FebFast is over

FebFast is over

I think FebFast has brought a change in attitude from me. I’m going to continue to take in healthier snacks with me to munch on at work — to my surprise, I don’t actually mind the taste of raw carrots, and it’s been easier to Just Say No to biscuits than I thought it would be — easier than trying to limit their intake, in fact.

Apart from biscuits, I also managed to stay off chocolates, chips (hot and cold), muesli bars and pizza. I’ll probably get back onto occasional pizza, hopefully home-made and healthy (in fact I just got a pizza stone for the barbecue, now looking for recipes!), and occasional hot chips and chocolate, but avoid having them regularly, and lay off most of the baddies.

I’m in two minds about muesli bars — I know even the Carmans ones (with no chocolate or yoghurt) are basically just a big biscuit, but if I do munch on them I’ll definitely limit myself.

A few years ago I compared the nutritional attributes of various snacks… it’s no surprise that fresh (not dried) fruit provides fewer kilojoules, less sugar and fat and salt than chocolates or muesli bars.

The weakness was cake. With birthday celebrations during February for one son, a nephew and the usual work end-of-month practice of celebrating “February babies”, it can be socially difficult to resist joining in having some cake.

I raised $200 for youth addiction services by participating in FebFast — half the default target that was attached to my enrolment, but I had no idea how high it’d get. Thanks to all those who contributed — I think the donate link still works!

Running

I got myself some earphones (on frequent flyer points) for running. Given when I listen to music I can’t count my pacing, I’ve got RunKeeper saying hello every minute. I’m walking one minute, then running another. Some might call this Interval Training. I call it Needing A Rest Every So Often.

But it is allowing me to gradually extend my runs.

What music? So far I’ve been trying some Ocean Colour Scene. The rhythm is fairly consistent (I won’t say plodding), and I know the music so I can enjoy it in the background without it being too distracting.

Runkeeper is telling me I’m averaging a kilometre about every 6 and a bit minutes, making my speed about 9 kilometres per hour. That said, I have to remember to set the Location setting on the phone to GPS only; setting it to “high accuracy” (using WiFi and other settings to help) actually seems to play against it when doing laps of the oval.

On this morning’s run I was joined by one lady who effortlessly ran about 6 laps non-stop, an older lady who effortlessly did run/walk/exercise laps, and an elderly lady who effortlessly walked a couple of laps — all while I huffed and puffed my way around, once again losing count of how many laps I did.

One conclusion is: I probably need to buy some decent running shoes. I got cheapies to get me started, and it’s probably time to (sorry, bad pun coming up) take the next step.

I probably also need to find a proper cool-down method. It seems to be pointless to have a shower too quickly after the run — somehow I just come out afterwards still sweaty.

Walking (total steps)

I’m still targeting 10,000 steps per day — some days I’m reaching and exceeding this by a long way, some days I’m way under. It varies, but it’s good to have a goal, and just thinking about it has me consciously trying to walk further.

Lunchtime walks are also a great way to avoid CBD tram overcrowding.

Looking at the figures, I’ve averaged 9850 per day since the start of February.

Turns out for people who are members of both Flybuys and Medibank and also have a Fitbit there’s a scheme running this month where people who sign up and reach 10,000 steps every day in March win a $100 prize. They also have 10 Flybuys points for each day you reach the target.

Daniel's steps per day

All in all I think doing FebFast was good for me, and hopefully has helped changed my attitudes towards diet, as well as fitness.

FebFast: No junk food for a month

I’ve just enjoyed my last takeaway pizza for a month, including leftovers for lunch today:

Last takeaway pizza before FebFast

I’ve signed up for FebFast, where participants are encouraged to refrain from something for the month of February.

They’ve got a few variations on it:

FebFast Smoking — no point in this, as I don’t smoke.

FebFast Social Media — Noooooooooooo.

FebFast Alcohol — I barely drink, so there’d be no challenge here.

FebFast Sugar — not convinced sugar intake is a problem for me, but I think it’d be difficult to do properly.

FebFast Junk Food — that’s the one for me!

Here’s an info-graphic on the benefits of staying off junk food:

FebFast: Junk food infographic

They’re ultimately leaving it up to the individual to decide what’s in and what’s out, though they do have some guidelines.

For me, I’ll be aiming to avoid: chips (both hot and crisps), chocolates (apparently “raw dark chocolate” is okay?), biscuits (a difficult ask in the office), milk shakes. Cakes? I’ll decline anything except a small slice for any birthday celebrations.

I’ll lay off soft drinks, but reserve the right to glug down a Coke if I need to, as I use them to fight off headaches occasionally. But I’ll try and avoid it.

I’ll avoid ice cream, but with one exception: I’m hoping to have one last Dairy Bell cone before they close in late February. I have fond memories of them from when I was a kid living near their Elsternwick shop — it’s a shame they’re going.

Non home-made pizza, burgers, and most other packaged/processed foods are also on the No Go list. I suspect I should also avoid muesli bars… they’re really just a glorified biscuit, aren’t they?

What else should I avoid?

I love my snacks between meals, so I’ll stick to fruit and nuts and other fresh stuff. Maybe I should pack some carrot sticks for morning tea?

Daniel's FebFast banner

So, who wants to sponsor me? Donations are tax deductible for Australians, and go towards supporting youth drug and alcohol addiction services.

Update: I was asked a good question on Twitter: How much junk food to I normally eat? I don’t binge on it all the time, but I do sometimes fall into the trap of a takeaway burger and chips as a lazy lunch or dinner, and I do eat far too many snacks such as biscuits at work, where we have a plentifully supplied biscuit jar.

Update FebFast Day 2: You should have SEEN the number of chocolate biscuits in the office biscuit jar today. Somehow I managed to resist them all!

Update FebFast Day 7: It’s been surprisingly easy to avoid chomping on office snacks such as biscuits. I did eat one muesli bar which I had in a desk drawer, and found it unsatisfying, so I doubt I’ll be having any more in a hurry. I have succumbed to a couple of (small) bottles of Coke as a pick-me-up (one day as I’ve developed a cold which has left me feeling pretty flat). I have been snacking on fruit and nuts, though I wonder what the overall kilojoule count is like on those.

Your guide to meat

M+J were clearing out some old cook books, and found this gem. It’s not dated, but it does have a decimal price, so it must be post-February 1966. Perhaps not far after though, judging from the style.

Much of it is in black and white, but here are a few choice colour pages…

Cover from a 60s meat industry cookbook

Food groups - From a 60s meat industry cookbook

Cheese! From a 60s meat industry cookbook

Onions! From a 60s meat industry cookbook

Meat! - From a 60s meat industry cookbook

Wiltshire knives ad - From a 60s meat industry cookbook

Golden Circle pineapple ad - From a 60s meat industry cookbook

And one mouth-watering recipe for you, from the “Economising with meat” section: Open wholemeal brain sandwiches. Yum!

Brain sandwich recipe - From a 60s meat industry cookbook

Supermarket fruit+veg bags – all the way from the USA #FoodMiles

Anybody who likes to minimise their food miles might like to note this… increasing numbers of Woolworths supermarkets are using bags for fruit and vegetables that are made in the USA.

Fruit and vegetable bags at Woolworths

That’s not to say other supermarket bags aren’t also imported from a long way away. As far as I’ve noticed, the Woolworths ones are the only ones that say so.

It’s a similar story when buying cling wrap — almost all brands seem to be made in China nowaways.

The bags shown above aren’t heavy or bulky, of course, but a chain like Woolworths must go through millions of them every year. It all adds up.

Personally, if I’m buying only about three or less of each item, provided they’re not small, I don’t usually bother to put them in a bag at all.

5 varieties of ham – all with identical nutritional values?

What is the likelihood that 5 varieties of sliced ham — including a supposedly “lite” version — all have precisely the same nutritional values, despite tasting and looking different?

Each one 112 kilojoules per serve, 0.7 grams of fat, and 204 milligrams of sodium.

Honey leg hamSpanish style leg ham
Triple smoked leg hamVirginia leg ham
Lite leg ham

Hmmm.

Thankfully their sliced chicken breast product appears to have different attributes.