exercise

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!

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)