Up until very recently I have been in a regular, continuous routine of sugar free living, clean eating and very regular medium to high intensity workouts. I felt great, having never been healthier in my life. Sugar free living really works for me, and the combination of great nutrition with regular cardio workouts combined with high intensity resistance and weight training increased my strength, stamina and mental motivation to the point where I felt great all day, every day.
I haven’t always been like this; most of my adult life was active by way of moving around as part of my daily commute to central London but otherwise sedentary. A brisk walk to the bus stop or tube station, or a daily walk up the escalators at Holborn or Oxford Circus was all I got.
I chose to take up exercise after the birth of my second child. By the time he turned two and I had lost a lot of the excess baby fat but I realised I was weak and needed to tone up. I tried a couple of local fitness classes and ended up discovering Esther, who makes working out so much fun I had no choice but to stick to a weekly class and over a year or so built this up to 5 classes, three times a week. If I had to miss any of my regular workouts I’d hate it, I enjoyed them so much.
I will never forget the morning after my first ever kettlebells class waking up and stretching my legs in bed, feeling no obvious aches or pain, getting out of bed then tumbling straight to the floor with a complete inability to walk! I had done about 40 squats the day before, something I had never done in my life.
However after a recent difficult period dealing with family illness and therefore being unable to maintain my active lifestyle I have quickly seen my strength and stamina decline and sadly my mental motivation took a nosedive too. Emotional eating crept back into my life – luckily I couldn’t face eating sugar again so I didn’t get addicted as I used to be.
I could have made time to work out at home, but I didn’t. I’ve found that I’m a bit like a hen, I need a flock. I just don’t find working out alone much fun at all. Other women motivate me, whether they’re just starting their journey or they’ve been doing it for years.
During this time of unrest at home I chose to let my fitness slide. What I found astonishing though is how hard I found it to go back to working out when I was eventually able to fit a class in. I was no longer in the right mindset, out of routine and not feeling ready to join in with something that I had enjoyed and craved for many months.
I’ve found that for me the same thought processes are at work whether it’s being in a clear routine and not wanting to miss a regular workout or being totally out of routine and finding it hard to get back into it.
Why is this? Am I the only one who feels this way? I’m a creature of habit, so if I create one then I will stick to it and to change that habit is so very hard sometimes.
In the end I forced myself to go back to working out. My stubbornness makes me do something I don’t want to knowing it’ll be good for me. I’ll admit that the first workout I was able to go back to was hell. I really only went because a friend persuaded me, and at various points throughout – even during my favourite parts – I almost left. But just 15 minutes from the end the endorphins kicked in and I remembered what it was that I was missing out on. I felt great by the end, and was so glad that I went.
So it just goes to show that there really is a complex web of mental motivation, fitness and nutrition that affects us all, even the self-proclaimed ‘healthy’ ones.
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