This year I started a series called ‘Kez Gets Physical’. Basically, the mission was/is to improve my physical and mental health, to document it to keep myself accountable, find inspiration (hopefully inspiring others who feel they can relate) and to find more of my tribe. There was no specific diet or weight loss plan or anything in particular that I was trying to sell or preach about. I just wanted to share my story and my own personal approach to improving my health. No judgement, no fear.
I feel like 2015 has been a fantastically big year when it comes to working on my physical and mental health. In fact, I’m pretty proud of the way in which I have tried to make it a priority in my life. I have learned so much about myself, from both the ups and downs of this – sorry but the cliché is coming – JOURNEY.
Here is my review of the year…
Things I achieved/learned
A stronger focus on self care
This year I gave myself permission to take the time I needed to look after my health. I had to fight the guilt at first. A lot. But eventually, it became an expectation I held for both myself and my family that I would be taking time out to exercise when I needed it. And guess what? Everybody was just fine (even if there were a few grumbles at times).
My overall mental health has improved
I still suffer from anxiety at times, but the severity and frequency seem to have decreased somewhat. I put this down to regular exercise and creating life habits that help me to cope better. I am not afraid to talk about it anymore. I recognise the warning signs. I know that sleeping well, unplugging from things that trigger me or make it worse, literally walking/running it off, and telling horrible thoughts to basically fuck off (i.e. giving myself a positive reality check when I have lost perspective and the negative self talk starts) is always a good strategy. I also know that when I am overwhelmed I can say ‘no’, I can turn to organising my life better, and I can ask for help. I have also discovered that some ‘off’ feelings just don’t need to be overanalysed. I just let them be and get on with things. A big deal for an over thinker like me.
It is not very often that I just sit alone, stewing in my anxiety and eating foods that make me feel like crap anymore (because that was so helpful in the past – not). That is definitely a big improvement. I do positive things now. I make action plans when I know I can feel it coming on. It can be as simple as telling someone (not carrying it all alone), having a rest day full of self care or it can be a hard fought battle where I work hard to attack it from all angles. Either way, I have learned that I can always do something positive about it. I hate the need to ‘fight’ but I know I’m stronger than I’ve ever been and knowing that I’ve managed to decrease the amount of time I have to spend fighting it is very reassuring.
My confidence grew and I got #InThePicture more
As I got fitter and stronger, I started to try harder to get in family photos. In fact, I demanded it! I wanted proof that I was having fun with my family and feeling good about myself. I stopped freaking out that I looked pregnant (when sadly that hasn’t been the case), with a bloated belly. I stopped fussing over my appearance as much. Knowing that I was exercising and doing fun things took the focus off the superficial and made me feel a confidence I hadn’t felt in a long time. I stopped being as embarrassed about taking selfies – there might be (a very first world) stigma but who else is gonna take it? I don’t have a very willing Instagram Husband haha.
I want memories recorded. I don’t want to hide anymore.
My body has changed
I have probably only lost about 2kg since the beginning of the year (with some fluctuations in between), but my body feels so different. I feel like I have a shape. I feel strong. I lost some fat from my lower back that I had begun to think would be there for the rest of my life (since having the Little Mister). I feel so much better in my clothes. I managed to fit back into some clothes I hadn’t fit in for a long time. The last time I weighed this much, I definitely did not look as toned or feel as strong. I feel really excited when I see the difference in photos or when someone in my life notices the difference. I have started to look for the good things when I face my mirror, instead of zooming in on the flaws. I never thought I’d feel like that, without being a stick figure first. I guess my mind has changed too!
I’ve made exercise a routine part of my life
I admit that prior to this year, exercise was just the thing I did to lose weight by a certain time or it was just a ‘phase’ I went through. This year, it has become a necessary and regular part of my life. It is the rule, not the exception. Of course I have rest days and setbacks, but that’s all they are. I miss exercise when I can’t do it. I know when I’m not feeling as good, that it’s something I need to do to maintain a healthy balance. I fit it in when I can. It is no longer a ‘luxury’ or a ‘quick fix’ phase. I am proud that I have been able to create this habit and maintain it.
Things I loved
I have enjoyed each and every comment on my blog or Facebook page since I started ‘Kez Gets Physical’. I love knowing that some of you are reading and sharing your own experiences. I also joined the awesome Facebook group (founded by Chantelle of Fat Mum Slim) The Good Life Gang. I also have a couple of great friends on Twitter and Snapchat – we chat back and forth about our exercise plans and habits. We keep ourselves accountable and we encourage each other. I also had fun making Fitbit friends and taking part in challenges. Sadly, my Fitbit has bitten the dust for now, but it still played a big part in my year. It’s so great to find people who are like minded. I love that no-one I have surrounded myself with is militant, trying to sell a product or obsessed about it. We just do what we can, when we can and it’s really inspiring and a safe place to be ourselves. Thanks to everyone who I’ve mentioned above 🙂
Learning to run/challenging myself
I never thought I’d enjoy running. I mostly end up on my treadmill (time/weather/other factors), but it’s great. It’s like my form of mindfulness. I go into some kind of zen state on good days. It seems to have such a positive impact on my body. I use the C25K app and it’s perfect for me. I like that sense of knowing I’m improving bit by bit. I can measure my progress really easily.
Stuff to keep working on in 2016 and beyond
I have improved things overall (not pigging out at lunch time has been a big change), but I know that I am not always fuelling my body with what is best. I still have eyes that are bigger than my belly. I don’t always stop when I’m full. It’s a constant struggle for a food lover, but something I will have to keep working on.
Continued weight loss
I want to be at a healthier weight for me and I know I have about 6kg to go before I’m at least in the ball park. Obviously, the above point about nutrition/portion sizes is a big factor. I am so pleased with how my body has changed so far, but there is still a way to go. I want to feel lighter.
My progress with these issues has been verrrrry slow and steady. A part of me is glad about that because I feel like the long term habits I’m creating are going to stick – it’s not been a quick fix – but I think I’m now in a better position to step it up for an even better 2016.
How did your 2015 shape up?