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I have blogged about my efforts in being physically healthy (and hopefully mentally healthier too) many times. There have been many incarnations of Healthy Kez over the years (you just have to click on the tag Kez Gets Physical to see what I mean)!
I have learned a lot about loving myself and accepting my body in all its different sizes and states of health. I have tried to figure out what foods work best for weight loss (during a time when I probably placed too much emphasis on it). I have owned a treadmill, tried the C25K running app (couch to 5km), joined a gym, worked out with YouTube during a pandemic (until I didn’t anymore). It’s always trial and error and what has worked for me before might not work now.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am a work in progress!!
Recently I started a challenge inspired by Steph from @justanothermummyblog on Instagram. It is called the 60 Day Recharge Challenge and it goes until Christmas. I was attracted to it because it gave space for you to set your own healthy habits to work on during the 60 days and fit it into your life. There’s nothing toxic or extreme about it (ie nobody is breathing down your neck making sure you kill yourself to do things that aren’t working for you) and I think it came along at a time when I was actually ready to receive it and be motivated by it.
I chose the daily habits:
- Listen to a podcast or read 10 pages of a book
- Drink 2L water
- Do between 15-45 min of movement/exercise
- Mindful eating
- No booze except for special occasions
I have written a little checklist in my planner to tick off each day.
I love that this isn’t all about “shredding” or “weight loss” or “diet”. It’s about general well-being and self care!
I started off really strong, to give myself the best chance of keeping it up, but I will be the first to unashamedly say it: I have not nailed every single task, every single day.
What I have done is start to see the benefits of each healthy habit and it all just feels like a normal part of my life now. I don’t eat my feelings (but I do not deprive myself of anything). I journal more than I did before. I drink more water (I was always getting dehydrated or forgetting my water bottle etc). I feed my mind with interesting things via podcasts. It’s not the most important thing but I am losing weight slowly, which reassures me because I was having trouble getting comfortable at night (especially around my chin/neck area which worried me).
What I have learned is that it’s not a big fail if you miss a day of work outs. It’s not a big fail if you accidentally inhaled food you really weren’t hungry for. Life is a wave. You have days when things just don’t go right or you’re so tired you won’t feel like working out or you’ll get sick and barely function or you’ll be so busy that you may not tick off most things. And you have days where you are kicking arse.
I don’t beat myself up anymore. I don’t give up. I don’t write everything off if I fall off the wagon. I don’t buy into the mentality that I should be scared of failing. I just try again the next day. And the next day. And the next day. I do what I can when I can because this is my life and it’s one big roller coaster ride and that’s OK. I won’t be “starting again Monday”. I’ll be CONTINUING when I can. The development of these habits is just a continuation of the work I’ve already done. So what if I faltered for a minute? That doesn’t mean everything I did before that was useless and worth nothing!!! I’m still going! I won’t stop or give up! I might pause or get wobbly but I’m not stopping. I’m continuing my good work.
That cliche about it being a lifestyle and not a fad is true.
I can’t picture myself giving up these habits beyond the 60 days. They’ve been so good for me and so easy to incorporate into my life. They’re sustainable and realistic. And I know I’m not going to shame myself or be shamed if I slip up occasionally.
This is huge for me because I really did struggle for a couple of years (at least)!
I’ve learned I’m not a gym person. I won’t say never, buuuuut…
In 2019 I tried to make it happen but I wasn’t in the right space, mentally, to get the most out of it. I just felt like it was something I SHOULD do. The truth is, I was exhausted with a young toddler (an adorable munchkin but much more of a physical handful than my first kid had been) and I was very very hard on myself. I wanted to be like my friends (big gym enthusiasts) and I just wasn’t.
Recently, I was reminiscing on the last couple of years (the pandemic has given me a need to constantly reflect because honestly it’s been a wild ride and sometimes I just want to remember the ‘before’ days) and I decided to rewatch my Instagram story archives from that year. Fuck, it was tedious. It was me overthinking whether I should go to the gym or not all the time. Excuses for not going (like I owed anyone an explanation). Constant talk about every single workout I did. The cringe factor – yikes!
I couldn’t see it at the time but I was really not OK. I knew I was struggling but there’s nothing like watching it back via old social media posts and realising just how much! I am grateful for the social support from my gym friends at the time. I am grateful for the physical health benefits I did experience when I was able to go and really enjoy it. But I think my mentality that missing the gym was a crime but also I really needed to miss it sometimes because shit happens was a mind fuck for me.
The day I cancelled my membership, I felt so much relief. The money wasn’t coming out of my bank account for no reason anymore. And then shortly after, nobody was going to the gym! 2020, am I right?
The guilt melted away.
I think I wanted the gym to fix everything twice a week for an hour at a time. I think I thought that the gym would give me motivation – value for my money and friends to turn up to see – and keep me disciplined. I probably wasn’t living well the other 5 days. Turns out it wasn’t for me. One day I might want to incorporate it into my daily life again, but I have learned so much about doing it for me (not for my bank account or out of guilt or fear of what will happen to my body if I miss even one sesh) and being kind to myself.
Doing a bit of exercise each day and listening to when my body is really getting a lot out of it or when it isn’t has been really good. I’m working with the rhythm of my life, instead of forcing something and it feels good. I know that in time I will meet the goals I want to meet and my habits will be just a part of every day life. It feels sustainable and I think that’s what I’ve been lacking before.
I’m not perfect, but I’m doing better and it doesn’t feel so HARD. I am not trying to sell the specific 60 day ‘challenge’ I’ve been undertaking, but I love how it’s made me look at things differently. Little bits of self care, daily, has been an epiphany to me (which is funny because it seems kind of obvious to me now). You don’t have to do BIG and HARD all the time. Just do something and be kind to yourself when you can’t. People get sick or exhausted or go through really busy times or whatever and that’s OK. You just look after yourself and get back to it when you can.
I think loving and accepting my body, as well as working on self compassion (with some help in therapy) has got me to this place. I kind of wrote this to remind myself of why I’m doing this, as well as to hopefully help somebody else feel like healthy change is achievable and to not feel guilty for not being hardcore at everything. Just be kind to your mind and body. Some days that means shoving healthy, clean food in your gob and going for a run. Other times it might be journalling and resting your body. Maybe it’s a bit of everything. But the guilt and the need for instant results can burn you out and that’s no good! If you’re living well then that’s good enough!
Anyway, I haven’t blogged in a while so it felt good to write again. I can slowly feel myself returning to who I am as an individual after a crazy few years – first a new baby/toddler and then a pandemic! It makes me happy to have (a little) more mental and physical space after so long!
What healthy habits would you like to develop/work on?