Text reading "Getting my groove back" in white on a dark blue background with a photo of me on the right wearing blue gym clothes and standing in front of a mirror

Getting healthy at home

Me standing in front of the mirror in the change room, wearing workout cloths and my headphones.
Did you really work out if you didn’t take a selfie? Yes, yes you did. This was just…I don’t even know why I took the photo hahaha.

This whole quarantine/lockdown life has definitely thrown a wrench into my plans of getting into a healthier routine. Before COVID took over in March 2020, I went to the gym and attended dance classes while really taking charge of my diet. I was getting healthy, and I loved it. Then our first lockdown hit, and things started to go downhill. I found myself eating unhealthy foods out of boredom, being really lazy and not really active. I was falling into a depression that I didn’t want people to know or concern themselves about. Why? Because we were all struggling with it, and I didn’t want to add my issues to anyone else’s struggles.

After months of feeling blah-like, the COVID restrictions were starting to lift, and I found my way back into a pool, swimming three times a week for about an hour. This was the greatest gift I could have asked for for my mental health. And because I was more active, I found myself feeling and eating better. I wasn’t going for the chocolates, bread (all carbs really), fatty junk food. I was looking for fruits and vegetables, and all that good stuff.

Then the holidays hit, restrictions came back, and there was junk food aplenty in the Nelis house, thanks to the lovely care package from my incredible mother-in-law in Ireland. Her holiday packages are what legends are made of; they are jam-packed with chocolates, chips, candy and all that delicious sugary goodness that you can only find in Ireland. So, mix the junk food with no longer being able to swim and becoming lazy over the holidays, and I feel blah all over again. But it’s not all negative. In 2020, I actually lost about 35 lbs. That’s a huge thing for me as I did it without falling into old, terrible habits and slipping out of my eating disorder recovery.

Taking charge of me

That number, my weight, was definitely an inspiration for me, as I know that if I can do that during a crappy year where I didn’t really meet my own goals, then when I’m really ready to tackle it, the process will be a breeze (sort of).

I know, I know, everyone says that they want to get healthier at the beginning of any new year. BUT I think this is different. I tried and failed a few years ago when I wanted to get healthy because, well, I used the number on the scale as a goal. I have been spending the last month or so planning on how I’m going to tackle achieving a healthier version of myself while being in lockdown and what healthy really means to me overall if the number of the scale goes down, fabulous! But that won’t be my measure of success.

What does healthy mean to me?

After so much time thinking about this question, I think I have an answer. Healthy to me means:

  • Not running out of breath walking up the stairs several times when doing laundry.
  • Feeling good about myself when I look in the mirror.
  • Finding joy in shopping for clothes.
  • Feeling mentally engaged and awake throughout the day, and not waiting/looking for nap times (although, sometimes this is also a healthy thing to do).
  • Liking what I see in all photos of me, not just select ones.
  • Enjoying food without feeling guilty.

What am I doing about it?

So, those are great things to strive for, but how the hell do I plan on really doing this? Well, on the food front, I’ve signed up for Weight Watchers. I find their points system to be absolutely amazing and so easy to use. I’ve always sucked with the concept of portion sizes. I overthink it, become anxious about it and then usually fail. But with Weight Watchers, the points make it so much easier, and it makes me accountable for what I’m putting in my body. Like really, do I really want to waste 14 daily points on a venti mocha from Starbucks when I could have a whole yummy meal that will fill me up instead? Trust me, that revelation on how many points my favourite Starbucks drink held was SHOCKING!

That’s not to say that I’m never going to enjoy that treat ever again, but instead, I plan it out with my points. It’s my weekend treat. If Peter and I are out and about, and I have a craving for it on Saturday or Sunday, I’ll treat myself to it. However, I’m not going to Uber Eats it to the house. That’s another thing that I’ve fallen prey to – the Uber Eats and Skip The Dishes apps. With the help of Weight Watchers and their easy-to-use app, I’m actually pre-planning my meals and taking into account how many points I use. It’s just so damn easy! And I should state that this is NOT an ad for them, but rather a thank you to Weight Watchers for helping me figure out the food side of things.

Now that the food is taken care of, it’s time to stop being lazy up and get active. Truth be told, I hate running and long walks. For some reason, they make me really anxious, unless I’m walking on a trail or something with the dogs, then it’s all good. All that to say, with Ontario being in a lockdown until at least January 25th, I need to find stuff that will keep me engaged. That’s why Peter and I bought a new TV for the basement and hooked up our WiiU to it. I get to play a bunch of fitness games from the comfort of my home. When Peter returns from his office, I’m taking an hour to myself in the basement to work it out. Whether it’s dancing, yoga, aerobics, whatever, I get to have fun while being active.

I’m also planning on attending the free Zoom sessions held by Durham Heels Dance on Wednesdays and Sundays. I had so much fun when we were in the studio as part of the Army of Sass Durham Region group, and I want to keep that in my life. Now, I’m probably the least co-ordinated person to dance, but it makes me feel good, so fuck it, I’m doing it.

Whenever the COVID restrictions lift again, I’ll return to the pool and swim. You see, swimming has always been my first love. There is something about being alone with your thoughts as you glide through the water that makes me feel at ease and reconnected with myself. Not to mention it’s a great full-body exercise.

And who knows, maybe as I healthier, that anxiety that comes along with running will subside, and I’ll be one of those cool kids who run! That would actually be amazing.

So, what’s next?

A selfie of me smiling at the camera while sitting on the couch wearing a grey t-shirt with a scene from Friends on it.
Smile! It’s time to get embrace a new and healthy lifestyle.

I completely understand why you might be thinking, “Great, this is great. Why are you writing about it?”

Well, for starters, it gives me something to be accountable to. Yes, it’s just a blog post, but it’s one where I’m being vulnerable and talking about how I plan to achieve my new, healthy way during these chaotic times. It will be here as a reminder whenever I feel defeated about my progress. You’ll notice that I didn’t give myself a timeline. As this is something I want to become part of my lifestyle, I’ll embrace it today, tomorrow and for years to come. Baby steps are key for me, and as I become happier with myself both mentally and physically, I will know I’m on the right track. That’s all that matters to me. This isn’t a fad or a diet, but rather an overall lifestyle change. There will be ups and downs, but staying true to it and adapting to me and my needs will be key.

Will I post about my progress? Of course! I’ll post once a month about how things are going, any key milestones, and if I find a new activity that I love.

If you’re on a similar journey, let me know how you’re going about it! What activities are you doing? What are your go-to foods? All that fun jazz!

Until next time…

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