In Search of Balance….Diet, Exercise and a Healthy mind

In Search of Balance….Diet, Exercise and a Healthy mind

 

Until my mid twenties actually… until NOW, the last couple of months, 2016, post baby and closely reaching my 30’s, for as long as I can remember, I have worried about how I look.  My outer image projected to the world, my body shape, the size of my clothes; all this festered massive worry and self doubt.

Its only now that I feel like I have a different attitude, I am much happier in myself and I feel sorry I wasted over 14 years with such a negative image and outlook.. I just want to give my teenage self a massive hug and explain that the 90s waif-like trend of size zero, represented by Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton etc was not ‘normal’ this what not something I should ever aspire to be!

So today I wanted to just write down and ramble a bit about how I am continuing to find MY balance and how my attitude has changed/ changing in relation to healthy eating, exercise and having a  healthy mind. This is more a post for me to just collect my thoughts and is in no way a post to tell you what you should eat, how many squats you should do and what magic tricks will help you lose lbs! This is simply me making sense of how I’m getting some sort of balance and releasing some of the worry that trapped me for so long… that’s not to say its a battle that will ever completely go away but I am managing it better, learning to silence it and liking/ accepting myself more and more.

Similar to many I started to be aware of ‘body image’ around high school age, at the time, you don’t realise how quickly it consumes you, but it did and that became daily self criticism and many tears (thank you mum for always trying to wipe them away) Its scary when talking to friends how many others felt like this, at the time though I felt like it was just me.

I decided to channel the worry into exercise however, this quickly sparked a need for working out, which now I  see and acknowledge, became an obsession.   At the height, Id spend 3 hours in the gym and hardly eat to fuel my body, I even embarrassingly fainted mid circuits class- sounds obsessive to me!

Crazily working out wasn’t enough, I wasn’t getting the results I wanted! The next stage was developing an unhealthy focus on eating, it became all I’d think about, depriving myself, counting calories, no carbs, avoiding social situations where you’d eat. Thinking about food 24/7 but not actually enjoying it when it came to meal times- how miserable! Luckily it never got darker than this however, I can see how easily it could have, which is a really scary thought.

Constantly thinking about food (or the lack of) mixed with 6 days of exercise, 2 sessions a day and  I still felt the same, flooded with negative thoughts, feeling jealous of my carefree friends who could wear anything they wanted and oozed confidence.    I was tired from getting up at 5.30am doing the first work out of the day, to then see how long I could go without food for before I nibbled an oat cake! Ohhh and the panicked if I had to miss or cancel a workout session, my mood would be low and i’d be snappy but it was only because I genuinely thought I’d gain weight instantly!

It wasn’t until I was pregnant and my body inevitably changed that I wondered why I was so insecure before?  As I was gaining weight, i’d look at pictures from before and couldn’t understand why I was so harsh, so critical, I really should have cut myself some slack!

After my gorgeous bundle was here, with an exciting new chapter, came a little strange feeling that I didn’t quite feel like the old me and I almost felt a sense of building a new Harriet.
I wanted to get back to my pre-baby weight but I had now learnt, it needed to be done in a kinder way plus I didn’t have time to punish myself in the gym anymore and I needed food for energy to fulfil my mum duties that were way more important.
I needed to re-focus and look at other options, inspired by my cousins wife who lost her baby weight and looks a-mazing with the help of Slimming World, I signed up to see how it could work for me.
 I used to be quite negative about SW, thinking it was full of people who couldn’t cook, didn’t exercise and wanted a quick fix but I was happily I was proven wrong, the group was full of normal people who ate a variety of food, shared menus and didn’t deprive themselves at all. It really worked to repair my relationship with food and realise carbs weren’t the enemy, obviously fruit and vegetables should be the bulk of your diet and chocolate/ biscuits/ cake should be enjoyed in moderation otherwise whats the point???!!
As my baby weight plus more came off physically (3 stone in total) , I felt a massive weight lift mentally, I started to exercise when I had time or when I felt like it instead of being a slave to the treadmill, I enjoyed it again, getting stronger and fitter!
The balance had shifted and with these handy tools picked up along the way, I was becoming the carefree, more confident person that I always wanted to be, my mindset had changed and my outlook much more positive.
I think age has a lot to do with accepting yourself, you seem to worry less about trivial things and also by having a baby means I have other priorities and a new appreciation for my body, it managed to grow a little human after all!
I do think the media has taken a little shift towards accepting a variety of body shapes and sizes – don’t get me wrong there’s a hell of a long way to go but I feel we are slowly more exposed to ‘normal’ women who project confidence and self appreciation… Some of my ultimate girl crushes, Mel Wells who is really tackling the job of empowering women and projecting positivity (check her out here) Holly Willoughby one of the most fancied TV personalities with her fun attitude and lust after figure , Tanya Burr, Louise Redknapp, Sam Faiers- the list is endless of women in the public eye who the next generation of teenagers will see in magazines and hopefully these realistic ladies will help to cut the negativity and allow comfort in your own skin.
 You shouldn’t have to lose weight to accept your body, you shouldn’t have to change yourself if you don’t want to, but I feel we all have a happy weight/size/image of our self and finally I think I am here.
At the moment I think I am balancing it all healthily, I enjoy clothes more, food more. I love the freedom of exercising when I want and I LOVE LOVE LOVE sitting down with a cuppa and some chocolate at the end of a busy day – guilt free
A healthy body is important but so is a healthy mind and I feel like finally I get that. It will always be something I worry about (that’s just me) but something I worry a hell of a lot less of!
love Harriet x

 

Photo credit Rock Solid- Me competing in 2014

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2 Comments

  1. October 24, 2016 / 1:43 pm

    YES. TO. THIS. <3
    britishmermaid.blogspot.co.uk

  2. Anna Joyce
    October 23, 2016 / 5:31 pm

    ❤️

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