who is 80 and the youngest would be a girl who I would guess is in her early 20s. There are 10 people in my class incuding myself. Two women in their 60s, one man in his 50s, 2 men in their 40s, 2 women in their 50s, one woman in her 40s and 2 of us in our 30s. I noticed that they all seem to have considerably more experience with the language after a couple of days and I asked the teacher at the party last night if I was in the wrong class! She said that my initial test showed I was more Beginners 2 level but that there is no Beginners 2 class this time so they put me up. She said that she could see I was picking things up quickly and that she would have put me down to Beginners 1 if she was worried so I am lucky! I want to learn as much as I can so I'm glad to have the opportunity to get a good headstart.

I'm sad to say there are no hot men around, well, none that aren't married. One of the teachers is gorgeous, I can imagine all the girls fall in love with him (see right). The teachers are all very funny and it's amazing how much we all laugh and understand what is going on. I think the teachers must be trained to speak with the simplified vocabulary and they are all entertainers. Some of the translation issues are hilarious. We were discussing our favourite cuisine and one woman mispronounced 'Francaise' and said 'Francois', which is a boys name. The teacher said, 'you like to eat Francois??? Ooh la la!' and proceeded to back away slowly, it was hilarious.

Some things are normal, like the state of my apartment. As Dad would say, 'it looks like a bomb has hit it.' I've been having too much fun to tidy up! So here I am in Villefranche on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, writing in my blog, replying to all my emails and cleaning my bedroom! I will update my blog when I can but it takes me a long time to put one together, maybe an hour? Sometimes more. Anyway, I shall leave it at that for now and post more when I can.

Hope you are all happy and well. :)

M. x

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Le Institut de Francais est tres magnifique!

Bonjour! I thought I might put up a series of blog posts about my life here in Villefranche. One about the school, one about my apartment, one about the food, etc... as I find time, of course! I thought I would start with the school. I have just finished my first day of tuition, which is Day 2 of the course. All I can say is - WOW! Today was conducted entirely in French and I'm pleased to say that I understood most of it. I understand how things work here now and it is phenomenal - I've certainly come to the right place.

The Institut de Francais follows the a total approach program and they state that their 'one and only objective is to have you speak French as fluently and correctly as possible at the end of your stay.' Sounds good to me. The big question everyone asks is, 'how do they do it? In one month??' Well, the answer lies in a method developed after 4 years of research requested by the French government to combat the increasing number of foreign students and teachers coming to France. After determining what kind of French to teach (scholarly French? tourist French? business French?), they decided to teach the French that everyone speaks in France. They placed microphones in a variety of public places and gathered a large amount of data. They discovered that there was a collection of 50,000 words used. Of them, a list of 1,500 words were arranged according to frequency and that list constitutes what is now known as the 'French Fundamental Vocabulary.' So, this is what they teach! It's extraodinary. So it's not about knowing the right word for something - it's about knowing how to ask what the right word is for something. :)

I feel like I've achieved more today than I ever have, it's hilarious. I just had a little penny drop with one of the big verbs and the present/past/future tense, and already feel comfortable saying what has irritated me for the past 5 years. So funny as it seems hilariously simple and I don't know why I haven't got it until now but I am loving it. Class is hard in that it's very difficult to have the phrases naturally roll off the tongue - the physical resistance to the phrases is so obvious once you hear it and can repeat it in your head only to find your mouth doesn't follow when you try to speak. It's like trying to say a tongue twister fast when there are 8 other people in the room looking at you. But that is why I am here. I am sick of not feeling comfortable speaking French. Gosh, I've spoken more French today than I have in the past 10 years collectively. Not that it's good French, but it should be at the end of 4 weeks!

The school is absolutely stunning (see the photos) and the teachers are hilarious and friendly. Breakfast consists of bread (freshly sliced baguettes), croissants, several cheeses, yoghurt and jam. Lunch is a 3 course meal. Yesterday was a vegetable soup, roast chicken/potato/roast tomato/beans and chocolate mousse. Today was Nicoise Salad (the famous Nice salad with anchovies/egg/tuna), beef schnitzel/broccoli/pasta bake and pistachio ice cream. It's very hard not to eat dessert when a plate of it is placed in front of everyone and there are spares in the centre. I've tried not to eat the carbs as much as possible but c'est tres difficile! There is also, of course, always fresh bread on the table and so far I've resisted pouring olive oil all over my plate and mopping it up with bread, as everyone else seems to be doing.

I've been placed in the intermediate level 1 class which seems to suit me well. I'm very happy, I've always been in the beginner levels at the Alliance de Francais so I was pleased. I was suprised considering I felt like I did dreadfully in the tests yesterday - I had to speak for 5 minutes describing a picture for one task, and all I could get out were very simple (and lame) sentences. And I ran out of things to say before 5 minutes! Ha. Oh well. I'm pretty happy with where I ended up.

Now I've just got to work out a way to afford coming here every year. ;)

M. x