We live in a society that floods the media with ideals of the perfect body, the perfect face, the perfect hair. Just one glance at magazines and you are met with ‘lose 8lbs in 8 days’, ‘on trend looks for spring’ and ‘how she got her body back post-baby’. It’s exhausting!
But yet, ignoring those societal expectations, the truth remains that we only have one shot at life, and one body with which to live it.
I’ve been on a journey over the past couple of years. After seeing a few photographs of myself where I looked less than healthy, I resolved to start making some changes. I wanted to feel healthier and I wanted to look healthier.
Filling my body with good things
I remember when I was younger I was known as Lynsey ‘two-plates’ as I always had seconds at dinner time. My mum used to say I had hollow legs as I filled up another massive plate of food. I was never a ‘fat-kid’….I was lanky and all arms and legs, and must have had a very high metabolism as all the food never really showed! Until puberty came and the weight slowly but surely crept on. Due to being very tall, it was not noticeable at first….but it was there.
When I moved away to work overseas at the age of 23, I found myself in the beer and goulash capital of Europe. Living in Prague was an amazing 4 years for me, but it was also a very unhealthy time as well! And yes, before long, the weight was creeping on again. I was low on energy and getting sick a lot. None of this did I connect with what I was consuming though!
It wasn’t an overnight change, but slowly and surely, I started to take real notice of what was going into my body. I switched from white carbs to wholemeal. I upped the amount of vegetables and fruit in my diet. And most importantly, I invested time in learning how to cook. I educated myself on nutrition and became more aware of what to load up on (veg, fruit, grains and protein) and what to avoid (artificial ingredients and sugars, and processed foods).
In school I shied away from PE. As a very academic teenager, PE was the only subject where I received negative results from my teachers: ‘must try harder’, ‘does not display a natural aptitude for PE’, and ‘unsatisfactory’. My high school PE teachers would be amazed to discover that I now go to the gym a few times a week, I am training to play roller derby and I take part in 5k and 10k running events.
The discovery of exercise was definitely the hardest part and it demanded a lot of willpower at the start in order for me to even lace up my trainers! I invested in a good pair of running shoes, safe in the knowledge that if I had spent money on something, I would certainly not let it go to waste. I joined a friendly, accessible and affordable gym – again knowing that if I was spending money I it, I would use it. It took a while but I soon started to enjoy the endorphin rush that came with exercise, find routines that worked for me, went along to classes provided by the gym….and started to see the results not only when I looked in the mirror, but in my energy levels and general health. My body was happier!!
Keeping the Balance
It’s hard to continuously be a food and exercise angel, and we all need treats! I used to be so disappointed in myself if I’d been super healthy for a long time and then fell off the ‘healthy wagon’ and had a binge night involving Kettle Chips and dip, maltesers, jelly babies, and wine. I’d wake up in the morning, feel awful but then give up on my ‘healthy living’. I soon came to realise that the occasional treat or binge is going to happen. And that was okay. As long as I picked myself up the next day and stepped back to the healthy option again. I realised that it was all about balance. I wasn’t going to be health-obsessed and forget to live my life and have fun. But I didn’t have to forget about my health because I was having too much fun either!
Seeing The Results
As I have said, this has certainly not been an overnight change. But when I look at photos of myself from 3 years ago, I can compare and see how much healthier I am now.
I’m now fitter, healthier and happier. And I think my future self will thank me for it!