Project Description

The shelf with good ideas
Walking to Health

Andy Whittle is a career and well-being coach and he is giving the ‘Well-being 101 with Andy’ 2021 course for Union Syndicale Fédérale. At the end of last year, Andy challenged himself to change some habits and make healthier choices. This is what happened next. Read between the lines and get inspired!

Just after Christmas, just as we normally make our New Year’s resolution, I was actually thinking about what I could do this year to make a change in my life. I do a fair bit of self-reflection anyway and can often be found making notes in my journal. I was looking at my life in general and thought a lot about why it mattered to me so much to be thinking about my health? I often look at all areas of my life, but this time I chose to look at my health (I am not getting any younger).

I quickly realised that I was unhappy with a lot of things due to my being overweight and how it affected many areas of my life. From not wanting to go swimming (shame), from not being able to put my shoes on easily to finding all of my clothes not fitting or hanging right at all (more shame). Having to leave t-shirts untucked, not finding shirts long enough to stop coming out of my trousers (uncomfortable), suffering from acid reflux and realising that I was comfort eating and trapped in that vicious circle (feeling bad so eating more crap food). So, how to get out of the ever decreasing spiral? I took a good long look at the list of my “’Why’s”. What is it that I need to do to make real change in my life regarding my general fitness?

There were limitations. I broke my left foot 2 times in the past 10 years so jogging is not the answer (anyway, I hate jogging), Swimming would be good, but pools are closed or difficult to book at the moment, the Gym’s are shut, I am not motivated enough to put together a home gym either. I also needed something that I did not sign up for and then ignore. Something that will bring me joy, get me fit, maybe benefit others and of course myself. There are many online Yoga classes, etc, but I felt too self-conscious to join in.

Well, I am a believer in Serendipity and believe that the answers are out there, you just have to be open to receiving them. I knew 2 things that needed to change for me. My exercise routine and my diet.

The first of the two happened like this: I stumbled upon a few social media posts that mentioned ‘100 days of walking’ I did not really research it, it just appealed to me. So I set myself the challenge of walking for 100 days for at least 30 minutes per day. (Actually mostly more than 30 minutes as I get fitter). I thought, I can walk. The difference it has made my physical and mental health is astounding. When I started to walk I had a backache and it was a struggle to do 30 minutes comfortably. Now (2 March – editor’s note) I am halfway through my challenge and often walk for at least an hour per day. It gives me ‘Me’ time, my dog George gets a longer walk, it gets me out of the house, I am losing weight, I get to see some glorious sunrises and discover new paths and places in my village and meet and smile at new people every day.

The second thing I did was to think about my diet. I put my vulnerable hat on and made a post on social media (FB) asking people for help. Recipes, suggestions, support, ideas, anything that would help a flailing comfort eater. I was inundated with help and suggestions, contacted by nutritionists, sent links, videos and kindness.

What challenge will you set yourself?   What simple changes can you make?

My diet changed, but I still eat mostly what I want, I am just more aware and conscious of what I eat (I stopped eating chocolate, biscuits and cakes and cut right back on sugar and dairy). I have now lost 9 kilos, have no more backache, no more acid reflux, my clothes fit better (need new trousers soon), I had to buy a new belt, treated myself to some new shirts…

Andy Whittle

Andy is an EMCC Accredited and certified Life, Executive and Wellbeing coach. He is happiest when he can help people reach their full potential and thrive in today’s stressful world. He is also a well-known trainer and event host.

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