Monday, 19 January 2015

Lifestyle: Health Kick

This time, I'm here with a bit of a lifestyle post. It will be wordy, and if you feel like just skipping to the end and seeing my goals for the new year, feel free. But if you're interested in a longer version of my journey, I hope you enjoy reading this.

Without going too much into it, I've lost quite a lot of weight over the past 4 years, going from size 16 to size 10. I might fit size S in some shops, but I'm not skinny (I'm short, and size 10 looks quite different on someone who is 159cm and someone who is 169cm). I'm no longer overweight, but only just.

The big change was moving to the UK and starting to cook my own meals (my family believes in cream, butter and plenty of meat). I took up dancing alongside my gym going, kept eating healthier and walked everywhere. At first, the pounds just dropped away without me making any conscious effort.

In my third year of Uni, I was doing really well. Gym was a 3 minute walk away and I loved going there (4-5 times a week, in addition to dancing!). My eating, exercise and sleeping habits were all good. I was energetic and despite being recently thrown into a long-distance relationship, I was happy. At the end of third year, I started working at Cineworld. Though I certainly indulged a little bit more of unhealthy snacks on breaks at work and the late closes (coming home at almost 3am was almost a weekly occurrence) took their toll, I was still managing fine.

When my final year at Uni started however, it wasn't so fine anymore. In a last minute panic, me and one of my flatmates ended up moving to a flat far from the gym, and from my workplace. The flat, which I am still living in, is cold, damp and generally just makes me feel a little miserable. The workload of fourth year, working on average 20 hours a week and being in a long-distance relationship weighed me down, and the further the semester progressed, the less I went to the gym (barely once or twice a week), the more crap I ate and the worse I felt.

Now, I don't agree with the whole 'new year, new me' thing, but as I tend to overindulge over the festive period, the new year is a suitable time to get back to the 'healthy bandwagon'. This time it also coincides with the beginning of my final semester at Uni, and I want to finish it feeling good. Both academically and personally. Quitting my job was the first step, as it was affecting both my grades and my personal life negatively. Now it's time to make more changes. I made a little list of resolutions for the coming months to help me get back to the mindset I had in third year, when I was feeling the best I have.

1. Take better care of myself
I have had breathing problems outdoors (and sometimes indoors if I'm doing very strenuous exercise) for as long as I can remember, but despite multiple people telling me to do so, I never got it checked out as I just blamed it on my poor fitness. I can't really blame it on that anymore though, so it's time to get it sorted out. I mentioned my breathing problems to a nurse when I came back after Christmas and she gave me a peak flow meter and a diary to keep track of my readings. I've got a meeting with a specialist in this week and I hope I can finally find out what's wrong.

2. Run 5K
Due to the breathing problems, I've always found running a struggle. I can power through all the gym classes I go to and dance for hours, but breathing while running is always a struggle (especially outdoors). My lungs tend to give out before my legs, as it were. I've just signed up to Colour Me Rad Aberdeen in June though, so I better start running! I'm taking baby steps, and hopefully my breathing will improve.

3. Keep up with exercise
I'm hoping that I can drag myself to the gym more often this semester. I do actually really enjoy the classes, particularly yoga and all the Les Mills ones, so it's just about whether I can bear the 30 minute walk each way in the pouring rain and the howling wind. Or sleet, as I did yesterday (it was terrible, but I'm glad I went). I also want to improve my swing dancing... but that will depend on how much time and money I have to travel as well.

4. Sleep better
My sleeping patterns haven't been great in the last 6 months, but I should be better now that I've quit my job. No more 2.15am finishes! I'm trying to make an effort to close my laptop a little earlier as well, and not to play around with my phone when in bed.

5. Eat better
This is the easiest one, as I genuinely love healthy food. As long as I don't buy unhealthy things (biscuits, I'm looking at you) and I make sure to have fridge and cupboard stocked with healthy food, I'm okay. Empty fridge and Domino's just a few minutes down the road is a dangerous combination.

So, there they are. We'll see how I get on! If you got this far, thank you.

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