Wednesday 18 April 2012


Gretel Hallet, is a Trained Chocolate Fairy and is running the Getting Started half day workshop in Norwich - perfect for beginners to experience the core principles of Beyond Chocolate and equally great as a refresher for any Beyond Chocolater. If you live in East Anglia and want to know more about Beyond Chocolate or her workshops, get in touch with Gretel.

Stand by for excuses. I damaged a disk in my back just before Christmas, the Zumba class at my local leisure centre kept being cancelled, I had a go at Aquafit but didn’t enjoy it … the pain in my back meant that I couldn’t do any lifting, twisting or bending, which rules out many types of exercise. So, what I’m saying is that I haven’t really been Moving for some time. I’ve missed it. But not quite enough to get me up and about again.
My back gradually healed to the point where I could bend, twist and lift again, but still I tarried, unwilling to get back into my regular exercise routine.

I continued cycling and walking during this fallow period.
A terrible lethargy had seized me and I realised that what was missing was Enjoy. Enjoy doesn’t just refer to our eating; it also refers to our Moving and how we feel about our bodies. I wasn’t enjoying moving and I wasn’t enjoying inhabiting this body which was in pain and preventing me getting on with my life.
This has made me realise how important Enjoy is – I am less and less willing to eat things I don’t enjoy, do things I don’t enjoy and move in ways I don’t enjoy. That doesn’t mean that I duck out of everything I don’t enjoy – sometimes in life we just grit our teeth and get through something – but when it comes to something ongoing, something for our health – I am beginning to see that Enjoy(ment) has to be there too.

Some time ago I attended a whole day of exercise where some trainers showed us (and got us to have a go at) a variety of different types of exercise; boxercise, kettlebells, aerobics, circuit training, etc – it was an exhausting day but the trainers were very enthusiastic and encouraging and I signed up to their email list.

Last week I received an email with notification of new classes at their gym nearby and decided to give it a go to see if it would kick start me into the Move principle again. I promised myself that if I didn’t Enjoy it, I wouldn’t go again.

On the very same day (funny how that often happens, isn’t it?!) my Other Half announced that he’d found a free outdoor exercise ‘gym’ on a local park and suggested we go along to have a look at it. So we cycled down to the park, which is on the edge of a fen, and had a look. Some children were having a great time playing on the exercise equipment, using the machines as swings, and I realised how much fun they were having, compared with how grim adults look when they use things like cross trainers. Children have a natural ability to Enjoy which I admire.

We negotiated a go on the equipment and the children were very keen to show us how to use the machines safely, which was very sweet, but I felt that I couldn’t really do an exercise routine with an audience, so I had a quick go on each machine and then we cycled home.

So to this week – somehow reinvigorated, I went to the classes on Monday and survived – I wouldn’t say it was an entirely enjoyable experience, but the class was small, the trainer very patient and encouraging and I decided I would go again – and then see if I wished to go for a third time. One session at a time; I’m not going to sign up for a series of lessons. That can be fatal – there’s something about booking ahead like that which can have an adverse effect and cause us to stop going – perverse, I know, but it happens. Look at all those gym memberships taken out in January and given up by March...

This morning, knowing all the children were safely in school, I cycled to the park and did a complete circuit of the exercise machinery; I rowed and cross trained and swung and cycled and watched the sparrows chase each other through the reed bed and a heron float gracefully down to a stream. I breathed in the fresh air and silently thanked the local Council for installing these machines that anyone could use for free whenever they want to.

I didn’t make any promises except that, if I wanted to, I would come back and use the machines again – I am well on my way back to Enjoying Move!


  1. I went swimming today. First time in years. First exercise in over a year. I loved it! I was amazed how much swimming I could still do, and how great it made me feel. I even managed some celebratory backflips, pushing back from the side of the pool. Quite something for me, seeing as I'm size 22, and that, out of the water, it would be a) impossible and b) not a pretty sight! I have really shifted in my attitude. I went swimming today purely for enjoyment, not as a grim attempt to lose weight. I am so pleased how much I enjoyed it, and am already planning when I can next go swimming! YAY!

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  3. Just a thought - is that link to "core workout" safe? - I would think twice before clicking on it - the comment seems to have come out of nowhere - sorry if I'm wrong, but malware on your computer is NO fun.

    Greta - I'm 60, so I quite often have to reduce exercise due to injury or illness, then get back to it, and it's always worth it.

  4. Thanks anonymous, we've removed the comment - spammers are so booooring!

    @ grace: so lovely to hear your enthusiasm about moving your body! I love swimming too. There's something about the weightlessness in the water which is liberating. Hope you continue to enjoy it.

  5. hi i'm a fitness professional and try to get my clients to follow the beyound chocolate principles and not stupid diets, i've heard them all. an up hill struggle. i encourage people to move, if you like gym, classes etc great. if you don't there is so much out there go out, try find something you love and do it. your body will thank you for it


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