unfitness update – still unfit?

2019, fitness, mental health

Hello!

I used to write updates quite regularly of how I was doing on my ‘unfitness journey’ as I was calling it (basically just trying to lose weight and get into a good exercise routine).

I was doing Couch to 5k, I was eating well, I was tracking my weight and making good progress, then mental health kicked in, it was summer, it was too hot and then there was the whole palava with moving and starting a masters and I’ve only just really settled down to be able to think about it all again and it’s nearly December, so it’s time for advent calendar’s for breakfast and hot chocolates galore just to survive!

(Obviously I’m joking, although a medium hot chocolate with marshmallows and no cream from Costa is my favourite, I can survive without it)

So where am I at with my diet and fitness? Basically? Back to square one.

Not weight wise – I did put on a bit of weight over the whole ‘let’s just get moved I’ll eat what I can phase’ but not as much as I was this time last year when this whole thing started.

My fitness however is non-existent – I can’t afford a gym membership or dance classes, I don’t have the time or energy to figure out where I can go running around my house and now that I can drive I’m not walking anywhere near as much as I used to.

So what am I doing about it?

Well I’m tracking my weight again for one – although it can be scary how quickly something like the numbers on the scales can negatively effect us, at the moment I’m in a space where it gives me something to monitor my progress with and inspires me to make positive changes.

I’m cutting out snacking on focusing on eating three (mostly two) meals a day – a good lunch and a good dinner (with evening dessert) are what I plan for.

And anything else? That’s a bonus.

In the last two months, I’ve been living in a hotel being told we can’t move into a flat and making Nutella sandwiches with a tea spoon because it was cheaper than buying a meal deal every day.

My mental health still isn’t at it’s greatest and a mantra (if you can call it that) that’s really been helping me is “something is better than nothing” – eating a Nutella sandwich isn’t the best thing to eat but it’s better than getting so worked up about it all that I either eat nothing at all or I binge everything we have in the fridge. Drinking sugar-free juice is better than not drinking water or living off coca cola. Going to uni and work every day and getting 2k-4k steps is better than running myself down to the bone trying to make my bank account afford a gym membership and working out with time I could be spending with my boyfriend playing Pokemon Shield.

It’s all about compromise – something is better than nothing, always.

It’s a bit gross and I always feel really self-conscious about talking about it but something I really struggle with when my mental health is bad are daily things like brushing my teeth and having a shower. I know, it’s awful but there’s a part of my brain that doesn’t think I deserve that self care. But with my new little phrase, I know that brushing my teeth for 30 seconds is better than nothing, putting my body under running water for a few minutes rather than a full hair-wash shower is better than nothing. It’s little compromises and in the end the swings and roundabouts will swing and roundabout like they do and it’ll get easier again.

Last year I was in a really bad place – my weight was effecting my life, I couldn’t walk up stairs without getting really exhausted and I was losing motivation to do anything. Taking control of my diet and having a healthier relationship with food did wonders for me and I’m going to take small steps to get there again.

So at the moment I generally have a breakfast bar on the go in the morning, a sandwich, crisps and a chocolate bar for lunch (because who doesn’t love a school lunch box?) and then a bigger cooked meal in the evening. When my boyfriend is away with work I eat almost exclusively veggie and dinners are a bit more of a treat when he’s around.

Exercise is something I really want to integrate back into my life but I’m not confident exercising outside, I don’t have the space inside my house and I can’t afford a gym membership. But I’ve just started a new retail job and on those days I almost always get my 10,000 steps so it’s not much but it’s a start. And it’s something on my mind for the future, when I’m a bit more settled in the uni/work/life balance.

The posts I’ve written before in this ‘category’, if you want to call it that, have inspired me to get back into it – a setback isn’t the end, slow progress is progress and when the going get’s tough, listen to your body. The one thing I’ve learnt from documenting my fitness is that I’m never going to be the girl that works out every day – I’m never going to have a flat tummy or fit into a size 6 dress, and that’s fine. My body carries me and though I’m not my biggest fan, I have to live in this body so making peace with it is just going to make it easier.

So I’m not working out right now – I’m not doing couch to 5k anymore and having Nutella for lunch most days is definitely not a weight-loss recommendation but I’m doing what I can, and that’s all any of us can do really.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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Couch to 5k update! | unfitness

2019, fitness

Hello!

I thought it was time for a little update on my Couch to 5k progress – if you’ve never heard of Couch to 5k, it’s a (supposedly) 9 week program to get you from no running, to 30 minutes of running, here’s a breakdown of the 9 weeks if you’d like to have a nosy!

I started my journey with Couch to 5k 9 weeks ago, which should mean I’ve finished the program and can comfortably run for 30 minutes right?

NO! NOT AT ALL!

The whole point of the program (to my understanding), is that you take it at your pace – repeat as many runs as you need to until you feel comfortable and ready to move on. Currently, I’m still working on week 6 – my life has been a bit hectic and I’ve missed a couple of runs, so to maintain my ‘no pressure’ approach, I’m not going to push myself over the weekend and I’ll get back to it on Monday.

And that’s okay! Personally, I think the Couch to 5k should have different levels – that splits at week 3, or maybe have different options to split depending how you feel at the end of each week, giving options with longer progressions as well as the one that jumps from 8 minutes of running to 20 minutes of running (wasn’t a fan).

Where I’m at currently is I’m not loving it, I like seeing the progress but it has massively slowed and it’s really demotivating to see that the program makes such giant leaps and I’m being left behind. But I’m trying my best not to focus on any of that and just take it in my own time – the fact that I’ve maintained running (just about) three times a week for nine weeks is a huge step for me! If you’ve been following my unfitness updates for a while you’ll know that normally I get really hyped about something for usually about three weeks and then I fall off the bandwagon and I’m back to square one.

The most important thing for me has been being able to fit it into a routine – the thing with at home workouts is you need equipment and space and you have to follow a video, but with this I just hop on the treadmill, have my phone with the podcast playing and I watch YouTube on my iPad so it’s much simpler for me to get my head around fitting it all in.

So as always – it’s a work in progress. I’m not seeing the progress I want at the moment, I’m having a real mental battle with food and all round I’m feeling pretty tired about the whole thing. But I’m still trying. I feel more like I’m closer to the ‘couch’ end than the ‘5k’ end, but I’m trying and at the end of the day? That’s all we can do.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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I don’t hate running anymore? | unfitness

2019, fitness

Hello!

I know, the title is so shocking that I don’t even need to write a post to follow it up right? But we all know I will.

I feel like every time I go on Instagram I see stories and posts all about travelling, babies and working out – lots of people are documenting their journey with running, I follow a couple of people who are basically fitness instagrammers and there’s been a whole bunch of body positivity on my feed for #mentalhealthawarenessweek which is fab.

But between Carrie Hope Fletcher, Lucie and the bump and Hannah Witton’s surgery to 5k series, I felt inspired and in quite a snap decision I decided I was going to do Couch to 5k too. I may have mentioned it a bit prematurely in my May Goals post (literally the first day I did it) but you know what? I’ve stuck with three runs a week for three weeks and I can see massive progress!

I know this is going to sound so stupid, but it’s incredibly well designed (by the NHS, so of course it is) – three runs is the perfect amount of time to adjust. When I do the first run of each week, by the end of the half an hour I’m normally doing a fast walk more than a run but I push through and by the third and last run of each week I can pretty consistently ‘run’ for the whole time I’m meant to run.

Just as a quick summary – Couch to 5k is an app, I use the NHS designed one but I’ve used other ones before which are usually the exact same program just in a different app. It coaches you and slowly builds it up over 9 weeks to be able to run roughly 5km in roughly half an hour! So in week one, it was a 5 minute warm up walk then alternating between 60 seconds running and 90 seconds walking 8 times and then a 5 minute cool down walk. The week 3 I’ve just finished was a 5 minute walk, 90 second run, 90 second walk, 3 minute run, 3 minute walk, 90 second run then walk, 3 minutes run and a 5 minute cool down walk. Just to summarise!

So when I say ‘run’, I don’t mean a full on sprint, I mean a semi decently consistent 6km/hour jog when I’m meant to run and a somewhat leisurely 4km/hour when I’m meant to walk.

And the reason I know what speeds I’m going out is actually something that I wanted to mention as working really well for me – I’m doing my couch to 5k on a treadmill rather than running outside. I’m fortunate enough that my mum has a treadmill in her garage that I can use rather than having to go to the gym (I do want to start doing that soon though!) but it makes running so much more appealing for these reasons:

  • I don’t have to leave the house, I don’t have to worry about ‘bumping into’ someone I know (I don’t really know anyone in my town anyway but still), I don’t have to worry about finishing my run further away from my house that I really want to. Being inside is a big plus for me.
  • I can watch YouTube which is my favourite thing to do when I’m running because I don’t like listening to music because I run in time rather than at my pace, I don’t listen to podcasts (yet?) and I don’t want to listen to the radio (see music reasons) and bonus – it means I can cover the treadmill screen, which is good because looking at times and stats just gets me too much in my head about it and then I don’t run very well.
  • It sets a pace that I can maintain because I know full well that I would go significantly slower if I didn’t have that consistent pace so it means I’m training myself even more than just couch to 5k.
  • Even if it’s not a pace I can maintain, knowing the treadmill is at 6km/hour means I know that even if I’m fast-walking rather than slow-running, I’m still going at 6km/hour which I wouldn’t be doing if I was running outside. So by the time I do start running outside I’ll be better at pacing myself without having my pace set for me.
  • Did I mention I don’t have to leave my house?

At this point in the plan, I generally run to over 2km – in week 2 I was reaching 2.5km but in week 3 even though the times I’m running for is longer, over the whole run I’m running for less time so I’m not going as far but at the moment I’m just following the program and doing whatever Sarah Millican’s lovely voice tells me to do.

All round – I’m feeling really good about the whole thing, I’m really excited about getting to week 9 and being able to run 5k! I’m already thinking about being able to run further than 5k – to me, it seems natural to progress from 5k to 10k to a half marathon (roughly 20k) and then a marathon (just over 40k!). But let’s not get ahead of ourselves!

I’ve set myself the personal goal of taking part in the ABP Southampton ‘Marathon’ (there’s lots of races but it’s generally referred to as the ‘marathon’) – it’s a fairly big event in Southampton and it was a significant part of my time there so it feels right that if I was to do a race I would start there. But for now, just going to finish my couch to 5k and keep doing what I’m doing.

One day I’ll definitely start running outside but for now, sticking with my couch to 5k program on my mum’s treadmill and loving it!

If you have any questions about starting running or using couch to 5k, leave a comment down below and I’ll answer anything! But I will say, if I can do it, anyone can do it I promise!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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slow progress is progress! | unfitness update

2018, fitness, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

I didn’t intend to write this blog post today at all, in fact I’d written out an entire blog post about relationships inspired by my three year anniversary with my boy on Monday (remember, remember the 5th of November but not for the reason you think!) but then this morning I did a new workout program thing and I felt so good and inspired and motivated that I was super inspired to do a fitness update, so here goes!

As I’ve documented here, there and everywhere I’ve been on somewhat of a health kick with my diet, I’m not ‘dieting’ but I’m making sustainable life changes that I needed to make in order to live a healthier life.

Going hand in hand with this, at the end of October I got in contact with the Principle of my old dance school and offered to help out if they needed anything. So I now work as a volunteer on reception in exchange for free dance classes and with that in mind, I’ve been going to two tap classes and dancing again!

It’s so silly, but I’d put on so much weight that stupid things like running, going up to stairs too fast and jumping were just completely out of my comfort zone because it hurt but I went to tap class and I jumped again. I tap spring toe hopped my way around the studio for 45 minutes and I had the time of my life, I love tap so much and I can’t express how much I enjoyed it.

So now that going to tap class and being a receptionist were part of my routine, I was ready to put some structure back into my life – and I was ready to try working out again.

I’d fallen out of love with the treadmill and the rowing machine, but I remembered I used to love using the Nike Training app and they could build programs based on your equipment availability, fitness level and free time. So whilst I was having my breakfast this morning I set up a new program, fit the workouts to times that suited me and then I did a 30 minute beginners low intensity floor to core workout.

It was hard, I’ll be honest it was quite challenging – it pointed out things I need to mention at the doctors next week (I’ve got lots of back/joint problems, will update if it’s relevant!) but I did it! Half an hour of mostly consistent muscle workout, the only exercises I really didn’t feel comfortable doing were the ones where I had to put body weight pressure on my wrists because apparently my wrists are really weak? Learn something new every day!

But I felt so amazing after I’d done it! I lay on my bed just to get my breath back a bit and I felt on top of the world – I felt like I wanted to look after myself more and I was more motivated to eat well today so I don’t ruin the exercise. It’s little things like I wanted to use a body scrub in the shower and moisturise because I’ve noticed my skin has been a bit dry recently and I actually found the motivation to do something about it.

It was the first time in weeks that I updated the ‘unfitness’ highlight on my Instagram and I actually really enjoyed looking back on the progress I’ve made. Since I started that highlight 14 weeks ago I’ve noticed a significant difference in my physical fitness (even if it’s not ‘good’ it’s way better than it was before), my approach to the whole thing is less ‘I have to do it so I need to get it done’ and now more working with my body and my mind to find something that works for me and that I enjoy long term and I’m seeing results for the first time in years!

I’ve been tracking my weight in my bullet journal since June and between June and September, I was floating around the same weight within 5 or 6 pounds and it was a number I hated. On my October 1st weigh in I noticed significant loss and in the month since then I’ve worked hard, both on diet, exercise and restraint and I’m now getting close to having lost almost a stone. It’s nothing revolutionary, no diet pills or crash dieting, just making healthier life choices and boy I had the weight to lose.

This isn’t the end of my journey (sorry mum, she hates that word!) but I’m so excited to discover a healthier and fitter me – I will have to continue and adapt, learn more about food and nutrition and when the weight loss starts to tail off I will have to focus more on exercise and maybe within a year I’ll have the body I want and I’ll have a positive relationship with exercise and diet, as well as it being sustainable and long term.

My advice (not that anyone asked or qualified to answer) if you feel like you’re stuck or you’re bored – listen to that part of your brain, maybe you need a few weeks off, but you’ll find inspiration in something you enjoy. Going for a walk, going to the gym, doing yoga videos, finding a class – there is a way, you just have to put effort into working with your mind and body to find it.

As always, any tips or suggestions are welcome as I still have a very long way to go and could use all the help I can get!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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unfitness – when the going gets tough, listen to your body

2018, lifestyle

Hello,

I’ve gotten into a habit of blogging about something when it happens and then I become less interested or I find it harder to motivate myself and then in three months the cycle starts again. I’m determined not to let that happen with working out.

I wrote this unfitness post about starting a few steps back a couple of weeks ago and I was really excited, I was doing well at getting out of bed really early (well like 7am, that’s pretty early right?), doing 30 minutes of walking at various speed on the treadmill then having a shower and having a good productive day.

But hi this is bad mental health and it’s here to ruin your motivation to exercise!

Last week I managed one half hour yoga session which didn’t feel like it did a whole lot and one morning where I did ten minutes on the treadmill and ten minutes on the rowing machine. I didn’t even manage the ‘three times a week’ goal I set myself.

This is going to sound really melodramatic but hear me out: I feel like there is a hand around my heart right now and whenever I try to take a deep breath it closes a little bit. It’s an anxiety thing, I get it quite a lot but it makes exercising really hard, because whenever I try to push myself or do anything too strenuous breathing becomes a struggle and exercise is meant to make you a bit breathless but this is another level.

So I’m trying not to let this extended bout of anxiety stop me long term – I managed two sessions last week and it’s Tuesday as I’m writing this and I’ve just done my first session of the week and it was another ten minutes on treadmill/ten minutes on the rowing machine because I just can’t face doing any more.

(EDIT: I managed one more session that week (which was a 6km walk) and this week is looking more promising, follow me on Instagram if you’re interested in more immediate updates!)

But I did some. And at the end of the day I think that’s what matters – a part of my body is trying to tell me that I shouldn’t do the thing that’s good for me but I’m doing it anyway. It’s not a lot but it’s something and anything is better than nothing isn’t it?

I feel like I need to learn more about fitness and what I should be trying to like actually see some results but for now, I think I’m going to carry on doing what I’m doing and maybe one day I’ll be able to afford some Personal Trainer sessions. But trying is better than nothing and not only is it working out which is good for your body but it’s also proving you’re better than your mental health, you’re defying it!

It’s hard, but it’s worth it in the end.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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unfitness – starting a few steps back

2018, lifestyle

Hello!

I’ve blogged on a fair few occasions about ‘my fitness journey’ – posts like ‘I’ve started a new workout regime’, ‘I’m working out’, ‘I need to work out’ and so on and so on. Over the past year or so, having given up dancing after my second year at uni and even then, those dance training sessions were nowhere near as intense as when I was dancing before uni and my fitness levels and the amount of time I’ve spent exercising has gone down considerably over the last three years to basically nothing.

So now that I’m living with my mum for a bit, who has a treadmill in her garage, I’m doing 30 minutes walking on said treadmill and aiming for three times a week (two weeks in, going pretty well). And I’ve made a little highlight on my instagram that I’ve called ‘unfitness’ – I’ve been posting little rambles about my thoughts and feelings about working out when you’re (I’m) a larger lady, because whenever you look for ‘beginners’ workouts online or look for programs to follow and none of them cater for starting from literally nothing.

This whole idea actually came about from my rambles on Instagram – this is what I wrote after my first time on the treadmill:

To be honest, over the last year I’ve put on a lot of weight and not spent the time exercising that I have in the past, so consequently my fitness level is the lowest its ever been

That makes it harder to exercise but giving up just makes it worse – I’ve tried a bunch of different fitness programs and such this year and each one has proven how unfit I am, so it’s taking it back a step and finding what’s right for me

Right now, I’m walking for 30 minutes on a treadmill and in time I’ll be able to up that to a run but I’ve got to give myself that time

So from there, I started my highlight and continued to write about the progression I was making – I posted a couple of screenshots from my FitBit app about my heart rate and boomerangs of my feet on the treadmill (obviously) and my documenting my fitness had really begun!

My second post was a bit more difficult – I’d been thinking a lot whilst I was walking and this is what my second post was about:

Whilst walking this morning, I was thinking about how I got to this point where I’m so unfit that walking is exercise. Having moved home after finishing uni it felt natural to look into going back to dance classes but honestly? I’m embarrassed to go because I don’t think I could do it anymore.

It’s all a work in progress and it’s natural while I didn’t have the same dancing opportunities at uni and I was focusing on my degree that I’m not going to be in the same shape as I was when I was 18, but it’s still kind of disheartening.

And that’s not to say that what I’m doing right now isn’t right for me – is it right for me in what my body needs right now, I just miss dancing and feeling like an elephant that everyone’s laughing at

Got a little bit more personal! But I wasn’t going to let those negative thoughts stop me completely – a couple of days later I was back on the treadmill (7am seems to be the time for me to exercise, it works!) and these were my thoughts.

I’d posted a couple of screenshots regarding my heart rate and asked a couple of questions (to anyone who was willing to read all of my ramblings) about whether walking and cardio was enough to help my lose weight and then I wrote:

I’m documenting this partially for my benefit but partially because I know that at this point I wouldn’t feel comfortable going back to the gym for fear of judgement for not being fit enough and I don’t think it’s fair that people at different stages of their fitness journeys are being judged for it! If someone runs for an hour then does weight training or if someone walks on a treadmill for half an hour their training is valid and I feel like we don’t see enough of the latter! I don’t need to hide myself away because I’m a Size 18+ and my heart isn’t as good as other peoples.

I hope that’s okay.

And now, I don’t know how much I actually have to add! I have been on the treadmill since writing that last update and I don’t post anything because it was a busy day and I didn’t have the same free time to write what I was feeling up – this weekend I’m going to do my last of three sessions for the week and next week I’m going to step it up a bit to keep training and maintain that progress.

My hope is that one day I will be able to run (maybe I’ll sign up for a 5k or something?), maybe I’ll be toned and I’ll know what the weight machines at the gym will do and I hope to be supporting those who’s journey isn’t starting at the point that is ‘socially acceptable’! ‘Bikini body diets’ and ’30 day challenges’ just aren’t suited for everyone and I feel like every fitness journey deserves to be talked about and shared!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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