Friday, 11 June 2010


Have you been waiting with bated breath for my next up-date? I'd be surprised if you have. I write this for myself but I do find writing my journal in Blog form makes it more fun. Knowing I have readers and the inter-action with readers via comments has become a treasured tool which helps me towards my goals. Keeping myself 'out there' makes it easier to be accountable. Somehow when I know others are going to read this I make a better effort at living well as well as writing. I do think I've come a long way in written expression. I'm thinking about adding another Blog for creative writing. I'd love to publish but who would pay for what I write? That shows an extreme lack of confidence when I think of some of the rubbish I see in print. *smile*

Talking of another Blog. I may not write into this journal everyday but I do keep a daily Blog/tracker here I have rarely missed a day recording since mid January, but it's not a place I make many comments so 'tis pretty boring but you can check up on how well I'm doing with my eating, drinking and exercise there.

There is another aspect to this Blog/Journal. I want younger people to come along and realise that the sooner they get their *#%**& together the better. It's not great looking back over a lifetime of being a weight watcher and facing the truth that being a weight watcher turned me into a yo-yo dieter. Note:- I'm not talking about Weight Watchers, the organisation/business that helps so many people find their way back to normal weight. Most women face a weight crisis somewhere in their 40s and 50s if they have not already become sensible eaters and exercisers before they face menopausal symptoms. Add a few other factors to the mix and you have an XXL woman. It's not simply a matter of staying slim, it's learning to live through the rough patches, it's learning to be healthy, it's learning about good nutrition and it's discovering the joy of movement. We live in a push button, instant coffee, drive through society. We even have self cleaning ovens and windows. I wish!!! Our bodies are designed to move and my legs are going to fall off if I don't get my act together on this one.

My mother was a very active woman but she depended on her chores to keep her fit. Typical of her generation, she scrubbed and polished floors on her hands and knees, she carried large baskets of laundry to the outside clothesline and when it was dry carried it in, folded and ironed it and she didn't have the easy care, light weight fabrics we have. Her iron was heavy, several times the weight of mine and not steam assisted. And talking of weight, her wet laundry went through a wringer/mangle to squeeze out the water, a not very efficient method so that laundry basket was heavy. She did not have the easy spray on, wipe off cleaners we have today. Her chores took a lot more time and effort than ours do and they used a lot more energy. There was a lot more incidental walking in her day. My mother did a lot of baking and that used a lot of energy before the days of electric mixers, not to mention electric ovens. Mum used a coal range and had to carry in the fuel and clean the beast. I could go on and on. Groceries came in bulk and so handling involved more weight lifting and she grew most of our veggies. The list goes on.

That didn't necessarily make her a slim woman but it kept her fit and healthy. As housework became easier/lighter she expended more and more energy in her extensive garden and in later years she swam in the sea almost everyday for 6 months of the year. But My mother never became a walker and that became her downfall later in life. As her health began to fail due to heart problems she gave in to the weariness and even stopped taking short walks in her garden.

It was natural for me to follow in her footsteps and do my chores the old fashioned way but I turned to labour saving machines wherever and whenever possible. I'm not stupid! I became a laid back modern housekeeper. I learned how to spend less and less time on chores. TWJ retired and snatched what was left of my chores from out of my hands and I bleated for a few months before I finally gave up. Now I am the laziest housekeeper in the world. But I haven't replaced even that small amount of exercise with anything.

Can you see where this is going?

I had no idea when I started I was going to write about this. Obviously it is on my mind and worrying me. If I'm honest it's worried me for a long time.

There is no foundation in my background for organised sport or personal exercise for fitness. There was nothing in the culture I grew up in to nurture this. Gyms were unknown. The only people who did anything were sportsmen, Olympic athletes, rugby players, weight lifters and body builders who were somehow considered suspect, not quite nice! When I was growing up our rugby players had weekly practices and depended on their lifestyles to give them the fitness required. Many of our best players were hill country farmers.

The only time I had fitness built into my life was at boarding school where we had a 20 minute walk/run 5 mornings a week, 5 days a week a 30-40 minute period of sport or gymnastics and a 1 hour period of compulsory sport after school. Saturdays we had 2 hours of compulsory sport and on Sunday we formed a crocodile and route marched, more than a mile each way, to church. There were few opportunities to do anything for our own pleasure/satisfaction although we were more active than many teenagers.

When I married my opportunities for exercise reduced dramatically. I loved swimming but there was no pool anywhere near where we lived, nor was there anywhere safe to take long walks. Yet I remained slim and fit just because I was happy and young and active enough.

Then children came and their care became paramount, as it should, but I became less active and ate more. I looked askance on friends who played tennis while their children ran around semi-supervised. I could not relax sufficiently to allow myself to do that. I missed a lot of fun that way. I used the car more and walking became a dawdle at child pace. I also ate a lot. Stress was my constant companion. Little did I know what I was doing to myself. The years of yo-yo dieting, trying various methods/diets and even amphetamine which was legal on prescription then, began in earnest. My children did have sporting opportunities and we did take walks but still we never built in a culture of good exercise.

I regret this now. My children, middle aged adults, are active but without that foundation of built in regular exercise that would keep them healthier.

What is more important, I am a couch potato. I love to walk yet I am not. There have been times when I've got myself into a good routine. Not so many years ago I walked several miles daily. This is a routine I need to re-establish. I look at my mother, granted she is 95 so allowed to sit all day, and wonder. I am still young enough to be fit. Many my age are still competitive sports people. Some run, yes, run marathons. There are even a few one hears about from time to time who began their life of deliberate exercise at my age. Recently a man in his mid eighties was on TV news. He was retiring from body building and was performing/posing at his last competition.

It seems to me as I ponder this journey that I have a major choice in front of me. I can continue as I am. I will lose weight but I will not look great because I'll be flabby. There'll be little muscle holding my frame together. There'll be a lot of flappy loose skin. Yuk, Yuk, Yuk!!!!! I will become slightly more active as I have less weight to drag around and thus feel more comfortable, but I will not become fit and healthy.

I'm back to my heading. Our bodies are designed to move.

The irony of this is that the very thing that has helped me stop yo-yo dieting and get focus is the very thing that hinders planned exercise. I have become a dedicated Blog reader. I've always been a reader but this laptop/internet time has become a dominant feature of my life. I guess I'm addicted to it. This is not the first time I've written about it. I've also read about it often and there are many warnings about internet addiction. I don't consider my addiction unhealthy yet! But it's certainly heading that way.

What conclusion have I come to? What is the point of this post?

I need to build a culture of movement into my life. I'm not a competitive person although I do tend to constantly up my self challenges. My greatest fault is to go too hard before I've built stamina then I crash and burn before good habits are established. I'd love the accountability of a gym membership but that's not an option. Financial and distance considerations rule. I'd love to swim but there doesn't seem to be a suitable pool closer than Thames, 1 hour 20 minutes drive on a good day. I'm on my own here. I have to pull it up from within. There is no outside motivator I can depend on.

Keep this space open. I've written more than enough for now. This is my first tentative step in the right direction toward a Forever plan.


Chris H said...

There is nothing to stop you walking on the beach EVERY DAY! You live in a gorgeous place.... I used to walk every day on the beach when I lived in Whitianga!

Hippygal said...

Excellent post :-)

karen@fitnessjourney said...

Hi, just found your blog. I think yours is a common story. Life sometimes gets in the way of our fitness. I find that it's important that a person find a form of exercise that is so enjoyable that it doesn't feel like exercise. It sounds like walking is that form for you. Enjoy your walks, walk where the surroundings are pretty, vary your route so it doesn't become dull. You've got this!