TACOS, TRANSFORMATIONS and TOAST ON A TUESDAY

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The photo on my left was always my go to #before picture (Not cos I was at my 'biggest but it stood out as my most unhappy #bodyimage day) The day when I felt lost and disconnected the most. I did not want to be in that body and I hated myself, not for not loving it, but for not being skinny enough. Why could I not just eat all the pasta, pizza and gelato and NOT gain weight? The anger was so real it took over my day. I cried, I was moody. I felt like a potato. 

If you follow my Instagram, you will know about my journey. You will know how unhealthy I know the above thoughts are. And rather than feel ashamed of the fact that this is who I was. Who I still can be. I want to share those vulnerabilities because as painful as it is to admit, so many of you girls relate. And I think in talking about these moments, we open up to change, growth and awareness. 

Today I saw that this left photo and saw that it was to the day, exactly 4yrs ago. And to the lb, I weigh exactly 4kg heavier. Not that the number matters, but I do like the rounded, synchronicity of a kilo for each year. 

People would question why I was so unhappy in my skin on the left. Because I wasn't over weight.

But discontentment in your skin isn't about being over weight or being a certain size (even though I told myself it was) It wasn't about having abs (I still want those) or having long, lean Viccy Secret model legs (I wouldn't say no) it's just that now my worth is not reliant on such wants. It's not even about fitting into societies standards. I fitted in OK. I wasn't a model, but I wasn't being forced to walk around with a paper bag over my head claiming I "Am not an animal, I am a human being" (If you know you know... RIP The Elephant Man) 

I talk a lot about societies standards. It's role it has to play on young women, but essentially, when we stop the blame and the excuses and stop looking outside of ourselves, we have to look within us to really ask... WTF is going on?

On the left I didn't feel ENOUGH. Of what I can't tell u. It was a mixture of things. I wasn't tall enough, lean enough, tight enough, white enough, black enough, my hair wasn't straight enough or glossy enough. My thighs were not slim enough, my hips weren't wide enough, my waist wasn't small enough. I wasn't likeable enough, funny, enough, intelligent enough, wise enough, kind enough. It wasn't only about my looks. I just wasn't ENOUGH!!!

The same reason someone's alcohol addiction isn't about the booze itself. People do not become alcoholics because booze tastes so gaaadam good. It's about the thoughts behind why they drink. It is something lacking in them that they need to fill that void. I chose to fill my void with endless "diets" of 1200cals or less. I filled my void with addiction to discontentment. 

If booze is the distraction from the emptiness one feels, then unhappiness was NOT the prerequisite of my body not looking the way I wanted it to. But was actually the distraction from the horror I felt of never feeling enough. And only when you want to change the lack of enoughness to an abundance of, erm, enoughness, will the distractions become less distracting and you can actually take hold of the emptiness an fill it with love and not hate. 

1200 calories is hate. cabbage soup diets were hate. Resentment, bitterness, anger, entitlement, pity. It was all a dark cloud that I would use to fill the wholes inside me that just always felt void. But as a wise man once stated, darkness cannot drown out the darkness, only light can do that. 

SELF LOVE is not something that just appears one day. That emptiness you feel, it doesn't just disappear. And once you have it, you don't just own it and keep it in your fanny pack for rainy days. It is something that you have to work at. The same as an alcoholic is always one (as they say in AA) but you form habits to stop yourself picking up your "filler" With body dysmorphia or body image issues, it's the same. The old patterns of self loathing talk, still slide off my brain easily. I still find it easy to look in the mirror and pick apart the things that aren't perfect. 

But... I have spent time forming habits that stop me from picking up those thoughts, and running with them. I may sniff that glass of wine, but I wont get drunk on it, I won't lose myself in the dizzy black hole of self hate and loathing. 

Why? Because I do not want to be on my death bed, wishing I had done something better with my time. Wishing I had loved myself. Wishing I had done more, wishing I could have felt enough when I am sure the big voice that will speak down to me whilst I lie there lifeless will say something like "but you always were you bloody effing fool. You always had the choice to do better and you chose to stay in your place of darkness and now look, your here and its too late, you had all this potential, but you let fear and negativity swallow you up" I don't know who this big voice is talking to me (I don't believe in God per se, but if I go with what I do believe, that we are God, God is within us and that heaven or hell is our own subconcious, then I guess that voice I hear whilst I lay there dead... is me! 

Now if you are keeping up, my point was, I dont want to regret not loving myself. I didnt want to live with the dark heavy burden that I carried in the picture on the left. 

To anyone reading this that may not resonate, that's OK too. This is often like therapy for me, able to projectile vomit my thoughts on my past NOT ENOUGHNESS. but if anything, I hope that you can understand, this wasn't about needing to look like J Lo or Kate Moss or Christina Milian. It was about a deep yearning of filling those dark holes with something. And it sure wasn't slimming pills I needed.

I'm not sure if change can happen if your not ready for it. The world is vibrating at frequencies unbeknown to us and I do believe that if we are vibrating or putting out energy that is to block the energy we want, we won't get the change we seek. For years the vibrations I vibrated were that of negativity. I said I wanted a particular body, yet I couldn't get it. I said I wanted to be happy, and yet I wasn't. I think (in all it's hippy dippy glory) that is because I was vibrating these dead, blunt, heavy emotions that would resist letting the light in. 

In less hippy dippy terms, lets just say, if all you're thinking about is the colour red, and I ask you to look around the room, all you see is the colour red. There is a mental block on all the other things. I was constantly thinking, I am fat, I am fat, I didn't have the wherewithal to see anything else. If I say don't think of the blue elephant I guarantee, all your mind sees is the blue elephant. So even if you find it hard to think in vibrations and light, put simply, if all your time is focused on the shit bits, all you are seeing are the shit bits. 

I can't tell you what frequency to vibrate at. I can't sell you a package of self love you can spray on yourself and bath in (the beauty industry say they are doing that, but I assure you, they re quick fixes) I can tell you to start looking for the beauty in you. Start telling yourself different thoughts. Even a simple one, that even if you don't believe, say it out loud. 

YOU ARE ENOUGH! 

I don't even care if there are skeptics out there reading this that believe this is bullcrap. I am telling you. This statement, changed my life. 

There are days I still find myself batting it away. But every time you do, bat something positive back. Neither thought may be a fact, so why let the negative one win? 

When I realised that change would occur when I realised why I wanted it to, when I discovered the true value in wanting the change. Things started happening. 

Ask yourself. Why do you want longer legs? Abs? A better body. When the answers come back that have no value, it becomes apparent that we have no real umph for it at all. 

I finally decided I wanted to feel more comfortable in my skin. 

I wanted to create habits that would help my mentality as well as my body. 

It really dawned on me that I wanted to see results because I wanted to accomplish something, know that I could put my mind to creating change and reap the rewards. 

I also discovered along the way that the change I thought would come wasn't the change I thought would. Yes I lost fat, gained muscle, yes I did a fitness comp where I was hella lean, yes I had abs for 5 mins, yes I gained all those habits that would help me mentally and physically. But I became comfy in my skin (not just when I was skinny) The change that happened was that my perception changed. I asked myself what was beautiful? Did I need to conform to someone else's beauty standard? Did I need to be 50kg just because that was a 14yr old dream. Did I need to spend every hour thinking about my body and if so, why, what did it all mean? 

I became super aware over this last year, of what had really been going on with all this body warped negativity. My perception shifted and I looked at the girl in the blue bikini and didn't see what I saw 4 years before. As in, I actually looked at it and thought it had been altered to look smaller. I was adamant I had been bigger back then. 

4 years, plus 4 kilos, plus one big realisation. 

I AM ENOUGH. And so are you. 

If you want to start implementing the habits that will help create better thoughts and better results, go to my home page, subscribe and you will recieve a 7 day guide towards self love. For free. Because sharing is caring and all that jazz ;) 

Peace, love, good energy and all that's in-between xxx

Is Self Objectification On Instagram A Form Of Self Harm?

ob·jec·ti·fy

əbˈjektəˌfī/

verb

  1. 1.

    degrade to the status of a mere object.

    "a deeply sexist attitude that objectifies women"

...

OBJECTIFICATION: Treating a person as an object or thing, rather than someone with emotion.

A person, a subject, is a living, breathing human. An object is not. An object has no rights, needs or emotions. This in turn has a subconscious affect. We can treat objects badly, because they don't have emotions. If a person is seen as an object, it is easy to treat with disrespect.

We often look at objectification from a male perspective. This was first noted in the 70's when someone stated that the media would depict women through mens eyes. The male gaze. Either men behind the camera, or men were the "assumed" audience or women were used to further mens stories. The implication of this meant a woman had no voice. With no voice, they had no story, which often led to no respect. 

Objectification is also often a symptom of rape culture in the broad sense of the subject. In societies that devalue women's rights and femininity there is often a strong correlation with the objectifying women and normalising of sexual violence. Which is why there is such a negative connotation when we discuss self objectification. Making the assumption that women who "self" objectify are bringing to them selves, violence or disrespect.

BUT... I am a true believer that OBJECTIFICATION IS SOMETHING THAT SOMEONE DOES TO YOU. You cannot make someone objectify you. As the protest went,

"Don't teach your girls not to wear short skirts, teach your sons not to rape people"

A woman named Wendy Mc Elroy states that'objectification' of women is about making women into objects. But that is meaningless because inanimate objects do not have sexuality. Humans "do." We are our bodies, as well as our minds and souls.  

I listened to a pod cast the other day that prompted this post. "Is #fitsporation giving you an eating disorder?" It was by "Shredded By Science" (You can listen here) These guys are one of my go to's, for a lot of my fitness info and opinions. I like the people they have on, I share their ethos in coaching and they know their shit. So I listened with an open mind as it is a subject that interests me a lot.  

The evidence two researchers found whilst trawling through pictures that were hashtagged with #fitsporation, was interesting. A mahoosive percentage of the images found under the hashtag were, what they would define as "sexy" That fitness was being shown as very provocative and sensual, mostly from women.

Fitness had somehow evolved into sexiness. 

I wondered how we got from fit to sexy over the years. Had fit always been perceived as sexy, were sexy people always seen as fit? (I think not) But...

  1. fit·ness

    ˈfitnəs/

    noun

    1. the condition of being physically fit and healthy.

      synonyms:good health, strength, robustness, vigor, athleticism, toughness, physical fitness, muscularity; More

      • the quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task.

        synonyms:suitability, capability, competence, ability, aptitude; More

If I take this back, to a time way way way back, like cave man times, you needed to be fit and muscular so that you could A) Go hunt and lift things or B) be fit for carrying a child & get through child birth. If I stay here in cave man days, we know that our bodies were supposedly solely designed to procreate & that "sex for pleasure," is a far newer experience.

The correlation I can make is that if you, as a man had a strong, muscular, fit looking body to go hunt, a woman may find that she may want to procreate with a provider and if you had a body that looked able to carry a child, a man may be more inclined to want to procreate with you. 

To be sexy...

sex·y

ˈseksē/

adjective

  1. sexually attractive or exciting. (WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?)

    synonyms:sexually attractive, seductive, desirable, alluring, toothsome, sensual, sultry, slinkyprovocative, tempting, tantalizing;More

    • sexually aroused.

      "neither of them was feeling sexy" (ITS A FEELING)

From this we can conclude that being sexy is about being appeal by definition. Sexy also translates to a feeling. Do we feel sexy when we feel appealing? And is what we choose to be appealing, only appealing because we have been force fed certain images by the media and society alike. In today's society, what we find appealing changes often and is helped along by social media, influencers and the likes of people we see heavily in the media.

The podcast also discussed in their research, that this has a close link to women objectifying themselves because we have now begun over relating our worth to our appearance.

The issue with being objectified by society again and again is that women can be led to associate our worth to our body's appearance and it's sexual functions. If we weren't being force fed a social constructional idea of what "sexy is"... appealing, pleasing to the eye, desirable before, we now have it at the slight swipe of a phone screen in teeny squares, when we wake up, when we go to the loo, when we sit on the tube, in the bath (I am not the only one that risks it lol) before we go to sleep. 

BUT... firstly, it is OUR choice who we follow and what images we see, and secondly, the internet is at least filled with real people, sharing their version of their body? Right? Surely that is a leap and bound away from a man in a suit sitting behind his desk deciding that "sex sells" and this is what that is. We are now deciding? Or are we?

By posting "sexy" "provocative" half dressed, images, the worry is that women think of ourselves as passive objects, just bodies to look at, or be used, rather than a person of worth accumulated by other factors other than how we look, we become disconnected to our bodies. We cannot see our bodies for what they can do and accomplish, but merely just for how they look.

There was also a study done in 1977 that relates sexual objectification to eating disorders, anxiety and depression. The study was done by Fredrickson and Roberts (1997) It stated that when a woman's body is singled out from her as a person and primarily for male "use," women are more likely to develop mental issues. Indirectly women internalise this view of ourselves and begin to self objectify by treating ourselves as objects to be looked at and evaluated on our appearance, we begin to place ourselves against appearance attributes rather than competence attributes, and we begin to watch our appearance and experience our body according to how it looks rather than what it can do. This falls in line with what they were saying on the podcast, when we do this, we begin to miss signs from the bodies natural cues like hunger, sexual arousal and stomach contractions, effectively becoming numb to the natural "feelings" we should naturally feel.

I resonate and see the foundation in this discovery. I have found measuring my worth on my appearance, my desirability, my body, and it has taken a long time, but what I have found has helped me get past that, is that since being on my journey of "fitness" and embracing the idea of MY bikini body being displayed for lots to see and "posing" as such, I have found a new connection to my body I didn't quite have before. Its a bit like seeing myself through someone else's lens, and whilst I see there can be a disconnect, I found that my own perception of my body can be warped. Allowing myself to see my body "objectively" (from someone elses point of view) has enabled me to connect with it more.

We have sexuality. We are not just objects that sex happens to. Humans, male and female, are sexual. It is a feeling, an essence, that originated from the 1925 definition of "sexy" which was to be "engrossed in sex." But who told us what that feeling "looked" like. I am guessing the way in which we got "the sex" has something to do with how we encompass that in a visual form. To get the sex, we must be appealing to the person we are trying to get the sex from? 

But its 2017. I am 32, And I find myself needing to appeal to men less and less, I'm not trying to get sex, approval or love from anyone and what I seek is my appeal to myself. I want to find myself attractive, beautiful, sexy. As well as strong, intellectual, intelligent, kind, empathetic. It's as if society has decided that we are void of being those qualities if we want the other ones too. As if the two cannot coexist. Of course i admit, I had spent years longing for "A sexy body" more than I wanted world peace. A shame, but true. And whilst I see the connection between the media (social and otherwise) I see that this starts somewhere far more closer to home than the magazines we read or the Instagram feeds we follow.

The idea is not to stop being sexual or being seen as sexual for that matter, but somehow re-framing man/societys ideas that being seen as sexual does not have to be passive, 1 dimensional or FOR THEM! It doesn't mean we are stripped of personality or dignity, it doesn't mean that we are not strong willed or tenacious or hard working. Women can be all of the above. They can all run along side each other and create a 3D, well rounded woman, interesting woman. An intellegent woman can take her clothes off, embrace her body, feel strong and vulnerable and also empowered. When we are intelligent, we prove it, when we have an opinion we speak it, when we are funny, we tell jokes, when we feel vulnerable, we show fear. Then why not, as sexual beings we be open about our sexuality?

The problem arises when society then gets boxed into the idea of what being sexual/sexy is? If we decide that sexy is "girl in bikini with her bum on show with in proportion features & an appeasing look to the general public" then that is what it is. But some people see a piece of art and decide it is one thing, and another will see it as something else entirely. That is the beauty of perception, free will and the difference in human instinct. If man wants to see me as merely an object, he can, because I know the truth. I know I am more than my bottom or my size or my shape.  I am more than my poses on Instagram. I am more than just this body.

If I know that truth, isn't that then MY truth, and is that not the truth that matters?

but I haven't always felt that way...

On one hand we are told what is appealing in mass, by the media, and when we don't fit in with these ideals, we feel we don't belong. we feel ostracised, on the outskirts looking in at what society and the media tell us is beautiful. This was me at 14 realizing I didn't look like Britney Spears. 

The other issue is that we are continuously trying to be appealing, so we fit in? By doing so, are we trying to be appealing to others? To fill in the gaps of their story rather than tell our own? The more we do this, the more we see ourselves as pawns in someone else game. 

BUT WHY ARE WE TRYING TO APPEAL TO ANYBODY ELSE?

For me, owning my body, being comfortable with it enough to embrace its sexuality and it's femininity; it's curves and edges and presence; has been powerful for me. I feel liberated in being able to share my "perception" of my body, in a story & a way that I find relates to me personally. I feel that taking ownership of our bodies and sharing them, with skin showing, less conservative perhaps, is me saying...

"I'm not doing this because a man asked me to, society needs me to, but because I want to."

Someone asked me the other day, "But why? Why do you want to share your body? with anyone else"

Here is where for me this relates to fitness, which I truly believe is about fr more than getting in the gym and eating certain foods... like sexuality, it is a "feeling"

"Why not show my body?" I responded. It is not something I feel I should need to cover up. Is the issue me showing my body, or is it the posing?" 

I hated my body for so long. The scars of the mental self harm, stay shiney and raised for me to notice from time to time. When I do have moments when those scars do not define me, I find myself embracing it, I find myself wanting to embrace all aspects of "me"

They then questioned me further, "but why share it with 20k people? Why does anyone need to see these images  here on this post?"

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Growing up, I was adorned with perfume ads selling me (their idea) of a sexy woman. Women who were long and lean and waif like. They showed me skin that did not look like my own, features that I did not recognise, hair styles that I could not replicate They showed me "sexuality" on their terms, the medias terms, without a story, without context, without the knowledge that this was not ALL women. 

They showed us something that we were missing, (because most of the population were missing the smooth, cellulite free, tight, toned, "perfect" body. They sold us something they were convincing us we didn't have. They did not want us to feel whole, in love with who we were, because if we realised that, we did not "need" anything. to make us whole, we wouldn't buy the thing they were selling. It's not perfume they hook us on. The media had us at EGO. Instinctively picking up on our desire to be desired, to be seen in the same way the girl on the advert would be seen. Sex sells, because it is about desire? The issue isn't sex or appeal. It's not "being sexual", it's being force fed the idea of what sexy is by telling us what someone should desire.

A picture of me laughing is sexy, a picture of my butt, can be sexy, a picture of me staring into space fully dressed no skin on show, can be sexy. If we all show all aspects of ourselves and give it context, are we not allowed to show our sexuality, depending on how we define it? 

Because the world is changing. I show my body on Instagram. I am embracing ALL of me. It tells a story, other than the one I was sold aged 14. It shows you my journey. From body dysmorphia to my freedom in my skin. It shows you the ups and downs of finding balance, finding habits, finding love for myself. It shows you the "good" days and the "bad" It asks you to question what you define as beauty. To find your own. And whilst it may look like we are posing to get "attention" or validation or to appeal to the opposite sex, that says more about the audience who decides that than it does about me. I know my story. I know I have a voice. I know I am multifaceted. Able to be sexy, funny, strong, articulate, vulnerable all at the same time. We do not need to prove that to everybody else, but we do have to truly believe it ourselves and stay n touch with this belief. 

The issue of objectification is most definitely not going to be sorted here in this messy, mass of thoughts I have and ideas I am pondering upon after I have read a few pieces off google. Hah. But the only conclusion I feel certain of, is that we as a society need to ask ourselves certain questions.

If we were not made to think of our bodies as objects, would we rely on the need to be desired? And if we did not need to be desired would we still show our bodies in sexual ways? What benefit do we get from being "sexy" Does it validate us? Give us worth? Power? Ownership? Does it lead us to feel better about ourselves? Like ourselves more? I think these are all questions we need to ask. Who is this for and why?

I have a very small male following on Instagram. In fact most men I don't know, who follow me, get blocked (sorry guys) I have about 10% if that, of my following being males. I do not post for them. So do I post for women? Or perhaps myself.

I got bought up in a society that told me having some chub, was not desirable... and finally I decided its not the chub that is the issue. It was the idea I needed to be desirable in the 1st place? Why does being desirable mean feeling more worthy? Who teaches us that being desirable is what we seek?

My first memories of not being desirable was playing kiss chase in the playground, and noone chasing me. Automatically I felt "less than" Even though it was instilled in me to love myself. That I was deserving of love and that I was beautiful. Why did it start to matter that others didn't seem to find me beautiful even though I would look in the mirror, age 10 and tell myself I was pretty? I defined my own beauty back then, not having to match up to anyone else's standards but my own. So why, one day, standing in the playground whilst the boys chased other girls who they had somehow been taught already, were more "desirable" did I feel disconnected. I felt lonely. I felt left out. Don't us humans have a fundamental desire to belong? Somewhere along the line, we decide we need to belong to someone else, when really, we need to belong to ourselves.

As an adult I am aware that when I feel sexy (desirable) I may be more inclined to masturbate (YUP I WENT THERE PEOPLE) when I feel sexy I may feel more inclined to be open and forthright, I may be more confident, intimate, outspoken, willing to share and to give myself to another human being, which is bar far not a negative. All scenarios enable me to feel connected. To myself. Or a chosen human being.

The desire to feel connected. Intimate. Isn't that about being at one with someone, mind and soul, to vibrate (OIY OIY) with them on another level other than just the mere "hi how you doings" we often interact on. And if sexiness is about connection, then can it not be about connecting with ourselves? I find posing "sexy" as society decided to call it. A way of standing tall, indignant and a show of confidence. The same way I find being assertive in a conversation empowering, I feel the same with a pose that says "this is me, I am self assured and OK in this body of mine" I enjoy seeing my body in its glory, especially if I have worked hard for certain aspects of it. Of course, we need to find ways of seeing glory from things other than our bodies or how we or others perceive them.

The whole point in life, for me, is about connection. To ourselves, to the earth, and to others. Instinct tells me that laughter, intimacy, peace, all enable those things. I want to be able to feel all three without a society telling me that it will have a negative impact on my mental health or, someone else's for that matter. We show joy by laughing, peace with stillness and desire for my own appeal, to myself 

If we see ourselves as the subject, an active, breathing, human with a personality, rights, needs, wants, desires and not the object, a passive, still, unemotional "thing..." If we see ourselves as our story; not that in which helps tell someone else's? Are we not doing a good job of not objectifying ourselves? Is that not enough? 

If we contextualise ourselves? Give it all meaning. If we ask ourselves questions? If we share the knowledge we learn (sexy poses don't have to be for men, but for ourselves) If we tell our children being sexy is a sensation, a feeling, an essence? If we explain to them that sexy or beauty is defined by ourselves and not a man or a cooperate company trying to sell us perfume? If we explain to our children that our bodies are OK to be seen as sexual if we embody our 3 dimensional selves and do not rely on our bodies to be singled out as separate from our personality or dignity. That dignity doesn't come from shying away from our sexuality, but owning it for ourselves. Respect doesn't come from covering up to teach a society to think differently, it comes from knowing our worth without being desired by someone else? If we teach our children to be connected to themselves first and foremost and to measure themselves against whole-hearted important things like if they are kind, empathetic, generous, open, happy... and that it's not "for" anybody else to make us happy, that we are whole as we are, mind body and soul. Is the change not in the knowledge we can teach and share?

Will a 14 yr old girl see my pictures here, and feel unworthy, unsexy, undesired? What will be the difference in her seeing these pictures and being empowered or enslaved? Will she see it and decide that someone else's comfort in her skin, takes away from her identity with her mind, or soul? Will I be judged for not being "pretty" if society decides I am not. Will a 14 year old girl think I am selling them another object to pit themselves agaisnt? Or will she someone elses point, message and find a way to feel free in her own? Will she learn that sex or sexuality is not a bad thing, but that we must not seek desire or validation from someone else to confirm said sexiness. They should be able to feel sexy, beautiful, because they decide they are, rather than needing someone else to confirm it. I would have not shared these pictures in the past incase someone thought I wasn't pretty enough, sexy enough, intellegent enough, dignified enough. That is why I share, why I write these long arse posts, why I ask questions and why I am trying to embrace my own definition of what I find acceptable. 

I want to teach my children that beauty etc is not one size fits all. Sexy is not 1 dimensional. Sexy is about more than an outside appearance. Posing is just one way of showing the essence of feeling in a particular way, but the person feeling the particular way does not need to look ONE way. Can we end up in a world where women of all shapes and sizes share their bodies, without it being a negative? Can we become so self assured, less comparative, that another female form will not threaten our own worth or dignity and create a disconnect with our own selves and actually help create more of a connection to themselves?

We have the power to change what we think about the ideologies that come with certain thoughts that have been forced upon us by society. If we cannot change a society's way of thinking, we can focus individually, on our own attachments to thoughts. If we start with ourselves, we start with everybody...

As I believe we are all one.

Namaste! ;) 

Reality Vs Reality

IMG_7023 (1).jpg

After seeing someone post a pic of a good pose vs a bad pose, & then go on in the same post how much she hated that she was doing this cos 'she shouldn't have to' and that shes soooooo bored of these posts on IG. I swiftly unfollwed her. (That will teach her...not) But for me, I don't have time for that kinda negative unawareness. 

I find it odd that some people just can't see the importance of these posts. Before food vs after food, pants pulled up vs pants pulled low, abs under spotlights vs abs under bad lights...

OK I get it, to some they seem like 'trend' following posts & whilst I see that point, I still kinda think "so what" so the fuck what if it IS a 'trend' it fucking should be. It should be a trend more so than all the Photoshop pics we see and have no fucking idea.  Can you see, I'm passionate about this (hence the swearing)

My feed is bombarded with 'best angles' & smooth skin & (my perspective) of the 'perfect' butt to waist ratio. It's filled with the likes of Katya Henry and Jen Setler, because I choose to follow them. 

Why? Because (woman crush Wednesday errrryday) and whilst I love 'hearting' those good angles that people have down,  I also NEED a dose of another reality sometimes. Why? Cos I'm a human, with an ego. An ego that if it sees too much of these seemingly perfecto human beans, gets slightly miffed at oneself for NOT having aforementioned hip to waist ratio or a smooth non dimply bum. I've spent yrs looking at smash Hits, then Bliss, to Hello, to Grazia, Stylist, Vogue... where these 'species' of women or more importantly, (these air brushed, good lit, angles) grace the pages. Years that cemented into my brain "gosh I don't look like that at all, whats wrong with me?" and as you get a bit older you realise, sort of, that there is nothing wrong with you at all, but that these images are largley altered to trick us into being insecure about ourselves so we can go buy into a multi billion dollar beauty/fitness industry. God forbid we think we are perfect already. We might just stop buying the hair products, the make up, the gym memberships... but i digress.

What I have found with IG is that I love going there for an all round, all aspect, kinda viewing. I choose to follow a mix of humans and yup, I follow Sommer Ray & her bottom pics, but I also follow women like Hannah Bower who show me they got butt, but they got butt dimples too. HALLAFUCKINUHJLA!!! And i tell u this now. One makes me feel better than the other. And yes, perhaps at 32 I should be grown enough to know that not ALL bums are like Katyas, & that at some angles she has dimples too, & that IG is a reel of peoples "best bits" Yeh yeh. But how do we change what the definition of "best bits" are if we don't see other peoples other angles, other versions of a shape or a skin type. Why would we think our own dimples are acceptable if we never see other peoples?

I know I should be aware & egoless enough, to not let (what we have been told is) perfection after perfection, get to me. We all know comparison is the thief of joy. My rational, sane, grown up self KNOWS these things. But ego/the chimp/vulnerability/the dark bits of ourselves... well, those bits forget. And when the dark bits of ourselves forget, we start to feel "less than." 

"I want that airbrushed bottom & abs that create shadows. I work out, why doesn't my body look like that?" That less than feeling may only last 2 minutes, it might last a few days. It might however have a subliminal lasting effect that lasts a lifetime on some younger humans. They may struggle with self image for another 15 to 30 yrs? Or forever. And nope, I am not saying stop following all those women who show u ALL their best angles, & we will never know if they have a back fat rolls or not, that's OK! Follow them, heart them, dribble over them. But also, take note of the fact that there are a lot of fitness accounts showing you some other stuff too. And those posts are so terribly important. Because as much as we like to see pretty perfected glossy things (our brains are tuned into) we need to see real, non perfected, stuff too, not so we can judge it or even make ourselves feel better, but so that we just remember, we are human, all with multifaceted angles. And that those angles are beautiful too. If we forget that or don't let that sync in, how are we gonna be happy with ourselves when we catch our cellulit'd thighs under the 12 o'clock sun. How are we ever gonna be satisfied if we sit down, see a fat roll and think we are the only ones & that we must be "abnormal/gross/unattractive" Perhaps if young girls see ALL these angles they wont feel so dissatisfied, so lonely, so hell bent on hating themselves & performing self sabotage non self lovey things like talking self hate in the mirror or going on diet after diet. 

Becauses when we don't feel alone, when we feel like we belong, when we feel like there is a community of people we fit in with, we feel connected, we feel human, we feel at home. 

I am not saying one version of account is better than the other. BOTH are reality. I think each set of humans get to decide what they want to do with their page. Lets not judge the other. If I choose to show only my best bits, (which I do sometimes) I'm not gonna judge the people that don't. Both have their place. a bit like we need cake for the soul, we also need some "cake" for the soul, knowwhatImsayin? *wink wink... but we also need those things we don't really like, but we know it's healthy. Those green beans we need, we need those like our body need to see some cellulite or back fat... it's just science... well i don't think it's science, but you get my point. BOTH and ALL angles are reality. Just because sometimes we pop our hip till it nearly falls off, doesn't mean that picture ISNT me. And i totally understand when someone shows you "hip misplacement vs hip in sane human place as it should be"

Now... I'm gonna go get my dose of smooth, plump, perky poses, but in the mix of that I hope this 'trend' of "sucking in vs letting tummy hang out," doesn't end, because for me and my soul, I wanna feel like I'm a fitness person, worthy of that title even though my belly looks like a donut sometimes, my back has fat & my butt houses dimples. Call it what you will. But I NEED those reminders! And you do too! 

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Be Careful What You(re Ego) Wishes For:

During your fitness, health, well being journey, I'm pretty sure we all start with the wish for a better body, a better lifestyle, better strength, better feeling in our skin. As the new year rolls in we reflect on the past yr and we look to the future wishing to be able to put our wants into action and see results. We wish to be able to really do what we set out to do from January 1st when we make those resolutions and we swear blind that this year we are going to create a world and a life that we want to live and we wish so much so that we will have the stamina, the will power, the inclination to do that workout, eat that protein, avoid all those refined sugars.

We wish that come March 1st we are in a better place. Physically, mentally. And we mean it. So much so that we go into the new year with fire in our belly and a vigorous amount of 'go geddem' and pinterest quotes floating around our minds that there is no way on earth we will let anything get in our way... ever. Right?

And then something happens. Come Feb perhaps, some things seem harder. The struggle gets real. The will power weedles and the pinterest quotes seem like a distant memory on a board that you haven't pinned on for a while. 
What is that? What is it that keeps us from being the best versions of ourselves. That niggle in your brain that laughs when you say your gonna get up at 5.30am and do week 6 abs and arms, that moan and groan in your head when you tell yourself you're gonna choose the prawns and edamame salad rather than the cheesey melt club sandwich. What is that defiant firm strop that your soul does when you will it to only eat one or two scoops of ice cream, but all you hear is 'live yo life. The whole tub is fine, what are you? A boring fart face? What will you regret more on your death bed? The icecream? Or not eating the icecream?"

Ahhh that familiar voice that rears it's ugly, impure head during this journey so many times you've lost count.

You might think you wish for a better bod/lifestyle/healthy mindset. But your ego. Well, that's another matter. Your ego will wish for something else.

Ever wondered why you can't stick to something. Why if you know it will do you good, if the result will be worth it, why you can't just do the nessessary to get there? Or at least be on your way?

That will be your ego.

I don't mean ego in the sense of 'omg that person is so arrogant he must have a massive ego." I'm talking about the ego in ourselves that is not our pure consciousness. The mind part of ourselves that niggles away at us. You could say is the excuses version of ourselves. The mean, unwilling, stubborn, narcissistic, insecure, lost version of who we are. The version that is likely to blame, accuse, point fingers at, because the ego always wants you to second-guess your true self and rely on things outside your consciousness for contentment. It fears giving up control, so it wants to keep you in a low vibrational state at all times to avoid 'being found out' We may think that the ego needs to be huge, pimped up (pahahahah spell check error) "pumped" up, therefore will want to get fit, change for the better, look "better" therefore would enable and encourage you to "keep on keep going"??? You'd thimk... but actually

Nope.

Deep down your ego fears failure so strongly that it will keep you held back in the dark, cold, vulnerable hole in your mind and it will make you feel comfy there. This is where you have a snuggly blanket & familiar things around you. That place in your mind might seem cold and scary, but really, your safe there. Imagine going on an adventure outside this dank, cocooned place you've become accustomed to, and imagine you fell, tripped, couldn't see where you were going, never made it to where you were going? That is unfathomable to your ego and therefore, loves it when you stay put, in that comfort zone of yours, reverting back to pizza for breakfast andself hate talk. Because self hate talk will keep you where you've always been, will keep you who you are (or decided to be) and in that space, failure isn't an option because you never really tried. 

Have you ever wondered if you really do want to change?

The ego and you do not conciously have this discussion. If you were aware of these thoughts, the ego would not win time and time again. So this all happens under the radar. Something niggling in you. These under the radar thoughts have been building up for a long time. The thoughts about hating your body, wishing it were someone else's, the thoughts that one more cheese burger won't hurt or that you are not worthy of the body you deserve. These thoughts have been building up for a really long time. They will not disperse in a day, a month, a yr. These thoughts are what hold us back and are able to do so because they are programmed time and time again and it will take a lot of unprogramming to get rid of. 

It all comes down to the feeling of not being good enough. A lack of self worth. The ego has taken moments in time that made you feel insecure and vulnerable and it made the choice to believe "you got dumped therefore your shit" "you don't fit into those tammy girl shorts therefore you're not good enough" "You don't have blonde, straight hair like all your friends therefore you don't fit in" You fed it those snippets of information a long time ago, it heard them, believed them and then molded your future thoughts upon them.

The ego loves to find everything wrong with a situation or person, yourself included. In doing so it can feel justified in feeling the way it does. Feeding off of the negatives to reinforce the thoughts that we are not good enough. "See, you ate the cake, you ARE the weak person we decided you were all those yrs ago" "See, you can't do that lunge, pahahhaa why did you even try"

The ego wants glory, it wants instant gratification. It wants power. And what better way to get that than by reinforcing those negative thoughts it thinks. Failing the diet, stopping the gym, having you cry your heart out because you feel crap in your skin, all of that is drama that it can feed off. 
You know those people that go back to the same man that treats them like rubbish and cheats on them, and you as a friend can't for the life of you imagine why? 
Or those people that always seem negative, down, and things always go wrong for them and you wonder how on earth they always have bad luck. 
Or the people who moan about the job they hate, or the body they are in and they moan and cry and it hurts them day in day out. But they don't do anything to change it and you can't fathom what really holds them there? 
We look at ourselves in the mirror and we can't figure out why we ourselves can't or won't change if we are so utterly unhappy. 

All of these things have to have some sort of payoff. Or we wouldn't keep doing it. That would be ridiculous. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting something to change? That's Insanity. But we do it. Every Jan we go on that diet, join that gym, eat low cals, only to get bored and binge and eat all the foods, stop all the gym, for another few months only to start the 1200 cals again n all the classes again because summer is coming and then... we repeat that cycle and we pull our hair out not knowing why our bodies don't change or why we haven't got the results or why we cant. just. get. what. we . want.

Deep down we like to be victims. I know this might make some of us angry and we may get defensive and disagree. That's OK.  But if your reading the above and thinking any of it sounds like you, id ask you to take it in and really ask yourself. What is the pay off of never getting the results I want?

The woman who stays in the horrible cheating relationship. Perhaps the drama somehow makes her feel special? He cheats, she finds out, she argues with him, he begs for her back, she stays. Cos she then feels loved. Fought for. Being a victim to horrible behavior often makes us feel righteous. "How dare he treat me like that, I deserve better" and yet, even though she does deserve better, she stays. Feeling like the victim often makes us feel aligned with the decision we have made about who we are, way way back when. That thought you had when you were 11 and your 1st ever boyfriend dumped you in the playground and you cried, cos you felt you weren't good enough? This boyfriend twenty years later is just reinforcing that thought that your not in fact, good enough. And your ego feels proud to have proof of such a thought and such an identity. So, you stay, to reinforce that time and time again.

If you got the results you wanted? Who would you be? What would you think about yourself? What would others think about you? What if you tried and you failed? What if you did all the things Kayla Itsines, Jo Wicks, Nikki Blacketter, your PT, told you to do and you didn't end up where you 'assumed/expected'? What if you did? What fear do you have about being the person you want to be?

My fears (ego) rears it's head regularly. The fear that if I was to be the sort of person who exercises and eats well, id be boring. If I got lean and tight, people would think I was vein. If I tried bbg and dint look like some of the transformations In 12 weeks, id be a disappointment. If I did see results, how would I keep them?

Sometimes I look at how my lifestyle has changed. The Xmas day exercise I did, the big mac I've not eaten in 3 yrs, the long arse IG posts I put out there, and the fear that runs through my bones is still so strong. The question, of who am I? How did I become this person? Do I want to be this person? Should I be this person pops up. and it makes me shit myself. 


Not recognizing yourself, being different to who you expected to be. Who you told yourself you were. Going against the thoughts that made you who you were, the stpry you have been reinforcing time and time again, being so far removed from the idea that you created for yourself when you were younger. All of that is so so so scary that the ego wants to hand you that comfort blanket and not have you be any different to the thought you had about yourself aged 14 in your bikini on the beach next to that really lean, tight, petite girl who you decided was your bench mark of beauty and who you really needed to be. But trying to be it, would clash with the egos thought that 'you are not worthy of that' and therefore for 15 yrs and more, what my soul wanted and what my ego wanted were two very different things.

The self fulfilling prophecy:  A self-fulfilling prophecy occurs when a belief that is untrue influences the behavior of people in such a way that the belief becomes true in the end.

Your beliefs and perceptions about yourself and the world around you, create your reality. Think of all the things you say about yourself and about your life either directly to yourself or indirectly with the people around you.

These thoughts...

I am boring, I am less than, I am un deserving of love, a good life, a good relationship, a healthy body. These thoughts change how you treat yourself as well as how others treat you. And when you think these negatives, and people treat you (YOU treat you) accordingly, it then that reinforces your belief. This is what your ego likes. You might think it would like you to thrive. But it just wants to mark it's stake in the ground for the thoughts you decided upon that make you feel less than.

Becoming at one with yourself, with the world, liking who you are, seeing yourself for more than just a body, for feeling comfortable in your skin, that's a threat to the ego because the ego is separate from everything else. It is an 'I" whereas being at one with yourself makes the ego shrivel up and wither away. And that is its worst ideal to come into fruition for the ego.

So yes, there are practical and logical things to implement in your life that will see you results. 
Progressive overload, eating more protein, sticking to a program, being active daily, less refined sugar... those things you hear fitness Instagrams say and you take note, you decide to buy someones new program and you feel motivated to really give it a go and change for the better. For your bikini bod, for your mental state, for your own sanity. Because that is what YOU want!!!

But none of these things will be easy to stick to unless we figure out what our ego will try to do to stop us, and why. Until we are aware that our own selves will somehow try to sabotage our results, it will be harder when the mind tells us to skip that workout or forget all the lifestyle choices we were gonna do for a better self. What is the pay off for NOT seeing the results you want?

Ask yourself, what do you get out of NOT changing your lifestyle. 

I know all of this may seem mumbo jumbo'y but when I started to ask these questions and really think about what was holding me back, that's when things started to change. That's when I kept on going. Because being aware of the silliness that was my ego, seeing it for what it was, meant that I could ignore it time and time again.

Want to see results in 2017? Look further than what you eat and how you exercise. It might just make that one teeny bit of difference.

I'll share with you some scary thoughts I never really wanted to admit to myself a few years back. And I would love if you would comment below and share yours or even just what you might think about this post. I truly believe opening up to one another and sharing the scary bits, help our progress. Knowing we are not alone. Knowing that we are not silly for thinking these things. But also knowing that we CAN change to be the best versions of ourselves. Hearing other people stories, connecting, relating to them. It's the only way that has kept my journey going as positively as it has. So despite it may seeming cringey, these questons I asked myself gave me answers to who I thought I was, what held me back from being more me, more authentic, more open to change for the better. 

What do you think about yourself? If you leave a group of people who you've just met, to discuss you when you go, what do they say?
I will share 1st... when I leave the room I think people think I am boring, a try hard, up myself.  
What do you think of people who watch what they eat, exercise regularly.
I think they are often boring, trying to hard, up themselves.
What if we fail? What will happen to us, what will that mean? 
If I do not succeed I will have wasted my time, I will be less than I was when I started, it will be embarrassing trying so hard and then failing. I will seem like a mug.
What thoughts have we had since we were young about what we look like? 
I don't fit in, I am thick with no shape and no waist and therefore feel unattractive, less than, and non dainty, because when I saw that girl around the pool I decided she had the perfect body and she was petite.
What do we really want? Who do we really want to be? What holds us back truly? 
I want to be open, authentic, liked. I fear that I am unlikeable. So I resist from putting myself out there sometimes

The only way I could push past these thoughts were being aware of them, realizing they were not facts, and making new thoughts. At first I found I had to fake it till I made it. But changing those thoughts about myself to positive ones enabled me to see this journey through long term. It enabled me to open up, be brave with my Instagram account, share, stop yoyo dieting, get a job I loved, help my relationship grow, made me make better food choices, exercise and be active daily. I stopped being scared of being boring, I started to believe I was likeable (and it being OK to not be liked by everyone) I started to have self worth, belief.

If we can begin to believe that we deserve a good lifestyle, a healthy body, to feel good in our skin. If we believe that its OK to be scared but to not let the fear win, if we keep practicing those lunges even though we are bad, if we keep opting for healthier lunches even after we eat cheesecake for breakfast... after some time... we will look back at our negative ego ridden self that held us back, and wonder how on earth we let it make such horrid choices for us time and time again. We will then be able to wish for the things we really want, whilst ignoring the things our ego wants.

Take care of YOU first. The real you. Not the you your ego wants you to believe you are. You are capable of all the things you want. So go get them! 

 

 

Being Fit: What Does That Mean?

Please note I write these posts on the tube, on the bus, on the loo. They are not essays for the spelling police. If you hate bad grammar and spelling, I'd advise you to walk away. I'm sorry. But this is just mind farts blurted out as I think on paper. If you don't mind bad spelling, read away :) 
Monday morning check in January 9th 2017

Monday morning check in January 9th 2017

A topic of conversation the other day with a friend got onto the fact that she had begun to eat organic eggs (for health reasons) despite her being "vegan" for a good while. She talked of how she was slightly embarrassed or knew that some people in the "vegan world" would ridicule her/shame her. Which led us on to talking about how some people on social media (in real life too) lie, mainly because they give themselves a label and then feel guilty of faltering from it. 
I think the same is said for people in the fitness industry. When I entered this world of fitness, which ultimately meant, training consistently and mindfully eating nutricious foods consistently, I remember thinking that was it. There was no way back. If I was making this decision I couldn't faulter or back track because that would be like giving up on the diet. And I was so bored of that, I didn't wanna be that person anymore. So now I was committed to being a "real" fitness person. One that ate clean, never binged, trained at 110% all the time. This was magnified greatly when I got a fitness IG account. You start by posting smoothie bowls or nutribulleted green veg. You bird's eye view your dinner to hold yourself accountable and also to share your way of life. You take transformation pics to share your progress, to encourage others, to boost your own motivation, to be your own competition. And it's all fab. You keep making that progression, you are "fitness" in all its glory and this.is.your.life!
And then, real life comes in, hits you im the face and reminds you that nope, you must sometimes get ill, you need to ease off all that training, you need to eat some 'soul food' cos you've been getting rathe grumpy on just "clean, whole foods" Your friends are going for drinks, why don't you join them? 
"Well I said that I was ya know, a fitness person and like, fitness people don't do that stuff. They have the will power of an Ox and they have fun without drinking, drinking is for loosers and I have to be in the gym anyways, cos... I can't miss a workout, if I do, I'll let the whole team down"

hmmmmmmm.

The idea when smothering yourself in a world that is not a world your familiar with, is to immerse yourself so deep that it becomes your world. I get it. I needed it. I needed to be at the forefront of it all. I wanted to be *insert any IG fitspo account here. Not for their millions of followers or their free #womensbest protein but because they were "fitness" personified. They were what it was all about. They were lean all yr round. They had got to a position where they had done the hard work, managed to achieve the body they desired and then they managed to stay there, maintaining there fitspirational Physique day in day out, if not, bettering it as time went on. You'd read things in their posts about how they just don't crave chocolate, and they eat with no restrictions so they never binge. They love getting up at 5am to workout because... endorphin's. They have a burger and they don't bloat the next day because, well, because they are angels from the fitcamp, and then I started to question, would I ever be that? Hold on... did I want to be... wait a second, were they even all they said they were?

Here's what I want to share with you.

The number of followers someone has does not determine how immersed in the fitness world they are. Some people have 10 million followers, aren't PT certified, and they may have not ever even deadlifted (shock horror) that's OK. That's not to say they are not worthy of their fitspo status. They may still be fit. 
The amount of abs on show, 2/12/0 does not determine how healthy you are, or if you really are working out 7 days a week. 
If you eat burgers and bloat, that doesn't mean you're not living a fitness led lifestyle. Jeez just cos you ate the burger at all, it doesn't mean your not allowed into the "fitness community"
If you do cardio even though people are shaming such an exercise etc, that doesn't mean your doing it wrong. If your not doing #bbg or your not squatting double your weight or you avoid hiit, or you have never seen glute muscles, biceps, or a V line... that's ok. You are still allowed to say your into fitness.
If you haven't got a big bottom, it doesn't mean you should go suddenly start hip thrusting your way to Khloe Kardashian but bum cheeks... I mean, because I'm telling you, kick backs, and resistence bands won't get you that butt anyways, surgery might help but kick backs, those alone won't cut it...

I am grateful for my genetics, but I wasn't always 

I am grateful for my genetics, but I wasn't always 

Because this is my point. You might read that these people lead this life, or see that these things make you 'fit' You might feel like your failing just because you can't get it all right or do it all week, or avoid all the foods. You might feel shamed into lying about the eggs you ate or the pizza you scoffed or the workout you didn't do. You may even post throw backs to the time when you were leaner, because you don't want to disappoint the lean bean fitness gods.


For a good while after comp I felt like a fraud. 


I felt like I was failing my followers because I wanted to show them that you could stay lean (not comp lean) but fit and tight and muscly and whatever ideologies I had attached myself to, I wanted to be proof that I was what I was proclaiming to be, what I had wanted to be. A fitness person, a PT. Someone who coaches others and can get you on your journey because I was on mine. 
So when the abs started to hide and the fluff began to show up, I had a panic that I was not deserving of being in this world. 
It took a second, but not too long to remember why I started my account. Why I started my journey even. To share, relate, be motivated and also to motivate. And to be comfy in my skin. Leading a real life. I didn't want to become someone that was so into fitness that I forgot to have a life.

So here we are, 3 years into changing my life. Not avoiding the gym. 3 years since i promised myself id just try not to binge, no diet, but no binging/starve routine. This is me... and this is the reality of a life that includes some (a lot of) fitness, rather than fitness that includes "some" life. 
I train 6 days per week, I count macros, I haven't eaten a mac d's in exactly 3 yrs. I lift weights, I do some cardio, I eat protein and I avoid putting myself in vulnerable situations that may lead to triggers for binging... but... 
I have relapsed. I do eat processed food sometimes, I'm addicted to sugar. I don't buy chocolate bars but I will eat dessert, everyday and I don't stick to my macros, always. My will power slips often. I go out to eat a lot. I do have French fries with mayo and I also love at least one rest day. 
I am still leading a fit, healthy, life. And this is what it looks like (for me)

Stop comparing your fitness journey, your fit body, your lifestyle... to anyone else's. You are living it your way, for you. And however you look, I hope that whatever stage it's in, you know you are worthy and you are enough. Yes you can work on yourself, your body and progress and change and still have self love. That doesn't mean you cheated on the whole #loveyoself movement.  But nor does eating cheese on toast mean that you cheated on your fitness lifestyle. Allow yourself to be human whilst achieving your fitness goals. There is no exclusivity club we are all included in this journey. All of us learning from each of us. From the one with abs to the girl that doesn't lift, to the one that does all the spinning and to the vegan girl who eats eggs.

We are all doing the best we can. Together. A real fitness person doesnt just look like *insert IG fitspo here. They look like you. Like me. Like all of us!

A Week Of Eating: Week 1 Mini cut

Monday

Breakfast 

2 slices of Medium hovis wholemeal bread

 1 tbsp lemon curd

4 egg whites scrambled & 50g raspberries

Snack 

Grenede bar and soy flat white

Lunch

150g prawns

with 140g cod

pan fried in stock with 100g cauliflower rice

Dinner

130g Quorn chicken style pieces

In half can chopped toms

100g spinach & 100g frozen peas & 50g sweet potato

1 slice garlic bread 

Dessert

Sugar free jelly made with unsweetened almond milk

10g peanut butter on top

                       

Tuesday

Breakfast

30g oats with 75g soy yogurt & 50 frozen raspberries

Lunch

100g quorn chicken pieces with 100g chopped toms

50g peas & 50 spinach with 100g sweet potato

Snack 

Soya flat white

Grenede bar

Dinner

Egg fried rice made with

100g tofu, 130g tuna with jalapenos, sundried tomatos, 100g cauliflower rice and one egg

Dessert 

sugar free jelly made with light coconut milk

Wednesday 

Breakfast

Brekki burrito made with 

1 wholewheat tortilla wrap 

options hot choc with a splash almond milk to make spread, & 10g peanut butter

1 chopped apple and 2 egg whites, rolled into a burrito

Snack 

4 fruitella sweets 

Soya flat white

1 small bag poshcorn

Lunch

100g tofu & 130g tuna salad with 

100g sweet potato and cherry tomatoes

Dinner 

140g cod, with 

50g peas, 200g cauli rice 130g butternut squash stir fried together 

with added pea protein powder

Dessert 

170g 0% greek yogurt

1/2 Tbsp lemon curd

Thursday 

Breakfast 

Overnight oats

30g oats, 100ml unsweetened almond milk 

soaked with 50g frozen berries 10ml lemon curd

lunch 

Lunch at The Balck Penny Holborn

Shared 

butter beans on sourdough with goats cheese & Poached egg and pesto with polenta hash

Snack 

1 fillet salmon 

3 bournon biscuit

soya flat white

Dinner

Tuna with mixed curry (the boyf bought home) and 100g cauliflower rice

Dessert 

grenede bar

Friday 

Breakfast 

 Shesupps protein shake made with unsweetened almond milk & 50g frozen berries

Lunch

out at The Drake and Morgan 

Egg white omelette

with Smoked salmon & spinach a 1 tbsp butter

Dinner

1 salmon fillet & 100g steamed butternut squash mash 

Aaaaaaat aaaaaat

5 Gin & slims, 2 tequila shots, 2 glasses red wine

3 kinder eggs

1 bag popcorn

2 slices hovis bread one with cheese & jam, 1 with melted cheese & ketchup 

Saturday 

Breakfast 

Grenede Bar 

soya flat white

Lunch 

Tuna sald with capers, jalapenoes, cucumber and spoon light phillidelphia

Dinner 

1 fillet seabass, 1 fillet coley fish with homemade butternut squash sauce & courgette pasta

Dessert 

200g Holy Couch Ben & Jerrys

Sunday 

She supps protein smoothie with 50g frozen berries & unsweetened almond milk 

Late lunch/dinner

Homemade fish cakes 

aubergine fries & minted peas

Dessert 

Grenede bar 

Average weekly Macros:

Calories: 1735

Protein: 125

Carbs: 185

Fats: 55

Fibre: 27

This is at the top end of where my cut is meant to fall. I am aiming for anywhere between 1550 & 1750 with 130g protein, 150g carbs, 45g fats. But I never expect to hit my macros, or jump to lower cals really easily. My previous macros averages over the last 2 to 3 months fell at 1950 cals, 220g carbs, 100g protein and 65g fats. So the numbers above of my mini cut week are enough of a variant to make a difference. Don't beat yourself up for the nights out, for the biscuits or the ice cream. Above is where my life happened. I don't drink every week. And I always try to fit in, eating out and balancing. A mini cut did not mean that I only ate clean whole foods, or went really low on calories. This is NOT a diet. This is about body composition rather than "loosing weight" I think us girls are uneducated in this. Most of my clients come to me and this is what thet are confused with. They want to loose weight when in rality they need to just change their body composition.  Ie Grow more muscle, drop some fat and change your fat percentage. There can be two women weighing 140lb. One will be 30% body fat and the other 20%. Same weight yet, the 20% body fat woman will look aesthetically what my clients will be after. Its not a weight loss game. I can do a post on body composition if you would all like. So watch this space :) 

Goals for this week are... 

More protein, less eating out (mainly to save some money lol) Macro goals will be 1650ish cals 130g protein  165g carbs, 50g fats.

Disclaimer: These macros are specific to me and will not work for everyone. This is after years of figuring out my body likes and dislikes and what works for my goals. I am still learning also, so plaese do not think these calories or macros are something to follow for each individual. 

For help with your own personal macros and online coaching please check here xxx

 

A Week of Eating... Balance!

Monday 

Breakfast: 

30g oats, 100g grated carrot, 200ml unsweetened almond milk, 15g peanut butter, 3 egg whites, 100g soy yogurt on top

Lunch: 

120g Coley fish with 50g green beans, 50g peas

Dinner 

120g coley fish with 250g cauliflower ric seasoned, 50g peas, 50g green beans and 1/6 of a pesto bread from marks and spencers

Snacks 

Soy flat white, 10g cashew nuts, grenede carb killa bar, 20g salted caramel Naked nibbles

MACROS 1605 cals, 130g protein, 164g carbs, 45g fats

TUESDAY

Breakfast:

2 wholemeal toasts with 1 sachet low cal options hot choc mixed with splash almond milk spread

Lunch:

1 can tuna and 250g brocoli cous cous seasoned

Dinner: 

150g prawns, 100g courgette, sauce made with 200g chopped toms, 50g steamed sweet potato, 100g steamed carrot and seasoning and 50g peas added. 

Snacks:

Grened bar, soy flat white, 2 peices of fudge, 5 mini chocolates, 30g biscuit spread (eaten with spoon) 15g peanut butter (eaten with spoon) 

MACROS: 1542 cals, 117g protein, 181g carbs, 43g fats

WEDNESDAY

Breakfast: 

Smoked Salmon wholemeal bread sandwich with 15g light phillidelphia

Snack: 

70g blueberries, 20g dates 

Lunch: 

Poached egg, smoked salmon on sourdough (ate out and guesstimated macros) 

Dinner:

2 fillets seabass with a sundried tom tepenade. French fires, mato and 1 G&T and 1 small glass red wine. Shared a lemon cheesecake. (ate out again and guesstimated macros) 

MACROS 2100cals, 98g protein, 205g carbs, 100g fats

THURSDAY

Breakfast:

170g 0% grrek yogurrt, 70g blueberies, 30g oats

Snack: 

150g sweet and smoky prawns 

Lunch:

M&S count on us tuna sandwich

Dinner:

140g cod with a homemade stew of chopped toms, stemed butternut squash and sweetcorn

Snacks: 2 x soy flat white, 25g almonds, 4 mini chocolates, 00g soy yogurt with 20g biscuit spread

MACROS: 1509cals, 130g protein, 160g carbs, 43g fats

FRIDAY:

Breakfast:

2 wholemeal slices with 15g peanut butter sandwich

Lunch:

100g cod, 70g brocoli, some restaurant tomato sauce (ate out and guestimated macros)

Dinner:

150g sweet and smokey prawns, 100g spinach salad

Snacks:

3 small red wines, soy flat white, 6 mini chocolates, 2 x small sweet and salty popcorn, 20g biscuit spread

MACROS: 1770cals, 80g protein, 240g carbs, 52g fats

SATURDAY:

Breakfast:

2 poached eggs, on 1 slice wholemeal,  slice wholemeal toast with marmalade and butter, half small box (17g) crunchy nut cornflakes in soya milk.

Lunch: 

150g marks & spencer calamari with Marks Edamame and apple salad

Dinner: 

4 x dominos veg pizza slices, 2 dominos cookies, 1 bag salt and vinegar crisps

Snacks:

3 dark choc cubes, 2x soy Costa Cortados (1 with 1 pump salted caramel syrup) grenede bar, hald a galaxy caramel

MACROS: 2320cals, 130g protein, 224g carbs, 100g fats

THe day after pizza and cookies

THe day after pizza and cookies

SUNDAY

Breakfast:

Grenede bar

Lunch:

Ploughmans salad with smoked salmon and smaoked mackeral, 1 bread roll, 50g cheese, 30g chutney (ate out so guesstimated macros)

Dinner:

30g oats, 170g 0% greek yogurt, grenede bar

Snacks:

1 bag salt and vinagar crisps

MACROS: 1730 cals, 117g protein, 160g carbs, 75g fats

AVERAGE WEEKLY MACROS

CALS= 1800 (with a 100-200 constingency for guesstimates)

PROTEIN 115g,

CARBS 190g,

FATS 65g,

FIBRE 25g

This by no means least seems like a perfect week of eating. I could have had more fruit and more veg. I could have eaten out less, avoided wine, skipped the pizza. It does however fit my macros and calories allowance that I have set for my current goals. Fitness and health goals can look different. But health isn't always about food and physical health. For me it's about life choices and experiences. This week had me on tour for 3 days, a tour bus overnight where we were bought pizza and cookies and I wanted to indulge. My progress here is that I didn't eat the whole pizza that was given to me, or the whole box of cookies that I could have demolished twice over. 

I sacrificed some more exciting meals that I usually eat daily, because I ate out quite a few times and needed to make some meals more boring. I got in all my workouts, I got my protein in. I drank my water, I got my sleep, I saw friends and joined in with treating myself. Fitness would not have looked like this to me 3 years ago. This isn't a diet. I am not saying that this is the way to eat. Some people prefer cleaner foods, less flexible eating. For me. This way enables me to loose guilt, treat myself, find balance. On days where I went over some of my macros, I added them to different days and split the cost of the macros, as such, over three days, meaning no day had to be extremely low because I went extremely high. It's about averages. 

If you are interested in seeing results, not dieting, whilst still being able to eat chocolate and french fries. If you want a transition away from restriction, away from the binge starve routine, away from the guilt... 

Message me regarding online coaching or click here for more info.

Life is no fun when you can't eat pizza!!!

This weekend with a very serious face!!! lol

This weekend with a very serious face!!! lol

How to Start your fitness Journey-Getting comfortable in your Skin

Oooof this may turn into a biggun but I will try to keep this as precise as I can. (If you follow me on IG then you know that won't be possible... go get a cuppa and put your feet up) 

There's a few things to factor in when we talk about fitness/health/dieting journeys. And I talk about it here in my you tube post "Getting comfortable in your skin" I may repeat a few things over between the two posts, but I've figured now, that you can never say this stuff too much. I can never tell you to 'love your body' too many times. It's the no1 factor in this journey that will be the most important part and of course the most difficult. (Not for everyone but I'm guessing if something has led you to my IG/blog/youtube, learning to start loving your bod and getting comfy in your skin, that ethos, has somehow bought you here) 


I know, through training my own clients and through being my own coach, that loving my body is something I wanted as a prerequisite.  It was the aftermath. It's the bit that can wait till I've gotten the body of my dreams. It's the bit that will be a bonus. Loving myself will be a treat at the end of the journey, once I look like (INSERT NAME OF HUMAN WITH WHAT YOU THINK IS THE IDEAL BODY) 

When I ask clients what they really want during a consultation. I get a few answers...

 
No'1) I just wanna get a bit healthy, stronger and fitter.

No'2) Lose weight and tone up. It's what we all seem to want. The reason we schlog down the gym after work when we are tired, the reason we start diet after diet every Monday, the reason we follow soooo many fitness Instagrams or snapchats, why we read fitness blogs, why we watch Nikki Blacketter whilst doing our cardio for long lengths of time. 
We want to lose weight and get toned.

No'3) Motivation. They want someone to kick their butt, make sure they are doing the right things in the right form. Push them harder than they push themselves. This answer is sort of true. I have discovered in some scenarios, sub consciously sometimes it allows them, if they don't see results, to say "See, I even tried with a trainer, I am destined to not get the bod (I think) I want"

The first answer is true. People do want to get fitter and healthier. Especially stronger more now than ever before. But it's the answer people think us trainers want to hear the most. I do want to hear this, because of course, that's mega important. But if it's not the real focus or your real goal, taking this angle will not keep you motivated. If this isn't what drives you, me saying "you can do 10 press ups more than when you started, but you still look the same" may not be enough to keep you going. People may argue this, and even be annoyed at me for saying it, but loosing a dress size keeps people coming back far more than the ability to do 10 press ups (at the beginning) At some point it does change, but right there at the very beginning most of us seeking help from a trainer, want physical, obvious results. 

Answer no' 2 And is a more honest answer (as a generalisation), this is the answer that often we are even ashamed of admitting. Wanting to look better. Wanting to wear a smaller dress size, wanting to look leaner, tighter, weigh less, or more, have a bigger bum, a smaller waist, longer legs... (Because somewhere down the line some one told us what 'better' is and we believed them)

And these answers are great to know. Technically it's all I need to know. I can then get them in, give them a nutrition guide to read and follow and give them workouts that include progressive overload, strength, cardio, to hit all those goals. I can push them to do 2 more burpees, make sure they lift that heavier barbell, keep their form in check, ask them what they ate that week and advise them to *eat more protein, drink more water *eat less sweets

And it may work. Sometimes. When the client goes all in, gives there all. Actually reads the guide (cos who am I kidding, we often just scroll through these guides looking for the magic formula, the detailed food diary of things to eat exactly and be told what to buy, exactly. And when that's not there in black and white we shove it to the side and carry on eating, kind of, exactly how we do already, but maybe with a bit more protein because we got excited and bought the salted caramel Quest powder and it is basically dessert.

We can "start this journey" with guided help as many times as we like. We can say all the right things, we can go through a lot of the right motions. 

Of course we want to love our body...

but only if it looks 'better' first.

What is really going to make us read a guide and take on board the tips we are being told. What is really gonna get us to start it, and be consistent? What is going to stop us, stop starting and back and forthing? What is going to get us to actually eat more protein, eat less junk, do more exercise, day in day out (and not just for 12 weeks)

We want it right? Like reallllly badly. I wanted lean legs, an iddy biddy waist and to be compact, lean, petite, like so so so badly it hurt my soul. Enough that I cried about it more than I should. Enough that it made me grumpy, more than it should. It made me frustrated. It made me ashamed and embarrassed. It made me sad, way more than I ever thought it could or would. 

I wanted it, but I didn't quite have the umph to change it.

Of course I wanted to love my body...

but only if it looked 'better' first.

The 1st thing that should be asked when we are about to start setting out to reach our goals is! WHY?

Why did I want it so badly. Why did I/do I need to have a flat stomach with ab definition, thighs that don't touch, a butt that doesn't jiggle? Why do I want to start something that takes so much will power, motivation, time, effort, just to what? Look like someone on my phone screen as I scroll on by birdeye views of avo on toast and sausage legs on the beach to a girl that I deem to be, what? Is it perfect, beautiful, sexy? Is it "normal" Is it that I see them as normal and myself as abnormal? All the other girls I see, are they normal. Do I want to just fit in and to belong to a group that when I was growing up, I'm sire would have said "You can't sit with is" Is it that I want to wear a certain size dress in Zara (a small would be nice, not an effing large, who are these girls they make clothes for? AHHHHH the normal ones)Is it that I want to see someone in a magazine that represents me, who i can relate to? And if I couldn't find them, then it must be me that's got it wrong right? I needed to change!?! Why wasI chasing a standard that I have been told is "the standard" Who decided that? The social constructs that are forced around us to be (smaller,leaner, tighter, curvier, firmer, stronger, better?)

And unfortunately, instead of asking myself if this was right, acceptable. I asked myself...

Why can't I get what I am chasing so hard for? Why was it always my conundrum. I wanted someone to give me the answer. I wanted someone who had seen results to tell me exactly what I was doing wrong. Why couldn't I stay consistent? Why couldn't I lose the fat? Why couldn't I get toned? Be petite? Why couldn't I not eat 4000 a day if I wanted to? Why couldn't I be one of those people that went to the gym and enjoyed it? Did anyone really enjoy it? I suspected not. And the real gripe wasn't really that. It was more along the lines of...

 

"Why wasn't I born, blessed with the perfect body... and the ability to eat what I wanted FFS"

Ahhhh... the self pity "I want the perfect body" mmode! The perfect body, an idea, a figment of our imagination, a perspective that changes as much as IG's algorithm.

Dam it!

My mum said to me once... what if you could "either click your fingers and have the body you want but you would still feel like this, or you could click them, have the same body you have now, but be truly happy with it?"

I remember exactly where I was standing when she asked. I had just tried on a bikini for an up and coming trip to Vegas. I had lost some weight (but evidently to me) not enough. I had thrown a tantrum and cried because why did I not look better? Like Jessica Simpson in the 'boots are made for walking' video or like 'Kayla' id done her BBG plan for 6 weeks. SIX. Why did I not look like I'd just come from the Angel's catwalk for goodness sake? And then my mum, frustrated, upset, at a loss of how to address this, asked me that question about what I would choose and I felt tricked. She was tricking me. Because I knew what I was 'meant' to say. But I couldn't.  Because I dint mean it. At that particular time on my journey I would rather the former. Get the body I wanted and be unhappy. I dint want to get happy with my body I had. I hated the body I had.

Would anyone ever effing understand?

This fundamental was the reason I didn't progress for a long time after that exchange with my mum. Every time I lost a bit of weight, or did well with sticking to low calories, I'd get bored, frustrated, inpatient. I wasn't getting the body I was after, even when I did reach the low number on the scale, I still wasn't happy. I would inconsistently work out, I would try a few weeks of Kayla here and there, I would still attempt to only eat 1200 calories most of the time, and then binge all the other times. I didn't want to be happy with what I had already. I was resisting it so so much, which in turn meant that all my energy went on resisting, rather than focusing on what I really needed to do to make a change. Therefore I would be lazy, unstructured. I wouldn't educate myself, I wouldn't put in the actual effort. I wanted a 'better' body (because? I still hadn't got to that yet) and I wanted to get it in the easiest way possible. It's just that the easy way, doesn't last or, actually make us happy!

It was a year, many restarts, relapses and trips to Vegas (boozing), Italy (carbing) and Thailand (Bucketing) later, before I would even begin a journey that saw results physically. And the year leading up to that consisted on a lot of non physical work that is still being done everyday. Mental gains shall we say lol.

This day in Italy I cried because of how I felt in my skin. I sucked in so hard, took this pic and then was a miserable cow for most of the day when i didn't see Jessica Albas body staring right back.

This day in Italy I cried because of how I felt in my skin. I sucked in so hard, took this pic and then was a miserable cow for most of the day when i didn't see Jessica Albas body staring right back.

When we get down to the nitty gritty, of why clients are willing to hand over a massive chunk of their monthly pay cheque to me. It hs nothing to do with them wanting to look like Beyonce or Rosie Huntington Whitley. The truth is, deep down. We just want to be comfortable in our skin. We think we want a thigh gap but, really, we just want to love our bods the way we love Kaylas. The fact that we don't have to look like that in order to love it, never occurred to me. And when my mum pointed that out, it was so absurd and so offensive that the mere mention of loving my narrow hips, square waist, big bottom, thigh chaffing thighs... devastated me. It broke me.

This is not to say it is not possible. It is doable. 

But if you think heading to the gym consistently, or choosing the chicken and veg and not the cheesy pasta 8 times out of 10, is difficult... you haven't even begun to try looking at yourself in the mirror and asking why it's so important to change your body aesthetically, to tell yourself you love YOU no matter what shape you are, and risk, getting so OK with your body that you may never end up looking the way you think it should.

It's so hard, that it is the reason we don't all walk around ecstatic with our lot (even though we should), the lifestyle isn't totally easy otherwise we would all be walking around like The Pussy Cat Dolls or wait... let me think of a currant girl band... errrm, Fith Harmony? (Ugh when did I get this old? lol) And really there is no shoulda/woulda/coulda about this journey. There are a million and twenty one different ways to do it. My way won't be YOUR way, your way might not be the same as the girl in the gym that looks like she doesn't need to be there) We all have a right, and a journey to discover, that will lead you to so many different epiphanies about you and your body.

Are you willing to take the time to discover them? Or are you looking for a 12 week programme that will change your body. If so, this isn't the post that will help you. No quick fixes here I'm afraid!

If you are looking for more than that then continue below xxx

I will do a post on all of the below points if you guys want me to.

1) Ask yourself why you want it so bad?

2) Ask yourself why its so hard to get it?

And if these answers don't come, to physically start making changes to your lifestyle here are some more tips...

3) Pick your fights with your indulgences. Dinner with friends and having pizza seems far more fun than pizza on my own from sainsburys one week night. The goats cheese tart looks way better than any of the desserts on the menu. Unless there is a salted caramel one, then if so, have the dessert and forego the tart. 

4) Take your time. add in activity bit by bit, take out non nutritious food, here and there rather than in one go.

5) Be consistent. Go to the gym/do more, consistently. Not just bouts of 6 times a week and then one week off. 3 times a week over a month is better than 6 times a week for 2 weeks. Even though it is the same amount of  sessions, going 3 times a week is going to keep you coming back week in week out because it is manageable, far more than 6 times when it may all become overwhelming and you may burn yourself out.

6) Find your triggers. If drinking a hot drink, makes you associate with biscuits, either stop the hot drinks, or find healthier versions of the biscuits. If walking into a news agents and buying a choc bar leads you to crisps, and pizza and avoiding the gym, avoid the news agents and make a choc treat at home. If a buffet scenario means you will go lose your shit and eat all the foods, find ways to plan for it, make room for it. It might be avoiding a work buffet for your first few weeks/months of the journey. Or taking some of your own snacks, or giving yourself permission to eat the food, and let it go afterwards. Sometimes we cannot change or avoid our triggers, but accepting them helps. 

7) Find activity you enjoy, healthy food you like. If you do not like chicken and brocoli, don't eat it. If you hate the treadmill, find other LIIS (steady state cardio) If you hate lifting heavy weights, find a programme that involves different versions of resistance work, like BBG. If you don't like BBG, then try getting some PR's on lifting really heavy things. 

8) Find the things you are willing to sacrifice (cos there needs to be some if you want to make changes) Maybe you can sacrifice the wine at dinner and have the pudding instead. Maybe you will eat tuna and egg white omelette (all the protein) for a couple of days because you know you are going out on Friday night. Maybe you will sacrifice watching Greys Anatomy because you have a Boxfit class one night. (Record it don't miss it) 

9) Do some research, educate yourself, learn about the exercise you are starting and the food you are eating and why. Go on Pinterest and find recopies, be creative, try new things. Type into the search engine, healthy banana bread and try the recipe. Search for healthy lunches or healthy toast toppings and create a pin board of things that inspire you to eat better. 

10) Don't let yourself be lazy. Find a structure and a routine. Be it waking up 30 minutes early to do a workout 3 times a week. Or take pictures of your pretty smoothie bowl you found on pinterest because then you can post it and feel like you are being held accountable by sharing your new eating habits. Don't be lazy and just rely on your PT to kick your butt, or the canteen to make healthy food, or your friends to support you when you feel unmotivated. Push yourself. Fight for what it is you want. Don't make excuses, make choices that will enable you to lead a lifestyle that works for you and helps you feel better in your skin. Some pages that help me are... The Glute Guy, Soheefit, Layne Norton, Sigma Nutrition and T nation.

Above all... try not to focus on changing the skin you are in, but getting comfortable in it. Let the look of the body become a prerequisite of loving it first.

Check out my you tube video that talks about steps to make in getting comfy in your skin, and getting the body you think you want (or not) Share it/thumbs up it/comment on it if you relate or have any questions at all. 

Sending lots of good vibes.

Fanni xxx 

Why DIETS and LOW CALORIES don't work! (As a general rule)

I will work out later... I swear

I will work out later... I swear

THE FUNDAMENTALS!

THE SPLURGE:

The first and foremost... the key issue here is this: I've been there. Swearing blind I'm on a 1000 to 1200 calorie diet and I don't know why I'm not loosing weight/toning up/getting lean. I'm eating hardly anything so why on earth am I not shifting any weight!? 'They' say, its all about a calorie deficit. So WTF?

The thing is. When we say we are eating low cals, consistently, really, we are not. Why? Because what we do Monday through to Thursday.  Even Friday day is, stick with very low cals, but then it gets to Friday evening and we've been so good. So strict. So on point that we either feel we deserve a treat, or we are so hungry because our body and soul want more feeding and so we go 'faaaaaak it' one meal out won't hurt. One glass/bottle won't matter. And in the long run. It won't.  Matter. Or hurt. But results come with consistency and the consistent trend has to be that we are creating a deficit, and a plan that can work, consistently over a continuum of time and not just over a few days. Low cals won't create consistency of a deficit big enough to create fat loss for long enough if we cannot stick to it.

For this post I am going to specifically talk about calories. There is alot more to being healthy, and calries are not the key to being healthy. But in terms of fat loss, calories in vs calories out is still very much important. I have lost fat upping my calories, but this was because I assumed my maintenance calories were lower than they were. Without counting calories please note that you can get healthy, trim, leaner without dropping cals so low that you feel you are on a diet, but essentially, we want to burn more than we put in. There are grey areas all over the joint in the fitness industry, believe me I have been suffocated by blanket grey areas a lot. It is not black and white. BUT, from experience, of my own and with the clients I have trained... I am going to talk numbers for the means to an end for this point I am making!

NUMBERS:

You create a deficit (the space between what you eat in calories and what you use in energy/calories) by upping your exercise/lowering your food intake. Lets say you burn an extra 400 calories 3 x per week in exercise. (by Friday afternoon you have created a 1200 calorie deficit. You also have created a deficit in what you are not eating. Say your maintenance is 1800 and you reduce your cals to 1200. You have now created a 3600 calorie deficit by Friday! That should create a 1 to 2lb weight loss.

BUT...

Friday night comes and you have a few prosecco and maybe a shot or two.

*600 cals... (and we often forget to count the booze) 

A meal out... maybe we skip the starter and just have a slice of wholemeal French bread out of the bread basket, with olive oil NOT BUTTER(because we are being good)

*250cals

We have the fish or chicken (for protein obvs) and some fries (it's weekend obvs)

*500 cals

We share a pudding cos, we couldn't possibly have a whole one, we are on a diet...

*250 cals

TOTAL=1600 plus your brekki and lunch in the day (lets say 500 to be conservative.

The next day a cheeky carby brekki

*400 cals

To nurse the hangover, or just because its a Saturday and you should get to LIVE YOUR LIFE. This may even lead to Saturday night indulgences because... yolo

*1200 cals for the rest of the day to be conservative

We haven't got to Sunday yet, where it's highly likely we will wait till Monday to 'get back on it' You skip brekki cos you slept in. You and the boyf have a cinema trip where you share popcorn (which is better than ice cream, it's basically air right?) You head home and have a normal dinner, nothing crazy. You might have a sweet treat after because... it's Monday tomorrow and you won't be having any chocolate again as you'll be on it like sonic.

Popcorn shared 400 cals

Dinner 500 cals

Sweet treat 250 cals

TOTAL including Friday and Saturday: 4850!!!

That deficit you created being soooo good Monday to Friday has now been cancelled out, and that is with us being (sort of) mindful.

*Not everyone will do this, but I know a lot can relate to this pattern. It was my pattern week in week out for years and I was adamant I was a low calorie queen who could not possibly eat more than 1200 cals or I would get fat!

I'm not saying 1200 wont see fat loss, it will, if sustained over a good period of time. Calories in vs calories out, matter. I'm just saying that 1200 doesn't accommodate for much spontaneity, fun nights out, normal life enjoyment. And no one wants to be that person that says "I'm not coming out, I'm on a diet" You want to create a life you can enjoy. Yes, sacrifices may need to be made. 2 slices of pizza rather than the whole pizza, may be the sacrifice you make. Some events, some nights out, some foods, may cause triggers to over indulge/binge, especially if we have deprived ourselves for 5 days. Even if we manage the 1200 cal diet for more than a week. Often what we lose, is not just fat. We lose muscle and water too! And that never results in us seeing results we want (skinny fat) and we decide diets don't work and we forget it all and resign ourselves to the fact that we will never get the results we want! Because diets don't work!

BANG FOR YOUR BUCK:

1200 cals doesn't really create much room for LIFE! Once you've gotten in your correct protein carbs and fats for utilising these nutrients, (protein for muscle repair, carbs for energy and transporting protien to muscles, fats for a good hormone balance) You're not left with a lot of fun food excess to go live that life you want to live and therefore you feel deprived of eating for fun. When this happens, as per above, binges happen, splurges become more often and your in a cycle of cancelling out the deficit you created.

Often people aren't even aware of whats in what foods and we end up eating very calorie dense things. An example of NOT getting a lot of bang for your buck IE little to no nutrients or substance for a heap load of cals... is booze *A glass of prosecco is 100 cals you use these calories as carbs because booze IS carbs (sugar). Divide the calories by 4 to get how many carbs you are consuming in one drink. 25g carbs in one proseco. 40g carbs in one small whiskey sour. UGH! Booze IS able to fit into your journey, but we just have to be aware of how to fit it in.

Candy floss is gonna add cals... but hey, who's counting? 

Candy floss is gonna add cals... but hey, who's counting? 

Another example of calorie dense foods are things like Marks and Spencer mini bites. 50cals for one salted caramel bite (not too bad) but in comparison to a small apple with same calories (with far more nutrients) Also, I defy anyone who can eat ONE bite! You cant, and if you can, you are not human and you should be on Mars and not reading my blog post for research to take back to your planet!! A bite is just that. A bite. Therefore you NEED more than 1. I ate 10 the other day! Yup TEN! That is 500 calories (are you reading that you Extra Terrestrial from Mars. TEN!) Where as very rarely do we need to go back for 10 or so helpings of whole apples. Again, if you do, I think you and I can't be friends. (only kidding, I'll be friends with you. Please teach me your ways)

The thing is, a brownie when your only allowed 1200 cals leaves you with about 8 to 900 cals for real whole foods. A brownie on 1800 cals still leaves you with 1400/1500 cals to get in whole nutrient dense foods. It makes sense to me to give ourselves as many cals as we can for all aspects of the journey, whilst still seeing results and still feeding our souls.

MINDLESS EATING:

I was a mindless eater. Not noting what I was eating. I'd pop to the shops for a quick bag of crisps and they are gone before I had even plonked my bum down on the tube. I'd grab some sweets from the loo in the restaurant I do my admin in and forget I have even consumed them. We butter our toast and don't count it or even more to the point we are unaware of the calories in a spoon of butter. A medium tub of cinema popcorn is around 800 cals. A large dominos pizza around 1500 cals. To manage to eat a days worth of cals is easy when we are unaware of what is in what. No you do not have to cut out the butter, and I encourage you, go take some free sweets from the toilet... Just be aware that these are not free calories and they do add up! On a low calorie diet especially.

HOW TO MAKE DEFICITS (diet is a dirty word) WORK:

CHANGE WHAT YOU EAT: First off, don't even worry about lowering your calories. Stick to your maintenance calories daily.

Start of at around 1800 calories (maintenance will be different for some) but change what your eating for the amount you think you already are.

Instead of crunchy nuts have oats and fruit, instead of a ploughman's sandwich at lunch with crisps, have a salmon fillet sweet potato and aubergine salad with some posh popcorn. Instead of 3 biscuits at work, have some homemade oat and date balls.

Find healthier alternatives to what you may already eat. Mainly because eating more whole foods (non processed, nutrient heavy based foods) will give you a lot more bang for your buck. Doing this will leave you with way more calories left come 5pm than you did with what you were previously eating. Leaving you room for a (good for the soul) snack somewhere down the line. Knowing you have the calories for it will make you feel less guilty and less deprived, but also you will have gotten all the good foods you need for the body to function well.

DON'T CUT OUT FOOD GROUPS ENTIRELY:

If you want ice cream, know that you can eat it, if you want some crisps, trust that you could have them and still see results... but 1st make sure you get what you need... 

Make sure you eat your protein 0.8 to 1.5g protein per lb of weight (as a rough guide) allocate this and stick to it daily. Then get your fibre in with portions of fruit and veg. Once these have been put into your daily diet (200g gram veg a day and 1 piece fruit per day minimum), you can use the rest of your calories in a more imaginative way. Get your good fats (for hormonal balance and glossy hurrr) and carbs in (for energy and help with getting protein to muscles and filling muscle with glycogen so they are nice and full). But for me, having something I love most days, tickles my soul. Popcorn? A piece of chocolate? a slice of pizza? Feel healthy. Feel full. Feel satisfied. And then feel sane. This does test control. Yes. This will mean that if you order pizza with your mates, are you going to be able to have just a couple of slices rather than the whole thing? Only you know. BUT, there are ways to manage this too. See below!

I know I know, the fear is that we will stick to a good amount of calories, say 1800, during the week, eat those treats in the week that I mention, but still go splurge at the weekends anyways, creating a increase in calories. Yup, there is a risk factor, but giving yourself permission to eat some foods, means that the likeliness of a binge is far less.Some may say it is counterproductive to tell people they can eat pizza when trying to lose weight. I will tell you what is counter productive. Telling them they can't, have them think about all the foods THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED, to have them go splurge on ALL THE FOODS every weekend, to then go and avoid ALL THE FOODS AGAIN for a short while. If you have a treat a day it may keep you from a crazy over indulgence of 4000cals plus come a work event, or come a night out, then in no way is this detrimental to your results. Yes you may drop the pounds slower than someone who never eats the pizza, if said person who never eats the pizza, really, never ever eats pizza! Again... go back to Mars :)

I save things I class as extra yummy, like pizza, for a night out, an experience, an event. And I use my weekly treats on smaller things like homemade deserts made with wholefoods. I call it picking my fights.

Ice cream IS allowed

Ice cream IS allowed

PICK YOUR FIGHTS:

Choose what is worth the sacrifice, and what is not. Pizza mid week with work colleagues... I can sacrifice. I'll have the salmon and veg that day and use the extra soul food experience for a night out with the boyf. I might not have a croissant mindlessly walking to work on a weekday, but I may go to brunch with some friends where they do the best pumpkin donuts ever, (Pedlar if you must know) and enjoy that.

Decide where and when the sacrifices are worth it, because there will be some sacrifices. If you want change, you have to change something. Often it might just be how we think and feel. Sometimes it may mean making alternative healthy treats to your fav comfort food eats. Make mac and cheese more healthy by using Philadelphia light and a measured amount of cheddar, or make an alternative to cheese with butternut squash and sweet potato, trust me... Go here... Try wholemeal wraps with homemade tomato sauce and 30g cheese and loadsa veg for an alternative to pizza. Make some banana bread out of oats/banana/yogurt for a healthier alternative to the sweet gooey cake. 

It may be that you need to address triggers that lead to binges or over obsession with some foods.

One of my fav brekkis

One of my fav brekkis

FIND THE TRIGGERS:

For me, heading to a news agent and buying a chocolate bar is a trigger. Going to an all you can eat buffet, is a trigger, ordering cake in Starbucks, is a trigger. The triggers takes me back to when my lifestyle meant I couldn't seem to say no to these things. It takes me back to when I made choices less healthy for my body and soul. I am not saying a choc bar a day is not doable with results. I truly believe it is if everything else (including a deficit) is on point... (See Soheefits comp prep on "a snickers a day" here)

But for me, the action of going and buying a choccy bar, leads me to other, unhealthy, thinking. It leads me to bags of crisps and dips and mindless over indulgence. These triggers do go. I can probably go buy a Twirl and not fall apart at the seams, but its ingrained in me now, I have built up habits different to those of my past, and instead of a Twirl, I make chocolate pudding or vegan cheesecakes with (better for me ingredients) If someone buys me chocolate, I'll eat it. I am just talking about finding those emotional triggers for you and avoiding them at the beginning of your journey, because they will lead to better choices down the line. Change your habits and routine and it will become second nature.

CHOOSE A REGIME/ROUTINE THAT YOU WILL SUSTAIN: 

Or just find really baggy clothes to hide your food baby

Or just find really baggy clothes to hide your food baby

If avoiding carbs is not something you can do forever. Don't do it. If 1200 cals isn't a lifestyle choice you can do continuously, consistently. Don't do it. If eating at set times, or eating 6 times a day or never eating dairy, or never having pudding out, or only eating greek yogurt as your treat, is something that you will not implement for a good while, don't do it. 

Find ways that will incorporate better choices into a deficit so that you will stick at it for longer. Choose a deficit that is manageable. Get in the foods you need for a healthy body. Make room for foods that will give you a healthy soul. Remember that 0.5lb weight loss per week over 16 weeks is better than 5lb in 2 weeks of strictness that means you stop the diet short because it is too dam boring and hard. You do not have to have the worlds best will power or be the best at "clean eating" You are not a failure if you go to a buffet and you cannot stop eating. You are not wasting your time trying to get on the fitness journey if you have plateau'd. It's a massive learning curve. One that I think we make harder for ourselves, but also one that some will never understand is not just as easy as (EAT LESS DO MORE) There is so much more to fat loss/weight loss/transformations.

Remember calories in vs calories out is over a continuum of time. Not a day. Even a week. You may gain  half a pound one week, lose 1 pound for 2 weeks running and stay the same the next week. You have still lost 1.5 pounds over the month.And do not forget. the weeks you gain or you stay the same, may be because you have gained lean muscle mass, it may be because you are holding water. This journey is not all about weight loss, but say for something like prep, or for people on a fat loss journey, or in a battle with daily calorie in take...a week is a good way to average out your calories. Working weekly will allow for some indulgences. It will even allow for big ones. A date night at the local Italian, or your best friends wedding. Give yourself the time, find the routine that works for you, allow yourself room for soul feeding. I have to have pudding every night! So I make one. I also need to know I can eat out at least once or twice a week. So I balance my cals over the week not daily, allowing me higher calories out and then I will cut back in the week by eating more whole foods. 

Now this doesnt mean I cut meals or calories so I can splurge at the weekend. I stick to the fundamental rules.

I get in my alloted protein.

I eat a good amount of veg and fruit for fibre.

I get a minimum of 15-20% fats for hormonal balances.

I feed myself so I feel full.

I choose cod and veg and less exciting oats and less exciting pudding, if I know I have a more indulgent event ahead. 

On the day of the event, I fill up ob veggies and protein and then relax at said event.

There is a major difference in starving ourselves to over indulge come the weekend, and balancing out our nutrition. I know that balance is the hardest thing to find, but when you do find it, when you do have control, when you find yourself making better choices, not feeling starved, not feeling guilty for eating some ice cream, not obsessing over every meal, life truly becomes better. 

I literally could go on for 18 pages... front and back (if you know you know)

But basically my point is... don't try and be so strict. Don't starve yourself. Don't deprive yourself. Don't make it painful. Don't make it harder than it has to be. Find support. Find alternatives. Find pinterest and pin the shit out of easy, helpful, nutrient friendly treats. Don't feel like you are having to give up your whole life just to lose a few pounds, but also be aware of the changes you do need to make, if you want to see change. Find the in between, one day at a time.

For help and advise, coaching, food guides, some support, e mail me at dannitabor@freefanni.com or find my Instagram: freefannifitness

 

Bikini comp prep: The Nutrition

Disclaimer: All numbers/weight/macros are personal to me. Because I am a particular weight in one pic doing particular macros at another time, does not mean these are the magic numbers, nor does it mean they will work for you. My slow decline of cals was monitored so closely after a year of reverse dieting to maintenace cals. I also incoroperated refeeds which meant my low number in the final phase were actually higher on average. This is not a (one size fits all) scenario and I am just sharing the process rather than telling you this is how it should be done. And that is all. Disclaimer over. Mwah xxx

I think doing a bikini comp, or on my fitness journey at all really, I underestimated how much nutrition makes a difference. And yup, I'm a PT and yup, I know this, and yup, I've followed macros for a long time... but, actually nailing my numbers, actually sticking to them, day in day out for over 16 weeks, I felt like it makde a difference to my body composition. The deficit I created was how I lost fat. The numbers/grams macros I hit I felt was more to do with how I created that deficit and what worked best for my body.

I don't like sharing my numbers in case people think that these will work for them, but because this is a broader picture I want to look at, here is what I did over the whole period in terms of numbers/ratios. I tracked it every week and it enabled me to know when I needed to up my protein again or lower my fats. It became very apparent fats were the decider factor for me regarding bloat. Turns out carbs were my friend. Despite dropping them slightly at the end, my progress was made keeping carbs up and dropping my fats the most. High protein was a savior for me. When I dropped it I felt squishier. 

My period stopped in Feb, 6 weeks into prep. It was possibly lower body fat but more than likely stress of 6 days a week hard core 2hr training sessions. But this was just a reminder of how comp prep is not an ideal lifestyle choice, but a short term process. The P and I were reunited in July, two months post comp and 2 kilos heavier.

I had decided at the beginning of prep, that despite this was not a long term lifestyle choice (and being in a deficit of calories never should be) I was going to flexible eat my way through prep by still having cake/fries/roast dinners and popcorn etc. I wasn't going to only eat veg and cod and I was not going to make myself miserable by depriving myself of things that made my days better... ie pudding every single night all the way till the night before comp. 

With anything when you want to achieve goals, you will have to make sacrifices at some point. You will have to change up certain things. I hate this part about my job as a personal trainer. I want to be able to say that you can carry on eating pizza and crisps and chocolate (as a majority of your meals) I want to say you can have a croissant for brekki everyday. And truth be told. I could say that. Nutrition/weight loss we all make a lot harder than it is. We COULD eat all that, it is just that there is a big but. And I don't mean the good kind. And because this is a murky, grey area and I hate confusing clients, I DON'T say, you can eat pizza everyday. One because that wouldn't be the healthiest choice, but two, because often the psychology behind starting a fitter/healthier lifestyle, can get confusing, let alone saying... go forth and eat pizza daily and explaining about deficits and letting them try to find balance without giving them some structure to follow at first. So I work on an 80/20 rule with clients. This is enough to see results. Sacrificing brownies on a Monday afternoon with work collegues where you mindlessly shove it in your mouth like there may never be another brownie in your life, vs having one on a Friday after dinner on a date night with the boyf, is a perfect balance. Once the mentality around 'picking your fights' is fixed, nutrition and food become far more fun in knowing what works, what doesn't in terms of maintaining your body, or loosing fat or gaining muscle. It is trial and error. So going into comp after a couple of years in this fitness lifestyle, I felt I knew my body well enough to go balls deep, as some would say, in sacrificing more than I normally would in terms of food day to day!

So, pudding became a protein blend ice cream rather than chocolate and peanut butter mousse. Brekki became more egg white based than oat based in the final few weeks and protein powder got ditched in the final hurdle and pudding became soy yogurt and pb2. But a lot of the things I did through prep were about my mind, keeping me satisfied mentally. Knowing I could still go out and see friends without starving myself. I just made them eat sushi, a lot.

I talk a lot about my emotional journey with prep over here but i also want to reiterate why comp prep/being 13% body fat, living in a deficit is so far away from being ideal. If you follow me on IG here then you know that my journey has not always been a healthy one. From body image dysmorphia to a very dysfunctional relationship with food, to lack of knowledge in what works (properly) in terms of weight loss and why what we have been taught (by the media and fads) is total and utter bull crap!

Low calories will make you lose weight. Yes. IF these calories are a deficit from your maintenance calories. If you maintain being 9 stone on 1400 calories (what I call low) then this is NOT making you lose weight and therefore NOT a deficit and therefore you will have to drop calories even lower, to shift fat. NOT OK! Low calories will also only do so much. You will plateau as well as not look toned and tight and yes you say fit into smaller jeans but you may look a bit squishy in a bikini. Which is OK. Squishy is fine, being a size 6 or 16 is fine. If you are healthy, eating well, living life, not beating yourself up, not trying to lose weight by eating next to nothing, then cool. But if you are trying to lose weight/tone up as we like to say, then low cals/starving ourselves/restricting foods to get there, just isn't going to do it.

  • To lose weight we need to create a deficit of calories (calories in/calories out)
  • To be toned we need muscle
  • To get muscle we need to eat (in a surplus of cals even slightly)
  • To lose fat but not muscle we need to eat the right amount of certain nutrients
  • To keep muscle we need protein
  • To help protein get to our muscles we need carbs
  • To have the energy to work the muscles to build/condition them, we need food (calories) 
  • To stay lean and eat food without gaining weight we need our food to metabolise
  • To create a high metabolism we need muscle
  • To get muscle we need to eat...

So you get the gist!!! Being in a deficit is a temporary place to be in. Being there too long can mess you you mental state, your social life, your muscle mass (your tone) and therefore your metabolism. Lowering calories, if done slow, means you can preserve muscle. Doing it too fast means the body may go get rid of muscle for energy and leave you (skinny fat) I will do another post on nutrition/weight loss asap too as I wanted to keep this simple :)

So... below is the process of how it worked for me over five months. Next prep I will do a maximum of 12 weeks as I will already be used to high cals and hopefully be in better shape to start and know what needs to be done unlike this year going in blind.

Supplements-Phase 1 to the end.

Protein powder (Twice a day as brekki/post workout and dessert/day snack)

BCAA During a workout (weights and fasted cardio)

Glutamine (Before brekki lunch and before bed)

CLA (With brekki lunch and dinner)

Vit B complex and vit D (With dinner)

Digestive enzymes and probiotics (With 3 meals)

 

Pre prep week 20 to 16

1800-2100cals

Average 190g carbs 140g protein 80g fats

Here I felt I was getting used to number tracking more meticulously than normal. It consisted of no deficit. I was using flexible IIFYM to enjoy going out still and not feeling like I was on a diet. Nothing was off bounds. At all.  I still had alcohol here and there. My body reacted really well in the 1st 4 weeks and I leaned out, even seeing ab definition when I was upping my cals. I was suprised, as I cut out cardio here too.

I was drinking 2 lts water.

Phase 1 Weeks out 16 to 12  

2100-1900cals

190g carbs 130 protein 70/60 fats (1 week in LA where I averaged at 100g fats)

I upped my water intake. And I begun to look at lowering cals by adjusting my fat intake slightly. I still enjoyed cake/fries/and sweet and salty popcorn within my macros.

The week I was in LA through me. I drank less water, also had a couple of glasses of prosecco over the week and my fats sky rocketed to 100g on average and my protein dropped to 130g ish. That week set me back a week or two. See my regression below slightly as I actually gained weight. 

I was drinking 3lts water when home.

Phase 2 weeks out 12 to 8  

1900-1700cals

160g carbs 150/160g protein 60/50g fats

Back from LA I upped my protein back up again and continued lowering my calories with fats. I cut out nuts and smoked mackerel, anything that was high in fats and not worth it for me, so that I could eat more of what I liked best (peanut butter). I felt like this was the (get serious moment) The timings of my food became more consistent as I really needed to maintain my muscle whilst dropping weight in a greater deficit. I didn't drink alcohol from here on in.

  • Brekki consisted of carbs fats and protein
  • Post workout was just carbs and protein
  • Lunch was protein fats and carbs
  • 2nd lunch was protein and veg and sweet pot
  • Snack was protein and fats
  • Dinner Protein and veg
  • Dessert pre bed was protein and fats

I drank 3lts to 4lts water

Phase 3 weeks out 8 to 4  

1700-1550cals

160/180g carbs 150/160g protein 50/40g fats

Here I cut out protein made foods like protein bread and stuck with real protein from fish and egg whites (protein powder being an exception). I drank 4-5 lts water. I cut out avocado and coconut oil as I would rather have had it in peanut butter, of course. I stopped having normal bread every morning and ate less fruit from here on in too. ie no dates at all. Maybe one portion of berries with breakfast. This is when my weight started to drop consistently. 

I started implementing refeeds every 2 weeks. At around 350g carbs 120g protein and 50g fats. Around 4 to 6 weeks out was where I started to notice the difference the most. 

Phase 4 weeks out 4 to comp day  

1550-1400cals (With refeeds this averaged out to 1650ish)

140/100g carbs 150/160 protein 34g fats

I drank 5-6lts water.

No processed foods at all ie no bread/bagels/pasta (accept on refeeds) an stuck to grains sweet pot and oats for carbs. Avoided carbs in the evening and only had around workouts. I ate out still but stuck to sushi/fish. I was still having my refeeds which helped a lot. 

I will do a post of refeeds asap!

During prep I managed to stay at a lean muscle mass of 42kg (2kilo of bone) I weighed 54kg in Jan and Went down to 50kg on comp day. Meaning I was able to lose 4kg in fat. Fat loss being mainly due to nutrition and keeping muscle a lot to do with lifting heavy (along with protein)! 

Looking back at pics I see that for comp I would have done better with more muscle on me. So I have decided to spend half the year now, bulking, so that I can go on stage next year with at least 1 kilo more muscle on me. Which really doesn't seem like a lot but my PT friend told me to think of a 400g pack of lean mince and then to double it. That's a lot of muscle.

The aim is to keep the fat as low as possible. Which some trainers say fat gain is inevitable when bulking and others say that it is possible. For me, I want to treat it how I did comp prep in terms of learning. Everyone said I would lose muscle and strength, yet I gained 10k on my BB squats over that time. An other massive aim for me is to create more shape. Build my lats and obliques more to create some curve (soon as I am quite athletic and straight down) get my glutes bigger and work on my hammy/glute separation. 

Bulking phase 1 has begun.  

The dream. Gain 1 kg of muscle... keeping my fat kilos relatively the same. Lets see what we can do...

Lets go!

Bikini comp prep: The exercise

Week 1 of prep Vs comp day

Week 1 of prep Vs comp day

So, training for a bikini comp is like no other training I have done before. Its hard. It takes dedication and a lot of mental strength (that I was unaware I had) to will yourself to just do one more set or one more rep. Your joints hurt, your muscles ache, your bones feel broken. But, its the sort of training I had always wanted to do, I just never had motivated myself to train that hard before. There is something to be said for having a goal. A real life date where you know you will be up on stage in a bikini, and that in itself will set a firework up your bum.

The difference between my normal training and bikini comp training, isnt that much. The same with nutrition. I kept it similar to the way I normally train. A lot of strength and a lot of conditioning. The difference being more sets and more reps. But I focused on compound moves a lot. Only really isolating muscles during phase 3 onward.

Preparing for prep was new to me. Yes I'm a PT, I write programmes, I know how to structure training, but Bikini prep planning had my knickers in a twist. I didn't really know where to start. Because there is so much conflicting info. Some people lift heavy and keep reps lowish (in the 8 to 10 numbers) most stick to high reps for some good ol conditioning. The way people split their days varies greatly. Some opting for back and biceps, legs and triceps, a whole day for core... some stick to lower days and upper days. Some train legs once a week, some 3. It all depends on your goals and also what you believe is the best training method for you. But I wasn't sure. I am indecisive and I find it so bloody hard to stick to something in fear that I should be doing something else. 
So when I say, planning what I was going to do was mentally draining. It is not an understatement. Hours were spent on you tube, googling, asking my PT friends. I would dream about prep. What exercises to include, what to not bother with. Should I add more sets or less reps, should I spend a whole day on core or even bother at all? I lost a lot of sleep. And then one day I just bit the bullet and wrote out a plan.

My main objectives...
*burn fat
*build muscle
*condition muscle
*keep my strength as much as poss
* make sure I have progressive overload
*don't get bored 

I decided to do this is 4 week increments. Microcycles if you will. The body is good at adapting; getting used to something and finding a balance (ie not reacting to it anymore) The body is so clever. It can predict what you are going to do and decide that it is not enough overload on the muscle to do the job to its best ability that you want it to. This is why doing the same programme over and over is never a good idea. It will stop working. 

Week 1 of prep Vs comp day

Week 1 of prep Vs comp day

Here were my phases

  • I had pre-prep: Get used to consistency in programme, build size
  • Phase 1 Concentrate on higher sets/gain strength and size
  • Phase 2 Up the reps and concentrate on conditioning. 
  • Phase 3 Up the reps and keep the muscles guessing by using drop sets and pyramids on major compound moves.
  • Phase 4 Up the intensity and condition muscles as much as poss/cutting fat

Each phase I would do something slightly different so that my body wouldn't get too used to exercises, by swapping out an exercise or two, and/or changing the order of my super sets.

In pre prep I was eating more calories. I was trying to eat at a slight surplus and trying to gain as much muscle as I could possibly have with the small window I had. I went from 1700 cals to 2200. This phase meant I was lifting heavy with low to mid reps for strength and hypertrophy (size) I wanted to be as strong as possible starting out as I knew I would lose strength (or could) during prep where I would be in a deficit for a while. 


Pre prep went something like:


5 x 5 for a compound move for overall strength.
I would then super set assisting lifts doing 3 x 8 to 12 reps. 
Here I was keeping things simple, doing 4 to 5 super sets with compound lifts. (8 to 10 assisting exercises)

Phase 1 Saw me start my slow cut. During this phase I wanted to get used to higher sets and reps. I begun doing 4 x 12-15 still sticking with my 5x5 on a compound move to start. On one out of two of my upper body days I would do a really heavy low rep day because I wanted to build size in my back if I could, despite being in a deficit.  During this phase I started to add burnout finishers at the end of the session. So a workout would look like


5x5 compound lift
...
4 to 5 exercises
4 x 15-12 assisting lifts on legs and 1 upper day
Or
6-7 x 8 on one upper body day
...
Then a burnout like
4 x 25 leg curls

Phase 2 saw me wanting to concentrate on conditioning. For upper body I concentrated on 4 x 15 reps and legs 4 x 20. I through in 1 or 2 dropsets and the end of my workout and also begun adding a specific day for glutes. 
I decided at this point to cut out my 5 x 5 because of time constraints. But I would do a major compound move with 4 x 10 for some strength/size work so as not to just be conditioning the muscles.

Phase 2 felt like the hardest phase for me as It was smack bang in the middle. I felt most demotivated during this time and think after this phase I knew I needed to ramp up my intensity and also programme, so that I didn't give up.
.

A typical day in phase 2

4 x 10 BB row

4 x 15 on 4 to 5 super sets on assisting lifts

Dropset on the seated row as an example

Week 1 through to comp day at various stages of prep

Week 1 through to comp day at various stages of prep

Phase 3: Here I decided to make sure I added in drop sets and pyramids wherever I could. I wanted to cover all rep ranges. Going for strength and conditioning. I also needed the variation. I kept my major compound move at the beginning, I also made sure all reps were at least 20 no less (except for shoulders/biceps and triceps as I wanted to keep their size as I am very lean up top. Sometimes adding a super set and then threw in pyramids throughout and drop sets at the end of the session.

A typical phase 3 workout looked like this:  

SS Hack squat and reverse hack 4 x 10

...

Pyramid (8 10 12 15 reps)dropping weight as I go, smith lunges SS with 4 x 20 smith squat

Pyramid leg press SS with 4 x 20 (es) curtsy lunge

Pyramid Bulgarians SS with 4 x 20 front squats

Pyramid Smith step up with 4 x 20 goblet squats

...

Dropset cable squat starting with heavy weight 5 reps working my weigh down in weight up in reps with no rest.

Phase 4: The homeward stretch. Ahh phase 4 was my fav and worst phase. You were so close to the end yet your intensity had to ramp up. In this phase I added active rest and also added in 100+ rep challenges for a lot of moves. I also made my super sets into trisets or giant sets

A typical phase 4 day looked like

10/10 20/10 20 30/failure Chest press

4 x 20 SS single arm row with 4 x 12 bb shoulder press and (active rest 30 secs burpees)

10/10 20/10 20 30/failure T bar row with 4 x 12 bicep cable curls and 4 x 12 tricep cable pulls

4 x 20 Triset; seated cable row with single arm lat pull down with wide seated row (active rest 30 secs weighted high knees)

10/10 20/10 20 30/failure standing rope pull with 4 x 20 lat push down

4 x 25 hyper extension

My splits: roughly stayed the same and the structure also throughout, depending on if I missed out something earlier in the week. 

Monday: Posterior chain day

Tuesday: Plyo and abs

Wednesday: Upper body day 1 (lats and shoulders)

Thursday: Glutes and abds

Friday: Upper body day 2 (Lats and lower back)

Sat: Leg day quad focused and abs

Sun: Rest added spinning in the last 4 weeks

My cardio went from nothing in pre prep. Then went from 3 x 20 minutes a week to 6 x 40 mins a week.I mainly used the stair climber for my LIIS, with uphill incline walks on the treadmill at least once a week. Hiit consisted of 10 to 15 mins of 30 secs on 30 secs off sprints on the treadmill and plyo was mainly Kayla BBG 1 thrown in. My ab days would mainly consist of 20 min sessions focusing on isolation exercises and obliques. Such as hanging leg raises, rope crunches, side planks, russian twists and pikes or roll outs.

Cardio looked something like:

16 weeks out 3 x 20

15 3 x 25 mins

14 3 x 25 mins

13 3 x 30 mins

12 3 x 30 mins

10 4 x 30 mins plus 2 hiit

9 4 x 30 mins plus 2 hiit

8 4 x 35 mins plus 2 hiit 1 plyo

7 4 x 35 mins plus 2 hiit 1 plyo

6 4 x 40 mins plus 2 hiit 2 plyo

5 4 x 40 mins plus 2 hiit 2 plyo

4 5 x 40 mins plus 3 hiit 2 plyo

3 5 x 40 mins plus 3 hiit 2 plyo

2 6 x 40 mins plus 4 hiit 2 plyo

1 Not too much cardio. A few 40 minute sessions as well as a couple of hiits. I eased off towards the end of peak week. 

So there you have it. I hope this info is somewhat helpful and sheds a light on the sort of training that prep involves. Most days I would be training anywhere between 1.5 and 3 hrs with posing thrown in too. Honestly, I'm a bit lost post prep when my sessions are done within an hour. I'm not sure who or where I am lol.

If you have any questions, please give me a DM on IG or send me an e mail to dannitabor@freefanni.com

Love, light and lifting (with a side of french fries)

Bikini comp prep: The begining

As I write I can't quite believe that I have competed in my first ever bikini comp. Even more than that, I can't believe five months from the day I said I was going to, has been, gone and flown by and I have squatted and donkey kicked and rowed my way to the depths of my 'fitness soul' (side note: A different soul to my normal one) 5 whole months of spot on macros, more egg whites than a meringue factory would know what to do with, more tuna than I feel ethically acceptable and more body selfies than you would find on Kim K's phone (well maybe not) Never in a million years did I think that the 5 months would come and go, that I would survive prosper and live to tell the tale. 

Prepping for a bikini comp was always going to be somewhat of a challenge for me. Not in terms of logistics. I work in a gym so that made training, practically, easier. But in terms of what that meant to me, who I was becoming, what my friends and family thought about it, whether my boyfriend could get his head around it. Would I be ready? Could I push myself that hard? Would I push myself that hard? What if I tried and failed? Would I avoid tryin hard in case I failed? Would I push myself to the limit? Did I need to? Should I? Could I? Will I remain sane, healthy, alert, spiritually open and self aware? Could I do this and somehow hold onto the remnants of real life? Would I survive the mind fuck, the challenge, the prep brain, peak week, all the stuff that everyone talks about so horrendously, that you wonder why on earth anyone in their right mind would attempt such a feet?

You hear people talk, people who have done this before you and they speak of losing themselves, their soul, having comp angst, body dysmorphia, chasing a goal that's not sustainable, getting post show blues, feeling lost when its all done. You hear how they don't go out whilst prepping and they only eat chicken and broccoli and how they do cardio for hours a day, 7 days a week and they drop their calories to 1200 and they kill themselves trying to get lean and when it's over they binge and indulge like the world may end and kill their progress trying to eat all the foods that were so restricted before.

I heard it and I thought... hell no! I read it and I thought, "I am not going to do it this way, not if it means loosing my soul, my self, my "ME"I want to tell the tale with a smile and a memory that would not make me shudder at the mere thought.

So... did I succeed in this fundamental goal? I am 1 full week post comp. Currently, I still have my soul in check. I'm 1 week post comp to the day and the last weeks thoughts have varied, between wanting to do another comp asap, wondering if my body can progress in other ways, shamefully wishing that I could stay comp lean and having a niggling thought that maybe I could, if I was really good, perhaps. Then you find your 31 year old, healthy brain and remember that that body was temporary, as it should be. That comp body, despite it being the body you longed for, for most of your teens, all of your 20s, its a body that is not sustainable all year round. The realisation of this was gradual. I had had time to think about that and come to terms with the fact that the body you thought you could get from a quick cabbage soup diet fix and a few body pump classes, is not a body that is attainable doing the above. Not in the short term, nor for the long term. The ( I will dare say it) painful realisation that those IG bodies are not realistic images of a body that is like that day in day out. Do not get me wrong, some people are born having those bodies. The long, lean, lithe bodies you see in Australian Bikini posts in your IG stream. Some people are paid to have those bodies all year round and some people, pose and find lighting and the correct setting to make them look like they have those bodies all year round. And then... some bodies, like my own, (if I want to live a varied, spontaneous life) will sit with at least 3 or 4% more body fat than comp body. That is a fact. I cannot live in a calorific deficit ALL the time. I don't want to. I want to eat pizza sometimes, and go to a cocktail bar on occasion. I want to have avocado on toast daily and not have to plan my days around 3 hrs in the gym. So I have come to terms with the fact that, no, bikini body bodies are NOT and should not be (for the life I want to live) the 'end goal or a goal in which I can maintain day in day out.

Throughout prep thoughts vary...


"Ooo I can see my abs, I'm hungry, do I have time to do fasted cardio. Shit am I gonna be ready? Will I feel comfy on stage? I like my body now, I don't want to get leaner, do I? Tighter? Firmer? Bloody hell, I need to pose, my friends don't get this... but my boyfriend finally does. How did I become someone who actually likes the gym.. ooo I'm hungry, not gonna do fasted cardio today. Go get a bagel. Eat a goddam bagel"

Competition prep means your brain is in "constant" mode. like you have a constant download circle spinning around and around on your forehead. Your body is of course exhausted. The mind and body like to work against each other pushing and pulling and fighting. Its mentally exhausting. Your brain wants to do one. More. Exercise... and your body is saying "hell no" Your brain wants to do ALL the exercises for butt ALL the time and your body is saying "dont you even dare" Your brain is saying... bikini, posing, lunch, carbs, more carbs, less carbs, refeed, not to refeed, is this pose right, oats, coyo... ooo I want coyo, need protein, shit I forgot to order more protein, coffee, black americano please... and your body is saying...

"Mass...age, frapp...u...cino... egg yolk... please"

And people don't understand. They worry you are getting too muscly or that you might get too skinny. They ask if you are losing yourself in it all, they tell you that perhaps you are fighting a loosing battle, they wonder if it's worth it, what's the point? Why bother? They question if you are obsessed, crazy, boring, now that your priorities are different. Now that you have found something that requires more brain power than even you knew you had. People find, because you step on stage in a bikini rather than get grazed knees and covered in mud doing weird obstacles for 26miles, that it's less 'meaningful' Less of a challenge, less important. People lose themselves training for tough mudder/the marathon. They become focused, they train long hours, they avoid eating things that may impact on their training, results, outcome. Yet they don't put on stripper looking heels and get judged half naked and I understand why therefore its far easier to look down on a bikini competition. I judged it before. I scrutinised over my decision to do one, I questioned why I wanted to, I wondered... "Am I really this person? Do I want to be?"

But truly, to do this, to take part... its one of the most mind, soul and body challenges I have ever dove myself into. To me, I now see it as a sport. I feel like an athlete. I like to do things that challenge me. I haven't always. I'm a lazy person at heart. I wanted it all for minimum effort, until you wake up, late twenties, broke, out of shape, unhappy and you think, the common denominator has to be me. It's not the universe, its me. I wasn't helping myself out. I wasn't doing. I was just waiting. All be it for what I thought was my dream job (acting) and my dream body (anyones but my own) and I was waiting for it to happen to me. And with minimal effort. So I started to dig deep, and find what I loved. In all areas of my life. And asked myself this...

Before I do this, will this raise my level of consciousness, or take away from it?

And it literally made me feel like Ginger Spice again. What a bloody awesome question to ask. For me, this was one of those moments. Will a bikini comp raise my level of consciousness? And of course, It might have all the negative side effects that come with a competition. Comparison, self deprecation, ego... but if I stayed aware, alert and grounded, to the earth, to myself... couldn't I do this and take all the positives from it? Couldn't I do it, pat myself on the back and whether I placed or not, find myself with my consciousness in tact and better yet, raised?

This process so far has made me so much more self aware. So much more in touch with who I am, what issues still remain. I have learnt to want to be strong, not skinny, I have finally stopped needing a thigh gap. I find myself wanting more muscle not less meat on me. I have realised my fear of being successful has always held me back. My fear of winning was far greater than my fear of loosing. I have realised what I am good at, what makes me feel good, I am aware of my demons that creep over me and tell me that I am not good enough, I have accepted that actually, I am, whether I win or loose. There is no validation from 7 judges that can tell me whether I worked hard enough, am in shape enough, when I know I tried, enough. And did enough. Because I felt like I owned it on stage, I felt like I won already.

So did the competition raise my consciousness? Hell to the yizzle. Am I loosing myself in it all. No way, I found more of myself. Am I aware that that was a competition and real life will resume. Of course. Am I prepped and armoured ready for the roller coaster of emotions that are yet to happen, post comp? As ready as I'll ever be.

People may not get it. They, thankfully, do not have to. I have never felt more alive and more happy than I have done in the last five months. Not because I got skinny. But because setting goals and nailing them is liberating. My mum asked me just now, your happy now right? You don't need to do anything but maintain where you are. And I explained that I still want to progress. I still want to make some goals and smash them. I still want to see progress with my body in the same way I want to in my career, my relationships, my mind set. Just because I love my job and I am happy doing what I am doing, that doesn't mean I don't want to own my own studio one day, or that I don't want to write a book or develop a fitness programme that women can use to help them feel good in their skin. anting to progress does not mean that you are unhappy with what you have now. I like my body now, but I am up for the challenge to see what else I can do with it. How else I can develop my body composition, my shape.

So as I go to drink my dragon fruit smoothie by the pool in Bali, and I reflect back to this time last sunday when I was about to go on stage, in my stripper shoes and homemade bikini, all I can say is if you want to do something, if you are thinking about doing it, if you have goals you want to achieve, if you are scared, if your fears want to swallow you up and spit you back out in a mahoosive flem ball...FAAAAK IT... Just go DO IT. 

And if someone questions why... just turn around and say "Because I can..."   

My name is Fanni, and I am a bingeoholic: How to get past your binge addictions

Last week at my friends wedding was one of those tests in this process of #bikinicompprep On a mental level that only someone who has struggled with binging may truly understand. For me it used to be one of my downfalls. I could eat healthy, I could not eat alot, I could go work out, I could stop drinking for a few months... but someone ask me to go to an event where food was being offered freely and I could not for the life of me NOT #binge I binged on foods I would buy, let alone free for all buffets. I had grand plans of going to the wedding and not having dessert. Or not touching one drink. #bikiniprep is a serious notion for me and one I want to get right. But I still want to live a little. And theres the crux of the matter. The idea that eating and drinking is 'living' Im not saying its not, im just saying that I have an attachment to that side of things that has enabled me to make alot of unhealthy choices along my journey. Food and drink equals fun. And more often than not, my own fear of being boring meant I would eat and drink (in excess) So attending something where you are dealing with a few deep set issues... the fear of being boring, the fear of missing out, the fear of messing up comp prep... its a headache and soul ache that I wish was fully gone but also I want to share that its still in there somewhere, that food for me isnt as easy as (eat it/dont eat it/make the right choice/or dont) The journey is longer, harder, deeper than being black and white.

Someone messaged me asking, how do I deal with binges... and this is how I do. I clock the urge, I fight it or sometimes I don't, I ask myself my thoughts, I become aware of them, I speak on it, I share it and I (try with all my might) to let it go.

Eating what you want is a joy. Eating alot of what you want is even more joyous. Not being able to control yourself and getting the feelings on anxiety when faced with lots of food. Is quite frankly. Shit.

The aim with my fitness journey has always been... eat well, controlled and just act like any other normal human being.

Unless the journey consists of comp prep. Im not going to be deprived of food for long. I have 7 weeks until I can strut my stuff on stage, and then go enjoy the delights of Bali cusine. It seems simple enough. In the lead up, or in general, to have some self control.The wedding meant I had to face a lot of demons. And I think I survived, unscathed more or less. Honestly.  I made good food choices. I had(lots of salmon n veg) I had a small portion of plaintain, took ssome veg lasana and then left it. (I just need to feel like I had the option) and I was sorted.

Then out came the deserts. And I knew right then and there that I was going to have one. I did the story... "its one dessert, you have 8 weeks till comp, one dessert wont hurt... yolo!"

And all those things I told myself are inevitably true. I would fit my weekly macros around it. I would not screw up my progress with one cheesecake. Would I step onto the stage and think 'I wonder what my results had been like if id not had the cheesecake?' Maybe, maybe not. But the point was, I wanted to do this competition with all this in mind. How much of my real life could I let seep in and still gain progress and results good enough for the stage.

When the binge is on the horizon, when your palms get sweaty and your heart beats faster, the question isn't "how do I stop binging?" its asking yourself why. I havent binged in a long time. I used to every weekend wihout fail. And often for months at a time. I can thankfully say I can count on my hand the amount I have binged in the last yr or two.

Binging isnt just eating loads. Its a mad panic of adrenilin rush, fear, panic, loss of control. Binging is not "opps I ate a bag of crisps' or 'dam it I ate an extra samosa' Binging is a mental struggle of crazy, unthought out, mixed bag of emotions that lay out in a weird head game mess of struggle.

The 1st thing that goes through my head is the fear of missing out. The fear of missing out on my taste buds tingling. The fear someone will get tingly tastebuds and I wont. The fear that I'll never have tingly taste buds again. The fear that I will regret not having the tingly taste buds. The fear that I will hate myself for turning down all the foods. And the truth is, I dont need all the foods, but the fear pulls me to a place of illogical thoughts (or no thoughts at all) and therefore I just go cazy and eat ALL the foods instead of some. Then there is the fear that, the food will run out, get cold, or worse, get eaten by someone else. Someone who won't appreciate it as much as you would...

Then there is the thought that lifes too short to not eat all the foods. That if I don't eat all the foods I will be a boring bore who doesnt eat all the foods. And noone wants to be that person. People who eat the foods and do not care, are fun, interesting people. People who laugh and get laughed with. People who care more about joy and peace and love. Not how much cake they ate. Other people eat all the cake, so you wanna eat all the cake too.

This right here is why DIETS are no good. DIETS DO NOT WORK FOR ME on the mental scale. This is why my journey has consisted of this ethos... minimalise binging, eat a balanced, treat yo self, nourish your body,nourish your soul, kind of vibe. And it works for me. Its slower, but it works.

BUT... when your prepping for a comp. The idea of this rainbow and fairy fart lifestyle of 'balance' is less a reality and more something of a distant dream you wake up from and sort of half remember. But, I discovered an amazing bikini comp prep girl called Cory_fit and she has the same ethos I do and it has encouraged me to decide to continue my prep in the same flexible dieting manor. That was the whole point of this prep.

Binging for me is/was like an alcohol or drug addiction. You get the urge, the rush, the serious high of stuffing your face and then you are left in the aftermath of guilt and disorientation. You cant quite remember what happened or why you did it, but you did it anyways and now you feel like a hideous, gross peace of crap. Will power to diet is one thing, will power to not go to your deepest place of excessiveness, is another.

I binge to self sabotage, to rebel, to fit in, to live life... but the reality is, when I went to take my 5th sweet potato pakora and I was eyeing up my 2nd cupcake... no one else was hunkered down by the buffet table waiting with baited breath keeping guard of all the battered deep fried goodies in case someone came by and devoured it all. No one else was anxious all the pakoras would go and you would be left with none, no one else couldn't hold a conversation because they were battling the 'should I shant I' of going all out with the mental preparation of pulling my plate high to my face and sitting in a corner alone inhaling the onion rings.I wanted to fit in, to not miss out. To live the life I've only been given one of (in this bod) and yet, my thoughts were not enhancing any of the above. I wouldn't be fitting in with anyone, I wouldn't miss out, because there will be other onion rings and the one life I have been given (in this body) will not be a better life if I stuff this body with onion dipped in batter and oil.

You have to believe the notion that you can eat reeces cups again. That opting to buy the steak and salad over the pork belly and calamari to start is not saying you will never eat the pork belly again. Sharing a dessert rather than having 3 to yourself is not you NOT living life. It is you making a healthier choice for your body. Going out and having 3 G and Ts over 8 cocktails is not you being boring. Finding comfort in healthier alternatives does not mean that you will never buy a bag of crisps again. Believe that there will always be more food, more cookies, more ice cream. If you need to stop eating some of those foods for a short while to build a habit and take away a routine, do it, it will benefit your decisions in the long run. But don't feel deprived as if that will always be how it is, because it doesn't have to be. Once your triggers are found and put to bed with some realistic thinking, once you have got through some hurdles (choosing the beetroot salad to start instead of the goats cheese and caramelised onion tart; once you have seen some results you can start adding those things back in more often. But chose where you want and CAN make sacrifices and decide where you cant. Pick yur fights.

At my friends wedding I was willing not to drink copious amounts of champagne and opt for cheesecake instead. Nope I wasn't perfect and maybe it will effect results, but, I needed to feel like I wasn't in a headspace where I felt deprived because come 8pm I would have scoffed more than 5 pakoras. It would have been 20 (and that's not even an exaggeration)

If on the other hand we do go all out and our mind gets lost in stories of how (we.must.eat.every.piece.of.food.that.was.ever.made... right here and now or the world will end...) and this we may do here and there sometimes. Then in the aftermath of it, do not lose sleep over it. Do not wallow in self pity or beat yourself up. Stop rethinking every bite of salted caramel profiteroles and how you wish you could take it back, erase it, get rid of it. That is a dangerous mind game to play. If damage is done, its done. But truthfully. With binges, there is a more psychological damage than physical. Yes your body may reject all the sugar and physically make your skin hurt and you may have a severe headache or feel really depressed. These physical things do happen. But... you have not ruined all of your progress. You haven't damaged all your hard work. You can dust yourself off and try again. You can make better choices the next day. You can drink lots of water, eats lots of protein. You can avoid most starchy carbs and eat clean, whole foods. You can do your usual workout, and not some crazy cardio insanity blast of hrs on the treadmill in an attempt to counteract the foods. Just keep it simple and sane. Get on with life the way it was. Don't create stories that will encourage you to eat more rubbish because well... "you've messed it all up now." You haven't. You are human.

Binging happens to the best of us. But dont let it get the better of you. Trust me, I know from experience... a whole bag of onion ring crisps and a tub of humous, followed by cheese crackers and chutney after a big mac and an apple pie. Then later perhaps some cheese on toast and then a tub, to myself, of hagen daz. And if I was still peckish perhaps a bowl of crunchy nuts washed down with fanta or lucazade... followed by a pizza cos, "faaaak it, might as well" Trust me. I have been there to the depths of my bingey soul. And I have come out the other side.

So... my advice is this...

Dont diet or deprive yourself
Pick your fights
Have 'some' of all the foods
Find your triggers

Be kind to yourself
Move on

And if in all of this ramble any of this rings any bells. Truly trust that you have not failed just because you lost a battle of will power. You are trying. Daily. And that there is suceeding in itself.

Xxx

My fitness Journey part 3: The nitty gritty

Ok so I blabbered on in part 1 on how I got to start my journey... And then in part 2 I broke it down. What I did at each part of my journey. How I changed things up, when I plateua'd, when I saw the most changes, how I manage each phase and what phase was coming next.

Part 3 is more of a how to where I will cover a simple guide of what macros are, working out your macros, eating for your goals, calorie cycling, carb cycling, flexible eating, why you NEED to build muscle, why loosing 'weight' isn't important and how to get out of a funk with your progress. OK... so there may need to be a part 4 lol... but we shall start here as for me, this fundamentally changed how I saw eating, upping my calories and loosing the fear of giving up on 'diets'

Your BMR (calories are not evil)

Your metabolic rate determines how much energy your body uses daily. How much you need to function at a basic level (wake up and breathe) standard is your focus. For me, roughly, just to stay healthy and alive, and awake, I need about 1350 calories. That means my body will use up 1350 calories without me doing anything, just to survive. It gets this energy from food. If I werent to eat anything, it would use energy stored in my body. (Fat, glucose stores and MUSCLE)

My BMR (basic metabolic rate) being around 1350 is our starting point.

To calculate your BMR there are plenty of websites, but iifym.com is the one I like to use for this stuff.

You then have to take into consideration your activity level. As just getting up to poo, or walk the dog, or go on a crazy shopping spree, will need and take up energy. Dependent on the activity, you then would need to add this onto your BMR if you want to maintain your weight. 
If it fits your macros.com will help you figure this out, as well as other calculations that I explain below. My BMR plus activity brings me up to a good ol 2100 calories that I can eat, with activity, and maintain my weight.

But...  'I eat 1200 calories and I'm still holding fat or out of shape' or "I cant eat more than 1500 cals without gaining weight."  I hear you cry...There are a lot of factors why clients come to me and say this. I have been victim to it too. Its not lies or a misunderstanding, it was a fact. I couldn't eat more than 1200 cals without gaining weight at the time.

Your BRM is relevant to the amount of muscle you have. (as well as gender/age excess metabolic damage) If you have a lot of muscle your body needs to work hard to keep it, as it uses up a lot of energy. So you know those horrific boys who can eat a dozen donuts and pizza all just for breakfast (yup I hate them too) that will be because they have a lean body mass (your body weight/volume without fat) and the body is chugging away burning calories at super speed. As girls, as a general rule, we have less muscle so our BMR is usually less. We need to eat less to maintain and boys can eat more to maintain. This sucks!

A reason we may not have a good amount of muscle/BMR can be from factors like genetics, lack of activity or exercise/gender or messing about with faddy low calorie diets.

The body loves balance. It wants balance. So any time we want to lose weight or gain muscle, it will do its best to fight for a sustainable level and balance itself out. Hence a plateau. It will get used to your activity level or the amount you eat and it will find a way to keep you from putting extra stress on it. Too much activity, too little food, can mean it can go into a survival type mode and keep you stagnated, just so that it can... well, survive. Your body will adapt, so dieting, or bulking for long periods of time, in my opinion, are not good ideas if you want to see constant progression.

Low calorie/dieting

People think a strict diet is the way to go... where they cut out a lot of foods, often all foods. Out come the juice cleanses and the detox diets and whilst these aren't completely bad as an add on in to your diet rather than a substitute, if we reduce calories to do these faddy diets that is not going to help us in the long run. Some people (I have been this person) go down the route of eating the same fatty, sugary foods but less of them. 1000 calories of Mcoys steak crisps and Boost chocolate bars are OK right because that's low cal. The idea that if we eat less we lose weight...

And weight we do lose... but just fat... we do not! Eating less, but not the correct nutrients, will mean your body will not function at it's best.

Why eating is awesome

If you eat under what your body wants/needs in terms of calories to just go about your day to day business, let alone your sweaty workouts, your body can go into a sort of starvation mode.

Most of us need between 1500 to 2000 cals at least for the body to function at a normal healthy rate. If it has less than that it will likely not get the nutrients it needs.

As I said above, when your body is in this mode, it needs more energy, from somewhere and if its not food... the fastest way to get energy is from FAT. So those lil muffin tops or extra pounds that we don't like on our thighs or bums or waists or moobs... the body will keep, to use for energy.

The metabolism also will not want anything that uses a lot of energy... like MUSCLE, so it will rid of the muscle as much as possible because it needs the energy to just get out of bed in the morning, let alone build/maintain/synthesize muscle. See why muscle is important below.

When you are restricting calories, your mind catches up with your body. It gets tired of not eating much, of skipping meals. It will either binge daily (like an out of body experience where there is no way you will not be able to eat that whole pack of biscuits your mate left out) your too tired to fight the urge. Or you'll say 'eff it, diets are crap, I'm gonna eat cake all day everyday' and for a few months until you feel crappy again and decide to diet, again, we resume to pastries for breakfast and burgers for dinner...(for a lot of people that is the norm, It was for me for a long time)

But in doing this you are loosing muscle and storing fat in this process and we have slowed down our metabolism. If we have less muscle mass on our bodies now, we no longer need to work as hard to survive. The metabolic rate can chug away at a slower rate because it doesn't need to do much with less muscle. We need less calories than we did before...

What then happens is the body stores more fat as it suddenly has eaten more calories than it needs to use (unused calories turn into fat)

So if you do happen to lose weight by not eating much (which is possible) your slightly screwed. You will keep having to under eat to stay smaller. And when I say smaller I mean not toned, wobbly skinny fat, smaller. Where you might be teeny but you wont be tight. And you will go on holiday or go to a wedding or go to your nans house for the day where she will feed you up and you will gain weight so easy that you won't fit into your teeny jeans that fit you the day before.

The reason we talk about eating clean is because you get more bang for your buck as they say. Eating 1650 of whole nutritious clean food means that actually you can eat quite a lot. Eating 1650 of crap food means you cant even eat one pizza or one tub of hagen daaz without going over... I know, life is unfair. But, see how much food you can eat when eating healthier foods on my Instagram freefannifitness.

So the answer is to eat... whole clean nutritious food. Don't cut everything out. Don't reduce your intake. Binge on fruit and chicken and veg (whole foods). Treat yourself to a pizza express here and there. Just do not reduce your calories for long periods of time, skip meals and let your body hold onto fat that you don't want and eat away at muscle that you do want.

Building muscle/the myth about getting bulky

Please please please trust me when I say... diets (ie under eating) don't work. It will not get you the body you want (in the long term) low calories will make you either keep fat or gain fat at some point and at the same time lose muscle (toned tight firm plum pert perky) muscle.

Building muscle is more important than fat loss in my opinion. If you're in it for the long haul, the home run, a lifetime and lifestyle change. Building muscle will be your no 1 savior. Why? Because put simply your body needs to work harder to maintain muscle (more so than fat) and when your body is working harder it is using more energy. See above...

Its not all that easy to build it, especially when you are trying to drop fat/loose weight etc. Most of us girls are trying to be in a calorie deficit so that we can continuously loose weight. That's pants, but its true. A lot of us are scared of calories in fear of putting on weight. I also hear girls talk of how they want to be toned. Yet they say they don't want to build muscle. And the shock horror matter of it all is, to be toned you NEED to (have muscle)

But firstly to build muscle (size), you need a surplus of calories. That means more calories than you maintain at. If you want curves (hips/bum) and you have a low fat percentage, you gotta eat more. Men If you want guns and nice pecs, then u need to eat more. Muscles will NOT grow in size if you are eating too little. And on that subject. If you are worried about you calves/quads/biceps getting too big ladies... no need to panic. They will not get too big as you do not have as much testosterone in your body, enough calories that your eating, definitely not enough protein and I'm sure no steroids in you that would make this happen.

Yes, might start looking smoother/perkier/firmer, even, if you are on a diet (less than maintenance calories) and you are working out. And a lot of girls this is what you are after (so if you are telling me your calves or quads are getting bigger and you dont want them to, and you eating under your calorie maintenance (which most of you are), its just not happening. It cannot. They may lok more defined, but that is because you are dropping fat percentage. (All over fat)

You may look smoother/perkier/firmer (or perhaps 'seem' bigger in areas like my arm above) because you are dropping fat, therefore the muscles you have underneath the fat begin to show, and muscle looks firm, toned more solid. We can condition muscle. The density, how much water and blood is pumped into it and yes if you have a high fat percentage we do want to tackle the fat before 'building' muscle as such. But we also want to be building stregnth in the muscle. The condition of it. We want to be able to, when fat percentage is going down, make sure that you are strong enough to put enough resistence on the muscle in order to build it (tone it) we want the muscles you do have in the best condition with the most strength possible.

Now... to grow your muscles/and essentially be toned... you want a lot of resistence. (Weights) I suggest mixing up sets and rep ranges so your muscles are kept guessing. The main aim is that you really put ur muscles under tension. Tear those muscles so that they repair and as they get put under alot of force and fed alot of fuel, the muscle will grow and/or condition. I got asked the question the other day... but what about those girls that look toned but they are still skinny? Not bulky. That is because they have some muscle and very low fat percentage.

I don't want to bulk. I want my muscles to be defined and shaped long and lean

Here's the thing. You cant 'shape/tone/define your muscles. Not by doing different exercises, eating certain foods, getting special treatments. The shape of your muscles are the shape of your muscles. They are either covered with 30% fat (a bulkier look) or covered in 10% fat (a leaner look) or you either have 40 kilos of muscle or you have 45kilos of muscle. The tone of muscle is just that. Muscle. If you want to be toned girls, you want muscle. If you want to look lean, firm, smooth, you want low body fat and to have built up muscle. Be it 2 kilo or 7 kilo of muscle. For your muscle to looked defined, you just need a lower body fat percentage and maintain your muscle condition. Girls you cannot get bulky (just to reiterate) unless you are taking steroids/testosterone or eating a lot more than you maintain weight at.

If you feel that you have enough muscle and want to just lose fat... you still don't want to just do cardio or hiit. You still want to do weight resistance. Why? Because you need to maintain muscle (tone) and if you just do cardio and do not eat enough, your body will eat away at your muscle and you will be left with skinny fat vibes. see above.

What are macros?

Macros are macro nutrients. These are known as big nutrient food groups we need to survive. Fats, carbs and proteins. The body uses all of these sources pf nutrients to be healthy, fit and functional. With too much of one and or too little of another, the body will not function to its full potential. This might mean that your teeth arent too strong, or your hair is brittle, your joints are not as flexible or, that you are holding too much fat or not sustaining enough muscle.

Foods high in proteins-Chicken, turkey, pork, beef, salmon, prawns, scallops,  mackerel, cod, seabass, greek yogurt, quorn, tofu, soy beas, peas, brocoli, lentils, beans, quinoa, buckwheat. 

Foods high in good fats-Nuts, coconut, coconut oil, nut butters, salmon, avocado.

Foods high in carbs-Grains such as quinoa, rice, buckwheat, spelt, pearl barley, wholemeal pasta, sweet potatoes, lentils, veg, fruit. Bread and pasta and white potatoes too but they are not good quality low GI carbs that we ideally want to eat.

Flexible eating

I started flexible eating about two years ago. Id been advised to check out iifym.com and decided this was the best way for me to not feel like I was on a diet but still watch what foods I was eating enough of etc. Flexible eating means that you don't have to cut out any foods. You can even decide to eat a pack of crisps and if it fits in your macros, your sorted. (BUT DON'T TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS) The only thing is that when I first started I would often not have enough protein through out my days and just watch my calories rather than my macros. I never realised back then that you need to have a constant in protein and work around that. Back then my aim for protein was 120g but I would always end up having an average of 80g. Flexible eating is a really good option if you are not good at being strict, but also know you have some will power not to just eat a MacDonalds a day and fit it into your macros. No amount of Mac Ds or macros filled with crisps and cake will give you the right macro ratio for a healthy diet.

Which brings me to percentages. I have tried a few as seen in my previous post. 
The idea is that your protein never exceeds 35% your fats never go below 15% or above 40% and your carbs are whatever is left over. I would stick to never going above 50% if you are trying to lose weight and I wouldn't go below 25% for sanity. A lot of people do high fat low carbs diets. Where there ratio maybe 35% protein 40% fats and 25% carbs. Often people who find it hard to lose weight in general, work better with a ratio like this rather than someone who maybe more carb tolerant and do a ratio of 35% protein 15% fat and 50% carbs. I will be honest. I've never hit either of those.Your body needs a certain amount of fat to function and be healthy hence why 15% is the lowest it should go. Protein also needs to actually be utilised. Generally the amount of protein you need is 1g per 1 pound that you weigh. But anyhing between 0.8g to 1.5 dependent on how much you train or your goals is what works best for building and maintaining muscle. Keep your protein number constant and anywhere between 25% and 35% is a good starting block. My fav ratio is 30% protein 30% fat and 40% carb but it is a little middle ground and for my comp prep I am gonna play around with the lowering my fats and keeping my carbs high and vicer verser. Ratios are a good starting point and something to consider, but in all fairness I think you are a lot better off working in grams. There are many macro calculators on the internet and they may all have different versions of how to get your numbers. I like going in iifym.com but if you want to calculate your macros as a ball park figure please see below. And remember, as I always say, figure out what works for your body. There are so many variables, what works for me may not work for you and what works for Beyonce may not work for J Lo... these numbers and way to do things are all over the internet with people and there own opinions. My way is not going to be 'the' way but there is so much conflicting info that I suggest feeling out what works for you.

Calorie cycling/carb cycling.

Macro ratio and body composition is always about building muscle and/or maintaining it. And the most important function in this is your protien in take. This is always going to be your constant. But often we are trying to build muscle and lose fat at the same time and this is really difficult. Because to build muscle you need a surplus of calories and to lose fat you need a deficit of calories. I find if you are trying to loose fat as a main goal, try calorie cycling by choosing two high calorie days, four moderate calorie days and one low calorie day. During the higher calorie days you will mainly focus on upping your carbs but you can up your fats to raise your calories too. But what is more sufficient is upping the carbs as the body utilises carbs far better than it does extra fat.

The idea is that on heavy weight training days (days where you exert a lot more energy with resistence) you will have more calories from carbs. And on days where you are resting or only doing cardio or interval training you will have lower carb days. 

During cycling phases (and there are so many variations) you will always keep the protein the same. And I suggest roughly keeping the fats the same too. 

If I total all these days up and then divide by 7 I want an average of my fat loss calories per day. My main focus is the total amount over the week. All I want to do is create a deficit in calories weekly, but at the same time I want and need to fuel my muscles so that they can sustain cardio, keep in good condition and do not get eaten away whilst I am in a deficit. My body will do its best to try and get rid of something that uses up too much energy, if it lacks it (which it will being in a deficit) so my ultimate focus is fuelling my muscles as much as possible.

Carb cycling firstly means that your body is never getting used to a particular calorie intake and has to work hard (use energy) to always keep up with you and not adapt. And also, you are eating more calories on your training days so that you have more fuel/energy and nutrients to be used to build/maintain muscle. I also find carb cycling good when my calories get lower because some days I get to indulge a little more and the other days (the lower cal days) are easier to get through knowing that I have higher cal days around the corner.

If you google carb cycling A LOT of info and formulas will come up. There is a lot of research to do. For me, I currently do what is above. 

If my main focus was to build muscle I would make sure the majority of my days were above my maintenance and my moderate cal days at my maintenance with one low calorie day. 

Maintenance calories

1200 calories and binging Vs 1800 calories and treats most days

1200 calories and binging Vs 1800 calories and treats most days

Getting to maintenance calories is important for a few reasons. If you feel that you are not seeing progress ie losing fat, yet you are eating low calories or you are a low fat percentage and don't want to loose too much weight, but you want to be a bit leaner. In general, maintenance calories for people tend to be in the (14-17) x (body weight in lbs) range. This number can be influenced by genetics, age, dieting history, and lifestyle factors, but most people will be able to hang out here comfortably. The formula isn't perfect, of course, but it’s a good ballpark estimate. 

If your calories you are eating are lower than what your maintenance number comes out as, and you feel that you are the two examples above, you need to up your calories and get to maintenance and try to stay there for as long as possible. At least 2 months in my opinion. In general, the longer you've been dieting, the longer you should be out of a caloric deficit and stay at maintenance.

Again, that doesn't mean that you have to bulk or pile on tons of fat. The ideal way to do this carefully is to reverse diet. Maybe another post soon as I may have bored you senseless with all this text...

As an example of calculating maintenance calories...Because I am very active I will do my body weight of 118 lb x 17 and I total 2006 calories. Which is roughly right from where I was sitting in my pre prep for my competition. 

Fat loss calories

Most of the time creating a 20% deficit in calories is more than enough to lose fat. 20% off of 2006 would mean to lose fat I could eat 1600 calories. Or you can use the math of your body weight in lbs x 12-14. Because I am very active I will use 118lb x 14 and I get 1650. So I know that anywhere between 1600 and 2000 are the amount of calories I will go from and to, to lose fat. Whilst I do this though I want to maintain my muscles. This is where a good balance of macros come in. 

Calculating Macros

Protein... Usually is anywhere between 0.8-1.5g per lb of weight. Stick with 1g to start with. At 118lb that would mean I would need 118g of protein. 

Then work out your fats... Usually anywhere between 0.3-0.5 per lb of weight. Again start in the middle giving me 118 x 0.4 equaling 47g. 

To work out your carbs you need to see how many calories you have used up with protein and fats. To do this take you protein in grams (118) and x by 4 (because there are 4 calories per gram of protein) 118 x 4 equals 472 calories from protein. 

Then multiply 47g by 9 (as there are 9 grams of calories per gram of fat) 47 x 9 equals 479cals. 

You then want to decide what stage you are at with your calories. I am in fat loss stage at 1800 calories. So I take my fat cals 479 and my protein cals 472 away from my total calorie intake. 1800 - 479 - 472 equals 849 calories left to have via carbs. To work out the grams divide your carb calories (849) divide by 4 (because there are 4 calories per gram of carb) and I get 212g carbs... 

Protein 118g

Fats 47g

Carbs 212g

Because I am in comp prep stage my protein is a lot higher in reality at 1.35 and therefore my carbs are lower than this. You need to figure out your carb tolerances/your activity level/and how much you love fat. If you love fats go with the higher end of 0.5. if you NEED more carbs, go with the lower fat end at 0.3. If you are doing a lot of heavy weight days then try upping your protein in take to 1.1 or 1.2 and upwards. 

I shall end this post here with some good old maths and just say this. If I have one piece of advise to take from all of the above. Stop eating really low calories and depriving yourself. It literally saved me from insanity. I hope some of this info is useful and if you have any questions post a comment or DM me of Instagram. 

Lots of love and protein.

xxx

 

 

 

 

My fitness journey part 2... macros, more calories and no cardio!

Early 2015 vs early 2016 (1 year progress)

Early 2015 vs early 2016 (1 year progress)

So, as I was saying, my fitness journey continued... January 2015 came and went... I was slimmer, I was comfy in my skin. I had been doing a play and I was planning for a trip to spend three months in LA. To be honest, I didn't really freak out about LA and all the obnoxiously fattening food. I had been drinking and going for dinners out. I had even survived Christmas and New year. I was being mindful and I had just completed Kayla BBG for the first time for the full 12 weeks. I wasn't posting much on Instagram at the time. I was just plodding along. I felt like results were nice, but not amazing, so I planned to move onto BBG2...

But first LA. The plan had been to complete BBG 2 whilst I was there, but life, auditions and a million excuses got in the way. 

I put on ten pounds TEN POUNDS) in the 1st 3 weeks of being in LA, even whilst being mindful. I was angry at my body. Like the years progress didn't matter. Id ruined it, and felt resentful that I had a body that would react so quickly to more food/less exercise... whatever it was. I was so peed off that I couldn't just relax for more than a second as I would bloat, get thick, put on weight. I didn't know then that it was certain foods (dairy and gluten specifically) and the fact that some food in America is pumped full of hormones etc to make it last longer and what not. I also didn't account for the portion sizes being HUMUNGOUS. A starter salad is the size of a main salad (times 2) So my point is. Things regressed. By the time my boyfriend arrived for a ten day holiday I had decided to eat pancakes everyday with chicken and waffles every other day. We drove up the Big Sur and snacked and ate and snacked some more and I didn't exercise for a good 4 weeks. 

If you are on a fitness journey, if you know anything about consistent exercise and mindful eating and then a full on month in the opposite direction, you know that a lot of progress will be ruined. One missed day here, one pancake there will NOT affect you. One month and 28 plus portions of pancakes, really, unfairly, will. 

So March 2015 I arrived back from LA sun kissed and bloated. I was miserable. Mainly because I felt like I had undone so much work. I wasn't back a week when I decided to restart BBG1 and week 10 I started using IG to really hold myself accountable. 

This may seem a little boring, but when I was at the start of my journey I was really interested in how people really got the before and after pictures. So here is a breakdown of what I did.

During what I like to think of as phase 1, I trained BBG with minimal and inconsistent LIIS (steady state cardio) I was following macros roughly. I was eating clean and non processed 80% of the time. And treating myself when I felt I needed it or wanted it. My head space was in a very good place about food, but I was still scared of calories. This is where reverse dieting sort of began, without me really knowing it. I was introducing more food as time went on. Here is a breakdown of what I typically ate during phase 1. March to July.

My marcro breakdown was typically 30% carbs 25% protein 45% fats and my calories went from 1350 in April, 1450 in May, 1500 in July. 

Typical day in phase 1 (March-July)

Greek yogurt and fruit with seeds and oats or eggs and veg

Quinoa and salad with chicken/fish

Salmon, sweet potatoes, phillidelphia, pesto

Ham with veggies/Cottage cheese and veggies/greek yogurt and fruit

March-May PHASE 1

March-May PHASE 1

May-July

May-July

I lost 3 pounds in the first month, but then my weight plateau'd for a long while doing this, but I didn't gain weight at all. Doing BBG you are reminded that weight loss shouldn't come into it. As a PT I knew weight loss wasn't the most important thing. Progress pics and measurements are the best thing to go by, but even in my pictures I didn't feel completely satisfied. I lost an inch here and there and saw slight changes in my body. I was less bloated, more toned ie) I was building muscle slowly. This was the aim. Inside I was still anxious about my weight plateuing and eating more, but I had a niggling thought inside from the personal trainers that I used to work with. Whatever I had previously done, did not work, or if it did, it hadn't lasted, so I needed to persevere. 

In July the boyf and I happened to watch a lot of documentaries on factory farming, animal slaughter and veganism. I was suffering from bloating (all of the time) and certain things would make me smell/give me hives and make me constipated. That along with ethical reasons led me to try to be vegan for 5 days. The boyf did it with me, and to celebrate the 5 days we went out for burgers lol... I know, this is backwards. After our meal we were so tired and bloated that the boyf decided he wanted to go veggie... and I decided to challange myself to one month being vegan. Which happened to turn into 4 months with one hiccup in Italy (it was Italy guys, I needed cheese) During phase 2, (my vegan phase) my calories went from 1700 in July to 1800 by the end of November.

My macros were typically 50% carbs, 20% protein and 30% fat. I was lean during this phase. Abs still weren't showing, but I dropped an extra 4 pounds and stayed there for a good while.

On a typical vegan day I ate

A smoothie with oats, dates and non dairy milk

A buckwheat salad or brown rice pasta with piles of veggies and beans

Noodles with veggies and tofu for dinner

I snacked on nuts, fruit and one vegan protein shake a day.

July-September PHASE 2 (Vegan phase)

July-September PHASE 2 (Vegan phase)

From July I had begun weight training alongside round 2 of BBG1. I was doing all the LIIS and HIIT training and my weeks were generally 3 days BBG, 2-3 days weights with 3 LIIS and 2-3 HIIT sessions. 

September I began BBG2. I had had 3 holidays and 3 weddings and 1 big birthday celebration by the time we got to mid October. I had beat the bloat with a month in November of eating cleaner and as December approached I was far more comfy in my skin after getting used to eating more without putting on weight. I was now in what I am calling phase 3. In this phase weight training became my focus. I also added in fish to my diet, but still avoided dairy. I was lifting heavy 3 times a week and doing BBG 3 times. I was doing LIIS about 4 times a week and HIIT twice. 

On a typical day in phase 3 Sept-Nov

My macros were 45% carbs 25% protein and 30% fat and my daily food looked something like this:

Oats and a quest bar

Pasta/fish and loads of veg or tortilla wraps with veg/quorn sausage and veg

Tofu and veg and sweet potatoes/eggs/fish and greens with sweet potato

Rice cakes with humous/soy yogurt/quest bar/fruit/protein shake

Sept (after all the hols and weddings)-November PHASE 3 (Post hols)

Sept (after all the hols and weddings)-November PHASE 3 (Post hols)

My treats daily during all phases were always a pudding made with dark choc/raw cacaoa/dates/oats/peanut butter etc and I would generally eat out at least once a week and include dessert in my trips out. I was very mindful all week, filling in my fitness pal and making sure I was roughly within my weekly calorie allowance along with my macros being hit. I never went hungry, deprived or starved. Ever. I drank alcohol on average once a month, but I did have spurts of holidays to Ibiza and Italy etc where I drank far more than usual. 

During December I decided to challenge myself to see results, in real life, during the busiest season ever. I reduced my calories over the course of the 3-4 weeks from 1800-1300 (this is a lot but I was ill so I dropped more than I had wanted to) I dropped another three pounds and I was the leanest I had been in ages. My training programme was consistent. I removed hiit and 1 BBG2 training because I decided all the exercise was putting stress on my body and therefore probably causing me to plateau. My periods had also stopped and I wanted to ease off a little bit. I felt in a very good place with my nutrition and my mindset. Throughout these phases I had always had treats and cheats. Usually incorporating them into my macros. I was a flexible dieter and I calorie cycled. (More on how to do that in part 3) This meant that some days I had higher calories and other days I had lowers calories. I would try to stick to the same amount of protein throughout (although I was rubbish at this) and up my cals with higher carbs or fats/treats or no treats. 

In my training I would lift for strength doing 5 x 5 on all compound moves spread over the week and increase my weight weekly. I then would do all assisting exercises in a hypertrophy range of 8-12 reps.

My weeks looked like this in December.

Monday Deadlifts 5 x 5 (assisting posterior chain either 4 x 8 or 3 x 12) & LIIS

Tuesday BBG leg day & LIIS

Wednesday Chest press 5 x 5 (assisting upper body 4 x 8 or 3 x 12) 

Thursday BBG abs & LIIS

Friday Squats 5 x 5 (assisting quad 4 x 8 or 3 x 12)

Sat Rows 5 x 5 (assisting upper body 4 x 4 or 3 x 12) 

Nov-Dec 4 week challange

Nov-Dec 4 week challange

Over xmas I continued to exercise minimum of 4 x a week. The week of xmas when I wasn't in the gym I made sure I did a few interval sprints and BBG 2 from home getting in all my resistance days that I had mapped out. I also flexible ate. So I made sure I had some low cal days (trying to reach my protein goal) knowing full well that I would have some high cal days too. Along with cheese and booze and a lamb on xmas day. Over that 2 weeks (my birthday is the 18th Dec) up to Jan 4th I managed to balance my cals at roughly going from 1300 to 1700 slowly increasing them over the xmas period. I gained three pounds but managed to keep my measurements all in tact. with some bloating battle wounds and minimal damage on the scales I felt very settled in my head that I had found a very good balance with food and diet.

I think I knew now how much my body could handle without gaining weight. 1800. I knew loosing cals down to 1300 would help me loose weight. I knew that the biggest hurdle I could face in the journey (xmas) was not going to set me all the way back to the beginning of my journey and I knew that for me, lifting heavy made all the difference. For me, I see most results when I lift. I still love BBG and still incorporate it. I find it to be such a good workout and structure that there is no way I would stop it. It fits in with my gym routine perfectly and my mindset too. 

January felt awesome, my mind and body image seemed balanced and at ease and the last few months seemed like such great learning curves that I felt I wanted a new challenge. I felt ready, mentally, for using this new knowledge about what my body liked and disliked, what it reacted to and didn't, to try something so out of my comfort zone that I may poop my pants. 

This is when I decided to try a prep for a bikini competition. See here...

Over Jan, phase 4, I have increased my cals from 1700-2100, with only 2 pound weight gain. I will do my fat percentage this week to see muscle gains and fat loss.

My macros are now 40% carbs 30% protein and 30% fat on average. My workout programme is a little more intense and I am doing no cardio, NO CARDIO whatsoever. Life is currently immensely blissful.  

My current workout schedule

Mon Deadlifts 5 x 5 plus(hammys/gluets/quads/lower back)About 10 exercises at 4 x 15 or 25 x 4 plus 20 mins handstands

Tues Kayla leg day plus 20 mins abs (3 x 15) 6 exercises

Weds Chest 5 x 5 plus (Upper body day lats focused) 10 exercises 7 x 8

Thurs Kayla abs day plus 20 mins glutes (4 x 15) 6 exercises plus 20 mins handstands

Fri Squats 5 x 5 plus (quads/abductors/glutes) 4-5 x 15 plus 20 mins handstands

Sat Row 5 x 5 plus (Upper back lats focused)3-4 x 12-15 plus 20 mins abs

Sun REST DAY

Mini bulk Jan-Feb 2 pound heavier :) UKBFF Bikini comp PRE PREP

Mini bulk Jan-Feb 2 pound heavier :) UKBFF Bikini comp PRE PREP

 

Tomorrow I start PHASE ! BIKINI PREP after my 4 weeks pre prep. I will do a post on macros and reverse dieting in more detail if you would like me to. I just want to point out everyone's journey is so different. So unique and something I may do may not work for you. I know bananas, cashews, kidney beans and quinoa bloat me slightly. I know that I can handle carbs far more than I ever imagined. I know that dairy is something that slows my progress greatly, therefore I chose to have it sporadically (because who can live without ice cream)I know that I see results lifting heavy, but I also know that the consistency of BBG has lead me to where I am now. I literally don't think I would have seen the results without BBG, the community and my IG account holding me accountable. Not all one thing will work for all of us, but the things that will make every difference to your progress are simple. 

If you want to see results, make the unfamiliar familiar.

Be consistent, create habits, be positive, have a routine, be patient, there will be trial and error, drink lots of water, eat EAT, reset your body to get used to more food so that when you do want to lose fat, you have somewhere to go. Let go on any resistance you have to getting the body you want, let go of the expectation and just take each day as it comes. Let go of the fear of failing. Sleep. SLEEP. rest, stretch, foam roll, eat yummy foods for the soul, and trust your journey. You will look back and be grateful you kept going. 

Part 3 next week xxx

My fitness journey... what not to do!

So some of you girls have been asking about my fitness journey. What I do in the gym. What I eat and how I do it. And the biggest one of them all, what I do to stay motivated.

I share a lot of info on IG, if you follow me you know I love a long arse post  but incase you have only just stumbled upon my copious amount of mason jar shots I thought I'd do a little round up. And if by chance you have been forced to read this after tweet, IG post and facebook link, then hi, hey there and I'm (not really) sorry :)

My journey into fitness is quite a long one, so I will try my hardest not to bore you senseless. Growing up I was not a sporty person I tried. Netball/sychronised swimming/hockey etc mainly because I wanted to fit in with the cool kids I guess, or I enjoyed some of them. But I just wasn't very good at any of it. I was a chubby kid (see above) who didnt seem to care about my weight until I got to secondary school and from the age of 14 you can find diary extracts where all I did was long to be skinny...

I literally find it so so hard to read this...

I literally find it so so hard to read this...

 

I couldn't fathom why I wasnt slimmer. Why hipster jeans didn't fit me like they did Sam or Natalie. I couldn't grasp why I always felt bloated or thick and on a trip to Falarki (yes Falaraki)  I didn't get why I wasn't  cute, lean and petite like the girl in the group across the pool in the black thong bikini. I felt like it was so unfair that I couldnt eat sugar on toast everyday of the summer holidays and not put on a stone in weight.

I spent a lot of time contemplating being sick, not eating or trying to starve myself on 1000 calories only to rebel and binge on beans on top of pizza.

I thank the universe daily that I never got an eating disorder as such, but I had for the longest time, a really awful relationship with food. I remember the first real diet I went on where I lost a stone. It wasn't too faddy or drastic. I just stopped drinking alcohol along with my peers who would get drunk on the common every weekend or for the under 18s disco. I stopped eating pizza and beans every lunch and sausage rolls for snacks and generally ate a controlled version of what I ate. It seemed simple, but I remember standing on the outskirts looking in at the girls on the dance floor giggling and typsy on one White Lightening and longing to be with them, falling over and embarrassing myself on cheap cider. I wished I wasn't watching, resentful because I A) wasn't naturally as slim as them or B) having fun with them. I hated that we would go back to Carolines house after a party and they would all eat mini chicago pizzas and down a pint of coke and I would want to cry that I couldnt scoff down 4 waffles and chicken dippers. (ridicuously enough this was a good thing, not to being drinking and eating that food, but you learn that later in life)

That 3 months seemed like the longest 3 months ever, but I remember the feeling I had at my 16th birthday party in my new Jane Norman backless dress. I was on top of the world. I felt like I always thought I should feel in my skin. Like my body made sense. Thats the only way I could describe it. I was 7 stone 10 and for so many years to come I would chase that number like my life depended on it.

I can tell you exactly what I did, where I was, how I felt in moments in time, just dependent on what weight I was. I cannot explain enough how sad and embarrassed I am that I wasted so much time caring so so much. I had this thought yesterday that perhaps it was all an avoidence tactic. Perhaps it was a numbing activity. If all I worried about was my body I didn't have to concern myself with real things. Like if I was a nice, kind person or not. It meant I didn't have to deal with my other negative thoughts that I wasn't very likeable, or whether I had done my homework, or my audition, or my rent to pay. Perhaps, it became my only coping mechanism to avoid real life insecurities of never feeling enough. Perhaps it was never about my body after all. 

My weight yo yo'd from then on in. Up a stone 6 months after my GCSEs due to cheese on toast everyday in the summer holidays and a new boyfriend that worked at Pizza Hut. In my imagination I was the sort of skinny girl that could eat pizza everyday and not put on weight. In my imagination, it was normal to eat cheese for breakfast lunch and dinner and lie about watching 'Bug Juice' on TV all day. 

In reality it would be years to come until I realised what was good for my body, but information wasn't as accessible then. Being healthy wasn't in fashion and I was unhappily unaware that my patterns would stick for years to come and the weight would creep back on in no time at all, where I would wallow in self pity until I would find it in me to diet again.

Id book a holiday. And go crazy insane and do 3 hrs in the gym (i worked at a leisure centre so this meant free gym and shift work) I'd diet diet diet, always trying to reach 7.10. Id get there, just about and stay there for the 1st day of my holiday and then slowly as the the days went on I would blow up like a blow fish. One holiday when I was 19 I put on 10lbs in 7 days.

That is pretty good going. I couldnt fit into my 'boy fit' baggy jeans and I wanted the world to swallow me whole.

And not in any of this yo yo rubbish did I think there was another way. There wasnt the same information out there about nutrition and exercise as there is now. I'm old. Social media wasn't a 'thing' All you used it for was to poke people and write really boring status's that you thought were funny so your 500 (pretend) friends would perhaps give you a thumbs up. Hashtags didn't exist #morningabs weren't a thing, Eat clean, Get lean, girls that lift and pictures in our undies were not the done thing. All you knew that to lose weight you went on a diet and pretty much did aerobics/yoga (the Geri Haliwell fad was in) pounded on the treadmill or if you were stupid enough, you took slimming pills. 

I was uneducated, misled and totally not clued up about what was healthy, what my body needed, and what food did once you ate it.

I despise the fact that this is the route I went down for a while. All I can say is that I was ignorant, and desperate. It's hard to explain the feeling and the need to feel comfortable in my own skin. But it was a thought I had daily. I hate to admit it, but my body was something I thought about day in day out. I would look in the mirror every time I walked past and analyse myself and tell myself all of the things I didn't like. My waist was too thick, my thighs touched, my belly was bloated, my boobs were small and saggy, my nipples were large (when I was a teenager I had the pleasure of a boy who had seen my boobs) calling me burger nipples... so you get the picture. Over all, I couldn't see my body objectively. I couldn't grasp why I wasn't petite. I was short, I was meant to be petite. To other people, who cared about me, who loved me, who knew I was more than a body, thought I was crazy. Yet they didn't even know the extent of what was going on in my head regarding how I felt/looked... I didn't even realise it wasn't normal. All I knew is that noone else cared about my body size, but I did. 

The first time I dabbled in weight training I was 21. A personal trainer at this gym I worked in part time gave me a programme as I was getting ready for another holiday with my (ex) boyfriends sister (who looks like a Victoria secrets model) and two other petite, teeny small framed girls. Panic had risen, palms had gotten sweaty and I even stupidly went to see someone about lipo suction.

Who the eff was I? And why did it matter so so much? 

My body did change, but I was taking slimming pills. My diet consisted of one or two meals max, a day and  1 hour weight training and 2 hours cardio. For the life of me I still never understood how I didn't look ill. I never looked malnourished, which was sort of my saving grace but also my downfall. Because noone realised I was treating my body with so much hate. I didn't. I got smaller yes, but I was constantly worried that I was going to have a heart attack and keel over or that I would just put on weight again if I even looked at a burger.

At 24 being the last time I took a slimming pill, I'd split up with my eight year boyfriend and spent 6 months being skinny. The heartbreak diet being one of many that I tried... including Slimming World, The Atkins diet, The low GI diet, Juice cleanses, colonic irrigation, and always roughly aiming for 1000-1200 calories max. I spent time running doing 5k 5 times a week and tried just cutting out carbs completely for a good old six months. I got slimmer, but never toned and tight and lean, never how I imagined I wanted my body to look. These fad diets worked, to a point, for a certain amount of time. And then I would either lose my will power and binge, or I would plateau for a while and give up. Because the body I was chasing was never going to come to me with the routine I was doing and the thoughts I was having. I wanted to be lean and tight and toned, and I didn't know how to obtain that. I had no muscle, my metabolic rate was running at a snails pace because the less I fed it the slower it got. Then the more I ate the more my body didn't know what to do with and would store it as excess fat. I was putting so much effort into all the wrong things and I was emotionally drained from caring so much, yet never seeming to be able to let it go or make steps to being healthy, because I wasn't trying to be healthy, I was trying to be skinny really.

And then In 2013 aged twenty eight, I started working at a private personal training gym part time. And despite it being one of the worst work environments I think I have ever worked in, I learnt a lot from this place in terms of exercise and nutrition. I spent 2013 dabbling in weight training and eating better. I was on a low carb diet most of the time still, but I was learning.

January 2014 my fitness journey finally, properly began. It took me a while to hear the people I worked with, to listen to their advise. To try what they said, to take on board their expertise. I was still trying to only eat 1200-1400 calories a day. I did change what I was eating. They taught me about protein and macros and I started to get 120g protein a day and I started weight training consistently. I spent 6 weeks doing Kayla BBG before getting angry at my lack of results, giving up and continuing with weight training.

But I was still scared of getting 'bulky' like all us girls seem to have the fear of. So I didn't want to squat heavy and I didn't want to risk eating more cals because I was adamant I was going to look like a man (THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN FACT) or get fat.

I was turning 30 the following December and I had decided that I was not going to go on a diet ever again. I decided that I was going to spend the year getting as fit and healthy as possible and I was not going to get to 30 feeling horrendous in my own skin. As 2014 carried on I refrained from binging a lot more than I ever had. I didn't want to waste another minute, another decade, whining about my body and obviously not doing the right things by it. This year, 2014, was my reset year. My habit changing year. I stopped popping into the petrol station for a chocolate bar because that was a pattern, a trigger. I haven't had a Maccy Ds since January 2014, because that was another pattern for me. Feel lazy, feel sad, feel drunk, feel hungover? Big Mac it was. I also haven't binged drank since Jan 2014 for exactly the same reasons. 2014 was a massive learning curve and I couldn't have continued my fitness journey without the immense knowledge I built up about my body, my thoughts, my triggers and what I needed for a healthy lifestyle. If someone had ever said I needed to put in all that ground work just to get an ounce of positivity about my body, I would have probably said it was too much effort and not fair. I had always wanted a quick fix. Funniest thing is. It didn't ever work long term.

If something isn't working, change it. 

And so, that is exactly what I did. I changed what I had always done, to get something I had never had. Enter 2015.

To be continued... 


Bikini competition time

So... this is where my fitness journey has led me. To a bikini contest. A freaking bikini contest. I promised Id be honest about all of feelings whilst prepping for this and that is what I shall do.

After a good year/year and a half of teaching myself how to eat properly, love my body, aim for goals not soley on (being skinny) and devising a mind set that let me find a balance... I have decided to throw caution to the wind and possibly throw all that by the waist side and go against all that I ever thought my fitness journey was about and would lead to.

Something in me decided that I needed a challenge. I needed a focus and I wanted to see what my body was capable of. After copious amounts of time watching you tube vids of Nikki Blackketter and Heidi Somers, I felt like a competition was the next step. I've been lifting weights since 2013 at least four times a week (with a mini break in LA) and with  a good time spent doing Kayla Itsines BBG. I love both and think combined they work great. I spend most of my time in a gym working as a personal trainer so it only makes sense to utilise my time and go forth and do a 16 week bikini comp prep.

I am currently in what I am calling 'pre prep' where I am eating a good ol amount of calories (2000) and pretty much not doing cardio. Currently life is bliss.

I flexible eat with calorie/carb cycling by making sure I eat the same amount of protein daily (120g) but my carbs/fats change to vary my days. I go by the 'if it fits my macros' rule but not with anything overly processed. I am having one cheat meal a week and I am not eating dairy or drinking. This is pretty much my daily routine anyways, accept towards the comp I will obviously have to alter this. But I am hoping to flexible eat somewhat through the whole prep... eeeek. The aim is to lower my cals to 1500 by peak week and up my cardio to twice a day.

I feel good about the phases but... I do have worries and concerns.

I am worried I will not get the results I want. I am worried I will not be able to stick to my macros dead on for 16+ weeks. Worried that I will go into a mental whirlwind regarding my body image, that I will not know how to prep properly, do enough research and ultimatley worried that I am not mentally strong enough and knowledgable enough to do this.

But I know that's just typical ego thoughts. Because people have done this before. Eating well is not hard, working out is not hard. Loosing a leg or fighting cancer is hard. So truthfully I am not going to make this a drama and get on and do my research. Train the best way I know how and get my head down and enjoy the journey.

I really want to document it all. So this week I will do my first you tube video looking at my 1st pre prep weeks.

Here is what I have done so far...
*Written a 4 week workout plan (I will change up exercises/order or tempo in another 4 week) (I am going to work through different reps over the 4 weeks for now)
*I have worked out my calories deficit over the 16 weeks. 
*Paid my UKBFF membership fees and printed my entry form. 
*I am researching my butt of of what has worked for other bikini competitiors and worked out what my areas of weakness are. My obliques, my fat percentage and my back. (Oh and my glutes)

 

Here Is what my routine looks like roughly Pre prep weeks 1-3... 

MONDAY: Heavy lifts Deadlifts (and assisting lifts glutes/hammys) & 20 min abs

TUESDAY: PLYO/BBG (legs) & 20 mins handstands & 20 mins LIIS

WEDNESDAY: Heavy lifts Chest (back/shoulders/bics) & 20 min cable glute work

THURSDAY: PLYO/BBG (core) & 20 mins handstands & 20 mins LIIS

FRIDAY: Heavy lift Squats (Quad focused legs) & 20 mins handstands & 20 mins LIIS

SATURDAY: Heavy lift Rows (Back/trics) & 20 mins abs & 20 mins cable Glute work 

SUNDAY: REST DAY

I am now going to get my head down, get enough sleep/water and supplements. I will take glutamine/BCAAs/B complex/vit D and probiotics.

I am in pretty alright shape already. I am healthy, I workout 6 days a week of varying degrees, I treat myself, I don't do any crazy fat burners or what not. I want to do this prep as mindfully and sanely as possible. I will keep a daily diary where I note down my thoughts and feelings and rationalise any negativity that goes on upstairs. 

I will keep you updated with any tantrums/ups/downs/good days and bad. Oh and some before and afters along the way.

After 1 week of Pre prep. 1900cals 125g protein 215g Carbs 60g fat

After 1 week of Pre prep. 1900cals 125g protein 215g Carbs 60g fat





You're enough... even if you don't look like 2015 Kylie Jenner

Ages ago, I got into a debate (a debate? Me? No way) The debate was about body image and the medias part it had to play. And then a couple of months later their was the scandal with 'Essena O'Neill' and then there was the fact that I started personal training and got a bit fitter and also started a fitness IG... and I thought what better time to discuss the medias responsibility in body image.

The boys argument:

Back back back in the day, as cave men and women, we had a predisposition to procreate, therefore as women we have always needed to be better than our competition in order to get said baby making partner. Therefore the media are not responsible for body image issues, us women are. It is in fact human nature and instinct for women to NEED to be 'the best' To always be in competition with other women. We want to have the prettiest feathers/petals/boobs/face/arse... so that we can attract the best mating partner. 

Alright alright, get off ya high horse with ya facts and your anthropology knowledge. I can understand the science that psychologists and scientists have researched for years. Men subconsciously look for an ideal baby maker. Large hips (ability to carry a child) Large eyes (high oestrogen) Women look for a protector (large shoulders, taller than themselves)

All I am saying is that there is a simple fact that we are subliminally persuaded by a social construct that leads us to believe that what the media tells us. And that image the media puts out, is simply not a fair, well rounded, true, honest, representation of women (and men) around the world.

The industry has spent decades telling us what the ideals are, what is supposedly beautiful/perfect and not all of us will succumb, but as a generalised main stream rule, in terms of our argument, a lot of us will buy into this.

BUT I do not want to be told what is beautiful, I do not want to be given a context in which to compare myself to. I am bored of being force fed what is supposedly beautiful. I am bored of seeing what the ideal girl is like on TV or in films. I want their to be more of a true representative of real body shapes and real women. In an ideal world I want to be beautiful, because I feel empowered, real, open, honest. I want to be beautiful because 'I' think I am, not because someone else thinks I am. I also want it to be OK (with myself) if someone else does not think I am beautiful, because who cares. If I think I am dam fitty boom ting, why does it matter if anyone else thinks I am or not. Someone elses opinion will not validate my thoughts. Yet it is so so hard to drill this into my own brain. Especially where social media is concerned, because I won't lie... when I put up a picture and it gets likes, I do feel (what is the word?) it isn't validated, but is it that I feel accepted? Understood? Is it that you feel like you belong, to a group of people that have rationalised that yes, you do look pretty today, or yes, your body is in shape? Is it just that it is nice to have appreciation for the hard work you put in at the gym, or the hard work you put into your make up that day (cos really sometimes it is an effort) Is it that we feel appreciated when our red hearts rack up and I panic... how do I teach my daughter that those notifications or those follows, do not mean love and do not have any bearing on her being. That she is not less loved because she has 1000 followers when her school friend has 50k? My only answer, I think, Is to find that acceptance within myself. To know that what I put out into the social media world is a fair true representative of who I am, and that I love myself in the good, the bad and the ugly pics, and that I am a true, multi fas-cited, unique version of one of the billions of humans out there.

DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT wear matching undies, I do not have long, thick hair that looks good when I wake up in the morning, I do not like beer, have an hourglass figure, big boobs, perfect 5p sized nipples and I most definitely don't just have a toned body AND get to eat pizza everyday. I DO have a pretty pert, rotund bottom, lean arms, a pretty decent sense of humour, frizzy short hair, quite decent eyebrows (when drawn on well) and small saggy boobs that I'm pretty sure will do the job they are meant to do when the time comes. I DO NOT love pink, glitter, drink spritzers, love shopping or paint my toe nails. Nor do I love football, hairy armpits or watching the news. I sometimes have abs, sometimes look good posing and the other 82 times, I look weird sticking my bum out, or sucking my belly in. I have an odd ability to take things very personally, cry at random things and then be cold hearted at others and I have a hairy belly button that I shave once a week.

Did you look for the hairy belly button?

Did you look for the hairy belly button?

I am not in a box, just because two guys from a bar told me so.

The truth is, I want to be the best version of myself, and I want that be acceptable. I want it to be OK that sometimes I make the best of myself and sometimes I dont. I want to shave my belly hair not because it makes me a better person, but because it makes me feel, well, less Gorilla like. I want to look beautiful for me, and not because I am trying to get laid. The truth is, I spent a long time wanting to be beautiful, thin, pretty, the girl everyone likes, the one that got invited to all the parties, that made everyone laugh. I wanted to be the one that booked acting job after acting job, that could hang out with the boys and talk about fannys and boobs (yehhh boobs) I also wanted to be the girl that girls would trust and share secrets with and invite shopping (even though I didn't like it). I wanted to be the girl in dungarees that never tried too hard, but was just that freaking awesome, laid back, pretty, natural, cool chick... I wanted to be the girls in the films, the models in the posters. I wanted to be the bicycle Barbie that I so desperately wanted aged 9, that I thought, if I had her, I would literally turn into her because the advert showed me I would. That is what media had a helping hand in. Perhaps my foundations of loving who I was already were not securely cemented in me yet. But at such a young age, even though I look back and didnt care about my size or my frizzy hair, I still did want to be Bicycle Barbie... subconcious thoughts that have taken me until my thirties to work out, battle and work on. 

I object to being told what beauty is. I object to wanting to 'look' beautiful, just to peacock our way through life to attract a mate. I want to look pretty for me. Get my nails did, my hurrr did, my bum tight because if that is what I think the best version of me is, then I want to utilise my assets. But I don't want to lose sleep over it, spend thousands on it, I don't want men to think it's to entice them or women to think it's to compete with them.

The media pick up on this 'human' stuff and create a multi billion pound industry. The media thrives on the basic human trait. Our ego. And the egos biggest fear... 

We are not ENOUGH!

The industry knows the power it has to sub consciously berate me daily, to encourage the less confident voices in my head that tell me, I am not enough. 

All you want is to belong.

To fit in. To be accepted. To be understood. By something or someone. (CHEESE ALERT) And it wasnt until I was older that I realised it was me who had to accept myself.I talk about our self worth and feeling good a lot in a previous post called 'Are you beach body ready?'

I personally believe that we cannot and will not EVER be able to stop ad campaigns selling products to make us skinnier, glossier, plumper, firmer, perkier. Because we will always have 'ego' I just want to teach my daughter that her worth has nothing to do with 'looking' better, What is important is how we'feel' and that is a practise which we can teach, and learn and become familiar with. 'Feeling good' has nothing to do with how we look, but more to do with the thoughts we have about how we look. And that no butt injection, lip implants or three hundred pound hair treatment will make us 'feel' better IF we innately do not feel good enough, worthy enough, in love with ourselves'enough' already.

So whilst I concentrate on trying to subliminally insert this thought process into my clients heads, and my own for that matter (its always a working progress) The lack of empathy for the fact that 'loosing weight' or changing our thoughts about ourselves or 'feeling motivated' enough to do something, runs far deeper than just 'doing it' I walk into the super market and I see twenty magazines with women on the cover that look 'a certain way' I go on my social media and I see women that look like they were genetically modified, or I turn on my TV and see women that look like Disney princesses, in between ads for a new luxurious Hagen Daz advert and the pressure and the angst is so real that I feel I may develop a hernia. We feel 'less than' when we see people we will never compare to because they are nipped/tucked/brushed and filtered, we then numb the feelings of crappyness with all the Haagen Daz and then when I beat myself up for not being as will powered as the girls in the magazines, we buy an expensive ridiculous faddy weight loss detox product to try and look as good as the 20 girls on the 20 magazines and then, when we don't (surprise surprise, we numb the 'less than' feeling with even more Haagen Daz. (My gaaaad I want Haagen Daz)

The hideous cycle is horrendously easy to get caught up in. The You tube video I watched the other day, stated that our human minds love familiarity. We thrive off of the familiar. If it's familiar to you to feel crappy, you will keep returning to a world where you make choices to feel crappy. Put the Hagen Daz down and start making the unfamiliar, familiar. 

If you want something you have never had, you need to do something you have never done

The reason I wanted to smash a piece of poo into these boys faces, were firstly, the old fashioned mentality that we women want to solely be wanted by men, full stop, that our main necessity is to be the best, in order to be chosen to procreate with and to do this, we must look the best? The statement irked me, as if we are waiting to be picked off a shelf, as if we do not do any of the choosing, as if, funnily enough, we have not evolved into a generation of women that perhaps do not base validation on men finding us attractive or not. I could be disillusioned that we are perhaps getting past 'dressing for men' 'working out for men' and looking our best, for anyone other than ourselves. Then I had to stop and think, have we just evolved from wanting validation from men, to now wanting it off our peers or worse still, off strangers more. Enter social media.

I thank the universe everyday that I didn't grow up in the era of social media as an extra helping hand to knock me right back down. ...Truhfully, I worry that having a Fitness page, a place where I post pictures of me in underwear.... is a part of the problem. You have to ask yourself why you have it. Ask someone different and you'll get a different answer...  But I do believe you have to ask yourself why you post certain pictures and you have to be accountable and responsible for what you put out there.  I worry that subconsciously fitness pages give out a message to other girls, that, if they (get skinny/fit and post half naked pics, that perhaps finally they will then feel, accepted, appreciated, loved... enough) 

DISCLAIMER: Loosing weight, feeling like you look good in underwear, getting likes on your #transformationtuesday... will not make you feel... ENOUGH, if you feel that getting those things will validate you, make you feel whole, contribute to you feeling accepted, liked, enough... it will not!

Sometimes I feel awesome when I am in my PJs with my hair looking like I birds nest and my lips look all crusty and chapped. I still know I am loveable, likeable, and incredibly worthy and more than enough, without the juicy lips and the glossy hair (my hair will never be glossy for that matter) That's what I want a fitness IG for. So that girls can see another normal girl get fit and healthy, without it validating her worth. I want to encourage girls to feel confident in their skin, not for losing weight, but for changing their mind set in realising that they are in fact, enough (fat loss or no fat loss)already. I remember being so scared that if I started loving my body or thinking I was'enough' already, it meant I was going to stop caring bout how I looked and get fat. The irony is ridunculous...

Leading a healthier lifestyle, getting up and active, eating nutritious food, treating your body right, this will all help you feel great. But please know that there is not a quick fix to getting fit. That even if you buy into the quick fix to get skinny and it works (for a short space of time) and even if you post pics where you look good in undies and you get 500 likes, even if you start to look like those other IG fitty girls, you will not feel enough if you have already decided that you will only feel enough, once you look like those girls. 

DISCLAIMER: Even if we did spend weeks/months/years of training getting a 'beach body' we will not feel happy with it, nor will it be good ENOUGH if we haven't realised our worth before getting the body we think we want in the first place.

Hating your body hasn't worked this far, try loving it instead. 

I'm a personal trainer. I work out six days a week, I care about my body and what it looks like, I eat well and it isn't just because I want to be healthy and feel good on the inside. I also want to look good. And I have clients come to me and want to change their bodies. They want to get abs like Kayla Itsines or a thigh gap like Way of Gray, or they want a butt like Jen Setler and I relate. I want that too for gaaads sake! I want to give them what they want, point them in the right direction and help them make healthier choices to get them on their way.

DISCLAIMER: I will never be able to get you looking like these girls, because these girls do not always look like these girls. Yes Kayla does have abs of steel, and yes, Sophie Gray has a phenomenal body and Jens bum is OUT OF THIS WORLD. Yes the pics they post, the same way we all  post, show us looking good, they show our progress, and hard work. They show #morningabs or great shots of #belfies and a good hip to waist ratio, but I need you to know that we all get bloated, that sometimes we stand normally and our thighs touch together (SHOCK HORROR) Sometimes we don't have amazing lighting where our abs pop and sometimes, well, lets face it, most of the time, we are not walking around flexing.

I only reiterate this because I am vulnerable to it. I scroll through and I see girls that are 'my ideal' I see shapes and bums and waists that I would like to have. I think, maybe, it's OK to want to work hard to get 'in shape' but not to want to look like someone else, maybe we need to change WHY we want 'these particular products/looks/bodies' then perhaps, what we are chasing, won't seem as important anymore. The lean thighs, the slender arms and the abs, they will come as a bi product of loving ourselves and feeling enough and that it would be best to work on how we 'feel' before working on how we look. We also mustn't think we can get there in 8 weeks/12 weeks/6 months. Yes you will look like a better version of you in 12 weeks if you put in the effort. Fact! It is why I love BBG. Noone is promising you that you will look like anyone else, accept a fitter, stronger version of who you already are. That is something worth working towards, and the physical aspect of liking what you see will help the mental aspect of how you feel. Working hard and finding a way to sustain a healthy lifestyle is worth achieving, which is exactly why I rate and talk about BBG. Kayla has created a format and a community that is about sustainability, routine, accessibility and community. as a PT, I am in awe and inspired by such an achievement. The BBG community is special perhaps because of the honesty about how we feel in these pictures, or honesty about how we look day to day, or honesty about how hard it is to flex a bicep (it's really hard people) or just be because there is honesty that some thigh gaps are created just by standing like a duck.

Who would we be if we stopped needing validation and stopped looking for attention and who would we be if we... dressed for us, worked out... for us, felt good... enough? Who would we be if WE dictated what BEAUTIFUL meant, and that beautiful just meant, feeling enough!!!

We'd be the fucking Spice Girls...

 

 

and we might just take over the world!!!!