I have been very slug-like lately. I'm not leaving a trail of slime or feeling wary of salt thankfully -- it's more that I am just lacking in energy.
Part of this is down to juggling way too many things at the same time, but it is also down to the less-than-stellar habits I've had over the last six months. Namely eating way too much sugar and not getting any regular exercise.
In general, I'm a fairly healthy eater -- I'm a pescaterian (this is a vegetarian who eats fish though my spell check just tried to change it to Presbyterian...). I eat a decent amount of fruits and vegetables. And as the experts recommend, I always start my day with a healthy breakfast, usually shredded wheat with blueberries and skim milk.
But I am also a bit of a sugar fiend when I am over-tired or over-stressed. And so I've also been eating honey on my cereal in the morning in an effort to jolt my system a bit as I sit bleary-eyed at the table. And if offered a cupcake or a cookie, I've decided it is only polite to always say "yes" -- even when I've already eaten another sweet earlier in the day. Or perhaps just five minutes before. It's like I'm the Cookie Monster -- there is no control.
Obviously the holidays are not a good time for avoiding such sugary treats. And Thanksgiving was a little bit like being a shark at a feeding frenzy where the chum is pumpkin pie and chocolate-y oreo bites.
Coupled with these dubious eating habits, I've not exercised regularly in months. I used to go to the gym at least twice a week and take regular long walks. Now I walk at the track once in a blue moon and occasionally do the abs exercises on my iPad app. A lack of concentrated and planned exercise isn't too different from what I used to be like in England, but there I didn't have a car and therefore I walked absolutely everywhere. Getting 10,000 steps in per day was a piece of non-sugary, gluten-free, fat-free cake.
But here I have fallen into the American habit of using my car even when I don't really need to and so I am not getting in even close to a healthy number of steps per day. When you combine that with no real exercise habit or routine, it's a wonder I haven't turned into a real slug!
And so at the weekend, I decided it was time to make a change, and in my head -- where everything always go as planned and is as easy as 1-2-3 -- I thought up a new set of habits and an exercise routine to put into motion between now and Christmas.
First on the agenda was eating better, i.e. less sugar. I knew that I needed to be realistic about this and there was no way this was going to be NO sugar. So instead I decided that I was going to allow myself to have a small square or two of dark chocolate when I needed a sweet and avoid all the other temptations out there.
This went awry almost immediately. First, I have several leftover cream cheese cookies from Thanksgiving in the house, and I LOVE them. Second, and even more tempting, when I got into work yesterday morning I found a plate of homemade lemon cookies on my desk as a belated birthday treat from one of my colleagues. These are VERY GOOD cookies. There was no way I wasn't going to eat at least one. And let's be honest, I ate several more than one.
Second on the agenda was getting some regular exercise into my routine. Unlike the healthy eating, this started out well. Rather than taking the car, I walked downtown on Small Business Saturday, which also meant that I walked home -- uphill -- with all of the shopping I bought on the day. Cardio AND weight lifting! And I took advantage of the lovely sunny weather on Sunday and got out for a long walk then too.
Next I was inspired by a friend on Facebook who signed up for the 30 Burpee Challenge (i.e. do 30 burpees every day for 30 days in a row). Well, I didn't know what a burpee was but I thought to myself, "Hey, I could do that!"
Spoiler alert: Hey, I cannot. Let's just say that after 8 burpees yesterday, I feel like I've been beaten up today. Though I'll give myself a pat on the back for at least doing 8 more burpees today, despite the pain.
Still, I guess it's a start. And at least I'm thinking about trying to be healthier. And who knows, I might even be able to do 9 whole burpees tomorrow!
Photo: Imagine yummy noises when looking at these hot chocolate cupcakes. Even though they would be bad for me, they would be oh so good. (Rosie & Richard's Bakery, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_%27Hot_Chocolate%27_Cupcake,_complete_with_marshmallows_and_chocolate_sprinkles.JPG)
Video: This is NOT what I looked like doing the burpee. Imagine an uncoordinated grasshopper with no upper body strength -- that's a more accurate description.