During this time of Social Distancing, we can feel isolated and stressed, returning to old habits.
Sitting on the sofa watching tv, eating sweets and comfort food. Staying indoors with our pajamas or sweats on. Doing our hair becomes rare.
The pounds increase as well as our unhappiness.
I have been tempted.
My first full week working at home I started the week out with a tight deadline, having to sit on my sofa working all day, barely taking breaks. Hoping that I could meet the deadline even when nothing went right and it was a struggle to get technology to cooperate.
I did get dressed each day in business clothes. No makeup.
By Tuesday evening I was tired and stressed, I did not last long. I ate the Pringles I had and was looking for sweets and snack food.
I could have popped to the grocery store, as we know popped is not the term we can use these days, I could have stood in a long queue 2 meters away from everyone else waiting to be let into the shop. Only allowed to buy a maximum of 3 of any item.
My rule of no sweets unless I have exercised was falling away.
Old habit returning.
Since we are allowed to leave the house to exercise once a day at the moment, I got up Wednesday morning and went out for a run. I was in a grumpy mood but as I ran, ok jogged very slowly. My mood improved.
Most people I talk with say that it is easier to do exercise if you have to go to a class or meet up with people, that is a bit hard right now, isn’t it?
It is easy to say that we are isolated and alone. Poor us, we can’t go out and have to sit and watch tv or read.
We are in the 21st Century.
We can still meet up with people to exercise, just not in person, a virtual class.
So many people are offering exercise classes on Facebook, their websites, YouTube. We can try new types of workouts, without the horror of doing it in front of a group of people, like a friend who took a class a few years ago and fell, taking out two other people with her.
I started out too embarrassed to join in classes in case I could not keep up.
No fear of that if I can do a class in my living room. My cats are the only ones judging, and they are usually looking at me strangely if I am not paying attention to them or getting them food, so no difference there then.
I am sharing links to trainers with online classes, so try them out, you could be choosing the same class as me and we can do the class together in our respective homes.
When you try a class post what you thought of it on my Facebook page.
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.