I spent some time considering the phrase “Get Fit, Feel Epic” and what it might means to me and my goal of being fit, strong and healthy.
Back in November 2012, I decided (when I went up yet another dress size) that enough was enough. I just could not afford to keep gaining weight. The extra weight was adding too much to my health problems. I had to lose all the weight I had gained since I was 27. There was a slight hitch, however: I love, love, love my food. The alternative was to move more, become active, get exercising and (finally) be fit again. I had received a Fitbit Zip for review, so I decided to wear it to see if I came close to doing the recommended 12,000 steps a day the average, healthy, active person does. I was appalled to find I averaged (over a week) a paltry 2,500 steps a day. I decided to build up my daily steps gradually, starting with 5,000 a day, and added another 1,000 (or so) every other day. By the middle of December, I was averaging 11,000+ steps a day. It was easy to add a few more steps a day: marching on the spot while doing the dishes; marching on the spot while watching tv; marching on the spot while brushing my teeth; walking up and down a few times while waiting for the lift/standing in a queue; going for a walk in the park every other day; and when the weather was bad, marching up my living room, up the stairs and back down again. As I increased my activity, my diet hardly altered, but I did notice that because I was more active, I was drinking more water and, perhaps, eating just a little less.
By December, I had lost close to 5 kgs (11 lbs), then disaster struck. I became seriously ill over the festive period, was hospitalised, and my lungs were so badly affected by the virus, I was told I would not be able to exert myself, or exercise for 10 to 12 weeks. I made it back to work in the second week of January and, since then, I have steamed twice a day, every day and my lungs are finally improving. In January I joined a free, weight loss class run by my local council over 12 weeks, which ends in a half hour exercise session. Well, that first exercise session proved to me that my lungs are not quite up to the job – yet. Thus, I have been attempting to stick to a diet in order to continue my weight loss, logging everything I eat at My Fitness Pal. It’s been working as, since November 2012, I have lost a total of 10 kgs (22 lbs).
The diet is indeed working; however I much prefer losing those extra pounds by exercising. I felt so much happier when I exercised: my body noticeably changed shape as I lost the weight, I felt more energetic, I was sleeping better, and I felt much healthier. Dieting alone seems to be the wrong approach for me: my body is slow to adjust to any weight loss, which currently stands at around 1 kg (2 lbs) a week; I am feeling tired again; and I just don’t feel better, lighter, or healthier for having lost those (diet) kilos. I cannot wait until my lungs are healthy so I can get moving again and get those 12,000+ a day, then I can add strength training three days a week to build up some muscle, and when I’m halfway to my goal weight, I will go back to Iyengar yoga for that extra flexibility. Of course, now that I am used to healthy eating, I will continue to eat a healthier diet when I am able to increase my activity again, just not such a strict, low calorie diet.
I want that happy feeling back; the feeling I had when I was exercising with regularity.
So, if I’ve already lost 10 kgs, what is my ultimate goal? I will relish being able to wear more stylish clothes but, ultimately, I want to go on a very long walk – perhaps across some hills, or up a Munro – and not only see some amazing views, but feel epic myself. To have lost 20 years of excess weight, to be fit, healthy and strong enough again to do a walking holiday, actually climb those beautiful hills and mountains, rather than just looking up at them, that; that achievement would make me feel epic.