7 lessons learned over my #100healthydays challenge
Coincidently, Sophie King is an old school friend of Joey's and when we heard about her incredible blog, we wanted to share it with you.
This girl epitomizes our hashtag, #getaddictedtothegoodstuff!
The most exciting thing about Sophie's transformation from "tubby teacher to bikini babe" (Daily Star's words, not ours - rest assured) is that she has achieved it entirely through self-love, a balanced diet & moderate regular exercise.
What could YOU achieve over the next 100 days?
7 Lessons Learned Over My #100healthydays Challenge
So can you really turn your life around in 100 days? I think the answer is YES!
Following the trend of #100happydays, I made a decision on my 26th birthday. I decided, as a birthday present to myself, to become a healthier, happier me.
At university, I weighed 14 stone and suffered from glandular fever and low energy levels. After graduating I discovered an abscess in my leg that refused to heal and kept me in and out of hospital every day for nine months. At 21, just when I should have been spreading my wings and flying off into the big, wide world, I lost my health and felt like I’d lost it all. In just one year I lost my lovely Grandma to cancer, I lost my independence, my first love and I lost myself for a little while. 4 operations later (and 3 stone lighter through stress and heartbreak) I was finally fixed by my surgeon and had learned some valuable life lessons.
Healthiness is happiness and we should be happy and thankful for our healthy every day. We never know when it can be taken away from us and so we should be doing everything we can to be looking after ourselves properly. I know from experience that you can never fully appreciate what you have until it is gone... and even if you get it back, sometimes you forget once again to appreciate the simplest things.
To remind myself of the importance of my health, I started a blog www.100-healthy-days.com. For 100 days I tracked my diet and exercise daily and shared everything that I learned along the way. Here are my top 7!
1 - THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING
If I had known on day 1 how much I could change in 100 days, I wouldn’t have believed it myself. But belief in myself is an important skill I have learned. Making the decision to start a #100healthydays challenge was a bit of an epiphany. I had read a couple of self help books and decided that I was going to be one of those people that DOES things rather than say they are going to do things.
I started to think positively and knew that if I believed I could do it, then I could. I decided to retake control of my life by looking after my health and taking on different challenges over 100 days. No more excuses, “I can’t, I don’t have time, it’s too difficult” but “I can, I should, I will!” I took small steps every day, learned lessons from successes AND failures, and arrived at my 100th day an exponentially happier and healthier person. I had dedicated 100 days to looking after me, myself and I.... and I felt (and still feel) fantastic!
2 - THE BENEFITS OF EXERCISE
The start of my #100healthydays triggered a newfound love of exercise. Over 100 days, I swapped the sofa for all sorts of new activities - cycling, sea swimming, bodyboarding, kayaking, Crossfit, coastal walking, running and triathlons. They all had one thing in common. They made me feel happy and healthy. I never believed I would be able to get as fit as I am now, or feel as good in my own body. It is easy to be lazy and slob on the sofa but nobody on this planet can deny that working out feels GOOD. Exercise releases endorphins that can make you feel as high as a kite. It may seem counterintuitive but I genuinely believe that regular exercise actually INCREASES energy levels! I have lost a stone in weight but I have also gained in fitness, muscle tone, sky high energy levels, confidence, happiness, appreciation of my body, and a new lease of life.
3 - THE BENEFITS OF A HEALTHY DIET
I used to have a terrible relationship with food and drink at university. I used to binge drink, eat junk food, comfort eat and always eat when I was bored. At my heaviest, I weighed 14 stone and I tried all sorts of diets such as Atkins, juice, fasting and many more! But it would never last more than a few weeks before I reverted to my old habits. The problem with ‘FAD’ diets is that although they might work short term, they are completely unsustainable in real life. The moment I found it easy to maintain a healthy weight was the moment I stopped dieting and started building a healthy relationship with food. The big secret to my weight loss and healthiness is.... no big secret actually! It’s eating healthy, natural foods most of the time, allowing myself treats when I want them (I follow the 80/20 rules which means eating clean 80% of the time).
The reality is that once you get into the habit of making healthy choices at meal times, those foods make you feel ten times better than filling your body with unhealthy fats and sugars. BUT I love chocolate and wine and coffee, and I would never deprive myself of these things completely, or I wouldn’t be able to sustain my healthy eating. I am in this for the long haul, not short haul, and when I fall off the healthy bandwagon with a bar of chocolate, I don’t give up but just get back on. I also never dreamed I would get fit enough to cycle, swim or run far enough to burn thousands of calories, and yet I have. One of the best things about getting fitter and exercising for faster, longer, harder is that it allows you to eat more! And everyone loves eating!
4 - GETTING OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
I think that the best things in life happen outside of your comfort zone. Before I started my 100 day challenge, I had never owned a bike in my adult life, was scared of swimming in the sea, and thought I would never run again after an ankle operation 10 years ago. Now I am in love with cycling, sea swimming and running (and am training for my first triathlon). I stood by and watched my sister train for a marathon last year and never thought in a million years I would ever be able to compete in any kind of race/competition, or ever be fit enough to do so. Now I am always willing to take on new challenges to see what I can achieve outside of my comfort zone.
5 - SURROUNDING YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE PEOPLE
Throughout my life, I have discovered that you have two main types of people. You’re either a positive ‘half glass full' kind of person or you are a negative 'half glass empty' kind of person. Negative people can be very draining of your time and energy. However, 'half glass full' people like to see the positives in this world, don’t bother with jealousy, make the best out of every situation, and inspire and help others. It is incredibly important to surround yourself with these people. My friends and family have been a huge support and inspiration.
6 - MOVING FORWARDS & UPWARDS
Like many people, I have been through heartbreak, grief, illness and injury. Times of stress can often cause weight loss or weight gain. Everyone’s story and reasons to refocus on their health is different. But everyone shares the same desire to take a bit of control back and begin to look after and appreciate their body for the incredible thing that it is. I think it is so important to remember to look after number one. Losing my health at 21 was a massive wake up call, but I wouldn’t take back that experience for anything in the world.
7 - A THOUSAND MILES BEGINS WITH A SINGLE STEP (LAO TZU)
I have learned that I do love a good quote for inspiration!
The beauty of the 100 day challenge was its simplicity. My plan was just to track my food and exercise daily and write down one lesson I had learned that day. I never imagined the journey I would go on and the changes I would see in myself, inside and out. I took a small step everyday and have discovered a whole new me!