You gotta spend some time to buy some time

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

Do you sometimes feel like you are stuck in a bit of a rut? I know I do.

Knowing you have a few (or more) stubborn kilos to shift and that exercise has to play some part can seem daunting.  But the truth is, doing the same thing today that we did yesterday, won’t make tomorrow any different.  Sometimes we just have to climb out of the rut and look around for a new way of doing things. Sometimes a small shift in how we think can make a big shift in what we do.

For me, with the hot days of summer fading fast, I realise I have can no longer hide behind the excuse of ‘its too hot’.  It may be getting darker in the evenings, but there is still enough light and of course the there are the weekends to make good use of. So it is time to set a target and make a change.

City to Surf 2014 is 31 August – about 18 weeks away.  I have read that it is possible to go from couch (potato) to Marathon fit in 18 weeks!  I think that could be a bit of a stretch for me and I am not so sure that my old bones would thank me for such a distance.  I ran 4k a few years ago so if I get back out and do some training I know I can do it again.  This time maybe I should set myself a new goal of 12k.

Time for change

For anyone out there that wonders whether they can do it, know that you can.  There are some wonderful and simple apps for phones that can help you to go from couch to 5k (C2 5K) in five weeks etc, starting at running for 60 seconds and walking for two minutes,. Only running every other day and sessions are 25-30 minutes.  Lets face it, most of us can find that either before we jump in the shower in the morning or before we start prepping our supper in the evening.

I saw a really interesting YouTube – Ted TV video on exercise that pleased me somewhat.  It seems that the evidence is showing that exercise of course is good for us and undoubtedly will increase life expectancy and quality of life.  But the evidence is also showing that while more is better than nothing, less is better than more.  Now that is great news!  It means that we don’t have to aim for marathon distance, or hard exercise for several hours every day.  But we do have to do something – 2-3 times per week that gets the heart working – and keeps it strong.  A brisk walk, Jacobs Ladder, a twenty-minute run/walk.

For those of us who are time poor – and lets face it most of us will say we are, another way to think of it is an hour or two per week spent now plus some brisk walks here and there, will add 2-7 years to our lives.  More importantly, it will likely increase the quality of our lives.  strengthening our lungs, our hearts, improving our balance, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases ranging from diabetes to dementia.

So, will I see you at the start line on 31 August?

 

Smoking – Addiction or Habit

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Smoking

AQuit the Habit todayddiction or Habit?

Call it what you will, I am a reformed smoker, someone that  finally found a way to quit ‘the habit’.

Until recently I never even knew that there were people who believe that smoking is not an addiction.  There is a successful smoking cessation program out there which makes just that claim and not long ago, I had a lengthy discussion with a hypnotherapist colleague of mine on this very issue.  Now this hypnotherapist is someone that I admire greatly and has a high success rate with her program.  If it works it works, so I can’t knock it, but the discussion really made me think, is smoking really only a habit?

As a former smoker my lingo does refer to habit rather a lot, but I find it unfathomable that I continued to smoke for twenty years, out of just habit.  I know I found quitting hard (until I had hypnosis) and habit certainly underpinned so many of the cigarettes that I lit up, from first thing in the morning to last thing at night.  Definitely many were smoked out of habit.  But for me habit also equalled opportunity; walking to the bus stop, waiting for the bus, after a meal, during a break etc.  The times that I didn’t smoke were just events that stood in the way of me permanently having a cigarette in my hand or mouth.  I can’t argue that I smoked many out of habit, but only a smoker knows that itchy feeling of wanting to get out of a meeting for a ‘breath of fresh air’ or needing to cut short some fun time with their kids’ to sneak to the garden shed for a crafty smoke.

If it was just habit why do so many fall off the wagon years down the line?  I have met too many smokers over the years that quit the habit for five, ten, or twenty years, only to light one up during a time of stress, only to pick back up ‘the habit’ once more and at the same heavy rate they smoked previously.  I know that I can never light up even one, if I did, I would be back to 30-a-day.  Fortunately, I have no desire to light up nor to resume the ‘habit’.  Hypnosis definitely helped me to break those ties.  And maybe that is why hypnosis sessions which work on the ‘habit’ are so successful.  Anything that helps a smoker to break the ties, change the patterns of behaviour, break the associations with smoking, must surely bolster them in their endeavours.

But still, habit or addiction, even if it doesn’t really matter, the question nags away at me.  Now, I know there is evidence that proves that smoking is not an addiction.  But there is evidence too that refutes that.  I understand that quantifying addiction is hard. Cigarettes are not like Heroin or Crack Cocaine. There are no rehab establishments for smokers.  They  don’t usually steal to support their ‘habit’, but if it is not an addiction, then how do NRT patches help some people to quit.  Maybe they would quit anyway.  I know when I tried them, they certainly took away the urgency for a smoke, but they didn’t really help with the ‘habitual’ side of smoking. So there we go, back to the habit side of the equation.

I stopped smoking in 2001.  I still have not forgotten the repeated attempts to stop, the pull of the nicotine, hating every cigarette, the taste, the smell, the cost, and standing outside buildings in London on cold wet winter days.  I haven’t forgotten the frustration at lasting five hours and then caving in.   I haven’t forgotten the cravings, the incessant thinking about how I would survive without my ‘old friends?’ the ‘what will I do if I am not smoking?’ feeling.  But all of that is a distant memory, there is no longing.  The memory that lingers most is how danm good it felt when I realised a whole day had passed and I hadn’t even thought about smoking.  I have not forgotten the triumph of realising that I really had quit, and was now among the ranks of the non-smokers.

 

Stress Can Be Good For You

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

That old saying – if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em may prove to be true with stress.

For a long time we have talked about how damaging stress is for our health and well being, but now solid evidence is emerging that it is not stress that harms us, it is our belief that it is harmful which does the damage.

There is another saying that a problem shared is a problem halved.  The YouTube video below seems to back that saying up too.

It shows how important it is to reach out to others in sharing our woes or even in sharing in theirs, we release beneficial hormones that could keep us alive much longer.