I had high hopes last week. I had a good start to Monday with running before work, and great aspirations of running, yoga and weight training for the week. It didn’t work out that way and because of this I have avoided blogging. Oh.
Tuesday was an early start and a late finish with work so I missed the yoga class I had planned, and Wednesday I was never planning on exercising due to a work function. On Thursday I was hungover and Friday totally exhausted and so the high hopes were dashed.
Recently one of my favourite yoga teachers, Marylou, has stopped teaching at my studio, and I’m totally gutted about this. As a consequence I have avoided going on Tuesday nights since she left, as that was when she took the classes that I utterly loved. Despite this blow I really wanted to make sure I made my target of 10 yoga classes this month, even if running has been an absolute failure. So I went on Saturday and Sunday.
On Sunday I had a major clear out of my wardrobe. I gave away 3 bags of my belongings to charity, chucked a bunch of old crap away and put my summer clothes in the loft. I spent hours at it and by the end I felt that I had really made an impact on clearing out some of the clutter from my life. I am a natural hoarder as I apply emotional attachments to inanimate objects and so I have been gradually preparing myself for a big clear out over the last few months by slowly clearing away some bits and bobs. For me, preparing for this clear-out involved psyching myself up for change and for cutting ties, I had to know what elements of the house I want to work on and focus on that. I knew that the clothes were becoming an issue that needed addressing, to which Giles would certainly testify.
I mentioned in previous blogs that I was taking an anti-psychotic medication that was prescribed to me for possible bipolar disorder. The side effect of this was a slowed metabolism and weight gain, and in 10 months, despite a healthy vegan diet and exercising I gained 2 stone. I gradually had to start buying bigger sizes, going from a 10, to 12, to 14 to some 16.
This is not my happy place.
My wardrobe has become a place of leggings and baggy tops, cover-up clothes in muted colours. It reminds me of my most acute depressive episode when I dressed like this because I wanted to be invisible; to disappear. The medication to fix my moods made me feel as bad as that time in my life, and because of this I chose to stop taking them, also because they didn’t really seem to improve my mood and made me sleep way too much.
However, nearly 3 months later I have lost ZERO pounds. I didn’t drink alcohol for 6 weeks at the start of the year, I eat a healthy plant-based vegan diet and I ran every day in January and went to hot yoga every day too. Still not a single pound lost. People said that maybe it was muscle building, or that I was exercising too much, but I’ve been taking photos and there is little or no change in my body shape either (round is technically a shape).
My body shape makes me sad. My clothes make me sad. My clear-out has meant chucking away clothes that I just can not fit into and that makes me sad. That said, I refuse to have a wardrobe of fat clothes. So, I have had a clear out and put in the loft some of my more treasured items, even if fitting into them again seems like an impossible task!
The de-cluttering process has been good for me but also for Giles. Areas of the house have become clearer and cleaner and Giles has started making storage space for the office area that I need to tackle next. I needed to just start doing the clear-out, and I know that the less clutter the more content I feel and this will drive me to do more.
So, last week was shit from an exercise perspective or for feeling good physically, as I judged myself with each piece of clothing I had to give away.
Where does this leave things? Well, my New Years intention for beyond January was to do a medal-winning race each month of the year. This is currently on track, the next one is a 10Km race on 11th March. I also wanted to do a minimum of 10 yoga classes a month. I went to yoga on Monday and Tuesday this week meaning that I completed exactly 10 classes in February. So despite it feeling like a lazy month, I have actually achieved both my goals. Whoop.
Over my years of yoga practice I have always felt that if I leave 4 days between classes that is too much. Really I need to do 4 a week. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself as I was away a lot in February and any more than 10 in the month would have been hard, but it would certainly have been easier to achieve 4 each week if I wasn’t drinking from Monday to Friday.
I want to get back to weight training, but I also need to be realistic with my goals as I am really good at making excessive plans that I can’t complete, and then I beat myself up for it. I need to make sure I am taking a holistic approach to my happiness, so de-cluttering the house, getting on top of my life admin and getting away on holiday this year is really important to me too.
Over the last few weeks I have finally booked some holidays. In 2016 my resolution was to take more holidays and I utterly failed, so I wanted to get this right in 2017. One of the trips I have just booked is a yoga retreat in Goa, India, from 2nd to 12th of April. I am beyond excited about this.
One of the yoga teachers who used to teach in Balham was Naomi. She doesn’t teach there any more either, but I took her class every Tuesday and Sunday for several years. I started going to her retreats a few years ago and have been to two in Spain and one in Morocco as well as day retreats in the UK. Naomi has a really upbeat vibe that I love and years of experience so her retreats have a hugely positive impact on my practice. Beyond that though, I have met some of the most amazing people, and life-long friends at these retreats.
I was hesitant about going to Goa as it is somewhere new, and far and different. I get anxiety about travelling to new places and being unable to manage my own diet and environment and things like that, but I decided to bite the bullet and book it. There are so many of my yoga friends going it will be really good fun and I can not wait to be immersed in the positive and loving warmth of their company. It is 30 days till I fly out and I think that realistically if I want to focus on any aspect of my exercise beforehand it needs to be yoga and running. I want to get back to the weight training but I think that waiting till I return from this trip is not a bad plan. Yes, I want to do 10 yoga classes a month, but in the next 4 weeks I want to do 4 per week. I also want to run 3 times a week.
My yoga class on Tuesday night was one of the best ones I have had in ages. It was my 4th consecutive day of going and I just felt really strong and flexible. Now I am away until Friday night with work and so won’t be able to go again until Saturday, but so long as I go on both days of the weekend I will make 4 classes this week.
I read this quote this week that made me realise that I need to refocus my life so that I am prioritising exercise again. So with this, Steve (my colleague and training partner for the January Run Every Day challenge) and I had a chat about how on point our training was in January, and how February has been far from wonderful. We have decided to book a half marathon so that we have something to train for as running a 10Km is possible even with the most modest of training, and we will do 3 runs a week in preparation. I am sticking with 10 yoga classes a month, but will push that up to 4 a week before my yoga retreat. Furthermore the plan is to not drink during the week so that I can make exercise my priority.
This week so far I have been have been to yoga on Monday and Tuesday. I have taken my running kit on my travels this week but I was far too tired yesterday and this morning. This evening I am flying from Manchester to Dublin, and driving down to Limerick, so I hope to get out for a run tomorrow morning as I won’t be able to tonight.
I also booked an appointment to see my GP so that I can get a referral to an endocrinologist to have my thyroid evaluated. I am sure that my stubborn weight is not normal and because the drugs I was taking can impact your thyroid and metabolism I think I need to get it checked out.
So despite last week feeling like a disaster I feel like I am on track again. I actually met my February goals and March is going to be a good month I am sure. Then I go to Goa on 1st April. All this makes me feel happy. Happy happy happy.