...just in time for the long weekend. The yoga DVD I’ve been waiting for is incredible value for money, packed with stuff to do. I did what they suggested and watched the whole thing last night. Some of the routines looked so bloody boring – all about breathing and relaxing – but these cannot be missed out as they are at the very core of yoga. I am really, really tempted to miss them out but I know these are the very routines someone with a brain as messy as mine really needs to do. It’s just that I am still at the stage of valuing quick-calorie-busting exercises over those that take more time. I can totally see how yoga is going to be right for me but I might not be in the right frame of mind to slow down enough to concentrate on it yet. I’ll have a go tonight and see how I get on.
I also bought one of those 10 minute solutions DVDs for targeted toning. This is right up my street and I already love the exercises. Each 10 minutes shot by, but I could really feel the burn! There is no way I’m doing the abs exercises though – partly because the instructors abs were really overdone. I think I’ll stick to the abs exercises in ballet conditioning – I have no need of a six-pack!
Getting in shape slowly and consistently, in the hopes of making it a lifetime habit and not a short-term fix, is just starting to pay off. My face has fined down with my cheekbones becoming nicely defined again, but not looking drawn. My muscle definition is gradually becoming visible as my excess fat slowly reduces. It’s so good not to have to suffer the “looking-like-death-on-legs” phase (that I often go through when I suddenly change my diet and exercise regime) which makes you look like crap just as your starting to feel better on the inside! I am feeling stronger, my joints are moving with so much more ease and I’m really loving exercising still. My clothing is looser with just the smidge of a spare tyre still to get rid of. The very best part for me is that at only 5 foot 3 inches tall I’m looking much taller as my limbs slim down. This is nearly the body I always had in my youth, when my metabolism naturally took care of any naughty foods I ate. I didn’t know how bloody lucky I was!
While waiting for my yoga DVD to be delivered, I’ve practised a few positions from a book (enough to tell me I had the flexibility of a sedentary octogenarian!) and I’m really quite enjoying it. It’s just practise and the moment and its not enough exercise on its own, so I’ve been giving my ballet conditioning workout another shot. These 2 combined have really improved my flexibility even in just over a week. Last night I pushed my stiff little legs a bit harder than I should have done when pointing my leg out to the side and I could barely stand as a result. I felt like I’d trapped something in my hip joint and my heart sank at the prospect of not being able to exercise for a while. But, then I wondered if the yoga exercises I’ve been doing could help and tentatively I began. No kidding it was like a miracle cure. There was a definite pinging sensation from deep within my hip and the pain instantly eased. I wondered if I would feel any residual stiffness when I woke up this morning but to my pleasant surprise I feel none.
I’ve learned 2 great things here. Firstly not to push so hard for results – impatience will cause injury. Secondly I really really felt genuinely disappointed when I thought I wasn’t going to be able to exercise for a while, which must mean that somewhere along the line I started to enjoy it! I’m going to do the same ballet workout tonight but I’m going to be so careful not to overextend – I’ll just have to wait for my ballet legs :)
...a week into running again I have got my usual cold and can’t run for a few days. This always, always happens so I’m not disappointed by it anymore. Instead, while I can’t go out running, I’m taking the opportunity to get to grips with different forms of gentle exercise. I have a great DVD on ballet conditioning which I love and the sense of well-being I experience after performing the stretches at the end of the class has led me to want to try yoga as a potential regular form of exercise. I know you are supposed to get the most out of yoga by proper tuition but I have to be realistic here – I’m just not sociable enough to attend a class and the thought of one to one tuition horrifies me! So I bought a book to get a basic idea of what it is all about and as soon as I get paid I’m ordering a DVD. I really like the idea of exercising my mind aswell as my body and anything that encourages me to take a more positive view of the world has got to be a good thing.
I’m also ordering a DVD on Tai Chi for my Mum (as she really wants a gentle form of exercise to help her stay active as she moves towards retirement) so I might take a look at this too. I’m beginning to think the only thing that is going to keep me consistently exercising is variety. I tend to get really enthusiastic about a particular form of exercise, go all out to get the results I’m after, then get bored of it and return to laziness. It’s time to take myself out of my comfort zone and experience new things.
This morning I got woken by the cat an hour before my 5 a.m. alarm. I knew that if I fell asleep again I would have bad dreams as is usual if I sleep again after I’m woken. So I got up feeling like death on legs but determind (at that point) to make the best of the situation. I knew that this ought to be the morning for my first run in a long time, but I felt so completely devoid of energy that I staggered downstairs and put the kettle and the fire on and got ready to ignore my earlier good intentions. I got as far as putting the coffee in the cup when a little voice inside my head said “If not today, then when?”
I hate it when my inner voice will not be ignored! I reluctantly pulled on my running gear, did my stretches and left the house. It took just 5 minutes to go from a zombie-style stagger to a pretty energetic but comfortable stride. I’m glad it was still dark because that can’t have been a pretty sight! Throughout the journey I just kept thinking that if I do this every weekday morning, in a month’s time the difference in my physique and my stamina should be evident. I can’t wait, but I think there will be many battles between my inner voice and my inner slob in the meantime!
I just wish I could be more consistent with my approach to healthy eating and exercise (like I always used to be). One month I’m eating well and exercising regularly, the next I’m undoing all my hard work. I’m feeling really topsy-turvy with everything at the moment, constantly swinging between extremes. But there is hope: I think the tipping point has come because yesterday I had a nasty shock – getting ready to do a spot of gardening I stepped into my trusty gardening jeans only to discover I couldn’t do them up. This has never happened to me before and to make it worse, the damned things fitted just 10 days ago!
I have hung the jeans up next to my mirror to remind me what I’m up against and I’m printing out my inner voice’s message “If not today, then when?” and sticking it on the wall just above the drawers housing all my running gear. I hope I can get back in to running because there is nothing like it for restoring my inner peace, battling my chocolate addiction and lightening my mood. I miss the energy of my youth but it’s not too late to reclaim it.
I was so tired after work, but I took a moment to close my eyes and picture what I want for my physical form. It really worked, especially after I looked at my physical reality in the mirror (not bad but in need of some serious toning). I worked through my horrible lethargic feelings and did some bloody good cardio exercises. Today I’m even more glad I did that extra work because on the way to the supermarket to get my chocolate fix, I saw my reflection in the huge glass doors and let’s just say I need to work out even harder tonight!
As for my chocolate cravings (which have also morphed into cake cravings recently) I came out of the store with a bar of 90 percent cocoa chocolate (to eat just a square of a day – it really does kill those sweet cravings and is good for you too) and a whole load of seasonal fruit instead of cake.
I’m toying with the idea of taking a “before” photo of myself (not for publication, don’t worry!) just to give me an extra incentive not to give in to chocolate temptation. It’d have to be posed in undies which would at least give me a giggle (I’d have to hide it every time I have visitors as there is no way ANYONE is seeing that!). Oh, I know – I could frame myself in such a way as to cut my head out of the photo entirely, so if ever anyone accidentally saw it denial would be the way to go. Hmmmm, that might just leave them wondering why I have a headless picture of a random woman in her scanties!
I’m rambling now.
...so on the way home from work I got off the bus about 10 stops early and took a long walk home, got straight on the cross-trainer for half an hour and finished with a great hula-hooping session. Don’t know where that energy suddenly came from but its back again today – hooray!
I’ve given up with the cross-trainer for a while because it is so damned boring! Instead I’m brisk walking for an hour every day (sometimes split into smaller sessions) and doing a series of daily floor exercises which can be fitted into any spare half hour anywhere in the day (even at work). I’m really feeling the benefit of these and starting to not only lose those last bits of flab but I’m actually starting to see some muscle definition again. Oh muscles how I’ve missed you. My entire body doesn’t wobble so much when I jump up and down now.
WARNING: never check out how wobbly your fat bits are by jumping about half-naked infront of a full length mirror – it’s revolting and depressing! :o
As the effects of that horrible cold subside I’m seeing a real improvement in my strength and stamina. I’ve been on the cross-trainer every evening since I moved it into the bedroom and I’m back to burning 300cals in just over 20 minutes. The only down side is that it’s quite boring. I put on some energetic music and that helps but I find it gets even easier if I close my eyes and forget where I am. The trouble with closing my eyes is that my balance goes to pot and I’m in danger of doing myself an injury. Guess I’ll just have to keep my mobile phone within easy reach in case I need to call the emergency services! (How bloody embarrassing would that be?!)
I moved my cross-trainer from my workroom into my bedroom so it’s the first thing I see when I wake up and the last thing I see before I sleep. I must have burned a load of calories just by moving it (and all the other pieces of furniture that had to be moved out of its way as it progressed through the house). Since I’ve still got the tail end of this cold I decided to take it easy but still do some exercise. I burned 300 calories on the trainer but took a lot longer than usual to do so – it normally takes me just over 20 minutes to burn off that many aclories but that is going at a hell of a pace, last night it took me almost double that.
The plan is to use the trainer every day (since it’s so gentle on the old joints) and gradually introduce other forms of exercise alomg the way. It’s not much but I’ve started at least.