Sunday, 13 November 2016

My Fitness Journey

I'm writing this straight from brain to keyboard because I can't be bothered to edit, sorry in advance if this a nonsensical mess xoxo

When I was younger, I had a very unhealthy relationship with food. In Primary school I was one of the few kids to go up at lunch time - not just for seconds, but for thirds. From the age I was old enough to get pocket money, I would go down to the corner shop and buy as much chocolate as I could afford, come home, and eat all the chocolate bars one after the other. At the time I didn't think it was a big deal, I hadn't even heard of the word 'Binge Eating'. While my sisters ate normal portions, I would have double at dinner time. I used to believe that I always had to finish my plate, no matter how full I was. This caused my stomach to expand bigger and bigger, meaning it took more food to make me feel satisfied. I would snack on 1,000 calorie sandwiches (homemade - 1/3 block of cheese, 2 slices of ham, 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise) and sometimes think that wasn't enough so add a packet of crisps to that as well. Pudding was not a treat, it was a daily occurrence.

I didn't know anything about health. As I got older, I gained more and more weight (about a stone a year) I finally started to admit to my bad habits. I became one of the typical 'dieters' who would eat semi-healthy for a day or two, feel really proud, and then just fall back into bad eating. All the while I was doing no exercise, and P.E. lessons were a nightmare at school, because I found everything so much harder than the others, which wasn't surprising given I was carrying an extra seven stone more than them.

Throughout University I stopped gaining weight, but I didn't lose any either. I worked hard to eat all the fruits and vegetables I needed, but I was still eating junk, drinking a lot, and did no exercise. When I got my first full time job I started to lose weight, not because I was eating any differently, but just from doing physical activity. People started commenting"Wow, you've lost weight, how are you doing it?" and I never knew how to respond, because I wasn't trying. I joined a gym and went one to two times a week, still eating junk, I managed to lose more weight.

Once I'd lost a stone, I stopped losing weight again. Excited by the progress I'd made, I looked into nutrition, when I learned the amount of calories/fats/sugars in some of my favourite foods I was shocked, and although I kept eating them, I started eating them less, and less. The thing that really helped was getting interested in the nutrition of healthy foods, like Flax seed, Matcha powder, Kale, Spinach, Fruits, nuts, seeds etc. I learned healthy fats for unhealthy fats, the amount of protein I should have for my weight, how many carbs, the benefits of cooking your own meals vs eating processed, ready prepared food. I knew about health, so now I had no excuse.

I have a ways to go until I reach my ideal weight for my height, but I know for the first time that I will get there. The progress I've made is only just starting to show now that I'm more consistent with exercise. I can run for the bus without getting out of breath, I can lift 150 pounds with my legs, I can be on the cross trainer for almost ten minutes  (when I first got on that thing I couldn't make it to two minutes...) I've finally learnt how to motivate myself.

I will write a longer blog post on some tips and advice, but here's a little for now:
Bad eating stems from bad habits, habits take a long time to undo, so do it slowly, and congratulate yourself when you succeed. Small successes mount up to big successes. The best piece of advice I ever received on weight loss and being healthy was from my mother "Don't think of this as a diet, think of it as a lifestyle change" this still motivates me a lot, so thank you mum!

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