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For me, like most horse owners, my main form of exercise is looking after my horse and riding. But since Scottie’s injury I have found it hard to find other forms of exercise what work for me and I have put on weight. This weight gain has been made worse by lockdown where many of us, me included, turned to wine and snacks to get us through whilst also moving a lot less than we would be in normal times.
A better riding weight
With Scottie coming back into ridden work this spring/summer, I want to lose some of this excess weight before I get back on. So for the first month or so I have been working on finding a strategy what works for me. I have written a lot about suitable riding weights over the years and agree with the rough guide of wanting to be between 15-20% of your horse’s weight with tack etc. When I started working on a weight loss strategy what worked for me, I weighed about 16% of Scottie’s body weight, so not awful. But since he does have an injury and has struggled coming back into work with it, I would like to get down to more like 13%. This would involve losing about 20kg, so obviously that won’t happen before the summer, but I would like to be on the way to that before we start doing too much more with Scottie.
I really struggle with self discipline. I am really lucky to work with Seonaidh from Cherry Tree Training. She has given me so many great tips to try and combat this, from turning it into a competition with myself to understanding my more about my phycology. I now have a much better understanding of what works for me and that I actually respond better to not having a plan to exercise than having a plan.
Exercises I have been able to stick to over lockdown are swimming and some of the Cherry Tree Training workouts. Unfortunately swimming pools are currently closed due to the most recent lockdown restrictions. But before they closed, I was going every week and doing a solid 40mins each time. I am looking forward to them opening up again and getting back into it. I also have access to a huge amount of workouts and exercises from Cherry Tree Training. These are perfect for fitting into daily life and are really targeted and building my core up for riding again. Also, since I am doing more long reining with Scottie in preparation of him returning to work, I am also doing more walking than I have been.
Unsurprisingly, since I struggle with self discipline, I also struggle with dieting. I can’t say no when someone offers cake/chocolate/biscuits etc. I have tried various things over the years and I can usually keep it up for a week and then I fall off the wagon. But just over a month ago I stumbled upon the idea of fasting. There are lots of different methods of fasting, but I have been doing the 16:8. This is where you fast, ie; don’t have any calories for 16 hours and then you have 8 hours to eat and drink normally.
I have found this so easy to stick to. I have never been great at eating breakfast at the best of times, so it seemed manageable for me. I haven’t found it that difficult at all. I still allow myself treats like cake, but because I am fasting, I am still eating less calories throughout the day than I would be if I wasn’t fasting. I also have the occasional day off, maybe once a week where I wake up and just fancy a treat like a Costa coffee.
So far I am nearly 3kg down! I feel like I am starting to see a few changes too. To help me stick to it I have decided to treat myself to a new matchy set for Scottie once I have lost 10kg. Who knows, I might have to treat myself to a second new set once I am 20kg down!