Getting a little movement into November

As some of you know I’m often over on twitter and on Tuesday evenings between 8 and 9pm I join in a chat with a group of twitterers who come together to chat with each other. Most of us are from the western edge of Europe (Britain and Ireland) however lots of people are joining in from elsewhere and it’s great fun. You just search for the hashtag #paleohour on twitter on a tuesday eve and join in, although it can be hard to follow a conversation you will develop your own knack for doing so.

This week some paleo peeps were talking about doing the Whole30 which is a 30 day plan to clean up your eating when some others realised that really they needed some help with increasing/changing their exercise regime or, like me, motivation to exercise regularly.

So the creatives (well done!) came up the the notion of #Fitness30 – moving our bodies for each day of November, doing something new be it going a 30min walk or trying a yoga pose. It will be different for each of us. We will try to keep a record or our efforts either by posting on twitter using the hashtag #Fitness30 or on facebook (same hashtag) or some people write it up on their blogs.

Sometimes social pressure can be unhealthy, for example people can develop strange ideas about the perfect body if they are influenced by mass media or find it difficult to change to healthier eating patterns if their peers pressure them into not being “different” however this is one time where I am going to use social pressure to help me make some positive changes. We can choose to use social pressure to motivate and encourage us to make changes that seem difficult to make alone.

I don’t exercise in any particular way and some days I exercise very little so this is a big motivator to me to get off-my-butt and do something everyday. Mostly I think I will go for a walk (30 minute minimum) however I may surprise myself and find that I am trying out some rusty Yoga poses. You will have to pop over to Twitter to find out!

I am in the fortunate position of planning some work in Portugal this winter and if all goes according to plan we will be heading away in mid-November. I hope to keep up the #Fitness30 challenge while we travel and once we arrive however I may not be able to tweet about it each day as I don’t yet know what my access to the internet will be like.

Please let me know if you are going to join in, leave a comment here or over on either facebook or twitter. It would lovely to hear from you and know what you are planning to do too.

Christmas Bulge Anyone?

How did you manage your food intake over the Christmas Holiday? Did you find yourself eating things that you would normally avoid? Maybe put on a little bit of weight?

Usually Christmas would see me add a few pounds, I can remember Christmases twenty years ago when I would put on at least 7 pounds over the two weeks of festivities, back then I was really quite fit and would drop the weight easily once I was back cycling to work, playing squash and volleyball with my workmates and swimming a few times a week.

Over the years I continued to add weight over the Christmas holidays, however I wasn’t always successful in dropping the pounds, especially in more recent years. My favourite foods for the holidays would have included Mince Pies with lashings of thick cream and Brandy Butter,  sandwiches with butter, pate, chestnuts, mayonnaise, cheese – yes, that was all in one sandwich!

This year I avoided all grains and sugars successfully and it surprised me how easy it was for me to do. I will admit that I had a very quiet Christmas and was not in the company of people eating all the foods I wished to avoid so I think this is the main reason that I found it easy.

I had food treats in the form of really good, nitrate-free rashers (bacon), good quality meat, lots of coconut oil and cream, good organic veggies, lovely Irish butter and I kept my fruit intake to a Clementine per day.

I guess the one real non-paleo food was fresh organic dairy cream, which I added to hot cocoa drinks, mixed with coconut cream and cocoa for ice-cream replacement snacks and put in my coffee. One of those coffees was in bed most mornings – really decadent in my book and very enjoyable!

I think that this was the first Christmas for well over twenty years when I did not add any weight and I am really pleased. I didn’t loose any weight although I wasn’t expecting to so I am not disappointed at all with that. However now I really feel that I need to kick start my metabolism with exercise.

Over the holiday I stopped logging my food and I did very little physical exercise, mostly I watched movies and read some great new books – in other words – I sat a lot. And when I say a lot, I do mean a lot!

I have started to use my food journal again and it has reminded me of the correct proportions of protein, carbohydrate and fat that I am aiming for in my weekly intake. I have stopped having a mug of coffee automatically first thing in the morning and I have found that I am drinking more fresh water as a result. I save my one mug of coffee for later in the day now and enjoy it more.

For the last week or so I have been gradually adding physical exercise back into my life, in the form of walks, splitting wood for kindling, spring-cleaning, washing windows and doors etc. Not massive changes however I think these are the sorts of changes that are more likely to stay a part of my lifestyle. I know that when the weather is better I will be doing a lot more outdoor work, until then I will continue to increase daily activity and hopefully undo some of the damage all the sitting has done.

How was your holiday eating experience and what changes are you making for the New Year?