Recently I renewed my pool membership, which means I've been seriously swimming for fitness for a year now. Just two days ago, for the first time I swam for 30 minutes straight, or a total of 22 laps in an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Not bad at all, considering my fitness level was practically zero when I started a year ago.
Also a year ago my goal was just to swim for 30 minutes without resting. I used to envy the other people in the pool who could do just that, and being a competitive person I worked hard to reach the same fitness level as the best people in the pool.
I chose swimming because it's the only sport I can bear. I don't enjoy it. Swimming is not fun. It's not supposed to be fun anyway. It's something I do because I need to.
Late 2010 I saw my hips growing wider, my waistline getting thicker, and my belly growing at a rapid rate. Oh, those were traumatic times. The worst I've EVER felt in my life! I decided to do something about it instead of using it as an excuse to buy new clothes.
Anyway, so I started swimming and strove hard to improve my technique. I watched Youtube videos and followed the tips on swimsmooth.com. I don't have a coach, so most of the time it's really trial and error for me.
I'd like to compare swimming to dancing. In both, it's important you have coordination, rhythm, and precision. You have to know when to breathe and how to position your head when doing so. You have to be mindful of hand to shoulder alignment and coordination. You have to know when to kick and rotate your body. Oh, so it's also like sex, no?
Apparently, there's no absolute perfect way to swim. We all have a way of finding our own rhythm and form according to our body type, temperament, and purpose. You have to find your own style, noting however its fundamentals (e.g. making your self as streamlined as possible).
Swimming is a way of looking inward and improving body awareness (something that yoga also teaches). Also, swimming for me is a meditation of sort. The sound of the water and my breathing have a calming effect and the more I swim uninterrupted the more relaxed I become.
But then I don't swim to relax, although sometimes I have lazy days when I prefer to swim slower. Most of the time, however, I swim like my life depends on it, focusing on speed and maintaining fluidity.
I get frustrated when I don't improve as much as I want to, which is often. I don't have a real motivation other than losing weight, but aside from that, I'm continuously pressured to do it perfectly, otherwise, what's the point, chai mai?
So did I eventually lose weight? Yes, absolutely yes. I don't have a swimmer's body (please, far from it), nonetheless, I have managed to keep my weight down, that's all that matters to me. Sure, I can always lose another 10 kilograms or something. But you know, at least now I can walk around Bangkok knowing I'm not as big as a tuktuk.
Oh, how can I discuss fitness without talking about dieting, no? I promised in the past that I wouldn't talk about food and such, but it's a new year (I made that promise in 2011, dahlings).
Well, I just want to talk about my diet here, after all my friends ask me about it, who knows who else is interested, di ba?
I only have two main rules in eating: eat the right food and eat at the right time.
My diet is basically this: I don't eat carbs, first and foremost. I eat a big breakfast of muesli at 9am so I don't get very hungry by lunchtime. For lunch I eat four servings of fruits (coconut and papaya). I eat four more servings of fruits (pineapple and watermelon) at 3pm. I eat a banana at 4pm. (Insert swimming here.) I eat a cup of peanuts and almonds at 6:30pm. And then nothing after that. Absolutely nothing. I have major hunger pangs before midnight, so I just drink chamomile tea. And then repeat the next day.
I also drink lots of water but not soda and fruit juices. I eat meat for dinner sometimes, but still no rice. Okay, I eat rice for lunch on weekends. I avoid beer and cocktails if I can, instead I drink crappy house wine at the bar.
This diet plan leaves me hungry like shit most of the time (that's why I'm almost always irritiable). But it's a kind of hunger that's satisfying at the same time.