Couch potatoes, zombies and sore calves

For a while now, I’ve been trying my best to get myself to a healthier lifestyle. Changing the things I eat has been hard (but worth it!), but starting to exercise has been even harder! Fact is, I don’t like exercise. I don’t like to get all sweaty and warm with my heart pounding out of my chest. But change doesn’t happens when you stay in your comfort zone, so I’ve started running.

First thing I tried was the running program ‘Start to run’ (it’s a Dutch program). It was okay, but I didn’t like the fact that you can’t pick your own music. After that, I went on to ‘Zombies, run!’ which is great fun (you’re being chased by zombies, I mean, what’s not to like, right?!), but I don’t like how little you run and the exercises that are combined with the running program are not my thing. So on I went to something I’ve been hearing a lot of lately; Couch to 5K. I’ve downloaded the app, put in on my iPod Touch and gave it a spin! Yesterday I’ve finished my first round and I must say that I’m very pleased with myself at the moment. It was a whole lot easier than I thought it would be, there was a decent amount of running to be done and I like the fact that you can pick out a drill sergeant to motivate you (you can also go for some of the other motivational speakers if you don’t like a man shouting ‘RUN!’ in your ears). The goal is to be able to run 5K in 9 weeks by training 3 times a week.

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The shoes I’m running in are the Vibram Five Fingers. I’ve been writing about those before (The minimalistic shoe) and I even love them more than I did back then. Obviously, I was expecting a bit of muscle aching the day after my run, since it was my first run since a long time. And not only that. I’ve also changed from my regular running method (landing with the heel of my foot) to running with the Chi method (which uses, among other things (for more information I recommend searching online for ‘Chi running’) a midfoot strike instead of a heel strike).

First time run + Vibram Five Fingers + Chi running = Not being able to walk down the stairs the next morning. My calves are stiff and when walking a little bit too enthusiastic (read: Walking in any other way than gliding over the floor like I’m an ice skater) my body goes into protest and I look like freaking Gollum (can we all say “My Precious”?). But I’m pretty sure it will all be worth it when in 9 weeks, I’m running my first 5K ever!

Here are some tips for when you first start running:

Health

  • Always do a warming up before you start running and a cooling down after. This prevents injuries. When using a running program (like ‘Zombies, Run!’ or ‘Couch to 5K’) it usually features a warming up you can use.
  • Have a resting day in between your runs to let your body heal.
  • Start slowly. Don’t over-do it, it might do more harm than good to your body.
  • Listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel good and you’re really worried, check with your physician.
  • Sore, tired muscles are normal; bone, joint, or soft-tissue pain is a sign of injury Contact your doctor to get it checked out.

Running gear

  • Make sure you have some good running shoes. They might be a bit pricy, but they’ll be worth it. Good running shoes will help you prevent injuries and make your runs more enjoyable.
  • You don’t have to spend a small fortune on running clothing. Most big clothing stores (like H&M) sell sport clothing for a very reasonable price.
  • Make sure that the clothing and shoes you’re wearing fit comfortably without anything chafing against your skin.

Awareness 

  • Always carry your address and other important information with you in case of an emergency.
  • Always make sure someone knows you’re out running, especially if you live in a remote area.
  • If you feel unsafe while running, get out! Turn around and go home, if you carry a cell phone with you call someone or if there’s a diner or anything nearby go there and call someone to pick you up.

Disclaimer: Always check with your physician first before starting any form of exercise

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Modern society: What I don’t have and don’t want

Modern society has many benefits which I enjoy, but also many things that stress me out and make me feel uncomfortable. And although I’m really thankful for some things that modern society has brought me, light, heaters, clean water, hot showers, washing machine and a wonderful house, there are also things that I don’t want to be a part of.

Smart phone

  • I used to have a smart phone, but it drove me insane! I don’t like to be “connected” to the world 24/7. I don’t want people to see whether I’m online or not. I don’t want to get meaningless messages that are getting send out of boredom. I could go on, but that would make this a really negative post.

Post-paid mobile service

  • I have a pre-paid mobile phone and never had a post-paid one in my life. I don’t want to pay for something I don’t even use and I like the freedom of pre-paid. When money is a bit tight, I can just choose not to pay for using my mobile phone.

Games (on- and offline)

  • I’m not a big gamer. Darling Boyfriend tried to explain World of Warcraft to me a few times, but it’s just not for me. I do like board games though, but I don’t play them that often.

Creditcard

  • Never had one, and never want one. I don’t need one and I don’t like the concept of it.

Car

  • Cars cost a lot of money and that’s money I rather save or spend on something more useful to me. I use public transportation, my bike and my scooter to get anywhere.

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Our modern society is engaged in polishing and decorating the cage in which man is kept imprisoned.  -Swami Nirmalananda

Of course, there are also modern things I do have and don’t want to get rid of

Laptop

  • I love my laptop! I use it pretty much every day. I use it for fun, but also for administration stuff. I wouldn’t want to go without it.

Internet

  • From my point of view, one of the greatest inventions in years is the Internet. I use it pretty much every day. I really like how I can use it to look up pretty much every thing I want to.

E-reader

  • I love reading, but carrying around books all the time can be a bit hard. I use my E-reader a lot and I consider it to be the best buy I had in many years. For more about my experience with the E-reader, see my blog post: It’s a kind of magic!

Mobile phone

  • I have a very simple mobile phone which I got for free from a friend. I like to have it with me in case of an emergency and to seek out for contact when I’m on the road. I don’t have a landline, so I use my mobile phone to keep in touch with family and friends.

TV

  • I have a small and cheap TV which works great. I rarely watch TV, but I do like to have one in the house to watch the few shows I really like.

Small cable package

  • I have the cheapest cable package available in the Netherlands (besides not having a cable package at all, which, of course, is free). It’s € 12,50 a month (that’s 16,29 USD/10,78 GBP) and it has the 26 most popular channels in it. I love it! I rarely watch TV, so this cable package suits me.

Twitter

  • Well, I don’t have Twitter, but my weblog does. I use it to share new posts with the people who would like to read them.

There are also some other things I don’t have and don’t want, like a big house (I would love to be part of the tiny house movement) and debts (although I don’t think anyone really wants debts), but I wouldn’t call those thing modern (after all, even in the Middle Ages people had big houses and/or debts).

I don’t judge anyone who does have or wants these things. They are just not for me.

It’s my birthday

Today is my 23rd birthday. 23 years of ups and downs, 23 years of hello’s and goodbye’s, 23 years of tears and smiles. It has been a rollercoaster to say the least.

There have been many times in which I’ve been wondering what it all was for, what is the goal, the purpose of life? But don’t we all? I don’t have an answer and I don’t know if I will get one any time soon. But I might not have an answer, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t learn many valuable lessons.

Like that clichés are clichés because they’re usually true. Don’t judge a book by its cover, you never know what someone has been through and/or is going through right now. Money won’t make you happy. I had money and I when I had it, I was more unhappy than I’ve been in many years. Every cloud has a silver lining. No matter how dark times were, there came an end to it eventually.

Some other things I’ve learned, which I value very much, are that some people are toxic, whether they mean to or not. Also, it’s okay to put yourself first sometimes. And one of the most important things; if you don’t believe you can change something in this world, because you think you won’t make a difference, no one will BUT also that you can’t change everything in this world.

Life’s been hard on me and I often wondered why. But over the years I’ve come to realize that life IS hard, life IS unfair and it can make you break down. And that’s okay, as long as you get up again.

I’ve many things to be thankful for; my family, in-laws, boyfriend, friends, my feline friends, the wonderful trips I’ve been on, the many chances I’ve been given and much, much more. Life is a present and I’m happy to have been given it.

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Making money the minimalistic way

As I told you guys in my last post I had quite a big amount of books, DVD’s and CD’s I wanted to get rid of. So, today I packed it all in some bags and little brother and I went to a second-hand bookstore. The guy there took a look at it all and chose whatever he wanted.

He wanted 27 books, 9 DVD’s and I gave him all the CD’s for free. He paid me € 50,00 (around 64,07 USD/43,01 GBP) for the whole lot!

So today I actually made some money by cleaning out some stuff I don’t even use and/or need!

IMG_7381Look at that crispy new bill!

The rest of the books I’ll be giving away to a local thrift store and to my in-laws, who also really like books!

I even managed to redecorate my living room a bit by ducking up some old cushion covers and vases and replace the current ones with them. Didn’t cost a thing!

213 Items less to weigh me down

213, seems like a bit of an odd number, doesn’t it? Well, let me explain. A few days ago I suddenly felt the urge to clean out my house, to get rid of all the stuff I don’t use. So, I grabbed a few trash bags, boxes and other bags and started with my closet. I took everything out, threw it on the bed and just started dividing the clothes into three piles: 1 pile for clothes I wanted to keep, 1 for clothes that I wanted to donate and 1 for clothes that needed to be thrown away (because they had holes in them and stuff). After that came the shoes, and then the belts, and then the books, DVD’s, CD’s… And after all was done, there were 213 items that I’m either donating or selling. And here’s what that looks like.

Untitled-1Look at all that stuff. I really have no idea how I’ve ever managed to fit all that, AND all the clothing that’s still left, in my Ikea MALM 6-drawer chest (especially because I only use 4 out of those 6 drawers for clothing). I must say, in this case, I’m a bit amazed by my own packing skills…

Untitled-2I’ll be selling all these items to a second-hand bookstore. Whatever they don’t want, I’ll give away.

Just a quick observation which came to mind while typing this blog and having the TV on at the same time: Commercials (whether they are on TV, in magazines, out on the streets or whatever) are all about separating you from your money. It’s never about making your life better.

Anyway, I’m glad I’m going to get rid of all this stuff. I feel so light and free!