Friday, 18 August 2017

From Goal to Habits: My Physical Health

A well built physique reflects your hard work; money cannot buy it, nor can you inherit it; you cannot steal it, nor can you borrow it; you cannot hold onto it without constant work. It shows dedication; it shows discipline; it shows self-respect; it shows dignity. It shows patience, work ethic and passion. 

Physical health can often seem obvious. Eat less crap, move more. But if it was that easy, we'd all be doing it. 

The reality is that we live in a convenient world. Almost everything can be packaged and bought; you can pay someone to do almost any chore or any task. We are also time poor, trying to fit everything into an already crammed schedule. 

There simply isn't time for everything, and often exercise and a good diet fall by the wayside because of everything else that gets in the way. 

Eating is easy; not eating is not. Sitting on the sofa is easy; going to the gym is not. 

If given an option, I'd like to sit on the sofa and eat cake. 

The problem? The problem is that I already know how good my body is designed to feel. Joining The Circuit Factory in Dubai gave me a body that was strong, and gave me a diet which was designed to fuel that body. 

You can see how I was getting on at The Circuit Factory here. That progress completely ground to a halt when we moved back to the UK and then I got pregnant and completely piled on the pounds. 

I want to feel that good again. I want to feel healthy, I want to feel the difference when I eat food that isn't great for me, I want to crave fruit and vegetables again. 

This is about more than just dress sizes, I want to make the most of feeling good. I want to feel good so I can do more with my children, do more with my husband. 

So here are the habits I would like to form to improve my physical health: 

Reduce Alcohol to 1 Day per Week:

My alcohol consumption crept up during our return to the UK due to the stress of constantly moving from temporary accommodation to temporary accommodation and not having the space to fit in exercise. 

So while we have massively cut down the amount we were drinking, now that I'm not pregnant anymore, the alcohol has slowly crept back in again. 

It is so easy to have a glass of wine here, a gin and tonic there. But the reality is that I can feel the difference after even one glass of wine. It affects my sleep and I get REALLY grouchy when I don't sleep properly. 

So I'm going to work on reducing this down to once a week. I'm going to have to re-learn that meeting up with friends doesn't have to mean opening a bottle of pro secco. 

Reduce the Amount of Alcohol I am Consuming: 

This feels like a really important aspect of the reduction in the alcohol I am drinking. There is no point having one day a week to drink and then binge drinking! 

So I am going to restrict the amount I drink to 1/2 a bottle of wine or two gin and tonic (or similar), once per week. 

This feels like a sensible amount, where I can be social, but not feel like crap the next day. 

5 Portions of Fruit and Vegetables a Day:

I'm sure a lot of you are saying "Well, DUH". 

We all know that this is the recommendation (although I think it's been increased recently) made by a lot of people. 

The short version, fruit and vegetables are good,  eat lots of them. 

I don't eat enough and I definitely don't think I hit 5 portions a day. I need to be more conscious of the food I am eating and work out how to sneak in those portions during the day. 

I'm pretty good in the sense that I'll eat almost any fruit and vegetables, so it's not that I'm being picky, I'm just not reaching for the fruit bowl at the moment, chocolate is a more convenient option most of the time. 

Mister L is amazing with fruit and will eat grapes like they are going out of fashion. Miss S isn't as good and has gone off a lot of fruit lately. I need to be setting an example for them, so that they reach for the fruit first and the chocolate second. 

No sugar until midday:

I often reach for the chocolate immediately after breakfast. It's become a really bad habit and it's one I need to break. First of all we need to have less chocolate in the house, and then I need to really work hard on not going out to buy some, given we live really close to the shops! 

Miss S looks to be following in my footsteps and becoming a sugar fiend. I have also been allowing treats far too often, so that it's becoming an almost daily habit. 

That is really not something I want to encourage long term, as it's going to develop into a life long habit for all of my kids, if I'm not careful. 

I don't drink any fizzy drinks like lemonade or cola. They can be in the house and I would never think to drink them. The reason that I don't drink them, we never had them in the house when we were growing up. My mum just didn't buy them. 

Even though I have the sweetest tooth on the planet, I never reach for a sugary drink. So I want there to always be good food at hand in our house, and less of the sugary stuff. 

Hopefully that will encourage all of us to develop good, long term, eating habits. 

Avoid Gluten:

Gluten is something that I have never particularly gotten on well with. I find when I'm eating gluten it increases my cravings for sweets and carbs by 1000%. 

It also causes an upset stomach and flares my eczema. 

The problem is that gluten is so convenient. Toast for breakfast, sandwich for lunch. These things are easy to pick up at any shop when you are in a rush and are easy to pack to take with you. 

So it's going to take more preparation and more foresight to help me bring along food that is gluten free. 

Saying that, we have recently discovered the M&S balanced for you lunches which are often rice based rather than pasta based, which has been a lifesaver for picnics. They are totally delicious too! 

Go to Crossfit 3x per Week (and no more):

I joined Crossfit Leamington about 12 weeks ago, and it has been exactly what I was looking for. The workouts are HARD and the team spirit is infectious. 

I'm not very self-motivated and I really need a lot of encouragement and support to take up, and continue with an exercise programme. 

Crossfit has given me that support and even though my diet is pretty appalling, my body is already changing shape. 

However, I began to get a little obsessed and tried to get to Crossfit 4-5 times a week. That is simply too much for me to factor into our lives at the moment, and it was causing unnecessary stress because it left so little time for all the other things that need to be taken care of. 

So I'm going to do three sessions per week, and no more. That should enable me to increase my fitness while having enough time to keep the entire family on a even keel. 

So those are my physical fitness goals. It's really interesting how they are almost all food based goals. It's easy to see from here where my weaknesses are! 

I'm going to try to update on my progress monthly, to see how I am getting on, and to reinforce my goals in my own mind. 

See you in September for the first monthly review!