fitness

Adulthood... one year in!

As my first year of being 30 comes to an end, I thought I'd reflect upon my first step into real adulthood. Was it any different? Did I grow? Progress? Learn anything? Does my future look bright? Is it orange?

You could say this has been an interesting year. I spent the first few months in LA, truly living in a bit of a bubble. The experience was the best of my life and it changed me incessantly. I came back, changed my job (well got a real job sort of), not before spending two weeks working in a hair salon with the most camp, most flamboyant Evisu jean wearing, receptionist, who told me the salon was not a 'top knot' friendly salon and then proceeded to do impressions of willy hungry men he had met at old school garage raves.

That particular job nearly sucked my soul and starved me of my top knot love, so I began working in a bar that consisted of two customers a day and a pair of the most small minded, ignorant men that said such eye opening statements... 'what's the point of chasing your dream, get a job, buy a house and do what we all do' followed by the other insightful mentions that 'the media is not to blame for (women's) insecurities with their body image, but we ourselves (women) are in fact our own worst enemies, we are a conniving,  competitive species hell bent on being the brightest flower with the brightest petals so we can win the muscle, to procreate, thus causing our own demise into eating disorders and the like'

Luckily the place went into liquidation before I bread crumbed someone's penis and dipped it into a boiling pot of old, dirty oil.

By this point half the year had gone by. I was half way through my first year of "the year that was going to be my year" I'd told my agent not to put me up for any acting jobs because truly, I didn't know what I wanted any more. I didn't know who I was without acting and I didn't know if I could survive without the possibility that life could just change dramatically, or if I'd survive without thinking I was on the path I'd always thought I was meant to be on.

When you come back from the land of opportunity you feel full of hope and enthusiasm. You then spend two months with irrational 'top knot phobe' men or guys with no more than one brain cell between them and the enthusiastic, excitement dies down and you coast for a little while figuring what next.

What next?

I'm a good coaster. I've been good at waiting for life to happen, for something to change without me doing much to steer it in another direction. Hence the trip to LA to try and shock me out of my comfort zone. But it's not long before your patterns catch up with you and you're at home tired from a days work watching an episode of First Dates, scrolling through Instagram replaying those words that shook things up in the first place.

Stop dreaming, start doing.

None of the above sounds very exciting. It's not the stuff IG filtered squares are made of. It's not the life I imagined when I balled my eyes out to my mum aged 24 telling her that I just knew, I was going to be a successful actress, I just knew it in my bones.

It's not that I stopped believing it, I just feel like I stopped wanting it. Or was that a figment is my imagination protecting me from the real thought, that maybe I didn't believe it was possible at all?

People talk about having a mid life crises. That you get to middle age and you start questioning what it was all about, the decisions you made, were they the right ones and should you have done it differently? Maybe our generation have these moments earlier. Because we are adorned with option after option. We see lives that look appealing to live, daily, and we heart it, comment on it, repost it, tag it... the whole world has been made 'obtainable' our dreams have been made acheivable, because our thumb brushes over it scrolling through what our lives could be like if we just... sort of... cropped and filtered it slightly.

I've been contemplating buying a Red Ferrari or starting flamenco classes and then you get reminded of what a horrendous state the world is in, and how humanity can burst your egotistical bubble and you ask yourself the question.

Am I living the life I want to? Am I doing all of the things I want to be doing? Would I be happy if this was all I ever did or all I ever was? Was who I was enough? And what does success really mean?I have a beautifully, lovely life, with lovely friends and a wonderful family. I am grateful beyond belief. What I do for a living, isn't who I am and I can accept that I can live in the moment and stop wanting or needing more (sun/money/plans/gap in between my thighs)

What is it that we are all chasing and wanting and needing? What is success and happiness and do they interconnect?

The Metro did an article on "Where are they now?" (Stars of Harry potter) and they had taken from my blog, that I had given up acting and become a personal trainer. My ego went into over drive. Hearing someone say out loud that I had given up on my dream, hit a nerve so deep that I felt numb. I didnt want to be that person. Even if I wasn't sure if it was my dream or not, I didnt want to be the one that had given up on her dreams. Its those people that never make it. All you have to do is just hang on in there.

Right?

A few months ago, prior to the article, I had gotten myself a new agent. One that I liked, one that was good, one that I wasn't scared to call and a new chapter begun. All the whilst gaining a growing client base of PT clients and finding my feet with what I really want to do with my life, in my life, for my life.

Some people may say I have too many fingers in too many pies (as a client liked to point out) "Oooo you want to do a lot don't you?" And for a slight moment I felt ashamed. How dare I. How silly of me to be so obnoxious to want to do more than one thing, or to attempt to try more than what is to be considered the norm. How ridiculous to think that I would try and take on all of the things I want to tackle.

What an obscene, absurd idea.

Turns out, after a realisation face plants you out of nowhere and old age (alright I'm not that old) makes you reassess what it is you really want, you come to the conclusion that perhaps you want it all. That maybe you want to be your own boss, you want to write a book, you want to facilitate young women workshops on self love and confidence, you want to train clients, and share the journey with other people and hopefully relate to their own, you want to help encourage healthier choices and write a fitness programme that will help get them their fitness goals, and more than anything I want it to be OK that I don't know how the hell I'm going to get there, that I am shit scared, cacking my pants; that it might not all turn out, in anyway that I may hope. Sometimes I have bad days and question my journey and other days I feel like Beyonce. I am fearful and vulnerable and we ask ourselves the question, are we progressing? At the right speed in the right direction? Can I trust the process, the path, the journey Im on. Will I survive it? Embrace it? Be, all, in it. Because what if I fail and suck at all the things I want to try. What if I try and none of them amount to 'success' whatever that success looks like on paper? And if not apparent in bright bold ink... what if I don't end up just plain and simply, happy? What if I don't doubletap a huge bright red heart on my own life feed, because I was too busy double tapping other peoples.

So as I reflect upon my adulthood as if I have all the time in the world and yet none at all, I take a deep breath and swallow the same fears I always had, accept now I'm not afraid to say them out loud, I'm not ashamed to say, I'm not sure if I will get all of the things I would like, but I am very, very up for trying.

30 days until I am over 31... lets go.

Personal-ly training

Dance moves in Ibiza...

Dance moves in Ibiza...

So I haven't written a post, or finished one even for soooo long. I have a good reason, I swear. I started a new job a month ago. Honestly it was a nerve racking decision. Between my acting and writing I have been so used to bar work, waitressing and temp jobs, which despite their boring, tedious nature, there was slight security in them. Always someone to rely on for hours. Regularity. So the leap to taking my own responsibility for hours and clients did and still does give me the nervous poos. But I am happy to say I am enjoying it. Every second I'm with a client it feels good to get them doing stuff they don't normally do and pushing them further than they usually go.

That's just one side of it. The other side is harder. For the clients themselves and for me. The nutrition side. The day to day part of it all. In some ways it's easy to come down and do your hardcore sessions in the week. Get showered and go about your day. I do my job and then technically I'm done. Although for me it doesn't feel that simple. I don't want people to come to me and work their butts off, but not discuss the nitty gritty. Why they want the results they want and how really they can achieve them and in what realistic time. 

Despite being a super star dieter, I finally came to my senses and realised the error of my ways. The quick fix for an immediate results-diet for three months, look good for one whole week before it all piled back on. The belief that I could quickly get down to the weight I wanted and once there maintain it. It's unfathomable and unrealistic. 

The hardest part is trying to 'unlearn' what we have been taught. The idea of what breakfast is, what snacks are, what food is for. I mean it's tough. I'm a foody. Food for me is better than s... oo many other things. So when a client says to me, they had some profiteroles because, well, how could you not? I get it. I am in full agreement. Eat those balls of sweet, creamy, soft goo coated in a sweet bready type coating. I don't want to make people feel like they are restricted, that they have to now deprive themselves of delicious things, but I do want to show them that there is a difference between eating those things daily, and picking to eat them, occasionally. There is a difference between eating because you want it, and eating it just because you think you shouldn't, that there is a difference between what is nourishing for your body and what is nourishing for your soul. 

Scoffing a chocolate bar on the way to work mindlessly, is not nourishing for your mind... you didn't even clock what you were eating. The pleasure lasts for twenty seconds, if that, and then the guilt sets in. Why not save the treat of non nutritious food (Good for the soul, not so good for your waist line) to a time when you can really sit and enjoy it. Dinner with friends, a trip to the cinema, a Sunday in front of a good film under the duvet, where you can take a bite of your muffin and savour the moment and the dough of sweetness swishing around your mouth for more than just that quick on the go unsatisfactory moment. 

But there is nothing worse than sounding like you are preaching. Sounding like you think you find it easy. That the choice to make better choices is as easy as picking which big knickers to wear today, the grey ones or the beige ones? NO. I know it's not easy... It has taken me a reallllly long time for it to sink in. A potential client said to me in a heart to heart today, that she was just one of the unlucky ones. That I was lucky to have the body I have and she was doomed, so may as well not try. I can honestly say it broke my heart. How do you explain that, (Side note: it doesn't feel like luck when you bust your gut in the gym and change your eating habits of chocolate bars every night to kale juice every morning)But really, How do you explain that she can work for a healthy body. That she needs to love herself enough to want to take good care of herself. That she is just as 'lucky' as me or anyone else, to just be here, wanting to make a change. 

The biggest, meanest battle of them all. The body image, mind trap. What is it you really want? Why is it you really want that body? Will you be happy when you get it? Seeing other peoples qualms with their own image has opened my eyes to my own. You see it from a whole new view and a light bulb goes off. You hear yourself repeatedly,"you won't see change unless you put in the work. You won't lose fat if you stay stressed, don't sleep, starve and then binge. You don't need to worry about what the scale says. You need to eat, you need to be kind to yourself, you need to drink water, don't restrict anything completely. You need to be consistant, give it time, make it a lifestyle and not a short term fix. You need to love yourself enough to nourish you mind, body and soul and most of all, you cannot compare your body or your progress to anyone elses and you cannot worry about what anyone else thinks..."

FOOK everyone else... Noone freaking cares. They are all concerned with their own stuff as we are ours. I want to work on myself. I want to exercise, so that I FEEL like a Spice Girl or Beyonce or Lena Dunham or Bette Middler. So that I feel like all those women I find enchanting, fascinating, powerful and sexy as hell. If I am round the pool in Ibiza and my boob falls out my bikini whilst I dance badly to some Ibiza tuuuunes, I shant worry if onlookers will approve of said saggy boob or not. I shall carry on with my two step and tuck that baby right back in, and by the time I have done that, said onlooker will be scratching his ball bag, flexing his guns and chatting himself up in his reflection in the pool. 

So it turns out, personal training is personally training me to look at things differently, with more empathetic eyes... So throw out the scales, eat those profiteroles, pull up those snazzy Mr Motivator cycling shorts and do some dead-lifts-for you and only you. And get a glimpse in the mirror whilst your looking bad arse with some dumbbells, take a mental snap shot and bottle that feeling right up... 

Checking to see if I still have feet?

Checking to see if I still have feet?

7 reasons you might not be losing weight

So when you have always been trying to 'loose weight' for as long as I have been, you end up working out what works for you and what doesn't in terms of the number on the scale going down. Eating less helps. As time goes on and you realise a diet of 1200 calories is not sufficient, healthy or acceptable, you start to work out that the number on the scale means nothing. The low number of calories are a waste of time, and that when us girls say we want to lose 'weight' we really mean we want to lose FAT.

Weight and fat are not the same. I am sure by now, we have all read the same articles. The ones that show the picture of what fat looks like in comparison to muscle. Despite reading and hearing from all the professionals, we still jump on the scale and look down expectantly with hope and big, glassy eyes and watch as the digital numbers move. We step off, and off, we breathe out so we are not heavy with air. We take off out shoes, our jeans, our undies. Gaad dam it we take off our jewellery and take out our hair tie. We do a best of three, because you can never be too sure and pray that the scale reads lower than it did... what, six hours ago. Disappointed, if not horrendously disappointed when the number does not show that you are now half a stone lighter.

DO NOT WEIGH yourself if this is the case. There are other methods to track progress. Less torturous, more specific ways. Take pictures, measure yourself with a tape measure. Get your fat percentage tested. 

Hopefully you are wanting to build lean muscle. If so, the scales will not budge a great deal. In the last 13 weeks I have lost 2 inches all over and NOTHING on the scale. NOTHING. That's because I have lost fat rather than weight. So when I discuss weight in my posts, what I am talking about it 'fat'

There are so many reasons that you may not be losing fat. So many times I have tried to lose it and failed, other times I have not been trying and pounds have dropped off. Working out what stops me from loosing fat/weight/bloat is a long, tedious, schlog. It takes a lot of experimenting, entering food diary data and tantrums. This is what I have worked out.

You're not drinking enough water. Water helps keep your body in a state of balance. If you are dehydrated, water will stay in your body as much as possible, rather than excrete the water, causing bloat and water retention. Hydrating your muscles so that they work properly, flushing out your kidneys and liver so they are not wasting time working on the toxins you're putting into your body, but they can actually work on burning fat. Water will fill you up when you might head for a bag of crisps instead. Water is needed, in abundance, to help with your weight loss.

You're not eating enough-You've been on a diet for years. Diet as in a low amount of calories. Your bodies metabolism has slowed right down after experiencing going into starvation mode. You are not burning fat at the speed in which you could be, as your body will hold on to the nutrients you do eat, for dear life to sustain it's balance and survive. Eat, eat some more and then eat a little bit more. If, like me, you spent a long time under eating to lose weight, try reverse dieting to slowly increase your calories. I will do a post on that soon. More calories, more food? I am in!

Too many treats-I am a treat fiend (treats not cheats) as I hate the connotation of cheating. This is a lifestyle and not a test. I live for treats. Cheesecake, pie, cheesey carby, fatty treats. But there is a fine line between treats and GET IT ALL IN MY MOUTH RIGHT NOW AT THE SAME TIME! I stick to 80/20% rule. I try and eat at least 4 times a day. That is 28 times a week. That means that 4-5 times during the week I can treat myself to a pudding/snack or treaty dinner and still see results. Yes results will be slower, but results for me are often about my mental state surrounding food, or my rep count and less about the inches around my thighs. So slow results are ideal to keep this as a lifestyle and not a quick fix.

You are eating too much salt-Simple as, salt dehydrates you, therefore you have excess water retention. Cut out adding salt to food, if you do salt things use pink Hymalayan salt. Why (because everyone says so) :) No, because it is less processed. The lesser things are processed the better it is for us.

You are not getting enough fibre-Fibre is hard for the body to digest, therefore your body will work harder to break it down, therefore burning more calories. I find it really hard to get enough fibre so occasionally I will drink Psyllium husk. Its pretty grim, but it helps clear out your insides (you poo a lot)

You are doing too much of one type of cardio-You're running miles, your cycling for hours... and nothing is happening. Don't get me wrong, cardio is great. It is so essential to a healthy lifestyle. Cardio helps you burn calories. It helps keep your heart healthy, it helps your metabolism. But doing bursts of high intensity training in intervals means your body will work harder, for a shorter time and even after your session, where as you won't get that same affect with steady state. The point. Do both in your programme. 

You're being mean to your body-This one is bar far the most important and detrimental one. I am a culprit. I have stood in front of the mirror, scrutinising... which you can read about HERE. I still find myself standing in front of the mirror sometimes, saying nothing but mean things to it. My waist isn't small enough, my belly not flat enough, my thighs not slim enough. All the whilst I am being so horrifically nasty to myself, why would I then go out into the world and nourish my body. Whilst my self worth felt non existant and my self esteem lost somewhere between 5-10yrs old, I found it so much harder to treat my body better whilst I thought nothing good anout my body. Eat well? Exercise? Be healthy? What was the point? Quick fixes and negative talk continued (on bad days,the talk still does) But the more you start being kinder to your body, the more you want to look after it. The more you look after it, the more kinder you are to yourself. Its a catch 22. But the body shaming and the bad vives in the mirror havent worked this far... so the only thing left to try... Be kind to yourself. Say nice things about your body. Be grateful for what you do have. And I bet you a slice of cheese and jam on toast, that suddenly you will be on your way to having the body you want, deserve, desire. Mentally and physically.