What a difference a day makes. Truly. As I sit here this morning at the start of a new week I feel so much better than I did on Saturday. Unlike the Boomtown Rats (for those of us old enough to remember), I really do like Mondays. I like that there is not just a new day stretched out ahead of me, but also a new week. Full of possibilities and opportunities to make good choices for myself, to make positive steps towards my goals.
And today I get to make thousands of steps towards one of my goals, I’m doing a 10k this eve! Don’t be too shocked – I’m not running it! It’s actually the Leeds Legal Walk, to raise money for the PSU, a charity I volunteer with helping litigants in person in court.
I’m excited to be doing it, it feels like an important stage in my journey, not only as a marker to show how much my fitness has improved but also it marks being half way through the first stage of training to be a lawyer, 6 months left until my heart surgery, a quarter of the way to my weight loss target. I’m so grateful to my personal trainer, Jennie, who is walking it with me and has signed up 5 others in the Set U Free crew to do it too. I’m really looking forward to meeting them and feel incredibly blessed to have such amazing support in my life.
So what have I learned from the last week?
1. I am stronger than the fat inside my head.
Despite feeling so anxious on Saturday, too fat to leave my house, I did eventually go out. I got the bus into uni and did 3 hours of revision. I may have felt sick while I was on the bus. I may have felt like everyone was staring at me as I walked through the city centre. I may have felt completely paranoid. But with every step I took I could feel my strength on the inside growing and my body on the outside shrinking.
2. Good nutrition and exercise really do positively affect mental health.
I know that this is not new news. But because of last week I can honestly say that I now 100% know for a fact that it is true. Well for me at least. Last week I panicked when people started noticing I have lost weight, and old, unhelpful thought patterns started to rear their ugly heads. This led to me skipping meals, and picking on sugary, fatty stuff, which meant I had less energy so less active, and so it went on. The incredible thing is that I couldn’t concentrate as much either. I not only felt lethargic physically, but I also felt sluggish mentally. And I very quickly started to go to a dark place. But as soon as I have started eating proper meals again, including good vegetarian proteins, complex carbs and fresh veg and fruit, I feel loads better emotionally, mentally and physically.
3. I need to reorder my time to prioritise my health and fitness.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that last week I didn’t plan my meals, so struggled to eat proper meals. I also didn’t plan my exercise either. My excuse? Too busy with exam revision and work. Real reason? I hadn’t cared about myself enough to prioritise it. I mean, I found time to watch tv, but surely I am more important than the tv?
The truth is that I can’t expect my health and fitness to improve by itself, it will take time and effort, but it will be worth it. And so I have to choose to love myself enough to prioritise it even when I don’t actually feel that love for myself. Or I never will.
This morning I have planned meals and workout sessions for the week, done an online grocery shop, and booked a very indulgent non-food treat for Friday, a hair makeover. Eek.
4. I need more time with friends.
I’ve realised that I’ve been hiding away a bit recently, pulled myself back from my social life, and not going to church as much. I’ve been worried that I won’t be good company, and I don’t want to burden people with my feelings if they ask me how I am. It’s sort of crept up on me.
So yesterday, I went to church. I didn’t really feel like going, because I still felt fragile, but I forced myself. I’m really glad I did. I walked the 2 miles there (and back), which instantly made me feel better physically and mentally, and I caught up with some wonderful people. I thoroughly enjoyed the time of sung worship and the teaching. My friend (who had read my last blog) prayed for freedom for me. I chatted to some new people. Then afterwards I went with a couple of others to a friend’s house for lunch and ended up hanging out there until 7pm. We had lots of laughs together. I didn’t get any exam revision done yesterday but the day really did do me the world of good. So watch out friends – I’m coming back out of hiding!
Love L x