As they say, even if you walk slowly you’re still lapping the guy on the couch!
#2015HereICome – Beginner exercise 1
So, it’s Boxing Day and dear spouse (henceforth to be known as WJJ) is sitting, chilling and watching the first day of the SA/West Indies test at St George’s Park, Port Elizabeth. A rude interruption from me rolling in a very dusty “Big Blue Ball” (BBB). A couple of years ago, I used this ball as my office chair and I still have the pictures to prove it! Also lugged into our living room is the “mini trampoline” or rebounder as they are also called. WJJ’s face was a picture!
My plan is for us to sit on the BBB for ever-increasing periods while watching DSTV. A sort of penance for watching our favourite channels?! LOL I am an “app’ addict and have a great timer on my phone and my tablet. I will monitor the planned increasing times spent on these very basic exercise resources.
The rebounder is also an excellent beginner resource to start us off walking on the flexible surface. I know from experience that my dormant calf muscles protest quite ferociously if I just walk. Obviously, we will not be bouncing around wildly and injuring ourselves bouncing right off the darn thing!
Also hidden in my Dad’s old tool box, which we use as a coffee table in this room, are some hand weights and stretch bands. But that will be a story for another day!
When did it become OK? Just when?
So, I ask again, when did it become OK? Just exactly when?
Just what am I on about now?
Yesterday, we spent several hours at CT International airport. On the Saturday before Christmas it’s not a good place to be. The place was heaving with people who were heaving themselves along….. as in lumbering along with their obese bodies no doubt protesting quite strongly.
Of course, there were many folk of healthy weight among the masses but, it seemed to me, that every second person I saw was obese to morbidly obese. Lumbering along with that peculiar rocking gate of protesting bones and muscles slack with lack of exercise….. Or traipsing along with muffin tops offending my eyes. (Maybe I’m just prudish and old fashioned with that one!)
I will refrain from including myself in any pics at this time, but my family companions looked pretty good!
Sitting in the Spur, watching the planes come and go (I love doing that), I also observed people come and go from the various tables in the restaurant. One family in particular came directly into my line of vision and I covertly observed them for quite a while. Grandparents, morbidly obese, trying to squeeze into the benches at their big table. The granny, I wondered about her. What did she look like when she married the old man? Slim? trim? Or already plump on her wedding day? The oupa; I imagined him just eating whatever was put on the table in front of him at home. The children, ‘30/40-somethings’, severely overweight. The son; maybe it was rugby muscle now overtaken by fat. The DIL; very plump indeed. Maybe she was trying to control her weight? Who knows? Lastly, the grandchildren. Not yet in High School. Seriously podgy and pasty looking from lack of sun & exercise. Perhaps that was the saddest part of the picture in front of me. The grandchildren.
Why do I keep thinking about the grandmother? Should she have informed herself and controlled the diet & habits of herself and her spouse? Which, in turn, could have inculcated better eating habits in her son? Maybe she is in fact informed but just could not get control? You know, somehow, I don’t think so. I think she just gave up on the calories, the ‘low fat everything’ that was supposed to help her slim down, the never-ending diets, the never-ending failures.
The food choices that family of six South Africans made yesterday were ill-advised to say the very least. And I, for one, will never give up on myself and my quest for permanent, sustainable healthy weight. I will never give up on my Odyssey.
Weight Loss : Spring has sprung .. or so they say…
All rightee! Listen up you lot! After an absence of over a month from my soapbox, I am back in full voice! You poor people!
Have endured damn nearly 3 months of pure hell business-wise. No, rather make that work-wise; business is good. The pace has slowed down very slightly from barely concealed hysteria to the usual controlled chaos!
I also had what I am resolutely calling My Pitstop for the last two months. A slight weight gain over the period which I have firmly decided I will not beat myself over the head about. Various reasons for this and I am fully aware of all of them! Here are a few:
No food journal. Too busy to take time to record what I was eating. It was so easy to just mindlessly eat whatever was put in front of me with my left hand while my right hand was wielding the mouse at literally all hours of the day or night!
No meal planning. No proper shopping trips to make sure we had the right food in the right quantities in the house! Increased incidence of takeaways when we were too exhausted to bother with cooking which was a lot of the time.
Not enough pure water. Too many mugs of coffee (also mindlessly consumed while wielding the mouse!) and not nearly enough portions of fruit and vegetables to make up for the drought. The 500ml Aquelle bottles are now back on my desk – I try to swallow 4 bottles through the day. I particularly like the Aquelle bottle shape and they go to gym with me too.
No regular exercise. I kept up the mandatory 2 days a month at Virgin Active but did little else there. We went walking several weekends – up the mountain, walked on the beach and over the rocks from Llandudno to Sandy Bay, climbed up above Simonstown to Admiral’s waterfall… All spectacular stuff and we have amazing photos to show for it but it was not nearly enough. We plan another walk this Sunday – out Hout Bay/Llandudno way again. Looking forward to that and do hope that the weather co-operates.
I also joined a unique ladies gym called Adrenalynne. The owner is an amazing person called Lynne who is not young enough to be my daughter which is a plus for me!! She is a previous Mrs Fitness SA title-holder and the fabulous framed photos and qualification certificates in her well equipped home gym have to be seen to be believed! I go (try to get to!) to a twice-weekly class of ladies who call themselves the Golden Girls. Enough said! The first couple of times I went, I thought the gentle dance/stretch routines were a little tame for me. I very soon changed my mind however and have left several classes quite puffed and feeling lekker ‘loose’ all over from all the stretching we do.
Zero self care. Hurtling from one day to the next; battling one computer issue after another. Dealing with multiple and extraordinary client issues all coming at me at once. All culminated in severe stress, fatigue, serious night leg/foot cramps from all the sitting for hours on end and weight creeping stealthily up each day on the scale – that is when I did weigh myself in the mornings! Most days, I was already at my PC by 4:30am and often stayed right there until midnight.
As I prepare for my resumed onward and downward Odyssey, I am looking at a number of things:
Body Fat Percentage – as opposed to plain old body weight which can be deceptive.
The Metabolism Miracle – a New York Times bestseller by Diane Kress, RD, CDE. I have never been one for fad diets and I could not care less about NY Times bestseller lists but this book resonates with me and it is anything but a fad diet.
Nutribase software – yeah, yeah, OK. I know. Just do it Eileen! Don’t mess around with theory. Or get too technical/analytical.
Well, I see it this way for me, myself and I! I achieved a 25kg weight loss and have almost brought the real Eileen back to life by making a big deal of plotting on graphs, keeping food logs; weight logs; BP logs; Glucose logs; examining food labels minutely, etc. etc. It works for me and millions of others as well if we go by the sheer volume of health-based software available on the http://www. So I let you’all know how it goes!
So do let me know how things have been for you over the worst of the Winter? Or the best of Summer for those of you in the Northern hemisphere?
Talk again soon, have a great day, Eileen
Weight loss : a mini-breakthrough
Well, it was a damn long time coming. What a battle! As of this morning, I have edged past the 25kg mark for the first time – 25.2kg down to be exact. As I said, a mini breakthrough but a breakthrough it is.
My weight loss has fluctuated between 24 –24.8kg for the last 2 months. I know the reasons for this very well. Lax portion control, little exercise, insufficient water and occasional mini-binges all contributed to the patchy downward progress.
June was a month of bi-annual medical checks I have which form part of the diabetic care protocol. At the beginning of the year and at mid-year, I have various tests done to check my health status. Doctor, pathologists, ophthalmologist, podiatrist and dietician all had the dubious pleasure of my company last month. I will talk about it in a later post.
Diabetes really is a dread disease in that uncontrolled – or even just poorly controlled glucose levels wreak havoc with virtually every body system. Unseen and undetected until too late. That’s fact and not just me becoming neurotic or a hypochondriac! While I am very aware of my health diagnoses/challenges and am doing (action!) all I reasonably can to reverse the situation, I have no time to sit around contemplating my ‘health navel’!
Between health, business and personal challenges, I seldom have time to scratch myself! I do not schedule enough ‘me time’. I call it down time or time out. I am looking at that quite seriously and would recommend it for everybody.
As part of my mid-year checks, I consulted a dietician about the prolonged weight plateau. Yeah. Another one. Another dietician I mean. Did I learn anything new? No. Didn’t expect to. What I did get was a slightly revised eating plan which cuts kJ to 5200 per day. (About 1222 calories). Rather strict plan for sure. Cuts carbs and leaves protein/fats much the same. Am I following the recommendations to the letter? Not quite but I have had a shift in weight and that’s the bottom line isn’t it?!
The other perennial recommendation is to increase exercise. Any regular physical activity is crucial for overall health improvement – any physical activity at all.
So get that fat dog out on a leash and get out into the neighbourhood so that he can pick up his pee-mail!
Fitness: best stretches for office workers
Following on from yesterday’s post about fitness, I offer herewith the following URL to assist you in compiling a simple, quick daily stretch routine for yourselves. The link provided will take you to a 2 and a half page doc you can print out and use.
Everything you will ever need to know about exercise is to be found at:
C’mon! If an old lady can try to get something together you can too! 🙂
For those of you in RSA, hope you have a happy Freedom Day.
Fitness: an essential part of the wellness journey
Those of us who have gym memberships – great stuff! BUT, in all honesty, are we making full use of the state-of-the-art facilities at our disposal? Sadly, the answer in my case has to be ‘no’.
Do we ask questions of the fitness staff that wander around all over the place while we are stepping along smartly on that treadmill? You will be surprised at the snippets of very relevant info they give re maximising the fitness benefits of the machines, equipment and designated areas of the gym at our disposal. Do we attend the myriad FREE classes on offer?
In this post, I won’t go into all the reasons (read excuses) why we no longer look like we did the day we got married or when we were at our best. Like everyone else, I will stick my head in the sand and not ‘go there’ at this time of writing.
What I want to do is to steer you in the direction of a couple of websites that may inspire us to get up off our butts and start toning up!
In the days of Dallas on TV, Victoria Principal the actress playing Pamela Barnes Ewing (alright, I Googled that – I would never have remembered the full name of her character!) wrote a couple of quite good books on health and beauty. Cashing in on stardom of course and suddenly they’re ‘experts’ on all sorts of things! Her first publication was The Body Principal. I am sorry that I must have ‘hospice shopped’ the book as I no longer have it.
In the book she illustrated and propounded the gentle, stretching isometric exercises that maintained ‘the body’. What a body that was too! In her latest book Living Principal published in 2001, she still looks pretty darn good and she is/was still married to her plastic surgeon husband. (!)She did not subscribe to the ‘feel the burn’ aerobic physical jerks of Jane Fonda and others.
Using the lessons learnt from Victoria’s book, I created a short, all-over stretch routine that I practised quite religiously early every morning right up to 2003 when we left our farm and moved to the Western Cape.
The cold, dark and wet Cape winter is closing in on us. My body – I do not take time often enough to check the reality of it’s very poor condition – has more and more loose, floppy bits waving around as the weight goes down! UGH!
What am I going to do about that? Well, for a start, I am going to re-create my morning stretch routine (adding some appropriate weights) and inveigle W into joining me!
We sit slouching over our computers for hours on end daily (in our family most of us have computer based jobs). We are (or will be) paying for it dearly with loss of tone, flexibility, range of motion and all the others ills of little/no exercise in our lives.
I, for one, have paid for my workaholic lifestyle by developing severe osteoarthritis in my neck. A neuro surgeon said to me, ‘This neck is tired’. He prescribed a neck brace which I do use occasionally. He also suggested some supplements to take and asserted that he would deny it if I ever told anyone what he had recommended! Poor man, I understand he too is now a diabetic.
My GP at the time had just returned from 12 years practice in Canada and upon seeing my neck x-rays exclaimed, ‘ Oh my Gaad! Oh my Gaad! Your poor thing!‘ An Afrikaans accent overlaid with 12 years of Canadian accent makes an interesting combination!
We sit hunched over with our necks stretched forward reading our computer screens for hours on end and we wonder why we feel sore and stiff when we straighten up and try to correct our posture. Young people I know who shall remain nameless are developing exactly the same symptoms. I manage my osteoarthritis with a daily anti-inflammatory – yet another drug added to my daily cocktail – plus a twice daily supplement.
As usual, I digress. Back to the URL’s.
If you go to the URLs hereunder, you will see the sort of thing we will be making an effort to implement. Most of the very basic exercises in the 9 step routine were part of Victoria Principal’s routine and they are as much in use today as they were back in the days of Dallas!
A website I have discovered in my (hopefully discerning) wanderings around the www is:
Connected to super cyclist Lance Armstrong who as we know has had his own health demons to conquer, I think we can safely consider the many tools and information offered on this huge site for implementation in our own lives.
The World Wide Web is truly an astounding place where any info on the planet can be accessed with the click of a mouse. With due caution and a good dollop of commonsense, we can only benefit from using it wisely. More about that in a future post.
What’s the score?
In our family, that question almost always means that someone is asking the rugby score. Usually it also means the score in a game involving the Sharks! As ex-KZNatalians, we are often berated for being disloyal to the local Stormers squad – but that’s how it is. Once a Sharks fan always a Sharks fan it seems!
I am not a huge rugby fan although I have done my fair share of screaming for our team from the sidelines; especially at schoolboy matches. Not unusual for the mother of 3 sons! I usually only become interested if our team is still in contention near the end of a series.
One score both W & I ARE interested in is our weight! Now back in CT, we both climbed on the scale first thing this morning to assess the ‘damage’ caused by our wonderful break at Mossel Bay. Also not forgetting the lovely roast leg of lamb dinner plus ‘ Jan Ellis Pudding’ we were treated to at the home of W’s sisters in Dana Bay. (You truly do not want to know the ingredients used for Jan Ellis Pudding! Needless to say, it tastes divine!)
The sisters plus W and I were a gang of 4 when we lived there in 2003-2005 and we had some great times together. Not sure why but I was quite heartsore to visit there this time and realise that the gang of 4 was down to a twosome again.
Enough of that! On to the subject at hand – the ‘damage’. I should not really use that word as a slight weight gain on holiday is par for the course – (Pinnacle Point course ha ha!!).
W returned home 0.1kg lighter than he was and we can put that down to some pretty long walks on very hilly terrain. He also enjoyed a wonderful +-9km walk with M & J along the now disused railway line from Wilderness to Victoria Bay. Those of you that know that area will know what a beautiful stretch of Garden Route coast that is; Outeniqua Choo-Choo country. A cloudy day also made for comfortable walking. All in all I would say that W walked about 15km while away and this paid dividends in increased fitness, no weight gain and a complete disappearance of stress.
My result was also pretty good – no loss but a slight gain of 0.4kg for the 7 days away. I am not in any way bothered by this and will simply re-direct my energies to continue the odyssey. W has just walked in with some yummy plums – those firm ‘black’ skinned ones. Not a huge plum fan but these are really lekker! Golden yellow flesh and they do not drip all over you like some plums do! Holford would be pleased – he promotes dark coloured fuit & veg choices almost ad nauseum!
The odyssey (‘ a series of wanderings’ remember!) continues – the green (actual) line on my Excel chart will be meandering above the solid red (target) line at the moment but the downward momentum continues.
I urge you to persevere with your own odyssey – whatever goal you have – it IS achievable.
If you have stalled on the trip; if you have lost direction; if you are feeling de-motivated or overwhelmed by what you see as an unachievable task, I encourage you to :
Stop. take stock. re-define your goals. plan your strategy. move ahead. Baby steps are all that is required; as long as these steps are consistently applied, you WILL get there!
Another wonderful thing about an odyssey is that no matter how many times you stop and wander off the track along the way, you will reach your destination if you just keep on plodding along in the right direction!
Cape St Blaize ….
I promised some pics of our lighthouse visit …… here they are!
Quite active but not too disciplined with eating…!
Just a few of many pics – what a pleasure to be away from our computers!
Note the beach in the background. We walked there – really inaccessible. The irrigation sprayers just visible at the top of the photo use re-cycled effluent water.
We went into Mossel Bay town for the first time since we left here in 2005; brought back lots of super memories. Quite a historic town with wonderful OLD stone buildings in town, down by the harbour and up on the steep slopes above the town. We went to the lighthouse – those who have seen my Cape Agulhas post will know I have a thing about lighthouses – and found to our delight that we could pay R16 each and climb to the top. W and little A stayed safely on the ground while M, J & I clambered up the narrow, VERY steep ladders that take one up to the top. These ladders are constructed of the original wood (circa 1864) – no safety rails or balustrades at all. The final flight was just wood steps bolted together with original, ornate wrought iron brackets linking them.
We had to crawl through a hip height steel door out onto the final balcony which surrounds the light. The Cape St Blaize lighthouse as it is called was built in 1864 and is kept in pristine condition. Immaculate white paintwork and cared for original wood floors and doors. As we did at L’Agulhas, we stood shrieking with delight and shouting hello to all and sundry on the ground. W was a bit more courageous this time and looked up at us far above. Little A was very excited to see us way up in the air!
We have some lovely pics – J can always be relied upon to snap hundreds of shots wherever we go so hopefully will upload some later today.
Although the weather has cooled down a lot and we have had some desperately needed rain, we are having a great break and will reluctantly return to CT tomorrow.
I dread to think what the scale will show after a week of not adhering too well to my low GI regimen but I feel that the activity out in the fresh air will make up for the dietary shortcomings! I will just re-focus and do what I have to do to get back on track.