I wrote a blog post before about how I was joining a program to try and look after my body a little better. Time has absolutely flown and I am now at the end of my six week Supercharged Club Mission and I am just so pleased I decided to do it.
Before signing up I worried if now was really a good time to sign up for something like this. I didn’t feel like I had a single spare second to add anything extra into my life. I felt pretty overwhelmed just by the day to day stuff I was already trying to do. And these last six weeks have been pretty full on anyway. I’ve had two courses, one a grand adventure to London by myself, a week’s camping in a field with a big group of family, a poorly weeekend spent in bed feeling sorry for myself, and a really busy work schedule, with some seriously tough shifts.
But you know what, being on the Mission at the same time as all that has actually made my life easier rather than harder. It has helped me gain some very important perspective, helped me to prioritise what is really important, feel confident to ditch some of the stuff I was wasting my time with that really didn’t make life any better for any of us. It has made me confident to take that time to look after myself more, so that I can carry on looking after others. It has helped me to take time out, reflect, realise all the great things I have to be thankful for, and some of the reasons why life has felt pretty out of control for me ever since having children.
Now so far none of this is sounding much like a diet. And really it hasn’t felt much like a diet. There has been lots of discussions about food. There has been some online sharing of lovely photos of our supercharged meals.
But the food food discussion has mainly been about ways you can get more nutritious foods into your daily meals. How you can feel full all the time, and not find yourself craving stuff all the time. It’s been about thinking about the foods that you eat, how they make you feel, why you make those choices, and how you feel about those choices. It’s about making sure you really notice and enjoy the food that you are eating. When you eat that piece of cake, make sure it’s really great cake and that you take the time to sit and really enjoy every bite without ever feeling guilty about it.
I am definitely not eating any less food now. In fact I’m probably eating more food now, and definitely more often. I am eating every food group, and there is absolutely nothing that isn’t allowed. I have eaten cake and ice-cream, and thoroughly enjoyed the sausage roll tasting at our work bake-off last week (sadly my entry didn’t win). I have also spent a lot more time wondering if the food I am choosing to eat right now is the food I want, that my body needs, that is going to nourish me, keep me full and give me energy.
Its amazing the amount my tastes have changed. I am feeling thirsty and actually wanting to drink water for the first time ever. I haven’t had a cup of proper tea in a month, and that is purely because I haven’t fancied one. In the past I had absolutely no will power. If I opened the snack cupboard I would always want to eat the biscuits, and so I would. For the past few weeks I still open the cupboard, but I don’t want anything in it. It’s not because I am denying and depriving myself of those treats, I literally haven’t wanted to eat them.
One of my big worries, and a massive part of deciding to join the mission, was a number of concerns about my pelvic health. Generally post children this has become a bit of a disaster zone. I have seen physios and gynaecologists, but generally find the whole thing a little mortifying. I have been given exercises to do, and just never done them. Since starting the mission I have actually managed to start, and carry on, a daily exercise program, focusing on improving my core strength. I feel really proud of myself for managing this, I still find the exercises seriously hard, and there have been days where I wonder why I’m bothering, but I am still going, and that is what is the crucial step for me right now.
But more importantly than having a set of ascribed exercises I must do every day, I have learnt so much about ways to move to really help my core muscles work together in a way that strengthens them rather than weakens, how our posture and our breathing affects our pelvic floor, how daily functional movements can be as important as going to the gym. Don’t worry, I’ve still never set foot in a gym and I don’t really intend to change that anytime soon. So now when I stand from the chair, I try to remember to really engage my glutes and my core, and stand up with my muscles rather than hauling myself up like an old lady. When I pick up my enormous three year old I now try to squat, engage my core, breath out as I lift him. I am not getting it right all the time and I am constantly finding myself slouching with my bottom tucked in, but at least now I am noticing and trying to correct it. I’m hopeful that eventually it will become second nature.
At the end of six weeks I have actually lost half a stone, and I would still like to lose more weight too, but as the weeks have passed the idea of weight loss has become less and less important. So as well as losing a little weight I have gained lots of other things. I have gained more awareness of my body and how to move it in a way that makes me stronger. I have spent a lot of time just really breathing, I never realised it was such a bloomin’ complicated process, and that’s coming from a doctor! I have gained an ability to own the choices I make over what food I eat, and wanting to nourish myself. I have gained a whole raft of things that I can do instead of eat a bowl of ice-cream when I feel sad or stressed or lonely or bored. Instead I eat the ice-cream when I want it, with enjoyment rather than guilt. I have gained some really useful tips on dealing with my constant feeling nightshifts in a really positive way, which has totally taken away that hangover feeling I used to get for days afterwards. I have gained the confidence to book another appointment with that physio, knowing that I now have the determination to actually do the exercises she advises me to do. Gained the confidence to wear floaty, cropped trousers in this stifling heat wave we are having right now (I have bought some shorts but I haven’t quite worked myself up to that yet).
Gained the ability to actually notice when somebody pays me a compliment and really accept it (yesterday I had compliments from two of my most grumpy colleagues, and I totally let them sink in, made me smile for hours). I have gained some real insight into the things that I value, that make me feel good about myself, and has inspired me to make plans for lovely nights out with friends, and hopefully get a book group going so that I can actually start reading again. I have already nearly finished our first chosen book, and have totally loved it, and the experience of actually reading again.
I have also also gained the support and encouragement of a really lovely group of ladies online, who have really spurred me on on those tough days, and celebrated with me on the good days.
This blog post isn’t an advertisement. I don’t expect you all to go and sign up for the July Mission but if you felt like you wanted to after reading this I would tell you that it will help you in all kinds of way. It is not a magic answer, and above all, you have to do the work, but it has certainly be one of the most positive things I have done in a very long time!