January 22: Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

fitfor15in15

The snow was so perfect and fluffy, I wanted to swim through it

The three-week mark has delivered some noticeable David Bowie Ch-ch-changes. This morning during my stretches, my elbows touched the ground for a few seconds! Brief, but satisfying (before the pain told me to stop overdoing it!). My jeans weren’t Horrifically Tight – now they’re just Uncomfortably Tight. I feel slimmer in the outer thighs and that makes me happy. Plus, my arms also seem to have lost a few fatty lumps and bumps (plenty more to go!) and feel much stronger. These are all positives to keep the motivation high.

My workout today was another YouTube find from Jessica Smith TV – short, sweet and focused on something I need to do a lot more work on. The butt. Her exercises were really good – some I hadn’t seen before – and it was all over in 15 minutes. The background noise was a little distracting, but if you can overlook (overlisten?) that, then I think you’ll enjoy it. She also gives relevant instructions while you’re doing the exercises to make sure you’ve got the right posture and so on. Thumbs up. I watch the video on my phone and move it around on the floor while exercising. Handy to not have to crane your neck to watch the television.

I went into town today, walking to and from the bus. Once again, I was running late (walking on the road instead of taking the short cut through the fields adds a few minutes which I keep forgetting about), so I had to run for a few minutes down the hill (happy that it wasn’t up hill!). But I stopped when I saw these guys – how nice for them to be outside! Their happy meandering and munching was a good thing to see.

fitfor15in15

Welease Bwian! The cows were an unexpected sight today. Normally they’re in barns during winter. What a great release for them.

This article caught my attention today too – do you think you’re working out wrong? The author makes a good point. Sometimes I feel like a 30-minute exercise video has more benefit than a two-hour walk. Should we be exercising ‘smarter’? As long as we keep mixing it up, I think we’re doing ok. Variety is a good thing. And so are the changes.

Here’s some live Bowie if you fancy.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

fitfor15in15

Walking alongside a little stream on the way home

January 21: Pleasant surprises

Wow, today has been full of surprises. Love surprises!

Please excuse the random thought processes below …

This morning, I acted on a comment from Freda from livesimplysimplylive. I really enjoy checking her site every day; it’s peaceful and inspirational. She mentioned candles, and I’d never thought about using them to add some ambience. The 10 minutes of meditation and five minutes of stretching did feel calmer, so I’ll be lighting a candle during my morning routine every day from now on. Thanks Freda!

After that I did some research to help a friend with his website, then Leo sent me an email with a job advertisement – for an editing job in English. It has really piqued my interest! So I spent the afternoon tweaking my CV and cover letter, and will send them off tomorrow after one last proofread when my mind’s clear. Here’s hoping!

I spoke with my neighbour about the possibility of our visitors, who arrive on Monday, staying in the empty apartment in the main farmhouse for four or five nights. She said yes, so I’ll be cleaning and preparing it on the weekend. Great news!

For some reason, my mind hadn’t switched onto the fact the Australian Open Tennis is in full swing – I love the tennis and can’t believe I haven’t been cheering on my favourite players. It’s been a busy start to the week, but from now on I’ll be watching as much as possible – more than the 20 minutes today. C’mon Roger!

And last but not least, I’ve found another great exercise resource, by complete fluke (and a bit of laziness!). I didn’t have time today to do more than 15 minutes, so typed “15 minute workout” into YouTube on my phone, and found this great resource from Fitness Blender. You do your own warm-up and cool down. It was an intense workout and raised a sweat. I’ll be doing it again, plus the others. Damn burpees!

Wishing you a wonderful day.

January 20: Indulging an embarrassing passion

I have a secret … a confession … it’s a little bit embarrassing. My partner knows about it, and he’s not happy. He can’t stand it. Well, not it … but her. Her name is Marple … Miss Jane Marple … and every now and then I enjoy watching her on television, solving crimes from the early to mid-1900s in England. Leo would rather eat snails.

So today, as the snow bucketed down all morning …

Snow on clothesline

Quite a difference in 20 hours, from yesterday’s clothesline photo

… fitfor15in15 hunkered down in the lounge room, on the little manual step machine thingy, with a tin of red kidney beans in each hand (chickpeas were upstairs!), engrossed in another Agatha Christie whodunit for one hour. Those 60 minutes passed very quickly, and I worked up a good sweat, then watched the remainder of Ordeal by Innocence from the comfort of the couch.

Ooh I love a good murder mystery, and apparently this was one of Aggie’s two personal favourites. It was disappointing to read the version on tele differed quite a lot to her original book (Miss Marple wasn’t even in it!), so I’ll be searching for that when at the library next.

Have you ever been miffed by adaptations of books for the big or small screens? Sometimes I wonder why they even bothered keeping the book’s title, because the endings, or characters, or plot – anything! – when changed, made it a completely different story.

But back to today … My arms feel sore, my legs and bum a bit tight. Overall it wasn’t too stressful … just like walking in the woods, but warmer … and with tin cans … and Miss Marple being all inquisitive and clever.

The idea behind fitfor15in15 is to do a minimum of 15 minutes exercise per day. For me, that means specific exercise, and not what you’d do in your normal day, such as walking to the bus, doing the gardening, or cleaning the house and so on. Making time for 15 minutes every day forms a habit, one that is hard to talk yourself out of.

If you set a goal to exercise every day, you can’t slack off occasionally and say, “Oh, it’s too cold/I’m too tired/there’s not enough time, I’ll exercise tomorrow.” That’s why I’ve chosen a MINIMUM of 15 minutes per day. Some days you feel like doing more, or have time to do more, and some days you don’t. And on the days you don’t, those little 15 minutes of knee lifts or squats or sit ups or twists – whatever takes your 15-minute fancy – keep the habit going, keep you motivated, and keep you moving.

In 2014, I became quite sloth-like. I was beginning to believe I’d been one in a former life. If it required moving, I’d get it over and done with as quickly as possible and then flop back on the couch. Inactivity was the norm, and that became scary. I’d never been a lazy person before – always on the go and happy to be that way. So for three weeks now, I’ve been moving, and am reaping the benefits already – I had to run the last 100m for the bus today, and made it.

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. Tomorrow is January 21. I think I’m a convert. And while some days will be good ones, like today with 60 minutes, I know some days I’ll be struggling with 15. But that’s alright, don’t you think? Recognising the struggle will make the ‘victory’ so much sweeter.

Wohlen Switzerland

Walking to the bus on the road – the snow’s too deep to take the shortcut through the fields

fitfor15in15

Both beanie and jacket hood required today!

January 19: A day of silence

Today was a day of silence. I went outside to go to the laundry room and was so astonished I stopped in my tracks – no tractors in the fields, no cars or machinery noise coming from the council workshop nearby, no wind. It was the right moment. After a while though, I realised it wasn’t actually silent. I could hear snow clumps falling off trees in the forest and water trickling from the gutter. And then it started to snow. Today was another day to feel very happy about where we live.

Snow covered clothes line

Needless to say I didn’t hang the washing on this line

Solar lights in snow

I don’t think the solar lights will be working tonight

So with a clear head it was time to exercise! I ummed and ahhed about what to do and decided on another YouTube workout. When I saw Jillian Michaels’ Six-week Six-pack Abs Workout Level 1, I had to try it, knowing how weak my abs are. But what? Once again, I couldn’t get the volume to work (occasionally we have this problem when watching things off the internet on our television), so I did the workout in silence. Well, not complete silence, because there was plenty of my huffing and puffing. Despite ‘missing out’ on all the motivational talk (maybe that’s a blessing?!) and the odd instruction, it was doable without the sound.

Michaels performs the classes with two other women, who give beginners and advanced examples while she does the intermediate. Again, I couldn’t do all the beginner’s exercises. These gals are very fit! But I worked up a serious sweat, and feel good. It goes for about 35 minutes including warm-up and cool down.

Do you have a collection of fitness DVDs or internet workouts you’ve been neglecting? I just go with whatever takes my fancy, and doubt I would or could follow a six-week daily course. That seems too regimented – for me fitfor15in15 is all about variety.

Speaking of variety, how are these for some eggs! My friend Kanjana, who we visited for lunch on Friday, works at an egg factory in Bern, and gave some special eggs to Pastora, Iva and I. I’ve never seen eggs so big! And they are double yolkers! So here’s my lunch today.

Double yolk eggs

Lunch of champions! Great egg-laying skills from some very large hens

Big egg

They weigh over 100 grams. We received a carton of 10 – so far five have been doubles, and one a very large single

As an aside, the Germans and Swiss Germans call men’s testicles eggs, whereas we call them balls. Chuckle chuckle. Sorry, did I just put you off your breakfast?! 🙂

Wishing you a wonderful day.

January 18: Walking to Möriswil

Yesterday’s weather induced cabin fever, so when the sun came out today it was time to make the most of it. Plus I’d promised to make things a bit more interesting, too, and that means getting out of the house!

The walk took us on a snow-covered Wanderweg path to the little village of Möriswil, around the forest and through some empty crop fields, back past my favourite house and garden (apart from ours, of course), then home.

I hope you enjoy the gallery of photos from our 90 minute wander.

January 17: Bad weather + no motivation = 15 minutes again

Beautiful snow and the desire to be lazy kept us indoors today. I printed a handful of pictures for the hanging photo mobile Christmas present from Gabby, read a little bit and watched some episodes of Inspector Montalbano and Grand Designs.

This morning’s meditation was a bit different – because the office was noisy (with whirring computers doing updates), I sat on the bed near the window. After about five minutes, it was impossible to keep my eyes closed, knowing how wonderful it looked outside. So I sat in contemplation, wide-eyed, listening to the music, watching the flakes float steadily down. It was pretty heavenly.

It’s okay to change it up, don’t you think, when something so mesmerising and calming is happening around you?

But yet again, this lazy phase means it’s after 11pm and I still haven’t done my 15 minutes. I need to form a weekend habit to exercise before noon. This is becoming a bit silly.

So excuse me again, while I get stuck into some sit ups and so on …

Well, I think that’s going to hurt tomorrow! I thought I’d try for 15 minutes of sit ups … after two minutes of full sit ups, holding the tins, I checked the stopwatch. Then again at three minutes. So I called it quits after five minutes. Then I did eight minutes of leg exercises (four different exercises, for one minute each, lying on my right, then left, side), one minute of bent knee push ups, then one minute of arm exercises with the tins.

I promise I’ll mix it up a bit more in the next few days, for your (and my) sanity!

Speaking of mixing it up, I thought you might like to read some articles I found interesting this past week from a variety of sources – friends posting things on social media, websites I read and so on.

1. Aussie scientists may have a new fat-burning solution

2. Why exercise doesn’t always help you lose weight

3. Optimistic people have healthier hearts

4. Otters derailing conversations – something humorous to break up these health stories!

5. Zero Waste Home’s one year of waste – I read this blog regularly. Bea is an amazing, focussed woman!

Wishing you all a wonderful remainder of the weekend.

From green to white, overnight

From green to white, overnight

I know why yesterday was a weird day, but it’s all white now. Badoom tish!

Well, whadiyaknow?!

Yesterday’s strange, pressured feeling all makes sense. The snow express has delivered again – from green to white, overnight! And at 9.41am, it’s still snowing quite heavily.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

January 16: Feeling the pressure

Strange things were afoot today. I met with Pastora and Iva at Kanjana’s house, and all of us were nearly comatose at the lunch table. For a normally rambunctious lot, we had no energy, felt weird and accident prone – so we blamed it on the weather.

I’m no expert on thermometers or barometers, but there was something going on today that threw us all off kilter – kind of like mango season in Australia’s tropics, when everyone goes a little bit kurr-ayyzzzzie. But in our case, we just went zzzzzz.

The morning started fine – I had to check the timer on my phone twice to make sure I hadn’t set the wrong program for the 10 minutes of meditation, because it felt like it was over and done with in five. That was a wonder.

My stretches still twang in all the right places, and I’m positive my elbows are getting closer to the ground. I even buckled my belt one notch tighter, but maybe that’s because my jeans need a wash. And I swear I bounded my way to the bus stop.

Then hours later, we (and I feel like I’m not speaking out of turn by grouping us all in this malarky) were flatter than pancakes. As soon as I came home, I went kurr-ayyzzzzie – in my pyjamas on the couch.

It’s nearly 11pm and I haven’t done my 15 minutes of actual exercise for today. I could cheat and say walking to and from the bus counts, but I consider that to be everyday life stuff. I have this notion in my head that fitfor15in15 has to be at least 15 minutes of specific exercise per day, so excuse me while I keep this blog post open for 15 minutes and get down.

So there you have it. The chick pea tins came to my rescue again for a good arm workout as I did a variation of squats and lunges. Then some ab work, such as plank (20 seconds! Hopeless!) and sit ups, plus push ups (still on my knees) and boxing moves. I wonder if this is going to wake me up or if I’ll be out for the count as soon as my head hits the pillow … in, oh, 15 seconds.

Can you remember a time when the weather wreaked havoc on your head, rather than on your house? They say it’s going to snow tomorrow, so maybe that has contributed to a very strange day.

Hope today’s not one of those days for you. I hope it’s wonderful.

January 15: Dance like no one’s watching

Yesterday, my friend Jackie suggested I should add “Dance like no one’s watching” into my fitfor15in15 regime. It was such a brilliant idea, I did it today.

But which songs to choose? There’s so many that make me want to dance like a maniac. Half the fun was making the playlist this morning, and putting them in a cool order (and one that would give me a few seconds to catch my breath when needed!) for my workout this afternoon.

Finally, I settled on 10 songs totalling 40 minutes. Dancing (ESPECIALLY when no one is watching) is a serious business. I haven’t danced this hard since Phil and Ellie’s wedding in London on December 21. (She’s touring in the UK this year – go and watch her be funny!) And now that I think of it, maybe that’s where I injured the ball of my left foot?! Hmmm …

With this, as inspiration, out my window …

Sunset in the forest

Sunset in the forest

… I tried to channel Christopher Walken, then put my head down, arms out and bum up, non-stop for 40 minutes.

Here’s my playlist, with YouTube links. I’m not clever enough to embed a playlist for you, sorry. First up is a warm-up song, then eight great tracks, and my fave as the warm down …

Dance with Somebody – Mando Diao

Can We Go Wrong – Hesta Prynn

The Great Escape – We Are Scientists

Punching In a Dream – The Naked and Famous

Jailbreak – AC/DC

Atomic – Blondie

Lonely Boy – The Black Keys … Mum, if you’re going to watch one video, make it this one. I think you’ll like it!

Zero – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

My Delirium – Ladyhawke

Map of the Problematique – Muse

By the time Jailbreak was finished, and what with all my air drumming, I was really sweating and had to fold my shirt up to cool down. Our house is so well heated it felt like a bikram yoga studio. Luckily we live rural and no one walks past our windows, otherwise they would have been treated to the sight of my crĂšme brĂ»lĂ©e belly doing it’s own thing as I jumped around.

Leo came home with two songs to go, and promptly went outside to look at something far more attractive …

Sunset on the Alps

Sunset on the Alps

Thanks for a great exercise suggestion, Jac – it’s definitely been one of my most fun workouts and I can’t wait to do it again. By the end, I looked like this …

Dance with nobody: I'm glad I didn't make the playlist any longer!

After dancing with nobody: I’m glad I didn’t make the playlist any longer!

Which songs would you put into your Dance Like No One’s Watching playlist?

Wishing you a wonderful day.