Before I became a mum I was a a size 10, always doing some kind of fitness. I got into running and even joined a running club at one point! I used to run 3 times a week and do a class called body pump twice a week. I was fit and I was toned, and most importantly I was happy. Even after having twins I managed to drop straight back down to a size 10, I gradually got back into running and managed to keep my weight down.
Im married to a chef and since living in the English countryside we've become real foodies! Our lives have changed so much from weekly nights out on the town, and weekends away to Dublin, and other cool cities! When you have 2 young children and zero childcare, what do you do on your Friday and Saturday nights? You eat! We go out for days enjoying family time or we go out for dinner! Our lives now revolve around food. Our children's eating habits mainly consist of us trying to encourage them to eat well. Don't get me wrong, we are by no means unhealthy. We love healthy food but we also love lots of chocolate, and....cake! In fact we love all deserts but who doesn't! I've always been a chocoholic, and now my husband is too. He will come back from the shop with a carton of milk and always with a bar of chocolate! Then the jeans start to get tighter and the weight creeps on when your not looking, and before you know it your bulging out, wearing bigger, baggier tops. Life is busy and you really don't notice, or maybe you do, but you ignore it. My weight has always yo-yoed. I can go anywhere from a size10 to a 14, especially at Christmas. If I don't exercise I struggle to keep it off. I was in complete denial. Working from my dining room table at home, I am getting no exercise! Yes I run around the house chasing after two small people, but that is it. Ive let my exercise routine slip, and its affecting my size and my energy levels!
Juggling business, working long into the night, looking after young toddlers who often wake at night, washing, cleaning, running errands, generally feeling exhausted and turning to food or worse still, forgetting to eat all day then turning to sugar! Can anyone relate? Surely I can't be the only woman feeling overwhelmed by the day to day pressures of life!
Then an unexpected invitation to a black tie event turns up and we manage to get childcare. Its an event I'm really looking forward to and its important to me that we go. I kid myself into thinking.... oh yes its fine, i'll wear that beautiful red dress I have. The one I wore for the cruise 8 years ago! Who am I kidding? What planet was I on! 2 weeks before the event I decided to try on the dress half knowing it wasn't going to fit, and there to my horror the zip was not budging! No where near! I was shocked but I wasn't surprised. I had been in complete denial. It was a reality check, the kick up the backside I needed to get me back into gear! I mean seriously, what had I been thinking?
So without wasting anytime I got myself into gear. I have a treadmill at home, I really have no excuse. Apart from time. My biggest issue! But am I using time as my excuse? After all, i realise its all about priorities and this isn't just about my weight, its about my health its about my children, and if I continue to be in denial and let the weight creep on, where will I be in another years time? Probably another stone heavier, feeling more sluggish than I do now and what is all this sugar doing to my body? So I get myself moving into a daily fitness routine, and cut down on my food portions, ditching the sugar, cake and sweets. I do realise though, it is all about moderation. Small daily positive changes, add up to long term results. The scales don't work, I don't like them ha ha! I don't bother going anywhere near them. They don't make you feel good, and are often not very accurate anyway, because our bodies often can weigh differently on a daily basis, due to exercise and fluid intake. I exercise and train hard and I weigh heavier for obvious reasons, muscle weighs heavier than fat. Its always my clothes that tell me the truth. I can no longer lie to myself, I have to do this, without self judgement or punishment. its all about moderation, and to keep the weight off, I need to make small healthy changes, consistently.
So here I am 3 days away from this black tie event. Ive trained daily, having Saturday as a rest day. Ive been intermittent fasting, which is said to have so many health benefits including more energy and scientific evidence shows it could help to improve memory by increasing chemicals in the body called ketones, which are said to strengthen neuron's and neuron connections in the brain, and can even boost the memory of people in the earliest stages of dementia. Sounds good? Sounds good to me! So I'm only into my second week of intermittent fasting and its great. I can adapt this to my life, I can fit this around my busy schedule without having to count calories. I know whats healthy and what isn't, I just needed a good routine. I can honestly say its been easy. Im so busy that I've not even thought about eating any junk. My kids have had treats and I've not once thought about sneakily eating a few or eating their left overs. Ive trained hard. Completing HIIT sessions on the treadmill, incorporating weight training sessions too. Most importantly I've enjoyed it. I realise this won't be for everyone, and thats fine! You have to do what works for you. Most importantly, what feels good. I made a decision. A decision to not make excuses. A decision to make time for me. Im important, but often forgotten about and put to the bottom of the pile of endless lists and chores, like most mums falling into this trap. I am however starting to look slimmer, I feel I've got more energy and my fitness has improved in such a short space of time. Before I started I was telling myself 'I can't do this, I'm exhausted as it is'. Let me tell you, I don't feel exhausted, I feel energetic. Even when I'm up through the night with the kids, somehow I'm not tired. This really does work for me and it fits.
Just one problem, I left it too late and expected too much! The beautiful red dress.... I CAN get into it, I CAN even zip it up which is a big improvement on last week but its tight and not comfortable. I could kick myself for not starting sooner. But this is life. Its just a learning curve. Its no longer about the weight. Its not even about when I look in the mirror. Its about how I feel, and I feel great! Ive so much more energy its unreal. That horrible sluggishness has gone, and I'm working towards a goal of been fit and healthy. I won't say goodbye to chocolate and treats completely but I'm determined to maintain what I'm doing because its important to me to have the energy levels for my children, my business and for me. I still have the issue of what will I wear on the night, but the night will come and go. Im on the right track and I've found something that works for me. Eating healthy will now be a big part of my life, but I have to keep up the exercise, even on days I don't want to. Its all in the mind, its what you tell yourself. I was telling myself I'm too busy, I'm too tired, I'm exhausted etc, etc. Im now telling myself I can do this! Even yesterday when I was awake super early with the kids, I still managed to fit a run in, and eat healthy, look after my girls and do my housework. I could have easily talked myself out of doing anything. I could have let my mind monkeys come up with every excuse, but I said 'I'm doing this!' Its a choice. A choice to be healthy. A choice to be comfortable in your own body. I did it and I wasn't tired, surprisingly I didn't even find it hard. Instead I felt great. I do also believe though, that rest is so important, just as important as exercise. Without adequate rest, we often become snappy, crave sugar and binge eat. Lack of sleep affects your mood. Thats why some countries have used this as a form of torture, and it can often feel like that when you have young children who don't sleep. I know all about that! As each day passes though, I'm feeling fabulous, knowing that before long my clothes will also fit me nicely again which is a bonus! I started out with my weight being my only motivation, in under 2 weeks my mindset has changed. The biggest motivation is how I feel. Its not about breaking your back and I understand we are all different but its about perspective and the excuses we make and things we tell ourselves.
So next time you feel overwhelmed by the pressures and endless lists, juggling family life and work commitments, when the thought of fitness and weight loss just seem impossible. Think of yourself, and your own wellbeing, think of me if you must. Im just like the next person, I'm no different and certainly no better than anyone else, but I know if I can do this with my lifestyle then so can you! Make a choice. Choose you! Don't feel guilty for putting yourself first, after all if you don't look after you then everything around you sinks. Who will take care of the kids? The endless jobs and work commitments? I know if I got ill from not looking after myself, this ship would go under. Life is for living and we get one chance at this. I was stuck in a rut and a bad cycle of eating and not exercising. Making excuses. Now I'm doing it I can't recommend it enough. Its life changing. Its mindset, its taking responsibility for your life, and having the right mindset is everything. Work on your mindset and your half way there already! Keep telling yourself your too tired, or its too much pressure and you start to believe it. All these excuses won't help you. Instead, tell yourself you can do it and believe in the benefits. Be disciplined and you'll see the results. I've done it before and I can do it again. Its about breaking bad habits and creating a new routine, and in just over a week I already see and feel the benefits!
So the question is, does size really matter? We are all different and I think its more to do with how you feel in your own skin. Your energy levels, your happiness. We're told all the time in the media, exercise is good for us, and boosts your mood and helps with depression and anxiety. I'm not telling you to go on strict diets, intermittent fast or do intense training. You have to do what works for you. Add more steps to your day, drink more water, eat more healthy and see how much better you feel! I'm now a size 12, I'm happy. I'd like to fit back into my size 10's comfortably but its not a big deal. Its about how I'm feeling. Thats so much more important. It doesn't matter how many times people tell you, you look great its about the person inside...YOU! So whether your a size 8 or a size 20 its how you feel on the inside that counts, and if your comfortable in your own body. Most importantly for me it will always be about health and mindset, and a healthy mind is everything. I know I'm happier when I work out and I see the benefits. My body is looking better, Im toning up, my energy levels have improved, I'm feeling better and even more confident. The weight loss is just a bonus.
I hope in someway I have managed to inspire you. Believe in yourself, because if I can do this, with my busy life then so can you. Its a great feeling when you set a goal and you achieve it! I won't deny I've a long way to go before this becomes a real habit but I won't give up because I hated the way I was, always feeling tired and sluggish before. Im back on track and I'm loving the feeling. Loving life! I have to plan and I have to be organised, consistency is the key. But I'm committed. I can do this, and so can you!