Lately I haven’t been feeling great about myself. Over the past year, I have put on weight and while it hasn’t been a major weight gain, it has been obvious to myself and the people around me. I stopped exercising, stopped eating well and I was eating at all the wrong times, too. By that I mean, I would often skip meals and when I felt hungry, I would snack instead of have a proper meal. Biscuits became my one true love! So, I’ve made improving my lifestyle my next mission.
Not only has my diet and weight been an issue, but I’ve let my skincare routine fall by the wayside. I let my skin get bad before I realise I should be doing something about it, and then I take care of my skin to fix the issues. But once I’ve done this, I let the routine fall again.
I’m also terrible at looking after my mental health, too! Just like my skincare routine, I let it fall into a deep, dark hole of despair before I realise – oh, I should do something about this. I either apply for counselling at my University, tell my parents or I’m so deep in the mess I have created, that I sit there stewing in it, assuming there is no other way out.
I’m now in my final year of University, and I’m sick of how low I let myself get. I’m completely done with not taking a hold of my life, and forcing myself to improve it rather than sitting there, wishing that it would get better without me having to put the effort in. I know I am lazy, and I know that I hold myself back. And I know that only I can change how I live my life.
Before, I would assume that if I couldn’t get myself into a better routine instantly, it would never happen. I think I have grown to realise that success isn’t instant. Success is baby steps. You wouldn’t go to the gym and try and lift your entire body weight the first time, would you? So why assume that everything else is going to come to you that instantly?
Just like we have to train our muscles to be able to lift heavier weights, we have to train ourselves in other ways, too. We have to train our bodies to get into that sleep routine that we want. If you’re currently waking up at 11am, but you wish that was 8am, we shouldn’t be trying to make that jump overnight! After a few days, we will feel drained and end up failing – and that failure will make us feel like it’s impossible. It does take time, but going to bed and getting up earlier in smaller increments, and working towards that 8am goal is going to be way more effective!
To get into that exercise or skincare routine, or diet that we want, we’re going to have to take it one step at a time and train ourselves until we are in a place that we are happy with. Thinking that we’ll get there in no time at all isn’t going to help us achieve what we want. The time that we put in will definitely be worth it.
With this fresh new look on how to achieve things, I’m going to be telling you the steps I’m taking to improving my lifestyle.
This is the most important one for me. Eating all the wrong things at the wrong times, and skipping meals leaves me so tired. Over the last few weeks I’ve been writing out meal plans to help me improve my diet. At the end of the week I sit down and write out what I’m going to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the following week and I stick it to my fridge so I can refer back to it! I then write a shopping list that corresponds to these meals, and try not to buy too many unhealthy snacks. Obviously, we all need that little boost between meal times, but I’ve been buying more healthy snacks for this. I have craved biscuits a few times, but a lot less than I have before!
The key thing to eating healthy is to make sure you’re enjoying what you’re eating. I’ve tried before to create meals I see online purely because they’re healthy, and each time I’ve failed with my new diet after a handful of days. As I’m writing this, I’m well into my second week of eating healthy and I’m loving it! I’m eating all the foods I love, but incorporating them into healthier meals. Also, trying to create new meals every week is a challenge I’m loving, and one I think is essential. Sometimes meal planning can get a bit samey, so trying to have at least 1 – 2 new dishes every week is a must.
Personally, me and bread don’t get along well together. I have a feeling I have a very slight intolerance to it, but I have never done any testing to see what allergies or intolerances I may have – this is something I’m really interested in, however! I think, if you can, testing to see what food you should be cutting out of your diet, even if it is only a slight intolerance, can also help your body look and feel better.
If you are also interested in food allergy testing, I have a discount code for you guys for all of Health Lab’s new Vegan food allergy tests! There are various tests that come under the Vegan testing range. You can test yourself to see if you have any animal-derived food allergies, and if so, maybe going Vegan would be a great health benefit to you. Or if you are already vegan, there are tests to check whether you are suffering from common nutrient deficiencies that vegans can suffer from. And from there, you can make the necessary adjustments to your diet.
If you’re interested in any of this and want to look into it more, visit Healthlabs.com and use my discount code BEKA25 to receive 25% off all vegan testing!*
Exercise is another one that I have fallen away from in the last year. I know that it’s tough to push myself to go to the gym, but while I’m there, I love it! The feeling afterwards of achievement and a good work out is amazing, too. I always start each Uni semester with good intentions, but as soon as midterms hit I stop going. And then I never go back.
This year is a bit different as now I have a beautiful puppy! I’m so grateful that I have him, and he is certainly going to make the stress of Uni and living alone a lot easier. However, it does mean that I have a lot less free time. The free time that I do have also has to be planned in advance, so that I can find someone so watch Alfie. This means I can’t head off to the gym whenever I want to, and I don’t have the help to be able to go to gym on a regular schedule, either.
My solution? Working out at home. I think working out at home sounds like a great idea, but when it comes to it, it’s actually more difficult. Having the discipline to stop lounging on the couch and push yourself physically for an hour is near impossible at first.
So, as is the theme of this blog post, I’ve been doing it in steps. I’m collaborating with Clare on a 7 day yoga challenge. (Stay tuned for that blog post!) When we were talking about themes we could write about, she mentioned that she loved yoga, and I wanted to get back into it. I was never a huge yoga fan, apart from the cool down at the end, but now it’s something I think I’d really enjoy. The 7 day challenge is what we chose, and I’m hoping it will be a nice segue into creating a fuller workout routine.
I’m especially enjoying bedtime yoga. Working out right before going to sleep isn’t something that I’d have thought of doing before. Yoga, however, can be quite calming and using it to stretch and relax before bedtime has really improved my sleep!
I won’t go into too much detail about yoga as that is for another blog post. Although, once I’ve incorporated that into my workout routine, I plan to expand to other workouts. I love weight/strength workouts as opposed to cardio, so the plan is to eventually be able to justify buying myself some weights for the house. Until then, I’d like to start incorporating squats and ab exercises into my routine!
If I’m honest, my skincare routine is still one that I am struggling with. Previously, I would try shower and work in my skincare routine when my puppy was talking his afternoon nap. However, I noticed that I ended up only paying attention to my skin every two days. This was an improvement compared to before, so I guess I should celebrate it as an achievement. Baby steps, am I right? (You guys are going to get sick of me saying that if you haven’t already.)
The ultimate goal is to obviously look after my skin as I should be – by cleansing it morning and night. The next step for myself is to cleanse it once a day. It sounds so silly typing that as it’s what I should be doing, anyway, but nobody is perfect, right?
Usually, in the mornings, after I have let Alfie out and fed him, I bring him back to bed with me. As I’m adjusting to this new morning routine, I don’t often feel the need to fall back asleep once I’m up. Once I’m back at University, I won’t even have that luxury! So, I’ve started putting him in my bed while I get ready. This means showering in the morning rather than in the afternoon, and working in my skincare routine every morning, rather than every 2 days.
So far it’s going really well. The next step will be to add my skincare routine in before I do my bedtime yoga. (Wish me luck!)
Mental health is one I don’t have a lot to say about. Obviously I cannot cure my depression or anxiety, and this is not an end goal I can work towards. But I can work towards helping myself better than I do now. This past year, I’ve let myself get to the lowest of points before I reach out for help. After the counselling I received earlier this year, I have a better perspective on my mental health and how to recognise when things are starting to go downhill.
The plan is to try and implement what myself and my counsellor talked about when I feel myself slipping, and reach out for help from my parents before I hit rock bottom again. I am very fortunate to have parents that can help me out quite a bit whenever I need them, and this time round I will be letting them know when I need that help, as soon as I need it.
Apart from that, I will be focusing on the smaller things while it’s just me and Alfie to help keep me grounded. Like taking a bath at least once a week, going somewhere new for dog walks once a week, and generally, just remembering to take a break and time out for myself. Especially when I feel at my most stressed!
If you have made it this far, well done and thank you so much for reading! I’m aware that this was a seriously long blog post, but after a quick poll on Twitter, this is what the majority of you guys voted for!
If you’re starting your journey to improving your lifestyle like I am, I hope my progress and thoughts so far can help you along your way. And more importantly, good luck with it!
What tips do you have for trying to improve or change your routine? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time,
*This is a sponsored post – I have been given a product/payment in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.