April 16: Skipping, a nice surprise and day two of fasting on the 5:2 Diet

While outside this afternoon, putting seed into the bird feeder, I heard the sound of alphorns from a neighbouring village wafting on the breeze. I love the sound of those horns – it’s so melodic and calming. Swissrose, are you often surprised by such sweet sounds too?

To make the most of it, I abandoned my plans to do yoga and grabbed my skipping rope for 15 minutes. Luckily, the constant (and sometimes sporadic!) thwack on the concrete terrace didn’t drown out their songs. A huge falcon was circling over the forest as well, so right now, after listening, exercising and nature spotting, I feel very relaxed.

A day with no plans meant a day of fasting. After the success of the first fast day on Monday, where I almost gave myself lockjaw eating a massive salad, I knew today was going to be more than achievable. So here’s how I broke down the 500 calories allowed on the 5:2 Diet:

  • Breakfast: 100g natural yoghurt with 5g goji berries – 64 and 16 calories
  • Lunch: 63g boiled egg – 102 calories
  • Snack: 104g kiwi fruit – 63 calories
  • Dinner: Stir fry thingy: 54g carrot – 22 calories, 214g zucchini – 36 calories, 50g bacon – 157 calories, tspn olive oil – 40 calories
  • Grand total: 500 calories exactly

By not having Monday’s glass of milk with protein powder, there was room to make a more appealing dinner. But I’ve promised I won’t waffle on too much about the 5:2 Diet, so here endeth my talk of food.

It’s been a day spent on the computer. I wrote another book review, sent a job application and sorted out my iPad’s detachable keyboard, so I now know what the function, alt and command keys actually do. And no, I didn’t find the exclamation mark. (Oh no, I hear you say!) I did find an upside down exclamation mark and a lot of Greek-looking symbols so I think this keyboard isn’t set up for English typing! Not to worry! (Can you tell I’m using my normal computer?! … !!!)

For giggles, I also looked at my stats for posts on fitfor15in15. By far the most popular story I’ve written is “The KonMari Method, with gusto!” Published on February 2, the story has been read every day without fail, and as of this afternoon, it’s been viewed 478 times. I have no idea how readers are being led to it, but I’m guessing most traffic comes from searching the internet for information about decluttering expert Marie Kondo and her KonMari Method (read my review of her book here).

Living with less is a very popular topic, which has been gaining momentum for years. And this month it cracked the bastion of buy buy buy consumerism – Vogue Magazine. I originally read the story of Prerna and Parag Gupta on LifeEdited.com and went to the Vogue website to read the whole story, here. All these kinds of stories make my eyes widen and my pulse race. I love hearing about people who’ve packed it all up and in, so to speak, to downsize, de-stress and hit the road.

Sometimes I wish I’d sold or given away all my things in Australia. They’re all currently stored in mum’s unit block, and I pay for the privilege of keeping memories. Every time I visit, I check to see it hasn’t flooded or isn’t infested with cockroaches and occasionally search for something I think I’ll need (like a trench coat, which I didn’t wear once this winter). I know, in the future, I’m going to wonder why I kept this stuff. I’m beginning to wonder about it now.

  • Physically Fit: Skipping for 15 minutes
  • Mentally Fit: Sorting out my iPad keyboard; applying for a job in Zurich; alphorns and the falcon
  • Nutritionally Fit: Fasting on the 5:2 Diet, 500 calories
  • Minimalism: Reading about Prerna and Parag Gupta; thinking about storage woes

Wishing you a wonderful day.

March 28: Sightseeing and the 7-Minute Workout

Tonight at 8.30pm, wherever you are, is Earth Hour. Do you ‘celebrate’ Earth Hour by turning your lights off at home and having a romantic evening with candles, for one hour? We’ll be at Eve and Paul’s house, so won’t be celebrating at home, if at all! Next year hopefully.

Sunshine and a free day were enough to push us out the door to go exploring, with a drive to the area around the Lake of Biel, and a small village called Erlach. You can reach St Peters Island from Erlach (we walked out there with our friend, Liz, in 2013 when it was covered in snow) but the town itself is also worth a visit.

Nearly all the snow’s gone from low-lying areas now, but it did look like there was some fresh stuff on the westerly mountain range near Neuchatel. It’s still such a spin out when I see mountains like that, and even more wonderful knowing that another country is on the other side. We joked about going to France for the day. For Australians, that sounds so decadent, but in reality it’s like driving from Sydney to Wollongong, or Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast.

We walked around the village of Erlach for about an hour, but I still wanted to do a fitfor15in15 workout. Even though we leave for Eve and Paul’s soon, there’s a workout that’s easy and effective that gets the job done – The 7-Minute Workout. Do it twice, with a minute of jogging or skipping on the spot, and the workout is done! When time is tight, you can still do something to raise your heart rate. No excuses!

Wishing you a wonderful day (oh the bliss of having the Internet at home again! This is a ‘simple thing in life’ which is grander than I would ever thought I’d want it to be!)

And here are some photos from our sightseeing trip to Erlach (where I also had the best rhubarb pastry with vanilla custard that I’ve ever eaten, yummo!)

Update: I’m posting this at 12.22am. The photos didn’t upload in time before we went to Eve and Paul’s, so it’s being sent now. No time to write detailed descriptions, sorry. Had a great night (no lights were dimmed for Earth Hour) and we laughed a lot. I even managed a joke or wisecrack (or two) in German, which makes me happy.

March 13: Lots of tripping doing 30 minutes skipping

Another Friday the 13th rolls along and, thankfully, I’ve stayed out of trouble again.

After yesterday’s run, I thought I’d keep the pace high by doing 30 minutes of skipping on the terrace. It’s going to take me years to master the art, but jumping around in this stop-start way is the only way to learn (check out the video from my previous skipping day to see how it can be done by an expert!).

It’s really noticeable that when my concentration’s gone I can only manage a few rotations before snagging my foot on the rope. But when I focus on something in the distance, with my head and neck at the right angle, then it can be a good few minutes before anything goes wrong.

Previously, I’ve only ever done 15 minutes of skipping, but knew it was time to go harder. I stopped after 15 to kick the football with my neighbour’s daughter for a few minutes in the sun, then resumed the final 15. That little break probably helped a lot.

Happily, I can report there’s less tummy bounce happening these days. Well, one would hope so after 10 weeks of daily exercise! It’s been an amazing experience and I’m so glad I’ve stuck with it.


Worked up a bit of a sweat!


Bit misty, but thankfully not as windy as yesterday

Today has been a day of study. I had to let go of one of the online courses – the nutrition one – because I fell too far behind, but I hope to pick it up again in summer, because I find the topic very interesting (and luckily it’s free!). So now my full attention is with the Body Matters course, which is all about exercise and how it … um, well … affects your body, believe it or not.

One of the lecturers, Dr Steven Blair, stated inactivity and low fitness are the major public health problems of the 20th century. Dr Blair (and others) say 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise – such as walking – is required per week in order to maintain a healthy fitness level. Or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise. Of course, nutrition is important too. He said too many people have a positive caloric balance on too many days – ie we’re consuming more than we’re burning. Factors include increases in sedentary jobs and transport options. We sit more at work and can be delivered closer to the door. He also has the scientific proof that you can still be overweight and fit, and that your fitness level is much more important than your fatness level.

I won’t rabbit on too much, other than to say it’s been a very productive day and I’m looking forward to catching up on the rest of the course (I’m about two weeks behind already!). All good stuff for being mentally and physically fit in 2105.

Also, if you missed it, here’s another little post from today about woodpeckers.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

February 2: Skipping and pilates

The sun came out for a while, so time for 15 minutes of skipping! It’s the first time I’ve skipped in a month. There’s a perfect spot on our terrace which is protected by the roof line. After six minutes, my form started to suffer and with three minutes to go, I was all over the shop. One day I’ll be able to do this! *cough*


Half and half! No excuses not to be able to skip!


The icicle from the gutter run off has melted


The little hill in the distance is the Gurten, one of Bern’s many hiking places (great view to the Alps on a clear day) and home to an annual four-day music festival


It always makes me smile when clumps of snow fall off the little pines

But while exercising, I remembered this was supposed to be today’s workout, from Kristi Cooper … so I did it as well! How incredible is the view behind her? Using the rubber Thera-Band (or a pair of old stockings) for the first time really worked the arms well; having toned arms is a major goal.

All up 30 minutes, which is good. It was time to step it up a bit. The past week or so has been a little lacklustre. Of course I’ve been exercising, but wasn’t really pushing myself. Today it feels like I’m back in the fitfor15in15 spirit.

Then I kinda ruined it all by eating some chocolate 🙂 We’ve often given Swiss Läderach chocolate as presents, but for the first time it was given to us! Thanks Nicole and Cooper. Leo might have to sniff the empty packet! Must. Stop. Eating. Now.


Mmmm … deliciousness …

Wishing you a wonderful day.

January 5: 15 minutes of skipping

The skipping rope, and the view

The skipping rope, and the view

Well this one was harder than I expected, and I knew it would be tough. Constant skipping for 15 minutes is strenuous when you’re unfit. I mixed it up between forwards skipping, backwards skipping, the one foot hop and change, two feet together etc etc. Maybe when I’m fitter, I’ll try the double spin jump now and then!

I just wanted to move around. My heart rate went up, and I sweated a bit, which is good considering it’s 4 degrees (Celsius) outside. But the sun was shining and I feel great.

I used a normal skipping rope, which has weighted handles, donned my best sports bra and sneakers, and enjoyed feeling my tummy bounce up and down. Never thought I’d ever say that! But at least it means I have stuff to lose and the only way is up! (In fitness levels, down in weight hopefully!)

You don’t need to go out and buy equipment, it’s all around you, but I had this skipping rope from previous attempts to get fit, and have now hung it near the front door, so it’s easy to see and grab when I need it.