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 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...