Go for the Burn…
December 2, 2013
It is often said that the key to successful weight loss is to “eat less and move more”. It is a simple statement for a sometimes not-so-simple process. I often comment on the fact that here at WLR we are all united by our similar goal - to shed some pounds and change our shape. We are all on the same mission, but the process itself is completely unique to each one of us.
With the “eat less, move more” mantra I find I have no problems eating less. My struggle focussed on “move more”…
My first experience of exercise was when Twin and I started ice-skating at four, but at that age it wasn’t “exercise”… it was “fun”. We used to go to the rink every Saturday morning for our lesson and a couple of times a week after school to practice. I can’t ever recall a time when we didn’t want to go and my memory is that I always enjoyed it – only giving up when the family moved too far away from a rink.
A few years later twin and I were given tennis rackets and really enjoyed our knockabouts in a neighbouring farmyard with a bit of string on two sticks as a makeshift net. Spotting our enthusiasm our wonderful parents gave us the opportunity to have lessons, which I enjoyed but didn’t excel at, whilst Twin was a natural… But our enthusiasm waned in our early teens and our musical hobbies took priority.
Looking back they were the only forms of “exercise” I could remember enjoying when I was younger. Generally exercise meant school P.E. lessons… and as Twin was the smallest girl in the class (and I only 1/4 of an inch taller than her) we often struggled during games lessons as we were too short not nimble enough to be any good at netball and too tiny to be able to withstand the onslaught of the stocky hockey girls with their menacing sticks who would charge at us with speed whenever Twin or I had the misfortune to find the ball at our feet.
Fast forward to adulthood and weight gain… and the need to “move more”…
I struggled. I used to comment that if there was an ice rink nearby my exercise woes would be banished but then a “pop up rink” appeared in town for Christmas
Lovely Husband and Biggest Brother in Law (so named because as Twin’s husband he is my elder brother-in-law), knowing how much their wives used to enjoy skating, took Twin and me along to rediscover our past love. Let us just say that the memories were happier than the reality. As adults, the ice seemed much harder and unforgiving, our ability to balance on the blades was non-existent and the prospect of breaking limbs if we were to fall meant that we managed one circuit of the rink, clinging grimly to one another, before heading off the ice knowing that skating was firmly in our past…
And so my quest began. The problem was, in my head exercise meant pain and discomfort which were my only memories of my schoolgirl sporting attempts. I tried cycling but the roads round town were treacherous… I tried running… but instead of pacing myself sensibly I went full-tilt into a five mile run and ended up with a tendon injury that saw me on crutches… because of my own stupidity and failure to plan and prepare and pace myself…
I have to admit that “move more” was proving to be an issue, but then a friend of mine pointed out the simplicity of what I needed to do.
I just need to “move more”… not “move lots” or “move with heart-attack-inducing-intensity”… That could come later… all I had to do at that point in time was “move more”.
I realised she was right.
Instead of thinking I had to undertake an Olympic training regime all I had to do was make a start… find something that got me off my bottom and away from the television. I considered the options and got a real surprise when I considered walking. I had no idea just how effective “just walking” could be. I had never considered walking as a form of exercise. It was something I did without too much effort to get me from A to B. But it ticked all the boxes. I could start gradually, building up the distance and the speed… and it would definitely mean I was “moving more”.
It was a revelation.
Armed with my mp3 player and comfortable footwear I just started walking - doing circuits of the park; walking the length of a local newly constructed cycle path. Starting with small steps and short strolls, then increasing the pace and the length of my walks step-by-step I walked at a pace that got me out of breath but which didn’t leave me breathless. I stepped out briskly enough to start to perspire and …I didn’t hate it.
It gave me a break in an often busy day, I had time to think, get fresh air into my lungs, and it became something that I started to look forward to.
It also changed my perspective on my own definition of “exercise”. I learned that it didn’t have to be aggressive and hostile… it didn’t have to be a question of combat and competition. It simply had to be something which made me move more and just by moving I would increase the rate at which I burned calories. I considered other possibilities. I stopped thinking of activities in terms of “exercise” but considered everything from the perspective of “will it make me move more?” and some of the activities I came up with were surprising!
So if, like me, you struggle with “exercise” why not reframe it in your head and just think of ways that make you “move more”. It could be anything from putting on your favourite disco music and turning your living into your very own Studio 54 for half an hour three times a week; or revisiting activities from your childhood (you have no idea how great a form of “moving more” skipping can be); or it could be as straightforward as borrowing a dog for a few hours a week and going for a brisk stroll.
“Move more” … It’s exactly what it says…that’s all you have to do… simply Move More… And, yes, you may end up going for the burn… but a steady simmer is a great place to start.
With a huge hug to all you wonderful WLR “movers and shakers”…