I’ve got a question to ask: how much is too much? I mean this in terms of exercise. When do you know when you’ve crossed the line from healthy, active lifestyle to obsessed gym junkie?
November. From this day on it will be renamed ‘No Alcohol November’.
This is a scary prospect. Now, for a lot of people in the running/Operation Fit & Fabulous/30 Day Ab Challenge/general wellbeing awesomeness world of Twitter & blogging, this first sentence would not be anything to be afraid of. In fact, it would probably be totally achievable and not that far from the norm.
I don’t want to start any kind of debate about alcoholism here, as quite clearly that is something very serious & very different. What I do want to do is acknowledge something that I have been thinking about a lot recently – and that is the fact that alcohol plays a massive part in my life.
I graduated from university in 2008, and in the three years leading up to this, an awful lot of my time was spent going out & getting drunk. I have very different opinions on the student culture now to what I did back then, and truth be told, you couldn’t pay me enough money to go back to that time. But even with my student days well behind me, I still don’t think there would have been a time in the last few years (in fact, probably since before I was 18) that I would have gone a whole month without having an alcoholic drink.
Drinking is so engrained in our culture – it is the default suggestion for dates, catching up with friends, killing time whilst waiting for a train. It is also so closely linked with celebrations & commiserations – weddings, birthdays, funerals, even a bad day at work is used as an excuse to head to the nearest pub. We drink when we’re happy, we drink when we’re sad.
Our generation binge drinks like no other generation has done before. We have no idea what kind of damage we could be doing to our bodies. We all know about liver damage, but no one ever thinks this will happen to them. Who knows what kind of health problems we could be causing ourselves for the future?
Over the past six weeks, as part of Operation Fit & Fabulous, I have been thinking a lot about what I am doing to my body – what I am eating, what I am drinking & how much exercise I’ve been doing. Although I haven’t been 100% successful in keeping up with all of the missions, it has always been on my mind. There have been a lot more conscious decisions made around meals. There’s been a lot more talking myself into going to the gym. But I haven’t changed my attitude to alcohol at all.
A perfect case in point: last weekend. Sunday. A hangover sent straight from hell. Ten hours of pain, moaning, bed, sofa and the boyfriend having to wait on me hand & foot. A day wasted. Money (literally) flushed down the toilet. I was miserable. I hated myself for it. I haven’t touched alcohol since.
And I intend to carry this on for the next month. I am fascinated to see what happens. I am intrigued as to what my friend’s reactions will be. I want to see how much money it will save me, how it will effect how I feel about social situations, whether it will turn me into a hermit. But most of all, I am looking forward to the guarantee that I will not have even the slightest hangover for a whole month.
Right, so here it is. My before picture.
Everything that I’ve committed to in my last post is about me feeling better, feeling healthier. Even though I said how I hadn’t lost any inches from my Operation Fit & Fabulous measurements, I don’t really expect to. I want to feel better about my general wellbeing. How you feel about yourself is relative to each person – I know I’m not fit. Whatsoever. And, for me, that is what this is about.
The challenge for week six of Operation Fit & Fabulous is to focus on one specific part of your body that you feel needs particular attention. I think this is great – the idea isn’t to obsess about it but to make sure you give that one area particular focus to achieve results.
I was debating for a while whether I should choose my arms (aka bingo wings) or midriff (aka love handles). I have felt some improvements to the tone of my arms thanks to pump & boxing, so will naturally continue to do so. So I’ve decided that as any weight gain (and therefore insecurity) heads straight to my stomach/sides/hips area (via the chin), this is going to be my target area.
Which leads me on nicely to thrutheblue‘s 30 Day Ab Challenge, which I have also decided to sign up to. I’m not sure if this is the best idea given that I’m already lagging well behind the amazingness of the rest of the Operation Fit & Fabulous crew. But all I need to think about is how much I dislike my middle right now & how I haven’t managed to shift even a single millimetre from my OFAF measurements, and I know that this is something I need to do.
Here goes. In the spirit of only a good idea being worth copying, here’s my 30 Day Ab Challenge commitments, thrutheblue style:
I will complete at least the following every week:
– Monday night pump class
– Monday night boxing class (if my boxing partner, Felicity, is unavailable, then at least 30 minutes cross training instead)
– At least one more gym session per week, for between 60-90 minutes
– At least one run per week
This isn’t that much & really should be the bare minimum, but I’m not going to over commit. This is what I should realistically be able to manage – week in, week out.
I will drink 2 litres of water (okay, it’s not going to be water, it’s going to be sugar free squash) every single day
– I will eat healthy, full meals, at sensible times of the day
– I will only snack on ‘good’ snacks (no more 3pm dash to the vending machine for my mini hob nob fix)
– I will eat as much fruit & veg as possible
Now, this is the biggy. I am going to commit to not drinking ANY alcohol for the month of November. I’m going to post separately on this, but let me just say this – THIS WILL BE TOUGH. Probably tougher than the whole of the rest of the challenge put together.
Then I just have one final commitment. I am going to try to take on a new mantra, one that is in fact the complete opposite to my default attitude – go hard or go home. Usually, I’m a ‘make a moderate effort, then go home for a glass of red’ kinda person, so to think like this will really hurt. Melissa used it in her expectations post, and my boyfriend says it so much I joke he should get it as a tattoo. I can get on board with everything else that the post asks of the participants, but this one is just not in my nature. Nevertheless, I promise to keep these five words in the forefront of my mind for next month – I’m relying on them to get me through.