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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What I Want To Work On Wednesday

I think the main thing ‘What I Want To Work On Wednesday’s have taught me this week is how fast time can seem to move. Whilst some part of me feels that this week has moved at a decent pace and I got things done, I also can’t believe I’m writing this WIW2W post already. It feels far too soon.

Which, I suppose, is one of the reasons why I started doing this in the first place. To stop time whizzing by so quickly without taking advantage of it to its fullest. To ensure that I don’t check in a month down the line and say, oops – I’ve not really done anything.

So how did I do with this past week’s tasks?

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What I Want To Work On Wednesday

What is ‘What I Want To Work On Wednesday?’

A few days ago I was reading through my old blogs (there were at least two before this one) to both gain some inspiration on what to write about and, more importantly, see what my life was like a few years ago. It wasn’t long before starting this one that I last wrote in my previous blog – I started this one in November 2014, and the last post in my previous one was October 2014, although regular posting stopped around August – so I was surprised to discover that for the most part I feel like I’m reading about a completely different person. I was extremely surprised at how much I’ve changed and grown as a person over the past two years. As much as I tend to beat myself up a bit at the moment when I feel like I’m going off the rails (falling into bad food, sleep and exercise habits), ‘off the rails’ for me now is nothing like it was two years ago. I’m much better organised, much more confident, much more on top of my mental health – to name just a few things.

One thing I did do on my last blog which I think would be a good idea to start doing again here is the brilliantly named (and not at all overly wordy) “What I Want To Work On Wednesday”, where I’ll name a couple of small things I want to work on during the week ahead and check in on how the previous week’s tasks are going. This ties into my mention of accountability in my last post. It’s very easy  for me to completely lose track of time and my goals and ambitions if nothing or nobody is checking in on me or making me stop and think about how I’m doing. That’s how – just like this last month – I can suddenly stop and realise that it’s been over three weeks since I last did any consistent exercise, despite feeling like I’d just taken a day or two off.

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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

As I’ve stated before, my goal is for this blog to be a reflection or a record of my quest for health and happiness, one that I hope can eventually help you with yours.  Unlike some lifestyle blogs however, I want to remain honest and truthful throughout. I don’t think true inspiration can come from someone who never has a setback. Someone may seem like they’re living an idealised life, when really they’re just making smart decisions on what to show to the public. I’ve seen many fitblrs and blogs that end up that way.

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 Gif credit to schmidtsburg.

 

 

 

 

So in the spirit of being truthful, I must admit I’ve hit a stumble. I felt like I was on a roll last month, and decided to aim for an even bigger goal given that I’d successfully met my smaller one. But like with any journey at some point it gets hard, and at the moment I’m feeling like it’s just two steps forward and one step back. Initially I was going to say one step forward and two steps back, but the benefit of writing this blog is that I can see where I was when I started and that offers me much more perspective than memory alone.

For the last couple of weeks, starting not long after I wrote my last post, I’ve been struggling. Every day for about two weeks I’ve been massively oversleeping to the point where I sometimes feel sleep-drunk when I do manage to get up. I’ve not been eating as well as I could be. Exercise and yoga almost seem like foreign terms. And I don’t know what to do.

I know that the sleeping is the main issue. The only time that I didn’t oversleep was when my mother visited me for the weekend. We got up early and had wonderfully full and productive days which may or may not have included spending 4 hours in a bookshop and coming away with 13 new purchases between us.

Afternoon tea

Did I mention there was afternoon tea, too?

Sleep and I have always been not-quite-on-the-same-side. There have been large portions of my life where I’ve not been able to get enough sleep, and similar size parts where I’ve slept far too much. If I don’t get any sleep, after 36 hours I will start violently shaking, scaring all who are near me (yay for very long flights at stupid o’clock in the morning). If I don’t get enough, I’ll feel a bit like death warmed up the next day. But if I get too much, I will feel down and be completely unproductive for at least the next 24 hours, and it kick-starts a vicious cycle. Get too much sleep > can’t fall asleep at usual time > oversleep the next day.

Really I need to be asleep at some time between 11:30-12, and wake up between 7:30 and 8. Recently I’ve been getting up around 9, occasionally sleeping a little past that (thank goodness for working from home). Today I woke up at 10, which doesn’t sound particularly bad except that weekends are usually the one time I can make myself get up at a reasonable hour.

I just can’t stand it. Oversleeping means I don’t feel like doing anything during the day. I don’t feel like going out for a walk even though I know that will make me feel loads better, I don’t even like to think about exercise, and I want to eat all the comfort food. I just want to crawl back into that warm, sleepy blanket cocoon, even though I know that’s making me feel terrible.

But I do need to gain a little perspective. As I said earlier, it’s two steps forward, one step back – not the reverse. As much as I think I’ve been doing terribly the last couple of weeks, I haven’t really. My eating has been worse than it was last month, that’s for sure, but I’m nowhere near where I was back in November. I have done some yoga once or twice, and I’m making more of an effort to get out the house.

This article on How to Become a Morning Person has a couple of good pieces of advice that I technically know but don’t put into action. I’ve been setting three alarms for the last week in the hope that I will get out of bed with one of them, but I can turn all of them off without even sitting up. I’m going to have to start setting one on the other side of the room, so that I literally have to get out of bed to turn it off. I used to be good at eschewing technology before I went to bed, but recently I’ve found myself still on the laptop getting later and later.

The final piece of advice however, build a morning routine, is something that I long for but have really trouble setting up, and I think it’s linked to why I’ve been oversleeping in the first place.

I would love to have a morning routine. I’ve longed for ages to be the sort of person who can get up early, do some yoga, have time for a shower, cup of tea and breakfast before leaving to go to work. I’ve wanted the chance to do a bit of morning meditation, or writing morning pages, and many other things that I feel might make the day flow a bit more smoothly. But for the past year, I’ve had lots of mornings where I’ve had to leave the house early – either 7:20 to get a desk in the office for just after 8, or 6:45 in order to get the 7:30 train down south.

I can get up and get to work on time, but I always rush. I don’t get up early enough for anything more than getting ready and running out of the house – breakfast can be bought at the station or the office. As a result, whenever I had the chance to NOT get up early – e.g. most Fridays, I’d have a lie-in until around 8 or 8:30, in order to be online working from home by 9.

Recently though I’ve been working from home continually. There’s been no need for me to wake up ridiculously early, and to conserve sleep when I can. But my brain doesn’t seem to have realised that, and that is why I believe I had no problem waking up early when my mother was visiting – and we had brunch plans for first thing in the morning – but have major difficulty waking up during the week, when I don’t have to go anywhere and am working from home. As much as I want to build a morning routine, my brain doesn’t seem to have realised the benefits it would bring – because it’s not how I’ve spent the last year (or, to be honest, my entire life bar a few weeks here and there).

But I’m going to try and turn things around. I’ve been holding onto the bandwagon by a thread, I haven’t fallen off completely. Two weeks seems long enough to suffer and make things more difficult for myself, it’s time to put a bit of effort into climbing back on and making everything else a lot easier. My alarm clock is going to be put on the other side of the room. I’m going to make some early morning plans that I can’t back out of (Monday 8am tennis in the cold anyone?). I’ve got to bully myself into believing that showing up to my own routine is just as important as showing up to work on time.

We’ll see how it goes.

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