Back in early April I was in a rut. The dark coldness of the first months of the year always get me down. That, paired with an ever increasing lack of enthusiasm for exercise meant I was moving less and eating more. Before I really realised it I’d fallen into bad habits.
Nutritious breakfasts switched to a large latte and pain au chocolate. Evening walks just to be outside to slumps on the sofa. I’d convince myself I deserved the treat. I’d convince myself it was too cold to go out. There was always an excuse; I worked so hard, I had a busy day, I needed cheering up. The last one was the killer. I’d started self-medicating with food. Again.
Two years prior I smashed a habit of a lifetime by starting to love and care for myself in a totally different way. A harsh, heart wrenching break up, a forced move back to my family home, followed by a flat I’d spent years saving to buy falling through meant I hit my lowest low. It made me re-think everything. Self-medicating my feelings with high sugar and fat junk and laziness for life just weren’t working. Even when I thought things were good I’d still look at myself with faint disdain.
Over the course of half year that followed I started exercising, stretching and just generally moving. I also flipped the way I saw food. I re-trained myself to see it for what it really was, fuel. Most importantly I allowed myself to care for myself and like myself. I put my wellbeing first.
It sounds crazy I know, but it was the first time I had ever done it. It seemed so self-centred to me. All my goals, plans, achievements were always outward-thinking. Get this, go there, achieve this… I rarely prioritised myself or my wellbeing, only focusing on what I wanted to achieve next. It was hard work but the reward was so great I was hooked on my wellbeing! In the two years that followed I continued caring about what I put into my body and how I looked after it. I lost over 2 stone followed quickly by boundless energy and enthusiasm for life. I’d got my mojo back.
Yet old habits die hard and soon, without even realising it, my ambitious plans for life dragged my attention back. My health and wellbeing yet again took a backseat and I began ‘treating’ myself for all my hard-work and effort the way I had always done – through food. Exercise was deprioritised. I was far too busy with other things. It took about half a year for me to notice the same sort of lingering feelings that told me I was doing something wrong. In that time I’d gained a stone, lost my mojo and couldn’t even run 5k.
But life is full of set-backs, put in place only to push us on to greater things. So, again I started the process of caring for me.
I focused my attention of finding fun ways to move my body. I joined a hot yoga club, tried out spin and body attack classes. I kept a food journal to keep me thinking about what I feed my body (it made me realise I eat out way too much!). Equally as important I fed my mind. I made time in my day to sit down a draw, a huge passion of mine much forgotten within the business of life. I scheduled down time to explore new places and fill my soul with new memories. Five weeks in and I’ve lost half of that stone I put on and I’m proud and happy of who I am. I’m energy-filled, fun and full of life again and I feel once again like my mind, body and spirit are aligned.
For me, my wellbeing will always be a struggle. However, with set-backs and successes I’ve realised the importance of it sitting at the top of my achievements list. I’ve finally learned how to look after myself.