What mark would you give yourself?
..snowdrops usually appear beside this bridge, photographed earlier this month. I hope to go and look tomorrow but the forecast is for sleet and snow so....maybe I'll stay by the fire as I seem to have been doing for most of January apart from a weekly journey to the city. Feeling very lazy but enjoying it, and giving myself perhaps 6 out of 10 for my health and fitness efforts :-(
What mark would you give yourself?
I've just watched a programme called The Truth About Getting Fit in which Dr Michael Mosley describes how to get maximum results with minimum effort.
Along with your encouraging words just what I needed to know! (BBC4 iPlayer and parts can be seen on YouTube.)
Apart from going out to fetch wood I've been lucky enough to have a cosy day reading by the fire. It's been blowing a gale all day and the noise of the north westerly wind coming down the glen is still very loud although it was forecast to subside by now. I have however done a little bit of (effective) exercise.
I'm going to avoid the slippery slopes this year - both actual and metaphorical. The road outside is so icy this morning - like glass! - that I will stay home again though I'll take a walk to the shore, the grassy path will be safer I hope.
The other slippery slope is the one that finds me eating as if it is Christmas Day from about mid-December. Some people start sooner - as soon as late October when the Christmassy treats start appearing in the shops often at half price to tempt us further! Of course you eat them before Christmas and then buy more at full price.
I'm not falling for it.
A couple of months of indulgence then a hard time in January trying to lose the weight and regain the hard-won fitness I achieved through the year? No thanks.
So here's my strategy.
Starting today I will get fit for Christmas. I will drink more water, move more and indulge less for the next 7 days. Then I will feast for 3 days (and by feast I don't mean stuff myself!), live super-healthy for another 5, feast for 2 then get active and eat wisely for all of January because i have a very special plan for February and I want to be fit enough to enjoy it to the full..
Fit for Christmas starts today. In my head I am already there, in reality I am still in my cosy dressing gown at 10.30am by the woodstove writing this - but I am drinking a big glass of water...and have put the FitBit on charge.
9pm and feeling good!
Went for a walk, drank lots of water, ate lightly but well, stacked wood and did some housework. I think I did about 5000 steps but the FitBit stopped and went back to zero as it wasn't charged up enough. About 4500 steps more than usual though. Will do 15 mins of Louise Parker's exercises (really hard!) then have a hot bath and hopefully a good sleep.
I'm going to enjoy this.
Well, I enjoyed it today.
NB Even more folks have said Hello in Friday's comments - what fun it's been.
...but (to paraphrase FlyLady) even imperfect efforts bless your body.
If you don't look after your body you won't have anything to live in.
,I am so glad I gifted myself six days to concentrate on my health. (It does take time and maybe no-one else is likely to give that to you!) Time to consider what you need to prioritise, to figure out what suits you and how you can fit it into your lifestyle.
It's easy to be overwhelmed by the barrage of health and wellbeing advice, so much of it contradictory, and much of it taking the form of Only 10 minutes a day to.... Only 30 minutes a day to achieve.... Only 40 minutes etc but by the time you factor in work/childcare/household tasks/others' needs - it all adds up to more than 24 hours!
I am feeling lighter, both literally and metaphorically, and more energetic. I have come up with a new weight beyond which I will not go. I am even more interested in the subject and in finding out more, and am I imagining it, or am I thinking more clearly?
The city again today, but wild and wet. Beetroot and goats cheese tortelloni with sage hit the spot today. How pretty is that? A starter size, eaten slowly, is usually enough.
Tomorrow - the pros and cons (from my very limited experience!) of retreats away or at home
You are a great bunch!
My determination was flagging last night and this morning. I was feeling good, had lost as much weight as I wanted (and more than I expected) and was thinking maybe 6 days is too much to do on my own, maybe I could stop now
but reading Swissrose's comment I began to look at some videos and the pep talk from Dr Jason Fung and the LCHF video by Dr Andreas Eenfeldt - I love the ethics of his approach described in the last 10 minutes of so - gave me just the boost I needed. I reminded myself that part of the plan was to take the time to do some research, lit the fire, made a juice and sat down to listen and learn.
Tomorrow I visit the opthalmologist. My eyes are the real reason I am doing all this. (See under Simply Seeing - Or Not.) I'm looking for macular regeneration not degeneration..
I think it helps.
And I am fitter!
Lingering snow on the tops. Here below - mud, but 6349 steps.
Lucille's comment yesterday (I immediately went and looked up The 4 Pillars) got me thinking it would be good to take a look at the health and wellbeing books I have found interesting and/or useful over the years.
there has been a huge shift in attitude towards taking responsibility for our own health and wellbeing - ie self help.
I've read lots of these books and found them fascinating. I've always had a craving for sugar and was cured of a (mild) depression and educated about sugar by Potatoes Not Prozac by Kathleen Desmaisons.. I like the writing of the late David Servan-Schreiber, notably Anti Cancer A New Way of Life and Healing Without Freud Or Prozac. You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay I use as a thought provoking reference book every now and then, and books about gut health have been useful (I am a convert to kefir!) Gut by Julia Enders is the one I have kept. Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers was quite influential at one point. Zoe Harcomb probably changed my eating habits more than anyone and my current favourite is Lean For Life by Louise Parker. Her 4 principles are Think Successfully, Live Well, Eat Beautifully, and Work Out Intelligently - which just about covers it all wouldn't you say?
Do you have favourites?
Day Five has gone well except I seem to be doing fewer steps each day!!
Yorkshire Steam II :-)
Day four and all's well.
Skin brushing, water and lemon, morning pages, three juices one soup, two meditation sessions, one short exercise session, 4lbs weight lost, 2079 steps (must do better!), Fly Lady's Home Blessing Hour, some reading, some researching online, and still full of energy. Loving this health week but also planning my next meal...prawn, cucumber and cashew salad I think. Mmm. Looking forward to Friday night.
Thank you for your encouragement for my health week at home efforts! The main thing I realised today was how important company is.
I managed dry skin brushing, morning pages, Three fresh juices and one soup, but only 5,665 steps for which I had to take the bus into town where there were pavements cleared of snow and ice which I could walk on. I had the odd pang for a nice cup of coffee and a slight headache some of the time - probably withdrawal from coffee. But so far so good. Not all easy but not hard either....
Perhaps if you want a tiny try at a health retreat you could substitute fresh green juice, bought or homemade, for breakfast or lunch for a few days and see how it feels?
Icy fingers over the porch today. Tonight I went and stood out there for a bit, stargazing and listening to some very screechy owls quite close in the forest. Another very hard frost.
I am really intrigued that making a public commitment to something makes (most of) us actually do it. Even something as simple as filling out a new address book or taking up the hem on a pair of trousers. (See this recent post.)
I had thought I wouldn't blog daily during my health retreat week (I am starting tomorrow) but I am realising it may be harder than I think to do it by myself and I may need a little cheering on....
So may I check in with you once a day?
The 10,000 steps every day may be a bit of a challenge as I've become an awful wimp of late...am loving being inside looking out.
From the front door this afternoon.
I love the patterns.
From the sitting room window.10 minutes later.
I love the glow.
After the success of my first ever health retreat last January (see here and here) I am planning to do a home version of it this month.
Here is the plan so far. I am preparing now. Over six days later in the month ...
I will start the day with water and lemon juice and skin brushing, morning pages and a freshly made juice. I'll have three juices every day and either soup or a very light meal in the evenings. I'll walk 10,000 steps each day, take naps and magnesium baths, read poetry and motivational books,. do a little yoga, and switch off all technology for most of the time and certainly 2 hours before bed. (Sorry probably no blog posts for the duration!).
I'll also make appointments with my doctor and optician. I may have a massage and/or a sauna. I will try and find a body lotion without parabens or sulphates which doesn't smell of coconut. (I don't like to smell of food!). Any recommendations welcome.
I can hardly wait!
At least one reader of the blog has gone on Katrina's wonderful retreat and I do recommend it. It was a treat as well as a retreat and worth every penny.
I have a used copy of Jennifer Loudon's The Woman's Retreat book - quite a tome but dipping into it might give you some ideas if you fancy a retreat. It is subtitled A Guide To Restoring, Rediscovering and Reawakening Your True Self - in a Moment, an Hour, or a Weekend. (There's a copy for £2.90 on Amazon today.)
More when I come back here in a week...meanwhile you might like to browse previous Januaries?
Hyacinths to feed thy soul..
Starting from the bottom here - I learned a lot from Zoe Harcombe's Stop Counting Calories and Start Losing Weight and will keep the recipe book of these two for a few recipes which have become favourites, and one of my principles is not to count calories, or to totally eliminate any one food group.
French Women Don't Get Fat I have written about on 10.9.14. Sorry I cannot get the link to work :-( (There are a lot of posts under Simply Eat if you have time to browse!) Her light-hearted joie de vivre approach and emphasis on the pleasure of food makes the recipe book a keeper.
Lean for Life is my current favourite. Although I have given up trying her too-intensive-for-me six week programme I will incorporate many of her ideas and love her positive can-do attitude to health and fitness, and the recipes are lovely.
I will donate the top two as again I have taken on board what I want from them. I have adapted the 5:2 diet to have mainly vegetable juices on one day a week, two if my weight has gone up a little (there is a weight beyond which I will not go...)
I'm lucky to gain only a couple of pounds now and then, but I'm pretty careful about only eating good, real food.
I just don't want to spend much time cooking it!
Meanwhile, the sun shone for a few hours today and the second brood of five baby swallows are about ready to leave the nest above the studio window. Yay!
Three carrots, two small apples, one small pear, cucumber, celery, spinach, kale and ginger..
Phillips Viva Collection juicer 700W XL feeding tube, Easy Clean.
One for now, one in the fridge for later or in the freezer for a day when I don't have time or am travelling. I do this about 9 days out of 10 and have supermarket fresh pressed juice for the 10th day.
For me the incentive to get healthier began with my eyes.
I am an artist and when the optician told me I had macular degeneration and gave me a leaflet saying it was the leading cause of blindness all I could think was 'No. Not my eyes. Please not my eyes.' I waited for her to tell me what would be done but she was very quiet (and wouldn't look me in the eye. It must be hard to tell someone this I guess). So I asked what could be done and she said there was no cure and no treatment but I could try eating more colourful vegetables and take a supplement called Macushield that was thought to maybe slow down the process. And, she added, if there was a sudden change in my sight to get myself to the hospital straight away.
Mercifully the degeneration has been quite slow, but to cut a long story short, I recently thought if eating more vegetables is the only thing on offer how can I get the maximum amount of vegetables into my body? I browsed the web and chanced on this health retreat! I thought about it a lot (I'd never been on any kind of retreat and thought I couldn't afford it), but after some months and at a rather low ebb I gulped at the price, and went ahead and booked it in January this year.
I think it may be the best money I have ever spent.
I made the decision that if I was going to be blind I was going to be slim and healthy and energetic and blind!
I've been given a Fitbit and it has motivated me already to move more.
Instead of loading myself up with everything that needed taken downstairs I found myself thinking 'I'll just make two trips it will be more steps'.
Without really trying.
Wonder if I can make the recommended 10,000....
Getting up earlier is one of my new habits since I went to the wonderful health retreat in January (see this post).
That was such a good decision! At the time I booked it I felt as though I was running on empty and I can truly say I haven't looked back. More good decisions and good habits followed. By making a few simple changes I eat better, sleep better and move more.
I mention it today because I have been talking to Katrina and she tells me there is now one place due to a cancellation, on her next retreat..see here. Perhaps it is for you? :-)
I love this card which says 'Make It Happen'.
Have you acquired any new good habits?
Not wanting to put you off but....this puts my puny fitness goals into perspective!
I've decided not to let it make me feel I should give up, but to make me see that our goals are easy to achieve in comparison....Would you agree?
....on the road to slimmer and fitter!
I am going to make a point of setting an extra pretty table on fast days to extract every little bit of pleasure from my two mealtimes.
So far so delicious...
I have realised that by choosing the 5:2 diet I only have an 8 day challenge on my hands - 2 days each week over the 30 days. Yay! (I feel as if I've got away with something there!) They do say that one of the reasons for its success is that you only really have to summon up your willpower on two days each week....although of course you can't go mad on the other days.
My day started by sleeping late and almost missing my bus so I had no time for breakfast anyway! I had it at lunchtime, and dinner about 5.30. My exercise today was raking up grass and I had plenty of energy. I did have a busy day and that helped too to keep me from thinking about food all day - looks like fast days could also be the most productive.
Have you started?
How did it go?
(Baby steps are ok. The thing is to start.)
Here is another nice quote from The Fast Diet - ....take a deep breath and relax. Better yet, shrug. It's no big deal; you have nothing to lose but weight.
simply get fit enough for a week in London!
I am feeling very sluggish lately and was telling a friend how much energy you need to go to private views, art fairs and the Ballet Rambert and see all the museums you want to see and ..and.. I was inwardly wondering Am I up to this?
I have four full days and a day of travel before I hit the capital so I am thinking what can I do in four full days. Well I shall eat really well (basically that means for me NO SUGAR) and I could go for at least one decent walk each day and do a little yoga each evening.
Do you think that will make a difference?
Watch this space....
Do you like exercise?
I tried swimming, I tried ballet workouts, but I have to confess I didn't stick with either of them for very long, and my basic antipathy to exercise has not changed much since this post way back in 2010. (Simply Fitter and Simply Move should really be one Category.)
What I do stick with though is gardening, and I enjoyed some in the sunshine today, in the delightful company of our tame robin....
I shall move on quickly to Simply Fun!
There are only four posts under Simply Fitter. (See under Categories.)
That tells you something..
I'm still a wimp I'm afraid, in spite of brave words and good intentions!
Don't miss the brilliant little video here.
I've just come across a book called I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson. Hmm - could maybe tackle my two failures in one fell swoop - cutting out sugar would also make a person fitter, don't you think? I did it once (for about seven years) so I could do it again.
Have any of you tried cutting out sugar?
To motivate myself I also need to remember how it feels and looks when my skin looks good. It will never again have a youthful glow. This I know. But do I need to look so grey in winter?
I think if a fairy godmother, or something, granted me one wish about my appearance I'd choose perfect skin. Or perfect teeth. (Do you know I actually spend time thinking about which I would choose! How time wasting is that.....)
A friend once told me her elderly Highland crofter father had plump rosy cheeks because he rubbed them hard with the towel every time he dried his face. I can do this! It might work ...(awful vision suddenly of ruddy, broken veined face requiring green foundation to look normal! I do like to frighten myself out of doing anything!)
I will try a gentle version of this. And protect my face from cold winds in winter and hot sunshine (blissful memory) in summer.
Enough about fitter - next posting 'live and let live'. Don't forget 'Life In A Cottage Garden' is on BBC 2 tonight, if you are reading this in UK. Do you garden in USA Julia?
To motivate myself I also need to remember what fun it is to be lean and toned! How much nicer clothes look. How I might stop concentrating on clever disguise, and just enjoy wearing slim dresses, belts, fitted tops....and a swimsuit. (Help! I'll have to wear one soon! That swimming course I booked is coming up.)
That's a deadline. I'm always better with deadlines.
Anyone going to join me in getting fitter?
They say it's a lot easier with a buddy.....
Click here for the fun bit. Enjoy!
To motivate myself I need to think about how I will feel when I am fitter.
I know that after even a few days walking further than the car in the drive, there comes a moment when I want to stride out, when my legs are just carrying me along, effortlessly. Getting into my stride. It's a really nice feeling. I'm not talking super-fit, athlete-fit here. Just fitter than I am now.
It's not hard to get to this simple level of fitness. I can do this!
Excuse me - short posting, long walk...
My word to set the tone for 2011 is fitter.
What do I mean by fitter? Well, I simply want to have boundless energy and strength, a lean toned body, no illnesses thank you, glowing skin, perfect teeth and glossy hair! It's a small ask! I've read all the books, watched all the videos, come across many inspiring people who managed it, so what's the problem?
The problem is I'm always definitely going to do it tomorrow!
My inspirations are Zoe Harcombe (I've lent her book out, must get it back quick), Dr David Servan-Schreiber, the New York City Ballet, and Leo Babatua. With help like this how can I fail?
The research is the easy bit, isn't it. Read lots of books and order the best ones. I don't even have the effort of going to buy them - click a few keys and the postman brings them to my door a couple of days later. Then I sit and read them in a warm cosy room, drink in hand, blog about how good they are - how insightful, how inspiring, how RIGHT they are in everything they say. Try their ideas out (in a small way, see how they suit). Just testing....no stress, (little effort). And put it off until tomorrow.
OK. The time has come to stop being such a wimp.
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)