New Year Resolutions: Goal setting and chocolate regretting

It’s that time of year again – the end. Or, the beginning of the new one, depending on your disposition. Either way, it’s that time when we’re all stuffed full of cheese, chocolate Santas and regret, and we decide to declare publicly (thanks to social media) that we have set ourselves unrealistic goals for the new year. I’m hoping mine are less unrealistic and more suitably challenging.

Instagram Resolutions

Katie F’s goals for 2017. She smashed it.

Katie (fellow blogger, muse and all-round good egg) had one hell of a 2017 in her sporting career and managed to knock her resolutions out of the park, I, on the other hand have devoted this year to changing careers and the time and monetary stress associated with that. I have to admit that my motivation in terms of health and fitness has diminished, to the point where Katie has had to give me a good, proverbial kick up the arse and signed us both up to run the Reading Half Marathon in March.

So, there we go, resolution number 1 right there: Run my first half marathon Continue reading

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I literally do not care about Christmas food guilt

Ah, the usual holiday posts are back. “Do 5,000 burpees followed by a 27 mile swim in a lake and then run to Dover and back to burn off your Christmas dinner”, “how many calories are really in the entire box of Lindor truffles you just ate”, “did you know the average person eats 15 times their usual calorie allowance in the 3 days over Christmas”, “if you go shopping for 7 hours you can drink one glass of Baileys” (some of those may be embellished, but you get the gist) – you would think people had suddenly discovered calculators and infographics for the first time.

zzzzzzzzz.

Do.Not.Care

I like food. I like exercise. I don’t always do one to counteract the other. Sometimes, yes, maybe I do think about it – but the countless other benefits far outweigh the extra mince pies I’m going to be eating for the next few days (who am I kidding, I mean the ones I’ve been eating for the last 4 weeks already)

I’m thinking about doing parkrun on Christmas Day. Is it because I’m worried about eating too much and having to get myself into a calorie deficit? No, it’s because I love the idea of getting out to parkrun on Christmas Day! (and if it was, promise me, I’d be running more than 3.1 miles, clearly)

I went for a bike ride (aborted due to double puncture) and then for a run in the 6 inches of snow we had last weekend. Was that because I couldn’t face sitting inside all day? No, it was because I literally had SO.MUCH.FUN.  Have you ever been mountain biking in the snow? If not, you should try it. Ever been running through fields where you can’t hear anything because of the silence of snow, and the fact the closest dual carriageway is closed? You should. It’s incredible. And if it’s proper, fresh snow, it’s really likely to be not that dangerous. (Ice however, is another matter)

Food and exercise are not purely there to balance each other out. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always seem to be the mainstream media case. Did you see the tweet below from Laura Thomas?

Yeah. That says a lot. Katie’s (Cake Vs Scales) post earlier this year said a lot around this – if you pick up a men’s health and fitness magazine, the focus is completely different. Yes, there will still be a focus on becoming healthier – but it’s not purely about weighing less, or eating 1,200 calories a day.

Remember – it’s OK to take some time for yourself. You don’t have to be perfect every day. Heck, you don’t have to be perfect ever. And you would have thought that this time of year would be a great opportunity to embrace that. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, this time at the end of the year is a good opportunity to recharge your batteries, take a break (if you want) and just do what you feel like doing. If I want to spend three hours on my bike, that’s fine. If I want to spend a day in my pyjamas sleeping on the sofa, that is also fine. I’m not going to beat myself up about it. See friends, see family – and if you don’t want to, you don’t have to please everyone.

There’s a lot of pressure to be “always on” and you know what, sometimes you don’t have to have a reason to say no. If you don’t fancy going out for Christmas drinks 6 days in a row, don’t force it. It takes a bit of guts first time round (and you’ll always be questioning that people think you are boring) but rejoice in making your own decisions. It’s taken a while, but I’m at an age now (god that makes me feel old) that I know what I like doing and I’m perfectly fine with that – and don’t feel the need to be trying to keep everyone else happy.

You also don’t have to give an excuse. I used to be full of “I’m sorry I can’t make it because of xyz” when really, I just meant “I actually don’t feel like coming”. So now, I’ll just say “sorry I can’t make it” and that is totally fine. And now, I will stop being negative and telling you all to avoid any social engagements or activities of any form – do what makes you happy and remember it’s OK to be a little bit selfish, whatever time of year!

Look after yourselves and have a good end of year break.

What did you just say??

So, I am finally on the bandwagon of reading Eat Sweat Play about a year later than most people, and it’s making me think all the things about everything and I could probably write a post on each chapter (!)

 

Firstly and quickly (because this opens up an entirely new kettle of fish) something that reminded me of an earlier piece I wrote, was Tammi Grey-Thompson questioning why children are allowed to skive PE if they don’t like it, but this wouldn’t be accepted in any other subject. THIS IS SO TRUE. You have to do maths, so you do it. Why isn’t PE afforded the same level of respect?

Secondly – read the book!

However, neither of these points are the subject of this post, so here we go.

I was sitting having lunch a few weeks ago when I overheard a little girl with her grandmother – the girl was probably around 4 or 5, and she asked her “Granny, why aren’t you going to have a scone as well” – and the response was “I’m not going to have a scone because it will make me fat”

Cue smoke coming out of my ears. NO WONDER there is a continual struggle with eating, body image and this general health fad if we are hearing that kind of comment from such a young age. A throwaway sentence that can kick start a lifetime of worry. That’s now a simple link between what should be the enjoyment of something delicious and “the fat dread”.

The problem is, it’s a hard habit to break. I call your bluff if you are evangelical about this and say you have never uttered something similar. But at the age of 5, that’s a fairly strong association between food and being fat starting to be imprinted in your mind. Kids aren’t on my horizon in the super immediate future (wondering how much I can wind up my boyfriend here) but it’s really making me think about how I talk about myself, my body and my eating habits to others around me. I want to raise children who understand the difference between food you should eat a lot of vs food that should be more occasional – but not to see it all as “bad” food.

Similarly, as someone who loves to exercise for the sheer fun of it –  the buzz, the views, the mental strength, the camaraderie, the challenge, the competition, the sense of achievement…THAT’S what I want anyone growing up with me to see it as. Exercise isn’t purely a weight management tool, and if you see it that way, you’ll never appreciate all its intricacies. I was raised on cycling on holiday and horse riding and playing badminton with no net and running round the garden just because – and I never want that to change. It’s about fun, enjoyment and the trillions of other benefits, and shouldn’t feel like a constant chore just to justify what you put in your mouth.

I mean, it’s harder than you think – I’d question anyone who says they have never finished a decent ride, run or gym session thinking about pizza and how it’s now that bit more justifiable, but it’s all about balance. See the below picture for example – this was mid way between two fairly tough mountain bike loops last week, but it wasn’t just “because I have exercised I can eat this” it was more “I AM REALLY HUNGRY AND NEED SOMETHING TO KEEP ME GOING”. So I ate it and got on with it. And to be fair, even if I hadn’t been cycling, I probably would have eaten it anyway because it sounded yum. And I’m past caring about it.


So, I implore you – next time you have an inkling of the thought “I’m not going to have it because it will make me fat” – don’t verbalise it in exactly those words. Even “I’m just trying to eat a bit more healthily right now” or “because my body doesn’t do as well as it should if i eat too much cake” or simply “I just don’t fancy it”.

I don’t care if you’re saying it near a 5 year old, a 12 year old or a 59 year old – take some time to think about your words. Eating disorders in any shape or form are often below the surface and you probably have zero idea how your throwaway comment will impact anyone in the vicinity. It’s the same as commenting on what someone else is eating, or if they’ve made a request to order something slightly off menu – 99% of the time it’s really none of your business.

Yes, eating too many scones will make you fat. Eventually. But one scone won’t (and hey, there are worse ways to die than death by scones)

If you’ve got children – ever had to tackle these kinds of subjects? Am I (in my current childless state) picking out something way more easy in theory than in practice?

A weight off my mind

I recently (hmmm a month ago) posted something on Instagram that took a longer decision to make about posting than it should have. No, it wasn’t whether my smoothie looked too much like grey sludge (thanks chocolate almond milk) or whether someone had spotted me trying to take a surreptitious gym selfie. No, it was this.

View this post on Instagram

I AM POSTING MY ACTUAL WEIGHT ON THE INTERNET. It's incredible what a taboo weight still is (despite the whole #strongnotskinny movement) & how much of a HUGE step this felt. Normally I would probably only ever tell my mum. Weight (and BMI for that flipping matter) ain't nothing but a number and the fat % is what I am really keeping an eye on 🎯 (and it's in a good place RN) I've basically floated around around this weight (ish….) for the last 5 years or so and only really accepted it in the last 12 months as I've learnt it's where I naturally settle – I'm never going to weigh 9 stone something #sorrynotsorry Blog post to follow at some point soon on this – lots of love Katie xoxo🏃🏼‍♀️🏋🏼‍♀️🤸🏼‍♀️⚖️#epiphany #training #weight #taboo #istilleatloadsofpizza #scales #trainhard #healthyliving

A post shared by These Girls Do (@thesegirlsdo) on

There you go people of the world, colleagues, friends, family, strangers…HERE IS HOW MUCH I WEIGH.

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Ditch the matchsticks. Get some sleep.

I love my sleep. I mean I really love my sleep. This isn’t even the first time I’ve blogged about it. The only problem is that I’m not very good at it.

Once, when on an expedition trip to Borneo as a wide-eyed fifteen year old, I was told off by our tour leader for falling asleep on a bus ride through a city – “You’re missing out on all the sights!”. I turned my head and went right on sleeping. We’d been in the jungle for a week, ‘sleeping’ on hideously uncomfortable canvass hammocks and hiking for miles every day. I was exhausted.

Sure, I probably missed a couple of spectacular buildings and some exotic goods being touted on street-side market stalls, but frankly I’m not one of those people who subscribes to the idea that “you can sleep when your dead”. Rather, if I’m operating in a sleep deprived state, I feel dead. I can’t concentrate. I feel unwell. I can’t function. And that just won’t do.

We all know that a lack of sleep is bad for us – at best we end up grouchy and at worst a regular lack of sleep can lead to heightened risk of serious medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes – so how can we make sure that we’re getting more of this precious luxury?

Our friends at Casper have sent us simple but effective tips and set us the challenge of pledging to make a change to our bedtime habits for a month to see how much of a difference it makes. Casper knows first hand that a lot goes into your sleep and your sleep routine but something as simple as heading to bed 30 mins early or even looking into a new bed, can drastically benefit your nights rest (and wellbeing)!

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For me the problem is no longer the discomfort of rainforest sleeping arrangements, but rather having a lot of thoughts buzzing around in my head, so I am pledging to put my phone down an hour before going to sleep and reading, rather than looking at a screen, before bed.

We’d love to hear any more tips you guys have for getting a good night sleep too – leave us comment below.

Good night!

An unabashed listicle: 5 Motivational Quotes from Women in Sport

A short post today, written more for my own benefit than anyone else…

I’m flagging. I’m having a bit of a wobble. Nothing major, just a bit of a wall, and as I’m sure all you runners can attest, a wall can be overcome with determination and the willingness to feel the burn. And boy is it burning. No, I’ve not run my first marathon, I’m knackered because of life in general. Masters Degrees are hard work – who knew??

So, in an effort to motivate myself, I’ve turned to our beloved world of Women in Sport for some motivation, inspiration and perspiration. Time to keep my chin up and power though. I hope they might bring a bit of light to anyone else who might be in need of it too 🙂

1. “Whoever said, ‘It’s not whether you win or lose that counts,’ probably lost.” – Martina Navratilova

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Dry January and friendly sabotage

OK OK I’m putting my hands up. I’m on the wagon. I do not plan falling off it as I have not done so in previous years. It really isn’t that hard. No, I’m not doing it for charity because frankly, I don’t think giving up alcohol is the right thing to do to raise money. No, I’m not doing it because I want to lose weight. No, I’m not doing it because everyone else is doing it. And no to whatever other reason you think I’m doing it for.

I’m doing it because I know it makes me feel better, sleep better and train better (and, very handily, save money) However, as per previous years, comments are already cropping up left right and centre about why I’m doing it, if I’m drinking on certain occasions, why in preaching about it to everyone (I’m not, but if you ask, I will tell you) and I feel like I am CONSTANTLY having to defend my corner and my decision.

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Rip Van Winkle’s guide to working out: Sleep, exercise and holding off on the gin

I’m not a great sleeper. I love to sleep, I’m just not very good at it. At the weekend, I can easily sleep for 12 hours if I don’t set an alarm and as a teenager I took teenage lie-ins to whole new levels of concerning. I used to sleepwalk as a child and grind my teeth and I still toss and turn and talk, but apparently I don’t snore (thank goodness for small mercies…).

sleep

Working in the City means I find myself in stressful situations from time-to-time and, by my own confession, I am a bit of a worrier, which doesn’t help matters. But I’ve never been a great sleeper, so stress can’t be the only factor at play. The only thing I know for sure that helps with these nocturnal niggles is exercise.

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Dr. Weight Loss; or, How I Learned to Start Writing and Love the Pen

I have to admit, this post has no intention of cleverly satirizing the fad diet by drawing comparisons between burning belly fat and the Cold War… I’m just a massive nerd and have been wanting to crow-bar a blog post into Dr Strangelove’s title for some time. And now I have.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve lost about half a stone in weight (just over 3kgs, for those of you who deal in non-anachronistic units of measurement). I haven’t gone out of my way to do so – I haven’t gone on a calorie controlled diet, or gone mad in the exercise stakes, but I have started blogging. I am almost certain that there is a direct correlation between these facts.

Yes, I'm a nerd. No shame.

Yes, I’m a nerd. No shame.

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Foxtrot Oscar: When ‘Competitive’ becomes ‘Aggressive’

It’s confession time, chums. I played Touch Rugby with K-Ferg last night and did two things of note, neither of which involved scoring or assisting a try:

  1. Gave myself a touch of groin strain. Yum.
  2. Colossally overreacted to a man obstructing me by literally screaming “F**********CK YOOOOOOOOOU” in his face. Many eyebrows were raised.

I recently wrote a post (10 problems sporty girls will understand) where I stated that it annoys me when people, guys in particular, accuse me of being aggressive, when in fact I am just very competitive. My outburst last night however goes to prove that I can, on occasion, be quite aggressive, albeit contained to the sports pitch. But what I’m wondering is… why? Why does a competitive streak overflow from time-to-time and manifest itself as out-and-out aggression? Continue reading