Tuesday, January 29, 2013
I can't believe this. Up until now, I have found it impossible to motivate myself to get regular exercise, but this year I decided to join the January Jumpstart Fitness Challenge. And much to my amazement, I not only completed it, but enjoyed it!
The first week I had to get into the routine of doing a video every morning. Some were too hard for me, but Coach Nicole would point out an easier option, so I could manage to do something throughout. Some were easier and some - dare I say it - were FUN! In addition I had to do 5 Cardio workouts, and walking the dog over hilly fields is a workout, so that wasn't a problem. But Buster was pretty surprised - I walked much more regularly that usual, and didn't fob him off with a quick turn around the block - we went for good long walks.
In the second week, I had to do all this and add an extra video twice. I had a great time with a kickboxing cardio workout!
By week 3, I was making sure I got my 5-a-day of freggies, and "amping up the cardio". Now I was putting a jog into my dog walks. OK 100 steps jog, 200 steps walk, but it's a start!
Week 4 had me do the videos twice on three days, log my food and keep up with the cardio, and the extras. I was out all day on Sunday so had to put the challenge on hold, but picked up the following day, which is why I finished on 29th not 28th.
So, what have I achieved? Well, for the first time, I have maintained a fitness streak for 4 weeks. I have received a 1,000 fitness minutes award for the first time ever. I found I really enjoyed the videos, and even liked pushing my walks into (small) jogs!
I have learned that starting the day with a small injection of fitness makes me consider it for the rest of the day and puts me on track to make more of an effort. I have learned that, even 55 and overweight, my health and fitness can improve.
What next? I am going to stick with the general pattern of this challenge for the next 4 weeks, seeing if I can continue to improve my form and get the hang of some of the workouts that still elude me. After that, I aim to open my horizons to more challenges. 1,000 minutes a month will be a regular thing, not an exception.
I have lit the Spark!
Friday, January 11, 2013
Well, here I am 10 days into the New Year. I weighed in at exactly 13st at the start of the year. Since then I have been logging all my food scrupulously, eating within my calorie range, and exercising much more than heretofore, as on 1st January I joined - and am sticking to - the Official January Jumpstart Fitness Challenge. I've been getting good sleep of 7 to 8 hours per night, I've eaten my freggies and drunk all that water - and virtually stopped drinking wine. I weighed in again this morning and ... 13st exactly.
Still. It's early days, and it's possible I am under-eating and in "starvation" mode. My calorie allowance (carried over from last year when frankly I did almost no exercise) is 1220 to 1550 Kcal. Since starting the Challenge, I have been getting warnings saying I should adjust this. So I'm going to do so and see if eating more will help me lose weight - however counter-intuitive this seems. It's really hard to persuade myself to do this, so I'd really appreciate any positive results other members have had by upping their food intake.
It's just possible that my trousers feel a little looser, so it could just be that I am gaining muscle while losing fat. I didn't measure this morning, as I feel a week isn't going to show anything meaningful - I'd rather measure monthly.
But it was disappointing. I've had plateaus before - but never right at the start of Sparking!
Wish me luck!
Monday, January 07, 2013
This year, I signed up for the Official January Jumpstart Fitness Challenge, and for the first time, I have followed it scrupulously for the whole week. As I am so unused to exercise, I took the "easy" option where offered on the videos, but it's a start and I'm sure I will gradually get stronger - and lighter, which will help. This morning I finished Week 1 with a 15 minute abs workout: challenging for me, but just about do-able. And although I was down for a day off Cardio, DH and I spent a merry hour making a bonfire of the Christmas tree, plus all out hedge prunings for the last year. I worked pretty hard on this, using a garden fork to pick up prunings and add them to the bonfire. I have logged this as the nearest equivalent exercise I could find - 40 minutes of "raking leaves".
Soon after we came indoors, there was a knock at the door. A neighbour had reported a fire to the Fire Brigade! The fireman took one look at me (DH says I have ash in my hair) and asked if we'd been having a bonfire. I assured him that we had been burning only wood - the Christmas tree and "some hedge prunings" (I didn't say how many!), also that the fire was sited in the middle of a veggie plot, away from the hedge. I was relived that he didn't tell me it was illegal or dangerous or anything, but seemed satisfied that we weren't going to burn the place down!
It's been a good start to the New Year. I don't think I have EVER achieved a full week of structured exercise before. As this was my first point on my Action Plan, I am pleased to have done this. I have already received a 250 minutes Spark Fitness Award for the month!
With regard to the other points on my action plan, I did have some wine yesterday at lunch with my family celebrating DH's birthday, but only about 200ml. And the same again at supper, with a teeny glass of port. But the rest of the week I've been dry. I've had fresh fruit nearly every day, and plenty of veg too, and I've finished my chocolates at 1 per day, though I do still have a Lindt reindeer that I will break into small portions. I'm getting 7 - 8 hours sleep every night (it's hard to make the full 8) and I have managed my 8 glasses of water most days. So I'm pretty pleased with the way I am sticking to the plan.
The only concern is that my Fitness Tracker is suggesting I eat more, as I'm exercising considerably more than I had allowed for. I think I'll stay on my current allowance till Friday, my weigh-in day, and see where I am then. I had some extra calories on Sunday with the birthday, but have generally been good. I may have to think about upping my intake, but it's hard to do if the scale won't shift! Advice welcome...
I hope my readers are also getting off to a good start and wish you Successful Sparking in 2013!
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
Well, it's time. I DID allow myself to indulge over Christmas, and was pleasantly surprised that after Christmas I still weighed 182 pounds, so I must have lost a little beforehand. Now it is time to start building up good habits again, and with any luck I'll be able to make them stick.
My goal for 2013 is to reach my goal weight of 154 pounds and learn to maintain. In order to do this I must:
1. Make exercise a priority.
Again and again, I have promised that I will exercise regularly, and it always fizzles out. This time I am recruiting DH as a walking buddy, and Wii Fit partner, and we will encourage each other to do at least one activity a day. I have also joined the Official January Jumpstart Fitness Challenge - and completed the first video!
2. Watch the booze.
Another major problem area for me is the wine. With Christmas and New Year's overindulgence finished, I now need to cut down. Now I am avoiding drinking unless we are socialising, and then limit to two small glasses per session. We have my father staying for New Year's Day, and so I had two tiny glasses of red wine with my lunch - 160ml total! A thoroughly enjoyable treat, and one that I can have from time to time.
3. Be sparing with treats.
Obviously with Christmas, there are chocolates etc. around and these will be a bit of a problem till they're gone. I received a box of Elizabeth Shaw chocolate crisps for Christmas, which I have shared around pretty much. I am allowing myself one of the remainder a day till they're finished. Fortunately, I'm not too bothered about sweet treats, but might miss crisps and nuts.
4. Proper Sparking.
The "other bits" of Sparking seem to make all the difference. I am going to try hard to get my eight hours of sleep a day (I only managed 7 last night, but had to stay up to see in the New Year!) and my eight glasses of water (6 so far today, and it's only just teatime). I also need to make more of an effort to get in all my freggies, so will try to add a piece of fresh fruit to my diet every day. I had a delicious satsuma this morning.
Reading the Spark Tips, I noticed that the recommendation was to add good things, rather than fixate on avoiding the bad. So I am adding these things to my life:
Saturday, December 01, 2012
I belong to two main choirs (our local parish church choir, and a larger Choral Society), and occasionally attach myself to others, with or without my DH who is in the two main ones with me. So this is a busy time of year for the voice!
Today, we had our first Christmas bash. One of our Choral Society friends works for the National Trust at Flatford Mill, so got a bunch of us to go along and sing carols at Valley Farm on that site. A cold, grey day, but we were inside the farm, in front of a wood fire, in the toasty warm. Much fun was had by all including, I hope, the visitors! Having been off booze all week (as promised), and as it was a social occasion, I allowed myself a glass of mulled wine as a reward and logged a very pessimistic Spark entry for it. AND I walked the dog when we got home!
Tomorrow I will be visiting a nearby church and joining their choir for an Advent Carol Service. Some very ambitious music, as well as plenty of congregational carols. Then we have a week off before our church choir visits the four pubs in our parish on the two Tuesdays and Thursdays before Christmas, with the Choral Society's Christmas Concert on 14th December and our parish one on 23rd. Finishing up with the Midnight Communion on Christmas Eve.
I shall Spark really hard this week, and after the family "do" next week. After that I expect it will all go a bit to pot. But this week I shall also read some Spark articles and look at coping strategies, and we'll just have to see how it goes.
So Happy Christmas to all my Spark Friends, and if you have any good suggestions for controlling Christmas, do let me know!
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