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My relationship with exercise is a complicated one. As a child, I was very active – swimming, trampolining, ballet, tap – the usual hobbies that we are signed up for as children. However, I was never very good at PE at school, and I did little of my own exercise once I had left. Then I ended up going to LAMDA, which was very physically demanding, so I was most likely in the best shape of my life whilst I was there, but it was impossible to maintain in the real world.

My fitness journey is interlinked with my mental health journey, as they are for so many people. As I suffered with mental illness, any ability to stick to a regimented exercise routine went out the window. The more unfit I became, the more weight I gained and the harder it was to get active. I have tried numerous times to get moving and shift some weight and create healthy habits for myself, but it just hasn’t happened.

Objectively I know that a healthy body aids a healthy mind, but sometimes you are your own worst enemy. As I am writing this blog, we are currently in lockdown due to the COVID19 pandemic. Our health is on the forefront of our minds, more than it has been in a long time. Having been in this situation for the last few months, I finally decided that the time was now to do something about my health and fitness.

I weighed myself in early 2020 and I was the heaviest I have ever been, uncomfortably close to 14 stone – which being 5 foot 5, is an unhealthy weight. I didn’t recognise myself in the mirror, none of my clothes fit. I had completely given up on my physical appearance, living in leggings and oversized t-shirts most days. Enough was enough.

Since then, I have become a huge advocate for home workouts, not only great for during a lockdown, they liberate you to put your all into the routine without the fear of judgement. I frolic until I am red-faced and dripping with sweat, safe in the knowledge that the only person comparing me to ‘fat-Monica’ from ‘Friends’ is me!

I have also undertaken the ‘Couch to 5km’ challenge, which is 9 weeks of runs to improve your stamina and fitness. Those of you who know me personally, will know that I have tried this programme a few times before and for one reason (or excuse!) or another, I have never made it to the end of the 9 weeks and I am most definitely not a runner. However, desperately trying not to jinx myself here, I am currently about to start week 7 of the programme and have seen myself go from struggling to run for 1 minute, to running 25 minutes non-stop – I am super proud of myself for that. No shame. I am going to own that as a massive win!

Since beginning this exercise routine, the combo of running and home workouts, I have started to see the weight shifting. A long way to go but I am currently approaching the 1 stone weight loss mark – which is a great feeling. Yet, more than the weight, which is really just a number, I am feeling so much better in myself. I am creating healthy habits that allow me to still enjoy good food and ciders on the beach, which not compromising my health or mental wellbeing in the process.

Happy and healthy is the goal, and I feel like I am finally on the right path towards that. Part of the introduction of fitness and health into this blog, is to share with you the lessons I have learnt and hopefully be able to help others do the same and regain some control over their lives, minds and bodies.

2021 Update:

2020 into 2021 was a tough one for fitness and overall motivation due to the pandemic and lockdowns – I know I am not alone with that!!

I am currently doing Monday check-ins with my sister, where we don’t focus on fitness exclusively, but we discuss good habits that we are trying to put into practice that week – which is really helpful. It gives you accountability and makes you stop and think about the week ahead.

I did keep up the home workouts and running for a chunk of the original lockdown, however, when the weather started to turn colder the running definitely tapered out. I am hopeful that, now Spring is in the air, it won’t be long before I can get back out again. The home workouts have become sporadic; however, I am working full-time at my day job right now which is active, plus I walk 2km there and back every day – so that definitely counts for something!!

My main area to work on right now is diet, but I am trying to not be too hard on myself whilst we are still in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic. Sugar has been a way to power through the tougher days or the tiredness and is something I am trying to cut down on, but I am hopeful that as the days get brighter, the temperature gets warmer and the restrictions begin to lift, that I won’t need this crutch as much moving forward.

I have a number of fitness goals that I want to try and achieve, or at least make headway on as part of my ’30 Before 30’ ambitions, so I will try to think about these as the burdens of the past year start to fall away. In myself, I am feeling happier and more confident about making positive change and better habits for myself, so whatever form that takes, that is the wave I will ride.

The best time to start life with a new frame of mind is now! Go get it.

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