Slimming Saturday – Exercise… an Eight-Letter Word

Ahhhh, the last day of the year. A time of reflection, when one looks at themself, their accomplishments through the year & their waist line & thinks “oh dear god”. With 2012 rapidly approaching (although in Amsterdam you’d think it was already here… but that’s for another post) time for a stock take & the seemingly endless list of New Year resolutions that inevitably include a diet/detox/exercise routine or some other method of self-flagellation.

I included myself in this. Having put on approximately 2 stone in the last three or so years I now have a wardrobe of clothes I can’t wear. So come January the 1st (ish) there will be a (yet another) concerted effort to shift the inches. Unfortunately this includes the swear word… “exercise”.

I loathe exercise. No, that’s not entirely true… I loathe exercise for the sake of getting fit. I’m more a cerebral kinda gal (read ‘nerd’). I haven’t set foot in a gym since finishing GCSE PE (Physical Education… or, in my opinion, torture). In fact I don’t think I have a GCSE in PE! Getting up for an early morning run should be included as a human rights violation. Hell, these days I don’t do mornings… let alone ‘early’ mornings. Sit-ups make my stomach gurgle in a worrying fashion. Squats equate to 1 second of going down rapidly, followed by 1 minute of creaking joints & swearing as I get up, via leverage by way of the arm of the chair, because my knees think they’re 55 years old. And as for push-ups… that’s me lying flat on my face, straining… then falling asleep.

Now a bike ride or a walk in the countryside is my idea of exercise. A leisurely stroll, stopping every few yards or so to admire a view… or poke an interesting looking insect. Being able to hold a conversation without panting like an asthmatic donkey between words. Getting home without having lost half my body-weight in sweat… & smelling like I’ve lost half my body-weight in sweat.

Of course, now I’m in the city this is not much of an option. A leisurely stroll in Amsterdam means a stressful time of bike dodging & resisting the urge not to clamber over slow-moving tourists who feel the need to stop & stare at every damn thing. And don’t get me started on biking in the city centre. Yes Holland is more bike-friendly than other countries. However, other bike users, taxi drivers & idiotic pedestrians who don’t pay attention when they cross the street are not so bike-friendly.

Because of the rubbish summer we had (rain, rain, rain etc.) & because I didn’t know my way around the city, when I first arrived we got an exercise bike for the flat. Something I could ride whilst watching TV. This was, too begin with, a good concept. That was until we got the kitten. My first attempt at cycling in the presence of the Little Monster resulted in me nearly braining him as he tried to attack my feet as they went round. The bike was relegated to the bedroom. During the summer this wasn’t too bad. The bedroom was fairly temperate, although I still needed the fan on me full blast while I huffed & puffed for 40 minutes. Unfortunately, without the TV to mindlessly stare at, the old boredom threshold would kick again. Reading a book, whilst jiggling up & down, is virtually impossible. Even doing it with a Kindle is a bit of an eye-f*ck. I usually listen to my iPod & even made an exercise playlist. Music certainly makes me cycle faster, but after a while listening to the same tracks becomes dull & I lose interest again. I guess for the New Year I should add a few more playlists so I can mix them up.

The winter months have certainly killed the urge to exercise on the bike. The air in the bedroom is positively frigid (we don’t have the heating on in the bedroom otherwise it gets too stuffy & the air dry) so trying to get the ol’ motivation going is impossible.

Come 2012 I’m going to have to suck it up & get back in the saddle… literally. Back exercising, back dieting…. oh, & I’m going to try & be sober for a month to give my liver a rest. The heady high of New Year celebrations ruined by the heady low of sweating, calorie counting & being sober.

The New Year officially sucks already!


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