How Do You Get Healthy in a Healthy Way?

It has come this far, I think I would like to try the whole protein shake madness. Now, for me to say that is a big thing.

I have always been of the opinion that you should eat and sport in such a way that your body can handle it without extra help. For sports, this means that I used to refuse taking extra supplements, like magnesium to stop your muscles from cramping. My philosophy was: if I eat the correct way, my body will tell me how much sports is good for me. Therefore cramps meant either less sports or more varied food. Likewise for the food: if I sport the correct way, my body (and my scales) will show me when to cut down on the food. And that’s where it has been going wrong for a while now, as I have told you many times before.

My body is far from ideal. And it’s getting worse. Even us bigger girls that like to eat have a limit. And I’m afraid I have more than reached mine, at 73.5kgs and a BMI of 27.3, which makes me officially overweight. So I have been trying to go to the gym as often as I can, and I’m actually making some really good progress on the fitness side! My cardio is going better and better and I can feel myself getting stronger. But the scales are still as dissappointed as ever. I even had to start taking magnesium pills as a normal diet does not provide me with enough to keep the cramps away. But I guess it’s healthier to take some supplements than it would be to gain even more weight?

I’m also really trying with the food. I really don’t want to go on a diet, but I just try to be healthy and eat less. For breakfast I have yoghurt and muesli, or I would have some porridge with jam. For lunch I try making nice salads (today’s one had lettuce, beetroot, feta cheese, chick peas and grilled peppers, well tasty) or I buy soup at work. For dinner I only eat one serve (if it is really really tasty I still fall for seconds) and for snacks, I have bananas or apples or grapes, or just a little piece of cake to stop myself from going mental. Like I said, I do NOT want to diet, but I don’t mind making myself a few new healthier habits. I even cut down on the wine in the evening. Only in the weekends from now on. Sigh.

But it’s not enough. The weight keeps worrying me and it is making me unhappy like it never has before. I have never been this heavy before. I don’t mean to be skinny, but I just wonder how, after nearly 5 years of staying below my 70kgs limit (still being overweight, but not feeling bad about it), I have managed to fail. So I’m looking for extra tips and tricks. And if I already gave in to the magnesium supplements, I guess maybe some other supplements could be next, like a protein shake after the gym?

I wish I could just be healthy and happy, but even though I think I really am living a healthy life, I do not have a healthy body. Being overweight brings with it risks to heart diseases, and might have something to do with my bad back and feet too. I would love to hear some of your advice on how to get healthier in a healthy way!

 

 

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Holiday at Home – Day 2

I am totally getting everything I can out of my week of no work. This morning I went to the gym again. I have to say, this idea of had of going to the gym every day, I’m slightly regretting it. It’s a lot tougher than I’d thought. I used to have a super active lifestyle when I was still a waitress. On my feet at work all day, and in my free time to the gym with my bodybuilder friends. I could eat whatever I wanted and had never felt stronger and fitter. Yes, those days seem to be long behind me and harder to get back to than I had hoped. I’m still making good progress at the gym though, I think if I could keep it up I really could get back to my fittest self. But once work starts again, no more time for daily gym sessions unfortunately. So I’ll try to stick out this week and see how far I get. I wonder if I’ll feel a difference!

Now, I’ve told you before that the reason I work out, is because I like to eat too much. I do Not want to go on a diet because it makes me more than sad. So now that I have time for daily gym sessions, I also have time for extensive cooking sessions. Today I was in the kitchen for four hours! I made samosas for the first time ever, from my new Indian cooking book. It was a lot of work, also because our kitchen is quite small and I had to be very inventive with where to put all the bowls and cutting boards and oven dishes. But the result was amazing. I made two different kinds: one was a veggie one, with beetroot (first time I ever cooked beetroot; even though I love eating it, I’ve never bothered to cook it myself) and feta cheese and of course a whole load of spices like cumin and coriander seeds, the other was with lamb mince and even more spices, like ginger and chilli flakes. I served it with a nice salad in which I put some of the left over ingredients, like the rest of the beetroot, the feta, and some spring onions. Definitely a succes.

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I also did some more gardening, even though the weather wasn’t on my side. It was quite cold, and very windy. I hope my seeds didn’t all blow away. I cleared the space on the side of the garden for the veggie garden of all weeds and sowed some silverbeet. I also want to plant horseradishes and rucola, but I’ll have to wait until May for those. I then started digging the little ditch to plant the hedge tomorrow. My goodness, I am still amazed at the volume of dirt that comes out of the ground! It’s like the soil quadruples once you shovel it out! Our garden is now full of boxes with dirt in them, which I can’t move anymore because they’re too heavy. I’m seriously wondering if I’ll be able to put all the dirt back once the plants are in the ground. Well weird. I also found a lot of potsherds, unfortunately none of them antique. Otherwise I could’ve opened a serious museum by now. Maybe even become rich. Oh well.

The boyfriend is now doing the dishes (such a hero) and I am finally sat down. I have to say, I am even more tired than I was yesterday! And so are my legs! But I’ll try to go to the gym again tomorrow. Then plant the hedge. And also do some cleaning. No rest for the wicked!

Why I Will Never Diet, But Opt For an Active Lifestyle Instead

I finally started going to the gym again! I got a bit bored of it a few months back, so I decided to go kickboxing once a week and to take up running again. But then I had a problem with my foot and I was out for 2 months. And I gained so much weight, again 😦

Weight and me have always had a bad relationship. I blame it on a thousand things. I have never been skinny, not even as a child, so I think I can safely blame it partly on my metabolism. Also, as you might have noticed from some of my previous posts on food, I absolutely love eating. It is one of my favourite hobbies, rather than merely a necessity. And an annoying little side note: I hardly ever feel full. It is insane how much food I can eat without feeling ill. So naturally, if it is yummy, I eat too much of it. I also like cooking and baking. And if I decide to bake some brownies just because it’s a fun way to spend your Sunday afternoon, of course I end up eating them all. Even when I know perfectly well exactly how much butter and sugar go in there. Not to forget one of my all time favourite foods: cheese. I could have cheese for breakfast lunch and dinner, months at a time, and not get sick of it. Dutch cheese French cheese Italian cheese, even the English cheddar can take my fancy, not to forget some mature Stilton!

Once, I went on a diet. I even went to a food specialist, wanted to do it right. I was 15 years old and 15 kilos lighter than I am now. Yes, it didn’t go so well. Let’s just say I tend to overcompensate. 1 weak of good dieting (i.e. a lot less cheese, smaller portions, no more sandwiches with chocolate spread for breakfast, bye bye to the occasional pizza,…) usually ended with one meal consisting of a bag of crisps, a massive pizza, a whole package of chocolate, and all the cheese I could find. I never crave all this stuff (at least not in those quantities and combinations) when I’m not on a diet. Dieting makes me binge, badly. So to conclude: I will never go on a diet again. Not only does it make you moody as fuck, I end up gaining more than I wanted to lose. And those binge kilos stick. I’d even dare say: I am too scared to try dieting again!

The only way for me to feel more healthy: sports! When I lived in Australia, I was at the most skinny (yes, that is relative) I had been in a long time. 68 kilos. And I didn’t even try. I worked as a waitress and housekeeper, so I was on my feet all day. In my free time, I’d go running simply because the scenery was so nice, it was a good way to enjoy it. Or I’d go for long hikes with friends. Or I’d go swimming. It’s just the perfect country for an outdoor and active lifestyle and I miss it every day.

Since I got back, it’s been nearly impossible to keep my brand new active lifestyle up. I’m back at the old 72kgs. If you know I am only 1.64m tall, you know it is too much. I sit behind my desk all day at work, the furthest I walk is to the coffee machine and back. When I get home after a boring train ride, I want to spend some time with my boyfriend and enjoy a nice meal together, and then there is no time left to go to the gym. And I don’t like running in the dark. It’s boring. And cold.

But now the boyfriend decided he wants to go to the gym too! So we can go together! I am absolutely loving it. I had a sufficient break from the boring work outs and I know so many different exercises, I can mix my work out up a little bit and have little chats with my favourite person in between. And when I’m on the cross trainer and he’s on the treadmill, I like staring at him and making faces when he notices me. We try to go three times a week and I hope it’ll get me healthier again.

I’m trying to cut back on the food as well, but not as a diet. The only changes I am making are changes I am willing to be permanent. So I am NOT saying goodbye to cheese. I’m simply trying to maybe not put it in every dish I make. I choose lighter breakfasts in the week and when I feel like it in the weekend, I only have three chocolate spread sandwiches at most. (Mind you: I could eat a whole loaf of bread with the heavenly spread if really wanted to. So cutting down to three slices will do for now.) I cook slightly less food as well, so that I am not tempted to go for seconds. It’s not that I am ever still hungry after the first serve, more that I just want to have more. And if I want the occasional pizza, I will have the occasional pizza! That way I ease my craving and won’t go binging.

Ever since I can’t wear make-up anymore because of my allergies, I am a lot more conscious about my weight. I have chubby hamster cheeks, and somehow they are less prominent if I make my eyes jump out a bit more. Really, make-up was never the solution, but it did make me feel more pretty. Now, I guess I’m gonna have to really work hard to feel more pretty.

I will never be skinny and I have been fine with that for a long time, but I would like to feel healthy. And finally, I feel like I am on the right track again. When it gets to summer, I’ll be ready for spending all my free time outside again! And hopefully this time it won’t stop!

Life With a Dodgy Foot

I have the most annoying thing going on! Something’s wrong with my foot! What, you ask? I don’t know, neither does the doctor! I’m scheduled in with a specialist next week, but until then I have to keep struggling on. It’s been like this for a week now and it’s driving me crazy.

My daily commute has gone from the struggle it already is to a painful disaster.

I can’t go anywhere because both walking and cycling hurt (and I don’t have a car).

But the worst part, I can’t go hiking, or running, or work out at the gym, or go kickboxing. (It’s not really kickboxing in the fighting sense, it’s more like an hour-long workout focusing both on muscles and cardio by means of kicking and hitting a bag, and it’s my favourite way of working out. But quite likely also the cause of the foot problem, since it started after my last session last week.)

Even though I haven’t been working out as much as I used to, one whole week without anything is just too long! So I think I might take my yoga back up. Only do exercises that leave the foot alone, there’s plenty of yoga to do while sitting or lying on the floor, right? Maybe I’ll mix it with some Pilates as well, get the muscles going. But it’s been a while; I don’t really remember the exercises, let alone a decent 1-hour routine. I guess I’ll be trying some YouTube stuff. Let me know if you know any good Yoga Sessions online! Or any other easy work outs from home that don’t need feet?

I Dream of a Hike

I just read an article / blog post with ten tips for long hikes. It made me dream.

I’ve always wanted to do a long hike. One of those that take a few days and you carry a tent or hike from hut to hut. Why have I not done it yet? My fitness.

I used to be a very lazy child. Never loved sports and PE at school was my most dreaded time of the week. The only thing I ever enjoyed was swimming, but I had to give it up because I didn’t have enough time. I was busy playing theatre, learning music, and being a creative dork.

Whenever my parents took me on a holiday, I suffered. You see, they love walking. And I, I was that annoying child asking “are we there yet” before we even took off properly. I often just sat down and refused to keep walking. My poor parents. I don’t know how they always managed to get me home safely.

But then we went on this awesome holiday to South Africa. The views were so spectacular but I was puffing and panting and everyone was feeling sorry for me, I guess me most of all. But I also started to realise the things I was missing out on by staying home rather than struggling my way through the hike.

I finally changed my ways about four years ago. I was an au pair in Ireland and I had a lot of free time. And in that free time, I really wanted to get out of the house that was both my home and my work, with both my family and my bosses. My favourite place: the cliffs. Just that little bit too far away to walk. So I started running.

Say What?

Yes.

I started running.

I used this Flemish podcast called Start To Run. It’s a lady who tells you when to run and when to walk with music that fits a good running tempo, and it builds you up from running one minute, walking three, running another minute, to running twenty minutes non-stop. I went every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning. By the time I left Ireland, I ran about 45 minutes 3 times a week.

The most fun part: my parents came to visit me half way through my stay and were well surprised. First of all: when they asked me what I wanted to do when they came over, I said I wanted to roadtrip and walk. Secondly, when they actually did come over and we did hike (we did some parts of the ring of Kerry, hiked on Valencia Island, over the Burren, along the Cliffs of Moher,..), they were surprised by how much my fitness had improved. I was well proud of myself and that holiday is still up there with some of the best ones ever. (Also thanks to Ireland of course, the most surprising country I have ever been to for sure.)

But for you fellow hikers out there, you know it is addictive and you want more and longer and further and more impressive. So I’ve been wanting to do a several-day-hike for a while now. Maybe first try a three-day one. Then move up to ten-day ones. One day maybe even a month. A crazy adventure.

Sadly I’ve been slacking with the running and the gym. I work out only once a week with a friend, kickboxing style. (It’s not really kickboxing. It’s more like a group class where you work out by punching a bag. Great way to get rid of any work frustrations.) I want to get back into it. I’ve read so much about hiking and heard so many awesome stories. Like that Australian storie Tracks or the movie about the Pacific Coast Trail, Wild. I feel like I know perfectly well how to prepare and organise and go about it. But will I ever really go through with it?

Tonight I’m going for a run. For real. When I get home from work: straight into the running shoes. I really hope I do.