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.

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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!

img_0553

(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!

“Feed me Seymour…”

I recently posted about how I’d decided to go on a health kick and make some changes to my life. One of the biggest parts of this is working on improving my diet. It was terrible, mainly consisting of white carbs, chocolate, and cheese. I just didn’t want to make any meals in the evenings, and my lunches were just whatever was on offer on the high street. Very unhealthy and very expensive. Not enough of any of the good things, and much too much fat and sugar.

The new daily diet plans looks something like this:

Breakfast – one scoop protein shake with fruits and skimmed milk

Snack – nuts and raisins

Lunch – grilled chicken or salmon with spinach, veggies, avocado, and grains (quinoa, couscous etc.)

Snack – banana

Dinner – 2 egg omelette with sweet potato, spinach, red peppers

Snack – 50g dark chocolate (need chocolate in my life!)

If it’s been a particularly heavy session in the gym I’ll add in another protein shake, but the above comes to around 1750 calories which is what seems to be absolutely plenty. I don’t want to spend my days counting calories, so I’m trying to stick to a couple of new habits:

– no white carbs

– 2/3rds of the plate must be veggies

– make better snack choices!

– if feeling peckish drink a glass of water first before getting a snack (often I’m not actually hungry, but thirsty instead!)

I’ll keep you posted on how this all goes, I’ve been doing it for a few weeks, but that’s not enough time to test a new diet. But I can say I already have lots more energy and feel much less bloated! Hurrah!

A lazy girls journey to fitness

Despite my best attempts, you cannot survive on chocolate and gin alone.  I recently decided to go on a health kick, change my terrible diet, and start moving.  I didn’t realise how quickly you lose your fitness, and over the last few years my life has become increasingly sedentary and my body increasingly wobbly.

So, in October 17 I decided to join the gym – very much ‘all the gear and no idea’ – and was promptly told that I was 35% body fat (what!?) and that my metabolic age was that of someone 20 years older.  Eeek – not good at all.  I was actually really ashamed when I saw those results – how on earth had I allowed my body to get into such a way?  My family has lots of health problems and issues around food, and I felt terrible that as one of the few without these problems, I’d actually been doing damage to myself anyway.

At first, I have to be honest, I was half-assing it. Didn’t change my diet effectively and was quite relaxed about missing sessions.  Whilst losing weight and fat, I wasn’t achieving anything significant.  After checking in on my weight and body fat in Jan 18, whilst I had made some progress, it was clear it wasn’t going in a great direction.  I wasn’t really sure what my goals were, other than to lose weight, so my workouts were directionless and inefficient.

I now have an utterly wonderful Personal Trainer who is pushing me and making me accountable.  Every time I walk into my gym (which is much more regularly!) it feels like I have a support system there.  The gyms motto is ‘never train alone’ and they really deliver on that.  You know everyone by name and they welcome you as you pop in.  I still have the tendency to want to give up sooner than I need to, the knowledge that someone is watching you and actually rooting for you, seems to quickly help the motivation and gives an extra spurt of energy!

I have made more progress in this month than I have in any other since joining, and finally it seems that going to the gym has become my new habit. Rather than slobbing on the sofa watching another terrible film I’m pulling on my leggings and heading out the door.

I read a very interesting article in The Pool recently which was talking the complex issues we have today with being ‘skinny’, and it made me realise that at first my motivation to move myself was purely based on the way I look.  But now I’m feeling better and living better, I am considering the aesthetics of it as a positive side effect.  So here’s my rather messy progress shot:

In terms of how I’ve improved my diet, I’ll write a separate post on that, but as I say above, you cannot survive on chocolate alone!

I still have lots of work to do to get myself fitter, and I’m actually now very excited about the journey!

Living with Anxiety

The last few months have thrown my progress in handling my anxiety down a flight of stairs.  I’m not sure what the trigger was, perhaps the breakdown of a long term relationship, or increased pressure at work, or something else entirely.  But I write this after crying in the middle of Terminal 4 at Heathrow, on my way to Rome for a series of meetings for work.  As I write this, I have spent the last 2 hours panicking that I haven’t checked in correctly, despite 1) having printed out my boarding pass, and 2) gotten through security!

I have managed to convince myself that I have done this all incorrectly, and will not be allowed onto my flight.  I have in the last 2 hours – rang the airline to check (they say it is all fine!), asked the information people at the airport (they say it is all fine), found the airline information desk (they say it is all fine, and that I have picked a nice seat!) – and yet, here I am, sat waiting for the gate to be announced, panicking that they are all wrong, and I will not be allowed onto the flight.  I have been panicking to the point that I haven’t been able to stop myself from crying, my heart feels like it may stop at any moment, and I have the overwhelming urge to vomit.  I mean – I have now become *THAT* person at the airport!

I am not normally an anxious flier.  I have flown countless times, and on my own a number of time, with no problems what-so-ever.  But today has been different.  I’m not anxious about flying – I’m anxious about EVERYTHING, and this had been a catalyst.  I have noticed a huge spike in my feeling of anxiety in the last 3 months.  Sleeping is difficult, work is difficult – everything is difficult. Writing helps. Anxiety is a difficult thing to live with. But this too shall pass.

#redhairdontcare

I’m a natural redhead, which is something that makes me incredibly happy!  That hasn’t always been the case, whilst at university I decided to have some fun with my hair, and dyed it all the colours I could: pillar box red, black, purple… you name it I tried it.

Over the last few years I’ve been going back to my ‘roots’.  However natural red hair does start to fade with age *sobs*.  So I’ve been looking at ways to brighten up my locks.  Usual tips to stop red hair fading are: using colour depositing shampoos, rinsing hair with cranberry juice, using sulfate free hair products etc.  None of these have really given me the result I’ve been looking for, so today I picked up a box dye and gave it a whirl!

I opted for  L’Oreal Casting Crème Gloss Hair Dye Auburn Henna 4.43.  This appears rather dark on the box but, from experience, my hair doesn’t tend to go as dark or as bright as on the boxes, and red colours do tend to fade quickly, so thought this would be a good option.

It always looks like a murder scene whilst washing out red hair dye, but that always makes me chuckle!

 

**I messed up and put the ‘before’ picture after the ‘after’ picture, but I’m lazy and not much in the mood to change it!  You get the gist 🙂