So, I guess for the first blog I should be brave and give you a bit of history as to what started this whole new lifestyle change – I promise, anything else I write should hopefully not be as long and much more interesting 🙂 but for now, I guess I’ll just bare a little of my soul and give you an insight…
I have a variety of health issues including PCOS, asthma, IBS, and anxiety to name a few. I’ve had to have three surgeries and was on a lot of different medications to help but that takes a toll on a person. In comparison, my health is nothing compared to what some people have to go through everyday – especially some very close friends dealing with life altering conditions – but for me its been a struggle to balance my conditions, the medication I’m on and juggling everyday life. This is something I’m sure a lot of people can relate to which is why I thought starting this site could help not only me but anyone who might stumble across it.
Before I decided to make a change, I used to focus on my conditions and how they made me feel and dwell on that – I’d get in that horrid vicious circle of feeling down over the littlest of things and comfort eat, then I’d feel worst and be mad at myself which in turn just made me start the cycle again and just made my health problems worse.
About 3 years ago I woke up one morning and just decided this wasn’t how I wanted to live my life – in simple terms, I just basically had enough of the rut that I was in and something needed to change. I think for a long time I thought I needed someone to give me a magic guide on what I needed to do to fix things. Then I had a very basic epiphany that may sound obvious to some – you ultimately can only help yourself, and on that day this just seemed so clear to me and made the most sense, I’ve no idea why but it was the wake up call that I needed.
These days I don’t like to focus on the past too much – I’d need to write a book rather then a blog to fill you in on everything! If I’m brave you never know, a few tales may come out! These days my motto is you can’t change what happened, you can only change what’s to come so why waste the energy looking back? My rule is I’m allowed to have one day only to moan about a problem then the next day I have to start a fresh and do something about it – so far so good!
With that in mind, I guess I should explain a little about how I got to where I am today – so as the name of this blog suggests, grab a cuppa and relax, this could be a long read!
Phase 1… the plan!
So, on that day 3 years ago I sat down and made a plan – a basic list of what I wanted to change and what I needed out of my life. Nothing was too silly for my list, the obvious was to lose weight but I tried to make it more of a bucket list – this includes things like improving my skin, getting healthy on the inside as well as the outside, random experiences I wanted to try, new things I wanted to learn – I even listed a goal of going to Disneyland with the hubster if I made it to 6 stone loss. Sound silly and obvious I know, but this is what worked for me and I was just happy to figure that out on my own terms.
Next, I looked at it realistically – what could I achieve first? How would I keep myself motivated? So, I kept it simple and decided to look at tools to help me lose weight. Prior to this awakening I had been trying to lose weight on my own and had successfully managed to shift 24lbs but I was struggling to stick with it. Therefore, I found myself a support group of like minded individuals at my local Slimming World a I took my first big step and joined. I can’t take all the credit, I have some fabulous friends who support me and they joined with me – strength in numbers and all that – so we went and still go together.
I decided that the fun stuff on the list would become my rewards for when I hit mile stones, for example when I hit my goal I am going to go on a zip wire because I’ve always been too worried that I’m too big to do it.
Due to my medical issues, I am a very slow loser and this would always halt me on any plans I had historically tried. This time felt different and I just decided to embrace a ‘slow and steady wins the race’ approach – if I didn’t expect miracles and didn’t pressure myself with a time frame then any progress would be positive. This also helped me stop comparing my journey with others which I think is key.
Phase 2…upping the game!
I was doing well and the weight was coming off gradually so I quickly decided to continue the plan whilst my motivation was on a high. Next I looked at what Slimming World calls ‘body magic’- a fun way of getting a little bit more active. This seemed to be the most logical next step as I could feel my mood improving as I saw the weight coming off and was encouraged to try some exercise to keep the momentum going – they were not wrong!
I joined a local gym and stuck to going twice a week, but something didn’t quite click. I liked the results I was slowly getting but I wasn’t motivated to push myself – I just stuck to the same routine. A friend then suggested that I try introducing a class into my mix. I was concerned with trying an aerobics class as the old doubts crept in that I would be the biggest and people would stare, but then Zumba was suggested – I love dancing, albeit not very well but I have fun. What stood out was that it was done in disco lights so I could ‘hide’ in the shadows if I felt uncomfortable and felt like a good place to start.
I can honestly say deciding to go to that class has been one of the most pivotal points of my journey and I cannot thank my friend for recommending it to me! I had no need to be worried or concerned, the number of new friends I have made from that one class alone is amazing – people of all ages, sizes, and backgrounds. Everyone is there for the same reason, to have fun and hopefully lose some weight and tone up. To top it off, the instructor is amazing! He is super supportive and goes out of his way to make sure you get the most out of your workout, something I’ve not experienced at other classes. I love that he says ‘it’s your workout, do what you can’ as it encourages me to push more each week – I’m doing it for me. He understands my problems and gives me alternative moves if I need them, so the weeks I don’t need them I feel amazing!
So, fast forward to today and my life is a little bit different. I’m currently 6 stone down but am having a few new medical issues being investigated. I’m not going to lie, this has been a struggle both mentally and physically but persistence is key. Old me would have probably thrown the towel in, but new me has good new habits and an amazing support network to keep me going – the scales are either not changing or going down extremely slowly but my inches are always changing week on week so I keep focused on that – any progress is good progress in my book even if its a ‘non-scale victory’.
On a positive, my ‘normal’ health issues dramatically improved, and I just generally feel so much better even during difficult times which is a massive bonus. The biggest impact was to my breathing, my asthma is under control and I’m no longer always out of breath.
Safe to say, my exercise classes have expanded but I did ditch the gym membership as I didn’t feel I was benefiting. Lucky for me, the awesome zumba instructor I was introduced to holds classes independently so I now try to attend twice a week, and on top of that I do his classes of Insanity Live and my new found favourite Clubbercise. I’m sure I will write more on that in coming blogs (I don’t want to bore you from the get go!) but I’m very lucky to now be able to call him my friend – I honestly wouldn’t of got this far without him 🙂
I’ve also been slowly building a following on instagram where I share my slimming world creations/tips, my exercise progress and my general weightloss progress – check it out by looking for ‘gemmaangelenewhite’ if you’re interested.
So that’s me in a nut shell really, hope you’ve like the first installment and want to read more – watch this space!