Day 37: Stats

Ok. Measurements. Let’s do this.

I can tell you one thing already though – I’m not going to be happy.

Stepped on the scales this morning for the first time in about three weeks, and I was up higher than I’ve been in a long time: 155.4 lbs.

Now, given that I thought I was around 150, you might not think that’s bad. And it’s not! Plenty of people see their weight fluctuating easily by 5 lbs depending on what they’ve eaten, hormones/time of month, time of day etc. However, I am not one of those people. Or at least, I was keeping track of how my weight was fluctuating – previously, if I was on a run of having been pretty healthy, got enough sleep etc, I’d be about 148 first thing in the morning. If I was on my period, it’d reach a high of 153. Usually was around 150-151. So for it to be at 155 when I’m not on my period, it’s a warning signal.

It’s saying “what were you expecting, that four days of burgers in a row followed by giant plates of gnocchi and desserts weren’t going to do anything? They’re hardly healthy eating!” that I kind of let my eating get away from me a bit. My occasional treats weren’t so occasional, and I started to see fewer and fewer vegetables in my diet. I know I wasn’t planning on letting weight be the only factor I was looking at over this 100 days (30 of which I’ve wasted by not really doing what I was planning on doing), but as I’ve exercised less and less as the weeks have gone on too, I know that I haven’t just suddenly gained muscle mass.

Now there’s obviously still a chance that I’m bloated for some reason today. It could be lower tomorrow. But I still think my average is higher than it was at the start of this challenge. So let’s have a look at measurements to get a proper view on things.

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Ah, life.

Ah life, why must it happen to all of us.

You might have noticed that some time has passed between my last post (in which I talk about how I will provide updates here on how my 100 days of healthy is going) and this one. Not as much time as has passed between previous posts, but still we are approaching a good four weeks without a single update here on how everything is going.

The reason for that is two-fold, although perhaps they can be considered the same thing. The first being that I started a new project at work, and the second is that I completely lost sight of how to manage my time well.

The new project at work is still out of town, however rather than flying up to Edinburgh each week I will now get the train up to Birmingham – a shorter commute that means I can get up slightly later on a Monday and get home earlier on a Thursday. But it’s a much busier project, and the last three weeks (the first few of this project) have been a bit manic. I had one day to get to grips with the workstream I now own before the previous owner left, and I spent the first two weeks trying to put everything into some semblance of order and trying not to break down.

I’m one of the people working the fewest hours at the moment, and I get there before 9 and leave close to 7. I know this is normal for some, but the end of my last project was so quiet that I was doing a 9-5 with little to do for the last few weeks of it. Having a busy 9-7 is a very different thing, especially when you’re trying to get your head around completely new things with tight deadlines that are coming up very soon. It was stressful.

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What does healthy living look like?

What does healthy living look like?

So what does healthy living look like, and how will I keep track of what I’m doing?

To start with, in a similar vein to John Green I’m not going to place the main focus on my weight. Yes, I would like to lose some, but it’s not overly important – I’m currently considered a healthy weight, albeit close to the top of the range. It’s also just one factor amidst myriad others, and you can definitely be unhealthy and lose weight!

Instead, I’d like to see if I can gain strength and increase my flexibility. I plan on taking my measurements as I’d like to lower my body fat percentage and I think that’s probably the best way to start noticing if my body is changing shape/composition. But I’d also like to see if my skin improves, how my energy levels are affected, and even if my moods change. This will be a holistic healthy 100 days.

I plan to track this in a number of ways. Primarily I will write about my experience here, sharing both metrics and how I’m feeling and what I’m doing. I plan to keep track of metrics in a spreadsheet on google where I will track my weight and measurements and whether I’ve done the things I’m supposed to that day. I also want to share photos of how I’m eating on my Instagram to help me with accountability and I will probably moan a lot on my Tumblr in the meantime. For measuring flexibility, as well as noting down what I notice, I may also film myself periodically doing the same yoga routine so I can literally see how I improve.

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On Time and Progress

I’ve fallen into that trap again of not writing anything because I’m concerned that I need to be perfect, having a consistent theme and something of great importance to say before opening my mouth. And I don’t think my writing is good enough, or that the things I want to talk about are worthwhile enough, and I was without a camera for a good majority of the last year so my photography progress has stalled. It’s a common occurrence, one I’ve actually had before during the life cycle of this blog. But as I said back then, and I think bears repeating now,

You don’t know who your audience are – you don’t know their inner thoughts or feelings, you don’t know what makes them tick, you don’t know what they’ll jump on out of interest or shun in distaste. Don’t have the arrogance to presume that you are uninteresting to them, because you can not speak for them.

I had a lovely day out yesterday with a friend who said she enjoyed hearing about my life and my journey to where I am now as she found it inspiring. I was, and still am, extremely flattered by this and she made me feel interesting for once, so I’m just going to get straight back into it.

Recently a theme that’s been cropping up a lot is the passing of time and the lack of consistency in various aspects of my life. For example, yesterday I started a knitting project that I originally thought of doing about two years ago. My parents bought me the yarn the Christmas before last, and I kept planning on doing it ‘soon’. I picked it up this week on a whim – having fortunately received some Amazon vouchers from work, I decided to buy the required knitting needles on next day delivery. Thank you prime trial membership that I forgot to cancel several years ago, you’ve more than paid for yourself by now. And then made a start because… well, just because!

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30 Days of Yoga Day 18: A Moving Meditation

A few weeks ago my mother and I decided to start a 30 day yoga challenge, specifically Yoga With Adriene – 30 Days of Yoga. This was a course I had done a couple of times before, although never in the supposed 30 days, but it had been several months since I’d done yoga at all regularly and I was trying to find a way to ease my mum into it. I kept extolling the benefits of yoga and she kept claiming she had no time. A mother-daughter 30 day challenge seemed to be the perfect fit, especially since I found that suggesting we do it first thing in the morning was the best way to stop my mum using the time excuse – I have to both get up earlier than she does for my job, and also leave the house about an hour earlier. If I could do it, she could easily do it.

So we began. And for the first week or so, I was very good at getting up at 6:30 to do my yoga before going down for the hotel breakfast, and I received a daily text from my mother claiming that she too had done hers for the day. It felt challenging, but I was enjoying it. My body clearly wasn’t used to doing half these poses anymore and I was glad we’d chosen a more gentle introduction than we could have done.

Of course, after several days I couldn’t manage to maintain my ‘every morning’ routine, and I decided to sleep in a little one Thursday instead. It was supposed to be a longer session, and Thursday mornings are always tighter for me as I have to pack and leave slightly earlier than usual so that I can check out of the hotel. Disappointed in myself, I wasn’t looking forward to telling my mum the next day that I’d fallen off track, and so I decided when I got back home that evening – back in London – that I would catch up and do it before bed.

Since then I’ve more often done my yoga just before bed than not, and I don’t mind that. Particularly since I have started doing more consistent workouts this last week as well, I’ve found that doing some stretching just before bed is a great way to unwind for the night, step away from my phone or laptop and stretch out my muscles from whatever I’ve put them through earlier in the day. It has also made me miss less days – and by that I mean I have only missed one so far and I’m on day 19 – because it’s a lot easier to find the time just before I go to bed than convince myself to get up in the morning. I think I still want to try getting up early and possibly doing a few stretches, but so long as I get my yoga done at some point during the day I’m not going to beat myself up about the time. It’s better than not doing it.

As for how I feel after doing yoga consistently for 18 days, I am definitely noticing a difference, though I wasn’t aware of this until last night. Yesterday was a great day, but it was a little exhausting. It was a very hot day and I’d started off fairly relaxed, lazing around my bedroom, but as the day went on I did a pretty intense 25 minute workout, followed by a 5 mile walk up and down a hill, and then going out for dinner with a friend in the evening and following that up with a 30+ minute walk. By the time I got home close to 10pm, I had done 25 minutes of intense exercise and 20,000 steps, it was still warm, and I was exhausted. I sat on my bed and thought that I would leave my yoga until today, because I was just too tired and my muscles were a little achy.

But after a few minutes I decided that I wanted to get it done. It was 20 minutes, and I could go to bed straight after. I realised that I’m starting to rely on doing yoga as an essential part of my daily routine, which is newly cultivated. It made me feel good to have got it done. But more than that, I noticed that it was coming easier to me. As I went through the session, I was tired and achy but I found myself getting more into my head than my body, if that makes sense. For the first time, I understood why people say that yoga can be a moving meditation.

Because I’ve done this for about three weeks now, I’m developing some strength and finding the moves a lot easier than I was in the first few days of practice. So I found myself spending less time paying attention to what my body was doing and whether I felt uncomfortable or not, and more time focussing on how my mind was feeling, and slowly quietening it and settling down for the night. It was only when I caught myself not really paying attention to doing a vinyasa, and yet managing to do it better than I ever have before (not collapsing to the ground for one thing) that I had this realisation. It was a calm, relaxing session, and I really felt like I could let go and just trust my body in what it was doing, rather than getting frustrated and trying to force myself into doing various things.

I’m sure there’ll be plenty of frustrations in my yoga practice in the future, but I felt that last night turned out to be a good way of showing myself what benefits having a daily practice can bring – and hopefully this will encourage me to keep it up once the 30 days have ended. I already have a plan of what I would like to move onto next. Having made this a daily part of my life, and knowing how I felt last night – like I really wanted to get it done despite being tired etc.. – I really feel better for it, and I hope that the benefits only continue to increase in future.

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