The Last Moments of Pre-lockdown Madness
These days, in the days of lockdown, of the fear and inability to make plans, in these days of frustration, there is a sense of urgency attached to many actions. We hear a whiff of impending lockdown, and instantly start mentally cataloguing our toilet paper inventory, and working out what needs to be done, in order to survive the next spell of suspended lifestyle.
For me, this often falls into one of two camps: socialising or exercising. Whilst I would love to be a better person, and fess up that I spend my last minutes of freedom collecting nettles for a spring tonic, or gazing at the sunset, what I am more likely to be doing is grabbing a well-made gin with a few good friends. Lately however, I have noticed that I am succumbing to pre-lockdown exercise panic attendance. With the lockdown lurking, I feel both frustrated enough to need to bounce out my annoyance at the lack of control over my life, and awareness that I am exercising less than usual. This kills me. I am normally a “gym three times a week, plus teaching pilates, walking, and an occasional run” type of girl. Lockdown took much of this away from me. I kept walking, and I still do pushup and ab crunches in the mornings, but it’s not the same for your fitness as a Body Attack class, or as good for getting rid of anger as a Cardio Box class. Do I need to punch something legally every now and again? Totally..
So now, with the sun shining, and the days starting to emerge from the winter gloom, I am endeavouring to get out to enjoy the times that I have in the sun, and to engage with gym workouts in the times that they are open.
Exercise is the key to wellness, to managing stress, to staying strong and capable in the face of the impending creep of age. When I exercise, I feel full of bounce, and strong and capable. The cruelty for me, is that this bout of dis-exercise has co-incided with the introduction of menopause. Whilst I have managed all the symptoms such as hot flushes and mood swings, with herbs and habits, the other main mill-stone of menopause is unrelenting weight gain, particularly around the mid-section. I suspect that had I maintained my usual exercise regime, I may have managed this faintly more effectively, but for now, it is an issue which I ponder with curiosity and concern. Why do I have this thickness through the middle? I still have a strong core, I maintain reasonable fitness, but the body feels compelled to put some weight on around the waist and tummy, in a “saving something to later” way, as though instead of going through a change in hormones, I was embarking upon preparation for famine.
Some of the responses that I find works well to combat this issue is to continue to exercise when I can, but also to change how I eat. It is not reasonable to go on eating the same amount of food, or even type of food at 50, as we did are 30. We are not the same human being, we have different energetic needs, our cells have different requirements. I often suggest moving to a low carb diet, as the removal of processed foods helps to clear much of the detritus which adds to the burden of weight gain. In clinic, I often use the Ultra Lite diet with patients as it allows them to learn how to eat low carb real food, lose weight, and feel great. This sets them up to be able to go on eating more healthy low carb choices to maintain a healthy weight.
I also find that limiting the feeding window can help to support how the body is able to use stored energy (ie. the adipose fat deposited cleverly around my midriff), to run, instead of relying upon additional intake of food, and leaving the stored energy jiggling on my belly.. I usually suggest doing this after doing a few months of low carb, as you are then better able to use stored fat for energy, and less likely to suffer from cravings and low blood sugar.
So if you are struggling to get your focus back to exercise, or are frustrated by a gain in weight, please reach out to me in clinic. Even in lockdown, I am happy to chat on the phone, or via video call, to discuss diet, exercise, energy, and how to create change. If you are in the Geelong West area, I am available to conduct a Walking Consultation, meeting at the carpark of the clinic, and walking the streets for 40 minutes, engaged with a discussion of your health concerns. Please wear good walking shoes, I enjoy a good brisk walking pace…
I will still enjoy a quiet gin on a sunny Sunday afternoon, even without the company of good friends, as I know that they will be there, when this lockdown lifts. And for now, exercise and healthy diet allows me to regain a sense of my self again, without the overwhelm that unrequited change brings. Exercise and diet help me also to sleep soundly, supporting my ability to maintain a good sense of perspective that lockdown, like all things, soon shall pass.
24 August 2021.