Some of you may or may not know that I have recently made some pretty massive lifestyle changes, and I realised the other day whilst writing to a friend abroad and filling her in on my life, that I haven’t actually written a blog about any of it! Pretty silly since I am a lifestyle blogger and all!
I have been unhappy with my body and my general health for a while and have struggled with starting and stopping diets and exercise and well, everything for well over a year.
I smoked 15- 20 fags a day. It was normal for me to finish a 14 hour work day (half sat in an office and half in a pizza restaurant) with an entire bottle of red wine and a pizza big enough for four people. My local takeaways knew not only my name, but also my order just by the sound of my voice and I don’t think I had exercised since I left high school in 2001.
From reading the above, I bet you have an image in your head of an obese person, waddling about from kebab house to off licence, probably single and very unhappy. NOPE. I was in fact, a size 12-14, had a wonderful boyfriend that told me I was beautiful every day and was in fact very happy.
Well, I say happy. Every night out with the girls had an undertone of bitterness and sadness that I tried to drown with vodka, as in the group of girls I hang out with, I am by far the largest. Choosing an outfit for me would consist of covering up bloat or hiding my arms so that I felt comfortable dancing and watching my mates pull on tight dresses and crop tops that I wished I could wear. It was made harder by the fact that I was only ‘just’ too big to wear this stuff.
What’s dangerous is that I wasn’t outwardly unhealthy, but I looked back at how many sick days I took, or how lethargic I was about everything and I realised that that is no way to live life and I was letting my lazy attitude have a very negative effect on my life.
Smoking had become a chore that I no longer enjoyed and walking up stairs was leaving me out of breathe and when I coughed I got chest pains. But I continued to justify smoking, and blaming everything from stress to having two jobs on why I couldn’t quit.
I think the change came when my 30th birthday started to loom. Thirty years old and a slightly podgy, chain smoker that drank and ate too much. If I read about my life back then I’d have though ‘poor cow’.
Something changed, like a light switch being flicked off and one day, I decided not to have a fag. Then the next day, I decided again to not have a fag and five months later I haven’t touched a cigarette and have no intention to either. This started a ball rolling for me. If I could quit smoking after 18 years, then what else could I do?
I didn’t want to be middle aged and slightly overweight, so the next logical thing for me was to start the gym. It helped that my friends booked a holiday for us in in June this year to Barcelona, so with this goal in mind, I set about finding a style of workout that I would like. This turned out to be difficult as I HATE exercise. Being hot and out of breathe felt horrible and I struggled to keep it up regularly. October, November and December went by and I barely went, maybe forcing myself to go once a week to justify the payment that left my bank account. Then, again, like with the smoking, suddenly one day, I didn’t dread going, I wanted to go and since then I have been 5 times a week, no excuses.
My eating has gone from takeaways or frozen meals every night of the week, to fresh, home cooked meat and vegetables. My Pinterest account has more fitness and healthy eating recipes on it than it ever has done before and I am finally starting to realise that THIS is what happy feels like.
I read a quote that said ‘exercise is the most underused form of anti-depressant. Food is the most abused’ and it struck a chord. I ate, smoked and drank like I did partly because as a teenager I had been able to do it without much repercussion, but mostly because when bad things happened, I would use food and drink as a treat to cheer myself up and fags as a coping mechanism.
I saw people that fitted their social life around the gym as shallow and brainless; running on their little treadmill and nibbling lettuce and I saw this as no way to live.
But now I see sweating out in the gym for an hour of my day as a means to an end. I can look good when I go out, no more sadness underpinning an otherwise great night. Food is no longer a daily treat, but a way of making myself look good, the same way I do my hair and apply my make up; it’s just part of it all. Don’t get me wrong, I will NEVER be a girl that says n to food that I want to eat and Is till reserve one day a week as pizza day, but I am now making better choices. Portion size was a big one for me as I easily used to eat enough for 4 people in one sitting and think it was a ‘portion’.
Alcohol is reserved for nights out, or special occasions rather than an after work routine.
I don’t want to become a fitness blogger, so have not been writing up my workouts or offering anyone advice or tips on how to make it work for them, but to not talk about something that has literally changed my entire life seems silly to me. I feel better, sleep better, work better and all round have a better outlook on life now than I did 6 months ago and it has all stemmed from quitting smoking, eating better and exercising. Trust me, anyone who said that these things changed their life would have got a cynical response from me before but it really has.
Things are only going to get better as well, as I have just started to see results from all my hard work and it feels great to be able to look in the mirror each week that goes by and see my body changing. My aim is not for skinny, but for healthy, happy and toned and if I can do it, then trust me, anyone can!
If you are interested in seeing my workouts, my progress or any recipes that I may be using, please feel free to follow me on Pinterest. My boards ‘Barcelona beach Body’ for workouts and ‘To cook for the boy and me’ for recipes