October Goals

2020, goals

Hello!

Another month, another fresh start, another new set of goals!

September was potentially the least productive month I’ve ever had in terms of my goals – I achieved maybe 1 of 5 and even then that was half of one and half of another but I’m not going to dwell on it; I’m going to use what went wrong to learn how to be better this month and adjust my goals accordingly!

Last month was incredibly busy and this month I actually have nothing planned, which is probably for the best because my dissertation is due in less than four weeks now (eek!) so I need to figure myself out and finally finish this masters (though I’m reluctant to call it that because I’ve definitely not learnt anything to a masters level).

So this is what I’m going to focus on this month:

  • hand in my dissertation project – the deadline is October 29th and I’m not taking any more extensions, I’m 100% so done with this course and I just need it to be over. Next month I finally won’t be a student any more!
  • exercise twice a week – with the state of my mental health, exercising has been really hard to motivate myself to do so I’m hoping if I can just manage twice a week whether it’s running, doing a home workout on one of the many apps I have, a yoga video or even a dance video on YouTube, just twice a week feels achievable (I hope?).
  • practice self care and get back to a routine – I really haven’t been very good at looking after myself recently; my sleep schedule has gone out the window, my skin is a mess, I haven’t read a book in a month, my motivation is low and my productivity is gone. For the sake of my mental wellness and actually getting my dissertation done, I need to make the time to look after myself and get things done. I’m making more of an effort with skincare and my routines as well as taking more notice of how I make my to do lists and scheduling my time to tackle the feelings of being overwhelmed that I’m struggling with! I think that’s a pretty good place to start.
  • start and finish my new cross stitch project – as well as all kinds of routine, I’ve not made much time for crafting recently which is so sad because it has such a positive impact on my mental health. I have a specific project in mind that I want to do this month so setting that specific goal might help me actually achieve it!
  • finish planning the redraft of my book – November’s NaNoWriMo is going to roll around faster than I expect I’m sure! I’ve got about 11 chapters left to plan so I’m feeling pretty good about having my plan ready to finish the draft of this book by the end of the year!

And my additional monthly goals for the year of date night and read a book are still standing! September was so bad that I didn’t even manage to finish reading one book so I’m hoping to finish what I’m reading and find something I’m really excited about to kick start the habit again!

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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my new heaviest | unfitness update

2020, fitness, mental health

Hello!

I’ve written more about my experiences with weight loss and fitness in the last couple of months than in the last year or so and I’m trying to find the right balance, but this one is more about body positivity and body image if that floats your boat more than rambling about running!

I weigh myself once a week – with past issues with eating and body dysmorphia at school, I often have to stop myself from wanting to weigh myself every morning. But I feel like if I don’t weigh myself regularly then I lose a sense of control and knowing whether what I’m doing for the sake of my body is working or not.

But recently I’ve been watching the number on the scales go up every single week – I don’t want to talk about specific numbers because numbers are so personal to the individual and there are so many other factors that my ‘heaviest’ weight might be a healthy weight for someone else and someone else’s heaviest weight might be my weight goal so mentioning numbers doesn’t help anyone.

So at the beginning of the year, let’s call my weight X – my goal was to lose a stone to be at Y weight and for the first couple of months it went quite well, I nearly hit a big goal I’d been aiming for, I was making good progress and I felt okay. Then lockdown happened and the numbers started going the other way – I got back up to the weight I was at the beginning of the year, then it kept going, and I hit the next ‘stone’ marker and it just kept going. Then all of a sudden I was back at my heaviest weight that I was at in the beginning of 2018 when I was finishing my undergraduate degree.

Hitting that specific weight – let’s call it Z – didn’t make my feel as bad as I thought I would because I’d already been going in the wrong direction and been through disappointment, frustration, comfort eating, rationalising that I’m just trying to survive a pandemic, trying to figure out if lockdown should have been my opportunity to really focus on healthier life choices rather than go the other way. By the time I reached Z I had already been through all of these emotions and I had been mentally preparing for it.

In the month I started couch to 5k, I gained more weight than over the other six months of the year combined. But I know I didn’t eat well and there’s no amount of exercise that can compensate for that.

What I always used to say when I was in the height of my weight loss in 2019 was ‘everything in moderation’ – I’m such a fussy eater that eating healthily is really difficult, but smaller portions, eating food you like even if it’s bad but in controlled portions, making an effort to eat more fruits and vegetables and stop snacking on sweet treats in the afternoon (thought a 4pm ice cream in a heat wave is compulsory!). Moderation is key – doing a moderate amount of exercise and not becoming obsessive, making sure to have sensible portion sizes and not feeling like you can never have chocolate again.

Putting on weight isn’t a failure – your body changes all the time, no one ‘diet’ or regime is going to work for your entire life. Things change, tastes change, fitness changes.

If I want to hit my goal of ‘Y’ weight by the end of the year then I now have to lose much more weight than when I was at my starting weight of ‘X’, but I’m not bothered either way. I’m still running three times a week, I’ve been working on my home workout once a week, now that my boyfriend is back at work I have a bit more control over how frequently we eat vegetables, I’m working on my sleep schedule and looking after my mental health as much as my physical health.

Hitting a new highest weight could have been a new low, but I know why it happened. I know I went on holiday and didn’t eat healthily and lockdown with my boyfriend being home meant compromising on healthy foods. It’ll probably take time before the numbers on the scales start going the other way, but results are not linear – my progress in consistently exercising and looking after myself is more valuable than the number on the scales.

Remembering that is the tough bit though.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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just 10 seconds at a time

2020, fitness, mental health

Hello!

A lot of what’s taking up my brain space at the moment is actually fitness (I never thought I’d be saying that!) – with starting the Couch to 5k running program in July and aiming for one at home workout a week alongside running in August, I spend more time psyching myself up to do exercise, planning when I’m going to fit it in and mentally preparing myself for the physical challenge than I really need to, in all honesty.

I’m finding Couch to 5k really hard – it took me two weeks to make it through week 1 and I’m now finishing my fourth week of week 2 and I really don’t know if I’m ready for week 3, but with both running and my at home workouts I’ve got two phrases that are really helping me through.

The first time I managed the full week 2 run, I thought it was a fluke – somehow I’d made it through 6 repetitions of 90 seconds running and 2 minutes walking and it almost didn’t feel real. But next time I went for a run, I pushed through each run because I knew I could do it because I’d done it before. Even when I ended up falling through each step more than running it, I didn’t start walking until the lovely Sarah Millican’s voice told me I could (though, sorry Sarah, there’s no such thing as a ‘brisk pace’ when I’m wondering if my shins are going to snap!).

Simply knowing that I’d done it once before was enough to motivate me to do it again.

And the other thing that helps when I’m specifically doing a plank in my home workout, is just 10 seconds. Just 10 more seconds then I can stop. But when I’ve done that 10 seconds I have the option to stop or just do another 10 seconds. At this point I’m only aiming for 30 seconds at a time, but breaking it down into 10 second chunks is surprisingly helpful.

Also doing maths is a helpful way to distract my brain from the throbbing pain in my shoulders, lower back, ankles and abs – 10 seconds, just the same thing twice more, 15 seconds half way through, 20 seconds just need to do 50% of what I’ve already done again, 25 seconds means 5 seconds to go and by that point it’s done.

How often does it actually work? This morning I managed one 30s plank and then two 20s ones so all round, not bad for my second week of ‘at home’ workouts!

But it doesn’t just apply to fitness – we’re living through something completely unprecedented and there was never going to be a way to mentally prepare for a pandemic that no one was ready for. Maybe in ‘real life’ 10 seconds isn’t a huge amount of time, but if you’re in a moment of crisis, just making it through the next 10 seconds can be enough of a reminder that you can do this, you’re in control and you can take things at your own pace.

Whether it’s one day at a time, one hour at a time or a minute at a time, focusing on the here and now can make all the difference when the future feels so scary and uncertain. There’s so many things we can’t be sure of right now from when the heck the graduate job market will recover to when we can have a BBQ with our friends again, let alone the economy or housing market or other things that feel too grown up to me.

Things are weird – when lockdown started all those months ago, everyone said four weeks was such a long time and now it’s been five months. No one knows what ‘putting the world back together again’ will look like but worrying about how the future will look when there is no answer is just going to make handling the present more difficult – one day, one moment, one step.

We can do this.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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backwards progress | unfitness update

2020, fitness, mental health

Hello!

It’s been a while since I wrote one of these ‘unfitness’ posts – I wrote a couple at the beginning of quarantine and I’ve talked about why fitness hasn’t been a priority in the last year or so, but I thought now would be a good time to do a little update, as well as looking back on the progress I’ve made.

I have a highlight on my instagram (also called ‘unfitness’) where I’ve been documenting my ‘journey’ with exercise (though I don’t think it really deserves to be called that). It started with lots of boomerangs of my trainers on the treadmill and screenshots from my FitBit app with long rambles about how my mental health is all over the place and it’s hard to find examples of fitness that work for someone of my size and fitness level (which is a solid zero).

Then I started Couch to 5k – I ran consistently three times a week for maybe three months and I was so proud of the progress I made and my commitment to doing something for me. I saw results, I lost weight, I felt better about myself… but then the weather got really hot and I couldn’t cope. Then life stuff happened and I didn’t have access to a treadmill anymore and I was gaining weight and I was disappointed in myself and I kept putting it off.

Now 17 weeks into lockdown (not that I’m counting…) and I’ve put on enough weight that I’m nearly back at my heaviest weight from two years ago and I’m trying really hard not to beat myself up about it but it’s really disappointing.

There are so many external factors – a literal pandemic, living in a small one bedroom house where even pottering all day every day doesn’t get that many steps in (I wanted to hit my step goal once and did maybe 200 laps of the living room… about 15 steps a lap!), feeling sad and comfort eating then feeling worse about comfort eating and feeling like I deserve a treat… And then the toll that takes on my mental health.

So I wanted to start reintroducing exercise in a way that didn’t feel forced or high pressure – the pandemic lockdown is taking a harder toll on my mental health the longer it goes on for so I need to gently find long term sustainable things that can help. In June, I set myself the goal of doing 5000 steps per day – I only managed this for about half the days of the month, but it made me more aware of what 5000 steps looked like and the efforts I had to make to achieve it.

Although it wasn’t particularly successful, I decided that I wanted to start Couch to 5k again in July – my boyfriend was interested in starting it too and together we would brave running in the outside world (something I’d never done before). We’re now two weeks in – I’ve successfully committed to six runs in that time, although I’ve repeated Week 1 of the program twice (I meant it when I said my fitness level was zero) I’m doing it and I’m feeling it get easier and I’m making it part of my routine.

Do I have high hopes that this will become a regular habit and I’ll get to a point where I actually enjoy running? No – I know that in the past any exercise venture I’ve been on has ended after a few weeks of seeing no weight loss and feeling too mentally drained to put the effort in. But I can honestly say at this point, I’m kind of enjoying it – getting outside and getting my steps in and feeling my heart rate go up that high and then getting home and lying on my bed for twenty minutes before I can feel my toes enough to get in the shower. Doing something that pushes me and hurts my body a little bit but I know is going to be good in the long run feels good.

Mentally feels good I should say, physically it feels awful.

So the next step is working on my diet to go with the exercise – I’m never going to be someone who eats a salad because they like it or swaps to whole wheat pasta and brown rice (carbs are important to me). But I can cut down on snacks, eat more vegetables (I do love vegetables), portion my evening desserts so I don’t eat an entire pack of Haribo.

Even changes like going back to wearing make-up every day and having an evening skincare routine and maybe meditating again aren’t necessarily directly related to fitness, but they’re all parts of mental wellness that give me structure and routine and might give me more of a chance of 1) actually losing weight and 2) maintaining an exercise regime.

In the two years I’ve been documenting my ‘unfitness’, I found a pretty good routine where I lost over a stone in a couple of months and then lost nearly another stone over the next six months or so. I gained a little bit back but maintained up until the beginning of lockdown and then it all went downhill again. Although I’m not far off being back where I began two years ago, I’m hoping that knowing what I’ve learnt over those two years will make moving forward and seeing progress easier.

Fitness, weight and body image are such difficult topics to write about as they’re so personal to every individual – no one experiences anything in the same way, there are so many factors that make things different for everyone. But the important thing to remember is whatever your goals are, whatever you want to achieve whether it’s losing weight, getting stronger or just having some time in the day to do something for you – it’s all okay.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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June Goals 2020

2020, goals, student

Hello!

On one hand, it feels like we’ve been in quarantine forever and it’s never going to end, but on the other hand how has another month flown by??

May was an incredibly mixed month for me – some days I felt great; I went on walks, I was productive, I made the most of my new creative hobbies. And some days I felt lower than I’ve ever felt before and my monthly goals were the last thing on my mind, but the internet doesn’t need the details of that.

My May goals were mixed – some I hadn’t really thought through and some I achieved in the first few days, so I’m trying to learn from that with my June goals.


1. Do Hannah Witton’s #DearJune instagram photography challenge – I’ve been re-evaluating my relationship with Instagram, trying to be less structured and ‘talking to an audience’ like I’m pretending to be an influencer, but I do love a good challenge. Taking pictures to fit all the prompts when realistically I’ll probably be spending another month in my own home might be difficult but I’m really looking forward to it!

2. Make a video game – for my dissertation project for my masters, one of the artefact’s I’m producing is a video game. However, the unit I took where I was meant to learn how to make a video game last semester was pants so I’m going to be teaching myself – I want to follow a tutorial from start to finish and make a game by the end of the month, using those skills going forward to make my own game for my project.

3. Do 5000 steps a day! – as I’m writing this, it’s nearly 6pm and my FitBit tells me I’ve done 696 steps today. I can pretend to justify it by saying I’ve been working at my computer, I live in a very small house and I’m not that lazy I promise but if I’d been for a walk down to the end of the street and back I’d probably have got a couple of thousand steps so I really want to do this in June! I’m working up to starting the Couch to 5k program again but I definitely need to work on my baseline fitness first…

4. No spending – in lockdown, I have been spending significantly less than I did in ‘real life’. But I have also placed a hefty Amazon order roughly once a month and considering I have no income and my last instalment of student loan will run out at some point and I still have rent to pay, I think trying to resist Amazon purchases is probably for the best!

5. Start planning my novel again – I wrote the first draft of my novel nearly 8 years ago when I was just 16 and pretty much every year since I’ve said I’m going to work on a second draft but this year I am determined! I’m using the idea I created oh so long ago as the baseline for the game I’m making for my dissertation so I’m hoping that it will be two fold – getting back into planning the novel again will inspire me to work on my diss project and working on my diss project might inspire me to carry on working on the novel.


I’ve really tried to make these goals more achievable than last months goals. In part, it’s all about my mindset and how much I’m willing to put into achieving these goals but I need to seriously evaluate how useful these goals are to me before I set myself them. This month, I think these goals will all contribute to my growth in ‘the big picture’.

I hope you and your loved ones are happy and healthy! If you’re setting yourself goals in this strange time, remember to be gentle with yourself and allow yourself to take things slow sometimes. This isn’t ‘normal’ life at the moment and it’s okay to give yourself that space.

A good quote to come back to is ‘you’re not working from home, you’re at home, trying to work, in a global health crisis’!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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working out (or not working out?) in quarantine | unfitness update

2020, fitness, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

Working out at home has never been easier – with all the fitness influencers under the sun doing live workouts on Instagram while gyms and classes and everything is shut, so many apps are doing free trials and everywhere it seems people are posting timelapses of their at-home-yoga routine in their ginormous gardens.

Overall, the pressure to exercise and ‘make the most’ of all these resources and time is very intimidating. Especially if you don’t have a ginormous garden or a yoga mat, let alone motivation, energy and any confidence to post it online for other people to scrutinise and /or feel pressured by.

But there are ways to make exercise feel less intimidating at this time so I think I’d note a few of my ideas to how I’m actually finding the headspace (and the physical space in my little house) to exercise.

Firstly, you don’t have to exercise if you don’t want to – if you’re happy with your health and fitness and have no desire to workout at all, don’t do it. Put your energy into something you’re passionate about! Otherwise you’re just wasting your own time.

Once you have then decided whether you actually want to workout or not, I’d recommend with starting with the goal of exercising just once a week – I feel like everywhere I look someone’s saying 2-3 times a week, 3-4 times a week, every weekday, every day and it all just feels like so much? If you start with once a week and hate it you can stop, if you really enjoy it you can build it up from there. Start gently and do it more regularly if you get into it, try not to put any pressure on yourself.

Personally, I’m someone who works so much better with guidance, so if you can find a live class or a YouTube video, it can feel a lot less intimidating that a list of exercise and number of reps (and it can kind of feel like there’s someone doing it with you?). I started with ‘PE with Joe’ on the Body Coach channel – yes it’s a 9am workout designed for children to still be able to do PE but wow it’s actually a pretty intense hiit workout. The ‘live’ bit makes you feel like you’re being cheered on but the ‘being in your own living room’ bit makes me feel a little bit sneaky when I adapt the exercises for my dodgy joints and bad stamina.

I also use a variety of apps depending on what mood I’m in – some of them are subscription apps but have limited programs available for free and sometimes I just search for things on YouTube but there’s loads of PT style workouts available.

If full on ‘working out’ feels a bit intimidating, or you’re wanting to get fitter but don’t know where to start (or everything feels a bit advanced), going for walks is exercise enough! I moved to an area that has considerably more hills than my hometown and it’s only now that I’m getting to explore it and realising how unfit I am.

I got tagged in this ‘run 5k, donate £5, tag 5 people’ thing on Instagram (thanks Nick) and I went for a 5k walk with my boyfriend. The uphill was hard, we managed to jog for about 2 minutes I reckon, but it was a start. I want to start using couch to 5k again and now we’ve done some exploring I’ve found the place (that’s not quite as hilly!) to do it. It’s all about little steps building up to bigger things!

And lastly, I want to reiterate that if working out feels like a lot of pressure and stress right now, your mental health is more important and making time to centre yourself using apps like headspace is more important than anything else. I don’t want to become the kind of person who preaches about meditating, but taking 10 minutes in the morning to focus on your breath can have a great impact for the rest of the day.

These times are completely unprecedented and the way we all handle isolation, social distancing and lockdown is so personal to each of us. The most important thing is to try and listen to your body and keep yourself happy and healthy.

All my love in these strange, pandemic times!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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unfitness – what’s going wrong?

2020, fitness, mental health

Hello!

I’ve talked about my personal health and fitness journey for years now – I used to do a ‘Monday update’ post where I essentially made excuses for why I didn’t eat well or exercise and I don’t know why I thought posting this to the internet once a week was a good idea but it happened.

You may be thinking “Surely that’s what this post is doing right now?” but I like to think that the way I write about health/fitness/anything is a bit more generic and less personal, whilst anchoring it in my own ‘journey’. I don’t need to justify myself, but there it is.

So asking myself ‘what’s going wrong’ is a bit like saying ‘I’ve got a gym membership (that I haven’t used), why aren’t I getting fitter?’ – it all comes down to personal discipline, finding what works for you and making time for it. However, in a world of masters degrees, maintaining a house, keeping mental health in check and maybe even having a social life, it’s difficult to find ‘time’ for fitness.

And the reason I say ‘time’ is that as someone who prides herself in being incredibly organised and running to a pretty successful schedule, there’s always time – the motivation is always the tough bit.

I’ve been using the Nike Training app for a long time – it can schedule programmes based on what goals you want to achieve, there are lots of different workouts based on what level you are and what equipment you have and a lot of it is accessible for free which is fantastic. But, and I’m really trying not to think of this as making excuses, I did have minor dental surgery at the beginning of the month and I can honestly say that having an infected wisdom tooth is the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life, so ‘pushing past’ that to workout was not something I was prepared to do.

I quite often talk about ‘mental energy’ (which sounds much more mystical and exciting than it is now that I write it down) – usually my phrase is ‘I don’t have the mental energy for that’. What this means is I usually have the time, but I don’t have the mental headspace to think about or do the thing (in this case, exercise) on top of everything else I’ve already got going on in my head. We all have our own energies, some people can make that energy go further but particularly when mental health comes into the mix, that energy source is severely depleted so you have to prioritise where that energy is going to go.

So all of this sounds like one long excuse and to be honest, it kind of is. But I’d like to think it’s putting into words what a lot of people feel.

Whilst looking back and reflecting is incredibly useful, the important bit is to use that to make changes moving forward. What am I going to do now?

Realistically, I’m not going to change much right now – my priorities are my masters and looking after myself when my head feels like it’s stuffed with cotton wool. I’d like to start doing more steps in the day because I’ve been wearing my fitbit everyday for several years and my lifestyle at the moment is more sedentary than ever before, but there’s only so much I can do when everything is driving distance away.

My priority with fitness, regardless of how often I workout or how many steps I do a day, is to not beat myself up about it. Because I don’t have the mental capacity! I’ve got bigger things to be worrying about than the fact I didn’t do the six minute workout because I don’t know where my sports bra is and I’m not doing a workout that involves jumping without one.

I’m giving myself a break – there’s time for exercise and losing weight when I have more money and time, right now I have to put the energy I have into the important things in my life; my masters, my relationship and my house.

So my advice? (That I’m totally not qualified to give)? Give yourself space – focus on self improvement as much as you can, but your career or your studies or other aspects of your life are as important to improve in as your fitness if that’s what you want. In the long term, if I look back on this moment in 50 years I won’t be thinking about how little time I dedicated to exercise, I’ll think about the amazing friends I made studying in Oxford, the time I spent with my god-mother’s daughters and my family, the adventures I went on with my boyfriend/fiancé (it still sounds weird) – I won’t think about the time I only did 2000 steps a day or skipped a workout for an extra hour in bed.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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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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