There are elements of life that we cannot control, things that happen worldwide and things that happen in our own little worlds. These will impact on our levels of stress which can cause weight gain, it can cause weight loss, it can make you over eat and it can make you under eat. We are all individuals, experiencing different challenges in life and we all have our own way of dealing with it mentally and physically. Have a think about how you have coped during the past two years?
A worldwide pandemic hit and all of us have dealt with it differently, I have openly said that I know I have used food as an emotional coping mechanism and yep I have put on weight but I am okay with it because I know there are worse things I could have done. Food got me through homeschooling four children, food got me through missing my family, food got me through meltdowns because my autistic twins didn't understand why we couldn't leave the house, food got me through a really challenging time and look, I'm still alive!
Before I had Spencer I trained as a Fitness Instructor specialising in the gym, I used to hate exercise with a passion but one good thing to come out of my obsessive diet culture phase was finding a way to workout that I actually enjoyed, however I was so fixated on needing to lose weight that it became an addiction and one weekend the boys were at their dads I went 6 times - how I didn't see how unhealthy that was I do not know. In January 2020 I was ready to get back in the gym, Spencer was old enough for me to feel comfortable to leave him in the creche and I was feeling good about getting my strength back. Then lockdown hit, I started off doing some dance workout classes at home but as time went on I lost motivation. As the world started to open back up and we were finding our feet in a new normal thoughts of joining the gym again popped back into my brain. However, now that I had put on weight I didn't want to fall into the trap of becoming addicted to the gym again and going just to 'burn calories' it became a massive anxiety for me and I felt a bit trapped between a rock and a hard place. I wanted to go to the gym to get my strength back and because I enjoyed it but I didn't want to become addicted to working out again, these feelings left my procrastinating and putting off joining the gym.
Last month I started to feel lonely, Spencer started going to preschool two full days a week in September, a Friday morning and then my mum picks him up 3/4 Friday's for the afternoon. This is the first time since becoming a mother 9 years ago where I consistently have free time without children. I was filling my days with working on my business, walking the dog and watching Netflix at lunch times. Although this is what I've wanted, it just felt so empty, especially weekends when my big boys were at their dads and Spencer went for some quality time with my in-laws, I needed this down time and extra time to do some work but again that lonely feeling when Jordan was working kept creeping over me. So I stopped procrastinating and I finally joined the gym because more than anything I needed something where I could see other adults even if it was just a brief conversation. They have an amazing pool (I'm a mermaid at heart), a jacuzzi, steam room and sauna - which definitely swayed my decision. The gym is small but functional and it feels so good to be building my fitness back up and feeling stronger in my arms and legs. I've been going 2/3 times a week for no more than 40 minute workouts and I can skip a Monday without feeling guilt, I don't workout to burn calories, I am not restricting what I eat at all, I eat what I want including fruits, vegetables, big bowls of pasta with cheese and dairy milk too.
Even after almost four years I'm still finding my feet on this self love journey, I'm still working on my mindset, I coach myself internally most days telling myself I am good enough, I am confident and to be free of guilt. There's no end journey to loving yourself but the tools you pick up along the way can make such a difference to how you cope when these challenges do come up.
As my favourite quote says "Keep moving forward!" - Walt Disney
With love & gratitude,
Ana Louise Bonasera, mum of 4 boys, girl power enthusiast.