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March 19, 2007

Kickin it with the combat girls

I have decided to separate these sections so my musings on life don't get mixed in with my musings on quantities of museli. I have wondered if I should take this elsewhere but hell, I am what I am - a mixed up fuddled up bag of "typical female" and literary ingenue (ha!) and extremely terribly all round ordinary type person. Which means I struggle with physicality along with the mental strains. Which is why I find myself puffing through a Body Combat class in the quest to make the outer me match my inner princess of power.

It makes popular books, you know. The typical girl struggling with ingestion and exhaustion and finally finding a way to pump iron while holding the other arm aloft in truimph while the lycra shorts struggle to cling on to slinky thighs. But I do wonder .... As a trashy magazine addict of many years (attempts to find out why have left me scratching my head) I wonder just how real my perception of "real" really is - does that make sense? It is no triumph when I realise that a girl we all coo over has been throwing up her lunch for the past decade in a bid to retain her glamourous edge ... in a kind of sick way we admire her solid commitment to her unhealthy ideals.

So I question myself always on this trundle towards fitness. What is motivating me? What is really motivating me?

Today, what sent me to the gym was stress (see other post). I slammed out of the office in a general funk with noone in particular, feeling all female and tearful and uselss in a hormonal kind of way and I knew that if I went home I would slouch moodily on the couch and probably eat ice-cream while decrying my life. But as it happened, I kept going down the road and decided to kick the shit out of thin air instead, to pummel my reflection in the mirror. Not to beat MYSELF up, mind, but to knock some sense into my petulant brain. Strike one to stress and chalk one up to those sweet endorphins.

Food Diary (Gotta do this for the records!)
Two slices Nancy's amazing soda fruit bread with figs and apricots
One soy coffee
Another coffee as bad mood extends
Few spoonfuls of chickpeas in tomato sauce and couscous
Another slice fruit bread
One piece of chocolate crystalised ginger, one organic plum
Steamed threadfin salmon with capers, tomato and spinach
Mixed steamed vegetables.

March 18, 2007

The fitness files

I climb on the scales and shake my head as the marker hovers defiantly five or so kilos above the magic number. Sal smiles sympathetically at my discomfort as I silently curse the decision to buy a box of Lindt chocolates (they were on special) while eschewing the gym for several days last week. The extra weight I'm carrying turns out to be lean muscle mass but according to the horrendous pincers, the layer of additional padding is resolutely refusing to shift.

I am starting to realise what a science this whole "health and fitness" scheme is, how finely balanced the input of food to the output of energy. I can see how this healthy attention could warp into obsesssion with the numbers if not for a sincere love of food and the associated social opportunities I would loath to give up.

But somewhere along the line I've tipped the balance, clearly - and it's got to be the food. For weeks now I have been religiously attending the gym and watching my muscles harden under the regular strain of kicking, running and boxing, and not a drop of alcohol passed these lips for more than a month until a glass and a half of red on Friday night. Here, the numbers speak volumes - according to my heart rate, my fitness has increased by about 30 per cent overall since I was last tested two months ago. I can feel it too. One minute I am buckling and finding it hard to breathe and the next, when the treadmill has stopped, I am strolling and calmly breathing in shallow gusts of air. My sleeping has improved, my stress levels are way down and I feel much clearer in the mind.

Knowing this, it rankles slightly that my arse hasn't caught up with the action. When I first sat down with Sally, I was genuinely baffled about why the fat wasn't melting off my arms and legs with all that effort until I stopped to consider the small "deviations" of recent weeks - a mini muffin here, a snatched falafel there, a quesadilla or three ... oops. It seems I am suffering from food amnesia. But two Lindt balls can't be all that bad ... can they?

Sadly, yes. "If you haven't been to the gym that day and you eat those, you've just added on hundreds of calories of extra input," Sal says. "A few days like that adds up to a kilo before you know it." She tells me to ditch the chocolates - if only for a month - and cut portions down to fuel size, not fun size.

Damnit. Within that ball lies the way to damnation.

The other thing, of course, is that I should congratulate myself on increasing my fitness so dramatically, whatever the mirror says. But while we all trumpet about working out to satisfy our desire for good health, the secret truth - for me anyway - is that once, just once, we hope to visit the land of "Thin". Oh vanity, vanity, leave me alone.