Weight: 125lbs (8st. 13lbs)
This week my Mum said to me, “you’ve got a lot of energy at the moment haven’t you? It must be your good diet”. I hadn’t really been thinking too hard about it but you know what? I DO feel good at the moment. I’m breezing through the days, getting up at 6:30am for yoga, getting all of my workouts done, going to work and earning my keep at home with what sometimes feels like continual loads of laundry, dishes and cooking meals. I’m constantly on the go and although most of the time I’m thinking that if I don’t keep DOING then I’ll probably just crash (!), I am really enjoying all the busy-ness. What’s more, the dizzy spells and general anxiety I was struggling with over the summer seem to have disappeared.
It’s been a trial and error approach to finding a sustainable way to manage my health and well-being but I think I’ve finally cracked it, at least for now (I expect that my needs are likely to change over time but I’m ready to just roll with the punches). I’m thrilled to finally feel like I have a lifestyle that makes me feel good about myself AND wont burn me out after 3 (unhealthy diet, over exercising) weeks..! Here are the key changes I think have contributed to my success:
1. Focusing on forming new habits:
Rather than thinking of change in the form of rigid planning and sticking to a program for a set amount of time only, I have been trying to build a daily yoga practice into my mornings without the pressure of a set length, style or time. Some mornings are harder than others, and on the really challenging days it’s all I can do to coax myself into a gentle round of sun salutations, but I intend that over time it will become second nature for me just to roll out of bed and hit the mat. On that note…
2. Daily yoga:
The physical stretching and twisting to start the day is of course a great way to set my body up, especially considering the ridiculous amount of tweaks and twinges my body suffers for one so young (!). However, the most significant benefits have been mental: taking the practice of grounding myself in the present moment ‘off the mat’ and into my day-to-day has been the biggest contributing factor to reducing my anxiety. By not letting myself get worked up about future tasks and events and just letting things happen as they happen, I have been enjoying every activity more as well as further reducing my physical tension and probably a lot of my digestive issues.
3. The right amount of exercise:
This summer (in cycles 2 and 3), I think I went to heavy on the training. I was focusing hard on an ultimate goal (to run a half marathon in 1hr 30min) and my program was based around that. It wasn’t a sustainable level of effort for the long-term: despite enjoying seeing how quickly my speed and fitness progressed, I eventually psyched myself out and burnt out physically and mentally. I began struggling with anxiety attacks in the form of nausea and unexplained waves of almost paralyzing fatigue which no amount of dietary changes or yoga practice seemed to fix. In contrast, stepping back my weekly training to 6 days of ONE hour max. intense work and morning yoga seems to be working- it’s enough for me to see improvement but its not so much at I can’t sustain it week on week. GROUP CLASSES have also helped- I don’t have the opportunity to procrastinate and get worked up, I just have to get myself there, at the correct time and get it done.
4. A more relaxed approach to sugar:
I was previously trying to cut out sugar almost completely- even cutting back on fruit except for on hard training days. Although I would still like to wean myself off the sweet stuff eventually, I am trying to learn to relax on my previously ‘all-or-nothing’ attitude. It’s possible that some of my fatigue and nausea symptoms may have been linked to the detox effect of my body trying to shed a huge amount of toxins, as well as handling the increased stress of an intense training regimen. It was just too much. I’m still quite picky about my diet: no wheat, no meat except fish, keeping away from onions and garlic, and currently BARELY any dairy products except whole milk in my tea. I’m also trying to avoid pulses as far as possible. I make sure to get a good balance of nutrients and sufficient calorie intake each day (see my NUTRITION page for a breakdown of my usual daily meal plan) but I’m also allowing myself a bit of chocolate on most days (preferably dark: 75% cocoa solids….although the Roses and Quality Streets have been sneaking in there now Christmas has rolled around..!).
And there we have it, 4 reasons I’m feeling awesome this Christmas. I’m remaining optimistic for the actual festive day itself. It wont be an easy one for me- it never is- but I’m feeling well prepared and with every intention of entering 2015 riding high on a wave of energy and love of life.
for helping me understand at least a little of what I’ve been experiencing..!