Can a leopard really change its spots? And if so, how?

I’ve read so much over the years about healthy eating and fitness. Logically, I know that more energy in means weight gain if energy out is also not increased. Emotionally I don’t always find it so easy to make the right choices.

We’ve all read that a high percentage of dieters go back to their pre-diet weight – or more – after their diets. I’ve done it myself, not usually higher than before, but back to exactly the same weight to the lb (or half KG). This is the 3rd time I’ve got to my maximum “time to trigger action” weight.  That’s 3 times in 12 years.  I reckon it takes a minimum of 6 months to get the weight down again.  Then slowly…. very slowly it goes back on – over a period of between 2-5 years.

So how can I stop it? I guess my ‘leopard spots’ are lack of exercise and a bit too much food per day – and so the weight goes on so slowly that I don’t even notice it.

So I’ve been thinking about how to fix this. My first problem is that I’m not that fond of routine. I like the excitement of an always changing schedule; the adrenaline of a last minute problem to solve. And the nature of my work is very much like this. Perhaps too much like this!   I’ll usually put this (work) above (me) going for some organised exericise.  So, the healthy habits get broken down, I don’t get anough sleep, I eat at erratic times and so on … and weight begin starts to increase and the fitness declines. 

So which healthy habit goes first? I think that it’s the exercise that is the first casualty, and then it’s downhill from there. The good thing about exercise, for me, is that it makes me more aware of my body. Not in an obsessive way – but just how it moves and how it looks. It’s all too easy in the cold, British weather to cover up – in boots, in a suit, in long cardigans – and not be aware of carrying a few extra pounds. But you can’t ignore the mirrors in the gym though (unless you are very determined!)  in your gym gear or worse… in a swimsuit!!!  And of course you can’t avoid how you feel doing exercise. There’s no escape there!

So if that’s the start of the decline for me, I need to make sure that I make a habit – a habit with some built in flexibility, too – for my life – so this is what I’m going to do. I think it’s realistic:

My exercise pledge: Some kind of formal exercise twice a week to be taken: once during the week and once at the weekend. 

So, dear friends and fitness buddies, I’ll be reporting in!  Your comments and tips, as ever, are sought and welcomed – it feels good to support each other.

This leopard is trying to change its spots. Thinking positive thoughts and feeling better for having written it down.

Laugh, feel better, get a fitness buddy, just keep going …

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Laugh, feel better, get a fitness buddy, just keep going ...

I had to smile today. And yesterday. In fact, every day. In truth I am a bit of a giggler – but today at work was a little challenging and I could have done with padded, sound-proofed room in which to bash my fists on the wall and have a good scream. But just the action of telling someone else that’s what I needed was enough to make us both laugh and release the tension. Well, it’s that time of year. Financial Year Start. Time of new projects and resolutions. Well, I’m not making any resolutions as that’s a recipe for disaster for me. I’ll make some habit changes though.

Well-known diet/fitness advice often says that one of the keys to successful diets/fitness plans is to find a buddy so you can help each other with your new habits. Well, dear readers, I’ve decided that YOU are my fitness buddies! I’m going to check in with you from time, to see how you are doing, say how I am doing and also pass on any of your advice.

First off, this is from my old Schoolmate, Graham – who says “I will give you three tips, Andrea.

1. That first time is the most important. The first swim, run, trip to gym. No matter how long the journey you have to take the first step.
2. The only target you should set yourself is to do a bit better… each time. But ignore the first 2 or 3 attempts – initial enthusiasm is the main killer of all keep fit attempts.
3. Most important. A missed swim, run whatever is not a failure. Nor is 2 missed swims. A failure is no more swims. Have a timetable. I go Wednesday and Friday before work. It changes all the time depending on circumstances”

Thanks, Graham for your sound advice. I suppose I had better add those swims to my calendar!

That is all for today, but if you have any tips to share, please do add a comment here on the blog.