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4 reasons to get (back) to Fitness…

by on October 21, 2009
 

‘Wake me up for the weekend’ were words emblazoned on a night shirt I had when I was as teenager! Now, I’m saying….wake me up for the winter!

Autumn rain drops

And it is about time too for summer’s gone, winter’s almost come. And I’m enjoying autumn in between!

Sharing my coke

It is very interesting that my desire to return to health and fitness with supreme consciousness is supported by studies 🙂 aka Anne Wong who writes in ‘The Prime Times’, a newsletter for parents with empty nests (my kids are 6, 4, 2 years old and this is no testimony to them fleeing the coop exceptionally early. Treat it as ‘diversity’ of literary delights):

‘There are 2 times in the year however that are perfect for altering, changing or finding new behaviour patterns! The obvious one is New Year’s ….and the second opportunity is September. The idea of freshness and renewal is again connected to a start….and of course I mean the school year :-)’

So, now that there’s evidence to support the change from ‘get fit for the summer’ to get fit for the winter’ I can forge ahead with getting back to fitness and to becoming a new me.

1. HONOUR THY WORD: I hate broken promises, just like most people, especially when they’re from me to me. It doesn’t matter that it was in January when I first spoke to myself, rather sternly about ‘insanity’ (a state of continually doing a specific thing yet hoping for a different result!). What is key is that I have gotten over the heat of the summer, the days on the beach, endless summer snacks and…am determined to keep that promise before I have to make resolutions in 2010! I won’t belabour the points of feeling healthier, looking better, wearing clothes that fit better….

2. APPREHEND THE ENDORPHIN RUSH: Once I get past the initial pain of waking up at the crack of dawn, getting dressed and starting my day off working out, I feel GREAT. On top of the world – my joints are oiled, my whole body pespires and there’s an overall feeling of well-being thanks to the Endorphins. I hear chocolate addicts say, give me some and forget the fitness but if you’ve experienced this rush/runner’s high, you’ll well understands the desire and delights of working out. (Though some scientists think this feeling is caused by the challenge of exercise, and is not related to endorphin release!)

chickenendorphin

Endorphins are proteins (similar to opioids) but generated by the endocrine system of many vertebrates. When they are released into the body, they cause a sense of well-being and also act as analgesics – to fight pain (aka “natural pain killers”.) Though in my experience with doing knee lifts and chest presses….my endocrine secretions seem to be pretty low till I actually get rid of the pain…by stopping :-). Endorphins bind to the opioid receptors in the brain similar to the way analgesic drugs (pain killers) work on the brain. The key difference between the natural endorphins and the analgesic drugs is that natural endorphins are cleared from the blood very quickly but in my opinion, the mental after effects lasts the whole day…especially when conquering that last slice of apple pie at after 7pm!

3. REWARD I: COOK AND EAT WITH PLEASURE

The Dutch eat to live….others like the Chinese and I live to eat.

And it’s that simple. Exercise. Smile. Eat. Need I say more?

Calorie I didn't like

Not entirely true – Celery and I are at the stage of friendship, long before you get to ‘mere acquiantances’!

Well, I feel as though I must. With some recipes you can’t go wrong – ever. They’re full proof, almost and my addiction to yoghurt with ginger jam and almonds is worthy of mention, worthy of praise. A ‘recipe’ that’s mine. My creation. I mean, can anything be better than low-fat Turkish yoghurt, topped with ginger jam and liberally sprinkled with flaked, almonds. Have I mentioned these ingredients before? Forgive me but I love them so…can’t stop talking about them.

Or my ‘silk for breakfast recipe: homemade muesli in a bowl, top up with milk and yoghurt and leave to soak overnight. Wake up the next morning and do what you will…thin the cereal with milk, grate an apple, add bananas, garnish with plums…..the list is ENDLESS and the results, consistent: Great, Greater, Greatest…I did say they were consistent, didn’t I. Perfect to make large batches for family dos, to last the while week….useful is what this cereal is and healthy and delicious and…I’ll stop here.

4. REWARD II: IF ALL ELSE FAILS, BIN IT

But I’ve also had DISASTERS: a gluten-free plum cake – pretty to look at but exceptionally FOUL to eat. And I apologise for my language but that’s exactly what it was. And though I HATE to waste, absolutely love leftovers, this was one dish, well one of two dishes I was glad to see in the bin. Nothing could salvage the almond flour-yoghurt cake mix when baked. The plums ‘cut’ your tongue and my desires to storm the world with the best gluten-free plum cake recipe failed. Miserably.

IMG_8406 IMG_8420IMG_8415 IMG_8472

As did my chocolate chilli sauce…with Orange chicken! The chicken was fine, it was the sauce that had a HUGE issue, starting with using a packet of demi-glace sauce as opposed to making mine and a few other errors. Be sure that when I do this again, it will be different: I will make my own demi-glace sauce, forget that it may take 3 hours but what’s that compared to a failed experiment!

Orange chicken and chilli chocolate sauce

I hope those 4 reasons convince you….as they have me. And I share it with you to remain accountable 🙂

And should you seek some ‘get-fit tips’, here are a few:

Realise what works best for you: Last year I enjoyed going to the gym. Earlier on this year, I was bored with the gym and took up walking most lunchtimes…That worked excellently well (in that I lost weight, which is partly the goal 🙂 and now I’m back at the gym. If the gym doesn’t motivate you…don’t go! You’ll find it an incredible drag, it will knock your confidence and you’ll be right back to square one.  When I had my lunchtime strolls, I enjoyed them immensely…see the destination was always…the shops! Hear me out. I made sure I spread out my weekly shopping list and each day I strolled to get some tea or veggies or teacups or just to look around. Now because I had a fixed time to stay out for lunch, I could only do a couple of shops which meant I always had a reason to walk by – to browse and to stop and shop.  This may not be your approach though so…think of what suits you the most.

Typical Holland - a bike

Just in case you wanted to know – that’s not my bike. I don’t have one yet! Yes, I live in the Netherlands. Yes, it is the best place in the world to cycle. I’ve only lived here for 2.5 years. There’s time enough!

Schedule it at the best time for you: These days I start my day off with fitness so I get out of bed, get ready and head out. In the past I didn’t mind afternoons or evenings but now I like to get it done and know that I can tick that off my prime list of things to do

Forget the scales: This is one thing that I used to obsess about – weighing myself. It turned out to be a hopeless cycle of Endorphin rush and then sadness that the bulk hadn’t shifted much, even after 2 weeks in the gym. And yes, I know the spiel that muscle is heavier than fat, gram for gram but that doesn’t occur to you when your sole intent is to see the readings go down. Now I don’t care what I weigh (specifically, I do occassionally check) only because I know I am putting the exercise in, eating better, cooking more and loving every minute of it

Keep trying to lose weight

Make some Lifestlyle changes: Overall, this is what will let you stay the course. The decision to give up insanity for a ‘steady-state’ of balance. I love to cook and eat. Honestly, I can eat. And it does show on me – call them what you will : rosy cheeks, rolling backside, I can describe me in many ways. How to make this lifestly change:

Include wholegrains in your cooking: Pancakes, Waffles, French toast all taste great with wholegrains
Use less oil/fat when cooking
Bake, grill or roast
Eat more fruit and veg
Drink more water
Be happy
Enjoy life
Be you!

Do you have shared experiences? Advice, tips or more to add? Please leave a comment.