100 days of working out: here’s my progress

100 days of working out

I still can’t believe it has been 100+ days of working out consistently. When I started out, it was initially to keep my mental health in check. 2018 was a rough year for me – emotionally and mentally. I had been struggling – with purpose, with parenting, with love and with work.

Having lived with depression before, I know too well what the triggers are. I know I am never too far away from the edge. I cannot afford to not be self-aware, constantly checking with myself to know how I am feeling and why. This, alongside selfcare, helps me stay in a good place mentally. One of the ways I do this is through exercising.

Exercising helps with my mental wellness

It has not always been this way. The truth is, I have not always been a fitness enthusiast. I remember how much weight I had added when I had Postpartum Depression (PPD), thanks to overeating. My depression typically came with eating too much, which is one of the symptoms of PPD. In addition to this, I found it hard to take care of myself. It was difficult to eat well, get enough sleep, and working out was the last thing on my mind.

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I shared a post up on the blog last week – on social media and how easy it is to compare our day to day with the often heavily filtered and edited highlights on IG and FB. • This photo was a mothers day tribute, but there's a back story to it, and this is it: • I was smiling here, grateful to have my mom, but struggling in my own motherhood. I was probably at my heaviest here too, because one of my (negative) coping techniques was eating comfort food. It made me add lots of weight, I was criticizing myself harshly + living with Postpartum Depression didn't make it any easier. On many days around when this photo was taken, I would cry myself to sleep as he was nursing by my side. {Link in bio} #whatididntpostoninstagram #mothersday #postpartumdepression #PPD #PPDKenya

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After going for therapy, my psychologist walked the journey with me and I gradually introduced exercising to my routine. Going for walks is therapeutic for me, so at the onset, I started with morning walks. Fast forward to 2017, and I had amped my routine with morning jogs. A year later, however, my mental health took a dip and I stopped going for the morning walks.

Teetering on the edge in 2018

When I had PPD, one of the risk factors associated with my experience was financial instability. I lost my job at 8 months pregnant, and this spun me right into pregnancy depression. This was not diagnosed, and I would later get full blown PPD. At the time of therapy, my psychologist let me know that going forward, financial uncertainty would be a trigger, considering my past.

Read More: Every June

My online work contract ended mid last year, and I found it incredibly hard to cope. I remember struggling with life generally. I was tired of living, but I wasn’t suicidal – which is hard to articulate. The closest I can come to explaining it is that I wanted to exist as an inanimate object. Like a chair or a table. Looking back, I am thankful for my support system – family and close friends who made that season bearable.

Getting back to working out

In late 2018, I got a new small time contract that helped me get back on my feet. With it, came the desire to get back to my routine. This time around, I decided to switch things up a bit, from running to total body workouts that targeted different parts of the body. I had been following my former school mate on IG (she posts her progress here), and her passion to workout consistently got me thinking that this was something I could do. She shared her progress on her Instagram every day, and her positive energy rubbed off on me. I asked her to share her workout routine, and I got started.

Working out with the bare minimum

When I started working out in late 2018, I had very little to get going. Instead of this dampening my resolve to start my fitness journey, it led me to make the choice to work with what I have. Initially, all I needed was a mat. I did not have one, and couldn’t buy it either as this was around the time my contract was about to end. So I took to using an old blanket. This might sound funny but, I also didn’t have the fancy workout clothes. So… wait for it, wait for it… I took a pair of old bikers, beige and black and showed up on my old blankie. Thank goodness I had a good pair of sports bras – nothing funny about jiggly boobies when doing jumping jacks.

Captured here, my old ‘weights’, and old blankie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fitness Progress
Gifted dumbbells. We all need a friend like Lily.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I showed up on that blanket almost daily. Around January, I increased my workout intensities and moved to the second level of the workouts. This called for the use of dumbbells and came right after my contract ended. I would have loved to get the dumbbells, but as it were, I had to balance between my son’s school fees and basic upkeep. This led me to fill two 2Litre bottles with water and use that for my weighted exercises. This option was clumsy and I could do better with the actual dumbbells – but they worked pretty fine.

That was until a friend saw my FB stories and was kind enough to give me her 2.5 kgs dumbbells. I was excited about this very kind gesture. The dumbbells went a long way in improving my workouts, something I am very grateful for. (Shout out to Dr Lily for this!)

Workout Progress so far

When I started out, I was not too fixated on the scale. I knew this would not be a 100% reflection of my progress. To get started, I took my BMI with the values below.

January

Initial Weight – 160 lbs (approx. 73 kgs)

Initial BMI – 29

March

Weight – 150 lbs (approx.. 68 kgs)

BMI – 27.4

Read More: My progress, two months into my workout routine

Seeing this significant drop in my BMI was such an encouragement. But what keeps me going, far beyond the figures is the progress I see with my photos. What these photos do not capture, is the fact that lately, I have been in a better mental space. This really helps with my mental wellness, and I couldn’t be more grateful!

 

This is to encourage anyone keen on starting their fitness journey:

  • Start where you are. Do not give excuses. I started with an old blanket and God-forsaken bikers.
  • You have to make time for working out.
  • Consistency is key. It is everything in this fitness journey.

PS: I’m not an expert – just a fitness enthusiast keen on mental wellness and great health.

Do you work out? If you do, how has your journey been? What is the one lesson that has stuck with you?

 

 

 

I Started Working Out 2 Months Ago – Here’s how it is changing my life!

I will be honest and say, I stumbled upon the idea of working out.

For the longest time, I have not been one to be fascinated by the idea of going to the gym. In spite of this, I have always wanted to maintain some level of physical activity. Part of the reason for this was because, as a Stay/Work At Home Mom, it is very easy to pile up the weight without even noticing it. To counter this, I found a way to incorporate morning jogs into my daily routine, or at least as often as I could.

Working out at home

The morning walks, I would later learn, help a great deal with my mental health. When I had Postpartum Depression, I remember vividly staying indoors for up to two weeks consecutively. The most I would do during this period of time was to go outside to hang baby’s clothes. The abrupt change from going to work and basically running up and about town (before pregnancy) to staying at home all day postpartum would ultimately contribute to my depression.

Read More: STAY-AT-HOME MOTHERHOOD AFFECTED MY SELF-ESTEEM

Later during therapy, the psychologist would emphasize that I always find time to spend time in the outdoors. When I started doing so, it helped alleviate the way I felt staying home all day – like the four walls were crushing in on me and suffocating me. Since then, I have kept up with walking and/or jogging. But what of the idea of a workout that targets different parts of the body? That, I stumbled upon.

When the bug to start working out consistently bit 🙂

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have noticed that lately, I have been posting selfies of my sweaty self after my morning workout, aka ‘sweatfies’. A couple of my friends have been getting in touch to encourage me on this journey, and applaud my consistency. And while I appreciate it, it hasn’t always been like this.

One of my friends, former high school mate, is an avid hiker and fitness enthusiast. She shares her journey on her Instagram page (yall go follow her here if you are enthusiastic about home workouts and pushing yourself), and as I have been following her for a while now, I couldn’t help but notice how committed she is to her workouts. She would post her steady progress, fitness goals, meal preps, hiking adventures and everything in between. It was impossible not to feel the zeal with which she shared her journey.

I started to talk to her, asking how when she began, how she has stayed consistent through it all and what motivates her. She was kind enough to answer my endless questions. I loved that she was and still is accessible and open about her personal fitness journey. One of the biggest benefits for her, and which stood out for me, was how exercise had helped manage her cramps.

Read more: 7 IMPORTANT THINGS I DO IN MY MORNING ROUTINE

Getting started on my workout routine every morning

Now, if you know me quite a bit, you would know that I have often gotten such painful cramps. Not once have I had to go to the hospital, skipped exams, even missed work and important functions because of menstrual cramps. The moment she said that, I was sold to this idea. Armed with the hope to reduce my cramps and improve my mental health, I decided I would start working out the very next day.

One fine November morning, must have been the 19th day, I dusted my sports shoes, got my sports bra and track pants and set to work out. Let me tell you guys, the heaving and panting and sitting on the floor I did that day will stay with me for a long time. I couldn’t keep up with the workout pace then. In that moment, I realized how unfit I was.

Instead of letting that discourage me, I committed myself to doing a workout daily, for 5 days a week. On either Saturday or Sunday, I would get my morning jog done and one day would be a rest day.  The weekday workouts are only 25 minutes long; I can afford to gift myself 25 minutes daily (which I would typically spend scrolling mindlessly on Social Media). I allowed myself to get going at my pace, and not to get discouraged for not keeping up.

I committed myself to this one thing for the rest of November and December (Yes, I put in a good 25 minutes even on Christmas Day J ), and keep going in 2019. Every day I would wake up, ease into the day by making my bed first and re-hydrating, then changing into my workout clothes and getting started.

How working out is changing my life!

Initially, it didn’t feel like there was much happening, but I noted, with great delight, how much the workouts improved my moods. In December, something interesting happened. My menses just began. I did not experience any cramping at all! For anyone who’s had painful cramps (save for those with medical conditions such as endometriosis for which treatment is required), you would understand what a relief this is! That only fuelled my gusto to continue working out.

In January, I started to feel my pants get a little loose around the waist area. Granted, the changes may not be noticeable to others, but these are the changes that keep me going! I remember sharing with my sister about how amazing it felt not to have my trouser button pop open!

I still have some way to go with my fitness goals for 2019, but I am certainly not where I was when I began. Working out daily has given me some level of discipline I did not have. I encourage myself to get up and get the work done even on days when I would rather sleep in. It continues to help my mental health too. I cannot wait to see how this journey unfolds all of this year – and yes, I will be sure to post an update, with before and after pictures!

Do you work out? How has your journey been? What would you say are some of the benefits of doing so? Let’s talk in the comment box below.