Sorry to post Thursday late but I got distracted by the TV! It is relevant – to the question above.
Last night M and I watched the last 2 weeks episodes of Supersize vs Superskinny (For US readers and anyone who doesn’t watch this show, its about people seeking to achieve a healthy weight and relationship with food. It has 3 sections – the first puts one very overweight person and one very underweight person in a house together to eat each other’s diet; the second has the wonderful Anna Richardson looking at fad diets and quick fixes; and the third follows 4 anorexics going through an 8 week treatment programme). Anyway, the programme is quite samey and superficial, as you’d expect for a show covering all these things in 1 hour (incl. advert breaks) but very hard to stop watching even so! And in 2 of the episodes so far, the narrator has made a point, in the section about the anorexics, of discussing their unhealthy exercise habits, by talking about how much at least 3 out of the 4 walk. (The 4th spends loads of time on an exercise bike)
And both times they did, M pointed out some similarities between what they’re doing and what I do.
Before I go on, I should point out that unless he’s on holiday, M just. does. not. walk. He thinks its a boring pastime and an inefficient form of exercise that doesn’t improve fitness (except at the beginning when starting to walk from a point of doing literally nothing) and takes a ridiculous amount of time. He also worries about my walking, because I do a lot of walking on roads with no pavements and limited visibility (at least for some stretches). So he freely admits to being biased against it.
Here’s what I do: most days I walk into town – this takes me about 35 minutes each way. Some times I walk into Chepstow – this takes about 1hr 10 mins each way – or go to town via a longer route that takes about the same length of time as a trip to Chepstow. I then go to the library / shop / have a coffee before walking home. I tell myself by walking I reduce pollution, save money on petrol, and reduce wear & tear on my car, but if I’m honest I often shop unnecessarily to give myself ‘an excuse’ to go for a walk – I don’t enjoy just ambling around, I like to have a destination and purpose in mind. I also tell myself that I’m getting fresh air (admittedly with petrol fumes thrown in for some of the route), making Vitamin D, and giving myself the chance for some very superficial social contact (saying hello to dog walkers mostly!) I generally don’t choose to walk in the rain, though it doesn’t bother me if it starts while I’m out. I often take my camera, and I avoid routes I find terminally boring, but I do spend more time doing the same routes over and over than seeking new places to explore.
Here’s what the anorexics on the show do: Walk every day, whatever the weather. In one case, walk 3-4 hours a day. In every case, walk until they feel they’ve ‘earned’ the very inadequate amount of food they have eaten or will be eating. Every bit of film showing them walking anywhere shows a grim expression, the kind of look I hope I only have on my face when I’m at work – ie.. they feel they’re doing a task rather than looking at the scenery, talking to people etc. One of them, a mathematician, referred to rigidly trying to achieve the 10,000 steps a day guideline – every day. I did that a bit when I started walking but don’t even wear a pedometer anymore and I’m certainly not mentally counting every step!
When I pointed these differences out to M, he did concede that I’m not as bad as the people on the show, but said on the scale of human activity he thinks I’m closer to their end of the scale than to ‘normal people’. And that’s why I’m asking the people who read my daily ‘walked into town today’ blah, for their opinion. I’m not saying I’m going to listen and obey that opinion – I’ve been ignoring M’s negative thoughts on the matter for years!!! I just think maybe I need some perspective on the subject. Obviously I’m not objective because I enjoy doing it and pretty much intend to keep it up as weather permits until I get a job and don’t have time any more. M’s not objective because he expects me to get hit by a car one of these days. But one thing he said that is true is that several of the people in our street, who have no such emotional connections, have commented in casual conversation about the amount of walks – very long walks, in their minds – I take; and so, indeed, has our postman, who I often see while I’m out and about. So please chime in, I might be upset if you all think I’m a fruitcake, but I am seeking mental health as well as physical and I think maybe I need some external input on this one! Particularly as I will admit then when I was binging I would often hop onto the elliptical for 90 mins or so after a binge, so I am aware that even though I’ve fallen for a very low intensity form of exercise, I am capable of making some unhealthy connections between food, exercise, and weight.
By the way, I went for a walk yesterday. I didn’t want to shop so I didn’t go into town. The first part of my walk (investigation of the wetlands to see if my road-avoiding route into town is clearing – not even close btw) took about 40 mins and then I stayed out for another 25 mins just because. Even to me that does sound like maybe there’s something a bit weird there given that I have pointed out I don’t much enjoy walking without purpose, but in this instance I was motivated by the fact that my back is still not fully enough recovered to allow more intensive exercise. Or was I….?
Breakfast: All bran with peaches and a slightly weird concoction of 1 whole egg + a big pile of ricotta cheese, beaten together, cooked like an omelette and topped with jam. it wasn’t bad, wasn’t great either, but I wanted to use up some ricotta left over from the macaroni and cheese I made the other day.
Lunch: Quorn cottage pie with roasted broccoli, brussels sprouts and green beans, followed by a pear
Dinner: Lentil soup with seven grain bread spread with LC, topped with tomato / red onion, and then further topped with a tiny sprinkle of LF mature cheddar
Snacks: Protein smoothie (no spinach again – and I’m still loving the fruit only flavour and colour) and a bowl of Oat So Simple apple & blueberry porridge with added whey. Also a (failed) attempt at tofu chocolate pudding made with soft silken tofu, cocoa powder, PB and vanilla extract with a splash of soy milk to help it blend.
Weight Thursday: 10 st 2.4 lbs
Apologies for the lengthy post – if you got this far, congratulations! I’ll stop now…