Changing my view of my body

If you read my previous post about my relationship with my body, if not you can check it out here, you can probably tell it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster journey. There’s a couple of things along the way, which I think definitely has improved my mindset and led me to the more positive outlook I have on it all today. I don’t feel as affected as I once used to be, it still happens, but it doesn’t take over my thoughts as it could do sometimes.

With time comes acceptance

I spoke about it a little bit in my other post but I think it’s worth bringing up again, with age and experience comes a deeper confidence in yourself and who you are. This point might be more for those of you in your teens who perhaps are struggling with your body. Your teenage years can be a really difficult time, exciting and fun but also difficult. I know it sounds cheesy and cliché but things do get better on the other side. You find good friends who are supportive and love you for who you are. You realise that there are far more important things in life than what you look like and you just learn to love the skin you’re in. The more you think about what our body does for us every day, it’s difficult to not find a love and respect for it. I think this is something, at least I took for granted when I was younger, that our bodies would just work and do whatever we please but I really think we should be celebrating every little thing it manages to because one day we might not be able to.

One thing I came to the realisation with age was, a lot of the time the things you notice with yourself, no one else pays attention to. Or sometimes it could even be the thing that people like the most about you, it’s what makes you special and unique. It makes you you. I used to not like my bigger legs and bum when I was younger, but it’s something I tend to get a lot of compliments for! Not that it should matter but it’s interesting to see how others perceive your looks in comparison to how you do. Now I couldn’t care less what they look like and I just want them to be strong so I can lift heavy things hehe.

Another thing you realise with age is that you can look however you like but if you aren’t happy and confident on the inside, none of the external things matter. You can be how skinny or “toned” as you want but at the end of the day, what’s in your head is what makes you beautiful. It shines through, confidence is attractive, being a nice person is attractive. These things make you an attractive and fun person to be around. Being a positive and happy person gives you more than looking a certain way ever will.

Surround yourself with amazing people

This is really important guys, surround yourself with people who give you great vibes and make you feel like you’re on top of the world. The “hell yes” people who you leave after seeing feeling happy and ready to take anything on. Start looking around and feel the peoples’ vibes around you, how do they make you feel? What messages are they sending out with your conversations? If you surround yourself with people who are self-critical and negative, whether you like it or not, you’ll be impacted by this. Be with people who bring out the happiness and fun in life. They are the best and you’ll realise that these friendships and interactions with these incredible people are far more important than anything else.

Social media

One thing I’ve become conscious and aware of is who I follow on social media. Even if we look up to certain social media people we need to ask ourselves whether their journey, message and their fitness goals are something that has a positive impact on you. This is what you CHOOSE to see and if their presence in your world is making you question yourself then unfollow them. Why follow people who make you feel bad? Find people who train similarly to you and who give you inspiration and positive vibes. You have a choice and the people you are looking for are out there. I sometimes forget who I follow on Instagram and kind of just get used to seeing them popping up on my feed but I’ve become a lot more harsh and critical of people’s profiles. It’s nothing against them as people at all but I want my feed to make me happy and feel like it gives me something. Therefore, I quite often unfollow profiles that don’t make me feel good. It’s your space, make it a happy one.

Changing training focus

Find something to train that you love and want to excel in! Something to really geek out in and you look forward to working on and getting better at. To me at the moment it’s Crossfit. With Crossfit I love how fit my body feels, it feels strong and capable of doing any task it gets thrown at. It has given me confidence at a deeper level rather than it just looking a certain way. I feel pretty badass, like my body has become a machine that can accomplish things rather than look “toned” (I hate that word). Instead of going to the gym thinking about what exercise to do to get abs or nice arms, you go to the gym and smash out a workout to get better and stronger. You always feel on top of the world when it’s over too. I can’t get over that feeling after finishing a tough class, it’s pretty much unbeatable. It’s addictive and it’s a deeper reason to why I continuously go back for more. At the end of the day, the looks bit is nothing in comparison to accomplishing something new.

Eat to feel good

Taking care of yourself is really important and what you put in your body has such a huge impact. Eating and nourishing your body and eating food that doesn’t make you feel sluggish, bloated or heavy does the world of good. I’m not saying don’t ever eat fast food if you enjoy it or eat cake but maybe start noticing how you feel after eating different meals. I certainly feel a lot better after eating a wholesome home cooked meal rather then when I’ve eaten out, most of the time (depending on what it is). Maybe try and balance it out and have some meals out but making sure the majority of your meals are home cooked ones that make you feel amazing!

Be conscious of your thoughts

Do you stand and look in the mirror a lot and criticise yourself? It’s easy to get into a negative headspace, almost easier than a positive one at times I find. When someone gives you a compliment you don’t really accept it whilst if it’s something that could perceived as slightly negative you absorb it like a sponge. I know a lot of people say that you should give yourself five compliments a day and things along those lines. I’m not quite one of those people but I am more mindful of what I’m thinking these days and when I’m in a negative spiral I try to get myself to shape up. You’re supposed to be your own cheerleader and best friend. Not in a self absorbed way, but would you tell one of your close friends some of the stuff you say to yourself? If not, then you need to start changing it by breaking those thought patterns when they come up. Start focusing on the things you do like about yourself instead. It takes practice and hard work but the same way we train our bodies with through practicing, we can also train our minds.

Stop Weighing Yourself

If you are obsessed over the number on the scale, please just stop. I remember numerous workouts I’ve done in the gym in the past where I’ve felt so good about what I’d accomplished, then I stood on the scale and that joy immediately disappeared when the number showing wasn’t what I was hoping for. Awful! Talk about killing all your joy and any good vibes you had going on. One of the best parts of finishing a workout is that feeling of victory and euphoria. There’s a reason the Body Coach has named the scale “the sad step”. It is a sad step. I can understand that a scale can have it’s place in big weight loss instances but I still think there are better ways of tracking your progress rather than obsessing over a number. That scale has no clue what that weight is divided in to and weight varies all the time due to various factors.

 

Changing the view of your body and your relationship with it takes time and can be really difficult but it’s small baby steps. It’s not a straight line upwards but a bumpy rollercoaster ride almost constantly. However, once you get in a better mind frame the bumps get a bit smaller with time and you can catch yourself before you end up in those dips. I know everyone has their own journey and in some instances such as eating disorders these tips are not enough. If it’s serious you will need professional help so please don’t be scared to reach out to someone who can help you.

M xxx

 

 

Being happy but unhappy with your body

Oh this is one of those posts I’m a bit nervous about publishing because I really don’t want it to come off in the wrong way. Our relationship with and thoughts about our bodies are so personal but I feel like I need to bring this up as I think a lot of people go through these things I want to bring up and I don’t feel it’s spoken about. Like it’s a bit taboo to go through these different stages and feelings. We can’t help how we think and feel always but if we are aware of it we can at least work to change it. Maybe this all sounds a bit all over the place but hopefully you’ll understand where I’m coming from when you’ve read this post.

I was skyping with my sister Ellie the other day and we got onto a very interesting topic I wanted to bring up here on the blog. It’s about our relationships with our bodies and how it changes on a weekly, daily and almost hourly basis. With all the body positivity flying about it’s not always easy to admit that you’re not entirely happy with your body a hundred percent of the time. I can say I’m one of them. The majority of the time I love my body but I do still struggle with it at times. The struggle has been in different stages at different points in my life. The majority of the time it’s been due to what I’ve been taught by society to think when my body is or looks a certain way.

Before I get started I want to just clarify that I wasn’t always thinking about my body or stressing about it. I just want to lift the fact that we can have moments in our life when it happens. It’s a rollercoaster with ups and downs, always changing.

Before I started training as I do today, at the beginning of uni, I had gained a bit of weight from all my drinking and partying days as well as poor eating habits. I was quite happy with myself, not overly but I felt alright I guess. I was just living the partying life and not really thinking about the impact it had on my wellbeing. The days of nights out started to get boring after a while. I wasn’t feeling very healthy or happy in my body and eventually wanted change. Clothes that I used to fit into felt stretched and tight. It wasn’t a great feeling so I decided to take the leap and improve myself, get fitter and happier in my own skin and that’s where it all started. Spring in freshers year at uni.

I’d been conditioned by society to think smaller is better. I started going to the gym a bit more regularly and tried to eat healthier, which meant less and salads in my world at the time. I was living in catered halls so it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to eat well.

I was happy when I noticed things fitted better and fitting a size 6 instead of a 10 or 12. It made me feel good. One thing looking back on it all was that there was no end point to this weight loss mission. Even when I eventually was smaller I wasn’t fully content. I felt like there was always something that could’ve been improved. For instance, my stomach fat has always been one of the most stubborn areas for me. Even when the rest of me was small, my abs weren’t as visible as I would’ve liked at the time and I felt like it wasn’t good enough.

Not a healthy way to think but that’s sort of the look you think you should strive for when you look at the images floating about everywhere. I trained at that point to look a certain way rather than for health, wellbeing, fitness or performance. I wanted to be healthy too but I thought once I was smaller the health, wellbeing and fitness would come with it. I felt stressed by the thought of putting on weight. I didn’t have an eating disorder but I was very confused and wasn’t sure what my own goals were. Yup, I was one of those girls who was terrified of lifting weights because I was afraid to look manly. It is sad now looking back on it because I wish I would’ve known better but I don’t really want to and can’t regret any decisions because it’s what brought me to where I am today and I love where I am today.

A couple of years into my training was when I found G5 and my life changed. Everything changed. My world changed. All of a sudden it didn’t matter at all how “toned” and small I was, it meant nothing if my body couldn’t perform. Performance is key in Crossfit and that’s what revolutionised my world and changed it for the better. I thought that I was relatively fit, which I sort of was but in no way fit in the way that Crossfit requires you to be. I went in and I died. I struggled so bad and realised that whilst I looked a certain way, it meant nothing. My body couldn’t perform. I couldn’t do a burpee over bar to save my life. My upper body strength was next to none and I died in every training session (haha I still always die during class but I’d like to think I’ve improved a bit since I first started).

I realised that I needed to change again. I started eating more to fuel my performance. Until then my portions were quite restricted but I instead decided to up my food intake to get more energy. I started eating more plant-based at this point too and with eating more and training at the intensity of Crossfit, my body changed again. I started to see muscles growing. I could see my body slowly getting stronger. It changed once again and very quickly. I didn’t notice it at first but I remember one day trying to put on my favourite jumpsuit and I just could not zip it up. My first immediate reaction was, am I getting fat? How sad is that? I had no clue what was going on with my body and in today’s society we’re constantly told that getting bigger is bad and undesirable but it of course completely depends on the situation and in what way you are gaining weight.

I remember standing and looking in the mirror wondering what was going on. I couldn’t really see a massive difference body fat wise but then I slowly came to the realisation that it was my muscles. My back muscles barely existed before so of course they would grow from all of a sudden using weights. One of my favourite blouses all of a sudden looked tiny with my shoulders sticking out way past the seam. Where did those shoulders come from?! It’s all subtle changes with time that you do not notice straight away. I think my my more muscular shoulders look great but once again I started worrying at first about the change rather than being excited. Change is a lot of the time good because it comes from growth, so why is the immediate reaction kind of negative? It’s incredibly sad.

I rarely weigh myself these days because I personally think it’s a terrible way to track anything to be honest. Unless it’s a specialist scale, it doesn’t show in what way you’ve gained or lost weight. It could be muscles, it could be body fat, it could be your dinner you just had or water… Who the hell knows?!

Out of interest I did coincidentally recently weigh myself and I am now just a bit lighter from I what I weighed in the first picture above and what a difference weight on your body can look like. This was however my next struggle when I started with Crossfit, gaining weight because that’s also viewed as a “bad” thing. I had a massive surprise when I stepped on the scale one day after months of training at G5 without weighing myself or anything. At my lightest I weighed about 53/55 kg for my 1.71 metres. All of a sudden I was weighing about 62-63kg. Yes I had gained about 7/8kg training Crossfit. Once again I had an inner battle with my mind, this awful little voice in my head saying, Maddie you’ve gained too much weight. Gaining weight is bad.

I once again resorted to the mirror, once again I didn’t see a massive difference apart from the fact that I thought I looked fitter, healthier and more toned than ever but yet I had this machine showing a number which somehow was telling me that it wasn’t good. Whatever was in the mirror wasn’t good because it weighed more. At least that’s what we’re always told in media and whether I like it or not it affects me sometimes. I try to push it away but it does creep out from the corners of your mind to haunt you once in a while.

Where do I stand today? It’s up and down, I think with age comes an acceptance and love for your body. You don’t get as affected by your surroundings because experience and knowledge gives you confidence in yourself at a deeper level rather than just the physical. I also have come to love feeling stronger and seeing my body getting stronger. For instance, a couple of months ago I tried on an old blouse and yet again the seams were way up my shoulder and I bursted out laughing because it looked ridiculous. I was actually happy because my little upper body is slowly but surely growing and getting stronger. All that hard work and training is slowly paying off. The growth let’s me accomplish more things in the gym and that makes me so happy and really excited. Being able to do heavier and more things at the gym is the most rewarding feeling.

I love my body because it’s mine, sometimes I don’t like it as much (whenever those thoughts come up I try to change them but I think we all have our moments) but overall I love it. I do. That’s something I couldn’t say before. But it’s as the title of this post says, I’m happy but unhappy. It’s not a permanent feeling always being happy with your body. It’s something that changes with time but the constant is that it’s mine and I wouldn’t change it to any other body. It does me proud every day, it gets me place and allows me to live. What’s not to like?

Do I still wish I had those super visible abs? Yeah I suppose I do once in a while but we’re all different, we all look differently and have all different places where we look more lean and strong than others. For instance, my sister has an insane core but I know my back and shoulder muscles look pretty muscular. Some girls have got thinner legs and bum, I’ve got a curvier shape around there (I used to feel really uncomfortable about this but it’s a part of who I am and what makes me me and now I don’t even think about it anymore, it’s my body and I wouldn’t change it). It’s what makes us us. My body is mine and I wouldn’t change it for anyone else’s. I suppose I could try and alter my diet loads more to get that definition but I don’t want to. How I eat and train now I feel is sustainable and I can still eat out and enjoy the occasional sweet treat when I want it. I want balance and not restriction. It’s not worth it to me. It might be worth to some to cut all of it out but not to me. For me food and all of that is part of living and enjoyment. That’s what is important in my life, more important than what my stomach looks like.

The one thing I would say since my physique has changed is finding “normal people clothes”. Dressing nicely does make you feel good and confident. I find a lot of clothes in the every day shops does not always flatter a more athletically built body, which is why I prefer wearing my gym gear a lot of the time, hehe. I think my lululemon clothes are probably some of the most flattering clothes for my body type these days, plus they’re probably the comfiest clothes you could wear. Now thinking about it, you also achieve some pretty badass things in those clothes, which probably adds to the feeling of why I prefer them. I think I just need to take a bit more time to maybe rethink my “normal person” wardrobe to find new clothes and styles which I think suit me a bit more and make me feels as comfortable as my gym gear.

Things like that might seem like shallow things but those things do have an impact too. I think we need more diversity within clothes still. It’s moments in the changing room when I can’t find anything I think looks flattering I can understand why people question their body shape but then how can one size fit varying bodies? It’s crazy when you consider how many individuals there are in the world and how one size 6,8 or 10 etc should fit all kinds of 6, 8 or 10 etc bodies.

So that is my journey with the constant battle of what society says a body should be like and the change my body has been going through with training. It’s complicated and I think unfortunately a lot of people go through this. I’m a bit nervous posting this but at the same time I want to share this struggle to hopefully show that we all go through these things. Reading this post through, my thoughts may seem a bit dramatic and I don’t want anyone to worry about my past and the thoughts I had. They were not always the healthiest thoughts but I always loved to eat and I always loved to train. I wasn’t obsessed with either of them but I think my relationship and view of them was a bit messed up. I think it’s just a stage a lot people go through when they try to figure out their relationship with exercise and food.

If you are however feeling like you’re struggling with thoughts about food and training and that it’s becoming obsessive please turn to someone no matter who they are for help and express these concerns. It’s not embarrassing to ask for help, it is incredibly brave and insightful. Not everyone dares to ask for help but when you do there will be so many people wanting to help you to get on the right track. Just take the leap and your world will change. It won’t always be easy but life is unfortunately not easy but that’s what makes it life and these struggles help us grow and learn. Whenever I face hardship I always think of the day I can look back on it. You usually look back at the hard times and think it was hard but that’s about it, it’s just a chapter of your life and once you’ve been through it, it’s gone and you move on. It’s not always easy but life goes on and we live. We get through things and eventually, despite how horrible those things were, we one day smile again and are happy again.

Sorry this post is so long! I just saw it’s over 2000 words. If anyone is still reading this, I hope I haven’t bored you to death. I have so much more to say on how I’ve changed my mindset about my body but I think that will have to be in a different post because this is already so long!

Have a beautiful day my dears, M xxx

 

Youtubers to follow Part 2

Oh my god guys, the nerves are really starting to kick in. I woke up just before six this morning and I can’t believe tomorrow’s the day. We’re driving down to Manchester this afternoon!! I’ve struggled to sleep the past two days. Lots of thoughts flying about in my head which means I’ve been waking up when Jamie’s been coming home from work early in the mornings. As soon as I wake up my mind just starts going crazy and it’s impossible to get back to sleep. It’s nerves and excitement at least which is good.

It’s going to be a busy day before leaving today. I need to swing by the gym to pick up MJ’s weightlifting belt she’s so kindly letting me borrow. Then I’m getting my hair braided up so it’s not all over my face tomorrow then it’s almost time to go. I’m going to try and give the flat a quick tidy and hoover as well before we’re away in the car.

Whilst I’m running about like a crazy person today I thought I’d share more of my Youtube favourites. My obsession for Youtube is still going strong. It’s been about a year since I wrote my last post about some of my favourite Youtube channels out there. Some of them I no longer watch, others are till going strong. If you want to check my previous list out click here. I’ve since  then added to my long list of channels I subscribe to and the ones below are amazing at what they do. Check them out if you’re in need of some new people to follow.

Zanna van Dijk

Where do I even start with this lady? I absolutely LOVE her. Zanna is amazing and I love everything she stands for. Not only in regards to fitness but also how she cares about our planet, animals and the environment. She recently started moving towards a more conscious lifestyle and it’s been incredible following her so far, probably because I’m going through a similar journey myself. Her videos are a mix of daily blogs, travel, book recommendations, sit down chats about different topics, sustainability and so much more. You guys need to follow her. Her channel is incredibly refreshing. She’s just a girl trying to do her best in life and she’s feels real.

The Lean Machines

I had the pleasure of meeting Leon and John at SFN Expo last year,. I was sitting down at one of their talks and just couldn’t not go up and chat to them. I love their Youtube channel, it’s very entertaining and informative. They’re mainly Crossfit focused but do bring up a lot of other health and fitness questions  their followers are wondering. One of their recent videos of them training with Sam Briggs (Crossfit Games Athlete) was amazing to watch and super inspiring. Their channel is always upbeat and fun to watch.

Team Richey

Another awesome Crossfit Youtube channel is Craig and Jas on Team Richey. I’ve been following their channel for quite a while now and it’s been incredible to see how it’s grown. Most recently they were over in Miami to watch the Crossfit competition Wodapalooza and trained with a tonne of people from the Crossfit elite. There’s so many incredibly inspiring people constantly popping up on their channel who are just trying to be their best in life no matter age, ability or background.

Isabella Löwengrip- A Quest for Success

Isabella is such a badass business woman. I’ve lost count of the amount of companies she owns by now and she’s not even 30 yet! I love her latest Youtube series “A Quest for Success” where she interviews successful entrepreneurs. The interviews are in Swedish but with English subtitles. You should definitely give it a watch. Through her show I discovered the awesome Babba Canales Rivera. I think Youtube series like these are great because you get to discover new inspiring people doing incredible things out there in the world.

Who do you like watching on Youtube? If you’ve got any channels you think I should follow please let me know!

 

The Redeemed and the Dominant Trailer

Oh yes! The trailer for the 2017 Crossfit Games is live and it looks so gooooood. If this doesn’t get you motivated to train hard I don’t know what will. It looks like they’re going to be talking quite a bit about the doping scandal last year, a guy called Ricky Garard who placed third last year out of the men tested positive in a check. Obviously this caused a massive stir and what they say in the trailer above almost seems like their attempt to try scare other athletes and show that if you do get caught, they won’t be easy on you. I think that’s fair enough. If you’re stupid enough to take the risk you need to face the consequences.

I’ve already watched the trailer far too many times and get goosebumps whenever I see it. It looks so good. No sign yet on when it’s going to be released. Hopefully soon! I know as soon as it’s out Faye and I will stock up on all the food and snacks to watch it.

Are you guys excited for it to be released? Even if you don’t do Crossfit these documentaries are so cool to watch. Jamie’s watched one of the Fittest on Earth documentaries with me and thought it was really good. I suppose for him it’s quite fun so he can see all the movements and stuff that I always go on about.

Sorry I know the blog has gone a bit Crossfitty at the moment but with so much going on with my course and the competition next week it has been and still is a major focus. I will be varying the content more soon. I you guys are still enjoying it. It is after all a major interest of mine!

Please let me know if there’s anything specific you’d like me to write about! xxx