Hey you lovely bunch! Just thought I’d check in with you all to prove that I did survive exams and to update you on what’s going on at the moment!
After a pretty gruelling exam period, I am finally finished! I am so excited to be able to have some freedom and have some time to really work on producing some content for my blog and for social media. I’m also looking forward to getting back into a regular training routine, which I’ll explain a bit more about later in this post. But first things first, what is #ProjectComeback ?
So excited to get back into a proper training routine when I finish on Monday! Although I have been training, I have obviously had to prioritise revision for exams, which means that it's taken a bit of a hit. I've been doing mostly home HIIT & resistance workouts but training less regularly than I would have liked. However, I'm feeling so motivated to get back into the gym & get my fitness back in full & prepare for my summer holiday in 3 weeks! 🌞Project comeback is now in full flow – I'm going to be training effectively + consistently with a combination of strength, HIIT + cardio. While I also won't be cutting anything out, I will making more sensible choices & eating more mindfully than perhaps I have been during the exam period 💪🏻🌚Anyone want to join in on my #projectcomeback ?!
I recently spoke about Project Comeback over on my Instagram and this is the term that I’m using to mark my progress from now until…well, just until I feel like I’ve got back into the swing of things! As revision has been going on for what feels like forever, I have had to prioritise my work and as a result my training routine has taken a bit of a hit. Unfortunately I haven’t been very well throughout the entire revision period – I’ve been suffering with what I think must be acid reflux, and over the exam period it grew so bad that it got to the point where I was lying on the floor, crying in pain. As you can imagine, it was a *little* difficult to revise when I was in so much pain that I couldn’t even sit at my desk. Of course, this also meant that I was unable to eat for prolonged periods of time, and training was definitely off the cards.
We assumed that this was a response to stress, as my body often responds very physically to stress, having had similar, but less severe, issues in the past. I’m always reluctant to use medicine as I prefer to use more natural remedies, so I started by consuming things like ginger and apple cider vinegar (yes, it’s acid but apparently it helps) but unfortunately this failed to work, and the day before one of my history exams I was in so much pain that we considered going to A&E. Eventually we booked an appointment with the GP who gave me some medication and this seemed to work for some, but not all, of the time.
I promise this isn’t intended to be a sympathy vote – the point of me sharing this with you is mainly to show you how severe the causes of stress can be, and to remind you not to blame yourself when things like this happen. I personally felt increasingly frustrated by it as I felt that I was doing everything right – I was eating well and training regularly, yet I was still experiencing these painful digestive issues. I suppose I felt a bit betrayed by my body! The: “I treat you so well, and this is what you give me in return?” kind of thing. But of course, I realise my body does give me a lot in return, and that it was just under a lot of strain. Although there are ways of managing stress, such as mindfulness, I found this quite difficult when the source of the stress was upcoming exams, as there seemed no obvious way of reducing the problem when I couldn’t just ignore the existence of my A levels. However, now that I’m exam-free (and supposedly stress-free) I am no longer experiencing acid reflux, which gives me more reason to believe that stress was the underlying cause.
This isn’t a blog post to help you overcome or deal with stress because, as I think we’ve established, I haven’t quite mastered that myself yet. This is a blog post telling you how I’m going to get back on track, mainly in terms of training and eating, and perhaps to encourage you to do the same if you’re feeling in a similar position! I would also just like to address the fact that the phrase ‘get back on track’ has been criticised a lot lately, with some arguing that it insinuates a lack of balance, and that ‘going off track’ is a part of living that shouldn’t be looked at negatively. Whilst I do think that bloggers should be careful of the terminology we use, I also think some people have a tendency to over-think things and I think ‘getting back on track’ is a very innocent phrase which accurately sums up my current situation. I personally don’t have a problem with it – whilst I do advocate a balanced lifestyle and I’m more than happy to overindulge on holiday for example, I do view a return to a slightly ‘healthier’ (in the nutritional sense) diet and regular training routine as ‘getting back on track.’
Now that I’ve dealt with that obstacle, let me explain to you what my Project Comeback is all about. Basically, I’m very keen to get on top of my game again! I want to feel fitter, more energised, and I also want to prepare myself for my summer holiday in 3 weeks. As I touched on in my last post (which you can read here) social media is full of high-profile fitness bloggers ‘shredding’ or ‘cutting’ for summer, and whilst I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to get a bit leaner for bikini season (there’s also nothing wrong with not wanting to get a bit leaner!) I went about this in the wrong way. Following the example of many other fitness bloggers, I calculated my macros and attempted to track them, but I struggled with this. Although I must make it clear that I am not criticising this approach or those who do follow it at all. Macro-tracking can be incredibly useful and it works really well for some. I personally found this approach a bit restrictive and it didn’t really work with my mindset. However, it did have a lot of positives too – for example it definitely helped me to understand how much I was consuming and how much I need of each macronutrient, as well as learning about the nutritional composition of many different foods. I still do like to track the odd day occasionally to get an idea of my macronutrient ratios and to see how much I’m consuming, just not on a daily basis and very loosely – this is more out of interest rather than with the intention of hitting my exact macronutrient goals.
Therefore I just eat what I think I need, and estimate the quantities I need – remember that each day is different in terms of activity and body signals. So I will be getting fitter, and maybe a bit leaner, but in my own way. I’m going to be training effectively and consistently, with more time and effort going into my workouts now that I can afford to.
I love my food and I’m not going to be tracking or counting anything, cutting anything out (except for refined carbohydrates which I always have tended to avoid) and I won’t be saying no to treats, I’m just going to be making my choices more carefully. For example maybe I’ll have ice cream once a week rather than twice a week. I’m also paying close attention to my hunger levels. I am really tuning in to my body to find out whether I’m actually hungry or whether I’m just bored. I used to follow routine and would eat at lunchtime even if I wasn’t hungry, purely down to habit, but now I eat when I feel hungry, and I’m more mindful of my portion sizes to ensure that I’m not overeating. In addition, during exams I was very sedentary and therefore my appetite was significantly reduced, whereas now that I’m much more active, it’s increased again, so I’m making sure that I’m fueling my body with the amount of energy it needs to perform. Again, not counting calories or nutrients, just being intuitive and listening to my body’s signals.
Exam periods are often times where it’s far too easy to comfort-eat or ‘reward’ yourself with a few too many treats, and whilst my diet has been pretty good on the whole, I’d like to clean it up just a little bit. (Top tip: don’t keep snacks in your desk drawer whilst you’re revising!) I also find sitting at a desk all day quite draining – it makes me feel lethargic, which in turn, makes me feel less like going to the gym. At the moment I’m feeling so motivated to get back into the gym and work hard. I’ve already noticed fewer sweet cravings and I’m already feeling better from doing more regular workouts. If, like me, you’re feeling a little less fit and healthy than you’d like, why not join in? I’m going to be sharing updates throughout the 3 weeks until my summer holiday on social media. Let me know if you’re going to be joining me by using the hashtag #ProjectComeback on Instagram!
Thanks for reading my rambles and see you soon!