Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Unemployment = Lots of chances to get fit!

The thing about being unemployed is that you have a lot of spare time. Don't get me wrong I do spend a sizeable amount of time calling people, editing my resume and sending stuff out, but once all thats done Im still left with eons of spare time. And a few weeks ago I had a bit of an emotional meltdown. To cut it short I was frustrated. I was bored out of my mind and I probably wasn't doing much good by literally spending ALL day at my computer typing. And most of all I felt overwhelmed by the pressure of finding work, because getting work means we can find a house to live in and once we have a house we can move out of our in laws who no undoubtedly have been extremely generous having us live with them but I certainly don't want to over extend our welcome you know? Again I felt the pressure like a huge wage coming over me and all I had at my disposal was a little pathetic row boat. Much like this:

Finally I had had enough I needed to do SOMETHING! But what? My Mum and husband told me to do the things I love which I didn't have much time for when I was working. One of those things was cross stitching. I love love love cross stitching. Its essentially pixel art but with a needle and coloured thread and its relaxing while functional because you're making something with your hands and you get encouraged as you get certain sections completed, much like a giant jigsaw. So anyway, the hubby told me to buy a pattern and get on with it, so I bought the pattern of the picture above. Its a classical Japanese piece of art called 'The Great Wave off Kanagawa' that was done by a fellow called Hokusai and was completed sometime between 1830-33. Its a gorgeous painting and I felt it was very reflective of my life right now. 

The other thing I have always meant to jump into (but working 40 hrs a week for the first time in my life knocked me to the ground physically) was getting back into doing more physical activity, monitoring my diet and hopefully losing some weight. 10 kg to be exact. I currently weigh 84 kg which is about 186 lb I think. Anyway Ive felt overweight for the longest time and have always yo-yo'ed losing and gaining back 5 kg. I never seem to have lost more than 5kg. I'll admit, Ive had some bad eating habits sneak into my life and the thing with gaining weight is that it comes up on you in sneaky subtle ways to begin with. I won't go into detail as to how I got over weight except to say I went from an extremely trim 55 kg athletic high schooler to an 84 kg 26 year old. What happened? College. It became my life and my idol for a solid 3 years, then add another 2 years when it suddenly stopped being my idol to a torturous frustration that I just hoped would just end so I could graduate and move on with my life. Everything else came in last place to my schooling and grades and at the bottom of the trash pile was my physical health. So there you go. I realise now, that back then I had zero comprehension of how to look after my body while it was in constant survival mode. During a certain period I was so poor I could only afford to feed myself once a day, then once I returned home for the summer I just ate and ate and ate whatever I could find and put in my mouth.  Imagine that for 2 years straight. Not healthy.

So as of the 25th February I joined MyFitnessPal.com which is a fantastic website that helps you track the nutrition of what you're eating and the exercise that you do. I find the app on my smartphone extremely helpful because I could be out or cooking in the kitchen and I can take a quick picture of a barcode and it will send the product and the serving size I choose to my home page where I track my meals. You can also put in internet recipes or your own recipes and it will calculate the nutrition value of the serving. Essentially it does all the hard calculating for you. This is very helpful as Ive tried calorie counting in the past but it was so arduous. Ive found this website to be helpful in keeping me accountable to what I put in my body, particularly sugar and salt. Boy when you start reading the labels of all you're favorite foods you start thinking Yikes! When you join the website program asks you to state your gender, weight and height and level of current physical activity and how much weight you want to lose. Then it calculates what level of nutrition quotas you should aim for. To lose weight you essentially aim to be under your quota of calories, fat, sodium and sugar and strive for the right level in protein and vitamins etc. To do this well you have to be extremely truthful about what you eat, no cheating allowed! The system is of course cheatable as you can state you ate a piece of lettuce but in reality you ate a whole cake. But YOU know its cheating, YOU know it won't result in lost weight.  Heres a snap shot of what the daily meal counter looks like:

Keeping under your daily nutrition goal is also helped with exercise. Sweating in exercise and eating appropriately before and afterwards helps a long way. Because I grew up hiking a lot and walking trails Ive decided to get back into that. In January I made my New Years Resolution to complete the Grouse Grind which is a very steep 2 hour hike up Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver near where I live. So far Im well on my way to meeting that goal hopefully by late spring or early summer. Ive been 'training' on the foothills behind our house. The foothills are part of the same body of mountains that make up Mt Seymour, Grouse Mountain and Cypress Mountain which in turn become part of the North Shore Mountains.  I think the nearest mountain peak to my house is Eagle Mountain which towers over Buntzen Lake nearby.

So far Ive been hiking up two tracks, the first is a loop up and around Heritage Blvd in Port Moody where I live:

You can see on the picture that it gets quite steep from Jacobs Rd to Eagle Drive. That was a hard hike to get used to at the beginning but now I really enjoy it!
The second trail I take is called the Coquitlam Crunch which I tried out for the first time today. Boy I tell you the first 500 m are tough but after that it is really enjoyable. I accidentally left my headband near the top today and I didn't realised I left it til I was halfway down so I had to hike up again! Luckily I found it again, phew! It was a huge but awesome work out.

The section between the bottom part of Lansdowne Dr and David Ave was the tough bit. After that it was a walk in the park! Literally. Once I got to the top my legs were so used to it I would have loved to have walked further but by then I was really hungry and had to head home for lunch. Next time I'll bring some snacks.

Anyway, thats me for now. If I do more trails I'll add them here. Im trying to explore all sorts of different areas that the Greater Vancouver has to offer. Til next time!

No comments: