Health has been a focus of mine for a while now, but more on the side of diagnosis and dealing with the various issues that have been rearing their heads of late.
But, now I’m kind of tired of always focusing on what I can’t do. I’m ready to start moving forward in a more positive headspace.
Several years ago, I was at peak fitness. I was going to the gym (Curves, which is expensive, but amazing for women’s bodies if you can afford it) regularly, I was eating well, and I felt good in my skin,
Then, I hit peak stress instead. A relationship breakup, a job that was rife with bullying and long, long hours. When I get stressed, I lose my appetite, and in that environment, the stress lasted for months. Looking back with the help of a psychiatrist, I was likely also in a pretty strong depressive period, but found it too difficult at the time to talk to anyone.
So, I ate less and less and got very unwell. I have a neurological condition that affects my balance, and with so little food in my system it got worse and worse, until some days I couldn’t walk unassisted. I would lose my balance and fall anywhere, and get dizzy spells anywhere. I had to stop walking close to roads, after almost falling out in front of cars a couple of times.
This is me in 2008, at my best friend’s wedding. It was a beautiful and very enjoyable day, but I was really not at a healthy point. I know this photo is a little hinky, but I promise it’s not ‘shopped – just a Facebook download that I cropped way down because I don’t know how to edit people’s faces out. This must be about the longest photo caption ever!
When I finally started to recover and eat again, I had lost all connection to my body. I ate and ate, I ate all the wrong things and too much of everything. I gained weight fast, and have continued to gain slowly since.
All this time I have wanted to lose weight, but I was scared of going back to my old ways – years of crash dieting culminating in that long period of barely eating, I desperately wanted to be healthy, not just skinny. But I still was focused on what I didn’t want, and what I couldn’t do.
The shoulder injury about 7 months ago, which is still causing issues, has made exercising difficult, and the pain and emotional issues linked with it have led to me making poorer choices and gaining a bit more weight. Even brisk walking leads to more pain, so I really do have to be careful, even though I have a lot of movement back now.
Me in late 2014, pre-injury – I don’t have any more recent body pics because I, uh, tend to avoid them. Sorry not sorry!
In an effort to start focusing on my health in a positive way, I have started doing yoga videos – Yoga with Adriene on YouTube, I’m starting here. I can’t do the parts with weight on my arms (no downward dog for me), but I can do everything else, and doing most of it is better than doing nothing at all. It feels really good, it’s gentle and it’s easy to fit in around work and toddler.
I’ve also started reading Healthy Hits the Spot, a blog focused on intuitive eating – learning to listen to your body and eat accordingly.
It makes so much sense, and it feels right, which is important.
At the moment, my plan is to do yoga every day (it’s 20 minutes, I can fit that in!) and really start listening to my body about what it wants and when. So far, I’ve already realised that I tend to drink coffee to mask hunger, and that I crave a lot more veggies than I generally eat. Oops! Luckily, carrot sticks make a great snack to keep under the counter for days when I have a late lunch break, so that I can fill up a little in the quiet moments.
So, here’s to positive changes in my life, and hopefully, my health.