It’s a journey not a race…end of the challenge update

Here’s some 8 week progress photos, taken 27th May:

And my Mind and body challenge actually ended on June 3rd, and I forgot to take photos! So I have a couple from this morning:

I’ve noticed a slight improvement in my glutes too! I seem to be struggling to get into size 10 jeans now more than I did before, so think I’m getting thicker rather than thinner!

My bloating still gets me down – this morning I was a bit bloated still – I was flexing in the pic on the left! And by lunchtime there’s no hope in my body looking like that again for the rest of the day.

What I’ve been trying to remind myself of recently is that amazing changes don’t happen overnight. I always cringe when I see the words ‘fitness journey’, but in reality, it’s a journey. There’s no way around it. To build something really strong, emotionally and physically, takes years! So although I feel down sometimes I have to remember that this isn’t a race, and my mental health is just as important as – if not more important than – my physical health. Too often recently I’ve been caught up in the negative self talk towards myself, and have to catch myself. Right now i’m at the stage where I stop saying anything negative, but struggle to convincingly say anything positive. So I’m working on it!

Slow and steady. I’ll keep you updated!

Climbing practice

It’s official…I have a new hobby – bouldering! I always have enjoyed scrambling along rocks but I’ve never tried indoor climbing before, and my friend Felicity is a bit of an enthusiast, both rock climbing and bouldering, so offered to take me along. It was so much fun, and although my hands were pretty blistered afterwards I was surprised by my upper body strength – I wasn’t expecting to find that aspect of it as easy as I did. Needless to say I want to go again ASAP. If I still enjoy it after a month or two I’ll invest in a chalk bag and some climbing shoes – eek!

In other news I’m on week six of eating healthier and still feeling great. I went a bit off the rails on Sunday morning and put Nutella on my otherwise very healthy protein pancakes ….oops! (no regrets). But other than that I’ve stayed on track. Looking forward to seeing more progress, and also gaining more upper body strength. One of my goals for this year was to be able to do pull ups, and now that I’ve been introduced to climbing I have a great opportunity to develop my strength out of the gym. I also felt like it helped my self-confidence, I was a bit shaky when I started as I kept doubting myself, but I ended up feeling pleasantly surprised by how strong I felt. I also usually feel pretty daunted and get anxious in situations with a lot of people, but everyone was really friendly and it was a good crowd.

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Taken 6 weeks ago

Has anyone got any tips for a novice climber?

Reverse dieting – one week in

Tomorrow is day 7 so I’ll have reached the one week mark for this whole clean eating malarky! Only 7 more weeks to go…heh…heh… 

For those who are following me on Snapchat/Insta, you may have guessed that my diet/gym regime has had a bit of an uphaul recently.

I mean, I was on my own little mission anyway (See my mind, body, soul 80 day challenge), but also decided to enlist the guidance of online personal trainer, Lukas Duncan, to give me a bit of a kick up the butt diet-wise, to get myself body confident for summer.

My problem is, although I’m pretty clued up about nutrition, I also am a big believer in ‘treat yo-self’ and have always rolled my eyes when people won’t eat something nutritionally good for them when they’re hungry, because ‘it doesn’t fit their macros.’

Now I’m one of those people! I’m meal prepping (which I did a bit before anyway but never to this scale) and weighing everything I eat down to the last gram. I figured I would give it a go for 8 weeks. But this is seriously ‘clean’ eating.

And although I’m on a ‘diet’, which I consider to be pretty restrictive in the sense of measuring macros and strict eating times/portions, I’m not hungry. I’m actually eating more than I have for ages – I’m up 300 calories a day, and most days I can’t even use up all my calories.

Here’s what a general day looks like:

Day 1: was pretty easy. I was motivated. I was doing this. Gym in the afternoon.

Day 2: was a little more annoying, purely because I felt like I’d spent the majority of my afternoon meal prepping and was not happy about this. Also felt like I needed a wee nap in the afternoon.

Day 3: could not wake up. Just couldn’t. I tried to have a black coffee but I HATE black coffee so took two sips and didn’t bother with the rest. Almost threw my Tupperware pot against the wall at work. Didn’t feel able to work until about 12.30pm. Went to the gym that night. Passed out in bed.

Day 4: seriously tired and slight headache all day. Although not as tired as day 3. BUT as I was eating my 3rd bit of dried chicken and broccoli that day I did want to cry and run to get some chocolate. Possibly the most down I’ve felt the entire process so far. Went to bed for 8pm. Good night sleep.

Day 5: woke up naturally at 6.30am and stayed awake all day. No usual ‘slump’ around 2/3pm that I usually get. Also not craving sugar as much. Lots of energy in the evenings after work – cleaned the whole house before going to the gym in the evening. Meal prepping does have it’s perks when it means you rarely have to cook dinner as it’s already done – free’s up some evening time. Oh, and had a bit of a peanut butter binge in the evening before bed.

Day 6, today: Despite not sleeping that great, I woke up again at 6.30am and stayed awake all day, no brain fog. Even motivated enough to write a blog post! Muscle aches almost everywhere on my body, but I have a rest day this evening before arms tomorrow.

If one thing is clear, is that cutting out refined sugars/carbs/gluten/dairy has done wonders for my gut already. That’s what’s keeping me motivated – the fact that I haven’t gone this long without being bloated/uncomfortable since…I can’t even remember.

Also thinking about it, I do feel considerably less anxious and more ‘on top’ of things. But that may fade the longer I go without chocolate!

Watch this space! No doubt I’ll post a progress photo soon and reassure myself that I can do this!! for 7 more weeks (and 1 day)!

Happy International Women’s Day

We have made leaps and bounds, but we still have a long way to go.

‘Feminism’ has always been a bit of a ‘taboo.’ It’s something that scares and angers men, and has a variety of approaches among women and so often divides us. But generally, if you are a self-proclaimed feminist, you’re assumed to:

1) Be female (Definitely not true. I know many great male feminists)

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2) Hate men

3) Not shave your armpits, foo foo or legs and talk about periods endlessly (sometimes true – and no, I do not have a problem with saying vagina, VAGIIINAAAAaAAAa, see? I just prefer saying foo foo. Who wouldn’t)

4) Want to have a ‘career’, i.e. be considered a ‘strong’ or ‘powerful’ woman – or basically live a lifestyle or exhibit behaviours similar to your everyday stereotypical ‘man’. There are plenty of women from all sorts of backgrounds – mothers, teachers, cleaners, bakers and candlestick makers – who are both feminists whilst being some of the strongest women you may ever meet (your lifestyle choices do not necessarily define your beliefs, and/or shouldn’t determine your access to human rights and equality).

And lastly, it’s assumed that you don’t have, or embrace, your sexuality. That you’re against nudity and probably just have an entire undie draw full of beige cotton pieces. God forbid if a self-proclaimed feminist emerges in a low-cut top or short skirt, you know, demonstrating the right to her own choices, body and sexuality….

If she loves making love to her boyfriend, or heck – to multiple lovers, then SO BE IT. If she decides she likes the au naturel look, good for her! Surely the point of feminism, although a broad term and many women practice their equality and freedom through feminism differently, is that women should be respected and permitted to make their own decisions regarding their own lives and bodies. So whether you agree with another woman’s version of feminism or not, let it be. She’s owning it, as should you be (I know it’s a hell of a lot more complicated than that…But a girl can dream, huh?)

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For my entire life, I (and many of my friends) have encountered sexism first hand – and anybody who claims that men and women are ‘considered equal these days’ and that women ‘have nothing to moan about’ are deluded. I am a feminist. It would be stupid not to be – I am a woman after all. And I’m not ashamed of that!

I am proud to know many inspirational women. Here’s a couple of good quotes  I’ve come across today by Rupi Kaur:

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Anyway, this post was a little too political for my liking but I couldn’t not write anything!

So have a happy international women’s day, and ’till next time!

My stressbusting tactics!

Everything gets a little overwhelming at times. Some lucky people can do a lot more than others and manage not to feel much, if any, anxiety or stress at all. Other people, like me, feel anxious and stressed over not very much at all!

For that reason, it is good to have some stress or anxiety ‘home remedies’ readily available, especially if you’re like me and the slightest thing could set you off!

Firstly….

Exercise!

It helps you sleep better. It improves your mood (maybe not at the time..?) and improves your self esteem. I felt so much better about myself when I was exercising almost every day, and now I have moved house I plan on attempting to go jogging on a regular basis to help clear my head… (we’ll see!)

Meditate.

I saw a quote once that said ‘When you don’t have time to sit and meditate, that’s when you should be meditating.’

Or something like that. Anyway, the point is, even if you feel like you don’t have time, make time. It will make the world of difference. By sitting quietly and focusing on awareness and self, studies have shown that mediation is more powerful in helping with stress and anxiety than many other general ‘stress management’ techqniques.

Limit your social media.

I got into an argument with my work colleagues over this at the pub recently; How much of an impact does social media really have on our stress and anxiety levels? I think it’s more than people realise. Since moving, I haven’t had access to internet, or any signal on my phone. And it’s actually helped me to relax SO MUCH. I come home in the evenings and I don’t sit on my phone for an hour before bed, or feel the need to post anything on facebook or instagram. I get home, I talk to my boyfriend. I know right, crazy. Maybe watch a film, do some writing. Have a bath. It’s so nice! Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t go all day every day without it – I use it at work on my breaks, or travelling to and from. But limit yourself in the evening, and don’t use it before bed!

Avoid people who bother you.

This one has had a massive impact on me. Moving away from toxic people who are negative or stressful made managing my own happiness and stress-levels that much easier. For a while now I’ve been giving less people my full attention, and spending more time and energy on a loyal and loving few.  Don’t waste time with people who don’t believe in your capabilities or put you down. They’re a drain on your spirit!

Learn to say no.

If you’re anything like me, you hate confrontation. This probably makes you a bit of a pushover at work or in your social circle. Learn to say no. Not everything is your responsibilty, and you wont be considered any less capable or less of a friend for saying ‘No, I can’t fit that in my workload today’, or turning down something you really don’t want to do. Being charitable is great, but don’t let it get to the extent where you become foolish!

Organise your time better.

The reward of increased efficiency will be extra time = less stress!

Make a den.

Whenever I get all emotional and crap, my boyfriend just knows how to handle it. When it’s really bad, he almost always makes me a duvet den. There I am getting all stressed and weepy, and he just takes my hand and leads me to bed. He usually wraps me up in a duvet, like a big ol’ burrito, and then makes the den around me. It helps so much to just block out the world for a while. Sometimes he joins me and it helps, and other times he leaves me to myself for a while. I would highly recommend den-making. When you stress yourself out to the point of tears, stop what you’re doing and go and make a den. Hanger? Go make a sandwich, take it to your den. Bad break up? Build a den. Stressed at work? You guessed it, den (not at work though please, may make the situation a tad worse.)

Enjoy a treat meal

My diet kinda varies between vegetarian supermodel yoga enthusiast, and hungry unsupervised child in sweet shop. When I’m feeling down and stressed, I used to always turn to comfort foods. Recently I’ve been a little better and try to limit my treats to once or twice a week, and try to exercise to relieve some stress instead. But occassionally I’ll get home from work and be like NOPE NOT TODAY and get some Ben and Jerries. I may get the ‘tsk tsk’ look from the boyf, but sod everyone else. Eat it. Enjoy it. You can go back to yoga tomorrow…

 

 

 

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