Wednesday, 28 January 2015

why you should throw away your scales...

Between the ages of 14 and 17, one thing and one thing only determined my happiness - my weight. If I had lost some, I was happy. If I hadn't, I was distraught. Those menacing numbers on the scales were my obsession. In my head I "knew" that if I just reached my target weight, I would be OK. Everything in my life would be better.

Of course, thanks to therapy and a good support system, I overcame this obsession and stopped standing on the scales. In the years since I have gone back to them from time to time - like a distant relative I hated but felt obliged to visit. And yes, I would still feel a tinge of unhappiness whenever the number creeped up, but I was much better able to handle those feelings. 

My most recent encounter with the scales was last week when my curiosity got the better of me, and this was my thought process...

"Hmmm, I weigh more than I thought."
"That's weird, I've been eating healthily, exercising and I feel more toned than I have in ages."
"I suppose muscle weighs more than fat."
"Wait a sec.... who the hell cares?!?!?"

Do you know what I know? I know that the clothes I squeezed myself into towards the end of last year now fit me better. I know that my tummy jiggles less than it did. I know that I can now cycle on level three for 30 minutes on an exercise bike without thinking I might die (previously level two for 25 minutes was my limit). I know that I feel fitter, leaner, more confident and more energetic than I have in ages.

That's what I know. And I do not need an inanimate object to tell me otherwise. 

If you're trying to lose weight, instead of having a target weight, why don't you think up a different target? Aim to run a 5K race. Aim to fit in those skinny jeans hidden in the back of your wardrobe. Aim to feel confident in a tank top. And for the sake of your sanity, stop being a slave to your scales. 

Now, of course in some cases scales can be handy to keep track of your progress (especially if your doctor has advised you to lose weight) but try to reign in the habit and don't let your mood be dictated by a number. Muscle does weigh more than fat and yes, your weight will fluctuate a lot depending on all sorts of things. 

I won't be weighing myself any time soon - I'm living a healthy lifestyle now and while I'm happy I seem to be toning up - I'm not doing this to lose weight. I'm doing it to feel better inside. And I do.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

project life

Ever since I was 12 I have been a big believer in documenting life. It was at this age that I started writing my first diary, a habit I have continued (on and off) throughout my life. Nowadays, I tend to only turn to my diary when I'm feeling low and need to 'write it out' to gain clarity. For the happier moments, I turn to my camera (phone) instead. 

I love the power photos have - bringing back a memory with a single glance, I mean what else has that power? If you follow me on Instagram, you'll probably notice that I am a bit of a photograph-a-holic, and while some of the pictures I take are mundane, they are a moment captured that I'll never experience again. And I think that's pretty freakin' awesome.

And indeed, thanks to social networks like Instagram and Facebook, I can look back at those moments whenever I want - as long as I have a decent Wifi connection. While this is admittedly kinda cool in it's own right, I've always loved tangible photos. When I studied photography in college my favourite part of the lesson was always cutting and pasting my pictures in the project book, making it look as pretty as possible. And now that I'm older, with a full time job and boring responsibilities? I wanna rekindle that creativity.

But also - I'm lazy. I don't have time to learn calligraphy, and I have no desire to get covered in glue. As I mentioned in my previous post, I read about Project Life scrapbooks on Lily Pebbles' blog, and I was drawn to it's simplicity. They provide the book and some funky cards - you provide the photos. All you have to do is arrange and slot in the cards/photos. EASY.

Today I started my project life scrapbook and am really happy with the results - my favourite pages are up there ^^^. It feels nice to be documenting life again, and I can't wait to look back over it again and again.

Do you print your photos? What do you do with them? 

Sunday, 11 January 2015

this week

Getting back into a routine after the festivities of Christmas is hard, but it's also kinda nice. It's the time to dictate what your new routine will be; you figure out just how realistic those resolutions you made on January 1st really are and you can set the tone for the year ahead.

My first week 'back to reality' has been pretty low key, but also quite pleasant. Here's what I did.

Drank warm water with lemon every day

This has been an easy adjustment to make to my morning routine and I'm sure it's doing me good. I boil the kettle, roll a lemon around on the side (makes it easier to juice) chop it in half and hand squeeze the juice from one half into a cup. Fill the cup halfway with boiled water, top the rest up with cold water. Sip and enjoy. I find it surprisingly filling, so I've started to take my breakfast to work rather than trying to scoff it down straight after my lemon water.

Made overnight oats

I was inspired by my manager who enjoyed some yummy bircher muesli over Christmas and looked up some overnight oat recipes. I tweaked one and came up with this banana and blueberry concoction:

Mash up 1/2 banana and a handful of blueberries
Add 1/3 cup of rolled oats
Add 1/3 cup of soy milk
Add 1 tbsp 0% Greek yoghurt
Stir, cover with clingfilm and pop in the fridge overnight.

The next morning give it another stir and top with more blueberries. I make mine in a tupperware pot and take it to work - super quick and easy.

Did spinning once, yoga three times and walking once

Slowly but surely getting back into my exercise routine and feeling sooo much better for it. Less bloated, more energetic and overall a bit buzzy. Oh, and for those interested I do my yoga using this website (you do have to pay to subscribe, but not much and I think it's worth it).

Impulse bought scrapbook materials

Thanks to Lily Pebbles I got a bit overexcited and bought a ton of Project Life scrapbook bits from Hobbycraft. I love taking pictures and always want to do something more with them, so very excited to while away some rainy afternoons with glue, scissors and glitter pens.

Watched The Theory of Everything & Walking the Nile

The Theory of Everything (Steven Hawking biopic) was fantastic and I think I fell a little bit more in love with Eddie Redmayne. If he doesn't get an oscar for that performance I will be miffed. Walking the Nile is a documentary on channel 4 following Levison Wood as he walks the length of the Nile. The first episode was incredible and tragic at the same time (watch it here). The next episode in on tonight (Sunday) at 9:00PM - watch it!

Cooked tuna linguini

My first family meal endeavour was super duper easy and ended up being really rather tasty (from this recipe book). But then again, you can't go wrong with pasta, fish, garlic and tomatoes can you? I served it with garlic bread and some faux wine (sparkling pomegranate and elderflower). 

Found a quote I liked from Rachel Brathen

Also known as @yoga_girl on Instagram, I love this quote (this is just a section of the quote) about balance. PS. I made the image above on PicMonkey.

Spent time with the family

Visited my sister on Saturday and played with her cats (the one in the pic is Daphne - what a doll) and walked around Windsor with my parents and brother on Sunday. Nothing particularly new or exciting there, but after the shock to the system of going back to work, it was just what I needed.

Listened to the soundtrack from Inside Llewyn Davis

Ahhhh the songs from this movie make me so happy. If you like folk music, I implore you to watch the film and then download the album pronto. On Saturday I spent three hours solid listening to music. The last hour I wasn't reading, scrolling through my phone - nothing. Just lay down on my bed, eyes to the ceiling and got lost in the lyrics. Here's my favourite song from the soundtrack:

Are you back in the swing of things yet?

Friday, 2 January 2015


NYE with friends / out for a walk / healthy breakfast

I love new years, the slate is wiped clean and we can delight in making plans for the future. It's all about looking ahead, and that I can totally get on board with. This year I'm keen to steer clear of huge unattainable 'resolutions' and instead try to make small changes that will (hopefully) result in a seismic shift. So let's see what I'll be attempting in 2015...

1) Start the day with hot water and lemon

There are lots of health benefits associated with this small action so setting my alarm a few minutes early and adding this to my morning routine feels like a no brainer.

2) Cut down on sugar

Overindulging on sugar makes me feel and look rubbish (hello spotty skin) so I'm keen to reign in my sweet tooth, starting by replacing the sugar I normally have in my coffee with cinnamon. As explained here, this is a simple but effective swap. I'll also be giving up chocolate from Mon-Fri and upping my veg intake. 

3) Quit drinking (temporarily)

I don't like how I feel when I drink at the moment. Instead of feeling social, chatty and enthused about the night, lately it's just made me seek validation from other people and/or get upset - not great. So for the next month and a bit I'm giving up alcohol to give my physical and mental health a little boost. I'll celebrate this with a couple of cocktails on my birthday in Dubai.

4) Get back into an exercise routine

Last year I did manage to get myself into quite a good exercise routine, switching between spinning, yoga and arm workouts - but then I got a cold. Then I went to Berlin and ate all the pastries. Then I got tonsillitis. And then, well - Christmas happened. So, time to get back into my routine and maybe even join the gym. Maybe.

5) Cook dinner for the family once a week

Cooking more is always on my list - I hate cooking. But I need to get over it. So I've decided I will cook for my family once a week to ease myself into it. Then of course when I move out I will be a culinary Goddess ;)

6) Drive somewhere new once a week

I am perfectly comfortable driving routes I know (especially if I know where I can park easily) but I am still nervous when it comes to new routes. And again, I need to get the hell over it. So every weekend I will take myself out for a drive with my satnav and some tunes, and I'll be just fine.

7) Instill some house rules before the move

I was planning to move to a flat by myself after my birthday, but now I have an opportunity to live with one of my closest friends later on in the year (yay!) - so I will be staying put until then. I have been living at home with my family for a long time and the need for independence is at times, suffocating. So I've asked that when my bedroom door is closed, to please not disturb. That may sound a tad harsh, but there are times when I just need to decompress and be alone. I also plan to go out for walks alone with some music when I feel overwhelmed or simply need to get out of the house - it is so good for clearing your head.

That's about it for now. I'm sure some of these will fall by the wayside as the months roll by - but I'll pick them back up. And I may even add some new ones. Either way, I think 2015 is going to be a defining year.

What do you have planned for 2015? Will you make big changes or small tweaks?


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