So, it’s the end of ANOTHER year – how did we get here so fast?!
It’s now 2 whole years since I first started this blog and a lot has changed, both with this blog and with myself. I’m going to do a round-up of 2016 but if you just want to see my goals & resolutions for 2017, scroll down a little! So, where do I begin?
Academically; I finished my first year of my Nutrition degree at the University of Surrey, doing even better than I imagined in my first year exams. I enjoyed a summer at home in South Wales before coming back to Surrey more ready than ever to start my second year. Whilst it’s been more stressful than first year, the content of my degree in second year is SO interesting and I count myself lucky everyday to be studying something that I am truly passionate about.
I also managed to secure a placement for my third year of study doing exactly what I want to do and I couldn’t be happier – although I can’t reveal details at the moment I will do so as soon as possible (keep an eye out on my social media!)
Fitness; If anything, I’ve felt as if 2016 has been a bit of a step-back for my fitness. As you may know, I was a keen rower in my first year at uni. Unfortunately, my relationship with rowing has been a bit of a rocky one since then! I continued to row for the remainder of my first year at Uni and was then chosen to be Beginner Women’s Captain for 2016/17 but it all started to go a little downhill from there!
I kept up my fitness over the summer and came back hard to rowing in September with an amazing couple of weeks of preseason training. Unfortunately, this was to little avail as during the next few weeks I suffered a back injury. (I’ve talked quite a lot about this over on my instagram and will be writing a separate blog post about it soon). This lower back injury had me out of training for weeks and is part of the reason that I came to the decision of giving up rowing for the foreseeable future. I have mixed emotions about this but I am enjoying being able to dedicate more time to supporting the beginner rowers as their captain, as well as putting more time into my studies and other hobbies such as baking (which, if you follow my IG, you’ll know is something I’ve been loving a lot lately!)
I have now started to recover (although my back still niggles!) and have started a new strength training programme but I am still very cautious when training. I am also focusing a lot on mobility/flexibility and am starting to feel more supple than ever! My cardiovascular fitness has suffered a bit, but I have started running more often, frequently running 5-10k a few times a week! I am looking forward to smashing some fitness goals in 2017 now that my injury is finally calming down!
Nutrition; Like my fitness, my nutrition has also been a bit all over the place! As you may know, I was a keen flexible-dieter/macro-tracker towards to the end of 2015. I continued this for the majority of 2016 until I started second year of uni. This is definitely a post for another day, but in short I decided to give macros a break – I think after tracking them for so long I just mentally needed a break and felt ready to eat more intuitively. It was also starting to feel like more stress than it was worth as I had so many other things to think about!
Since then, I have been on and off tracking macros. Admittedly, my nutrition hasn’t been as good as I’d have wanted towards the end of 2016. I started to feel a bit sorry for myself because I wasn’t able to train as often (due to my injury) and this, along with the other stresses in my life, caused me to become a bit demotivated and get into some bad eating habits! Don’t get me wrong, I was still eating plenty of veg, fruit, protein, healthy fats etc, but I was definitely just generally overeating and having a few too many treats!
Now that I’m getting back to my usual, frequent training and things have started to settle down in my life, it’s time to get back to eating healthily and balanced. I may go back to tracking macros in the future; I have nothing against it and I think it is a great tool but it just hasn’t really fit into my lifestyle lately!
Body Image; truthfully, this has probably been the worst year for my body image and mentally I have struggled. I went from being extremely lean when I was rowing (a little too lean if anything!) to slowly gaining weight over the summer and even more-so when I became injured and stopped rowing. A little weight-gain is completely normal and was actually extremely necessary for me; in hindsight I was probably not quite eating enough for the amount of exercise I was doing. I know this little weight-gain is probably not noticeable to anyone but myself, but mentally I was really struggling (and still am some days!) to accept that I was becoming a little curvier. When I think about this it is the most ridiculous thing: being lean doesn’t define health, personality, relationships, fitness or anything else. The most important things in life aren’t aesthetic: what matters is being healthy & happy, your character, doing what you love and loving what you do, and living and loving life. I am also so lucky to have the best boyfriend, friends and family who love me for me, and I am continually reminding myself that I am beautiful in my own skin.
Personal Life; This is probably where life has been the best but also the worst. I have been with my incredible boyfriend, Kyle, for just over a year now and I couldn’t be happier that I’ve found someone who is so caring and supportive. I also have the best friends in the world who I’ve continued to make some incredible memories with. I also turned 21 and had one of the best birthdays of my life surrounded by my favourite people.
However, probably one of the most difficult things I’ve had to deal with, not only this year but also in my entire life, is the passing of my dear Grampy. Last Christmas my family and I were celebrating him beating cancer, but unfortunately it returned fiercer than before and we lost him in early summer. This was, and still is, absolutely heart-breaking for myself and my family and not a day goes by that I don’t think about and miss him. His passing is a constant reminder that life is for living and loving those around us, grabbing every possible opportunity, and having as many exciting experiences as possible.
So, sorry for the ramble there, but a lot has happened this year and it feels good to get it all down! It’s been a year of change, a year of endings but also a year of new beginnings and opportunities. Overall though, it’s safe to say I’m ready to say goodbye to 2016 and a warm welcome to 2017!
2017 Goals & Resolutions:
- Squat 100kg – a fitness goal I’ve had in mind for a while but one that I really want to crack on with. Now that I’m not rowing it’s time to get hella strong (and it’ll be nice to concentrate on some fitness goals that aren’t aesthetic!)
- Run 5k in under 24minutes – a fitness goal ensuring that I keep up some cardiovascular fitness. This may seem quite slow but I’ve only got little legs and this would be pretty quick for them!
- Enter a race – following goal 2, I want to enter some 5/10k (possible longer!) races this year. I intended to do that last year but unfortunately it didn’t come to anything. This year I am going to sign up to races and runs to give myself something to focus on and work towards.
- Be consistent with my nutrition – whether this is tracking macros, eating intuitively or both, I need to let go of some bad habits I picked up in 2016 and get back to focusing on health and performance when it comes to my diet in 2017.
- Spend less time on my phone – this goes for when I’m alone but especially with other people. I hate being in restaurants or just generally out in public and people are out with each other but looking at their phones! I’m going to be spending less time with my head in my phone/on social media and more time enjoying the people I’m with and concentrating on what’s in front of me!
- Be present – this very much links to the last point but I just want to reiterate that I want to experience the here and now for what it is; not worry about the past or what’s to come but simply live and be right now and appreciate everything to its fullest.
- Read more – this is something I’ve definitely started doing a lot more lately, both fiction and non-fiction. I want to start turning my phone/laptop off at least half an hour before bed and give myself time to switch off and read something before I sleep!
- Blog more – with how busy my life is, I always struggle to fit in time for blogging but this year will be different. With the evolution of Loutritious in 2016, I am so excited for my blog and social media to grow in 2017 so that I can reach more people and share all things nutrition, health and fitness. Exciting things are coming for Loutritious this year, and I am going to put a lot more time and effort into it so keep your eyes peeled!
- Work hard – on all aspects of my life; academic, fitness, nutrition, relationships and myself. I want to keep pushing myself to keep doing what I love and love what I do to build an incredible and happy life.
- Love myself – this has definitely been a difficult one for me this year as there have been many times of self-doubt and lack of confidence. It’s time to stop being so hard on myself, be proud of how much I’ve achieved and start loving myself, inside and out.
Thank you so much if you’ve made it this far! I know this was a bit of a long babble but so much has happened this year and I truly think this has been the most challenging year yet. However, I am going into 2017 with an open mind and am so excited for things to come!