In the name of full disclosure, I feel it’s important to confess that as I sit down to write a very honest reflection about my journey to-date with wellbeing, I do so in in my PJs on a Sunday at 10:20pm eating Nutella out of the jar with a spoon. I’m not sure whether that’s more ironic or symbolic to be frank but more on that later.
So if you expected wellness advice and tips to get you from “Fat To Fit in only 7minutes per day”, my friend, do yourself a favour and log off. This is a real life, messy AF account of one mama’s relationship with herself, body and soul. We all have our own demons with our bodies, body image, nourishment, self-care and how (and if) we nurture us. And it’s so different for each of us but the net/net is usually the same … we have rarely reached a place where we genuinely feel we are prioritising our own needs and taking good care of ourselves.
Here is my wayward journey. To make a potentially long, and quite frankly, not-so-interesting story, short, here is a quick recap of my relationship with my body until my late twenties. Fine. Honestly, that’s pretty much it. I never had any real body image or mental health issues until well into my twenties. Maybe in part I was lucky but I think the majority could be attributed to the fact that I was very active, fit and strong and coming from an Eastern European family, ate mostly home-cooked whole foods and very little takeaway or junk food. I was confident, energetic and would have given little thought to my wellbeing because it just wasn’t an issue.
In my late twenties, after years of working myself into the corporate ground and honestly, excessive drinking, my body broke down soley, I believe, due to my mental state. I was so miserable in my work life and its trajectory, largely because I had chosen a path that was such a poor fit. It meant that every day I expended all my precious energy trying to be someone and something I’m not. My body knew better and eventually gave way and I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue and had more than 3 months off full-time work. During the worst of it, I could hardly walk from the couch to the front yard and I was a shadow of myself at best. I subsequently made some changes in my work life and some small improvements in my exercise and diet but little did I know how far away I still was from being happy + healthy.
During my pregnancy with Luka in 2014, I had virtually no issues. Honestly, if it wasn’t for my growing bump, I would have hardly known I was pregnant. I did pre-natal pilates + worked full-time (in a big role) until 37 weeks without any issues. I had no aversions, no cravings, no physical ailments, no major weight gain etc. I’m not telling you this to piss you off but rather trying to set the scene. After having Luka, I lost all my baby weight (not necessarily all the jiggle) and left the hospital on the fifth day wearing my normal Zara Skinny Jeans. I tried to get out every day and go for big walks (after about 6 weeks once I could actually walk) and generally felt pretty ok both within myself and with how I looked. I even shot a couple of active wear and swimwear content campaigns within that first year. Easy breezy.
The following year, we made the decision that I would pursue my own business rather than returning to work in Corporate and that instantly shifted my internal happiness to a whole new sphere. Even better.
And 3 years later, I’m by far the happiest I’ve ever been on many levels. I am also the unhealthiest and heaviest. I realise this is a somewhat usual combination. And sadly, it all comes down to lack of prioritizing my own wellbeing, “being perpetually busy” and some really bad habits. That combination alone has seen me put on at least 5kg in the past 6 months and feel generally horrid – sluggish, wobbly, tired. I’m self conscious about my body for the first time in my life and I hate it. And it’s not about “loving my curves” or “accepting my body” for me. It’s about correcting the behaviours and habits that led me here in the first place.
And I’m not here to fuck spiders so here is exactly what the reasons are:
01/ late nights – this for me is the number one reason I have put on weight and feel like shite. I go to sleep REALLY late. I therefore a) don’t sleep enough b) don’t have enough energy during the day and c) eat a lot of rubbish snacks late at night. I actually eat ok during the day but after 10pm, all bets are off.
02/ lack of boundries + priorities – I have failed to set myself appropriate boundries and be disciplined around them around work, life and me-time. That has led to always moving exercise and other self-care practices aside for everything else. I always read and envy people’s morning + night-time rituals but the reality is when you go to sleep at 1am and you have a 3-year old, that all goes straight out the window.
03/ social media/technology – as many of you know, I have struggled to incorporate technology into my life mindfully, which why I’m so hell bent on doing it now and teaching others to do so also. The type of work I do has magnified 01 and 02 for me.
04/ not being mindful or grateful – because I was always fit and healthy, I have taken wellbeing and self-care completely for granted. Points 01, 02 and 03 also contribute to not being mindful.
So, there is a few things I’m intending to do about it. I’m keeping it really simple until I make progress. Here they are:
- Educate myself about health + wellbeing from a number of angles and surround myself with healthy people to soak in their vibes and words of wisdom
- Go to sleep earlier – easier said than done as this is an ingrained habit. Starting off with 30mins at a time
- Start Reformer Pilates and aim to go at least twice per week – schedule these into my diary as with any other appointments that can’t be moved (I have my first class on Wednesday so wish me luck!)
- Try to incorporate incidental exercise more into my day – walks to day care pickup etc
- I have ordered an organic Fruit + Veg Produce Box weekly from Street Organics for 4 weeks to encourage me to eat more nourishing foods
- Set boundries around social media – I’m still working out the right mix for me but slowly getting there. I am using an app called Moment to track screen time to give me a better idea of how much time I’m actually spending on what.
- Read “The Happiness Plan” by Dr Elise Bialylew, the Founder of Mindful in May to learn and incorporate mindfulness meditation techniques into daily life.
My aim is not only to improve and prioritize my own health + wellbeing as a busy mum but help other’s along the way. I believe that in our current world our wellbeing (both mental + physical) is hugely impacted by how we use technology. This is an area we have been doing a lot of research into and can’t wait to share our ideas.
I am learning along the way and will share (mainly via Stories) how I’m going and the different things I try. I have also been fortunate enough to convince some incredible women to share their stories and expert advice with us this month and will finish with an epic “Self Care” Giveaway, just in time for Mother’s Day.
So to finish where I started – the general gist is that exactly what I’m doing right now (working on a Sunday, late at night, eating shit mindlessly) is exactly how I got here. I know it’s going to be hard to shift these behaviours and habits but it’s really, really important to me. I want to look and feel great, be clear, focused, present and mindful and set an example for Luka. I want to live my life with abundance and gratitude and feel great every day. And if I can inspire or motivate even one of you to take better care of your precious self, than I’ll consider that a huge bonus. As always, all your tips and support are so appreciated xx ina