For the past month I have been writing a series on my journey to healthy living. I promised a post each week and I have delivered. I have another series topic planned for September as well… but first let’s recap:
My Journey to Health Series So Far
- Se7en Learns to Eat a Rainbow…
- There is More to Sleep Than Getting to Bed On Time…
- When You Go On a Fitness Journey – You Will Have to Work Out…
Se7en Things You Need To Know About A Journey to Health
- You are Going to have to Sleep Well: My first shocking discovery on my very first day at the gym was that “You will never lose weight if you do not sleep.” Just compare the number of people who are overweight vs the number of people who are sleep deprived in your country and you will discover that those numbers are remarkably similar. There is a reason for that. We live in a world of under-slept people, if you don’t think you have a sleep problem… then you need to learn more about sleep and why sleep is so important to your mental and physical health, because chances are that if you think you are getting enough sleep then you are one of the very high statistic of people who think they are getting enough sleep, but actually are not. If you are worried that you don’t sleep enough, or worse… you know you don’t sleep enough then you need to do something about it. The most practical and useful way that you can get the help you need is to take the Sport Science online Sleep Course… it is excellent, practical and gives you the skills you need to tackle your sleep situation head on. They don’t pay me to say this, but their sleep course is truly one of the very best sleep products I have ever come across.
- You are Going to Have to Make Some Good Food Choices: Not all the food choices have to be the very best choices, but most of the food choices you make have to be good choices. We have upped our food game dramatically in our home… eating rainbows is not nearly as hard as I thought it would be, and my kids haven’t mentioned the change. I am getting to the place where I don’t want to eat food that isn’t good for me… a year ago I was nowhere near there. A year ago I was able to give up food that I didn’t actually like eating, but I was eating because it was dinner time, or someone else had made it for me, or insert any lame excuse. Now I look twice or refuse, food that isn’t going to make me feel good or fuel my next workout… yup I am always thinking about my next workout.
- You Are Going To Have to Move: Talking about working out, it is quite simple moving is your goal. You have to move everyday… it makes you feel terrible at first, like bust a gut you are dying and so jolly tired all the time… but after a few weeks you will start to feel better. I started to feel better long before I looked better. You cannot judge how you feel by how you look or by what the scale says… I come out of every workout feeling like I conquered the world, but a glance in the mirror in the locker room tells me I am not quite the champion that I feel like. Change is not instantaneous… you will begin to move better before you begin to feel better, but once you start to feel better you will never look back. I am never going back to the sedentary life I lived and the only way I can stay moving is to keep moving.
- You Are Going to Have to Dream Big and Start Small: Big dreams definitely get me up and moving. My husband just has to whisper #OMTOM to me on a dark wintry Saturday morning and I will get up and run a Parkrun, just in case this all adds up to one day running my dream race. In fact, I know I have ridiculously big dreams, for instance, I don’t think I can let that triathlon go. Who is this speaking, even?!!! This is the same person that sat on a couch for twenty years, reading stories to her kids… and a year ago could not walk a lap around the track… you have to start really small. There is no too small… Honestly, a month or two back I decided… after swearing I would NEVER (I should never say never) ride a bike again, that I would start on the Watt bikes at gym… I began with 30 seconds a day… 30 seconds. Yup it took longer to get on the bike than ride it. Now I can get on and ride and ride and ride… well actually my maximum so far has been 15 minutes… but it is a start. And I don’t have a real bike… so I haven’t actually pedalled anywhere yet, but I am not giving up, I am learning to sit on a bike, pedal a bike, get the feel of a bike. Small steps will eventually get you to big dreams.
- Your Are Going to Have to Gear Up: I don’t mean all the gear, I am the original under buyer. I don’t have a fancy gym bag… all I need is well any bag really… it has my towel and goggles in it. So nothing fancy… but I just recently bought my first actual running shoes… and oh my word!!! When I started at gym I had a pair of ancient crocs, and then I upped my game to trail shoes because we hike quite a lot… but actually I run. I am a runner and runners need running shoes. I haven’t been to a fancy running shop that analyses your feet and all that… just shoes designed for running and my word they are like running in a dream. Making all the difference in the world… so some gear has to be good gear and other gear really doesn’t matter.
- You are Going to Battle With Apparel: This has definitely been one of the hardest challenges for me, and as a plus size gal… a major, major challenge. The people that are told they need to work out or they are going to have serious health issues are the people that find it impossible to find workout clothes that actually fit. I am not even kidding you… this is the biggest challenge. From the start, when all you can do is amble around the track and do half a push up, until you can run 10km or swim a km before breakfast, and every kind of athlete in-between, you are going to battle to find gym gear that actually fits. I am convinced that gym apparel is not made for real people. The fact is shop assistants look at you like, well you are the one with the problem, you are overweight and, this is your punishment, we have nothing you can wear for gym here. This is just crazy thinking… if you have just glanced at the folk who are actually working out and not the glamorous folk in the ads either, I mean real folk on the gym floor. Also, you cannot go by size, because every brand has different sizing… so what might be XXL in one store, is only L in another. All I can say is persist until you find something that works, because even the slightest discomfort: the two tight sock, the zip that slightly scratches, the sleeve that is just too long… all these things will become an excuse to give up on a day when the going gets tough. Accept the battle, and just keep looking… if you see someone at gym that looks great, ask them where they got their gear.
- You Are Going To Have to Deal With Your Excuses: You know you want to be healthier, you know you want to get moving… but when the time comes to actually get up and move you will find a number of reasons why it is impossible. On any given day you are going to be too tired, too hot, too cold, too hungry, too cranky, too “ANYTHING.” You have to know that your head is going to tell you any excuse not to work out, and that you are going to have to have a plan in place to work around those excuses. Removing the choices helps, declaring non-negotiable helps and hooks help. I have to get to gym in the morning, but I can decided if I want to run in the evening or not. So morning workouts are non-negotiable for me. I put my gym clothes out the night before, there is no decision to make in the morning, just up and out the door. I hook my workouts on things that happen in my day, if I walk up the front steps… I jump up the front steps, at first I literally could not jump one step… and now I can jump them all. I reward myself with workouts… if the kids make supper, then I have to go for a run while they cook… Work your way through all those excuses beforehand… trust me, when those workouts eventually start adding up and you start seeing the differences you will be so glad you didn’t fall for your own silly excuses.
The journey from completely underslept and sedentary… back to a healthy living isn’t overnight, changes are slow and build upon each other. My journey isn’t nearly over, my goals remain: Move, move, move. I have other goals too: Get to that seven hours of sleep a night, every night; Make the right food choices for the right reasons all the time. Who knows those wild and crazy dreams could still happen. It is a journey, there will be times when you just don’t feel like it, there will be times when you want to give up and there will be times when you make mistakes… but overall if you just keep on plodding, you will notice a huge difference, you will feel better… so much better. And as you become more and more able to do things that you thought you couldn’t do, your confidence that you didn’t realise had taken a plummet, will return. Every little step really does make a difference… you just have to take the first step and keep on rolling.
As the Brand Ambassador for the Healthy Weight Programme at the Sport Science Institute of South Africa I receive free access to the gym and their programme, however this is not a sponsored post and all opinions are truly my own.