Tag Archives: exercise

Adventures in Blunderland

BlunderlandI am about to start the third week of my New Me regime, i.e. ELF (Eat Less, Fatty).

My lovely trainer has shown me some exercises to boot my metabolism out of its lengthy hibernation, and amazingly, it appears to be working.

Combined with snacking on Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds rather than Cheez-E-Puffs or Curly Wurlys, I am feeling a tad virtuous.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing though. I bought one of those resistance band thingies, with two (pink) handles. The trainer showed me some smart moves I could do at home. Easy, no? The plan was to sling the band round the pillar in my living room and use that as resistance, pulling away to tackle my burgeoning bingo-wings. 15 reps, rest, 15 reps, rest, 15 reps, rest.

Who said exercise was hard work? This would be a doddle. I could watch telly from the pillar, catching up with my favourite junk programmes, i.e. ‘I Wanna Marry Harry’. Fabulous time management and I duly gave myself a pat on the back.

First problem, pillar is actually quite large, so I ended up hugging the darned thing to wrap the band round it, just as The Teenager came downstairs, rolled his eyes and seeing me incapacitated, made a break for the fridge.

Right. handles sorted, move forward a bit and….I was off. Did my reps, felt a little bit of a ‘burn’, rested, started again. Meh. Adverts. I always fast forward, so I reached for the controller, trying to put both handles in one hand. Almost there……thwack. Couldn’t do it, the resistance band thingie flew backwards, one handle whacking me smack in the eye. The Teenager rolled his eyes and darted back upstairs.

I kicked the stupid band thingie around the floor a few times (it’s still exercise) and decided to try on my new sports bra instead. Well. Whoever invented this Medieval torture device deserves to be pelted with soggy rugby socks. I ended up with one arm stuck in the air and the other attached to my thigh. After struggling to free myself from the evil contraption for over five minutes (and bouncing over to the window to close the curtains), I flopped onto my bed, limp, weak and exhausted.

I will not be beaten by these sporting accessories, although my kettlebell is still being used as a doorstop after I dropped it into the cat’s food bowl by mistake. Fear not, she’s still with us – she wasn’t eating at the time. The ELF Challenge continues…

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Mirror, Mirror…

Mrs Blobby….on the wall, who’s the blobbiest of them all?

Well, me.

MS does the weirdest things to your mind and body. First and foremost, it had the utter cheek to launch an all-out attack on me (itself?).

Three years ago, my faithful body drew up the battle lines and hunkered down for a long-term offensive, offensive being the operative word. Bits of me started to go wonky, my mind melted into a goo-like mass and my once-trusted-with-my-life body morphed into a despised stranger. I no longer understood what it was doing, or why.

Then there was the terrifying diagnostic process, which in my case was somewhat helped along by a bountiful supply of comfort food. I didn’t care. What was an extra scoop of Mackie’s Indulgent Ice Cream between enemies? Or a special offer bag of M&M’s? Junk was a soothing balm to my battered soul.

And finally, the meds, the steroids. Mind you, one of the courses of steroids meant my Christmas tree was put up in record time a couple of years back. At 3am. And I polished all my lightbulbs and finally got round to painting anti-mould stuff on the bathroom ceiling. They might taste foul, but boy, the energy!

All this has culminated in me just not recognising myself. Who is this large, scowling person staring back at me from shop windows and inappropriately placed mirrors? (a note to all you zeitgeist-y restaurants and wine bars – mirrors may make your place look bigger, but it’s most off-putting when I’m trying to look super-elegant whilst sipping my Martini and carrying on a scintillating conversation, ta).

Anyway, I have reached Crunch(ie) point. I am out of that dark tunnel, blinking into the light of grudging acceptance of this foul illness. And I really don’t like what I see. I used to have cheekbones. I still do, with a bit of Sellotape, but I would like my real ones back please. They’re buried underneath that chubby face, somewhere. I would like to banish the bingo-wings. Tone those thighs. Walk tall again, rather than hunching over and scanning the pavements for tripping hazards.

To that end, yesterday, I met with my brand, shiny, new personal trainer. And I signed up for a year (sits down, takes a moment). He’s the only person alive who knows my true weight. He is inspiring and understanding and won’t put me through gym-bunny crazy intensive workouts. He’s got a lovely holistic approach, perfect for a systemic illness like MS which affects pretty much every single part of your life.

As I write, I have the polish ready to clean up my doorstop kettlebell. I’ve ordered a dri-fit pair of leggings and t-shirt. I am petrified.

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I’m Well Adjusted…

I've Got Your BackMy chiropractor called me the other day and said, ‘oi, your boss has just been in for an appointment and told me you don’t want to book in as you think you’re too fat. Don’t be daft, come in!’

‘Can’t. Too fat. Could break your bench, honestly. Potentially very, very embarrassing.’

I’ve been visiting the chiropractor for over 12 years now. He magically sorted out my neck problems, brought on by exiting a car through the roof at high speed (not classy, pretty painful) and he’s also treated The Teenager since he was a toddler.

That Fateful Day two years ago when I woke up unable to speak or walk properly, he was the first person I called. After talking gibberish, he summoned me to his clinic, ran through some neurological tests and quietly told me to go straight to hospital. He was the first to put MS on the table and helped keep me sane through the long, anxiety-ridden diagnostic process.

Anyway, I went to the clinic, putting all fears of rolling off the bench with an ungainly thud to one side. Thankfully, the chiropractor is a consummate professional and put me at ease straight away as I brought him up to speed with everything that had happened since I last saw him (the list was long and he was awfully patient). Then it was time to have the treatment. I pulled off my boots with an unladylike ‘Oof’ and popped (heaved) myself on to the bench.

On my front. On my back. On my side. Probably the most exercise I’ve had in a while. Turn neck this way and that. Leg up, arm down. Why do I always imagine those mice from ‘Bagpuss’ when I’m lying there? You know, the ones that sing ‘we will fix it, we will make it new, new, new?’ Marginally better than ‘The Flumps’ I guess.

I felt like a new woman after the treatment and mentally kicked myself for leaving it so long. My body felt unfurled, stronger. There’s not an awful lot that can be done to make living with MS easier, but having regular chiropractic sessions certainly helps. It’s like a great big sigh of relief running through my whole body.

Finally, I stood up and asked, ‘Lovely! Am I normal now?’

With good grace, the chiropractor declined to answer…

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Stumbling Vs Kettlebell – The Smackdown

Cardiff-20130627-00217After weeks months of staring each other down, I finally decided to pick up my kettlebell, even though it was a very handy doorstop.

On my fridge I have a printout of a nubile, semi-clad, skinny female (not jealous) doing all manner of strange exercises with one of the blasted things and the write up was suitably encouraging – ‘kettlebell training is fun and varied, never boring, safe for any age, shape or size.’ Not only that, it also promised me ‘explosive power.’

Last night, with nothing left to lose except my dignity and a good few pounds, I put down my Walnut Whips and tentatively picked it up. Then swiftly put it back down again and attempted to unscrew two of the weights to make it a tiny bit more manageable. Exhausted from the effort, I rested long enough to watch the last episode of Mad Men and finish the last Whip before trying again.

I hid myself in the kitchen as The Teenager is fond of rushing downstairs yelling out sports results at regular intervals throughout the evening and the humiliation would be too much. Ok, squat and lift. Creakily I lowered myself downwards holding the much-lighter kettlebell. And stopped. Just had to stand up straight again. My calf muscles, one of which was fully-cramped with MS pain, protested loudly. I down-scaled the reps from 10 to 5, then 3.

Next exercise, I just had to swing the thing round my body, switching hands halfway through. Easy. I happily did this for a while, feeling smugly in the rhythm until disaster struck. My dodgy MS hand decided to simply let go. The kettlebell flew towards the cat food bowl, scattering crunchy biscuits across the floor and landed with an almighty thud. Luckily the cat wasn’t eating at the time or we’d be holding a memorial service today.

The Teenager rushed downstairs. I stumbled out to stop him in his tracks.

‘Muuuuuuum! What’s wrong with your face? Why are you all sweaty and red?’

‘Oh, you know. Just washing up. So what’s the latest score?’

I tried one last exercise. This ball of fear was not going to get the better of me. I raised it above my head, slightly to the left just in case my hand decided to play another joke and I knocked myself unconscious. Not bad. I could feel my muscles stretching. Three reps and I was done.

Amount of exercise? Two and a half minutes. Time spent clearing up the mess and cooling down? Half an hour. Not bad for a first attempt. We will meet again tomorrow, same time, same place.

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