Over the last 5 weeks I’ve been more mindful of my intake, exercise and fitness. It's been an enjoyable experience, while coming with some challenges. It has also had a specific point in mind.
Content warning: this posts includes content related to: diet, food, exercise, weight and body image
In previous posts I’ve mentioned my desire to continue my fitness journey and build on my running routine. This year that has included starting (and continuing with) Apple Fitness+. While this has helped my wellbeing and mental health, it didn't make the immediate physical impact I had hoped for. Physically I was still carrying weight I wasn’t happy with. When I say weight, for me this is much more a 'look' thing. Over the last 10-15 years, I’d only weighed myself a couple of times. And one of those was for a skydive registration. My focus has been more being very self conscious about my stomach. Something a lot of instagram ads tell me I need to work on; in a not particularly helpful way.
I know how I can react to changes and potentially to become quite fixed or rigid in my new actions. I used to really like McDonald's, then I watched two documentaries fairly close together and now I haven’t purchased anything from McDonald’s in over 20 years. I was, and am still, wary of becoming too restrictive with my eating or overly focusing on just weight and or calories.
To me, these bits of information can help with fitness goals, but often seem to have way too much value placed on them for well rounded fitness and health (I'm not a Nutritionalist or Fitness Coach, just my thoughts).
Because of this I have tried to not get into a diet or focus too much on calories. Rather I have tried to be more considerate of what I’m eating and how often. Along with my exercise routine. In May'23 I felt I was putting in all this effort; running 7-9 miles each Wednesday and completing over an hour of Fitness+ workouts each Sunday. Yet I wasn’t seeing much of a change. All I was doing was maintaining my current size. This was frustrating, but not something I'd challenged much. In June I changed that.
I’ve had intention(s) in the past, and I’ve definitely tried to be healthier and lose weight. But it hasn’t quite happened as I wanted. In June I made some changes to hopefully be slightly more effective and build on my existing exercise. It was definitely more purposeful, with my goal shifting from being abstract better heart health and generally being healthy. To wanting to be more confident in my appearance in a couple of months time. Something I have struggled with for a long time. I'm very conscious of my appearance, particularly my stomach in photos and when I'm sat down. I'll often position a cushion or try to sit on the edge of a seat to hide or shift my appearance. Even in our wedding photos it is one of the first things I look at and notice. It's also something I have occasionally received comments about, which both frustrate and sadden me. It's just not helpful in anyway.
This recent change and motivation is because we’ve been looking a lot at baby birth preferences. Which has included talking about the importance of skin to skin in the first hour after birth. The idea of having my top off was very unappealing and felt quite daunting. For baby I would do it, but I felt so uncomfortable just thinking about it.
This became my motivation to improve how I felt about my body, and be better able to just enjoy being with baby.
I know I’m never going to be Jason Mamoa or Dave Bautista. In fact seeing so many unachievable bodies, I think has been something that may have prevented progress in the past. But now I was focused on being happy within my own skin/ body and holding baby; this was something I could work towards.
Longer term I want to get into a shape I’m happy with and maintain that. I’m not looking to be super fit, rather just happy and healthy. Shorter term I’m hoping to be happy to rip off the shirt when needed.
Currently we are a few weeks from the due date and I’m feeling good about my progress. I'd like to drop a little more and I feel that maybe achievable as long as I continue with the actions I have been doing over the last 5 or so weeks. I've been really happy with my progress and how it has worked with my existing exercise routine; I just need to keep it up.
For me this progress has come via:
Swapping sweet snacks for apples, bananas or oranges
Not having extra portions for dinner
Being mindful of foods (maybe having half a cupcake), rather than outright saying no
Dropping 4-5 cans of fizzy a day on Friday to Sunday, to 1-3
Adding around 5 short 3 minute exercises a day to my routine
My ‘progress’ is based on how I want to look, not weight. However, weight does help provide me with an indication of how I’m doing currently. At a certain stage that may not be the case as I might develop more muscle (maybe, who knows), which can weigh more than fat tissue. So weight is definitely not a solo measurement that indicates health.
I definitely still 'want' those sweets and cakes, but I don't 'need' them. For me learning that difference is important. Because on some occasions maybe I do 'really want' those treats and feel I'm happy to have them. But that doesn't need to happen every Monday and Friday. I would like to celebrate and thank those that share positive fitness messages and insights via socials as I've found those super helpful. While Jason and Dave look amazing, that's not me and not what I want to aspire to. Seeing people in slightly better (in my eyes) shape to me is what I've found most engaging and the people I listen to more for fitness insights. For now, I'm very much looking forward to meeting baby. And still enjoying the Fitness+ kickboxing workouts.