Right then – here is the third challenge I am setting myself and, as ever, you are more than welcome to join me if you would like to!
I have struggled over the past few weeks with illness and as a result of this, I haven’t be as active as I would like to be. I tend to have an ‘all or nothing’ approach, which is something I am working on changing, and if I cannot do what I perceive as ‘exercise’ I get incredibly frustrated with myself and my old body! However, I have once again read through the ‘Body Magic’ book – which is given to us in the joining pack with Slimming World – which focuses upon the little steps you can take towards leading a more active lifestyle. It got me thinking about how hard I am on myself at times and, along with some lovely comments by my Facebook and Twitter friends, it has made me rethink my goals and my attitude towards exercise.
For example, my cold / cough / chest thing has lasted far longer than anticipated and I have also got quite sore knee joints at the moment. But rather than just not exercise again until I feel better, I have been doing sit-ups, and Boxercise – which I can do seated if I need to – and Dancercise; I haven’t however been on the treadmill. The treadmill is the piece of equipment that I place all of my focus on, as I really want to improve my stamina for walking, and I consider my ‘exercise’ as needing to include some time on it. I have tried to switch my thinking though in light of what it says in the Body Magic book about ‘regular, moderate intensity activity’. What this means is doing something that makes you feel warmer and speeds up your heart-rate and breathing…but doesn’t leave you so breathless that you can’t hold a conversation!
Given the fact that I am still 32st+, most things make me feel warmer, increase my heart-rate and speed up my breathing…so I’m on to a winner with this really! I don’t need to be attempting long walks at the moment, or hardcore exercise classes. All I need to do is thirty minutes per day if I can, if not, then at least on five days each week. I don’t see why I can’t do something each day at the moment though, even if it is just some bicep curls whilst sitting watching EastEnders! This might sound like a joke to the hardcore gym bunnies amongst you, but even little bicep curls count as moderate activity for me. I know as I get slimmer that the intensity of my workouts will need to increase, especially as our bodies quickly adapt to the activity we undertake on a regular basis, but the amount of time spent doing it doesn’t have to. Even at my size, I can manage an hour of moderate activity each day…and when I get slimmer, I will be able to manage an hour of more intense activity each day!
It does make me feel a bit of a fraud at times…perhaps someone of my size shouldn’t really be in line for a Gold Body Magic award, even if I can keep up the activity for another seven weeks? But then I thought, “bollocks to that!” – if I am meeting the requirements for the award then I should bloody well have it. It would be nice to show people, that regardless of size, it can be achieved without too much heartache and trauma! So I am going for it – and in order to achieve that Gold award, I need to do the following:
- Ten x 15 minute, or, Five x 30 minute sessions
- Must include at least two sessions of muscle strengthening activity
- Spread over three to five days
- Maintained for eight weeks
Anyway, I don’t want to ramble on about Slimming World and their Body Magic philosophy…despite the fact that is wonderful! I thought you might like to hear from another source, so I have taken the following from the NHS Livewell pages – a link is at the bottom of the blog.
‘Benefits of exercise:
It’s the miracle cure we’ve all been waiting for. It can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%. It’s free, easy to take, has an immediate effect and you don’t need a GP to get some. Exercise is the miracle cure we’ve always had, but we’ve neglected to take our recommended dose for too long. Our health is now suffering as a consequence. Whatever your age, there’s strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help you lead a healthier and even happier life. People who do regular activity have a lower risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and some cancers. Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. “If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented,” says Dr Nick Cavill, a health promotion consultant.
Health benefits of exercise:
Given the overwhelming evidence, it seems obvious that we should all be physically active. It’s essential if you want to live a healthy and fulfilling life into old age. It’s medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have:
up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
a 30% lower risk of early death
up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
up to a 30% lower risk of depression
up to a 30% lower risk of dementia
What counts as exercise:
Moderate-intensity aerobic activity means you’re working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. One way to tell if you’re working at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk but you can’t sing the words to a song (WLB – I can’t sing anyway…but being sweaty is a good sign, as long as the sweat isn’t caused from lying in the sunshine!)
Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities are:
- walking fast
- water aerobics
- riding a bike on level ground or with few hills
- playing doubles tennis (WLB – which is supposedly easier than singles tennis!)
- pushing a lawn mower
- heavy cleaning – washing windows, vacuuming, mopping
Unfortunately, daily chores such as shopping, cooking or housework don’t count towards your 150 minutes. This is because the effort needed to do them isn’t hard enough to get your heart rate up.
A modern problem:
People are less active nowadays, partly because technology has made our lives easier. We drive cars or take public transport. Machines wash our clothes. We entertain ourselves in front of a TV or computer screen. Fewer people are doing manual work, and most of us have jobs that involve little physical effort. Work, house chores, shopping and other necessary activities are far less demanding than for previous generations. We move around less and burn off less energy than people used to. Research suggests that many adults spend more than seven hours a day sitting down, at work, on transport or in their leisure time. People aged over 65 spend 10 hours or more each day sitting or lying down, making them the most sedentary age group.
Inactivity is described by the Department of Health as a “silent killer”. Evidence is emerging that sedentary behaviour, such as sitting or lying down for long periods, is bad for your health. Spending hours sitting down watching TV or playing computer games is thought to increase your risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes, as well as weight gain and obesity. Not only should you try to raise your activity levels, but you should also reduce the amount of time you and your family spend sitting down. Common examples of sedentary behaviour include watching TV, using a computer, using the car for short journeys and sitting down to read, talk or listen to music. “Previous generations were active more naturally through work and manual labour but today we have to find ways of integrating activity into our daily lives,” says Dr Cavill.
Whether it’s limiting the time babies spend strapped in their buggies to encouraging adults to stand up and move frequently, people of all ages need to reduce their sedentary behaviour. “This means that each of us needs to think about increasing the types of activities that suit our lifestyle and can easily be included in our day,” says Dr Cavill.’
Right then, now that we’ve heard a bit from the NHS on the subject, what excuse do we have for not doing it? I am not talking about people with physical reasons that prevent exercise, but I am talking about those of us – me included – that procrastinate over doing something other than watching TV. And on that note, if you really do want to watch TV for hours, do it sitting on a gym ball…one of the best ways of strengthening your core. If you combine this with bicep curls at the same time, you can still catch up on what’s happening between Phil and Sharon on EastEnders, and be getting fitter at the same time!
Before I get onto the usuals, I just wanted to highlight the difference between muscle and fat – and I know which I would prefer…
Muscle and fat are two totally separate ‘bits’, made up of entirely different materials. You CANNOT turn fat into muscle, and neither will your muscle turn into fat. You can lose fat and increase your muscle mass, which will tone your body and make you look leaner. Your muscle can lose tone if it isn’t used regularly enough, and this can give you a ‘flabby’ look…but it still won’t turn into fat! So – 5lbs of fat, or 5lbs of muscle…it’s obvious which takes up less room, so even if this exercise bulks up my muscles a bit, I’d rather be getting toned, losing fat, and gaining a bit of muscle mass instead.
My challenge for myself is to undertake at least thirty minutes of moderate activity on at least five days each week, preferably daily. Join me if you wish!
Just a word of caution…due to the fact that exercise tones muscles, you can find – on rare occasions – that your weight loss slows down initially. This tends to last for a couple of weeks, if it happens at all, but the long term benefits far outweigh this short term setback. When I began exercising at the beginning of the year, my losses slowed to 1lb for two weeks; they then increased to around 3lbs on average…and the inch loss made up for those first couple of weeks!
Onto the usuals then…
Today was another cold start and I really wanted a nice sleepy lazy day, but the horses needed attention! It wasn’t a great start though, as we’d had more snow overnight and somehow I had managed to leave the very back window open on my Freelander…the one which gives access to the boot. Luckily, I live in a fairly quiet cul-de-sac so no one did anything to the car, apart from Mother Nature who had filled it with snow!! Before we even tried to get out of the street, we had to scoop all of the snow out of the boot and try and dry things off. It had also managed to ice up the window closing mechanism and so I couldn’t get it shut for a while…the heaters were useless and we were frozen by the time we arrived at the horses! Being the chivalrous gent that he is, my other half told me to stay in the car – as the window was now working and closed – with the heaters on to thaw my feet out, bless him. So I kept an eye on things from the car and all was well. We then popped to Asda – where a tit of a lady decided to cut me up with a car full of children, and then she proceeded to shout at me…it was quite funny actually, as she was clearly in the wrong – my right of way on a roundabout – but she was raging at me. I think all of this philosophy and enlightenment stuff must be working as, although I ranted at first, I let it go far easier than I would have done normally! Soup and curry ingredients were bought, and it was then home to my fleecy blanket, under which I spent most of the afternoon doing a weird series of seated dancing (which I didn’t count towards my Body Magic by the way) as my other half had put tunes on that had been mixed by some DJs I love. Slightly ironic though, as they are called the ‘Plump DJs’ and I thought how funny it would be if I lost weight by dancing to their tunes!! Anyway, once I had finished this rather weird series of movements, we watched the first ever episode of 24 – where has it been all of my life? It was marvellous and I am hooked! I had to stop myself ordering them all on iTunes…as I have no dosh!…but instead am going to see if I can pick them up on eBay. The only problem with this is that I am an impatient madam and want them now! I am planning a nice quiet night – watching RED on channel 4 – and having an earlier night than I have been having recently. Although I said I was doing that last night, I ended up in bed in the early hours!
Haha – just watching Countryfile and Julia Bradbury has just said, “I hope the weather is clear enough for you to see your own Jupiter or Orion’s Belt”…I desperately wanted her to say, “Uranus”…how sad am I?!
Lunch: Chicken and vegetable broth.
Dinner: Beef and mushroom Thai green curry.
Snacks: Two bacon, cheese, lettuce and tomato sandwiches. (2 x HEA and 2 x HEB – as I was on an Original day).
I decided on an Original day today for a change. The banana was my usual grab and go before popping to see the horses, and lunch was a warming chicken and veggie soup when I got home. It had chicken, onion, garlic, broccoli, green beans, carrot, mushroom, and chicken stock – and bunged in a pan and boiled…then simmered…then eaten! Dinner was going to be a prawn curry, but I changed my mind last minute to beef – and I am glad I did as it was lovely. There was so much of it, I’ve got lunch tomorrow sorted too! It had beef, onion, mushroom, broccoli, and a pack of story fry veggies, Thai green curry paste – 3 tbsps for 3 syns, but this will be split over two meals – garlic, ginger and some veggie stock. The beef was browned with the ginger, garlic and curry paste, then the onions, mushrooms and broccoli were added, along with the stock. The stir fry veggies were added last. I had saved my healthy extras as I really fancied bacon…so had these instead of my cheese toasties as an evening treat!
Exercise: 20 minutes Boxercise, 20 minutes Dancercise, 20 minutes Sit-ups – 60 minutes in total.
In light of today’s blog post, I thought I had best make an effort…I was pleased with the results!
Loads of squishy hugs and happiness,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx
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Link for the NHS article: