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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New Things Are Happening!

The past couple of weeks have been absolutely crazy, so I apologise for my complete silence on this blog! So many things have been happening, so I thought I’d give you a quick update!

IMG_5453 (2).PNGFirstly, and most excitingly, if you hadn’t already guessed from my Twitter and Instagram (or had me bang on about it to you in person) I have a new job! I’m going to be spending my summer working for the University of Exeter in the accommodation office as an Accommodation Office Administrator. It’s a bit of a mouthful, but it’s basically a Student Advisor specialising in accommodation. I’ll still be working part time in the pub (I’ve grown quite attached to it and the spare cash will be nice), but I’m so excited to have a normal Monday-Friday 9-5 job for the first time in my life! XD The only problem is, my wardrobe consists of jeans, trainers and black work shirts, so I’m going to have to get a some ‘office appropriate’ clothes!
13072880_474319639434427_6832856377466583397_oSecondly, I’m in a play! I’m going to be a busy bee this summer! I’ve been cast in Sun and Moon Theatre’s production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona as Lucetta, so all my spare time is currently being used rehearsing and learning lines (one reason I haven’t blogged in a while!) It’s one of Shakespeare’s first plays, and a lesser known one too, but we’ve given it a bit of a modern(ish) twist by setting it at a university in the late 50s/early 60s. I’m absolutely loving the rehearsal process (it’s been a while since I’ve done some theatre!) and I can’t wait to watch it all come together. If you want to come and show your support, we’re showing on:

  • 11th June at 4pm at the Cygnet Theatre (Exeter)
  • 23rd June at 7.30pm at The Queen’s Theatre (Barnstaple)
  • 26th June at 2.45pm at The Queen’s Theatre (Barnstaple)
  • 6th August at 12pm at The RSC Dell Open Air Theatre (Stratford-Upon Avon)
  • 6th August at 3pm at The RSC Dell Open Air Theatre (Stratford-Upon-Avon)

You can also like Sun and Moon’s facebook page to keep up to date with everything!

IMG_5430I spent my weekend in Birmingham with my family. Not only was I celebrating my new job and Ben’s (my sister’s boyfriend) birthday, but most importantly we all went to the opening night of Made Up, the two woman show that my sister is starring in. It’s on at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre until Saturday, and then it’s going on tour until June 11th. I might be biased, but it’s fantastic, and I’m extremely proud. If you fancy seeing my sister looking like an alien, an old woman and many more in the space of 70 minutes, here’s a link where you can find all the dates 🙂

IMG_5302Next I thought I should touch on my Vegan Challenge. A lot of you have been liking my Instagram posts about it, and asking me how it’s going, so I thought I’d answer everyone on here. It’s going amazingly well. It’s been so much easier than I thought it would be! I’m absolutely loving trying out new recipes (I’ve discovered quinoa and it’s changed my life) and I’ve taken much more of an interest in food now that I have to actually think a bit more about what I’m eating. It’s also really helped my lactose intolerance. Before I would often ignore it and eat that bar of chocolate or have that slice of cake even though I knew it wouldn’t be good for me. Now I’m being forced to find alternatives, and it’s really opened my eyes to the dairy-free alternatives out there. As for whether it’s going to be a permanent change? I’m not sure yet. I’m just over halfway through my challenge and I’m yet to make up my mind, but needless to say I’m loving being vegan for now! Alongside being vegan, I’ve also been really getting into the gym. I joined my local Anytime Fitness and I’m (slowly) starting to enjoy exercise again. It’s a good job, since I’ve got my Race for Life 10km in two months!

Phew, that’s all for now! I promise to be better at blogging from now on, and  I’ll have a new beauty-related post up soon!

Jessica xXx