Thursday, March 8, 2007

The health kick begins

by Suw on March 8, 2007

I've never really been one for diets. Whilst, in many other ways, I could be described as a stubborn bitch, I lack the kind of will power that's required for dieting. There's a reason my personal blog is called Chocolate and Vodka, and it's got nothing to do with those words sounding nice.
But let's be honest. Contentment has taken it's toll, and I've spread out a bit in the middle. Mum'll laugh when she reads this as she's always insisted that 'middle-aged spread' was just a fact of life, whilst I've been busy insisting that it's a matter of stuffing your face less with chocolate and getting more exercise. Boot's on the other foot now, sadly, and it's time to do something about it.
Questions is, what?
I had a feeling towards the end of last year that I was acquiring more inches than strictly required, which was why I gave up sugary drinks for more than three months. Well, you can see my logic, right? All that sugar in all those cans of Coke has to go somewhere and it's not Marbella. Cutting it out would decrease my daily calorie intake and I'd maybe lose a bit of weight without really having to try too hard – wouldn't that be just peachy? Except, well, as you know,
it didn't work. I just ate more chocolate instead.
Now, the equation I have to solve is pretty simple really – I need to consume fewer calories than I burn. And there are two tactics for achieving that: 1) consume fewer calories; 2) burn more. Easy.
But it'll be a severely cold day with a windchill factor of minus lots of degrees and a high risk of snow in hell before I start counting calories. I don't know how many calories are in different foods, and I'm just not interested in finding out. I'm certainly not interested in weighing out portions and sitting with a calculator trying to figure out if I'm up to some stupid allowance yet.
Instead, I'm trying out one thing that's just really simple, and something else that I'm in two minds about. Firstly, I'm trying to eat a lot more fruit and veg. Yup, it's that complicated. I'm going to try and eat a banana, a grapefruit, a clementine and an apple a day, with a salad, plus any vegetables that I have with dinner. I'm not going to cut out carbs or meat, so not going Atkins or vegan. Just trying to increase the percentage of my calories that I get from fruit and vegetables.
The second thing I'm doing is the Shangri-la diet, which attempts to reset the weight your body 'wants' to be so that you don't feel so hungry. The idea is that the body associates taste with calories and the tastier the food the more calories you crave so the more you eat. If you can dissociate taste and calories, say by taking a dose of 200 tasteless calories, with nothing tasty for an hour before and after, your body will start to feel less hungry. Or something like that.
Hunger is, actually, a bit of an issue. I never really used to be all that interested in food, never used to be a foodie, but Kevin's pretty good in the kitchen and he cooks up some really yummy food. So I eat more of it, and I'm used to eating more of it, so I get hungry when I don't.
There. It's all Kevin's fault. That makes it easier.
So I'm trying this Shangri-La diet to see if I can't just stop feeling so hungry. I don't know how much faith I have in it, but it's worked for my friend Kevin, (note: that's my friend Kevin, not my fianc?© Kevin), so maybe it can work for me.
But that's only half the story. The other part of the equation is the exercise. I used to be quite good at doing Pilates every other day or so, and trying to keep vaguely in trim, but it's difficult to get back into it. I was just starting to hit a rhythm again before I had the
operations on my arm and I had to stop. The wound has healed now, but I can't do anything strenuous with my arm for quite a while longer – not because it hurts so much now but because the 4 cm scar will widen and look crap. So I've put together a routine which avoids excessive use of my arms, and on Sunday I did my first half hour work out.
But I fear that Pilates alone isn't going to be enough. Oh no. I fear that something a bit more vigourous is going to be needed. Something involving… oh god… gyms.
And now, out with our dirty little secret. There's a gym about 100 yards away from this flat. We've been living here for a year. Ever since we moved in, we've been saying “Oh, we really must go to the gym. It's not expensive, and it's right there. We'll get an induction session booked in for next week.”
I don't think you need me to tell you how may times we've been.
But next week – by the gods and the little fishes I promise – next week we are going to go and book an induction appointment. Next week we are going to pay up our membership and we're going to start going to the gym. Next week. We are.
I have my eye on the bikes. That's what I want to do. I can't run, as I have two rather prominent impediments which tend to get in the way of such activities. But I can sit on a bike for half an hour listening to podcasts. Actually,
This American Life is an hour long – even better!
So that's the plan. The plan is helped by the fact that I have a very clear idea of how I want to look in a year's time, but hindered by the fact that I am, at heart, a lazy old moo who likes her crepes on a Sunday morning. So I foresee an interesting ongoing struggle between old, bad habits and new, difficult ones. At least now I have a good motivation.

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