Friday, August 25, 2006

Walk, don’t run

OK, my promise to myself that I would get back to the gym this week hasn’t quite worked out, at least not yet. Mostly because I can't find my trainers. But the week hasn’t been a total washout, exercise-wise, because I have walked home from work every day this week so far. I’ve been having fun geeking around with the Gmap Pedometer to work out how far I’ve gone:

On Monday, I got the route slightly wrong and walked slightly further than I needed to (2.9528 miles or 4.7511km), but the more direct route is only a little shorter in real terms (2.7932 miles, 4.4943km). I’m walking fast, and I’m warm when I get home, although not as warm as I’d be if I’d been running. I’ve been wearing Skechers which are kind of a cross between trainers and street shoes, and my feet seem to be quite happy. I don’t get home from work all that quickly, but more quickly than if I’d gone to the gym, and I’m guessing that the calories burned are probably about the same: I go more slowly, but it's sustained. And I get to read as I go (at least, once I’ve got out of the crowded part of town I do.)

Tonight, weather permitting, I’m going to walk a slightly different route which goes around Arthur’s Seat for part of the way, and comes to 3.1178 miles, or just over 5km, bringing me to a total of 14.4502 miles or 23.2504km…

Blast that pedometer! It’s addictive!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Return of the wanderer

Right. I might as well have announced a hiatus when we got the keys to the house back in May. I could make excuses for the paltry number of entries since then, but I’m not going to. If you are a regular reader, I apologise; then again, if I have any regular readers, I’ve probably left comments on their blogs recently, so they’ll know I haven’t actually been kidnapped or walked into the fourth dimension or got stuck in a bookshop and lost track of time.

I actually started writing a series of rather gloomy entries, and didn’t finish them, and then time passed and they were out of date and I thought I’d better start again. It’s just stupid to go more than, say, two weeks without posting, because then you have to do a ginormous catch-up post that takes far longer to write than a normal update, and so you make it harder ever to catch up...

PastaQueen said a while ago that when a weightloss blogger goes AWOL, she tends to assume they’ve fallen off the wagon. And in some ways, that’s what I’ve done. My gym membership has run out, and I haven’t renewed it, and I haven’t gone for my regular sessions for several weeks. This is partly because I’ve been away, and partly because I don’t know what I’m going to be doing in the next few months in any detail.

My job, which had a 12-month contract, came to an end a couple of weeks ago. This was part of the reason for the gloom. I applied for a couple of jobs in my field while I was still working, and then didn’t get them, and was unemployed for a couple of weeks (which I haven’t been since summer 2004). I’ve now got a temp job which starts on Monday, and I’m waiting to hear about another, permanent job doing what I want to do. Fingers crossed.

Things could have been worse: this was a good moment to have some spare time. While I’ve been off work I painted the whole of our downstairs (with a bit of help from my sister Laura and from the husband) and put together a lot of IKEA Billy bookcases. Last week was largely spent alphabetizing the books to go in them. If I’d been at work, this would have taken a lot longer and my dear husband’s head would have exploded.

His tolerance for chaos and disorder is a lot lower than mine (although, on the positive side, he’s better at getting rid of it) and he’s definitely found the last couple of months very stressful. Last month, he had some fairly serious depressive episodes, and had to have a few days off work (not good, because not only was he depressed, he was worrying that they would sack him and we wouldn’t be able to pay the mortgage). Life was rather hard going.

That was the gloom. Kind of interspersed with this, we did have some good times; we went to Arran with his parents, where we went for rather wet walks, then to Crieff Hydro with my family, where an average day went like this: tennis in the morning, badminton before lunch, swimming either before or after badminton. We also went for walks, and did Scottish country dancing on two evenings. All this frantic activity was counterbalanced by some fairly unhealthy eating, alas.

Right now, I need to work out what I’m doing about fitness.

Previously, my weight-loss method could be summed up as “Eat healthily with occasional treats, but do lots of exercise to counter them”. The first part of it is still happening. The second part isn’t.

Part of the trouble was that I went away, twice, just when my job was ending. Even while I was still at work, I was only making it to the gym twice a week, but I was doing those two sessions without fail. I was running for longer than I’d managed before; up to 26 minutes. (Doesn’t sound all that long, but I had been stuck at 20 for nearly a year!) I was enjoying doing free weights; still not increasing the weight very fast, but becoming more confident that I could do the lifts with decent form.

Now I’ve got totally out of the routine, and I’ve got a nasty feeling building up in my mind that when I get back in the gym, I’ll have reverted to being the person who couldn’t run for more than a few minutes and was scared of the weights.

Which is silly. Eighteen months of exercise doesn’t completely evaporate in a couple of weeks; I may not be on my top form, but I won’t be starting right from the beginning. My level of fitness wasn’t particularly challenged by the activities at Crieff (well, until I managed to wrench my foot coming downstairs... and even that didn’t stop me swimming, dancing or playing badminton. And it’s fine now).

I just need to get back to my routine. Probably I’ll have to make some changes to do that, depending on what my work situation turns out to be. Maybe I’ll get round to buying some weights so I don’t have to depend on the gym to do those.

Even though I feel that all my painfully acquired muscle tone (such as it was) has evaporated over the last couple of weeks, I’m reasonably confident that I won’t see horrible gains. We’ve been eating fairly healthily, and I am slowly training the husband not to serve me the same size of portion as he gets, given that he’s nine inches taller, male, and naturally slender. I have even cooked a couple of meals on my own. We seem to have settled into a good routine of planning what we’re going to cook for the whole week, then shopping for it. If we can keep this up, we’ll be doing pretty well.

So, this is my new plan: go back to doing the things that worked about the old plan (lots of exercise) but keep paying more attention to the food. Revolutionary, eh?

I have loads of photos of Arran, Crieff and the new house which I'd love to post, but currently I have no way to get them off my digital camera. Sorry. Watch this space!