Sunday, 29 March 2015

A Pocketful of Dreams

Recently I've become more aware of myself, my dreams and influence on those around me. From those who have known me for a very long time or those for only a short while, some are still completely shocked that I turned my life around, and often express almost disbelief that I had it in me - to change and ultimately find the confidence that was buried deep inside. I'm not at all offended, because I didn’t think that I could ever be as happy, confident, loved, and fulfilled as I am today.

The Great Outdoors Attire - Coat by Trespass, Trousers and Shoes by Karrimor, Headband and scarf sent from the enchanting Sophie
This was such a blissful day in the Peak District, a day which was completely carefree, doing the things I love - and totally uplifting and thrilling.

Dreams have always played a part in my life – even in my toughest years, and pre-adulthood, I was a keen dreamer.
I was always so reserved and quiet for so long – and hid my own achievements, but with age (ultimately), my weight loss journey, travelling and seeing the world and getting married to my absolute rock of a husband I feel I can finally be proud of what I have in life.

That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped dreaming – I have more tailored dreams now, with much more structure, possibility, yet still with enough whimsicality to make them fuelling, exciting and within reach (almost).
The biggest problem with dreams is that sometimes we all have the same ones. Being questioned about why you have succeeded in something or grasped an opportunity is a tough one to answer. For a second it can make you flutter, but then you remember just how tough it was to get here, and that you don't at all for a second take a moment of your life for granted.
We can all have dreams, and we can share dreams. Because believe it or not, there is enough love, happiness, luck, and good in the world for everybody.

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Sunday, 15 March 2015

One Hundred Times Stronger

February was truly golden.  It’s ironic that the shortest month on the calendar happened to be such a delightful, fulfilled and glorious one. March is promising to be a good ‘filler’ month of sorts. Spring always calls for a spring clean, and getting those DIY jobs done (Thank you Mr Taylor) that were never finished last year, has predominantly been the focus this month with the anticipation of April ahead (Hello: Easter Weekend).  


My running has really stepped up a gear – I managed to surpass all my expectations and ran 100k in February, with a new 5K PB on record. Pretty pleased with that – so pleased I found myself in an awkward situation which involved an ultimate disaster in a runner’s life. (I say no more, other than I found myself rushing home to change afterwards!)  
I’m feeling in good shape nearing the start of spring. I’m determined to have some definition in my bikini body in time for our trip to Thailand in May – but you know what I’m feeling strong, healthy and proud to have finally grasped the balance of a healthy lifestyle.

I’ve been delving further into my Deliciously Ella cookbook, which is fast becoming my go-to recipe book. I have been longing to bake for a while, but still haven’t managed to get my bake on. But I did enjoy watching the Comic Relief Bake Off… Passion fruit and lemon curd pavlova mmm!

My husband was away for a couple of nights a few weeks ago and gave me a gift voucher to spend at Sainsbury’s, so I went on a little grocery splurge. Stocking up on all my essential ingredients - and new ones too, nuts a plenty. I’m beginning to appreciate the fact good; some organic and natural ingredients do come with a premium cost.  But getting pleasure out of buying the stuff you really want is great satisfaction.  

Some girls buy shoes – I buy medjool dates! 

As I was at the checkout (The bit I always struggle with shopping alone), a man came over and handed me a coupon.  I was so grateful to him – because that token of genorosity covered the cost of my coconut oil and almond butter which could be deemed expensive essentials. Great to know there are good people out there in the world today.

Thailand Planning
It dawned on me that we are only nine weeks away from our trip to Thailand… I’ve been pinning heavily, and finding inspiration a plenty.
It's really coming together now, and sinking in how much of a spiritual journey this will be.

Right now, I’m feeling very thankful - to be able to say I've found a happiness and balance in my life that I have never experienced before. Without a doubt 2015 is the year I grab life with both hands and live it to the full.

Happiness doesn't cost money or contrary to popular believe revolve around having everything - it's the small things that matter the most.

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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.
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