Many years ago I read about the benefits of rebounding. I read all the Harvey and Marilyn Diamond books, as was the fashion at the time, and bought a rebounder. I was very disappointed to find that rebounding was no where near as much fun as it looked in the books, gave me a headache, and thus the mini trampoline has been stored and moved around various parts of the house and outbuildings for years. I had no idea that it was just a bad rebounder and that a good rebounder shouldn't feel like jumping on a bit of old plywood stretched around some squeaky springs. My hero, Jason Vale, has brought out a rebounding DVD. Naturally I will need a nice new pro-bounce to go with it.
I haven't written on here for a long time mainly because I felt that I wasn't making much progress towards my fitness goals. Recently I realised that although I may not be as cardiovascularly fit or as strong muscularly as I used to be, I have progressed a hec of a lot in my mental fitness and general well being. I used to get those black depressions that came out of no where and made you feel that life wasn't worth living. Now, remembering that feeling is like remembering a different person. It's been a gradual process of cutting things out of my life (alcohol, caffeine, stress, junk food etc) and adding things in and just because I haven't dropped two dress sizes and been fit enough to hike up a Munro again doesn't make it any less of a journey. Maybe improving my general wellbeing is part of the process to becoming "fit" again. So really, I suppose I have decided to congratulate myself for the improvements I have made and see them as a big step along the way and not a failure to get fit.
During my last post on ruminations about the caffeine in tea I noted that typical brewed tea contains 70 mg. of caffeine in each 6-oz. cup, and that eight cups a day would be 560 mg of caffeine which is moderate to high use. I later realised that actually, a 6 oz cup is a delicate tea cup size and many people, including me, drink tea out of mugs, which generally hold 12 oz, thus doubling my estimated intake. It wasn't much if an intuitive leap to associate the depression, insomnia, anxiety and irritability that I was feeling with caffeine addiction. I had also been wondering about the effects of my body spending more time processing the constant onslaught of caffiene, leaving little time to metabolise the fat I accumulated when I was drinking. I realised that my tea consumption had increased since I quit drinking and I had swapped one addiction for another.
So, I decided to quit tea and, against recommendations of withdrawing gradually, jumped in and quit cold turkey.
Like many people I usually have a lot of things planned for weekends that I haven't had chance to do during the week. These might range from housework type tasks to personal or family related plans. During the week I can usually dredge up energy if necessary and stick to something I need to do on a week day but when it comes to weekends I seem to find it harder. I have "blamed" all sorts of things. Am I trying to tell myself that I should wind down a bit at weekends? Am I resentful that I "have to do everything"? Am I stressed? Do I not exercise enough? Do I not eat enough fruit and vegetables? Do I not do the Five Rites enough anymore? Is it the lingering effects of quitting drinking? (18 months ago, surely not). Is it sugar? I developed a bit of an ice cream habit and bag of revels at the weekend habit that should probably be addressed. On and on spending more time wondering why I am head-achy, depressed, irritable and lethargic than getting anything done. Well, last night I had a light bulb moment. What do I do or not do at weekends that is different to weekdays? I don't drink nearly as much tea and thus I am experiencing caffeine withdrawal. Now I just have to decide whether this means drinking more tea or quit tea altogether. Maybe because I no longer drink, smoke or eat junk food (except the ice cream and revels!) I am more sensitive to the effects of caffeine. I know that the other night, after hours of physical work I stumbled across a can of coke in the fridge. Not sure how it got there as none of us drink pop but it looked cold and inviting and I drank it. Wow, headache in a tin.
I quit taking sugar in my tea six months ago, maybe now it's time to quit the tea as well. A little research revealed the surprising information that typical brewed tea contains 70 mg. of caffeine in each 6-oz. cup. Generally: 200-500mg/day is regarded as moderate use - 600-750mg/day is regarded as high use - Over 1,000mg/day is regarded as a toxic amount. On a normal working day I have at least eight cups a day so that rolls out at 560 mg which puts me between moderate and high use.
I came across this piece of information, quoted from Stephen Cherniske:
If a person were injected with 500 milligrams of caffeine, within an hour he or she would exhibit symptoms of severe mental illness, among them, hallucinations, paranoia, panic, mania, and depression. But the same amount of caffeine administered over the course of a day only produces the milder forms of insanity for which we take tranquilizers and antidepressants.
Looks like one of my last remaining vices is due to join the ranks of things I've quit. That still leaves my insatiable book habit, my notebook buying vice and gourmet jelly beans. One thing at a time.
It's over a year now since I quit drinking. It's over twenty years since I quit smoking. In between I managed to quit a narcotic analgesics habit I acquired. Suffice to say I have an addictive personality, as do most members and generations of my family. I hope to be a good role model so that my Daughter can beak the chain. In each of those quits I was only successful when "The Click" came; like a physical auditory click in your head as if a switch has been thrown and, as the advert says, you just do it. I came across an article by Steve Pavlina and towards the end he says..
"but what’s important is the ongoing habit of absorbing new information. Make it a daily habit. Eventually you’ll soak up enough ideas that something will click in your mind, and you’ll find certain changes easier to make"...
Which struck a chord with me. The full article, be-patient-with-yourself is here. There are many points in the article that resonate with me, especially about taking a long term approach with some things. In my mind, whether I be right or wrong, I am convinced that for all this year my liver and body has been slowly recovering from years of alcohol abuse. There will come a point when it can turn it's attention from repair and regeneration and work on more outwardly cosmetic things, like visible fat. I trust that my body has been busy removing the fat that no one thinks about, the "marbling" in organs and muscle. There will have been a lot of that, and it's important to get that shifted before it can start on what's bulging under the skin. Of course I do what I can to help it along the way but I take a long term view. Lots of people at this time of year, announce that they are giving up alcohol to lose weight. I am living proof that just giving up drink does not necessarily cause the pounds to drop off. I think I probably weigh the same but my body composition has shifted. My fat percentage has dropped by 10%, my clothes are looser and now and again I notice bits of me are reshaping. It might be another year or more before my metabolism and life style is sorted out enough for me to cut up my Evans card but as Steve Pavlina says, personal growth requires tremendous patience and I've got plenty of that.
This posting by Tanya Zimmerman caught my attention. She compares two approaches to losing weight and it really spoke to me. The first approach was similar to my approach in the past, and I have been working to free myself from buying in to all the conflicting diet advice. I know that fruit, veg and whole unprocessed foods are the way to go but, because of my old diet mentality, I still get bogged down with the dozens of conflicting theories - food combining, raw food, high protein, low protein, low fat, high fat, sugar addict,GI index, GI load,give a large lady a fiver at a class to tell you that yes, you are fat, and any other diet "written by an expert" that comes along. I have been trying to cut through all the bull and just look at how the body absorbs and uses nutrients from a biological point of view, and coming across Tanya's posting just spoke volumes to me. Yep, I thought, fruit and veg for me and I'm going to STOP fretting over "correct combining"....just eat 'em for gawds sake.
I came across this handy listing that converts exercise other than walking into Step Equivalents. I have made attempts in the past to make exercise a bit more motivating by plotting the distance on a map and aiming for at least 10,ooo steps (roughly five miles a day) but I struggled to convert biking and rowing into an equivalent distance. Working on the premise that if you exercise on your bike long enough to burn 100 calories that is equivalent to walking roughly 2000 steps (roughly a mile), I can see that I might be getting the atlas back out. Weight training, yoga even a long house cleaning session can clock up a few miles. I know it's all guesstimates but I used to get quite a kick out of seeing my virtual journey around the coastline of Britain creeping around the map. In those days I measured actual distances, so a good session on the bike might have made the difference between crossing into the next county or just hovering near the border. I even used to pin up photographs of the next beauty spot I was aiming for. I bet that now, somewhere, there will be a website based on that idea; where you can share the journey. If I find it I will come back and link it here.