2 Spuds in a Pod

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Tag: exercise (page 1 of 2)

This time of year (and exercise)

I thought I would do a quick blog on this time of year and exercise. There are a few things that may influence our exercise during the next few months. Yes, stress will be a major factor but I am talking more about coughs, colds, flu, SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and so on.

Can we exercise when we are sick?

The short answer to the question is, listen to your body. It is as simple as that. When we are sick with a cold or flu our bodies are using up vital energy. Energy trying to fight the bugs that caused us to be sick in the first place. If we then decide to go and run a 5k the energy switches from making us better to attempting the 5k. In short, it could make us much worse which will take even longer to recover from.

Our CV system

Our cardiovascular (CV) system is made up of our heart, lungs, arteries, veins and so on. If our lungs are already inflamed fighting off a chesty cough and we decide to run a 5k then this could make us worse.

An overnight bike ride

Let me put this into an experience. With a cold I was about to complete an overnight 100km (62 mile) bike ride. I should have been at home in bed recovering but I was at the start line at 2330. Riding through the night breathing in the continuous cold air was not a good idea. My body ached, I struggled uphill as I couldn’t breathe properly and I eventually made it to the finish line. Lets just say it was more of a collapse over the finish line. I was exhausted. Later that day my chest hurt, my cough sounded like a barking dog and I had a temperature. My mother was less than sympathetic (“it’s your own fault” she said) and I ended up with a chest infection. Several years later if I get a cold it always goes straight to my chest (a reminder for being such an idiot). The long and short of it was, I should have been in bed.

Temperature

Again if you have flu or a high temperature then attempting a high intensity class will only make you warmer. If the body gets too hot then it will shut down and you will faint. Not a great thing to do in the middle of a crowded gym.

But can I exercise?

If you are like me and you are determined to get into the gym then here is my top 5 things to do if you feel you really do need to work out.

  • Stay in bed
  • Drink a hot drink (water, lemon, ginger and honey can do wonders)
  • Watch TV
  • Eat chocolate
  • Call lots of people to give you sympathy

There you go.

No, in all seriousness if you are determined then here is the “real” list.

  • Slow to medium walking on a treadmill (no incline)
  • Cycle (not a spin class)
  • Lift little weights (no 100kg’s)
  • No high intensity/circuits/or anything that will get you out of breath
  • Some light stretching

Your body needs the time to recover and it is time you will need to give it.

When you feel better

When you feel better you will need to again listen to your body. Depending on how much time you have had off you will need to let your body get back into the swing of things. Don’t assume after 2 weeks off you can do straight into lifting 100kg’s or sprint for 2 minutes. Give your body time to get back to where it was.

SAD (seasonal affective disorder)

Now, there is one condition you may get around this time of year and it is SAD. SAD is a type of depression that presents itself during the winter months. The 3 best ways to help SAD is getting as much natural light as possible (sunshine) , exercising regularly and keeping stress away. For more information on SAD please visit the NHS website.

Listen

As I keep saying, during the next few months listen to your body. Let the main symptoms disappear and then get back into your exercise routine. Don’t beat yourself up about not being able to make a circuits class. It is much better that you recover first rather than collapsing mid-class. Even I have been known to say “I think I need to sit on the couch tonight”.

-Helen

Exercise as a daily activity

For our Facebook poll this month we asked you if you wished to see a blog on:

The importance of exercise as a recovery tool and stress outlet
Or
How to bring exercise into your daily life (no gym required!)

The second option was a favourite so we will be discussing that in this blog.

It’s easy!

It is just that. Bringing exercise into your daily life with no gym is not as hard as you may think. There are several simple options to help you. I am sure some of you will be doing them already. Half the battle is preparing in advance so you can achieve your goal.

Walking

A simple yet timeless classic (and it is free!). Now going for a walk around the block when you get in from work in the evening is one way to do it. However, there are others. For example, getting off a bus stop earlier than normal and walking home from there. Parking your car at the other end of the car park at the supermarket and walk in from there. Going for a walk at your lunch break. This last one you get a break from your desk and become more productive in the afternoon. Of course with the British weather I suggest bringing an umbrella.

Take the stairs

Another good option. Walk up the escalator or stairs rather than using the lift. How many levels can you get to? You can also challenge your friends and family on this one. If you have a set of stairs in the house then you can play stair relay races.

Get up from the couch!

Just that. I know it is that time of year where we want to grab a blanket, sit down on the couch and watch that baking show. However, that baking show can help us. It has adverts. Get up during each advert, walk around or generally stand up/sit down until the advert is finished.

Standing up at work

Standing up at your desk to answer a phone call or walking away from your desk every hour to get your photocopying, making a cup of tea, going to the bathroom and so on. I know standing desks are coming more and more into office spaces but we still have a long way to go.
On a side note, if your manager is complaining that you are standing up too much then just send them to 2 Spuds and I will explain why.

Vacuuming

A personal favourite of mine. I should point out that we live in a house with stairs and that living in a bungalow may make this tricky. There is nothing better that lifting the vacuum up and down the stairs, moving the furniture around to get into the nooks and crannies, then trying to empty the thing into the rubbish. I generally break a sweat when I am doing this and need a good sit down at the end. The same goes for cleaning the house from top to toe.

Making dinner

Grab some tins of baked beans or 2 bottles of water and hey presto you have dumbbells. While making dinner you can do some bicep curls, triceps or shoulders. Plus the standing up burns calories as well.

Gardening

More of a summer activity when it is nice and warm but well worth a mention. I know Rosie come April next year will be back out in our garden and looking at what to plant. She will then spend the summer maintaining it, watching it grow then harvesting it for the kitchen. Last year we ended up with many trips to the garden centre as well as B&Q as Rosie created her master pieces.

Dance, dance, dance

Now this happens on a regular basis in the 2 Spuds household. The music gets turned up and we dance like no one is watching. It blows away the cobwebs and puts a smile on our face.

Bodyweight exercises

Aptly named as your body is the weight in these rather than a dumbbell or barbell from the gym. The list is endless when it comes to this. It can range from squats to press ups to ab crunches. All you need is a bit of space and a comfortable rug to lie on. If you need some ideas then that multi-coloured search engine will be able to help you.

The benefits

Of course there are many benefits to the above. The obvious ones are weight loss, toning up, muscle building and general fitness. Some of the less well known ones are reduce your risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, less coughs and colds, less risk of diabetes 2. Exercise can also help your mental health, mood and sleep. It can also help reduce your risks of falls and more importantly it can increase your chances of living a healthy and long life.

Exercise as a daily activity

There you have it – exercise as a daily activity with no gym required. See what you can do.

-Helen

Find your routine

Following an operation on my hand, I’m currently on sick leave. With the kind of work I do I need two hands to be fully functioning as it is very physical. Now that I am off work, all my routines have gone out the window, and I need to get them back.

Work

Work is so much more than just a source of income. Having been in a bad place, getting my new job last year was a life saver. Both my mind and body are very grateful as they are kept busy. I often don’t have time to think too much (yes I do overthink a lot) and I find it easier to make a quick decision and get on with it.
I was able to settle into a good enough routine, although there were still room for some improvement. But on the whole I felt ok with it all.

Benefits of working

Apart from the obvious, working gives me so much more. It gives me a chance to meet a lot of new and different people every day, each visit means a new challenge (this is due to the work itself, and not the people!). I get to have interesting conversations with people from all walks of lives, and leaving a job with a satisfied customer gives me a great buzz.
My work also takes me around some parts of Scotland, which means I get to visit new places. I love the scenery and get great satisfaction from looking at a loch or a hill or some animals in a field as I drive past or stop for a quick lunch.

What I miss from not working – 3 main things

  1. social interaction with a lot of different people.
    This surprises me, but I realise I miss this aspect of work a lot.
  2. the physical side of things as it often gives me little workouts.
    Apart from missing out on the nice feeling of having a tired body through work, I have unfortunately put on a little weight too. I’m not worried about this, it is just somewhat annoying.
  3. having a routine!
    I can now do what I want and when I want. As nice as it is, I feel a little lost.

Having a good routine works wonders for your mental health

I like to take things as they come, but I’ve also realised that there are certain things I need to have in my life on a regular basis. All my routines, with all the good stuff that really helped me, went out the window the last few years which was a great contributor to me ending up where I did. We were able to rectify a lot of this and I got in to a pretty good routine. For me, this means there is a structure to my days and they are filled with good stuff outside of the things I must do.
Being off work with all the time in the world (and not able to do as much due to the surgery on my right hand) has thrown me a bit. I feel more anxious, perhaps because I have more time to dwell on things, or simply due to lack of interactions. Neither my body or my mind is as tired as it is normally.

Do what is right for you

My advice would be to do as much as you can of what keeps you happy on a daily basis. It is so important to still exercise, eat good and healthy food, go outside for fresh air and sun. Also keep in touch with friends and family. Do not just sit in front of the tv all day. Get out there! Move that body, and keep the mind occupied.

-Rosita

Tomorrow is World Mental Health Day!

As I am sure most of you know, tomorrow is the day allocated to Mental Health. This year’s focus is on suicide prevention, which we are lucky not to have much personal experience with. I do realise we are all not so lucky, and I think it is great that it is being highlighted. Here is a link to the World Health Organization site with more information and suggestions on what you can do to take part. It is shocking to hear that every 40 seconds, someone loses their life to suicide. 

There are a lot of ways to help someone, or yourself, who is not feeling mentally well. We want to share our own experience using our chosen outlets: cycling, Zumba and boxing for Helen, and yoga and nature for Rosita.

Helen

As many of you know I like my fitness and exercise. It keeps me happy and keeps me fit. However, it is also an outlet for me when life gets stressful. I do many kinds of exercise as well. My top three would have to be (in no particular order) cycling or indoor cycling, Zumba and boxing. These are the main ones that keep me happy.

Cycling (or indoor cycling)

First, it is how Rosie and I met. We would cycle around the parks in London, eat ice cream and chat. I like how cycling can take me places. It can take me from A to B as a work commute, it can take me to a place I have never been before or it can take me on a night-time cycle ride for charity. There is nothing better than huffing and puffing to get up a vertical hill and then speeding down the other side while you catch your breath.

While I was at PT school, I had the chance to do the indoor cycling qualification. I thought with a love of cycling it would be a good thing to do. I love my spinning whether it is my own class, or I am taking part in someone else’s. The variety it has from sprints to hills to jumps to whatever the instructor can squeeze in before cooling down and your legs are about to give up.

Zumba

Whoever has read my Zumba blogs will know that with my two left feet, lack of coordination and terrible balance I still give Zumba a good try. The music, the way the body moves and all the steps it must create the dance is enough to put a massive smile on my face. Even better is when I am facing away from the mirrors in the gym and I can pretend I know exactly what I am doing. That is the thing. You don’t need to be good at it, you just need to try.

Boxing

This is an interesting one as I do boxing both as a personal trainer taking a class/client and as part of my own workout. I find it is a great stress buster for both clients and myself. I mean where else can you hit something and not get told off for it. Imagine you have had a crazy day at work. Your manager is demanding the report in for five o’clock that evening and you lets you know at a quarter to five. Your partner has just called to say they will be late home from work which means that dinner reservation you had now needs to be cancelled. The childminder has just texted to say your little one is sick and needs to go home urgently and reception have just emailed to say that your business client is waiting for you downstairs. Stressful? I would think so. Now take all of that stress down to the gym and put on a pair of boxing gloves. Hit the boxing bag, hit it again, and again and again. Now how do you feel? All the stress has been left in the bag and you start to feel better. It’s as easy as that. Once you have let go of the stress then you can start working on technique, the moves, the cardio side of the exercise, the core (abs) side of boxing and so on. It takes time but it is fun at the same time.

An outlet

Here is my point. Mental health can make us feel unwell, not wanting to do anything, angry, upset and so on. But when you have an exercise outlet (in my opinion) you can switch it around to feeling awesome!

-Helen

Rosita

There are a lot of things I can do to try and stave off my depression and anxiety, however there are 2 main things: yoga and nature. 

Yoga

Going to a yoga class is something I wish I could do every day. I do yoga at home but it is not always the same, and some days you really need someone to tell you what to do! What I like about yoga is the physical workout, and also the breathing. Physically I feel amazing afterwards, it feels as if the body has been reset and I can do anything. The breathing helps me relax, and it is something I use at other times too, particularly when I get anxious or stressed. Taking a few seconds out to breathe and relax the mind is so beneficial. It might sound corny to you, but I urge you to give it a try. When I say breathe I mean inhaling through the nose for 4 seconds whilst allowing your belly to rise, then exhaling through your mouth for 4 seconds. Next time you are stressed or anxious, why not give it a go? 

Nature

Nature has an amazing way of helping me feel relaxed. Most of the time it does not matter what I do when I am outside. It can be a mixture of things, physical outdoor activity or simply sitting in the sun. Going outside when I’m feeling a bit down or anxious really does help me feel better. 

Another contributing factor is the me-time that comes with both yoga and being outside. It helps me to look after myself, which is also so very important. Having spent a lot of time looking after others, I am now getting better at looking after myself.

-Rosita

#MovementForHealth #yoga #WorldMentalHealthDay #meTime #Zumba #boxing

The road to recovery

Facebook poll

A couple of weeks ago we asked on Facebook what blog you would like to see. The options were mental health conditions, signs and symptoms or how can I help myself on the road to recovery. It was a close call between the two options but with 57% it is the road to recovery. Rosita will take you through her recovery and Helen will take you through hers in Wednesday’s blog.

A road walked

This is a road I walk every day, some days more than others. It has become a way of life, making sustainable and healthy changes. I have come a long way from completely losing the plot having drunk Helen’s glass of juice. You know you’re in a bit of a mess when something so trivial tips you over the edge. It certainly put things into perspective for us. The next day we went to the doctor who signed me off for 2 weeks. 5 months later I resigned from work, having not been back to work. I spent the first few weeks/months crying and not doing a lot. Pretty much everything stressed me out. Most of this time is a bit of a blur. We made a few changes which helped enormously and that is why I am in such a good place today. 

Not going to work

It soon became obvious that my job was the main reason for me no longer functioning. I probably knew that before but could not see a way out of the situation. I loved the job itself, and the good days were fab. But working in the public sector, for a service with over 50,000 officers and staff, became difficult. There were a lot of changes made by people having to justify their existence at work, none for the best in my opinion. There never is a need to reinvent the wheel. I love helping people, and I’m damn good at it too. It got to a point where I could no longer do that. This is all very clear to me now, but it has taken a while to realise that, with a lot of conversations with the professionals and Helen. In the end, the job I loved broke me. Simple as that. 

Leaving London

We had been talking about leaving London and took action. This resulted in us finding a lovely flat in Scotland which also has a little garden. Having outdoor space means the world to me. I can make coffee and sit outside in the sun. You might think this is nothing, but to me it is what keeps me sane. It involves coffee, me-time, fresh air and hopefully sun too. All of this is pretty essential. 

Medication

Being prescribed medication was a massive thing. I only started with the pills after a couple of months, when I realised that I was not getting any better. They have made a huge difference, and I was able to get more from the counselling as well as my brain started to calm down. Constantly crying is hard and tiring.

Counselling 

Counselling gave me a lot of advice and tips, which was essential to my recovery. I have high standards for myself, our home, nutrition and exercise, to name a few. It became apparent that I could not keep this up. So the counsellor suggested to ask myself this: “if I don’t do this particular thing now, is anyone gonna die?”. The answer is simple. This helped me to lower my standards, giving me more time for me. This was when I was really struggling to do anything.

Me-time

I started taking time for me. This involves me doing things I love. To name a few:

  • Listen to music
  • Read a book
  • Taking photos
  • Going for walks
  • Sit and drink coffee
  • Being outside in the sun

These are just a few things that give me a buzz. All of which, apart from drinking coffee, I had stopped doing because I was stressing too much to get chores done. I can now take half a day or a few hours or even a whole day and do nothing. Nothing to me involves me-time. We now have a saying in our house that it’s time for me-time, and this overrides all chores. You should try it. You need to look after yourself. 

Helen

I know not everyone has partner in these circumstances, and I do not know what would have happened had I not had Helen by my side. She’s been, and still is, my rock. Words can’t emphasise enough how I feel. So I will just say this: thank you buddy.

-Rosita

Fitness

It’s National Fitness Day

It is National Fitness Day today. This is the day when gyms are giving you discounts on membership, new classes are appearing on the programme for you to try and there are competitions at various establishments to win prizes. I am aware of this as I did an additional two high intensity classes this morning at the gym where I work. This was on top of all my other classes. I was definitely tired and hungry after all of that and I have a feeling I am going to have tired legs tomorrow.

To find out more about National Fitness Day please visit their own website which loads of information on it.

Some fitness myths

I thought this may be a good place to bust some myths. Some myths that may be putting you off exercise.

Myth 1
Crunches are the best move for good abs
Answer
I mean in some ways this is true. However, let me put it this way. Crunches are good for the upper abs, hip bridges are good for the lower abs and glutes, side plank is good for your obliques and leg extensions are good for full abs. All of these exercises help make good abs.
My opinion
Variety is key to ab work.


Myth 2
No pain, no gain
Answer
A slight discomfort is fine to carry on exercising with. The discomfort is telling you your body has worked hard in a previous session. Doing gentle exercising while having tired muscles is actually good for getting them to start recovering.
My opinion
Workout but go easy is what I would say. If I have to take a day off everytime I got a niggle or a tired muscle I would probably spend more time out of the gym than in it.


Myth 3
You shouldn’t work out everyday
Answer
Your body needs rest as well as a workout. Even the top athletes in the UK will have rest times. Yes workout but rest too.
My opinion
This is something I tend to forget to do. I have learnt the hard way on many occasions when my body is tired and sore and then I push it too far. I also see the benefit of working hard but resting as well. As a trainer I tend to have a sports massage at least every four to six weeks. It is a way to thank the body for its work.


Myth 4
Lifting heavy weights make women bulky
Answer
The short answer to this is no. According to the active fitness website it says females have 1/20th to 1/30th of the testosterone levels that men have. Females do not have the testosterone to support serious muscles mass growth.
My opinion
I do a fair amount of weights in the gym and I can confirm that I do not look like that sailor who eats spinach all the time.

Find what you love

As it says on the tin. Find a fitness craze that is right for you. I am not a runner therefore I don’t do it often (unless running for the bus). My sister and her wife however, are ultra-marathon runners! That is what they love. I like boxing, spinning, Zumba and circuit type exercises as I find them more fast paced and suited for my fitness style. Rosie likes Yoga, Pilates and the slower based gym classes. A good friend of ours likes hill-walking, my Mum likes Scottish Country Dancing and several colleagues of mine like lifting weights. All of this is fitness based. The best way to find out what you love is to try a few different things and find one that suits you. That one that makes you smile.

Fitness benefits

Fitness is great for various reasons. We have discussed in previous blogs about how it is good for mental and physical health but lets get into the nitty gritty of this.

Fitness is amazing for many other reasons:

  • Helps get your sleep back on track so you get the recommended eight hours
  • Increases your energy levels and brain function
  • Can help improve your posture and alignment (how the body moves)
  • Is great for a healthy bones, muscles, heart and lungs to name a few
  • Also good for weight loss
  • It can help reduce pain

As I have said there are many, many benefits for exercise.

My point

Be happy, be healthy, find a fitness craze you love and enjoy fitness.

-Helen

Weight loss

Let me sum up a weight loss journey for you in two words:

It’s hard!!!

There you go. It is as simple as that. A weight loss journey is hard. Your meals, your exercise, your life, your body, your family and so on all change. Now, I wish I could sit here and say that there was a magic way of doing it but seeing as I not a multi-millionaire there isn’t. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and changes to do a weight loss journey.

How badly do you want it?

This is a very true statement. I have been asking myself since day one of the journey and I will quite often ask my clients who are on a weight loss journey:

How badly do you want it?

How badly do you want to achieve your goal? Are you prepared for it to be a long hard slog? Are you willing to make changes? If the answers to these questions are yes, yes and yes then you are ready to get started. If you waiver or say no to any of them then you need to think really hard about those answers.

Sustainable vs quick fix

As we said at the start of the journey we made more of a lifestyle change that a little, non-sustainable change. We changed the following: diet, meal times, meal prep, food groups, portion sizes and exercise programme. With IVF you could be in the service within a few months or within a couple of years depending on your provider. We wanted to do a lifestyle change so we changed everything, therefore, making it sustainable. Of course we could have done a crash diet and restricted our diet and done tonnes of exercise. But this is not sustainable. It can be done for a holiday in a month or so and it can be done as a quick fix. However, as soon as you go back to your “normal” diet, portion size and exercise the weight may pile back on within a few weeks. A lifestyle change means you will still be on the same diet, doing roughly the same exercise (depending on intensity) several years down the line.

What have we changed – diet

Where we used to have sugary cereal it is now Weetabix, porridge, yogurt with fruit and sprinkle of nuts. Lunch which was normally a sandwich, crisps and a yogurt is now a fried egg wrap with fruit or something else egg related or a salad with ham or tuna. Dinner where our portions were too big is now a much smaller affair and we will now rarely have treats afterwards. For dinner we have wholemeal pasta, chicken and rice, a massive salad, baked potato with beans, tacos, naked hamburgers and so on. If we need a sweet treat it is either an apple, banana, strawberries or yogurt (depending if we have had it in the day or not). I used to drink masses of milk as well but now it is a much smaller glass. We have treat days on Saturday nights where we have a small chocolate bar or share a dessert from the supermarket. Saying that we now make almost everything we eat from scratch. We are now masters of the kitchen. We make spaghetti bolognaise, tomato soup from the tomatoes in the greenhouse, stir fry where we make our own sauce, Sunday roasts which lasts us Sunday and Monday. We are forever on food websites, watching the food channel on TV and reading magazines about food to get ideas. We try most things. Some work out and are tasty whereas some do not and we don’t make them again. As Rosie says I have come a long way from supermarket bought salad and supermarket bought ready made chicken. I will often kick Rosie out of the kitchen as I create my newest delight.

What we have changed – portion sizes and alcohol

We have also made a massive change to our portions and we eat much smaller ones these days. With alcohol I was never a big drinker but over the last few weeks I have barely touched it. I think I have had 1 beer in that time. I tend to drink more water now and if I feel I need a change from water then I will splash out and have some fizzy water instead. Again on Saturday treat nights I may have a fizzy zero drink but before where Rosie and I would go through litres in the week it is now a 330ml can every few weeks.

What have we changed – meal timings

The biggest change for me has been when I eat my meals. Before the weight loss journey, I would eat 2-3 meals a day whereas now I eat 4. This means that my metabolism is continuing to work. On the old way of eating it was not effectively which means as much as I was exercising my weight was not really moving anywhere. You need to have a working metabolism to do a weight loss journey.

What have we changed – exercise

If anyone read my previous blogs on exercise then you will know I already get a lot exercise with the work that I do. However, that did not stop me carrying it on. I aim to get 1000 minutes of exercise a week but do not get too fussed if I don’t meet it. If it is 800 minutes I make a note to try harder the following week and if it is 900 I say well done to me and see what I want to try the following week.

The biggest change – exercise

The biggest change I think for me has been hiring a personal trainer who is working with me at the local gym on high intensity training. I find if someone pushes you on high intensity training you get a lot more out of it. On top of the personal trainer I will always try to find a Zumba class (or 2, or 3, or 4) in the week as well as other high intensity classes. It is said that if you have a good level of fitness that high intensity can push you on to the next level. We also try to walk as much as we can.

Please speak to a gym instructor or even you GP before getting involved with high intensity training.

Rosie’s workouts

Rosie is a bit limited at the minute with exercise due to her hand but still she manages (under supervision) to go to the gym and cycle, walk on the treadmill and do some leg weights. It helps her mental health considerably which at the end of the day makes her happy.

Conclusion

As you can see Rosie and I have changed a lot. However, at the end of the day we want our goal. We want to progress with the next round of tests with IVF and eventually have a child to call our own. We will continue and it will be hard but we are off to a great start and we will see what the next few months to years bring.

-Helen

Previous blogs on exercise and BMI

Zumba
BMI and my challenge
Exercise
An even bigger challenge
First challenge is complete

Manager’s tone and words

A bit of a different blog today about the tone and wording that could be used by a manager within a workplace. Rosie finds these situations a little bit raw to write about, so I have written it with input from Rosie.

How a manager uses words

This has come up this week in our house as Rosie has come across it at her workplace. Now there is a big difference between a good and bad manager. A good manager will look after their staff, help them to achieve the targets and ultimately lead the team to the best ability. A bad manager will not, it is as simple as that. In this instance they used a bullying tactics with Rosie. Now under no circumstance should that be allowed. However, with current society it does unfortunately happen more and more. What we will try and do over our blogs is paint the picture, tell you the difference and more importantly how to fix and keep yourself safe. 

The situation

Last week Rosie went to work as normal. She had four jobs to do that day and achieved them all. She then went to help two of her colleagues. At the end of the day she phoned the covering manager to sign off her day. The manager in question asked about her day then asked why she had taken so long on one particular job. Rosie explained it was not an easy job and she had to try several ways to get it sorted. Her manager asked if she had been skiving. Now if you knew Rosie you would know that she is a very hard worker and under no circumstance skives, she gets the job done. Rosie told this to the manager who responded with words of “I’ll just have to take your word for it then”. Rosie was shocked and the phone call ended. Now in my opinion that was a bad choice of words to come from a manager.  

What happened next

Rosie came home and I immediately knew from the hello at the front door all was not well, which is a great shame as an hour before Rosie was beyond happy that she had completed all the day’s tasks. A few moments after the hello saw the tears and mini meltdown. Rosie unfortunately with her mental health condition does not have the resilience at present to deal with that sort of comment, nor does she have the quick thinking to answer it. In my opinion even someone without a mental health condition would find that comment shocking.  

The gym

I took Rosie to the gym that evening, and we did tyre flips. I said to Rosie to put her feelings into that tyre and post flip throw that tyre down. Needless to say, she felt better after this outlet. Sometimes you just need exercise as an outlet to let your frustrations out. Go for a walk, go to your local gym and take a class or my personal favourite boxing. Trust me when I say it will help using exercise as a frustration buster.

A week later

Fast forward to this week. Rosie was on a job which took longer than expected and had to call the same manager to let them know. The response she had was “it’s too late in the day, do it yourself”. To me that was passing the buck and said manager didn’t want to get involved.  I was always taught as a manager to look after my team and to make sure all employees had hung up their tools before I had mine.  

My point

And this is the point I want to make. A bad manager can make your job an absolute misery but there are ways to keep yourself healthy and safe. First, know the difference between a good manager and a bullying one and if in any doubt ask someone about it. Rosie and I talked about his behaviour, and I was surprised to realise that Rosie did not even recognise his behaviour as bullying.

Second point

Secondly, exercise, find an outlet. Sometimes you need to punch something like a boxing bag or a pillow.  If you do not have an outlet try and find a healthy one or speak to us.  We recommend washing the car, going for a walk, call a friend, clean the house or something similar.  Do not bottle it up, dwell on it and let it fester.  Take is from us that it will only make it worse.  Use your outlet and remember you can always email 2 Spuds.  

– From Helen’s point of view with input from Rosie

First challenge is complete

Well the 1000 minute a week exercise challenge is now complete for July. For proof please see the above photo. It was an interesting challenge to say the least. It was hard but rewarding at the same time. Hard because it involved a lot of time from my schedule. Sunday mornings were where I would usually lie in, watch films, enjoy a leisurely breakfast and generally relax. But the last few Sundays I have been in the gym doing high intensity classes, gym training and walking home afterwards. It was rewarding though as I feel I am stronger; my cardio has improved greatly, and I have learnt some new exercises. I can certainly confirm that my muscles are now crying for attention and luckily, we have a sports massage booked for this coming Monday.

Will I continue the 1000 minutes?

That is a very good question. Although it did take up a lot of time, I will continue with the 1000 minutes a week target. However, what I will not do is be too hard on myself. If I want a Sunday morning off, then I will take it. Simple as that. After last week blog I still have 15 kg to lose so the more exercise the better really.

The secret to diet and exercise

Here is the secret to diet and exercise. It isn’t a quick fix. You can crash diet of course and the weight will come off very quickly. However, as soon as you start eating a normal diet the weight will creep on again. You also have the yo-yo affect where you crash diet, eat normally, crash diet, eat normally and keep repeating until you break the cycle. Again, with exercise, you can exercise for two months solidly and gain results. But if you then for the next two months sit on the couch watching television you will lose the benefits you have gained in the first place. It really is that simple. Which leads me to the next secret in diet and exercise.

A lifestyle change

It is a lifestyle change. Diet and exercise techniques are put in place so that 10, 20, 30 years down the line you are still strong, healthy with a good exercise regime and well-balanced diet. Now don’t panic. Although it is a lifestyle change it does include treat days. We have Saturday evening as ours. This means we can have an ice cream bar, dessert, one of those fancy corner yogurt things or equivalent. All it means is we have a specific day rather than eating ice cream every day of the week. As the saying goes, everything in moderation and you will be fine. It also means that you value whatever your treat is (and pick wisely at the supermarket).

Our progress

We are to have a first weigh in, in a couple of days’ time. We have chosen to weigh ourselves in at the end of every month only. Weighing ourselves in at the end of every week may take away from what we are trying to achieve. For example, one week you are down 3 pounds, the next you are up 2 pounds and the next you are down 4 pounds. It gets too complicated in my opinion. Weighing in once a month gives you a truer picture I find. We are over the first week where our bodies were craving bad foods, we were grumpy from lack of food and generally not pleasant to be around.

And here is the good news

However, (and here is the good news) we have settled down, we have move energy, we look forward to our fruit snacks and we generally are starting to feel better. Our house is full of fruit, veg and health snacks, we spent more time preparing food and we are getting a lot of exercise. Take it one step at a time and see what you can achieve. Please see our earlier blog on lifestyle exercise.

Another secret

If you want your goal badly enough you will put in the hard work. That’s it.

-Helen

An even bigger challenge

Back to that BMI thing

I am going to go back to this BMI thing one more time. I am sure you are all getting bored of me going on about it, but I have been for good reason. The BMI is part of the criteria for fertility and IVF treatment. Last week we went for our first appointment. Surprise, surprise we met all the other criteria except for the BMI one. And it is as plain and simple as this. If you do not meet the crazy BMI number, the NHS can’t help you. End of story. I find it a bit harsh that it all comes down to just this number and that your activity levels and exercise regime is not taken into consideration but there you have it. It frustrates me no end but that is the bottom line and to get into the service we need to meet the criteria.

My (mini) challenge so far

In my last blog I mentioned that I was having a lot of things to do last week and I may not be able to get all my minutes in. I am pleased to say that I managed to get just over the thousand minutes in the last couple of days which makes it 3 weeks with over a thousand minutes per week. I have found taking a book into the gym then setting either the bike, arc trainer or treadmill to random hills and reading is a great way to pass the time. I even tried two high intensity classes this week. One was Grit Cardio and the other Body Attack. Now Grit Cardio is a hard class. I knew all the exercises of the class but seemed to lose track between brain and legs. I am glad I was standing at the back of the class where I could look like an idiot. However, what I have done is book myself in with one of the Grit instructors so they can go over with me how the class is choreographed. I am hoping after this I may get on a little better in the class.  

Anyway, I have just over 1 week to go before this month’s challenge ends. However, I have an even bigger challenge awaiting me.

An even bigger challenge begins

As I have said we are beginning to go through the tests for fertility treatment and at present my BMI is too high to be accepted into the service. After the appointment I came home and did all the calculations to make us eligible. To put it simply I must lose 18 kilograms. I have currently lost between 2 and 3 and have another 15 to go. It is a lot. It is an awful lot.

What we changed: exercise

With regards to exercise I think 1000 minutes a week is pretty good going so I will not be changing much here. I will keep going and add in a couple of high intensity classes. The beauty of a high intensity class is that I will burn calories long after the class has finished. Which in turn helps a lot with weight loss. I will keep as active as I can be and make sure I have a physio on standby for those worn out muscles.

What we changed: food

Now this is where the biggest change is going to come in. Diet wise mine isn’t too bad. I don’t drink a lot of alcohol. I don’t eat a lot of chocolate, crisps, biscuits and the like. I don’t eat a lot of take-out and microwave dinners either. Looking at my diet it has more to do with portion sizes than anything else, I think.

The 1940’s to 2019 plate size

Now you may think this is a bit weird but stick with me as I explain. From the 1940s to today portions have become (in my opinion) out of control. According to Google the plate size in 1940 was about 9-inches, and today, it is 12-inches. That is a 3-inch difference or about the size of your credit card. Which seems crazy! So the long and the short of that is that my portion sizes are going to come down dramatically.

Fruit

As well as my 3 meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) I am trying to eat more fruit as well. I would say I was the occasional fruit addict. Some weeks I would eat lots and some weeks not so much. Now I am going to have to eat lots as my snack. I am trying to eat the rainbow (and no I don’t mean the sweet Skittles) but the fruit and vegetable rainbow. Basically, lots of colours and variety. It also doesn’t matter what form it comes in either. I find fresh a better option but that doesn’t mean other varieties are excluded, for example, tinned.

Water

I am also drinking a lot of water. Now water and I have a history. I used to drink a lot of squash and fizzy drinks but after meeting Rosie she made me get more involved with this water stuff. After several months and a couple of years I now willingly drink the stuff but not a lot of it. I have a water bottle and have been challenging myself to drink them throughout the day.

Stay tuned

I am aware that I have set myself an almighty challenge, but I am going to give it my all. I am sure there will be days where I want to sit on the couch and watch television with a chocolate bar. On the flip side I am sure there will be days when I exercise too much and my fruit intake has excelled. So as I say, stay tuned to see how I get on throughout the next few months.

-Helen

Marketing bit (2 Spuds doesn’t do it often but it fits in nicely here)

If anyone has just read that and wishes their nutrition checked this is something I can do as a personal trainer. I can take your food/drink intake (and I want to see the good, the bad, and the ugly) analyse it and recommend changes for you. Just get in touch.

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