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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Beat It! Activity Camp

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Today was my first day volunteering with a Lifestyle and Physical Activity Camp called Beat It in south west London. The aim is to teach children throughout their tim eat the camp how to make healthier food choices, including becoming aware of portion sizes whilst also getting them active. It was an actin packed day, and it seemed like the kids enjoyed themselves.

As part of the Beat It Challenge we’re doing a mile a day where the children run and walk a mile every day of the camp, in addition to the other physical activities we had planned for them including circuits and dodgeball. Obviously the dodgeball was the most fun exercise  and I really felt able to let myself go and just have fun with it at this point in the day.

Having not worked for a long time or done a full day of volunteering for a long time I am very tired but think I’ll manage to complete the week. It was sad in a way to see so many overweight children, and to see how much they suffer whilst doing physical activity but I don’t know why they don’t do more of it naturally because they all really loved and felt accomplished after doing it.

I think there is a negative connotation to exercise, but once they got into it they tried really hard and came out the other side smiling. For my own physical activity today I need to run 3km as part of my training programme and I’m going to yoga tonight again which will be fun and a good activity to unwind from the day with.

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.