Feeling Like Me Again

Over the past six months or so, I’ve been battling with the worst self-image issues I’ve encountered in my life. I’ve felt out of shape, unattractive and just generally really crap about myself.

There was a time when I was one of those really annoying girls who could eat whatever she wanted, do no exercise whatsoever and remain a perfect size 8 (I think the fact that I didn’t really hit puberty until I was 17 may have helped with this somewhat). Well, not any more! I have a shape. A shape that has become increasingly hard to maintain and be happy with.

I’ll be the first to admit that my diet could be better. I’m lactose intolerant but often completely ignore it, and then I’m surprised when I feel bloated and lumpy. I know bread is my nemesis, but sometimes I just cant help eating eleven slices of it as a snack. It got to the point in August when I would look in the mirror and feel disgusted. And I laugh and joke about it, but to look in the mirror and actually feel repulsed by your own body is truly devastating.

Around the same time, something wonderful happened. My sister’s fiancé started a personal training course, and I volunteered to be his guinea pig. So in September 2016, I finally started to take ownership of the state I had let my body get into, and do something about it. I train with him twice a week, and try to fit in an extra cardio session or two on my own. We’ve discovered that I’ll do anything to get out of doing a plank, but that I have freakishly strong hamstrings.

When you start training, you always have a ‘problem area’ or two that you really want to focus on. Mine were my upper arms and the old love handles/back fat. My housemate commented to me a couple of weeks ago that my arms had halved in size, and I genuinely could not stop smiling. I dug out a pair of jeans over Christmas that I haven’t been able to wear in over a year, and found that they actually fit again. Plus, there’s the added bonus of my butt. I have a butt. An actual, nicely-shaped, kind of peachy butt. I never had one before!

Now annoyingly, I didn’t take a photo of myself right at the beginning of the process. But here’s a photo of me taken at the end of October next to one taken three weeks later (and half a stone lighter):

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Seriously. My trainer is an actual magician.

I’m still working at it, but this morning after months of telling my sister that I don’t want to shop for Maid of Honour dresses for her wedding until I’m happy with my body, I told her that I wanted to start looking. It might seem small, but that’s a huge fucking deal for me.

I’ll be taking another progress photo and updating you all in a couple of weeks when my soon-to-be brother-in-law’s exam is, to see exactly how far I’ve come while he’s been training to qualify as a PT. But for now, I’m off to stare at my butt in workout pants.

If any of you are interested in a training plan tailored to your lifestyle, or you’re Devon-based and want some one-on-one training sessions with an incredibly patient man, then you can get in touch with Ben Gilbert on Instagram @realbengilbert If he can train me, he can train anyone.

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30 Day Vegan Challenge!

Recently I’ve taken a good, long look at myself and my lifestyle, and I’ve identified changes that I want to make to impact my mental and physical wellbeing.

I started off by joining Anytime Fitness, a 24 hour gym that means I can’t use my crazy working hours as an excuse not to go to the gym. Not only am I training for the 10km Race for Life that me and my sister are taking part in in July, but I also want to get toned and healthy. An added bonus are the endorphins released during exercise, which will hopefully make a difference to my mental health, too.

Another change I am making is challenging myself to become a vegan for 30 days, starting on May 2nd. As many of you know, I’m lactose intolerant, so I try to avoid dairy anyway. I also hate eggs, so not eating them is not going to be a problem. I’ve also been on a pescatarian, Palm Oil-free diet for the past three weeks, as I find it easier to be healthy if I cut out as many meat products as possible, and, having been to the Borneon rainforest, I’m passionate about eliminating Palm Oil plantations. So realistically, all I have to do now is cut out fish (and all that cake I eat), and I’ll be a fully fledged vegan! I’ve ordered a free vegan recipe book from Peta, to help me be happy, healthy and safe on my vegan journey, as well as various vegan protein shakes and nutrients from My Protein to make sure I’m able to improve my physical fitness whilst staying healthy.

I also want to use this opportunity to research more into cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics, as I feel it’s completely unnecessary and inhumane to test cosmetics meant for humans on animals.

I’m actually very excited to start this challenge, try out knew recipes and learn more about the vegan way of life, and who knows, maybe it’ll be a permanent change!

I’ll keep you posted on my progress, and if any of you have any ideas in regards to delicious recipes or places to eat, please let me know!

Jessica xXx