Fuelled by Fury

It’s been so long. I apologise!

This is what has brought me out of my hibernation today. My fitspo facebook friend ‘liked’ this picture and it sparked a response I would never normally post the likes of. But it’s early. And my baby’s sleeping. And she’s beautiful at eight months old. And I never want her to look at something like this and feel that maybe she’s not good enough or maybe that what’s aspiration looks like.

Here’s the pic:

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And here’s my comment. It’s nothing like anything I would usually post in facebook, and no doubt someone will make a post suggesting I’m jealous or insecure about myself… Do I regret it? Absolutely not.

Yes, you can see she’s dedicated by the expression on her face. Oh, no, wait. She hasn’t got a face. Or in fact anything other than a disembodied, oiled up stomach with a hint of boobs – and don’t forget the suggestively posed thumb in the knickers. Save your weak soft porn and stop dressing it up as ‘Fitspiration’..

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One Lovely Blog Award!

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I had a delightful surprise to find my blog nominated for this by Caitlin at caitielou – thank you very much for making my day!

Here are the steps to accept One Lovely Blog:

1. You must thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.

2. You must list the rules and display the award.

3. You must add seven facts about yourself.

4. You must nominate up to fifteen other bloggers and comment on one of their posts to let them know they have been nominated.

5. You must display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you.

️Seven Facts About Me⭐️

1. My profile picture is a drawing my son did on the cbeebies playtime app on my iPad.

2. I am a huge Bob Dylan fan.

3. My favourite colour is purple.

4. I play guitar and love to sing.

5. My favourite actor is Michael Sheen.

6. I like quotes from films and tv shows, and usually try and sneak at least one into every conversation I have.

7. My perfect Sunday would involve toast and tea for breakfast, Lego and football with my little ones, an afternoon nap and curling up with a cup of tea and a good book or film.

I nominate the following wonderful bloggers:

cancer killing recipe

the catss meoww

Writings And Ruminations

My Epic Motherhood

So, there you go! Thank you again to Caitlin for the nomination, and I look forward to reading lots more facts about bloggers as the award continues! — BWG

Change and Acceptance

I found a similar image to this on Pinterest a few days ago and have been debating whether or not it’s something to share on this blog. As luck would have it, I finally managed to track the original down on google from my inaccurate memory of the words, and discovered this, better version.

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The original didn’t have the last frame, but it still made me think. I’ve been cutting out junk food and trying to do a little exercise every now and then and I am finally starting to feel a bit different. But I think that this ‘Fitspiration’ doesn’t have to refer to diet and exercise, maybe it can refer to breaking harmful habits, or studying or anything else that we commit ourselves to for the betterment of ourselves and society. Four weeks for us to start changing from the inside, eight for those close to us to notice our change and twelve for everyone to see the difference. When the fitspo is removed, it still holds true as a positive reinforcement that, whilst change is not always easy to achieve instantly, it is noticeable and worth it in the end.

And that’s what I mused upon before I found this version, which I like infinitely more. Yes, we can change, it takes time – but we are also enough as we are and should have confidence in ourselves even if the change we want takes longer than we would like. — BWG

Cheerful Encounters

This afternoon, my son went to his weekly nursery session and I had an interesting walk home after taking him there. First, I paid a visit to our rental agency, where they admired my little daughter and we shared a few jokes together. I then popped into a new cafe by the bus stop to try one of their fruit smoothies as a treat and got to know the owner, a nice smiley guy. After that, I went into Tesco and had a lovely chat with two of the women who work there, talking about our children and exchanging funny stories. On the way home, one of our downstairs neighbours passed us and we had a wave and a smile. I came home feeling confident and cheerful.

It was only as I got in the lift, with its mirrored wall that I realised that I had not once considered my weight or my figure. The feeling of not being constantly aware of it was liberating. In retrospect, I saw that the people I had chatted to had all been different sizes and shapes, but that hadn’t registered at the time either. They were funny and kind and relaxed and friendly and that’s what mattered to me, and made me feel funny and kind and relaxed and friendly. It only occurred to me when I got home that the really beautiful girl in Tesco could be considered slightly on the bigger side after I recalled something she’d said about my baby liking her ’round face’.

This ties in really well with another blog I read today, in which the writer confronted the difficulties of being both a feminist and the subject of an eating disorder. Whilst every bit of me wishes I could say I am totally at ease with my body, I have to admit I feel more confident when I’m slimmer and more toned. However, it doesn’t seem to make any difference to those who love me. And one of my favourite relatives, who is a brilliant, wise and funny friend sometimes says she experiences difficulties with her weight due to a long term disability, but it has simply no effect on the way I see her. I see her energy as a person, her spark and intelligence and life, her physique is way down on the list of things that make her special. My figure has changed and the number on my scales frequently changes but the way my family and friends react to me hasn’t. Their acceptance and love, no matter what my size is something I think I should extend to myself more often. I’ll keep looking for more positive images online to remind me of this. — BWG

Real Fitspiration (thanks to tumblr and The Exercist)

A site that I find myself frequently is this – Fitspiration. I’m not a tumblr user, so I don’t ‘officially’ follow it, but I keep it open on my iPhone so I can check it once a day. Whoever runs it is brilliant, they choose great pictures, quotes and prose to inspire and motivate into a healthier lifestyle, and a lot of the time they’re pretty funny with it, too. I thoroughly recommend it.

There are often references to another tumblr user, The Exercist, who I regret not looking up before. It turns out this is another smart, sensible page for encouraging fitness, I’ve not read much of it but it looks great so far.

This is the page I found myself at today – I Really Want To Start An Exercise Routine – and it’s really helped me adjust my priorities when it comes to my admittedly small efforts to work out. I have to tread the fine line of balancing sleep with any down time I get and also the unpleasant backlash CFS sometimes provides when I push my body too far. Keeping these points in mind will hopefully help me to keep myself in line, and not get disappointed in my efforts or sucked into an unhealthy mindset. Thanks, tumblr! And thanks to The Exercist 🙂 — BWG

1. Clearly define your goals. You need to know what you’re working towards. Things like “Get healthier” and “Like myself more” are both very admirable, but they’re also very vague. Start thinking about specifics. Do you want to run a mile in under 9 minutes? Lower your cholesterol levels? Squat your body weight? Set something more definite and tangible.

2. Take a look at both your abilities and the resources available to you. The sort of exercise equipment that you can access is going to affect the sort of workout you can do, as will your fitness limitations. You can’t run if you don’t have a safe environment to run in, for example, and you can’t do intense cardio if you have respiratory difficulties. Acknowledge both the things that you have and the things that you don’t. And most importantly, think about what you enjoy. Exercising should be fun, so don’t ignore the activities that you like the most and the ones that you absolutely loathe.

3. Start researching the types of exercises that fit within the above parameters. You want something that will help you move towards your goals while still existing within your pool of resources. Google is going to be a big help in giving you ideas here, as will fitness websites like Bodybuilding.com, Fitocracy, FitSugar, Shape and tumblr here. Talk with your doctor and a potential trainer in your area. Educate yourself about what you’re getting into and how you can do so safely.

4. Make some flexible plans. Any routine that you create right now is just a guess – You won’t fully know what you’re capable of until you jump in. The first couple weeks will be an experiment to see whether or not the new plan suits you. If it’s too difficult, don’t feel bad about dialing it down. If it’s a breeze, feel free to increase its intensity. Play around with the number of days you exercise (just include at least 1 rest day per week and don’t exercise the same muscle groups 2 days in a row), play around with intervals and intensity, and play around with exercise types. Give yourself 1-2 weeks before drastically changing your plan. This will give you enough time to try it out properly. If it’s working and you enjoy it, then you will have done it for just ling enough to create a habit. And remember – Just because a plan worked for someone else does not mean that it will work for you. Copying another person’s workout routine may provide you with a place to start, but don’t be afraid to make your own adjustments. You are a unique individual with your own needs and goals, so don’t feel pressured to take on a specific workout routine just because someone else achieved positive results from it.

5. Ask for help when you need it. People make their living off of planning workouts. If you don’t know what you’re doing and aren’t even sure of where to start, seriously consider joining a gym or hiring a trainer. They can at least get you started. If you can’t afford that sort of commitment, then start browsing through online workouts that suit your needs. There are plenty of graphics floating around #fitblr that you can choose from and read through. Use them as a guide. Just be aware that, if you don’t have any expertise or experience, trying to plan your workout alone can be dangerous and time consuming. Talking to a professional is really the best choice for complete beginners.

6. Have fun. Always have fun. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, then you shouldn’t be doing it. Try something else. Not every single workout will be filled with rainbows and unicorns, but you shouldn’t dread exercising. It should leave you feeling happy and fulfilled. If your workout is just breaking you down, then step back and reconsider. Start back at the beginning and figure out exactly what you want from this. Unless “be miserable” was listed as a goal, you shouldn’t actively force yourself through workouts that you hate.

Top Ten Tips To Improve Your Body Image

PrettyPearBride

 

I need this today as I’ve worked hard all week to be careful about what I eat, and been very diligent about small bouts of exercise here and there. I’m bordering on a CFS attack, can feel the headache lurking, and it’s been difficult to balance my need to be healthy and in good condition to look after my little ones, and trying to recover my body from my pregnancy shape. If I’m honest, I want to lose seven pounds to get to a nice weight for me, fourteen to get to a size which I had last summer and made me feel a confidence I’d not had for a long time. I really enjoyed wearing dresses and just throwing any old clothes on then, safe in the knowledge that they would probably look great and not show up the bits of me that I’m insecure about. I know the weight will come off slowly and surely, if I maintain a clean diet and add in little activities, but seeing exactly the same weight on the scales today as I saw last week (I try to only weigh myself once a week) was a bit depressing. Which is why this link from Pretty Pear Bride brightened my day a bit and I thought it worth sharing. My favourite bit is point four – focus on accomplishments that have to do with who you are as a person, not what you look like. Lately, I have returned a wallet to someone who had lost it in the street, encouraged an elderly man who was struggling to walk to take my place in the queue at the health centre, and tried to post positive comments online, avoiding any negativity or gossip. Surely that has to be worth more in the long run than losing that half a pound I was secretly hoping for? Have a happy weekend — BWG

Lessons From My Body (How I Got Here)

My body and I have had an interesting relationship over the years. When I was little, I was similar to my son, constantly running, bumping into things, picking up grazes and occasionally getting a stitch or wearing myself out. As a teenager, I joined school teams and loved PE lessons. When I hit my post-school days, I didn’t exercise as much as I would have liked, I missed organised sport and there weren’t any women’s football teams for me to join. At University, I had a pretty good balance, running about with like-minded people who enjoyed exercise but didn’t take it in an all-consuming way. After that, I got fat and happy in relationships, the odd game of squash or trip out cycling alongside a lot of indulgent meals. Then I got controlling and obsessive, living with body-conscious beauties in a beach city of bared skin, fake tan and glamorous nightlife. That was the one which my body couldn’t handle: a constant pressure of exercise on a diet of very little.

At my worst, I took a small Tupperware box of grapes to eat for lunch, with a nutrigrain bar in my drawer in case of emergencies. I spent a day teaching children, often covering other classes for PE lessons, coached the school football team and spent a few days on an FA coaching course, playing football all day. Before going to football training for the local women’s team, on a small meal of pasta and pesto. That was incidentally during the time I had already torn a ligament in my leg playing football with some friends in the evening. If I was lucky, I’d get to bed around 2am after finishing planning, preparation and marking, before waking at 7am to get to work. Now I’m writing it all out, I’m beginning to realise how badly I was treating my body. And that’s before I mention the evening runs I went for, just to get out of the house and feel the fresh air and push myself even further.

Inevitably, my body broke down, and my life did too. Hospitalised at 26, unemployed at 27 and back at my childhood home, I was in the thick of a physical crash. Doctors eventually diagnosed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, after MRIs and the threat of a lumbar puncture and my losing the ability to walk, make cohesive sentences or concentrate for any length of time. I was crushed. And horrified at my weakness, suffering from an illness I had never even believed really existed before. I remember talking to a trained counsellor friend who had a long-term diagnosis of ME, wailing that I felt I would never get my life back, I would never get back who I was. It was a shock to me when she asked, “Do you really want to?”

No. No, I didn’t want that relentless pressure I had put upon myself. I didn’t want to deny the obvious pain and uselessness of my body any more. I didn’t have it in me to fight the diagnosis or whatever people would think of me. And, slowly, very slowly, I started to rebuild my life. I never believed that my body would improve, but to my astonishment, as I started listening to it, it started co-operating. I met someone who accepted my weakness far more readily than I did, someone who simply offered to call a taxi when my legs failed me on a romantic seaside walk. I understood that my family were prepared to make allowances for me far more easily than I granted them of myself. And I learned to resist the urge to control my physical condition, rather more to enable it to be the best it could be. At times, that wasn’t much at all, but it was improving.

Having my son changed everything, seemingly in a permanent way. I was lucky to have a midwife who had personal experience of ME, I took hypnobirthing classes and found it easy to focus on a healthy diet and exercise balance for the sake of the little life growing inside me. And my boy, who is the most incredible bundle of energy and life and spirit, raised my metabolism back up to a point I’ve never had before, where the weight melted off and my stamina held up. The second pregnancy and having two children has been exhausting, but I’m still miles better than I could ever have dreamed about eight years ago.

So, what have I learned? I’ve learned that exercise is good, but not too much. Decadent food is a treat. Eat too much fatty, sugary food and I feel sluggish and low, eat healthily and I feel nourished and confident. And I’ve learned about the importance of sleep, how it allows my body to rest, process the day and rebuild itself. It’s taken me 34 years, but finally I’ve caught on to the basics. Living a more accepting life has also led me to realise that self-worth can come from not just being attractive and in peak physical condition, it can come from trying to be a good person. I feel better when I offer my time or help to someone in need than I ever did during my self-obsessed diet and exercise frenzy. I do still slip, find myself putting too much of my self-esteem in how I look and feeling the pressure, but I’m determined to be body wise these days and concentrate my efforts on giving it what it needs – decent food, moderate exercise, and sleep. Well, as much of that as I can manage with my funny, lovely little ones. As the mighty Meatloaf once said, two out of three ain’t bad… — BWG

Fighting the fight.

I’m quite a passionate person when it comes to certain things – equal opportunities, education and religious tolerance for a start. But this blog has been created in direct response to one passion in particular: the absolute conviction that nobody should have to spend their life feeling negative or ashamed about their body.

A couple of things have happened recently to bring this into focus for me, the first of which was the birth of my daughter in March. The hormones and exhaustion and physical changes of pregnancy, labour and breastfeeding are extreme, and I faced a complete overhaul of the body that I once knew so well. My insecurities and desperate hope for the future led me to discover the term “fitspiration” on the Internet.

Another little catalyst is one of my Facebook friends. She’s a lovely person, kind and interesting, but in the last seven months or so, every one of her Facebook posts has been about how hard she’s working out, what she’s eating, and how much of a ‘fatty’ she is. There are selfies, so many cheeks-sucked-in selfies and there are ‘inspirational’ photos from the internet, with what she considers to be motivational phrases. It’s an interesting experience to have that come up on your newsfeed on a daily basis and hard to avoid being pulled into that mindset.

The last was finding this post.

The Six Most Shockingly Irresponsible Fitspiration Photos

Like nothing else I’d found online, this highlighted to me how irresponsible is the perfect word to use about the pressure put on people to achieve a certain body shape. Yes, it is nice to feel healthy and it’s nice to look in the mirror and feel proud of yourself, but that doesn’t come from bullying. It comes from acceptance, respect, listening to and being wise about your body, and that’s what I hope to promote with this blog. — BWG