Monday, 29 September 2008

Day 46 : Only in Japan

The mystery of the disappearing bananas is solved. Apparently there is a banana diet being pushed on a TV show and that has caused them to disappear from the shelves. Sold out again in one supermarket this evening but still in stock in my local store.

This week is shaping up to be the week from hell. I only had time for skipping this morning and tomorrow I have an 8am meeting so I'll have to be up really early. And my evenings are booked solid. The worst is Wednesday so I guess that will have to be my day of rest.

If I haven't done the workout in the morning, it preys on my mind all day. I'm not enjoying this week's exercises either, in reality, probably just the push-ups (which I have hated since school days) and the abs exercises. The v-sits are still a problem for me and I'm still not finding quite the right position for my cushion.

And while I'm moaning, boy was I wrong about the temperature yesterday. It was only in the mid teens centigrade for most of the day and below 10 when I was doing my skipping this morning. I wore a sweat shirt ..... and didn't really sweat!! I was actually lucky not to be skipping in the rain too - it started as I was finishing my skips and it has rained all day. The rain is forecast to continue until Wednesday.

Wish me luck getting through this week!!

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Day 45 : Half Way There

A curious sense of anticlimax. I guess in PCP halfway is nowhere, despite the changes so far.

Only time for skipping this morning before driving up to Tokyo to do some errands I needed to have the car for. I don't drive much and this trip reminded my why - Y2,600 ($25) in expressway tolls and Y4,200 ($40) in parking, plus the cost of petrol. That, at least, has dropped in the past few weeks. A train ride would have been at no cost because I would have used my commuter pass.

So another evening workout with the usual exercises causing me the usual problems. I think I felt stiff yesterday because of the shoulder press.

I had a better night's sleep last night and felt a bit better for it. The weather has turned cooler and so I'm not fighting the heat while skipping. Indeed, it almost feels like I'm skipping to keep warm! Being a Brit, I can't really say it is cold. It still is reaching the mid to upper 20s centigrade during the day is in the mid to upper 70s fahrenheit but morning and evening are cool and autumn seems to have arrived.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Day 44 : Stop the World (I Want to Get Off)

Even though it is the weekend, I'm still super busy. Got up and did the skipping with a new audience : a really pretty yellow butterfly, a small blue butterfly and a grasshopper. The grasshopper was a bit of a surprise. It was quite cool to start with but when the sun came out, it felt warm again.

The new workout felt tougher and I've been stiff all day. I wonder whether I overdid it or at least pushed myself a bit hard(er). The creeps reminded me of an exercise that sumo wrestlers do to strengthen their legs, the V-sits are still a problem and I kept slipping off the chair with the seated sit-ups.

For the rest of the day I was on the go. First, a shopping trip where I spent too much, of course. Then a visit to the home of the British Consul whose daughter was having her first birthday party. I felt a generation too old - the room was full of young parents with very small children. My boys are 16 and 20 so being so close to such a large number of young children was a throw-back experience. It felt strange and I wasn't sorry to leave to attend a ceremony at a volunteer group I am associated with. The really tough thing was not eating anything at the buffet dinner that followed with only a shake to look forward to when I got home. And then finally took in a new British pub that opened walking distance from my house a few months back. Good to know that there is somewhere that I can now catch the important soccer matches without being stranded miles from home (in the winter, UK 3pm kick-offs are midnight in Japan and by the time the games have finished, all the public transport here has stopped).

Moving around today, my meals got a bit messed up and I think I ended up with too many carbs and not enough vegetables but on balance, probably just about OK in total.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Day 43 : Six Weeks!!

And I weighed in this morning at exactly 83kg, 9kg (20lb) down.

A better night's sleep, I guess - 11.30pm to 5pm straight and then I was woken up by the wind swirling around the house. The remaining 90 minutes until the alarm went off were less restful - probably asleep but feeling that I had actually been awake.

Things were a rush because I had to get out of the house early again for an early meeting (one of business visitors left this afternoon and the other will leave tomorrow morning so hopefully back to "normal" next week, whatever that is). I was surprised when I stepped into the garden. Not only was the wind strong, it was humid. And it completely messed up my skipping. The rope was blown around a lot and my timing, never the best, really struggled. Only two of the sets had any fluency. Right in the middle of the skipping, I spotted a mosquito flying sluggishly by my foot. A quick stamp and the mosquito turned into ..... a large smear of blood. Mine I suspect. If it hadn't eaten so much, it might have got away!

I visited a potential client mid-morning and he wiped the smug grin off my face - he has lost 7kg in four weeks, but then he said that he was dieting because of gall stones. I certainly don't envy him that.

The afternoon was meant to be a quick wrap-up with the second of my visiotrs but the final meeting went on until after 7pm and by the time I had done everything I had to do, I didn't get to start completing the workout until 10.30pm.

But now that is done, I guess that I have the new workout to look forward tomorrow.

The new diet gave me a small increase in rations here and there, which is nice.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Day 42 : Sleeping

I got to bed too late last night and was really tired but that didn't stop my brain working overtime. I went to bed about midnight and then woke at 1.30, 3 and 4.30 before waking up before the radio, set for 6.40 at 6.30. After each wakening, I went back to sleep very easily but each time my brain was buzzing, as though it had woken me up for some conscious thinking instead of the unconscious thoughts that are happening all the time. Hmmm.

That at least got me skipping earlier. A little bit uncoordinated, as ever, but gradually got better and the last set was reasonable fluid. The workout went fine. I added the yellow band to the blue one I have been using for the chest fly, now rebranded as the standing ovation, and it stiffened the resistance up considerably to the point where I could feel the relative weakness of my left arm compared to my right. Disappointingly, the v-sits were not so good. They started off fine but I guess the positioning of the cushion is crucial because by the fourth set I was struggling and hurting. More experimenting required.

I had an expensive treat for my afternoon fruit - I found a shop near a client's office selling fresh raspberries so I splashed out.

Just got home at 10.15. Time for a quickie smoothie and bedtime veggies before going to sleep.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Day 41 : A Quick Blog

As I said, a long and busy day today. I set the (radio) alarm early but was really fast asleep when it went off. My immediate thought was "day of rest" and reset the alarm for half an hour later. Of course, I didn't get any more sleep, just lay there wishing I was asleep. And I still felt asleep when I stumbled throught the skipping.

The day whizzed by and I got home at about 9pm and still had to make some calls. Then a straight choice - the workout or a massage. You can guess which one won.

So off to bed so I can get up and do the skips and workout before I leave tomorrow because tomorrow looks to be another long day.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Day 40 : Public Holiday

Another public holiday and as usual I managed to get booked up. Woke myself without the alarm and felt ready positive. This was the result of a good meeting I had last night that has given me some new ideas.

It is interesting how mental energy helps the physical energy. A bit like biorhythms. One up and one down, you can get by. Both up and you are cruising. Both down and everything is a challenge.

Well, both were up this morning. All of my skipping sets went over 200 skips and I cleared most of the workout without too much of a problem. I even think that I may have found a way to do the V-sits with the strategic placement of a cushion. After a bit of trial and error, it will be great if I have found the solution.

Then out into the sunshine to the school for a meeting (again), back to cook lunch and some vegetables (lotus root, soy beans among them) before going to spend some time with my older son.

I have a really early start tomorrow so I've decided on an early night. I hope the attitude is still there in the morning.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Day 39 : Green Bananas

Well, obviously the supply chain broke down somewhere. Bananas were back on the shelf of my local supermarket this evening but they are all green. At least they won't go ripe on me too quickly.

More torrential rain this morning had me skipping on the porch again but with the wind blowing the rain towards me. And it was COLD. I have five skipping sets to do this week and had the satisfaction of increasing the count on each one. Sometimes I just get more tangled up the more I do but today I just seemed to get more into the swing of it.

But I only had enough time to do floor jumps and get the plank out of the way before heading off to the office.

I managed to get my fruit ready and then left it at home so I went round to the discount supermarket near the office and picked up some grapes, wincing at the price of the bananas (18 for Y315 = Y17.5 each - my banana last night was seventeen the price!!).

I had a LONG day, getting home about 10.15 with the rest of the workout still to do. In addition to my back twinges (hang in there, Emiko), I've found a new ache to moan about. My hands hurt pressing down on the push-up handles! Actually, I shouldn't be too surprised. My type of arthritis typically affects the spine and the extremities i.e. the hands and feet. So I covered the handles with cushions!! The other difficult one is the V-sits but I managed to do the minimum in a remote semblance of what I should be doing. A long way from what it should be but an improvement.

My weight this morning was 83.5kg. I started the PCP at 92kg so that is an amazing 8.5kg (nearly 19ib) loss in 39 days - 1lb every two days! Kind-of scary and I do find that I lose energy at certain times of the day. The mid-morning and mid-afternoon fruit is necessary. A few years back when I weighed in at 106kg, I had a medical. The doctor said I was 25% overweight and should weigh 83.4kg. I put myself on a strict diet and lost weight smoothly at a rate of about 2kg a month for a year, ending up at 81kg. So I'm now more or less where the tables say my weight should be and approaching the lowest I've been since childhood (and that was a LONG time ago). My newest suits are now too big around the waist. Hmmm.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Day 38 : The Great Banana Hunt

The day started well enough with the skipping under sunny skies. The exercises this week are tougher and I need to consult the oracle on a couple of them. I pushed the plank up the order again and was able to do it - if I leave it to the end, I seem to lack the inner strength to last out long enough.

Then off to see Charlie as the rain clouds banked up again. By the time I reached Charlie's, the heavens had opened again and we have had heavy rain showers for the rest of the day. After Charlie, a visit to Japan's ancient and recently scandal-prone sport, sumo. Great fun with a major upset in the last bout. Thought maybe they could use the PCP, although they are very fit underneath all that blubber.

Shopping on the way back, I thought I had everything, and even bought some mint. But I forgot the bananas. Actually, maybe they weren't on display because when I realised, I thought, even though it was late, I had time to walk down the hill to the closest supermarket, which closes at 10. Shock, horror, no bananas!! Quickly on to one convenience store and then another. They often have single bananas on sale but no such luck. Finally, I thought of one more supermaket that also closes at 10, the expensive one. Dashing in at 9.50, I'm greeted with signs for four different types of bananas - but no bananas!!! Eventually, prowling round the shop, I came across what clearly much be the gourmet banana corner. Individually wrapped bananas! (Funny, I've always thought of bananas as the most convenient of fruit because they come ready-wrapped). Anyway, in the interests of the PCP, I invested Y198 (nearly $2) in a gourmet banana.

I bought the mint because I thought it would be a good variation to add to the shake. And so it proved. My shake ended up a slightly greenish colour and tasted of, well, mint. So I didn't really get to savour the true taste of the goumet banana, after all. Ah, well!!

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Day 37 : Typhoon Gone

The storm blew over last night - thunder and heavy rain. The typhon never actually came onshore. It was the sort of rain where you lie in bed thinking, "wow, that sounds hard, shall I get up and have a look?" and then it gets even harder. I didn't bother to get up and have a look though. It did wake me a few times. But today we had some blue skies again and the typhoon has continued to the north east, back out to sea.

I did skipping and workout this evening and Nate was right about the mosquitoes at sunset. I looked down and I had a swarm around each ankle. I went running for the insect repellent (in Japan they have a slow burning "fuse" that gives off smoke the insects don't like).

I'm still trying to work out some of my new exercises. The plank increased, just as I was beginning to feel I could cope with it.

I've felt hungry and tired all day so an early night tonight.

I'm not holding a sign in this week's photo - in honour of the storm, I've got an umbrella, something that Wile often holds, either trying to make it into a parachute or to somehow hold off the rocks showering on his head. I'll do a diet sheet photo for Patrick next week.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Day 36 : Looking like your Hero

You know what they say about people changing to look like their pets (or vice versa). PCP is about getting in the same condition as our heroes but will we actually look like them?

Patrick actually didn't end up looking like Bruce Lee but Adrian already looks a bit like Manny Pacquiao. Emiko will have to dye her hair and maybe get a perm to look like Michelle Rodriguez, Amy stands a chance of looking like Monica Carlson as the PCP takes hold and Nate is already jumping around like David Belle but look-alike, I'm not quite sure. As for me, it's more of a spiritual thing - I don't want to end up looking like Wile.

Patrick kindly stepped in an extracted the weather map for me. It looks like it is going to stay out at sea but be off Yokohama about 9pm this evening. I had better be home by then.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Day 35 : Lunch in a Restaurant

More lethargy this morning, pouring with rain so skipped on the front porch again and left the workout for this evening. After breakfast, began to think about putting my lunch together. Then I remembered, I had a appointment with a former client at lunchtime. But since I had suggested somewhere with a salad bar, I had a brainwave and instead of packing my lunch, I packed my kitchen scales and at the salad bar, slid it under my plate and measured out 150g of tuna and 150g of salads. The only carb available at the salad bar was pasta and since I try to avoid gluten, I order a small bowl of rice and weighed out 100g of that. My first white rice in a month. My companion went back for seconds, of course, but all in all, it went quite smoothly. I have another lunch booked there next week so I'll know what to do!!

Yesterday afternoon and evening I had some very positive meetings that really put a bounce in my step, followed by my weekly massage. The ladies there seem to have decided that I'm their special client and are adamant that they will have me flexible by the end of the year. Yesterday I was told I'm much stiffer down my left hand side than my right. I guess that figures because I'm completely right-handed so the right side of my body has more to do.

Today was the opposite of yesterday with more stress than I needed at work and I came home feeling drained. The power of fruit came to my rescue though because after my shake, I had enough energy to get through the workout.

I tried to copy the weather map showing the typhoon still tracking towards us, still two days away but couldn't "lift" the image. Here's the link though.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Day 34 : Back, Satan!

I read Patrick's email after sleeping late and doing my skipping AND after deciding that I was just TOO TIRED to do the workout so that this will have to be my "day of rest".

What Patrick said was spot on. The little devil in my head was definitely whispering "It's ok to skip the workout today. You're tired, you deserve the break... no one will know...".

I would know, of course, and I am allowed a day off anyway so I haven't broken the rules but I'm glad that I didn't take the rest day to recover from the hike and so had it in reserve.

The main reason is the Board Meeting last night went on until 10.45pm so by the time I had got home, made my shake etc and got ready for bed, it was after midnight. Getting the sleep is so important.

I tried Kazue's recipe by just "baking" my eggs in the pan this morning "dry" but I definitely think a drop of oil improves it. I'm actually not very fond of the taste of olive oil which means I'm not likely to overdo the quantity.

On the train into the office I was already feeling hungry. Bad sign since the biggest meal of the day had already been eaten. But I was saved by my mid-morning fruit. I had mango today and it was delicious, giving me the sugar hit that I needed.

Day 33 : Skipping on the Porch

Rain, as forecast, this morning so I had to think about somewhere else to skip. The only place that came to mind was outside the front door. There isn't that much room. I had to be careful not to fall down the front steps and kept hitting the rope against the wall and front door so I didn't get quite as many skips in but did OK. I was feeling lethargic through the skipping and the workout but had to get through them because today is one of those burning the candle at both ends days with a board meeting tonight at Yokohama International School. I hope it won't go on really late.

Everyone seems to be talking about food again (except Nate who is educating us on the ways of parkour). I've been feeling really hungry over the past two days. Emiko's photos had me drooling (not a pretty sight). I was interested to see Kazue's blog about breakfast because before I had read it, I ended up doing the same thing this morning but I used a drop or two of olive oil in the pan and made an omelette with steamed spinach and onion in it. I missed the salt I would normally put in.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Day 32 : Hey Dudes

Actually, Patrick is quite right, I would never use the word as a term of address in a month of Sundays - I'm the Atlantic Ocean and about two generations from having it in my vocabulary but as we are proving with PCP, anything can change.

But I was sitting listlessly at the computer having been woken up too early by my thoughts (about a meeting I have this morning) reading Patrick's email and trying to summon the energy to get skipping when I thought "music" and "Dude looks like a lady", and went off in search of Aerosmith. I couldn't find the Greatest Hits CD with "dude" on it so I grabbed "Honkin' on Bobo" (what a delightful title lol) and if you are familiar with the album, you will know the first track is "Road Runner". Someone somewhere is trying to tell me something, I thought, and went skipping.

Not as good as yesterday but not bad and I've decided that skipping without my glasses is more pleasant but I've renamed my skipping rope - it is now my tripping rope!!

Then onto the workout - I rearranged the order to put the plank first. I often try to do the least pleasant things first to get them out of the way and this at least got me out of that horrible feeling of having one exercise left and it being the one I least want to do. I managed to struggle through it and got everything done by 8.20 with the rest of my public holiday "free" (apart from my from my morning and afternoon meetings, that is - both not "work" work but scheduled time, nevertheless).

The highlight of the day was actually lunch because for a change I was home and could do something in the kitchen. I threw some cooked minced chicken, some steamed spinach and some onion into a saucepan with a little water and some curry powder and dumped it on my carb allowance (brown rice). The rice seemed to disappear but the whole thing was delicious but I suspect my standards may have dropped in the last month.

We've got another rainy week coming up. There is a typhoon to the south-west and if it tracks up the coast, we could have some fun weather. I live on the top of a hill so my risk is being blown away, not being flooded.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Day 31 : The Day After

Have you ever noticed that the day after something is when the reaction happens? You know, jet lag on the second day is always worse than the first.

So I woke up this morning feeling like I climbed a mountain yesterday. Stiff thighs, particularly.

But I stepped into the garden for my skipping and totally amazed myself. Unlike Emiko's (for me) unbelievable skipping sequences, my time trials seems decidedly wimpy (although Patrick assures me that they are doing what they are supposed to). I have been struggling to get skipping "runs" going and I currently have to do as many skips in 4 x 3 minutes as I can. To my utter surprise, this morning I did over 200 in each of the four sets. That's more than 800 in 12 minutes, which by my standards, is incredible. Then I did my lunges before going off to see Charlie.

A good seesion with him including something that I have been waiting for him to get to - the kinks in my back. Instead of concentrating on the legs and neck where he usually works, he concentrated on twisting me around. As usual, it wasn't totally painless but the gain is apparent.

On the way back, I thought, what the hell, let's have my indulgence so I detoured via the ice cream shop. BUT THEY DIDN'T HAVE MY FAVORITE FLAVOURS. Well, I wasn't going to settle for a second choice indulgence so I walked out of the shop again.

What I did do on the way back was finish my book, "Maskerade", the 18th "Discworld" book by Terry Pratchett. I'm working my way through them in sequence. They are set in a fantasy world full of witches, wizards, dwarfs and trolls as well as ordinary people, not forgetting my favorite character, Death, who always speaks in block capitals. The stories range from amusing to hilarious. If you want a break from the seriousness of the world, try one. The first in the series is called "The Colour of Magic" (he's a British author so I guess that is the right spelling).

I was feeling tired by the time I got home though so postponed the rest of the exercises until the evening. And of course, felt no livelier by evening. So I toughed it out and even managed the planks in one set (just).

A good night's sleep is definitely in order.

By the way, something to watch out for, PCP Team - the unexpected compliment. I"m sure you have been getting some nice remarks about your weight loss etc but the other day someone told me I look taller. Hmm. It wasn't "slimmer" but "taller". Then I realised - I must be standing up straighter. Why? Because my back muscles are stronger. And that is what I mean by the unexpected compliment because even the complimenter doesn't realise the true compliment - the overall effect of PCP.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Day 30 : Another Mountain to Climb

This one literally!!
I mentioned going hiking today. I should have used my better judgement and stayed in bed but there were actually some positives out of it.
A friend of mine organises a hike every two months. He grades his hikes into easy, medium and hard but what he grades as medium, I grade as hard so I should have known better. I also should have paid more attention to the location - Oyama means "big mountain" and I should have taken that literally. Japan is a very mountainous country and many times a hike will climb steeply up to a ridge but then once up there, gently wind up and down. Not in this case!
It's alright, he said, we are going part of the way in a cable car. That should also have alerted me too. The cable car went from 315m to 678m above sea level. Oyama is 1,252m at the summit. And the "hike" was all uphill - we rose through 578m vertical height in 90 minutes : that's 1,896 feet!!! I had visions of Nate doing parkour up the slope ahead of me, jumping from rock to rock and leaving me in the dust.
By the time I reached the top, I was really struggling. I had taken my PCP lunch with me and found it very difficult to eat and only managed about 2/3 (the other 1/3 tasted so much better when I got back down to the bottom of the mountain). The apple snack was delicious, though. Fortunately, the route down was marginally kinder - just as well as since going down often gives me more trouble than going up!!
So, what were the positives :
- my legs were actually fine, the skipping must really have had an effect. What I was lacking was stamina and energy.
- my older son came along and we had a good time together

(he's the handsome one on the right, me in the hat at the back).
I managed all this after a really bad night's sleep - went to bed too late about midnight, had trouble going to sleep, woke up about 3am, spent at least 40 mins in front of the computer before going back to bed and waking frequently before getting up at 7.15.
I just had time to check Patrick's email and I'm on specials (well, you don't lead a sedentary life style for years without paying some penalties) but no time to do the exercises before I left so they were still to be done when I got home.
I actually didn't need to skip when I got back because my hike must surely count as an alternative .... but I did. I'm on timed sets and did OK despite the leaden legs. It was dark, of course, by then and although there is a light in the garden, it was a bit of a surreal experience because since last week, I have been trying to skip without my glasses and while this is OK in the daylight, at night everything turned into various shadows without them. Kind of like skipping on auto pilot.
The Continuous Jumpropes are a bit like time trials. Then Lunges (OK), Push-Ups (a Tim PCP first today - I actually did them properly from my toes, although not dipping down far enough yet), Chest Fly (I've change the elastic band from red to blue which is harder work); Curl (OK); Shoulder Fly (struggled towards the end); Leg Up (OK with my bum on cushions) and Plank (aaaargh - needed two separate attempts to do them).

Friday, 12 September 2008

Day 29 : Morning Off

That was a great idea - a lie in, enough time for the workout, a leisurely bath ............ and then into the office and all the regular stresses of life.

The weather was great too so I really wish I'd been able to take the whole day.

As it was, I stayed at work too late and have ended up feeling tired after all, so sorry, that's it for today.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Day 27 : The Benefits of Chocolate

This from

The pharmaco-dynamic substances (those whose action is similar to medications) found in chocolate are responsible for its reputation concerning its abilities. Four of these such substances can be found in chocolate: theobromine, caffeine, phenylethylamine, and serotonin. They appear in a negligible quantity, but each in infinitely small quantities plays an important role. Theobromine stimulates the central nervous system, facilitates muscular efforts, as well as having diuretic and cardiotonic action. It is an orexigan (appetite stimulator). Caffeine increases resistance towards fatigue, favorises intellectual activity, and increases watchfulness. Concerning phenylethylamine, it has a chemical structure similar to amphetamines and therefore contains psycho-stimulating properties. Serotonin, on the other hand, is a neurotransmitter (substance freed by the nerve endings) in the cerebral cortex--its quantity is often found to be lower during certain nervous depression states. The serotonin found in chocolate helps correct its initial loss. Likewise, the caffeine and saccharose stimulate the body's stimulation of serotonin. Finally, due to the pleasure it offers, chocolate stimulates endorphin secretion thus procuring naturally the same effects as opium. With this description of chocolate's chemical composition, it's never-ending list of virtues are easily explained.

Yeap, it's another "light" blog day. Patrick sent out the updated diets a day earlier than usual. I note that Nate, Adrian and I are all now allowed a spoonful of cooked rice with our dinner. This is easy for me because I always have (brown) rice in my rice cooker and it has been my carb of choice for most of PCP (I had a few potatoes earlier but the rice is so much easier) but I'm wondering how the other will cope. Of course, a spoonful is a rather inexact measurement. At the risk of incurring Patrick's wrath and appearing even more subversive than usual, I thought I could eliminate my carbohydrate cravings by using this one, apparently located at a place called Cramlington, Northumberland, in the north of England.

My indulgent day off tomorrow has been halved because there are some necessary things to be done by the end of the working day. But I'm going to take half a day and have a long lie-in.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Day 26 : My Indulgence

I've been reading the respective blogs on consuming the indulgence but I have a confession to make. I don't have much of a sweet tooth. I don't really like chocolate much and while I might have been tempted to gulp down some Haribo Gummi Bears, they used to make me feel sick before PCP (crazy what we do to ourselves) so I certainly don't want to do that now. I might be more tempted by some crisps (= chips in US, what we call chips translates to french fries) or corn chips, but they are so laden with fat and salt that I don't want to go there either.

My real indulgence is my now weekly visit to the Thai massage place and that hasn't cost me any calories. I called in on my way home tonight and decided that I wouldn't finish Workout 1 (I got as far as the squats this morning) and take today as my rest day.

Another calorie-free indulgence I'm thinking about is taking Friday off. Monday is a public holiday and that would give me a four day weekend, which I need!! Having said that, I'm planning to join a hike on Saturday so it will be interesting to see how my stamina holds up.

So the favorite for my calorie-filled indulgence is still the sorbet, and I know I'm going to love that. And let's face it, a good sorbet should be pretty healthy anyway. But I'm not going to go out of my way to get some. Maybe the urge will hit!!

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Day 26 : A Ritu Rettis

Today's lunchtime vegetables were salad and a memory from the past popped into my mind. On the American Forces Radio a few year's ago, there was a spot trying to teach the servicemen a few words of Japanese. The lady's name was Hiroko Kubota and she ended each lesson by saying "and remember, a ritu ranguage goes a (w)rong way". The Japanese have no equivalent sound for "l" and "r", the Japanese equivalent being about halfway in between and they are well-known for getting them mixed up.

So I was staring at my lunch and think what a nice quantity lettuce gives me. And the thought popped into my head that " a ritu rettis goes a (w)rong way" too.

From that you can gather that I haven't got too much to say today. Slept late (7.15) trying to recover from the previous day's tiredness and only skipped this morning, doing Workout 2 when I got home. I was surprisingly energetic on the workout, doing the maximum on all except the leg-ups.

I've continued the exercises on the PVP (Peak Vision Project) and am losing the ability to focus well through my glasses.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Day 25 : A Smoother Smoothie

I figured I was going to have to sleep late to recover because I didn't get to bed until after midnight and set the alarm for 7.20 thinking I would just have to leave the workout for the evening. But I woke up at 6.10 and after a major debate about whether I needed the extra hour, got up and did everything in Workout 1 (hate the plank, but did it) plus a load of laundry and cooked a batch of rice all before breakfast.

I felt some cooked vegetables had been chilling in the fridge a bit too long so I combined my morning yogurt and the vegetables in the (old) blender, added a bit of water and some pepper and boiled it up to what amounted to a cream of vegetable soup. OK, to be strictly accurate a yogurt of vegetable soup. It seemed to make the quantity much more. Needed a bit more spice but not too bad.

Shame I didn't know about the dispensation while I was drooling in the ice cream shop on Saturday. Ah well. My real craving is for an aloo gobi at my favorite Indian restaurant but that would blow the 200-400 calorie limit. Let me think.

My day gradually ran out of steam. Patrick is right about needing the sleep. I lasted really well until mid-afternoon but felt really tired by 6pm. I tried my new blender out when I got home and got a much smoother result.

So, back to eyesight.

Leo makes the interesting point that opticians are not in business to make your eyes better, they are in business to enable you to see (and sell glasses and contact lenses). By wearing glasses, you train the brain to believe that eyesight can't/won't improve and get used to the physical requirements of wearing lenses.

My eyes are not good. Quite badly short-sighted, the eyes quite unbalanced, with astigmatism and recently some need in the prescription for reading assistance. Leo felt that (1) I was on a course to make my eyes worse and worse and (2) they CAN become better. So I set a target to eliminate the astigmatism by the end of September; "balance" the short-sightedness by the end of October and stop wearing glasses by the end of the year. Maybe it can be done quicker. Certainly, as a result of the exercises over the weekend, I'm not seeing too clearly now.

All I need to do is exercise my eye muscles, provide the eyes with enough energy and BELIEVE. Sounds like PCP, right?

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Day 24 : Not Enough Time

Up early, exercises done, off to the workshop (this is me, Leo and Wile), didn't have time to make lunch so found an organic food shop selling cooked items and guessed the weights (interesting how they don't label the weights on small packages, only on bigger quantities) - I won't have been too far out, I'm getting to know what the quantities look like. Dashed back for a family birthday dinner (all the more trying because I didn't eat) and finally went down to the all-night store to change the food mixer that was broken when I opened the box - got a replacement nearly double the price and a new blender since my hand-held one is really not coping with the dinner smoothie. And that's it - the day gone and already not enough sleep.

More in control tomorrow ........ maybe.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Day 23 : Similarities

I've had a very interesting day. I managed to get the exercises done and out of the door so that I was only a couple of minutes late for the workshop and Leo himself, had not yet started talking.

Did you know that only 10% of your focusing is done by the lens? 80% is actually done by the cornea which is why laser surgery "works". And he had some super statistics on why Asian kids have very high incidences of poor eyesight.

Leo's teaching had remarkable echoes of PCP.

1. You have to believe that it is going to work
2. You have to put in some exercise to restore the functionality of the muscles
3. You need to ensure that you have enough energy (in the eyes, in this case)
4. Imagery and memory are important aspects of the visual system.

And he works with the following assumptions

1. Vision is 90% in the mind
2. Clear vision is the natural state
3. Sight is a learned ability
4. The visual field is a mirror of our energy level
5. Vision emanates from within the self, goes out and then returns within
6. Eyesight reflects belief imprints about what can be seen and what must not be seen
7. Muscles will regenerate in exercised.

It will not happen immediately but if I work at the exercises, the underlying assumption is that I will be able to restore my vision. I am both astigmatic and short-sighted. I always thought that the astigmatism was the real problem but if fact, it seems to be relatively mild and something that may be relatively simple to eliminate in a couple of weeks or so. After that, more work to bring my short-sightedness back to normal.

In fact, the only grumble about the whole day came from my stomach. I became very hungry towards the end of the afternoon and that was compounded by walking past my local ice cream shop without weakening, despite my favorites sorbets, cassis and passion fruit, being at the front of the display. Such self-control!!

More tomorrow.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Day 22 : Time

Both Nate and Emiko & Adrian have posted recent blogs on the effects of PCP in terms of changing the eating and exercise habits (or lack of them) that we know are bad for us but that we do nothing about (until now).

The knock-on effect of last night's karaoke has got me reflecting on another aspect that hopefully will be corrected - time "management". Karaoke is fun and so inevitably, I had to do a song or two more before leaving the group I was with, still singing their socks off. I told myself that as long as I got out of there by between 8.30 and 9, I would be home by 10, have time to eat dinner and be in bed by 10.30 to get 8 hours sleep before the morning exercises.

Hah! I think I left at 9.25, got home at 10.45 and got to bed at 11.30 (and didn't manage to go straight to sleep, either). I moved the alarm back to 7.30am thinking I would leap out of bed and get everything done. No chance, of course - I still have most of Workout 2 to complete.

So that set me thinking - what is the problem?

I don't know about the others, but I've created this bad habit of trying to do "too much". I stay longer than I need in the office (maybe because I feel I need to get "my day's work" finished when there really is no definition of what that means) and then fill my evenings with other fun/interesting/necessary things and get home too late, (used to) eat out a lot because that "saves time" and consistently didn't get enough sleep (past tense because I am trying to follow the PCP directive). Even then, I use being "busy" as an excuse for not doing some necessary things in a timely manner - the laundry and other housework, for example. And I don't even watch much TV.

So in the same way that we eat to much, we do too much. Or like eating too much of the "wrong" things, we do to much of what is really unimportant or unnecessary and not enough of what would be good for us!

"Keeping busy" is the driven search to find and do something "fulfilling" and that search probably is looking in the wrong place. It just fills time rather than finding balance. Maybe PCP will, by the end of the 90 days, have rearranged at least some of my priorities so that I can get a new perspective on things.

In terms of a "three week" report, a few random comments :

1. the lunch box I bought three weeks ago is now too big - my lunchtime rice ration is now half of what it was.

2. on the question of saving time, I've been eating quite a lot raw - salad vegetables and I've been mixing my whole egg uncooked into my morning rice (carbs) - a very Japanese thing to do that most foreigners cringe at but which is actually quite good to eat, particularly with brown rice that has a lot of flavour

3. my weight this morning was just a touch above 86kg, 6kg down in three weeks.

4. the massage did have an effect. My legs were quite sore afterwards and it wasn't until yesterday evening that I realised I'm able to walk downstairs without the stiffness that I've had for most of the last three weeks

5. Patrick asked for comments on physical changes - I'm smelling different (unfortunately for the worse) and my breath is smelling. Undoubtedly down to the change of diet. I hope my body gets adjusted to it quickly.

6. my new diet has me eating fewer carbs. meat and vegetables but more fruit; and my frugal outlook has me cringing at the thought of throwing away THREE egg yolks A DAY. I always liked the yolks better - but I know that four a day would definitely not be good for my heart.

7. I'm going to run out of Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies signs to hold up in my photos soon. I've been looking through the Road Runner cartoons but I've only identified three more at the moment. Yikes!

Oh, I nearly forgot, on the subject of time management, I've wrecked this weekend already (no time for the household chores) but maybe in a good cause. I mentioned NLP before (sorry Adrian, I haven't written more yet but it is on the list), and there is this amazing guy called Leo Angart who corrected his own eyesight after wearing glasses for 26 years. He came across the use of hypnosis that had been used to correct vision, researched the background and other techniques, and devised a methodology for correcting "incurable" eye conditions - like mine. Leo is in Tokyo this weekend giving a two day workshop and I am signed up. I'll feel pretty silly, although very pleased, if I can improve my eyesight after wearing glasses for 52 years. For more information, read

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Day 21 : A British Sense of Humour

Apologies to anyone who took yesterday's blog too seriously. It was intended to be "taken with a pinch of salt" (except, of course, we aren't allowed extra salt). I thought I had been a bit too serious recently and would lighten up at bit but maybe my whimsical sense of humour did not translate as well as I thought (I was grinning as I wrote it!). If yesterday had been 1st April, I would have been very proud of myself. Anyway, I've been within a lick of sticking to the diet and that is close enough.

So I had better not talk anymore about food, for a while at least, so back to the exercises. I don't seem to have too much trouble with the rubber bands except one of them, the shoulder press, has my left arm twitching as I extend my arms as the muscle gets tired. Weird. As already related, I have more trouble with the "up" exercises - push-ups, sit-ups and leg-ups. I think the general stiffness in my body has had the muscles basically not working properly for so long that they've forgotten how and these exercises are affected most.

So like last week, I dropped in at the Thai massage place on the way home last night - legs and back. They reckon that they can restore a lot of my flexibility by the New Year if I go at least once a week. We shall see.

Tonight I'm exercising my vocal chords - off to karaoke!!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Day 20 : Licking the Spoon

Patrick's email today commented on keeping us strict on the diet and not "eating a little extra".

Right at the beginning he said that we weren't to be worried about being 10g over here and there but I have noticed a tendency of mine to lick the spoon. You know, when you've carefully measure out your 150g of yogurt and there is a yogurt covered spoon in your hand.

The PC (or should I say, PCP) thing to do is to WASH the spoon. For those of us with less self-control and/or poorer table manners, the obvious thing to do is to lick it. Boom, another 20g of yogurt consumed (and the most tasty 20g too). Of course, there maybe a few grams of yogurt left sticking to the bowl and even I don't resort to licking my bowl or plate. Well, not usually anyway and not when anyone is looking.

And then there is the last piece question. You weigh out your fruit, vegetables and/or meat ..... and there is ONE piece left. Again, we know what we SHOULD do but it hardly seems worth putting it back in the fridge and my mother's spirit is deeply ingrained (you mustn't waste food, think of all the starving people in the world - although what they have to do with me not eating my food I never did fully understand). So it either gets lobbed onto the plate while we turn away from what the scale says, or we pop it into our mouth so the weight on the plate stays right. Either way, it ends up inside us.

The same thing can be said for that last spoonful of yogurt that always seems to be left at the bottom of the carton.

And a final gap in the strict application of the diet is what I call "the sesame seed syndrome". Do you know that sesame contains more calcium than milk and in a more easily digestible form? Well, I'm a sesame seed junkie and it gets sprinkled onto my rice, vegetables, yogurt and occasionally other things. Now, of course, I am not weighing my sesame seeds and I know they contain oil. But I'm just viewing them as a seasoning, so what the heck.

Come to think about it, there are the spices too. Do they have calories?

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Day 19 : Back on Track

Got an email of "support" from my friend in Singapore : "Read your blog yesterday. Throwing tantrums in the garden are we ? Just DO IT !" But to put that into perspective he also said "I ran 15k last night in 1 hour 20mins so well chuffed" (for our American readers "chuffed" means "pleased") so you can see he likes to push himself.

There was also some support from an article in today's Japan Times reprinted from the Washington Post headed "It's never too late to pick up your pace". It is commenting on whether exercise, in this case running, can cause more damage than benefit. My friend will be pleased to hear that the study showed that taking exercise does not worsen the incidence of degenerative problems (knees etc) and benefits in other ways by reducing cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer, not to mention what they call "the compression of morbidity" meaning shortening the period of infirmity at the end of a person's life when they are no longer able to look after themselves. (Sorry to anyone who isn't thinking about that end of their life yet for bringing this up lol).

The point I latched onto in the article echoes what Patrick has been saying "Injury often occurs when runners press beyond their limits they had not prepared for. Endurance is built with consistency, not acquired all at once". And skippers too, I decided!!

So I scaled back on the skipping today. I had to from a practical point of view as well. My evenings are not always my own (tonight is one of them) so I really need to do the exercises in the morning instead of getting home late and tired and forcing it in the evening.

And that meant that I was able to sleep long enough to get the full eight hours as instructed, get Workout 1 done (apart from lunging when I should have been squatting) and get my food sorted out without all the time pressure I had created for myself.

So I've unwound the skipping rope from around my neck!!

Monday, 1 September 2008

Day 18 : Thanks

I mentioned being bloody-minded yesterday and I'm grateful for your encouragement but the Sunday effort took a lot out of me - it may have been a touch counter-productive.

I woke up early determined to get the higher number of skips done. The spirit was willing and eventually won through but it was a real effort. I was not in the best of moods by the time I finished :

It also meant that I had no energy left for the workout.

So I'm definitely going to take Patrick's advice on the skipping (a timely message on today's email) and have taken today as my rest day. I'm going to get my food organised and take an early night.