10 January, 2014

Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Healthy Mind


image - via Pinterest

Just before Christmas (does anyone else feel like Christmas was a lifetime ago?) I made this ambitious list of 100 Things to do in 2014. It was inspired by a similar list created by Christine from The Fabulous Times and it really spurred me on to take control of all the ga-zillion of things and bits of pieces in my life that I'd like to change for the better. If you remember, I broke all these mini goals down into categories and one of those important categories was health and in particular, wellbeing.

Many of us are often focused on how we look (and not how we feel!), the end result and whether we fit into a teeny tiny pair of skinny jeans. I am guilty of this. I won't lie. I have often (and to a point, still am) used an item of clothing or an occasion, such as a wedding, as a point of focus. A deadline for achieving my weight loss goal. For the first number of weeks I am the female equivalent of Mr Motivator. I radically turn around my eating habits, sign up for all the fitness classes I can find, say no to bread at every opportunity and inform anyone who will listen, that I, ladies and gentlemen, am on a health kick and that come X (insert relevant date here), you won't recognize me, for I will look gorgeous. Just gorgeous. I can see how gorgeous I will look in my head. Women will be jealous and men will fall at my feet. End of.

However, this tried and tested method, as many of you know and understand too well is not sustainable. Your enthusiasm slowly dries up. It often starts with a niggly feeling. The feeling that perhaps you've taken on too much and you think "maybe I'll just go to the gym three times a week and not five".  A few weeks later your gym-going is reduced to one, maybe two sessions a week and your excitement at tackling healthy recipes containing avocados, almond butter and the likes is dwindling. You're dreaming about buttery toast and you can feel yourself reverting to your old ways and eventually, you do. You might have lost some weight, you might have not, however for a short period you feel like a failure. You haven't reached your goal. The jeans don't fit. You buy a new pair, maybe two 'cas you're on a 'cheer yourself  up mission' and be done with it. So they're a size bigger then you hoped. You have new jeans, be happy girl!

All of the above has happened to me and having spoken with friends / family, the same can be said for them too. It's easy to get caught up in the momentum of making New Years resolutions and I'm a sucker for change. I love the fresh start of a new year, reflecting on the past and trying to make amends with everything that didn't go so well the previous year. Except every year, and I mean every year the old chestnut of 'weight loss and fitness' appears. Every single year I berate myself about not reaching weight loss goals and honestly, I've been doing this since I was 18. That's 13 years of self hate and self loathing. That's a long time giving out to yourself and my time can and should be spent better.

I've had a think about all of this weight loss / fitness / wellbeing / looking 'just gorgeous' malarky and really, for me personally, it breaks down to a couple of issues:

Firstly, I have and always have been, an emotional eater and so have lots of members of my family. Bad day at work, lets eat. Celebrating, lets eat. Your boss hates you, lets eat some more and throw some cream on top of that sad emotion people. Lets eat so much that you lose all sense of when you're full and sometimes forget how much you've actually eaten in a day. 

Secondly, I'm lazy. Really, I am. I'm happiest when I'm comfy on the couch with a blanket and a full fridge in close proximity. Working out does not come easy to me. Don't get me wrong, 15 minutes into a gym class, I'm delighted I'm there, feel all sorts of awesome, update my status afterwards on Facebook and always, always get a better nights sleep because of it. But that act of getting your gym gear together and fat butt of the couch and making the trek to the gym, just doesn't rock my fitness boat.

Given the two dilemmas above, how does an emotional lazy eater move forward in a more positive direction? How do I take control of the situation. and get going? Like all good problems, you need to look at it from another angle. Instead of focusing on a goal weight or size, I now chose to focus on how I feel and to be more conscious in the way that I eat. And, of course it goes without saying that I have chosen to cook better, healthier and more colourful food choices. A trip to the gym a few times the week is the added bonus on top of the healthy eating. It's a session chosen to make me feel better, to work off a hard day or the January blues. I chose to attend not because I want to shift some flab, but because I want to feel better physically, emotionally and mentally, and you know what? So far, it's working for me. 

I've enjoyed cooking and researching amazing recipes so much over the last week that I've begun to document those meals and process behind creating them. I've enjoyed eating them and not felt so deprived that I reach for that packet of custard cremes. Over the course of the year, I'm going to start sharing these meals and recipes with you and if you follow me on instagram, you'll have noticed my recent buzz around capturing snippets of my food preparation / eating already. If you're on the long term health kick wagon like myself, do share your thoughts below. I've already found a supportive group of people on Twitter, so feel free to join our random conversations and hopefully, together we'll start and end 2014 on a healthy high!


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