Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Not Exercise, But Activity.

I seem to be a bit up and down on this journey. One day I'll feel extremely positive and up for all the challenges, the next I'll falter, feel that having to lose weight is so unfair and that the road ahead is just too long. I've been re-reading my posts for the last few days, and smiling to myself at the contrasts in my thinking and moods. One day I am off for a route march and ready to walk round the world twice, taking you all with me, the next I am fed up with it all and the only thing I want to do is vegetate and eat cakes.

How do I stop this roller-coaster of positive and negative emotions? Is it natural to feel like this I wonder? I really want to feel good about this journey every day. I am doing it for me, after all.

Yesterday however was interesting. I think I might have mentioned before (several times) that I am prone to procrastination. I have been this way inclined since I retired and it's not good. If I don't have a reason to be somewhere I can idle away my day, even though it starts very early. I can always put things off until tomorrow, because I have every day in which to act. I can choose my moment. That's my stupid thinking. I don't feel pressure to get things done, but ironically, when I put off doing things I feel completely lousy. At the end of the day when little has been achieved my mood drops and I dislike myself for being inactive and lazy. It's then that the fat thoughts take hold and I feel hopeless and doomed to be this way forever. I promise myself that I'll tackle a task that I've put off 'tomorrow'. Was there a James Bond film called "Tomorrow Never Comes" or am I just making that up?

For me, tomorrow dawns and the whole day stretches before me, so I have convinced myself that I can drink tea to my heart's content until I've worked myself up to tackle a job around the house. When the sun streams in through the windows (floor to ceiling ones!) at the back of the house and I see how grimey they've become I tut to myself and make a mental note that I'll clean them 'later on'. Cleaning those windows has been on my 'To Do' list for the whole month of June. Blush, blush, blush. So has clearing out the big larder cupboard, sorting through the pile of holiday clothes just dumped on the bed in the guest room and doing a hundred and one gardening tasks.

The list is as long as my arm..but all I seem to do are the necessary day to day things - like providing a taxi service for my son first thing in the morning, feeding the cat, grocery shopping, cooking, washing and ironing, loading and unloading the dishwasher, with the odd bit of floor sweeping, vacuum cleaning and bathroom wiping done reluctantly. The sort of jobs that have to be done regularly. I don't make progress, I just maintain - around the house and in terms of my weight. The household stuff gets done but there is no routine. I have plenty of time to do other, extra stuff, but given I have to have rests and breaks 'because I deserve them' in between doing things, there is a lot of the day spent sitting down...and the household chores pile up and the guilty feelings take root. I go mad every now and then and clean everything that's not moving, but I do seem to have an all-or-nothing mentality.

I used to be a bit of a whirlwind - extremely energetic and house-proud. I could keep going until midnight when I was on a roll..I'd spend all day Saturday gardening/doing Mum things when I was a working woman, and Sunday I'd catch up with everything else, prepare for next week at work and cook a wonderful Sunday dinner....and although I got tired, I achieved a great sense of satisfaction in being able to tick jobs off my list. I was efficient. Extremely efficient.

Let me tell you younger people RIGHT NOW that no matter how hard working you are and no matter how organised, ageing plays nasty tricks on bodies. Your energy supplies dwindle - they really do! Both man (thin, fit and naturally active) and I say that we just can't do all the things we used to - not because we are crocked or infirm, but because our energy supplies get depleted quicker. He's 57, I am younger than him. So, when I promise myself I'll get all these jobs done and if I put my mind to them they wont take too long to complete, I am fooling myself! I just can't keep going like I used to.

Yesterday however the sun was shining (it was a glorious, hot day) and I KNEW I ought to be outside, doing all the jobs that had been piling up in the garden. I also had some chicken in the fridge I needed to cook, and some fresh vegetables that had to be used up before they wilted so I planned doing a big roast dinner for me and the boys later on. The kitchen was a mess, the fridge needed clearing out and wiping out, the floor was grubby...we all come in through the kitchen from the garden...and all the plants sitting in pots outside either needed replanting in the ground or watering/feeding. I felt a bit overwhelmed and reluctant to start. It was all uphill and I had a PC to sit at and the daily paper to read, as well as a book to finish and a crossword puzzle to complete. I could have kept myself occupied in pleasurable pursuits all day (again.) I didn't however. The state of the fridge was annoying me, so I cleared it out and cleaned it..and then I tackled all the stuff piled up in the was loaded into the dishwasher or I washed it by hand. Then with a bowl of water in front of me the next obvious step was to clean down all the work-tops, so I did...and sorted out the fruit-bowl, tossing out anything past it's best. I loaded some washing into the machine and had a tea break...then fitted the garden hose to the tap and watered the plants. Son came home early so I asked him (nagged him) to mow the lawns...which he did, eventually. I stopped gardening to hang out the washing and then started peeling vegetables for dinner. I dished up, we ate and then I went back out there again. All was quiet but I was quite happy pottering about. I'd got a few plants which were too big for their pots so I lugged them about, emptied them and created a whole new bed at the top of the garden. I dug, weeded, added manure to the soil and transplanted some greenery. Quite a work-out! It was getting dark...the light had faded so I had to call it a day. At twilight a lone blackbird perched high in the tree and started singing. I stood in the cool of the evening leaning on my spade and just listened to him, feeling all was well with the world. I felt tired but very satisfied that I'd acheived so much. I felt fired up to tackle more...but as it was late, I made a big mug of tea, had a banana and then had a bath before bed. I was in bed before midnight (which is early for me - I am a night owl by nature) and I fell straight asleep.

How different we feel when we achieve things. It's amazing, isn't it? Eating didn't cross my mind once yesterday. I nibbled on healthy things and then cooked a good dinner. I moved my body without a gym or a piece of exercise equipment being involved. If only every day could be like that. I suppose it can be? Like losing weight, the effort has to be mine. All I have to do is get the ball rolling and let it gather momentum. So, today that's what I plan to do. Less thinking, less sitting, less writing, (cough) more action. I shan't wait for the mood to hit me - I'll just start something and hope I become so involved and effective that I want to carry on achieving.

I also felt quite blessed that my body, after being out-of-service for so many years because of ill health, hospitalisation, being cut up and recovery etc, didn't let me down. It was working again...perhaps more slowly than in years gone by, but it carried me through the day. Being busy gives us less time to think negative thoughts and less time to think about food and the eating of it too. Win-win situation! I cannot bear the thought of becoming old and infirm so I know I have to use it or lose it. I am too young to spend my life sitting down for the most part...and so is every one of you out there reading this! I am going to finish and then turn off the PC for the day, get up and 'achieve' - and I wish you all a day in which you get things done too. Our bodies will thank us! :)

“Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It's not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it's when you've had everything to do, and you've done it.” ~ Margaret Thatcher.


  1. OMG paragraphs 3, 4 & 5 of this post describe my life exactly.

    And like you, when I've been active and got on with things, I feel great - like a can conquer the world.

    How do we maintain an even pace, I wonder? Slow and steady wins the race, but how do we move from zilch alternating with manic to just slow and steady ...? Let me know if you find the answer first!

  2. LOL Christie! I know. How on earth do we get fired up to do what we have to do? I think the answer is to just start, no matter how reluctant we feel about the task - be it housework, writing, sorting out bills or exercise. Having said that, I talk the talk. Walking the walk often passes me by! I still want hours to think about it, and drink tea and find interesting little diversions until I get fired up. (By which time I have lost all my inclination to do it!)

    I don't think we are unusual though - are we? Isn't it human nature to put pleasure before pain , or at least hard work?

    See also how wonderful I am at justifying my inactivity! :)

  3. I can identify with this post, I expect most can. So far this year, the garden and good weather have done more for me in my quest to be active than anything else.

  4. Grump: with all the crappy weather here, I wonder if I'll ever stop coming home from work, tossing on the jammies, and working the computer until my fingers are bleeding. There is a mountain of work: yard work, house work, paper work. The problem I find isn't only aging/lack of energy--it's that most of it is so damn boring. There's a whole big world just waiting to be discovered and I really just want to goof around. What do you do with that kind of attitude? Jo

  5. I came across your post and it describes me to the letter. I am now a follower so I can see how you are doing.

  6. Crud. I knew you were going to point the finger out at me in computerland. Yes I have tons to do, yes I'm sitting here on the computer. I'm a procrastinator and when it comes to weightloss I think a self-sabotager. I tend to tell myself 'I deserve this and no one can tell me I can't have it.' Probably leftover resentment from some such slight growing up. lol I'm having trouble getting past that mentality even though I've lost 50 lbs this last year. Have much more to go. I'll be reading your blog often. Thanks for sharing honestly.

  7. I feel like I have a finite amount of energy on any given day. What I do with that energy is up to me but if I focus on any one particular thing then it's only natural that something else is going to suffer.

    This whole weight loss thing takes up a HUGE chunk of that energy. Exercising, eating right, etc. It's a black hole that goes on and on forever!

    Usually, since the weight loss thing is a minute-to-minute commitment, that means that the house suffers. Or if I'm catching up on the house then the garden suffers. Or if I'm all about the kids that day then everything else suffers, etc.

    It's a roller coaster, for sure. I always worry that I'll never find a balance.

    Thanks for the kind comments on my blog, by the way. I always appreciate the support!