I've been writing a piece about health for my new book, but I am thinking maybe I should tell you about it here, too.... It all started with Sue.
Last October, I went to a friend's wedding. That friend was Sue. It was a lovely affair, filled with joy and happiness and hope for the future. Weddings are like that aren't they? Weddings have superpowers. Weddings make you take stock of your life (well they do that to me!) and think about the things you hope for yourself, inspired by other people's positivity.
The very next day I decided to take some time for myself. I decided to focus on me. I decided to change my life. And I did. Here's what I did:
1. Hired a piece of exercise equipment. It's a cross-trainer. One of those machines that make your arms and legs flail about wildly. I call him Barry. In the beginning I hated him. Now I think I might want to marry him, even though he is a bit painful at times.
2. Started being more mindful about what I eat. In the beginning I used one of those online membership programs to keep me in check. Once I'd learned that I really ate more than my fair share of carbs, I retrained myself. Stopped eating sugar. Started better healthy habits. I ditched the online program after about 4 months because I knew how to keep myself in check: limited or zero sugar, no processed food (I didn't eat any anyway, so that was easy!), lots of whole grains and protein and veggies, less white (white rice, white flour) and....
3. No alcohol. I stopped drinking any booze on the 1st of January and it's ACE. I have not slipped up once and no longer miss Wine Time or weekend bevvies. I feel more energetic, more mindful and a lot more like I'm being kind to myself and dealing with stuff in a grown up manner. I am not sure if I will ever sip boozey things again. Imagine that?!
4. Exercise program: in the beginning I could barely manage 30 seconds of activity (I'm an asthmatic and I had zero fitness and zero strength.) I was determined to build my fitness and I did. Slowly, slowly. Doing something every day, walking 10 000 steps, walking 10kms a day for a period of time, not driving places, that kinda thing. THEN on my birthday this year I started Couch To 5k. I did the whole program: that barely able to do 30 seconds lady worked up to 38 MINUTES on the cross trainer (I didn't do C25K outside, running, because I don't actually feel safe at the times of day I could do it). I'm doing a second season of C25K now. I need a program to keep me on track.
5. Accountability group: A few days after I got my cross-trainer Barry, I started an accountability group on Facebook. It's for reluctant exercisers and people who struggle with health/fitness... or for people who just want to NOT talk about skinny bodies and guns. Lots of people joined the group and we all help each other along. No one horrible is allowed in the group. We have rules about that. (It's also women only, because we talk about lady apparatus sometimes...!)
6. I learned that fitness and health are not easy, but they feel good and that we need to commit to looking after ourselves. Otherwise we're in a kind of downward spiral of being unkind to us. That's not a nice spiral to be in.
Benefits of Barry: I feel strong, fit and in CHARGE. I know I am doing something positive for myself each day. I am setting a great example for my kids. I am hardly ever sick anymore. My lungs can take huge big breaths. I have firm thighs. My head is clearer. I am happier. I lost 15kgs.*
If I can do this anyone can. I had chronic asthma and nearly died a couple of years ago after a really nasty bout. Prior to that I'd had pneumonia and pleurisy and all kinds of other shite stuff. I was used to making excuses for my lack of movement and healthy shine. But I decided to put those reasons aside, get some great asthma controlling meds and do it anyway. Partly because I felt terrible and partly because I want to be SUPER HEALTHY and ANNOYINGLY BOUNCY.
Barry and gaining health is not about losing weight. It's about being strong and fit and positive. Maybe you would like to make a commitment to be kind to yourself and look after your health? This is all about making long-term changes and not about getting short-term results. It's about honouring yourself and knowing that you are worth looking after.
Do you wanna do that too? Do you want to be annoyingly bouncy? Do you struggle with good health? Or do you have it SORTED?!
*Least important benefit.42
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