Sunday, 22 May 2016

Mindset Matters

How many times have you ready my blog and I've mentioned how disappointed in myself I am? How many times have I set myself goals and given up on them? I swear it's too many to count.

I ran the Manchester 10k today and was aiming to stay under 1 hour. I ran most of the time, not slowing for longer than 30 seconds at a time, and felt strong and crossed the finish line thinking that I was close, but I'd made it... Unfortunately not. I finished in 1:03! And my first reaction was disappointment and annoyance, but after stewing for a bit, realised that I hadn't trained at all. Other people had trained loads and got similar times to me. I'm still fit and healthy - I ran that 10k BECAUSE I CAN.

I CAN DO ANYTHING. I can walk and I can run and I can write and I can talk - basic things we take for granted but shouldn't.

I'm talking about this because I'm the type of person who will focus on the negatives and forget about the positives. The 10k is just the start this year. I'm going back to yoga and trying a new fitness DVD and I'm going to start walking/running to work now the weather is nice. I think having all these goals and shouting about them mean that I'm in a much better position where I would ever be if I had never even tried.

I know I keep setting goals and not hitting them, and forgetting about them but if I'd never started trying in the first place then I would probably be 15 stone and skint and thinking that I could never run a 10k. I forget how far I've actually come. In University I was overweight and lazy and I was in a very unhappy place - since then I have lost 2 stone (it was 3 but I gained one back) and I'm much much happier.

I CAN I CAN I CAN I CAN! I can lose weight and I can eat well and I can find the time to become the best version of myself!

I feel pretty on top of the world. Funny what exercise-induced endorphins can do.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Ramblings of a hungover marshmallow

God knows if anybody noticed, but I've been gone from the blogging scene for a while because I've been having way too much fun!

I started a new job which I love, there's been lots of events and I've been busy catching up with friends. It seems strange but I seem to blog much more when I feel a bit down in the dumps. 

I'm hungover today, which is probably why I'm in the mood to blog. I can't say for sure how much of a good post it's going to be, I just fancied writing a little bit, letting off a bit of steam.

We were at a friend's wedding last night and it was fabulous, but for me it's the end of drinking for a while. With no big events coming up, I haven't got any reason to get drunk or crack open a bottle of fizz. 

I've been wanting to stop drinking for a while now, it just leads to bad food choices and it makes me gain weight like crazy. Now I'm not going tee total, because I like wine too much, but I find that weekends are being written off because I'm feeling a bit grim and don't really want to move! 

I also recently had a mini-breakdown because I've gained a lot of weight. Now I am by no means fat and I don't want people to think I'm fishing - I just don't feel comfortable in my own body. A couple of years ago, I was getting to be extremely fit and I felt great. But life happens and working out moved further and further down my priorities. 

Then my wrist started hurting, I struggle to grip things sometimes, or put weight on it so push ups, mountain climbers and anything which involves bending my wrist is pretty much out of the question. I don't know what it is, I don't know why it happens but it hurts a hell of a lot, and sometimes I get so scared of it starting to hurt again that I talk myself out of going to the gym. I'm also bloody scared of getting DOMS too! I know that it's part and parcel of getting fit and being healthy, but it just becomes another excuse for me...

Anyway, today is a Sunday and I'm feeling tired and hungover and basically like a big marshmallow. I know you're not supposed to say "I'll start on Monday" - but I'm going to. I'm done with snacking for the day - it's 2pm now so my next meal will be whatever we're having for dinner. I usually eat pretty healthy meals, it's the snacking and binge-eating which kills me! 

I want to get down to 126lbs again - I haven't weighed myself recently and I'm not going to for a while. I'm guessing that abut 20lbs away, but my plan is to work hard and hopefully surprise myself. I've got a terrible habit of throwing myself in at the deep end, hence why I'm running the Manchester 10K next Sunday... But I want to be motivated and I want to do well! Argh, I've got all the talk and none of the get up and go. It's frustrating.  

We're going to be doing a food shop today, so I'm determined to stock up on salady bits and some quinoa. My plan is to just make a huge bowl that I can use for lunches and stuff. There's no reason why I can't lose this extra weight - I'm sat here watching Fat Chance, where this bloke is aiming to lose 80+lbs in 90 days. If he can do it, why not me? I don't expect huge results in 90 days, but I'd like to see a significant difference soon. 

Ah well, I'll stop babbling on about my insecurities now and leave you with a picture of my cat. Because he is adorable and I love him. :)

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

If you're going to do one mud run this year...

If you've ever taken part in a mud or obstacle run, you'll know that there's often a slight breeze taking the edge off the fun, or queues for the best obstacles which makes you want to skip them. There's people making sly comments about how fast people are going, or how badly they've completed an obstacle, and although the general atmosphere is fun, there's always something to pick at which makes you go "I don't think I'll do this one again".


The slogan, "No Mud, No Glory" is definitely not an overstatement. Myself and Hannah headed up to Branham Park in Leeds to take part a couple of weeks ago and we were straight in, no messing around. The first obstacle was a warm up - sit ups, burpees and press ups. The second obstacle involved running through a river. We must have been about five minutes in and we were soaked right up to our waists, with a military man who looked like Ryan Gosling kicking water at us.

I mention Ryan Gosling because he was beautiful. Seriously, girls, if you do this mud run for just one reason, it should definitely be because of the eye candy. You'll be waist deep in water, trying to climb out, and a strong arm will reach down to pull you up. Or you're stuck to your knees in the stench trench, and somebody strong will be telling you to hug them as hard as you can whilst they get you back on your feet.

Whilst I'm on the subject of the Stench Trench, it really is not for the faint hearted. I occasionally suffer with anxiety, and due to the vacuum-like sensation of putting your feet down and pulling them up again, I genuinely felt a panic attack coming on. If it wasn't for everybody helping each other out, I think I might have absolutely lost it. This obstacle continued for a long time, and repeated itself (although not quite to the same extent) in the second half of the run.

We had the option of running the Minor (5k) or the Major (10k), and due to somebody mentioning that there was a huge slide on the major route, we ended up doing the 10k. We kind of regretted it around 7k because we were absolutely knackered.

We weren't running by this point, we were trying to figure out if we could even mentally continue. The more I think about it, the more I feel like I've been traumatised. Despite the sunny weather and the camaraderie of the whole event, our hunger and heavy clothes (which had soaked up all the mud) were starting to take their toll.

We skipped two of the obstacles which involved swimming through deep water, because we were already freezing and the thought of getting wet again almost reduced us to tears. I hate to say it, but we were very ill-prepared for this. We screamed and squealed our way around, and then started whinging that we weren't near the end, and then after e'd accepted a granola bar from a lovely lady, we cheered up a bit.

I think I've made the Major Series sound a bit grim, but we had tonnes of fun. We didn't run the whole way round (it took us almost three hours) but we weren't under any pressure to either. We had lots of cheering and support from the volunteers, whose smiles never wavered (even though it was clearly a very long day!) and everybody pitched in to help each other over the obstacles.

It's the best mud run I've ever done - better than Mudderella, better than Adrenaline Rush, better than Rough Runner. It was extremely well organised and the obstacles were nice and close together. A real workout, I came home covered in mud and bruises, but feeling very strong!

PS. How funny is this pic of Hannah?

Friday, 4 March 2016

Flexitarian: Like a veggie, but not.

I sometimes prefer eating food which is suitable for vegetarians, rather than something meat-based. So sue me.

I was sitting eating my lunch, a vegetarian chilli, a few days ago and somebody says: "Anybody would think you're a vegetarian!"

But, so what if I was? More and more people these days are becoming vegetarian for one reason or another. Some people are concerned about animal welfare, whereas others are more focused on their own health. Whatever your reason is, it is completely valid, and you don't have to answer to anybody.

Despite the increase in veggies, there still seems to be some stigma around a vegetable-based diet. Some of my favourite quotes include, but are not limited to:
"But vegetables are what our food eats!"

"Where do you get your protein from?"

"Aren't you just like, always hungry?"

Now, I know I have been guilty in the past of a prejudice against vegetarians, and claiming that it isn't a proper meal if it doesn't contain meat, but I SWEAR TO GOD I have seen the light.

A vegetarian diet packs so much variation and flavour into each dish and there's always less washing up. One knife, one chopping board, and so on. It's also loads cheaper to make a vegetarian meal, as you can pick up most of your veg for the week for less than a tenner. Food loads longer in the fridge, you can heat stuff up more than once, and it pushes you to include your five fruits and veggies a day into your diet.

I'm not saying that I don't love a good burger, or piri-piri chicken, or a traditional bacon barm - I don't think I would ever give those things up - But I do like to experiment with vegetarian dishes, and want to cut down on my meat consumption.

Last night, I made vegetarian Toad in the Hole with Linda McCartney sausages, and it was absolutely miles better than the last time I had it with proper sausages. And, according to My Fitness Pal, it only came in at 350 calories!

I've got a list of links to recipes that I'm dying to try and I'm always on the hunt for more. I don't like egg though, so that kind of rules quiches and omelettes out.

Do you have any veggie-friendly recipes you can share with me? Please link me up in the comments!