The Post Holiday Body War

December was a time of rejuvenation for me.  I pulled back from business and writing responsibilities to spend some time nurturing my soul.  The last two years of trying to build Vancouver Fashion eZine has been stressful, so it was the absolute best Christmas present I could have given myself.  I headed back into the kitchen to try out new recipes I found interesting, had small get-togethers with friends that of course involved good food and drink, baked with my daughter - a must with the passing of my mother who used to do this annual ritual with her - and more.  Add in some well-timed naps to help deal with my sleep deficit (I struggle with insomnia) and you can image the outcome.  A calmer person ready to face the new year with a body in a serious state of disrepair.  That first step on the scales in January was not a happy one.

 The negative effects of serious dieting are well documented, so I try to avoid extremes when it comes to food.  Whatever you choose to do has to fit in with your life as it is or you will fail.  It's all about balance and portion control. Mark Haub, professor of Human Nutrition at Kansas State University, recently published the results of his ten-week experiment in dieting.  During this time he reduced his normal caloric intake from 2600 a day to 1800 a day, but 2/3 of his caloric intake came from twinkies and other junk food. This was supplemented daily with a multi-vitamin, a protein shake and a few vegetables such as a can of green beans or a couple celery sticks.  The outcome - he lost 27 pounds. The results really bring home the fact that calories are part of the equation. If you want to read up more on this, check out the CNN article at

Metabolism also plays a huge role.  I know unfortunate people that I swear could live on 600 calories and still struggle.  There are others that eat and drink anything they want that seem to stay thin (although there are long term health consequences they will face.)  Each of us has to deal with the body we have and the key to increasing your metabolism involves exercise.  Regular cardio and building muscle mass are your best friends.  I'm not a great exerciser when it comes to staying the course. I actually like hitting the gym, but lose interest after a month or two (boredom sets in.)  The only time I consistently worked out was when I used to dance with a partner and perform.  Dancing was almost and addiction for me. When I got married and had kids I had to walk away from the partnership and I haven't found a solo class that fills the same need.

While I find sitting at the computer for hours everyday writing really pleasurable from a creative standpoint, I need to start taking some regular physical breaks where I get up and move around.  The neck, back and hand/wrist used to operate the mouse are protesting.  In the past, I tried to schedule the gym as a break with limited success, especially if I was mid-article.  Walks around the neighborhood quickly palled, I mean how many times can you walk the same route and stay sane?  This time I am going to try and add in some of those home work-outs.  The after Christmas sales allowed me to pick up three providing a variety of work-outs in varying lengths with a few small accessories for about what I paid for a three month gym pass at the local community centre.  I don't expect to do these every day, what I am looking for is variety.  I will still drop into the gym when I feel like it, take advantage of the dikes in Richmond to do power walks and hopefully find a dance class that appeals to me.  The DVD workouts are to give me breaks from the computer on heavy writing days in particular.

Will this help me exercise consistently?  I have no idea.  But trying something new is always a thrill and it didn't cost me much either way.  Whether this works or not, I will be reviewing and rating the systems I tried at the end of three months.  The first DVD will get a test run today after I post this blog. While I will also be addressing portion control (no crazy diets for me), the main focus will be on getting my body back in shape.  Hopefully mixing it up this way will keep me on track to daily exercise which research shows is a key to health and longevity.

One final note.  For many, having support in the way of a friend to exercise with or a personal trainer is key to staying focused.  If you don't have a friend willing and really limited time, a great option is a trainer on the go.  They come to your house with a small amount of equipment and push you through a work-out.  An idea of pricing for this option is found at Fitness on the Go -