*UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE*

So, a couple of weeks ago when I wrote a post about my exercise woes?? Well, almost immediately after I published it, this link  popped up on my Facebook feed….. A 12 week group, for ladies who have never run before or who want to get back into running after a long break. And guess what, there’s course running in Truro and it started last week!!!! Errrrr, helllllloooo!!! Is it me you’re looking for?!

Needless to say, I immediately accepted this as a sign from the universe and signed up there and then. Even better news is that when I mentioned it to my friend Julie (my ex-Zumba buddy) she said she’d come too! Wa-hey!!! My chances of chickening out were diminishing daily because A) I’d found a wing man and b) I’d paid for the whole course up front!

So, last Thursday, in the pouring down rain, I donned my running gear and headed out to the first session.

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How did I find it? Well, it felt good to be back out pushing myself and some internal brownie points were definitely earned, but I still found the running part (of which there were only short intervals) pretty tough. And the whole experience was marred by yet another of my post exercise migraines. These are something that I’ve been struggling with on and off for about the last 7 years and I’ve tried (and will keep trying) all manner of things to stop them happening. But as much as a I hate to admit it, they really do colour my judgement when it comes to pushing myself during exercise and for someone who is spending a great deal of time and effort on “listening to my body”, it feels as though they’re throwing me a pretty loud message! But I just can’t seem to accept that my body is telling me not to do cardio exercise. That would just be ridiculous, right?!

Anyway…… back to the running club! The lady who lead the group (Teresa) was fab. Really calm and encouraging and keen to tell us that she used to hate running and is now a total convert. She is a personal trainer and ex-paramedic so I felt we were in good hands, and it was also great that she was able to offer really helpful advice about our individual running techniques. There were only three of us in the group, which, although great in one way, also highlighted the fact that I was by far the slowest one there…..Some things will never change! And it’s also made me realise that although I will definitely stick with this group until the end of the course, I really do prefer to run on my own rather than with other people. I am 100%  a headphones in, head down and get on with it kinda gal!

However, the good exercise karma doesn’t end there….. My friend Ellie (she of open water swimming fame) sent me a Whatsapp message last Saturday morning to ask if I’d be interested in going to see a personal trainer with her!!! Hell yes! Even better, this lady is all about great nutrition and body positivity and sounds right up my street. How good is that?! The only slight hitch is that the trainer is currently in the States and doesn’t get back until the end of the month, but as soon as she’s back, we’re good to go!

I’ve taken a couple of things from these developments. Firstly, it feels good to be heading in a far more positive direction with exercise (despite the migraine issues) but mainly, I am amazed at the power that has come from writing things down and sharing them with other people! I knew that I needed to up my exercise and I knew that I needed support to do it, but look what happened as soon as I shared those aims out loud! Now I’ve read this stuff umpteen times over the last few years, you know, how writing down your goals actually makes it far more likely that you’ll achieve them, but I have to be honest, I’ve always taken it with a pinch of salt. However, in the last few months, due to my increased journaling, goal setting and of course, blogging, there have been a number of occasions when it really, truly has worked. Amazing!

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The other thing that has struck me, is how important it is to surround yourself with supportive people who share at least some of your goals. Gathering a tribe of friends and family who understand your aims and don’t deride or undermine your efforts is hugely important. I’m lucky that most of my best mates and my husband all “get” what I’m doing, but I’ve also been lucky enough to find some amazingly supportive ladies in some of the online groups I’ve been involved with. Now I know this may sound a little bit weird, talking about a group of people I’ve met on ‘tinterweb, not face to face, but it’s true, I feel as though I’ve found myself a little cyber tribe to be a part of and its lovely!

Some ladies are from the Green Goddess Academy that I took part in earlier this year, others are from the Wholeheartedly Healthy Mindset Makeover Group, and there’s yet another group for all of the Brits studying the Health Coach Training with IIN. Each group has a slightly different feel to it and I certainly feel able to bare my soul in some more than others, but each is undoubtedly playing a big role in my ongoing transformation. Whether I want to ask a question about making gorgeous, sugar free sweet treats, or let off steam about how tough I’m struggling to stay positive, or even about how best to prepare for a 10K (something that a group of us Green Goddesses are planning on doing together later in the year),  I know that at the other side of a Facebook group are some gorgeous new friends who are always on hand to offer support, advice and words of wisdom. It has been a huge revelation to me, especially as someone who doesn’t make close friends particularly easily (I’m blaming the fact that I’m an only child) and who usually feels embarrassed at having to ask for help!

And what has made it different to the “Group therapy” offered by local slimming clubs is that there is no element of competition. There is no weekly weigh in or slimmer of the week. There is no one person who is doing better than all the rest. Instead, there is a group of people who are all trying to improve their minds and and bodies in a way that suits them. A group of friends who are all embarking on a new journey and who are able to discuss without judgement, the road that they are going to take. And like all of the best friendship groups, if you stray off the path at any point, you aren’t judged or mocked, but instead welcomed back with open arms and words of encouragement.

So I suppose that what I’m saying is, if you are trying to change your diet and exercise regime, it can be hugely beneficial to find yourself a team of cheerleaders. Friends who are willing to help you out when the going gets tough and who are also keen to walk alongside you and hold your hand whenever possible.

Good friends, even if only in cyber space, definitely make the world a better place!