It’s time to step off the scales

We’re a nation of scale-obsessed weight watchers and I’m saying that it’s time to stop.

From a young age I’ve also been scale-obsessed and I’ve seen the numbers on the scale going up and down as a direct contributor to my happiness. At the start of my fitness journey I jumped on those scales every Monday morning without fail and recorded the numbers. Every week for over a year. I even took photos.

Until I realised that it’s not about those numbers. It’s about how you look and feel.

I know that I’m getting stronger, fitter and leaner but I was getting frustrated that the numbers on the scales weren’t going down. And then my belt reached the last hole. And my abs started to pop out again. What was happening?  Continue Reading…

Motivation is the name of the game

On my PT course this weekend someone asked me what my motivation is when I’m working out to keep going and not stop when it gets tough, and it got me thinking. 

Why is it that this time, for the first time in probably 15 years, I have committed to a fit and healthy lifestyle? Motivation. It’s an incredibly powerful tool if you can figure out what yours is. 

The interesting thing about motivation is that it can change all the time, whether it’s what gets you out on that very first run, or what gets you up out of a lovely warm bed on leg day, or even what makes you sign up for a fitness challenge. It can change day to day, week to week and it depends on your goals.

If you don’t know where to start on finding your motivation, these are mine, they might get you thinking. 

image

I’ve always been a bit of a girl power advocate because I don’t want to ever have to rely on someone else for my own happiness and success. I’m capable of making my own life amazing and the people that I choose to be in it are very special to me. 

Getting in shape and being the best version of me that I can be physically has helped me to become stronger mentally. Being strong physically and mentally puts me in the independent position that I want to be in and knowing that it will only get better from here keeps me going back to the gym, lifting the weights and exploring the optimum way of eating for me.

image

I know I’ve talked about ‘fitspiration’ or ‘fitspo’ before  but it really helped me to move on from the ‘skinny = good’ mindset into ‘strong & healthy = good’. By following some beautiful and strong young women on Instagram, it kept me going before I could start seeing changes in my own body. By aiming for an athletic body type that I’ve never had before and working out a programme to get me there, the small steps of progress have kept me going. I’ve become my own personal fitspo!  

What motivates you when it’s cold outside and you’re tired? 

The Not-So-Pretty Parts of Fitness

I love Instagram and health/fitness blogs as much as the next girl but there’s something that I need to get off my chest…. 

Fitness isn’t pretty. Eating healthily can be pretty but isn’t always. Meal prep definitely isn’t pretty. 

So what’s with all of these people pretending that it is?! 

This is a beautiful bowl of vegan deliciousness from Deliciously Ella, a healthy eating blog that I take a lot of inspiration from. And yes, I am aware that this blog is one of the ways that she gets paid and she therefore has to spend time making things look good but the bar is being set very high! 

My meals (particularly if I’ve just worked out) look something more like this…

Also, who looks good when they’re working out? Anyone? Nope, I’m not seeing any hands… That’s because no one looks good if they’re really working out properly. Sweaty red faces, sweaty hair, sweaty clothes is more like it. 

This is Kayla Itsines, an Australian blogger that I started following recently who is clearly very strong and fit but how does she ACTUALLY work out with her hair like that? It would drive me insane! Let’s face it, you can’t do burpees with hair like that… 

This is more like it (look away now if you’re eating):

My final rant is about mason jars. Who has the time in the morning to make their smoothie, put it in a mason jar, take a whimsical photo, carry that jar to work and then sit down and drink their smug smoothie?! 

My smoothies are carried in plastic tubs because they’re light and easy to drink from:

And breathe. 

The point of this rant was to tell you that however inspiring all of these Instagram and Blog babes are, the reality is that hard work, commitment and a whole load of red sweaty faces and ugly (but healthy) food is going to get you to your goals. So don’t compare yourself to anyone else, stick to your own process and you’ll see the results.

Be inspired but be real. 

The Case For Fitspo

As women we’re constantly bombarded with images of how we should look, from red-carpet A-listers to top catwalk models. However unless you have those genes that give you legs that are about a mile long, it ain’t happening. 

You can go online and find scary ‘thinspo’ images which are meant to inspire you to get thinner and thinner. Having seen some of these I can honestly say that they are terrifying. They fetishise bones, delicate limbs that wouldn’t support any sort of physical activity, and starving yourself. None of which are healthy in any sort of way… 

Enter ‘fitspo’. These images are shared around the internet to inspire women (and men) to get fit, build some muscles and become healthy. Now don’t get me wrong, when fitspo goes too far it can also be terrifying. The sorts of muscles that extreme fitspo promotes can only be achieved through extreme diets, massive amounts of protein and obsessive exercise. 

‘Real’ fitspo: 

Extreme fitspo:

image

As someone who is going through everyday struggles to stay on track with eating healthily and exercising, real fitspo has kept me going. It shows me that by eating properly, exercising cleverly and staying committed you can make real changes.

Women come in many different shapes and sizes and I don’t see anything wrong with trying to be the best shape that you can be, within the parameters of your own body. Just like with thinspo, there’s no point in trying to be something that is physically impossible. It becomes dangerous and damaging. But trying to be a bit more healthy and be happy with yourself, that’s what’s cool. 

Anyway, who wants legs that look like they can’t carry you up a mountain, run a race or power you through a swim? Not this girl, that’s for sure… 

Warriors Assemble

I like to think of myself as someone who could handle themselves in a fight. Whether this is actually true or not I’ve (luckily) never had to prove and long may it continue that way.

But when the opportunity came up to start working out like a fighter and training in boxing techniques I was far too excited… Introducing ‘Warriors’ from those lovely people at London Fields Fitness Studio.

I dragged a friend (Kristina) along with me to the first class because I had no idea what to expect and I was oddly terrified! Quite rightly…

We started off with a gentle group warm up before getting stuck into the first circuit – 15 reps, 5 stations, as many circuits round as you can do within 15 minutes.

Circuit 1 (cardio): burpees, military press + triceps with 5kg plates, crossover star jumps, stepper, sprint up the road and back

I pushed myself hard and managed to fit in 4 complete circuits. I might have pushed myself too hard based on the muscle soreness today.

Circuit 2 (strength): abs + obliques, knee + arm blocks, jump squats, slow push ups, punches with weights

My weak back and I were rubbish at this circuit as I really struggled with the ab work – very frustrating!

At this point Kristina and I were dripping sweat and looking at each other in terror contemplating what was coming up next.

Luckily, next was some boxing technique which gave us a brief breather before we were skipping round the gym working on our footwork. Every time ‘don’t cross your feet’ was shouted, all I could think of was ‘don’t cross the streams’. Particularly useful, thanks brain.

The session ended with a 3 minute round of sparring putting into practice our newfound punching and blocking techniques. We walked out into the fresh air feeling on top of the world (if not quite like Rocky yet…).

Details

When? Every Tuesday 8-8:45pm

Where? Railway Arch 379, Mentmore Terrace, Hackney, E8 3PH

How much? £5 per class, no booking necessary

Thank you

I started this blog as a place to keep myself accountable to my fitness and health journey and to start writing again. 

Suddenly, it’s become so much more than that.

At a close friend’s wedding yesterday, 6 different people came up to me and said that they’d been reading my blog and had been motivated to make a small change. 

I didn’t realise that:

a) People actually read my blog

b) I was inspiring anyone

c) Anyone else was finding it hard as I was

So this is just a quick post to say thank you to all of those people who took the time to let me know that they enjoy my blog. You’ve all inspired me to keep plugging away, keep trying new things and keep writing about it. We can get there together! 

The siege is over

It’s been 5 weeks. 5 frustratingly demoralising weeks.

But finally I have taken a step off my weight plateau and lost my first pound in 5 weeks. I’m still 6lbs away from my goal weight but I’ve accepted that these last few pounds are going to be the most difficult to lose. I’m trying to focus more on how I feel and look which is helping but after spending my entire life looking at numbers on the scale it’s tough to step away from using that as a measure. 

To remind myself of how far I’ve come, I made this:

That’s 14lbs (1 stone) down and 2 dress sizes *dance of pride*

To blitz this last bit of weight I’m ramping up my exercise do include more cardio and hiit workouts with my trainer. I’m also going to up the amount of protein I’m taking in by trying out Maxitone Sculptress protein powder to replace 1 meal a day (probably breakfast) accompanied by some fruit. 

Wish me luck! 

Sometimes it feels like you’re running backwards

I’ve been flying pretty high for the past few weeks because I feel like I’m getting stronger, my 30 day paleo challenge has been going well and my body shape is noticeably changing.

But even with all of that, I suffered a bit of a setback yesterday.

I went back to Dean’s Boot Camp at London Fields Fitness Studio last night which I’d been loving before I went to India. There’s a lot of running and cardio involved in this class which takes place outside in London Fields. 

Now, as you all know, I’m not the strongest runner, but I am getting better. That said, mixing burpees and push ups with laps around the park was a real struggle. 

I was getting back to base last on every single run, often quite a way behind everyone else. As much as I wanted to run faster, I realised that I couldn’t have completed the reps at that tempo so I stuck to my slow and steady plod. 

However, shuffling along by myself started to get to me. Everyone else seemed so much fitter, faster and stronger. I started to feel like a failure which I haven’t felt for a while. I’ve come such a long way already but the huge distance that I still have to go suddenly seemed like a step too far.

The only thing that picked me up was a massive high five from Dean at the end of the circuit and some encouraging words from him to tell me to maintain my tempo and that I was doing well. 

Following that class I’ve added a new aim for 2014: to not come last in every running circuit. 

It’s something to aim for and I’m going to start getting there by going back to Dean’s class on Saturday morning and running my little legs off. 

Photo credit: http://www.motivationblog.org/running-inspirational-posters/#.Uyxpnz9_sVA

Goals. No, not the football kind

When I started on my fitness journey, I wanted to look like this:

That’s it. That was my goal.

I soon ran into problems though because:

a)      My genetics will probably never allow me to look like that

b)      It’s discouraging when you don’t look like that within 1 month

So I realised that I needed to set more realistic step-by-step goals and learn to notice each small change, whether anyone else can see it or not.

Having already lost 10lbs and run my first non-stop 5km, I’m feeling incredibly proud of how far I’ve come in terms of taking control of my weight but also of building my fitness and changing my lifestyle.

So proud in fact that I’m going to do something that I never thought I’d do. I’m going to post a ‘before and during’ photo of myself. Here goes…

Making comparisons like this help me to remember how far I’ve come and to motivate me to go the distance.

My 2014 goals are:

1)      Lose 10lbs by June

2)      Run 5km in 30 minutes by September

3)      Build my upper body strength

4)      Try a new exercise class every other week

5)      Stick to the 80:20 rule (eat clean 80% of the time but have fun the other 20%!)

I’m determined to stay motivated, even if the scale is giving me a number I don’t like, or the mirror isn’t showing me any progress. True dedication is not seeing any progress and putting your trainers on and going for a run anyway.

Let’s do this!