1. Go to the gym 6 times a week
2. Only eat carbs after a work out
3. Only drink alcohol once a month
4. Work hard at uni
These were my 2017 new year resolutions… doesn’t sound a lot of fun, right? My main goal was to lose weight because that’s what I thought would make me happy. I mean, surely if you’ve got a perfect body life doesn’t get much better than that?
So I started working towards my aim and I signed up to a structured fitness program. I stopped going out with my friends to avoid the booze, stopped going out for dinner because it wasn’t on my meal plan, going to bed super early because I HAD to get my 8 hours sleep (read somewhere that more sleep helps you lose weight). So I was sticking to my resolutions. But MAN life was missssssserable.
I didn’t realise it at the time; I was so incredibly focused I didn’t stop to look around and see that life was passing me by and I wasn’t making any memories to show for it. Sure, I felt healthy and I gradually started to see changes in my body, but after 6 months of dedication and still looking similar, I got very down and felt like it was all pointless.
I finished uni and was really happy with what I achieved. But when I looked back to my last half a year there, I realised all I would remember was going to the gym and studying. I had no stories to tell, and this really bothered me.
I started a job in August: 9 to 5:30 with an hour commute either end. This left minimal time for the gym and I had a new found respect for people who worked and gymmed (because it’s so tiring and you have 0 down time) and I would feel so guilty about missing sessions.
It was when I started to relax into my new working life that the changes started to happen. I was eating intuitively rather than prepping meals for the week and counting macros. If I was hungry, I ate. It was that simple. I drank lots of water and I tried to get to the gym 3 times a week but if it didn’t happen, that was okay. I got off the train a couple of stops too early and walked a mile to work and then took the stairs to the sixth floor – just so I fitted in some kind of activity every day. But I realised I wasn’t doing it for my body, I was doing it for my mind. That walk to work helped me clear my head every morning before I stepped into a day of meetings and information. It kept me fresh and gave me some time with my own thoughts, and this walk has become incredibly valuable to me.
I started going out with my friends again and drinking cocktails. If I over indulged one day, the next day I would wake up and just get back to normal. I stopped the mentality of ‘I’ve eaten one bad thing now I may as well make a day of it’. If I had one bad thing, that’s absolutely fine: it would be because I fancied it, not because my will power to avoid it was shaken and I gave in, then would punish myself on the treadmill.
I generally relaxed about life. And not just when it came to fitness but everything. I started to find people easier to talk to, I stopped caring so much about what other people thought of me. And it was so liberating.
I’m not saying that I’ve achieved true body confidence and I could walk down Oxford Street in a bikini no problem – but I’m the happiest I’ve ever been and it’s because I live my life mindfully: eat that brownie that you fancy, drink pornstar martinis with your friends, stay up all night talking to that guy you’re interested in. Just the next day eat normally, drink lots of water and get an early night. Happiness is all about balance.
I still have things I would change and my insecurities, we all do, but I’ve learnt that they don’t define me. I am me, no one else will ever be me and I can’t change who I am so it’s about time I became comfortable with it.
My goals for 2018 are:
1. Read the newspaper every day on the train
2. Go to a country I’ve never been to before
3. Work towards a promotion at work
4. Put more effort into my blog
5. Save money
6. Have the most fun I’ve ever had
7. Be happy
As you can see, no sign of any weight loss goals because happiness doesn’t come from being thinner. It comes for loving who you are from the inside out – I know it sounds soooo cringe but I’ve learnt this year it’s the truest thing and the key to a happy life.
2017, you’ve been a learning curve. Bring on more lessons in 2018!