I decided at the start of this year to engage in a Happiness Project over the course of 2015, with a different challenge each month designed to make me a bit more perky.
In January I sang every day with S… and spent most of the month saying “I’ve no idea what I’m going to do for February…”
I used to go to the gym every day, sometimes twice a day. I lifted massive weights at 6:30 in the morning, I did Body Pump classes, I ran a half marathon. I may have been a little obsessed with health and fitness. I used to spend Sunday afternoons cooking up batches of food for the week ahead and preparing salads to take to work for lunch. Then I had a breakdown, and I never really got back to the whole exercise thing.
After having S, I was paranoid about having PND, or about someone thinking I might have it – because I thought the ex could use that to take S from me – so I got up every morning and went for a really long walk. I did it more for something to do, to keep myself busy, than for fitness – but walking 10K every day and breastfeeding meant I was the slimmest I’d ever been. But then I went back to work in an office where I was bored rigid and would sit and eat my way through my day… and that part continued into self employment.
Since we moved house, things have been even worse. I’ve been terrible at preparing proper meals, rarely eat breakfast, and having given up all sugar for the entirety of September last year, I’m back to drinking at least a litre of Coca Cola every day. The most exercise I get is on the days I go to the Wave 105 studios to record my weekly “5 Things” feature, and rush back to the train station – a 15-minute walk. My fitness level is at the lowest it’s ever been, and I hate it when I’m reminded of this by that out-of-breath feeling from something I used to do without a second thought.
My clothes began to get too small, and getting dressed in the morning as I struggled to find something that didn’t look truly awful on me. I have an umbilical hernia which does not respond well to bad diet and lack of exercise. For the last month or so, that and my IBS have been really playing up. It’s not been much fun – and the other day someone actually patted my belly, as if I were pregnant.
I wasn’t overly bothered about the clothing situation; I just bought a few cheap tops in the next size up. It didn’t matter what I looked like; I work from home and wasn’t about to be asked out on a date. It took me a while to realise that perhaps I was a bit depressed. I’ve not got round to dying my roots for months, something I used to do every 6 weeks. I don’t wear make up any more, and stopped even bothering with things like filing my nails when they broke or shaving my legs. I’ve never really been one of those people who took a lot of time over their appearance, but I think for the last couple of months it’s been getting a bit silly.
I realised last week that this is all heading in a very bad direction. My stomach constantly feels bloated and unsettled. None of my clothes fit. I have acne. I feel sick a lot of the time and have no energy at all. I hate how I look and feel self conscious in any sort of social setting where I have to present myself as capable of being an adult (business networking, for example). I eat a lot of chocolate and more junk food. Something has to change because all of this is contributing to a really quite morose mood.
My challenge for February is health and fitness related: to begin eating properly again, and exercising. Both are supposed to help improve one’s mood. I know from experience how it felt to work it off in the gym any time I was stressed.
As a part of this challenge, I will be posting once a week about my progress, and linking up with Weight Loss Wednesday on Sim’s Life. The plan is not to go on some bonkers healthy eating mission and start going to the gym for six hours a day; rather, I want to gradually cut back on the crap and replace it with balanced meals and proper food.
Exercise-wise, the plan is to try to be more active, generally. Cash Generator very kindly sent me a copy of Davina McCall’s new “7 Minute Fit” dvd and I’ve done a couple of the workouts. They’re hard, but also only seven minutes (hence the name) so bearable. Hopefully my fitness will improve a little, and I’ll be more inclined to go for walks with S on our days off.
I have already gone back to listening to my Slimpod every night before bed, and it’s already having an effect after just a few days. I went to work in an office the other day, and instead of bringing a bag filled with sugary treats, I bought an orange bell pepper on my way there, and ate it like an apple. I think the Slimpod is a large part of the whole health and fitness thing for me, because I just have some sort of mental block about eating healthily. I will walk into a supermarket and wander around aimlessly, unable to figure out what to put into my basket. I can successfully avoid the cake and chocolate, but then often come out with a tray of chicken thighs and some raspberries because I can’t get my head around how to shop for and prepare a proper meal.
A lot of my problem, food-wise, is that S eats at nursery. She has a hot meal for lunch four days a week, and on two of those days she also has tea – so I don’t need to cook for her. This means I often bring her home, give her some tea if she needs it, then put her to bed and just sort of wonder what to eat. My tea is often cheese on toast or a bag of crisps because it just seems a little pointless to make more than one pan dirty when I’m only cooking for myself!
I know from experience that when I’m eating properly and getting a bit of exercise I do feel better about everything. The idea is that over the course of February I can improve my mood by changing my habits.
I am still on the look-out for challenges from March onwards, so if you have an idea for something that will improve my general happiness, do please fill in the form below.
[contact-form to=’SingleMotherAhoy@gmail.com’ subject=’Happiness Project Challenge’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Twitter Handle’ type=’text’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Challenge Suggestion’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]
Right… now I’m off to do some shopping so that there’s plenty of healthy food in the house. If you have any simple, healthy recipes do please share them with me – as well as any other tips you can think of!