My Pal My Fitness Pal and Other Stories

tumblr_n6ioniUYbf1smffw1o1_500I am the Queen of “I’ll get back on track Monday”.

I am the Queen of being focused for four days of the week and then falling face first off the wagon into a plate of Party Rings as soon as Friday arrives.

I am the Stop-Start Queen of the World.

The thing is: I want to be better, feel better and look better but I like food and ‘bad things’. I like sugar and chips. I love savoury snacking over a film.

I like living life with tasty things in it; and in my mouth.

I don’t hate my body by any stretch. If anything I’m happy as I am, until I have to buy clothing or catch a glimpse of myself in an unposed photograph. It’s then that I get the feelings of inadequacy and I start being really horrible to myself.

This post is not about dieting, it is about the seemingly simple act of putting less shit into my body and moving it more. In those terms I feel I can do this and I can do this with the help of my friend My Fitness Pal.

Have you met MFP? It’s an app on your phone (and/or computer) that allows you to track what you’re putting into yourself, food and exercise wise. It’s calorie counting basically and, depressing as that sounds, it works. For me at least.

There’s something very satisfying about logging everything that passes your lips. There’s definitely something about racking up a healthy exercise deficit, knowing that the two walks you took yesterday meant you could have something delicious to eat.

It’s good to know that essentially there are no bad foods, so long as you moderate; AMAZING to know that there are only 55 calories in a single Vodka and Diet Coke, which means you can have four and not wander off your chosen path.

All that sounds incredibly boring doesn’t it, now that I have read it back? I guess the concept of cutting back on the things you love is boring in itself. It’s not very rock n’ roll to say “No thanks” to excess but then I’m no snake hipped Juliette Lewis type and never have been.

I want to love myself and this leads me to the second part of this post. With this plan to take better care oftumblr_mo051uB3Uo1qz6f9yo1_1280 my body must come kindness. I’ve talked about Self Love before and that’s another thing; it’s easy to say you’re going to practice it and quite another to actually do it.

I am going to do it and this is how; these are the new rules:

  • Get out everyday at least once to clear the mind. Anything I am working though that needs addressing I can wrestle with while I’m outside, moving.
  • A friend once told a group of us that the only response to a compliment is “Thank you”. Years later I completely agree. Sometimes you have to stop yourself mid-“oh it’s all make-up…” but it has to be done. Just say thank you.
  • Self-deprecation is an endearing quality but it can go too far. Before putting yourself down to gain a laugh from someone else, think about it.
  • Wear what you like. Experiment. Just go for it. None of us are getting any younger, who wants to look back and think of all the cool stuff you could have ROCKED THE SHIT OUT OF but were too scared to.
  • #selfie if you want to. Obviously there are people who are against the #selfie phenomenon but I see it as a way to feel comfortable in your own skin. I see it as an important part of loving yourself and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

So there it is, the new rules for a more loving life. Less crap, more movement and radical Self Love, in no particular order.

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Sneaker Pimps: Running Like a Girl Review

I would describe myself as a runner who doesn’t run. Like, ever.web-Running-like-a-Girl

For about five minutes I was really going to do it and for about two of them I actually did. But my shins hurt, my arse bounced behind me like an over enthusiastic beach ball and I wasn’t the natural I thought I was going to be.

So I talked about it a lot and then walked instead.

In fairness, walking has done me wonders and I still wake up at 6.30 every morning for three times around the park come (mostly) rain or shine. I also bought a hula hoop and I do that up to twice a day (arse no longer wobbles quite so much).

But I miss the running I never did and in my heart I think there’s something still there. So the other week I bought Running Like A Girl and I read it with enthusiasm.

Alexandra, or ‘Hemmo’ as her running vest would have her known, is quite something. She was a lot like me in that she had the view that she’d be a track star by default, that she’d be a runner and that would be that.

(Where on Earth I would produce a theory like this from, I have no idea).

Her first run didn’t go quite to plan, and neither did the several that followed. She gave up, she reconnected with her chosen sport – and she kept on going.

The book itself, to the untrained eye, might just contain the story of a girl who learnt to run but I find Hemmo inspiring and really like the dynamic she shares with her father and brother. Even her lovely mum cheering her on to finish the London Marathon made me weep a little.

Anybody overcoming what they perceive to be their own shortcomings is okay by me and Hemmo is really likeable. She talks about food, socialising and life like a friend would and I think this is why her notes on running are so useful. She’s a normal girl who can run.

Sure, the detail she goes into when she describes each marathon can be a little repetitive if you’re not that bothered but I read it with a big ‘F**K yeah’ because I wanted her to get through; to run through the pain and the tears and the self doubt.

Everything Hemmo says about running is true. Nearly every able bodied person is capable of it, they just have to want to do it. And she’s honest, which I really dig. She doesn’t shy away from the fact that she stops and starts, that motivation sometimes lapses.

I found myself really relating to the way she talks about not knowing what she is running for (during one of her down times, after a big achievement). I can put this in the context of my relationship with eating well and moving my body; and perhaps this is why it works so well for me.

That said, I celebrated the completion of this book by not going running. I haven’t been at all yet and I finished the notes a week ago.

I will though. Watch me.

NB: When I talked about this with my brother, he knew who Hemmo was. Apparently, she hosted a few early morning runs and gave some talks at one of the festivals they’ve been to. Which is well cool.

And she lives in Brighton (smug face).

Book details:

  • Running Like a Girl
  • Publisher: Windmill Books (16 Jan 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 0099558955
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099558958
  • Bought paperback (secondhand)

Musical Marker

We all have songs that remind us of specific periods and events in our lives. Twenty years from now, which song will remind you of the summer of 2014? Via The Daily Post (24th July 2014)

This is quite easy really. My jam of the summer is Clean Bandit’s Rather Be (featuring Jess Glynne).

Not only does it remind me of my newest friend (Frannie Dee of Double Gym & Tonic), it just makes me happy. This is the year I started to take care of my body and this song has remained firmly on my workout playlist.

FACT: It’s impossible to listen to Rather Be without belting it out loud. Try it. You can’t.

But since this is such a fun topic, here’s the perfect summertime playlist in my opinion.

Mint Royale with Lauren Laverne – Don’t Falter

Tuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuune! No bad moods with this on the wireless.

Paramore – Ain’t It Fun

This is relatively new but I love it. It’s so perky. Much like Hayley Williams herself.

*LOVE*

The Ting Tings – Be The One

Reminds me of pounding the streets of Vancouver during my Summer of Freedom. Yes yes yes.

Marvin Gaye – Got To Give It Up

This song is a classic and I feel like it was written about me! Do you think Marvin Gaye had an awkward chubby redhead in mind when he wrote this? Probs.

Stevie Nicks – Edge of Seventeen

One does not simply leave Stevie Nicks off a heady Summertime jam list.

So there you have it. For more Summer Jams of a decidedly cheesy nature, go here. You’re welcome.

Goof Troop

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I love this goofy picture of me, inside the circle of truth.

I look so damned happy!

Also, on the subject of hooping. This happened:

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#hoopdreams #hoopthereitis #hoopin

Do You Like My Tight Pants?

This week I purchased two pairs of ‘running tights’.2

I put that in quote marks not because they aren’t what they purport to be but because I’m hardly a runner (yet). I am not using mine strictly to run, but to walk and stomp and throw myself gracelessly about a school hall to the strains of something Latin flavoured (featuring Bulldog).

The thing is, and the clue is really in the title, they are so tight, man. Like bum squeezingly, thigh emphasisingly T-I-G-H-T!

Camel toe checks before leaving the house T-I-G-H-T!

I’m not sure if the world out there is ready for my jelly or even if I am ready for it myself, but I’ve crossed a bridge lately that means I can do things I would never have considered before.

Slap on a long line t-shirt and hoodie and half the battle is won. They make me feel naked which is a feeling I enjoy in the real world but the fact remains, there just isn’t any way to hide exactly what my body looks like in them.

This is my shape and it’s a good one, I suppose. It’s getting stronger but it’s right here and no amount of illusionism can disguise the fact I’m a big girl. Curvy yes, but also big.

(I’m not saying this is a bad thing for fear of sounding like I am body snarking, there is nothing wrong with big as far as I’m concerned. It’s about being happy and comfortable in your skin, and I’m getting there but I’m not there yet). Gottit?

I think this might be the most vulnerable I have felt in a long while, and I’ve been wandering about in sportswear for a few months now, even running in front of ‘real’ runners and strangers.

But the point is, me and my self-esteem rocking running tights are doing it. Like Nike, we’re not just talking about it, we’re doing it.

Swoosh!

Incidentally, I often ask my husband if my arse looks big in clothing and modelling these bad boys was no different. Without hesitation, he always replies with a massive grin on his face:

“Hellllll yeah!”

No hiding the truth in my household!

Vintage Dresses, Hula Hoops and the Local Cemetery

This week, frankly, has been a little bitch. However, amid the crumminess there are always little nuggets of sheer happiness and that’s something that a bad week cannot take away.

I’m celebrating the weekend by staying in with a head cold and mainlining Parks & Recreation, which is so much fun when there’s an apparent heat wave shimmying around outside.

But meh. My week in pictures.

PicMonkey Collage

This Dress

There is nothing, but nothing better for the soul than a good dress. In my world the best ones are always floral, usually tiny ditsy print and the kind of thing I never ever envisaged being into as a glittery dog collar wearing twenty year old (true story).

I got this one through an Instagram sale, from a lovely woman called Sian Kisses (she blogs here).

Buying pre-loved items via Instagram is so very modern, isn’t it? Of course you can’t go doing it willy nilly but it’s the new ASOS Marketplace if you ask me. Plus, you can envisage what an item will look like on you since you have an idea what they person you are purchasing it from looks like size wise, if that makes sense? Good for a curvy girl like me, anyway.

PicMonkey Collage2

These Guys

God. I love them. They make every day fun and fabulous. If they ever leave me for greater careers (which they will), I will be very sad. I might just follow them around for the rest of my days.

This day we found a secret garden or so we thought, but it only contained gardening equipment. And no dead bodies either.

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Being Active

I pumped my way vigorously through two Zumba sessions, masses of brisk walking and next to no hula hooping, but only because my front room is too small to twirl around in. I did plan to teach myself the basics through Youtube tutorials, but it’s just not possible.

My only option is to move outside. I’m going to con someone into giving me lessons for free when the weather stabilises. Fun and frisky!

PicMonkey Collage3

White Chocolate Mice, Gifts and Simpsons Lego

Sometimes the only thing that will cure a day is an entire bag of White Chocolate Mice. Mmmmmmmmm.

My super-cute husband bought me this gorgeous pin-up box, to keep all my secrets in. It currently contains, simply, a note that says “My dick”. Funny guy…

And Simpsons Lego, which speaks for itself. Lego is my favourite thing in the world almost, I’m a completely obsessed fully grown woman.

So, that my friends, was my week. I’m so cray!

Now I’m going to go back to bed.