The Puzzle of Movement: Becoming the Kinetic Energetic

In the final stage of starting to get active the focus is on actually starting to move. Feel free to move in any way which suits you and here are some lessons I’ve learned along the way when turning getting active into part of my permanent lifestyle.

This stage is called, Becoming the Kinetic Energetic.

Balance Ambition and Attainability

With running, it is tempting to go for straight for the big distances. A training plan says you can run a half marathon in 8 weeks, so why shouldn’t you? If you train hard you’ll get results quickly right?

Unfortunately, fitness isn’t always a direct correlative relationship of input vs results. We are human beings not machines: we can’t force out bodies to stick to a constant progressive plan as figured by an algorithm. Injuries happen. Overuse injuries and obtaining injuries from increasing your exercise load too quickly are very real – and are not something be ploughed on through in the name of ‘mind over matter’.

Our bodies do things that may not fall in line with our plans and ambitions. Being realistic with self expectations and self compassionate throughout your journey will harbour much greater results than literally beating your body up physically in order to run too far a distance in too short a time, or dead lift too many Kgs too quickly – and that’s OK.

I can however, make slow progress in line with how my body adapts. I can gain more than climbing higher grades and running faster miles from my journey. This way I maintain a level of ambition and sense of progress that becomes very enticing from exercising, whilst also respecting my body and capabilities. You can too.

Engage with Online Communities for your Activity

I don’t mean follow a bunch of Insta models with chiseled muscle definition and a body shape that requires an unhealthy level of obsession to achieve. What I mean is, if you don’t know anyone who wants to get into your activity with you, go find your people.

One way of doing this is the web – Meet Up, and local clubs and Facebook groups are a great place to start. Engaging in an ongoing conversation with others like you about your journeys, encouraging one another is a great source or virtual community. Some members may be inspiring to you, and you never know, you may yourself inspire others.  You may meet up at an event and do it together – there are hundreds of people just like you who have done just that, and for as scary as that may initially seem – you’ll meet some bloody brilliant people.

Together we’re stronger.

Make it social

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Working out alone can be a good time to clear your mind, focus on yourself and take time out from your day. For years, I ran solo, I went to the gym on my own, and I only climbed in a group because you kind of need someone to belay you – until I discovered bouldering could become a solitary activity also. I enjoy being alone, and know that not everyone likes being alone as much as I do.

For years I totally underestimated the value of working out with others, undervaluing the greater benefit of running with friends, and enjoying the company of other people in a positive space. Since this bomb has dropped, I regularly go to running crew each week.

It has become a place to forge friendships who share my passions. It has become a place to shake out the cobwebs of stagnation from a low mood in the company of others, a place to celebrate achievements of one another and a safe place of acceptance.

The benefit of human contact on a regular basis is something I never valued, until now. And as an awkward introvert who is usually immersed in swathes of social awkwardness I have found the fitness people, and the running crew to be a very non-judgmental and friendly bunch. It may not feel right with the first group you run, yogi or climb with, but keep trying – eventually a you’ll find yourself a you-shaped space to be the missing piece to a jigsaw of a crew you never even knew about before.

Embrace the Power of Post Exercise Mindfulness 

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After a work out take time to sit, breathe and be mindful about how your body and mind are feeling. Just taking a moment to do so gives you time to reflect on where you’re at, how you’re feeling physically and emotionally. Is something bothering you? Is there something you want to work on? Is there a niggle in your knee that needs attention? Or are you just feeling totally zen and absorbing as much of that as possible for a moment? Stop to smell the flowers.

Don’t Focus on Weight or Size

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Weight loss is a viable goal for many but I would definitely never advocate obtaining a certain clothes size or goal weight to be the main or only reason for incorporating physical activity into your life. It is claimed that weighing yourself regularly can help with weight loss in numerous research papers.

However, focusing on weight alone can become very disheartening and a very damaging relationship with yourself. There is no self compassion or love in weighing yourself every day. This gives the scales too much power.

Use the scales if you need to but don’t enslave yourself to them. They’re a tool and deserve no power in your life beyond that. Be real with the scales and let them be real with you – and leave it at that.

Pushing your physical boundaries can be an emotional journey. Let it.

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Pushing yourself, breaking yourself down in order to build yourself up is so much more than a physical journey. ‘Your body is capable, it’s your mind you have to convince’ and this can be a very complicated and windy path of self realisation and discovery.

Sometimes it will be a struggle, other times you’ll smash your own expectations and it’ll feel emotional. You may want to shout or cheer, or even cry – this is entirely OK. Emotions are OK, and pushing yourself in order to break self-inflicted boundaries and  achieving your fitness goals can be an emotional journey. Let yourself own it.

Stop believing in tomorrow. Start today

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Tomorrow I’ll start running. Ok, It’s Wednesday and I didn’t go – I’ll start over on Monday. Next week is definitely the day I’m going to start going to the gym. I’ve signed up now, there’s no excuse, other than the excuse you’ll give to yourself when Monday comes.

Sound familiar?

Stop giving tomorrow so much power. The day is today. What can you do today to prepare yourself and take a step in the right direction? It might not be lacing up right now, but maybe it’s thinking of how you could start. Something may be in the way at the moment: work, study or commitments, so tomorrow may be necessary sometimes but put a deadline on it.

After a month of tomorrow’s start switching to today thinking. Tomorrow will be better from the actions you make today. Get yourself out there. Show yourself what you’re made of – and have a bloody good time doing it!

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You. Are. Enough.

Sometimes we need to remember to be rational and emotional, calculated and in touch with the incalculable. In a world full of messages bombarding us that we need to be this, that and XYZ by 25 – I’m saying, heck, life isn’t like that and that’s OK. My life didn’t turn out how I had imagined, and I’m OK for that. Let life happen. You are enough. Value is found in the incalculable, ironically.

Let’s be immeasurable.

Climbing Kisses and 3 Kilometres

Yesterday I went climbing. It was great. I haven’t been for some time, so my hands had softened up- as you can see from below and I forgot my finger tape. However, it was great fun and definitely great to try out a new centre as so far in my climbing journey I have only climbed at one centre, which is a very nice centre known at The Reach, but it was good to go to The Arch in Borough too.

As usual with climbers, the competition is with yourself, and helping each other out is the name of the game as a friendly fellow leant me some tape to cover my sores so I could climb some more. Dear friendly climber, it was much appreciated.  

This morning I ran my first 3km in my 10k training plan. It went quite well and I managed to dig a bit deeper to get a 7’47” average pace instead of the usual 8’36” which I feel quite pleased about. I feel slightly stronger in myself and hope to feel stronger by the time Tough Mudder and Rat Race Dirty Weekend rock on up in a months time. I am in my final month of preparation and I feel like I’ve only just started despite knowing this was going to happen for a year and a half nearly now. I had planned to be in peak physical fitness and shape, I can only laugh at how much that didn’t happen, but despite this, I’m trying..still. I won’t give up, I refuse.

When I weighed myself this morning I miraculously gained about 5lb in two days. Obviously this is some sort of joke that my scaled are playing on me. Ha ha scales, well done, good one. Hil-arrrrr-ious! Seriously, hilarious!

So I decided to start taking measurements using My Fitness Pal, which I use for nothing anymore other than recording my weight and measurements on charts – fun, I know. So here we go – for I am yet to be brave enough to do a before shot my measurements go as follows:

Hips: 37.3″
Bicep: 11″
Thigh: 25.2″
Waist: 32″
Weight: Late April Fools but usually 162lb.

I don’t know what measurements I would like to aim for, this I need to give some thought. I have a goal weight, but not goal measurements, but it would be nice to be a size 10-12 again so maybe a 28″ waist would be a good goal to aim for. Which isn’t unachievable, and the rest of the measurements will follow.

The Diet Update

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My weight loss journey so far has been steady and slow. I’ve lost a few pounds, which I’m happy about despite totally falling off the banwagon with calorie counting this week – which proved a better diea when I was calorie counting because without counting calories old ED thoughts crop up of, “isn’t that a bit too much?” and “Right, I won’t eat for the rest of the day now” and “Do you deserve that, you should be hungry”

For some in my position calorie counting may seem counterproductive but I have a fitbit which tells me how many extra calories I’ve earned in a day, therefore telling me how much extra I can eat. Which I find helpful in maintaining my goals and limits, and in not getting ED thoughts. Therefore, as of tomorrow I’m going to calorie count again, which means eating a lot of packaged foods, and not really cooking but it’s ok because I choose the healthy options meals which satisfy me and are healthy enough until I feel ready within myself since my breakdown to start cooking again. I’ve barely been cooking you see, because it feels like too much of a task for me. It overwhelms me. I don’t know how people do it, shower, wash, eat, clean AND work. I barely manage to do the precursors to my AND, and I’m unemployed with a minimal amount of activities happening for me each week.

I am pleased with my progress though, especially as I’ve had quite a nasty cold which has prevented me from exercising. I am going to start exercising either tonight or tomorrow though, as I have a climbing workshop for 4 hours, and I’m thinking of going for a swim tonight. I found it very peaceful and relaxing last time. I’ll see how I’m feeling as I’m feeling quite run down again, or rather still, but think I will be better by tomorrow. Mind you I’ve been saying that all week and it keeps coming on back but we’ll see. I’m going to have to take it one step at a time until I’m ready to start exercising again, but as for my weight loss, I’m happy with my progress although it is nothing to shout home about just yet. I’m excited to finally reach my goal weight so I can fit back into my clothes and feel nice about myself again.

Diet Update – psst, it’s positive :)

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I wrote about this last time, but it is something that is really bothering me. I’m overweight. However, here’s the cinch, I do not think of myself as *that* fat. My body image isn’t perfect – who’s is? It’s not that bad either. I haven’t sworn myself to living in “fat pants” and oversized sweats – not yet. I will still wear leggings and shorts and dresses. SO what? I’m not as small as I once was – but that was unhealthy.

Now, my action plan is a calorie controlled diet and exercise. I have a Fitbit and My Fitness Pal has creeped back into my life, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing because overall I could become much healthier because of this incident.

I’m going to label it an incident because it is no longer a mini crisis in my mind, and no longer nothing either. Just an incident that can be solved by blood, sweat and tears – well, maybe not the tears. I might try and skip on the tear if I can.

Since I’ve been calorie counting these past few days I’ve realised just HOW MUCH I was eating before – and heigh ho, I thought I was eating moderately. Apparently not. You see, these medications of mine are supposedly weight neutral but I just want to graze and graze and eat at every opportunity. In the train station – OMFG those pastries smelt SO good. Walking past corner shops full of chocolate bars has become hard for me. There is the most amazing bakery at the bottom of my street that you can smell for literally a mile away, and I haven’t even been able to try it out yet: but I can save that for a treat day in a few pounds time.

Back to that pesky medication – I have no idea at what rate I’m going to lose weight, and that is something quite daunting for me. What if I remain gaining? What if I don’t lose quickly enough, and by quickly enough 2-3 lb a month would do me fine – THERE’S NO CRASH DIETS TO SEE HERE GUYS! This whole, losing weight the healthy way, and actually EATING to lose weight, and exercising followed by eating is new to me. However, perhaps it is a blessing as I want to work in nutrition and health so it will give me some experience to relate to my distant future patients with. So maybe it’s not all bad after all, just maybe.

Dilemma: How Does An Overweight Ex-Anorexic Lose Weight *HEALTHILY*

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It’s official. The scales and calculations have summed up that I am now overweight. For anyone this is a dilemma, but for someone who spent the best part of 10 years bulimia or anorexic this is even more of a dilemma. How do I control my weight without using it as a means to control my life. I’m not sure.

Currently I control my life in many ways, but how do I calorie count – because yes, I’ve tried eating without calorie counting and it’s not worked at managing my weight – without becoming obsessed with food in an unhealthy way? I’m not sure. This is a journey I’m going to have to go on, and fortunately or unfortunately, I don’t know if this makes for brilliant reading or not drag you guys along with me.

So the plan is to average at 1200 calorie intake a day – I know I’m already pushing it to the minimum, but I wear a fitbit which tells me how many extra calories I can eat due to activity so it’s not all bad. The more I move, the more I can eat. The more I can eat freely, the less restrictive things may seem except for the scanning of every fucking thing I want to eat into MyFitnessPal. As you can see, I’m thrilled to be on a diet again.

I think I have a vague memory of swearing to never diet again but admitting that if I ever became overweight then this would change – which it is, as of immediately. I plan to go on a run today: having peeked out the curtain it looks like a nice day to go running so hopefully it will be enjoyable. I am also vowing to not add sugar to my  tea and coffee to help with this dilemma because I have been freely pouring the delightfully sweet stuff into my cups of tea and coffee – of which I drink a LOT.

So I’m about to embark on a journey titled something along the liens of: How an overweight ex-anorexic loses weight without using eating disordered methods. It sounds like a book idea to be honest.

I will keep you updated.