Well it’s been a while since I had a good ramble about where I am in my own health journey, so go grab yourself a cuppa and get comfy and I’ll tell you more about how things are with me.
I know I regularly talk about my life and what I have going on day to day, but those posts just tend to skim the surface and I’ve had a lot more going on behind the scenes shall we say!
This kind of continues from some of my older posts which you can find here if you want a bit more background, but the quick version is this: I lost some weight (down from almost 15st to 10st) and for a time, I was quite happy at that weight. But then I found myself getting more into intense exercise, running and somewhat restrictive eating (I adopted a vegan, quite high raw diet and didn’t eat enough to sustain my exercise) and that weight went right down to the bottom of what is considered a healthy BMI (I have never been an under weight BMI, but BMI is bullshit anyway). Two years ago I came off the pill because I felt like something wasn’t quite right with my cycle and low and behold, I never got a natural period and haven’t had one since. To try and deal with that issue (known as hypothalamic amenorrhea) I reduced my exercise (I was running and working out 6 times a week) and gained weight – I’m currently just over 2 stone heavier than at my lowest weight, but still 3 and a half stone lighter than my heaviest. I’m just over a healthy BMI, so according to that system I’m overweight. Lovely.
I actually did a nice post over at The High Tea Cast about it all in more detail if that is of interest to anyone. The upshot of all of this is actually quite positive, as the experience has completely changed my view of healthy living and made me a lot more respectful of my own body. I also feel that I have a fairly unique experience of being overweight and managing weight loss, but also understanding restrictive behaviours and how it feels to have to gain weight for your health.
I have been seeing a consultant at the hospital for various tests to try and get to the bottom of why I have not regained my cycle despite gaining weight and reducing exercise. It is worth noting that they do not see my past behaviours as part of my current problem, my diagnosis is just post pill amenorrhea which I think demonstrates how main stream health care is very narrow minded and not especially holistic! The tests have revealed that I have a small uterus which is bi conical or ‘heart shaped’ which I think is quite cute! It shouldn’t be an issue but I am having that checked out in more detail. I am now awaiting another round of tests and potentially the next stage is trying some medication which I am really not keen on at all. For me, I feel the pill masked over this problem which could have been dealt with much quicker and I’m not a fan of messing with your hormones like that at all now. Going to the hospital has been reassuring in some ways though, although we are certainly not looking to start a family any time soon, they have reminded me that in the grand scheme of things, or at least what they must see in clinic, at 31 I am still young.
As for things that I can work on, I do know that stress is an issue for me, and I really have to start and address that. Exercise could still be a potential problem, but I know that not doing it would cause me a lot more stress in the long run. I am still practising seed cycling, I’ve given my supplement regime an overhaul to try out some new things, and I’m looking to keep an eye on my sugar intake as well as I’ve noticed some very unpleasant effects when I eat too much. As I was saying yesterday, I’m trying to be consistent with maca so the super food sludge is a great way to get it in along with ground seeds and coconut oil in one tasty package!
Encouragingly, the last few weeks I have noticed some real changes in my body that make me think things might just sort themselves out on their own. Fingers crossed!
As for my body right now, I would say that 90% of the time I feel great. Hand on heart I bloody love my figure, it’s great to actually have a decent set of knockers on me again! Of course there are always parts of me that on some days I would change, but because I’ve grown to love and accept what I now believe to be my happy place, they don’t bother me so much. The 10% of the time when I have wobbles is usually when I know I’ve eaten poorly – there may be no difference in how I look, but when I feel bloated and generally yucky I feel worse about my body. As soon as normal healthy eating resumes I feel better again. I sometimes struggle when I see things on other blogs / social media – the usual one is when ‘before’ pics look like how I am now. I feel really crap when I see that, but then I look at these pictures to remind me how far I’ve come and I feel better again:
It’s the first time I’ve put together photos of me at my biggest, my thinnest and how I am now. I know some people might think I look good super skinny, but just look at my arms in that pic, they are like twigs and those jeans were a French Connection size 8 and were loose. Craziness. These pictures are a great reminder never to go back to either of those extremes ever again.
For a long time I felt like a failure because I had gained weight, until I realised that I had gained weight by choice. I have nothing to prove to anyone, least of all myself. I’ve shown I can lose weight and I know how to lose weight should I ever need to. I’ve successfully supported several clients with weight loss too. What I am now succeeding very well at, is weight maintenance, and actually that’s the bloody tough bit! I’ve also come round to realise that as much as my issues in the last two years have been around being too thin for my body, I am still ‘wired’ to be overweight and maintenance, even at the size I am now, does take some focus now and again. As much as I am an advocate for a balanced approach, I need to be aware of what my personal balance is so that I don’t tip either way too often. As I said I don’t want to go back to either of those extremes again, but as James often reminds me, I’ve made sufficient lifestyle changes and developed enough good habits that it shouldn’t be an issue.
I’m a UK size 12 – 14 and I have got really comfortable with that over the last few months. I’ve embraced my curves and accepted my body as it is. I believe that because I was always bigger than average, this is just how I am meant to be when not making a concerted effort – i.e. working out 6 times a week and eating in a highly ‘controlled’ manner. It might not fit into societies ideal body shape but society can sod off. Actually that is an interesting thing, yes I sometimes feel affected by what I see online, but generally I don’t suffer comparison issues with other media. It’s like I see all that stuff as something completely removed from me, like viewing a distant alien race. I’ve stopped thinking what I’m told I should think and I’ve started thinking for myself. My body is aesthetically pleasing to me (and very much so to my husband), I’m healthy in every other way than my period issue part from a couple of niggles (sugar hangovers!), I eat well most of the time, I exercise, I have fun and live my life and the result of that is this body.
Something I have been working on behind the scenes is a little freebie for you all. I’ve called it An Alternative Healthy Living Manifesto, and I am really hoping that you will all enjoy it. I’m planning on making it available to newsletter subscribers soon as a thank you. It kind of sums up my whole approach to this healthy living malarky! think when it comes to us all as individuals there is nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight as long as it’s for the right reasons and with an appreciation of what is healthiest for you. I can’t say that when my period issue is sorted I might not lose a few pounds (no where near what I was though) but it won’t be though eating less, it will as a result of more exercise. I do really miss tougher workouts! Although James has told me if I lose too my curves again he will tie me to a chair and force feed me Nutella. Anyway, I am hoping that my manifesto might help inspire you all in some small way to think about what is right for you and your body :-) Keep an eye out for it coming soon!
On the business side, things couldn’t be better and I am having a blast. Sometimes I can’t believe this is my life, me running my own business, it’s like a dream! Sorry I’m going a bit unicorns and rainbows on you all there aren’t I ;-)
I feel very creative at the moment, something I do hope is coming through on the blog. When I set out blogging I never intended it to be such a huge part of my life or even part of a business, but this little space I’ve made means so much to me, I’m incredibly lucky to be able to spend time expressing myself and sharing my life here with you all! As with everything, some days I doubt myself, but taking some words from Gok: ‘some times I f**k up, some times I get it wrong and sometimes I completely bolt in the opposite direction when I should do it, but then you can’t always get it right, but at least I’m respecting who I am’
As a health coach I’ve always known that I want to constantly expand my skills and knowledge, so at the weekend I decided to sign up for another nutrition course, this time in Clinical Nutrition. It’s distance learning again, and I can do it at my own pace so I will slowly be getting myself through that. Very excited about it!
So that is pretty much where I am right now, I feel like I’ve done a 180 in the last 3 years, but the important thing is that I found my way back to the place I need to be at this moment in time. To all of you that have been reading along, I hope it has inspired you in some small way, either what to do or what not to do!
How does seeing other bodies and lifestyles on social media make you feel?
How do you feel about your body right now? What factors influence how you feel? If you have struggled with your weight (both over and underweight), do you have to work at maintaining a healthy weight for your body?