Towards a better me: Part 11

I have sat down to write this post at least twenty times and re-written it closer to ten times. I have not been happy with any version so far. Not even this one. But I think I need to rip of the band-aid.

 

I think it is fair to say that I have been some what lacking in motivation with everything, training, writing and even cooking. The only thing I seem to have the motivation for is reading. Each day is simply, eat, work, read, sleep and do it all over again tomorrow.

 

I am currently over half way through another 12 weeks personal training course. But I don’t feel like I am progressing at all. Firstly, my personal trainer, Denise moved to newer pastures three weeks into the course. It was a bit of a struggle to hold back the tears on her last day. She was so lovely and chatty. Without her pestering me each week on whether I have attended all of my classes, I don’t feel like I’m pushing myself enough.  I’m like ah sure its “Games of Thrones” tonight, that so much more important than going to a class, right! I am slacking, I know this but can’t seem to shake free from it. I haven’t even done a single session that wasn’t a personal training or class.

 

Each week I tell myself I am going do better, I am going behave. I will go to my classes. I need to focus but I just can’t seem to achieve it. It didn’t really help that I was on holidays for a week and half. The PT sessions are released for booking in week batches on the Tuesday the week before. All of the prime evening and morning sessions go so fast. You need to get on real quick if you want to get the slot you want. I had planned to do the training on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday once I was back but being over in France I completely forgot and didn’t get on until later and there was nothing. So, my one and half week break became a two week break.

 

Then last week again the bookings went so fast even though I was checking every hour waiting for them to be released. I only managed to get things booked for the weekend. But then ended going up home for my mother’s birthday instead. So over half way through and missing three weeks! My rhythm is broken and I don’t know how to fix it. It isn’t helped by lengthy recovery times after. My joints are aching something terrible for four or five days. I was so thankful that this week is going much better. But no my lower back is in agony.

 

Another thing I am struggling with is food. Those who know me knows my love affair with food. I love food. Food is emotion. It’s comfort, it’s exciting, it’s memory. Food can evoke so much. When I get homesick, I attempt to make my mum’s beef stew. Its never as good as hers. But it’s enough to tie me over. If I’m really bad and heading up to her soon I’ll put a request for it. While over in France for holidays, Pierre brought me to a Michelin star restaurant, Clovis. To say it was an amazing food experience is a massive understatement. I can’t wait to go back next year!

 

There was a moment earlier in the year, when my boss was selling her practice, that I considered possible doing a culinary course. I love cooking and blogging about cooking. There is so much I want to learn about, to understand flavours and textures better. It was a very tempting idea, but a risky one. What if I wasn’t actually good at it. What if I did have what it takes. If I hadn’t had a mortgage, I might of taken the plunge. Maybe one day I will.

 

But at the moment, I am not really cooking. My poor KitchenAid is sitting on the counter unused and unloved. My dinners of late have been very lazy. Just chicken or salmon with broccoli with sweet chilli sauce. While it is quite tasty, there isn’t anything exciting about it. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are just becoming monotonous. I long to get back into the kitchen and makes something new and exciting. But everything is hectic and busy. I hardly seem like I have had a moment to rest, a moment to breathe.

 

This week so far I have been moderately well behaved, I have taken my meds (most days), ate relatively well, been into the gym twice for two intense work outs. I was even inspired enough to make a new recipe, Garlic and Pepper Chicken Stir-fry. It was very tasty.

 

I do feel like giving up sometimes. Ever since my little face drop during the 5k back in March, my period has been consistently absence. I can’t help feeling sometimes that this isn’t gonna happen for me. Every passing month my belief is waning and I think that is where my lack of motivation is coming from.

 

 

SUPERPOWER SMOOTHIE

Power Smoothie Recipe

This January, I think most of us are happy to leave behind the excesses of Christmas, and are returning to some better, more balanced habits. For me – I’m back to doing my annual metabolic reset. It’s a short sharp shock to my metabolism that involves cutting out wheat, sugar, coffee, dairy and booze. There’s no limit to how much food you can eat, so it’s not a diet. It’s also not low-carb, there are plenty of healthy slow release carbs on my plate, so it’s not as hard as you might think. I’m also a big fan of Nutritics software, which helps analyse menus. They are also actively helping food businesses prepare for Natasha’s Law, which will kick in in 2021 in the UK.

I did this last year and felt a million dollars afterwards, so I’m doing it again! Right now I’m halfway through. Every morning I have this one particular smoothie – it seems to tick all the boxes for me, and I’ll explain why:

Ingredients

Raw spinach

Cucumber

Half a green apple

Lime juice

Fresh pineapple

Coconut milk 4fl oz

Coconut water 4 fl oz

2 tsps Mrs Superlife powder

Fresh ginger

Cinnamon powder

Here’s why this particular set of ingredients works for me.

Spinach and cucumber should make up at least 50% of the solids in your smoothie. Fruit smoothies may taste nice, but you’re just loading up on fruit sugars. These are the least offensive veggies you can add to a smoothie, and they have plenty of benefits.

Fresh pineapple is really good for you, it’s crammed with potassium, copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, beta carotene,thiamin, B6, and folate, as well as soluble and insoluble fiber. It’s supposed to be good for bruising and it’s also full of vitamin C! I like to buy a whole pineapple, then trim it and chop it into chunks for the freezer. Tinned pineapple is usually preserved in syrup, and really this fruit is already very sweet!

Full fat coconut milk: Everyone’s heard of the benefits of coconut water, and it’s readily available in every Spar and Supervalu, but I also add Coconut milk to my smoothies. The tinned stuff you throw into a curry that can be about 1000 calories a tin. You probably think I’m bonkers adding what is pretty much liquid fat to my smoothie. However, fat intake in the morning has been proven to help with weight loss, especially around your middle. There have been some interesting studies that show the type of calories we eat contribute to weight gain in different parts of our bodies. Sugar in particular can contribute to visceral fat gain (fat around the organs that leads to a thickening waist) So, healthy fat in the morning, along with protein and fibre can help you feel full and provide you with plenty of good calories for the day ahead!

Fresh Ginger: I add a good inch of fresh peeled ginger root, which is really warming and has a whole heap of proven medicinal benefits. A close relative of turmeric, ginger is great for the digestion. Ginger is also of great for DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). In this 2013 study from the American Pain Society, they report finding evidence for the “hypoalgesic effects of ginger in osteoarthritis patients and further demonstrates ginger’s effectiveness as a pain reliever” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20418184

Cinnamon is another ingredient you mightn’t expect, but apart from tasting like Christmas, the interesting componant is Cinnamaldehyde. Cinnamon, even in doses as small as 120 milligrams per day, has properties that are anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory. In tests, cinnamon has had a positive impact on good cholesterol and blood pressure. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24019277 Cinnamon can also help with insulin resistance, a major factor in blood sugar levels.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2901047/

So now, I put cinnamon in everything, the kids pancakes, smoothies and granola, even on ice cream!

I’ve also become quite fond of organic SuperLife Powder. You can get this in certain healthfood stores, and I’ve seen it in Centra, as well as online here. It contains  hemp, cacao, maca, kelp, spirulina, chlorella, barleygrass and lucuma. All of which are reported to be good for hormonal balance, reduction of sugar cravings and boosting the immune system. Now, this powder is why you might like to up the amount of lime juice. It’s not the tastiest in the world, but the lime juice will just about hide it. I generally add a teaspoon of this dark green powder to my smoothie (though the bag says to use a tablespoon!) I figure the rest of the ingredients are already doing a lot of good.

The trick to making your smoothie a habit that sticks, is to always have the ingredients in the house (cucumber is the one I seem to run out of the most often, the rest, including spinach can be frozen easily). My habits tend to slip when I’m super busy or on the road, so I’m looking forward to trying the ‘Good Green Stuff’ sachets. They have 77 different ingredients, and are in handy portion sachets, so a few of these in my handbag will certainly help. Aisling in the Green Health Store in Galway sent some of these sachets into PBM HQ to get our opinion and I can confirm they taste a LOT nicer than the Superlife mix, and are very handy for travel. Check them out here.

Over and out

xxx

Bitchmittens Emily

The Number Detox

So after my very long rant about hating being a prisoner to my weight I decided to put a ban on myself. No counting calories, no weighing myself, no measuring my body, for 21 days. 21 DAYS?!?!? Seemed like a good number, don’t all detoxes take 21 days? 3 weeks, how bad… Honestly, at first this sounded great! Like a holiday! But when you control what you eat so much (as I was beginning to) it is insanely daunting. How do I know if I’m over eating? Or under eating? Getting enough of the good stuff? Will I balloon up, will I shrink down? There was too much freedom. One half of me was thrilled, the other half was very very scared.

 

Week 1:

So, the first few days were really hard in terms of not counting calories (but fine with not weighing myself). I literally had to delete my ‘MyFitnessPal’ app from my phone because I was subconsciously opening it up to check on meals, to calculate what I could have as a snack etc. I’d open the app, go ‘shit no!’ and close it back down. The app had to go, out of sight out of mind. Not so easy, since I had lost my app I was starting to just calculate it in my head, again I would cry ‘no!’ and eat a piece of cheese for good measure. Thankfully, after the first week it settled down. My diet hadn’t actually changed so I convinced myself that I was still eating the same amount (whether I was or I wasn’t) and I also tried to convince myself that it didn’t matter. Because it doesn’t matter.

 

Week 2:

The second week went by more smoothly. I had gotten into the swing of judging my food without looking for it’s calorific value, for it’s protein content, sugar content. Food was fun again. My portions were decent, I was never hungry. Every so often I would get a little niggle in my stomach, in my head. A worry that I was indulging a little too much. But then I kept reminding myself that counting calories is not normal and, to a certain extent, not healthy. At least not for me. And that I was eating good, hearty, healthy food. By the end of the week I was flying it! I even started to look at my body in positive light. When I had no numbers to go by I had to judge myself on what I saw and boy did I like what I saw! I suddenly saw this strong, curvy woman, with tiny ankles, serious hips and beautiful shoulders. I was becoming very confident, feeling very comfortable. I was happy in myself!

 

Week 3: 

The third week rolled in and suddenly I was anxious to weight myself. It was coming up to when I could step on the scales. At the beginning I didn’t mind not knowing but now I was getting curious. I wanted to see if my ban had a physical effect on me. If I had lost weight or worse gained weight. My biggest fear. That I would have to return to the cold cells of calorie counting because I could not stay the same weight without it. It was just after Easter and I had covered myself in chocolate so the dread started to kick in. But I restrained myself from checking what I was eating and what I weighed until the final day. VERDICT: I WEIGHED THE EXACT FUCKING SAME! I mean the exact same! I could’t believe it, I was convinced I must have put some weight on because I had given up control. Just goes to show that I must be doing something right! But this isn’t over…

 

Final Thoughts:

This trial was both burdening and liberating. Not being in full control of what I ate was scary for me. I’ve being losing weight for a long time now and to just give in and eat when and how I wanted felt too free. I also had a constant fear that I could slip, slip back into old habits that lead me down the path that made me 3 stone heavier in the first place. That fear, that my old, unreliable self would prevail and the new healthy, active me was only a phase! And with my wedding looming I do feel an added pressure to be “the best version of me” that I can be. To fit into these numbers that I, myself, decided were perfect. On the hand the freedom felt good, it allowed me to appreciate my body more and felt positive about the food I was eating. When I wasn’t counting I felt no guilt, when I had nothing but my appearance to judge I realised how beautiful I was (and boy am I hot!)

I’m still struggling. There are days where I count and weigh and there are days when I don’t. I’d like to get to a point where I don’t feel I need to measure everything I eat to stay healthy. It will come in time and I won’t beat myself up about it. Now that my body is healthy I need to get my mind in check too. And that can be hard.

 

Prisoner to my weight…

I’m tired. Tired of wanting to be thinner, tired of training and then feeling like I can’t have that big hunk of Toblerone, tired of counting calories, watching everything I eat, pouring litres of water into me, trying to eat less carbs, more protein, no sugar! Tired of being bombarded with weightloss stories, “best 5 tips for busting belly fat” bullshit and articles on people who now lift weights and are looking better than ever. And I’m tired of wanting to read them. Tired of trying to find an answer to my weightloss plateau, tired of not seeing results, tired of being told that ergs don’t actually help weightloss but still having to go on them, tired of reading articles on my metabolic rate and under-eating, over-eating, training at the wrong time of the day, not having enough good fats. Tired of macros!

Tired of punishing myself for not being smaller. Tired of looking at my friends and wondering how I’m not their size, we do the same training, we eat the same food. It’s their fucking height, woman! Tired of having to remind myself that I still look good. Tired of not feeling like an athlete because I don’t look like an athlete. Tired of having unsweetened tea and not having a biscuit at 3pm. Tired of counting my steps everyday to make sure I take enough, regardless of my actual training. Tired of hearing about a new diet, a new book, a new way of thinking. Tired of detoxes, juice cleanses. Tired of “resetting” my body, my metabolism, my anything! Tired of making smoothies that look like pond scum (though they do taste alright!)

Tired of cutting calories more and more, tired of not being able to enjoy my food. Tired of being controlled by numbers; kilos, inches, minutes. Tired of being afraid I won’t fit into my clothes, fit into my wedding dress. Tired of watching the scales yo-yo and not understanding why, grand if I binged but what if i didn’t, what if I was good as gold! Tired of working out what I can eat tomorrow to stay on calorie target. Tired of hearing “fail to prepare and prepare to fail.” Tired of feeling lazy, tired of feeling weak, tired of feeling judged if I do and judged if I don’t.

You are fed this notion that being thinner will make you happy. And it’s true… for awhile. But then you start to feel normal and new flaws emerge, new insecurities, new problems. I don’t think I need to “reset my body” I think I need to reset my mind, shut my negative thoughts down, their exhausting! I just want to live my life, be with the people I love, enjoy the food I like and be part of the sport I adore. I want to eat and train, not diet and exercise. I want to understand and truly believe in my heart that my body is stronger, fitter and healthier than it ever has been before. I don’t want to be a prisoner to my weight anymore, I thought I broke free from those shackles a long time ago.

But I haven’t.

Every woman I know is on a diet, cutting back, training more, “being good”. And I’m so tired of it. Where is the self love, where is the body positivity? Food is not taboo, food is not the enemy. Your mind is. Yes, be healthy. Yes, be fit. And course eat well. But I can’t hate my body anymore.

I’m just too tired.

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