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Soothes the Savage Beast

I know I must make quite a sight as I go out for a run around my local park. There I am in my tight-fitting grey trackies, my bright orange singlet top and my colour-coordinated grey jacket with orange trim. To top it off, I have new running shoes that are a glorious purple with more orange trim. (No, I did not buy them for their colour!) I get swooped on by magpies, chased after by dogs and rained on by…well, rain. But I run – slowly, yes- but run nonetheless – and if you’ve ever seen somebody my size running, you’d probably raise your eyebrows as I’m sure my neighbours do. Strangely, I never think about that – instead, I’m always worried that people can see me singing and dancing as I go along the track! (more…)

We Got to Move It, Move It

If I really wanted to, I could fill an entire blog post using only words that convey what’s most unlikeable about exercise. Some of those words would be: sweaty, uncomfortable, painful, exerting, time-consuming and depriving-me-of-quality-couch-potato-time.

But I’m not going to do that, despite what I just wrote – and yes, despite the fact that what I just wrote is also very true. Because, as usual in life, there’s two sides to truth – and there’s two sides to exercise. (more…)

Leaps Forward

I’m a couple of days into this Round* of the 12WBT program now and I’m seeing some very interesting things crop up as, I think, a direct result of doing the last Round (which was my first). I didn’t lose much weight last time, and I’d put it all back on in the last couple of weeks as the wheels fell off to a large extent. I had struggled from about 4 weeks in, particularly with getting myself to exercise.

I should explain how big this particular issue was for me. Firstly, in all the “diets” I’ve ever done, the one thing I had no trouble doing was getting up to exercise. I would struggle to eat only lite foods – but training was never the issue. For most of my life, I’ve been active, with some periods where I’ve been downright fit. So finding myself reluctant to do any exercise at all really bothered me.  At first I thought it was because I’d injured my knee back in March (torn tendon), then I was worried I was developing a heart condition (my brother had a massive heart attack a couple of years ago at the same age I am now). Then I started treatment for my knee – which included careful exercise, and my doctor pointed out I’m a hypochondriac with a little asthma from the cold air :-).

The down side to this exercise story is that all of that happened with 4 weeks to go on that last round, and I still didn’t exercise! (more…)

The Need for Food

Full course dinner

Image via Wikipedia

One of the complaints I hear most from people who carry extra weight but who struggle to lose it is, “But I hardly eat anything. How come I never lose any weight?”.

These people skip breakfast – or just have coffee, will have a sandwich for lunch and steamed vegetables for dinner, or a bowl of breakfast cereal instead. They consume a tiny number of calories and yet still, no matter what they do, their bodies will shed no fat.

The answer is in the question. It’s also in our genes and there is nothing we can do to change it, because the cause is something that actually helps us to survive. (more…)

Hardly a Diet

The original graph of body size versus metabol...

Image via Wikipedia

When we think about a diet these days, we all have the same image of celery sticks, dry biscuits and lettuce leaves: tasteless food and an endless feeling of hunger. A constant feeling of being dissatisfied and wanting more. And the unending desperation to eat something solid and substantial. I’d like to say that these kinds of diets are well out of fashion but alas, there are some out there that still treat the body this badly.

The studies done into ‘deprivation dieting’ (which is what the above description… er, describes) have proven one fact above all else – when you deprive your body in such a way, you both decrease your metabolic rate (because your body thinks starvation time has come around again) and increase your subconscious need to binge eat. These are both unconscious, physiological body responses to a sudden and sustained lack of food. These responses are genetically built into us and were what helped our ancient ancestors to survive fammine. What they are not, is any help to losing weight. (more…)

A Little Help From My (New) Friends

There are few things more painful and less appetising than starting back at exercise classes after what’s been a very long break. Just to qualify here – I’m not the world’s fittest person. I’m not a gym junkie and I don’t run marathons. But I know I feel better when I’m fit, so I exercise as best I can. But that all fell apart towards the end of 2009 when I contracted an illness that kept me from exercising for the best part of 8 months. I recovered okay, but the result was that I’d lost all the fitness I’d had, I’d put on more weight and could barely climb a flight of stairs without huffing and puffing. Something had to be done. Soon. Next week. Or the week after. Or…


Look and Feel Good While You Exercise

For some of us, just getting ourselves off the couch to go walk the dog for ten minutes can be enough of a challenge on a daily basis. Doing it while wearing the biggest, oldest, baggiest clothes you can find only makes it that much more difficult, or in some cases, impossible. Throughout the western world, the media is forever going on about how overweight people just need to get out there and be more active – as though it’s as easy as clicking your fingers. It isn’t. Far from it. But while they’re waving that magic wand, there is little in the way of solid and practical ways in which we can do it – or plus-size exercise clothing to wear while we are.