This summer has been, the most busy summer I think I have ever experienced. I am truly grateful to have had plans, been invited to weddings, gotten some sunshine, been able to take those typical Instagram shots. I mean, how would you remember how amazing it was if it wasn't for those IG shots. Between July and October I had 4 hen do's, 3 weddings, a trip to Italy, Ibiza, Scotland, the boyfs 30th and I started a new job. To say that I am tired, is an understatement. I may or may not have had a few 'moments' along the way. I was getting 4-5hrs sleep, my brain wouldn't stop, I was training myself daily, and I may have gotten slightly overwhelmed.
In the midst of all of this I was twenty days late for my period... if your a girl... well actually... a boyfriend, a son, a husband, a brother... then you'll know that this meant carnage. I quite literally am adamant, during the lead up, that life is utterly awful. I am sure that my body is failing me, my friends don't love me, my personality is nothing short of horrendous, all my clothes are hideous, the tupaware I own is pointless and the exercise I am doing is nothing but a waste of time... during the lead up to the 'time of the month' I quite literally should be locked away and only let out when the anger flows away from me heavily and aggressively(sorry guys)
So anyone can imagine, where I was at in my head for a good ol long, dark, hectic TWENTY freaking days.
The idea of going away in the whirlwind of all of this and working out or eating healthy would have been far from my mind if someone had have asked me 3 years ago. The idea I could go on holiday and be somewhat mindful of what I ate, was unimaginable. Anything less than a Mac Donalds at the airport and lays crisps for breakfast/as a side dish/dessert... would have been ridiculous. How could I possibly go away and enjoy myself if I have to be 'healthy' the very idea of going away meant to NOT be healthy right?
Holidays were for creamy sweet cocktails with at least 5 meals a day and white bread and olive oil by the truck load. Holidays meant the only exercise would be turning the pages to the latest best seller I got at WH Smith in the airport.
Despite mentally changing the way I see food and exercise over the last few years and feeling confident in the ability to not eat a small hippo if I saw one deep fried in bread crumbs smothered in aoili, there was still a mini freak out.
(DISCLAIMER) I want to be honest, I really want to put good content out that people want to read and can take something from. So this was going to be a 'how to be healthy whilst going on holiday' with tips and tricks like... pack chia seeds and dates in your hand luggage. And whilst that is a helpful tip it just doesn't feel honest/real or anything I 'want' to write about passionately.
What I want to write and tell you is that I panicked. I nearly pooed myself at the thought of being on holiday and putting on the weight I had lost or loosing the muscle I had built.
I panicked that the mere idea of being on a plane and heading somewhere far away from my routine would jolt me into an old head space. That it would somehow leave me stranded in the horrendous body image war, of feeling 'thick in my skin' chunky, plump, square, fluffy...
I was determined to 'feel good' on this trip to Ibiza and I was so worried that, that determination, would be abolished as soon as I set foot on the tarmac and someone waved an ice-cream sundae in front of my face.
I was also shit scared that I wasn't going to be fun. How fun is a girl that packs almond milk in their 100ml fluid allowance? I mean show me a 'fun' girl that takes protein powder away with her and I will eat my hat.
I didn't want my friends to think I was a dick. 'I' didn't want to think I was a dick... and the sheer mental state of wondering who I was and who I had become on this fitness journey was enough to send me head first to a pot of Hagen Daaz and bury myself in the gooey, doughy, sweet balls of cookie, never to surface again...
Here's how it went down. I packed protein powder, dates, quest bars, chia seeds, figs, oats... no one commented (too much) no one slagged me off (to my knowledge) I made my own breakfasts (that I enjoyed) I avoided dairy (apart from the slice of pizza I ate whilst drunk, that doesn't count because I don't remember) I didn't eat bread every morning (nor did I miss it) I worked out twice (once hung over) I avoided Mac Donalds (and didn't regret it whilst eating fruit and nuts opposite a burger sauce filled big Mac) I 'felt' awesome in my bikini, I didn't feel out of place or over sized or bloated the whole time I was there, and I came back home, unscathed and able to get back eating my normal healthy balanced diet without the need to stay off the wagon and eat everything and anything that may have a snippet of sugar in.
I do not have a magic answer to how I managed to pull that off without it feeling like a chore. I am not sure how I managed to beat a massive trigger for me. The only thing I can put it all down to (Other than the big realisation dairy and me are now enemies) is that consistency pays off. That those choices you make, to have over night oats rather than a croissant, or to not have 10 chocolate brownies and only have one, or to get in the gym before work when you want to stay in bed for another half hour... those daily, teeny choices that you think are a waste of time, somehow, along the way, count. They help create a pattern, a routine and lifestyle choices rather than 'quick fixes'. They all battle thought patterns that would usually go and make me reject any sort of balance whilst away. Not only consistently working out meant that a few treats and a few drinks did not regress me back to my starting point, but that consistently speaking to myself positively and consistently making small changes to my lifestyle meant that, that continued, whilst I was away. It meant that I had beaten old patterns and got rid of past triggers that inherently used to make me make crappy decisions in the past.
My biggest trigger that used to encourage me to binge eat all the time was the thought that I was a dick for caring about my body. The fear that people would think I was boring if I cared enough to exercise whilst away... and once I was aware of that thought process, and very open and accepting of that thought process, the thought itself had no importance anymore. Resisting the thought and fighting feeling boring, only made my insecurities worse in the past, which would lead me to say 'fuxkkkk it' and eat all (allllll) the foods. Whining about these fears and moaning about how the carbs used to make me feel bloated... that is what was mind numbingly boring.
So finally I found a place in my head where none of that mattered. Because I finally realised my thoughts were just thoughts I made up about myself to keep self sabotaging and never making progress.
The ability to realise that I could still eat yummy food, have a choice about what foods I did eat, treat myself to dinners out and feel less guilt because I chose a healthier breakfast... felt so overwhelmingly awesome that it was hard to believe I had ever had a holiday not doing that.
Fast forward to two weddings later, a trip to Scotland and the boyfs 30th birthday and I am not feeling as balanced and zen about my body as I had done post Ibiza. With progress also comes moments of impatience and snippets of discouragement. Because not all life changing head patterns are as easy as abolishing them for good.
Patterns of guilt have crept in slowly. And whilst they have been kept at bay with belief that this fitness journey is a lifestyle and that I am not looking for any quick fixes, the feeling of bloat and letting the treats pile up, have, and do, bring back thoughts of annoyance that 'I can't always be that girl in Ibiza feeling good about all my issues' Because despite what anyone else thinks or what I can tell myself on a good day, I still have demons that can overwhelm me. The only difference is that I know they will pass. That the thoughts are just thoughts and my balance will, well, re... balance.
So now I am home, with weekends doing nothing other than brunching and house work (rock and roll) I now look forward to some routine. To home cooked food and some healthier head talk.
So here's to my top tips that aren't really top tips at all, but an example of how life happens and funnily enough. .. you just get through it. With a helping of carrot cake... and a peppermint tea with cider vinegar (to counteract LIFE bloat)