This is probably the post I most thought about writing, in fact it is the main reason I thought about blogging initially.
Up until November last year, I wont call it a rut, as it was somewhat the same length of time as becoming a mother, but let us just say, that being fit and healthy was not really making an appearance on my To Do list. That list was bursting with motherly responsibilities. Any parent knows that once you become a parent it is all consuming, in all the good ways and in all the difficult ways. Your own self tends to take a back seat while you burrow through the younger years.
My eating habits were bad to say the least. And my goodness it is not that I didn’t have time to eat, I would never be that selfless, but it was more about reaching for an easy option each time. As for the exercise….. it didn’t even register. At the end of each day I was exhausted and once the children were at least in their beds, still fighting, giggling, waking baby, shouting, jumping…but out of sight…I would prepare my couch seat and a tray of goodies. I would create it because I deserved it. This soon turned into every night. A full on movie fest of goodies every single night, following a day of unhealthy easy choices. I wasn’t thinking about what I was putting into my body and over the years the weight crept up. After each baby it became more and more difficult to motivate myself to be healthy. It seemed too big an effort. I didn’t care. I simply did not care. The typical result that is inevitable if you don’t place yourself on that list.
Then came November last year. I cant say what changed in me, but I started to take notice. The boys would have had a good diet, but yet they would see me eat the things I told them they weren’t allowed. That needed to change. I wasn’t happy with my habits and I yearned to learn more about food, labels, nutrition and exercise. There is so much contradicting information out there. I wanted to inform myself.
So I signed up to one of the many, many, many…… many 21 day transformations that we see advertised on Facebook. I wasn’t convinced of the advertised “new bod” that I would get in three weeks time. But my head was in the right place and it was at least a start. So off I went. 21 Days that consisted of an initial 3 day detox…horrendously painful, followed by a strict meal plan given to me. The exercises were all done in my living room and given my fitness level I most definitely resembled a huffing puffing elephant….but it got easier. 21 days later I was a stone lighter. It had worked. I was thrilled. But now what? I couldn’t sustain that food plan longterm. It was fine for a short finite period, but I couldn’t restrict myself like that forever.
December was now a few weeks away. My favourite time of year. It’s as much to do with the food as the presents and company for me. I was really growing concerned as I knew I would very easily put that stone back on. All that mammoth work wasted. That is when I came across Sophie’s Nutrition. They offered a different approach. One that was mostly about getting educated about food and nutrition, and combining that with exercise, support and mindfulness. That was simply it. Therein lay the answer. What they offered was the difference between repeat failed attempts with no lesson learned, and really succeeding to a healthier lifestyle.
In the initial 6 weeks I learnt so much about nutrition. I now understood what my body needed and how much of it and why. I learnt healthy alternatives to my bad habits. I cooked more than I have ever cooked. No meal plan handed to us. We had to do the work ourselves and that is where it paid off. Through the constant support and I mean constant. Sophie and her team are always there, to answer any questions or queries. Offer guidance on the tough days and give you that push when you need reassurance Sophie herself is incredibly motivating as are her mindset sessions. So helpful when you are getting in your own way. Not to mention her first calling is food so her recipes are simply delicious and extremely fool proof.
I am now over 6 months in and the support is still there long after the initial 6 week program finished. It definitely took the first few weeks to get it to click in place and before long you find yourself with a completely different shopping list. Your staples have changed. You are reading labels properly and it has all happened really without I would say a mammoth effort. My head was in the right place and I was committed to learning, so that was my driving force. But once you start to learn you start to realise why on earth did I never question any of this processed food before. My diet, and I use that word in the context of my everyday eating, not the short-term derivative. My diet is mostly an unprocessed one which simply means I know what I am eating. I say mostly as there is nothing restrictive about Sophie’s Nutrition. Once you have gained the knowledge, it is like you have been given the key and suddenly unlocked this whole new world of potential in food itself. No gimmicks, no tricks just simple food without all the extra stuff added. However, I also say mostly, as I still enjoy the extra stuff now and again. Refined sugar doesn’t exist in my daily eating however, if I do feel like something, I am now at a stage where I am comfortable enough to allow myself that slice of pavlova oozing with cream and strawberries or a delicious creamy pasta dish in the local restaurant.
My exercises are HIIT exercises, which means high intensity interval training. Short bursts usually 20 minutes or so of exercises designed to burn fat. These I do at home and still do 3-4 times a week. When I started the 6 week Nutrition program, the playschool midterm break fell smack bam on the third week in. I remember thinking, there is no way I will be able to get these sessions in while all three boys are at home. But I did. I got up and got out of my own way and did them. We may say we don’t have the time, but we do. My boys would often do them with me or some mornings even hand me the mat saying “Exercise time Mum”. I couldn’t have been prouder in those moments, that the example I was n
ow setting was so far from what it was a few months earlier. We are all capable of making changes. It is taking that first step on that first day. Then taking the next on the following day. Keeping it simple and keeping it going.
I am currently over 3 stone lighter than I was last November and have attained a 9% reduction in body fat. I have had to get a new wardrobe, as even my pre-pregnancy clothes were too big so to say I am thrilled with the results would be an understatement. But far beyond and above the weight loss, the biggest and most rewarding change for me is I love and care about my body again. I care about what I put into it. I care about making an effort. I recently shared with some friends that I had bought a pair of swimming togs. The first in 5 years as I had worn my maternity togs all that time whether i was pregnant or not. Clearly there were times between babies that I didn’t quite fill it, but I didn’t care what I looked like. Now this is not a change from not caring what they looked like to someone who has become vain. Its the transition to a happier me who in turn is a happier Mom among my men.
So if anyone out there is considering making changes, put yourself on that list and start ranking yourself a little higher. If you do it yourself, make little changes gradually and if you choose to take up a program, pick your program wisely. Make sure they care about the longterm. Make sure its realistic for your lifestyle and make sure you’re being educated so that you can continue those changes long after your program has been completed. Also surround yourself with supportive people.
Get on your own list. Let you be your To Do!