For the last year or so I’ve been working really hard on my health and fitness, during university my weight yoyoed due to stress and eating too much/not enough and obsessing about my weight. I use to complain about not liking the way I looked, but I didn’t do much about it, which created a vicious cycle. While in university I was diagnosed with anxiety and a mild form of depression, at the time I put this down to my university schedule/workload and trying to find a social life/work life balance but as the last year as a graduate has proven that was not the case. My depression and anxiety are a part of my everyday life and something which I’m learning to live with every day. One of my main techniques to overcome these negative feelings has been exercise and going to the gym. Anxiety and depression can often make sufferers including myself feel like they don’t have control over their lives or certain events in their life, therefore, exercise gives sufferers back control of our bodies and this is often the first step to feeling in control of other events. To some this might not sound convincing, but when I’m running either on the road or on a treadmill I feel powerful and grateful that my body is capable of running faster and faster. I’m in control of how fast and far I run and the only person that can stop me is myself.
I created this collage of pictures a little while ago to show myself how much my body had changed, my goal wasn’t specifically to lose weight, but it was a wonderful demonstration of what all my hard work has resulted in. My before pictures aren’t very striking and I appreciate that to some I don’t look ‘fat’ or ‘overweight’, but we can all admit.. they aren’t the most flattering photos! My before photos show that I clearly wasn’t taking care of myself and though I might be smiling in the pictures, I really wasn’t happy! I needed a new leaf, a blank page and a fresh start and the only person who could give that to me.. was me.
Once I started this journey to become a better me, I couldn’t stop or go back. For the first time in a long time, I liked the way I looked and I was finally losing weight in a healthy long term way. I started to learn about the body and how it work, I learnt about food and what foods would benefit my body and what wouldn’t. Now this isn’t to say I don’t enjoy pizza or a good cocktail but I enjoy them in moderation, I allow myself cheat meals or treats every once and a while, but I also enjoy healthier and more natural options as treats too.
The above and below images are my most recent progress pictures, as you can see I’m not a Victoria Secret Model, but I’m really happy with what I have achieved, not only physically but mentally too.
I even treated myself to this dress, which is also backless! Something which I never thought I would be able to wear!
Working out and living a healthy life isn’t always easy, especially working in an environment where I get invited to events with alcohol and carb heavy/delicious food and finding a balance was difficult but I love the place I’m at and though it took me a while and a lot of tears to get here, I’m finally on the right track. If you’re someone who sufferers with anxiety, stress or depression I would really recommend going for a walk, running, bike ride or going to a class at your local gym – it’s really liberating! I’m really exciting to see how far I progress (which might be hard now Christmas is around the corner). To keep up with my progress and for my healthy veggie/vegan recipes follow me on Instagram @sarahraynard