This time, two years ago, I started my own project of #100DaysOfWellbeing with the aim of doing something every day to care for myself, and heal physically and mentally. It gave me such a good focus to get up and out (or in if needs be) and do something for me, and my recovery after Leo died. It gave me a sense of achievement, and an opportunity of reflection.
Whilst I am in a much better place today, I look back and see the benefits that having a clear focus on just caring for yourself can have. The need to recover from two pregnancies in two years should not be overlooked, physically and emotionally. I promised myself that after Eli was born I’d look after myself and allow my body to heal from fertility treatments, pregnancy, and loss. My body has been given over to the task of bringing home a living baby for so long, that it was time to just allow it to recover.
Yet, I knew that when I did shift that focus back to me, I needed to make sure I approached it with a mindset that didn’t backfire on me. After years of yo-yo weight loss, I know how easy it is to berate yourself for what you deem ‘failure’ in the quest for weight loss. Equally, the cyclical journey of ‘starting again’ and equipping yourself with the latest trends or fads, followed by a relatively rapid wearing off of the novelty and eventually you never feel like you’ve gained much.
The classic emotional strain of ‘being healthy’ and weight loss is something that I now know I can’t allow myself to take on. There is too much emotional instability already, that it just isn’t fair to myself to give me something else that I considered possible to ‘fail’ at.
So, back in autumn I started focusing on me – out of the newborn fog and after a rather unflattering filimng at the Tommy’s Sleep on Side event, it felt like the right time. The biggest part of that, is working hard at a new mindset to ‘being healthy’. A mindset of forgiveness, praise and patience.
I’ll admit I am a classic “why aren’t I skinny yet, I ate well yesterday” type of person – patience is never my virtue. When I decide that I want to achieve something, I want it achieved yesterday. But now, I know I need to play the long game. There would be weeks, or months even, when I just needed to check out of trying to ‘be healthy’ and that has to be okay. There is only so much pressure I can place on myself now, and recognising my limits is a key part of our now new normal.
I’ve also worked hard on not deeming myself a failure when I haven’t had a textbook ‘good’ week, or month, and just accept it and decide how I want to move forward. Being a ‘failure’ is a very active part of my grief for Leo, so I need to work hard to not use that word or feelings for other things – because it snowballs. If I’m a failure in one thing, then I can be a failure in everything. And, I can’t allow myself to think like that.
So in order to balance out that tendency, I try and hold true to my overall progress (see my earlier point about patience) and celebrate my successes, no matter how small.
I found that February however saw that classic New Year aims dwindle. And as the weeks went on, I could hear myself telling myself ‘I’ve lost everything I’ve worked hard for’, ‘I’ve failed’, ‘there’s no point trying anymore, because you’ve had too many bad weeks’ and then getting annoyed at myself for loosing my grip on the good habits that were really starting to pay off. But this is the old mindset – this is classic berating, and there is no need, nor benefit to it.
So, in keeping with my new mindset I will recognise that its okay, February wasn’t great, but it wasn’t all bad – I achieved in some aspects – and January was actually really good, despite it being Leo’s second anniversary. I put into place some really good habits, that made me feel a lot more confident about myself and that’s really important. I know what I want to do, and how to do it, and one month is a small part of my entire life.
Even though I haven’t utilised all my good habits in February, they are still there, I know what they are, and what things worked. So I can just pick it up again – and that’s exactly why I’m writing this blog post. I appreciate that this space is mostly for Leo, but its my little space on the internet, and I thought I’d start sharing more about what things I am working on to recover from the impact of the past few years.
By doing so, I hope it’ll help me reflect, be honest and be a bit more accountable.
Wellbeing to me isn’t about just loosing weight – it’s about self-care overall, finding things that make me feel confident in myself (which is important, as Leo dying knocked it massively), and relaxed and calm (to fight any anxiety that might like to come and play).
The things that I have and will continue to do are:
Weight Watchers : I have done Weight Watchers on and off for over a decade. I have been a range of weights – and have hit goal twice. When I fell pregnant with Leo, I had got close to goal and weighed 13st 10lbs – which as adult me, is a fairly maintainable low weight for me now. After Leo, I weighed 14st 10lbs, and after Eli, 16st 10lbs – two pregnancies, and three stone.
Currently, I weigh 14st 13lbs (although this is my at home scales, and I don’t believe it, so watch this space, I feel my next official weigh in might be a bit of a shock!). Since September, I have just about lost two stone (what I refer too as Eli’s weight), and I’m gunning for that milestone this month.
Its been ‘easier’ than I expected to lose that amount, especially as I haven’t focused on it every week but I do feel my new mindset is a huge contributing factor. When I can, I’ve focused well and consistently, and when I’ve needed time out, I’ve relaxed but haven’t sabotaged. I don’t approach Weight Watchers with the aim of making everything as low point as possible – I just use it as a way of monitoring my daily intake, and making sure I am moving enough to balance out when needed.
Walk 1000 Miles : At the start of the year, I joined Country Walking’s Walk 1000 Miles challenge, with the aim of walking 1000 miles throughout 2018. This equates to just under 20 miles a week, which has been manageable as long as I’ve made an effort. This is the first week I haven’t achieved it, and that’s mostly because of the snow (working hard on not getting annoyed about it)! I’ve made sure I get out most days, and we avoid the car where possible. Its been really helpful to have a check point every week to recognise if I am getting out and about enough. It is my only active exercise, but I know from previously, walking is a fantastic way of getting healthier, building my stamina and loosing weight. I use my Fit Bit Zip to track my mileage. I’m really liking the challenge so far, as I used to get a huge amount of motivation from Fit Bit challenges, but for some reason I just can’t get in the head space for it anymore?
Yoga : I am still half way through Yoga with Adrienne’s 30 Day Yoga challenge for January! I was doing so well making it a daily habit, but then for some reason I just stopped doing it as often. I really, really enjoy doing Yoga with Adrienne as the focus is not on perfection, but participation – so its bang on the mindset that I am currently working on. I started getting annoyed having not completed it daily, but what I am now telling myself is that ‘It’ll always be there, and doing it at some point is better than not doing it at all’. I want to work on doing my yoga more often, as I do find that my body is full of aches and pains (a near two stone 9 month old will do that!) and it is such a benefit to stretching and feeling confident in your body.
Pampering : when I used to work, Sunday nights were pamper nights. I’m not one for much of a skincare routine, and invest very little in beauty products, but having a bath and tidying up my nails etc on a Sunday night was a really chilled routine to end the week. I am an awful nail bitter, so it was also a good way of breaking that habit and just generally looking after myself. I have massively slipped in doing this (the routine of a living child drastically impacts these little luxuries!), but I am working on caring for me a little more, especially my hands. For some reason, since Eli, my hands have been awful – so dry and cracked? I can only assumes it’s a slight increase in hand washing? Either way, moisturizer is now apart of the change bag!
Challenging the Mind : As I’m off work, I am working on exploring new topics and widening my reading and listening. I am currently reading Hillary Clinton’s book (slowly), and dabbling in a few new Podcasts when I can. I am so absorbed in either Eli, or Leo, that my brain is rarely exercised in anything else, so its nice to be able to lose yourself in other topics now and then. I’m not a fast reader at all (double vision is a bitch), but I do love a good book once I get stuck in to it.
Along with the above, theres the classics of more water, less sugar, less caffeine, a peppermint tea a day, and early nights, less screen time and using the electric toothbrush after a telling off from the dentist.
Having goals is important, its helps direct my focus – but what I have to work harder at is the tendency to beat myself up for not doing things, as opposed to celebrating when I have done things. So, over on my Instagram, this is what I am going to do more off – celebrate the little things I have done every day, for me and my own wellbeing. Whatever they are. Reflecting on what helps us feel good, just helps us do more of it.
I’ll end with a quote from Dawn French’s Me You Diary:
So, I’m not going to make resoutions. BUT, I AM going to have a small manageable list of intentions in my back pocket. Something I may well look back at when the end of the year comes, just to have a sneaky peek at and consider whether I have gone anywhere near progress. If I haven’t, so be it. I’m not going to beat myself up. I will simply know that they were in my thoughts, and that will just have to be good enough.