Part 2 of my journey to be a better version of me!
6 months ago I made a promise to myself. I would change old bad habits. I would transform myself into a better version of myself.
While the journey is far from over, I wanted to share a milestone with you.
I received my Peloton bike at the end of April. I was doing ok, dropped about 12lbs by end of June. I was achieving various milestones and personal bests. I was really enjoying the ride (pardon the pun!).
On the 9th July my grandmother passed away. It broke me. I isolated, became sedentary, the bike gathered dust, and I really don’t even know what I did until 12th September.
As much as I had been enjoying my new found exercise routine, my grief took a hold of me completely. It was like I was paralyzed. The next two months went by, and I honestly couldn’t tell you what I did each day.
On 12th September, a dear friend posted a pic of herself and mentioned a life changing journey she took (she looked amazing, not just slimmer, but you could see she looked radiant, happy!). I didn’t know it, but I was ready. I reached out to her, firstly to congratulate her, but I was curious about her transformation and how she accomplished it. We had a long conversation about life in general, the loss of my nan, the pandemic keeping us apart from our families (our parents live in different countries and thousands of miles away), and of course weight loss. She explained that “life happens”, and sometimes we let it take over, and we kind of lose focus on ourselves. In fact, it is quite interesting to note, that quite a few people will sacrifice their own well-being to focus on loved ones, friends even people they don’t know, rather than focus on themselves (and yes, I am one of those!).
On the 12th September I restarted my journey. This time by focusing not just on exercise, but on my mental well being. In fact, my first goal was to focus on my mental health, and deal with my grief and the stress I had put myself under. To help myself, I needed help from elsewhere, and so I joined Noom. I mentioned this in part 1 of my journey, so to save repeating myself, what I will say is that Noom is very different to anything else I have ever tried when it comes to weight loss. Well, that is because it doesn’t just focus on that. The focus is on life and how we can adjust and adapt ourselves to a healthy life (both physically and mentally).
I had gained back most of the weight I had lost during those first couple of months on my Peloton, and since I was quite a bit overweight anyway, it just put me backwards. But I was determined to give it another go
Noom helped me unravel some of my issues, and the one thing that it has taught me is that it is ok to be selfish and to focus on myself and my well being.
I set some short term goals to take me to the end of the year, some of my goals don’t have the pressure of a time limit, just something to aim towards, and this is part of what Noom has taught me, to be able to focus on various aspects of my life, to unlearn bad habits, and build on good ones. But most of all it has taught me that putting myself first is the key.
I took the first step and got back on my Peloton. I knew it was going to be back to square one, and I was ok with that. I had prepared myself to start right back at the beginning, kind of wiping out some of those achievements back in May and June – but that was ok.
It was an exhilarating feeling that first ride back. It felt so good to release that energy. I spoke to my nan that night, told her that I was back from the darkness and I was turning things around.
I mixed up my routine, trying to find when it suited me best to work out. I originally thought that mornings would work better for me, but it turns out that I enjoy the mornings to be mindful, take time for breakfast and my cats, and just prepare myself for the day. I realized that working out right after work was a great release and preparation for the end of my day.
October was a month of milestones for me. I reached 50 rides on 20th October, and a personal best too! I felt so proud of myself, I had actually achieved something that made me feel good about myself.
The next day, I achieved 4K workout minutes since starting my Peloton journey. I was amazed at the fact I was consistently working out, Riding my Peloton bike, taking the walking exercises, yoga, stretching and meditation. I am beginning to like the new me!
At the end of October I traveled to visit my parents in Spain. I continued to use my Peloton app and did 40-60 minutes of walking per day, but I did miss my bike!
Another milestone was achieved on 11th November (Remembrance/Veterans Day), I joined my boss (a Marine Corps Veteran) and others on a live Veterans Day ride, along with a warm up and cool down, I broke the 12 mile barrier! Now, some folks could probably do that in half the time (50 minutes), and kudos to them. For me this was a huge deal.
What I am learning on this journey that it is ok to focus on me, to be selfish for my own health and fitness, and not to worry what others can achieve – we are all on our own journeys.
Some of you may have read my blog “When will the belly stop hitting the thighs”. Well, the belly is still hitting the thighs, but I know I am moving in the right direction, and one day it will stop, because I am doing all the right things to reach that goal.
If you had told me 6 months ago, that I would have clocked 5K minutes of working out, I would have snort laughed and said something like “in my dreams maybe”. I had set myself a soft goal to try and achieve this by Thanksgiving, I actually achieved it the day after my 12 miles! But that wasn’t all. I had read about “Power Zone” rides, and something called the “FTP” test (Function Threshold Power). I was intrigued, so I read up on it, and realized that this had to be my next step. The FTP is all about helping you find your “zone” and help measure progress over a period of time.
So I went into “programs” on my bike and found “Discover your Power Zone”, a 4 week program that will test your fitness as you progress. The power zone is all about your average output (kw). So now I can measure my progress with statistics as well as how I feel (the nerd in me is doing somersaults).
Other things I have learned as I continue this journey
I’ve learned to deal with stress better, which has led to better and more restorative sleep, which has led to more energy and a new focus on my own well being.
I still have a long way to go in my physical journey, but since September I’m a stone (14lbs) down. No diet, no restricting myself and cutting out treats, just a new focus on using food for fuel, not for comfort. A new focus on movement and not spending 6 hours in front of the tv, mindlessly eating. I’ve made my well being, both mentally and physically a priority.
So while I’m still an out of shape, and the belly is still hitting the thighs, I’m making progress. I’m not striving for perfection, I’m not trying to lose weight in the snap of my fingers, I’m allowing myself to make positive changes in my habits, and enjoy the journey. I am being selfish, and I am ok with that!
Whilst I do have a long term weight goal I want to achieve, and a general timeframe, that isn’t my key focus. My focus is to be mindful about not just food, but my overall well being, and focusing on the here and now. Not dwelling on what diets did or didn’t work for me, instead focusing each day on making better choices in the things I do and what I put in my body to fuel myself for the next ride or yoga session.
I realize that mindfulness is the key.
Growing up, we never ate dinner or tea in front of the tv, and of course we never had devices to distract us.
So now I have set myself a healthy routine. I don’t just think about what I’m eating, I consciously savor every bite with no distraction.
I’ve reduced my online presence by about 10% a week, and in the weekday evenings I watch tv for about 90 – 120 minutes (50% reduction).
I have taken up meditation before going to sleep. I’ve improved my restorative sleep by 15%. Reduced my restlessness by 4%.
It’s taken time to make these positive changes, and each day I am learning new things to help keep me on the right track.
I still have a long way to go, my self esteem is still in pieces, but each day, a piece or two is put back.
I still have over 3 stone (over 40lbs) to lose for my overall goal. But now I have the mental capacity and tools to get there… no specific timeline, just some smaller health goals, around exercise and my general well-being.
A health and wellness journey doesn’t need to have a deadline. But having a goal to worked towards is key.
I’ve now got a job I love, and a huge part of that job is that my company’s mantra is in tune with my well being. A real work-life balance. My company provides us with mental health time out, it can be an hour or a day. I have amazing supportive people around me.
I haven’t deliberately cut anyone out in my life, but I focus on spending more time with those that are supportive and who are not out to sabotage my progress.
I know real life happens, and there will be obstacles that will come my way, but I feel I am arming myself with tools and techniques to be able to deal with them, without derailing my journey.
Instead of isolating and detaching myself from the outside world, I reflect and think about my larger goals in life, and work on how I can maneuver through them.
I look forward to hitting more milestones in the coming months, and look out for the next blog that will give you more insight into how my Power Zone program works out.