I have started running again.
And since I’ve managed to keep to my plan for 3 weeks now, I feel ready to talk about it.
Of course it’s nowhere near as easy as it used to be. But I have a new level of respect for my body: I’ve grown a child for 9 months, given birth and now I’m still breastfeeding – so there are aches and pains and lower thresholds of pain than I’m used to. But i can do this. It may be embarrassing to arrive home feeling ruined after only 20 minutes of running when I used to do a 20 minutes run as a warm up to a daily 10km run, but hey – I have to start somewhere right? And as the wise old Bikram says, It is never too late, you are never too sick and you are never too old to start from scratch once again.
The big secret to successful running is consistency. I’m totally serious. Even if you start running for 10 minutes at a time, you’ll only improve if you do this every day (or perhaps with a day or two off each week). Small bites, frequently, is the key to catching the running bug. And when you catch it, it’s awesome. I’ve been witness to people catching this bug from never running, to feeling strange if they don’t run every day.
I’m on week 3 and I can feel the bug coming on. Yesterday I felt pretty urgh and unmotivated, but I got dressed and put my running shoes on (a wee trick to getting yourself out the door: put your running shoes on) and headed out for a 20 minute run. It was seriously the best run I’ve done so far. I felt light and nimble and quick and took 2 minutes off the short route I usually take.
So if you’re keen to catch the bug (do it before NY day), here’s my programme that I’m following. It’s for me, I made it to help me get into shape for training for a half marathon. I finish it with a 10km run, which I plan to run in under 45 minutes. In 2010 I ran the Vancouver Sun Run in 46:43 and I was in no way well prepared for that event. So bring it on.
Some tips to come. Maybe.
So I have this friend called Stacey Smith who is pretty freaking incredible. (And gorgeous).
We went to school together and she is insanely inspiring. The kinda ‘I can do anything’ and ‘i look awesome doing it’ girl that makes me love to say ‘i know her’.
She recently decided to give the stand up paddle boarding thing a go. You know, that sport that you see people doing out on the water where they look like they are surfing but without the waves? Yeah I said ‘sport’ because they actually race these things! It’s crazy. And as soon as summer hits, I’m giving it a go. It looks like the kinda gruelling ‘ow my arms hurt but nothing with make this pain go away’ sort of sport that gets me excited. I know it’s weird. But that’s why I love Stacey, I get that adrenaline kick and the ‘it hurts but it’s so good’ kinda thing.
So she spends her days doing what she loves – helping people with their fitness. She’s a personal trainer extraordinaire. And she is casually competing for the NATIONAL title in stand up paddle boarding (yeah, that’s right. she’s a ‘i’ll give it a go today’ to a ‘i’ll compete for a national title tomorrow’ kinda girl!)
She has just left for an 8 week adventure in Europe and is returning in August with some renewed inspiration and energy. Before she left, she was awesome enough to write a little inspiration for my Tighten Up Tuesdays. All the best in Europe Stace – we can’t wait to have you back!!
How do you find the motivation to keep so active even when it’s so cold?
Being active makes you warm-so why not! Getting fresh cold air into your lungs is such a great feeling and when you snuggle into bed at night after an active winters day-you feel so much better about yourself. I like to get on the water on my paddle board when the sun is out but the temperature is low, I only need togs and a rashy and within a few minutes of charging out to sea I’m sweaty and warm!
What do you eat for breakfast?
Porridge (lots!) made with water, topped with two golden kiwifruit and vanilla protein powder shaken with trim milk-mmmmmmm healthy, warm, tasty, filling, goodness.
What are three things you do to feel wonderful about yourself?
- Get moving-I always feel so much better when I keep up a good training/eat pattern. Low alcohol and fatty food intake plus keeping my body on the move (even just a few good powers walks a week) can do wonders for my mental health!
- Get others moving-while this is my ‘job’ it is more my passion, and I take so much pleasure in seeing my clients improve and getting texts from them at all random hours telling me what they have achieved that day, a huge warm fuzzy for me!
- Treat myself-I will never deny myself of treats when I want them. As long as I am keeping active and I know they are treats and not part of regular meals, when I want something naughty (generally sweet things in my case), I will indulge and enjoy without guilt.
Do you have any ideas or advice for people wanting to lose 3-5 kilos?
HEAPS! There’s so many things you can do to shed the few annoying extra kilos, but my top tips would be
- use variety when exercising (include cardio AND resistance training)
- sip water non-stop throughout the day
- plan your meals so you don’t stray
- check your portions sizes
What are some ideas for keeping exercise interesting through the winter?
Train with a friend, hit the pools and the spa after, try something new like paddle boarding on a crisp sunny morning, don’t use rain as an excuse-hire a cheesy at home exercise dvd and rock it with a friend, set up a circuit for some home training-google the exercises…easy!
What are your personal fitness/sport goals?
To win the Takapuna Beach series for Stand up Paddle Boarding (SUP) this Summer, to win the NZ SUP Nationals next year, to do another marathon and beat my time, to complete my first triathlon, to complete a half ironman….I could go on forever-there’s so much I want to do!
Ok guys, if that’s not enough to get you off your butt and into the fresh crisp winter air, then I dunno what is. I just discovered that my ‘i’d rather die than run’ friend has actually become my ‘i wouldn’t say running is my favourite thing to do but i don’t actually mind doing it and i’d maybe even go so far as to say i kinda enjoy it’ friend. And this news has totally made my day.
Now Mika and I are off to power walk in this glorious cold sunshine.
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I never ever thought that I would get excited about exercise DVDs.
Exercising? In my living room? But the living room is for being lazy and putting up my feet and cuddling on the couch! Not getting hot and sweaty and burning calories with Shaun T and his team of protein-shake sippin’ buddies.
I was wrong.
Exercising in my living room is awesome. Insanely awesome.
Now I understand how this industry got so huge. All of a sudden, my life isn’t about just my plans anymore. I can’t pop out to the gym when I feel like it. I can’t head out for a run whenever I like. Today I was meant to meet my coffee group for a walk in the park but Mika was having a bit of an unsettled day and so when she finally got to sleep, the last thing I wanted to do was wake her and put her in her car seat. Enter: Exercise DVD.
I didn’t really believe I could get hot and sweaty in front of my TV. But that’s because I’d never tried ‘Insanity‘. As the name so blatantly states: this DVD is insane.
Ivan and I got the whole 60 day challenge and we might just decide to do it. We took our ‘before’ photos (eek!) and we wrote down our weight and measurements before getting hot and freaky to Shaun T’s ‘Fitness Test’.
The idea is that you do this fitness test, followed by 2 weeks of insane DVD workouts. Then repeat fitness test. Then repeat 2 weeks. In total, it’s 60 days of insanity.
Benefits of exercising in my living room include:
- Any time of day, at the moment I feel like it, or as soon as Mika’s asleep… it’s all go!
- Anything goes in the clothing department. There are NO RULES in my living room 😛
- I can make weird noises, huff and puff, sing and yell profanities at Shaun T.
- A 45 minute workout is really a 45 minute workout. No driving time. It’s great.
I’ve heard great things about Insanity and so I’ll keep you posted every once in a while to see if we’re still on track. My legs are shaking from the fitness test today and I’ve already wolfed down a bowl of post-work-out-cereal (my own concoction). I’m so excited.
Oh and in 60 days we promise to share the before and after pics with y’all. (A bit of self-imposed pressure never hurts eh). And our stats!
(We’re suckers for their marketing…)
Before I get into actual exercise, I want to talk about food.
It is possible to gain weight whilst exercising like crazy, just like it’s possible to not exercise and actually lose weight. I know both of these from experience. The secret my friends?
I love food. Whilst some would argue that food gets in the way of living (I have a certain friend who once said he wished he didn’t have to eat because he would have more time for other stuff) – I would insist that life is actually enjoyed around food. And so the idea of dieting, feeling guilty for what I eat and constantly thinking about what I’m meant to be avoiding sounds like ‘lack of living’ to me really.
Personally I think that the introduction of ‘low fat’ processed foods into our society has just perpetuated the actual problem. We’re designed to eat to withstand potential long periods of fasting. Our ancestors were all like ‘sweet, here’s a woolly mammoth that we’re going to devour and hey, we don’t know when our next meal is gonna be so let’s just eat until we can’t move anymore’. It’s true. Although the thing is, that nowadays we know that our next meal is gonna be in oh say, 2.5 hours? So if I was to eat for surviving as though I live in cave-person-days, then I would probably be morbidly obese by the time I’m 35.
So by making it ‘ok’ to eat a shit-load more processed food because ‘hey! it’s low fat!’ – really doesn’t help change behaviour or make eating very enjoyable. It just makes us think that eating heaps is AOK.
So how do I use ‘portion control’ to control my weight?
When I was a teenager I used to eat four bowls of cereal for breakfast. I’m not even joking. I’d put the box & the milk on the table and eat until I was pretty much stuffed.
At one point I started wanting to lose weight and I figured I’d just stop eating so much for breakfast. After trying and failing many times to limit my breakfast to just one bowl, I devised a little trick. I’d measure out how much I wanted to eat and divide it into 3 portions. Then I’d eat ‘three’ bowls of cereal (using a smaller bowl and a teaspoon) whereas really I was only eating the equivalent of one. Somehow I managed to trick myself with this method and over time my body adjusted to the smaller amount of food and stopped needing more. The moral of this story? Adjust your portions slowly.
If you suddenly stop eating breakfast one day (oh please don’t do this) then your body will cry out ‘WHY? Are we in a time of crisis? Shit, I’d better start storing this fat then… Who KNOWS when we’ll see food next!?’ and you will eventually crumble and feel mega hungry and start scoffing some shitty food and your body will be like ‘must store must store’ and you will be like ‘WHY AM I GETTING FAT?’ and the answer will be: because you are eating like a starving cave-person.
If you currently eat like this, then start slowly reducing how much you eat. If you eat 1/2 a cup of oats for breakfast, try eating 1/3 of a cup instead and see how it feels. If you currently eat 8 pieces of sushi for lunch, try eating 7 instead. And then 6. If you currently eat a piece of cake every day, try cutting the piece of cake in half and eating half now, half tomorrow.
Seriously, there is nothing more lame than feeling like you have to say ‘no’ to an amazing dessert. Try saying yes. And eating a few mouthfuls. And savouring it and enjoying it. And then you will have no desire to eat that entire tub of no-fat-no-sugar “ice cream” in the freezer followed by a chocolate bar (because you don’t really feel satisfied from eating frozen ice).
So whilst I am struggling with getting enough sleep and wondering how I am going to begin my training program with Ivan at work all day and my parents leaving to Canada on Saturday – I am reminded that no-matter where I am in life, I can control what (and how much) I put in my mouth.
And if ‘you are what you eat’ then I’d like to be ‘interesting, rich, petite, healthy and raw.’ How bout you?
Anyone who knows me, knows that prior to getting pregnant I was a fitness uh… enthusiast. Not a fitness freak or a junkie or a fanatic.. but an enthusiast. I was enthusiastic about being fit and healthy, even if my lifestyle wasn’t always entirely fit or healthy, I was always enthusiastic about the idea.
During my pregnancy I felt healthier than I think I’ve ever felt. I stopped drinking alcohol before I found out I was pregnant, I stopped Bikram yoga at about 1 month into my pregnancy due to extreme nausea and vomiting, I stopped playing squash at about 3 months pregnant, I stopped running at about 4 months pregnant and by 5 months pregnant my fitness regime consisted of walking, pregnancy yoga and swimming. Despite the lack of high impact or intensity sports, despite the gigantic belly and the ‘fat waddling’ and despite being completely out of breath when I reached the top of our stairs in our Vancouver apartment, I still felt incredible.
But now I am no longer pregnant and our little girl is 7 weeks old. Over the last 7 weeks I have been hungrier than I ever was when I was pregnant. I’m ravenous. I eat one meal and I start thinking about the next. I eat and eat and I cannot get full. Now I know that breastfeeding is like the miracle weight-loss activity, but due to reasons unbeknownst to me I am already lighter than I was prior to being pregnant. But light doesn’t equal tight. (Possibly the funniest scene in that movie). My tummy could use some toning, my thighs could use some shrinking and generally I just want to get back on track to living my healthy happy lifestyle. As Ivan pointed out to me earlier: “Darling, you don’t even look like you’ve had a baby! You just look like you let yourself go a little.” … Right!
Also, if I’m going to be breastfeeding for at least the next 11 months, then I’m going to have to get serious about having a healthy lifestyle. 11 months of poor health can equal a hard amount of damage to undo. Grumpy mama would equal a sad household, SO:
Every Tuesday will now be known as ‘Tighten Up Tuesdays’ and I will be writing as a new mama trying to stay fit and healthy with a little baby in tow. I’m not about crazy diets and weird regimes though, don’t worry. It’ll be about motivation and inspiration and healthy living whilst still being the best mama I can.
Your support and comments and general feedback/ideas/advice/input is very much welcomed and appreciated