I thought I would get this post out today before we all start making drastic resolutions and joining the gym.
I attended a party last week where I bumped into someone that I hadn’t seen in maybe two years, she stopped me and said wow what have you been doing? You look so skinny and fit. Which was nice of her, it was meant as a compliment although skinny has never been an aim of mine.
Firstly I should say, I am not skinny. I am not overweight but I am not skinny. I have however lost a fair amount of weight in the past two years. Over two stone in fact ( 30lbs or 13kg ). That is a lot for someone who is just 5ft 5 inches. I was never really someone you would look at and call heavily overweight..at least I don’t think so. I had two babies within 2.5 years and after my second was born I was unwell and she was also unwell for quite some time. I was not really thinking about being the ideal body shape and previously when I was stressed or worried I would just eat the wrong food. Last October ( 2015 ) I was still calling any extra pounds my post baby weight, but she was nearly 2 years old. I took action at that point. I followed a popular and more importantly healthy weight loss plan which saw me drop to my goal weight within 7 months. At that point I stopped the rigid diet plan and just ate less and what I did eat was then lower fat and sugar. Simple right?
No, it’s tricky this weight loss business. Because you get to your goal weight yet you are still losing it, you get full halfway through a meal and find you can’t finish it. You can have a tub of chocolate open in the office and feel no desire to go and dive in.
I lost my appetite for food. I LOVE food. LOVE..LOVE..LOVE food. Yet my appetite has dwindled and it may sound a little silly but it can get me down.
Before I could be under the utmost stress yet I would still want a hearty meal, now I plan what to eat, cook delicious food and then eat a meagre portion. Or I go out for brunch and have a plate of 5 fluffy American pancakes with syrup in front of me..and struggle to get past the first one. Annoying.
I do realise that some of you will be reading this and thinking hmmmph I wish I had that problem. I probably would have thought the same reading this a year ago.
I mean, I am in the desired dress size but am I healthy?
No. And to be honest I think my happy weight where I feel most comfortable with how I look is about 6-7lbs more than I weigh right now. I like having some curves so if I gain the famous Christmas 7 I wouldn’t even moan.
I’m not healthy, not healthy enough by any stretch. There are lots of days I don’t eat enough and not deliberately, I just get caught up with work and life, I don’t get enough exercise and I don’t drink enough liquid that isn’t caffeinated or fizzy.
And so this is what I am changing. Or adapting if you will, because I will still be drinking coffee and coke and have days where I just want to lie under a blanket with Netflix.
Yes, my resolution (if you can call it that when you have already begun before New Years) is to eat more and look after myself. I am determined to get my appetite back and I am starting to see more and more that exercise and mental well being is the best way to do that so those areas are my focus.
I have said before that when I walk I feel better, about everything. I clear my head, I get that all important me time and I will normally arrive home hungry. Looking after your mind is probably one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Exercise drives the feel good hormones to your brain, when you are in shape you feel better about yourself and that is aside from the obvious physical health benefits it gives you.
I am looking forward to the evenings getting lighter and a little warmer again, this photo was taken on one of my walks in September, just watching the sunset over the estuary behind my home.
In my house there are no good and bad foods. It really is just about moderation and trying to eat more freshly cooked meals than popping in a store-bought pizza. That doesn’t mean I don’t have convenience foods in my freezer, life is busy after all. I will be trying to eat a proper breakfast more often but I think I will still always be a brunch girl, I do know that on the days I eat well in the morning I am more likely to continue throughout the day. It is easy after dieting to get into the habit of thinking you only need to eat when hungry because otherwise why bother? But food is fuel, without it you get cold quickly, tired more easily and your brain is not as sharp as it could be. Also food is awesome. Anyone remember that quote made by Kate Moss? Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. Has she never eaten french toast with crispy bacon or a thick Nutella hot chocolate? Clearly not.
I have never been overly confident in how I look, in fact there aren’t many women who truly are. We are constantly faced with images of perfection, skin which seems to glow without a blemish, hair with a sheen that is almost unreal and bodies which look tight and taut from every angle. We all look at Instagram or other social media channels and think oh I wish I looked like that, I wish I had that smile, those legs. But it isn’t real. The images aren’t snapshots posted without a care, they are heavily filtered or photoshopped in many cases, or they are models who have to work ridiculously hard to look that good – because that is their job. Their face or body is what brings in their wage. We can’t all be like that, nor should we try too hard to emulate it. I will never have long legs because I am a fairly petite thing, that doesn’t mean I can’t have toned, slim and strong legs if I try, I can hate my stomach which has been through the pregnancy and birth of two children or I can take care of it. I can moisturise it to reduce scarring and exercise to make it firmer if I choose to. I can focus on hating my eyes which look tired because I don’t get enough sleep or I can embrace my thick, shiny hair which lots of my friends envy, my skin which is clear and soft or my lips which a make up artist told me are the absolute perfect shape ( who knew? ) that everyone tries to pencil in.
I am learning that self love is important. Life is too short to be constantly criticising yourself – too many people will do that for you, be YOUR biggest fan.
It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself and make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary – Mandy Hale
This isn’t news to me, I know how important it is to love yourself. I don’t work on it enough but I plan to. I have started posting more selfies on Instagram, this quite often goes against all of my natural instincts as I pick up on every flaw in every shot but I know that at some point in the future I will look back and think hey I looked alright. I am trying to instil some of the confidence I seem to have lost these past few years. Be proud of who I am and part of that is being happy with how I look. Confidence is beauty in itself after all.
I am just starting on a combined exercise plan of yoga, walking and strength exercises such as squats, I figure my early 30’s are the ideal time to get that flexible and supple body I have aimed for and seemed to have let slip aside since having the girls. I am not joining a new gym, or wanting to lose more weight or even become fixated with staying at this weight. I actually don’t want to think about that side of it. I want to be toned and fit and I want to feel and look healthy. I want to eat well and fall asleep ( and stay asleep for more than 4 hours at a time). Is it vain to admit that also I just want a good butt? Well I said it. I had just started to get fitter and have improved stamina when I had a minor operation in earlier November and had to rest up for 6 weeks, so I have only now really started back with it and wow it’s difficult after a break. Having a period of forced rest or ill health does make you realise just how important it is to take care of yourself. After all if you don’t then it is one thing you cannot blame on someone else, it’s all on you to make the changes or take the steps to improve.
A little bit of a long ramble I know but I have just seen so many social media posts over the last few days from people talking about starting extreme diets or life changes that it seemed an appropriate time to share my thoughts.
Maybe you are feeling sluggish, full of Christmas chocolates and heavy meals but don’t panic and cut all of those very enjoyable calories from your life. Move more, eat a little less or a little better and just take care of you.
I hope you have all had a fabulous festive break with your families and friends. Happy New Year.