When I’m operating at the best of my ability I owe it to what I like to call my wellness triangle. Consisting of good physical health, positive thinking and a healthy diet.
It resembles the fire triangle we learned about in school which is made up of oxygen, heat and fuel. Though the only comparison they share is when you remove one of the three, the rest is extinguished.
For example, I’ve coped with lockdown by myself because I’ve been running/cycling throughout, I was thinking positively because I knew it was necessary and I was eating healthy whole foods. Just like that all three areas of my wellness triangle were covered and my mental health was in a good place.
I’m not saying my mental health is untouchable when I have those three things. It’s more that they lay a foundation of positivity to carry forward.
I wanted to bring this to the surface on the blog because I had a very lethargic April. In that time my diet took the biggest hit but my fitness, in particular marathon training, also slipped. Which made it very hard to think positively throughout the month despite the lifting of COVID restrictions.
My fitness goals change quite frequently as a result of my ever changing lifestyle. At the moment they are centred around marathon training. Meaning there is a lot more cardio. Which will increase in four weeks once my 16 week marathon plan kicks-off.
In the past I’ve wanted to lose weight, gain muscle and burn fat. It changes constantly. However, the one consistency is that I know my limits. By that I mean I’m fully aware that there is no need to compare my fitness journey with other peoples.
Whenever I’m in the gym there are people who lift heavier weights than I do. I’m comfortably one of the worst on the football pitch whenever I play. And the same is true for the London Marathon in October, there will be thousands of people who run it better than I do. And that’s okay, all that matters for me is that I run it as best I can while raising money for Mind.
The role of physical fitness on my mental wellbeing seems obvious to say. But in my eyes it goes like this. In my bedroom I have a built in wardrobe. Every morning the first person I see is the reflection of myself when I walk past en route to the en suite. Throughout lockdown there were many days where that was the only person I saw.
With that in mind it’s crucial that I like what I see. I know I’m never going to walk past and see a figure like Brad Pitt in Fight Club. That’s fine. As long as the version of myself I see every morning is someone who looks after himself, whether that be running, cycling, throwing weights around in the gym or anything else, then that starts my day off perfectly.
Whatever I’m preparing for in my life, the diet is always the part I struggle with. Whether that is a hiking holiday, building muscle or even every day life, the struggle remains the same.
I’m very fortunate that I do not suffer with any form of eating disorder. They’re something I’ve done a lot of research into lately to improve my understanding and I can’t imagine how hard they must be to live with.
To be honest, my diet is healthy most of the time. I just go through phases where I don’t consume enough on a day to day basis. Most of my meals are whole foods, I hardly ever order a takeaway and don’t touch ready meals. I also get my five a day in when I’m on it.
The problem with being as tall as I am, and I do think this is the only problem, is the number of calories I have to consume daily – 3000. Three thousand calories in order to fuel my body on a day to day basis. That’s if I’m doing nothing. If I want to build muscle, I need to consume more. If i’m training for an endurance event – like I currently am – I have to consume more.
The reason why I have to consume more varies depending on the goal. For example at the moment it is simply down to the amount I’ll be burning as a result of all the training. If I burn off more than I consume I’ll lose weight which isn’t something I need to do at the moment.
I don’t obsess over counting calories every day. It’s more that I’ve been doing this long enough to know what 3000 calories feels like. And I’m fully aware that I wasn’t meeting that for most of April.
The final step of my wellness triangle may seem more complicated but I assure you it’s very simple. One of the things doing lockdown alone taught me is that I have the mental strength to look after myself in the most extreme circumstances.
The month or so before the first lockdown was a really negative time for me. Partly due to the brewing spread of COVID-19, but mostly because I had dealings with people who had a negative opinion on me.
It’s worth mentioning that it was the minority of people I was surrounded by at the time. But as is so often the case when things are going against you – it’s the minority that have the lasting impact. That whole story has more relevance to next week’s post (Online May 30th at 20:00) so keep your eyes out.
There are two kinds of people that have a negative impact on my positive thinking. The first are the kind that make assumptions about me and rip my life apart for it (which was the case before lockdown). The other are the people that try and tell me how to live my life.
Any reason why people act in that way would be purely speculative from me so I’m not going to get into that. All I know is that it can have an undesired impact on my mental health.
When I’m not faced with that, which I haven’t for a while, I’m normally pretty good at thinking positive. Obviously that hasn’t always been the case but with most steps on my mental health journey a positive one I’m always improving.
It goes without saying that there will always be external factors beyond my control – the coronavirus pandemic for one – but I can only focus on what is right in front of me.
After having a poor month in April in terms of my wellness triangle I was determined to put it right in May.
So far, almost three weeks into the fifth month of the year, it’s made all the difference. I’ve registered four runs a week every week since the month started. I’ve had enough energy every day having continuously consumed enough calories.
Finally, thanks to the lockdown restrictions being lifted I have more to be optimistic about than for a long time. Therefore I’m finding it easier than ever to have positive thoughts.
2021 London Marathon
I’m running the 2021 London Marathon for Mind!
If you wish to donate or keep up to date with how my training and fundraising is going you can do so by following the links below.
Fundraising Page: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JordanCamp
My blog post about the event
Mind Website: https://www.mind.org.uk