I announced early on in the Summer that I began a sort-of "lifestyle change" if you will - I started exercising, changing my diet around and reevaluating my day-to-day habits. I also said I'd start a fitness and health series on my blog; although I'm starting it later than anticipated, I feel I'm 100 times more ready and clued-in as to how I was a month or two ago. This first post will be a general all-rounder talking about me, my history with fitness and food etc. I also decided to name the series "The Lazy Girl's Guide to Fitness & Health" - not the most original of titles but it sums me up. I'm lazy - I love sleeping and sitting down - I'd rather get a taxi than participate in an hour-long walk at times. I'm a wholehearted Lazy Lucy and I'm quite sick of it!
My history with fitness and health is quite poor; I detested P.E class in school and ended up with a weekly case of "cramps" half of the time to escape it. I never found it fun and I dreaded the changing room. Many of you know I suffered (and still do suffer) with a lot of body image problems, Body Dysmorphic Disorder being my main demon. Although it is nowhere near as bad as it was when I was 16-17, I still have to live with it daily - as with any mental issue, unfortunately there are no "cures" for it.
Although I hated P.E and the majority of physical activities school and the likes offered during adolescence, I adored dancing as a child. Most people (even my friends) don't know about my past as a dancer as I stupidly gave it up aged 13 when school life took over and I became increasingly self-conscious. From the age of 3, I participated in weekly ballet and Irish dancing classes. Over the next decade, I partook in everything from jazz, to tap, to modern, to ballroom. I performed on stage and everything. I was fit as a kid because of it but I never saw dancing as exercise as it was fun.
Swimming was also a childhood love of mine as well as dancing, my family referred to me as a "fish" in the water. I won countless gold medals in galas in primary school. I swam for a brief period in secondary school but ended up hating it due to body confidence issues and paranoia - I only properly got back into it this year (more on that later).
Diet-wise, my family aren't particularly healthy. I developed a phobia of fruit at a young age; yep, it's as weird as it sounds. I refused to eat any fruit in its original form but I could still consume it via juice or smoothie (it still remains like this to this day). I find even the thought of a piece of fruit touching me absolutely sickening and it's something that most people don't understand or empathise with - I'm weird, I know haha. I had quite bad OCD and "habits" (as my Mum would call them) as a child and this is one habit that has never seemed to shift! It's become a tad bit of complication food-wise as so many health recipes and the likes include so much fruit; I try and consume smoothies and pure juice as much as I can but I don't see myself chomping into an apple anytime soon being honest.
I've never had a raging sweet tooth and opted for stationary over sweets anytime I received pocket money when I was younger, however I was never brought up on what you would see as a healthy diet. I don't come from a wealthy or an even consistently "comfortable" background so sometimes the money just wasn't there to eat fully-organic or even fresh food. I was brought up by my amazing, young Mum on her own so she did what she could with what was there and I was never without. In saying that however, one of the most difficult things I've found in regards to health and fitness is breaking habits. I was brought up on a lot of processed food so I found getting out of the habit of eating it daily was difficult and still is.
Genetics-wise, both sides of my family are slim-enough. Nobody is madly overweight, apart from one or two beer bellies here and there so weight as such has never been a huge issue for me. I'm built more or less the exact same as my Glam Nan - petite in height (I'm 5"2.5), small-chested and a size UK 6-8 on top and slightly bigger on the bottom being a size UK 8-10 with a full-enough bum.
Since my underbite surgery last year, a lot has changed for me mentally and physically. Up until April of last year, I was a strict pescetarian (meat-free diet but I ate fish the odd time) for 4 years. My liquid diet after my jaw surgery involved not being able to eat anything solid for 2 months and everything, and I mean everything, had to be liquidised until it was like water. I was consistently hungry and craved food 24/7 - especially meat. I hadn't suffered ANY meat cravings until then. I terrorised myself by watching episodes of Man VS Food daily and all I could think about was meat. After a long, hard and emotional think - I decided to start eating meat again. Purely for health reasons, as I was now down to a size UK 4-6 and looked emaciated. My first meat-meal in 4 years was a liquidised bowl of stew and I kid you not, my energy soared after the first spoonful. (All info, photos, blog posts and vlogs on my underbite surgery can be found here.)
|Most recent body photos - please note better ones will be posted in the future as I go on but these are just to get me started.|
However, as 2013 went on, I noticed I didn't automatically go back to my original frame. Due to the liquidised diet, eating meat again and a change of contraceptive pill, I had put on a bit of weight and didn't look toned. I noticed it mostly around my thighs, waist and stomach areas. My usually-flat stomach was now slightly puffed out more than usual after I ate, again nothing hugely noticeable except to me and I was really quite conscious of it. Between those factors, my surgery and a highly stressful move overseas and move back home within a year, everything took its toll on my body and mind during 2013.
2014 arrived and my weight still remained - I wasn't happy with how I looked and I surely wasn't happy with how I felt. I felt a tad lost in regards to exercise, health and diet changes and I felt really overwhelmed by it. I'm the type of person who won't dedicate energy into something if my interest isn't 100% there so it took up until early this Summer to really give myself the kick up the ass to start a healthier and happier life.
I re-read The Secret and researched countless articles, blogs and vlogs on a beginner's guide to fitness and health. Within a few weeks, I had started training and shifting my diet around. I won't go into fitness or diet details in this post, I'll wait until post No.2 for that but it was surprisingly easy once I got into the habit of it all. As well as vlogs etc, I started watching documentaries based on food and health - the majority of them being on Netflix. I found seeing the "truth" behind what goes into food and the 21st Century lifestyle really helped set in stone what I was set out to do.
One of the most common misconceptions regarding exercising and diet-change - and I must emphasise this - is for one reason only: to lose weight. This is NOT TRUE! I want to tone up and become a healthy human who doesn't nearly have a stroke each time I've to run for a bus. I want to start controlling my anxiety and have something productive to focus my energy on. I'm in no way claiming I'm overweight, I just need to tone up and build strength in some areas. Slim people can and do need exercise just as much as anyone and everyones' bodies and needs differ. Remember that!
Along with body image and continuous anxiety, my hair, skin and nails were in BITS. No amount of expensive skincare, hair products or supplements can change these things if your insides are full of unhealthy crap. I was determined to improve the 3 by maintaining a healthier diet and of course, with exercise.
I joined a gym in Dublin and picked up a heap of new exercise gear. I found the high-street quite disappointing and only ended up buying a few sports crop tops and bras when I went out. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how amazing a range Irish retailer Littlewoods Ireland had on their website - they kindly gifted me a heap of Adidas and Nike gear; everything from swimming togs to training shoes, to help me on my way. I chose the utmost basics at first; Nike Flyknit Lunar 2 training shoes (so comfortable, like tie-on clouds), a Nike Dri-Fit hoodie, Nike cycling shorts and so on. You'll be seeing a lot more of these pieces on me for the rest of the series and on my Instagram.
I tried and tested out all different kinds of exercise to begin with; intense circuit training, weights, swimming, gym classes and so on and only now am I starting to really find my preferences. I find a gym-atmosphere really suits me, as the general vibe gets me pumped and inspired to go. I'll go into more detail on my exercises in the next post but anything I find to be fun, I love - and stick to!
I'll do a whole other post on food in the near future but I found diet-change quite difficult; I LOVE food but found I was constantly eating the wrong food and binging on unhealthy grub. I luckily don't have a major sweet tooth but the majority of bad foods I was snacking on were takeaways, carby snacks and heavy pastas. Over a few weeks, I began to cut down on certain foods and switch things up. I have cut down my regular 4/5 cups of black tea (with loads of milk) a day to one, if even, and I tend to drink herbal teas more. I've always loved water but I make sure I have at least 1 litre per day. I cut down on meat also, red meat especially, as I personally find it hard to digest and I started to eat fish more. Now don't get me wrong; my current diet is nowhere near as healthy as I want it to be and as they say, old habits die hard - I still crave the greasiest of food whilst hungover but I usually talk myself out of it instantly. It takes time to train your brain (and tummy) to adjust.
I've found making easy and realistic changes, slowly, was easier than I anticipated. Trying to do a 100% turnaround would have led to a crash and burn for me completely. I find hat educating and informing yourself on the reality of the world around us benefits you immensely, as well trying and testing out different methods until you find your ideal routine. Fun is key for me and as a self-proclaimed lazy girl, if I can turn my health around - so can you!
I have a long way to go but I thought this introductory post would give you all a little background and insight into me and my current situation. I'll be posting these fitness updates every few weeks or so but I can guarantee Instagram snippets will be posted at least weekly - so make sure you follow me there! I hope this helps anyone in the same or a similar boat as me and inspires you to make some changes. We only have one body at the end of the day so we may as well treat it well.
I'd love to hear about YOUR fitness and health routines in the comments section below!
How did you start? What made you take up a healthier lifestyles? Have you got any advice or tips for me or anyone else looking to change their ways?