I’m looking after me, my mind and my body I can’t even begin explaining how good it feels.

It’s 7.25am and I’m pouring out a glass of water, pulling on my cycling shorts and rolling out my mat ready for a workout. 

Yes really, 7.25am. No I don't know who I am either.

The reason being neither because I’ve gone insane nor because my horoscope said ‘cancers are feeling braver than usual right now’ though I’ll admit I’m always the first to oblige in line to what my horoscope says but no that’s not the reason. The reason why I’m waking up early and seizing the day as it were is because I’m looking after me, my mind and my body, I can’t even begin explaining how good that feels.

"I’m looking after me, my mind and my body, I can’t even begin explaining how good that feels."

It’s been a whole year since I started working out more frequently and taking care of my body. I know this because this time last year I was about to step on a plane to Croatia. Hang on, let me just cry for a second..

Okay I think we’re good. 

My decision to change my attitude to both working out and taking care of my body started a month or two prior to boarding the plane for many reasons. One strong factor being the desire to look back at mine and Jay's holiday photos and feel good about them, to look back at my body and think ‘god damn I looked good’ not because I was told I needed a ‘beach body’ don't let nobody tell you, you need a beach body. You have a body go find a beach. I also didn't start working out because I worried about how people may judge me, it was all full heatedly for me. It was then after I began to realise how good it made me feel, how powerful and in control I felt. I enjoyed the feeling of looking after and taking care of my body, to shape and mould it into all the ways I wanted to- with a bit lot of work of course (god if only these things came over night). 

After a week away in Croatia followed by accidentally carrying the holiday mood through till the end of July (I mean it was my birthday month) I began to think, you know I’d quite like to get back to it.

It’s been a rough year I’ll be the first to admit and having something to get up for, something to do in the morning gave me a sense of purpose. My time, me time, in my morning to truly breath life into.

"I began to realise how good it made me feel, how powerful and in control I felt. I enjoyed the feeling of looking after and taking care of my body, to shape and mould it into all the ways I wanted to"

Like many things I never speak about on my blog I don’t think I’ve ever touched on health or body related content at least because I’d never felt comfortable or educated enough to. Not that I’m about to reel of bone structure and label all the muscles in the body- not quite there yet. What I do know is the things I’ve learnt about myself, the stamina and strength I have that I didn’t realise I had within me. Writing this I wanted to empower and in a way inspire people into a healthy lifestyle- that sounds so patronising, I apologise. 

If this post is for you, then amazing but and if it's not, it's not. I truly believe that motivation and the impulse to start healthy eating, exercising or taking steps to doing so comes from inside, it's not something you can force if you aren't feeling it, it has to come from the desire to want to do it and this blog post certainly isn't going to force you but hopefully it can be of some help. I for one never thought I'd be writing about this topic on my blog or writing of the things I've learnt about myself from my own body, but here we are. As much as this post is for you, my readers like always it's also a bookmark for me. This post is more a learning curve and a reflection of what I can do and what I've learnt from this lifestyle as well as advice for when you're feeling a bit stuck because let's face it we all have those days.

 "I truly believe that motivation and the impulse to start healthy eating, exercising or taking steps to doing so comes from inside, it's not something you can force if you aren't feeling it, it has to come from the desire to want to do it." 

First things first.

Don’t get down if you don’t feel like you are progressing 

For the first month I started to workout I noticed my body change SO much, not drastically but I could see a change, my muscles got tighter and they hurt a hell of a lot. The same when I got back to it once I ended holiday season. But then I found myself not really progressing at all, not that I wasn't but that I couldn't see a change anymore. I felt like I was moving at one pace, which in some respects I was. I was keeping to similar workout routines and not really trying anything new. 
Key is to look at what it is you're doing and see where you can change your routine or your habits. So when I reached that point I dug out my ankle weights I used to wear at cheerleading, I bought a pair of weights and a resistant band and started to actually get excited to introducing them into my routine, sounds silly but I was actually excited to wake up and try them out. 

Sometimes though no matter how you try it may seem like you aren't getting anywhere but you are. If you've thought about ways to push yourself harder or mix up the way you may be approaching your workouts keep going. Ask a friend or a lover to see if they can notice a difference, more often than not they'll notice the change more than you will. I'm no expert on this but sometimes I find I don't progress for a while but then will come a point where something will click. I tend to find as a women my cycle usually plays a huge part in progression. Some days I can feel puffed up or bloated for a good few days so think about the things that may be affecting you before you start losing hope.

Calorie counting on weekends is toxic

Calorie counting isn't for everyone full stop. In fact if you find it toxic all together don't do it at all because you will end up beating yourself up every single time you eat. 
I on the other hand choose to calorie count in order to stay focused and keep an eye on what it is I eat. That's not to say I'm strict on what I eat oh no, in fact the App I use 'My Fitness Pal' even advises that you do record everything you eat including the bad stuff so you can know and be aware of where you went wrong or right (I mean that Krispy Kreme donut was worth every calorie) 

One thing I don't do though is count on weekends, for me weekends are for chilling a little, enjoying the food you want to eat. I'm not saying I indulge but it's human to treat yourself, have a takeaway or buy a ready meal because you can't be arsed to cook. That is O-K-A-Y. Don't calorie count on weekends unless you really want or have to and even then don't be so hard on yourself, you're human after all.

Don’t push yourself to work out when you don’t feel like it 

This one I am notorious for especially when I'm ill or not feeling up to it. There are 365 days in a year and so what if you miss a few of those days not working out. It really isn't the be and end all. If you aren't feeling 100% skip a day and get back to it when you're feeling better- NOTHING is worse than a workout with a stuffy nose. I also pulled a muscle in my back quite recently which resulted in me having to rest it for a few days. The key to that is not making yourself feel bad for it, if anything you could make an injury worse if you have one. 

Water isn’t so bad?? 

I mean I guess this one isn’t for everyone. I know people who won’t touch water or don’t enjoy drinking it. But after refusing (I say refusing I just preferred not to drink it-bad I know). I picked up a glass filled it with water and thought hang on this isn’t as bad as I thought. 
I trained myself to drink it when I did my workouts and thought of it as 'if it’s either that or nothing at all'. Being thirsty during sweating I found water to be more hydrating- writing this sounds obviously stupid but I would add squash to my drinks when working-out in order to not drink water when in fact what I had been avoiding wasn’t all that bad. It's not a huge change but it has made a difference. Especially in the way of my skin. Something that always sounded silly to me when I'd read articles telling me 'ways to have clear skin' but now drinking water frequently has had an impact on my skin. I’ve noticed it to be more dewy and hydrated as well as clearer for sure. Whether thats a combination of healthy eating, earlier nights, skincare and water I'm not sure but my skins seems to be happier. 

"It's human to treat yourself, have a takeaway or buy a ready meal because you can't be arsed to cook. That is O-K-A-Y"

I've pushed myself to try new things

Luckily I've never been a fussy eater and I've always adored veg (yes adored) so for me healthy eating is a lot easier which makes it better for me. I've found a love for discovering and trying new fruit and veg. One of my new favourite things is asparagus, which tastes so much better than it looks to me it seemed kinda scary which I think is the case for me not trying the veg beforehand if I don't know how to prepare it or cook it, it's usually a no for me but with asparagus I decided to pick some up one day and after a few youtube tutorials found it's literally one of the easiest vegetables to cook and it tastes delicious! I've ventured into Kale which is great when you're healthy eating with it being rich in vitamin C. Like Asparagus it's also really easy to cook, I love to throw it in pan with Stir-fries or meals paired with rice. I tended to find if I didn't push myself to try the things I hadn't tried previously I'd never know what they tasted like. 

You can push yourself harder than you think

One thing I learned, not initially but over a long space of time is learning what your body can do when you exercise, which sounds funny to write but I found myself doing things I never knew I could. Even the smallest of things became big victories. 
When you start working out you find you meet a lot of walls in fact walls can often be your best mate. They call it a wall because it stops you in your tracks, it's like a solid brick you hit where you find yourself struggling to push through and breaking down that wall and for a lot of the time (not for everyone) but personally for me at the beginning I let that wall defeat me. I wouldn’t go near a burpees, I barely knew what one was nor would I even attempt a push up but like everything in life practice does make perfect, I say perfect nothings perfect but practice makes progression. And after a while I found myself being met with a lot less walls and thinking to myself bloody hell I couldn’t do this a month ago, again small victories but boy it feels good when you achieve something that you’d previously struggled with. It makes you think right okay, what can I do next how can I push myself that bit further?

Do it for yourself not anybody else 

Like I said at the beginning of this post you can't push yourself if you genuinely aren't feeling it and you certainly can't if it's all for the wrong reasons. If you feel yourself being pressured or forced into changing your lifestyle, don't. Your body, is your body, it's your choice nobody gets to dictate that especially when it comes to your size or your weight. Do the workouts you deem right for your body, for your lifestyle, do what you can, do as little or as much as you enjoy. Do it simply because you want to do it, nothing else. 

Moving forward I'm aiming to keep this a consistent, ongoing part of my lifestyle that doesn't feel like chore and hopefully in the long run it will make me feel even better than I do now. I know that life can often get in the way but that is okay if I want to eat Kale and Broccoli one day and a bar of chocolate the next I can (and probably will) but I'm learning to balance without restrictions. Taking care of your body is a lot like taking care of your mind too. It's about taking the steps you feel okay in taking and figuring out what works and what doesn't, take things at your own pace. Life isn't a race.

Oh, and please do let me know what you think of this type of post and if you'd like to see more of it, as I can certainly do that!

What's your opinion?

@paige rhianne_