Over the years I have spent so many hours, days, months, and yes years, wasting time. Planning but not taking action.
A diet could not start because I wanted to wait until after the holidays.
I could not try a new sport or activity because I was not in shape.
The list could go on.
one day I finally had enough, why was I not enjoying my life? Why was I waiting. Did I want to die with so many regrets?
That was when I started to take action, even on my own. I met new people who became good friends and I got into shape while doing fun activities. The people I met doing activities were not all skinny jocks but normal people. All shapes and sizes and abilities.
what I have learned if if you don’t do something now, when will you do it? Because there will always be an excuse not to.
I was too busy to stop for lunch, documents were due, people were shouting that they needed information from me. Grabbing something quick between tasks was all I could do.
If I was asked what I ate for lunch, I could not tell you. Not sure what I actually had, or what it tasted like.
Eating without thinking about what you are eating or even enjoying what you are eating is something that can cause you to overeat.
You pick at a pack of biscuits or crips and before you know it, the whole pack is gone.
Did you even enjoy them?
I decided one day that I like food, why was I not enjoying eating?
I left my desk at lunch and went over to the cafeteria, instead of asking for a take away I had a plate and sat at one of the tables. My computer was not with me so no emails, I turned the ringer off my phone for a few minutes and enjoyed my meal.
The break was only half an hour but when I returned to the office I felt rejuvenated. I got so much more work done than I usually did because I was fresh and recharged.
There are so many reasons why slowing down over your meal is good for you, but for me I enjoy the break. I love returning to work and getting more work done in less time as well. That half hour is worth it.
Now during covid while working from home, I work in my home “office”, my spare bedroom. I go into the office in the morning, then at lunch, leave to return to my home cafeteria. Sitting and eating in another room helps me to recharge so I can return to my home “office” and get more done. At the end of the day I leave my office and switch off the light. Before I made my spare room an office I would use a bureau. At the end of the working day I would close my office, just close the bureau so I could not see all my work items.
Making time to eat, and enjoy what I am eating helps me in many ways, this is just one.
How can you make time to eat and really enjoy your food?
We are in more stressful times than normal. Businesses being asked to allow their employees to work at home if possible. No unnecessary contact or exposure to other people. All of which adds stress to all people.
What do we do when we are stressed? Reach for comfort food? High carb, high starch or high sugar, it will make us feel better.
But does it?
It really does not help us long term. Going for a walk outside helps more. As long as we are not in self isolation due to sickness or exposure we are encouraged to keep fit in the open air. So not in enclosed gyms with others.
A walk along the seafront or in a park can help you feel better, less stressed, less isolated.
There is also plenty to help with stress that can be done in the home. Crafts is one, keep your hands busy doing crafts is great, especially if you have kids. They can make gifts for the self isolated, and the elderly.
I put a YouTube video of a country park in Europe where there are birds and deer. My cats love it and if I close the curtains it looks like a window, so I can pretend I am on vacation.
We are all in this together. What are your tips for easing stress during this time?
Every day seems the same. Get up, go to work, come home, bed, then repeat until the weekend.
Ah, the weekend. Days when we can hibernate at home and not have to face the world. Feel judged.
We feel out of control, like we cannot change. Do we really want to?
Some days it can seem that we don’t. The warm duvet wrapped around us while we are watching tv. Eating on the sofa.
Life feels hopeless.
A lethargic body that does not like movement. Easier to stay on the sofa. Movement hurts, trying to use muscles that are not used to movement.
Taking control back is too much effort, it is easier to let life pass by.
Until one day you snap! Why does life have to be this way. I should be happy every day. Have energy and do all the things I want.
Play with my children, go on adventure holidays and not be stuck on the bus, or watching everyone else, but out walking and seeing all the wonderful sites.
The first moment is hard, aching muscles that shout to stop because you have listened in the past. Walking for a few minutes more than you ever has is painful, difficult. You keep telling yourself to stop.
Slow and steady.
Each day a little more each day, maybe one minute more.
It adds up and weeks later you can walk double the time you did before.
Less pain. Muscles are stronger.
Every day is a new start, a chance to change a little bit more.
Having just completed my latest challenge, a half marathon that is not lapped, meaning I could not stop and rest between laps. I am reminded that it is a more about mindset than ability.
I could have stopped and walked, or just walked the entire race. I would have received the same medal. Completed the same distance. Would I have felt I had accomplished as much?
I struggled during most of the race with myself. Unlike the last race I had to keep all my nutrition with me. Enough water in case the water stations ran out, I have heard many horror stories. A small pack filled with what is needed and emergency items.
I had to force myself to get up an hour earlier, to leave to catch the train. Then to be on my own in the starting wave. There were over 16,000 people there. No one would have missed me.
The last wave, were I was is where the slower runners, more joggers, and the walkers are. Some intend to walk the entire thing, others start out too fast and have to stop. I start out slow and stay slow.
My mind says, “You could walk, it would be much easier…Why don’t you walk”.
I tell myself to be quiet (ok, a little stronger than that for those who know me). I keep going.
People along the route cheer their friends, some cheer everyone. Those are the ones that bring tears to my eyes. Thanks for cheering those of us who have no one watching.
Two children are giving out small bags of jelly babies, so I go over and take one and thank them. They may never know how much that means, only 4 miles in and their kindness helps me to keep going.
The Tower of London is close and we will be running across Tower Bridge. Keep going.
The charity cheer squads yell and make tons of noise, it makes it easier to keep going.
Now in the Southwark and it slowly gets quieter, less crowds, very few cheering. the faster runners finished hours ago, so people got bored and went home or out for the day. I get slower. My pack is getting heavy.
I just have to make it to water station 4. My friend Dee is there volunteering. Mile 10 comes into view and one foot is sore, my ankle starts to ache as well. I keep going, water station 4 cannot be far. I see the station but no Dee, then I hear my name and there she is. she hugs me and my legs collapse.
Dee is a runner and knows what to do. She gets me back onto my feet and fills my water bottles up and sends me on my way. I just want to stop.
It is so painful now. I reach mile 11 and continue for a little while more before I am limping too much so I walk. The band at the side is taking a break so no music to help keep going, they don’t even cheer.
I can see mile 12 so start jogging again, the pain is less, only just over a mile to go. I will jog over the finish line!
It seems the finish is never going to come, the course twists, it says that it is close but I cannot see it. Then another corner and there is the finish by Cutty Sark.
Keep going, keep moving. Nearly there.
I step over the finish and my phone pings that I have a message. I am finished.
If I had listened to myself I would have walked or not even bothered, but I didn’t and now I have added another race to my book, I do have a physical scrapbook where I keep my race numbers and items and hang all my medals in my hallway.
The best advice i was given at the start of my weight loss was not about diet or exercise. Too often people give advice on what to eat or how to exercise without ever having gone through that journey or understanding what it is like.
I was feeling depressed and like I had lost everything. it was a little over a month after surgery and I had stopped losing weight and was eating as little as I could. I was being sent abroad to work for 10 days and was not sure how I could cope in a foreign country, not being able to eat much, working, staying in a hotel. The list could go on.
So I called my dietician Gail. She talked me down from the weight loss edge.
She probably does not remember what she said to me she was trying to reassure me and set me on the right course. She said something like:
LIVE YOUR WEIGHT LOSS
That is what I remember. Her instructions were simple, do not work for the entire time, go out and see the city, try food, enjoy life.
Live my weight loss.
That got me thinking over the next few day, weeks then months. Why was I waiting until I lost the weight to try things out, do things, to live?
From that point on I made sure that I started to live. Why wait?
The weight came off, I became happier, the happier I became the more the weight came off.
Do not wait until you are at your goal, try new activities now, live today!
If two people go on the same diet do they always follow it the same? Do they eat the same foods? In the same portions?
I was once on a diet which was high protein and low in fat. I started out unsure and took in the food list to the grocery store. Read the forums and recipes and followed it exactly.
I lost 2 dress sizes. That was the first diet I had tried that I actually lost weight on. Problem was I fell off the wagon then tried to restart. But no more weight came off.
The people who supported the diet would tell me that my diet was fine I needed to up my exercise.
I worked, and was exercising as much as I could, how could I increase it more and still have a job?
I had changed how I applied the diet, and because of that the results were different for me.
Years later when I was finally changing my life and learning more about nutrition I realised what I had done wrong, but it was too late. That sounds bad but it was actually good that it was too late for me. I changed my life not just for the time I was on a diet but forever.
It was all about how I used the tool given to me. Now I follow a healthy eating regime. No fad diet or something temporary.
Does that mean I do not enjoy food? No! I love food and actually eat nicer, tastier food than before. I learned more about what healthy food is, whether all sugars are bad for you and if fat makes you fat.
This didn’t happen overnight.
By taking time and learning slowly I could apply smaller changes into my life. Some I didn’t even notice. Looking at my diet six months apart I could see a big change.
What I noticed was that I ate nicer food. Food that I could really slow down and enjoy. Rather than eat fast and not remember what it tasted like I now enjoy what I eat and remember the foods I eat.
Why not try to slow down and really savour what you are eating today? What is it that you life or dislike about it.
Whether you are a man or woman knowing you look good makes you feel better with yourself. Finding out what style clothing suites you can make shopping so much easier and cheaper.
There have been lots of shows on tv and videos online about what clothes would fit and make you look your best depending on the shape of your body.
Before I found out what shapes and styles of clothing looked good I would buy an outfit and thought it looked ok, which it did. Even if it fit more like a sack then anything else. It definitely did not make me feel confident.
As I was losing weight I was lucky to have a great friend who would challenge me to try out different styles and shapes of clothes to see what looked good on my new shape. We spent hours trying on clothes.
Now I can pop into a shop and pick out clothes that I know will look good which feels great.
If you are in the middle of losing weight you do not want to constantly buy a new wardrobe but by shopping thriftily you can look great and give yourself more confidence as your weight changes.
Because it does cost a lot of money to create a new wardrobe so here is where to shop on a tight budget:
Ebay and online 2nd hand
Look around the high street and in malls, find brands that you like then keep an eye out for them in Charity Shops. You can even create saved searches on ebay that will let you know when clothes from that brand are available.
It is worth the time it takes to find clothes that make you feel amazing.
It can be so easy to give up or not push ourselves a bit. When we have a goal that stretches us from our normal.
Over the years I have seen people who say they want to accomplish something but then do not because they do not push themselves a little each day or week in order to meet that goal. If it is a physical challenge they do the minimum they can then stop.
Their progress is slow or they never improve. They then compare themselves to others who have worked harder then their minimum and are demotivated.
By setting a goal with a deadline that stretches your limits a bit you can surprise yourself when you meet it. How amazing is it to do something you never thought you could do?
That is the same with milestones or steps to reach your goal. If you have to push yourself a little to reach them you will feel so much accomplishment it can keep you motivated to strive for the next one.
In order for this to keep you motivated you do need to set goals that stretch you a little in a time frame that you can reach. Then work a little harder each week to reach that goal. If you set a goal that is too difficult or easy it has the opposite affect.
I had a step goal of 10,000 steps and wanted to return to that after surgery, so when I went back to work I took my normal route, and walked throughout the day as I had before. I would come home exhausted and not able to do anything.
I could barely make it through the day.
After a couple of weeks I decided that this was not working. I was not getting fitter, I was not even reaching the 10,000 step goal. I wanted to give up.
Instead I set a goal to be able to reach 10,000 a day.
I had a step counter so looked at my average steps and reduced it to 2,000 steps a day. I deliberately walked less and started to take the bus into work. when I could reach 2,000 steps I added 250 to that. I took an extra trip to the toilet and to get a small drink. Only a couple of minutes each but they added steps rather than being efficient and having everything I needed at my desk for the morning and waiting until lunch to use the toilet on my way to the lunch room.
When I could reach that step goal 3 days in a row I would add another 250. Some weeks I would add to my goal twice. Soon I was up to 10,000 again but without feeling I had hurt myself or it was too easy.
It was a bit of a stretch for me, some days I had to make an excuse to walk a little more. go to the toilet to put on lipstick again. By the time I reached 10,000 I felt like I had accomplished something and was keen to keep going, so did, I now have a daily step goal of 13,250.
What is a goal that you could set that would stretch you a bit?
How Epiphany Wellbeing Solutions is adapting to Covid-19
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