Happiness

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

 

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..."   

How to stay healthy on holiday (sort of)

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)

How to (not)be obsessed with your body...

So, you've had body image issues for years. You wake up daily and wonder if by a miracle you're as skinny as you always wanted... even though perhaps, you maybe ate, the whole loaf of bread and jar of nutella that your annoying boyf had bought home last night,(does he not know you are on a diet) that it would sit there calling you to eat it, "Go on, one little bit won't hurt... one more slice isn't gonna kill you, four slices won't make a difference at all..." and before you know it your lying in bed, Nutella smeared around you mouth and you try your hardest to recoup the feeling, the taste, the enjoyment...you swish your tongue around your mouth to get a hint of a trace that it was worth every little, smooth, nutty mouthful. But it's gone. All you are left with is the faint hint of an awkward feeling, the guilt. So you do the only thing you can, you sleep. You sleep and you wake up and you feel your belly. Is it flatter? Grab your bottom, is it firmer? You cup your hands around your waist, is it teenier? You get up, check in the mirror you hesitantly open your eyes... Mehhh, well, you are either proud that the Nutella in fact did not make you the size of a house, or you're upset because the loaf of bread did make you bloat like a blow fish who had eaten a loaf of bread and a jar of Nutella. Either way you spend a ridiculous amount of time in front of the mirror, pulling your butt and thighs backwards to create a thigh gap, and then sucking in your belly so perhaps you look Victoria Secret modelesque and you think, "WHyyyy, why the eff did I eat that jar of Nutella... if i hadn't, I would sooo look like Giselle right now, dam that one Nutella jar. dam it" 

Many a morning has been spent like this, followed by daily mirror checks, (or checks in the mirror, not Newspaper article updates.) Momentarily checking your posture throughout the day. The umming the ahhing, the wondering... "if I had this sandwich for lunch, should I have the crisps? Oh but the crisps have 250 calories, so maybe I should get the fruit salad AND have the bag of crisps as that's less calories right? But wait, whats for dinner?" And you spend long periods of time mentally calculating how many calories you may have inhaled, how many you might have pooed out, burnt off whilst running for the bus and whether the chocolate brownie you were offered at work (and ate) at elevenisies will be worked off in your two hour cardio gym session and your one hour body combat class?

Many evenings you come home so proud of yourself that you worked out today and you still only ate 800 calories. You now have a whole 400 to play with and you carefully select what you can eat for dinner. You question skipping it, because how hungry are you really? Whilst your belly growls at you for food. "PLEAASEEE it screams, give me some bloody nourishing food" So you prep a healthy dinner. A small jacket potato with some ham and a little bit of cottage cheese. You could add salad, but lettuce leaves make you sick to your stomach and taste so dam plain that all you would do is smother it in Italian dressing. (low fat mind) 

You survived. Your relaxing, watching Master chef and as you see that Z list celeb pull out a baked, marzipan, and cherry cheesecake out the oven, 'after dinner treat' springs to mind. "Go on, you worked so hard in the gym, you need a balanced diet. You don't want to starve yourself. It's all about balance. You deserve a treat. You have 50 calories left anyways and truly, if you have the Mr Kipling Angel slice that was left over from your boyfs mum coming over at the weekend, what harm would it really do? You only live once. Once it's gone it's gone anyways so tomorrow will be a perfect day. My Fitness pal will be so on point, so spot on that I will literally be able to fit into my new dress without spanx this weekend..."

And you lie in bed with Nutella round your face and guilt smothered across your soul and you pray for that little miracle... that tomorrow will be different, that tomorrow won't seem so hard, that one day, you could just wake up and it not seem like such a big deal, such an issue, such a mind consuming, horrible, pointless, boring obsession that no one else seems to have or understand. Everyone else seems so perfectly happy with their bodies. Everyone else either has thigh gaps and waists like Ariel from The Little Mermaid or they don't care if they don't. Noone else seems to bloat, seems incapable of eating healthy, noone else seems to have to. Why is it so hard to go through a day without not caring at all. It's because no one else puts on an inch by looking at a digestive biscuit or a bowl of Crunchy Nut cornflakes... "OOO crunchy nuts, I could really go a bowl of crunchy nuts..." 

And years go by... 1, 2, 3... 10, 11, 12... suddenly your approaching adulthood (your twenites washed away with insignificant angst and worry) over a body that was perfectly fine, was working, was in proportion, was doing what it needed to do. A body that looked pretty decent in denim shorts although you convinced yourself it didn't. A body that made sense, and truthfully, in pictures, you think "Ay? That's not how it looked in the mirror at the time? I swear I was never that trim" and you question all the time you have wasted on the thought process, the wishing, the wanting, the trying, the planning, the questioning, the hoping... Why not me? Why can I not have the body I want? Why do I 'feel' so huge and thick? Could I, if I really stuck to something, have the body I have wanted since I was fourteen years old? What if I really tried? I hate my body, so why don't I try and change it... really, properly, truly! 

And there is a transition period...

And you spend six months, going at it. Really trying. You cut out carbs, you weigh your food, you meal prep, you go to the gym consistently, you eat more, drink more water, up your protein, start lifting weights. You take protein powder, Phsyllium husk, you cut out all treats, add super greens to your shakes, you stop going out for dinner as much because god forbid someone thinks your as obsessed with your body as you are. God forbid people think you are that person. The one that is taking care of it. And you wake up one morning and... 

Yes you see results...

but wait a second... you still hate your body. All these sacrifices, all this avoiding a glass of Prosecco and eating chicken for breakfast. All the dinners or nights out you have missed. That time when Sally bought in cake to work and you pretended you felt ill because you couldn't just turn it down or just have one slice like a normal human being. The Big Macs you have resisted, the cheese and crackers you avoided, the crunchy nut cornflakes that. you. didn't. buy...

ALL OF THESE SACRIFICES AND YOU STILL DON'T LOOK LIKE AN EFFING VICTORIA SECRET MODEL!!!

So you take a second, a few. And you reassess.

You freak out, you ask yourself who you are? After a lot of tears, a lot of tantrums, a lot of thought about what all of this is for and why it seems and feels so important. What is it you really want? Noone else cares what you look like. You know for a fact you are far more than just a body, I mean, come on your a really funny person (hahahha) you know life is more than just about going to the gym, or having a dimple free bum. You know that there is a world where you can not wake up and the first thing you think isn't "Do I feel fat today/look fat today/eat fat today" That you take the energy that you somehow slyly, slowly indiscreetly waste daily on such stupid, yet deeply important to you, thoughts, and you change it around. Because you do not want to be this girl anymore. One that pretends not to be so much that you eat cream out of a tub with a spoon. You don't want to pretend your OK with your body. You want to be OK with your body!

You have spent years hating your body, and that didn't work. Try loving it and see what happens...
 

Who knows what, or why, or when... The moment when something changes, something shifts. I can't tell you if I had an epiphany, or a simple realisation that the only way I could be free of hating my body, was to just stop...

hating my body.

The simple truth is there wasn't a special formula. It wasn't killing myself in the gym, or sacrificing yummy food. (Been there and bought the gym crop top) It wasn't found in the bottom of a crunchy nut cereal box or a Nutella jar either.It wasn't found in obsessing daily about the things I hated and couldn't stand. As cheesy as it sounds it started with one small thought...

I am going to eat a balanced diet and work out consistently, not because I hate my body, but because I like it. (man screw it... because I love it) because it has the ability to change, evolve, respond.It surely has the ability, if given what it needs, to give me back what I need. And it wasn't to look like a Victoria Secrets model. It was to FEEL like one. And who knew. Eating nourishing foods and working out for 30 minutes a day was enough to make me FEEL good. To FEEL healthy and lean and glowy. 

I realised that one healthy meal wasn't gonna make me Jessica Alba, but that I didn't want to be her either way (well... maybe a teeny bit) The shift was to just keep going, because the time is going to pass anyways. There wasn't an end game. I finally realised I wasn't going to eat well for a bit and get the body I want (except for A BIT) The shift was to eat to nourish and fuel my body because I want to 'feel' good afterwards. The shift to figure out that nothing is out of bounds, that I can eat crunchy nuts and Nutella, together if I so wish, if I consistently, the majority of the time, eat nutritious food. The shift that Nutella will nourish my soul sometimes and that carbs will not make me fat. The shift was to realise it wasn't a fear of being fat, it was a fear of always hating myself. Of always feeling horrendous. 

You feel great that you have consistently been feeling good. That your head is in a good place. That your dysfunctional relationship with food, your body image, feels on its way to healing. But out of the blue, you will still get people say disapprovingly "Your getting a bit obsessive, you've lost weight" and you panic. OMG... I am that girl... That girl that you never wanted to be. That awful one that orders spinach with her steak instead of fries. The one that gets up and goes to the gym before work. The one that drinks tons and tons of water and spends alot of time peeing. Your the girl that has one cupcake and not ten and drinks green smoothies and doesn't get wasted all the time. Your the girl that you used to judge. The one that cared more about her looks than going out and having fun... eating loads... 

Wait just a second... the funniest thing is, I was obsessed before, way more obsessed prior to finding this new balance. But the other version of obsession never seemed to offend anyone? Your suddenly one of those girls that has spinach with steak because she is having cheesecake for dessert, or the one that fits in going to the gym because it makes her feel good the rest of the day. Drinks tons of water because the body actually needs it and has one cupcake because ten, well ten would make me throw up. The smoothies, they actually taste good (with dates) The girl that used to think going out and getting so wasted that I wouldn't remember if I had made love to a fox on the way to Maccy Ds and then eaten a big mac mindlessly at 4am on a Friday night having a deep and meaningful with the homeless guy sat next to you whilst you share your fries (and you never share your food) WAS FUN, she's reassessed and decided that in fact, that just isn't that great. It just really isn't.

And in no way am I judging that girl. The sexy fox, fries sharing, convo with the homeless chatty, drunk, slurry girl. I have been her, and I may be her again. But no one realised that you were obsessed and unhappy before. No one knows that actually, you wake up free of the guilt now, free of the worry of what you will see in the mirror. You don't mind if you bloat for a day. Because you 'feel' rather good. Because you consistently look after your body yes, but also because you started to tell yourself you love it either way. People can sometimes be weirded out by the lifestyle choice to not want to binge any more or to want to get your 30 minute exercise in daily, they get confused, annoyed, thrown by it. They don't know how obsessed you once were. How unhappy you once were that you were in a never ending cycle of negative thoughts, how much it mattered before, for all the wrong reasons. And that's OK. Because your obsession you found no longer lies in how chubby you are or think you are, but in how good you feel to have found a lifestyle that benefits your mind, body and soul... It is no one else's job to tell you what makes you feel good, nor is it your job to have to justify why you don't want to down a pint of beer and eat croissants every morning. You finally feel like you have found a healthy place, that used to seem so alien. Loving your body? That's ridiculous? Perhaps the juxtaposition of wanting something that really you thought was always impossible was only impossible because you thought that loving your body made you an obnoxious, gym obsessed, vein douche bag. And the relief that actually you are still a douche bag, but one that has stopped battling all the vein demons that were there before.

OH MY GAAAD I ATE PIZZA AND BEN AND JERRYS AT THE WEEKEND...

and it tasted so dam mighty fine that my fanny tingled greatly. Job done!