Cake, chocolate, bread, biscuits. Let’s face it, that sounds like a pretty nice list of foodstuffs, right? Well, yes, but also no. We’ve all heard the statement ‘a little of what you fancy does you good’, and we’ve probably all rolled our eyes and thought of unprintable responses, yet I can see the logic in it. OK now you’re rolling your eyes at me, but just stay with me on this one for a few paragraphs.
Two years ago I realized I was in need of a lifestyle overhaul. I know that sounds quite dramatic, but I was very unhappy and had reached the point of needing to make some sort of change. So, in a nutshell, I enlisted the help of a Personal Trainer who turned my eating habits on their head and somehow persuaded me to go to the gym. Initially the idea of having a Personal Trainer seemed completely crazy, and the thought of stepping foot in a gym was laughable, yet it happened.
I am gluten intolerant and had known for years that anything I ate that contained even a little bit of gluten made me feel very unwell, but I carried on eating it until the PT intervened! I can be pretty stubborn, but on this occasion I will admit that following someone else’s rules on food made a dramatic difference, for the better. Cutting out gluten completely stopped me feeling so bloated, and somehow gave me more energy. I was so used to feel exhausted in the middle of the day, mostly due to poor eating habits, that this sudden increase in energy levels was a great side effect.
Along with the energy increase, inch loss and weight loss, the introduction of a proper exercise routine produced some very surprising results. I have anxiety and PCOS, so tend to suffer with ‘low moods’ and low self-esteem, all of which I ‘dealt’ with by burying my head in the sand. Once I started training a couple of times a week, I noticed my moods started to improve. I would get real adrenalin ‘highs’ and even though every part of me was aching, I’d feel much more positive. The hardest part of exercise is starting, whether that’s stepping foot inside the gym, putting your trainers on and taking that first step outside, or literally dipping your toe in the water. BUT once you do, you don’t want to turn back.
Making progress, no matter how slowly is just the best incentive to keep going. You can tell yourself 1000 times ‘I can’t’, but how do you know if you don’t try? I know that’s a cliché, but it is true. I have made every excuse under the Sun to not train, to not try something new, but I’ve never felt better for not giving it a go.
Let me just push the boundary of how many cheesy statements and clichés I can fit into one piece a little more. Due to my cleaner eating and training regime, I had more energy. This meant I was more inclined to say ‘yes’ if friends suggested doing something after work or at weekend. I actually wanted to socialize rather than hide away scowling at those who were out having fun. I spent money on training gear (the horror!), and I started tweeting about my grueling workouts. I know, sickening.
To be serious, for just a few sentences…
If I had read an article like this two years ago I would have thought ‘she’s clearly been paid to say all of this’, or something along those lines. The truth is, and I do always try to be as honest as possible without being offensive, it is not easy. Changing your eating habits means changing the way you think. Viewing food more as fuel to prepare and repair your body rather than as a way to reward yourself is very difficult. Going to the gym and being put through your paces feels like the worst idea ever. The biggest hurdle is you. The self-doubt that you can’t do it, that you will fail, so what’s the point. You. You are the point. Yes, it’s difficult. Yes, it will hurt. But I promise you it will be worth it.
Just to prove my halo does slip, I most definitely do eat cake, chocolate, bread and biscuits, not every day, but I do still eat them. I even drink alcohol, occasionally, and I don’t always make my gym sessions. I try to ensure my overall lifestyle is healthy, mind and body, because one won’t work without the other.
Do you still like me after reading that??