There is one thing I know for sure: I hate Jillian Michaels’ 30Day Shred. I hate it. I hate it not because it not because it’s challenging; I hate it because it puts a horrible strain on my knees, Michaels is a smarmy and condescending asshole and all the jumping makes my belly flap even in compression pants. I don’t look forward to doing the 30 Day Shred workouts. When I am in the middle of them I feel no joy. When I am done them I feel no triumph.
It’s kind of like going to the damned dentist.
Gym style exercise is not my thing. I’ve never belonged to a gym. I’ve never even been remotely interested in cardio classes or walking/running/biking nowhere on treadmills or stationary bikes or steppers, etc. For me (emphasis denotes caveat) gym-style cardio exercise seems a colossal waste of time.
I can’t go through life – especially as a larger woman wanting to be healthier – without some form of regular exercise, however. And, the truth is: I crave physical activity.
The same goes, of course, with food! I crave certain “healthy” foods that I’m not eating regularly.
The challenge, for me, is to have those activities and foods clearly identified so I can make sure I have access to them. So, please indulge me in some note keeping. Here are my lists of things I really like, that are also good for me:
- Running Yes, despite having horrible shin splints that have led to my stopping my running practice for now until I reduce some of the excess weight I’m carrying around, I love running – well, walk-run training. I want to get back to it. I miss it.
- Walking I am incredibly lucky to live in an urban area full of historically significant architecture, beautiful parks and even a huge swatch of wilderness. This is the most easily accessible exercise of them all for most people and it always makes me feel great to get out and do it. It’s a bit like living in Manhattan – I can easily walk to the market, the library, the bank, the doctor’s, etc. And I do!
- Hiking This is really just walking in the woods. I grew up playing on the Bruce Trail, literally, every day. There is nothing so beautiful to me than to be surrounded by dirt and rocks and trees and plants. I’m only about a 15 minute walk away from the Bruce Trail now and have the fortune of living in an area with lots of waterfalls and creeks. A 15 minute drive away is the Arboretum, a protected forest at the Western tip of Lake Ontario. Walking the trails there, spying animals and plants and picking wild berries in summer is one of my all time favourite things to do. It makes me feel like a kid again.
- Yoga There is something about yoga that connects deep into my core, into my very soul. Yoga is a deeply spiritual activity to me – spiritual in the sense that I feel connected to the universe like someone shoved the universe’s network cable straight into my spine. I feel an awakening in my soul when I practice yoga, a physical joyfulness that lights up my very cells.
- Chickpeas Oh you magical little bean, how I love you! I put you on salads, I crush you up with olive oil and tahina, I mix you into quinoa and I roast you for a snack. Chickpeas make me fart like a one-woman alternate fuel plant, but they are so damned tasty.
- Quinoa Salad I make a delicious salad with quinoa that is essentially a Greek Salad (minus lettuce) with chickpeas (natch!) and quinoa. It’s light and refreshing, tasty and full of veggies and protein. A big batch means there is enough to have a bowl full for lunch as well as on the side of my dinner plate. It’s the pot luck dish I’m known best for. I grew up eating a lot of pasta salads but swapping the pasta for quinoa is a whole lot healthier.
- Veggies and Tzatziki What’s more delicious than something full of garlic, lemon and dill? Not much! I have started making this myself so that I can guarantee the ingredients. Though it takes a little time and energy to make it, the zingy dip is so worth it! When I get the munchies, which I frequently do late at night because I’m a night owl, a plate of cut veggies with a few TBSPs of tzatziki is an appropriate and healthy snack that doesn’t negatively impact my health.
- Ice Cold Water I forget how much I love water. I’m ashamed to admit that I can go for a week or two without drinking a proper glass of the stuff. And I even like my city’s tap water! Too often, when looking for something bracing, I default to a diet soda (even knowing the evils of diet anything and soda in particular). I subsist on tea and sometimes a little home made lemonade. But water on it’s own is so often snubbed. I need to remember to make ice (the old fashioned way, in trays, in the freezer) so I can get that water super cold and refreshing.
- Fruit Too often I buy fruit with the best intentions and then let it go bad because some nervous voice in my head is whispering about not “wasting” it. I spent many years very poor where I could only afford a couple fresh things that I would then hoard to make them last. I’m not rich but I can afford to buy myself a pound or two of grapes if I want. I need to remember to just eat them, though. I love grapes and strawberries, fresh pineapple and pears. I love a lot more, but those are my top fruits. Not a bad bunch, either. Lots of good nutrition in there and a few handfuls of them are a better snack than a few pieces of toast with peanut butter or butter and jam.
There are my lists. Those are the things I need to focus on.
What’s on your lists?