Exercising for Me & My Body

I’ve been thinking about writing a post like this for a while, and there’s no better time than after my first zumba class in a while, whilst I’m full of endorphins & wanting to talk about how great exercise is for our minds. This week, it’s mental health awareness week, and I’ve seen plenty of posts talking all about body image & how we feel about ourselves.

I’m going to start this off by saying I’m not perfect with accepting my body image, I’d love to be that little bit smaller, but the main thing for me, is that I want to feel comfortable, fit & healthy in my own body. Today may not be the best day to write this as I have fuelled my body with cake the last few days, following a cake sale at work, but eh it’s all about balance right? I’ve come back from a 45 minute zumba class & my mindset is x10 better than it was an hour or so before.. and that my friends is what I want to talk about.

i don’t actually lift these weights, but the gym was quiet = selfie

The main question I think is: why do we exercise? Do you do it for you? The reason why I ask this, is that my relationship with exercise has been up & down, (I actually wrote one of my first blog posts on this:
https://theimlifex.wordpress.com/2018/04/17/fitness/ ). Since that blog post, my fitness routine has changed, I’ve got access to a gym, I’ve done weekly yoga classes, & I will begin training for a 15 mile walk, and although I wouldn’t say I’ve lost much weight, but I am definitely fitter & healthier than I was. Normally, if I was exercising regularly and not seeing much of a difference in weight, I’d become demotivated, and question if I was doing enough. But this year, I’ve noticed the change that exercise does to my mindset, especially if I’m feeling stressed – take today for example, I was tired & I could have most definitely sat and watched Netflix all evening (which is perfectly justified just to add!), but I just knew that I needed to move to get rid of all the stress. Zumba worked pretty well for that, I may have felt like I was nearly a professional Latin dancer, but I most definitely was not!!

definitely a quote to live by!
t-shirt – stay wild swim

So, in light of the body image theme for mental health awareness, I think we need to not be too hard on ourselves. Exercise because you want to, not because the voice in your head is telling you to burn off the calories you’ve consumed that day, no matter how much cake you ate. Exercise no matter what size/shape you are, take away the scales & measure progress based on how you feel, your fitness & your strength. It’s okay to have bad days, and to not want to exercise ~ accept those days & move on. Finally, ignore every comment someone makes about your size/fitness/strength etc & remember you are doing this for you, if you want to & when you want to, not for them.

By nourishing our bodies, knowing our capabilities & what makes us smile – we don’t have to be on a track to ‘lose the pounds’, we can be on an exercise journey, simply because we want to. Remember, #bebodykind ~ not just to others, but to yourself as well.

Let’s talk: wellbeing

Hey – so today wellness & wellbeing are two topics very much at the forefront of my mind. Behind every smile there’s a story & my story is definitely taking it’s ups & downs at the moment. This week, I was reminded of how far I’ve come, and maybe one day I’ll be ready to talk about that.

But for now, I’ve got the ‘A Star is Born’ soundtrack blaring, and I want to talk about the main ways I’ve tried to manage my wellbeing, build resilience & still ‘be a force of nature’ especially when I may not always feel so ‘well’.

Most of us don’t choose the bad things that happen to us so I guess the first way to mention is to find your outlet to ‘escape’ the bad things. For me, it’s writing, putting it all down on paper; thoughts, feelings, fears. Some days it might be easier not to do this, but I’ve started scheduling a time each day to just note how I’m feeling, to look back on & recognise where the good outweighs the bad or vice versa. An outlet should reduce the emotions you hold in, especially as emotions have their own way of escalating and erupting at times. Use the outlet you have, whether that be writing, drawing, singing, dancing, to reflect and process what is in your world at the moment, good & bad.

Putting yourself first in situations may not come so naturally, I definitely always wanted to say ‘yes’ to invites and put myself outside of the ‘comfort zone’. But now, understanding when I need time to myself has become much more apparent, and this is building resilience in itself, with the world telling us to take every opportunity with both hands – yes definitely, but take care of yourself too, you don’t have to be busy every evening or every weekend, it’s okay to stop for a bit.

But in balance, lets not forget your support circle. Sometimes when you’re not feeling so great, those core people will show themselves & you’ll know who is best to talk to and to rely on, and in turn you’ll do the same for them.

This quote resonates with me so much, knowing that your support circle are there to uplift you, as much as you are there to uplift them, then you can get through pretty much anything!

Here’s to taking care of our wellbeing & fighting all battles in 2019 ❤

Why I’m avoiding the New Year diet..

And just like that, Christmas has flown by! For me it was the best chilled day I could have asked for, plenty of food, afternoon naps and board games.

Previous New Years that I’ve approached in my 20 years of life, have been promising myself to get on the new year diet as soon as Jan 1st rolls around. Normally, I’ve got a new cookbook or some kind of exercise equipment for Christmas and I’m ready to try it out. But it never seems to last long, I slip up with the new year of dieting and exercise one way or another and don’t see the point of going back to it, typically before Jan 31st!

Last year, I chose not to put too much pressure on myself to follow a New Year diet and I think 2018 has taught me a lot, especially with how to balance fitness and health in a more regular way.

This summer, I decided to go vegetarian and feel as though this has shaped my eating habits into a more healthy balanced way. Simply because I just bloody love veg but actually it’s been a really good change for me to feel passionate about the food I’m creating and putting into my body (shown by my veggie Christmas dinner creation!). That’s definitely not saying I’m perfect with food, a few too many chocolates have been consumed this Christmas period, but I feel as though my habits are slowly starting to change.

Balancing fitness wise has always been something I’ve struggled with, hence why I’ve always pushed it as a focus in previous January’s. This year, I’ve learnt to enjoy the time I can go to the gym this and to feel better for it, instead of always feeling I’m pushing myself to lose weight. Programmes such as Tally Rye’s ‘#bestmemotivationmonth’, have really helped me alter my mindset towards going to the gym and I’ve stayed fairly active over the festive period with dog walks and exploring new places!

Although January can be full of motivation for some of us, it can really feel like a struggle to be prioritising going to the gym 3-4 times a week so for the New Year, I’m going to try and use the time when I’m at the gym to push myself further, whether its 30 mins, 40 mins or an hour.

But finally, the main reason why I’m going to avoid the New Year diet this year, is acceptance. I want to feel good about myself and what I’m doing fitness/health wise, rather than pressurising myself to go to the gym three times a week. It can be easy to get caught up into it all, especially the ‘New Year, New Me’ aspect. Although January can kick-start motivation for healthy eating and exercise, it’s worth remembering that your size/weight does not define you, feeling good about yourself can and will take time and it’s a roller-coaster journey so heres to 2019!

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas of indulgence and enjoy the New Year! ❤