Sunday, 13 April 2014

How I learnt to stop worrying and forget the calories in a ricecake

One of the first things you need to know about me is that I love statistics. I'm obsessed with music statistics (I listened to Arabella by the Arctic Monkeys 74 times on March 17th 2014, FYI) and can't look at a stranger's shoes or for that matter, my own hair without giving an out of 10 rating. So naturally, when I was very slightly overweight and told I should go on a diet, I threw myself right in to the world of calorie-counting.

The fitness blogging community is a dangerous place for any impressionable human being, and given that I was 21 at this time I dread to think what it must be like for 14 year old girls. It is very, very easy to get wrapped up in the world of counting exactly how much you eat at any time and it very much appealed to me as a life-long maths obsessive. Oh, so I just ate a banana and a Muller vanilla light? LET ME DO THAT MENTAL ARITHMETIC! 

When I joined Weight Watchers and began paying monthly for the privilege of making myself feel miserable, my numerically motivated brain went into overdrive. POINTS FOR CERTAIN DAYS? MORE FOR THROUGHOUT THE WEEK? This sounds like a brilliant excuse for an Excel spreadsheet if I have ever heard one! I don't know if many people get addicted enough to their diet that they create an intricate Excel workbook, but if there's one thing I can say about myself it's that through my life I've never missed an excuse to make a VLookup table. 

I speak in jest, but I was actually incredibly obsessed with planning every single piece of food I would possibly eat for at least two weeks in advance. Invited over to my ex boyfriend's parents house for dinner? HOW WILL I POSSIBLY KNOW THE NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION? Friends want to go for Wagamamas for dinner? THEY DON'T PUBLISH THEIR CALORIES ONLINE CAN'T WE JUST GO TO NANDO'S? You see what I mean. The thing is, I never ate any less than what I was supposed to on the Weight Watchers diet, which is actually perfectly healthy in the sense that it is engineered that you don't go below your body's food requirements, but the PLANNING and the COUNTING drove me up the wall. This is why I needed to start this whole blog as a coping mechanism and why I wrote posts like THIS following eating a Twix bar I hadn't accounted for. 

Two and a half years I spent on that diet and all I ever lost was half a stone and the respect of everyone I knew. I've spoken a couple of times before about my regret of this and how now my attitude to food is 'normal' and 'healthy' but I guess most of the people reading this blog, are reading it for the same reasons that I was reading your blogs. To gain motivation to count calories and get more tips on how to cut down. If, out of my past two or three blog posts, just one of you reads this and has a little bit of a think in whether what you're doing is the right thing, then writing it will be worth it. So here's a brief summary of how I got my head back in case you were looking for any practical advice -

1. Running
April 2014 marks a year since I started running and I still think it's one of the best decisions I ever made. Yes, me and my trainers have had our highs and lows, our ups and downs, I haven't gone any further than 7k still after a whole year, but I just Don't Care as running has Changed My Life. If you ever feel like there's too many thoughts in your head you might explode - if you ever crave solitude - if you ever want to feel proud of yourself - if you ever want an excuse to listen to the full Lorde album, RUN. Running helped me understand the concept that food is fuel, not a scientific experiment that needs constant monitoring. Just take a tip from me and don't do what I did this morning and wear leggings that are too big for you. SHAMBLES. 

2. Good People
Have a think about how the people in your life make you feel.
If any of them make you feel bad about yourself on a regular basis then they do not deserve to be in your life. It is as simple as that. They Do Not Deserve An Amazing Person Like Yourself In Their Midst. 
Good people don't attach shame to food. Good people never tell you you look fat in an outfit. Good people make you feel great about yourself, all the time, except when you're acting like an idiot, but they'll tell you in a nice way, and in the meantime compliment your hair.
There are a lot of Good People in the world that are lost in the maze that is calorie counting themselves. Don't try to save them as it isn't any of your business. However, if you ask them not to talk about it around you as you find it triggering, Good People will understand. Not-good people won't understand. You don't need them.

3. Don't be afraid
For nearly three years I didn't ever let myself get hungry because I was terrified of how much I might eat if I wasn't completely in control of my needs. Don't be scared to get hungry. Hungry is normal. Don't become obsessed with "and I must eat THIS meal at precisely 1.15, and this one at 7.30." It's hard, it's really hard, but try not to think about it and only eat when you feel hungry.

4. Eat what you want
Tonight I had a family-sized bag of Kettle Chips for dinner. I can hear the blogger in 2012 wailing and throwing herself down the stairs at this fact, but to quote Dappy, No Regrets. It's what I wanted to eat. I ate it. It was great. Not hungry anymore. Not sure what I'm going to have for breakfast tomorrow. MAYBE TOAST. MAYBE PORRIDGE. MAYBE EVEN COCO POPS. Let yourself breathe the spontaneity. 

I cannot tell you how much happier I am ever since I stopped trying to lose weight. I don't know how much I weigh but I DO know I now fit into jeans that I couldn't six months ago, and I'm also a happier, healthier person. To quote Dappy for the second time in this blog post, every time I look in the mirror I just don't even recognise myself.

Just to conclude:
Are you reading this and worrying about how many calories are in your lunch tomorrow? YES YOU?
Have you ever been upset as you ate something you felt like you shouldn't?
Has anyone ever made you feel like you want to lose weight to the point where you can't even remember what you think of your own appearance and if you think you look okay? 
Just screw them all and eat whatever you want to have for lunch tomorrow. If that's chia seeds, go ahead. But all I can say is you'd BETTER enjoy them.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Body image, again.

This is not an actual blog post as such but just a collection of random thoughts given the portrayal of women and body image of the media following my recent googling of Queen Mischa Barton resulting in the discovery of some horrific, nasty articles written by both pathetic bloggers and major news outlets given the fact she has now gained a little weight and looks like a normal person:

  • WHY is Jennifer Lawrence held up as some sort of spokeswoman for women that aren't skinny in the media? The whole basis of the breakout role of Jennifer Lawrence's career is that her body is at such a prime level of physical fitness that she is able to WIN THE HUNGER GAMES. No, Jennifer Lawrence does not look as skinny as some individual actresses in the media. But she is clearly a very slim, slender and attractive woman and trying to hold it up as anything else is incredibly demeaning and patronising to all of us that aren't size 8s.
  • WHY are women held up as a failure for putting on weight or a success for losing weight? Well done Jennifer Hudson, you are now thinner and therefore deserve to be more successful! What a shame Mischa, you now look like a normal person, no wonder your career isn't as successful as it was! 
It is clear that to be an equal darling of both the media and Buzzfeed articles you need to either:

  • Be one of the like, <5% of the population that can stay slim without trying (and even then, good luck adjusting once you're over 30!)
  • Go to the gym 6+ times a week and ensure 90% of your food is lettuce, chia seeds and protein shakes

But the important thing to ensure is:
  • To always talk about how much you love cake and fries and burgers and pizza so you remain relatable. 

I haven't written in this blog in ages as A) I don't have much to say as finally rather than constantly obsessing over how much I weigh I'm kind of living my life and B) it's beginning to make me feel uncomfortable. I re-read some of my earliest posts the other day and some of them I find a little shocking. I mean for example, THIS post to pick a random is so indicative of a person who is lost in an endless binge starve cycle and has no body confidence that reading it makes me just want to give my past self a hug. I was at a healthy weight when I wrote that blog post but even just re-reading the individual sentences just makes me itch and crawl as I can remember the true self-loathing I felt and the tears that were in my eyes as I wrote it. I mean just to give you an example this picture was taken a week after that post was written: 

That is NOT someone who should have been crying for hours as they'd eaten a Twix they hadn't accounted for in their insane weekly food plan created three weeks in advance in some bizarre Excel workbook they'd created for themselves and spent an hour a day curating.

I don't know what my point is really. I think basically I am slowly coming to the realisation that somewhere inside my head I was a bit ill and had a warped perception of what I actually looked like, and all these thoughts are out there recorded on the internet and it makes me sick. I hate the fact I allowed myself to be talked into getting into that ridiculous mindset.

I know most of my readers are people that write similar blogs so all I can say is this: 

  • Think very carefully right now about your relationship with your own diet and whether you are on this diet for the right reasons.
  • NEVER lose weight to keep anyone else happy or because someone else thinks you should. Whether that's your boyfriend, husband, friends, family or whatever, make sure you lose this weight for yourself and not someone else. 
  • If someone shames you for your body they don't deserve to be in your life.
  • Eat what you want when you want it. I'm sitting writing this next to a pizza. YOLO. 

And here is my pledge to myself that, perhaps in the future, if I feel like it for the right reasons, I'll cut down on unhealthy food and step up the exercise. But I will never, ever count another calorie or point or Syn or anything ever again. All this promotes is an obsessive, unhealthy attitude that takes literally YEARS to break. And I would urge anyone reading this to think about doing the same. 

Monday, 3 February 2014

Sticks and stones

I don't own any photos of myself from between the ages of 18-20. I'm not tagged in any on Facebook, I don't have any pictures on my computer, I threw all my physical photos away. I took many hundreds, thousands of photos of my friends and I during this time but they are all gone. Therefore, unlike the vast majority of people my age, I have for the past couple of years not had a firm idea of what I looked like during this time, just my idyllic mental picture.

However, I've always thought of being 19 as the peak of my physical attractiveness. I've always thought - that was when I had a nice body. That's when I had good hair. That's when I wore my make-up well. That's why people were attracted to me at that time. I just looked better.

Tonight by chance I stumbled across some videos from when I was 19 for the first time in years. I was shocked to look at myself and see that I in fact objectively look absolutely no better than I do now. I'm probably about the same size, my make-up is terrible and I have a dodgy fringe. Why have I always remembered myself as being hot at this time?

And then I remembered, that was a time before I ever went on a diet.

That was a time where I'd happily gone my whole life eating what I wanted just when I was hungry. 

That was a time when I'd spent a couple of years cyclically going back on forth around the same half stone depending on how active I was at any particular time. That was a time when sometimes, yes, I was about three or four pounds overweight. I remember a doctor telling me once when I signed up to a new GP at university, "you're about 4lbs overweight." And I remember thinking, "It's fine as no one would ever guess that I weigh that much as I carry it fairly well don't I?"

I was 21 the first time anyone told me that I should go on a diet and since then it has not ever been the same. At my absolute all-time biggest I was about a stone overweight. I look back at that time thinking "Oh god I was hideous I was so massive how disgusting." In fact I was about a size 14. 

After two and a half years of constant binge/starve dieting and then suddenly and dramatically giving it up I think I'm finally beginning to get back normal eating habits. Well, that's not true, as my eating itself was always normal, in that I had three meals a day and never starved myself or anything. If anything it's less 'normal' now. But it was my relationship with food. Every second of my life I was acutely aware of what I was next going to eat and when. Every time I ever deviated from the plan - for ANY reason - I felt like the worst person in the universe. Every time I ever weighed myself, which was pretty much every day, and I had put on any weight, I just felt useless and unattractive and disgusting.

Now I feel like my relationship with food is much more healthy. If I want a burger, I will get a burger. If I want more chips, I will get more chips. If someone offers me a chocolate mini roll but I don't really fancy it, I won't eat it. I don't really think about food unless I'm already hungry. I've allowed myself to actually get hungry for the first time in years because before I was afraid of how much I might eat if that ever happened.  

So now I don't even know how much I weigh, I just know that I just about fit into size 12 trousers, which probably means I'm no longer overweight by prior experience. I wonder how long it will be before my body image isn't on my mind 50 times a day. 

I wonder if ever again I will be able to feel nonchalant about my own body like I did when I was 19.  

I actually don't want to feel like this, I don't want to be sitting here thinking about how much I weigh. As there's a part of me in my head that knows I am healthy and that I look fine. But there is just another part of me somewhere else in my head that just won't shut up about how much better I would look if I was thinner. About how much better I would look if I just looked like I did when I was 19. 

But the fact is, despite the way I remember it, the pictures prove I wasn't even actually thin at 19. I just didn't know what it was like to have someone call you fat.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

2014 Goals

Happy New Year to every wonderful and flawless human being that reads my blog! I know I am at a weird spot in the blogosphere, kind of floundering toward being a 'running' blogger but with still not the vaguest clue what I am doing and unable to provide any of you any guidance or advice. However, I hope you all continue to enjoy reading about my ridiculous adventures.

I'm going to try and set some CLEAR and SUCCINCT goals for the year (with clarity and brevity being two things I forever struggle with):

* Complete 10k race in March
* Be able to run 10k with zero walk breaks (Am realistic enough to know this may not be possible before the race - but is the goal for the end of the year)
* Start doing more of other kinds of exercise other than running
* Enter ballot for Royal Parks Half Marathon. Go with whatever card fate deals me on that one
* Avoid going more than two consecutive weeks without doing any running

* Eat more fruit and vegetables - the aim is to get my 5 a day 5 days out of 7
* Drink more water
* Continue to never try chia seeds
* Eat the food I WANT when I WANT IT. Nothing is off-limits, nothing is banned. If I want a burger, GET THE BURGER. Basically - have a healthy relationship with food, as a starve/binge cycle is not doing anyone any favours (I have pages, and pages, and pages of thoughts in my head that I could write about this - but I'll save it for a more pensive day)

* Try to be nicer and stop using humour as a shield
* Take my makeup off at the end of the day at least 6 days out of 7 (I am currently AWFUL at this)
* Cut down on use of taxis
* Continue to have a positive relationship with my own self-image.

I'm going to have to start 'properly' training for the 10k pretty soon (EEK) and will be writing up my ridiculous attempts all up on here. x

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

New Blog Title

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Hi all,

I used to be over at Losing Weight The Lazy Way but you can now find me here. New Year, New Me and my reasons for writing a blog have changed!

I can lie and pretend that this post was intended for actual content, but basically I need to claim this blog with bloglovin and thought I would write a little prose to make it a bit less impersonal.

I'm trying to transfer all my bloglovin followers over, but if you fancy getting ahead of the game you could always click above! ;)

Thanks to you all for your continued support.


Monday, 30 December 2013

2013 - Keep on surviving

So as I type this opening sentence we have approximately 26 hours left of 2013. Why not jump on the blogging bandwagon and review it?

One thing I can say for the year of 2013 is that I am sure I will always remember it. It's not going to be a 1997 or 2004, forever lost in the wilds of my memories being unable to identify any specific event that may have have occurred. I've had some brilliant highs and some terrible, core-of-the-earth scraping lows.

I remember clearly at the end of September sitting on the floor of my old bedroom in my parents' house, surrounded by empty mugs of tea and hyperventilating, with no idea where I was going to live and what I was going to do, and thinking to myself "This is rock bottom. I am always going to look back at this and think, that was rock bottom." And you know what? I was wrong. I have never been as scared as I was for those few weeks of sofa-hopping around South London. I have never felt so lost or afraid and I have never listened to so much Kelly Clarkson. However, I have never felt so 'the opposite of alone'. The amount of genuine support, both practical and emotional, I had from so many people - family, friends, colleagues, even people from the internet I'd never met-  was INSANE and you know what? I bounced back sooner and higher than I could have ever imagined.

November & December of 2013 have been two of the best months of my life. I feel like over the past few years I had, so slowly I hadn't even really noticed, lost my control over who I was and what I wanted. Finally, I feel like I'M BACK AND I'M AMAZING. Because you know what? I am amazing. I may be slightly chubby and have minging feet, but at the same time I'm hilarious and have great hair. I don't know if I'll ever look in the mirror and totally like what I see (spending three years as a teenager being called ugly and annoying every day of your life will do that for you) BUT I look in the mirror now and I don't hate myself. I think, particularly if I've already done my make-up "You look okay. Perhaps even above average!"

I write this blog weighing about half a stone less than when I wrote my end of year blog in 2012. Most of that weight loss to be honest I can't really chalk up to anything more than a bout of extreme stress followed by a change of lifestyle meaning there's less junk food around the kitchen. However, weight loss really isn't my priority anymore. My priority is to be happy and (somewhat) healthy, both physically and emotionally. And more importantly, to continue to have a positive relationship with my own self-image.

Most importantly of all perhaps, when I wrote my end of year blog in 2012 I'd have struggled to run to the end of the road and back. I write this blog in 2013 being able to run 5k 3 times a week and having signed up for a 10k in March. Despite my chronic unfitness throughout my life and my utter aversion to physical exercise, I have accidentally discovered a love for running through nothing but my own amazingness (i.e. actually sticking to the plan and CARRYING ON TRYING.) If that's not something to love myself for I don't know what is.

My only New Year's Resolution is - Keep on surviving.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

My favourite workout songs of 2013

Something you should probably know about me is that I am a MASSIVE pop music fan. I've only ever once ran without music which was when I did my 5k race as headphones weren't allowed. I just about managed to cope because of the sheer adrenaline and excitement of being in a race, but otherwise I literally could not imagine how horrific it might be to run without Eye of the Tiger and Survivor egging me on. Running's a really good way to listen to a new album and sometimes a proper TUNE coming on can really inspire me to go faster.

Anyway, I thought I would make a playlist of my favourite running songs that were released in 2013 (these aren't my favourite of all time of course - but I will save that for some sort of massive 100-song mega playlist at some point.) (My usual running playlist has 450 songs on it and counting). This playlist is 40 minutes long so is perfect if you are training for a 5k and feeling like being reflective over the year. 

Be warned: This playlist, much like me, is NOT 'credible' 

$$$ex - Vanessa Hudgens vs YLA
Work Bitch - Britney Spears
Roar - Katy Perry 
Heart Attack - Demi Lovato
I Need Your Love - Calvin Harris ft. Ellie Goulding
#thatPOWER - ft. Justin Bieber
Pompeii - Bastille
I Love It - Icona Pop ft. Charli XCX
Summertime Sadness Remix - Lana Del Rey vs Cedric Gervais
Do What U Want - Lady GaGa ft R.Kelly
Can We Dance - The Vamps

PS - My favourite workout song of all time is Miami 2 Ibiza - Tinie Tempah & Swedish House Mafia. I seriously do not like it at any other time except if I am exercising but when it comes on during a run I am ON IT. Give it a go.