Hello Sweet Peas,
I get many, many questions regarding my recovery, healthy eating/lifestyle and fitness. I receive questions from ‘how do you stay motivated?’ to ‘do you ever treat yourself?’ to ‘how do I get into fitness after recovering?’ to ‘what exercises do you do?’ and so on and so on. So I thought in help of many recovering Anorexics and people generally interested in health or getting a little fitter, I’d write a post on my new take on life and my opinion and few (hopefully) helpful tips.
Firstly, I want to state how recently I’ve taken a full and extremely difficult change in my life. I decided to recover from Anorexia for good. A month ago I finally decided I’d had enough and went ahead in seeing a Personal Trainer, he weighed me and took my body fat and measurements, and I can tell you now that’s when everything hit home. I was actually at way more risk than I had wanted to believe and I’ve now decided that things have to change. For so long people have asked me ‘How do you stay so healthy?’ and ‘How are you so thin?’ – well let me tell you what I have been doing is far from healthy. Tiny portions, skipping meals, eating a salad for every meal and even saying the word ‘chocolate’ is a sin, is beyond and way past the points of being ‘healthy’. It’s actually just as unhealthy s eating 10 Big Mac’s. It’s not brilliant ‘will power’ or something in which you should be jealous of.
So you may ask, ‘ What’s healthy?’, well let me tell you… Being healthy is knowing you are happy with what you’re doing. Balanced meals, exercise, treating yourself and knowing when to relax. Being healthy is being able to think about your own well being and knowing you are in control. Healthy is when your body is working and functioning the way it should be and you shouldn’t even have to worry about the fact you missed a workout or had that piece of chocolate. Healthy is learning to love yourself.
Bringing fitness back into my life and how I’ve approached it?
I get asked many questions for other recovering Anorexic’s about how you loose the Eating Disordered thinking when exercising, which I can admit still haunts me however I do have a few tips. Firstly, do what you love. – I’ve recently began weight lifting and training and I couldn’t express anymore how much I enjoy and love it however I don’t do it because my eating disorder wants to, I do it because I want to. I adore the way it makes me feel and and power it gives me in terms of control. Secondly and this is to anyone interested in fitness and getting toned, don’t be feared of weights, they’ve helped change my mind set completely – so much I do literally about 15 minutes cardio a week now. I do obviously want to get back into cardio as I love to run and cardio such as HIIT (high intensity interval training) along with weight lifting is brilliant, however when gaining weight and building muscle it’s best to cancel it down as much as possible. Weights and weight training helps build muscle, kit you fit, toned and healthy – and more muscle actually burns more fat.
How much do you train?
I now train in the gym twice a week working lower body and then upper and twice a week at home training Abs – that’s it. So in total 4/5 times a week, depending how I feel. I do 1 hour sessions in the gym and then 15/30 minutes at home, along with daily stretching and yoga. (I may do a separate post on what my workouts consist of, just let me know)
Also the less and less cardio I’ve gotten used to the better my mind set has gotten, again because lifting weights gives me the feelings of strength and control. I have no doubt that running will one day give me that feeling again as I miss it greatly and as I stated it’s about doing what you find happiness and joy in doing however I’ve never felt so powerful as person.
How do you keep your abs toned/How do you train them?
I have a few points to make abo0ut this. I just want to state how at the moment, due to eating more and setting on a new meal plan my abs and stomach have started to become none existent however I’ve learned it’s patience, I have to trust my body again. The first things to get into your head – no one ever on the planet has a lean, viable and flat stomach 24/7. Even the greatest fitness competitors wish they did. Once you accept that you can make a few changes. The next thing to realize is when it comes to Abs and as I’m sure you’ve heard many times before, it’s 80% nutrition and what you eat and 20% exercise. Have a balanced, healthy diet along with exercise and you can’t go wrong. One thing people approach wrongly about training your core and abs is the amount of time you do it and how much you do, me myself being one of these people.
Lets get one thing straight the whole of your core are muscles just like your legs, glutes, arms, back, shoulders, chest ect. They shouldn’t be over trained, just like these muscles shouldn’t. A days rest from each and every muscle is always needed. I foolishly got into the obsession of training my abs every day, which again isn’t healthy, it just leads to over training meaning no actual progress at all. You’re best to plan your ab workouts out throughout the rest of your exercise plan, I now train abs on Mondays and Thursdays/Fridays, along with core strengthening yoga.
I do however only train them for only 15/20 minutes maximum, purely because during weight lifting and training other parts of your body with out realising you’re constantly engaging your core. You’d be surprised with how much you use the little buggers.
One last point is don’t get too caught up on the same routine and exercises. Always try and change things a little whether it be reps or the workout because otherwise your muscles simply become used to and comfortable with what you’re doing – Meaning no progress.
How do you eat healthy?
The amount I get asked on how to stay healthy by people my age around, I actually couldn’t count on my fingers and my toes. It isn’t about how I eat healthy because there isn’t really a how to it, I eat healthy simply because I love eating healthy. I enjoy the way it makes me feel afterwards and knowing I am filling my body with goodness and nutrition. Call me boring but I’d rather have a healthy balanced meal than a bar of chocolate any day, sorry.
Now obviously due to my new fitness plan I’ve been given a new meal plan, consisting of lots of protein, healthy fats, good carbs and lots of veg. I may do a separate post of nutrition when I’m a bit further on into it however since starting this new meal plan I’ve discovered a whole new level of energy. My biggest tip I could ever give you is never, ever cut out any food group 0 they are ALL vital for growth, health and fitness.
Doesn’t it take ages to make your meals?
Meal prep! I can’t stress enough how that’s they key and no, it doesn’t take very long in the slightest. I usually make enough rice, chicken, salad or veg for at least the next three days, pop it all in a few boxes and you’re done – 20 minutes out your day. Or if you’re making a meal at night that can be used for lunch the next day simply make extra.
Do you ever treat yourself?
For the past year Anorexia has played a huge issue in my life and I actually cut out all maybe what you’d consider as ‘treats’. On my new meal plan I have a treat day on a Saturday, which I have been trying. I would never ever suggest cutting out the things in which you love such as chocolate, ice cream and cake… or whatever it may be. They’re way too good to ever miss. Plus being healthy all the time, as I have state is simply unhealthy.
How do you deal with bad days?
I can admit that at the moment things are tough, I mean my body is learning to trust me again right? and reacting in all sorts of ways. I guess, this would be the halt to all chances of recovering yet I’ve never been more determined. I deal with it in many ways;
- “Believe the facts not the mirror” – I have this quote pinned up on my mirror because sadly the mirror is the biggest liar of them all. The facts and measurements show completely different than what my head tells me. You have to trust the people around you, it’s all you can do.
- Write a list of my goals – remembering why life is so much better when being healthy and happy is such an importance. I love to write a big long, colorful list remembering why I should never fall back.
- Talk to people. I’ve struggled for so many years in talking about the way I feel about myself/food however I’m finding it a little easier and believe it or not it helps. It helps to just let everything go.
- Sadly the last point is just through sever determination. I recently found this photo, and I think it sums it up wonderfully.
I hope this helped you a little and gave you a tiny insight into my new approach to life. I have created so many goals to reach and in 6 months time I plan things to be so different. No more being unhealthy and unhappy, it’s never too late to change.
I just want to also add how much I’m thankful for everyone’s support especially my personal trainer, he’s been so bloody wonderful and I couldn’t be doing this without him.