Lent – Will I get food Absolution this year?

Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday (read: pancake day) so that means today is the start of Lent. Traditionally a time where Christians seek forgiveness (Shrove means to forgive) and would fast.

In 2015 I gave up chocolate for Lent, and last year I did Dry January. This year I’m back off the chocolate (except cacao nibs as I top my smoothies with them, plus they don’t taste like chocolate anyway) for the next six weeks.*

*Disclaimer – my Birthday falls 3 days before Easter Sunday, so I may have a slice of my favourite cake – vanilla and chocolate marble sponge then.

THE vanilla and chocolate marble sponge cake
THE vanilla and chocolate marble sponge cake

I like having these short-term challenges that aren’t too widespread that they’re restrictive,and yet they do make you think consciously about the eating decisions you make.

It’s too easy to reach for chocolate. It’s EVERYWHERE! I’ve already eaten more Easter chocolate this year than I normally do all Easter! Don’t get me started on the commercialisation of Easter and supermarkets having eggs in stock before you’ve taken your Christmas tree down. Crazy.

So I’m stocking my fruit bowl, taking a trick from Ali @ Inspiralized by snacking on raw nuts and unsweetened dried fruit, and upping the vegetables.

More times than not I’m opting for meat-free meals, I’ve even substituted chicken for Quorn twice in the past couple of weeks, just don’t tell Hubby, he hasn’t noticed;-)

My treat will be fluff with peanut butter and maybe the occasional non-chocolate Krispy Kreme, but no chocolate!

I’ll keep you updated on my chocolate fasting. Are any of you giving up anything for Lent?

xoxo

 

Friday Round-Up: Let’s get real honest

This blog was created as a way for me to track losing weight. Since realising that losing weight isn’t a linear process, especially when big life changes happen, it’s evolved into a blog focusing on my personal attempt to find balance, health and fitness.

A big part of that involves mental health as well as physical health, and for the past few months I’ve been experiencing anxiety, that erupted in the past couple of weeks to make me physically sick and exhausted.

There’s a few factors behind this episode, including work stress, fear of flying and an upcoming holiday, and increasing guilt that I’m not there enough for my little girl (she’s just started ‘big nursery’).

Now I’m a positive person most of the time, and I like to see the silver lining in every situation, but I realised that I wasn’t getting better no matter how optimistic I was.

So this week I went to see a therapist who speacialises in all sorts of therapies, and she recommended hypnotherapy. After my first session I already feel so much better, and I’ve booked a follow-up next Friday. I won’t go into details about the session as everyone requires unique treatment, but I’ve felt calmer and less stressed since.

I’ve made the decision to stay in my current role and take the opportunity available to do further career development. Hopefully this will put me in a better position to go it alone in a couple of years as a marketing and business consultant. Stopping the constant job searches and cycle of negative feelings towards my current job has helped to alleviate some of the stress.

As for family life, I’m just trying to give myself a break on the mum guilt. Yes, I work a 9-5, but I also try to make the most of my time at home with morning cuddles, evening adventures and plenty of fun at the weekends. Getting to spend a week of uninterrupted time together in a couple of weeks will be great!

And let’s not forget that physical health = better mental health with endorphins and happy chemicals being released when we move. I didn’t do the Salford 10k on Sunday, I felt to sick, but I’ve let it go. This week I got back to Zumba (I’d missed it last week) and also did a new class called Clubbercise! I’ll do a post dedicated to clubbercise soon, but it was awesome!

Instead of putting pressure on myself to reach a goal or compete in a race, I’m going to spend the next few weeks just enjoying being active, whether that’s a run through the woods as the leaves turn to autumn, bopping it out at Zumba or Clubbercise, or getting my stretch on with some yoga.

So here’s to getting help when you need it. Give yourself a break, do something you love, and if in doubt, ask you doctor or a health professional. Trust me, there’s no shame in admitting that you don’t feel great mentally, and you’ll feel so much better when you start to workout why and how you can feel better!

Pics from the week…

M&S tights
Fancy new workout tights from Marks and Spencer – fit great, no see-through bum and perfect length!

 

courgetti2

courgetti
Oooh courgetti

 

Green Veg
A mountain of green veg (brocolli, asparagus, frozen broad beans, soy beans and leeks)
Green veg2
Vegetable mountain and my oils from Carluccios

 

Grown Up Chocolate
An AMAZING new chocolate discovery – The Grown Up Chocolate Company. Get in my belly!

20160907_200537

^^^Food porn right there!

Adidas SuperCloud
Putting my feet up after Zumba!
Anxiety
When you’re not feeling happy and then you Zumba and the endorphins kick-in!

Have a happy weekend everyone!
xoxo

Finding the Work/Life Balance

These last few weeks have been really tough for creating a good balance between work life and home life. It feels like a constant struggle not to let the negativity at work (bad atmosphere, uncertain future yada yada) affect the precious time I have at home with my family.

So, what are my tips for creating a good work/life balance? Read on…

Find a job you enjoy doing

Love your job

This is easier said than done, especially in the current job market. It can seem like you’re lucky to have a job, and should stick with it even if you don’t like the company, your boss, your co-workers, the work itself etc.

But, I would encourage anyone who is able to, to make a career move when you are unhappy in your workplace. It might take time, you might have to spend some free time looking for new opportunities, network with potential new employers, maybe you want to retrain and that might mean a pay-cut? Sometimes, you have to take the leap!

Of course, if you’re stuck in a job you don’t like, here’s my more practical tips for finding balance.

Make your lunch hour your own

lunch hour
In the UK, a lot of workers have a 9-5 contract or similar, but they aren’t paid for an hour in the middle of the day a.k.a lunchtime. It can be easy to grab a quick lunch and eat at your desk, or work right through, but it is important to take that break.

You could read a book or magazine, window shop, get some exercise or catch-up with friends and family members.

When I was working in an office with changing facilities, I used to go for a 20 minute jog which meant I could still change and eat lunch within the hour. This helped to take my mind off work and also meant I didn’t have to feel guilty about spending time exercising when I got home and really just want to play with the toddler!

Leave on Time

5pm

If you don’t like your job, but you work hard during your contracted hours, leave on time. Don’t stay late as most studies show that it doesn’t make you more productive and your manager probably doesn’t notice the extra time you spend at work. Why spend more time than you have to somewhere you don’t like? Go on, log off, shut down, leave!

The De-Stress Commute

car singing

I’ve been making conscious decisions to leave the bad vibes in the car on the drive home, by playing my favourite music and just rocking out! Ignore the funny looks from other drivers, blast the music and sing your heart out! It’s amazing what a good 1-woman karaoke session can do for your stress levels!

Other options might be listening to podcasts, reading¬† a book, talk to friends and family (hands free if you’re driving!) or if you’re walking why not use a route that takes you through a park or somewhere with a nice view.

Get Outside

feed the ducks

Most people spend the majority of the day indoors, sitting at a desk or standing all day in a store. During the warmer months especially, you can start to feel resentful that you’re spending the majority of your time inside, and we all know we need the Vitamin Ds from the sun to be happy and healthy!

So, after you’ve finished work, get outside! It might be as simple as going for a walk, spend time in your garden, go feed the ducks, visit the park or my personal favourite,¬† sit in a beer garden! If you’re planning on exercising,¬† choose an outdoor workout. Running, cycling, yoga and HIIT/bodyweight exercises can all be done outside.

Be in the moment with your family

family

When you get home, make a conscious effort to be in the moment with your family. Ask them how their day was, talk about your upcoming plans, be active together or just watch a movie together! Don’t let your bad thoughts about work affect the precious time you have with your loved ones.

Make after-work or weekend plans

after work

Just thinking about something fun you have planned can help to minimise the impact of a job you don’t like. Fill up your free time with exciting plans so that by the time Sunday night comes around, you’re not thinking about the impending Monday and the week ahead, but instead you’re reflecting on all of the awesome things you’ve done! You’ll also have something to talk about with your colleagues rather than office gossip!

Which leads me to my last tip…

Be Switzerland

Be Switzerland

It can be very tempting to join in on office gossip and politics, but from my own experience, this only ever has a negative impact.

If you’re listening to others express their negative experiences, it can start to feel like it has happened to you as well. If you want to offer an objective ear to your colleagues, make sure you rationalise that their opinions don’t have to be your own (unless of course, you totally agree with them).

If you’re unhappy, think carefully who you share this with at work, and if you want to share at all. It can be cathartic to have a good bitch sometimes, but what you thought was a throwaway comment or just an in-the-moment stress can become someone else’s conversation, and the issue can become bigger than it really is.

If you’re having real problems at work, experiencing bullying or harrassment, talk to your manager, or go above them. Talk to your union or trade body if you have one. Don’t let serious things go unheard, as it can lead to stress which isn’t good for anyone!

What are your tips for creating a good work/life balance?
xoxo

*All the images I used in this post were taken from Google searches, I don’t own any of the image rights.

Off The Wagon

Hey Guys! I have seriously fallen off the healthy wagon and onto a road of over-indulgence, gluttony and laziness!

For the past couple of weeks my exercise pattern has been sporadic (doing nothing for days and then a 10km run, followed by more days of nothing) and I haven’t practiced any self control or 80/20 with the food I’ve eaten.

Not only is this showing on the scale (164lb!!!) but I’m also feeling less body confident, I’m filling out my clothes more than I’d like to, and generally feel uncomfortable with my body.

So today, I’m getting back on the wagon, and will re-focus on what I’m eating, when I’m eating and introduce some more consistent exercise plans

To do this, I’m going to track more than normal. something that is always successful when I’ve done it in the past. BUT it’s important not to let tracking your intake and efforts too rigorously so that it becomes a dangerous habit. It’s like they say “don’t miss out on life to lose 5lb” – follow the 80/20 and make sensible decisions. That’s what I’ll be doing.

So here’s my meals and exercises planned for the next few days…

Monday: Chicken salad from M&S for lunch with fruit for dessert, small snack (TBC), chopped salad with boiled egg and fish sticks for dinner
Davina Cardio & Legs (30 mins)

Tuesday: Yoghurt and fruit with granola for breakfast, apple and cheese for snack, tuna salad for lunch, protein or kind bar for snack, grilled chicken with courgette, cabbage and orange salad
5-8 km run

Wednesday: Yoghurt and fruit with granola for breakfast, apple and cheese for snack, chicken and salad leftovers for lunch, protein or kind bar for snack, cauliflower ‘fried rice’ with chicken, beef, egg, peas and peppers for dinner
Davina Arms and Abs (30 minutes)

Thursday: Yoghurt and fruit with granola for breakfast, apple and cheese for snack, ‘fried rice’ leftovers for lunch, protein or kind bar for snack, vegetable stir-fry with spiralized courgette & carrots for dinner
ZUMBA

Has anyone else fallen off track lately, and how do you re-focus?
xoxo

Hey, it’s Tuesday!

Just a quick little update because even though my body doesn’t feel great today (feeling very bloated and sluggish but not sure why) I still ran over 5km on my lunch break and have been eating well all day.

I even managed to grab a quick picture of my lunch, even though I’d already eaten half of it:-)

Tuna and egg salad

Tuna, sweetcorn and light mayo with shredded carrot, cucumber and 2 hard boiled eggs!

Stay tuned for a recipe later this week.
xoxo

A dry summer

And no, I don’t mean the weather (this is England after all), but a sober summer!

This weekend I went out with a few of the girls and somehow got terribly drunk, ended up actually being sick and suffering from a MAJOR hangover all day Sunday. Not only that, but it also meant that I ate crap all day Sunday, and didn’t lose any weight this week so I’m still at 160lb (even through I was at 159lb on Friday, damn you empty calories)!

So, I’ve decided that from now (July 26th) to 21st August I’ll be staying sober. No more wine, no cheeky G&Ts, no sparkling cider.

Wish me luck
xoxo

A Bit of Monday Inspiration!

Be the change you wish to see – Ghandi

progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s very easy to make up excuses as to why your progress is slower than you would like, has plateaued or has reversed, but often it is because we have gone back to bad habits or we have settled at a place that we aren’t truly happy at.

It’s very easy to lose an amount of weight (1 stone in my case) and think, that’s a great achievement, now I’m going to treat myself and ease up on my workouts because I’ve done so well!

It’s very easy to become disappointed in yourself for not reaching a ‘goal’ you may have set for yourself such as hitting a certain number on the scale or fitting into a dress you have hanging in your closet.

But it’s really hard to wake up every morning and be unhappy, to go through each day wishing that you were still moving forward and then sabotaging yourself by eating unhealthily and sitting on your sofa watching TV and snacking.

So today, I’m committing to making the change I need to see the results I want. Yes, last year I lost a good amount of weight and most of my clothes fit much better. But I still have that dress hanging in the closet that is still a bit small. I still don’t have the confidence to put on a two piece this summer. I still don’t like wearing clothes that reveal the tops of my arms, and I still don’t feel happy with my body or fitness level.

So today, I’m committing to these promises…

I will eat mindfully, choosing nutritious food and making tasty, satisfying meals that will make my body and mind feel good.

I will move more, running, stretching, Zumba, kettlebells and anything else that feels good.

I will celebrate the positive impact that being healthy has, and I won’t make excuses for my own actions when I sabotage myself.

These are my promises, and today is the day that I make the changes I want to see in myself.

xoxo