Challenge Yourself

Life is a battle. We’re constantly fighting against other people growing up, at school, in social situations and in family life. It’s always about getting more attention, being better and just generally winning. 

Well I’m here to say STOP. It’s time to start looking at yourself, not at other people. We’re all different and however much we strive and work to look, act or be like someone else it’s not going to happen. 

I had a totally epiphany as I was slogging my way round the triathlon course a couple of weeks ago with a bloody great grin on my face. Every person on that course (apart from one man who was 3 times my age) overtook me and with each one that flew past my smile got bigger and bigger. 

I was racing for me, against my previous personal best and no one else. I was the last woman to finish that triathlon and to be honest that only made me prouder that I’d gone in there for myself, conquered some demons and given it everything. 

Here are some of the methods that I’ve used to challenge myself and not compare myself to others:

– Take comparison photos of yourself if your goal is a physical change. Use ‘instababes’ as motivation rather than goals

– Note down PBs if your goal is a strength or speed change

– Fall in love with yourself. I know it sounds cheesy but rather than beating yourself up about your weaknesses try and identify your strengths. Then champion your strengths and be proud

– Surround yourself with positive people who will celebrate your victories, however small

– Listen to your body and don’t push yourself past what you can do at that point. Rest when you need to, reduce weights or resistance and eat that piece of cake if your body needs it…

How do you make sure that you’re challenging yourself rather than comparing yourself?

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…

Keeping The Family Balance

This year the Jewish festival of Pesach (Passover) and Easter fell on the same weekend meaning that there was even more emphasis on eating over the long weekend. For the first 2 nights of Pesach (it lasts 8 days) we have a big meal with lots of family and friends and I can safely say that I’ve eaten enough to last me a week… 

Now that I’m sitting on the sofa the day after in a bit of a food coma I’ve been  thinking about some rules to maintain the balance when you have family functions, religious days or celebrations. 

3 generations of women in red

Rule 1) Someone will have spent days preparing all of the food you’re about to eat so unless you’re REALLY allergic, be respectful and polite. One bite of something that’s made with love isn’t going to ruin your progress

Rule 2) Don’t get preachy about your approach to nutrition or exercise unless someone specifically asks you about it. It’s not a ‘look how strong my quads are looking’ party, it’s a time for family

Rule 3) Prepare your body so that you can make the most of all of the food that’s about to come your way. An interval cardio session followed by some heavy work on your legs will mean that your body will use some of what you’re eating to repair muscles and replenish energy stores

Rule 4) Don’t starve yourself the following day to ‘make up’ for eating a lot. Just go back to your normal schedule for eating and exercise, chances are your body won’t even register the big meal and it won’t have an effect on your progress

Rule 5) Don’t feel guilty because food is something to be enjoyed, not to regret, especially if you’re making special memories with friends or family

Now, where’s that last remaining Easter egg… 

The Yes Woman

10 years ago my best friend and I embarked on a ‘life-changing’ trip to Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii. I say ‘life-changing’ because it was in a way, but not in an ‘I lived off air and good vibes in an ashram and now I know my soul’ kind of way. We basically partied and had fun for 6 months and learnt to say ‘yes’ (within reason) to lots of cool things. We were inspired by reading The Yes Man by Danny Wallace who said yes to everything in his life and even ended up getting his book about the experience made into a film. A lot of the crazy and memorable experiences we had were down to that book, thanks Danny Wallace.

Apparently underground tubing and caving requires some fetching balaclavas in New Zealand… 

Anyway, I was inspired to do this again recently as a way of keeping myself busy and man, has it worked… 

I’ve got a couple of incredible opportunities coming up in the next few months that I would never have been a part of had I not taken a deep breath and said ‘yes’. I can’t tell you what they are yet but I think it’s fair to say that they will take me hugely out of my comfort zone but also give me a massive boost. 

This isn’t meant to be an overly-emotional post but I just wanted to share the excitement that can come with taking a chance and having the confidence to put yourself out there. I’ve spent long enough closing myself off and not having the balls to give things a go so from now on I’m saying yes. 

Give it a go.

Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day

In the past,whenever I’ve started a weight loss journey, I’ve always had in the back of my mind that there will be this magic day when I wake up and I’m skinny, like flipping that switch from fat to thin. 

The fact that this magic day doesn’t exist is the reason why I’ve never succeeded before. 

It’s now been a year, almost exactly, that I’ve been striving to create a new way of life for myself and turn around my attitude towards food and my body. It’s been a journey of taking it one day at a time, congratulating myself for those tiny, almost invisible steps of progress and not beating myself up or feeling guilty when I decide to treat myself. 

Here are some of those steps that I’ve noticed:

– While the first 1.5km of every run feels like I’m dying, I have now reached that point where I get into ‘the zone’ by 2km and can just keep running (and I even enjoy it, a bit…)

– I can’t wear my jeans without a belt now as they fall down and although the scales haven’t changed in a while I’m still toning up

– I don’t think twice about getting up early and going for a run or doing circuits in the rain

– Abs (they’re tiny but you can see them. If you look carefully. With an Instagram filter)

– My body feels literally poisoned when I don’t eat properly – this is how I felt all the time before!

– My mindset has changed – I don’t want to be thin, I want to be fit. I want to have defined muscles, strong limbs and a ‘don’t quit’ mentality

So I’ll continue taking it one step at a time, recognising the tiny achievements and building myself up mentally and physically, one squat jump at a time. 

An update of my goals

Nearly 3 months ago I posted my goals and it seems to be time to revisit them and see what I’ve achieved (or not…)

1)      Lose 10lbs by June   Well I’ve lost 3lbs since then, now just another 7 to go… 

2)      Run 5km in 30 minutes by September Getting there! I ran 5km in 34 minutes this week which is my fastest time yet. I’m doing the Hackney 5k on June 21st which will be my first proper timed race so watch this space

3)      Build my upper body strength This is definitely happening! I can now do proper push ups and my punches in boxing are getting waaaaaaay better

4)      Try a new exercise class every other week Yeah, I’ve been a bit slack on this one. Put it down to lack of time and money. Still, on my list are: Aerial yoga, some sort of obstacle race (any suggestions?) and paddle boarding

5)      Stick to the 80:20 rule (eat clean 80% of the time but have fun the other 20%!) I’m sticking to this pretty well! Although I might be stretching the 20% a little too far… 

And here are my new goals to add to the list:

6)      Work hard on my legs to lose some fat and build some lean muscle. Come at me baby giraffe legs….

7)       Attempt a Whole30 challenge – again, watch this space

8)       Get back into swimming at the London Fields Lido when the weather finally picks up

It’s time to get over myself

Last week I was taught a very important lesson.

I haven’t been back to the army boot camp class since I was upset about coming last on every single running exercise and I felt I had to tell Dean, the instructor, why I hadn’t been in a few weeks. I didn’t want him to feel that I didn’t like him or his class!

His response was: ‘I completely understand but you need to get over yourself. No one else noticed you were last, no one else cares and that’s completely not the point’. 

*verbal slap round the face*

This is something that I need to take on board. I need to stop comparing myself to other people; my progress is my progress, no one else’s. 

I’m 14lbs lighter, a hell of a lot more toned and much stronger and fitter than I was 4 months ago. This is huge progress and I have to remind myself to be proud of what I’ve achieved so far. 

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!