Last year started in a rather large fashion: watching fireworks explode over the Las Vegas strip with some of my closest friends from our penthouse apartment felt like a dream that I still have not fully awoken from.
2014 was non stop and as with every year had both highs and lows, however unlike previous times I feel that instead of being dragged down by the lows I continued to learn from them.
One of these harder times included being ill. At the tail end of last year I was struck with a stomach bug that got progressively worse and became truly exhausting. To cut a six month long story short; eventually I was diagnosed with gastritis, IBS, a severe vitamin B12 and a vitamin D deficiency. This resulted in going on a LOW FODMAP diet for two months to give my system a break, B12 injections every three months for the foreseeable future and additional supplements.
Though having an upset stomach and intense tiredness was not life threatening it did affect my life and made me both frustrated at the fragility of my body and more determined to try and get myself healthy.
For the first time my aims for diet and exercise were not focussed on fitting into the latest fashion (which previously had only lead me down a path of yoyo dieting and negativity) but to make my body strong. I had a mental switch and focussed on nutrients over calories and a workout routine rather than a get fit quick binge when I had something to get ‘skinny’ for.
(Inspiration to be as tough as this girl down at Muscle Beach)
I am not health and fitness guru, and never thought I would be writing a post like this! I have always struggled when it comes to sport and would do anything to avoid PE back in school, as I found it humiliating. It was only a few years ago when I tried out climbing and snowboarding that I realised that not all activities were torturous and my hatred for sport was simply because I hadn’t yet found a workout that was right for me.
Obviously I couldn’t just strap on a board and head to the mountains whenever I felt like it, but enjoying one sport left me open to trying others, and resulted in adding walking, weights, yoga and circuit training to my everyday life.
For me diet and exercise come hand in hand when trying to achieve a healthier lifestyle. I still LOVE pizza and alcohol but making small changes like cutting down on unhealthy habits and making things like a pint a treat, selecting healthier choices overall and drinking more water have all had positive effects. There have been some physical transformations such as better skin, dropping (and keeping off) a dress size – but these are minor compared to the health benefits.
When I first met my boyfriend I warned him that I didn’t really sleep, he joked that this combined with my preference for wearing black that he was afraid he had gotten together with a vampire. I still have restless nights as I find it tough to shut my thoughts down at the end of the day however these occur way less often, giving me more energy and focus.
I have also seen an improvement in my general mood; partially due to actually getting a good nights rest but also having somewhere to put my pent up energy. I have written previously about my struggle with depression, finding somewhere to place those boiling up feelings has helped keep my emotions steadier.
Even though I often feel unmotivated and would rather stay in bed with Netflix and a bag of M&M’s than put on my trainers, the achievement of getting off my ass to ‘Just do it’ is so rewarding that I hope to continue on a healthier path this new year.
Without the challenge of being poorly I may not have found this motivation, turning a negative situation into a positive one has reaped so many physical and mental rewards that I am trying to implement a more positive attitude into my everyday life. Of course I am not going transform into Disney Princess all sunshine, rainbows and sing talking however I also don’t have to be the grim reaper of summer, a little less eye rolling and sarcasm and a little more patience seem like a good place to start.
Would you guys be keen for more food and fitness posts? Any tips for maintaining a healthier lifestyle?