fitness

Sugar on toast: Will it make you fat?

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I'll start my post how I will start most of my fitness post from now on... 

Is it the worst thing in the world if you gain some fat? Because the thing is you won't "be" fat. You may "have" some fat. And if you "gain" some fat, you can "lose" some fat and that right there is the magic. Nothing. Nothing is permanent. By telling yourself you "are" fat or will "be" fat, has you making a decision right then and there that this IS your story.  

It is not. your story is anything you want it to be. Being fat is by the way, an ok story. If you decide you do not want to change. But if you do, that's ok Too, but I suggest starting with what you say and how you say it. I "have" fat right now. I "am" a worthy, beautiful human either way. I will lose the fat if and when I please... 

Ok we got that clear? goodo. 

So sugar on toast. Will you gain fat if you eat it everyday for breakfast? And if you haven't had sugar on toast before, well aren't you missing a treat and all I can say is I am jealous. Because that 1st time you try it, it is like no other. You can't recreate that rush of pure taste bud explosion of sweetness on hot doughy bread with melted butter *wipes dribble from mouth. 

Ok so sidenote: I am not advocating that sugar on toast is a good nutritious breakfast to have every morning. Nor do I want you to become accustomed to such living. As I said, its never as amazing the 2nd 3rd 4th time... although, well, it comes very close. But that euphoria should be kept at bay. Bot because it is BAD. No food is BAD. But because some things should be kept special, for special occasions. Remember the 1st time you wore your fav dress? But then the 14th day in a row, well, meh, the dress just looks like any ol dress. The joy had worn off? Yup. Life. But you wanna keep the special feelings special. So I hereby say, don't have sugar on toast everyday. 

But.  

If You did, would it make you gain fat? If you substituted it for peanut butter on toast or maple syrup and nut butter on toast, and you had that everyday instead, would that be better? would it mean you would gain less fat or none at all? Should you avoid toast? People tell you toast is not a good breakfast when you are healthy, unless you put avocado on it. Right?  

I have so many clients asking me if certain foods will make them gain more fat.

Is sugar addictive? Are carbs gonna make you bloated? Should you cut out carbs to lose fat?  

No. No. No to all of the above.  

Firstly. Sugar isn't addictive... see this article here.  

Secondly, carbs may make you feel a bit full because carbs hold more water and weigh more in volume. If and only IF you have an intolerance to gluten say, will you experience bloating. Like real bloating. Not just a little food baby cos you ate, but painful, 8 months pregnant bloating.  

Thirdly, you can lose fat consuming carbs 100% I've done it myself. And in my life I will never, ever give up carbs again. Over my bread body.  

Avo on toast, even peanut butter on toast, is more nutritious. Which means it is more filling. Avocado on toast is not offered as a healthy alternative to (let's say sugar) because it's less calories. On the contrary, its more, but because there are far more nutrients in avo on toast and it will be more satiating and better for you. Sugar has no useful micro nutrient in its most processed form (ie white bleached sugar)

But will that make me gain fat then? Guys...  the secret is this. All food,any food, can make you gain fat... if you eat above your maintenance cals! But as I said in my previous post, that you can find here... it is harder to go over your maintenance cals if you mainly eat veggies and grains and whole, non processed foods. Eat food that fills you up, that gives you nutrients, satisfies you, doesn't give you a taste for more and more sweet things. And you're good to go. 

But essentially. Sugar on toast will not make you gain fat if you have it and stay within your maintenance or deficit cals.  

Sugar is not the devil. Bread is also not Jack the Ripper and gaining fat, is not the worst thing that could ever happento you. 

wahooooo.  

so if the take home you get from this is...  

Eat yo veggies and protein. 

Have some soul food sometimes.  

Trust that certain foods will not make you gain fat specifically.  

Gaining fat is ok.  

Then my work here is done. 

Happy Friday loves. 

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An alternative to sugar on toast with far more nutritious things... featuring @freesoulsistas protein which you can purchase here, using my discount code FFFsistas. 

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

 

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

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!