Keeping a healthy mindset in the transition from high level sport to……?

Typing this in bed at 11pm eating my last piece of dairy free cheesecake! This is despite the fact the last piece I had was less than an hour ago. Ah well. Listen to your body. If my body wants cheesecake, who am I to say no?

I’m finding it quite hard to eat at the moment because i’m not kayaking. I think i’m eating a lot but if I actually take a good hard look at myself i’ve omitted a lot of things from my diet over the past couple of weeks.

So I tell myself i’m eating a massive breakfast because i’m having eggs, avocado and a chocolate smoothie. Sounds like a lot? I used to have the eggs with two pieces of toast and a humongous bowl of porridge.  So i’ve replaced a lot of carbs in my diet with healthy fats.

I don’t think there is anything inherently bad about this.. There is a lot of research advocating the benefits of healthy fats and my digestion does seem improved. However I know myself and I need to be super careful I don’t let this become a restrictive spiral. Besides, I don’t believe in fully omitting any food group (unless you’re intolerant ofc).

Getting back into baking has been really great because i’ve ended up with all these (admittedly pretty healthy) treats with basically only me to eat them. It’s keeping my diet diverse and preventing restrictive eating patterns getting out of control. Hence cheesecake at 11pm.

Only the best 11pm snack ever!

I do honestly believe that a year off kayaking will leave me a healthier person in the long term. A year to focus on myself and what I want to do in the future, to eat well, enjoy exercise without the pressure and finally give my body a chance to recover.

Already I have so much more energy during the day. I don’t have to pretend to need the loo just so I can sit in the cubicle and close my eyes for five minutes (true story). However even though I think a break is the right decision and it is what I want to do, that doesn’t necessarily make it an easy mental transition.

Although I have had ‘time off’ before for injury, you’re still fully invested in the sport and recovery process, so I don’t really count it as a rest. Voluntarily stepping away from kayaking is a first for me. Amateur sport is often bracketed as a hobby, but this can ignore the huge level of physical and mental commitment involved.

Training twice a day, every day becomes a lifestyle. When you suddenly take that away, you are left with a void. Obviously the focus is on professionals and how they overcome this, but I think the struggle for a lot of young amateur athletes is overlooked.

There is definitely an increased vulnerability to mental health issues, particularly if the decision to leave is forced by factors such as money or employment. An athlete mindset doesn’t dissappear overnight, and if not channeled into other projects could lead to unhealthy behaviours. So for me, I struggle with control over food and restrictive eating.

Beginning a blog has been great for me in this respect, giving me something else in my day to plan for and look forward to. I’m also excited to improve my photography and baking skills (from complete and utter beginner level). Plus I already have plans to visit all those people I was always turning down for training.

If you are struggling with an important transition in your life, whatever it is and no matter how trivial other people might percieve it, know you are 100% not alone! Okay so I can hear my housemate snoring next door so this is definitely a sign I need to sleep.

I leave you with a ridiculous picture of me refusing to be anything other than positive.

No amount of windy weather is gonna steal this gal’s positive mental attitude! Walking is my number one tip for when you are feeling down.

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Fed up of my own lack of self confidence holding me back. This is me trying new things, pushing myself outside my comfort zone and sharing my love for sustainable fitness.

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