Getting high on my own supply
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I still get a kick out of calling my partner “my wife”. I know it’s old fashioned and probably patriarchal but... a little over two years ago we stood in front of each other and, in front of our immediate family, we both pinky swore that we were going to make this god damn work for as long as possible. Until one of us dies, in fact.
It will probably be me, to be honest.
My wife (giggle) has always been very careful about the fuel she puts into her body. In fact, when we met she was a long-distance runner, regularly pounding out five miles a day.
I was yoyo-ing at the time. Going back and forth across the “healthy/overweight” boundary after a bad break-up, my fortieth birthday and six months recovering from an accident. I wasn’t really dieting, I was just not eating much. But I was rowing. I was rowing a lot.
The indoor rower was the only piece of gym equipment I was ever attracted to. The treadmill frightened me and the cross trainer made me feel like a badly made robot. Stationary bikes take you nowhere and do nothing of interest. The indoor rowing machine and I, we bonded for a while. I could strap my feet in, plug-in my iPod and row away for half an hour at a time, easily.
I chose well because rowing is one of the best workouts you can get. It’s aerobic and muscle building. It targets the upper and lower body, and is relatively low impact. When you do it correctly, it even burns belly fat. I was daft to stop – but I made the mistake of thinking that I only needed to exercise to lose weight, not maintain health.
This time, I’m taking a more clinical and less cynical approach to it.
I know that I have to exercise as well as not eat too much. I have a layman’s understanding that if I put fewer calories in than I burn, I’ll lose weight – but that if I don’t exercise and eat enough protein, the weight will come from muscle rather than fat.
The same way I count calories, I now document exercise. During a working day, it’s easy. I can walk five miles without thinking about it. On days at home, working or not, I don’t even leave the house sometimes. So, discipline and documentation are key.
The rule is, if I’m not at work I have to do an hour’s exercise. So, I bought a rowing machine for home. I do half an hour of that and half an hour of something more gentle. I know it’s doing me some good because it makes me feel good. I had to Google the science bit (even though I knew it intuitively).
- Exercise lowers metabolism, so you can process calories more effectively
- Resistance exercise helps to build muscle and burn fat.
- It also lowers blood pressure and improves heart health (because the heart’s a muscle).
- That addictive, feel-good sensation is your brain on dopamine, endorphins and increased serotonin. Free, mind-altering substances made by your body.
So, how do I feel right now? After a stressful couple of weeks at work – not bad at all. As well as losing weight I am beginning to notice changes in my body and my general mood.
My wife (he he he) says I’ve been much less grumpy since I started counting calories. That’s, in part, because I’m controlling my hypoglycaemia more effectively, but it’s also because I’m making exercise a priority.
All I have to do now is keep it up for the rest of my life.