Posts tagged fitness
A good friend pointed out this afternoon that I’m not really a good advocate for the Weight Watchers programme. She’s quite right. I have neglected it somewhat over the last two or maybe three weeks.
I started so well. I like a challenge and being a Weight Watchers Blog Ambassador was the perfect opportunity to combine my need to be healthier and lose a few ponds with my love of writing here on Splodz Blogz. I lost consistently for the first few weeks and met my first target within about six. I cut down on foods that were bad for me, was good at not giving into temptation, and learnt a lot about making the right choices. I had a week off for a holiday but still lost a little bit, and got back to counting pro points as soon as I got back.
More recently I have not been as attentive. I’ve just eaten whatever I fancied – not just once a week as a treat, but more like every day. Lots of bread and potato has crept back into my diet. I’ve purchased crisps – often daily. I’ve sat and scoffed chocolate in the evening without a second thought. There has been no attempt at counting. I’ve also missed a couple of weigh ins because I didn’t want to know. I’ve just not been bothered.
My friend is a good one because her comment has made me stop and think. As a result of that quick chat this afternoon I am here right now telling everyone that I am back on it as of now. Honest. I am hereby announcing that the last few weeks of my Weight Watchers Blog Ambassador trial will be fruitful ones. And to prove it? I went out for a little jog around the block when I got home from work this evening and cooked a very healthy chilli for tea.
The fact that I’ve fallen off the wagon as it were means I know exactly what my weaknesses are. Apart from cakes and chocolate, which are actually quite easy to avoid (if I want to), my biggest “oh go on then” food has to be potato. Fried, mashed, roasted, baked, chipped; I’m not fussy! If I’m cold or feeling a bit blue I like nothing better than a baked potato for lunch. With cheese if it’s raining. And there’s something wrong about meat, two veg and nothing else on the plate at dinner time. I totally love potato. I need to cut back on that again.
I know I’m not unusual for lasting a few weeks then giving up, this is a problem that people have over and over again. The Weight Watchers new approach to Pro Points is supposed to address some of the reasons for that and help us not to give in. There is nothing they can do about the number of cafes we pass on our way to work, nothing they can do about the fresh cream cakes brought in to work by a colleague celebrating a special birthday, and so on, of course. But they do offer some tools to help. So I will go back to my app and the Weight Watchers website and re-learn some of those skills I’ve obviously not been putting into practice.
My name is Zoe and I’m a poor Blog Ambassador. I will do better.
Our Blog Ambassador challenge this week has been move more, sit less. We were encouraged to stand up more, walk around more and generally exercise more.
At the beginning of the week I ordered 30 Day Shred, a workout DVD by Jillian Michaels that I have been told over and over again really gets results. The premise is that you exercise for 20 minutes every morning for 30 days, and thanks to the combination of strength, cardio and abs circuit-type exercise, you notice a difference to your body very quickly. I can give 20 minutes each day, it’s practically nothing. It arrived on Saturday so I started it Sunday morning – so this morning was day three. And oh my goodness. Those of you who said I’d hurt? Yea, that. Those of you who said I’d sweat? Yea, that. Those of you who said day three would be really difficult because your body is already hurting? Yea, that. I’m on level one at the moment – I can do the vast majority of the exercises without too much difficulty – the cardio is much easier than the strength stuff. But I can’t do a single proper press up. Nope, not one. I’ll keep trying!
Apart from the DVD I’ve been using the exercise bike and doing my best to move around more. I have a desk job and sit at a computer for the vast majority of the day. As there probably no chance I will ever be provided with either a treadmill desk or a standing desk I am trying to get up off my chair as much as possible – there are things I can do stood up and I can make sure I make the most of my lunch breaks. I would use my Weight Watchers pedometer to track my daily steps but unfortunately I broke it less than a week into being a blog ambassador – it flung off my jeans and straight into the toilet bowl. Oops! I’ve tracked my steps before thanks to the GCC Walk the World scheme, and I know that wearing a pedometer does encourage me to move around more as I end up competing with myself trying to beat my average step count every day. I actually received a pedometer from Tesco in the post today, so from tomorrow I’ll wear that (even though it’s not all fancy and won’t work out any activity points) and see what happens!
I have to say I don’t much like the activities points on the Pro Points tracker. What I mean is I do like them – they mean extra food each week – but I don’t like how they are worked out. They take no account of how hard you work. Cycling on the exercise bike at full speed for 30 minutes is worth the same as cycling at a really leisurely pace barely raising your heart beat. It doesn’t exactly encourage you to work hard. Also, I earn the same points cycling for 30 minutes as I do for walking 30 minutes and doing aerobics for 30 minutes – but these exercises are not comparable on calories burnt. I guess I feel a bit hard done by when two Pro Points are added when I’ve got up early and worked really (really) hard before work. This doesn’t mean I’m not working hard, though…
Oh, and for the record, I have continued to eat breakfast. I find that exercising, then eating, then showering works for me and is a routine I am trying to get into during February. Apart from having that DVD which is motivation in itself I’ve also been challenged by a friend to exercise for 20-30 minutes every day for the whole of the month, to give me a bit of a kick and hopefully see some quick results. I would hope the DVD will cover that but if I get to the point where I can’t face Jillian Michael’s one morning I will still do something.
Food wise I’ve had another okay week, using up my daily points every day with mostly healthy food (the thai curry pictured above was a particular success!) and most of my weekly points too. I had pizza on Friday night which was particularly yummy and have continued to munch on the sweets and chocolates we have at home. I like that the counting system means I can still eat the things I want to. I’m eating loads of fruit and vegetables – even more than before (I’ve never been afraid of vegetables!), and I’m drinking lots more water. I am getting used to counting Pro Points now, I understand them more – I know what foods are free and what will cost me lots (although some things still surprise me!) and I like the way I can use those weekly points to treat myself to a nice hot chocolate or some fudge.
The proof is always in the numbers I guess and this week I lost another pound. I’ll take that – I don’t mind little losses, as long as I keep losing slowly but surely.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been wearing these Salomon Womens XR Mission Shoes to see what they’re like. They are my first pair of Salomons, a brand I’ve always wanted to wear on my feet (LincsGeek has a pair of Salomon walking boots and I’ve always been a tad jealous of those) – I see Salomon as doing the outdoors very well, and that is where I love to be. I was sent these trainers by Fitness Footwear to see what I thought.
These are an all terrain short to middle distance training shoe designed specifically for women, so they should be good for general fitness activities and walking as well as a comfortable leisure shoe. On the Salomon website it describes them as being “for everybody” – they are a trainer that will go from road to trail, from gym to pitch.
Bright aren’t they? This is the Very Purple Black Light Onyx colour, there are lots of other (equally bright) colours to choose from. I own a pair of bright blue Nike trainers that I use indoors, but even those don’t come close to the brightness of these. After the initial shock when I opened the box I have grown to love the colour – they look great with my boring black exercise gear as well as poking out from under my comfy jeans. Those bright yellow and reflective silver bits are perfect for when you’re out and about at this time of year too – makes you just that little bit more visible.
Design wise I like them. They are light and my feet stay cool in them thanks to the mesh. The styling is very Salomon – you see the lines and details in lots of Salomon shoes and boots, they are recognisable in their styling. Fit wise these offer a comfortable insole with nice low lines at the side of the ankles, along with a nice wide toe area, which also features a harder protective covering that my clumsy feet are very thankful for. The out sole gives good grip, although I haven’t taken these on a full on mud run myself they seem pretty good on more normal terrain.
Below you can see the lacing system. They are termed “Quicklace” because you can fasten and unfasten them with one quick movement of one hand. Clever. They don’t budge, so even after several hours of wearing (and getting soaked through) they are just as you set when you first put them on. I like that – no bending down to re-tie wet horrible laces that you’ve nearly fallen over because they came undone. There’s a little lace pocket in the tongue of the trainers so you can neatly tidy away the ends – that is a smart idea, it makes the trainers neat when worn as casual shoes, and stops any chance of you tripping on the laces.
I’m liking my first experience of Salomon footwear, and enjoy wearing these trainers. They have a great look and seem to be very good quality with an attention to detail that I appreciate. As a do everything trainer they also offer reasonable value. I’ve got my eyes on another pair from Salomon now I know they feel great. Oops.
You can get the Salomon Womens XR Mission Shoes from Fitness Footwear, currently priced at £76.46.
I don’t mind admitting that I’m a big fan of the television series The Biggest Loser. I also don’t mind admitting that I find the USA and Australian versions much more enjoyable than the UK one. The UK series seems somehow muted, a bit half hearted, when you compare them to its overseas counterparts. But I still watch, of course, normally whilst eating some unhealthy snack of another (don’t tell me you don’t watch those people exercise to within an inch of their lives while digging out ice cream from a Ben and Jerry’s tub too!). It’s great to see these people’s lives completely transformed, and I might even learn something about diet and exercise along the way.
This post is about The Biggest Loser Cookbook, which I have been sent by Octopus Books following a book review tweet a couple of weeks ago. I go through fazes of cooking meals I know by heart coz they’re easy, and cooking from a recipe book. This week I’ve obviously been in recipe book mode, partly because I had a long weekend off work and so had time to spend on preparation and cooking, and partly because I had a cookbook to review.
Before we talk recipes though, and there are 100 in this book, this isn’t just a cookbook. It’s billed as a “personal programme for nutritious & delicious guilt-free food” and is part of a suite of plans, advice and help that goes with The Biggest Loser franchise. The book starts with information about weight, your BMI and setting targets. It also includes a page from each of the trainers with diet and exercise tips. The idea, I guess, is to make you realise that being healthy is about a combination of choices including eating right and exercising, and not just dieting. The plan in this book is based on you eating three meals plus snacks and having a treat each day. It seems to make a lot of sense as far as diets go.
But I’m not going on a diet to test a book (I’m sat writing this while munching on some very lovely biscuits that will be the subject of another post soon), I was simply interested in the recipes for healthy meals. And that’s fine. You can follow the plan and use the two week menu provided if you like, or you can just use the 100 or so recipes as they are. They come in sections – breakfasts, salads, soups/stews, fish/poultry/meat, and desserts. As I do with all my cookbooks, I sat down and looked at each recipe to see what took my fancy – and there was quite a few. This week I’ve tried three of those recipes.
The Butternut Squash Soup from page 85 was very simple, as most soups tend to be. At just 100 calories per portion (I did make more than the recipe suggests and therefore probably had about 150 calories in my bowl) I felt absolutely no guilt having the warm brown baguette I baked to go with it. Being butternut squash and having very little water added, this is a fairly thick soup when liquidised and went down very well – it was very tasty. I froze half and am very much looking forward to having it again another day.
The Lamb Curry with Coconut Milk on page 141 took ages to prepare and cook – a couple of hours (I’m a pretty novice cook really but you do have to leave it for an hour or so). However the time was worth it as it was really tasty, full of flavour, although not a spicy curry – I’ll be adding chilli next time. Again, with two of us this recipe made plenty to freeze enough for another day.
Last night I tried the Spring Vegetable Risotto on page 78. This was right up my street but not so much for my husband, but I decided to make it anyway. It’s a risotto with broad beans, peas and courgette. It looked green and fresh and tasted great, I gobbled mine up really fast, it was very yummy. 425 calories for a decent portion of risotto isn’t bad either, and perfect for a meat-free dinner. One to do again for me, but not one my other half enjoyed as much.
That’s all I’ve tried so far, but I have plans to make more of the soups (love a good soup) and also the Chilli Con Carne on page 148 among other things.
Overall I’d say this book is great if you’re looking for some healthy meal ideas as well as some pretty decent dieting advice. We’re not talking super low calorie things on every page, but each recipe has something going for it that makes it a good healthy choice. But beware a book that doesn’t give you an indication of the total preparation/cooking time – these aren’t quick weekday night suppers, most take much longer than I’d normally spend on dinner.
The Biggest Loser Cookbook is £12.99 (£6.49 on Amazon at the moment) and published by Octopus Publishing Group.
Earlier this week I wrote about how I was finding the idea of training for the MoonWalk quite daunting. I was worried about how I was going to get into a routine, how I was going to find time to train properly, and how I was going to focus my training to make sure I could do the MoonWalk in the suggested six hours as well as enjoy the event. While I have taken part in events like this before my training as always been flawed, and I was really hoping that in 2012 I could be different – somehow rekindle some of that love and motivation for regular training that I had when I was a teenager and in my early 20s.
A friend of mine (@shellmoby) has come up with an interesting idea which will get me training now as well as keep me going even after the MoonWalk has finished. It comes from the Gold Challenge for which you have to “travel” 2012 km in time for the start of the Olympics in July this year. Michelle suggested a 2012 in 2012 version of the challenge, where I walk, run or cycle (etc) 2012 km between 1st January and 31st December 2012.
We did a bit of maths on the 2012 km and worked it out as 1250.5 miles in old money – which in turn works out as 24 miles a week or 3.42 miles a day (366 days this year don’t forget). I can currently walk 4 miles in an hour so this challenge would effectively be asking for one hour a day every day for the year. That’s a lot of hours, way more than I spend doing exercise at the moment. But that’s the point right?
I like a challenge and was immediately very tempted. But I honestly doubt my ability to achieve it. It would certainly give me focus to my training for the MoonWalk, and would give me something to aim for during the whole year rather than just until May. If the miles also have to be completed outdoors, adding another element of difficulty to the challenge, it will also help with my “get outdoors” resolution. This isn’t a small task. I would have no choice but to focus on this at the expense of other things (like being a slob). Just what I need.
My 2012 in 2012 Challenge
- I will do 2012 km in 2012 – 1250.2 miles.
- I will include miles I have walked, hiked, jogged or cycled. As many miles as possible should be completed outdoors to fit in with my “get outdoors” resolution. The gym is allowed though.
- I will include all “on purpose” activities. Wandering around town at lunch time won’t count, but cycling to work will (might encourage me to actually use my bike for work!).
- This is not a “distance a day” challenge but a “distance in a year” one. This means that I might do 50 miles one week (yea, right!) and none the next. But hopefully will mean I will continue to train all year.
- I will track my miles on RunKeeper (as I use this to track my exercise anyway). If I hike off road and use the OS Map app instead I will transfer that into RunKeeper afterwards in the interest of keeping all the miles in the same place.
So far in 2012 I’ve clocked up an appalling 8.22 miles (13.22 km) over on RunKeeper – that is the walk I did on Tuesday afternoon which sparked my The Enormity of the Challenge post and a walk yesterday when I got in from work. I have walked a fair bit in my lunch breaks, but I’ve agreed that wandering doesn’t count as it’s not exercise. I will have to remember to set the app going and march with purpose in my lunch break instead! I’ve got an awful long way to go (literally) and guess I’m already way behind seeing as it’s a week into the year already, but I’m willing to give it a really good try. Only 1998.78 km to go!
I’ll obviously keep you updated here and over on twitter with (hashtags #2012in2012 and #getoutdoors).
Thanks Michelle for the idea – I hope I can write some success stories about how well it’s going and one eventually saying I’ve done it! Anyone else want in on the challenge?
Right… I’m off out for a walk!
Oh, and if you’re feeling generous and would like to sponsor me to do the Walk the Walk London MoonWalk (which may well help motivate my training!!) please visit my fundraising page. Thank you.
Well it’s nearly the end of 2011… thinking about those New Year’s Resolutions yet? Got big plans for 2012 that require a stunning outfit? Do you have to choose your outfits based on what you own that fits rather than what you own that will knock them dead?! Maybe you’re sat at your computer right now (like I am), not able to get quite as close to the desk as you could because you’ve got more around your middle than this time last year (like I am!)?
Yea yea I know. We shouldn’t be worrying too much about fitness and shape and weight etc right now though (not before the Christmas and New Year Celebrations are out of the way)… but come 1st January I bet a good number of my readers will be making promises to themselves to get fitter in 2012 so they can get more out of life and have more energy.
Yes??? Me too.
But it’s ok, I’m not writing a post about how you should better yourself. I’m a woman, and I know that the first thing us girls do when we’ve promised ourselves we’ll do more exercise is to make sure we’ve got the right kit! And if you’re like me then your starting from a point which means you don’t look great in tight cropped leggins and crop tops yet - what you want is something that is comfortable to wear, stylish, and doesn’t cost the earth.
Next have teamed up with fitness fanatic Davina McCall and will be launching a brand new range of workout and post-workout clothing, as well as footwear, so you can start your new routine wearing something you like that will take you to the next level. Next gave me some preview images of the range to show you, and I have to say of the pictures they sent this is my favourite outfit…
This stripey loose fitting top and cute joggers would be perfect for all sorts of classes (or exercise DVDs etc) and look really comfy. I reckon I could get fit wearing that pairing for sure!! And yes I know I can’t wear two pairs of trainers at the same time but I was thinking the black pair for exercise and the metalic pumps for going home afterwards?! The prices are pretty good too – the top £18, joggers £25, trainers £45 and pumps £28.
There are other designs and styles too. Think fitted and supporting tops, tshirts perfect to slip on after that spinning class, ballet pumps with specially designed soles to reduce stress on load bearing joints.
I have done a few of Davina’s DVDs and recognise her enthusiasm for getting and keeping fit – it’s infectious and I wish I was a little more like her. I wonder if clothing can encapsulate that motivation? I guess we have to wait until the range is launched and available in the Spring to find out.