How I lost the weight (Page 2)

Page 2: Exercise More

Welcome back to my diatribe against unfit Jean!

Today I would like to bring you on the journey from gasping as I walked up stairs, through finding my legs still worked, and out the other side to jumping at any opportunity to go for a walk.

One day, I walked to the DART station from work, leather shoes slapping against my heels, huffing and puffing through the fifteen minute walk.

I was delighted.

The next day, I got the bus, but the day after, I walked again… And the day after that… and the day after that. I remember calling my parents to boast; it was the first voluntary activity I had completed since school.

I continued walking the fifteen minutes until, a couple of weeks later, I walked home; Thirty minutes. My thighs and calves ached the next day, but I had done it. I had progressed, I had improved and the walk to the DART didn’t even lose my breath any more.

This is how I started. I didn’t try to run a marathon, or take up a team sport, or hike a mountain.

I walked fifteen minutes.

I integrated it into my daily routine because when I get in the door, I find myself overwhelmed by the unusually strong gravity pull of the couch and, with that, I’m lost for the evening.

There came a day, months down the line, where walking just wasn’t cutting it any more. I didn’t feel as good about it, and this gave me the push I needed to resist the couch for short amounts of time to begin Couch to 5k. There are many words I can use for this program; inspired, rewarding, brilliant… and a frustrating, heart wrenching hell. It is a great beginners running program, with short jogs (starting at one minute in Week 1), interspersed with walking breaks. I choose the GetRunning app to assist me. It comes with a female Scottish voiceover who promises you that “You’re doing GREAT, and to just keep GOING!”

I wanted to find this woman, and slap the chirpy enthusiasm right out of her voice. Did she not realise that I was, figuratively, dying? I couldn’t breathe, my legs felt like lead, the elderly on walking frames were zooming by me, and she was taunting me with, “FanTASTIC, you’re half way there!”

Then eight weeks in, the day I jogged twenty whole minutes in a row, I felt a sense of reward that eclipsed any amount of satisfaction I had ever gotten from food.

So, if you are thinking about moving more, start slow and small. I was not able to walk for long distances when I started, let along go for a jog. Had I tried, I would have failed and been so discouraged that only mountains of food would have made me feel better.

Use apps and logging websites. Nothing compares to the superior, elite feeling you get as you look back over the past month and see how many miles you’ve walked or cycled, weights you’ve lifted or how your pace has improved.

Don’t try to conquer the exercise mountain in one day. It is simply not going to happen. It takes time for your body to crave movement as much as it craves food.

Integrate moving into your daily life. If you’re starting off, don’t promise yourself that you’re going to go for a ten mile walk or go to the gym for an hour. Making a big deal of exercise will put you off. You don’t need to be in a certain place, or wearing specific clothes; Use the stairs, walk to the shop, get off the bus a stop early, walk home, offer to carry heavy bags; Most of all, walk everywhere with purpose, arms swinging, pushing yourself, the attractive faint sheen of sweat on your forehead (Oh, nobody cares anyway – no one’s looking.)

If you do decide to try jogging:

Proper runners. Proper runners. Proper runners. These are not just Dunnes fifteen euro “sports shoes”.
These are correctly designed, supportive proper runners that cushion every pounding step. Mine are called “The Beast”.

Enough said.

Learn how to warm down properly. Seriously. Youtube it, ask a physiotherapist, ask your sporty friends, but just do it

Don’t let one bad day bring you down. It’s very easy to curse the world, give up, and eat the entire contents of the fridge. But why would you do that? You didn’t lose anything, you weren’t competing with anyone; you just couldn’t jog properly one day. The next day will be better… and maybe get a take away as a reward for trying anyway.

Day on, day off, but never two. Take days off from running to recover, but don’t take off more than a few days in a row. I physically start to sink back into the “Sure, why would I do exercise?” mentality and each additional day makes it tougher to get back in runners. Do not let this happen.

Do not let your body tell your brain what to do. Your body doesn’t know what’s good for it and your brain does. If you let your brain make excuses for your body, you are only fooling yourself.

Be responsible for you and, as before, hold yourself accountable. You will not fail.

Get Running App is perfect for the Couch to 5k, lets you listen to your own music, and despite her highly irritating levels of happiness, the coach and her reminders are definitely motivational.

Run Keeper connects straight into an app that records distance, pace, calories, and has tiny map so you can watch when your GPS suddenly decides you’re somewhere on mainland Europe and have run in the region of 1000mph.

Fitocracy is a great idea, mixing a social side with exercise – but only 350 points for 100 burpees? Ludicrous.

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5 thoughts on “How I lost the weight (Page 2)

  1. I love that your runners are called The Beast. Do they bite?
    Great post as always!

  2. Jean says:

    Why thank you 🙂
    They are the most amazing runners ever – I wish I could wear them all the time!

  3. I’ve been meaning to respond to this for a while, but trying to think of what I can add to the discussion seeing as you’ve done your usual great job of covering every angle. The only thing I can think of is to add a lesson I learned many years ago on my first attempt to run the ridge of the Reeks.

    Sweat, and hard seams are not your friends.

    The clothes I was wear were perfectly comfy to begin with. But after jogging the ascent to the ridge itself I was dripping with sweat, and so were my clothes. The day got hotter, so most of that initial sweat dried out, leaving behind the salts, and seams which had become a lot stiffer. To say that those seams chaffed would be to miss a perfect chance to describe the feeling of a rusty hacksaw blad slicing into my flesh with every step.

    You’re dead right about the right runners. But clothes that will cope well with sweat will make a for a much more comfy experience. And since the addition of breasts to my frame it’s a nightmare (made up of black eyes and the feeling of things being torn from my chest with) to run up a stairs, so a really good sports bra is a good idea too.

    Just a couple of thoughts. Great post. 🙂

  4. Mary :) says:

    Hei. I thought I’d drop you a line – I have installed both Fitocracy and MyFitnessPal in the effort of keeping my diet and my exercise under control. Much to my surprise I found out that my calorie intake was more along the lines of keeping the weight the way it was than losing it – even though I was convinced to eat 1.400-1.500 calories max a day I found out through MFP that I actually ate close to 1.800 a day. MFP also helps me doing what you suggested, that is eating more on workout days – it automatically increases your calorie intake based on the workout you had. I bought proper runners and a sport bra and I’m looking into buying one of those straps that hold your Iphone into place while running so I can track my miles as well. Two weeks in the results aren’t that encouraging yet – I lost 1 pound the first week and promptly gained one and a half the second week – but it’s good to see at least I’m not plateauing anymore. Thanks a bunch for writing these posts. I’ll avoid all the cooking posts for a while (they look too good) but I’ve bookmarked your blog and I’ll make sure to check back once I’m back on track. Oh, and I’ll make sure I go to Koh next time I’m in Dublin 🙂

    • Jean says:

      You are so very sweet! I really do hope you enjoy Koh 🙂

      Yes, I find the tracking really good and very helpful – it is a great boost to see how far you’ve come – your pace increasing, or able to complete more reps in the same amount of time!

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