Monday, 30 December 2013

Festive Fun


So Christmas is over! and if you're anything like me you're probably feeling the effects of having some one to one time with a tub of celebrations. 

Moments of over-indulgence have always been a bit of a mind-field to me. As someone who has suffered with eating disorders in the past, I often saw comfort in purging away a late night binge. 

I am proud to say I truly enjoyed Christmas, and embraced the richness that is festive food and family time. I took a day off from fitness and dived straight in to turkey and all the trimmings - completely guilt free. Not only was this important to my family, but it was also important to me to realise how far I had come in the mental battle of self-improvement. 

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Beat the bullies.


Like for a lot of children growing up, school was tough. Especially the progression from primary school to secondary where I quickly went from popular kid to number one geek.

Throughout high school I was faced with numerous accounts of bullying. Granted, at one stage I had braces, glasses and was severely overweight, not to mention the fact I got my head down and did work, so you could say I was prime target for bullies.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Keep the faith.

Sometimes it's easy to lose a grip on reality.

We become so focused on self-improvement that the enjoyment and confidence that should come with achieving is overpowered by a constant drive to be better.

Don't get me wrong drive it healthy. It's what makes us get ourselves out of bed in the morning. It also gets us to the gym in the evening after a long day of work, when we could easily just head home to crash out on the sofa.

Despite healthy competitiveness and a need to keep pushing, I think it's also important to remember how far we've come.

Staring in the mirror I am overcome by a constant need to seek out weaknesses and room for improvement. It's this strict mentality I have with myself that provides me with the perfect gym motivation, but can also be crippling when self-doubt and insecurities drown the bigger picture.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Me time.

Ever find yourself people watching?

I'm not scared to admit I could probably waste hours staring at those around me and wondering what's going on in their heads. This is often something I find myself doing at the gym (more so when I'm doing cardio and have more time to spare.)

I'm sure my gym is like most - different characters mixed together but all have the goal of self-improvement in mind. The popular quote 'be kind because everyone we meet is fighting a battle' definitely springs to mind.

Monday, 2 December 2013

How badly do you want it?

After doing some work for a pretty famous friend, I was inundated with people asking for advice about weight loss. People who know me will know I am always happy to help people on their journey to a better body. I  may not have qualifications, but I do have life experiences and I have lived first-hand through a steady weight loss over the last few years and faced some rocky experiences along the way.

I will happily tell people what I know but I will not

a) waste my time.
 b) lie.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of people who like the thought of changing their bodies, but do not have the willpower nor the drive to get themselves off the sofa. I'd like a huge car, a nice house, my dream job etc but I know all these things won't be handed to me. To achieve my ambitions in life, I must first put in a lot of effort and hard work. This is just the same as achieving a better body.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Inflated egos.

Something that's been particularly getting to me as of late is the amount of egos which seem to be floating round my gym and the industry in general.

Don't get me wrong, I like to work out and I often feel at my most confident in the gym. This does not however make me any better than those who choose not to train, or those in the gym who may be a bit unsure.

Now I'm going to go out on a bit of a bold statement and say a lot of egos tend to be male. It is something I am seeing a lot lately: guys in groups of two or three, showing off to their friends, wearing stringers and lifting weights too heavy for them with severely poor form.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Are you happy?

 
Forgive me bloggers for I have sinned. I want to start by first apologising for the lack of posts in the last week but my life just got a little hectic so I was trying to rebalance slightly and luckily I think I'm almost there.

I think what's crucial throughout any sort of lifestyle is happiness. As I left the gym yesterday I saw a guy sat outside Tesco's gorging on a family pack of donuts. Now usually I would pity him, but the sheer happiness on his face was too much to cope with.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Festive feasting.

Has anyone ever noticed how many 'holidays' are geared towards food? Easter, Christmas, birthdays, even now 'chip shop Friday'....

Food is undoubtedly a social substance and it can often gather people together more than anything else.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Butch or beautiful.

 
 
Now this is going to probably make me look like some raving butch feminist, and I guess they are certain qualities I possess but I wanted to blog about a subject quite close to my chest. (Chest being the ironic word all things considered.)
 
It has been the suggestion of  many ignorant people that weight training makes you 'manly', it has also been suggested that muscles are not feminine.
 
Some of the strongest women I know in the fitness industry also happen to be the most beautiful, and indeed the most feminine and it's frustrating to think that using weights is somehow associated with creating a physique which is anything less than beautiful.  

Friday, 8 November 2013

My own competition.

Recently, whilst browsing through Facebook, I came across a post which really struck a cord with me.

This post was by fitness model Rachel Mac and it was one of the most honest pieces of writing I have come across in a long time.

She announced to over 53,000 Facebook fans that she is no longer a fitness model anymore, she also apologised for encouraging people to get 'lean' and touting a lifestyle which she said she now realises was 'unbalanced, and ironically, totally unhealthy'.

Her post in which she announces her move away from the industry has helped me to think carefully about the goals I have for my future. After a tough few weeks of mental battering and self-doubt I have realised the importance of finding that life/training balance, and how sometimes you can get so caught up in self-improvement that the important things in life get forgotten.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Routine.


I've always been a person who enjoys routine. I like to have goals for the day, and I like to know exactly how my day will pan out (or as much as possible anyway).

It is often said that we should 'live for the moment', but the thought of living each day without purpose fills me with complete and utter dread. I have to admit, I know my mind works about 1000mph faster than most people's and I am constantly thriving for ways to improve, but the truth is, I would rather be an over-analyser than live my life without direction or purpose.

I find it easy to accomplish things when my thoughts are written down. I am one of those 'list' people who has lists for their lists. There is nothing more satisfying than crossing off things you have to do, and my current diary looks like the production of a schizophrenic artist - doodles, notes, lists, bullet points - you name it. It would make cracking evidence for the men in white coats to take me away I'm sure. I guess I am a little crazy, but I'm okay with that.

Friday, 1 November 2013

staying afloat


 
I've always said that everything is irrelevant if you're not happy. Life hands us difficult moments to test our strength of character and determination to battle on. Those that experience difficulties often turn out to be my favourite kind of people - those people with stories to tell, who are on a special journey of self-discovery and health preservation.

Just lately one thing I haven't found difficult is summoning the courage to exercise and it seems to be my one release from tense moments in my life at the moment. Training for around 60minutes is my one hour a day where I feel accomplished and confident. It is the rest of the day where moments of self-doubt and worry often creep upon me.

Monday, 28 October 2013

The thin ideal.


For as long as I can remember I have always been aware of my weight and even though as a teenager I was severely overweight and unhappy, this did not stop me from sitting comfortably in a vicious cycle of over-indulgence and self-loathing.

As a child I'd always been the bigger girl with a huge appetite, surrounded by thinner children who mum said had 'good genes'. As children we are fed sweets on tap, and tend to grow up very unaware of the damage food can do to our bodies.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Camera never lies.

Mirror mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all... blah blah blah.

The importance of mirrors and reflection is something that stems back as early as our childhoods. From fairy-tales to that first moment we discovered our reflection as a baby, we have vastly become fascinated by self-monitoring.

Over the years our bodies change and when you make the change to begin a healthy lifestyle, it is easy to get caught up with monitoring progression and even easier to punish yourself if you aren't completely satisfied with what you see.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

worries and weights.


This week has been a week off work for me, which has given me a lot of time to focus on the quality of my training but also a lot of time to think - something that I'm not entirely sure is a good thing. 

Monday, 21 October 2013

feel the fear and do it anyway..


So this weekend I found myself surrounded by many different people at the Martial Arts/ Healthy Living Expo. As I walked round the many different stalls, I stumbled across a woman presenting a lecture on fear and how easy it can be for fear to completely take over our lives.

This got me thinking... 

Friday, 18 October 2013

Mind over body.


If someone had told me 3 years ago I'd be working out 5/6 times a week and wearing size 6 clothes I probably would have laughed in their face, laughed, carried on eating a Greggs pasty whilst telling myself that looks didn't matter anyway.

I can honestly say this isn't all about looks for me. Of course a proportion of leading a healthy life is for aesthetic reasons, but mine was more about regaining the control I had lost as a teenager when I started to let food rule my life.

The price of body perfection.

For most people fitness is a journey. A journey of self-discovery which sees you push your body to limits you never thought possible. Unfortunately for some, fitness is a money-making goldmine and it is becoming more and more common for people to pray upon those most vulnerable by offering health services with minimal qualifications and understanding.

We come from a world of dissatisfied people and I am yet to meet a person 100% happy with their body. It is this constant dissatisfaction which leads many to seek advice in an attempt to gain body confidence.

Unfortunately with so many people offering different solutions, it is almost impossible for those without understanding to know where to turn.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

strong vs skinny.


As an overweight teenager I always dreamt of being thin. I obsessed over girls who could eat what they liked and skill maintain a slender figure. I even went as far as wishing so desperately to be skinny that every birthday I blew out my candles and said quietly in my head 'I wish I could be skinny'.

It upsets me to think how many girls are trapped in the ideology that thin is beautiful. It upsets me even more to think how much time and emotions I spent stressing over my own figure. Trapped in a vicious circle of comfort eating because I wasn't 'thin' which was then escalating the problem and sending me further and further away from where I wanted to be at the time.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Dare to be different?

Since discussing my weight loss over Twitter and social media, I've had quite a few women ask me about weight-training tips and getting started with weights. I've also had a lot of women ask me how I feel confident enough to weight-train surrounded by lots of bigger and more experienced gym-goers (who unfortunately are mostly men).

There seems to be this stereotype that women shouldn't weight train or take part in something that was once considered a very 'manly' sport. There also seems to be the assumption that it is men that have created this sexist barrier and therefore women have no choice but to look to cardio because the 'big men' make them feel uncomfortable.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

be the best YOU


So after treating myself to breakfast in bed (what else are Sunday's made for?) I was browsing social media when I came across one of my favorite girls in the industry, Emma Storey-Gordon, whose status read:


"I am about to enjoy my morning cuppa but let me answer all your nutrition/training questions in just 2 words: IT DEPENDS."

Now after giggling to myself with a mouth full of oats, it really got me thinking about quick fixes and the 'one size, fits all' mentality. 

Friday, 11 October 2013

Biggest Loser's Jessie: "I catch my boyfriend looking at bigger girls."

Jessie Before and After her 8st weight loss

Biggest Loser contestant Jessie St John-Sharpe, 23, has lost 8 stone and nearly 40% of her body weight in total since appearing in the show in 2012.

In an exclusive interview, whilst working out on the treadmill, she told me about her weight loss journey, future goals, and how her boyfriend still prefers curvier girls….

Dealing with ignorance...


Throughout my fitness journey, one of the hardest things I have had to deal with is lack of support from those closest to me.

My immediate family and friends have very little to do with healthy eating and/or exercise, and have found it hard to adapt to my new lifestyle.

Fortunately, Twitter has been a very valuable tool for when I have needed extra support.

Sunday, 6 October 2013


"You must be so proud"....

The last few years especially, I've had a lot of people say to me that I must be so proud of what I've achieved but I'm really not sure proud is the right word.

I am proud of the fact that I have managed to turn my health around, but looking at the bigger picture it is difficult to be proud of the self-destructive state I was once in.

For me, food was a comfort. A clutch for any emotion. I ate when I was happy, when I was sad, when I was bored and when I was lonely. Without knowing, I had completely let it take over my life and I was spiraling into obesity at 100 mph.

Part of the problem I faced was gaining perspective on the damage I had done to my body. I avoided photographs from the neck down, and surrounded myself in a very male dominated friendship group, where the need to competitively dress in skimpy clothes just wasn't there. I had quickly become one of the lads to the point where my muffin top could rival the beer bellies of many middle-aged men! 

Even though I finally took hold of my life and started to make healthy changes, the changes themselves haven't been easy. I've tried every fad diet you can think of in a desperate attempt to shift the pounds as quickly as possible. I also went through a spout of bulimia which I am proud to say I have completely recovered from. 

During my binge-eating and bulimic stage, the problem was no mindless indulgence like in my teenage years, but it became about excessively monitoring everything I put into my body, to the point that any normal human slip-ups caused me to punish myself. 

Lying on the bathroom floor, throat burning from stomach acid and eyes stinging from crying, I knew that although to look at I was healthier, my mind was not. 

It's overcoming situations like this over the last few years that have made me completely change my perspective on health, nutrition and happiness. I no longer feel the need to be 'skinny' and although I may look in the mirror and not be completely happy with what I see, I am happy, I am healthy and my body is in the best shape it has ever been. 

I no longer punish myself if I want a treat because I work hard to deserve it. It's about finding that healthy balance. Life is for living and it's the realisation of this that makes me proud, not my weight loss.