When you set your mind to it, you can change anything.
- 4 months ago
I, like many others, will find any excuse not to go to the gym.
"I worked late"
“I feel tired”
“I went the other day”
“I can’t be bothered”
But I’ve come to realise is that these excuses will always pop into my mind - the only thing I can do is react differently to them and not give in to not working out.
So here are my top tips for motivating yourself to get off the sofa and in the gym (even when you really can’t be bothered).
1) Keep your goal in mind
You may want to lose 10lbs, you may want killer abs but either way that goal needs to be front of mind. Lose sight of your goal and you will lose focus and the momentum to get there. When you reach that goal, make another one.
2) Work harder, but faster
If you’ve worked late or are just tired, don’t go to the gym and expect to get an hour work out completed. Instead, when I feel like this I go for 20-30 minutes but I don’t stop for that entire time - that way I’m still getting the best out of it without using all my free time. Plus, I always feel brilliant when I leave the gym - remember that feeling when you’ve had a great work out and apply it the next time you can’t be bothered to go.
3) Mix it up
I get bored easily in the gym. Instead of slogging for 45 mins on the dreadmill, sorry treadmill, why not do 15 mins of intervals, 15 mins of HIIT with weights then 15 mins of the cross trainer? Time goes much quicker AND you work out more of your body.
4) Treat yourself
I always think the carrot works more than the stick so why not reward yourself for going to the gym? Every time I get closer to one of my goals, I buy myself something that I really want. Which means I’m motivated on 2 levels: I get something I want and I’m losing weight too!
5) Don’t forget how far you’ve come
Sometimes it’s easy to forget what you’ve already achieved. Don’t forget where you used to be. Yes, you may not be at your final destination but you’re already fitter, healthier and happier than you were when you started. Things can only get better.
Do you remember when you were a child? How many best friends did you have?
I seemed to have a lot of them and I liked them all for different reasons but I always had a “best best” friend who was over and above the most important. From adamantly declaring your best friends as a child to romantic/sexual relationships as an adult - I don’t know about you but I’ve always been of the mindset that you HAVE to make these things work. Because well… You just do!
But what if you don’t?
What if you’re just supposed to have certain people in your life, until you take the next step on your “journey”?
So many of us try to strain the life out of relationships and to what end? As I get older, I realise that perhaps some relationships are just stepping stones - that support you until the next step of your journey?
Sometimes this support lasts a few months, other times a couple of years and then it’s gone.
During that time you can be two peas in a pod but then things change and that person, or perhaps you, aren’t the support anymore.
It’s sad when any relationship ends, but it’s probably healthy. The difference between a romantic relationship (that so often seem to end badly) and a friendship, is that most friendships just seem to fizzle out.
The texts are less frequent, you can’t quite remember the last time you met up, you (and they) haven’t a clue about the terrible date you went on or even your latest work news. And if you do catch up, it’s awkward and it makes you not want to see them again any time soon.
So you find new people to fill the gaps, you begin a new journey or a deeper friendship and then you don’t even miss the other person - they don’t really even pop into your mind anymore. And then you’re not even sad about it, it’s just “one of those things”.
But it’s not a bad thing. We shouldn’t beat ourselves up about it.
Not everything is supposed to last a lifetime.
But it does make me appreciate the people who stick around no matter what. Like my best friend who loves over 100 miles away and who I can go without speaking to for weeks and then spend 3 hours on the phone to her laughing so hard that I cry.
For every “stepping stone” relationship/friendship I’ve had, I’m so happy to have people like her, who are not my stepping stones but are my rocks. I couldn’t be without these people.
They’re the relationships you want to last a lifetime.
- 8 months ago
I tend to find that the biggest catalyst for change is when the status quo becomes stale and old & you realise that maybe a change wouldn’t be so bad?
It happens in politics, all of the time but what about when it happens to your every day life?
A year ago, I decided enough was enough. I decided that whilst I had a great job, great friends and an exciting life - something was missing, I needed to do more so I could live properly. That change was to lose weight.
I was never a skinny child, teenager or indeed adult. Part of this was down to the culture I grew up in; part Irish, part Caribbean - food is a celebration, a tasty treat, central to so many family gatherings and ultimately bloody brilliant!
The other part was that I just didn’t love exercise. I played netball during secondary school but P.E. lessons were the ones I hated the most. In all honesty, my attitude to exercise is much the same now - I’d rather do anything else.
By the time I got to uni I did very, very little exercise. My alcohol intake increased, as did my consumption of “bad foods”.
I spent much of early 20s jumping from diet to diet, Atkins to Dukan, living on liquids, taking fat burners, not eating, then bingeing, eating according to my blood type, my astrological sign, how my caveman ancestors ate, cabbage soup… There’s not one fad plan I haven’t given a go because I read that *insert celebrity name* used it and it worked wonders. I even tried that awful baby food one. Grim.
Changing It Up
At 27, I decided to make a change. It was simple - I wanted to be healthier, I wanted to sleep better and I wanted to feel better.
I’ve never been a “bad eater” I prefer fresh home-cooked meals to takeaways and will pretty much stick to main meals BUT I do have a sweet tooth. If I had sweets in my house, I will eat them - same goes for chocolate and crisps.
It sounds simple but I just chose low calorie/low fat versions of what I like to eat - I was still getting pleasure from food but rather than being covered in butter or whatever else, I was just eating well and most importantly going to the gym.
There is not one piece of equipment I enjoy in the gym. Not one. But what I did come to love is that I can compete with myself on the bike/treadmill/cross trainer. If I can go harder, for longer than I did the day before, then I win. I essentially tricked my brain into thinking the gym was a competition.
This mentality helped me to lose 28lbs in about 4/5 months and eventually my busy life in events took over and my travelling for work increased. And I admit it, the gym was the last thing on my mind and the frequency that I went reduced significantly. But this time something was different.
I didn’t go back to my bad eating patterns, I carried on eating healthily and trying to exercise when I could. By simply maintaining a health diet I was able to maintain my weight loss and moreover, I hadn’t lost weight in a dramatic or stupid way so there was no suddenly gain.
New Year, New Kick Up The Bum
After a Christmas where Quality Street was my new favourite breakfast, I decided to step it up a gear. I joined a local Fitness First (on my road, no excuses!) and decided to really focus on my goal of being healthier. By chance, on the day I signed up to this gym I met my personal trainer. As part of my membership I received 2 free PT sessions and thought I’d see what I’d get out of it.
Two months on I’m still seeing my trainer twice a week. She’s incredible. She understands my goals and my body. She knows how to motivate me and make me work harder. And having her in the back of my mind makes me train harder when I’m on my own.
Personal training is a luxury, of course, but it has transformed my attitude towards to gym - either way I look at it I have to train 2 times in addition to my PT sessions. The weeks when I don’t train on my own are the weeks when I lose nothing or very little. If I don’t put the work in too, I won’t get what I want out of it.
I probably still have another 50-60lbs I’d like to lose (in addition to the 14lbs I’ve already lost in 2014, go me!) - at that point it will be about maintenance which is probably the hardest part of losing any significant weight.
I suppose I’ve written this blog because there are so many stupid diets around, people who are overweight are judged unfairly and it’s hard to know what to do or how to do it.
So I’m going to try and update this from time to time with tasty recipes and breakdowns of my gym sessions just in case you want to try and incorporate them into your lives.
Hopefully this all makes sense.
Before and After of me over the past year
- 1 year ago
As I sat on the tube home today, trying not to get annoyed at the girl eating Burger King in an enclosed space, it occurred to me that the people near me hadn’t even heard the news.
They didn’t know that this monumental moment in history had happened.
They didn’t know that we were all equal.
They didn’t know that it didn’t matter who you loved, just that you loved them.
But I knew.
It made me smile all the way home.
We are all equal.
I do not bake. Measuring things is dry and so I don’t enjoy the precision of baking. So I challenged myself to bake today and here is the result. Modified from a recipe I found on the Guardian website.
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
100g light soft brown sugar
100g dark brown sugar
250ml sunflower oil
2 large eggs
100g ground almonds
1 large mango, diced
Preheat the oven to 180C (fan-assisted 160C)/350F/gas mark 4, and grease a 20cm round sponge. Peel and dice the mango, keeping it to one side in bowl.
Sift the flour into a bowl then add the baking powder and spices in a bowl then stir through. In a large mixing bowl, crack the 2 eggs add the oil and whisk. Mix in the sugar and stir until smooth. Add the dry mix in quarters and fold until fully mixed in, then add the ground almonds and mango, fold until combined.
Put the mixture into the cake tin and sprinkle flaked almonds on top. Cook for approx 30mins or until browned.
Leave to cool in the tin then serve.