Lizitivity

From Marathons to Motherhood


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Well overdue

As my last post was a year and eight days ago, I think an update is well overdue.

0I’m Liz. I’m 35. I started this blog at the end of 2012 after suffering an early miscarriage after IVF treatment. Previous to this first IVF cycle I had dealt with infertility for years and lost a load of weight in order to qualify for treatment.

So this blog was primarily about weight loss, fitness and infertility. Exercise had become something I turned to to aid both my mind and body. Mainly running and circuit training. Lizitivity means Liz + Positivity.

In 2013 I had my second IVF cycle. This was simply a failed cycle — no fertilisation.

During the aftermath of reaching the end of our treatment I turned to running in a big way. In 2014 I ran the London Marathon and the Wales Marathon and many, many other events.

Then 2015 arrived and I had a load of running events planned, then shortly after my second half marathon of the year I found out I was pregnant. Out of the blue. Naturally. Later that year my daughter was born.

In 2016 I made an attempt to get back into fitness — I completed a 5k and a 10k. And then I found out I was pregnant again.

In 2017 my son was born. The same month he was born my first book was published. Little Something is about my infertility journey.

In 2018 I started a part-time psychology degree with the Open University and at the very end of the year, I found out I was pregnant again.

We are approaching the end of January 2019 and I’m ten weeks pregnant. Some days I find it hard to believe that I am on my way to being a mother of three. It amazes me and makes me truly believe in miracles. Being a mother is the toughest and best job I’ve ever had. I’m in the process of writing two new books and working on a new publishing venture with my lifelong friend and working partner.

A few extra bits: I only wear novelty socks. I have three English degrees. I love Harry Potter. I love coffee (except when pregnant). I spent my whole life obese until I had to lose weight for IVF. I’ve gained weight since having my children. One day I want to run the London Marathon again. I lived in Canada during the latter part of my teenage years. I’m from the South Wales Valleys. I’ve been married for 11 years. I like to ‘keep it real’ on social media. I had post natal depression. I have ongoing issues with anxiety. Pregnancy makes me feel like everything is ok. Even though I sometimes lose faith I always try to keep it. I love Above & Beyond and Anjunabeats / Anjunadeep music. I seem to spend most of my life growing out a fringe.

Hopefully I won’t leave it another year before I update again.

 

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Oh hi

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated this blog. There are a few reasons for this. This blog started as a place for me to record my fitness and weight loss efforts, it also followed part of my infertility and IVF journey.

Then I got pregnant. Naturally.

And suddenly I felt like I had nothing of relevance to say. I was so anxious and scared during the first pregnancy that I found myself withdrawing from sharing anything. Then after my daughter was born I made a couple of efforts to get back into fitness and lose the weight I’d gained but just as I was getting somewhere I fell pregnant again, nine months postpartum. It was at this point that I accepted that I wasn’t going to update this blog anymore, and made it private.

I then continued writing the book that I had been writing (mostly in my head) for years. I had a few thousand scattered words in a Word document but nothing of any structure. Using the impending second birth as a deadline I wrote and wrote in any spare time I had. When my daughter napped, I wrote. When my husband was home, I wrote. And I did it. I wrote the book. It was published. And then I had my son the same month.

Since then I’ve been simply adjusting to life as a mum of two (with an 18 month age gap). I’m exhausted, but not a day goes by that I don’t realise how lucky I am to have them — they are my little miracles. It amazes me to think that I was preparing myself to live a childless life and then it all completely changed. Life is funny like that.

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So that brings me back to the purpose of this blog. I have weight to lose, I have fitness to improve, but I’m not currently being successful at either thing. I’m seven months postpartum right now. I’m hoping that one day soon it’ll just click and I’ll find the focus to get ‘back on track’ with my eating and working out. Fit in the workouts somehow.

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Aside from struggling to stick to the theme of this blog since having children, there’s another reason that I’ve been quiet. I’ve struggled with my mental health. It utterly shocked me to experience post natal depression after going through seven years of infertility and finally having children, but nevertheless, it happened. After having my daughter I was genuinely afraid to talk about how I was feeling. It took me a long time to seek help from a doctor. Second time round I felt somehow more prepared for how it might feel, but that didn’t mean I didn’t have difficult periods. There was a lot of family drama outside of my little bubble of me, my husband and my children, and little things became catastrophic to me. A judgemental and unnecessary comment on a photo of mine on Instagram from a relative’s friend upset me way more than it should have. That, combined with the other drama and my anxiety, set in motion a dark period where I deleted all my public social media, detached myself from the book I’d written, and tried to hide myself away. The drama and the comment occurred in the first couple of post partum months where everything’s a delicate balance, physically and mentally. And during that difficult post partum time all that drama took a toll on me. I’m still trying to build myself back up and regain some confidence.

That’s the thing, post natal depression felt like another failure to me. I know that’s a
ridiculous statement, but after a feeling like a failure for such a long time after the years of infertility it was just another failure to add to my incredibly long, anxiety fuelled list. I’m working on detangling myself from those issues. When I was writing and going through the publishing process with my book I kept it all a secret because I didn’t want to deal with potentially negative comments from people and because I was worried it would somehow all fail before it was even published. I told everyone on the same day that it was being released. Some people were so encouraging and others just didn’t care. It was such an immensely personal story to share, some days I still wish I could just hit unpublish somewhere and run away with it and hide. But it’s out there and I’ve had messages from people going through what I went through and that makes it worthwhile. It really does.

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I think I would like to start updating this blog again. Slowly try and open up again after shutting myself off.

We’ll see.


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Slimming World / a life update

I know, I’ve been super quiet on here… But in truth I haven’t had much of a fitness nature to say. I feel I may need to write more posts about parenting/life/food or the posts really are going to be few and far between at the moment.

So, why have the fitness posts been non existent?

  1. I broke my toe — no really, I did.
  2. I found myself struggling to balance diet/exercise/parenting/other aspects of life.

My baby is eight months old already but even so I am still adapting and learning this whole parenting thing and it remains my priority. I would love to say I’ve got my shit together enough to have everything balanced well, but I don’t. When my toe is finally healed I will attempt to introduce the at home workouts/running back into my life — but no stress, no schedules, I’ll do what I can, when I can. For now it’s short walks and that’s it! Speaking of the baby, she is just so awesome. She’s crawling, standing (holding on), climbing and desperate to be steady on her feet and walk. Life with a baby is crazy but wonderful. There is some light at the end of the fitness tunnel though — I’m resuming the fitness education stuff — in October I’ll be attending a two day course with Laura (Maximum Sloth), which should be good fun.

One thing that’s actually going well at the moment is Slimming World. I decided I needed some help losing the baby weight — a focus really — and I’d heard so many good things about SW that I decided to go for it. So I’m doing SW online. I won’t lie, it took weeks for me to get into it, and only really the last two weeks have I really felt like I’ve got it. I’ve started posting all my meals on my Instagram as I wanted an alternative to a paper food diary. I love posting the photos (even if my breakfast is practically the same thing every day!) as I find it really satisfying to look back on what I’ve made/eaten that day. It is really helping me control my eating, which is nothing but a good thing. And I’m cooking pretty much everything from scratch. I’m so close to losing one stone now — I don’t feel like I’m dieting, I feel like I’m learning or being reminded how to eat well and not binge — is that the whole point? Anyway, love Slimming World!

Here’s last week’s food —

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❤️

 


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A 5k, a 10k, and all the bits in between

IMG_6946The 5k

A few weeks ago I did a 5k colour run (Kolor Dash) in Newport. This was my first event since having the baby and I knew I couldn’t run it all so was just going to have fun. Ended up covered in colour and had a good laugh. Laura’s written a post about this event, which sums it all up nicely – Kolor Dash.

 

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The 10k

Two weeks ago Laura and I did the Sospan 10k. Again, I am nowhere near ready to run 10k so there was a lot of walking but I’m glad I did it, even if I struggled! I’ve done this 10k twice before and this was by far my slowest but right now it isn’t about time it’s about just doing it. Reclaiming fitness after having a baby is a challenge! It was my best run since having the baby, so that’s positive. (Laura’s blog post about the 10k  – Sospan 10k.)

The bits in between

Well, I was meant to do the Swansea Half Marathon with my husband the week before the 10k, and was content to run/walk at the back, but that week my parents separated (I won’t be going into detail about this) and that understandably changed our plans for that week.

Before the 5k I was doing really well with my workouts — the weather had been good so I was able to get out and run with the baby and I had the enthusiasm to get the indoor workouts done. In between the two events things changed a bit as the dementors have been bothering me and I’ve found my enthusiasm has dwindled. This week I’m clawing it back a bit and I’ve managed to get a couple of workouts in, but with everything that’s going on I’m just being easy on myself — been doing yoga rather than HIIT, for example.

I’ve spoken about my frustration about my weight gain before (2 stone in pregnancy and a further stone postpartum) and while I know exactly what to do to lose weight (previously having lost 7 stone…) I just felt that my old way of doing things wasn’t working now. Having a baby changes your life immeasurably so I thought a new structure for weight loss would be beneficial to me so I’ve started doing Slimming World. I’ve been doing it almost four weeks and I’ve lost 10lb so far, so I’m pleased.

Moving forward

-Not going to follow any exercise plans (I started a 12 week one and quickly realised that I was stressing if life got in the way), just going to exercise whenever I can/want to.
-Keep going with Slimming World.
-Two more running events planned for this year (one at the end of August and the other in October) so I’m not going to worry, just plan to run or run/walk and have a good time — if I come last, I come last.
-Be easy on myself and not stress about getting back to previous fitness levels. The dementors are scary enough so I just need to be kind to myself and focus on enjoying life with my little family.


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Recent reading

I thought I would just do a quick post to list some books that I’ve read recently/currently reading (pregnancy/baby related or fitness) as it might be of interest to anyone looking for something informative/interesting to read.

Baby/pregnancy related:

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All informative books. Handy details and very readable (not boring). The milestones books are quick reference books and Your Fit Pregnancy is an excellent handbook for use during pregnancy.

Fitness/running:

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Jillian — of course, I love her. More classic Jillian in Slim for Life.

No Run Intended is a funny memoir of Hannah E Phillips’ experience of running. Enjoyed it!

I’ve only just started Nell McAndrew’s book but it’s good so far — she’s a fantastic runner so I’m looking forward to reading more.

[Images all link to the Amazon pages for each book for ease — plenty of reviews there 🙂 ]

 


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Fitting exercise in (when you’ve got a baby)

I’ve been running and working out again for over a month. It took a while for me to feel physically ready to start again after having my baby but now I’m back into the swing of things I’m feeling stronger.

unnamedBut, it’s not without its challenges. It really is harder to get the workouts done when you’ve got a baby to take care of (and undoubtedly harder if you’ve got more than one child). You’re also tired because if, like me, your baby doesn’t sleep through the night, you will feel the effects of this during the day. You can’t schedule things easily as life with a baby isn’t always predictable (baby always takes priority). You’re starting with a lower fitness level (compared to pre-pregnancy) and a changed body. So there’s a lot to deal with.

I did a lot of exercise pre-pregnancy, so I run (run/walk intervals at present) and I do circuit training indoors (cardio/strength). I’m at home full-time on maternity leave and my husband works. This is how I’ve been fitting the exercise in so far —

Running: this is potentially the easiest one. I’ve got a big three wheel buggy suitable for running, so as long as the weather is ok, the baby and I will go out in the morning and run. Sounds good? Yes, as long as the baby is happy about it — and most days she is and will happily fall asleep, but some days she’s just not into it so we’ll end up cutting it short and going home. I’m up to 5k now and last week I managed to get out five times, which was good — the weather was sunny all week. On non running days I like to get out for a walk in the morning with her. Of course, if it’s raining it’s not so great. I could probably get away with a small run with the rain cover on but anything longer than a couple of miles would be out of the question. I generally don’t take her out if it is raining though.

Indoor workouts: I do between 25-60 minute workouts in my kitchen (very small kitchen) as the living room is full of baby stuff. If my husband is home, obviously he can watch her and I can get these done when it is suitable — whenever on weekends, or once the baby is asleep in the evening on weekdays. If the baby is napping in the daytime, then it’s a good time to get it done but there’s always the risk that she’ll wake up midway. Then there’s the gamble… put the baby in a bouncy chair or playpen and hope that she’ll entertain herself while I work out. Sometimes this works… for a bit. She’ll be amused by me dashing around (probably looks daft to her) for a bit and I might get half done before she’ll lose interest and I’ll keep stopping to appease her and it’ll take much longer to complete. But, if the stamina is there to workout and entertain her interchangeably, it can still work.

One thing to note is that my weeks/days vary — I will get as much as I can done and not worry about quiet days. I’m fitting it in as best as I can.

Ok, so here’s last week’s exercise and how I managed to get it done (also my busiest week of exercise so far: I’m doing a 12 week programme so it may seem a little intensive — and usually I only do five days a week, not six, so probably isn’t the best week to illustrate but it’s fresh in my mind so hey ho!) —

Saturday: 1.9 mile run with baby in buggy / 60 min indoor workout (baby with husband)
Sunday: Family walk / 35 min indoor workout (baby asleep)
Monday: 3 mile run with baby in buggy and husband / 45 mins indoor workout (baby with husband — bank holiday so a rare Monday where he’s home, enabling me to get the workouts done early)
Tuesday: 3.1 mile run with baby in buggy  / 30 min indoor workout (baby asleep)
Wednesday: 2 mile run with baby in buggy (extra run motivated by Global Running Day) / 60 min indoor workout (my mum visited so watched the baby for me — she wanted to take the baby out in the pram so I made use of the free time)
Thursday: 3 mile run with baby in buggy / 30 min indoor workout (somehow managed to keep baby entertained for enough time to get through it)
Friday: rest day (afternoon walk with baby in buggy)

As you can see, I mainly rely on working out when she’s asleep in the evening/when my husband is home (or being able to take her with me in the buggy, of course). It can be quite a challenge sometimes — today, for example we went out and did 3.2 miles, then came home and I did a 25 minute cardio workout — except it took way longer than 25 minutes as the baby wasn’t interested in watching me (and the food shopping delivery arrived early, but that’s another story) so I spent most of the time pausing and starting again.

Some days it really is a struggle to get the motivation together to exercise and there are more factors to consider now, but like always you’ve gotta want to do it and find your drive and dedication. We’ve all got something that can act as a barrier to working out — but it’s about our choices. I’m choosing exercise for any free time over other things. However, it’s perfectly acceptable to make the decision to prioritise other things some days — there’s got to be a good balance.  It’s taken me a while to find my motivation again but I’m looking forward to seeing my fitness levels improve now.

 


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Global Running Day 2016

If Strava hadn’t listed Global Running Day (it’s not too late to pledge to run) in their challenges I wouldn’t have realised this day existed. Actually I might have, but probably not until this evening when I’d finally notice the hashtag on Twitter.

IMG_5937I wasn’t going to run today since this has been my busiest week for running/working out since I started back. But I figured why not join in, so baby and I set out for a two mile run this morning.

We ran along the path by the lake and then onto the seafront path. Wasn’t very sunny when we left the house but got quite hot by the end. I ended up red faced as usual and a bit self-conscious, annoyingly.

I start my fitness weeks on Saturdays (makes sense to me) so this extra two miles today makes 10 miles this week so far — hopefully another three miles tomorrow and then a rest day on Friday. I’m also doing some at home workouts to help get my fitness levels up — Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution at the moment.

IMG_5940I wonder how many others had a little push from Global Running Day and went out for an unexpected run (in celebration of running?) — or are people far more organised with this stuff than I am and had something awesome planned in advance? Maybe you had no idea it was Global Running Day and just went for a run regardless. Either way, I hope it was a good one. And, well, even if it sucked, at least you went out there and did it!