Thursday, 14 October 2010

My Way.

Was listening to Frank Sinatra singing 'My Way' in the kitchen this morning. (Well, he wasn't in my kitchen - that would have been hard - the song was on the radio.)

I don't know anyone of my age who doesn't join in with that last, long drawn-out refrain at the end..."I Did It Myyyyyyyyyyyyy Way." (OK, so it might just be me, but I like to sing along.)

The next song to be played was The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" and that's a fantastic one for jigging around to. Good job my kitchen is a reasonable size. I was clearing up after breakfast and decided I would jog on the spot until the song finished. I hadn't realised the presenter was playing the long version of it, with all the instrumental parts, so I jogged and jogged, wondering if it would ever end. My flabby tummy was wobbling up and down, and I wasn't wearing a sports bra so I cupped my breasts as I jogged...It wasn't a pretty sight. It wasn't sleek, purposeful or athletic. I was a fat woman having fun, and getting breathless in the kitchen.

I have called this post 'My Way' because regular readers might have gathered that I cannot work up enthusiasm for workouts in the gym, nor do I want to become a runner. Now, it's pretty obvious that some of the bloggers I read enjoy their gym sessions and they have become a regular part of their lives. Some bloggers are runners, others like to get out on their bikes...some, like me, enjoy walking. Different strokes for different folks. I am sure my walking and kitchen dancing/jogging doesn't burn as many calories as a good workout in the gym, but I am OK with that.

I think my reticence comes from

a) Having to travel to the gym. My nearest one is a car ride away, expensive and very busy. Given I used to go (a few years ago when I worked full time and could afford it) because I felt I 'should' - that's what people do to keep fit - I always went reluctantly.

b)I was OK once I got there but eeek...those rooms full of machines, television screens, mirrors, people plugged in to their music, poseurs (does every gym have them?) and serious athletes....I never ever felt part of it or enjoyed it. It was BORING and a chore and as for the awful music if you didn't have head-phones.. Aaargh! It was the sort of thump-thump, bass, tinny dance racket I'd get my kids to turn down at home. (I do oldest son a disservice. He wouldn't listen to 'club' music - R&B, hip-hop, rap, house, garage, whatever it's called, if you paid him.)

c) Changing rooms. Body hang-ups and feeling it's a drag to take off clothes, put on clothes, get sweaty, shower, dry hair, get dressed again. Sounds pathetic? Yup. But that was the mind-set of a fat, unfit woman who felt pressured to be part of it. I just wasn't happy being naked in communal changing rooms. Oh I can do the 'wrap my towel around me' bit, but I feel uncomfortable. I still can't get over the super-fit who'd strut around and even pose naked. I am pretty sure some were exhibitionists. The more modest or older, flabbier women tended to lurk in the corners...drying off quickly.

I am sure things like that don't bother most people, but even when I was going regularly I never felt part of it or enjoyed it. Even when my fitness improved, it was still a huge drag taking myself off on a cold November's night to the gym when I could have been cosy and warm at home. I can be up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning to walk for miles in the countryside - no bother - but ask me to go to a gym and I'd be reluctant.

So..back to the point of this post - it doesn't matter if the gym is not your thing, does it?

Yesterday I wrote that some of the overweight posted about their fatness as though it was a certain death-sentence.

OK - It's not healthy, and being 'morbidly obese' gives us a bit of a clue about the dangers too, but 'fat' and the word 'death' in the same sentence is a nasty modern phenomenon. People make television programmes about such fat people (freaks?) and we gawp at the misery of others. I've done the same.

Fat does not equal death. (I wrote too that it makes sense to lose weight for health reasons..) I was thinking as I was kitchen-jogging, about the whole diet industry and the way in which we are steered down roads we may not want to go.

Some people love working out, and that's great, but why do the majority of fat people also buy into "I must become a gym member" too? Lots do. many people become enthusiastic and love it and need their work-outs, but from speaking to others it's apparent that a lot of people don't enjoy working out at the gym.

Not 'getting into' that sort of movement and routine can be counter-productive in that we feel like the non-sporty geeks that were never picked for teams in their school days. It almost puts us off exercise when we fail to become regular gym-goers.

They reckon most gymnasiums/sports centres make their money from the people who sign up for a year and then use the facilities rarely. Guilty as charged, the first time I joined a gym - because I felt I 'should'. By the same token should we equate the words "Gym member" with "You must lose weight."? Are we in thrall to those who work out regularly and blog about it? Do they become our role models?

There is a whole lot of marketing savvy going on there methinks. The drop-out rate at my gym was incredible. So many new faces in January who'd vow to get fit but who obviously fell off the face of the earth in February. Some people get into it...loving the routine and what it does for them and I have no argument with that whatsoever. Way to go.

It's just that many, like me, NEVER get into it and feel a sense of guilt almost that they shun the gym. Do I deserve to be fat because I didn't 'feel the burn' when celebrities (making money) were telling us we should, way back in the '80s? I sort of opted out then on principle I think :)

The world has changed. We realise that activity (which we used to take for granted before cars and computers came along) is important, so we have to go to places 'to be active' which still seems a bit wierd to me.

Only professional sports people worked out when I was a child...(Professional footballers would run around the pitch, practice their kicking, passing and dribbling skills, and then go off to the pub for a lunch time pie and pints of beer. No one questioned this and they still turned out every Saturday to win matches.) Some active types took up hobbies like tennis or swimming, but just as many kept slim by walking to the shops, going to the park with the kids, throwing balls about, running, skipping.....moving, cycling to work, or catching buses. Movement was incorporated into the day, it wasn't something you had to GO and do at a certain time.

Anyway, I am bucking the trend here ;-)

I fully recommend my "Jogging to Roger Daltry in The Kitchen" warm-up, and the "Thirty Minute Walk to the Shops To Buy Bananas and Milk" work-out. Later I shall be doing the "Bending and Stretching Autumn Routine" as I collect fallen leaves on the patio and in the garden.

Just like Frank, I am doing it MY WAY, and to all those out there who know exercise is important and that they have to move more, I'd recommend it as an alternative to the gym, if that isn't your thing.

Do whatever floats your boat but do it regularly. It's important to move, and have fun doing it too. It certainly lifts my spirits and the more active I am, the more I want to do.

OK.....hands off the keyboard and move away from your computer. Go on. Now. I am watching you.

Have a good day :)


  1. I can picture it and I've got a smile on my face. Good for you.

  2. OMG..I can just see me in the kitchen dancing without my sports bra...if nothing else my pecs will get a workout..LOL.. Thanks for the vision.

    One of my many jobs in the past was a sales counselar at a fitness gym and one of the reasons I didn't make it (I lasted less than a year) was I would not "push" people to signing if the gym was out of the way for them. In fact I quit the gym for over a year not because I didn't like going but because I didn't want to do the drive. The gym is now on my way home so I don't have to go out of the way.

    The gym isn't for everyone! There's nothing wrong with not liking the gym. The main thing is that you are doing something active you do like and moving your body..and although I do go to the gym..I also love walking/hiking and dancing in my kitchen (altho I won't want anyone to see me..LOL)..

  3. They still play Sinatra on the radio? Not around my parts. I love Frankie!

  4. FG: I have the same hate/hate relationship with Gym. I went faithfully for nearly 4 years, three times per week, and while I firmed up, I didn't lose a pound. Now that I have changed my eating, and I DON'T go to the gym, I have thrown away over 50 pounds. Go figure.

    My critics would/will probably say "Why don't you pair the eating plan with going to the gym?". And the answer is...."I don't know".

    I like your style, FG, and will step up my "Laundry Rock-n-roll" and "Floor Washing Boogey Woogey Blues".


  5. I'm being contrary here, but the people you refer to who kept slim by walking, playing with their kids, catching buses (catching buses?) were probably people with "normal" metabolisms, not people who needed to lose a lot of weight.

    Of course you don't "need" to go to the gym, but one of the reasons why people work out at gyms is that it's very time-efficient. You can burn a heck of a lot more calories in one session on a cardio machine, or in an aerobics class, than you could by dancing around your kitchen, walking to the shops or gardening.

    And what about strength training? That's an important component of fat loss.

    As you continue to lose weight, you will probably find that you need to up the ante on your exercise in order create enough of a calorie deficit to keep losing.

  6. Grump,

    Gym and I have an on again relationship. He would prefer to be on again....I'm enjoying the off right now. Since Husband and I have started the ballroom class, I'm much more inclined to shake my groove thing and get my exercise that way.

    Gym is still pining away for me, but I say move over baby, there's a new dance in town!

    Perhaps you should find a dance class or two....

    Take Care~


  7. I'm glad I came across this post today - I've been doing a lot of thinking about my own resistance to exercise.

    Loud boisterous gyms turn me off too, and I also consider the "walk for bananas and milk" as part of exercise. It helps that I live in a walking city.

    I'm doing it "my way" too - but trying hard to figure out what that is!

  8. Susan wrote: "...were probably people with "normal" metabolisms, not people who needed to lose a lot of weight."

    With respect, I think most people have normal metabolisms. The overweight have to give theirs a bit of a kick start. An abnormal metabolism often needs medical treatment. A sluggish metabolism can (usually) be'cured' by eating properly and moving in order to burn calories. My point was that these people (of the 50s, 60s and 70s) moved much more than we did today - in the ordinary course of their lives - and therefore didn't become overweight.

    Who says 'strength training is an important component of fat loss'? I imagine for those who want toned bodies, strength training and toning up are important, but it's not NECESSARY. Another marketing ploy? Weight can be lost by cutting back on foods alone, as many have proved.

    Lots of people lose weight and want to go for muscular and toned bodies, and that is fine. They'll engage in strength training. If I don't want a flabby body I'll have to consider toning up, but it isn't imperative, is it - and that's the point.

    My focus is on becoming fitter and slimmer. I need to eat less and move more, but I don't need a gym course or programme in order for that to happen :)

  9. I'm definitely not a fan of gyms for all the reasons mentioned above. I do like to strength train, though, because I love feeling the individual muscles working.

  10. I take your point that most people have "normal" metabolisms; I was trying to distinguish between people who don't have weight problems, and those of us who need more than the "normal" amount of exercise, either to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

    Re my point about strength training being important for fat loss, it's well-accepted in the fitness world that building muscle mass helps our bodies to burn more calories when we are at rest.

    Also, because muscle is more dense than fat, gaining muscle makes us look slimmer - which is why I said "strength training is an important component of *fat* loss" - not *weight* loss. Your size depends on your fat-to-muscle ratio, not just your weight. I lost weight through diet and cardio alone, then when I started strength training, I dropped two dress sizes without losing an ounce!

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