perception

Are you beautiful?

***Just a little side note before I yabber on. I have debated about posting this for days. Not everyone likes honesty, not everyone wants to hear my view point, and it is a touchy subject. A sensitive one. You don't want to say the wrong thing. And then I turned on the telly as I sat down to redraft and there was a debate going on on one of those morning shows... "Are you beautiful?" And I thought, ya know what, that's gotta be a sign right? SO I re named the post and held my breath and went forth... 

Someone I know wrote a really honest post the other day that touched me. I related to it strongly and felt like I got to know her a little better...

This rung true... For the longest time

I wanted to be the girl with the great personality that people wanted to be around because I was funny and wise.

She also talked of how that changed somewhere along the way and therefore begun the high expectations she had on herself to look a certain way, be a certain weight. The pressure she felt to be beautiful and skinny and that this had topsy turvied with her way of thinking and self worth.

Whether it be the guy that needs to be seen as 'strong' or a woman that needs to be seen as 'beautiful' I know I have had these expectations of myself. Put upon myself. Ones that I will never reach, not permanently, or at all. As I have gotten older I get get the impression that there is an importance not to BE strong or beautiful, but perhaps to FEEL strong and beautiful, and to redefine those expectations as they are not the same thing.

My own journey and my relationship with my body, and image, with the way I look and the way I perceive myself along with the way people perceive me, has been tangled with a mix of emotion from as long as I can remember. Mentioned

here

and

here.

From the moment I stood in Tammy girl changing rooms trying on a crop top and denim shorts and knowing that I dint quite look like the other girls... from the time that I over heard a so called friend tell a boy I fancied that I had  no waist, thin lips and saggy boobs... or that time the chubby boy at school asked me out, and after saying yes, an hour later saying he was joking, From the time I over heard a boy that had seen my boobs, tell his mate that I had burger nipples... I didn't clock that these were defining moments in my thought processes. Not for so many years to come. I didn't realise the negative connotations that were associated with these incidents that all had a part to play in my perception of how I looked to the outside world and how I looked to the person standing looking back at me in the mirror.

The summer of ninety seven, whilst Alanis Morrisette's 'Jagged Little Pill' was playing, I stood in the mirror, naked. My half filled, pointy, boobs and over sized nipples staring at me in the face, obtrusively. I blushed, despite standing there alone. My fanny covered in what looked like a comb over, thin, soft, long (new) pubes. I looked odd. I had not noticed them properly until this particular day. I had sat in the bath and watched them as they had floated to the top, frizzy and coarse making their way through the bubbles. These pubes had offended me. Standing there in my full length mirror, my body no longer looked like my own. It was now unrecognisable.  I no longer looked like the person I felt I was on the inside. I had started to shave my legs because the fit boy from the year below had pointed out that my legs were hairy. I'd begged my mum to let me shave,

'Pleaaasseee, I couldn't possibly be the hairy gross beast out of all my friends.'

I had started to use hair mouse and slick down my frizzy 'halo hair' that I had in every school picture until I was twelve. I suddenly had less and less eyebrows after getting pluck happy with the tweezers and then one evening going all out with the Immac that left me with about four eyebrow hairs. Honestly Cara Deleveign would be distraught.

Hairy fanny, bald legs, nearly bald forehead. Check!

I was now a teenager. Hairless (in most places), frizzyless and fatless and far more Self concious, insecure and uncomfortable in my own skin  than I had ever been before and about to embark on a long journey of self obsession and comparison. Loosing weight had suddenly made me visible and judgemental. Of myself, and of others. I was now riddled with ugly thoughts.

It's like I went through puberty, got lost along the way and when I came out the other side I felt so unsure of who I really was that it took me a long time to find that ten year old 'honey monster' that caught myself in the mirror and said'You look pretty today Danielle'

Without judgement. Without comparison. That ten year old statement wasn't coming from a place of ego, as I was to later adopt, but more from a place of love. I had 'felt' pretty. And it would be a long time before I felt it acceptable to'feel'pretty again.

At around puberty, after not being invited to the popular boys birthday, after not being chased in kiss chase. Ever. After seeing the admiration people had for the new pretty girl with big boobs. After being told I was pretty since loosing weight.

It suddenly felt like a necessity to be pretty to keep it up. Looking pretty was the new best thing; right after the discovery of the

secret acoustic bonus track on Alanis' s album. 

I wanted to be chased in kiss chase. I wanted the fit boy with a six pack and 'backstreet boys' style curtains, to ask me out. I did. I wanted the boys to think I was pretty too. It's hard to admit that I wanted this, out loud. I feel shame in that. I felt shame in that. The judgey part of me, as I got older, didn't want to be the girl that needed to be beautiful. But some how, I did.

The shame

 (a talk from Brene Brown on shame)

I built up around the idea of being pretty grew the older I got. What pretty meant to people. There was guilt and resistance. I felt embarrassed if I looked pretty/felt pretty. It felt uncomfortable. It felt awkward. The realisation that all those years when I had felt it, or looked in the mirror with no judgement even. No one had let me in on the secret that frizzy hair, bushy eyebrows, roley bits, thin lips, saggy boobs, legs that touched, a waist that didn't go inwards, was not conventionally pretty... I suddenly felt lost, unidentifiable. I felt like a fraud. Someone decided that now, with only six weeks turn around, I was welcomed into a new way of life, a new group of people. People I thought I'd fitted in with before, only to discover I hadn't, not truly. 'uh uh ahh... you can't sit with us' Yet just like that, over one summer I now had the golden ticket. I was allowed at the back of the bus apparently. The fit boy did seem to fancy me. I think he did, I hoped he did. Did he? Or maybe he'd found out who I really was.

A fraud. And just just like that, I felt like I betrayed who I had once thought I was.

The ultimate dilemma I had discovered was... 'feeling' pretty, having a high self esteem, it came with a whole load of baggage and a truck load of judgement!!!

I had/have always been the girl that wanted to be fun, care free, free spirited, open, kind, intelligent and didn't take herself too seriously... Ya know the one, the 'cool' girl they portray in the films that doesn't have too many friends, but she doesn't care, she has a select few of really close ones, she reads a lot, she knows a lot about a lot, she isn't interested in boys because, well, she is just soo self assured that 'who needs a guy to interrupt her school work and her time she spends playing basketball with her dad out the front of her house.' You know, the girl that wears trainers on her wedding day and never does her hair because, mehhh, she doesn't care (and it just so happens that she always looks like she's just stepped from a Loreal advert). The girl that wore dungarees, but looked 'cute' instead of like a removal van driver. 

(I may have watched way to many 90's american films)

I wanted to be pretty,(some days I thought I was/some days I didn't. It was irrelevant)but I didn't want people to think I thought I was, I always felt like that was an arrogant way of thinking. Do not think for one second that you are attractive, that, is ugly in itself.

Half of me wanting to go back to being unnoticed.  Or to a world of no second guessing or worrying about what people thought. Not caring what people thought. And then the other half of me wanted to be beautiful, to be a member of a group of girls that wore Miss Selfridge boot cut jeans and looked really good in PE shorts with my T shirt twizzled and tucked under at the front to create a crop top. I wanted to be part of the club where the cool boys across the road would gather and whisper and then one of their friends would come over and whisper to another of our friends and she would squeal and clap and then whisper something back and he would return to his good looking moppy haired gang and watch as the bubbly, excited girl would come back to our group and look at all of us and point... and you would hold your breath and suck in and hope that you had your skirt rolled up right and that your smelly armpits weren't noticeable to anybody else and you would pretend to jauntily stand there, 'casj',  uninterested until... 'YOU... He fancies you' and even if you were a part of this gang, this girl group, this members only swaray... you never really felt like you were. Even if the massive WWF finger had pointed at you, there was still this seed of doubt, worry, angst. Was he joking?  Was this all a massive joke?

OK so this is bloody mental. At best, it's just plain exhausting.

So you grow up... you stand in the mirror, naked. a lot. Your small pointy boobs (no bigger than they had been in ninety seven, your waist the same proportion, your fanny, well, far better groomed, your forehead, there is far more eye brow and despite any of that, I see someone far more recognisable. Likeable. You have begun to accept that this is you. I do not see a troll doll (unless it is first thing in the morning and then you can bet my jewelled little belly button that my eyes are just as puffy and my hair just as big). I stand there and accept I am not Belle or Ariel or Jasmine either. I also, now I am older, have realised that these ideals don't really exist. Jasmines thick hair is achieved with hair extensions and those massive Disney eyes, you can buy a two quid set of lashes. Ariel's cute pert boobs... well some are blessed... those characters are somebodies ideals. That are achievable. Down at super drug perhaps more easily than deep in our thoughts. As yall know by now, I have a million and one insecurities. I play with the donut fat around my belly, I pose in the mirror to create a thigh gap, I draw on brows so they look better, I bleach the tash, bronze the face.'

I guess now, there is no time for so much horrendous scrutinising.

For standing in the mirror for hours on end, wishing that my bottom would  be plumper, or my boobs would be a bit pertier, or that my waist would be a lot teenier.

I have met people, or see people that I would like to emanate more than J lo or a Disney princess. People that fascinate me. Conventionally 'beautiful' or not. People I am in awe of. The people I grew up wanting to be just like... Bette Midler, Julie Walters, Dawn French, The spice girls... Or now the people I would love to be best friends with, Lena Dunham, Mindy Kaling, Caitlin Moran, Emma Stone, Dawn O'Porter.

What's horrific is I've given pretty women a hard time. I had it in my head for a long time, that if you look good, your less likely to be funny. If you pull all the boys, you are hardly going to be interesting enough to write a book I might like.

If you watch what you eat, your as boring as David Cameron at a Dodgers game... I spent years wanting to make sure I was not as boring as a prime minister at a sports game. That I was open, approachable. Deep down, I felt that 'playing into looking good' was offensive. Arrogant. Obnoxious.

I spent years being so unsure of who I was and what I really thought, and I never wanting to give away the uncertainty, Which in turn made me way less honest, real or likeable. Always relying on other peoples perceptions of myself to feel good, rather than being the person who 'I' liked.

Unfortunately surrounded by a society that expects us look a certain way, to own our beauty inside and out, but berates us for putting up a #selfie... Own it... but not socially. I also feel pressure NOT to conform. Be funnier, be more opinionated, be more laid back, be a feminist. Say no to J los booty video, say no to lipstick, brushing your hair, wearing short shorts. Be the cool girl. Be the quirky girl. We are surrounded by a society that says, 'love yourself' but not too much. Embrace being YOU. But don't be TOO much. Be goofy, but if you look groomed, pretend you don't think you are.

Fucking Nora

... what if, just maybe... my biggest fear was that I wasn't able to tick any/all of these boxes. What if my biggest fear was that I was just mediocre. Boring. Not super pretty, not super funny, not super intelligent. Not super anything. What if I were ordinary? Normal? Was that enough?

There will be days when my tash is so dark It looks like a 40 year old mans bum fluff. Or my eyebrows are so unkempt I look like Bert from sesame street. What I hope I instil in my daughter, is the power as a girl/woman to feel OK with that. To worry not whether people think she is (any adjective) enough, and to be more concerned with how she feels, how she makes them feel. How she treats them. If I have a daughter I hope to tell her one day, when she is standing in the mirror wondering if she is pretty or not (as my mum did, yet other stuff got in the way), I want to tell her she is beautiful. With or without make up. But if she has a kind soul and a smiley face, If she is kind to herself the way she is to others, she will feel content and less concerned with the horrendous crap above that had been so crippling in allowing me to be the best me I could be, because I was having ugly thoughts, not lovely thoughts... I am still on this journey. The days when I don't say hello, or I seem quiet, or closed off, those are usually the days I feel insecure or not good enough. 

Here is Brene Browns talk on vulnerability

... worth a watch

 Ten year old me

I feel prettiest when I am not being mean and judgemental. To myself or others. I feel prettiest when I feel comfortable in my own skin. When I am true to myself. When I am honest with myself, with others. I feel prettiest when I smile at someone and they smile back. I feel prettiest when I share my fears and people say they 'get it'

To be honest...

I pride myself on being an open person. Not necessarily honest at all times, but very rarely do I

not

wear my heart on my sleeve. Well, I try to always be open with others. I like sharing, mainly because I like people sharing back. I despise small talk and pointless convo, and even if I am not the smartest cookie (because cookies are so smart -_-) I like to debate and talk about things that matter. Sometimes I like to talk about Scarlett Johanssons body in that film where her body looked amazing, and sometimes I like to talk about crap, like if Kim K really did break the internet. I say sometimes, probably

a lot

. But if I have an opinion on it, I'll talk about it for days. That beats small talk. About the weather and what your doing for work at the moment. Shoot me in the head if you hear me say 'Gosh it's so sunny today'

Which out here, I have said a lot. In LA, there is more small talk than I am used to. And I have been swept in. Because when someone here asks you how your day is, you don't really want to respond with '

Well, I had this audition and it didn't go great, well, it didn't go bad, but I just wasn't feeling it, and they didn't seem to feel it and so now I feel a bit bummed and what is the point in all of this, maybe I should just do something else, maybe acting isn't for me... wait, I am giving the universe bad signals, I do want this, I do want to act, I just don't NEED it, right universe? That's what I am meant to say? If I want it but pretend not to want it too much, all will be well... so yeah, the audition went OK, who knows you win some you loose some, it's in the universes hands

' and you look up to said universe and give it a sly little wink like you're both in on the same inside joke and you pray the universe doesn't clock that little pinch of (I really do want to book this job) because, well you know, the universe repels neediness like a boy you're  dating who you have just asked to see three nights in a row... so you look across at the semi stranger, (someone you just met last week for coffee because that's what you do here) and you say 'Yes, my days been great, I mean how could it not, look at the weather, it's so sunny here' and they reply, 'Gosh yes it rains a lot in England doesn't it?' and your in, your off on the small talk train and it's hard to jump off.

Sometimes I want to give all of me. Most of the time I want to give all of me. Then there are times when that is not appropriate. All of me can be annoying, over whelming, boring, too much. But...When your not being yourself, there's a strange sense of misjustice. I feel like I'm cheating myself. Like I'm wasting time in life conning myself and the people around me. But sometimes, I feel the people around me do not help me be myself. I feel suffocated by their intentions or their own ego or their own life issues. And in dealing with their own drama, I feel myself and my ego reacting to it. Not consciously. But subconsciously I feel my soul drain second by second and feel weak with thought process malfunction. And whilst they are dealing with their own issues, I am out here dealing with mine.

All I ever want to be is myself really. I want to be so self assured, so accepting of my own flaws and traits, that I am comfortable to just be 'all of me' at any one time with any person that I meet. And there will always be someone that doesn't like some of you or all of you and still, at the ripe old age of 30, I still find that hard to process. I want to be liked. And I really do feel that most people do. When I hear people say they don't care if

Julie

likes them, I firstly feel envious of such liberation and then I secondly feel sceptical because often I think that's a protection barrier. Because why would you not want

Julie

to like you? You don't meet

Julie

and hope that she doesn't like you. Yes wasting time trying to convince

Julie

that you're a good person or a funny person or an interesting person or how utterly great you are, is pointless. Probably because if she was to get to know you, the good the bad and the ugly, she might think those things anyways.

I always remember asking a good friend of mine... 'don't you worry if people don't like you', and she replied 'Naahh, if they got to know me they would.' and I never got it. I never understood how someone could be so free spirited about that. So sure that people would like her if they knew her. Which is silly, because I know she was right. If they knew her the way I did, they would love her the way I did. But having that reassurance about your own self... seemed unfathomable. If people got to know me they might see that I don't like sharing food, and that I am selfish at times. They would see that I am over the top and loud and opinionated. That I like talking... a lot. They would hear me be mean sometimes, or that I get defensive or grumpy or bossy. Worst still, they may not approve of my poo jokes. There are a lot of poo jokes. But as I have gotten a bit more self assured, I have started to sort of get what she means. When I meet people, if they are genuine, sincere and openly themselves, I often by pass the flaws, and end up liking them when I get to know them. That same courtesy comes back to you too. When you know someone, and you see why their behaviour is the way it is, often you end up relating to their behaviour, you see why someone might make that inappropriate joke, or come across as arrogant or barely even smile at you. You can empathise with most character traits because we all have them. And often, more often than not, the judgement I make of someone is a reflection of me and my own issues and not the other person. I recognise when I walk away from a person and I feel there was insincerity, It makes me feel like, they didn't trust me enough to be themselves. I sometimes walk away and think 'gosh they were an arrogant cock bucket' and inside I don't like it because it unnerves something in me, that someone doesn't sensor themselves the way I think appropriate. Sometimes people make us feel aways about ourselves or more to the point, we let people affect us and we feel aways. More often than not, If I don't like someone on first meeting it will be because I sensed they don't like me. (Unless they were racist or misogynistic or just dam right rude) But even then, people are who they are because of shit they have going around in their head. And most of the time, its stuff that we have going around in our heads too. We all just deal with it differently.

I worked with some people who I really did not jell with. I found them to be insincere and hurtful. Arrogant and so unsympathetic, that I thought they may be on the verge of psychopathic. I could not relate to them. Everything they did, every bad feeling they made me feel, I took to heart. I took it so personally, I would go home and cry because it felt apparent they didn't like me, and yet they would sort of pretend to and there was this mist of nastiness that resided over me daily. Once I stepped back, it became obvious that they hadn't liked me. It was hard to deal with (I am not one of those, ahhh who cares if they don't like me, I don't like them) sort of people. (Because I am just not one of those people.) Looking back though, I see that It made sense why they didn't like me. I did not appease them. I did not fit into the expectation they had of me and in return they didn't accommodate my needs. My need for them to be genuine and sincere. I was angry a lot, frustrated a lot and not giving the best version of me. Probably, I was the worst version of me. They felt that I didn't like them, I didn't listen to them, I didn't agree with them, so therefore they didn't really like me, and vice verser. We all played this game of pretend, because it's work. That's what you do. And it took me a long time to understand why they despised me so much. And when I realised why, it all felt so trivial. They didn't really know the real me. Because they were never genuine enough to warrant getting the real me on a daily basis. I didn't feel comfortable being me, wholeheartedly because I didn't trust them not to take the bad traits in me and use them against me. But what ended up happening was my ego would get all defensive. I was defending myself against other egos and we were in a full on ego war.

Deep down, I don't believe they are bad people as neither am I.(most of the time) We all want to be liked. We all want to fulfil an ego based expectation, whether it be to be the best one, the powerful one, the funny one, the kind one, the trust worthy one, the knowledgeable one, the interesting one... and if you meet people who have the same wants, you battle. But under all of that, don't we just want the person we meet to

get us

. To empathise with us, relate to us, connect with us. I am OK to meet someone I don't do those things with, hence I only have a handful of people who I trust with ALL of me, warts and all. But in every meet up I have, I want to find something in common, something we can laugh at together, something real to talk about. When I meet someone, it's not like I am praying 'Dear universe, I hope we talk about the weather today' I want to meet people I can be honest with, and who I can trust with all of me. Those people do not come around often, but the more honest I am, the more you realise who to talk to about that shit audition and who maybe to just discuss the weather forecast with.

Honestly... 

I don't like sharing food.

Julie is not a real person. 

I have never watched 'Back to the Furture'

I wasn't into Michael Jackson 

I wish I had tried harder at school

I wish I had been less obnoxious at school

I hate washing up cutlery

I cannot stand men in cuban heels

I can't stand football

I have a hairy belly button ( I take care of it) 

I sometimes don't shave for more than two months

I think about food vs getting fat way more than I should

I like Millionaire Matchmaker 

Spice Girls will always be my jam 

I say things like 'be my jam'

Get healthy (inside and out)

Its the month before Christmas... its that time between summer cocktails and work party canapes. Generally November is the month that we all quit drinking and we eat chicken and broccoli ready for the Christmas over indulgence that we know comes our way as soon as the second week of December hits.

The start of this year, as the pounds piled on after last years yorkshire puddings and cheese boards galore, I decided that 2014 was going to be the year that I got my body (inside and out) into the best shape it can be, for me. I have talked about 'feeling fat' in a post before, and the food issues that relate to our body image. I hold my hands up and admit that 'yup... I am in a large handful of people that find being kind to my body difficult.

When I was younger I was quite chunky. I looked a little like the honey monster. (I was cute) I was larger than my class mates. Funnily enough, I didn't really notice. I was young, no one really cared. Least of all me. Thats what I remembered anyway. But as this journey this year continues I have been thinking about the psychology behind my eating habits and my thought process's behind my body image perceptions.

I suddenly remembered going into Tammy Girl, aged ten, and being upset because I wanted to buy denim shorts and crop tops like my class mates. I put them on and felt horrible for a split second. Jump forward four years and I was around the pool in Greece and there was a group of sixteen year old girls. There was this one particular girl who wore a teeny black thong bikini and I remember that same feeling as being in Tammy Girl, and all I could think was 'I want to be teeny like her' These thoughts when I was younger, came every so often. I can recall those times and count them on one hand...

Until I was a little bit older and it became a habit for me to 'not feel comfortable in my own skin.' Thats the only way i can describe it. Since puberty I have never been overweight. I headed to secondary school, without a concern in the world about my weight or how I looked. But the years went by, my friends all wore hipster jeans from Miss Sixty, jeans that wouldn't fit me the same and through out those years my weight became a number I would focus on. In the three months leading to my 16th birthday I decided to loose the chub I felt I had put on since drinking Bacardi Breezers on the common with all our friends (friends that didn't put on any chub). I stopped drinking at weekends and instead of pizza with baked beans on and crisps and chocolate for lunch, I would have a sandwich and be done with it. My dinners would consist of a healthy pasta dish, and I lost weight. (It was as easy as that when we were young) On my 16th birthday I had lost a stone and I felt amazing. I looked like my natural weight.(whatever that meant) Basically, I felt comfortable in my own skin.

From this exact moment on, my life was going to be a constant yo yo. I would alternate a stone at a time. I would spend 6 months loosing a stone, be at my comfortable weight for two months and then the weight would creep back on. I would stay there for a while. Eating crisps for breakfast and Macdonalds twice a week until I felt too sluggish and too horrible to continue and then the cycle would begin again. This went on for the next thirteen years. And it pains me to admit that this would consume so much of my energy. That I would be forever in a battle with myself over such a (ridiculous) notion.

Food for me is joyful. It means happiness and indulgence. It means family time or meet ups with friends. Food signifies togetherness and contentment. So, to get comfortable in my own skin, I felt I had to restrict food, which meant I was missing out on the joy and the togetherness. 'Dieting' as I used to call it, always ended up being such a depressing time for me. So I associated eating healthy with being miserable.

After thirteen years of this mental battle with myself, I came to the conclusion that life was too short. It was too short to battle all of the time. To constantly be feeling guilt for a burger I ate or the exercise I didn't do. It was too short to only eat kale and wallow in my low calorie filled day. Life was too short for all the crappy perceptions that came with eating too much, not eating enough, not fitting into my fav dress or trying to always fit into that one particular dress, or fitting into it for one week only and then spending months feeling horrific because I no longer fitted into it.

I started to really ask myself what it is that I wanted. Was it the tight petite little body that fitted into denim shorts and a crop top? Was it that I wanted to eat as much as Sally, who could eat a bacon sarnie, a Big Mac and a full on roast with all the trimming, have cheesecake twice a day and not put on weight? Did I just want to go a day, one single day without thinking about my body or food intake. I wanted it all.The stark realisation was that, one, I would have to not only exercise my body, but exercise my mind as well, if I wanted to feel comfy in shorts and a crop top and two, that a diet of roasts and bacon sarnies everyday may kill me. But, were all possible. YES. My dad always says:

'There is always a solution to everything, you just might not like that solution'

But the solution IS NOT crash dieting. It is not starving yourself one minute and binging the next. It is not eating no more than 1200 calories, it is not deciding to only wear baggy clothes to hide your body. The solution was consistency. Its the one thing that has changed the thirteen years of bad habits. I consistently started being kind to my body. That meant, telling myself nice things when I looked in the mirror. That meant not stuffing junk down my throat because I would panic the food would run out. That meant getting my metabolic rate faster, my energy up, my routine in tact. It also meant eating Haagen Daz if I desired it. Having a starter if I felt like it. Being consistently kind to my body meant a mixture of things. Exercise being at the forefront. Exercising my thought patterns and my perceptions were the hardest challenge of them all. Squats, Pah... I got those down, but working out my food issues and working on changing those thoughts, that was the hardest and still is the hardest things I have had to do on this journey.

I got out of bed in January 2014 and thought, I am not going to do this yoyoing milarky anymore, I am going to make exercise a part of my life, the same way brushing my teeth is, and I am going to consistently eat well. Because as I approach the dirty thirties, I realise, life is too too short. To be unhealthy. In mind body and soul. So after a lot of trial and error of what works for me, I found a 30 minute exercise regime that fitted into my day, anywhere, any-time, and I started to eat more fresh whole foods, in a bid to cut the processed junk out. I made a promise to not cut out any food groups along the way. To know that anything was and is available for me to eat. And I promised to not starve or binge again.

I am not perfect, far from it. I still have days where I don't want to work out. Or days where I think I just want to eat pizza and Haribo all day. There are days I slip and days I think horrible thoughts about my body. I am human. I am a woman, which means once a month the whole world seems odd. But, each day I continue to try at least to not be so hard on myself about these days above. 

Ten months later... here I am. Still on my journey and still practising the balance. That's what it is. It doesn't just become easy to have a balanced lifestyle if that isn't what you are used to. Its not something that just happened to me one day. It was one day at a time, it still is. I focus on the now. I don't beat myself up for the burger I had yesterday and I don't worry about the cake I might have later. In every moment I make a choice as it comes. But I have created a habit.

So as November rolls on... why not create habits for yourself. Go check out 

amandamandy.com

 where myself and two lovely ladies have put together a November challenge to try and help you get into a routine. Go have a read. I'm finding it really helpful too.

As Kayla Itsines says... (a Personal trainer I admire) "It doesn't get easier, you just get stronger"