Last Saturday, I made a decision not to carry on with the 5:2 diet that I’d been doing for most of May (I’d just concluded my fourth week of 5:2 on that Friday). For those of you that don’t know, the 5:2 diet involves two days of eating 500 calories, and the rest of the week you eat normally (and preferably healthily!) The chart in my 5:2 book said that for my height and weight I should be eating 477 calories, which is what I’d aimed for as normal on that last Friday when I had a ‘fast day’. That day I was on dog walking duty, so I got up and walked Bodhi for about 40 mins (about two miles I think). I usually saved my calories for lunch and dinner so I skipped breakfast and had three ricecakes with light Philadelphia for lunch. I’d had quite a busy day at work and where I work our site is spread out over six or seven buildings so I do spend a fair amount of the day on my feet. By the time I picked up Tom from work that afternoon I was so hungry and weak that I could barely talk, and felt distracted, grumpy and tired. Our plans were to go shopping and then go and do a food shop and I found myself walking around the shopping centre in a bit of a daze, avoiding talking as my brain couldn’t catch up and I could barely summon the energy. By about 6pm when we went into Asda to do a food shop my blood sugar was so low I was genuinely afraid I was going to faint; I felt like my knees were going to give way beneath me. I mentioned on Twitter that I was feeling really faint and got a great tip to buy some ice lollies, as they would give me a bit of sugar, and, still dedicated to the 5:2 cause at this point, were only 40 calories. I felt a little better after an ice lolly and a Diet Coke but went to bed that night feeling a little shaken, and cross with myself that I’d caused it to happen.
The next morning I could barely drag myself out of bed, I felt totally lethargic and energy-less. I’d planned to go for a long run but just getting out of bed felt like a huge task! I had the instant realisation that 5:2 was not for me – I wrote in my last health and fitness update that I’d been obsessing over what I’d eaten, counting calories and feeling guilty all the time, and that, coupled with feeling exhausted and unable to do exercise, made me realise that this new routine was not making a positive contibution to my life. My priority has always been to feel happy and healthy – that, over any number on the scale or waist measurement or dress size is what is most important, and 5:2 was making me feel neither of these. This isn’t to say that it might not work for others, and please don’t think I’m telling people not to do it if it’s working for you (or you think it might) – it’s just that it’s not the right diet for a Rosie that is on her feet a lot, is enjoying exercise and can’t avoid doing physical activity (which is what is recommended on fast days).
Because I do want to be more fit and toned (and lose a bit of weight in a healthy way), I felt like I was back to the drawing board in terms of getting into a routine that would help me meet my goals. I realised however that what I’d been really missing in May with 5:2 was having the energy to do more exercise, and I thought that stepping up the exercise could be what’s needed to help me kick start my weight loss again. As Roisin said when I was chatting on Twitter about a new approach – “Exercise makes me feel good, but restrictive diets make me feel guilty all the time”. Her advice really resonated with me and I knew that stepping up my running and other exercise would help me get into a better frame of mind where I wasn’t obsessing about food all of the time. When I do have a treat or snack on something that isn’t massively healthy, if I’m not exercising I get really angry with myself, but if I know I’ve been for a long run that morning I feel like I can shrug it off, so it’s definitely a better frame of mind for me to be in.
I started last weekend in earnest with two long walks and a run and felt so much better for it. I’ve decided that if May was a month of dieting and calorie restricting, June is going to be a month of exercise and making good choices. I’ve logged the exercise I’ve done this week in my diary, and I’ve also been wearing my FitBit Flex to log my steps, km walked, calories burned and how many ‘very active minutes’ I’ve had (time running or fast walking, though this isn’t always accurate).
Monday – 5 mile walk (1h 10m ‘Very active’)
Tuesday – 3.6 mile run (5.8km), 3 mile walk (1h 40m ‘Very active’)
Wednesday – 20min kettlebell workout (5m ‘Very active’)
Thursday – 3 mile walk (40m ‘Very Active)
Friday – 3.6 mile run (5.8km), 7.8 mile cycle ride, 10 min kettlebell workout (1h ‘Very Active’)
Saturday – 10k walk (1h 30m ‘Very Active’)
I was given a gift card for Lululemon Athletica a few weeks ago and I feel it may be the start of a very expensive habit now! I bought a running t-shirt and running leggings and now I don’t want to wear anything else whilst running, they are so comfortable and well-made. The leggings have a pocket at the back (it is sweat resistant, very clever!) so I can stash my phone whilst running which is awesome as I don’t have to run in a running jacket or gilet anymore (I hate bumbags and armbands). It’s so nice being able to run in a t-shirt or a vest in the warmer weather.
I’m already feeling happier and better after a week of exercise than I would have done after a weekend of counting calories and weighing myself every day. I expectantly took my measurements on Friday hoping there may have been some kind of loss but I know really it’s too early to expect that (as the measuring tape confirmed!) I’m now only weighing myself once a week which I think is going to be much better for me and will hopefully stop the scales-induced guilt. I haven’t lost anything this week but it’s still early days and I know that when you’re exercising more the scales aren’t always the best indicator. I’m unnoficially doing ‘Juneathon‘ (exercise every day in June) and I’ve also been doing the 30 Day Ab Challenge so here’s to abs of steel by July – ha!
I’ve mentioned my FitBit Flex, which you can see on my wrist above, which has been really helpful for motivating me these last couple of weeks. I’m excited to also now be roadtesting the Polar Loop to track my daily activity, so I’ll be reviewing that over the next few weeks once I’ve put it through its paces!
I hope you’ve all had a great start to June – I massively appreciate your support and feedback on these posts so if you feel that way inclined do share your advice and thoughts with me, and let me know how you’re getting on with your health and fitness goals.