Wednesday, January 09, 2008

New Year New Me

Every year I’ve said to myself; “this is the year I’ll get fit and healthy”. This year I mean it. After the Christmas period, and moving house I have put on around ½ a stone and my jeans, which were tight before, are now uncomfortable.

My want list is to:
Lose at least half a stone
Exercise at least twice a week
Give up smoking

It’s a lot to take on board, and goes against advice which suggests you should tackle one thing at a time. However knowing me, by throwing myself into this new way of life, I will stay motivated. Writing a diary to record my progress will keep me on track, and I will feel accountable to anyone who might read it. I know I have to set realistic goals, so I’ve started by getting myself an exercise book, in which I can record my efforts.

To lose weight, as well as exercising, I aim to calorie count. When I went to University I put on a lot of weight and after leaving I lost 3½ stone with calorie counting. One of the main disadvantages of this method is that initially it is very time consuming. When preparing meals all ingredients needs to be weighed, and the overall calorie content calculated. This is where the exercise book comes in, as at one end of the book I can write down the calories in meals I prepare, and at the other end I can record my daily food and calorie intake. After a while, this does become easier as I memorise the calorie content of the meals I eat regularly.

One advantage of the calorie counting method is that no food groups need to be cut out. Having been interested in, and built up quite an extensive knowledge of nutrition, I appreciate the importance of eating a balanced diet which ensures we get the vitamins and minerals we need to help our bodies work effectively. We need to include all the food groups in our diets including fats, carbohydrates, and protein. We need essential fatty acids, for example, to help maintain healthy weight levels as they help move stored fats from our adipose tissues, and carbohydrates are important for energy production. Any diet that cuts out any particular food group can be detrimental to our health.

Another advantage with calorie counting is that I will be cutting down my alcohol intake, which did increase over the Christmas period. By counting the calories of every drink, I am unlikely to allow myself to drink a whole bottle of wine, which supplies a wasted 510 calories.

Exercising regularly is also important for my new healthy way of living. I’ve decided to take up swimming again, and have hooked up with a friend who goes swimming twice a week. I met her for a swim on Monday, and swam 24 lengths which is just over a third of a mile. I would like to add a couple of lengths every week and eventually work up to swimming a mile. I recognise as I have been quite sedentary for quite a long time, I should build up the exercise slowly, and will add in an aerobics type exercise, as I start to feel fitter, hopefully in a month’s time.

Another way to build up my fitness is to ditch the car and walk more. I live 10 minutes from town, and because I have a big hill to climb, I often take the car. If I don’t have lots of shopping to carry, and its not pouring with rain, I now aim to walk it. I walked it yesterday, and when I got back my legs felt wobbly, which is an indication of how unfit I have got.

Giving up smoking is the scariest of my goals for many reasons. I like smoking and feel it will be the most difficult goal to achieve. I also don’t want to put on weight when I stop. Losing weight and exercising are both important preparations for the inevitable stop date. By getting used to a healthy eating plan, I hope I won’t be so inclined to overeat when I do give up smoking. By exercising, as well as getting fitter, I hope to raise my metabolic rate, so I am burning calories more efficiently when I stop.

I know I need to stop. I have asthma, have had recurring pleurisy, and my doctor says I’m a classic emphysema case waiting to happen. Even though I’ve given up before, (I didn’t smoke for eleven years), I know I need all the help I can get so I’ve started reading a self help book. ‘Free Yourself from Smoking’ by Dr Kristina Ivings takes a three pronged approach, addressing the physical addiction, psychological dependence and the habit of smoking. The majority of the book deals with the way we think about smoking, why we smoke, the pitfalls we come across when trying to stop, understanding withdrawal, and doesn’t get to How to quit till chapter 12. When I am there I will set a date. Hopefully as I get fitter the urge to give up will also increase.

Anyway, I’ve now set my goals and I’ve committed myself to getting and staying fit and healthy. I will write weekly to record my progress which will include my successes and failures, what worked for me and what didn’t, and a summary of weight loss and fitness levels. In order to see measurable results I have recorded vital measurements below. It will be interesting to see if I can achieve any loss on any of these.

At the start of my new healthy lifestyle Monday the 7th of January
I weigh 11 stone
My BMI is 24.80 (approximated by scales at Sports centre)
Vital measurements Boobs 37inches, Waist 32½inches and Hips 40inches.

1 comment:

miss-cellany said...

Good luck with the goals. I've promised Oz I'll give up in Jan and know how scary and daunting it feels so am with you on that one.

Hope all is well and happy in the new house :)