Sunday, 18 January 2009

In the Zone

I'm so happy to say that I've finally found that place (temporary though it may be) where everything is coming quite effortlessly with regards to my eating habits. My daily food intake looks something like this:
- breakfast: blueberries with yoghurt [especially when berries are 2 for 1!]
- snack: glass of skimmed milk
- lunch: soup with bread
- snack: clementines, pears, dates etc
- dinner: sandwich/ a meal out with mates etc

The best outcome is that I feel so good - really healthy, full of energy and starting to love my body because I feel that way. It really must be the amount of fruit and vegetables that I'm eating and the fact that I'm not eating absolute rubbish.

I've never been one of those people that really hates the way that they look. I don't really care enough about my appearance for that but I am sometimes attacked by self loathing about the size of my thighs/ stomach and frequently notice how hideously large I am compared with my friends/ colleagues/ people on the tube.

Since I've been on my health kick however, yes, I'm still bigger than most people around me but I feel so healthy and energetic and, most importantly of all, I know that I only look like this for a limited time. I'm on track with regards to weight loss - I'm aiming for a steady 2lb loss every week (I don't know how realistic this is but that's what they always advise as the maximum) so I'm losing weight all the time. This is based on a detailed account of what I eat/ drink mind you, I'm not weighing myself so this could be a false impression. I didn't want to get caught up with jumping on the scales every day and feeling ecstatic/ depressed by the result so I'm going to stick with a reckoning of total calories lost to date for now and see how I feel later on.

One thing I'm yet to crack though is the exercise. All I seem to be able to do is to walk around London. So, if I finish work at 6.30pm but don't have to meet my friends until 7.30pm, I walk as far as I can in the direction that I need to go before jumping on the bus/ tube to take me the rest of the way so I can arrive in time. Walking is great - I'm loving being in the fresh air, feeling my leg muscles shift as I stride down the road and listening to music or chatting on the phone as I go. Walking 30 minutes or more every day is probably enough for exercise (I think that it is in fact what doctors recommend for daily exercise).

However I really feel it's not enough. I want to do hardcore exercise where I end the session drenched in sweat having worked through the barrier during the time. I want to be able to run quickly down the street, move effortlessly to the music and hit those balls cleanly.

I'm starting going to the gym tomorrow - New Year's Goal Number 3 is to be able to run 5 miles without any problem by the end of the year. Next week, I'm popping along to an open day at Danceworks, a dance studio in central London when you can try out classes for free. If I do decide to join, it'll be expensive though - £8.99 direct debit + £5 per class. I really wish dance classes were cheaper than this! I'm not sure I can afford it on top of my gym fees.

Long may the time of positivity and kick ass energy continue!

Monday, 5 January 2009

My 2009 Manifesto

I don't believe in New Year's Resolutions although I like the opportunity to reassess my life and come up with things that I want to do in the future. Rather than vague ideas such as 'lose weight,' 'drink less alcohol' etc - for the first time, I'm going to write down concrete achievable and measurable goals that I will enjoy doing and, in some cases, have wanted to do for a very long time. 2009 is the year!

1) Walk the Coast to Coast
This walk covers 250 miles, three national parks and some of England's finest scenery, taking you from the Irish Sea to the east coast of England through the Lake District, the Pennines and the North York Moors. While I was growing up, I spent many weekends walking in the Pennines, the North York Moors, the Cheviot Hills and the Lake District and at various times, have walked parts of the Coast to Coast highway. For the last 10 years, I've wanted to do the whole hog in one go. One of my life's ambitions is to walk across a country (random, I know) - where better to start than England? This is also mean lots of walking practice built into my daily routine for training for this.

2) Build up my swimming so I can swim a mile with ease
Back in my younger swimmer days when I used to be in the pool training 6 days a week, a mile would be what I swam every practice. It's been over 7 years (!) since I swam regularly and I would probably just about manage to swim 20 lengths these days.

3) Build up my running so I can run 5 miles without problem
Back in the glory days, I also used to run 5 miles more or less every day. [I was a very fit teenager!] I'm going to go back to being 16 and love swimming and running again.

4) Take dance classes
I love dancing but have only sporadically taken dance classes. This year, I'm going to dance tango regularly and probably also salsa. I love rhythm and I love music. When I'm dancing, it doesn't feel like I'm exercising to lose weight. It just feels like I'm dancing for the pure joy of it. More pure joy and less exercise is needed.

The aim is not to lose weight but to be fit - to go back to the days where I used to run, swim and hike, when I used to have huge lung capacity and very slow heart-rate, when I used to have strong legs and strong arms, could lift anything and run everywhere. If I manage to go down a couple of dress sizes on the way, it's a bonus.