The end of a season and the beginning of a new one is the ideal time to break your bad winter habits, and start feeling great again on the inside and out. It is officially time to stop feeling ‘bleh’.
I’ll be the first to admit it - this winter I have truly fallen into the hibernation trap. I haven’t been exercising, my eating habits haven’t been ideal, and I really, truly got stuck into Netflix and Youtube. So, I thought I would write a post about how I am trying to get back into the swing of things, to not only inspire you guys, but also hold me accountable to my words.
I have mentioned it briefly before, but about four months ago I made the life changing decision of moving towards a plant-based diet. Before I go any further, I would like to put a little disclaimer here - I am not, and probably will never be, the perfect vegan. Sometimes I have cheat days, or accidentally eat a bit of cheese or butter. But I believe that when it comes to your diet, you make the rules. I call myself a ‘vegan’ but I am only really vegan when it comes to my diet, and even then, sometimes I am more of a vegetarian. However, at the end of the day, I am only doing my best, and I am by no means going to let my diet impede on my social life, or prevent me from nibbling on a little bit of cheese every now and then, because I love it, and I can do what I want. With this, I would like to say that I am also by no means trying to force this upon any of you, it just has to be mentioned if I am going to write a health and fitness blog post, naturally.
Back to it - if you haven’t already gathered where I am going with this, over the winter holiday break I have fallen off the horse a little bit. A lot of accidentally-on-purpose cheat meals, lots of sitting on the couch, lots of social drinking, and a whole lot of absolutely no exercise. Last summer, I caught the exercise bug, hitting the gym almost everyday for a little while there, before it slowly dwindled down to nothing. As the days got colder, my desire to look good and toned slowly decreased, as I added more layers to my outfits. This, among other outside factors, lead to me quitting my gym. That was about three or so months ago. Since then, I really, truly, 100% have been absolutely lazy when it comes to exercise. This, mixed with a whole lot of sitting in front of my laptop and not strictly committing to a plant based diet has lead to me not only feeling a bit ‘meh’ on the inside, but also looking a bit ‘meh’ on the outside.
I have been very tired, a bit lazy, bloated, and lack that 'buzz', that eating healthy and exercising gives you. I also slowly lost my glow - as I believe good skin begins in the gut, I was having trouble processing ‘cheat’ foods (aka cheese) and this has left my skin looking a bit spotty and sallow. All of a sudden, it hit me last week. It is time to come out of this hibernation period. I am not a bear. I am a human. And humans, by no means, should hibernate - I should be aiming to feel and look my best, in order to be the best possible version of myself. I want that kick back in my step. So, I have decided to put together a list of gradual ‘un-hibernation’ tips for myself, and anyone else out there also feeling a bit ‘bleh’ to follow.
Step 1: Get some goodness in your gut
With uni back, I find it a lot easier to stick to a healthy eating routine, especially during the week. A weekly schedule of classes and work leaves little to no time to sit around and snack all day, so I find it a lot easier to pack healthy, plant based meals, that are substantial. I by no means eat less during semester, in fact, living a plant based lifestyle, for me at least, means I actually eat a whole lot more. But it’s a lot more of the good stuff - beans, vegetables, rice, fruit - you name it. And I really do mean it, I sometimes mindlessly eat four mandarins in a row. But either way, the more good stuff you get in your gut, the easier it is to process. With this, comes added nutrients, which not only leave you feeling good, but will leave your skin, hair and nails looking amazing. I have been attempting to get on the kombucha bandwagon this past week, but it has left my skin breaking out, however I will persist, in an attempt to get more fermented goodness down the hatch. Stay tuned to find out how I go with that.
Step 2: Crack on with the exercise
In my sudden, urgent need to get back into exercise, I went and signed myself up to the women-only gym in my area. I have only been twice in the past week, as I am slowly easing myself into it, but I have come across two findings. Firstly, I cant believe how much more at ease and comfortable I feel in a womens only gym. I’m not worried about anyone looking at me, about doing the exercises wrong, or about how I look in general. It’s almost impossible to describe both the subconscious and the conscious realisation and feeling that you experience, that I’m sure some other people experience, in a unisex gym. I thought I felt a little self conscious at my previous gym, but it is only now that I realise how awkward, watched and objectified I did feel. The gym is the worst place to ever feel like this, so I highly recommend to any other women that may be experiencing this feeling, to switch to a womens-only gym. I won’t go into the details, but if you are getting put-off or avoiding exercise due to certain feelings or people at another gym, it is definitely time to change. Don’t do what I did and stop exercising all together. Secondly, I am surpised at how much of my fitness I actually retained. Yes, I am no way near as toned as I was over summer, however, it was a lot easier than I thought getting back into it, especially on the cardio side of things. So, if the worry of being unfit is preventing you from starting up again, don't let it. I rode 8km, worked weights and more on the second workout I did in over three months - if I can do it, so can you.
Step 3: Treat yourself
The main reason I try and eat healthy and am attempting to get back into exercise is because I honestly feel so much better, physically and mentally. I like going to the gym to not only exercise and strengthen my body, but to calm my mind. It is a great place to escape your stresses and worries of the day, and basically just to zone out for an hour or so. However, if you find it hard to just be with yourself and the exercise, I highly recommend hopping on one of the cardio machines and just watching some TV - it’s better than sitting on the couch and watching it at home! Hitting two birds with one stone.
By adjusting your diet and exercise regime, you will begin to feel so much more energetic, awake and alive. With this, however, of course, comes times when you just need to self indulge a little. Exercise and diet, for me, are all about wellness - mind, body and soul. So take time out to have a bath, put on a face mask, and read a book every now and then. By having a digital detox, even if it is just for thirty minutes a day, you allow your mind to catch up with the rest of your body. And finally, don’t be too strict with your coming-out-of-hibernation method. Of course you're going to slip up sometimes, and that's healthy too. If you are too strict with your diet, with your exercise habits and with your lifestyle in general, it is likely that an attempt to make yourself feel better, will only make you feel worse. Go to the gym when you feel like it. Eat something ‘naughty’ when you feel like it. Have a break when you feel like it. After all, it’s all about balance.
Writing this post has truly helped me map out what’s going on inside my mind and put it into words. I really hope this inspires anyone else out there who is just feeling a bit ‘bleh’ or ‘meh’, a bit rundown, a bit lazy and a bit stuck-in-a-rut to really get moving again. As the sun begins to come out and the days start slowly getting longer, you’ll thank me for really embracing your health again.
If you have any questions or want to know anything about my specific routines and what not, like this post or comment below! x