Day 16 of 100 : Those Were the Days

The days of my youth were vastly different from nowadays, in my naughty forties! What has changed?

My childhood meant big Sunday feasts with roasts and desserts. On other days we used to get occasional treats, and I remember always having far too much fizzy cooldrink, but I was never overweight as a child or teen.

I was always a normal weight and size. We ate no low fat or sugar-free foods, didn’t use artificial sweeteners and wholewheat or brown bread was for ‘poor’ people. A starchy side dish at every meal was common, and Fridays were ‘take-away day’. If I were to go back in time and eat exactly the same way we did back then, would I lose weight? What was so different then?

We were more ACTIVE! School days meant a lot of walking between classrooms, and we used to walk home from school in the afternoons, that’s at least a kilometre of walking every day. I also participated in sport and athletics at school, so that racked up more activity hours. As teens most of our socialising happened poolside, and we swam a lot. We danced, went roller-skating, and ice skating, we were always active. When we were youngsters, in the days before remote controls, we were our parents’ button-pushers / channel surfers!

Even when I started working, before I owned a car, daily life involved lots of walking between bus stops, home and office. Then as a young adult with a baby, there was daily housework, washing and ironing. Vacuuming is a good cardio workout, and hanging washing is fabulous for toning arms!

But gradually we got TV remotes, housekeepers, cars, e-mail to make our office days even more sedentary, gadgets and electronics that elevate our stress levels and keep the cortisol raised to wreak havoc with our waistlines, more TV channels to add more weekly hours spent sitting down watching the rectangle on the wall.

As for rushing to be on time…….. cell phones make it so easy to be slow.

Perhaps it’s not the diet that’s the problem at all. Perhaps it’s my activity levels!

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Day 2 of 100 – Leisure ACTIVE-ity?

Does my weight impact on my choice of leisure activity? Of course it does.

My idea of fun is not donning tight shiny black things with lumo pink stripes and jumping on a bicycle for a 10km ‘fun’ ride….. There is a fine line between torture and exercise, and similarly, between exercise and fun. Sex is fun, a 10km bike ride is exercise (and the kit is kinky!)…. Decoupage is fun, walking the dog is exercise. You get my drift…

My choice of leisure activity leans towards tranquil sedentary pursuits, like decoupage, reading magazines – no sweat, no breathlessness. I don’t have to engage in conversation with anyone and most importantly, I don’t have to break into a sweat figuring out what to wear to conceal the extra woman I’m carrying around with me. The inconsiderate skank has been around for years and she needs to go! It’s a good thing I’ve decided to start eviction proceedings.

So why don’t I just choose to do something more physical, that will burn some calories whilst I engage in leisurely fun? Because I’m lazy. I am fat and it’s easier to sit on my fat than to get off my arse and jiggle the fat. I don’t like gardening – all that huffing and puffing so a few insects can bite you; and no thanks to exercise disguised as leisure activities. I don’t have pets to play with (heeere kitty kitty kitty!), and our kids are all grown up and living on their own.

Watching TV has to be the worst pastime, because that’s literally all you’re doing – passing time, staring at a rectangle on the wall. What’s at the end of this ‘passed time’? Should I do something to earn this idle time instead? Make it a reward at the end of the day, for a day well and energetically spent? Na…. it sounds like a great idea, but it’s not exactly practical.

What I AM going to do, is change my leisure (IN)activity to leisure ACTIVE-ity. The big mistake we make is trying to do it all at 110% from the outset, only to end up feeling like a failure a week later because we did not do 7 hours of weight-bearing exercise, 50kms of cycling, 3 days of jogging and 28 minutes of Zumba.

So here’s what I CAN do – finish my decoupage project standing up, and walking in place with every stroke of the modge-podge brush. I can do 5 calf raises every time I get up from my office chair / the couch / the toilet (hey why not?). When relaxing with my magazines, I will select an article or two to read standing up, maybe whilst gently walking in place again. The choice will be mine, it could be an article just 10 lines long, or 10 pages, no rules about minimum lines, because even 5 paces in place while reading will be 5 paces more than I used to do before. I will stretch while waiting for the kettle to boil in the mornings, and on my office chair I can lift and hold my thighs up for a few seconds, one at a time, throughout the day.

Bingo wings? Use the book you’re reading, or a magazine, or best of all, files at work to do short arm and shoulder workouts…. Get up and pace during phone calls. No need to be a strict matron about it – do it during just one phone call a day, or all phone calls – ONE IS MORE THAN NONE! And that applies to every bit of activity added to otherwise sedentary activities. Every little bit adds up. And instead of feeling despondent because I didn’t manage an hour of intense exercise, I’m going to feel good about having done something.

Aaaand ACTION!