As I was saying last week it has been a while since I’ve done one of my more wordy posts!

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If you are a fairly new reader and if it interests you then these posts help to tell a bit more of my story, however here’s the short version:

I was overweight, dieted and lost the weight and all was well. I then got a little too obsessive with my exercise and eating and lost more weight. I have always been a healthy BMI, but when I decided to come off birth control (not to get pregnant, just because I had a feeling something wasn’t quite right) in August 2011 I never had a period and I haven’t had once since. I believe I have hypothalamic amenorrhea and ever since then I’ve slowly been gaining weight and reducing exercise with a hope of getting my period back and my body healthy again.

My lowest BMI was 19 and now my BMI is a little over 25. Yep I am officially ‘overweight’ – although don’t get me started on BMI and how rubbish it is as measure of health! Anyway, still no period, which is where my frustration and feeling down comes in. I could stop exercising altogether but I believe that would cause me more stress in the long run which would be more damaging than the exercise I am doing. I am open to it if nothing improves though!

I have done a lot of research into this, perhaps too much, and what seems to be the case is that every single person is different. It appears that because I was previously overweight (and generally bigger since I was a child) my body’s ‘set point’ – the level of body fat needed to facilitate the production of the required sex and metabolic hormones, is higher. Therefore I may need to gain more weight than another women, and stay there for longer, before things improve.

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I am being proactive and trying out a couple of things such as acupuncture, reiki and seed cycling. Really thinking about things going forward, what I feel my body needs right now is some stability and balance. I’ve either been losing or gaining weight for the last 4 years, I feel like I need to work on actually being able to maintain this weight for a while, get comfortable with this being my natural size, which I believe it is, and work on my stress levels. Setting up a business, a community enterprise, studying and working full time does take it’s toll, but things are all coming together nicely and I feel like I can really start to work on a better work / life balance.

With regards to my body, I have written a few times about how I had started to feel uncomfortable with my size and reach the limit with regards to how much weight I gain. However, after a period of a couple of days of feeling ‘fat’ I seem to adjust quite well, and generally I am pleased to say that I can look in the mirror and be pretty damn happy with what I see. In fact I would take the body I have right now, over the one I had when my BMI was 19 without any hesitation.

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I have looked at two photographs of me, one at my lowest weight, and one from a few weeks ago. I don’t think I look ‘fat’ now in comparison, I just seem to appear ‘larger’, but not in a bad way if that makes sense? Like I just take up more space. What I’ve realised is if I don’t take ownership of this body of mine, with it’s curves and chunky thighs – a body that is substantial and strong, then I am losing out. I see women everyday that may be deemed ‘overweight’ but you can see the ones that own it and embrace it and don’t walk around almost apologising for it.

Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand why a women would want to lose weight if they felt that it affected their health, self esteem and confidence. Sometimes it is about just wanting to feel more comfortable in your own body. However, if you are happy and healthy being bigger then I don’t see why you should feel bad about that. I’ve worked with a few clients now as part of Uniquely Healthy where health and wellbeing is a primary factor over weight. Sometimes I think we need to be honest about what is driving us when it comes to weight loss. If it’s driven by a will to fit into societies utterly messed  up vision of being a women then perhaps working on why you feel that pressure would be a better approach? For me, it was realising that I would be eating very little and exercising a hell of a lot just to be able to maintain a UK size 10 figure, which at the end of the day, would be no more perfect a body than the one I have now!

As I said, this whole situation had been getting me down recently, but in the last few day’s I’ve had a bit of an epiphany. At the end of the day I make the choice to allow this situation to affect my life negatively. I am the one allowing the negative thought patterns to creep in and I have the power to stop it. So no more moping for me!

Over all I’m feeling good about myself and where I am right now. I’m still working on that ever elusive balance when it comes to eating, but I feel like I’m getting closer to it than ever before. The super conscious living experiment I did was so helpful in that regard.

249162_521730054553305_2094130317_nSlow cooked black bean chilli with added chicken bone broth and full fat greek yoghurt

I feel that the food I’m eating now is the most varied and healthy it’s ever been. I have no restrictions on what I eat at all and its mostly whole foods. I’m still including plenty of meat, bone broths and organ meats for all the nutrition they bring, but I’m also including traditionally prepared beans (long soaking and long cooking with added bone broth) in my diet. I do struggle with eating too much sometimes, but I’ve realised there’s nothing particularly wrong with that when it doesn’t stray into ‘binge’ territory. I just love food! I did a little experiment with MyFitnessPal a few days ago and without being conscious of it I’m eating an almost equal split of carbs, proteins and fats. After feeling like I might do better with certain foods and more fat and protein, bringing it back to me and my body has worked wonders for moving away from what I think I should be eating, to what actually works for me.

I’m still continuing with natural skin care, I use a mix of olive oil and hazelnut oil for cleansing, apple cider vinegar and water for toning and coconut oil for moisturising. I tried the ‘no poo’ hair care approach which just did not work for me so I’m using organic, chemical free hair care products. My skin is pretty good right now :-)

My exercise routine is also working well. I tend to go to the gym 3 times a week with walking and yoga in addition. Again, this feels like a nice balance for me at the moment and something that is sustainable. I would like to be able to go for a little run in the sunshine on a weekend once the amenorrhea is sorted, but other than that, this is the kind of routine I feel would work for me long term. I think aiming for being generally more active in every day life is better than having set ‘workouts’ so whenever I have the opportunity to walk somewhere or be naturally active I’m embracing it!

So that’s me at the moment! All great really, sometimes I just need to remind myself of all the positives I have in my life. How do you feel about your body in conjunction with what the media and society at large tends to advocate as ‘healthy’?