Health Plan, Revisited: 5K Goal

I have every intention of losing weight as I said in my New Years Resolutions post, but there is an attitude-behaviour gap that I decided I need to tackle. Despite wanting to look great in the style of clothes I like to wear – usually intended for those lucky Scandinavian tall skinny types – I just can’t seem to get my act together. When it comes to exercise, I have no discipline and upon ruthless self-analysis, I’m admittedly still guilty of eating those dreaded Dragon’s leftovers.

I read somewhere that a certain behaviour takes 6 weeks before it becomes a habit. SIX WEEKS. It’s daunting but in the grand scheme of things, it actually is very little time, isn’t it? If it were a New Year’s resolution, by Valentine’s Day, I’d have new habits. That’s quite encouraging, actually, albeit only in theory.

Having invested in a comprehensive weight scale, I’ve been tracking my body in ways I’d never considered before. I actually still don’t thoroughly understand the difference between my BMI and Fat… So it’s obviously something that I’m still getting to grips with. But it’s been insightful. And disappointing. Despite having adjusted my diet to include more whole foods – and I’m thoroughly enjoying it! – portion control is something that is SO difficult. If a food takes 20 mins to send the message to my brain that it’s full, that’s 20 minutes of overeating!

When I looked in the mirror before the weekend – in my birthday suit – I did not like what was looking back at me. Somehow, despite my diet adjustments, I seemed to have ballooned around the thighs, bottom and um!? And here’s the comparison from a previous weigh-in:

Item 20 Feb 2015 14 Apr 2015 27 Apr 2015
Weight 64.8 kg / 143 pounds 64.6 kg / 142.5 pounds 64.6 kg / 142.5 pounds
BMI 24.4 24.3 24.3
Fat % 36.5 37.2 35.7
Muscle % 26.9 26.3 27.4
Resting calories 1,345 kcal 1,341 kcal 1,344 kcal
Visceral Fat (Scale of 1-10, over 7 being worrying!) 5 5 5

My husband recently recommended a BBC programme he had seen  called ‘The Truth About… 3. Fat which I highly recommend. A doctor, overweight herself, conducts a number of experiments and speaks to various professionals to demystify the role of fat in our bodies. It’s a series and I’m looking forward to watching the one on calories. In any case, it turns out that short bursts of exercise – say 2 minutes of hard running followed by 1 minute of rest, repeated 7 times – is much more effective at burning fat. So effective that even hours later, the body is burning twice as much fat compared to a steady workout in the gym! 20 minutes!?! Is that really all I need to invest everyday to have my dream body? I’m inspired.

But not inspired enough to do anything. Not just yet anyway. Until I meet up with a friend who decided to enter a half marathon, despite never having run in her whole life! She asked me to join her but I declined! I mean, RUN?! HA!  Kudos to her, though, for being so ambitious! She’s teamed up with another mutual friend who is a regular runner, and she has an amazingly athletic physique. To be honest, I felt a bit sheepish that it never occurred to me that she actually runs, or even exercises, to have that amazing bod… Days later I came across a Facebook post by Nike to say they’ve got the Alex Monroe gifts ready for the runners crossing the finish line for the upcoming 10K run. I LOVE Alex Monroe!!! His delicate nature-inspired jewellery <3- Tell me more! I click through and start looking at the race details and with everything that’s happened recently, I’m thinking to myself “Running… it’s not actually such a daft idea. A half marathon is a bit too ambitious for me after months of no exercise whatsoever, but 10km might actually be achievable...”

THAT’s what inspired me! A combination of things – seeing what needs to be done, being more effective with it, and actually seeing the result of what could be if I work at it. And I don’t need to work hard. Well, I do, but for only 20-30 minutes at a time!

So here it goes. I’ve downloaded the Nike+ app (I already have the Nike Training Club app which I highly recommend. A free personal trainer on your phone! And you set the pace that suits you) to have a look at the training that was mentioned on the race website. And indeed, there are options of distances to train towards. I’ve opted for a 5K run to see how I would get on. It’s an 8-week programme with a combination of running, cross-training (swimming, cycling, yoga, etc.), and rest to build up your stamina to complete a 5K run. Eight weeks is also perfect for this to become a habit, right? (Provided that 6-weeks-to-become-a-habit thing is in fact true)

Thus far, I’ve completed two sessions in the evening after Dragon has gone to bed. The lighter evenings certainly help! It’s been really nice to get out of the house in the evening and shut off from the technology, chores, to-do lists, and everything else. Granted, I have my phone to track my distance, coach me, and play my music… but it’s time for me. I’m in my head, thinking about pushing myself, about the future, reflecting on my day. It’s a time out that I’m giving myself so it’s been a double-whammy of meditation and exercise. And I’ve been feeling energised in the evenings, without the exercise cutting into time of everything else that I’d like to do – be it blogging, catching up with family, watch a favourite TV programme, read.

On reflection, what’s also nice to know is that last time I fell pregnant with Dragon, I was also doing well with exercising (using the NTC app). So as we’re thinking about baby #2, it’s comforting to know that I’m looking after myself the best I can to make conceiving a healthy baby possible when the time is right.

What exercise routine has worked for you? Have you started running, are contemplating running, run in the opposite direction at the thought of running, or a seasoned runner? I’d love to hear your story – Please comment below 🙂

P.S.: I’ve also stopped eating Dragon’s leftovers so hopefully that’ll help with the portion control. Heavier lunches and light dinners is another adjustment we’ve made.