Category Archives: motivation

2016 Reflection…

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Mmmmm, I don’t know how many out there will actually be glad to see the end of this year – what I do know is I would like to bury 2016 in a deep hole, fill it with concrete & cover the concrete with lead so that it never sees the light of day again.

A lot has happened this year.  As with every year I suppose, but usually when it hits this time of year I can say “it wasn’t TOO bad” when I look back.  This year, however I hit rock bottom & it was not a place that I wanted to stay, or for that matter; ever see again.

Depression is still quite a taboo thing.

“Just go outside”

“Do what you love”

“Smile, you’ll feel better”

Uhhh.  No.  If those things worked, I wouldn’t have found myself in the Doctors office bawling my eyes out at absolutely nothing – scratch that – an overwhelming sense of panic, fear, uselessness & generally feeling like a piece of shit.

I feel better now, but I should have sought help much earlier than I did – thinking about throwing yourself in front of a moving train is, like a massive warning signal that something isn’t right with your brain chemistry.

Despite what efforts I made (they were minimal, I’ll admit but anyway) the gym became a place that was no longer comfortable to me. I no longer associated lifting with happiness & that was hard. Something that had become so intrinsically intertwined with my life was shoved to the depths of the clutter cupboard to gather dust.  I wish it hadn’t, but I can’t go back & change it – however who knows what my gym relationship would be like now if I’d have continued to go.  That’s irrelevant now.

What I DID do though, was got some new qualifications:

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I finished my Sport Nutrition course in August & received a distinction in management a few months later. I’ve got another course to complete in Neurolinguistic Programming, but I’ll be honest -I’ve dragged my heels with that one a little. I’ll complete it, but it’s gonna take a while.

The last few weeks I’ve begun to think about what I want to achieve next year – I’m part of a social media groups that celebrates women & all they’re capable of – regardless on fitness level, body size or even choice of exercise, these ladies inspire me daily & without them, I might have even chosen to never go back to the gym.  Just knowing they’re there gives me a desire to come out at the end of 2017 & be fucking FIERCE! To show myself that I really can do what I set my mind to, but also to not berate & chastise myself if I get ill or injured & be unable to train.

I’ve even wrote my own programme, but “life” (not relevant to my blog) has been a preventative issue for gym times, but I intend to change that when the gym reopens on Tuesday.

I’m also going back to physio, as my time out of the gym has seen some issues resurface – more about that next time I blog!

 

 

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Why Slimming World is Flawed…

Recently I’ve been working in an office environment, so it’s swarming with women who are all on some diet or another, but one seems to be more popular than any of the others & it’s SLIMMING WORLD.

Slimming World is the land of syns, some foods are “free” – this means you can eat as MUCH as you want, others have syns – these are the ones that you should only eat a certain amount of in order to keep losing weight.  Sound ideal?  Where’s the issue?

So, what’s in a syn?

You have a total  daily allowance of syns, 15 to be exact. That 15 syns equates to 300 calories per day.  Um, come again?  How many?  I eat more than that for breakfast! No, no! I hear you cry from you syn thrones – there are syn free foods too!  Mate, I don’t care.  This working things out in fake points is insane!  (it’s like Reddit, but for food in the real world!)

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So, I give you the flaws in this insane system*

I’ve googled free foods/syns in foods to create a daily plan & will be adding actual macros/calories as well.  All the food listed below is from the SW website & SW Survival website.

Breakfast:

Baked oats or a full English

Oats are:

35g oats, 3tsp sweetener, 1 egg, 1 pot of yoghurt & some fruit.  Bake it.  Job done.  ONE WHOLE SYN.  (343 cal, 22g carb, 6g fat, 11g protein)

Full English:

2 sausages, 2 rashers of bacon (fat removed), mushrooms, 1 whole onion, 1 whole tomato, 1 boiled potato, 1/2 tin of beans, 2 eggs.  ZERO SYNS!  (ok….this is free food, so why stop at two sausages, why not have eight? They’re no syns!!)  (942 cal, 59g carb, 48g fat, 59g protein)  This bad boy also benefits from 1,852mg of sodium!!!  FTR, 8 sausage is 1600 calories.

Lunch:

125g Cheese, Leek & Ham pasta.  100g Chicken breast, & a 500g tub of fat free yoghurt – SYNFREEAGAIN (936 cal, 84g carb, 9g fat, 63g protein)

Dinner:

Lamb shank with mint sauce, 100g oven chips, side of veggies & a Curly Wurly brownie, fuck it….I’m on one syn, so let’s have 4 brownies. 4 SYNS  (857 cal, 50g carb, 43g fat, 67g protein)

Total Syn count: FOUR or FIVE depending on breakfast

Some fruits are free too, so we’ll have 2 mandarins, 100g peas & 100g carrots as snacks for the day.  (163 cal, 38 carb, 6g protein)

Because we have around 9 syns left, we’ll have a 14% glass of red wine with dinner. (175ml)  (175 cal, 3g carb)

Don’t worry about being peckish…..carbs are FREE – go eat that bowl of pasta & sauce,  or super noodles.  (pasta is 522 cal, noodles are 264 cal)

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So, that gives you a total (excluding MOAR pasta snacks) of:

2474 cal for the day if you have the oats

3586 if you have the full English.

Remind me, this diet is supposed to help you LOSE weight, right?

Macro-wise, it’s a little more promising;

196g carb, 58g fat, 147g protein OR 233g carb, 100g fat, 195g protein  sort of,  I suppose.  It depends on a multitude of things: height, weight, age, gender & activity levels.

I can burn through over 3000 calories a day, however that is only IF I cycle a good 10 miles, as well as go & lift weights for an hour.

Look at it this way, most women in the UK  on average, are 5 foot 5 (169cm) & weigh anywhere from 7st 12 to 10st 10 (50-64kg)  If we take the middle of that weight range, around 58kg & work out that they’re a 40 year old office worker that drives everywhere & walks the dog a mile a day.

That gives you a TDEE of 1477 NOT 3586. Broken into macros, as per MFP:

1477 cal,  50% carb – 185g, 20% fat – 33g & 30% protein – 111g which is WAY off the food i selected at random from the lists of free foods that I could.

I’m aware my examples are probably extreme & SW will hopefully teach people portion control & so on, I also know that many people have lost weight using SW – that doesn’t make it right!  Eating at a calorie deficit will help you lose weight, you don’t need points, coloured days, or whatever else some diet guru is trying to tout you with.

Plus, without knowing what a macro is, you’d never be able to work out your daily needs.  That & there’s no paid support group for macro counters…….

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Diagnosis of Slimming World:  NO.

 

*I know people who have lost a lot of weight with SW, those people have added exercise to their lives as well as watching what they eat. I 100% believe that following a standard macro/TDEE would have yielded the same results & forgone some potentially, dangerous eating habits.  This post is to show those flaws & how open to interpretation this “diet” is

I Wrote a Thing About Carb Loading…

A friend of mine recently did Coast to Coast – that’s a 140 mile (225km) bike ride.  He asked me to put something together for what he could take with him to eat over the 2 day ride – I put together a little thing for him – from 8 days prior to his event.

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This is what I wrote:

Carb loading to help performance

Carbs, broken down to the most simplistic are simple & complex.  Simple are sugars & complex are starches & fibre. Simple carbs are from milk, table sugar, fruit sugar & honey.  Complex carbs are from whole grains, vegetables, seeds, cereals & potatoes.

Complex carbs are better to eat than fats, as storing fat doesn’t require energy, whereas converting carbs to fat does.  Eg:  300 cal of carb, converted to fat equals 270 carbs, whereas 300cal of fat is still 300cal

Blood sugar & insulin levels spike when you eat carbs, how fast depends on what you’ve eaten. There’s stuff about eating low GI foods, to help aid athletes.  Anything lower that 55 on the GI index is low GI, above 70 is high GI & everything else is middle GI.

Low GI examples: grains, pasta, noodles, low-fat dairy & nuts.

High GI: White bread, white rice, instant mash, biscuits, cake etc.

Low GI, ideally should be consumed 2-4 hours before endurance exercise.  High GI will give you a boost, but it’s short lived & could produce temporary hypoglycemia.

Lower GI improves satisfaction feelings after eating & can help control weight too.

 

I guess, you really wanna know how much you should eat as well though?  Ha.  So, basically the more you weigh, the more glycogen stores you have (this is stuff that is stored in your muscles & is released during exercise – so storing it is goooooood for endurance)

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1-3 hours a day of cycling equates to 7-12g per KG of bodyweight

Over 4 hours a day equates to 12g per KG of bodyweight.

So, if you weigh 80kg for example & are doing 2 hours a day, you need around 10g per kilo, or around 800g of carb per day (800g in calories is 3200)

My info suggests carb loading 7 days prior to an event, there are three different options for this (& it involves tapering off your training for that week)

YOU WILL GAIN WEIGHT – but if you carb load correctly, it’s glycogen being stored in your muscles ready for your epic cycle.

Carb loading, combined with rest & sleep has been proved to decrease fatigue by 20% & improve performance by 3%

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Classic carb loading:

Day 1:

Normal Training

Normal Diet

 

Day 2:

Prolonged/exhaustive exercise

LOW carb diet

 

Day 3:

Tapered Training

Low Carb

 

Day 4:

Tapered Training

Low Carb

 

Day 5:

Tapered Training

High carb

 

Day 6:

As day 5

 

Day 7:

As day 5

 

Day 8: EVENT.

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Modified carb loading:

Day 1:

Endurance Training

Normal Diet

 

Day 2:

Tapered Training

Moderate carb diet

 

Day 3:

Tapered Training

Low Carb

 

Day 4:

As day 3

 

Day 5:

Tapered Training

High carb

 

Day 6:

As day 5

 

Day 7:

As day 5

 

Day 8: EVENT.

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Modern Carb Loading:

 

Day 1:

Tapered Training

Normal Diet

 

Day 2:

Tapered Training

LOW carb diet

 

Day 3:

Tapered Training

Low Carb

 

Day 4:

Tapered Training

Low Carb

 

Day 5:

Tapered Training

High carb

 

Day 6:

As day 5

 

Day 7:

Warm up & 3 minute high intensity

High carb – 10g per KG of BW
Day 8: EVENT.

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So yeah, that was what I wrote for him.

I’ve never attempted carb loading myself (I’ve done carb cycling in the past) but perhaps at some point in the future what I wrote for him, may come in handy for myself!


Bootyful Beginnings….

Well now, it’s been a long time since I even felt the need to blog.  So much has happened since I decided a break away from the gym was needed.  I’m pretty sure I’ve lost all my gains, but whatever.  I got them once,  I can get them again.

Which is the reason for this latest blog instalment.

I’m gonna go back to the gym, cycle to my new work place & keep an eye on my food again.  I’m going intuitive eating this time round, and will macro track from time to time to make sure I’m not on too large a deficit.

Before I left my previous gym (yeah, I’ve moved gyms too!) I was starting New Rules of Lifting for Women,  stage 2 but it wasn’t as enjoyable as stage 1 & I don’t want to be doing something that I don’t enjoy.  I’ve followed Bret Contreras on Instagram for quite some time now & have always been in awe of how much he lifts & how amazing his clients looked, so I’ve signed up to STRONG by Bret; which is a rolling subscription to a programme he makes & sends out once a month along with optional supplemental workouts as well as a powerlifting programme.

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Bret  is known for his incredible devotion to the glutes…maintain eye contact, establish dominance with hip thrusters!  (side note, I can’t do thrusters, I get the most insane hamstring cramp as soon as I try, but he has fixes and suggestions for that)

This post shows one of the workouts from the Strong programme, my new gym is pretty high up with their health & safety, so the hanging leg curls are out – I’ll have to do normal versions. However, I have no qualms in doing normal versions, I’m rather clumsy & hanging versions scream accident to me. Ha!

So yeah, I’ve spent a while reading through various training programmes & Bret was always the clear winner, no matter how many times I read through others.  NROLfW is good, don’t get me wrong.  It’s just not for me.  It’s taught me things, mostly that I can do more than I’d previously thought.  Ice Cream Fitness is a spin off of Starting Strength & the less people sign up to the Misogynist that is Mark Rippetoe  of Starting Strength, the happier I’ll be.  There’s satire & then there’s being an utter prick; he is the latter.

I’m not excited about this programme. I’m not dreading it either, I *know* I have to go back to the gym, it’s gonna help my mental state, my strength & hopefully keep me away from spinal surgery.  I’m glad I took the time off that I did.  I needed to.  People who I’d previously enjoyed talking “gym” to had begun to irritate me, I wanted to smack so many people – preferably with a baseball bat, I was losing my inner filter & got so close to being downright horrible to people, who a few weeks prior, I’d have been proud to call my friend.  I no longer feel this way & I’m glad I didn’t burn any bridges, people still irritate me, but that’s just the way I am & no matter what, it’ll always be the way I am.

Expect future posts about how I’m doing with Strong!

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Let’s do this, Yolandie!


Serotonin, Dopamine & Endorphins

Serotonin is a mood booster

Dopamine is a pleasure hormone

Endorphins block pain

Mine are broken.  My mood is apathetic & my dopamine and endorphins have gone on holiday I think, or my remaining serotonin killed them before killing itself.

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I’ve spent days trying to convince myself that talking about mental health is ok, and not a  glorified excuse for attention (thanks, brain!) It feels almost wrong to discuss it freely, like it’s still a taboo & when people ask how you are, they don’t actually want to know; they’re just being polite – this is my current perception of people in general at the minute.

I have depression – a chemical imbalance in my brain that has essentially switched me off.  You seen Inside Out? Where her core memories switch off?  It’s kind like that….sort of. but not really.  Everyone’s experience will vary & this is probably why I put off seeking help for as long as I did – if you read old posts on here, there’s definitely a few that have underlying tones of something not being *quite right* for me.

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Sadness is too sad to walk

However, my blog is not a mental health blog – it’s about my journey through fitness/strength.  I’m aware that you mindset has a lot to do with how you progress, which is the main point of this post……here comes the part that some may not agree with, however the perk of one’s own perceptions; amirite?

A while ago I wrote about how fitness quotes/memes for the most part irritate the living daylights out of me, I thought I’d gotten past that but I now know that I haven’t.  They seem to trigger something in my brain that makes me irrationally anti-motivation.  The buzz words that surround those whose lives are engulfed by the process of becoming stronger and leaner fill me with something that I cannot coherently explain.  I want to scream and shout that not all people think that way & just by saying something doesn’t mean it’ll happen – regardless on what some “fitspo” instagrammer has told you, it simply isn’t the case.

  • The difference between where you are & where you want to be is you!
  • You can be it, if you believe it- you can achieve it
  • Tell yourself you can & you will
  • Focus on being positive

When I started my blog a little over a year ago I hated the above sentiments. However, my personal drive to improve myself meant I chose to ignore them, or sometimes I might have even possibly believed a few – there’s plenty of motivational posts on my blog. That doesn’t mean I’ve aimed them at anyone in particular, that’s just how I felt at that specific time….all the while there was a belligerent part of my brain screaming, silently into a pillow. NO. NO. NO.

No one ever seems to want to talk about what happens when the above sentiments are interpreted as hostile. I’ve been to the gym three times in three weeks.  Do I care? No.  Do I feel bad about it? No. Will reading positivity garbage on line help me get back into my gym routine? No.

I believe that I should be able to teleport to wherever I want to go…..Does that mean I can? No.  What if I focus that I positively believe that it should be achievable, will that make it happen? No.  SO WHY SPOUT THIS STUFF ONLINE?!

That seems a little extreme doesn’t it? Well, what about those who want to do something fitness related, who have tried in the past but given up for whatever reason.  Is reading the positivity going to help someone who is in a dark place go back? I don’t think so.

I have a huge, huge vexation with telling people to be positive – you’re essentially forcing your discomfort of someone else’s unhappiness/numbness/apathy away & life doesn’t work like that.  Ever told a boy that he shouldn’t cry? You’re forcing them to hide their emotions, to block the negativity that they feel instead of talking about it, or allowing them that moment to be vulnerable & at one with how they feel.

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It’s ok to break.

It’s ok to not be happy.

It’s ok to not smile.

It’s ok.

I’ve been hiding my mental state for probably longer than I’d like to admit. I’ve put my woes to a backburner & chose to forget about them, I’ve not acknowledged the spiral in my head & how lost I have felt at times & how I felt like I was drowning in a swathe of emotions that no one wanted to talk about.

I know the gym* & personal trainers are not a place for therapy or qualified to help you in dire times of distress – that’s what counsellors & shrinks are for.  I’m also not saying that you should expect this kind of service from your fitness professionals, what I am saying is that “sucking it up” helps no one.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over again expecting different results – so even if you train enough to keep your dopamine & serotonin levels high, don’t neglect your feelings on an intimate, almost subconscious level.  Showing the world you feel ok & actually being ok are two completely different things.

Also, if you ever tell someone that you feel sad/empty/upset and they tell you to smile, be positive & to get over it, take a hint from Bronson:

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*The gym is a great place to destress & exercising can increase your dopamine levels but it’s not going to fix the issues inside your mind

 


The Goal Posts Have Changed….

No, no.  This is not a post about football or anything else that uses goals to punt a ball through.  This is a reflection of goals from this year & moving to 2016 (Dubbed “lean ’16” by Gem)

Back in January I decided to start this blog – not to gain followers or likes or whatever; I started it to keep a progress log for myself.  It was re-reading back through my posts that I noticed a trend in my energy levels & food – had I not had this blog would I have noticed? Probably however I do believe it’d have taken me longer.

This blog was started so that I didn’t “hound” my facebook friends with my gym pursuits, this way people can read it if they want to & don’t have to hide me (Side note – facebook gym updates irritate me…ironic, right?)

So, let’s reflect on what this year has brought me, I was gonna bullet point it but decided to just write it & see what happens…it may still end up as bullet points but we’ll see how this goes.63

So, the blog is a little less than a year old.  In that year I’ve had nearly 4,000 views (or 330 views per month) & 185 likes on various posts.  My most popular blog post has been my documenting of Intermittent Fasting, followed by my Dear You post.

That’s interesting.  Like I said, I started this as a place to keep my fitness pursuits as separate as possible from my facebook feed.  It’s nice to know how many people have viewed my posts & are hopefully finding answers to the questions they searched on Google via my blog.

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giddy as a kid with lots of tiaras.

So, down to brass tax now I’ve written 300 words as an introduction.  Hahaha.  Whoops.

Continue reading


Am I a Butterfly Yet?

Eat, eat, eat, hibernate, pupate & break free…those beautiful wings all flapping about.  Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh.  Wait, what?

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Peacock Butterfly.  Photo taken by me Aug 2013

Butterflies are awesome.  That’s not what this post is about, but please….enjoy the image.

When you’re ready to continue, I’ll be down here……….

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OH HAI!

Today a fellow xxfitness user asked for progress pictures for inner thighs & I thought I’d oblige.  I’ve attempted to steer clear of the progress images for the last few weeks, so used one from September; which gave a nice 1 year-ish progress timeline.  Now, that might not sound like a huge deal – I’ve shared plenty of progres pictures.  No.  This was different.  This time I used my before picture without the feeling of cringe that usually goes with it.  I will forever quote “That arse will haunt me forever” whenever Andy uses one of my before images.  It was embarrassing to see it & I felt sick to my stomach as I’d denied my “true” size for many years, but it was ok…..cos it was only a dress size up to what I’d been for years previous; or that’s how I rationalised it & that I was only gonna live once & those who eat healthy only live longer cos they’re miserable, so it *feels* longer.

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Castle tries to explain, but realises it’s pointless…..

Ahahhaaaaa!!  I did. I REALLY did rationalise my shit lifestyle on utter garbage.  I’d like to find that other self & give her a slow clap for how awful that information & justification was.

Anyway, before I get off point.

Butterflies!

The biggest I’ve ever been was about a UK18/20.  I couldn’t tell you how much I weighed though, sorry.  I have no idea.  I just remember going to buy trousers after I’d had my son & thought “the extra weight from creating life must be gone by now” It wasn’t. I bought my trousers, defeated but I was sick of maternity gear & cried. I’d become everything I never wanted to be. I wasn’t at breaking point though.  These trouser fit nicely & although the tag size was larger than I’d have liked, I’d been through this baby weight loss before & I won’t have to do much to get back to a 12/14 right? WRONG.  I’d moved house so walking didn’t really occur – pubic transport was the key. My back was still in bits, so when I did walk, it wasn’t far.  I was also 6 years older than when I’d been pregnant before.

It took a long, long time before I hit that “I can no longer continue like this” and for me, it wasn’t my weight but my health. (you all know the story, I’ve gone through it a few times on here)

I knew I wanted to take photos before I started back at the gym. I knew I did.  I tentatively perched my phone on the windowsill & set the self timer. I didn’t show them to anyone.  A month later I took another set of photos; that was now my “starting” image; until I made this blog & stumbled across the image looking for something else.

I hated that photo. Well, photos. As there is a back, front & side views.  I was genuinely mortified.

Here’s a profile montage from when I first started up to a few weeks ago:

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Andy told me the  starting image was a reminder of how far I’ve come, & although I agreed with him; I still hated seeing it. I don’t now. I’m not overly sure how I’ve managed to stop loathing it – also, I know….can we get a moment’s silence for the boobies lost?  *moment*

Yeah, so I stitched a photo together for xxfitness, this is it:

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This.  This is when I realised I no longer hate my befores.  I fucking did that. I did that to myself & I fixed it! I love, love, love that image of the right.  I’m responsible for my body & I moaned and bitched about it for years, not doing anything about it – expecting it to change….it did but not the way I wanted.

The gym is an incredible place.  I have new friends & peers, I have a new found love of food, I have new knowledge & discovered a passion I didn’t know existed.

I’m no longer as angry as I once was. I have more energy & am in less pain.  I once looked like my before & I no longer do.  I don’t have wings, but goddamnit I am a motherfucking butterfly!