Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Working...of a different sort

As you know, I really wanted to do something in my summer here that was purposeful. But as my internship experience fell through I have something else to really put my energy into and that is my health and fitness.

My dad back in Australia is really into exercising and eating well and before I left for the US he said to me, "Don't come back fat!". I pretty much laughed it off as I highly doubted I would gain weight as I'm pretty fussy with my food anyway and I don't like lots of condiments/grease/sugar/etc. If anything I thought I'd lose weight! How naive I was. A big change when I arrived in the US was that I wasn't used to having so much control over the amount I ate. My host parents encouraged me to eat more and didn't tell me to stop eating certain foods(like my mum would "That's enough now.") and I pretty much took full advantage of that. I became addicted to tortilla chips and at my old host family's house we didn't have a lot of pantry space so the extra-large packet of chips would be left out on the counter and I would just keep snacking at them way beyond the point where I became full. I'd almost lost sight of what 'being full' even meant. And then I was invited to various parties/gatherings which is not something I normally would do in Australia so I'd have free reign of waaaaay too much food- tortilla chips galore! Then as things started to go downhill with my old host family, my foreign exchange sister, Hannah and I would be left at home on the weekends we would pig out and spend our days eating food and watching Desperate Housewives. I think I really suffered from emotional eating at that point. Of course, when I went to New York with the exchange students I wasn't depressed or anything; I was eager to take full advantage of the delicious food NYC had to offer! Such as the amazing Hale and Hearty Soups stores which sold delectable deli sandwiches and salads and of course plenty of amazing healthy soups. [Such a brilliant idea for New York where a soup is just what one needs in the cold weather!] I even went to my first Indian restaurant(since being in the US, I mean) there as well as an Italian restaurant which I thought was amazing but the Italian exchange student didn't think it was anything fancy, go figure!

Anyway, where was I? Oh, right. So basically I'd gained 20 pounds in the US. It sounds so much more when it's in pounds than in kilos. Moving to a new host family really gave me a fresh look at things and an opportunity to start afresh. I love america's teen magazine, Seventeen and recently they came out with a new exclusively health and fitness issue. I knew I needed to change up my exercise routine as I was just doing strength exercises and I just wasn't seeing many results. So as I have lots of free time this summer I've taken up their 4 week 'Best Beach Body' plan. This is my third week on the plan and it is really working for me. I'm feeling fitter and I can no longer do my 'pregnant stomach'. Actually my stomach is looking lovely and flat at the moment, if I may say so. Basically a typical workout according to the plan starts with 5 mins of skipping. Then I do one of the cardio dance moves for one whole song. I alternate with my own dance moves because it is very tiring doing two side-lunges, a spin and then a squat; continuously for a whole song. You're supposed to do 6 songs in total but doing three is plenty enough for me. I would like to at least work up to four but if I'm sweaty and red in the face after three I think I'm good. Next is usually a strength workout for a different area of the body. There are different ones for butt, legs, arms and abs. Then as a cool down I do some of the yoga moves in the magazine, which are hard! I've definitely become more flexible now though.  I do this in the morning, usually after breakfast as the workout is so much harder on an empty stomach and then in the evening I got for a 'speed-walk' round the block a couple times. I've been trying to do a jog around the park nearby too but I keep getting shin splints which makes it difficult.

Of course, food is a big part of my new body overhaul so I'll let you know what I'm up to in that regard in an upcoming post.

No comments: