Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Hot and sweaty no more!

Here I go again with an occasional post to my blog. I could go into great detail about how the kids have grown and settled into our new lives, all the ups and downs (mostly ups, I have to say) of our move to this bit of Spain, bringing two teenagers with us and leaving one behind in France (swallows lump in throat), but I'll save all that for another post. What I would like to tell you about may be a surprising subject for this blog but it's about a new exercise and diet system that I've accidentally stumbled across.

Despite always trying to keep an eye on my weight and following various exercise routines over many years, I've discovered that I've been wasting my time! Better not dwell on that fact too much or I'll work out what I could have been doing instead with all those hours I spent at aerobics, yoga, weight training, callanetics, treadmill and lately Pilates classes since I was in my twenties and Jane Fonda started a revolution.

Earlier this summer, I enrolled, out of curiosity, onto an online two week fat busting course that my then Pilates teacher casually mentioned at the end of a class one blustery Tuesday morning at the caravan park. I didn't really think I had that much weight to lose so I was pretty sceptical about the claims that were being made. I'd been around 60 - 61 kilos for years but had noticed the steady gain in weight since I started to go through the menopause five years ago (I'm 52). Like a lot of ladies of a certain age, I put put it down to age and didn't think there was very much at all I could do about it. However, I had a half baked idea that it would be nice to get into a bikini I'd bought reduced at the beginning of the summer, but really I was more curious than serious when I signed up to the regime. The cost was low so I thought "What the heck?"

You can find out much more about this system than I can detail here at this website, run now by said Pilates teacher. She's lovely, but I'm not trying to plug her courses, this stuff really, genuinely works!

It centres around two weeks of detoxing and ten minutes high impact exercises per day, all given to you daily on a private Facebook page. You literally don't have to leave the house. You can be living anywhere in the world, which is another advantage.

As regards the detox, alcohol, caffeine, dairy products, bread, potatoes, rice and pasta are all banned. "Come on, you can do anything for two weeks", I told myself! I'm amazed that after the two weeks were up, I didn't even miss my cups of tea, which previously if anybody had told me I would give that up I would have thought they were mad. I mean, I was weaned onto tea as a toddler! I was regularly drinking three or four pint pots of strong tea per day just to get me through!

As regards the exercises, okay they take some doing, but again, you can do anything for ten minutes a day! It's only two weeks! There are lots of modifications for all levels of fitness. Basically, you have to make your heart rate go right up but for a very short, intense period of time. It's lovely that there are others out there going through this and the Facebook page gives all the support you need, with daily videos and inspirational postings from the group leader, and other fellow sufferers. I was amazed at how I came to rely on the support of complete strangers, but I did! By the end, we were all best buddies!

At the end of the two weeks, I had lost 2 whole inches and 5 whole kilos (or 11lbs) of pure fat! Yes, there was even a photograph of what this lump of fat actually looks like.

I think that says it all! And that's not all, since then, I've managed to maintain this weight loss, right through the summer although I've reintroduced alcohol (in moderation) and some carbs, such as an occasional bowl of breakfast cereal. I've lost the longing for bread and spuds that I once had. I'm happier with less food and my very favourite, spinach is one of the foods that is actively encouraged. You can eat as much protein as you like, with certain exceptions, notably processed meat. The tenet is to "Eat Clean (and Get Lean"!! Hence ECGL.

So all those hours that I spent sweating it out in various draughty village halls through my twenties, thirties and forties were wasted! All I needed was ten minutes of targeted exercise per day. I'm converted to this way of life. My pulse rate and blood pressure are much reduced, I feel full of energy all the time, I'm sleeping better, my body feels light and comfortable in my clothes. That bikini? Too big - I had to buy another one!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Have we had enough fun yet?

A very good friend of mine started me off on blogging. I have to admit that I'm dead jealous of hers. She writes interesting, engaging, funny posts and has followers the world over.

Me? Even though there's always so much going on in my little world, writing about it just don't come naturally! I just think that to another person, my own life is a bit, well, boring! Not to me, of course, it fair keeps me on my toes, but to an outsider, well...

Take today, for instance. Saturday. Weather a bit iffy (most unusual for this area). DD (13) was staying at a friend's house. DS (17) has been working all week, so slept in till lunchtime. What did we do? We walked the dog on the beach, then went off for lunch at a new restaurant (new to us) and had a paella. Excellent. I love paella. Just as well I'm living in Spain, I hear you say.

Next up, DS had a hair appointment. Took him, brought him back, he looks lovely. Boys' hairstyles have really come on in recent years. I especially like his blond highlights and the short at the back long at the front style.

Next up, doggy's second walk, then night out to see an aged rocker called Wardie and to sing karaoke. Bed, I suspect, late, that and the fact that we're losing an hour's kip tonight, and you can bet Monday will be a struggle. Hey ho! We have to suffer to have fun.

That's it. Hope that wasn't too boring for you! Zzzzzzzzzz!

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Now sort of installed in Spain

Well, here we are! We've been in Spain now for a whole six months, already halfway through the rental agreement on our little bungalow in SE Spain, not far from Cartagena, where all the cruise ships call off (hopefully none of them sink)!

Such a lot to say, so little time, so I'll just give you an overview of what we've been doing. DH has just finished his treatment for prostate cancer, and is now in recovery. He has another appointment next week to check all's well, so I'll let you know when he's had that visit.

DS (17) has settled very well at his new school, ten minutes away or less by car. He has a lovely new girlfriend, lots of new friends, is learning Spanish at a rate of knots and has even managed to find casual work from time to time to augment his pocket money.

DD (13) however has found things much more difficult. She was originally at the same school as her brother, but found it overwhelming and has now moved to a different school where some of her English friends already go. It's early days, but she's already much happier there and is even looking forward to getting a school uniform! That'll be a shock, they never wore uniforms in France.

DS (18) has stayed in France to continue his studies. He's in his final year of a course in Biological Engineering, doing very well and it didn't make much sense to take him away at this stage and start again in Spain. Luckily for us, he's very mature in his outlook, has a lovely girlfriend and enjoys coming to Spain for his holidays.

The house still hasn't sold, but we live in hope! You can see it here : so if you know anybody who might be interested ...

As for me, I know you're all wondering. Like a lot of wives/mothers, my happiness is to a large extent dictated by those in my family. If they're unhappy, so am I. Known as "Kick one, we all limp" where I come from!

There's plenty for me to be doing here, I love being in an English speaking community with no real pressure to learn Spanish (though I start "proper" lessons tomorrow!). I thoroughly enjoy my keep fit by the pool three times a week. Love keeping our tiny bungalow clean (a full time job with four/five of us in there, as well as big dog and various friends/family/acquaintances!) In all, I can't find a single thing about living here that I don't like! So there, I've said it!