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?

 

 

 

30 Day Mental Wellness Challenge

Mental Wellness matters

January is Mental Wellness Month. Mental wellness refers to a state in which one’s psychological well-being allows them to function well using their cognitive and emotional capabilities. Contrary to popular belief, mental wellness is more than the absence of mental illness.

By marking January as the mental wellness month globally, more people are encouraged to be proactive in taking care of their mental health. To help with you with this, I created a 30-day mental wellness challenge for this month. There are many options to get through with. The most important thing to remember is that these options are not a replacement for medication and therapy.

The challenge helps build your mental strength. Just like any other muscle in the body, the mind benefits from daily workouts to help improve your wellness. You can start the Mental Wellness challenge at any time of the year. Most people prefer to start the challenge at the beginning of the month. Whatever you prefer, just ensure that you take note of where you started and track your progress.

Please Note: This challenge is largely rooted in selfcare and social structure to improve your mental health.

The 30-day Mental Wellness Challenge

30-day Mental Wellness Challenge

Day 1 – Journal about how you feel.

Take time to get in touch with your inner self, as well as to find out how you would like to feel after the challenge. Below are some wonderful prompts you can use to help with your jourmalling.

  • Today I learned…
  • My ideal day would look like…
  • I am grateful for…
  • I would like to accomplish the following three things…
  • This is how I am feeling right now…

Read More: My Selfcare Routine

Day 2 – Spend at least 20 minutes in the outdoors

Whether that means taking a nature walk, going for a light jog or walking around the block, take time outside.

Day 3 – De-Clutter

Clearing out your space has a tremendous effect on your mental health. It is particularly helpful for those who experience anxiety. Getting rid of clutter helps your mind.

Day one of the Mental Wellness Challenge includes journalling as a tool. Write about how you feel and how you would like this challenge to improve you.
Mental Wellness Challenge

Mental Wellness Challenge

Mental Wellness Challenge Day 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4 – Unplug for 24 hours

Technology has become an indispensable part of our lives. For many people, however, this has led to an over-reliance on our gadgets. On Day 4 of the 30-day mental wellness challenge, go off the internet for 24 hours. Do whatever works for you. Some people prefer to log out of all apps while others opt to delete all their apps.

Day 5 – Call someone that you love

It is easy to get caught up in life’s daily routines. This is why it is important to pause and get in touch with our loved ones. Pick up the phone and call someone that you love.

Day 6 – Slow down, be present

Our fast-paced lives mean we hardly get time to truly be present in the moment. Today, take time to slow down. Be present. I have found that taking time to note my surroundings helps anchor me in the present. Take note of five things that you can do with each of the following senses: see, hear, feel, smell and touch.

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Day 7 – Make a list of next week’s goals

What would you like to achieve? What are your short term and long term goals?

Day 8 – Do one thing that you have been putting off for a long time.

What’s the one thing you have been postponing for a while but would love to do? Today provides that chance.

Day 9 – Read something that will assist your mental wellness

Read your favorite book, fun facts, listicles, or even an informative blogpost. Here is a good place to start on this blog.

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Day 10 – Extend kindness to a stranger

Read More: What I am learning about grief

Day 11 – Practise positive selftalk

Choose an affirmation that resonates with you. Repeat it throughout the day.

Day 12 – Find ways to improve your morning routine.

What does your morning routine look like? How can you improve it?

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Day 13 – Create a sacred space for yourself

This creates a safe space for you to retreat to after a hard day. Fill it with all your favourite things – sweet photographs, special letters, scented candles or even your favourite rug.

Day 14 – Do not be afraid to ask for help

Day 15 – Make a list of 10 things that you are grateful for today

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Day 16 – Go through today without complaining.

Day 17 – Go to bed half an hour earlier today

Getting adequate rest is an important part of mental wellness. This not only allows the body to recuperate, it is also a wonderful opportunity to recharge.

Day 18 – Make time to enjoy the sunrise/sunset today.

Sit and soak in the splendid beauty of that moment.

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Day 19 – Write a letter to the 10-year old that you were

If you could go back in time, what would you tell the 10-year old that you were?

Day 20 – Make time to watch something that encourages you or makes you laugh.

Day 21 – Be intentional about how you speak today.

Try as much as you can to make sure that it is stuff that builds and not destroys.

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Day 22 – Do something that takes you out of your comfort zone

Say hi to that neighbour you have never talked to. Write an audacious plan for your year. Take yourself on a date. Venture out to a new part of town. Learn how to crochet.

Choose something that takes you out of your comfort zone, but one that benefits you.

Day 23 – Practice deep breathing for five minutes today.

Deep breathing has been shown to ease anxiety. Read more about that here.

Day 24 – Say NO to the things that you do not want to do.

One of the greatest pillars for mental wellness is learning to say No and to set boundaries. This gives you space to chase after only the things that set your heart on fire.

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Day 25 – List 10 things that you love about yourself.

Day 26 – Spend time alone today. If possible, plan a date night for yourself.

Day 27 – Make time for a healthy hearty breakfast today

Read More: Taking a minute can save a life

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Day 28 – Clear out your email inbox.

This is the time to get rid of all those emails that keep piling in your inbox. Hit unsubscribe for emails that you no longer read/ find useful.

Day 29 – Take photos of 3 things that make you happy today.

Day 30 – Evaluate the progress you have made during this mental wellness challenge.

What would you like to keep doing? Is there anything that worked for you? What was your best day? Do you have a list of things you can commit to do in the coming months to improve your mental health?

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