Healthy Weight – Avengers style

There’s this scene in the new Avengers movie where the superheroes, after much skop, skiet and donder annihilate a massive spaceship. A collective sigh of relief and smug glances all round yeeeaaahh, we did it! And then…they look up…and find dozens of these spaceships now floating above. Right. So much for a tea break then.

So as per my cinematic intro, my spaceships = crunches. Of which there are so many variations it just ain’t fair: 90 degree, straight leg, ankle taps. When Jessica shows us some of these exercises for the first time, we laugh. Yeah right – you want me to do whaaat? Please be joking! But she never jokes, our Jess. And then once we’ve hunkered down and actually attempted it, realisation dawns again: I can do this and am doing it! I’m reminded here of our first psychology session with Dr. Clinton Gahwiler. To sum up very briefly, he spoke to us about how we have two levels of stored knowledge: 1) what we have been ‘conditioned’ to know as fact and 2) what we learn as ‘new’ which in turn challenges pre-existing facts. Gradually we come to replace the former with the latter where appropriate. It’s how I can’t becomes oh look, I can. And hear me now, bear witness to my mental realignment: I can crunch the hell out a 60 second rep! (with my luck Jess will be reading this and in class the next time this will magically stretch to 90 seconds – cue evil chuckling).

It’s nearing the end of week 4 which is halfway through the Healthy Weight programme. Much progress has been made. Weight has been lost – I’m 1.7 kg down! The class intensity has gradually increased and we’ve now graduated from the vast open space of the Blue Floor to the pleasant frenzy of the SSISA Fitness & Wellness Centre. Said my classmate Sianne of the spiffy machines: ‘They look like Transformers!’ We are put through our paces on the toning circuit and it suddenly feels like we’re the cool kids who are finally allowed to stay up with the adults and watch TV past 8pm. In between reps on the machines, Jessica commands a lap or 3 around the track and 5 minute intervals on a cardio machine of our choice. At first I battled with what initially seemed like a cut-&-paste approach to filling up the hour of exercise. Surely one goes to the gym and plonks down on a bicyle or treadmill and cruise at a moderate level for 20 mins? But after 2 weeks of exercising this way I doff my hat to this approach. If using average fluid loss (i.e. sweat) per exercise session as a gauge of effectiveness then I dare you to play spot the difference: delicate daubing of the forehead here and there every now and then gets replaced by rivulets of perspiration that demand to be mopped up every nanosecond. It’s not pretty. But it’s clearly working (see boastful weight-loss figure above) so best not tamper with the routine and let it continue its fabulous run.

Onward and downhill as I enter the second half of the programme. The key test for me now is to see if I can sustain the momentum and translate all this hard work into further weight-loss but more importantly, further entrench these ‘new’ principles of nutrition and exercise into life-long habits. Here’s to new habits!


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