Category Archives: Health

Surfer Dude

Trolled down to Garrettstown this morning to pay a visit to the surf school sale. Really looking for shore boots and maybe a buoyancy aid for the Nibser.

Arrived around 10:45 and Jon said, “There’s a lesson starting at 11:00, why not join it?”. So rather than think about it for another week and get stressed over it I accepted the place on the lesson.

Why get stressed about it? Well the idea of surfing is something very new to me; I mean I’ve spent the last 52 years carefully avoiding the water and here I am voluntarily going in the sea. I don’t know why I’ve always been afraid (petrified!) of the water (sea, swimming pool, puddle); but I have. However last month we saw the Nibser having a fantastic time at Surf2Heal (she has no fear at all) so I resolved to overcome my trepidation and get stuck in so that I can feel comfortable taking her in the water.

Did I stand up on the board? Not today; but I did get on a board in the sea; and that’s a great start.

Update… That was Sunday and now it’s Tuesday evening. Since the lesson every muscle group in my body has been queuing up to howl in protest at the exertion it’s been put through. Just goes to show how unfit I am and what a good work over surfing is!

Surf2Heal 2008

In the last week in August we were very fortunate to be offered a place on the first surf camp to be run in Ireland for Children with Autism; Surf2Heal. Our daughter, who’s eight, had only recently been diagnosed with the condition this was the first opportunity for us to meet with other parents of autistic children as well as an opportunity for Roisin to try surfing.

The camp was being run by Garrettstown Surf School near Kinsale, Co. Cork. Somehow they’d amassed an army of volunteers to help out with the weeks activities from autism professionals, speech and language exports and special needs assistants there was a body of trained and dedicated people to help support us and Rosin during the weeks activities.

I was unsure at the start of the week just how things would go. Each child was booked for an hour and a half session in the sea with two instructors. I know Roisin loves the sea; but I wasn’t sure if she’d rebel at putting a wet suit on or just how she’d manage going out into deeper water. My initial fears were soon allayed. The wet suit was no problem (I think because she was prepared for this) and each child was fitted with a buoyancy aid so she felt safe in the sea.

She had a fantastic time and by the third day was able to stand on the surf board. The smile on her face is a memory I shall carry with me for the rest of my life; it was a beautiful thing to see.

I’m not going to go into too much detail about the activities; but instead I want to thank the people involved:

  • Jon and Alayne Hynes who own the Garrettstown Surf School for making this event happen. They must have given so much time over the year to put this together as well as making their premises and staff available for the event.
  • Roisin’s instructors in the water, Triona and Keeley. Their enthusiasm and spirit never wavered the entire week despite taking 4 sessions every day and at all times they kept Roisin safe and having fun in the water.
  • All the other volunteers who helped bring the week together and make it such a safe and enjoyable week for the children and parents alike.
  • Portwest Clothing who supplied the wet suits. Each child came away at the end of the week with their own wet suit.
  • MARTINS, the Maritime Training In Safety initiative who supplied a lot of the sponsorship for the event and the National Maritime College Of Ireland through whom the funds were obtained.
  • Ernest J Cantillon & Co Solicitors who sponsored specially commissioned surf boards for the event.

Apologies to anyone or any organization that I’ve left out.

Looking forward the week has opened a whole world of possibilities for all of us and I’m determined to build on the experience for Roisin. So clear the beach, here we come……

Loosing Weight – Reviewed.

Thumbnail of my goal review card.
I set my weight loss goal on 25th April and it’s now mid-June so it’s definitely time for a review. I had a fairly major life change at the end of May when I was made redundant. So another reason to take stock and review.

I followed my goal review method and above is the resulting map (please click the thumbnail for a larger view). From this you can see that:

  1. Relevance is still very high – loosing the weight is still very important to me
  2. But that the walking goal I set for the month of May didn’t pan out as expected. The feedback here is that:
    1. Things started well for the first week or so
    2. Then I got ill with a stomach bug
    3. For the latter half of the month the redundancy proceedings took over and completely threw out any sort of routine

    It boils down to the fact that I found it impossible to establish the new walking habit at lunchtime because I needed to be more flexible at that time. I could have done it; but I chose not to!

  3. Any new sub-goals to contribute to my weight loss goal?
    1. I can cycle instead of walk. I’ve always enjoyed cycling and used to cycle a lot in my thirties. This needs a new goal set with targets. I’ve much more motivation to cycle than walk, and I’ve a new bike!
    2. Do the ‘I Can Make You Thin’ 90 day challenge. This is a book (and a TV series) from Paul McKenna. I followed the TV series and I believe the challenge is based on some sound principles. This too needs a SMART goal that I started to sketch out on my review card.
  4. Finally, Next Actions! What am I going to do next to kick start the weight loss goal again?
    • Set a SMART cycling goal with weekly targets, making it very easy to start so that I can establish the habit.
    • Set the 90 day challenge and follow through the work book.

I’ll be following up on these new goals in a latter posting.

By the way, I have lost some weight! I lost 5 pounds during my stomach upset and, at the last weighing, I’d kept them off!

Be Careful What You Wish For

After all this talk about loosing weight last weekend I contracted a virus that had some unpleasant gastric side effects. This is the reason the blog has been so quiet this week.

I’ve not weighed myself yet; but I’ll be darned disappointed if I get on the scale tomorrow and I haven’t lost anything at all. Mrs. H commented this afternoon that if I lost any more weight of my face I’d look dead! Nice!

Now I’m not really suggesting that my desire to loose weight triggered the earlier unpleasantness; but there is still something to be said for being careful how we envision our desires and goals. For one thing the sub-conscious doesn’t understand the word “not”. So if you say, “I will not smoke”, all that gets through is the, “will smoke”. Not the desired effect at all. It’s far better to say something like, “My life is free from the need for cigarettes”.

Feedback Loop

Here’s something I learned today;

That if something goes wrong it’s not a failure – it’s feedback!

When I read that I thought, WOW! That’s a revolutionary way of looking at what’s happening in my life. If I’m not progressing in the way that I want to then it’s not a failure it’s feedback.

What do we do with feedback?

Feedback is called feedback because it feeds back into the system and modifies it so that the situation that produced the feedback doesn’t happen again (in the case of negative feedback) or does happen again in the case of positive feedback.

This morning I got on the scales again, it being Saturday which is weigh day in our house. Well I was disappointed at first to find that my weight was exactly the same as last week and the week before.

Then I thought, “Hand on! This is feedback, not failure! The feedback is that I haven’t modified my behavior enough to start loosing the weight. I must make more effort to start the weight loss process”. Which is a much more positive slant on the situation.

Stepping Up A Gear

Two recent posts from Scott Young and Leo Babauta have emphasized the need to do something daily if it’s going to become a habit.

In Scott’s posting on daily workouts he demonstrates how something that is done every other day is much less likely to become a habit than something that is done daily. This got me thinking. As I’m only walking three times a week at present this is unlikely to become a habit for me.

Meanwhile Leo has thrown down a challenge for the month of May; to make exercise a daily habit.

So I’m going to shelve the idea of getting out the bike until June and just concentrate on ingraining exercise as a daily habit. I shall, from today,

  • walk for at least 20 minutes every day,
  • get up 30 minutes earlier to do the walk first thing in the morning.

I shall have to watch that last one. Getting up earlier has, in the past, led to burn out and resentment; but I’m hoping the exercise will energize me instead.

I’ll report back weekly and let you know how I’m getting on.

Getting To Your Goals

Once you have set a goal you need a path to take you to it. This is where your task lists and your ‘trusted system’ come into play.

Without some tasks, some actions, we’ll never get to our goals. Goals don’t accomplish themselves. So for my cycling goal I have the following tasks:

  1. Get the bike out of the back of the shed.
  2. Service the bike.
  3. Find my riding gear (or buy new stuff).
  4. Devise a suitable route that’s going to give me my target 30 miles a week. This is probably 3 x 10 miles or maybe 2 x 15 miles.
  5. Start building up the mileage.

How will I ensure that these tasks get done? Put them into my trusted system. The ‘trusted system’ is whatever methodology you choose for managing your goals and your tasks provided you trust it completely. If you don’t trust it to give you the tasks as and when you need them it will never work for you; but will work against you instead. More about trusted systems and how I work mine in a later posting.

I know I’m not going to be able to get on my bike and just cycle 30 miles. In fact I’ll be lucky if I can cycle 300 yards (metres); but I know that if I can get to point 5 then the battle is half won. The other half is making it a habit.

Not Dieting

Having posted earlier saying I was not going to go on a diet as part of my weight loss program (can I call it a program?) Leo over on Zen habits has posted up today his Top 15 Diet Hacks.

These aren’t a “diet”; but instead are tips for adjusting the diet to make it more healthy and his number one tip is; “Don’t Diet”.

Looking down the list there’s a lot of his tips that are already part of my life style like:

  • avoiding too much saturated fats,
  • eating brown foods (bread and pasta),
  • cutting down on meat – we only eat red meat once or twice a week and one or two meals a week will be meat free.

One area I could improve on is my junk food intake. I still eat too many crisps and the like, particularly in front of the telly last thing at night. Another thing I find very hard to cut down on is cheese. I know I said I avoid too many saturated fats; but I love cheese and frequently have it in my sandwiches at lunch time. That will be a tough one to give up.

Overall I don’t think my diet is too bad; I must get the exercise level up!