So keen am I to exercise my democratic rights, I just turned up a week early to vote in the local European Parliament & local council elections. Turns out that today is not in fact the 22nd of May. Who knew?? Well, clearly everybody else. I did start to wonder, as I approached the polling station why there were no party banners outside, or bright-eyed councillors standing near the door making one last desperate bid for my vote. To be honest, despite feeling like a total numpty when the truth dawned on me, I think I was more annoyed that I didn’t get the chance to tell a UKIP member that “I wouldn’t vote for them for a million pounds!!!” or “over my dead body!!!!!”, should they dare wave a flyer in my face and try to tempt me. Maybe I’ll get that chance next week (fingers crossed). I really hope I remember next Thursday. I hope I haven’t peaked too soon.
Anyway, what has this got to do with the picture at the top of this post, Fitter Food? Well, quite a lot actually. Normally, making such a daft mistake would give me the rage, and I’d be so annoyed at being so stupid that it would have ruined the lovely mile walk in the sunshine to get there. I wasn’t in a rush anyway, and didn’t have to go out of my way to get there, particularly, but normally such things would really annoy me. Today though, I really wasn’t that bothered, and could easily see the funny side, and just thought instead “oh well, at least I got a lovely walk out of it”. So in essence, what I’m saying is I’m pretty chilled out about it all. Stress levels are pretty low, and overall I’m feeling really good. The reason for this I know is down to lifestyle changes I’ve been making the past couple of months.
I’ve never considered myself a total stress-bunny (maybe those who know me would disagree, who knows?), but of late I’ve definitely been feeling a lot less stressed, more alert, happier and just, well, good. As I’ve mentioned a before in previous posts, this year I’ve been following some nutrition plans with Fitter London, a (funnily enough) London-based duo, Matt Whitmore and Keris Marsden. They are both personal trainers with nutritional qualifications who provide nutrition and training plans to help get you on track. Although that is really simplifying it; I’d say they provide a lot more than that. I’ve tried all sorts of diets and plans in the past, most with some success in the weight-loss department, but never on a long-term basis, otherwise I’ll be like a twig right now, swanning around a sun-kissed beach in a bikini, and in no need of Fitter London. I initially started off with their book, Fitter Food (hence the logo at the top. See, I got there eventually!) which was recommended to me, and then in January decided to try our their 28 day detox programme. I’ll be honest and say I struggled with it – I think it was just too much at once for me, and for some reason, trying to give up the sugar on top of no caffeine and dairy and what not that month was a step too far, hence my seemingly crack-cocaine fuelled post a few months ago about sugar (insert embarrassed smiley). Anyway, while I didn’t get the results I thought I would have by the end of that month, I did feel like Fitter Food was something worth exploring further. So I signed up for a 6 week plan that was just for women, and started to notice some big changes. Now I’m not talking weight-loss here – I’ve lost half a stone this year, which is great but not masses considering it is mid-May (not the 22nd) – rather just in my general health and well-being. This is what I love about FF. While you get the recipe book and 4-6 week’s worth of meal plans, depending on what you’ve signed up for, there is loads more too it. A Facebook group is set up, and only access given to those on the plan. So you can say what you like on there and no-one else will know. We get weekly webinars, so like an online seminar where Keris and/or Matt will cover something specific about an aspect of nutrition, training, stuff like hormones, sleep, stress etc. The group interaction is key too, because everyone has their own targets, whether it be weight loss, training goals, stress reduction etc., but no matter what you’re after, you can get advice, chat about random stuff and just have a laugh. Most of us have fallen off the wagon at some point (G&T with a box of chocolates chaser anyone?!), but it helps to have folk to give you a kick up the arse and tell you just to forget it and move on.
Anyway, the changes I’m talking about are pretty significant for me:
- sleeping about 8 hours a night, and a good sleep at that. I don’t wake up nearly quite so much which is great
- much less stressed about stuff in general, but also about weight loss. I’m happy knowing I’m being much healthier, and the weight will take care of itself
- PMT much better (sorry boys!). Since I started trying to follow ‘Paleo’ lifestyle a couple of years ago, PMT definitely improved, but it has all but disappeared now
- Skin is looking clearer and my teeth are getting whiter!! The teeth thing was a bit unexpected, but I think drinking/eating a lot of bone broth (essentially homemade stock) is responsible for that
- More alert. I’ve had a couple of really busy weeks at work, and quite a few problems to resolve, and it has been much easier to deal with, and I know this is down to eating better and looking after myself.
- Learning a LOT more about nutrition/lifestyle and the science behind their influence on the body, much more so that I ever have with any other ‘diet’ plan. If I was just given meal plans to follow it wouldn’t work for me.
- Learning to understand what my gut is trying to tell me depending on what I’m eating, and just how much that influences everything else in my body.
- Overall I just feel happier. Not to say before FF I was feeling unhappy, but I think something has just clicked in the past couple of months, and I feel like I’m getting my old spark back. While I’ve really been enjoying my life since I moved down south, I’ve not been doing much, but lately I’ve been getting out and about and meeting new folk and doing stuff i’ve not done for a while (open water swimming for example), and this is really just down to feeling good, and realising there is more to life that just pottering about in the flat or sticking to the same old routine
So none of this is rocket science in a way – eat better = feel better – but as someone who has struggled my whole adult life with being a bit of a porker, I know now that actually I can change that, and more importantly that this isn’t a temporary diet, but just a way to live. And the important thing is, it isn’t actually that difficult. Now I’m not trying to pretend that I never eat shite, and I’m constantly training in the gym as if I’ve just been offered the part of Cat Woman in the impending Batman film (Ben Afflect. As Batman. Really???? Hmmm……). After a couple of back-to-back weekends away, coupled with a work trip in between, I was back eating shite and scoffing chocolate like there was no tomorrow; a few too many days of not being organised and being tempted by chips and vino (mmmmm, vino….) can bring me back to my old ways. While my attitude to food has changed a lot lately, I’m still prey to physiological addictions to sugar/shite (not literally) etc. However, the difference is that having done that, I started to really notice how lousy it was making me feel, and how it affected everything to my hair, nails, skin, gut, sleep, energy levels etc. So the choice to get ‘back on the wagon’ was a lot easier to make, and after only a few days I feel soooo much better, and haven’t even had the cravings I used to be crippled by (again, not literally. My legs are fine).
I know a lot of you will be shouting at the computer “Well DUH, just remember, everything in moderation!”, but actually I think that is a load of old bollocks. My moderation might be two bars of chocolate a day (well, that’s more moderate than 4!!!), but someone else’s might be 1 a week. I think ‘everything in moderation’ is a throwaway statement made by people who’ve never had to worry about weight and think us fatties just need to put down the cake and ‘move more’. For some, it might be as simple as that, but what I really want to do is to know what food supports my body, what doesn’t (obviously Maccy D’s and KFC doesn’t, that is obvious, I’m talking about specific foods that I don’t do so well with) and what else is involved in my overall well-being, that isn’t just related to stuffing things in my gob. Thankfully, I think I’m getting there.
Folk reading this might be thinking I’m on commission from FF to say all this, but I’m not, and if anyone thinks that, then, well, I don’t really care to be honest. In fact they don’t know I’m writing this. I’m just so happy to have found something that works, that doesn’t feel like a diet (because it isn’t), and just makes me feel better than I have for years. If this rambling post has piqued your interest, then go look at their website or FB page, but if not, that’s okay. I’m writing this for me as much as anyone else.
Well I think I’ve waffled on enough for now, and frankly all this talk about scran has made me realise I’m starve-o-rama. Or peckish at the very least. Maccy D’s it is….. (kidding).
Toodle-pip peeps. I shall report back on how my FF life is going in due course 🙂