Tag Archive | exercise

Time flies….

when you are enjoying yourself. So the saying goes and I endorse that wholeheartedly.

I ask you, how is it 2 months since I last posted? Where did those weeks go?

All I can say is that I have been out and about, “doing” things, making things and generally making the most of my 4-month break from work.

My biggest thrill is my puppy Jasper who is now 8 months old. He is such a revelation and has made a huge difference to my daily life. Anyone who has suffered from/is suffering from depression or anxiety will understand that it is often difficult to engage socially with others and it is easier to keep your distance than make an effort. As a result, I could spend hours in solitude and although I enjoy my own company, it is not healthy for a person to become so self-contained. Jasper has changed all that as I hoped he would before we had him.

He is such a beautiful dog both in appearance and nature that I am “forced” to talk to other dog walkers and appreciative members of the public every time I take him out for a walk. It helps me to engage with people as the attention is deflected away from me and is instead focussed on Jasper. Although outwardly I appear confident and am happy to speak up, I do not like attention to be focussed on me and therefore if I am not comfortable in my environment, I keep quiet and move on.

Jasper makes me happy. I love animals, I particularly love dogs and have waited a long time to have another one. He makes me laugh and I love to see him enjoying himself usually in water (the muddier the better) and as I am responsible for his welfare and enjoyment I have less time to think about me. It’s a win, win.

I wish that I could bottle Eau de Jasper. I would make a fortune!


Breakfast for supper

Breakfast Like A King copy

I need to lose weight. That’s a fact and after a year of almost total physical sloth I have gained more unwelcome padding. Doc Fraser is concerned about the weight gain because the more I weigh, the harder I have to work to lug myself around and this inevitably adds to the fatigue. You only have to try to carry a few kilos of potatoes across the car-park to know that carrying extra weight is hard work. The blubber has to go.

The problem with chronic fatigue syndrome is that you need to pace yourself carefully and to start with any exercise has to be gentle and low-impact.

“Delayed post-exertion malaise” is a common feature of chronic fatigue and is something I have suffered from for many years. When I feel good, I go into denial and exercise as “normal” but I am clearly a very slow learner or I am missing the Pavlov-Dog gene as I overlook the connection of overdoing activity with my crashes. This leads to prolonged periods when I am unable to do any form of exercise as I am exhausted, tearful, often bed-bound and severely depressed.

My new approach therefore is to lose weight primarily through healthy eating, moderating portion size and gentle exercise to help shift those stubborn pounds. Patience has never been my strongest feature but I am determined to be patient and not get disheartened if the weight comes off in pounds and halves. I will keep going, slowly but surely so that I develop a different lifestyle rather than adopt a short-term approach for a particular event. They say it takes about 66 days to form a habit so I will return to this post on 7 March to give you an update!

lose half a pound a week

In the meantime, my working and travel schedule is not conducive to a 3-meal-a-day regime and I am adapting my eating habits to fit in with healthy eating guidance and my long days. This week I am trying to follow the adage, “Breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince and dinner like a pauper” so that instead of eating fruit for breakfast, I swap my meals around so that I have “breakfast” for dinner and eat my fruit on the train home. This serves two purposes as it means I eat only a snack in the evening, and furthermore, I am eating much earlier than if I wait until I get home at 8pm.

This will also help me with my insomnia as eating a large meal late at night can cause a sugar-surge a few hours later closely followed by a sugar-drop, which will not only wake me up, but also keep me awake.

Today, trying to swap some carbs for extra protein I stuck to scrambled eggs for breakfast, baked potato, baked beans and salad for lunch and fruit for my evening snack. I have to say that I don’t feel hungry so maybe this will work for me. it looks like this will work for me!

Do something you enjoy

I have always been very active, and I enjoy a number of varied physical activities such as golf, ice-skating, walking, cycling, gardening and when on holiday, sea fishing. These are all great things to do, especially if I am outside in the fresh air but they can also be exhausting on top of a heavy work and travel schedule during the week. It is only now that I have ground to a halt that I realise that I have been ignoring the need for rest and relaxation in my ongoing battle to remain mentally healthy and up beat.

Over the past 16 months I have been medication-free and it cannot be coincidence that much of this time was spent making things and not actively doing things. I love making things and it is a pastime that I have neglected over the past few months and maybe I need to resurrect my creative tendencies and focus more on sitting quietly being productive and not push myself to be out and about if this cycle of manic activity followed by periods of exhaustion is to be broken once and for all. This is something I need to consider seriously and in more detail so that I can come up with a sensible long-term plan.

In the meantime, when I woke up this morning I forced myself to get out of bed and get ready for my hair appointment so that there was no possibility of calling it off. I then found myself at a loose end and to take my mind off “stuff” I made a flower brooch. It isn’t much, but it’s a start and gave me great satisfaction when I pinned it on my cardigan.

Flower brooch

Flower brooch

“One way or another…

………………………….I’m gonna find ya
I’m gonna getcha getcha getcha getcha
One way or another I’m gonna win ya
I’m gonna getcha getcha getcha getcha”

For those who don’t recognise them, these are the lyrics to the Blondie song which is one of my favourite running tunes which have been languishing on my iPod for the past 4 years just waiting for me to get going again. The beat fits in with my short-arsed-little-strides perfectly and I find the aggressive tone of the music ideal for plodding on with my programme when I begin to flag (usually after the 5 minute warm up walk)

This will be one of the tunes I listen to today for my goal is to start the Zest 5k 60-second-secret  running programme on my treadmill.

Is it a S.M.A.R.T goal?

The first day goes like this;

Walk briskly for 5 minutes to warm up.

Run 60 seconds, walk 3 minutes. Repeat 3 times.

Walk to warm down.

It’s a S.M.A.R.T goal. Nothing too drastic to begin with and I am determined not to try to do too much too soon as impatient as I am. This is important as I don’t want to jeopardise my current healthy, happy and stable mood by becoming over-tired. Exhaustion is dangerous and I need to temper my natural tendencies to over-exert myself with a more sensible approach. Like patience, sensible doesn’t appear in my dictionary but it’s good to learn new things and as a friend always says when she learns something new “I’ve got another wrinkle in my bum!” Don’t ask me where that saying originates, I have no idea but it always makes me laugh especially as I’m trying desperately to rid myself of all wrinkles in my bum!

As ever, my poppies are there to inspire me and I woke up this morning to find another bud had thrown off its wrappings to display this amazing sight.


One day at a time…..

I am such an impatient person. Once I get an idea in my head it has to be done YESTERDAY. My unwillingness to wait graciously for anything manifests itself in many ways, for instance; I can’t be bothered to plant seeds as they take too long to grow, (and yet I love watching my garden spring to life each year), cooking is an anathema, (Why spend hours lovingly preparing a meal when I can get instant gratification by eating a packet of chocolate biscuits) and dieting? well, I will be forever on a diet if I am to shift the excess weight that plagues me. I really want to start my running programme again but a 12 week programme seems an eternity. Having decided I want to run, I want to run 5k in 36 minutes TODAY…….. 

Sadly I know that this is unreasonable and I need to stop! think! and take each day at a time. No more looking ahead at “possible” results, I need to focus on the “real” achievements I can muster on a daily basis.  So, a change in mindset is required (again). Regular readers of my Blog will have heard all this before and I apologise for the repetition and for being such a slow learner of life’s lessons but I’m getting there.

My plan of action, and I do have to have a plan, is to set myself a daily target which will increase the amount of exercise I do without setting myself unrealistic and unachievable goals. I need to be S.M.A.R.T.’er. I work long hours and travel a lot so any 12 week plan is likely to be derailed very quickly and I realise that I need to be more flexible in my approach and allow myself room for manoeuvre if I am to avoid “failure”.

Today’s goal: A 30 minute swim 

Is this S.M.A.R.T?

I guess I could be more SPECIFIC and say I will swim 20 lengths in 30 minutes, but just getting in the pool will be achievement enough today. It is certainly MEASURABLE- as long as I remember to wear my glasses so that I can see the clock. Is it ACHIEVABLE? I’ve done it many times before and being a Pisces, swimming is the perfect exercise, so yes, it is achievable. REALISTIC? 30 minutes isn’t long and I don’t have to put in an Olympic qualifying time until next week and is it TIMELY?

You bet it is.

You may (or may not like) NHS Couch to 5k (C25K)   http://www.nhs.uk/LiveWell/c25k/Pages/couch-to-5k.aspx

Beware the saboteur…..

Losing weight is hard enough, but to have a saboteur waiting in the wings is rather galling. Especially when it’s my husband who has promised his support in my quest to be a little slimmer. 

Mmmmm….it didn’t last long.

Inspired by my Facebook friend who will soon  be half the woman she was by the time I next meet her for lunch, I forced myself to change into my new (bigger) running shorts and trainers and headed for the treadmill in the garage armed with bottle of water and sweat towel. (It made me feel good even if I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do much first time out.)

I struggled to remember where the “on” switch is 😦 but managed to sort myself out with a suitable speed (not very fast) and incline (not very steep) and a quiz programme to watch on the TV so I could get going.

I had only walked for 2 minutes when I realised that hubby, bless him, had come into the garage and lit up a cigarette! I don’t like smoke at the best of times, but after psyching myself up to start exercising, I didn’t need to be running through a fog of nicotine and my clothes to smell of smoke. So, I stopped. And I swore. And I shouted. And I stormed off in a sulk.

I’m still sulking but sanguine. Hubby’s still hiding in the Doghouse (local pub).

Tomorrow’s another day.

Kick ass

“You can’t cross a sea by merely
staring into the water.”
Rabindranath Tagore

Neither can I expect to get fit by gazing at the equipment in my garage gathering dust whilst I wait expectantly for it to weave its magic and watch the pounds drop off with no effort whatsoever.

The day spent at the health spa yesterday was an inspiration. I am a lot more determined to start afresh and a lot more hopeful that I am emerging from this latest trough of low mood and depression than I was before I went. Today I meet my personal trainer to discuss just how I can get off my arse and start being active again. This will be a real boost and put me firmly back in control. Something which has been lacking due to apathy and reduced energy levels.

I am determined not to rush things. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so they say, and the changes I make must be sustainable in the long-term. So I’m not going to aim to run a marathon in 6 weeks time; Nor lose three stones in weight before my holiday in July. Small changes in diet and lifestyle and a gradual increase in activity levels should do the trick. But I need to find some patience from somewhere- Caroline’s Dictionary does not include “Patience” so I need to add it immediately along with some mantras such as “Be kind to myself”.

Spring has sprung!


Doing things differently-part 2

Two and a bit years ago I was running (jogging) 5k three times a week in 35-ish minutes.  I managed to build up to this distance by following the Zest 12 week running plan and enjoyed every minute of it. I loved being outdoors, listening to my music, soaking up the rays and boosting those endorphins. Depression took a back seat.

Unfortunately playing beach cricket in the late summer I suffered a Grade 2 tear of the soleus calf muscle  which curtailed my running for a few months whilst I underwent physiotherapy. Then, just when I was returning to exercise I managed to fall over in the local car park (no high heels or alcohol involved) and tore my ankle ligaments very badly and only managed to avoid surgery by having extensive physiotherapy for 6 months.

I lost all motivation and have not done much running since. It is time methinks forget the setbacks, get off my backside and start a new running programme. I can then start my original  Zest programme in the Spring and enjoy running outside again.

This week I start Jeff Archer’s 8-week Beginner’s Running Plan with 4 sessions on my treadmill. They fit in nicely with my work pattern so I won’t be able to use that as an excuse!

The first 4 sessions (in case you are thinking of joining me on this adventure-please do as it will be good to have company) are as follows;

Week 1/Day 1               5 mins walking; 30 secs running. Repeat x 4
Week 1/ Day 2              Rest
Week 1/Day 3               4 mins walking; 30 secs running. Repeat x 4
Week 1/Day 4               Rest
Week 1/Day 5               3 mins walking; 30 secs running. Repeat x 5
Week 1/Day 6                Rest
Week 1/Day 7                2 mins walking; 30 secs running. Repeat x 6.

Let’s go!