Strong Women!

Finally all the P.R to promote a good body image seems to be working and as the mother of a daughter I couldn’t be happier.

When I was younger, from about 14 up, I was very aware of how I looked and how I wanted to look and although I am sure this is a fact which hasn’t changed for girls, the way they want their bodies to be these days seems to be vastly different to when I was a teen.

Back in the 90’s and noughties it was all about being skinny and actually, how we got there didn’t seem to matter. I went to drama school at a young age and there, most of the girls and I tried our best to eat nothing. Nothing at all. We were all taking water tablets to soak up any excess fluid and we compared notes on the little amounts of food we’d managed to get away with the day before. It was all so ridiculously dangerous but no one batted an eyelid.

These were the days when supermodels looked barely alive so skinny were their limbs and despite knowing the perils of smoking everyone seemed to be doing it. And doing it because it suppressed the appetite. By the time I was nearly ready to finish up with being a teenager I was under 6 and a half stone and replaced food with fags regularly.

But I was skinny. So??

This was the year 2000, I was celebrating my 21st birthday with friends in Majorca and in all honesty, the drink I am holding will either have not been drunk at all or will have, excuse the honesty here, come back up again rather quickly and with lots of assistance.

I don’t think eating healthily to obtain the figure I wanted crossed my mind and as for combining it sensibly with exercise… That was right out the window. I exercised ALL the time but I never gave myself any fuel to boost it and now, at the age of 27 with degenerating knee joints, a result of excessive dieting and exercise in my teens and twenties my Doctor advises, I am starting to wonder why I didn’t listen to my mum who absolutely warned me!

Why did my generation not want to look healthy AND slim? Healthy meant fat in my mind at the time, it was the image we were promoted and so thank goodness this has changed!

Girls these days want to be strong! And they know how to get there!

Today we are encouraged to EAT well. To BE healthy. And we are shown how to do this not by some fat cat in a magazine ivory tower but by real people!… People like The Lean Machines, Deliciously Ella, The Happy Pear and The Body Coach promoting themselves using social media and really making an impact!

They watch what they see and they take it on board. This mentality which will last them a lifetime just as the emaciated pictures of models in the nineties still sits in my mind.

I watched the teenagers in Florence’s dance show last week and what I noticed aside from their amazing skill at dance was that they all looked strong! Some of them were skinny and some of them were bigger but they ALL looked STRONG and this is what it’s all about now! Thank the lord!

It’s something which I hope is slowly starting to filter through to me too. I am trying very hard to adopt this mentality because my word I can see it works but even knowing this, what is impressed on my mentality is hard to shake!

A friend and fellow blogger Laura Asbury writes My Life Unexpected and when she recently posted a picture of her ‘weight loss’ on Facebook I was astounded. I knew she’d ‘lost loads of weight’ (actually, so I thought) and I followed her amazing body shape change on Instagram. She exercises and eats healthily and it’s a way of life for her, this I also knew, but I had no idea… NO idea that she had changed her body so dramatically with actually, such a little amount of physical weight lost. Take a look at Laura’s changing shape…

Laura on the left before she began her new body shape journey and Laura on the right after losing only 11lb 8oz.

Doesn’t seem possible does it? Surely she must have just starved herself? But no… This amazing girl worked on her body and its STRENGTH by exercising and eating well. And that’s it. It took her two years and the reality is she has lost less than a stone because although her body is completely changed she has got STRONG!

If that’s not enough to spur me on then nothing is huh!

Two months ago I won a 3 month gym membership to the Spirit Health Club in Norwich and have been going 3 times a week ever since. I started out trying not to eat very much as per my wont but I soon realised that I was pregnant and would have to be a bit more sensible with it. So… I’ve been eating but not LOADS. Trying to take a leaf from Laura’s book. Trying to just be a healthy person and neither indulge too much or deprive…

Something else which is also helping me is my new FitBit Blaze. I have wanted one for ages but actually I didn’t realise quite how much it would change my life. I thought I wanted it for the step counter, just to see how much I walk. And wow this was an eye opener. I realised that far from the 10,000 advised steps per day I was averaging about 6k! So it has helped me with a little bit of encouragement and made me think about walking to school in the mornings and enticing me to get up half an hour earlier to do so. It’s amazing what a little bit of knowledge can do and now, if I don’t hit the 10,000 steps I find myself sat in traffic with the hand brake on moving my legs to ensure the steps add up. I find myself moving when I wouldn’t ordinarily and this is brilliant! I LOVE the fact that it reminds me that I need to move with a little buzz!

But… The FitBit Blaze is so much more than just a step counter. It tells me how I sleep (this is far more interesting than I had assumed), reminds me to drink water, tells me my heart rate and a whole host of other things including helping me with what I eat. I input the food I have eaten on the app using my phone and it connects to the FitBit to give me an accurate reading of how many calories I have left. For the first time in my whole life I feel like I can actually EAT food guilt free. I see that I have burned calories and I see how many I have to play with. Sounds silly but it’s a revelation.

The recommendations for the treatment of obesity indicate that the initial task of therapy is the loss of 5-10% of body weight and maintaining the achieved weight, rather than reaching an ideal body weight.

I used to either eat nothing and feel pleased with myself or eat 10 biscuits figuring I’d already eaten 5 so I may as well. Now I see, physically, that I CAN have a biscuit but maybe I should hold off on a second as I can have a bigger salad with supper. I see quite clearly how many calories I can eat, if I’ve gone over, if I’m under and just by typing in a food it tells me how many calories are in it. The visuals are really helping me and it’s so simple but true…

I can also add in any exercise I do at the gym including swimming which is my favourite. I had assumed a FitBit wouldn’t calculate swimming because you can’t wear it in the pool but you just go into the app and add the time you swam with the distance and it calculates the calories burned and adds it all to your daily exercise chart.

I love the FitBit and using that, inspiration from Laura and the teenagers looking so damn STRONG, I’m going to have a healthy pregnancy. I am overweight for sure but in the first 14 weeks of my pregnancy so far I have not put on any weight – I am hoping my efforts are going in the right direction and with the FitBit I can keep on track.

As Roy Castle used to say ‘dedication is all it needs’ but it’s hard to be dedicated on your own. Follow others for inspiration on Instagram and buy a FitBit and I reckon you’ll be half way there to making a difference. I shall let you know how I get on!

3 thoughts on “Strong Women!

  1. Amazing post lovely, and it touches on so many real issues! I had no idea about your younger days, but I know exactly what it’s like to worry about what your eating. Your so impressive to be doing all of this while your pregnant! If I ever have another baby, I’ll be doing exactly the same, even if it’s just body resistance and cardio for 9 months! Thank you for including me, it’s put a big smile on my face xx

  2. Laura’s transformation is amazing – I had no idea she hadn’t lost heaps of weight!
    I have a similar history to you and had no idea that’s what’s wrong with my knees. I’m taking loads of glucosamine and it seems to help a bit. x

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