Goal 7: Feel Fitter
Daily Habit: 2 squats per bathroom trip, 2 forms of exercise in the week
Because: I want to re-inspire myself by trying out new things like rock climbing, kayaking, hiking, cycling places I haven’t been, horse riding, sky diving, doing more skiing, so many things that require a certain level of fitness. I’m over my body or confidence in my body stopping me.
As you’ll see, I amended the daily habit for this week; last week it was to do 2 squats per bathroom trip (TICK), this week its to do 2 forms of exercise at any point over the week. That’s not to say I won’t do more but if I do, I’ll be over achieving and I’ve done it because I felt like it and I wanted to. Like I wanted to walk over Cruden Bay Golf Course (where these pictures are taken), can’t believe I hadn’t done that!
Have you ever heard of NEAT? It stands for ‘Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.’ My pal James Smith’s ‘Not a Diet Book’ explains it far better than I’m about to but its essentially all the movement you do outside of your workouts. The standing, walking, fidgeting, chasing the dog for whatever it stole…
With more and more of us reducing our NEAT through sedentary jobs, binge watching TV and automated processes, we’re also reducing our energy expenditure. We burn waaaay more calories through NEAT than we do (on average) in our workouts. My Granny Panny is the Queen of NEAT and she doesn’t even know it.
When you think about our grandparents generation or great grandparents if you’re Granny’s a young’un – there was so little obesity and the gym as we know it wasn’t a thing, Uber certainly wasn’t either! If we take away the access they had to the food we do now, in general they had to move much more. More people had manual jobs, clothes were hand washed (imagine how many calories you’d need to wash hoodies and maxi skirts these days), drills were not electric, less people had cars, you had to go to multiple shops / stalls for your food, no one had big freezers so you had to go to the shops more regularly. Toilets/washhouses were still outside! You just had to move a lot more.
I’m not about to start hand washing clothes, peeing outside or giving up my car to walk 8.3 miles to Lidls for the food shop but I could be doing a lot to increase my NEAT. And all the little things can add up to a much higher energy expenditure which is way less painful than the dreaded HIIT class (you all know my aversion.) I can park my car in a far away space at Lidls, I can do the same for work (when we’re allowed back in the office), I can get scrubbing the kitchen floor (goodness knows it needs it), I can go a day clothes shopping (when we’re allowed, how knackered do you get clothes shopping eh?) I can bake without my beloved Kitchen Aid, I can pull the weeds out in the garden (although they’ve currently got pretty flowers so I’ll leave them for now), I can clear out the laundry cupboard, I can offer to make all the cups of tea or be the one to get up and shut the curtains when its dark or run up the stairs to tell Ross its tea time rather than shouting. I can do all of these things, I can live a more active life and yes these small NEAT things definitely count as being more active. My Granny Panny can attest to that.
I don’t mean this section to be an add on but I do need to get this out; the #blacklivesmatter movement has rightly ramped up after the murder of George Floyd. We have all seen it across the news and social media and I know my white friends and family are using this time to educate themselves. After days of saying nothing on social media, I feel like I have to say something but up until now I haven’t felt ready and I felt like I wanted to take it in and understand as much as I could first. I’ve been honestly thinking about it, I wrote, got an image for and posted 4 different posts on my Instagram last night. I deleted all of them. Each time I posted one, with different captions or images, I felt like I kept making it about me. Even me talking about it on this blog, I still feel like I’m making it about me. But maybe it is supposed to be about me as a white person? That’s not a rhetorical question. I didn’t post a black square on #blackouttuesday because in my eyes if I wanted to amplify black and people of colour’s voices, I would be better not to clog up people’s instagram feeds. I don’t know if it was the right thing to do. I don’t know if what I was going to say in my 4 posts on instagram was helpful, or if I was missing the point but I do know that it makes me uncomfortable to think that I don’t know what the right but also genuine thing to do is and that previous to all of this I have been living in a total bubble and not really thinking about racism all that much. With 92% of Scotland being white I feel totally ignorant. My life is whitewashed and about 95% of my friends and family are white. It wasn’t a conscious choice but I want to make a conscious choice to learn more, to talk about it more openly, to diversify my books, art, education and social media feeds with those I would genuinely engage with so I might have a better understanding . There is so much helpful information out there, that’s always been out there but I’ve been too complacent and comfortable in my own space to do more than have some personal thoughts about it. Now let’s go out and learn and if you have thoughts like ‘all lives matter’ or ‘but there’s not any black people in my village’ please send me a message and I’ll send you articles that have helped me to understand.
Lastly, I came across a post from Leslie Dwight (@lesliedwight) that really resonated with me and I’d like to share it on here too. The words were:
What if 2020 isn’t cancelled?
What if 2020 is the year we’ve been waiting for?
A year so uncomfortable, so painful, so scary, so raw – that it finally forces us to grow.
A year that screams so loud, finally awakening us from our ignorant slumber.
A year we finally accept the need for change.
Declare change. Work for change. Become the change.
A year we finally band together, instead of pushing each other further apart.
2020 isn’t cancelled, but rather the most important year of them all.
Apply that to whatever you need to; George Floyd’s murder and the #blacklivesmatter movement, COVID-19, the time we’ve been given to really think about our own lives, nature, the environment, our relationships…