7 Days done and counting…

December’s monthly challenge has been going well so far.

I have managed to hit the 10 000 daily goal every day.  I mentioned the crazy house circling thing I have resorted to doing when I am not quite close to the goal by the time I get home.  Why don’t I just hit the road you might ask? Well, because I have to then carry my phone with me. And I don’t fancy the potential of: a) dropping it again – that’s an expensive repair job, b) possibly getting mugged and c) leaving the house would involve having to put on trainers and proper training kit as I will be hitting the road surface in addition to being seen in public. Whereas walking around my house I can do so in flip flops and whatever I’m wearing. And at this point I don’t need anything that might make this too much effort. It’s still in the heady early “dating” phase. I don’t know if this is a long term thing yet.

I also know that the daily goal of 10 000 steps is not enough to effect any kind of major transformation to my fitness nor body composition. But for now, I am happy that I am hitting that number and at the same time, building a solid base from what was a primarily sedentary existence for the time that I was studying this year. I definitely want to return to my weekly Zumba class (I love dancing) and I definitely need to add some heavy lifting into the mix. I am more concerned with building a body that will remain functional and mobile well into my old age.  While I am not anywhere near to old age yet. I have a limited window of opportunity to get a solid base in place. The sooner the better.

The festive season has been helping me out in a different way. I mean usually it’s an eating festival. Which it probably will be. But in terms of Xmas shopping and being in the mall.  Instead of lugging all my stuff with me. I make multiple trips to my car to go and drop stuff off. This helps with boosting step numbers. So it’s awesome. I realise just how lazy and sedentary our daily lives have become. Ok that’s me making a large generalisation based on my own experience. But life has become one large sedentary convenience. And daily activity rates have declined without even trying. I sit behind a computer for most of my working day. I am hoping the 10 000 steps will go some way to at least bring back a baseline of health benefitting activity. Then to add the “extras” to the mix once this month is done!

30 November December graph

So these have been the stats so far.  I am including the last day of November’s steps (on the left). When I wasn’t making a conscious effort.  And then also the snapshot I took last night (on the right) which now has my baseline sitting at 10 192. YIPPEE!!

Decadence for breakfast

So, I am on Day 4 of December’s Challenge. Strangely, this far, I have also been able to cut out evening snacking.  Perhaps its all that crazy circling I have been doing at home. Or maybe its that elusive thing I have heard about. That thing some people tell.  That exercise blunts your appetite. I have never believed that myth. In fact exercise usually drives me in the opposite direction. Like a shark during a feeding frenzy.

But, so far so good. I have not attacked the crisps at night nor sought out something sweet and cakey.  I usually have to have one of those things after supper.  And whichever one I indulge in usually has me craving the other. To balance the taste on my palate of course.  But the current goal of 10 000 steps has me doing the following. I get home and assess how many steps I am short. I have had a serious shortfall thus far every single night.  So before I settle down to eat supper, I tell myself I need to hit 7000 before I can eat. And then crazy circling starts. When I hit over the 7000 mark, I then allow myself to sit down for supper. After supper I then make up the rest of the shortfall before I can sink into the couch. Post-supper I usually circle at a slower pace. Something tells me that I am confusing my digestive process by walking. But then there’s also that conventional wisdom of taking a walk after supper.  Who knows what’s right but I am just focused on hitting 10 000.

So, some form of appetite control mechanism has kicked in. Don’t ask me how and what. I am just riding this wave while it lasts.  Appetite or changing eating habits was not the goal of this challenge. Just those 10 000 steps.

But this brings me to the other thing I have discovered. I read a number of websites, blogs and Facebook pages on health, fitness and activity on a weekly basis.  I have mostly been a lurker on these pages. Patiently waiting to read about the next silver bullet which is going help me drop a “Table Mountain’s” amount of weight.  But I do know that no such silver bullet exists. But I can remain hopeful. So what I have discovered, via the online community over at SleekGeek, are these Banana Muffins.  Well I make them into flapjacks.  They are amazing.  I sprinkle some cinnamon on them and they make an amazingly decadent breakfast or snack when you are craving something that tastes like decadent French toast with banana.

I have read about banana and its effect on blood sugar and how you need to make sure you have it with a protein and good fat to balance out the sugar effect. I don’t know jack about the science but I figure it’s a whole lot better than eating the pastry or cream doughnut I would have eaten if I wanted something to soothe my sweet tooth.  They also keep you satisfied for quite a while. So they have been a hit for me. If you are going to try them, just follow the instructions in terms of leaving them to fry for 5 minutes on each side. I was a bit impatient and tried to flip them too soon. They broke up a bit but were salvageable and definitely edible.

Give them a whirl if you are trying to cut down on the cake! But as the recipe says, watch the portions. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch with zero calories.

Happy Weekend Everyone!

The pursuit of healthiness

The start of December’s month long challenge came out of nowhere really. I had fallen off the exercise wagon in a big way this year. The usual excuses. I had a day job. Attended classes in the evenings. And spent most weekends working on group assignments. I know there are people who do more than this in their week and still manage to fit in exercise. But I am not them.

I finished exams in early November. Tried to jump back into an exercise regime. I did 3 classes that week. But then exhaustion took over and that was that. For the entire month of November I did 5 classes. Mostly Pilates and Yoga as I am attempting to get the foundation built.

Then on 30thNovember the 10 000 step challenge came to me in a flash. I needed another goal that was easy to track and easy enough to implement. But with this challenge, so far, came a number of other benefits. For the past two nights my sleep has already improved from a quality perspective. I used to wake up often during the night. But now feel like I am getting a much deeper sleep. My abdomen feels like its relaxing. I naturally carry a lot of tension in my stomach area and I can already feel like I am breathing a lot easier. I have also added Pilates to the mix as well. I am trying to build a good functional base from which to do other exercise. I did a class on Monday and one today.

The amazing thing about Pilates. You are forced to breathe deeply. Something we generally don’t do in the course of our everyday lives. Right now my legs feel fatigued. I can feel every single big muscle in them saying HELLO! But I know that’s not a bad thing. It means the muscles are waking up and are really working.

I really need to focus on getting more coverage during the course of the day. This house circling is taking things to a whole new level of crazy! The pursuit of health is worth it though!

 

 

 

 

December Challenge 2015

Having finished November’s Nablopomo Challenge I thought that I should keep the momentum going.

So, for December, the challenge is to do 10000 steps a day for the entire month! Am I up for this? Who knows but it’s already Day 2!

Day 1 was easy enough as I had a particularly active day. But I was about 3000 steps short of the daily target. So what did I do? I did a circuit inside and outside my house. If anyone was watching me, they would have thought I was crazy.  But I was determined to achieve the target on Day 1. It surely couldn’t be a viable start if I didn’t hit 10000 on Day 1.

And Day 2 was even more challenging. I got home and had a 6000 step deficit. No problem! I did my crazy house circling thing until I hit that magic number.

I realised two things. Focusing on hitting the number distracted me from what I was doing. Walking is not my favourite mode of exercise but I know it’s a good base. By focusing on the pedometer it made it feel less arduous.

The second thing I learnt is that you can squeeze in extra steps without noticing. I did funny little double back steps just to increase the “length” of my circuit. Whenever I got out of my car I sort of circled it. Instead of going directly to the door behind me to take stufo out of my car, I took the long way around the car to get to the spot.

Yes. It’s seems crazy but I think a healthy dose of crazy is going to help me finish this month’s challenge.

 

5 things I learnt from Novembers Nablopomo

So, it’s 1 December.  I have just finished the month long Nablopomo Challenge.  Here’s 5 things I learnt from the experience.

  1. Just Start

You cannot achieve anything unless you start. Sometimes it takes a few “starts” but it’s the most important thing to keep doing.  Keep starting.  But don’t forget to also finish something!

  1. If you fail to plan you don’t have to plan to fail, permanently

I had always read about Nanowrimo and the other challenges out there. But I had always talked myself out of it.  No time. Will not keep up the challenge. I need to plan for it. This time around I just signed up. Found the page of prompts. And followed that plan mostly. So don’t let the lack of your own plan stop you from starting. Sometimes you need to take an existing plan and use it. Until such time you build the habit or discipline for yourself.

  1. Don’t do it for others, do it for yourself.

My intention for this challenge was to get into the habit of writing daily. Usually I would start off with grand plans. How many followers can I attract? How will I build traffic? How will I publicise my content on so many platforms etc? What will my content be focused on? All those thoughts had stopped me from starting previously. If I couldn’t get a blog platform with thousands of followers – was it worth doing it? But the thing is, if I couldn’t even bring myself to commit to writing.  Getting followers or blog traffic wouldn’t really matter.  Writing in itself is a personal journey or exercise. If you doing it for followers and site traffic to start with. You are sunk!

Hello out there

Hello. Is it me you’re looking for?

As you can see. There was a flurry of followers in the beginning. And then. There was just me and my writing!

 

  1. Let go and let flow

Sometimes writers block hits you.  Just as in life there are obstacles, setbacks or challenges. Sometimes holding onto the obstacle slows you down or stops you completely.  Sometimes you just have to just redirect with the obstacle, go with its flow or go in the direction it takes you.  Till such time you get your own mojo back and can then get back on your own course.  But the thing is, don’t let it stop you. The first writer’s block I hit was in week 1. I would have never made it to the end if I had stopped then.

  1. Eating the elephant

Sometimes a goal can seem like an overwhelming thing to be achieved. But the only way to achieve it is to get through the incremental steps it takes to get there that is, eating the elephant one bite at a time.  This writing challenge, at the outset, seemed like a huge task. What? Writing every day for a whole month?  I could easily have gotten caught up in my head. Instead of focusing on the while month that was ahead. I just focused on the goal for that day. That one blog post for that day. It seemed less overwhelming and more achievable to meet the day’s goal. And before I knew it, November was done and dusted and a blog post was done every day of the working week!

And the bonus. The achievement of a goal leads to the setting of other goals.  Now, onto my next challenge for December!