Body

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I have tried to write this post like 3 times and each and every single time I have gotten like halfway through it and then just highlighted and deleted it.

Because I don’t even really know what I’m trying to say about it.

What I do know is that for some reason when this letter presented itself to me this word would not leave me alone. It’s like I thought it and the any other word that begins with B just went away. It’s like there were no others.

I guess I could try and trace it when I got hit by this idea.

I was in my boxing class and I threw a punch and I noticed actual muscle definition. And then in that same class I finally found myself actually jumping out in my burpees (I have a dodgy knee, jumping out in a burpee makes me nervous, it still does, I don’t always do it). I also then held a high plank for like a whole minute. And only felt like crying for the last 15 seconds.

And I started to realise that I need to get better at appreciating the little things.  And the little victories that my body can now do.

It can do cardio twice a week and it is hard don’t get me wrong, but it’s doable and I feel mostly really good about it as opposed to like I want to crawl into a corner and not deal with anything. It actually enjoys cardio these days where like a year ago I tried to avoid cardio like the damn plague.

It can lift now. And it can lift heavier than it used to be able to. I had a weird irrational fear when it came to weights but I conquered that and actually kind of really love it.

I both equally love and hate muscle soreness. Because it’s hella annoying for it to hurt whenever you go to sit down (especially when you work at a desk) and whenever you have to push yourself to stand up, but it also feels kinda good to know that your muscles are working properly and that there might be some kind of change going on in it.

I kinda like finding new weakness that I have and then working to make them stronger (I’m looking at you front racked squats and at a certain time of the month lunges). I kind of hate the fact that my shoulders insist on being tight as fuck and sometimes my hip flexors just do not know when to quit. My lower abs are always gonna be a tricky thing for me to target because my lower back just loves that hyper extension and also my legs are super long and therefore super difficult to control. At the moment. I’m working on it.

Everything is just basically a work in progress these days. And I didn’t even imagine that I would be that person but over the course of the past 18 months specifically I have been.

It’s become my safe place.

The place where I can just channel my emotions and energy of the day and let it go into endorphins. Where I can push myself and just when I think I can’t cope anymore I prove myself wrong and get through the reps. Where I actually quite like the burn sometimes and the huge heaves of oxygen that I have to take in order to get myself prepped for the next part. Where water is literally like elixir (and I pretty much only drink water and coffee on a day to day basis, mostly water).

I’ve come to really love those 45 minutes (for the most part now as I have ditched the only hour long class that I do for the time being) where I just push myself and shake off the energy of the working day. It really proves just how much the mind can play with you because it always thinks that the body doesn’t have it in you, but then the body always proves the mind wrong and there is something really rewarding about that.

Something rewarding about shutting that voice out and proving it wrong.

Something rewarding about looking at the situation of your life and realising that the anxiety that borderline ruined your life for a lot of last year, while not gone completely, is not sitting there at the base of your throat threatening to tear you apart every single minute of every single day anymore.

To look at things and know that just a few months ago you would have fallen apart but now it is easy to just take things in your stride and keep going. It’s never really all that deep. And finally being able to accept that is freeing.

And exercise has a lot to do with that. Pushing myself to what I think are my limits and then exceeding them has helped a lot with that. It’s helped me rationalise a lot more. It’s helped me remember that I am a lot stronger than I think I am in a better way than I have ever done so before and in a way that is actually proving itself to have long term benefits.

And the aesthetics part is just a bonus.

I finally feel truly comfortable in my skin and like I am looking at it in a rational way. I can appreciate it in all it’s ups and downs and I’ve talked about this a little bit before but that’s always been hard for me.

But it’s getting easier almost everyday.

And I’m feeling stronger everyday.

Which I’m loving.

Maybe that’s why this word wouldn’t leave me. A part of my brain wanted me to appreciate that.

(Also tiny update on the summer plans thing, last night I had to live and suffer through my decision to choose the shoulder track over the ab track because even though the shoulder one is a killer I hate the ab one and well…it’s the road to a sexy back…)

Parentheses count: 6. See you tomorrow!

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Summer Plans

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So I reached this weird limbo point if that much wasn’t obvious as I tidy up some loose book review ends and before I embark on my next blog project which shall all be revealed on Thursday. And as such my posts are a tad more random than usual.

This weird limbo point also means that I required some inspiration from somewhere because I can’t just keep breaking glass for emergency tag post. That would annoy me for some reason, there are only so many I can do. And so once I had eliminated that from my arsenal I turned to writing prompts, more specifically I turned to the SITs Girls.

And they gave me this:

What are your plans for summer?

Now I have already been on holiday this year in the ‘Spring’ and I’m maybe due to go somewhere more UK based in October and so therefore there are no ‘summer holiday’ plans. In fact I have a whole load of no plans except a wedding.

So my summer is looking pretty uneventful as it were.

So what are my plans?

Bascially GAINZ

Okay, I kind of hate myself for that whole sentence on some level, but those are honestly my plans.

My barre class updated recently and I am just not feeling it. I’ve kinda been feeling like that since the beginning of the year when I hate to switch my barre and lift class around due to scheduling. By Thursday my legs are kind of already burned out and they don’t really want to then be burned out even further and I feel like I am just not getting the best of it and I’m basically just running the risk of hurting myself or something. And we don’t want that.

And then when I was doing my now usual Sunday Lift class, which I actually don’t hate being on a Sunday as much as I thought I would, I came to the sudden realisation that my chest/bicep weight has not gone up since like October time. Don’t get me wrong, I have tried to push it up to 10kg, but when it comes to bicep curls my arms just die and cannot get through it. They can still barely manage 7.5kg by the end.

And I think it’s because for the most part I only do things that specifically train them once a week while I get everything else almost every time I work out. I mean I am sculpting my arms in some way when I box and there are arm tracks with some light weights in both barre and rebounding, but it’s not quite the same.

And well I’m kind of liking the slight tone and definition that my arms are slowly getting and I want to see more of it. And I also want to actually be able to make it through the whole chest and arms section with 10kg and not feel like my arms are going to fall off and realise in horror that there is still like 15 minutes left of the class and I don’t quite know if I have it in me.

The plan therefore is to switch up my current routine and up the number of weights sessions I do in a week from 1 to 2. Currently that means dropping Thursday and do Friday because I also noticed that it’s my barbell strength that is shitty. If I have a kettlebell then I am actually fine. I think I’ve got to 12kg with a kettlebell no problem, but with an even distribution of weight on a long metal pole? It caps at being competent at 7.5kg.

It’s a weakness that I am looking to resolve or maybe not resolve but at least work on. Because it’s never going to get anywhere if I just ignore it and keep coasting where I am. Also if I work on getting my arms to lift a bit heavier it might also help me when it come to those pull and push up that I so desperately want to work on.

Basically my plans for the summer are pretty simple. They weirdly revolve around fitness because apparently I am that person now. I mean, I am not really making any huge differences, but I’m hoping this one switch for the next few months will make some kind of change to something. Maybe I’ll find out that the change is all mental and in fact I am actually capable of lifting heavier I just don’t think I am.

Time will tell.

And I’m giving it the summer to let me know.

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Check In 2

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I am actually on time with this one, even in amongst my current little blog project, so let’s have another check in shall we?

1) Learn how to fuck with eyeshadow

I was about to say that I’ve hardly worn make up these past couple of months, but that’s a lie. I have, the truth is I just haven’t made the investment in any eye shadows or the brushes that I would use to apply them. It’s just not been high up on my list of things to do, I dunno why. Probably because I am good at the one face of make up that I can do and I can get it done in 15 minutes which proves useful sometimes.

2) Learn how to do a full pull up

This is not something that I have even attempted to start trying to be able to do. I am all about trying to improve my upper body strength right now and so I am doing stuff that works my arms and chest a lot, but none of that has translated into me even attempting to do one pull up. I’m scared of them, this is the problem, this is why I have made it a goal for the year.

3) Be able to a full push up

Look, on Wednesday 14th March, mainly because I was trying to make up how shitty the workout the night before went, I did 5 whole full push ups that had a decent range of motion and was done on my toes and not my knees. So this one is making progress. I have also managed to do more since that date. I mean the reps aren’t ever all that high and for the most part I can’t get that much full of motion, but I can do it enough sometimes.

4) Read 70 books

I’m slowly making my way towards being halfway through this challenge and we are not yet halfway through the year, so this feels like it is going well for me. I mean I hit a bit of a reading slump at the end of last month, but this is moving in the right direction. I’m currently at 23 books (almost).

5) Lift heavier

I said I wanted to be at 20kg squat weight, 10/12kg arms and barbell complexes/lunges/clean and presses by July and we’ve just closed April out and I am still at what I was at when I broke the weights thing down in the last one of these. However, I say this, on Sunday I went up in weights, so I’m just about fucking with 17.5kg squats, 10kg arms and then barbell complexes was at both 12kg and then 10kg because I had to go down for the final track because I could not get through it with 12kg. The squat weight felt almost fine when it was racked back when I had to go front rack my wrists were not a fan. 10kg arms is maybe a tad ambitious so that may now be the last to go up while I work on the barbell complexes and stuff first. I felt strong. It felt kind of good. Every single muscle in my body was shaky af when I finished. But the weights are making a difference and I kind of love them for it.

6) Eat more fruit and veg

I’m still really hit and miss with that. The good news is that we are reaching the season where all my fave fruits are back in season and are tasting good. I always eat more fruit when the weather is warmer. So this is kind of a work in progress. There are small changes that are happening each day with this one that I am just kind of rolling with because it was never going to change overnight.

7) Cook More

Hey, look which one is still going nowhere? Don’t get me wrong, I do cook. I can cook just fine and I cook well, but I just don’t do it often and that hasn’t really changed. My main reason for this one was just that I wanted to be a bit more in control of my diet because that is like 80% of the battle when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, but that has just naturally changed over time anyway as it became more glaringly obvious in my house that I wasn’t fucking about with that thing.

8) Finish the damn book

This is a slow moving goal for obvious reasons. I felt really motivated at the beginning of April as I always do when the time comes around and in theory it comes with a month of epic writing sessions, and I did make some real progress with it during the time that I was off from work and went on holiday and all that jazz but then I had to get back into the routine of being at work and it really took a lot out of me for some reason, because 2 weeks is enough to make it feel like you are at the bottom of the mountain and have to hike back up again and so I fell out of being motivated for it. And now I’m just hovering at nearly 10,000 words.

9) Write for half an hour a day

See above about the fact that I have been very unmotivated to write and so therefore this one is also currently not even close to being a habit.

10) Get better organised

Look, we all know the answer to this one don’t we…?

11) Get my Peak score to 900

I’m in the 830’s, so you know this one is plodding along. I will tell you that I lost my epic daily streak because on the day that I got to Amsterdam I fucking forgot to complete one of the games and only remembered after midnight meaning that I had to start from one again. Is this a real issue? No. But it still on some level continues to make me feel some type of way.

12) Meditate more

This is my spring/summer goal. I need to build it and make it a habit. I really, really do. It’s my May project.

13) Save, save, save

This is kind of going fine, kind of not. There’s been no change there. One day, I swear I will report one and it’s gonna be mind blowing.

14) Put more effort into blogging

I think at this point all the foundation work for this is done. The rest is just stuff that I have to do in terms of putting content up and also being better at sharing it. And yeah, I did just quietly change the theme on here whilst I was gone in March.

15) The Masters

This remains the most complicated thing for me. I was fully pumped to do this for a lot of last year and then my mental health took a hit and doing anything remotely related to education was so far from my mind that it was hilarious. Then when I started thinking about it again this year there was just a massive question mark above it. A huge, flashing one that seemed to give off a red colour. And because I took that time away from the decision I have found myself now questioning if that is even something that I want to do. It’s an extra 2 years in education and education actually broke me come the end of it. Maybe it’s a case of feel the fear and do it anyway, or maybe it’s something that I shouldn’t do. I don’t really know anymore. I’m still pondering.

And that is my second check in of the year. On the one hand there are some improvements and I can feel some habits forming, on the other hand there is still some areas where I really need to try and make them second nature for me. But this is where I am at with this at the moment.

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Body Talk 2.0

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I feel like I came back quite heavy somewhat by accident in terms of the content of my posts and I’m kind of not sorry about it to be honest (see yesterday’s post as to why). I’ve mentioned on here before that the line for what I will and won’t talk about on this blog moves all the time and I moved the line in relation to this once (here) and then for whatever reason moved it back to never be crossed again.

But then recently something started to bug me and so the line inched slightly forward and now I’ve either pushed the line so far forward that I can no longer really see it, or just crossed the line and thought fuck it.

So, fuck it.

I’m not really in the habit of weighing myself all that much. There is not a scale in my house, there never really has been. When I was younger and at my Nana’s house for whatever reason she decided to make weighing me into a fun game. I never really understood what the number meant or really paid all that much attention to it when I was younger because I didn’t really think that much of it.

Then my grandparents left the country and so the scales left my life and for some reason that bothered me on some level. Because I just assumed that regularly weighing yourself was something that you had to do and I could no longer do it. Especially when it finally registered with me why you were supposed to pay attention to the number. You know to make sure that you were losing weight or that you were maintaining that ideal weight. Or whatever.

My point is that I no longer had a scale to reflect a number back at me to give me any indication of anything and so I had to do it by sight. I basically started thinking that I could tell whether I was at a ‘good enough’ weight by sight alone.

Here’s the problem with that.

I’m naturally kinda small. I mean I’m 5ft 10, but I am not broad at all. On the rare occasion people hug me they’re kinda horrified by the fact that there just appears to be a lot of bone.

Which for many years was exactly what I wanted. Like I said, I’m tall but I’m also kinda shy and that anxiety thing is no joke, so I wanted to be as small as possible. The only way I could think of to do that was to be as thin as possible. Whilst also not drawing attention to the fact that I was getting thinner to people around me, because that would have caused more problems then I could be bothered to deal with.

So I toed a real thin line and kind of let it all go to shit at weekends and when I was at uni and it was you know all…fine. I am fully aware that it actually really wasn’t, but whatever it’s where I was at. I’m not proud of it, but it was what it was. I lived my life like that. I’m not saying it was happily, but it was what I was doing and I spent a lot of time on my own so who the fuck noticed whether I was happy or not?

Then I decided to join and a gym and honestly I had no idea what I was doing but I just knew that it was something that I probably should be doing and so I was doing it. And the changing rooms at this gym had some scales and for some reason, probably that 8 year old girl in me, I felt compelled to stand on them. I don’t even really know what I was expecting, but I remember being surprised that it was in double digits. It was barely in double digits, but I was surprised by that. I was surprised that I had let it get to that. But that was probably because I was surrounded by a lot more people and they were somehow holding me accountable for something I guess. Plus I wasn’t really actively exercising all that much and therefore it meant that I was gaining weight and was somehow unaware of it.

Anyway, fast forward to just under a year ago now and my anxiety is fucking with me so much that I finally bother to attempt to seek help with it. Which is at a time when I’m finding exercise a sort of release but am keeping it low impact because I’m terrified of so many other things and am not sleeping and I’m still eating because being around people all the time means that they notice if you aren’t eating anymore (gotta be honest, that it a great way to keep things in tact, not ideal, but damn did it force me to regulate my eating habits a bit better) but I’m not really enjoying food all that much. And my mood is just not good for the most part. And everything is very much not okay. And I’m at my GP’s and she asks me to stand on a scale. And in my head I’m like, no I don’t wanna know what it is in case it’s more than it had been the last time I had dared to step on a scale in about October of 2016.

How I thought that was possible I don’t know.

Funnily enough I hadn’t gained weight. I had lost it. Which makes sense given that I was working out more but was not eating any more or less than I had been. But when you can burn 300-600 calories in a workout (with the exception of one which is under 200) then you are going to lose weight. I couldn’t tell you where I’ve lost it from in term of where on my body or anything but I can tell just by looking at myself these days that there needs to be more weight on my body then there currently is.

I’ve known that all year. I knew it before this year started to be honest, but I wasn’t quite willing to address it.

But strength training is really one of my goals this year. I want to get stronger physically and I currently do not feel like I can do that if I continue to lose weight that at this point I just do not have to lose.

Which means that I need to gain weight.

Which is where things get kind of tricky. In that I kind of don’t know who to do it. I haven’t sat down and truly thought it through. I made a start with the groundwork a few weeks ago, but then I got kind of scared of actually implementing anything and so therefore I didn’t. Yet.

But I have had a few conversations about this with a couple of people to try and get some ideas about ways to do it without actually dropping sessions, especially cardio ones.

And now we finally get around to what it was that sparked this whole post.

I was having this conversation with someone and then later someone else came up to me because they had overheard me while I was lamenting the fact that I do in all seriousness need to gain some weight (seriously when person 1 found out what I actually weighed they were damn that’s low, it’s 59kg if you want to know) and immediately decided to start telling me that I was being foolish and I couldn’t possibly want to gain weight when I was already so thin. This came from a person who I have heard talk many a time about the fact that they want to lose weight.

Don’t get me wrong. I am aware that I am thin. I am aware that what I physically look like is considered the ‘ideal’ and therefore I guess I’m lucky in that respect.

But that doesn’t mean that everything is hunky dory with me. Because it’s not.

My relationship with my weight is complicated as hell and kind of always has been and the fact that I’m even looking at it and being like, ‘yeah you need to gain weight’ is a huge step on this hike up a mammoth mountain for me. The fact that I could look at the weight that reflected back at me in May last year and be like ‘shit that is not good‘ (also, let’s ignore that we are now in April (although I wrote this in March) and I’ve only just truly acknowledged this fact for real over the past month or so…) is a big deal for me.

It may seem ridiculous to some people to be trying to go the other way and gain weight instead of losing it, but it’s what I honestly need to do for myself. And I also could not fathom why this person felt the need to comment anyway. I wasn’t having a conversation with them anyway. I have never injected into their conversations about how they want to lose weight. I am very much a you do you person. And then leave me to do me.

Because that’s all this is for. Me. I finally feel somewhat confident in my skin but I know that there is still room for me to feel better. And right now to do that it requires me to no longer be borderline underweight.

I’m breaking it down into small, manageable chunks but the overall aim is to get to 70kg or something. However for now I’m just aiming for 65kg. Which is where the problem kind of kicks in.

Diet.

I’ve made some small changes to my diet, but honestly I eat a lot of food already. Or at least it feels like I do. And I try to make all the food I eat as useful as possible. And it is for the most part, but then I do things like burn 550 calories in 45 minutes on a Wednesday and I’m never gonna make that up with food.

In talking about this with someone we both established that my breakfast could do with being a little bit more. It’s currently toast and peanut butter which is an improvement from the granola that it was before the new year. But it should probably be more. The problem is breakfast and I have never really been very friendly to one another, the only reason I started eating it when I started working was because going from 8:30pm to 1pm the following day with no food stopped being possible and I found myself constantly snacking on junk. I needed the meal in the middle. And I’ve treated that meal as such ever since. Just something to get me through until lunch. Even on weekends, I just eat a protein bar before I work out and then go in on all the food post work out. And I’m probably not going to change that because workouts are the first thing I do on weekends, but on weekdays they aren’t. They’re the last thing I do and so breakfast has gotta change.

I should probably also change my snack game up a bit and finally nail down the lunch thing. I dunno, I feel like I need to get out of the habit of just aimlessly grazing from lunch onwards (there is some focus to it and I do try to keep them as healthy as possible) and then stopping dead at like 9. Or maybe not. I really currently do not know what the hell my approach to this is going to be. That’s partially what I am spending this week really trying to figure out.

I’m not expecting it to exactly be easy either because I am very aware that mentally I am going to find this kind of rough. Even just saying it feels hard. The thought of doing it is  even worse. But it’s necessary.

And anyway this is the final piece of the puzzle anyway. I always knew this piece of it was coming and I’ve put it off for well over a year now. I just need to do it in a way that means I don’t become low key obsessed with food in a different way. So there will be tracking, no restrictions, nothing completely crazy. I’m not eliminating anything from my life that hasn’t already been cut (like, I hardly eat dairy, but I’m not subbing alternative milk into my daily flat whites and I’m not giving up ice cream, or cheese on pizza). In theory there shouldn’t be a huge amount of change. I should just be able to make small changes that means that gradually I can stop being clinically underweight and be an actual normal weight that I feel even more comfortable in.

And there’s my slight rant and intentions when it comes to my weight and where I am at in a general sense with it all. I both need and want to gain weight. And my current goal with it all is 65kg.

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Check In 1

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These are coming bi-monthly. At the beginning of the month. At the end of every two months. I should remember that right? (No, I will remember that). That will make it 5 in this year and then a round up.

And without further ado here is the first check in

1) Learn how to fuck with eyeshadow

I’ve worn make up so little these past couple of months because I just did not really leave the house and it was just for my birthday that I put it on and as such I spent that day truly living my best. I also do not currently own any eyeshadows or appropriate brushes and I’m cutting down on my spending so that will be a goal that I might attempt later i the year.

2) Learn how to do a full pull up

I’ve not even gotten myself into a situation where I have even attempted to do this yet. I walk past these pull up bars in the park on the way to work every morning and think about how I will maybe use something with that kind of set up and then just haven’t even tried. I’m trying to work on my chest and upper body strength before I go in. I don’t even know why that is to be honest, but I just don’t feel ready to tackle this one yet.

3) Be able to a full push up

My half push up things are fine. If I’m on my knees and on the right day I can get down real low. I’ve not really gotten any further with the full one. Mainly because there is something a little bit niggly in my right wrist which makes bearing weight on it a bit hit and miss. Which is nice and useful for most body weight movements. It means that my balance is being tested slightly more because I try and avoid putting my hands down for some moves now and also means that I don’t do high planks and my knees are better at scraping the floor in mountain climbers. It also means that I avoid push ups currently. Like I said, it’s hit and miss, sometimes my wrist is fine, sometimes it’s not. I have to play it by ear.

4) Read 70 books

I’m 11 in. Soon to start the 12th. I’m making progress with this. I’m currently a little ahead of schedule, but only by a book. This is plodding along.

5) Lift heavier

I’ve come the realisation that this one is kind of vague and so I’m breaking it down a little. I’m aiming to reach a TUT squat weight of 20kg, arms/chest to 10/12kg and then everything else to roughly 15kg by July. And then I will reassess then if I have managed to do it. I went up in my squat weight last Sunday to 15kg on a whim, but my arms/chest didn’t feel quite up for the challenge of 10kg and I was right they struggled with their usual 8 and the rest of it I just felt like I was going to compromise massively on form so I just stuck with 10kg which seemed like the right choice. I am making steps. The 15kg felt kinda good, I was surprised at how much I had missed it and also by how much I enjoyed it.

6) Eat more fruit and veg

This remains hit and miss. Some weeks I’m really good and on it and hit 5 a day and then some weeks I don’t. I really need to work to make it a more conscious effort.

7) Cook More

This is going nowhere right now.

8) Finish the damn book

I aimed to get to 10,000 words on The Thing this week. That’s where I’m at with that 10,000 words. No real character building, only a vague plot, no coherence with the way that I am writing it, but the words seem to be there and I do know what I want the arc to be. It’s something.

9) Write for half an hour a day

This is not happening. I mean I am writing for half an hour or more when I’m writing for this blog, but externally of that I am not that disciplined with that yet.

10) Get better organised

We all know the answer to this right?

11) Get my Peak score to 800

On February 6th this happened. I knew it was coming because suddenly the number stopped hanging in the 770/780’s and was at 794. And so I plodded along to get to my goal of 800. It felt like such a great achievement after it alluding me for so long. So now the goal is 900.

12) Meditate more

Again, not really happening right now. It’s just not a habit that I appear to have any desire to cultivate for some annoying reason. Ironically I think I am in my own head too much and can’t switch off, nor can I accept that that is just a thing that happens, but the key is to let those thoughts pass and then bring it back. As I’m writing this I am in the midst of reading Eat, Pray, Love and she has just got to India, which is the Pray, part and she is talking about meditation and how she struggles with it and I feel kind of the same way.

13) Save, save, save

I’m made a huge reduction in the amount of unnecessary spending I am doing, so this is kind of fine right now. It’s where I want it to be to be honest. I’ve allowed myself a couple of things (like my Apple Watch and a new pair of trainers) but for the most part I am getting better at saying no.

14) Put more effort into blogging

This seems to be doing alright. I mean I did just sort of reinvent this blog a bit these past couple of weeks (and this is the last mention) and I feel a new sense of excitement about it which is always good. I’m also getting better at sharing my posts more frequently. This feels good.

15) The Masters

Okay, so this is still an idea. But I now also have another thing that I may want to do. I’m aware that I am being quite vague about this but currently it’s still just a seed in my head that I may or may not water…

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Progress

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Right, I’ve alluded to this a few times. Last year was hard for me. Mentally. It was damn draining. My anxiety sent me out of damn control. Again.

It’s been that bad before. Way back in my second year of uni I kind of hit a massive wall. I felt awful. I felt alone. I felt tired all the time. I kind of didn’t understand the point of doing anything. I very nearly dropped out of uni and just live in my bed never to leave. I kind of didn’t really do anything about it at the time, I pulled myself to the end of the year and then just had the summer before I went back for my third year.

But I was even more alone then in my third year. I didn’t live with anyone that I knew, I could honestly go for days without really talking to anyone. I was not in the headspace to have that much time to myself in my own head. But I did. And I drove myself a little bit mad.

To the point that I would find myself without fail on a Thursday for weeks on end just taking myself to the on campus nurse/doctor. Funnily enough there was never actually anything really wrong with me. I mean I did have a really stiff neck at one point but that probably because I was holding so much damn tension in my shoulders. But otherwise there was nothing wrong with me. I spent a lot of time spiralling semi out of control. On my own.

It was kind of hellish to be honest.

At some point it was suggested that maybe I had some form of anxiety, but nothing ever really came of it and whilst I was trying yoga and mediation and trying to keep myself busy to distract myself from my own thoughts it just sort of stopped being a problem.

Don’t get me wrong I didn’t stop spending so much time by myself or anything, but I guess I finally had something to strive to and that something was I realised that I was going to have work my ass off in order to get a 2.1. I could not leave uni without getting a 2.1 Seriously.

And then I don’t even really know what happened post that. I think once I was finished with uni I was so damn tired that I don’t think I had it in me to be anxious in regards to every single thing. I didn’t even have it in me to be anxious about the fact that I couldn’t seem to get a job.

And then I got a job. And I spent a lot of time in the bathroom crying because the anxiety came back. Then I settled into it and didn’t feel so shitty all the time. Then the job changed and the crying started again. Then I settled again and it was fine.

And then last year started and I have not been quite okay for about a year now. I go through phases where I’m coasting ya know? But for the most part there is always this weird feeling curling in the pit of my stomach that feels like it’s going to burst into a full blown panic attack. It hasn’t quite done that yet, but it got real close a couple of weeks ago where I full on cried twice in the same of an hour and had that weird kind of crying tension headache for the rest of the day.

Anyway cycling back to my point, because there is one, because I noticed a moment of progress this week that I was a little bit apprehensive about.

So, when my anxiety gets really bad it manifests itself primarily in me focusing on my health. I did it in 2012/13. And I did it again last year. Because on the back of a stressful day at the beginning of the week I went to a boxing class with the hope of getting it out of my system and during the warm up I noticed my heart skip a beat. Now I’ve done a lot of reading about this since, that’s a thing that happens as your heart starts to speed up to accommodate the increase of oxygen that your body needs as you exercise. In the most basic of senses. And the rational part of my brain could accept that. Knew that it happened to me before. Knew that my recovery time was good. And is better than it’s ever been. I knew all that. But my brain decided that it didn’t want to be rational and so it gave me something to focus on.

And when you focus on it then it becomes a problem. And my obsession and hyper sensitivity with it became a problem. And I managed to have this whole problem whilst still going into work and being around people for 8 hours a day. One person knew I wasn’t quite right. One.

I thought the reason that it got so bad the first time was because I was just left alone to my own devices and thoughts 24/7, but no. It got bad when I was surrounded by people, but no one knew. Bar the one person I told because they knew that I wasn’t okay and it felt good to just say it out loud. Not the whole thing, just the fact that I was having a bad time of it anxiety wise.

So anyway, I was obsessed with this and spent most of time focusing on it. I stuck to low impact exercises only because it didn’t get my heart rate up and that was more manageable. I went to see my GP. Twice. The first one was shit and told me that it might help with I dealt with my skin problems and my minor acne problem. The second one actually took me seriously. And sent me down the route of therapy.

And I did that. And it mostly worked.

What also worked was the fact that I literally forced myself to get back into more hardcore exercises, aka cardio. Which had honestly become my nemesis. And it was fine. That remains fine. I mostly do flat out cardio twice a week now and there are cardio elements to my other 3 workouts in the week. My heart rate goes up. I don’t worry about it anymore.

Which brings me to the point. Finally.

My Apple Watch tells me what my heart rate is. I spent hours driving myself mad with my fingers against the pulse in my neck. The number was never accurate because I was so worried about it and that skewed the reading. Then I started trying to do it whilst I was working out and then straight after. Then I tried to figure out when it went back to resting. I told you I drove myself mad. And I tried to force myself to stop doing that as much as possible.

If I ever found myself reaching to do it I would have to distract myself and do something else. Like walk around the office, or get some water, or just go to the toilet for no real reason. And eventually I stopped doing it. That element of my anxiety went away. It thankfully wasn’t replaced by anything.

But I was still wary of anything that would draw my attention to it because I am not really in the correct headspace to not let it overtake my life again. It’s been 5 days now and to be honest I’ve not even really thought about. I mean I have, but more because I was just curious to know what my resting heart rate was and the way it peaked during exercise. And well, that feels kind of wild.

I am not exaggerating when I say that for a couple of months last year it kind of consumed my life. And I stopped thinking about because I forced myself to. I had to change the habit. And I did for the most part. And apparently have done so. I’m not saying that it’s for good or anything because I’ve said that before and then last year happened so that was bullshit. But it feels like it’s done enough for now.

And for that reason, I am kind of proud of myself. I am proud that. I am proud that I have stopped letting that part of my anxiety rule my life because that shit was getting exhausting.

I’m proud of that. And I feel like I need to celebrate the small victories because it does still have a hold over a large part of my life. For example trains stopping for a slightly prolonged period of time still gets my heart racing my mind providing a lot of bad scenarios which I guess is the next area of this mammoth beast to tackle…

Parentheses count: 0. See you tomorrow!

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Comparison

Hi, Hey, Hello!

I’m talking about fitness stuff again, it got its own category this year for a reason.

Anyway, this year I decided that I was going to try and focus wayyyy more on quality of movement then getting more reps in. I will not really compromise on where I get my workout in one because it’s working and two because it makes me work way harder when I have to focus on that 45 minutes (or an hour) and won’t get distracted, so shoutout to Frame for that.

But back to the point, quality over quantity is where I’m at right now. There is no point in doing a shit ton of squats if I’m not doing them properly and if I try to do a lot of reps I just let form go out of the window and that makes it pointless. I have long ass legs, it takes a while for me to get into a proper squat and then push back up, I can’t do that quickly. And so I’ve stopped doing that. And it has made a difference. Same goes for my lunges, I mean come through two 90 degree angles in my legs and glute engagement on the way back up. All this means that in a class environment where people are keeping up with the instructor and I’m doing one squat/lunge for everyone else’s two it makes it really easy to get in my own head and start comparing myself to everyone around me and how I must not be working hard enough.

Except that’s bullshit. I’m 5ft 10 and like I said I’ve got long legs (37 inches) they do not move as quickly as everyone else who are all what would be considered a relatively average height for a woman, and so the best I can do is what works best for me and moving slowly but properly is what works best for me. And it’s something that I am slowly trying to become more content with, moving at my own pace while everyone around me seems to be going a lot quicker.

But I’m not there yet and there is something in my head that is always looking around at the other people in the class wondering what they are doing (and in some cases wondering if they are feeling as much of a burn as I am, I went to barre on Thursday night and for the first time in the year that I have been doing barre my legs reached a shaky point where I almost physically could not hold it up behind me and pulse. The shake was real. As was the burn. I was not alone. Thankfully) and then comparing what I am doing to them.

But I am getting better at ignoring that voice in my head that is basically telling me that I’m shit and that I should quit will I’m so clearly behind. The realisation of this truly became apparent a few weeks back when I was finally getting my ass to a Lift class because my body felt like it was finally up for it again.

And in said class there was a pregnant woman. Who was lifting wayyyyy heavier than me. And there was a part of my brain that was like, ‘well why are you even trying?’ but for the most part I cold shut it up and just be like, ‘well that’s where she’s at with this, and this is where you’re at.’ I had weight trained properly once (maybe twice, I can’t actually remember) this year at that point. I had also not done it for a while over Christmas and all that. I was effectively starting from square one again (I mean not quite, because my weights stayed the same as they were prior to my little break and they felt fine (I talked about here) and overall I knew that I had to be kind to myself.

The revelation that I could actively stop myself from comparing myself to others in that moment felt monumental. I had really shitty mental health year last year where I spent more time beating myself up about almost everything then I did giving myself credit for the things that I managed to deal with quite well. And there is still remnants of that in existence in my brain but because it adapted to everything else to the point where it has now become second nature it’s now apparently decided that it wants to turn on me in other ways.

And well, it hadn’t turned on me when it came to exercise and body image yet (well it had, but again I’ve already been there and done that, I guess with exercise entering the equation I’ve changed the game) and so it is slowly starting to do that.

But here’s the great thing about exercise for me. It’s my time to just fully disconnect and sweat it out. And feel really fucking good about it. I work out for me and all the rest of it is just a bonus (like the muscles, hello baby biceps and abs) and it’s really freeing to go into it with that attitude and to not worry so much about what other people are doing. This is about them. It’s about me.

So it’s really freeing to know that that element of comparison is slowly leaving my life and I’m becoming much more comfortable and confident with who I am as a person.

Parentheses count: 6. See you tomorrow!

 

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