Weight gain is often a taboo subject - you can't really go up to someone and ask them how they're feeling about the fact that they've put on a few pounds. But, I want to talk about my own experience over the last few months, and how I've kept myself from falling into a pit of self hatred and despair, as I've done when I've gained a bit of weight in the past.
So, here's what happened really. After I graduated I worked in a pub over summer and joined a gym. Although I was on my feet for at least seven hours five days a week and going to the gym at least once a week I was also eating pub food every day, aka a recipe for disaster. I usually like to cook my own meals, and had been going dairy free, so this obviously had a fairly large impact upon my body (get the pun?).
In October however I got a new job, one behind a desk. At the same time my gym membership ran out and I didn't renew it. I also managed to convince myself that my five minute bike ride to and from work basically was the same as the amount of exercise I was doing at the pub, so I could afford to eat what I wanted (note to self, this is a lie!). Snacking is a major issue at work when I'm sat in front of a computer all day, and there's a vending machine upstairs, and things may have gotten a little out of hand - two chocolate bars every day is not a thing I should be partaking in.
Despite actually getting a new gym membership I was unable to use it for five weeks as our car broke down and we couldn't physically get to the gym. This was incredibly frustrating and I may or may not have used it as an excuse not to bother even exercising at home.
So where did it all come to a head? Well, my clothes stopped fitting. If you've ever tried on a dress that fit a few weeks before and the zip will no longer go all the way up, you probably know the feeling of absolute self-loathing that I did as I stood in tears glaring at the mirror. What's even worse is when clothes that you used to have for your "fat days" when you were feeling super bloated and hadn't been eating right for a couple of weeks stop fitting. I'm currently down to one pair of jeans and zero dresses, and nothing is okay about that. Things got truly awful when I was late to work because I bent down in my work trousers and they just completely split open and I had to go back to the house and get changed. Believe me, explaining to your manager that you were late because of your weight gain is not exactly confidence boosting.
However, I have managed not to let it get me down completely, and here's why:
- I've remembered that perhaps over eating isn't the worst habit I could have fallen into considering how hard a year I've had. Despite the weight gain getting me down I know that it's temporary, and I want to lose it in a healthy rather than drastic way as I've done in the past.
- Buy new clothes. Don't pine after the old ones too much! In the end, trying to squeeze into jeans that simply don't do up at the top, or tops that show off all your lumps and bumps is going to make you unhappy everyday. On the other hand, having a few new pretty clothes is going to boost your confidence when it's at its lowest.
- I've made sure that I don't completely forget to eat healthy foods. I believe that what you eat has a massive effect on your mental state, which is partly why we all find it so hard to pick ourselves out of the weight gain slump. I've started making sure that I have hot honey and lemon water to start my day off right in the mornings, and remember to eat plenty of fruit and at least two vegetables per day. I've only started doing this in the past couple of weeks and the effects on how I felt about myself were astonishing.
- Make an action plan. As soon as I head back up to my house in Leamington after the Christmas period I'm going to start going to the gym again as the car is (finally) fixed, wahoo! Me and my boyfriend are lucky enough to be heading skiing at the beginning of January so I'll be getting a rapid introduction to the notion of exercising every day (Lord, help me!). I'm hoping that after this I'm going to head to the gym twice a week and do a daily yoga session at home. Last year I did Yoga with Adriene's 30 days of yoga twice and the flexibility gains I made were amazing! I'm determined to nail crow by the end of this year, as well as being able to hold a non wobbly plank for a decent amount of time. Dinner, breakfast and lunch are going to be a feature of my life every day, and will enhance my strength and ability to perform longer and better workouts. I'm going to be moving away from cardio and towards weights and full body exercises in the gym
I hope you find this helpful! Do you have any 2016 fitness goals?