Yesterday on the Current they were talking about pet obesity (and yes…. all I do is sit around listening to CBC radio….). $4500 to send your dog to fat camp for 12 weeks?!? Besides being a colossal waste of money, I wouldn’t want to be without my pooch for that long. Especially when the solution is easy: exercise your dog regularly and pay attention to what they eat. Same as with people!

I have gained 15 lbs since starting grad school 2 1/2 years ago. That might not seem like much and I am still within a healthy weight range for my height but I have two problems. First, I’m not the sort of person who monitors my weight that carefully but along with the pounds has come a general sense of sluggishness and malaise, which I hate. Second, I’ve grown out of most of my skirts and some of my pants. Since my budget is as tight as my pants, I can’t afford to run out an buy a bunch of new clothes. That means I need to get back into my old ones.

My dog has also recently gained weight and she’s pretty much in the same boat as I am – not fat but plumper than she should be. Neither of us has changed our diets. Lack of exercise is entirely to blame.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to get exercise daily. I didn’t want to set any specific goals in terms of how many pounds or inches I wanted to lose, but I would like to be back to the approximate weight and level of fitness I was at when I started school. I investigated gym memberships but even the cheapest was far out of my budget. I started swimming for free at the Sherbrook Pool in the fall but it has since been closed and there is no word on when or if it will re-open. Part of my resolution was to go for long, brisk walks with my dog but January was bitter cold and most days her ears and paws couldn’t take more than 15 or 20 minutes outside.

Is this starting to seem like a long list of excuses? I swear it’s not. This is what I’ve been doing…

In January, I used some of the iTunes gift cards that I got for Christmas to buy workout videos. My criteria was that I would only need runners and a basic weight set, which I already had. No balls, kettle bells, bands or other special equipment that I would have to buy. I downloaded a couple of episodes of The Caribbean Workout and some videos from Exercise TV that were highly rated by users. There were 3 videos that focused on cardio and 4 on weight training. I also put together 2 weight training workouts (strength and endurance). I focused on weight training because there are a TON of cardio videos available online for free. Using a blank journal that I already own, I plot my daily workouts, alternating cardio and weight days. I don’t include any rest or recovery days because there is usually a day every couple of weeks where I just don’t have it together or life is too busy and I skip a workout.

In February, when the weather got milder, I added a 45 minute to 1 hour dog walk every morning. Fatima, over at Stacks and Ranges, blogged about running in all the snow. All I can say is, “I hear ya sister!” Man, what a slog the last few days.

Yesterday, in anticipation of spring, I downloaded a free Couch to 5k app. Loads of free fitness apps available too! Lexi and I will start running again sometime in May and I’m totally looking forward to it. Unlike Fatima, I’m a suck and only run in nice weather! Also can’t wait to get on my bike again.

Lexi is already looking more trim. My arms are getting some shape to them but I haven’t noticed any other changes to the way I look. I have been feeling great, though! Lots more energy, less bummed out, stronger…. Who needs a gym membership, anyway?!?

Here are some of my fave workouts that are available free online:

Shaun T’s Rockin’ Body Dance Party (high cheese factor but still fun)

Bootcamp Calorie Burn

Real Housewives Upper Body Workout

Real Housewives Lower Body Workout

Insanity: Cardio Power and Resistance (though my jumps and push ups are beyond pathetic!)


in the news

Listening to CBC radio this morning as usual. Today’s episode of The Invisible Hand, called the Paradox of Thrift, looks at how austerity can worsen the economic situation. Definitely something to think about, especially in light of Harper cutting so many government jobs and offloading services, and the Bank of Canada constantly scolding us about our debt levels. So what are we supposed to do? I’m tightening my belt, looking for ways to spend less and not taking out loans in order to buy goods or services. While this approach is the best for me, apparently it is not a helpful for the overall economy.  Definitely worth a listen, though it doesn’t come to any hard conclusions.

And depressingly for those of us just squeaking by, wealth apparently equals health. I’m not personally all that worried about this (despite having spent the last month fighting a virus). My inability to find a family doctor causes me much more anxiety. Although the article doesn’t talk about access to health care, the CMA study says it is one of the top three factors affecting a person’s health.

What is interesting about both of these is that they highlight the integrated nature of economies; we go about our lives making choices that seem best for us, but we’re really operating in a much larger context and are heavily impacted by government policies and decisions.