Apologies for having a week off. I was at Bestival last weekend so I had no time to write anything, and 5 days of chips and Strongbow Dark Fruits wasn’t exactly representative of this blog…
We had the best weekend. Dancing and drinking in crazy tents, had my purse stolen, but I was too drunk and giddy from laughter to care too much. Bestival is the last jolly of the summer, and it’s always a nice way to end it before we knuckle down with jobs/university.
The last two weeks have started to feel really wintery, is it just me? It is pretty cold and I’m craving hot drinks in a blanket. As summer draws to an end, I’m thinking about my goals and how they carry forward. We’re all guilty of waiting until New Year’s Eve to set resolutions, and gearing all our efforts towards that ‘bikini body’ and summer break in the warmer months. I want to break this cycle for myself; I have a habit of leaning out in the summer, and then just overeating in my duvet when it gets cold. I’ve worked so hard to get to where I am, I don’t want to waste it. And why do we care about that ‘bikini body’, when realistically most of us spend about 7 days out of 365 in said bikini? It’s nuts. I’d be better off being fitter closer to Christmas as I play a winter sport…
I’ve also started thinking about other goals in my life. Things are changing for the better career-wise, and this year will be important. I want to stay on track because the hard work will result in a better life for myself.
And most importantly, I want to take time to focus on self-care. When life gets crazy, I start to slip away and I’m very good at letting myself get consumed by work. And then one day I wake up and realise I’m burnt out, miserable, and I’ve almost forgotten how to have fun. While I have all these fitness and career goals, I want to make sure I set time for myself to enjoy things. None of this will be worth it if I’m not happy.
I hate the idea of Monday being a ‘reset’ day, but I am starting over as of tomorrow just because it makes sense. Since I’ve come back from Bestival, this week has been a bit all over the place as I get back to normal life. The only exercise I’ve done is rugby, and my nutrition has been good at times… but others not so great. Vegan Ben and Jerry’s came out in the UK, it was a magical moment and yes I ate the whole tub in a day. No regrets. Today I have taken photos of my body, weighed myself and I’ve taken measurements. I’ll only show the photos below because my digits are personal to me and we shouldn’t compare our weight/size to others because every body is different.
Week 0: Photos
I will do an update on every 4 weeks just to show where I am at, and hopefully I will have made some noticeable progress. I will not let myself lose sight of my goals just because it’s rainy and miserable weather; I will keep fit this winter.
This post is more personal instead of direct advice, but I hope it rings true with some of you. Maybe you’ll set your own winter goals!
1. Be Consistent with Fitness
When it’s cold and rainy, it becomes harder and harder to motivate myself to workout. In summer you just want to run around in cute sports bras, whereas on a miserable soggy walk home a long shower is all you want. I want to be consistent, but realistic, with my fitness. I will have rugby twice, maybe three times, a week. An additional two or three sessions a week seems reasonable and achievable. In the last couple of weeks my normal training and nutrition has gone out of the window a bit, and although I haven’t gained any weight on the scale I’m sure I’ve lost some muscle. As of Monday I will be restarting the 8-week ‘Sarah’s Day’ ebook (which I talked about here) which will take me to the 12th November. If I’ve managed to maintain/increase my fitness a month before Christmas I will be very happy! I will make sure to track my progress (and slip ups too).
2. Don’t Overeat
This is going to be the hardest. I need to plan more wintery healthy meals so I don’t end up eating giant roast dinners all the time (oops). Things like warm salads with seasonal veg, stews, curries, etc. This will hopefully be good content for my blog too! I need to make sure I stick to tracking my meals with Lifesum, and make sure I’m not eating empty calories. One of the biggest tips I can give anyone is say no to food that gets brought into the workplace. With Autumn and Winter comes the biscuits and boxes of chocolates. Either the temptation is too much or you feel rude for saying no, but just stick to your guns. Grazing throughout the day is a killer, and you’ll suffer a sugar crash later on. Being vegan is a great excuse because you can’t eat most of the treats and no one questions it. Another alternative is to say you’ve gone sugar free! Staying clear of the office goodies is a must in the colder months.
3. Indulge in a meaningful way
I allow myself breaks from healthy eating, but I think I need to find ways to fit it in with my social life. Having a pizza at home is nice, but if I’m turning down social events for fear of wrecking progress I need to reevaluate my plans. I want to make an effort to save my treats for friends and events, because it can be quite isolating when you’re the only one who is eating clean. There are ways to have goals and achieve them, but still enjoy yourself. I’m still learning to figure that out! I will be making a conscious effort to do this during the Autumn and Christmas.
4. Upgrade from MPhil to PhD
These goals aren’t particularly relevant to the theme of this blog, but I’d like to share them anyway. An MPhil is an advanced postgraduate research degree that you must complete to upgrade to PhD, and both degrees are working towards the same thesis. Oversimplified, the MPhil is the first year or two of research and you have to defend your thesis to a panel before moving forward. Because I am part-time, the deadline for my upgrade isn’t until December 2018. However, I am on track and hoping to have my 30,000 words drafted by this Christmas, ready to upgrade in the spring. It is important at this stage that I keep moving forward because the sooner I am done, the sooner I can start looking for lecturing positions. Although this blog is about my fitness goals, I think it’s important to show my academic goals because we are all well rounded people and have multifaceted lives. Yes I want to be fit and healthy, but I also want to have a career! Don’t let one or the other take all of your attentions; there have been times where I’ve argued I’m ‘too busy’ to exercise and should research instead. This is usually utter rubbish, and I end up lounging about the house anyway. 45 minutes of your day won’t kill you, and no substantial work is achieved by sitting at a desk for 10 hours straight. I need to keep a healthy balance between nurturing my body and my mind.
5. Complete my first semester of lecturing (without puking)
If any of you have me on Facebook you’ll know that I recently found out that I’ll be taking a first-year seminar this semester, eek! It’s an introductory module and my seminar groups will be small, but I’m still feeling nervous naturally. This is such an amazing opportunity for me and I am beyond grateful. This is my first time teaching properly (excluding Japan), but as long as I get through the semester I will be very happy. I should learn a lot from this, and it will be a great foundation for my academic career hopefully. I’ve been working as a PA for 2 years since I graduated from university with a first class degree… This wasn’t exactly what I thought I would be doing when I graduated, but it has been an ideal job for me while I study and I would have never afforded my fees without this job. I have dreams and at times it is hard to see the bigger picture when I’m constantly broke and working my ass off, but these things take time. These next few months will be crazy as I’ll be working two jobs with a research degree, but I’ll reap the rewards eventually. I think this rings true with fitness goals as well; you need to remember to see the bigger picture, because hard work will always translate into achievement. Have patience, and you will be rewarded.
6. Remember to have a life
I’m really bad at this. I’m very much an all-or-nothing person; I either spend all my time chilling out or I shut myself away so much I forget what sunlight is. I’m excited to have all these goals for myself and milestones looming, but I need to find ‘me time’. Spending time with friends and doing things that I enjoy needs to hold a better place in my life. Not only that, I need to nurture the right sorts of friendships. I think I’ve been wasting my energies with people who aren’t really true friends or support me in the way I should be. Equally, I’ve been wrongly neglecting people who are important and I need to reach out to them more. I will make a conscious effort to have fun, and surround myself with the right crowd. If you catch me turning down events unnecessarily, please give me a swift slap.
These are my goals for this winter; I’m sure there will be smaller ones, but these are the six ‘bigger picture’ goals that I want to focus on. It can be therapeutic to write these things down, especially if you are feeling a bit lost with where you are in life. Health and fitness in particular can slip away as summer ends, so remember to maintain your progress. Dieting for the rest of our lives would suck; it is important to try and form habits that will last a lifetime instead of living a cycle of binging and restricting. Eat whole foods and get your body moving, and the rest will fall into place. If you’ve enjoyed this list maybe write one of your own! See what you want to achieve in the coming months and set yourself realistic goals.