personal trainer

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"

Feeling Fat...

I look in the mirror during my trip in LA... I'm two Dodger game hot dogs down, one Cheesecake Factory cheesecake in, many cocktails, a greasy Fatburger, a tub of Salted Caramel Ben and Jerrys  and a few frappacinos devoured and I stand in front of the mirror and...

Oh no she diaaaant just think the F word!!!

FAT!!!

Shit!!! I have fat thighs, my muffin top looks more muffiiny and my belly looks like it could be carrying a 4 month old child... I rationalise... that I am the same size as yesterday and yesterday I felt slim! But I FEEL fat. Does anyone know what I mean? I am utterly HUGE and noone in their right mind would want to even look at me. Don't look at me people...

THIS THOUGHT PROCESS IS UTTER BOLLOCKS. And in reality,

this is not about the size you are

. FAT, for me, is not a size, it is a feeling. People smaller than myself 'feel' fat and despite my look of horror when my size 8 friend says she hates how large her thighs are, I get it. She knows she isn't fat, as do I, we also both know, being larger is not a sin. I look at people larger than myself and adore their bods, want their bods, admire their bods and sometimes, don't even notice their bods. Who cares. Truly, when someone is beaming and happy and has an amazing energy, who really notices what bloody size they are. Which is why for me, I understand all these crazy thoughts to be about my 'feelings' and not my actual size. I know some people will read this and yawn. Want me to 'shut the front door' about my 'feeling tubby' and that's OK. That is the whole point of my blog post. I am not against being larger.

Being physically larger will not change my worth and it will not destroy my world.

I have been larger and could easily get larger.

There is nothing wrong with being larger

. The word fat should not exist. Noone IS fat. We may 'have' fat and 'feel' fat but size does not make us who we are. In reality. In our heads, well that is a whole other ball game. It has taken me a long time to get with the programme regarding the reality of all of this. I was a chubby, podgey child. My relationship with food and the image in the mirror were warped, and it has taken a very long time to understand and also get over my crap. And yes, after a few indulgences and a few hormones later, the irrational, insane thoughts creep back in occasionally.

I am writing this because you do not have to be over weight or under weight to have a bad relationship with your body or the food you eat.

That is what this is about.

As I head into the world of personal training and I am about to take other peoples goals and wishes and thoughts into my own hands regarding their own body. The only body that they have. The one that they have been looking in the mirror at, for the whole of their lives. The one body that they have scrutinised and mentally bashed, and possibly been ashamed of, embarrassed of. That one body that wore their wedding dress, bathed in that bikini when they met the love of their life, gave birth to their first child, trained for 6 months before doing the marathon, fed crap food to, fed good food to, fatty food, no food, the same body that they have decided that they want to change, adapt, make better, improve, tone, firm, lean up... the same body that they want to see looking back at them and for them to be proud of... 

I have had to ask myself the question, what is it that we want? What body is it that we are aiming for, what are we chasing? Why are we limiting our calories, cutting the carbs, upping the protein, drinking hideous flavoured drinks, working out six times a week? Why are we trying that funky keep fit class or faddy weight lifting regime? Why are we sending ourselves insane? And the answer that I come up with when I ask why I have gone through all that craziness above, is because I want to FEEL good. Yes that can coincide with looking great too, but my perception of 'looking great' changes from day to day, month to month, and essentially if I FEEL slim, I usually think I LOOK slim. 

Someone ages ago asked me the question, if I could be larger than I am now, but FEEL great about my body and had the perception that my body was in the place I wanted it to be; or I could have the body I thought I wanted, (you know the one, the Victoria Secret model bod) but I would still FEEL fat, and crappy and down about my body... which one would I choose? 

And honestly, the answer I gave back then, was the ugly truth, the latter.

I went to see a lecturer last night in LA, Jason Glass. He spoke about us as humans, always wanting something in 'form' Wanting a certain amount of money, a certain acting job, a particular number on the scale. He talked of how sometimes, we get the thing we want, in 'form' and it actually doesn't feel as good as we had imagined or hoped or dreamed. He says this is because what we really want is the 'essence' of what that form brings. We want the time and freedom that the form of money can buy, we want the validation perhaps, as well as the excitement of a new job, a new character, a new experience to have, we want the feeling we feel when we step on the scale and see the number we have always been searching for... We want the '

feeling

' the '

essence

' of these things that often do not actually come from receiving the 'form' of it, or it certainly does not last forever, the feeling nor  literally having those things in form.  He mentions, instead of working towards the actuality of 'getting' these things, that we have all the incite and possibility to have the essence of all the above, already in us. Imagine if one meant we got the other. Imagine if we started feeling great, loving our bods (muffin top and all) What if we looked in the mirror and liked what we saw already and as a result, we nourished it, looked after it, because, well, that just makes sense. I love a pinterest quote, and one sticks in mind that says 'Love yourself enough to live a healthy life' In feeling good about our large, oversized ear lobes and our cellulitey elbows, perhaps we will finally get the bod we have always wanted.

Now I know a lot of this sounds like mumbo jumbo to some. That's OK. All I know is that as I embark on helping people change their bodies, I'd like to firstly start with the thoughts about their bodies, their attitude to food and exercise, because as Brene Brown would say 'There is no quick fix 'how to', you cannot make the 'how tos' work without talking about the things that 'get in the way.' For me, the 'things that get in the way of me eating healthy consistently or of me getting the results I want, is that I eat five cakes to rebel against the people that say things like 'Oooo aren't you on a diet?' Or I stuff my face with an extra large popcorn (to myself) because I don't want people to think I care too much about my body.

God forbid, anyone could know that I actually want a fit healthy body, that would be shameful.

I eat double cream out of the tub with a spoon to make people laugh so that people don't think I take eating or not eating too seriously, because we all know what we think of people that take this stuff seriously... '

Bore off, there is more to life than worrying about what you eat or don't eat'

And yup, there really is, but for some, these thoughts are just ingrained in us, and we don't want them to be, so we think going to the gym everyday and eating nothing, will take those thoughts away, when in fact, they just magnify them tenfold. So lets talk about the 'things that get in the way' and perhaps then, and only then, can we attempt to get that Victoria Secrets bod...

Oh wait... that is not the point? shit!!!