Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!

I’m not a naturally confident person, which might surprise people. After all I always used to be on stage, singing and dancing my heart out. But the point of that was that you are always someone else, playing a part that you can hide behind! I’ve not got a problem singing in front of 500 people, nor do I have a problem delivering a presentation at work to the board members, or putting my name forward for a new project…

It’s when I have to be ‘me’ that I struggle. I’m socially awkward, make the wrong jokes, say the wrong things, and just want to curl up in a hole. I don’t want people to notice me. The way I feel about my body is a big part of that. As long as I can remember I’ve felt like the hideous person in the room, the fat, ginger, ugly one.

For years I was told I needed to lose weight, that I had massive thighs and fat shoulders, needed to change my hair, wear more makeup, dress better. Always followed up with ‘are you seriously thinking about going out looking like that’, and ‘make sure you don’t say anything weird tonight’.

That really sucked. I wasn’t free. Always feeling like I was embarrassing someone, that I had to be someone else, look a certain way, and only speak when spoken to. Just smile and nod and fade away.

It’s taken a long time, and I still have a long way to go, but I’ve finally realised that it is ok to be me. To make stupid jokes, to openly like ‘lame’ things. People are complex and interesting, it’s these things that we love. And if you don’t like me, that’s ok. Not everyone will like everyone they meet. It would be weird if you did! I’m not going to stay up worrying at night because someone doesn’t like me and want to be my friend.

You can see see through the fake. If you aren’t being authentic, you know. That’s been a life changing realisation to come to.

And what about my body? I still feel huge, but I don’t feel ugly anymore. I’m proud of what my body can do. Yes I hate the cellulite and stretch marks, and the acne and how I’m so pale you can practically see straight through me! But, despite this, I can feel sexy and whole and no one but me gets to judge my body. It’s mine, and I won’t ever let anyone’s opinion of it make me feel substandard again.

So I’ll continue taking vanity pictures, I’ll continue being my annoying ridiculous self, after all, this is who I am right now, and not giving a damn is an incredible thing.

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Two tried and tested vegan and gluten free chocolate cookie recipes!!

I bloody love cookies.  I love them so much.  I’ve never been much of a cake person, but cookies… I cannot be left unattended in a room with them.

I’m trying to be a bit more… sensible, when it comes to my eating.  And whilst these recipes are still calorie bombs, they are bloody tasty and I can trick myself into thinking they are good for you! Both of these recipes are vegan and gluten free.  You can use unrefined sugar in them if you wish, I just haven’t tested it myself, so let me know how it goes!  Both of these have been adapted from recipes by the amazing Chocolate Covered Katie.

Chocolate Brownie Peanut Butter stuffed cookies:

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Oh my god, these are divine.  They are a cross between brownies and cookies, and have an amazingly fudgey texture… delicious.

  • 1 cup homemade gf oat flour (blend one and a half to two cups of gluten free oats to a flour consistency! Used holland and barrett gf oats)
  • 6 tbsp naturya organic cocoa powder
  • 6 tbsp sugar (I used brown sugar but coconut sugar would work well if going for unrefined sugar)
  • ¼ tsp gf baking powder
  • ¼ tsp Himalayan pink sea salt
  • 1⁄4 cup coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp gf oat milk
  • 2 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 75g Vegan dark chocolate, chopped, optional (lol not optional really…)
  • 3 tbsp pip and nut smooth peanut butter
    (makes 12)
  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees c. Mix dry ingredients together. Add liquid ingredients minus peanut butter. Roll into balls, flatten, stuff with some peanut butter, roll back into a ball (this gets messy!). Pop on a lined baking sheet and bake for 10 mins (they won’t look that done but they are, trust me!). Take out and leave to cool completely on baking tray, and flatten tops down. Try not to eat them in one go… (This is a mashup of recipes I found online, an old tried and tested cookie recipe from good housekeeping years ago, and ideas from what was in my store cupboard…)

Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies!

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These are melt in your mouth yummy! They are like a crumbly chocolate almond shortbread.. and so yummy

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 50g vegan chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • pinch of Pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/8th tsp gf baking powder
  • 2 tbsp of coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp unsweetened almond milk

Preheat oven to 160 degrees c.  Mix all the dry ingredients together well.  Add wet ingredients and mix into a ball.  Roll small balls out of the dough (you’ll get between 8 – 10!),  pop onto a lined baking tray and press down into cookie shapes, bake for 10 mins.  Leave to cool on the baking sheet (they’ll be too fragile to touch when warm).  Scoff with an oat milk latte!!

New year, new me? I don’t bloody well think so!

Brace yourselves: the ‘new year, new me’ bullshit has started! Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a wonderful thing to set yourself new goals for the new year, outlining some things you would like to achieve in the next 12 months, bad habits you’d like to break, and new habits you’d love to start.

It’s just more often than not, these resolutions come from a place of negativity and place relentless pressure on people, which means they will inevitably give up, and feel like a failure. ‘I’m going to lose 5 stone, eat a only healthy diet 100% of the time, never swear, take up a new hobby, and become an Instagram supermodel!’.

Please, be kind to yourselves!!

The people in your life don’t want a ‘new you’ – we want you. The genuine, authentic, real you. You are amazing and wonderful, beautiful, and strong.

No one is perfect. Everyone is unique.

I think we should all give ourselves a goal that helps you, empowers you, and strengthens you. Not a goal that feeds into negativity, or makes you feel like a failure.

What are my goals? To keep making progress, to keep going at the gym, to finish my dance teacher training, to be kind to the people in my life, to appreciate every day – good and bad. To live my life, and not to let anyone (especially myself) make me feel worthless, or unlovable.

Oh and to keep taking shameless selfies, unapologetically!

A lazy girls journey to fitness – part 4

After my wobble last month, I actually missed writing a post between the last update and this one, where I ended up putting back on 2kgs, feeling rotten about myself and wanting just to give up and bathe in a vat of Camembert. Work has been so stressful and my comfort is, and always will be, food.

But why should I let a stressful job impact the progress I’d made? Feeling stressed and taking a backwards step made me feel completely useless in all parts of my life. And I just wanted to world to leave me the hell alone. Queue a pep talk from my PT and some good friends which I will sum up as – ‘don’t let the bastards get you down!’ I’m the sort of person who cares so very deeply about my job and what people think of me. But sometimes, people expect too much. Boundaries are very important, and I’ve recently discovered that ‘no’ is a perfectly valid response to when someone asks you for something and doesn’t need any justification.

So back to the gym, back to good eating, (step away from the cheese Meg!), and learning to set up boundaries, and I’m pleased to say we’re making progress again! I’m meditating at least 20 mins a day and my soul feels calmer.

My last scan shows that I’ve dropped to 20% body fat from the scary 35.6% I was exactly a year ago! My muscle mass is at its highest and my metabolic age is now 13 (yeah.. I’m not sure what that means but seems positive!)

I’m so very lucky and fortunate to be in the position I’m in. I need to spend more time being grateful for this world, the people in my life, and the amazing things I’ve achieved, and spend much less time being stressed, comparing myself to others, and wondering what is in my future. After all ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’.

Let’s talk about size

It is incredibly frustrating to go into a shop and encounter the sheer insanity that is clothes sizing. So many people are writing about this and calling retailers out on their bullshit but, let’s be honest, they aren’t going to listen. Vanity sizing, and sizing down (I see you topshop and H&M) is here to stay, because it controls the demographics the shops want wearing their brands. In some places I’m a size 6 or XS, in some a size 14, M or L. The shops that I’m in the ‘target audience’ for, the sizes are always are a lower number than those who don’t really want me…

It’s frustrating. But after too many tears in unflatteringly lit changing rooms, and watching my friends and family come out disheartened due to a label in a pair of trousers, I’m not listening to what size my clothes say I am anymore. It is diminishing. I am not an ‘8’ or a ’12’, I am not defined by size.

Wear what you want. Wear what makes you feel sexy, powerful, bold, and who ever you want to be that day. Rip the label out if the size on it bothers you, and remember you look damn awesome.

Here’s me feeling awesome in a leopard print, green culottes, rocking my llama print phone case. Because why the hell not?

Oh, for prosperity’s sake, the top is from Whistles (size XS) and the trousers are Zara (size Small), (all current and in season as of August 18!) and this outfit makes me feel like a boss.

A perfect pairing of granola and poached plums

One of the great things about the fact the nights are starting to draw in, is that I can start moving away from my summer diet of salads and avocados, and start making delicious foods equivalent to an autumnal hug. Autumn IS my season. Something about the smell in the air at the turn of the season always fills me with joy, as the leaves all start to turn their golden shades, and sunlight starts to turn a deeper egg yolk yellow. Digging out my cashmere jumpers and boots gives such a deep feeling of fulfilment, and I can’t quite put my finger on why. Probably the promise of evenings cwtched up with a book and a hot chocolate (or even a mulled cider..)

So today I’m making my favourite things. A homemade granola and some poached plums. These couldn’t be simpler (or cheaper) to make, keep for weeks, and are utterly delicious. Particularly combined with some Greek yoghurt for breakfast!

My poached plums with vanilla and cinnamon:

200ml water

500g plums

200g sugar (I used plain old caster, but golden caster would be amazing)

Half a cinnamon stick

1 tbsp vanilla extract

Heat the water in a saucepan over a low heat, and pour in the sugar – stir in until dissolved

In the meantime, stone and quarter the plums

Once the sugar has dissolved in the water, add the half cinnamon stick and vanilla

Add the fruit into the sugar syrup (carefully! This stuff is hot!)

Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 mins.

Leave to cool and try not to eat it in one go!

Cinnamon and pistachio granola

200g rolled oats

50g pistachio nuts (shelled)

2 tbsp coconut oil (melted)

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

4 tbsp honey

1 tsp flaxseed

2 tbsp desiccated coconut

75g dried fruit

25g coconut flakes

Heat the oven to 150 degrees centigrade

Mix the oats, nuts, oil, honey and cinnamon together in a bowl.

Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 10 mins.

Stir, and return to the oven until at your preferred level of toastiness!

Add back to a bowl, and mix in the remaining ingredients.

Enjoyyy!!!!!!

And it was going so well… part 3

This face sums up the month I’ve had fitness wise!

We all know that the route to fitness is a journey.  Well, I took a little detour this month.  After working so hard I had a bit of a wobble. The snacking started to creep in – a cookie here, a bit of cheese, a bit more cheese, ALL OF THE CHEESE! – and I was off my diet plan with a thud!

I went out with my girlfriends last Saturday, and we had a real blow out. God knows how much we drank, but 3 bottles of prosecco were polished off before we even left my flat.  It was a really wonderful night, with awful lot of laughter and gossiping, dancing, shots and even some hilarious online shopping on lovehoney!  I love these friends more than anything, it was so wonderfully refreshing to have a night being completely carefree, not worrying about my calorie intake, or how bad the booze is for me, or if I had to be up for a run the next morning!

I mean, I paid for it, the hangover from hell hit me hard and I made absolutely no progress fitness wise this month.  I went in for my scan yesterday, and I was expecting to have put on weight and fat. 100%. I’m not delusional. Even though I kept up the gym habit 5 times a week, diet really is the cornerstone of making progress, and I had fallen off the wagon.

To my surprise, my scan results were the EXACT SAME as the previous month.  I had lost 200 grams of muscle and put it back on as fat, but considering the things I’d put my body through, I’ll take that as a win!  As much as I’m annoyed with myself for letting my willpower slip and losing a month of moving forwards, I’m glad that I was able to have some good nights and really enjoy myself.  I didn’t go back to where I was this time last year. So, I’m going to be kind to myself, not beat myself up.

I have written out next week’s meal plan, put myself back on 1500 calories, and made sure the foods I’m putting in my body are whole and good.  I’ll write a separate post on my meal plan and macros later in the week!

Time to get motivated again!

No more Mr Nice Guy

When I was in primary school a teacher once told me to avoid using the word ‘nice’ to describe things. ‘Nice is boring and unimaginative, and means nothing.’ Good advice I think! The only time I use the word ‘nice’ is when I’m being ironic, or am just trying to hedge the conversation.

There’s a line from a song in Into The Woods that also struck a chord with me: ‘You’re so nice, you’re not good, you’re not bad, you’re just nice’.

What does it mean to be ‘nice’ anyway? I think so many of the problems we have relating to people in the real world is that everyone is busy being ‘nice’ to your face – but you never really know if that person is being genuine or sincere.

So, I’m going to stop being ‘nice.’

This doesn’t mean I’m going to turn into some form of evil bitch! but actually, I’m hoping it means I can learn to connect with people in a more honest and meaningful way. Being nice is often means we are all acting with a mask on – it’s a performance. Do you ever get home exhausted after an event where you are forced to smile and nod serenely at someone you have no real regard for? Or do you regret not saying what you really need to say to someone in case they take it the wrong way? Often I’d let people say things to me and not challenge them, because I was worried that coming across as strong or opinionated would mean people wouldn’t like me. I wanted to be nice and to be liked.

I used to be told that I was ‘too nice’, and for years I guess that’s kind of true. I lost a lot of my personality worrying about what opinions people had of me, and I would bite my tongue, and I would fade into the background.

It’s far more important to be kind. I will always try my best to be kind. In every situation, I will strive to treat people with kindness. You don’t always remember what someone has said to you, but you always remember how they made you feel.

So, I’m not going to be nice anymore. Nice is boring and unimaginative after all.

This amazing tee is from Om and Ah and is just so dreamy!

A lazy girls journey to fitness – part 2

It’s been a while since I posted an update on my fitness journey, so, now is the time!

I’ve actually been working really hard, being consistent with my diet (for the most part, I still allow for a few G&Ts once in a while and a dinner out with friends, because life, my dear, is for living!), and trying to push myself in my workouts. I’m still inherently lazy, and it is still tempting to slack off and not try but I’ve set myself a goal and I’m a stubborn Capricorn. I shall not give up!

When I first started on this journey I couldn’t run for 10 minutes.  I can now run a 10k (in 63 mins – I am NOT built for speed), I can make it through a class without wanting to kill myself, and I am getting stronger in what I can lift.  These are all the things that are important: getting general levels of fitness up, eating better, and feeling better.

In terms of results:

In October when I joined the gym I weighed 68.9kgs and was 35.6% body fat.  Those are horrible figures for someone who is 5 foot 5 and 27!  Yesterday (5th July) I had a body scan with my fabulous PT and the results are looking good.  He kept saying figures to me and I didn’t really understand them! But he was smiling so I figured it was good.  These are the headlines:  I now weigh 60.8kgs, and have dropped to 22% body fat.  I’ve gone from a body fat mass of 24.4kgs to 13.8kgs – that’s a loss of 10.6kgs of fat! I’ve put on 2.6kgs of muscle too.

My progress is slow, but my progress is progress and that is what is important in the end. There is still a long way to go, lots to improve, more fun things to try, a lot more sweaty nights in the gym ahead!

If you are struggling with your journey to fitness, I’ve found the following useful to think about.  Be kind to yourself.  Don’t feel guilty or like a failure if you have a few bad days.  No road is easy, keep going, and remember you are doing this to make yourself feel better.  Cute workout clothes will make it less of a chore!

Yummy and healthy banana protein pancakes!

There are so many recipies out there for banana protein pancakes! As soon as you start googling you are thrown a list of recipies that all promise to be ‘the best’! Some have oats, some cottage cheese, some call for whipping the egg whites seperately, and others appear to require a full moon and some chanting!

The below recipie is my favourite one at the moment – super speedy and so easy! These are fabulous before or after the gym, and something I would eat everyday if I was left to my own devices!

Ingredients (serves 1)

1 large banana

1 large egg

25 grams oats

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (25 grams)

1 tsp cinnamon

To serve

1 tbsp low fat creme fraiche

Blueberries (or any fruit you fancy!)

Honey

Instructions:

Throw all the ingredients together in a bowl and blitz with a stick blender until you have a batter!

Heat a non stick frying pan and dollop the batter into 3 puddles.

Fry the pancakes for approx 90 seconds on each side.

Stack, and serve with a spoonful of creme fraiche, some soft fruit and a drizzle of honey.

Enjoy!

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(I wasn’t patient enough to take a proper photo, hence a quick snap, fork in hand!!!)

Nutrition

Based on the above, my maths says thats these pancakes should be roughly at the below:

458 calories

30.4g protein

69.1g carbs

(29.1g sugars)

8.8g fat

10.6g fibre

Hope you enjoy these as much as my greedy face does!