Tag Archives: Weight loss

30 x 30 (x 30) challenge


So! Who’s up for a challenge? :mrgreen:

30 x 30 x 30 challenge

Earlier this week I decided it’s time to tackle Goal #72 on my 101 things in 1001 days list, namely the 30 x 30 challenge of doing 30 minutes of physical activity for 30 consecutive days.

I planned it strategically right at the start of a blazing South African summer, of course.

And that wasn’t enough, so I decided to add another ‘x 30’ on the end of that challenge too. Along with the daily physical exercise regimen, I’ve committed to a personalised detox.

It’s nothing hectic – nothing like my 21-day sugar detox – but I’m cutting out as many fatty foods, processed carbs and sugars as possible for the next 30 days, and I plan to eat a salad for at least one of my three main meals each day. I’ve reduced all my portions too, and I’m stocking my pantry I don’t have a pantry fridge and cupboards with the healthiest foods I can afford.

Or at least I will be, once payday rolls around 😀

But like I said, it’s a personalised detox. I know myself well enough to accept that 30 days without any sugary treats at all is going to be counterproductive – I’ll just give up that way. So each morning with my cup of unsweetened rooibos tea I indulge in a single, small vanilla biscuit. Treat? Check 🙂

Over time I’ve come to accept that some diet fads and detox ideas will never work for me. For one thing, I don’t do low-fat dairy. Period. It’s yucky and a waste of money and full of unhealthy additives. I’d rather enjoy a smaller portion of a full-cream product than mess around with low-fat and fat-free options.

Also, I’ll never stick to a diet plan that involves foods I’ve never even heard of, let alone eaten. If I can’t find it in the shops I usually buy from, it’s just going to be a stumbling block in my detox. Ditto if it tastes gross. You can keep your kombucha and your tempeh, thanks very much!

And finally, I’ll probably never stick to a diet plan that cuts out one or more food groups altogether. Yes, I do intend to give a month of vegetarianism a go e.v.e.n.t.u.a.l.l.y (despite my repeated failures in that area), but I still don’t expect it’ll become something permanent. I like my food, and I love variety in everything, so that’s what my current diet plan is based on 🙂

I started the challenge on the 13th of November, so that it ends the day before my dating anniversary with Ninja… at which point I believe we can celebrate with a well-deserved, detox-destroying romantic dinner.

The salads have been easy to fit in and perfect for the hot weather, but the exercise is obviously the harder part. I often get to walk for more than 30 minutes during lunchtime at work, and there are stairs to climb and weights to lift at home. No excuses!

Being the pedant that I am, I laid out all of this in a handy checklist. And here it is, free for you to download should you wish to attempt something like this for yourself 🙂

My 30 x 30 x 30 challenge

Here’s to good health and achieving our goals!


The 21-day sugar detox? I must be nuts!


Ohhhhh boy. What was I thinking?

Today I began 21 days of no sugar and no carbs – read: pretty much no comfort food of any kind – and I did it voluntarily. In winter. For twenty-one days!


Day 1 and I feel a bit lost, really.

Me without sugar is like a sunflower without the sun. I run on sugar! Sweet treats are my staple source of glee. At restaurants I peruse the menus backwards, starting with the desserts. And in winter I gravitate towards breads, pastas, grains and rich sauces.

I guess that’s exactly why this detox is a good idea for me 😛

I was introduced to it by a friend at work and we’re tackling it together, so I’ll have support. This is her second time on the detox, which is a good sign: she survived the first one!

The basic premise of the program is that our bodies are clogged up with an overload of unnatural, refined, processed carbs and sugars and that this lifestyle is bringing on mood swings, tummy troubles, weight gain and a host of other unpleasant effects. As the author of the program, Diane Sanfilippo, puts it, ‘Somewhere along the way, we stopped eating real food.’

All things considered, I’ve coped with the first day better than I expected to. Here’s what I’ve nibbled so far:

  • One semi-ripe banana with lashings of full-cream Greek yoghurt, mixed with vanilla essence, pumpkin seeds, coconut and cinnamon
  • Celery sticks with cheddar cheese
  • A carrot
  • Two cups of unsweetened herbal tea
  • A serving of savoury mince with mushrooms and tomato
  • A handful of salted pistachio nuts

That’s a lot of nibbling. And I haven’t even got to dinner yet.

But I am still so hungry! Clearly I’ll have to increase my portion sizes of the allowed foods…

The nice thing about this detox is that dairy is allowed – as long as it’s full cream. Proteins are allowed too, and so are most veggies. The only things I’m cutting down/out are grains, starchy vegetables, fruit and sweet treats. In other words, it’s not total deprivation.

I’ll let you know how it goes :mrgreen:

Vegetarianism: take two


Last week a friend treated me to brunch at a lovely restaurant called Gingko (yes, check off another one for Goal #70).

Gingko: The second restaurant for Goal #70

Of course, I used it as an opportunity to work on Goal #42 as well, and eat something I’d never tried before. I ordered a shrimp, avo and ricotta frittata (shrimp being the novel ingredient for me). Here it is:

Shrimp, avo and ricotta frittata

Shrimp, avo and ricotta frittata

Gingko is a lovely restaurant with seating outdoors in a leafy garden. It was a beautiful spot for catching up on some girl talk over a good meal. The food is mainly organic and mostly vegetarian or vegan, although they do cater for carnivores too.

Seeing the amazing menu, I started thinking about my weak attempt at vegetarian eating. And I think I can see why I failed at meeting my goal of going vegetarian this past month.

It’s because I didn’t remind myself of the reasons I had for putting such a goal on my 101 list in the first place.

People choose a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle for many different reasons; it could be for religion, better health, animal rights, saving the planet or just saving the ozone from all those noxious bovine gases!

My reasons for wanting to try out a relatively meatless diet are simple and personal:

  1. I believe taking a break from meat for a month would be a good detox for my body.
  2. I need a push to improve our diet coz I don’t think Ninja and I are meeting our 5-a-day quota for veggies and fruit.
  3. While I’m still learning more about the treatment of animals raised for food, I want to distance myself from known cruelty as much as possible.
  4. I’ve got about 4 extra sticky kilos that I just can’t seem to shift, so I’m hoping reducing meat will help with weight loss.
  5. I want to try vegetarianism in order to challenge myself to experiment with new recipes and ingredients.

If I’d kept these points in mind, I might not have given up on this goal before the month was out.

Another reason I think I failed to stick to the plan was that it was too strict. From some articles I’ve been reading online, it seems that many vegetarians eventually turn back to include some form of meat in their diets – mainly for health reasons. I certainly don’t want to become anaemic or anything, and I need to be careful because I have low blood pressure as it is. So instead of cutting off everything at once, perhaps I’d have more success if I revised the rules a bit.

I’d like to try for Goal #36 again in the month ahead, but here’s how I’ll play it next time:

  • Include chicken and fish, but only free-range chicken and wild-caught, eco-friendly fish. That way hopefully I’m only choosing creatures that had a fairly healthy and stress-free life.
  • Eat no pork, beef, lamb or other red meat.
  • Include eggs and dairy as before.

It’s easier for me if my ‘month of vegetarianism’ runs from one grocery shopping date to the next, i.e. the 25th March to 25th April. So I’m starting it today.

Off I go now to do grocery shopping and fill my basket with more goodness for the greater good 🙂

Grab bootstraps. Pull up.

Wildflower © Sunshine Scrapbook

Wildflower © Sunshine Scrapbook

I don’t know about you, but getting to the end of a month always makes me want to pause and take stock of where I’m at. I feel it’s time for some big changes and challenges in my life. So far this year has been busy and fairly pleasant, but the progress I’m making on certain goals is decidedly underwhelming.

Such as Goal #5 – Get to my goal weight and maintain. All the wonderful dinners and parties and special meals I’ve been indulging in (not to mention the random baking sprees) have done little to improve my diet, health or weight.

Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not the kind of person to have a complex about my weight. I’m not obese or anything, just not as fit and trim as I’d like to be. Nor is my diet as healthy and well thought out as it ought to be. It’s something I want to change. And instead of continuing to say I want to change, this time I actually want to do what it takes. Time to grab the proverbial bootstraps, and yank!

“I think I’ll start tomorrow,” she says, finishing off one of the last currant whorls…

Seriously though. Tomorrow a new month begins. Don’t-mess-with-me March. I plan to take action for my health. Here’s how:

1. Go vegetarian for a month. Or in my case, pescatarian. No beef, no lamb, no pork, no chicken. I’ll still eat eggs, dairy and fish, though. March is a good month to tackle this goal (#36). I don’t foresee that it will be too tough to accomplish, since I don’t eat much red meat anyway. But cutting out bacon and chicken will be a tad depressing. On the upside: maybe in achieving this goal I can learn to cook two more new veggies and cross off Goal #46 at the same time 🙂 Ninja won’t want to join me on this, though, so I’ll continue to cook meat for him.

2. No baking. Sheesh. A whole month without sweet creativity in the kitchen? A bleak prospect indeed! One exception to this will be the Minnie Mouse cupcakes I’ve been asked to bake for a kiddies’ birthday party around the middle of March. I’ll just try not to sample too many of these myself then…

3. Keep a food diary. Hey, wait! Don’t run away! I promise not to spam your inbox with my daily diet 😛 This will be for my eyes only, to keep me in check.

4. No unhealthy takeaways. On the rare occasions that I do need to eat out, I’ll order the healthiest meals I can find. Nothing deep fried, cheesy, meaty or sweet. That includes drinks such as the KFC Very Berry Krusher, which has single-handedly krushed my diet this summer. *pines away*

5. Stick to my exercise routine. I’m doing a variety of exercises (I’m no gym bunny, so I do it all at home), including weights, cardio, jogging and stretching exercises. I’ll be aiming to stick to it for at least 30 min per day, 3 days per week, for 3 weeks in March, as Goal #4 stipulates.

6. Reduce salt, sugar and refined/processed foods. I’m not ready yet to go on a total health-freak whole-foods organic-only diet. There will still be times when I need to use refined flour or salt or other modern evils. But I’ll limit these as best I can.

Overall, I just want to take a step in the right direction, not make an idol of my healthy diet. As Jesus said, what goes into a person’s mouth doesn’t matter as much as what comes out of it, from their hearts (Matt 15:10–20). So my diet changes will be sensible rather than sensational. I don’t want it to take over my life. Still, I’ve got a good feeling about this. I look forward to seeing some positive changes over the next few weeks 🙂