Excuses

Hoo boy, this lockdown is finally getting to me.

While I generally love having Fat Fella at home, it does mean that I don’t have access to the “big, fast computer” because obviously he needs it for work. This makes perfect sense, but I really miss it. It means that I haven’t been doing any writing at all for months and months. Not that I would have been doing much if I did have access, because I am a lazy slapper, but you know what it’s like – we always want most what we can’t have. Anyway, if I was serious about writing, I could easily have made a plan – we have so many other electronic devices that could be fit for purpose — but obviously I’m not, because I haven’t.

I have also put on a lot of weight, which is making me feel miserable and fed up with myself. While there has been no obvious reduction in my daily exercise routine – I still walk the dog 5-6 times a week – all those endless, unnoticed little daily physical activities, such as getting in and out of the car or carrying shopping and running errands, have just evaporated like smoke. Initially, I thought I might actually lose weight because I was doing a lot of gardening and house tidying and so on. But clearly, I was also eating and drinking a lot more. My extra-tight clothes and scary bathroom scales do not lie.

dig Image by Adina Voicu from Pixabay
Image by Adina Voicu from Pixabay

Recently, in an effort to get moving again, Fat Fella and I have been doing daily low-impact aerobics sessions in our sitting room. These are great. I have tried all sorts of different ones and so far am finding the PopSugar ones on YouTube to be really good. We haven’t been at it regularly for long enough for it to have had much of an impact, but hopefully it has improved our health and fitness a little already.

aerobics Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

It is no joke that we fatties are more at risk of dying from Covid-19. Suddenly all my blustering “I’ll be fat if I want to,” or “Being fat is not a crime,” or “I enjoy my life, what’s the harm?” is ringing a bit hollow. Of course, I have always known that being fat is an unhealthy and even life-threatening choice, but the current situation really brings it home to one with a bit of a thump.

That’s a good thing in many ways, but also hard to do much about, because it is the current situation that is making me feel low and lethargic and not inclined to diet or exercise in the first place.

And yes, the previous paragraph is merely a pathetic excuse. I know it. As with the writing, the healthy lifestyle could happen if I wanted it enough. Maybe I just don’t…

17: Diving In

I am so grateful to the person who asked how my swim went in the comments last week. It meant that I was simply too embarrassed to confess that I had chickened out after all, and I just had to dive in after all.

My initial plan had been to go swimming on Wednesday morning, but I managed to come up with an excuse not to go then. Then a friend offered me a ticket to the preview of the Anthony Gormley exhibition at The Royal Academy on Thursday. Well, obviously I couldn’t turn that down, could I? Surely my mental health and emotional fulfilment is just as important as my physical state? Fridays are not an option for me swimming-wise (certain immovable appointments filling practically the whole day) so that just left the weekend. Thanks to that comment, though, no amount of wriggling would get me off the hook, so away I went on Sunday evening for a swim. Fat Fella and Jelly Bean came along, too.

swimmer-Image by skeeze from Pixabay
No, sadly not my fabulous toned upper arms. Maybe one day? — Image by skeeze from Pixabay

I have to say, it wasn’t great. That new swimming costume might hide a bit of my worst excesses, but I was still painfully embarrassed appearing poolside with every lump and bump on show. The pool, which Fat Fella said was always quiet on Sunday evenings, was in fact rather busy. I dived in and remembered just how much I hate swimming in public pools. They taste revolting and I am so conscious of all those bodily fluids swishing about in them. Yuk! I find they are also usually too warm, which makes them seem that much more unsanitary.

On the plus side, I got a really good workout despite having to dodge divebombing teenagers and dogpaddling tots. I swam 50 lengths (that’s 1.25 km/over three quarters of a mile). Surprise, surprise I was a bit fitter than I thought! I love the way the water supports my body while swimming, so I don’t feel that I am battering my joints. Swimming also remains the one physical activity that I can do pretty well and don’t need to feel any embarrassment about my performance, even though I am a fatty. Plus, there’s none of that hot and sweaty flopping about that comes with running, for example.

You will be glad to hear, though, that the heat and sweatiness of running did not put me off going for another dog stumble/jog yesterday morning. I have found a route that is quite discreet – no one to witness the sweaty flopping – and includes lots of hills and stairs that keep my heart rate up, while giving me a chance to “rest” as I walk instead of run up them. For my other dog walks last week when I was not officially “jogging”, I managed to speed things up overall and got a lot warmer and puffier than usual.

trail-Image by serenasampson from Pixabay
No need to bother with a stair climber in the gym when you have the real thing to run up. — Image by serenasampson from Pixabay

The “cleanerobics” were also a success What a great full body workout they are. Weights (hauling the vacuum cleaner and buckets of water up and down stairs), stretching (dusting the cobwebs on my very high ceilings), upper body work (vigorous floor scrubbing), and abdominals (bending, pushing and pulling). Again, after three hours I was a sweaty mess, but felt fantastic.

Tomorrow, I am going to a “proper” training pool – a 50 m pool, which is colder, cleaner and with fewer people mucking about. Hopefully this will make up for the fact that being a fatty in that context is much rarer and thus much more self-conscious making. But I shall be brave, suck in my gut and dive in as quickly as possible. Wish me luck, please.

swimming-Image by StockSnap from Pixabay
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

16: Ready, steady, go!

I have come up with an action plan that I think is going to work for me. Obviously, it will need tweaking and refining, but I believe it is a pretty good starting off point.

For now, I am only going to try to add three activity days into my week, with the idea that I will increase this as my fitness improves.

Dog walk/ shuffle/ jog/ run

run-Image by susanne906 from Pixabay
Image by susanne906 from Pixabay

Wow, have I ever been kidding myself about my current levels of activity? I had been feeling fairly sanguine about the amount I exercised because, as I have (frequently) mentioned, I walk my dog for an hour every weekday. At some point these walks may have been brisk, active affairs, but obviously, over time, they have become little more than leisurely ambles. When I put on a pair of running shoes and a sports bra yesterday morning and proceeded to try and pick up the pace from a walk to a bit of a shuffling jog, I was appalled at just how unfit I have become. After only a minute of downhill jogging, my heart was pounding out of my chest and I was forced to slow down to a walk. I persevered, however, and mixed brisk walking with short bursts of shuffling and quite a bit of hill-climbing. I returned home sweaty, but pleased with myself for making a start. I hope to gradually increase the amount of shuffling I do and eventually increase my speed to a jog and even, dare I say it, a run.

Cleanerobics

cleaning-supplies Image by Annalise Batista from Pixabay
Image by Annalise Batista from Pixabay

I do a weekly big clean of my whole house. This usually involves a fair amount of exercise but, like dog walking, can be done at quite a slow pace if that’s what I feel inclined to do. However, if I pick up the pace and energy, I reckon I could turn a cleaning session into an excellent aerobic workout. I am going to try doing aerobic exercise steps while I am standing at the sink washing dishes to keep my heart rate raised. I’ll run up the stairs. I’ll get down on my hands and knees and scrub the floors instead of mopping them. Maybe I’ll dance while vacuuming. The hope is that not only will my cleaning session take less time, but it will be more thorough and I’ll end up with a sparkling house — win win!

Update: I had a go at this this morning and I am knackered! I must have looked pretty weird, hopping about my house like someone with a dubious itch or with an urgent call of nature, but I definitely got my heart rate raised and some serious cleaning done.

Swimming

swimming Image by David Mark from Pixabay
Sadly, this is not a picture of me swimming. But who knows? Maybe one day… — Image by David Mark from Pixabay

I really enjoy playing sports, but on the whole I am not terribly good at them. One thing I have always been pretty competent at, though, is swimming. I often think I am more at home in water than on land. Despite this, I have managed to find reasons not to swim regularly. The most obvious problem is having to appear in public in a swimming costume. A fat woman’s nightmare. Absolutely no way to hide the blubber with a lovely loose-fitting shirt or anything like that. I need to get over this nonsense of course. The truth is no-one is in the least bit interested in looking at me and if they do, so what? They are unlikely to start laughing and pointing, are they?

The other thing that puts me off (don’t bother reading this if you are a man as you really won’t relate) is having to keep myself properly depilated. I so wish I was one of those fabulous women who simply do not give a toss about all of that hair-removing malarkey. As a wide-eyed twenty something travelling in Europe for the first time, I remember looking in awe at the German girls on the beach with their hairy bits, not so much on display, but not even considered. Sadly, with the best will in the world, I am just not that person. I have been thoroughly conditioned to find hairy bits unacceptable and have spent years enduring razor rashes, nasty chemicals, painful, tearing waxing, and those horrible little torture machines that rip the hairs out one by one. Apparently most young women now just have it all lasered off, which I suppose is sensible, if a touch expensive and time-consuming. I certainly am not bothered enough to go down that route, and as of today I don’t need to because I have just purchased a very sporty swimming costume with legs! Hurray. Problem solved.

Does this mean that I have run out of excuses not to start swimming tomorrow? I have to say that I am really pushed for time at the moment, and I am so unfit that I will probably drown, and, and, and… There are always excuses if you really want them, aren’t there?

swimming Image by skeeze from Pixabay
Aren’t these swimming costumes with legs great? They hide a multitude of sins. — Image by skeeze from Pixabay

I am going to stop at this point. Since first thinking of these activities, I have come up with a few other good options, but I am going to see how I get on with these for now.