More Sleep and Financial Incentives

My wife and I were talking about the exercise/nutrition situation in our house, and we decided that we’d split half her piano tuition income into extra of what we call “Fun Money”. For those who are budgeters, you probably know what I’m talking about. After all the income has been allocated out to bills, expenses, groceries, petrol, and whatever else – fun money is the money that’s left that’s yours to spend on whatever you like – books, DVDs, trips to the movies, or (in the case of my wife) coffees from coffee shops.

However, the one thing we’ve never really budgeted is the money from a couple of piano lessons my wife teaches, and so the money usually gets diverted into other extra expenses that come up.

But this time, we decided that we wanted to see if we could both challenge each other to the 200 Sit-Ups challenge (along the lines of the Hundred Pushups I’m already working on) – and if both of us can keep it up, then we get extra “Fun Money”. I’m not sure why, but the idea of an extra 20 bucks to spend in a month is highly, highly motivating. But it now means I need to add sit-ups to the list of exercise … I’m sure it will work.

The other one I need to work on, as well, is the old nemesis of the late bedtime. Late bedtimes are rather insidious. They seem like a good idea at the time, because they contain more fun stuff – extra TV, extra reading, extra chatting with my wife. But then they also lead to a later waking time – and it’s early in the morning when the beneficial (but less fun) activities of exercise and writing get done. (At least for me – I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like doing anything productive after 9pm, so if it doesn’t get done in the morning, it doesn’t get done.)

So I need to work on that as well – though a sneaky part of me just wants to let it ride until daylight saving is over because then my body clock will be perfectly ready for the new 6am… We’ll see.

Day 14 of 90: Improving

Well, last week hasn’t been too bad. Got through all three sessions of push-ups (though still thinking it’s going to be a tall order to try to do more tomorrow morning – but I’ll worry about tomorrow when it comes). Missing the green smoothies, but I’ve noticed that I have less cravings for junk food than I used to.

On the whole, this is not too bad and I’m feeling more confident about future weeks.

Day 10 of 90: Broken Blender

I forgot to mention this yesterday, but we broke the blender. We’d had it for all of two weeks from Bing Lee and the thing broke on us. Very disappointing.So no green smoothies for the moment.

Today’s Australia Day BBQ went quite well, and I found I managed to eat heaps of food without feeling ill afterwards. What did do me in was the pizza that I had at another friend’s house. I don’t know what it is about pizza, but I just felt bloated and lethargic for an hour or so afterwards. I feel more sensitive about these things now – as if I can tell very quickly if I am ingesting lots of toxins. Interesting.

I shall look forward to tomorrow.

Day 9 of 90: Starting to Enjoy Myself

Hi all,

I didn’t get to blog yesterday (Day 8), but I decided on a whim to switch the pushups to Monday, Wednesday and Friday and start again from Week 1 Day 1. And definitely on a lower strand this time, which meant less push-ups per set.

So I tried out the second strand (there’s a lower one again if you really struggle with push-ups) and, while still challenging, it was a heck of a lot easier than what I attempted last week. And to my surprise, when I’d got through it all, I’d actually performed 26 push-ups in under 10 minutes. That, to me, is not too bad. So I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

I got my walk in today, which was nice. And I’m still avoiding junk food during the week. (Except for the birthday cake on Monday which turned out to be cupcakes instead … they were awesome.)

I’m steeling myself that I’m going to have to be prepared for tomorrow, because it’s Australia Day and we’re invited to a barbecue. I love barbecues but (like most people, I think) I find that I tend to eat way more at a barbecue than I should. And I’m not just worried about that from a health perspective – it’s usually the equivalent of getting a horse tranquiliser and I don’t feel like doing much more than curling up in a ball and sleeping while nursing my stomachache.

Nah, not really my ideal plan for the day. So tomorrow I’ll try to be a bit more restrained. I’ll report back and let you know how it goes.

Day 4 of 90: More Pain

I hate to say it – but I did not get any more pushups done today. I was hoping to, but I woke up this morning with quite nasty pain in my upper arms. It seems that I’m still recovering from Tuesday. I might have pushed it worse than I at first thought. So my current plan is to try again next week on a much milder level to start with and see how it goes.

Now to go see if there’s enough ingredients for a green smoothie …

Day 3 of 90: Pain

Forget what I said about the pushups yesterday – how it felt yesterday is nothing to how it compared today. So to go for a gentle walk for some exercise seemed rather mild in comparison. We’ll see how things go for the second round of pushups tomorrow…

Day 2 of 90: Hundred Pushups

When you start the hundred pushups program, you’re asked to do a test lot of push-ups and then, based on that, you’re put in one of three streams.

I got through all of 12 the other day and so was dropped into the first stream, which had about 5 sets of pushups. First 10, wait for 60 seconds, then 12, wait for 60 seconds … there were another three to go after that, but I sort of collapsed on the floor in a heap after that.

I’ll just pretend I got through 8 the other day. Don’t get me wrong – I’m keen to try again – it’s just that for today, my arms are saying, “Nooooo…..”

Also, despite my best intentions about food – I found myself eating (on autopilot almost) chocolate chips out of the fridge. (Once the packet gets opened in our house, it’s on for young and old…). I pulled myself up, but it does go to show how much these things are in the subconscious.

Day 1 of 90: Why I Hate Doctors

I mentioned on Twitter a few days ago that I was thinking of setting myself a small, achievable health challenge starting today. Well, I have started, and I decided that I would blog about it as I went. I’m normally not one for sharing health concerns left, right and centre, but nonetheless I have discovered after I tackled the Couch to 5K last year that there’s something about putting my intentions out into cyberspace that makes me stick to things longer than normal.

I’m not that great at sticking to things, you see. I think my personality type likes starting things, but finishing things is not my strong point…which is, oddly enough, the exact opposite of my wife, who loves finishing things.

Anyway, before I start to waffle any further, here’s where things are at:

I want to feel more fit. I don’t have a target weight I want to be, or anything like that – but for the last couple of years, every time I go to the doctor, my blood pressure creeps up a bit worse; every time I get a cholesterol test, it looks worse than it did before. In other words, on the scale of things, my health is in decline. To be honest, it’s gotten to the stage where I’m rather terrified of going to the doctor for fear that they’ll diagnose that it’s so bad that I’ve got six months to live. Yeah, there’s issues of mortality there which I probably need to tackle, because I’ve got a limited run on the planet one way or the other.  I know this. But part of me thinks that shortening that run because of something as stupid as, say, liking corn chips is really stupid.

So I’m trying for 90 days to see if I can bring about some changes. I don’t want to set up a huge, daunting routine, and also I’m currently in need of a new pair of running shoes (ruined by aforementioned Couch to 5K), so I don’t want to get into running again right at the moment. So I’m going to try three things:

1) Doing some exercise six days a week. I’m thinking a half-hour walk on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, I thought I might have a crack at one hundred pushups, because I’ve usually focused on walking/running and haven’t really done much muscle work and it sounds like a good challenge. More on that tomorrow.

2) Avoiding junk food on weekdays. This is not an easy one. I hate to admit it (I much prefer looking perfect – don’t you?), but junk food tends to call me, on average, every two days. Sometimes every day. We have a bit of a love/hate relationship, but that’s another story. Either way, I want to see if I can avoid it on weekdays. (We’ll see how we go on weekends.) The exception to this is the traditional office birthday cakes, which are always awesome. But only one piece.

3) Having a green smoothie every day. If you’ve never had one, they are the most phenomenal invention. You take some greens (lettuce, spinach, etc.) add slightly more fruit than greens, a bit of water, and blend it into a drink in a blender. Because there’s more fruit than greens, it takes like fruit and not like spinach. But because there’s so many greens in there, you get a much bigger hit of vegetables than you would if you were eating a salad. It’s quite ingenious.

Anyway, so far the walk is ticked off, so is the junk food (but it was cake day – so that probably didn’t help) and I’m about to go and drink the green smoothie that I just blended up. And because this blog post is long and banal enough, I shall go post a review I wrote a while back that I haven’t had a chance to get up, just to break the monotony.