The biggest journey so far – The road to becoming fit and healthy!

I was never described as fat nor was I described as fit. But judging by my diet, I was definitely never considered as healthy. So in 2018 I decided to change my life.

This is the first time I have written about this because I try to keep my blog focused on my travels.

But, since I’m always talking about the journeys I take in life to destinations all over the world I’d like to share with you one really important journey I made this year – My fitness journey.

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What happened?

Well to cut a long story short.. I’d been in a relationship for a couple of years and just like you do in relationships I became comfortable and ate lots of rubbish! I was extremely lazy and routine of binge watching Netflix became the norm. That’s fine.. If you’re happy! But I wasn’t. I really wasn’t at all. In fact, I was so unhappy that I think I ate and lazed around because it was an easy way of not facing up to the relationship I was in. I had no motivation to do anything.

This changed in 2018 after I ended my relationship and he moved out of our home, I finally started to get back to living my life again. It was actually time to concentrate on me for once. So, I channelled all my energy into fitness. At first it was a distraction from reality, to help me not think about what was happening in my life. Eventually it actually became my focus and something I really began to love. It started with a gym membership and went from there.

From the heaviest weight I have been to the weight I am currently, there is a difference of 2.5 stone. I don’t know if that sounds like much or not but to me that is incredibly impressive given it was never my intention to lose weight. All I wanted was to increase my fitness and feel good about myself.

What has changed?

I am happy now and I feel very alive! It’s hard to explain the feeling you get when your fitness improves but I feel like I achieved something. It’s not so much about the weight loss but of course seeing the change in the way I look helps to remind me that I made a positive impact on my body. I don’t look in the mirror and see any difference but when I compare photographs sometimes that is when it sinks in.

Photos on the left taken in 2016 vs the right taken in 2018.

So here’s how I did it..

Healthy eating

If you’d have asked me about my diet 12 months ago, I’d have said what diet? Then my friends would have laughed at you for thinking I actually thought for a second about what I was putting in to my body. My ex ate pizza ALMOST EVERY DAY. Whilst I know that’s no excuse for why I would join him, it certainly didn’t make it easy for me to attempt to be healthy.

In April I decided to seek help to improve my diet. I knew I wanted to focus on eating more fruit and vegetables and more of the right foods to keep me happy and healthy. I started reading magazines which lead me to replacing the chocolate bar/s I ate everyday with fruit instead. I found this a lot easier than I thought I would! Until I tried doing this, I actually thought I might be addicted to chocolate.. Turns out I’m not addicted to anything (Except maybe travel).

I wanted something bigger than this; help that might give me inspiration about what meals to cook. So I joined Slimming World. People actually thought I was crazy as at the time I was only a size 12 and really didn’t have much weight to lose. Only 9lbs to reach the target I was aiming for. But that’s not why I joined Slimming World, I joined to meet people that felt the same way about their body as I did. I joined to gain an insight in to what I should be eating to make me feel good. And I joined for inspiration and boy did I find it.

It took me only a month or so for me to hit my target weight but not only that, it completely changed my life and the way I think about my food choices.

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I made little changes to my lifestyle that were so easy to implement that I can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner. Like cutting down on bread – switching my daily sandwich for lunch to a salad, simple.

I dropped 2 dress sizes, possibly even 3 and I’m now a lifetime target member with a whole different mindset on the way I view food. Eating healthy makes you feel good about yourself and now that I’ve changed my life, I can still enjoy the unhealthy food too. Of course I eat takeaways every week and I even binge on biscuits and snacks at work now! But that’s because I’ve really worked hard to get myself in to a place where I know that the good I’m doing in my diet elsewhere allows me to indulge when I want to without overdoing it.

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Keeping active

I’ve always been in to my walking, it’s my favourite thing to do. So it’s not difficult to get me up, out and on my feet. However, working a desk job means I perhaps just don’t do enough during the day. During my fitness journey I began by doing one or two classes a week at the gym. I also had a program in the gym itself which required me to do at least two sessions a week. I was also jogging and even doing a 10 minute exercise DVD workout every morning! These all contributed to getting me where I am today.

These are some of the things I do now to keep me active and mentally stimulated:

Since changing jobs in the summer I make a point of going on a walk during my lunch hour every day. Walking to and from work only equates to around 2 miles per day which probably just isn’t enough. I try to do 10,000 steps every single day and it’s not common for me to fail this goal. My record stands at 40,000+ in one day when I climbed to The Eagles Nest on my latest trip to Bavaria! I track my steps using a Fitbit+.

Every week I head to my gym for a class in Les Mills Body Pump for high intensity training. When I first started training at the start of this year I did this class every week alongside 2-3 gym sessions at the same time! I was really focused on getting fit and I loved strengthening my body. Now I still do the class but my gym sessions are far and few between. I have replaced them with more evening walks but as we start to lose daylight I’m sure I’ll be back in the gym in no time.

Jogging! There’s a word I never thought I’d be able to put on my hobbies list. I started using the Coach to 5k app in March and it was incredible to see how much you can improve your stamina when it comes to running. I started by jogging only 1 minute straight and in the end was jogging for 30! I highly recommend this app even if you are a beginner. When I started, I was so unfit that I never thought I’d be able to pick it up. Glad to say I was wrong. Jogging has become one of my favourite ways to explore a new city and whilst it used to be cycling I’m happy that I have an alternative and much easier method of exploring a new place. I really want to take part in some running challenges around the world so that is definitely a goal for me in 2019!

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I’m sure you caught my latest posts about my stint of climbing mountains in Europe. Well I love hiking and I’m a member of a few walking groups in my local area to keep me out and about. I’d love to do more in the UK and see some of the viewpoints on my doorstep so hopefully I can get out and about on some good hikes this autumn.

Maintaining

Sticking to a diet is difficult, especially if you are really strict on yourself. Therefore, I don’t have a diet anymore. I have a changed view on the things I eat and this really helps when making my meal choices. For dinner I tend to eat whatever I want but I’ve really cut down on the amount of frozen pizzas, cheese and processed meats I buy so I can’t put bad things in to my body if they aren’t in my house in the first place!

I don’t drink tea or coffee so no worries about how much sugar I’m drinking. I don’t like fizzy drinks really so that helps majorly. I also don’t smoke and never have. When it comes to alcohol I always try stick to gin and slimline tonic with the occasional fruit cider but given the last time I drank a lot of alcohol was a few months ago, I really don’t have to worry about this! I no longer snack on packets of crisps and try not to buy chocolate bars. I now always avoid sharing bags! (You know you’re never going to share them!) I always stick to lighter products like fry light when cooking, lighter cheese or 0% fat yogurt etc. Little changes like this won’t make much difference to your taste buds but could make a significant change to your waistline over a long time period!

One of the smallest changes I have made with one of the biggest impacts is altering what I eat for my lunch every day. Not only do I feel better by eating this but it’s so quick and easy to put together that I feel stupid for being too lazy before to make my own lunches. There really is no excuse for it! Not only that but I’m saving so much money by switching from sandwiches to salad. At less than £5 a week it’s a small price to pay for a healthy lunch!

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My secret ingredient – 1/2 a pack of crushed crisps or tortilla chips. Not the healthiest option but adds a bit of flavour to the salad! If that’s what you need to be converted to salads then it has to be done! I also use salt, pepper, chilli flakes and vinaigrette to season.

My mental health

Losing weight made me look different of course. But it didn’t take away my insecurities. I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that I will never be comfortable with my dress size and the way I look. It seems that it’s a very common theme that you always want what you don’t have. I don’t know what it is I want or that I don’t have but I know I’m always feeling like it’s not enough. I am always insecure about the way I look. I don’t know if I’ll ever be comfortable with my weight but I am definitely my harshest critic and I really do need to stop being so hard on myself. I know deep down I am fit and healthy and it’s a great achievement but I just need to learn how to remind myself of this more often.

Why post about this?

You may wonder why I have written this. Given that my blog predominantly focuses on my travels.

Lately I have been feeling a little down and a little lost. I’m not sure what is causing me to feel this way but I know that earlier in the year it was my fitness journey that pulled me through. Today during my gym session I was thinking about the journey I took this year and how much I have changed as a person and all I wanted to do was tell somebody about it. Writing for me is a way of taking something off my mind temporarily. It’s like blogging removes the thoughts from my brain and allows me to feel a little relieved. I want to share my journey with those interested because life isn’t all rosey.

Running a travel blog often makes my life look like it’s perfect and that I’m always happy because I’m doing all these adventurous things that might ‘look amazing’. This is not the case and whilst I love what I do, I still have my downs like everybody else. Travelling is a great passion of mine but it’s only one small part of my life. There are so many other things to think about on a day to day basis like my career, love, making that perfect home, children but who knows what life will bring and it’s hard to know really what I want. I don’t think I’ll ever know fully! But I look forward to what ever life will bring and with all the ups and downs life is definitely one rocky road.

So this is pretty much where I started this year to where I am now. Becoming fit and healthy has been a challenge but one I’m so glad I smashed. I’m proud of what I have achieved this year when I look back on 2018 and so like I always share my travels, I wanted to share this adventure.

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Are you on a fitness journey? Did you enjoy my post or have any questions? Please leave me a comment as I always like to hear peoples thoughts about my ramblings.

sophie

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