We are in the first week of February already and I feel like I’ve been in a complete blur for the last month. I used to find January and February the most depressing time of year. It’s the middle of winter so the weather is usually cold and often wet and dreary. The aftermath Christmas holidays can be a bit deflating, all parties and excitement have ended and there’s nothing to look forward to except going back to work etc.
That changed for me after having my daughter in January (many years ago). I actually look forward to taking the Christmas decorations down now and instead of feeling like the place looks sparse and dull, I feel like the rooms are more airy and even a little bigger without all the tinsel, trees and various other festive decorations cluttering the place up. Within a couple of weeks the house has birthday banners, balloons and cards on display and it’s time for birthday celebrations, cake making and teenage sleepovers. It isn’t easy starting healthy habits during this time so I gave myself permission to start mid January instead of the beginning this year.
I consider the phase I’m in at the moment a ‘weaning’ stage where I ease myself into the New Year gently. It sounds like excuses I know, but by allowing myself to go slowly it takes the pressure off trying to start out with too many changes and restrictions or imposing strict exercise plans where there is a high risk of failing and giving up too soon.
So I started the year by being more mindful of what I eat, we all have left over festive foods and treats still tempting us, not to mention two birthday cakes (teenage girls deserve at least two celebrations apparently!). So I didn’t deny myself a slice of cake and glass of wine but I also didn’t eat cake with every meal or drink every night. I started my ‘dry January’ halfway through but decided I would continue it until the end of February to make up for it. I’ve founds some lovely alternative that make me feel like I’m not depriving myself. The ones in the image below are a few of my favourites, I also like herbal teas and fizzy water from my soda stream and so far I’m not really missing alcohol that much.
So that is the alcohol taken care of. Food hasn’t been as good but I am easing myself into it so I’m making some of my favourite recipes from various diets I’ve done in the past and trying to make sure I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables with the meals, also only having one portion of bread or cereal a day. One of my favourite recipes for breakfast is banana pancakes, these are delicious and don’t use up any of my bread or dairy allowances. I can’t remember where I found the recipe and I tweaked it a little anyway so I will give you the recipe here:
I’m also trying to use up the contents at the bottom of my freezer to make room for when I really get organised and start batch cooking! I’ve enjoyed making frozen cauliflower bakes and frozen mushroom soup to name a few. Tonight will be chicken stir fry with noodles. It’s best to cook from scratch rather than convenience food because you can control what ingredients you use and you can usually find great healthy alternatives. Even though I have many cookery books I often just search google for healthy versions of popular dishes.
As I love dancing and the weather is far too cold to use the pool or the gym equipment in the unheated barn, I’ve focussed my exercise on using a Zumba DVD and I’ve also bought the online Figure 8 basic package by Body FX.
Both the Figure 8 and the Zumba are based on Latin American dances and are a lot of fun to do. They are very high energy but you can go at your own pace and build up in your own time. A lot of the focus is on hip movement and abdominal crunches but it’s a whole body workout too.
I’m enjoying the classes and can manage short routines and have to make sure I don’t try to push myself too much until I overcome some of my health obstacles.
I have found the main problem I have is the pain in my knees during exercise. So now I’m also looking at ways to help with that as many of the dance routines use a variety of squats and lunges too. I’ve made by own pain and inflammation reducing oil using frankincense, myrrh, ginger and wintergreen essential oils, you can find many recipes on the internet to make various remedies and I’ve been collecting essential oils for years and now putting them to good use. I’ve also bought some tiny magnets that you stick on painful areas but haven’t noticed any positive results yet, I may need to look more into the correct placement of the magnets to see if I get better results.
It’s an uphill battle at the moment but, no matter how difficult, I’m optimistic that perseverance and pacing myself will eventually ease any problems as I become lighter and fitter.
Before starting these workouts I used and still intend to use workouts on YouTube by Dr. Bri who does exercise routines for Pelvic Health. While the exercises are for improving pelvic floor muscles they are really great for loosening up your hips and toning your stomach muscles. They are low impact exercises using figure 8 belly dance movements. This is a great alternative to use on days when I’m in more pain or feeling less energetic.
One essential area I am focussing on at the moment is to improve the quality of the sleep I get because it is during the deep sleep cycle when the body repairs itself and I’ve struggled with insomnia most of my life and although I can get to sleep OK now I have developed the habit of waking up to use the toilet two or three times a night. Sometimes I can get back to sleep but not always. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea last year and I’m currently trying to adjust to using a CPAP machine, I’m finding it easier but for some reason I always seem to get a blocked nose at night so I’m woken up by the air leaking out of the mask making lovely hissing and farting noises not to mention the cold air blasting into my eyes. Luckily this doesn’t happen every night and it does seem to be improving.
I bought a new fitness watch last week and according to that I’m getting over 3 hours of deep sleep each night which compared to my old watch is at least two hours more than before (I suspect one watch is not as accurate but I’d prefer to believe the new one!)
One thing I have changed is to load my MP3 player with motivating meditations and audio books and setting it to play all night. I’m asleep before the first one finishes but I’m hoping that the words in the meditations still get through to my subconscious mind while I sleep. Have a look at my article on meditation if you’d like to know more about the subject. It’s a free tool you can use and adapt to use anywhere at anytime to help you cope with stress and negative emotions, there are many forms of meditation so you are sure to find something that works for you. Another tool is EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique and I will be posting an article about that soon so keep an eye out for it.
So the progress so far is slow, I took all my measurements two weeks ago and started exercising and eating healthier.
It’s too soon to notice any results so I haven’t measured myself since but I’ve lost two or three pounds in weight which is a positive sign as I still intend to build on the regime I have in place.
I will hopefully have before and after pictures but I’d like to wait until there is actually a noticeable ‘after’ picture to share with you. Until the next update you can click on any of the icons below to see my Facebook, YouTube and Instagram pages to see other content that you may find interesting. I have two Facebook pages; one is my business page ‘Solistic Therapies’ where you will find links to videos on self reflexology and acupressure techniques and the other page ‘Healing Myself from Fibromyalgia’ has articles that I’ve shared on the subject. My YouTube channel is quite new and only has a few meditation tracks on there at the moment but I’m working on some of my own guided meditations that will be added soon so if you’d like to try them please subscribe to my channel to see future content.
I am currently affiliated with Body FX. This page may contain other affiliated links and if you purchase any item from following one of these links I may receive a small commission. Images that I haven’t taken myself are from pixabay.com or pexels.com.
Love this blog! Thank you, all great content and motivation. Thanks Janet. I can’t seem to click on a ‘like’ anywhere …x
Thank you Laura, your feedback is really helpful.
I think you have to have a WordPress account to like and follow my posts unfortunately. BUT you can subscribe without an account, you need to enter an email address and then press the subscribe and then you will get an email alert when I post anything new. My plan is to generate one or two posts per week once I’m properly up and running and have organised myself. Thanks for reading what I’ve done so far. x