FITNESS | No, I’m not fat, and no, I don’t need to diet
#GAYFitnessChallenge – Part 2
People are always telling me what a great figure I have. How slim I am. But the fact of the matter is, I may be slim, but how I go about controlling my weight is not healthy.
Firstly, I binge-drink. Sounds horrendous doesn’t it? Visions of 16 year-olds swigging cheap vodka from the bottle in some park somewhere to get absolutely wankered is what I associate with binge drinking. A business owner and mother of two in her mid-30s? No. But the reality is I consume an excessive amount of alcohol over a short period of time most weekends whilst drinking nothing at all from Monday to Thursday and that my friends, is the definition of binge drinking. I, like most ladies my age, have re-packaged binge drinking as social drinking, it sounds better, less dangerous and more socially acceptable. Of course I don’t open a bottle of wine on a Friday night with the sole intention of getting shitfaced, but I am certainly not able to drink a glass and put the bottle back in the fridge for another day – I will inevitably finish it. And sometimes, I may even open another. I may even finish that too. (Just to point out – bottle number two is usually opened because the hubby has been tucking into my first bottle – I seldom do two whole bottles myself in one go. Well, unless it’s Christmas. Or I’m on a night out. Or it’s my birthday, or someone else’s). To put this into perspective, the recommended weekly units of booze for us ladies is 21. That’s one and a half bottles of plonk spread over SEVEN days! I’m blowing that recommendation out of the window near-on three times over on an average Thursday-to-Sunday weekend. Over Christmas? Whack a zero on the number 21 and that’s where I was at per week. Not to mention what it’s costing me in wine and I don’t do cheap stuff. It’s ten-quid-a-go bottle of Villa Maria Sauv Blanc and nothing less at Thomas Towers. If there is an offer on in Sainsbury’s slap -bang across the road from my house (which is a problem in itself having a wine isle 400m away from my living room), then I’ll buy another bottle – stock up whilst it’s cheaper. My wine fridge however is always empty.
I try to live by the two-500-calorie-days-a-week method to counteract the other five. Known as the 5/2 diet with many proven health benefits, it works well if one has the willpower. But if like me, you get to 6pm and crack under the pressure of what to have for dinner -more often than not it ends up being more than 500 calories, then don’t bother attempting it. It sounds a lot easier than it is – it’s hard, especially with two energetic youngsters. I can just about manage Mondays on 500 calories – I’ve usually scoffed such a huge Sunday dinner with an extra-large portion of something sweet with custard or ice cream the day before so I can survive on coffee and something very boring and healthy for dinner. I seldom make day two. Weekends are of course to enjoy. We aren’t a family of three-times-a-week takeaway and fast-food gorging lazy arses; quite the contrary. We’ll go out walking of a weekend and eating what we want generally means home-cooked – it could be a nice piece of steak and home-made chips and salad for example. A traditional Sunday dinner or something with pasta or rice. But when that first gin and tonic has been mixed (Thomas Towers measure) it’s a slippery slope.
It’s the law to have a bottle of Malbec when steak is on the menu come Friday night… Hubby: “Oh, that didn’t last long, shall we open another and watch a film? A film needs popcorn and chocolate, everyone knows that. Me: “Did you say cheese and biscuits? – oh why not – back on the dust diet on Monday.”
I’ve conditioned myself to fear refined and processed carbohydrates… unless I’m drinking wine, and then Kettle Chips are ok. Or unless I’m hungover, then toast, crumpets and bacon sandwiches are fine too. I’m not one of these let’s-go-for-a-run types. Certainly not with any consistency. I’ve never been big on anything that has me sweating and I sweat quite easily. I don’t do gyms. I have an acute phobia of swimming pools thanks to a frightful incident many years ago involving a lot of someone else’s hair, and I haven’t the co-ordination for group exercise classes. I’m also a workaholic and find if difficult to drag myself away from my desk. An issue in itself as I’m sat on my arse for most of the day. I love walking and try to get out when I can. We do a lot of walking at weekends, but still, with a three year old in tow there is only so many miles one can walk and it’s generally in the direction of a pub.
I’m a natural pear shape – I lose weight from the waist up, and gain it from the waist down. Meaning the three pound I pile on over the weekend because I’ve eaten like Henry VIII, drops off from somewhere above when I’m living on dust and water on a Monday.
The pear is growing and quite frankly I don’t want to be a big juicy pear. But reality is, if I continue with a lifestyle of binge drinking, erratic eating and inconsistent exercise then I’m going to be the one of the biggest pears in the fruit bowl. It’s now or never folks!
As part of my January health and fitness challenge I’m bearing all. Exactly one year ago, these were my best-fitting jeans: I’m nearly a stone heavier that I was this time last year (apologies for the horrific, grey pants). That’s with a year of crash diets, detoxes and cleanses etc. If I don’t change direction now, then I’ll inevitably be another stone heavier this time next year from the waist down. Time to re-distribute the weight, not loose it. I will get back into these jeans.
I’m not saying I am never going to drink again, good god no, life would be as boring as fuck and I’d probably end up divorced. But I am absolutely committed to getting out of the rut that I am in by changing my habits – this means I’ll be eating more, not less. And no crazy no chewing / soup-only / juice-only days. This January is not about ridiculous diets like so many Januarys have been before for me. It’s about a lifestyle change that I want to commit to. Period. It will result is a better me. Healthier, stronger and fitter both physically but also mentally. Let’s face it, it’s not good that I’m on 50mg of Sertraline a day for depression and anxiety and over Christmas there were days when I was knocking back my daily dose with Processo. And it’s pretty shit that my three year old daughter regularly catching me jumping on the weighing scales – not the best example to set is it?
The future – less pear more carbs
On Thursday I had a nutritional examination with ex. Leeds United player Andy Couzens, who is helping kick-start my lifestyle change with a month-long health and fitness challenge. A career in premier league football means he has been lucky enough to have had nutritional and fitness advice from the best out there. He knows his stuff. He now owns his own personal training centre in Guiseley, just six miles north-west of Leeds called AC Personal Training. More on him later. My biggest fail according to Andy? Too much booze aside? It is not what I’m eating, it is when I’m eating it. Guess what? I can eat carbs! Certainly in a morning, rather than skipping breakfast and drinking coffee until 11am I should be eating like a king. Toast, bagels, bacon sandwiches – it’s a revelation! Unfortunately, my 9pm family-sized bag of Kettle Chips addiction is going to have to go by the wayside.
Changing my eating habits
Of course part of the problem with any lifestyle change relating to what we eat, is getting out of the rut of buying and cooking the same foods day in day out. Sainsbury’s doesn’t help the bloody situation when there’s a ‘personal favourites’ section on their website which allows me to log into my account, click this option, and buy the same item of everything, super quick, week in week out. Meaning we are pretty much eating the same meals over and over. So over the course of the next few weeks, as well as keeping you posted on my pear-shape, I’ll be posting every meal I have to my Facebook Page along with some recipe ideas from my business-partner-come-nutrition guru James Ellis.
Starting with these egg muffins that I threw together lanst night and scoffed for breakfast this morning and believe me, they are divine. You can find the recipe here
I’ll be posting a pic every meal on my Instagram page. Search on the hashtag #GAYfitnesschallenge and every post relating to my experiment will appear giving you lots of ideas for meals – healthy, filling, easy to make, no weird ingredients to find. Simples. I’ll also be launching a competition in the next instalment which includes some one-on-one time with Andy yourself so keep posted folks and check back in on Monday when I’ll also walk you through my fitness plan with Andy. G.A.Y. x Read #GAYFitnessChallenge Part 1 – It’s time to face the music – I’ll never get the arse that I want sat on it.
I am working in partnership with ex Leeds United Footballer Andy Couzens – owner and Director of AC Personal Fitness in Guiseley, North West Leeds. Andy is giving me his fitness and nutritional advice and guidance free of charge as part of the challenge.
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I’m a primary school teacher and I’m a mum to a beautiful, bright and bubbly six-year-old. I witness the ups and downs of wellbeing in children every day. Every parent faces the same dilemma – how to ensure the wellbeing of our children – particularly from a mental health perspective in a world that is more pressured than ever in more ways than one.
A year to the day and myself, my husband and our two children were midway through our 10th Wedding Anniversary trip of a lifetime to Sri Lanka and now this incredibly beautiful and captivating little country is in mourning.
Emma Stirk is a Business Success Coach and Legal strategist for small businesses, she left her corporate career as a high flying solicitor to set up her own business and has never looked back! Emma is passionate about empowering women to identify their purpose and goals, plan and strategise their next career or business move and create a positive, strong and confident mindset with high performance strategies to increase productivity and efficiency so you can work less, achieve more, and make burnout and overwhelm a thing of the past!
Jo Swann has 15 solid years of experience in Public Relations and runs award-winning Leeds-based PR Company – Chocolate PR after working in media, marketing and PR agencies. She has worked with companies of all sizes including the likes of Whistles, NSPCC, Marriot Hotels, Yo! Sushi to name just a few and won many awards along the way but her mission now is to help small businesses, and particularly female entrepreneurs harness the power of PR.