So I said I wouldn’t talk about this

I’m on a diet. I wrote about this earlier in the week and promised that I wouldn’t go on about it too much. Day 5 and here I am going back on my word. Oh well.

The cutting back on food has actually been going fine. Not so the exercise. I have only managed to get to the gym on one day this week. A mixture of me trying to be an awesome mom and my kids conspiring to prove what a waste of time this is has resulted in much of my week being wasted. Plus I have been trying to succeed in one of my other determinations for this year, to keep my house in better order. I have had a little more success with this.

That one day at the gym though? The muscles in my arms have yet to forgive me for making them push, pull and lift those weights. Funny how I can feel so good after a workout and then suffer for days afterwards. Not funny at all really. When I mention it to the family they smirk and tell me it is because I am old. Thanks guys.

Yesterday was not a good day. Yesterday I woke up feeling ill, really ill. Sweats, shakes, nausea and dizzy ill. And all I could think was, is this because I have been eating too little and trying to do too much? I’m trying to improve my health here, not get ill.

So I gave myself an easy day to rest up and allowed myself to eat a normal dinner. I also eschewed the wine, almost unheard of for a Friday night. I still feel a bit ropey this morning and have no idea if my change of diet was anything to do with how I felt. And my arms still ache.

With a bit more free time than expected yesterday I inevitably went on line and, thanks to a friend, came across this http://100happydays.com/. Wavering between ‘Is this really cheesey?’ and ‘What a fun idea’ I decided to sign up. Assuming that I manage to stick with it my twitter feed is going to contain some random photos over the next few months as I find something that makes me happy each day. Today I am happy because I have time to write.

Living with three teenagers my weekend mornings do tend to be quiet. Given the chance my not so little darlings sleep until close to midday. Even when they wake earlier they stay sequestered in their rooms. It is the perfect opportunity for me to retire to my writing space. I tell myself that I am doing them a favour by choosing such a quiet pastime. I suspect that my motives are less altruistic.

I should also make some time for reading. When I was away last weekend I started a book that my daughter bought me for Christmas, ‘Infinite Jest’ by David Foster Wallace. So far I am enjoying it but it takes a lot of concentration. It is not a book that I can just pick up and set down quickly, or read large chunks of at a time. I am hopeful that, if I can persevere, it will be worth the effort. It is taking some effort to read though.

I like having a mix of books, some easy and some more challenging. I want to stretch my mind and explore new styles. Sometimes, however, I just want to curl up and escape. Perhaps I should try reading two books at a time so that I can pick up whichever I feel able to cope with. I wonder if I would be able to make this work.

I had hoped to watch a film with my little family yesterday evening but my elder son was out at the gym. He is much more disciplined about working out regularly than I seem to manage these days, he tells me off for not managing my time better which I find quite ironic given how he is with other aspects of his life. He and I often have great discussions about the films we watch so I did not want him to miss out. Perhaps tonight we will all manage to keep the evening free.

Meanwhile it has finally stopped raining here in soggy England. As news of the polar vortex has drifted across the pond I have felt rather guilty about mentioning our weather. There are always others having a harder time.

Today looks like being a good day. The sun is out, I am feeling much improved and husband is in the kitchen preparing what will be our dinner later. I will have to allow myself to eat that. Well, it would be ungrateful not to.

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The annual hunger games begin

The Hunger Games have started. Tributes have been selected and the game makers are rubbing their hands with glee as another spectacle of control and conformation to societal expectation gets under way.

How boring is this? Another New Year and yet another attempt to lose weight (yawn). I wonder how many of us have chosen to take part and why. How much is down to good intentions and how much to a desire to conform to the media’s unrealistic promotion of a utopian dream of beauty and never ending youthful looks?

Some of you may be spotting a flaw with the maths. After all, New Year started a week ago. However, my logic works like this: I get given chocolate for Christmas; if I don’t finish the chocolate before I go on a diet then I will be unable to resist the chocolate and the diet will fail; there is therefore no point in starting the diet until all the Christmas chocolate has been consumed.

I have a mindset that requires priming. Knowing that I am going to restrict my consumption of food, I need to allow myself all the treats that will be forbidden before I start. By allowing myself to indulge I can resist for longer once I move into the arena. The trick is to make noticeable progress that I will be inspired to maintain before my resolve weakens. For me, this is the hardest part.

I have been trying to lose weight since I was a teenager. Think Bridget Jones. Each year I succeed in losing an impressive number of lbs, and each year I gain more than I should. A couple of years ago I had a rare success. When the losses and the gains were added up I had managed to shed in excess of 40lb. For my age I was fit and felt fabulous.

Unfortunately I couldn’t maintain this happy result and the weight crept back on. There were no good reasons behind this, I simply allowed myself to eat too much of the wrong sort of food. Hence I am now facing another New Year with another determination to work off the spare tyres and improve my eating habits.

It is not all about looks. I am no beauty, not least because I am too lazy to maintain good grooming habits. I would like to feel better in my clothes, to have them skim rather than cling, but my main incentive is to improve my fitness and thereby my energy levels. When I carry less weight I just feel so much better in myself.

I do not, not, not wish to become a diet bore. I recognise that these Hunger Games will not be entertaining for others. Nevertheless, being constantly hungry will result in me thinking about food and self imposed restriction. Working out will result in me feeling tired, achy and smugly self satisfied when I achieve my workout goals.

The films to which I flippantly refer star an actress who is unusual amongst her contemporaries in refusing to conform to the entertainment industry’s size zero ideal. I admire her for her willingness to promote the fact that food is not the enemy, that people are supposed to be different shapes and sizes.

Nevertheless, it is not good for my health to be the size that I am. Forget size zero, I am aiming for a USA size 10 (UK size 12). For my height this puts me in the healthy weight range. I will not be a skinny but will feel so much better in myself.

If I do mention diet and fitness too often in the coming weeks then I apologise. If I emerge a victor then you can be sure that I will let you know.

Let the Hunger Games begin, and may the odds be ever in my favour.

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