Day 8 of 100 – I’ll Huff and I’ll Puff!

Exercise. Now there’s a sore topic, ‘scuse the pun!

Like diet potions, gym equipment is a massive market. And like countless diet potions, the equipment is soon forgotten and gathering dust in a corner, usually serving only as a clothes-horse.

I have tried them all. I have never been able to fall in love with any form of exercise, despite being sporty and competitive in my youth.

Cycling hurts my crotch! I’m scared my labia will end up looking like tired pastrami…. Walking is boring….. blablablaaaaaaaaa excuses excuses excuses! I started my haphazard ‘path to health’ at the beginning of June, so I’ve had almost five weeks of trying out a few things, but from the outset, I decided that some form of exercise had to happen consistently, whether I enjoy it or not – the key was in FINDING a way to enjoy it.

So out of the dusty corner came the stationary exercise bike and the treadmill. They were dusted off, and I added a nice collection of varied cardio workout DVD’s. My intention was to exercise for 30 minutes three days a week, and that’s exactly what I did – and more! I am now walking 45 minutes on the treadmill every day from Monday to Friday, at a brisk 4.2km per hour pace, because it happens to be the exercise I enjoy most out of all my options. I got some padded cycling kit as well, and every now and then I’ll alternate the walking days with bike days, and some days it’s a cardio DVD workout.

If I know I am going to indulge in both desserts and some super rich meal as well, I try to start the day with at least 20 minutes of brisk exercise. It makes me feel okay about having a truly over the top indulgent day. And so far, the scales have agreed.

I still can’t say that I love exercise, but, I LOVE the way it makes me feel! I feel fantastic after my daily walk, I feel proud of myself, and I am so much fitter than I was when I started just a few weeks ago. Mentally, I’m so much happier and calmer now, and really believe that exercise is a massive contributor to my mental health. I love feeling good! Even though I’m obese, I can go for a brisk 5km walk and barely break a sweat, yet I remember deftly setting out for a walk on the beach one sweltering hot morning in February while we were on holiday, and I could not manage the 100m walk down the road from our hotel to the beach! I felt like a melting mass, could barely breathe, I was gasping for air, and had zero motivation to walk one more step closer to the beach. We went to the same place for a weekend away last week, and I easily managed a 4km walk with my husband after breakfast on both mornings!

I am starting to ‘get’ what the die-hard workout junkies love so much. I even got a step counter recently, and it’s amazing how being aware of this little gadget clipped to my belt makes me want to park as far away from the shop entrance as possible, walk back and forth in the kitchen getting individual ingredients to clock up a few more steps, get up and walk every time I make or take a call, and get off my chair every hour to walk in place for five minutes,  or just to walk to the kitchen or bathroom or to someone else’s office instead of sending them an email.

It’s the last thing I feel like doing in the mornings, especially now that it’s the middle of winter, but I have made it a part of my day that’s not negotiable, like brushing my teeth. I put my walking clothes out so it’s there staring me in the face when I wake up, and I have a banana and smoothie ready for breakfast before my walk. I put a DVD of whatever crime series tickles my fancy on the day, and once I start walking, I’m instantly motivated. On days when I get bored halfway through my walk, I remind myself of how far I’ve come, how much fitter I am, that the bulging cellulite on my thighs that looked ghastly in my pale grey walking tights has become smoother, and I am starting to see some definition in my thighs – there’s something sexy lurking underneath! So with every walk I imagine that I’m shaving off a tiny tiny layer, and soon that will all add up and reveal the gorgeous me hidden under all that blubber!

It’s easier to maintain commitment because I am challenging myself to 4 months……… but after that……… who would want to throw away all that hard work? The habit will be so well established, it will feel strange and wrong not to carry on. Healthier choices will be the norm….. It’s like the big weight-loss goal…… it’s too much pressure! Don’t start the ‘all or nothing’ plan and aim to lose 30 kilos in 6 months…….. rather make healthier choices and aim to lose 5 kilos in three months. Why not? On the ‘all or nothing’ desperate plan you might still be the exact same weight in three months anyway…….. very likely. Try smaller steps first. The same goes for exercise. It’s a biggy for most people.

Start doing half an hour every second day. Even if it means doing 10 minutes three times throughout the day. Is it more than you’re doing right now? Then it is PROGRESS!