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Wellness

My wellness and health goals for 2019

First of all, what is wellness?

At the time of writing this, the wellness hashtag has been used 30.6 million times on Instagram. But what is it? My personal definition is mindfully making decisions that I know will benefit me physically, mentally and spirituality. A quick google of ‘wellness definition’ yielded the following:

wellness defined by google

What is a wellness goal?

To me, it is a desired state of being. Ultimately, it’s about identifying habits and behaviours that don’t serve us, and making changes in our daily lives to replace these habits with activities that are beneficial to us. It’s also about understanding that achieving optimum health is a process that doesn’t happen overnight, especially if you’re trying to un-do years of unhelpful habits.

My personal health and wellness goals

Make yourself a tea or coffee, I’ve got a long story to tell. My personal wellness and health goals relate to years of poor eating habits. Ever since I can remember, I have had a problem with overeating. Coming from a Croatian background, being told to ‘eat more!’ was a sign of love, when quite often the last thing I needed to do was ‘eat more!’.

Stuffing my face was a normal part of my childhood. Being a 90’s kid, no one cared about eating too much sugar, nor was society as health conscious as it is now. My parents didn’t bat an eyelid at my siblings and I demolishing a packet of lollies each in one day. I also think because my sister and I were always really thin kids, no one thought it was that much of an issue.

These unhealthy habits continued into my teens and mid twenties. When out with friends, I was that person who finished everyone’s food when they couldn’t. In any given week I would eat a pack of biscuits or two, a few packs of lollies and a few McDonald’s McFlurries. I would ‘un-do the damage’ of this by going for a 1 hour power walk and incorporating incidental exercise into my life, such as walking 20 minutes to the train station to get the train to university.

A foot injury I sustained in April 2016 changed all this.

Gone were the days where I could eat the aforementioned rubbish and feel better by exercising because I can’t do cardio like I used to.

In 2017, I wanted to get back into exercise, so I started lifting weights on and off for about 4-5 months (I took breaks when I got cortisone injections in my foot).

A trainer at the gym gave me a meal plan which, shortly after following, I realised it was too much food. I think this is because, other than lifting weights, I was still inactive. Despite knowing my meal plan was too much, I still followed it. Why? Maybe I convinced myself that the weightlifting would make my metabolism go back to normal?

It didn’t go back to normal, and the irregular bowel movements began. My doctor advised me to take a gentle laxative like Movicol everyday for 6 months to retrain my bowels. I actually laughed when she told me this, it sounded so ridiculous at the time. Lo and behold it worked, but it took 7 and a half months.

2018 was interesting…

One of my goals was to eat more vegetables (to increase my fibre intake!), which I was pretty successful at. This helped me decreased my reliance on Movicol. I did aim to exercise more in 2018, but that’s one goal I wasn’t successful at. 

I became lazy with eating relatively well and exercising (even incidental exercise) around November, which continued into December. The last week of work saw me suffer from ‘irregularity’…again.

I told myself I couldn’t keep doing this. But I did, and on January 2, 2019, I got too comfortable during the holidays. On January 3, I thought I had gastro because I was blocked, lethargic and got that sensation you get when you’re about to vomit. It was terrible, yet all too familiar.

My 2019 wellness goals

I wrote these wellness goals on January 5, 2019.

My overarching goal for 2019 is to improve my relationship with food. I know that’s not exactly a SMART goal (at least it’s realistic and time bound, right?), but I feel more comfortable with it being quite simple.

Here are some steps I’ve written to improve my relationship with food.

  • I’m starting with a visit to my doctor to get tests done to see if I have Irritable Bowl Syndrome, or anything else.
  • Start meal prepping.
  • Practice portion control and training myself to eat what I need.
  • Another is to reach my daily fibre target of 25-30g a day (bring on the veggies!).
  • As well as not doing much exercise, I sit for about 11 hours a day (on public transport and at work). This brings me to my final goal: to do 30 minutes of walking, or something that gets my heart up, Monday to Friday. If my foot can’t handle it, then I’ll explore alternatives. I barely exercise on weekdays, so I’m hoping this will help with my bowel movements. (I tend to get a lot of incidental exercise on the weekend, which is why I haven’t included movement goals for the weekend.)

I certainly think meal prepping, and portion control and training myself to eat only what I need will be the most challenging goal as it’s linked to many years of bad habits.

Google’s definition of wellness being an “actively pursued goal” really resonates with me. I’ve worked quite hard to achieve the above, but I still have a long way to go.

I’ve learnt so much through being mindful about my goals and working hard to achieve them. Of course I’m not perfect (no one is); I still have my days or weeks where I revert back to unhelpful habits, but I’ve come a long way. This blog is my place to share the learnings I’ve acquired because I’m sure there are many people who can relate to something here.

Matija x

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