Parenting, profundities and humour

Health Kick — May 26, 2016

Health Kick


So you may remember a while back I mentioned the snugness of my black choir concert trousers and my desire to shed a few pounds. Well since then  I have been on a bit of a health drive.

To start with I base-lined myself using my Fitbit which you may recall was purchased by my husband for my birthday in January. Quite pleasingly I was usually able to hit the government recommended guidelines of ten thousand steps a day quite easily.

Although the more I thought about it the more depressing that fact became. The snugness of my concert trousers had occurred, therefore, despite my hitting this step goal, albeit unknown to me, and as such it was clear the number of steps in question was not sufficient to allow for the amount of Doritos in my diet.

Thus I was faced with two options. One, cut out the Doritos or, two, up my exercise game. Doritos are a non negotiable. I am not bothered what flavour. Plain, chilli heat wave, barbecue…..hmmm…barbecue…. So suffice to say only option two appealed. I use the word ‘appealed’ here advisedly.

A friend and I started a weekly exercise class. Once I got over the shock of turning up to our first session and being made to exercise outside I got into it. It is mainly strength based though and I felt a bit of sweat may be in order.

So I girded my loins and dusted off my Jillian Michaels DVDs. I had a fairly prolonged flirtation with Jillian about five years ago when I had finally packed Youngest off to school and decided I needed to get to grips with myself. A bit like now. But without the concert trouser snugness.

At that time Jillian was a presenter on one of my favourite shows; Biggest Loser USA. Well when I say presenter what I actually mean is torturer. I am sure you know the concept. A group of seriously large, in a way that really only Americans seem to be able to achieve, people go to a ‘camp’ to lose drastic amounts of weight. A lot of it is diet, no Doritos in sight, but another large part is the exercise regime put together by the competing team leaders. Of which Jillian was my favourite. The exercise regime is brutal. It consists of lots of shouting, bullying, sweating, collapsing and quite often vomiting.

Quite why, then, I thought buying her home DVDs was a good idea is slightly beyond me.

At the time there were many threads on Mumsnet about her 30 Day Shred DVD. See even the name is scary. The upsides. Each session is only 20 minutes long. That is the main selling point. It is apparently easy to fit in to your day. Of course in reality it isn’t really 20 minutes long. Once you have rearranged the lounge, extracted your trainers from the kids dressing up box, discovered the cans of beans you were going to use as weights have been eaten, warmed up, cooled down and showered. But still shorter than the average DVD.

Another upside. It seemed to work if the mums on Mumsnet were anything to go by.  Some had even posted headless ‘before and after’ selfies. They were probably following the specially designed diet plan as well though. I took a cursory glance at that part of the DVD. There was no mention of Doritos so I decided it wasn’t for me.

The downsides. You need to do it at least 5 days out of seven. Great the weekend off.

So it seemed perfect. I removed the complete works of Trumpton from the DVD player and inserted the disc.

Clearly I had expected pain. And possibly vomiting. But I knew things were going to be bad when there were jumping jacks in the warm up. To me a jumping jack is a cardio move and has no place in a warm up. The other thing a jumping jack is is a strain on my pelvic floor. I need a warning before attempting jumping jacks. To clench.

Warm up accomplished I staggered through the rest of Level 1. Jillian introduced me to muscles I never knew I had and not really in a good way.

By the end of the (27 minute) session I was a spent, red faced, gibbering wreck. With only one thing on my mind. That I would have to do it all over again the next day.

The next day dawned and I could not move. Seriously. My children learnt some new words as I attempted to get downstairs, sit, put on my socks, etc.

I returned to Mumsnet and sure enough the threads contained many, many references to being unable to walk for a week. How had I missed that? The cure? To keep going.

So I struggled slightly less enthusiastically through day 2. Trying not to ‘phone it in’ or ‘cheat myself’ and ‘remembering all the reasons you bought this DVD’. The reason I bought this DVD was because of some loons on a parenting forum. And because I was wearing my ‘bad news’ filtering goggles.

I grew to love and loath Jillian. I finished the Shred and progressed to other scary sounding DVDs such as Ripped in 30 (!), Killer Buns and Thighs and, my personal bete noir, Banish Fat Boost Metabolism. Which is basically an hour of being so out of breath you feel like your lungs are coming up through your throat. In fact at one point the lovely Jillian even says ‘I want you gargling your own heart by the time this work out is over’. She isn’t joking.

Anyway I stuck at it for quite a while. And then I stopped. I am not sure why. Probably the long summer holidays.  The children find me doing exercise hysterical. I find their hysteria contagious. And I find it hard to laugh, clench and do jumping jacks all at the same time. Stopping, however, is a very bad idea as when you start up again the aches come back. Big time.

The other reason I stopped was that I  got slightly disheartened by all the uber mums on Mumsnet upping the anti and doing more than one DVD session back to back or pressing 8kgs. I don’t even possess 8kg weights. I can’t even begin to contemplate pressing them. My shoulders would literally seize up. My weights are a set of 1, 2 and 3s and the 3s are permanently used as bookends. It put me off to be honest.

So anyway 5 years on and it is still as horrible. I still don’t need the 3kgs. Which is a good job, tidy bookshelf wise. I ached for the customary week. I am on Level 3 currently which seems to be designed to make me swear out loud at the television. Between gasping for air like a drowning fish. Each session nets me a disappointingly low amount of steps on my Fitbit which seem totally out of proportion to the level of effort required. A gentle stroll to Budgens to buy Doritos is ‘worth’ so much more…

And of course I haven’t lost any weight. I like to kid myself it is because muscle weighs more than fat. But really it is because I get so hungry after shouting at Jillian that I eat more Doritos. But my thighs are more toned and I feel better about myself. And I get to tick it off my to do list. Always a bonus.

Soon it will be half term and I will stop to avoid being the butt of pre teenage jokes, which are never funny. And then I will have to go through that week long pain again. The burning question is whether I will be bothered.

Stuff what I have learnt today — October 8, 2015

Stuff what I have learnt today


So here goes. Some random stuff I have discovered today.

  • It is possible to drive to my kids’ school and back in under 15 minutes when on a games kit/ cello induced mercy dash.
  • If you turn up 15 minutes late to an exercise class you just miss the boring warm up and only semi important station explanation. Although I may discover tomorrow how vital that warm up is.
  • Deleting about 18 months worth of text messages will turn your phone back into a relatively responsive tool.
  • The shops are no longer full of orange hued home accessories now I have decided that orange is to be the accent colour for our newly decorated lounge.
  • It is apparently Christmas already.
  • Allowing the kids off music practice in the morning so they can get more sleep after a school induced late night will see us all falling out.
  • It is quite pleasant to write blogs in Costa.
  • Belgian chocolate tea cakes make that even pleasanterer.
  • My phone’s predictive text will predict good when I want home and home when I want good. Which makes that sentence really hard to get right.
  • One should keep an eye on boiling potatoes rather than ignoring them to write.
  • It is best to wait for the ceramic hob to cool down before clearing up boiled over water. Unless you like the smell of burnt J cloth.
  • Allowing Eldest to have a phone not only heads off games kit/ cello induced emergencies but also allows him to text me cute messages which make me feel better about the tiredness induced morning arguments.
  • I enjoy employing deliberate grammatical errors in my writing. Not sure why. Probably so I can claim any actual errors are supposed to be there. And to annoy pedants.
  • My reverse parking sensors are wildly over cautious. And I actually need gate post sensors.
  • Asking Middlest to be quick out of school will make us late for football training.
  • People are still wearing leggings that are see through enough to be correctly categorised as tights.
  • It is impossible to watch the final of the Bake Off a day late and not discover who the winner is during that day. And I don’t mind that much.
  • As much as I love Billy Joel he doesn’t cut it driving music wise. And I still prefer soft rock.
  • If I would like Youngest to practise her times tables I must threaten the removal of football training.
  • I can’t do bullets on my phone and will have to add them at home later before the scheduled publishing time. Home more to do at good I mean good more to do at home.
  • We can still name all the characters on In the Night Garden. And Makka Pakka is still our favourite. Isn’t that a pip?
  • I still don’t know when to use practice and when to use practise. So I looked it up. C for noun, s for verb. So I need to practise and get some practice in.
  • I care about accent colours.
  • That last discovery worries me most.

So there you have it. Just a normal day. One is always learning.
If you are my husband then obviously the Costa is not part of my normal day. Honest gov.

No Pain No Gain — September 20, 2015

No Pain No Gain


On Thursday I went to an exercise class.

My good friend had hunted high and low for a class we could attend together. It isn’t easy. All evenings are basically a no go. We can’t go too near school pick up or on Saturdays.

We don’t really want to commit to a gym and then never make it to any classes. The gym itself holds no appeal. We are not tread-millers or weight lifters.

After searching diligently she finally found a class on a Thursday morning called Sculpt Mix.

To my mind that sounded promising. The word Sculpt held great connotations. Mix sounded as if it wouldn’t get dull.

So last week we turned up on a bright autumnal morning. Once I had got over the shock of being told we were going to do the class outside- in full view of the wet suited men using the water skiing lake, and amongst the duck and rabbit poo- the actual class was OK. It was quite fun. Once I stopped trying to compete with the pregnant lady who was out squatting me despite her large bump. In fact I made quite a play of my lack of any form of exercise over the last six months.

The instructor, very annoyingly svelte despite having two kids much younger than mine, did warn us that we would ache. And she wasn’t wrong. My quads were on fire until at least Sunday evening.

Of course this week rolled around and, in the manner of childbirth and house moving, I had conveniently forgotten the pain.

This week I began aching during circuit 4.

I didn’t think it was going to be as bad as last week so I decided to spend quite a bit of Friday gardening. And it wasn’t ‘pottering around with a small fork and deadheading’ type gardening it was ‘digging away at the largest, deepest rooted weeds ever seen’ gardening. The sort that spending exactly zero time since May out there engenders.

And today I literally cannot move. Changing level is agony. I am thinking twice, possible three times, before bending over. This makes laundry quite hard. And going for a wee. And don’t get me started on stair climbing. I had to crawl up here earlier.

Nurofen is not helping at all.

Somewhere inside me a few muscles are more sculpted than before. They are not visible yet. I am probably at least 5 pounds and a year of classes away from that.

I have signed up for two more sessions. And then half term hits and I will have two weeks off.

Goodness knows how it will go when I return. At least the pregnant lady will have had to leave. To actually give birth. She will probably be back a couple of weeks later.

I don’t think exercise is good for me. Not really.

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