Sunday, 1 March 2015

A Whole Different Me.

It’s over two years ago since I began my journey to a healthier and fitter lifestyle. When I set out on my quest, I was a so desperately unhappy and trapped in a body I loathed. I had zero confidence and found it impossible to be proud of myself. I’m not perfect, and I’ve learnt that aspiring for perfection is impossible. You will always have a flaw – but that’s what makes us individual and unique. My journey changed not only my body, but my mindset and outlook too. It wasn’t up until a few evenings ago – sat up in bed beside my husband, it hit me… 

PicMonkey Collage At my heaviest in 2012 /  Pre-run yesterday: February 2015
My whole life has changed in ways I didn’t even think were possible. I am a COMPLETELY different person now and that is something I need to be proud of every day

Running has undoubtedly shaped my life – I live, breathe to run. Which may sound like a strong statement, but it’s my passion and fuel that gets me up in a morning, gets me by day to day. I genuinely get excited about running. The discipline factor gives me the balance and structure I need in my life. I am naturally a ‘lazy’ person. I let things build up and sometimes forget to do things. With running, I can keep on track and have a structure and balance to my life. 

When I run – I’m free. Free from all the troubles of the day. Sometimes I find running is a cure for any type of frustration/stress. Running is a therapy and just like many athletes and sports people, I give it my all. I do believe that running will be a part of my life forever. I can’t imagine a time when I won’t want to run.

Post-run on New Years Day 2015 in Nice

I’ve had my fair share of diets. Although I never followed a weight plan (such as Weight Watchers or Slimming World), I have tried my weight in cookbooks. I’ve learnt how to cut calories and ‘cheat’ recipes. But now, I don’t need to do this - in essence. It sounds really silly, but I feel more equipped than ever with my own knowledge of what to prepare, cook and eat. Crucially I don’t need to rely on all of those diet recipes anymore. 

Time is definitely a lesson.
 Whilst in my first stages of dieting, and all the pre-wedding lead up I would have considered myself on a very strict diet. There were banned foods, and portion size control, I felt trapped. I always think that if my wedding was any further way – I don’t know how much longer I could have carried on or even if I would have made it. I know it sounds a little dramatic, but dieting is very bland and restrictive. If given the chance it can begin to ruin and influence your entire life. 

After our wedding I began a new chapter – which I believe has taught me the true value of health and nutrition. I admit, I’ve had my ups and downs particurlarly as winter crept in late last year, because seeing a different shape in the mirror or feeling the pinch of your jeans does give you a cloud of doubt in your mind. But, pushing through Christmas and coming out of the other side – 2015 has been a complete positive change and I'm the happiest I have ever been in all aspects of my life - my marriage, work, running, health, body and mind.

I don’t at all; consider myself to be actively dieting. Which after 18months of a strict diet, I do feel almost like a naughty child. But that stages passes, because you realise life is about fun, and having good times. I wouldn’t want to for a second jeopardise what I have for the sake of a dress size. I like to indulge, especially on a special occasion and a weekend night with my husband – red wine, good home cooked food, and even nuts, cheese, sundries as a treat etc.

Our Honeymoon in Fiji May 2014

My everyday meals consist of natural and healthy ingredients. My favourite foods are mostly natural and don’t include meat - which is something I am very much benefitting from. I don’t feel there is any presence or need for any type of meat in my diet. Blueberry, avocado, kiwi, passion fruit, dates, sultanas all come out top on a list of my favourite foods.

 I do love to indulge, but I don’t crave typically fatty foods. When reading Deliciously Ella a few weeks ago, I felt at last someone who I could relate to. Because she pointed out – that food which she used to eat regularly (like takeout pizza), now seem repulsive, and not at all attractive. Which I totally understand. I would find it incredibly difficult to eat ‘takeout’ I know it sounds ridiculous, but when you build your body on natural and healthy ingredients, eating bad food completely contradicts your whole ethos. It’s like taking time to collect wood to build a log fire, set it alight and then for a few moments later extinguishing it out. All the effort that has gone into it, wiped out in an instance.

 Without sounding like a complete preacher, or mad nut. (Trust me - I’m not, even though I do eat a lot of them, especially pistachio!) I just wanted to spread a bit of positivity – because however difficult it may seem or impossible, good food can taste good, and you know what EVEN BETTER than you thought. You have to learn to love and look after yourself, treat your body with respect and be actively aware of what you are putting into it. Because, one day you might need your health and we as women have a lot ahead. (Possibly pregnancies, breastfeeding, motherhood...yes). 

I don’t want to be on a diet my entire life – I don’t want that restriction and unhappiness. I want to live a long-term healthy lifestyle - that ultimately provides me with strength, pride and a healthy and fit body. Which at the very start was the complete opposite of what I had.

 I jump up and down when I discover a new type of linseed, or have a fresh supply of blueberries in the house. I love learning about what goes into my body. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, that if I can do it – anyone can. All I need to do is look back at an old photograph and remember just how unhappy I was back then. It’s worth the fight. It’s not impossible to get fit and it’s most certainly not difficult to be healthy AND happy. 

Love, live and be proud of what you have.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Dear 2015 Brides,

It feels almost surreal writing this. I know a few bloggers are preparing for their 2015 weddings and a close friend is also preparing to get 'hitched' this summer, so I thought only fair to share a few of my own experiences. You know, it’s only the biggest day of your life to prepare for.
This time last year we were on the final countdown towards our May wedding, which had been booked two years in advance soon after our engagement in Paris.
Alice and Simon (49 of 366)1
 This was one of the last photographs taken of me, before leaving for the church - I remember this moment very clearly. I was petrified, but so gracious - that the time was finally here. The day of our wedding had arrived, and our lives were going to change forever. This is what I wish someone had told me in the lead up to mine...

Now let me tell you, at the time it seemed like forever away. It was painful knowing we had YEARS to wait. But, in essence, two years is not long enough! I’m going to be straight; no amount of time (months/years) can allow you to be prepared. We ran out of time.
In this eventuality you just have to go with it. Yes – you might have dreamt up this incredible table decoration, convinced yourself you could bake your own wedding cake, but it didn’t quite happen. So be it, live it, and find solace in knowing you did what you could.

However confident you may seem, they will get you. You might have played out the wedding scene in your mind one hundred times, but one day (for me it was a fortnight before our wedding, whilst driving to my parents house, I suddenly began sobbing at the wheel) it’s going to hit you like a ton of bricks just how big this is. How many people are attending your wedding, waiting, anticipating seeing you enter the church, what it’s going to be like literally being the centre of attention and how it’s going to feel walking down the aisle and becoming ‘Mrs…’ for real. Get the tissues at the ready.

Be grateful to your Husband-to-Be.
He’s the one single person who is going through the exact same scenario and feeling as you are. Love him today, love him tomorrow and remember he’s the one who took a chance on you and wanted you the most.
Body, Diet and Willpower
This is the BIG ONE. Because you’ve got the dress, and you know exactly how you want/need it to feel and look on the big day. Nothing will convince you enough that you look okay right now. The scales will petrify you and eating will be difficult – especially if you have occasions such as Easter, birthdays etc. looming.
Don’t lose faith – the final push is always the hardest (especially when you want to stuff your face full of chocolate), but maintain that healthy lifestyle, and allow yourself to exercise. Think of the reward at the end. I don’t quite know how to put it, but the ‘wedding diet’ is one of those infamous ones, and sadly we as women feel obliged to follow one. Because, we all want to look our best on our wedding day – it’s just a fact of life and it's okay to feel like this.
My journey was life-changing and wasn’t solely wedding related, I was overweight and desperately unhappy, but my initial goal was to be happy with the way I looked on my wedding day. And that, I achieved.
I am not going to lie – an impending wedding can be soul destroying on your appetite. Food is hard to appreciate, because all you want to do is look your best and you will not let anything jeopardise that.
Try not to be too hard on yourself, you need to be healthy and sensible, but remember without a question of doubt the willpower now will pay off. And your Honeymoon is for EATING everything (even the chocolate, in my case mine and my husbands chocolate mousse pudding on the plane).
I get it.

Cherish every single moment of your last months of being ‘single’ – yes you’ve been in a relationship for a long time now, but on the actual census records you are SINGLE. So these last few months of signing as Miss and in your maiden name (that belongs to your parents) are actually precious.  

Finally, anticipate what is coming, because it is life-changing. It is so huge that you will not realise until you are right in the midst of it. This is ultimately the day you have dreamt of your entire life and weddings (however small or big) all amount to one thing: LOVE.
Enjoy every single moment between now, the wedding and ever after.
I hope, if anything this helped and reassured you – that it’s going to be okay.
Yours Sincerely